28 December 2009

Pacific Ocean Sunset, with Beautiful Music by Nick Cave

Here is some beautiful music by Nick Cave. The idea is to listen to while viewing the following photograph. Instructions: start the video playing, and then click on the link "pacific ocean sunset" to view the photo larger. I hope you enjoy!

Nick Cave, All Things Beautiful

Pacific Ocean Sunset
View Larger: Pacific Ocean Sunset

Nick Cave, All Things Beautiful

Weyerhauser Log Lifters at the Port of Olympia

Weyerhauser Log Lifters at the Port of Olympia
Question: does clear cut logging and overseas log export fit in with a future of ecological sustainability and social justice?

More: Weyerhauser Log Lifters at the Port of Olympia

27 December 2009

Jedediah B Smith Redwoods State Park Forest Panorama

Jedediah B Smith Redwoods State Park Forest Panorama
Jedediah B Smith Redwoods State Park Forest Panorama

view larger:
1024 x 151
and larger still:
6548 x 966

Great Sky

Budd Waterway Sky and Clouds
view larger: Budd Waterway Sky and Clouds

Who Would Jesus Bomb

Who Would Jesus Bomb
Who would Jesus bomb?

Christmas Day, 2009

Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation Peace Vigil

Percival Landing, Olympia, Washington

War is immoral. All war begins with aggression. Aggression is immoral. Military aggression is widely considered immoral, and there are numerous international legally binding treaties established against war of aggression. It is probably unanimous amongst international political bodies that aggression is immoral and illegal. How could it not be? If stealing is illegal, if rape is illegal, if murder is illegal - then how could the most horrendous violence possible - the violence of a war of aggression - ever be considered legal.

Self-defense is one thing. A reasonable and proportional self-defense against immediate attack. But the wars of the United States of America are a different beast. The wars of the USA are not truly self-defense - nor a legitimate protection of "national interest." What the wars of the USA defend is the selfishness and the greed of the USA. The wars are an effort to further international policies of and practices of oppression and exploitation, under which the USA operates. The wars of the USA do not truly defend the national interest. The wars and international policies of the USA defend the corporate interest - the interest of the most influential and powerful (typically multi-national) giant corporations.

War is immoral. For good reason. War is the worst violence known to humanity. War is waste. It is oblivion. War is destruction defined.

People and nations have a right to defend themselves. But people and nations do not have a right - and in fact they betray the rights of all people - when they commit the crime of a war of aggression.

The wars of the USA are aggressive wars - imperialistic wars - wars designed to further the establishment of dominance - of global hegemony.

I believe that the imperialism of the USA, and the giant corporations that are its keepers, is the worst violence known to modern humanity.

But this perspective - these truths - are very effectively kept away from the American people by a revolving door between cultural affectation, and a media structure that feed off of, and create, each other.

There is a horrible myth in today's America, and to a lesser extent in today's world. It is the myth that America is the greatest nation on Earth - when in reality, the very opposite may be true. It may be more true that America is the worst nation on Earth - that America is the world's greatest perpetrator of violence and oppression - even to the point of wars of aggression, conquest and imperialism.

In America, terrible violence is part of mainstream culture. In America, there is a disparity in wealth between rich and poor that is maintained through systematic oppression.

In America, some people make profit when bombs are dropped. People profit when wars are waged. People profit from all sorts of harmful, destructive and violent economic (and anti-economic) activities!

So, really, I ask you to please answer this question: who would Jesus bomb?

25 December 2009

Citizens for the Future

Merry Christmas!

Here's a treat I want to share with you, it's from a while back. I hope you enjoy! Peace, Berd

view larger

On the trail through an urban rainforest "wilderness". This is about as wilderness as it gets in an urban setting. To the best of my knowledge, Watershed Park is a first growth forest. The reason it was never cut during the logging boom was because it provided the city's drinking water . It provided the bulk of Olympia's water until the 1950s when the city switched to other water sources. After the switch, it then took a lot of hard work by a dedicated group of citizens in order to save the forest from being logged to death. Those Citizens for the Future were successful some 50 odd years ago, and Olympia has a true gem of a park to thank them for today.

24 December 2009

Purple Flowers

Happy Holidays - Season's Greetings
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Here are about 40 or so photos of purple flowers for you to enjoy. Happy Holidays, and have a good day!

Purple Flowers

15 December 2009

The Story of Cap and Trade Video

This is a great video. A must see.

Here's a comment I left on youtube:
The wealth of developed nations is based not only on ingenuity and hard work. The wealth of developed nations is also critically based on oppression and violence, including slavery and environmental degradation (greenhouse gas pollution very much included.)

The myth of meritocracy runs rampant in American culture.

It's important to realize that much of our material "success" is based not on merit - but instead on oppression and violence, on expropriation and exploitation.

The video:

The Story of Cap and Trade

War For Sale... No Thank You.

War for Sale: No Thank You
Next time there's a war for sale, it's alright to say no thank you.

14 December 2009

Imagine Nonviolent Solutions

Imagine Nonviolent Solutions

I heard that Obama's first job after undergraduate school, was working for a firm that may have been quite cozy with Henry Kissinger, a firm that may also have been quite cozy with intrusive and interventionist policies and practices of the American CIA.

The following is from a comment by Brian Willson: "Obama's first job out of Columbia college in mid-1980s, according to available records, was as a research assoc for Business International Corp where his boss was a former associate of Kissinger Associates. I don't think there is any evidence that Obama worked for Kissinger Associates. The BIC, founded in 1953, was a publishing & advisory firm for US companies working overseas, which admitted that in the late 1950s it provided cover for CIA agents working overseas. Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago from 1985-88, at which time he entered Harvard Law Sch."

What I think is this: our culture is fundamentally flawed. So no President working within this system would be able to fix the problems.

I like to believe that Obama is a good person, and that he truly desires change, or some certain changes (of which I am now more unsure of than during his campaign or early in his term.) But I can also understand that he might be trying to do what he thinks is best for himself, and for his family. Well, in this day and age, that's not enough. It's not good enough for people, especially those with political power, to look out for their own self-interest at the sake of the interest and well-being of others. People in positions of power need to take effective action to make the changes that will be necessary to ensure social justice and ecological sustainability for future generations.

Obama's justifications for war are completely disillusioning. Our system is corrupt. It is broken, I think, beyond repair. We need change. And I think we would be unwise to hope that it will come from federal or even the state level governments. The change that is necessary will require a broad consensus of local people, working locally, to end the serious and mounting problems that we face, problems including by not necessarily limited to: resource depletion, environmental degradation, and economic and ecological unsustainability; as well as the social problems of poverty, joblessness, violence, inequality, and oppression.

11 December 2009

President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Protest

President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Protest

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

Obama Peace Prize Protest

Obama didn't mention the obvious common sense reality - that it is American policies of militaristic violence, imperialism and economic exploitation that are the principle underlying causes of anti-American terrorism...

It's wrong to use violence against people. It's wrong to profit from harmful activities.

Very disappointing. The empire rages on.

10 December 2009

The People Must Believe That They Are Not Being Manipulated In Order For Them To Be Manipulated Effectively

The People must believe that they are not manipulated — in order for them to be manipulated effectively.

The People must believe that they are not manipulated — in order for them to be manipulated effectively. — Winston Smith, main character in George Orwell's 1984

09 December 2009

The Force of Kindness

Sun MountainThe Possibility of Kindness

We must realize, if tomorrow is going to look any better than today, that the currency for compassion isn’t what someone else does, right or wrong—it is the very fact that that person exists. Commitment to the possibility of kindness cannot be discarded as foolish or irrelevant, even in troubling times when we often can’t find easy answers. If we abandon the force of kindness as we confront cruelty, we won’t learn anything to take into tomorrow—not from history, not from one another, not from life.

- Sharon Salzberg, The Force of Kindness


05 December 2009

Hope for the Earth and Moon

Waxing Gibbous

March 10, 2009
nearly full

What a special planet is this — this planet Earth...and with that big old moon going around — Wow!

Astounding to think of the planetary physics involved - and surely the moon has played in integral role in the development of life on Earth.

What a magical place, this planet Earth, with so much diverse life teeming about its surface.

I hope we can truly protect all life on Earth, and not squander the wealth of diversity...

(Did you know that there is currently a mass extinction in process - relating to human activities?)

Human beings are sacred. Part of that sacredness are the tremendous powers, which we bear: phsyical, emotional and mental (spiritual.)

Let's worship ourselves and each other, as the illumined beings we are - and recognize our power, our potential, our promise, and our responsibility.

Humanity has so much potential, it is sad to see the condition of humanity today. It is sad to see the destruction, the oppression, the exploitation (of Earth and each other), the violence, the various profligacies and tyrannies.

There is another way. I believe that humanity is capable of change. A world of peace, justice, sustainability, dignity and respect awaits.

Change begins within. Within the heart and mind of each one of us. Peace be with you on this journey.



October 5, 2009

03 December 2009

People Pitted Against Each Other

I recently read a book called The Richest Man in Babylon. It was a myth about making profit, and the way to acquire financial and material treasure. It really got me thinking about how we define success in our socio-cultural system - as well as the consequences of that.

This is a rough draft of some related thoughts I was having yesterday...

Full Moon
this society, this economy, pits people against each other.

economic survival of the "fittest" is stupid. It's idiotic.

Sure there ought to be competition over reproduction, natural selection ought to occur in that field. But it doesn't make sense for people to compete and seek to dominate over avenues of basic economic sustenance. It's insane!

All people deserve to live dignified, meaningful, and prosperous lives. We would be much better off with a socio-economic-cultural structure that valued mutual prosperity, and cooperation - rather than domination and cutthroat competition. Economic competition taken to the extremes of conquest and domination is just plain harmful. It's one of the main reasons our society is so hurtful, and so violent. I think it's unacceptable.

People need to be taken care of. People need security. And we are not getting it from a system that breeds violence. Everything from domestic violence to toxic pollution to global warming and all sorts of environmental degradation (including the current mass extinction of species) can be traced back to an ethos that views the world as an object to be dominated. Instead of that, instead of viewing the world as a commodity, we can view the world as a community, of which all living beings are connected in a great web of life.

No one is free when another is oppressed. An injury to one is, truly, an injury to all.

Competition has its place. On the sports field. In the reproductive/biological field. And even in those areas - I think it makes sense to have a friendly sort of competition. I think that it does not make sense, nor is it good, for people to take themselves too seriously in these areas.

The theory of biological evolution has been transposed into the economic realm - where, I believe, it does not belong.

The economy is not a natural living system. It is a product of definite human, and at this point, industrial activities. To let the concept of survival of the fittest underpin the economic culture has resulted in the unleashing of a terrible violence upon the world, and upon humanity. Economics must be ruled essentially by humanistic concerns. Economic and political/societal ethics must be driven by values - by morals, that are common to us all.

For example: why not start with the Golden Rule.

Thank you and have a good day.

couple of photos

Full Moon

Mount Rainier