The War in Ukraine continues

Each news cycle brings horrible images of death and destruction. How can Russia and Putin be stopped? The amazing and heroic resistance of the Ukrainian armed forces and people will inspire freedom loving people for years to come.

Oil and natural gas are the not so secret weapon of Russia. Putin knows that Russian oil and gas fuel Europe’s economy. It’s the golden goose that for financing Russia economy and the war in Ukraine.

I comes down to this: are Europe, the United States and Allied democracies willing to make the sacrifices to stop Putin by cutting off Russia oil and gas? The risks are huge. World recession or depression. It will require reordering of the world economy, major adjustments to standards of livings in the West. Our we up to it?

The Great Unraveling

The Climate Justice and Buddhist teacher Joanna Macy popularized the phrase in relation to the climate crisis. The climate catastrophe is spilling over into every facet of life on this planet. The following is an update on the unraveling of life on this planet.

Of course, the climate crisis is unraveling food production from the Ukraine to Iowa and beyond. Extreme weather will push billions of people to the edge of starvation. The Ukrainian war has disrupted food production and distribution throughout the world. Food prices will continue to skyrocket. No nation can be food secure without the cooperation of the world as a whole. India’s wheat crop was destroyed by the recent heat wave that reached 120 degrees F. Now India and other nations are scrambling to find basic food commodities.

Another aspect of the climate crisis is the shortage of water. In California farmers don’t have the necessary water supplies to grow basic crops such as lettuce, greens and vegetables in general. The fight over water distribution will only intensify. The Colorado River is a prime example of resource depletion. The river cannot support 40 million people and the agriculture and infrastructure to sustain them. There are many more examples worldwide of water shortages.

 The resource depletion touches every aspect of life on this planet. Name any natural resource, they are being depleting faster than nature can regenerate them. The economic consequences will be intense. Mass unemployment and dislocation will aggravate social divisions and spark wars. Already we are seeing people seeking simplistic solutions that preserves their piece of the pie.  Hence the rise of authoritarianism and fascism. Many are retreating into their identity bubbles.

If this wasn’t enough, we are living in the age of the mass extinction of life itself on the planet. The three poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance are driving humanity to extinction.

In 2012, Joanna Macy thought we had time to slow the climate catastrophe. Sadly, the train has left the station. The climate crisis is collapsing every aspect of life on the planet. Now we must turn our attention to mitigating the fallout from our greedy ways. Are we ready to make the sacrifices needed to survive in this New World?

To paraphrase Charles Darwin: it will not be the strongest or the smartest creatures to survive, it will be those who can adapt to the new reality.

My News Sources: what are yours?


Here’s my approach to the “News”.  I try to come from a space of “not knowing”, non-judgement and wisdom. Hopefully, this allows me to make informed opinions. I also make an attempt to view/read other news sources outside of my opinion bubble. Do you?

Here’s my news sources:

  1. Oregon Public Broadcasting (NPR)—local, national & world news
  2. New York Sunday Times
  3. The Economist Magazine (world business, cultural and political news)
  4. BBC radio (viewpoints NEVER heard in America)
  5. Street Roots (local weekly paper focusing on homelessness and poverty in Portland)
  6. Loin’s Roar (Buddhist magazine—informs my spiritual practice)
  7. Several Co-op newsletters focusing on the co-op movement
  8. Labor Notes (rank and file news from the labor movement)
  9. Occasional forays into right wing blogs to see what’s up in conservative thought.

The digital age has flooded us with news and opinion. All the more reason to step back and dig deep into the sources of our news feeds. Fact check as much as possible. Be open to other sources.

Peace, Boballa


Supply Run to Standing Rock

My observations and travel log of our supply run to Standing Rockcamp-view-n

 In late November my son embarked on a fundraising effort to buy essential supplies for the encampment at Standing Rock. With the support of friends and family members we raised over $3,200 on a goFundme site. With these funds and with many in-kind donations we loaded Mark’s truck with supplies, including wool blankets, sub-zero winter clothing, firewood, food, feminine hygiene products & medical supplies.

The Standing Rock Sioux are engaged in a protracted struggle to stop the Energy Transfer Partners from building the pipeline under Lake Oake. This threatens the Standing Rock peoples’ water supply and sacred sites. “Mni Wiconi” Water is Life. The Standing Rock Sioux have built an international movement of resistance to the oil industry. In my opinion, this action  represents a convergence of indigenous peoples, people of color and the climate change movement around systemic social change.

This link from the Economist Magazine gives an overview of what is happening now with the pipeline (please remember the Economist is a business magazine, but the article provides some good context for understanding what is going on).

Mark and I arrived in the Oceti Sakowin encampment on Dec 10th. For the last 300 miles we drove the back roads to avoid law enforcement check points. We found the camp administrative functions were taxed to the limited. To unload our supplies, we had to ask around to get locations for the drop points. This took about four hours.   We were glad we had paid such careful attention to the Water Protectors’ directions about the kind of gear and supplies they needed to support the thousands of people in the camp.

At the communication center we heard repeated calls for people to leave the camp if they were not fully prepared to weather over through the frigid winter months to be on site for the coming struggle in the spring.  They appealed to all to continue the fight in our home communities.

I convinced my son that we shouldn’t stay for the 3 or 4 days we had originally planned. Number one, even with my subzero gear, I wasn’t prepared to camp in -20 degree temps. Also, another winter storm was approaching and I didn’t want to be snowed in for a week or more.

Before leaving the camp, I witnessed a smudging ceremony at the scared fire, very moving, ending with chants to the setting sun. As we left the camp at sunset we witnessed an amazing display of sun dogs as the sun fell below the horizon. Both sun dogs were the colors of rainbows — hope for tomorrow! We arrived home Dec 13th. Mission accomplished.







Trade, Jobs and Innovation





Trade, Jobs and Innovation


“Workers of the World Unite” Karl Marx

“Peace, commerce and honest friendships with all nations” Thomas Jefferson


Trade is front and center in the presidential election this year. In my opinion, the debate is flawed. Both the left and the right wings of the political spectrum are spouting xenophobic analyses of what international trade is and how to make trade “fair.” Let’s take a look at the forces in trade, jobs and innovation.

The basic principles of Capitalism are at play in trade; Capital maximizes profits through seeking lower cost of labor, production and materials. This has been happening since the birth of the Industrial Revolution. And this fact has caused major disruptions of peoples and nations for centuries. How is this playing out now? The international business community wants the free flow of capital anywhere in the world to enhance profits. Nothing new here. The Apples’ & Nikes’ of the world love it. The nativist Right (Trump and crew) blames jobs losses on unfair trade deals and immigrants. Their solution: build walls, tariffs, ban some imports and roundup undocumented immigrants. The Liberal/Progressive Left ascribes job losses on to unfair trade deals and big business. Their solution: tariffs on imports, taxes on capital leaving the country and scrapping current trade deals.  Outside of the blatantly racist solutions put forward by the nativist Right, the Left are in alignment with the Right. What’s going on here?

Xenophobia, my friends, XENOPHOBIA! A good example is NAFTA. Simply put; yes over 350,000  American jobs went to Mexico, BUT, what happen in Mexico? Do you know? Probably not, it was never reported here. Over 1.3M Mexican small farmers were forced off the land when cheap Iowa corn flooded the Mexican market and undermined their ability to make a living. This is only one example of many. The winners? The elites of course. If people think that NAFTA can be undone, think again. The economies of Mexico, the USA and Canada are completely integrated—we are one economy. If we pulled out of NAFTA, the fallout for everyone would be extreme. It could plunge all three countries into recession or depression. From a radical point of view, NAFTA has accelerated the decline of the nation state though this economic integration. The contradictions of class, race and gender have intensified as peoples become a global community and struggle against the on slot of Capital that is destroying our planet.

What about China? Oh my, they decided to industrialize and invited international capital to invest. What happen, America was flooded with cheap consumer goods and millions lost their jobs. BUT Americans have benefited from this—if the polices of the Right and Left were in place, this computer I’m banging away on would cost 3x’s as much. Cell phones for $1k and innovation would have slowed. This was the tradeoff for lost jobs—cheap goods.  You get my point.  China has paid dearly, their environment is destroyed, the government is aligned with international capital, and the profits are being enjoyed by the elites. So much for the People’s paradise.

Where is the American Labor Movement (with a few exceptions) coming from? Their solutions to job losses are pure protectionist policies—tariffs and taxes on capital flow out of country. Whatever happen to Workers of the World Unite? From my point of view, labor doesn’t give a damn about foreign workers. Labor was purged of internationalists leaders during the red scares of the 50’s and 60’s.  This contributed to the decline of the labor movement. They can’t see beyond their noses.

When it comes to jobs, this is the reality: high paying, low skill manufacturing jobs are not coming back to our shores. The good news is that highly skilled manufacturing jobs are blossoming in our economy.  Also, the whole nature of work and jobs is changing under our very eyes. Forget about job losses to trade, the real elephant in the room is technical innovation and automation. For example, driverless vehicles, they are here and will be on the road in large numbers soon. Impact on jobs; for example, over the road truckers, the job losses could exceed 1m jobs. Innovation and automation are here to stay. How are going to handle this?

Barring a social revolution, we need a comprehensive social safety net. What this will look like, I don’t know, but we need to engage our talents to explore the options. The ultimate goal is “from each according to his (sic) (her/ their ability), to each according to his (sic) (her/their) need”—Louis Blanc 1851. But this slogan just scratches the surface. How are we connected to   life, both animal and human, to each other, the planet?  What is truly meaningful in our existence? What is equitable trade in a world community?  What are the environmental cost of trade? The big question is why are we pursuing the path of growth, mindless consumption and endless wars over resources? Why?

If I sound like a revolutionary, it’s because I am.

GMOs: the real issue

If you are following the GMO issue,  you know that the people of Oregon will vote on GMO food labeling this November. To me its a no brainer. People have a right to know whats in their food and how its produced. I’m voting YES for labeling. As usual the debate is being side tracked into discussions about the evils of GMOs. Like it or not GMOs are here to stay. The real question is who controls this process. Who owns it? How is it used. Right now corporate interests have a lock on GMOs. Their only concern is for profit not the public good. How can the public gain control of this science?

Cooperative Cafe: Deepening Co-op Democracy through Participation


My Key Take-aways from the

Co-op Café 

 Participation: Connecting Our Co-ops and Communities

  •    Participation is a central element in democracy;
  •    Democracy isn’t complete until social equity and inclusivity is woven into the fabric of co-op decision-making and relationships with the community.
  • Education is key to reaching co-op goals, serving member-owners and our communities;
  • Defining growth as optimizing co-operative principles and resources in serve to member-owners and our communities.

Thanks to the CDS Consulting Co-op team for organizing and facilitating this event.