Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day Seventeen

Today is my 17th day as a non smoker. So far the cravings have been bearable, but emotionally things are a little rocky.

I am driving over the pass today which will be challenging as I used to smoke a lot while driving. Wish me luck.

I'll keep you posted avid readers. Lol.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Operation Miracle in Action - Day 3

Day 3 is going well so far. I found last night that emotional triggers are far stronger than habitual triggers. Still challenging, but I remain smoke free.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Operation Miracle in Action

As of yesterday I am officially a non smoker. I am calling the process Operation Miracle in Action. Two days is the longest I've gone without a cigarette in 10 years. I was a smoker for 21 years. My smoking habit was old enough to drink legally. (That's my little smoking joke.)

This is all part of my environmental plan, but it took a while to set in motion.

In case you are wondering I am using Chantix in conjunction with EMDR to reduce the urge to smoke. So far it has worked phenomenally well. I have almost no physical withdrawal symptoms at this point. I am also following all the suggestions provided by the associated Get-Quit program. I have found that the challenge is surmountable.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I just made my first microloan through Kiva. I have been meaning to take a look at Kiva ever since I saw them profiled on Frontline. Apparently they have been profiled on a number of other shows and there is so much interest that they have to limit the amount that individuals can lend.

I believe in small business and in helping people to better their economic situations. The criteria I ended up using to choose the business was based on the individuals business as well as the Field Partners rating, delinquency rate, and time working with Kiva.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Deep Economy

I recently finished a book by Bill McKibben called "Deep Economy." I think that it may be my favorite book on environmentalism thus far. It is basically a series of anecdotes about local solutions from all over the world. I highly recommend it.

I also like how I ran across it. I was at a Live Earth party and it was given to me to read and pass on which I have done.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Please Don't See "Evan Almighty"

This is a repost of a friends bulletin from a peer community site:
Please don't see the new Steve Carell film, "Evan Almighty." The film made use of hundreds of exotic animals, including great apes, to produce “the most expensive comedy ever made.” The film’s animal supplier, Birds & Animals Unlimited, has been issued four official warnings by the USDA for chronic failure to comply with veterinary care requirements, failure to provide shelter from heat and sunlight, and failure to maintain enclosures to prevent escape. A few years ago, a child actor filed a lawsuit against Birds & Animals when he was bitten in the face by a chimpanzee.

Additionally, a chimpanzee named Cody who was used in the film was recently surrendered in settlement of a civil lawsuit alleging cruelty to animals. A primatologist who worked for Cody’s trainer for a year testified that the chimpanzees in his care were beaten regularly for training purposes.

It's no longer necessary to use living animals in films now that CGI technology is available... please boycott inherently cruel films such as Evan Almighty.

If you are interested in learning more about the reality faced by chimpanzees exploited in the entertainment industry please visit:

Thank you for standing up for those that can not speak for themselves!

Publicly Funded Elections

If you would like to read the testimony on S. 1285, the "Fair Elections Now Act," to reform the finance of Senate elections and on the high cost of broadcasting campaign advertisements go to:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Publicly Funded Elections, Public Airwaves

A couple of issues that have come up today include public funding of elections and the public airwaves in regards to the internet.

There are some bills currently in congress associated with the public funding of elections. To find out more and what you can do to help reduce the influence of big money special interests on our political process go to:

The FCC is in the process of deciding how to parcel out chunks of the public airwaves for use with wireless internet. The fear is that large corporations who have invested in physical transmission lines will purchase the airwaves at auction and not allow them to be used. To find out more and how you can help go to:

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reverend Billy, Healthcare, State's Rights

My significant other and I went to see Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping last night. There were four members of the choir and two members of the band. If you see them in New York the choir is much larger and they have a seven piece band. On the way to the performance they changed the name of the church to the Church of the First Amendment to coincide with the theme of the festival at which they were performing.

In a video the Church Director refers to the group as a "Radical Performance Community." I really like the message and the approach. It is nice to approach the issues that we are all facing with a little lighter touch. If you would like to find out more about this organization go to


I watched a news report last night on a town hall meeting in Selah, WA at which Senator Hastings spoke. I was discouraged that 80 percent of the discussion involved immigration reform. It is apparently an important issue to a lot of people, but I feel that it is a bit of a red herring. Immigration reform won't stop global warming. It won't reinvigorate a free press, place politicians in office that represent the will of the people, nor hold corporations accountable for their actions. It also won't bring our troops home.


Michael Moore's latest movie is about national healthcare. The following comes from the Organic Consumers Association's newsletter:
If you've been reading OCA's Health Page you're aware of the sorry state of the nation's health care system. In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked our system (which is the most expensive in the world) 37th, just after war-torn and drug-ravaged Columbia. In the last seven years, with cuts in employee health benefits and miserly HMO coverage, things have only gotten worse. A 2007 report by the Commonwealth Fund ranks the US last among other rich countries in health care access, patient safety, efficiency, and equity, despite the fact that it spends twice as much on health care. This is the subject of Michael Moore's new documentary, "Sicko." The difference between the US and countries with better health outcomes? Universal health care.
Watch this short interview with Moore and take action for universal health care:

Here is some information regarding the further reduction of state's rights to the stranglehold of the federal government which also comes from the Organic Consumers Association:
Since 1998, the biotech industry and industrial food corporations have unsuccessfully tried to take away local and states' rights to ban or regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other controversial foods and crops. For example, OCA and other public interest groups successfully generated a mass outcry in 2006 that blocked the passage of the National Uniformity for Food Act. This highly unpopular bill would have nullified 200 food safety and food labeling laws across the U.S. Failing to suppress grassroots control over food safety laws and labels in the last session of Congress, industry has now called on their friends in the House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry to slip a similar poison pill into an obscure section of the voluminous 2007-2012 Farm Bill. The provision would give the White House appointed Secretary of Agriculture the power to eliminate local or state food and farming laws, such as those in four California counties banning genetically engineered crops, and set an an ominous precedent undermining states' rights.
Tell Congress to repeal this provision before it becomes law:
If you have been reading along you will recall that I am not to hip to GMOs.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Iraq Deployment Update

In my last entry I discussed my concern with my youngest brother's possible deployment to Iraq. I have since found out that his agreement with the military is that he cannot be deployed until he has received two years of higher education. I sincerely hope that the military upholds its end of the agreement. We'll see how things play out.

If we can get a Democrat into the White House then maybe he won't have to go to Iraq. It is my understanding that Clinton has ties to big business so I am currently leaning towards Obama or Edwards. Go Doves!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Iraq War Hits Home

I found out yesterday that my father is being deployed to Iraq. He will be serving at the US embassy in Baghdad.

This will be the third war in which he was served. It will be the second war that he has served in during my lifetime.

He has been finishing up his service career in the Army Reserves. He is in his late fifties and left active duty because he was passed over for promotion. It is clear that the military is really hurting for warm bodies.

Fortunately he is a doctor now and not a grunt like he was during the Vietnam War.

I have difficulty understanding his continued association with the military as he became a war protestor after his return from Vietnam.

My youngest brother recently joined the National Guard. I also have difficulty understanding this decision. I was not consulted.

My pacifism was confirmed when my father and my best friend were deployed to the first Gulf War. My father is being deployed again and there is a good chance that my youngest brother will serve in this latest conflict.

It is a sad thing to have to accept the potential loss of loved ones in an unjust and illegal war which does not have the support of the American people or the military and in which I personally have no faith.

If we want to get our troops out of Iraq I believe that we will need to get a Democrat into the White House.


Friday, April 06, 2007 - Virtual Town Hall Meeting

Next Tuesday—April 10th—at 7:15pm Eastern, MoveOn is using the Internet to connect presidential candidates directly to the people.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Biden will answer questions from's 3.2 million members in the first of three unprecedented virtual town hall meetings. The topic: Iraq.

Sign up for email reminder.

Attend a local house party to watch the Virtual Town Hall with others by going here:

Here is a one-page background document with more information:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Global Warming: Al Gore

Today I sent the following email to family and friends:
Dear Family and Friends,

It is my understanding that global warming is a real issue caused by human related greenhouse gas emissions with potentially devastating consequences. I believe that it is time for the US to lead by example and implement regulations to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

In that light I am forwarding the following email that I received from Al Gore.

If you choose not to receive emails of this type please let me know.


Begin forwarded message:

From: "Al Gore"
Date: February 27, 2007 10:35:00 AM PST
Subject: Our Next Step

On March 21st, I'll hand-deliver your message to Washington when I testify at Congressional hearings on the climate crisis.

Can you commit to finding 10 friends to send a message to Congress demanding immediate action?

Ask them to visit:

Dear T,

When the producers of An Inconvenient Truth first approached me with the concept for the film, I was skeptical. Could we really take a slideshow about the climate crisis and turn it into a compelling movie? Davis Guggenheim’s Oscar win for best documentary and a second one for Melissa Etheridge’s beautiful song “I Need to Wake Up” was a testament to their ability, but it was also a testament to you.

It was you who packed the theaters and got your friends to go see this film, greatly increasing the audience. And then this past December, it was you who connected through and to attend An Inconvenient Truth viewing parties. At those parties and in the weeks that followed, nearly 200,000 of you wrote to Congress, demanding that they address the climate crisis like the planetary emergency that it is.

Even though I have been a life-long movie fan, I didn’t really understand how big of an audience a movie could reach. And of course I never would have imagined in a million years that a movie that I was a part of would receive two Academy Awards—or one—or would have ever been made in the first place! As humbling as this moment is, An Inconvenient Truth will only succeed if it drives all of us to take action. That’s why I’m asking you to join me in the next stage of our fight. On March 21st, I'm going to hand-deliver the messages you signed when I testify at Congressional hearings on the climate crisis.

This is an incredible opportunity to demonstrate to Congress that we demand immediate action. And I need your help to really make this moment count. Can you commit to getting 10 friends to send their message to Congress through before March 21st? The more voices I can bring to Washington, the more powerful our message will be.

To get your friends involved, just forward them this note or direct them to:

There is no longer a debate about the fact that global warming is real. We're causing it. The consequences are serious, and could be headed towards catastrophe if we don’t fix it. And it's not too late. I don't want to imagine a future in which our children say, “What were our parents thinking?” “Why didn't they wake up when they had a chance?” And I know you don’t either.

The hundreds of thousands of you who signed messages to Congress showed me what's possible. Working together we can unite millions of people and build support for real action on a scale that has never been seen before.

Help me take the first step and fill up that hearing room with your signatures. That picture alone will send a powerful message.

Can you commit to getting ten more people to send messages to Congress demanding action to stop global warming?

I’m looking forward to working with you on this monumental task.

Thank you,
Al Gore
I believe that Al Gore received my email address through If you are not already a member I would recommend registering with MoveOn. They will keep you busy, but the issues with which they are involved tend to be pretty important.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Corporate Ethics, Publicly Funded Campaigns

The sun is out and it's snowing which is unusual for Ellensburg, but beautiful nonetheless.


Corporate Ethics
I have been thinking about the market economy lately and its checks and balances. In a true free market economy business is only regulated by consumer purchasing habits. There are some gray areas where this regulation breaks down. The classic example is in the case of monopolies which limit choice, innovation, and quality.

Another example I would give is in regards to energy dependence. Most Americans are dependent on petrochemically generated energy for heating, food production, transportation and livelihood. It is not realistic to think that we can all live off the grid at this point. Therefore most of us are not able, for economic reasons, to use our buying power to influence the shift to more holistic energy sources. This is where governmental regulation and public pressure come into play.

I am interested in helping to shift the ethical consciousness of the corporate community such that corporate ethics align with a humanistic morality in terms of human rights and the environment.

An organization that I believe does an excellent job in helping corporatocracies to make this moral shift is


Publicly Funded Campaigns
I sent the following email to my friends and family today:
Dear Family and Friends,

I have become concerned about the influence of big money on politics and public policy. This in turn has sparked my interest in publicly funded campaigns.

The show that keyed me in to the potential of publicly funded campaigns was an episode of NOW on PBS which may be viewed at:

If you are interested in learning more and perhaps becoming involved on a state level go to:

There is also a movement at the national level. To find out more go to:

If you are local to Ellensburg, WA I invite you to attend the Washington Public Campaigns presentation to the League of Women Voters on April 17th at 7 pm in the Hal Holmes Community Center: 209 N. Ruby Street, 962-7240.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Net @ Risk

I just caught an episode of Moyers On America called The Net @ Risk. There were a couple of interesting segments.

Internet Connection Speed
The first segment discussed how the US is now tenth in terms of connection speed to the internet. According to the information provided the telephone companies in return for reduced regulation and lower taxes agreed to upgrade to fiber optics across the nation. This means that for the price we are paying for a 3 MBps connection we should have a 45 MBps connection.

The phone companies were previously required to reinvest a significant portion of their returns in their infrastructure ensuring that the structure was maintained and updated. The model was based on public utilities. The deregulation allowed the companies to pocket the profits instead of reinvesting them.

The companies have not been held accountable or forced to keep their promises because, according to one interviewee, they are in bed with the commissioners who are supposed to be monitoring their activities.

To add insult to injury the telecommunications companies are suing municipalities that are trying to implement fiber optic networks for their citizens.

Net Neutrality
The second segment I found of interest discussed Net Neutrality. The internet service providers currently charge us for our internet connection. They would like to be able to charge a second fee to content providers. If the content providers pay the fees their content will download faster.

Previously the ISPs were regulated by a notion called "Common Carriage" which was enacted for interstate commerce and then applied to the communication services. The idea is that some services are so important and powerful that companies should not be allowed to favor some customers over others.

Early in railroad shipping the railroads would charge different rates to different clients for the same service. Railroad companies favored those clients in whom they were invested. This caused problems for towns that were not able to receive necessary goods and thus regulation was enacted.

The regulation was later applied to telegraph companies as they charged different rates to different wire services. The AP was favored and as a result is still the dominant wire service today. The system was also used to favor certain political candidates over others. Thus the Common Carriage regulations were applied to the communications industry.

The same regulations were initially applied to the internet, but internet service providers have been fighting successfully to have the regulations removed. This means that they can promote certain companies over others. They can provide exclusive high speed transmission to one company and deny it to another which in an internet dependent society effectively destroys the potential of the company that is not being favored.

Rick Karr said,
In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission decided that neutrality didn't apply to cable internet and in the summer of 2005, the FCC let phone companies off the hook, too. Suddenly, there were no more net neutrality rules. The FCC replaced them with suggested "principles" for an open Internet.
For more information on what you can do to restore internet neutrality go to:

Friday, January 26, 2007

John Perkins

I did want to mention, while I was thinking about it, that my comments on John Perkins, the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, are only intended to be a review of the speech that I saw. I don't know how credible he or his story actually are. Nor do I know, of what he is sharing, how much is true how much of it is speculation.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Re: Disqualification?

The dialogue continues:

Hi T,

Haven't watched the documentaries yet, but I will go rent Mr. Gore's video tonight. At the very least, I hear that it has good graphics and I just bought a new HD TV (well, used, but its new to me) so I will look forward to it.

I am in a different position than those that are being directly funded by oil companies but my point is that the oil companies have done me a lot of good. Note also that the opposition, the environmentalists, have done me a lot of bad. They destroyed the town that I lived in and, subsequently, the forests surrounding them with their doltish logging restrictions in the 70s. You know all those dramatic pictures of California forests burning, my home burning? That is not caused by global warming. That is caused by the fact that white fir (aka piss fir) grows like weeds, crowds out the bug and fire resistant Ponderosa pines, gets killed by bugs and becomes a tinder box. But can we cut down those shitty and unnatural (normally they would be destroyed by creeping ground fires) piss firs and let the high quality Ponderosas thrive? No, because the earth worshippers insist that they have souls and are more important than people. Bah.

I would say that personal development and progress is a spiritual process, Tory. Someone that lives 18 years is not going to make as much progress as someone that lives for 500 (oh yeah, did I tell you that I intend to live forever?). And think of it this way, pre-industrial revolution, out of the five of us brothers (Daniel, Conner, Sean, You, I) MAYBE one of us would have made it to adult hood...possibly two of us. But based on solid statistics from the time, not all of us would survive. Tell me, if it was your choice which two of us would you have die in early childhood?

Concentration of power: Yes, this is a problem, especially in places like Zimbabwe and North Korea, where power is concentrated in the hands of a single brutal dictator. It becomes less of a problem in places like the United States where concentration of power is primarly based on economic power...the power of persuasion as opposed to political power, the power of force. Don't get me wrong, I think that there is still too much concentration of power here. Look into the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. It was done in the cover of night on Hyde island and gave 12 people the power to control your money (money being a representation of energy, btw). THAT is evil. I also really look forward to the time when I can have a cheap, nano-engineered solar array on the roof of my house so that I don't have to pay some government sponsored monopoly (that being the only way that a monopoly can ever exist, btw) way too much money for power. Here in Texas, I am glad to say that the monopolies have been broken up somewhat and there is some decent level of competetion to hold prices down, but I am all about more and more decentralization.

Yes, I would rather pay a little more for organic foods as well, and I often do so for health reasons. But I work with a woman with four young children, divorced from a philandering husband who can't be bothered to pay child support on time. Do you think that she can afford to pay 30% more for organics on a regular basis. I am sure that she would be concerned to hear about those poor people in India, but when it comes down to it, she would rather be able to feed her children. By the way, you talk about those 12,000 people with concern. Have you changed your attitude towarrds people since we last talked? Goodness, I do hope so. Can you then celebrate the fact that the population of the world has more than tripled and life spans have increased dramatically since the industrial revolution began?

As for morality, here is mine: That which supports human life is the good. That which destroys human life is the evil. You speak of the basics of meeting needs. This is important. I would argue that that the energy companies have helped with that tremendously and will prove to be a major bridge to the next revolution, the technology revolution, that is already in its advanced juvenile stage. Do you believe me when I suggest that it is likely that in the next 50 years, the human paradigm will shift from What do you need? to What do you want? Check out a book called "The Age of Spiritual Machines" you can read the chapter headings on Amazon...prepare for your mind to be blown.

As for the rules of competition and creation of wealth. In Atlas Shrugged, Francisco DeAntio says in his famous "Money Speech" that the thing that he most likes about Americans is that we are the first culture to use anything akin to the phrase "Make Money." The revolution there is that, throughout history people believed, and many still do, that wealth is a static thing...that there is only so much of it and in order for one man to have something, it must be strippped, usually by force, from another. This is simply untrue. Wealth is a growing thing and it is created every time a man conceives of an idea and then turns it into some usable framework. These computers that we are typing on are wealth. Did they exist, even as a thought, 500 years ago? The homes that give us shelter, the medicines that keep us well, the foods that keep us whole and, yes, the energy sources that underly it all, these are wealth and wealth is a thing that grows and long as humans are free to create it.

Note that it is the places with less freedom that have less wealth. North Korea and Zimbabwe being two extreme examples. India is an example of a place still fraught with beauracratic bunglers, but far more free than it was even five years ago. China is another good example. Ireland is a great example as well. In the early 1990s they got rid of anti-business socialist policies, cut taxes to the bones and said, "Come on in, we want jobs!" Now they are one of the wealthiest countries in the EU! Note that Iceland followed suit right around the turn of millenium. Both of these countries had basically been in depressions for the last 1000 years. Where do you think that they will be in 10 years from now? And when was the last time you heard of someone blowing up school children in Belfast? Right around 10 years ago, I think...what a coincidence.

>>When the majority are being harmed (when I say majority I include not only the human majority, but the flora and fauna as well) such that the minority can fiddle while Rome burns then it is time to affect a change.<<

Believe me, I am right with you when you say that it is time to effect a change. The question is, how do we do it? Do we enact destructive government regulations making it impossible for the energy companies, and as a result, anyone else to do business, as Al Gore advocates, or do we allow the natural progress of science develop new energy sources? Once again, I think that ten years from now, fossil fuels will be a non-issue. Well, maybe it will kick into high gear 10 years from now and be a non-issue in 20. Is that soon enough?

Now, here is my next question: Is that really what you are after? If it is, you are in luck because it is coming. But if you have bought into the Anti-human agenda that drives modern environmentalism (it ceased to be pro-environment many years ago) than you will continue to be frustrated. You remember our talk about the Singularity and Event Horizons? We have passed the first event horizon. There is no turning back now. Personally, I am very happy and that is because I have a comfortable understanding of it and a well-founded belief in the goodness of people. Really consider reading the books "The Age of Spiritual Machines" and "The Singularity is Near." I think that they are very important, if not the most important books that you can read regarding your business. I will look into "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" although I do have to tell you that I am much more interested in the future than the past.

Finally, altruism is a sham. I help people. For example, the woman with four children who I work with, I got her the job. Did I do it for altruistic, sacrificial reasons. Hell no. I did it for selfish reasons. I did it because I knew that she would do a good job and make me look good. I also did it because it felt good and right. Would I have done it if I thought that she would be a lazy tax on resources and make me look bad? No, I would not. I would never be an altruist.

OK. I have to run!


And my response:
Hi D,

It sounds like the forest you were talking about may have been mismanaged. Were the firs natural to the area?

You do touch on the philosophy that humans are above and somehow separate from the natural system upon which we depend for life. Personally I revere all life. And if we don't support natures biodiversity then the long term consequences for humanity are potentially disastrous.

It's true that the oil companies have made some things more convenient for a few people in the short term, but our awareness of the cost of a petroleum based society has grown. It is not sustainable in the long term (by long term I am not talking about 10 years, but the truly long term) for a couple of reasons. We are all aware that petroleum resources are finite, but more than that we have learned that the side effects of a petroleum based society are harmful in the short term (in terms of damage to the flora and fauna as well as human rights abuses) and have long term global ramifications of human suffering on a scale that has never before been experienced.

I am not a luddite and I apologize for allowing you to couch the argument in those terms, but I believe that we should take the time to carefully weigh the consequences and future ramifications of the actions we take and the products we create.

Economic power is political power. Armies don't fight for free and our government is currently beholden to the investment of special interests. Right now we are embroiled in an engagement that is rooted in economics (I had a history professor in high school whose contention was that all wars are rooted in economics). War is profitable. The documentary "Why We Fight" discusses the military industrial complex and how dependent all the states are on military contracts. The current administration has ties to the corporations that are making a lot of money off of many aspects of the current conflict.

The conflict currently goes against the will of the American people and if we weren't led into it by lies I don't believe it would ever have popular support. It does however make a lot of money for a few individuals. (I really wish that Daniel hadn't joined the National Guard.)

Corporations will not hesitate to use force, if they can get away with it, to forward their interests. I don't believe we see as much of it as we used to in America, but both overt and covert incidents of corporate violence still happen all over the world.

We have also externalized slavery and made it more economically feasible. Workers in developing nations (often children) work ridiculously long hours for subsistence or below subsistence wages and our corporations don't have to feed or house them. Many Americans have their needs and many of their wants fulfilled, but our current system is based on exeternalized slave labor.

I am curious about the Federal Reserve. You have studied more about economics than I have so if you want to provide me with more resources in terms of economic theory I am interested.

I feel for the woman who is raising four children. Fortunately we have some social systems in place that will at least keep Americans from starving to death.

One of the reasons I am a proponent women's education is that the more highly educated a woman is the longer she will wait to have children and the fewer children she will have. I am also an advocate of birth control. I have done pro-bono work for an organization promoting women's education in a number of developing nations. I also contribute money, goods, and services to organizations that I believe to be worthwhile.

However your mention of the single mother just reinforces my point. There are currently more people on the planet than we are willing or able to care for. The stated ideal of the Green Revolution was to alleviate the suffering of the starving masses. What actually happened was that it allowed the population to explode (while at the same time having negative impact on the environment and not alleviating starvation) and set the world up for even greater suffering as there are now significantly more people who we are unwilling or unable to support.

Although the 20,000 individuals who lost their lives in Bhopal is a significant number it is just one small example of corporate negligence. The list of tragedies created by corporate malfeasance is seemingly endless. You can turn on PBS late at night and see different shows documenting human and environmental injustices night after night. It is my contention that as a member of the privileged class with the time and resources to make a difference that I am honor bound to try to improve the quality of all life on this planet.

There are some traditional methods of controlling population: famine, disease, and war. There is also an unexplained wave of male infertility that may tie in to the population issue. As self aware, forward looking beings we have to ability to reduce population to manageable levels without the tragic suffering caused by famine, disease, and war.

You mischaracterize my position when you say that I am anti-human. I characterize myself as a humanist with the ultimate extension of humanism being environmentalism. The environment is a requirement for the support of human life. If we destroy the worlds natural resources in a pell mell rush to hedonism we are shooting ourselves in the foot (maybe in the head).

I would like to point out that the author John Perkins, who I mentioned in my last email, is sharing aspects of his personal history so that we can understand what is happening in the present.

My understanding of Objectivism is that it is a somewhat dated philosophy from the Modern movement. The idea being that only special individuals with unique characteristics should rise and lead whereas Postmodern thought is more along the lines that large groups of people affect change and that the leaders are not unique or special, but are merely fulfilling a role for the whole (that rhymes).

I caught a trial PBS show called "22nd Century" that may have been inspired by the Kurzweil book. The information was interesting, but the premise of the show (a debate between the ghost of Aldous Huxley and a woman from the future tied in to the World Wide Mind) was a little hard to take and the editing (fast cuts, weird choppy zooms, and hoaky background graphics) was terrible.

I read a bunch of reviews of the Kurzweil book, The Age of Spiritual Machines. The reviews were mixed although the consumer reviews averaged four out of five stars. I also read the table of contents which has chapter summaries. It sounds like an interesting book, but it is not available at my local library and the odds are against my buying it.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Disqualification? - Email Correspondence

The following is an email from one of my brothers with whom I am corresponding:
Hey T,

Just sent you a couple of articles from Capitalism favorite resource, of course. Sorry it has taken me a while to respond to your last e-mail. I have been busy.

Unfortunately, I think that I have to disqualify myself from this debate entirely, according to your standards. You see, I have been very recently bought off by the energy companies. Actually, I have been receiving benefits from them my entire life! Even more so now that I am in Texas, of course.

You see, all of my life the energy companies have provided me with many of the things that I need to live. They fuel my transportation, they heat my homes, they fertilize the crops that provide me with foods (the vast majority of fertilizer is made from crude oil). Furthermore, they have enabled the scientific developments in areas such as medicine, computation and creation of new textiles and other advanced materials.

Without the energy companies, I could not even conceive of having a debate such as this! I would be far too busy eking out an existence--hunting for my food, fighting off predators and rival humans, tending a few meager crops and hauling putrid water from contested sources.

In fact, without the energy companies, I would very likely be dead by now! The average lifespan in pre-industrial Europe was 18 years. Maybe I would have made it to 25 and been an "elder" but I would probably have been killed off as soon as I was perceived as a non-contributing tax on slim resources. Of course, that all would depend upon me making it through my first five years--the vast majority of children did not back then.

So, according to you and Mr. Gore, I am not qualified for this debate because everything that I am, everything that I love and everything that I look forward to is made possible, directly or indirectly, by these energy companies that you demonize. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to the time when nano-engineered solar arrays completely replace our need for carbon based energy--that is about 10 years from now according to fairly reliable models. But the only reason that I look forward to that is it is CHEAPER. I will be able to devote the resources that I am currently, quite literally, burning to far more valuable pursuits.

Talk to you soon.


The following is my response:
Hi D,

It's nice to hear from you. I hope that you are doing well. Have you had a chance to check out any of the documentaries I recommended?

You are in a different position than those being directly funded to produce propaganda for the oil industry. You are not beholden to the oil companies in the same way. You are a customer not a client and there is a significant difference. I do understand that you are invested in the status quo as you enjoy the creature comforts and aspire to an upper class lifestyle.

The industrial revolution and organic chemistry have changed the way that we conduct our lives, but I don't believe that because a person only lives 18 or 30 years that their life is any less worthwhile, fulfilled, or meaningful. Many of the great heros of our age lived less than the average life span. I also find family farming to be a noble profession.

There are a couple of issues that I have with the concentration of power:
1. Traditionally the concentration of power leads to human rights and environmental abuses.
2. It makes it difficult to affect a change even when that change is clearly necessary.

You mentioned fertilizers in your email. An example of corporate negligence I would give is the Asarco fertilizer plant in Bopal, India. The management of the company did not feel it was cost effective to maintain the plant even though they were warned of potential calamity by on-sight engineers. The result was a leak that killed 20,000 Indians and crippled countless others.

I would rather pay a little more for organic foods than to have the blood of those people on my hands. This is just a small example, but if you do some research you will find that in the long run it is probably not a good idea to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They cannot be metabolized by animals, the run-off causes algae blooms, they deplete the soil in such a manner that once used they have to continue to be used and in larger quantities, etc.

Which brings us to morality. A french philosopher named Henri Louis Bergson wrote a book called The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, in which he discusses various levels of morality. The first level is the individual. One has to make sure that their basic needs for water, food, shelter, etc. are being met. The next level is the family, then the community, the state (nation), and finally the world. (By extension I would add all life.)

We have been given many gifts and privileges. Our basic needs have been more than adequately met. Therefore we are able (and I would argue that we are obligated) to focus our moral attention on those larger, all encompassing levels of morality.

I heard the former Treasury Secretary speak on Charley Rose last night and one of the things he mentioned was that a strong dollar means that in an exchange of goods Americans receive more than they give. Sounds like a swindle to me. The premise is (if you read between the lines) that in order for us to maintain a "high" standard of living we have to take advantage of others forcing them to have a lower standard of living. I think this is a fallacious premise. I much prefer the idea that we are all on the same side in this life and that we can all have our basic needs met without having to put each other down.

The former Treasury Secretary also spoke about the growing gulf between the upper and lower classes in America and the shrinking middle class. Haiti is a good example of what happens in a barbell economy. The land is devastated environmentally as the poor do whatever they can to meet their basic needs. The wealthy live in armed camps and cannot travel without body guards for fear of kidnapping. There has been a series of corrupt elected officials and dictatorships that have to be periodically removed by an organized group of armed dissidents. I fear that in the not too distant future we may be facing similar challenges.

I saw a video of John Perkins speaking at a Veterans for Peace convention. He wrote a book called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. I haven't read the book, but I think that it would be right up your alley and he did cover the basic ideas in his speech. If you would like to read more of my thoughts on the speech go to Corporatocracy, Carbon Offsetting, Clean Elections.

One of the things that I did find interesting was his mention of the fact that CEO's are people. They have families and they care about the future of the planet, etc. However they often needed to be forced by pressure from the outside in order to make holistic changes. This is because they fear losing their lucrative positions. The CEOs need public pressure in order to show their share holders that changes are justified.

When the majority are being harmed (when I say majority I include not only the human majority, but the flora and fauna as well) such that the minority can fiddle while Rome burns then it is time to affect a change.

We spoke once about altruism. As I recall you mentioned that altruism requires suffering and therefore must promote suffering in order to be justified (this is a paraphrase from what I recollect). I think that idea has the facts reversed. Suffering exists. Altruism is a response to suffering. Therefore altruism exists because suffering exists.

We are all in this together. I want the same things for you that I want for myself as well as for everyone and everything else which is health and happiness.

I haven't had a chance to view all the links that you have forwarded, but I will as time permits.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Corporatocracy, Carbon Offsetting, Clean Elections

Last night I watched a video of a speech by John Perkins who is the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. He was speaking to the Veterans for Peace.

He was discussing the tactics that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in conjuction with multinational corporations and the US Government use to coerce developing nations. The goal being to exploit the natural resources of developing nations as well as to earn money for corporations by helping the developing nations to "modernize".

An individual like John Perkins would approach the leadership of a given country and offer them a loan from the World Bank to help "modernize". Private corporations such as Haliburton would then be hired to come in and build roads, ports, power plants, cities, etc.

John Perkins contends that the modernization was not of benefit to the average citizens of these countries as they are to poor to be connected to the power grid, too poor to have cars to drive on the roads, nor would they be likely to have boats that would benefit from the ports.

The loan money would actually end up in the pockets of the corporations doing the work without benefiting the people of these developing countries.

The loan amounts would be too large for the developing nation to ever be able to repay which gives what he calls the "corporatocracy" leverage. When the developing nation is unable to pay its debt it is asked to sell its resources to the "corporatocracy" for less than market value or vote a particular way in the UN, etc.

If the leader of the developing nation refuses to accept the loan then they are coerced with subtle threats of violence.

The next level of escalation is to send in what Perkins calls the "Jackals" which are CIA operatives used to assassinate the particular leader. He gives a list of leaders who have been assassinated or died under mysterious circumstances.

If the "Jackals" fail then the US military is mobilized, the recalcitrant government is removed and it is replaced with a government that is willing to deal.

It is his contention that 9/11 can be linked to these actions. Apparently US corporations through a deal with the Saudis built facilities near holy sites which enraged Osama Bin Laden and may have been the catalyst for the terrorist attacks.

Perkins also contends that the Iraq war is due to Saddam Hussein's unwillingness to accept the deal offered by the "corporatocracy" and the failure of the "Jackal's" assassination efforts.

Perkins is encouraging a holistic shift in corporate policy that gives greater value to the workers, greater environmental consciousness, and the end of exploitation and destruction of native cultures. He also believes that if we want to end terrorism we need to respect the cultures and religions of other peoples and to ensure that everyone in the world has a standard of living that precludes things like starvation.


Carbon Offsetting
The Christmas present that my significant other gave to her extended family was to offset their carbon footprint. Her contribution was to which also helped her determine how much to offset.


Clean Elections
I think that publicly funded elections are a good starting point in terms of regaining control of the American democratic process.

We heard RFK Jr. speak a few weeks back and one of the things he mentioned is that in order for a democracy to work we need an informed populace which in turn requires a free press. In order to have a free press we need officials that are not beholden to special interests such that they can rework the regulations governing our broadcasters. (He mentioned the damage that the Reagan Administration did in terms of loosening broadcast regulations.)

If we want to reign in the power of the multinational corporations and hold them accountable then we need to free our government from the grip of their monetary influence.

Many of the issues I have researched tend to loop back to the issue of corporations running amok and being allowed to do so because of the influence they have on the varying governing bodies in the world.

For example, I am concerned about the safety of our food supply. There is a concerted effort to reduce organic standards ( and the panels that are intended to oversee the safety of our food supply are being stacked with industry insiders (this has been cited in the mainstream media as well as a number of independent documentaries I have viewed). We are also being sold Genetically Modified foods with no requirement for package labeling. And most recently we are being sold foods from cloned animals. The fact that there are no labeling requirements means that consumers are not being allowed to make an informed decision about their food purchases.

If consumers were allowed to make an informed decision about their food purchases I believe that the majority would choose not to purchase GMO or cloned food products. The companies producing these "foods" believe the same thing which is why they are fighting so hard to keep the products from being labeled.

Which brings us back to public officials being allowed to represent the will of the people and not the desires of special interests.

Here is the URL of the PBS show that originally sparked my interest in clean elections:

Here is a link to an episode of Town Hall Seattle presenting A Public Forum: Clean Elections:

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Publicly Funded Elections

I can't recall if I have discussed publicly funded (clean) elections before. I caught a show on PBS a few months back that covered the issue. Versions of publicly funded elections exist in Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

The idea is that candidates have the option of running a publicly funded campaign. They will receive funds up to a set limit that will allow them to run against privately or other publicly funded candidates. The intent of "clean" elections is to reduce the amount of influence that special interest groups have on our public officials.

Here are a couple of links if you are interested in finding out more:

I contacted as I am interested in joining or helping to organize my local chapter.

I am ready to take action. In order to resolve some of the serious issues that this generation is facing we are going to need public officials that are not beholden to special interests.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Entries from

I have finished posting the entries from my original blog site. If you are interested in reading any of the older entries they may be found at Or in the sidebar there is a link called Saving the World - The Beginning under the heading The Early Entries.

For the early entries I have posted the original date next to the title. Some of the titles may have changed from the original.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Excerpts from Correspondence

The following are a couple of excerpts from emails that I have sent to one of my brothers who has a slightly different viewpoint than my own.

Email excerpt number one:
There are also three movies I would like you to view. You may disagree with some of the information they provide, but I would ask that you watch them with an open mind and if you disagree to backtrack the sources to either verify or debunk them and in return I will do the same for any information you provide me.

The three movies are:
The Corporation
An Inconvenient Truth
Life Running Out of Control and/or The Future of Food

I think that Life Running Out of Control is the better choice, but The Future of Food is available through NetFlix which the former is not.
Email excerpt number two:
A Truncated Response to:
An Inconvenient Truth: An Inaccurate Depiction of the State of Global Warming Science
by Robert C. Balling Jr. (October 13, 2006)

1) The Revele article sited is 14 years old.
2) I don’t know anything about declining atmospheric moisture.
3) Gore shows research covering 600,000 years not merely 1000 years.
4) Gore doesn’t discuss greater frequency of storms, but greater intensity.
5) Gore doesn’t claim that the sea has risen significantly yet, but that it has the potential to rise.
6) a) Gore admits that he was mistaken in not pushing to sign the Kyoto treaty.
6) b) It is the responsibility of the US to lead the world by example.

5 out of 6 points the article is making are either deceptive or inaccurate. Balling also appears to have received funding from oil and gas companies which makes his objectivity suspect. I would be hesitant to use this article as a refutation of global warming arguments.

"Balling is a declared 'global warming skeptic.' However, in Balling and Sen Roy (2005) he writes: 'There is substantial evidence that a non-solar control has become dominant in recent decades. The buildup of greenhouse gases and/or some other global-scale feedback, such as widespread changes in atmospheric water vapor, emerge as potential explanations for the recent residual warming found in all latitudinal bands.'" -

"Balling has acknowledged that he had received $408,000 in research funding from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade (of which his University takes 50% for overhead). Contributors include ExxonMobil, the British Coal Corporation, Cyprus Minerals and OPEC." -

Robert C. Balling Jr. has received funding from ExxonMobil according to

"Robert C. Balling, Jr. has received more than $400,000 from the coal and oil industries,” according to the Center for Media and Democracy. -


A Truncated Response to:
Wake up and Smell the Ammonia
by John A. Charles, Jr. (January 3, 2007)

This author makes some valid points in terms of the significant impact that livestock production has in terms of greenhouse gases. It is one of the reasons that I am a vegetarian.

However the following is from an EPA report:
“Although transportation is a vital part of the economy and is essential for everyday activities, it is also a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In 2003, the transportation sector accounted for about 27 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions, up from 24.8 percent in 1990.” -


A Truncated Response to:
The Real Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming: Skeptics Have Valid Arguments
by Tom DeWeese (December 19, 2006)

“The main source of such thinking seems to come from the Eden Institute, operating out of New York and with close ties to the UN. The official use of globally acceptable truth is best described in a letter to the Eden Institute from Robert Muller, Assistant Secretary General of the UN. He wrote, ‘I am referring to the need to establish a body of objective, globally acceptable information to serve as a foundation for global education…Its (Eden Project) formula for identifying universally acceptable objective data is truly unique. It achieves this distinction by establishing a global standard for inquiry.

Translation: We will decide what is truth and all new information or scientific discovery will be judged on whether it matches this ‘globally acceptable’ truth.”

I believe that Tom’s translation may be a little skewed. I think the keyword in the quote is objective. I would point out that the Bush administration has stacked the environmental and organic commissions with industry insiders as has been reported in the mainstream media as well as documentaries such as The Future of Food; that reports by government scientists have been censored (; and that NASA would attempt to silence their own experts (

“There are over 12,000 environmental groups in the country controlling over $20 billion in assets...”

The author seems to suggest that there is a money motive behind the attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but according to him the total funds that have been devoted by all the environmental groups to this issue is $20 billion. This is less than one years profit by one oil company.

If you want to look at money as a motivating factor then it seems the oil industry has a huge stake in maintaining the status quo.

Tom DeWeese has received funding from ExxonMobil according to


I’ll take a look at some more of the articles, but I have a hunch that anyone writing for Capitalism Magazine is going to have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Concentration of power has always been a dangerous thing and traditionally leads to human rights abuses, etc. The multi-national system of corporations that we are currently experiencing borders on fascism due to the amount of power that a few corporations wield. It is a corruption of the original intent of corporations which was to serve the public good by working on large scale projects.

By law a corporations main obligation is to earn profits for its shareholders. The shareholders may do good works with their profits, but the corporations themselves are not humanist because they can only promote good works if it serves the bottom line.

There are a couple of other documentaries that I would like to recommend. I find them fascinating on a number of levels. They are:

Why We Fight
Who Killed the Electric Car

There are also a couple of books that I have found to be worth reading:

The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability
by Paul Hawken

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
by William McDonough & Michael Braungart