Sunday, July 24, 2005

Cardinal Flower


A favorite food source for Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. I put two in last year and then added another five in this year. I've also planted nine Great Blue Lobelias and lots of red Bee Balm... The Hummingbirds are happy. The Cardinal Flower is the most vibrant red I have ever seen. Click the image to see a larger version or view my other Flickr Photos.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

White House war criminals fight for their "right" to torture

Well that sick bunch of lying war criminals continue to use terrorism as a basis for torture of prisoners. The Washington Post is reporting that the White House Aims to Block Legislation on Detainees:
The Bush administration in recent days has been lobbying to block legislation supported by Republican senators that would bar the U.S. military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.

Vice President Cheney met Thursday evening with three senior Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to press the administration's case that legislation on these matters would usurp the president's authority and -- in the words of a White House official -- interfere with his ability "to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack."
Welcome to the New America.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Feist in my ears

No matter how hard I try I cannot stop listening: feist.

At the moment One Evening is my favorite song but that could change as soon as the next starts playing... maybe Secret Heart which I'm listening to now. I cannot concentrate to write these words while her voice is in the air.

Soft, sweet, velvet.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Karl Rove is a distraction

The game of distractions and misdirections continue in D.C. From the start outing Plame was itself a distraction from the real issue that the Bushies decided early on that the best way to sell their carefully planned war was to terrify the American people with deadly chemicals, horrifying disease, and nuclear holocaust. We were told that a mushroom cloud would be the price of not invading Iraq.
Now we have an attempt to distract us from the distraction. Our attention moves farther and farther from the critical issue: Bush and the rest of War Crimes Inc. manipulated the public discourse for the purpose of committing our troops to an illegal, unjustified, and dangerous war.
Their propaganda efforts and manipulation of information have reached truly Orwellian proportions. They will, of course, continue to turn reality on its head and we must refuse their manipulated reality and their attempt to control our memory. Bush lied us into a horrible war and that's not something we will forget. As the Downing Street Memo indicates, they were fixing the facts and intelligence around the policy. The evidence is there in plain sight.
All that said I do want to acknowledge that Rove is a lying scumbag... he fits right in with the current bunch, eh?

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Monday, July 18, 2005

The Patriot Act Used Against U.S. Activists

Well it's not at all surprising. The Patriot Act is being used to spy on the ACLU, Greenpeace, and other U.S. activists. Many of us new this was coming. Anyone that knows about past FBI activities in relation to the Black Panthers, AIM, and other activists have heard of COINTELPRO and knew it was just a matter of time. Welcome to the new America where critics of those in power are terrorists. Guess I need to be hiding in a hole somewhere out in a forest somewhere.
More: AMERICAblog, Irregular Times, Pam's House Blend

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Are Warmer Oceans Killing West Coast Marine Life?

Via the NRDC: Natural Resources Defense Council, the Seattle Times is reporting that Warmer Oceans May Be Killing West Coast Marine Life:
SEATTLE - Scientists suspect that rising ocean temperatures and dwindling plankton populations are behind a growing number of seabird deaths, reports of fewer salmon and other anomalies along the West Coast.

Coastal ocean temperatures are 2 to 5 degrees above normal, apparently caused by a lack of upwelling - a process that brings cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface and jump-starts the marine food chain.

Upwelling fuels algae and shrimplike krill populations that feed small fish, which provide an important food source for a variety of sea life, from salmon to sea birds and marine mammals.

"Something big is going on out there," said Julia Parrish, an associate professor in the School of Aquatic Fisheries and Sciences at the University of Washington. "I'm left with no obvious smoking gun, but birds are a good signal because they feed high up on the food chain."

...

"In 50 years, this has never happened," said Bill Peterson, an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Newport, Ore. "If this continues, we will have a food chain that is basically impoverished from the very lowest levels."

...

This spring, scientists began tracking anomalies along Washington's coast, from the appearance of warm-water plankton species to scores of jellyfish piling up on beaches. A Guadalupe fur seal, native to South America, was found dead in Ocean Shores.

Parrish is documenting unusual breeding behavior among common murres on Tatoosh Island off the Olympic Peninsula. In 15 years of monitoring the murre colony, this is the latest the birds have initiated breeding.

"They are starting very, very late and then just giving up," she said.

...

The trend toward warmer temperatures began in fall 2002, said Peterson, the NOAA oceanographer. No one is pointing to one direct cause for the warmer waters, but many scientists suspect climate change may be involved.

While Peterson is concerned about the unusual ocean conditions, he is more worried that people will not take notice.

"People have to realize that things are connected - the state of coastal temperatures and plankton populations are connected to larger issues like Pacific salmon populations," he said.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage

Ecologically Sustainable Living at the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage:
Dancing Rabbit is an ecovillage set amid the hills and prairies of rural northeastern Missouri. Our goal is to live ecologically sustainable and socially rewarding lives, and to share the skills and ideas behind that lifestyle.
Very inspiring. This is the way we need to deal with peak oil.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

The Community Solution to Peak Oil

Peak oil got you down? Check The Community Solution to Peak Oil.

In particular I want to direct you to Agraria:
What does life in a post-Peak Oil world look like? Here's the first visioning of our small, low-energy, sustainable community proposed for Yellow Springs, Ohio – Agraria.
Thanks to Jack Burns for pointing me to this.

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

U.S. Supporting Terrorist Group in Iran?

For some strange reason I find this story very believable.

Jonathan over at Irregular Times has a write-up about the MEK Mystery:
Yesterday morning, one of our readers alerted us to an article written by former weapons inspector Scott Ritter and published by the Arab news service Al Jazeera. In that article, Scott Ritter charges that the United States government is already at war with Iran. Part of Ritter’s charge is that the Bush Administration is conducting military espionage within Iranian borders. Much more shocking is the claim by Ritter that the USA is supporting a terrorist group in Iran called Mujahideen-e-Khalq (shortened to MEK for friendliness to English-speaking tongues).

Is the MEK a terrorist group? Well, the U.S. State Department says so. The MEK is on the USA’s official list of terrorist organizations. That means that it would be a serious crime for any American to give any support to the MEK. For the President of the United States to provide support to the MEK would certainly be an impeachable offense.

There are also charges that the MEK is responsible for recent bombings in Iran, bombings that killed and injured large numbers of civilians, just like the bombings this week in London. For President Bush to give preachy statements condemning the terrorism in London even while providing logistical and financial support to acts of terrorism in Tehran would be a betrayal of all his promises to the American people, exposing the War on Terror as a crass sham.

...

If no congressional investigation is launched, then this story will continue to grow, especially overseas. The failure to address charges that the Bush Administration is supporting a terrorist organizations will be interpreted as a sign that the Bush Administration has something to hide, and will contribute to the continuing disintegration of America’s reputation in the world.

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Friday, July 08, 2005

New Blog on the Block

My good friend Hannah has a new blog. She's off to a good start and I'd like to suggest you go have a look.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Bombings and Iraq

At the moment the death toll stands at 33 after several explosions. Sounds like a typical day in Iraq.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

First Videocast: A Native Landscape

My first attempt at a videocast... so don't laugh too hard. A brief tour of our native garden landscape. Just entering its second growing season our native wildflower garden is doing very well. Our plants are all native and provide food to wildlife such as bees, butterflies, and birds. Plants discussed: Bee Balm, Purple Coneflower, Columbine, Missouri Primrose, and Black-eyed Susan.

You'll need Quicktime 7 to view due to the h264 encoding.

videocast.jpg Subscribe via the Videocast-Podcast which is also available as a direct Mov download runtime: 5'17, 8.5 MB.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

The Declaration of Independence of The United States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws of Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.

Nor have We been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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Podcast: Independence Day and Reflections on an Experiment

Reflections on the Declaration of Independence and essays by anarchists Voltairine deCleyre and Emma Goldman. An exploration of the spirit and intensity of those that wrote the Declaration as well as those that have followed. What is our responsibility to these ideals? Do we take this Declaration as seriously as we should? Worse, have we fallen into the traps that Thomas Jefferson warned us of? I think the answers are all too clear.

littlepod.jpg More via the Podcast which is also available as a direct mp3 download runtime: 19'18, 3.6 MB.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Anarchism & American Traditions

Decleyrecover
by Voltairine deCleyre

American traditions, begotten of religious rebellion, small self-sustaining communities, isolated conditions, and hard pioneer life, grew during the colonization period of one hundred and seventy years from the settling of Jamestown to the outburst of the Revolution. This was in fact the great constitution-making epoch, the period of charters guaranteeing more or less of liberty, the general tendency of which is well described by Wm. Penn in speaking of the charter for Pennsylvania: "I want to put it out of my power, or that of my successors, to do mischief."

The revolution is the sudden and unified consciousness of these traditions, their loud assertion, the blow dealt by their indomitable will against the counter force of tyranny, which has never entirely recovered from the blow, but which from then till now has gone on remolding and regrappling the instruments of governmental power, that the Revolution sought to shape and hold as defenses of liberty.

To the average American of today, the Revolution means the series of battles fought by the patriot army with the armies of England. The millions of school children who attend our public schools are taught to draw maps of the siege of Boston and the siege of Yorktown, to know the general plan of the several campaigns, to quote the number of prisoners of war surrendered with Burgoyne; they are required to remember the date when Washington crossed the Delaware on the ice; they are told to "Remember Paoli," to repeat "Molly Stark's a widow," to call General Wayne "Mad Anthony Wayne," and to execrate Benedict Arnold; they know that the Declaration of Independence was signed on the Fourth of July, 1776, and the Treaty of Paris in 1783; and then they think they have learned the Revolution--blessed be George Washington! They have no idea why it should have been called a "revolution" instead of the "English War," or any similar title: it's the name of it, that's all. And name-worship, both in child and man, has acquired such mastery of them, that the name "American Revolution" is held sacred, though it means to them nothing more than successful force, while the name "Revolution" applied to a further possibility, is a spectre detested and abhorred. In neither case have they any idea of the content of the word, save that of armed force. That has already happened, and long happened, which Jefferson foresaw when he wrote:

"The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may become persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right, on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest, ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will be heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."

To the men of that time, who voiced the spirit of that time, the battles that they fought were the least of the Revolution; they were the incidents of the hour, the things they met and faced as part of the game they were playing; but the stake they had in view, before, during, and after the war, the real Revolution, was a change in political institutions which should make of government not a thing apart, a superior power to stand over the people with a whip, but a serviceable agent, responsible, economical, and trustworthy (but never so much trusted as not to be continually watched), for the transaction of such business as was the common concern and to set the limits of the common concern at the line of where one man's liberty would encroach upon another's.

Continue Reading...

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A New Declaration of Independence Independence

by Emma Goldman
[Published in Mother Earth, Vol. IV, no. 5, July 1909.]

When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of man, when they serve merely to enslave, rob, and oppress mankind, the people have the eternal right to rebel against, and overthrow, these institutions.
The mere fact that these forces--inimical to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--are legalized by statute laws, sanctified by divine rights, and enforced by political power, in no way justifies their continued existence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race, color, or sex, are born with the equal right to share at the table of life; that to secure this right, there must be established among men economic, social, and political freedom; we hold further that government exists but to maintain special privilege and property rights; that it coerces man into submission and therefore robs him of dignity, self-respect, and life.

The history of the American kings of capital and authority is the history of repeated crimes, injustice, oppression, outrage, and abuse, all aiming at the suppression of individual liberties and the exploitation of the people. A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians. Sturdy sons of America are forced to tramp the country in a fruitless search for bread, and many of her daughters are driven into the street, while thousands of tender children are daily sacrificed on the altar of Mammon. The reign of these kings is holding mankind in slavery, perpetuating poverty and disease, maintaining crime and corruption; it is fettering the spirit of liberty, throttling the voice of justice, and degrading and oppressing humanity. It is engaged in continual war and slaughter, devastating the country and destroying the best and finest qualities of man; it nurtures superstition and ignorance, sows prejudice and strife, and turns the human family into a camp of Ishmaelites.

We, therefore, the liberty-loving men and women, realizing the great injustice and brutality of this state of affairs, earnestly and boldly do hereby declare, That each and every individual is and ought to be free to own himself and to enjoy the full fruit of his labor; that man is absolved from all allegiance to the kings of authority and capital; that he has, by the very fact of his being, free access to the land and all means of production, and entire liberty of disposing of the fruits of his efforts; that each and every individual has the unquestionable and unabridgeable right of free and voluntary association with other equally sovereign individuals for economic, political, social, and all other purposes, and that to achieve this end man must emancipate himself from the sacredness of property, the respect for man-made law, the fear of the Church, the cowardice of public opinion, the stupid arrogance of national, racial, religious, and sex superiority, and from the narrow puritanical conception of human life. And for the support of this Declaration, and with a firm reliance on the harmonious blending of man's social and individual tendencies, the lovers of liberty joyfully consecrate their uncompromising devotion, their energy and intelligence, their solidarity and their lives.

This `Declaration' was written at the request of a certain newspaper, which subsequently refused to publish it, though the article was already in composition.

Link

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Friday, July 01, 2005

U.S. Senate and fuel economy: More studies

Why are we in a serious energy predicament? Yet another example of why U.S. lawmakers are a part of the problem: Senate OKs study of fuel economy increase:
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- After crude oil prices spiked above $60 a barrel for the second time in a week, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a proposal requiring the Transportation Department to raise fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in two-and-a-half years in an effort to reduce domestic oil consumption.

It is unclear how big a boost in fuel economy standards auto manufacturers are likely to face, since the measure would require officials to take into account the impact any proposed increase might have on vehicle safety, the economy, U.S. unemployment, and cost to the auto industry.

In a separate move on Thursday, the Senate shot down, 67-28, a more proscriptive proposal that would have dramatically raised the fuel economy standards of vehicles sold in the U.S. to 40 miles per gallon by 2016, an increase of 45% over current standards.

Both measures were offered as amendments to a broad energy bill pending before the Senate. The Senate is slated vote on the energy bill Tuesday.
Funny thing about this is that by 2016 we will be well into a very real, very obvious energy crisis. 40 miles to the gallon should be now. The U.S. congress, along with the White House, are making very serious, fundamental errors in energy policy. Unfortunately the vast majority of Americans don't have a clue. You can bet your ass that in the year 2016 they'll have a clue.

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