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March 31 2009
Earth saved!

Well it makes a great headline. Fact is, a global recession is the best thing that could have happened from the point of view of the planet and its ecosystem; the whole consumer madness, fuelled by greed, stupidity and arrogance, has ground more or less to a halt with the result that less stuff is being flown, shipped and trucked around the world, less money means less people travel, and consumption of the planet slows.

There's no way the people in the so called rich nations would ever voluntarily have limited their consumption, those of us who were going to do that have already done it, we have been living sustainably for years, in some cases decades. But despite the message getting through to the rest of society, few are doing much more than paying lip service to it, recycle a little here, use a re-usable shopping bag that declares 'I'm Green!' and other fiddling while Earth burns. So a recession is the only way they were ever going to stop.

Already the Earth is suffering less, and as the recession bites deeper and deeper, the amount of pollution and destruction will lessen too. Fewer in work means fewer commuter journeys and less fuel burned off into the atmosphere. Fewer shopping trips means fewer goods shipped in from China which now supplies the world with unnecessary and unneeded electronic toys. People are starting to reuse things that are slightly less than new, rather than throw them away in preparation and anticipation of the next retail therapy rush; they are going out less, eating out less, cooking their own food from real ingredients more and buying the value-added but less nutritious processed foods they have been growing obese on.

All the while the rich were getting richer and consuming more, the poor countries wanted to join them, and their argument that they were entitled to it all too was hard to refute. What was needed was a voluntary rejection of overconsumption, a move away from the high-tech, trashing everything way of life to a simpler, more sustainable one, only that way could poor countries be slowed in their desire to get themselves into the same fix; all drive cars and shop till they drop. The capitalist way of death is so alluring from the outside. Time to find a better way of ordering human lives before the ecosystem turns really nasty and makes our species extinct.

A golden, once in a lifetime opportunity to rebalance and take stock, devise ways of moving forward sustainably, and undoing the harm we've done in our relatively short time on Earth. And what do the politicians do by way of response? They promise a return to growth economies, back to spending for spending's sake, back to full employment to make stuff for people to buy and feel 'rich' again; in other words, just more of the same sad, tired selfishness, no new thinking, no real understanding of the crisis we're in despite the overblown rhetoric. Even the great whitish hope, Obama, is singing from the same song sheet, handing out taxpayers' future money to banks and car makers, same old same old.

They won't succeed. It's too late for yet another recovery of the old dog of capitalism, it really is on its last legs and in permanent decline. Unless we work out a new way, of thinking, of trading, or living, we haven't a hope and our species' demise will be all the sooner. My bet is on the last option.


March 19 2009
Obama the hypocrite

He made a big thing about his daughters getting 'that puppy', said it in front of the world, and doubtless millions felt warm towards him across the world, he'd added 'friend of animals' to their list of 'things we love about Obama'. Wrong.

Now he's done something that negates all that and reveals him as yet another politician looking to please most of the people most of the time, a whore in other words. He appointed a Montanan as Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, who has announced that his agency would proceed with the delisting of both the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies wolf populations. The Humane Society of the US [HSUS] won several court cases to block maneuvers in the final years of the Bush Administration to take wolves off the list of threatened and endangered species – which would have paved the way for the states to set up wolf hunting and trapping seasons and the killing of thousands of wolves in the lower 48 states. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter even indicated he wanted to be the first to shoot a wolf in his state.

The minor expansion in wolf numbers since they’ve been protected under the Endangered Species Act has had beneficial effects in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes ecosystems; limiting numbers of their prey, protecting forests, and having a wide range of other salutary effects on everything from foxes to songbirds. Now there is to be a return to the thud of steel jaw traps closing on the legs of wolves and the sound of semi-automatic gun fire as the perverts go out once again to kill these beautiful creatures for pleasure.

The state fish and wildlife agencies in these regions are still in the grip of the hunting lobby, and their wolf management decisions are being driven by a desire to artificially inflate moose, deer, and elk populations so that hunters can shoot more of them. To paraphrase outdoor writer and conservationist Ted Williams, wolves don’t pay for hunting licenses.

We could have seen a sea change in America towards wolves, a response to all the psychopaths who enjoy killing and try to justify it on grounds of wolf numbers and their alleged threat to humans. Now Obama has sold out to them, given the go ahead to every dick-head with a gun in place of a penis to murder what are essentially wild dogs. But 'his girls' can have their puppy and won't be told daddy just allowed thousands of wild dogs to be shot, trapped and poisoned. Hypocrite seems the only appropriate word.


March 17 2009
Oh no, not another celebration

It was a beautiful spring day yesterday and in the early evening I thought I might sit on the garden bench with a tumbler of elderflower cordial and listen to the blackbirds singing their end of day serenade... but then the two Jack Russels next door started up, so I decided go back inside.

I love dogs, and these two [Poppy and Shula, mother and daughter] are sweet little things, but they can get into a howling and screaming together that's less than pleasant, largely because they live outside in the garden, so rightly think of it as their territory, and, receiving barely any attention from the humans, tend to be bored most of the time and a bit mouthy. Our dogs never respond, being terribly well bred and brought up and living in the house with us, they are part of the family after all.

I've been used all my life to people celebrating on my birthday as it's also St Patricks day. During my childhood this consisted of the local Irish people wearing a bit of shamrock and getting a bit more drunk than usual, but in recent years it all seems to have got silly; all over the world there are parades where people in increasingly bizarre green costumes cavort about in the street watched by crowds of other humanoids who applaud them. Is this just a result of cultural mixing, or something else? It has shades of Mardi Gras and carnival now, and of course the media, junkies for anything in the least spectacular, make a big thing of it. I blame America, as usual, responsible for most crass, tasteless and silly developments, they are Disney-fying the world and its cultures.

On your birthday, the reason why so many sites demand your date of birth in order to register becomes apparent, it's so they can send you an automatic robot email wishing you a happy birthday in the stupid belief it 'humanises' their service. It doesn't, the staff aren't aware of me let alone wishing me 'all the best', it comes from a robot who doesn't give a shit.

Still trying to spread the word about the appalling killing of dogs and cats that PETA indulges in while fundraising as an animal rights organisation, I've been trying to find how to contact celebrities, as quite a few support them. But celebrities hide themselves away and it's rarely possible to even find an email for them, determined as most of them are to separate themselves from 'ordinary' people who aren't obscenely rich or recognised in the street. If you know or know how to contact any of those on this list below, you could help in my quest.

Celebrities who support PETA:

Pamela Anderson
Sir Paul McCartney
Pink
The Beastie Boys
The Rev. Al Sharpton
Good Charlotte
Russell Simmons
Fall Out Boy
The Black Eyed Peas
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Chrissie Hynde
Phil Collins
The Flaming Lips
Tommy Lee
Richard Pryor Sarah Jane
Ryan Gosling
Bea Arthur
Dead Prez
Emmylou Harris
Jet
Andy Dick
The Young Knives
Bring Me the Horizon
Juliette Lewis and the Licks
Anoushka Shankar and Pundit Ravi Shankar
Roger Miret
Something for Kate
Goldfinger Dick Gregory
Patricia Manterola
Martin Freeman
Traci Bingham
The Go! Team
Lauren Anderson
Lady Bunny
Dr. Cornel West
Alice Walker
Kweisi Mfume
Geezer Butler
Bobby Ingram
Derrick Bell
Angela Proudfoot

So if you know how to contact any of these good people, share this link with them: nokill [or email me their contact address] so they can reconsider supporting an organisation which is responsible for many thousands of deaths of perfectly healthy dogs and cats. They kill so many that they've even been convicted for dumping surplus bodies in other people's dumpsters! Read the facts here, or google 'PETA no kill' and find out what they're really up to. It's pretty shocking.


March 14 2009
Putin puts Canada to shame

The baby harp seals of the world have now found at least one civilized place on this planet to be born where they can be spared the greed and cruelty of humans. The Russian government has banned the hunting of baby harp seals in the regions surrounding the White Sea. Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin called seal hunting a "bloody industry". More Putin rises in my estimation considerably.

In Canada meanwhile, finally, there is a politician with the guts to speak out for justice for the seals. Canadian Senator, Mac Harb, introduced a Bill on March 3rd to end Canada's cruel and destructive commercial seal slaughter once and for all. You can read more about it here, or email Senator Harb here harbsealbill@sen.parl.gc.ca.

This weekend sees the start of the Canadian seal hunt, so it's vital that as many Canadian politicians as possible are told how people feel about this blot on Canada's reputation. The EU is currently deciding whether to ban all seal products from Canada; I go further, I don't knowingly buy anything Canadian, along with Japanese, Icelandic or Norwegian, all of them implicated in the slaughter of sea mammals. Canadians need to act now to get across to their politicians that it's just not acceptable to subsidise this evil with their tax dollars any longer. Independent groups will be participating globally for the International Day of Action for Seals this weekend of March 14-15 to protest the start of the seal hunt.


March 6 2009
Capitalism is eating itself

Capitalism thrives on slaves; it's how it works. Wage slaves to make its profits, consumer slaves to pay for the products of others' labour.

The problem in a recession for capitalism is that slaves can get out of the habit of working, noses to the grindstone, for whatever inducement the capitalist offers, a habit which necessitates regular hours, routines, hierarchy and hard graft. Once people get out of the habit, there's the danger that they can both learn to live on much less than they previously thought possible or necessary, and grow to like the freedom and ability to please themselves. Lots of people, made redundant from jobs they thought would go on forever or until retirement, find they can develop a range of diverse skills not necessarily useful to the workplace environment, but perfect for survival in the world.

Before capialism took hold, people engaged in trades and services, learned skills, traded their labour for goods on a fair and equal basis, did each other favours and bartered. Nowhere was there a capitalist profiting from their labours, or another taxing the fruits of them. Then along came government and later capitalism; essentially the use of wealth by the rich to avoid having to ever do anything for themselves, and to at the same time increase their accumulated wealth so they became ever wealthier. Those who created this wealth were workers in need, or so they thought, of a job to pay them money so they could feed themselves, buy things and feel like they imagined the rich did.

There is always a danger that, faced with a lack of jobs, people will start to organise their lives to suit themselves, start their own work related activities whether that is forming a small company, or setting up as a freelance, selling their labour at a negotiated rate, practising a craft or other skill, and answerable to no one. Still the state steals a third of everyone's [well, all except the rich who have arranged for their wealth to be beyond the reach of taxes] earnings to waste on vast bureaucracy, wars, interference and a policed state constantly in danger of turning into a police state.

The real con artists are the politicians who not only con most of the people most of the time that they are doing an essential job of organising society and running the country, but that they are doing it for them and not for their rich friends and paymasters who they hand the tax breaks to. They also constantly assert the lie that unless they were governing, all hell would break loose, mayhem would result and society would degenerate into what they love to call anarchy. In some ways they are right, without government we would have anarchy; a society with no hierarchy, no parasitic politicians, no rich, no environmental destruction, a sustainable non-exploitative way of life. Sounds good to me, and always has. As I watch the continued self destruction of capitalist economics I am not caused to doubt that government and capitalism are ancient, inefficient and ultimately death inducing systems which have to pass into history along with previous systems which were heir to them.

The whole edifice was utterly unsustainable, from the expected constant rise in house prices to the constant drive for new markets, new products and ever rising 'standards of living.' That this 'standards of living' entailed buying fast polluting personal transport, flying round the world for holidays and buying an increasing and increasingly worthless pile of consumer tat due almost instantly for landfill after completing its prime purpose; to provide a retail experience buzz.

Now we see that the one thing that it depended on above all else and to the exclusion of most, confidence, is gone, blown asunder by the crooks who have been looting [ultimately] the planet, as they gorged their greed at the financial troughs like the uncomprehending little piggies the Beatles sang about so many years ago today, sucking a large majority into the mania of something for nothing as they all turned into gamblers and ran up debts that would scare a sane person. Pathetic attempts by politicians to plug gaps since and prop up institutions, no matter how many billions of our future they squander, will not work. We have seen banks handed billions and refuse to lend any of it to anyone. They don't trust anyone any more to pay it back, they don't even trust each other, or themselves.

And with a sureness beyond all reason, Brown does exactly the wrong thing, he hands money to banks and now car manufacturers. Why? Are cars so important they cannot be seen to be not in production? The reason why they have a problem is that no one is buying the cars. If you wanted to change that, the obvious thing would be to give people money to spend on cars, and any other consumer things they want to buy. That way the money would be spent, the manufacturers would sell products, and the 'economy' would at least have a chance at ticking over if not to rebound into full tilt ahead, which can never happen again, the planet is starting to put a stop to that attitude by educatin our species that we've gone to far. So basically, tax breaks are the only thing that could possibly work, along with handing out more to those who don't pay tax. The poor don't hold on the money they come by, they can't afford to like the rich, they spend it, the shops benefit, they keep their staff who pay tax, and.... you think even a plank like Gordon could work it out wouldn't you? Even a so-called intellectual, Obama, seems unable to grasp it, and is intent on handing out money to - the rich! It's the trickle down theory all over again, and what a con it always was.

Tthe speed of change is speeding up now; it's a gathering storm, and not just financial. This could be described as the storm of the millenium, when the old world finally fell apart and the new emerged to rescue the planet and its occupants from capitalist armageddon.

 

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Time to move to higher ground

The time to move to higher ground link will change from time to time, illustrating how this phrase is becoming more and more common and relevent; from New Orleans, to Fiji to East Anglia to Holland and not forgetting other countries which aren't low lying but which can suffer devastating floods from too much rain, even Native Americans are affected.
I moved to higher ground in 2000 when it was clear that flooding was becoming the norm and climate change was happening now.
On the journey west, we passed flooded fields right across the [UK] midlands, it felt almost apocalyptic.
Since then, floods have become common in the UK and many other countries.

When farmers get flooded out on a piece of ground repeatedly they know what to do – farmers are a very practical lot – they move to higher ground


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Fadhel Al-Sa'd: The sun circles the Earth because it is smaller than the Earth, as is evident in Koranic verses... No verse in the Koran indicates that the Earth is round or that it rotates. Anything that has no indication in the Koran is false. [evidently, Galileo Galilei got it wrong]


 

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The scenes from this war will create thousands maybe even millions of militants intent on inflicting damage on the only superpower. The war will be waged across America and in any American outpost and embassy. It will be brutal and messy and will continue for decades. Bush doesn't know what he has unleashed.
Fool on the hill March 2003


 


Some links to interesting climate-change related websites:

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