Friday, December 31, 2010
I'd be remiss in not paying homage to all the reporters in the world -- that includes citizen journalists, bloggers, researchers, photographers, video and audio support -- that have helped me write my stories for the Spokesman Review's newspaper and Down to Earth Northwest on-line magazine. Hats off to Howard Zinn and Chalmers Johnson, both heroes, and both of whom passed away this year.
Thank the truth seekers fora group like Reporters without Borders. Read the end-of-the-year wrap up of how tenuous our lives and our truths are in this global Brave New World. Wikileaks is hosted on that Reporters without Borders site:
Journalists in 2010 targets and bargaining chips
Published on 30 December 2010
Figures in 2010
57 journalists killed (25% fewer than in 2009)
51 journalists kidnapped
535 journalists arrested
1374 physically attacked or threatened
504 media censored
127 journalists fled their country
152 bloggers and netizens arrested
52 physically attacked
62 countries affected by Internet censorship
Julian Assange, Wiki-leaks, and the trove of evidence of American -- and international -- maleficence and terror carried out by governments and corporations: he's more than a hero, as is Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence analyst (he's still a kid, 22-years-old) who is in a living Inquisition Hell perpetrated by US DoD, Obama, reckless generals, and a broken and hypocritical judicial system. If anything, the Internet and the information flow and the so-called hacking to find all these illegal and unethical machinations and secret policies through emails and Internet whistle blowing, now that's our hope. Putting a ruthless and unimaginative guy like Facebook's Zuckerberg on the cover of Time Magazine as the"man" of the year is emblematic of superficiality of mainstream media. Nothing new or great that guy did in 2010.
Here's a great wrap-up of the media's campaign against Wikileaks and Manning and Assange:
8 Smears and Misconceptions About WikiLeaks Spread By the Media
Shredding the corporate media's malicious attacks on WikiLeaks.
Surprisingly, there is some glimmer of hope in education circles. My other hat I wear, besides the journalist's full brimmed one, is college teacher, and while this blog has covered some of the cuts in education being led by Republicans, tea bag party nuts and Democrats, creating a true banana republic here in the USA, or an under developing military state, as Manfred Max-Neef, the economist and environmentalist from Chile has written about, it's true that tenured faculty and the higher ups in secondary and higher education have circled their respective wagons and have been fearful of commentary against this massive attack on the US's future.
Here's the famous journalism institution showing some intestinal fortitude:
a letter to Obama and Holder decrying the rhetoric and nonsense coming out of this administration's mouths concerning going after Assange, even to the point of murdering him. Biden, Palin, all of them need to return their high school and college diplomas and get in line for a McDonald's job they so proudly tout as America's answer to hunger, foreclosure, no health insurance.
From faculty of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism---
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
December 13, 2010
Dear Mr. President and General Holder:
As faculty members and officers of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, we are concerned by recent reports that the Department of Justice is considering criminal charges against Julian Assange or others associated with Wikileaks.
Journalists have a responsibility to exercise careful news judgment when classified documents are involved, including assessing whether a document is legitimately confidential and whether there may be harm from its publication.
But while we hold varying opinions of Wikileaks’ methods and decisions, we all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables Wikileaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment. Any prosecution of Wikileaks’ staff for receiving, possessing or publishing classified materials will set a dangerous precedent for reporters in any publication or medium, potentially chilling investigative journalism and other First Amendment-protected activity.
As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves.
The U.S. and the First Amendment continue to set a world standard for freedom of the press, encouraging journalists in many nations to take significant risks on behalf of transparency. Prosecution in the Wikileaks case would greatly damage American standing in free-press debates worldwide and would dishearten those journalists looking to this nation for inspiration.
We urge you to pursue a course of prudent restraint in the Wikileaks matter.
Please note this letter reflects our individual views, not a position of Columbia University or the Journalism School.
Emily Bell, Professor of Professional Practice; Director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Helen Benedict, Professor
Sheila Coronel, Toni Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative;
Director, Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism
June Cross, Associate Professor of Journalism
John Dinges, Godfrey Lowell Cabot Professor of Journalism
Joshua Friedman, Director, Maria Moors Cabot Prize for Journalism in the Americas
Todd Gitlin, Professor; Chair, Ph.D. Program
Ari Goldman, Professor
LynNell Hancock, Professor; Director, Spencer Education Journalism Fellowship
Marguerite Holloway, Assistant Professor; Director, Science and Environmental Journalism
David Klatell, Professor of Professional Practice; Chair, International Studies
Nicolas Lemann, Dean; Henry R. Luce Professor
Dale Maharidge, Associate Professor
Arlene Morgan, Associate Dean, Prizes and Programs
Victor S. Navasky, George T. Delacorte Professor in Magazine Journalism; Director,
Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism
Michael Schudson, Professor
Bruce Shapiro, Executive Director, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma
Alisa Solomon, Associate Professor; Director, Arts Concentration, M.A. Program
Paula Span, Adjunct Professor
Duy Linh Tu, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice; Coordinator, Digital Media Program
Assange's mother country's journalism organization has bluntly attacked the attacks on WikiLeaks and Assange:
The Walkley Foundation, an institution of journalism in Assange’s home of Australia, put it more succinctly in its own letter of support for WikiLeaks: “To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks, and to pressure companies to cease doing commercial business with WikiLeaks, is a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free and fearless press.”
Read the full letter here:
So, out with the purveyors of greed, hate, war, anti-science, false solutions, over-fed millionaires and billionaires who have absolutely not idea about civil society and grass roots movements, communities of common purpose, communities within communities, and how to shape futures for current and future generations. They are the deadwood, the cancers eating at the hope and clear purpose of people who understand how fragile our planet it, our ecosystems are, our want of truth has grown . . . . And in with rebellion, smart thinking, activism, people who will not stand down in the face of the power brokers. Support sanity and end the Fox mentality, stupidity.
For a lighter and more positive spin on the top green stories for 2010, check it out here, at Eco-salon:
Year in Review: Top 10 Environmental Stories of 2010
by Kim Derby on December 24, 2010 in Culture
This, the first year of a brand new decade, whizzed by in a flurry and a flash but not without plenty of environmental activity. We had floods and food recalls, earthquakes and Academy Awards, plus plenty of strange weather. 2010 was a busy year for the environment. But was it a year that planet loving people want to remember or repress? Maybe a little of both.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
A great new book, and so, why not plug Democracy Now and their interview of Paul Epstein.
But for those who want to also read his work, here are some key sources:
Here's his take on a global climate fund agreed upon at Cancun:
While many issues remain unresolved following the Cancun climate meeting, the delegates did agree upon a “Green Climate Fund.” Money is the critical, limiting factor for progress. But, left unresolved, is how to raise it.
Just as the Montreal Protocol required funds to come into force, a global fund for adaptation, mitigation and forest preservation is needed to bring all nations into today’s process. While most developing nations have contributed little to the climate “problem,” all nations can be part of the “solution,” given adequate funds for building resilience, maintaining forests, and purchasing and manufacturing climate-friendly technologies. The International Energy Agency estimates the $500 billion is needed per year for 20 years to achieve the clean energy transformation.
But, with so many Western nations reeling from deficits, the source of funding must be de-nationalized. In November, 2010 the UN High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing looked at carbon and airline taxes, and a tax on financial transactions. A tax on currency transactions – the Tobin Tax – may have the highest yield. Wagers on foreign exchange differentials have ballooned from $18 billion/day in 1970 to $4 trillion each trading day today. (In 1971 President Nixon abandoned two of the Bretton Woods rules – letting exchange rates float and removing constraints on capital movement across borders. Thus began the modern era of deregulation, bringing the West to a precarious moment.)
A fraction of a penny taken off of each transaction would generate hundreds of billions of dollars … and slow down the rapid, destabilizing, speculative transfers of capital across national borders (the original intent of Nobel-prize winning economist, James Tobin). This two-fer would also come from those most able to afford it – the swollen financial sector.
Won’t finance bloc such a move? There a precedent for enlightened self-interest on the part of finance. In the early ‘90s the UK managed a transfer of funds from its financial sector into industry (by cutting interest rates).
A transfer of funds today from finance into the clean and green development would constitute a sound investment into our common future.
– Paul Epstein, M.D.
The East Coast is struggling to recover from the massive blizzard that slammed into hundreds cities and towns from the Carolinas to Maine. The storm was a grimly fitting end to 2010, which was characterized by extreme weather from start to finish with heat waves, floods, volcanoes, blizzards, landslides and droughts. While TV networks closely follow extreme weather events around the world, they rarely make the connection between extreme weather and global warming. We speak with Dr. Paul Epstein of Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The Cancun Climate negotiations were an utter failure. Here's one hero on the climate change block -- Bolivian President Evo Morales -- an indigenous former coca farmer -- making some real forecasts: "We came to Cancún to save nature, forests, planet Earth, not to convert nature into a commodity or revitalize capitalism with carbon markets."
It has to be made clear, civil society activists, peasant farmers, and leaders in the global South and undeveloped countries know that without strong, mandatory emissions reductions, the world's governments would be "responsible for ecocide," Morales stated Dec.9.
Then the negotiators at Cancun agreed to use the World Bank as a trustee to hold funds for poor countries to use to deal with climate change? The global South has suffered immensely due to the policies of the World Bank.
Cancun also brought forth huge support of "deforestation mitigation" known as REDD, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. Think of it as giving polluters like Massey Coal, Exxon, BP -- in the north -- a green light to pollute and push mega tons of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere through "buying" carbon credits through "protecting" forests in the global south. REDD is the wrong system because it commodifies the forests of the global South and throws out indigenous control over the forests they know and have managed for centuries, in sustainable ways. Tens of millions would lose their livelihoods and be forced to beg in polluted and failed mega cities.
Pablo Solon made it clear as the Bolivian climate negotiator that industrialized nations will fail to take domestic action to rein in greenhouse gases. "We want to save the forest, but not save developed countries from the responsibility to cut their emissions," Solon said.
But the real point of this blog post is to look at the stupidity of the USA public, in doubting humanity's role in warming the planet, in the connection between greenhouse gasses and warming seas, melting ice and disrupting and already disrupted variation in natural climate cycles.
Fox News Viewers' Climate Change Misinformation Came Straight from The Top
December 17, 2010 5:29 pm ET by Shauna Theel
As Media Matters reported, last week, the Program on International Policy Attitudes released a report on "Misinformation and the 2010 Election," which examined variations in misinformation by exposure to news sources, among other subjects. The study found that "those who had greater exposure to news sources were generally better informed."
However, the study also found that there were "a number of cases where greater exposure to a news source increased misinformation on a specific issue," and highlighted Fox News' viewers higher levels of misinformation on a variety of topics.
Of the many issues that regular Fox News viewers were found to have been misinformed about, their false beliefs about climate change stood out, in light of the recent revelation that Fox News boss Bill Sammon ordered his staff to cast doubt on climate change science in reports that are supposed to convey "straight news."
Of those who said they watched Fox News "almost every day," a whopping 60 percent believed, incorrectly, that "most scientists think climate change is not occurring" or that "views are divided evenly." Compare that with those who said that they watched other news programs almost every day: 25% of regular CNN viewers, 20% of MSNBC viewers, and 35% of Network TV news broadcasts viewers believed that falsehood. Of those who reported that they read newspapers and news magazines (in print or online) "almost every day,"40 percent believed that falsehood. Of those that reported watching or listening almost every day to public broadcasting, which Fox News has repeatedly demonized, only 13 percent believed that falsehood.
Skip to that:
FOXLEAKS: Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science
December 15, 2010 8:08 am ET by Ben Dimiero
In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."
The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."
This latest revelation comes after Media Matters uncovered an email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term "public option" and instead use variations of "government option." That email echoed advice from a prominent Republican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform.
Sources familiar with the situation in Fox's Washington bureau have expressed concern about Sammon using his position to "slant" Fox's supposedly neutral news coverage to the right.
Sammon's orders for Fox journalists to cast doubt on climate science came amid the network's relentless promotion of the fabricated "Climategate" scandal, which revolved around misrepresentations of emails sent to and from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit.
At the time of Sammon's directive, it was clear the "scandal" did not undermine the scientific basis for global warming and that the emails were being grossly distorted by conservative media and politicians. Scientists, independent fact-checkers, and several investigations have since confirmed that the CRU emails do not undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.
Contrary to Sammon's email, the increase in global temperatures over the last half-century is an established fact. As the National Climatic Data Center explains, the warming trend "is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change" and "is also confirmed by other independent observations."
* * *
On the December 8 edition of Happening Now, one of Fox News' daytime straight news shows, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and was asked by host Jon Scott about "U.N. scientists issuing a new report today saying this decade is on track to be the warmest on record."
Goler accurately reported that, indeed, 2000-2009 was "expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record," following a "trend that has scientists concerned because 2000-2009 [was] warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s." Goler went on to explain that "ironically 2009 was a cooler than average year in the U.S. and Canada," which, he said, was "politically troubling because Americans are among the most skeptical about global warming."
When Scott brought up the "Climategate" emails, Goler explained that although people had raised questions about the CRU data, "the data also comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and from NASA. And scientists say the data of course across all three sources is pretty consistent." Watch:
Less than 15 minutes after the segment, Sammon sent the following email to the staffs of Special Report, Fox News Sunday, and FoxNews.com, as well as to other reporters, producers, and network executives, instructing them to "IMMEDIATELY" include objections of "critics" when reporting on climate data:
From: Sammon, Bill
To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005 -Washington
Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean
Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009
Subject: Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data...
...we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.
That night's Special Report with Bret Baier -- Fox's flagship news program -- featured another report by Goler on the Copenhagen conference. Anchor Bret Baier introduced the report by saying that as "'climategate-fueled skeptics continued to impugn global warming science, researchers today issued new and even more dire warnings about the possible effects of a warmer planet."
Goler's report featured a clip of Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Association explaining the recent finding that 2000-2009 "is likely to be the warmest on the record."
Appearing to echo Sammon's orders, Goler immediately followed this by saying that "skeptics say the recordkeeping began about the time a cold period was ending in the mid 1800s and what looks like an increase may just be part of a longer cycle."
After running a clip of American Enterprise Institute scholar Kenneth Green questioning the "historical context" of the WMO's climate findings, Goler then brought up the climategate emails:
GOLER: Meanwhile, the hacked or leaked e-mails from East Anglia University pushed the U.N. to once again defend its data. Scientists say it's consistent with that from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, and the U.N. secretary general says nothing in the e-mails cast doubt on the basic scientific message.
BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL (video clip): That the climate change is happening much, much faster than we realized and we human beings are the primary cause.
That night, on the same Special Report broadcast, correspondent James Rosen advanced the wildly misleading claim that climate scientists "destroyed more than 150 years worth of raw climate data."
By the time Sammon sent his email on December 8, it was already clear that "Climategate" was not only overblown, but also had no bearing on the validity of scientific theories about climate change.
•In a letter to Congress sent four days before Sammon's memo, 29 prominent scientists -- including 11 members of the National Academy of Sciences -- stated: "The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming."
•On December 2, the prestigious science journal Nature stated: "Nothing in the e-mails undermines the scientific case that global warming is real -- or that human activities are almost certainly the cause. That case is supported by multiple, robust lines of evidence, including several that are completely independent of the climate reconstructions debated in the e-mails."
•On November 25, the American Meteorological Society released a statement saying: "For climate change research, the body of research in the literature is very large and the dependence on any one set of research results to the comprehensive understanding of the climate system is very, very small. Even if some of the charges of improper behavior in this particular case turn out to be true -- which is not yet clearly the case -- the impact on the science of climate change would be very limited."
•On November 23, Peter Frumhoff, the director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a "lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report" by the IPCC said: "[O]ur understanding of climate science is based not on private correspondence, but on the rigorous accumulation, testing and synthesis of knowledge often represented in the dry and factual prose of peer-reviewed literature."
Several subsequent inquiries into the climategate emails did not find evidence of scientific malpractice that damages the credibility of CRU's climate science and also cleared the scientists of deceptively manipulating climate data.
Shortly after Sammon's memo, numerous media outlets, including the Associated Press, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact.com also analyzed the emails and concluded that they did not undermine climate science.
Nonetheless, Fox's news and opinion programs relentlessly hyped the supposed scandal in order to cast doubt on the scientific case for climate change, both before and after Sammon's memo. Some lowlights:
•Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace repeatedly pushed climategate distortions, both before and after Sammon's directive.
•On December 3, America's Newsroom host Bill Hemmer falsely claimed the emails showed scientists hiding "evidence of a decline in global temperatures."
•Online, Fox's website Fox Nation characterized the emails as "Global Warming's Waterloo."
•Neil Cavuto, Fox's "Senior Vice President of Business News" and host of Your World with Neil Cavuto, interviewed a filmmaker dressed as a polar bear during the Copenhagen conference and joined him in promoting "Climategate" distortions.
A month after Sammon sent his memo, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies released data confirming that 2009 was the second warmest year on record and marked the end of the warmest decade on record.
After spending weeks hyping the Climategate non-scandal, Special Report never mentioned the NASA report.
Media Matters contacted Sammon and Fox spokespeople for comment and we have not received a response.
Jocelyn Fong and other Media Matters staff contributed to this report.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Secret Documents Aren't -- How Wiki-Leaks Opens Up the Can of Worms that Journalism Has Failed US (the globe)
Time Magazine, not a bastion of smart news, or decent coverage of serious topics, but still, a "national" magazine, couldn't even get the readers' poll right -- overwhelmingly, they -- readers -- voted for Wiki-Leaks Julian Assange to be "man/person of the year." Instead, who got that title?
"Time Magazine readers chose Julian Assange as Person of the Year. Hands down. But Time's editors preferred to go with the safer choice: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The loser in this contest is Time Magazine. Hands down."
Finally, what about that FOX News and climate change? Uncle Joe and Granny Hilda know all that they need to know about Obama's birthplace, climate change and Assange's role in freeing them of their chains.
Democracy Now's Dec.16, 2010 headlines:
Fox News Ordered Reporters to Question Climate Change Data
The right-wing network Fox News is under scrutiny over newly disclosed directives to its on-air reporters. The group Media Matters has released a leaked memo showing a top Fox News editor ordered journalists to always state that climate change data has been called into question when discussing the topic. The directive originated during the U.N. Climate Change Conference talks last year in Copenhagen when a Fox News correspondent reported the U.N.’s data that the last decade was the warmest on record. Minutes later, Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon sent out a memo questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering correspondents to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." The revelation follows disclosure of another memo ordering Fox News reporters to avoid use of the term "public option" in favor of "government option" when discussing healthcare. The directive echoed advice from a Republican pollster on ways to sway public opinion against healthcare reform. The news comes on the heels of a poll from the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland showing that Fox News viewers are more misinformed on key issues than audiences of other news sources. Over 60 percent of Fox News viewers believe President Obama either was not or may not have been born in the United States.
Watch the Swedish documentary of Wiki-Leaks before it too is scrubbed from the Internet:
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
[Photo credit: A Greenpeace activist in a hot air ballon ahead of the current UN climate summit in Cancún. WikiLeaks cables expose US use of espionage before the 2009Copenhagen summit. Photograph: Luis Perez/AFP/Getty Images]
Obviously, this end of the decade has all sorts of tech news and environmental news tied to the political follies created by a highly corporate controlled society. Wiki-Leaks is making news all over the place, including malfeasance tied to climate change policy our US government has unleashed --
Professor of global environmental policy at Dartmouth College, Dorsey can comment on events in Cancun as well as the U.S. diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks regarding climate negotiations. See in the Guardian: "WikiLeaks cables reveal how U.S. manipulated climate accord: Embassy dispatches show America used spying, threats and promises of aid to get support for Copenhagen accord."
see -- http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord
So, you all can see the wrap up of this year's biggest climate and environmental obstructionists some of whom are actual demons in the purest sense of the definition of that word. This is not a complete list, to be sure, but it's funny stuff, while being so truthful.
Check it out. This is great sarcasm with a punch. Unfortunately, you all probably recognize some of the names below. The writing today by a few great folk really encapsulates the absurdity of our times, of this corporate give-away, this age of stupid:
By Mike Roddy and Ian Murphy
"5 Awards For the World's Most Heinous Climate Villains"
As the world heats up and extreme weather increases there are a bunch of high-profile people who just don't get it, are handsomely rewarded not to get it, or both
This was the hottest decade on record and 2010 has been the hottest year on record. Extreme weather and starvation are increasing on every continent, as beetles devour our forests and jellyfish begin to rule the sea. MIT and the Met Office Hadley Centre predict a business as usual 6 degree Celsius surface warming by 2100, and more than that over land. Climatologists call this being "screwed." Response from the oil and coal people? Bend over. What follows is a list of people who just don't get it, are handsomely rewarded not to get it, or both.
Here are the categories:
1. Evil Twin Awards
David and Charles Koch
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet
Harold Lewis and Freeman Dyson
2. Brain-Fried '60s Icon Award
3. Credentials in the Wrong Field Award
Glenn Beck, Professional Histrionic
4. Slimy Politician Award
Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia
Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader
Joe Barton, Congress-critter from Texas
5. Most Evil Performance as a Chief Executive
Gregory Boyce, Peabody Coal CEO
Tony Hayward, former BP CEO
David Lesar, Halliburton CEO
**Correction: The association between Watts and “pro smoking researchers at the Heartland Institute” was tenuous. Heartland does indeed support Watts, but there appears to be no direct link between those Heartland researchers who work on tobacco issues and contact persons for Watts. Regarding the statement in the article about the Temperature Stations Project, we stated that “Anthony instantly dropped the project with no mention of his error, and began shouting ‘Climategate.’” This was generally true based on coverage at his blog wattsupwiththat.com, but, unbeknownst to the authors, temperature stations have been continually addressed at his other site: gallery.surfacestations.org/main.php. Watts’ continued concerns about distortions from improperly located temperature monitoring stations have been thoroughly debunked at NOAA, Skeptical Science, and SUNY Suffolk.
Michael Roddy graduated with honors from Berkeley, and has written numerous magazine articles and Congressional testimonies on environmental and construction issues. He currently owns and operates a small hotel energy management company, with offices in Seattle, Napa, and Yucca Valley, California. Mike can be reached at email@example.com. Ian Murphy did these here doodles, and he's the editor of The BEAST.
Monday, December 13, 2010
[Above: Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager presents a bike to Connor Dinnison whose submission “Autonomy” received first place in an energy-themed essay contest organized by the Sierra Club as part of its “Beyond Coal” campaign. ]
By Paul K.Haeder
(part one of two)
There’s much shifting going on in the area of American arts and letters, and plenty of books, articles and analyses discussing the end of the Humanities.
Attacks on universities are largely in these areas, including literature, sociology, and the general study of our culture, our interrelated struggles, and the complexities that make up civilization.
Look up “humanities” in the Oxford English Dictionary or Wikipedia, and you can see how broadly the humanities encompass most of things that make our world interesting.
More and more, social media, blog blurbs, and insipid celebrity mongering – everything that Jon Stewart, Juan Williams or Al Gore have done in their respective hybridized and fake worlds making it on NPR or in the LA Times – strips away our cultural language and literacy into something quickly becoming digital noise, consumer hucksterism and unprofessional and uninspiring blathering. Andy Warhol’s phrase, “Everyone is famous for 15 minutes” has been morphed into “everyone is famous every day, everywhere, online.”
In the past, mainstream magazines and newspapers published short stories, poetry and creative non-fiction. These seemed to be niches in people’s lives to deal with strong literary threads.
Past cutting-edge topical stories– civil rights, Viet Nam, Latin America, the Generation Gap, and, Rock ‘n Roll, love and drugs – all made it into creative writing and received decent play in the mainstream media.
Today, published prose/poetry seems quaint and anachronistic amid the 24/7 blaring and flashing TV and internet junk that bombards the very structure of Americans’ ability to think outside the proverbial polarized and largely corporate-constructed box.
But wait! The word is coming back, thanks to climate change and environmental collapse. The literary bug is also catching on in Spokane.
Brad Hash, who has a master’s in environmental studies from University of Montana, and now the regional Sierra Club’s organizer for clean energy, put on a community writing contest this fall specifically because he believes art – and the art of the word – needs a place in “the movement.”
“Words yield power, influence and inspiration,” Hash says. “As print media wanes and library visits plummet, the word is perhaps ironically more popular than ever given the onslaught of social networking tools.
The challenge is to embrace and utilize these communication options in ways to reconnect people to their environments and/or demonstrate the critical need to protect and restore these environments. We must be able to integrate these tools into our communication options in order to engage and be engaged.”
Hash sponsored the “Shift to Green: Spokane’s Transition to Clean Energy” writing contest during Sustainable September Spokane, which limited writers to one page, any form, any style, any literary genre. He got 20-plus entries, not bad for the greater Spokane area.
The top prize, a new commuter bike worth $550 from Spoke “N Sport, was given as part of the Sustainable September Sierra Club activities. It went to Connor Dinnison for his poem, “Autonomy.” Hash said more than 50 attended the event, including Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager who spoke about the TransAlta coal plant and efforts to get it shut down by 2015.
“The audience was captivated by the poem – compliments poured in afterward,” Hash said. “Connor was extremely humbled, excited, shocked at winning the bicycle – he did not have a bike of his own and had been borrowing one. Eight of the writing contestants attended the event.”
I’ve spoken with Brad, and interviewed him for my KYRS show, Tipping Points. His life in West Virginia landed him degrees in psychology and geography respectively from Shepherd University. His Montana graduate work brought him back to Appalachia where he focused on the people and culture tied to mountain top removal (a destructive and permanent environmental scorched earth method of extracting coal).
The other writing winners were Adam Membrey, who earned second place for his creative non-fiction piece, “Bringing Growth to Light,” and Sophie Dituri, a Lewis and Clark junior, who earned third for her hip-hop poem, “Coal.” (All three of the top submissions can be read by clicking on “related documents
Hash and the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign aims to cut the amount of electricity generated by dirty coal-fired plants in Wyoming and Montana that comes to the State of Washington, as well as shutting down the TransAlta plant, Washington’s only coal-fired electricity generating plant. It’s owned by a Canadian firm, and the energy is sold and transported out of state. It’s the state’s single biggest contributor of greenhouse gas and mercury pollution.
Think taking off 1.8 million cars from Washington’s roads and that’s TransAlta’s carbon footprint for the year.
Hash was blunt when asked what the biggest challenge is working in the environmental field to engage youth: “Overcoming the distraction of current social networking tools and the sound-bite culture those tools encourage.”
Yet, Hash sees hope in the power of the word: “Words can be linked together in so many literary styles transcending age, professional spheres, education levels (unless of course one is illiterate) communities of faith, cultures and sub-cultures. Therefore, the printed word is the critical link to reaching these demographics.”
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
All this prior restraint and paranoia, I believe, shows an empire in quick decline. The dirty wars, the Vietnam lies, assassinations, United Fruit Company mayhem, HUAAC, the Iraq logs, what have you. The empire's time is up, or so says so many in the thinking community. Here are the headlines from sane media sources:
WikiLeaks and Our Boorish "In Your Face" Diplomacy
Friday 03 December 2010
by: William Astore Huffington Post Op-Ed
WikiLeaks Fallout: Why More Secrecy Might be Worse
Friday 03 December 2010
by: Nancy A. Youssef McClatchy Newspapers
The cables: what really counts
Posted By David E. Hoffman Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 8:47 PM
US cable: China leaders ordered hacking on Google
By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press Gillian Wong, Associated Press – Sun Dec 5, 6:47 am ET
Published on Friday, December 3, 2010 by Deeplinks Blog / EFF
Amazon and WikiLeaks - Online Speech Is Only as Strong as the Weakest Intermediary
by Rainey Reitman and Marcia Hofmann
Published on Friday, December 3, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
WikiLeaks Cables: CIA Drew up UN Spying Wishlist for Diplomats
Agency identified priorities for information on UN leaders
Cables reveal further evidence of intelligence gathering
by Ewen MacAskill and Robert Booth
Published on Friday, December 3, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
Julian Assange Answers Questions in Online Q&A
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is answering readers' questions about the release of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables. We will post his responses as we receive them
Here's the story on college students being warned about WikiLeaks look-ins:
from this site: www.thetechherald.com
Talking about WikiLeaks’ cablegate can hinder job placements
by Steve Ragan - Dec 4 2010, 09:00
If you are thinking about working for the government, but have recently used social media platforms to link to or discuss WikiLeaks’ cablegate materials, you can likely kiss that potential career path goodbye.
An email forwarded by a student enrolled at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia is making the rounds on the Internet this weekend. The email, which is said to have originated from the Columbia University’s Office of Career Services, warns anyone aspiring for a government job that WikiLeaks is off limits.
We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.
The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.
Office of Career Services
In addition, a comment on The Arabist blog, where the news of the email originated, said that similar letters are being sent to Georgetown graduates as well.
Assuming the email is on the up-and-up, we’re going to call this a serious overreaction. Granted, the U.S. State Department has the right to be choosey about whom they hire, but holding WikiLeaks related wall posts on Facebook against an intern is backwards.
We’re not the only ones; Mike Masnick from Techdirt has similar feelings.
“Pretending that you shouldn't even discuss a rather important and topical story of interest to those who actually do care about diplomacy and public policy, isn't just a "put your head in the sand" approach, it's actively discouraging the folks who might have the most insight and interest into these subjects from getting a job where they might be of assistance.”
Sunday, December 5, 2010
In 1989, Ott, a marine toxicologist who lives in Cordova, Alaska, experienced firsthand the devastating effects of the Exxon Valdex oil disaster.
She's spent five of the past six months traveling back and forth between Louisiana and Florida to gather information about what's really happening in the Gulf and share the lessons she learned about long-term illnesses and deaths of clean-up workers and residents. She's planning to return in January.
Toxicologist speaks about the so-called missing oil, the missing science, the missing regulation.
Part II - Riki Ott on the Gulf: "These People Have Oil in Their Bodies."
In this interview with Rose Aguilar, Riki Ott talks about the health crisis caused by the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. She says she's currently dealing with three or four autopsies and knows of people who are down to 4.7% of their lung capacity and have enlarged hearts. "These people have oil in their bodies," she said.
She believes four to five million people in the Gulf were exposed to either acute or intermediate levels of oil at dangerous levels.
Part III - Riki Ott on BP: "They've Got Our Politicians Completely Hamstrung."
In this interview with Rose Aguilar, Riki Ott talks about whether BP will ever be held responsible for the oil disaster, BP's partnership with NOAA in schools, the oil disaster's long-term effects on the ecosystem, the citizen uprising in the South, and the most effective way to save the planet from further destruction.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
WHY: The Economy
(note: well, not really "the economy." It's about those few people who have benefited from corporate welfare and bailout greed who have helped, over the past 30 years, put community and sustainability into a tailspin. Now, well, young people wanting a higher education are jeapordized)
WHAT: I've been putting myself on the chopping block, so to speak, as a 53-year-old four-degree holding educator-writer-community organizer-media expert. That's a big, heavy lift sending out job applications, cover letters, all the necessary materials those organizations ask for in a very bleak job market, where people from all over are applying for low-paying organizer jobs in Seattle. From overseas, too. Seattle, a stratified and paved over city with some shining stars but plenty of empty lives too.
CAVEAT: It's worse for youth, for those 75 million 1 to 17 year olds in this country who are seeing their futures gutted by greed, stupidity, wars, and a society that is called by one Chilean economist, and underdevelopming nation -- the first one. Us, the good old US of A.
Chilean Economist Manfred Max-Neef: US Is Becoming an 'Underdeveloping Nation'
Manfred Max-Neef won the Right Livelihood Award in 1983, two years after the publication of his book Outside Looking In: Experiences in Barefoot Economics. Look him up on Democracy Now -- www.democracynow.org
I've got the skills that would plow through any company's stasis or inertia, plus the creativity, energy and multidisciplinary approach to seeing problems and knowing what systems thinking is from a broader, holistic challenge of solving problems systemically.
I am applying to the West Side of Washington, where Amazon's "campus" employs software developers and other knowledge workers at $130,000 a year in some cases, with puny bachelors degrees. It's an interesting time having multi-lingual skills, all the education and experience as a college instructor, curriculum developer, media expert, climate change and sustainability commentator, radio producer, journalist, and planning graduate of a master's program, and seeing faces twitch and hearing doors slam. Because of all these job qualifications and experiences I have, because that narrative and life frame are not very valued in this country. I've written novels, published magazine articles, hitchhiked from Nogales to Panama with cameras and notepads in hand, been to Vietnam as a writer and logistics expert for a multi-national biodiversity project. I'm a certified diver master, been on reefs off Belize, Cozumel, Baja, Thailand, the Red Sea, the Pacific Northwest, and the list goes on. I have organized huge events on the Vietnam War, Climate Change and sustainability. I'm a photographer and muckraker.
I am looking to make a splash as a communication director or strategic planner (or you name the multi-tasking job you can think of) in the non-profit arena, in Seattle. I'm looking at those rare full-time positions at our state's under siege community colleges.
I'm not going to go on and on in attempt to produce a cover letter for some job out there that doesn't exist. The point of this is -- I have been working my tail off teaching as an adjunct instructor, journalist and blogger. I've been remiss here not tapping into this blog as much as I have in the past. I believe blogs and Wiki leaks and others like Democracy Now's Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman are absolutely vital to questioning this country's out of synch entitlement, graft and political prostitution. I've seen greed all over Mexico, Central America and in parts of Asian, and here in this country, from Texas to Montana to Seattle. Greed kills hope for youth, kills a country's backbone, kills life on the planet.
I had a conversation with a guy in Seattle as he stepped over two street kids on his way the curb where his 130,000 dollar Maserati was parked. I tried engaging him in a conversation, but he was easily frightened, easily shamed. Maybe it was $185,000 car, come to think of it. I made sure to bring to his attention how insulting it is to even own one of those worthless cars, let alone drive it in a city with major unemployment issues and disparity beyond belief. This is the face of greed, maybe even the kind your grandmother would like her granddaughter to invite over for dinner.
Amazon dot com(munista) doing what to Wiki-leaks?
"Amazon.com Inc. forced WikiLeaks to stop using the U.S. company's computers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents, WikiLeaks said Wednesday.
The ouster came after congressional staff had questioned Amazon about its relationship with WikiLeaks, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.
WikiLeaks confirmed it hours after The Associated Press reported that Amazon's servers had stopped hosting WikiLeaks' site. The site was unavailable for several hours before it moved back to its previous Swedish host, Bahnhof."
Facebook allowing a backdoor entrance by US internal spies to get information without any due process, any warrant, any pre-notification to the FB user?
The stories in techie land, including the gutting of Internet Neutrality, well, what more do techies need to know about how the rest of us feel about their industry?
"Comcast Demonstrates Why We Need Net Neutrality
Two big technology stories broke yesterday, demonstrating that
a) Comcast is evil,
but also b) it needs to be reined in by strict net neutrality regulations"
So, I'll be highlighting COP16, Cancun climate talks.
For now, though, Bernie Sanders says it right here. If those in techie land or those with quasi-successful businesses do not get it yet, there is a way on, and it's against education, against youth, against the middle and lower classes, against science and against sustainability.
WATCH: Senator's Impassioned Speech: "There Is a War Being Waged Against the Working Families of America"
Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gave a lively, impassioned speech before Congress earlier this week on how the U.S. is becoming a banana republic and waging a war against its working families.
At a time when the middle class is disappearing and when the top 1% now earns more income than the bottom 50 percent, this Congress is going to have to be very careful about how it goes forward on deficit reduction. In my view, we must not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly or the poor. Instead, we’ve got to do away with the enormous tax breaks and loop-holes that have been given to millionaires and billionaires and take a hard look at the excessive amount of money we spend on the military as well as some other government agencies.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
NOTE -- I've written a lot over the years about the illegal wars in Central America during the Ray-gun years. But our Latin America experience predates that: The Frank Church commission that found USA complicit in murdering Salvadore Allende, democratically elected in Chile. Before that, Vallejo, Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the United Fruit Company. Major US corporations sending blood into the streets of Central American countries, and South America. I did plenty of work covering the fake War on Drugs while reporting on the border in Arizona, Texas and the other side, Mexico.
It's easy to see how my brethern faculty have caved in. My media cronies, they've been rooted out and legit journalism is all but gone -- FROM the so-called MAIN Stream. From many camps' points of view, that stream in mainstream represents a lot of elephant "you know what." Yellow journalism has turned into Corporate Sound Bytes.
And here's the sad news this morning: I've been asked by a friend to scrub a pretty mild interview of him from my column in the Spokesman Review's Down to Earth North West. Because he fears retaliation as an artist, fears coming from an agent who says state funding and grants and sponsors in the private sector might blackball him for some pretty tame words tied to the British Petroleum debacle in his southern sphere. He fears not being able to photograph and fund his art.
Brave New World. Complicit consumers to the corporate lies. What do we give young people now to protest injustice, environmental terrorism and their own bankrupt society that places CEOs' profits over their futures -- affordable education is now on the chopping block and being bled empty.
You don't treat abused dogs like we treat our youth. They will either rebel, zone out, or flip out. Why not concentrate on education for all, not for some rich elite?
We shall see how the techies, the IT gurus, the Google and Amazon lovers and the rest of that skewed part of our class-stratified society will do when their lives are put to shame because they failed to protect their society, their cities, their world. People have to do the work of civilization in a warming climate globe. It's not about IT and Facebook and all the next line of bells and whistles. It's about builders, educators, biologists, thinkers, planners, crafts people, and all the other folk working seriously on sustainability.
Here's Chris Hedges, and you all should read some of his books, listen to his talks on the Internet, find him, his articles.
Hedges: We're Losing Our Intelligence -- How the Purge of True Dissent Has Starved Our Discourse
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Posted on November 15, 2010, Printed on November 21, 2010
The blacklisted mathematics instructor Chandler Davis, after serving six months in the Danbury federal penitentiary for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), warned the universities that ousted him and thousands of other professors that the purges would decimate the country’s intellectual life.
“You must welcome dissent; you must welcome serious, systematic, proselytizing dissent—not only the playful, the fitful, or the eclectic; you must value it enough, not merely to refrain from expelling it yourselves, but to refuse to have it torn from you by outsiders,” he wrote in his 1959 essay “...From an Exile.” “You must welcome dissent not in a whisper when alone, but publicly so potential dissenters can hear you. What potential dissenters see now is that you accept an academic world from which we are excluded for our thoughts. This is a manifest signpost over all your arches, telling them: Think at your peril. You must not let it stand. You must (defying outside power; gritting your teeth as we grit ours) take us back.”
But they did not take Davis back. Davis, whom I met a few days ago in Toronto, could not find a job after his prison sentence and left for Canada. He has spent his career teaching mathematics at the University of Toronto. He was one of the lucky ones. Most of the professors ousted from universities never taught again. Radical and left-wing ideas were effectively stamped out. The purges, most carried out internally and away from public view, announced to everyone inside the universities that dissent was not protected. The confrontation of ideas was killed.
“Political discourse has been impoverished since then,” Davis said. “In the 1930s it was understood by anyone who thought about it that sales taxes were regressive. They collected more proportionately from the poor than from the rich. Regressive taxation was bad for the economy. If only the rich had money, that decreased economic activity. The poor had to spend what they had and the rich could sit on it. Justice demands that we take more from the rich so as to reduce inequality. This philosophy was not refuted in the 1950s and it was not the target of the purge of the 1950s. But this idea, along with most ideas concerning economic justice and people’s control over the economy, was cleansed from the debate. Certain ideas have since become unthinkable, which is in the interest of corporations such as Goldman Sachs. The power to exclude certain ideas serves the power of corporations. It is unfortunate that there is no political party in the United States to run against Goldman Sachs. I am in favor of elections, but there is no way I can vote against Goldman Sachs.”
The silencing of radicals such as Davis, who had been a member of the Communist Party, although he had left it by the time he was investigated by HUAC, has left academics and intellectuals without the language, vocabulary of class war and analysis to critique the ideology of globalism, the savagery of unfettered capitalism and the ascendancy of the corporate state. And while the turmoil of the 1960s saw discontent sweep through student bodies with some occasional support from faculty, the focus was largely limited to issues of identity politics—feminism, anti-racism—and the anti-war movements.
The broader calls for socialism, the detailed Marxist critique of capitalism, the open rejection of the sanctity of markets, remained muted or unheard. Davis argues that not only did socialism and communism become outlaw terms, but once these were tagged as heresies, the right wing tried to make liberal, secular and pluralist outlaw terms as well. The result is an impoverishment of ideas and analysis at a moment when we desperately need radical voices to make sense of the corporate destruction of the global economy and the ecosystem. The “centrist” liberals manage to retain a voice in mainstream society because they pay homage to the marvels of corporate capitalism even as it disembowels the nation and the planet.
“Repression does not target original thought,” Davis noted. “It targets already established heretical movements, which are not experimental but codified. If it succeeds very well in punishing heresies, it may in the next stage punish originality. And in the population, fear of uttering such a taboo word as communism may in the next stage become general paralysis of social thought.”
It is this paralysis he watches from Toronto. It is a paralysis he predicted. Opinions and questions regarded as possible in the 1930s are, he mourns, now forgotten and no longer part of intellectual and political debate. And perhaps even more egregiously the fight and struggle of radical communists, socialists and anarchists in the 1930s against lynching, discrimination, segregation and sexism were largely purged from the history books. It was as if the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had no antecedents in the battles of the Wobblies as well as the socialist and communist movements.
“Even the protests that were organized entirely by Trotskyists were written out of history,” Davis noted acidly.
Those who remained in charge of American intellectual thought went on to establish the wider “heresy of leftism” in the name of academic objectivity. And they have succeeded. Universities stand as cowardly, mute and silent accomplices of the corporate state, taking corporate money and doing corporate bidding. And those with a conscience inside the walls of the university understand that tenure and promotion require them to remain silent.
“Not only were a number of us driven out of the American academic scene, our questions were driven out,” said Davis, who at 84 continues to work as emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of Toronto. “Ideas which were on the agenda a hundred years ago and sixty years ago have dropped out of memory because they are too far from the new center of discourse.”
Davis has published science fiction stories, is the editor of The Mathematical Intelligencer and is an innovator in the theory of operators and matrices. He is a director of Science for Peace. He also writes poetry. His nimble mind ranges swiftly in our conversation over numerous disciplines and he speaks with the enthusiasm and passion of a new undergraduate. His commitment to radical politics remains fierce and undiminished. And he believes that the loss of his voice and the voices of thousands like him, many of whom were never members of the Communist Party but had the courage to challenge the orthodoxy of the Cold War and corporate capitalism, deadened intellectual and political discourse in the United States.
During World War II Davis joined the Navy and worked on the minesweeping research program. But by the end of the war, with the saturation bombings of Dresden and Tokyo, as well as the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he came to regret his service in the military. He has spent most of his life working in a variety of anti-war and anti-nuclear movements.
“In retrospect I am sorry I didn’t declare myself as a conscientious objector,” he said. “Not at the beginning of the war, because if you are ever going to use military force for anything, that was a situation in which I would be happy to do it. I was wholehearted about that. But once I knew about the destruction of Dresden and the other massacres of civilian populations by the Allies, I think the ethical thing to do would have been to declare myself a CO.”
He was a “Red diaper baby.” His father was a professor, union agitator and member of the old Communist Party who was hauled in front of HUAC shortly before his son. Davis grew up reading New Masses and moved from one city to the next because of his father’s frequent firings.
“I was raised in the movement,” he said. “It wasn’t a cinch I would be in the Communist Party, but in fact I was, starting in 1943 and then resigning soon after on instructions from the party because I was in the military service. This was part of the coexistence of the Communist Party with Roosevelt and the military. It would not disrupt things during the war. When I got out of the Navy I rejoined the Communist Party, but that lapsed in June of 1953. I never got back in touch with them. At the time I was subpoenaed I was technically an ex-Communist, but I did not feel I had left the movement and in some sense I never did.”
Davis got his doctorate from Harvard in mathematics and seemed in the 1950s destined for a life as a professor. But the witch hunts directed against “Reds” swiftly ended his career on the University of Michigan faculty. He mounted a challenge to the Committee on Un-American Activities that went to the Supreme Court. The court, ruling in 1960, three years after Joseph McCarthy was dead, denied Davis’ assertion that the committee had violated the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech. He was sent to prison. Davis, while incarcerated, authored a research paper that had an acknowledgement reading: “Research supported in part by the Federal Prison System. Opinions expressed in this paper are the author’s and are not necessarily those of the Bureau of Prisons.”
Davis, who has lived in Canada longer than he lived in the United States, said that his experience of marginalization was “good for the soul and better for the intellect.”
“Though you see the remnants of the former academic left still, though some of us were never fired, though I return to the United States from my exile frequently, we are gone,” he said. “We did not survive as we were. Some of us saved our skins without betraying others or ourselves. But almost all of the targets either did crumble or were fired and blacklisted. David Bohm and Moses Finley and Jules Dassin and many less celebrated people were forced into exile. Most of the rest had to leave the academic world. A few suffered suicide or other premature death. There weren’t the sort of wholesale casualties you saw in Argentina or El Salvador, but the Red-hunt did succeed in axing a lot of those it went after, and cowing most of the rest. We were out, and we were kept out.”
“I was a scientist four years past my Ph.D. and the regents’ decision was to extinguish, it seemed, my professional career,” he said. “What could they do now to restore to me 35 years of that life? If it could be done, I would refuse. The life I had is my life. It’s not that I’m all that pleased with what I’ve made of my life, yet I sincerely rejoice that I lived it, that I don’t have to be Professor X who rode out the 1950s and 1960s in his academic tenure and his virtuously anti-Communist centrism.”
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He writes a regular column for TruthDig every Monday. His latest book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Is civilization sustainable? Or is the Stone Age the only age that is sustainable?
Check out the interview, but still, read his stuff that make up a pantheon of great philosophy tied to the environmental movement. Also, Matt Taibbi has a great new book out,
Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America," published by Random House, 2010.
Here's his piece that ties into that stupidity --
"Taibbi: the Tea Party Moron Complex
By rallying behind dingbats and morons like Palin and Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party has made anti-intellectualism its rallying cry"
from Democracy Now:
Author and Activist Derrick Jensen: "The Dominant Culture is Killing the Planet...It’s Very Important for Us to Start to Build a Culture of Resistance"
Derrick Jensen has been called the poet-philosopher of the ecological movement. He has written some 15 books critiquing contemporary society and the destruction of the environment. His many books include A Language Older than Words, Endgame, What We Left Behind, Resistance against Empire, and Deep Green Resistance. We play Part I of our conversation with him. "I think a lot of us are increasingly recognizing that the dominant culture is killing the planet," Jensen says. "I think it’s very important for us to start to build a culture of resistance, because what we’re doing isn’t working, clearly."
Nov. 15, 2010 show
"Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change"
by Derrick Jensen
Monday, November 15, 2010
Here's the driving force of why PacifiCAD, I believe, has created a sustainability blog, allowing for better and thoughtful ways to explain science, technology, planning, climate change, and the general attack upon science. Here's one of a thousand negatives generated from these mid-term elections:
"Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer--despite the evidence outside their windows."
Read this below, from Alternet.org.
Just as the election season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if they’re not countered quickly and surely. Newsweek’s list included the following 12 statistics taken from recent and semi-recent polls and surveys. The first half are directly related to right-wing rumormongering.
•Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a matter of opinion, not fact.
•25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, share that belief.
•Earlier this year, nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah Palin-supported lie about "death panels" being included in health care reform.
•As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney.
•While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan--the places their peers are fighting and dying--on a map.
•Two out of five Americans, despite the whole separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional principles.
•Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. Does that explain why Christine O’Donnell was so quick to deny her “dabbling”?
•Speaking of antiquated religious beliefs, about a decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth. That's just sad, considering that even the Vatican has let Galileo off the hook for being right.
•Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions. Other examples of wild misunderstanding about religion and the separation of church and state can be found in this fall’s Pew survey on Americans’ religious knowledge.
•This one made a huge splash when it appeared. In 2006 more Americans were able to name two of the “seven dwarves” than two of the Supreme Court justices. And that was before Kagan and Sotomayor showed up. To be fair, Happy and Sleepy are easy to remember.
•More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government--you know, the ones who are jockeying over our welfare.
So what to do in a political and cultural landscape in which well-told lies have more validity than fact-based truth? Perlstein explained how this environment gets created by explaining what happened on Election Day this year:
“...by a two-to-one margin likely voters thought their taxes had gone up, when, for almost all of them, they had actually gone down. Republican politicians, and conservative commentators, told them Barack Obama was a tax-mad lunatic. They lied. The mainstream media did not do their job and correct them. The White House was too polite—"civil," just like Obama promised—to say much. So people believed the lie.”
We’ve entered a bizzarro world in which calling out lies is considered rude, says Perlstein, so liars are allowed to sit tight and dominate the discourse. This gels with Bill Maher’s critique of the Rally for Sanity, that calling for “balance for balance’s sake” ignores two important aspects of news reporting: facts and evidence.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Six-month mark of BP oil mess throws shaky science, systems thinking out the window
*Note -- This is one of several stories working toward some sanity on what went wrong with this country's oil industry, the government, the politicians, and the media tied to the worst environmental disaster thus far this country has experienced.
**Second Note -- The mid-term elections and the current state of fear in this country will make for a few more pieces or blogs on this spot.
***Third Note -- Photos from Matthew White, photographer, www.matthewwhitestudio.com
By Paul K. Haeder
The magic in Eduardo Galeano’s “Memory of Fire” is tied to his poor performance as a history student. He felt the classes were like visits to the waxworks or “Region of the Dead.”
“The past was lifeless, hollow, dumb,” he writes in the first of the trilogies, “Genesis.” “They taught us about the past so that we should resign ourselves with drained consciences to the present: not to make history, which was already made, but to accept it.”
The history in the making now, especially tied to the current drawing-down of the decade, is tied to the spasms of collective ignorance and media myopia tied to why the world is tipping: food security is shattered because of climate; up is down in the world of tea party thinking; Haiti represents the loss of collective planning; oil ooze has now ended up in the most important part of life on earth.
Ninety percent of all marine species live at least part of their life associated with the bottom, called the benthic zone. Of course, the benthic mode of life includes species found in the intertidal, shelf, bathyal, abyssal, and hadal zones.
We barely are understanding the species living under the surface of the bottom of the ocean (called infauna). BP and ExxonMobil and the other oil barons know little about the work geologists and marine scientists are carrying out on bottom of the ocean, a major area of decomposition where organic material is are recycled.
In fact, early in the BP mess back in May, it came to light that British Petroleum’s so deemed marine science expert had been deceased for several years. No replacement chief scientist, no memorandum of agreement with any of the dozens of doctoral-level universities in the Gulf region studying geology and oceans.
“No one knows what effects this unprecedented chemistry experiment might have on the region’s living things, but many scientists fear the worst,” Susan Casey, the editor-in-chief of “O,” writes in the September edition. “The ocean’s senior denizens, its magnificent predators, the toothed and the finned, the small and the humble, the ancient corals, the exquisitely adapted: At best they will suffer. At worst, they’ll be gone.”
The history of the Gulf is one of exploration, interesting indigenous patterns, cultural diversity, conquest, greed and corporate and political exploitation. Now, as we go into the next decade, all North Americans can proudly say we are a part of the mess emanating from the Gulf.
The story has played out elsewhere – the Heart of Darkness in the Congo when King Leopold helped to fuel several million deaths in that exploitation for resources; or the French helping push into a death cycle several million in Indochina during the past century’s rubber frenzy.
Galeano writes about the Americas – all three – in his award-winning book, “Memory of Fire.” In those passages, we see the exploitation played out throughout our collective history. What’s happened in the Gulf just in six months has opened wounds of exploitation and disharmony.
“Through out the centuries,” Galeano writes, “Latin America has been despoiled of gold and silver, nitrates and rubber, copper and oil: its memory has been usurped. From the outset it has been condemned to amnesia by those who have prevented it from being.”
The Gulf could be a region of sustainable energy, fishing, aqua-farmed oysters. Instead, it’s a ravaged set of ecosystems and cultural designs, centered largely on gas, oil, toxic by-products of the age of plastic and obsolescence.
The amnesia he talks about played out a just few weeks ago in the Gulf.
It’s almost surreal, how thousands packed into the Cajun Dome in Lafayette recently to hang and burn effigies of President Barack Obama as tea bagging nihilists blamed him for the troubles in the Gulf.
“You have to wonder what they were thinking,” said New Orleans-based photographer and college instructor Matthew White in a recent interview on KYRS.
There weren’t insults to British Petroleum, Transocean, or Halliburton. No cutouts fashioned after Tony Hayward, the former boss of BP. No petition drive to sue Nalco Holding Company, the producer of Corexit. No bulls-eyes painted on the faces of corporate heads of ExxonMobil.
“It’s absolutely bizarre that David Vitter and all the other politicians were in the Cajun Dome blaming Obama for the oil spill,” White said.
Vitter is the Republican U.S. senator who admitted to visiting a madame or two while in Congress in 2008 and who also pleaded guilty to assault charges against a girlfriend.
Six months later, we have a Voltaire drama unfolding, but thank goodness for
Mother Jones magazine. ProPublica, Democracy Now, Terry Tempest Williams, Jerry Cope and Ian McDonald, as well as countless other scientists bucking the BP spin machine and oil industry thuggery and intellectual dishonesty.
Journalists and editors who didn’t pull up stakes in the Gulf region have given voice to those scientists and researchers who keep talking about a plume of hydrocarbons more than 24 miles long and 500 fathoms below the surface. They’ve given the rest of America a chance to see the human cost of this gash in the skin of the ocean bottom.
The latest news since the well was supposedly capped Aug. 5, as reported by mainstream media, is the cost to BP — $40 billion in a probable payout. Plus, the fact that BP’s quarterly profits topped $2 billion.
There was the headline proclaiming how Hayward demanded an apology from Obama, and blames the U.S. administration for all of the stress and vagaries in his poor life.
Another story chronicled Halliburton admitting it failed to properly test the cement used to seal the well before it blew out. Then the recriminations leveled at the Obama administration for lifting the moratorium on deep-ocean drilling.
The entire mess has been one misstep after another, reaching this apotheosis of the company which screwed up the construction and application of the blowout preventer – the one that failed and allowed 400 million of gallons to bleed into the Gulf – being put in charge of testing their own device. No questions asked.
Do you hear the tea party galloping up in the rear? No oversight, no scientific inquiries launched by joint academic-government panels, no fines, taxes, fees or limits put on the polluters and economic hit men.
Six months after the disaster, and we are seeing a narrative skewed by mid-term election follies, the most expensive political B-movie ever, topping $3 billion for all those crummy races.
Six months after the spill and we still see the liability directed at oil companies capped to an absurd level; no climate change bill has been passed; no national oil response legislation has even been voted on.
Then there are all the lies and scientific distortions, having produced a terrible toxic brew of a country – an industry, too – which can’t get the story right, can’t prepare for another blowout, and can’t mitigate and stop the bleed when it will happen.
Another well will blow out, that is guaranteed, especially at depths of 6,000 feet under water. Relief wells are still being drilled, at 15,800 and 17,900 feet down.
Mainstream media have their panties in a bunch about the tea baggers who want the Environmental Protection Agency to be disbanded, and any government oversight to be dismembered and put into the hands of Walmart, Exxon, Monsanto, Blackwater, DuPont and Rupert Murdoch.
You get the picture: Science and independent investigation get trumped by PR spin and industry self-policing.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
We Can Try and Bring Hope to the Climate Change Table -- with 10 "greenest" cities on Earth Articles, but . . . .
The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Cities Thoughts of a greener earth may call to mind rolling pastures and snow-topped mountains. Certainly the wide-open spaces of the planet are eco-friendly, but don’t rule out cities for their share of “green.”
There are many cities around the world that do their parts to make this planet a better place. And with thousands to millions occupying these close-contained areas, every little bit helps.
According to research as recent as 2009, here are the top picks for the most environmentally friendly cities across the planet.
10. Sydney, Australia. Sydney employs many green initiatives, including innovative food-waste management and raised awareness of global warming. Australia also was the first to reduce usage of inefficient, energy-hogging light bulbs.
9. Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador. When natural disasters devastated the city in the late 1990s, the government instituted a plan to rebuild the city in a more sustainable way. The city is also marketing itself as a destination for eco-tourists.
8. San Francisco, California. Nearly 20 percent of the city is devoted to parks and green spaces. Also, more than half of all residents bike, walk or take public transportation to work every day.
7. London, England. Under London’s Climate Action Plan, the city will switch 25 percent of its power to locally generated, more-efficient sources, cut CO2 emissions by 60 percent within the next 20 years, and offer incentives to residents who improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen has won awards for cleaning up its waterways. It also has one of the highest concentrations of cyclists.
5. Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver draws 90 percent of its power from natural sources and is the largest user of hydroelectric power.
4. Malmoe, Sweden. This city is known for its extensive green spaces and parks. It is also rebuilding using innovative designs that employ green methods of building and design.
3. Curitiba, Brazil. Curitiba boasts one of the best bus systems in the world, enabling residents to save on energy by using public transportation. Parks are kept tidy by lawn-eating sheep.
2. Portland, Oregon. Portland is the first U.S. city to enact a plan to reduce CO2 emissions. It also has 92,000 acres of green space. It is touted as one of the greenest places to live.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland. This city earns the No. 1 spot by using hydrogen-fueled buses and renewable energy provided by geothermal and hydropower sources. In addition, Reykjavik plans to be fossil-fuel-free by 2050.
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Links of Interest
- Architects with Out Borderers -- Seattle
- Architects without Borders
- Architecture 2030
- Architecture Sans Frontieres
- Auto Desk Sustainable Design
- Autodesk - Guide to Sustainable Design
- Cascadia Region Green Building Council
- Center for Biological Diversity
- City of Spokane--Sustainability
- Climate Central
- Climate Impacts Group
- Climate Progress
- Climate Solutions -- Olympia
- Climate Watch, California
- Committee on the Environment - AIA
- Dirty Cajuns
- Down to Earth Northwest
- Earth Charter
- Earth Day National
- Engineers without Borders-USA
- Fuse Washington
- Futurewise of Washington
- Gulf Coast Photography
- Inhabitat -- (design will save the world)
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Local Governments for Sustainability
- Low Power Community Radio -- Spokane
- Model Forest Policy Program
- New Urbanism
- Northwest Climate Change Center
- On Earth
- Planners' News
- Project for Public Spaces
- Real Climate
- Save Our Wild Salmon
- Smart Growth On Line
- Spokane Based Conservation -- Lands Council
- Sustainable Architecture, Building, Culture
- Sustainable Spokane
- The Green Architect
- Tree Hugger
- Western Climate Initiative
- Yale 360