Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Response to Activist Teacher


On Oct. 7, 2015 Denis Rancourt, PhD offered an analysis andcommentary on my blog post, ’10 Lessons I Learned Running for Parliament.’ I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Rancourt in Kingston several days earlier at a Libertarian Party event and found him to be simultaneously provocative and intensely curious and was delighted that he found time to critique some of my writing. It is important to me that my beliefs are congruent with reality and so I value being challenged, especially by someone who I believe is well intentioned and equally open to revising their beliefs if presented with appropriate reason and evidence.

Response to Criticisms

The first criticism Rancourt has is, “Moen avoids the fact that the fears themselves are manipulated and manufactured by governments, and by corporate entities that also fund political parties.

I also avoided the fact that gravity exists and keeps voters firmly planted on terra firma. It’s not so much that I avoided this fact as I assumed my audience knows this.

OK but another dominant strategy is to offer fixing or cleaning-up the system that is newly discovered to now be hopelessly broken or corrupt. This is most effective because ordinary citizens know that the system does not work for them.”

This is true and it was perhaps an oversight that I didn’t mention this, although I do mention later in the article that I believe voter apathy is largely a result of citizens knowing that the system doesn’t work for them so I’m certainly not ignorant to that fact. I also think that offering to fix or clean-up the system is exactly the thing I talk about in lesson 2 of my article which Rancourt straw-mans a bit in his summary by suggesting my point is a political paradigm of fear and comforting. A more accurate representation of my point would be that politicians present themselves as solutions to a problem and that they foment fear to drive people towards them as a solution. So if the problem is a hopelessly broken and corrupt system it is in my best interest as a politician to foment fear and offer myself as a solution to their fears.

but Moen leaves out that meaningless platitudes also serve to (1) reassure party funders that their man will not go off track, and (2) avoid the risk of awakening voter expectations for real action.”

Agreed. Again I left out a lot of articles of reality for the sake of space. I would suggest that avoiding awakening voter expectations for real action is probably less accurate than saying politicians are afraid of saying anything that would make them unpopular. I certainly didn’t find myself worried about voter expectations for real action so much as I found myself worried that people would throw proverbial tomatoes at me, but admittedly my motivations and world view may be appreciably different than a more calculating politician.

Moen refuses to acknowledge that the big-party politicians work for the man, virtually without deviation, whether they are conscious of it or simply allowing themselves to be manipulated and hijacked by the process.”

Here Rancourt points out the obvious fact that the lip service politicians pay to voters is not often congruent with actual policy decisions and that these policy decisions are largely influenced by corporate interests. I have no dispute with this although I do think it is interesting that he uses the term ‘the man’ to refer to something other than government. He doesn’t define ‘the man’ but based on the whole of his rhetoric I would assume it to mean corporate interests.  I’ll address this fallacy (assuming I’m not straw-manning his position) later on.

Moen's analysis is confined to the tunnel vision…any honest politician must confront the sham that is the Canadian Parliament, and only politicians who do can be considered honest, unless they are so naive that they should be avoided on that basis alone, in my humble opinion.”

There is a difference between tunnel vision and relevance realization. It goes without saying that Canadian Parliament and democracy in general is broken and the public discourse narrowly constrained. Again the fact that I don’t list all the articles of reality is not evidence that I am blind to them. I think Rancourt also presents a straw man that I see a binary choice "to vote or not vote" as the only way to create systemic change. This is not my position at all. I would posit that the dysfunctional government we have is reinforced by people constantly appealing to it to solve their every problem and maximize their individual benefits, including people who own corporations, and this isn't done merely, or even substantively, through voting.

“..the whole idea of mainstream political involvement is to prevent the dominant system from being too insane, and ideally to reform it towards freedom and actual democracy. In my book (literally), the whole idea is to push back against increasing totalitarianism -- what many and myself have called corporate fascism.
The idea that modern internet technology or independent food and energy production can offer absolute protection to creative alternists is a total fantasy.”

I’ll discuss the first point here at the end of the article because I think it worth having a lengthy discussion about the idea that corporations are the root cause of societal grief. The second point he makes is a straw man. I in no way suggest that independent food and energy production offer absolute protection. Utopianism is a disease of central planners not liberty activists.

Government is the embodiment of undemocratic concentrated power. Nothing could be clearer. One proof, if proof were needed, is the tremendous amount of resources and efforts that go into convincing the public of the legitimacy of the political system and its supporting institutions.

I predict that if Moen continues down that fanciful fairy tale, then he will lose many libertarian supporters and many realistic potential voters. It is a road that leads straight into conformism with the status quo
.

I’m not sure where Rancourt gets the idea that I don’t view government as the embodiment of undemocratic concentrated power. I’m suggesting that they have this undemocratic power because people have a pseudo-religious belief I’ll refer to as statism. It is ultimately the belief that a select group of specific individuals who win popularity contests have special human rights that nobody else has to use initiatory force within a specific geographical region. This belief system is reinforced by manufactured consent, mainstream media, public schools, recitations of pledges of allegiance, hymns to the state, mass tribalism events (ie Super Bowl, Olympics), bits of colored cloth that are revered as sacred, scribbles on old parchment that are considered sacred etc.

It is my suggestion that the goal of any serious liberty activist ought to be to help people disabuse themselves of this most dangerous magical thinking. That in the process of disabusing themselves of this magical thinking and dismissing its ethical propositions as woo of the highest order then a new order will start to emerge where people aren’t organized around a violent institution.

We will know that Moen has been effective and has touched a nerve when the entire establishment visciously attacks him, or at least is unhinged by him, or at least significant adjusts its discourse to make him irrelevant... Any such sign will be a gauge that freedom is making headway.

Yikes! I hope nobody nails me to a cross. I hope my wife doesn’t read this or she may make me quit.

General Discussion

The ideas (as I understand them) that Rancourt propagate are not unfamiliar to me. They are in the same vein as Noam Chomsky who writes brilliant analysis about foreign policy and the idea of manufacturing consent. I have a lot of respect for these gentlemen and their work and I have a difficult time understanding parts of their analysis and some of their language. There appears to me to be an inflammation of abstractions (abstractitis) prevalent here that prevents clear thinking. Confucius made the point that the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names and so I’ll attempt to untangle some of the language present in Rancourts rhetoric and see if we can arrive at more tangible descriptions of reality, as a physicist I’m sure he’ll appreciate that.

Terms like government, democracy, and corporations can mean vastly different things to different people and so I’m going to flesh out the sense in which I am talking about them and the sense in which I perceive Rancourt is talking about them.

The terms ‘government’ and ‘corporation’ are often used in language as if they are material entities acting in material reality. Exxon spilled oil, the government outlawed marijuana. There is a tendency to deify these entities as if they actually exist and aren’t simply a collection of specific individuals acting in the world based on their mental models. Now I am open to hearing evidence that corporations and governments are somehow more than just a collection of individuals in the same way that a human being is more than just a collection of cells and that maybe governments and corporations are actual people as well, but I believe the burden of proof would be on the person positing that it is permissible to initiate force against flesh and blood humans for the sake of these hypothetical people called society, government or corporations. Priestly classes of public intellectuals tell us what governments, societies and corporations think and do all the time and they often remind me of televangelists who tell us exactly what God is thinking and doing.

Government is a group of individuals who operate under the mental model that they have the legitimate right to initiate force. They have this mental model and they behave this way for reasons I addressed earlier. There is no denying that it is highly profitable to have people subscribe to irrational beliefs and so people in a position to profit from irrational beliefs (ie politicians, corporate owners, tenured professors) tend to become self-interested apologists for these beliefs. But it is short-sighted to suggest that the root cause of the problem is that people who profit from irrational beliefs reinforce them, and I don’t think it gets us anywhere.

Rancourt would likely posit that there exists power structures that inform behaviour and control people. He would probably suggest that wealth distribution and corporate power are the root cause of our ills. I think this misses the biggest part of the problem. Let me explain.

Would Rancourt kill another human being if another person or corporation paid him an exorbitant amount to do it? I would suggest that he would NOT kill another human being because he doesn’t strike me as a sociopath without regard for human life. Well what power does this corporation or elite person then have over him by virtue of having more wealth? I would argue NONE. It would be a different story if they were able to level a gun at him and coerce or threaten him into acting. So if it were true that individuals who own or manage corporations have power to compel people by virtue of having money then it would also be true that Rancourt would be powerless in the face of financial incentives and would be forced to kill another person if presented with enough money.

What would cause Rancourt to kill another person if asked? I would posit it is a belief system that legitimized the killing, that informed him that it is in fact the highest moral good to kill another person. As physicist Stephen Weinberger put it, “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Not all religions are created equal and some promote more violence than other and I would argue that the most dangerous religion is statism.

I’m not sure if Rancourt falls into the self-detonating proposition of appealing to the state to regulate corporations. The state is a corporation from whence all other corporations are birthed. It is the pen-ultimate umbrella corporation and its only product is initiatory force. Appealing to the umbrella corporation and giving it more legitimate power by spreading the meme that we need the state to save us is reinforcing the very problem these guys seek to solve.

The minute you have any group organize around the use of initiatory force you immediately set up the conditions and the incentives for everybody to struggle for control of that force. The wealthy stand a much better chance of buying this power, that is true, but I think it is a mistake to say that this makes them inherently more culpable than anyone else. They are only able to buy that power because we want a corporation that monopolizes violence called the state. There seems to be an argument propagated that people are helpless and devoid of agency in the face of manufactured consent and I think this isn't helpful and in a lot of ways its insulting because it imagines that poor and middle-class people are less capable of revising their own beliefs than those considered to be the elite. Imagining that politicians or CEO's are someone outside the paradigm and recognize it and manipulate it while others are helplessly immersed and blind to it seems unlikely. I think its more likely that the individuals that comprise the so-called ruling class are as immersed in the system of delusion as everyone else and unconsciously appeal to authority to maximize their own benefit just like everyone else.

What do neo-cons and climate activists have in common? They all have the belief that there is a deficiency of violence being used against individuals that they have strong opinions about, and that if the right amount of violence was used against the right people we would have peace and flourishing. I am not sure if Professor Rancourt subscribes to this theory of peace and flourishing but I am skeptical of it. I would posit that people producing value for each other is the best chance we have at peace and flourishing and the main thing standing in the way of this happening isn’t a deficiency of violence but rather a deficiency of reality congruence. I would further posit that violence contributes to dogmatism and irrational belief and so you create more of that which you fear the most when you employ violence as your means.

It has been my experience as a father and a student of life is that the best way to prevent and change unwanted behaviour, whether it is from an authoritarian or a child, is to not try and fight with the person (except in the moment if immediate protection is needed) but rather to try and see life through their eyes, seek to understand the contributing factors to their behaviour, consider the idea that I may be wrong and try to offer them something of value. It is to engage in conflict with courage but not to smash them as a person. I've come to understand that even politicians are people and I'll bet you would find that even corporate CEO's are flesh and blood humans as well.

I look forward to a continued dialogue with Professor Rancourt in a respectful dialogue that is concerned more with arriving at truth than about propagating a particular world view or conclusion.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn put it best:

“We shall be told: what can literature possibly do against the ruthless onslaught of open violence? But let us not forget that violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: it is necessarily interwoven with THE LIE. Between them exists the most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds. Violence has nothing with which to cover itself except the lie, and the lie has nothing to stand on other than violence. Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose the lie as his PRINCIPLE. At its birth violence acts openly and even with pride. But no sooner does it become strong, firmly established, than it senses the rarefaction of the air around it and it cannot continue to exist without descending into a fog of lies, clothing them in sweet talk. It does not always, not necessarily, openly throttle the throat, more often it demands from its subjects only an oath of allegiance to falsehood, only participation in the lie. 

And the simple step of an ordinary courageous man is not to partake in falsehood, not to support THE LIE!” 

x

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Our Trip to The Climate War's Ground Zero


Guest writer Darren Aronofsky writes on the blog today.


Our Trip to The Climate War's Ground Zero


Darren Aronofsky and Tim Moen went to the Los Angeles area, which exist overtop of the bones of dead first peoples and an ecosystem crushed to dust on a land mass about the size of the sinking Maldives. This is a journal of their journey.

Even before there was a script for my last film, Noah, I was interested in the environmental message in scripture. Man and woman are kicked out of paradise; 10 generations later the land is so filled with violence that God destroys Creation in order to begin again. Stewardship vs. dominion became a big theme in the film.
In representing the fallen prediluvian world that garners God’s ire, my team and I researched the parts of today’s modern world that are most violated by the hand of man.
We quickly narrowed in on Los Angeles. Air quality from down here is often called the dirtiest in the world. Some quick image searches made us realize we wanted to represent this destruction in our film. For every movie produced from America's  tinseltown enough boob jobs, rhinoplasties, crushed dreams, hypocrisy, carbon emissions and self-importance is generated to fill Yankee Stadium every two days. The scale is massive and the walls of our offices were quickly covered with images of the destruction. They made me want to go and see it with my own eyes.
Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, organized the trip with his team. He asked if there was anyone I would like to invite and so I emailed Tim Moen, whom I’ve known a bit over the years. Tim wrote back right away and said the trip sounded fascinating and he would love to join.
What follows is a journal I kept during the journey.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
7:30 a.m.
We wake at the crack of dawn for a hike through the glacier carved Yosemite Valley. High in the Sierra Nevada mountain chain it is one of the greatest views I have ever witnessed. Summer is starting to retreat and the morning air is already nippy. Looking up at the majestic water fall I wondered how long it would be before God turned the tap off.


Yosemite national park. Little did we know the devastation that would await us.
I take inventory of the beauty knowing that in a few hours I’ll be in Los Angeles, the main city servicing California's movie industry. I have seen photos and read articles about the environmental damage. But I wonder what it will feel like to actually finally be there.
2 p.m.
The first thing you notice on the turboprop out of Mariposa to LA is that everyone is wearing low v-necks and scarves. 
The one guy who stands out is a red-headed guy with delicate glasses and a bushy bright beard reading a book called Tinseltown Dreams. He’s carrying a violin case, but I am corrected when he tells me it’s a baritone ukulele. Turns out he’s a locally renowned political folk singer heading north to reunite with his wife and two young children. His wife works for Universal, an American Movie company that was among the first to operate around the tar pits of La Brea. 
He’s immediately on the back foot when I mention that I am going down there with the Sierra Club. I ask him why. He thinks they’ve made up their mind about the Movie industry and his wife informs him that it’s not as bad as everyone is saying.
Then I find out that David Suzuki is his hero. Not so long ago, David Suzuki had gone to the Los Angeles and compared the devastation to Hiroshima.  It set off a media storm.
I’m wondering how my new travelling companion is going to come to terms with the rift between his wife and his hero.
Stuffed into the pouch on the back of the seat in front of me is the local newspaper. The cover story is about how the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world, a majority of inmates have committed victimless crimes. That’s nearly 2.1 million people. The other statistic that sticks out in the article is only 12 percent of the US is African-American but they make up 40 percent of the prison population.



When you land in LA, a city of 3.8 million, you immediately are overwhelmed by the enormity of the airport that locals dub 'LAX'. It’s nearly as modern as anything in Canada with Starbucks, a top-of-the-line gift shop. I was expecting something more drab and urban. 
I'm disappointed when a guy with a neck scarf tells me that there is no Tim Hortons, although Burger King just merged with Tims because of our favourable tax rate so maybe there is hope for these people yet. The times they are a changing…
7 p.m.


Michael Brune and myself at the Pembina Institute welcome. (Niko Tavernise)
So now, here we are, Michael, Tim and myself sitting with Erin Flanagan of the Pembina Institute, one of the organizations that movie companies still engage with because their science is irrefutable.
She tells us how little the federal and state governments have done to regulate the movie industry. In fact, they’ve done everything in their power to make the process easier, by eliminating most oversight and regulation.
Plastic pollution is a real problem along the coast yet they have only banned plastic bags about a month ago. Tim's community Fort McMurray banned bags 4 years ago and they aren't anywhere near a delicate coast line. It is really too bad we didn't come to show these people a different way much earlier.  Is it to little to late?
The government penalizes less than 1 percent of litter violations. Someone puts it aptly: It is all corrupt. Someone else says it doesn’t feel like America, feels more like Somalia. 
Thursday,  August 21
7 a.m.
We’re up early for a tour of the studios hosted by Universal, the American movie company.



The American movie industry exists overtop of an area of first peoples ancestry and beautiful flora and fauna the size of the sinking Maldives. In order to access the real estate required, the forests must be clear cut, the flora and fauna must be bulldozed, creating a radically different landscape and with countless  mini-tailings ponds, or as they describe them "swimming pools" where they don't seem to mind letting their children swim in chemical laden water.


Even most movie companies acknowledge the disruption caused by urbanization; that is one reason why they have developed environmental activism. On the surface, environmental activism appears less disruptive than its alternative, but this is only an illusion.
Environmental activism requires expending an incredible amount of energy and carbon emissions around the world to criticize polluters while simultaneously polluting and offering no real solutions. While it preserves the veneer of good intentions, the result on the planet is devastating. The demonization and lobbying reinforces a paradigm of domination and a power struggle ensues that artificially divides people and keeps them fighting while the ruling classes make out like bandits and no solutions are generated. And this environmental activism industry is only beginning.

Mastadon Drowning in LA Tar

The other hidden cost of environmental activism is the opportunity cost of expending all this energy, time and pollution in an activity that solves nothing. Imagine what could be accomplished if these people got engineering degrees or entered the marketplace to offer people much needed energy efficient products.
Michael keeps his cool until he sees Neil Young and Daryl Hannah exit their diesel burning bus fresh off a world tour of Rock and Roll activism. He tells us about the devastating consequences of this hyperbole entering the public consciousness. He’s stunned at the irresponsibility of these two.
Movie companies contend that hyperbolic rhetoric has always entered the public discourse. This, in fact, is one of their big arguments and it works well to confuse base lines. But no one can deny that the quality of the air and water has changed in southern California. In fact, the movie companies have supplied expensive finger wagging and shaming for the local communities. But still, the air and water quality hasn't improved. And in some places, celebrities offer judgemental rhetoric weekly and yet things continue to get worse.


There are over 3000 of these hidden pump jacks sucking oil out of the ground to feed LA's addiction to  polluting the planet with motor vehicles and hyperbole.
Noon
We join Universal for a presentation at their offices. Everyone in Hollywood has a presentation. The fight for our planet is waged over PowerPoint and misdirection.
The slides they present are filled with inconsistencies and data manipulation. I am surprised they feel comfortable showing data like this. As compared to Erin’s information last night this is laughable. We start to argue some points but they are overly defensive and their answers are circular. 
“We will look into that,” seems to be the failsafe. At a certain point I can’t take it anymore and I ask them if they believe in the science. They all immediately shake their heads yes. I ask them how can they resolve that with what they are doing.  Circular answers again.
To access the real estate necessary for the movie industry the forests must be clear cut, the flora and fauna must be bulldozed to make way for a radically different landscape replete with mini-talings ponds they fondly refer to as swimming pools.
Let’s take their arguments around bird deaths. On the one hand they criticize Canadian oil sands operations when around 1000 birds died one year from landing in tailing ponds. On the other hand they remain silent on the nearly billion bird deaths per year windows cause. In fact their offices, vehicles, and skyscrapers seem replete with these destructive devices. They point out that without windows our lives would be pretty bleak. When asked about carcinogenic toxins that permeate the LA valley they point out that in Northern Alberta the oil sands may be linked to 3 unexpected cancer cases in an aboriginal community.
They are fair arguments, I guess, but not when you put it up against accusations of their toxic environment exposing infants to a lifetime exposure limit of carcinogens by the age of two months they seem to fall short. Not to mention the not so subtle misdirection of the celebrity industry to point some questionable cases of industry related cancer in first nations communities in Canada while simultaneously standing on the bones of murdered first peoples who were slaughtered to make way for SoCal progress. Hey look over there...somebody needs our pomposity to solve a problem. What? Never mind that our yard is far worse, you've got a piece of litter there.
There’s no real discussion here.
I was so stunned by the shabbiness of their arguments that it made me wonder how powerful this multibillion-dollar industry is. If this is the best information these guys can script, if these are the most impressive minds they can send out to meet with the head of the Sierra Club, either they:
a) don’t take us seriously
b) have no fucking defense.
2 p.m.
There is not even a law in California that the urban blights of LA or San Diego or San Fransisco must be reclaimed to the pristine wilderness it was. After a lunch with vegan options we take a tour of Universal studios to see animatronic distraction and tour the surrounding landscape.
How does one replace millennia of pristine growth?  The results are comedic.
To begin, they just bulldoze everything. Then they lay down miles and miles of asphalt effectively removing any hope of anything living ever growing there again.
The landscape looks something like a dystopian future where the bloods and crips play engage in 3 way warfare with the police state. It doesn’t come near to replicating the diversity we see in the untouched wilderness.


This is what is called the “sunshine" state.
The great irony is when we start to discuss mini tailing ponds or "swimming pools". They are by products of industry affluence and over 43,000 of these toxic bird and bug killing pools exist in LA. They don't just kill bugs and birds they also kill kids. In America over 3000 children die annually from these needless death trap tributes to Hollywood excess.
When we ask why they protect their jobs but not their children, it’s the same answer: “We’ll look into it.”
We end the tour on a hill overlooking a East LA. It’s the closest we can get because of safety issues. The US drug war has reduced these streets to a wasteland of violence. Drug war, climate war, war on terror. War never ends, not even on Christmas and New Year’s. The mining of souls, crushed dreams and exploited minorities  happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and they project that this will be going on till at least 2070 when leaders are predicted to finally pull their heads out of their asses.




7 p.m.
We join the Reverend Al Shaprton a civil rights activist for dinner. He is grounded and realistic. Some would call him stubborn for holding out against lucrative job offers. He tells us about numerous lobbying positions he's been offered but he doesn't want to sell out.




Tim listening intently to Sharpton.
The day just gets more upsetting when we hear about minority and immigrant rights in America. 
It’s funny because as a Canadian you somehow always think America is on the right side of the issues. But their impoverished minorities are constantly under siege. There are policies to deport refugee children and an overall strategy to remove them from their land in the same way they removed the buffalo. Listening to some American red necks talk about the border one imagines the spirit of Buffalo Bill Cody alive and well here, there aren't many natives or buffalo left to kill but refugee children are aplenty.
On top of that, America has no real equivalent to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and no comprehensive air and water protections in Los Angeles. Over the recent decades the American constitution has been run over rough shod. It’s stunning. 
The government wants corporations to regulate its citizens. All that fighting for independence from Britain and they appear to be less free than us British subjects . That didn’t work out so well.
Friday, August 23
6 a.m.
We meet celebrity-turned-activist Russel Brand and make our way to Beverly Hills, a celebrity town which originally grew food for people and now serves the egos of the elite. The Spanish used to grow lima beans in this region.   
One can get to Hollywood by bus or taxi but the main mode of transportation is BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. 




Beverly Hills glutony on full display.
Brand offers us some of the local medicine called heroine. Tradition claims it can helps fight the vacuum created by lack of maternal attachment. Brand doesn’t tell us to inject it slowly, to savor it. I shoot it up like Bubble Yum. A bad mistake. The burning in my veins is unlike anything I can identify and it’s overpowering. I’m warned the worst thing I can do is resist. So I muscle through.
Since heroine comes from a plant that grows in war torn Afghanistan, there is some concern that perhaps we are contributing to a toxic cycle of drone bombing.
A few years ago they stopped hiring writers here. It seems every bartender and waitress is a writer. In fact, all creativity and artistic endeavours have been suspended lately to put out corporate Hollywood schlock that feeds the unending appetites of Americans. I wonder about the artisans; could they file a class action suit? Even in New York City, where the natural artscape has long since vanished, we can safely act on broadway or find off broadway theater houses. Centuries of art development does not compare to the recent devastation in Los Angeles.
We talk to some young actors and hipsters who explain how they can’t pass on their traditional way of life to their children. They cannot teach their children to express creativity, uniqueness, provocative ideas. They can’t wear avante garde fashion or make plaid shirts look cool because the celebrities and corporate Hollywood ruin everything.
Movie companies remind us that hyperbolic propaganda leaked into the public long before they arrived. But something has changed. Not a soul we meet thinks their art is safe. Everyone agrees there is more sickness than ever. 
For a moment of levity, Tim was challenged by Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau to do the ALS ice water bucket challenge. Tim decides it would be great to do down there to call attention to the recent drought spurred on by all the global warming causing emissions coming from this epicentre of environmental and socioeconomic destruction. We invite the community to participate. Tim joins Al Sharpton and Russell Brand on a hill in front of the late-day sun over the Hollywood hills. I get into director mode and help line up the shot. Everyone gives a good cheer as the ice rains down.







Tim talking with some local firefighters about the drought. He's told they've had to resort to urinating on fires. One more unintended consequence of movie industry activity.
The sun is setting as we pass over the Los Angeles squalor. From this view what blows me away is how much smog is coming out of the city. Its a sobering moment as I think of the lives cut short and the suffering this human activity creates.

Saturday, August 23
7 a.m.
Dweezle Zappa (his real name), a member of the celebritocracy, take us to Culver City, a small hamlet on traditional aboriginal grounds that is smack in the middle of a bunch of oil fields. 
We pass by many of the estimated 3000 pump jacks located throughout the Los Angeles area sometimes right in back yards enroute to where some of the worlds dirtiest oil is produced in Placerita.  



Inglewood oil fields from the air. The price of greed is environmental devastation.
I am stunned by the Culver Cities handsome buildings, by its modern pre-school and elderly center. They put most other city community centers to shame. But here’s the catch: Look closely and you see that most of these buildings were built by oil companies. There is so much money, so much greed, it’s hard to find anyone who is completely clean.
But there is still right and wrong. And when there’s this much money and this much power against people who have been on the defensive for over five centuries, battles must be picked. We can't force our oil and celebrity addicted southern neighbours to buy much cleaner and more ethical Canadian oil.
I keep thinking about kindergarten. One of the first lessons we learn is to clean up our mess. The movie companies, celebrities and citizens of LA have reclaimed 0 percent of what they’ve annihilated. 
Anyone can see from the ground or air that it’s a big fucking mess. No one really argues with the massive amount of pollution and toxins. No one really argues with the greenhouse gas stats. They continue to emit more greenhouse gases than all the oil sands combined and don't even produce anything useful...unless you somehow count the Transformers series useful.
Yet the movie companies and the governments of California and America want to expand. They want to expand when the technology to clean up what they’ve already done doesn’t exist. 
It is time to slow down and study what is happening. It is not time to expand.
Driving back to the airport I can’t help to think about the Old Testament God and his pact with Noah and Noah’s family. Believe it wholeheartedly or look at it as a founding myth of Western culture. Either way, the message is the same: If you take care of creation everything will be in balance. But if you destroy creation you destroy yourselves.
Join the tarsandsmessiah.com and help us fight Hollywood blight and take back this planet.

*note - this was satire which imagines a role reversal of this article http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/19/darren-aronofsky-and-leonardo-dicaprio-s-descent-into-environmental-hell.html?via=desktop&source=twitter