Bob Higgins

Class Warfare, Coming Soon to a Community Near You

Posted in Environment, Financial Crime, Politics, Uncategorized by Bob Higgins on July 31, 2011

Honduran Police Burn Community to the Ground

Homes, churches, schools, and crops all destroyed as the post-coup government continues to side with wealthy plantation owners over the country’s organized farmers. 

Watch this video from: The Real News and know this: If these hideous crimes against working people can be committed in Honduras by police and military units likely trained and supported by US dollars they can be committed here.

Economic collapse, debt crisis, gas and food prices through the roof, no jobs, terror in the streets, endless wars and the destruction of all societal safety mechanisms? These are the gifts being offered by the ever expanding modern industrial society.

But there’s more. After the capitalist class has gambled away the wealth of the country and squandered another generation of our youth in their wars for resources and empire they will force you to pay the bill.

They’re working on it now, night and day wrangling over the republican manufactured debt crisis, they are preparing the complete destruction of the middle class and the total privatization of all government functions where everything will be paid for at the company store at several times the price.

You will be called on to tighten your belt, to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, to make a greater sacrifice for your country except that your country will have become a wholly owned subsidiary of a consortium of stateless and soulless corporations.

They will come for your land, your homes, your meager wealth, using the tools, the police, even the army of the government that they bought, co-opted and finally seized. And finally having taken everything they want they will simply dispose of you, disappeared, dead, it doesn’t matter, as long as you are gone and they have room to ride their horses and cruise their yachts.

They will keep those who are acceptably docile to work in their mills and fields and to guard the remainder who show signs of resistance in their camps and prisons and maintain continued docility among a slave labor class.

Watch the video, prepare for the future.

Bob Higgins

More on the rape of Rigores and related stories:

Weekly Reading List From Common Dreams

Posted in Citizens United, Environment, History, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on July 30, 2011

Tim DeChristopher? They’re Jailing the White Hats

Posted in Bob Higgins at Clean Technica, Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on July 27, 2011
Keyhole Ruin Canyonlands National Park

Keyhole Ruin, in Canyonlands National Park Once a Home to Pre-Columbian Cliff Dwellers Photo David Hiser / Flickr Commons

A few decades ago I lived across the river from Arches National Park in Southern Utah. Arches and nearby Canyonlands National Park are spectacular in their beauty but much of the entire “Four Corners” area is awe inspiring and filled to overflowing with stunning images, stark desert tranquility and a serene, almost mystical timelessness.

People from all over the world who have never visited the area are familiar with these canyons and mesas, haunting red rock vistas, from the movies of John Ford, from Marlboro Man ads and from more car and truck commercials than I can count.

It sometimes seems as if these towering mesas were created for the sole purpose of serving as pedestals for shiny pickups lowered from helicopters by Los Angeles ad agencies.

In my younger days I backpacked and camped in winter and summer through the west, from the mountains of the Cascades to the thermal pools of Yellowstone, I’ve witnessed up close the depths of the Grand Canyon and the stirring heights of Yosemite. I have never been more moved and inspired by the unadorned and unmolested beauty of the Earth than I was in the desert canyons and mountains of Southern Utah.

Yesterday a young man named Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in federal prison for impeding the process of granting federal oil leases at nearly two dozen sites in close proximity to Arches and Canyonlands, both pristine and protected areas.

I cannot imagine looking over the rim of Bryce or the Grand Canyon and seeing a field of oil derricks, monster trucks hauling ore from a giant strip mine, or ascending a quiet fern-covered hill to discover boom trucks loaded with redwoods being hauled from the ancient rainforest framed by the swirling dust and diesel fumes of a backwoods logging rape.

Those visions are what Tim DeChristopher sought to prevent, or at least to forestall by his courageous and solitary act of defiance.

I cringe at the fact that we allow the people and interests involved in stealing the tops of our mountains, fouling our oceans and waterways with their industrial sludge and turning our atmosphere into an un-breathable, poisonous gas to walk free among us.

That we allow them to continue to exert their influence in state capitols and the halls of congress while this decent, justifiably concerned and creatively bold young person languishes in prison is a travesty and sets exactly the wrong example.

That DeChristopher committed a crime under the “law” is beyond dispute, but the fact that his actions were taken to prevent much greater crimes must be understood and recognized by the courts and fact that they are not points directly to the degree of control that money and corporate influence have over our courts.

A symbolic slap on the wrist, a suspended sentence or probation would have satisfied the “law” and sent the proper message to those who continue to wantonly assault our common resources, while destroying our environment and threatening our lives.

For more on this case and to take action please visit: Tim DeChristopher’s Imprisonment: Our Call to Action!

Bob Higgins

Originally posted at Clean Technica: Tim DeChristopher? They’re Jailing the White Hats

Population? Stack’em Up, The More The Merrier

Posted in Environment, Labor Health and Safety, Politics by Bob Higgins on July 20, 2011
Slum in Jakarta swamp

Slums built on swamp land near a garbage dump in East Cipinang, Jakarta Indonesia. Picture taken by Jonathan McIntosh, 2004

I arrived on the scene in 1944 when there were just over 2 billion people on this planet. According to infoplease.com we reached the 2 billion milestone in 1927 and passed 3 billion in 1950 so I’m approximating, after all, we’re not splitting a dinner check.

From what I read, we’re on the cusp of passing the 7 billion milestone in October of this year. (The lucky 7 billionth child gets free sandwiches from Subway for a full thirty days – less shipping and handling.)

What this means, aside from the brutally depressing fact that I am likely older than 5 billion people, or 65% of the population, I don’t know, but I’m fairly certain that continued growth at this rate will not usher in a golden age of plenty, abundant crops at lower prices, free rides for the kiddies, a wild explosion in the number of carpool lanes and cleaner air and water.

Not so, according to a column, “Population Boom” at the Boston Globe this morning. The writer set me off with his subhead, “More people leads to more prosperity.” That sounds like a slogan from the turn of the century Robber Barons celebrating the new industrial age, the rapid influx of cheap immigrant labor, and higher rents for fire trap tenement buildings.

The ability of technology and industrial society to conjure ways to feed, clothe, shelter and keep an ever growing, more densely concentrated population on a planet with diminishing resources from slitting each other’s throats is  not discussed in the article. I think I’d avoid it as well.

If we’ve learned nothing from the mayhem of the last century with its constant conflict over resources, its terrible wars, droughts, famines, epidemics and economic depressions we should have learned that more people at the party will not reduce the noise level and no amount of religious or ideological wishful thinking will make it so.

We are on the brink of destroying the world’s oceans and waterways with the byproducts of the lifestyles we’ve developed since the dawn of the industrial age. We face the very real threat of  massive water shortages, a more immediate threat of running out of the fuel that has driven this growth and the likelihood that our air will be so filled with pollutants from our own activities that it will require chewing rather than breathing.

The more the merrier may be a joyous concept to a mine owner looking for dirt cheap labor to strip away a mountaintop, and more people may mean prosperity and happy days for the few who benefit from the outstretched hands, parched throats and empty bellies of the impoverished but there comes a point when the party loses its glamor down in the hood.

While I can’t offer a solution to the problem of rapid population growth other than education and birth control, for the billion or so people who are already fighting for arable land and potable water, for adequate housing, light, heat, breathable air, a view of a horizon that includes gainful employment and human dignity, time is running out and the worship of expanding markets and easily exploitable labor is no help at all.

Bob Higgins

Originally posted at Clean Technica: Population? Stack’em Up, The More The Merrier

Related stories:

Here Comes The Sun, There Goes The Cat

Posted in Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on July 19, 2011
Sunrise, St Lawrence

Sunrise, St Lawrence

In a few minutes the ancient maple tree across the street from my open window will explode with light as the sun rises behind it. A few minutes later I’ll have to adjust the blinds to keep zillions of crazy excited photons out of my eyes and in an hour or so, the cat, who loves to sleep in the window at the back of my desk, will find it uncomfortably warm. He’ll get up, stretch, toss me a disdainful look and move lazily to the bed to continue his nap, allowing me to shut the window against the onset of July’s heat.

This is a moment of predictability that I share most summer mornings with the Sun and the cat, it’s become as regular as coffee, the maple ablaze with dawnlight, the disrespectful feline, the heat that moments ago left the sun and traveled through spacetime to annoy my cat and warm this meager room.

Something fascinates me about this time of my day and I suspect that the wonder is a product of its predictability. The sun does this every day, rising within a few degrees of latitude and as the seasons pass, discomfort with the heat turns to welcome. If I were Mayan perhaps I could chart the travels of the sun but I doubt that even the Mayans could chart the whims of this cat.

We spend untold billions of dollars, and human eons of time trying to produce what this predictable old sun scatters with chaotic abandon through my corner of the universe daily. Trillions, or some other more impressively nonsensical number of particles of light and energy with names as strange and whimsical as my languid cat, shoot through my window daily, at no charge and with no effort on my part. In summer, I try to shield myself from the sun’s onslaught, in winter I try to encourage and collect the warmth and comfort it offers.

But I can’t prevent it, any more than I can make this cat perform close order drill or fetch my coffee.

What is it in us that refuses to accept what the sun offers for free while we destroy mountains and oceans, rivers and forests, species and generations of humanity in a futile attempt to reproduce its products for sale?

Bob Higgins

Originally posted at Clean Technica: Here Comes the Sun, There Goes the Cat

Related Posts:

Solar Highways Turn Public Liabilities into Assets
Humpback Whales Inspire New Ocean Tidal Energy Turbine

The Light Bulb That Broke The Camel’s Back?

Posted in Environment, Labor Health and Safety by Bob Higgins on July 17, 2011
The CFLs That Broke The Camel's Back?

The CFLs That Broke The Camel's Back?

Editor’s note: In response to “How many lawmakers does it take to…,” by Jeff Jacoby in today’s Boston Globe.

I switched to CFLs in 2006. With the exception of one bulb which broke when I clumsily knocked over a lamp, every CFL that I bought five years ago is still in use today.

They have provided light and a small but significant savings of energy and money. I haven’t bought an additional bulb in a couple of years.

We have accepted limits on the flow rate of our faucets and the flush rate of our toilets in the interest of conserving precious water. We’ve accepted fuel efficiency standards for our vehicles as a measure of reducing pollution and conservation of petroleum resources.

Much of society, of civilization, is concerned with placing limits on human activities, on behavior, on consumption of resources.

In the interest of protecting what we hold and use in common we place restrictions on the production of poisons, pollution, weapons, incendiaries and even noise.

Now, Jeff Jacoby tells us that the same people who rolled over for the Patriot act, illegal wiretaps, and public body cavity searches of small children and grandmothers are headed for the barricades over being deprived of the use of incandescent light bulbs?

We do not occupy this planet alone, the universe does not revolve around us, society is about setting limits, so grow up, get over it.

Yes, your freedom is threatened but will you complaisantly watch your elections rigged by corporate interests, your right to privacy voided,  your children violated, and go to the ramparts over light bulbs?

Bob Higgins