The Journey


Thursday, December 17, 2015

12-17-2015 To Karmen Concannon, Publisher Sentinel-Tribune

Today I read how the Sentinel-Tribune fired the Editor under pressure from the gun lobby. Below is a link to that article and to the editorial that did not get published.

Please write to Karmen and tell her to protect the freedoms of our country.

Publisher Sentinel-Tribune
Karmen Concannon,

The name of your institution implies that you stand as a guardian of the rights and freedoms put forth in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Yours is the only private concern named specifically in the Bill of Rights because of its centrality to a free people. If you bow to threats of the gun lobby you are giving away not just your freedom but that of this country.

I am fortunate to live in a fairly liberal place, Marin County California. This Sunday when I and 200 to 300 others marched with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America, we were graced with a retreat of the mornings heavy rains. Other marches around the country were met with gun-rights intimidators, mostly heavily armed men, countering mostly women and children. 

This summer I rode my bicycle across our country and through your state. I know there are many differences between California and Ohio. I know there is much courage, a history of pride, especially in the civil war era, battles fought on your soil, that Ohioans are much proud. Now is one of those times in history, as a free people, in a free country, that will remain so only if good people and our institutions show courage and mimic the actions of our ancestors.

In light of recent attacks in this country by those that think guns are for fighting social issues, e.g. the Charleston and Colorado Springs shootings, most of the participants in these marches commemorating the 3rd year anniversary of Newtown, showed great courage. There are real threats implied by these armed thugs.

In this county, where freedom is cherished more than in any other, where ‘Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness’ were to prevail, we are now living  in fear. More fearfully than citizens in any other prosperous country. Truly these rights enshrined in our Declaration of Independence have been stolen by the rich and powerful institutions who are now profiting (who sell more guns and ammunition after each mass shooting) off the fear they are sowing. 

They are blocking common sense gun ownership rules and stealing our freedom. They are stealing our freedom, our civil liberties enshrined in our Bill of Rights. Their intimidating presence at demonstrations, healthcare facilities and houses of worship is proof that their intentions are not for promoting liberty but are for limiting the freedoms of normal civil life.

They are stealing our freedom by intimidating those who were chosen to protect our First Amendment rights. They are directly stealing our freedom of the press, as evidenced by the censorship of this editorial of conscious. The thugs will win if our press does not stand up. It is written.

Dan Monte


"Editor Is Fired, but Not Silenced, Over the NRA”

The unpublished editorial by Jan Larson McLaughlin

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12-15-2015 The People of the World United Cannot Be Defeated

The People of the World United Cannot Be Defeated
In 1945 the United Nations was formed after 30 years of war and reparations and more war. Now seventy years later that organization has come together to save civilization from the economic development that occurred in the aftermath of that peace. Our climate change crisis is not over by any measure but now all that is left for a true fix is for a democratic movement to arise on a global scale and force the governments to respond to the realities they admitted to last week. 

The message of Paris is that tens of thousands of people from all over the globe came together and defied the terrorists, defied the state of emergency, and demanded action. We are the first species to face extinction and have the capability to consciously alter that course. This agreement is as important if not more so than the one signed by 51 countries seven decades ago. We have over 190 countries but more important we have the people of those countries united against the institutions of power that have to this point refused to change. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

12-14-2015 We are all Parisians now.

We are all Parisians now. The world has come together, both in the face of institutionally based opposition and threats of terrorism. Our nations have struck an accord to address our Climate Crisis. Scientists are wringing their hands that there are no enforceable mandates to lower our carbon consumption. 

There resides the space left for us, democracy, to push for 2°C or 1.5°C, for “Bike To The Future”, for “Soil Not Oil”, for “Leave It In The Ground.” And yes for "Peace and Environmental Justice." Democracy, that same force that pushed our national leaders to an acknowledgement of responsibility and requirement for action, is not written into the accord but it is in the streets of Paris. 

Neither two degrees centigrade nor 1.5°C are sustainable. Right now we are at 1°C and we are in the midst of the 6th extinction, a massive global die off of species. Our glaciers are melting and the world populations are on the move because their homelands are uninhabitable. So in my view the value of Paris is that nations recognize that there are limits, responsibilities and requirements for action. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

11-17-2015; ISIS Part Two.a

11-17-2015;  ISIS Part Two.a
Near the end of June, while riding my bicycle for Peace and Environmental Justice across the United States, a six to ten hours a day endeavor, I wrote a piece entitled “What About ISIS, Dan?” In it I tried to separate the two identities of the organization, one a proto-state and the other a loosely organized criminal terror network.  Two manifestations require two solutions. I label the terrorist facet criminal because it will take policing and justice tools to  stop it. Bombing Syria will not end the criminal actions no more than the bombing and invading Afghanistan and Iraq ended al Qaeda. In fact invading those countries increased al Qaeda’s number and forcefulness.

The only means of ending the state facet of ISIS goes something like Senator and Presidential candidate Sanders suggest, engaging the neighboring Sunni countries. Clearly ISIS is getting help from some of the neighboring states and thanks to WikiLeaks in 2010 we know that Saudi Arabia, Qatra, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates are the culprits funding ISIS operations. But ending the development of new Sunni state might not be a possibility nor even a desired outcome. 

The need for a new Sunni state in the Middle East is a real possibility. At one time early after we invaded Iraq it was thought that it needed to be split into three autonomous regions, Kurdish, Shia, and Sunni. Considering that the Gulf Alliance, really a Sunni Alliance, has a willingness to fund such a state and that the Shia of Iraq have no intention of really including the Sunni in a government, maybe the three state idea needs to be revived. 
For ISIS to maintain its 20,000 soldier army, and that is a very low estimate some have their strength anywhere from 40 to 100 thousand, they would need an annual budget of close to $5 Billion. 

From 2006, “The United States must focus now, not on preserving or forging a unified Iraq, but on avoiding a spreading and increasingly dangerous and deadly civil war. It must accept the reality of Iraq's breakup and work with Iraq's Shiites, Kurds, and Sunni Arabs to strengthen the already semi-independent regions. If they are properly constituted, these regions can provide security, though not all will be democratic.” From a review of Peter Galbraith, The End Of Iraq, 2006. (

And again in 2015 on the disintegration of the Iraqi army when attacked in Mosul, Galbraith writes, “In fact, the problems of the Iraqi Army reflect the problems of Iraq where Shiites and Sunnis don’t agree on what it means to be Iraqi and where the Kurds unanimously don’t want to be Iraqi at all. The deficiencies of the army cannot be corrected because they reflect the realities of the society.” Daily Beast, March 2015, 

But Iran, Turkey and what is left of Iraq and Syria will resist this alternative, while the Gulf Alliance states might well want it to break up the Sunni Crescent. Turkey will oppose it in that it will create a Kurdish state and engender independence aspirations in her own territory. This is the area where our ‘diplomatic mission’ needs to place its energy. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

11-16-2015; ISIS Part Two

11-16-2015;  ISIS Part Two
Near the end of June, while riding my bicycle for Peace and Environmental Justice across the United States, a six to ten hours a day endeavor, I wrote a piece entitled “What About ISIS, Dan?” In it I tried to separate the two identities of the organization, one a proto-state and the other a loosely organized criminal terror network.  Two manifestations require two solutions. I label the terrorist facet criminal because it will take policing and justice tools to  stop it. Bombing Syria will not end the criminal actions no more than the bombing and invading Afghanistan and Iraq ended al Qaeda. In fact invading those countries increased al Qaeda’s number and forcefulness.

Today I read an article written the Saturday morning of the Democratic Presidential Debate, as the news of the Paris attacks were still being updated. “There Is Only One Way to Defeat ISIS,” by Charles Pierce of Esquire. With a flourish Pierce laid out the only means of ending the state facet of ISIS and what is at stake for what we call civilized society. But ending the state of ISIS might not be a possibility. 

It costs the US taxpayers a million dollars per soldier to wage a war and occupation. If ISIS with stealing its weapons from the Iraqi army and its food from the people it controls can do the job for one quarter the cost, at 20,000 soldiers -a low estimate- then it would need a $5 Billion dollar annual budget. And ISIS controls thousands of miles of Iraq and Syria, 20,000 is a very low estimate for soldiers that at times has been reported to be closer to 40,000 and even 100,000. 

Clearly ISIS is getting help from some of the neighboring states. And Pierce fills in that part of the puzzle with information gathered by WikiLeaks in 2010. Saudi Arabia, Qatra, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates are the culprits. My objection to Pierce’s writing is that it does not consider the possibility that there is a real need for a new Sunni state in the Middle East. At one time early after we invaded Iraq  it was thought that it needed to be split into three autonomous regions, Kurdish, Shia, and Sunni. Considering that the Gulf Alliance, really a Sunni Alliance, has a willingness to fund such a state and the Shia of Iraq have no intention of really including the Sunni in a government maybe that idea needs to be revived. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

11-14-2015: Is This The Last Tango for Neocons?

Is This The Last Tango for Neocons?
When in college my concerns were focused on the Viet Nam war and the Civil Rights movement. Earth Day was not yet invented. There was the draft and Black America was burning over the assignation of MLK. I reach back in my memory to the feelings of alienation from the society my parents’ generation had created. They were born just before the first great world war and survived the global flu pandemic, the great depression, and the second world war. They helped create the New Deal. They believed in good government. Over the following thirty years they slowly became Nixon-Reagan Democrats. But not before giving us easy access to inexpensive college. 

I am not much different now than I was then, an outsider looking in. I choose a private school because of its promise of a traditional liberal arts education. My college debt stayed with me for ten years. Manageable, it was not a inhibitive sum. I find it interesting that a few presidential candidates have talked about paying off their student debt as preparation of their campaign. 

The debt students are now taking on is a substantial drag on our economy. Ellen Brown of the Public Banking Institute has been suggesting for years now that the Federal Reserve provide a stimulus to our economy by purchasing all student debt. A social equity quantitative easing for the rest of us, not just the big banks. The $1.2 Trillion would be less than what was used to recapitalize the financial sector since 2008. This money would mostly go directly into Main Street’s economy. The Fed’s QE1 through QE3 have exacerbated inequality while providing only a modest stimulus effect. 

I don’t regret my riotous youth, except for not being able to counteract the Nixon-Reagan backlash. Today students are facing years of indentured servitude to a system that is dynamically pursuing the destruction of civilization through the destruction of the climate. Our parents were able to reject the social movements of the Baby Boomers. They were part of an ever increasingly economically inclusive society. They had their experience of successful governmental programs.  

I hope that Baby Boomers, unlike our parents before us, will embrace these new youthful movements at next years’ polls. The Student Debt, Black Lives Matter, Immigrant Rights, and environmental and anti-war movements are coalescing in an economy that is becoming more exclusive. The ‘masters of the universe’ will again try to divide our generations as they did 40 years ago. But Baby Boomers, who accepted a doubling of the payroll tax for most of our working lives to support our parents retirement, would be wise find common cause with today’s youth. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

I Listened to last night’s ‘First in the South Democratic Forum’

I am all in for Sanders 2016, just so you know.
Sanders and his racial record, and can he relate to Black America. Can he update his personal reference in addition to something that happen in the 60’s? Everyone learns Martin Luther King’s name in school now but he died nearly 50 years ago and most people do not know what he stood for except very generally for racial equality. Try naming the march, March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom.

On ISIS, and asking Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern Suni States to participate. The Suni Gulf Coalition is doing terrible things in Yemen, and there is evidence that factions inside these countries are funding ISIS.  Emphasize  defensive international anti-terror coalitions more and speak to the need of identifying possible threats long before they occur. If you want the US to stop being the policeman of the world then it needs to stop acting only in response to the crime scene like cops do. 

On jobs and foreign investment talk about the positive effects to local small businesses of these policies and not just of workers’ benefits.
Sustainable economy means lots of work for local building contractors.
Sustainable economy could mean lots of work for new homegrown technology.
Living wage can be and will be a boost for the local main street businesses, as everyone participates everyone benefits.
Medicare for everyone means a boost for the local main street businesses, as everyone participates everyone benefits from a healthy workforce.
Same for free college as a highly educated work force is a benefit to all businesses, including employees with great new ideas for small businesses.

On guns, do not talk about mental health and gun control in the same breath. I find it extremely offensive. Speak of people with criminal records of violence, domestic abuse as alternatives. A demonstrated knowledge of how to safely own, store, and use gun pre condition, yes.

When asked about the mass movement needed you referenced the Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy. It organized multiple large turnout election cycles that had great victories in 2006 and 2008. That can be done again to save the planet and our democracies. And emphasis that you would want to keep it engaged to win more victories in following years and on down stream elections. I love the idea of children being registered to vote at birth, with a18 year delay, for federal elections. You can add benefits for states that demonstrate full participation in their local elections too.

PS:The DNC, Democratic National Committee, should lead the challenge of the Kentucky governor race. The anomalies are too great and the implications for the 2016 election are dire. If this result is allowed to stand then there most definitely will not be a fair election next year. Low turnout was a contributing factor but turnout was 8 percentage points higher than in the election four years ago. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 6: Apocalypse Now, A Baby Boomer’s View Of Climate In-Action

What’s at stake in Yglesias’ article on the failures of the Democratic Party is that the world’s leading economy and dominant military power will not be addressing our most serious predicament, the global climate crisis, for many years to come. 

Matthew Yglesias (in his VOX article “Democrats are in Denial. Their party is actually in deep trouble.” 10-19-2015) suggests that the Democratic Party is taking up more left leaning positions recently, positions to help those of us struggling to survive in this very unequal economy. The implication is that this is coming at a time when these positions, with no hope of implementation, will further isolate the Democrats from power.

The destruction of labor unions and the degradation of our educational systems has lead to the rise in popularity of conservative causes. (VOX, “America may be in a reinforcing feedback loop of growing inequality and Republican rule”, Lee Drutman, November 4, 2015). 

Howard Dean suggested on MSNBC last night (11-5) that the reason the Democrats have done so poorly lately is that the party had turned into a re-elect the President committee. He was bemoaning the Party’s abandonment of the 50 state strategy he implemented when leading the DNC that resulted in the victories of 2006 and 2008. The 50 State Strategy was an attempt to create a party organized mass movement. 

I believe that the problem resides in the fact that Democrats, who engage in strong debates over principles and issues, abandon their principles when there is a chance of implementing them and consequently attack politicians who will fight for those principles. I am discouraged by the Party’s organized duplicity. It is not hard for me to hold my beliefs in what science is trying to tell us, that civilization is at risk of disappearing under the weight of our own doings. The news presents daily the disintegrating conditions of our climate crisis.

It takes a lot of people to create this extraordinary culture that we benefit from, our modern global culture. Our civilization’s advances in education, medicine, communication, energy production, transportation and much more are at risk by the economic dynamics that created them. We are dependent on the stable climate of the last 10 millennium. Our ability to both feed ourselves and have the leisure to create this culture is what is a stake. 

Bernie Sanders is correct that we need a political revolution, a mass movement, to take our democracy back from the ‘millionaire and billionaire class’ that controls both parties, our democracy, at the highest levels. Mass movements can support electoral parties and parties can support mass movements. There is a lot of overlap. But they are not the same type of institutions. They have different goals. Parties are about gaining state power and governing and movements are about influencing that governance. Mass movements plead, demand, and at best force governments to address their concerns. Howard Dean’s mass movement, his 50 State Strategy, was compromised because it facilitated the very people that wanted to destroy it.

“Liberals accustomed to chuckling over the ideological rigor of the House GOP caucus won't want to hear this, but one of the foundations of the GOP's broad national success is a reasonable degree of ideological flexibility.” [Yglesias sic] This is a polite way of saying that the Republican Party was forced to embrace and rode the TEA Party’s far right agenda to their electoral success. 

The Democratic Party by contrast is doing everything in its power to suppress its stated, and left leaning agenda, that has broad mass appeal. The importance of this is that in so doing the Democratic leadership is preventing the implementation of policies needed to address the global climate crisis, policies that of necessity embrace and promote peace, environmental sustainability, and economic equality. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

October 22 The Pinnacle Of Power For The New Right

It amazes me that the same how to manuals I was reading in 2006 on how to get more progressives into the local Democratic leadership were used in 2008 to organize the TEA Party. Along with the aid of the billionaire class these impassioned citizens have gone so much farther than my leftie activist cohorts. Much of that has to do with need of the right to take support anywhere they can get it, and with the Dem’s capitulating to the agenda of corporations. 

We came close to a watershed moment back in 2006 and 2008 when the Democratic Party took back Congress and the White House only to turn its back on the impassioned folks that put them in power. As the tides turn, and wealth becomes even more intensified that intensity of purpose might again in the future put the Democrats back in power. But now the Republicans are struggling with their own creation. It seems to me that their disarray is to the advantage of the handful of the monied class that can, for the time being, install any representative government that they so wish. 

This juncture in history marks when either crony capitalism ends or civilization does. Our climate crisis will not endure much more denial.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October 17 At the Bioneers Conference 2015

Keep your head in the soil, but not like the ostrich. 
Ouch! I asked a question at a workshop this afternoon and got slapped down as if I were an apologist for industrial farming. Ouch again. Maybe I just asked the wrong person in the wrong setting. But give me a break. Farming for carbon sequestration is a new concept in agriculture and it needs a quick development. Increasing soil carbon concentration 2% will pull enough enough carbon from the atmosphere to reduce the PPM to the magic sustainable number 350. For its promoters to suggest that industrial agriculture will not need to go through a massive restructuring in order to prevent starvation is just ridiculous. 

Somehow local promoters of farming with the objective of sequestering carbon in the soil as a primary goal seem to believe that only a tiny percentage of our food comes from modern corporate farming. If they had only stayed in their chairs until the next workshop, ‘Curbing Corporate Power to Develop a Just Food System’, convened they could have been disabused of such nonsense.  This second presentation provided information that 50% of grocery retail sales is controlled by 4 corporations. That over 11 million workers are involved in providing our food. The presenter from the National Family Farms Cooperatives talked about how corporate America controls agriculture from the production, selection, and distribution of seeds. NFFC also suggested that the storage of grain seed, an essential part of the banking of community wealth in agriculture areas, that the ownership of grain elevators is also being concentrated in the hands of a few of these giant corporations. 

Because of the aging of American farmers over half of agricultural land will be sold in the coming decade. Anyone who has read my screeds about food production on this blog will see that in my view this is a major issue that needs to be addressed with an openness to the realities of our system and with an urgency that will allow our system time to develop so that we don’t all starve from the changes necessary. We must sequester carbon through our agriculture process and feed the people.

Friday, October 16, 2015

October 16 There's New Vigor In The Name Socialism

Many people are starting to talk about Socialism. It was not that long ago that John Nichols wrote a book entitled ‘The “S” Word’, indicating that the word could not even be said aloud. It’s a great and easy read by the way, a historical look at American socialists governing in the twentieth century. But today in the grand tradition of the American left folks are slicing and dicing Bernie Sanders’ self-identification as a Democratic Socialist to either include or exclude him from the family of socialistic movements. And the American right is trying to taint him with a cold war era hue of something foreign, reflecting the days before the fall of the Soviet Union. 

But the course of events in modern America are removing the traitorous stigma from socialism. Now the enemy of the American people are international corporate institutions that are pillaging our communities and our environment. The too big to fail banks and global conglomerates that are out sourcing jobs are making us all internationalist. The father of the modern Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh,  and his current apostle in chief Donald Trump, can suggest that socialism is somehow against the American way, but Americans are not buying that anymore. As John Nichols wrote socialists have a great American history of very good governance. Check out his book from a socialistic public library.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 6 Statement To Board Of Supervisors: Don’t Use RoundUp

Today I read this statement, modified from my earlier post, in support of a ban on glyphosate spraying in Marin to the Marin Board of Supervisors. 

Good afternoon Board members. I am a neighbor of this county Civic Center. I came home one day to find a flyer on my car window that my house, organic vegetable garden, and car had been sprayed by the county. 

This afternoon I will read from the Executive Summary of Pesticide Action Network’s 2012 Report:  A Generation In Jeopardy, How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence. 
Children today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt: pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend.
As the recent President’s Cancer Panel reports, we have been “grossly underestimating” the contribution of environmental contamination to disease, and the policies meant to protect us have fallen far short. Nearly 20 years ago, scientists at the National Research Council called for swift action to protect young and growing bodies from pesticides. Yet today, U.S. children continue to be exposed to pesticides that are known to be harmful in places they live, learn and play.
This report reviews dozens of recent studies that examine 
the impact of pesticides on children’s health. Our analysis reveals the following:
• Compelling evidence now links pesticide exposures with harms to the structure and functioning of the brain and nervous system. Neurotoxic pesticides are clearly implicated as contributors to the rising rates of attention deficit /hyperactivity disorder, autism, widespread declines in IQ and other measures of cognitive function.
• Pesticide exposure contributes to a number of increasingly common health outcomes for children, including cancer, birth defects and early puberty. Evidence of links to certain childhood cancers is particularly strong.
• Emerging science suggests that pesticides may be important contributors to the current epidemic of childhood asthma, obesity and diabetes.
• Extremely low levels of pesticide exposure can cause significant health harms, particularly during pregnancy and early childhood.

Many communities across the country have stepped up to create local or state policies to protect children from pesticide exposure…. 
Locally-driven actions are leading the way to healthier childhood environments. 

I urge the board to stop using pesticides. Thank you.

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5 Congratulations Given To The Pilgrim

With great relief that this crazed ancient hippie returned in one piece, a group of family, friends, and neighbors gathered to wish me a warm welcome home from my bicycle trip across America, my pilgrimage for peace and environmental justice. I am very grateful to all those that followed my journey and offered moral support. Among the questions asked yesterday about my journey was, did I accomplish my goals? 

Did I convert the people of this earth to endeavors solely focused on peace and love of the environment? There is no immediate chance of governments not waging war anytime soon. Nor of the people of this earth shutting off the carbon switch and capturing the existing excess atmospheric carbon dioxide and replanting it into the soil. Nor of us collectively changing the economic system that is driving these conditions that are now pressing human civilization towards extinction. 

But neither did Pope Francis’ trip to America. He is the leader of one in seven people on this earth. He came to Washington DC with essentially the same messages of peace, economic justice, and of saving our collective home as he calls the effort to reduce the atmospheric carbon that is causing global climate change. While my mission was clear on its purpose, my concrete goals were not well defined when I left, they evolved as I rode. I set out to raise awareness with those that I met along the way. It became convenient for me to say, I was riding to DC to talk to my congressman. Folks everywhere got that. There is near universal frustration with how our government is functioning. On reflection I am surprised, considering the forty year effort to convince Americans that our self-governance project is a failure, that so many people still are engaged in democracy. 

Nearly everyone, even the very cynical, holds a solution for our problems. That as a people we have very different ideas of what those solutions might be points to the success of those trying to destroy democracy. The right blames the rise of ISIS on Obama’s indecision and the left points to GW Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Yesterday a friend reached back a 100 years in history to the French and English carving up the Middle East for their profit just after the First World War, or as Pope Francis called it in his address to Congress ‘The Great War’ the pointless slaughter. This bit of land is where modern humans crossed out of Africa and interbred and fought with our near predecessors, who also had made that journey. From there they moved across our entire planet. We can go back in history to where the Middle East was called the Levant, or Phoenicia, or as in Genesis The Garden of Eden where Cain killed his brother Abel, the herder, and was sent away by god to then establish agriculture and thus modern civilization. 

We have been given a gift by science to view different futures based on our choices of present actions. We no longer live in what we perceived as a static world. Our climate is changing. The relative peace of the planet, the product of a stable climate, is changing. In the past we could look at past actions of our neighbors and fight over wrongs and arrive at a relative sense of peace and justice imposed by the victor. That system of justice always to the advantage of the victor harbored the seeds of future conflicts. We now know that we must not look at past wrongs but at future possibilities to guide us towards an outcome where civilization might persist, where our progeny can continue. 

I heard someone say recently, it is not the planet that is endangered by climate change. It is us, the people, whose continued existence on this earth that is at risk. Will our failure to forge peace in Syria and the birthplace of civilization be the cause of civilization’s demise? 

Dan Monte

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

September 29 My Meeting With My Congressman

Folks have asked me about my meeting with my representative Congressman Jared Huffman. Yesterday’s cry helped me a bit to break out of my funk, so here goes.

Meeting with Jared, his aid Scott Rasmussen, and all of his office staff beforehand was a very pleasant experience. Our meeting was friendly. And the Congressman was very busy he talked to me even though others were also waiting. I guess a 3,500 mile bicycle ride earns one some benefits. 

My intended audience of my message was environmentalists and the need for their support for looking closer at our foreign policy and how our government’s decline into war power over negotiations was hindering attempts to solve the global issue of climate change. Jared Huffman is certainly a very effective advocate for addressing our climate change crisis and I am happy to watch him mostly be an advocate for the reduction of the use military force. I thanked him for his efforts regarding the push to bomb Syria over chemical weapons and for his support for the Iran nuclear agreement. And Jared alerted me to the just breaking then news that Russia and  the US were starting to talk again since their frozen positions on Ukraine.

We talked about my ride and its challenges. Jared grew up in Missouri the state where I first had hills too steep to pedal. I told him of the Katy Trail, a rail to trail path, that was developed after he had left Missouri. In the fifteen minutes we, or more accurately I, mentioned quite a few issues and groups that I had met in DC. 

Here is a item list of topics mentioned:
My ride and the Hills of Missouri
Syria and a Russian initiative for negotiation
The Congressman’s support for the Iran nuclear agreement
The Congressman's position last year on bombing Syria
The development of the Ukraine civil war 
Carbon farming in Australia
The Progressive Round Table monthly meeting
Code Pink and Cheney's presentation at the American Enterprise Institute
The Civic Center Watershed Restoration project to float an island in the CC Lagoon
My support for the effort to bring a bill for a Department of  Peace Building

The Clean Energy/GreenJobs Resolution supported by Raul Grijalva

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28 My Schizophrenic god

I woke this morning to my god who does not exist
My schizophrenic god who does not exist
My god that sets Sunni and Shia Protestant and Catholic at odds
I am sitting in a room of warriors who have come home
I am sitting in a room with their loved ones offering them comfort
A poet warrior professor reads of picking up a mustached lip off an Iraqi street
I am listening to a mother of the man whose body was stepped over to get to other soldiers
I am listening to that soldier who had much of his head removed by an IED and yet survived

I woke this morning to my god who does not exist
My schizophrenic god who does not exist
I am listening to my god shooting a Vietnamese in half as he runs up a hill
I am listening to my god interrogating a Palestinian in an Israeli cell
This morning my god droned a teenager as he sat al fresco drinking coffee 
This morning my god strafed and leveled a Salvadoran hamlet in one pass
This morning my coffee is wakening me with tears of rage 
This morning my god who does not exist is fading now

I am having a hard time trying to write a finale to my bicycle pilgrimage
The John Wayne McCains the Rambo crowd is clamoring for more war
In the Arctic in the Baltics and Ukraine in the Middle East and Africa they want more
I took in hope when the Peace Pope came an talked poverty and environment 
But the god fearing warrior class wants more blood from their projects
Riding a bicycle nor even Francis could not get us to stop them

I am immobilized now by my tears of rage

My schizophrenic god who does not exist knows no peace

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September 8 Why I Ride reposted

The Lincoln Memorial as I rode into DC 

Why I Ride

I repost this piece every month so that those who come upon this blog will know why I am riding, and because it has my contact information in case you may want to communicate with me. 

Im Bicycling for Peace and Environmental Justice.
I will be leaving Marin CA for Washington DC on Memorial Day. I view this as a necessary pilgrimage for me. I want to raise awareness that climate change, which threatens our civilization, is only intensified by war, and that there is no solution to climate change that does not include peace.

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report 2013

This is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a demarcation notifying us that industrial warfare can end civilization. Clearly we the people of this earth are at a critical juncture, whether to work in peaceful cooperation to solve the consequences of climate change or whether out of fear we wreak havoc through war. Polls show we have collectively lost trust that our good intentions are the leading motives of our leaders’ actions. My hope lies in the faith that we can change this and that in other countries there are people such as us.

But we are accustomed to viewing issues as independent of each other. War and the environment as not connected. And yet our Department of Defense has been telling us for many years now that climate change is a serious national security threat. Indeed it is a global security threat that is destabilizing our world. We must understand that military force forgoes the international cooperation needed for solving our climate problem. War reverses all of our progress on improving environmental standards. It is extremely carbon intensive. Our task is to stand firm against the evangelists of war and to reject their fear mongering. The rejection of militarism is necessary - it is the only course towards climate solutions.

The effects of climate change are not limited to melting Arctic ice sheets.
Climate change drought is causing civil strife and provoking war. A multi-year drought in Syria caused the migration of the rural population into the cities and threatened the stability of their imperfect government that has turned into ‘a major civil war with international involvement.’ Scientific studies report that in Sub-Saharan Africa there is a 30-year correlation of climate changes ‘with an increase in the likelihood of civil war.’ Additionally food shortages caused by climate change have been found to be a contributing factor in the Arab Spring uprisings. Scientific American, March 2, 2015

The world population is on course to increase 30% in the next few decades. Many countries are now incapable of producing enough food for their current population. Overdrawn aquifers and drought have depleted once abundant land. Additionally sea level rise will diminish many productive river deltas from food production.

Americans have a special role to play in world affairs.
The US accounts for nearly half of all military spending worldwide. Our leaders are correct in telling us that we are the strongest military power on earth. What they leave out is that this great force is limited to destruction and chaos as evidenced by its recent use in conflicts from Afghanistan to Iraq from Libya to Syria. We have given the whole of the 20th century to perpetual war. How much time can we give to peaceful solutions, to negotiated solutions?

It takes significant fear-mongering to turn people towards war. The images of the World Trade Towers falling and the beheadings of innocents are such propaganda. These are real events, horrifying, and they terrorize us. What we fail to see is that our interventionist policies and militaristic actions are part of the cause and are not the solution. It is our responsibility, if we are serious about reversing climate change, that we face our fears and question closely what alternatives there are for this violence. 

What outcomes are forgone by following the path of war? 
What are possible unintended consequences? 
What can be gained by peaceful initiatives? 

International cooperation, the hallmark of peace, is necessarily part of the solution. We cannot wage war or threaten to do so and at the same time expect to receive the assistance we need to reverse the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases.

We can chose leaders that have a track record for constructive action.
We have to demand of our leaders that they abandon acting like 19th-century imperialists, militarily dominating others for their resources. It doesn’t add to our security and in fact it puts us in greater jeopardy. And it is completely unnecessary in a global economy. We need to end war as it is the antithesis of the peaceful cooperation we need. Climate change is the real threat to our security. Environmentalists need to assert that there exists no military path to climate security.

Dan Monte

I will be posting at: 
You can find me on Facebook <>
or email me directly at
Give me a call 707-393-1948. 

I’d love to hear from you on my journey

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September 6 Enough Already

Here is the proof that I am here. 
More in the next few days after I get settled.
A rough calculation of this journey to DC

Days from San Rafael: 105
Days from LA: 84

Miles from San Rafael:  3426
Miles from LA: 3000

Feet Climbed from San Rafael: 68090 

Feet Climbed from LA: 58577

September 6 first Stay in Hostel A Success

View of the Potomac from Little Orleans

Lots of fun hearing and telling stories on the travel of each’s choice. Now I ride.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 5 Happy Birthday Bonnie

Arriving in DC on Sunday
I will spend my last night on the road in The Harpers Ferry Hostel, and then my first day in Washington DC in the Washington DC Hostel in Georgetown.  

I have cousins to see and a friend from my San Francisco days to see and stay with. I am hoping to be able to leave, fly home, on September 22. Before then I want to meet with folks working on Peace and Environmental causes, and my  representative in Congress.

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4 One Hundred Miles Left

I couldn't get out of bed today, so I am staying put.

I am just too tired from these 3 months of riding that today I will just post pictures.

Along the trail today I nearly ran over this snake and turtle.

Also this deer seemed as interested in me as I was in her and she stood still enough for me to get their pictures.

Here are some pictures of the locks on the C&O Canal Towpath. This one has grass where once was water. Those that still have water also have water moccasins.

And running parallel is the Potomac River the border of Maryland and West Virginia
Peace from Hagersville-Williamsport MD

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

140 miles from DC! On the Potomac in the hills of Maryland.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1 Evening In Frostburg

Aren't all newts endangered?

Mom and her ducklings

Mississippi and Potomac watershed divide

Mason Dixon Line the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania

Just 201 miles to Georgetown area of DC. I will be there by Saturday September 5, maybe sooner if it really is all downhill as the locals are saying.
Today was a great ride and met lots of couples and groups on the road. Here are some cute pictures and some geographically significant.

Peace Dan

September 1 There’s A Big Difference Between Miles And Climbing

Trailside produce and cold drink stand

I did not see FLW’s Falling Water yesterday but I had a great ride all the same. Here are some trailside pictures from the GAP. Sections of this recreational trail are owned and maintained by volunteer run non-profits. Folks love their trail. Given how difficult it is to ride the hills everywhere else in this part of the world it is no wonder that they do. I passed this encampment early yesterday where freshly grown produce seems to be given away for free. 

The climb to Mill Run where Falling Water is located was too much for me. I made it half way there and came to terms with missing this opportunity. When I got back to Ohiopyle, the small community closest to Falling Water I learned that if I had known I could have been ferried up to the site. 

The two kids taking my picture with their mother

But all was not lost, I headed down the trail to the next town 11 miles away, Confluence, and leapfrogged a group of riders. they finally stopped to talk to me as I was about to pass them again. The mother of these two kids had a notion that I might be interesting to talk to. She and her family live in Pittsburgh and she is definitely an activist on local and global issues, from the county deciding to frack a park to memorializing the bombing of Japan 70 years ago. We talked the whole ride into confluence. 

Peace, from my last day in Pennsylvania 

Here’s my contact info:
You can find me on Facebook <>
or email me directly at
Give me a call 707-393-1948. 

I’d love to hear from you on my journey