31 August 2008

Mount Rainier August 2008

Here are photos from an August 2008 trip to Mount Rainier. Here's the description as I posted it on Flickr:
Travel to Mount Rainier August 2008.

Ana and I entered through the Southeast Entrance and stayed overnight at the Ohanapecosh campground (so gorgeous).

The next day it was kind of rainy and stormy, so instead of hiking, we drove to the short trail to Silver Falls and then we entered the fee area and drove across the Southern road that transverses the park. We stopped at the Grove of the Patriarchs and then at Box Canyon (and a couple other scenic vistas) We had lunch at the National Park Inn at Longmire and headed for home.

It was a nice day and a half trip in the park.

Hope you enjoy the photos.
Here's a Flickr slideshow embed of the photoset:

29 August 2008

Public Opinion Matters

In regard to the City of Olympia General Government Committee's decision to recommend repealing the Nuclear Free Zone Act:

Here's some of the text of a comment I just left at my City Council Member, Rhenda Iris Strub's blog:
You’re right. America is not a Democracy. It is a Republic. - However it is a democratic Republic. The opinion of the people matters. Public opinion is integral to the formation of the laws of government, and the ethics of society. No getting around that.

The opinion of the public matters. So, we must then ask, is the public opinion reasonable? Does it make sense? The argument in favor of the ordinance is a winning argument. What is the argument against the ordinance? It’s not strong enough? It is impractical? It’s ineffective.

Which leads me to my third point: The ordinance is effective. It is effective for me. It makes me feel good. I am proud of my City and my Community because of this, and similar, ordinance.

So, please. Don’t take it away. I hope the other City Council Members read this too, because the same applies to them.

Public opinion matters. The opinion of the public in favor of the ordinance (and in favor of strengthening it) is reasonable - it makes sense. And the ordinance IS effective.


Here's a link to the post: Disrespectful and Duplicitous [url: http://rhenda.com/?p=30]

And a direct link to my comment: Defending the Nuclear Free Zone [url: http://rhenda.com/?p=30#comment-25]


Some words. You can consider it a poem if you would like to... Word - Word them up:




It's a work in progress. But I just wanted to get it down. To be utterly revealing, the topic is branding for the movement for peace and justice and nonviolence (and resistance to: the corruption and tyrannies of power, and the (destructiveness to the planet, to ecosystems, to societies and individuals - of the) violent corporatist crusade for dominance.) It is to establish a mental banner, a frame of sorts, for those who are engaged in the struggle. I am struggling to create a better world, a sane and sustainable society that respects and serves humanity, all life, and the Earth.

please join me

[Of course, the movement would need to consent to such a (mental - or spiritual) banner...]
updated 14:17 Saturday, August 30th, 2008

28 August 2008

Blackhawk Over Olympia

A blackhawk helicopter flies noisily over Olympia. This one, or another or others like it, were out and about a lot yesterday. Well what do I have to say about it?

Stop the War!

Black Hawk Helicopter

The war was unnecessary. It never needed to happen. Iraq didn't pose a threat. The government and military of the USA have been hi-jacked by zealots.

Read more from Liet. Gen. Greg Newbold: Why Iraq was a Mistake

27 August 2008

The Family: Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power

[update: here's a link to the publisher's website for the book: The Family]

I heard this today on my favorite radio station, KAOS, The Evergreen State College radio station.

It's a great program. Check it out. This is a must listen recording. Here's an excerpt from the description on Writer's Voice and a link where you can find the mp3 of the recording.

I highly recommend this one.
Host Francesca Rheannon talks with journalist Jeff Sharlet about his bestselling new book, THE FAMILY. It’s about the real “New World Order” of elite fundamentalism.

When Senator Sam Brownback ran for president during the recent primary season few people knew that he’s a member of an elite fundamentalist group that’s waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe. It’s called The Family. It counts not just conservatives but also liberals like Hillary Clinton among its intimates and fellow travelers. When the National Prayer Breakfast is held each year–it’s organized by the Family. When we say “our nation, under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, or we read “In God we Trust” on our greenbacks–that’s because of the Family. Founded during the Great Depression in 1933, the Family preaches a gospel of “biblical capitalism,” military might, and American empire. It’s played a crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the Cold War, and the harsh economics of globalization. That’s what journalist Jeff Sharlet says in his new book, THE FAMILY: THE ELITE FUNDAMENTALISM AT THE HEART OF AMERICAN POWER.

Jeff Sharlet’s previous book was Killing the Buddha, which he co-authored with Peter Manseau. He’s a contributing editor for Harper’s and Rolling Stone. His Mother Jones article about Hillary Clinton’s cozy relationship with Christian fundamentalists, “Hillary’s Prayer”, can be read here.

The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
So Check it Out! - Bert
A better world is possible.

26 August 2008

City of Olympia Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance

At issue is a potential effort to repeal the City NFZ Ordinance. on OlyBlog: City of Olympia Nuclear Free Zone Ordinance

Naomi Klein on the Shock Doctrine: Disaster Capitalism

Naomi Klein on Shock Doctrine from The Real News

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Klein's previous book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies was also an international bestseller. Klein is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia. For more information on The Shock Doctrine visit http://www.naomiklein.org/main

Naomi Klein on Obama

Klein speaks about Obama and the intellectual and political integrity of the progressive movement:

Also see: Naomi Klein on Shock Doctrine, Disaster Capitalism opens the way for off-shore oil drilling:

Naomi Klein: "Corporations are built to be opportunistic. That's their mission. If there's an opportunity, they must take advantage of it, and it's in the interests of their shareholders, and they shouldn't be sentimental about it. So that's what capitalism is supposed to do: take advantage of opportunities. What I'm talking about, and what I mean by disaster capitalism, is a political strategy."

25 August 2008

Sign the Kucinich Impeachment Petition

Hello - !!! - Have you signed Dennis Kucinich's petition to impeach President Bush? If not, please sign the petition, http://impeachment.kucinich.us/petition/ - hyperlinked: Kucinich petition to impeach President Bush.

It reads:
WHEREAS, in his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has committed abuses of power.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States and that he be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Signed by me and who knows how many others who are pro-troops, pro-impeachment, pro-justice, pro-peace, pro-nonviolence, pro- rule-of-law, etc....

OlyBlog Technical Difficulties

Prowar DemonstratorsIt appears that the hyper-local community media website [Monday August 25 '08], OlyBlog.net, is down. It similarly went down a few days ago, and was down for a period of about 24 hours. Then it came back up again. Now it's down again! Hopefully it will be back up soon! OlyBlog needs your support: Donate!

[OlyBlog needs your support in order to afford more server space.]

Information about the Democratic National Convention

From The Nation by Ari Berman on the DNC and Steve Farber: Campaign 08
The Most Powerful Man in Denver (You've Never Heard Of)

People for a Public Isthmus

There are several groups organizing opposition to a proposed rezone of building heights on the "isthmus" area in downtown Olympia. The "isthmus" (in quotes because it is not an isthmus - it's actually a peninsula) separates the water of Capitol Lake, a man made reservoir, and Budd Bay, Budd Inlet, one of the southernmost inlets of the Puget Sound.

Some of the groups organizing opposition are:On Saturday, August 23rd, 2008 opponents of the rezone proposal, and a proposed development of 141 million dollar high rise condominiums, gathered to raise awareness and to get signatures for an initiative petition that would, if successful, require the city to put the park idea on a ballot - or [thanks for the correction, Thad!] conduct a feasibility analysis into acquiring the land for the purpose of developing a park.

People for a Public Isthmus
[photo caption:] People in support of a public isthmus, including an expanded park area to the West of Water Street in between 4th and 5th Avenues, gathered near the City of Olympia's Heritage Fountain to do a walk around for signature gathering and outreach to gain support and organize a petition that will require the city to conduct a feasibility study into the possibility of acquiring land on the Isthmus for the purpose of establishing and developing a park.

more information: Walk the Isthmus!

background on the isthmus development issue: olyblog.net/isthmus-2008

information on the park petition: groups.google.com/group/olycapitolparkfoundation/web/welcome

20 August 2008

Bacevich on Democracy Now

Andrew J. BacevichAndrew J. Bacevich appeared on last Friday's edition of Bill Moyers Journal. It was a great interview. He has recently written a book that explores and examines various aspects of US Foreign Policy - especially as it relates to cultural themes of consumerism and the American mentality of entitlement...

Today he appeared on with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! check it out: The Limits of Power: Andrew Bacevich on the End of American Exceptionalism
Andrew Bacevich is a conservative historian who spent twenty-three years serving in the US Army. He also lost his son in Iraq last year. In a new book titled The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, Bacevich argues that although many in this country are paying a heavy price for US domestic and foreign policy decisions, millions of Americans simply continue to shop, spend and satisfy their appetite for cheap oil, credit and the promise of freedom at home. Bacevich writes, “As the American appetite for freedom has grown, so too has our penchant for empire.” [includes rush transcript]
I urge you to check out the interview. It is so timely, relevant and really just important...

16 August 2008

Letter to President George W. Bush

I have been thinking about writing a letter to George W. Bush. I got the idea yesterday while meditating and sign-holding at a weekly peace vigil. I am furious with President Bush for driving the USA into an unnecessary war, costing trillions of dollars, the lives of so many people, and causing immense environmental and social degradation.

So I want to write him and tell him how I feel, and some of my observations about his behavior.

I want to vent. So I think I'll do that here, rather than in a personal letter to the President, because a lot of the things that I want to say aren't necessarily constructive or nonviolent. I feel better already.

I wonder if the President George W. Bush has a conscience. Does he feel any genuine sorrow or remorse about (allegedly) intentionally using deceit to drive the nation into an unnecessary war?

Does he care about the lives of others? Perhaps the Bohemian Grove "Cremation of Care" ceremonies have been too effective for the President. Perhaps he was born without a conscience.

Anyway, this man must be held accountable. So I am somewhat hopeful and optimistic, with all sorts of new information coming out, and new efforts being made toward the goal of investigating official misconduct, and holding those responsible for grievous breaches of the public trust, to account for their actions.

Check out the new Bill Moyers Journal program with Andrew J. Bacevich: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/08152008/profile.html

Also please see information about Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine

Short Film on Shock Doctrine:


Ron Suskind's The Way of the World

14 August 2008

Ron Suskind's New Book, White House Lies and Forgery, Congressional Probe: DemocracyNow.org

I just posted at olyblog about Ron Suskind's interview at DemocracyNow.org. Here's a link to the olyblog.net post: olyblog.net/house-judiciary-opens-investigation...

His book is titled, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism. The DN interview is in two parts, over two days. The second interview also includes Representative John Conyers, who is the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. The HJC has recently opened a Congressional Probe into the accusations of forgery contained in the Suskind book.


13 August 2008

Bush Adminsitration Special Interests v. Public Interest

The war of choice on Iraq, perpetrated by members of the Bush Administration, is a good example of special (private) interests taking over the public realm of government.

Instead of using tax dollars to fund a humane and sustainable energy policy, the White House (hi-jacked by oil industry executives) used the public infrastructure and tax dollars of the American People towards acts of aggression.

Instead of funding research and development into alternative technologies, into programs that would promote conservation and efficiency, the Bush Administration has launched the country into a many years war that will cost, when all is said and done, well over $2 Trillion. The monetary losses are nothing in comparison to the true economic and human costs: Millions of people have been killed or lost loved ones, and are suffering as a result of the wrongful and unnecessary war.

Damn. For the love of humanity and the planet, we must enforce accountability over our government. Of, by and for the people - may those words eventually ring true.

The situation is dire. It's severe. We need to take action because the planet is in distress. People are in distress. Species continue to go extinct at alarming rates. For the sake of the well-being of future generations... Please, ask of yourself what you can do, even if it just a small part, to effect change for the better.

For example, you could go all out and behave in a consistently nonviolent manner on a day-to-day basis - choosing to act only in ways that truly serve life.

Or you could try something decidedly more modest - say, driving strictly at or under the (posted or otherwise) speed limit, in an effort to conserve gasoline, and reduce pollution and violence associated with emissions and extraction (conserving gas also supports the troops).

Okay. Have Fun. Brainstorm. Breathe. Love. Be well.

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power

This is an eight part series of videos produced by PBS/BBC based on Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer Prize winning nonfiction work, The Prize. Here are the eight episodes, as they have been published to Google Videos. I published a link to olyblog.net, where these videos have already been posted. But OlyBlog isn't working today, so I want to republish them here. Redundancy on the Internet... Here it is with descriptions as I found them attached to the videos posted on Google:
"In the style of the acclaimed CIVIL WAR series, THE PRIZE tells the epic history of oil - how it has dominated global politics, shaken the world economy, and transformed our century. Shot on location in Azerbaijan, Egypt, England, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Russia, Scotland, Turkey, and the United States, the series features fascinating characters, never-before-seen archival footage, newly filmed segments, and interviews with the people who shaped the oil industry. Yergin appears on camera throughout the series to discuss oil's impact on politics, economics, and the environment. We see how oil becomes the largest industry in the world--a game of huge risks and monumental rewards. Narrated by Donald Sutherland, THE PRIZE represents cinematic storytelling at its best - a historically significant tale of a quest for mastery that has revolutionized our civilization."
Part One

'Our Plan'
"Trace the turbulent, rapid rise of the world's biggest business, how a visionary but ruthless John D. Rockefeller controlled it--and how reporter Ida Tarbell took him on in one of the most famous muckraking exposes ever. A fascinating look at Rockefeller's controversial legacy, the rise of modern business, and how Tarbell served as the role model for the modern investigative journalist."
Part Two

Empires of Oil
"Witness capitalism on a grand scale: how Shell Oil and Royal Dutch merged, then challenged the supremacy of Rockefeller's Standard Oil. A compelling tale of how oil transformed everyday life in the farthest corners of the globe, made Russia a great oil power, and helped the Allies win World War I."
Part Three

The Black Giant
"It's the Roaring Twenties, and the magic of oil touches everyone, from millions of new car owners to hopeful Texan wildcatters. The American oil industry wrestles with shortage and surplus, as flamboyant entrepreneur Calouste Gulbenkian stakes his claim in Iraq."
Part Four

War and Oil
"The untold story of World War II unfolds: how oil dictated strategy to Hitler; how lack of oil slowed Japan's war machine; how oil ultimately determined victory or defeat. Features rare footage on the critical impact of oil on decisive military events."
Part five

Crude Diplomacy
"Post World War II America awakens to the strategic importance of oil and witnesses a key moment in history when oil production shifts from the US to the Middle East. An extraordinary cast of characters, including Arabian kings, US presidents, British adventurers, Iranian politicians, and American explorers paint a global portrait of how oil shaped the world economy and politics."
Part Six

Power to the Producers
"It's the heyday of cheap oil, the dawn of the Hydrocarbon Society...and the introduction of a prosperous new automobile culture for Americans. Follow the flamboyant characters, plots, and counterplots, as the producing countries and the independent oil companies challenge the "Seven Sisters"--and open a new era in world oil."
Part Seven

The Tinderbox
"Relive two decades of upheaval that shook the world as power shifted, and nations and companies jockeyed for position--amidst embargoes, shortages, and surpluses. A unique view of the rise of the OPEC era, beginning with the British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf and ending with the burning oil wells of Kuwait."
Part Eight

The New Order of Oil
"The Gulf War marked the beginning of a new era for the Hydrocarbon Society. This program explores the relationship between oil and the environmental conscience, and the technological race to balance energy, economic, and ecological needs in the Information Age."
Editorial Comment: I don't like some of the conclusions that are made in these videos, but I do think they are very valuable and effective in terms of presenting the massive impact that oil has had on society and the planet.

A Better Way: Human-Driven - Life-serving Politics

The following is a comment I posted at theolympian.com, it's attached to the August 13th Letters to the Editor Section: http://www.haloscan.com/comments/theolympian/541534/#785724
The Bush Administration has an immoral and unethical energy policy that prides itself on wasteful consumption without regard for the obvious detrimental consequences to the environment and future generations.

If this country wants to save itself from extinction, it is high time to make a clear divorce from the current practice of 'stone age' power politics of global dominance and corporate influence over government.

May the 21st Century be known as the century of reconciliation, responsibility, and a human-driven politics.

The first priority in any energy policy must be conservation (of limited resources) and efficient use.

The second priority must be the development of a truly sustainable and environmentally benign energy technology (wind? solar? etc?).

Like Chris Marquardt, I similarly believe that Cheryl Crist offers this clear alternative, and a real choice between the "bottom-line" profit driven power politics being practiced today - and a better way, a human-driven politics that will truly serve the best interests of life, irrespective of class boundaries.

Robert Whitlock
Bert | 08.13.08 - 12:02 pm | #

12 August 2008

The Prize by Daniel Yergin

Check out the eight part video series, The Prize, based on the book of the same title by Daniel Yergin. I posted all eight episodes at olyblog.net. Here's the link: olyblog.net/understanding-each-other#comment-65309

11 August 2008

Obama Hope

Hope for Obama
A cartoon by Mr. Fish


January: Finally, a candidate who isn't afraid to say what he really believes.

March: Well, he has to say that stuff if he wants to be elected - he doesn't really believe it.

May: There's no way in hell that he can possible be that stupid - but if it gets him into the White House...

July: Jesus Christ, now he sounds like the other shithead! Why should I even vote, what's the goddamn difference?

September: What a fucking asshole - does he think I'm an idiot?! Why does nothing ever change in this country?

November: Go Obama...
Vote your Conscience

05 August 2008

Photos from Protest

Here are some photos from the August 2008 Port of Tacoma War Protest: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwhitlock/sets/72157606561556753/

Back from Protesting Illegal War at the Port of Tacoma

I just got back from the Port of Tacoma. I went to protest the shipment of a military cargo that was destined to further the occupation of Iraq by my government of the USA. Why would I protest? Lots of reasons, but there are a few, really just one or two, that stand out most prominently. The main reason that I protest is that the war is illegal. Of course, if you have been following my position on the war, you'll realize that this is nothing new. If you have been following my position on the war then hopefully you will understand the basic foundations of my assessment of the war's illegality. Yes, it is simply because the President (George W. Bush) lied to me (and to you) about the nature of the threat posed by the state of Iraq (Iraq didn't pose a threat).

Okay. So I am aggravated by the protest, and the Port of Tacoma's and Tacoma Police Department's willingness to enable an act of aggression by the federal government. Tacoma is enabling the needless slaughter and sacrifice of American soldiers and innocent Iraqis. It's disgusting - hideous - obscene, I could go on...

It was an interesting night altogether, and less so in terms of interactions with the police than for interactions I had with fellow protesters, some of them "black bloc." I had some interesting discussions about the role of the black bloc and how some of the black bloc people see themselves and their role in promoting social change (if those are the right terms - they might not be; it is late and I am tired.) Hopefully I will have more to write, and feel like doing so, about the details of the night's events. I took a few pictures that might turn out too. so stay tuned

ANYWAY, after discovering that the quick release on my rear bicycle wheel had been loosened and the brake cable released, I rode safely home through a beautiful night under a somewhat (Olympia is a moderate sized urban area) thick blanket of stars.

Ahhh... the beauty of the stars!

03 August 2008

Port of Tacoma PMR Activities

I just posted an update about Port Militarization Resistance Activities in Tacoma to Olyblog.net. Check it out: olyblog.net/update-tacoma-pmr-activities

I also wrote something for the community blog at the Tacoma News Tribune: community.thenewstribune.com/node/41847

We have the power to stop the illegal aggression of our government.

02 August 2008

Support for the Troops

I support the Troops. I support the Truth. Bush Lied. The war is illegal...

I support the soldiers of the US Military. The truth is that President Bush lied when he drove America to war based on falsely manufactured (so-called) evidence of imminent threat of attack from Iraq. Iraq did not threaten the USA (nor any other country.) The war was a pre-meditated offensive attack. A war of choice, and thusly it is illegal.

I support the action of Port Militarization Resistance. PMR seeks to oppose the militarization of our public ports, and the militarization of society as our ports are used - as the ports enable - an aggressive foreign policy of global dominance, and acts of aggression.


Let's not put the military personnel, soldiers and troops in harm's way without justifiable cause of self-defense.

01 August 2008

Constitutional Limits of Executive Power

Link to video of July 25th, 2008 House Judiciary Committee Hearing:


This video is essential viewing. Really, if you care about holding members of the Bush Administration to account for their various improprieties you owe it to yourself to watch this.

Here's a description from the c-span site:
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations" to examine legal and legislative responses to allegations of misconduct and the expansion of executive branch power by the Bush administration. Topics include allegations of: (1) improper politicization of the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys offices, including potential misuse of authority with regard to election and voting controversies; (2) misuse of executive branch authority and the adoption and implementation of the so-called unitary executive theory, including in the areas of presidential signing statements and regulatory authority; (3) misuse of investigatory and detention authority with regard to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, including questions regarding the legality of the administration's surveillance, detention, interrogation, and rendition programs; (4) manipulation of intelligence and misuse of war powers, including possible misrepresentations to Congress related thereto; (5) improper retaliation against administration critics, including disclosing information concerning CIA operative Valerie Plame, and obstruction of justice related thereto; and (6) misuse of authority in denying Congress and the American people the ability to oversee and scrutinize conduct within the administration, including through the use of various asserted privileges and immunities.