Don’t Be Seduced by the Good Stuff

 

A friend said, “but conservation isn’t all bad.” Well, this caveat doesn’t address the larger issue. It has to do with the difference between conservation and environmental justice. Conservatism frequently is deluded. It points to some very good thing we are doing, gets our eyes and minds focused on it so that we miss an extremely threatening larger picture which has to do with extraction. Your government/corporation buys a thousand acres of forest in Africa which gives the fossil fuel industry, carbon credits which it can spend by digging up and burning carbon for power in the field across the tracks where poor people live.

The wood industry also cuts a piece of the carbon pie by buying distant forests. Now it can cut down easily accessible wood everywhere because of the wood they’ve “saved.” Those who know hurl expletives at conservation societies which endorse this practice of an ungodly trade. Conservation rings its hands in pain and comes up with another non-solution. Save a tree or a bunch of trees. A tree sitter saves one redwood tree from cutting by sitting in it for a year while saws sound around her. A community of tree lovers force the politicos who would sell all the trees to create a half-acre park.

All the trees of same species are connected through their roots which travel for miles. Sometimes a forest of trees is actually one mother tree that spreads and raises seemingly new trees from a common root. Ancient forests grow old together. They send nutrients to failing trees as well as warnings of infestation which the younger ones ward off with shared nasty sap. The elders shelter the young and keep them from getting too much light so that their trunks grow dense and strong.

The single trees planted along the road side have a short life. Their roots, often sawed off when endangering water pipes, reach no tree brethren. Cows raised to become burgers in the deforested and grass planted Amazon watch the top soil washed away in the rainy season. City dwellers get their Amazon hamburger and lose the oxygen they need to live.

Naomi Klein speaks of disaster capitalism. A company or a nations’ so-called helping agency swoops down on a flooded country and/or allows the disaster to expand so that after most of the local citizens are dead or moved away they buy it for a song. Right now, Puerto Rico’s public schools are being nixed for charters. Public tax money sucked into the maw of those into education for profit. Creating electric lines that work is ceded by the bought-out PR governor to a US company which does not have tools to do the work, all the while ignoring locals who can do it. And on and on. The foreign agency currently circling to eat its prey, creates a local governing body that will allow it. They put up hotels for the rich along recovered beaches. They scoop up natural resources. They plunder and call it conservation.

Conservation is a flag behind which extractors hide. The little the conservationist saves at the cost of all that is connected tears the web of life. Those who own the fracking companies want to sell fracked oil by telling you that it is harmless as your property explodes in earth quakes and your sink provides water you can light with a match. Coal dealers sell cheap while breathable air vanishes in China (which is way ahead of us now in the solar industry which Trump has severely limited with his 30 percent import tax). The air grey with car exhaust in New Delhi destroys the lungs of the young, frail, and elderly but car dealers say look at the cars available now that more people can afford. It’s like being on a highway to extinction. But we can’t even see the view.

We need to recognize that we are part of the “all.” The living world is our life. Its survival is connected to our own. Enjoy the beauty of a living world. How rich that makes us. Become informed. Don’t be seduced. Don’t succumb to a monster that sings a pretty song.

 

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  Anti-Robin Hood

Trickle down it ain’t. Sure, give them a BIG tax break and then they’ll reinvest it in jobs for the small people currently counting their change. Nothing trickles down to the those that already have too little; there is no reinvestment in them. Instead, we now have government funded tax breaks to cover moving your corporation to a place that pays workers far less than the meager wages of the U.S. too-little-haver, like China and India. How about a tax break for moving to a new job (if you can find one), or for getting a promotion? No dice.

The wealthy spend money on plane trips (for work or pleasure), on hotels, on yachts and houses strewn around the world where they can ski or swim or leave as an empty status symbol, pompously telling their friends that they haven’t been to the chateau in Tuscany in ages, on servants and summer camps for their kids and for tutoring them as well. They spend and spend on themselves, and relatively nothing is spent to support the national income. Individuals and corporations keep their money in island banks who do not reveal their clients or their accounts. The money doesn’t trickle down, but trickles into these secretive financial institutions like some kind of hoarding sickness.

Pretty speeches are made by red and blue politician with zero follow-up. They tell us to worry about the latest terrorist threat and to spend tax money on weapons. The general population is swept along by the rich folk’s tidal wave of greed. Those in congress who disperse tax money to the mega wealthy cling to them as their owners. They are driven by the need for “more.” There is no such thing as having too much. There is just the hoarding of wealth, the hoarding of status, the too-little-havers be damned.

Years go by and there is no trickle down. No money for essentials. What is government to do about this problem they created by reducing taxes for the rich? Sadly, they announce they have to reduce (eventually to nothing) spending on everything that gives people security. Medicare and Medicaid and child care and schools, Meals on Wheels, insurance plans with meaningful coverage. They have to sell the parks or open them for fracking and wood cutting and oil extraction and whatever has a price tag. The world is heating up but we have to sell our oil, wood, gas. Need to make money. Need to make MORE money!

As the necessities for survival grow unavailable, there will be more prisons and police on the street, armed with tanks and military grade weaponry. People will die from diseases due to hunger and pollution and lack of adequate health care. They will be enraged and turn on each other, even prompted to do so by the takers, the wealth hoarders, who deliberately turn loser against loser, because they say another group of too-little-havers are the wrong religion or color or speak the wrong language. The takers stage false flag events in which the “bad guys” are said to kill innocent bystanders to make the people more afraid. Often, the whole thing has been staged and nothing happened.

Our world recovery will not be brought by this politician, political party, General, theocrat or that. Secret payoffs and partisan colors wave in the wind. We cannot create world recovery while attacking one group or another. We need to turn our backs on those who want to take more from you “for your own good.” We need to become the solar people, the tidal wave energy people, the small farm earth-savers, the ones who fight to keep the ocean cool and pollution free, the whale protectors, the people who bring back small production by respected workers, the sharing of our foods and goods within a communal society where money circulates and there are no big pockets. We need to listen to the ones who know what is going on, not the climate change deniers, not the bankers whose eyes fixate on the buck, not the hoarders. We need to listen to ourselves. We need to listen to what is good for the too-little-havers and band together, as such. We can do it. But we must act.

 

 

Do Not Pray

Do not respond to a catastrophe with prayer. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, US White House Press Secretary responded to the recent reported firing on a crowd in Las Vegas, not to move on the event with prayer. We are not to investigate how one man (but food delivered to the room indicates many), the number supported by audience responses of those who heard overlapping shots, how this small army can get into a hotel room for days armed with 23 rifles, with a metal plate to cover the door, with 3 tripods to mount the guns, with devices to create machine guns out of single firing weapons and so on. People who want to believe that it is only one mad man will believe the latest tale that this single man used the freight elevator to bring the stuff up to his room. But hotel rules require he be accompanied by hotel staff. And nothing noticed, nothing said? We are to investigate changing stories about the event including firing and later blasting through a door that videos show to be untouched, to see contradictions like that the police could not enter for 62 minutes when a hotel engineering worker said the door was unblocked and open.

When a disaster happens and we are told to pray, some say it is like praying instead of taking a fast-acting drug when thrown by some contagious disease; it is like praying as your area goes under water instead of putting out sandbags and preferably of course, to create and maintain strong dykes against exactly such an event. You can think of many recent disasters in which the country’s leaders or their reps said pray instead of act.

Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine, pointed to the crisis money-making schemes of people who tell us to pray. That is the time to buy cheap from those in trouble. Our president wants to abandon Puerto Rico due to debts incurred to US banks who do not reinvest their profits in PR. He does not allow the Jones Act closure to last beyond 10 days which keeps direct aid from other island nations to make direct access to PR with food and water and drugs. Jones says they must go to the US (Florida) and unload and reload into US boats which totally inflates the cost of the rescue. Trump said that the shipping companies’ need come first. Likely Pence, his religious front man said to pray.

Praying is usually a request from god to meet some need. Praying is the wrong response to disaster. Whatever your religious affiliation or its lack, do not look on the economic side of things – who will profit and who will lose in terms of your actions. Act for the greater good of living things. Good action is a form of prayer.

HOMELESSNESS

Just saw an enormous sculpture under the arch in Washington Square park. It is a wire cage with a cut-out image suggesting “person.” The vagary of the image says man or woman and child and grandparent and all of us, collectively indistinguishable in increasing numbers, everywhere.

Homelessness is a kind of jail, a world of fences which keep you out and move you on. First, I laughed at the image like a 60s “shmoo.” Then, after friend Caryn said it looks like a jail, I began to feel the horror of being a caged-in human. Feeling the torture of these people stimulates my fear of suffering a similar fate. I sought an excuse: those refugees must have been bad or stupid. I and my family/religion/political affiliation are smart and safe. I and we turn their eyes away and say not me.

Ai Weiwei has created a film about refugees in many countries he calls Human Flow. He and his father were routed and put away in distant Chinese camp as intellectuals. Readers and thinkers are felt to be dangerous to tyrants. They might not fall for the “leader’s” political hype. Following Dad’s orders in order to not seem a rebel, Ai Weiwei destroyed his father’s enormous library. But still he and son were arrested. Eventually, Ai Weiwei was released and left the country. When he returned to visit a sick father, he was attacked and held for a while.

Why have we fallen into empire building lawless taking/predatory behavior on the defenseless who have something we want? The Israelis evict the Palestinians and locked in Ghaza, increasingly without water and power. They will die of starvation, cholera. Puerto Rico, a recently flooded US territory, is not helped by its US owners; accused of poor planning after being unable to control their economy including outside trading due to the Jones Act. Everything has to be loaded and then shipped from the US which greatly increases prices.

FEMA said it is only there to give advice after showering food and water into flooded Texas. We can’t forget that the Puerto Rican population is largely brown and black. Texas is largely white if you ignore (the original owners), the Mexicans. After most of the Puerto Rican natives are dead or gone to the US, expensive sea-side hotels will rise.

Empire builders, often using drones attack hospitals and schools and water purification plants, etc., illegal actions according to the rules of war but who enforces them? Obama chose one day each week to create a kill list. Also, illegal. The refugees of Yemen are attacked by the Saudi’s using US weapons. The winner countries want to move their stolen oil through another’s country’s fields on way to the sea. They want to take that country’s minerals and ….
Invaded countries are treated like a gigantic super market. Plunderers erase the debt for what they take with bullets.

Now we celebrate Columbus Day but Columbus and his crew never touched our shores. It’s a kind of farce, celebrating a historic event that didn’t happen. Columbus and his crew settled in Hispaniola, where they made slaves of the friendly Taino, the Araeaks and Lucayans. They saw a little gold jewelry and wanted all of it.

They forced Indians to dig in gold mines until dead. There was a lot of suicide. Attracted to violence, they ripped babies from mother’s wounds and threw them in the air to catch them on swords, cut off hands and hung them around the neck to warn other miners to be bring up more gold. brought killer dogs that fed on children. The population went from 3 million to perhaps 500.

The Massachusetts governor celebrated Thanksgiving after killing 700 native men women and children celebrating the festival of green corn in their villages. We now celebrate Thanksgiving under a false memory. The Indians taught the largely city dwellers how to farm and once that population knew how to survive, the killing began.

Those who espouse violence create a world of refugees. What is to keep the broom of greed from sweeping us away? We speak of killing to keep us safe from so-called terrorists, how many created by our actions? Our violence creates a tidal wave of homeless wanderers as well as people moved to fight back. We all can shoot. We can only stem the tide of homelessness, fear and hate by being friends. That is Ai Weiwei’s message. Can there be any other?

Puerto Rico for Sale

How come we don’t send aid to Puerto Rico, a territory owned by the United States; no ship with aid and food and water, no right to land allowed to foreign ships offering to help hurricane victims. It is not the destroyed docks as some say, which cause this prohibition. Docks can be repaired or constructed in a day.
How come we don’t end the Jones Act which causes Puerto Ricans to pay $6,000 over a US Price for a car and equally inflated fees for every imported thing? How come Puerto Rico sinks in a debt created by outside corporations? Not an accident.
As Naomi Klein said in The Shock Doctrine, that those with power use catastrophe to cannibalize broken areas even broken nations. In this instance, the most valuable possession of the Puerto Rico government is their electrical system. The longer people sit there in the dark, the more hysterical they become and the more they are ready to sell their dearest possession. What is being proposed is a PP (Public/Private) ownership but PP actually means here, profit for the rich that buy it.

Let the Puerto Rico inhabitants suffer to the point of death without power. Heat will suffocate them. There will be no water to drink since wells need electrical power to draw water. No food to eat, all of it gone rancid in hot refrigerators, edible plants drowned by hurricane driven water. The country once green is brown. Streets and fields are full of dead animals which breed disease; there is a release of toxic chemicals from many flooded factories. Toxic waste sites swept by hurricane winds, spread their contents across the land. The coal dust once piled many stories high and left uncovered despite the approaching storm is everywhere. Everybody breathes it.

This land of sun and wind and water, is not allowed by the US to have solar collectors and wind mills. Not allowed to use the tides. Those non-PR corporations which sell coal and oil call the shots. They make profit regardless of the cost to these inhabitants.

Do the US government care about PR’s population? Speeches aside, it is profit from this conquered land that counts.

Elan Golomb

 

Tuned Out

fluteplayerOkay. I live in a heavily populated city (New York) with some 8 million, and what is really amazing is that you can walk through crowds without touching. We are trained to give each other space, not to meet eye to eye after a 30-foot approach and generally to be set on our destination full speed ahead like submarines in a potentially hostile sea.

Good and bad you say? Yes. We are undisturbed by the life around us, fixed on our goal for the day even to get home and eat bagels and lox. What is the problem here? It is the rigidity of our fixation. No matter what we encounter we do not respond. But what if it is a unique thing of beauty? Sorry. No time for that.

I was coming to a busy corner in Brooklyn and heard a flute sounding over the traffic noise. I remembered that musician, a man of great skill and inspiration. This time he had a younger boy on violin, as well as an occasional recording of drums. I learned against the subway stanchion and listened for a while with another man, somewhat plump and of easy girth. The man left after dropping some money in the performer’s satchel.

The more I stayed and listened, the more the music moved me. I had to move my knee a little rhythm. It seemed the more pleasure it gave me the more the flutist soared and plunged into mighty glissandos, his head back, flute pointing at the sky. Was that only my imagination? It seemed as if my pleasure energized his dive into expression. I do think that we are in contact if only we allow it, not only with grief and terror, but also with pleasure.

I watched the people passing by with a kind of curiosity. Who was drawn and moved by his offering? First it was the very young children in carriages or just beginning to walk hand in hand. They always looked and lingered as the parent pulled them on. What kind of lesson was that? How we become tuned out and insensitive?

Second it was the elderly. They stopped, said a word to him which he responded to with a smile and by playing. It was they who gave him the thanks of some money. How strange. Is it only the very old and the very young that live within the world? Does societal training hinder us? Is it only before we are conditioned by societal training and after we see its nonsensical and largely useless folly, that we can enjoy the great beauty and talent available to us? Or is it possible for all of us to find our childlike innocence or elderly wisdom to really tune into the world around us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ittle in the rhythm. It seemed the more pleasure it gave me the more the flutist soared a

.n plunged into mighty glissandoes