Thursday, May 30, 2013


I was kind of having fun with the comment threads in the HP story about this throw back the the preconstitution days. Guys, the Articles of Confederation didn't work in the first place.  Lord the TP’rs remind me of my nephew Brian when he’d throw a tantrum. Of course he was THREE at the time and usually calmed down after about five minutes in the bed room. Only instead of threatening the scream and/or hold their breath until they turn blue they threaten to shoot. Then, after I signed off and went back to Will Durant, more worrisome ideas started bubbling to the surface.

For starters there would be simultaneous earthquakes in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia as various Founding Fathers plus at least one offspring (John Quincy Adams) started copying whirling Dervishes and spinning right out of their graves. Do these TWITS have any idea how hard it was to get this country united in the first place?

And most important, who is bankrolling this guy? The government we have is little enough protection against the multinationals. Without that scant protection we'd be chum in the water.

Care to work for Chinese or Indian wages. At least Apple might bring it’s manufacturing back to the US. Care to let Monsanto and Dow turn what used to be the UNITED States of America into a chemical dump? Care to watch one state turn the spigot on the Colorado leaving downstream high and dry? Want to try getting North Dakota oil across a patchwork of competing states to get it to the refineries.

Look at the maps. Which parts of the country have the biggest ports? The west coast and New England. Which ports play host to all those container ships carrying goodies from the manufacturing compounds and sweat shops in Asia. The shortest shipping lines are still from Asia to the west coast. Hmm. California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho get together and slap nice fat tariffs on anything coming in or going out of what’s left of the rest of the country. Hey wheat states how much do you think New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Galveston are going to charge to let your wheat go to overseas shippers.

And while we’re at it, you think we have a problem with controlling the borders now just wait until each state has to go it alone. Can any state afford to set up its own border patrol and state versions of the INS?

Care to trust your rights of speech, assembly, petition and religion to the tender mercies of the neighbors who don't agree with you? And last but not least who gets custody of the nukes that are still in silos after the end of the cold war? What’s to keep the states hosting Hanford, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge from peddling nuclear technology on the international markets? Have to balance those budgets some how.

Hell, sell them to the highest bidder and wait for the orchestra to tune up and the dance to begin. It'll make the flagellant processions of the late 14th century look like Sunday afternoon tea at the vicars.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Who can resist that little face. Ok so when the kitten becomes a cat. You still can't resist those eyes. At least if you have a heart. I didn't really know what we were signing on for when we took in Midge; so small she couldn't sneeze and walk in a straight line at the same time. Well, she can do that and more and I can't imagine letting her go to someone else.


I'm certainly in the joyful mood this morning. Although there is one ray of sunshine. Michelle Bachmann isn't running again in 2014. But, we're still stuck with Mrs. Pray Away the Gay until the end of her term. Oh, joy. NOT.

I briefly crossed swords with somebody with the screen name 4given4ever in the comments section of a story on the upcoming Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. Typical fundie. “I’m right. God told me so and everyone who disagrees with me is going to hell.” More words were used buuuuuut, that’s the short version. And frankly, I’m not going to waste my time replying to his/her comments. There’s that old saying. Never wrestle with a pig. You just end up covered with mud and the pig enjoys it too much.

We wonder how we come up with kids who plan to bomb their high schools, shoot as many of their fellow classmates as possible and then kill themselves before the SWAT Team arrives. To be honest, I don’t believe we need to look any further than the twisted world of the religious fundamentalist. There’s something sinister about their willingness to consign those who disagree with them to eternal punishment. And the suspicion that they agree with the medieval church is that one of the joys of heaven is watching the torments of hell.

Heck hit the comics pages and read the Wizard of Id if it’s there. Almost every strip has a subtext of violence. The violence surrounds us. The violence is so pervasive that half the time we forget it’s there. Until the next kid shoots up a school. Until the next Marine kills his wife and goes on a rampage. Until the next young fundamentalists blow up bombs at the finish line of a race. Until the next kid plans to blow up his classmates. And the crazed dance of the fourteenth century skeletons goes merrily on. I’m a fairly bright member of the human race but even I didn’t realize how tight the tentacles are wrapped until I explored the roots of my Quaker ancestors’ beliefs.

But, I’m at the point where ever the Quakers aren’t enough. I think the final spiral off the reservation has come.

9. We believe that evil is not a matter of inheritance but of intent, therefore actions are not in themselves evil. Rather, it is through the intent behind actions that evil can manifest.

The ninth entry on the list of a druid group’s list of beliefs. I’m not sure I totally agree with this. Genocide is evil no matter what, however the intention to wipe out a whole people through hatred or greed is evil and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I’ll never make a philosopher that’s for sure. And volumes have been written to allow us to get around Thou Shalt not Kill.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I tend to have kind of twisty way of looking at things. Hey, I loved the X-Files until Mulder left for parts unknown. So, sometimes I end up taking my “I wonders” out for a walk.

Creation Science and the Intelligent Design movement have been around since, oh the early seventies. But we didn’t start seeing the push to get this garbage “science” into the class rooms until the early nineties. Which roughly coincides with the rise of GMO crops engineered to resist being poisoned by products like Monsanto’s infamous RoundUp.

Cui Bono, Latin for Who Benefits. So, boys and girls, who benefits when Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection gets put on the back burner while trash science is taught in the name of “fairness.” Heck, we’ve got a world wide experiment in what happens when you keep poisoning plants and bugs but don’t quite kill all of them each time going on right now.

Anyone who understands how natural selection works will realize that the life span of these products and their crops is finite. What happens when we finally run out of chemicals because the critters are lining up with their little bowls yelling “please sir, may I have some more!”

Which leads to the twisty way my mind works. Groups like the Discovery Institute and the Center for Intelligent Research get passes on taxes either because they’re classed as religious foundations or tax exempt educational groups. And they don’t have to list their donors if they don’t want to. Is it too far out to imagine that Dow and Monsanto are quietly funding push to either get junk science into the class rooms or keep good science out. After all, an educated citizen would realize that large scale use of these products will fail in the end. We’ll be left with a bag full of buggy weeds and the chemical companies will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Which takes us right back to number four on the list of Beliefs of the Henge of Keltria. “We believe that all life is sacred and should neither be harmed nor taken without deliberation or regard.” Because you see, in countries like India plants we call weeds, the locals call food. The very plants that are targeted by the poisons.

Pelagius, you old heretic. You were right, and we’re paying the price for not listening to you. Whatever name you use, Yahweh, Danu, Mannanan…the spirit of the sacred is all around us, if we only had eyes to see and ears to hear.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


From the afterward of Wendell Berry’s The Unsettling of America. He’s talking about experts in the world of farming. Trouble is we find “experts” everywhere. From politics and religion and none of them want to or care to listen to what we have to say.

If the world and all its creatures are machines, then the world and all its creatures are entirely comprehensible, manipulable and controllable by humans.

 The humans who have this power are experts.

 Experts are made by education.

 Education only happens in schools.

 Experts are smarter than other people.

 Thinking is best done by experts in offices of laboratories.

 People who do the work cannot be trusted to think about it.

 People who do work would prefer not to.

 Human workers are inefficient machines, encumbered by extraneous needs and desires, and they should be replaced by more efficient machines or chemicals.

 In general the human machine is better at consumption than production.

 A farm is or ought to be a factory in which plant and animal machines serve the economic machine in the most efficient way.

 Efficiency has nothing to do with human biological needs or desires.

 Conventional agricultural science (like all conventional science) is disinterested and objective and serves no interest others than the advancement of human knowledge.
Just one another piece of the puzzle. Contrast the attitude of universe as a collection of machines with the beliefs of the Henge of Keltria. See earlier blog entry.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


A shot from the Hubble Telescope


This picture was taken somewhere in the Orkney's north of Scotland where the summer nights are short and the days are long and full of light. Long may they stay that way. Which brings us to what seems to be a bit of a series.

In the May 18 AP article headlined “Organic Farmers Gaining Influence,” Rep. Austin Scott (R-Georgia) blasted the organic sector for a “lack of respect for traditional agriculture,” primarily due to that sector’s ongoing fight against genetically modified crops. Then he went on to acknowledge that he and his wife buy organic foods.

Aside from that blatant hypocrisy, Scott needs to get his terminology straight. What he calls “traditional agriculture” appears to be a reference to all farm production that’s not organic.

But that sector, which overwhelmingly dominates US farm production should rightfully be called “industrial agriculture” for that’s where the majority of our food is derived, at least for the past 70 or 80 years—large machinery plowing tens of thousands of acres at a time, spreading ammonia based fertilizer on a vast scale, planting with seeds that must be bought annually, and dousing the succeeding crops with copious amounts of various poisons (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.) until such time as the crop is ready for mechanical harvest.

Sorry to bust Scott’s bubble, but I believe that most folks would agree that farming on relatively small plots of land, using animal waste products for fertilizer, rotating crops and animals on a regular schedule, saving seeds from part of a crop for the next year and generally having an ethic that values the health of the soil—and, by extension, the environment as a whole—is what constitutes “traditional: agriculture as it has been practiced for thousands of years.

Steven F Salman


This was in the paper this morning. It fits in with my last couple of entries. The word “traditional” has been high jacked. Modern medicine and pharmacies have been around for about as long as big Ag and they lay claim to being “traditional” too. The use of herbs and diet to promote good health is about as alternative as organic farming. We’ve been encouraged to trust so called experts from everything from food to religion and look where it’s gotten us.

See previous entry and imagine a world where we treated the earth as if she were a goddess. Now imagine how we can make it happen.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Image from the web. Quote from the author of The Spiral Dance. No, I'm not becoming a Wiccan, my symapthies are closer to the modern Druids. But, imagine how we might treat the earth if she were holy, a Goddess. The mother of us all. And how we might treat our brothers and sisters be they oak tree, blue whale or caterpiller. Imagine.

And the fourth entry in the Keltrian beliefs "We believe that all life is sacred and should be neither harmed or taken without deliberation or regard.

I'll be back.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I've been reading the background newsletters of an Irish themed Druid group. Their belief system closely mirrors the intro from The Spiral Dance. I thought I'd toss it out and then comment on some of them later. The one I especially love is the last. That your faith has to be a living belief, not set in stone; unchangeable. We've had enough of that from the fundies the last few years.

Beliefs of

The Henge of Keltria

1. We believe in Divinity as it is manifest in the Pantheon. There are several valid theistic perceptions of this Pantheon.

2. We believe that nature is the embodiment of the Gods and Goddesses.

3. We believe that Natural Law reflects the will of the Gods and Goddesses.

4. We believe that all life is sacred and should neither be harmed nor taken without deliberation or regard.

5. We believe in the immortality of the spirit.

6. We believe that our purpose is to gain wisdom through experience.

7. We believe that learning is an ongoing process and should be fostered at all ages.

8. We believe that morality should be a matter of personal conviction based upon self respect and respect for others.

9. We believe that evil is not a matter of inheritance but of intent, therefore actions are not in themselves evil. Rather, it is through the intent behind actions that evil can manifest.

10. We believe in the relative nature of all things, that nothing is absolute, and that all things, even the Gods and Goddesses, have their dark sides.

11. We believe that individuals have the right to pursue knowledge and wisdom through his or her chosen path.

12. We believe in a living religion able to adapt to a changing environment. We recognize that our beliefs may undergo change as our tradition grows.

Frankly the Quaker side is hanging on by her fingernails and my hanads are getting tired. I'd rather be playing my recorder with the birds.

Friday, May 17, 2013


“…had come of age during the civil rights campaigns, the Viet Nam war, the draft resistance movement—all clearly defined issues in which right, as he saw it, eventually triumphed. His legal experience had reinforced his belief that even when the system is inadequate, the individual can eventually seek redress. Now he was troubled to find that this was not always so: that when government and industry are threatened, these two may close ranks, and, in self protection, militate against the good of the public they are supposed to serve. What happened in Michigan, he believed, involved subtle shifts in the power structure so that bureaucrats ended up protecting corporate giants, not for monetary gain (that might have been easy to prove) but to preserve their own authority and status. Pitted against this was a little band of farmers who had been abused by industry, and failed by their elected officials. Gary welcomed the chance to represent one of them in court. There he believed justice would prevail.

The Poisoning of Michigan by Joyce Egginton page 289

This is the book I’ve been working on. Managed to find a cheap, really cheap library discard. Stumbled across the story just by chance in a TV movie that was made back the eighties. I thought the movie was brutal. More about the book later. But take my last entry. If we could see at the blazing starlight level whether something was sick or well, there’d be no question. No way to hide. No polite fictions.

And justice did not prevail. In light of the current tight symbiosis between big ag, big chemical represented by the likes of Dow and Monsanto and the politicians that are supposed to represent us, I think I need to find my copy of the Monkey Wrench Gang. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013


The Sioux idea of living creatures is that trees, buffalo and men are temporary energy swirls, turbulence patterns...that's an early intuitive recognition of energy as a quality of nature. But that's an old insight, you know,  extremely old, probably a Paleolithic shaman's insight. You find that perception register so many ways in archaic and primitive lore. I would say that it is probably the most basic insight into the nature of things, and that our more common, recent Occidental view of the universe as consisting of fixed things is out of the main stream, a deviation from basic human perception.
Gary Snyder quoted in  The Spiral Dance

Imagine if we could see the world around us as the energy patterns we really are. We would truly understand the unity/diversity of Creation.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Supercell weather system from last summer near Glasgow, Montana. The photographer's name is Sean Heavey and the shot is from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. Anything in the sky qualifies. That little speck in the foreground is a tree. Looks like an oak. What, maybe fifty, sixty feet tall? And it looks like an ant. No one is really quite sure if the Celts had a God of Thunder, there are various candidates But who ever he or she was, you can imagine them riding the lightning bolts in those clouds. Go back in time, back to early earth when storms like that ruled the skies. And this one would probably be lost in the immensities. A reminder of the power locked in the earth. A power we can barely imagine and too many of us fear.