Peak Oil in more detail

Someone recently looked at the Peak Oil problem in a little more personal and American detail than I’ve seen before… and it ain’t pretty.  *I* sure don’t know how to farm… and I’m crippled to boot!

Billion to be displaced by Global Warming, etc., by 2050

If they’re lucky, they’ll only be displaced, and not die from heat, drought, thirst, famine, disease, civil war, loss of petroleum-based fertilizers, etc.

Commandments to humanity at Creation?

In the Book of Genesis, God tells humanity to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion.”  Some “Christians” use this as religious cover to dismiss concern about the apparent ability of the planet to sustain many more human beings [or at least, many more First-World human beings!!!], and to destroy the environment.  But it occurs to me that these commands were given before the Fall.  After the Fall, humanity’s chief concern is different: to reunite with God in His Uncreated Energies/Activities.

Traditionally more than a few Orthodox have tried to collaborate with God through monasticism, ie, a lifestyle of NOT multiplying, and of using as little of the earth as possible.  Even practicing Orthodox laity try to include some of this asceticism in their lives, including abstaining from marital relations most Wednesdays and Fridays, during the four Fasting Periods (“lents”) of the year, several other prescribed days each year, any nights before and after receiving Communion… as well as the fast-related dietary self-restrictions during these periods, and in the weeks leading up to the Great Fast (ie, Great Lent, or just Lent, the pre-Pascha/Easter fast).  I believe many of these practices persist among Eastern Catholics, and some of them persisted among Latins (Catholics of Western Rite) before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, and among many older Latins even afterward – though since the ’60s they have all retained the practices of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, and some bishops seem to want to bring back the year-round “fish on Fridays” practice.

Furthermore, a number of Protestant groups embrace what might be called a certain neo-asceticism, such as Amish, Mennonites, some Quakers, some individual liberal mainstream Protestants, and even some “conservative” Protestants, under the rubric of “How ought a Christian to live?”  Some pacifists extend their ethic to “simple living,” or at least advocating it, in the spirit of 1700s New Jersey Quaker John Woolman, who sought to remove from his life anything containing “the seeds of war,” including profiting from slave labor and foreign trade in unnecessary clothing accessories.  (In fact, he predicted the U.S. Civil War.)

As I have reflected previously, greater asceticism may be the lifestyle of the next two thousand years, as we face Global Warming, Peak Oil, and the other coming difficulties – lest we destroy ourselves even before the Lord returns in Glory!  Though as He said, ‘Don’t go around moping, unwashed, in ratty clothes, but smile, clean up, dress adequately’ (more or less!).  For Orthodox, asceticism is the privilege of collaborating with God in this world, and becoming more God-like (NOT “god-like”)!

Presidential Endorsement

will have to wait.

Why do so few of the Democratic candidates have sufficient experience to be president of the executive branch?  Rodham Clinton?: four more years in the Senate (hopefully eight, of course!).  Obama?: eight more years in the Senate.

The only ones I think have sufficient experience are Biden and Dodd, but neither of them really embodies the party or America.  I want to back Kucinich, but he’s so loopy.  Plus, I love Elizabeth and all, but engaged after 6 weeks, and half his age?  Makes me wonder about other decisions he might make in office.

President Gore and President Kerry have ruled out ’08.  I wasn’t real thrilled about Kerry in ’04, but for justice, I’d back him.  Gore has gotten much better since the ’90s.  I think he had to get out from under the Clinton/DLC thumb, have the 2000 election stolen from him, see how life is for the other 99 pct., get out in front on Global Warming, experience “the assault on reason,” etc.  I wanna say he’s done more for the world than he would’ve/could’ve as President… but please, Iraq? “the assault on reason”? the fascism? the Constitution, “just a damned piece of paper”?

Of course, so much shouldn’t depend on one election or one (elective) office.  But that’s what we’re stuck with in this country.

For now….

Canada = The Great Contradiction to the USA

Profound when you think about it.  Right next-door!

(Unfortunately, you have to Select the whole page to read the text, because red-on-black doesn’t work so well.)

Canada = Loyal America

A wee article, a glimpse at the other side of the American Revolution… the side that lives on, to the north of us!

The abbreviation of microphone

is not MIC.  That’s “mick.”

It’s MIKE.  That’s “mike,” designed to sound something like the first syllable of the word.

Now, I realize that by all the rules of English pronunciation, the word should be pronounced MICK-ro-phone, or spelled mycrophone.  But it’s not.  So there.

If you’re advertising a performance of speech or song by anyone who wants to get up and do so, that’s OPEN MIKE NIGHT, not Open Mic Night.  It could even be OPEN MIKE NITE.  Just not MIC.  MIC is nothing.

Please make a note of it.

I like hips.

There, I’ve said it.

Not immense hips, but definite hips, on a teenage girl or woman.  Someone who looks like a girl from the waist down, even in pants!

But current fashions seem to prefer girls who look like boys from the bottom of the breast, down (in some clothing, anyway) – and immense breasts, too big to be supported by the rest of their body.  What’s up with that, closet pedophiles or something?!!!

Bluefly

There’s actually a fashion store called Bluefly?!!!  Have people forgotten what blueflies are?!!!  Blueflies are carrion flies, those big-ass, slow-moving, BLUE flies that feed off dead flesh, feces, etc.

Next they’ll have one called Lice, or Maggots, or Tapeworms, or something!  ‘Yes, dear, I’m going shopping for all my fashion supplies at Tapeworms!’

This doesn’t require a college education.  Remember the famous scene in Tale of Two Cities???

Unbelievable.

Then again, they may be well-named, since they appear to be a for-profit, high-consumption-by-the-wealthy, corporation.  Carrion indeed.  Eat away!

The Constitution of the Tsar

The Russian Empire is usually portrayed, even by Russian monarchists, as authoritarian.  But not according to this anonymous writer:

Western writers do not understand Orthodox monarchy. And because America rebelled against the King of England; Americans in particular have no sympathy for the idea of Monarchy. Indeed, it is almost a sacred tradition {in America} to applaud any nation that “comes to its senses” and overthrows its king! The Tsars of Russia are viewed in this same man-centered rather than God-centered light.

But; in Orthodox Russia there once existed a society composed not of “church and state” (such as existed in medieval Europe) but of “government and priesthood”-a holy commonwealth. The Tsar was never placed outside the Church or “above the law,” but always within the Church and subject to the law of Christ. He was very much the “servant of the Gospel”: he was required to live by it and rule by it in order to be worthy of the blessings of God upon himself, his family, and his nation. Such a righteous Father to his people was the last Tsar, Nicholas II.

Can’t we govern ourselves?

(Small-R) republicans stereotype Monarchists as believing common people ‘can’t govern themselves‘ – or as the rebel politician, slavemaster, and wealthy “planter” Thomas Jefferson put it, that kings are “angels in the form of men to govern us.”

In truth, some monarchists in the world are still elitist snobs.  But have the common people ever governed the United States?  Do we today?  Especially today, when they sometimes let some of us “vote,” and then program the voting machines, or the counting machines, any way they wish… and if that doesn’t work, threaten to cancel the election results and enthrone their own Electors… and when that doesn’t work, call in chips with their partisanly-appointed, falsely-titled Supreme Court “justices.”

I begin to think that there will always be “rulers,” and they will usually not be “we the people.”  So it’s more a matter of reining-in the inevitable abuses of this “ruling class,” ultimately by means of a non-partisan, apolitical, unelected, unbribeable, FREE representative of the people able to tell the rulers NO when necessary.  In truth, something perhaps Queen Elizabeth II hasn’t done enough of – though we may never know, since her meetings with her ministers are confidential.  Some see Her Majesty as the most pliant British Monarch in history, attributing it to her youth at accession, her deference to Churchill, and her femaleness.  (Remember she became Queen in 1952, having been born in 1926. To put it crassly, she’s a traditional old lady!)

In short, “the people’s” inability to govern ourselves has less to do with our shortcomings, more to do with the machinations of the real ruling/political class.

Historically, often the British Crown was appealed to by “the people” against the depredations of the King’s nobles, the people’s landlords and employers.  At least they could be appealed to in the name of Christian morality and charity and solidarity.  America’s  hereditary nobility (Do you doubt me? Look at their family trees!) is unregulated, and they laugh and say, “What does morality have to do with economics?”

“Class warfare”?  You bet.  But I didn’t start it; I just want to end it, or lessen its harm to “us the people.”

Democrat Surrender Monkeys indeed!

I guess the Congressional Democrats really are what the theocons (who hate America) like to call most of America, “surrender monkeys,” for caving-in to another Bush veto threat on a timetable for abandoning his Iraq/Oil/civil war/Empire quagmire.  Minimum wage?  I thought we did that months ago!

Until the Monarchy Party gets off the ground, there’s always these guys….  I was once more sympathetic to the Green movement than I am today obviously, but if we could just replace the Democratic affiliation of voters, votes, and (most, apparently) Democratic members of Congress, with Green(s), 100 pct., all at once, it’d be an improvement.  I actually voted for my Green U.S. Rep. candidate in November, but only because I’m in a very safe Dem district, and wanted to make a statement.  Call me a Green Monarchist Realist Anti-abortionist maybe!

“The Redcoats are coming”?

NOT!

Paul Revere (and two other friends with him) also didn’t yell, “The British are coming,” because most of the colonists still thought of themselves also as a form of British!  (Remember “the rights of free Englishmen” the rebels thought they were losing [and sometimes cost themselves – and us]?!)

Therefore, they would’ve most commonly thought of His Lawful Majesty’s forces as Regulars, as in Regular Army, as opposed to “irregulars.”

(Not to be confused with Fr. Andrew Greeley’s fictional “North Wabash Avenue Irregulars”!  [730 N. Wabash Ave. is the address of the rectory at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, where fictional sleuth {and recently promoted! See how recently?} Coadjutor-Archbishop Blackie Ryan, and his alleged boss, Cardinal Sean Cronin, live.])

Newscast mentality in Washington

From AOL News (link will break) AP story about Sunni militant uprising in Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon:

White House press secretary Tony Snow said Tuesday the militants wanted to distract international attention from an effort at the U.N. to establish a tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

I think I’ve mentioned this before: the belief in Washington that the Federal government – at least its legislative and executive branches – can’t do too much important stuff on any one day, or follow or tolerate too many different important news stories.  They think the rest of the world is like this too: “distract international attention” from a Hariri assassination tribunal?

Look, we have 535 voting members of Congress, and thousands of executive branch employees.  There are more than 6 billion people on the planet.  And we can all only do one thing a day?  It really is the end of history!

What has occurred to me is that this may be governed or influenced by Washington’s desire to manipulate TV news coverage in its favor, instead of work their hardest for the Common Good.  Maybe the replacement of network-produced TV newscasts with web-surfer-driven and -selected story packages will be a good thing after all.

OR it might let them just bury stuff they want to get away with, which I already saw as a journalist in the ’80s.

Que conundrum!

George III rejected Imperial title

Science, Faith, and Atheism

Seen in someone’s sig:

A simple test of the relative merits of science and religion is to compare lighting your house at night by prayer or electricity.

Two problems with this:

  1. Most religious people with access to electricity use it.  (Maybe we should try prayer… it worked for the Holy Prophet Elias [Elijah]!!  😉  )
  2. Survey data indicate that most scientists have some form of religion.  (Wonder why they don’t try saving their souls with science?!!)

Yes, I can joke about Monarchy.

To wit, the very funny ‘Dennis the Marxist/Anarcho-Syndicalist Peasant‘ from Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

(NB: The exclamation point isn’t technically part of the movie title, as in Freud!, Joey Trebbiani’s musical from Friends.  It’s just that it doesn’t always work out so well to try to run italic text into non-italic punctuation: Grail!  See?  Just in case it’s on someone’s Finals this week.)

Pope warns of new “authoritarianism” in Latin America

This is rich.  Coming from a guy who may or may not have single-handedly invented new Church law in response to a journalist’s question during a news conference on a plane… the ‘excommunication (or not) of pro-choice politicians’ controversy.  (Without taking into consideration, here, my own position on abortion – which is opposed.)  (I recommend the comments to the news story as well as the story itself, for a flavor of the confusion unleashed even among those conservative Papal loyalists by that one.)

‘L’eglise c’est moi!  I am the Church!’  A one-man Church!

On the question itself, I have not become aware that any recent Latin American government officials have arrogated powers in violation of their nations’ constitutions or other law.  Unlike here in the U.S.  But observe some of those Commenters’ own disdain for social justice.

New Pope reverses old Pope’s stance on Indians

Benedict XVI, visiting Brazil, said the Americas’ Indigenous Peoples had been “silently longing for Christianity” – “anonymous Catholics” no doubt! – when Catholic Spain brought it with the sword.  I guess he was already working in the Vatican when ‘Indian’ became ‘cool’ in his native Germany in the last ten-fifteen years!

(By contrast, Alaska Natives embraced Orthodoxy without force when it was offered them freely, first by Russian *lay* fur hunters, later by Russian priest- and monk-missionaries.  Furthermore, they retained it even after Russian [lay] fur-hunting companies basically enslaved their men and exploited many of their girls and women – retained it, in part, because the clergy, Church, and Tsar defended them and helped them.  Retained it so faithfully that, after American companies, Protestant-dominated, arrived to make them wage-slaves, the Yankees complained because the Natives needed off for so many Orthodox feast-days!  Retained it so faithfully that one little-educated Kodiak Islander named Peter laid down his life when the same Spanish in California – probably at the San Gabriel Mission near L.A. – tortured him to death for refusing to convert to Catholicism: died showing them his Orthodox baptismal cross.  He is now venerated as New-Martyr St. Peter the Aleut.  To this day a majority of Alaska Natives remain Orthodox Christians… it has been their “traditional religion” for up to 300 or so years – completely voluntarily.  And unlike most of the history of the Latin faith among Natives of the Americas, Alaskan Orthodox have made the faith their own, from early years adding their own hymns and chant-styles to the Orthodox Liturgy and traditional practice, when for years Catholic Indians were required to silently watch the Mass performed far in front of them, or sing Gregorian chant.)

Lies about “Paleo-Indians”?

It’s commonly said they chased buffalo and now-extinct North American megafauna (aka ‘big-ass animals’) over cliffs by the hundreds at a time as a “hunting” method, wasting alot of stuff and killing-off many species.

You don’t have to be a New Age/wannabe to realize that this is so contrary to the hunting/conservation/efficient-use ethic traditionally observed by so many disparate Indian/Inuit/Aleut peoples, often still today, that the question is called forth: Why exactly would they do this?  Certainly not because they were wasteful, excessive, Modern-Era Northwest-Europe-Americans!  To be sure, Indian cultures probably haven’t been all the same unchanged for half a million years, but is it even slightly possible the scientists are misreading the evidence?  Or were they just “savages”?  😦

German Chancellor tries to reach Bush on GW

but fails, as usual.  (In [undeserved] fairness, this was on Monday, before today’s report.  But we’ve heard their response to today’s report too.)

Nice try, Angela!  (Hope he didn’t try to give you another neck rub!  Eww!!)

In U.S. terms, it seems she’s pretty much a neocon, but at least she seems to understand GW… just not GWB!  (But who does?!)

Pres. Clinton and GW

His Climate Initiative looks interesting, along with everything else his presidential foundation is doing.  Guess he’s trying to be a kind of neoliberal Jimmy Carter!

(Remember, Republican ex-Presidents just cash-in on it!)

GW New Report ROUNDUP

I can’t read the thing myself today – I’ve been up all night – but according to Reuters, GW can be kept to less than 4 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 50 years by means of current technology and no more than an average annual investment/effect of one-eighth of one percent of global GDP, maybe even a slight increase in GDP if we really get it right.  It includes what will be a controversial nod to nuclear power – inevitable IMHO, the lesser evil, climatologically, ‘big picture.’

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 85 pct., though?  I don’t think so.  This is the next chapter in that sexennial* series of reports from thousands of United Nations scientists, always tweaked by government reps, and final editing went overtime, so I have to think the governments have spun it excessively optimistically.  Of course I would love to be wrong, but with China and India powering *up,* and First World “conservatives” resistant, and oil and natural gas sooner to be replaced by old coal and worse things than by new nukes….  Maybe the actual report can convince me.  I’ll try to catch it in the next couple days.

The underreported angle is that to make that one-eighth-percent GDP investment will require heavier regional commitments from the First World: we currently have the money to spare (comparatively), we have the concentration of economic production as well as of the technology that can help make this happen, and justly, we’re the source of most of the effect we’re seeing right now (since we industrialized first, back to 1750).  Logically, OTOH, ISTM any gains will mostly be realized in China and India, where they’re not completely powered-up yet, but have alot of tech know-how even if the First World remains reluctant to share.  So we’ll have to take the hit, they’ll get the short-term economic benefit – but in the end the whole world reaps the reward.

Can short terms in office, dependent on wealthy and business campaign contributions and Republican-dominated electronic voting companies, with perhaps our wisest leaders – our hereditary constitutional monarchs – having to just take “advice,” produce or sustain the kind of long view and altruism needed to make this happen?  Again, I remain seriously doubtful.  The Bushies have already panned this report claiming it costs too much… the same (fake) reason they kicked Kyoto in the groin, even though we’re the biggest offender (for now).  And the Democrats can’t even impeach the Republicans or get us out of Iraq.

What if we just totally replaced the Dems with the Greens?  Not bit-by-bit to undermine ourselves (ala Nader 2000), but all at once!  I notice Canada’s Green Party is raising its profile (though they really still need some form of Proportional Representation)….

If it goes as I expect, maybe we can cut some deal with China and India: we share the tech with them, they do what they can to help us with the necessary “recession.”  I don’t know exactly: continued offshoring sure won’t help us, but cutting the cost to us of what’s already there would, even some givebacks.  And what if we linked the Asian and North American electric grids across the Bering Strait and shared output?  (IS there an Asian one yet? or even in Alaska? Both might need serious build-outthat’ll be good for the economy… if we can produce the juice that is… which I also have doubts about.)  And there’s always cutting the cost to us of the products they already sell us, and service for same….

(*–They might get more WWW hits if they used the word sexennial frequently!!!)

Global Warming and Native Suicide

Evolution and Global Warming

I just had a realization: If you believe your religion requires the Earth to have only been here 6,000 years, then you can’t accept evidence claiming to go back 600,000 years – there must be something wrong with it!

It’s gonna be harder than I realized to “convert” the Fundies to help lessen GW’s effects over the next 2,000 years (or more).  I guess they won’t buy it till the tropics are a blazing desert, and the two billion or fewer of us who are left are crammed into Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia – inland, of course!

Jamestown 400

God Save The Queen!

But some object to Native American objections to unnuanced partying.  But clearly, Jamestown and British-American colonization of Turtle Island have been at best a mixed blessing for the 100 million or more human beings of civilized cultures who were here for thousands of years before they invaded, stole the land, stole the resources, trashed them, introduced violent war, incurable diseases, chattel slavery of Africans, post-Revolutionary elite rule, Western Christian heresies galore, etc etc etc.

(Chesapeake Bay, explored by John Smith [What a name!] 400 years ago, used to be full almost to its surface with plant and animal life.  Now it is almost dead.  Indians didn’t do that!)

Some even object to the fact that to stay alive, East Coast Native Americans who survived and weren’t ‘internally deported’ had to intermarry, sacrifice their cultures and languages, look White or Black, convert to Christianity, adopt White names, etc etc etc.

Some object to the word holocaust, or the word genocide.  Six million Jews, half the world’s Jews, were killed by Hitler.  Terrible indeed.  And 95 pct. of the world’s Native Americans have been wiped out, and we’re just supposed to keep volunteering for civil war cop duty in Iraq and shut up and be good members of the Underclass.

My primary lifelong ethnic identifications have been Irish and Native American, two of history’s most oppressed peoples, both by British peoples.  (Including on bad advice to British/American Monarchs by corrupt nobility and their lackeys in government.  The Royal Proclamation of 1763, which in part sparked the U.S. rebellion – both because it “reserved” the continent west of the Appalachians for its sovereign nations, and allowed Catholicism and French law to persist in Quebec – is a better example of how Monarchs would have treated Native Americans given more leeway by their “ministers.”  And in fact the Royal grant of U.S. independence was bad law, and so based on their own moral system, no law at all.)

But apparently only slavery, terrible indeed, and a major source of America’s modern “prosperity” [the other being Native land and resources – most of it in the Lower 48, Hawai’i, and arguably even Alaska, still legally ours], is subject to demands that Her Majesty “apologize” (on behalf of her predecessors’ governments) – not Native genocide.

I will not cite or link to the racists and uber-(pseudo-)patriots who object to “the whole truth” at this time of Jamestown 400, in favor of White supremacy, or conservative Protestant supremacy, or American (settler) supremacy.  They are people who feel threatened if anything other than their ideology or propaganda is present.

As well they should.

(I do not advocate the violent overthrow of the government.)

Another Buchanan link

Sometimes even Blueshirt Pat Buchanan makes sense, like about today’s risk of war between the U.S. and Russia (sic!).

Someone I’m really proud of

Sherry Reynolds, who lived in Seattle for some years, tried to “obstruct” what turned out to be apparent police brutality in progress, and got prosecuted for it.  Internal Affairs and the (Bushie) Justice Department – contrary to FBI agents’ impressions – declined to act, but she was acquitted.  She was previously a volunteer firefighter, a compassionate HIV/AIDS worker, and a faithful Mormon.  Wherever she is now, God bless her.

The linked articles are part of an ongoing Seattle Post-Intelligencer probe of problems in the (Seattle-area) King County Sheriff’s Office.  The P-I is the Emerald City’s main daily newspaper.

(Sorry if it sounds like she’s dead, it’s just that I have no more-up-to-date info on her!  🙂  )

My people 400(,000!)

An informative 5th-grade social studies curriculum about my indigenous Chesapeake Bay ancestors and cousins (PDF), in conjunction with the Jamestown 400 commemoration coming up.