Saturday, November 25, 2006

Say no to Segway!

Congratulations to the folks of Campbell!

At least someone around here has sense enough to see the idiocy of this unneeded, unwanted and totally frivolous bit of technological excess. The only people who want them, besides those who profit from their sales, are those with more disposable money than brains.

Human-powered vehicles are all that's necessary, if anything other than feet, for local human transportation. We move ourselves at a human pace, enjoying the immediate surroundings unpolluted by carbon oxides, airborn particulates and spent batteries. Life moves too swiftly as it is; who needs to make it go faster?

Let's gather up all the speed for speed's sake folks and lock them up in a container with the growth for growth-sakers and ship it off to a deserted island somewhere, if there are any left on this poor, overbuilt planet. Let 'em chase each other around the beach at high speed as they overpopulate their own island home.

Hayduke
Within walking distance of Twin Lakes Beach
Pacific Plate

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks for...


The White House Turkey

Here in the united States, we're experiencing that annual celebration of gluttony and sloth known, ironically, as Thanksgiving. It's a pseudo-religious holiday of mixed messages, as most uS holidays have become: the turkey, the funny hats, the buckled shoes, American football, the quaint, historically misplaced Indian costumes, the Rockwellesque, Christian nuclear family praying around the groaning dinner table, the mythic story of the birth of a new British colony that eventually became us, or more accurately, those of us who won.

We are told this is a time to give thanks for all that we enjoy. According to George W. Bush, the Current Resident, "So on Thanksgiving Day, we gather with loved ones and we lift our hearts toward heaven in humility and gratitude. ... We love our country, and the greatest example of that devotion is the citizen who steps forward to defend our nation from harm. Members of our military have set aside their own comfort and convenience and safety to protect the rest of us. Their courage keeps us free. Their sacrifice makes us grateful, and their character makes us proud. Especially during the holidays our whole nation keeps them and their families in our thoughts and prayers."

"...lift our hearts toward heaven in humility and gratitude," of course, is fundamentalist-speak for thanking a Christian God in a particular prescribed way, as opposed to all the others in this country who do not believe in a Christian God, or any god at all, for that matter. I guess we're left out of this ceremony.

We do love our country, at least our own particular part of our country that we know and care for. This does not necessarily mean that we love our government, however, including the Oval One. Quite the contrary. When the government works against the best interests of the country and the people who live in it, we are free to oppose the government and seek its removal and replacement. We are guaranteed this course of action in our own founding documents.

As to the military, they are the defenders of the governmental status quo. The military does not defend the nation or "the rest of us." In fact, they place the nation, and the rest of us, in harm's way. The military has always defended the interests of business and industry, and those rich elites who profit from the exportation of violence and terrorism. The military did not defend the people working in the World Trade Center; in fact, they turned the other way and helped the privileged bin Laden family members escape the united States rather than face harsh questions about the nationality and allegiance of the airplane hijackers.

The people of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan do not seek to harm the people of the united States. They only defend their own nation from invasion and occupation by foreign soldiers who have come to their countries to kill and maim them in the hundreds of thousands. They don't know why, but they suspect, and rightly so, that it has something to do with all that oil lying about just beneath their hallowed ground.

This country, this united States, was founded on genocide, theft, slavery and exploitation. We are now called to publicly thank the military arm of the government of this country for continuing this proud tradition in lands far away, against people with different skin color, religious beliefs and cultural traditions, to kill them, to destroy their homes, to murder and terrorize their children, to force them to be quiescent, loyal subjects of the American Empire.

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Peak Oil and global climate change, and I pray that they will quickly bring an end to the abomination of the united States government and "Western Civilization," and allow the rest of us to return to a life in harmony with all life in our own bioregions and throughout this beautiful and harmonious Earth.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Thoughts on Veterans Day

Today is the day we are asked to remember and honor those who died as soldiers in the armed forces of the united States, and those who survived the military experience to return home. Especially in times of war, or as in most cases, US imperialist invasions of other countries, Veterans Day is a day to wave the flag, march our sacrificed youth before us and be thankful that we did not have to travel ourselves to the killing fields across the globe. Those poor unfortunates, many broken in limb and spirit, march in our stead, those who can still walk, having sacrificed their youth and innocence to the pecuniary aspirations of the industrial corporate elite.

We forget, or some of us forget, that November 11 was originally proclaimed as Armistice Day, celebrating the end of war that occurred on November 11, 1918. In 1938 Congress passed a bill that each November 11 "shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace and ...hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day." It wasn't till 1954, after World War II, that the occasion was changed to Veterans Day, to remember those who fought in wars, through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace.

One cannot prepare for peace while celebrating past wars. Rather than a "war to end all wars," I would prefer a peace to end all wars. We must turn away from war as an instrument of governmental policy and admit all wars have fattened the few through the killing of many. There are no just wars, only the dead, the maimed and the mourning survivors. Governments, and their industrial backers, have made a graveyard of the globe through the justification of war on moral, religious and economic grounds. War is never moral, religious nor economic.

If we honor veterans without dishonoring those who start the wars, the politicians, the industrialists, the economists, the popes and petty religious despots, we are merely dragging the victims out of the river rather than fixing the bridge upstream. We most honor veterans by working for peace, by exposing the despicable machinations of the fascist government/industrial cabal that feeds the fires of war and keeps them burning eternally. We honor veterans by living our own lives so as not to give succor to the enemy of all life, the human social institutions that profit from war.

On this Veterans Day I honor our veterans by looking forward to a day that I will not see with my aging eyes, the day we honor the Last Veteran and retire Veterans Day to the pages of history.

Michael

Were Bush and Rove "The Producers" of an intentional flop?

Were Bush and Rove "The Producers" of an intentional flop?

Interesting question.

While it's tempting to think of the Bush/Rove brain hatching this diabolical plot to lure the Dems into sharing the blame for inevitable failure in Iraq, I suspect it's a bit too much for even the Evil Genius to pull off. There is much more oversight on the voting process this year. Note that exit polls very closely matched the results this time. Ohio and Florida were quiet; the squeekers were Montana and Virginia.

No, I think there's something else at work here, something involving longer term strategy, perhaps something that has yet to be revealed.

It will be interesting to tot up the profiles of those new Dems voted into office this year, see where their handlers and funders come from, note their connections to major lobbying groups and all the sordid machinations of political power. Dems are largely Repubs in Donkey sweaters these days, so the Big Change might not be all that much after all.

On the other hand, or hoof, it certainly seems possible that the inroads on environmental legislation engineered by the Bushies can be reversed and, the laws strengthened. Perhaps the US can climb aboard the Kyoto Protocols, finally, and become a world leader in reversing greenhouse gas emissions. While global warming can't be stopped, it's impact can be reduced somewhat if we get serious right away.

Meanwhile, there's two more years of the Bush Security State to deal with, two more years of possible imposition of Martial Law and "rapidly expanding programs," for which large prison camps have been constructed. We cannot afford to let down our guard, to ask the awkaward questions, to question authority at eery turn.

Is this a conspiracy theory? Do they really sit in board rooms and plan all this stuff?

Yes, they do.

Vigilance, eternal vigilance.

Michael