August 2019

8/9/19

I am in Portland.  Sandra has offered me to stay with her for now.  I am amazed and gratified.  Yet I also feel it is an uneven exchange at times.  I could offer to cover half the rent for the time I am here.  She is very neat and organized and lives in a small space with a loft.  The studio is comfortable.  The studio space is next to a house.  There is a back yard with berries and vines.  It smells funny back there as if an animal died but lately not so bad.  Sandra has a cat named Elinor or Nor for short.  She is very sweet and will climb on me and cuddle but she also often asks to be let outside or for food.  She will climb up on the counter and check out what’s up there and go in the window.

I have been doing a few hours of studying every day but have felt somewhat unfocused on the law program.  This morning I went over the detailed outline that professor Andrew Sherman provided and edited it down.  The contracts class is complicated because there are many exceptions to each item in a contract.  Also, I am still trying to get clear where some of the items from the contracts outline such as location of the mirror image rule or parole evidence.

Today I got up a bit early and did some studying and now this free write.  I think that if I develop a routine that mostly includes getting up early and doing some writing and or yoga or other exercise I will be more productive, more grounded and happier.  I sent Tom the acceptance to his offer yesterday.  The offer was to buy the tiny house, in Iowa for $10,000 with a $400 down payment and a $200 per month for four years.  There is no interest included.  This also means I will have lost about $7000 on this deal with the money I put in to the tiny house as well as monthly rent payments.  However, the challenge of managing things from afar and the continued monthly rent fees have compelled me to act to discontinue this arrangement even though I am taking a substantial loss. I must consolidate despite the costs.

The psychological benefits I think will be significant.  This will include not worrying about integrating in the always shifting SoFair community, now that Angelo won’t be involved.  This will include not having to come up with $250 of rent each month even though I am actually present there only maybe one month per year.  This will take a mental and financial strain off me.  I will be better for it.

Much has happened this year.  I went to the memorial of my sister, Hana.  She died of mental illness, from loneliness, from being in a remote community ill equipped to deal with people who are isolated and not well integrated in a community.  Wow! Where do we go from here.  We live on and we learn from it.  Then I am back to Portland.  I am attempting to start fresh here.  It is going well but still is not easy.  I looked at a job possibility with the Peoples Coop grocery yesterday.  I think I would like to work there.  I think I will apply for the fill in checker.  Secondly, I think I will attempt to get my arborist insurance again and offer services as a climber on a contract basis.

Then I may be able to make some decent money occasionally.

I am considering quitting the law program.  I often think of it but lets get through these two finals for now.  The cost and time sacrifices are significant.  Yet if I were done with the program right now and was preparing for the bar I think I would be pretty happy.

I am greatly saddened by learning that Dottie Chambers died recently.  In some ways I am not totally surprised.  But I am shocked, yes.  Thomas said she had twenty years when her parents took care of her and 20 years when Kelton took care of her.  She bore three children.  The children are two boys and a girl.  They are Hunter, McKenzie and a third.  I don’t recall the third’s name or face. 

Those poor children will now have to grow up without their mother.  Dottie was a bit dottie.  She seemed like a blond bimbo in one sense.  A kinda, “Hey guys, hows it goin?” with the valley girl head bobbin from side to side. The cool but ditzy friend. Always up for fun and open to what ever came your way. And a person of love and kindness.  I remember her as always having had a bottle of Sierra Nevada in her hand.  She was a drinker but I don’t recall seeing her slurring her words or falling down. And as I said, a lover. A flirt but with a heart of gold. She was one of the people in the valley that consoled me when Hana died. I remember meeting her and a gal named Tracy with dark black hair and lipstick at the beach and making a camp fire.

Dottie told me she was sure Hana had gone off on a walkabout. Hana was a strong independent person and was probably doing a spirit walk. This turned out not to be the case but I loved Dotties hopeful spirit about this. Dottie would come up to me and say, “how ya doin honey?” and she meant it. Sometimes, “Would ya like a beer?” on a hot summer day by the community center.

Once, not long before she passed, she invited me to go hike/work on the mill creek trail. Tony and Dick Sheinman were building trail and bridges. She had gone recently and had a great time. They had hiked into the Mill Creek forest carrying tools on their backs. These would be picks and rock bars, hammers and possibly rebar. Maybe some lumber.

They had hiked stuff in and they had built something. Dottie was doing this too and she felt strength and pride from it. “We are going again next Wednessday. Do you want to come?” she asked. But I went back to Oregon on Monday. I never saw Dottie again.

There were some path existing and being developed totally without BLM involvement. This forest was saved by the valient efforts of locals such as Rex Rathbun and David Simpson and now locals Dick Sheinman and Tony Anderson were developing trails from the lower end of Mill Creek accross the creek with a spectacular wooden span bridge, switch backing up the north eastern face to the East end of Prosper Ridge. Then one could hike or bike down Prosper Ridge and come down the Ocean road along BLM land and end up at the estuary, mouth of the Mattole, mattole beach and campground.

People said she was hanging out with Dick Sheinman who was close to 30 years her senior.  It was very low key but some people thought it scandilous. But what ever. I didn’t care.

She wanted to find a man who would take care of her and she could love and take care of.  I think she died like my sister did from lack of love, from lack of purpose, from despair and from some accident.  It is all so sad.

Now I am attempting to escape the same fates.  I had been living in Petrolia sometimes feeling a lack of purpose.  I am attempting to escape a vortex of malaise, ease, and sadness.  I could self medicate and days, weeks and months would go by and my circumstances wouldn’t change much but the world would go on and I would still be there. 

About 4 months after Hana died I shook myself awake and decided to change my life.  I will not sink quietly into oblivion and die or be forgotten.  I will be bold.  I will go after what it is I think I may want.  I will make moves.  I will make mistakes.  I will have times where I feel sadness, ungroundedness and grave questions.  But I will not go back.  I am going to change myself and I will change and affect those I come into contact with.

Thank you Hana.  Thank you Dottie.  I love and honor the memory of both your spirits.  Let them inspire me to be a better person.  Let me be a person of love.  Let me be a person who practices truth to myself and to others.  Let me strive to impeccability of word.

All for now.

How to Stop Climate Change

  • Replant the Midwest into what it was previous to Euro American invasion.  There are great mid-western trees and grasses, forbs, flowers.  The great oaks, hickories, maples, ashes, red ceder, white pine.  The long grass prairies contain many flowers and grasses which have deep roots.  The rich plains soil is currently being mined by agriculture.  If it is partly returned to the previous prairie and forest mix, these millions of acres will be a carbon sink, build soil, clean water and provide habitat for birds, plants, animals, insects, butterflys and more.
  • Stop using gasoline and diesel engines.  We are developing new electric cars and trucks.  In cities we can use more public and non-motorized transportation, (buses, subways, rideshare, bicycles, feet).  If we were serious about this we could transform much of our existing fleet of vehicles to electric.  We could have transition stations where there would be government sponsored stations that would take out the internal combustion engine and replace it with one of several models of electric motors. 
  • Stop building more freeways!  Take out unnecessary freeways and roads.  Building the freeways and roads breaks up the ecology and causes people to drive more and goods to be shipped more.  We need to re-localize and drive a lot less. 
  • Grow our own.  Most food we eat comes from an average distance of 1000 miles away.  It is packaged in plastic and shipped by truck to your supermarket.  Instead if we continue to develop local gardens, farms, orchards as well as the mechanisms for their dispersal we can greatly curtain the corporate food model which, I believe is the number two contributor to climate changing gases and activities.
  • Make our own.  We import about 10 percent of our goods from China according to a 2011 report, https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2011/08/10/139388532/only-a-tiny-sliver-of-americans-personal-spending-goes-to-china.  But these goods cause a lot of pollution from the transportation to the mostly unrecyclable packaging and the mostly artificial materials used.  American manufacturing is also polluting and causes great challenges to our waste disposal network.  How about going back to local production using mostly natural materials, for most of our uses?
  • Grow old growth characteristic forests.  Old growth forests store a lot of carbon, in the trees, and in the soil.  We know some of what the components of an old growth forest are.  The soil is thick and spongy and contains the roots, fungi, woody debris, moss, etc all in a dynamic environment that is alive and stores lots of carbon.  Though I am having a hard time finding good numbers I have heard there is only about 3 percent Old growth forest left in the pacific northwest and less than that across the country.  But we can mimic these forests by trying to grow big trees, taking out roads, doing thinning from below, working with ecologists, and mycologists, planting where appropriate etc.
  • Protect intact and healthy ecosystems including wetlands, prairies, forests where we can.  These ecosystems provide us with clean water, animal and plant habitat, and store lots of carbon.  Protection of existing ecosystems, whether public lands or private should continue to be a priority.  This can be done by doing land acquisition or less costly and in some cases more mutually beneficial are conservation easements.  http://sanctuaryforest.org/programs/land-conservation/conservation-easements/.
  • Break the chain of conquest.  The united states is still in the conquest game.  Our military has approximately 700 overseas bases and is continually involved in wars small and large.  Currently we are militarily involved in or with Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iraq, Venezuela, Pakistan, Syria in overt and covert ways.  We are ramping up for war with Iran and are challenging Russia with our continued intrusion in their back yard through NATO.  This is the more obvious stuff.  Our $750 billion yearly military cost makes it difficult to address the climate issue and causes greatly untold pain.  What if we could break the mindset of conquest as a way of life for our government? 
  • Continue to support women in government.  When women are involved with decision making, more peaceful outcomes, more durable peace occurs and better health is attained.  See UN report http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/peace-and-security/facts-and-figures. When people are secure, have enough to eat and are in good health they may then attend to other important issues that don’t involve immediate survival needs, such as climate action.
  • Follow Climate organization like 350.org. 
  • Support the Youth movement for the climate.  Learn from and teach the youth to protect the climate. As Greta Thunberg has said from a Ted talk, “If burning fosil fuels was so bad, that it threatened our very existence, how could we continue like before? Why weren’t there any restrictions?  Why wasn’t it made illegal?”
  • “If the emissions have to stop, we stop the emissions.”, “Instead of looking for hope, look for action.”, “When there is action, there is hope.”  All Greta quotes from the TED Talk. 

Crisis of Capitalism

According to Wikipedia, Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. There are variations on capitalism on how constrained business is by governmental regulation including tariffs and environmental laws, labor rights and other forms of regulation.  “Free Market” is often idealized and strived for by the capitalist class. 

According to Wikipedia, the Free Market is defined as, “an idealized system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and by consumers. In a free market the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government…and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy.”  A free market values transactions weather they be of strawberries or visits to the chemo ward.  It doesn’t care.

A free market is what Keynesean economists and big business leaders say they strive for, but there are always rules to the economy including restrictions on particularly damaging products as well as tax breaks for some types of businesses and tariffs for some imported products.  And these regulations are manipulated by lobbyists who infiltrate government and get particular benefits for their business or industry.  We have gotten to the point where it seems business interests supplant the interests of the common citizen and are superior to the rights of nature.

I see the stage we are in of capitalism as a crisis period, when the snake is literally eating its tail, where big business is destroying the future means of production and the very biosphere, we all rely upon to survive.   Government, the mechanism for the expression of the will of the people and the proper regulator of big business and capitalism is feebly inadequate to the task.

Capitalism’s penchant for concentrating benefits and externalizing costs are a big part of this looming crisis that I mention.  While concentrating wealth is the desire for the owners of capitalistic ventures, wealth must be taken from some place.  The waste products of the massive production operations must be put someplace.  There is no away.

Most wealth is not just created anew and fresh.  Most wealth is taken legally or illegally from and to the detriment of people, governments and the environment.  Some wealth is created when new techniques or technologies are employed, and greater power and freedom comes available.  When an inventor is motivated and rewarded for his/her invention by capitalism that is seen as good.  Wealth is created, industriousness is rewarded.

When nature appeared boundless, the natural world could be mined of its riches and the benefits concentrated to those intrepid capitalist individuals without undermining natural capital in a significant way.  Now humans are so numerous, and our technological use of machines and interlocking systems of production so powerful and efficient that we are affecting the very biosphere that all God’s creatures rely upon for survival. 

One of the challenges I see with changing the economic system I have been describing is that we in the US do benefit from the status quo, from cheap goods supported by foreign manufacturing, from access to cheap oil and from not factoring the true cost of cradle to grave manufacturing that should be the standard.  We benefit, in the short term by being able to travel on airplanes cheaply, by being able to have incredible choice of foods and technology products, most all shipped long distances and packaged in and or made with non bio-degradeable synthetic materials.  We also have a government that is still in the predatory conquest mode as an unending series of wars and approximately 700 oversees military bases can speak to.

As Dickens wrote more than 150 years ago, “It was the best of times; It was the worst of times.”  While that may have been true for the bustling, crowded and quickly industrializing Victorian England, it is also true today.  We can order most anything we want and get it shipped to our door, yet, we can’t protect the polar bears or seem to be able to stop climate producing gasses from spewing, or forests from being felled, or another Walmart from opening.  We can watch most any show ever created yet many of us suffer from anxiety and depression over the existential threat we all live under.

I have gnawed on these topics for years.  How can I not be part of the problem?  I spoke with a wise friend about it last recently.  He feels that we are all part of the problem and we must through our consumer dollars choose better, buy less plastic wrapped products and use less gasoline (to make a short synopsis of what he said).  While I try to do these things and think we all should do better in these matters, I really think the problem is so much bigger than making better individual choices.  We must make better collective choices.  We as citizens in citizen groups and through local, state and federal government have the responsibility to our future generations to try to reel in the beast of unfettered capitalism.

There is a responsibility of government to regulate industry and protect the citizens from undue harm and protect the land and its productivity for generations in the future.  Yet government doesn’t seem to be up to the task.

Let us call out capitalism for what it has become, more destructive than beneficial.  Let us not shy away from the words, regulation and socialism.  Let us be what Ralph Nader espouses as the best highest form of societal duty, civic minded citizens who are participants in the decisions of our time from a local school board to if a Walmart should be built or a highway expanded from two to three lanes.  Civic participation is one antidote to the death of our democracy by under regulated capitalism.

I believe we need to re-localize.  A positive future is not one where we and our goods are madly zipping around the globe at great speed.  A positive future requires us to slow down and root down and get connected in our place in our community.  If we produce our own things nearby, we won’t stand for dumping the toxic waste in the river or ocean, we wont stand for huge open pit mines, we won’t stand for damming another river for power at the cost of a salmon run.  If we have to deal with our waste instead of shipping it to China will we continue to allow the disposablization of most things?  We, must learn how to live within our means, and we must learn how to challenge big capitalism. 

Finally, somethings in the economy are too important to be left to the capitalists.  These are the items that support survival.  I believe in rent control, in limiting capital appreciation in some ways, in taxing financial transactions and in limiting weapons production.  I believe in socialized health care.  Some things are too important to leave to the market.  It is hard to fight when you can’t pay your rent, but of course the big business capitalist know that.

There is a battle going on.  We are in it and part of the crisis of capitalism.  Can we transform it before it wipes out everything we care about?

My Life

My life is a collection of disparate worlds, I am attempting to make sense of. Recently I decided to try living in Eugene Oregon. I need a new home base. Drifting drifting is psychologically destabilizing yet I feel compelled to do it as I haven’t felt home for a long time.

I sit at a computer in Eugene Oregon. Last night feeling lethargic I let the evening almost get away from me. I had no one to go out with. It was raining. But I had a Eugene Weekly and I scanned it for things to do. There was a Contra dance at the Villiage School on Willamette street. Contra dances are great ways to make a connection with a new community! So I decided to go.

After a call from a friend and being close to 9pm I motivated and got myself out the door. I plugged in the address to my smart phone and let the computer direct me across town. It was raining softly and the windows were partly fogged. I had smoked a wee bit o ganja and let the soft rains, traffic lights and newness of the town merge into my awareness with wonder and softness.

The Villiage School on Willamette street was a fair drive across town and into the base of a hill. I drove the wet streets, generally heading south east, making four or five turns and arriving on the moderate slope of a hill. There was no one there! I had gotten the date wrong. Dumb dumb.

I pulled into the parking lot, it was small and empty. I got out and this was in fact the Villiage School. There was a handmade sign that said Villiage school and some event that the folks were organizing for. I decided to walk around the school.

The building was old but well maintained and signs that people loved this school. They had signs in Spanish and about a spanish class, Salon de Espanol. They also had a sign for the music class in spanish, salon de musica. More signs around the school about things going on. I had the distinct feeling that the people from the students, to the teachers, the parents and the administrators, loved this modest school.

I got back into my truck, a vehicle which seems to fit in in Oregon cause, yep there are a lot of big trucks up here. Mine is a 97 tacoma with an extra cab and a big dent in the tailgate. Yet the truck is too big, gas consuming and disrespectful to the planet. I do have a bike up here so I can get all my gear up and then I can bike around town. I got my tail light charged now. I need a helmet and a head lamp and maybe some reflective gear.

I headed back toward the east side of town. I went to the Whittaker neigborhood and parked. I felt my best bet would be Sam Bonds garage. There was a live band going on. Kind of like Greenday maybe? Not quite that catchy but bouncy and forward, and cocky. They were from Portland. The lead singer looked like a toehead kid who is now a young adult, lots of confidence but a little naive.

I feel. Since I am often an observer, an outsider, a chronicler, I am not without experience in this matter. I float and I feel the room. I don’t do much other than take it in for an hour or so. The cider is excellent. Then I move to the dance floor. The music is somewhat but not entirely to my taste. I move, other people move. A forward women dances into me intentionally and then we couple dance for a while.

Somehow the barriers between people, me and the world, the people out there and the other people out there, the barriers fade and we are all in this busy bustling brew hall made of wood timbers and love and we dance together, drink together and I for one feel a little bit less alone in the world. Maybe this new life experiment will be ok.


The Mid West Starts to think about Protecting Nature

As the climate crisis continues to unfold with glacier melt happening at a rapid rate and climate disruptions now the norm rather than Rare, we all need to change; we need to adapt to climate change as a society but we also need to adapt our lifestyles to low carbon, low plastic lifestyles.

I have been spending time in Iowa and there is definitely talk of a changing climate. There are some great events, that highlight this growing concern. There is a forum on sustainable agriculture and a meeting at the state capitol on February 21 on citizens demands that there be a factory farming moratorium in Iowa. We also had a visit on Monday from Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, (D) of HI. She spoke passionately to address climate issues and protection of the environment as well as changing the foreign policy practices of “regime change” which we are currently attempting in Venezuela.

Finally Gabbard, spoke about ending our war based economy. All for the good. Lets hope we can come together on these ideas and then get behind a strong, progressive, take no prisoners, Democratic Candidate to unseat Trump.

I also am thinking that the mid-west is vast. We grow lots of corn and soybeans here. But most of that is either exported or fed to pigs and cows. Lets be more friendly to the pigs and cows, birds, foxes, buffalo and climate, maybe we can advocate (in the upcoming Green New Deal) for giving credits to these farmers to turn the farms of death into farms of life. Return it to nature. Grass prairies and forests could return to parts of the mid-west without, I believe depleting our ability to feed ourselves. I believe we are overproducing corn and soy and under-producing, clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon sinks.

Corporate agriculture gets tax breaks and corporate welfare. This need be changed. We should as a country, not support the destruction of the planet with our tax dollars, rather, let us encourage our legislators, in this time of rapid change and growing climate crisis to incentivize a return of some of the mid-west to prairies and forests.

Yes to the Green New Deal!

It isn’t economically feasible to stop climate change

At this point most scientists and even a majority of business people and politicians admit that climate is changing rapidly. Yet when on a recent show of Democracy Now one of Trumps representatives to the climate conference was asked about belief in climate science he replied that he believed but it is not economical to do anything about it.

Now I read story in Scientific American today that all the glaciers are melting at a rate beyond which even the most pessimistic climate scientists predicted recently. Greenland is melting in an interesting beautiful yet horrifying way. Surface run off forms into rivers and melts and widens cracks in the ice. This lubricates between and under the ice helping to cause it to slip and move. When certain hard land features are overcome, glacial melt glacial flow is no longer slow (or as we used to say glacial). It happens quickly.

This is starting to happen in Antarctica as well. If all the ice were to melt in Antarctica it would raise see level 200 feet. Now if happens over the next hundred years the quibbling about the costs of changing our ways will seem so petty and ridiculous as we actually struggle to survive on a climatically destabilized and ravaged earth.

Writing can be theraputic

I feel I can get my thought clearer when I focus on writing an article about a topic important to me. Thank you Laura, Malia, Thomas, Chelsea, and other folks in Petrolia for looking at my story about Hana recently. It was a theraputic experience and I feel better and more how shall we say, loved?

Anyway other things I have been wanting to write about is our corrupt government attacking a democratically elected leader/ government in Venezuella. I am so upset about this. But more later.

Happy Indian Spring and lets hope its a good year!