Friday 1 March 2013

If it were up to me ...

but everybody's busy & nobody's listenin'.                                                   Up, Down.                    Leeks today! 
J.J. Cale 'Naturally'.
Contents: Leeks:(Three Jovial Welshmen, Agamemnon, Shylock), SLAPP:(No Dash For Gas, Ron Plain, Climate Scientists & Activists, Hierarchies, Slappers!  Spies, Buddhists), Brasil, Zero, Beyond the Zero.

Thanks to my son for recalling J.J. Cale & Naturally and a special tune: Call Me The Breeze; or here, a ten minute live version. Yeah :-) 
There were three jovial Welshmen, as I have heard them say,
And they would go a-hunting upon Saint David's day.

And all the day they hunted, and nothing could they find
But a hedgehog in a bramble-bush, and that they left behind.
The first said it was a hedgehog; the second he said nay;
The third it was a pin-cushion, and the pins stuck in wrong way.

And all the night they hunted, and nothing could they find
But an owl in a holly-tree, and that they left behind.
One said it was an owl; the other he said nay;
The third said 'twas an old man, and his beard growing grey.

(From The Nursery Rhyme Book, 1897.)
which leads (if you let it) to a few lines of Blake on the flyleaf of Northrop Frye's The Double Vision:

For double the vision my Eyes do see,
And a double vision is always with me:
With my inward Eye 'tis an old Man grey;
With my outward a Thistle across my way.

(In context it is more ... worldly.)
'Dewi Sant' they call him in Wales; March 1st marking his death (in his bed apparently) not his birth. His theological claim to fame is as an anti-Pelagian. Pelagians (according to Wikipedia) believe that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid. A species of Quietists they are (again according to Wikipedia), seeking Ataraxia, Ἀταραξία, tranquility ... nirvana maybe ... stillness and interior passivity as essential conditions of perfection ... sounds almost Buddhist eh? All of which pits me against a saint ... not the first time. 
Apeneck Sweeney spreads his knees
Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
The nightingales are singing near.                                                                                      
[Full text here.]

And on it goes on from there, to ...
Elizabeth Jane Gardner by William-Adolphe Bouguereau 1879.Philomela & Procne by Elizabeth Gardener 1870s.The Banquet of Tereus by Peter Paul Rubens 1635.The Banquet of Tereus by Peter Paul Rubens 1635.
... Tereus, Procne, Itys, Philomela ... and swallows.

ὤμοι, πέπληγμαι καιρίαν πληγὴν ἔσω.
Alas! I am struck deep with a mortal blow!                                   
[And that was the end of Agamemnon.]

You can listen to Eliot reading this poem (here, not quite two minutes) for an appreciation of the parodies of anglican cadences you have cetainly heard; Monty Python and all. And yet it works. The (nasal) snobbery, show-off erudition, petty anti-semitism ... the pure nonsense of it, does not diminish the occasional power to locate some otherwise incomprehensible 'thing' and ground it, attach it.

[I do not speak Ancient Greek by the way. Just a vestigial striving for completeness in texts; preferring to see them ... entire. Like Caetano sings "... em que apareces inteira porém lá não estavas nua e sim coberta de nuvens."] 
Trying to get a bearing on how to relate to special writers: Illich, Frye, Pynchon, Buber ... difficult. I am baffled by the simple lack of any feedback.

Shylock: ...

If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villany you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

(From The Merchant of Venice,
    Act 3, scene 1.)
Resonates with Auden's September 1, 1939: "Those to whom evil is done do evil in return," but with more humanity, less desperation, less ... ideology. (?)
Al Pacino as Shylock 2010.Al Pacino as Shylock 2004.

Probably missing some essential piece, pieces. But without conversation how does one even know that much? Or guess? Shots in the dark ... oh well.
[The authority for leeks on Davy's Day comes from apocryphal (and unlikely-sounding) stories, and from Shakespeare in Henry V, Act 5 scene 1.] 
SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation):   Two news reports from The Guardian: on the 5th of February and again on the 25th (and here) on No Dash For Gas. There is another news report, and a blog post; and the EDF Energy website if you are curious.

[I understand 'dash' to be a Nigerian form of transactional corruption ... not even going to the OED to check.]

There's a petition but no direct link to get to it from their front page (as of this writing). If you are persistent you can find, 'The world's petition platform', which recognizes the country of your URL and so misdirects you; and if you are very persistent you may get to the petition itself: Tell @edfenergy to drop legal action against No Dash for Gas activists. You may even sign it. I did.

So what have we got? Some very courageous and competent people who shut down a major polluter for a week. But the subtext on the 5th is that interest is waning - this is also my experience here in Canada. Monbiot holds out faint hope on the 25th but ... Who can believe George Monbiot about anything? Hope? For such an unlikely confluence of energies? Barbra Streisand?! What's he smokin'?

Almost ten years ago a lovely young woman urged me to sign a petition around Barrick Gold's infamous practices - when I went to bring her up-to-date on it recently I found her in Hawaii for a vacation on the beach. I can dig it (see Porto de Pedras below).

This notion of waning interest deserves a word, reiterated as it is by a pollster (reported here, a bit more here) with a graph that doesn't start at zero, with details unavailable to the hoi polloi - and we know how statisticians can sometimes inadvertently lie eh? Say, when they are posing for the press? Enough of their respondents take this 'very seriously' that if it were Quebec they could start separating - 51.8% by my back-of-an-envelope arithmetic. Last time I looked it was not that high, just a sec ... yeah, here.

It's bad, very bad, terrible ... AWFUL! Most species including our own may go extinct! But exaggeration doesn't help. (Unless it makes you feel better.   :-) 
Ron Plain:   I tried to get there during the blockade itself. No direct busses, no direct trains if you are going to Sarnia; so I settled for other forms of support - the best I could do, really! Ditto when I heard about CN's lawsuit.

Ron Plain.Is my inbox full of news then? Invitations to rallies? Someone offering to support an action to surround CN's corporate headquarters with case-hardened steel chain next Monday morning? Nada, nadinha! An automated reply from the organizer of the legal defence fund in response to a modest contribution. I can afford no more, I cannot afford what I gave. But here I am, ready to go; only unwilling to do it alone - I tried that a few times before and it was just ... too hard.

Google News trolls up nothing. Maybe it's only on Facebook? Is that it? In the words of ee cummings' eloquent Olaf, "I will not kiss your fucking flag," and, There is some shit I will not eat." (These two lines are often conflated to "There is some fucking shit I will not eat!" but that's not how he wrote it. It's Facebook I'm talking about here, not Ron Plain. It might even be a state of mind we both understand.)

Nonetheless and all that said - Ron Plain and his colleagues deserve honour not ignominy. I would drop what I am doing and go with them without hesitation - if they asked me. 
There is news on Monday the 25th (in the Globe of all places):   Scientists call for dramatic steps to curb emissions. They are: John Abraham (St. Thomas, Minnesota), John Stone (Carleton), Danny Harvey (UofT), Mark Jaccard (Simon Fraser), Bill McKibben (author of the first book on the issue and a resident scholar), and, Tzeporah Berman (Forest Ethics). They have established a blog with a post on the subject: Climate Scientists and Policy Experts Say Canada Not Making Progress on Climate Change with a page which includes full contact information for all of them.
John Abraham.John Stone.Danny Harvey.Mark Jaccard.Bill McKibben.Tzeporah Berman.
[A background report is mentioned but is nowhere to be found (by me at least). Emails to them asking for it go unanswered. The only other clue in the Big Book of the Internet is a press release from on the 22nd, a call for a media telephone cluster fuck: Canadian and US Scientists and Policy Experts Call Canada's Climate Bluff; Politicians Misleadingly Tout Canada's Climate. Emails to the 350 contact, Daniel Kessler, are unanswered.]

Ah! The background report is on another tab: Setting the Record Straight; which details how the Canadian Government has been making exaggerated claims - you could easily think Peter Kent and Stephen Harper have been lying.

Other triggers may include a story coming out of the rally in Washington on the 17th: Canada defends climate record amidst U.S. Keystone XL protests; and possibly Joe Oliver's $9 million contract for focus groups to further socially engineer the k-k-Canadian public to accept Tar Sands as a good and necessary part of their stupor, announced on the 18th: Government hones oilsands message with focus groups. (Emails to Joe and his master and Ms. May and my MP are also unanswered.) 
As the days go by other references turn up:
         Why we need to stop oil sands expansion, Mark Jaccard on the 26th.
         Experts call Canada's climate bluff, Jenny Uechi on the 27th.

[How could I have not seen the 'Backgrounder' tab? Fact is I did see it but it didn't register. Doh! Knucklehead! I may not have been the only one; no comfort in that. And yet there seems to be a slap-dash quality to this whole effort; the HTML is sketchy in places, broken links - maybe that's it; a failure to keep some techie nerd in line? a volunteer possibly ... logistical problems: maybe an inability to be together in the same place for the press release. I wonder if they tried to get Elizabeth May involved? Andrew Weaver? Gordon McBean? David Schindler?]

More to come no doubt ... I will update this list if as & when:
     Keystone XL pipeline action coming in 'near term,' says Kerry 9th.
     Devastating traps of the tarsands 15th.
     It’s time for Canada to confront its climate neglect 19th.
     Kerry sidesteps Keystone pipeline issue 20th.
     Redford visits D.C. to push for Keystone approval 24th.
     Canadian governments sidle up to U.S. to secure Keystone approval 25th.
     Keystone is responsible oil sands development (Alison Redford) 25th.
     Senators push Kerry for quick Keystone decision 26th.
     Premier [Brad Wall] to push energy, pipeline 27th.
     Canada hopeful U.S. will ‘do the right thing’ and approve Keystone XL: Oliver 28th.
     Natural resources minister [Joe Oliver] to sell Keystone XL in the US 28th.

Hierarchies:   A smart guy I know, the professor of some courses I took, once told us there is useful stuff to be learned about and from hierarchies. (This to a first-year class of possible architects many of whom could not yet spell it.)

Every list is a hierarchy. The order of the people involved in the Canadian Climate Policy blog mentioned above comes from their contact page. It is echoed more-or-less in the (so far scanty) news reports. So what have we got? Four Dr.s & two activist people - in that order. Is that the problem? Is there a problem?

A friend of mine, enthused by a sort of vague ... love (well, you know what I mean) for Tzeporah Berman went out and got himself arrested at the Kennedy bridge trying to protect the forests of Clayoquot Sound in the summer of 1993. He spent a lot of time & trouble getting to court and in the end (sort of) regretted it; in part no doubt because what MacMillan Bloedel was obliged to stop is being carried on by Iisaak.

I mention it here because the forces that create living functioning networks of people start with individuals: replete with messy details. I have gone on in this blog at length on a vision Ivan Illich had around the story of The Good Samaritan. I'm tired of repeating it.
This may not be in a Clayoquot forest, can't be sure, but this is about what old-growth forests look like and I know that for sure because I've been in them.Rankin Cove, Clayoquot Sound.Rankin Cove, Clayoquot Sound.
I set chokers for Mac&Blo, logged with horses (on contract for money), etcetera. My father taught me about the woods. Maybe you think Iisaak Forest Resources and Ecotrust Canada are doing it right? Here, watch their 2007 video. Yes, Brenda Kuecks spoke on behalf of the Ecotrust Canada against the Enbridge Gateway pipeline. It's better, sure, but it's not good enough for me. Make up your own mind is best. 
These people are called honourable but I see no honour in 'em: they are Slappers!
Marjory LeBreton, Stephen Harper.James Inhofe.James Sensenbrenner.Lisa Murkowski.Sarah Palin.Rona Ambrose.John Baird.Elmer Derrick.Lisa Raitt, Janet Holder, Chuck Szmurlo.Peter Kent aka 'piece of kent'.Dan McDougall.Dave Heineman.Russ Girling.Bev Oda.Joe Oliver.Ellis Ross.Alison Redford.Shawn Atleo, John Duncan, Stephen Harper.
Vonnegut calls 'em 'pathological personalities', PPs. This is just a tiny sample - there are lots more of 'em (~99% if you count the complicit). They are not honourable; nor responsible, neither to electors nor neighbours nor livyers. (Most of 'em probably treat their families and friends ok.) But it's clear as day. They need to be ... refudiated!

[There is a name for this behaviour (on my part, posting these stupid pictures and useless words) some kind of psychological defence against going completely off the rails? ... Displacement? Sublimation? "You can stick your little pins in that voodoo doll; I'm very sorry baby, doesn't look like me at all."   Cuts both ways though eh?   :-) ]

Robert Kennedy Jr. used the word boondoggle recently; worth brushing up on:   Another major winter storm that failed to materialize a few days ago in Toronto; followed by rain. And the plows are out like cockroaches trying to fulfil their contracts by shovelling away the slush before it can melt. They come back again later, in the rain, to scrape the now entirely bare asphalt in the public parking lot outside my window. Can you blame 'em? Like Louis says: better to pay 'em to stay home.

That post I was looking at last time: Spreading the horror, and the comments on it, offer insights into what despair can look like (and why many avoid contact with such lepers). I say 'can' because I'll see the despair of anyone there and raise 'em; but even looking at it from inside this awful landscape it is still not time to lie down and die over it (unless you can at least put a stick in the spokes like the kids below). Obviously it looks different from other places; but as Naomi Klein said recently, "Not until we have a plan to heal the planet that also heals our broken selves and our broken communities do we have a hope of preventing this most dire of all crises." Facebook gonna do the trick? You figgure? 
Spies:   Sorry for scattered & discursive meanderings gentle reader. It is trackless ground for me. But after the external, internal, imaginary, & all-too-human we are coming back around to the initial (external) SLAPP energy; completing a circle.

In Belo Monte:

MPF/PA vai apurar denúncia de espionagem contra o Consórcio Construtor de Belo Monte, 27th. Being investigated by one of the procuradoras already mentioned here, Meliza Alves Barbosa.


From the MPF and Xingu Vivo on the 25th, and a video: Agente de Belo Monte confessa pagamento para espionar Xingu Vivo (12 minutes).


O Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre (MXVPS) website - to DONATE!


Kitchener/Waterloo, Toronto:

We know that similar went on before and during the G20 fiasco in Toronto in 2010. This interview with Dan Kellar sheds some light: "... some of this petty stuff that the cops are doing is just textbook harassment of political organizers ... pick people up, get conditions on them, tie them up in the court system so when it's time for actual resistance everyone's so over capacity and so overwhelmed that, you know, we can't really put up a fight, of course that's their goal."


Canada's environmental activists seen as 'threat to national security': Canadian police and security agencies describe green groups' protests and petitions as 'forms of attack'.


And the UK:

Old history now; just wanting to remember some names: Mark Kennedy & Bob Lambert (aka Bob Robinson) & Jim Boyling. Anatomy of a betrayal.


So ... there's paranoia and then there's ... paranoia. Maybe that's why I can't get on with anything here: they hear 'Halliburton' and freak! 
Buddhists:   Oh sure, exploiting grotesque & horrifying images, and what do I know about 20-somethings in Tibet? ... Well, for one thing I see a difference between jihadists blowing themselves and more-or-less innocent bystanders to hell, and these kids burning themselves up. Scale.
Tsesung Kyab.Tsesung Kyab.Tsesung Kyab.
Monday February 25, 2013: from the NYT:
Two Tibetan monks have died in separate self-immolation protests in Tibetan regions of western China since Sunday. Phagmo Dundrup, in his early 20s, set himself on fire at the Chachung Monastery in Qinghai Province on Sunday. On Monday, Tsesung Kyab, in his late 20s, set himself on fire outside the main temple of Shitsang Gonsar Monastery in Gansu Province. He was a relative of Pema Dorjee, 23, who carried out a similar protest at the same monastery last year. Since 2009, at least 106 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule in Tibet. Most have died.
Over a hundred in the last few years; in spite of the Chinese government's best efforts to stop it. And I think their best efforts maybe make our worst look like the Teddy Bear's picnic. Eventually they will just arrest and intern everyone with the same first or last name as a self-immolator! A-and if that doesn't work: snuff 'em & recycle their parts. Now that's a SLAPP!

'Death & Taxes' they say. If your citizens don't want to pay taxes it's really no surprise. But when numbers of them would rather die than be citizens anymore ... 
Fernando de Noronha, wind turbine.Fernando de Noronha, Morro do Pico.Fernando de Noronha, first sight.Brasil:   When I was in the south a mom-&-pop travel agent helped me get around. When I would go into their shop his wife would offer me a cafezinho first, no hurry. He must have put me on some kind of email list, approximately spam, called Férias Brasil which started appearing in my inbox about that time. I guess I could unsubscribe but, you know how old men like to dream. And it doesn't come every day or every week - occasionally, once in a while.

I visited Fernando de Noronha for the maximum allowable stay, and Salvador; Recife; Natal; that was when it was all local travel, short hops in turboprops. Last week the graciously irregular email tried to get me interested in Porto de Pedras. Oh my. Interested?!   Yes! And never come back! In a heartbeat; say goodbye forever to constipated & complacent environmental movements, to k-k-Canada - the true north strong and fucked; but [insert a dozen necessary & sufficient reasons]. Stuck! ... Oh well, I got there once.

No doubt about what comes immediately to mind looking at Morro do Pico. :-) 
Zero:   Well, it's not up to me gentle reader. (I almost forgot what I named this epistle.) Not my call. No force, no lever, no fulcrum; zero. Sure, it's my fault I can't get beside any of the activists. A nasty old hedgehog and I know it. I'll have to find the gumption (that heretical Pelagian will perhaps?) to go it alone on some imaginatively non-violent idea yet to come. I'm not blaming them, I know it sounds that way ... I'm just saying ... And soon, a few years, it really will be too late. What then I wonder?

I listened carefully to Bill McKibben at the rally on the 17th and saw hysteresis - someone stretched apparently beyond return; indulging meaningless words to paper over the cracks. He's got a wife. Why doesn't she help him? Why don't his colleagues straighten him out? He deserves it. It's a serious question and I guess the best answer is everybody's busy & nobody's listenin'. The worst answer is something else.

Back in the day, when someone took something he or she shouldn't have taken and found themselves on a bummer, we knew how to deal with it. Sometimes ambulances had to be called but mostly someone to talk with, or just be close to, and the confidence that they were not going away anytime soon did the trick. Yes, you had to be aware of what was going on around you and willing to take all the time in the world.

I recently met a Muslim woman from Kenya who told me that the Christian text, "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I," is also in the Koran (Is there a pc term for Koran? Yeah, 'Quran'. Oops.) with the wrinkle that one alone will also do. That's what she said to me: "One is enough."

I had a dream about my father and woke up humming a Stones tune: Would you think the boy's insane? which soon turned into Monkey Man.

Be well.
[ ... ] 
Beyond the Zero:    A remarkable few paragraphs from 'Against the Day' Three: Bilocations part 6 in which Kit realizes that the liner he was riding on, the S.S. Stupendica has morphed into a battleship, the S.M.S.Emperor Maximilian, and comes to understand some of what that means. There is a hilarious encounter between Lew Basnight & Lamont Replevin a few parts on which I may include next time.

                         One: The Light Over the Ranges part 5 - Lew Basnight becomes a detective,
                         Two: Iceland Spar part 12 - Lake Traverse marries Deuce Kindred.
                         Three: Bilocations part 5 - Yashmeen Halfcourt & Cyprian Latewood.

I know I know I know ... fucking around with the HTML trying to get this to look like what I want makes it brittle, unlikely to look like anything unless you happen to have the same screen settings and what not as I do. What can I do? If anyone took a screen shot CTRL-PrtSc and sent it to me I might know. Nobody does. QED. So it goes. 
Doonesbury iTalk.Doonesbury iTalk.Doonesbury iTalk.Down.

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