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Environment / ⛸️ -40F is FUCKING COLD!
« on: January 18, 2019, 06:56:22 PM »
We have our eye on this one. Not a good time to be in Ontario. I heard from Farmgal today. They are expecting 40below and beyond. I told her this is why I chose to stay close to an ocean.

-40F Below is FUCKING COLD!  I've never experienced -40F.  Coldest for me was one winter at a Gymnastics Meet in Fairbanks during the Ice Sculpture Festival.  -35F and that was damn cold, even with all my winter gear on where I look like Nanook of the North with every square inch of skin covered, including of course the Balaclave and Snow Goggles.  2 hours out looking at the Ice Sculptures and I was Done.  The Oil boys on the Slope will stay out for 4 hour shifts at -60F.  That is insane.  They do wear electric Boots and Gloves though.



« The Deep Adaptation Retreat – June in Greece
Hope and Vision in the Face of Collapse – The 4th R of Deep Adaptation

Posted by jembendell on January 9, 2019

“People need hope, Jem.”
“It’s really important to have a vision of a better future, Jem”

As someone who worked in environmental campaigning and then organizational change, I learned about the role of hope and vision in helping to align and motivate people. As someone who worked at the heart of political communications during the 2017 UK General Election campaign, I’m also aware of the power of a positive narrative when told well, consistently and authentically. In my professional world of leadership and its development, hope and vision are recognized as key. I still teach such skills to senior executives in business, politics and civil society and am proud of the way they feel empowered in their purpose as a result.

But, but, but…

Since my return to analysing climate science last year led me to conclude we face inevitable near-term societal collapse, where might we find any hope or vision?

The question used to be a quiet one, raised in private conversations. But since the unexpected impact of my paper on Deep Adaptation and the attention generated by the peaceful Extinction Rebellion protest movement, I am hearing it a lot. When faced with evidence of forthcoming collapse, people not only wonder about their personal need for hope and vision, but also what should be said to others – whether fellow professionals, kids, parents or the general public. You may have read or heard people saying we must not give up hope or destroy another’s hope: that to lose hope would undermine action that might prevent catastrophic climate change. Or you may have heard people say that we need to be able to believe in a positive vision of how life could be, whether that is averting, living through or beyond a breakdown in our society due to climate chaos.

Right now, people are seeking to frame the future and the meaning of our activism on climate. So although I am still working things out for myself, perhaps unendingly, I want to share my current and provisional thoughts on the topic of hope and vision. In so doing, I will offer a new “R” to my framing of Deep Adaptation – reconciliation – and invite feedback on this and related ideas (in the comments below).

The subject of my following reflections is one that has been explored for millennia and across cultures. In comparison to that, my level of intellectual inquiry, experiential reflection and lived practice is a bit like a skin cell on the floor of a crowded temple. I feel some embarrassment writing about these things. But our current predicament means that none of us should postpone finding our provisional answers to existential questions, and we might help each other with that by sharing things in writing. So here goes…

When exploring this matter, I recommend you do not follow people who say that people like me look at the world in an overly pessimistic or defeatist way. The suffering of this world today and to come, and in ourselves, is something to be witnessed, but, with intention, I am beginning to sense that we can feel and realize peace and happiness through it all. That will not happen through a desperate belief in stories of personal or collective salvation in this world or the next. Instead, we can turn away from frantic chatter or action, relax into our hearts, notice the impermanence of life, and let love for this momentary experience of life in all its flavours flood our being and shape our next steps. Expressing that aspiration in our words, actions and inactions may invite people who are fear-driven to put down their microphones for a time and join people living from love. It is with that sentiment I share the following ideas.


If we say to a terminally ill person that they should not give up hope then that could become cruel. If by that we mean hope that they could survive, or that they could live while forgetting their situation, then it reflects unresolved and pathological fear of death. It suggests the person spend their last days in struggle and denial, rather than discovering what might matter after acceptance.

I’m not saying the human race has a terminal diagnosis in the near term. But we do in the long-term. Many hominids have gone extinct and so will homo sapiens one day. When that will be is another question – a difficult one, and I am not currently convinced of the arguments for near term human extinction. But I have concluded that our way of life has a terminal diagnosis. Because rain-fed agriculture will continue to breakdown over the next decade. Unless we immediately build massive irrigated greenhouses, and plan for compulsory plant-heavy diets and food rationing, we will see malnutrition in the West and resultant civil unrest, lawlessness and a breakdown in normal life.

One problem with hoping things will be OK is that it means we give up our agency. We assume someone will fix things. That is what some call “passive hope.” Meanwhile, any unrealistic hope steals possibility, by wasting the precious time we have to attempt to reduce harm and save humanity. So the problem with proponents of the hope that “we can fix this” is that it makes taboo the needed conversations about what to do given that we can’t fix things. That is what we could call “magical hope”, as it often comes with an overt or implicit suggestion that we can make the reality evolve according to moments where we are choosing to hope (as an aside: if we are co-creating our reality through our consciousness then it is through every moment of attention, not just those moments when we choose to pull ourselves together and do some magical hoping). In distinction to passive hope some have called for an “active hope” where we drop mainstream or received ideas of hope and instead face what we think is reality and construct a new hope based on what we believe in. That is a powerful rethinking of what hope means, as it makes us realise that hope involves actions to make it real. But I don’t think it is a sufficient reworking of the concept of hope. Because it can downplay whether we really think our actions will add up to the outcome we are actively hoping for. Instead, the emphasis is on intention, without being precise about the nature of intention, such as love, compassion, forgiveness, and so on. Therefore, people who speak of “active hope” may actually be practising magical hope, and avoiding either deeper inquiry into the intentions they value or into the implications of the futility of their actions.

In my work I have begun to invite people to explore what a radical hope may look like. In my Deep Adaptation paper, I explain how this was inspired in part by how some Native Americans responded to a realisation of the inevitability of the destruction of their way of life. Some elders decided that they had to let go of all their existing hopes and construct a new one that was possible. In comparison to their past way of life, this form of hope would seem more like a horror, but in comparison to complete annihilation, it was chosen by some tribes. Radical hope is a form of hope that’s consciously chosen after denial. It is a form of hope that is empowered surrender to a situation. It accepts difficult realities about what is happening as well as one’s capabilities to influence things, but still connects with deeper values and requires action to make it real.

To explore what a radical hope might be for humanity facing global breakdown, I realised it is useful to set aside discussing hope for a time and consider what I really believe in.


So we need to turn to the matter of belief. Yikes. Now I am really out of my depth. But please join me while I sink…

Some spiritual perspectives on the ‘oneness’ of oneself with the universe suggest that we have power to create our reality. That view has been misunderstood and deliberately marketed to people seeking ways to improve their lives. A more accurate insight from both wisdom traditions, contemporary physics, and current experience, is that we are co-creating our reality with others, the material and ineffable dimensions in ways that we can never fully comprehend through human thought and language. We each participate in shaping our experience of the world, but not autonomously of others or the world. Now, even with this perspective, it means that the current calamity facing humanity is one of our own mutual volition. Crikey. Why have we done this to ourselves?

Partly because what is happening, as painful as it is, is normal. Yes, the cosmic nature of things is that everything must go. Sure, we don’t like death. It hurts. But death has always been the partner of life, not its enemy. Impermanence makes everything and everyone around us totally sacred and significant. It invites our heartfelt gratitude for all that we experience. Certainly, sensing a nearer end to my own life has meant the rebirth of my ability to love being alive. The tragedy of climate chaos is also an invitation to drop our illusions of permanence. Abundant life, coming and going, shows just what the cosmos can do. While some religious buildings might be nice, it’s our whole planet that is an altar for the adoration of the creative cosmos. We can worship it in all that we do, and all that we do not do.

Climate chaos can invite us to consider the life force of consciousness that came before material organic life. And to consider the way in which aspects of our conscious being will continue after our death. Also, the way our lives may affect a universal field of consciousness and thus the future of life in whatever forms. Indeed, perhaps consciousness has chosen to experience itself in our minds and bodies at this moment and time. How else would we come to exist?

Climate chaos invites us to bring all of that into our present awareness. It may be a shock. But it can wake us up to that impermanence so that things fall away to leave us with love, curiosity, play, compassion, and creativity. Upon reflection, I wondered whether in our ‘heart of hearts’ we really do want this civilisation to continue more than anything; or even the human race to continue more than anything. I wondered if we want something else more than that. I wondered if we desire that our hearts bulge with love and we merge our consciousness with the all. And that we hope all other people might have the chance for the same experience. I wondered if in our hearts we want the planet to continue as a living organism more than we want our species to do so. I present these as musings, as I’m not going to pretend I am certain about these views. I recommend reflecting on these questions and finding your own sense of things.

I particularly like how an Extinction Rebellion leader Skeena Rathor, expressed it in her speech on Westminster Bridge in London on Rebellion Day (November 17th 2018).

“If we are honest with ourselves and look into our heart’s deep interior, if we are honest from there then this isn’t about saving humanity this is about our courage to love as we have never loved before… Let us live now at the edge of our courage to love.”

But don’t take my word for it, or Skeena’s. Rather, once you have explored what you really believe in, then stared back into the abyss of an imminent societal collapse, so you may be find a radical hope of your own.


If you, like me, hope that through growing realisation of a coming collapse, more people will awaken to a deeper understanding of themselves and life, and live with love and compassion, then that is not an idle hope. Because it is not prediction. People respond in myriad ways when the shit hits the fan. There will be some horrible reactions. Indeed, there already are. Therefore, a radical hope of humanity awakening is one where we are actively engaged in it.

In my case, that feels like why I am putting out this blog, with my half-baked ideas on the cosmos, God and all that. Because my radical hope is that many more of us will begin to explore together publicly what “spirituality” and love are and can mean today.

To make this more explicit in the Deep Adaptation framework, I now propose a 4th R to the existing ones on Resilience, Relinquishment and Restoration. The original Deep Adaptation paper has been downloaded over 100,000 times. Like Skeena, people have told me it changed their life. What I have noticed is, however, that some people who report being woken up by that paper are now calling for anything to be done to stop collapse. That is, to attempt whatever draconian measures might cut emissions and drawdown carbon. I still think bold cuts and drawdown measures are essential. But that is not the focus of Deep Adaptation, which invites us to prepare for what is now inevitable. Therefore, to make that even more explicit, I propose a fourth question to guide our reflection on how to navigate our climate tragedy:

“What could I make peace with to lessen suffering?”

This question incorporates the idea of Reconciliation with one’s death, including any difficulties and regrets in one’s life, any anger towards existence itself (or God). It also invites reconciliation between peoples, genders, classes, generations, countries, religions and political persuasions. Because it is time to make our peace. Otherwise, without this inner deep adaptation to climate collapse we risk tearing each other apart and dying hellishly. My radical hope is that more of us work together to achieve this reconciliation, in all its forms, as a basis for the fuller deep adaptation agenda that I explain in my paper.


Unless you are a spiritual leader, then a hope for mass awakening and reconciliation does not sound very specific. It may not immediately seem to support straightforward campaign strategies or policy development! If we are to offer a vision where our radical hope of awakening is realised, then what would that look like? From my work as a Professor of Leadership, I know a vision is meant to be tangible, relatable, credible, and relevant to the problems faced. I would really like to see your own ideas on visions in the comments below (but I wont grade them 😉)

To whet your own imaginations, here is one idea…

I envision seeing whole neighbourhoods and camps of people spontaneously singing and dancing together of their pure joy of experiencing all sensations of life, both during and between working together on useful tasks. Not because they are singing from habit, custom, obligation, or recreation, but because they are so connected to the wonder of experiencing life while serving life. I envision people feeling grateful they suddenly found there is time in their lives to sing, dance and connect with nature and each other. I envision this connection also supporting ways of production, sharing, consumption, and caring, that mean people are able to live happily with fewer resources and less certainty.

If that sounds hippy, then so be it. For me it is a highly aspirational, credible and relatable vision, one I can truly hope for and work towards. But please share your own visions below!


In the coming months and years there will be many views emerging on how to achieve change, for both cutting and drawing down emissions, as well as adapting to disruptive impacts of climate change. Some will argue for eco-socialist revolution to take over the key infrastructure, so we have the chance of everyone being fed, watered, housed and cared for as best as possible. Others will seek to harness the powers of the existing system, and turn to transnational corporations, financial institutions and international organisations. Others will continue to hope that elected representatives will be able to suddenly find within themselves the heart and boldness to act and the talent to explain sufficiently to their electorates to remain in power. Others will turn to their neighbours, local associations and local governments, to organise as best they can locally and regionally. I do not yet have a hope or vision in relation to any of those ideas, but welcome people exploring these and other ideas.


With this blog I intend to open up conversation on hope and vision rather than close it down. However, as it is a long blog, here is a summary…

We can no longer stop disruptive climate change. We might be able to slow it. We can try to reduce the harm coming from it. We can explore how to live and die lovingly because of it. But all of that we can do because we have a faith or sense that this is the right way to be alive, not because it will work. Most calls for hope that I’m hearing are from, or for, those fearful of living with death in their awareness. That’s typical, but also a recipe for discussion and action that is counter-productive to life, love and understanding. Which is exactly the opposite of the effect of those who say “don’t take away our hope”. It is time to drop all hopes and visions that arise from an inability to accept impermanence and non-control, and instead describe a radical hope of how we respond in these times. I believe it’s possible and necessary, though mutual inquiry and support, for our fears, beliefs or certainties of collapse to be brought to a place of peaceful inner and outer resourcefulness. Ours is a time for reconciliation with mortality, nature and each other.

We can develop and share a vision of more of us experiencing the invitation to live lovingly, creatively, and truthfully, in acceptance of mortality and impermanence. After all, any other hope or vision were always a tactical delusion for temporary benefit. Ultimately, many more of us may come to see that we love love more than we love life. Hopefully before too much unnecessary suffering and destruction.

You can hear me in conversation about these topics here.

Discussing with Skeena and Gail of XR

Geopolitics / 🌎 Fascism Rising
« on: January 17, 2019, 03:09:48 AM »

Sig Heil is Just Around the Corner


Dispatches from Phil Farruggio
Sig Heil is Just Around the Corner

An exact replay of history is not likely, but while specific “failed” actors leave the stage, class forces survive to enact the same drama another day.

In Joachim Fest’s fine biography of Adolf Hitler, aptly titled Hitler, we learn many things never before taught in our World History classes here. To delve into it now with the needed detail from this 700+ page masterpiece would be futile for me the columnist. There is just so much to digest and comprehend about this Austrian of little education and no professional calling who became the Fuhrer. Yet, throughout the book one cannot help but realize just how much the movers and shakers of our Amerikan empire copied tactics and outright propaganda from the Hitler gang. [In fact, the Nazis also copied the Anglo-American racists a great deal, particularly their eugenicist figures, including Sir Francis Galton and Ivy League-educated “gentlemen” anglo supremacists like Madison Grant.) (1)

The use of the term Fatherland to describe Germany rings so close to post 9/11 Amerika’s choice of Homeland as in Homeland Security. Ever since 9/11 and our subsequent invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, each time there is a major sporting event they spread out the giant American flag and trot out the honor guard to sing our national anthem. The real connivance is how they always show us American GIs dressed in camouflage,  as if they just came from the battlefield. Check out the Nuremberg rallies and see the torchlight parades and honor guards with their brown or black shirts and swastikas throughout. This mania to salute soldiers who had no business being sent to the Middle East to invade, kill, be killed and occupy foreign lands is sadly congruent to what transpired with Germany’s attacks and occupations of most of Europe. Yet, throughout history this is exactly what empires have done. Why should ours be any different?

Hitler was a masterful genius, who had the good fortune, after much manipulation and scheming, to become Chancellor at perhaps the eleventh hour . Fest explains in his book how the nationalist coalition (which the Nazis were part of) could have formed a legal blockade to thwart Hitler’s plans. Yet, the fear of many from Germany’s  right wing and centrist political parties , and even  some left of center ones like the Social Democrats ( forerunner of today’s US Democratic party ) believed, as Hitler himself stated: ” One year of Bolshevism would destroy her ( Germany).”  The interesting thing is how Hitler used phrases and ideals that many of our current right wing have ( copied ? ) been using: ” Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of racial and political life.” He promised to eliminate class struggle and to restore ‘ traditions of honor’. Sound familiar? Newly appointed Chancellor Adolf Hitler, soon after his ascension, travelled around Germany giving hundreds of ” Let’s get to work ” speeches to German labor.  Sadly, as with the Nazi party in the early 1930s, working stiffs here in Florida, many with not a ‘ pot to piss in’ , voted for former Governor Rick Scott ( now, sadly, Senator Rick Scott) when he ran for re-election a few years ago with his slogan ” Let’s Get to Work”.

Why are we, as a nation, in such a sinking ship? Well, the propaganda has been nearly as masterful as that of Goebbels and his crew. We are a nation , as the late Gore Vidal aptly labeled us, at Perpetual War. We spend over 50% of our federal tax revenues on the military. We invaded Iraq in 2003 so as to ‘ fight them there so they don’t come here’. Remember that? Now it is ISIL or ISIS, who , like the original mujahedeen that became Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, Amerika financed and nurtured so as to fight one of our enemies. This writer has many acquaintances who consider themselves ‘right wing’. They sing that same song : “We’re Fighting them there so they don’t come here”. Will it ever end? We have states so broke and overloaded with needs that they now want to become legal bookmakers on sports betting. Why do you think Colorado and Washington originally allowed recreational marijuana, because they are so progressive minded? Come on, it is to raise tax revenues, and look how many other states are following suit.  Of course, this writer, who believes in the use of marijuana, would rather see that then legal bookmaking or the stupid lotteries, which attract mostly low income folks who could use that money for more important needs.

So, we have a nation filled with our citizens working dead end jobs for lousy pay, living in corporate owned and operated rental housing . Of course if they are lucky, they could find a home to rent from some independent predator landlord who bought it on the cheap when it was foreclosed or sold under financial desperation. Finally, here is how the movers and shakers of this Military Industrial Empire are even shrewder than the Nazi gang. What they did, successfully too, was create and maintain a ‘Two Party, One Party ‘ system. They made sure that the two parties , as is the case in the UK, seem to be at each other’s throats… and they are on some issues. We know the Democrats will trumpet a woman’s right to choose, and gay rights, and even a more liberal immigration policy. Yet, when it comes to the meat and potato issues that the empire feeds off of, like heavy military spending, bases worldwide, WMDs to the hilt, free reign for big banks, big oil, big Pharma and all BIG BUSINESS, there is little or no difference between the two parties. Look how  the Neocon led Democratic Party minions agreed with President Trump over his  Cruise Missile attack deep within Syria. Look how they all ‘ drank the Kool- Aid on blaming Assad and the Russians for that ( so called ? ) chemical attack. Herr Goebbels would be so proud of that sort of propaganda as this empire eats away at our nation’s soul. If all those working stiffs out there do not finally ‘ Get it ‘ and see through the illusions and propaganda… ” Sig Heil!!!”

PA Farruggio

(1) The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.[11] Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution. They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”.[12]Eugenics was also supported by African American intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Wyatt Turner, and many academics at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Hampton University; however, they believed the best blacks were as good as the best whites and “The Talented Tenth” of all races should mix.[13] W. E. B. Du Bois believed “only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.”[13][14] (Source: Eugenics in the United States—Wikipedia)

In this crowd, Madison Grant deserves special attention, as he illustrates the contradictions we often find in distinguished thinkers. Madison Grant (November 19, 1865 – May 30, 1937) was an American lawyer, writer, and zoologist known primarily for his work as a eugenicist and conservationist. As a eugenicist, Grant was responsible for one of the most notorious works of scientific racism, and played an active role in crafting strong immigration restriction and anti-miscegenation laws in the United States.  As a conservationist, Grant is credited with the saving of many different species of animals, founding many different environmental and philanthropicorganizations and developing much of the discipline of wildlife management.
(Source: Madison Grant, Wikipedia)


     Dust in the Wind
The fine 1960 film Inherit the Wind was more than just about the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee. Yes, it had as its focal point the law forbidding the teaching of evolution in schools. However, when one views this film, or reads the play it was developed from, one sees a doorway to totalitarianism. Added to that warning is the observation that many of us humans seem to need to be led. In the fictitious town of Hillsdale, Tennessee, the common folk were led by their religious leaders, who determined how they should not only act… but think. When the great statesman and Christian scholar, Mathew Harrison Brady, comes to town to lead the prosecution of the case, he surpasses even their pastor in influencing  minds. During the trial, Brady’s counterpart, attorney Henry Drummond for the defense, decides to put the right to think for oneself on the witness stand. The right to question authority, and yes, to dissent from it, is what was really on trial in that case.

Spencer Tracy (Drummond) questioning Brady (F. March), in the film version of the play Inherit the Wind. Henry Morgan—as judge—observes the proceedings.

Sadly, very few of our contemporaries, our neighbors and our political and media celebrities can see that America has become nothing more than a cartoon!  Politics, advertising and consumerism, blended in with so called news and information from our mainstream media, has led the majority of us by the nose. Look at the boob tube and instead of muting the volume when commercials come on, watch and listen to them. Do the same when the politicians stand before the microphone, or when the pundits and phony journalists speak. What you will observe is how they all treat you as if you were either an adolescent, perhaps 12 years old, or a senile elderly person. There is no real intellectual flow from these people at all. The commercials for products and services always allude to how everyone selling something to us really cares for us. Ditto for the politicians and the pundits: They all care about us and our families. They all care for our troops and the peoples of the countries that we are destroying with our superior military force. They tell you to place yellow ribbons and flags all over the ying yang and simply ignore the fact that this military empire is bankrupting us all!

So, we have two evils, masquerading as political parties, controlling our nation’s political system. Well, not really controlling; shall we say they are navigating it for the super rich? Who are these super rich? Well, all one needs to do is see who is benefiting despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of us are not. Follow the age old adage and ‘follow the money ‘. As many small businesses either fold up or cut labor and services, see which companies and individuals are doing well during these’ tough times for the many for the benefit of the few’. As the singer from the rock group Kansas declared, we working stiffs are becoming ‘ Dust in the wind’.

Tribute to a Dedicated Activist

     Walt DeYoung, A lifetime of Caring… Nuff Said!

As he lay in a hospice awaiting his next excursion as he would call it, Walt DeYoung has honored this writer with his presence for the past 15 years. Infirmed and using a walker, he still went about his street corner activism undaunted. The man has always been downright amazing!

To list his accomplishments as an activist would take too long and too much paper. Let me just say this: The man was out there marching for civil rights for our Afro American brothers and sisters during the ‘Jim Crow’ early sixties in the ‘ still Dixie ‘ Maryland Eastern shore. He was out there in New Jersey as a labor activist leading protests and strikes in the 70s, with a mob contract on his head. No kidding! Walt, early on in the Vietnam War protests, was out there raising hell. He even was a bodyguard for MLK’s widow at a Central Park anti war rally. He seemed to be everywhere! In the Minnesota area Walt stood with the American Indians in their protests of the environmental damages done by corporate malfeasance.

When this writer met Walt DeYoung  after the Bush/Cheney Cabal invaded Iraq, he was always the first to show up at meetings and protests. Always! He feared no one from the power structure, whether it be local or national. He stood in front of a city council meeting in Port Orange and shared his knowledge while lobbying for city run community vegetable gardens. He knew his thing, because he created one right next door to his home in New Smyrna Beach. What a guy!

Imagine if we could get some of our millennial young folks to become active in regards to this empire. Walt DeYoung always spoke to his younger peers about his lifelong experiences with empire etc. He never tired of ‘ Speaking Truth to Power’ wherever he went. As a ‘ topping ‘ to his ‘ cake of life’ Walt would have ended it best with his famous Nuff Said!  { Please note: Soon after this was written, Walt DeYoung, 89 years young, moved on to that higher place… free from the **** of this Neo Fascist Amerika}

January 2019
 Philip A Farruggio is a son and grandson of Brooklyn, New York, longshoremen. He has been a freelance columnist since 2001, with more than 300 of his essays posted, besides The Greanville Post, on sites like Consortium News, Information Clearing House,  Global Research, Nation of Change, World News Trust, Op-Ed News, Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, Activist Post, Sleuth Journal, Truthout and many others. His blog can be read in full on World News Trust., where he writes a great deal about the need to cut military spending drastically and send the savings back to save our cities. Philip has an internet interview show, “It’s the Empire… Stupid” with producer Chuck Gregory, and can be reached at

Education / 🏫 STRIKE! - Teachers in Los Angeles want more than a raise
« on: January 15, 2019, 04:17:16 AM »

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"Which side are you on boys, which side are you on?"


Teachers in Los Angeles want more than a raise—here's why over 30,000 went on strike today
Abigail Hess   | @AbigailJHess
5 Hours Ago

Some of the more than 30,000 teachers in the Los Angeles public school system hold a rally at City Hall after going on strike in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 14, 2019.
REUTERS/Mike Blake
Over 30,000 teachers went on strike in Los Angeles County today. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) serves 640,000 students and is the second biggest school district in the country. The last time Los Angeles teachers went on strike was 1989.

The protest follows a string of successful teacher strikes across the country. Teachers in states like West Virginia and Oklahoma — who are among the lowest paid educators in the country — have organized and participated in strikes in order to advocate for higher wages and improved conditions for students.

Prior to negotiations, the average annual mean wage for a teacher was $45,240 in West Virginia and $42,460 in Oklahoma. After going on strike, teachers in both of these states received pay increases.

"What you're seeing with unions is real enthusiasm and a belief that you can actually be successful," Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois tells the Associated Press. "The educational sector is rife with deep grievance and frustration, but there's now a sense that you can actually win."

The annual mean wage for teachers in California is $74,940 and $75,000 in the LAUSD, and while teacher pay is a significant issue for protesting educators, the current teachers strike in Los Angeles is also about class size.
People march through the streets of downtown in the pouring rain during a United Teachers Los Angeles strike on January 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Teachers from the country's second-biggest school district have gone on strike after weeks of negotiations for more pay and smaller class sizes went nowhere.
Barbara Davidson/Getty Images
People march through the streets of downtown in the pouring rain during a United Teachers Los Angeles strike on January 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Teachers from the country's second-biggest school district have gone on strike after weeks of negotiations for more pay and smaller class sizes went nowhere.

On January 11th, the LAUSD offered United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union organizing the strike, a proposal that included a 6 percent salary increase for teachers and promises to enforce a maximum class size of 39 students at secondary schools and increase the number of nurses, counselors and librarians at all schools.

UTLA called the proposal "woefully inadequate," arguing that the district is "hoarding" $1.86 billion in reserves that could be used to fund the union's requests, which include a 6.5 percent pay hike and smaller class sizes. The district maintains these reserves are needed to cover expenses like retiree benefits.

So on Monday, Los Angeles teachers and their supporters took to the uncharacteristically wet streets, many wearing red to represent the Red4Ed labor movement that has swept across the country. According to USA Today, strikers chanted "Hey hey! Ho ho! We're fighting to keep class size low!"

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Alex Caputo-Pearl explains why class size was such an important issue for educators. "Class sizes often exceed 45 students in secondary schools; 35 students in upper elementary grades; and 25 students in lower elementary grades," he writes. "It is downright shameful that the richest state in the country ranks 43rd out of 50 when it comes to per-pupil spending."

Mike Finn, a special education teacher in Los Feliz, tells USA Today that he has 46 students in one composition class, and calls the conditions "unmanageable."

"I have watched class sizes go up and up," he says. "Everybody's talking class size."
Some of the more than 30,000 striking teachers in the Los Angeles public school system march after holding a rally at City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 14, 2019.
REUTERS/Mike Blake
Some of the more than 30,000 striking teachers in the Los Angeles public school system march after holding a rally at City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 14, 2019.

The strike has gained attention and support from progressive politicians.

"Very proud of L.A. public school teachers today for taking a stand. Teachers are the unsung heroes of American democracy. Today they're putting everything on the line so our nation's children can have a better shot," tweeted New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

"Los Angeles teachers work day in and day out to inspire and educate the next generation of leaders. I'm standing in solidarity with them as they strike for improved student conditions, such as smaller class sizes and more counselors and librarians," tweeted California Senator Kamala Harris.

"The eyes of the nation are watching, and educators ... all over the country have the backs of the educators in L.A.," Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said at the protest on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times. "We need the conditions to ensure that every child … gets the opportunity he or she or they deserve."

Frostbite Falls Newz / 📰 Diner Promotional Advertizing
« on: January 10, 2019, 06:12:32 PM »
Print on Card Stock or better still Glossy Photo Paper and post on Bulletin Boards.  Download the pdf for best Print Quality.  I printed up 5 sheets on my NEW HP Printer and they look GREAT!  I already put one up at Kalahdi Brothers Coffee.  (it shoud be obvious, but you cut each one into 4 cards  ::) )

click the pic to enlarge
DD quad card
DD quad card

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Keep on Truckin' Diners!  :icon_sunny:


Frostbite Falls Newz / ☠️ Rehearsals for Retirement
« on: January 07, 2019, 04:51:42 PM »
<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

I'm dropping in here to explain my decision to go Walkabout.

The Forum here is better off without me.  I cause too much dissention.  Of late, it has become a running battle between me and Eddie and if I let this continue one of us will say something we can't take back and the friendship will be finished.  I don't want that, I want this friendship to last until I die, which probably is not that far off.

Besides that, nobody really picks up on any of the newz stories I drop on, the conversations aren't about that stuff anymore.  Nor do my food threads garner all that much interest.  The conversations have been mostly about prepping and growing food and doing Macho Man stuff around the Doomstead.  I'm a Cripple, not a Macho Man and I don't fit in.  My advice and thoughts on this aren't respected because I can't do this stuff anymore.  This is Eddie's bailiwick, so he should be the leader here now, whether he wants this job or not.  I hope he doesn't quit, that really will kill the forum.  It can exist fine without me, I'm a 3rd wheel around here now.

I'll still be here Admining, the Ghost in the Machine.  I know neither Surly nor Eddie know enough about the SMF software to do a real good job with that, although KDog can do it if he wanted to. I'll still be writing articles for the blog as well.  I'm not dead yet.  However, in a way this is a test of whether the Diner will continue without me When I'm Gone or if it will die.  My hope of course is that my friends will keep it alive, even though my corporeal self cannot be kept alive.  Now we will find out which is the case.

A Walkabout is what it sounds like, I may not be gone forever here.  Maybe I just need some time off, a couple of days, a week a month who knows?  I could walk back in any day as long as I haven't had my final meeting with the Grim Reaper.

In the meantime, Keep on Truckin'.

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>


Now this could cause some problems...


Prolonged shutdown could leave millions without food stamps and hit small businesses
“There’s going to be rioting in the streets when they cut the stamps off,” one grocery store owner said. “Get your timber ready.”
Shutdown sparks concerns for those who rely on government for food assistance

Jan. 5, 2019 / 2:39 PM AKST
By Phil McCausland

Millions of Americans could face going without the benefit that allows them to purchase food if the government shutdown continues into February.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps, costs an average of around $4.8 billion per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But because of the government shutdown, the program has only $3 billion in emergency reserves for February.

More than 19 million households in the United States receive food stamps, accounting for nearly 39 million people. Each household receives on average $245.28 per month.

But because of the shutdown, USDA has no money to pay for the program in the ensuing months. The agency also had to furlough approximately 95 percent of Food and Nutrition Services, the office that oversees the SNAP program.

The White House and the USDA did not respond to requests for comment about their plans to address the shortfall, but experts say there is cause for concern for the millions potentially impacted.

If the $1.8 billion shortfall for February benefits were spread evenly across the 19 million households that receive SNAP benefits, each would see a cut of about $90 per month for their overall grocery budget, according to Dottie Rosenbaum, a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

If the political standoff that began Dec. 22 continued into March, these households would receive no money to buy food.

“Even if the President and Congress resolve the shutdown by February, depending on the decisions the Administration makes in the coming one to two weeks, households could experience a substantial delay in receiving their full SNAP allotment for February because of the operational challenges that states and EBT contractors face,” Rosenbaum said in an email.

Robert Powell is another American who might have a reason to worry, although he doesn’t use the benefits himself. Powell owns a grocery store called the Town & Country Market in Atoka, Oklahoma — a small town of about 3,000 people where the store has been a fixture since 1967.

A fair amount of his customers use food stamps, Powell said, later adding that these lost benefits could have a negative impact on his customers — as well as his business.

“There’s going to be rioting in the streets when they cut the stamps off,” Powell said. “Get your timber ready.”
Federal shutdown means tax refunds may be delayed

Businesses are a secondary victim if the shutdown causes the program to run out of cash. The money spent by SNAP beneficiaries is typically split between small business owners, like Powell, and major retailers, like Walmart.

Tens of billions of dollars could be on the line for hundreds of thousands of businesses across the U.S.
Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes in Texas
A Grindr harassment suit could change the legal landscape for tech — and free speech

In fiscal year 2017, SNAP participants redeemed $63 billion in SNAP benefits for food purchases at about 260,000 retailers — 80 percent of which were considered small businesses — according to an April 2018 CBPP report.

The lost benefits would spread out to affect all retailers. It would also impact supermarkets and big-box stores, where more than 80 percent of that $63 billion is spent, the report found.

Gary Philbin, enterprise president of Dollar Tree, noted in an earnings conference call last year that the company’s stock prices had been impacted by the more than 500,000 people removed from SNAP in 2016.

Considering the millions of people who would lose their consumer power without the benefits they depend on to buy food, the shutdown could have a major impact on retailers — especially those that serve low-income populations — if the government does not find a way to make up for the $1.8 billion loss in February.
How the government shutdown is hurting some of America's poorest families

“That’s a $1.8 billion loss across the whole country [in February],” Stacy Dean, the vice president for Food Assistance Policy at CBPP, explained. “But it will have a disproportionate impact on groceries and small businesses that serve poor communities where shoppers are more reliant on SNAP benefits.”

And those communities often include some of the most vulnerable individuals as well, such as veterans.

CBPP concluded in a separate report from November 2018 that the SNAP program is used in nearly 1.4 million households where veterans live. Thousands of veterans would be affected in every state of the country if these benefits were cut.

In an interview with NBC News, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., called the shutdown a “distraction” from issues that Congress should be focused on, and she noted that the ongoing divide between President Trump and Democrats could impact those who depend on food stamps.

“If the shutdown continues, then you will literally have millions of people that will not be able to afford food,” Bass said. “And I think this is just absolutely unconscionable.”

“I think it’s another example [of] him,” the congresswoman added, referring to the president. “Either he literally doesn’t understand [the consequences of the shutdown] or doesn’t care.”

Energy / ⚡ Blue Light Floods NYC Sky as Transformer Explodes in Queens
« on: December 28, 2018, 05:39:03 AM »
<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>


Sunday, December 23, 2018
When Jerusalem was in Tuscany. The Last Gasps of a Dying Empire
This post was previously published on "Chimeras." It is reproduced here with an introduction and some minor modifications

Did you know that in Italy there is a place called "Jerusalem in Tuscany?" In the monastery of "San Vivaldo," you can find a 16th-century sanctuary structured in such a way to make pilgrims go through an experience similar to that they would have by visiting the real Jerusalem. The sanctuary is still very much the same as it was when it was built, half a millennium ago.

The key feature of all empires is their centralized control over different social and economic subregions. Control is normally obtained by a combination of metal currency and military means, but that's not strictly necessary. Our modern Global Empire does not disdain the use of lethal force, but it is kept together largely by the soft communication techniques we call "propaganda" or, more recently, "consensus building." Some ancient empires were also based on communication techniques, in particular the Catholic Church which dominated Western Europe for about one millennium using its monopoly on Latin as regional 'lingua franca'. Here, I am examining the traces left by the last attempt of the Church to maintain its dominance by developing a completely new, image-based, communication system. It didn't work, but it was impressively modern and it compares well with our present icon-based communication systems. It may tell us something about where we are going in terms of the control of those large social organizations we call "states."

Imagine yourself in Europe during the late Middle Ages -- it was a different world for many reasons but one would perhaps be the most striking: language. Today, Europe is organized in terms of sharp borders of linguistic areas that usually correspond to national states. Inside the borders, there is one -- and only one -- "correct" language while dialects or minority languages are at best tolerated and often despised. But, in the world of the Middle Ages, languages varied smoothly as you moved from one village to another and, after a few hundred kilometers, people could barely understand each other. And, of course, there were fuzzy boundaries for the main language areas: the Latin, the Germanic, the Celtic, the Greek, the Slavic, and other minor ones. Europe was truly a Babel.

But there was a lingua franca that connected the various areas of Europe: Latin, an inheritance of the dead Roman Empire. The Romans had created a nearly homogeneous Latin-speaking language area that included most of Western Europe and of North Africa, while the rest of the Empire spoke Greek. That language unity had been lost with the fading of the empire, disappearing when its dominance tool, gold-based currency, had disappeared with the depletion of its gold mines.

But the loss had been only partial. In Western Europe, Latin was still thriving and, in a certain sense, the Empire was still alive. A new organization had taken the place of the Roman Empire, the Church, which proclaimed itself "Catholic" ("universal" from καθολικός) and used many of the same tools: its structure was patterned on the Imperial one, with the Pope in Rome playing the role of the Emperor, the overseers (bishops) playing the role of the Roman governors, and with Latin remaining the universal language, at least for Western Europe.

The difference was that the Church couldn't use military force to maintain its dominance: legionnaires had to be paid and that required hard currency which had disappeared in the metal-poor Europe of Middle Ages. So, the Church was a "soft" empire which never directly ruled Europe. It operated mainly influencing Feudal Rulers who needed overseers, interpreters, counselors, accountants, and the like. Latin was a fundamental tool for the role of the Church: a monk from Ireland would speak Gaelic with the other monks of his monastery, but he could speak in Latin with a visiting priest from Italy. And both could advise their local kings when it was the time for negotiations with some foreign warlord. All over Western Europe, a Church-based Latinized area had developed and it was the main cultural feature of Europe of the time.

But things always change and, sometimes, change fast. Europe's population kept growing during the Middle Ages, not smoothly but in a series of collapses and rebounds. By the mid 14th century, the "black death" had killed some 30 million Europeans, about one-third of the population of the time. Half a century later, Europe had recovered and the population was skyrocketing upward. It was the time of the great explorations, of the discovery of new lands, and of the return of abundant currency with gold coming from the Americas. The new wealth was creating new political structures: states much more powerful than the ragtag feudal kingdoms that had dominated Europe in earlier times.

With the economic changes, there came cultural changes. More people could afford to learn how to read and write and the monopoly of the Church on cultural matters was being threatened. Already during the early 14th century, Dante Alighieri wrote his "Comedy" not in Latin, the language of the intellectuals, but in Vernacular Italian: a language that the people of Florence could understand. But it was with the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg, in the mid 15th century, that things really took a different path. As long as a book had to be laboriously copied by hand by a scribe, it was an expensive tool for a class of specialists and it made no sense to write it in a language that wasn't Latin. The printing press made books affordable by people who were not part of the Church's clergy.

Revolutions always bring unexpected changes: the 15th-century European bourgeoisie who could afford printed books were not professional clergymen and few of them had studied Latin. Suddenly, a new market appeared: that of books printed in vernacular languages. Already in the late 15th century, Bibles in German were being printed and you know how Martin Luther published a German version of the Bible in 1522. That was, possibly, his most revolutionary act. With Bibles in their language, people didn't need anymore a priest to interpret the holy scriptures for them. The Latin-based Catholic Empire had suddenly become obsolete.

Of course, the Catholic Church didn't just sit and watch as it was being pushed into the waste bin of history. You know about the counter-reformation movement, the Council of Trento (1545- 1563), and the thirty-years war, up to recent times the bloodiest confrontation recorded in human history. With the counter-reformation, the Church reaffirmed the primacy of Latin as the language of choice, truly the sacred language of Europe.

But that couldn't work. Latin could be a lingua franca, a tool for understanding each other, but it was hardly a sacred language. Moslems could claim that God had spoken in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad. But never in the Christian scriptures you could read that God had spoken in Latin to anyone, He had spoken in Hebrew or, at most, in Aramaic. And the Christian prophets of the New Testament had used Greek. Latin could provide translations, but it wasn't the real thing.

So, the Catholic Church was fighting an impossible battle. It must be said that it put up a spirited resistance and that, during the 18th century, there was an attempt to revive Latin as a cultured language, for instance, Isaac Newton wrote his "Principia" in Latin in 1687. But it was a brief revival, the tumultuous growth of national states in Europe destroyed all attempts to keep Latin as a universal language. By the late 19th century, Europe was what it is today: an ensemble of nation-states whose behavior could be likened to that of a group of drunken psychopaths at a party, each one armed to the teeth and ready to start shooting at the others at the slightest hint of provocation. Engaged in their local quarrels, the European States managed to destroy themselves in a series of internecine wars and the result was the expansion of the American Empire and the dominance of English as the world's lingua franca during the second half of the 20th century. At that point, Latin had become a language as dead as ancient Sumerian.

During the transition from Latin to English, for the Catholic Church it was impossible to maintain the fiction of universality. During the Great War, Catholic Priests were blessing the Austrian and the Italian soldiers on the opposite sides of the frontline and encouraging them to kill each other in the name of the same God. That made no sense, obviously, and the Church eventually admitted defeat with the Second Vatican Council, (1962-1965), when permissions were granted to celebrate the Mass in vernacular languages. With the demise of Latin, priests from different regions of the world were now speaking to each other in English. It was the end of an age: the Catholic Church was not universal anymore.  Even though theoretically still a structure dominated by the Roman Papacy, it was to become what it is now: a loose network of national churches, not unlike the Protestant Churches it had been battling against so strongly. The Catholic cycle of domination over Western European history had lasted more than a millennium -- now it was over.

But let's go back to the 16th century, when the battle lines were just starting to be drawn. The Catholic Church didn't just resist change, it tried to fight back. It did so by using the weapons it had, in particular, its rich and varied tradition of iconography, from frescoes to nativity scenes. There was a reason for this tradition: the Church had been using a language - Latin - that was completely alien to many of its followers, so it had used images as a way to make the message more easily understandable. Christianity had moved along a path different than that of Islam, which had instead capitalized on the capability of the Ummah of understanding, at least in part, Classical Arabic, the language of the Holy Quran. So, when the Latin-based claims to universality were threatened, the Church reacted with a bold move: trying to develop a new universal language. It was to be a purely iconographic one.

This is what the sanctuary of San Vivaldo was: an original attempt to develop a new language, one that would bypass the Protestant target of the literate elites to speak directly to the illiterate masses (as we would call them today). The images of the sanctuary show strictly no text -- they are purely visual icons, based on color, movement, postures, expressions. They are very simple and direct, similar to our modern comic strips.

We can imagine that the visitors of the various chapels were accompanied by guides explaining to them what they were seeing in their vernacular language -- these guides would play the role of the "text balloons" in our modern comics. And the full-immersion experience would have been remarkable in a world that had none of the modern graphical tricks: movies and newspapers.

Did it work as planned? For us, some five centuries after that San Vivaldo was created, it is difficult to judge. There are many "Holy Mountains" in Europe which attempt to provide the same kind of emotional experience that San Vivaldo does, all based on simple and high-impact dioramas. At least one more "Italian Jerusalem" exists in Val Sesia, the Holy Mount of Varallo, also based on dramatic and colored 3D images, as you see below.

Over time, with the development of the popular press and of TV, these sanctuaries lost importance and became obsolete. They were forgotten, although many of them still exist, scattered all over Europe. But the basic idea remains that of providing a non-text communication that bypasses the need for translation. Isn't it exactly what we are doing with the icon-based signs that you can find almost everywhere, today?

Then, the development of machine translation may soon make universal languages obsolete. It is not a perfect technology, but today it is already good enough to turn the world from a Babel tower to a sort of gigantic train station. The new communication technologies may succeed in making writing and speech fully user-transparent: the interface will transform our input in whatever vernacular we happen to speak into a different vernacular understood by the person on the other side of the system. Is this the ultimate Esperanto? And what effect will it have on the seemingly all-powerful nation-states of today, so fond of warring and of killing people?

Impossible to say, but, as usual, we are running into the future without ever wondering if we really want to go there.

Doomsteading / 🗡️ DD: Dagger Disease - The Knife Thread
« on: December 26, 2018, 03:12:52 AM »
I'm kicking off a new thread here which is all about Knives 🗡️.  :icon_sunny:  Starter post for this thread appeared in the Diner Solstice  Festival celebration thread.

Drop any of your posts about Knives, Daggers, Swords, Razors, Axes, Hatchets, Manual Saws, Scissors, Shears, Scythes etc into this thread.

Samurai RE

Santa Brings RE a Present

Precisely at Midnight too!  :icon_sunny:

OK it was midnight Paris time, but let's not nitpick. ::)  Also, since I don't have a Chimney he came disguised as a UPS driver and the Gift Box was disguised as a package from Amazon.

In reality of course, I bought this Present for myself.  Since I am a Monast Hermit, I don't have any kids who will buy me presents, and both my parents are dead so no more Christmas Cards with a check in them either.

If you followed my discussions with C5, you know I am a Knife Freak.  Now, I have already just about every knife I will ever need for cooking or for hunting & fishing if I ever have a recovery that will allow me to do that again.  But I recently bought an 8" Chef's Knife crafted from Damascus Steel, and besides being an amazing cutting tool, it's also a real Work of Art.  It gave me a new Enthusiasm to pursue, collecting a full set of Damascus Steel knives which will be an Heirloom Gift to the SUN Foundation when I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond  They are of course relatively expensive, but I shop for Bargains that are ON SALE, so not too much for them.  Also the Japanese are cutting prices to try and keep their export market alive.

For this year's Christmas, I bought a Hunting/Skinning Knife and a Straight Razor.

Knife Damascus Steel 2sm
Knife Damascus Steel 2sm

Real Bone Handles too!

A straight razor is a knife I did NOT have before, even a cheap one.  Who would want to use a cheap straight razor on their face anyhow, right?  So I tried it out and it's really cool, and quite sharp right outta da box.  I will however need to get a Strop for it in addition to my sharpening stones.  For now though, newspaper makes a decent strop, and really I'm not going to use it, my electric Braun is much faster and I don't need to be so careful  It will just go On Display in the Candle Shrine in my digs.

The Hunting Knife also super sharp when unboxed, especially for a knife with this kind of weight and heft.  This is a real Macho Man's knife, you could chop down redwoods with it!  Well not quite, or it would take you your whole life to do it anyhow.  But it's still quite a robust and heavy instrument.  A real Macho Man would probably have chosen one with a longer Blade like Crocodile Dundee carried, but knives like that really aren't very useful in the field unless you are going Mano-a-Mano with a Croc or a Grizzly, something I went out of my way to avoid even when healthy.  A shorter blade works much better for skinning and de-boning a carcass.  For Quartering, carry a good heavy Butcher's Knife in your toolkit.  You can also use a Hatchet for that.  You also want a good Bone Saw of course.  For that a Hacksaw works the best with replaceable blades, I'm not looking for one of those in Damascus Steel.

Probably the next Damascus Steel blade I buy will be a Fillet Knife.  I saw some nice ones on sale, but I'm still torn as to whether I want a stiff blade or a flexible blade.  Flexible blades give you better close to the bone cuts, but they are not as robust.  In any event, I spent enough for 1 Christmas on stuff I will never actually use and don't really need.

Another Enthusiasm I have these days is for Cast Iron Cookware, the kind Lodge Logic sells.  I have a nice Skillet and a small Dutch Oven, as well as a small sauce cup.  However there are pans in a ouple of sizes I covet as well as a big 2 Burner Griddle.  Not cheap stuff here either, and I don't really need that either, although if I had it I might occasionally use it for cooking.  However, my current more modern pans work just fine, so still unnecessary.  The cast Iron stuff though is indestructible, and well cared for will last into the next century at least, if there is anything left to cook t that time anyhow.

Anyhow, I hope all you Diners also got what you wanted for Christmas and are enjoying playing with your new toys.  :icon_sunny:

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Goodnight!

RE ☃️

Doom Psychology & Philosophy / 👧 In Defense of the Human Individual
« on: December 25, 2018, 12:16:24 AM »

In Defense of the Human Individual

by Robert J. Burrowes / December 23rd, 2018

While it is very late in the life cycle of Homo sapiens, with extinction now due to consign us to Earth’s fossil record I would like to make a belated pitch for the importance of the human individual and why nurturing each individual’s uniqueness is so important even if it is now probably too late.

‘Why are you writing about this?’ you might ask, adding that many people accept that each one of us is unique, important and deserves the opportunities and support necessary to live a fulfilling life according to our own culture and choices. It is just the sexists, racists, bigots (religious and otherwise), upper class, governments, corporations, members of the global elite, and some other categories of people, as well as many organizations, particularly those that are violent, that do not.

Well, I wish that this were true, but I am troubled by the overwhelming evidence that suggests it is not. In fact, from my own observations and investigations, I see virtually no evidence that anyone really works to actively nurture the uniqueness of individual human beings. The whole purpose of socialization is to terrorize the child into surrendering their unique individuality so that they become like everyone else.

Of course, you might counter my claim by noting that socialization is necessary to make the child fit into their society but once they have done so, they can make certain choices of their own. This particularly applies once the individual is an adolescent or an adult when, for example, they can choose their own school subjects (from the range offered), their work (from the employment options available), decide for whom they will vote to govern them (from a narrow selection of individuals and political parties) if they live in a ‘democracy’ and, if they work hard enough at socially approved employment and thereby accumulate enough wealth while living in a relatively wealthy industrial society, they can also choose the foods, clothing, housing, entertainment and travel options they will consume.

Needless to say, to children we do not even offer this parody of ‘freedom’ whether they live in an impoverished country where many of these opportunities are not available or even if they live in a wealthy industrialized one. Under the unending threat of violence (usually labeled ‘punishment’ to obscure from ourselves that we are using violence) by parents, teachers, religious figures and adults generally, children are coerced into doing what we believe is in their ‘best interests’ as we define them. We do not listen to children so that they can tell us what they need in order to travel their own unique life journey.

You might argue that children do not have this capacity to tell us what they need. But this is not my experience and I wonder if it is really yours. Most parents are ready to complain about the enormous effort (that is, violence) it takes ‘to train a child to do as they are told’; that is, to obey the orders of all adults in all contexts.

But because each adult, when they were a child, was terrorized into unconsciously accepting the importance of obedience, only the rarest individual ever reaches a point in life where they are able to consciously reflect on their own childhood and ask fundamental questions about it. Questions such as these: ‘Why do I believe that obedience is so important? And is it?’, ‘Is terrorizing a child into obedience really the best way to raise a child?’ and ‘What would happen if I listened to a child and let them guide me on the support they need to become their own unique Self?’

Tragically, it is that most hallowed of institutions – school – which I call ‘prison for children’ where much of the damage is done. Designed to terrorize children into obedience and conformity on the basis that ‘one size fits all’, school destroys the physical, sensory, intellectual and emotional capacities of children churning out individuals with near-zero capacity to feel anything profound, think creatively and behave powerfully with integrity.

That is, we take the uniquely gifted baby at the moment of birth and turn them into an individual who has multiple lifetime disabilities, physically, sensorily, intellectually and emotionally.

Of course, this suits governments and those corporations who want vast quantities of cheap labor to work as soldiers, in a factory or at one of the other dangerous and/or meaningless jobs that qualify as ‘employment’ in the modern economy. But before you conclude that it is only working class employment that is in this category, only the rarest of professionals, in any industry, has the capacity to feel deeply, think genuinely creatively (as distinct from within the narrow parameters of their profession) and to act powerfully with integrity. In short, those who work 8-5, five days (or more) a week, doing what others trained them to do at University or elsewhere, are simply being better rewarded for surrendering their soul as a child.

But, unfortunately, it is not school that does the most damage. All children within the childhood home experience extensive ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence, and many experience ‘visible’ violence as well.

The inevitable outcome of this violence is that the child suppresses their awareness of the feelings that would have guided them to behave most functionally in each and every circumstance of their life (including about whether or not to attend school). Moreover, a consequence of suppressing their awareness of these feelings is that the child is left with an (unconscious) legacy of fear, self hatred and powerlessness, precisely because they have been terrorized into suppressing their own Self-will and obeying the will of another.

But because these feelings of fear, self hatred and powerlessness are very unpleasant to feel, and the child has never been given the opportunity and support to focus on feeling them, the child will unconsciously learn to project their fear, self hatred and powerlessness as fear of, hatred for and a desire to exercise control over individuals within ‘legitimized victim groups’. For brief explanations of these phenomena in particular contexts see, for example, ‘Islamophobia: Why are So Many People So Frightened?’, ‘Why are all those Racists so Terrified?‘, ‘Understanding Self-Hatred in World Affairs‘ and ‘Why Are Most Human Beings So Powerless?’

So by the time the child is forced to attend school – no free choices about this, you may have noted, with homeschooling (to an externally-imposed syllabus) only marginally less violent – they have already been terrorized into submission, doing what they have learned is least terrifying and, hopefully, also gains them approval by adults.

Thus, virtually all children are utterly powerless to perceive the world clearly, analyze it, make intelligent and moral choices about how to respond, and to then behave powerfully in doing so. And a decade, more or less, of school makes sure that only the rarest of individuals survives to achieve some version of their evolutionary potential, which required a nurturing, not terrifying, social environment.

In short, this person is not an individual with an unshakable sense of their own self-worth who, as a result, inherently values the worth of all others. They are simply a person who has been terrorized into conformity with a set of localized norms by the significant adults in their life.

At its worst, the outcome is an adult who is so devoid of a Self that they identify with other similarly and equally damaged individuals and then violently attack people in ‘legitimized victim groups’. This individual might be a prominent political leader who wages war against other national groups that are ‘different’; it might be a corporate executive who exploits people in other parts of the world who are ‘different’; or it might be an ‘ordinary’ person who hurls abuse at someone in their neighborhood who is ‘different’.

But the most common outcome is those who are simply too scared and powerless to respond meaningfully to the violence in our world and particularly the extinction-threatening assault on Earth’s biosphere.

And so, at this point in human history, it is extraordinarily difficult to get the typical human being to focus their attention on reality (including military, economic and ecological reality), astutely observe the phenomena presented, analyze the evidence in relation to it, devise (or seek out) a thoughtful strategy to resolve any problem or conflict that has arisen without resorting to violence, and to then behave appropriately, powerfully and with integrity in response.

Hence, instead of nurturing emotionally and intellectually resourceful and resilient individuals who are engaged with the world and capable of identifying and grappling powerfully with problems and conflicts early so that they do not spiral out of control, we are now faced with a last-ditch fight to avert our own extinction with most people still living in the delusion that we have an ‘end of century’ time frame. How intelligent is that?

So can we get out of this mess?

I don’t know and, frankly, I doubt it. But if you want to be part of the effort to try, consider making ‘My Promise to Children‘, which particularly requires the capacity to listen deeply to children so that we start to nurture each child to become the extraordinarily powerful individual that is built into their genetic potential.

And we don’t have to settle for just improving how we relate to children. We can improve our own functionality and access our conscience and courage too. How? See ‘Putting Feelings First‘.

If you are following the evidence in relation to the imminent extinction of human beings – see articles above – rather than the garbage published in the corporate media, and want to respond powerfully, consider joining those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth‘.

You might also like to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World‘ and/or participate in a strategically-focused nonviolent campaign on a crucial issue related to conserving the biosphere.

So how important is the human individual? In the context of life on Earth at the current time, I simply respond with ‘What is more important?’

We can do nothing about our fate if we do not value, above all else, the human individual and their potential. Including our own. This potential is difficult to nurture; it is easily destroyed.

But, as Mohandas K. Gandhi once observed in one of his many memorable lines: ‘The individual is the one supreme consideration.’

And remember, if the challenge to honour the human individual and to act powerfully yourself (as vital parts of our strategy to avert human extinction) sounds daunting, Gandhi also noted that: ‘Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it.’

In essence, the foundation of any strategy for human survival must be the powerful individual. It is this individual who will mobilize some of those around them simply by making their own life-enhancing behavioural choices consciously and courageously.

Robert Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of Why Violence? He can be reached at: Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website.

The Kitchen Sink / T'was the Nightmare Before Christmas 2012
« on: December 24, 2018, 05:01:25 PM »

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 24, 2018

Published originally December 24, 2012

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

T'was the night before Christmas, when across all the  seas

Not a Doomer was stirring, not even RE.

The False Flags were in the MSM all over the place,

While Politicians mumbled their words of disgrace.

The Diners were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of Mad Max danced in their heads

WHD in his Red Afro Wig, and I in my hat

Had just settled in to watch Civilization go splat.

When out on the internet there arose such a clatter,

I sprang to the Laptop to see what was the matter.

Over to Google I flew like some birds,

To type in Apocalypse and other Keywords.

The news on the net was like new fallen snow,

Flakes of disaster everywhere I would go.

Off with my wandering keyboard fingers I went to visit

Zero Hedge, and 8 blowhard Collapse Pundits

The news was so bad I surfed ever faster,

searching wide to find the cause of disaster.

More rapid than Assault Rifle gunfire the news came on in,

Of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and all Human Sins.

Now Kunstler! Now Orlov! Now, McPherson and even Jim Quinn!

On Ruppert! On Gail! On, on Denninger and Steve from Virgin!

To TEOTWAWKI as we head for a mighty big fall!

Now Dash away, Dash Away! Dash away from it all!

As Mall Signs and Rooftops before the wild hurricane fly

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

Every keyboard was flying, calls of the end came everywhere

The Doomosphere was just chock full of despair.

And then in a twinkling, I read on the net

Illuminati across the Globe were begining to Sweat.

Bond spreads were wide, Futures were down,

Derivatives and CDOs were beginning to drown.

Gold bugs were Frantic, piles of Maple Leafs high to the sky,

While at Safeway and Walmart not a Twinkie to buy!

Preppers were loading their Glocks full of Lead,

Hoping to be the last of the Doomers left dead.

Permaculture raised beds and hydroponics were secured,

as Industrialization's Ills could not be cured.

Heirloom Seeds in Nitrogen vaccuum packs were stored,

Ground floor windows were covered with 2×4 boards.

In Central Park all the OWSers set tents on the Grass,

the showdown with the NYPD would now come to pass.

The truckers rolled in and the Hell's Angels too,

then the Longshoremen came in from out of the blue.

In CONgress the budget went over the Cliff,

while Obama said, "Hey, what's the diff?

My Man Benny has the Inkjets all ready!"

No worries folks, the economy will stay steady.

In Brussels at the IMF the Eurocrats fumbled,

playing violins as the Euro crumbled.

In Japan the Sushi was glowing,

While Abe made sure those Yen kept on flowing.

In MENA the Drone Aircraft were flying,

with Women and Children doing most of the dying.

In the Straights of Hormuz Mines were placed to counter the Drones,

So all the tankers and carriers would be sent to Davey Jones.

In China the economy was rocking,

Ghost Cities and Bridges to Nowhere filled up their stockings.

Foxconn workers off factory rooftops went jumping,

While the Iphones out of the factory kept pumping.

The situation was dire, the whole world was on fire.

Everyone everywhere all caught in the mire.

The whole human race so utterly lost,

Happy Motoring and Industrialization exacting a terrible cost.

RE sprang to his keyboard to give the Diners some HOPE,

even though the world seems at the end of its rope.

They heard him exclaim, 'ere the Internet went out of sight,

"Happy christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!"

Merry Christmas Diners!

Surveys / 2019 Collapse Political and Attitude Survey
« on: December 23, 2018, 04:22:44 AM »

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 23, 2018

Discuss this Survey at the Surveys Table inside the Diner

2018 is coming to a close, and it's time once again to take a survey of Kollapsniks to see what their predictions are and their attitudes regarding Collapse as we move into 2019 and beyond.  These things change from year to year as Collapse progresses, just anecdotally based on my observations more people are becoming "Collpse Aware", and those who were already Collapse Aware are becoming more pessimistic.  However, without some data and numbers, it's hard to pinpoint the general attitudes and zeitgeist in the Collapse Community.  This survey is designed to get some of those numbers.

This statistical gathering expedition is considerably detailed, more so than any survey I have done before with the possible exception of the Human Extinction Survey I did a couple of years ago.  It covers a wider range of topics than that one did though, and has more Demographic Questions to try and get a better handle on the overall demographics of the Collapse Community.  One topic it does NOT cover in that deep detail (although there is some) is Economic aspects of Collapse.  This because I am working on a survey dedicated to this topic by itself, since it is my major focus as a Collapse Writer and Pundit.  I should have that survey ready to launch sometime in January of 2019.

Assuming we get enough respondents, I'll post prelminary results Sunday for the Diner Sunday Brunch article and end of year re-cap.  I'll keep the survey open though through January since we generally tend to get responses on these things trickling in for quite some time.

As usual, in all likelihood I forgot to ask some question that is burning in your mind about Collapse  or I forgot to provide a satisfatory enough answer for some question that actually IS on the survey.  I did put out the request for suggestions though Inside the Diner, but I didn't get a whole lot of help there.

All the questions on the survey are Optional, you don't have to answer a question if you don't want to but still want to fill out some of the survey.  The responses are anonymous, I'm not collecting IP addys or anything like that.  There is no financial benefit to me for this survey, or any cost to you to take it except in your time.  I estmate it will take anywhere from 20-40 minutes to fill out, depending how long you ponder on a question.

Please pass on a Link to the survey to your friends or on websites you participate on, or on your Blog if you run one.  The bigger the Sample Size we get, the more statistically significant the results become.

The Full Survey has 41 Questions and may take a while to load depending on your connection speed.  Hit the 🔽 Button at the bottom of the page until you finish and then hit the "2019 Collalpse Political Survey" button to submit.  You will get a confirmation page on your browser if it was successfully submitted.  You can also try accessing it directly at this LINK.

Thanks for your particpation and looking forward to seeing the responses roll in! 🙂  The Survey follows below.




Surveys / 🗳️ 2019 Collapse Political Survey
« on: December 19, 2018, 05:26:58 AM »
Currently in Beta Testing.  Help me out by filling in the survey so I can check itf everything is working right.  New questions can still be added before I go Live with it, so suggestions for questions are :hi:.  Your current answers will be wiped out if I add or make changes to the survey, so you will need to fill it out again then when I do a general release, probably on Sunday for Brunch.

...Survey Says...


History / 🛢️ Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran
« on: December 19, 2018, 03:25:20 AM »
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