Greener Times

Promoting a sustainable society…one day at a time.

January 4 – 10

Posted by Trey Smith on January 3, 2010

Greener Times for the Week of January 4 – 10
Volume 4 No. 38
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: Hay Fever
* Our Climate Crisis: To Bargain or Not to Bargain?
* From Where I Stand: Anniversaries of Massacres & Perching on Nest’s Edge
* This Week in History
* Letters to the Editor
* Guest Column: The Criminality of Forced Allopathic Medical Insurance

For Your Consideration…
How to Solve the Climate Problem

We have finally arrived at the main story: what we need to do to solve the climate problem, and how we can save a future for our grandchildren. The problem demands a solution with a clear framework and a strong backbone. Yes, I know that halting and reversing the growth of carbon dioxide in the air requires an “all hands on deck” approach– there is no “silver bullet” solution for world energy requirements. People need to make basic changes in the way the live. Countries need to cooperate. Matters as seemingly intractable as population must be addressed. And the required changes must be economically efficient. Such a pathway exists and is achievable…

Cities, Counties Take Back Corporate Tax Breaks
Cash-strapped communities have a message for corporations that promised jobs in return for tax breaks: A deal’s a deal. As the recession drags on, municipalities struggling to fix roads, fund schools and pay bills increasingly are rescinding tax abatements to companies that don’t hire enough workers, lay them off or close up shop. At the same time, they’re sharpening new incentive deals, leaving no doubt what is expected of companies and what will happen if they don’t deliver…

Yummy! Ammonia-Treated Pink Slime Now in Most U.S. Ground Beef
You’re not going to believe what you’ve been eating the last few years (thanks, Bush! thanks meat industry lobbyists!) when you eat a McDonald’s burger (or the hamburger patties in kids’ school lunches) or buy conventional ground meat at your supermarket: According to today’s New York Times, The “majority of hamburger” now sold in the U.S. now contains fatty slaughterhouse trimmings “the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil,” “typically including most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass” that contains “larger microbiological populations.” This “nasty pink slime,” as one FDA microbiologist called it, is now wrung in a centrifuge to remove the fat, and then treated with AMMONIA to “retard spoilage,” and turned into “a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips”…

Mortgage Foreclosures Still Swamping Federal Efforts to Help
Banks and other lenders are still foreclosing on Americans’ homes at a rate that’s outpacing the Obama administration’s main effort to stem the crisis. In fact, while the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, has started the mortgage modification process on almost 760,000 homeowners who are at risk of losing their homes, less than 5 percent of those workouts have become permanent, government data show…

Thoughts By the Way: Hay Fever
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.

Hail the new year and commiserate with Mother Earth as she enters menopause. May the health care industry do Her no harm. Mention of the latter entity makes me think of hay fever, never mind why. For the entirety of my recorded life, hay fever has been explained as an aberration of the immune system, yet never has there emerged a cause.

That’s “cause” in the sense of explaining why person A has it yet person B does not. The durability of that mystery is evident in spades for the more serious auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. In MS, the aberration of the immune system has come to be described in detail so minute that a new language has emerged in which words largely have been replaced by nicknames for molecules. This language lets researchers collaborate on the mysterious workings of the deoxyribonucleic acid molecule. But this fine work at the molecular level has brought Medicine no closer to a cure for auto-immune disease than before the genome was “mapped” and before fateful discovery of means to modify it.

The approach has just got to be wrong. Consider this oddity: in auto-immune disease the immune system acts as if the threat is a bug, but there is no bug. Consider the “deep time” over which the immune system of animals was perfected to protect against invasion by gosh knows what — perfected by gradual adaptation to gradual change over countless years. But all of a sudden the environment changes “overnight” in deep time measure, with the result that the animal immune system is suddenly imperfect. There comes the industrial revolution and Monsanto. Animals come to be living indoors in penthouses and dark warrens, and to be eating sugar made from cornstarch. The immune system is surprised, and strikes out in blind fury at invisible enemies. Put that under your microscope, Dr. Science.

Dr. Science responds, saying, where would you tree-huggers be without pasteurization, penicillin and the Salk vaccine? And to that we can point out that, by and large, modern medicine is playing catch-up to travesties perpetuated for profit by the rich upon the poor. Allow an example tree to hug: In the book Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage, a Nepalese woman is making patties on her stoop having first brushed off the goat dung. Bad bugs? Think again. The bugs on her stoop had not been mutated by modern feedlot practice where grass-feeding cows are fed grain causing the manure to contain deadly variants of e-coli. Again, as noted above, perverted industry poisons us and hospitals repair the damage. Dr. Science is not wrong, he just is wearing blinders. Auto-immune “diseases” primarily should be addressed by social repair instead of steroids and chemo.

Two young women in my family have multiple sclerosis. They have no hope of cure. In conjunction with that dismal outlook for auto-immune diseases, the new year will witness continuing social breakdown. With one exception to be stressed, no movement under way, no electoral victories, no demonstrations, nothing will prevent the breakdown proceeding to completion for it is caused by powerful shadow agents operating with complete freedom under the camouflage of liberal reform. The exception is people power, Philippines style, millions of souls who understand what is happening and are willing to sacrifice what comforts they have in order to force the US to take a first step away from world domination and towards apple pie and moms who can choose who gets a slice.

Our Climate Crisis: To Bargain or Not to Bargain?
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.

My Pre-Trial Hearing is tomorrow. The charge against me is criminal trespass with a possible maximum sentence of 365 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The charge stems from my November 30 climate demonstration arrest while chained to the front door of a Chase Bank branch at Westlake Plaza in Seattle.

On N30, my co-arrestee and I engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience trying to disrupt business-as-usual at Chase Bank and Bank of America. Both banks are major climate criminals. Both banks are fast ruining our Livable Planet by:

1. Providing major financing for Mountain Top Removal (MTR) for coal extraction. Each week in Appalachia, MTR operations set off the explosive equivalent of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. More than 400 mountains have been blown to bits—literally—in the obscene effort to mine coal, our dirtiest fossil fuel. Hundreds of square miles of forests have been destroyed by MTR. Thousands of miles of rivers and streams have been polluted by MTR.
2. Providing major financing for the global coal industry.
3. Providing major financing for the global oil industry.
4. Providing major financing for the global gas industry.
5. Being major carbon traders. Carbon trading is the sale of our global forests, air, soil, and seas to the world’s worst polluters. Our pre-eminent climate scientist, James Hansen, calls carbon trading “The Temple of Doom”.

On Thursday, the city prosecutor offered my co-arrestee a plea bargain of two days in jail if he pled guilty. He declined the offer. His trial is set for March 9, 2010.

Will the city prosecutor offer me the same bargain? If so, what will I do? Or the bargain offered me may be different. What will I do if they offer no jail time in exchange for a guilty plea? This bargain would give me a prior arrest to carry forward. Would this hamper my climate activism? Would it deny local and national climate activists the experience of a trial that could expose the climate crimes of Chas and BofA—while it forged community among activists?

Or maybe the city prosecutor will make it easy for me: no plea bargain offered.

A lot is uncertain as I go into my Pre-Trial tomorrow. If you’re close, come out. It’s 10am, January 4th, Courtroom 1101, 11th floor, Seattle Municipal Court Building, 600 5th Avenue in Seattle.

Start off the New Year and the new decade in court with me. See how the courts and the cops defend and perpetuate our murderous, planet-ruining Business-As-Usual.

From Where I Stand: Anniversaries of Massacres & Perching on Nest’s Edge
“From Where I Stand” is a revolving column currently featuring the writings of Swaneagle Harijan and Dr. Richard Curtis. If you’d like to get in on the act and contribute to this feature, contact editor Trey Smith.

Anniversaries of Massacres & Perching on Nest’s Edge
by Swaneagle Harijan

December 30, 2009 is the 119th Anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota where nearly 300 innocent Lakota Ghost Dancers were shot to death by the 7th Calvary during their ceremony to stop the repression and killing of their people, to bring back the buffalo and their ancient way of life. To this day, most Americans only know of it as a “battle”.

According to a recent Harper’s magazine article, youth are committing suicide on the Pine Ridge Reservation at a rate 10 times higher than the national average. Then yesterday I received an emergency email as another string of teen suicides took place earlier this month. The despair on reservations is widespread, but the Lakota are especially impoverished with 89 per cent unemployment and a life expectancy equal to that of Somalia. Drugs, alcohol, gang and domestic violence keep the genocide intact. The few who do work are employed by BIA bureaucracy or the local casino.

Each winter, Lakota people are faced with fuel shortages or none at all, extremes of hunger, elders and children freezing to death. Worst of all, for many years, dozens of unsolved murders (some say hundreds) of Lakota have taken place in border towns like White Clay, Nebraska and Rapid City, SD. So it is for the most marginalized people in the US. Such killings are all too common in border towns near reservations; a much ignored atrocity. (See Harper’s Magazine December 2009 issue “Ghosts of Wounded Knee”)

I am deeply appalled at the invisibility of the genocidal circumstances inflicted upon the first peoples of the Americas. I am especially disheartened by the lack of interest, not to mention outright action, on the part of “peace” activists in addressing free trade genocide of Indigenous peoples here. Addressing it elsewhere seems preferable, important as that truly is. Integrating issues is critical to authentic unity.

Right now many celebrity activists, among others, are attempting to get humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza where 1400 killings took place a year ago at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces. Several women I was arrested with protesting the IMF and the World Bank in 2002 are on the front lines in Cairo. This is a wonderful use of privilege. The suffering in Gaza is deadly serious. It is the most densely populated region on earth under atrocious conditions enforced by Israel and the US.

85 activists were allowed into Gaza several days ago through Medea Benjamin’s pleas with Hose Mubarak’s wife. It was divisive as up to 100 were being allowed in and many felt it was diluting solidarity. Some, given the opportunity to go, chose to stay with the action in Cairo. Those that did get through marched on the other side of the wall with the Palestinians.

As of January 2, the protests continued with people successfully piling up on targets of Egyptian police to prevent them from being taken away. At least one man with his video camera on a tripod was saved from police apprehension in this way. Just heard on the radio that Egypt is the second largest recipient of military aid after Israel. Both countries ensure Gaza remains a place of extreme deprivation and misery

The day to day reports I receive from Starhawk are inspiring. The courage and skills of those standing for the Palestinians is so needed and I pray they succeed in getting the aid in as the situation is dire.

I must admit that i am jealous that I do not have the finances nor the freedom to travel the world fighting visibly for justice. The chance I recently had to go to Big Mountain was precious as working to see my child complete her education is my priority. Sometimes I feel that all people should cease life as usual and concentrate on saving our earth from deadly warming, ending all genocide and creating a just, loving, sane society. But that does not seem to be in the works. Even a nonstop Peace Camp on Vashon would be a step in right direction. We urgently need visible nonstop resistance to the vicious insanity that threatens us all daily.

As the final months of my 35 plus years of serial single mothering approaches, I feel a major crossroads ahead. I will be 60 when my youngest reaches 18. Never have I known activism without children, though on rare occasions, they stayed with friends. A major plus of my work at Big Mountain was the unconditional welcoming of me AND my children on this front line struggle against Peabody’s massive coal strip mine and the largest forced relocation of Indian peoples since the 1800’s. It has been the issue that has refined and shaped my approach to activism as a deeply radical nonviolent peace working mother.

These are times so serious that we may have no precedent. Major sacrifices are essential if we are to see any of the multitude of human rights emergencies addressed at all. Perhaps if we take on visible actions in our communities more single parents and voiceless will join.

What is happening on Pine Ridge is not unusual in areas of abject poverty spreading all over earth. Can we do anything? How about finally ending the siege of Gaza? What will we as a community do? I would rather act than wonder…

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

January 5, 1968: A mass movement advocating political and economic reforms, including increased freedom of speech, travel and an end to state censorship, began in Czechoslovakia when Alexander Dubcek came to power as the head of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party. “We shall have to remove everything that strangles artistic and scientific creativeness,” he said. The time later became known as “Prague Spring.”

January 7, 1953: President Harry S. Truman announced in his State of the Union address that the United States had developed a hydrogen (fusion) bomb.

January 8, 2003: Three activists, including Kate Berrigan (daughter of Phil) and Liz McAlister, rappelled down a 32-story skyscraper near the Los Angeles Auto Show and unfurled a banner reading “Ford: Holding America Hostage To Oil.” They had chosen Ford due to its having the lowest average fuel economy of any auto manufacturer, and that it was not living up to the reputation it put forth as being an environmental car company.

Pencil Shavings: Guest Column
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.

The Criminality of Forced Allopathic Medical Insurance
by Marjorie Rhodes

Forced medical insurance is a threat to the lives, health and freedom of millions of Americans who neither want, nor can afford, to buy into this forced allopathic medical insurance plan our government wants to ram down our throats.

For many Americans, allopathic medicine is against our beliefs, a violation of our religious or moral code. It’s like forcing vegetarians to eat meat, or forcing all Americans to have to be protestant, or forcing us to all have to be Republicans or Democrats. And it’s comparable to forcing non-drivers to have to buy auto-insurance.

Forced allopathic medical insurance discriminates against naturalpathic, Chinese, and Ayurvedic healthcare providers and people who choose these modalities over allopathy.

This forced allopathic insurance is designed to undermine these healthcare modalities; and put their practitioners out of business by tying up people’s money on allopathic insurance. And it’s forcing people to have to choose this insurance over the healthcare of their choice.

Furthermore, low income people will starve to death if they have to choose between putting food on the table or supporting the insurance industry. This is not a “healthcare’ plan at all. It’s just the opposite; it’s just our politicians selling out to the merchants of greed. It’s just more business as usual: the politicians in bed with the capitalists. Forced medical insurance is no doubt unconstitutional.

Call your congress person and your senators and tell them that you see through their very transparent pro-insurance-industry game. Tell them you don’t and won’t buy into it.

Americans, get off your behinds and fight for your rights, because the politicians are fighting against our rights.


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