Saturday, December 12, 2009


See also: and 1000 Feet

ADVOCACY AND ACTIVISM DO WORK:  The Media Awareness Project, Drug Policy Alliance, and other advocacy groups can claim success in their recent campaign that disclosed the restrictive fine print in the original spending bill to appropriate federal funds to needle exchanges, including a letter writing campaign. posted breaking news just after 2:00 today that in a Saturday morning Subcommittee vote, the Senate Committee endorsed a spending appropriates bill that would lift a 21-year old ban on federal funding of Needle Exchange Programs, WITHOUT the restrictive language preventing SEP's within 1000 feet of "just about anywhere" --see Drug Policy Alliance news release ; See Dave Borden's take here.

In a second major victory, Congress also lifted their restriction on a medical marijuana bill that was passed by D.C. voters 10 years ago, but held from becoming law by Congress.  This is a two-fold victory, in that it also sets a precedent for Congress to ease on the "micromanagement" of the District residents.   After a long wait, DC residents will finally have access to medical marijuana.

CARETAKERS, NURSING HOMES OR PARK BENCHES...what will happen to aging baby boomers?

CARETAKERS, NURSING HOMES OR PARK BENCHES...what will happen to aging baby boomers?

SOURCE: "BABY BOOMERS: The Angriest Generation" by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

At 38, I underwent an unsuccessful heart valve replacement; some years later, I have only progression of organ failure and perhaps five difficult years ahead of me. I live alone in a modest 2 bedroom condo in a depressed area of Houston. I have two healthy college age children, who are heirs to their late father's significant estate. Well, lets just say, they are not poor...but this is just a footnote for situational reference.

A few years ago, my father passed at 72 after a lengthy illness, and my sister was his primary caretaker. She devoted much time, energy, and love to taking care of him, as each of his daughters would have. It is a natural progression of life to care for your elderly, infirm, or otherwise disabled parents...or at least it used to be.

Though I'm still some years from septuagenarian, and some would even say still young, somehow when I look to my children for support, I am accused of being selfish and completely out of line, and mostly, like Suellen in the linked story, am admonished by my peers...not for care--taking, but for needing care taking! How dare I ask these college age heirs to take time out of their young lives to come visit mom once in a while and take out my trash, let alone expect them to modestly supplement my poverty level monthly social security check with silly things like food, medicine, electricity, water, or clothing! As my own future, which cannot predict the date of my death, but worse, prognosticates steadily progressive incapacitation, I fear both inescapable incarceration in a nursing home or isolation and homelessness. Being cared for in the loving arms of an extended family is not an option for me.

And as their own elders, my own peers--nay, my own sisters, admonish me for expecting my children to help me, los jovenes blindly believe that it is not their duty, and what the heck are you talking about anyhow? What do you mean, take care of your parents? Isn't it YOUR responsibility to take care of ME?

Yes, darlings...I am legally obligated until you turn eighteen, and morally endowed with the instinct to do so for the entirety of my life.

I mean, the concept of child-helping-parent is a totally unacceptable idea to them! What they should call it is simply “love”. Yet I am not alone in this limbo of generational mores and conventions. I understood that when, while recreationally perusing interesting legal briefs, I came upon a Texas Statute that defined a reciprocal relationship between parents and children. Basically, the civil law upheld the obligation of an adult child's duty to care for his/her disabled, elderly, and even impoverished parent, in the same way that a parent must provide for their child's needs.

Unfortunately, the remedy is one that few parents would take: Suing your offspring for support. It certainly is beyond my moral, emotional, and physical capabilities.

The "greatest generation" of WWII era made us believe that we were entitled and would have a gold watch and a comfortable retirement, and we foolishly believed their unsustainable social structure. That was theirs alone, perhaps the last generation to conquer the 20th century American Myth that prosperity would grow with each generation.

The angriest generation? How else could we be, and yet ironically, a great many of us came into adulthood during the days of peace and free love, protesting against our War Monger fathers, conquering civil rights, and making technical leaps that changed the way we communicate. Yet after all these accomplishments, we find ourselves robbed of our financial future by the nation's public social structure, and disregarded and denied by our friends, family, and communities.

I am a baby boomer and I am angry!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Bioregionalism and Ecosystem Management:

Healing Man’s Relationships with Nature

Bioregionalism is a viable ecosystem management praxis because it combines the romantic aspect of conscious human awareness of nature as a nurturing, cooperative, and healing force, with the rationalistic tools of practical application. It is an ecological discourse that seeks to define and inform. The definition of ecosystems by their biological nature and the importance of informing the human species about their environment are both underlying premises of Bioregional success: Before the correction of any environmental problem can take place, the ecological system– the bioregion–must be fully understood Since Bioregionalists believe that ecosystem destruction is directly related to the activities and philosophies of man, equally important to the Bioregional philosophy is an examination of human impact on ecosystems. Armed with information and understanding, the praxis of Bioregionalism is completed with the implementation of a holistic vision of place-based living and global environmental consciousness. Only then can we begin to restore man’s relationship with nature .

Bioregionalism is a body of thought and related practice that has evolved in response to the challenge of reconnecting socially-just human cultures in a sustainable manner to the region-scale ecosystems in which they are irrevocably embedded. --Doug Aberly, Interpreting Bioregionalism: A story from many voices

…a place or community, linked to nature, and with which residents identify in historical, cultural and material terms… --Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Bioregionalism, civil society and global environmental governance

“…nothing short of total transformation…” --Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize winning poet

“…a decentralized, self-determined mode of social organization; a culture predicated upon biological integrities and acting in respectful accord; and a society which honor and abets the spiritual development of its members.” --Jim Dodge, Living by Life: Some Bioregional Theory and Practice

Defining Bioregionalism

Bioregionalism is a combination of green romantic and rationalist theories. Romantic Bioregionalism promotes the fundamental reconciliation of a historically adversarial relationship between humans and nature, into a cooperative and consciousness enlightening experience. Rationalistically, Bioregionalism is an environmental management system in which attention is placed on the particular biology of an area. Using the ecological distinction of the geographic zones, bioregions are created based on environmental criteria such as watershed, biotic shift, land form, and even vertical elevation. Proposed bioregions have also included such intangibles as “spirit places” (such as Mt. Shasta or the Red Rocks of Sedona) and the “human” sense of place (you are where you think you are). Humans and their cultures are also seen as part of the natural biological elements of the bioregion, which places humans in a new relative position to nature: Egalitarianism and communitarianism rather than hierarchy and domination. A goal of Bioregionalism is to promote synergy between the cultural, space-place identity of a person’s home territory and the natural ecosystem of that same territory.

Once a bioregion is defined and made tangible in the human belief system, the next step involves the creation of some form of governance. Solutions to this complex issue range from the subtle reorganization of existing administrative systems, to the radical global replacement of current political, economic and social institutions. Ultimately, Bioregionalism involves the interconnection of the resultant web of synergistic, regionally governed home-places, in a promotion of global sharing of experiences and information.

Ecosystem Management

The importance of place in human culture is not restricted to environmental discourse: Place is also an important concept in geography. A “sense of place” is what defines an area on a human cultural scale; it is what makes a place memorable. Socially, it is what makes a geographic location a home, what gives it character. This character is created through cultural influence, physical landscape, and relative location . Bioregionalism can use this established social and geographic paradigm to reach its goal of eliminating human domination over nature. The introduction of the home-place bioregional axiom is an important aspect to the part of Bioregionalism that seeks a cultural harmony with the earth and an altruistic conscience that has transcended the anthropocentricity of industrialism.

Human Destruction of Ecosystems

The deleterious effect of human cultures on ecosystems is well documented and thoroughly debated common knowledge. Environmental destruction is the resultant combination of political, cultural, and social schemes that are themselves dependent upon biologic and geographic systems. Responsibility for global environmental degradation considers a range of relationships between humans and the environment. At one end of the spectrum, man is a parasite to natural systems and laws and thus is the culprit of environmental damages as he drains nature for his own purposes. The opposite archetype considers nature as an adversary to be conquered, and places man’s domination over natural forces as the entity responsible for ecological destruction. In contrast, Bioregionalist philosophies, like the Green Romantic discourses, place man as part of the ecosystem rather than a foreign force that is either a dependent biological entity or an independent master-species. Although the romantic aspects of Bioregionalism may be difficult to achieve, in order for this ideology to prevail as a viable ecosystem management scheme, this change in human belief systems must take place. Changing the thinking of six billion minds seems a daunting task; however, history has shown that global paradigmatic changes can and do occur.

Indigenous Ancestral Generations

During the gestation of Bioregionalism as an ecological discourse during the tumultuously environmental 70s, writers Peter Berg and Gary Snyder called for the rise of “indigenous activist-cultures”. This axiom is rooted in understanding an ecosystem’s physical characteristics and the management techniques used by ancestral and surviving indigenous cultures to successfully sustain their home-places. It requires comprehensive knowledge of ancient cultural traditions, and the problematic ability to adapt these methods and traditions on the modern environmental complexities of ecosystem management. Indigenous activist-cultures believe that the future sustainability of the world lies in the adaptation of these early practices of original inhabitants and their surviving indigenous populations. By using the genetic and environmental management systems that indigenous ancestral generations used, Bioregionalists believe that sustainable ecosystems will emerge that are ecologically unobtrusive .

Governance and Bioregionalism

Kirkpatrick Sale, writing for the Sierra Club’s 1985 publication Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision, claims that politically, Bioregionalism is “connected to anarchist, utopian socialist and regional planning traditions.” Under these traditions, Bioregionalism offers an alternative paradigm of the human relationship to nature based on: 1) division of the earth into natural, nested regions; 2) self-sufficiency within the bioregion; 3) decentralization of governance; and, 4) the integration of urban, rural and wild ecosystems.

Political ideologies of Bioregionalism run from anarchy to a global interconnection of governance. Yet these two seemingly opposite ideologies can be combined into a nested ecosystem governance such as heteronomy. Heteronomy has been proposed as an appropriate Bioregional organizing principle that allows for distinct functional jurisdiction across one or more social, political and ecosystem boundaries.

Bioregionalists encourage identification with the natural ecosystem that is an individuals home-place, rather than any ethnic or national identification. The rationalist aspect of Bioregionalism sees the discourse as a political program concerned with economic and governing institutions. Here, Bioregionalism would attempt to reconcile these political, cultural and economic boundaries to better fit the ecosystems in which people live. This is not a new idea: According to John Dryzek, some administrative agencies have considered redefining their jurisdictions according to bioregions instead of state or county borders. At this level, Bioregionalism is not necessarily radical; however, Bioregional radical elements would go beyond the reorganization of field offices to the replacement of current government with administrative, legislative, executive and judicial institutions defined by bioregions. In this aspect, Bioregionalism is the epitome of ecosystem management. The ecosystem becomes an all-important aspect of human life -- politically, culturally and socially defining who we are and where we are.

In his article, Bioregionalism, civil society and global environmental governance, Ronnie D. Lipschutz deliberates the issue of ecosystem governance. His answer to the poor fit between governmental jurisdictions and natural bounds is the world wide incorporation of Bioregionalism. This process could take place through a nested system of governance and regional jurisdiction, in which networks overlap into social, political, economic, and physical places .

A Brave New Bioregional World

Author Jim Dodge’s forceful commentary on bioregional government borders the Lockian philosophy of a duty to revolt. After a stinging list of American political and social foibles, Dodges writes, “It seems almost a social obligation to explore alternatives.” As frightening as radical philosophies and social revolutionaries may seem, the ends of the Bioregionalist vision are harmonic, peaceful, and inclusive.

Bioregionalists envision a world where technology is unobtrusive and ecosystems are managed in a cooperative effort with nature. The world is restored to a natural condition and re-inhabited by a new human consciousness. The world carries a “healthy and spare population of all races, much less in number than today.” Government in Bioregionalism is democratic and participatory. Economically, the Bioregional world seeks to achieve a cooperative self-sufficiency, with locally manufactured and maintained technology.

Bioregionalism is a radical ecological discourse. It calls for fundamental changes in the political and social institutions of the world. It also calls for a deep paradigmatic realignment with nature. The whole “plot” of the story of mankind, is based on an adversarial relationship with nature. Domination of nature is the ruler by which we measure our success as humans. Human culture has romanticized this philosophy since the beginning of recorded history. As the second millennium comes to a close, this logic from which we have created an entire civilization is called into question – or even more drastically, is touted as an erroneous belief.


Aberly, Doug. Interpreting bioregionalism: A story from many voices. rpt by rpt. by D. Schlosberg for NAU. (1999)

Dodge, Jim (1981) Living by Life: Some Bioregional Theory and Practice. rpt. by John Dryzek and David Schlosberg (eds.) (1998) Debating the Earth: The Environmental Politics Reader. New York: Oxford Press.

Dryzek, John S. (1997) Saving the world through new politics: Green Rationalism. The Politics of the Earth: Environmental Discourses. New York: Oxford Press.

____________. (1997). Saving the world through new consciousness: Green Romanticism. The Politics of the Earth: Environmental Discourses. New York: Oxford Press.

Lew, Alan (1999) Geography: Place and Space. Geography USA. Coursewise: Madison, WI.

Lipschutz, Ronnie D. Bioregionalism, civil society and global environmental governance. rpt. by D. Schlosberg for NAU. (1999)

McGinnis, Michael. (1999) Bioregionalism is about place-based living and thinking. Author critique of Bioregionalism. accessed 11/2/99.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Marijuana Policy Project -- Support a courageous and sensible solution to Arkansas overcrowded jails

Beyond the issue of whether or not marijuana should be legalized, decriminalized, or made a non-jailable offense, Arkansas Senator Randy Laverty suggests that the issue of overcrowded jails also reflects how our judicial and penal systems treat violent and non-violent offenders.

Marijuana Policy Project -- Support a courageous and sensible solution to Arkansas overcrowded jails

Stop the War: Begin the Healing

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Historic health care bill clears Senate hurdle - Yahoo! News


Historic health care bill clears Senate hurdle - Yahoo! News
...and similarly vague headlines throughout the media today have put the entire anti-healthcare reform movement in a complete tailspin...OBAMA CARE! Comments, cries and panic has ensued for those headline-only reading conservatives. Now the rest of us calmly read the news.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


JOE: The Addicts
JUDGE: The Regulators and Lawmakers
JURY: The Peers

“For one thousand feet, they spread the plague
With rules and tools and laws that are vague.
The fall to death is quick and steep
With no help within one thousand feet.”

“An imperfect destiny is what’s in the rig,
And it may be too late for you to renege,
But within that space the Reaper is home,
where death is by alphabet, HCV, HIV,
Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

“A light to those who rightly believe
That harm reduction can relieve
Disease and death through a simple exchange
From dirty to clean and the count is the same.
For twenty one years the federal laws stayed
To ban program funding of needle exchange,
And yes they will lift it, but in the fine print it
Reads “make them stay at one thousand feet!”

“One thousand feet? That’s not so far -
Just like the porn shop or biker bar!
Not near the school nor near the park,
Away from our youth, over there in the dark!
They don’t need to see a line over there
Of junkies who need to sharpen their ware.”

“Though some disagree say that one thousand feet
Is an impossible restriction on a metro street.
A divided nation, no one can agree
Demagogues and demi-gods, elected imperfectly
Our leaders and rulers have their own destiny,
of judgment and justice, imperfectly."

“For one thousand feet, they spread the plague
With rules and tools and laws that are vague.
For one thousand feet, a sick addict must crawl
In order to safely alleviate withdrawal.”

"Progress moves slow and the War is long,
And after One Hundred years it’s been proved wrong
Again and again, that more harm than good
Comes from laws of what shouldn’t and what should."

A compromise please of one thousand feet,
As these are our laws, imperfectly.

© 2009 Kimmarie Rojas

Please go to:
to learn more about the Senate bill regarding SEP’s and Harm Reduction.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


This comment was a response to a posted blog in the Addictions Recovery Professionals group at Linked In ( The original blogger is an addictions counselor discussing working at Methadone clinics. Please review the many comments at:

Mr. Jenkins, others,

Thank you for concisely and clearly stating the facts regarding the unique physiology of opiate addiction. Pure science dictates the intractability of opiate addiction in the malfunction of opiate receptors. It has nothing to do with “will power”, but rather with changes that occur in the brain and neurological synapses.

For many years I advocated for medicated recovery, specifically Methadone, and was deeply involved and invested in the passage and implementation of the Drug Abuse and Treatment Act of 2001 (DATA). In addition to changing methadone rules, this Act allowed for the private physician use of Suboxone for opiate withdrawal and maintenance. In my research and advocacy since then, I have come to believe that Suboxone/ Buprenorphine/Naltrexone may be a better choice in many circumstances. Methadone is very effective for long term treatment of heroin addiction. Still, it has many drawbacks, specifically, the difficulty in withdrawal; however, the stigma of Methadone also cannot be underestimated in its effects on the clients social wellness. As such, Methadone should be used as a last resort, only after other avenues have failed, including abstinence programs.

True stabilization and reorientation into a non-drug seeking lifestyle can take many years, and even then, it is not unusual for heroin addicts to relapse, often after many years of abstinence. True, intractable heroin addiction may best be treated with life-long Methadone, in terms of the client’s well being and social harm reduction. Too many times, though, clients are accepted into Methadone clinics before other treatments have been attempted. Often, these patients may be opiate naïve in comparison to long-term heroin addicts seeking methadone maintenance. The methadone may get them off of their “drug of choice”, but only addicted to one that is even more difficult to overcome. In these cases, if abstinence is not an option, then Suboxone should be used. Using methadone in anything but the most severe cases, i.e., the patient is at risk of IV related disease and social degradation, is like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.

I also agree that your “Counselors-in-relapse” is a valid paradigm, and one seen much too often in recovery. While some addicts in treatment may prefer to have a counselor that is also a recovering addict, the value of learning the pathology and physiology underlying opiate addiction an educated cannot be understated, nor can the value of certification. The best of both worlds, of course, would be ideal, and fortunately many recovering addicts have gone on to receive certification and/or college graduation. When I hear of recovering counselors who have been clean for less than two years working in methadone clinics, I worry that they are not only ineffective, still fighting their own battles, but they are also putting their own recovery at risk by being in a drug-centered environment before they have had a chance to put that environment behind them, and think themselves “well”.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Don't Like What You Wrote

Ellen Brandt, Ph.D., talks about her experience with the dark side of social media in this humorous article from June 12, 2009, at ( ).
Click here to read Dr. Brandt’s article:
I Don’t Like What You Wrote. You Should Be Poisoned, Garrotted, Stabbed With Stiletto Heels, Thrown Off A Tall Building, and Have Vultures Eat Your Liver June 12, 2009 by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.
The vast majority of those one meets on the Internet through social networking are sane, well-educated, interesting, and often thoroughly delightful people one would be happy to meet for a hamburger or beer without bodyguards, one’s mother, or the Secret Service present.
But there are notable exceptions.

My response:

Dear Ellen,
Do you feel better? lol...that's quite a rant, luckily you have a gift for this gab, whereas many yahoos on social networking sites are still dragging their knuckles, let alone able to understand the value of your media research, and how lucky your followers were to be able to take the journey with you. And hey -- you won, really get the last laugh.

I naively joined Facebook, thinking it would be a good professional networking site, but very quickly found out that the object of Facebook is to get the most "Friends". Not so with Linked In, and to keep it from turning in to "Facebook", I try to keep my contact list small and important. Although there are several contacts that I don't actually have personal contact with, they are (like you), at the top of their field. I, admittedly, am a life-long scholar, and as such want to surround myself with those who can inspire me and teach me. I thank you for offering this to so many. But when something becomes detrimental to my primary focus, it is time to re-examine my tactics.

One of the drawbacks to blogging, and submitting comments on blogs, is that people often feel bolder in expressing how they feel when they do not have to confront you face to face, and when they are "anonymous", while you have maintained full disclosure. They also tend to digress and rant on, when a concise and reasoned debate would be more effective. I try to avoid this by first writing my blog or comment in Word…and on that note, I respectfully close!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crystal Ball Required to Earn ARRA Medicare EHR Incentives

Who Will Benefit from ARRA Medicare Incentives?

In 2011, Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments will start flowing to hospitals, clinics, and physicians. In addition, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) appropriates $2 billion in funds intended to begin implementing healthcare IT, before the incentives take place, and clear requirements of “Meaningful Use” for the receipt of these payments has yet to be definitively identified, although drafts have been identified as probable definitions. (See link to CSC Update of Meaningful Use below).

This expensive endeavor by private physicians may turn out to be a risky and premature proposition, as long as the details of the promised massive health care reform are also undefined. It is also premature in that an IT infrastructure is being built prior to defining the grand new American healthcare design. Physicians are being asked to implement an expensive and complicated system with a large learning curve prior to knowing what type of health care system will eventually be in place.

According to CSC Update of Meaningful Use, physicians or groups implementing an EHR program solely for the Medicare Incentives may be making an expensive mistake, and the ROI of system implementation should be closely examined. In addition, the “meaningful use” requirements become more stringent every year, requiring vendors to guarantee that their system will meet all of the requirements for incentives (Health Data Management, April, 2009). The table of incentive payments is listed below, with nearly half of the payments available in years 1 and 2 (2011 and 2012), leaving little incentive for small practice physicians to make such a large investment in time and money.

Another concern is that simply implementing technology will not reverse the current healthcare crisis, or provide healthcare for the millions of uninsured/underinsured. A new healthcare system is imminent, and as some of the best minds in the country study foreign healthcare models, alternative business models, and even government models, we know very little of what health care in America will look like 5 to 10 years from now. Undoubtedly, it is time to implement healthcare technology into the system, and bring U.S. healthcare into the 21st century, reduce medical errors, and lower healthcare costs with IT.

Estimates of the time it will take to recoup the costs of implementing EHRs vary from 5 to 10 years, perhaps less for those who have already begun, and more for those who have not. Analysts also believe that it will be the small practice and rural physicians who will have the most difficulty implementing EHRs. During this same time period, discourses on various health plans, including a national plan, loom over the current free-market health care system. Implementation of EHRs before a healthcare reform plan has been created may be a waste of physicians resources that will never be recouped. Yet with so much change yet to come into the healthcare arena, planning the future of a small private practice may require a crystal ball.

15,000 if after 2012




Friday, July 3, 2009


Oregon Cannabis Tax Act by Tee Oliver,

Oregon’s House of Representatives voted Monday night to legalize the cultivation of hemp, becoming the sixth state to do so just this year.Oregon’s Senate voted 27 to 2 in favor of the new law last week.

Monday’s 46 to 11 House vote means that the measure will become law, barring an unlikely veto by Governor Ted Kulongoski. The move is part of a rapidly growing nationwide trend to liberalize laws relating to marijuana.

Hemp is a botanical cousin of marijuana, traditionally used to make clothing, rope and other durable fiber goods.“Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown in the U.S. for over fifty years because of a misguided and politicized interpretation of the nation’s drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration,” Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra said in a statement.“While a new bill in Congress, HR 1866, is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that President Obama’s administration will recognize hemp’s myriad benefits to farmers, businesses and the environment.”

According to Vote Hemp, this year Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Vermont and ”all passed resolutions or memorials urging Congress to allow states to regulate hemp farming.”California is at the forefront of the marijuana debate, with a movement growing to decriminalize marijuana for personal use in the state by 2010.But in Oregon’s debate, politicians were careful to distinguish between hemp and weed, and to highlight the fact that the new law would allow farmers to cultivate hemp, not grow marijuana.Some members of Oregon’s legislature displayed t-shirts reading “Senate Bill 676 is about rope, not dope.”

c 2009 Tee Oliver

Oregon is 6th State to legalize Hemp cultivation!

Oregon Cannabis Tax Act by Tee Oliver,

Oregon’s House of Representatives voted Monday night to legalize the cultivation of hemp, becoming the sixth state to do so just this year.Oregon’s Senate voted 27 to 2 in favor of the new law last week.

Monday’s 46 to 11 House vote means that the measure will become law, barring an unlikely veto by Governor Ted Kulongoski. The move is part of a rapidly growing nationwide trend to liberalize laws relating to marijuana.

Hemp is a botanical cousin of marijuana, traditionally used to make clothing, rope and other durable fiber goods.“Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown in the U.S. for over fifty years because of a misguided and politicized interpretation of the nation’s drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration,” Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra said in a statement.“While a new bill in Congress, HR 1866, is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that President Obama’s administration will recognize hemp’s myriad benefits to farmers, businesses and the environment.”

According to Vote Hemp, this year Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Vermont and ”all passed resolutions or memorials urging Congress to allow states to regulate hemp farming.”California is at the forefront of the marijuana debate, with a movement growing to decriminalize marijuana for personal use in the state by 2010.But in Oregon’s debate, politicians were careful to distinguish between hemp and weed, and to highlight the fact that the new law would allow farmers to cultivate hemp, not grow marijuana.Some members of Oregon’s legislature displayed t-shirts reading “Senate Bill 676 is about rope, not dope.”

c 2009 Tee Oliver

2009-07-01 Green Party responds to Bill Maher's call for

2009-07-01 Green Party responds to Bill Maher's call for "an actual progressive party": We're here already!

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES Immediate Release:Wednesday, July 1, 2009Contacts:Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.orgStarlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.orgA Real Party for 'Real Time': Greens send an open letter to MaherWASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party has sent an open letter to Bill Maher after a June 19 broadcast of 'Real Time' in which Mr. Maher said "[W]hat we need is an actual progressive party to represent the millions of Americans who aren't being served by the Democrats. Because, bottom line, Democrats are the new Republicans."The Green Party's reply to Mr. Maher: "Hey, Bill, we're over here! What you described is the GREEN PARTY! We already exist!"The progressive party sought by Bill Maher describes the Green Party: "Shouldn't there be one party that unambiguously supports cutting the military budget, a party that is straight up in favor of gun control, gay marriage, higher taxes on the rich, universal health care -- legalizing pot -- and steep, direct taxing of polluters?"The open letter urges Mr. Maher to acknowledge the Green Party and have a Green candidate or leader on the show. The text of the letter is appended below.The Green Party is currently preparing for its annual national meeting, to take place in Durham, North Carolina, from July 23 to July 26 ( Reporters are invited to cover the meeting ("America's First Party" An Open Letter to Bill Maher from the Green PartyDear Mr. Maher,We were thrilled to hear you talk about us when you discussed the need for a new party -- a "first party" -- during the June 19 broadcast of 'Real Time.'The only part you left out were the words "Green Party."Here's what you said:"We don't need a third party. We need a first party. You go to the polls and your choices are the guy who voted for the first Wall Street bailout, or the guy who voted for the next ten.""Shouldn't there be one party that unambiguously supports cutting the military budget, a party that is straight up in favor of gun control, gay marriage, higher taxes on the rich, universal health care -- legalizing pot -- and steep, direct taxing of polluters? These aren't radical ideas. A majority of Americans are either already for them or would be if they were properly argued and defended.""[W]hat we need is an actual progressive party to represent the millions of Americans who aren't being served by the Democrats. Because, bottom line, Democrats are the new Republicans."Hey, Bill, we're over here! What you described is the GREEN PARTY! We already exist!Maybe you forgot about us because the major media have an aversion to mentioning the Green Party and our candidates. Maybe the FCC has banned "Green Party" along with the late George Carlin's seven dirty words, "Chomsky," "End the Drug War," and other language that offends delicate sensibilities.For the major networks, and apparently PBS and NPR too, the very idea of more than two candidates in an election makes talking heads explode.If Green candidates started getting elected to higher office, the radical ideas that aren't really radical would get a fair hearing and a chance of passage.Imagine if a few Greens got seated in Congress. Greens don't take corporate contributions, so they'd be immune to the influence of Exxon-Mobil, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Raytheon, Monsanto, etc. When Rep. Nancy Pelosi sends out orders not to seek a probe of Bush-Cheney officials who authorized torture dungeons, Greens could tell her to take a hike.A few Green congressional victories would cause a seismic shock to the political landscape. Democrats would no longer have Republicans as their sole competition. The scope of national debate would no longer be Dems on the left, Repubs on the right, a phony middle ground between them, and a narrow range of political ideas comparable to the corner grocery limiting your choice of beverage to Coke or Pepsi.With some Greens in Congress:Democrats couldn't pretend to be the antiwar party while voting for more war funding.Single-payer national health care would be on the table and might even pass. President Obama and most Democrats already know single-payer is the best proposal. But they feel compelled to appease the health insurance, pharmaceutical, and other lobbies and find common ground with Republicans who believe the free market has sufficient mojo to cure every illness and injury.We'd hear the truth: that "emissions trading" is a license for corporate polluters to keep polluting, that "clean coal" is a plot to turn West Virginia into a crater, that the trillion-dollar Wall Street bailout and confiscation of savings and pension money are the greatest transfer of wealth from working people to big banks in history. There's a bipartisan consensus that corporate profit margins always take precedent over Americans facing financial ruin over a health emergency or credit card debt or a mortgage or a lost job. Whenever you hear the word "bipartisan" on the evening news, check the silverware.What are we going to do about this situation, Bill? If you really want a "first party" for America, will you throw us a bone on your show? Will you have a Green candidate or Green leader on once in a while? (Ralph Nader doesn't count -- he's not a member of the Green Party.)How about Rev. Billy Talen of the Church of Life After Shopping ( Rev. Billy is now a Green candidate for Mayor of New York City ( Clemente, our 2008 vice-presidential candidate, said that the Green Party "is more than an alternative, it's an imperative." Based on your comments, Bill, it sounds like you might agree with Rosa.We look forward to hearing back from you. You can see what we're up to on our web site (,The Green Party INFORMATIONGreen Party of the United States, 866-41GREENFax 202-319-7193Green candidate news candidate database Party News Center Party Speakers Bureau Party ballot access page Annual National Meeting of the Green Party, Durham, NC, July 23-26 credentialing page Pages, Vol. 13, No. 1The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States END ~
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009



Of the many diagrams for maintaining the global ecosystem, the term "Sustainable Development" has often erroneously been used to refer to all environmental ideologies, when it is in reality a single discourse. Out of the many solutions proffered for saving the world, the concept of Sustainable Development has risen to the top of viable ecological discourses. Why? What is it about Sustainable Development that has made it the buzzword of these environmentally unsure times?

Sustainable Development grew from the work of the World Commission on Environmental Development (WCED)[i], at a 1987 conference mandated by the United Nations to accomplish three objectives:

1. Re-examine critical environment and development issues and formulate realistic procedures for dealing with them.

2. Propose new forms of international cooperation on these issues; and,

3. Raise the levels of understanding and commitment to action.

Contemporary definitions of Sustainable Development are mostly a product of this conference and their published report, Our Common Future (1987), a document promising a combined prescription to issues of ecology, economy, development and growth, social justice, and intergenerational equity. According to these definitional benchmarks, Sustainable Development requires that poverty and global inequalities be eliminated before environmental issues can be resolved.

Growth is an essential concept of Sustainable Development. Economy has become inextricably connected with ecology. As it becomes increasingly apparent that environmental problems have global effects, this interdependence effectively eliminates the old political systems of national compartmentalization. According to the WCED, social, economic and political inequalities among nations are the main culprits of environmental problems. In light of these concepts, the WCED proposed the following prescriptive:

1) global democratization;

2) effective limits management;

3) population growth in harmony with the productivity of the ecosystem;

4) global equalization through “fair-sharing” of resources; and,

5) management on an international civic levels rather than the local or state level.

Most importantly, the WCED cautions that Sustainable Development requires global cooperation—not hierarchies and competition.

Sustainable development concepts are also based on the premise that the economy and the environment can be brought into global harmonic cooperation. As the World Commission on Environment and Development reported:

…We have in the more recent past been forced to face up to a sharp increase in
economic interdependence among nations. We are now forced to accustom ourselves
to an accelerating ecological interdependence among nations. Ecology and economy
are becoming ever more interwoven—locally, regionally, nationally, and
globally—into a seamless net of causes and effects.

The recession of 08/09 has made clear global economic interdependence. An example of how Sustainable Development theories are congruent with economic theories is apparent in the issues of dependence on foreign oil supplies and Western societies unquenchable thirst for oil. Under the Obama Administration, this has prompted the creation of new regulations regarding fuel usage and alternate fuels in the auto industry. New regulations, such as a 35mpg minimum requirement on new vehicles within the next few years, are not only important to the economics and future in the global market for US automakers, but also addresses all related environmental issues of procuring, processing, storing, distrubuting, and consuming gasoline. At the same time, it encourages the growth and development of sustainable industry and a sustainable world.

Works Cited in this blog:
[i] Copyright © World Commission on Environment and Development 1987. Reprinted from Our Common Future (1987).
Retired Generals, Admirals Consider Oil Dependence A Security Risk
c 2009 kimmarie rojas

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Right Wing detractors are scraping the barrel to bar Sotomayor's appointment...but her appointment is a shoe-in according to Washington analysts.

In response to/support of an article in by Micke Madden, "The white man is being oppressed!" (Salon, May 29, 09). Read my take on the article, and additional comments as to why America is ready for Sonia Sotomayor's liberal philosophy of judicial activism rather than the choking constructionalism we have been enduring.

The white man is being oppressed! By Mike Madden,, May 29, 2009.

Kudos to Madden and his explicit claim that Right Wing Bosses Gingrich-Limbaugh have a Freudian personality disorder. Their attack on Sotomayor on issues of racism, sexism, and constitutional incompetence are as Madden says, simply “projection by aging white right-wingers”.

Their fears of oppression are wolf cries, and are simply reflections of their guilt and greed, having brought down the richest country in the world. The oppositions’ claim of constitutional ignorance is simply fear of diluting even more the strangling hold any strict-constructionalism may have on the bench.

Although the two schools of strict constitutionalism and liberal interpretation have been an issue of the judiciary since its inception, this is the issue that may cause the most scrutiny during congressional hearings for the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Republican political thought is more consistent with strict-constructionalism, and to them, Sotomayor’s judicial activism and liberal interpretation of Statutory law is nothing more than pure disregard for the Constitution.

Others disagree, claiming that the Constitution is a living document, and was meant to be interpreted according to the times. Sotomayor makes no excuses for her interpretation of the law. In 2001, the NY born Puertorriqueña lectured at UC Berkley where she acknowledged that her life experiences have influenced how she sees her judicial duty to interpret the law. Her belief in experience, wisdom, and analysis is a cornerstone of her judicial philosophy. In a You-Tube clip posted by a blogger meant to discourage support, Sotomayor admits to “judicial policymaking”, acknowledging that “we’re not supposed to” make law, and then quickly adding “I do not promote it or advocate it…”, but the chuckles in the back of the room verify the reality of the judiciary.

In reality, the Legislative Branch, Congress, is not the only law-making body in U.S. Government. Judicial precedents have routinely been upheld in courts. Miranda v. Arizona (to be informed of your rights upon arrest) and Gideon v. Wainwright (that counsel will be provided at no cost) are two examples of Supreme Court law that has been implemented and enforced by the States. Administrative organizations, a non-legislative part of the Executive branch, are charged with creating rules and regulations which carry the force of law behind them. Paradoxically, they also hold hearings that have the weight of the judiciary behind them, allowing Administrations to create, implement and judicially enforce the rules and regulations they create. Again in the Executive Branch, although rare, the President does have the power to make law through an Executive Order. Although the framers were cautious to create a tri-partite government, the branches often slip into another’s constitutional territory, making Constructionalism a discourse, not a constitutional requirement.

Sotomayor will become the next Supreme Court Justice, and the largest minority group in the Country will at last have judicial representation in the Highest Court. Congress will examine the issue of Sotomayor’s constitutional interpretation with a microscope, and still, she will be appointed: As Madden points out, any Republican who is interested in being re-elected, will not fight a tide that the GOP has no power to turn (with 40 seats). But in the meantime, we can watch the old white guys scratch and scramble to turn every rock, and try to convince a nation that has been hit square in the head, heart and pocketbook with the reality of the right wing bankers and war-mongers, that the Constitution, like the Bible, should be interpreted word for word. After so much harsh reality, Americans are ready for some liberal interpretation.

The Green Association for Sustainability

c 2009 Kim Rojas

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


THE UNIONIZATION MODEL: Incongruent with the Physician Professionalism

Nearly 100% of graduating medical students today pledge some version of the Hippocratic Oath, which includes the following passage (from the Classical version): “What I may see or hear…in regard to the life of men which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself…” (Oath Today 2003). Only two other learned professions take such an oath upon their professional “coming of age” and live by that oath for as long as they practice their art. Even in our everyday language, our definitions in addressing these honorable citizens hold them sacred by prefacing with “Doctor”, or suffixing with “Esquire”, or honoring as “Reverend”. According to George Lundberg, past editor of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), these three profession are held above all others: The Physician, The Lawyer, and The Clergy. Dr. Lundberg calls for a return to this professionalism (Lundberg 2000).

The primary reasons people become physicians, continues Dr. Lundberg, are (2000):

1. They have a desire to take care of other people. They have a desire to serve.

2. They are intelligent. These people always got A’s and they enjoyed school. They have to in order to accomplish the academic rigors just to enter medical school. They are knowledgeable, erudite, learned, and licensed.

3. They are independent people. Most claim to look forward to opening their own practice, and have always been autonomous. They are leaders, making the decisions rather than taking the orders.

4. They want to make money. They have an entrepreneurial streak. They want to be successful, financially independent, and live the assumed lifestyle of a Professional.

These are also the fundamental definitions of the Profession, too. The reasons they became doctors and the reasons they remain doctors—the fundamental rationales of why physicians should not unionize: The basic definitions of the two entities, “physicians” and “unions”, are incongruent.

The terms that describe physicians are philosophically, dynamically, and practically opposed to those used to define Unions. The ethical dynamics that hold physicians accountable and organized are dichotomous to the political bureaucracy of a Union, by definition designed to defend workers who cannot defend themselves--either through lack of credibility, intelligence, leadership, or social position.

Among Lundberg’s many claims is the stern warning to the American Medical Association (AMA) to step in and reclaim these ethical definitions of healthcare, “or someone else will” (Lundberg 2000). Commerce already has a firm grip on healthcare. Unions have their foot in the door, and if the Physicians or the AMA do not shut it, it will swing wide and far, taking with it the last shred of the patient-physician relationship: the art of healing and the miracle of that art. And the practice of medicine is an art, no less than painting or poetry or writing or any other abstract endeavor traditionally ordered by guilds, not unions.

The promise of guaranteed payment through plans like Kaiser, Blue Cross, Medicare, Medicaid and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s) appeared an intelligent choice for physicians traditionally organized under a patient-physician fee for service arrangement. The 20th Century brought many philanthropic, political, and philosophic burdens on physicians. The fantastic growth of Southern California lead to the development of Kaiser Permanente’s managed healthcare for poor migrant workers who came west to build Los Angeles. In the 1960’s Medicare was legislated, along with tax-credit incentives, offsetting taxes from large incomes earned through employer-based healthcare insurance. Opening the door to managed care seemed a natural progression in the 1980’s. Lest frantic physicians today blame anyone else but their mentors, clear memories remain of the number one buzzword among the healthcare industry during the ‘80s from professional conferences to community mixers: “HMO”. Now, in regret and remorse, they have learned what was given (power in patient management) and what was lost (trust in the patient-physician relationship) in exchange for a guaranteed wage. Yet physicians have something that no government or union or corporation can take away from them: A license to practice medicine. They just need to be collectively reminded of that…not collectively represented in bargaining that is irrelevant to the profession. Physicians are the professionals. They hold the power, because they hold the knowledge and they hold the license.
Arguments for physician unionization focus on the issues of power; and it is true that unions hold power: political power, in the ability to form Political Action Committees (PACs) and influence legislators; bargaining power, in number and presence acceded to them through proxy; economic power, in the power to strike. In defining these powers, though, political power and bargaining power is incongruent in its duplicity, for the AMA also holds such political power and the physicians keep the knowledge--an important consideration in the discordance of the power to strike. In this day and time, it is an empty power when applied to certain patriots, as the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and imminent threat of biological warfare would surely prevent physicians from striking. After all, who would take their place? Not the janitors, who are, by the way, unionized.

And well they should be. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a large and effective union that is appropriate for those healthcare workers it protects. Once upon a time, if you worked in the healthcare industry, you were also privy to the services of the physician you served. In the days of managed healthcare, there is no such privilege, and even nurses worry about access to healthcare (Stephenson 2003). SEIU’s web site verifies that insurance and medical access for a healthcare worker is of issue, claiming that “janitors rely on over-the-counter remedies, clinics and prayer.” This scenario is not consistent with the public perception of a practicing physician (Standing Up…2003). Doctors, even if at a minimum technological level of diagnostics and hands on treatment, have the knowledge and skill to provide healthcare to themselves and their loved ones under any circumstances.

The SEIU’s unionization of sub-professionals in the healthcare industry has brought a model of union organization into the physicians’ workplace, but it is the wrong model. In “Managing Professional Work: Three Models of Control for the Health Organizations”, W. Richard Scott demonstrates, pre-HMO, that Physicians operate under a model of “Autonomous Professional Organizations.” They are externally authorized (governmental licensing requirements), formalized (academic credentialing and ethics oaths), and peer-group controlled (the AMA and other physician support organizations). In this way, physicians are accountable through organizations, oaths, and peer or government sanctions. An advantage of this model is that the responsibility is placed on the person with the greatest control, which is compatible with the traditional view physicians have of themselves, as well as how people view physicians (Scott 1980). Peltzer, Boyt and Westfall (1997) strategically appeal to a business-motivated audience such as administrators, marketers, and human resource managers; but, their underlying warrant is salient and supportive of the general consensus that the patient-physician relationship is of great importance to the health of the patient and the professional fulfillment of the physician.

There are many good reasons to unionize, but to ‘regain power never lost’ seems a con game on the desperately confused. Physicians traditionally passed down their trade, including the business and ethics of the art of healing; yet, in this day of advanced technology and light-speed communication capabilities, physicians have been infected with apprehensiveness and self-doubt.

The truth about unionization is difficult to decipher, as unions are not tied to the ethical practices of the sacred professions. Whether they are pursing physicians or physicians are truly unprepared to meet the scientific, technological and economic challenges of the 21st Century is difficult to distinguish. Unions historically respond to desperate industry employees’ dissatisfaction with working conditions, pay, overtime, and job security. They also seek out the desperate in brilliant forensic arguments to sway even the most autonomous of physicians. Physicians need only check their Palm Pilot for a review of the AMA ethical guides to come back in favor with the ethics of the profession (AMA 2003).

Clergymen who push their religion for crystal cathedrals are considered dangerous fanatics and violation of ethical codes among priests is grounds for ex-communication; derogations abound about “ambulance chasing” lawyers and disbarment is the punishment for unethical legal tactics; an incompetent doctor is called a quack, but should they become unionized, they will simply be defined with “you’re fired”.


The White House.

AMA will provide electronic alerts to physicians (2003) American Medical Association News Release, the Newspaper for American Physicians. "The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that residents at private hospitals are employees -- with the same right to unionize as residents at public hospitals

Hippocratic Oath – Classical Version. Survivor M.D. Nova Online.

Lundberg, George, M.D. (2000). Severed Trust: Why American Medicine Hasn’t Been Fixed. New York: Basic Books.

Peltier PW, Boyt T and Westfall, JE.

Scott, W. R. (1982). Health Services Research 17:213-240.

Service Employees International Union Justice for Janitors.

The Hippocratic Oath Today: Meaningless Relic or Invaluable Moral Guide? (2003). Survivor M.D. Nova Online.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thus We Are Born Free, As We Are Born Rational: John Locke 1632-1704

John Locke believed the basic premise underlying human nature is that people are independent and self-interested.

Locke envisioned the nature of a newborn baby as a blank slate. On this blank state, a person’s experience creates their character. Locke was also influenced by the Enlightenment philosophy that placed art and science as the rationalization agent of all human nature. This belief in the individuality of human nature and the right to freedom manifested itself in the popular philosophy of government by the consent of the people. This is one of Locke’s lasting contributions to present day society and has influenced thinkers for centuries.

Locke believed that humans have a natural right to freedom, which includes a right to property. Property rights are an important element of Locke’s discourse, and such a discussion is essential to his paradigm of the human condition, especially in relation to nature. Nature holds a divine right to property; according to Locke, human agency is at the top of the natural hierarchy and as such, has full rights to the use of all natural resources, “so long as nothing perishes.” As such, the human dominion over earth comes with an awesome responsibility. Centuries before global urbanization and industrialization Locke recognized the power of the human agency, for growth or destruction, and the concept of sustainability.

This belief in the property rights and responsibilities of individuals also lead to his instructive ideology of equality. Consistent with the Protestant work ethic, Locke believed that those who work hard and put genuine effort and skill into a task will be successful. Based on the premise that if a government provides its people with human rights and the ability to obtain property, Locke claimed that equality can exist in a free and open society: The disadvantaged will become equal with the advantaged. His rational for this claim is that such a society disperses its resources equally, making opportunities available to all.

Yet, Locke held tightly to the belief that if a government of social consent fails to meet the needs of the population that brought it into power, it is then the right and the duty of that population to assert their self-interest and revolt against the failing government.
Works Referenced:
Locke, John. The Second Treatise on Civil Government. First published in 1690. This printing by Prometheus Books: New York. 1986.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Biotechnology in Agriculture and Pharmaceuticals

Biotechnology in Agriculture and Pharmaceuticals

An innate sense of survival combined with curiosity and superior intellect gives humans a unique ability among biological beings to exterminate their natural predators. Science, technology and creativity have allowed humans to alter the natural biological processes to the infinitesimal proportions of the gene, where the creation of life-forms began.

These auspicious powers, usually thought of as only possible through the omnipotence of a Spiritual Being, are now in the human knowledge base. It is no surprise that such powerful abilities in the hands of any being would create fear and controversy. As a global community, we must weigh the possible consequences of our ability or lack of ability to control such power, against the biotechnological promises of a world without limits, a world able to ignore the barriers of physical law. The prevention and treatment of both genetic and predatory diseases, reduced economic inequality, hunger and disease may offer alternative mathematical models of global carrying capacity and life expectancy.

This paper is a discussion of the support of biotechnology and biogenetics in agriculture and pharmaceuticals, a review of supportive discourses and the importance of international cooperation and regime theory. In discussing the sympathetic viewpoint of biotechnology, many aspects of the opposing arguments are revealed.

Critics of biotechnology point to the price that must be paid for these scientific marvels. According to Vandana Shiva, an active opponent of biotechnology, those who can least afford it must pay that price. She supports this claim with stories such as ecosystem destruction, the usurpation of indigenous knowledge and an andropogenic colonization of women, children, the weak and the under-privileged in a concept she calls Biopiracy (Shiva, 1997).
Bio-piracy as described by Vandana Shiva is a practice employed by multinational corporations where they “discover” a cultural knowledge and practice in food production or medical use. By altering the plant to make it a “novel” discovery, patents protect it, and the host culture is denied profit or acknowledgement (Shiva, 1989).
The term biopiracy is loaded with negative connotations, as Shiva meant it to be. Pirates, as witnessed by a currently running television commercial from the cheese industry, are still depicted as the barbaric, uncivilized dregs of society, interested in procuring their fortunes at any cost of life or limb, whether it be theirs or others. This "greed at any cost" mentality is depicted in the cheese commercial by a stereotypical pirate, a patch over one eye, a wooden leg and a silver hook for a hand (or in this case, a cheese-slicer). Pirates' named legacy comes from their activities of piracy, or thievery.

Biomimicry is an example of a cooperative effort among environmental discourse debates. In Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by nature (1997), author Janine Benyus' describes this multidisciplinary science as a plausible compromise between radical intervention and complete laissez-faire of indigenous areas and traditional knowledge.
The roots of the term biomimicry come from Greek origin: "Bios", meaning life and "mimesis", meaning imitation. Biomimicry is the imitation of life, not the creation of life, as is the concern of many opponents of biotechnology, who claim that life cannot be created (Shiva, 1997). Biomimicry also denotes a more positive connection with and study of biological systems. With this comes a new human understanding of biological innovation, invention and imitation.
According to Benyus, biomimicry is based on a three-pronged approach (1997):
1) Nature as model: Biomimicry takes inspiration from biological designs and processes to solve human problems.
2) Nature as measure: Biomimicry uses a 3.8 billion year long ecological standard to judge the "rightness of innovation".
3) Nature as mentor: As a new way of viewing and valuing nature, biomimicry is based not on what we can extract from the world, but what we can learn from it.

Supportive Discourses

Several widely accepted environmental discourses have the ideological elements necessary to support the implementation of cooperative uses of bio-science and technology:
Green Romanticism is an environmental discourse that espouses the nurturing and development of different kinds of subjectivity or ways that individuals can experience the world. Biomimicry also draws its inspiration "outside of the box", by observing and mimicking the different natural processes, although many of the Green Romantic theories are either essentially too liberal (i.e. Deep Ecology) or too conservative (i.e. Eco-theology) to support the cooperative essence of biomimicry.
Lifestyle Greens, a balanced off-shoot of Green Romanticism, believe that the essence of being green is not adherence to any philosophical analysis or collective action; instead it is a matter of lifestyle. For example, in implementing invention by biomimicry, such as substituting fuel cells developed from the same theories that allow plants to create energy through sunlight, will require a lifestyle alternative to fossil fuels.
Economic Rationalism is a discourse that relies on its entity actors: homo-economicus, free markets, property rights, and government rule. Although many horror stories of self-interest, competition, and strict hierarchies, ER is defined by its commitment to the intelligent deployment of market mechanisms to achieve public ends. Too its credit, ER relies on fair and appropriate property rights, a critical issue in the biotechnology debate.
Ecological Modernization promotes the natural processes, seeing nature as its own waste treatment plan. This discourse supports a capitalist economy, states sovereignty, and recognizes natural systems. The premise of EM is that the capitalist political economy needs conscious re-figuring and far-sighted action, so that economic development and environmental protection can proceed hand in hand reinforcing one another. EM is associated with the "tidy household" and "connections to progress" as metaphors, and is supported by Al Gore, Jr., Albert Weale, and Urlich Beck.
Bioregionalism, a popular discourse among environmentalists is supportive of biomimicry in its belief in the practical application of theory. Like bioregionalism, biomimicry is the combination of theory and practical applications. Bioregionalists believe in place-based ecology that recognizes sacred places and alternative methods for defining current politico-geographic boundaries. Aspects of bioregionalism appear to contain many of the necessary ideals for the implementation of cooperative theories.

Why do we need biotechnology?
Population Growth
Exponential population growth calls for safe, available and ecologically sound uses of science and technology in agriculture and pharmaceuticals. The lower mortality rates caused by elimination of natural predators through vaccines and pharmaceuticals combined with the mathematical concept of exponential growth and population limits creates a dangerous cycle:
· Larger and healthier populations
leads to
· the need of greater food availability, disease prevention and treatment
leads to
· lower mortality rates, again creating larger and healthier populations
leads to
· the need for more food supplies…and on and on.
The late Donella Meadows and other environmental survivalists would argue that such exponential growth would eventually lead to practical limits of capacity (1972). Yet other mathematical concepts, such as a logarithmic statistical model, would support an asymptotic curve in place of a parabolic model. In other words, populations would reach a certain level, or carrying capacity, and then discontinue to grow. This theory of limits to growth is regularly seen in nature's own models of undisturbed ecosystems. Though human populations may be greatly expanded in the future and possibly much greater than current estimations, biotechnology holds a promise that the populations will be fed and healthy.



Perhaps the most oft heard defense of biogenetics is the promise to end hunger. The opposing argument claims that food is not scarce, and we do indeed have the global food resources to feed the world; the problem is the economics of food--the ability to get the food to those who need it most. While that may be true, the problem of poverty still exists and adequate economic solutions have not appeared. While perhaps the amount of food may only increase at the same rate as the populations, biogenetically modified foods offer alternatives to some of the global food problems. Biotechnology holds a promise of better and cheaper food, as well as drought resistant crops. Golden rice, a genetically modified food, contains the vitamin beta-carotene, which is said to be able to prevent blindness in children with malnutrition.
In the United States, about 63 percent of soybean crops will be genetically modified to resist pests. Only 24 percent of corn crops will be genetically modified, a mild one percent drop from last year. Author Peter Brasher believes that this drop is partially due to the negative public relations when the presence of "Star-Link", a modified crop designed for live-stock was found in the human food supply (Brasher, 2001).
A consumer study performed by the Wirthlin Group Quorum Surveys found that 79 percent of Americans knew something about biotechnology, yet only 2 percent responded "very well informed" when asked to rate their level of knowledge. Only 43 percent of the May 2000 survey answered YES, they knew that there were food produced through biotechnology in the stores; even more surprising is that 23 percent answered NO, while 34 percent failed to reply. Even more encouraging to the biotechnology argument is that 59 percent of respondents felt that biotechnology products would provide benefits within the next five years, while only 25 percent disagreed with 16 percent refusing to respond.


Along the path of development, humankind has learned to eliminate its predatory enemies, often to the point of extinction: even our pre-historic ancestors over hunted particular mammals. Throughout history, some civilizations have practiced intentional extermination of plants and animals felt to be unnecessary to the natural process, and oft thought dangerous to the proliferation of humankind. In the 20th Century, technology brought us to a different level of the extermination of human predatory species invisible to the naked eye. Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine developed through biotechnological means in 1955 virtually exterminated this most feared virus. In 1955, the average estimated rate of polio contraction was 21,000 people annually; in 1995, there were only seven reported cases of polio. Dr. Salk continued researching genetic pharmaceuticals, especially related to multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS until his death in 1995 (Cassidy 2001). This biogenetic discovery had a profound impact on the world, and the future of health care and biotechnology in general. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories recently developed a vaccine for the pneumoccocal bacterium, which became available to the public this year under the commercial name of Prevnar®. gPrevnar® targets seven strains of pneumoccocus, accounting for approximately 80 percent of the invasive disease in infants; it is manufactured by attaching the polysaccharides to a genetically modified nontoxic form of the diphtheria toxin protein. It is estimated that between 16,000 and 17,000 children are infected with some form of pneumococcus; 1,400 of those cases will progress to pneumococcal meningitis in children under five years old. Two year olds are at highest risk, with 1/2 of the cases erupting into meningitis, brain damage and hearing loss; death results in ten percent of these children. In trials, Prevnar® proved to be 100 percent effective in invasive pneumococcal disease, with a 90 percent efficacy rate in preventing all invasive pneumococcus.
Insulin is one of the first genetically modified organisms produced in the laboratory. Developed by inserting a specific human gene into the genetic code of a bacterium, insulin has saved millions of lives, allowing diabetics to live a full life. Technology similar to that used in insulin production led to the production of the cancer treatment. Biogenetic engineering is also responsible for digoxin, a drug used to treat heart disorders (Pollack 2001)

Regimes, Patents and Indigenous Protected Areas

A premise that runs throughout most regime theories is that in exploiting our earth's ecosystems to dangerous levels, we are also destroying the traditional knowledge that has kept many of the worlds most biologically diverse areas sustainable. Destruction of traditional knowledge contributes to further degradation of the environment--and so the cycle repeats until it ends through apocrypha or salvation.
Gonzalo Oviedo (1999) expands the concept of Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) and patents by claiming that indigenous people have been removed from their traditional position as stewards of knowledge. This has been accomplished, writes Oviedo, through licentious exploitation of indigenous resources, without consideration that the stewardship of such traditional knowledge is essential to the sustainability of the ecosystem. A relevant and responsive international regime policy was drafted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The draft is an effort to recognize and protect sacred lands and indigenous rights, and allow traditional people the right of self-development in their conventional land use and conservation patterns. In addition, the right to have input into land use management and active participation of protected land management is an important issue such a proposal would address (Oviedo and Brown, 1999).
It is easy to understand how traditional people around the world would be wary of national and international systems that have already stripped much of their land, denied them representation in declaring protected lands, and assumed management of those lands. Then, those governments and organizations suddenly promise under IPAs and similar plans to give back control of indigenous knowledge and protection of sacred areas. Such a need of respect for traditional peoples is a telling statement of how far conservationists and governments must go before mutually satisfying partnerships can be created. True respect can take generations to develop, and even then such relationships can remain tenuous.


Critics of introducing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the global food supply argue that through Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), multinational corporations will be given the legal ability to monopolize food production on a global basis. TRIPS was created by GATT/WTO, and has been criticized for supporting multinational corporations; yet, the creation of TRIPS was to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). Part of the problem with the MNC slant on such regimes relates to the fact that currently only 10 multinational corporations control 32 percent of the global commercial seed market, seeds being the most debated controversy of biogenetics (Shiva 2000)
The patenting of life forms is the bio-colonization of nature argued against by Vandana Shiva (2000). Still others, such as Professor Paul Keim of the Northern Arizona University, disagree. Dr. Keim believes that patenting protects indigenous forms of biotechnology by releasing the processing information globally, protecting indigenous patent holders for twenty years, and releases corporate patent information in twenty years (Lecture, 2001). Patents are an essential ingredient to the production of new and inventive processes and the preservation of traditional knowledge. They are essential to replace those practices that are unacceptable to the sustainability of the earth, from energy production and fossil fuel extraction to protection of rubber-tapping processes of indigenous rainforest inhabitants.


Perhaps there is some important biological niche that disease causing bacteria hold, besides those that are responsible for decomposition properties. The first thing that comes to mind is human Population Control as a predatory species.
Critics argue that GMO’s are not being introduced into food production and medicine to help people, but to grow corporate power through profits and market share. The science of biotechnology is lacking in understanding all possible negative effects that GMO introduction into the environment may entail. While international environmental regimes provide incentives for the creation of new science and the protection of indigenous knowledge by recognizing and preserving it, these global commitments may not be enough.
Still, all parties agree that success for society is to be found by operating within nature’s processes, and the technology of nature has much to offer us in the form of Biomimicry. Therefore, the concept of Biomimicry should be further explored as a scientific, ecological, ethical and safe compromise to the Survivalist/Promethean debate. In addition, international regimes should provide incentives for the careful exploration of nature, while protecting the intellectual property right of indigenous knowledge. In this way, biotechnology and biogenetically engineered agriculture and pharmaceuticals address global agricultural and pharmaceutical issues while preserving the natural ecosystems.
The debate is wide regarding biotechnology issues, suggesting the need for common ground. The first debate to be settled, however, is the one that resides inside those of us who are aware of the dangers in biotechnology, yet also see the possibilities for good in the ability of man to manipulate his environment.


Barsamian, David. (1997/09/01). Vandana Shiva: woman physicist, writer, activist, who directs the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in New Delhi, India. Interview for "The Progressive". Electric Library. Accessed on 2001/03/07.
Benyus, Janine M. (1997). Biomimicry: innovation inspired by nature. New York: William Morrow and Co.
Berry, Wendell. (1996) The unsettling of America: culture and agriculture. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books.
Chowdry, Geeta, Prof. (2001/03/14) Biopiracy. Vandana Shiva, biotechnology lecture for MLS 602, Community Technology and Values, Profs. Marcus Ford and Miguel Vasquez. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.
Christensen, Jon. (2000/11/21). Golden Rice in a Grenade-Proof Greenhouse. "Scientists at Work". Ingo Potrykus, editor. Accessed on 2001/02/15.
Eichenwald, Kurt, et al. (2001/01/25). Biotechnology food: from the lab to a debacle. Accessed on 2001/02/15.
Hawken, Paul, et al. (1999). Natural Capitalism: Creating the next industrial revolution. New York: Little, Brown and Co.
Keim, Paul, Prof. (2001/03/14) Biopiracy. Vandana Shiva, biotechnology lecture for MLS 602, Community Technology and Values, Profs. Marcus Ford and Miguel Vasquez. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ.
Ophuls, William. (1977). Ecology and the Policy of Scarcity. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.
Oviedo, Gonzalo and Jessica Brown. (1999) "Building Alliances with Indigenous Peoples to Establish and Manage Protected Areas". Partnerships for Protection: New strategies for planning and management for protected areas. Earthscan Publications: London. Editors. Stolton, Sue and Nigel Dudley.,
Pollack, Andrew. (2001/02/04). Critics of biotechnology are called imperialists. Accessed on 2001/02/15.
Shiva, Vandana. (1997). Biopiracy: the plunder of nature and knowledge. Boston: South End Press.
______________ (1993/09/01). The seed and the earth: biotechnology and the colonization of regeneration (part 1) Contemporary Women's Issues Database, Electric Library. Accessed on 2001/03/07.
______________. (1993/09/01). The seed and the earth: biotechnology and the colonization of regeneration (part 2) Contemporary Women's Issues Database, Electric Library. Accessed on 2001/03/07.
______________. (2000). Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. South End Press. Cambridge, MA. 2000.
Stolen Harvest: Corporate Watch Interview with Vandana Shiva. (2000/03/17). "Seeds of Resistance: The Battle Against Genetically Engineered Food". Corporate Watch, editor. Accessed 2001/02/17.
U.S. consumer attitudes toward food biotechnology. Wirthlin Group Quorum Surveys. Accessed on 2001/02/24.

Cassidy, David. (2001) Salk, Jonas. Accessed from internet on 2001/02/24

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Obama Validates Federal Unsustainability

As Obama targets wasteful spending and pet projects, with strong words he validates the basic premise of Green Associations for Sustainable Society..."OUR CURRENT SOCIETY IS UNSUSTAINABLE UNDER THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIONS OF THE LAST CENTURY"

Said Obama:
"As surely as our future depends on building a new energy economy, controlling healthcare costs and ensuring that our kids are once again the best educated in the world, it also depends on restoring a sense of responsibility and accountability to our federal budget," Obama said. "Without significant change to steer away from ever-expanding deficits and debt, we are on an unsustainable course."
(emphasis added)

Stop the War: Begin the Healing

Friday, April 17, 2009

Creational Theolosophy

Check out my new blog on poetry and prose. If you would like to post as an author on this blog, please contact me through Blogger or Facebook, or through email address!

Stop the War: Begin the Healing

Thursday, April 16, 2009


One of the properties of methadone that make it ideal for heroin addiction recovery is that is has a half-life of 24 hours, and can last as long as 36-48 hours in stabilized patients. Yet methadone can be a fickle lover, and there are many things that can cause an early detox, or aberrant metabolization. Too much coffee, extreme stress, not enough sleep, certain medications…the list is as individual as the person. This is one methadone client’s post of a “sleepless methadone night”.

“The plaintiff stood nervously at her lectern, shuffling papers, smacking her lips to smooth her lipstick after combating her nervous dry mouth with a sip of water. The well dressed young woman came before this court to recover a cell phone debt incurred by the defendant, a flamboyant Hollywood boy-toy dressed in a colorful poncho and carrying a designer alligator bag, or brief case, or whatever you want to call it. But the braggart placed it on the table next to his lectern and microphone with a sly and better than thou attitude, shifting his weight from one hip to the other, in that very L.A. metro-sexual way of saying, “oh honey, let’s just get this over with!”
And I heard, “…but the defendant says that she was riding his coattails to the best bars, and normally he wouldn’t have even bothered with someone with only one broken Gucci bag, but he felt sorry for her.”
Huh? Suddenly my attention was piqued for one unbelieving moment and I immediately became disgusted and the phoney wannabe-ness of this ignorantly and narcissistically damaged person (of male persuasion). The plaintiff, smiled in her sweetness in a ‘what can I say?’ sorta way. And for the brief moment it takes to regain consciousness from a restful sleep, I forgot that it was just three o’clock in the morning and that I had only passed one half hour of this endless night.
I try to go back to sleep…sometimes if I close my eyes, when I open them again, an hour or so may have gone by without my knowledge while in this predetoxification state. It is a feeling that I have gotten used to, but that I will never be able to accept. I start to kick my legs as they cramp up on me, and a horrible feeling like a wash of chemicals runs through my esophagus and I can FEEL the taste and smell of the drug that is in every functioning cell of my body.
Getting up and moving around gets rid of that dope sick feeling for a time, and I take advantage of this fact to keep the promise I made myself when I first started this journey on Methadone: I would never dose before 4:30 a.m. An arbitrary time, an arbitrary rule, kind of like many of the clinic rules: just something to keep me in control of these insidious orange disks.

Stop the War: Begin the Healing

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Definition of War

The War on Drugs:

The war on drugs has been propagandized by the media as an actual war – depicted with violence, death, guns -- as if it was any other war in any other time.

Prohibitionist propaganda has insidiously seeped into the deepest level of the American Democratic Experiment, which was built on war…Revolutionary, Civil, and World. The war on drugs has no country of origin, no solitary leader, and is against no particular peoples, but rather is a war against intangibles. Defining War as combat against concepts such as "drug abuse" and "terrorism" is a slippery slope that could lead to rationalization of War to include ethereal concepts, including such basic rights as freedom of religion and association.

The issue often forgotten by the media yet important to note is that the victims of this war, as in any war, are human beings of flesh and blood. What was once a silent war has recently erupted into a full scale military battle just south of the U.S. border. The War on Drugs has now become explicit in its casualties. We see the tanks and the gunfire and we hear about it on the news daily. Rather than the under-cover raids and arrests we are used to learning about on the evening news, the military surge is blatant in its intrusion into our televisions, our homes, our lives. No longer is this a concern of the impoverished or the criminal. It is relevant to our middle-class lives, and as the government continues to wage this War internationally, we fall even deeper into the false notion that a War on Drugs is valid concept.

The American Government has convinced the world that international drug compacts are necessary, and that such an ideal as war against an inanimate object is legitimate. Is it?

What is the definition of WAR?

Do you think the war on drugs has had a positive or negative impact on the use of drugs in the US? Globally?

Friday, February 27, 2009


For more than 60 years, the Physician's Desk Reference has been the "leading drug resource" , and is advertised as "The most authoritative source of FDA-approved drug information available". ( Yet, there it is, listed as any other available medication, CANNABIS: "What it is"; "Before Using"; "Dosage"; "To store this medicine"; "Drug and Food Interactions"; "Warnings"; "Side Effects"; and, a researchers' jackpot, THIRTY sources used to determine the medical usage and dosage of cannabis. Since post-World War II, the Food and Drug Administration has denied that cannabis holds any medical value, by classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug. In this way, they assist the Federal Government in their claim of illegality, and as such, it is made enforceable. Even when confronted with conflicting data, including studies showing both the palliative and curative properties of smoked marijuana, the Feds continue to deny medical marijuana, and proactively seek out and prosecute both medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. In 2005, the US Supreme Court reaffirmed the Feds right to arrest medical marijuana patients, their caregivers and their providers. In addition, the government may censure physicians from talking about marijuana with their patients. (
Cannabis Herbal Remedies, Supplements PDRHealth