Sunday 23 December 2012

What ever.

or: Leftard-lib bourgeois sensibility refudiated.     or: Fuck You Very Much!
Up, Down.

Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat.Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat.This is more like it:    Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat began her hunger strike on December 11 demanding real conversation with the government for all native people in Canada. Some details at Idle No More (you may want to turn off your speakers). Best is to listen to Willie Sproule (1 minute).

There is applause in this small apartment tonight for her courage and strength. I have not seen a clear statement from her yet - when I find one I will post it here. Here, this interview on Day 8 tells some of the story; and another interview on Day 11; and an equivocal report on Day 16. What can I do to help I wonder? Maybe I will go there next week to see if I can lend a hand somehow.

Aamjiwnaang Sarnia blockade.Aamjiwnaang Sarnia blockade.As well, the people of Aamjiwnaang have blockaded the CN rail tracks near Sarnia and say they will continue until Harper meets with Spence - details & contact. An equivocal report in the Globe, saying, "... yet to decide whether to challenge a court injunction ..." was flatly contradicted by Ron Plain when I spoke to him. Details on the CN line affected can be found here, and a short video, You've Inspired A Nation, of the Aamjiwnaang action (with Ron Plain).

You can help: send cheques to Ron Plain, 256 Essex Street, Sarnia, Ontario, Canada N7T 4S2; or email RonPlain [at] for account transfer details.

Idle No More, Michipicoten Wawa.Many others across the country are acting in solidarity. A 12-hour road & rail blockade by the Garden River and Batchewana First Nations is underway in Sault Ste. Marie - some details here. The banner in Wawa (pictured) is a good one. Joe Clark says, "humble and achievable," and gets it right.


This blog (on the other hand) is a bust, obviously. Three weeks and not a single serious substantive reply to what I thought - and still think - is a BIG question close to the centre of it somewhere: relevant, timely. I can't hardly believe it.    (!?)    You have to laugh I guess.    :-)


The closest was an email from a doughty demonstrator, whom I once watched carry a banner for HOURS through the cold and rain, never asking for relief or even, particularly, recognition; but she confused a 'fast' and a 'hunger strike' - a natural mistake, understandable. In October I mentioned the Climate Fast on Parliament Hill. In fact I went there at some cost, but found myself unable to join in for various reasons; watched from a distance for a while and left.

Sadly, unfortunately ... the time for symbolic actions has passed. You can run but you can't hide.

Easiest thing would be to quit, but it's, you know, become a habit now, ingrained; and anyway I have nothing else to do. (See 'costing not less than everything' below :-) Still, I like this exit line and I'll leave it:

Cyanophyta baby!
Ecosia.Oops, sorry - I think I was mistaken, didn't read the fine print. It is Bing repackaged; a-and doesn't play very well with Firefox. Just like a programmer of a certain calibre & generation to have no difficulty imagining a total re-invention. :-)

This belongs up front:    Here is something everyone who sees this can actually DO, viz., use the Ecosia search engine and shove a small hard something up somewhere into the soft parts in the machinery of extinction. Yes gentle reader, Google & Bing and the rest, a-and this incessant navel gazing computer/internet addiction - right down to the digital readout on your coffee-maker, uh huh, not to mention all those essential air flights - are unequivocally part of the problem. So - a tiny step.
   [Thanks to Tim Jackson for this tip.] 
Aislin/Terry Mosher puts the em-phasis on the wrong syl-lable:

Terry Mosher/Aislin: swastika hypocrisy.If you want to go using a Nazi swastika in your political cartoon (sir) then best to have your eye fixed on some holocaust-comparable tragedy; which this, awful as it is, is not.

I am a parent and a grandparent. I mourn in visceral sympathy with the parents of Newtown. And there is indeed a holocaust unfolding, which threatens all of us and our offspring; but neither of these tragedies has to do with swastikas - dragging in this kind of imagery is intentional confusion, classical Freudian displacement, self inflicted mind-fuck.

Remember some (more-or-less personal since you are a Montrealer) history: viz. swastikas on flags marched down Park Avenue in the Montreal of the 30's ... Or consider Obama's unseemly haste to splice righteous grief into provisions for the coming martial law. He is silent on putting civilization and all future generations of most every species on Earth (including H. sapiens) into the ditch, and weeps now over the children of Newtown - I am sorry to say that it looks to me like crocodile tears.

I agree that it would be simpler if we could just blame Nazis, or the NRA, or the anarchists, or anyone beyond the protagonist himself for what happened in Newtown. But I don't think that's possible.

And sorry to tell you but the smart money (whatever 'smart' means), following Wayne LaPierre's advice even though he's got it mostly upside down, is buying up farm land AND guns.

[Anyone who sees a callous heart in this ... cry ... misses the mark. It is a mere sketch, impressions towards a nuanced view, trying to make sense of it; nothing more than that gentle reader.

I do not recognize this bit of Aislin's melange. Anyone who does will be thanked for letting me know what it represents. (Ah! The 'evil eye' - thanks to Martin & Paul. AND they inform me that Google image search can do this - copy&paste it into the camera on this. Who knew?)] 
Brad Werner.Peter Haff.Is Earth F**ked?    (In a word: Yes.)

I am not surprised that Brad Werner looks like a refugee from some Brasilian comedy show. He asks the question that is at the tip of everyone's tongue, and in a forum like the AGU, that (I imagine) takes balls. That he then cloaks his answer in ten yards of abstruse & arcane terminology and apologetic mumbling about his (intentional?) personal disorganization is not surprising either. I had to watch it three times before I began to see what he means about 'management'.

I came to it via this (Monga Bay! Imagine that! And no thanks to the AGU for making it easy to find from there). There are two YouTube videos of AGU session EP32b: one shows the people talking, and the other just the slides - I recommend both - about an hour each.

At one point I thought it might be a hoax - but the presenters seem to be bona fide (if not on the quality of their presentations): Peter Haff at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University; and Brad Werner at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego. 
Noam Chomsky:    This interview (Noam Chomsky: How Climate Change Became a 'Liberal Hoax' - 20 minutes) was filmed sometime after Scott Brown and the Republicans took over Ted Kennedy's US Senate seat, so ... early 2010 or thereabouts. (Why cannot the people who post these videos provide proper provenance details?)

I have not seen a better overview. (And some more insight into 'management'.) 
Tim Jackson:    Tim Jackson engaged in a sort-of 'debate' with Ottmar Edenhofer at TU (Technische Universität / University of Technology) in Berlin on December 3 this year - 'Green Growth, Fairytale or Strategy? Climate Lecture 2012':
Blurb at PIK (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research);
Tim Jackson, details at University of Surrey;
Ottmar Edenhofer (World Bank economist/bureaucrat) details at PIK;
Video 1 (~40 minutes) Tim Jackson;
Video 2 (~40 minutes) Ottmar Edenhofer;
Video 3 (~40 minutes) discussion with Petra Pinzler.
And another video (~50 minutes) of Tim Jackson delivering a comparable lecture at Vooruit Ghent in 2011 (when he was not recovering from immediately recent surgery).

He says:

This is not an economy in which the kind of transition towards low carbon technology and sustainable industry is going to be achieved. It is an economy that relentlessly pushes us to spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about.
Or try this - 
Guy MacPherson:    His blog and a presentation (~50 minutes) late in 2012 sometime, maybe November. I think he exaggerates 'a bit' for rhetorical effect - but not (in my admittedly insane perspective) enough to make any difference to the central argument - that global economic collapse is our last faint hope. 
Stephen Leahy.Stephen Leahy.It's not news:    Stephen Leahy is climbing up the journalistic ladder. His latest in The Guardian comes pretty close, not to 'news' by any means - sadly, this information is not at all new - but to more clearly quantifying things. The research he quotes is securely locked up behind a pay wall at Nature: 2020 emissions levels required to limit warming to below 2 °C, Joeri Rogelj, David L. McCollum, Brian C. O’Neill, & Keywan Riahi. They admit (apparently) to being 'optimistic' in their estimates.

We're looking at 52 gigatonnes (billion metric tonnes) this year, we need to see 41-47 gigatonnes by 2020, so-oh ... emissions must peak in the next few years, let's say 2015 for round numbers. (Not 'growth in emissions must peak' but, absolute quantities of emissions must peak - quite a difference.)

This completes a circle in a way; I object (below) to Leahy's equivocal mewlings on Doha at Straight Goods, but his comment here on Brad Werner's 'Is Earth F**ked?' is, let's say, in a different 'register':    "If people don't march on their capitals demanding action over the next two years the next generation is really are [sic] f**ked. And we don't have a proper clue what a +4C world would be like to live in. (Hint: for many it's a 'kick your feet up and die' scenario) [sic]". 
As tais fotografias ...

1946: from V-2 #13.1966: from Lunar Orbiter.1968: from Apollo 8, Earthrise.Oh yeah, it used to make me misty, proud, part of something bigger than myself, great; sort'a like Caetano but not so advanced.

Even when I first saw 'Earthlights' there was still some'a that goin' on - and by then I had heard Caetano's song Terra (from Muito, 1978). I made this translation in 2003 or 2004 sometime I think.

'Earthlights' by NASA.But - there's always a 'but' eh? - now it horrifies me and more with each day that passes.

Some of these Gaia nitwits go on about H. sapiens as a virus, as something the planet will (soon?) be well rid of. It's a tempting vision but I am not one of those who take it up - simply because it would be turning on the most beautiful experiences of my life: children being born, love (what I know of it) - and this ain't no bogus bourgeois sentiment neither!

Screengrab from ZHAW's air traffic animation.This air traffic animation (made four years ago already) is more of the same - it comes from ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) where you will find a link to the original.

Or this one - atomic explosions from 1945 to 1998: I find the original by Isao Hishimoto too long (15 minutes), so here is an accelerated version (4 minutes) of part of it. And at least two more nuclear bomb tests since 1998: by North Korea in 2006 & 2009.

Horrifying! What else can you call it? I would like to see one correlating the spread of background radiation from nuclear power plants with, say, the IQs of five-year-olds - but they keep those statistics well hidden. 
The advantage in watching these animations is to take several steps back from 'climate change' without quite getting so far back as 'the subject/object split in Graeco-Roman thought'.

And this is useful because the problem is NOT JUST CLIMATE CHANGE, or ocean acidification, or methane dispersal from melting permafrost and clathrates, or species extinction, or powerful poisons everywhere around and within us - arsenic in the rice, BPA in the water, cumulative low level radiation - ... or, or, or ...    It is ALL of these PLUS human social and political inertia and the reasons for those: greed, concupiscence, incontinence, ... and so on.

It is HUGE and you have to stand back to see it.

... em que apareces inteira porém lá não estavas nua e sim coberta de nuvens. 
Yvo de Boer, Bali 2010.Yvo de Boer, Copenhagen 2009.Yvo de Boer, Bali 2007.Yvo de Boer:    A tough man who occasionally weeps.

No tears from our Yvo at Doha though. He was in on the 'Global Business Day' - here is the press conference that followed (~20 minutes) - a competent highly paid consultant completely under control. He was quoted in The Guardian: "It's not going to happen, with developed countries in the financial state they're in. We need to be realistic," and he subsequently wrote this, also in the Guardian.

I could say that he saves his tears for worthy occasions, unlike, say, Barack Obama - or something.

But the reason he has been on my mind is that for one reason and another - and I am sorry to leave you guessing, it is just that space does not permit - I identify with him. Moving to KPMG was the rational choice when he saw that the UNFCCC was/is going nowhere - though he never said it, and didn't burn any bridges over it.

I am not even a tiny fraction so clever. When I saw what I was involved in all I could do was walk away into what amounts to ignominy, beggary. ... So, there is some envy in this small salute to him as well.    :-) 
Arsenic in the rice.    Yup, Lundberg ... one of the FAQs on their website says 95 ppb; but somewhere else they say 3-5 mcg (micrograms) per 'serving', which for a 110 gram serving I compute to be ~30 ppb - doesn't correlate, so who can say ... 'some' arsenic then.

Drinking water standards in the rich Western countries run ~10 ppb. Trying to get my head around ppb is difficult. And of course one tends to consume more water than rice.

A report on the effects of Bisphenol A (BPA) on trout reproduction ('Effect of bisphenol A on maturation and quality of semen and eggs in the brown trout, Salmo trutta f. fario', by Franz Lahnsteiner et al. in 2005: abstract, and the full report is buried in this pdf.) showed that 5 mcg per litre (which I compute to be 5 ppb) just about put a stop to procreation for those fellas.

Grant you, BPA is not arsenic - just trying to get a sense of proportion y'unnerstan'. Anyway ... that's it for rice on my plate; and I expect that's it for the $50 million a year that Lundberg were turning over (and an interesting ethical problem for them no doubt).

What about local organic potatoes I wonder? 
Internet non-events:    Naderev Sano.Madeleine Diouf.There's no 'there' there! 10,000+ hits on YouTube for Naderev Sano of the Phillipines speaking at Doha. ... Well, what does that mean I wonder? Nothing and less than nothing. The version without lip-synch gets twice that, 20,000+ and some dreck called 'Girls Fails' gets 80,000!

Look closely. Naderev is getting 15 minutes of fame - he deserves better. Madeleine Diouf looks like she might be an incarnation of Iemanjá.

Doha viewed as a ball mill - the kind they use to make talcum powder.

A hundred or so people pass by here daily, more sometimes. Mostly they are looking for T&A. Lately an image of a more-or-less unclothed young woman being painted by a Montreal makeup artist has held entire sway: Rémy Couture and his Inner Depravity (at the bottom of it). Not surprising; visualizing the un-dead should be a growth item - I can't watch all those vampire movies but I think I understand where they fit.

Malvados: O poço dos desejos / The Wishing Well.Malvados: O poço dos desejos / The Wishing Well.
The Wishing Well

A wish?
To be able to criticize the world without making the least effort towards changing it.

Presto! A social network!

Gilmar: Espera!! / Wait a sec!Gilmar: Espera!! / Wait a sec!

Wait a sec!

I'll post it on Facebook!

Owt for Nowt:    I just like the sound of it: aught for naught, áht for náht ... "An' if tha does owt for nowt, do it for thysen."

Nothing is as it seems. Did Alice say that?

The ideology of positive thinking makes anything such an easy out, eh? Then there is the even more insidious ideology of not (no never!) crying Wolf!

I tried to comment, politely I thought, on some equivocal Doha coverage by Stephen Leahy over at so-called Straight Goods saying, "If wishes were horses beggars would ride." I guess they didn't understand; perhaps something in it frightened them (?) and they didn't publish it - stopped by the (union-member?) moderator.

Christmas?! Bah Humbug!

'A mentira tem pernas curtas mas vida longa, então vai longe.'

Beginning the segue towards 'time': Solstice is past and the days are getting longer now, but ... imperceptibly. 
Rentiers/Rentières:    People, humans, do think, but only when forced; and even then, most of it just serves ... inertia, of one kind and another.

I was going to leave it at that; and then came across this (though he stops well short of anything substantive):

... the tendency of even the best systems to degenerate as rent-seeking special interests grow on the body politic like barnacles on a ship’s hull, and civic virtue yields to human frailty.    (Turning Points, Niall Ferguson in the NYT)
I know about this, to my cost ... I could tell a long story about my time as mayor of a small town in BC, maybe another time. (There is one about the kid who taught me to say, 'Fuck you very much!' too - in a kind of Elvis-impersonator style; and how I came to the phrase 'what ever' - a long list ...)

Rentiers, bankers, government freeloaders both elected and hired, even Charles Taylor in his plea for codes at the end of the excerpt below ...

Eventually though, pop goes the weasel; like an artery hollowed out by diabetes, or an umbigo - getting 'soft in the middle' as Paul Simon sings somewhere, or blindness punctuated by flashes as pieces of the retina detach ...

"He cursed me when I proved to him that a whisper said not even you can hide." 
The meat of the matter:

Since reading Ragnarök (a number of times) I have started following A.S. Byatt more closely. (I did read all of her novels years ago.) Here is her introduction to The song of songs, which is Solomon's.

She just gets nicely started and then ... stops. (?) And it is incredible to me that she does not pick up on the obvious similarity between 'Shulamite' and 'Shunammite'. (?)

A bit of background: We (protestants in Upper Canada) were taught that 'The Song' had to do with Christ and his church. Bollocks of course, utter bollocks; but the lies you are told as a child do tend to stick.

So here is a fat old fart, well beyond hope or desire for romance, finally getting just a little clearer on an essential story.

There is supporting controversy I had not imagined:

Shulamite: Principal character in the Song of Songs, although mentioned there in one passage only. According to the opinion of some modern critics, the Shulamite was the bride of a shepherd; but her beauty kindled in Solomon a violent passion, and he endeavored to win her for his harem. As to the etymology of the name, it would seem that it means "a native of Shulem," which place, according to Eusebius, is identical with Shunem. This view is supported by the Greek version, which evidently was made from a Hebrew text having 'שולם' ('Shulem') instead of 'שונם' ('Shunem'). On the theory that the term "Shulamite" is equivalent to "Shunammite," some critics have gone so far as to identify the Shulamite with Abishag, who after David's death became prominent in the court of Jerusalem.    (The Jewish Encyclopedia)
'Smerge' is a term invented by a colleague of mine many years ago to describe an operation in computer drafting: short for 'Sheet Merge'. I use it towards other ends as well: in this case, a number of texts, just slammed together into the same stew - Presto-whiffo! Whammo! Kick-bust-fuckId-up! - to see what it tastes like. The texts in this case are:
Byatt's essay on 'The Song of Songs', here;
The relevant passages in the KJV:
       First Book of Kings, Chapter 1, and,
       The Song of Songs;
T.S. Eliot on time, 'Four Quartets', pdf, or listen to himself (~1 hour);
Ivan Illich on The Good Samaritan via Charles Taylor;
A quotation from (possibly) Jacques Maritain, here;
Wendell Berry on resurrection, here, or listen to himself (~3 minutes);
Northrop Frye on resurrection 'The Double Vision', complete here; and,
Northrop Frye on 'interpenetration' (I heard him say it somehere).
That's it. I'll leave it with you. (There will be a test next time. :-) 
I want to close with something about despair:

I suffer with it, greatly; but somehow - southern sense of humour inherited from my father? stamina? constitution? also from him, I don't know - it does not get me quite all the way down, does not quite vanquish. A few days or a few weeks and something ... changes - it is always a surprise how little it takes; an infolding yes, and a seed provided to infold as well. [I can't seem to get this right ... anyway, it happens.]

Recently I heard from one of the few Toronto activists who speaks to me at all - and the author of some of the very most imaginative gambits I have seen anywhere - saying that he has withdrawn to try to recover, 'heal', but a long time now, six months or a year already. A friend quotes The Book of Job to me (via Joni Mitchell). Others I know try to establish some kind of (what seems to me corrupt, false) balance - eating local food to compensate for extended air flights and such like.

So.    ...    Look here! Events of the next few years will determine the future of our entire (planetary, not just 'Western') civilization and possibly of our species as well; and we have all got front-row seats, there is no back-bench to be found; and this makes the choice rather simple really: either "Curse God, and die," as Job's wife counsels, or (curse God and) get on with strengthening what ever remains, that may be ready to die.

(I do believe it also requires at least some collaboration, even with people you may not like very well.    :-)

"So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late." Here, have another listen to Bob & Jimi.

That's it gentle reader, best I can come up with tonight, be well. 
¡Ya Basta!¡Ya Basta!Motivated reasoning: an emotion-biased decision-making strategy used to mitigate cognitive dissonance. (Probably cuts both ways too.)

As usual the post is done and the point not made. Or maybe it is sort'a made but too literary, too implicit; or just too knuckleheaded, too stupid, too mad, insane - missing some fundamental foundation out of the spiritus mundi archetypes, out of the 'social imaginary'.

Oh well.

I used to do business with the Mennonites - selling them windmill parts. I loved being around them. Nothing to be taken for granted though, no room for complacency - the joke that goes, "A Mennonite can buy from a Jew and sell to a Scot and make money," is ... close.

Over the years of it I came to the conclusion that some of the strength I found in them and admired came from Matthew 18, verses 15 & 16. Someone told me that it is an important scripture for them - this was not 'official' or even 'insider' information y'unnerstan', just gossip, second-hand; and don't mistake me - I am not quoting it as if I am some kind of Christian. I've mentioned it before including a few months ago, in August: here (where the insidious verse 17 creeps in like a snake).

So. Scripture or not - if you can't get an honest response anyhow then you are doomed, doubly doomed, and diddled.

There was a club in Ottawa, 'Le Hibou' I think it was, and Gordon Lightfoot sang there one night when Red Shea was still with him. We had front-row seats - I can't remember how that came about. He must've sung 'Chimes of Freedom' I guess because until today I thought that phrase 'too personal a tale' was his :-)

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