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Turn Left for Earth

By: David Swanson Sunday September 21, 2014 4:56 am

I appreciate that there’s more happening than just a march for the climate today on the International Day of Peace, and I get the idea that keeping the safe and obedient march-to-nowhere separate from protests actually at the United Nations where our corporate overlords are determining the rate of the earth’s demise is intended to please all of the people some of the time, but I can’t help wishing that the march would just turn left instead of right when it reaches 42nd Street, in order to march to the United Nations rather than to nowhere.

This is not a radical idea. A nonviolent protest march expressing popular opinion should be allowed to march to the place it is protesting. The idea that insisting on that constitutes something radical or extremist bewilders me. The New York Times refers to “protest or terror groups” as a category of people, but has a protest group ever engaged in terrorizing and has a terrorist ever joined a protest? Would protesting the United Nations at the United Nations somehow be an act of violence, perhaps purely because it would be an act of disobedience? You’ve got to be kidding me.

I’m in favor of mixed-use protests, not just urban developments. Don’t just let the conservative marchers know about opportunities for more direct protest, but get them involved. Take a safe march to a resistance action, where its size will keep it safe and its members will be energized. Let the crowd demonstrate within sight and sound of the people it is petitioning for a redress of grievances, and let those who are ready join in disruptive protest actions.

Of course turning left in order to go where needed makes a nice metaphor for what our whole culture must do if it is to cease destroying the earth’s climate. Paul Krugman figured out this week that green energy pays for itself, but he seems to imagine that therefore it will be created, as if the corrupting influence of the fossil fuel profiteers just doesn’t exist. We need to turn so far left that we abandon such naiveté, stop yammering about transition fuels, abandon all talk of “peak oil” as if existing oil isn’t sufficient to kill us all, and forswear all pointless pursuit of the political “center.”

Naomi Klein’s new book does a much better job of identifying the corrupting influence of profiteers. She also points out that the sooner we act to slow down climate change the less radical our actions will need to be. The longer we wait to take meaningful action, the more drastic our actions will have to be when we finally do something. Green energy, Klein’s book makes clear for anyone who was unaware, is not failing in a marketplace. It is being killed by political corruption, loan conditions, corporate trade agreements, penalties and disincentives, and the subsidies given to the fossil fuel corporations.

Klein notes that activist movements around trade and climate have, oddly, progressed while virtually ignoring each other. Klein comes closer than most environmentalists to not ignoring another big question, that of war. The military is the elephant in the room in terms of both economics and climate destruction, but is largely ignored by activists and the broader public.

In a common delusion, the government tells the truth about war, and war is worth giving up freedoms for, but scientists lie about the climate and do so in order to (somehow) attack our freedoms. In other words, the fears of bureaucrats and of limits to plutocracy are strong but perhaps not as strong as the fear of terrorists. And the fear of bureaucrats is augmented by a fear of being insignificant, because when nuclear energy or geo-engineering is proposed as a solution, those who like those ideas also see their recognition of the climate crisis increase.

When Klein mentions the military, she first proposes that the weapons companies pay their fair share toward climate protection, and then proposes (along with a bunch of other good ideas) cutting the military by 25% — while calling that proposal “the toughest sell.” The U.S. military budget has doubled in the past decade. The idea that it can’t be seriously cut is ridiculous. It is not a question of selling the idea to the public. Go back and look at the public’s preferred solutions to the supposed financial crisis in Congress a few years back. The problem is in the corruption of the U.S. government.

Elsewhere Klein says that large public sector expenditures will be needed to save the climate, but surely not as large as the military. So why talk about increasing, rather than changing, expenditures? And then again, elsewhere, Klein says what we need is “wartime levels of spending,” even though base military spending is about 10 times as much as war spending. Klein also cites a study suggesting that $1.9 trillion a year, or exactly what the planet now spends on war preparations, would solve the climate and various other crises and human needs.

Congress members have skipped town in order to avoid voting on war. You can find them in their districts. November 6th will be the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. The two movements named in this holiday should be combined and our actions should escalate. A slight left turn won’t be enough to save us.

 

Sunday Food: Pickles

By: Ruth Calvo Sunday September 21, 2014 2:51 am

 

Basic pickles in jars.

(Picture courtesy of christine at flickr.com.)

Since we’ve talked about the various relishes for sandwich making, it seems only natural that we conclude with a mention of the many added tangy pickles that make a sandwich more interesting yet.   There are so many varieties, I doubt any of us like them all, particularly all at once, but without the pickles many of us would find our munchies a bit dull.

I was happy to find a review of every kind I know of, all in one publication here, and encourage you to add your own if you think of any others.   For my taste, sweet dill is the perfection of a ham sandwich, and sour goes best with burgers.   Pickle relish makes a hot dog more bearable, and no, I’m not a fan of hotdogs.

Dill: Dill is the most popular variety of cucumber pickle. Herb dill or dill oil is added to impart a distinctive and refreshing flavor. There are many types of dill pickles, including:

  • Genuine Dill - These pickles are made by the slow “processed” method. Dill weed is added to the tanks during the last stage of fermentation or to the jar after fermentation. These pickles usually have a higher lactic acid flavor than other varieties.
  • Kosher Dill - True “Kosher” pickles are those that have been manufactured and certified in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, and made with dill and garlic added to the brine.  The flavor is very popular, more robust than regular dill pickles, so much so, that the name has stuck and kosher dills are the ultimate accompaniment to an overstuffed deli sandwich.
  • Overnight Dill - Cukes are placed fresh into brine (which may include a slight amount of vinegar) for a very short time — one to two days. The entire process takes place under refrigeration, and they stay refrigerated when stored and shipped. The bright green pickles taste like fresh cucumbers accented with dill flavor. They are the kind of pickle you usually find at a deli.
  • Other types of dills include Polish and German style.

Sour/Halfsour: Fresh cucumbers are first placed into a seasoned brine which doesn’t include vinegar. The containers are then refrigerated, and remain refrigerated when stored and shipped. The longer the cucumbers remain in the brine, the more sour they become. Half-sour pickles are extra crispy and keep their fresh cucumber color.

Sweet: Sweet pickles are packed in a sweet mixture of vinegar, sugar and spices. Here are some variations:

  • Bread & Butter - Sweet, thinly-sliced pickles made from cucumbers, onions and chopped green or red peppers. They have a distinct, slightly tangy taste. Available in smooth- or waffle-cut chips or chunks.
  • Candied - These pickles are packed in an extra-heavily sweetened liquid.
  • No-Salt Sweet - These are a relatively new variety of sweet pickle to which no salt has been added. Usually available as chips.
  • Sweet/Hot - These are a “hot” new kind of pickle. They’re made by adding hot spices and seasonings to pickles for a delightful spark of piquant flavor.

Pickled Peppers: Made in the same way as cucumber pickles, there are more than fifteen varieties of pickle peppers available, ranging from mild to hot, hot, hot. These are some of the most popular pickled peppers:

  • Jalapeno - Thanks to the growing interest in Mexican and southwestern foods, this type of pickled pepper is hot – literally. Fiery jalapenos are packed in brine and come whole or in rings.
  • Banana Peppers - Long, shiny, yellow peppers that come both hot and sweet , and are banana-shaped. They’re available whole or in rings.
  • Cherry Peppers - Shaped like cherries, these pickled peppers are available in red or green and both hot or sweet versions. They’re most popular whole or in rings.
  • Pepperoncini - These pickled peppers are available whole or as green Greek or Italian. Mildly hot, these peppers are popular in antipasto or Mediterranean-style salads.

Specialty Products: Not only are pickles and pickled peppers very popular, but there is a wide variety of pickled vegetables on the market today. Some are found nationally, others regionally. They include pickled asparagus, beets, cauliflower, cocktail onions, green tomatoes, okra, sauerkraut, sweet mixed vegetables, sweet pickles with raisins, and more.

Having myself enjoyed pickling peppers grown in the garden, I hope you have favorites, and make some of them yourself.

(Picture courtesy of jeffreyw at flickr.com.)

Sandwich with several kinds of pickles.

Sunday Talking Heads: September 21, 2014

By: Elliott Sunday September 21, 2014 12:05 am

A Survey of Open Space, Movie Night Monday

Brisk is upon us, good morning.

Today it’s ISIS, with a dash of Ebola. Bob Schieffer’s broadcasting live from under the covers with Joe Lieberman, Jane Harman, Robert Kagan, and Mike Morell, so now I’m under the bed.

WASHINGTON JOURNAL: 7:45am – Arab States Coalition Against ISIS. Middle East Institute Adjunct Scholar Thomas Lippman discusses the Obama administration’s efforts to build an international coalition to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They also talk about what the coalition’s role would be in the region. 8:30am – CDC Report on Affordable Care Act. Bloomberg News Health Policy Reporter Alex Wayne discusses a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which finds that the Affordable Care Act cut the share of people without health insurance by two percent in 2014. 9:15am – Arkansas Governor’s and Senate Races. 9:30am – Pennsylvania Governor’s Race. 9:45am – Kentucky Senate Race.

ABC’S THIS WEEK: ISIS. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Then, Iraq war veterans Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Roundtable: James Carville, Ana Navarro, Bret Stephens, Katrina vanden Heuvel. Also, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on dying and getting out of the way. Plus, Rory Kennedy on her documentary “Last Days in Vietnam.”

CBS’ FACE THE NATION: ISIS. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI). Ebola. CBS News’ Dr. Jonathan LaPook, and Dr. William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. War Party Roundtable: Joe Lieberman, Jane Harman, Robert Kagan, Mike Morell.

CNN’S RELIABLE SOURCES:

CNN’S STATE OF THE UNION: ISIS. Tony Blair. Then, the NFL with Shannon Sharpe, Izell Reese and Christine Brennan. Roundtable: Newt Gingrich, Donna Brazile, Marc Lamont Hill, Tara Wall.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY: ISIS. Rep. Pete King (R-NY) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Midterm elections with Karl Rove and Joe Trippi. Roundtable: Brit Hume, Julie Pace, George Will, Juan Williams. Plus, Daniel Silva on his latest book, “The Heist.”

KORNACKI’S UP:

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: The Syllabus.

MOYERS & COMPANY: Climate Change: The Next Generation. Kelsey Juliana, an 18-year-old activist, is fighting climate change in the courts and walking across the country to spread the word on global warming.

NBC’S MEET THE PRESS: ISIS. Mike Breen, Truman National Security Project) and Steven Bucci, Allison Center for Foreign & National Security Policy. Roundtable: Village People.

Thrawn Janet

By: Elliott Saturday September 20, 2014 8:03 pm

Exorcising Thrawn Janet

Dakine featured Robert Louis Stevenson today and in comments Jon73 told us he thought Stevenson’s “Thrawn Janet” was one of the best horror stories ever written. Unfamiliar with it (and with Hallowe’en drifting closer), I went in search of “Thrawn Janet.” I was thinking Janet gets thrawn off a cliff or something, but “thrawn” is (chiefly) Scottish for twisted or crooked (also perverse or ill-tempered).

To set it up:

“Thrawn Janet” is actually Janet M’Clour, an “auld limmer” (“A light woman; a strumpet; in weaker sense: A jade, hussy, minx.”) who marries the Reverend Murdoch Soulis. The locals distrust Janet, however, thinking that she’s a witch, and they finally throw her in “the water o’Dule, to see if she were a witch or no, soum or droun.”

I easily found the text online and surprisingly came upon this narration by Scottish playwright Alan Bissett. Listen carefully, it is very Scotsy which takes some getting used to unless your a verry auld Scot.

One of these days Alice…One of these days …

By: cmaukonen Saturday September 20, 2014 4:43 pm

The Honeymooners

No…not a diary about Jacky Gleason or the Honeymooners. It’s about Scotland and the secession vote. Or as some have suggested, non-vote. That despite all the heavily attended rallies and publicity and polling, Scotland voted 55 to 45 to stay with Jolly old England. As Gomer Pyle would say, Surprise Surprise.

As I see it, a classic codependent relationship. A geopolitical  codependent relationship. Like Ralph Kramden threatening to send Alice to the moon or the spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend  insisting they are going to leave as we have seen in so many TV shows, but never does. Or the kid saying he/she is going to run away from home – to the secret clubhouse up the street, only to return when it gets dark and they get hungry. Scotland had no real intention of actually going it alone, I do not believe. But the vote was close enough to scare the willies out of some folks, which was the whole point I think.

There are just too many people whose livelihood depends on Downing Street and what they do there, either directly or indirectly. Like Ralph not doing anything to actually endanger his relationship with Alice with all his bluster  and arrogance, he needs her far too much.

But you can only engage in such threats for a very short time, then they rapidly lose their effectiveness.

No….those who are going to leave or some such, just do it. With out all the drama. For they are truly self sufficient and/or the status quo has become intolerable to the point it has become a negative sum situation.

Then they just up and leave.

Video:Effective Issue Advocacy- Occupy the Podium

By: jbade Saturday September 20, 2014 12:31 pm

I am going to my congressional representatives town-hall meeting. My intent is to obtain video of questions I ask and the subsequent responses forwarded. I have little interest in the response, I know it will be the same generic, fact-free regurgitation of the establishment’s talking points. I am looking to make a statement of fact for the record that puts the response in direct opposition to the cited facts.

CODEPINK, Medea Benjiman have demonstrated how effective occupying the podium can be. In Medea’s case she knows she is not getting a response but by forwarding the facts, in a public way, like she does, seems so much more effective than petitions to the White House or a political figure.  I believe this because of it’s informative value that strengthens alternative media. The more good stuff, the more people will become interested. This site’s continuing success is a testament to that fact.

There are so many big, broad, inclusive, compelling issues one can make a passionate statement of facts in advocacy of. The less inclusive your statement of fact the easier it is to oppose on collateral issues. My main issue is-We house our mentally ill in prisons because it is substantially cheaper to do than offer real help and that that is where the conversation ends every time, my definition of moral bankruptcy. These people, unable to defend themselves, have few advocates and we allow them to, effectively, be thrown to the wolves. This issue does not resonate with the American Voter, just like euthanasia of 6 million dogs and cats a year when it would only take the slightest bit of effort and decency to resolve does not resonate. Understand that concept, that there are those who would buy that purebred dog,  unwittingly supporting the euthanasia while actually caring about the plight of so many dogs/cats that are  in the kill shelters, then there are those who only care for their purebred and are not concerned about the  6 million, at all. Your issue will likely breakdown into groups, consider making a statement so inclusive it includes the purebred owner who wittingly disregards the plight of the six million.  Use this as an example, of how to be inclusive- by advocating on behalf of ALL dogs and not specifically shelter dogs you include and gain the advocacy of every purebred owner no matter how offensive and shallow their conduct. If it saves some dogs, if dogs aren’t being murdered because of it, I’ll be inclusive- no problem.

There are so many great issues forwarded at this site. The insightful, well informed arguments, forwarded on this site are the arguments missing from the political discourse. The establishment even accepts Libertarian-ism now, because they have weened all the anti-war good out of it.

The statement of facts I will forward:

Saturday Art – Sila: Breath of the World, by John Luther Adams

By: EdwardTeller Saturday September 20, 2014 12:03 pm

This year’s Pulitzer Prize for Musical Composition was awarded to my longtime friend and colleague, John Luther Adams.  The award was specifically for a spacious new orchestral work of his, commissioned by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Become Ocean.  But the prize for Adams, as is the case with others so honored, also reflects upon the Alaska master’s record of unique achievement over the decades.  The composer has long, at least up until recently, suffered having his name in the shadow of San Francisco-based composer, John Adams, with John Luther Adams often being called “the OTHER John Adams.”  I’ve long referred to JLA as “the REAL John Adams.”

Become Ocean was first performed in Seattle in 2013.  The Seattle Symphony gave the work its New York City premiere on May 6th, 2014.  WQXR Radio in New York has archived the sound file of that performance at their web site.  It is a powerful, spacey and ultimately gripping wall of sounds.

In midsummer, Adams had a new work, commissioned by Lincoln Center for their Out of Doors Festival, receive its first full airing in the center’s Hearst Plaza, between the Metropolitan Opera and the Juilliard School of Music.  The new composition, Sila:  Breath of the World, is a new look at an idea he hit upon fully in the earlier outdoor masterpiece, Inuksuit.

Both Inuksuit and Sila are aleatoric, in that no two performances of either work will closely resemble any others.  A lot is left up to chance and to the environmental ambience of the outdoor performance space.

Anne Midgette, writing of Sila‘s premiere for the Washington Post, described the performance:

Brass players stood like sentinels along the edge of an upthrust triangle of grass against the backdrop of a New York cityscape gilded by the late sun. Below them, women in black gowns moved through a reflecting pool, barely rippling, like chips broken off the Henry Moore sculpture thrusting out of the water behind them. From the hum of the city emerged a barely audible rumbling of drums, growing louder. Then winds, and then the brass, began to unsheathe arpeggios, rising patterns of notes, growing gradually louder, like encroaching waves on sand, and the women in the pool raised megaphones and began to sing.

The world premiere of John Luther Adams’s “Sila: The Breath of the World” Friday night at New York’s Lincoln Center had the visual aesthetic of a music video, the vibe of a cultural Happening — some 2,500 people congregated on Hearst Plaza, between the Metropolitan Opera and 65th Street, to watch — and the sound of Richard Wagner as channeled by John Cage. 

Upon watching a video of that performance, I wrote:

Fairy Tales

By: David Cox Saturday September 20, 2014 10:21 am

By David Glenn Cox

This fairy tale begins with “Once upon a time.” All the best fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time.” It seems however, the practice has fallen out of favor, especially among broadcast news circles; which routinely tell stories far more fantastical than talking frogs, glass slippers or poisoned apples, without even the slightest regard to the grand old tradition of good fairy tales. The general purpose of beginning a fairy tale with “Once upon a time” is to frame the story, to warn the readers in advance that the bounds of reality will be exceeded and bent beyond credibility. But as the ship of state drifts further from the shores of reality the odd ends and accessories become the appendix of the body politic.

Bloomberg – In nine strikes over two days, the U.S. destroyed Islamic State Humvees and armed vehicles, along with a checkpoint and bunker, according to statements issued by U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

When did Al Qaeda become the Islamic State?

Where did the Islamic State acquire the money and logistics to build an armed force, Go Fund Me perhaps? Was there a draft held somewhere, where Al Qaeda could reserve their best fighters, leaving only the scrubs and rookies to join the new team? In our non-reality society, the equation goes something like this: – 6 = 4 you don’t need to know any of the other factors, about silly, magic mirrors or wicked step-mothers. Come on! After thirteen years of perpetual war, haven’t you learned to trust us yet!

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Syria hmm. Could that be the same Syria the administration accused of dastardly crimes it was unable to prove? The same Syrian conflict the American public declared by a wide margin it wanted no part of? Well, I guess the American public was all wet. When will we learn to just listen to the Pentagon? Because of our reticence, the founders of ISIS took their ill-gotten funds down to Honest Achmed’s Used Humvees and Armed Vehicles (Just around the corner from high prices! 60 month financing available for qualified Jihads) and set up a check point and a bunker. Clearly, we are dealing with military masterminds!

After just nine air strikes with laser guided bombs and high-tech weaponry, we were able to destroy that check point, that bunker and some trucks! I guess now, the President’s hands are tied. I imagine he paces nervously in the Oval Office, talking to himself. “Gosh darn it, the American public didn’t want me to invade Syria, but I have no other choice now…now that there is an Islamic group with Syria in its title. Besides, they have armed trucks and Humvees!”

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, codes of conduct were decided upon by the wise people’s of a war-weary, primitive world.