Saturday, February 10, 2007

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Saturday Goddess Blogging


Both a hunter and a protector of animals, Artemis was a virgin (whole and complete unto herself) Goddess. When her father Zeus offered to give Artemis anything that her heart desired, she claimed the right to run free in the forests forever, never marrying. You can still find her in wild, hidden places and in yourself when you act from your own truest core. Encyclopedia Mythica calls Artemis a Goddess of contradictions, recalling Walt Whitman's truth about all of our truest cores:

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Encuclopedia Mythica also relates that: Among the epithets given to Artemis are: Potnia Theron (mistress of wild animals) this title was mentioned by the great poet Homer; Kourotrophos (nurse of youths); Locheia (helper in childbirth); Agrotera (huntress); and Cynthia (taken from her birthplace on Mount Cynthus on Delos). When young girls reached puberty they were initiated into her cult, but when they decided to marry, which Artemis was not against, they were asked to lay in front of the altar all the paraphernalia of their virginity, toys, dolls and locks of their hair, they then left the domain of the virgin goddess.

Amy Sohphia Marashinsky says: Artemis has shot her arrow of selfhood into your life to help you [to] focus on yourself. Have you been too much at the service of others without makins sure [that] you get what you need for yourself? . . . Now is the time to take yourself back and celebrate and strengthen who you are. Artemis says that wholeness is nutured when you honor, respect, and give time to yourself.

Images found here, here, and here.

And I Am Dumb

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age, that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood, that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quick sand, that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

~Dylan Thomas

The Constitutional Ability And The Moral Responsibility

Those who voted for the war, those who voted to continue to support the war and those who voted to continue funding the war can all surely vote to stop the war and do what's right for our military personnel and nation.

Not in 2008 or 2009, but now

Damn. Tom Vilsack lays it out in the simplest terms possible. He also seems to get that the Bush junta has used up all of its Friedmans: Nearly a year ago, I went to Iraq to hear firsthand from U.S. troops, military leaders and Iraqis.

This is what I heard from our military commanders: If the Iraqi government can't provide better security for its people in six months, U.S. troops in central and southern Iraq should leave. That time has now come and gone -- and so should our servicemen and women who are needlessly in danger.

He concludes that: Congress has the constitutional ability and the moral responsibility to pass legislation cutting off funding for the status quo.

Now, the only question is whether the men and women in Congress will live up to that moral responsibility. Congress! Do it now!

Friday, February 09, 2007

So Mote It Be

Scientists to Vie for $25M Climate Prize
By TARIQ PANJA, Associated Press Writer

1 hour ago
LONDON - Sir Richard Branson on Friday announced a $25 million prize for the scientist who comes up with a way to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, comparing it to the 17th-century quest to revolutionize navigation by determining longitude.

The Virgin Group chairman was joined by former Vice President Al Gore and other leading environmentalists as he announced the challenge to find the world's first viable design to capture and remove carbon dioxide from the air.

I'm going to ask my Circle of Women to do magic to boost this project along. Who else is in?

Scientists, go here to claim your prize.

Friday Cat Blogging

In My Name. With My Tax Dollars. J'Accuse.


An Iraq Interrogator's Nightmare
By Eric Fair
Friday, February 9, 2007; Page A19

A man with no face stares at me from the corner of a room. He pleads for help, but I'm afraid to move. He begins to cry. It is a pitiful sound, and it sickens me. He screams, but as I awaken, I realize the screams are mine.

That dream, along with a host of other nightmares, has plagued me since my return from Iraq in the summer of 2004. Though the man in this particular nightmare has no face, I know who he is. I assisted in his interrogation at a detention facility in Fallujah. I was one of two civilian interrogators assigned to the division interrogation facility (DIF) of the 82nd Airborne Division. The man, whose name I've long since forgotten, was a suspected associate of Khamis Sirhan al-
The lead interrogator at the DIF had given me specific instructions: I was to deprive the detainee of sleep during my 12-hour shift by opening his cell every hour, forcing him to stand in a corner and stripping him of his clothes. Three years later the tables have turned. It is rare that I sleep through the night without a visit from this man. His memory harasses me as I once harassed him.

Despite my best efforts, I cannot ignore the mistakes I made at the interrogation facility in Fallujah. I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold the standards of human decency. Instead, I intimidated, degraded and humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values. I will never forgive myself.

American authorities continue to insist that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib was an isolated incident in an otherwise well-run detention system. That insistence, however, stands in sharp contrast to my own experiences as an interrogator in Iraq. I watched as detainees were forced to stand naked all night, shivering in their cold cells and pleading with their captors for help. Others were subjected to long periods of isolation in pitch-black rooms. Food and sleep deprivation were common, along with a variety of physical abuse, including punching and kicking. Aggressive, and in many ways abusive, techniques were used daily in Iraq, all in the name of acquiring the intelligence necessary to bring an end to the insurgency. The violence raging there today is evidence that those tactics never worked. My memories are evidence that those tactics were terribly wrong.

While I was appalled by the conduct of my friends and colleagues, I lacked the courage to challenge the status quo. That was a failure of character and in many ways made me complicit in what went on. I'm ashamed of that failure, but as time passes, and as the memories of what I saw in Iraq continue to infect my every thought, I'm becoming more ashamed of my silence.

Some may suggest there is no reason to revive the story of abuse in Iraq. Rehashing such mistakes will only harm our country, they will say. But history suggests we should examine such missteps carefully. Oppressive prison environments have created some of the most determined opponents. The British learned that lesson from Napoleon, the French from Ho Chi Minh, Europe from Hitler. The world is learning that lesson again from Ayman al-Zawahiri. What will be the legacy of abusive prisons in Iraq?

We have failed to properly address the abuse of Iraqi detainees. Men like me have refused to tell our stories, and our leaders have refused to own up to the myriad mistakes that have been made. But if we fail to address this problem, there can be no hope of success in Iraq. Regardless of how many young Americans we send to war, or how many militia members we kill, or how many Iraqis we train, or how much money we spend on reconstruction, we will not escape the damage we have done to the people of Iraq in our prisons.

I am desperate to get on with my life and erase my memories of my experiences in Iraq. But those memories and experiences do not belong to me. They belong to history. If we're doomed to repeat the history we forget, what will be the consequences of the history we never knew? The citizens and the leadership of this country have an obligation to revisit what took place in the interrogation booths of Iraq, unpleasant as it may be. The story of Abu Ghraib isn't over. In many ways, we have yet to open the book.

The writer served in the Army from 1995 to 2000 as an Arabic linguist and worked in Iraq as a contract interrogator in early 2004.

Torture + Silence = Collusion

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Chatting In the Noosphere

These days, there are far more Pagan blogs than there are hours in the day to read them, which is a pity because there are so many good ones. At times, it seems to me as if it's really all one grand conversation, even when it initialy appears as if we're discussing different topics.

Thorn's explained a bit more about why it's so important to her to move beyond "basic Wicca" -- in a world where she's bemoaning the lack of "real elders," I suspect she's going to have to become the elder that she wishes that she could find. Thorn's wonderful about emphasizing the need for daily practice and it's my humble experience that daily practice will get you through times of no teachers and sketchy thealogy better than great thealogy and amazing teachers will get you through times of no daily practice.

Diane Sylvan's been discussing the relevance of the Wiccan concept of the Wheel of the Year for a few weeks now, but she says something today that simply cannot be repeated often enough and that I think is directly related to Thorn's point: We practice an Earth religion, which means that your first task as a Wiccan is to enter into a relationship with the Earth. I'd add: first, last, and everything in between. If you are in relationship to the Earth, you're 99% of the way there with or without teachers. But you can't get there without a regular practice. And my experience is that paying attention to the Wheel of the Year -- dancing the Maypole in Thorn's earlier post -- is an important tool for achieving that relationship.

At the same time, Sara Sutterfield Winn adds the following to the conversation, although I think she imagined that she was talking about something entirely different: I am also reminded of how the keeping of our Holy Days, or the regular meditations/prayers/offerings we make (I struggle with this in particular, the discipline of daily practice, but I persevere, and the gods are at least understanding of my good intentions), or the time we spend even just preparing for ritual - the writing, the gathering up of offerings, the baking of bread, the placement on an altar, the singing - how all of these things sound out through the world like great messages, saying “here I am, waiting for you - these are my promises, I intend to keep them - I will not leave you - here is my passion - here is your blessing.”

Is it just me, or is it reallly one amazing conversation?

Happy Birthday, Susun Weed

My Witch's Calendar tells me that today is Susun Weed's birthday. Susun is one herbalist who actually knows what she's talking about. I've loved her regular columns in SageWoman. Happy Birthday, Susun; many happy returns of the day!

Here's Susun's advice for a soup to strengthen your immune system:

Cooking herbs and vegetables together for a long time extracts minerals, activates immune-strengthening phytochemicals, and increases the levels of available antioxidants. Raw foods weaken and stress the immune system. To make an immune-strengthening soup:

{ Chop at least half an onion per person and sauté in olive oil until translucent.
{ Add at least two cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped, per person and sauté for a minute.
{ Add two or more cups of water or vegetable broth per person.
{ Add one cup per person of chopped seasonal vegetables such as:

carrots, cabbage, celery, corn, burdock, turnips, potatoes, tomatoes, parsnips

(If using canned soup, begin here.)

{ Add one small handful of seaweed per person.
{ Add one ounce fresh, or one-half ounce dried mushrooms — any kind — per person.
{ Add one-quarter ounce dried tonic roots per person.
{ Add generous amounts of antioxidant seasoning herbs and some sea salt.
{ Bring to a boil; simmer for an hour.
{ Turn off fire and let your soup mellow in a cool place overnight.
{ Serve it the next day, heated up, with freshly-baked bread and organic raw milk cheese.

Seaweeds build powerful immunity. Kombu and wakame are excellent in soups. Cut them small; they swell to 5-7 times their dried size when cooked.

All mushrooms strengthen the immune system. Dried shitake are available and inexpensive at Chinese grocery stores. Reishii, maitake, and other medicinal mushrooms are delicious, as are the more common button mushrooms, portabellos, and dried porcinni.

Tonic roots help our livers, lymph, and kidneys work well, protecting us from infection. I often put these tough roots into a jelly bag and drop that into the soup so I can fish it out before serving. I use one or more of these, fresh or dried, depending on what I have available:

{ Siberian ginseng
{ Astragalus
{ Burdock
{ Dandelion
{ Chicory
{ Yellow dock
{ American ginseng

Seasoning herbs from the mint family — rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, and sage — are loaded with antioxidants. I don't just season the soup with them; I add them by the handful for the greatest impact on my immune strength.

What A Difference A Day Makes -- If The Day Is 11/7

Imagine this! The government can actually function in view of its citizens -- when the government is run by Democrats.

I love this story; it's as if a breath of Spring air is starting to blow through Washington, D.C., no matter how frigid the actual temperature may be at the moment.

At Iraq Hearing, Protest Shushed But Not Halted
Thursday, February 8, 2007; Page A19

Pink-clad war protesters applauded, chimed in repeatedly and stood for hours in the back row holding up peace signs -- but were only mildly chastised yesterday by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) at a hearing with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

Before Democrats took charge of Congress, such protesters were usually quickly hustled out of hearing rooms by Capitol police. But yesterday they served almost as a Greek chorus. "This was definitely exceptional," said Toby Blome of San Francisco, wearing a pink hat to represent her group, Code Pink: Women for Peace.

The tone was set early on when Skelton politely asked two standing protesters to "please be seated so the people behind you can see." One of them responded that she was a constituent and then complied. "Thank you very much," Skelton said.

The half-dozen demonstrators then moved to the back row and continued standing, and speaking out.

"Americans want a peace plan! Stop the fighting," one said, interrupting Gates.

Skelton tapped his wooden gavel. "I formally request that those in the audience causing any disruption cease and never . . . resume it," he said. But the warning went unheeded. At least five more times, seeming to realize they were safe from the hovering police, the protesters called out: "It's the truth, sir!" they said about soldiers with combat stress. "You could try a cease-fire," they commented on the Baghdad plan.

. . .

As Skelton left the hearing room, Medea Benjamin, a Code Pink founder, came up and shook his hand. "Thank you!" she said.

Asked about his tolerance for the protesters, Skelton's spokeswoman, Lara Battles, said: "It's a public hearing, and members of the public are allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights as long as they don't disrupt the hearing. People appeared to be complying."

-- Ann Scott Tyson

The Goal Of It Must Be Human Liberation

Jack Hitt, writing in Mother Jones has some good things to say about Hillary:

Ask your friends if their fear and loathing of Hillary has anything to do with her being a woman, and you'll undoubtedly get a denial. That might be someone else's problem, but certainly not mine. But after a Lazio moment, or when John Edwards' wife told guests at a Ladies' Home Journal luncheon that her "choices" had made her "happier" and more "joyful" than Hillary, an epiphany can occur, as it did for The Nation's Katha Pollitt, who wrote, "If people keep making sexist attacks on Hillary Rodham Clinton, I may just have to vote for her. That means you, Elizabeth Edwards!" One has to wonder, especially considering the massive voter support she's received in two elections, if Hillary doesn't already have her own hidden vote: not just feminist columnists, but moderate and even Republican women who might exult in [hating Hillary] until they step into the seclusion of the voting booth, where all the watercooler chitchat, pissy remarks, and catty complaints fall away to reveal a working woman getting harassed in a man's world—and they recognize what they see.

Hillary is an icon of our most transformative personal revolution. Racial integration was about bringing excluded people to a metaphorical and literal lunch counter that was already there. A public place. But the feminist revolution was about remaking the private world, the nest and resting place for all us careerists.

Hillary explained it in that notorious speech at Wellesley in 1969. She said, "But we also know that to be educated, the goal of it must be human liberation. A liberation enabling each of us to fulfill our capacity so as to be free to create within and around ourselves." She was in the first class of women's libbers, back when "the Working Woman" was more an idea than a reality and the future held infinite possibility. She left Wellesley fired up with the rhetoric of Steinem and Friedan. They had revealed to the world the new theory; she would show them how it worked in practice. Hillary is the real revolutionary: She had a career. She had a family. She had a husband with a career. They were both ambitious boomers—perhaps the most ambitious. They wanted not just good jobs but the very best of all possible jobs. And every step of the way she demanded and got—to use the old-school rhetoric—the freedom to choose.

That language pops up with Hillary from time to time, such as one curious moment during her first Senate campaign when men and women, liberals and conservatives, all still had inflamed opinions on whether she should stay in her marriage or not. Asked after a speech about her decision to remain with Bill, she said: "I fought all my life for women to make their own choices, in their personal and professional lives. I made mine."

How retro-1970s an answer is that? Hillary is still talking that talk and walking that walk, even though the revolution never really worked out as drafted. Those day care and health care support systems never arrived. Glass ceilings appeared, lower pay persisted. Feminism gained an angry militant opposition that now works to outlaw abortion state by state. Without widespread public support, the movement fell onto the shoulders of the individual women who could tough it out, women like Sister Frigidaire, the woman who could visit Buffalo 26 times. A lot of women just got tired. Many shrugged off the fight for full professional independence and happily went home to raise the kids. Feminists gamely tried to make the argument that their intention all along was to allow any of these fine choices to be made. But a lot of compromises were made all around. Now Gloria Steinem is like some oldest living Confederate widow occasionally showing up on TV to remind us what it was like, back in the day. Then, a certain ideal seemed inevitable—the feminist enjoying both the pleasures of motherhood and the Eisenhower-era man's life of full professional reward. Of those idealists, Hillary is arguably the only one still in our face.

In her Wellesley speech, she concluded with a poem, a portion of which eerily captures the trajectory of the woman she would become: "And the purpose of history is to provide a receptacle / For all those myths and oddments / Which oddly we have acquired / And from which we would become unburdened / To create a newer world / To transform the future into the present."

History's receptacle. And an entire nation has been filling it with our myths and oddments ever since: Hillary Clinton. Who soldiers on, even as the rest of America has backed off from 1970s-style feminism just a little (or a lot). Once upon a time, to use the old-school rhetoric again, people like her said, "I can have it all." She wholeheartedly believed it. She would like to have it all. And in two years, she just might get it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Go Plant A Seed

T. Thorn Coyle says:

[M]ost of us are not on board with the project of deep self-transformation, and those of us who are just haven't been at it long enough. Where are our deep polythealogians, grappling with issues of soul development, or what we really believe or experience about our Gods? Where are our practitioners who have practiced so diligently [that] we know [that] they are masters because they radiate kick ass centeredness and wisdom rather than just raw power?

How many Pagan or Magickal Elders do you know whom you just want to stand near because they give off some energy you wish to learn from? For myself, I can think of three, but that is all. And I've met a lot of people in my travels. I've had people tell me they were Elders because they'd been around for quite awhile, but one glance showed their lives and energy fields were in rather a mess. Nice people, and on their path, I'm sure, but not people [with whom] I would wish to study . . . .

Most Witches I know don't even have much interest in talking about their practice and development, nor do they have much sophistication in mapping their inner states and thinking about how that fits in with their theology. Ceremonialists are better in at least having theory around their practice, so I end up talking with them more often than not, when I'm working through a knotty piece of practice bumping up against theory. [Cudos to Thorn if she can actually talk with a ceremonialist. I sure as hell haven't ever been able to do so.] Or I talk with a Buddhist friend who's been practicing for 30 years and really gets my project.

Here are two other examples I'm thinking of: I saw an ad[] today for a book that was supposed to be "beyond Wicca 101". What was the subject matter? Was it about learning spiritual integration and how to celebrate the [E]arth and body while developing all the parts of self and soul? Was it an examination of non-duality as it intersects with polytheism? No. It was on "counter-spells". Now, I know that some of the dearth of the books I've described is due to the shyness of the publishing world, because they don't understand us well enough yet. But I would hazard to guess that some of the smaller esoteric houses would publish something on the topics I proposed. The second example is a big conference I'm speaking at soon. I and an acquaintance [Thorn, if you want to be serious, speak seriously. "An aquaintance and I"] proposed a panel on "Pagans and Contemplation". I thought the conference would snap it up because it was a new topic and we had made sure to get several "big names" from various traditions on the panel. Nope. It was rejected.

My point is, we still have a long way to go. I do see inroads being made, but I also see many of us stuck in a prolonged adolescence of spirit. That adolescence has its fun aspects, which I can appreciate, believe you me! I like dancing around a Maypole as much as the next person. But I also think it is time for us to grow up. I think we are ready. In all our diversity, we can have room for Maypole dancing, mead drinking, and deep soul exploration.

For me, this is the unique beauty of our religious forms: we don't need to give up the joys of the body and the dance of the seasons in order to develop our minds, hearts[,] and souls. That is something strong we have to offer the world today.

And I respect that.

And I agree with her.


This has nothing to do with why Kornfield doesn't "take Wiccans seriously." The answer to that question lies in patriarchy. Pure and simple. Really, Thorn, how many xians or jews or buddhists do you know who meet the exacting standards that you apply? Why would you imagine that Kornfield applies those same standards? You're a smart writer; don't confuse topics this way.

In response to Thorn's larger point, I have to say: Look, Wicca always was, and likely always will be, a religion for the common person, for the person who finds a bit of divinity in getting drunk and laid on Beltane, who finds a bit of mystery and meaning in the Turning of the Wheel, who plants some seeds and goes, "Whoooa!". And I adore it for that; that's a huge part of what attracted me to Wicca. But let's not kid ourselves that Wicca is very different from Hinduism or the Baptists or the Catholics in this regard.

Thorn, and a few others, will want to go further, to find more. And that's cool, as well. Wicca needs to develop, just as catholicism did, a serious theaology and a serious method of deep spiritual practice (Oh, hell, I'm a hedge witch. Go plant a seed; spend a generation or four thinking about that; then come back and see me. I'll give you another seed. That's really serious and has the potential to change our planet and feed the embodied souls left alive on her.) I've never found the ceremonialists to have anything to say except for the names of various "spirits" but YMMV.

But let's not confuse politics with the need for thealogy. Our opponents surely don't.

Photo found here.

Please Remember


We're all made of starstuff and the Sun is busy making love to a chemical in almost every leaf on the Planet. What was (carbon) is busy becoming what will be (carbon).

And Ceridwen stirs and Ceridwen stirs.

May it be so for you.


Really interesting article in the current issue of NewStatesman (written by an author with an interest in the engineering company that the article discusses) concerning what we'll need to change (answer: everything) if we want to save the Earth.

[R]apid urbanization demands that we ask [what we should be doing differently when we build cities.] It is expected that by 2030, 60 per cent of the world's popultion will be urban dwellers.

This poses a considerable infrastructure problem. What kind of growth could it be? Is it possible to make an urban centre not just carbon-neutral, but carbon-positive? Can new cities be planet-firendly? Our future is very tied in to how we resolve and manage growth of our cities. . . .

[Thus] Arup, the civil engineering company responsble for the Sydney Opera House, the Pompidou Centre and Tate Modern is creating
Dongtan, the world's first eco-city, on an island off Shanghai. [One wonders if they've allowed for rising sea levels or built some sort of defense against same?]

Dongtan . . . will be a city for hundredes of thousands and as close to carbon-neutral as is possible today. All housing will be within seven minutes' walk of public transport. Most citizens will work within the city, which will produce sufficient electricity and heat for its own use, entirely from renewable sources. There wil be no emissions from vehicles. Food will be produced on the island. Buildings (of local materials) will use traditional and new construction techniques.

And yet it is not good enough. . . . Population shifts, increasing scarcity and the wanton consumption of arable land and natural resources (renewable and non-renewable) are pushing us ever closer to global disaster.

This is a crucial and sobering point in history. Despite setbacks and mistakes, progressive national and local governments are taking the initiative. There is still time for corrective action.

Our future is very much ours to decide It will not utlimately depend on technology or the economy. What we leave to those that come after us will be determined by us, and whether or not we rise to the challenge [that] we now face.

Photo found here.

One Of These Men Lost His Job; The Other Appears On Major Televisions Shows And Writes Columns In All The Major Newspapers.

Ward Churchill called the people who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center "Little Eichmanns" in an attempt to make the point that America's financial and corporate interests were culpable for America's policies in the Middle East -- policies that Churchill believed led to the 9/11 attacks. (I've always wanted to punch Churchill in the mouth for apparently considering the deaths of janitors, food service workers, and messengers "collateral damage." This was real life, not some "Bridge of San Luis Rey," vehicle for Churchill's message.)

Dinesh D'Souza said that people in the "cultural left" (and New York City is certainly the center of the "cultural left" in the minds of D'Souza and his ilk) "are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world. The Muslims who carried out the 9/11 attacks were the product of this visceral rage, some of it based on legitimate concerns . . . Thus without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened." (I've always wanted to punch D'Souza in the mouth for being one of the dumbest, most opportunistic twerps to ever misuse the English language.)

Ward Churchill, according to Wikipedia "has been "relieved of his duties by [University] interim chancellor Phil DiStefano . . . ." as a result of an investigation begun only after the American rightwing erupted in criticism of Churchill's essay on the causes of the 9/11 attacks. Dinesh D'Souza, according to Media Matters, has been allowed to promote his blame-America-first book "in four major newspapers and [has] appeared in interviews with all three major cable news channels to discuss his latest book The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 (Doubleday, 2007)."

Which, I suppose, just goes to show that IOKIYAR.

From: On The Justice of Roosting Chickens by Ward Churchill:

On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens – along with some half-million dead Iraqi children – came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well.

The Iraqi youngsters, all of them under 12, died as a predictable – in fact, widely predicted – result of the 1991 US "surgical" bombing of their country's water purification and sewage facilities, as well as other "infrastructural" targets upon which Iraq's civilian population depends for its very survival. . . . As things stand, including the 1993 detonation at the WTC, "Arab terrorists" have responded to the massive and sustained American terror bombing of Iraq with a total of four assaults by explosives inside the US. That's about 1% of the 50,000 bombs the Pentagon announced were rained on Baghdad alone during the Gulf War (add in Oklahoma City and you'll get something nearer an actual 1%).

They've managed in the process to kill about 5,000 Americans, or roughly 1% of the dead Iraqi children (the percentage is far smaller if you factor in the killing of adult Iraqi civilians, not to mention troops butchered as/after they'd surrendered and/or after the "war-ending" ceasefire had been announced).

In terms undoubtedly more meaningful to the property/profit-minded American mainstream, they've knocked down a half-dozen buildings – albeit some very well-chosen ones – as opposed to the "strategic devastation" visited upon the whole of Iraq, and punched a $100 billion hole in the earnings outlook of major corporate shareholders, as opposed to the U.S. obliteration of Iraq's entire economy.

With that, they've given Americans a tiny dose of their own medicine.. This might be seen as merely a matter of "vengeance" or "retribution," and, unquestionably, America has earned it, even if it were to add up only to something so ultimately petty.

From Media Matters concerning Dinesh D'Souza's new book that also claims that Americans are to blame for the attacks of 9/11:

I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the nonprofit sector, and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world. The Muslims who carried out the 9/11 attacks were the product of this visceral rage, some of it based on legitimate concerns, some of it based on wrongful prejudice, but all of it fueled and encouraged by the cultural left. Thus without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened (Pages 1-2). . . . Asked by Colbert on the January 16 edition of The Colbert Report whether he "agrees with some of the things these radical extremists are against in America," D'Souza replied: "I agree with it." . . . Asserting on Page 21 that 9-11 was "a message" from Osama bin Laden and other "Islamic radicals" that the United States is a "repulsive sewer" and an "immoral, perverted society," D'Souza concludes: "Thus we have the first way in which the cultural left is responsible for 9/11. The left has produced a moral shift in American society that has resulted in a deluge of gross depravity and immorality." D'Souza asserts on Pages 122-123 that the "radical Muslim critique" of America largely relates to the belief that there is "no moral standard" condemning licentious behavior, concluding on Page 130, "It seems that there are none, just as the Muslims allege." On Page 131, D'Souza adds that the "Muslim case against American popular culture" is actually "understated" if one does not also take into account that America's "cultural depravity" is "actively championed by leading voices on the cultural left." He states on Page 119 that "[t]he accusation of decadence against the West is obviously valid in one sense: Western societies (including America) are not reproducing themselves."

D'Souza similarly suggested in his Christian Science Monitor op-ed that "the radical Muslims [are] right," and that "pious Muslims ... rightly fear that this new morality will destroy their religion and way of life."
D'Souza bemoaned in his Post op-ed that Warren Bass, senior editor of the Post's Book World section, claimed D'Souza "think[s] Jerry Falwell was 'on to something' when he blamed the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on pagans, gays and the ACLU." Yet while D'Souza correctly noted in the op-ed that his book's argument "has nothing to do with Falwell's suggestion that 9/11 was God's judgment on the ACLU and the feminists for their sins," he did not address his assertion in the book that Falwell nonetheless stumbled upon the true parties responsible for 9/11:

"The real issue raised by Falwell's comments is entirely secular. What impact did the abortionists, the feminists, the homosexual activists, and the secularists have on the Islamic radicals who conspired to blow up the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Unfortunately this crucial question got buried, and virtually no one has raised it publicly" (Page 5).

D'Souza goes on to assert throughout the book that the groups Falwell targeted provoked the terrorists' hatred of America by exporting their values to the Muslim world.

In The Enemy at Home, D'Souza asserts that bin Laden "developed his theory of American weakness during the Clinton years," because "[i]t was [former President Bill] Clinton, after all, who ordered the withdrawal of American troops from Mogadishu [Somalia]." D'Souza dismisses the notion that Republican President Ronald Reagan could have similarly emboldened bin Laden by pulling American forces out of Beirut, Lebanon, after an attack on U.S. troops there. "Although Reagan had ordered the pullout of America troops following the 1982 embassy bombing in Beirut, Muslim radicals recognized that Reagan was a strong leader," D'Souza writes (Page 213).

. . .

In the book, D'Souza touts the words of criticism bin Laden has issued about U.S. culture, quoting extensively from bin Laden's November 2002 "Letter to America" that criticized the United States for its "oppression, lies, immorality, and debauchery" (Pages 102-103), while downplaying one of bin Laden's major stated reasons, in the letter and elsewhere, for opposing the United States: The American troop presence in the Middle East. Rather than quoting bin Laden's frequent criticisms of this policy, D'Souza simply asserts that bin Laden's "occasional condemnations" of America's military presence in the Middle East -- as well as his criticism of America's support for Israel -- "must be understood in a metaphorical sense" (Page 100). Without citing bin Laden saying so himself, D'Souza suggests that bin Laden opposes a U.S. military presence in the Middle East only because he sees U.S. foreign policy as "the vehicle for the coercive transmission of corrupt American values to the Muslim world":

"Does the radical Islamic case against America, then, not have a foreign policy component? Of course it does. But as bin Laden and his associates see it, U.S. foreign policy is the vehicle for the coercive transmission of corrupt American values to the Muslim world" (Page 103).

Earlier, D'Souza states as fact that "Islamic hatred of America ... is not based on the presence of American troops abroad" (Page 25).

But in his Post op-ed, D'Souza went even further in seeking to discredit this alternative explanation for bin Laden's hatred of America, setting up a straw man argument that "Bin Laden isn't upset because there are U.S. troops in Mecca, as liberals are fond of saying. (There are no U.S. troops in Mecca.)" D'Souza cited no examples of liberals explaining bin Laden's fury under the mistaken assumption that the United States has a military presence in Mecca, either in the op-ed or upon explaining that "there are no American troops in Mecca" in his book (Page 100). In his appearance on the January 17 edition of CNN's Paula Zahn Now, D'Souza falsely claimed that bin Laden "talks about U.S. troops in Mecca" in the November 2002 "Letter to America."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I'm an old woman and I'm entitled, at least so I tell myself, to one or two rituals that have no purpose other than my own pleasure. For almost a dozen years, I've traipsed down to Georgetown once a month to have R. do my hair. We have a system, R. & I. We say hello. I grab the latest W and the latest Architectural Digest. R. gets me a bottle of water and then we don't talk while he does my hair. Finally, just as he's finishing up, R. will dish a bit of Capitol Hill gossip to me and I act suitably impressed.

Then, if it's summer, I take myself to dinner at Cafe La Ruche and, if it's winter, I head over to La Chaumerie. The food's better at La Chaumerie, but Cafe La Ruche has a lovely hidden patio. Tonight, with the temperature a bit below 20 degrees, I walked the few blocks to La Chaumerie as fast as I possibly could walk.

The fire was burning in the fireplace. The oysters were as fresh as always. The crab and mushroon crepes were as perfect as they always are. The Suaternes was perfect. The waitress was as attentive, but also as nonobtrusive, as she always is and I managed to read a good chunk of the brief that I'd brought along with me. The ladies at the next table discussed their purchases from Ann Hand and then the Native American chants that one of them is transcribing.

I love Washington, D.C.


More like this!

Via Witchvox comes a discussion of an interesting bit of political theatre:

By Associated Press OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Proponents of same-sex marriage have introduced an initiative that would put a whole new twist on traditional unions between men and women: It would require heterosexual couples to have kids within three years or else have their marriages annulled.

Initiative 957 was filed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, which was formed last summer after the state Supreme Court upheld Washington's ban on same-sex marriage. In that 5-4 ruling, the court found that state lawmakers were justified in passing the 1998 Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts marriage to unions between a man and woman.

Under I-957, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriages would be subject to annulment.

All other marriages would be defined as "unrecognized" and people in them would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits.

"Absurd? Very," the group says on its Web site, which adds it is planning two more initiatives involving marriage and procreation. "But there is a rational basis for this absurdity. By floating the initiatives, we hope to prompt discussion about the many misguided assumptions" underlying the Supreme Court's ruling.

. . .

Cheryl Haskins, executive director of Allies for Marriage & Children, [reacted:] "It's absurd," she said.

Haskins said opponents of same-sex marriage "have never said that the sole purpose of marriage is procreation."

"When we talk about defending the institution of marriage, we're talking about the union of a man and a woman," she said. "Some of those unions produce children and some of them don't."

With I-957, "you're dictating people's choices in a way that is utterly ridiculous," she said.

However, [the director of the group introducing the proposed legislation,]noted that the Supreme Court's majority decision specifically mentioned procreation throughout.

The opinion written by Justice Barbara Madsen concluded that "limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers the state's interests in procreation and encouraging families with a mother and father and children biologically related to both."

Gadow said the argument is unfair when you're dealing with same-sex couples who are unable to have children together.

"What we are trying to do is display the discrimination that is at the heart of last year's ruling," he said.
. . .

Supporters of I-957 must gather at least 224,800 valid signatures by July 6 to put it on the November ballot.

The measure's backers said the two additional initiatives they plan would prohibit divorce or separation when a married couple has children, and would make having a child together the equivalent of marriage.

Gadow said his goal is to raise $300,000 to spend on advertising on the first initiative.

Graphic found here.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Feast Of The Red Dragon

If you're free this afternoon, you've got to go.

The DC Radical Faeries invite you to the 2007
Red Dragon Feast

All Hail the Red Dragon!
All Hail the Life Giving Blood!

When: Saturday, February 17th 2pm – 5pm
Where: Universalist National Memorial Church, 16th ST and S St NW, Washington, DC
Dress Code: Anything as long as it’s RED!!
Cost: $10 Suggested donation, but no one turned away for lack of funds, and whatever you buy at auction

Please RSVP and purchase tickets in advance. Please, if you cannot attend, consider sending a donation. The ticket and donation buttons will be available on line soon. Please check back.

If you don’t want to make a donation online you can send a check or money order to:

DC Radical Faeries
773 Fairmont St NW
Washington, DC
Attn: Red Dragon

**What is the Red Dragon Feast?**

The Red Dragon Feast is an annual magical working, feast and fundraiser auction for healing blood-borne diseases.

**What Happens at the Red Dragon Feast?**
Our local practice of the Red Dragon Feast is to…
gather near Valentines Day wearing red outfits
drum and dance with the Red Dragon
feast on red foods
offer raucus toasts of red drink
honor all who have died of blood borne disease
host a raffle and auction to raise funds for charity
call for strength for healers
call for comfort and healing for all who suffer

**What should I bring?**

Please, do NOT bring food. Food and drinks will lovingly be provided to you.

Please, DO bring fabulous items for auction (better if they are Red and/or Dragony).
Please do bring cash and checks for tax deductible donations, and to buy auction items.
Please wear your dancing shoes.
Please, wear RED!
Please register online.

**Which church is it?**

The Universalist National Memorial Church at 16th & S. If you’re not sure which one it is, please check the website or contact us.

**How do I get there?**


Red line: Depart Dupont Circle station. Exit the north (Q St.) side. Exit right from the escalator, walk to New Hampshire Ave., and turn left, walking until you reach S St. Turn right, you will find the church on the corner of 16th St. The southbound S2 or S4 bus, leaving the Silver Spring station, stops in front of the church, but the ride is over a half hour.

Green line: Depart at U St/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station. Exit the 13th Street side, and walk, in the direction of the Rite Aid pharmacy, to 16th St. The church is two full blocks left, at S St.

Blue or Orange lines: Depart at McPherson Square, Metro Center, or Federal Triangle stations and take the S2 or S4 bus ($1.20; $0.35 with transfer from Metrorail) to the church. The easiest bus transfer is from the McPherson Square stop — there is a bus-shelter catty-corner from the subway exit — but the Metro Center station will feel safer after dark. Exit 11th Street; there is a bus shelter on the same corner.


From Virginia:
Cross the river over the 14th Street Bridge (I-395). Take 14th Street north to S St. NW, and turn left.

or Take the Memorial Bridge, take the E St. exit, turn left on to 18th Street. Turn right on S St. and drive to 16th Street.

From Maryland:
From the Beltway, exit on Georgia Avenue, heading south. Merge onto 16th St exit, and drive into the District. The church is about five miles ahead.

**Who are the DC Radical Faeries?**

The DC Radical Faeries is a community-based organization of men and women who explore queer spirituality. We promote an understanding of Earth-based religions and interfaith cooperation. We welcome all queer spirits, straight, gay, bi, trans, two-spirited or searching. We welcome people from all walks of life who want to share and nurture their essential fabulosity. For the past seven years we have hosted weekly and annual events open to the community. We are incorporated as a non-profit organization in the District of Columbia, and are also a federally recognized 501(c)3 tax exempt organization.

**More Info**

Want to volunteer before, during or after the event?
Want to offer auction items? Want more information?
OR the
DC Faerie Phone Line: 202-332-4697


Media Matters reports that:

The repetitive and dismal headlines from Afghanistan, even if largely tucked away, tell the story of our "other war" -- more U.S. (and NATO) troops, more military aid, more reconstruction funds, more fighting, more casualties, heavier weaponry, more air power, more bad news, and predictions of worse to come -- and under such headlines lie deeper tragedies that seldom make the headlines anywhere. Ann Jones, who has spent much time as a humanitarian aid worker in Afghanistan these last years and has written a moving book, Kabul in Winter, on her experiences, turns to one of those tragedies: the subject that used to be the pride of the Bush administration -- the "liberation" of Afghan women.

She paints a powerful portrait of the actual state of Afghan women, whose "liberation" has proven mostly theoretical. After all, 85 percent of Afghan women are illiterate, about 95 percent are estimated to be routinely subject to violence in the home, where most are confined. ("Public space and public life," Jones writes, "belong almost exclusively to men. President Karzai heads the country while his wife, a qualified gynecologist with needed skills, stays at home.") But above all, Jones considers the fact that women are "by custom and practice, the property of men. They may be traded and sold like any commodity."

For the present fate of women, especially in the southern provinces of Afghanistan, where the Taliban presence is on the rise, she concludes:

I blame George W. Bush, the 'liberator' who looked the other way. In 2001, the United States military claimed responsibility for these provinces, the heart of Taliban country; but diverted to adventures in the oilfields of Iraq, it failed for five years to provide the security international humanitarians needed to do the promised work of reconstruction... It's winter in Afghanistan now. No time to make war. But come spring, the Taliban promise a new offensive to throw out Karzai and foreign invaders. The British commander of NATO forces has already warned: 'We could actually fail here.' He also advised a British reporter that Westerners shouldn't even mention women's rights when more important things are at stake. As if security is not a woman's right. And peace.

You know, if I had a dime for every time women have been told that their rights will have to "wait" while "more important" things are being settled, I'd be a rich old woman.

Back in 2001, when it served the Bush junta's interests, here's what Laura Bush, a woman who'd never before cared a whit for how badly other women were oppressed, as long as she was free to "read, smoke, and admire," had to say about the plight of women in Afghanistan:

Radio Address by Mrs. Bush
Crawford, Texas

Good morning. I'm Laura Bush, and I'm delivering this week's radio address to kick off a world-wide effort to focus on the brutality against women and children by the al-Qaida terrorist network and the regime it supports in Afghanistan, the Taliban. That regime is now in retreat across much of the country, and the people of Afghanistan -- especially women -- are rejoicing. Afghan women know, through hard experience, what the rest of the world is discovering: The brutal oppression of women is a central goal of the terrorists. Long before the current war began, the Taliban and its terrorist allies were making the lives of children and women in Afghanistan miserable. Seventy percent of the Afghan people are malnourished. One in every four children won't live past the age of five because health care is not available. Women have been denied access to doctors when they're sick. Life under the Taliban is so hard and repressive, even small displays of joy are outlawed -- children aren't allowed to fly kites; their mothers face beatings for laughing out loud. Women cannot work outside the home, or even leave their homes by themselves.

The severe repression and brutality against women in Afghanistan is not a matter of legitimate religious practice. Muslims around the world have condemned the brutal degradation of women and children by the Taliban regime. The poverty, poor health, and illiteracy that the terrorists and the Taliban have imposed on women in Afghanistan do not conform with the treatment of women in most of the Islamic world, where women make important contributions in their societies. Only the terrorists and the Taliban forbid education to women. Only the terrorists and the Taliban threaten to pull out women's fingernails for wearing nail polish. The plight of women and children in Afghanistan is a matter of deliberate human cruelty, carried out by those who seek to intimidate and control.

Civilized people throughout the world are speaking out in horror -- not only because our hearts break for the women and children in Afghanistan, but also because in Afghanistan we see the world the terrorists would like to impose on the rest of us.

All of us have an obligation to speak out. We may come from different backgrounds and faiths -- but parents the world over love our children. We respect our mothers, our sisters and daughters. Fighting brutality against women and children is not the expression of a specific culture; it is the acceptance of our common humanity -- a commitment shared by people of good will on every continent. Because of our recent military gains in much of Afghanistan, women are no longer imprisoned in their homes. They can listen to music and teach their daughters without fear of punishment. Yet the terrorists who helped rule that country now plot and plan in many countries. And they must be stopped. The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women.

In America, next week brings Thanksgiving. After the events of the last few months, we'll be holding our families even closer. And we will be especially thankful for all the blessings of American life. I hope Americans will join our family in working to insure that dignity and opportunity will be secured for all the women and children of Afghanistan.

Have a wonderful holiday, and thank you for listening.

What does Laura have to say today? Listen here to her latest remarks on this subject

Sublime Acts Of Patriotism

From today's EEI newsletter:

Journal-Constitution: Patriotism Could Drive Energy Independence

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in an editorial, said in lieu of strong presidential action, it is up the American people to lead the fight for energy independence. Critiquing President Bush's State of the Union address, the newspaper wrote: "Taken in turn, the flaws in the president's approach are clear. For example, while corn ethanol should be part of any comprehensive plan to promote cleaner, gasoline alternatives, we're in for a world of hurt if it becomes the primary one," because the United States already grows massive amounts of corn, and demand for ethanol has sent corn-based food prices soaring.

Saying the Iraq war is as much about gaining control over Iraqi oil fields as it is about trying to establish democracy there, the Journal-Constitution said that Americans should honor the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers by reducing the demand for fossil fuels. Wrote the newspaper: "Viewed that way, curbing our energy consumption, insisting on higher gasoline economy, and diversifying our portfolio of clean-burning fuels aren't bland policy prescriptions, they're sublime acts of patriotism."
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, editorial , Feb. 4.

Thhe AJC has it exactly right.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

What Jamison Foser Said

Foser's always good, but this week, he's especially good. Whether Hillary wins or whether Hillary loses, whether you love Hilllary for her smarts and domestic policies or hate her for her stand on the war, we've got to keep calling the media on this bullshit. Forser does an especially good job of it.

"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser
Poodle Skirts & Cooties

The Hotline's On Call posted capsule reviews of the speeches at the February 2 DNC Winter Meeting by various presidential candidates. The reviews included such categories as "Standing ovations," "Subtle Theme," "Discordant note."

The "Discordant note" the Hotline crew chose for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech? "Voice climbed into a yell five times."

We happened to watch some of Wesley Clark's speech, some of Dennis Kucinich's, much of Barack Obama's, and nearly all of John Edwards'. Enough to know that Hillary Clinton wasn't the only candidate whose "voice climbed into a yell five times," anyway.

She was, however, the only candidate to have her yelling described as "discordant." Indeed, On Call didn't even mention any other candidates' yelling. Or shouting, or screaming, or anything else about their speaking style or voice at all. (See reviews of Clark, Dodd, Edwards, and Obama.)

Hillary Clinton's yelling, though, was "discordant."

It is entirely possible, of course, that the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman didn't have anything to do with On Call describing her "yell" as "discordant."

But it reminded us of something that's been bothering many of us: On January 22, ABC aired an interview of Clinton conducted by Charles Gibson. Gibson's third question was:

You are a strong, credible female candidate for president of the United States, and I mean no disrespect in this, but would you be in this position were it not for your husband?

Which made us wonder if Gibson will ever ask Sen. John McCain the following question:

You are a strong, credible male candidate for president of the United States, and I mean no disrespect in this, but would you be in this position were it not for your wife's money and political connections?

We suspect that Gibson will not. Why not?

The justification for Gibson's question of Clinton is presumably that she would not have the national profile that enables her to run for president if not for her husband. Given Sen. Clinton's own accomplishments, that's a debatable premise.

But if you accept the premise, then shouldn't Gibson also ask if McCain would ever have been elected to the House of Representatives if he hadn't left his first wife for the wealthy and connected Cindy Lou Hensley?


On February 1, The Daily Howler's Bob Somerby described Chris Matthews' comments about Clinton earlier in the week:

On Monday and Tuesday, Matthews had spent considerable time bashing Dem hopeful Hillary Clinton for telling a meaningless joke. As usual, he had directed gender-based insults at her, endlessly calling her a "girl" and complaining about all her "giggling." Nothing new -- last Thursday and Friday, he had referred to her as an "uppity women," implying that her husband refers to her the same way. But then, Matthews has long had a jones about Clinton that won't let his tortured soul go.

On January 31, Media Matters noted:

On the January 29 edition of Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci (R), who has endorsed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) for president, how Giuliani could "go into a debate with [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] and land a punch against a woman." Matthews continued: "Isn't that going to be tricky for somebody like Rudy, who knows how to land a punch, to go up ... against a woman?"

Also on January 31, Maureen Dowd wrote in her New York Times column that, as first lady, Clinton "showed off a long parade of unflattering outfits and unnervingly changing hairdos." Dowd went on to claim that when Clinton "expressed outrage about Iraq," she "ended up sounding like a mother whose teenage son has not cleaned up his room."

On January 29, Media Matters noted that on the January 28 edition of The Chris Matthews Show, Time blogger Andrew Sullivan said of Clinton, "when I see her again, all the cootie vibes sort of resurrect themselves."

On the January 21 broadcast of The Chris Matthews Show, Newsweek's Howard Fineman and Matthews went on about "Miss Perfect" Hillary Clinton in a "poodle skirt" -- complete with a Photoshopped picture of Clinton in a poodle skirt on screen.

In early January, Media Matters noted Chris Matthews asking Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet if Clinton "doesn't look a little bit like a prohibitionist? ... A suffragette?" -- leading Sweet to say, "Come on, Chris. ... Oh, Chris. Are you playing to a stereotype or what? Where -- why --"

In December, Matthews compared Clinton to a "strip-teaser," asked if she is a "convincing mom," and said "her hair looked just to be cosmetic."

Last year, when the New York Daily News reported that Sen. Clinton's opponent in her Senate re-election campaign said "the senator used to be ugly -- and speculates she got 'millions of dollars' in plastic surgery," MSNBC's Tucker Carlson suggested the story was a plant from the Clinton campaign because "that's how she wins in every case, when people think that she's wronged." Carlson added, "Hillary Clinton is saying, on the one hand, 'Treat me like a man. I'm a man. I mean, I'm as good as any man'; and, on the other hand, she is saying, as a lot of female candidates do, frankly, 'No, I'm a woman, and treat me as a woman.'"


Hillary Clinton may be the person most capable of serving effectively as the next president of the United States. Or she may not be.

But this sure as hell isn't the way to find out.

And, Chris Matthews, I am squishing your head.

No Population Can Survive A Global Economy

Anybody not neck-deep in denail must by now understand that the global economy is utterly incompatible with life. . . . But why is that the case? . . . A global economy effectively creates infinite demand. . . . That's a problem becasue no natural community --not even one as fecund as the salmon used to be, or passenger pigeons, or cod, and so on ad absurdium -- can support infinite demand, especially when nothing beneficial is given back.

All natural cmmunities survive and thrive on reciprocity and cycles: salmon give to forests who give to salmon who give to oceans who give to salmon. A global economy is extractive. It doesn't give back, but follows the pattern of the machines that characterize it, converting raw materials to power. Combine an extractive (machine) economy with infinite demand and you've got the death of pretty much everything it touches.

Duh. I first gained this understanding from an email someone sent me. She lives in Canada and wrote that until a few years previous her valley had been full of grizzly and black bears. She used to see maybe a dozen bears on a average spring, summer, or fall day. Now she was lucky to see one a week, and it was usually the same bear. The difference, she said, was that hunters had discovered the Chinese market for bear gall bladders. The market would consume as many gll bladders as the hunters could take. So they took them all.

It was immediately clear to me that the local human community could have killed basically as many bears as they wanted for gall bladders, because I'm sure the market is pretty small there. And besides if they kill all the brears how will they get more gall bladders tomorrow? But as soon as you open up the market to the entier world, not only do you lose the face ot face feedback of seeing your future supplies dwindle on the altar of today's profits, but the demand for something even as esoterica as gall bladders becomes more or less infinite. No population can support that.

This is exactly what happened to great auks, passenger pigeons, Eskimo curlews, cold, salmon, sperm whatles, right whales, blue whales, humpbakc whales, roughy, sharks, white pine, redwoo. Everything. No population can support infinite demand. No population can survive a global economy. The problem is inherent, not soluble by any amount of tinkering.

~Derrick Jensen Endgame I: The Problem of Civilization

I agree with pretty much everything that Jensen says here. I'll note that many "natural communities" were willing to hunt the plants and/or animals upon which they depended into extinctions, see, e.g., trees on Easter Island. (Yes, there was a small amount of trade, but certainly not a global economy.) And, I'm a wee bit less pesimistic than Jenses that the problem is completely insoluble. IF, and it's a huge if for which there's little empirical evidence, but if humans could control their population on a global level, and if, and it's a huge if for which there's also little empirical evidence, we had strict rules in place concerning, for example, the number of bears that could be killed in given season, I think that global trade could continue. But given the situation as it exists today, Jensen's right. No population -- including the human population -- can survive a global economy.

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

Sunday Akhmatova Blogging

Anna Akhmatova of Russia:


A multi-colored crowd streaked about,
and suddenly all was totally changed.
It wasn't the usual city racket.
It came from a strange land.
True, it was akin to some random claps of thunder,
but natural thunder heralds the wetness of fresh water [and]
high clouds
to quench the thirst of fields gone dry and parched,
a messenger of blessed rain,
but this was as dry as hell must be.
My distraught perception refused
to believe it, because of the insane
suddenness with which it sounded, swelled and hit,
and how casually it came
to murder my child.

[Translation Copyright © 1993 by DanielaGioseffi. All rights reserved.]