Bobbing Around

Volume Nine, Number Three
November, 2009

Bob Rich's (purple) rave  other issues


*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Responses to past issues
  Gina, on our theory of mental anguish
  Healing Scripts CD
  Our negligence is killing people
  New animal protection laws
  Feeding China's nuclear arsenal
  Responding to that sinking feeling
  John James has it right
  Paperless mail
  Don't warm up the car
  You can make a greenhouse difference
  If you must fly...
  Accountability for climate crimes, by Gideon Polya
*Deeper issues
  Gary Neu: The culture is mentally ill, not the person
  Hardship is good for your health?
  The medical model is passe: Linford & Arden
  Jill's green cards
  I molested little kids
  Always the victim, at 16
  I trust him, but I don't
*For writers
  Writing your family history and keeping yours alive, by Patrika Vaughn
  The I-s don't have to have it, from Maya Reynolds
*What my friends want you to know
  Permaculture course in Nimbin
  Your hand against suicide
  Run for a safe climate
  Conference: Human behavior in energy conservation
  Denise Cassino: Spirit of Christmas catalogue
  Stories to fight pancreatic cancer
  Give poetry for Christmas
  An Insider's Guide to the Cosmic Comedy
  Brandon Wilson brings home the gold
  Rome through Chinese eyes, by John Hill
* Reviews
  Cara, by Julia Barrett
  The Area 51 Option, by Mike Kechula
* Poetry
  Digital Cities, by Alfredo Zotti
  Mindfulness, by Alfredo Zotti

One of three

   I am delighted to announce that my latest book, the short story collection Bizarre Bipeds, is one of three finalists in its category of EPIC's 2010 e-book contest.

   Some of my favourite people live within the four stories that comprise the book.

  • Do you love little boys full of courage, a sense of adventure and a loving heart? What does it take to turn a little fellow like that into a hero who saves his people from slavery, cruelty and exploitation?

       That's my little friend Trom. You'll love him, although he has three arms and three legs, and his skin is green.

       His mother and father are wonderful people too.

       These three are the heroes of Liberator, the novella that makes up the bulk of the book.

  • Trevor is also a boy with a kind heart. He is not that smart, and impulsive enough to disobey his teacher's most firmly stated prohibitions. But Luci learns to like him anyway, even though she discovers how horrible his real appearance is.
  • Jim and Jenna are a bit older -- teenagers in the first blush of adulthood. Jenna can't be pushed around by anyone -- even by a person with advanced martial arts training. But, fierce as she is, she falls in love with gentle Jim, who is a piano virtuoso, and clever enough to devise a scheme that gets them both to the new human settlement on Venus.
  • A minor character in the same story is a person I closely identify with. If my past-life regression experience can be believed (and I believe it about 50% of the time), I once inhabited a body like this one. You can read the book and guess who that might be. :)
  • Finally, Marlene and David are people you'd like to have for friends. He is an inspiring high school physics teacher, She composes music while waiting for the arrival of their first child, due in a couple of months. They can save humanity from extinction -- except for the military, who have their own ideas of how to defend the planet.

   To give you a further inducement, Bobbing Around subscribers may buy this book for half price until the next issue comes out. That's $5 Australian to anyone on this planet, and the purchase qualifies you for a second e-book, free. Check it out.

   Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.

I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

    Say hello to Arianna. :)

Responses to past issues

Gina, on our theory of mental anguish
Healing Scripts CD

Gina, on our theory of mental anguish

   Finally found time to read your newsletter, and it's terrific as usual. I was particularly intrigued by the Resilience theory presented on the first page. It fits perfectly with my own personal observations of people throughout my life. Most of the people I know who unquestionably have some serious personality disorder of one kind or another did not "always" have it but developed it in mid-life in response to some crisis trigger or a period of prolonged stress.

   This has perplexed me, and I'm pleased to have a possible explanation for it. The most disturbing example for me was my ex-husband, whose personality is severely abnormal. I've come to understand the dysfunction in his mind, but what disturbed me is that such a chilling personality must have existed in him from birth, yet I missed it somehow during all the years we dated and even during the first few years of marriage? Could he really have hidden it all that time, and could I have been so blind to what I see so clearly now? And how in the world can I trust myself to recognize it the next time I encounter it if it took ten years for me to see it in him?

   Your Resilience theory provides a tidy explanation, especially because there were definite "triggers" that occurred about the time that I began to see him as mentally abnormal. I look forward to pondering this more, thanks.

   I do have a question about Resilience, though. You mentioned that a person's resilience may be genetically determined, and I wonder if you could share your thoughts on that. What I'd like to know is--is it possible for one to hit the breaking point and crack into a disordered personality for many years but then to somehow develop the resilience needed to pull himself out, possibly also triggered by some crisis?

   The example I'm thinking of is my older brother, whose personality shattered in his mid-twenties after the death of his infant son. For the next thirty years his personality spiraled down to include alcoholism, pedophilia, sadism, drug abuse, and domestic violence. He became a sad, ugly person when he had been such a caring, funny, positive spirit before the loss of his son.

   Two years ago, after the suicide of his best friend, going to jail for repeated DUI, and a drinking binge that nearly killed him with alcohol poisoning, he tearfully told us that he didn't want to die and he wanted to get help. He went into an intensive detox program, then AA, and has since changed careers to become a drug/alcohol counselor. The change in him is, again, remarkable. He's like the man he was before he lost himself three decades ago, and he seems so strong and good and healthy now!

   Do you think there was some deeper well of resilience left untapped in him that was finally triggered by his "rock bottom" crisis? Is there a way to teach people to find this without such a long and destructive life or the need to hit rock bottom?

   Most of all, I want to know, if my son is predisposed to whatever is wrong with my ex-husband, is there a way I can help my boy develop a stronger resilience so that he will never break down and become like his dad?

thanks so much,

Dear Gina,

   Genes are not a life sentence, but a potential. Your son's genetic makeup interacts with his life experience all the way from conception to this moment. So yes, you can protect him, guide him onto the right path. This is done by giving him a strong sense of his own person. Give him acknowledgement for successes, even small ones, appreciate effort even if it ends in lack of success. When he makes mistakes, don't pretend that they were OK. Give feedback, correcting the behavior while still making him feel that he is loved as a person.

   The way I put it is: you are perfect. Some of the things you do are excellent, some are OK, and some are the growing edges. When you do the wrong thing, it's an opportunity for learning. You see, a personality is just a network of habits: it's what we do, not what we are.

   Your brother has shown this. When he suffered his tragedy, this was an opportunity for him to grow in compassion, spiritual strength and love. He made the wrong choice, perhaps not even knowing that he had a choice, and went down a path of suffering, and causing others to suffer. And he kept repeating this bad choice, until it all accumulated.

   Then, once, in response to the risk of death, he made the right choice. That was when he started to grow. This is not so much a matter of resilience as of fulfilling his life's purpose. He is now a "different person" from the violent drug abuser. Since the rewards are enormous, I predict that he will stay on the right path. Giving back by training as a D&A counsellor is perfect.

   Your ex-husband, also, is not what he does. He is the person who chooses to do those things, probably not knowing he has a choice. He also has the potential to grow, if he only recognizes it.

   Previously, you have written that he appears to have little or no empathy. Perhaps he is very new to being a human. His sole task in this life might be to realize that others have feelings, and therefore rights, in the same way he does.

   Hopefully, during your association with him, you may have planted some seeds that will one day germinate into this flower of understanding.


Healing Scripts CD

Hi Dr. Rich,

   I would like to buy a copy of your "Healing Scripts" CD, however, there aren't any links to buy it on your website. I see the paypal links for all of your other books but not for the Healing Scripts CD and I would really like it. Can you let me know the process I need to use in order to buy it? I live in the US.

   Thank you very much. I stumbled upon your site today when I was doing a google search on feeling suicidal. I just wanted to say thank you and let you know how healing and soothing your site was to me. I especially liked your first aid kit for depression. I am going to try all of those activities and see if they help. I also liked your description of depression and how it lies to us,etc. Another thing that has been going on with me is that for the past 12 years I have been obsessed and focused on my job and financial success. And my personal life has suffered greatly and I know it is adding to my depression. Anway, I just wanted to let you know that your essays and article are helping me to think about changing my life and my priorities or at least making them more balanced. I really liked your "Personal Manifesto for Action" essay.

   Well, thanks again for your fabulous website. It really helped me today and I know I will be returning to it for more help:-)

Warm Regards,

Dear A,

   I am delighted to have been of service to you.

   A large research project showed that 68% of people feel suicidal at some time in their lives. This means that it's not "your fault," but that of the culture we live in. It is OK to have those thoughts. But they are only invitations, not commands. Say "No thank you."

   Depression can be beaten. I was severely depressed for the first third of my life, had it under control for about 20 years, and now I am healed. When the old triggers come I recognize them, but at the worst suffer a short burst of annoyance. If I could do this, so can you.

   Invest in a few sessions with a good psychologist. That will speed up the process.

   The reason I haven't got an automatic link for the CD is that shipping charges vary. The CD in its case is 50 g, so with packaging it's a bit over. So, the charge will be $4.20 Australian.

   Pay me $24.00 Australian.

   Paypal to

   And email me your address so I can post it to you.



Our negligence is killing people
New animal protection laws
Feeding China's nuclear arsenal
Responding to that sinking feeling

Our negligence is killing people

   Constance Okollet writes:

   There are no seasons any more in eastern Uganda. Before, we had two harvests every year, but now there's no pattern. Floods like we've never seen came and swept up everything. It rained and rained until all the land was soaked and our houses were submerged in the water. This forced us to move to higher ground, where we sought refuge. By the time we came back home, all the houses had collapsed, our granaries were destroyed and food was washed away. The remaining crops were rotten, and our food was no more.

   As the ground in the village remained flooded, there were a lot of mosquitoes around, and five of my family members became ill with malaria. Because there was no clean water to drink, some people got cholera and diarrhoea. Many of the people in my village died. Children didn't go to school since they were too weakened by disease and their parents had no money for school fees.

   Our farms were ruined, so we didn't have food until the government came to help us. This was so humiliating for us, because we had never depended on aid to survive.

   This year, when we managed to get seeds to plant for our own food, we were struck by a drought like we had never seen before. It was so hot, all of the crops dried up and the wells where we used to collect water also became dry. There was no water in the boreholes, and so the cycle of hunger and thirst returned, but this time caused by the excessive heat.

   We didn't understand why this had happened. We wondered what we had done to make God so angry. But we now know it's climate change. The cycle continues, and it hasn't gotten much better, as we have had more droughts and more floods. It's very hard for us to grow food, and some mornings, I go to my field only to find that someone has stolen the potatoes. Although it makes me angry, I know that if my neighbours didn't steal the potatoes, they wouldn't have anything to eat.

   When I heard that leaders of the world were meeting at the UN in New York to talk about fighting climate change, I wished that there was a way I could tell them what my community has gone through. I wanted to make them understand that we are getting poorer and poorer because of climate change, and we are dying. I wanted to be there to tell them our story.

   With Oxfam's help, I am have joined a number of women like me from different corners of the world in New York to speak my mind.

   I ask the leaders of the rich countries to take action to reduce their carbon emissions so that we can look forward to rains to plant our crops without having to face floods that wash them away. And I ask them to help my community fight the climate change that destroys our houses, increases diseases and stops our children from attending schools. That's all I am asking for on behalf of my fellow villagers.

New animal protection laws

   Two far-east countries that are infamous for violations against human rights are making a very unlikely compassionate leap by instituting their first policies to protect animals. The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal has passed its first Animal Welfare Act and the People's Republic of China has drafted the China Animal Protection Law.

   The recently approved Animal Welfare Act in Nepal already has two initial projects in the works: the building of the country's first animal sanctuary for rescued animals and a separate sanctuary for donkeys. Both are scheduled to open in mid October.

   The shelter will house rescued animals and include a veterinary hospital and spay and neuter clinic.

   The donkey sanctuary already has 14 rescued animals waiting to be transferred to the facility. They are part of a rescue mission from one of the worst cases of animal cruelty Nepal has ever witnessed Ñ 55 other donkeys died during that tragedy.

   The abuse to donkeys is widespread in Nepal because they are frequently used for labour and made to carry heavy loads on their backs. They are crowded into small sheds and given little food or water.

   Animal Nepal, a network of animal rights activists, hopes the new Animal Welfare Act will, "Raise awareness against animal cruelty." The group has been fighting for the new law for many years.

   In China, the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is very proud of the drafted Animal Protection Law about to be considered by the Chinese government. The organisation has been trying to get legislation like this passed for more than a decade.

   Paul Littlefair, senior program manager with the RSPCA's international department said, "It is a very significant landmark Ñ when it is passed it will be the first time in China's history that the state is sending a clear message to every citizen: 'the way we treat animals matters'."

   The Chinese Animal Protection Law encompasses a vast area of animal welfare. It addresses the deliberate cruelty to animals and the inhumane culling methods used against dogs. It also stops the live skinning of animals for their fur and the feeding of live farm animals to big cats in zoos and wildlife parks.

   Overall it protects six categories of animals: those on farms, in laboratories, pets, working animals, animals in entertainment and wild animals.

   The RSPCA is committed to staying in China to see that all of these initiatives are implemented. The group will also promote education to the public about many of the misconceptions they have regarding animals. Many Chinese believe the cruel practice of culling dogs is the only method of destroying rabies and are unaware that vaccines are available for both the prevention of the disease and to cure it once someone has been affected. Furthermore the organization will help oversee that the new law is enforced.

   Legal experts from the government have put the final touches on the proposal and sent it to be reviewed. Chang Jiwen, who helped draft the law said, "It's different from Western laws. For example, we won't require keepers to give dogs shelters as most Chinese cannot afford that. Only people who unnecessarily and intentionally abuse animals will be punished." He hopes regulations in the future will be more sophisticated and move toward Western laws.

   However even before the China Animal Protection Law has been voted on, it is being credited with stopping the latest dog culling that was ordered to begin this week.

Feeding China's nuclear arsenal
by David Noonan

   Australia mouths non-nuclear platitudes on the world stage while quietly adding to the problem with exports to China.

   AS CHINA celebrates the 60th anniversary of communist rule with a slickly orchestrated march down the Avenue of Eternal Peace to Tiananmen Square that featured new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, it is a fitting moment to question Australia's role as uranium supplier to the crouching tiger of our region.

   After the United Nations Security Council, with a push from US President Barack Obama, agreed to a historic resolution last month to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Australia needs to consider whether we see our future as supplying China's uranium market. We also need to assess the broader effects of Australia's uranium exports on nuclear non-proliferation, regional security and China's human rights record.

   One of Kevin Rudd's early initiatives as prime minister was to establish the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, co-chaired by former foreign minister Gareth Evans, saying this would be "our gift to the world."

   Unfortunately, Australia can never credibly lead on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament while spreading nuclear risks as one of the world's largest uranium suppliers. The mismatch between Australia's rhetoric and the illusion of protection provided by nuclear safeguards is stark in the case of China.

   As a uranium exporter, Australia has a responsibility to strengthen nuclear safeguards and to act decisively to disqualify any state that does not fully observe its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations. China is modernising -- rather than eliminating -- its nuclear arsenal and has so far failed to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. China is one country that does not meet its non-proliferation treaty obligations.

   BHP Billiton's plan to expand the Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam) copper and uranium mine is being considered by the federal and South Australian governments. BHP proposes the world's largest open pit mine as a uranium quarry to fuel the global nuclear industry, with much of its efforts directed towards China. BHP's plan would see Australia selling uranium-infused bulk copper concentrate for processing in China, transferring more than a million tonnes a year of radioactive waste and thousands of tonnes of uranium.

   Australian uranium will effectively disappear off the safeguards radar on arrival in China, a country whose military is inextricably linked to the civilian nuclear sector and where nuclear whistleblowers and critics are brutally suppressed and jailed. This alone is reason to disqualify China from acquiring Australian uranium.

   In July, a well-known environmental activist and recipient in 2006 of the prestigious Nuclear-Free Future Award, Sun Xiaodi, and his daughter Sun Dunbai were jailed and sent to a "re-education through labour" camp for their efforts to expose corruption and contamination in China's nuclear industry.

   Sun Xiaodi is a former worker at No. 792 Uranium Mine in Gansu province in north-west China. Since 1988, the whistleblower has travelled repeatedly to Beijing to petition the Government to end corruption in China's nuclear industry and to speak out for the rights of uranium mine workers.

   According to Chinese court documents, the crimes Sun Xiaodi and Sun Dunbai are guilty of include inciting the public with libellous slogans including Ònuclear pollutionÓ and Òhuman rights violationÓ. In reality, Sun Xiaodi and Sun Dunbai are paying a very high price for speaking out.

   Australians should recognise that it is not appropriate for us to export uranium to a government that does not tolerate criticism of its nuclear industry and fails to meet minimum international human rights standards. We should also be mindful that our commitments to non-proliferation are in conflict with our "dual use" uranium sales.

   Australian uranium produces plutonium -- a potent bomb-making material -- in nuclear reactors overseas. Australia consents to the separation and stockpiling of this plutonium through the "reprocessing" of spent nuclear fuel waste in a number of countries, including China. While our Government says that the plutonium is only to be used for peaceful purposes, we are in effect being asked to trust this and every future Beijing regime.

   Nuclear waste management remains unresolved around the world. With the future of high-level nuclear waste accumulating at reactor sites across the US still unresolved after 50 years of the nuclear industry, how can BHP provide any credible assurances on nuclear waste management in China?

   Australia is strutting the international stage claiming credentials as a regional democratic voice, nodding our head in agreement with the US President's call for the abolition of nuclear weapons, while propping up the nuclear sector in a China that is suppressing human rights, modernising its nuclear weapons arsenal and engaging in building nuclear reactors in Pakistan that will increase plutonium production capacity.

   Australia's reputation and nuclear-safeguard responsibilities should not be further compromised to suit BHP Billiton's commercial interests. The first shipment of Australian uranium that BHP has now sent to China should be the last.

   The only potentially credible future for BHP's Roxby Down mine and the proposed expansion is to trade only in copper and to leave the uranium and other radioactive wastes at the mine site.

David Noonan is the Australian Conservation Foundation's nuclear-free campaigner.

Responding to that sinking feeling

   The Maldives is a small group of islands that are NOW being devastated by rising sea levels. Don't worry about 2050 or 2020. The probleem is in 2009.

   Maldives President Nasheed has said to a gathering of representatives of nations at risk from climate change: