Common Sense From Canberra – Who’da Thunk It?

I was convinced that nothing sensible could ever come out of Canberra (Australia’s Capital and seat of its Federal Parliament) but this is good news: Canberra to allow food to be grown on nature strips

Well, it’s a start. What I would like to see is when it becomes mandatory, or at least permitted and encouraged, for every city dweller in all Australian cities to grow vegetables …and not just on their nature strip.

Such a policy would save a lot of lives in the future, just like it did in WW2 in besieged Britain, and I am sure elsewhere also.

1451426069411Of course many city councils would have to reverse their stupid policy of mandatory planting of native trees there first …and pay the cost of having them removed.

I am talking about western developed nations here of course. It is fairly certain that other nations never adopted such idiotic rules.

Shane Rattenbury at the newly opened Canberra City Farm in late 2014. Photo: Jamila Toderas

 

There is a downside to this news I just realised.  Anyone who grows food at the roadside will also need to chain a Rottweiler to their fence to protect it.  This is because we do live in a world that is full of loonies, shitheads, and those who would not lift a finger to help themselves but would find it very easy to take for themselves the produce of other people’s hard work.

Maybe it will be better to wait until the age of cars and other motorised transport passes (won’t be too long now), because most of the loonies, shitheads and light fingered lazybones are likely to have disappeared too, if only because they would find it too much effort to walk anywhere.

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Bum Bitten

Here’s something to think about this week instead of all the techno fantasies that we want to think about, as reality bites us in the bum once again at the end of 2015 (a collective bum bite is what I’m talking about, you may not personally feel it, yet, but then again you might), and a promise of something to think about next week as Jim Kunstler sets to roll out his predictions for 2016 instead of all the techno fantasies that we want to think about, as reality gets set to bite us in the bum yet again at the start of a new year.

Looks like getting bum bitten is all we can expect from here on, until we wake up to reality, that is, and stop acting like 6 year olds.

US Saves ISIS Friends

On Dec 24th it was reported that a commander of volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi, who are operating alongside Iraqi army units) disclosed the US plots to evacuate ISIS leaders from the city of Ramadi as Iraqi army and popular troops are completing victory over the terrorist group.

Apparently, the battle for Ramadi was temporarily halted while US helicopters flew into the city (while still in ISIS hands) and extracted the terrorist leaders who were trapped there.

WTF! Of course, it makes absolute sense when you realise that ISIS was created by and is the love-child of the United States of America.

They obviously think they can get away with this sort of thing because nobody ‘back home’ will get to hear about it. Don’t they know that there is still a free press in some countries in the world, that is not interested in propagating the US version of history?

Astroturfing The Web

Occasionally it is advisable to return to basics.  To go back to first principles.

Even the best and most steadfast of us, over time, and under the powerful influences that surround us in this age of who knows what, tends to stray from the path that we set ourselves or to relax our guard even though it may be for only the briefest of moments  …and that can be disastrous and personally devastating.

And so, I dig out, dust off, and polish up, my first principle of living:

Trust No-one

I do the same with my second principle:

Believe Nothing

I examine both of these gems of wisdom, carefully and resolutely.

Trust no-one.  Who can I trust anyway.  No-one, not even myself initially, until each person has come to earn that trust.  Even that trust, at whatever level, even when earned, is an on-going thing that can so easily be lost again.

In order to be able to trust yourself fully, takes a lifetime of work, although much can be achieved through careful self-examination and observation, both in the early stages and as an ongoing process.  But by the stage of life that I have reached, I know myself pretty well.  I am aware of those parts of me that  I can trust without question and those parts of me that require constant scrutiny.  The same goes for those that are close to me and those that I have met briefly along the way.

I do not need to revisit that trust gaining process over and over, unless it has somehow been revealed as being misplaced, other than to keep a watchful eye through all that happens as time goes by and to re-evaluate if necessary, based on those things.

The same cannot be said for those persons, groups, organisations and other entities such as web sites and/or social media identities that I have just met or are yet to meet, or have read about or have been told about or referred to or who have been recommended to me.  Each of those relationships needs to be evaluated from scratch if I am to maintain the integrity level of the trust that I have bestowed.

A good piece of advice is:

Do Not Make Friends Easily

Make each of them earn your friendship.

Believe Nothing.  I could expound on this until the cows come home, but I want to get on to the matter I started this post for, so I will just use the quotation that is placed first in my list of favourite quotes on this site.  It is attributed to The Buddha.

Believe nothing, merely because you have been told it or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it.  Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher.  But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings, that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.
~ The Buddha

The “due examination and analysis” that the Buddha admonishes us to take in relation to anything that we are asked to believe, must be our own and no-one elses.  Of course, before we can do that examination and analysis we must be able to trust ourselves.  This is why ‘believe nothing’ is the second principle and not the first.

Astroturfing

I expect that most people reading this would already know that astroturf is a synthetic form of matting which resembles mown grass.  It is used as the playing surface, mainly on sports fields, where allowed and/or where real grass is difficult to cultivate and maintain.

That is not the sort of astroturfing I am talking about, although it does lend its name to that phenomenon.

That is enough talking from me.  I will let others tell you what Astroturfing The Web is all about.  First, take a look at this YouTube video  which I came across on the home page of What Does It Mean (which you may find interesting):

So far, so good?  Well, personally I don’t trust much of anything that is said on TEDx these days.  A lot of it is Astroturf.  But you decide for yourself.  I do think that this piece is genuine though.

Here is an excellent wiki type definition of astroturf.  Notice that I didn’t choose to take the Wikipedia definition (especially after watching that video).  This one is from CMD – The Center for Media and Democracy, which may itself be astroturfing us.  I don’t think so at this stage but you never know.  ‘Stay frosty’ as the Marines say.

I will finish with an excellent Aussie example of astroturfing, caught out and brought to light in our Senate proceedings.

Astroturfing, of course, is much more prevalent than that.  Much of what you read of social media, many NGOs, many lobby groups, many journalistic or ‘expert’ opinion pieces, are explicitly set up for, or are guilty of the practice of, astroturfing.

You, and I, are often their target.  They do not want, or they are paid to prevent, us from learning the truth.  We are to be kept in the dark like mushrooms, or are in other cases to be allowed to wander around in the fog of deception and misrepresentation about what is really going on in our world.

Have you been astroturfed today?

 

US Installs Nazi Puppets

You want proof that the Ukraine government, the puppet regime installed by the US so that they (the US) could get a foot in the door to expand NATO onto more of Russia’s borders (didn’t that work out well for them), are a bunch of Nazis?  Well here it is.  But, of course, we already knew that didn’t we?  Well, I have said it often enough so we ought to do.

A member of the Ukraine parliament is caught on camera singing praises to and saluting Adolf Hitler.  See the RT report: http://on.rt.com/70jc

 


I wonder what the average American Joe and Jane think of the sort of company their leaders keep and befriend?  I doubt if many of them even know of these things.

New Year, New War

New Year coming up  ….and it is unlikely to be happy.

New war also coming up …and it is likely to become WorldWar3.

At the centre of it all is Turkey, the world’s latest bad boy.  But is Turkey pursuing its own agenda or are the Turks, as a member of NATO, just under the thumb of their US masters of deceit and deception?  Oh, and, not to forget, warmongering.

See:  Obama’s “Worst Nightmare” Realized As Chinese Troops Flood Into Syria
See also: Putin Orders Military To Protect Kurds “At All Costs” As “War Of The Century” Nears
and: US Begs For Russian Help As ISIS Sarin Attack On Europe Warned Is “Just Days Away”
and: Russian intel spots 12,000 oil tankers & trucks on Turkey-Iraq border

Turkey, it appears, has sealed its own fate.  I just hope that your fate and my fate are not bound up with theirs or their NATO/US allies.

“If you invite a bear to dance, it’s not you who decides when the dance is over.”

Incidentally, you wonder why China is involving itself in this region?  Check out the first link above and it will become absolutely clear.  And don’t forget, ISIS is the creation and love-child of the United States of America.

cew3Image: source unknown

“We Stand Today On A Precipice Of Annihilation”

The dramatic quote that I have chosen as the title for this post comes from an article by Roy Scranton which appeared on the New York Times website dated 21 December 2015 (link below).

Whoever would have thought that one might see an article with the title:  We’re Doomed. Now What?  appearing in a major mainstream media source?  I was intrigued and had to take a look.

I didn’t find this piece myself, it came as a link in an email newsletter from Dave Pollard’s How To Save The World blog

21stoneweb-superjumboImage: Aly Song / Reuters

 

So, what did Roy Scranton have to say?  Did it live up to the excitement generated by the title?  Or was it just another beat-up?

Well, it started off quite well, better than that in fact.  I will repeat the first paragraph here as an appetiser which will I hope draw you in to read more in the article, and make up your own mind.

The time we’ve been thrown into is one of alarming and bewildering change — the breakup of the post-1945 global order, a multispecies mass extinction and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it.  Not one of us is innocent, not one of us is safe.  The world groans under the weight of seven billion humans; every new birth adds another mouth hungry for food, another life greedy for energy.

He then goes on to talk about how we tend to react to the situation once we realise that something is actually going on that may be important enough for us to consider, and says that “We respond according to our prejudices…”.  Quite true.  Then I actually learned something when he spoke of the different categories of prejudice, mentioning:

  • Right wing deniers – who think that the real problem is not Climate Change but only Terrorism or Refugees
  • Left wing deniers – who think that all the problems are fixable and controllable as a matter of political will
  • Accelerationists – who believe that all it takes is more technology
  • Incrementalists – whose answer is to just keep doing more of the same led by the leaders we already have
  • Activists – who want us to fight, even if it means losing

I don’t appear to fit into any of those categories somehow, but I can’t, offhand, think of a suitable group name for people like me.  I like to think of myself as a ‘Realist – who knows there is nothing we can do and we should just accept the consequences of the nice mess we have gotten ourselves into‘, but I’m sure there would be various objections to that on the basis of ‘what is real’ or ‘we can’t just lie down and give up’.  Did I say anything about ‘giving up’?  No.  Just that no matter what we do, it will make no overall difference.  It might make some difference for the individual though.  But there are no guarantees.  Oh, then how about ‘Pragmatist’?  Yes, that sounds quite important, and has some air of mystery about it.  Maybe that will do.

So, just for that little revelation, it was worth the read.  But there’s more.

Scranton went on to talk at some depth about nihilism and Nietzsche.  I thought at first he was talking about Bill Nye – The Science Guy (nihilism?).   I didn’t really, but it’s a nice line, don’t you think?

Personally, I may have at some stage been interested in pursuing such convoluted, cerebral, logical, arguments (not sure how the average New York Times reader would have reacted), but at 70 years of age I consider that I don’t have enough lucid minutes left to me to spend even some of them in trying to follow that sort of thing.  You may of course think differently.

However, I persevered by skipping along the lines until I came to something that required less energy outlay.  And I was pleased that I did.  I am going to join a few quotes from the piece together in what I think are some very relevant and interesting thoughts which everyone could benefit by considering at some length and with an appropriate degree of seriousness.  So, thank you Roy Scranton a) for getting this piece out there in mediaworld and b) for some of the fine things that you wrote.

We all see what’s happening, we read it in the headlines every day, but seeing isn’t believing, and believing isn’t accepting.  We respond according to our prejudices, acting out of instinct, reflex and training.

Meanwhile, as the gap between the future we’re entering and the future we once imagined grows ever wider, nihilism takes root in the shadow of our fear: if all is already lost, nothing matters anyway.

We stand today on a precipice of annihilation that Nietzsche could not have even imagined. There is little reason to hope that we’ll be able to slow down global warming before we pass a tipping point. We’re already one degree Celsius above preindustrial temperatures and there’s another half a degree baked in. The West Antarctic ice sheet is collapsing, Greenland is melting, permafrost across the world is liquefying, and methane has been detected leaking from sea floors and Siberian craters: it’s probably already too late to stop these feedbacks, which means it’s probably already too late to stop apocalyptic planetary warming. Meanwhile the world slides into hate-filled, bloody havoc, like the last act of a particularly ugly Shakespearean tragedy.

Yet it’s at just this moment of crisis that our human drive to make meaning reappears as our only salvation … if we’re willing to reflect consciously on the ways we make life meaningful — on how we decide what is good, what our goals are, what’s worth living or dying for, and what we do every day, day to day, and how we do it.

We can’t do it by clinging to the progressivist, profit-seeking, technology-can-fix-it ideology of fossil-fueled capitalism.  We can’t do it by trying to control the future.  We need to learn to let our current civilization die, to accept our mortality and practice humility (emphasis is mine).  We need to work together to transform a global order of meaning focused on accumulation into a new order of meaning that knows the value of limits, transience and restraint.

We were born on the eve of what may be the human world’s greatest catastrophe.  None of us chose this, not deliberately.  None of us can choose to avoid it either.  Some of us will even live through it.  What meaning we pass on to the future will depend on how well we remember those who have come before us, how wisely and how gently we’re able to shed the ruinous way of life that’s destroying us today, and how consciously we’re able to affirm our role as creators of our fated future (emphasis is mine).

I guess I can no longer say “You won’t see any of this in the mainstream media” 🙂

Old Arctic Sea Ice Disappears Over 25 Years

You may have experienced climate change for yourself.  It’s easy to do these days.  In most places on this planet, you just have to step outside for a while.

But it is not so easy to see the gradual accumulative changes that take place over years through annual cycles of ebb and flow. The short video below, mapping the destruction of Arctic Sea Ice over a 25 year period, put together from weekly satellite and surface data, allows us to see the effects play out in a time-span that we can relate to and grasp.

The original NOAA article presenting this video is here.

The ice that you can see melting and flowing in this video, mostly into the warmer waters of the Atlantic Ocean, will not be replaced in any of our lifetimes.  The Arctic region is warming faster than any other place on Earth and that warmth is acting as an engine (fueled not only by the Sun but also by the release of underwater and underground Methane deposits) for the growing climate disruption that is being experienced as yet mostly through erratic weather patterns across all of the Northern Hemisphere.

3102738-largeImage source

 

This will soon, increasingly, and is even now doing so, disrupt food production around the world.  It will also speed up the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, land-based ice 2-3 kilometres thick, causing several metres, perhaps tens of metres, more rise in sea level than official reports are prepared to admit.  Those are just two of the effects of climate change that we should be, but are generally not being, worried about.

greenland-ice-meltImage source

 

Please do not think, even for a second, that the Paris climate agreement will do anything to stop or even alter in any way the severity of those effects on life on Earth.

What To Do About That Jolly, Fat, Old, Man, Dressed In Red

It will be 2016 very soon.  Isn’t it time we gave the dreary Santa Claus story the old heave-ho and stopped telling lies to our children and teaching them that buying stuff is the way things are meant to be so they had better grow up to be happy little doyens of the consumer society.

It is not as though the modern Santa image has anything much in common in any case with the various medieval tales, myths and legends of so long ago that they no longer hold any relevance today.  No.  The modern Santa Claus image comes to us courtesy of Coca-Cola starting in the 1920s.  So, it is just an advertising gimmick for the consumer society.

Well, I guess that pretty much sums up the whole concept of modern Christmas anyway, so perhaps the two (modern Santa – modern Christmas) go hand in hand together.  It doesn’t mean that they have any relevance or meaning to actual Christmas.  But then actual Christmas (itself an imaginary excuse for a religious festival, made up partly randomly and partly to coincide with the pagan festival of Yule in order to convince pagans that by becoming Christians they weren’t really changing religion), no longer has any relevance to most people even in nominally Christian countries.

saintnick

But if you are a pagan, and still follow the old religion, then by all means you have every right, and perhaps some duty,  to keep on celebrating Yule, with all of its associated merriment and even Santa in his original incarnation as The Holly King.  But not Christmas.  That is now revealed as just some modern, consumerist, orgasm.  But if you are a pagan you would already know that wouldn’t you.

So, heck, for the rest of us, we may as well keep our modern Santa and Christmas and just keep on shopping, pissing and eating ourselves stupid.  Why not, eh?  Whyever not?  You have my blessing to do so.  I certainly have no intention of trying to stop you.  But I don’t think you will be doing that for long.

A Gift For Any Season

I have no intention of wishing anyone at this time of year a merry this or a happy new that or a jolly anything else.

If there is one message that I would wish to offer as 2015 draws to a close, it is this:

There is nothing in what we have done over the past year
to be merry, happy or jolly about.

We have messed up.
We have begun to realise that we have messed up.
Yet we continue to mess up.

We have over-developed our world economy

We have over-populated our planet

We have overshot all relevant environmental limits

All of this is encapsulated in a book of stunning photographic evidence of our progress titled ‘OVERdevelopment,  OVERpopulation,  OVERshoot’.

The book is freely available for online viewing and I offer a link to view it in its entirety here as a seasonal gift to you:

View the BookOVER