Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

November 2 – 8

Posted by Trey Smith on November 1, 2009

Greener Times for the Week of November 2 – 8
Volume 4 No. 29
an e-publication for Greens anywhere and everywhere

Greener Times Collective: Maryrose Asher, Duff Badgley, Tom Herring and Trey Smith (Editor)

In This Week’s Issue
* Energy Trust and the Big Hope
* Restless Vagina Syndrome
* Thoughts By the Way: White America
* Our Climate Crisis: Polar Bear Disrupts Business-As-Usual
* Un-Spinning the Spin: No Country for Old Men (or Women)
* This Week in History
* Letter to the Editor
* Pencil Shavings: It Ain’t Easy
* News You May Have Missed

Energy Trust and the Big Hope
by Auden Schendler for Grist

If you’re like me, and spend a lot of the day drinking coffee and getting increasingly paranoid with the creeping suspicion that solving climate may not be possible, it’s good when you find glimmers of hope in the wreckage. One of those glimmers (actually more like a tractor beam) is called Energy Trust, an organization in Oregon that, if widely copied, would move us well on the way to solving climate change.

I recently spent a few hours with my friend Greg Stiles, who helps run their business sector programs, and I was blown away by their creativity and success. Here are some tidbits: Energy Trust is funded to the tune of $130 million annually through a public purpose charge on Oregonians’ utility bills. That alone is arguably part of a solution to climate change—it’s a price signal on energy costs that will force people to conserve. (By the way—it’s also a sign of things to come, and the program’s enormous success puts the lie to the delusional notion that to solve climate we need to make energy cheap (that might happen one day, but first it will have to get expensive. No freebies on this one, techno-optimists.)

Two programs caught my attention. The first is one approach to solar electric installations. Most utilities offer rebates for residential and commercial systems, and that’s it. The problem is that these systems, even with good rebates, are still frickin’ expensive. (As an example, I’m putting 4.5 kW on my roof, and with three different rebates and a hell of a deal from my installer, I’ll see a return on my investment of 6 percent. It’s OK for me, but not for most.)

What Energy Trust did is a form of “end-use, least cost” planning, a term Amory Lovins coined. They asked: “What do we want, and what is the cheapest way to get that?” What they wanted was clean energy, in the form of solar on people’s roofs. So they brought together everyone interested into a bulk purchase. Then they bid the contract in one huge chunk. Economies of scale enabled everyone to get what they wanted—their own system, on their own roof—but at a 25 percent discount. Brilliant, right?

But we aren’t going to solve climate change with brilliance, we’re going to solve it with applied common sense. The next smart innovation came in the form of lighting retrofits. I’ve banged my head against this problem for a long time, and if I were to implement a program, I’d do the same dumb thing I always do—go to the owner of a property and try to convince him or her to upgrade. But that’s the wrong approach.

Energy Trust recognized that first, owners don’t listen to the random enviro dude. They listen to their contractors. And they know that only electricians have the time or interest to care what a T5 is vs. a T12, and to note the rebates available for a switch.

By reaching out to contractors and electricians with info on the best technology and the rebates available, Energy Trust created a free, motivated sales force, and one that could actually get the retrofits done. Granted, Energy Trust has lots of money to make these improvements happen, and it comes out of customers’ pockets. But that’s what it’s going to take—a tax.

Remember — solving climate change is going to hurt. And a few dollars on your utility bill is not the kind of pain I’m talking about. That’s a pleasure.

Meanwhile, with that public purpose charge, Energy Trust is achieving the holy grail of energy geeks: they are helping utilities actually meet growing demand with efficiency, not new power. The utilities love it so much they are kicking in more of their own money to fund the program. The customers get disproportionately good service and love that. And I love it because it gives me a massive dose of that heroin-like drug — hope.

Restless Vagina Syndrome
by Terry Allen for In These Times

It’s not your fault, ladies (and certainly not your partner’s), that you don’t orgasm every time you have intercourse, or that you lack the libido of a 17-year-old boy. You have a disease: female sexual dysfunction (FSD), and the pharmaceutical industry wants to help.

You are among the “43 percent of American women [who] experience some degree of impaired sexual function,” according to a Journal of the American Medical Association article. The FDA’s evolving definition of FSD includes decreased desire or arousal, sexual pain and orgasm difficulties—but only if the woman feels “personal distress” about it.

So, convincing women to feel distress is a key component of the drug company strategy to market a multi-billion-dollar pill that will cure billions of women of what may not ail them.

By promoting the belief that “normal” women have explosive sex all the time, BigPharma helped launch the disease. However, the FDA has yet to approve a treatment for women who fall short. Until then, they could try the Orgasmatron: a dial-a-delight spinal implant that rarely works—and risks infection and paralysis. Or, for $60/month, pop LexaFem pills—containing (how-could-it-not-work) “horny goat weed extract” in order to “feel like a real woman today.” Its website promises, “You won’t ever feel unhappy again with LexaFem in your arsenal.”

But the big swinging dicks of global FSD marketing (and off-label marketing) are Pfizer—whose stop-gap strategy is selling women Viagra based on the fact that it works for men, and Procter & Gamble (P&G), which, using the same logic, has put its money on testosterone.

Viagra’s failure in trial after trial to work on women has not stopped doctors from writing 1.4 million off-label prescriptions. FSD is “a classic example of starting with some preconceived, and non-evidence based diagnostic categorization for women’s sexual dysfunctions, based on the male model,” said John Bancroft, director of the Kinsey Institute, in an interview with BMJ (British Medical Journal).

No drug follows the male model more literally than testosterone. Despite FDA refusal to approve P&G’s testosterone patch Intrinsa, U.S. doctors wrote 2 million off-label testosterone prescriptions in 2007. Like Pfizer’s little blue pill, the Intrinsa patch doesn’t really work for women. No wonder: Researchers don’t even know what constitutes a “normal” female testosterone level, and women with low levels of the hormone are as likely as those with high levels to be happy with their sex lives. And as filmmaker Liz Canner shows in her excellent new documentary Orgasm, Inc., (www.orgasminc.org), testosterone is usually teamed with estrogen, which increases risks for stroke, cancers and dementia.

The companies and clinics that narrow the range of sexual normality to porn industry standards suffer their own disease. Symptoms include: a compulsion to concoct illnesses and then develop drugs to treat them, and vice versa. Either way, the syndrome is typically accompanied by a rash of conflicts of interest.

A Pfizer survey in Malaysia found that Malay women are even more diseased than their American counterparts, with “69.6 percent experiencing some form of FSD,” according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which also published an industry-supported supplement on FSD. Journal editor and urologist Irwin Goldstein denies a conflict of interest. “Science is science,” he says. “It comes down to the bottom line. What the data shows, the data shows.” Actually, no. Drug company-funded studies are more likely than independent studies to find the new drug superior to the old. Perhaps the bottom line Dr. Goldstein refers to is his income as a paid consultant for drug companies, including P&G and Pfizer.

Goldstein established an FSD clinic with Dr. Jennifer Berman, who now heads a Beverly Hills clinic and appears on Oprah. As one of the health professionals on a 1998 panel that received financial sponsorship from eight pharmaceutical companies, she helped define female sexual dysfunction. Some 22 drug companies, including Pfizer, had financial ties to 18 of the 19 authors of that panel’s report, the BMJ revealed.

“Maybe the best approach is not ineffective, over-hyped drugs with nasty side effects, but an end to disease mongering and a strong dose of comprehensive sex education,” says filmmaker Canner. Her film hits female erogenous zones that pharmaceutical fixes can’t find: your brain and your funny bone.

Thoughts By the Way: White America
Tom Herring is a former Vashon Island Community Council member, but now chooses to sort nails in his shop. Catch more of Tom’s thoughts on his blog.

The two most detested icons in King County are the DDES building on Oakesdale in Renton and the Homeland Security building on 99 where the old murder-ridden Kings Diner used to be. Readers from Shaw Island and Spokane will have to forgive my provincial outlook. DDES is longhand for the county’s permit office which let a developer get a blade in the ground across the street from me without local okay. Other islanders share my detest. In terms of absolutes, the problem with DDES is that the building on Oakesdale is huge. Also in absolutes, the Port of Seattle should have been included for pocketing money and for crimes perpetuated in concrete. But even though the Port owns half the county it is after all a Seattle problem, not Vashon’s. As to putting up the Homeland Security building on the site of so many violent acts, the site has gone downhill from there. I mention these two buildings now because in addition to irritating me for years they are icons of white bureaucracy, and Gary Younge has a column in The Nation about the decline of white America. This affected me strongly, so I might as well detour to the column’s position on the state of the US.

The onion has been a staple of this column’s search for perfect opinion because of its layers. There is the outer uncertainty as to when you are through the skin, and then the layers keep going, going, until there is a subjective call as to which is the last layer before the core. You need this sidebar in order to make any sense of what follows.

In 2006 I first lifted my (retired) head from making bombers and ballistic missile silos to witness the onion of whole reality. The effort involved was negligible as I was booted into witness by Maryrose Asher. My head then up, I saw the triple threat to our pale blue dot: war, financial chaos, and a stuck thermostat, and wondered whoerwhat was to be the target of our wrath. I began peeling. With the help of some street operators known as Stand Up Seattle I worked my way down a list of targets from the bad guys to the two-party system, to technology, to capitalism. to peak oil, to the bond traders, and finally, by 2008, neo-royalty. During all this I wondered which threat would hit first. More accurately, I wondered when the first would hit, because for any the effect would be the same, a police state. But just now, upon reading Younge’s column I added a fourth threat, a threat from within the US, a false flag counter-revolution.

In his column “Obama and the Decline of White America”, Younge addresses the emergence of right wing, gun toting, malevolence. After reporting key features he comments: “What is truly stunning is the degree to which these marginal voices are explicitly sustained and implicitly condoned by the mainstream” The reason, he finds, is that “there are far deeper forces at play” [Deeper than Obama’s “socialism”]. He continues, “The right’s ability to cast white people as victims is possible only because of the dramatic downward spiral for white Americans at home and abroad that, paradoxically, accelerated under Bush.” The spiral is filled out neatly, then, “Add to this the fact that, numerically, white Americans will be a minority by 2045, and you have the basis for the panic that has been unleashed.” The column title refers to the judgment that Obama is the focus, not the cause, of the panic.

Upon reading this column the onion peeler deduced that if the irate right fringe attacked, then the administration’s handlers would settle the threat question then and there: the troublesome left would find themselves detained as terrorists. Do you find this scenario unlikely? Is Younge overreacting because he is black? That last is improbable as Younge is one of the more perceptive columnists around. As to being herded into detainment camps, tell me what a rational person is to think of an administration that sanctions oppression, brutality and torture — it means well?

Through a reporter’s eyes we’ve just seen how conflict results when a ruling class loses face. But Younge closes with the observation that not all whites see it that way, that youth see it as a reason to seek cooperation with people of color. Whether we adults are smart enough to cooperate is now considered.

We’ve had our ups and downs. Gunpowder and the compass were made in China before switching to socks and kitchenware. The Egyptians had a grand library and the Greeks were into extremely higher learning before they discovered tourists. The Indians of the Amazon basin know more about pharmacology than does Merck. The Incas of the Andes cordillera knew more about agriculture than does ADM now. The pattern is one of brilliant invention by peoples close to nature that is subsequently destroyed by larger social units a step or two removed from nature. No pattern? Okay get your own whole cloth then. While you are doing that here’s an illustration of closeness to nature that astounds me: In a 2001 documentary on Laos there is a clip taken in a family compound in which children have congregated around the family buffalo. One child is upon the creature’s back. (Bombies, by Jack Silberman)

The column can ignore your take on human development because the truth of what comes next is self-evident. We moderns cruise through life with total blithe indifference to nature. This means for example that we do not understand how to keep warm, how common chemicals act in the home, nor even proper hygiene of the anus. I’ll translate. We do not understand the difference between radiation and conduction, we think that air-fresheners are healthy, and we think wiping with dry paper does the job. I could go on, but as the point is self-evident it follows that we are incompetent to shop, discuss health care, or vote.

Be that as it may, let’s assume that Gary Younge is right about white America. Okay, let’s not assume it. In the core of the onion there is a plan whereby the put-upon Mexicans, the put-upon Blacks, the put-upon Indians, the put-upon Nisei, the put-upon Muslims, the put-upon white opposition, and all put-upon workers whose jobs have gone walkabout, all these people, gang up on the pin-striped war lovers. So where do incompetents find out how to gang up? I’m glad you asked. They walk out the door and down the street, that’s where.

Please, I do not slight the rest of our Asians, and especially do not slight the Chinese whom we brutalized in the tunnel constructions. Did I forget the Jews? No, they’re white.

I won’t go into what the gang would accomplish except to mention getting rid of the DDES and Homeland Security.

Gary Younge, “Obama and the Decline of White America” The Nation, October 26, 2009

Our Climate Crisis: Polar Bear Disrupts Business-As-Usual
Duff Badgley is the leader of the One Earth Climate Action Group and was a candidate for Governor as a Green in 2008. He can be reached at 206-283-0621.

Note: This week’s column is written about Duff, but not by him. The author is Laury Kenton and can be found at Seattle IndyMedia.

Polar Bear

Photo by Elliot Stoller

Squad cars and police from Seattle and Homeland Security surrounded the federal building in Seattle on Saturday, responding to a protest against cap-and-trade by Climate SOS and One Earth Climate Action group.

Police Confrontation

Photo by Elliot Stoller

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world turned out for last Saturday’s International Day of Climate Action organized by http://350.org. In Seattle, Climate SOS co-founder Duff Badgley joined One Earth activists to protest cap-and-trade bills on National Climate Action Day at the Seattle Federal Building. Wearing a polar bear costume, he risked arrest three times while holding an SOS banner along 2nd Avenue declaring: CAP-AND-TRADE = “TEMPLE OF DOOM“.

The police escorted Badgley to the curb before surrounding him on the sidewalk and taking his anti-Cap-And-Trade the banner from him. Although police officers threatened to arrest Badgley, he was not arrested during the action.

Badgley was the 2008 Green Party of Washington State candidate for governor. His Climate Manifesto called for outlawing carbon trading. In March, Badgley made a citizen’s arrest of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels during this year’s Seattle Greenfest, accusing Seattle’s self-appointed “Green” mayor of biofuels crimes against humanity and biofuels crimes against the planet. Six weeks after the direct action, the city of Seattle stopped using a million gallons a year of biofuels for city vehicles.

“We’re ready to risk prison to salvage our Earth,” he said. “But we’re always peaceful.”

The purpose of the annual planetary day of action is to inspire everyone in the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis as well as to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for change.

The 350 campaign uses the number 350 because it is the parts per million that scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. In December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark to craft a new global treaty on cutting emissions. The problem is, the treaty currently on the table doesn’t meet the severity of the climate crisis — it doesn’t pass the 350 test.

Badgley is critical of some of the 350 campaign founders. “Bill McKibben organized the International Day of Climate Action on Saturday,” Badgley said,”He gave people around the world hope in our struggle with the Climate Crisis. But it was false hope. McKibben refused to publicly oppose cap-and-trade.” Badgley believes that when McKibben said that he supported cap-and-trade as “the best we can get”, he was caving in to political pressure.

If this is true, he is not alone. World leaders have been ignoring the science surrounding global warming. Warming is increasing because of the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Many of the activities we do every day, such as turning on the lights, cooking food, or heating our homes, rely on energy sources like coal and oil that emit carbon dioxide –the most common greenhouse gas — as well as other heat-trapping gases. The release of these gases trigger global warming which, in turn, destabilizes the delicate balance that makes life on this planet possible. Just a few degrees in temperature can completely change the world as we know it, and threaten the lives of millions of people around the world.

SoS

Photo by Elliot Stoller

“If we are going to have a Livable Planet,” Badgley told Seattle Indymedia, “Business as usual must stop in every sector — government, industry, personal.”

Badgley believes that street theater and direct action work better than panel discussions.

“Polite conversations in panel conference rooms,” Badgley said, ” Will never challenge the status quo. Frederick Douglas told us, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ I have a stake. I have a personal stake with my children and grandchildren that there is a Livable Planet to support them. Right now that Livable Planet is looking very jeopardized. “

Despite the interference by the Seattle police, Badgley brought the issue of global warming to people in the downtown area. “The time is now to show senators Cantwell and Murray, and all federal lawmakers, we are in climate emergency” he said “Emergency response is demanded—or we will doom ourselves.”

“The people who support cap-and-trade have caved to political expediency”, he added, “They are denying the climate reality that ecosystems are in collapse and we are all of us in mortal peril from our climate crisis. They choose to accept narrow limits of what is politically possible. This goes for Obama. It goes for Sustainable Ballard. It goes for[Governor] Chris Gregoire.”

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell is promoting a cap-and-trade bill that permits 450-700ppm of atmospheric CO2 as a target for climate stability. She calls carbon trading “toxic” but is willing to risk a climate catastrophe by permitting 450ppm of atmospheric CO2.

The world’s pre-eminent climate scientist, Jim Hansen, has called cap-and-trade the “Temple of Doom”. Hansen has personally endorsed the Climate SOS campaign against it.”Cap-and-trade perpetuates business-as-usual,” Badgley said. The current plans for the treaty are much too weak to get the planet back into the safety zone. Rich countries such as the U.S. aren’t willing to compromise much, and many poor countries want the flexibility to grow.

Greens say NO!

Photo by Elliot Stoller

The U.S. has been producing more CO2 than any other country, and it leads the industrialized world in per capita emissions. Perhaps because of this, the U.S. has blocked meaningful international action for many years. It now seems ready to back cap-and-trade, a plan that permits rich nations to buy carbon credits rather than developing carbon-neutral industries. Many, like Hansen, think cap-and-trade is worse than nothing because it locks world governments into a failed strategy, losing the opportunity — and incentive — to develop alternatives. Hansen says, “I’d rather climate talks fail than we agree to a bad deal”.

According to Badgley, the current cap-and-trade bills will:

  • Doom the world to upward spiraling carbon emissions because trading and offsets will gut the cap, permitting the worst polluters keep polluting.
  • Ignore the science on global warming and result a hideous fate because 450ppm is doom for our Livable Planet.
  • Sell or give away rights to our biosphere to our worst polluters, the people who are fast ruining our Earth.
  • Destroy our natural forests by converting them to vast biofuel farms and tree plantations.
  • Block the conversion to a clean energy economy because it discourages meaningful structural changes.
  • Reward dirty industries like coal and petrol and permits them to keep them dirty, in what Hansen calls “subterfuge allowing business-as-usual to continue”.
  • Invite Enron-style corruption because cap-and-trade is the scheme of choice for polluters and Wall Street executives ready to game the system and bring climate chaos.
Head shot

Photo by Elliot Stoller

Eventually, Badgley was ready to hang up his polar bear suit. “Fatigue got to me,” Badgley said. “After two-and-half hours in the bear costume standing on concrete, I took my head off. That was it for today.”

With or without the polar bear costume, Duff Badgley continues to campaign against global warming and for a Livable Planet. “The climate news is relentlessly terrifying. But I refuse to be paralyzed by it,” he said, “I refuse to be crippled by the obscene inaction and corrupt actions of our politicians from Obama on down. I choose to give hope and be active against the greatest threat human civilization has ever faced — our Climate Crisis.”

Un-Spinning the Spin: No Country for Old Men (or Women)
Maryrose Asher is a former Chair of the Green Party of Washington State and a tireless activist of many causes.

In Tom’s column last week, he eloquently wrote, “the news is so bad it makes little difference which way to aim this limp quill.” Little did Tom know that I had been struggling to write my weekly column and only was able to finish it due to Trey’s encouragement and deadline extension.

If you saw the film No Country for Old Men, which won four Academy Awards in 2007, including Best Picture, you may understand my sense of despair. I hesitate to give away an ending, but the “unstoppable evil archetype” Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem) prevails in the end.

It could be said that Chigurh personifies the military-industrial-congressional complex*. If you think along those terms as you read the character description of Chigurh below, you will get my meaning:

[Anton Chigurh]…is a machine as cold and calculating as the Terminator but worse: flickers of sympathy or humanity or something decent tease us. Or, no: not flickers of humanity but of a commitment to his own heartless set of rules, to a capriciousness that is its own weird kind of honor. He is perfectly happy to decide who will live and who will die by his hand on the toss of a coin. Chigurh is the embodiment of the randomness of violence, the unpredictability of the universe in dealing out death, and he haunts this desolate landscape like a malevolent shade.

There is a Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” a variation of the Chinese proverb, “It’s better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period.” I venture we are in the midst of such times with attacks on our value system coming from individual fronts: illegal and immoral wars, corruption of our government, loss of personal freedoms, disregard for the sustainability of our planet, the transfer of wealth to the few at the expense of the many, blatant racism, religious fanaticism, and disregard for human life and human dignity. On another level, we have loss of jobs or insecurity about them, rising expenses, lack of adequate health care, and concern for the futures of our children and grandchildren.

Writing does not come easily to me but what kept me going was my passion to try to make a difference. I’m afraid that passion has died. Not because I do not want to try to change things, but because I realize I cannot.

The solution does not rest on my column for Greener Times but on a collective awakening and recognition that we no longer have a representative government, if we ever did. Perhaps we have always been deluded into thinking so. But, I have decided to take the blinders off. In my mind, all the petitions, calls, sit-ins, and postcards we send to our elected officials; all the marches; all the street theater; everything that we are now doing to change the system is not going to work. The military-industrial-congressional complex* that Eisenhower warned about has us in a stranglehold.

The only reason for me to continue to write would be to satisfy my own personal ego that somehow I could trigger just the right reaction, just the right event that would make a difference, but I know I cannot. For this reason, this will be my last regular column.

I am afraid I can no longer offer you anything new and I certainly don’t share the hope that we can change the system by pressuring our elected representatives. The political system as it now stands is as corrupt as the soul of Anton Chigurh.

In his review of No Country for Old Men, movie critic Roger Ebert states, “the movie demonstrates how pitiful ordinary human feelings are in the face of implacable injustice.”

Faced with the world’s “implacable injustice,” I am afraid this “pitiful ordinary human” just isn’t up to the battle as it is now being fought. When activists stop trying to work the system and decide to fight the system, know that I will be there.

*In the penultimate draft of the address, Eisenhower initially used the term military-industrial-congressional complex, and thus indicated the essential role that the United States Congress plays in the propagation of the military industry. But, it is said, that the president chose to strike the word congressional in order to placate members of the legislative branch of the federal government.

Resources:
FlickFilosopher.com: No Country for Old Men (review)
No Country for Old Men :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews
Military-industrial complex – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This Week in History
This Week in History, published by Carl Bunin and edited by Al Frank, is a collection designed to help us appreciate the fact that we are part of a rich history advocating peace and social justice. While the entries often focus on large and dramatic events there are so many smaller things done everyday to promote peace and justice. Find more info at http://www.peacebuttons.info/E-News/thisweek.htm.

November 3, 1917: Bolsheviks, the followers of Vladimir Lenin, took control of the capital, Moscow, and the Kremlin, the fortress-like grouping of government buildings and churches at the center of the capital city, as the Russian revolution succeeded.

November 3, 1972: Five hundred protesters from the “Trail of Broken Treaties,” a Native American march, occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices (part of the Department of Interior) in Washington, D.C., for six days. Their goal was to gain support from the general public for a policy of self-determination for American Indians.

November 3, 1985: Two French agents of the DGSE (Secret Service) dramatically changed their pleas on charges related to the bombing and sinking of the Greenpeace’s ship, Rainbow Warrior, and pled guilty. The ship was attacked in Auckland (New Zealand) harbor in anticipation of sailing to Moruroa Atoll to interfere with French nuclear weapons testing. It was the first act of terror ever committed in New Zealand.

Letters to the Editor
Got something you want to get off your chest? Did an article in a previous edition of Greener Times make you madder than a hornet or cause you to stand up to say, “Right on!”? Well, this space is reserved each week for your comments and opinions.

As i methodically examine the track records of many writers showcased by the left, or what “left” is becoming, it is disheartening to say the least that so many turn out to be bigots in egalitarian clothing. Paul Craig Roberts is one of many examples.

Recently someone sent an article by Peter Dale Scott, who was Cynthia McKinney’s campaign manager, featured on Global Research website. I found that site on the first Deception Dollar i was given about 5 or 6 years ago while vigiling in front of the Army Recruiter in Colville, WA. Right away i was suspicious due to the infowars site listed that i had found to be very anti immigrant, anti choice, anti Semitic and pro gun–similar to the philosophies of the Christian Identity adherents and Patriots that were quite public about their bigotry in the days before the Oklahoma City atrocity. Stevens County was quite a hotbed of white supremacist killers back in those days including Chevy Kehoe, who murdered an Arkansas gun dealer, his wife and child because they were black and Buford Furrow who gained fame for opening fire on a Jewish community Center in Los Angeles, wounding 5 children and then killing a Filipino mailman the same day.

So i took the Deception Dollar home and looked up the websites. The worst 2 were americanfreepress.com and oilempires.com, both with links to neonazi, kkk and other virulently racist, anti choice and anti immigrant sites. It made me sick. Global Research was also listed on the Deception Dollar among several others as well. I would check these sites out over and over. Some were not as blatant, but many writers were known white supremacists whose names i recognized from the literature i collected back in the days when i attended the Second Amendment meetings in an effort to educate myself as well as talk to some of my neighborhood bigots figuring it would be harder to kill me, a notorious racemixer, if we had talked.

Over the years, i have seen the writings of Dahr Jamal on several of these more “respectable” appearing sites, tho i wonder how respectable anyone can consider Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Alex Jones. I emailed Jamal telling him his work was on antiwar.com, one of Buchanan’s babies. Jamal told me he had no control over who posted his writing, but he must be a growing favorite of the anti Semitic, anti immigrant, anti choice, pro gun set.

Then Paul Craig Roberts, the “father” of Reaganomics, which honor he still holds dear, has become a featured writer for Counter Punch.  I heard Alexander Cockburn speak once and he struck me as an arrogant asshole. I also felt extremely irritated at his support of the window breakers during the WTO protests. I have several issues with Cockburn, but we will let it slide for now.

So i see that Paul Craig Roberts, Cynthia McKinney, Pat Buchanan, Dahr Jamal as well as Global Research regulars all have articles listed on the same page. Kind of makes me flat out sick. Oh, guilt by association is what i will be accused of implying! I just wonder what the heck to do. Is Cynthia proof that former blatant white supremacists are now respectable? Is Dahr Jamal proof that these sites are truly progressive? Is this a unification so essential to winning our anti war stance that we will align with preachers of hate and separatism?

I went to a big anti war march in San Francisco in October 2005. When we were still at UN Plaza where organizations were tabling, i saw a woman passing out Deception Dollars. I told her those dollars had bigoted websites on them. She said she had never checked any of them out. Then i saw the table where a guy had stacks of them. I told him that the dollars had bigoted sites and he said, “Isn’t it about aligning ourselves to expose the truth?” I replied, “You want to align with bigots?” He said that oilempires was his website and pointed to it on the dollar. As i turned to go, he whacked me on the head with his sign and i just looked back at him and walked away.

I noticed that oilempires tried to clean up it’s bigoted image as have several of such sites. But oilempires now has rampages against Chip Berlet, who addresses the fallacies of the 9/11 so called truth movement, as i do. (He also said he would sue me for slander if i didn’t stop saying he hit me over the head. ha.)

It is very important that activists be aware of the scope of what the extremist right is willing to do to gain thrust. Will true egalitarians be more willing to give in to the myriad forms of oppressive thinking or will the racist right come to see the value and necessity of authentic peace WITH justice? Whatever the outcome, i feel the value of integrity, striving for anti oppression human rights and a livable earth must be upheld unconditionally. We cannot afford to trade one jackboot for another. Take care when extolling Paul Craig Roberts.

in peace and justice,
swaneagle

Pencil Shavings: It Ain’t Easy
Pencil Shavings appears in this space most weeks and solely represents the opinions of the publisher. If you’d like to read more of Trey’s ruminations, visit The Rambling Taoist.

It’s with great sadness that GT says goodbye to Maryrose Asher as a regular columnist. When she first broached the subject with me, I didn’t jump on the phone to call to beg her to reconsider. It’s not that I want to lose her insightful commentary, but I understand her reasoning completely. In fact, I think anybody who has been an activist of some type understands exactly where she’s coming from!

Constantly fighting the uphill battle is tough. No matter a person’s resolve and commitment, continually butting your head against a brick wall can take a lot out of you. It can easily lead to periods of exasperation and depression. When each of us reaches our limit, the best we can do is to take some time off, lick our wounds, reassess our perspectives and work to regenerate our energy. So, I salute Maryrose for realizing she needs a break, rather than simply going through the motions for the sake of going through the motions. It’s my sincere hope that, after a while, she’ll be back with her full verve on!

And let’s be brutally frank, in many ways, all GT does is tilt at windmills. I’m under no illusions that GT makes any kind of difference in the overall scope of things. I keep publishing it, however, because, win or lose, we on the left need to stay informed. We can’t try to counter the negative winds blowing IF we don’t know where they’re blowing from.

In addition, Tom Herring and Duff Badgley still have a lot to teach us.

While Maryrose is stepping down in one aspect, I plan to keep her name in the masthead under the GT Collective. While I’m the mastermind behind GT, there have been many weeks in which Maryrose has selected the feature articles and, frankly, I don’t expect that to change. So, while you won’t see her name listed as a columnist, her fingerprints will still be on many editions.

Finally, if you’ve appreciated Maryrose’s columns as much as I have, why not drop her a line to say thank you or send a letter to the editor for inclusion in next week’s edition.

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Wall Street’s Naked Swindle
On Tuesday, March 11th, 2008, somebody — nobody knows who — made one of the craziest bets Wall Street has ever seen. The mystery figure spent $1.7 million on a series of options, gambling that shares in the venerable investment bank Bear Stearns would lose more than half their value in nine days or less. It was madness — “like buying 1.7 million lottery tickets,” according to one financial analyst. But what’s even crazier is that the bet paid…

The End Of Electricity
There seems to be a consensus that the depletion of fossil fuels will follow a fairly impressive slope. What may need to be looked at more closely, however, is not the “when” but the “what.” Looking at the temporary shortages of the 1970s may give us the impression that the most serious consequence will be lineups at the pump. Fossil-fuel decline, however, will also mean the end of electricity, a far more serious matter…

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