28 September 2009

True Freedom

No one is free when others are oppressed. No one is free when human activities are destroying the conditions for human life. True freedom exists in ecological sustainability and social justice.

True freedom exists in a harmonious relationship between humanity and nature.

Nature Walk

If there is to be any peace...

If there is to be any peace...
If there is to be any peace, it will come through being, not having. - Henry Miller

27 September 2009

We Face a Stark Choice

We face a stark choice...
Vandana Shiva (Founder of Navdanya):

"Regulating by carbon trading is like fiddling as Rome burns. Governments and the UN should impose a carbon tax on corporations, both for production - wherever their facilities are located - and for transport, which the Kyoto Protocol does not account for directly. Incentives for renewable energy are also essential. We face a stark choice: we can destroy the conditions for human life on the planet by clinging to 'free-market' fundamentalism, or we can secure our future by bringing commerce within the laws of ecological sustainability and social justice." [emphasis added]

How can I live in a way that is truly happy, secure, and peaceful when I know that the ways of human societies are ruining the conditions for human life on Earth and dooming future generations to poverty?

...Earth democracy...transition...put nature first...

...respect and protect wilderness...nurture broken ecosystems, repair them, bring them back to health...restore ecological and economic balance...

Vandana Shiva scheduled to speak in Olympia, October 15: Vandana Shiva visit to Olympia, Washington

26 September 2009

25 September 2009

Tall Trees

Trail Scene

Know Your Farmer

I like this. Moving toward sustainability and a truly peaceful set of policies and behaviors of international relationships will require changing the ways of America's food systems. Localization, elimination of fossil fuel dependency, agro-chemicals, etc... Close the loop!

Good way to go. A call for conversation. What a breath of fresh air.

21 September 2009

Lake Powell

Glen Canyon
The former Glen Canyon

This landscape reminds me of the planet Tatooine, from the film Star Wars.

Our Greatest Fear

Our Greatest FearOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

view larger

17 September 2009

President Obama with Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal

President Barack Obama meets with Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the new U.S. Commander for Afghanistan, in the Oval Office Tuesday, May 19, 2009. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)
This official White House photograph is being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way or used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

My comment:

The best way to counter terrorism is by confronting the cause. I believe the root cause of terrorism are the fundamentally exploitative and abusive international policies of the USA. Namely - the policy of Global Dominance.

I wish for the USA to do away with this policy of economic dominance. Do away with the mentality of dominance at all levels.

I wish for people to live with each other harmoniously. I wish for people to live cooperatively and consensually with each other.

I believe that terrorism largely amounts to blowback from unjust economic policies and practices.

True security can be found through policies of cooperation and generosity, and mutual respect for the dignity and well-being of others - respect for the dignity of all people.

16 September 2009

Thank You! to the Military

Thank You!
Thank You!

From December 2008:

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

14 September 2009

"The Earth, like the Sun, like the Air, belongs to everyone... and to no one." - Edward Abbey

Great Clouds

Love Can Drive Out Hate

Love Can Drive Out Hate
This is a re-post:

better seen large: www.flickr.com/photos/rwhitlock/3518849249/sizes/l/

"The ultimate weakness of violence
is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.

Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.

In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes.

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."



Petroleum Water Pollution

Petroleum Water Pollution

Razor Wire and Military Humvees

Razor Wire and Humvees
Seen at the Washington State National Guard Armory, the HQ of the 2nd Battallion, 146th Field Artillery Unit

Another View:
Washington State National Guard Armory

10 September 2009

Inverting the Economic Order

Inverting the Economic Order
Passage from "Inverting the Economic Order" by Wendell Berry, The Progressive Magazine, September 2009

"...put nature first..."

Inverting the Economic Order

"This economy is based upon consumption, which ultimately serves not the ordinary consumers but a tiny class of excessively wealthy people for whose further enrichment the economy is understood (by them) to exist. For the purpose of their further enrichment, these plutocrats and the great corporations that serve them have controlled the economy by the purchase of political power. The purchased governments do not act in the interest of the governed; they act instead as agents for the corporations." - Wendell Berry

06 September 2009

In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of Indian Nations, by Jerry Mander

RowsI am plugging this book because it is important, and it has significantly influenced my view of the world. In the book the author, Jerry Mander, delivers a skillful critique of technological culture and industrialized society. The basic thesis is that society lacks the philosophical underpinnings to be appropriately skeptical of the effects of technology - and therefore also lacks the perspective to be appropriately protective of itself (and of individuals) against the harmful effects of technology (and industrialization.) Modern industrialized society has taken the sacredness out of our social and individual relationships with the Earth. This has been detrimental to ourselves, to our societies, and to the Earth...

It doesn't have to be like this. Another way is possible. Check it out!

In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of Indian Nations, by Jerry Mander.

Here's a link to an interview that appeared in a 1991 issue of The Sun Magazine: "The Sun" interview with Jerry Mander, author of In the Absence of the Sacred

That's all for now.

Socio-economic Inequality

This is from the September 2009 issue of The Progressive Magazine, an article called "Wall Street's Gall, by Les Leopold:
• In 1970, the ratio of the top100 corporate CEOs and the average worker's pay was 40 to 1. By 2007 it was 1,723 to 1.

• In 1970, the top 1 percent received 8 percent of the national income. By 2007, it was gobbling up 23 percent of the national income.

• In 2006, the top one-tenth of 1 percent of tax payers (about 140,000 tax returns) reported as much income as the bottom 50 percent (67.4 million tax returns). The last time we suffered from such an extreme income distribution? 1928-29.

simply, yet absolutely, astounding - mind boggling

We Are the World

United Support of Artists for Africa, We are the World:

Olympia Free Choir, We are the World:

We are the World
Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie
as performed by United Support of Artists for Africa

There comes a time
When we head a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And it's time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can't go on
Pretneding day by day
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all part of
God's great big family
And the truth, you know love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

Send them your heart
So they'll know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stone to bread
So we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

When you're down and out
There seems no hope at all
But if you just believe
There's no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well, let us realize
That a change will only come
When we stand together as one

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me

05 September 2009

04 September 2009

Letter to President Obama (and Members of the Obama Administration)

On the Line

Here's a letter I just sent to the White House:
Dear President Obama, and Members of the Obama Administration,

I have hope. I believe in Change. I believe that we can heal the world. Yes we can!

But not without challenging the unjust status quo. Take for example the wealth discrepancy between rich and poor. It is astronomical. It's almost unfathomable and it takes great powers of conceptualization in order to comprehend. It's iniquitous, and I believe, totally indefensible.

Please take some concrete steps toward change that I can believe in.

Please do not continue this landslide toward war, profligacy and environmental degradation. That's not change. War is waste and pollution, and it's just more of the same.

The United States spends more on military than the entire rest of the world combined. This is unacceptable to me. It cannot be logically argued that the military might of the USA exists solely for the purposes of legitimate defense. These military expenditures are immoral, and a betrayal of common ethical values. Military policies and practices are hurting people, and it's just not right.

Please, take concrete steps toward real change. For example: pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, making a formal apology to the world, requesting international support for efforts toward reconciliation, and holding members of the Bush Administration accountable for wrongly driving the nation to war.

Thank you, and sincerely wanting of change that I can believe in,
Berd Whitlock

03 September 2009

Health Care for ALL

Rally: Health Care for ALL

A Sustainable Prosperity for All People

Bursting White Flower with Quote by Aldo LeopoldIt is so sad that people put economic self-interest ahead of concern for the well-being of others. It has always been immoral to oppress, to exploit, to harm and injure, to enslave, to in any way put down others - either for economic self-interest or otherwise.

But while it has always been immoral and problematic - these injustices, however intolerable they were at the time, have never been a threat to the survival of human beings on the planet in the same way that they are now.

Ever since the industrial revolution, the impact of human activities on the world has increased at an ever expanding rate. The human population has grown many times over in the past 200 years. The level of human technology has developed at a phenomenal rate. So that now we are at a place in our development where we very seriously face a level of environmental degradation that has the potential to cast our very own species into a very problematic place.

Members of our species are engaged in fighting wars on massive scales, killing each other over control of land and resources.

In the past these wars were certainly destructive. But until the last few decades, these wars and industrial activities have not borne the capacity to put the survival of the human species in their cross-hairs of destruction.

Eat Money?What we have now is not only immoral, but impending economic/ecological disaster on a large scale. The air, water and land upon which we depend are being polluted. The pollution is of a scale that is threatening - it is threatening our survival on a very real level.

So change is no longer only a moral imperative. It's not only a matter of ethical values. It's not only about kindness and reciprocity. It's about economic reality. It's about survival.

It's sad that it has come to this. People are dying. If humans are so smart, why isn't society set up to serve life - and to serve people? Why do we have a society that is designed to serve capital? Why are we slaves to capital. It's bogus. And the only reason it's like this is so that some few can have power over so many.

People, we need to stand up and learn to take back control of our governmental institutions. We need to take our government, our society, our community, our culture, our lives, our loves, and our families back, to take it back from the giant corporations.

It's not just about morality and doing what is right. It's about survival. I want to confront the tyranny in our society. To confront the tyranny that is killing people, killing eco-systems, killing plant and animal species. Lay it out bare.

This society is a killing society, this economy is a killing economy. This culture is laying waste to the resources of this planet. Mineral resources are being consumed at an astronomical rate. Will our gifts to future generations survive a legacy of profligacy and tyranny?

Woodard Bay Loop Trail Forest Panorama

The moral argument is strong. Society should never have gotten to this point - where people lie, and cheat, and steal from each other - where people abuse, and threaten, and beat up on, and kill each other. It shouldn't be this way. But now there is an economic imperative. There is the pressure of survival. There is the reality of pending energy shortages.

Something must be done.

A friend lent me a book I that I am interested in exploring in detail, it's called THE TRANSITION HANDBOOK: From oil dependency to local resilience, by Rob Hopkins, who is the Founder of the Transition movement.

I tend to think that the solution exists on the local level. So I probably already agree with most of what Hopkins has to say on this matter.

Well that's my socio/political/economic rant for the day.