Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)

Immigration/Refugee Crisis. A Sign of the times in our World
Image Modern Farmer
The world refugee crisis (immigration) is today a very hot topic of conversation. It's unfortunate that various political ideologies take varying stances on the issue purely to get an edge against another political ideology they have a murderous hatred for. In today's heated ideologue climate you generally have one political side who claims to champion the cause of being the voice for immigrants, while the other claims to voice the cause for it's natural citizens (USA & E.U.). Both sides fail miserably. The true motive is acquiring power over the other side's ideology whom they promote hateful animus towards. In the who has the higher moral ground derby, no matter which side wins, the immigrants will still lose. But suddenly everywhere now it seems stylishly fashionable to champion the side of immigrants which you can see here on the right with "Modern Farmer's" editor-in-chief, Sarah Gray Miller, and her "Immigrants Feed America" T-Shirt. It's shame that this immigration issue has to be a political one. I've never ever once been involved in any country's politics. I could care less for the cause of either side's obsession for worldview dominance. But I do like most immigrants I've ever met. After all, I now live in a foreign country as an immigrant. But this immigration subject has the same generalized fuzzy a definition as I gave yesterday when writing about the words "Science" or "Scientist." Most people have a comfort zone when generalizing a subject which unfortunately renders the words/terms meaningless. Take the Modern Farmer T-Shirt slogan, "Immigrants Feed America." Really, do ALL immigrants feed America by working and laboring in hot fields all day to make a living ? Of course not. This work is mainly done by hispanic immigrants coming into the United States from the southern border. Perhaps it should have read, "Some Immigrants Feed America the United States." See how even the word "America" can be generalized here. Does not America also include Canada, Mexico & the smaller Central American counties ? Also take special note that I'm will be using the term hispanics because all Spanish speaking immigrants are not all Mexican. That's another issue with most folks when viewing the subject of illegal immigration crossing the Mexican border. In most US citizen's mindset, they're all Mexican. See how even this subject can be generalized ? Many come from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and other places in South America. And of course now days immigrants come from every corner of the globe. But let me for the moment just focus here on the hispanc immigrants as referenced by the Modern Farmer T-Shirt. 

Image -

The country of Sweden where I now reside is not all that much different from the United States or any other country when it comes to how immigrants are treated or viewed. Sure, there are certainly several groups and political ideologies who attempt to champion a voice for immigrants, but quite often they have personal ambitious motives for doing so. Like the USA, most citizens here in Sweden or elsewhere in the E.U. won't do any of the blue collar labor jobs (janitorial, landscaping, field worker, construction laborer, etc) that hungry immigrants will do. Like the USA, the citizens here view such jobs as beneath them. They demand free college tuition and high paying IT jobs (or any white collar job) once they graduate. Take this photo above of African immigrants from Cameroon and Nigeria working planting timber seedlings in hot humid back breaking work conditions where you are constantly under attack by Arctic Circle Mosquito hordes. Swedes will not subject themselves to this type work or it's low pay. Same with berry picking. Swedes have a passion for their beloved indigenous Lingonberry, but Swedes won't do this type of work. Worker migrants from Thailand have been employed to do this type of hard labor after being tricked by fliers advertising making easy money in a short time and with a return trip home. Once here, they are not paid what they were promised or paid at all and no return trip ticket available. They are stuck in a foreign land. Rather than elaborate on this any further, you may read what I previously wrote about both of these real life circumstances in the post below in 2013:
The United States of Sweden
Here's a bit of an update for any who may feel I've exaggerated the negative Swedish "Blue Collar" work ethic mindset towards jobs considered beneath their dignity. This comes from the online Swedish News on English journal, 'The' >>>>
Sweden needs immigrants to solve labour shortage: employment agency 
Now Let's Focus on the Hispanic migrant workers
Hispanics in the United States are often subject to exploitation. Believe it or not, often by many of their own countrymen, but little is ever discussed about this. Here in Sweden, there are unscrupulous legal immigrants from Africa and Asia who become entrepreneurial businessmen. They often prey upon the desires of their poorer countrymen back home looking for a better life. Once they get them here (often illegally), they exploit them with pitifully low wages or sometimes cheating them altogether by not paying the promised agreed upon wage. But unfortunately, who can an illegal immigrant run to and complain ? The authorities ? Not likely since they are affraid of being sent back to their homeland. Sound familiar ? And yet I'm describing the conditions within Sweden and the rest of the European Union. Count on things getting worse. This same scenario plays out in the USA with hispanic workers.

Anyone remember the movie classic from 1940, "The Grapes of Wrath" starring Henry Fonda as Tom Jode ? The last time I watched this film it had a whole different meaning to me. The majority of younger generations of Anglos Gringos and the rest of native born peoples of various ethnic backgrounds in the USA, have no clue as to what life was like back in the 1930s for rural working class American families. This film's storyline provides a close enough picture of what life is like for many illegal immigrant hispanics. But once again we cannot generalize hispanics because not all of them work in agricultural fields. Many work at janitorial, gardening and landscaping, or factory type jobs. At one time there was a rather successful guest worker program called the, "Bracero Program," which ran from about 1951 to 1964. Take note of the description as given by Wikipedia:
"The Bracero Program (named for the Spanish term bracero, meaning "manual laborer" or "one who works using his arms") was a series of laws and diplomatic agreements, initiated on August 4, 1942, when the United States signed the Mexican Farm Labor Agreement with Mexico. The agreement guaranteed basic human rights (sanitation, adequate shelter and food) and a minimum wage of 30 cents an hour; it also enabled the importation of temporary contract laborers from Guam to the United States as a momentary war-related clause to supply workers during the early phases of World War II. The agreement was extended with the Migrant Labor Agreement of 1951, which with the PL 78, set the official parameters for the Bracero Program until its termination in 1964."
( - Bracero Program)
When I lived up in Anza California during the 1980s-90s, a friend of mine who grew up in Hemet California on a large Apricot Farm said that his father used this very program to hire good quality talented laborers from Mexico. Of course they made money on a piece work basis per flat of apricots picked and the fast skilled workers made good money at the time. But with the 1960s, the civil rights movement was in full blown protest mode. Labor Unions and Churches were against the Bracero Program claiming that it took jobs away from the unemployed American citizens. The program ended in 1964. At that time my friend said the government created another program to employ out of work Americans from poorer districts of places like the city of Los Angeles who were then bussed out to work in Hemet Valley apricot orchards. They were given the same pay comission per flat as the well skilled Mexican pickers from the previous decade's guest worker program. It was a complete failure. Not only did these formerly unemployed Americans lack the skill to perform this work, but they hated it. As a consequence of being forced to do something they disliked, there was the problem of cheating where boxes of apricots stacked onto the flatbed trucks were packed with rocks and dirt clods on the bottom of the flat with apricots on the top layers. Ironically, this utter failure of this new program to replace the guest worker program is what eventually led to the flooding in of the illegal migrant worker crisis. The ethnicity or race of the natural born citizen is irrelevant when it comes to not liking this type of employment. I don't care if a person is purple, with green stripes and pink poka dots, if you are born in an industrial nation with silver spoon in your mouth welfare entitlements, more than likely you will not have a work ethic for most types of physical labor. Many will call this unskilled labor, but trust me that this is not really the case. For 20+ years I worked in Imperial Valley once or twice a week. Across the street from one of my auto dealer accounts, El Centro Motors (Ford Dealership), there was Alford Liquor store on the corner. Every Friday evening field workers would come in and cash their pay cheques there. In the older days most people did everything by cash, they didn't trust banks. One husband and wife picking team that I knew from the Winter and Spring months made around $800 per week between them. Back in the 1980s, that was good money. They were both very skilled and professional at what they did. As seasons changed of course they traveled north where newer crops came to harvest. But they were hard working good people and actually enjoyed what they did. 

Photgraph - Leonard Nadel (1956)

 Central Valley farmworkers forced to stand 
naked in line to be sprayed with pure DDT.
 The photographer was later arrested in Mexico
 for documenting "bracero" recruitment

There is no comparison to the Imperial Valley hispanics and those of Los Angeles. Both are hispanic, but radically different cultures. This is where one cannot generalize when speaking about most  immigrants. But writing this made me think of that Bracero Program again when both Labor Unions and Churches wanting the guest worker program gone and all workers deported back to Mexico. I was a bit surprised though by the negative reaction of the churches to push for an ending to the Bracero Program. Both Catholic and Protestant. I'm certainly not surprised by the lack of concern on the part of industrial Agro-Chemical companies on the negative effects of their science-based synthetics. This gave rise later to activists like Cesar Chavez, his hunger strikes and call for boycott of US grapes because of dangerous pesticides used in these fields which exposed the field workers to potential negative health consequences. 

These consequences were real. At Clemente Jaime's Auto repair shop in El Centro California, just behind El Centro Motors, many hispanic friends of Clemente and his sons Frank and Joe Jaime would come after work and drink beer, eat food and just generally socialize. One such day a Mexican field worker related a story of a pesticide incident on the outskirts of Brawley to the north. As the account unfolded, apparently one fellow worker was a bit hungry while picking iceberg head lettuce and ate a single leaf of the iceberg lettuce. No one knew that it had been recently been sprayed (I have no idea the chemical used) for pests. But after a while the guy felt sick, then went into a sort of epileptic fit. The worker described his behaviour as when you spray raid on a cockroach and it flips upside down on it's back with it's legs jerking and twitching. Everyone listening to this guy relate the story was spooked. The danger has always been real. So I guess that Cesar Chavez guy wasn't so crazy after all. Modern day incidents from many Industrial Ag ventures overseas like in South America's Brazil and Argentina bear out the reality of these ongoing science-based consequences of following the conventional way Scientists say only with pesticides can we feed the world. Don't buy into that. 

But again, all of this has made me think again not only of the John Steinbeck film, Grapes of Wrath, but also of the folk singer Woody Guthrie who wrote songs about the hardships of depression era refugee's lives. Woody Guthrie also wrote a poem "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)", which was set to music by Martin Hoffman, commemorated the deaths of 28 braceros being repatriated back to Mexico in January 1948. The song has been recorded by dozens of folk artists. Below I've provided a Youtube version of a Live Record (1975) of Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger performing "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" by Arlo's father Woody Guthrie who died not long after the Bracero Program ended. Sure has  a lot of meaning today of how opinions on migrants hasn't changed very much. No matter what country.

'Deportee' Lyrics
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning, The oranges piled in their creosote dumps; They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border To pay all their money to wade back again   
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita, Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria; You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane, All they will call you will be "deportees"   
My father's own father, he waded that river, They took all the money he made in his life; My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees, And they rode the truck till they took down and died.   
Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted, Our work contract's out and we have to move on; Six hundred miles to that Mexican border, They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.   
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts, We died in your valleys and died on your plains. We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes, Both sides of the river, we died just the same.   
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon, A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills, Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?  The radio says, "They are just deportees"   
Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?  Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?  To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil And be called by no name except "deportees"?
Other references about Refugees, Immigrants, the jobs they do and our attitude towards treatment of them
I loved this film below because it was so realistic and accurate. Very well done and shows how often hopeless life can be for immigrants (legal or illegal) in places like Los Angeles. This film is called, "A Better Life" which was released in June 2011. Immigrants come to industrialized nations believing the grass is greener so to speak. But often reality is a terrible lesson. The public relations schpeel pushed on modern people today often equaltes materialism with happiness. For most immigrants, the reality is the exact opposite. Many hispanics come from close families that they leave behind. This story is beautifully illustrative of that life. It'll tug at your heart strings and make you cry. This is what some call the "American Dream," which is often held up as an ideal by which equality of opportunity is available for anyone. It is said that anyone can achieve their highest aspirations and goals of buying a house, car, business, etc. Mostly it's always been only dream to the majority. Even when people have an appearance of success, often a great amount of debt is attached. Still the movie here is a reminder of how many are taken in by the promised advertisement.

Here below is another post of mine. The post deals with subject of Mexican ingenuity by a people who are generally faced with having to depend on themselves with impossible odds stacked against them (corrupt government officials, business leaders, clergy, etc). For 20+ years I learned a lot by working side by side with many hispanics. I marveled at their MacGyver-like abilities of resourcefulness. Always seeming to be able to solve complicated problems by making or fixing things out of ordinary every day materials. Many of them are like living human Swiss Army knife with multiple talents. Put several heads together and they are almost genius.
Mexican Ingenuity: If Anyone Can a Mexi-Can !
Later in life this helped me to take on jobs I normally would never have gravitated towards. What makes it easier is being able to find a sense of purpose and pleasure through creativity of accomplishing the task I would have otherwise rejected. Many hispanic workers are very talented at their jobs. I suppose one other area in which I relate to them is they don't have the material possession achievements many strive for, but they are still happy. I never really gravitated towards acquiring a whole lot of material possessions mainly because I always hated debt. Still do. I hate shopping. But below here is a take from Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe who talks about the falacy of the expression, "Follow Your Passion." Almost as bad as 'follow your heart' which basically has the same meaning.

Discovery Channel's Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs is a far better spokesman  for working class peoples, irrespective of cultural background

Anyone remember this poster on the right here ? This was always meant as an intellectual put down on blue collar jobs. This irresponsible worldview has had an infectious effect that you can find within every industrialized developed nation on the planet. This poster's platitude was what I dealt with in the early 1970s with my own high school guidance counselors. I remember growing up as a kid in the 60s and every adult asking you, "What do you want to be when you grow up ?" My response back then was I wanted to be an engineer. They thought that was cool and explained to me that I would have to be very good at math. I hated math and asked why would I need t know a lot of math to run a train. Then horror and shock set in the adults who attempted to dissuade me out of such a notion because, "You don't want that kind of Job." The only one who understood me was the El Cajon Valley High School counselor and Vice-Principal Ben Amador. I wasn't exactly keen on going on to college. I loved agriculture, ornamental horticulture, forestry, etc, but I hated the conventional science-based direction things were taught back then (Still Are). He told me what he did was to go down to Imperial Valley where he made good money picking lettuce and then later decided what he wanted to do. My parents freaked at the idea. You can imagine. Like Mike Rowe says, many people are fully qualified, they just aren't credentialed. That's what I am, over qualified and not at all credentialed and I love it that way. In the landscape & habitat restoration field I have been involved with, I truly know far more than what universities are spitting out as the new age prime candidates to care for our planet. Now, almost everything I touch when it comes to plants and landscape turns into success, not because of me personally, but because of what I know about whole plant ecosystems that I basically taught myself. That almost never get's taught at school where University Professors are shackled & committed to the Industrial version of Science. Here's another look at Mike Rowe and College if you have the time.

My main post is above and concluded. This below is merely a supplimentary info of interest for those curious
On another interesting note, ABC News interviewed some hispanics from the Los Angeles area about how the feel about the new American President. If anyone has followed this craziest of US Presidential Elections, you understand that the media did not get their approved candidate and are very unhappy. So perhaps wanting to continue shaking things up and get a sampling of outrage and negative reactions, an 81 year old man named, Rudolph Anparano, replied in a neutral way which is probably not they were expecting. I copied it down here:
ABC NEWS - "Hispanic Community in Los Angeles Reacts to President-Elect Donald Trump"
Finally, here's another area of supplimentary information on this post's immigration/refugee subject if you have the time to read. It's an article on how people should treat peoples of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, cultures, etc. It is an article I read from the October Watchtower magazine two weeks called:
"Do Not Forget the Kindness to Stranger"

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Monsanto-Bayer & the Jolly Green Giant makeover

Industrial Giant in EcoGreen Clothing 😕 ???
Well yeaterday the world was treated to a public relations makeover bit of news from Bloomberg, announcing that new Ag giatn of Monsanto-Bayer was going ecogreen. Suddenly they have a love affair wit mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria. This was strange, since for decades they have done nothing but push synthetics as to mankind's answer to a modern improved world which corrects Nature's flaws, imperfections and bad designs. For the past few years now, even Monsanto and Agro-Chemical technology defenders, under their coward cloaked avatars as well known professional Internet Trolls have been demonizing and spitting vitriol at anyone opposed to synthetics and assigning anti-science labels towards anyone who spoke about mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria as the sustainable answer for agriculture. But low and behold, we are told Monsanto in partner with a Danish company called, Novozymes, have created a Corn inoculant seed coating called, Acceleron B-300 SAT, which will be released in 2017. Supposedly this product will produce more roots which causes higher yields. I'm not going to elaborate on what the public relations piece has to say about their latest miracle being championed as brand new. Fact is, this has been found in nature for countless 1000s of years which has been pointed out by many good scientists, but only now are they finally getting on board. You wouldn't know this from reading the article as it is being spun as a completely brand new discovery.
Bloomberg News: Monsanto Says Next Breakthrough for Farmers Is a Friendly Fungus

Gallery Image by National Geographic

I'm all for mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria as I have an entire record of belief and practice within both of my Timeless Environments and my Earth's Internet blogs. But these fungal and bacterial tools have to also work in conjection with other natural ecosystem checks and balances found out in Nature to work effectively. This Monsanto-Bayer version is being promoted as more efficiently working microbiome that will work with the synthetics they still want to sell farmers at a hefty price, so we're not exactly talking true eco-green here. Remember, there are still fortunes to preserve here.

Back in 2017, National Geographic, published an article called, "The New Green Revolution," where they often extol the virtues of science in the general sense as what will save mankind. For example, they still champion the old 1950s Green Revolution as life saving to mankind. But was it really ? The article had a meme which in reality was more of a religious faith affirmation which said, "Science prevented the last food crisis. Can it save us again?" Seriously ? Science did this ? Nobody champions science as much as a scientist does. The problem with the words, 'Science' and 'Scientist' is that they are generally used in the most general and broadest sense which often renders them meaningless. Diehard "Culture of Science" followers have a terrible time differentiating between good and bad science or scientists. In their worldview, anything that makes them feel warm and fuzzy all over is considered good science (think anonymous internet trolls), while something they don't like is quickly labeled (without taking the time for true critical reflection) 'pseudoscience' or as the Washington State University Garden Professors would say, "Voodoo Science." But are scientists really all that realiable ? It depends on who they are, who they work for and what motivates and drives them. There is also the problem of the flaw of imperfection which drives personal bias and prejudice. This is why all Science Societies including Academia (those who champion GMO safety for no other reasons than the consensus says so) are just as much subject to group think herd mentality just as any other type of human institution whether they be political, business or religious. Science and Scientists are not above all this. How & Why you should understand and differentiate betweeen good and bad science:
I given an illustration of a court case being tried before. When a defendant loses his case and is sentenced, people on the outside (even some journalists) will often be heard to say, "The Defendant's Lawyers had no evidence." This flawed line of reasoning can often be found in various forum of debate around the internet, "They had no evidence." This is absolutely not true. In a court trial, both sides come to court case present their own version pf evidence, otherwise they would be unprepared and stupid if they did not. What actually happens if one side or another loses the case is that the evidence they presented wasn't compelling to the jury or judge. Same is true with Science or a group of consensus screaming scientists. Both sides of an issue (Industrial or Environmental or Ecological) claim to have "The Science" on their side to back them up. So science cannot and should not ever be generalized. Nevertheless people can and do generalize it. That's why when you confront conventional consensus science people, if you don't agree with their personal gut favourite lne of science, they proceed to lable you as ani-science. People need to develop the ability to differentiate between good and bad science or good and bad Scientists and not blindly follow something or someone merely because they claim that only they have the settled consensus science. 
Analyzing exactly what Industrial Science saved Mankind from in the Green Revolution
Prior to the so-called green revolution, all of mankind had just come out of a terrible World War II. Pestilence and famine are generally the natural consequences that follow wars, hence the symbolic biblical references to the ride of the four horsemen. Firey colored horse (war), pale horse (pestilence/famine) & black horse (death). But if we examine the evidence on what science saved us from, we find that the so-called science saved us from the consequences of the misuse and abuse of science. And it's tough to differentiate science here, because the very industrial science corporations who built the bombs and other munnitions which brought us famine and pestilence are also the same ones in the 1950s who said they could also save mankind. Unfortunately their remedy was synthetics, the very same synthetics which killed people during previous years. Monsanto & Bayer were at the forefront for both the Allies & Axis power's death machines. Fast forward through the bogus green revolution to the present with all it's secretive dirty history since and we are now told to put our faith and trust in them once again because they found out about Nature and only they are capable of harnessing Nature for the ultimate good of mankind. 

The Bloomberg public relations piece insisted this technology would bring greater yields, but frankly speaking, yields are truly meaningless. What good did bumper crop yields do for farmers and starving people last year ? Did anyone read this year's news on the 7 billion dollar payout in subsidies for grain farmers ? Once again, Bloomberg brought us the news back in April 2016 of the $7 Billion Farm Subsidy which would bailout farmers because of horribly low prices of corn and soy. Organic Farmers BTW do not qualify for participation in this program because they do not conventionally farm crops by investing heavily in synthetic inputs for which these very subsidies help reimburse these farmers who follow the industrial ideology. The reality is in fact that the subsidy is mainly a guarantee the Agro-Chemical and Biotech companies are paid monies owed to them. This US Government safety net has been a huge advantage for US Farmers over farmers from other countries. For example, remember the News of how hurt poor indigenous Maize/Corn farmers of southern Mexico were hit hard in their bank accounts when the dirt cheap American Corn flooded Mexican marketplaces after the NAFTA agreement ? It will be interesting to see if any subsidies will be forthcoming to these same American farmers who decide to purchase the new Novozyme fungal inoculated seeds. Although they will still use the conventional synthetic weed, insect and fungal pesticides, not to mention synthetic fertilizer inputs. Maybe it will be welfare as usual. Another interesting development will be how the fungi respond to synthetic inputs being used since the plant will shut down chemical signaling for biosymbiosis association. Many questions remain and will probably be unanswered. But you can count on more smokescreening as various marketing schemes are employed to keep the industrial status quo in power over the long haul even if the world wants to go completely organic.

There have been many legit companies and their scientists who have championed Mycorrhizal fungi as a number one option for all manner of plant health care and ecosystem management. Mike Amaranthus, Paul Stamets, Dr Donald Marx, Dr Gary Harman, Dr Kris Nichols, Dr Wendy Taheri, etc. Now in the mean time, if you want some legitimate mycorrhizal inoculum, there are several long time companies that have been totally immersed within the mycology field long before Monsanto and Bayer gave their phony blessing to officially make mycorrhizzas cool.

Professional Companies & their Scientists who have been doing this for years

Thursday, November 17, 2016

"I Welcome Questions - I Hate Assumptions," by Chris Clarke - *cough-cough* - I mean by 'Red Haircrow'

Untold History: The Survival of California's Indians
by Science Writer, Chris Clarke
Chris Clarke
Today I read an interesting article (lesson) on the history of California Indians by Science Writer/Author & Poet, Chris Clarke of Joshua Tree California. I've been following Chris for some time now ever since I first discovered through google an article on the Mojave River Chub which is a rare desert fish. Although once more common than now, Desert Fish in general are becoming more and more rare as their riparian stream or spring fed pool habitats are rapidly disappearing like most everything else on Earth. Chris writes numerous articles on various environmental issues, but his desert pieces are closest to my heart. See, I'm by nature a desert rat like Chris and for the past 10 years I have lived in a Scandinavian (Göteborg) Boreal forest environment which for a desert rat is something like a sort of Frozen Hell. Well, that's how the middle eastern refugees here in Sweden & Finland describe the place where they've been relocated in those far north wilderness detention camps far away from the contemporary Scandinanvian designed utopian centres to the south. His article on California native Indians had two opening paragraphs which immediately captured my attention. About a week ago, when talking to my Swedish wife about what first got me interested in California native plants, so I googled an old classic 1964 docu-drama film about the Nicoleños natives who once lived on San Nicolas Island off the Southern California coast who were evacuated in the early 19th century by the Spanish padres of the California mission system. These people were molested and many killed after an attack by Alaskan Fur Traders. But one lovely young woman remained behind and the account in the film documents her survival. Chris' words were similar to an article I read a few years back by a native American born in Germany who also writes about his hertitage from the same perspective as Chris Clarke. But first, here are Chris Clarke's two opening paragraphs from his latest article: 
If you grew up in California, you probably learned most of what you know about the history of California Indians while you were in fourth grade. All that several generations of Californians learned of the state’s Native peoples can be summed up thusly:   
California was originally populated by people who did not farm but made very nice baskets. The Spanish padrés arrived, and California Indians moved to the Missions to learn farm labor. Some of them died there, mainly because their immune systems weren’t sophisticated enough to handle modern diseases. By the time Americans arrived Native Californians had mainly vanished somehow. The Gold Rush happened and California became a modern society with factories and lending institutions. Finally, in 1911, Ishi, the last wild California Indian, wandered out of the mountains so he could live a comfortable life in a museum basement.
That was my experience as well. The fourth grade class in my elementary school gave us all a picture of the seemingly simple idyllic life of the average Mission Indian under Spanish colonization and domination. Why, we even went on some of those Pepper Drive Elementary School sponsored field trips to the original Mission in San Diego just above the present day Mission Valley overlooking the San Diego River. I was also interested in native American Indians because we had several ancient native settlement sites in and around the foot of Rattlesnake Mountain between El Cajon & Santee where I grew up. When climbing and exploring on that mountain, I'd often ponder away at what life must have been like for those unknown Native families and how they must have survived. But the film, Island of the Blue Dolphins , changed all that for me. First, even though I was a child in elementary school, it angered me to come to the realization of truth that life for the Mission Indians was actually no picnic. To be honest, most of the world of mankind who have heard of the American Indian probably have in their heads the more romanticized version of Natives dressed in Plains Indian attire. They are probably only familiar with more written about culture of Indian Nations such as the Souix, Cheyene, Crow, Blackfoot, Comanche, Apache, Arapaho, Navajo, Hopi and so forth. Admittedly, we only have early historical paintings which reveal the early encoutered Native Californians as having a kind of primitive half naked appearance by comparison to the tribes of the other states. Early photos are not helpful as they show California Mission Indians already adapting to Euro-culture and dress. Even in the Spanish explorer, Juan Bautista de Anza & the Padre Pedro Font documented in their respective journals of the many smaller clans of tribal outcasts thay encountered and their pitiful condition. But the docu-drama I watched as a kid did a couple other things for me that I now admit looking back was extremely important in the way I view things at present. It made me more fascinated about life of the natives and how they lived off the land. It also made me hungry for more historical writings not only of this region of Southern California, but also expanding my horizons well beyond to other areas around the globe when it came to my developing interest in native plant communities by those early original world  explorers who first encountered them and how whole plant ecosystems must have worked and functioned prior to human disruption. Chris in his opening introduction on his Facebook page also wrote about how his research on the subject made him feel, which also triggered another memory of something similar I read in an article back in 2013 by a fellow named Red Haircrow and the German people's obsession with American Indians. First, here is what Chris wrote:
"It offers me solace because the descendants of those who suffered the unspeakable evils I fleetingly describe here, who knew this history all too well already and didn't need to sit down and research it, are still willing to work with non-Native people to set things right. Eager to work with them/us, even, provided we non-Native people do a little bit of elementary learning and display a little bit of elementary sensitivity."
Yup, most of the native peoples don't have to dig and scratch in various libraries for research to understand what they've known for decades about the plight of their ancestors. The gentleman to the right here is Red Haircrow. He is a writer, filmmaker, chef, counselor. BSc Psych, Grad Student Native Studies of Apache/Cherokee descent. He lives now in Berlin, Germany. I found some of his interesting articles in an online journal called, "Indian Country - Today Media Network." Take a look at the Meme photo with quote below. When I first read this, my first thought was, "This is like something Chris Clarke would coin." Notice the uncanny similarity of thought in both paragraphs from Chris Clarke and Red Haircrow. Hence the silly title I chose for my post:
"As a Native American in Germany, when I am asked honest questions, I give honest answers, and if I don’t know something, I direct the person toward a reliable source of information. When I am dismissed by hobbyists who think they know more about my people and culture than I do, I do not let them bother me. Instead, I try to educate those who are willing to listen and hope they will support causes that help improve the life and future of Native Americans"
(Author - Red Haircrow)
I'm not going to post any other links about Red Haircrow or links to other references which would detract from the message within Chris Clarke's article which I'll link below. There is so much more to say about the native descendants of the California Indians, but I'll let Chris' article say it. For me personally, my own family has a  personal connection to the Sycuan Kumeyaay Tribe east of El Cajon through my Sister and her daughter. While as Chris mentioned in his article, Gaming Casinos have financially benefitted some tribal nations, it has not always resulted in genuime happiness and contentment. This has a lot to do with not only the  general human imperfection common to all cultures, but also a result of the conquest of more technologically advanced foreign nation peoples imposing their will and aggression on indigenous peoples which took a heavy toll on their traditional family and cultural structure. This is also mirrored around the globe everywhere. From personal experience myself living in Anza California and associating with members of the Cahuilla Tribe up there, it was a challenge to get them back in the 1980s to rebuild the forested ecosystems which once existed on some parts of their Reservation. Even when I volunteered to purchase the Forest Service grown bareroot trees and teach them what I had successfully done with a native species of mycorrhizal fungi found in the foothills of Anza Valley which I had collected up there for years, long before such techniques were ever spoken about as they are today, they just had no interest. Mostly I was dealt with suspicion and mistrust. I didn't take it personally, but conversation always ended with "It's the White Man's fault and he should fix it." Back in many remote lesser known Indian Reservations there is a purvasive apathy, lack of purpose and hopelessness that has been around for generations through no fault of their own. But you'll also find this same negative effect in many of the world's inner cities as well. But every so often you will find many individuals who will recognize their hopeless situation and work hard to pull themselves up and out of that dark abyss. Keep in mind, not all tribal circumstances around North America are equal. Just like any European countries. But anyway, below here is Chris Clarke's informative article. Again if you wish any further references on these other subjects mentioned here, Google is your friend! 😑

A young Cahuilla woman in the early 20th Century | Photo: Edward S. Curtis 

Chris Clarke: "Untold History: The Survival of California's Indians"

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Latte ☆ パンプキンスパイスラテの作り方

There are a plethora of reasons I to want to forget this year 2016, now and way on into the future. It's tough to find a way to escape all the negative news media reports and general everyday grind of this system of things. However, I found one ever so pleasant means of escape. Okay it's only about a 7 minute video, but it was worth it. 

Image - Peace Cuisine (October 2015)
Okay, I don't really know what this is, but I want one. Especially with Fall/Winter coming. Oh, & the music is ever so soothing too!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Should Grizzly Bears be Reintroduced in California ?

A well intentioned Rewilding Movement motivated more by heart felt emotion than real world boots on the ground research based on logic and our present Climate Change reality
Photo: Craig Kohlruss

I've previously written about the disaster presently going on in California forests where millions upon millions of dead and dying conifers, oaks and other trees are the result of intense drought exacerbated by Climate Change.
Millions of dead/dying trees have nothing to do with Climate Change ???
But now there is word out that some ecology rewilding groups wish to reintroduce the Grizzly Bear back into the state of California again. The state once had a unique California Grizzly bear species, but humans forced it's extinction. I believe the last one was killed somewhere back in the 1920s. Here are some important pertinent quotes from the "Bozeman Daily Chronicle" on potential for rewilding efforts:

"The Center for Biological Diversity has collected some 20,000 signatures on an online petition urging the state Fish and Game Commission to consider studying the feasibility of reintroducing the grizzly, which is listed a federal threatened species."   
"The group also is doing social media ads for its campaign in preparation for presenting a formal petition to the commission in a few months."   
"Environmentalists call the messages part of a broader national campaign of “rewilding” areas to restore large carnivores such as bears, wolves, badgers and otters and protecting large connected habitats for them."   
"Large predators and large habitats, rewilding advocates say, are essential to keeping ecosystems healthy.
Okay, I get this. I totally understand the reasons and emotions behind the well intentioned idea. But careful forethought and planning need to be done before any rash decision making for reintroduction of the non-native variety of Grizzly Bear into California. I say 'non-native', because the actual unique native California Grizzly has been extinct for almost a century now. Any bears will have to be captured in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming. Just like plant systems, there is unique species specific importance for localized seed when you attempt replanting any disturbed area. It should be no different with wildlife. To their credit, the Center for Biodiversity called for a feasibility study. Frankly, it shouldn't actually take that much time and money to figure out whether or not this could succeed. Follow me below on this, but first, here is another online journal link on the subject from California.
Mercury News: Grizzly bears in California: Reintroduction push ignites strong emotions
What about the eco-green ecosystem reality on the ground in California ???

(Dan Honda, Bay Area News Group)
Take a quick close look at the two minute video above of the millions upon millions of dead and dying trees occuring in this Sierra Nevadas of California flyover. This is actually just one small speck when compared to the overall massive picture of dead and dying trees all across the west. Now look at the photo at right of a Grizzly Bear. There now, this is the ideal type of habitat a real Grizzly will be looking for, but there is not much of that left in California, The movement to reintroduce the Grizzly Bear back into it's once former range within California is doomed to failure before it starts. But how can that be possible ? It isn't so much that the negative would be that there are so many people (there is), but rather it's about their diet. What will they feed on ? Does the video above of the millions of dead and dying trees reveal a landscape of plenty ? Of course not. But for a moment, take the example of other call to re-engineer again a Mammoth from the DNA found in one of the many frozen carcasses over the years from Siberia.

Image - Matt Dunham/AP

Even if they could play Jurassic Park Geneticist by reconstructing the DNA of frozen Woolly Mammoths and combining it somehow with the DNA of a living Asian Elephant today, Sci-Fi World aside, if (and that's a big if) they could actually do this, what kind of world would they be bringing these creatures back to ? This planet is ruined and there is hardly enough sustainable wild habitat for even the large animals in Africa anymore. Most likely it would be an artificial Animal Park with the poor animals being fit with radio collars and wearing ear tags. Seriously though, is that what people really what ? Getting back to Grizzlies though. Once again I get all the emotion and heartfelt desires, but they have to be logical about this. These animals will go where there is food and that means people. Already there are conflicts in many places with black bears not being able to forage out in the wild and entering suburban areas. Then there are the issues of available waterways like streams and rivers. Grizzlies love both and need fishing, but that is also in doubt when it comes to  California. I never thought I would see this day when California would lose most of it's historical forests. 
Major Challenges with Food and Foreaging Natural Resources within California

CREDIT: Justin Sullivan/Getty

When you think of big brown bears like Grizzlies, what else does this bring to mind ? Salmon runs and fishing. At one time way back in history, the native California Grizzly Bears were King throughout California all the way down into Baja California. Juan Bautista de Anza the Spanish Explorer in 1774 & 76 and Fray Pedro Font who accompanied him on the trek, both wrote about Bears (Los Osos) in their expedition diary journals when they passed through Southern California. Sightings were along water courses like the San Jacinto River in Hemet/San Jacinto Valley. Other sightings were after they had crossed the Santa Ana River and heading west through the I-10 corridor region of Ontario, Pomona & San Dimas. Many rivers flowed year round in those days from the northern canyons of present day Angeles National Forests. The rivers ran full all year and contained large populations of the native and now almost extinct Steelhead Trout or Salmon. Perfect Grizzly habitat in those days as even the forest tree lines were far lower in mountain elevation than they are today. Wetlands, marshes and large scale riparian woodlands were everywhere as well from the descriptive writings of Pedro Font and Juan Bautista de Anza where they often mentioned having to avoid them in many places which required long detours. The next recorded Grizzly sightings were towards Ventura/Santa Basbara, but especially further north in the river floodplain and delta region of the Santa Maria river south of San Luis Obispo where numerous bears gathered for fishing. 

Sadly, all these once pristine wild scenes are all barely a memory now. Most of those former rivers and streams are dry sandy rocky washes now. Dams were built way upstream and rainfall now days is almost nothing. Any periodic flooding comes from street runoff and other human industrial infrastructural development. Southern California will never ever again support any Grizzly population, not even a small one. The Sierras are also doubtful as millions upon million of various species of trees die off. Northern California would be the only choice, but it would still have to be large deep isolated wilderness and there is not much of that in a state of millions of humans, even as they move into more rural areas. Plus the Grizzlies would never be content to stay put there, especially with any food resources being almost nill. People are where the food is and that is where the failure of reintroduction would come in.
Grizzlies, Salmon & other wildlife require healthy viable green vegetative ecosystems
I've touched on dead and dying trees by the millions upon millions, but all success hinges on this. For all the wildlife concerned. It's not a matter of replanting. You need healthy normal climate dynamics to return for that and at present this seems unlikely. Much talk is being done to save the dead forest snags from big timber interests and other opposing scientists are in favour of logging anyway to fuel energy plants with wood to reduce coal. The argument being that these trees will burn and pump CO2 in to the atmosphere anyway if they stay put and are later consumed by wildfire. But will just leaving these trees really encourage the forest to return naturally on it's own ? I doubt it. There is a problem with regards where the viable seed will come from. Many of these trees were sick and thristy long before the bark beetles finished the job. When trees are stressed, they pump what little water resources there are into defensive survival mode as opposed to offensive seed production. So it's highly doubtful there was much of a viable wild seed bank out there in many areas where these trees died. If there were cones, then most of the cones would have opened up and released seed when they died and dried out. Any seedlings which may have resulted would most likely never had a chance in the present drought and if made if to sapling stage, then any resulting wildfire cooks that rehab. The much praised and celebrated fire ecology rebirth strategy becomes toast in such dead forest wildfire because there is no viable seed to kickstart the renewal process. Consider that these forests are dying on a massive wholesale scale. Replanting is also another option, but will that succeed ? Not without climate correction to bring back a normal rainfall pattern. This too seems unlikely. Also consider from what sources would the seed for seedlings come from. Most often today from out of state. Specific habitats require seed from those regions. Much failure has been experienced where region specific seed has not been used. This is even true of chaparral restoration projects.

Artemisia tridentata. Photo by Sue Weis, Inyo National Forest.

Many restoration projects for Silver Sagebrush habitat restoration have failed because of
well intentioned people have used seed from wrong species. Same goes for forest restoration.

A good example of the importance of site specific species to any  region is in several Silver Sagebrush restoration programs. While once I was researching about a native (Giant Palouse Earthworm) of eastern Washington which apparently thrives in native bunch graaslands and Silver Sagebrush Steppes, I stumbled upon the reference to a region where replanted Silver Sagebrush had failed because it was not the specific type of Artemisis to the area. If I can find that reference I'll come back and post it here later. Much of this region has been converted to dryland farming with millions of acres in wheat production. But a reference to habitat restoration of Silver Sagebrush Steppe in this region mentioned failure of Artemisia establishment because the wrong species was used. They all died. Many Silver Sagebrush restoration initiatives have ended in failure because several factors for regeneration have been ignored. And successional management models have identified these as underlying causes of failure as good site availability, species availability, and species performance. 

Image: Northwest Conifers

White Pine (Pinus strobus)
My point here is that any region's specific tree seed source (Ponderosa, Fir, Oak etc) needs to be used to avoid failure in replanting California mountains. And it's a big if. But like I said, if climatic conditions are not restored soon, failure even with the correct seedlings will fail big time. This is what will be the biggest challenge not only to Grizzly bear, but also Salmon and other wildlife. Remember, although people may view Grizzlies as vicious carnivores, Grizzly bears are actually omnivores, and their diet can vary widely. They may eat seeds, berries, roots, grasses, fungi, deer, elk, fish, dead animals and insects. All these important food resources also need a healthy viable forested ecosystem. Remember the issues with White Pine decline and Grizzly Bear survival ? So vital is White Pine in their diet that massive decimation of White Pine by a blister rust pathogen has had major negative effect on Grizzly populations.
See: (National Park Service - Yellowstone: How Important is Whitebark Pine to Grizzly Bears?)

Image - U.S. Forest Service

Beetle killed trees in Colorado's Never Summer Mountains

This photo above is from Colorado Rockies where millions of acreage of unhealthy forest trees are also under attack from Bark Beetles. Bears here along with other wildlife are struggling. Does anyone actually believe that California forests would be anymore inviting to a hungry Grizzly ? Frankly, forget the danger to people scenario for a moment. I think it's just as unfair and unkind towards the non-native Grizzly Bears to insert them into such a lousy habitat. It'll be nothing more than eye candy for eco-activists. There is no Quickie Nirvana here folks.
 Update: September 12th, 2016
Hungry bears focus on gaining as much fat as possible before winter hibernation
"They become very food obsessed. It's really all around gaining as much fat as possible, right before the winter,"  said conservationist Kevin Van Tighem.
Wonder how desparately food obsessed native Rocky Mountain Grizzlies will be if introduced into non-native degraded habitats in the drought stressed extremes of California ???
CBC NEWS: Grizzly bears in Alberta family's yard were 'food obsessed,' expert says
Past Posts where I wrote about historical references to Grizzlies in California
The San Jacinto River Valley that Juan Bautista de Anza saw
San Jacinto River Wildlife Refuge & the wetlands potential beyond to Corona
Anza's Dairy & the Lessons Learned

Friday, September 9, 2016

Either Climate Change, Deforestation & Ocean Dead Zones are real or Worldview obsessed Science takes funding priority

Big troubles within the Science of Physics & ongoing issues with Astrobiology
Photo courtesy of CERN
Science News: Supersymmetry’s absence at LHC puzzles physicists
The CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) took about a decade to build at a cost of $4.75 Billion to fund. It was started up in 2008, then abruptly shut down for repairs and restarted in 2009. Forbes estimated the total final cost of finding the mysterious Higgs Boson to be around $13.25 Billion. Of course Forbes estimated this back in 2012. Who knows the real costs today ? Here are some quotes from the article:
Some important quotes: "A beautiful but unproved theory of particle physics is withering in the harsh light of data."  
"For decades, many particle physicists have devoted themselves to the beloved theory, known as supersymmetry. But it’s beginning to seem that the zoo of new particles that the theory predicts —the heavier cousins of known particles — may live only in physicists’ imaginations. Or if such particles, known as superpartners, do exist, they’re not what physicists expected."   
"New data from the world’s most powerful particle accelerator — the Large Hadron Collider, now operating at higher energies than ever before — show no traces of superpartners."
Unbelievable. All this time it has been something mostly in the "Imaginations of Physicists" ? All these billions of dollars invested and nothing. As far as climate change, deforestation, ocean dead zones and a plethora of other Earth shattering realities, how much serious money and research have the world's authorities and leading experts actually put into the Earth's ecology ? Thus far all I continue to see is the Nightly News providing us with the usual ideologically driven political squabblings ? Well, enough of that, I believe it all speaks for itself. Now for my next pet peeve - Astrobiology

image: Proxima b, artist's vision, by ESO/M. Kornmesser via Science Daily.

The headlines last month were all a buzz with grandiose announcements and proclamations of another earth-like planet discovered. The illustrated image above is not an actual photograph, but rather an imaginary depiction by an artist as to what he believes it to be. No life of course:
Planet found in habitable zone around nearest star (Science Daily)
Then there was one headline from the (BBC) which read: "Neighbouring star Proxima Centauri has Earth-sized planet" - Then this remarkable admission and quote within the article by the BBC Science Correspondent, Jonathan Amos, who wrote, 
“the discovery of a planet potentially favourable to life in our cosmic neighbourhood is likely to fire the imagination.”
There's that word/term "imagination" again. Is anybody interested in reality anymore ? I suppose if you assume something, anything is possible. Same with imagination, if you just imagine enough, it seems to make it so. Kinda like the X-Files Agent Mulder's poster in his office, "I want to Believe." But imagination seems to be more and more an attribute Scientists call upon to mask their limited human inexperience. Astrobiology is steeped in imagination. It's the science discipline still looking for a subject. It's the science of "could," "maybe," "possibly," and "might."  It thrives on generalizations, conjectures, assumptions and assertions. Unfortunately imagining something does not make it so. And yet it gets wide funding. But there are clearly other more important scientific areas which deserve more funding based on the urgency. I've written previously about Astrobiology:
Astrobiology or Earth's Biology - which ?
Let's focus on just one important subject in dire need of more funding, "Climate Change"
Recent News out there now says that "La Niña" is a bust. It's fizzled. NOAA is calling for below average precipitation and above average temperatures in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, southern Alaska and the lower half of the USA in general. Interestingly, most people are comfortable with things staying just as they are. In the case of climate change and the ongoing lack of viable solutions from the scientific community, this spells disaster not only for the southwestern USA, but the entire globe. Still, valuable scientific resources and earnest efforts continue to fall well short. Sci-Fi World illusions allow people to escape our world's negative reality even if it's momentary. The bad news now is there will be no "La Niña" for the West coast of the USA for cooler temperatures. Just more of the same. If humans don't get a handle on this, their goose is cooked, literally. And it has to be a united effort to succeed. Fat chance of that actually happening. 
Important Update - October 5, 2016 
This article is beautiful & exactly what I'm talking about 
image -

Growing food and creating a livable environment are two engineering
challenges on Mars that are just as important as making fuel.
Those Martian settlements sound great, but something important is missing 
The article is interesting in that Annalee Newitz, Tech Culture Editor at Ars Technica, is clearly excited about a possible future Sci-Fi world mission to Mars, but also extremely caustious about the more important things first. Rocket technology, fuels, etc are important, but how will astronauts survive there ? They have no clue how to properly care for the Earth, let alone survive and live on Mars making this terribly uninhabitable place habitable.. 
"We still don't understand how to control our own planet's environment, let alone one on a world we've only been exploring for a few decades. That's why Martian environmental science will be important for Earth's future, too. If we can figure out how to live sustainably on Mars, we will have the tools to save the Earth many times over."

Image by John Rogers Cox - "White Cloud" (1943)
NOAA’s Official 2016/17 Winter Outlook for in the USA
For over the past two decades now the biggest problem boils down to the scientific community not paying attention to real scientific issues and as a result they've lost a lot of credibility even among relatively well educated people. Throughout the world and in particular the United States, the scientific community has immersed itself within all the various culture wars and as a result there is a growing majority consumed by purvasive apathy and complacency. The world leadership's opposing ideologues (Secular & Religious) who do nothing but bicker about various environmental crisis are in truth the mirror image of each other. Neither side likes hearing that, but it's true. They remind me of two entirely different people in an amcient Roman Public Privy sharing the same sponge after the job is done. Today in the United States there are two viciously opposed ideologies who believe they know what is best when it comes to the environment. Trust me folks, they both share the  Same exact sponge

Image from, Roman Life

While there is certainly a plethora of negativity in most of the Nightly News Reports these days, I did read one nice piece by Marine Biologist, William Graham, who today wrote about Earth's web of life and the awesome interconnectedness within all ecosystems. Bill is presently teaching a year-long environmental education program to high school students that is based on the conservation of the web of life. The holistic character of Nature seems to make a lot of sense to many of his students. Below is the link to the article.

Nature's Web of Life
The Art, Soul, And Science Of A Connected Nature

William Graham's piece got me thinking however on what has become of the web of life today. He had a nicely defined summary of what it was in the past and is supposed to be in his post this morning:
“Web of Life” paints a metaphorical picture. It suggests a vision. One can almost see lots of living interconnected  organisms as the words roll off your tongue.  If you like to see dictionary definitions, “Web of Life” is described as a succession of organisms in an ecological community that are linked to each other through the transfer of energy and nutrients.
I love that description and in times past earth was once more that way than it is at present. The title, "Earth's Web of Life" got me thinking of the way humans have molded and mutated that web of life through their irresponsible custodianship. I found an archived photo I had saved of spider's webs from both the Chernobyl and Fukashima disasters. The Spider's web above is the result of radiation poison's effects on the spider and it's instinctive sophisticated ability at constructing the perfect fishnet spider web. Clearly this spider's genetic informational memory has been greatly altered by the negative epigenetic responses to damaging outside environmental influences. And I pondered how this web above is in reality more representative of what humankind has done to our once healthy Earth Web of Life that no longer exists as it once did. That Fukashima spiderweb photo is the exact representation of what human leadership has done to our Earth's Web of Life. Look at where the funding is going people and understand where their priorities lay.