Thursday, July 31, 2008

Paying for Peak Oil

I had an interesting experience today while bicycling home from the library, where I had checked out two books and two movies.

I pulled up to an intersection to wait my turn through the stop light and noticed a medium size SUV (read: HUGE!) pull up to the gas station on the corner. A woman got out (hopped down) from the vehicle and inserted her credit card in the gas pump, then pulled it out and put it away. She then proceeded to fill the tank on her tank … er … car, uh, whatever it was, with gasoline. When the pump clicked off, she put the nozzle away, climbed back up into the drivers seat and drove away. (There was undoubtedly a cell phone conversation or two in the process, as well.)

It occurred to me, as I pedaled down the street toward home, that she had not paid any attention to how much it cost to fill the tank of her vehicle with gas! She just used her credit card when the little stick pointed toward "E," just as she always has. She will pay the minimum payment on her credit card bill, just as she always has, and she will never know how much the price of gas has gone up. Since she uses plastic, she never has to "pay" for anything at the source of purchase, so has no incentive to pay attention to how much things cost.

Multiply this by bazillions of Americans making bazillions of purchases, and you get some idea of why people in this country have no idea that they're consuming themselves, and the planet, to death!

Myths we keep telling ourselves

Congress Must Act to Keep the Economy Growing


Economic growth is the problem, not the solution. Furthermore, Congress can do nothing to "keep the economy growing," fortunately, since Nature trumps Congress every time.

Keeping the economy growing is impossible in a world of finite resources. Keeping the economy growing has resulted in all the ills we experience in our world today: climate change, Peak Oil, famine, disease, poverty, the heartbreak of psoriasis.

What we desire Congress (the opposite of progress) to do is to protect us from the ravages of for-profit corporations attempting to "keep the economy growing" to benefit said for-profit corporations at the expense of the people.

"Greed is the ugliest of the capital sins." Ed Abbey

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pot calls kettle black!

From the "Who's surprised about this? Department:

Government uncovers oil price manipulation

The article concludes that (nudge, nudge; wink, wink) oil price speculation is too small and too scattered to have any significant effect on global oil prices.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney sits in his Gray House office, smoking a cigar dripping with crude oil, contemplating an easy and lucrative retirement.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Singing with the Anarchy Choir

McKibben: 350 The Most Important Number "McKibben said 70 percent of Americans agree climate change is an issue.

“I’m not worried about preaching to the choir because the choir is large enough,” McKibben said. “I worry about the choir not singing loudly enough.”"

We have always sung with the choir!

Let there be no mistake, this has always been about the choir vs. the atonal drones attempting to lead the song. We, the people, that's you and me, have always sought peace, freedom from oppression (government and corporate) and liberty to live our own lives and pursue our own happiness. It's not that we have not sung loud enough, it's that the drones have high tech amplifiers and loudspeakers.

It's time for more songs about anarchy, democracy taken serious. Anarchy is rule by the people, self-rule, self-reliance and mutual aid. The Stonehengian towers of ground-penetrating sound systems have drowned out the choir with their seductive messages of consumerism, materialism, newsertainment and brain-gelling noise. How can one think or know when one's brain is filled with such stultifying (c)rap?

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion." Thomas Jefferson

It's time to swell the choir and sing the sweet song of liberty, in all its glorious diversity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goals, Hope and Motivation

We learn, in this Truthout interview, Representative Jay Inslee (Politician - Washington) "believes that if the people of the United States are given a goal, the hope and the motivation, they, not just government, will lead the way in solving one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time: global warming."

Guess what?

We don't need politicians to "give us" goals, hope and motivation. We've had them for decades! And not only the people of the united States of America, but people everywhere.

It has always been our goal to live in a world where we have unfettered access to clean air, clean water, nutritious food, meaningful work. We don't need motivation to achieve these goals. We need leaving alone.

This interview with Inslee smacks of "I'm from the government. I'm here to help you."

If you want to help us, Mr. Politician, stop getting in the way of our hopes and motivation so we can achieve our own goals. Stop polluting our water and air. Stop killing people in far-off places to line your pockets and those of your corporate buddies.

We don't need your motivation to produce solar energy. We don't need your goals to support our neighbors and families. We don't need your hopes to live a decent, satisfying life.

We have our own goals, hopes and motivation.

Just let us be and get on with protecting us from corporate toadies and government sycophants, Homeland Security and the burgeoning Police State. We'll take care of the rest, thank you very much.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Vision of the Future

In this article on Common Dreams, a 93 year-old woman has provided a vision of the future - from the past. Dr. Grace Lee Boggs shows us how Detroit is a vision of the future, a city that "no longer has to adhere to the usual capitalist mantra of growth and expansion because it is absolutely clear that the industrial system is finished. This fact allows citizens to respond by starting something new all over again."

We are witnessing the final failure of capitalism, as gleefully predicted by Socialists everywhere. Even official economists are beginning to admit that the whole idea of free market capitalism is failing, that traditional methods of propping up the capitalist economy have failed to budge the current growing recession, even unto "wars" (read: invasions and occupations) waged on two fronts.

Although it may seem to young people that we are "starting something new all over again," we are really reviving what has always worked: local self-reliance, local politics, local economy, local social services. Victory gardens, allotments, cooperative child care, extended families, cooperative housing, flexible kinship systems, midwifery, and, most importantly, self-reliance and mutual aid, have always been the most effective social organizations to support the people at the local level. It is only when a professionalized central authoritarian government attempts to take control, supported by a professional constabulary and a standing army, that local social systems are broken down and forced to fail.

This doesn't mean that capitalism, the private ownership of production, is bad in itself. It is only centralized capitalism that breaks down "normal" social relations, with the extension of the concept of a "free market," which has never been free, outside the realm of economics. Social services can never be organized under free market auspices, which is intrinsically based on distinctions between haves and have-nots. In "free market" social serves, someone is always, by definition, left out.

The only social system that is historically documented to provide egalitarian social services is non-state, locally organized, bioregionally-based mutual aid. Call it (small c)communism, socialism, anarchism or what have you, the concept of local self-reliance based on mutual aid and local resources is the only demonstrably "sustainable" social form ever devised by human societies.

As our civilization, if that's what it is, faces the unavoidable limitations of Peak Oil and climate change, David Brower's advice becomes increasingly relevant:

Progress consists of turning around and taking a step forward.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Interview With Rep. Dennis Kucinich

t r u t h o u t | Interview With Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich is the only member of Congress who has consistently told the truth, provided realistic alternatives to the present corporate oligarchy and has worked diligently at his job of representing the people of the united States in our republic.

For this he has been ignored, vilified and misrepresented in national corporate media.

Dennis Kucinich has long been the sole voice of sanity in a cacophonous insane asylum.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Remind me again... this is an alternative to what?

Obama Promises 10,000 More Troops for Afghanistan -

So Barak Obama, the Democratic Party candidate for President of the united States of America, vows to send 10,000 more soldiers to Iraq, oh wait... Afghanistan, to kill more Al Qa'ida, Taliban, wedding party guests, innocent women, children and elderly... for what reason?

And this is opposed to the Republican Party candidate who wants to send more troops to Afghanistan, no wait,... Iraq, or is it Iran? to kill more Al Qa'ida, Taliban, wedding party guests, innocent women, children and elderly... for what reason?

Could it be that the Democrats want to invade and occupy Afghanistan to maintain a safe corridor for oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea region, and the Republicans want to invade and occupy Iraq and Iran to control the largest remaining reserves in the world of easily produced crude oil?

So where is this wonderful democratic system of government we're supposed to have in the united States that represents the people? All of the people, not just those in three piece suits being chauffeured to their penthouse offices in tall buildings in big cities.

What happened to government "of the people, by the people and for the people?"

Bush Offers to hold Israel's Coat

Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran As Tehran Tests New Missiles, America Believes Only a Show of Force Can Deter President Ahmadinejad

In a scintillating display of international onepuffmanship, Ovalmeister George W. Bush prods Israel to attack Iran, sniggering up his sleeve as he adds sotto voce, "You're on your own."

Who believes the Smirk-in-Chief, when his retinue of beribboned Pentagon Choir members wear their peace robes while they reprise the chorus of war in the background. They're just itching for a new battlefield to try out all their new "non-lethal" weapons on a new set of "enemies." There's more fighter planes and bombers to sell, missiles to get off the shelf; it's a Blue-light Special at War Mart.

What a coincidence that Iran just announced the "discovery" of a new oil field, filled to the Plimsol line with billions of barrels of crude, now selling at $145 a barrel and climbing. When will we hear the old familiar mantra, "It's not about oil. It's not about oil?"

Impeach them all while we still have a chance. Saddle up the posse, the Bush Gang is making a getaway!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Exploding the Nuclear Myth

Phasing Out the Phase-Out: The Inexorable Comeback of Nuclear Energy - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Inexorable? Only if we continue to ignore reality and listen to voice of the growth maniacs.

The revival of interest in nuclear energy is cloaked in concerns about global warming. Nukes are touted as the energy source with the smallest carbon footprint, ignoring, of course, centuries of storage and intense management required to deal with toxic nuclear wastes far into the future. Our answer, as always, is to toss the problem to our children and grandchildren as we bask in the benefits (to the rich elite) of our profligate ways.

Conservation is ignored, of course, the only energy source that can provide absolutely clean energy at the flip of a switch. Just unplugging all the TeeVees in the US when not in use would save 10 billion kilowatts per year, twice the amount produced by Hoover Reservoir.

Our capitalist economic system is driving civilization over the energy abyss. Not a bad idea that, but it's not the only alternative. We could, if we were smart, get out of the car and leisurely enjoy the vast panoramic vista as we walk and bicycle along the edge.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

So now what do we do?

Today is my 59th birthday, the first of many... I hope.

Waking up this morning I find myself in a world teetering on the edge of the abyss, environmentally, politically and culturally.

The Obama promise has evaporated. Even before his anointment as the official Democratic Party Candidate for president of the united States of America, he has begun back-pedaling on campaign promises. He voted for telecom immunity - worse, he voted to prevent a filibuster on the bill, in direct contradiction to his promise on the campaign stump. Despite his populist rhetoric, Obama is just another Republican in Democratic mufti, hiding his trunk behind a donkey mask with floppy ears. Despite the promise of an intelligent mind in the White House, at long last, Obama serves the same masters as the dim bulb now sputtering out in the Oval Office.

The damage done by 28 years of government corruption, corporate dominance, media manipulation and cultural vacuity has created a society incapable of responding to the challenge of climate change and Peak Oil. The Earth continues to turn as it has for 3 billion years or so. Unfortunately for the "dominant" species (the one with the most impact), the Earth is turning away from us and we're too stupid to change direction. No comparison to dinosaurs here; they had no choice. It was either learn to fly or go extinct, and Mother Nature provided the feathers. Humans have blithely ignored our feathers as we continue driving down the freeway past the launch ramp.

I look forward to my sixth decade with hope, secure in the knowledge, based on personal experience, that all will be well, in its time. When the pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth subsides, when we finally ignore the corporate bleating in our Great National Asylum for the Criminally Helpless in Washington, DC, when we get back to the daily of work of democracy, pull up our fashionably sagging pants, tighten our belts and get to work at the local level, the pendulum will return and we'll get on with finding our place in the web of life on this planet.

Things will be different, yes they will, as anything alive constantly changes. It is only dead things that stay the same. The Earth does not abide any species that lays waste to the roundabout and expects to continue such devastation indefinitely. Nature always bats last. Those of us who recognize this now and change the way will live will be less affected by the coming inevitable changes and will show the way to the new/old way of life.

I hope by my next 59th birthday to see the pendulum swing even further, lifting us up to see the world just over the horizon.