Left, right. We used to just walk and talk. It's all messed up lately. The left is a losing label. It can mean left behind,…
Well, it’s been a busy year so far. We’re hunkered down, avoiding the Covid, keyed up, toying with racist fascism, and dimly worried, denying how hot we could get. Yet the stay-at-home days and months have mellowed us to homier routines. Some say we’re already into the early days of the Age of Aquarius. Hope so.
I’m proud of the Democrats, especially those in Georgia, for helping barely rescue us from a madman conman who thinks he can act like a privileged, uncontrolled king. I’m proud also of the ten Republicans who have dared stand up to him. In addition to those few decent ones, like David Brooks and Steven Schmidt, I credit Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He speaks his mind despite the rabid right. If ever there was a time when a political party could redeem itself, this, after a blatant and sloppy coup attempt, is it.
We’re on the verge of real recovery, not just from Covid, but from the malaise of modernity. We need a planetary shift, an upgrade on all our ways. I’m attempting to write a book towards this, so please understand why I don’t have more of a newsletter entry for this month. Instead, I’ll share here some of my other writing.
Here are some of my contributions to various forums, mostly on the tragic and shameful invasion of our Capitol and on the rise of BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles).
Some say the Capitol Police should have treated these violent insurrectionists with the same overwhelming power and indifferent sadism as blacks are often treated by police. I don’t agree.
Black Lives Matter- as do all lives. Police should prevent violence, not add to it.
I feel sorry for her and her family. She got caught up in the excitement and silly delusion of “patriots” “defending their country.” She and they were wrong to assault our Capitol. They deserve restraint, arrest, and fines, not bullets. Those brandishing weapons should be tased, gassed, or shot in the legs at least, and worse if need be.
I’m glad more weren’t shot or injured. The police should have held the line more forcefully. [It has since come out that they were instructed to not confront.] Perhaps some of them were in on allowing it. If they individually or were ordered to allow the intrusion, that is an even more egregious crime. Such police and violent intruders should all be charged and punished.
But I don’t want anyone treated as inhumanely as blacks frequently are. I want our police to show respect and be accountable, not empowered to be ruthless bullies.
Byrd on KOS
I am glad this ‘patriot’ was prevented from getting to Pelosi et. al. BLM was not targeting individuals for justice. There is a big difference between civil disobedience and attempted kidnapping or worse.
Byrd on KOS [to]
It’s hard to know what her intentions were. Perhaps there to join in the provocative party atmosphere and camaraderie of acting like revolutionaries for no discernable purpose, perhaps there to kidnap or assassinate. She’s one of what could have been hundreds. Much as they might have had it coming, I’m glad they didn’t get it. Tragedy enough.
Had they, they would have been turned into martyrs for the cause and their kin bent on revenge. How easily wars get started and perpetuated. Grieving families and angry resolve on both “sides.” I don’t want that for either side.
The attackers were doing what the American military often does — attacking with defensiveness. This is like our having invaded Vietnam because of being “attacked” at the Gulf of Tonkin. Or creating “No-Fly Zones” in the areas around Iraq that only we flew in. If their radar looked at our planes, we were being attacked, so shoot that radar. We invaded with thousands of actual weapons to prevent them from having the one we imagined. It’s a sort of business model. Invade, attack, and when some fight back, call them “insurgents” and slaughter them. If you get busted, like the four from Blackwater, you can get pardoned by a mad king defending “our guys” or “our way of life.”
The insurrectionists defended their delusion of their country and “stolen vote” with patriotic fury. Irate indignation is all the rage these days. Uninformed adamant opinion gets applause. It’s a national neurosis, a contagious brain disorder.
Ever since the Tea Party, showcases of rude belligerence have become the norm, the way to show how outlandish we can be. Sarah Palin supporters put rifle scope crosshairs on the faces of political opponents. Gabby Gifford gets her head blown apart and then mostly forgotten. The attackers of our Capitol painted themselves up in colorful garb, waved big flags, and had their “us versus them” parties in the streets. What fun in what might otherwise be anguished or boring lives!
Then it went too far, they felt momentarily successful, and two people were killed. One taunted “having it coming” and the other just tried to do his duty that fateful day. At what point will America realize we really don’t want angry people shouting their freedom spit in our faces while brandishing war weapons menacingly?
For all the guns there, I’m glad there wasn’t more carnage. The ransacking “protesters” deserve prosecution, not execution.
1-11-21 to a Cleantechnica forum on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s video regarding Capitol attack:
I’m proud of Arnold here.
That he once served Republican causes after Enron dismayed me then, but that he clearly and forcefully speaks out here elicits my admiration.
I’ve taken the stage name Byrd, not just because it is a simpler conjunction of my two first names, but in honor of Robert Byrd, an old racist curmudgeon who changed later in life, who stood before an angry congress, shaking his lonely, feeble finger at the Bush rush to a needless war on an innocent people. It takes dignity and guts to change one’s mind and stand up against the riled rabble.
Kudos to Arnold, especially for describing the tragic state of mind of Nazis later trying to drug and deaden their guilt with alcohol and family abuse. That Schwarzenegger is coming late to such touching truth-telling isn’t as important as his getting there now. As he knows and says, we don’t need another round of flag-waving, gun-toting Nazis and Confederates.
1-12-21 BBC to Jeff Merkley KOS petition to oust Trump, beyond signing, adding:
He’s a traitor, a dangerous madman threatening our society and world.
He’s part of a worldwide push for fascism, partly planned by his former advisor Steven Bannon.
He could be doing Putin’s bidding, disrupting and defeating us without having to attack.
He has embraced and encouraged the vilest and most violent to offend, invade, and ruin our government and society.
1-21-21 to Cleantechnica forum on how Dept. of Energy and a university cooperate on better batteries for vehicles and buildings:
Four years ago, unremittent, unreflective cynicism led Americans to elect a party whose philosophy is that government is the problem and can do no good – only to have them do just that.
Self-ruled people deserve better.
I want my government to be “us, taking care of each other and our planet.”
When government can stimulate, coordinate, and cooperate with universities, corporations, other governments, and persons to innovate healthier and more sustainable ways to live – I want that. And I want that process to be held accountable by us to live up to this, not be cynically dismissed, impeded, and coopted.
We need our government to be on our own side. I want our corporations to serve the well-being of humanity and our planet, and when and where they instead exploit and exhaust these, I want my government to protect us from them and help foster better alternatives.
If non-government interests can develop ways to live well together, fine. If government can help improve this world, such as create better batteries, all the better.
On Cleantechnica 1/8/21 re: Richest man in the world Musk Helping Humanity
People all over the world are going to keep buying ICE [Internal Combustion Engine] cars, that will destroy the climate and kill us all wherever we live whether we are rich or poor, unless someone starts making and selling EVs that people will want to buy instead. That is what Tesla is doing. They are shifting the world to a new energy standard for transportation.
It is not about whether poor people can buy the car even though that would be great if they could and I believe Tesla is working toward doing that.
But it is about whether there will even be a planet for you to live on. Tesla is trying very hard to make sure you and your children will still have a planet to live on 50 years from now. This is really really hard to do.
$100K cars funded the Tesla factories to make $75K cars which funded the factories to make $50K cars which funded the factories to make $35K cars which are now funding the factories to make $25K cars. What was your point again?
As I recall, this was exactly his intention, bigteks.
I hope this staged decrease in cost will continue and that Tesla will come out with smaller, simpler, less-expensive electric vehicles (not just cars, but smaller as well) and high-tech vacuum tubes for rapid movement of lots of people and heavy loads.
His “massively transformative purpose” is to get the carbon and other pollutants out of how we move. Those who gripe about his expensive cars should admit he and his have swayed the entire transport industry. He deserves appreciation, not knit picking.
And later in the same forum:
GM and BMW had access to this technology too, but they continue to drag their feet. Henry Ford didn’t invent the car or the assembly line, but he had a vision to bring an affordable car to rural people who were largely homebound. Musk had the vision to solve humanity’s biggest challenge.
While I don’t agree that any one person should have so much money, I really wish these other hundreds of billionaires would actually do something worthy with their extreme wealth right now, not when they die. So many species are just hanging on (apes, rhinos, tigers, etc) and it will be nearly impossible for them to survive as climate change and a growing population destroys their only homes.
How about Bezos and company decides to set up trust funds to keep national parks around the world protected while employing locals to maintain them? That would be my first priority. We have no right to cause extinction.
Elon Musk is a step up from Henry Ford, Buckminster Fuller, E.F. Schumacher, Paul McCready, and Isaac Asimov. He’s a big thinker, a daring innovator, and quick-witted doer. From cars to trucks to rooftops to tunnels to re-land-able rockets to colonies on the moon or mars he’s astonished and challenged us into a new age.
I like your urging we widen our concern for the rapid extinction of large animals and wild sanctuaries. Employing locals to help protect and allow our Garden to thrive and flourish – instead of exploiting it to death – is a visionary and practical way to address our long-term future. Musk, Bezos, and others of us can help humanity rescue and revive our Garden.
Agreed. And I look forward to his developing small, simpler, less expensive vehicles affordably meeting the transport needs for far more people in the US and the world.
This applies from everything from trucks to the poor-man’s affordable new car to rickshaws to roller skates. In the long run we can have transport that we can afford, that doesn’t exhaust our earth’s resources and that doesn’t pollute us to a heat death.
I agree with Chamath. I don’t mind if Elon gets rich by doing the right thing for all of us and our future.
Same day to Nextdoorneighbor regarding people not wearing masks at the post office:
When I wear my mask it isn’t so much to protect me as to reassure strangers I’m not as likely to inadvertently spread a disease to them. It is an act of social graciousness, a willing participation in our temporarily adapting to a dangerous disease. It doesn’t undermine my freedom; it freely says “We’ll get past this danger together.”
1-15-21 to NY Times forum on NASA graphic of northern hemisphere heat (which I tweeted): (Sorry, the link won’t embed here, but you can see this alarming graphic at):
The 2 F or 1 C numbers are misleadingly puny. People think, “2 degrees? So what?”
The southern Oregon fire burned out much of two cities and almost 3000 structures passed across the street from my house. Meanwhile, the warmer nights seemed almost pleasant. The changes already upon us and yet to come won’t be a “mere” rise in temperature or ocean level, they will come in lasting droughts spiked by windstorms that burn whole towns down. They will come in even worse rain bombs and hurricanes. They will infect us with insects and diseases. They will exacerbate migrations and social conflicts.
These excellent NASA graphics conveyed by the NY Times alert us to a horrible future unless we take this plight seriously and address it diligently and creatively. Both individual and collective care are needed now.
Now that we’re (hopefully) past the distraction and mayhem of our former president and his stubbornly ignorant and arrogant ilk, I’m hopeful the climate team president-elect Biden has assembled will help coordinate the efforts of individuals, corporations, and governments (local, state, and in addition to the U.S.) to cooperatively address this humanity-wide challenge.
Were we to work together towards our mutual well-being we could not only avert the slow semi-suicide of a needless heat disaster, but we could also veer the vast momentum of our human habits (political, economic, and technological) towards a future better than we’ve ever dared imagine.
1-18-21 to Climate Reality forum re Prioritizing Climate Change as a Primary Issue
I agree with Barb Bell. We can’t expect others to think with our thoughts and values. They have reasons for their stance so-far in their life. I remember Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance. He reminded us when we make a choice, even a little one, we then tend to find evidence supporting ourselves lest our cognitive dissonance not let us feel we were right. If we buy a Chevy, we notice the Chevy ads. Those who learn about climate change will find mounting reasons for validating their interest, and that can lead to mounting actions and connections. Thus, any motion towards our climate goals or any connection we form with those only partially in our “camp” should be welcomed and reinforced. Small steps lead to larger journeys. It isn’t as fast as we need and would prefer, but it adds to the social awareness of those who formerly hadn’t even noticed. There’ll be more ground support for more ambitious measures, like a Green New Deal. There’ll be some who go on to be champions in our cause.
To Cleantechnica on VW’s delay at releasing an electric van:
I’m from the Detroit area and owned an early VW Bug (with the small engine and small back window) and later, a VW van. I remember how Detroit automakers pooh-poohed the VW even as they began showing up all over town. VW is wasting their time and opportunity here, just as Detroit did in the 60s.
1-22-21 comment on Elon Musk tweet of $100M Prize on Carbon Capture
As HeroX and Peter Diamandis relay, prize money brings out creative ideas, often from unexpected sources, often cheaper and better than large organizations devise.
Hey, Elon, I hear you have lots of money. You could have fun doing this for various causes!
1-27-21 to Cleantechnica re raising the gas tax;
I want to pay more gas tax, as in $1 a gallon more, used partly for road infrastructure upkeep and mostly for Clean Energy and EV stimuli.
That the poor pay more doesn’t dissuade me. I’m poor too, but I want to pay to correct and remedy the harm I do when using gasoline. I also wince at how often I see people, poor or wealthy, in big parked cars running their engines for no or slight reason. They should pay to mindlessly pollute and waste.
I want to pay more taxes that go to our general betterment, and I want to pay less to military bullying and colonialism, as is still the intended case for China, Iran and Venezuela.
As to resentment of taxes in general in the U.S., ignored here is the high cost of health care and all types of insurance that we pay in addition to our taxes. I’d rather fund a more equal system that raises our living standard from the bottom up than continue with our current system that squeezes the national and international poor and working class to overstuff the limitless glut of the transnational rich.
To KOS cartoon by Tom Tomorrow
Tom tells truths.
A lot of comedy is telling the truth about obvious truths we’re not supposed to say.
1-26-21to Cleantechnica on fighting FUD [Fear Uncertainty Doubt] and Denialism about Climate:
When someone says, “You can’t tell me that . . .” I believe them and don’t push.
Reinforcing even little agreements with those mostly opposed helps move them along towards fuller understanding and eventual acceptance.
1-28-21 to Cleantechnica on misleading “Tesla Dissapoints” headline:
Back in the late 70s I noticed a headline down low on page 12: “Solar Plane Fails.”
It was about an electric airplane flying on sunlight only at 40 MPH all day until a mechanical part of the prop failed.
I think it’s called “covering the news.”
1-25-21 to Cleantechnica reprint of NRDC article on Joe Biden’s initial moves, especially on environment;
Speaking of videos, in this one America’s icons get their boogie on to celebrate his leaving. We’ve reason for joy and hope! So far, especially on climate, I’m appreciating Joe and the Dems.
If you got this far in my ramblings, congrats! We live in a challenging time. May we awaken to our gratitude and fortitude, have some magnitude in our attitude. Without being rude, I’d rather be like The Dude, not Mr. Lebowski.