Category Archives: The Parallel Retiree

Trump, the Manchurian President: Culture Jam from Far Away

Atomic Trump

Remember the old movie, The Manchurian Candidate? There was a remake a number of years ago with Denzel Washington playing the man who knows something is wrong. A slick candidate for the U.S. presidency has been “brainwashed” to do the bidding for a foreign power. The inevitable struggle between good and evil ensues.

I think we have an apt metaphor here for the Trumpery we all now experience. However, these days the president may or may not be helping the Russians, but he is jamming the interests of core American values and national security in service to the Billionaire Class

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Earth Manifesto, any time soon?

Geo-Bio-Techno-sphere_from-nature-to-natural-03-960x535

 

Who needs an Earth Manifesto? The pressures that interest groups place on democratic institutions drive politics, kinda like Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Right? Well, that is what the power elites that dominate political institutions have claimed for a long time. The power of great wealth and the power of corporate leverage on not just politicians, but also on the public discourse through dominance of the mass media, is what drives politics as we know it.

When we factor in the increasing ease with which accumulated power can accumulate more power, over time the whole thing devolves into a plutocracy. We

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Ecological Community and Rights of Nature versus the Technosphere

Hog Farm Waste

 Photo: NC Industrial Hog Farm Waste

Ecological community is a concept whose time has come. Thomas Linzey won a lot of lawsuits over corporations impinging on local communities with giant projects that would destroy local ecosystems and make life miserable for residents. He discovered that the corporations would simply re-apply for zoning permits, incorporating the factors Linzey used to win the lawsuits. He began to realize that his efforts as an environmental lawyer were no more than delaying tactics because in the end the corporations won. By design, most permitting processes heavily favor corporate applicants – just work

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Technosphere and Trumpery: Can Democracy Overcome them?

Technology.Background_508272797

American democracy is already constrained by the “technosphere.” National politics was Trumped by palpable fear, justified anger, and xenophobic demagoguery. The powerful fossil-fuel industry, largely through Koch-brothers’ front groups, has penetrated state politics as well. Neo-fascists are dedicated to corporate dominance over democracy at state, county, and municipal levels of government and they have made significant inroads.

What’s a Mad Jubilado to do? What is anyone with a semblance of democratic values to do to redirect politics to serve the public interest when the corporate elite has exerted so much power across the nation? We are all caught up in what Dmitri

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On the Road Again: Leaving La Peñita

Sunrise and Bougainvillea in La Penita, 2017

Sunrise and Bougainvillea in La Peñita

 

It was a wonderful four months this winter in La Peñita, basking in the temperate sunshine of the Pacific coast an hour’s drive north of Puerto Vallarta, the longest time we’ve spent in Mexico. We’ve grown fond of the people we have gotten to know there. They are unselfconsciously generous, easygoing, and ever so polite. In a later post, I will reflect on that by comparing human behavior in their narrow cobblestone streets and in Santa Fe’s Whole Foods parking lot. I’ll bet you already have an idea of what I mean.

We

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Joy of Dog III

Copper Facing Surf

At first, twice a day at the dog park was barely enough to burn off a good portion of Copper’s seemingly boundless puppy-energy. It was a bit of a chore at first, but fun to watch her run and play with the other dogs. We discovered a whole culture of human social organization at the dog park too, but that is another story, a reflection of other larger scale social relations and problems of the nation and the planet.

The social life of dogs is much more complex than one might imagine without experiencing their interaction at the dog park.

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Joy of Dog II

Hotel Dog ~ Durango, Mx, December, 2016

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Copper seems to have an on-off switch. Full speed ahead, or sleep soundly. (see Copper above, luxuriating in our Durango, Mexico, hotel room, December, 2016.)

 

Copper keeps making me smile. I’ve never had a dog with a sweeter disposition. Dogs evolved from wolves in the company of humans long before cats learned to become our aloof companions. Yet they retain many traits from the wild, even in domesticated form. You might even say that about humans, whose behavior has not evolved

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Joy of dog

Copper at almost 3 months old

I didn’t really want another dog.

We enjoyed Shadow for nearly sixteen years, the last of which were very difficult for us all. Weimaraners’ life expectancy is 11 or 12. Shadow was a wonderful dog, but once she passed after almost 16 years, I didn’t want to take on the responsibility again, not for a while anyway. Nor did I want my travel to be constrained by the complications of boarding a dog.

Some dogs have no problem with staying for a few days or a couple of weeks at a commercial kennel, but others do. Shadow hated kennels. So

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Water Wells and Appropriate Technology

Babbling Brook with Trees

Appropriate Technology is a powerful concept, completely lost to the captains of the global corporate empire. We need to bring it back and apply it now. When my well failed awhile back, I had just begun re-reading E.F. Schumacher’s book, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. It is a remarkable book, even more relevant today than in 1973, when he first published it. Schumacher’s perspective of “Buddhist Economics” emerged from his experience as an economic development expert in Burma and his reflective time

spent in a Buddhist monastery there. Schumacher emphasized the importance of using appropriate technology in

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