A bit of levity regarding the minds of climate change deniers, but the ultimate consequences are likely to be anything but amusing. The question is as always how do we go about changing those minds or ignoring them completely?
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Saturday, April 04, 2015
Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.
(John Adams, second president of the United States)
This video came out two or three years ago, but it's telling on so many levels that it is worth looking at more than once. The reality is that it may be even more pertinent three years later. The mere “tweaking” of the system will not change anything.
Wealth Inequality in America
The U.S. is now the most unequal of all Western nations and has a lot less social mobility than Canada and Europe. In the 2014 mid-term elections the voter turnout was as low as the 1830 elections, where only white male property owners could vote. It is in the short-term interest of the plutocracy (read globally) to keep it this way.
Source: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Trust us--it's far too complicated to explain to you. International trade benefits everyone. We understand, you don't have to. We're bringing the world together.... Do what you're told.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Several days ago I received some material from the Sierra Club reminding me to renew my membership, which I had let lapse for a couple of years. What caught my attention however was a short letter that was included in the membership material. The letter read as follows:
Imagine that, little by little, your home was taken away from you. The forests and mountains where you once roamed freely disappeared, replaced by roads and concrete buildings.
What if politicians in suits, someplace far away, decided your fate … decided that you, your family, your friends, and neighbors had become a nuisance—a menace—to those who had invaded your home?
And so now, you must die.
Imagine these politicians rallying for your slaughter … ignoring what science has told them, encouraging citizens to hunt you down and kill you.
Imagine your family under attack. Defenseless, with nowhere left to hide, you must dodge bullets from the ground and sky, just to find food for yourself and your young children.
Imagine that, in one of these public hunts, you watched your offspring die.
Then you will know the terror that wolves face every day … and why we so desperately need your help.
After all, you and your fellow humans are the only ones who can save us. Our fate is in your hands.
So I hope you will answer this cry for help. You are our only hope. And time is running out ….”
Murder for fun, profit and prestige
The late, great comedian George Carlin once remarked that we humans can't destroy the Earth. The planet will deal with us without difficulty. I remain optimistic that after humankind vanishes (at least the current variety of Homo sapiens), the remaining life on Earth, as science writer Michael Tennesen says, “ will survive, adapt, diversify, and proliferate.”
I don't want to think that the combination of our technology, slow evolutionary development and general ignorance could actually turn our planet into an uncompromising nightmare like that offered up by the novelist Cormac McCarthy in his novel The Road.
Yet, regardless of whether or not we humans do ourselves in sometime in the future, the mind numbing misery we're inflicting on other species right now is appalling. It is conceivable that up to 50 percent of plant and animal species could have gone extinct by the end of the century. Unlike other mass extinctions, the principal cause this time will most likely be humankind. There's a reason that most scientists refer to our current geologic age as Anthropocene.
Wide areas of Asia currently, because of official corruption, greed, ignorance and even what is casually called “cultural” cuisine, are destroying plant and animal life across the planet at an astonishing rate. We humans have become like the invasive plant kudzu on steroids.
While we collectively—with some notable exceptions—have been killing and destroying most everything around us for thousands of years, it was far less noticeable before the industrial age and a global population under two billion. But now, with a population of more than 7 billion humans and increasing, we are destroying life on Earth on an industrial scale, seemingly unaware of its consequences for us.
So what ought we to do? One possibility certainly is that we may not be able to do anything in time. Fields like neuroscience and behavioral genetics have provided considerable insight in how humans think and process information and why we often do what we do ... but, the “so what” question however can't be tossed aside.
How do we confront, educate and find the resources fast enough to turn the human death cult into a manageable problem at the very least. Cowboy yahoos in the American West, clueless Chinese bourgeoisie desperate for the “bling” of ivory and other human predators are not going away anytime soon.
Maybe it does begins with trying to understand what the wolf could be thinking as he stares at his dead cub bleeding to death from the gunshot wound. Maybe we have to find better ways to talk to narcissistic Homo sapiens. Anyway, I renewed my membership in the Sierra Club. Giving up can't be an option.
For an unvarnished assessment of wildlife destruction read The Politics of Extinction. Getting angry is good but then come up with a plan. We need one right away.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Monday, January 05, 2015
The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome.
(Andrea Tantaros, Fox News TV co-host, responding to U.S. Senate report on torture)
The loneliest moment in someone's life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.
(The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
It's the unsettling truth that may be the hardest part right now for a large portion of white America; after all, the U.S. has the oldest functioning Constitution in the world, and that might be the problem on any number of levels.
It was the brilliant James Madison, author of the United States Bill of Rights and one of the authors of The Federalist Papers who, in 1787, said, “They ought to be constituted [the nation] as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” Ah, always the dangerous mob, the rabble, a consistent yet unspoken “through-line” of the United States.
Is an 18th century document going to serve our needs in the 21st century? Most likely not. Our social and political myths—created most certainly by white America and in particular the “minority of the opulent”--have largely remained intact for more than 200 years. The last occupying foreign army in the United States was the British during the war of 1812.
The many reasons given for not voting in the recent mid-term election represent at the very least intellectual laziness, be they offered by the “millennials,” those that just find the Republican party repugnant and of course the “disenchanted” liberals. But we've reached the point where we can probably say “so what” with some qualifications. The rot has advanced too far.
The Democratic party is a feckless relic, a hollow shell; yet, it possibly could morph into some sort of sane conservative movement, at some point in the future. The handful of genuine Democratic political progressives in the party, and they are only a handful, ought to be spending their time building a new progressive movement elsewhere.
The Republican party, the party of Lincoln, at least outside the benighted Confederacy, is really about the intentional development of an authentic, nativist, totalitarian movement, what the Europeans were familiar with in the 20th century and that may be once again rearing its head in Europe in the 21st century.
Black America, more than anyone else, clearly has a compelling reason to develop an organized and disciplined movement, one capable of acquiring greater political power at the national and most definitely at the local level.
The Occupy movement demonstrated that people could come together for political change with a serious moral purpose, but Occupy ultimately floundered and became a minor irritant to the kleptocracy and the political hacks that do its bidding.
We seem to have difficulty accepting the fact at the present time, but radical change is never a brief “get together” without any clear, definable objectives. To succeed, a movement has to ultimately bring in large, diverse groups of people of all ages, who aren't going away under any circumstances.
Of course it's about power, gathering it in and confronting those who refuse to give it up. Above all, it has to be unremitting and offer an understandable alternative to the status quo. This is not something done overnight nor is it a fervent wish for some messianic vision to make it happen.
An excellent time to begin is in January 2015. There will be more than enough motivation to go around. Once again from The Great Gatsby, a novel about illusion: “Americans while occasionally willing to be serfs, have always been obstinate about being peasantry.” Well, we'll find out.
For an interesting documentary on the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the use of police repression and the connections between what happened more than a 100 years ago and today, watch the video below.
Some Additional Reading and Considering Other Possibilities: