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I live on an island in the Salish Sea close to the Canadian border. I love human beings but am horrified by the way we are treating our environment. Society is in crisis I hope we can give up on greed and avaricious and create a more sustainable and equitable culture..

neoLiberalism and The rise of Populist Nationalism

5 min read


Hipster Demigods

Two Good looking men discuss their sexual exploits

Photo credit: Ralph Alswang, Office of the President – Clinton Presidential Library, Public Domain,

People today are feeling very "dis-empowered". On the local level popular will is overturned behind closed doors by politicians and capitalist oligarchs. Be it in Seattle  Washington Athens Greece or Brixton England. In response to these feelings of inadequacy and lack of agency, people turn to politicians that promise to turn the tables, making america great or by bargaining with corporate overlords.

Understanding the current political / economic environment helps bring clarity to our situation. Neoliberalism is the water we swim in it is the air we breath. We are so accustomed to it we do not notice.


Points of Reference:

TINA or there is no alternative

Rules and democracy therefore don’t mix well. Rules are used to back up the insistence that there is no alternative (TINA). There is no value in even discussing alternatives because we have rules to follow. Tumlir also explained that international rules could help save national politicians from internal pressures: ‘The international economic order [could act] as an additional means of entrenchment protecting national sovereignty against internal erosion.’ In this Orwellian formulation ‘protecting national sovereignty’ implies its opposite. It instead means protecting the national political establishment from the wishes of a nation’s people....... From The Truth About Neoliberalism

Who is neoliberal?

I would invert the question to ask who is not a neoliberal today. A governing rationality like neoliberalism organizes and constructs a great deal of conduct and a great many values without appearing to do so. It produces “reality principles” by which we live without thinking about them. Thus, almost everyone in workplaces, social media presentations, educational institutions, non-profits, the arts, and more is governed by neoliberal norms. It’s quite hard to escape neoliberal rationality, including for those who imagine that they are radically critical of it. Consider, for example, how many left intellectuals use their social media profiles—Twitter, Facebook, etc.—not to build the Revolution, but to promote their books, speaking gigs, and ideas in order to boost their market value. This has become so ubiquitous that we hardly notice it.

Of course you are right that very few people acting in neoliberal fashion—that is, constantly attending to their human capital portfolio—call themselves neoliberals. Nor do economists and behavioral social scientists and policy makers, almost all of whom are working in a neoliberal framework today, use the appellation very often. It’s a loose and adaptable term, but I don’t think this means we should abandon it, any more than we should abandon the terms “capitalism,” “socialism,” or “liberalism” just because they are open and contestable in meaning. Neoliberalism is semiotically loose, but designates something very specific. It represents a distinctive kind of valorization and liberation of capital. It makes economics the model of everything, which is why in Undoing the Demos I spoke of its economization of democracy in particular and politics more generally. It has brought a libertarian inflection of freedom to every sphere, even, strangely, the sphere of morality.   ... From Who is not Neoliberal


On the one hand, I would argue that only when democracies have already been devalued, weakened, and diminished in meaning—as they have been under neoliberalism—could a full-scale assault on democracy from the right take place as we see today. So this authoritarian—I’m wary of using the term “populist”—contempt for liberal democratic institutions and values we see sweeping across the Euro-Atlantic world has a lot to do with three decades of devaluing and diminishing democracy. But on the other hand, many of these assaults on democracy take place in democracy’s name. Their claims are made in the name of freedom and patriotism, which in turn are equated with democracy. These claims are continuous with the neoliberal notion of democracy. They come from the insistence that markets and morals are what ought to be governing us, and that statism ought to be used to promote that.


So this is not a radical break from neoliberalism. You’re right that it’s no longer the “hollowed-out” neoliberal democracy we saw under Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, but it was made possible by it and extends important aspects of it. Trump was certainly not able to mobilize conservatives and Evangelicals to vote for him because we’ve suddenly become “overrun” with immigrants from the South. The ground for Trump’s rise was tilled not just by neoliberalism’s destruction of viable lives and futures for working and middle-class populations through the global outsourcing of jobs, the race to the bottom in wages and taxes, and the destruction of public goods, including education. This ground was also tilled by neoliberalism’s valorization of markets and morals and its devaluation of democracy and politics, Constitutionalism and social justice.  ....... From Who is not Neoliberal


RSS Toms Brain

2 min read

RSS Lives

RSS is a type of web feed which allows users and applications to access updates to online content in a standardized, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator. - wikipedia 


RSS was created around 1999, at that time I was in the Network Technologies program at North Seattle Community College. I didn't start using RSS myself  till later. I used a variety of rss readers, the one that stuck with me the longest was Fever 1.39 . To use Fever you need a web server and a version of SQL I have access to both those things so in 2010 I started using Fever to aggregate all the sites I wanted to follow. Over the years this list has changed as sites disappear and as I became interested in other things. Fever was created by  Shaun Inman he stopped supporting it in 2016 . 


Another web service I started using around 2010 was Pinboard   It is a service that lets you store links (url) to web pages you want to remember and return to. Pinboard has many good features one of which is generating an RSS feed from your list of links.  Here is a feed of my links  keep in mind you need to open this link in an RSS reader, its format is designed for a machine to read not a human. My account is public at Pinboard you can review all the link I have save, I am sure a physiatrist could make hay out of the list. 




Native Americans force settlers to leave Whidbey Island in August 1848. -

Excerpt Via History Link:

Whidbey Island

During the spring 1848, Thomas W. Glasgow, after exploring Puget Sound in a canoe, chose a farm site on Whidbey Island, erected a cabin, and planted potatoes, peas, and wheat. Glasgow took an Indian wife, whom he called Julia Pat-Ke-Nim, for companionship and to insure his safety from nearby Indians. After getting established, Glasgow traveled to Tumwater to convince others to join him on fertile Whidbey Island. Antonio B. Rabbeson and A. D. Carnefix agreed to settle on the island. They made the journey by canoe, the only mode of travel around Puget Sound except for an occasional Hudson's Bay Company ship.

On the journey, the three men took turns cooking and carrying out other camp duties. On the day it was Carnefix’s turn, an Indian stopped at the camp. The man assumed that Carnefix was a slave, since he was performing duties that an Indian slave would perform, and made an offer to Glasgow and Rabbeson to purchase him. The misunderstanding was quickly cleared up, but apparently Glasgow and Rabbeson ribbed Carnefix about it and he took offense, quit the group, and returned to Tumwater. The remaining two men continued on and reached Glasgow's cabin on the west side of Whidbey Island near Penn's Cove in July 1848. Penn's Cove is about 48 miles north of Seattle.

The Hunt

In August, Indians representing every Puget Sound tribe, including the Chehalis, Nisqually, Duwamish, Snoqualmie, and Snohomish, arrived and set up camp at Penn’s Cove on the east side of Whidbey Island near where Glasgow and Rabbeson where located. Within a three-mile radius of the two men’s cabin, there were, in Rabbeson's words, “about eight thousand of these wild men.” Although Rabbeson probably exaggerated, the sight of the immense throng of Indians must have been an impressive one.

History Link

More information on Chief Patkanim

Flora Surveys the Duamish

Flora Surveys the Duamish

Looking across the river at our dream house on the banks of the muddy Duwamish River.


Schmitz Preserve Park

Schmitz Preserve Park

53 Acres of old growth forest in the middle of the city. Donated by the Schmitz Family in 1908.  

Jack Block Park

Jack Block Park

Jack Block Park is a 15-acre park in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle.

It has a beach surrounded by vacant Port Of Seattle property, barges and old rail access to the water. You will never find a crowd here even in a beautiful day. In the 1990's this was a Superfund site, they recommend you not eat shell fish of bottom fish caught here.



Small Public Outdoor Spaces

2 min read

At the intersection  of Pike, Madision and 15th is a small park  with a concrete ping pong table. Busy traffic moves by and passengers rarely notice the park. This is  McGilvra Place Park.


According to the City of Seattle "McGilvra Place was created in 1901. The small triangle of land is named after John J. McGilvra, whose homesite was on Lake Washington at the end of a road the would became E Madison Street."  The park is a private / public partnership with the Bullet Foundation and the  City of Seattle. Because it sits adjacent the Bullet Center, it should be well maintained over time. 

The trees are century old Plane&nbsp(Sycamores?). The short street on the east side of the park was removed to make the median a little larger and to make a friendlier pedestrian space.

The median strip before renovation:

Photo courtiesy of Berger Architects.

Spots like McGilvra Place help humnaize a busy neighborhood, having old trees on the site give it a gravity and history. There was one man sitting in the park the day I visited (saturday) maybe during the week there is more foot traffic.  

Great Blue Herons at the Ballard Locks

1 min read

Saturday  we encountered the roost  of Great Blue Herons at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.81c382b88079405ac5e400b76f4e65eaThere  are at least forty nests in the trees on the south side of the canal across from the locks. most the  nests had one adult in them, wesaw one  bird   fishing at the edge  of the canal.   The nests were quite large.  We were told they were raising newborns, one would go forage and bring back food while the other protects the young.

33869fe4acf4b37c3b900590a4d40d12 The Great Blue Heron stand between three and four feet tall and has a wing span of approximately  six feet. 

"sevencatsbarking"posted a video of the herons landing at thier rookery   . 

Discovery Park Beach

Discovery Park Beach

West Point South Beach, one of the wild places of Seattle.
click photo to enlarge

Bertha On Twitter

Bertha On Twitter

I have used twitter for a number of years, I often check in times of Crisis or "Big News", by following enough of the right people you have fast access to breaking news. I follow news organizations, journalists, media critiics a few politicians, NGOs and writers. Then there are the local connections, friends, artists local notables etc.

I might look at Twitter a few times in a week or a few times in a day depending on world events or my free time. My twitter stream is congested but the interface lets you scan quickly and you have the ability to create lists to segregate different types in to groups, this helps cut down on chatter when you are interested in something specific.

I am sharing a tweet above from a local tweeter user, Bertha , "I’m Bertha, the world’s largest-diameter tunneling machine. In summer 2013, I started digging the SR 99 tunnel to replace Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct". You see by the example that even objects or buildings can have a twitter feed. This example is the nugget in this post, today Bertha told the citizens of Seattle two very important things :

  • Emergency gates will close the viaduct automatically if significant ground movement is detected.
  • Bottom line: Chances of a quake that could cause viaduct collapse = 1-in-10 in the next 10 yrs
  • WSDOT should put these tweets on a billboard ayt each end of the viaduct.