31 May 2010

Thousands of Years of War Have Not Brought Peace

"It's Peace!"Thousands of years of war, and we're still without peace. This is something I heard Rev. James Lawson say during an event in Olympia, Washington.

It is true. Thousands of years of violence and war, and the world is no less violent than it was thousands of years ago. If anything, the world is more violent.

On this memorial, I wish for an end to violence, an end to all violence, an end to all war. I wish that the root causes of war be addressed, so that no person has to suffer the unnecessary violence that is the product of war.

I wish for a true enlightenment for the people of this planet, so that we may live in harmony, cooperatively, and without doing harm to each other, nor to the natural world that bounds and surrounds our societies.

I wish for an end to all unnecessary suffering.

I wish for renaissance of nonviolence - that more and more people learn about the practice, potential and promise for creating a wholly new cultural paradigm (one that is based on respect and cooperation, compassion and kindness - rather than dominance and bullying, and taking without asking.)

The potential for nonviolence to bring such a shift is exciting, and I hope more people learn about nonviolent resistance. Berd

...A peaceful world: ecological sustainability, economic justice, economic stability... economic cooperation - not domination... mutual prosperity for all people: include everyone!

30 May 2010

There is Beauty, even in a Natural Disaster

It may be perverse, but I think there may even be some beauty to be found in nightmare horror that is the terror of the multi-national corporation quest to find the environmental bottom. hahaha! not REALLY - except perhaps in limited circumstances like the one seen below in a photo by Richard Perry of the New York Times, who photographed this stunning image of the red crude fossil fuel petroleum as it has reached the surface of the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the recent Deep Water Horizon major industrial disaster.

What a sad state of affairs. I think it is just plain wrong for anyone to profit from environmentally destructive activities.

update: p.s. NOT that this man-made volcano is a natural disaster... But it is a disaster, and this image is somewhat beautiful. Though there are plenty of disturbing and alarming images that are not beautiful. I have been impressed with ongoing coverage of this issue in the New York Times. Although I think that the paper, and the mainstream media in general, are not doing anywhere near enough to question the underlying root-causes of this disaster. I think questions need to be asked about industrialization and technology, and about how people are profiting from the most destructive, abusive and violent endeavors.

The view of red oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico that BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, saw during aerial tour on May 6, 2010
photo by Richard Perry, The New York Times

There is Beauty All Around

Even in a world that is diseased with violence - wars, and environmental degradation, labor exploitation, etc. - there is beauty all around. Even in war zones, flowers bloom.

Las Flores de la Primavera
Las Flores de la Primavera

Evening Sunlight Olympia Overlook
Evening Sunlight Olympia Overlook

29 May 2010

Practice Democracy: Abolish the C.I.A.

Here's a photo of me at the Peace Vigil in Olympia Washington on Friday, May 28, 2010.
Practice democracy: Abolish the C.I.A.

At a recent art exhibit at Northern, Olympia's All Ages Project, there is a painting by Brian Roche entitled, "Foreign Policy."
Foreign Policy
The painting's caption reads:
"The purpose of the CIA is to create optimum opportunities for multi-national corporations." — Philip Agee (1935 - 2008) CIA case officer and author of "Inside the Company, CIA Diary" (1975).

It seems to me that a lot of people in the USA like to think about and talk about democracy. But is the USA really democratic? And does the USA seek to genuinely promote democracy? It seems that the term democracy has been co-opted by capitalism. Capitalism and democracy are not interchangeable terms - especially in a capitalism that is dominated by the interests and influence of the biggest and most powerful companies, and the most wealthy individuals.

Real democracy necessitates economic and social egalitarianism. Real democracy would be cooperative in nature. Capitalism thrives on the forces of domination, which I believe are antithetical to democracy. In a real democracy, people find power in consensus. And in a real democracy, people find wealth and health in the pursuit of mutually beneficial economics.

- May 30, 2010 update, from Democracy Now!: Senior UN Official to Call for End to CIA Drone Strikes

28 May 2010

Following BP (it's a disaster - a volcano - not a "spill" nor a "leak" - a major man-made volcano!)

What a mess. At least now there is more information coming out about the lead up to the disaster, and how BP has a record of operating out of compliance with safety regulations.

So we can see how a corporation puts profit before the precautionary principle, and before the interests of life and health.

I am going to drop a few links here to articles that I think are important in terms of developing a more full understanding of the background and full scope of this disaster.

From Truthout.org: Ex-EPA officials ask why isn't BP under criminal investigation

Greg Palast: BP's other oil mess this week

NYT: Photo gallery

Video: what BP does not want you to see

Democracy Now! Oil disaster responders being hospitalized due to toxic exposure

Could the problem have been avoided?

NYT: Panel finds BP had evidence of problem with oil well long before disaster

NYT: Documents show earlier worries about safety of rig

What if BP let the disaster happen intentionally...

Does it make sense for people to profit from environmentally destructive activities?

27 May 2010

No One is Illegal

No One is Illegal

Almost Full Moon, Stencil Art on Wall, Near Artesian Well

This is near the artesian well in downtown Olympia. The Moon will be full this afternoon, at about 4pm local time (here in Oly.) It will be the Full Flower Moon.

Congressional Caving to Nuclear Industry?

From the text of the flyer:

A $54.5 billion "Permanent Financing Platform" for nukes: A crushing burden on us all.

The nuclear power lobby is demanding more than $50 billion in taxpayer bailouts, loans, and loan guarantees.

"You put up the money," they say. "You take the risks. And We Will keep the profits."

Why does nuclear power need this huge handout? Because it can't compete with renewable energy in a free and open market.

If you thought that rescuing giant bankrupt banks was a bad idea, wait until we face a financial meltdown in the industry that invented meltdowns.

Don't let Congress cave. Tell your Senators and Congressperson: No Taxpayer Bailouts for Nukes!


A Few New Photos

26 May 2010

Another Photo of the Olympia Rafah Mural

The Mural Speaks
Olympia Rafah Mural

Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

The oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is very bad. BP (British Petroleum) estimates 5,000 barrels a day. Independent analysts estimate that the number could be ten times that much, or more.

At 5,000 barrels a day, the amount of oil would already be 4 times as much as the Exxon Valdez disaster (which happened over 20 years ago off the coast of Alaska.)

This is not to mention the possible effects of chemical dispersants, which have been used in the recent disaster to accelerate the decay of the swirling crude.

Most of the oil that is spewing from a pressurized oil deposit deep under the surface of the water (5,000 feet deep) is not reaching the surface, due to underwater currents. No one knows what the real consequences of this disaster (consequences for ecosystems and all the life in and around the waters of the gulf, and to human lives,) will be.

One thing is for sure though. This is a big deal.

This is not to mention that according to current regulatory policies BP's liability for the disaster is capped at $75 million. The total cost of the disaster could very well exceed the $1 billion mark. I am not sure if the $1 billion estimate includes the placement of monetary value on the potential loss of life (which is extreme.)

The Bohemian Grove, Politics, Power, and Violence

Entrance to Bohemian GroveRecently, a friend of mine notified me that my name and home address had been posted on a website called websleuths.com in connection with a story I have been working on. The story is about Lindsey Baum, who is a missing 10 or 11 year old child, and the Cremation of Care initiation ceremony at the Bohemian Grove's Summer Encampment.

The Bohemian Grove is a retreat place for some of the world's most powerful men. It's located near Monte Rio, Forestville, and Santa Rosa, California, about 70 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Anyway, I am grateful to my friend for asking that my address be removed from the website, and that it was then subsequently removed.

I am in no way involved with the abduction of Lindsey Baum, and I only wish the best for Lindsey and Lindsey's family.

The website also listed some articles that I had written about Lindsey and the Grove, and one of those articles, that I wrote for OlyBlog, has since become at least temporarily unavailable (due to the technical issues.)

Fortunately I have a copy of that article saved on my computer and I uploaded it here, so it is still available.

25 May 2010

Angela Davis

Angela Davis was in town over the weekend, and I have been learning more about her and her work. I didn't know much about Angela Davis before her visit. I enjoyed her speech very much, and I am impressed by her life and work. The following is an excerpt from an interview she did with frontline. I'll include a link to the original. There is also a biography available on the Speak Out website, here.

Angela Davis 1997 Interview with Frontline:
INTERVIEWER: Well, it's not just misogyny. Now it's kind of moved just a straight crass materialism. The latest ones are just -- they just name off name brands. That's the progression of it. How have we reached a point where in 1997 that the ethic of being black means that you don't go to school to learn. That learning is equated with whiteness and that somehow that is bad?

DAVIS: Well, whether it's the approach that all young black kids are encouraged to take or decide to take. Because you do have this rising middle class and you do have the young brothers and sisters who are moving toward the corporate arena and who are encouraged to do this arena from the time that they are very young. I think this is one of those moments where we also have to talk about the deterioration of the institutions.

I can't really blame a lot of young sisters and brothers who believe that education has anything to offer them. Because as a matter of fact, it has nothing to offer them. Suppose they do get a high school diploma that is meaningful. What kind of job is awaiting them. The jobs that used to be available to working class people are not there as a result of the de-industrialization of this economy.

Therefore, often young black people are looking towards the alternative economies. They are looking towards the drug economy.... the economies that are going to -- that apparently will produce some kind of material gain for them. You can't criticize people for wanting to have a decent life or wanting to live decently. While I think that it is true that there is a great deal to be done with respect to the ideas that circulate among young people within arenas such as hip hop. At the same time, we can't forget about the deterioration of the institutions and the structural influence on young people.

Below is the full text of the interview:

24 May 2010

Obama, "War is Necessary" + Political Art on Display at the Northern

Recently, in a commencement address at a military school (West Point,) President Obama said that while war is abhorrent, that it is also "necessary". I see it differently.

I believe that war is only necessary because the USA has policies of taking without asking. Policies and politics, a political economy, of territorial conquest - of resource acquisition at gun point - under the threat of violence.

I believe that war is not necessary for the legitimate security needs of the people of the USA, nor of anyone.

Instead, war is only necessary to defend what are essentially violent and destructive economic and political policies.

Another world is possible, a world of economic and ecological sustainability and justice, fairness and equity. A world where people treat each other well, and do not exploit each other. A respectful, peaceful, harmonious world where people do not put each other down, nor beat each other up.

Peace is possible!

In other news, there is some political art on display at Northern, an All Ages Venue in downtown Olympia, Washington. I think the art is really great. I recommend checking it out. Here's a short slideshow introduction to some of the works.

You can find more information about the displays and the venue here: Northern | The Olympia All Ages Project.

23 May 2010

Angela Davis and Antwi Akom at Evergreen

On Saturday, May 22, 2010 Antwi Akoma and Angela Davis appeared at the Evergreen State College near Olympia, Washington. The two were invited to speak by the Student of Color Union and Synergy (which is a week-long conference about eco-sustainability.)

There were close to two thousand people in attendance. Here's Angela Davis on stage in the CRC gymnasium:
Audience in CRC

Angela Davis
Angela Davis's speech focused on problems relating to the punitive justice system, and ranged broadly on specific topics relating to the injustices of structural socio-economic racism and inequity, privatization of the prison industry (and higher education,) as well as the problems of ecological unsustainability as they relate to capitalism and a corporate culture that favors profits over human rights, economic justice, ecological sustainability, healthy individuals and a healthy environment.

Antwi Akom
Antwi Akom's speech focused on addressing the problem of "eco-apartheid" —a term Akom used to elucidate upon the problem of environmental racism. Akom's speech was titled "Race, Power, and the Environment: Creating a New Global Vision of Equity and Sustainability for All".

22 May 2010

Dramatic Clouds

Lately, the atmosphere, clouds and sky, have been very dramatic here in Olympia. It's beautiful and inspiring, and stunning.

It also makes me wonder if these dramatic cloud forms and weather patterns are part of global warming. I can't help think about how human beings en masse are affecting the planet, ecosystems and physical systems (like the atmosphere.)

Maybe it's nothing, but with all of the human caused environmental degradation and pollution, it's possible that there is something to this theory.

I hope that we as human beings can clean up our act. I worry that humanity will destroy the living systems of the planet...

Here is an example of some of those amazing clouds, I have lots more cloud pictures on my flickr site.


21 May 2010

I Declare Peace!

We Declare Peace
That's it! I have had enough of war. Peace only from here on. People need to stop putting each other down. People need to stop hurting each other. People need to stop hurting the planet and the ecosystems upon which we depend.

We are all part of one human family. We can choose love instead of hate. We have a choice. Peace, not war. Truth, not lies. Kindness, compassion, caring for the well-being of others, listening, and respecting and responding.

No more exploitation of people, nor of land. Peace only.

I Declare It!

Human Rights are for Everybody
Human Rights are for Everyone

20 May 2010

War is Over Now!

War is Over, If You Want It... This song has been in my head the past few days. It's a good song, and I also included some words by Yoko Ono. Peace! Berd

Non-judgment day is near

Non-judgment day is near
bumper sticker

The higher power I believe in is not one of judgment. The higher power I believe in believes in the power of love, and seeks not to travel nor to dwell on the avenues of fear.

19 May 2010


 Forest at Burfoot Park
Forest Trail Overlook

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Burfoot Park

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Bruce and Berd Radio Hour Sunday, May 16, 20101 (20100516)

I posted the following on OlyBlog yesterday, but something seems to have gone awry with the server. So I am re-posting this here. A link to the original is here. Hopefully OlyBlog will be back up and running soon!

18 May 2010

Olympia-Rafah Mural

The Olympia Rafah Mural Speaks
Saturday, May 8th, 2010
The Mural Speaks
On Saturday May 8th, dozens of leaves on the new Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural Project were formally presented. Organizations and individuals from around the world have contributed art work for the leaves, which accompany the mural. During the event, many artists and organizations were on hand to present their leaves. Eventually, many of the leaves will be connected with associated audio explanatory statements.

There's more information at the Olympia-Rafah Mural Project website.

17 May 2010

Avatar the Movie, and Culture and Violence

Dusk on Sunday, May 16, 2010I thought the movie was thought-provoking, and a good lead-in to thinking about culture and media and violence.

Perhaps I am just distrusting, but when I saw the film was produced by FOX, of the News Corporation, I became immediately skeptical. News Corp behaves in an evil manner, infecting peoples' minds with fear and hate and racism.

I believe that the only way we're going to have a world without violence and without exploitation will be to change the culture in a way that society no longer permits certain behaviors, for example - harmful economic activities for the sake of profit. Also, so society no longer produces persons with behavior like that of the crazed addicted to "cheddar" corporate boss, and the uber violent colonel. Those were characters, but those same mentalities exist and even prevail in our own culture.

I think a very similar criticism can be made of the film V for Vendetta. The concept that some heroic act of violence could in an instant halt a culture that has been destructive for thousands and thousands of years is irrational.

Another problem I had with the movie is how the hero, Jake, was not indigenous. There was some message throughout the film that Jake, as a sky-person, was somehow intellectually superior and also more capable physically than the natives.

I believe that the real way to peace is to change our very own culture so that those that are harmful and destructive behaviors, character personalities, and market functions are simply made extinct.

Anyway, it's a good movie for discussion purposes, and very entertaining.

But I think overall the movie sends a harmful message to people watching. That harmful message is this: that violence may be a rational or legitimate path toward saving the world.

Moon and Venus

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Olympia, Washington
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14 May 2010

The Kingdom of God is within You by Leo Tolstoy

I went to a poetry reading open house last week. It was organized Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation's Committee on Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

I heard a poem by a local poet that referenced this book by Tolstoy. It's The Kingdom of God is within You and it has influenced the thinking of many people, including Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr..

13 May 2010

Nick Cave Song and Photo

Instructions: start the music playing, then click on the link, view larger, below the photo. The photo should open in a new tab or window. Enjoy.

Nick Cave, The Last Waltz (from The Assassination of Jesse James)

Impressive Cloud
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12 May 2010

Beautiful Forest Scene

This is a photo from a visit this past Sunday to Watershed Park. Watershed park is in Olympia, Washington. Up until the 1950s the area served as the City water supply. When the city converted to a different water source, there was an attempt to log the area. A group of concerned and dedicated citizens formed to save the area, and now, thanks to their efforts, the area exists as a monument to civic engagement, and a monument to natural beauty.

This Watershed Park is home to what must be one of the most beautiful urban old growth forests.

08 May 2010

Amazing and Wondrous Clouds

Amazing and wondrous clouds, seen here on Friday, May 7, 2010, in Olympia, Washington. The clouds have been amazing and wondrous recently.

05 May 2010


Evening Rainbow
This rainbow appeared in the sky over Olympia, Washington on the evening of Monday, May 3rd, 2010.

04 May 2010

Civilization and the Advancement of Societies

DucksI recently made some comments about society and civilization and the concept of advancement on my blog at OlyBlog.

Some questions that I think are worth asking: How do we measure the advancement of a society? Does the level of technological sophistication serve as a proxy to measure a society's level of advancement? Or are there other metrics, for example in terms of the degree of mutual prosperity, and the general health and well-being of society and all of its constituents (including the natural environment?)

You can read those comments here.

02 May 2010

Elliott Bay in Seattle, Seen from Yesler Way I-5 Overpass

Elliott Bay
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Elliott Bay in Seattle, Seen from Yesler Terrace, Yesler Way I-5 Overpass

I was in Seattle for a May Day demonstration for worker and immigrant rights, and against racism. More about that here.

01 May 2010

Protest in Seattle Today

I am planning to go to Seattle later for a May Day demonstration to support immigrants' rights, as well as workers' rights. The demonstration will also protest racist policies. And I will demonstrate for the cause that all people ought to be treated well. After all, all people are part of one human family. So, considering that, it doesn't really make sense for us to fight, nor to do harm to each other.

I believe in the possibility of cultural change, and creating a society where egalitarianism and reciprocity, and mutual prosperity and health, are the rule...

All People Are One Human Family
All People Are One Human Family
Friday, April 30, 2010
Olympia, Washington