Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

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Written with a hopeful heart.

with 2 comments

Good people must never do nothing!

Last Friday, I published a post under the title: Written with a heavy heart! It was about the appalling atrocities being carried out by ISIS. I was humbled by the many replies.

Yesterday, Su sent me another email that contained a link to a short video of what happened in Holland in September, 2011 when a Muslim attempted to make his personal beliefs known to Queen Beatrix of Holland.

All will become clear when you watch the video.

Love is the answer!

Now at first sight this may seem a silly, naive comment from a Brit who is way past longing for the hippie days of the 60s.

But maybe not!

Here’s a comment left by Lois on a recent Sue Dreamwalker’s post:

Sue, I looked at Paul’s post and came away with tears rolling down my face. Why isn’t this shown on our news, why aren’t we doing more to save these people? We start wars for oil and political ideology but not to save children. Today i just heard that the last group of the Peace Corp just pulled out of Israel because it was no longer safe enough to be there. We can’t keep ignoring what is going on in other parts of the world yet what can we as individuals do? Your poem was perfect for the subject and brings out much of the same questions I have swirling in my head now.

Here’s another reminder of the power of love; a reminder of the role of dogs in allowing us humans to open our hearts and practice unconditional love.

It’s what Jean and I experienced when we were out shopping in Grants Pass yesterday morning.

We were in a largish store when I saw a grey-haired woman pushing her shopping cart. Nothing unusual about that! But this shopping cart had a small, black puppy riding in the section where handbags are placed; just beyond the push-bar.

Halfway down the same aisle that we were in, the lady paused, lifted the puppy into her arms, and was looking at some food items on a shelf.  It was more than Jean and I could resist and we both approached the woman.

It turned out that the lady was 71 and had recently lost a dog from old age. As we petted the little puppy we learnt that he was 10 weeks old and that his name was Shadow.

Then without any prompting she went on to say:

People said I’m too old to be taking on a puppy. But I was so heart-broken when my dog died; so lonely without having him in my life. Now I have Shadow and I can face my days again. Little Shadow means the world to me. And I’m not going to worry about the future – I’m sure someone will take Shadow when I die. I just know that there is nothing better than the love of a little dog.

The power of love.

The power of love.

Of all the many things we can learn from dogs love is the greatest.

How to finish today’s post?

To me, only one way. Over to you: Simply Red.

Lives and loves
Don’t tell me about it
To respond to something permanent
You’ve got to be strong

Lives and loves
Only you know in your heart
How the pain felt
How the love made you melt

Me and you love
We have a way that seems to brighten up the day
We have our problems
Is the whole world asking, “Is it worth it?”

All the lovers in the world
Should they go on?
After all, they say
“You only live once”

Lives and loves
Only you know in your heart
How the pain felt
How the love made you melt

Me and you love
We have a way, that seems to brighten up the day
We have our problems
Is the whole world asking, “Is it worth it?”

All the lovers in the world
Should they go on
On and on and on

Lives and loves
Don’t tell me about it
Someone always gets hurt in it
You’ve got to be strong

Yeah lives and loves
Only we know in our hearts
How the pain felt
Oh your love made me melt

Me and you love
We had a way that seemed to brighten up the day
We had our problems
Is the whole world asking, “Is it worth it?”

All the lovers in the world
Should they go on?
After all, they say
“You only live once”

Written with a heavy heart!

with 21 comments

Such a need to learn from our dogs!

A couple of items that recently landed in my ‘in-box’ had me in pain; emotional pain that is. I agonised over republishing them but then thought it felt like a duty to promulgate this particular terrible aspect of life. Trust me, today’s post is going to generate a deal of passion (see reference to TIME magazine at the end of the post). Also it is not something that should be read by a young person under the age of sixteen.

The first item was an email sent to me by dearest Suzann and is republished here with Suzann’s kind permission.

(For those that may not know or recall, Suzann, and her husband Don, invited me to spend the Christmas of 2007 with them at their home in San Carlos, Mexico. Suzann and Jean, who then lived in San Carlos, had been good friends for many years working together to rescue the many feral dogs found on the streets in San Carlos and surrounding areas. Indeed, Suzann continues to rescue those needy dogs and find loving homes for them. Out of the 9 dogs here at home in Oregon, 6 are ex-rescue dogs from Mexico.)

This is what Suzann sent:

I am so sorry to have to send this to you, but it needs to get out there for people to know.
What can we do?
1. Make others aware of this atrocious and vile assault on innocent people, so people will WAKE UP to the evil that is happening in this world!
2. PRAY!
3. If you are not a believer, send to others that you know who are, so they can send it on.
The whole world needs to see this!!
Thank you.
suzann

YOUR PRAYERS ARE THE NEED OF THE HOUR.

PLEASE SEND THIS TO AS MANY AS YOU CAN.

PLEASE LOOK AT THESE PICTURES. ISIS IS KILLING CHRISTIAN CHILDREN. ONE WAS CRUCIFIED. PLEASE PRAY.
Be sure to see the 4 photos below. The whole world needs to see what kind of people these ISIS terrorists are.

Su1

oooo

Su2

oooo

Su3

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Su4

Here is an urgent prayer request for all of us!!
She asked that it be forwarded ASAP to as many people possible:

Dear Friend: Just a few minutes ago, I received the following text message on my phone, from Sean Malone who leads Crisis Relief International (CRI), We spoke briefly on the phone, and I assured him that we would share this urgent prayer need with all our contacts.
We lost the city of Queragosh. It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically. This is the city we have been smuggling food to. ISIS has pushed back Kurdish Forces, and is within 10 minutes of where our CRI team is working. Thousands more fled into the city of Erbil last night. The UN evacuated its staff in Erbil. Our team is unmoved and will stay. Prayer cover needed!!!.

Please pray sincerely for the deliverance of people of northern Iraq from the terrible advancement of ISIS and its extreme Islamic goals for mass conversion or death for Christians in this area.

May I plead with you not to ignore this email? Do not forward it before you have prayed through it. Then send it to as many people as possible.
Send it to friends and Christians you know. Send it to your prayer group. Send it to your pastors. Any one you can think of. We need to stand in the gap for our fellow Christians.

I was still struggling to ground, as it were, my emotional response to Suzann’s item when a second item came into my ‘in-box’. It was a new post over on Patrice Ayme’s blogsite. This, too, is republished in full with Patrice’s kind permission.

ooOOoo

Savage, The Franks? Islam Is Worse

Our friend the half-philosophers may start to huff and puff, as “Franks” were citizens of a federation (actually two of them, the one of the Sea, and the one of the River; the one of the Sea, or more exactly, Salt, is now known as Salian, or Salic).

Whereas “Islam” is a thought system, devised by some Arab warriors (PBUH), who got a good gig going for themselves.

To put in the same basket an ethnicity and a religion is what some half-philosophers would love to call a “category mistake”. The irony is that I know (the basics of) Category Theory, and they don’t.

In Category Theory, there is a concept called a functor, which allows to go from one category to another.

islamists

In other words, because I know of functors, I can mix and match different categories such as Franks and Islam, and be relaxed about it (instead of being all gripped and unimaginative, as is the average constipated half-philosopher. Notice in passing that the concept “functor” was invented by the philosopher Carnap in linguistics).

The historian Pirenne, long ago, suggested the thesis that the collapse of the economy in the High Middle Ages was caused by the Islamists (Islam confiscated most of the Roman empire, and imposed a total embargo, cutting not just the Paper route, but the Silk Road as well).

In other news, On Fascism, Russian & Islamist Edition, Feb 26, 2015, a plan surfaced for the invasion of Ukraine, written more than a year ago, by some major Russian plutocrats, who have influence on Putin and are best buddies with the leadership of the Russian “Orthodox” Church.

Don’t worry, anybody involved will soon die, and things will calm down; this is Putin’s way.

There is a clear self-censorship going on throughout the West right now, because people are scared of these fanatics, the Putinists, and the Islamists. This, in turn, is deleterious to any critical mood, thus discourse, thus adverse to fixing any problem.

One cannot have a sane public discourse if one cannot even draw a human being. Having public insanity in place of public discourse will affect the Republic, to the point it will die, and that is why it died in all and any nation that submitted to Submission (aka “Islam”).

TODAY’S ISLAMISTS: MORE BARBARIAN THAN THE FRANKS, SIXTEEN CENTURIES AGO:

As it rose, Christianism destroyed the Roman Republic (or what was left of it). In 363 CE, under fanatical emperor Jovian, an ex-general, a systematic policy of burning libraries got started (Jovian may have been behind the assassination of laic emperor Julian; I am speculating). In 381 CE under ex-general Theodosius, then emperor, laws were passed to enact a “War Against the Philosophers“. Heresy (“making a choice”) became punishable by death.

The Roman empire, which still had many characters of a Republic (which officially it was… Now a “Christian” Republic) exploded.

However, in the next century, in the West, the Franks took control and build a Catholicism so moderate that it made Paganism, Judaism, and Apostasy all legal (and conversions in all directions).

Interestingly, the Franks, who soon built what they called “Europe”, as an empire, have the reputation of uncouth savages. “Frank” means Ferocious, not just Free.

But the Franks had no problem with Catholics becoming Jews, entire villages converted, until the priest was the only Christian in town. Charlemagne himself, four centuries after the Franks acceded to power, had his friends call him “David”, because he wanted to be like Israel’s King David (not a friend of God, according to the Bible).

Compare with the savagery of Islam: Somebody who leaves Islam is to be killed, say the Hadiths.

So what of the supposed great intellectual tradition of “Islam”? That sounds strange, on the face of it. What about the great intellectual tradition of Christianism? Well, the answer is that there is no such a thing. As soon as he became a fanatical Christian, Pascal produced nothing. All great “Christian” intellectuals are intellectuals first, and, second spent the reminder of their mental capabilities avoiding the fire in which the church wanted to throw them.

In France alone, around the year 1530 CE, three major philosophers were burned alive for having contradicted Catholicism. This explains why Descartes, a century later, preferred to live in the Netherlands.

Contrarily to repute, the situation with Islam was even worse. At least, in the West, intellectuals could engage the Church in full combat, and they often won. This is a direct consequence of the Frankish leadership submitting the Christian leadership, starting in the Fifth Century. After that time, the Church was never again the government of the West (except inside the Papal states, a gift of Charlemagne, later de facto rescinded).

Famously, around 1300 CE, Philippe IV of France and his vassal the English king engaged in full submission of the Pope and his army. The Pope and the Templars both ended judged, dead, and, more importantly, taxed.

So what of these great Muslim thinkers? The answer is that most of them were, truly Jewish or Christians, or very recently “converted”, or then did not finish too well.

ISLAMIST SCHOLARS WANT TO KILL YOU:

The fact is, the greatest Muslim university, Al Azhar in Cairo, is definitively founded on what the Franks, 15 centuries ago, would have viewed as barbarian principles. It actually refused to condemn the “Islamist State” as not conforming to Islam.

Al Azhar has decided that those who renounce Islam and their children ought to be killed:

“In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

Al-Azhar

Fatwa Committee

A question from Mr. Ahmed Darwish who presented the question through Mr. (Blanked out) of German nationality:

A Muslim man of Egyptian nationality married a Christian woman of German nationality. The two spouses agreed that the aforementioned Muslim man would enter the Christian religion and join the Christian creed.

What is the ruling of Islam regarding this person’s situation?
Are his children considered Muslims or Christians and what is their ruling?
The Answer:

All praises are due to Allah, lord of all the worlds. And peace and blessings be upon the greatest of all messengers, our master Muhammad and upon his family and companions all together. As for what follows:

We inform that he has apostatized after having been in a state of Islam, so he should be asked to repent. If he does not repent, he should be killed according to the sharia.

As for his children, so long as they are small they are Muslims. After they have attained maturity, if they remain in Islam then they are Muslims. If they leave it, then they should be asked to repent. If they do not repent, they should be killed. And Allah knows best.

President of the Fatwa Committee of Al-Azhar

Seal of the Committee

September 23, 1978”

http://www.councilofexmuslims.com/index.php?topic=24511.0

Our civilization was founded on rejecting this sort of savagery on the part of Christianism. When the Islamists appeared, the Franks considered them to be a Christian sect, the Sons of Sarah (Saracens). Let’s persist in rejecting the savagery.

Antique Greece was not just defined by what it built, but what it rejected: the Barbarians (those whose talk sounded animal-like: barr… baa). One cannot be positive all the times, otherwise positivity itself loses meaning.

Patrice Ayme’

PS: After publishing the preceding essay, it came to light that the Islamist State, applying literally the savage texts that guide them, destroyed Mesopotamian art more than twice older than the invention of Islam by the raiders (Muhammad and the father of his six-years-old child bride, etc.). 

There is no savagery but savagery, and Islam is its prophet?

ooOOoo

Not to have upsetting reactions to these items from Suzann and Patrice would be abnormal. Both Su’s item and the post from Patrice had me going round in emotional circles. Ranging from seeing our species as cruel, barbarous creatures to thinking that maybe there are times when the only proper course of action is to take up arms against savages. Along the lines of that quote about the only thing that evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

Finally, it was the editorial in the latest (March 9th.)  TIME magazine, written by the Editor, Nancy Gibbs, that had my head nodding.  Here’s a little of what Nancy Gibbs wrote:

Analyzing a threat as complex and diffuse as ISIS requires a global effort, and so our special report reflects the work of dozens of journalists on three continents with decades of experience reporting on the Middle East.

………

We invited Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations and Karl Vick, our former Jerusalem bureau chief, who is now based in New York City, to argue the case for and against the U.S.’s sending ground troops into the fight.

It was the next sentence that underlined for me why I had so many conflicting emotions (my emphasis).

The hardest thing about confronting a group like ISIS,” Karl observes, “is seeing past the fear they delight in projecting to discern the threat it actually presents. But they make dispassion really difficult.

Makes our dogs look like profoundly straightforward, loving animals! Why, oh why, can’t the human race essentially be as straightforward and loving!

Voting for hope.

with 14 comments

Considered reflections to yesterday’s post.

Yesterday, I published Bitter Lake ripples, a post that, in turn, was my response to the fabulous comments left by readers of my earlier post Oil, money, banks, guns and blood.  The overall feeling I read in those comments was one of terrible uncertainty about these present times. Or in the words of Sue Dreamwalker in response to a comment left by Patrice Ayme.

I have to say Patrice.. I agree with your comment here… And yes people are not understanding the whole of what is going on.. The Truth of it would seem unbelievable..

Patrice, in a post published on Monday entitled Arm Ukraine, Disarm Bankers sent shivers down my spine with the suggestion, the strong suggestion, that Ukraine, if not handled properly by ‘the West’ could be a tipping point into another major war between Europe (and the USA?) and Russia.  Here’s an extract from Patrice’s post:

The way it was said, in conjunction with Putin’s recent admission that Russian “volunteers” were fighting in Ukraine, is basically a declaration of war. On top of this, the head of the Eastern Ukraine rebels declared that he was raising a 100,000 men army. This means he expect tens of thousands of Russian troops (Putin’s “volunteers”) to cross the border.

This is not contained. Putin is billowing out of control, all by himself. One has to see what the combination of Putin’s dictatorial powers, media control, psychology and sinking economy leads to. Let me spell it out.

Once Putin has conquered Ukraine, he will push for more: he is already partly occupying Moldavia, WEST of Ukraine. Putin is also messing up with Hungary: there were street demonstrations about this, just yesterday, in Budapest. Putin uses the fact that Hungary is extremely dependent upon Russia’s fossil fuels. Merkel, who desperately wants to avoid war with Putin, flew to Budapest in emergency, to sort the situation out.

Patrice continues the warning of possible terrible times ahead in a subsequent post: Mental Inertia, Evil’s Friend, published yesterday.

Just as it takes a long time to erect, or change a vast building, so it is with the brain. The brain has inertia. Thus psychological inertia.

This mental inertia is why human beings tend to go on with a task, or with an attitude, once they got launched into it (a Jihadist laden with explosives just flew by).

Once a force is applied to an object, for example a propaganda to a brain, it tends to gather momentum, and develop ever more inertia.

Putin of course creates his own propaganda, and then can listen to it, reinforcing his deviance, in a self-reflective way. It’s all the more efficient if others repeat his ideas, and he listens to them. Actually that’s not just a problem with Putin, but with all Great Leaders. (And that’s one reason why Great Leadership has to be discontinued, and replaced by Direct Democracy.)

This amplifies the inertia.

By not fiercely opposing Putin, one collaborates with him. It is not just a question of sanctions. Putin is a liar, and an aggressive one, he should be publicly called for what he is.

Thus in terms of my own personal ideas, I freely admit to struggling to see things clearly.  Simply because I find it very difficult to get to the heart of these international issues through not having access to clear, impartial commentators who know what they are speaking about. As Patrice infers much of the media is corrupted by self-serving agendas.

However, on balance, despite Patrice Ayme being a ‘nom-de-plume’ and me having no idea who the person behind the label really is, I do trust his (?) writings and believe that Patrice writes from a position of having very good access to the inner workings of the US Government. (I am not privy to anything to support my proposition; just my guess.)

The other commentator whose opinions and judgements are trusted by me in equal fashion is George Monbiot. Mr. Monbiot has been gracious to grant permission to me for his essays to be republished here on Learning from Dogs.

On the 28th January, Mr. Monbiot published an essay that in words better than I could write encapsulates my response to the comments left on my Bitter Lake ripples post. Here is that post from George Mobiot.

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The Lamps Are Coming On All Over Europe

28th January 2015

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 28th January 2015

Here is the first rule of politics: if you never vote for what you want, you never get it. We are told at every election to hold our noses, forget the deficiencies and betrayals and vote Labour yet again, for fear of something worse(1). And there will, of course, always be something worse. So at what point should we vote for what we want, rather than keep choosing between two versions of market fundamentalism? Sometime this century? Or in the next? Follow the advice of the noseholders and we will be lost forever in Labour’s Bermuda triangulation.

Perhaps there was a time when this counsel of despair made sense. No longer. The lamps are coming on all over Europe. As in South America, political shifts that seemed impossible a few years earlier are now shaking the continent. We knew that another world was possible. Now, it seems, another world is here: the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus. Any party that claims to belong to the left but does not grasp this is finished.

Syriza, Podemos, Sinn Fein, the SNP; now a bright light is shining in England too, as the Green party stokes the radical flame that Labour left to gutter. On Tuesday morning, its membership in England and Wales passed 50,000(2); a year ago it was less than 15,000. A survey by the website voteforpolicies.org.uk reports that in blind tests (the 500,000 people it has polled were unaware of which positions belong to which parties), the Green Party’s policies are more popular than those of any other. If people voted for what they want, the Greens would be the party of government.

There are many reasons for this surge, but one of them must be a sense of popular ownership. Green party policies are determined democratically. Emerging from debates led mostly by younger members(3), they feel made for their time, while those of the major parties appear trapped in the 1980s.

Let me give you a flavour of the political transformation the Green Party seeks. There would be no prime minister of the kind we have today, no secretaries of state. Instead, Parliament would elect policy committees which in turn appoint convenors(4). It would also elect a First Minister, to chair the convenors’ committee. Parliament, in other words, would be sovereign rather than subject to the royal prerogative prime ministers abuse, leaders would be elected by the whole body and its various parties would be obliged to work together, rather than engage in perennial willy-waving.

Local authorities would set the taxes they chose. Local currencies, which have proved elsewhere to have transformative effects in depressed areas (see Bernard Lietaer’s book The Future of Money(5)) would become legal tender(6). Private banks would no longer be permitted to create money(7) (at the moment they issue 97% of our money supply, in the form of debt). Workers in limited companies would have the legal right, following a successful ballot, to buy them out and create cooperatives(8), with funding from a national investment bank.

The hideously unfair council tax system would be replaced by land value taxation(9), through which everyone would benefit from the speculative gains now monopolised by a few. All citizens would receive, unconditionally, a basic income(10), putting an end to insecurity and fear and to the punitive conditions attached to benefits, which have reduced recipients almost to the status of slaves.

Compare this vision of hope to Labour’s politics of fear. Compare it to a party so mesmerised by the City and the Daily Mail that it has promised to sustain the Tory cuts for “decades ahead”(11) and to “finish that task on which [the Chancellor] has failed”: eradicating the deficit.

Far too late, a former Labour minister, Peter Hain, now recognises that, inasmuch as the books need balancing, it can be done through measures like a financial transaction tax and a reform of national insurance(12), rather than through endless cuts. These opportunities have been dangling in front of Labour’s nose since 2008(13), but because appeasing the banks and the corporate press was deemed more important than preventing pain and suffering for millions, they have not been taken. Hain appears belatedly to have realised that austerity is a con, a deliberate rewriting of the social contract to divert our common wealth to the elite. There’s no evidence that the frontbench is listening.

Whether it wins or loses the general election, Labour is probably finished. It would take a generation to replace the sycophants who let Blair and Brown rip their party’s values to shreds. By then it will be history. If Labour wins in May, it is likely to destroy itself faster and more surely than if it loses, through the continued implementation of austerity. That is the lesson from Europe.

Fearful voting shifts the whole polity to the right. Tony Blair’s obeisance to corporate power enabled the vicious and destructive policies the Coalition now pursues(14). The same legacy silences Labour in opposition, as it pioneered most of the policies it should oppose. It is because we held our noses before that there is a greater stink today. So do we keep voting for a diluted version of Tory politics, for fear of the concentrate? Or do we start to vote for what we want? Had the people of this nation heeded the noseholders a century ago, we would still be waiting for the Liberal Party to deliver universal healthcare and the welfare state.

Society moves from the margins, not the centre. Those who wish for change must think of themselves as the sacrificial margin: the pioneering movement that might not succeed immediately, but that will eventually deliver sweeping change. We cannot create a successful alternative to the parties that have betrayed us until we start voting for it. Do we start walking, or just keep talking about the journey we might one day take?

Power at the moment is lethal. Whichever major party wins this election, it is likely to destroy itself through the pursuit of policies that almost no one wants. Yes, it might mean five more years of pain, though I suspect in these fissiparous times it won’t last so long. And then it all opens up. This is what we must strive for; this is the process that begins in May by voting, regardless of tactical considerations, for parties offering a genuine alternative. Change arises from conviction. Stop voting in fear. Start voting for hope.

http://www.monbiot.com

References:

1. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/09/labour-tories-vote-osborne

2. Green Party office, by email, 27th January 2015

3. http://bright-green.org/green-movement/how-the-green-party-changed-itself-to-make-the-greensurge-possible/

4. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/pa.html

5. http://www.lietaer.com/writings/books/the-future-of-money/

6. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html#EC678

7. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html

8. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/in.html

9. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html

10. http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html

11. http://press.labour.org.uk/post/87284550049/long-termism-in-public-finance-speech-by-chris

12. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jan/22/labour-radical-counter-greens-peter-hain

13. I was not the first to propose these alternatives to austerity Peter Hain has just discovered, but even I had got there by 2011: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/06/march-26-protest-aims-first-draft

14. http://www.monbiot.com/books/captive-state/

ooOOoo

I said that Mr. Monbiot’s words were much finer than my own. No better illustrated than by his closing three sentences:

“Change arises from conviction. Stop voting in fear. Start voting for hope.”

Bitter Lake ripples.

with 12 comments

Reflections on last Thursday’s post.

Last Thursday, I published a post under the title of Oil, money, banks, guns and blood. It was such a departure from my normal style of blog post that I anticipated that it would slide by without any comment. Wrong! It had the highest readership of the week and attracted some powerful and insightful replies. So much so that I expressed the desire to reflect on those replies before responding. Thus, today’s post is my response to your comments and feelings.

First, Hariod Brawn of the blogsite Contentedness responded, in part:

Now, where are we? Val’s words are a good place to begin: “Nothing is what is seems, or will ever be the same again.” Nobody knows for sure, but piecing together fragments of world events, my instinct (fwiw) tells me that we are in the incipient stages of the collapse of the 20th.c. paradigm. Neoliberalism has failed; further than that, Capitalism has failed – we have no free markets where it counts; they’re all rigged. Politics has failed too, having been bought out by the corporates. [There are over 30,000 lobbyists in Washington alone] All that Western Governments have to offer is a doomed re-run of failed practices (same with Japan actually). Worse still, they have gone down on their knees and begged the financial sector to create a fix. The private banks have been given access to vast sums of QE cash at virtually zero interest in order to continue rigging markets (via their agents) all to their benefit whilst also creating huge market distortions in asset bubbles. Has the wealth they created trickled down? Has it hell. Whilst all this is going on, and as the film so clearly demonstrates, the Middle East looks like fulfilling its promise of the last century as being the flashpoint for warfare on a vast scale. And of course, if by some miracle we escape financial collapse, and world peace is not threatened by warfare, then the environment is going down the pan because – guess what? – our politicians have failed us once again. I have said enough on this.

Hariod then went on to recommend the films of Chris Hedges that will be featured on Learning from Dogs at a future date.

Then Val Boyco, her blogsite being Find Your Middle Ground, wrote a response before viewing the film:

Without being informed yet … my thinking is that the world we live in is so complex, stressful and fast that we can’t absorb everything that happens. We simplify and label, in order to make sense. We chop and segment in order to understand, but we miss the full story and many have lost the ability to grasp the bigger picture…. or are too fearful of going against the expectations of others and becoming one of “them” instead of one of “us”.

Then reinforced by her comment after watching the film:

I just watched the movie Paul. It is powerful and very disturbing. As you say, it undermines what we believe is real. It also reveals the complexity – misunderstanding – manipulation – corruption – opium, oil and the struggle for power – naivety – chaos.
In the dualistic fairy tale world of good vs evil it has created a nightmare of errors.
Nothing is what is seems.
Or will ever be the same again.

There was a comment from Patrice Ayme:

Giant American global corporations, the 200 largest ones, do 100 billion dollars of tax evasion through Luxembourg alone. Each year. Many are media companies. Wonder why stories make no sense?

Juncker directed that. Now he is head of the European Commission, and insist Greece shall pay every single penny.

As it happened, my dad was among a European group of geologists working for the Afghan government, who discovered Afghanistan’s riches… In the 1970s. All hell broke loose shortly thereafter.

I write about these sorts of things, day in, day out. But most people prefer the opium of feel-good…

Patrice then went further in offering a post over on his own blog that carried the specific title of Great Bitter Lake. Let me quote a little from that:

“Bitter Lake” is about the conspiracy between American plutocracy and Saudi plutocracy. Plutocrat Roosevelt was freshly flown from Yalta, to the Great Bitter Lake, on the Suez Canal. The idea was to steal the Maghreb, and the Middle East from the French and the British, by making a theocratic alliance.

At Yalta, Roosevelt had given half of Europe to his Comrade Stalin. (Plutocrats of the world naturally unite!)

Never mind that Poland had fought the Nazis courageously the Nazis, at a time when the USA was militarily and diplomatically collaborating… with the Nazis (or maybe, precisely, the Poles had to be punished!) Roosevelt had to be strict: the French had successfully escaped from the military occupation (AMGOT) he had set-up for them.

The movie “Bitter Lake” exposes (some) of the American plutocracy led conspiracies which led to the devastation, among other things, of Afghanistan, and other constituencies, thanks to the Wahhabist Islam it unleashed on the world.

Readers of this site will be familiar with the general ambiance.

One caveat: all what is in the documentary and makes American plutocrats (Roosevelt) and their servants (Reagan) look bad, is correct. However the real situation, the real badness is way worse. (For example the secret, official USA intervention in Afghanistan was under Carter, on July 3, 1979. However the real even more secret intervention, through the Pakistani ISI was even earlier and even more vicious.

So what is my response?

It is this:

In 1887, Oscar Wilde said, referring to the differences between the British and the Americans: “We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.

By way of example there is a saying back in my old country that when something is “… going to the dogs”, it means an irreversible decline in standards; the phrase usually aimed at an organisation or even a country.

Many, especially those of my age, might nod sagely and reflect that something ‘is going to the dogs‘ in terms of the wider Western world.

Let me be specific. There are destructive and dysfunctional issues in modern societies that I would list as: Selfishness; Power & Corruption; Short-termism; Materialism; Population growth; Greed, inequality and poverty. It’s not an exhaustive list!

Now many would argue the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ about what precisely is wrong with Western societies in this 21st century but far fewer would argue with the underlying premise; that something is fundamentally wrong with today’s world.

Indeed, one of the things that is impossible to miss is the body language, the look on a face, the shrug of a shoulder, when one casually remarks that these are interesting times! From strangers and friends alike.

There is no question that what mankind has ‘enjoyed’ these last fifty years or so cannot be continued for very much longer. That the era since the 1960s of growth, materialism and consumption is running one very basic and fundamental resource dry. You know the one I am referring to: Planet Earth.

My hope is that the widely-felt feelings that something is fundamentally wrong with today, are the feelings man has always experienced, since time immemorial, when mankind has passed through the threshold between two eras.

My hope is that the new era, one that we quite possibly may now just be entering, a new era of sustainable living on this planet, of social and political changes to replace extreme levels of inequality, of stronger communities of like-minded persons, will be obvious to all, but especially obvious to our next generation, within the next ten years; possibly fewer than ten years.

One thing is for sure. The sharing of ideas and feelings as is the style of modern blogging is critical to the forming of the opinions that precede the changes that so many now see as unstoppable.

Oil, money, banks, guns and blood.

with 12 comments

The history of power, control, those who wield it, and where it has taken us all.

There is a real pain in me as I start into today’s post. A pain that comes from agonising over whether or not to write in this vein. A pain that has its roots in me being forced to accept that global politics, money and power-plays are much worse than I ever wanted to believe.

What, you must be asking, has got me plunging so far into this dark place? When just twenty-four hours ago I was writing of peace, calm and deep meditation?

Simply a film!

A film that was uploaded by the BBC a few days ago exclusively on to their BBC iPlayer platform.

The film is called Bitter Lake and here’s the trailer.

The full film is 2 hours, 20 minutes long. (But note that the film is age-restricted for obvious reasons.)

I can’t encourage you to watch it. For if you do, the world may never seem the same to you.

But Jeannie and I did watch it and think it should be shared widely. And, yes, it has changed the world for us.

Here’s how it is described by Adam Curtis and the BBC.

Published on Jan 26, 2015
Shown exclusively on the BBC iPlayer service in the UK
This upload is for those outside of the UK

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis

Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events.

But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis – leaving us bewildered and disorientated.

And journalism – that used to tell a grand, unfurling narrative – now also just relays disjointed and often wildly contradictory fragments of information.

Events come and go like waves of a fever. We – and the journalists – live in a state of continual delirium, constantly waiting for the next news event to loom out of the fog – and then disappear again, unexplained.

And the formats – in news and documentaries – have become so rigid and repetitive that the audiences never really look at them.

In the face of this people retreat from journalism and politics. They turn away into their own worlds, and the stories they and their friends tell each other.

I think this is wrong, sad, and bad for democracy – because it means the politicians become more and more unaccountable.

I have made a film that tries to respond to this in two ways.

It tells a big story about why the stories we are told today have stopped making sense.

But it is also an experiment in a new way of reporting the world. To do this I’ve used techniques that you wouldn’t normally associate with TV journalism. My aim is to make something more emotional and involving – so it reconnects and feels more real.

BBC iPlayer has given me the opportunity to do this – because it isn’t restrained by the rigid formats and schedules of network television. It’s a place you can go to experiment and try out new ideas.

It is also liberating – both because things can be any length, and also because it allows the audience to watch the films in different ways.

The film is called Bitter Lake. It is a bit of an epic – it’s two hours twenty minutes long.

It tells a big historical narrative that interweaves America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia. It shows how politicians in the west lost confidence – and began to simplify the stories they told. It explains why this happened – because they increasingly gave their power away to other forces, above all global finance.

But there is one other country at the center of the film.

Afghanistan.

This is because Afghanistan is the place that has repeatedly confronted politicians, as their power declines, with the terrible truth – that they cannot understand what is going on any longer. Let alone control it.

The film shows in detail how all the foreigners who went to Afghanistan created an almost totally fictional version of the country in their minds.

They couldn’t see the complex reality that was in front of them – because the stories they had been told about the world had become so simplified that they lacked the perceptual apparatus to see reality any longer.

And this blindness led to a terrible disaster – support for a blatantly undemocratic government, wholesale financial corruption and thousands of needless deaths.

A horrific scandal that we, in our disconnected bubble here in Britain, seem hardly aware of. And even if we are – it is dismissed as being just too complex to understand.

But it is important to try and understand what happened. And the way to do that is to try and tell a new kind of story. One that doesn’t deny the complexity and reduce it to a meaningless fable of good battling evil – but instead really tries to makes sense of it.

I have got hold of the unedited rushes of almost everything the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan. It is thousands of hours – some of it is very dull, but large parts of it are extraordinary. Shots that record amazing moments, but also others that are touching, funny and sometimes very odd.

These complicated, fragmentary and emotional images evoke the chaos of real experience. And out of them I have tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan.

A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today.

And I must include this comment from the relevant page on BBC Blogs:

Quite simply one of the best films I’ve ever watched. The theme and content made so many connections linking events of the last 40 years. It’s perhaps time to reflect on power ,control and those who wield it . The official narrative is not our narrative , we have a choice to decide what we believe . Time to reflect and make that choice.
Thanks for such an informing film.

Here is the film.

Written by Paul Handover

January 29, 2015 at 00:00

Who am I, Part Two!

with 6 comments

Trying to make sense of our place in the world – and probably failing!

Yesterday’s post, Making sense of who we are?, was built upon a recent essay from George Monbiot: A Small and Shuffling Life. It is a terrific essay, in the very best tradition of George Monbiot. I really hope you read it in yesterday’s post because today’s introspective jaunt is built on that essay. Two particular paragraphs of his essay really ‘spoke’ to me.

The opening paragraph:

Live free or die: this is the maxim of our age. But the freedoms we celebrate are particular and limited. We fetishise the freedom of business from state control; the freedom not to pay taxes; the freedom to carry guns and speak our minds and worship whom we will. But despite – in some cases because of – this respect for particular freedoms, every day the scope of our lives appears to contract.

Later:

We carry with us the psychological equipment, rich in instinct and emotion, required to navigate that world. But our survival in the modern economy requires the use of few of the mental and physical capacities we possess. Sometimes it feels like a small and shuffling life. Our humdrum, humiliating lives leave us, I believe, ecologically bored.

In that second paragraph I sense something from Mr. Monbiot that is felt by me and Jean and appears to be shared very widely. A sense that something about today’s society is broken. That the last, say fifty years, of increasing living standards, health and prosperity, albeit not universally embraced, have brought us no closer to a golden future. That, as so clearly voiced in the preceding paragraph, “… our survival in the modern economy requires the use of few of the mental and physical capacities we possess.

My guess is that George Monbiot and Terry Hershey have never met. One might suggest that their backgrounds are as different as two people might be. Take their respective ‘About’ pages on their blogsites. Here are their closing paragraphs.

First, George:

George Monbiot Guardian Staff Byline

My work is more sedentary than it used to be, so I temper it with plenty of physical activity: sea kayaking, ultimate frisbee, running and some heavy duty gardening: growing my own vegetables and much of my own fruit.

Here are some of the things I love: my family and friends, salt marshes, arguments, chalk streams, Russian literature, kayaking among dolphins, diversity of all kinds, rockpools, heritage apples, woods, fishing, swimming in the sea, gazpacho, ponds and ditches, growing vegetables, insects, pruning, forgotten corners, fossils, goldfinches, etymology, Bill Hicks, ruins, Shakespeare, landscape history, palaeoecology, Gavin and Stacey and Father Ted.

Here are some of the things I try to fight: undemocratic power, corruption, deception of the public, environmental destruction, injustice, inequality and the misallocation of resources, waste, denial, the libertarianism which grants freedom to the powerful at the expense of the powerless, undisclosed interests, complacency.

Here is what I fear: other people’s cowardice.

I still see my life as a slightly unhinged adventure whose perpetuation is something of a mystery. I have no idea where it will take me, and no ambitions other than to keep doing what I do. So far it’s been gripping.

Now, Terry:

terry-hershey

I used to ask of myself and others: what have you accomplished? Where are your credentials? What does your job and your bank account say about who you are?

Now, my questions are different:
Are there butterflies in your garden?
What are the color of loved ones’ eyes, when they are looking at you with hope?
And when was the last time your house smelled of paper-white narcissus?
Do sunsets make you smile?
When was the last time you stood in stocking feet just to stare at the rising moon?
Have you ever seen a sunflower bloom?
Does the laughter of children do your heart good?
At what angle does the sun enter your house?

Do I understand that life is full of complications, obligations and distractions? Yes. I do. My wife and I raise a teenage son. We run two businesses. So, yes, I know a bit about down-to-earth realities.

But this, too, is reality:

I love to watch the hummingbirds dance.
I love that my son likes to put on his dancing shoes.
I love to join him when we play
old-time rock and roll.
I love to stretch out on a garden bench on a
warm summer day.
I love a hot shower and drying with an expensive,
oversized cotton towel.
I love books, delight in poetry,
and find sustenance in writing.
I treasure the certainty that grace
gives us all many second chances.
I value the times I can simplify life by letting go of my need to validate my humanity through productivity.
And I love to lose track of time in a garden.

I also know that sharing this with you – offering my practices for pausing, resources for doing less and living more, reflections in my blog —feeds me.

So I invite you, too, to join us — and together we’ll share, remind, and support each other, to “do less, live more.

Yet, despite the differences in backgrounds, cultures and much more, to me there is a common openness, an honesty shared, and a passion for the truth.

All of which is a very long introduction to this week’s Sabbath Moment from Terry; republished in full.

ooOOoo

Finding sanctuary and grace

January 19, 2015

Today I am sitting in a café (and bar) in Vaison-la-Romaine, in the Provence region of France, nursing my espresso. The old men of the village (actually all of them are about my age) gather. They unload, swap stories, sip pastis, and watch petanque on TV. Some read the newspaper–with stories about Charlie Hebdo and photos of “Somme Nous Charlie“–carrying reminders of hope in our fragile and broken world.

I am glad to be here. Today. In this place. There is an air of familiarity among the men, and comfort in their ritual. I am grateful for reminders and invitations to live well into a place. Not just a physical space, but a tonic and sanctuary to the spirit. The invitation is a permission to settle down. (In the words of Jesus, “to come away and rest awhile.”) A sanctuary is a place that restores us, replenishes us, nourishes us. In this renewal, we are reminded, once again, of what really is important.

I agree that it is easy to sentimentalize. But living into the moment doesn’t smooth the edges of our life. It allows us to pay attention. I like to think that we can name the edges, to welcome and invite them into the sanctuary.

Outside a bicycle club gathers in the village center parking lot, ready for their weekend excursion. Their spirit is eager, their uniform bearing homage to their journey to the top of Mont Ventoux.

Sitting in the café, my thoughts meander, with no agenda or responsibilities to tether them. So I let them wander, a gift to embrace. But my reverie is interrupted with worry … I need a Sabbath Moment. And I don’t have a clue (I tell myself). It’s not easy on vacation. Especially without wi-fi.

I am on my annual trip to Europe with my good friend Bill McNabb to taste wine. He’s a wine writer (and pastor) in the San Francisco area. But mostly, he’s a friend. I’m his aide-de-camp and connoisseur.
We travel to wine regions and are blessed to taste beverages that we cannot afford, but offer us a glimpse of heaven.
Yes I’m biased. But then wine is not a beverage here; it is an experience. Your choice is to savor and take delight.

We visited wineries harvesting grapes from vines 100 years old. These are businesses passed down through the generations, grandfather to father to son (and now thankfully, often to daughter). A world where terroir is king, the personality of the soil. Meaning that this wine is born of a place, a very specific place. Here in the Rhone Valley, I’m honored to be in the company of crafts people. Like being with a great gardener. The men and women I met coddle their vines–they call them trees–lovingly.
Unlike Peter Mayle, I don’t have “A Year in Provence.” I only have a few days. But that’ll do… It is my first visit and I’m sure won’t be my last.

We’re in our gite–a rural rental property in France–we relish the evening light, a layer of bruised purple (pourple) above the slopes in Provence (Cotes du Rhone). Below the hills, vineyards roll through the landscape, the vines–still in winter and pruned–pose as menorah renderings in the dusk light.

Yes, this scene is a tonic. There is something about these moments that carry significance, because they are reminders, and they are sacraments. Partial, yes, but containing the full sustenance of grace.
And I think of the question a friend asks me, “What holds you?”
In other words… What sustains you, and carries you gently through your days?

Ryoken, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut, only to discover there was nothing in it to steal. Ryoken returned and caught him in the act.
“You may have come a long way to visit me,” he told the disillusioned prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”
The thief was bewildered. But he took the clothes and slunk away.
Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon, “Poor fellow,” he mused. “I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon.”

Sometimes I feel like that thief. Standing–in my own home, or in front of an audience, or in a crowd, or all alone–I am looking for something, for whatever ails me or creates a hole or emptiness; but, like that thief, not finding it. “What am I missing?” I ask myself. What am I wanting, yearning for, that I find myself in such a pell-mell-hurry or weighted down… hoping to fix it, or find it, or mend it. So I run and race and call on God, or the sky, or roll the dice with some prayer from my childhood. This will solve it, I tell myself. But the more I push, the more I ask, the more I beseech, the further I move from the center.

Here’s the deal: In my state of distraction, I cannot see that the core of my identity, the place where I stand in this moment (even at times without clarity, or stability, or faith, or answers)… I stand smack dab in the center of an awesome and illogical grace. Smack dab in the center of the sacred present.

If I do have the permission to see that place, I know that I am grounded.
I am now able to breathe in
and out,
and rest in this acceptance.

Last night, above the slopes to the south, a slivered crescent moon rests, the sky a cobalt blue canvas. It is visceral, arresting, piercing. And for whatever reason, reassuring. This snapshot is imprinted, and I know in my heart that it is in some way essential, indispensable. I accept this gift of the moon, even though I don’t yet know why.

I don’t know what to tell you to do, exactly. Only that I too, wish I could give you the gift of that crescent moon.
I know this for certain: when we do not pay tribute, we are like the thief in the Zen story–without even knowing it–and we settle for less. So much less. So it is not just a question of what hold us, but of what holds us back… from being wholehearted, true to our self, fully alive, unafraid of uncertainty, and grateful for the gift of this moment.

Lord knows we look for ways to bottle it and sell it, when I reckon we should just get out of the way.

Our gite sits squarely in a vineyard and a working farm. A perfect setting to replenish. For years I’ve been writing about sanctuary and the need for restoration. And I’m my own worst enemy. There’s not a week that goes by that a Sabbath Moment friend doesn’t remind me to follow my own advice to pause… and let my soul catch up with my body. Gladly, this week I did.

ooOOoo

My penultimate reflection to today’s post is with a short, six-minute video from Professor Dan Gilbert. The video is entitled: The psychology of your future self. I hope you see it as offering a calming perspective to two days of inner psychological ramblings!

Published on Jun 3, 2014
“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.” Dan Gilbert shares recent research on a phenomenon he calls the “end of history illusion,” where we somehow imagine that the person we are right now is the person we’ll be for the rest of time. Hint: that’s not the case.

My final reflection is the lesson that dogs teach us; that one about living in the present.

Cleo living, and sleeping, in the present moment.

Cleo living, and sleeping, in the present moment.

Loving life unreservedly!

with 2 comments

The appalling attitudes of those who kill wild animals for fun!

You will recall that in yesterday’s post, I referred to the fact that Jean and I are supporters of Oregon Wild. If you drop in on the OW blog, one of the items you will read is A New Year for Oregon’s Wolves.  Here’s how it starts:

Jan 12, 2015 | Rob Klavins

Photo of a young wolf from the Walla Walla Pack taken on Feb 5, 2014. Photo courtesy of ODFW.

Photo of a young wolf from the Walla Walla Pack taken on Feb 5, 2014. Photo courtesy of ODFW.

A new year provides opportunities for reflection – and prognostication. For wolves in Oregon, 2014 was a good year. Journey finally found his mate and Oregon continued a management paradigm where killing remained an option of last resort. The result was a small but expanding wolf population and a continued decrease in conflict.

However, it’s not an understatement to say that 2015 is poised to be among the most consequential years for Oregon’s wolf recovery since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973.

After a hard-fought legal settlement, Oregon’s fragile wolf recovery is back on track under the most progressive plan in the country. Though the plan is working for all but the most extreme voices, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) is re-igniting old conflicts by caving to political pressure and giving serious consideration to weakening basic protections for wolves.

Moving on but staying in theme; so to speak.

For a few months now, I have been subscribing to a blog called Exposing the Big Game.  Here’s a little from their About page.

front-cover-low-res6

This blog site is a haven for wildlife and animal advocates, a wildlife refuge of sorts, that’s posted “No Hunting,” as any true sanctuary should be. Just as a refuge is patrolled to keep hunters and poachers from harassing the wildlife, this blog site is monitored to keep hunters from disturbing other people’s quiet enjoyment of the natural world.

It is not a message board or a chat room for those wanting to argue the supposed merits of animal exploitation or to defend the act of hunting or trapping in any way, shape or form. There are plenty of other sites available for that sort of thing.

Hunters and trappers: For your sake, I urge you not to bother wasting your time posting your opinions in the comments section. This blog is moderated, and pro-hunting statements will not be tolerated or approved. Consider this fair warning—if you’re a hunter, sorry but your comments are going straight to the trash can. This is not a public forum for animal exploiters to discuss the pros and cons of hunting.

We’ve heard all the rationalizations for killing wildlife so many times before; there’s no point in wasting everyone’s time with more of that old, tired hunter PR drivel. Any attempt to justify the murder of our fellow animals will hereby be jettisoned into cyberspace…

Well two days ago, Lydia Millet wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times that was republished on Exposing the Big Game. It was about the American Gray Wolf.  I asked permission to republish it in full here.

ooOOoo

Opinion: High Noon for the Gray Wolf

By LYDIA MILLET JAN. 18, 2015

In December 2011, a wild gray wolf set foot in California, the first sighting in almost a century. He’d wandered in from Oregon, looking for a mate. In October 2014, for the first time in almost three-quarters of a century, a gray wolf was seen loping along the forested North Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona. She had walked hundreds of miles, probably from Wyoming or Idaho.

The return of these animals to the homes of their ancestors — however fleeting — was a result of their 40-year protection under the Endangered Species Act.

OR-7, or “Journey,” as schoolchildren named the first wolf, had been born to the Imnaha pack, the first one in Oregon for many decades. When he wandered south, his brother, OR-9, wandered east. Shortly after he crossed into Idaho (where wolves are not protected), he was shot dead. OR-7 lived on, after his repeated incursions into California (where wolves are protected), to sire a litter of pups just north of the state line. He became the subject of a documentary — in California, even a wolf can be a star.

The story of the Grand Canyon wolf, though, may be over: Three days after Christmas, it appears, she was shot and killed in Utah by a man media outlets have called a “coyote hunter.” (A DNA test is pending.)

For almost two centuries, American gray wolves, vilified in fact as well as fiction, were the victims of vicious government extermination programs. By the time the Endangered Species Act was passed, in 1973, only a few hundred of these once-great predators were left in the lower 48 states. After numerous generations of people dedicated to killing wolves on the North American continent, one generation devoted itself to letting wolves live. The animals’ number has now risen to almost 5,500, thanks to their legal protection, but they still occupy less than 5 percent of their ancient home range.

Since 1995, the act has guided efforts to raise wolves in captivity, release them, and follow them in the wild. Twenty years ago this month, the first gray wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park.

But this fragile progress has been undermined. Since 2011, the federal government has moved to remove federal protection for gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming) and in the western Great Lakes (Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan), the two population centers. Management of the species was turned over to these states, which responded with a zeal that looks like blood lust.

Relying on the greatly exaggerated excuse that wolves threaten cattle and sheep, the states opened their doors to the killing of wolves. (In some states, bait can be used to lure the animals to their deaths; in Montana, private landowners can each kill 100 wolves each year; in Wisconsin, up to six hunting dogs on a single wolf is considered fair play.) Legions of wolf killers rose to the challenge, and the toll has been devastating: In just three and a half years, at least 3,500 wolves have been mowed down.

There’s been an outcry from conservationists, ecologists and people who simply like wolves, but this has not stopped the killers. Some say wolves are a threat to their livestock investments (despite the existence of generous rancher-compensation programs in all wolf states save Alaska); others invoke fear of wolves; still others appear to revel in killing. Online, you can find pictures of wolf carcasses held up proudly as trophies and men boasting of running over wolves with their cars. Judges have started to step in. In September, a federal court decided that wolf management in Wyoming — which had allowed people to kill as many wolves as they wanted, throughout 84 percent of the state — should be returned to the federal government. In December, also in response to a lawsuit, another federal court reinstated protections for wolves in the western Great Lakes. These decisions should make clear that the states alone simply can’t be entrusted with the future of our wolves.

In Washington, the threats persist. The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a proposal that would strip federal protection from almost all gray wolves in the lower 48 states, not just the ones in the Rockies and the Midwest. Meanwhile, right-wing Republicans in the new Congress are champing at the bit to remove the wolves from protection under the act — politics trumping science.

President Obama should direct the Fish and Wildlife Service to retain protection for wolves; if it doesn’t, they could be wiped off the face of the American landscape forever. A unified wolf-recovery plan for the nation is required. Not only do wolves play an important role in keeping wilderness wild, but they were here long before we were, and deserve to remain. Not for nothing was the environmentalist Aldo Leopold transformed by the sight of a “fierce green fire” in a dying wolf’s eyes.

I’ve seen wild gray wolves only once, as they trotted across a dirt road in front of my own family car in a New Mexican forest. There were three of them on the road, no doubt a wolf family, and three of us in the car: my husband, my daughter and me. In the back seat, my little girl was engrossed in a picture book and didn’t look up fast enough. I want her to have another chance; I want her to keep living in a world where something beautiful and wild lurks at the edge of sight.

Lydia Millet is the author, most recently, of the novel “Mermaids in Paradise.”

ooOOoo

Going back to that blog post over on Exposing the Big Game, I was inspired by many of the comments. Here are two examples:

From Rosemary Lowe (who blogs over on EARTH for Animals)

I so agree with your comments, Roger. Here we are, staring at the Faces of Extinction, while, so-called “wildlife groups” grovel, hat in hand, to these agencies, and to the ranchers and hunters, offering yet another “collaboration” or “compromise” so we “can all work together.” I am sickened as to how many of these groups make no apology about having hunters/ranchers on their boards and on their staff. An all out War against these special interests, and their agencies does not seem to be on group’s agenda. So much has already been lost. As you stated, so little is left: the massive slaughter of native wild animals & wild habitats since the 1800’s is criminal, yet there seems to be little passion about it.

Here from Sharon Lee Davies-Tight (who blogs over on Word Warrior Davies-Tight)

Thanks for the article. Strange isn’t it – the killing spree for sport against the wolves for their predatory behavior, yet these same people aren’t calling their behavior or the behavior of hunting dogs predatory?

Finally, here’s the trailer to that film about the wolf OR7

Please do all you can to ensure that federal protection for gray wolves in all US states is maintained.

How we treat wild animals defines how we treat the planet – the only one we have!

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