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Some no-brainers take a while to find their place in the public mind.
Take for example the concept of community-generated electric power. Officially called Community Choice Aggregaton (CCA), it allows cities or counties to replace a large portion of the electrical power they've been getting from the mega-monopoly utility, produce it themselves from clean renewable sources, and get paid for it by the utility's rate payers in the communities that choose to go with it. Renewable sources are exactly what the name implies- wind, solar, geothermal, and whatever new technologies make use of the heat or motion of earth and sky, to generate power without mining the earth, without throwing off radiation or CO2. When Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) was approved in April 2013, it became the latest community choice power initiative on the California scene, with several more already in the works. Supervisors approved it for the unincorporated part of Sonoma County (north of San Francisco). Cities also have the option to take part in the program. What the local governments like about SCP is the local jobs likely to be created in in assembling large scale solar-electric generating capacity, and the revenue from electric bills that will stay in the local economy rather than trickling up to Wall Street (more than $220 million per year, currently paid to PG&E by Sonoma County ratepayers). In this 30-minute interview, ShiftShapers host Daniel Kerbein talks to Woody Hastings, Renewable Energy Implementation Manager at the Climate Protection Campaign, located in Sonoma County. He has been an outspoken advocate and spokesperson for community-generated electricity, and in particular, Sonoma Clean Power. The conversation provides an overview of what Sonoma Clean Power is, and how it will work as it goes forward and is implemented.
This is the 3rd interview in our ShiftShapers series about the New Economy.
Anyone who says single-payer medical care or the Social Security system are examples of socialism, "doesn't know what they're talking about," asserts Carl Davidson.
The real thing happens when workers take ownership of their jobs and the companies where they work.
Mr. Davidson has some credibility in the area of socialist thinking. He started the Online University of the Left , a curriculum-rich resource for the study of socialism and the ideas of Karl Marx. During the 60's, while attending an ivy-covered university, he was a co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
We can see examples of worker ownership in the Arizmendi Bakeries in California (listen to our ShiftShapers interview with Alvarado Street Bakery); the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, OH; and the grand-daddy of them all, Mondragon Spain - an entire region, with over 100 co-ops employing more than 100,000 worker-owners.
In this 34-minute interview with co-host Daniel Kerbein, Mr. Davidson points out that while hundreds more Mondragons would be a huge benefit to the workers involved, true socialism is the liberation of the working class and the achievement of a classless society.
Meanwhile, the existing co-ops are a school for their workers: If we can run our factory, why not our town? If we can run our town, how about our whole country?
This is the 4th installment in our ShiftShapers series exploring the New Economy.
All the previous speakers in our New Economy series have mentioned the example of the thriving, worker-owned Mondragon cooperatives.
In this 32-minute interview with co-host Daniel Kerbein, Georgia Kelly, founder of Praxis Peace Institute, describes the experience of having visited Mondragon, Spain and even having led several tours there in recent years.
She says the lessons to be learned from studying the Mondragon model of cooperative industry are many, and even more impressive than that is to see how people live in a large community with no poverty or unemployment, no rapacious corporate CEOs to skim their fortune from the profits or send the business offshore.
Far from it. In the more than 100 businesses in Mondragon, over 100,000 workers own the businesses where they work, and own their jobs. And they are prospering. At a time when the only mainstream news out of spain is about debt, an economic crash, and cruel austerity measures put into place to protect bank profits.
Americans have to see it to believe it. No, you won't see it on TV, you have to turn that thing off and talk to someone who's been there, or go see it yourself.
That opportunity is coming up. The next study tour will go from Sept. 9-12, 2012. (Go to www.praxispeace.org for details.) People who take this tour, come back and start new worker co-ops, or continue spreading the word.
"I don't see a bright future for capitalism," Georgia Kelly observes. "I think what's going to be important here is to have models and alternatives up and running so there are enough to take its place. Otherwise what could happen at that point is a totalitarian state."
Spoken like a true Shift Sha
This is Part 2 of our ShiftShapers series on the New Economy
These days if a bank is stable, hasn't been bailed out and is actively lending money to stimulate local development, that would be unusual. You might even say it's against the grain.
In the entire United States, the Bank of North Dakota is the most shining example of this kind of bank. And it is against the grain.
What is the management doing right, that allows this bank ot function so well?
It's as simple as this: The Bank of North Dakota, rather than a Wall Street bank, is a state-owned bank. it's publicly owned. That enables state government to borrow money for public projects without having to pay interest or fees, resulting in more public projects and more economic health.
The success of this bank during widespread hard times, when private corporate banks continue to tighten their lending, has financially-minded people in other states exploring ways to start up their own state and county banks.
In this 30-minute interview with ShiftShaper host Daniel Kerbein, Marc Armstrong of the Public Banking Institute explains the advantages to communities when their state or county deposits money in its own bank.
For one think, the state or county doesn't have to pay interest on the money it borrows from itself. This saves billions - either ritght away, or over the long term. Local public banks can also target specific areas of local development, thus providing even more financial benefit to the community.
Corporations are non-human and non-living. Like a mythic character who has made a deal with the devil, a corporation can live forever and kill with impunity, without being executed or imprisoned. Many are richer than nations, commanding policies, elections, even assassinations in smaller nations.
Worse, recent court decisions give these behemoths even more rights than people. They're now "persons", entitled to rights of free "speech" which in the twisted parlance of the U.S. Supreme Court means they may spend unlimited billions, on any political campaign they wish to influence, and keep it a secret.
Strange since a corporate charter's purpose is to be only a shield for real humans, from liability. When lawsuits hit the fan, a corporation is just a pile of legal papers trotted into court. At no time is it ever a person.
Corporate scandals? Toxic spills and death? Wow, tough break. Jobs going offshore? Too bad. Hand over the subsidies, schedule the next bailout, and be quiet. Corporations now own American politics.
How did they get so much power? Can it be dismantled? In this interview with ShiftShapers co-host Daniel Kerbein, Ted Nace, author of Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy, probes the roots of corporate power.
That group of privileged men we revere as the Founding Fathers despised corporations. The Virginia Company killed thousands of women and children through ill-treatment on forced-labor tobacco plantations. The East India Company attempted to monopolize American goods, resulting in the merchant-led rebellion known as the Boston Tea Party.
Ted Nace is a long-time activist, currently director of CoalSwarm, a clearinghouse for anti-coal activists. His most recent book is Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal. He was also CEO of Peachpit Press, a publishing firm he founded.
Ted Nace is currently the director of CoalSwarm, a collaborative information clearinghouse for anti-coal activists. Founded in 2008, it serves as a nerve center for the grassroots movement that has stopped the construction of over 130 proposed coal plants. CoalSwarm is a project of the Earth Island Institute, which was founded by environmental pioneer David Brower, and was created in collaboration with the Center for Media and Democracy.
Nace's most recent book is Climate Hope: On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Coal.
He is also the author of Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy, a historic examination of the rise of corporations in Britain and the United States, and the development of judicial doctrines of corporate rights.
He speaks frequently on coal, climate change, and the influence of corporate power in American politics. He writes for a variety of publications, most frequently for the environmental blog Grist.
In this installment of ShiftShapers, Mr. Nace describes to co-host Daniel Kerbein the environmental and health damage caused by coal burning and mining, and makes a case for the uselessness of all this danger caused by a dying coal industry, when we live in an entrepreneurial country with plenty of energy alternatives right at our fingertips.
Daniel adds further points from the literature of the Sierra Club, a national environmental organization that works with Coal Swarm and is also committed to ending coal mining and coal burning power plants.
First it was spy cameras, then it was unmanned planes with cameras. Now the spy camera flying over Pakistan can shoot, or blow to bits, anyone the computer selects. Could be a terrorist, could be a wedding party – oops! Collateral damage…
And here’s the scary part: They aren’t just in Western Asia any more. They’re headed home, by the thousands, to watch us.
In this 28-minute interview, ShiftShapers Pole Reversal Radio co-host Daniel Kerbein interviews Medea Benjamin, founder of Code Pink and Global Exchange, about her new book Drone Warfare – Killing by Remote Control.
Nobody speaks truth to power like Medea Benjamin. She is tireless, courageous and well-versed on the subject of unmanned robotic aircraft.
Drones come in all sizes, but are used by the military for only 2 purposes: spying and killing specified targets. They have a track record of killing many more innocent civilians than terrorist-identified agents. Now they are being issued to the Border Patrol, and individual police departments.
Barbara Ehrenreich notes in the Foreword to the book that drone technology has proliferated to over 50 countries. “Drone Warfare sketches out the nightmare possibilities posed by this insane proliferation. We cannot only expect drones to fall into the hands of “rogue” nations or terrorist groups; we should brace ourselves, too, for the domestic use of surveillance drones and even armed drones at the Mexican border and possibly against American civilian protestors.”
Codepink has created a web site called droneswatch.org
where people can obtain the latest information and campaign ideas for taking widespread action. Code Pink also co-hosted a Drone Summit in April 2012, which brought together experts from around the world to discuss the potential harm and benefit of unmanned aircraft.
This interview first aired on KBBF-FM 89.1 Calistoga.
Skeptical about the weird events or Sept. 11 2012, and the report concocted to explain them? You've got company - millions of us have disturbing doubts about that story.
Thinking of a conspiracy theory? No problema. That's what the "Official Story" is too, although a wild one.
The 911 Commission Report is the handbook for what we're supposed to accept about the What happened that day. Instead of "magic bullet" theories that promote Kennedy's lone gunman, the Official 911 story gives us magic buildings and big terrorist mojo.
Try and follow this: 3 airliners hit not only the two largest buildings on American soil, but also the most fortified structure in the world - the Pentagon - on exactly the day that Vice Pres. Dick Cheney had stood down our vast air defense forces.
While our nation was asleep at coincidentally the right moment, a gang of Muslim extremists with no flight experience used box cutters to hijack the planes, and fly them into their targets.
In violation of chemistry and physics, a jet fuel (kerosene) fire melted steel girders and sent 3 skyscrapers to the ground at free-fall speed, leaving a pile of dust particles, molten metal, and traces of explosives,
Paul W. Rea, Ph.D., points out that evidence, testimony, and even known events were removed from the 911 Commission report. In this 33-minute interview, Dr. Rea, author of Mounting Evidence: Why We Need a New Investigation Into 9/11, tells ShiftShapers host Daniel Kerbein why a new investigation into 9/11 is needed.
Dr. Rea's first foray into this issue was his book Still Seeking the Truth About 9/11. Mounting Evidence reflects additional years of research, providing a readable overview of multiple issues.
(This was a phone interview conducted on a stormy evening, so please excuse some static. We filtered out much of it.)
From the food deserts that are America's cities, to the hot dust devils of Central Valley farms, to the bright shining rows of plastic-shrouded vegetables at WalMart, Tracie McMillan knows something aboout America's food supply. She knows about it, because she's worked it - earning minimum wage, and less.
In this 40-minute interview, ShiftShapers co-host Daniel Kerbein talks to Tracie McMillan, author of The American Way of Eating - Under Cover at WalMart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table.
Want an inside look at what is happening to our food supply, or what a farm worker has to do to make minimum wage? Tracie McMillan gives us a big picture view of the situation, and backs it up with research done while living inside the belly of the American food chain.
This is a nutritionally dense book, complete with a section of detailed notes, a bibliography, and even a budget that Ms. McMillan set for herself to make ends meet while earning minimum and sub-minimum wage.
Between the pages, this socially-minded journalist brings us stories of immigrant farm workers and other hard- working, poorly paid people on whom we depend for our food every day.
Some listeners may recall that Ms. McMillan and her book became famous when right-wing insult jock Rush Limbaugh berated her on the air and warned listeners that the author is “another single, over-educated woman” out to make us “lose our freedom”. In a scenario that has become emblematic of Rush Limbaugh’s reverse mojo, his victim – and her book -- earned a new level of credibility and interest after the lambasting. A heated schedule of national interviews followed, (including Rachel Maddow, HuffPost, NPR, etc.)
Through it all, Ms. McMillan was gracious and found some time for an interview with ShiftShapers.
For several years now, Carolyn Baker has offered emotional and spiritual tools for preparing for living in a post-industrial world.
Her 17 years of private practice as a therapist, and her experience as a professor of history and psychology, come through on her website, Speaking Truth to Power at www.carolynbaker.net.
Carolyn’s book Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse employs her experience from her practice of “Collapse Coaching”, working with real people who have gone beyond concern and become aware deep in their guts, that collapse isn’t just a concept. It’s a living reality taking shape all around us and is about to take over our future.
Navigating The Coming Chaos: A Handbook For Inner Transition speaks to the life and guidance to be found in our hearts and our souls, as we shift out of the world of the predictable into the unpredictable. This is Carolyn’s latest book. It brings in the spirit of her drumming and storytelling, goes to the places of the primitive and sometimes the dark, that we need to be in touch with as we move into the future.
It is a delight to tell our ShiftShapers listeners that Carolyn Baker’s compassion, commitment and vision come through in this 47-minute interview with ShiftShapers co-host Daniel Kerbein.
Looking at the depletion of oil, forests and other resources, Derrick Jensen believes that our global economy is due for collapse. Our current world empire, and possibly even our civilization, is likely to fall with it.
Examples of social collapse in recent years show that women and members of socially rejected groups such as immigrants, often fall victim to resulting rage and conflicts. Now is the time, says Derrick, to pledge allegiance to women, and to make sure that "outsiders" are given an equal place in the new community.
In this 45-minute interview, ShiftShapers co-host Daniel Kerbein talks with Derrick Jensen, author of 12 books on environment and consciousness, including A Language Older Than Words, End Game, and his most recent work, Dreams, which was published in the fall of 2011.
He is also a teacher and holds degrees in creative writing and mineral engineering. As an activist, he has spoken at several Occupy demonstrations across the U.S.
Derrick has made a study of the ways in which the earth around us attempts to communicate with us, and the ways in which we could be listening.
Animals, forests, trees, and even our bodies give us messages every day if we would only listen to something other than our spoken languages.
Part of the problem, he says, is that most of the time we simply aren't interested. Trees in a forest are nothing more than dollar signs, to be silenced, exploited and clearcut.
Derrick urges us to see the connection between this silencing of the natural world, and what is being done to millions of people forced into slavery, prostitution and sweat shops world wide.
In order to coerce we must first silence. And now, the true fruits of centuries of coercion are about to be borne - it is about to destroy us. To survive, we need to start listening again.
Derrick's books and other written work can be found at derrickjensen.org
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