Saturday, December 29, 2007

It occured to me today while driving to the grocery store, musing about news and such. The news from places like Pakistan is always so grim. And yet I get in my car, drive over smooth roads to one of many grocery stores. Food and sundries plentiful in all of them - many running specials. No burning tires or rioting crowds in the streets. Just the morning sun, a few other cars, leftover snow from Fridays' snowfall. I go and transact mybusiness, spending a little over $20.00 for my weeks needs (yes I am just one single person, with me and my cat only to feed). The underlying assumptions of trust and goodwill hold strong, as my items are scanned up. I watch the provided display. Every item purchased scans up correctly. The cashier does not try and steal from me, or any such thing. Instead, she wishes me to 'have a nice day'.

In a way we are spoiled. Spoiled by the fruits of living in a free society, with an economic system built upon trust, law, rational, courteous behavior. The only riots around here are for the last-minute Christmas sales, or after christmas ones. No government is pointing a gun at us, saying we will do this or we must do that. We are free to make our own mistakes, free to feel foolish about them, free to learn, pick up ourselves and move on. In a totalitarian system, there is no such freedom. Therefore, it seems to me, as inefficient and cumbersome our system sometimes seems, it is so much preferable to a total Theoracy like Iran, or a Totalitarian didctatorship such as Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. When everyone is used to the idea that, like it or not, we all need to play by the rules, think of the other person once in awhile (or more often than that), and at least strive towards honesty, economic miracles can result. A true democracy seems to reflect the idea that the majority of people sense what is good and right, and muddle their way forward. No one group should remain ascendant, whether they be the Religious Right, or the Ultraliberal Left. Truth always seems to occur somewhere in between.

When the number-crunching wonks sound alarms about credit crunches and meltdowns, it reminds me that these were the same fools trumpeting balloon mortages and your house making a million dollars for you a couple years ago. It is getting so I don't trust anyone in a suit with a fake grin pasted to his face. Ah well, so many deep thoughts *grin*. That is all the rambling for today.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

In Honor of Benazir Bhutto, a true hero.

Democracy mourns loss of key soldier,
Only emptiness and wondering remain;
Evil legions growing bloodier and bolder,
Entire world seems to be going insane.

Crazed zealots bombing by truck,
Killing almost hundreds a day;
Crowds of haters running amok,
Civilized discourse held at bay.

Tempting to issue loud, strident calls,
"Death to all evildoers, extremist or not!"
Civil society itself must needs fall?
Sweet revenge at cost of rationality bought.
Instead, we must use our highest brain function,
Locate, secure Peace, Democracy's conjunction.

She would want it that way.

'nuff said.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The good Christian candidate showed his true killing colors today. He goes out and shoots little birds that cower in the bushes, for the fun of it. Kind of like that other candidate who shot a captive Oryx, rare African antelope, just for "sport".

Really, it is no surprise that much of the rest of the world sees us as murderous barbarians. Something is really wrong with this picture.

Should be an interesting election. I'm supporting John Edwards. He seems to be the best candidate all around to lead this wounded nation at least on some semblance of a steady path. Hope he can counter the waves of unmitigated greed that have eroded the middle class, and impoverished the lower classes even more. (Glitzy electronic toys are a poor substitute for decent housing, transportation and employment! ) We are the first generation that will be poorer than our parents. Organizations that are yelling for more aid to combat world poeverty and disease would do well to turn their attentions home here, in Amerika.

Until every individual adult has full medical care, transportation, food, and a decent place to live, we should not give one penny to any country overseas. Our unwed mothers with children, our single people, our elderly especially, are getting in worse shape, and having to really struggle just to make ends meet. Perhaps John Edwards can begin to turn the tide of greed and help the 98% of us that are not rich. If we continue down this road, someday we will be called the United States of Mexico. Five families will own everything (just like you-know-where),and the rest of us will be eating corn tortillas, jammed ten or twenty to a hut. These oil megaliths do not need billions upon billions of profit. nationalize the bastards. Enough is enough! Sick of all the crap here. All for now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


All of the candidates for president answered a question about Global Warming tonight on CBS news. All but one believes there is global warming, and that major action should be taken immediately. Many suggested that MPG ratings need to be upped in automobiles produced here, by government mandate (the auto industry could be helped by subsidies here). Only Fred Thompson hedged, saying the whole global warming issue could be cyclical actions of nature, and needed to be studied further. John McCain made a good point when he said, in effect, that even if global warming were not real, and if we still took actions like cleaned up the air and adopted green, clean techs, we would still be leaving the world a far better place for our grandchildren!

Of course, the Democrats were all on board, believeing that Global Warming is not being taken seriously enough, and proposing radical actions. So - refreshing wisdom from our candidates. ( Only special, big business interests stand in the way, according to one Republican candidate! )

So, why is this such good news? Because the USA has demonstrated in many past crises, a stubborn resilience and ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. We weathered a major Depression, and instead of ending up some third-world welfare case, went on to win the Second World war (with our allies help, of course) and emerged a superpower. We went from being woefully, hopelessly behind in the Space Race to landing the men on the moon, in 10 years or so. From last place to first place in ten years! Our economy was anemic, sick, on the ropes in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Things looked bleak indeed. But by the late 1990's, there was that Irrational Exhuberance in the air, as dot-com billionaires sprouted like weeds in the forest. 9/11/2001 things looked pretty bad. TV was nothing but Terror footage for days on end. And, in a year or so, the Dow had returned to normal, and the economy was picking up steam again.

Sure, there are details and mitigating circumstances here, But my point is, we always seem to bounce back. And all these politicians singing the same tune, as it were, augers for more good news on the Energy front. We know what we have to do. We know we have to start Now! So it is just a matter of all putting our shoulder to the wheel and getting going. After tonights' news interviews, I have faith that we will suceed.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Time to let go of the past - Energy and Peace Policy.

or "A bicycle economy to a motor vehicle economy...and back again."

I Recently read a quote in the current book out, written by Alan Greenspan (called The Age of Turbulence), about China moving from a “bicycle economy to a motor vehicle economy, and all that that implies.” And this got me thinking…

Seems to me that a better thing, in this day and age, would be to move back on that scale, at least somewhat. A "bicycle economy" means residents do not burn as much fossil fuel, or pollute as much. They are less obese, due to riding bikes or walking. They get more physical exercise due to having to walk or ride a bike, and so are thinner and healthier. Granted, some of the other features of a backward economy, like burning lots of wood and coal, are unhealthy, especially to fragile human lungs. But in the case of transportation, we may need to move backwards to go forward. Back to biking and walking, to go forward to cleaner air and less reliance on fossil fuels.

Another break we need to make from the past is going from centralized power generation to more diffuse power/energy production. In the past and present, massive, centralized power generating facilities produce megawatts of electricity. Using coal, which is a major polluter, or nuclear, which has many safety issues. Decentralized power production, such as wind and solar power, locates the source of production closer to the consumer. The advantage here is less loss of power via lengthy transmission lines, and more redundancy in the whole power grid. We are obviously moving in this direction with all the construction of wind turbines and solar power plants. I hope and pray this continues in a big way. Jobs are created, fossil fuels are conserved, and air quality is improved. We may always want to have a relatively small number of large power facilities around for just-in-case scenarios, (like a tornado ripping up a wind turbine facility or somesuch), and backups. But we should strive to get the vast majority of our power from renewable sources. This is generally known, and we seem to be moving on this, thank goodness.

Yet another break from the past is the way we teach our children about their interaction with the world. Below is a journal entry from 1994 I scribbled down after hearing of atrocities in Bosnia. It illustrates my thoughts on war and peace pretty well.
Quote: "SNAPSHOT 2/5/1994

Bosnia - As throngs of people gathered in the central square, to buy what little food there was left, or to trade used clothing, an agent of evil was at work. Some unknown cruel subhuman fired a (artillery) shell from the surrounding hills - the shell exploded right in the middle of the people. Hundreds were killed, maimed or gored. It created a huge, bloody, gorey mess - a human slaughterhouse. Why oh why do people slaughter each others so senselessly? Why is there so much cruelty and hatred? We all need a human peace manifesto or movement strong enough to match the military establishments. " Real men don't make war. It takes guts to make peace on your neighbor. Be all you can be - work for peace!"

Create a Department of Peace - spend a few billion on doing good works. (the peace corps?!) Make world peace a high priority. Declare a 20-year moratorium on war. Engage in international efforts of a constructive nature. People should be educated in school, for an hour or so a day, to channel their aggressions into peaceful, constructive endeavours. Fighting, jealousy, hatred, mischevious conduct, theft, vandalism, cruelty to others, etc, is wrong. Constructive compulsions like sports, arts, projects, crafts & hobbies, science projects - are correct and good and need to be promoted, encouraged. Tolerance for different points of view should also be tought. Not everyone looks alike, acts alike or thinks alike. It's a free country. As long as no one is harmed, let's be free to each other. Blacks, other races, Gays, Christians, etc. All need to learn the magic word: TOLERANCE. We are all here. We are all human. So let’s learn to live with each other." Unquote.

We are human after all, we can learn from our mistakes and evolve mentally. I hope we do so, for all our sakes.

Americans do not have to be boorish, ignorant bullies who only care for themselves and their own greed. We can be an enlightened people. Using our dwindling resources more wisely. Caring for our livingspace better. Practicing the science of peace at least as vigorously as the science of warfare. Striving for cooperation at least as much as striving for domination. Including all nations in friendship at least as much as singling out any one country to be this weeks’ enemy of the state for ***insert lame excuse here*** reasons. Welcoming intelligently designed compact people moving devices on the highways of the ignoramus SUV. We can do this! Hope is up to us all. Time to break from the past.