Mt. Rushmore as Symbol

by Alton C. Thompson

I have a coffee cup that has pictures of wildlife on the side, but whose side is dominated by a picture of Mt. Rushmore, in South Dakota.  I probably acquired the cup on a trip that my wife and I took “out west” to Oregon in the early 1970s.  I often use that cup—I did this morning, in fact—and it occurred to me this morning that Mt. Rushmore itself can be perceived as s symbol—of what’s wrong with our society!  (And not just our society.)

The late Native American activist Russell Means [1939 – 2012] labeled “Mount Rushmore, The Shrine of Hypocrisy.  He . . . [did] not see the signors of the Declaration of Independence as his ‘Founding Fathers.’  Many Indians agree.”  From Means’ standpoint, Mt. Rushmore symbolized the imperialistic orientation of white Americans, their stealing of land from the “inferior” Natives.

But Mt. Rushmore can be perceived not only as symbolizing the arrogance and rapaciousness of white Americans in their relationships with other people(s), but as symbolizing their relationship with the environment.  That relationship can, for example, be characterized as one involving desecration.  That is, for many Natives Mt. Rushmore was sacred, so that the carving of figures on its side amounted to desecration.  (By the way, here’s the way the mountain looked before Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum did their sculpting:  source.)

Mt Rushmore

What’s ironic about the carving that occurred on Mt. Rushmore, is that one of the individuals whose face appears on the mountain now—Abraham Lincoln—was responsible for the worst mass hanging in United States history!

What brought about the hanging of 38 Sioux Indians in Minnesota December 26, 1862 was the failure “again” of the U.S. Government to honor it’s treaties with Indian Nations.  Indians were not given the money or food set forth to them for signing a treaty to turn over more than a million acres of their land and be forced to live on a reservation.

Indian agents keep the treaty money and food that was to go to the Indians, the food was sold to White settlers, food that was given to the Indians was spoiled and not fit for a dog to eat. Indian hunting parties went off the reservation land looking for food to feed their families, one hunting group took eggs from a White settlers land and the rest is history.

Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty.  Lincoln was concerned with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were about to enter the war on the side of the South.  He offered the following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: They would pare the list of those to be hung down to 39. [1]  In return, Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds. Remember, he only owed the Sioux 1.4 million for the land.

So, on December 26, 1862, the Great Emancipator ordered the largest mass execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed was entirely in doubt.  Regardless of how Lincoln defenders seek to play this, it was nothing more than murder to obtain the land of the Santee Sioux and to appease his political cronies in Minnesota.

What an insult to Native Americans!  Given, however, that:

Always balancing pragmatism with idealism, he [Lincoln] waited for a convincing enough victory [during the Civil War] to give the impression of dealing from a position of strength, which [the battle of] Antietam provided, and then issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863.

That is, given that the “Great Emancipator” approached slavery from a perspective other than a moral one, why should one be surprised at his decision to execute 38 Native Americans, and then promise to “clear” Minnesota of “Indians”?!

If the sculpting on Mt. Rushmore symbolizes U. S. imperialism, along with the fact that nothing is sacred for us USans (those of us with European ancestry in particular) [2], that sculpting also symbolizes for many of us our general attitude toward Nature (which we typically refer to as the “environment”).  For many of us USans, Nature is a mere thing, that has value to us only in utilitarian terms:  We are interested in what we can derive from Nature that is useful to us, and in doing the “deriving” are not only not concerned with (a) the possibility that we are desecrating Nature, and possibly (b) destroying its esthetic value, but also (c) not concerned about possible impacts on Nature—reflected in the fact that:

Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year.  Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day [1]. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century. [2]

What’s so ironic about our lack of concern for our possible impacts on Nature, including the extinctions that we are causing, is that those impacts—which became especially notable with the Industrial Revolution, and the later discovery and use of petroleum as a fuel—have been “catching up with us.”  Not only did we humans—led especially by us USans—cause a trend in increase in the global mean temperature, but we have caused an increase in the number and size of storms, an increase in their severity, and an increase in variability in atmospheric conditions at any given location (more so at some locations than others, of course).

Although we have known that global warming has been occurring since Guy Callendar’s research in the late 1930s, we have not perceived that warming (and its correlates) as a problem until recently—and now it’s likely too late to halt the further “progress” of global warming. [3]  Too few in our society recognize that even if the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation were to cease tomorrow, because (a) the “greenhouse” gases that we have introduced to the lower atmosphere will dissipate only gradually (e.g., it might take several hundred years to get back to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm), and (b) we have set in motion processes whose end cannot be foreseen, [4] our species is in deep trouble.

Few in our society—and elsewhere—are aware of the dangerous position we humans are in at present.  As a result most in our society will continue to “fiddle while Rome burns,” and little, if anything, can be done to change that sad fact.  However, even if many in our society would “wake up,” because they would tend to look to technology to solve the problem, it’s likely that they would merely exacerbate it!

Endnotes

  1. The number “38” given at the beginning of this quote is correct, as the sentence of one of the 39 referred to here was commuted.
  1. A highly ironic fact, given that this has been a basically “Christian” country until recently.
  1. I prefer the term “climate disintegration”!
  1. By which I mean that it is unknown what negative feedback mechanisms might “kick in” at some point—if ever.

 

______

To support my forthcoming tour in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and also southwestern Canada, click the donate button below. Alternatively, click here.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
______

Catch Nature Bats Last on the radio with Mike Sliwa and Guy McPherson. To catch us live, tune in every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, or catch up in the archives here. If you prefer the iTunes version, including the option to subscribe, you can click here.

______

Please visit the DONATIONS tab. I’m open to non-monetary donations, subject only to your creativity. For example, I would appreciate your generosity with respect to frequent-flyer miles.

______

McPherson’s latest book is co-authored by Carolyn Baker. Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind is available. Electronic copy is available here from Amazon.

Tech note, courtesy of mo flow: Random issues have been appearing with posting comments. Sometimes a “Submit Comment” click will return a 404 Page Not Found, or another error, for no apparent reason. To ensure you don’t lose a longer comment, you can right-click select all, and right-click copy, in the comment box before clicking “Submit.” If that hasn’t been done, the comment text will likely still be in the comment box when clicking the back button, or the forward button — depending on the error — on your browser.

Comments 40

  • Guy, this essay is as UNsettling as any I ever read by anybody anywhere.

    I am always focused on distorted history, but I knew absolutely nothing about Lincoln’s depraved ordering the executions of Indian men for hunting to “feed their families.”

    I am proceeding on the premise that the claims are true.

    A nit but important. It appears that there is a critical word or phrase inadvertently left out – “their … families?”

    “Indian hunting parties went off the reservation land looking for food to feed their (FAMILIES?). Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty.”

    Such revolting revelations are what revisionist history is all about – are the claims true & why don’t we know the truth?

    Why have we been spoon fed such outright lies & falsehoods?

  • Alton, although I know the Nacirema both forwards & backwards, I needed a lesson in Usans.

    I found it, but I cannot copy because it is in pdf.

    Another great lesson.

    http://www.sjsu.edu/anthropology/docs/coursematerials/marlovits/UsansConfrontGloablization.pdf

  • It wouldn’t be the first time big stone heads were all that was left.

  • Alton,

    thanks for letting me connect another dot in this terrible American holocaust. There’s still so much to learn.

    Gerald Spezio,

    thanks for the link on USans. Indeed, another great lesson!

  • Although I knew Svante Arrhenius thoroughly, I knew absolutely nothing about Callendar.

    Looking up Callendar sent me to Nils Ekholm.

    I knew nothing about Ekholm either, & I claim to know a bit about the history of science & the history of CO2 spewing into the atmospheric commons.

    But here is the shocking revelation that learned from satisfying my curiosity.

    Arrhenius, Callendar, & Ekholm all clearly grasped the science of the greenhouse effect from fossil fuel burning & subsequent CO2 release into the atmospheric commons.

    But all three were totally focused on the return of fearsome glaciers & ice ages.

    Callendar, the most modern of the three, theorized that the heating from CO2 would be terrific for humanity & stave off any new glaciers & fearsome ice ages, as did Arrhenius.

    Glacial advance & retreat was established scientific empirical fact.

    I detest the freakin cold too. I spent ONE winter at lake Tahoe. Never again.

    from Wiki;

    In 1899, the Swedish scientist Nils Ekholm, an early and eager spokesman for anthropogenic climatic control, pointed out that at present rates, the burning of coal eventually could double the concentration of atmospheric CO2. According to Nils Eckholm, being influenced by the thoughts of his lifelong friend and colleague Svante Arrhenius, this would “undoubtedly cause a very obvious rise of the mean temperature of the Earth.” By controlling the production and consumption of CO2, he thought humans would be able to “regulate the future climate of the Earth and consequently prevent the arrival of a new ice age (Fleming 1998). (emphasis by Spezio)

    Yabut, what we ended up with is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what was feared by the very best.

    Amazing, absolutely amazing – astounding.

    I had better get this to Sam Carana & the Arctic Emergency Techie Group, but I dare not make any predictions about what they will do with it.

    We all know how perverse humans can get, although the pompous bastards often had no intention of outright perversity.

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” Mama said.

    Paul Ehrlich & John Holdren knew how to “control” & thereby solve the “overpopulation problem.”

    All that was needed was some totalitarian control & engineering from the top.

    They even wrote THE definitive textbook about their wisdom in 1977; ECOSCIENCE.

    View on http://www.zombietime.com

    Yes, everyday it gets worse & there isn’t any escape hatch, but a good dose of gallows humor helps some of us during the descent.

    In 1920 famous poet Robert Frost wondered about the end of the world

    FIRE & ICE

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    It appears that the fires have it, hands down.

  • Directly related to many of the things often discussed here, see this short article by The Behavioral Science Guys regarding four important ways people manipulate us (and we manipulate others):

    http://www.crucialskills.com/2015/05/the-four-ways-youre-being-manipulated-and-how-to-stop-it/

    Make sure to see the attached 7-min video. (I know, I know. You can save your time writing: I can already hear the indignant screams from the many here who insist that though we can use science to study anything else, including any other animal, we supposedly cannot, must not, should not use horrid natural science to study humans with our allegedly, god-like, untouchable consciousness and emotions. So, “This is all just a bunch of rich white guy bullshit, and someone should lynch Nye for defiling this NBL space with this kind of worse than worthless crap!” I did get the message—and I obviously do not agree with it.)

  • There are worse situations in this world than human extinction (http://blackagendareport.com/still-no-justice-in-baltimore) and it needs to be addressed because at least something can be done about it. If u are not organizing, your life is meaningless.

    The violence numbers in the U.S. are staggering when compared to other cultures and countries.

    “The toll of police murder in this country is horrific and proves that claims of American justice and democracy are blatant lies. In 2014 alone, 1,100 people were killed by police. Go here (http://www.globalresearch.ca/police-in-the-us-kill-citizens-at-over-70-times-the-rate-of-other-first-world-nations/5438391)for more about the numbers. If u dare, study them.

  • Betrayal.

    Those toward the top of the social pyramid or at the top are noted for betrayal. And lying.

    Looting is the other common characteristic of those near or at the top of the social pyramid, along with polluting.

    All around the world there are monuments and statues celebrating the actions of betrayers, liars, looters and polluters.

    In the British Empire you got a prefix if you were really good at betraying, lying, looting and polluting…..Sir, Lord, Lady…

    The hangover of British imperialism resulted in people like Bill Birch, government minister responsible for fast-tracking ‘Think Big’ industrialism in NZ, getting ‘an honour’.

    In NZ, if you are good at hitting a ball or running with a ball, you too can get ‘an honour’ and be appointed the head of a government department. It does not matter whether you can add numbers in a column accurately. Just smile and wave, as NZ’s smiling assassin, John Key, does.

    I’m really onto the smile and wave thing these days.

    I have known for a long time that a smile is an appeasement gesture, one of showing teeth but not baring them for action, the opposite of an open mouth prepared to bite, common with our close relative chimpanzees. Babies are genetically programmed to smile in order to engender feelings of empathy.

    I have known for a long time that a handshake is an indication no weapon is being carried in the right hand, the common handedness.

    It was so obvious I should have got it long before now. A wave is a very visible indicator that no weapon is being carried. I just didn’t think about it.

    So, when I see photos of the royals (I don’t look for them but they do pop into my life occasionally) smiling and waving I know they got it all worked out: keep giving us your money you suckers. The same applies to John Key, our crony capitalism PN, of course: vote for me; I’ll betray you and smile and a wave while I’m doing it.

    Americans have their own version of smile and wave and betray, of course, in the form of the golf-man who occasionally gets round to promoting some legislation focused on screwing the bulk of the American populace at the behest of corporations and money-lenders.

    The march towards overt fascism continues throughout the western world, with Canada apparently attempting to take the lead at the moment with some of the most draconian legislation ever passed in the name of ‘security’, Australia being not far behind.

    NZ? Well that is being converted into a playground for the ultra-rich, with speculative opportunities thrown in.

    If you disagree you get annihilated.

  • Here is the precise location of the exhaustive & definitive discussion of 1977 blockbuster textbook, ECOSCIENCE, by Paul Ehrlich & John Holdren.

    http://www.zombietime.com/john_holdren/

    Both Ehrlich & Holdren still openly DENY saying what they clearly say in the book.

    You will be shocked, especially because you can see the authoritarian statements in print in their own published book.

  • Ram Samudrala – Excellent post. Dr. S. Benner at Applied Molecular Evolution has created synthetic bi-nomes. A major breakthrough in development with Craig Ventner genome quanta.

    At our Dept of Energy we now have nano-strings that eat Carbon from the atmosphere. Created entirely from artificial e-coli.

    Gavin Schmidt at NASA will be testing our radiation eating synthetic bacteria. Plutonium 239 has a half life of 24,110 y. Nuclear radiation is the only thing in human creation that will enhance and out last all other aspects of our potential extinction.

    Good article on Philosophers for change . org by Satish Musunuru & Steven Miller. Digital DeFormation

    Our Nuclear alert systems on high alert today due to cyber attack by General Konstantin Sivkov. 300 Minutemen missiles ready to launch on override from any human command.

  • “Average global levels of carbon dioxide stayed above 400 parts per million, or ppm, through all of March 2015 — the first time that has happened for an entire month since record keeping first began, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”

    “Air temperatures reached record high levels at two Antarctic stations last week, setting a new mark for the warmest conditions ever measured anywhere on the continent. On March 23, at Argentina’s base Marambio, a temperature of 17.4° Celsius (63.3° Fahrenheit) was reached, surpassing a previous record set in 1961 at a nearby base, Esperanza. The old record was 17.1° Celsius (62.8° Fahrenheit). However, Esperanza quickly reclaimed the record a few hours later on March 24, reaching a temperature of 17.5° Celsius (63.5° Fahrenheit).”

    Rushmore and more toward disaster (Etiology of Social Dementia – 13).

  • “The Nacirema have an almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural influence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them.”


    Body Ritual among the Nacirema

    Hilarious!

    —-

    The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution, published in 1980, presented a view of the Scientific Revolution that challenged the hegemony of mechanistic science as a marker of progress. It argued that seventeenth-century science could be implicated in the ecological crisis, the domination of nature, and the devaluation of women in the production of scientific knowledge.”

    “Merchant tells us that prior to the Enlightenment, Nature was conceived of as the benevolent mother of all things, albeit sometimes wild. This metaphor was to gradually be replaced by the ‘dominion’ model as the Scientific Revolution rationalized and dissected nature to show all her secrets. As nature revealed her secrets, so too she was able to be controlled. Both this intention and the metaphor of ‘nature unveiled’ is still prevalent in scientific language. Conceptions of the Earth as nurturing bringer of life began slowly to change to one of a resource to be exploited as science became more and more confident that human minds could know all there was about the natural world and thereby effect changes on it at will.”

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolyn_Merchant

  • As with most things American, George Carlin said it best “symbols for the symbol minded”

  • The only thing that surpasses Carlin is other Carlin:

  • Don’t forget the natives hanged en masse in Wisconsin by Abraham Lincoln at the end of the civil war. Derrick Jensen’s “A Culture of Make-Believe” offers a great perspective on the origins of today’s North America. Also how some natives chose suicide over captivtty.

  • Alton,
    Your essay was heartfelt. When about 10 years old, my grandson went fishing with us on a beautiful wilderness lake for Rainbow trout in the Interior Okanagan of British Columbia. His reaction to the death throws of young trout caught in barbed hooks that would not easily be dislodged from their hungry mouth, revealed by the few tears that ran down his cheeks, reminded me that nature is not ours to do with as we please. I tried to convince myself that he should be told that we need to eat food, and that his reaction needed some modification if he was going to live life.

    After getting into my unrehearsed spiel at the necessity of killing in order to live, I stopped preaching when I saw that he had already unerstood that principle long ago, and that my words would just be wasted. I did tell him however that I loved his sensitivity, and that I hoped he would never lose that speck of human nature that says” Yes!, I must kill, but I don’t take pleasure in it, thoughts which were apparently inherent in native cultures.

    Today he is 17 years old, innocent and not ready to meet the world. He has fallen in love with a 14 year old girl, just plain love of another person. He lives with his parents but his father, worried about what people will say about the difference in age, ridicules the relationship, the love, and worries that there will soon be three of them. In some cultures, that would not be a worry, and even ‘normal’. I can feel the growing resentment of my grandson towards his antagonists, maybe even hatred. Does it matter that my son-in-law lost his own daughter to drugs at 21 years of age on the streets of Vancouver, or that he nearly lost his son to the same conditions? Other than pre-existing dispositions of drug addictions, I would have thought that we adults would learn that our morals are more often than not barriers to the real essence of life, and that the freedom to be whole is the gateway to the human heart, which brings me to the comments made by Robert Atack on the previous thread.

    Robert, you wrote so well: “No matter how much love ‘we’ preach now, when the shit goes down it will be every man for himself, and you can forget about the woman and children. Humans have no boundaries as far as the atrocities we commit, thinking of the latest with ISIS and Boko Haram, oh and the cops in Baltimore.”
    This so resonates with me. It reminds me of a song in the 60s in which the lyrics asked: “Where have all the flowers gone?”, which for me meant where has all the love I saw in the flower generation gone?

    We teach our children to love each other in our schools, and then we show them how to be competitive, grade them, standardize them, regiment them, and then when all is said and done with school, we send them to fend for thmsaelves in a world that is filled with the never-ending quest to accumulate the goods that we claim will assure their health. We teach them about love, and then expose them to an entertainment industry filled with the killing of other humans. We tell them to love their neighbors, but yet we cannot hide their eyes from neighbors who are forced to sleep under cardboard boxes, with quiet desperation in the eyes, the dispossessed and, of course, the consequences of being poor. Is it any wonder that some become rebelleous, criminals, even terrorists?

    We are all in the same boat. If our boat goes down, so will every person on that boat, hether they be English, Oriental, Muslim, or native. None of us can claim superiority, not even natives. While the white occupiers invaded the ‘land of the free and the brave’, natives had beforehand invaded each other, and so on. As Marshall McLuhan stated decades ago, the world is now a global village, and what happens in one part of the world happens in all parts, including the atrocities of ISIS, the seemingly senseless killings of millions by opposing armies, the extinction of species, Fukushimas, nuclear arrenals, and of course, the elephant in the room, climate change.

    I have found a soul-mate on this blog, if only for a brief moment. But what a feeling. Sometimes the stars just shine, even though they may be hidden by the thickest of clouds. Though no worries Robert, you’re not the one I just wrote about. A soul-mate, to me, is a soul that has wings that fly in concert with another soul. Sometimes one can see soul mates that fly in perfect formation, as if they were made of the same exact sense of direction. Some birds even fly as soul-mates by the thousands, all dancing in the skies in one perfectly harmonious swaying that seems to have been created instantaneously, unforeseen, never to be repeated.

    I am hoping that humanity can still one day use the lyrics of Aquarius, and that all of our homes become known as a seventh house, a place of harmony and understanding.

  • Sorry about the typos above…. Due diligence would be in order….

  • Thanks Satish, for mentioning Carolyn Merchant’s book “The Death Of Nature”.
    Have you read it? I still have my copy from the 80s.

    This book is about the essence of feminism before it was subverted quite deliberately by Western patriarchs who felt more threatened than society likes to admit.
    70s’ feminism was always about the connections made by Carolyn in this book. Only later, once total subversion of feminism had been accomplished, was “equality” pushed to be its main objective. Equality in a man’s world of course where women now can fight as front line soldiers* and try to scrabble for all the “real” boys’ jobs. That and the emphasis on phony pink femininity (two sides of the coin) are what most young women now think “equality” is all about. I nearly forgot “sharing housework and childcare” which is another “important issue” that women are still “fighting” for.

    All these issues have been completely taken out of their original feminist context and subverted. Patriarchy has won for sure. Just look around the world, the women “in power” are male impersonators; nothing to do with the feminist vision of the 60s and 70s. That vision never had a chance. Oh yes, I remember it well…

    I heard a radio programme about Georgia today (the original Georgia) where the Orthodox church is becoming very powerful again, as in Russia. The education system there is being taking over by this now very militant church fighting for the hearts and minds of the young.

    Now the Georgian Patriarch (what an apt word for him) is advising wives to wash their husbands’ feet on a regular basis. There we have it! Georgian women are encouraged to humble themselves, to show that they’re “good” women, through this symbolic act of subservience, just like the repentant Mary Magdalen. How “godlike” Georgian men must feel themselves to be, just like Jesus.
    Thus “original sin” is the fault of women again. And it’s no better in Russia. Strict church rule pacifies the population, and the people themselves are encouraged to interpret this as “stability”. I’m sure that Putin doesn’t mind at all.
    And surprise, surprise! Homophobia is once more actively encouraged by the Orthodox church. Funny how hatred of women and homophobia have always gone together. Why do patriarchal men feel so threatened? No answer needed.

    Which reminds me of the persecution of witches in Europe, when so-called witches were often burned together with gay men, or men suspected of being gay, who were tied to the bottom of the pyre like “faggots”, thus killing several birds with one stone. Very practical!

    In the 60s and 70s I was so native. I never thought we’d go there again. But I was young.

    * I know that women have always fought in the “front line” for the causes of the day, often dressed as men. There are many examples in history (just in case anybody thinks they should point this out to me).

  • Sabine,

    I feel your pain. I just can’t imagine going through life as a woman , if only because of the patriarchal garbage of humankind. Maybe one day, before humankind exists from the living, we will all realize that equality starts in each of our minds. If most releigious factions endorse the concept of God as a male, then that is where the problems lie, not in religions, but in the heads of people who keep those male preferencial bastions afloat.

  • Alton,

    The New American symbol NSA Spying on ALL was held illegal today (ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller – 13) so the plans to add his mug to the crew is at least postponed.

    But Mitch McCon … is presenting a bill that he hopes will put his mug on the mountain.

    The bill is the Groundhog Day Jobs Bill (Will This Float Your Boat – 8).

    The subtitle of the bill is “an endless career in every garage, pot in every chicken, every day a deja vu for youse guys.”

  • Thank you for the brief local history lesson, Alton, excellent writing as usual.

    As a resident of W. SD, I can honestly say the Black Hills are a very special place in this world. I’ve seen Mt. Rushmore many times, visited the park, and it is an absolute defilement of nature. The Borglum story always gives me the creeps. I don’t really care for the Crazy Horse monument, either, just on principle of defacement of nature.

    You may be interested in some current events happening in the shadow of that stone-faced, white male privilege. This is from a month ago. Take a good look at these numbers and understand that these are third-world countries within U.S. borders. These are kids from ages six to nineteen.

    “At least 11 children between the ages of 12 and 17 have committed suicide in my county since December. The heartbreaking details vary from child to child, but their families and this community–in the newly renamed Oglala Lakota County–feel the voids left by their absences just as deeply each and every time.

    Between December 1 and March 23, Pine Ridge Hospital treated 241 patients under 19 who actively planned, attempted or committed suicide. These numbers don’t account for unreported cases or for those who were treated in neighboring counties.” http://www.colorlines.com/articles/racism-core-native-teen-suicides-pine-ridge

    And the following is a problem that is a result of genocide, but may also be seen as a symptom of societal collapse. You MUST read every word of the article.

    “One of the tragedies of Julia Charging Whirlwind’s death is that it had been repeated on the Pine Ridge Reservation four months earlier.
    A girl, 8-year-old Jayla Rodriguez, was sledding behind her father’s trailer house in Pine Ridge’s Crazy Horse community Nov. 18 when a pack of feral dogs attacked and killed her.
    “Called sunka (SHOON-kuh) by the Lakota, dogs once played an important role in tribal culture, as pack animals and as spiritual helpers. In time, the welfare society imposed on the Lakota and Dakota by treaties with the federal government changed all that.

    “Now free-ranging packs of dogs that many characterize as “Heinz 57 mutts” — some weird genetic cocktail that’s part pit bull, part Rottweiler and part whatever, tribal officials say — have come to symbolize the desperation and want of reservation life. In recent years, it seems, they’ve become more aggressive. And meaner.

    “It is a tender discussion. K.C. Willis, who heads LightShine Canine Rescue out of Hot Springs and Gordon, Nebraska, is quick to point out that at least 800 dogs have been removed from the Pine Ridge Reservation and placed in rescue shelters since Jayla’s death.” http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/reservations-seek-answers-action-after-fatal-dog-attacks/article_d3d593fc-3edc-5bfc-bf53-1a0fe7c984c2.html

  • ‘The situation continues to deteriorate across northern California and Oregon as well. This is reflected by a slight expansion of D1-D2 to the west in extreme northwest California and extreme southwest Oregon. The northwest corner of Oregon also sees a bump downward this week with an expansion of D2 there.

    Idaho has also taken a turn for the worse as the wet season winds down, with expansions of D0 across the Panhandle and central regions and of D1 in the west-central region of the state. Water supply forecasts continue to decline along with the early melt-out of an already below-normal snow pack. The D0 also expanded to the east into Montana along the Bitterroot Range. Speaking of Montana, this week’s map reflects an expansion of D1 in the southwest corner along with a push eastward of the D0 into the southeastern corner of the state.’

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

  • The Oil Tar Sands are the Mount Rushmore of Alberta Canada.

    Good news: Leftist Party’s Win in Alberta May Affect Future of Oil Sands

  • Dredd Says:
    May 7th, 2015 at 9:54 am
    “Alton,

    The New American symbol NSA Spying on ALL was held illegal today (ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller – 13) so the plans to add his mug to the crew is at least postponed.

    But Mitch McCon … is presenting a bill that he hopes will put his mug on the mountain.

    The bill is the Groundhog Day Jobs Bill (Will This Float Your Boat – 8).

    The subtitle of the bill is “an endless career in every garage, pot in every chicken, every day a deja vu for youse guys.””

    Actually, the Second Court of Appeals, which rendered the decision, DECLINED to stop the program, and all but explicitly appealed to Congress to make the program clearly legal. Grasping at straws.

    As with this:
    May 7th, 2015 at 12:30 pm
    “The Oil Tar Sands are the Mount Rushmore of Alberta Canada.

    Good news: Leftist Party’s Win in Alberta May Affect Future of Oil Sands”

    This “leftist” party appealed to Alberta’s business community to not panic, the new administration will work with businesses to ensure that the investment climate remains vibrant. See today’s articles at http://www.wsws.org/

  • Jean Turcot. That is the exact same thing my dad told me that his grandson, my nephew, did when they caught a fish on Shuswap lake. The kid was in tears when my dad handed him “the club” and he could not do it. so my dad released the fish and took the kid to Dairy Queen – for hamburgers and a Blizzard lol. My dad taught me how to fish and I loved it, but we were living in South Eastern BC and that’s what many young boys did in the early 1970’s with 1 TV station, no internet or video games. My Nephew was born and raised in Vancouver in the first year home internet was available in Canada-1994. Whats normal is whats normal. Later on in life I spent much time on those streets of Vancouver you mentioned and was lucky to come out of it with only hep-c and some lost years. I made a new normal.

  • this week the Pentagon announced that Cheyenne Mountain will once again be home to the most advanced tracking and communications equipment in the United States military.

    The shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command’s sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, military officers said.

    The Pentagon last week announced a $700 million contract with Raytheon Corporation to oversee the work for North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command.

    Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that ‘because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain’s built, it’s EMP-hardened.’

  • Oops

    Peter Green – Just For You

    Sorry about that chiefs.

  • Hi all of you fellow endangered species cohort’s I just finished
    watching the Tom Cruise movie called OBLIVION and came to this conclusion all you have to do is replace the aliens with the
    oligarchs and plutocrats plus the patriarchs and the sheep
    that blindly follow them, do I have say more I think you guy’s
    get the drift, by the way I hope with all of my heart these last
    day’s will be are best day’s.

  • sorry I miss spelled our

  • I know this might be off topic, but it is worth a watch.
    According to
    http://www.cowspiracy.com/ — The movie.
    In 2009 a 2 man advisory team from the world bank said, commenting on Animal Agriculture
    Greenhouse gas Emissions 13% all transportation (cars, trucks trains etc) 51% Animal Agriculture including deforestation, and farts)

    Consumes 1/3 of all fresh water
    Occupies 45% of the earth land
    responsible for 91% of the Amazon rain forest destruction
    Leading cause of species extinction (Da)
    Leading cause of ocean dead zones
    and habitat destruction …..
    %
    5% US domestic water use verses 55% US Animal Agriculture.
    660 Gallons of water to make a 1/4 ponder = to 2 months worth of showers?

  • Bless you for that Robert Attack

    All I can figure with the vote in the UK today is that ALL Anglo countries are now off the rockers and way past the point of sanity. As if voting in more ruthless, more racist, more materialist-minded lunatics will turn back reality and the on-going climate and species holocaust. Perhaps David Cameron can file legal suits against the Climate for damages for depriving English business of their god-given rights to profits.

  • Hi Sabine,

    Yes, I have read most of the book. I picked up an old copy (perhaps from the 80s) from a roadside sale.

    You say it so well: “All these issues have been completely taken out of their original feminist context and subverted. Patriarchy has won for sure. Just look around the world, the women “in power” are male impersonators; nothing to do with the feminist vision of the 60s and 70s. That vision never had a chance. Oh yes, I remember it well…”

    There was a lot of hype around “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead“, the book by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, who encourages women to think about their careers. These are the kind of women’s empowerment solutions being proposed these days: “you can serve Empire too. Just get in line.” Today, in the US, women outnumber men in college. Feminism, like other movements, has been co-opted to serve ruling class interests.

  • May 8 – A decision [was made] by the University of Western Australia (UWA) to hand back $4m in federal government funding awarded for the Bjorn Lomborg “consensus centre”.

    UWA handed back the funding and dropped its connection with Lomborg, saying that lack of support among its academics made the centre untenable.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/may/08/climate-contrarian-bjrn-lomborgs-centre-dropped-by-wa-university

  • Thanks Wester,

    for your insightful comment on the goings-on here on the little island where I live. All Anglo countries have been truly off their rockers for some time, you’re right. They seem to be the main driving force with their free-market ideology and all the exploitation that entails.

    The conservatives here in the UK did their job well. Their “strategy” was well orchestrated by an Australian, Lynton Crosby, who honed his skills well in his home country. He advised playing on the fears of the ordinary “pragmatic” English people. I’m surrounded by them, polite “non-confrontational” people that they are (irony).
    Essentially, he advised the Tories to concentrate their “campaign” on scaring the living daylights out of the English by painting the Scots in a bad light. Those nasty Scots could have power over them and make the rules in the Westminster parliament. These nasty Scots who don’t want austerity, how dare they! They might come over Hadrian’s wall brandishing their claymores!
    Playing on “fears” always works, therefore his strategy worked like a dream.
    And, as you know, the stupid Labour Party here transformed itself into just another free-market neo liberal outfit under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The same goes for the Lib Dems. So now there has been no opposition for some time now, they’re really all the same. A process that was accelerated in the the 80s, as it was in our role model country the US.

    Now the Tories can implement their ideological agenda with all their might, albeit with only 36 % of the vote cast, thanks to our “traditional” voting system of which the people here are so proud.
    The openly fascist UKIP outfit only got one seat in parliament, their nasty leader didn’t win. However, this is not a “ray of hope” because it’ll give the Tories even more reason to apply their free-market fascist stranglehold on the country. They can really come out of the closet now.

    Yes, maybe David Cameron will sue the Earth’s climate for becoming so unpredictable. He’s stupid enough. How dare it no be on the side of global business! His old Eton school pal, our finance minister and head psychopath with the real power, George (Gideon) Osborne, will have free reign now, and he will cut, cut,cut. This little island has been prepared for the next cheap labour location for global “investment” for some time now.

    Sorry for another rant. I need it for balance. Now I can get back to what really counts. It’s a lovely day and my garden is smiling at me.

  • A new post is up, courtesy of Carolyn Baker. You can catch it here.

  • Apneaman,

    Yes, my grandson always seems to surprise me. He actally reacted to killing fish on two separte occasions, but never did express himself although it was plain to see how much it bothered him. Nevertheles, like many of us do when we are confronted with the reality of life, we go into a silent mode, not daring to challenge the moiral baggage handed down through generations. One thing seems obvious, if the ancients knew how to live, then what happened to us?

    When we don’t vote, even though the outcome is just more of the same most of the time, we are silenced by that baggage. When we see homelessness on the streets where we live, and say nothing, we are on the side of the same system we criticize from far away. If it’s ok for some to live on this planet without a homne, then it should be ok for anyone to expect the same.

    If we want to be free from each other, and that takes some doing without going to Mars or beyond, and free from banks which tell you just how much you are going to pay to live on the Earth, and you say nothing, then pay your ransoms and be quiet. If banks in your neck of the woods have an inventory of repossessed homes , and there is homelessness in your woods, and you do nothing, then you are just an extention of the bank. Did I mention I hate banks, the banking system, the banking authoritiesand basnk fraud… ? I do.

    If we are not free, it isn’t because of your local government rep. So whwre am I going with this? I wish I knew.

  • To go along with Alton’s essay, I have two other poignant reminders symbolizing our species insane cultural relationship with life — and death — on earth.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/de/Dusky_Seaside_Sparrow.jpg/393px-Dusky_Seaside_Sparrow.jpg

    The picture above is of a Dusky Seaside Sparrow. This lovely little avian made its home in the Atlantic salt marshes of Florida’s Merritt Island and St. Johns River. Unfortunately for the Dusky Seaside Sparrow, this area also became the launching ground of our early long range missile tests (so as to be able to chuck atom bombs across the globe with the push of a button), and our renowned NASA space program; one that spent billions to fly a handful of men to the moon, where they staked a few USA flags, drove a car, smacked a golf ball around, took some tourist photos, all to poke around in the lunar dust looking for life, before returning back home.

    In order to accomplish these feats, Merritt Island was first flooded “with the goal of reducing the mosquito population,” but devastating the sparrow’s nesting habitat to cause a population crash, and then “the marshes surrounding the river were drained, to facilitate highway construction,” and relentless pesticide use further imperiled the sparrow until in 1979 only six dusky seaside sparrows were know to exist — all males.

    Finally, as Wikipedia explains: “In 1983 the last four living dusky seaside sparrows were taken to the Walt Disney World Resort, to continue crossbreeding and living out their days in a protected habitat on the Discovery Island nature reserve. By March 31, 1986, only “Orange Band” remained.
    Despite being blind in one eye, “Orange Band” reached extreme old age for a sparrow, living at least nine years, and possibly as many as thirteen, before dying on June 17, 1987.”

    Symbolically, this entire enterprise reeks. From the insanity of the nuclear arms race and subsequent buildup (that still threatens to instantaneously snuff out life), to the lunacy of sending men to the moon (to look for life), while driving to extinction a lovely one-of-kind life form (found right in the back yard of these madmen), to the capturing and placing of the remaining four wild individuals in Disney World Resort’s “Discovery Island nature reserve” (where the Dusky Seaside Sparrow gave up the ghost to extinction), is a more contemporary and potent symbol of our self-centered arrogance and western mankind’s cultural insanity when it comes to desecration of creation.

    As to my second story, back in 1997, the Boston Globe published an article on how the town of Quincy, Massachusetts’s cemetery expansion would encroach on, and disturb habitat needed by the endangered Timber Rattlesnake to forage and mate in next to the cemetery. I responded with the following letter to the editor:

    Re: “Quincy cemetery expansion encroaching on snake habitat”:

    Following the logic of “I have to meet the growing needs of the city,” as expressed by Thomas P. Koch, Quincy’s director of parks, forestry, and cemeteries, and evidenced by the cutting down of forest acreage (never mind the life forms therein), one wonders where this endless civic duty to provide citizen burial plots ends?

    After the forests are gone — now turned into cemeteries — does the future director turn next upon the parks?

    Strict adherence to this civic logic might finally be felt by the living souls when a neighborhood is leveled to make room for the dead ones — until, ultimately, Quincy is one vast graveyard of honorary citizens.

    I mean no disrespect, but I wonder when the citizens of Quincy and elsewhere are going to figure out a way of honoring the dead while still leaving room for the living — including anything as rare, beautiful, wild, and mysterious a creation of God’s as a timber rattlesnake?

    I’d guess that God would prefer we honor our dead by acting as shepherds of all creation rather than as gravediggers.

    I still like to suppose the same holds true today, even tho I now understand that isn’t likely. Our species senseless brutality toward nature was impressed upon me at a very early age when I and a couple of other kids came across a snake in a rocky cow pasture, and the other two boys took to smashing a rock upon the snake, while I shed tears over the life they so needlessly and callously thought to murder. Even still, I have done whatever I can to protect and provide a safe haven for all the creatures under the sun that have blessed and enriched me with their presence; and I will continue to try and do so until the ghost comes for me too.

    Until then, my neck of the woods is still alive with life, and me and my doppelgänger Treebeard will fend for it while we still can! Here’s wishing the same to you all.

  • alton, thanks for the reminder that history can be told from many viewpoints, including those of ‘losers’ like native americans who lost their lands and lives to the invading ‘winners’ from europe. thanks for the reminder of the mass murder and deceit that took place in the name of ‘progress’, that has resulted in the clueless, crazy, cruel, and doomed culture we find ourselves mired in today.