iPermie now on sale!

My new book, iPermie! How to permaculture your urban lifestyle, is now on sale at these fine online sources.  Only $1.99! for 14 sections, 248 chapters, 399,000 words!

http://www.ipermie.net

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/271541

Amazon Kindle

Apple Store

Kobo

Versent eBooks

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Corporation shenanigans, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, Financial Crisis, food, garden, Local Food Systems, Peak Oil, Permaculture, Social Justice, War and Peace | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A new book from Bob.

Announcing. . .

 

iPermie: 
How to permaculture your urban lifestyle.

A good-life design guide for Millennials, Boomers, and Generation X.

Strategies, tools, and techniques to help you navigate the cardinal threats
of peak oil, climate instability, economic irrationality, and political criminality.

An Almanac of  Useful Information and Permaculture Self-Study Guide.

1,025 letter-size pages in the PDF format, approximately 388,000 words.
14 sections, 248 chapters.

Available now on the January order of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.

http://www.oklahomafood.coop

Coming soon to fine ebook retailers everywhere including Amazon Kindle, Nook. Smashwords, etc.

Priced at US$ 1.99.

Visit http://www.ipermie.net to preview the the summaries of the chapters and the Foreword by Vinay Gupta.

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Oklahoma City Nanny State Alert!

Oklahoma City is asking the state legislature to lower the height requirements before the city can write code violations and get a court order for a contractor to mow a property, charging the homeowner with the bill, from the present 12 inches to 8 inches.  The law is vague, referring only to “grass and weeds” and Oklahoma City code inspectors routinely exploit that vagueness.

If a court order is obtained, the homeowner gets no notice of the hearing and no opportunity to respond.  Rumor has it that the City inspectors routinely swear that an “emergency situation prevails” so the normal process of noticing someone that a court is about to act upon them must be waived due to imminent threats, yadda yadda yadda.  This of course is almost always at best an exaggeration and at worse perjury, but they get away with it. The city judges know who writes their paychecks and they act accordingly.

Don’t bother with contacting your city council person.  The city has already approved its list. Now is the time to contact your state senator and state representative and urge them to vote against this expansion of Oklahoma City’s Nanny State and to protect the rights of property owners.

Reported in the OKC Gazette at http://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/article-16833-looking-for-laws.html

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And here’s the rest of the story.

And here’s the rest of the story.

We didn’t get 23 drivers for the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House November 2012 delivery day that I thought we needed, but we did get enough that all the deliveries were done as of today (only one was done today). 392 which was what we wanted to do (it’s a multiple of 12, and the groceries are in cases of 12 or 24, expect for spaghetti which for whatever odd reason comes in boxes of 20).

We did have to unexpectedly contend with rotten oranges randomly in the cases of oranges. We ended up hand sorting out about 20 cases of rotten oranges. No one’s favorite task. But we were able after sorting out the rotten to give everybody  four oranges and families got eight to twelve.

We delivered as much food as the bags were physically able to hold. Instead of the usual paper bag in a plastic grocery bag, the food bank sent us hundreds of blue shopping bags, so each one held a paper bag. They were very sturdy and the Wal Mart propaganda notwithstanding they were very useful. The hydrocarbon debt of this work is not small.

All of us involved with this are very grateful for the people out there willing to vote with their bodies by taking practical action to do actually useful things to help.

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Leaving the poor behind for the wolves to devour.

What did I expect from Governor Mary Queen of Lynch Mobs Fallin?  I guess I expected more than what we got, which just goes to show how I am not immune to the random hope that somebody somewhere in the goobermint might get a clue and do something righteous for a change.

Cue gales of laughter at the utter absurdity of that thought.

It didn’t happen at the Czar’s Palace in St. Petersburg in 1917, nor at Versaille in France in 1789.  It’s not going to happen at the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City nor at the White House in Washington.

This is how life looks at the edge of the abyss, as we stare down the long slide that looms ahead of us.

We are going down for the count.

We comfort ourselves with the thought — “Well, this won’t impact me.  I have a JOB.  I have real health insurance.”

That’s what lots of people thought in 2007.  Then came the financial collapse. They lost their jobs. Their health insurance disappeared. Their houses were foreclosed upon. Some of them ended up in tents in the homeless encampments hidden in all of our cities and many of our rural areas.

We’ve had it so good for so long we can’t conceive of how things might go differently.  But it doesn’t take much.

The whispers are already roaming around the internet — “2013 is looking a lot like 1937,” a year which saw a sharp downturn in the Depression after a period of time when people thought things were getting better.

The deal is, there isn’t enough to go around anymore.

The rich and the powerful are taking so much, we are so seriously misallocating our governmental resources, that something has to give somewhere.  No one in our bipartisan goobermint is going to do anything rational like shut down the American empire and bring our troops and fleets home.  The elites make money off of war, so war we will have and it will get all the money it needs.

For Fallin and her lynch mobs, the answers are obvious.

They don’t really see the people who would benefit from the Medicaid expansion as human persons.  The poor don’t give money to Republican campaigns.  Most of them probably don’t vote for Republican candidates.  What’s the point of being governor if you don’t reward your friends and punish your enemies?  In her merciless calculations, all these poor people aren’t very productive. We shouldn’t be spending much on their health care anyway. We’re better off if their mortality rates increase and if they abort their children because of the desperation of their circumstances.  That way we have more for war, highways, and special corporate multi-million dollar welfare checks for those who give big bucks to the political establishment.

So once again I ask the questions that make people just roll their eyes and shake their heads –

  • Got food storage? If yes, “get more. If no, “better get some.”
  • Got a place to live that is debt free? If you have a mortgage and have financial assets, sell the financial assets and pay off your mortgage. If you have too much mortgage, sell your house and buy something smaller in a less prosperous neighborhood that costs a lot less so you can pay cash for it. A mortgage is a death grip, that’s what it literally means in Latin. If debts are consuming your income, declare bankruptcy.
  • If you rent, have a good relationship with your landlord. If you don’t have it and cant’ get it, move. What are your shelter alternatives?
  • Got a community of support in time of need?
  • Got extreme energy conservation so your operating costs are low?

The real message of Governor Mary Queen of Lynch Mobs Fallin’s action today in rejecting the Medicaid expansion is that Collapse is coming. The Ship of State is sinking and there isn’t enough room in the lifeboats for everyone. First people to be shoved off the decks without life-preservers are the poor.

You may be next.

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Mary Fallin decides to grind the face of the poor into the dust.

Governor Mary Fallin decided today to grind the face of the poor into the dust by rejecting the proposed expansion of the Medicaid program. I am not a big fan of big government programs, but the expansion of Medicaid is the only thing on the table for helping low income and working class people access quality health care.

By this decision, Mary Queen of Lynch Mobs Fallin announces to the world that Oklahoma is a Culture of Death State. God only knows how many families will look at their circumstances, and decide they can’t afford one more child, and choose abortion based on their financial desperation and their lack of access to health care.

I’m sure I will have more to say about this later, but in the meantime, I warn all Republican and Democratic office holders in this state:

Your cruel, cold, and merciless political actions may very well send you to hell.  Jesus Christ, who is not the Easter Bunny, but who is God, clearly and without any ambiguity says in the 25th Chapter of Matthew that all who turn their backs on the poor and do not heed their cry for justice and help, will be condemned to the depths of hell.

Don’t feed me any bizarre nonsense about how the “free market” will provide health care for the poor.

In the first place, there is no free market for health care in Oklahoma.

In the second place, because of the way health care is structured in Oklahoma, people who pay cash pay the highest prices.

And in the third place, if you were going to do something, you should have done it already.  Anything you have to say on the subject at this late date is just another attempt to baffle us with bull manure.

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Ezekial 16:49-50

I nominate Mary Fallin as the Oklahoma Culture of Death’s Sodomite of the Year!  I might even have a plaque made to that effect and attempt to present it to her.

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An Open Letter to Oklahoma Conservatives

Brandon Dutcher, of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, threw down a gauntlet today in a column in the Daily Oklahoman — It’s Time To do Something Great!  He notes the extraordinary lack of vision among Oklahoma Republicans, who dominate the state, controlling the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature. He writes –

Our experiment in ordered liberty is at stake. It won’t do for Oklahoma’s political leaders to “play it safe by adjusting the rudder slightly to the right and enjoy the ride until you term out of office,” as my colleague Michael Carnuccio put it.  “We live in a day and age when we need leadership — the kind that is strong, bold and transformational.”

I say “hear hear” and let me be the first to throw a proposal out to the conservatives of the State of Oklahoma.

How about a little old fashioned, free enterprise, as a strategy to counter both the hard times facing the nation and our own problems with poverty here at home.  There’s a reason why we have so much poverty in Oklahoma. It’s the way our system is designed to work.

You may reply, “you’re making an absurd statement, we have lots of free enterprise,” but that isn’t exactly so.  We have lots of highly regulated and restricted enterprise. We’ve organized things so that the marketplace isn’t especially welcoming to some folks and we completely exclude many from participation. I am talking about the ways that the government of the state, the counties, and the cities oppress the poor by making the traditional ways that poor people made a living illegal in many cases, or so highly regulated that you have to have money in order to get started in the first place. The concept of bootstrapping your way into better circumstances is pretty much against the law these days in Oklahoma.

Let us count the ways that this is true.

1. In Oklahoma it is  illegal to sell along public right of ways (sidewalks, roads, rest stops on the highways and toll roads, etc.) Where legal, such high prices are charged for licenses and they usually incorporate such bizarre regulatory requirements that they make street vending illegal. If this kind of free enterprise were legalized, we would end up with a non-stop flea market from one end of the state to the other along our freeways and toll roads.  Food trucks would be everywhere, offering tasty Oklahoma foods to travelers. It would give people reasons to stop and spend money in Oklahoma and provide ways for Oklahomans to start their own micro-enterprises that could grow, with time and effort, into full-time employment.

2.  It’s illegal to practice small scale itinerant trades without “proper licenses” which often have expensive prerequisites so that they function as barriers to market entry rather than protections for the public. These are trades like hair braiding, hair cutting, applying make-up, carpentry, plumbing, etc. The proliferation of coercive credentialing in general raises political barriers to finding and doing work and lowers compensation.

3.  In many municipalities it is illegal for people to practice trades out of their houses.

4. City ordinances limit the number of garage sales people can have at their homes and restrict the ability to open a small sales or hospitality operation in a home.  This doesn’t show much respect for private property, does it? Shouldn’t conservatives support the rights of homeowners to use and profit from their properties?

5. Laws forbid people from making non-hazardous foods (like jams, pickles, and baked goods) at home and selling them to the public.  Many states are passing cottage food industry laws that allow people to make and sell these kinds of foods in their home kitchens.

6. Poor people who own cars can’t drive people around and charge for the service. It would be illegal to use a van to establish a jitney service (a type of transit, common elsewhere, where a van or small bus drives a route that deviates around the route to pick up fares dispatched from a central location). Transportation has serious political barriers to market entry. We have this bizarre idea that only the government can do mass transportation. To prove that, we have enacted so many state and local laws on the subject that yes, in Oklahoma, it is practically illegal to start a private transportation company that drives people around for cash money.

7. It in many cities it is illegal to grow vegetables in your back yard (or your front yard) and sell them from your property.

8. Economic redevelopment programs, using eminent domain, have destroyed entire neighborhoods of poor people, repeatedly forcing people to relocate, paying them cheap prices for their property, and destroying cultural and business resources.   This non-market, politicized process has driven up the price of housing, especially at the low end. It takes property from the poor, cheats them by paying cheap, non-market, court-dictated and politicized prices for the property, and then gives that property at low prices to persons with privileged access to politicians.  If we want to help the poor, we can start by ending the condemnation of neighborhoods simply because “poor people live there and we don’t like poor people so we will destroy the neighborhood with a political due processed pogrom.”

9. Zoning laws prevent people from adding small apartments (garage, attic, basement, back-yard) that could increase the amount of affordable rental housing.

10. In most areas it would be illegal to put a trailer house in your back yard and allow someone to rent it or to put a trailer house or even a manufactured home on an empty lot.  We confine trailer houses to their own legal ghettos.

11. In most areas it is practically impossible to establish a boarding house, which in the past was a traditional place for poor people to live.  All of this combines to artificially drive up housing costs and rents — not based on market factors, but instead on politics.

12.  Minimum lot sizes, minimum house sizes, minimum setbacks, and much of the rest of the building code, create a non-market situation where it is practically illegal to build new housing for the poor.  There is an entire national movement to build “tiny houses” and apartments which is passing Oklahoma City and our other urban areas by because of our byzantine building codes and zoning ordinances that have the (presumably unintentional) impact of segregating the city by economic class.

13. You can’t raise chickens or other small animals in most cities unless you have a large  lot. This inhibits economic activity and prevents people from supporting themselves by their own labor.

14. Taxes and fees extracted from older parts of urban areas subsidize upscale development in newer areas of the city. This constantly drains older neighborhoods of revenue important for maintaining infrastructure and providing services.  A more just system would require new development, statewide, to pay the full cost of its demands for infrastructure expansion.

15. Figuring out what laws and such that you need to comply with is very difficult for anyone starting a new business. Oklahoma City, for example, has a byzantine bureaucracy whose apparent goal is to make it as difficult and confusing as possible to open a business in Oklahoma City. You can ask three employees in a department a question, and you may get three different answers, each contradicting the other, as to what is required. This statement is based on an actual situation related to me by an Oklahoma City entrepreneur trying to start a business.  He said to me, “You would think I was trying to open a meth lab, the way those people treat me downtown.  I’m nothing but dirt to them.”  The situation is even more complicated if you want to start a food business. Each large urban area needs a one-stop-shopping place for entrepreneurs to find the info they need to get started in their business.

The negative cumulative impacts of these prohibitions and persecutions is to –

  • Make people dependent upon government social services,
  • Restrict the number of new business started and the number of new jobs created,
  • Make the lives of poor people more miserable, risky, and unhealthy,
  • Suppress the price of lower-income labor,
  • Keep unemployment higher than it needs to be,
  • Reduce entrepreneurial activity and thus ensure a continued supply of cheap workers, and
  • Increase the number of abortions due to economic distress and psychological despair.

Poverty drives a host of negative consequences for our society, including alcoholism and drug abuse, violence against women and children, family dissolution, abortion, despair, crime, and suicide.

If we want to help the poor, then among other things that need to be done, the government should stop actively persecuting the poor as described herein. It is likely that there will be less need for government programs as people become more able to participate in their own lives by helping themselves by their own efforts.

The huge amount of drug business in low income areas indicates that there is an entrepreneurial streak a hundred miles wide among poor people. Ironically, it is easier and more profitable for poor people to go into the recreational drug business, than it would be for (e.g.) three young people to set up a hot dog stand at a rest stop on a freeway. That would certainly result in a major police and food regulatory bureaucracy response the first day they open for business. These hot dog entrepreneurs would be safer selling crack cocaine on the streets of a low income neighborhood than they would be selling hot dogs at a turnpike rest stop.

That’s a pretty sad commentary on the morality of our present system of laws.

So what’s it to be, Conservatives of Oklahoma?

Do you want to continue the present system of  rigged, politicized markets?

Do you want to continue with the laws  that oppress the poor and grind their faces into the dust by suppressing wages, increasing rents, promoting political and economic dependency, and discouraging personal and family and community responsibility?

Do I need to remind you of what economists like Ludvig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman et al have to say about the effects of politicized marketplaces on economic prosperity?

So if you want to think big, Conservatives of Oklahoma, my suggestion is to start right here, with the basic rights to work and to create your own job, even if it is a small part-time job with dreams of getting bigger. This could change this state for the better.  It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing, and economic freedom for all in this state is the right thing to do and this is the right time.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Economic Prosperity, Financial Crisis, food, Oklahoma Living, Social Justice | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

You don’t represent me, James Lankford.

Representative James Lankford, Republican, elected from the congressional district where I live, has this to say in today’s New York Times –

“The Senate was rewarded for inactivity, the House was rewarded for standing up for its principles and the president was rewarded for his. I was elected by my district to represent their values. I really don’t approach this and say, Now I’ve got to cave to what the Senate or president want.”

To which I reply –

You do not represent me James Lankford.

You represent the Culture of Death in its most egregious manifestations.  Your hands drip with the blood of the innocent shed in your wars of violence. You campaigned on a platform of ideological cruelty and greed and so it came to pass you were elected to represent an ideology of cruelty and greed and that is all you will do in Washington, D.C.

Don’t insult my intelligence with a claim that having run a divisive, ideological campaign, now everything is somehow sweetness and light and you want to represent “everyone.”

You want to represent the rich and powerful and that’s the extent of your political interests.

 

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Prayer for the 115th birthday of the Venerable Servant of God Dorothy Day of New York

In the Name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

O God, Who by the life of Dorothy Day of New York
has given us examples of
Charity in the face of war,
Culture that overcomes greed,
Love in response to injustice, and
Compassion when confronted by poverty;
grant that we who reverence her life
may also imitate her example of fidelity to
wisdom, truth, justice, beauty, and solidarity,
through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

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Here is what the LORD GOD says about the Medicaid expansion.

Here is what the LORD GOD says about Oklahoma accepting the Medicaid expansion.

Those who oppress the poor blaspheme their Maker, but the one who is kind to the needy glorifies God.

The rich who oppress the poor are like a devastating rain that leaves no food. Better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be crooked in your ways and rich.

Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor; do not plot evil against one another in your hearts.
God saves the poor from the edge of the sword and from the hand of the mighty. Thus the unfortunate have hope and iniquity closes its mouth.

For the poor shall not always be forgotten, nor shall the hope of the afflicted forever perish. Did not God choose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom God promised to those who love him?  Yet you have treated the poor shamefully. Are not the rich exploiting you?

Blessed are you poor, the reign of God is yours.
Blessed are you who hunger, you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who are weeping, you shall laugh.
But woe to you rich, for your consolation is now. Woe to you who are full, you shall go hungry.

God has deposed the mighty from their thrones, and raised the lowly to high places. God has given the hungry every good thing, and has sent the rich away empty. The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because God has anointed Me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and release to prisoners.

When you reap the harvest, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you glean the stray ears of grain. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. You shall not harden your heart nor close your hand to the poor in their need. When you give to the poor, give freely and not with ill will; for the Lord, your God, will bless you for this in all your works and undertakings. The poor will never be lacking in the land; that is why I command you to open your hand to your poor.

Defend the lowly and the fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the lowly and the poor, from the hand of the wicked deliver them. Those who are just have a care for the rights of the poor; those who are wicked have no such concern.

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke, setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Give to the one who begs of you. Jesus said, Let the one who has two coats give to the one who has none. The one who has food should do the same.  I ask you, how can God’s love survive in those who have enough of this world’s goods and yet they close their hearts to their brothers and when they see them in need? Children, let us love in deed and in truth and not merely talk about it.

Jesus said, I was hungry and you gave Me food.

I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed Me, I was ill and you comforted Me, in prison and you came to visit Me. I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers and sisters, you did it for Me. I say to you, what you have done to one of these least ones, you have done to Me.

Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves also call and not be heard.

Please contact Governor Mary Fallin and encourage her to accept the expansion of the Medicaid program. Don’t delay, the decision could come at any time.

Phone:  405-521-2342

Fax:  405-521-3353

Mail:  Oklahoma State Capitol 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 212 Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Scripture references:Proverbs 14:31; 28:3, 6; 21:21; Zechariah 8:10; Job 5:15-16; Psalm 9:19; James 2:5-6; Luke 6:20-21, 24-25; Luke 1:53; Luke 4:18; Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 15:7, 10-1; Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 29:7; Isaiah 58:6-7; Matthew 5:42; Luke 3:11; 1 John 3:17-18; Matthew 25:35, 40. Proverbs 21:13

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