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The Weekly Watch

Round and Round We Go


Deja Vu All Over Again

This week I want to focus on the myriad of cycles in which we live and interact. When I first thought of this topic, my idea was the cycle of seasons, the carbon cycle and its balance of photosynthesis and respiration, the slow geologic gyre of the rock cycle and soil formation, the phase changes of the water cycle, the chemical cycles like nitrogen which orchestrate a dance between the atmosphere, soils, and biosphere, and so on...all natural processes on which we depend for stability of the ecosystem. However, as the week progressed I couldn't help but think back to my youth and the Vietnam war. I fear our immanent invasion of Venezuela will be like multiplying the Vietnam and Iraq fiascos...and then squaring it. With the appointment of Elliot Abrams it really is deja vu all over again.

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Constipation of Imagination

You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?”
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Back to Methuselah, act I, Selected Plays with Prefaces, vol. 2, p. 7 (1949). The serpent says these words to Eve.

Robert F. Kennedy used a similar quotation as a theme of his 1968 campaign: “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.”

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Get with the System...the Ecosystem

Really a garden, farm, or homestead is an ecosystem. Working with nature, emulating natural processes, and flowing with the system is the key to producing food in a sustainable manner. It can be done in almost every environment. Soil can be improved, but as climate chaos accelerates, we all may need to consider how to buffer our gardens from the wild weather swings we're beginning to see. So this past weeks cold weather led me to write about techniques for winter production as well as creating a food producing ecosystem. We can live in harmony with the planet...(3 min trailer)

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The Cancerous Growth of the American Empire

Is There a Cure?

The United Snakes of America is spreading its poison again...this time declaring the elected president of Venezuela is a dictator, and recognizing the leader of the assembly as president. That's like Russia and China announcing Pelosi is now our president. The Carter Center stated "As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world." Old tiny hands, the liar in chief, is at it again. We use slightly different strategies in different countries to prop up corporate hacks as president. Both parties have been complicit. Consider Honduras and the stolen election the US recently recognized. Not to mention the coup supported by Obomber and the $hill. Brazil provides more evidence of our support of corporatists with the illegal removal of Dilma, and the imprisonment of Lula on trumped up charges. Bannon was in Brazil promoting Bolsonaro as was the CIA.

I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.

― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket: by America's Most Decorated Soldier

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Planting Seeds...


I felt I was planting seeds as a teacher...not just ideas...but also an approach of using evidence to support our concepts. That's the nature of science, but not human nature. We cling to our beliefs and rarely examine our deepest held ideologies. It is a challenge for scientists too...to let go of ideas they find profound because new data indicates they are incorrect. Like most sectors of our lives, science has largely been purchased by the corporate oligarchs. They fund the research and and are highly involved in the hiring and firing of the staff. Recent decades have seen continuous cuts to government funded studies and increasing dependence on corporate and foundation moneys. The current situation with seed production tells the story.

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The Best Laid Plans...

When it comes to gardening (and farming), there are as many approaches as there are gardeners. Like designing a house or creating your lifestyle, gardens reflect the people that cultivate them. Imagining and dreaming are tools we use to produce personal unique crafts, arts, and projects...including gardens, homesteads, and communities. There is not a recipe. So it's time to invent it ourselves and put together a plan.

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Learn and Grow

It is a new year and time for new growth. When I arrived (like the shipwrecked person floating on the C99 sign) on this site, I was hopeful. I thought Bernie was destined to the presidency and our nation was going to move in a better direction. As Bernie was being cheated from the nomination illustrating the impotence of politics, we had the Standing Rock protest which I saw as a powerful statement about many things from environmental justice, indigenous rights, and citizen movements to fossil fuel's dominance, climate chaos, and complete corporate control... including mercenary domestic policing. I continue to study and learn of our situation...social, political, and ecological. Perhaps there are answers and political paths toward peace and prosperity, but I personally don't see a political way forward. I come more and more to the conclusion of my youth - to be a gardener, a naturalist, a musician and enjoy my corner of the world - the biologically rich eastern deciduous forest. So I want to shift the focus of this column to look at stories about people and communities that are living at peace and harmony with the planet while maintaining an eye on the news of the day.

(3 min)

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Out with the Old, In with the New!


Like Janus, the name sake of next month, let's look back at what has happened and look forward to what we might do. There are many things I wish we would throw out as the year changes...perpetual war, massive inequality, our prison state, fossil fuel extraction and use, indebtedness for college, the greed of capitalism, and so on. Similarly I wish we would accept a new paradigm of greater good for the masses... a green energy revolution, worker owned business and coops, living with less and leaving a lighter footprint on our planet, excellent public education, green mass transit, and so on. As our environment spins out of control with massive extinction and climate disasters, we don't have time to deliberate. We must act or go extinct ourselves. This is the challenge of the future.

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Oh Holy MEss, Stuck in the Mud, and Grateful for Gifts

Today, I would like to look at the Middle East Melee and Israel's undue influence on US policy. This week I had two trucks get stuck in the mud on my place and I think it is a good analogy for our situation. Then I want to end on a more upbeat note of recognizing and making use of our gifts. My partner of 40 years was a teacher of the gifted. Our teaching careers both confirmed everyone is gifted. The trick is in recognizing and using those gifts.

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Perhaps it is the time of year, but I'm feeling a growing awareness...an awakening. After all, next Friday is the solstice and the days will begin to grow here in the Northern hemisphere. But the hope I'm feeling comes from young people and those willing to hit the streets to urge a fundamental change. The Climate Summit COP24 took place this week. Many people are objecting to the corporate influence and are trying to jettison the overlords influence in a climate strategy. Young Greta Thunberg was inspiring. So is the Sunrise movement in our country, and extinction rebellion in the UK. Then there's the yellow vest movement spreading in the EU and around the world. There's a new movement - Progressive International

The time has come for progressives to form a grassroots movement for global justice: to mobilize workers, women and the disenfranchised all around the world behind a shared vision of democracy, prosperity, sustainability, and solidarity.

There's a new fairly progressive president in Mexico, AMLO. And though Brazil has declined to host the next COP meeting, Costa Rica has stepped up to host and set an example!

Costa Rica has a plan to go fossil-free beginning next year, becoming the first decarbonized economy in the world. Costa Rica already generates more than 90 percent of its electricity using renewable energy. In 2017, it went 300 days on clean energy alone.

(I believe Bhutan has already gone carbon negative)

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Coral Chorale

Today I would like to sing the praise of coral and lament it's rapid demise. I'm in Key West hoping to see a reef or two. I've been fortunate to visit the second largest reef system, the Mesoamerican reef, but this is my first visit to the keys. We were invited by a friend whose relatives have a house there which they are not renting out this month. So let's dive in and see what we can find under the surface of things.


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It is a Conundrum

When the government is owned and controlled by corporate oligarchs (like some sort of feudal lord and master), how can politics offer a path to social and economic reclamation and restoration of the ecosystem? Add in the distortion of corporate media and it seems like checkmate.

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Talking Turkey about Giving Thanks

I hope you're all well fed and have many reasons to give thanks. As el, JtC, and Wendy pointed out this week, the mythology surrounding the holiday is farcical....celebrating the genocide of first nations peoples and the colonization and occupation of their lands...makes America great? Overeating, hyper-consumerism, and football are also typical of the celebration. In my corner of the world huntin' is another part of the tradition. This week we'll take a quick look at the holiday before delving into the news. (6 min)

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Under Water and Under Watered

Floods and droughts, droughts and floods...It was odd this week watching California burn as over four inches of rain fell here in the SE. We seem to be in an age of extremes - with our weather, wealth, war mongering, and welfare. Our political system is owned and controlled by the very agencies driving us down the path of extinction. Real information on foreign interference (by Israel and Saudi Arabia) is ignored as election theater designed to entertain and distract continues in my neighboring states of Georgia and Florida. What made me think of the title under water is the debt load with which we burden our young citizens...locking them into a life of indentured servitude. So let's jump in and see if we can keep our head above the flood waters of this week's news....


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Waging Peace

It's the hundred year anniversary of Armistice Day....

And then they stopped, at 11:00 in the morning, one century ago. They stopped, on schedule. It wasn’t that they’d gotten tired or come to their senses. Both before and after 11 o’clock they were simply following orders. The Armistice agreement that ended World War I had set 11 o’clock as quitting time.

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