Against the Ecocide in Canada and the Keystone Pipeline

Ten tragedies, a call to action, and an appeal to people of faith.

A new essay, hair and beard on fire, on the situation with the Keystone pipeline and the ecocide in Canada (tar sands production).  It is posted online at .

See also Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance at for updates.

Bob Waldrop

Posted in Catholic, Climate Instability, Corporation shenanigans, Environmental Sustainability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Peak Oil | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ten years of drought susceptibility ahead of us.

The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and the Oklahoma Conference of Churches have partnered on a project to encourage people to pray for rain to end the drought.  Some here in central Oklahoma may be wondering “What Drought?” but that is strictly a matter of our location, which has been blessed with recent rains. Most of Oklahoma remains deep in drought, and the long term outlook (10-20 years is actually quite grave.)

The Pray for Rain project was kicked off yesterday with a press conference at the State Capitol followed by a luncheon at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, gave a most interesting presentation about the current drought and our prospects for the future.

Here begins a transcription of my notes regarding his presentation.  Executive summary: Not Good News.  We should all go to and sign up to schedule a service of prayer for rain at your particular faith tradition.


The state of Climate Science is that we know more about the climate ten years from now than we do about the next three months.  The recent rains have primarily been a phenomenon of a band in the central part of the state and in the east.  The peripheries of the state remain in serious drought.

The present drought cycle started in October 2010.  The Summer of 2011 was the hottest summer for any state on record, not just “hottest in Oklahoma history”.  There was some recovery due to rains from October 2011 through March 2012 over the eastern 2/3 of the state.  The western third didn’t see as much relief.

The drought returned with the failure of the spring rains in April/May 2012.

The extreme heat aggravated the drought — the winter of 2010-2011 was warm and that didn’t help either.

In 2013, February was the 12th wettest February on record. March was dry, but it was also cool, which helped.  April 2013 was wet in most areas, but NOT everybody.

Large scale climate patterns don’t necessarily predict a dry spring, but they do point to a serious risk of drought susceptibility about which more will be said later.

La Nina drives drought on the southern Plains.

When the Pacific cools, air flow patterns at the equator change.  This pushes the Jet Stream to the north.  The Jet Stream controls storms and thus influences rain. So this pushes the rain north.  The southern 2/3 of the US gets dry.  Looking at the last 100 years, La Nina has a strong correlation with dry weather in Oklahoma.

Our water year goes from October 1st through September 30th.  The 2010-2011 water year was the second driest on record, on average the state was 16 inches below normal rainfall.  1956 was the record driest.  The 1930s and the 1950s were very dry decades, the 1950s actually more so than the 1930s. These trends may repeat.

Across the state, 2010-2011, we were 8 inches to 20 inches below our normal rainfall. 16 inches was the statewide average.  In October 2011, the US Drought Monitor showed 70% of the state in D4 drought, which is the highest level of drought.  D4 droughts should be a “1 in 50″ or “1 in 100″ year event.

After the relief in part of the state in late 2011 and early 2012, in the spring the rains failed and the drought surged back.  It intensified through January 2013, rain in general was 13 inches below normal.

Oklahoma has two rainy seasons — spring and fall.  Both seasons are critical for agriculture and livestock and the general ecology and its watersheds. January 2013 was the third driest January on record.

February 2013 brought relief in some areas.  Between February 2013 and April 21, 2013, rain was above normal in central and east central Oklahoma.  But western Oklahoma and the Panhandle mostly remained dry.


Next seven days, more rain chances except in the southwest, west, and Panhandle.

May – July, like to have above normal temperatures, except in the Panhandle, which has a slight chance of below normal temperatures.

Drought will continue in Oklahoma except in far eastern Oklahoma through the summer.  There may be some continued improvement in central Oklahoma, assuming the spring rains continue into May and the fall rains show up.


There are three major planetary conditions that impact Oklahoma weather, and there is a fourth developing that presently is a wild card.

1. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has a 1-3 year period. El Nino correlates with cooler and wetter conditions on the Great Plains. La Nina sends us warmer and drier weather.

2.  Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). This has a twenty to third YEAR period. In its cool phase, we have more La Nina’s, and that’s generally bad for Okalhoma.  In its warm phase, we see more El Ninos and that means wetter and cooler weather along the Great Plains.

3.  Atlantic Decadal Oscillation (ADO).  Its warm phase is bad for Oklahoma (hotter, drier). Its cool phase is good for Oklahoma (wetter, cooler).


The 1950s drought, the worst drought since settlement was a three strike event — La Nina, Cool PDO, warm ADO.

The 1930s drought, 2nd worst drought since settlement — La Nina, Cool PDO, warm ADO.  Three strikes.

The bad news:  those same three conditions prevail now.

This does not mean we will have 10-20 years of drought.  It is a prediction of 10-20 years of drought susceptibility.

Recent history has been very favorable.  The years 1975 – 2005 saw abundant rainfall. But with the three — ENSO, PDO, ADO — lined up against us, going forward we will see more dry years than wet years.  (Bob note: IOW, the dice will be loaded against us somewhat.)

Monsters that lurk in our past.

Droughts of recent years are babies compared to historical events.  The last fifty years have been a very favorable time on the Great Plains. The history of the Great Plains of North America contains some monster droughts as long as 150 years.

There was a 25 year drought, 1850-1875 which destroyed the western cattle industry, which led to opening up the Plains for homesteading.

One of those 150 year droughts brought down the Anasazi peoples at Chaco Canyon.

2010-2013 summary. 

We saw two drought periods within a longer period. At present, the eastern two-thirds of the state have had some relief. The next two months are critical for the rest of the year. (Bob note: more so for western Oklahoma which has had little relief.)

If May -June are dry, then we get a third year of drought.

Ocean patterns are long term unfavorable for the state.

The wild card is the melting of the Arctic sea ice.  This is a very major developing issue. Without ice, the ocean absorbs heat and that changes weather patterns. There is some evidence that our extended hot and extended cold periods are related to the melting of arctic ice.


The only drought in history that hasn’t ended in the present drought we are in.  All droughts eventually do end.


End of transcript.

My question for my readers is — how does an extended 10-20 year drought impact you and those you love and the economic systems that support you?

How will you adapt to meet these looming challenges?

That’s why I wrote iPermie: how to permaculture your urban lifestyle and why I priced it so cheaply.  You need a plan. iPermie is a guide to getting a plan.

Posted in Climate Instability, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, Financial Crisis, food, Local Food Systems, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Permaculture, rainwater harvesting, water | Tagged , | Leave a comment

An unwelcome and tragic reminder.

Today’s Boston Marathon bombings are an unwelcome reminder of the realities of this era.  Witnesses to the event said, “This must be what it is like in Iraq.”  And that’s true. This is what life has been like in Iraq for a long time.  People just walk down the street, going about their ordinary errands — and boom! they are dead, their lives end in an explosion of blood and terror and death. Maybe it’s a roadside or sidewalk-side bomb planted by a non-state terrorist.  Perhaps it’s a missile strike fired by a drone operated by agents of state terror.

Today’s tax day reminds me that my taxes have helped pay for a considerable amount of such mayhem, in terms of both direct and indirect violence.  Paying such taxes is always on my list of sins to confess when I go to confession. Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I willingly wrote a check for the balance I owed the government above what was withheld, after dutifully declaring all the little bits and pieces of income in my life, $41.60 here, $293 there. It doesn’t add up to a huge amount but the devil certainly got his due out of it.

But so did the Lord, because even a wild and crazed anarchist  like myself admits that governments on occasion manage to do some good.  I know lots of firefighters and I think what they do is very important and critical and I am glad that I can pay taxes to finance their operations. And I don’t even mind the government borrowing a prudent amount of money on occasion on behalf of their activities.

At the rate the world is devolving, we unfortunately will be in great need of fire fighters and other emergency first responders.

NB: Those of us of the Catholic and Orthodox and Episcopalian and Lutheran religious persuasions and thus in the habit of invoking saints. . .   should be calling upon  St. Michael for all emergency first responders and St. Florian for firefighters in particular.  All can add their voices and prayers in their own ways and traditions.

And then we need to all go out and wash the feet of people we meet.

After the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, someone put up billboards all over town — ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

That is eternal truth. Our good doings are the answer to evil’s doings in the world. Great or small, every act of beauty and wisdom stands against the increasing chaos and violence of our day.  Even though the structures of evil that make it so easy to do violence in this world appear to prosper and seem irresistible, their strength and permanence are not what their proponents would have us believe. All of that world of evil is at risk as we, by grace and work, create our own structures of goodness that will make it easier for all to do good and resist the bad.

It doesn’t look that way right now, because the mainstream media conditions us to believe in the inevitable triumph of evil and the defeat of all that is good. We are fed a steady diet of misinformation and propaganda that this year finds maybe an ultimate expression in the premier of a television series on a major United States network about a cannibalistic mass murderer.

The reason for building alternative structures now, before the feces hit the ventilating device full strength, is so that when the feces do fly, we have some shelter and don’t get plastered.  Truthfully, I’d have to say that depending on where you are at, the feces may already be hitting the ventilation devices.

There doesn’t seem to be much time to waste.

It would help if the United States government would stop contributing such a significant amount of violence and terror to the world situation.  That’s within our power. We could, constitutionally, do something about that.  We could amend the Constitution to keep our troops and fleets at home unless we are attacked or are rescuing people in the wake of a disaster. We could have a Department of Peace to go with our Department of War. We could sit here on the North American continent armed to the teeth, cheek, and jowls and nobody is going to bother us. We’ve already established our potential for violence in the world. I don’t think anyone needs anything further to understand exactly what we are capable of in this world.  So we can declare peace and go home.

Those who run around the world looking for trouble will certainly find it. Now would be a good time to  stop asking for trouble and start minding our peace.

It all begins at my house. And yours. No one has to wait for anyone else to start counteracting the evil that runs so strongly in our days.  Everyone, in their own individual ways, can do something.  And we all need to do something.  No slacking when it comes to the good!

I say that today is truly an emergency and we should all respond with good to overcome this evil. 


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More anti-sustainability nonsense.

Here in Oklahoma, the focus seems to be on an obscure UN program, “Agenda 21,” which promotes sustainability.  A recent meeting in Tulsa resulted in this story — Tulsa group fears UN agenda is assault on personal rights. 

Meanwhile, our neighbors to the North in Kansas provoked this screaming headline this week at Bloomberg: Kansas’s Self Destruct Button: A bill to outlaw sustainability. It defines sustainability as —

“development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.”

It’s a good thing our great grandparents and grandparents didn’t follow this anti-sustainability nonsense. If they had, Oklahoma and Kansas would both be deserts today. I wonder if anyone in the anti-agenda 21 crowd realizes that they are making the outrageous claim that farmers terracing their fields and the work of the soil conservation district system are essential components of a menacing anti-American UN plot. 

The hypocrisy of this movement is evident.

Do we hear an assault on neighborhood single use residential  zoning, which prevents people from adding basement, attic, garage, or backyard apartments?

Do we hear calls for an end to anonymous snitching on neighbors that brings code enforcement, armed with the statutes of a nanny state so detailed that the allowable height of grass is legislated, down upon a homeowner, in a clear violation of his or her property rights?

Do we hear demands that the rest stops on our highways and turnpikes be opened up as places for a free market in commerce?

Of course not. And the reason for that is very simple. Actual property rights have nothing to do with what the paymasters manipulating this issue aim to achieve.

I like property rights. Property rights are the rights of human beings with respect to property. As such, I am a firm defender of property rights.

Here in the nanny-state of Oklahoma City, the code enforcement commissars routinely make outrageous claims like “your mulch is trash,” or “your compost pile is trash”, “your dandelions are weeds.”  Oklahoma City dictates where I can plant a fruit tree on my property.

Never mind the fact that I paid for this house, and I pay property taxes on it every year.  Where is the outrage from Anti-Agenda 21 folks about these violations of property rights? It’s nowhere. I’ve asked them — online — about this, and they don’t even reply. Actual defense of real property rights is not on their agenda.

Right now in Oklahoma there are many transparent, grassroots initiatives to bring about a more sustainable way of living on this land. That grassroots involvement, however, is what the paymasters of the anti-Agenda 21 crowd are afraid of. They don’t want people organizing at the grassroots for any reason. They want us to continue to divide ourselves from each other based on issues we disagree on, so we never understand that people actually agree on many things across ideological divides.

Consider the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Conservative, fundamentalist Christians work happily alongside pagan lesbians. We even have Unitarians! AND Catholics! Lions and tigers and bears OH MY!

And then there’s VOICE — Voices Organized In Civic Engagement — which is doing faith and organization-based organizing in the Oklahoma City area. How does it happen that Unitarians and Catholics can come together and work on projects that benefit the whole community? Because of a focus on issues where we agree, and not on issues where we disagree. Obviously, Catholics and Unitarians differ on many issues, important to both of us, some of these differences are in the nature of “radical”, but why should we let things we disagree about stop us from working together to get things done that we both agree need doing?

The divide and conquer focus on what we disagree is a tactic that was ancient when Machiavelli wrote about it in the Prince. It is a primary method of social and political and economic control in the United States today.

Every person who wakes up and checks out of that divide and conquer system, and struggles to see his or her neighbor as a truly human person, even if they are a conservative fundamentalist Christian. . . or a radical lesbian Unitarian. . . or a Democrat . . . or a Republican. . . strikes a death blow against those who seek ultimately the ruin of our civilization with their greed and bloodthirsty lust for power.

Posted in Corporation shenanigans, Environmental Sustainability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Permaculture, Social Justice | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Towards a barefoot permaculture corps. . .

A holistic look at the world situation explores what it means to go from bad to worse. The earth’s systems — biological, economic, political —  continue to degenerate and fall apart and the velocity of the devolution appears to be accelerating.  Entropy is gaining ground.

As hundreds become thousands and thousands become millions, we build a better future, one life at a time, when people take control of their own destinies and design a plan for a life and way of living that cares for people, cares for the planet, and has a care for the future. This would be a corps of barefoot permaculturists.

Everyone does not need to know how to do complicated permaculture designs for large and complex properties. What everybody does need though is enough permaculture knowledge and skill and understanding so that they can intelligently design their own lives, and manage their interdependencies and relationships with others, so that they and all that they do cares for the planet, cares for people, and cares for the future..

People can do this by forming small groups to study permaculture and learn from each other. You can use free materials found online, like the Permaculture Design Pamphlets available for free at . People can use books from the library or buy the Permaculture Design Manual. Or they can spend $1.99 for a copy of the ebook iPermie, which specifically advocates this kind of grassroots approach, and in its 399K words, gives some ideas for strategies and tactics that are useful in real life. See for more information and links to versions in various formats (Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple devices and phones, etc.)

The future is designed every moment of every day.  What future does your life design for you and all you love?

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Senator Rob Johnson, Prince of Death, Cheap Whore

Today’s news reports that the Senate’s General Government Panel, led by Senator Rob Johnson, defeated the proposal to allow local governments to establish their own smoking regulations.  As things stand right now, only the state legislature can enact such regulations. Cities can’t even control smoking in their own parks.

The Oklahoman reports that the chairman of this committee, Senator Rob Johnson, received more money from the tobacco culture of death corporations than any other member of the state legislature, about $10,000.  He obviously gave them their money’s worth.

In news reports, he whined that his ideology was more important than the common good.  Well, he didn’t actually say that, but that seems to me to be the common sense translation of what he did say, which was something nonsensical about “business rights.”

Anyway, I think Senator Johnson deserves recognition for his efforts to boost the culture of death.  We obviously do not have enough misery, grief, and sorrow in this state.  We need more cancer, more emphysema, more heart disease! As a fine and upstanding Republican member of the Oklahoma Legislature, Senator Johnson will no doubt do his best to  do the bidding of the tobacco culture of death corporations who have bought and paid for his services. If that means more dead bodies, well, obviously that is a small price to pay for those nice checks  from the tobacco corporations.

I have prepared a certificate proclaiming Senator Johnson as a “Prince of Death”.  If you would like to download it and send it to him, I am sure he would appreciate the gesture.  Download it at

Cheap whores and lunatics, that seems to be what we have this year at the Oklahoma State Legislature.  Here’s hoping Senator Johnson has some primary opposition next time around.  Looks like a considerable amount of his district is within the parish boundaries of the Church of Epiphany where I work as director of music.  I will be sure to pass around news of his allegiance to the culture of death.

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Oklahoma City’s water policies are recklessly inadequate.

The announced proposals to meet the drought crisis in Oklahoma City are recklessly inadequate.

The proposal to raise rates by percent increases is fine up to a point.  We’re in trouble if a large number of small users increase their usage, so we should certainly increase the price of water if a particular user’s consumption goes up more than normal.

But we are  also in trouble because we have some very large domestic users of water, including golf courses, upscale homes with water amenities, and luxury business and academic campuses.  This Oklahoma City Gazette article Water Hogs, online at, reports that  the top seven private homes in Oklahoma City consume more than 17 million gallons of water!  

Our golf courses also consume huge amounts of water.  Earlywine Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City uses 143.7 MILLION gallons of water.   Oklahoma City has five publicly owned golf courses.  There are . . . hmmm. . . about 10 privately owned courses. That is a lot of water, and it’s not clear, especially with the public courses, that all of that water is publicly accounted for. You occasionally see signs claiming that the golf courses are not watered with treated water. Given that our situation is an absolute shortage of water, not a capacity shortage of treated water, that claim rings false as a drought mitigation effort.  I am certainly not opposed to golf, nor to publicly owned golf courses.  But if I, as a home gardener, will be asked to sacrifice my plants, I expect our golf courses to be using every best practice on the books to minimize their water usage. 

The basic structural change we need is to charge more when people use more.  Why should my working class wallet subsidize the water greed of wealthy homeowners who use upwards of three million gallons of water each year?

Besides that structural change. . . Everyone needs to consider their personal water behavior.  My new book, iPermie — how to permaculture your urban lifestyle, has a whole section on water, which discusses the importance of better personal water behavior, as well as changes to the structures that regulate our water supplies.  It’s available as a $1.99 ebook download at . (Please excuse the commercial, but having already written thousands of words on the subject, it is easier to refer you to my published commentary than to repeat the effort here.)  Oklahoma City lives and dies with its watershed. How does your personal behavior impact that watershed?

We need more water harvesting within the City. I recommend that everyone take a look at and implement suitable strategies to conserve water at your home place. Over the last few months, I’ve been sculpting my land with berms, swales, and keyhole beds to catch water that runs off the roof, driveways, sidewalks,  and the higher elevations of my property and retain that so it soaks into the ground. The basic trick we want to do with rainwater is to slow it down and spread it out.  

None of this looks weird. Someone looking at my yard from the street would think I have a series of raised beds with pathways. Which I do, but these particular raised beds and pathways also function as berms and swales to catch water and hold onto it long enough for it to infiltrate into the soil and soak up into the beds (swales).

We can all hope and pray that the drought breaks, but that hope should not be the basis of our public policy.  Our entire city is designed to waste water because the city’s pricing of water tells a false story — that water is abundant and cheap.  In fact, water is scarce and expensive, but that’s not the story our prices tell us. So we don’t design for water frugality, instead, we design for water waste.

Our politicians need to get a real-world orientation when it comes to water and so do we the people. The time to learn water conservation habits and build a water frugal city is BEFORE the climate crisis droughts drain our lakes. Those who wait, vacillate, and procrastinate will pay a terrible price for their reckless irresponsibility.

Two technical notes:

1.  How to calculate the potential water harvest from your roof:  Multiple the AREA of your house in square feet times the annual rainfall in feet.  This gives you the cubic feet of rain that hits your roof every year. Multiply this number by 7.48, which is the number of gallons in a cubic foot of water, and voila, you have the potential harvest from your roof in gallons.  You can also do this for your sidewalks and driveways and any outbuildings you may have.

Even in a dry year, this is not an insignificant amount of water.  The dryest water year for Oklahoma City over the last 100 years was 10 inches of rain (.83 feet), our average annual precipitation is about 3 feet of rain.

In the driest year on record, my house, which is 1,548 sq. ft, would catch:

1548 TIMES .83 feet of rain EQUALS 1,284 cubic feet of water,

TIMES 7.48 gallons/cubic foot EQUALS 9,604 gallons.

2. The first step towards designing your own rainwater harvesting system is to observe where the water flows.  Note that the place to start is by sculpting your land. Later you can think about gutters and tanks but start with berms and swale (raised beds and pathways).  Every time it rains, take your umbrella and go outside and observe where the water is flowing. You may think your property is flat, but it probably isn’t, so learn how it slopes. A lot more about this is written in iPermie, but the basic trick is to start at the highest level and work from there.  Always allow room for overflow.  Besides iPermie, the Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond books are essential reading.  Find more info about those books online at










Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Permaculture, rainwater harvesting, water | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Catholic bishops have no one to blame but themselves.

On the first Sunday of Lent, the opinion pages of the New York Times carry a biting editorial comment by Russ Douthat – The End of a Catholic Moment :

The collapse in the church’s reputation has coincided with a substantial loss of Catholic influence in American political debates. Whereas eight years ago, a Catholic view of economics and culture represented a center that both parties hoped to claim, today’s Republicans are more likely to channel Ayn Rand than Thomas Aquinas, and a strident social liberalism holds the whip hand in the Democratic Party.

Indeed, between Mitt Romney’s comments about the mooching 47 percent and the White House’s cynical decision to energize its base by picking fights over abortion and contraception, both parties spent 2012 effectively running against Catholic ideas about the common good.

This transformation suggests that we may have reached the end of a distinctive “Catholic moment” (to repurpose a phrase from the late Catholic priest-intellectual Richard John Neuhaus) in American politics, one that began in the 1980s after John Paul’s ascension to the papacy and the migration of many Catholic “Reagan Democrats” into the Republican Party.

Note that Mr. Douthat is not a liberal critic of the Church, but an orthodox Catholic (cf Rod Dreher at “Goodbye Catholic Moment,”

The Catholic Bishops have no one to blame but themselves for this sad situation.  They themselves started the barrel rolling with their toxic approach to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. First, with the connivance of the Vatican, they covered up the problem. Then, they denied it was a really bad problem. Finally, when they simply could not avoid reality, helped along no doubt by the successful prosecution of lawsuits costing them big money, they discovered that clergy sexual abuse was in fact a grave problem and they had better do something about it.  “Doing something” of course most definitely did NOT include removing the bishops responsible for this evil, either in the dioceses or in Rome.

And now they wonder why people don’t trust them.

Close on the heels of the breakout of the clergy sexual abuse issue was their equally toxic handling of the American unjust war “problem.”  They resolved that by preaching a gospel of moral relativism, as I have chronicled with excruciating detail at .  Whatever the right to life means to them, it most emphatically does not include the right to life any of the civilian populations of Iraq and Afghanistan who get in the way of our greed for oil and minerals and imperial glory.

And now they wonder why no one is paying attention to their “Fortnight for Life.”

Where was their “Fortnight for Life” when our bombs and missiles were raining down with impunity on the civilian populations of Iraq and Afghanistan?

It was no where.

While civilians were slaughtered, the United States Catholic Bishops, with only a very small handful of exceptions, were busy praising the war by their faint condemnation of it and effectively advocating  a doctrine of morale relativism regarding the participation of Catholics in unjust wars, even though eminent religious voices throughout the world were strongly against our recourse to war.

It bears repeating, even at this late date, that unjust war is an objective evil — it is always and under all circumstances morally wrong and thus participation in an unjust war is the moral equivalent of participation in abortion and murder.

Further, the Iraq and Afghan wars have  an objective moral nature.  They are either just wars or they are unjust wars.  Both-and is not a condition that can be relevant to this case.  It is an either-or situation. These wars are what they are, irrespective of our perception of their morality or immorality. A in fact is A.  It is not B.

For further details about the moral theology involved with this, see the Lenten Declaration of Bishop Michael Botean, of the Romanian Catholic Diocese of Canton, Ohio, and the essay, Moral Law and the Iraq War, by Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, .

Let us recall the research I did in 2006:

Over the past month I conducted a review of the individual statements about Iraq of the bishops who are responsible for dioceses in the U.S. I searched the website of every diocese and did internet searches on the bishops’ names. Only 39 diocesan bishops made public statements calling for prayers for the people of Iraq. Twenty publicized or endorsed the various statements of the bishops’ conference on Iraq. Twenty-eight provided some sort of catechesis about just war teaching. One hundred forty-six of the bishops responsible for dioceses had nothing to say about Iraq since 2002 (that can be found on the Internet, retired and auxiliary bishop statements were not researched.)

Only one bishop responsible for a diocese issued a canonical declaration against involvement with the war in Iraq, Bishop Botean of the Romanian Catholic diocese of Canton, Ohio. With great moral clarity, he told his people that willing participation in the Iraq War was the moral equivalent of willing participation in an abortion. (at )

Since there are 195 dioceses in the United States, we can see from my research that 3/4ths of the United States Catholic bishops had nothing to say about the Iraq War.

If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, no one will go to battle.

Nearly all of our bishops are guilty of material cooperation with the objective evil of unjust war.  Many of them remain compromised by their willing facilitation of sexual crimes against children. The Vatican has provided little in the way of correction. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI maintained their confidence in Cardinal Law formerly of Boston and Cardinal Mahoney, formerly of Los Angeles, even though they are among the most egregious facilitators of the sexual abuse of children. Until recently, Cardinal Law was archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Maggiori in Rome, and has served on all of the Vatican committees and congregations having to do with bishops for many years.  If even the Pope is going to embrace the facilitators of child molestors as his friends and closest collaborators, it is not hard to understand why people despair of change.

And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with our bishops.

What keeps me going is the understanding that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit  will have the last word and judgment on the behavior of these bishops.  It may appear before the world that they have escaped the consequences of their poor decisions, but no one can escape the judgment of God, whose prophet wrote —

Hear, therefore, kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse! Give ear, you who have power over multitudes and lord it over throngs of peoples!
Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels!

Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you did not judge rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God, Terribly and swiftly he shall come against you, because severe judgment awaits the exalted. For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test. For the Ruler of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.

We aren’t the first generation to face the problem of what to do with bishops making bad decisions.  Sure, we have our Cardinal Law’s and Mahoney’s. But we also have our Archbishop Romero of El Salvador and Helder Camara of Brazil, as well as Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin of New York, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Franz Jaegerstatter of Austria, and others, too many to count, each one  is an Epiphany of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ made manifest in flesh.

Given all this reality, we also know that the same water never flows under the bridge.  Fundamental to Christianity is the praxis of forgiveness. It’s not hard to understand. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Yet, we are only ordinary human beings. As we extend to them our forgiveness for what they have done, if we think about it, we may find within ourselves a dawning understanding of  the fundamental realities of this era: We the People, and the common good that serves us, are looted and then abandoned at will by elites in politics, religion, business, academia.  We can forgive. We must forgive. But the vocation is also to resist, in every moral way possible, these demons who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

On this first day of Lent, please join me in prayer that our bishops will honestly and seriously examine their consciences, as individuals and as a collective body, and come to an understanding of their sins against God, against the Catholic faithful, in particular our children, and  against the long-suffering people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Let us pray that this understanding will induce a profound conversion — a metanoia — among them so that they publicly confess their sins and start the process of making honest reparations for the damage, suffering, grief, and pain that they have caused to so many innocent people.

Let us also understand that our religious hierarchy will inevitably be influenced by who we are, as moral persons living and acting in the greater society which surrounds us. If we do not praxis what we preach, I think the Apostle Paul would say something along the lines of “You are no better than the pagans who surround you.” And maybe in fact worse.  If we want better bishops, we probably need to start by being better Christians ourselves.

So let’s all give up the passive silence that is effectively agreement with the culture of death, and do something useful and real every day to overcome evil with good.

Novena to St. John Chrysostom on behalf of the United States Catholic Bishops.





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Lenten Exhortation to Quit Smoking!

If you’re thinking about giving up smoking for Lent. . . here’s my advice. . .

Smoke all you want today. In fact, chain smoke your way through this last day of slavery to tobacco. Before you go to bed, go around the house and take all of your smoking paraphernalia (ash trays, packs of smokes, ciggie butts, etc.) and throw it in the trash can outside of your house. OK, then smoke one last cigarette and go to bed and wake up to a better life of health and freedom.

Tomorrow, take things one hour at a time and you will do just fine. If you can take off from work, that’s good. Quitting smoking is a valid reason to call in sick, because for the first four days, as your physical dependence on nicotine fades, you will feel reasonably miserable, or maybe even maximally miserable. So you could take four days sick leave and just get over it.

Eat anything you want. Indulge yourself with long hot baths or showers.  Soak rosemary and other aromatic herbs in the hot bath water. Use your favorite scented oils as aroma therapy, gently heating them over a candle.  Take pain meds for the body aches. (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, etc.)  Drink lots of water. Your body is flushing out poisons and toxins and you need plenty of water for that. Herbal teas like chamomile help ease the tension.

Smoking cessation is hard work, but it is useful work, and it is work that once completed, NEVER EVER has to be done again, as long as you remember the NOPE motto — Not One Puff Ever!

I worry about all my friends who smoke, and I pray for all of you that you will quit smoking. I am often astonished by how many “counter-culture” young people I know willingly enslave themselves to giant tobacco CORPORATIONS and voluntarily feed their own version of the war machine. Please, people, OCCUPY YOUR LUNGS on behalf of peace, planet, and justice and stop supporting giant tobacco companies who profit from selling a product that leads to death and misery and who politically support everything we abhor. Smoking cessation is one way to voluntarily withdraw your consent from the system of domination and subjugation that destroys people and the planet and the future.

Here’s an article from a site that was most useful to me when I quit smoking.

For Christians, the disciplines of Lent provide an excellent time to quit smoking. I quit many times, but the one time that I was successful — the last time I quit — started two years ago on Ash Wednesday. By the grace of God and the motto NOPE i have not smoked one cig since then.

For Catholics and other Christians who may have a devotion to Mary, here is anapproach to quitting smoking rooted in Catholic mysticism.


I printed out the prayer card he offers and carried it with me and prayed the prayer on it often as a way to deal with cravings.  I used the progressive muscle relaxation technique, described at the  Smoking Cessation through Faith and Prayer site,  quite a bit during the first month of not-smoking.

I carried my Rosary everywhere I went. When I would get antsy for a cigarette, I held the beads and ran them through my fingers, which gave me something to do with my hands.  The other maneuver I used  to get through cravings was to say or sing the Jesus Prayer — Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Today, nearly two years after Ash Wednesday of the Reign of Gabriel, Archangel (2011), I can truthfully say that the thought of smoking fills me with dread.  I don’t want to go through the quitting smoking process ever again.  And I will never have to do that, as long as I remember Not One Puff Ever.

That can be true for you too, all my friends and anyone else who wanders by who smokes.  You don’t have to live in financial bondage to the cigarette corporations, who are certainly among the most sociopathic of business entities. You can be free, you can support your health, you can help your lungs to heal themselves.

Smoking stops with me and smoking stops with you too, and that can be true right here, right now. . . it is completely within our individual abilities to do this.

You know this is work that needs to be done.  So just do it!

Call me if you want a smoke and I will talk you out of it, 405-200-8155.

iPermie has a chapter on addiction in the section on health. 

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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!

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