Monday, January 10, 2011

The Dark Alliance

This painting was done during a particularly cold winter, about 15 years ago, when the only thing blooming in the greenhouse was a bougainvillea vine.  It was so old, pre-dating my residence by decades, that it had long since escaped its clay pot, and the roots had snaked through the flagstone floor and into the earth beneath.  The background is an old curtain from the '40's snagged at a yard sale, and that pretty vase was broken long ago.  I include this picture even though I was so frustrated while painting it, because when I woke up this morning and looked at it hanging on my bedroom wall, it suddenly reminded me that once upon a time, I saw life - despite being in the midst of a painful divorce - as vibrantly lush, voluptuously rich, complex, inexpressibly beautiful (at least, I couldn't express it, try though I might!)...and bursting with promise.
Since I have come to understand that we are on the brink of a total collapse of the ecosystem, which will lead inevitably to the collapse of human civilization and all the creature comforts we take for granted - perhaps even leading to human extinction, rendering the raging passions of love and art meaningless - this image of turkey vultures sunning themselves in a huge dying sycamore is the best I can summon.
It's macabre to see them clustered at the top every day.  The hemlock is so ugly, typical of thinning conifers.  The landscape has become malevolent.
One of the emails I received this morning had as it's subject the question, How Severe is the Modern Biotic Crisis?, which is the title of a study based on a comparison of the Permian-Triasic transition and the current condition of the biosphere.  The researchers determined:
"...the modern crisis is about at the turning point from decline to decimation. The extinction curve is now parabolic, and the extinction rate has been accelerated..."
Ouch!  And that's limited to only considering these three systems:  Reefs, tropical rain forests, and phytoplankton.  They don't even account for the boreal forest, which readers of Wit's End know, has also turned from "decline to decimation", and is in the midst of a rapidly accelerating mass extinction, as well.  But wait, there's hope!
"...but the decimation is not yet in real. [note:  I think 'not yet in real' is a translation problem;  the original research is from China.]  This is also justified by the modern situation of the three main ecosystems. Modern biotic decline may worsen into decimation and mass extinction but may also get better and recover to ordinary evolution." 
"Since human activities are the main cause of the deterioration of environments and organisms, mankind should be responsible and able to strive for the recovery of the crisis. For the future of mankind, Homo sapiens may become extinct, i.e., disappear without leaving descendants, or evolve into a new and more advanced species, i.e., disappear but leave descendants. For a better future, mankind should be conscious of the facing danger and act as a whole to save biodiversity and harmonize with the environments."
As usual over the past few days, I have collected oodles of pictures of dying trees that are losing their bark...but in the interest of brevity, let this trunk, which is perfectly typical of all species of even the youngest trees, stand in mute testimony for all the others:
More dead birds fell from the sky in Canada, according to this obscure story which I translated to English with the help of Google.
"The man who lives in the 3rd Rank, owner of a team, noticed the successive deaths of pigeons for the first time Dec. 18. It has identified thirty that day. After he called 911, firefighters, police and wildlife officials have moved to recognize the situation.
Since the fall of these pigeons continued. Thursday and again on Wednesday, Mr. Turmel has noticed a few dead birds, either on his own land or on the various buildings on his property. It was also found inside a barn. Agents wildlife are again went there over the last two days, to continue the ongoing investigation in this case.
'I've even seen falling to the ground and agonizing few minutes before dying," says Turmel.Sometimes it was falling like flies. It's not just my house it falls. My neighbors too.'
Mr. Turmel said he called CHOI 98.1 on Thursday to talk about this situation because wildlife officials had told him not to alert the media with his story of dead birds.
'If you tell me not to do something, for sure I'll do it,' he says. 'I was just worried about these birds falls at first because of my horses. But they have not been affected.'"
Good for Mr. Turmel!

It's difficult - even for me, cynical as I have become - to grasp just how thoroughly enslaved people are to the ultra rich, and how deep are the lies - including, especially, the lies of omission - perpetuated by the media, most of which they control utterly.  For one thing, there has been a very successful effort to dismiss anyone who questions the official message as a kooky tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist, even though there is indisputable evidence that the government is controlled by corporations, and lies blatantly about all sorts of tremendously important things - go no further than the farcical performance of Colin Powell pointing at silly maps pretending that yes, Virginia, there really are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

So for anyone who wants to delve into this, here is a link sent by RPauli, The Dark Alliance, which revisits the connection between the CIA, crack cocaine destroying the lives of African-Americans in the ghetto, and the Contras.  It's terrifying, and infuriating.

Here is another link, in this case a video about the riots at the Olympics.  Warning - the narrator has an unfortunate case of extreme potty mouth - but it's worth watching because it reveals the intent of the activists, something I never came across by following the corporate-owned media.  There really IS a radical movement to dismantle the capitalist global oligarchy - but the Revolution will not be televised.  There is some sweet footage of Tracy Chapman singing "Don't you know we're talking about a revolution (that sounds like a whisper)" plus some electrifying scenes of protests.

Speaking of riots, this is the type I expect to become prevalent, over food - quite likely later this year as harvests fail worldwide - but almost certainly in 2012...and not just in third-world countries on the edge of destitution, like Algiers - but closer to home, in SF and DC and NY:

The LA Times reported a very important study which links the incidence of childhood autism to the pregnant mother's proximity to a freeway.  But I suppose it's much more convenient for hysterical parents to conjure up conspiracies by drug manufacturers of vaccines than to acknowledge that our unremitting desire to drive cars and create air pollution as much as we please might be the culprit for this atrocious epidemic, a disastrous calamity that ruins the lives of children and their families.

Catman linked to a wonderful song in a comment.  Here's another version.  There's nothing to see in the video, but you can follow the lyrics, pasted below.  Thanks, Catman.

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying
Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying
Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover that you’d just be one more
Person crying
So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing
As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred
Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Make everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred
While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked
An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it
Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you
You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks they really found you
A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit
To satisfy, insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to
Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to
For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something they invest in
While some on principles baptized
To strict party platform ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God bless him


  1. As soon as the snow melts I am going to save as many trees as possible with rock dust. I dont know if it will help but it is worth a try.
    I dont know if things are going to crash as fast as you are saying but the great barrier reef may die this year.

  2. I've heard those sea minerals can offset much of the damage that comes from environmental stresses. There is still time to rescue trees - we could stop burning fuel, or at least, cut way way back, and the atmosphere would clear very quickly, and we could replant We could build greenhouses with filtered air and start seedling trees and then transplant them.

    The problem is, we're not doing any of that because hardly anybody realizes how bad it is. For some reason it's obvious when corals die, and not so obvious (except to us) when the trees die.

    No choice but to keep slogging!

  3. With our Georgia blizzard, transportation, both land and air, has pretty much come to a halt for a day or two.

    The atmosphere has become fresh and clean, and smells right.

    Yes, we can quickly clean up the atmosphere and end ozone damage to perennials. Leave carbon fuels in the ground where Nature put them so we could have the environment we evolved in.

    I really wanted the Dylan version, but it, along with most of the CBS catalog, now owned by SONY, is not allowed on YouTube. The shotgun blasts on the Easy Rider soundtrack reminded me too much of reality which is crashing in on us.

  4. I noticed it happening here in Vancouver Canada back in the summer of 09, though I think judging by some of the trees it has been going on longer than that. It got worse in the summer of 10 and I expect it will be worst once again when the plants start blooming again here in Spring. No one notices except me, or at least if they do notice, they do not mention it.

    Plants are also blooming way out of season. Roses bloomed in December and we had the cherry blossoms come out in late January 2010 which is at least 2 months early if not more. It's been colder this year so we'll see if it happens again.

    I think we're in big trouble. I'm a bit worried what will happen when the sleeping folks wake up to the devastation that is growing around us.

  5. This posting is most poignant.

    Indeed as people lose touch with the "vibrantly, complex and inexpressibly beautiful.." - people will get cranky. Very cranky.

    We should remember beauty and strive to keep it. It is the glue of civilization.


  6. Richard Pauli, we will leave digital images and videos of beauty in Nature for our ancestors.

    But even those might be destroyed by an EMP from people fighting tribal warfare with nuclear bombs. Everything electronic or electrical that is running when the EMP burst occurs, ceases to function. Some military electronics are shielded from EMP.

    No beauty. No glue. No civilization.

    Gail, do you have a link or post about sea minerals to save trees? Wouldn't it be 'sea salt' and I thought salted earth was dead earth.

  7. Catman, I can't remember all the places I have seen references to sea minerals (not the same as salt) but here's the first one that came up when I googled it just now:

    I have read enough to believe that it really is a great fertilizer and could be very useful for growing food and specific trees - but I don't see how it could be applied on a forest-wide scale.

  8. Thanks, Gail.

    Had a flashback and this tune came through.
    World of Pain - Cream

    (Gail Collins and Felix Pappalardi)
    Outside my window is a tree.
    Outside my window is a tree.
    There only for me.
    And it stands in the grey of the city,
    No time for pity, for the tree or me.

    There is a world of pain
    In the falling rain
    Around me.

    Is there a reason for today?
    Is there a reason for today?
    Do you remember?
    I can hear all the cries of the city,
    No time for pity for a growing tree.

    There is a world of pain
    In the falling rain
    Around me.

    Outside my window is a tree.
    Outside my window is a tree.
    There only for me.
    And it stands in the grey of the city,
    No time for pity, for the tree or me.

    There is a world of pain
    In the falling rain
    Around me.

  9. I don't believe the effects of anthropogenic global climate change are easily mitigated. My understanding is that the concentrations of CO2 currently in the atmosphere are the result of emissions from at least fifty years prior. All that has happened in between is yet to be reflected, so even if we stopped today, the lag, and it is a significant lag, is yet to hit. Sure, we may be able to mitigate particle pollution and Ozone immediately, but in regards to particle pollution, let's not forget that we need it to offset a further greenhouse effect via Global Dimming.

  10. My take on the LA Times article linking childhood autism with proximity to freeways is that the variety of chemical, concentration and and amount coverage of weed killers used by State contractors is different than the types and amounts used by county employees.

  11. Morocco Bama, you are correct that climate change will continue because the excess CO2 will persist in the atmosphere for 1000 years even if we stop all emissions. And the aerosols do mask the full warming effect already in the pipeline from prior emissions - and there will be amplifying feedbacks.

    On the other hand, we are severely compromising our ability to grow food with the ozone pollution. If people understood that we have to eliminate ozone, then maybe the concurrent rise in temperatures as global dimming is relatively quickly eliminated will convince the remaining deniers that we have a little problem here with climate change.

  12. Catman, I don't think the chemicals they refer to are week killers. Here's another story:

    "The study showed that children with autism were more likely to be born in areas with high levels of mercury, cadmium, nickel, trichloroethylene and vinyl chloride."

    I think the point is there are many more cars on freeways than "major roads." by an order of magnitude and of course they are going faster.

    I'll google some more and see what comes up.

  13. Ned: {Oh, we're done for, we're done for, we're done diddely done
    for, we're done diddely doodily, done diddely doodily, done
    diddely doodily, done diddely doodily --}
    Homer: {[grabs him and slaps him] Flanders! Snap out of it!
    Ned: {Thank you, Homer...I don't know what got -- [slap! slap!
    Bart: {[grabbing Homer's arm] Dad, I think he's OK --}
    Homer: {[slap! slap! slap slap!] It's better [slap!] to be [slap!]
    safe [slap!] than [slap!] sorry! [slap! slap! slap!]
    [apologizing] Sorry.}
    Flanders: {Diddely -- [slap!]}

  14. Regarding the autism study - a section in the popular book on neuroscience "The Brain that changes itself" (N.Doidge) suggests a strong link to "white noise". This might suggest that the freeway traffic noise might be part of the problem. Still a byproduct of our misuse of oil, if so. For all your commentary - bang on the mark, I think.


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