The Beauty of Change, the Basics for Survival, Earth Unplugged

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Basics for Survival, Earth Unplugged

The Beauty of Change, Essay 1, the Basic Steps…

Simple Steps for Improving Your Life:

  1. Cherish what you have. Appreciate your life, family, friends, and your blessings given by our planet and ‘Mother Nature.’  Everything comes from Nature. Every material object in your life came from our Earth, at a great cost. The planet cannot keep up with our consumption. Give back to Nature, recycle what you do not need, it is made from precious material. Watch what you throw away, are you really giving back to Nature by dumping into her earth and water what you have consumed and no longer want?
  2. Recognize that you have what you need. If you have a home, food, water, you have enough. Everything else is a want. The First World (us) has taken too much from a finite planet (the only one we have). We are stripping our planet of its resources for our pleasure, leaving little for the rest of humanity. We choose not to see what our selfishness has caused, and the suffering of the Third World, who is starving and thirsty. I know we can do better.
  3.  Simplify your life. Having less material objects creates a space that you will enjoy more. Give away or sell what you do not need, someone else can use it. Eating less and more healthy simple foods will increase your enjoyment also. Growing your own organic foods gives pleasure, knowing that you are working with, and in nature. Your body is part of Nature, give it simple good food, and it will reward you with good health. Learn to recognize what will enhance your diet, and create good health. Eat less high resource foods: meat, out of season fruits and vegetables (they have probably traveled more that you have), factory created foods (processed, and dead, also well traveled).

What Easy Improvements I Made to Enjoy My Life More:

  • I sold my large house, and downsized (2003)…AND use way less power. Easier to clean, more time to spend outside in Nature
  • I became a vegetarian (1995)…I grow my own food, and my protein is from fruits and vegetables, legumes, and eggs from my chicken, AND have great health. I eat less and enjoy it more. I don’t eat GMO corn or soy products (they are hidden in packaged food).
  • I use less energy in my new home, replace your light bulbs with more energy efficient CFL’s…Check your appliance efficiency. My heater is on a low setting, so I dress warm.
  • Gave up TV (1995)…The new flat screen TV’s use 2x to 4x the energy of the old tube ones. Again, I am outside in Nature, or reading, or painting.
  • Unplug what you are not using, standby mode uses electricity….
  • I sold my super cool Black & Silver Dodge Ram truck, and bought a small Toyota pickup, now I have downsized again, being given a free car that has great gas mileage.
  • I found something useful to do, and am getting a teaching credential, AND blogging about climate change.
  • I stopped buying what I do not need. Yes, even Christmas presents, I bought everyone socks for Christmas! I make my own beer and wine (another blog), and gave as Christmas presents).
  • I recycle everything. I have a compost pile, recycle cans, jars, plastic, etc., I have very little trash to send back into the Earth.
Starting the Garden
Starting the Garden
Growing the Garden
Growing the Garden
Eating the Garden
Eating the Garden
Mother Nature

Mother Nature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Let Fury Have The Hour”, film by Antonio D’Ambrosio. Artist’s Unite!

YouTube Link:  $3.99     http://www.youtube.com/movie/let-fury-have-the-hour?feature=mv_sr

A documentary that chronicles how a generation of artists, thinkers, and activists used their creativity as a response to the reactionary politics that came to define our culture in the 1980s.

Director Antonino D’Ambrosio took seven years interviewing various artists who discuss how their work stems in large part from reactions to the conservative politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. They explain how their creative responses to what they felt were dehumanizing social changes allow them to find a way to affect the world. Among the many interviewees are Chuck D, Tom MorelloJohn Sayles, and Eve Ensler.

LET-FURY-HAVE-THE-HOUR

Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Room - The Creek So...

Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant Room – The Creek South Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan greet Prime Min...

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan greet Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Denis Thatcher of the United Kingdom for the State Dinner at the North portico of the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bill Moyers, Lawrence Lessig on Government Spying, Big Brother’s Prying Eyes

Full Show: Big Brother’s Prying Eyes

June 14, 2013

Whatever your take on the recent revelations about government spying on our phone calls and Internet activity, there’s no denying that Big Brother is bigger and less brotherly than we thought. What’s the resulting cost to our privacy — and more so, our democracy? Lawrence Lessig, professor of law and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and founder of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, discusses the implications of our government’s actions, Edward Snowden’s role in leaking the information, and steps we must take to better protect our privacy.

“Snowden describes agents having the authority to pick and choose who they’re going to be following on the basis of their hunch about what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. This is the worst of both worlds. We have a technology now that gives them access to everything, but a culture if again it’s true that encourages them to be as wide ranging as they can,” Lessig tells Bill. “The question is — are there protections or controls or counter technologies to make sure that when the government gets access to this information they can’t misuse it in all the ways that, you know, anybody who remembers Nixon believes and fears governments might use?”

Few are as knowledgeable about the impact of the Internet on our public and private lives as Lessig, who argues that government needs to protect American rights with the same determination and technological sophistication it uses to invade our privacy and root out terrorists.

“If we don’t have technical measures in place to protect against misuse, this is just a trove of potential misuse…We’ve got to think about the technology as a protector of liberty too. And the government should be implementing technologies to protect our liberties,” Lessig says. “Because if they don’t, we don’t figure out how to build that protection into the technology, it won’t be there.”

“We should recognize in a world of terrorism the government’s going to be out there trying to protect us. But let’s make sure that they’re using tools or technology that also protects the privacy side of what they should be protecting.”

A former conservative who’s now a liberal, Lessig also knows that the caustic impact of money is another weapon capable of mortally wounding democracy. His recent book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It, decries a pervasive “dependence corruption” in our government and politics that should sound a desperate alarm for both the Left and the Right. Here, Lessig outlines a radical approach to the problem that uses big money itself to reform big money-powered corruption.

Producer: Gail Ablow. Editor: Rob Kuhns.
Intro Producer: Robert Booth. Intro Editor: Paul Desjarlais.
Photographer: Alton Christensen.

Lawrence Lessig on Government Spying.

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Photo of Aaron Swartz and Lawrence Lessig at the launch party for Creative Commons at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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“Technology has exceeded our humanity” (Photo credit: Toban B.)

The Transformation of Society

Who are we as a nation, and what ideals do we represent?
I know that our lives are so busy; family issues, job security, day-to-day survival; I recommend that we speak out while we still can. Will we be willing to trade our freedom’s for security from ‘terrorists’?

THE INTERNET POST

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Sign this Petition from Rep. Alan Grayson, Big Brother is Watching You!

Official portrait of NSA director Keith B. Ale...

Official portrait of NSA director Keith B. Alexander. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NSA Director Keith Alexander


Hey, Bro, Whassup?

Dear Reader

In George Orwell’s novel 1984, “Big Brother” is the dictator of Oceania. No one knows whether Big Brother is a real person, or simply the personification of the dictatorship. Big Brother spies on every citizen through “telescreens.” Everyone is reminded constantly, “Big Brother is Watching You.”

Let’s compare that to the recent revelations about the Orwellian-named National Security Agency (NSA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense. News reports in the Guardian and the Washington Post have uncovered a secret court order dated April 23, 2013, issued to Verizon. Verizon is the largest cell phone company in America. The court order requires Verizon to give to the NSA “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls. ” “Call detail records” are records of who you called, when you called, and how long you spoke.

The court order in the news reports is classified, and it’s marked “Declassify on: April 12, 2038.”

There is no reason to think that the NSA singled out Verizon. So that implies that the NSA is collecting records of every telephone call that you and I make, even local telephone calls. In fact, Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who worked at the NSA, told reporters that he could get the records for the calls from the President’s own personal cell phone.

The NSA has not denied that it is collecting call records on every America. On the contrary, the NSA sees nothing wrong with it.

I see three fundamental problems with this:

  1. This is worse than the proverbial “fishing expedition”; this is like putting the entire ocean through a sieve. It makes a mockery of the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that government searches be “particular.”
  2. This assumes not only that everyone is guilty until proven innocent, but that everyone is guilty. The Fourth Amendment limits searches to cases of “probable cause,” meaning that a prudent and cautious person would reasonably believe that the search will yield evidence of a crime. Obviously, most phone records have absolutely nothing to do with the commission of any crime.
  3. Providing this information to the Department of Defense violates the fundamental principle that our military does not operate on American soil, against American citizens. That principle has been embodied in law since the 1870s. From this perspective, providing this personal call record information to DoD is no different from providing it to the CIA – another agency that is not allowed to operate on US soil.

The news reports also reprinted five pages from an NSA PowerPoint presentation about the NSA’s “Prism” program. According to that NSA presentation, the NSA collects information “directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”“What information?”, you may wonder. This information, according to the NSA presentation: “E-mail, Chat-video, voice, Videos, Photos, Stored data, VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol], File transfers, Video Conferencing, Notifications of target activity – logins, etc., Online Social Networking details [and] Special Requests.”

The PowerPoint presentation in the news reports is classified, and it’s marked “Declassify On: 20360901” (Meaning Sept. 1, 2036.)

The plain meaning of this, in the context of the presentation, is that the NSA is pulling unlimited amounts of e-mails from Microsoft’s hosted Hotmail accounts, e-mails from Google’s hosted Gmail accounts, search records from Google’s search servers, private “friend” communications from Facebook’s servers, the content of telephone calls from Skype’s VoIP service, etc., etc.

Regarding the Prism program, despite what the presentation specifically states, the NSA contends that it cannot actually collect information directly from the servers of all those internet service providers. The NSA also has put out that it collects such information (e-mails, photos, call content, etc.) only for foreigners not residing in the United States. Honestly, I don’t know how the NSA could do that in any reliable manner, because Google, Microsoft, Facebook and all the others have no way of knowing your citizenship or your residence. But that’s what the NSA is saying.

The bottom line is that the NSA evidently is getting call information on virtually every phone call by virtually every American, it is definitely getting the e-mails and call content of foreigners, and it may or may not be getting the e-mails and call content of Americans.

So is Uncle Sam actually Big Brother? I won’t dwell on the convoluted intimate relations that would be necessary to make your uncle also your brother. Rather, as noted above, the essence of Big Brother was that “Big Brother is Watching You.” Uncle Sam isn’t physically observing you at all times – that much is true. But if Uncle Sam is receiving information about every phone call that you make (as the NSA concedes), and Uncle Sam has access every other electronic communication of yours, including your e-mails and web browsing and storing it all (which the NSA disputes), then yes, Big Brother is Watching You.

I think that it’s wrong, and it has to end. As do the 13,000 people in 24 hours who signed the petition supporting our legislation at www.MindYourOwnBusinessAct.com. Because we can’t protect our freedom by destroying it.

I understand that there may be some people who see no problem in the Department of Defense monitoring their communications. I also understand that there are some people who have been so traumatized, so terrorized, by terrorism that they are willing to give up all of their freedom – all of everyone’s freedom – for the promise of some safety.

I am not one of those people.

Click here for freedom: http://MindYourOwnBusinessAct.com/

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

“Ain’t the pictures enough, why do you go through so much,
To get the story you need, so you can bury me.
You’ve got the people confused. You tell the stories you choose.
You try to get me to lose the man I really am.

Michael Jackson, “Privacy” (2001).

P.S. I’ll say it again — Please, please, please forward this to your friends, and urge them to sign the petition. Twitter, Facebook, everywhere.

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Seal of the United States National Security Ag...

Seal of the United States National Security Agency, used between 1963 and 1966 before being replaced by the current seal. The NSA was formed in 1955, but did not have its own seal for several years. This seal was first used in February 1963, before being replaced in September 1966 with the seal used today. The NSA has no information on the origin or design of this seal. For more information, see here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

big brother

big brother (Photo credit: Vince_Lamb)

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin, 2008. Do we live in a Democracy?

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008  Video I

Bill Moyers and Sheldon Wolin 2008  Video II

***

Wikipedia:

Wolin’s work addresses participatory democracy with primary focus on the United States.

He makes a distinction between democracy as system of governance

and any of the formal political institutions of the state.

In other words,

he decouples democracy from governance

and towards a political system based on democratic principles.

***

Sheldon Wolin

Sheldon Wolin

Sheldon S. Wolin (born August 4, 1922) is an American political philosopher and writer

on contemporary politics.

He is currently Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.

His most famous work is Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought.

In 1950, Wolin received his Harvard University doctorate for a dissertation titled Conservatism and Constitutionalism:

A Study in English Constitutional Ideas, 1760–1785. After teaching briefly at Oberlin College,

Wolin taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1954 to 1970.

In a political science department that was largely composed of empirical studies of micro-political issues,

Wolin was a political theorist who managed to build that component of the program by bringing

Norman Jacobson, John Schaar, and Hanna Pitkin into the department.

He was a major supporter and interpreter to the rest of the world

of the theory behind the Free Speech Movement,

and he became a mentor to one of the FSM’s more prominent activists,

 Michael Lerner on whose Ph.D. committee he served.

He also published frequently for The New York Review of Books during the 1970s.

From 1973 through 1987, Wolin was Professor of Politics at Princeton University

where he mentored a large number of students

who have subsequently become leading figures in contemporary political theory,

including most notably: at Berkeley, Hanna Pitkin (Emeritus, Berkeley),

J. Peter Euben (Duke University) and Harlan Wilson (Oberlin), and at Princeton, Uday Mehta (Amherst College),

Wendy Brown(Berkeley), Frederick M. Dolan (Emeritus, Berkeley and California College of the Arts),

Dana Villa (Notre Dame), Nicholas Xenos (Massachusetts), Kirstie McClure (UCLA)

and Cornel West (Princeton).

At Princeton, Wolin led a successful faculty effort to pass a resolution urging university trustees

to divest from endowment investment in firms that supported South African apartheid.

Aside from Oberlin, UC Berkeley and Princeton,

Wolin has also taught at UC Santa Cruz, UC Los Angeles, International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan),

Cornell University, and Oxford University.

US President Lyndon Johnson (right) meets with...

US President Lyndon Johnson (right) meets with special assistant Bill Moyers in the Oval Office, White House, Washington, DC, 29 November, 1963. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Challenges New Shell Tar Sands Mines .