U.S. keeping troops in Afghanistan. Anyone surprised?

President Obama announced that the U.S. will keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. Currently, 32,000 troops are stationed there. What a pathetic game Obama, his zionist masters and pentagon generals are playing with the American public. Is there anyone naive enough to think that America is ever going to leave Afghanistan? Not if the neo-cons in Washington, London, New York and Tel Aviv have anything to say about it.

Any talk of draw-downs, withdrawals, retreats, and exits is just gibberish spewing from the mouths of politicians. The grand chessboard, with central Asia as the most prized possession, is ever front and center for Kissinger, Brzezinski, and their proteges in Washington DC.




Incredible as it may sound, there are still hard-core Obama apologists  existing in what is known as “the Left” in America. Scarcely remembering that they elected this man on a platform of bringing peace and prosperity back to America after the naked war-mongering of Bush Jr. , they live in a world of make-believe where whatever Obama does is somehow good, because he is , well…not Bush.

If we do in fact see a reduction from 32,000 down to 9,800 by the end of this year (not a sure thing, only a promise), it is only because those troops are badly needed in the next theatre of war, whether that will be in Asia (see: Asian pivot), the Caucasus (see: Ukraine) , or Africa (see: Boko Haram, Tuareg, Somali insurgents ad nauseum).


One thing is for sure: the flow of opium profits from Afghanistan must be maintained at all costs. If they can do the job with 10,000 soldiers, great. It’s an investment that will more than pay for itself. Meanwhile, Obama will throw a bone to the American public every 6 months or so about reducing troops here or there, but the empire will march on, as long as it can.



Europe’s political ‘earthquake’ 2014 and the EU’s downfall

The results are in from the EU elections and  most mainstream commentators appear stunned at the fact that ‘far right’ anti-EU parties did so well. In particular, the Front National in France, led by Marine Le Pen,  scored a smashing victory over Francois Hollande’s lame socialist party. Across the pond, the UK Independence Party, led by Nigel Farage,  scored a huge victory. It won more votes than any other party in the European parliament elections. This marked the first time in a century that a party other than Labour or Conservatives had won a nation-wide election. Farage predicted this will change British politics fundamentally.

What’s to be surprised about? The EU experiment is a failure, as all such grandiose schemes are destined to be. Nation states themselves,  usually comprised of vast numbers of different tribes, ethnicities, groups and identities, with national boundaries drawn with a ruler on a map, are unwieldy and artificial enough. Then they try to take these inorganic entities and group them into even bigger conglomerations like the EU, ASEAN, MERCOSUR, and so many others and you have a recipe for disaster.

UnknownWhich countries have benefitted from the EU? For Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Greece, the EU has been a disaster. For most of the other countries, the experiment has been tolerable, at best. For countries which resisted the EU carrot, such as Norway, they count their blessings. There is nothing surprising about these elections. We will see more of this anti-EU sentiment in the near future – much more.

The corporate and zionist controlled press will, as usual, try to paint these various movements with epithets such as ‘protectionist’, ‘xenophobic’, ‘far right’, ‘reactionary’, and so on. This is predictable.  But the pro EU forces can only go against nature for so long. Even nation states themselves will crumble in the not- too -distant future. Humans are tribal creatures. We exist in the ‘local.’ Trying to group 300 million Europeans into a political and economic union  is looking more laughable each passing day. Let us celebrate the EU’s downfall, not mourn it.


Protestors, not fans, greet the Brazilian national team in Rio

World Cup Count Down Photo GalleryThe people of Brazil are doing what the people of England (2012), South Africa (2010,) China (2008), Greece (2004), and Australia (2000) should have done when their countries held mega sports events.  Protest!  Good for the Brazilians!

The latest news coming from Brazil: protestors of world cup spending  have met the Brazilian national team not with adulation and worship, but with anger. The team couldn’t even make it from the airport to their training facility in Rio without encountering a rowdy group of protestors who plastered the bus with anti-world cup stickers. When the team left the hotel in Rio, they again had to run a gauntlet of protests.

_75113003_75112998I imagine that the government of Dilma Rousseff is praying that once the tournament actually begins, the Brazilian people will gather ’round the television with family and friends and concentrate their energies on rooting for the home squad instead of plotting mayhem and mischief. And indeed that may happen. Football is a religion in Brazil and the fact that these protests are occurring in what is maybe the most football-mad country in the world shows us how deep the discontent goes.

This is a very important story to follow. The protests in Brazil over the world cup and olympics, resulting from extravagant spending, corruption,  hubris and incompetence, will shine a bright spotlight on these wasteful and meaningless mega sporting events, which serve only to line the pockets of a few stars and advertisers while predictably distracting the population from the systemic problems facing their economies.



Mali, Nigeria, Libya, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan: Problem-Reaction-Solution from the NWO


According to the mainstream news, Tuareg rebels in northern Mali have inflicted a humiliating defeat on the Malian armed forces. The defeat of the ‘poorly designed and executed operation’ is an embarrassment to the weak government in Bamako. Francois Hollande, the French president and NWO puppet who dreams of projecting French military power into Africa and beyond, has sent in his country’s military to ‘assist’ the Malian forces. With this recent setback to the local army, Hollande has promised to keep French forces there longer.  (Read: indefinitely). Mali used to be French colony and one would think that the very idea of your former colonizer sending in troops to your country would be unthinkable, but Mali has a sufficiently compliant political class and they understand how to take orders. These Tuareg rebels will be held up in corporate and government media sources as new bogeymen, and Hollande will have his justification for French meddling in Africa. This is  naked African neo-colonialism.


Meanwhile, the situation continues to deteriorate in the south in Nigeria. As noted here before, the bogeymen in Nigeria are called ‘Boko Haram.’ I’m sure we will see an sudden and rapid escalation in car bombings and slaughters of innocent villagers all over Nigeria, all conveniently blamed on this shadowy group. How these groups gain the knowledge and wherewithal to make sophisticated car bombs is never made clear. What is also never made clear is even why they would want to set off random car bombings,  killing innocent men, women and children. They serve no strategic value whatsoever. The lame, docile corporate press (CNN, AP, Reuters, NYT, etc.) are too cowed to ever investigate this story, because of where it might lead, namely Tel Aviv and London. The West, i.e. NATO, Israel, Tel Aviv and London want to break up Africa and grab hold of the resources and counter China’s growing influence. Watch for large-scale outright military invasion coming to Nigeria soon, courtesy of NATO and its NWO puppet masters.



South Sudan

Moving due east across the Sahel, we come to South Sudan, the world’s newest country and a scene of complete chaos and destruction. Stern-looking spokespeople from  the UN are making daily pronouncements of the dire situation there and pleading for more ‘aid’ to prevent mass starvation there. The puppet Obama will surely be sending in special forces soon, if he hasn’t already, ostensibly to ‘protect lives.’ Orwellian language, as always. We must kill to ‘save lives.’ WAR IS PEACE.

Obama and Hollande. “Let them eat cake.”



Turning north and traveling up to Libya, the scene of NATO’s triumphant toppling of ‘the evil dictator’ Qaddafi a mere three years ago, we see a country in ruins, with an impotent central government and numerous militias jockeying for power in a bid to control the oil resources. All of this was utterly predictable. Qaddafi, who ruled that large country peaceably for 30 years and who provided his people with one of the highest standards of living in all of Africa, is now dead, after he dared to attempt creating an alternative currency for Africa, freed from the clutches of Western banks. Wherever America, NATO and the Zionists intervene, they leave behind a shattered and ruined country. The people are unimportant. Whether they live or die is of no concern to the Zionists. As long as the oil and gas is flowing, all is well for them.


This week, Somalia suffered an attack on its parliament. That poor country is ungovernable and refugees from there continue to flee to Europe, with many drowning in boats on the journey across the Mediterranean.  Kenya is experiencing more unrest, supposedly from rebel groups next door in Somalia. Meanwhile, pentagon war planners ratchet things up with AFRICOM, as Obama tries to counter the Chinese in Africa. This is all going downhill quickly as Africa is slowly and surely carved up piecemeal for its rich resource base.







60 Books to Blow your Mind

These are some of my all-time non-fiction favorites:


Chinese Tonic Herbs

herbsRon Teeguarden’s masterful summary of Chinese herbal therapy is an essential addition to your health library. Covering both major and minor tonic herbs in a clear and easily understandable style, Teeguarden allows his enthusiasm and love for Chinese herbs to shine through.


Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do- The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in A Free Society

UnknownThis book had a profound influence on my political thinking when I was in my early 20s. The title of the book grabbed me immediately. I had never heard the term ‘consensual crime’ before and was intrigued. Peter McWilliams wrote a ‘Common Sense’ for our modern era. Stop imprisoning people for ‘crimes’ which have no victims!! Filled with hundreds of memorable quotations from philosophers  both ancient and modern, as well as everyday people, ‘Ain’t’ is a must-read for freedom lovers, anarchists, libertarians, and anyone interested in a truly free society.


Playing God in Yellowstone

9780156720366_p0_v1_s260x420Author Alston Chase takes the U.S. Park Service to task for ‘playing god’ in Yellowstone National Park and making matters far worse for the flora and fauna they were trying to ‘manage.’ I’m not a wildlife biologist nor have I ever even visited Yellowstone, but I found this book to be interesting reading from start to finish. The book shows the difficulty of managing complex ecosystems and how bureaucracies like the Park Service can go so far off course.


The New Media Monopoly

mediaWant to know where we get our ‘news’ from? This book will tell you. Updated regularly since its first publication, The Media Monopoly lays bare the tight grip that a few giant corporations have over the information which is consumed by the world’s masses.




The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

The late Gore Vidal had a superb grasp of history and American history in particular. Analyzing the power brokers and trends in 20th century America, Vidal connects the dots  to show where all of this empire building must end: in catastrophe. This is a short, easily readable book, written in plain language and free of political haranguing and partisanship.



Amusing Ourselves to Death

Neil Postman is one of my favorite writers. His accessible and engaging writing style, combined with his historical knowledge and insight into today’s technological society made him one of America’s pre-eminent intellectuals. In this book, he theorizes that the Huxley-ian dystopia is far more likely than the Orwellian. I think he was wrong about that, but he makes convincing arguments here.

imagesVoices from the Edge

This is a compendium of interviews with ‘cutting edge’ thinkers, written in the early 90s. There is something here for everyone. The interviewees cover the whole spectrum, from Christianity to Paganism, to neo-tribalism and beyond. This is material to stretch the mind.


HeroThe Hero With a Thousand Faces

Joseph Campbell had spent a lifetime researching and writing about mythology, most of it in relative obscurity, until Bill Moyers interviewed him for a PBS special and suddenly, late in life, he became a household name. Though he wrote many books, ‘Hero’ is perhaps the most readable and covers mythology across millennia and continents. Campbell was able to see patterns and similarities like few before or since.

In the Absence of the Sacred

sacredJerry Mander had already made his mark when he published Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television,   but with this book he took his analysis of technology to a new level. Taking two big subjects- the failure of technology and the survival of the Indian nations- and combining them into book was no easy task but Mander pulls it off and shows the fundamental dichotomy between the Indian way of living and our technology-mad society.

people's historyA People’s History of the United States

A respected history professor, Howard Zinn,  finally told American history from the other side, the point of view of the victims: the Native Americans, the Africans, the poor working classes, the oppressed and the abused. This is a detailed , thoroughly researched text and a must-have for a serious student of American history.

trailTrail of Tears. The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation

The story of the Cherokee is a fascinating one. Like all the Indian nations, they succumbed to the European onslaught, and their eventual forced march to the Oklahoma territories is heart-wrenching. In their heyday, they were a large, proud and powerful  tribe and some of their members made a significant mark in colonial American society. Typical American history courses have neither the time nor the inclination to go into great detail about many of the Indian nations. The story of the Cherokee is well worth reading.

Bury_My_Heart_at_Wounded_Knee_coverBury my Heart at Wounded Knee

This book is not a pleasant read. I had to struggle to finish it. By the end of the second or third chapter,  I was already so appalled by what Dee Brown had written about the conquering of the West that I was ready to scream. Conquering territory is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted, and the American military set out to clear the West for settlement with a mandate and determination.  That meant the destruction of the Indian tribes who lived there and the massacres which resulted were well documented. ‘Manifest Destiny’ brought with the barrel of a gun.

JohnNeihardt-BlackElkSpeakerBlack Elk Speaks

If you want to understand Native American spirituality, this is a good place to start. The vision that Black Elk received is a profound and moving one, full of poetry and vivid imagery. This is a timeless classic.




Abbey-Desert-SolitaireDesert Solitaire

Edward Abbey was one of America’s great writers of  the 20th century. Equally skilled at writing fiction and non-fiction, Abbey  preferred a life close to nature and chose the West as his home. He spent time working in the desert Southwest for the park service and in this book he offered  his reflections on nature, cowboys and Indians, American government, ecology and preservation, land management, anarchism and many other subjects. A gifted storyteller, Abbey was gruff, opinionated, practical and fiercely individualistic.

desertCadillac Desert

If you really want to understand the American West, I would recommend the previous two books and this one- Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner. It is long, dense,  and documents a seemingly endless web of dealings, studies, laws, contracts and back-room shenanigans. At bottom, it is the story of nature versus the hubris and arrogance of  the white man trying to impose his civilization on the Great American Desert. The settlement of the West meant the building of dams, and this book shows how it all went down.

malcolm xThe Autobiography of Malcolm X

Thank goodness Alex Haley sat down with Malcolm X to record his life story because not long afterward Malcolm was assassinated in New York at the age of 39. This is a story of redemption, documenting  Malcolm’s transformation from street hoodlum to a worldwide figure, renowned for his speeches and uncompromising attitude towards institutionalized racism. Regardless of what you think of  his politics, this is one of the most inspirational books you will ever read.

KingLet the Trumpet Sound. A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

To understand American history in the second half of the 20th century, you must understand MLK and the impact he had. This biography covers his life in detail and covers the important aspects that are ignored or glossed over in history textbooks. Most Americans are unaware of what MLK was working on in 1968 and why he was so dangerous to the ruling elites.

DumbingDownTDumbing Us Down- The hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

John Taylor Gatto is an American treasure. He worked in the trenches in public education for over 20 years, so he writes from a background of experience. He’s not an academic preaching educational theories from the ivory tower, but a real teacher showing us what works, what doesn’t, and the real purpose behind ‘schooling’ in America.

Against_Civilization_coverAgainst Civilization

John Zerzan lives in the Northwest and writes thought-provoking books which delve into the deepest questions of human existence. He goes  back thousands of years into our past to see how we ended up here, in our present technocratic , globalist world and offers ideas  on where exactly we went off course. He takes unpopular stances, but backs them up with hard historical and scientific evidence.

chomskyUnderstand Power- The Indispensable Chomsky

As I’ve written in previous blogs, Chomsky serves as a left gatekeeper and hasn’t been relevant for young activists for many years. Nevertheless, his studies of American foreign power and global hegemony are worth reading and this book is a nice compilation of his thoughts on a wide range of subjects.



The last time I checked, this book was out of print and copies on ebay were selling for well over $100.  Clifford Harper is a talented writer and even more talented wood block printer. The political art between the covers is worth the price of the book.  Anarchy is a compact, no-nonsense introduction to anarchism, focusing particularly on the last 300 years. If you are looking for a dry, academic, objective analysis of anarchism, look elsewhere. This is a book written by a committed anarchist who wears his passion on his sleeve.

the richHow the Rich are Destroying the Earth

In America, it’s considered bad form in academic and political circles to bash the rich, at least openly. In Europe, the academic milieu allows a bit more free range of thought, and Herve Kempf, a Frenchman, takes aim in this book at the enormous ecological footprint left by the super-rich, as they cruise the world in their yachts, lear jets and the like. Kempf argues that not only are the rich extravagant and wasteful, but also set a horrifying example for the lower classes , who aspire to climb the social and economic ladder.

truthAnd the Truth Shall Set you Free

David Icke has written many more books since this book was published in the late 1990s. They are all good and exhaustively researched. And the Truth shall set you free is a good place to start though. If you are new to conspiracy, the information can get overwhelming. I was handed this book by a friend in late 1997 while living in Hawaii. Initially, I rejected much of it, believing that it was impossible to keep such information secret from the public for so long. However, everything Icke predicted and talked about has come true, and today many writers, activists and researchers use his research and Icke delivers lectures to  audiences in the thousands  all over the world.

chaliceThe Chalice and The Blade

Today, patriarchy and male sky god religions are predominant around the world. It was not always thus. Riane Eisler documents how Europe was populated by matriarchal and matrilineal cultures for thousands of years before they were overrun by tribesmen who brought with them their new gods and way of life.  Are we now transitioning back to a more balanced way of life, with the ‘return of the goddess’?  Eisler’s argument is compelling.

The Alphabet Alphabet versus the Goddess

This is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. Weaving together history, brain science and media studies, Leonard Shlain offers a provocative thesis about how those goddess-worshipping cultures died. The alphabet itself was the culprit. We’ve been dominated by our right hemispheres for thousands of years, but now, with the advent of television and computers, we are again rebalancing our brains. How will this turn out for humanity? Surprisingly, Shlain offers an optimistic view.

51GnMjdqKlLFood of the Gods

Terence Mckenna wrote a handful of books. One was incomprehensible (The Invisible Landscape), one was disorganized and new agey (The Archaic Revival), and another was sloppy and drug addled (True Hallucinations.) With Food of the Gods, Mckenna finally got it right. The book is an examination into the origins of humanity, particularly the origins of speech. McKenna’s hypothesis is that the mushroom was the trigger for the advent of consciousness and speech. Using a blend of science, imagination, and speculation, he gives his readers a provocative  theory.

indian giversIndian Givers

Jack Weatherford here takes on a fascinating study- how the flow of Native American foods, political theories, medicines, and crops to Europe and the far corners of the world in the centuries following Columbus changed the world. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on crops and cuisines. A follow up book to this one, Native Roots, goes more deeply into the subject matter.


airolaWorldwide Secrets for Staying Young

A couple of decades before the word ‘superfood’ was being widely used in nutritional circles, Paavo Airola was traveling the world and learning the secrets of healthy people, from Okinawa to Mexico to the Himalayas. This is a well-organized, easy to read health book on the foods which can bring you maximum health.


FitforlifecoverFit for Life

This is the first health book I ever read and I still consider it one of the best. Fit for Life gives an excellent introduction to the physiology of the human body, and gives a convincing argument for the benefit of a fruit and vegetable based diet. Building on the work of Norman Walker and others, this book is a great introduction to a vegan diet, written in an upbeat and inspirational  tone.


3f9bc060ada0069227ad9110-lThe Miracle of Mindfulness- A Manual on Meditation

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. A tireless worker for peace , he has written numerous books on Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness and toured the world. This little gem of a book contains some core teachings of Buddhism and wonderful, simple exercises on how to approach life with an attitude of mindfulness. I’m fortunate that I read this book when I was young, as his teachings have been invaluable to me over the years. Know someone who is a fanatical ‘mulit-tasker’ and can’t ever put down their phone? Give him this book.

zenThe Way of Zen

Alan Watts was one of the few Westerners who undertook a deep study of Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism, and really got it. And we are better for it. Effortlessly taking the sometimes subtle and complex teaching of Zen and presenting it to an uninitiated Western audience, Watts gives his readers a thorough overview of Zen philosophy. Watts never lapses into overly obtuse or mystical language, and yet never talks down to his audience either. This book will stretch your mind in unexpected directions. A masterpiece.


does it matterDoes it Matter? Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality

In this book, Watts turns the subject of materialism inside out. Whereas most modern thinkers and philosophizers take the stance that Westerners are ‘too materialistic’, Watts argues that in many ways, we are not materialistic enough. He argues that people are so caught up in their heads with ideas of money, worry, getting ahead and so on that they are not truly appreciating the things of value in their lives. The chapter on money is worth is particularly enlightening.

60551The Book- On the Taboo Against Knowing Who you Are

In The Book Alan Watts shows us how our typical notion of what it is to be a human being is ridiculously limited and even absurd. Utilizing  simple, plain language and close-at-hand metaphors, he demonstrates with brilliant clarity that we need not look into religious texts to learn that we are immortal souls, but simply  look at life and ourselves with a fresh outlook  and clear thinking.

tales_of-plotkinTales of a Shaman’s Apprentice

Mark Plotkin met many shamans during his travels through the Amazon rainforest. Most of them shared freely the medicinal plant knowledge they had accumulated over a lifetime. If the words ‘Amazon’, ‘medicinal plants’ , ‘shamanism’, ‘adventure’, and ‘ethnobotany’ get your heart racing, then grab this book. As the Amazon, and the tribes who live in it,  slowly dies away, the knowledge contained there needs to be preserved.

the_road_back_to_nature_masanobu_fukuoka_180The Road Back to Nature

Masanobu Fukuoka  was rice farmer from Japan. He was  also a philosopher, a naturalist, and the founder of a simple and poetic style of farming called “No till.” Fukuoka believed that not only machines, but also human interference itself was mostly unnecessary when growing crops. He advocated a style and approach that allowed nature to do the ‘work’ of producing food. His influence was profound and far-reaching and many permaculture teachers today cite him as one of their earliest influences.

oshoAutobiography of A Spiritually Incorrect Mystic

Osho never sat down to write books. However, his thousands of informal talks and lectures have been organized by his students into books whose topics  span the entire spectrum of human experience. In this book, his recollections of his childhood are organized into a coherent narrative which gives a fascinating insight into the formative years and mind of one of history’s greatest thinkers.

yogiAutobiography of a Yogi

Paramahansa Yogananda’s life story is inspirational and entertaining.   I still chuckle when I think of the ‘Tiger Swami.’ He traveled throughout India in his youth and met many of the spiritual masters of his time. Recalling his meetings with them and the effect that their examples had on his development, Yogananda takes the reader into an exploration of human consciousness and our relationship with the divine source of the universe. While I was reading this book, some of Yogananda’s teachers visited me in my dreams.


Chronicles-of-Tao-Ming-Dao-Deng-9780062502193The Chronicles of Tao

This is a book I have re-read numerous times. There is always something new to learn, some little nugget or tidbit of wisdom that I missed on previous readings. As major religions go, Taoism is probably the least understood one in the world today. Most Westerners know nothing of it, except perhaps for the name of Lao Tzu. Most Asians know it only by its outer, superficial form, the religion ‘for the masses.’ The deepest levels of Taoism, studied by adepts in mountain monasteries, aim at the complete transformation of the human being himself, bringing him into alignment with the Tao and hence into immortality, through a complete and rigorous set of methods including meditation, herbalism, martial arts, diet, Qi Gong, and Tai Chi Ch’uan.

What makes this book so compelling is that some of Taoism’s greatest teachings are given to us through a story. The story follows a young student through his early years in the monastery, his time as a guerrilla soldier fighting the Japanese , his descent into a wandering fighter and urban hoodlum and finally his eventual trip to America. Through the protagonist’s eyes, we learn that the spiritual life is fraught with perils and obstacles and that, above all, perseverance and determination win out.

Carlos-Castaneda-The-Teachings-of-Don-JuanThe Teachings of Don Juan- A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

I read Don Juan when I was 18 and struggled to understand parts of it.  It was so far outside my paradigm and my background that I mostly just absorbed the feeling of it and got the sense that what Don Juan was imparting was important and profound, even if I didn’t totally get it.  This is a book you can come back to repeatedly. Castaneda wrote a number of sequels which continue Don Juan’s teachings.

sprial danceThe Spiral Dance- A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess

Starhawk has always been at the forefront of the revival of interest in ancient pagan religions. The publication of The Spiral Dance was both a reflection of that increased interest and an impetus to its furtherance.  It has become a classic. If you are new to paganism, wicca, and goddess-worship, this is a great book to start with.

Drawing-Down-the-Moon-Adler-Margot-9780143038191Drawing Down the Moon- Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and other Pagans in America

Margot Adler covers the full spectrum of paganism practiced in America today. Neither too broad nor too detailed, this book is a great introduction to the surprising and fascinating variety of disciplines practiced under the general rubric of ‘paganism.’


51rYzOQKo+LWheels of Life- A User’s Guide to the Chakra System

I always keep this book close by. Whenever I pick it up, my pulse quickens just a bit, as I know that I am going to learn something new, something profound, and something eminently useful. This is maybe the best book that I know which combines the esoteric and the practical. Learning the chakra system is not merely an academic or spiritual exercise, but a way to help you become a more whole, healthy, and happy human being. I also love the way this book feels in my hands. It’s the perfect size and shape and the cover is absolutely beautiful.

51MfVDOlEkL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Four Agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz gives his readers four spiritual teachings from the ancient Toltecs. The four agreements can be applied immediately and to great effect in one’s life. More a self-help book than a collection of spiritual teachings, The Four Agreements is a unique blending of psychology and spirituality, presented in a concise and understandable form.

b5b113cde1cb0b028c68d9676d774a40Ritual – Power, Healing and Community

Malidoma Patrice Some is a writer from Burkina Faso, West Africa. Ritual is a beautifully written book on the power of ritual and the deep psychological wounds present in modern day Western societies whose people have lost touch with  the teachings of their ancestors.


illustrated-i-ching-r-l-wing-paperback-cover-artThe Illustrated I Ching

The I Ching is one of the oldest forms of divination and one of the oldest Chinese classic texts. Its origins date back to the 3rd millennia BCE. To fully grasp and master the I Ching would take a lifetime of study. Luckily, its basic structure and function are well within the grasp of the  student who is willing to spend some hours reading and practicing. The more one practices the I Ching, the more it reveals its almost infinite layers of complexity and meaning. The I Ching is a powerful ally to have in life where we are constantly faced with difficult choices.

41VMjFOuakL._SL500_AA300_Tantra- The Yoga of Sex

Don’t let the title fool you. This is not a sex manual, nor does it even address the issue of sex very much. It is a basic introduction to the philosophy of Tantra, which is the art and science of being fully alive. Filled with practical tips on how to adjust one’s surroundings, work, and relationships to heighten the experience of living, Tantra is a valuable tool to have in your life.

zen-in-the-martial-artsZen in the Martial Arts

Any student of the martial arts who wants to delve more deeply into the spiritual aspects of the martial way ought to read this book. Joe Hyams is a serious martial arts student and fine writer and he condenses valuable teachings from a wide variety of disciplines and teachers into this fun read.

the-republic1Plato’s Republic

When I finally sat down to read The Republic, I was a bit apprehensive.  I didn’t know how difficult Plato was going to be since my experience of him was so limited. Thus, I was shocked at how approachable and engaging this text really is. Presented in the form of a dialogue, The Republic can be enjoyed and appreciated by people of any age or educational background, if they have the willingness and open-mindedness to learn. What is justice? Read here and see if they were able to answer the question.

The-Nicomachean-Ethics-306294The Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle’s writing soars with clarity, insight, and rationality. This book delves deeply into ethics and the nature of friendship. Fortunately for me, I was forced to read this for a college ethics course; otherwise I probably would have never found it.



51ICwXYIwyL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_Serpent in the Sky- The High Wisdom of Ancient Egypt

Having no background in either  Egyptian studies  or numerology, I struggled with this book initially. John Anthony West dives right in with his exploration of ancient Egypt and holds nothing back. This is an exciting, at times thrilling, book. There are undoubtedly easier books to read which delve into similar subject matter, but Serpent in the Sky rewards those who stick with it all the way through.

715N3MMHKCLFingerprints of the Gods

Graham Hancock has been a prolific writer over the last twenty years. His books explore the enduring mysteries of the ancient world, and offer provocative and alternative theories about everything from the Great Pyramid to the Nazca Lines. Existing and writing outside the staid boundaries of academia, Hancock goes where his studies and intuition take him and is unafraid to draw controversial conclusions. His books have reached a wide audience and he has done a number of documentaries for the BBC and other channels. Reading this book will undoubtedly whet your appetite for more: The Message of the Sphinx, The Mars Mystery, The Orion Mystery, and other books by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert are excellent supplements to Fingerprints. 

12thThe 12th Planet

The origin of humanity  has always been a subject of heated debate. If you feel that both the old testament and Darwin’s theory of evolution are unsatisfactory, Zecharia Sitchin’s theory of where we come from is a refreshing new addition to the debate. Sitchin interpreted the ancient Sumerian clay tablets to piece together a coherent and believable narrative of our beginnings. He had a tremendous impact on other ‘alternative’ researchers and writers in the fields of archaeology, history, astronomy, religion, and comparative mythology. The 12th Planet is only Book One in what he called his Earth Chronicles. The narrative continues in many subsequent books. Essential reading for those who seek to answer the first question; Where do we come from?

saddestThe Saddest Pleasure- A Journey on Two Rivers

A friend gave me this book for a birthday gift. I politely said, ‘thank you’ even though I had never heard of it and was very skeptical that I would enjoy a long travel memoir written by an old man. However, The Saddest Pleasure turned out to be a compelling book. Moritz Thomsen was a great writer and his memoir of his travels through South America contains sharp observations of a keen mind. But what makes this book really great is Thomsen’s brutal honesty and his frank reflections of his own life- a life filled with few successes and many failures.

intothewildInto the Wild

Jon Krakauer’s book about a young man, fresh out of college, who ventures into the Alaskan wilderness in a Thoureau-esque exploration of the meaning of life is poignant and timely. I think Krakauer asks the right questions here about the whether Thoreau’s teachings still have relevance in the modern, urbanized world and I also like that he leaves it mostly to the readers to draw their own conclusions around this story.

bruceBruce Lee- the Biography

This biography of Bruce Lee, written by Robert Clouse, who directed ‘Enter the Dragon’, is well-written and focuses on Bruce’s last years. Along with Linda Lee’s biography of her late husband, it gives an excellent overview of  Bruce Lee’s short but complex and fascinating life. For more a more in-depth exploration of Bruce’s teachings, read The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. 

marleyCatch a Fire- the Life of Bob Marley

Whether you consider Bob Marley to be ‘just’ a great musician or a prophet, there’s no denying the impact this man had on Reggae, Jamaica, Rastafarianism, left wing politics, and his fans all over the world. As popular as he was during his lifetime, he seemingly grows even more popular with each passing year after his untimely death in 1981. This biography strikes a nice balance in covering all aspects of his life, from his impoverished boyhood in Kingston to his final years as worldwide Reggae ambassador and musical superstar.

Secrets of the Soil

soilThere are ways we can can fix much of the damage we have caused to Mother Earth over the last few millennia, and many of those methods deal with soil regeneration, worms, compost, mushrooms and mycelia. This beautiful book takes the reader on a fascinating  journey into the microscopic world of soil bacteria and shows how we can utilize our humble friends right under our feet to heal the planet.


The Secret Life of Plants

secret-life-of-plants-tompkins-400x400-imadhy4ks8egwejcPeter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, the authors of Secrets of the Soil, take a scientific look at some age-old questions: Are plants conscious? Do they have feelings? Do they feel pain? Do they respond to music, thoughts, and prayers?  Not just for botanists and plant lovers, this book is fascinating reading for everyone who wants to understand the interconnectivity of all life on Earth.


A Pattern Language- Towns, Building, Construction

Pattern LanguageA book like this, with such a boring cover, and even more boring name, will never reach a mass audience. It’s also quite thick and a bit intimidating looking. Unless you are in a construction trade, or have an interest in community or urban planning, you most likely will never come across this gem. It was only after I began studying permaculture that a friend put this book in my hands and I’m so thankful for it. Full of wisdom, warmth, imagination, creativity and insight, this book will appeal to anyone who wonders how we can design a better world, with buildings and architecture suited to our deepest needs. We need an architecture and style of building to promote peace and connectivity, not loneliness and alienation.

Atlantis – The Antediluvian World

atlantisPublished in 1882 by Ignatius Donnelly, this was the first real scholarly attempt to explore the myth of Atlantis and many still consider it the best all-around book on the lost continent.  Donnelly had a keen mind, was well-read in the classics,  and gathered facts and data from a wide range of disciplines to support his argument. If you could only give your friends one book on Atlantis, give them this one. Search online as there are still some fine old hardcopies available.

The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon

marriage-sun-moon-andrew-weil-paperback-cover-artAndrew Weil has written quite a few excellent book including one of the best drug reference books around, From Chocolate to Morphine. One of his lesser known books, The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon looks at consciousness from a variety of perspectives, many of them unique. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the mind-altering aspects of foods such as mangos and chilies and the scientific brainwashing surrounding the viewing of total eclipses.

The Findhorn Garden

51GCM0E8XXL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I first heard about the Findhorn community from the wonderful movie My Dinner with Andre. When I came across this book with its fantastic photos and inspiring message of communion with nature, I snatched it up quickly. Over the years, it has continually inspired me and its message is as timely as ever. The community itself is still going strong.


China’s aggressive new stance, Viet Nam’s reaction, and Obama’s Asian pivot

Events are unfolding quickly in Southeast Asia. A military coup has just occurred in Thailand and China has provocatively placed an oil drilling rig in the South China Sea, just off the coast of Viet Nam. The rig is well within Viet Nam’s economic exclusion zone and is an area that Vietnamese fishermen have used for centuries.

Once word got out what China had done, spontaneous protests broke out in Viet Nam, some turning violent. Things have calmed down, for the moment. The government moved quickly to squash the protests, apprehend the protest leaders, assuage foreign investors and reimburse companies for damages. Vietnamese leaders have opted for a strategy of peaceful resolution, utilizing whatever legal means in the international arena they can while trying to reassure investors and tourists that it’s all ‘business as usual.’

bde191_5238c45a6231fc31cccc92b8ffa41f15China, meanwhile, has sent in dozens more ships to protect the oil rig and harass Vietnamese boats which come too close. Where this is all leading is anyone’s guess. One thing though is for sure: if Viet Nam is unable to dislodge the oil rig and China continues drilling, the government’s credibility will take a serious blow and China will gain the confidence to do similar actions around Southeast Asia. Today  Viet Nam’s leaders met with their Filipino counterparts to brainstorm responses to China’s aggressiveness. Soon, Chinese ships will show up on the Philippines’ coast doing the same thing.


Area of the ‘South China Sea’ which China claims:


Cooler heads are prevailing at the moment, but this is an extremely worrisome move by China’s leaders. They risk alienating not only Viet  Nam but also all of their Southeast Asian neighbors. Do they really need the oil, or is this more of a symbolic move, a clear signal to their neighbors and the U.S.A. that the South China Sea is their ‘sphere of influence?’

As Obama moves forward with his ‘Asian Pivot’ in an aggressive attempt to blunt China’s influence and , indeed , to ultimately encircle that huge country, we can expect more counter-moves such as this one. Meanwhile , smaller countries on the periphery, such as Viet Nam will be caught in the middle.




Following the chaos in Brazil. Countdown to the World Cup

The latest news coming out of Brazil isn’t good. Bus drivers are going on strike in Sao Paulo and civil police forces are going on strike in 17 states and ‘will not be investigating crimes.’ Just what Brazil needs a couple of weeks before the start of the World Cup.

This is like watching a bad car crash in slow motion. Can the PR get any worse for the Brazilian government? Will Rousseff survive the next election? How many spectators and tourists are having second thoughts and canceling their trip to Brazil?

I shed no tears for FIFA, that arrogant and mafia-like bully. If the world cup is a disaster, perhaps FIFA will learn some sorely needed humility. Nor do I care much about the multi-millionaire players and their gargantuan egos, blow-dried hair and endorsement contracts. It’s the Brazilian people we should be concerned about, those who will inevitably pick up the tab for this unnecessary and costly fiasco.

Links are below. Simon Jenkins, who writes for the Guardian, gives an excellent overview of the situation, and offers an interesting piece of  advice for Brazil.




Boko Haram: the new bogeyman.

Have the higher-ups in the pentagon realized that the ‘threat’ of Al-Qaeda no longer sends shivers down the spines of naive Americans as it once did? Or, are more Americans learning how the U.S. government is working with Al-Qaeda in Syria and in other places? Have more people caught onto the fact that Al-CIA-da was a creation of U.S. intelligence all along? Whatever is going on, one thing is clear- a new bogeyman is needed to send a  wave a fear crashing over the landscape of America and beyond and to justify more imperialistic and militaristic global adventures. Hence, we have BOKO HARAM.

Expect to see more- a lot more- bombings, kidnappings, killings and mayhem in the days, weeks and months ahead, attributed to this shadowy group based in Nigeria. This crap could only have been cooked up deep in the belly of Washington neo-con think tanks, and mossad war rooms. ‘Let’s create a new ‘terrorist’ group. We shall base them in Nigeria. They live not in Lagos, but up in the Northern regions, where they are hard to track. Yes, good. And of course, they are Muslim. Their goals are unclear, but they are jihadist for sure, and hate everything about the good people of the Western world.’

So, this string of car bombings taking place in Nigeria is all conveniently blamed on Boko Haram, even though of course we never see a BK representative on television claiming anything. The sheeple are just  supposed to take the word of some government official, or a BBC or CNN reporter. Just like in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bali, London and elsewhere, these bombings have all the earmarks of the Mossad.

“Cui Bono?” Who benefits from this? If this Boko Haram group really exists, what would they stand to gain from slaughtering innocent bystanders in Lagos? Nothing.  Western powers however, stand to gain much from a breaking up and fracturing of Western Africa. There’s a whole lot of resources there for the taking.

Boko Harma, the new bogeyman hiding under your bed:


As the violence in Nigeria and Mali ratchets up, right on cue Barry Sotero announces the sending of the U.S. military to Africa, supposedly to help find some kidnapped schoolgirls. This is the script of a bad Hollywood ‘B’ movie. The grand chessboard in being played out on the African continent between China and the United States, with the help of NATO.  As the U.S. adopts a more open, and aggressive, military strategy in Africa, it will need new cover stories and new bogeymen to throw at the populace. Not that the elites in Washington DC and London and Tel Aviv care what you think anyway. But they need to say something. It wouldn’t be proper to just say, “We’re going in to get the gold, copper, oil, and manganese.”

God’s country: Humboldt County California

In late summer of 1997 I was living and working in a small permaculture community in the Black Mountains of Western North Carolina. One afternoon, a group of visitors arrived  and it fell on me to give them a tour and prepare dinner. One member of this group was a young woman whom I quickly developed a crush on. Over the next couple of days, we spent much time together and as she was getting ready to leave, she asked me to come visit her in Humboldt County, where she was headed.

“Where’s that”? I asked.

“You don’t know Northern California? Oh, you’ll love it. It’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth. There’s giant trees, mountains, coastline and beautiful people!”

A month later I flew to San Francisco and then got on a Greyhound bus to travel north. Disembarking from the bus in the tiny town of Garberville, I met my girlfriend and she drove me in a pickup truck up a windy mountain road. The drive took one hour and we had to stop a handful of times to rest as I was getting nauseated from all the curves and switchbacks. As I looked  around me, all I could see were endless vistas of dense forests, mountain ranges, and rolling hills. We passed only two or three vehicles on the drive up. ‘What is this place? ‘ I wondered . I thought I was only going to spend a month there. That month turned into nine years.

aamonggiantsHumboldt County, California is a large rural county located in far Northern California. Lying approximately 200 miles north of San Francisco along the Pacific Coast, Humboldt has a population of only 134,623 people who live scattered over an area of 4,000 square miles. It is mountainous and densely forested and contains the last remaining groves of ancient old-growth  coastal Redwood trees (Sequoia Sempervirens).

Before settlement by white Europeans in the 1700s and 1800s, Humboldt was the home to numerous Native American tribes, including the Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, and Karuk. Today, Humboldt is home to eight Indian reservations.

Until the 1970s, Humboldt was populated mostly by small communities of loggers, dairy farmers and fishermen. Isolated and far from any urban centers, it was unknown to most Americans, even though the groves of Redwood trees were known to be one of the wonders of the  natural world.

general sherman tree comparisonDuring the 1970s and 1980s, thousands of hippies made their way north from San Francisco and other hippie enclaves, searching for a quieter, simpler life. With no jobs or income, most of this pioneering group learned how to grow and farm high quality and high potency  marijuana (cannabis sativa) and within a short period of time, the term “Humboldt Bud” and “Humboldt Grown” came to signify some of the best marijuana grown anywhere.

The influx of hippies into Humboldt was not welcomed by all. Local, state and national law enforcement took notice of all the marijuana poring out of the county and set up a vigorous and aggressive eradication campaign. Law enforcement, consisting mostly of specialized ‘drug enforcement’ units of local agencies using state and national funds, conducted raids on grow sites. Using helicopters, fleets of SUVs and dozens of officers with assault rifles , the raids were often over-the-top affairs, a sort of ‘shock-and-awe’ campaign against the locals. Breaking numerous FAA codes with low flyovers and crashing onto properties with flimsy warrants, the cops grabbed everything in sight, including cash, marijuana,  cars, tools, 3-wheeled motorbikes and guns. Claiming authority under Federal drug laws which allow forfeiture of property of drug dealers, law enforcement simply took the loot , without a trial ever taking place, let alone a prosecution. It was (and is)  nothing less than legalized theft, but because all the craziness was happening in a forgotten corner of rural America, nobody paid much attention.

Post BluffMany of the left-leaning hippies also were environmentalists, and it wasn’t long before clashes developed between them and loggers. By this time, 90% of the ancient Redwood trees had already been cut down, and now the young activists were determined to save the final remaining 10%. Things really heated up in the late 1980s after the loathsome scumbag Charles Hurwitz and his Maxxam Corporation bought the Pacific Lumber Company and began an aggressive clear cutting campaign. Judi Bari, Darryl Cherney, Earth First and others ramped up the battle which culminated in the 1990 Redwood Summer campaign.

By the time I arrived in Humboldt in the late 1990s, Judi Bari had died of breast cancer and the protests had quieted down. But then a new wave of protests started, led by a new idealistic young group, some of them Earth Firsters and others just committed environmentalists. In 1998 David ‘Gypsy’ Chain, a young activist, became a martyr when a logger felled a tree in his direction. In 1997,  a young woman named Julia Butterfly Hill ascended a giant Redwood tree where she lived for two years to attempt to save it from Hurwitz’s PALCO.

Although most of the remaining Redwood trees are now placed under protective status, logging and even clear cutting continues in Humboldt forests.

628x471Humboldt boasts an impressive variety of annual musical festivals including Reggae on the River, The Trinity Tribal Stomp, Summer Arts and Music Festival, Earth Dance, and many others. Arcata, the small college town located near Humboldt Bay hosts an annual oyster festival and the one-of-a-kind Kinetic Sculpture Race.

A couple of years ago when I was living in the Southern Andean part of Ecuador, I got the chance to hang out with some former Humboldt residents. Reflecting on his time spent there, the gentleman remarked to me, “I think Humboldt County is the most beautiful place on planet Earth. Truly. It has everything: mountains, rugged coastline, beaches, Redwood trees, sunshine, fog, unspoiled rivers, wildlife, marshes- you name it.” I later reflected on what he said.  I think he makes a strong case. Humboldt is home to the Eel, Klamath, Trinity, and Mad Rivers, all unique and beautiful in their own way. The King Range, Lost Coast, National Wildlife Refuge, Redwood National Park,  and Headwaters Forest are world class natural destinations. Patrick’s Point, Prairie Creek, Clam Beach, Moonstone Beach and countless other natural parks are what make Humboldt so special.

kinetic-sculpture-race.7213881.87Living in Humboldt for eight years changed me in profound ways and I will always carry the memory of it inside of me. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to live in the countryside and connect more deeply with nature. After living there for a few years, it used to amuse me greatly to watch city slickers from San Francisco come up and wander the streets of Arcata and Eureka. They all looked so uptight, angry, suspicious, and nervous. I wanted to give them a big hippie bear hug and say, “Relax, you can chill now.”  The relaxed pace of life in small towns and rural communities allows you to develop deeper friendships and relationships. So many of the ‘airs’ that we have to carry around in big city life can be dropped and you can just ‘be.’ Of course, small town living has its downsides as well. People tend to become insular, provincial, cut off from the bigger world and often become gossipy and even cliquish.

5735081743_f1ee9ce131_bWhen I tell my students I don’t watch tv, they often ask incredulously, “Well what do you do in the evening”? I remember so many nights lying on the grass in Southern Humboldt with my girlfriend and watching shooting stars and the Milky Way, or huddling by the wood stove trying to stay warm and reading books while sipping tea. We never for a moment thought we were missing out on something by not living in the city.




A Review of the Press in Viet Nam and Cambodia

Newspapers, magazines and other print media are struggling around the world as we transition more and more into a digital world where we receive all our news and information from online sources. Nevertheless, newspapers and magazines continue to published as they work to find niche markets and explore ways to survive in the new economy.

08_09_2013_001Viet Nam is a one-party state that is not known for having a robust and free press. The organization ‘Reporters without Borders’ publishes an annual list ranking 180 countries around the world on their freedom of the press. Last year, Viet Nam ranked 174th on this list (ouch!) and Cambodia ranked 144th. However, a number of quality newspapers are published here, and one of them is an English language daily Viet Nam News. I read Viet Nam News almost every day and often share stories from it with my students. I appreciate the layout. Typically it is about 30 pages long. It is 28 x 30 cm, a perfect size for reading on the table next to your breakfast and does not require any awkward unfolding. Except for the front page picture, the photos are in black and white and advertising is set to strict limits. The newspaper covers local and national business, environmental, cultural, and social news. Additionally, international news is extensively covered with many wire stories reprinted from Reuters, Agence-France Press, AP, and many others. Articles and opinions from readers and expatriates are encouraged and reprinted weekly.

Thanhniennews publishes their print edition in Vietnamese but has a online English language edition. They used to print a weekly newsmagazine in English called Viet Week which was excellent and covered a broad and interesting range of topics. Unfortunately, this was discontinued a few weeks ago due to financial costs associated with the printing. The people at Thanhniennews have an excellent editorial team and are not afraid to run hard-hitting pieces aimed at government and police corruption, and graft and malfeasance in the business sector. I am always impressed with the quality of their articles.

stock-footage-young-man-reading-newspaper-in-cafeThere are two slick glossy magazines printed here which are aimed at wealthy Western tourists and the expatriate community: Word  and Asia Life. They are mostly what you would expect from magazines in that genre- lots of articles covering restaurant openings with photoshopped pictures of food , reviews of nightclubs, bars, cafes, djs, bartenders, etc. and of course plenty of articles about beach towns and the hot new spots around Viet Nam. Occasionally, they will attempt an in-depth article, but the focus is on fluff, consumerism, and nightlife.

Cambodia has two surprisingly good newspapers based in Phnom Penh: The Cambodia Daily and The Phnom Penh Post. The former has a layout similar to Viet Nam News and is a compact, dense newspaper filled with articles from sources all over Asia and the world. With a minimalist style, including small black and white photos and small type-face, it might not appeal to younger generations who are used to splashy graphics, but I love it. I grab a handful of issues whenever I go to Cambodia. The PPP is similar though it looks a bit more like a traditional Western newspaper. Articles and editorials critical of the government are not widely seen, but as the country continues to open up and develop, I believe we will see press freedom expanding as well.

Online magazines, news sites and blogs are starting continually. Saigoneer is a website started recently by English speaking expats in Viet Nam and is aiming to cover a broad range of news topics. Lacking many writers, they mostly grab and repost articles from Thanhniennews and others. Khmer440 is site for expats in Cambodia to share their blogging material and occasionally has some interesting material, but regrettably the vast majority of their submissions are low quality gonzo garbage. Asiapundits, based in Korea also gathers materials from writers and bloggers based in Asia and , like Khmer440, has 10 throwaway pieces for every submission that is worth reading.