September 5, 2013

Fukushima, climate change & war: Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Jane Stillwater @ 8:22 pm

Yeah, I know. The Bible says that there needs to be FOUR horsemen involved if we are actually going to have a truly genuine Apocalypse — so having only three horsemen arrive at our doorstep doesn’t really count. Or does it? It certainly looks to me like only three lone riders, by working overtime and really putting their hearts and minds into the job, will actually be able to put it off all by themselves!

“And the greatest of these is…” war. Ever since mankind invented the machine gun, it’s been all downhill for us human beings. From the trenches of World War I to the jungles of Rwanda and the halls of Columbine and Sandy Hook, war has been the curse of the modern world

Oops, my bad. Most of the killing in Rwanda was done with machetes. And school shootings can’t be considered real wars — just kids using adult methods to solve problems. Plus World War I was supposed to be “The war to end all war”. Fat lot of good it did there

In any case, War, our first Horseman of doom, has been doing pretty damn good for himself in the last 100 years, systematically killing hundreds of millions of people and polluting the Earth in the process. And yet people still keep falling for his sweet siren song time after time — and then always end up crashed to death on the rocks

“Please, Daddy, please? Just one more war?”

“Oh all right.” And then yet another country is destroyed. And countries aren’t like crabgrass or blackberries. They don’t just grow back. Especially if undepleted uranium bombs are involved

So what about the other two Horsemen? One of them has obviously gone nuclear. That massive ongoing radioactive leak at Fukushima is like a grand tsunami of radiation heading our way Soon there will be two-headed calves being born all over the west coast of California. Enough said about that.

And climate change? Like those proverbial frogs put into hot water, we are failing to notice our Earth’s gradual temperature rise until it’s too late — and we’re all been cooked like frog-leg fricassee.

But there actually is a fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse besides the three more obvious ones I’ve included here. This one is more subtle. He may be called “Hubris” by most of us — but his nickname is “Greed”.

PS: It’s been 44 days since I broke my left arm in July, but it still really hurts. And if a mere broken arm hurts so bad, imagine how it must feel to be napalmed. Or hit with shrapnel. Or attacked by drones or undepleted uranium bombs. Or to lose your legs to a land mine. You guys up in the military-industrial complex? Stop dreaming about more and better ways to invent Death Star weapons to kill off the planet — and start developing more empathy instead.

Start imagining how you would feel if war maimed your own children — or even yourself — and then, for goodness sake, prove for the very first time that you too are actually human, let go of your greed and hubris, stop trying to play at being some false-god figure and develop some freaking compassion!

PPS: Here’s yet another example of American military-corporate Hubris: Back in 2008 when I was an embedded reporter in the Green Zone, John McCain came by and gave us media guys a little talk, running on and on about how wonderful the war on Iraq was. And now he’s back to spouting that exact same garbage about how fabulous a war on Syria would be

But what I didn’t understand then and still can’t understand now is how the American military-industrial complex can always act so virtuously superior regarding the use of WMDs and chemical weapons — and still keep a straight face.

To hear the White House, the media, the CIA, the RepubliDem war hawks and the corporate-driven military tell it, you would think that Syria was the very first nation in the entire world ever to use chemical weapons — as if the US had never ever used them ever before. Like we had never sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, never sprayed Kosovo with undepleted uranium, never ever gave Saddam Hussein the gas that he used on the Kurds, and never ever paid for all that white phosphorus that their Israeli buddies sprayed on school children in Gaza.



December 16, 2012

EXTRA: I just figured out why the Mayans were right about December 21, 2012!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 2:28 pm

It’s the exact day that climate change becomes irreversible. Duh.

We now only have five shopping days left to do something about this.

Perhaps if we camped out all night in front of Best Buy or Target or WalMart the night before?

March 19, 2012

The Bribed Leading the Blind: James Inhofe, Anti-Global Warming Huckster


June 4, 2011

Dead: My safe and secure future

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:27 pm

I just went camping up near Yosemite and nearly froze my [bottom] off there, spending three whole days huddled under multiple sleeping bags and madly wishing that I was back home.

“This has been the worst winter that I can ever remember,” said one old-timer we met up near Groveland. “Snowdrifts piled up higher than the barn and then we got an additional 55 inches of rain after that.” And it’s still raining here. And it’s wet. And it’s cold. “Climate change?” Ya think!

Climate change is turning out to be the biggest issue of my lifetime — even bigger than World War II. And it’s the biggest issue of your lifetime too, like it or not.

If every single car, truck, airplane and military vehicle in the world that uses gas, coal or electricity for fuel were to stop running completely and forever by midnight tonight, then perhaps we might stand a chance of, er, “weathering” out climate change.

But you and I both know that abandoning the world’s love affair with carbon emissions just ain’t gonna happen.

When Chris Hedges recently interviewed environmental expert Bill McKibben, McKibben stated that, “…the scale of change we are now talking about is so great that no one can adapt to it. Temperatures have gone up one degree so far and that has been enough to melt the Arctic. If we let it go up three or four degrees, the rule of thumb the agronomists go by is every degree Celsius of temperature rise represents about a 10 percent reduction in grain yields. If we let it go up three or four degrees we are really not talking about a planet that can support a civilization anything like the one we’ve got.”

But let’s forget about climate change for the moment and move on to another dreary subject — the Federal Reserve Bank. While I wasn’t busy huddled miserably inside of my soggy blankets next to the raging Toulumne River last weekend, I was out searching for gold. This area around Highway 120 is a part of California’s fabulous Mother Lode — which produced 50 million dollars worth of quality ore just between 1848 and 1852, during the space of only four short years.

If I too could find just a few big chunks of gold up here, then I would never have to rely on those rascally thieves at the Federal Reserve Bank and their phony printed money ever again.

Did you know that the State of Utah just passed a law designating gold as being legal tender as well as an investment asset? This means that if you spend your gold coins in Utah, you won’t get hit with any state capital gains tax.

According to International Business Times, “[Utah's] Legal Tender Act of 2011 allows U.S. minted gold and silver coins to be recognized as legal tender in the value that reflects the market price for gold and silver.” So by encouraging the use of gold and silver as well as paper money, Utah is trying to make sure that when the Federal Reserve’s money-bubble inevitably bursts, at least one state will be relatively safe from the fall-out. And if I can only lay my hands on a few shiny nuggets up here on the Tuolumne River, then I will be too!

So. What is the moral here? “If folks stopped driving cars, causing no climate change nightmares to happen, and I had no dependence on the Federal Reserve, then my whole future would be safe and secure”? Sure, why not. But then my whole future is already all safe and secure anyway — no matter what happens to our economy or to our planet.

“Why is that, Jane?” you might ask.

“Because sooner or later, we’re all gonna die. And Death is the great leveler. After you’re dead, then nothing else matters. Can’t get much more safer and secure than that!”

“But, Jane,” you might reply, “aren’t you being really rather pessimistic today?” Yeah. But since stopping climate change is apparently not an option and our so-called leaders are happily continuing to rape the economic future of our children, do I really have any other reliable choice?

PS: After I’m dead, I plan to spend my winters in Puerto Vallarta on the beach getting warm again, and spend the rest of the year eating hot caramel sundaes at Fentons and gourmet dinners at Chez Panisse — because when you’re dead, you can’t contract diabetes or put on any weight. And I also plan to haunt the halls or Congress and Wall Street, crying, “Shame! Shame on all of you! You coulda done something to save the planet and you didn’t.”

PPS: As long as I’m being completely pessimistic, here’s another amazingly sad fact that I just learned from a local health department official. Did you know that if Americans continue to eat in the future in the same manner that they are eating now, children born after the year 2000 will become the very first generation EVER to die off before their parents do. Yes, you read that right. Chances are really good that your kids are gonna be buried in their graves before you are.

And it will be us at the cemetery, mournfully placing flowers on our dead children’s graves — instead of the other way around.

The average American eats a half pound of sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup per day — and that statistic even includes averaging in all of us health-conscious types who honestly try to resist the sugar temptation. A half-pound of sugar a day per person? Yikes! This means that one in three children born since 2000 will succumb to diabetes. And it also means that, as gross obesity becomes more and more common, a whole big segment of the next generation will be falling prey to heart disease, stroke, liver and kidney failure, whatever — and dying like flies.

That is, if climate change and the Federal Reserve Bank doesn’t do them in first.

PPPS: Here’s some good news for a change: After having been closed for remodeling since February, Ashby Nails is open again! According to traditional Chinese medicine, every season has a color that goes with it, so now my toenails are all sparkly and GREEN. I am so totally chic now, you’d better believe it. Thanks again, Kim.


October 7, 2010

America then & now: Mesa Verde, Van Jones & Big Oil

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 9:31 pm

I just went over to see Mesa Verde today, a dream come true for me. My parents went to Mesa Verde on their honeymoon back in the 1930s and when I was a kid I used to look at their photos taken during that time and dream that someday I too would go there. And now I’m actually here! But the descendants of the people who built Mesa Verde are not — not here. They are gone.

So. Where did they go? What happened to the Anasazi, the old-timey Ancient Pueblans? Rumor has it that they had to leave here because of various adverse changes in climate, including a severe drought and a mini-ice age. “Climate change drove them out,” said a ranger. Now does that sound familiar or what!

I once wrote a sci-fi novel about Mesa Verde — about how the folks there had to leave due to threats from neighboring raider-warriors and from man’s inhumanity to man. But then, in my book, the refugees from Mesa Verde became immortal and lived in the stars for centuries and only returned to Earth 5,000 years later — after some of its radioactivity had worn off. And will that happen to us too — a repeat of the Mesa Verde story? Let’s hope not.

Anyway, back at the real-life Mesa Verde I got to go down into a sacred ceremonial pit at Spruce Tree House — which was totally cool and spiritual and mind-bending. Then I bought a whole bunch of souvenirs at the gift shop and ate traditional fry bread. I did it! I was actually there! And Mesa Verde lived up to all of my expectations too. But now I gotta go home and revise my novel.

The Ancient Pueblans apparently had to leave their homes because of climate change — but what did they know? Not much. They were just pre-Colombian farmers from before the age of The Weather Channel. However, modern mankind knows a lot more about climate change than they did and we also know how to stop it from snowballing before it’s too late. BUT. Will we act in time? Will we actually do what we know that we have to do in order to save the planet? Or will we too, like the Anasazi, be forced to leave our abandoned cities (and suburbs) behind?

I’m tending to be kind of pessimistic here.

“But, Jane, why are you being so negative about our ability to stop climate change?” you might ask.

I can instantly tell you why. “Because of California’s Proposition 23.” That’s why. “And because of Van Jones.” Van Jones, Obama’s former Green Energy Czar? Yes, THAT Van Jones — the alternative energy expert that was positively pilloried and crucified by Big Oil last year. Jones is one of the few men today actually standing up to protect us modern-day people from a deja vu re-play of what happened at Mesa Verde.

The other day, Jones gave a talk in Berkeley about the disastrous consequences for all of us Americans if California’s Proposition 23 passes. Here’s my almost-accurate recreation of that talk. Either read it and weep — or read it and go out and DO SOMETHING!

“We need to make sure that people hear the truth about this state proposition. This isn’t about us losing jobs in California like the TV commercials in favor of it would lead you to believe. It’s about Texas oil trying to take on Silicon Valley.” Why Silicon Valley? Because people in Silicon Valley are trying to develop a huge new alternative energy program right now and this intention has got the guys from Big Oil running scared.

“It isn’t as if the Texas oilmen who are sponsoring this proposition are crying their eyes out because people in California don’t have jobs.” Remember the Texas oilmen who ran Enron? They weren’t trying to help Californians either. They just saw us as suckers. And the same thing appears to be happening here.

“They claim that they are sobbing now, ‘boo-hoo,’ because they have to spend 20 million dollars just to give those poor Californians some jobs.” That’s just not true. Big Oil could care less about us — us suckers and marks.

“Less than two years ago, both McCain and Obama agreed on one thing — that we need to prevent radical climate change. The only common ground between both parties was that we had to do something about global warming. So. What happened?” Jones asked. “Special interests decided to knock out Silicon Valley — by lying to us.” And by lying about Van Jones too.

I’ve known Van since 2001 when we worked together to plan Robert Treuhaft’s funeral (Bob was a founding member of the Lawyers Guild, co-wrote “An American Way of Death” with his wife Jessica Mitford — her biography, “Irrepressible,” just came out BTW — and Bob was my boss for a few years. But I digress). Jones is a good guy. I believe what he says. And I recommend that you believe him too.

“For the past two years, we’ve found that [lobby-based and Republican-based] lies to us have gone uncontested — and so these lies grew. And now we find ourselves fighting these lies, even here in California. And the politics of hope are now fighting the politics of fear — even here.”

You want politics of fear? I’ll give you politics of fear! If we don’t stop the Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Weapons, etc. corporatists who now pretty much run America in their tracks ASAP, we’re all gonna end up like the folks at Mesa Verde: Wandering, homeless and DEAD. And our grandchildren will be dead too. Is that scary enough for you? Apparently not.

“And in 2008, we connected the politics of hope to one man — Barack Obama. And if he doesn’t live up to your expectations, you blog against him. You Tweet against him. But. Hope started much earlier than 2008. Hope didn’t start with political superheroes.” Hope started with us.

“Then came Katrina.” And the mask was stripped away and we saw just how uncaring the Bush dynasty really was. “And in 2006, something broke and something decent and honorable and good started moving in America. And that movement inspired Obama. But let’s get this clear. Obama may have inspired us — but you inspired him first. Obama is one of the most inspirational people on this earth — and YOU inspired HIM.” Go us!

“Then when you came home from the victory parties in DC, you expected change. But here’s what we learned together in the past two years. They assassinated hope back in the 1960s when they assassinated John and Bobby and Martin and it has taken all these years to bring it back. But we need MORE than hope. We need change.” Go you!

“When you see someone on television with flat abs and you think, ‘I could look like that,’ that’s called hope. But when you actually go to the gym and work out? That’s called change.

“Do we actually mean what we say when we talk about hope and change? Who are we as a movement?” And what kind of movement are we? I wanna be a movement that expedites the evolution of the human race into something we can be proud of — not just an evolution into even more and better types of war, greed and hate.

“This is our summer of crazy climate. We had one-third of Pakistan under water. We had one-eighth of Russia on fire. Call anyone on earth and ask them if they have seen crazy weather this year and they will say that they did. This is for real. Al Gore’s predictions have already come true.”

Then Jones talked more about what us liberals need to do next.

“Was Obama’s campaign a movement or a moment? The answer is in our hands. It’s a ‘moment’ if you give up, if you walk off the field, if you cover 98 yards and then quit. Or you can keep running with the ball.”

But, for me, this was the most important part of Jones message: “These people are not spending 20 million dollars on their Proposition 23 campaign because you have no power. They don’t spend 20 million dollars on losers and nobodies. They don’t have all these crazy people all shouting on cable TV because you are nobody.”

If they had American voters in the bag and under their thumb, they wouldn’t have to spend billions on campaigns, shock jocks and right-wing nuts like Limbaugh, Palin and Beck!

“You may think it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. This is what they hope you will think. There’s a lesson to be learned from the BP oil spill, when BP made 62 billion dollars in profit yet someone decided to not spend $500,000 on safety, just to save money. And a decision based on greed created a completely catastrophic disaster. And one lesson to be learned here is that that you have no idea who you are and what your power is.” Think of all the millions of dollars worth of ads that BP has run to try to convince you that they are a good company and that your gut feelings are wrong.

“And you don’t have to go back to the New Deal or the 1960s to find your glory. One small act based on love can result in a huge positive outcome” — just as one small act of greed had such a negative effect. “Now is the time for action.”

Screw the corporatists! Screw Big Oil! Let’s show our power! Let’s speak up now — before we too end up like those poor schmucks at Mesa Verde.

PS: Back in 2005, I turned the first chapter of my sci-fi novel about Mesa Verde into a play and posted it on YouTube. Fabulous acting! Fabulous script! I deserve a Tony award! (Or not.) In any case, here it is:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

March 1, 2010

Biff Backside — Climate Change Denier

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon — Tags: , , , , , — RS Janes @ 4:34 pm


December 9, 2009

Welcome to GOPLAND!


Inhofe’s Climate Change-Denying Copenhagen ‘Truth Squad’…
– Matt Corley, Think Progress, Oct. 22, 2009.

Why Conservatives Are Always WRONG
– By Jefferson Smith

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