While highly distracted with love and hope (I fell for someone – on my face!), I managed to read three good but very different books…
BBC Rants at The Cloud
“The Cloud” is where most programs and documents are stored these years. It’s where online articles and the resulting forums live. Being a bit ADD, I tend to get interested in some discussions, contributing my thoughts and rants as if involved in a public forum. I add my 2 cents. (Except with inflation, that’s now 2 dollars; darn you, Biden!).
The Conservative Onslaught and A Positive Future:
If conservatives seek to maintain stable systems, how can they be true to their tendency when it is obvious there is a massive, radical, fast change going on all over the world disrupting coastal areas, oceans, forests, soils, extinctions, migrations, and the lives of millions of people? Former reliable weather patterns are suddenly disrupted, disrupting our economies, food supply, etc. Besides conserving profits, no matter the cost to the world, just what do conservatives conserve?
. . . . .
Dare we imagine and create a future worth getting excited about? Yes. It’s what we humans do when we’re not bogged down in disgruntled cynicism in a dysfunctional political system. When we care and try, it often works out for the better. One guru claims the future will be better than we can currently imagine.
Aeon published a Lina Zeldovich article “A Short Biography of Excrement”
Lina really gets into our shit – in a good way.
Not that it proves the point because it’s from the Bible, but it’s nonetheless wise advice that the Genesis One description of the evolution of our world (each natural step valued as “good” by the Creator) would have us “replenish” the earth. By judging our poo as too stinky or dangerous we break the cycle.
I’m all for some system of collecting it at the toilet in a bag that keeps it clean until it breaks down in the compost pile, the bag also feeding the process. Or take it to the city level where the methane is collected to be used and the remainder spread on soils not used for food (because of all the toxins we might flush down our drains). Bucky Fuller considered pollution to be wasted resources. When we start using what we now waste, to instead feed our soils and oceans, replenishing what we have taken, we’ll start creating the abundance we’ve been wasting.
To an article on Why People Buy EV’s (Electric Vehicles)
Since buying an electric bike two years ago, I use my big Taurus V-6 only rarely – for rainy weather, big loads, and long trips. Otherwise, not only have I personally saved about $2,000 in around-town gas (and thus didn’t emit all that pollution) I kept that $2,000 local. It didn’t go to Houston or Saudi Arabia; it stayed in the local economy. Imagine if that daily drain from towns outward were to stop. What does that do for our local economies?
To an article on France Expecting Solar and Trees on All New Buildings
Typical roofs ward off the free, clean energy outside that then must be replaced with expensive, dirty energy inside.
How we build our buildings can increasingly adapt to their settings. Sunny south walls (in the northern hemisphere) could use entirely different siding and windows than cool north walls. The harsh setting western sun won’t heat up a building as much if a shade tree is planted there. Ground cooling and heating via heat pumps is available near many houses.
Didn’t Bucky Fuller say that houses are machines we live in? Using how much energy?
. . . . .
Cleantechnica’s Steve Hanley conveyed a tepid report by the Department of Justice’s launching a “comprehensive environmental strategy.” This thread ensued:
Hanley wrote in part: One would think Merrick Garland would have more important things to do, like imprisoning former presidents who violate their oath of office and incite rebellion. And that’s just for starters.
I replied to Steve Hanley:
My concern goes beyond “people of color” to all people and all earthlife.
Virtue signaling over worthy causes doesn’t take on the larger injury and the larger liability for it that is involved. If the DOJ takes that track, it would be the government living up to its responsibility. It would then be a “comprehensive environmental justice strategy.”
Because Exxon, etc., deliberately funded lying about the climate change they knew they were helping to cause, they’re liable for damages. The current and impending damages are considerable. Exxon, etc., should help pay for the repair.
Steve Hanley replied:
I agree with you but the Supreme Court, as currently constituted, disagrees with us. But no matter. By 2050 or 2060 at the latest, we might have some new judges who take a more progressive view. : – (
My reply to him:
The Supreme Court, as currently constituted, is supremely Catholic (the judgmental and punitive sort). Republicans and the Federalist Society has imposed this conservative, theocratic, supreme menace on our society.
You’re right, they’re not likely to lay justice on Exxon, etc. They were installed to attack abortion as a means to protect fossil fuel abuse.
I hope your timeline is too long. I’d love to see a progressive Court in 2024, but that would take Americans somehow waking from the great hypnotism and rescuing America by voting Blue en masse. Perhaps they’ll realize “the party of Lincoln” is RINO (Republican In Name Only).
Steve replies to me:
Few make the connection between America’s lurch to the right and the influence of fossil fuel companies so kudos for that. The Federalist Society is a Charles Koch front group. He has done more to undermine democracy in America than Rupert Murdoch and has managed to fly under the radar while doing so. It’s an amazing story that few are familiar with.
And I to him:
This is why I appreciate you and Cleantechnica for allowing political comments on cleantech. The massive funding from Koch and his ilk has successfully imposed their FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) into the American mind.
Rightwing madness towards fossil fuels and preventing the spread of Covid has led our society astray, with horrendous results. It takes the freedom of speech and the press to expose and correct their sickening stupidity.
Evolving Regards for Elon Musk
I don’t join in the hate Elon reactions. I admire his daring and successes. He’s done more to get the transition away from fossil-fueled cars going (though I wish he would follow through on his initial plan to sell high-end cars to finance truly simple and affordable ones). His SpaceX program showed up the former stuffy bureaucracies, and that must bolster his libertarian faith. However, I am leery of this Twitter move and I join in the apprehension at his fostering even more hate-filled intimidation and domineering divisiveness from the right-wing than we already endure.
Though some shriek about “the radical left,” I wonder, “what radical left?” Is Putin a communist, or even a socialist? There is no radical left. There’s a worldwide takeover of our media and governments — from Brazil to Turkey to Saudi Arabia to the U.S. Mutuality, respect for human rights, democracy, and our environment are all on the chopping block of the profiteers.
Musk thinks and acts big. Does Musk care to rescue us or add to the takings and torment? I don’t have faith, but I see some reasons in him to hope.
The BirdDog reply to Byrd:
Musk is going to rescue us from what exactly? Is it his job to rescue us? I am not following this logic. I don’t see it as the role of one wealthy guy to rescue this country from anything. That’s what the government does.
My reply to BirdDog:
I appreciate your reply. Ideally, I see government as “us, taking care of ourselves and acting nobly in the larger world.” We need to rescue our self-run democracy from the cynical, passive, and evasive meme that “government is the problem.” Rather, the government should help protect us from corporate takings, protect our environment from toxins and extractive ruin, and supply basic life needs affordably when needed. It is suicidal and tragic to see government as our enemy. Contrary to the ruinous meme that would have us drown it like a baby in a bathtub, I favor more government, and not run by and for only those who buy it.
However, neither is it just for the government to try to make our lives better. Individuals and corporations should also contribute. Adam Smith’s faith in the free hand of the market included the market tending to our common good, not just private takings and profits. We’re all in this together.
Many corporations are staffed by people who try to care, directing their companies to pollute less, create products and processes that aren’t as toxic, etc. Musk’s “massively transformative purpose” of converting to sustainable energy and transportation helps rescue us. That dovetails with governmental efforts. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.
BirdDog replies: No arguments. Good thoughts, esp. the it’s both/and.
And I reply to BD: Mark this as a historical event: instead of endless bickering and snarky rejoinders, people can agree!
But if Musk Buys Twitter, Lets Trump back on, and Votes Republican
because Democrats are Divisive and Hateful???
My admiration for Elon Musk is eroding. The Democrats have overplayed the woke thing, which can come off as smug, superior, and annoying, but that isn’t as hateful as angry, armed “protesters” attacking our Congress and State Houses and trying to intimidate candidates, government workers, and voters. Democrats are not the party of racist mass murderers.
True, SpaceX delivers rockets better than former government-financed big companies did, which bolsters his libertarian bias, but his Tesla growth partly succeeded with governmental loans (that he repaid quickly). He’s sipping the Kool-Aid of “Government is the problem” without admitting its essential work on our behalf. Better would be to apply whatever genius he has to help governments to be more efficient, benign, and even laudable.
Vote for Republicans? Why? They’ve done nothing helpful in decades, engaged in unrelenting ridicule and obstruction, and basically trickled down on all the peons who aren’t wealthy like him.
. . . . .
I’m switching from admiration to alarm about Musk. The Dems pushing their woke stance, while smug and annoying, is nowhere as divisive and hateful as what the Reps have inflicted on us for decades. Reps brandishing guns to intimidate the political process isn’t divisive and hateful?
Watch out, Elon, “Pride goeth before the fall.”
Fascism on the Rise in America (Convoy Driver Shoots at Protester)
Oregon primaries are underway. The Republicans are hyping up the fear of BLM and Antifa, calling for more laws and more police, tapping into the overblown fears that Oregon is nothing but riots and danger. Republicans have nothing other than incessant ridicule, overblown fears, and hate.
Viewing some of the above tweets, it’s clear that many see their shooting guns at distant persons (the bullets landing where?) is seen as defensive and needed to protect America from Antifa and pedophiles, neither of which is a realistic accusation. I call it “attacking with defensiveness.”
“The Greatest Generation” was Antifa, fighting the fascists after they had amassed power and were inflicting it on any who disagreed with them and other innocents. If fools like in this convoy keep exceeding the limits of free speech with their anger, intimidation, and guns, they will have generated a new “Greatest Generation” of Antifa, deservedly so.
. . . . .
There’s lots of alarm in right-wing circles about Antifa, but there would be no Antifa if there were no fascists trying to intimidate their way to power. The media likes to dwell on and magnify conflict, but Oregon is mostly neither stupid convoys nor Antifa. Yet, the Republicans will ride that horse of fear because they have no positive agenda.
I feel sorry for all the Democrats living in so-called red states. None of those states is purely and only red. Clunky maps that show only red miss all those living there who resent and fear the red agenda. It’s intimidating.
The Dems need to reaffirm Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy and start appealing to rural people, white guys with pickups, etc. As is, they look to be abandoned and isolated, not sensing the tide may have turned or how many of their neighbors share their views.
My sympathies. Florida could be such a nice place. Intimidation is quite a challenge, but it is they who ought to be put on their heels. Anger and ridicule have worked for them. Perhaps it would work on them. Dems need to boldly claim a heroic stance, rescuing America from the fascist surge. It’s grandmothers and comedians who can stand up to the bully crowd.
I hadn’t heard mention of guns at Disney, but I can appreciate how that annoying and dangerous intimidation tactic undermines the happy-go-lucky atmosphere and how excluding them only sets off their self-righteous arrogance. Like the guy Kate51 mentions, they’re proud of their hatefulness, and they’re pandered to about it by Republicans who don’t object, protect them and inflict them on us. They’re not just anti-government, they’re anti-social, enemies of civility and peace growing in our midst. You’d think the Democrats would get on our side and call them out for the menace that they are and are becoming.
To KOS on Avoiding Laying Blame on Republicans
Totally agree. It isn’t “Congress” that’s dysfunctional, it’s Republicans who have attacked and ruined our government. I agree with Noam Chomsky that Republicans are the greatest threat to our planet now. They are the enemies of our governments, society, and planet. They should be shamed and rejected. Dems that won’t say and do this are complicit in this evil, dangerous, and tragic take-over.
The “party of Lincoln” is RINO. What have they done since FDR? He gave us Social Security. They give us Antisocial Insecurity. They’ve given us mounting inequality and magnifying violence.
Anniepotts2 reply to Byrd (BBC):
They’ve spent 90 years trying to get rid of the New Deal. They accuse China of playing the “long game”, look who’s talking!
I reply to anniepotts2
Besides the national level, obstructing any cooperation in Congress and utterly controlling the Supreme Court (which they effectively stacked), they’ve systematically taken over our states and counties. Media too (while calling it “the liberal media.”)
They’re good at what they do; it’s just that what they do isn’t good.
On the Right-Wing Attack on Abortion Rights
In that many of these poor women, white and black will have to live off welfare, Alito’s comments might serve to lessen the demand for anti-abortion.
If Americans had to pay for the births and resulting lives they impose by law, they wouldn’t be so “pro-life.”
As white racist Americans realize how many more blacks there will be, they’ll return to allowing abortions.
. . . . .
They call it “The Freedom of Choice” when it’s more “The Burden of Choice.” It’s not a fun event.
But whose self-cells are involved? And if those who would outlaw it were to be then required to help provide financial and emotional support to the mother and to the child for the next eighteen years, they might not be so flippant about what they demand.
If someone sneaks around this new law, they, and everyone who assisted, could be charged with a serious crime, and those who turned them in provided with a $10,000 bounty.
To a Bill McKibbon Article on “Not Too Late to Address Global Warming”
There is desperate doom leading to mass migration and starvation while the privileged wall themselves in. And there is the rationality and caring built into us that realizes this common predicament needs a coordinated response, urgently. We only recently realized all the little ways we all use fossil fuels that add carbon to our sky, heating the planet up. As we find the will, we will find the ways. Those who ignore or subvert that will are the enemies of humanity and earth’s life. Those who build that will and innovate ways to implement it are the noble and responsible ones to avert doom and move us all towards delight and abundance.
The threat is real and in many of our faces. (Like the drought-worsened firestorm across the street from my house that went on to burn 2,500 homes and businesses in one day.) But exponential change has started. Realistic scares admitted, it is also true that things are “good and getting better,” better cars, better houses, better ways to gather clean, renewable energy, better consumer desires and products, better lifestyle benefits.
Some dismiss EVs as requiring exotic materials and say they are insufficient to fix global warming. True. But the batteries keep getting more feasible, reliable, and available, the cars are increasingly designed for eventual recycling, and even if solar-wind-geothermal-moving water-powered EVs were to fix only 1/3rd of the problem, that’s 1/3rd! That’s huge. It is tending to its own arena of involvement in the heating. Kudos to all those involved in electrifying our transport or creating ways to gather clean, renewable energy.
When I hang my clothes on the line, outside or inside the house, I don’t call on gas or electric to dry my clothes, yet they dry. Of course, that’s only a bit, but it is a billion bits that created the problem, from wood for railroads to diesel for them to fuels needed to produce and ship our consumer items, to many of the things we do or don’t relative to pulling ancient sunlight-created carbon out of the ground and suddenly stuffing it into our sky.
Even little acts help a bit, plus they tend our minds towards more and better ones, individually and collectively. It’s like the song, “Little drops of rain, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land.” Every little or large thing we do to live up to our rationality and caring tends us in better ideas, decisions, and directions. Personal and social change can speed exponentially. If we don’t try or just give up, doom is ours; if and as we do try, delight and abundance are ours too.
To Fortuna article on Leonardo DiCaprio Backing the Neat Burger
I admire DiCaprio. I think he also was a spokesperson for BYD electric busses and promotes other environmental causes. (He’s a much better person than when he was the Wolf of Wall Street.) If the Neat Burger chews well, tastes good, and is affordable – great!
To Hanley article on Exxon knowing recycling plastics wouldn’t work
I don’t blame Exxon for making gasoline and plastics. They do a good job of providing the products we consumers use. I do blame them for knowing the deleterious results of gasoline (global warming) and plastics (worldwide trash and sickening microplastics). They helped research global warming in the 1970s, but then went on to fund lying about it in the 1980s and since. Hanley’s article shows they also knew what plastics would do. Because they funded lying, they’re guilty and ought to be liable for damages – sea rise, droughts and fires, increased tornados, diseases, crop failure, etc. That’s a huge liability, but they have the money to pay the fine for what they excused, promoted, and profited from.
The field is ripe for chemists and engineers to develop earth-friendly alternatives to plastics. Some use compostable mushrooms to replace Styrofoam. Some packages can be cleanly burned and/or composted. As with global warming, we need those who care to innovate solutions.
(One potential solution to plastics would be to quit expecting individual consumers to deal with the problem, poorly, as the article shows. Instead, what if the consumer could take the packaging plastics back to the retail store where they bought them, and the store sends it back to the company they bought it from, and shove the problem back up to those who would have to be responsible for what they make?)
Steve Hanley reply to me:
You may be too young to remember the great “bottle bill” battles from 40 years ago when the single-use plastic industry furiously fended off the ideas you propose — which are sensible, sane, and wise. To hear Coca-Cola and its peers tell it, putting a deposit on bottles was akin to embracing communism, an assault on freedom, and a threat to hard-working Americans who wouldn’t be able to buy refreshments if they had to pay such a dastardly fee.
The alcoholic beverage makers joined in the broad-based attack, as did the oil companies. You would have thought the idea that industry should pay for its pollution was crafted by Beelzebub himself. The hysteria over bottle bills reached a fever pitch and ultimately prevailed in most states, helped no doubt by generous campaign donations to compliant politicians.
My reply to Hanley:
I remember it very well, Steve, and Oregon’s lead on that, and I’m glad to live now in a mostly-trash-free Oregon. It’s a bit of a hassle for us consumers and retailers, but both are involved in using bottles and cans, and both should assume some responsibility for that. Even stuck at 10 cents, many people make lunch or beer money turning in discarded bottles and cans. Roadsides are fairly clean and we’re not as likely to cut our feet on broken bottles on the beach and in the rivers.
A similar evasive tactic is landing on gas taxes lately as if taxes alone cause high gas prices. Such taxes fund road upkeep, yet the knee-jerk anti-tax mentality would short the states while enriching the already wealthy fossil fuel corporations. Meanwhile, a dollar a gallon tax on gasoline would quickly decrease its use as well as fund clean energy development, EVs, charging sites, weatherization of homes, etc. (And yes, EVs should pay some fair rate for their use of the roads and highways too, perhaps based on weight and miles traveled.)
Yet, who in the can and bottle industry, or the fossil fuel industry, would risk the ire, and being fired, for daring to agree? In a culture that praises and protects selfishness and mocks community-mindedness, it’s hard to mutually agree on mutual benefits. If we let Exxon and their ilk rule, we’d be on the verge of war over the fossil fuels that are injuring us all long-term.
. . . . .
Well, there you have it friends, those who read this far, my social, technological, and political rants. I’ve railed in the Cloud, putting out my belief that the future could be better than we now can imagine. Little steps to rescue our politics from the mean and stubbornly stupid rise of denial and fascism help renew our realistic hopes for a future where we all enjoy an abundant, beautiful, pleasant future. Nihilism and cynicism aside, isn’t that what we want?
Blue or Red? I think both major political parties share responsibility for where we are as a nation and a society.
Of course, they do, as do we all to our limited extent. But to flatten the understanding and dismiss the differences by pretending there’s not a glaring, dangerous difference between the parties, one trying to address the systemic problems – from transhistorical global weather upheaval to police shooting blacks in the back – the other obstructing that and making it worse, is to go off in cynical defeatism that “they’re all bad.” Which is doing what to address their shared responsibility? “Congress” isn’t the main problem these days – Republicans are. And beneath both, a crappy religious base that caters… Read more »