Richard Heinberg On The Implications of Russian Sanctions

Here's a link to a great short post from Richard Heinberg from the
Post-Carbon Institute – shedding a little common sense into the 
sound and fury against the evil Putin. Ha!

New Russia Sanctions: Washington, Delusional About US Energy Capacity, Lashes Out
by Richard Heinberg for the Post Carbon Institute (Posted Jul 30, 2014)

From the article:

The New York Times reports that “The United States and Europe kicked off a joint effort on Tuesday intended to curb Russia’s long-term ability to develop new oil resources.” The new sanctions would deny Russia access to western technology needed to access polar oil and deepwater oil, as well as tight oil produced by hydrofracturing and horizontal drilling.

It’s good to know that a lot of Russian oil is likely to stay in the ground rather than being burned in Russian, Chinese, and European car and truck engines, adding to global climate change. But that’s not really the intent of the sanctions; evidently the purpose is merely to punish Vladimir Putin for resisting Western attempts to surround his nation with NATO bases and missiles. For some reason intelligible only to neoconservatives, nuclear-armed Washington seems intent on provoking a major confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. As justification, we Americans are told in no uncertain terms that Russia was behind the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight 17—despite a remarkable lack of actual evidence to that effect (as veteran journalist Robert Parry points out here).

Latest Findings On The State of the Colorado River Basin

colorado_river_0

Here are the latest findings on the state of the Colorado River basin.

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams.

From the article:

The  drought-stricken Colorado River Basin has experienced rapid and significant groundwater depletion since late 2004, posing a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought, according to a new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine.

The research team used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which is the water source for more than 30 million people and 4 million acres of farmland. The satellites showed the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (about 17 trillion gallons) of freshwater between 2004-2013 — almost double the volume of the nation’s largest reservoir, Nevada’s Lake Mead, which itself recently fell to its lowest level since the 1930s. More than three-quarters of the total water loss in the Colorado River Basin was from groundwater. The basin has been experiencing the driest 14-year period in the last 100 years.

“We don’t know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don’t know when we’re going to run out,” said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at the UC-Irvine and lead author of the study. “This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking.”

Interview by Lorene Mills for “Report from Santa Fe”

Ralph Metzner interviewed by Lorene Mills on Report From Santa Fe

ralph pbs

In this video interview, Ralph discusses: What it means to be a “consciousness researcher,” the concept of “consciousness expansion” (compared to “psychedelic,” which has become an overloaded term), the cultural context of the 60s (how “mind expansion” was a completely new idea), normalizing the concept of consciousness expansion and contraction (focus, concentration, as in performing a skilled set of actions, surgery etc.), states of fear and rage, and how these states trigger fight or flight behavior (internal or external), normal and usual every day consciousness changes, triggers of changes in consciousness, and more.

 

Paul Lee at Tedx Santa Cruz: Thymos, The Thymus Gland, and Thyme

The Greeks had a word for it – thymos!: Paul Lee at TEDxSantaCruz

This is a 20 minute video of my friend Paul Lee giving a TED talk on Thumos, the thymus gland, and the herb thyme.

Paul Lee is a retired philosophy professor from UC Santa Cruz who has made a lifelong study of the Greek concept of “Thymos,” which means “courage to be,” the Thymus Gland, which is a part of our immune system, building up our immune system in response to stress, and the herb thyme, which is a mildly uplifiting culinary herb that boosts your immune system and promotes well being. Listening to Paul Lee’s talk about courage and Thumos will help you learn about this vital force to which we all have access.

 

My Essay Honoring Sasha Shulgin: MDMA, Empathy and Ecstasy

Here’s MDMA, Empathy and Ecstasy, my essay for the upcoming Commemorative Edition of PIHKAL and TIHKAL, due out in fall of 2014. Printed with permission by Joshua Marker, Editor.

From the essay:

The research with psychedelic drugs carried out during the 1960’s by the Harvard group around Leary, Alpert, myself and others, led to the hypothesis, now widely accepted by all researchers in the field,  that psychedelics (hallucinogens, entheogens) are nonspecific awareness amplifiers. Unlike all other mood- or mind-altering drugs, including stimulants, depressants, tranquilizers and opiates, the actual content of a psychedelic experience can only be understood and/or explained by considering the “set” (intention, preparation, attitude, and personality) and the “setting” (physical and social context, presence and attitude of others , such as friend, guide or therapist). The actual drug (whether synthesized chemical, or plant or fungal preparation) functions as a kind of catalyst for perceptual and mental changes that can lead to insight, healing,
learning, visions and delight – or confusion, anxiety, paranoia, delusion and depression.

Impeccable scientist that he is,  Alexander Shulgin understood this immediately after his first self-experiment with mescaline and incorporated that understanding into his two monumental contributions to the scientific study of consciousness, PIHKAL and TIHKAL. Recognizing that animal studies of new pharmaceuticals provide zero useful information of their action in humans, he opted instead for the time-honored method of self-experimentation. In the introduction to PIHKAL, he wrote “psychedelic drugs provide access to the parts of us which have answers. They can, but again, they need not and probably will not, unless that is the purpose for which they are being used.” He forcefully states the case against doing so-called “double-blind” studies, which in the case of psychoactive drugs, where the effects can only be observed in one’s own sensorium and state of consciousness,  “verges upon the unethical.”

Selected Clips From Russian Video Interview

These are selections from an interview for Russian Television recorded in Sonoma, California, in Fall 2013.

russian blog pic

Ways to incorporate what you learn during your “trip” into everyday life:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjT0NYhS-ek&feature=youtu.be#t=5m30s

How it’s time to reconsider reincarnation, and the likelihood of there being some form of being that exists after the death of our physical bodies:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjT0NYhS-ek&feature=youtu.be#t=12m08s

The 1960’s – birth of the ecology movement (“Silent Spring”), Women’s Equality movement and anti-war movements, civil rights movements and the hidden role of psychedelics:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjT0NYhS-ek&feature=youtu.be#t=3m13s

New research on the potential benefits of psychedelics in the treatment of PTSD, accepting a terminal illness, alcoholism, and others:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjT0NYhS-ek&feature=youtu.be#t=11m01s

Changes of world view in the 1960s and how war is basically the breakdown of civilization:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjT0NYhS-ek&feature=youtu.be#t=16m51s

Learning to navigate states of consciousness for learning, healing and resolving conflict and interpersonal conflict:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjT0NYhS-ek&feature=youtu.be#t=19m31s

Expanded States of Consciousness – with or without drugs:
http://youtu.be/1oh60-lp-RU?t=6m28s

Fight or Flight and Toxic Responses and the importance of Set and Setting:
http://youtu.be/1oh60-lp-RU?t=10m37s

Ayahuasca, Spirits and Multidimensionality:
http://youtu.be/1oh60-lp-RU?t=15m18s

Politics, Society and Community:
http://youtu.be/1oh60-lp-RU?t=16m47s

“Omens For Our Planetary Future” – from “Spirit Soundings” CD:
http://youtu.be/1oh60-lp-RU?t=20m48s

spiritsoundingslg

The Railway Man – A true film of war, torture, healing, love and redemption

railwaymanThe Railway Man is a 2013 British-Australian film directed by Jonathan Teplitsky. It is an adaptation of the best selling autobiography of the same name by Eric Lomax.

The story concerns the British officer Lomax (played by Colin Firth), who seeks to heal his long-suppressed war-trauma from twenty years earlier, assisted by his new love (played by Nicole Kidman) and his best friend. During World War II both men had been captured by the Japanese and sent to a POW camp, forced to work on the Thai-Burma railway in the Malaysian peninsula.

During his imprisonment Lomax had built a radio and was brutally tortured by the Japanese, leaving him with PTSD which threatens to derail his new marriage. Supported by his new wife and best friend, Lomax decides to return to Burma to confront his war-time enemy and torturer and exorcise the trauma demons from his psyche.

I appreciated this film/story’s truthfulness and authenticity in many respects. While it does show the emotional and personal trauma of war-violence – it does not dwell on them more than the minimum necessary for the story (unlike the films of Quentin Tarantino and many war-movies). It shows the psychological truth that to really heal the effects of PTSD, rather than just cover them over, the empathic trust and love of a friend or partner is essential.

In the film, it is Lomax’s new wife who plays that role. His fellow-veteran from the war, who has no one he can trust, hangs himself.  In therapy situations that are successful, it may be the therapist can play that role. The empathy needs to be genuine – it can’t just be pretended – and for torture situations that’s really difficult. I also appreciated that the film and Lomax’s story do not use his confrontation with the Japanese officer who tortured him for revenge or pay-back, which would simply continue the karmic chain, but for truth-telling with sincere remorse.

This reminded me of the truth-and-reconciliation rituals developed in South Africa and other places; and of the movements, in the US and elsewhere, where families who have lost loved ones to murder, step out of the cycle of “an eye for an eye”, and seek to connect with the perpetrators, opposing the death penalty for all capital cases. See the film – you won’t regret it.