Pro Big Wind signs come down

SUBHEAD: After Larry Ellison buys Lanai pro Big Wind signs have come down from public spaces. By Sophie Cocke on 23 July 2012 for Civil Beat - (http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/07/23/16566-pro-wind-signs-come-down-on-lanai/) Image above: Pro Big Wind sign that had been on Lanai auditorium. From original article.

For months, it's been a battle of the Big Wind signs on Lanai. Both pro and anti wind farm factions have draped banners on buildings and placed signs in front yards that read, "No Windmills on Lanai!" or "Wind Power - To Keep Lanai Green."

But now that the island has a new owner, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, most of the pro-wind signs have come down, according to local residents.

"The ones that remain are the ones people have put on their personal property — their homes and fences," said Butch Gima, president of Lanaians for Sensible Growth, a community advocacy organization that opposes the wind farm. "The public ones have been taken down."...

(more at Civil Beat)

See also: Ea O Ka Aina: Larry Ellison - Oracle 6/21/12

.

IMF plans to dump Greece

SUBHEAD: Der Spiegel reports bombshell that International Monetary Fund will no longer fund Greek recovery. By Raul Ilagi Meijer on 22 July 2012 for the Automatic Earth- (http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/the-imf-plans-to-dump-greece.html) Image above: IMF President Christine Lagarde looking worried after "bombshell". From (http://business.financialpost.com/2012/07/23/the-imf-published-this-cryptic-statement-on-greece-following-der-spiegel-bombshell/).

German magazine Der Spiegel dropped a bombshell this morning in an article which is for now available only in German. My German is quite decent. Here's the original and my translation:

IWF will Griechenland-Hilfen stoppen IMF wants to stop Greek help

Griechenland könnte schon im September pleitegehen. Der Internationale Währungsfonds hat nach Informationen des SPIEGEL der Brüsseler EU-Spitze signalisiert, dass er sich nicht an weiteren Hilfen für das Land beteiligen werde.

Greece could go bankrupt as early as September. Spiegel has obtained information that the IMF told the Brussels leadership it would not make more money available for help to Greece. [..]

Derzeit untersucht die Troika aus EU-Kommission, Europäischer Zentralbank (EZB) und Internationalem Währungsfonds (IWF), wie weit das Land seinen Reformverpflichtungen nachkommt. So viel steht schon jetzt fest: Die Regierung in Athen kann den Schuldenstand des Landes nicht wie vereinbart bis zum Jahr 2020 auf rund 120 Prozent der Jahreswirtschaftsleistung drücken.

At the moment the EC, ECB and IMF troika is investigating to what extent the country lives up to its reform obligations. This much is already certain: the government in Athens will not be able to bring down its debt load to about 120% of GDP by 2020.

Erhält das Land mehr Zeit, seine Ziele zu erfüllen, würde das nach Schätzungen der Troika zusätzliche Hilfen zwischen zehn und 50 Milliarden Euro erfordern. Viele Regierungen der Euro-Zone sind jedoch nicht mehr bereit, neue Griechenland-Lasten zu schultern. Zudem haben Länder wie die Niederlande und Finnland ihre Hilfen daran gekoppelt, dass sich der IWF beteiligt.

The troika estimates that giving Greece more time to achieve its goals would cost an additional €10 billion-€50 billion. Many eurozone governments, however, are no longer prepared to shoulder new Greek burdens. Moreover, countries like Holland and Finland have made their help contingent on IMF participation.

Das Risiko eines Austritts Griechenlands aus der Währungsunion wird mittlerweile in den Ländern der Euro-Zone für beherrschbar gehalten. Um die Ansteckungsgefahr für andere Länder zu begrenzen, wollen die Regierungen den Start des neuen Rettungsschirms ESM abwarten. Dieser kann jedoch nicht vor dem Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts am 12. September in Kraft treten.

Meanwhile, a Greek departure from the eurozone is seen as manageable in eurozone countries. In order to limit the risk of contagion, governments want to wait for the new ESM emergency fund to start. Which can't happen before the German constitutional court delivers its verdict on September 12.

Um Griechenland über den Monat August zu helfen, könnte ein letztes Mal die EZB einspringen. Eigentlich müsste Athen am 20. August 3,8 Milliarden Euro an die Zentralbank zurückzahlen. Die Lösung könnte eine Art Kreislaufgeschäft sein, bei dem die Euro-Notenbanken selbst die Kreditablösung übernehmen: Der griechische Staat könnte neue kurzfristige Staatsanleihen herausgeben - sogenannte T-Bills - und sie an die griechischen Banken verkaufen. Diese wiederum reichen die Papiere bei der griechischen Notenbank ein - als Sicherheit für neue Nothilfen.

To help Greece survive the month of August, the ECB could jump in one last time. Athens must pay back €3.8 billion by August 20. The solution could be a kind of circular deal, in which eurozone central banks take over credit payments. Greece could issue new short-term bonds and sell them to Greek banks. They could then submit them to the Greek central bank as collateral for new emergency help.

It’ll be a lot of fun seeing the IMF, and European leaders, try to deny the article and its implications. From what I understand, they want to wait until the ESM is effective, and then dump Greece. The article may trump any such intentions. Some things only work in secret, and once Pandora's box is open, they no longer do.

I still think it would be curious that the ESM, supposedly good for €700 billion or so (if not more), would be used to "save" Spain and perhaps Italy, but not Greece. For countries like Portugal and Ireland, dumping Greece would mean they need to get very nervous about being the next one thrown under the wheels and off the back end of the wagon.

The message might become that any and all reform and austerity measures demanded must be adhered to very strictly or else. Politicians in these other "borderline" countries might go along with it all, but will the people? Do the Irish really enjoy the idea of being strangled into submission? And will Spain really be "saved" once real debt numbers are known?

It seems far more likely that getting rid of Greece will be merely the first step in dissolving the entire eurozone. The rest of the dominoes can then fall in rapid succession.

PS: For more entertainment, here's a link to a letter by Peter Doyle, former division chief in the IMF's European Department, who, upon resigning, shared a few of his thoughts on the fund: "After twenty years of service, I am ashamed to have had any association with the Fund at all..."

Doyle accuses the IMF of a terrible mishandling of the European crisis, something he says is due to the fact that information received well in advance about the European crisis was internally suppressed. He places responsibility for the suffering of the Greek people squarely on the shoulders of the IMF and the "fundamental illegitimacy" of the selection process inherent in its hierarchical structure, which has led to the appointments of people such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine Lagarde.

UPDATE 1: Dutch political parties have demanded their government clarify the Spiegel article. They suggest parliament break off their holiday recess and convene next week to discuss the matter at hand. The government wants to wait for a troika report.

UPDATE 2: Bloomberg reports that German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler says he's "very skeptical" that European leaders will be able to rescue Greece and the prospect of the country’s exit from the euro had "lost its terror."

Roesler says "Greece is unlikely to be able to meet its obligations under a euro-area bailout program as its international creditors hold talks this week in Athens. Should that be the case, the country won’t receive more bailout payments".

"What’s emerging is that Greece will probably not be able to fulfill its conditions. What is clear: if Greece doesn’t fulfill those conditions, then there can be no more payments."

IB Editor's UPDATE 3: From (http://business.financialpost.com/2012/07/23/the-imf-published-this-cryptic-statement-on-greece-following-der-spiegel-bombshell/).

The IMF has said that it will meet with Greek officials later this week to get the country’s economic program “back on track.”

This statement comes in the wake of Sunday’s bombshell Der Spiegel article alleging that the IMF will not dole out any more aid to Greece.

Here’s the entire statement, which was released just moments ago:

The IMF is supporting Greece in overcoming its economic difficulties. An IMF mission will start discussions with the country’s authorities on July 24 on how to bring Greece’s economic program, which is supported by IMF financial assistance, back on track.

.

What the Summer Breeze Said

SUBHEAD: It will be less like Midnight in Paris and more like Riot in Cellblock D meets Quest for Fire.

By James Kunstler on 23 July 2012 for Kunstler.com - 
(http://kunstler.com/blog/2012/07/what-the-summer-breeze-said.html)

 
Image above: Painting titled "Kayakers on the Hudson River at Thurman" by James Kunstler. From (http://www.kunstler.com/paintings%207.html).

Europe is giving new meaning to the term "bootstrapping," the age-old (virtuous) idea of picking oneself up off the floor after some blow or reversal of fortune has laid you low. The new method might be called "skyhooking" in which a massive rescue apparatus secured at some mysterious point unseen in the clouds lifts whole exhausted nations from their knees in order to get them to summer vacation. Hence: the interesting spectacle of an entire continent headed for vacation despite facing utter financial ruin, revolution, and civil war.

No one who has been to Europe in our time can doubt that it is a lovely place to stage human existence. The towns and cities are in immaculate condition, even the ones bombed to gravel in the receding unpleasantness of the 1940s. The trains, trams, and subways run cleanly and on-time. The citizens, though well-fed, maintain normal physiognomies and wear dignified adult costumes out in public. Everything along the streets broadcasts the notion, central to civilization, that grace and beauty matter -- even the handwriting on the bistro chalkboards. What a wonderful place. I'd like to go back. But events suggest that this sweet period of history is drawing to a close and whatever happens there next will be less like Midnight in Paris and more like Riot in Cellblock D meets Quest for Fire.

This skyhooking procedure has been both fun and sickening to watch, like any great public stunt of seemingly impossible derring-do. Here you have a whole bundle of nations, all up to their chins in the quicksand of debt, pretending to catch lifelines of new credit dropped mysteriously from the clouds by hidden central bank airships, only to find that the lifelines are a kind of collective hallucination coming over them like a fever dream in their hour of desperation. Seems rather cruel, actually. Especially since they have lately sunk deeper in the quicksand from their chins to their eyeballs.

No one on the scene -- or watching from a remove for that matter -- can conceive a happy ending to this chapter of history, which might be remembered on some distant clear-skied day yet to come as the age of government-by-check-kiting. Or the Chinese fire drill banking model -- no offense to that great nation of diligent workpersons. Yet, reports from even the most anguished Euro nation du jour (Spain) say that the restaurants are bustling and there is no shortage of nearly naked nubile beauties along the beaches of the Costa Brava. And over in Italy, of course, a squirrel could make the journey from Monterotondo to Lago Maggiore by leaping from one outdoor luncheon table to the next with its knobby little knuckles never touching the ground.

The question is: what happens when the recognition finally hits that the money just isn't there? That the whole circus of alphabet soup bailouts and skyhook rescue operations was a fraud? Well, my guess is that things fracture and splinter and there commences a great scramble for the table scraps of the incredible banquet that this congeries of nations put on its Master Charge card. And when the table scraps are all gone, the members of some nations, or regions within nations, set out pillaging around the place where their neighbor sat at the banquet, and pretty soon you get such a disorderly scene in the lovely old banquet hall of Europe that even diligent Chinese tourists will not venture there for a while.

None of this is to say that the action I describe is not following similar lines in other corners of our sore beset planet. For instance, those diligent Chinese I aver to have been running a set of banking rackets at least as shoddy, careless, and plumb crazy as the Eurolanders. And don't get me started on the Anglo-American clusterfuck, which has left the rest-of-the-west with a future as ingeniously booby-trapped as the Aurora cineplex shooter's apartment (and to a strikingly similar note of destructive insanity).

But in these dog days of summer (and the horse latitudes of the spirit), isn't it easier to just mix another vodka and tonic, kick off your flip-flops, and enjoy the feeling of cool sand between your toes? Rest up all y'all. Events will be pinging around the reality-scape good and hard in a few weeks. Me: well, I'm just keeping the fruit trees watered out back for now.

Enjoy your vacation..

Fukushima Unit 4 Danger

SUBHEAD: What are the current world-threatening problems at Fukushima Daiichi?

 By Gayla Groom on 21 July 2012 for Fukushima FAQ -  
(http://www.fukushimafaq.info/)

 
Image above: Workers from Hitachi-GE help remove unused fuel-rod assemblies from Unit #4 at Fukushima Daiichi From (http://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2012/201207-e/120719_01e.html).

On June 11, 2012, Japanese diplomat Akio Matsumura wrote:
Let me clarify briefly why Fukushima Daiichi remains an enormous danger for which no scientists can recommend a solution at the moment….
In reactors 1, 2 and 3, complete core meltdowns have occurred. Japanese authorities have admitted the possibility that the fuel may have melted through the bottom of the reactor core vessels. It is speculated that this might lead to unintended criticality (resumption of the chain reaction) or a powerful steam explosion – either event could lead to major new releases of radioactivity into the environment.
Reactors 1 and 3 are sites of particularly intense penetrating radiation, making those areas unapproachable. As a result, reinforcement repairs have not yet been done since the Fukushima accident. The ability of these structures to withstand a strong aftershock earthquake is uncertain.
The temporary cooling pipes installed in each of the crippled reactors pass through rubble and debris. They are unprotected and highly vulnerable to damage. This could lead to a failure of some cooling systems, causing overheating of the fuel, further fuel damage with radioactive releases, additional hydrogen gas explosions, possibly even a zirconium fire and fuel melting within the spent fuel pools.
Reactor No. 4 building and its frame are seriously damaged. The spent fuel pool in Unit 4, with a total weight of 1,670 tons, is suspended 100 feet (30 meters) above ground, beside a wall which is bulging outward. If this pool collapses or drains, the resulting blast of penetrating radiation will shut down the entire area. At the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station, the spent fuel pools alone contain an amount of cesium-137 that is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl.
The likely result of any one of Fukushima’s problems getting out of hand is that no one can then get close enough to keep the other problems under control, so everything goes; all the problems manifest their worst.

Radiation levels at the complex are so high that many areas are not accessible to people — they would receive a fatal dose within seconds — nor even to robots, whose circuitry is destroyed by the radiation. Experts say that technology to solve Fukushima’s problems does not yet exist.

Recent Events at Fukushima Daiichi M4.5 quake hits Fukushima — Third over 4.o in last 24 hours.
Title: Earthquake Information Source: Japan Meteorological Agency (http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/quake_local_index.html)
01:16 JST - 01:11 JST 20 Jul 2012 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.52
19:44 JST - 19:39 JST 19 Jul 2012 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.02
05:43 JST - 05:38 JST 19 Jul 2012 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.01
TEPCO finishes trial removal of unused fuel from Unit No. 4 see (http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/07/170461.html):
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday (July 19th, 2012) it has finished the trial removal of two unused nuclear fuel assemblies from a fuel storage pool at the badly damaged No. 4 reactor unit of its Fukushima Daiichi power plant without any major trouble.
The operation is part of a process toward scrapping the damaged Nos. 1 to 4 units at the six-reactor plant. The utility will first remove fuel from the No. 4 unit, because its pool stores the largest number of fuel rods and its building has no roof due to a hydrogen explosion in March 2011.
The utility known as TEPCO will carry out a more detailed inspection of the two assemblies, which are bundles of fuel rods about 4 meters long and each weighing some 300 kilograms. But spokesman Junichi Matsumoto told a press conference that no major deformation or corrosion had been observed so far.
Some reports say the relatively less radioactive "fuel units" are being removed not as a test preparatory to removing more fuel, but in order to see how damaged the fuel units are are, and that no large-scale fuel removal is being contemplated until December 2013 or later.

According to the New York Times, the reactor 4 building contains 1,331 spent and 204 unused nuclear fuel assemblies, and each assembly contains approximately 50 to 70 rods, meaning there are at minimum 66,550 fuel rods in Reactor Building #4.

Degraded Unit #4

SUBHEAD: Tepco's Reactor 4 at Fukushima Daiichi is in structural danger of collapse.
By Yoishi Shimatsu on 7 July 2012 for Rense -
  Image above: Recent photo of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 building shows some of the damage to structure. From original article.

A few years ago, I had to make a decision to either restore an old school building in Hong Kong for an environmental center - or demolish it. The long concrete structure was built atop a garbage dump, and the final decision was demolition due to uneven sinkage. Whenever heavy buildings are not foursquare and level, massive internal stresses build up and rip the structure apart. In a recent helicopter photo of Reactor 4, seen from the east (ocean side), there are similar signs of building sinkage.

Along the middle-to-northeast corner (right side), cross beams have fallen out, and at least two adjoining pillars are of different height. The outer wall panels cracked and fell off as a result. (Plus one can see clear through from the east to northeast through a gaping hole.) Cross beams snap off due to the displacement of pillars in opposite directions

What the combination indicates is that the footing of the structure has cracked completely, with two-thirds of the building sinking at a slight angle into the broken edge, while the smaller north side, relieved of load, gradually rises with a series of popping noises. This springboard effect is audible whenever a column lurches upward, like the two pillars o n the right-hand side lifting the floor above it and breaking out. (The pincher-clawed back-hoe is parked on a pad that spreads the weight over the precarious structure.)

 It is very probable that the reactor below is tilting as well. The concrete footing for the structure is too thick to crack under weight alone or even in a major quake, and so the cleavage was probably caused by the corium searing along a line. Once burned, the concrete and rebar lose their strength and can buckle and crack under seismic vibrations and weight from above - especially if the ground is unstable.

The March 11 quake probably caused liquefaction that opened an empty pocket below the footing, and water seepage from the tsunami, rainstorms and coolant leakage subsequently eroded the soil. Since the spent fuel pools are on the south side, the strongest end of the broken structure, one metal tank still appears to be intact, judging from the corner that can be seen. The twisted, overheated metal leaning out of the holes around the spent fuel pool indicate the framework under the pool is wrecked. If the pools are still level, it would be nothing short of miraculous.

Odds are that the pools are tilting, adding massive stress to the whatever remains of the supporting frame. The steel plate over the now-exposed floor/ceiling could be there to prevent people from seeing that the spent fuel pool is tilting and lower than its former position due to the bending of the metal frame below. A tarp would have been melted by the heat released from the jostling of the pool and loss of water in the two series of 2012 quakes that further degraded the structure. Two sheets of steel plate could resist temperature build-ups of up to about 1,000 C or around 2,000 F before bending. Notably, open space is left on either side of the plates to allow heat escape.

The presence of the plates point to flaring temperatures on occasion since the spent pool fires of March 14 and 16, 2011. The demolition work of June 26 had to be done to remove the weight of the upper walls. This is consistent with what must be done when the footing is cracked and lower floors are tilting inward, causing stress buildup throughout the entire fabric of the structure. That old school building rocked like a boat whenever a bus or truck passed by on the adjoining road. For Fukushima workers, it would be terrifying to be on top of a fractured structure that amplifies seismic waves.

The ongoing self-destruction is inexorable and cannot be repaired or reversed. When I checked the foundation of the old school structure, the concrete was broken clean through in many places along roughly parallel lines. Fixing a broken foundation is impossible, especially when it is on uneven landfill, since the rubble below will firmly not hold up an injection of concrete or jacking. Our team considered the possibility of artificial support for that school building but quickly gave up the idea as unfeasible. The far heavier Reactor 4 structure is following the same pattern of step-by-step degradation, or phased collapse, in which the stress factors are so complex that there is no way to predict when or what part will be the next to go.

The rate of soil loss under the structure is still the determining factor leading to a final collapse, and this problem of soil sinkage effects the entire Fukushima No.1 plant site, which rests on landfill compromised by quake-caused liquefaction, erosion by the tsunami, incessant water leakage and melt-through of escaped nuclear fuel. Engineers therefore had to push back the TEPCO plan to remove two fuel rods from Reactor 4 in this month of July. For the same reason of soil instability no attempt has been made to set up a scaffolding or crane along the south wall to lift rods into a casket. Instead of an apocalyptic moment, as most observers had anticipated, the ongoing degradation of Reactor 4 remains one of nerve-racking suspense, of waiting for the next beam to drop.

 • Yoichi Shimatsu is an environmental writer and consultant based in Southeast Asia.

 .

Southwest Climate Change

SUBHEAD: Magical thinking will be the choice of many people, and even in the face of horrible disasters. Interview of William DeBuys by Ari Philips on 16 July 2012 for Think Progress - (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/16/515712/interview-author-william-debuys-on-climate-change-in-the-southwest/) Image above: William DeBuys takes a walk in the New Mexico he loves. From (http://high-road-artist.com/8242/artist-profiles/taking-the-walk-with-william-debuys/).

William deBuys is the author of seven books, including most recently “A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest,” for which I wrote a Dot Earth book review last month.

As part of my summer reporting project on energy and climate change in the Southwest, I had the pleasure of driving deep into the heart of the Santa Fe National Forest and interviewing deBuys at his home about an hour and a half from Santa Fe.

We discussed how he ended up in a far-removed mountain hamlet in New Mexico, what drove him to write his most recent book, and what the biggest takeaways from the project were, among other things.

When did climate change become a focus of your work?

I remember being in a conference in January 2006 in Albuquerque and climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck was giving a talk. He put a slide on the screen about predicted stream flow for the world. I realized this land that I love, the Southwest, is going to be transformed.

I always had this sort of abstract appreciation that it’s going to be hotter and that the climate is shifting and so forth. But seeing that map as a graphic drove it home. Something very very big was afoot. Something truly transformative. And in a sense it was sitting there looking at that map that planted the seed that later grew into “A Great Aridness.”

How did the book develop? How did you choose topics?

I had planned for a while back to write an environmental history of the Southwest. In my grant proposals I said I would write a general environmental history of the Southwest and use the perspective of climate change to organize it. I was fortunate enough to get a Guggenheim Fellowship and as soon as I began working on the book I realized I needed to flip it around – I needed to write about climate change in the Southwest and use the perspective of environmental history to try and understand it.

Were you surprised by your findings relating to ancient cultures and drought?

I’d been aware for some time of megadrought and the impact of drought on Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde culture. A primary thing I took away from the research was that drought isn’t the only big factor. One of main themes of the book is that nothing happens for just one reason. The collapse of the Sand Canyon culture was as much a result of warfare and strife as it was of drought. Warfare over resources, driven in part by refugees flooding the area probably as other regions suffered from climatic shifts.

Climate was a big driver but not the only driver. We’re not just puppets of climate; the things we do to ourselves count a lot too.

You say energy is the most unreported story in the looming water crisis of the Southwest.

Almost all the ways we have of producing electricity require a lot of water, with photovoltaic and wind being exceptions for the most part. Coal-fired thermal production is very water intensive, nuclear is very water intensive. At same time dealing with our water resources is very energy intensive. Well over a fifth of all electricity in United States is used for moving water around.

Anytime we start talking about meeting new energy needs in the Southwest that ups ante in terms of water availability. And anytime we talk about increasing water availability that increases the amount of energy we need to get water from where it is now to anywhere in the Southwest. The water resources we live next to are already being used to their fullest extent. So any increase in water resources has got to come from somewhere else, and that means a whole lot of electrical juice.

The feedbacks reinforce each other. The more water you need the more electricity you need the more water you need etc. It’s not a sustainable relationship. We’ve got to break that circle at some point with renewables and new ways of water budgeting.

I think in the end somehow we’re going to have to level off and maybe even shrink population in the region. As Edward abbey pointed out, continuous growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. How can we add four million people to the Tucson-Phoenix corridor? How can we add more people to Santa Fe and Albuquerque forever and ever and ever? There’s got to be a place that we stop.

What about water conservation efforts?

Usually conservation programs don’t increase water resilience, they actually decrease it through the process of demand hardening.

If it’s just you and me using a given amount of water, and we conserve so there’s more water, the water we conserve generally goes to the next subdivision or strip mall down the road. Pretty soon it’s not just you and me using that original water, its Joe and Sam and Abigail and Frances and all the rest. Everybody is a good person, everybody’s conserving, nobody’s using more than they need, but now we’ve got 10, 12, 30 straws in the drink that used to be just you and me.

So if supply is cut back through climate change and rivers don’t flow as much then we have to cut back on essential uses – now we’re talking about real suffering. Back in the beginning when it was just you and I, we were washing our cars, wasting water gleefully, and when drought came it was easy to cut back. When you get lots of people on the same resource and demand has hardened so everybody’s just using what they need, then cutbacks really hurt.

What about out-of-basin water supplies?

There will be talk about major projects, but I think chances of really big projects being carried off are small for a number of reasons. One reason is that with a big project somebody has to give up water and nobody in any constituency in any region has such a lackadaisical attitude to their resources. Secondly, at least politically the age of really big federal projects is over for the time being.

I think there’s going to be more little projects trying to move things around, not the grandiose ‘steal a river here and move it somewhere else’ type. There will be more wheeling that anything else: We create a little water here and we give it to the people nearby and in turn take water farther up the watershed that they’re otherwise entitled to. Its not moving water long distances, rather its more short deals to affect trade.

What did you learn about forest fires?

Right now if you could choose what you’ll be reincarnated as, picking a tree in the West would be a really bad choice. A better choice would be a clonal shrub.

Several big things are working against the trees. The increase in forest fires, an increase in insect damage and beetle caused death, and also out-and-out mortality from heat and drought. Last summer in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Forestry, between two and ten percent of all the trees in the state died – that’s a big number.

All those things are working against the interest of forest stability. Some people say the eco-zones are going to march up-slope in a formal manner; frankly I think that’s baloney. It presumes a couple of things. One is that the changes in the climate occur slowly enough that these slow growing plants can make the move. I think that’s ostensibly false. The changes are happening much too fast. It also presumes that as things move up-slope they have open opportunity to reestablish themselves. But that’s not how ecology works –there’s always something there. And that complicates the establishment of a new community.

It’s not like OK everybody get ready to march and we’ll go like cars in a jammed freeway making slow progress. There are a lot of things that aren’t moving. And a lot of those things have been transformed into something else. It’s going to be a chaos that may take many many years to sort out and it may never get sorted out if we just keep heating the climate. We’re never going to achieve equilibrium if things just get hotter and hotter and hotter.

What did you learn from the study of dendrochronology?

Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, is said to be the Southwest’s one homegrown science. It initially developed as a way to date events in the past, like archeological sites.

More recently dendrochronology has turned to reconstructing past ecologies. You can look at a tree ring and judge by its width whether it was a wet year or a dry year. There are various ways you can calibrate these judgments so you can actually quantify the amount of water that was in system, which can then be used to reconstruct river flows. You can also use burn scars at the base of trees to determine when fires moved through ecosystems; some trees might have 12 or 15 separable, identifiable burn scars on them. With these you can build a picture of the fire regime of pre-settlement ecologies.

That’s what Tom Swetnam and his colleagues down at the University of Arizona have been doing. They found that basically in the ponderosa pine and mixed conifer zone pre-settlement, roughly before 1890, in most areas of the Southwest, those forests had a cyclical, regular rhythm of light fires: A fire every three to six to maybe 15 years. The kinds of explosive, catastrophic fires we’re seeing today are an artifact to a very large degree of the cessation of that regular burn regime, the suppression of fire, and the build-up of fuels which can go off like a bomb under the right circumstances. And with climate change we’re getting the right circumstances more and more often.

Swetnam and his colleagues have determined that the fire season is something like 78 days longer than it used to be. That’s truly amazing.

Some people say that the Waldo Canyon Fire that burned 340 homes in Colorado Springs was a perfect storm of fire. Well it wasn’t a perfect storm; it was just the new normal. It was not exceptional. It’s what we’ll begin to see now as not exceptional, but habitual.

Do you see yourself as climate change optimist or pessimist?

People ask me that all the time, I tell them that actually I’m a pessimist but neurochemically I’m an optimist: The future is grim but the sunrise is beautiful.

There’s so much beauty in the world, there’s always a lot of work to be done to protect it. Doing good work is inherently optimistic, so I want to just wring my hands and mash my teeth and keep chugging along. One of these days our society is going to wake up to what we’re doing and maybe we’ll make some good decisions finally.

Do you have a preferred way of talking about climate change with the public?

I guess the book presents it the way I know best how to do it. I think at the core of the problem you have to present stories, a narrative, not just collections of facts.

I think of the facts as being the DNA in a seed. But for that DNA to be carried around that seed needs to be encased in something that will stick to people’s clothing, like a cocklebur. A good story is like a cocklebur, it sticks to people.

Beyond that I worry that we’re mainly just preaching to the choir and crossing the line to persuade someone who is a denier or a doubter seems to me increasingly hard to do. As various studies have shown, people’s acceptance or rejection of climate change information seems to be based not so much on fact or on critical thinking about data, but about choices of identity and ideology that’s closely tied to identity. People are very resistant to surrendering the identity of who they are and their relationship to the group with which they feel at home.

There are many tragedies involved in climate change and one of the greatest ones is that in America climate change has become tied-up in the culture wars. I think the only thing that will turn that is around is more and more disasters. I’m not even sure that will be effective because I fear a lot of people’s response to disasters will be more magical thinking.

Whether it’s prayer rallies lead by the Governor of Texas or whatever, that magical thinking will be the choice of many people, and even in the face of horrible disasters we wont start making intelligent decisions.

.

Beekeeping courses offered at KCC

SOURCE: Jacequeline D Robson (Jacqueline.D.Robson@hawaii.gov)
SUBHEAD: Intro to Beekeeping - Feral Hive Removal and Hive Box Building classes during August.  

By Linda Pascatore on 22 July 2012 for Island Breath -  
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2012/07/beekeeping-courses-offered-at-kcc.html)

 
Image above: James Trujillo of Kaua‘i Community College Apiary Program explains the procedure for inspecting hives to beekeeping students. From(http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/state-specialist-to-give-update-on-status-of-bee-pests/article_633c3178-c8c9-11e1-81c3-001a4bcf887a.html).

 Kauai Community College will offer three Beekeeping Courses in July and August. To register call the Office of Continuing Education (OCET) 245-8318  

Hive Box Building: Wed July 25, 6 -8 pm & Wed August 1, 5 - 9 pm
Cost: $45
This course is an introduction to beekeeping for people interested in developing an apiary and maintaining hives for honey and hive-related products, and/or for increased agricultural production via enhanced pollination of flowering trees and vegetables. The course will provide participants with the basic understanding of bee biology, colony management and the use of hive boxes, tools and equipment for apiary development and management.

Intro to Beekeeping: Saturday August 4 & Saturday Aug 11, 9 am to 1 pm
Cost: $49
This course is an introduction to beekeeping for people interested in developing an apiary and maintaining hives for honey and hive-related products, and/or for increased agricultural production via enhanced pollination of flowering trees and vegetables. The course will provide participants with the basic understanding of bee biology, colony management and the use of hive boxes, tools and equipment for apiary development and management.

.

Hard Rain on the Parade

SUBHEAD: Nationalistic parades and the media that trumpet them are the circus that keeps the old story in place.  

By Charlotte Du Cann on 18 July 2012 for Charlotte Du Cann Blog - (http://charlotteducann.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/hard-rain-on-parade.html)

 
Image above: Painting of "Thunder Theater" by Mark Bryan 2007. From (http://www.artofmarkbryan.com/Thunder_Theater.html).

The flags hang limply in the rain down the High Street. No one has removed them after the Jubilee, as this summer it appears the populace are in a continual celebration of the Kingdom. Last week the Olympic Games and its £27 million opening gambit were heralded by torch-bearers running through the town. As I write the sound system at Latitude booms in the air from several miles away, and everyone has been locked into the site due to the weather.

But my attention is not in these places. I'm watching the rain. The shop keepers are watching the rain, as the holiday makers stay away from the beach and their tills. The farmers are watching the rain as it soaks the corn and the potatoes. The trees are empty of fruit down the lane, the grasses high as houses. There are slugs everywhere, devouring produce in the fields and gardens (£8 million's worth) like an apocalyptic curse. We don't have sun, but we do have water. In other places it is the opposite.

At what point do we wake up and put our attention to where it really matters? At what point do we look at the corporate shaping of the Games, its private armies, its eviction of peoples, the lockdown of the city, and come to our own conclusions? At what point do we stop worshipping the rulers and behaving like grateful servants, and start to recognise our own beauty and significance?

At what point do we stop distrusting and being hostile to our neighbours and our countrymen, and stand by each other, side by side? At what point do we stop believing in the magic spell of money and privilege and realise that the plants we depend on need both light and water? At what point do we realise that everything in our "civilised " world - our energy, our food, our life - comes directly from the planet? And when we do, when we connect the dots, what are we going to do about it?

Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, who is speaking next week in London, says we have a task ahead of us: to transform the damage that has been done by industrialisation and reclaim the land, as well as our true sovereignty, the commonwealth of the people. From an old paradigm, standing in the High Street, disconnected, it seems impossible, but from another perspective, standing on the earth, looking at the future, it looks like the possibility of starting again.

History depends on our attention. Where we place our attention confers value and significance. That's quantum physics and human nature. Attention can keep the flags flying and the illusion of supremacy going, it can hold people on pedestals up as small gods. Or it can focus on the real facts of the matter and see climate change happening in the backyard.

Distracted by entertainments, you can't see what is happening in front of your eyes. You don't notice the weather. You don't see the London allotments torn down to make a hockey stadium, the people displaced in Guatemala for EU biofuels, you don't see the treatment of the cows, or the dairy farmers, when you buy your cheap milk, you don't see the scam of the banks who have created 97% of our money supply out of thin air.

The nationalistic parades and the media that trumpet them are the circus that keeps an old story in place. The Athenian civilisation that bequeathed us the idealistic sporting arena, also gave us a skewed "left hemisphere" way of seeing and a "democracy" that works for the rulers, rather than for the ruled. It has made the culture of the City superior to all lifeforms on earth, a legacy we have inherited and still uphold to this day.

But this cultural story, with its fairytale shows and bloody arenas, is not the only narrative that is going on right now. It has never been the only narrative going on. People have been holding a torch inside them for hundreds of years in the mountains and the fields, as civilisations have risen and fallen, as they have sent their armies to conquer the world for resources and slave labour. At some point the people start watching the rain and realise there is another task at hand. For the planet and for ourselves.

When you do, you discover you are not alone. There are millions of us out there. Some of us saying one thing, but thinking and feeling another. Some of us are finding our voices and speaking out. Some of us are listening, turning out attention away from the parade. We're not just in the town, or the city, we are in all lands. The empire dominates, as it has done though history: it crushes protests, wins arguments, forces people off the land, ignores the heart. But one thing it has no power over: it cannot force our attention. It can't buy love.

And it can't stop the rain from falling.

Video above: "Wecome to the Rest of Our Lives" embedded in original article. From (http://youtu.be/b0NrS2L6KcE)

 .

Vandana Shiva on GMO's

SOURCE: Ken Taylor (taylork021@hawaii.rr.com) SUBHEAD: Of course the chemical industry will tell you only chemicals grow food. Chemicals grow toxics.  

Interview of Vandana Shiva by Bill Moyers 21 July 2012 for TruthOut  
(http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/10456-moyers-vandana-shiva-on-the-problem-with-genetically-modified-seeds)

 [IB Editor's note: Vandana Shiva is coming to Kauai (the heart of the genetically modified beast) to speak on GMO's. We'll announce details later.]

 
Image above: Still frame of Vandana Shiva interview from video below.

 Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits.

 Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.

   
Video above: Interview on Vandana Shive by Bill Moyers on GMO's & Globalization. From (http://vimeo.com/45691238#embed).
 
TRANSCRIPT:

BILL MOYERS: We turn now from one champion of the public interest to another. From Sheila Bair fighting for greater oversight of the big banks to a global advocate for social justice named Vandana Shiva.

VANDANA SHIVA: We need a new paradigm for living on the earth because the old one is clearly not working.

BILL MOYERS: The last time we spoke with her, she was battling Coca-Cola and other multinational giants over the privatization of water in her native India—including the waters of the sacred river Ganges. Since then, Vandana Shiva has become a rock star in the worldwide battle over genetically modified seeds. Those are seeds aggressively marketed around the world by big companies like Monsanto to not only increase, but also to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge their safety, claim they harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt and dependent on suppliers.

Following Europe’s example, many American consumers are demanding that food products made from genetically modified seeds be labeled. Monsanto, the world’s largest supplier, claims intellectual property rights over its seeds and usually wins when it takes farmers to court for patent infringement. But in India, Monsanto claimed its seeds would produce bountiful crops and when the results fell short, many bankrupted farmers reportedly killed themselves.

Vandana Shiva, founded India’s Navdanya movement to promote the use of native seeds, and she has become a formidable figure in all these battles. Trained in physics, she’s an activist and prolific author whose books include “Earth Democracy,” “Soil Not Oil,” “Water Wars,” and her latest, “Making Peace With The Earth.” I talked with her again recently, when she came to New York to be honored by Union Theological Seminary.

Welcome back.

VANDANA SHIVA: Wonderful to be back with you.

BILL MOYERS: It's an uphill battle you're waging. How do you keep doing it? What drives you really?
VANDANA SHIVA: You know, we have this very beautiful text in India. We have the Gita.
BILL MOYERS: Bhagavad Gita?

VANDANA SHIVA: The Bhagavad Gita. And there's a very simple lesson that Krishna gives. That you do not measure the fruit of your action. You have to measure your obligation of action. You have to find out what's the right thing to do. That is your duty. Whether you win or lose is not the issue. The obligation to do the right thing, for me, you know, I've grown up as an ecologist in a major level, from my very childhood.

And for me, the diversity of species, their intrinsic value, their integrity is vital. The rights of our farmers to be able to have seed, the most fundamental source of livelihood in a poor country. Eighty percent of the food of the world is even, today, produced by those small farmers of the kind that we have in India. Our small farmers are feeding 1.2 billion Indians. We forget the scale of what smallness means multiplied many times. Because we've got used to the dinosaur mentality. We only see the big. We forget that dinosaurs go extinct.

BILL MOYERS: You have obviously seen things differently. Because you studied nuclear physics, right?

VANDANA SHIVA: I studied nuclear physics. But I also studied quantum theory. My thesis was on non-separability and non-locality in quantum theory.

BILL MOYERS: Which means?

VANDANA SHIVA: Which basically means everything is connected. Because the industrial revolution and the scientific revolution gave us a very mechanistic idea of the universe. First, we were told “Nature is dead. There's no living Earth. How can you even imagine the Earth lives? How can other species-- they're just inferior creatures of God. And you've got to have man's empire over God, over the Earth."

The idea that everything is this hard matter, unrelated to each other is still guiding a lot of science. And genetic engineering is based on that hard matter, genes in isolation, you know? Genes determine everything. There's a master molecule that gives orders. Old patriarchal stuff. The real science--

BILL MOYERS: Patriarchal?

VANDANA SHIVA: The real science is the science of interconnection. Whether it's going to--

BILL MOYERS: Of what?
VANDANA SHIVA: Of interconnectedness, of non-separation. That everything is related.
Farming, for example, you must see the soil, the plants, the pollinators, the food that's produced, all of it in the whole.

BILL MOYERS: Let's take that to the system of economics. Because some people have said that globalization, the movement of ideas, of people, of money, across arbitrary boundaries, as if they didn't exist, also reflects the interconnectedness of everything. That globalization is an economic equivalent of what happens in the world of nature in that everything is connected. And you can't stop it Vandana Shiva. This is the way the world rocks.

VANDANA SHIVA: First of all, this is not interconnectedness of the ecological level. It's an extremely artificial, corporate rule on a planetary scale. Some corporations get to control the world. And then all that's flowing around is commodities. Commodities that don't have to be moving. It's still the old, hard, billiard ball model. You know?

You load the ships from China for cheap consumer products in Wal-Mart here. That is not a world of interconnectedness. The world of interconnectedness would recognize that the rivers of China need to flow, clean and free. It would recognize that the people of China need to exercise in work, in freedom, not as slave labor in factories to produce cheap goods.

This corporate globalization, based on more, higher, a deeper reach of corporations in fields where they had no role, food, water, the air, all into commodities—you know, transforming the Earth into commodities. That flow is not a flow of interconnectedness. And in fact, it is leading to a disconnection. If you look at the violence being perpetuated.

The reason I've written my new book, “Making Peace with the Earth,” is because I'm watching every day. I get calls every day from remote areas. "Please come down. They're shooting us. They're trying to tear down our sacred mountain of Niamgri, which has-- for aluminum. We have an iron ore in our mountains. They're displacing us." Every day there's a land war. Every day there's a water war. Because of the appetite of this global commodity-producing, consumption-based interconnection.

And I often say that what we have is an interconnectedness of the world through greed, which is not how nature works, which is not how humanity works. And an exclusion of people, a killing of their humanity. It is not an accident that with the rise of corporate globalization and economic globalization, we have seen the rise of religious conflict, ethnic conflicts, where people get divided, more and more and more.

So we're seeing human divisions. You're seeing a deeper division between human beings and the Earth. And all you see is a global reach. We are seeing a drop in our sense of a common humanity, and definitely a collapse in the planetary consciousness that we need to have. And for me, those are the two elements of making peace with the Earth. Reclaiming our common humanity and reclaiming our recognition that we are Earth’s citizens.

BILL MOYERS: The last time you were here, you were fighting Coca-Cola in India over the privatization of water. Now your bulls-eye is on Monsanto. Why is Monsanto so crucial to this fight overseas?

VANDANA SHIVA: Monsanto is crucial to this fight because they are the biggest seed company now. Monsanto is privatizing the seed. They control 95 percent of the cotton in India, 90 percent of the soy in this country. They've taken over most of the seed companies of the world.

BILL MOYERS: You say it's all about seeds. And that it comes down to corporations wanting to patent seeds. How does that work? What do you mean it comes down to seeds?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, it comes down to seeds for the simple reason everything begins a seed. The food on our plate. You and me were seed at one point. The little calf that becomes the cow. Seed is the source of life. And seed is the source of renewal of life. That is where life gets renewed in perpetuity.
BILL MOYERS: So what does it mean when a corporation patents the seed?
VANDANA SHIVA: The first thing it means is a lie. That "I have created it. I have created life."
BILL MOYERS: "I, the corporation."
VANDANA SHIVA: The corporations claim that-- and, you know, we joke and say, a G.M.O., a genetically modified organization, which was the path to get patenting on seeds-- I sat at meetings where the corporations said, "The reason we've got to do genetically modified organisms is because it’s the only way we can claim a patent. A patent is a claim to invention, a claim to creation. And it brings with it an exclusive right to exclude anyone else from using, having, distributing the patented product."
BILL MOYERS: What's the claim? Speak from their side. What are they claiming?
VANDANA SHIVA: Well, they're claiming intellectual property. And they changed the language. They say the seed is no more a seed. It's an intellectual property. They make the society shift its thinking of what is at stake. Seed is the first link in the food chain. And therefore, when you control seed, you control food.
BILL MOYERS: You say that corporations have hijacked our food system. How so?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well I come from a country where there were no corporations in the food system until 20 years ago. They weren't allowed to be. Our rules said food was too precious. It was an important source of livelihood. So we had to protect our small farmers. Every law protected the small farmer, land rights, markets, prices, everything worked so a small farmer could have a living. Food processing stayed in what we call the cottage sector, the small scale sector. That's why we didn't have junk food and processed food. Globalization changes the rules. And agriculture agreement is written by a former official of Cargill to represent the U.S. public.

BILL MOYERS: Cargill--

VANDANA SHIVA: Is the world's biggest grain trader. The second is the intellectual property treaty controlled and written by Monsanto. And then you have the so-called food safety agreement called The Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. Every one of these are very highly complex names. Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights, Sanitary and Phytosanitary. All of them are basically saying, "Let there be a monopoly of a corporation to have-- to write the rules so that only they can be players in the food system."

And the final step is the retail, where food reaches our table, Wal-Mart wanting to have foreign direct investment in retail. A big issue in India's parliament, a very big issue on the streets of India. So from the seed to the table, corporations are saying, "We want to be the only players." Five in seed, five in grain trade, five in processing, and five in retail. That is a corporate hijack of our food and a corporate dictatorship over our food system.

BILL MOYERS: But here’s what you’re up against. Several activist organizations—some seed businesses, some farmers, organizations like yours—filed a suit here in New York, challenging Monsanto's seed patents. And the U.S. district judge here in New York threw it out, saying it was “a transparent effort to create a controversy where none exists.”

VANDANA SHIVA: Yes, that case has been a sad ruling, a very sad ruling. In my view, it's the same kind of status that says corporations have freedom of speech and therefore they can hijack our democracy. Let them spend as much money as they can to literally buy elections. But for every case of this kind, there are other cases being won.
We have won cases against Monsanto in India.

BILL MOYERS: But if something like this is as bad as you describe it. If it's a monster roaming the countryside. How is it getting away with it?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, it's getting away for two reasons. First, freedom, democracy, and choice is taken away. It's taken away from the farmer, by not allowing them to have their seed. It's taken away from the consumer by not letting them have labeling to say what they're eating. If there was labeling of G.M. foods, no one would eat it.

BILL MOYERS: Genetically modified--

VANDANA SHIVA: Genetically modified foods. The second deeper tragedy, which is why I link this always to democracy, is the fact that governments are being hijacked and governments are being influenced.

We stopped a whole agreement in Nepal by building a movement. Haitian farmers said, "We don't want this stuff." And they took it after the earthquake. The French have said, "We don't want this stuff." And the WikiLeaks show the ambassador saying, "We need retaliation.” This is a seed war. This is a war.

President Bush and our prime minister signed an agreement on agriculture, on the board of which sit Monsanto and Wal-Mart. And they then sit and dictate the policies. That means that much more work for us to reclaim our democracy and our freedom. So they're getting away, because they're using governments to shut down alternatives and push seed against the will of people.

And President Bush is on record in a film called “The World According to Monsanto,” senior President Bush, asking Monsanto, "What do you want us to do?"

MAN 1 in The World According to Monsanto: And I would say quite frankly, we have no complaints about the way the USDA has handled it. They’re going through an orderly process. They’re making sure as they deal with these new things they do them properly. No, uh, if we’re waiting until September and if we don’t have our authorization we may say something different.

VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH SR. in The World According to Monsanto: Call me. We’re in the dereg business. Maybe we can help.

VANDANA SHIVA: In India, Monsanto, in effect, controls our agricultural ministry and our prime minister's office. And so very, very often, we have to work very closely with our state governments, which are our regional governments, to defend our constitutional rights.
To say, "Why should we be force fed a genetically engineered B.T. eggplant, when we have the most delicious eggplants, 4,000 varieties?" It took a movement, 13 governments, 7 public hearings to put a moratorium. The advisors from here flew in to try and undo that moratorium.

BILL MOYERS: Monsanto advisors?

VANDANA SHIVA: U.S. Government advisors.

BILL MOYERS: On the side of Monsanto?

VANDANA SHIVA: On the side--the White House, the USDA--

BILL MOYERS: Department of Agriculture?

VANDANA SHIVA: And the Department of Agriculture and the FDA all have a revolving door with Monsanto. And this is all on record. So on the top, there's Monsanto, hijacking all our governments. And through that, trying to hijack our food supply. And from the ground, farmers, consumers, regional governments saying, "We want a Monsanto-free food system. We want Monsanto-free, G.M.O.-free, patent-free seed."

BILL MOYERS: Now Vandana, the other side of the argument is made by people like Bill Gates. Bill Gates says that genetically modified seeds are necessary to prevent starvation in poor countries because they enable farmers to double and triple their productivity.

VANDANA SHIVA: Unfortunately, he's so totally wrong on this assumption that genetically modified seeds produce more. In India, Monsanto came in with a claim of 1,500 kilograms of cotton per acre with their genetically engineered cotton. The average yields are 400 kilograms. Our studies show that. The government studies confirm this.

When you grow just genetically modified cotton, you destroy all the associate crops that were feeding the poor families. So it actually leads to less food. When you spray roundup and kill the greens that are necessary for women to have iron, for children to have vitamin A, you're creating hunger. You're creating disease.

Super weeds taking over your fields are a recipe for hunger. Pests overtaking your fields are a recipe for hunger. But worse, seed, patents are a way of getting money out of poor people. This is not a solution to hunger and poverty. This is aggravating the crisis poor people already face.

BILL MOYERS: You know, many people will hear you as they have the others who come on this, at the table and describe what's going wrong in the world. And they always-- they often write me on the web or stop me on the street and say, I heard that diagnosis. But what can I do?

VANDANA SHIVA: I think first thing is each of us has to daily ask a question, "Where am I complicit in a war against the Earth? Where are my daily actions part of a devastation of the planet and with it, a devastation of the lives of people." Because the two go hand in hand. A war against the Earth is a war against people. Peace with the Earth is peace among people.

Getting rid of the inequalities, the violence, the exclusions. And I realize that food is a place where we can all begin. Food is a place which is so loaded with dishonesty and is what keeps a false economy of food alive. The subsidies that go to industrial agriculture.

BILL MOYERS: Subsidies we taxpayers--

VANDANA SHIVA: Taxpayers pay. A high-cost system, which uses a lot of wealth of society, then uses our wealth to cheat on the prices and make costly food look cheap. So our choices are distorted. We go and eat the junk food that then creates the high cost of disease, the high cost of obesity, the high cost of diabetes at an early stage, the high cost of environmental devastation.

And so we need an honest system. And we can begin by creating that honesty and that peace by relating more directly to the food we eat, to the people who grow our food.

To me, the beauty is, every time I come back to this country, there are more farmer's markets. There is more commitment to local food supply. Even in the city of New York, people are saying, "We'll make local food. We'll grow local food." It is an easy step, but it is a very far-reaching step.

BILL MOYERS: You’ve spent time in this country, you know that in inner cities it’s almost impossible to buy fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.

VANDANA SHIVA: That's the challenge we have. It's not that there isn't a food stamp system. Public money is being spent on feeding the poor. But then it's insuring that the only access the poor have with the money they get, again from public money, is to bad food. We could divert this to good food. There's no rule in the book that says healthy food should be a luxury for the rich. Healthy food is a right for all.

BILL MOYERS: For the last 20 years, we've heard and read report after report of progress in India, the creation of a middleclass enjoying its new prosperity. At the same time, we read and hear and see stories of people deprived of their livelihood and their homes from huge environmental projects, big dams, big mines, big infrastructure. I mean, it's always been a lot of poverty there. But are you becoming-- is that great gulf becoming a permanent feature of India in this modern world?

VANDANA SHIVA: Well, you know, my small effort is to not allow it to become a permanent feature. But it's not that these are two separate worlds. They're separated in terms of the status of people, their dignity, their rights. But they are deeply connected at the levels of the Earth's resources.

The reason you have a few families joining the ten richest billionaires of the world in the Forbes list is because they've grabbed the land, the electricity, the resources, the oil, and that is what has left the other India poorer. It wasn't that the other India was left out. They've been pushed out. And that's why while we have some of the highest growth rates in the conventional measure of economic progress, which in my view is not a very reliable measure, we also have two of the most outrageous indicators that are linked to that model. The first is the quarter million farm suicides. If a quarter million farm--

BILL MOYERS: Those have been documented?

VANDANA SHIVA: They're documented. This is Government of India data. This is not our data. It's official statistics. And you can do an overlay. And the highest rates of suicides are in the cotton belt, 95 percent of the cotton today is Monsanto's cotton. So there is a link.

Today ever fourth Indian is hungry and every second Indian child is wasted or stunted, which in effect means that half of India is being robbed of its future. And to me, this is not acceptable. That is why we try and build a kind of agriculture that allows farmers to have a livelihood, for the poorest child or the poorest household to have nutritious food. It is not easy because the whole system is weighed against alternatives that would work for everyone.

It's partly because of the pressure of the corporations, but partly because of not thinking, of just being blind, of having been so fed by what I have called monocultures of the mind, you know, just turning to recipes from somewhere else. And of course the chemical industry will tell you only chemicals grow food. Chemicals grow toxics. Chemicals don't grow food.

That only Monsanto seeds will be able to remove hunger. And all of this new mythology becomes part of the policy framework. But I am deeply committed to make sure that this terrible brainwashing that is robbing our present generation and our future generations, that we are able to work collectively to change it. Because while in your parents’ generation, your generation, and in my generation, the doors of a growing economy were constantly opening up, today we are in a period, where for the majority, the doors are shutting down.

I work with people in Spain, with people in Italy. I advise the governments there, work with the movements there, or Greece, or the Occupy movement right here. They are realizing that what has been created is not going to provide opportunities for all.

BILL MOYERS: As you talk, I remember reading somewhere that Einstein had a big influence on you, right?

VANDANA SHIVA: Yes, I became a physicist because of him. I mean, you know, even as children, you get to, you know, if you read Nightingale, you want to be a doctor or a nurse. I read stuff Einstein wrote and he wrote simple stuff that you could read it. That's why I wanted to be a physicist.

BILL MOYERS: And he said once, I'm paraphrasing it, but "Unless an idea is at first absurd, it has no chance of success."

VANDANA SHIVA: Absolutely. He also said that you cannot solve the problems you face through the same mindset that caused those problems.

BILL MOYERS: Vandana Shiva, thank you very much for being with me again.

VANDANA SHIVA: Thank you, Bill. It's always such a pleasure.
See also:
 Ea O Ka Aina: Eco Warriors Arise! 5/23/12
Ea O Ka Aina: The Truth About GMO's 3/5/11
Ea O Ka Aina: The Back-to-the-Lander 4/1/09

 .

Inflation Good? Deflation bad?

SUBHEAD: What's so bad about deflation? Nothing if you are the one whose owed the money! By Cahrles Hugh Smith on 20 July 2012 for Of Two Minds - (http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/whats-so-bad-about-deflation-nothing-if.html) Image above: Deflating a hot air balloon of the American flag. From (http://johntorinus.com/general-blog/health-care-economics/deflation-ahead-for-health-costs/).

Perhaps all the assumptions about inflation being good and deflation being bad miss the key question: cui bono (to whose benefit?)

One of the most widely accepted truisms of our time is that deflation is bad: bad for debtors, bad for the indebted government, and therefore bad for the economy. What all this overlooks is how wonderful mild deflation is for those who owe no debt but who own the debt and the income streams that flow from debt. What the "deflation is bad" argument ignores is who controls the financial and political systems, and what set of conditions benefits them. The entire Survival+ critique is based on one simple but revealing question: cui bono--to whose benefit? The "deflation is bad" view naively assumes the Federal government wants inflation to lower its own debt burden. But since the machinery of governance is directed not at what's good for the government, but at what's good for the financial Elites that influence policy, then the only meaningful question is: what's best for the financial Elites? Mild inflation won't bother the Elites much as long as their leveraged returns exceed inflation by a substantial measure, but deflation is much more lucrative: why mess around with potentially volatile inflation when deflation works better? As knowledgeable correspondent James B. recently explained, the financial Elites' are skimming their take regardless of inflation or deflation. (for more on this, see James B.'s commentary in
Deflation makes cash and income streams more valuable as time marches on. At a 1% rate of deflation, our cash buys more goods and services every month. As a result, a 3% yield plus the 1% deflation = 4% real return. The reason why deflation is considered bad is that wages tend to deflate along with everything else, and so the income debtors need to pay their debts declines, making it more difficult to service the debt. Governments are presumed to want inflation because it erodes government debt over time and boosts the income of taxpayers and thus of the government. At 5% annual inflation, the adjusted value of $100 debt decreases to $77 in five short years. In 10 years, 5% annual inflation drops the purchasing-power value of $100 debt to $60. As wages increase with inflation, the number of hours of work needed to service the monthly debt declines. Inflation makes debts easier on the debtor and strips value away owners of the debt. Nice if you're the debtor, extremely annoying if you own the debt. Once again we must separate the Federal government from the financial Elites who control its policies. If government spending must eventually be curtailed to pay the rising interest on exploding Federal debt, that won't bother those who own the Federal debt (bonds). Another widely accepted truism is that the Federal government (Central State) can "print its way out of debt" by printing enough money to devalue the dollar.Devaluing the dollar and inflation are two descriptions of the same process: expanding the money supply far faster than the real economy is expanding. But once again this is naive, as the Federal government doesn't "print money" electronically-- that privilege is held by the Federal Reserve. Does anyone seriously believe the Federal Reserve acts on behalf of the Federal government? For propaganda purposes, the stated "cover" of the Fed is to "preserve price stability" and foster full employment. The Fed's real function, of course, is to manage monetary policy to benefit the nation's financial sector and its wealthy Elites. What happens to Federal spending and interest payments are of little interest to those setting the Fed agenda. For propaganda purposes, the Fed makes noises about "reining in deficit spending" but this is for show. The most important goal is to maintain real returns for those who own the debt of the Federal government, i.e. the mega-wealthy financial Elites and other Status Quo players. The critical error made by the "inflation is good" camp is their assumption that wages will rise along with everything else in inflation. Alas, wages for the bottom 90% have stagnated for decades in real terms (i.e. purchasing power), and so "mild" inflation has dramatically decreased their earnings. In a post-industrial, post-bubble economy, labor is in massive surplus, so wages are flat to down for the vast majority of workers. Inflation is actually terrible for the bottom 90%, as their wages are flat while everything else rises in cost. For those workers with modest debt loads or very low interest loans, deflation actually boosts the purchasing power of their stagnant earnings. Deflation is a wonderful boost for those who own debt and who receive income streams from interest and principal payments. Every dollar of interest and principal buys more than it did when the loan was originated. Every dollar of cash not only buys more goods and services, it also buys more hard assets as assets tumble in deleveraging. Some steady writedown of debt is acceptable to those who own the debt. Let's say that 1% of all the debt is written off every year due to defaults, short sales of homes, foreclosures, etc. If the yield is 3% plus 1% deflation for a real return of 4%, then a 1% reduction in principal will still leave a real yield of 3%, which can be leveraged into 10% or even 15% (at 5-to-1 leverage). The "frog in the pot" syndrome applies. If deflation is modest, on the order of 1%-2% annually, that won't spark insurrection. If the water in the pot is heated slowly, the frog doesn't notice much except a gradual reduction in earnings and government benefits as more government revenue is funneled to debt service. Indeed, by many measures, Japan has been in deflation for over 20 years. The slow erosion of wages has been partially offset by a decline in the cost of goods and services. Meanwhile, those who own the debt have a low-risk increase in their wealth and income, year after year. What's not to like? Before we assume the Federal government needs inflation, we should ask who sets the policy objectives of the government. Since the super-wealthy have captured the regulatory and legislative processes, why would we think the government's actions don't align with their interests? Since the Federal government can't "print money," it can only borrow it, then it is incapable of creating inflation, even if it wanted to. The interests of the Federal Reserve are served by propaganda about "inflation targeting," but behind the curtain mild deflation is perfectly fine with the financial Elites. Consider this. In mild deflation, Treasury bonds increase in value as the income streams of interest gain purchasing power every year. When other assets tank--for example, stocks and real estate--the bonds can be sold and the other assets snapped up for cheap from those who have only debt to deleverage and no cash. "Deflation" is only bad for those with crushing debts and no ability to borrow more.Since the Federal government (like the government of Japan) can always borrow more, those buying the debt are assured of a low-risk income stream that can then be used to buy other deflating assets. Everyone assuming the Federal government has the power to create inflation and that inflation is "good" should examine the interests of those who control the government's policies, i.e. those who own the debt. Put another way: here's what will be scarce: reliable income streams and liquidity. .

Wailua Burial Site Conviction

SUBHEAD: The prosecution of Alalem for protecting iwi underscores the misdirected priorities of our state laws.

 By Ray Catania on 19 July 2012 for Island Breath - 
  (http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2012/07/wailua-burial-site-conviction.html)

Image above: James Alalem dislplaying typical stone that was used to mark the outline of a body at a burial site. From (http://thegardenisland.com/james-wailua-jpg/image_b144e8c1-94d7-5aa6-8c27-33c3ae2c8a0c.html).

A presentation and discussion will take place at the Kapaa Public Library on August 2nd, 2012 from 6:30 - 9:30pm. Wailua heiau caretaker James Alalem was arrested and found guilty for interfering with the construction the Kuhio Highway over the Wailua River.

At the time he was trying to protect iwi (interred remains of Hawaiians) in a culturally sensitive area of a sacred Hawaiian site. Alalem will make a presentation of the issues surrounding the events in which he and Kaiulani Eddens were arrested and tried.

Alalem contends that the proceedings in Judge Valenciano's state court were unfair and that he was methodically stifled at every turn from presenting his case by the State's Prosecuting Attorney and the judge. Video footage used against James Alalem and Kaiulani Eddens will be shown.  

WHAT:
Presentation, discussion and video showing concerning arrests at Wailua iwi site.  

WHEN:
August 2nd, 2012 from 6:30-9:30pm  

WHERE:
Kapaa Public Library 4-1464 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa (808) 821-4422

 CONTACT:
Raymond Catania 634-2737 or 635-0835 or email may11nineteen71@gmail.com.

Jury finds Alalem Guilty

A jury found a Wailua man guilty Tuesday of stopping a DLNR construction dig for the Kaumuali‘i Comfort Station project near kupuna burials at Kaumuali‘i Park and Old Smith Landing in Wailua.
James Lee Alalem, 55, of Wailua, will face sentencing on Sept. 27 for obstruction of government operations of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. It is a misdemeanor offense.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano presided over the two-day trial in which Alalem represented himself. The court appointed Warren Perry as stand-by counsel to consult with the defendant on proceedings.
Deputy County Prosecuting Attorney John Murphy said the case was about someone making a decision to cross the line and stop a government operation. He told the jury they must base their decision on the law and not on an emotional connection to a cultural issue or pity for the defendant doing what he believed was right.

The prosecution produced two DLNR officers who said Monday that they arrested the defendant after he crossed the construction barrier and stopped operations on April 28, 2011.

Holly McEldowney, acting administrator of the State Historic Preservation Division, testified Tuesday that planning for the comfort station started in 2005 following a federal mandate that required conversion of existing wastewater systems. She said that proper permitting was acquired at all levels and that the county did not require an environmental impact study for this project.
An on-site archaeologist and cultural monitor were present during test digging and spotted burials and artifacts more than 50 years old in the project area in 2005, 2010 and 2011.

McEldowney said when that happens, DLNR stops work immediately, as required, to consult with the Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau Island Burial Council. She said that the council recommended to the State Historic Preservation Division that the burials be kept in place.

McEldowney said the council approved the burial treatment, and a redesign in 2006 to avoid above- or below-ground disturbance of burials and cultural deposits. Work was done to determine if there was any known lineage of the burials.

Before the trial began, Valenciano informed both attorneys that evidence and questioning could not involve the issue of nationalism or sovereignty. He said the court would not decide the legitimacy of citizenship to any group or kingdom, but would view anyone living in the state as being subject to state laws.

The judge referred to a May decision of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, in upholding an Appeals Court decision of a 2004 case involving Lloyd Pratt. The Native Hawaiian claimed he is entitled to live as a caretaker of sites without a permit in the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park.

Alalem said after the trial that his testimony and questions of witnesses were limited because of the court’s tight focus on the incident.

He said that it did not allow him to expand on his motivation to protect ancestral graves that led to the charge.
The defense witnesses included Punilei Joseph Manini, who presented claims that the land was deeded to ancestors by King Kamehamea III and should not be considered state lands. His replies were stopped short for relevance with objection from the state.

Another witness, Waldeen Palmeiro, was asked to describe her monitoring activity at the site. She responded that there were discoveries before and after the arrest incident, and that around six burials were unearthed at the site.

Palmeiro’s replies were largely stricken as not responsive to questions.

The jury also viewed a video of the incident. The video depicted Alalem and Ka‘iulani Denelyn Edens, 49, of Kapa‘a, crossing into the construction area where activity stopped. The video showed Alalem standing in the bucket of a backhoe until he was arrested by DLNR officers with assistance from the Kaua‘i Police Department.

A jury found Edens guilty of obstruction in February. She was sentenced in April to 40 minutes time served and fined $250.

Edens said at her sentencing that she was moved to act but that it was not a sovereignty issue.
Outside the courthouse, Alalem said that if any good comes from this case, it would be to wake up more people to learn about their culture and to honor their ancestors.

“I am not sorry that I stood up for those who cannot stand up for themselves,” Alalem said.

Abberation of Justice  

Commentary by Kip Goodwin on 19 July 2012 in The Garden Island -
(http://thegardenisland.com/news/opinion/guest/james-alalem-trial-was-aberration-of-justice/article_d47aceb0-d186-11e1-90e2-001a4bcf887a.html)
 
The problematic outcome in the trial of James Alalem, prosecuted for his action to protect iwi, underscores the misdirected priorities of state laws that are supposed to protect cultural sites. It also demonstrates a dilemma faced by the judicial branch when administrative failures are laid on its doorstep.

The crime Mr. Alalem was accused of has a narrow focus: “interfering with a government operation.” The overriding issue was, of course, that a backhoe, with the blessing of the county and state, was digging up Hawaiian graves to make way for an outhouse leachfield, and Mr. Alalem objected.
In making the case for the state, County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Murphy held to the parameters of the charge, bringing Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) enforcement officers and the administrator of the State Historical Preservation Division (SHPD) to the witness stand to establish prior permitting process and Mr. Alalem’s role in what happened on April 28, 2011.

For his part, Mr. Alalem’s defense was to tell the jury what his motive was that day, through the sworn testimony of himself and his two witnesses. Judge Randal Valenciano was adamant in not allowing this to happen. Mr. Alalem’s presentation over 76 minutes (including a 12-minute recess) was interrupted 42 times, either by an objection from the prosecuting attorney, sustained by the judge, or the judge cutting Mr. Alalem short and calling the attorneys (and Mr. Alalem) to a private conference, or the judge interrupting the witnesses and telling the jury to disregard their testimony as being “not responsive.” Mr. Alalem’s defense was never entered into testimony.

If the judge allows into evidence the motive for Mr. Alalem’s actions, the jury must be allowed to consider that evidence in their deliberation, i.e. the iwi and cultural desecration. That would give the jury cause for acquittal, and if that happened it could lead to open ended legal challenges to rules regarding burial sites of iwi and artifacts. Presumably Judge Valenciano, appointed to the bench by pro-development Gov. Linda Lingle, did not want that outcome emanating from his courtroom.
Certainly judges must have latitude to run their courtroooms as they see fit, because an independent judiciary is a cornerstone of constitutional democracy. And the law addressing interference in government operations is necessary to maintain and improve infrastructure.

So the open question, and the reason Mr. Alalem’s trial was an aberration of justice, is why the court was constrained by the law as written from addressing the overriding problem, which is the injustice of those laws that convey the most precious ground any people anywhere can possess, the gravesites of their ancestors, to private and public developers.

The most dispiriting result of this sorry event is that many on Kaua‘i feel even more disenfranchised. So before it happens again, and Kaua‘i’s much-promoted aloha spirit is demeaned in another confrontation with hypocrisy, those state agencies, the DLNR and SHPD, need to re-invent themselves to reflect the mission for which they were established. And elected officials should respond to the peoples’ concerns about burial site protection. A declaration from Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Gov. Neil Abercrombie would be a good start.

.