Bare Bones Biology 191 – David Barsamian

David Barsamian created Alternative Radio (http://www.alternativeradio.org) that plays on KEOS and actually around the world every week, with some of the best facts and opinions available these days. I’ll
write about Alternative Radio, briefly, below the transcript.

Barsamian2“Well, let me say this. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. We live now in a time of tremendous lying and
perfidity, and citizens need to inform themselves. Chomsky (http://www.chomsky.info/) says it’s the task of citizens in a democratic society to educate themselves, so they will be able to resist the propaganda that’s cascading upon them through the media and through the educational system.

“Propaganda is, first and foremost, destroying the truth in terms of U.S. foreign policy. It completely misrepresents U.S. intentions outside the country. Everything the United States does is always presented in very benign, benevolent terms. If there is anything tragic that happens, then you’ll notice they use the passive voice and say that ‘mistakes were made’ or ‘it was an accident, it was not intentional.’

“So I think, to be able to resist this kind of propaganda it’s very, very important to be informed. I mean, many Americans don’t even know that they don’t know what they have lost because of the paucity of public education. Many people have lost the ability to distinguish evidence from opinion.

“So when you watch something on FOX news, all those gas-bags and blow-hards who know nothing about nothing, they’re not talking about facts. They’re talking about opinion. Not evidence. So when they say things like, ‘Iran is an aggressive country, OK let’s say that’s the case. Iran is an aggressive country. The fact is that Iran has not invaded another country in 250 years. You can’t go more than two and a half years in
any part of U.S. history and make that statement. The United States is constantly directly invading, occupying other countries, undermining them through economic warfare, political warfare, and straight-out military invasion. So the historical record often is at extreme variance with the propaganda tropes, and propaganda plays a huge role for manufacturing consent for imperial foreign policy, as well as domestic wall-street policy.

We have an economy run by the 1%, as the Occupy movement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement) says. It’s an economy by and for the financial elites, the bankers, the people who own the economy.

“And this makes perfect sense, because one of the founding fathers was John Jay, the first President of the Continental Congress and the first SupremeCourt Justice of the United States. He said: ‘Those who own the country ought to govern it.’ http://books.google.com/books?id=wRYzAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA2 There you have it, right at the beginning of the founding of this country you have a statement that 1% should
control the 99%. Another example is James Madison, who is endlessly quoted, but not this quote: ‘The aim of government (this is a direct quote) is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. Simple English. The minority of the opulent, that’s the rich, and the majority is everybody else. And that’s what we have today, economically, and it hasn’t changed very much, it’s just gotten worse in the United States.”

And then Lynn pops in here: “I’m doing OK. Why should I care?”

Barsamian: “There’s a very important human quality, which is compassion, and if we see our fellow human beings suffering or in some way disadvantaged, we have to extend ourselves as much as possible to help them in any way we can. I think that’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us humane.”

Of course you know David Barsamian’s comments are about politics, but I find it fascinating that all or nearly all posts about any serious issue come down to the same sorts of subjects and points of view. I can read through this whole broadcast above and replace the political topics with science topics and nothing is changed except that good science gets to work with already-established facts and most of politics is about cause and effects based in historical evidence. Yet we can’t change facts and we can’t change what already has happened. I think it’s time to get the good information and use it well instead of trying to prove that facts aren’t real and history didn’t happen.

And that’s why David Barsamian has continued to offer us real fact-based information from the lips of experts – not only about politics, but about all the many issues that are currently being overwhelmed by special-interest propaganda.

I’ll be out of town, attending a program led by Fr. John Dear and Roshi Joan. I’ll tell you about that when I get back. Meantime, I do hope you have the chance to listen to the opinions of an honorable, outspoken media man. I hope he is not one of the last.

An audio copy of the above transcript can be downloaded here

Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:
http://www.alternativeradio.org/
http://www.chomsky.info/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/yates.htm
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/

Bare Bones Biology 139 – TarSandsBlockade.org

Bitsy is always up for anything, y’all know that, and so this weekend we bundled up for the weather and headed for training camp in the Piney Woods of Texas.

130107-Bitsy-asc_1658SsBare Bones Biology is ready to stop talking theory and begin to observe community development in practice, including the Occupy model, as well as the basics of community so well documented by Helena Norberg-Hodge and Rob Hopkins, Richard Heinberg and the Post Carbon Institute, community radio, for example see, and individuals and small groups of people who are working to change our toxic corposystem environment. For example, Chris Martenson’s Crash Course and the annual conference in Los Alamos of Nuke Free Now, with Father John Dear‘s Sackcloth and Ashes protest and many, many anonymous others.

The fatal flaws in trying to grow sustainable communities – the biggest ones I see – are: 1) trying to work within a failed system that is blocking ethical and rational discussion; and 2) trying to change the biological environment that has functioned for millenia to provide food, water, air and shelter for all the life of earth.

130108-TarSands-asc_1887SsThe most important questions seem to be: 1) How can we change the system without reinforcing the system? And, 2) can we make changes that relieve rather than intensify our environmental crisis. Over the decades, I have seen mostly knee-jerk approaches to change. The result is that the good work of one generation is lost or thrown out or forgotten by the next generation that is focusing on different problems. This approach looks like change but it is NOT CHANGE. That is why good education, stressing the mistakes and successes of the past, the difference between facts and opinions, and the fact-based needs of our biological community, are essential to sustainable human community.

130108-TarSands-asc_1772LSsWe need real change, or we will just bounce back and forth from one extreme to the other making the same mistakes our grandparents made and fighting over everything. If we continue in this mode, without understanding the hard facts of our biological reality, the result will be fatal no matter how compassionate and honorable we try to be. And the corposystem isn’t trying logical, compassionate discussion; this rules out most of the honorable methods of change-building. So that’s why Bitsy and I, spent the night in the back seat of our little car, surrounded by a colorful tent camp, learning about community development on the ground.

I was just scraping the ice off the INSIDE of the windshield when, at an unexpectedly early hour, I realized that all the cars were lining up in the dark, ready to go. Go? Go where? Nobody knew. But eventually, maps were passed out and the caravan headed south. You can learn about all the activities at http://TarSandsBlockade.org, with video and commentary as the actions happened and as they continue to happen daily.

130108-TarSands-asc_2020LSsThe Occupy movement has interested me because it seems to represent real democracy, similar to others that have been popping up around the world. I also know what happens when you try to use negative force to squash a real and/or factual truth, and I’ve been waiting for it to happen ever since Occupy was violently squashed last year.

130108-TarSands-asc_2064LSsTo me this weekend looked a lot like the beginning of the new. I hope so, because: 1) I know that “change” within the old model is not going to happen, for reasons discussed in previous blogs; 2) this seems to be real change, and it is nonviolent; and 3) it is based in solid biological concerns.

We elders watched in agonized awe over the past decade or so, as our youth pandered the American Dream for which we worked, in exchange for an iPod and a pretty construct of television lies. What I saw in this action was real adult responsibility. Responsibility to the future and a dream of sustainability, using a new set of technological and political tools. And then we were asked to also take part of the responsibility for the planning and goal setting for that future. The first time I encountered this type of political behavior was with Amnesty International USA.* I was well impressed.

So this morning, home again after an exhausting two days, what we saw on the Tar Sands Blockade web site was not only what we did, but what a lot of people did at the same time in a lot of places around the countries. The action that I photographed was indeed a rolling portion of a set of “rolling actions.” And the Tar Sands Blockade promises more.

130108-TarSands-asc_2093SLsI still say the next thing that we must do if we want to survive on this earth (and this is advice from a PhD basic biologist) is to learn the facts and talk among ourselves about the issues. We won’t find the facts on mainstream TV (or, unfortunately, on public TV). The issue is survival with a sustainable, reasonably rewarding life-style). For facts you could start with the Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook that is downloadable, completely free no strings, on the right side of this blog under Chapters. Next you should understand the material in Christ Marsterson’s Crash Course. I’ve been recommending this course of action for 13 years. But, you continue to say, what can we DO?

Right, if you can’t get “them” to discuss the issues. As a PhD basic biologist, I will tell you clearly there may not be much time to stop “them” from destroying life, that is, food, water air climate and shelter. If they only want to talk about money, then right now I know of no better action than http://www.TarSandsBlockade. But there are other approaches to the problem that I will discuss in future.

Lynn Lamoreux
Photos by Lynn

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play
next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely
nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at

*That experience is discussed in a chapter of my upcoming book “Outside the Circle.”

Recommended References:
Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook, http://www.amazon.com/Transition-Handbook-Dependency-Resilience-Guides/dp/1900322188
Post Carbon Reader, http://www.postcarbon.org
Helena Norberg-Hodge, movie, http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org
Chris Martenson: video Crash Course. Available on the web http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse
Father John Dear, A Persistent Peace – http://www.amazon.com/Persistent-Peace-Struggle-Nonviolent-World/dp/0829427201
Bare Bones Biology 137 – Human Hubris. https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/12/19
William deBuys, A Great Aridness, http://www.williamdebuys.com/a_great_aridness_110931.htm

Question for Discussion: What is the technical meaning of democracy? The American political system does not fit that definition; the constant use of the term seems to be one of those television lies. Is it really a TV construct, or is it a reality? If it’s not a reality, then why do we keep talking about democracy all the time, and what kind of political environment do we want to grow for our grandchildren? Leave it to George? Participatory? If the latter, what kind of participation do we want to develop?

Occupy and Nuke Free This Weekend

Michelle Victoria discusses the New Mexico demonstration around nuclear weapons. The discussion begins two minutes into the program. Click on the link, move the cursor over to the discussion. This is a really good example of community video.

And it’s not only about Santa Fe; it’s an excellent model of community action anywhere. We have problems, and doing nothing won’t help; several models of nonviolent and positive behaviors were discussed that anyone could do. Our corporate monarchy could not possibly stand except that we let it.

“There are so many people frustrated, and it only takes all of us doing something consistently.”

More tomorrow, I’ll be out taking pictures.

Bare Bones Biology 118 – David Barsamian

You all know David Barsamian, who gave us a personal interview. The podcast is linked to the bottom of this post, and transcribed below:

“David Barsamian was in Santa Fe a couple of weeks ago. He created Alternative Radiothat plays on KEOS and around the world every week, with some of the best facts and opinions available these days. I’ll write more about this below the transcript, and leave the rest of the time for David.

“Well, let me say this. In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. We live now in a time of tremendous lying and perfidity, and citizens need to inform themselves. Chomskysays it’s the task of citizens in a democratic society to educate themselves, so they will be able to resist the propaganda that’s cascading upon them through the media and through the educational system.

“Propaganda is first and foremost destroying the truth in terms of U.S. foreign policy. It completely misrepresents U.S. intentions outside the country. Everything the United States does is always presented in very benign, benevolent terms. If there is anything tragic that happens, then you’ll notice they use the passive voice and say that ‘mistakes were made’ or ‘it was an accident, it was not intentional.’

“So I think to be able to resist this kind of propaganda it’s very, very important to be informed. I mean, many Americans don’t even know that they don’t know what they have lost because of the paucity of public education. Many people have lost the ability to distinguish evidence from opinion.

“So when you watch something on FOX news, all those gas-bags and blow-hards who know nothing about nothing, they’re not talking about facts. They’re talking about opinion. Not evidence. So when they say things like, ‘Iran is an aggressive country, OK let’s say that’s the case. Iran is an aggressive country. The fact is that Iran has not invaded another country in 250 years. You can’t go more than two and a half years in any part of U.S. history and make that statement. The United States is constantly directly invading, occupying other countries, undermining them through economic warfare, political warfare, and straight-out military invasion. So the historical record often is at extreme variance with the propaganda tropes, and propaganda plays a huge role for manufacturing consent for imperial foreign policy, as well as domestic wall-street policy.
We have an economy run by the 1%, as the Occupy movement says. It’s an economy by and for the financial elites, the bankers, the people who own the economy.

“And this makes perfect sense, because one of the founding fathers was John Jay, the first President of the Continental Congress and the first Supreme Court Justice of the United States. He said: ‘Those who own the country ought to govern it.’ There you have it, right at the beginning of the founding of this country you have a statement that 1% should control the 99%. Another example is James Madison, who is endlessly quoted, but not this quote: ‘The aim of government (this is a direct quote) is to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.’ Simple English. The minority of the opulent, that’s the rich, and the majority is everybody else. And that’s what we have today, economically, and it hasn’t changed very much, it’s just gotten worse in the United States.”

And then Lynn pops in here: “I’m doing OK. Why should I care?”

Barsamian: “There’s a very important human quality, which is compassion, and if we see our fellow human beings suffering or in some way disadvantaged, we have to extend ourselves as much as possible to help them in any way we can. I think that’s what makes us human. That’s what makes us humane.”

Of course you know David Barsamian’s comments are about politics, but I find it fascinating that all or nearly all posts about any serious issue come down to the same sorts of subjects and points of view. I can read through this whole broadcast above and replace the political topics with science topics and nothing is changed except that good science gets to work with already-established facts and most of politics is about cause and effects based in historical evidence. We can’t change facts and we can’t change what already has happened.

It’s somewhat easier for scientists, because we can prove what we say when we are talking about already-demonstrated facts. Well, in one way it’s great. In another way, we are continually in danger of being tripped up by our own science, in case someone might be able to demonstrate the flaws in our arguments. Climate Change for example. The climate is changing, and all the opinions in the world can’t stop it. The only thing that could have stopped it was action – changing our behaviors – and we didn’t want to do that, so here we are. Facts do not change. That’s why we call them facts. So whenever the scientist (I’m not talking about technology here) when the scientist is right – she is right! And then our responsibility is to modify our behaviors according to the facts, because we are not going to change the facts, no matter how hard we try.

I think of the global warming “debate” and I wonder why? What did anyone get out of that except an economic downturn? (There is not and was never a climate change debate among people who understood he facts and were not willing to lie; the people who were willing to lie were not qualified scientists; it’s just another corposystem<acon gameof the sort that David is talking about above.

It’s really hard for scientists who aren’t willing to lie when the people who own the media are spreading lies at the top of their wavelengths.

Bare Bones Biology 118 – David Barsamian
KEOS 89.1, Bryan, Texas
An audio copy of the above transcript can be downloaded here
Or at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com

Recommended References:

http://www.alternativeradio.org/pages/about-barsamian
http://www.chomsky.info/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_movement
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/const/yates.htm
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/