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Don’t Read This

Don’t read this unless you’d like to peer into many of the comments I made online these last two months.

I’m a bit of a Don Quixote, tilting at various windmills, throwing my opinion into various forums, tweets, and emails. I’m probably a bit ADD too, easily distracted by a variety of topics. I’ve rearranged the chronological order and omitted some, but tried to group them for your perusal. I used to have appreciative congregations to hear and understand. Now I scatter my interests into the winds of the Internet.

This isn’t my main submission this month. See “America can … ” if you are ready to read even more outspoken and difficult comments on our current social and ecological situation. Or, if you have time and would like, read here about how we relate online, the growing tensions with China, the few Republicans willing to stand amidst the rancor, electric cars, mask tensions, the budding use of psychedelics in psychotherapy, and the growing rift in my UU denomination.

Forewarned it might get scattered and tedious, here you go.

BBC Says in October and November, 2021

To Liam Moriarty’s writing about Insult-laden rage in JPR’s Jefferson Journal:

Liam, 

I appreciate your calling out those types who send you their hateful, insult-ridden rage.  It’s the same sort of rage that fuels the dangerous divide in our country.  It’s crude, rude, and dangerous.  

The “jumble of hot-button issues and jacked-up concerns,” and the popular hyperventilating of feigned righteous indignation are all the rage these days. 

Your paragraph, “So, here’s a guy using an anonymous, encrypted email service, writing under a fake name, pretending to be something he’s not, saying things that are provably untrue . . . and threatening us for lying,” is a classic.  Well said.  

Quoting what they say may have offended some.  We should be offended!  Our civil norms are being attacked.  Our society needs to be warned, be shown the toxic vitriol and lies that some parade and praise as if entertainment.  

Anonymous insults and threats, while pushing the most cynical and sinister paranoia about well-intentioned adaptations regarding Covid or Climate or Government, are misleading us while wasting time, resources, and opportunity.  The general public needs to see how sneaky, impolite, and mean such sniping has become. 

If we’re not careful, we’ll have Trump-appointed judges running trials with racially stacked juries, covered by an adulating media showing slick photos of a baby-faced innocent, someone who takes a weapon of war to intimidate protesters but then shoots them, kills them, in “self-defense” (so-called) because maybe they’ll use his gun on him, poor crying baby.  I hear on the news some consider him a hero. 

There’s no assurance the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and participatory democracies can’t devolve into civil wars, holy wars, and Inquisitions.  Steve Bannon’s advising Bolsonaro and hounding the Pope, along with Facebook’s augmented feedback algorithms (recently five times stronger for Hates than Likes), in conjunction with Israeli software useful in firing and killing journalists, monitored by governments mostly in the throes of transnational corporations dedicated to profits rather than ecological, economic, or social well-being – makes for difficult challenges to our generation.  

So, thanks for quoting the secret, sneaky rascals caught up in this national neurosis, this worldwide stumble back into corporate/populist fascism, trying to intimidate you and us from behind their encrypted keyboards.  You did it as plainly and politely as possible, and you used your real name.

To Ron Hines at the Cobb Institute re Christian theologian John Cobb’s impending letter to president Xi and Biden:

Thanks, Ron.   

I got in late to the discussion, so I missed this info.  I won’t bother John with this.  Far better for a person to write such a letter than a committee.  I trust the outcome.

This weekend is the alumni 50th for Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where I graduated in ’69 in Psychology and Philosophy.  Though most interested in clinical psychology (the school was big on experimental, Skinnerian stuff) and Eastern Religions (can’t remember the name of the wonderful teacher in that, but he introduced me to Confucius, Lao Tzu, and Chang Tzu) I had to take a survey course in either India or China.  I took China, barely learned of that vast civilization, and later traveled to India.  

I remember China as seeing itself as the center of the world. (Not uncommon; Mircea Eliade documented how many people do just that.)  Others came to the emperor, not the other way around.  (I’ve also just finished reading Genghis Khan again and see the Mongol influence still, as well as the ancient tensions between the sects and regions.)  The Chinese are not as imperialistic as we and England have been and apparently still are. 

I remember The Mandate of Heaven.  When society grew too bureaucratic and troubled, coupled with signs from the heavens like droughts and floods, it was a message from heaven to dispose of the ruler and get a new one to bring the ways of heaven to earth.  The whole world needs an upgrade from the problematic habits of our technology, economy, and spirituality.  Time for real leadership.

I also follow clean-tech advances and possibilities.  While some here in the US snipe at China for their coal plants, I see them as exemplary in advancing solar, electric cars, electric busses, and ecosystem rehabilitation.  While many individuals and companies have advanced cleantech here, our government has only begun to spur on this needed and hopeful trend, recently obstructed it, and could indeed mount a massive Green New Deal to put investment and labor to good use. 

Could we drop consumerism and militarism, outlaw planned obsolescence, go towards a 20-hour workweek, and relax into a more hedonic society?  Yes.  Will we?  Unlikely so far, except for the hippies and the innovators.  Entheogens, environmentalism, and love will help.  

I am aghast at the foolish, wasteful, and tragic rattling of sabers and nuclear subs at China.  It is time for real leadership in this hurting world.  My appreciation to John, you, and the others for trying.  

To John Cobb, suggesting a short letter to gain support for his letter to Biden & Xi

Humanity urgently needs bold, heroic, pragmatic leadership.  Now is the time to face the dual challenges of avoiding wasteful, tragic wars while quickly averting and fixing transnational ecosystem catastrophes such as climate change.  Therefore, we sincerely and publicly urge Presidents Xi of China and Biden of the United States to creatively cooperate in worldwide security, rescue, and revival.  Such leadership would renew our hope, rouse our pride, and earn our gratitude.

To Bernard article in Cleantechnica re a China/U.S. declaration of collaboration

Any progress is some progress. Both the US and China deserve criticism, and both deserve positive reinforcement for some progress away from ff. That China has created most of the world’s solar panels deserves praise. That the US could start producing affordable ones in quantity also deserves praise.

What irks me is the senseless saber-rattling Biden does to China. They aren’t sending fleets to hound our shores, but we’re doing that there. I would rather that presidents Biden and Xi avert needless, wasteful wars and instead boldly cooperate together to face and fix the deadly fossil fuel predicament humanity has created and is stuck with. We need the leadership they could provide.

[reply to] ByronBradley 

The “saber-rattling” is with regard to Taiwan, who China “saber rattles”. While we let China remove Taiwan from international organizations, including the UN, it has been implied we would defend Taiwan from China. Biden is the first or one of the few to make that explicit. Although that could well be a bluff along with the military activity. How do you give most of your manufacturing jobs to a country (also making it wealthier and stronger militarily) and then fight it?

My reply to him or her:

Yes, Delphi, we export our factories and their jobs to China, then resent it for the pollution generated and the loss of our jobs, expertise, and money.

As to Taiwan, it seems it is more the interest of Chinese people in general than our business to decide and provoke. If Texas were to split off from the U.S., how would we like it if China were to claim an interest to “defend” it?

I regret China’s recent show of force there, our predilection to butt in, and the waste and tension of assuming adversarial relations including potential war. That presidents Biden and Xi are cooperating on climate is a hopeful sign of true leadership on both their parts.

(A response to me)

Don’t forget the German contribution in the form of large subsidies for residential solar twenty years ago. That was the starting shot for industrial manufacturing of solar panels later overtaken by China with further rationalization and improvement.

(My reply)

Good point. I believe part of that was structuring the payback for producing energy in favor of the householder, which worked well to stimulate that vast program (even in cloudy Germany).

Would that our utilities favor serving the people and our environment rather than shareholders making money at the expense of both.

Would that Biden institute a new CCC, paying people decent but not opulent wages to create and install such panels for all suitable rooftops.

To [Bill] Gates Notes

I am willing to give Gates a break from all the bad press he gets, but this push for Green Hydrogen, Carbon Capture, and new designer seeds reeks of a scam. These could divert attention and money from what they admit works (such as solar and wind), but then disparage them as taking up too much land, etc. while ignoring the criticisms of all of those expensive long-shots that recentralize what was becoming decentralized.

Should we ignore where sunlight does fall, where the shade helps cool, where the wind and currents go unutilized?

I’m glad he’s encouraged by COP26. I want to be as well. But when I hear that the fossil fuel lobbyists outnumbered any other country’s delegation, I start to join those who distrust large organizations as potentially there just to keep or increase making money. I’ll still sign on to the newsletter, but my hackles are up, wary of yet another green excuse to shunt big money into ways to make even more.

And then in reply to the initial email:

I signed up for the Breakthrough Energy newsletter, but I’m already leery: green hydrogen, new seeds, GM, and CitiBank, pricing carbon only at the sources instead of a simple and effective Gas Tax?  More fossil fuel lobbyists at COP than any nation’s delegation?  I want to be hopeful, but I’m wary.  This looks just like what Gates is accused of doing – working the levers of money for him and his. 

To rebel Republican Adam Kinzinger tweet re Russia’s gas pipeline NordStream2

Stop the pipeline, not because it comes from Russia, but because it comes from ancient carbon safely stored in the earth, which shouldn’t be transferred into our planet’s skies where it wreaks havoc on our weather and earth’s life systems.

Renewable energy, not a toxic tragedy.

My tweet reply to Adam Kinzinger re Liz Cheney’s being kicked out of WY Republican Party

Adam, you and @RepLizCheney could “put country first” by undoing the Republican onslaught – via voting on the Democratic side in close elections. Break their evil spell! Treat them like they’ve treated you. You’d be stars!

(replying to myself)

They (and the fossil fuel juggernaut) have their Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema. You two can be their counterparts, earning the esteem of the sane side of our political divide. Buck them; they’ve fukked you!

Same day to KOS point that 9 Republicans voted to pursue Steve Bannon:

Finally, a glimmer of integrity, or perhaps fear — of how Americans are starting to see what a dangerous and un-American party the Republicans have become.  

(Adding) I should add, “… anti-American,” as well, for that’s exactly what they have become.

Trump is an iconoclast, smashing every sacred object and principle of our beloved democracy, and the Republicans have joined his gleeful, chaotic spree, from masks to vaccines to voting rights to women’s rights to ignoring global warming while making it all worse for everyone now and in the future.  

To Adam Kinzinger tweet regarding Steve Bannon refusing to meet with Congres

Bannon will play the rebel victim. He’s an international bad boy celebrity thumbing his nose at the government he’s trying to bring down. Don’t let him “attack with defensiveness,” as if he’s been wronged, protected by Trump’s ploy. Bad Boy Bannon humbled, in jail.

(Same day to subtropolis’ reply to scarvegas’ dismal report of Bannon’s “flood the system with shit,” saying at least they can’t blame Biden for that):

Yet he’ll be blamed for it, just as his falling approval numbers are said to be due to his mishandling of the covid crisis, despite the obvious fact that it is the pro-Trump, anti-vaccine crowd that continues to be infected and infectious.  Yet, blame Biden!

To Adam Kinzinger’s announcement he won’t run again, Twitter and Facebook entry:

I donated a bit to thank one of the only decent Republicans we have. Or had, for he isn’t running again. Too much vitriol, mostly in his own party. Watch for him in the future, perhaps as an Independent?

Same day, reply directly to Adam’s announcement:

Sorry to see this, Adam, but with the baby coming you’ve already given your best in the midst of all the rancor and vitriol.  

Mostly from your own hateful party, I must add.  Though you wince at the tribal divide (as we all should) I would ask that you acknowledge the many people like me, a liberal, who resonated with your brave acts.  “Our tribe” likes you despite your being a Republican, not voting for voting rights, etc.  

In the long run, you are positioned to reenter the national affray, or, hopefully, the national reunion.  

Perhaps as an Independent.  Perhaps an Independent who runs in your district even if such a third party were to cause the Republican to lose.  They deserve to lose for how they have treated you and our country!  Such a bold act would change things for you and our country’s path.

Even bolder would be for you to break ranks with your dismal dangerous party to vote for Biden’s “Build Back Better,” especially that part that begins to fix our transnational, multigenerational climate predicament.  They hate you anyway.  Why not do something bold to actually put our country and world first?  

Now is your chance to really stand out, not just by getting out (for which I don’t blame you), but to live up to the patriot you are at this historic moment.

In any case, I thank you and wish you and your family well.

Adam’s reply to me on 10-30-21:

Trust me, I’m not going anywhere.  This isn’t resignation, concession, or giving up.  I still have more than one year of my term to serve and will continue to be a forceful voice — including on the 1/6 Committee.  And with this announcement, my team can now focus our time and resources to dramatically scale Country First, rather than an all-consuming race for a single seat in a large house.  This allows us to make a much bigger difference and impact.  It’s just the beginning of my political future, not the end.  I still need and appreciate your moral support!

My reply to Adam:

Wow, an actual reply!  Thanks, Adam, and I’m glad you’re planning more.  I’ll stay tuned in appreciation and hope.  

Please consider my urging that you seize the moment with some bold action, perhaps bucking your party in an effort to serve your deeper patriotism, especially as regards climate.  

The perverse joke of the fossil fuel executive liars who have systematically funded disinformation and delay (Manchin and many others as well as public relations campaigns, etc.) needs some creative pushback.  They’re far worse for us than the tobacco companies who used similar tactics.  

You’re rightly and uniquely positioned to stand out right now, and I appreciate what you’ve done and yet might do.  

Congrats, and best wishes for you, all those intimidated and silenced with their concerns, and your family.   Newborn coming – both the baby and you.

11-22-21 to Adam Kinzinger tweet re two at Fox News quitting in protest of Tucker Carlson

You’re out on the lonely, scary front edge of trying to redeem the Republican Party away from the fascist demons they are blatantly becoming. I credit you for that principled bravery. Keep it up. Those caught up in the delusions Fox News spews will denounce their evil spell.

11-25-21 to Adam Kinzinger tweet insulting China

Adam: if you, President Biden, or any other warmongers start rattling sabers at China, I’m out and will oppose you all!

I am sick of the wars my country has foisted on innocent populations for phony causes. We need all to fix planet-wide problems, not more waste and tragedy.

To KOS comment that 1984’s doublespeak wasn’t supposed to be a training manual:

But it became a training manual, an effective one. 

Hence the terms, “friendly fire,” “extrajudicial death squads,” “No Fly Zones (that only we fly in, attacking any radar seeking to defend their country as we attack it, claiming to be defending ourselves from their potential weapon of mass destruction as we send in thousands of real and deadly weapons)”, “defending our freedom (to sport guns, to shout/spit freedom diseases into other people’s faces while pretending to patriotic while using the flag to defile it),” “the liberal agenda (to mount massive fascistic, industrialized, ecocide by amoral, selfish people?),” etc.  

To KOS on Alec Baldwin’s suspicious accidental shooting on a movie set:

Slimy Donald Trump, Jr. is selling tee shirts mocking Baldwin, adding to his shocked regret to hurt him and his anti-gun stance.  The Trump family exemplifies what I detest about too many Americans.  Their idea of humor is vicious. 

To KOS commenter likeastablegenius’s complaint that Trump is ruining the reputation of conservatives:

Conservatives appear to conserve only one thing: profits, no matter the cost to others or the environment.  As to cautiously conserving things that work and matter, how are they conserving our formerly reliable weather patterns, how are they conserving civility and mutual respect in society, and how are they conserving our humanistic, pluralistic, inclusive democracy?  

For that matter, how are they conserving the formerly well-regarded reputation of conservatism as it is put to the vile cause of Donald Trump and his minions? 

Same day to KOS Lady regarding Kinzinger tweet about hateful relations

Agreed. This is why I admire Adam Kinzinger despite his being a Republican. Otherwise, they’re following a king with no clothes into a battle with no winners.

Same day to KOS Tom Tomorrow cartoon on the Richest Guy, responding to jjohnj:

I don’t mind the rich their riches.  I mind that many of them support the party that helps them get and stay rich by exploiting the poor and exhausting and poisoning Nature in order to make and keep them richer than rich.  I don’t mind wealth; I mind poverty and planetary disasters.

Someone should figure and publish how much money such people have, how much of that such taxes would cost them, and importantly, how much money they’d still have.  Break it down into hourly income so we who have to live with such constraints can compare.  How sorry should we be at their loss? 

How should we regard such a political party that preserves and promotes such opulent wealth when it impacts our people and planet so?  

Then, responding to BirdDog after the loss in Virginia,

Pit of the stomach aching anger and sadness that crass crudity prevailed over tepid timidity.  The only passion and possibility for the Democrats are in the progressive, Bernie wing.  Had Biden and McCulloch boldly backed them, explained the promise of a Green New Deal, shamed the rudeness of the Karens and their male counterparts, we’d have some of the pizzaz and possibility that recently is embodied only in the fomenting of fascism.

Then, on 11-5-21 a reply to replies:

Yes, Mark and Trumptohell, evangelical Christianity seems more intent on pushing beliefs about Jesus rescuing them from their sins than living up to his inclusive kindness and brave truth-speaking.  Jesus would not be a Christian of their sort.  It’s a perverse irony that the Trumpist types use the cross and the flag.  They defile both.  

11-6-21 on KOS

Yes, Mark and Trumptohell, evangelical Christianity seems more intent on pushing beliefs about Jesus rescuing them from their sins than living up to his inclusive kindness and brave truth-speaking.  Jesus would not be a Christian of their sort.  It’s a perverse irony that the Trumpist types use the cross and the flag.  They defile both.  

11-10-21 to Kinzinger re Tucker Carlson (But couldn’t get into my Twitter to endorse it)

Kinzinger is brave enough to stand proudly and vulnerably against his Republican Party, Trump, and the weasel wimp Tucker Carlson.  He can stand tall and breathe easy as one of the few Republicans with integrity.

11-4-21 to NYT article by Jill Lepore mocking Musk and other technobillionaires:

Being Jill Lepore, of course I read it because she’s a great writer addressing important issues. 

But here, I wince at her take on Musk.  While Bezos and Zuckerberg deserve criticism for a lack of social purpose while taking profits, at least Gates and Musk try to address our common plights. 

Jill says they’re all building a world we might get trapped in, but as-was and as-is we’re all trapped in a world where ongoing industrial flatulence (to use the euphemism) is let into the face of Mother Nature and all our faces. 

Elon Musk pursued a “massively transformative purpose” to rescue us from our fossil fuel (fool?) plight.  As other commenters here note, he is the most notable and successful in leading a quick transition to electric cars.  Plus battery advances, solar rooftops, hyper-fast vacuum tunnel mass transit, and reland-able rockets, not just for trips to Mars but to develop affordable terrestrial travel at hypersonic speeds. 

That Elon is a libertarian who avoids taxes bothers me, especially in that his SpaceX launches are paid for from our taxes.  But I remember his gripe about inefficient engineering and production in government projects, and he manages to do it better and cheaper.  Although he’s the richest, he’s making that money by advancing technologies that help serve all of us.  Whether he cares about Mrs. Brown and the rest of us is questionable, but I suspect that, besides profits, he does care.  Successfully.

Give the man his due!

Same day to seedycharacter’s posting of The Atlantic’s report of 200 newspapers owned by Alden Global Capital, a secretive hedge fund:

Our local newspapers were recently bought out by an out-of-state person affiliated with the Sinclair Group, whose owner allies with Trump.  It’s a newspaper/video hybrid where he quickly declared there were too many liberal letters to the editor, and so they were relegated to the seldom-read online spot.  Liberals in our area complain, but most area residents will go on reading the slanted tripe as if it were news.  

Same day to Next Door on the Newspapers (but George Kramer stopped his thread on it)

Thank you, Ann.  It could be the Rosebud group is similarly out to scuttle and cash in on declining newspapers, similar to what the Alden Group does as described in the Atlantic article, but I suspect it could be part of a more general plan to own and control what news most people will read in southern Oregon. (Redding, Eureka, and Eugene are also in process.)  While a few liberals like me will gripe that we’ve probably lost access to “fair and balanced” (and local) news to a new newspaper that fits that lying Fox News slogan, most won’t know (or will like) they’re being propagandized.  Most won’t notice they’re reading slanted news and commentary largely originating out of state and out to not just reflect, but sway, our thinking.

I don’t mind Saslow’s forward-looking attempt to integrate print and video, but what will that then promote?  I’m leery.

Just as hate talk radio and Fox News led our country into dangerous cynicism and anger, our newspapers could fall into that trap.  It’s an old tactic to control the news that citizens use to think with.

For those following this, review the excellent reporting on the topic by JPR: https://www.ijpr.org/business-and-labor/2019-07-16/who-owns-your-local-news-sinclair-

To New and Ancient Story host harangued by some readers for private matters:

As a public person who has dodged and taken “the slings and arrows,” I sympathize with your position and appreciate how you brought it forth.  

We’re all just humans with needs and vulnerabilities.  You need your space and your circle.   I don’t know what happened to you and Charles, but it’s a snarky, woker-than-you time.  Carry on anyway in your own way.

10-7-21 to New and Ancient Story re her being hounded for discussing masks, etc.

Thank you for this rational and caring response.  We stumble along together, some resenting any governmental efforts to address and restrict this morphing challenge, putting their private claim to freedom above their social call to cautious responsibility towards and with others.  

I’ve grown weary of cynicism and paranoia towards our governments and agencies as if anything they try might be part of an evil cabal out to trick and kill us.  Such cynicism, paranoia, and anger seem a national neurosis, a socially rampant brain imbalance.  

Meanwhile, note the places in the US where denial, resentment at masks, etc., have a high rate of infection and death and compare that with New Zealand.  

To NextDoor Neighbor re anti-vacc job loss

Instead of cooperating with this mutual predicament to get this dang dangerous disease behind us, the anti-vacc, anti-mask people are putting their selfish, paranoid stance as if a holy cause, thus endangering themselves and those around them. 

They’re free to opt-out, but they shouldn’t be free to further inflict this plight on their fellow community members.  Those in jobs requiring intimate contact with the public should quit or lose their jobs, letting those who cooperate with the science and who care to protect the public take those jobs. 

I continue to wonder what financial liability hospitals, police departments, schools, etc. have if their lax standards were to lead to infection, illness, and death.  I have no patience for those who want to shout their possibly virus-laden freedom spit in my or others’ faces.  Our hospitals, police, schools, first-responders, etc., should be reliable agents in preventing this scourge and getting it behind us.

Once the rate of infections drops enough, we’ll all be able to get back to easily enjoy being around each other again.  Because of science and cooperation, we no longer have to fear smallpox. Ironically, the news says President Biden’s approval rating is dropping because of the slow ending of Covid when it is precisely those areas that mock the attempt and refuse to help end it that house the remaining high rates of infection.  That applies nationally and locally. 

To NextDoor on refusal to wear a mask in the Y sauna:

Yes, as in identifying the person who would not wear a mask and exclude him from the Y.  It’s not fair to punish all by closing the sauna for what the few do. 

I go to the Y for bodily and mental health.  Besides a vigorous workout, the sauna feels to be an essential part of my good health, especially as the weather turns colder.  Glad we have that service, and I hope it stays open.

To Next Door regarding Council conduct, duck ponds, and water:

Good letter to the Parks Commission in the last Sneak Preview about the scummy duck ponds, and a tepid, passive, and uninformative response. I sent in a response to that, questioning why the water was diverted, and if it can’t flow from and to the creek, perhaps create a solar-powered air bubbler or fountain to help refresh the water. I’d contribute a bit to get such devices, assuming they would work. The Park deserves better ponds. The ducks do too.

and

Yes, Bryan, we need some inexpensive community-wide creative thinking about water.  Raise the reservoir and/or add another, encourage roof water storage for yard irrigation, use plant life to shade and cool the water in the settling pond near the creek, use underground passive cooling of the water after it leaves the plant, and before going into the creek, etc. 

Before there ever was an Ashland, the rain fell on the hills above and flowed underground and in creeks to the bigger creeks below.  Now it still does, only we use it before sending it on.  We should use all the simple and responsible ways to use it wisely and send it on as clean and cool as possible.  I’m leery of elaborate, expensive fixes, especially if we’re not taking full advantage of passive and natural ones.

It’s distressing and wasteful that such conversations get contentious rather than creative.  I see mayor Julie as favoring the latter, and I hope the Council will too.

To NextDoor thread on Council tensions and water plans

Leda Shapiro Ditto about Julie, but I would add she’s not in it for the money, nor are any on the Council!  It is public service.  In the midst of all this tension, there’s hard work to do and important plans to make.  My appreciation for all who do what they can in volatile times for skimpy or no pay. 

To Washington Post on underwater tidal generators.  One post mentioned Pelton wheels.

Lots of streams could pull some water into a pipe that runs nearly horizontal to finally be dropped to a Pelton wheel to generate some electricity before returning the water to the stream.  The fish still swim and the electricity could be used locally, decreasing the overall demand.  What works in a few places could be applied in millions.  Many little mistakes created the global heating predicament, and many little fixes will help solve it. 

Same day to Cleantechnica re Musk Foundation winners of XPRISE on carbon capture:

The whole XPRISE approach deserves our attention and support. As Peter Diamandis related about early X prizes, small-scale creative efforts can produce better results for fewer costs than large organizations tend to do. Relatively inexpensive positive incentives and reinforcement bring new and better ideas into place. Kudos to Elon for helping.

Forwarding a Common Good newsletter to Senator Jeff Merkley:

I hope and assume Jeff and his staff get the Common Good mailings.  If not, please consider and sign up.

Here, they promote a National Infrastructure Board (similar to Australia’s) to oversee the $1.2T gush of money that should go to decent causes at fair prices, not be sucked into a huge Boondoggle.  Fair oversight is needed.

They also seek a two-year cap (instead of ten) and a 200 page limit on Environmental Reviews.  I also favor these.

Nothing ruins the reputation of our government more than a clunky bureaucracy that insiders raid for money so that nothing worthwhile gets done on time if at all.  

As possible, do good governing, then brag a bit about it.  Retell the narrative about government by being known for doing it well.  

My appreciation to Jeff and his staff for doing what you can in these riled, dysfunctional times. 

(and then commenting on the video page)

Americans have grown cynical and passive, griping about government rather than expecting and helping it to be better. Instead of obstinate delays and sneaky boondoggles, let’s expect fair and efficient government implementation of the money and programs our society and ecosystem so desperately need. Let’s achieve good reason to improve our view of our government.

(same day, to Cleantechnica report on Biden’s Infrastructure):

Philip Howard’s Common Good managed to get a two-year limit on environmental studies and a 200-page limit of the resultant report, not 10 years of delay and huge reports that obfuscate the issues. Common Good seeks more effective bureaucracies as part of our government.

See this for their efforts: seekhttps://www.commongood….

And this is for a short video of trying to get fair oversight on the efficient use of the $1.2 T investment, trying to get an oversight board (similar to one in Australia) to monitor good use of the money rather than it being siphoned off in boondoggles: https://www.youtube.com/wat…

To Cleantechnica on the old Detroit Electric Car

To Thewordistheword on Stan Ovshinksky’s solar shingles on Oakland U. roofs

I’m from Pontiac, near Detroit, and I graduated from Oakland University. We never heard anything about electric cars, solar shingles, and batteries. It was all muscle cars and Grand Torinos. They did give us The Edsel.

And the same article, reply to Wydeeyde on Edison’s Nickle battery advance:

I once visited Edison’s winter haven near Naples, Florida, where they were still using an electric skid steer with nickel batteries he built. Also, he had low wattage light bulbs still burning in the chandelier. Also, a ball of still very bouncy rubber made out of mere ragweed. Also, a banyan tree and many other plants from around the world. Impressive thinker/doer.

Same article, reply to krohlfs on the need for inexpensive electric cars:

As reported here, Chinese automakers are already putting out basic cars for $5,000. If overly cautious technical demands and economic protectionism were relaxed, I’d imagine we could have access to such basic transport for under $10,000 here in the U.S.

Restricting the rapid import or manufacture of such affordable efficient cars is an ethical violation of Mother Nature (which includes all of us, our descendants, and much of earth’s natural life). The quicker we move us all around cleanly and efficiently, the faster we forestall and fix catastrophic fossil fuel global heating, an ethical and practical challenge we all face.

Same article, reply to farticustheelder on the low cost Chinese cars and the need for them here:

I totally agree with you, farticus

While I favor widespread inexpensive electric cars, I can’t afford one yet, so I’ve ridden my electric bike around town for two years now and have long since saved the cost of the bike by not buying and spewing all that gasoline. I use my car if I rarely need to.

I’ve also noticed a rapid adoption of electric bikes in town as well as one-wheel skateboards and other such simple, affordable, practical devices. It’s a promising trend.

To Cleantechnica article on FUD about EVs, replying to this comment:

this is not ignorance, it is malicious, self-serving evil, and needs to be called out for what it is. these are smart people with money and influence, dealing with others in a sociopathic, machiavellian way, and should be called out. the tobacco companies used the same tactic and arguably are responsible for millions of needless deaths – that is evil. the oil companies have known the consequences of using fossil fuel on the environment and the devastation that this would cause and have used the same tactic and are the cause of millions of premature deaths – that is evil. that these deaths have no smoking gun, and cause damage through secondary or tertiary means does not mitigate the culpability. we are adults, we have children, we have a legacy, we have a duty, we should be righteous in our moral stance, damn the consequences.

My reply:

Evil is a good word for this. It goes beyond rude, deliberately ignorant, and self-serving.

Despite knowing for decades of the harmful results of burning fossil fuels, many industry insiders and their lapdogs in our government continue to let a fart into the face of Mother Nature (which includes all of us, all our coming descendants, and all of nature trying to adapt). This industrial toxic flatulence will linger for hundreds of years, bringing us the havoc we should fear. It isn’t some amusing sport with well-paid PR wizards skillfully evading, misdirecting, and lying, it’s a transnational tragedy.

I agree. We have a duty to wield a skillfully righteous moral stance. Our good Earth continues to be attacked in our time. We need to name it and change it. I appreciate all those speaking out, innovating, and working for a better future.

To NextDoor on biking and walking around town:

I live two miles from the Plaza and five from the Bi-Mart.  I used to bike around infrequently, but now I bike almost always, assisted by an electric motor.  My car usually gathers dust instead of spewing costly pollution. 

In Quiet Village, it isn’t hard to share the streets with cars and pedestrians.  The new laws for bikes at stop signs and lights make for safely flowing traffic.  When I have the stop and someone is in the right-of-way, I stop.  When there is clearly no one in the right-of-way to stop for, I don’t.  Simpler, cleaner, easier. 

While we’re rightly concerned that cars don’t impinge on pedestrians, neither should pedestrians impinge on traffic.  Some will step out, making a car hurry to a halt even if there is clearly a gap behind that car.  It seems most fluid and polite if all look to flow together.

To NY Times article pushing Roundabouts:

Roundabouts are doable but mostly a waste of concrete.  Much simpler is a change of law, the mental software we apply at intersections. 

As is, at all red lights and stop signs you Must Stop no matter if there is anyone in the right of way or not.  To obey this law, we must ignore what we can clearly see and waste the energy and time of braking, waiting, and getting going again.

It is a system that serves the pumping of carbon into our air in a bad form, for cars at idle and acceleration pollute the worst.

Rather, as here in Oregon for bikes at least, we change the law to be Stop When You Must.  You must stop when there is cross traffic.  When there is none we can safely cruise through. 

Some shriek in fear at this suggestion.  All I ask is to start evaluating whether and how such a change in concept at stop signs and red lights would work for you.  We should be stopping only when there is a real reason to, not just to obey an overly stringent law demanding we needlessly stop in every case. 

Such laws insult our abilities, interrupt our travel, spew needless toxins and CO2 pollution, waste our money, and fund a polluting industry. 

We’re smarter and more able than that.  We don’t need expensive roundabouts except in those few places where they would facilitate the flow.  We can both regulate and flow.

(got 28 Likes)

Same day to Peter Diamandis about engineer Burt Rutan’s planes:

I have long admired Burt Rutan and his innovative airplanes.  

The wide-open category of ultralight airplanes spawned lots of new designs there too.

While I admire such engineers as Bucky Fuller, Paul MacCready, and Elon Musk, and I agree that small-scale innovation can do better than huge corporate and governmental bureaucracies, I wince at the Libertarian assumption that government can’t do well.  

Rather, the government is ideally us, caring for ourselves and the planet, acting justly in a community of nations.  Many projects are initiated and completed only because the government does it.  Or would you rather have toll booths every few miles to fund private fortunes?   Elon builds great rockets, but they’re in conjunction with governmental standards and oversight.  

Cynicism about our government fails our responsibility to create a good one.  Smart, caring, cooperative people should be put in charge, not stubbornly ignorant and arrogant ones brimming with contempt for what they’re not serving.  We need wizards like yourself and Elon to help out, not just stand passively off.

… 

Same day to Cleantechnica article on possible new Tesla mini-car:

I had a good idea for a simple way to take the glare out of all headlights, leaving them greyed out so we could still see the dark areas around them and not be blinded by the light. I took it to the patent office in the late 70s to find it had been patented in 1937. I don’t know why it wasn’t instituted except perhaps that it would require an alteration on the headlight side of the two-sided system. It would still work today. I see it as a safety issue that should be mandated.

To Auto Evolution re the new Velomobile

This should and will sell well. They didn’t specify, but it appears to have slightly narrower rear wheels than front. This provides greatly increased roll-over protection on sharp corners. I hope many will see the unique stand-up parking feature. My friend has an older Velomobile that he brought over here from Europe. This is a stylish, sleek, functional upgrade. It even provides a way to peddle in reverse. Good job!

To Cleantechnica’s Steve Hanley on Dodge’s ad of coming transition from ICE muscle cars to Electrics:

It’s a good ad that takes the hesitancy of muscle-car buyers honestly and turns it into interest. (Except for that last shot of an electric spinning its wheels instead of just rocketing forward fast. Instead, photo the astonished joy of those discovering how that sudden and ongoing torque thrills them.)

Dodge could up the sales of its final ICE muscle cars, enthusiasts buying instant classics, and the sales of the newer, faster electrics. Far superior advertising than what Mustang has done.

To Cleantechnica article on a tri-function floating wind/wave/solar platform:

Interesting hybrid attempt. It would have to be placed where there are regular wind and water currents and be able to withstand storms and salty corrosion. Challenging.

One advantage of floating solar panels is that they could be powered to float to face the sun.

Same day to an article on thin-film solar window progress:

If windows could still function to see through without heating up and it all comes through as cost-effective, even a little bit of gain seems a promising possibility, especially on skyscrapers. Every bit of affordable free clean energy we harvest is that much less pollution from other older sources.

Some complain here that the angle isn’t good for most of the day. (Except Jon’s Thoughts points out the setting western sun provides lots. Ditto for the eastern sun.)

What I notice in conventional and passive houses is all the wall space beside the windows going un-utilized. Some standard siding that collects heat (perhaps even solar PV) and moves it into the structure seems a hybrid passive/active system, especially in northern colder climates where the sunlight comes in more directly when the heat is most needed. If south-side windows help heat a house, what about the entire wall?

To Next Door, adding to my post about sewer line insurance using a city logo (missing here):

Thanks for the info, Dean.  Thanks also to those of you who are forwarding this to proper city channels.  And to those alerting us that many of us could get riders on our own homeowner’s policies at better rates.  I’m not alone in resenting that my city allowed its logo to be used by a company scaring us about an unlikely event as if a coordinated campaign. 

To Cleantechnica on Biden’s DOJ prosecuting Donzinger

“Neoliberalism” is Orwellian double-think language. Blaming our economic, technological, and political mess on liberals is a coup coming right out of The Ministry of Truth. As a Liberal (using the dictionary definition of generous, open-minded, libertine, etc.), I’m offended, not by you, Nio62, but by the sloppy adoption of that term.

(a reply to me):

It would help if you actually understood what the term neoliberal means. A progressive like me supports M4A, UBI, a wage adjusted for inflation, cuts in our 760 billion dollar defense budget, an end to taxpayer aid to apartheid Israel, ending illegal sanctions against other countries, and a shift to 100% clean renewable energy and EV’s. Neoliberals or corporate Democrats don’t support those policies which most people support, because they are corrupt like the Republicans. If you are liberal, I assume you would support those policies. If you don’t, then you’re a neoliberal or a corporate Democrat like Nancy Pelosi and the corrupt Democrats who are in power now, take corporate money, and are corrupt like the Republicans. So if you define liberal as a progressive like me who supports M4A, like most people do, then I’m not blaming liberals for our problems. I’m blaming the neoliberals or corporate Democrats like Obama who gave us a Republican healthcare plan instead of M4A, refused to support marijuana legalization, and sold out to Wall Street for our problems. Neoliberals or corporate Democrats are corrupt like the Republicans, and this is why we have our economic, technological, and political problems in this country. Both parties have sold out to Wall Street and corporations, and do absolutely nothing to help us.

(My reply to him)

Too true. I agree with your values and points here, Nio. My objection is to the Machiavellian use of language, smearing liberal people and values with utterly illiberal tactics and policies.

(his reply back to me)

I’m not smearing anyone. I’m simply pointing out how the Democrats are as corrupt as the Republicans. Take this billionaire tax, many Democrats are siding with the Republicans to kill it. I’m simply pointing out the corruption of the Neoliberals and corporate Democrats. If that offends you, then you must be corrupt like them.

(My reply to him)

Don’t take my objection to the general use of neoliberal so personally, Nio. Nor does your accusing me fit what I’ve clearly written. I’m neither offended by your analysis nor corrupt.

(his reply)

It would help if you actually understood what the term neoliberal means. A progressive like me supports M4A, UBI, a wage adjusted for inflation, cuts in our 760 billion dollar defense budget, an end to taxpayer aid to apartheid Israel, ending illegal sanctions against other countries, and a shift to 100% clean renewable energy and EV’s. Neoliberals or corporate Democrats don’t support those policies which most people support, because they are corrupt like the Republicans. If you are liberal, I assume you would support those policies. If you don’t, then you’re a neoliberal or a corporate Democrat like Nancy Pelosi and the corrupt Democrats who are in power now, take corporate money, and are corrupt like the Republicans. So if you define liberal as a progressive like me who supports M4A, like most people do, then I’m not blaming liberals for our problems. I’m blaming the neoliberals or corporate Democrats like Obama who gave us a Republican healthcare plan instead of M4A, refused to support marijuana legalization, and sold out to Wall Street for our problems. Neoliberals or corporate Democrats are corrupt like the Republicans, and this is why we have our economic, technological, and political problems in this country. Both parties have sold out to Wall Street and corporations, and do absolutely nothing to help us.

“The Jan. 6 crazies express a wider frustration with a rigged system, then attack it with the crudest means towards an even crueler outcome. We need change, but not theirs.”

I agree that what the Jan 6 idiots did was horrible, but what our politicians in both parties did, is even worse. Both parties refuse to give us M4A, which causes 69,000 people to die each year. Both parties supported our bloated 760 billion military budget, and giving 10 million a day of taxpayer money to apartheid Israel. So I agree the Jan 6 insurrectionist should be punished, but the crooks that we have in both corrupt parties who take corporate money, should also.

(my reply to this tedious thread)

Again, I agree. We’re stuck in a two-party system that is largely one party that seems out of our control.

However, this is a Clean Tech forum, not primarily a site for political back-n-forth. I think we’ve both made our points that don’t need to be re-made.

Our griping here might alienate those of other political views who still care about cleantech solutions. We need concerned people of any party to address our mutual concerns.

(Another contributor to me):

No surprise. Anyone familiar with Biden’s career knows he’s always been a flunky for corporations and the banks.

We just recently learned that the U.S. government via the CIA plotted to kidnap and kill Julian Assange whose only crimes were publishing emails which were embarrassing to powerful politicians and publishing evidence of U.S. war crimes, notably a video of a U.S. army helicopter gunship murdering defenseless journalists in Iraq and then murdering the unarmed ambulance crew which came to their aid. How is the U.S. murdering a publisher any different than Saudi Arabia murdering a journalist?

Newsflash: the U.S. isn’t the good guy anymore. We aren’t the Lone Ranger and Tonto riding around fixing everyone’s troubles. We are the trouble. Everyone in the world knows it except most Americans.

(And, my reply to him)

Too true, MS. I can’t take the blame for the U.S. having committed invasion, occupation, and genocide of the natives, or of it has benefitted from slavery when labor was worth more, or the CIA’s manipulation and murders of those countries and persons at odds with our corporations (as if I had asked for or condoned it), or the bloated Department of <s>War</s> Defense (as if I approved), or this new round of saber-rattling at China, but I must take some blame for not objecting more about the endless pre-trial imprisonment and persecution of Julian Assange (similar to how innocents were treated in Guantanamo) and the lack-luster cop-outs at COP26.

If Democrats don’t respond fairly to the cynical views expressed here (that the Dems are as corrupted as the Reps), the humanistic and democratic hope that America has been said to be will be dashed, ignored, and lost. What a tragedy for humanity!

As you say, “[E]veyone in the world knows it except most Americans.” Are Americans as bad as our government has been and still is? Does our government express who we really are? What becomes of those of us who decry the treatment of Assange and Mother Earth? What then becomes of journalists and our environment?

(his reply to me)

No, I don’t believe most Americans are as bad as our government. The problem is that our government doesn’t reflect who we really are, and that’s on purpose. Our political system is rigged through gerrymandering, winner-take-all electoral districts, two senators per state regardless of population, and the electoral college. We live in an oligarchy, not a democracy. Here’s how to have a House of Representatives and state Houses that are true portraits of the people (only 6 minutes). 

[his initial video link lost.  It was from Fairvoting.US]

Unfortunately, having a government that truly reflects the will of the
people is the last thing that the oligarchs want. They will do
everything to prevent that from happening.

(my reply)

Thanks, MS. (Lost your initial video and YouTube doesn’t let me re-access it.) Some sort of rank choice, multi-level voting might lead to representatives that fairly represent a more diverse citizenry. But as you warn, the oligarchy won’t let that happen.

I have only rarely felt represented. I currently like and trust my senators for Oregon (Wyden and Merkley) while many other Oregonians don’t. Perhaps a parliamentary system where if someone gets 10% of the vote, they’d have 10% of the say, might work. As is, minority positions always lose. This impedes democracy.

For instance, when I lived on a lake in Michigan, the powerboats would take over. If there was a vote on powerboats or sail, the powerboats would easily win. But if 1/7th of the voters wanted the quiet of sailing, perhaps one day a week could be reserved for that. That way, all get their fair due, and all would find out what a quiet day on the lake would be like.

A dynamic democracy needs minority voices to be heard and explored if ever there is to be true mutual progress. Add secret big money to fund elections to add snakes to the swamp, and we end up with a Manchin thwarting the prevailing wish to rescue us from global heating by implementing some Green New Deal.

As is, the Jan. 6 crazies express a wider frustration with a rigged system, then attack it with the crudest means towards an even crueler outcome. We need change, but not theirs. We might have a revolutionary overhaul, but not with the same level of thoughtful care as the Founders attempted.

Blunders, duplicity, and gripes aside, what they instituted could now be upgraded to fairly include and represent more citizens, were the citizens to renew their ownership and care. We have lost what we have forgotten: we are the foundation of our government.

[his reply to me]

Yes, political minorities would have representation in the House with multi-member districts and ranked-choice voting. Say the district had 5 seats. A minority with 20% of the vote would earn one seat. Under our current system, up to 49.9% of the voters in a district are left with no representation. BTW, I have never had my views and values represented in either the federal or state government because of gerrymandering and winner-take-all electoral districts.

To Quora re Carl Sagan having smoked pot:

He’s an intellectual and social hero to me. I’m glad he got to enjoy cannabis. I’m glad much of the world is getting to enjoy it, for it will help us all in general. Same for shrooms and other entheogens.

To Johns Hopkins regarding their daring research on psilocybin starting in the 90s

Johns Hopkins dared to responsibly investigate and report what numerous psychonauts also favor and promote. Those familiar with such entheogens urged their salvific benefits to persons and society despite the fear and scorn of puritan society and its conservative and constraining government. I’m glad to see a new round of interest in the younger generation and those of us who never lost faith in these aids to humankind, and I’m hopeful that principled research such as those told here and by MAPS will document their beneficial utility for wider application. Such entheogens are good for us and will help steer history in better directions.

To Daily Mushroom Podcast on YouTube

Great interview, guys! Peg, you didn’t say which denomination you’ve left. I’m a retired post-UU minister (not woke enough for some) who wants to help others and society therapeutically. Cool that you praised “A General Theory of Love,” by Lewis, Amini, and Lannon. Its admitting the limits of various schools while noting the mysterious value of resonance impressed me years ago. Your understanding of western religious history was right on. Would that the gospels of Philip and Mary have been part of our canon this last millennium! I admire the B.C. openness to assisted therapy and am glad so many are involved. Too bad all the official avenues to it are so expensive. Many, less moneyed, are back to the old days of friends acting as guides. Hope such people read and understand the MAPS suggested protocols. Best wishes to you both from Ashland, Oregon. If interested, see my stuff (such as one sermon on THC, LSD, etc) at earthlyreligion dot com.

(To Torpedo’s reply to CT’s report of a brewery with a new solar roof.)

I’ll be forwarding this to a local Unitarian Universalist church with a huge, flat, sunny roof that is otherwise being ignored because someone concluded it couldn’t handle solar panels. Perhaps that’s true for heavy, boxed solar panels, but a Tesla solar tile roof? Good-looking, not heavy, productive.

If I had sway there, I’d urge they to work with Tesla to make a PR demonstration of it, beneficial both to Tesla and the church.

When churches pay money to supply dirty energy to replace the free energy in the sunlight they ignore and dismiss, I see an ethical concern and an opportunity. A lot of churches could be making better economic and ethical use of their sunny roofs.

(I forwarded a link to this article to RVUUF in Ashland)

(A reply to me)

I’m a member of a Unitarian Universalist fellowship, “fellowship” means we are small and don’t have a pastor and pretty much do our own thing. I’ll have to take a close look at the roof– it is in a wooded area.

(and my reply to him):

Fellowships are the ignored heart of UU. If your roof is shaded, probably not cost-effective to add panels. The one I mentioned here has a very large, flat (no external penetrations on that south side) roof and is sunny all day every day. It could be an ethical and economical statement in town. Of course, this applies to any sunny church roof of any denomination. The sun doesn’t discriminate.

A letter to a disaffected UU minister

[Colleague], 

Tend to your health.  No need to enter realms that distress you.  

Somehow, I have no trouble with atheists and Christians.  Both tend to be good people, just defining the situation differently.  That leaves me mostly misunderstood and partly resented by both camps.  Ha! 

I hear your persistent yearning for more theism and Christianity, and I hope you find the community and rituals that serve you.  If you get the chance to address CRT and feel so-called, I hope you speak to it.  The little tiff in the UUs is indicative of a larger estrangement going on in society, liberals annoying those who should be more welcomed.  Are the Proud Boys the only whites who can be proud?  It’s reverse racism.  I’m vaguely resented by victims and survivors for patriarchy and slavery even though I didn’t create or endorse either.  

You’re totally right about nuclear dangers.  We go along, blithely ignoring a threat greater than any other we face.  We also should address and fix global warming in case we don’t ruin the show even worse with the stupid or accidental use of those many bombs.  Then there are toxins infecting our soils, oceans, and people.  Then there’s spiritual malaise.  All the hopes of old-time religion and the counterculture seem dashed.  However, as AOC said in a program today, we can build on what’s good so far.  There’s more of that than our drama-addicted news tends to portray.  

Be well.  Thanks for the book. 

To some UU colleagues regarding Disaffected UUs:

UUs once owned all four corners of 57th and Woodlawn at the edge of the U of Chicago.  Now it’s only one corner and Meadville/Lombard bounces around on the North Side.

I remember two bits of advice from my former days in the PNWD UUMA meets: “Notice the Pinch” and “When It Feels like You Have to Walk on Eggshells, Stomp!”  

I wonder whether the UUA and seminaries are noticing the pinch of our meager stomp.  

I’m bored with and distanced from ML’s one-note song.  I’m also worried that our resentment of being confronted by those who seem to wear a “Woker Than You” badge is indicative of much of the country’s reaction to such judgment and demand for agreement.  Even worthy causes I agree with can become annoying.  

Whew! Did anyone read this far?

Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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