Mauna Kea Hui responds to OHA

SOURCE: Kerri Marks (occupyhilomedia@yahoo.com)
SUBHEAD: OHA, our beloved Mauna Kea is NOT for sale! In Aloha we remain Mauna Kea Hui.

By Members on 24 April 2015 for Mauna Kea Hui -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2015/04/mauna-kea-hui-responds-to-oha.html)


Image above: TMT opponents build a Mauna Kea hale, courtesy Occupy Hilo Media. From (http://www.allhawaiinews.com/2015/04/board-of-regents-plans-public-meeting.html).

To be clear, the Mauna Kea Hui, was not invited to this meeting until only yesterday and only after OHA had released its Press Statement claiming we would be in attendance. So we have produced this statement in response.

It is the position of the Hui that we will to uphold the wishes of our Kupuna, those who came before us, such as Uncle Genesis Leeloy, Aunty Leina’ala Apiki McCord, Aunty Kamakahukilani Von Oelhoffen and so many more…because they are who moved us to stand for Mauna Kea so many years ago– their message was clear -- enough is enough—there shall be no further development on Mauna Kea!

While the Mauna Kea Hui will continue to litigate in the courts, and has been adjudicated to have standing to do so, there is also a higher court here and we stand with our Kupuna in asserting the following positions for the protection of Mauna Kea:

  1. The TMT construction shall be halted and any new leases and/or subleases previously issued by BLNR allowing the TMT to be built and that are currently being challenged must be revoked and/or rescinded forever.
  2. The observatories currently operating on Mauna Kea shall pay fair market lease rent now and until the end of the general lease in 2033.
     
  3. No further development shall be allowed in any way, shape, or form and upon the decommissioning of observatories or the current general lease has ended there must be complete clean-up and restoration of the Mauna to its original state and condition as the general lease requires. There shall be no rocks, soils or other materials displaced or removed from the Mauna.
  4. We will consider working with State Official to help find solutions for: the protection of Mauna Kea waters and aquifers, clean-up, and restoration of the Mauna, to insure the “right-holders” (those who the laws are written to protect such as Native Hawaiians and the General Public) have a seat at the table of decision making and lastly we are committed to help to ensure educational opportunities and funds for all the children of Hawai`i are upheld and protected.

OHA … our beloved Mauna Kea is NOT for sale! In Aloha We Remain,

Paul K. Neves, Clarence Ku Ching, Debbie J. Ward, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Kealoha Pisciotta, and the Flores-Case ‘Ohana and KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance.

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Grexit Why and When

SUBHEAD: Grexit May 9th is being contemplated as Germany prepares saying Greece would need not only a 3rd bailout, but 4th or 5th.

By Tyler Durden on 25 April 2015 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-25/germany-prepares-plan-b-says-greece-will-need-not-only-third-bailout-fourth-fifth-or)


Image above: Greek Prime Minister Tsipras eyes German PRime Minister Merkel during recent meeting.  From original article.

It has been a very disturbing 24 hours for Greece.

It all started during yesterday's surprisingly short, just one hour long Eurozone finmin meeting in Riga, where Yanis Varoufakis not only got the most "hostile" reception yet being called "a time-waster, gambler, and amateur", but for the first time one minister openly said that maybe it was time governments prepared for the plan B of a Greek default. This happened after Jeroen Dijsselbloem slammed the door on Varoufakis' proposal for early cash after partial reforms.

"A comprehensive and detailed list of reforms is needed," Dijsselbloem told a news conference following a meeting in Riga. "A comprehensive deal is necessary before any disbursement can take place ... We are all aware that time is running out."

And so, what was once anathema, namely the official hints that a Grexit is being contemplated at the highest ranks, has now become almost commonplace, courtesy of the backstop provided by the ECB's QE, which has lulled everyone into a sense of calm because somehow the hope has been kindled that the ECB (which is rapidly running out of government bonds to buy) can offset the realization that what was once an "unbreakable union" is suddenly not only breakable, but no longer a union. As such the trillions in deposit outflows that will sweep the periphery are somehow to be ignored because, well, "Draghi."

This continued earlier today, when none other than German Finance Minister Schaeuble hinted that Berlin was preparing for a possible Greek default, drawing a parallel with the secrecy of German reunification plans in 1989.

As Reuters reports, at a briefing with reporters after a tense meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Greece on Friday, Schaeuble was asked if euro zone finance ministers were working on a "Plan B" in case negotiations on funding with cash-strapped Athens fail.

"You shouldn't ask responsible politicians about alternatives," Schaeuble answered, adding one only need to use one's imagination to envisage what could happen.
He indicated that if he were to answer in the affirmative that ministers were working on a Plan B -- what to do when Greece runs out of money and cannot pay back its debt -- he could trigger panic.

To explain his position, he drew a parallel with the secrecy that was necessary during the initial stage of planning for German reunification in 1989.

"If back then a minister in charge -- I was one of them -- would have said beforehand, we have a plan for reunification, then the whole world probably would have said: 'The Germans have gone completely crazy.'"
He is correct, but what is left unsaid is that the mere suggestion that Grexit no longer not being contemplated is a major escalation in Europe's attempts to launch a bank run, which they have done an admirable job at so far, leading to more than half of total Greek deposits being funded by the ECB's ELA as of this moment.

In other words, should the ECB boost the haircut on Greek bank collateral, and both a depositor bail-in and capital controls become inevitable.

Which incidentally, is what was also touched upon today, when the head of the Bundesbank and ECB governing council member Jens Weidmann said at a press conference in Riga, Latvia, that officials will discuss haircuts on collateral for emergency funding for Greek banks.
"As you know I have doubts about the provision of this emergency liquidity, because the banks are not doing all they can to improve their liquidity position, which I would expect from banks that avail of this assistance."

"Instead, they are extending their loans -- so-called T-bills -- to the Greek state, which is each time a new credit decision. As these T-bills aren’t liquid, this means that in comparision with the alternatives, this is a deterioration of the liquidity situation which I find unacceptable."

“The haircuts are designed according to the quality of the collateral -- which in this case is mostly government debt securities -- and that depends on the  outlook for debt sustainability which is connected to a successful conclusion of the aid program.”

“From my point of view it is clear: time is running out, the solution cannot come from the central banks, we have a clearly limited task, a clearly limited mandate, and must abide by our rules.”
He, too, is of course correct, and yet his statement is also quite hypocritical, considering it is precisely the check-kiting scheme that Greek banks are engaged in and which the ECB "suddenly" finds objectionably, that has been the norm across Italy, Spain and Portugal for years: all countries whose reform efforst are laughable, and the only reason they haven't imploded in the same pile of rubble as Greece is because the ECB has remained ss a buyer of last resort of their sovereign debt.

For now: because should Podemos or Beppe Grillo take chart in Spain or Italy, all bets are off, and the Greek "contagion", which is really just the realization that there is no ECB bid into insolvent paper, will spread overnight.

Which brings us to the final reason why it has been a very nerve-wracking 24 hours for Greece.
In an interview with Bild, Mark Hauptmann, a lawmaker from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party said that "if Greece stays in the euro, it will need not only a third bailout, but also a fourth, fifth or even more."

He added that a Greek euro exit would be good in the long term because European contracts would regain their validity and Greece could regain its competitiveness.
He, too is correct.

Still, even with three "correct" statements laying out clearly why Greece should Grexit, somehow we doubt that anything will happen even as the posturing on all sides reaches a fever pitch, because while Europe may have Q€ as recourse to a Greek contagion, Greece now has a Putin threat as its final trump card. Because the second Greece is kicked out (or is forced to leave), the construction of the Turkish Stream begins, and with it the cementing of Russian energy dominance for the next decade, as well as the collapse of Ukraine (and the billions of western aid flowing into Kiev over the past year) into irrelevance.



 Is May 9 the Grexit Date?

By Raul Ilargi Miejer 17 April 2015 for the Automatic Earth -
(http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/04/is-may-9-the-grexit-date/)

Yes, more Greece, ever more Greece. Well, the focus is still very much there. It’s not the only topic, obviously, China warrants interest too, certainly with things like Tyler Durden quoting Cornerstone Macro as saying China’s true economic growth rate was just 1.6% in Q1 2015, not the official government number of 7%.

Never trust anyone, especially a government, that consistently meets or beats its predictions. With housing prices falling the way they have, -6% or thereabouts, and over 70% of Chinese private investment in real estate, it’s hard to see how a 7% GDP growth number could pass scrutiny. Sure, there’s the stock market bubble, but even then.

But for now back to Athens. Or Washington, actually, where Yanis Varoufakis finds himself. From what we can gather on his schedule, Varoufakis has (or has had) meetings with Obama and Lagarde on Thursday, and with Mario Draghi, Jack Lew and Wolfgang Schaeuble on Friday.

Also on Friday, he’s meeting sovereign debt lawyer Lee Buchheit, who’s a partner at New York law firm Cleary Gottlieb [..Steen & Hamilton], and has helped restructure debt for various countries. The Guardian, back in 2013 (how times have changed!), portrayed Buchheit as the ‘fairy godmother to finance ministers in distress’:
This is the man who stands up to the vulture funds – so named because they buy up the debt of desperately poor countries in order to chase them through the courts for repayment. So it is something of a surprise to meet a slight, mild-mannered lawyer, with more than a whiff of academia about him.
He insists he does not make a moral judgement in choosing who he acts for, but rather enjoys working for the debtor nations. “It’s just more fun,” he says. “If you represent the lender, your client is tiresomely saying things to you like, ‘Why don’t they just pay us the money back?’ When you’re on the debtor side, you can say, ‘If you want to get it back, why did you give it to us?’
In view of that last quote, it may be wise to once again reiterate that only about 8% of the bailout funds Athens is now on the hook for, actually went to Greece; the other 92% was used to save major European and American banks. As I said before, this has been a political decision, not an economic one. In that vein , we can take a look at the following from John Ward at the Slog, dated March 26:
At this link is an official EU release whose sole concern is the subject of ‘contingent liabilities’ entered into by EU member states. [..] the EU release in this instance contains some blockbuster facts….and adds another piece to the eurozone jigsaw of hypocritical mendacity. Contingent liabilities are often referred to as Shadow Debt: if you’re lucky, they won’t become an eventuality. But as the EU table shows, given the parlous nature of the ezone banking sector, every one of the liabilities is a racing certainty
We’ve all been asking why Germany ignored the EC bailin directive last week and bailed out a small Bavarian Bank. The answer is simple: not to do so would’ve been illegal under BundesRepublik law, because Berlin had promised so to do. On this basis, while at first sight German national debt is a ‘mere’ 70% of GDP, add the promises it has made to its banks, and the number comes in at a horrific 222%. Not far behind comes the Netherlands with a similar ‘official’ national debt at 73% of GDP. But the contingent liabilities are 115%…making a pretty nasty mountain of 188%.
The Number One and Number Two top contingent liability millstones in the EU are – by miles – Germany and the Netherlands. Now let me see…who are the two chaps working hardest to stop the Greeks and their contagious banks from going their own way? Why, none other than German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, and Dutch finance minister Jeroen René Victor Anton Dijsselbloem. The third prong of Troika2 is of course the ECB’s Italian Mario Draghi. Without any contingencies at all, Italy’s national debt is 132.6% of GDP. Add its 45.5% of contingents, and this too adds up to 178.1% of GDP.
Before you know it, things are no longer what they seem. If you were Lee Buchheit, you might want to argue that Greece is being thrown to the lions and the wolves because Germany and Holland bailed out their bankrupt banking systems, and vowed to keep doing it.

That would make it very hard to imagine them saving Greece today, since to do that, they would risk their own banks, which they bailed out with trillions of their own taxpayers’ money. It would be political suicide. It’s much easier to tell those taxpayers that it’s Greece that’s at fault, not their own heroic leaders (I say heroic because that’s how Bernanke portrays himself in his ‘Courage to Act’ fictional fluff).
So when, oh when, could the Grexit come? Daniel Roberts at Raas Consulting thinks he might have part of the answer:
One thing in common for almost all of my Pinewood International Schools (TiHi to some) class of ’78 is that we left. Many still live in Greece and in Thessaloniki or have returned, and they are closest to the pain. The real pain of the past decade, that has destroyed wealth and hope. Unemployment is running at levels not see in Europe since after the war, and at levels that encouraged the socialist-fascist civil wars of the 1930s. Those did not end well.
But that does not explain why the Grexit is inevitable, and why it will happen very soon.
1) This is what the Greek people voted for. No, they did not vote to stay in the Euro, they voted for the party that said it would reduce the debt and meet pension obligations. The Greek people and voters are not stupid. They knew this could only happen by either the rest of Europe bailing out Greece again, or by leaving the Euro.
2) The Greek people know perfectly well that Europe is not going to bail them out, because to do so will only set everyone up for the next bailout.
3) The Greek people, and the rest of Europe, know full well that the debt will never be repaid, and that the Troika are now acting as nothing better than the enforcers of loan sharks.
4) Syriza knows that it had six months before the voters would throw them out, and once out, Syriza would never come back.
5) The Greeks needed to show “good faith” in actually attempting to negotiate a resolution with the Troika. This has now been done, and is failing.
6) The demand for reparations from Germany is designed not to actually extract the reparations, but to anger the Germans to the point that they will block any compromise that Syriza would have been required to accept.
The Greek government, elected by a battered and exploited Greek people, has been establishing the conditions that will give them the moral high ground (in the eyes of their voters) needed to actually leave the Euro. Having set the conditions, when will it happen? I’m still guessing May 9th. Why? Greece will leave the Euro, and they will do it sooner than later. They’ve made the April payment, but simply do not have the money for the May or June payments, and they cannot pass the legislation required by Europe and the Germans and stay in power. That gives us a late May or June date. So why earlier?
Capital flight. Imposing currency controls will be a fundamental element of any Grexit. Accounts will be frozen, and any money in accounts will be re-denominated in New Drachmas. Once the bank accounts are unfrozen, the residual, former Euros will now be worth whatever the New Drachma has dropped to, and the drop will be significant, over–correcting to the downside. Once it is accepted that the Grexit is coming and there will be no last minute deal, and with memories of Cyprus too fresh in every Greek’s mind, the money will flow out of the country. Not just corporate money (most of which is probably off-share already) but any remaining personal money in bank accounts. So Greece has to move before the coming Grexit is perceived as inevitable, and the money starts to flow out.
Weekend event. When the Grexit happens, it will be on a weekend. The banks will be closed, parliament will be called into emergency session, and a packet of laws will be passed. As this needs to be on a Saturday to avoid wholesale capital flight the moment that parliament is called into session, were it a weekday.
This leaves only a few possible dates. And where there are few possible dates, I’m punting on the earlier date, so earlier in May. And looking at the calendar, that leaves us with May 2nd, 9th or 16th. My own guess is that the 2nd is too soon, and the 16th is too late. That leaves me guessing May 9th.

The top graph on the left side of my essay shows all Greek payments due until September. It comes down to about €13 billion in the next 5 months. The country is desperately waiting for a last €7.2 billion bailout tranche the lenders won’t pay out, but it wouldn’t even make that much difference. So when will the drama come to an end? Turning to the second graph, we see specifics. The next payments are:
• April 17 and 20: a combined total of €273.5 million in interest payments to the ECB.
• May 1: €195.1 million to the IMF.
• May 12: €744.9 million to the IMF. 
It’s hard to see how Greece can even attempt to make that last payment. Let alone the €1.61 billion due in June (numbers on both graphs don’t add up exactly), or the billions after that.

The big questions concern not just the difference between on the one hand, economic issues and on the other, political ones. Syriza doesn’t have the mandate to take Greece out of the eurozone. That is a huge point. But neither does it have the mandate to give in to the troika’s insistence on pensions cuts.

At a certain moment, it may come down to what can be explained to the Greek people, and how well it can be explained. This explanation will almost certainly have to come after the fact, since holding a referendum pre-Grexit would carry far too much potential risk of uncontrolled demolition of the entire Greek economy and banking system.

Tsipras and Varoufakis are not the most enviable people out there at the moment. They have hard choices to make. Still, in the end, running a society, a nation, or a union of nations, cannot be just a matter of balancing your books. That can never be your bottom line. You’re talking about real people, not mere entries in a ledger. Schaeuble and other European politicians keep bragging about the ‘success’ of Greek government policies before Syriza came to power, even as it’s been well documented that many Greek children go hungry and people have no access to health care. How is that a success?

That attitude may be the most valuable argument Syriza has available to it in its upcoming discussions with its voters. Whether these discussions take place before or after a Grexit is hard to say at this point. But Daniel Roberts’ reasoning towards a May 9 event certainly has some logic to it. We may still hope that the troika doesn’t put Syriza into a position of an impossible fork in the road, but right now it doesn’t look good, it looks like they’re getting ready to sacrifice Greece on their pagan altars.

To top off the cynicism involved Bloomberg runs an article today entitled Germany: Has Any Country Ever Had It So Good?. At the same time, a few hundred miles to the south east, children don’t have enough to eat. The European Union sure is a great place to be. What a success story! Pity it’s about to end.

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Disturbed Soil & Troubled Sleep

SUBHEAD: Missing from our understanding is how the deep dreams of the soil ultimately nourish our own dreams.

By -
(http://greenhandinitiative.blogspot.com/2015/04/tossing-and-turning-our-disturbed-soils.html)


Image above: From (http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/05/26/we-are-soil).

I’m sitting under a halogen light right now and staying up late to write about soil.

That probably doesn’t sound ironic to you. I think it should.

How I came to reflect on soil and sleep as functionally related and analogous in their processes is something of a mystery, though the sequence of events that led to the idea is clear enough. I recently spent a weekend learning about soil in a workshop that outlined some of the basic science.

Weeks later, a person I spent time with at the workshop emailed me late one day wanting to connect about a soil-related project we’re working on together, but informing me that, at the moment, sleep was a higher priority. My response upon reading the email was that no person who is seriously interested in soil would dismiss the importance of sleep.

At first my response puzzled even me. As I thought about it, though, I realized that the work of the body in sleep and what I’d recently learned about the life activity of the soil are very much connected.

Shrouded in layer upon layer of darkness and opacity, both the body in sleep and the soil beneath the surface teem with important goings-on. Interestingly, much of this activity has to do with the movement of nutrients through their respective systems, and the regenerative and growth processes that require these nutrients.

As we fall asleep at night, if everything is working correctly, we shift focus, our eyes and somatic sensibilities adjust to new surroundings, and we engage with these. We move in a different world. We awaken to our dreams.

And these dreams, whether we acknowledge it or not, are absolutely essential to the functioning of our daily waking consciousness. Certain processes of the body wake up in sleep, and the body needs sleep the way the mind needs dreams.

Like our nightly sleep, the sleep of soil isn’t really sleep at all; I would argue that instead it’s a kind of awakening to a different level of being. The dreams of the soil when left undisturbed support the growth of plants into light, just as our own dreams support the growth and flowering of consciousness. These dark processes remain as guessable to those of us walking on the earth as are the dreams of a friend we see twitching in his sleep.

Yet the visible, colorful expressions of plants above the soil surface and their capacity to metabolize light into food are directly dependent on their ability to gather from the sleep of soil the elements needed to accomplish this.

What we find if we look into soil and follow its sublime, heroic dreams are exceedingly complex relationships, fine chains of mycorrhizal fungi and associated bacteria fed by plants in just the right way to help them to locate and channel these nutrients to the plant roots. Mycologist Paul Stamets calls the interconnected mycelial network of soil, "the neurological network of nature."

At night, the plant’s energy and sap move down into the soil to support and feed this hidden activity. At night we likewise descend, in our own way, into the depths, and there make use of the nutrients we have taken in as food that were originally dredged up by plants in their own dreams. Thus, by linking our dreams to those of the soil through the mediumship of plants, we dream our bodies into being.

At some point, people discovered that they could get a temporary boost in productivity from the soil by inverting it, exposing its dreams to the light. As the plow inverts the earth, a vast and largely invisible conflagration ensues within the soil, a plume of CO2 rises from it, and from this waste and sudden death the enterprising food plant draws its life.

Of course, all the other plants, including the weeds and grasses that had formerly held the soil and embraced and fed its microorganisms, are caught up in the maelstrom, and when they die the nutrients they had sequestered are at first liberated, then ultimately leached away.

In time the food plants grown there cannot make it anymore. In traditional farming, the exhausted soil was either abandoned, kept exposed but on life support with manure or compost, or allowed to rest and regenerate during a fallow period.

Like a sick and wounded soldier coming home from war, the land must sleep. Today’s methods of chemical agriculture seek to continually stimulate more productivity from the soil as it lies dying.

There is no rest for the soils that produce most modern foods, and our widespread exhaustion follows.

Missing from our understanding is how the deep dreams of the soil ultimately nourish our own, and how our reckless pattern of disturbing our soils eventually disrupts our ability to sleep as well as the capacity of our sleeping bodies to dream themselves anew.

I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to say that in the natural course of things, each night we refocus on the place where we connect in the quiet womb of the Earth, and each morning we are born again. Going into that womb, we take with us the products of the communion of plant, sun and soil. We call it food.

The human digestive system can be seen as an internalized placenta by which we draw nutrients from the mother. We are, in every way, still inside of her. These nutrients, the products of the teeming, active dreams of soil and sea, then meet with the imaginative processes of the body that regenerate us in our sleep.

Meanwhile, here I am still writing under the halogen light, following my culture’s habit of inverting things for temporary gains -- this time by using technology to put day in the place of night. As with inverting the soil, there is a short burst of heightened productivity associated with artificial light and the dreams it breaks up and postpones.

There’s always a purchase price for such advantages, however. I can push my fallow period off for an hour or two, convinced that the most important work is happening when my eyes are open, but eventually I reach a point of diminishing returns.

And it’s worth noting that from a biological point of view, a significant part of the price we pay for the stress we induce in this way is the loss of minerals…the very nutritional components that plants are accessing from the earth by feeding the microbes of their soils every night. Turning night to day leaches minerals from the body just as though we are soil being turned to face the sun.

So what are the ultimate consequences of all of this? Let’s put it all together: we diminish the fertility of the soil by disturbing it, gain fewer mineral nutrients needed to build our bodies, then degenerate and sleep badly. In the midst of this, we also focus on our waking consciousness and productive labor at the expense of sleep and productive dreaming. The net effect is that slowly but surely the aperture of human consciousness narrows.

Most people will experience this clearly after even one sleepless night: we can feel how we start to move more robotically, how our thoughts tend to stay in their established channels like computer programs, and how irritation and reactivity supplant creative responses to the day’s events.

Our experience thins out. Deprived of the depths of sleep for a night, we sense that we’re not fully living but just going through the superficial motions. And here’s something worth noticing: vitality, like soil, is a thing of depth. Yet, what happens if sleep and our capacity for it is incrementally eroded over time?

What happens when soils continue to thin and degenerate, artificial light fiddles with our hormones, food plants are tricked into growing on chemicals, diseased plants protected by sprays, people are tricked into feeling ok with drugs, received images from the media take the place of active imagination in people’s minds, and stress takes the place of deep upwellings of primal energy?

If this change were gradual, would we even notice? And what if the perceptual systems by which we would notice such a change are among those that get damaged?

I’m not sure, but the questions are worth asking. What I am growing increasingly confident of is that most of the aisles of my local grocery store are filled with food that is unfit for human consumption.

And I’m sorry to say this, but many people I see putting that same food into their shopping carts look like they’re sleepwalking in a bad dream — they seem startled and annoyed if anything should awaken them. Perhaps this another one of the costs of our ongoing inversions:

We start living nightmares instead of occasionally just dreaming them.

So what’s the answer? I think we’ve tossed and turned and disturbed the sleep of our soils too long, and I’m guessing we need deeper nourishment than what most people are getting. With deeper nourishment comes the possibility of more productive sleep, with deeper sleep the possibility for deeper dreams, and the deeper the dreams, the deeper the capacity for consciousness.

This idea goes against much of our conditioning, which teaches us to extend our waking hours and work harder with our conscious minds. Yet as every toddler eventually figures out, the fastest and best way to get from one exciting day to the next is to let go of the one you’re in, that is: to go to sleep, and then wake to day again. Collectively, we seem to think we’ll arrive at that new day by turning our minds faster.

What it looks like to me is that all we’ve managed to accomplish in this way is to more quickly generate correct answers to the wrong questions.

But what if the world we live in heals fastest and best when moving at the infinite speed of rest?


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I’m Not Crazy, I’m Scared

SUBHEAD: Bloomberg's Richard Breslow, author of "Trader's Notes" is painfully accurate with his latest take on the "markets."

By Richard Breslow 24 April 2015 for Zero Hedge -
(http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-24/i%E2%80%99m-not-crazy-i%E2%80%99m-scared-why-one-trader-time-it-different)


Image above: Illustration of "Stock Market Crash Ahead".  From (http://www.profitsrun.com/featured/are-you-ready-for-the-next-big-market-crash/).

The Standard & Poor's Index (SPX) flirted with all-time highs. The Nasdaq Index made 15 year highs; Chinese equities, and so many other equity indices are flying. Bonds sold off this week, but the German 10-year yield is still 17/100th percent, the U.S. 10-year yield unable to get beyond 2%, and Greek bonds had a two-day rally that would be truly impressive if it wasn’t on volume that made it just an exercise moving wide bid/offer spreads, representing sentiment not trading.

The US dollar is selling off on the view that Greece is saved, the Fed is scared, and a “we can’t sit with positions because it never works” mentality. The only really new thing the market needs to digest is that commodities may be nearing a bottom

Happy days seemingly, but there have been some very discordant and troubling comments from the creme-de-la-creme of smart - and big - investors.

Over the last three days, we have reported that some of the most important investment voices in the world are more than a little scared about the ravenous appetite for risk playing out in the market, and the fact that they have been ignored is beyond unnerving.  

Central banks are driving all investment decisions, and what this implies is that they are in this trade so deeply that there is no obvious or practical exit.

Over the course of this week we have heard Larry Fink of Blackrock talking about the severe risks of investing in Europe; Bill Gross of Janus saying German bonds are the short trader’s dream; Pimco warning that markets have not addressed the potential of a Fed tightening (I remember 1994); the incoming CEO of Allianz, that TWO trillion dollar asset manager, saying,

 “We see generally meager growth prospects, political dangers and risks of a stock market crash.” 

Even Abby Cohen thinks it is a stock pickers world, not a buy anything and kick back world. And yet, the market didn’t even blink.

What is different this time?

Central Banks and their sovereign wealth funds have become the major players dominating market activity.

One central banker after another has admitted they are fixated on market reaction to their comments and actions. They are relying on markets blessing their actions even though it was market dysfunction (and regulatory malfeasance) that brought us here.

This is a dangerous situation. The focus must return to the REAL economy; we cannot trade our way out of past mistakes.

And we must look at commodities. One thing central bankers do, because forward curves drive all their forecasts, is extrapolate ad infinitum current trends into the future

No central bank in the world got oil right, and that is  arguably the most important commodity in the world.

Well, oil has made new year-to-date highs. Why do you think Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities auctions have been blowing off the shelves?

If central bankers have this wrong, their forecasts are wrong, and the Fed, for one, will be way behind the curve. I posit that a lot of central bankers will be tacking right if Brent Oil holds above $63 a barrel.

So the big question to ponder is why all these very smart people who control trillions of dollars of assets don’t seem to be voting with their money.

If the biggest fund managers and thought leaders of the world were radically changing their asset allocations, wouldn’t we see it? Not if central banks are all on the other side of the trade.

Maybe they think they can just hold to maturity. A wise central banker told me I should learn to live with central banks being the dominant force in the market, whether I like it or not. I, unhappily, think he is right. Oh, how I wish Louis Rukeyser could get them on his couch.

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TPP/ TTIP trade strategy blowback

SUBHEAD: Democrats' frustration with President Obama boils over as trade bills' "fastrack" advances.

By Michael McAuliff/Laura Barron Lopez on 23 April 2015 for HuffPo  -
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/23/democrats-fast-track_n_7129276.html)


Image above: Grassroots resistance to these trade deals seem to be gaining momentum. From (http://bullhorn.nationofchange.org/grassroots_resistance_finally_overcome_fast_track_push).

Democrats' frustration with President Barack Obama's trade agenda bubbled over Thursday, with key opponents accusing their party's leader of putting more effort into a bid to aid corporate America than anything he's done for the middle class.

Calling it "maddening," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told reporters that the Obama administration was putting on a full-court press unlike anything Democrats have ever seen in his presidency in order to win the authority to fast track enormous trade deals.

"I think if you could get my colleagues to be honest, on the Democratic side, with you -- and I think you can mostly -- they will say they've been talked to, approached, lobbied and maybe cajoled by more cabinet members on this issue than any issue since Barack Obama's been president," Brown said.

"That's just sad," he added.

Brown and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) spoke to reporters about their frustrations a day after the Senate Finance Committee advanced a package of legislation that would grant Obama Trade Promotion Authority, as fast track is more formally known.

With it, the president would be able to use expedited procedures to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership with a dozen Pacific Rim nations and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with Europe. Together, those two deals represent about two-thirds of the world's economy. Once Obama signs the pacts, Congress would then have no ability to amend or filibuster them, having only an up-or-down vote.

"I wish they put the same effort into minimum wage. I wish they put the same effort into Medicare at 55. I wish they put the same effort into some consumer strengthening on Dodd-Frank," Brown said.
Casey added that he thought it would be better if the administration took "that intensity to lobby folks on trade" and applied it to the Democrats' efforts to focus on the middle class.

"My God, we should be spending our time on that, not having the debate we're having," Casey said.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is “disappointed” with the current bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.).

Pelosi backs a substitute version offered by Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), who vehemently opposes the current bill backed by Obama. But Ryan blocked Levin's measure Thursday as their committee debated the trade legislation, ruling Levin's proposal out of order.

“I've said I'm looking for a path to yes. We recognize there will be bumps in that road, that path,” Pelosi said, calling the bill put forward by Hatch, Wyden and Ryan “more like a pothole” on the path to yes.

Still, pressed on whether she was lobbying against the president, Pelosi said she isn’t.
“I'm not lobbying against anything. I'm lobbying for a positive trade promotion and a positive bill,” she said. “So I'm not lobbying anything except for us to arrive at an agreement where we can have 150 Democratic votes for the bill. But that may not be possible.”

The administration and GOP backers say the massive trade deals are needed to boost U.S. exports, increase foreign markets and combat the growing influence of China. They also argue that the increased economic activity will boost jobs and the economy, and say the TPA measure includes formal negotiating objectives that will ensure U.S. workers compete on a level playing field.
Yet most Democrats want obligations written into the law that trading partners must live up to, not just objectives.

Pelosi added that she and other Democrats within her caucus are concerned with currency manipulation, environment, food safety, agriculture and conflict resolution within the current bill.
The minority leader aims to unify Democrats behind the ideas in Levin's competing measure, hoping they can bring Republicans to the negotiating table. The effort pits her against Obama.

Brown wasn't willing to guess why Obama as president had come so far from his stance on trade as a candidate.

"I was sitting in Cleveland with my wife in Cleveland State University watching the debate between Obama and Clinton, and they both said they were going to renegotiate NAFTA," Brown said. "So ask him about his evolution on this."

UPDATE: Wednesday night at 9:56 p.m. -- The House Ways and Means Committee passed its version of the trade legislation later Thursday, setting the stage for both the full House and the Senate to take up the measures.

Like with the Senate Finance Committee, a number of Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee crossed the aisle to back Obama and vote with the GOP, but most expressed frustration.
"I am convinced that President Obama would not have supported this six years ago when he was in the Senate," said Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), before the fast-track bill passed 25 to 13.


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Radiation damages top predator bird

SUBHEAD: Breeding success of goshawk significantly dropping in North Kanto area due to Fukushima meltdowns.

By Iori Mochizuki on 24 April 2015 for Fukushima Diary -
(http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/04/breeding-success-of-goshawk-significantly-dropping-in-north-kanto-area-0-1-%CE%BCsvh-increase-reduces-10-breeding/)


Image above: A closeup of a mature goshawk from original article.

On 3/24/2015, Nagoya city university and NPO Goshawk protection fund published their report on Scientific Reports.

In this report, they proved that the radioactive contamination significantly reduces the breeding success of goshawk in north Kanto area such as Tochigi etc.

Especially the hatching rate is severely affected compared to the past ratio in the same area from 1992 to 2010. It was 90% in 2011, which was within the normal range of past 19 years but it dropped to 85% in 2012, and it was decreased to 67% in 2013.

They concluded this significant decrease is closely related to the atmospheric dose and stated 0.1 μSv/h increase in atmospheric dose reduces breeding success by 10%.

They also reported that even though the atmospheric dose comes back to the normal level as before 311, the breeding success keeps decreasing.

They assume it is because goshawk is on the top of the food chain so it is severely affected by biological concentration. The internal exposure is possibly causing the long term effect in breeding success.

http://www.nagoya-cu.ac.jp/secure/149568/270324.pdf
http://www.nagoya-cu.ac.jp/2211.htm?q=%E3%82%AA%E3%82%AA%E3%82%BF%E3%82%AB
http://goshawkfund.jp/

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Die-Offs Occuring 4/17/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Ocean Catastrophe 4/17/15

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Field Guide to Negative Progress

SUBHEAD:  There will be a demand for tools and simple technologies that make sense in a deindustrializing world.

By John Michael Greer on 22 April 2015 for Archdruid Report -
(http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-field-guide-to-negative-progress.html)


Image above: Since 2010, Antoine Bruy traveled throughout Europe to meet men and women who made the radical choice to live away from cities, willing to abandon their lifestyle based on performance, efficiency and consumption. From (http://aintbadmagazine.com/article/2014/05/07/antoine-bruy/).

I've commented before in these posts that writing is always partly a social activity. What Mortimer Adler used to call the Great Conversation, the dance of ideas down the corridors of the centuries, shapes every word in a writer’s toolkit; you can hardly write a page in English without drawing on a shade of meaning that Geoffrey Chaucer, say, or William Shakespeare, or Jane Austen first put into the language.

That said, there’s also a more immediate sense in which any writer who interacts with his or her readers is part of a social activity, and one of the benefits came my way just after last week’s post.

That post began with a discussion of the increasingly surreal quality of America’s collective life these days, and one of my readers—tip of the archdruidical hat to Anton Mett—had a fine example to offer.

He’d listened to an economic report on the media, and the talking heads were going on and on about the US economy’s current condition of, ahem, “negative growth.” Negative growth? Why yes, that’s the opposite of growth, and it’s apparently quite a common bit of jargon in economics just now.

Of course the English language, as used by the authors named earlier among many others, has no shortage of perfectly clear words for the opposite of growth. “Decline” comes to mind; so does “decrease,” and so does “contraction.”

Would it have been so very hard for the talking heads in that program, or their many equivalents in our economic life generally, to draw in a deep breath and actually come right out and say “The US economy has contracted,” or “GDP has decreased,” or even “we’re currently in a state of economic decline”? Come on, economists, you can do it!

But of course they can’t. Economists in general are supposed to provide, shall we say, negative clarity when discussing certain aspects of contemporary American economic life, and talking heads in the media are even more subject to this rule than most of their peers.

Among the things about which they’re supposed to be negatively clear, two are particularly relevant here; the first is that economic contraction happens, and the second is that that letting too much of the national wealth end up in too few hands is a very effective way to cause economic contraction.

The logic here is uncomfortably straightforward—an economy that depends on consumer expenditures only prospers if consumers have plenty of money to spend—but talking about that equation would cast an unwelcome light on the culture of mindless kleptocracy entrenched these days at the upper end of the US socioeconomic ladder. So we get to witness the mass production of negative clarity about one of the main causes of negative growth.

It’s entrancing to think of other uses for this convenient mode of putting things. I can readily see it finding a role in health care—“I’m sorry, ma’am,” the doctor says, “but your husband is negatively alive;” in sports—“Well, Joe, unless the Orioles can cut down that negative lead of theirs, they’re likely headed for a negative win;” and in the news—“The situation in Yemen is shaping up to be yet another negative triumph for US foreign policy.”

For that matter, it’s time to update one of the more useful proverbs of recent years: what do you call an economist who makes a prediction? Negatively right.

Come to think of it, we might as well borrow the same turn of phrase for the subject of last week’s post, the deliberate adoption of older, simpler, more independent technologies in place of today’s newer, more complex, and more interconnected ones.

I’ve been talking about that project so far under the negatively mealy-mouthed label “intentional technological regress,” but hey, why not be cool and adopt the latest fashion?

For this week, at least, we’ll therefore redefine our terms a bit, and describe the same thing as “negative progress.” Since negative growth sounds like just another kind of growth, negative progress ought to pass for another kind of progress, right?

With this in mind, I’d like to talk about some of the reasons that individuals, families, organizations, and communities, as they wend their way through today’s cafeteria of technological choices, might want to consider loading up their plates with a good hearty helping of negative progress.

Let’s start by returning to one of the central points raised here in earlier posts, the relationship between progress and the production of externalities. By and large, the more recent a technology is, the more of its costs aren’t paid by the makers or the users of the technology, but are pushed off onto someone else.

As I pointed out a post two months ago, this isn’t accidental; quite the contrary, as noted in the post just cited, it’s hardwired into the relationship between progress and market economics, and bids fair to play a central role in the unraveling of the entire project of industrial civilization.

The same process of increasing externalities, though, has another face when seen from the point of view of the individual user of any given technology. When you externalize any cost of a technology, you become dependent on whoever or whatever picks up the cost you’re not paying.

What’s more, you become dependent on the system that does the externalizing, and on whoever controls that system. Those dependencies aren’t always obvious, but they impose costs of their own, some financial and some less tangible. What’s more, unlike the externalized costs, a great many of these secondary costs land directly on the user of the technology.

It’s interesting, and may not be entirely accidental, that there’s no commonly used term for the entire structure of externalities and dependencies that stand behind any technology.

Such a term is necessary here, so for the present purpose, we’ll call the structure just named the technology’s externality system. Given that turn of phrase, we can restate the point about progress made above: by and large, the more recent a technology is, the larger the externality system on which it depends.

An example will be useful here, so let’s compare the respective externality systems of a bicycle and an automobile. Like most externality systems, these divide up more or less naturally into three categories: manufacture, maintenance, and use.

Everything that goes into fabricating steel parts, for instance, all the way back to the iron ore in the mine, is an externality of manufacture; everything that goes into making lubricating oil, all the way back to drilling for the oil well, is an externality of maintenance; everything that goes into building roads suitable for bikes and cars is an externality of use.

Both externality systems are complex, and include a great many things that aren’t obvious at first glance. The point I want to make here, though, is that the car’s externality system is far and away the more complex of the two. In fact, the bike’s externality system is a subset of the car’s, and this reflects the specific historical order in which the two technologies were developed.

When the technologies that were needed for a bicycle’s externality system came into use, the first bicycles appeared; when all the additional technologies needed for a car’s externality system were added onto that foundation, the first cars followed. That sort of incremental addition of externality-generating technologies is far and away the most common way that technology progresses.

We can thus restate the pattern just analyzed in a way that brings out some of its less visible and more troublesome aspects: by and large, each new generation of technology imposes more dependencies on its users than the generation it replaces. Again, a comparison between bicycles and automobiles will help make that clear.

If you want to ride a bike, you’ve committed yourself to dependence on all the technical, economic, and social systems that go into manufacturing, maintaining, and using the bike; you can’t own, maintain, and ride a bike without the steel mills that produce the frame, the chemical plants that produce the oil you squirt on the gears, the gravel pits that provide raw material for roads and bike paths, and so on.

On the other hand, you’re not dependent on a galaxy of other systems that provide the externality system for your neighbor who drives. You don’t depend on the immense network of pipelines, tanker trucks, and gas stations that provide him with fuel; you don’t depend on the interstate highway system or the immense infrastructure that supports it.

If you did the sensible thing and bought a bike that was made by a local craftsperson, your dependence on vast multinational corporations and all of their infrastructure, from sweatshop labor in Third World countries to financial shenanigans on Wall Street, is considerably smaller than that of your driving neighbor. Every dependency you have, your neighbor also has, but not vice versa.

Whether or not these dependencies matter is a complex thing. Obviously there’s a personal equation—some people like to be independent, others are fine with being just one more cog in the megamachine—but there’s also a historical factor to consider.

In an age of economic expansion, the benefits of dependency very often outweigh the costs; standards of living are rising, opportunities abound, and it’s easy to offset the costs of any given dependency.

In a stable economy, one that’s neither growing nor contracting, the benefits and costs of any given dependency need to be weighed carefully on a case by case basis, as one dependency may be worth accepting while another costs more than it’s worth.

On the other hand, in an age of contraction and decline—or, shall we say, negative expansion?—most dependencies are problematic, and some are lethal. In a contracting economy, as everyone scrambles to hold onto as much as possible of the lifestyles of a more prosperous age, your profit is by definition someone else’s loss, and dependency is just another weapon in the Hobbesian war of all against all.

By many measures, the US economy has been contracting since before the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008; by some—in particular, the median and modal standards of living—it’s been contracting since the 1970s, and the unmistakable hissing sound as air leaks out of the fracking bubble just now should be considered fair warning that another round of contraction is on its way.

With that in mind, it’s time to talk about the downsides of dependency.

First of all, dependency is expensive. In the struggle for shares of a shrinking pie in a contracting economy, turning any available dependency into a cash cow is an obvious strategy, and one that’s already very much in play. Consider the conversion of freeways into toll roads, an increasingly popular strategy in large parts of the United States.

Consider, for that matter, the soaring price of health care in the US, which hasn’t been accompanied by any noticeable increase in quality of care or treatment outcomes. In the dog-eat-dog world of economic contraction, commuters and sick people are just two of many captive populations whose dependencies make them vulnerable to exploitation.

As the spiral of decline continues, it’s safe to assume that any dependency that can be exploited will be exploited, and the more dependencies you have, the more likely you are to be squeezed dry.

The same principle applies to power as well as money; thus, whoever owns the systems on which you depend, owns you. In the United States, again, laws meant to protect employees from abusive behavior on the part of employers are increasingly ignored; as the number of the permanently unemployed keeps climbing year after year, employers know that those who still have jobs are desperate to keep them, and will put up with almost anything in order to keep that paycheck coming in.

The old adage about the inadvisability of trying to fight City Hall has its roots in this same phenomenon; no matter what rights you have on paper, you’re not likely to get far with them when the other side can stop picking up your garbage and then fine you for creating a public nuisance, or engage in some other equally creative use of their official prerogatives.

As decline accelerates, expect to see dependencies increasingly used as levers for exerting various kinds of economic, political, and social power at your expense.

Finally, and crucially, if you’re dependent on a failing system, when the system goes down, so do you. That’s not just an issue for the future; it’s a huge if still largely unmentioned reality of life in today’s America, and in most other corners of the industrial world as well.

Most of today’s permanently unemployed got that way because the job on which they depended for their livelihood got offshored or automated out of existence; much of the rising tide of poverty across the United States is a direct result of the collapse of political and social systems that once countered the free market’s innate tendency to drive the gap between rich and poor to Dickensian extremes.

For that matter, how many people who never learned how to read a road map are already finding themselves in random places far from help because something went wrong with their GPS units?

It’s very popular among those who recognize the problem with being shackled to a collapsing system to insist that it’s a problem for the future, not the present. They grant that dependency is going to be a losing bet someday, but everything’s fine for now, so why not enjoy the latest technological gimmickry while it’s here?

Of course that presupposes that you enjoy the latest technological gimmickry, which isn’t necessarily a safe bet, and it also ignores the first two difficulties with dependency outlined above, which are very much present and accounted for right now.

We’ll let both those issues pass for the moment, though, because there’s another factor that needs to be included in the calculation.

A practical example, again, will be useful here. In my experience, it takes around five years of hard work, study, and learning from your mistakes to become a competent vegetable gardener. If you’re transitioning from buying all your vegetables at the grocery store to growing them in your backyard, in other words, you need to start gardening about five years before your last trip to the grocery store.

The skill and hard work that goes into growing vegetables is one of many things that most people in the world’s industrial nations externalize, and those things don’t just pop back to you when you leave the produce section of the store for the last time. There’s a learning curve that has to be undergone.

Not that long ago, there used to be a subset of preppers who grasped the fact that a stash of cartridges and canned wieners in a locked box at their favorite deer camp cabin wasn’t going to get them through the downfall of industrial civilization, but hadn’t factored in the learning curve.

Businesses targeting the prepper market thus used to sell these garden-in-a-box kits, which had seed packets for vegetables, a few tools, and a little manual on how to grow a garden.

It’s a good thing that Y2K, 2012, and all those other dates when doom was supposed to arrive turned out to be wrong, because I met a fair number of people who thought that having one of those kits would save them even though they last grew a plant from seed in fourth grade.

If the apocalypse had actually arrived, survivors a few years later would have gotten used to a landscape scattered with empty garden-in-a-box kits, overgrown garden patches, and the skeletal remains of preppers who starved to death because the learning curve lasted just that much longer than they did.

The same principle applies to every other set of skills that has been externalized by people in today’s industrial society, and will be coming back home to roost as economic contraction starts to cut into the viability of our externality systems.

You can adopt them now, when you have time to get through the learning curve while there’s still an industrial society around to make up for the mistakes and failures that are inseparable from learning, or you can try to adopt them later, when those same inevitable mistakes and failures could very well land you in a world of hurt.

You can also adopt them now, when your dependencies haven’t yet been used to empty your wallet and control your behavior, or you can try to adopt them later, when a much larger fraction of the resources and autonomy you might have used for the purpose will have been extracted from you by way of those same dependencies.

This is a point I’ve made in previous posts here, but it applies with particular force to negative progress—that is, to the deliberate adoption of older, simpler, more independent technologies in place of the latest, dependency-laden offerings from the corporate machine.

As decline—or, shall we say, negative growth—becomes an inescapable fact of life in postprogress America, decreasing your dependence on sprawling externality systems is going to be an essential tactic.

Those who become early adopters of the retro future, to use an edgy term from last week’s post, will have at least two, and potentially three, significant advantages.

The first, as already noted, is that they’ll be much further along the learning curve by the time rising costs, increasing instabilities, and cascading systems failures either put the complex technosystems out of reach or push the relationship between costs and benefits well over into losing-proposition territory.

The second is that as more people catch onto the advantages of older, simpler, more sustainable technologies, surviving examples will become harder to find and more expensive to buy; in this case as in many others, collapsing first ahead of the rush is, among other things, the more affordable option.

The third advantage? Depending on exactly which old technologies you happen to adopt, and whether or not you have any talent for basement-workshop manufacture and the like, you may find yourself on the way to a viable new career as most other people will be losing their jobs—and their shirts.

As the global economy comes unraveled and people in the United States lose their current access to shoddy imports from Third World sweatshops, there will be a demand for a wide range of tools and simple technologies that still make sense in a deindustrializing world.

Those who already know how to use such technologies will be prepared to teach others how to use them; those who know how to repair, recondition, or manufacture those technologies will be prepared to barter, or to use whatever form of currency happens to replace today’s mostly hallucinatory forms of money, to good advantage.

My guess, for what it’s worth, is that salvage trades will be among the few growth industries in the 21st century, and the crafts involved in turning scrap metal and antique machinery into tools and machines that people need for their homes and workplaces will be an important part of that economic sector.

To understand how that will work, though, it’s probably going to be necessary to get a clearer sense of the way that today’s complex technostructures are likely to come apart.

Next week, with that in mind, we’ll spend some time thinking about the unthinkable—the impending death of the internet.

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Earth Day and Green Movements

SUBHEAD:This Earth Day get involved with some Green Wizardry. Prepare yourself and enjoy the ride.

By Juan Wilson on 22 April 2015 for Island Breath  -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2015/04/earth-day-and-green-movements.html)


Image above: Earth Day by Sam Spook on Deviant Art. From (http://happywallpaper.net/earth-day-pics.html).

GREEN ENVIRONMENTALISM
Each year, Earth Day -- April 22 -- marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental Green Movement in 1970.
"Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts."  (http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement).
GREEN POLITICS
Along the way the Green Environmental Movement became political. There was a time about a quarter of a century back when the Green movement was a political idea with some teeth. The Green Party Movement was (and is) a real force in German politics that was compared by some with Red Communism. In America the Greens have run candidates for office with little success. In 2012 Jill Stein ran with Cheri Honkaka against Obama and Biden. Did you vote for them?

The Ten Principles of the Green Party of the United States are (http://www.gp.org/tenkey.php):
1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.

2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.

3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM
Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature.  We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

4. NON-VIOLENCE
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments.  We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

5. DECENTRALIZATION
Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.

6. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work.
Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights; broad citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our “quality of life.” We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation.

7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITY
We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.

8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY
We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.
We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.
9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.
The only problem with Green Politics in America is that no one is listening or cares. It's dead in the water because it would mean turning our attention away from the big colorful flat screens that suck the life out of us.

GREEN CONSUMERISM
The Green Consumer movement envisions solar panels charging lithium batteries in self-driving sedans and home 3D printers producing plastic buckets and dustpans while thorium and fusion reactors power server-farms for our wireless devices. And let's not forget local food production - there is nothing like foraging at the artisanal food market for expensive organic greens grown sustainably by wwoofers.

One thing that Green Consumerism clings to is Techno-Optimism. That's the idea that more advances in science and  technology - and their implementation in our everyday lives is the only way to save ourselves and the world. The TED Talks - focusing on Technology, Entertainment and Design - are a good example of the Green consumer propaganda. Today's Earthday TED talk is titled "How Virtual Reality can can Create the Ultimate Empathy Machine".

There is also the feel-good side of being a green consumer. TreeHugger.com is one sterling example. It once was a website with some teeth. It has devolved into one "Partial to a modern aesthetic, sharing sustainable design, green news and solutions." Some headlines from Earthday 2015:




A look at NYC's eco-friendly residential buildings

China's low-carbon electricity on track to be greater than entire U.S. grid
Cutting emissions slows climate change faster than we thought
Twelve really cool random things about planet Earth  subtitled:
In celebration of Earth Day: An ode to our awesome orb.

GREEN ROT
And so Earth Day has become an empty vessel. Environmentalism has become co-opted and transformed into a new approach to corporate consumerism and dragged the Earth Day crowd along for the ride. They do not want to hear the bad news or change what they are doing. Who does? Unless knowing the truth is required to living in the future.

As individuals there is precious little we can do to influence the large environmentally destructive forces that surround us and in which we are embedded. One can participate in organized protests, demonstrations, walk-outs, sit-ins and the like, but these efforts are more symbolic than strategic.

The economic, political, military and social forces that weave the tale of history may even notice your efforts in numbers, but the play of the larger forces are what really make the changes on the ground.

What is available to individuals is an understanding of the overarching forces and how personal planning and action can anticipate changes over the horizon and make decisions that result in the best accommodation to the future.

The players in the big system have to do this all the time. The pharmacy chain Walgreens just made such a decision regarding Kauai. See TGI article from 4/18/15:
The first Walgreens on Kauai will not be opening after all, at least not in the Hokulei Village shopping center under construction in Lihue.

Walgreens spokesman Philip Caruso said the decision was based on review of the geographic market presence and performance of its stores, including existing locations and future-planned stores, conducted over the past year.
“As a part of this process, we conducted a comprehensive financial reassessment of our plans to open a new store in Kauai and have concluded that it is not in our company’s best interests to move forward with opening a store in that location.”
In my opinion the Hokulei Village was one shopping center too many for the Lihue-Puhi area to accommodate. The idea that a giant Safeway Lifestyes supermarket was needed within a stone's throw of the Kukio Grove Times supermarket and the Costco supermarket is obviously a bad idea.

If there was a need for another supermarket on the southside of Kauai  perhaps it might be located in a town without any supermarket -  like Kalaeho or Kekaha.  Wouldn't that help to alleviate the traffic we are forced to widen the Kaumaalii Highway for?

Walgreens will not be the last to decide Kauai is not a place to invest for growth. The reality is that the world powers are being dragged kicking and screaming away from abundant energy, resources and consumption.  Many of their best laid plans for Californicating Kauai will face economic headwinds that will not abate.

The Chinese real estate bubble is unraveling and their economy is entering recession. So is Europe while facing the Greek Euro Exit and a war in the Ukraine...  and so is America and its federally financialized fake equity markets and fake job markets and fake promise of higher education for everybody. The old growth model, and the middle class are in the dust bin.

Things will not get built that already have permits. Middle class tourists won't be able to afford a family of four vacation to Hawaii. Existing national chain stores on Kauai will start closing their doors.

You will find your life here changing dramatically. What you can do?

GREEN WIZARDRY
John Michael Greer, the Archdruid of North America, coined the term. See(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/09/17/1239343/-Green-Wizardry-People-Get-Ready#) and http://www.amazon.com/Green-Wizardry-Conservation-Gardening-Appropriate/dp/0865717478)

Greer sees the environmental movement of the 1970s of having grasped the solution to our current dilemma of social and environmental collapse. It is a combination of conservation, solar energy organic gardening, and other hands-on DIY skills from the appropriate tech toolkit.

So this Earth Day get involved with some Green Wizardry. There is hard work ahead. But it is work that you can do on your own and those close to you, that will improve where you are. That is really all we can do. 

Prepare yourself and enjoy the ride.

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Okinawa mayor caves to US military

SOURCE: Koohan Paik (koohanpaik@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: US Army base will be integrated in the waterfront development plan with hotels and shopping.

By Staff on 21 April 2015 for Stars & Stripes -
(http://www.stripes.com/news/okinawa-mayor-drops-opposition-to-naha-military-port-relocation-1.341368)


Image above: Illustration for original article. Marines participate in an exercise in 2012 at Naha Military Port in Okinawa. Note vessel is the very one Austel.com built in 2001 for the US Marines and used as the prototype in 2004 for the Hawaii Superferry. See (http://www.islandbreath.org/2006Year/03-environment/0603-20SuperFerryMilitary.html).

The mayor of Okinawa’s third-largest city has dropped his opposition to the relocation of a U.S. Army port facility from the island prefecture’s capital — the latest step in restructuring U.S. forces on the island prefecture.

Urasoe Mayor Tetsuji Matsumoto announced Monday he was abandoning his 2013 campaign promise to block the relocation of the Naha Military Port from to his city of 113,000 in southwestern Okinawa, approximately 650 yards west of Camp Kinser.

Urasoe will likely receive subsidies from the Japanese government for accepting the move.
Relocating the port facility has been a priority for Japanese and Okinawan officials alike since the mid-1970s, when administration of the island was handed back to the Japanese government.

The port’s current site is seen as a hindrance to the island’s development and commercial activity. Closing it was first agreed upon in 1974 on condition that it be moved elsewhere on the island. That had been the prefecture’s top priority until the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma took center stage in the mid-1990s.

Urasoe’s western coast was chosen for the new port facility in 1996, leading to the birth of a small but impassioned protest movement. The plan was solidified 10 years later as part of the United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation. The port facility will be integrated within the city’s waterfront development plan, which includes resorts, hotels and shopping.

Okinawan officials hope to have further negotiations to alter the plans slightly to better suit the development of Urasoe’s coast.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan struggles with Okinawa base 4/1/15
Government and prefecture hold talks over relocation of U.S. Marine base in Okinawa.

Ea O Ka Aina: Fear and Hope in Oura Bay 1/27/15
The Oura Coral Reef Ecosystem is the last intact one in Japan! US military actions threaten it.

Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa resists US Military 2/11/14
US ambassador visits Okinawa amid long-running row over US military bases there.

Ea O Ka Aina: US Okinawa base setback 1/20/14
Attempts to relocate a controversial US marine base on Okinawa received a blow.





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BP Gulf Spill Ignored

SUBHEAD: Five years after the BP oil disaster a barrier island for nesting birds is still devoid of life.

By Julie Dermansky 19 April 2015 for DeSmogBlog -
(http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/04/19/five-years-after-bp-oil-disaster-barrier-island-nesting-birds-devoid-life)


Image above: Cat Island, Mississippi, on May 22, 2010, nesting pelicans are seen as oil washes ashore from BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. From (http://www.spokesman.com/picture-stories/gulf-oil-spill-one-year-later/#867).

Cat Island, off the Gulf Coast in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish, was home to a vibrant bird rookery inhabited by brown pelicans, seagulls, spoonbills, and egrets before BP's Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Five years after the largest oil spill in American history, the barrier island has just about disappeared.

Despite ongoing efforts by former Plaquemines Parish coastal zone manager PJ Hahn to restore the island, only the needed building permits and an engineering plan have been completed.
"Cat Island was ground zero of the oil spill," Hahn told DeSmogBlog.

He thought that the restoration of the island was a no-brainer since, while much of the oil spill's damage was underwater and invisible, the damage to Cat Island was easy to prove. According to Hahn, not only would the island's restoration be necessary for the birds, but it would provide a great public relations move for anyone who helped in the process.

At the time of the spill, Cat Island was approximately five and a half acres, covered by a dense forest of black mangrove trees which were occupied by nesting birds. All that remains now are two small strips of land — less than an acre combined. Mangrove stumps jut out from the broken, shell-covered sandy remains of the island, at times fully submerged during high tide.

"The island was a treasure and it deserves to be restored," Hahn told DeSmogBlog. He continues to advocate for the restoration project he spearheaded.

"It's a hard sell for many since the island doesn't serve as storm protection like other barrier islands that are in the process of being restored since the spill," Hahn said.

But Cat Island and other small barrier islands, some of which have completely eroded since the spill, were perfect bird habitats because they were free of predators. Hahn believes the $6 million restoration price tag is a good investment, one that will pay for itself in dollars generated by the tourism industry. "Bird watchers from all over will come to visit the island," he said.

So far, the parish has raised $3 million of the $6 million needed before the rebuilding process can begin.
Shell, the only oil company to contribute, donated $1 million. Other contributors include the American Bird Conservancy and the federal Coastal Impact Assistance Program. The parish hopes to get the rest of the needed funds from the state's "Restore Act Fund," made up of money from that part of the BP settlement that has already been paid.

Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish president during the spill who is now running for lieutenant governor, had been famous for his fierce criticism of BP. But now it seems he's changed his tune.

During a town hall meeting hosted by Rush Radio in St. Tammany Parish, where residents turned out to express their concerns about the possibility of the first fracking project in their area, Nungesser gushed over the great relationship Plaquemines Parish has with the oil industry, no longer singling out BP as a bad player as he had in the past.

Though he believes residents should have a say regarding what type of industry is welcomed in their community, he said oil companies that operate in his parish "do the right thing."

Referencing the "horrible pictures of the pelicans covered in oil," Nungesser claimed that in the case of "a safety incident or something spilling from a platform, every company has gone beyond the call of duty in our parish to make it right. Oil companies are rebuilding those islands."

But Cat Island is a perfect example that Plaquemines Parish "has not been made whole," according to Hahn. "BP was asked to contribute to rebuilding Cat Island multiple times," Hahn said, "but they haven't given anything to help the project."


Image above: Cat Island on April 8, 2011 photo, dead mangrove is seen on an eroding point of Cat Island, heavily damaged by oil from the BP oil spill. The island remains unrestored. From ((http://www.spokesman.com/picture-stories/gulf-oil-spill-one-year-later/#867).).

Cat Island was not mentioned in a BP report on the condition of the Gulf issued in March which paints a picture of the Gulf Coast on the mend. According to the report, "Available data does not indicate the spill caused any significant long-term population-level impact to species in the Gulf," and "affected areas are recovering faster than predicted."

State and federal agencies involved in the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) took issue with BP's report.

"It is inappropriate as well as premature for BP to reach conclusions about impacts from the spill before the completion of the assessment," an NRDA report states. NRDA will determine how much BP and its subcontractors owe for the environmental damages.

When asked what specifically BP has done to restore Cat Island, BP media spokesperson Jason Ryan sent out a statement about other coastal restoration projects the company has contributed to.  

BP agreed to pay for restoration projects in advance of NRDA's assessment, which it was not required to do. Several of the projects are underway, but rebuilding Cat Island is not one of them.

The statement from BP points out: "The state loses about a football field worth of wetlands every hour," and that "with regard to Cat Island specifically, it was rapidly eroding before the spill, primarily due to the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita."

Though BP wouldn't give a "Yes" or " No" as to whether it has contributed to rebuilding Cat Island, the company wrote: "We are studying shoreline erosion on marshes and barrier islands, including Cat Island, to determine if there was any acceleration due to the spill."

The BP spill "totally accelerated" the erosion of Cat Island," Linda Hooper Bui, an entomologist at Louisiana State University, told DeSmogBlog.

Bui has been working on studies of insect life in Barataria Bay that she began prior to the BP oil spill, making her a witness to the ongoing erosion process impacting the island. When plants are stressed they can't hold on to sediment, she explained. And that is what happened when the oil covered the plant life on Cat Island. "You lose the mangrove, you lose the sediment," Bui said.

"Heavily-oiled marshes erode at double the rate of a non-oiled marsh," Melanie Driscoll, Director of Bird Conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi flyway for the Audubon Society, told DeSmogBlog, citing a scientific peer-reviewed study done after the BP spill.

"Every year there is a delay restoring the island, there is less area for nesting," Driscoll said. " We need restoration to proceed as soon as possible."

On March 31, a trip arranged by Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition gave members of the media a chance to document what little remains of Cat Island. The National Wildlife Federation, a key player in the coalition, released a report about the health of the Gulf five years after the spill that paints a completely different picture than BP's.

The NWF report cites several scientific studies that document the negative impact the spill had on 20 different species, including the brown pelican, which were Cat Island's main inhabitants.

"The tragedy is brown pelicans were taken off the endangered species list the year before the spill," Hahn said. "If there is no habitat, there are no birds. Who knows if they will come back when we finally get the island rebuilt?"






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