Guest Post - Respect

From respectisthehub @ earthfamilyalphaThe title is somewhat clunky, RESPECTISM AND HUMAN SURVIVAL, but the sentiments are worth a broad discussion.

We talk about decreasing war and crime, pollution and discrimination, starvation and the nuclear brink,but if we do not recognize that we are the source of our problems and change our ways, we will meet disaster.

We need an agreement between people who believe in human rights and the fragility of our planet's thin halo of life, that a respectful society is a pragmatic necessity for human survival. Some might choose to call belief in this necessity respectism. Once this initial consensus is achieved, there are at least three steps to take towards building a respectful society.

First, respect for others, self and place must be universally promoted. In other words, respect must be widely and constantly advertised urging each person to respect others, themselves and the world around us, and to fully expect the same from all institutions and leadership.

Second, respect must be based on listening dialogue, honest negotiation, fair settlement and the avoidance of violence whenever possible to settle differences. While every individual and society has the right to true self-defense, the success of a respectful society will ultimately be measured in the scarcity of all types of violence

Third, it is essential to keep the disrespectful from having power over others. Throughout history, certain types of people have siezed power for their own cruel self-gain using violence, lies, fear and subversion of ideals. We must break this cycle, by educating the public to recognize such persons and work together to remove or isolate them from power, be it big or small.

If you think these ideas too simplistic or too idealistic, please ask yourself these questions. Is it better to treat one disease or countless symptoms? Can a promotional campaign succeed with simple messages that resonate? Can we survive without changing our behavior?

If you believe this proposal to be worthy of sharing, please feel free to distribute this text. Ultimately, a respectful society will depend on having enough people working together to build a web of respect. Discussion among those seeking to be respectful is the first step.

Hero: Peace Pilgrim



At YouTube - 1 hr long

I met the Peace Pilgrim more than 30 years ago and was deeply moved by her example. Now I find the heavy Christian framing (especially the cringe worthy music of this video) tough. But I do realize the appropriateness given the life of a woman born in 1908, walking alone across the country in 1953. The context for this kind of in-your-face freedom had to come via the accepted Christian teachings. For all of us wanting to walk the talk of a simple life of peace, with no carbon footprint - there couldn't be a better example. She only wore the clothes on her back, never accepted any money or shelter without it being offered. This makes the Riot 4 Austerity 90% reduction seem like living high on the land.

Thinking about the Peace Pilgrim today, I realize I finally found an American Example of the kind of hero stature for women, for humanity I see in Vandana Shiva, Wangari Maathai and Leymah Gbowee.

An additional note: I failed to make explicit this woman's name, Mildred Norman Ryder, and that the key mission was world peace! This can't be overstated as the United States is attacking countries and plunging the world into constant warfare. If the US isn't fighting, we have bases and we have supplied the weapons or 'consultants' of our preferred side. It is all about power, position and resources and the United States is dedicated to having it all. One lone voice in the US Senate - Russ Feingold is the only one to vote against upping the troops in Afghanistan.

Are You Like Me?

In an effort to put a face on the healthcare crisis in this country, someone has come up with a wristband. Yes, I know that it was a fashion fad several years ago to wear a writstband and it got way, way overdone. But, this spoke to me.

The people wearing the uninsured wristband are spreading a personal message:

"I'm uninsured, you may not know why, but now you know my face. Maybe I look like you or someone you love. I'm uninsured and scared of being without health insurance in this country. Maybe my health is already suffering from lack of health care. Today it's me, tomorrow it could be you."

The state of America's healthcare system is a medical emergency.
This was taken from The Political Carnival. I am embarrassed to admit I don't remember where I first saw this wristband, but I ordered one. And, I let them know at Uninsured Wristband that I lived on $8K a year so I didn't want to pay the $3.99. The wristband came to me in the mail and I am wearing it.

I grieve that most Americans - who rely on broadcast irritainment or corporate print new don't really know what is going on in the big healthcare fight in our country. Dennis Kucinich just proposed a wonderful amendment in the House of Representatives that would give States the right to create single payer healthcare - since the administration and the congressional leaders took universal, single payer healthcare off the table and out of the debate. On Democracy Now a whistleblower from Cigna has come forward and spelled out the corruption in the insurance, pharma industries and the collusion of the senators and representatives in keeping real reform away from the legislature. He has said the Michael Moore hit the nail on the head with Sicko. And, Bernie Sanders, I - VT has been direct in his appeal to Congressional Democrats. Citations maybe later . . I have got to go on a walk.

Update: Even though John Conyers' single payer legislation has been virtually killed, yesterday's news from Dennis Kucinich about this new amendment means single payer is alive. Check out more information at the Kucinich website.

Update 2: I should have mentioned that I hold very little faith that healthcare reform will come to this country in my lifetime. I believe the bill in congress is pathetic as the begrudged 'public' option will be very, very limited. Still, it must start somewhere and the state amendment is still the best news. I do get excited when I hear Kucinich, Sanders and others with the real message. Just finding these voices, words despite the roaring of the fetid wasteland of US media is like a big fat kiss.

Listen Up - The Global South Speaks

G8, G20 or ideally . . . G192. These economic summits are just wrong. 20% of the world's population (developed nations) uses up 90% of the world's resources. The World Bank, the IMF are functioning to increase empire - especially for the USA. I find the insights of the UN representatives from the rest of the world far more salient. I find this especially true for the women and girls in the world - who will feel the brunt of crisis much harder as the days, months and years go by.

The international system (like the US economic system) is broken and this is the best time to chuck it for a better system that serves the vast majority of the world, rather than a small, privileged portion.

That Voice Isn't Me

About a decade ago I first heard of a different way to deal with addictions than AA. Disclosure, I am pretty sure if I had to choose between being a drunk and AA, I’d choose the former. Alcoholics Anonymous has no resonance for me. But, a decade ago I heard of Rational Recovery (RR) and I put it to the test six years ago with beer drinking and smoking.

My one takeaway was the notion of the beast within, or the addictive voice (AV) that relentlessly lets someone know that he / she is thirsty, hungry, tired or some other physical state of need. It is a voice that has probably spoken to humankind through millions of years. It was a survival voice to keep the human body functioning. The founder of RR suggests this survival voice got sidetracked with self-stimulants along the way, and now can treat need for alcohol, narcotics, etc. as a survival need. (I am paraphrasing in the broadest way.)

Anyway, the money lines for me in the RR literature are these:
“Look at your hands, which are necessary to consume alcohol or drugs. Understand that they [you hands] are under your complete control at all times. Your Beast has no power over you; it is a quadriplegic which must appeal to you in order to convince you to drink or to use. Wiggle your finger. Now challenge your Beast to do the same. Get it?”
Because the imagery is ableist language, I think I’d rather substitute a sci-fi or fantasy character like Hal 9000. A disembodied - but reasonable voice (sounding just like my own in fact) that can cause me problems and fear and anxiety, but can’t control my hands.

I was able to use this approach on any number of addictions. There was great care and concern with my approach and preparation to make-a-plan each and every time I wanted to address an addiction. I have gotten lazy and ignored my plans and indulged the AV cajoling me. But, it has never been a fearful or overly shameful process to address and move on past bad habits. This is aided by the fact that I am not working and I don’t have dependents (kids, pets, a relationship or marriage). Therefore lacking these most common hurdles, I can focus my energy and involvement in whatever way maximizes my process of getting past habits.

This January I did encounter massive inertia. And my ‘de-trained’ state; that is, my utter lack of muscle tone, lung capacity, balance, flexibility or energy was unprecedented in my life. Growing older has been an accelerant in this ├╝ber out of shape state. Not to worry. I am hoisting my hefty frame out the door far more often than not. I am not blogging or writing much this year because I know how easy it is to get snagged back into a comfort zone of writing rather than moving. I am also stepping away from community building for the same reasons, the validation and self-satisfaction these things bring me can threaten my resolve to move into this much overlooked responsibility to build a strong, resilient physical being. So, every day I nudge myself further out of the comfort zone and into the fray.

I am working to envision myself on a bike – daily. I can see myself up early and attending to some domestic, garden tasks, packing some potable meals / water, eating a bite and heading out the door for a host of projects, study, reading, meeting with others and even volunteering. What is keeping me from this is the combination of low energy / fitness and the getting out the door kind of will. I have a couple more habits that just piss me off. Things that render me a prisoner or slave – against my best intentions – to time and energy spent in ways that don’t give me what I long to have or be . . . are in my mind as the next priorities. The internet has so much to give me while remaining my primary nemesis. Plans flit in and out of my mind lately. I will formulate a real plan when it is time. Right now I don’t want to tip off Hal. (In my head it sounds more like Val).

Hat tip to Sharon Astyk for writing a provocative piece today on denial that stimulated me with so many thoughts I had to write a bit today. Her website, Casaubon’s Book does this for me on a regular basis.

Update 7/16: Upon rereading I may have overstated my aversion to AA - if I had to choose between being a drunk and AA, I’d choose the former -using hyperbole.

Quote of the Day

"Imagine a world where women were in control of governments. Children would never go without health care. Corporate executive bonuses and private jets would happen only after corporate day care centers and meaningful maternity leave were paid for. Birth control would be free and Viagra would be priced based on the going rate for a barrel of oil. And by that I mean to say the price would go up and down without making any sense – much like the penis in question."


This is from a wonderful blog by two 83 year old bloggers, Margaret and Helen (primarily Helen). I'd forgotten about them until I saw the link via TPM Cafe today. I get a real kick out of this as I have always longed for conversations like this with my own 85 year old mother. Alas, she is just not interested in thinking or talking or listening with curiosity about these things that fascinate me so.

Myth Busting Through Art



Banksy has appeared at make-a-(green)plan and my newsletter and personal letters because I am a huge fan. This recent opening of Banksy work at the Bristol Museum is something I would have loved to see in person. I particularly like that he has taken on 21st century food products with animatronics. His animated hatching chicken nuggets, swimming fish sticks and various hot dogs are really creepy. Banksy doesn't believe in copyright laws, so photographs are allowed and distribution is encouraged.

May The Forth Be With You


I snagged that line for the title from today's Grist.

I have been pouring over tax reports from our community records. The graphs compare communities in this county during the last 13 years. In the spirit of transparency and sunshine, the councilwoman I often speak highly of here at make-a-(green)plan has forwarded the city staff report. My takeaway in my first read through is that far too much of our community's business is dependent on big box corporate owners.

This last week I got an email from the local library that my requested book, "Big Box Swindle" is ready for me to pick up. Beany provide the excerpt below and a link to Green Bean's review. I'm indebted to them both for this post. I feel Big Box Swindle is something I should read. The library is closed today, so I'll have to wait until next week.
It may take a few years for the fallout from a new superstore to fully materialize, but ultimately the number of jobs created is offset by at least an equal number of job losses at other stores. The reason is fairly simple: retail development does not represent real growth. It does not generate new economic activity. Opening a Target superstore will not increase the amount of milk people drink or how many rolls of paper towels they use in a year. It will not increase their disposable income. The size of retail spending "pie" in a local market is a function of how many people live in the area and how much income they have. Building new stores does not expand the pie; it only reapportions it.
Flag image from Inspire me, now! blog

Imperial Forces


American kids are taught fuckall about US Imperialist behavior throughout history. We are taught a lot of manipulative public relations. For a fast-track lesson on current affairs and history, yesterday's video is a great place to start. It details a century of US imperial forces, banana republics set up by US corporate-state alliances (as the name comes from the United Fruit banana business interests), training generations of assassins in the School of the Americas and dozens of puppet dictators. John Pilcher's fine film, War on Democracy, which I first saw on Link TV is now available via Google.

Today, I listened to Noam Chompsky on Democracy Now with a speech titled Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours. A reoccurring phrase in his speech, recorded this June in New York's Riverside Church, is democratic deficit. Essentially, nothing is working or supporting the democracy, the people. It is all constructed and maintained for the entitled few and has been for since the founding.

We have more than 800 bases in something like 150 countries. That is empire building plain and simple.

Image from Inspire me, now! blog

Military Dancing

Troop Movement, Not Troop Withdrawal

by Dennis Kucinich

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) made the following statement on June 30, 2009 regarding the announcement that U.S. troops have left the cities and towns of Iraq and turned over formal security to Iraqi security forces:

The withdrawal of some U.S. combat troops from Iraq’s cities is welcome and long overdue news. However, it is important to remember that this is not the same as a withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors from Iraq.

U.S. troop combat missions throughout Iraq are not scheduled to end until more than a year from now in August of 2010. In addition, U.S. troops are not scheduled for a complete withdrawal for another two and a half years on December 31, 2011. Rather, U.S. troops are leaving Iraqi cities for military bases in Iraq. They are still in Iraq, and they can be summoned back at any time.

This is not a great victory for peace. On May 19, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Iraqi and U.S. military officials virtually redrew the city limits of Baghdad in order to consider the Army’s Forward Operating Base Falcon as outside the city, despite every map of Baghdad clearly showing it with in city limits. In fact, according to Section 24.3 of the “SOFA” U.S. troops can remain at any agreed upon facility. The reported reason for this decision is to ensure U.S. troops are able to ‘help maintain security in south Baghdad along what were the fault lines in the sectarian war.’

This troop movement should not be confused with a troop withdrawal from Iraq. In reality, this is a small step toward Iraqi sovereignty as Iraqi security forces begin assuming greater control over security operations, but it is a long way from independence and a withdrawal of the U.S. military presence.

Published on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 by CommonDreams.org

Image from Inspire me, now! blog



And more from Inspire me, now! Because pictures sometimes say so much more.


Global coalition for peace.org - poster from Big Ant International
















And more dancing . . .