Through Thick and Thin
Another week. The Obama vs Clinton deathmatch goes into extra innings. Civil war is breaking out in Lebanon again. I managed to write three posts this week about men behaving badly, a topic for which there is infinite amounts of source material. Even my own mother called me up to inform me that Josef Fritzl is indeed a monster. Exactly, but by extension that means there’s a monster in all men. I knew that. I used to play a little game, when I met a man for the first time I would see how long it would take me to get him to say something really racist, misogynistic, or genocidal. I had to stop because it was too depressing, I don’t think I ever failed.
Moving right along. Well, yes, Hezbollah claims that the government of Lebanon has declared war on it. What a mess, is another Lebanese Civil War in the offing? Lebanon is the perfect example of how colonialism never ended and is still wreaking havoc in the world at large. The colonial mind set is more what I mean. At least the colonial powers of the 19th century were honest about what they were doing, we have inherited their mind set but forgotten what’s really going on. “The map is not the territory.” Oh well, I’ll try to explain this idea more next week.
There’s been a terrible cyclone to hit Myanmar (previously known as Burma.) A cyclone is the Asian word for hurricane. As many as a hundred thousand people may be dead. That’s, like, really bad. The government of Myanmar is not exacting cooperating with efforts to get aid to their stricken country. Though again, the classic colonial mind set is being illustrated here. IE the west knows what’s best Myanmar and if the government of Myanmar doesn’t like it, why, there must be something wrong with them. Can anyone spell patronizing and paternalistic? And the Myanmar government knows that letting in westerners means letting in spies and support for their dissidents, from their position keeping aid out is the lesser of two evils.
The price of oil hit a new record, $126 a barrel. People are actually starting to drive less, in fact it’s really helped the congestion in Berkeley. Less traffic, less pollution…I can live with that. Even on the way back cross country I noticed the used car lots were filled with big pickup trucks and SUVs. More proof of how short sighted and clueless many Americans are, gas is still a minor part of the cost of operating a vehicle and certainly not worth the money they would lose selling a vehicle and buying a new one. And of course two of the candidates for the White House (Obama being the sane exception) are pandering to these misunderstandings by saying they will repeal the gas tax to give American’s “relief.” Saving 18 cents a gallon will be a trivial amount of relief, but will further strip our nation’s highways of already critically underfunded repair funds. And when maintenance is deferred, it just costs more down the road. Yeah, that’d a good idea, pass more costs on to our grandchildren. In other words, repealing the gas tax is just more “borrow and spend.” It does seem to be the American way these days.
Speaking of gasoline, I heard that even if all of America’s farmland were switched to producing biofuel it still wouldn’t meet our fuel needs. Basically biofuel is another scam, it will make the rich richer, the poor poorer…all while claiming to be “green” energy. The other nightmare being resurrected as “green” energy is the nuclear industry. Power so mind numbingly expensive that investors refuse to fund the construction of nuclear power plants since they invariably lose money. So now we will be building them with government picking up the tab (IE you and me and our grandchildren) all the while claiming that this is good for the country and the environment. Sigh. Yes, I should write more about this some day.
There was a rumour that the leader of Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq was captured, sleeping on a mattress in an ally. Sounded pretty fishy to me, and turned out it was. Didn’t stop people from declaring what a wonderful victory this was. Of course if killing insurgent leaders actually did anything, insurgencies would be easy to stop. No, insurgencies have very distributed command and control structures, they have to be in order to survive. So killing their leaders basically does nothing except make them even more careful to keep their command and control structures distributed. And usually makes them and their movements more popular as well.
Lastly, I did a little research on the “End Times.” A lot of people are claiming that the end is nigh. Turns out that this has happened before. Hundreds of times going back to 3800 BC. And yet somehow the End Times never arrive and humanity is left to muddle through somehow. I particularly liked this one from 1694:
“Drawing from theology and astrology, German prophet Johann Jacob Zimmerman determined that the world would end in the fall of 1694. Zimmerman gathered a group of pilgrims and made plans to go to America to welcome Jesus back to Earth. However, he died in February of that year, on the very day of departure. Johannes Kelpius took over leadership of the cult, which was known as Woman in the Wilderness, and they completed their journey to the New World. Fall came and went and, needless to say, the cultists were profoundly disappointed at having travelled all the way across the Atlantic just to be stood up by Jesus.” (Cohen p.19-20)
Well, yes, that would be annoying. Read about the rest of these false prophecies here.
Have a great weekend everyone!
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is a low resolution copy of the original, it is not being used for profit, and its use here does not in any way hinder the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image, arguably the opposite. It’s a painting titled “Landscape with Grenade” by Cliff McReynolds. Credit & © Copyright Cliff McReynolds. I really like his art, and thought that painting in particular illustrated the times we are living in. End Times, no…interesting times, yes.)