The not very rebellious rebellion…yet.

There’s a couple of things I’d like to discuss today about rebellion….what it is, what it isn’t and what it probably should be.

First off though let me just say that I’ve just finished reading Mark Boyle’s “Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi” and would definitely recommend it to everyone as essential reading. It will push and pull at your sense of what’s right and wrong in the world and how we should react to rectify matters. Boyle pulls no punches in standing up for nature, suffering from the onslaught of human greed in the form of the industrial/political machine. He says that if we really want to effect change, by rebelling against the status quo, we need to be prepared to use every tool in our tool box. He has to choose his words carefully so as not to be placed on some form of government watch list…..he’s probably on one anyway….and so stops just short of inciting violent protest, but clearly indicates that violent protest is the only effective protest.

These thoughts were mirrored recently during the struggle between the people of Hong Kong and the dictatorial Chinese government. “I feel totally hopeless – I don’t want to resort to violence, but peaceful protest doesn’t change a thing. I feel there is no future ahead of us,” said a masked medical student on condition of anonymity. Link to the article is here… https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/hong-kong-in-chaos-as-protesters-gather-at-universities-with-bows-and-arrows/ar-BBWGOH1?ocid=spartandhp

Conversely, we have Extinction Rebellion (a catchy name and a trendy logo), led by Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook in the UK, which has quickly spread around the world as the “alternative” environmental movement. XR, as they are known, say that they are an environmental movement who use nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss and risk of social and ecological collapse. By stipulating that they use only nonviolent civil disobedience, they limit what tools they can draw from their toolbox to fight against injustice.

I have been a protester/activist/political commentator from my mid teens to present day. In my 60 years on this earth I have been a founding member of a peace group, joined this peaceful campaign and that, taken part in peaceful marches, sit ins, rallies, gone door to door with petitions for everything from saving the forests, banning the bomb, assorted attempts for world peace, marched against Monsanto’s GMO’s, marched against fluoride in the drinking water etc etc. So I do understand where XR are coming from in declaring themselves a nonviolent movement. I’ve seen it all, been there done that and for the most part sadly, these tactics (petitions and peaceful protest) have been totally ineffective in changing the way that government or industry do things. There’s a famous quote that says Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet still we pull out the same tools from our toolbox that have failed us before and expect, or at least hope, that this time they will actually work.

If you look up the word Rebellion in the dictionary it will say: noun – an act of armed resistance to an established government or leader……the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention. Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. Rebellion generally seeks to evade and/or gain concessions from an oppressive power, a revolt seeks to overthrow and destroy that power as well as its accompanying laws. Elsewhere I find Rebellion = Resistance, Revolt = Revolution. And Rebellion: is a violent uprising of the masses against their leadership.

So, a couple of these definitions specify violence or armed resistance. Something that XR rule out. One has to ask how rebellious the civil disobedience of Extinction Rebellion actually is, when they report to the police and councils to give prior notice of actions being taken, in order to get permission to protest. Not very rebellious I’d say. In footballing terms it’s a bit like Manchester United giving Liverpool notes on their tactics for their upcoming game. The authorities then give them permission to protest – march, block bridges, picket buildings etc., under police supervision and on condition it doesn’t lead to excessive public unrest. The fact is that they are only ever going to be as rebellious as their masters (the government, councils or police) allow them to be.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that XR’s heart is in the right place. They are well intentioned and have had a few minor results go their way, but are playing within the rules enforced by the oppressors that they profess to be fighting against. This is neither a rebellion, nor are they likely to win the war using these tactics, even though they will win the occasional battle or gain the odd concession here and there. Civil disobedience, according to Mr Boyle’s book, is about NOT reporting to the authorities about forthcoming rebellious action, causing as much disruption to the status quo as possible, and is about keeping ALL options open.

In Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, Boyle tells us the only thing that both the government and big business fear is damage to their profit margins. Peaceful demonstrations, blocking some roads or bridges while leaving alternative routes open, orderly marches and endless petitioning are not going to stop the progress of big business or prevent their wanton destruction of the natural world. We need to change the entire corporate/government/military/consumer driven economic system. We need to escape the shackles of the debt riddled society in which we live and simplify our lives, return to living within the boundaries of nature and to stop dominating and plundering nature or as big business and government refer to it “natural resources”. Can’t nature just be left as nature, and valued for it’s beauty and wildness, without being given a monetary value and classed as a resource?

Some years ago a small group of activists by the name of ELF (Earth Liberation Front) used violent action (arson) against corporate property with the intention of damaging financially the businesses that are wreaking havoc on nature and the environment, without violence to people – so no injury or death to anyone. They burned down several properties of companies that they saw as threats to the environment or as being directly destructive to nature. This included a timber mill that was illegally logging trees, and a slaughter plant that was killing so many wild horses that the blood released into the waterways was such that the water department could not cope and nearby towns water supply was polluted. In many cases, as a result of ELF’s “Ecotage”, the business either folded completely, or moved elsewhere. It was generally acknowledged therefore that ELF were successful in their actions. Just a note for the authorities here…I am not condoning Arson, nor am I inciting it. I am merely stating that it was affective in achieving ELF’s goals. Although many of their actions took place in the 1990’s it wasn’t until post 9/11 that arrests were made under new terrorism laws. Although ELF never threatened the lives of anyone, nor injured, or took a life by any of their actions, they were deemed to be bigger “Terrorist threats” than, for example, white supremacy groups who had killed and were continuing to kill/threatening to kill. Why is this you ask? Boyle says it’s because although white supremacists threaten lives, usually of people who are not white, they do not threaten businesses profit margins. When a multi million dollar or multi billion dollar company tells their government officials that they demand action against what they term “Eco-Terrorists” otherwise they will withdraw their financial support…they get listened to. Money makes the rules. Big business tells government what to do. The tail wags the dog. For the people, by the people….don’t make me laugh! To view an excellent 2011 video documentary “If a tree falls” – about ELF’s actions and their eventual capture by the authorities, link to YouTube doco is below. It is an insight into the methods of direct action and the thinking behind movements such as ELF.

Meantime the public keep on signing petitions, or take their plastic to recycling stations and think that they are doing their bit in saving the planet.

Boyle, in the closing pages of his book says that “The landscape of activism today is, like the forests of England and Ireland, dominated by the deer who quickly nibble at any shoots of resistance….however our monocultural political terrain is in need of a ferocious predator. We need the wolf to bring balance to the wild forests. We need the Wild Revolutionary to stand up to the threat in the wild, but the authorities would prefer the political landscape to be inhabited only by reformists, pacifists and the like….like domesticated animals to browse within the fence line“.

He also says that violent direct action should certainly not be the first route to take. It should be the very last tool taken out of the tool box, but it should not be ruled out from the very start. “If the day comes when we accept that both fierceness and gentleness have their appropriate time and place within our struggles in defence of Life, we may again earn the chance to experience the only real peace there has ever been: the peace of The Wild“.

So what Boyle is saying is don’t use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, but when a wall needs knocking down a nutcracker won’t do the job. Also in the book he says that sometimes the very idea of having to use that sledgehammer paralyses us and we opt for reformist half measures even though we know they are doomed to fail against the military/industrial/political machine.

Money from industry, buys political support, dictates political policy and indirectly funds the armed wings of government – its police, its army, along with its guns, drones, nuclear weapons, courtrooms and prisons, all ready and willing to serve their master. These are co-funded by us, the citizens, by our paying of taxes. We fund our own oppressors. How crazy is that? It’s scary to stand up for nature and for ourselves against such a “machine”. They have CCTV cameras on every street corner and, as Edward Snowden made perfectly clear, they can use our own smart phones, smart TV’s and computers to listen our private conversations within the sanctity of our own homes, even turn on smart appliance cameras remotely, along with systems that monitor our emails, check our internet use and phone conversations. To stand up against this phenomenal opponent would appear to be suicidal. They are everywhere, have infiltrated every nook and cranny of our lives. Big Brother, as Orwell wrote in the book 1984, IS watching you.

This is one of the reasons that Boyle first spent 3 years living without money and then widened this by also living without modern technology. He is off grid completely. The more people that follow Boyles example and escape the digital ties that bind us to the machine, the harder it is for “them” to influence and dominate our lives.

The system of government works against the very people that it is meant to represent. The industrial/military/political machine gets to make all the rules and enact laws, that they claim are for our protection, but actually serve only to restrict our movement and make us easier to control. The laws also make it easier for them to justify pillaging nature….or as they call it “making use of natural resources”. In his book, Boyle states – If you consider that the natural world, nature equals Life, then the “machine” is the enemy of Life, and for us to play by the rules that the enemy of Life enacts is laughable.

Our economy is at war with many forms of life on earth, including in many cases human life. Look at the displaced tribes of the Amazon who’s land is systematically levelled to enable yet another beef ranch, soya or palm oil plantation. Look at communities who have no drinking water because it has been sold to water bottling plants for export, or has been so badly polluted by industry that it is no longer safe to drink. Look at small family run businesses who are driven out of business because of international or multinational corporations. Globalization rather than benefiting everyone, as promised, with it’s so called trickle down economy, has only increased the wealth of those at the top of the food chain while driving millions into poverty, and destroying national identities, centuries old customs, and borders.

There is a hell of a lot of information and misinformation out there in the media, in books and on line about climate change or climate crisis. It’s difficult, but not impossible, to sort out fact from fiction, particularly when often fact is so much stranger than fiction. As things currently stand, I see activist groups like XR and other “peaceful” protesters as being patsies for the establishment and “one world/one government” political policies. In their blocking of streets and bridges, while still obeying the rules of engagement, XR are getting TV news time because it serves the political policy makers. It proves to the world that the government allows its citizens the right to protest (albeit under strict rules and conditions), proves they are a democratic and “free” society. Try not paying your taxes and find out how free you really are! The general public are being made aware of “the threat of climate change” but are also getting pissed off at being constantly delayed in going about their business. When XR blocked London’s bridges, they even blocked the cycle lanes. Surely those cyclists were already walking the walk, as it were, while XR are still at the stage of talking the talk. The cyclists are not contributing to the global warming problem as they are not using transportation powered by fossil fuels. The very thing that XR are pushing. It was a stupid mistake in their policy to block cycle lanes as well as general road traffic. In the end XR will not affect business as usual in London or elsewhere. The consumerist driven growth economy is not going to shut down because of their actions, and shareholders profit margins are not going to be affected in any long term way.

On a personal note…It’s my prediction, and I realise that many people will think of me as a conspiracy theorist (and I probably am to a certain extent, but as I stated earlier, a lot of so called conspiracy theory is actual fact – as strange as some of it may seem), that eventually the government(s) will turn to the public and say “OK we have seen how serious the public are about the climate problem, because of the protests on the street” (which they have been happy to allow because it suits their agenda). “We know that we only have a short time frame to turn things around so we have to make radical changes…bring in some new rules and regulations… to save the world….are you with us?” The public agree, desperate to survive, get sucked in, and the UN’s agenda 21, or the updated agenda 2030, gets quickly rolled out giving governments extra emergency powers under the guise of rapidly reducing our carbon footprint, controlled by a unified One World Governing Body – the UN. And we – the public – who have been fed a steady diet of misinformation, will vote for it and give our blessing, so that THEY will be able to control not only the movement of people, but what we eat, the jobs we do, where we live, how we live, the redistribution of wealth, total control of our bank accounts by getting rid of physical cash money (something that the Reserve Bank is already talking about), confiscation of land, birth control/population control (including “voluntary” sterilization). Back in the 1960’s the UN were brainstorming to think of ways to get the general public to fall in behind support for a one world government – controlled by them, the UN, to push their own policies. They have stated that 375 million is the ideal population for the earth and they have been looking for ways to achieve this, but needed a banner to unite the world behind. Climate change/Global warming is that banner. We are up near 8 billion, so that will mean a reduction of about 95% of the current population…..how are they going to achieve that figure? War? A pandemic perhaps? (I see that there has been a reported outbreak of Pneumonic Plague – a more dangerous cousin of Bubonic Plague – in China – link to article – https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/plague-is-diagnosed-in-china-prompting-fears-of-an-outbreak/ar-BBWHMaz?ocid=spartandhp). Biological weapons released by “Terrorists” maybe? Do they just shut down the power grids (hacked by foreign powers?) and watch us rip one another limb from limb once the food supply runs out? How do you qualify to be in that surviving 5%? And will that 5% then continue with business as usual?

I realize that for many people this idea of a one world government deliberately looking to control citizens and force a reduction in population sounds fanciful, the thing of Science Fiction. So I will share with you with a few quotes below, and ask that you please read Boyle’s book, do your own research into climate change, the UN and population control, oh yes…and the Club of Rome (see the quotes later on). And examine what is happening in the world with eyes wide open….don’t just accept the version presented by the state run media. We certainly need to embrace the natural world again and not pillage it. I can’t see a world government actually doing that despite the spin they attempt to put on things.

Quotes follow from some of the most powerful political figures, or influencers of political policy in the world. I find it quite terrifying that these corrupt people have been allowed to dictate policy by which we are expected to live.

Image result for kissinger

Henry Kissinger, American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor (and winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances, with two members of the committee resigning in protest) said – Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government.

Thomas Ferguson an American political scientist who wrote about the Logic of Money-driven Political Systems – There is a single theme behind all our work – we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it.

David R Brower, environmentalist and the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club is also on board saying – Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.

Timothy Endicott Wirth, a former United States Senator from Colorado. He served both as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education for part of the Nixon Administration and later for the Clinton Administration as the first Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department. – We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.

Aurelio Peccei, industrialist and philanthropist, best known as co-founder with Alexander King and first president of the Club of Rome, an organisation which attracted considerable public attention in 1972 with its report, The Limits to Growth. – The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. …The real enemy then is humanity itself.

And finally a couple of quotes from David Rockefeller. Rockefeller from one of the wealthiest families around, was assistant regional director of the United States Office of Defense, Health and Welfare Services before teaming up with the rest of the family at the Chase National Bank where he became President. The bank was closely associated with and has financed the oil industry, having longstanding connections with its board of directors to the successor companies of Standard Oil, especially Exxon Mobil. It’s now known as JPMorgan Chase bank. – We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years……It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supernational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries. – Which goes to confirm that the media are under the control of big business and government and complicit in the plot to take away the public’s right of self determination.

and finally, Rockefeller again – We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis. Of course the crisis selected was Global Warming.

So folks, as you can see from these quotes….we are not paranoid….they ARE out to get us and have been plotting against the citizens of the world for decades! It’s not simply crackpot conspiracy theory. AND I do realize that it’s so hard to know what to believe after that quote from Aurelio Peccei. As you will see from earlier posts, I was initially ready to believe the UN IPCC panel and was blown away by the emotional Greta Thunberg…until her last speech at the UN, which was a rehash, virtually word for word, of an earlier UN speech but delivered with the venom of a consummate actor….”How dare you…” It just didn’t seem authentic anymore. And why would an organisation as powerful as the UN allow a teenage girl the opportunity to berate them time and time again – with full TV and press coverage – for their inaction on Climate Change, if it did not serve their purpose? Do we blindly follow the UN? We hear UN climate scientists presenting dooming facts about climate change – although incidentally they do not allow for the phases of the sun, solar maximum and solar minimum in their calculations. Long-term secular change in sunspot number is thought, by many scientists, to be correlated with long-term change in solar irradiance, which, in turn, might influence Earth’s long-term climate. The sun being the main regulator of temperature here on earth I find its exclusion from climate change calculations quite worrying – and ex Presidential hopeful Al Gore (a member of the establishment who, incidentally, is making bucket loads of money from the whole climate change situation) is leading the charge. Having now seen the quotes above, by the political movers and shakers, about ways of gaining control of the citizens by causing widespread panic using Climate Change as a unifying factor, via the formation of a One World Government under the control of, to quote Rockefeller, “an intellectual elite and world bankers”….what do we do? Indeed, what can we do?

Image result for  rebellion

Boyle says that although the “Machine” appears to be powerful and omnipotent, it is its omnipotence that makes it so weak. It is so thinly stretched that, if the citizens were to rise up against it simultaneously, it would be overthrown simply by weight of numbers. An interesting theory.

In the meantime the rich and their Globalist Corporations continue to get away with tax avoidance while the working classes are squeezed for every taxable penny – with threat of imprisonment should they refuse. Whether climate change is totally due to the actions of man, or just a phase of the suns warming, or a combination of both – has still to be proven 100%. Yes a panel of UN Climate Scientists have declared their findings to be accurate, but the UN is the same organization vying for total domination of us, under their one world government, so their “undeniable” findings should be considered dubious or, at the very least, warrant further investigation. There is no denying however that the forests are being cleared, the waterways and the oceans are being polluted, as is the air that we breathe, and a genuine extinction of species is happening, as their habitat (nature) is destroyed by globalist corporates and needs immediate action to reverse this insane destruction. Should we protest? If we want to live, if we truly want to protect nature – what’s left of it to protect – surely we must take some sort of action. Do we take peacefully to the streets with our placards and/or sign petitions yet again, hoping insanely for a different result, or this time do we use ALL the tools in our toolbox and say “Enough!”? This, I think, is the conclusion that Mr Boyle in his book Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi is hoping that the citizens of the world will come to.

Please note – I am not inciting the masses to commit violent acts. I am, for the most part, reporting on or reviewing a book. BUT, it would be wonderful if you would read the book Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, watch the video If a Tree Falls – do your own research into the problems that we are facing today and come to your own conclusions. Is nature worth saving? I hope you’ll agree that it is. As usual thank you for reading. Any shares, likes or comments are most appreciated.

Who would have Hitler as an imaginary friend?

Jojo Rabbit would of course.

If you haven’t seen Jojo Rabbit….the movie…..it’s worth seeing. The plot line is a little thin, but the comic scenes and the interaction between Jojo and his imaginary friend Adolf more than make up for it, as do the scenes at the Hitler Youth training camp – where the kids get to throw real hand grenades and shoot off live ammunition. The soundtrack is awesome with some classic hits from the likes of the Beatles, the Monkeys and even David Bowie sung in German, naturally….or should I say “naturlich”.

The child actors steal the show from the adults in this soon to be classic comedy from man of the moment, New Zealander, Taika Waititi, who not only directed the movie and wrote the screenplay, but also co-starred as a rather bizarre version of Adolf Hitler. Outstanding performances from Roman Griffin Davis as the lead character Jojo and Archie Yates as his bespectacled pudgy sidekick Yorki. This is not to say that the adults acted badly, just that the kids excelled. The supporting cast includes Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Stephen Merchant who all played outstanding comic roles. The movie is set in Nazi Germany (but filmed at several locations in the Czech Republic) toward the end of WW2 where Jojo’s mother (played by Scarlett Johansson) is illegally hiding a young Jewish girl in a secret wall space in their house. (Thomasin McKenzie plays Elsa – the Jewish girl in the wall). Jojo’s mother hasn’t told Jojo about Elsa…..because HE, at only 10 years of age, is a fervent member of the Hitler Youth.

As you’d expect from a Waititi script there are a lot of funny one liners and puns. When Jojo finds the young girl hiding in the wall, she confronts him and tells him to “say what I am”….he naturally blurts out “A Jew”…..to which she responds “Gezundheit”! I have copied in the movie trailer below so you can see what I mean. Enjoy.

Admittedly there will be people who think that making a comedy about Hitler in this manner, with young kids throwing Nazi Salutes and yelling “Heil Hitler” at one another, is an insult to holocaust victims…..but if you can get past the matter of 6 million victims of the concentration camps, and see the movie for what it is…satire….a black comedy, you’ll have a blast.

There is a serious side to the movie with morals and relationships thrown into the mix, but these simmer just beneath the comedy surface. Definitely more than meets the eye. Rotten Tomatoes rates the movie at 76% which I think is just about right.

Paterson….movie, poem, place.

At the beginning of this week I had never heard of the city, the poem, or the movie called Paterson. Nor had I heard the name William Carlos Williams. A couple of photos on a friends Facebook page changed all that.

The photos were of a building with a bridge behind it and a waterfall beyond that. The resulting river flowing toward the viewer and in the foreground a couple of green painted benches. The second photo was of rubbish bin with the words “City of Paterson” on it. And in the comments under the post it said “It was William Carlos Williams or Carlos Williams Carlos? Well it is Paterson one of the best movies from Jarmusch…”

And so a Google and a visit to the local library later finds me reading the poetry of William Carlos Williams – who was not only a poet of some renown, but also a doctor of pediatrics and general medicine. His epic poem Paterson began life as a 85 line poem but morphed over the years into 5 volumes of books.

The poem was published between 1946 and 1958 and was an account of the history, people, and the place – Paterson, New Jersey. Williams examined the role of the poet in American society and summarized his poetic method in the phrase “No ideas but in things” – originally a line from his poem “A Sort of a Song” but also used as a recurring theme in Paterson.

As I said earlier I had no idea who Williams was until this week, which is surprising as he mentored several other poets including ‘Beat’ poet Allen Ginsberg – who’s work I know well. He even wrote the forward/intro to Ginsberg’s first and probably most famous (or infamous) book “Howl and other poems” (1956).

Anyhow….back to Paterson. Now a movie, inspired by the poem. Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and released at the end of December 2016. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at a staggering 96% – and frankly I must agree.

The blurb on the Rotten Tomatoes website reads ” Paterson is a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey–they share the name. Every day, Paterson adheres to a simple routine: he drives his daily route, observing the city as it drifts across his windshield and overhearing fragments of conversation swirling around him; he writes poetry into a notebook; he walks his dog; he stops in a bar and drinks exactly one beer; he goes home to his wife, Laura. By contrast, Laura’s world is ever changing. New dreams come to her almost daily. Paterson loves Laura and she loves him. He supports her newfound ambitions; she champions his gift for poetry. The film quietly observes the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details.

There are numerous scenes in the movie shot beside the waterfall shown in my friends photo. It’s the place that Paterson, the bus driving poet, likes to sit and contemplate life. He cares about the city and he cares about the people who live there. It’s a beautiful and a quietly inspirational movie. It moves you in a subtle way…like all good poetry and good movies should.

Paterson – official trailer

Autism as a gift….the life of Temple Grandin.

Yet again I have to credit my wife in introducing me firstly to a documentary and secondly to a movie about a brilliant lady, Temple Grandin, who just happens to be autistic. She, my wife, had been reading a book called On Eating Meat – by Matthew Evans. It’s a book about the production of meat and the ethics involved in eating it. Sounds like a real page-turner doesn’t it (said sarcastically). Strangely enough it IS. It really is a book for everyone to read – meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans. It looks into all aspects of raising animals for meat and also looks into the ethics of veggie and vegan food production. You’d be amazed at how many animals get killed in the process of growing vegetables and fruit. So, like it or not, no food can be eaten totally guilt free. Evans is both a farmer and a chef, and is known as the Gourmet Farmer.

46061983

In the book Evans refers to a BBC documentary about Temple Grandin titled The Woman Who Thinks Like A Cow. My wife, being my wife, did what she always does and looked up the documentary on line. Of course she insisted I watch it with her. What an eye opener into the world of Autism. AND what an amazing person Doctor Temple Grandin turns out to be. Look up the documentary on line.

This of course led my wife to one of several of Temple Grandin’s books – The Autistic Brain…..in which, Grandin, who is one of the most accomplished adults with autism in the world, reports from the forefront of Autism Science including remarkable discoveries about the brain and the latest genetic research.

See the source image

Her view is that we need to treat autism symptom by symptom rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. She also argues that raising autistic children needs to be less about focussing on their weaknesses and more about fostering their unique contributions, saying autism can be turned into a gift, not a disability.

And onward to a movie about her life, an HBO Original Film starring Claire Danes in the title role. We borrowed a copy of the DVD from our local library and watched it last night. It’s a most excellent and interesting movie – very much worth watching. Temple Grandin’s mother was told, when she was only a very young girl, that she should be placed in an institution and given electro-therapy. Thankfully her mother declined and looked into other methods of helping her daughter become what she wanted to be, including getting her a speech therapist, and sending her to specialist schools. It sheds a light on autism that I, for one, knew nothing about. The link to the official trailer is below. Claire Danes does an amazing job in portraying Dr Grandin in both her voice and her mannerisms. We follow her trials and tribulations, facing not only autism head on, but also the cruelty of others towards her, on her way to becoming a PhD and a legend in both the business and the welfare of cattle.

And if anyone would like to delve further into Temple Grandin’s life and works, her own websites are available on line. Links are below

https://www.grandin.com/

and https://templegrandin.com/

Enjoy…and prepared to be amazed.

Movie Reviews – Vice…and Fair Game.

As 9/11 approaches it seems only fitting to review these two movies.

Earlier in the year on an international flight I watched the movie Vice (2018) – about Vice President Dick Cheney and what goes on behind the political scenes with regard to running “black-ops” missions.

It shows us that ethics have little place in politics, where rules are made up as they go along, and then broken to suit their passing whims. Often, things are happening behind the scenes that even the President is either totally unaware of, or is partly aware, but the finer details are with-held from briefings. This, as shown in the movie Vice, has been going on at least since the Nixon administration, possibly even before that. A select few at, or near, the top of the political food chain are the ones pulling on the strings of the puppets fronting for the media….and the public. During the Nixon administration Cheney worked as an intern under Donald Rumsfeld, and overheard Henry Kissinger discussing the secret bombing of Cambodia with President Nixon, revealing the true power of the executive branch to Cheney.

See the source image
Bale on the left and the real Cheney on the right.

Christian Bale plays the title role and is quite brilliant in his portrayal of the ‘win at all costs’ Cheney for whom ethics do not exist. Amy Adams plays his wife….who pushes her husband along all the way. Over various presidencies, Cheney works his way up the political ladder taking on roles that bring him closer and closer to the Presidential inner circle including being secretary of state under George H W Bush. During the Clinton administration he was the CEO of Halliburton (a big player in the Oil industry and later in the business of private armies/armed security details). Cheney is asked to be George W. Bush’s running mate and to take up the Vice President role. He agrees, on condition that the President hands over the daily running of certain “mundane” executive tasks such as foreign policy and energy. Bush is so keen to have someone as experienced as Cheney to show him the political ropes that he readily agrees. Cheney then manipulates president George W Bush so easily, by making suggestions and then encouraging Bush to adopt them as his own. I always thought that George W was a scheming, lying, jingoist…..but it seems, if the movie is to be believed, that the foreign policy ideas came from Cheney. Bush is still guilty of waging wars on countries such as Iraq based on false intelligence. He is complicit by signing the presidential orders to attack, although he may not have been the instigator.

We all have suspicions that this sort of cloak and dagger/smoke and mirrors, shadow world exists in politics. This movie goes a long way to confirming those suspicions. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and can’t rate it highly enough. There were comedic episodes along the way, but mostly it’s about politics and war at its most unethical. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 – see it if you can.

The second movie again about political activities going on behind the scenes, this time involving CIA operatives, is called Fair Game (2010), which I saw yesterday on Netflix. It stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It is based on Valerie Plame’s memoir, Fair Game, and Joseph C. Wilson’s memoir, The Politics of Truth. Be warned – there are spoilers below, but even with the spoilers, the movie is definitely worth seeing.

Plame/Watts is a CIA operative working predominantly in the middle east and is tasked with finding out if Iraq are manufacturing nuclear weapons. Her husband Wilson/Penn, a retired diplomat is sent on a government mission to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein is attempting to buy ‘yellow cake uranium’ from the Niger government. Both of them come to the conclusion, via their separate investigations, that there is no substance to either of these claims. The nuclear programme in Iraq was shut down and dismantled under US instruction and oversight in the 1990’s. But the CIA were investigating with a view to casting suspicion on this….to give the Bush administration grounds for invading Iraq.

When it appeared that, in spite of both reports that the US government were pushing ahead with the “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction” line, Wilson/Penn made his report public knowledge by releasing it to the news media, who ran front page stories. This naturally incensed the powers that be and the CIA were directed to blow Plame/Watts’ cover and expose her as a CIA agent. After 18 years as an operative for the CIA, Plame Wilson’s spy career effectively ended  July 14,2003, when The Washington Post published Robert Novak’s column detailing Wilson’s ties to the CIA, including Plame Wilson’s identity as a covert agent. The column followed her husband Joe Wilson’s outspoken opposition to the invasion of Iraq, and the leak of Plame’s identity by top-tier Bush administration officials. This therefore put her and her family in danger. It also exposed all the people she had been in contact with in the various middle eastern nations – scientists and informants – resulting in the internment or execution of these individuals.

All this had a negative affect on their marriage, which was in tatters. There are death threats and government lead public humiliation. After pressure from Wilson and much soul searching, Plame/Watts agrees to go to the Congressional committee. This doesn’t topple the government, but a senior government official – chief of staff and national security adviser, Scooter Libby (former adviser to Dick Cheney) is selected to be the one to fall on his own sword – forced to resign, and is also found guilty in Federal court. He gets 30 months in prison and a hefty fine, both of which are quashed by President Bush and Libby goes free. Again another high scoring 4 out of 5 from me for the movie Fair Game.

Now….both of these movies go to show that the rules don’t apply to those in power. Rules are here to keep you and me in our place….down there. To control and subdue the public, while the powerful – comfortable in their ivory towers – flip the finger at us and the courts. And as the Wilsons found out, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, or how much use you have been to those in power – it doesn’t even matter if the truth is on your side – once you are not needed, or you become an embarrassment…you’re expendable. They will cut you loose and feed you to the wolves.

So, people….please realize that although both of these are dramatizations of real life events….they tell the truth about how our governments work. Not just the US government, but ALL governments. Just like Lord Acton said back in the 1800’s, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I think that is a very apt quote on which to end.

As usual, many thanks for reading/following/liking. And your comments are always welcome.

2040 the book and the film – review.

Australian Damon Gameau’s 2015 directorial debut, That Sugar Film became the highest grossing non-Imax Australian documentary in history. He’s back again in 2019 with a new doco-movie titled 2040 – where he looks at the problems associated with “Climate Change” and what we can do to not only stop the man made portion of it in it’s tracks, but help reverse the long term effects. It’s a positive and optimistic look at the technology and methods available today that can help to save tomorrow’s earth, so that in 2040 the problems caused by human action that have helped to create climate change, rising temperatures and rising sea levels, will have been conquered – by making sensible, smart changes now, in 2019 and beyond.

Concerned about what the future would look like for his 4 year old daughter, he set about looking into alternative solutions to today’s industrial problems interviewing a number of innovators – the movers and shakers in eco and alternative methods. The result is a surprisingly optimistic, glass half full view of tomorrow’s world – where 2040 is seen almost as a utopian vision rather than the doom and gloom predicted by today’s climate scientists.


The UN Climate Science paper of 2018 told the leaders of the world that we had very little time left to stop Climate Change becoming irreversible…..and yet almost 18 months later, world governments are still bickering over the fine print and for now it’s still more or less business as usual with the destruction of the rain forest, pollution of the world’s oceans, the belching out of fossil fuel smoke from power plants and transport, and Big AG farming methods – which rely on massive use of fertilizer and petro chemicals, which deplete the life in the soil rather than helping it thrive.

What I find frustrating is that Gameau’s movie shows us clearly that the answers to all our pollution problems are here today, available for use world wide, if only the powers that be would bite the bullet, change their ways and adopt them.

The movie is peppered with interviews with small children, being asked how they would like the future to look…..what they want to see. Of course kids being kids you do get a few asking for clouds that rain chocolate….but I was so impressed with some of their answers. Children today seem far more aware of what’s happening to the planet than I did as a kid. Their honesty and intelligence is quite humbling. They are the guardians of tomorrow’s earth – if only today’s decision makers leave them an earth worth looking after – and the sooner we allow them to take over, the better. We, my generation and those before, have totally fucked things up (pardon the language). For thousands of years we lived in harmony with nature and therefore with the earth…..we were part of the natural cycles. But for the last hundred, maybe hundred and fifty, years we have tried to dominate the earth and in doing so have wiped out millions of species and are gradually pushing ourselves toward extinction.

Link to the movie trailer is below. It’s only a couple of minutes, please take a look.


As I write this post, the Amazon rain forest, which we depend on for providing around 20% of the earths oxygen, is burning out of control. The oceans provide at least 50% of our oxygen. Depending on which set of figures you believe, ocean phytoplankton are responsible for between 50 and 70% of Earth’s oxygen production and yet we continue to pollute the oceans. It’s like we have a death wish as we pursue the god of money.

undefined

The 2040 book is equally impressive and contains all of the information from the movie. There are lots of easy to follow ideas and instructions on what we can do as individuals in our own lives to make small changes in our daily routines that, with the participation of millions of others, can result in big changes and positive effects on the climate change problem. There are lots of colour photos and drawings that go along with the text to make it so easy to understand. The book is littered (pardon the pollution pun) with photos of the young kids who were interviewed along with little quotes from them.

When asked how they would like the future to look, here’s what some of them had to say:-

Stella who says “Well I’d like it to be human instinct to just look after the world and to care for the world”

Caden says “In the future I think people should find other ways to settle their problems instead of forcing each other around with guns”

Charlotte even said “Well, a lot of people text. Maybe we should talk face to face more. I’d probably like to see people less on electronics.”


Raahil points out that we don’t consider the consequences of our actions. “By 2040 I would like if people acknowledge that the factories they build hurt nature sometimes….like the things we produce, it can hurt the wildlife and it’s not good but people just ignore it.”


And finally Scarlett who points out our tardiness on fixing the problems we’ve created. “Well, I would like for the government to have done something on global warming and pollution as now I think they’re not really doing anything about it”.

So, as you can see, the kids know that there’s a problem and that it needs fixing urgently. They can’t understand that we adults are dragging our asses playing for time, when there may not be much time left. The kids see the problem, note that there is a solution to it and their first move would be to stop doing the things that cause pollution and the second thing would be to implement the new technology or methods required that have a positive effect on the earth. Simple. What the kids don’t take into consideration, or share our obsession about, is the economy….money and profits. They care about the earth, nature and human well-being.

The system we have is causing the problems so the sensible thing is to change the system…..OR to make changes within the system that negates the problems it currently creates.


The book also points out the methods that the corporations and big industry employ to create doubt about climate change science. For example in a three year period alone, Exxon spent $8.9 million and the Koch brothers $24 million on the dissemination of climate misinformation. They also set up and funded a range of groups, organisations and companies under different names to give the impression that there were lots of climate denial groups – when in fact they all stemmed from one or two base companies. A power company in New Orleans was caught paying actors with placards pretending to be “concerned citizens” who were supporting a new natural gas plant.

They always argue that Big Ag, (agriculture that produces mono-crops or animals in feed lots), can not change it’s farming methods, as they claim that those methods feed the world. But in fact Big Ag actually produces only about 20% of the worlds food and a lot of that is soy and sugar – particularly high fructose corn syrup that seems to find its way into so many manufactured ‘food like products’. Smaller family run farms with a diverse crop are the people who feed most of the worlds population. All the better if the farms are run on organic and regenerative methods.


Another argument the deniers use is that “the science isn’t settled”… and they wheel out a stream of fake “experts” to denounce climate change. This method almost worked for the tobacco industry saying that smoking and cancer were unrelated.


I don’t want to say too much more about either the movie or the book as it’s important for you guys to see and read for yourselves and to form your own opinions. I enjoyed, and was educated, by the book and the movie equally and would give each one 4 out of 5 stars. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope it’s been of some help.

Tolkien – The movie

First of all, my apologies for my tardiness. It’s been almost 3 weeks since my last post. As my school report may have said “Not good enough – Could do better”.

A week or more ago I went to the local cinema to see the Tolkien movie. It takes us through the early life of writer, poet, linguist and academic John Ronald Reuel Tolkien – born in South Africa in 1892, died England 1973.

The movie begins just after Tolkien and his mother and brother arrive in the UK following the death of his father in South Africa and takes us on a journey of his life, education, friends, loves, world war 1, his professorship at Oxford University and the writing of his first published book “The Hobbit”.

I don’t want to say too much about the movie as I don’t want to give away any spoilers. From my point of view there were some scenes that seemed to be unnecessary or too long and other scenes or things that happened in his life that were barely touched on…..for example his writing process. I would have liked to have known more about how he first had the idea to write his stories of middle earth. Did the characters come first or the basic plot outline? You don’t really get to know this from the movie.

Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It certainly tugged at the emotions. I recommend watching it. Rotten Tomatoes only rated it at 51% and yet 86% of viewers enjoyed it. See it for yourselves and make up your own minds.

The scenes from the trenches of WW1 are a reminder of the folly of man, of the waste of young lives and the horror of trench warfare.

In the forming of a “fellowship” with 3 other young and gifted friends at Oxford – where he studied on a full scholarship – you can see where he got the initial seeds may have been sown for the “Fellowship of the Rings”.

A link to the official movie trailer is here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ1vn85iQRE

Tolkien’s passion was languages. He was fluent in many. Words fascinated him – so much so that he invented his own language. And if the movie is to be believed, it was his invention of this “fairy/elvish” language that impressed a Professor at Oxford enough to earn him a scholarship to study “Old English” languages and to later teach at Oxford himself.

He was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford up until the end of WW2, after which he was Professor of English Language and Literature. He was made an O.B.E. by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972 – a year before his death.

The Hobbit – which I remember reading at school as a nine year old – was his first published novel (in 1937), although not the first one he wrote. His first full length novel The Silmarillion – a book that paved the way for the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings – was written in 1926, rejected at that point by the publishers, and not published until 1977 – 4 years after his death – along with other works and essays discovered by his son Christopher.

Thanks to the power of the silver screen Tolkien will mostly be remembered for the spectacular Lord of the Rings trilogy – written and published in 1954 and 55 – brought to vivid life by New Zealander Peter Jackson’s series of movies.

The entire cast do a great job, particularly the two leads – Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins (daughter of singer/song writer Phil Collins). If it comes to a cinema near you…..see the movie – you won’t be disappointed.