October 7, 2015

Guns don’t people. People with guns kill people. Eleven year old uses shotgun for gun little girl he apparently bullied.
Let’s hear it for the right to bear arms, or just leave the said legal arms lying around where any young male can get one to exercise his need to control….or vent a little anger.


October 3, 2015

“Orygun” is a common bumper sticker here in Oregon’s more rural parts. Roseburg, site of the 45th American school shooting of the year, qualifies as rural and redneck. The county sheriff there in depressed and depressing Douglas County is a strong supporter of guns for all. Does he honestly think his refusal to say the gunman’s name is going to prevent future massacres? That’s almost as lame-brained as the local county official who asked everybody to pray for Douglas County. Too late for that.
How about serious liability for the mother who lived with this guy and his thirteen guns and his mental problems? Did she try to get him into mental treatment? Is there any such thing in Roseburg? That would require some kind of tax base, of course.
How about building and staffing some mental treatment centers? How about we monitor the mentally ill and maybe see how much ammunition they have? Let them use guns at gun ranges but not carry them around? If the pro-gun folks really want to have lots of guns maybe they can be bullied into letting mental health issues be a litmus test?
Meanwhile, the U.S. leads the league in personal massacres of the innocent. And just one more reason for home schooling which I think is a terrible idea for the nation, but makes sense for concerned parents everywhere.


September 26, 2015

My latest mulling was triggered by the Boehner bye-bye. He certainly leaves a man of some authenticity, compared to say…Dick Armey, or Tom DeLay, or Newt Gingrich or Dennis Hastert who is accused of illegal financial dealings to pay off a man he may have been fond of fondling. Boehner will not make it into THAT particular category of fame. Now the Republican Party that first gave us self-deportation as a sophisticated political concept now focusers its collective political acumen on itself. I see the Republicans led by those lay-off masters Trump and Fiorina and those House of Rep members who live in their own parallel universe about to unveil…you guessed it…self-disembowelment. Will be a fantastic toopic in the next political science text if the Repubs don’t find some way to make college too expensive for everybody.

Change is upsetting. It is particularly difficult to stomach when you’re on the losing end, when your power and privilege begin to leach away. Anger, jealousy, bitterness, violence. If you’ve been in control for a long time and somebody challenges your right to that control, violence can often be the result. The Catholic Counter-Reformation. Burning heretics at the stake. Europe’s 150 years of religious wars after the Reformation began. A generation of mass murder under Stalin. Chile’s right-wing coup aided by the CIA. Egypt at this very moment. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, what used to be Libya, Somalia, Nigeria. France trying to suppress revolt in Algeria and Indochina. South Africa’s all-white government trying to maintain Apartheid. The American Civil War to protect slavery in the Confederacy. These are just a few of the obvious examples of political and economic structures that were losing in the face of opposition so they turned to violence.

Today’s most egregious example are the fundamentalist, patriarchal movements in Muslim countries trying to recapture the 15th Century, stop any chance of women’s rights or birth control or freedom of conscience or religion or Hollywood movies or any other pollution from outside the closed society that existed for centuries. The Internet and digital media have now made that old, narrow society completely untenable. Saudi Arabia still does not let women drive! Violence is the last resort when trying to preserve that which is dying.
For years white supremacist groups used anti-black violence to maintain their semblance of control. That failed for lack of popular support and through federal intervention. Same for opposition to women’s rights and more recently, rights for all regardless of sexual identity. When the violence does not work, nihilism is the next step. If they won’t do it our way we will destroy it. Couple that with an alleged insight into religious truth and you have the various kinds of fanaticism that plague our globe today.
Sad to say one American political party is now prone to a pallid version of that patriarchal, nihilistic view. The Republicans have so expertly catered to the racist and reactionary elements that have always been part of America (or any other country prone to change that leaves some behind) that they now are dependent on politicians from the Confederacy and the red-state, rural parts of the West. To keep those voters the party has become ever-more nihilistic with a strong element that would like to shut down all federal power except the military and Homeland Security, even to the point of letting the highway funding run down. Ten years ago nobody would have imagined either party deliberately trying to stop fixing American roads and bridges. But nihilism backed by religious fundamentalism can be a heady mix, intoxicating and so simple. Just say no.
The Kentucky county clerk who won’t issue any marriages licenses: no. Planned Parenthood: no. Obamacare: no. Climate change: no. Registered guns: no. A black President: not American. Treaty with Iran: no. Trade with Cuba: no. No, no, no.

Turgenev wrote his finest novel about nihilists. I know he’s probably seen on the American right as a Russian communist propagandist but they might take heed. But then again they’ve not heard of Ivan at those for-profit colleges that are bilking our federal treasury and returning military veterans.

Nihilists want to bring down the government, not to change it or improve, to stop it. So what if the highways fall apart or the annual mean temperature rises another few degrees. Who needs forests and marshes and birds and alfalfa fields. Just give me a good dose of Trump on TV. Nihilists regard this: the house you burn down could have been the best place you ever lived.


September 23, 2015

Not since BP blew crude oil all over the northern Gulf of Mexico has a huge corporation so publicly crapped on the public and the planet’s health.  VW didn’t only defraud its customers, lie to governments about its pollution levels, use blatantly false advertising, its products emitted huge amounts of NOx into the atmosphere to worsen air pollution, climate change and human health.

Expect this story to have serious political repercussions in Europe where auto companies are allowed to do all their own testing with the testing done by folks paid by the automakers.  In other words, an honor system among thieves.

To make matters even worse for pols in Germany: the state of Saxony is a major shareholder in VW and has 20% voting rights on the board.  Too bad none of the U.S. reporters on this story don’t have time to check on the background of VW and its ownership.  This is a partially nationalized company.  Doesn’t mean VW’s the first major corp to lie to its owners…check our large banks in recent recession and market meltdown.

Already there are shock waves in the E.U. where diesel cars are much more common than our gas-guzzlers…based on the phony belief that those cars are cleaner and more efficient. Were other car-makers dong the same thing? Can Peugot and Fiat be clean? Today the French environment Minister sounded fiercely and self-righteous…a chance to shame and blame and punish the Germans! This could turn as nasty as the current blame game over who gets the refugees. (Don’t forget that Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Gulf States do not accept any refugees, regardless of origin or religion.)

Repercussions for VW here in U.S. will be a sharp drop in sales and VW lay-offs in those southern plants where workers have no unions and little safety net to fall back on.

This scandal makes Johnson & Johnson’s sales of a drug to kids that was not okayed for kids look like… well, child’s play.   J&J’s victims may only number in the thousands while VW has trashed our planet…but at least they made lots of money. Another victory for capitalism and the stock market until it was exposed.


September 22, 2015

In Boston a bus-load of potential shooting victims started ordering a gun-wielding cop to put away his gun. All ends peacefully, no thanks to the “trained” cop. The targeted miscreant was an unarmed, female petty theft suspect. Probably not worth dying for if you are simply on a bus going to work or back, right?


September 21, 2015

Here’s how unregulated free markets work: corporations push to get control or a product or sector or at least big muscle, then screw the customers as much as possible. Check out this anti-malaria drug’s price hike, a drug often needed by very poor people in very poor countries, not just thrill-seeking eco-tourists or tropical birders like me.
Fortunately there are other anti-malarial drugs but they may not be as good against all vestors.
You can’t have any kind of market fairness without regulation …drug, water, fuel and housing prices will all need to be controlled as we insist on overcrowding this planet. The cost of clean air may eventually even become a financial issue as well. China is now leading the world in making breathable air a rare and valuable commodity.  Soon the rich will be able to pay extra to have clean air pumped into their condos or hotel rooms in Beijing and Shanghai.  To hell with the poor fools outside.

Here is report showing that bad air is already lethal to millions of people.

Looks like we humans have unofficially decided this is one way to control population growth, not birth control or women’s rights but making the planet more toxic.  Too bad the crows and cows don’t get a say.

The Pope will continue to be a conservative on conservation issues until he can find a way to support bird control and reduced population growth.  There’s a steep hill for the patriarchal Catholic Church, not to mention the Muslim and Mormon and other male-dominated faiths that still see women as chattel.


September 15, 2015

In the world of market capitalism, especially in the world of Big Pharma, you are a target and a customer. Nothing more, so don’t get cocky. And expect that your doctor has knowingly or ignorantly gone over to the Dark Side where Big Pharma reaps BIG Profits.
Here’s a a cozy little tale of J&J doing business as usual.
All part of making America the most drugged society in history.


August 30, 2015

Click here for look at the current migratory season…for humans. Millions running away from failed states, failed revolutions, failed crops…all being intensified by climate change…with much more and much worse to come.

Here are Dylan’s lyrics now more than half a century old, but even more relevant:
“Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’”

Could this be the right national anthem for Bangladesh, the first really big country that will fall below the sea, making Tonga and Vanuatu insignificant by comparison.
Just this week NASA predicted the rate of sea level rise will be much faster than previously predicted. Of course, if there’s a Republican President with HIS Republican Congress (Sorry, Carly, you don’t have a chance) in 2017 NASA will no longer have money or leeway to research such mythical creatures as climate change and the U.S. will sink even further into ignorant denial as a political entity. If Florida can ban public employees from saying “climate change,” it could surely work even better at the federal level. Just think, former Senator Cruz as Secretary of the Interior. He could move office into the executive office building of Exxon down in his home state of mind of Texas.

Are we humans really genetically incapable of long-term co-operative effort?


August 9, 2015

Donald Trump aside, how would you characterize humans?
Here are some words from Kenneth Rexroth…written nearly fifty years ago. His concerns then are even more relevant today.
“The rapidity with which we are creating an environment in which the human species as we know it can no longer thrive is astonishing. We have passed, in California, a critical point. The resilience of the environment is exhausted, it can no longer recuperate from large-scale destruction is less than many centuries.
“The forces that stand to profit from destruction now know this and they have learned to move quickly, on the largest possible scale, and if it can be managed, with an elaborate public relat5ions camouflage which disguises them as ‘conservationists.’
“We have reached the tipover point. The man-made environment is so vast that nature survives only in small islands, threatened constantly by biological changes from outside even under ideal conditions of protection…
“Certainly the urban centers of the past, far less artificial, have never replenished themselves except by immigration from the countryside.”
“The sudden popularity of ecology is not a craze. Is it the response to the deadly crisis caused by a craze called the profit system. Man’s end is in sight. One thing ecology has always taught is that the relationship of living things to each other and their environment are governed by critical points, where catastrophe occurs with great suddenness.”
“For the last 200 years we have seen the growth of an economic and social system based fundamentally on the extractive industries and with a built-in dynamism that forces it into ever-increasing production at all costs. The competitive system has universalized a morality based on covetousness…
“We have just gone through a long boom period with ever-accumulating surp0luses; yet the overall production has never passed 80 percent of capacity. The source of profit I no longer, as it as n Marx’s day, labor power. Every year we need fewer people to prodce more…
“…Meanwhile, outside the metropoles, starvation, disorder, breakdown sweep over the southern three-quarters of the globe…Today, an extractive, accumulative society more than just threatens—makes certain—the extinction of the human species with a comparatively short time.
“The carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere can no longer be kept in balance over the equatroial regioins. A dense fog of carcinogens blankets whole areas…. The changes we are doing to our environment are changing it far more drastically than the changes necessary to account for the extinction of the great reptiles a6t the end of the Jurassic Age and incomparably more quickly…”
The extractive industries must be reduced to a minimum. The use of fossil fuels must be brought to a complete stop; coal, oil and gas should be consumed totally with nothing but completely inert residues at the sites and [energy] sent out over wires. Atomic plants should be stopped until it can be determined how to destroy the wastes…
“Along with this would have to go a complete moral conversion from the acquisitive, competitive, convetous ‘virtues’ of present society to a whole new scale of cooperative mutual aid simplicity value system not unlike the South Sea Islanders of romance. The population growth must not just be stopped, but reversed. The optimum is probably about one billion people to the planet.”
We now number over 7 billion, and our planet is hotter every year. Oh yum.


August 2, 2015

The weatherly climate is changing, for sure. How about the political climate?
While the pentagon worries that climate change is fueling wars and political instability (note the 150-plus degree days they’re having in the Mideast), there are those with a vested interest in plundering the planet for profit who refuse to see a problem. Peabody Coal says greenhouse gases are good for you (even methane?).

At least some informed folks are now saying right out loud: we have to destroy the current energy business if we are to stop the juggernaut of climate change and extinctions. Is the shifting climate just Gaia’s way of shedding a dangerous species…that being us humans?

At least one tiny nation finds their energy blowin’ in the wind. They’ve come a long way since Hamlet’s days. We Yanks would never deign to copy the Danes though. Frack, baby, frack!


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