Thursday 23 August 2012

Food: three axes, an axis, something like that.

1. Feed your family; 2. Feed my sheep; and, 3. Feed your head (not that it will do any good).
Up, Down. 
Contents: 1. Feed your family, 2. Feed my sheep (Pussy Riot verdict, Marikana massacre, Christian pooh-bah I, II, III, Ethics), 3. Feed your head (Enbridge Lies, Globe dissembling, Something Else), End of it.

[I remember a criticism of something Charles Taylor wrote - to the effect that his use of the term 'axis' is confusing. So it is I guess. The notion of a social imaginary is confusing too I suppose: Is there just one, like Yeats' spiritus mundi or Jung's archetypes? Like condoms - one size fits all?

Anyway, I posted the first part of this as a stand-alone on the UN FAO, and then had second and third thoughts ... which seem to be along some kind of axis. Whatever.] 
1. Feed your family: Gwynne Dyer, FAO, Abdolreza Abbassian.

Not too long ago I was whingeing about the FAO (here). I won't bother complaining again - except to say that there seems to be a disconnect, several disconnects: somehere between 'Stay Calm!' and 'Put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye.'
FAO Food Price Index.FAO Food Price Index.FAO Food Price Index.
That is a steepish reversal - 6% in a month - and reasonable to expect that given the lag in processing statistics the August numbers when they arrive will be steepish-er. Next one will be out on September 6 they say.

Three recent articles referenced:
       1. The rich, the poor, and the hungry, Gwynne Dyer;
       2. UN: No food crisis yet as grain prices soar, Reuters; and,
       3. FAO Food Price Index up 6 percent, the FAO itself.

[In the event that these articles are taken down or changed there is an archive here.]

Ramirez' Companion piece, not so much.Excuse me. I'm going to need this to run my car.The American greed-heads have not yet even figgured out that they must stop the ethanol subsidy. Doh!? And nevermind the entire practice subsidized or not, and nevermind the ridiculous cars, and on and on - the whole shitteree.

Musing on Steve Gardiner's ethics often leads to this place - a recognition of the utter impossibility of it: of an intergenerational ethics when the terms themselves are hardly understood or acknowledged; when the flip side - the treatment of the last generations of parents and elderly - is not even in the program; and when the informational zeitgeist is so totally fucked.
2. Feed my sheep.

Three times in John 21 he says, "Feed my sheep." Instead it's anything but ... 
Pussy Riot verdict:

марина сырова судья / Marina Syrova judge.марина сырова судья / Marina Syrova judge.AFP: "There is something of a battle of slogans going on among the crowds of protesters outside the court, say AFP's reporters. The band's supporters are yelling "Freedom for Pussy Riot" while the rival group of religious, anti-Pussy Riot protesters scream "Christ is risen". They seem to be trying to outdo each other ..."

If Christ really is risen then those religious protesters have good reason to fear - he is probably PISSED! (But I think Pussy Riot would be out in a trice.)

Quite understandable that the judge (or one of them at least, I am not quite sure), марина сырова / Marina Syrova, does not want her picture taken. But these images are of her apparently. 
Marikana massacre, August 16 2012:

The police were not prepared.The police were not prepared.
The script has changed just a smidgen in 50 years - this time it is black police shooting black strikers (just in case you thought race had any currency) - otherwise not so much. There is lots of information and photographs of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 on the Internet - go, find it, look at it, make your own comparisons.
Lonmin mine, Marikana South Africa.Lonmin mine, Marikana South Africa.Lonmin mine, Marikana South Africa.Lonmin mine, Marikana South Africa.Lonmin mine, Marikana South Africa.
What to say about the newly minted national police commissioner, Mangwashi Victoria 'Riah' Phiyega, who tells the police, "Don't be sorry." You can see some of her reaction on Vimeo here (1 minute).

Zukiswa Mbombo, Provincial Police Commissioner.Zukiswa Mbombo, Provincial Police Commissioner.Riah Phiyega, National Police Commissioner.Riah Phiyega, National Police Commissioner.Or Zukiswa Mbombo, the North West regional commissioner for that matter. You can watch her on Vimeo too, just before the event here (34 seconds).

You can watch some of the killing here (30 seconds) if you are inclined. Fear vs desperation. Some shots are fired before the main onslaught - not clear who is shooting at first, then it is very clear.

The massacre took place at Wonderkop near Marikana. The mine itself is about 7 miles away at Nkaneng - you can see on this map.

They want US$1,500 a month (up from $500) - enough to be able to send their children to school they say.

Gwynne Dyer has published this: South Africa gripped by the politics of massacre, and Zapiro takes a similar line: Julius Malema: Opportunism Best Practices.

Ian Farmer, Lonmin CEO.Roger Phillimore, Lonmin chairman.Bongani Nqwababa, Anglo American CEO.Cynthia Blum Carroll, Anglo American chairman.Lonmin Plc, Our values:

Zero Harm We are committed to zero harm to people and the environment.

Integrity, Honesty & Trust We are committed ethical people who do what we say we will do.

Transparency Open, honest communication and free sharing of information.

Respect For Each Other Embracing our diversity enriched by openness, sharing, trust, teamwork and involvement.

High Performance Stretching our individual and team capabilities to achieve innovative and superior outcomes.

Employee Self-Worth To enhance the quality of life for our employees and their families and promote self esteem.

The dead were prepared.The dead were prepared.
It bears repetition: "To enhance the quality of life for our employees and their families and promote self esteem." "Enriched by openness," right. 
On being a Christian pooh-bah I:

I stepped on this one morning over at the Guardian and it squeaked: Rowan Williams and Francis Spufford on being a Christian. Rowan Williams is the Archbishop of Canterbury after all so he does get my attention for a moment. Christianity, is it elusory or illusory then I wonder?

But he uses Narnia. (!?) Has he never read these books? Or if he has then it was certainly not out loud to children at bed time. I will bet single malt on that. There are SEVEN of them! The first goes well enough but by the third something has changed and the children do not want to hear any more of it. Of course so much depends upon sensibility and temperament - maybe that's it (and maybe not).

He has also written the Poem of the Week: Rublev. If he is going to 'capture the imagination of our culture' he may have to do better.

These people simply have no idea at all. 
On being a Christian pooh-bah II:

Paolo Gabriele.Paolo Gabriele.The Pope, his butler, and the butler's accomplice. (Paolo Gabriele doing the deed by himself is one thing, doing it with Claudio Sciarpelletti is quite another.) It would be funny except that a window has been opened into the world of petty venal intrigue which is the Vatican.

Who needs these people exactly? And for what? (And I don't mean the butler - everyone knows what you need butlers for.) 
On being a Christian pooh-bah III:

Tim Stevenson & Gary Paterson.Gary Paterson.Two issues, both alike in fecklessness, in fair k-k-Canada, where we lay our scene ...

IIIa: The United Church, after roiling around in it for almost a decade finally decides to boycott Israel, well, not all of it. The report itself is irrelevant, replete with blancmange bureaucrat weasel words. I am left here with the question from Matthew 7:4: "How wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?" (There are two 'out's in the original but I think Andrewes was having a bad day.)

A-and remember kids: Just because some Jews and Israelis don't like it, and just because some Canadian Senators don't like it either ... this doesn't mean you have to pick it up and eat it (paraphrased from Glen Milne).

IIIb: Gary Paterson is gay. Mardi Tindal is fat. Interesting but irrelevant details. Here's the rub: in my relatively wide travels I have never come up against the 10% of the population that is supposed to be gay. Where are they? Some yes, some (who have since died of AIDS) were dear and close friends of mine. I think I have met about the 1-2% in existence. If these guys have managed to stay together through thirty years then I am standing up applauding for them. If they excuse my suspicions around language like "I’m thrilled for the church," and "... a marvellous moderator." (reported here) then good, if not, good too.

And if they are on a hunger strike around the devastated environment we are handing to our children and grandchildren then they will find me there with them shoulder to shoulder to the bitter (!) end.

Have to wait and see ... 
Piling on?:

The idea that ethics is at or very near the root of it is catching on: If we are to cope with climate change we need a new moral order (Andrew Brown in the Guardian).

When he starts out with, "There's a first class article in Nature this week ..." I am suspicious, but by the time I get to, "What religious thought – and ritual – can supply is the two things absent from normative consumer liberalism," the antennae are all the way out. So I think I had better go and have a look - maybe this one is not locked up. It's not: Why we are poles apart on climate change (Dan Kahan in Nature).

But between Dan Kahan's (secular as far as I can see) plea for responsible commentary & discussion and Andrew Brown's apparent 'leap to faith' there seems to me to be another ... disconnect - a veritable chasm. I have not read them carefully yet so I could be wrong, but it makes me wonder if the pundits are just angling for their salaries. Are they sincere? I don't know. And the only person I know who might know, who might have an opinion worth listening to on it, Steve Gardiner, seems not to be speaking to me anymore (since I brought up the Cuban Special Period if that's a clue). So.

[In the event that these articles are taken down or changed there is an archive here.]

I will read them carefully and report again on this. 
3. Feed your head (like the doormouse never said).

Jefferson Airplane Somebody To Love (sorry about the ad). This is not a great recording. It is not meant as a thing in itself, as a performance, but as a reminder that such a performance once was, no more than that. I would have posted White Rabbit but it is lies I am thinkin' of. 
Misrepresentation, dissembling, and lies from Enbridge:

This turned up in the Guardian: The corporate cock-up that's refuelled the Canadian tar sands debate. It's all over the place already. The original video is still up at Enbridge and someone posted it to YouTube for safe keeping.
Douglas Channel, Enbridge.Douglas Channel, a bit more accurate.
One of the islands they left out is Gil Island, where BC Ferries sank the Queen of the North in 2006: some blog posts from that in March and June of 2006, and March 2008.

I wonder what the people (the heroes) of Hartley Bay think about all this?.
Janet Holder, Lisa Raitt, Chuck Szmurlo.Janet Holder, Elmer Derrick.Elmer Derrick.Elmer Derrick.Elmer Derrick.
Might be a good idea to get to know a little more about Janet Holder. You can see her there hob-nobbing with Chuck Szmurlo VP of something or other at Enbridge, and Lisa Raitt you know right? minister of grapple grommets in wazizname's gizmo.

And Elmer Derrick of the Gitxsan nation, the lone (so far) aboriginal chief to endorse Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline (in 2009) for a few million spread over thirty years plus a cool grand-a-day appointment to the Prince Rupert Port Authority (nothing much to do with Gitxsan issues apparently but hey!).

These videos are worth a look: Northern Gateway Pipeline animation (2 minutes), and BC's Huge Gamble (10 minutes) - Janet Holder figures largely. The second one was made by Corey Ogilvie, someone to watch.

The Queen of the North was 125 metres long, the super-tankers they are planning on are from twice to three times that length. 
Misrepresentation and dissembling from The Globe:

'Steam from the boiler turns the turbine which then powers the air conditioner.'This appeared recently in the Globe and Mail, Canada's National Newspaper: In oil sands, a native millionaire sees ‘economic force’ for first nations by Nathan Vanderklippe, not the brightest light on the environmental front but credible (to me, until now).

This paragraph is up front: "Mr. Tuccaro, 54, is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, out of Fort Chipewyan, Alta., a place that garnered attention after reports – discredited by medical authorities – that its location downriver from the oil sands created an elevated level of rare cancers."

I wondered at the 'discredited by medical authorities' and emailed the guy. He answered with this (from 2009): Report casts doubt on MD's claims about Alberta reserve's cancer rates.

Nathan Vanderklippe.Nathan Vanderklippe.Nathan Vanderklippe says "discredited" but Katherine O'Neill's article that he uses as 'proof' only says "casts doubt". So, which is it? As I remember it, the Alberta's College of Physicians and Surgeons' report was claimed as a victory for both sides - but that could be the Alzheimer's I suppose.

I followed the news of John O'Connor from 2008, reasonably closely. I watched him in films, I read his statements. In the end he is credible to me and the Globe and Mail is not (Nathan himself? ... looks to me like he just did what he was told to do).

I am not trying here to build a case that will stand up in court y'unnerstan'. I'm just saying ...

You can see the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) here (it's slightly murky, there are a number of reports mentioned here and there, this looks like the latest), and you can see some of the counter claims here and here. 
What I meant was something else ... :

Regivaldo Pereira Galvão, o Taradão.The thing about the kind of no-holds-barred violence that the insincere public intellectuals practice - it is like shunning in a way - is that it is bloodless, entirely deniable (if you think ahead), coverable, and the victims are left with almost no recourse, no comeback. In a way this blog is a badly knit scarf by a Madame Defarge wannabe.

They freed one of Dorothy Stang's killers today - Brazil's Supremo Tribunal Federal, their tippy-top Supreme Court let Regivaldo Pereira Galvão, o Taradão off the hook on his 30 year sentence - some kind of technicality (judgement here). Friends in high places - in this case Marco Aurélio Mello, the Chief Justice of Brazil, old money and lots of it.

More ginger in the rice tonight. :-) 
I thought for a long time that it was my father's stamina and sense of humour that saved me (well, not 'saved' exactly but kept me going at least). I see now (thanks to composing the few tiny stories sprinkled here lately) that my mother's simple-minded metaphysic (and mostly that she stuck to it in the face of all evidence to the contrary - not quite intentionally, likely no more than whatever the moral equivalent of gravity is) is a large part of my success as well. To call this success is nonsense of course. :-)

And yet, in the middle of what might be the most dramatic moment in the history of humankind, at the onset of our Ragnarök, there is a calm centre here (not all the time but often), quotidian equanimity: three litres of water, brown rice, ginger, lots of leeks, regular bowel movements. It can't last. Nothing ever could.

Here it is, 4AM again, looking out the window for traces of dawn, no dawn in sight yet.

Be well.

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