Note: here is a comment by my local congressman from Northern Calif, about what his views are, and what he thinks of Mr. Trump. It’s nice to know there is someone in our government who thinks Trump is a great danger. Note the appended comment about personalities which seems so weird.
TRUMPISM (Mr. HUFFMAN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. HUFFMAN. Mr. Speaker, outside this building, more and more Republicans bemoan the effect of Trumpism on their party. We should take a moment to define this new phenomenon. Trumpism is when the whims of our authoritarian President ``trump'' the values Republicans once stood for. It is when evangelicals say character doesn't matter. It is when ``rule of law'' constitutionalists shield Trump by attacking the institutions that guarantee the rule of law. It is when First Amendment champions join Trump in attacking our free press. It is when Russia hawks bow and scrape before a President who chooses to believe his pal Vladimir over our own intelligence agencies. Trumpism is when this House, which is supposed to conduct serious oversight, acts like Trump's lapdog, ignoring or abetting corruption and obstruction of justice. Because Trumpism threatens democracy, many Republicans are leaving their party or, like George Bush's speechwriter, Michael Gerson, are calling on voters to deliver a message this fall. Without that political jolt, Gerson writes, ``elected Republicans will just keep clinging to the USS Trump as it sinks further into the swamp.'' Now that we have defined Trumpism, let's work together to save this country from it. The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Curtis). Members are reminded to refrain from engaging in personalities toward the President. ____________________
The Integral Urban House Revisited
By William Olkowski, 12.25.11
The Integral Urban House was a retrofit project which redesigned an old run down house in Berkeley, CA initiated in 1974 with various ecologically friendly components including: food gardens open to the public, chicken, rabbit and crayfish rearing for animal protein, solar hot water, roof top herb garden, greywater systems, wood fired stove, and a waterless toilet. While it existed it educated many thousands. The house was considered important enough by Architectural Digest to be considered among the top houses of the 20th century. It was certainly unusual and is to this day still an innovative example of what could be a worldwide movement to redesign the developed worlds’ residential element. It was a volunteer project at the start but later got some funding to do the construction work. The architect was Sim van der Ryn, a professor at UC, Berkeley. Some further details are covered below as requested by a recent reader (now over 35 years ago).
Helga and myself loved this project and devoted a great deal of personal time at the house during design, construction, conducting public tours and handling the publicity. People came from all over the world to see the house. I remember an Italian film crew who were taking videos from the different windows, popping out first in one window and then others. I wrote the final draft of the book (took about 3 months of daily work, in between other jobs and teaching) with Helga as always, and with Tom Javits making major contributions, particularly in various designs and drawings.
During submission to the publisher, Sierra Club, the chapter on solar energy was deleted and another was substituted without our knowledge. I just found a copy of this chapter in my piles from back then, but it was lost for a long time. Not that the chapter was anything special, but it was focused on how people could maximize solar house heating by such simple means as manipulating existing shades and blinds, for example. Other methods were oriented to how people could do solar projects, ovens, distillations, etc.
Then the book came out under Sim’s name which we felt was unfair and tried to correct. The second edition carries our names on the cover but again messes up the authorship. By that time we had left the institute, but the group of our students from UC and Antioch College (SF) who lived there during construction and other friends continued on the board: David Katz and Sheila Daar were board members when we left. We, like fools, turned over the proceeds to the Farallones Institute to run the urban house project. The Institute later sold the house. So we lost authorship and royalties, and the house was converted to an office. Royalties would have been helpful as we were starting another project: The Urban Integrated Pest Management project then at UC and later spun off as its own non-profit. Well, in retrospect, we did not do it for the money but just to influence the world. And the project did that which still makes me feel proud. It was considered one of the most important houses of the 20th century by Architectural Digest a few years ago, see the video on our website: www.WHO1615.com/videos/meet the O’s.
Many people contributed time to this project which inspired us to work as we did. We all saw the future as an opportunity to address the gross inefficiencies in the urban lifestyle which is at the core of massive environmental exploitation of the Earth. One group designed and built the passive solar hot water system, another the rabbit and chicken system, Abby Rockafeller gave us the Clivis Multrum (a water less toilet), one of our students designed the crayfish rearing unit on urine, and others. Sim’s students were hired to do much of the construction.
How Did the Project Start
I got a request just recently to clarify some aspects of the project so that is how this particular blurb arose. The project started for us when our friend Sterling Bunnell (see the book Mind in the Waters for his chapter on Cetacean Intelligence) came by our Acton St. house as he was wont to do at times and wanted us to meet up with this UC architect professor, i.e. Sim. We did and then each week thereafter we continued to meet with him and Sterling and more and more people were invited to also come and share ideas. Sterling was a faculty member at the College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland who was also teaching with us at the innovative college, Antioch West which we help start. So different faculty from that institution also showed up.
We had a floating group of about 8-10 that met each week at different restaurants, usually Chinese, in Oakland and Berkeley. We all got to make points about the sorry state of affairs of the planet, etc. Then I pushed for a practical project where we could put together various solutions, but it was a retrofit right from the beginning. I wrote up a plan for an “Integral Urban House” project with the components which turned up in the book, including a passive hot water system and food producing systems. We had been working on food gardens for 5-6 years around our house and at a student garden on University of California land in the middle of Berkeley (Rose and Walnut Streets) (see the book City Peoples Book of Raising Food). This garden and our house garden had attained a small degree of local attention, but we needed builders and construction people to work on other components and we needed a place where the public could come through and learn about the methods of raising food and using solar hot water, for example.
Public tours at our Acton St. house got so bad that foot traffic was damaging the food producing beds. A publically accessible food garden was clearly needed. The plant and animals systems included in the eventual IUH project were based on our explorations and those of our students: composting, chickens and rabbit structures, an innovative pond with wind activated aeration producing crayfish on human urine, and bee keeping for honey, pollen and pollination services. We had started a class at UC, Berkeley within the first Conservation and Natural Resource Management Program, a large scale educational responses to Earth Day.
Students were working on these components and we were teaching how to kill a chicken, for example. This was a great experience as we had shocked vegetarians and all sorts of urban folk who had never really understood where their meat came from. Being the radical I am and my feeling about food and animals as food I was really too much. I used to go through the steps of first holding the chicken, then breaking its neck, then bleeding it by cutting its throat right there in the classroom. Then it was really an anatomy lesson, which itself was an eye opener because most students at the college level never see anything real and learn such skills, nor do they ever fully appreciate how the vertebrate body is constructed.
But if push comes to shove, knowing how to kill and dress an animal like a chicken or rabbit could be important for survival. I felt this way then and still do. If our food supply takes a dive, a lot of people are going to starve. Rabbits are the best survival system as they could eat almost anything growing in the urban area. Chickens need protein to make their eggs and getting that from food wastes is usually not enough to make the system efficient. Rabbits could be raised on alfalfa which could be grown in the garden. In WWII rabbit growing was big in the San Francisco Bay area as the climate is amenable to alfalfa as I saw reports of over 10 cuttings per year on earlier alfalfa farms. They are all gone now, however.
No matter what, knowing how to produce your own food is a revolutionary activity.
Hopes are Not Agreements nor Final Designs
We could see the needs to integrate the urban house and food garden while innovating and applying various solutions to building problems associated with waterless toilets, solar hot water systems, composting, animal shelters, etc. We welcomed cooperation from builders and it seemed a great integration. As I was into Integrated Pest Management I was nuts about the idea of Integration, hence the Integral Urban House.
Then Sim found a student who was willing to donate a sizeable amount of money and a house to the group (Sim suggested a non-profit he had somehow been associated with or started?) This is the instructive part of this message, and one which I should have known without having this experience. This great learning can be capsulated into: those who control the money control the project. I assumed this would be a cooperative effort but when I saw how things were unfolding I became concerned about cooperative ventures, but that is a tangent.
So we started looking for a place to do this project. Helga and I are rather outspoken people and we were pushing the group to consider an existing house that could be renovated. This was because we estimated that given 80 million of so existing houses/residential structures in the US at that time, we needed something relevant to most people. Sim and others wanted to build anew. Later I learned to appreciate why the architects prefer to build NEW rather than retrofitting. It’s ironic that those who initially opposed the concept eventually profited most from its actuation. But all that is water under the bridge, but it should be remembered by other innovators.
Architects do not like to fix other peoples mistakes and prefer to create new designs upon which they can build their careers. So this was a barrier to real complete integration of builders and practical ecologist. I thought the conflict was resolved by having another project start within the institute with a focus on building new at another location. But I still believe that retrofitting was virgin architectural ground. There were no manuals for redesign, for example. It still is a frontier as far as I can see.
Andy Finds a House for Sale
Back in those days, about 1974 or so Andy Pollack was a student at Antioch College West in San Francisco where we taught in addition in the Man and Environment Program at UC, Berkeley. He was living at our house at that time and found what later became the Integral Urban House by riding his bicycle around Berkeley searching for a place. He found a house for sale in the industrial sector within a zone where one could hear constantly hear the low steady rumble of the freeway in the background. It was being put up for sale (actually a bidding process) for back taxes. The Institute (FI) paid $11,000 to own this fifth street house. Sim sold the another house given to the Institute and the money was used to purchase this fifth street house, building materials and to pay his students. Our students were volunteers, some of whom lived in the house for some time, as indicated above. (The Integral Urban House was eventually sold with the funds incorporated into the FI, after we were gone.)
Then the design work started, i.e., regular meetings orchestrated by Sim. We had a floor plan and Sim would record our ideas onto a transparent sheet of paper placed over the floor plan. This was the fun part of the project as various ideas could be examined on paper and then we all could think about them until our next meeting.
What We Learned
This volunteer project was a great learning experience for us which we have built upon over the following decades. We are still using the IUH project to understand how to innovate and institutionalize, along with other projects we have created, but that’s another tangent. The IUH was among one of our first efforts at innovation in a field we had no credentials in (another was recycling centers). So, we gradually came to know we had to create our own non-profit within which we could do what we did best, i.e., create IPM programs to reduce pesticide use. All our projects have public educational components and we have always taught people about food production and we have also created educational systems in various combinations and permutations. Our attitude was public education was most important. This was clear given our experiences at the UC, where many professors (at that time) seemed to hate the intrusion of the public.
Our work in reducing pesticide use was paramount as we believed urban pesticide use was creating massive public health problems (and we still do). And urban areas were of particular concern as pesticides were (and still are) being used in close proximity to people. This use pattern changes the exposure equation to predominantly respiratory and skin exposures compared to the small amounts of pesticides on foods via large scale agriculture. Respiratory exposures are the worst as they mean lung tissues are certainly affected as well as having the pesticide more quickly distributed around the body compared to stomach exposures of much lower concentration. And that was our focus for a few decades after IUH, except for developing a teaching farm in the Sacramento Valley, again another tangent.
One of the cutting edges for this project was sociological. People need to learn how to cooperate. They are commonly taught to compete, so cooperation is usually neglected as a focus. We recognized that all public projects which may be significant have limitations. The people who show up to volunteer all bring their own ideas, some of which are good and some not so good. So how to bring them in without alienating them is the trick. When we started FI meetings we decided to have consensus as our group decision making process. This means that one person can hold up decision making. I didn’t realize this limitation at the time.
The rules for democratic group decision making called Roberts Rules of Order is actually a better way for groups to use in making decisions, especially when the people are particularly diverse. We saw the difference this approach created when we were part of the design team for creating the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) based in Butt, Montana (at first, then later moved to Washington DC). Helga served on the board for 6 years as vice president. Roberts Rules of Order refers to a group decision making process, which is really at the base of democratic organization. Get the manual which is widely available and you can see for yourself.
After we had participated in the creation of the FI, it was a great learning experience to see just how a democratic group could run when the first group of about 60 people were assembled to create NCAT. Much later we were introduced to ideas created by “Skinnarians” at a college in Lawrence Kansas where such psychologists were banished by the main line psychology professionals who thought Skinner’s ideas were bad. We thought their experiments in using reward systems were of potential use in community organizing, much needed by groups like those who showed up for volunteer work at the Integral Urban House. But such ideas were and are still foreign to most people, even though of great potential importance. Maybe a good part of the world is changing. It is certainly true that another good part is still back a century or two. Such divisions are certainly clearer now, but the oligarchs have always been retards, with some few exceptions.
Recently a reader mentioned that the IUH project was covered briefly on Wikipedia and upon checking it out I saw that the interview we did with Mother Earth News back then had a complete copy available at:
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: ‘I regret my role’ in Hillary Clinton false equivalence
If there’s one constant we’ve heard throughout our campaign to impeach President Trump — besides widespread agreement on the absolute need for Trump to be impeached — it’s that the political establishment is not doing enough to defend the rights and values of American voters. Over four million Americans have signed our petition so far, with thousands more joining us every single day. Yet, even as this unhinged president leads us into a disastrous shutdown, lawmakers from both parties continue to brush off their constituents’ calls for impeachment.
So here’s your chance to form your own party — one that won’t hesitate to send a strong message that President Trump needs to be immediately impeached.
This February 17th, we’re organizing impeachment parties across the country. Sign up today and ring in President’s Day by hosting one of your own.
We want President’s Day weekend to be more than an extra day off from work. We want it to be a day of action — a time to remind our elected officials how a president is expected to behave. And we’ll make it easy for you: Sign up to host your friends and neighbors, and we’ll make sure you have all the information you need to make the party a HUGE success!
Are you ready to throw a party to impeach?
If you’re interested in hosting a party, sign up and we’ll send you all the details you need to make it a success.
The Need to Impeach Team
Host a Party
Microwave appliance usage could be as bad for the environment as cars, suggests new research | “Global Possibilities”
Note: this short fully referenced summary documents why glyphosate (roundup) should be banned.
Dr. William Olkowski
Tax payers have spent $15 million on harassment settlements for Congress over the last 10-15 years
Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery” | “Global Possibilities”
Book review and author interview by Dr Mercola. Big time public exposure. Mercola is a hero and has been attacked as a fraud, which is par for the course. Trump’s key defense is fake news, calling actual truth statements lies, to confuse and discredit the messenger, a common defense used by demigods and lawyers the world over. It’s a strategy for use by those unwilling to examine the evidence or the message.
This author has laid out a great case against Monsanto, the most evil of the pesticide companies. Glyphosate or Roundup (trade name for actual product) contaminates proteins and genetic compounds like DNA, so its poisoning all food chains on the planet and is built into genetic compounds so pollutes all genes. Health claims made by Monsanto are based on old falsified studies and are public-ally presented as justified because their product can save millions from starvation, a falsehood beyond the pale.
Pesticide pollution is the most severe pollution because it requires special knowledge of chemistry and toxicology few make the effort to learn. Its much more than just another pollution but is already doing tremendous damage. Why are so many friends dying of cancer?
Dr. William Olkowski
A Note On Climate Change How many times do we need to hear adjectives in their superlative form before we spot a pattern: largest, rainiest, driest, deadliest? Records, by their Continue Reading →
The Nuclear Worrier | by Thomas Powers | The New York Review of Books
Note: Small studies show how psilocybin can be used to reduce depression. Imagine that! Maybe someday, the benefits of using cannabis will be recognized and the war on drugs will be exposed for what it is: A colossal error costing destruction of millions of lives and the rise of our police state and another more lethally entrenched criminal class much worse than the mafia of years past. A good intro to how the mafia operated see the series, The Godfather.
America May Be Galloping Toward Authoritarian Neo-Fascism
Obama Warns Of Complacency, Notes Rise Of Hitler | The Hill
Study Confirms We Are Being Poisoned
Is Trump Certifiable? | by Lisa Appignanesi | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
Note: Finally part of the federal government has awakened to the idea of urban agriculture, As we predicted back when we wrote the City Peoples Book of Raising Food (still available via Amazon – Author H. Olkowski.
Dr. William Olkowski.
Note: Here is a perspective to carry on through what appears to be another dark age, inspired by the great thinker Carl Sagan.
Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany
Paperback – June 28, 2016
A book review by Dr. William Olkowski
Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary exploration of the natural origins and early evolution of this famous plant, highlighting its historic role in the development of human societies. Cannabis has long been prized for the strong and durable fiber in its stalks, its edible and oil-rich seeds, and the psychoactive and medicinal compounds produced by its female flowers. The culturally valuable and often irreplaceable goods derived from cannabis deeply influenced the commercial, medical, ritual, and religious practices of cultures throughout the ages, and human desire for these commodities directed the evolution of the plant toward its contemporary varieties. As interest in cannabis grows and public debate over its many uses rises, this book will help us understand why humanity continues to rely on this plant and adapts it to suit our needs.
I met one of the authors, Merlin, at a recent Xmas party and we were mutually impressed over our common interest in cannabis. I don’t want to spend the $40 or so dollars for this book at this time, but I restate this short Amazon review above because it covers how “deeply (cannabis) influenced medical, ritual, and religious practices of cultures throughout the ages”… I have been aware of this history from another book: the Encyclopedia of Psychoactive plants by Christian Ratsch, 1998. Park Street Press, Rochester, Vermont.
This later 942 page compendium goes into great detail about the larger group of psychoactive plants, and their role in human cultural evolution. This sort of knowledge is not common in the US and probably other countries as well, but so called primitive peoples are familiar with psychoactive plants, even today.
Christianity and its widespread colonization and associated genocidal activities placed psychoactive plants on the taboo list thinking so called “primitive societies” were inferior to the European culture. This inferiority idea is covered by Jared Diamond’s classic book Guns Germs and Steel. Just to cover the main idea in this book: why is White Culture superior, or apparently superior?
This subject deserves more words than what I summarize here, but brevity is good. Diamond’s book should be read widely but will probably not rise above the cacophony today about racial issues, particularly because of the Trump confusion. White culture, i.e., European culture, arose through ecological coincidence when humans were driven out of southern Africa to go north through the fertile crescent. This is all documented by recent genetic studies. That area of the Eurasian-African nexus happened to have grains that held their seeds on the stalk (i.e., wheat) after maturity. This makes easier harvesting and storage which lead to surpluses and avoidance of starvation, so common in our human evolution. Wheat is also calorie dense, being the highest per volume of all the grains. Once surpluses were possible, specialization grew and with it inventions arose. These inventions, like steel and guns, among others, including agricultural developments, gave superior tools for human domination, particularly of other humans. Steel and guns are particular are indicated as examples of investions. Such innovations are transmitted easily east to west, laterally, not longitudinally, since north south innovations are limited by latitudes and the concomitant seasons. Those cultures which adopted inventions survived and thrived, others perished.
So “Whiteman’s Superiority” was a fluke of nature and does not indicate innate superiority as many white supremacist claim. With the President of the US, now raising racist issues in making immigration policy this idea of how many innovations arose deserves greater exposure. People are people and we all started in southern Africa as brown people. Whiteness arose when climate change force the human emigration north and elsewhere. Black skin protects from damage from sunlight, white skin makes extra vitamin D since it allows sun energy deeper penetrating power than black or brown skin. Vitamin D is crucial for bone development and immune system function. White skin is susceptible to skin cancers, but it makes advantages for people in northern climates as it is easier to make Vit D.
I make this essay because even today the US police systems are still jailing hundreds of thousands of people for possession of a plant. This travesty is continuing in the face of widespread legalization of marijuana (Cannabis). The wider and even more severe impacts of other plant materials by the relevant justice departments remain in limbo, even though these are medical problems rather like alcoholism. Portugal is one country that has legalized all psychedelics without harm along with great savings in penal costs and human costs. We were in Portugal last year and the policemen we asked for directions to the nearest cannabis dispensary did not know its location, even though we were just blocks away. This tells the story so quickly. Here is another:
Chinese story: Wise man on a horse stops to ask a question of a old woman sitting by the side of the road between villages. He asks: “why do you sit here when tigers are so threatening”. She says: “I fear bad government more”.
And my experiences says she has a major point, highly relevant today, especially since we have this regressive government headed by the ignorant “businessman” Trump, but supported by equally ignorant lawyers, mostly Republican congressman and congresswomen (not exclusively Republican). Nobody learns from the past if no effort is made to absorb its lessons. And nowadays the rule is kill the messenger, rather than learn the message.
William Olkowski 1/25/18
Seo: marijuana, drug policy, kill the messenger, lawyers, Republican, evolution, Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond, Merlin, Whiteman’s Superiority, psychedelics.