Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

December 7 – 13

Posted by Trey Smith on December 6, 2009

Greener Times for the Week of December 7 – 13
Volume 4 No. 34
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
* For Your Consideration…
* Thoughts By the Way: Niagara
* Our Climate Crisis: Can’t Chain Myself to Chase Bank Doors
* From Where I Stand: No Submission This Week
* This Week in History
* Pencil Shavings: Guilt & Innocence

For Your Consideration…
Original Wealth and People’s Capitalism

In contrast, the “raw materials economists” like Wilken tried to make the point that no economy could be based on debt. The foundation of a healthy economy, he argued, was “earned income based on the parity monetization of raw materials,” meaning that real wealth comes from the tangible products we bring forth from the earth, AND a fair price paid to those who do the extracting. An exacting mathematician, Wilken came up with a formula that would accurately predict America’s national income fourteen years running: National income was always roughly seven times the farm income…

From Bhopal to Copenhagen
I tried, unsuccessfully, to learn if anyone from Bhopal, India, would be speaking at the climate summit in Copenhagen. It seems unlikely, but the delegates gathering in Copenhagen need to hear what only someone from Bhopal can properly tell them. They need to know what it was like 25 years ago this week, when a cloud of poison gas leaked from a pesticide plant in the middle of the night and drifted over the Bhopal slums. Thousands died; it was the worst industrial disaster in history and it holds lessons that are essential to the proceedings on climate change about to start in Copenhagen…

Hagbard’s Law: Peak Oil Remains All But Unmentionable in Polite Company
The dubious statistical measures that were the theme of last week’s Archdruid Report post have had a massive impact on the even more dubious decisions that have backed the United States, and the industrial world more broadly, into its present predicament. When choices are guided by numbers, and the numbers are all going the right way, it takes a degree of insight unusual in contemporary life to remember that the numbers may not reflect what is actually going on in the real world…

Obama Steals Bush’s Speechwriters
If you closed your eyes during much of the President’s speech on Afghanistan Tuesday night and just listened to the words, you easily could have concluded that George W. Bush was still in the Oval Office. Or, at the very least, that Obama had stolen his speechwriters. Because, like Bush, Obama had barely cleared his throat when out came the first mention of September 11, along with the Bushian line: “We did not ask for this fight.” Like Bush, Obama lied about the lead up to the Afghanistan war, saying that the United States invaded “only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden.“ That’s false…

Cops Taze Disturbed, Unarmed Naked Man to Death for “Walking Toward Them’
It’s simply dreadful how these communist propaganda mouthpieces, like the Salt Lake City Tribune continue to attack our law enforcement officials from using tasers to protect themselves from unarmed naked people. So what if a bipolar guy who could have been taken into custody without the use of deadly force died after being shocked twice by the police because he was “walking toward them?” Mentally disturbed people should know better than to fail to obey a lawful police order immediately…

Thoughts By the Way: Niagara
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.

One may picture the situation of this country as the Niagara River on which Obama is paddling in vain against the current. The kindest version is that he is really trying. The evident version is that he is not even raising a sweat. He eases a Bush era repression, while at the same time we hear the Pentagon is putting a base in Colombia. The net accumulation of trivial and sham progressive acts by the president and wide ranging repressive, aggressive acts by the real powers is an America headed for a fall. I think that’s obvious. It’s stated here as preface to this analysis of cause: people power has been systematically destroyed by those “real powers”. I think September 11 was the scalpel that opened the body politic, and that a military-corporate cabal is the forceps disemboweling it. Bruce Levine, writing in Counterpunch, puts it differently:

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralizing happened in the United States? Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further? What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population? …

Choose your agent, slashed or screwed, the result is the same. Most Americans think the terrorists are out to get us and so we must strike them on their ground. And here’s the snaggely rough edge; even as we choose to kill in fear, we know the wars are for possession. That’s mental illness.

The triptych in our church by the way is Afghanistan, unemployment, and Copenhagen. None of us want to war in Afghanistan, but even PBS assumes we should be there. Unemployment seems to be the purpose of the financial policies of this administration. And the leading proposals on climate are so bad that James Hanson, no less, says that no action is better than what Copenhagen will come up with.

Triptych, river, or other way to picture the reality, it is so serious that in spite of the many dramatic successes of our brave street fighters and those wonderful women, Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan and the spirit of Rachel Corrie, and a select few in Congress, and the caucus of Californians that told Obama to get out of Afghanistan, and all those great people I’m leaving out, so serious that as individuals we may fall apart even before the police and the hordes of the desperate displaced bring down the curtain on our story. One may be reminded of the protagonist in Nelson Algren’s novel The Man With the Golden Arm, or perhaps the same in Nevil Shute’s novel On the Beach.

The man with the arm was a successful card dealer who’d gotten clean in prison, but the monkey of heroin got on his back again. He is descending but not down when a respite takes place because of a woman’s love. I recall thinking of that as a plateau in his descent. In Shute’s story the protagonist takes a fishing rod with him in a submarine that has escaped the advancing radiation. At the end he surfaces in a hot Puget Sound, and re-visits his favorite gunkholes in a rowboat.

I picture us, we, you, in 2010 finding plateaus of peace secured by a joining together within town, neighborhood, hamlet, block, or even county, a joining to revisit our debt to nature, and in so doing to do our utmost to fight the lords of greed who are forcing us over the lip of those falls. There are some rocks scattered about in the channel that stick up enough to grab hold of..

Our Climate Crisis: Can’t Chain Myself to Chase Bank Doors
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.

After my N30 civil disobedience arrest at Chase Bank opposite Westlake Plaza in Seattle, I can’t chain myself to Chase doors anymore.

The judge presiding over our arraignment (one other CD arrest across the street at Bank of America) agreed to revoke my bail provided I “not chain myself to Chase Bank doors”. While not a formal restraining order, this condition is part of my bail revocation. I was arrested on N30 chained to the front door of the Chase Bank branch on 4th, across the street from Westlake where other “Seattle Plus 10” climate actions were happening.

No surprise here. The legal system came out defending Chase Bank’s right to keep on rapidly ruining our Earth by providing major funding for: (1) mountain top removal for coal; (2) the U.S. coal industry; (3) the U.S. and global oil industry; and (4) the U.S. and global gas industry. The list of Climate and Corporate Crimes against Chase Bank also includes: (1) being a globally important carbon trader—climate scientist Dr. James Hansen calls carbon trading “The Temple of Doom”; (2) aggressively lobbying against strong climate legislation; and (3) and providing major funding for Countrywide Financial, the country’s top subprime mortgage lender—the subprime mortgage crisis triggered the global economic meltdown.

But on the streets and in the jails, mistrust of big banks runs high. One of my N30 cellmates at King County Detention Center asked me what I was in for. I said I was arrested chained to the front door of Chase Bank. He erupted with laughter and applause. Many cellmates joined in with their own stories of how the banks had screwed them over.

So, how to translate inmate hostility to banks into popular resistance against the planet-killing Business-As-Usual these banks finance and other Corporate Climate Criminals execute? It is a daunting prospect. While we climate activists work feverishly to build an effective movement, BAU continues, ecosystems continue to fail, and our Livable Planet keeps shuddering toward climate cataclysm.

Join us. Join us now. We need you. The Earth needs you. Now.

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

December 8, 1941: Jeanette Rankin (R-Montana), the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress in 1916, cast the only vote (she was among eight women in the Congress at the time) opposing declaration of war against Japan, despite their attack on Pearl Harbor the previous day . She had also voted against the U.S. entering World War I (at the time called the war to end all wars). Rankin served served just two single terms in the House. She spent her early career working for women’s suffrage, later very active in several peace and justice organizations.

December 10, 1964: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded Nobel Peace Prize. From his speech in Oslo: “After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that [civil rights] movement is profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts.”

December 12, 1983: Seventy people were arrested in Boston outside a hotel where a “New Trends in Missiles” trade conference was being held. Inside the hotel, over 1,000 cockroaches were released to symbolize the likely survivors of nuclear war.

Pencil Shavings: Guilt & Innocence
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.

One of the big news stories related to Washington this week concerns University of Washington student Amanda Knox who was convicted in an Italian court for the murder of her English roommate. The verdict brought cries of “No Justice” from people across the US and Sen. Maria Cantwell has already moved to try to get the US State Department involved.

I have no idea if this verdict is just or not. It’s been next too impossible to try to figure out if the prosecution had made a good case because the US media presented such a one-sided view of the proceedings. Everything the prosecutor said or did was shown to be suspect, while anything the defense offered was praised beyond belief. So much for objective news!!

However, as I’ve tried to follow this story, something has occurred to me. If this trial had played out in an American courtroom and the defendant was an exchange student from, say, an Arab or African nation, you know as well as I do, that Americans across the country would have lauded the decision and claimed that it was an example of justice well served!

For me, it is yet another reminder that the question of guilt and innocence has less to do with the facts of the crime and far more to do with who the defendant is.


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