Category Archives: Friends and Heroes

Tim DeChristopher Keynote Speech at Power Shift

Mary at The Left Coaster is right about the methane hydrate feedback loop. Mary posted about that on Tuesday, April 26th if you are searching back.

I have been talking about methane release from thawing permafrost and icesheet melting for several years.   The release of methane is a deadly tipping point that we are approaching.

I got an email from Jack Zeiger in Olympia with a link to Tim DeChristopher’s speech at Power Shift.  I think Tim is also seeing the tipping points approaching and passed and concluding as I do that we are in for some rough times ahead. We still have the choice that no one can take away from us (thank you, Viktor Frankl) to choose how we seek meaning in our lives.

A couple of Frankl quotes for the day:

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.”

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”

so thanks to Jack for sending the following:

So did you hear about the Power Shift conference that was going on in Washington, DC? Sounded pretty amazing. In addition to the bill McKibben speech below, make sure to check out Tim DeChristopher’s speech (Tim is the student who disrupted an auction of oil and gas drilling leases by posing as a bidder in 2008). Here’s his speech:

A lot of folks are in a transition state this week.

I got word through the Olympia grapevine that Bix, Father William Bichsel, is being moved to Tennessee now to face prosecution for one of his earlier peace actions. Bix is one of the Plowshares defendants who are being jailed for their peace action against the nuclear weapons stored at Bangor.

here’s a short message from Bix:

“I know I’m getting weaker – it takes all my strength and breath to make my bunk. I have to sit down a few times in the process. It takes all I have now to do one or two slow shuffles around the common area.

I don’t feel panicked or upset about my condition. I know I can keel over at any time; but I feel very much at peace with this condition and understand and accept it – thankfully – as part of my journey.”

Strange world.  Bix is in jail and Cheney/Rumsfeld/Bush are out and about.

Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Mubarak clan is reported to be under arrest and investigation for corruption.  I can’t figure out why/how the Mubaraks were unable to see that this was going to happen.  They fled Egypt and hid in Sharm Al Sheikh.  Not too smart.  Come on, you stashed money abroad, you have real estate in London, take it on the lam.   I lost my wager from a few months back about when Hosni would fly out of Egypt, but I was not the big loser, Hosni was.  Hosni is 82, about the same age as Bix.  One is a hero, the other is a fool.  You can sort it out.

In Gaza, Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni was killed by extremists this past week. It’s another case of fools punishing the wrong person, in the wrong way.   It’s a case of a person paying the ultimate price for staying and engaging in the struggle for human rights, for peace and justice, even when they knew that mayhem and death were around the next corner.  But in contrast to the foolishness of Hosni fleeing to the resort town of Sharm al Sheikh, Vittorio chose the selfless path of staying in Gaza to work with the Gazan people.  To share their suffering and their struggle for the right to live free from oppression.

I am working on video editing.  It’s taking a lot of my spare waking hours, so my blogging is down a bit.  Fight the good fight with love and courage.  Lay down your arms.

Demonstrations for Fair Budget in Olympia, Washington

Wensday Media has a bunch of hours of video coverage of the week at the Capitol in Olympia. We are working on editing at this point. Looking for an informative, entertaining video project at the end of the process. Here is a couple of minutes of the project to date.

Hope you enjoy. Danny Kelly, the musician in this piece, is simply great.

Cross-posted at The Left Coaster and at Washington Liberals.

Washington Uprising! Demonstrators Occupy the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia

Folks are coming to Olympia in droves this week to demand a fair State budget.  This is a week of action based on demands for a fair budget that were delivered to thCourtesy US Uncut Olympiae lawmakers on March 17Courtesy Devin CP at Flickerth.  The Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget put on a bang-up day of speech and music and entertainment on Tuesday, April 5th.  Washington Can took up the action on Wednesday, April 6th.  US Uncut joined OLY Fair Budget and Washington CAN and by Wednesday night, hundreds of people had occupied the rotunda, chanting and singing for a fair budget.

SEIU, AFSME, and health care unions are expected to take up the baton today and tomorrow.  If you are in the area, come to Olympia.  The march today begins downtown at Sylvester Park at 11:00 am and heads to the Capitol.  Bundle up, it’s a little chilly this morning, but it’s going to burn off and be a beautiful day to be at the State Capitol.

Hope to have video up soon.

Devin CP at Flicker has a good set of photos up from the action yesterday.   Sorry about the blurry pics, I am still working on grabbing video of the actions and trying to find the hours needed to capture the video from digital tape and render it to something that plays on the web.

Washington State Uprising – A Community Response to Budget Cuts

I think for the next ten days, my thoughts, time, money are on the Washington Uprising.

A bunch of groups are coordinating activities around the State and carrying the message to the Governor and the Legislators in Olympia. Washington State is jumping on the austerity bandwagon. We have a Democratic Governor, Christine Gregoire, who is a reasonable person. Governor Gregoire is no Scott Walker, but she is not fighting for us. She is not fighting for her own values. The War on the Poor has to stop. The Class War is in full gear. The top 2% of wealth and income scale have to be forced to start paying their fair share. Once that happens, we have no need for the cuts. You cannot balance the budget on the backs of the poor and disabled, you have to balance the budget by fixing the revenue streams that fund critical public endeavors like education, health care, parks, transportation, housing, services to the disabled, and so much more.

If trickle down economics worked for the benefit of all of us, if deregulation of private industry created responsible wealth and employment, if the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few created stable communities, we would all be eating rainbow pie by now.

Government serves functions that private, for-profit industries will never address. If there is no money, no profit in it, the globalization capitalists have declared war on it. Prisons are fine because they can be operated at a profit by corporations. We can keep schools are if we can get rid of qualified teachers and privatize education and put control in the hands of private entrepreneurs to create cash flow and train a work force to flip burgers and fry potatoes. Health care is great if we can manage cost and ration care to create stock dividends and CEO bonuses and not get too concerned about the actual health of the population sitting in the waiting room or standing in line at a free clinic.

Have to stop and work on a media project in support of the activities being planned for next week. Hope you can take a day off next week. I am taking the week off to be involved in the activities. If you want to know more about the Washington Uprising, try

We are Washington. It’s one website that organizers are using to get the word out.   Olympia Coalition for a Fair Budget is another website that is getting the word out and organizing activities.

Joe Bageant Has Gone Deer Hunting with Jesus

Joe Bageant died yesterday.  He fought a good fight against cancer the past 4 months and kept writing and posting.

Here is part of a piece he wrote not too long ago:

AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM?

Ignorance and courage in the age of Lady Gaga

By Joe Bageant
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

If you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked? Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.

Teabags One explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp, and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks. Another might be pop culture, which is not culture at all of course, but marketing. Or we could blame it on digital autism: Ever watch commuter monkeys on the subway poking at digital devices, stroking the touch screen for hours on end? That wrinkled Neolithic brows above the squinting red eyes?

But a more reasonable explanation is that, (A) we don’t even know we are doing it, and (B) we cling to institutions dedicated to making sure we never find out.

As William Edwards Deming famously demonstrated, no system can understand itself, and why it does what it does, including the American social system. Not knowing shit about why your society does what it makes for a pretty nasty case of existential unease. So we create institutions whose function is to pretend to know, which makes everyone feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes the savviest among us — those elites who run the institutions — very rich, or safe from the vicissitudes that buffet the rest of us.

I will miss the guy.

Remembering Rachel Corrie

It’s March 16th and my life takes place in Olympia to a large degree.  Rachel was an Olympia kid.  I think she was a remarkable kid who grew up to be a remarkable young woman.  I run into so many remarkable people around Olympia, so many wonderful kids, adults. I hope you have a similar experience wherever you spend your days.

But it’s March 16th and today, more than some days, Rachel is on my mind.  Sending my love and support to Craig and Cindy today.  The death of a child is a devastation.

from the Rachel Corrie Foundation:

 March 16th, the 8th Anniversary of  

 

Rachel Corrie’s Stand in Gaza

   

Wednesday, March 16th, we mark the eighth anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s stand in Rafah to protect the home of a Gazan family and for the right of all Palestinians to be free of occupation.

 

Here in Rachel’s hometown, we will mark the day with an event emphasizing community-building, education, and action – all key to Rachel’s organizing here and beyond. We will continue a tradition of sharing a potluck meal, music, and spoken word and will hear from Cindy and Craig Corrie about the continuing civil trial in Israel in Rachel’s case.  We will  focus on our friends in Gaza who, according to the The UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continue to suffer death, injury, and severe restriction on imports, exports, and freedom of movement.  We will continue our demands for an end to the collective punishment of the 1.7 million residents of Gaza and to the blockade and siege.   

See the OCHA Report Here.