What Happened to We?

The New York Times
September 30, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist
Where Did ‘We’ Go?
I hate to write about this, but I have actually been to this play before and it is really disturbing.

I was in Israel interviewing Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin just before he was assassinated in 1995. We had a beer in his office. He needed one. I remember the ugly mood in Israel then — a mood in which extreme right-wing settlers and politicians were doing all they could to delegitimize Rabin, who was committed to trading land for peace as part of the Oslo accords. They questioned his authority. They accused him of treason. They created pictures depicting him as a Nazi SS officer, and they shouted death threats at rallies. His political opponents winked at it all.

And in so doing they created a poisonous political environment that was interpreted by one right-wing Jewish settler as a license to kill Rabin — he must have heard, “God will be on your side” — and so he did.

Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.

What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, “Should Obama be killed?” The choices were: “No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.” The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin.

Even if you are not worried that someone might draw from these vitriolic attacks a license to try to hurt the president, you have to be worried about what is happening to American politics more broadly.

Our leaders, even the president, can no longer utter the word “we” with a straight face. There is no more “we” in American politics at a time when “we” have these huge problems — the deficit, the recession, health care, climate change and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — that “we” can only manage, let alone fix, if there is a collective “we” at work.

Sometimes I wonder whether George H.W. Bush, president “41,” will be remembered as our last “legitimate” president. The right impeached Bill Clinton and hounded him from Day 1 with the bogus Whitewater “scandal.” George W. Bush was elected under a cloud because of the Florida voting mess, and his critics on the left never let him forget it.

And Mr. Obama is now having his legitimacy attacked by a concerted campaign from the right fringe. They are using everything from smears that he is a closet “socialist” to calling him a “liar” in the middle of a joint session of Congress to fabricating doubts about his birth in America and whether he is even a citizen. And these attacks are not just coming from the fringe. Now they come from Lou Dobbs on CNN and from members of the House of Representatives.

Again, hack away at the man’s policies and even his character all you want. I know politics is a tough business. But if we destroy the legitimacy of another president to lead or to pull the country together for what most Americans want most right now — nation-building at home — we are in serious trouble. We can’t go 24 years without a legitimate president — not without being swamped by the problems that we will end up postponing because we can’t address them rationally.

The American political system was, as the saying goes, “designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.” But a cocktail of political and technological trends have converged in the last decade that are making it possible for the idiots of all political stripes to overwhelm and paralyze the genius of our system.

Those factors are: the wild excess of money in politics; the gerrymandering of political districts, making them permanently Republican or Democratic and erasing the political middle; a 24/7 cable news cycle that makes all politics a daily battle of tactics that overwhelm strategic thinking; and a blogosphere that at its best enriches our debates, adding new checks on the establishment, and at its worst coarsens our debates to a whole new level, giving a new power to anonymous slanderers to send lies around the world. Finally, on top of it all, we now have a permanent presidential campaign that encourages all partisanship, all the time among our leading politicians.

I would argue that together these changes add up to a difference of degree that is a difference in kind — a different kind of American political scene that makes me wonder whether we can seriously discuss serious issues any longer and make decisions on the basis of the national interest.

We can’t change this overnight, but what we can change, and must change, is people crossing the line between criticizing the president and tacitly encouraging the unthinkable and the unforgivable.


World Empathy Tip # 125

During my vacation I met 4 nurses from England. They were on a 10 day vacation from their job ashospice nurses. I could tell from talking with them that they were burned out. I offered 2 of them appreciations as being a group that helped my family while my step-dad was moving through his final days.

I replayed my stories for them and the values and needs the Hospice staff met for my family and myself knowing that they offer the same amazing support. It was a powerful appreciation and using my compassionate communication skills I made sure they heard and understood my words to them, so they could feel the energy of the values being met. I could see their energy rise immediately.

The Tip:
This week if someone says a thank you to you or offers an appreciation for something you did, stop, take a breath and feel that appreciation. Identify the values that you met for another. Relish in the life energy that will be rejuvenated. Mostly, take your time to appreciate the appreciation.

Better yet, look back a few days and identify something that you did for another or for yourself to make life easier or more rewarding. Take a moment and again feel the energy. This is a time not to be humble, just appreciative for your compassion and contribution to life.

Maybe something you did for a loved one, friend or a stranger. Take a minute to remember the situation and what values were met. Take a few deep breaths then go on with your day. Try this before you leave your bed for the day and before you sleep. Try it now.

May you find ways to meet all your needs.

Rick Goodfriend
Founder - World Empathy day

Author of "I Hear You, But..."
Over 70 communication tips to make your relationships easier

PS. Any comments on this tip or how to make World Empathy Day more
effective would be a contribution.

Goodfriends Communication Skills
1734 Bath St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Wind, Baby, Wind!


NC Energy Forum, Charlotte


Oct. 3, Lecture, Longleaf Pine Ecosystem

Workshop scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, 10:30 to Noon at the Pinehurst Village Hall, 395 Magnolia Road.
The workshop, "A Story of the Longleaf Pine...Our Roots to a Green Future," will include a PowerPoint presentation by Ruth and Bob Stolting, members ofthe Greenway Wildlife Habitat Committee and Master Gardener Volunteers. The Stoltings will tell the story of the longleaf pine, its importance to the diverse ecosystem of the Sandhills, and how controlled burns can protect the Sandhills from the type of raging wildfires that have plagued California. The workshop is sponsored by the GWHC and is free of charge. We hope to see you there.


Why Are Farmers Afraid of Pollan?

Published on Friday, September 25, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
Why Are Farmers Afraid of Michael Pollan?
by Jim Goodman

Author Michael Pollan [1] is no stranger to controversy. He has broadened the discussion of what we eat, where and how it is grown, big vs. small, organic farming vs. conventional. When he speaks some in the audience will love him, some will not.

Advocates of large scale agriculture see Pollan as the enemy, they believe he stands against everything they see as the future of agriculture. Pollen however is not an absolutist, his basic premise is that people need to think more about their food; where it was grown, how it was grown, was the farmer paid fairly, is it good for you?

Pollan wants people to think about cooking, about food freshness and flavor, about the dinner table as more than a "filling station".

Knowing your food is not a radical concept, and it should not be a frightening concept. Knowledge is power, the more we know, the better choices we can make.

Farmers should have nothing to hide, and those most upset with Pollan's theories on eating, tout their large scale farming methods as being models of efficiency, environmental protection, animal welfare and safe food.

Still, they fear his thoughts being mainstream. Granted, Pollan is not a farmer, and does not know all the intricacies of farming; he does not claim to. However, those who denounce him do not know the intricacies of the local, regional and organic farming he advocates.

So, why are they afraid of what he has to say? Pollen admits there is no one right way to farm, there is no one system that will work for all farmers. He maintains that all farmers need to make a living yet be mindful of how they farm, how they raise their animals and how they maintain the environment. If Pollan has an argument with agriculture, it is not with farmers, it is with agribusiness.

Author Wendell Berry notes that "Agribusiness is immensely more profitable than agriculture". Any farmer knows that the corporate owners of seed, chemicals, fertilizer and the buyers of grain, livestock and milk always seem to make a profit; farmers do not.

Over the past 60 years farmers have seen competition in the market place steadily disappear as corporate mergers concentrated all aspects of agriculture into the hands of a few multinational corporations.

Their profit comes at the expense of the farmer, the farm worker, consumer safety and the environment.

While farmers defend themselves against what they see as an attack by Pollan, they are really defending agribusiness. When they say they love their Roundup Ready corn, the hormones and the chemicals they are promoting the corporations that always make a profit whether the farmers win or lose.

When farmers disparage small-scale ecological agriculture because it "will never feed the world" they conveniently forget that conventional agriculture has not fed the world either, despite 60 years of promises to do so. They also ignore the findings [2] of IAASTD [3] that indicate [3] the old paradigm of industrial agriculture is a thing of the past.

The industrial model sources food from the world, pits farmer against farmer in a race to the bottom. Globalized commodities converted into processed nutritionally empty foods, make corporations rich, Americans obese, and developing countries destitute .

Pollan just wants farmers and consumers to think. Agribusiness is rich and persuasive, they own both ends of the market place and they want to keep it that way. When people think about what they eat and what they grow, chances are, eventually, they will make the right choice.

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer and activist from Wonewoc, WI and a WK Kellogg Food and Society [4] Policy Fellow.


Coca-Cola's Greenwash


Over-consumption Alive and Well

Recession barely dents 'eco-debt'
The global recession has barely dented the trend to over consumption according to a report out today.


Monsanto, Sugar Beets


In-depth Article on Peak Oil

http://www.truthout.org/092209W?n describes current energy sources and their continuing scarcity; meanwhile, alternative energies lag far behind. A recipe for more environmental degradation and global energy wars. Please insist that our local governments are discussing these issues and developing some sensible plans to get us thru the next very difficult decades.


Pollan's In Defense of Food, on Campus

In Dairyland, Pollan's 'Food' book sparks debate - Yahoo! News http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090924/ap_on_re_us/us_food_book_university

Kilowatt Ours Links Up with Whole Foods

[from the makers of the movie, Kilowatt Ours]
Pssst... The Kilowatt Ours DVD is now on sale at Whole Body/Whole Foods in Nashville. For readers not in Nashville, I have this to share: My dream is that Whole Foods Market will carry Kilowatt Ours in all stores nationwide, and you can help. Currently WFM is testing the Kilowatt Ours DVD in selected stores. If you and all your friends purchase the DVD and/or request a copy and the DVDs fly off the shelves, Whole Foods will likely continue promoting it --getting the conservation message out to new audiences and financially supporting our work.

Please visit your local Whole Foods Market (find a store at: http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=Dwhah&m=1dQiDS5ryTuyw5&b=P0Nlbh1Z45xasxuSiU8KIA) and ask if they carry KO. If they don't, please request it.

If they do carry KO, make a purchase--it is still a great gift for friends and family. And encourage your friends to pick up their copy too! THANK YOU!

**ENERGY SAVING TIP** As the cooling season draws to a close, please remember to change the filter in your HVAC intake vent. This will improve your indoor air quality and cut energy usage as we move into the heating season.

Press Release from High Mowing Farms

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2009

Local Seed Company Wins Lawsuit Against Genetically Engineered Crops

High Mowing Organic Seeds, a mail-order organic seed company based in Wolcott, Vermont announced today that it has won its nearly 20 month lawsuit against the USDA for the premature deregulation of Monsanto’s genetically engineered sugar beets. Additional plaintiffs include the Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance and the Sierra Club and were represented in addition, by Earth Justice attorneys. The groups filed the lawsuit in January 2008.

High Mowing’s founder and President, Tom Stearns says, “This ruling is a success not just for organic farmers but for all who have hope for a healthier food system in this country. All wise solutions to our agricultural challenges should serve our physical health, environmental health and the economic viability of farmers and the communities in which they live.”

The U.S. District Court for the northern district of California ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) violated federal law by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement before deregulating genetically altered sugar beets.

Monsanto developed the biotech beets to be resistant to Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide Roundup, and promotes the sugarbeets as "Roundup Ready."

In 2009, 1.1 million acres were planted with GMO sugar beets and almost half of the sugar in the U.S. is made from beets.

Recently, the USDA has shown great signs of progress in support of local and organic food by elevating the National Organic Program to its own division and just yesterday, hiring Miles McEvoy as its head. The USDA, headed by Sec. Vilsack and Deputy Sec. Merrigan have also been making important announcements for the last week as they kick-off their new campaign, Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. Stearns believes that these are critical and substantial changes within the department and “that a tipping point has been reached and that the USDA is now becoming part of the solution to re-building healthy food systems in this country.”

High Mowing is just one of dozens of farms and agricultural businesses in the Hardwick, Vermont region that have been collaborating with each other for many years. The NY Times, Gourmet Magazine, Eating Well Magazine and authors Michael Pollan, Bill McKibben, Sen. Patrick Leahy and many others have declared the region as a national model for healthy food systems and building economic development through value-added agriculture. In mid-September, camera crews and Chef Emeril Legasse and Dan Rather Reports filmed many activities of the region for their upcoming shows on healthy food systems.

For more information contact:
Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds
802-472-6174 ext. 114

Progress on Global Warming

UN chief praises climate summit
UN chief Ban Ki-moon says a one-day summit in New York has given fresh impetus to efforts to tackle global warming.


Day of Empathy



Important Quote by Kennan

The counsels of impatience and hatred can always be supported by the crudest and cheapest symbols; for the counsels of moderation, the reasons are often intricate, rather than emotional, and difficult to explain. And so the chauvinists of all times and places go their appointed way: plucking the easy fruits, reaping the little triumphs of the day at the expense of someone else tomorrow, deluging in noise and filth anyone who gets in their way, dancing their reckless dance on the prospects for human progress, drawing the shadow of a great doubt over the validity of democratic institutions. And until people learn to spot the fanning of mass emotions and the sowing of bitterness, suspicion, and intolerance as crimes in themselves--as perhaps the greatest disservice that can be done to the cause of popular government--this sort of thing will continue to occur. -- George F. Kennan


What Goes Around Comes Around

The importance of the city-farming agitation cannot be overestimated. Gardening this year is not a fad; it means family and national preparedness.
Popular Mechanics
Magazine, May 1917

Local Food Survey

If you have not already done so, please take five minutes now to fill out the on-line food consumer survey:

By doing so you will be helping get the Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative started. This is an enterprise that will help preserve local farms by making fresh local produce and food conveniently available to you, delivered to your church, office, or home.

This effort will make a positive difference in the community, and your assistance is greatly appreciated. Let's work together to keep our farmers and our money here in the Sandhills!


Food, Inc. AND Fresh, Flicks at Sunrise!

[from Jan's Cottage Garden Newsletter]

After two sell-out nights in August for the documentary "Food, Inc," the Sunrise Theater is bringing it back next month.

Yes, the important and much-talked-about "FOOD, INC" will make its return engagement Tues-Wed, Oct 20-21. If you didn't get to see, now is your chance, and bring a friend. If you have seen it, tell a friend.

Hard on the heels of "Food, Inc", comes another food film. The Sunrise has also booked the new movie "Fresh" for Thur-Fri, Oct 22-23 .

It's been said that if "Food, Inc" was your wake-up call, "Fresh" is a look at some of our options.

Featured in the film is more of the ever-engaging Joel Salatin, plus McAurthur Genius Grant award-winner Will Allen of Milwaukee's innovative "Growing Power".
I had a chance to meet Will this June, and tour the simple community-engaged systems of "Growing Power" with my mad-scientist brother. The "urban farm" produces local food year-round in Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Lake perch from aquaculture, and fresh greens, are the year-round stars. Worm compost is the fertilizer.

Anyway "Fresh" (see: www.freshthemovie.com).
is confirmed for Thur-Fri, Oct 22-23 on the heels of "Food Inc."
Get the dates down on your calendar.
And bring a friend!

China, Venezuela, Oil

China in huge Venezuela oil deal
Venezuela announces a $16bn deal with China for oil exploration in the Orinoco river, after a similar agreement with Russia.


Rich Countries' Carbon Emissions

Bank urges climate 'action now'
Rich countries must lift climate change spending and accept responsibility for their historical emissions, says the World Bank.

Happiness Is Contagious

From the NY Times: "But two years ago, a pair of social scientists named Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler used the information collected over the years about Joseph and Eileen and several thousand of their neighbors to make an entirely different kind of discovery.
By analyzing the Framingham Heart Study data, Christakis and Fowler say, they have for the first time found some solid basis for a potentially powerful theory in epidemiology: that good behaviors — like quitting smoking or staying slender or being happy — pass from friend to friend almost as if they were contagious viruses. The Framingham participants, the data suggested, influenced one another’s health just by socializing.
And the same was true of bad behaviors — clusters of friends appeared to “infect” each other with obesity, unhappiness and smoking. Staying healthy isn’t just a matter of your genes and your diet, it seems. Good health is also a product, in part, of your sheer proximity to other healthy people. By keeping in close, regular contact with other healthy friends for decades, Eileen and Joseph had quite possibly kept themselves alive and thriving. And by doing precisely the opposite, the lone obese man hadn’t.

Racism, Obama

Carter says Obama row is 'racist'
Former US President Jimmy Carter says much of the vitriol against President Barack Obama's health reform plans is "based on racism".

World Health Catastrophe

Doctors warn on climate failure
Failure to agree a new UN climate deal in December will usher in a "global health catastrophe", according to medical leaders.


Attacking Health Care Reform

[NOT TO BE CONFUSED with The League of Women Voters, a strongly non-partisan bastian of American political discourse]


Long-Range Plan Meeting, 9/16

Mark your calendar for either of two Sept. 16th sessions:
11:30-1:30, Douglass Center, Penn. Ave OR
7:00-9:00, Sou. Pines Recreation Center, Memorial Park Ct.
Southern Pines is developing a 20-year and needs YOUR input!


Big Food vs. Big Insurance


FactCheck on Health Care


Obama's Health Speech, Full Text



Second Wave of Mortgage Defaults


Indigenous Foods Under Attack



http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/missoula/localwashing/Content?oid=1159742 [Rebranding for corporate power]


Van Jones Resigns Obama Adm.

White House Environmental Adviser Van Jones Resigns Citing "Vicious Smear Campaign Against Me"
The Obama administration's special adviser for environmental jobs, Van Jones, has resigned citing what he described as a "vicious smear campaign" against him.
For the past month, Fox News has run a series of reports on Jones's alleged association with communists and his decision to sign a petition calling for a congressional probe of the 9/11 attacks. Jones is the founding president of Green for All and author of the book The Green Collar Economy. We speak with James Rucker, who co-founded the group Color of Change with Van Jones, and with Malkia Cyril, founder of the Center for Media Justice. We also talk to Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.

Barefoot Beekeeper Site



Cadbury Holding Firm



What We Know About Disappearing Bees


Moore CAN, Sept. 13, Sou. Pines

It's time for our Moore CAN members to come back together again on Sunday, September 13th from 2 - 4 at the Southern Pines Civic Club ~ 105 S. Ashe Street.
After a brief business meeting we'll welcome Guest Speaker Lyle Estill, whose two books, "Biodiesel Power" and "Small Is Possible", focus on his experience and wisdom concerning a small town in North Carolina. Unwilling to rely on government and wary of large corporations, those residents discovered possibilities for feeding, fueling, healing, and governing themselves.
All interested in sustainability, local economies, small businesses, and real foods will be inspired by success stories Lyle will share with us on Sunday, September 13th at 2:00pm!
Please bring others interested in joining your Action Team or one of the other teams or who want to learn more about Moore CAN.
Admission FREE with a $5 donation please. Stay for brainstorming & networking with teams after Lyle's presentation.
COLD STONE CREAMERY will be on hand with Ice Cream Sundaes and a variety of toppings.
Contact Debra Dee Fry
910-690-1873 (cell)


Duke Energy Leaving the Dark Side


No Impact Man, the Movie


Boycott Industrial Eggriculture



Elderberry for Health


Real Costs of Cheap Food


Incredible, Edible Front Lawn


Repair Kit: Urban Sprawl


Parks, What Are They Good For?


Yoga Month, First Health, Sou. Pines

September is National Yoga Month and you're all invited to participate!
We're offering lots of free community classes. Most are in addition to our regular multi levels of classes offered here at First Health, Sou. Pines.

This is a great opportunity to share your passion for yoga with friends. All they need to do is call us @ 692-6129 to register.

Please share this info with your contacts.
We will also be hosting a Level 1 YogaFit teacher training on Sept 12 & 13. If you're considering teaching yoga or just want a yoga staycation, you still have time to contact yogafit.com to get registered.

If you have any questions on the free classes or the training, please contact me via email or phone.

Have a great day
Cinnamon LeBlanc CES,RYT
Firsthealth center for Health & Fitness So Pines
205 Davis Rd So Pines, NC 28387
910 692-1672 Fax: 910 692-1180

Farmers Mkt, USC Campus



White House Garden Video


Flu Vaccine, Nerve Disease