27 December 2008

Thank You!

Thank You!

Imagine that the troops are actually doing the work that they are popularly claimed to be doing (though not without reasonable controversy) - that is, protecting us from irrational terrorists, (the "bad guys,") whom are bent upon destruction of our way of life (we're the "good guys!") Assuming that's the case, then hell yeah - thanks for protecting us.

But then again, what if it's not so simple—not so clear. What if the truth is something different than that reality as presented so often in mainstream media. What if the troops are actually protecting US access to global mineral resources? What if the troops are actually enabling the execution of a foreign policy of dominance? Should we still thank them if it turns out that they aren't protecting us? What if the truth is that they are actually protecting the interests of oil companies, war contractors, and the likes of Halliburton, et al.?

The reality on the ground—the truth as I see it, is that the USA is pursuing a foreign policy of dominance. That's to say that the goal of the US government is to enable domination of the global economy by US and Western, and other associated interests.

It can also be rightly stated and understood that the US attack on Iraq was unprovoked. And even though the attack of Afghanistan was (arguably) provoked by the 9/11 attacks, it also doesn't mean that the attack was justified (either by law or by legitimate defensive strategy.)

The greatest crime is a foreign policy of dominance as it seeks to employ the means of violence, militarism and aggression in order to accomplish it's oppressive ends. This dominance policy is a foreign policy of might makes right, and it would be absolutely intolerable if it was being practiced against "us" rather than by "us." (''Us" in quotes because of my desire to separate myself from the dreadfully wrong foreign policy of my government.)

The above sign is a sticker as it was seen on the front door of a restaurant in Northern Wisconsin (where, perhaps coincidentally, my long beard received plenty of stares.)

So, Thank You. Thank you to those soldiers who refuse to serve in illegal and immoral imperial wars of aggression. You're the real heroes. You're the ones who dutifully uphold your oath of service, your oath to the constitution.

To those troops who serve either willingly or unwillingly, I am so sad. And I am sorry that you have been thrust into this horrible position. I will continue to work to hold our government accountable so that the military is not used to further aggressive and intrusive foreign policy agendas.

More resources:

Courage to Resist

Thankyou Lt. Ehren Watada

Free the Shministim (Israel's Young Conscientious Objectors)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War

24 December 2008

Happy Holy Days!

Snowy Twigs

Happy Holy Days: Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Chanukah, and Solstice, or whatever other celebration / festivity you might partake in.

Peace on Earth!

17 December 2008

Olympia, Washington: Envision an Isthmus Park

Imagine a Park to stretch across the entire isthmus of downtown Olympia.

It would be:

- A monument to public interest.

- A magnet to attract visitors, residents and investors.

- A signal to young people — that this community cares about the common interest of taking concerted action toward genuine and true sustainability, and environmental protection.

Please don't cater to the special interests of wealthy developers, or to the potential residents of an upper-class luxury condominium!

Envision an isthmus dedicated to an inclusive and accessible public space, and to the protection and restoration of damaged ecosystems.

Some Personal Favorite Photographs

Personal Faves Flickr Set

14 December 2008

Violence is the Problem, Not the Solution

Violence is the Problem, NOT the SolutionWe have a choice. We can work to create a life-serving culture of peace, justice, truth, nonviolence, sustainability, fairness, equity, inclusiveness, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, (and etc.).

Or we can continue to engage in the current system with all of its harmful aspects - damage, degradation and destruction to the Earth, to Humanity and to much of the natural flora and fauna of the planet.

The Revered James Lawson said, "Violence has not brought peace to our lives." Indeed, he is proven correct.

Albert Einstein said that "We cannot solve our problems with the same type of thinking that created them."

So, what type of thinking has created these problems? These types of thinking are responsible for creating many of the problems we face: dominance (human v. nature, human v. human), conquest, limitless growth.

It is insane to think that economic growth can solve the economic woes of our day. Instead, the real economic solutions exist in downsizing, in localizing, in curtailment and in sharing.

Violence is the problem, not the solution. Economic growth is the problem, not the solution.

I am going to think about how to fix this world, so that it is not left battered and bruised and utterly abused to members of generations forthcoming. What types of thinking and social/economic practices can and will lead to healing and remedy in the broken and abusive relationship between humanity and the natural world? What types of changes are you willing to make?

Peace be with you on this journey.

07 December 2008

Isthmus 2008 Slideshow

The isthmus area of downtown Olympia, Washington is at the center of a very controversial proposal to change zoning regulations. A private developer, Triway Enterprises, has proposed an increase of existing building height limitations.

Triway has also proposed the subsequent building of a massive super-structural luxury "up-class" mixed use condominium/retail development on the narrow strip of land that separates the Deschutes River (Capitol "Lake") from Budd Inlet and the Puget Sound.

The Olympia City Council is poised to vote on the controversial rezone amendment within the next two weeks. Here's a slideshow of isthmus and isthmus-related photos.

See full-size photos with more information: Isthmus 2008

More information is also available at OlyBlog.net.

06 December 2008

It's Peace!

"It's Peace!"
[cross-posted from flickr]
photo by Bob Ziegler

We declare peace. Not war.

We declare peace instead of war.

Humankind has engaged in war and other acts of violence for centuries, if not millenia. Thus far, neither war nor violence has brought any lasting or true peace to our lives. War isn't working; it has not resulted in peace. War is not the answer.

Do the ends justify the means? I believe that they, the ends, do not justify the means.

Rather, the means inform the ends. The means create the ends. If we want a peaceful end, then we must utilize peaceful means. The means are the ends.

So if we want peace, then we must live peacefully. Peace is, indeed, the way.

Too often war is pursued with the idea of peace as end product. The problem is that war is coercive and violent. War is often times the end product of policies or mindsets that are exploitative and domineering. Throughout human history, war has not brought a truly peaceful condition to society.

So, peace must be understand as not only an end, but also the means to an end. Peace is the way! Declare it! Ask yourself how you can live peacefully - please, for the sake of the health and prosperity of the planet and future generations. Can you do that?

Some questions that we all deserve to ask of ourselves are:

"Do I have peace in my life?"

"Is my lifestyle peaceful?"

"Do my actions promote or inhibit a peaceful society?"

John Woolman, an American Quaker who lived from 1720 to 1772 asked that we may examine our material possessions to determine if they contain nourishment for the seeds of war.

War has not brought peace to our lives. Indeed, violence has not brought peace to our lives.

Peaceful means; practicing peace in daily life; understanding peace not only as and end, but as a means to an end: therein lies hope and possibility.

Living peacefully also feels good. It really does. Being open and honest, looking each other in the eye, making eye contact with strangers, exchanging friendly and warm greetings, demonstrating and exuding positive regards for others, friends, foes, neighbors and strangers - each alike: the path to peace awaits.

We, members of humanity, are connected. All of us are inextricably interconnected. We are connected with each other. And we are connected with the bio-sphere - that thin and relatively fragile layer where life on Earth persists.

We have the power to make, and we have the power to break.

Reverend James Lawson said that violence has not brought peace to our lives. History proves him correct.

But perhaps, now, in the 21st century, there is the possibility to learn from our mistakes and make real substantive changes. Perhaps in the pursuit of truly peaceful and nonviolent means (economic and political) we can find the very real possibility of a genuine outbreak of peace.

Dear friends and neighbors, acquaintances and strangers, have hope. Have hope in the development of peaceful and nonviolent daily modes of operation. Have hope in the creation of social structures, customs and institutions that are based in the wisdom of kindness, moral reciprocity (the Golden Rule), truth, compassion, and nonviolence.

We can reject meanness. For example, we can decide to refuse to say things about other people that we would not say to directly them face to face. We have the power to make real substantive changes in our own lives. And we have the power to change the world. We can create a way of life that respects life. We can heal ourselves. We can heal the world. We can.

It's Peace. I declare it.

With love,

05 December 2008

John Woolman

John Woolman (1720 - 1772) was an American Quaker:
May we look upon our Treasures, and the furniture of our Houses, and the Garments in which we array ourselves, and try whether the seeds of war have any nourishment in these possessions or not.
Yes, indeed! Let us examine our material possessions to see if, in them, exists the seeds of war!

Dorothy Day

"Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system." - Dorothy Day

"The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?" - Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933.

More information from Wikipedia: Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day (November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980) was an American journalist turned anarchist, social activist and ultimately a devout Catholic. She became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. Day, with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker movement in 1933, espousing nonviolence, and hospitality for the impoverished and downtrodden.
photo by Bob Fitch

02 December 2008