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One more thing: if you have a mosquito-breeding swimming pool to deal with, get mosquito fish and let them do their thing. Tilapia are the next step. Thus a health hazard of large magnitude is transformed into a viable source of fish.
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2011 on BEYOND FARMERS MARKETS... at Global Guerrillas
"Allow"? What's this about "allowing" Just DO IT. Step one: Document that a property is not being maintained and is becoming a public hazard in some way. Backyard swimming pools that have become breeding factories for millions of disease-carrying mosquitos are an enormous health hazard to anyone living within a mile or more radius (seriously: look it up). Overgrown yards harbor rodents that spread disease directly and via their fleas (bubonic plague, anyone?). Get extensive video, date/time/GPS-stamped. Step two: Test the soil for hazards such as lead and other toxics that you do not want to eat. Take a number of samples from around the property, and pay for a reputable lab to check them out. If a property has toxics in the soil, your choices are either to use raised beds with clean soil, or pot the plants in plastic buckets, or forego farming that property and turn it into a community park & sports playing-field for the kids. Step three: Assuming the soil is safe to farm, swoop down _en masse_ and do it _right_. Rent a big roto-tiller for a day and churn up the grass, and then plant whatever-it-is you're going to plant. If you want a place taken over by the city pronto-pronto for whatever reason, just plant a great big marijuana farm, and just let nature run its course: the plants will get huge and be unmistakable in a matter of months. (And if the city doesn't act on it, channel the "produce" into the local medical MJ system). If you want to actually grow stuff to eat, organize the project so the crops are being regularly tended, weeded, fertilized, and so on. Follow the usual agro-eco methods for integrated pest control and so on. Set up a chicken coop or rabbit hutch for a supply of meat and fertilizer. The actual dollar costs of doing this stuff are small, the labor inputs are large. Somewhere on the property should be some kind of play area for kids, so their parents can bring them over to play while working on the farm. Kids can also be enlisted for doing certain specific tasks such as picking out weeds. If the city takes notice at that point, tie them up in court long enough to at least get one season's harvest out of it, while also working the publicity angle. All of this takes organization and commitment, from people who are level-headed and able to work together smoothly. That's not too much to ask, is it?
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2011 on BEYOND FARMERS MARKETS... at Global Guerrillas
(We know each other from somewhere else too; I'll say Hi similarly there:-) Re. one person's weed is another's food: What's important to keep in mind is that the purpose of a *protest* is not to "express" your *self.* Members of the general public could care less about *self*-expression by people they don't know. The point is to motivate the public to join our cause. It's to bug our elected officials to take action. It's occasionally to force an inherent evil such as segregation into a court room. But park closing hours are not one of those inherent evils that are begging to be forced into a court room. The motivated public translates to votes. Elected officials know this and are sensitive to the PR issues involved. As for "who's to say what's wacko?", the answer as always is, the voters you're trying to reach. If what they see looks like a rag-tag homeless encampment, they will stay away and they won't support it. If what they see looks like themselves: working people who have to make ends meet, support families, juggle student loans or mortgages or whatever, they will join in. The more the merrier: and beyond a certain point it starts to look like enough people to swing an election.
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2011 on AMERICA IS BROKEN, WHAT NOW? at Global Guerrillas
At risk of becoming unpopular for saying this, it has to be said: In order for OWS to maintain its legitimacy, it MUST keep OUT the junkies, street people, and various flavors of substance abusers, psychiatric cases, and borderline cases of all of the above. Otherwise, OWS will become PPZ: Psychiatric Petting-Zoo.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2011 on BEYOND FARMERS MARKETS... at Global Guerrillas
Better yet: resilient communities will still have municipal police departments, that will still carry out local law enforcement and work with local prosecutors, who will try cases before local judges and juries. So now you have the interesting spectacle of local cops guarding the farmer's market and food processing center against various forms of harassment including by external authorities that are not seen as legitimate. This won't need to "get physical," it will all be done with the usual proliferation of paperwork and counter-paperwork, trials at various levels, and playing the different levels off against each other. People tend to make the mistake of thinking that the battles of tomorrow will be fought like the battles of yesterday. In reality they will be fought in ways we are only starting to imagine today, for example per JR's theories of warfare, adapted to domestic conditions.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2011 on BEYOND FARMERS MARKETS... at Global Guerrillas
Ad-hom #2, and you lose a second round.
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2011 on LINKS: October 16, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
Ad-hom, you lose.
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2011 on LINKS: October 16, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
Though, know what? If you (El) think the ballot box is dead, then stay home on election day! Tell all your friends to stay home on election day too. Do the experiment, see what happens. Meanwhile those of us who value liberty, equality, and social justice will turn out in large numbers and vote for the lesser of two evils (that would be Obama, as compared to, say, Rick Perry). We'll be doing our own experiment and seeing what happens.
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2011 on LINKS: October 16, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
So says you and who else? Are you suggesting people throw away their votes by not-voting or voting for some third-party candidate? That's called pre-emptive defeat. No thanks. It's either ballots, bullets, or bypass (resilient community). I'll opt for 1 and 3, and save 2 for actual emergencies rather than flights of fantasy.
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2011 on LINKS: October 16, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
The difference between revolution and mere chaos, has to do with people being organized, knowing each other, having clear goals and ideas, and a roadmap for putting those ideas into practice after they bump off the corrupt elites. What JR is proposing here and elsewhere, is for people to get organized, know each other, have clear goals and ideas, and create a roadmap for putting those ideas into practice. That's strategic-level thinking. If we do those things, there is a decent chance that electoral politics will work sufficiently to accomplish the desired changes, especially on the local level. But if the poo hits the fan, then the social organization will be in place to deal with whatever becomes necessary.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2011 on AMERICA IS BROKEN, WHAT NOW? at Global Guerrillas
There's plenty that anyone can do. For example take your money out of the bankster-banks and put it in a local credit union. YES this make a difference, on two levels: One, it deprives the banksters of capital. Two, it puts that capital in the hands of cooperative institutions (credit unions are co-ops: members vote for their Boards) that serve Main Street and thereby build local resilience. That is the simplest step anyone can take. It's so easy it's embarrassing. As for automatic deposits & payments, those can be shifted. As for ATMs, credit unions have the Co-Op Network with no-fee access at any other credit union. Shifting your shopping to locally-owned stores is another no-brainer. Conserving energy through simple measures such as linking trips, is another. Anything that shifts money away from the globalist economy and into the localist economy counts. Anyone who lives in the suburbs can plant a garden. Start with flowers, shift over to vegetables. A couple of tomato plants in the front yard are a viable beginning to learn skills that can be applied further as the poo hits the fan. Go to city council meetings and support local resilience measures. One night a month is all it takes. Meet up with neighbors. Just start talking, and new ideas will come up for things that you can actually do. The most important thing is to pick something you can do, and then do it.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2011 on AMERICA IS BROKEN, WHAT NOW? at Global Guerrillas
Both movements have their fair share of members who are frankly embarrassments to their causes. For the Tea Party it's religious righties, and for the OWS it's anarchist kiddies. I would just as soon that both movements could find a way to keep their respective flavors of nuts out of the mix. Even right here we have a posting by someone who has gone down the proverbial rabbit hole, secret Moon bases included. At some point we all have to draw the line and say, for example, "that's crazy shit, that does not belong here." Weeding out wackos will end up a net gain to both movements by encouraging more people to sign up who are level-headed and can stay focused on the important issues. Bottom line is that the populist giant is just starting to awaken. If both movements can take a "live and let live" attitude about cultural issues, they will find much in common, and the powers that be will either have to get with the program or get the hell out of the way.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2011 on AMERICA IS BROKEN, WHAT NOW? at Global Guerrillas
No, no a thousand times, no! All this "kids vs. cops" stuff is bullshit, it's a digression, it costs us popular support, it lets the Big Baddies escape by turning the spotlight on street scuffles, etc. etc. The moment the game gets shifted from "people vs. plutocrats" to "cops vs. kids," we lose. What WINS are tactics such as: Mass bank withdrawals from bankster banks, with people moving their money to local institutions such as small local banks and credit unions. Flash sit-ins to block the lobbies of places such as Goldman for fifteen minutes at a time, with a major emphasis on a simple message such as "PROSECUTE THESE BASTARDS", and then the crowd disperses before the police can even arrive. Constant informational pickets that can hand out leaflets to interested passers-by, with messages that are straightforward and with recommendations for things that average people can actually do. Tea Party tactics such as showing up at Representatives' and Senators' town-hall meetings to pepper them with polite but persistent questions, one after the next. Mass call-ins to Congress, the White House, radio talk shows, and so on to get the message across. As for public parks, occupy them during open hours, set up shade structures to let people get out of the sun or rain, and then go home at closing time (get adequate sleep and a shower) and show up the next morning to do it all again. The only place for mass arrests is in carefully organized nonviolent sit-ins against well-chosen targets. These types of actions need to be conducted in a dignified manner so as to keep media attention on the issues: "set an example, don't be made an example of." Now if things go all the way down the drain and get out of hand on a truly mass scale, all bets are off. But our goal has to be to keep these protests focused on the big picture and on specifics that people can actually do. And we need to be aware of what does and what does not get public support.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2011 on LINKS: October 16, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
Hi John- If the Tea Party distances itself from the religious right, and OWS distances itself from the anarkiddies (anarchist-kiddies), they could build a broad-based populist movement that could translate to the ballot box. That would be an unstoppable force. Whether it's enough to halt the inertia of an economy that's on greased skids to collapse remains to be seen. However it's worth a try. -G.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2011 on LINKS: October 16, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
Where the Tea Party falls short, is a) getting in bed with the religious right, whose obsessions with other peoples' sex lives, and with overt theocracy (keyword search "Seven Mountains"), are anathema to anyone who values liberty, and b) taking support from the Koch Bros and other members of the very plutocracy who are screwing them, thereby compromising themselves from the get-go. Where OWS falls short, is a) Getting stuck on turf battles over public parks during closing hours, thereby digressing from the big picture into "kids vs. cops" petty pitched battles, and b) Not making more use of creative protest tactics that will draw in the general public, and not translating their actions into electoral politics. That said, these movements have more in common than their stylistic differences allow them (at least for the moment) to admit. a) Both are pissed off about the economy, b) Both are protesting the decline of opportunity and the shredding of the middle class, b) Both are mad about government not doing its job. What needs to happen is for people in both movements to get together and hammer out a broad-based populist platform that can speak to the core issues on both sides in a manner that translates to the ballot box. That would be an unstoppable force.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2011 on AMERICA IS BROKEN, WHAT NOW? at Global Guerrillas
Fortunately ANFO and home made drones don't go together well. ANFO has a lot of bulk for the bang. The C4 that the perp in the present case tried so hard to obtain (and thought he had actually obtained: the FBI uses realistic fake explosives) is far more concentrated and effective in the quantities that can be launched in a DIY UAV. These drones, like the V2 of WW2, are hardly the most cost-effective way to kill people and break things. For that, ANFO in large quantities in a truck, is probably more efficient. However, as with the V2, these drones accomplish the result of sewing fear in the target population, that at any time, an innocent-looking object in the sky (or any UFO in the technical sense of the term: something you can't identify) might turn out to be, not a hobbyist's exercise or an aerial curiosity, but death on the wing, seeking a window to plow into a room to blow up, and a dozen or so people to splatter on the walls, while the pilot catches a brief glimpse of their last living facial expressions on the remote camera before pressing the detonate button. Once these things get going, the windowpane replacement industry will have a little economic boom and there will be an employment uptick in urban security. Those who are not yet protected by thick layered glass or miniaturized AA guns, will look nervously out their office and conference room windows, and business as usual will take on a tinge of unwelcome excitement. Unlike the attacks ten years ago, there will be no stopping these at the airport. And then, all too soon, as these things are always "too soon," the badguys will discover how to make miniature crop dusters, with which to buzz crowded places and spray chemicals. And then, all too soon after that, they will learn how to release "bugs." Whether or not the fashion industry learns how to decorate the newly-ubiquitous gas masks to make them seem just a bit less ominous, remains to be seen. Whether or not the incidences of "bugs" make anti-vaxers change their minds, also remains to be seen.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2011 on JOURNAL: Terrorist UAV Bomber? at Global Guerrillas
Life in 2050: Around the periphery, forming a rough border or at least a boundary, the Heaps stood four stories high with a roughly trapezoidal cross-section. It was at once surprising and not-so-surprising, that such an enormous quantity of bulk material could have been put together from the wreckage of vornados (Force V tornados) and refuse dug up from landfills, but none the less it served its purpose. When our shift came, we climbed the rough stairs that were cut in along the side, doing our best to keep our balance despite heavy packs, rifles, and the rest of it. Arriving at the top we were greeted by the last shift and given what passed for a briefing. Then we took our places behind impromptu mounds that served as protection, and surveyed the "scenery," as the territory below was called. Today there was no sign of any attempts to climb, tunnel, or otherwise cross the Heaps. The usual ad-hoc refugee encampments had been thrown up and stirred with the routine commotion of life in this neo world of ours. Somewhere below, a baby started crying, and as the sound carried, others followed suit. In the middle distance, one crowd fought with another, presumably over some newly-discovered food source, or a cache abandoned by its previous owners. Somewhere in the far distance, we were told, "dog-eat-dog" was no longer a metaphor, as humans ate humans rather than starve. Just as long as they stayed out there, and didn't try to come in here, it would be a peaceful day. Firefights were not something to look forward to, because despite the thanks of fellow citizens for having stopped another attack, the reality of how one went about doing so was disquieting in the utmost. The morning sun stretched across the landscape and gave all of this a warm rosy glow. In the mid-day glare it would appear harsh. And in the gray of sunset it would become desolate. But on our side of the Heaps, people were eating well, and as rebuilding proceeded and a few more amenities came back, there was even a sense of optimism.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2011 on LINKS: September 26, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
Or in short, people are either stupid or stuck, they can't see the iceberg ahead, and they aren't willing to trade a comfy deck chair for a lifeboat. Well then!, natural selection here we come!
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2011 on LINKS: September 26, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
What JR means by "organizations" is "various types of business entities" from large publicly-traded corporations, to local cooperatives, to small business sized entities owned by a family or a few friends. These business entities would be engaged in various forms of automated customized manufacturing. In part this is an outgrowth of the development of 3-D printing (fabrication of objects). There's no more incentive for a Unabomber (correct spelling) to hit them any more than there is to hit your local factory that makes refrigerators and toasters (or used to before it got shipped to China). And you're always free to go Walden, as long as there aren't increasing "personal mandates" to consume various types of products in order to prop up dinosaur industries (in addition to the private health insurance industry). Though I suspect that if the "personal mandate" is allowed to stand, it will set a precedent leading to other types of compulsory consumption governed largely by whichever lobbyists happen to be ascendant at the moment. In which case the low-consumption lifestyle will be an act of civil disobedience and I'll be right there with you.
Yeah, it's tremendously useful to whoever is getting the output of its enormous surveillance engines. As for you and I, we're not it's customers, we're its FOOD. Unless, that is, we decide not to play. For example startpage.com is a search engine that apparently runs an anonymized front-end to Google, that claims it doesn't harvest your IP address. I'd like to see what EFF thinks about this but it looks promising and I've started using it.
Now about "immigration," or more to the point, illegal immigration. Just as the Right was "fighting the last war" about cutbacks in the standard of living, here the Left is "fighting the last war." What the Left objects to is based on their belief that attempts to shut down illegal immigration are always necessarily a sign of racism. Very often, such attempts take the form of policies that are indistinguishable from what would be expected if race was the issue: for example "English-only" policies, "papers-please" policies, and so on. (I'm surprised the right isn't also up in arms about "papers please," but stranger things have happened.) But let's look a little deeper and follow the money trail. Who benefits from illegal immigrants? Unscrupulous employers! They use illegal immigrants to gain an illegal competitive advantage over lawful business owners, with the result of driving down wages across entire industries. The problem isn't that the guys building that house over there are speaking fluent Spanish. The problem is that your cousin the carpenter can't get a job because nobody will hire an American for respectable union wages when they can hire an illegal immigrant for something below minimum wage! And if an illegal immigrant complains... heh heh, "Shut up or I'll turn you over to La Migra." And in the technical industries, what we see is the large-scale abuse of the H1B visa to replace skilled American labor with low-wage foreign workers who end up taking their skills back home with them, hollowing out not only another chunk of the middle class but also hollowing out America's skills base. Meanwhile the Left gets hooked into supporting the illegal immigration and the H1B visas, as a reaction to what they perceive is racism from opponents! Once again: social manipulation on a vast scale, this time manipulating the Left to support the very thing that's throwing them out of their own jobs! Wonders never cease!
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2011 on LINKS: September 26, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
I think a lot of us could agree on the policies that formed the mainstream of Republican and Democratic governance during most of the 20th century. And I suspect you and I would agree on most of that. Paleo-anything was better for America and the world at-large than Neo-anything has been. (In general, be very very suspicious of any ideology that starts with "neo-" and any product that starts with "smart".) But let's talk about social engineering for a moment. Actually, I'm an engineer (telephone switching systems) and I resent the mis-use of that word, so I'm going to call it what it really is: social manipulation. Let's take the two issues you raised: energy conservation and immigration. Now strictly speaking, "energy conservation" is an "engineering" issue in the technical sense: for example all other factors equal, you'd rather have an automobile that costs less to run, rather than one that costs more to run, and "energy conservation" in the form of advanced technology is what makes that possible. So let's assume that "conservation" in the form of higher efficiency, better technology, and the resulting lower costs of ownership (of appliances, automobiles, homes, factories, etc.) is generally agreeable. The "conservation" that folks on the Right usually object to, is that which they believe will entail a cutback in their standard of living. Is that approximately correct? For example back in the day, it was said that opposition to nuclear power would leave us all "freezing in the dark." (How times change: today in a very real way, opposition to nuclear power will leave us all "sweltering in the heat" of global warming, see also Hansen on that point.) What the Right objects to about "conservation," is being forced to cut back their standard of living. But lo & behold! Look at who's actually cutting back our standard of living! It's not the radical enviros, it's the banksters! The banksters shifted American manufacturing to Communist China. The banksters lured unsuspecting home buyers into fraudulent mortgages (key point: libertarians agree that the law should be harsh on "crimes of force or fraud"). The banksters put together fraudulent investment vehicles and tricky schemes, gave them triple-A ratings, foisted them off on funds managers, and backed them with insurance that was also rigged. When the whole system imploded in 2008, the banksters held it hostage and demanded an enormous ransom in the form of US taxpayer dollars, and got it! Instead of "welfare queens" in the ghetto, we had "welfare kings" on Wall Street, demanding gazillions in taxpayer money to bail them out of their gambling binge! (And I thought gambling was supposed to be a sin!) This was social manipulation on an unimaginable scale. And not even the power of the US government could stop it. The result was the neo-Depression, a tsunami of unemployment and foreclosures, and the almost complete wipe-out of the Middle Class: an enormous cutback in the standard of living on a scale that neo-primitivist radical enviros could only dream of! So while the Right was busy preparing to fight the last war (against the DFHs, as in Dirty F---ing Hippies), they were totally unprepared for the war that actually came: when snakes in suits attacked their unprotected flank and wreaked complete devastation. About this we should all agree, from the right to the left to the middle: we were all alive to see this happen, the facts are clear, and the results are impacting every one of us in our jobs and our investments. (I'll continue in a separate post below, about immigration.)
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2011 on LINKS: September 26, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
Re. "travellers." Admittedly I haven't read the linked article yet. But the words "traveller" and "gypsy" point to an issue with people who are seen as transients, and the answer to that is really simple: Someone who is rooted in a place engages in repeat-iteration transactions with others in that place. In game theory, repeat-iteration favors "cooperation." Someone who is transient may be seen as engaging in single-iteration transactions with people who are rooted. In game theory, single-iteration favors "defection." People know this in their guts, hence they don't trust transients. The rest follows from there.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2011 on LINKS: September 24, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
More about China: Turns out the author of the linked article also writes for an online magazine called _The New American_ which is basically Tea Party all the way. So I would consider him an ideologically biased source and take what he says with a "tea"spoon of salt.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2011 on LINKS: September 23, 2011 at Global Guerrillas
Re. "...humanity's latest form of tyranny: the capture of states by criminal syndicates. Otherwise known as rampant public corruption." Here too. Banks and other financial institutions engaged in fraud on a massive scale and then held the economy hostage and looted it. And not even the US government was able to stop them. Too big to fail and too big to jail. Obama's early moves to deal with the crisis were what you would expect from a new president who tends to move cautiously in the face of crisis. I called it "stabilize the patient and transport to hospital." But that only gave the banksters more room to maneuver when they should have been squirming in handcuffs instead. And now look where we are. See also: 5 banks account for 96% of $250 trillion in derivatives. See also: College graduates' income down 9.7%. All of those things are connected: the reason the economy is limping along right now is that it got held up and looted. So let's have ten times as many people camping out around Wall Street, and another crowd of equal size camping out around Congress. And God help us if Perry gets elected next year, because he's in cahoots with the bastards who have been screwing us. But since JR doesn't ban people for advocating "solutions other than pacifism," I'm going to suggest it's long overdue to fight crime on the ground, physically. If government won't stop the looters in suits, then it's up to the people to defend themselves from these criminals, using "whatever means are necessary." Or to use the euphemism that's been used for the past ten years for dealing with terrorists, "bring them to justice."
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2011 on LINKS: September 26, 2011 at Global Guerrillas