Thursday, June 27, 2019

Real Alternatives


This rare alternative view of another option of human life is worth putting first today. 
Children don't have to be stuck in a little screen all the time. They can be normal if they are born into a normal world. 
Can we provide them a normal world?
 If you ever wanted to see what the world might look like after the Tribulation, you could do worse than visit the Burren land on the Atlantic coast of Ireland...
...In the 1930s no one here had electricity or cars, no lights or radio, and people lived much the way they had in the 1830s, or for that matter the 1830s BC. Dersie Leonard, who grew up in the Burren then, later described how she and her childhood friends walked miles every day in all weather, barefoot and wearing clothes made from old flour sacks. Modern American kids, growing up in a cocoon of toys, clothes and Xboxes, would struggle to picture a more depressing existence.
 Perhaps surprisingly, then, Leonard wrote joyfully about her early life, saying she and her friends had “lakes and rivers, good land and bad, bog and rocks, not to mention fairy rings and forts – in fact everything a person could wish for.” They spent their days exploring, playing games, singing and telling stories, immersed in the adventure of childhood, and she considered herself lucky to live as she had...
 Relying only on local village schools, Ireland then had a literacy rate higher than the USA does now, and produced generations of celebrated novelists, poets and scholars. Even taking their poverty into account, and even without the advances of the last 50 years, their average health was still better than most Americans’ today. And they were much happier than modern people, both according to surveys at the time and the memories of people who lived through those days. They lived their lives and I didn’t, and I’m not going to tell them that they’re all wrong...
  “We were real happy children, never bored,” said Jenny Buckley, who grew up in County Offaly in the 1930s. Most of the elders I interviewed said the same – their early years were filled with picking wildflowers and finding birds’ nests, climbing trees and looking under logs, swimming to islands or rowing boats, declaring themselves kings and queens of their domain, swearing eternal friendship, and engaging in the feral joy of a hunter-gatherer childhood.
 Mind you, they had plenty of chores on their family homesteads -- picking crops, caring for animals, all the other duties that kept their families fed. “Our farm kept us going; we bought nothing but tea, sugar, rice and sultanas,” she said. “Now our pocket money was that we had a hen each and collected her eggs and sold them.” I hear the same from many of my neighbours; by the time they hit the hormones of adolescence, they had already gained more business savvy and shouldered more responsibility than most 50-year-olds today. 

Caitlin Johnstone has the best summary of the first Democratic debate, which was heavily moderated towards Elizabeth Warren.
Savannah Guthrie: Thank you. Congressman O’Rourke, how do you feel about taxing the wealthy?
Beto O’Rourke: Me gustaría informar a todos que puedo hablar español.
Savannah Guthrie: Uhh… Okay?
Cory Booker: Hey I can speak Spanish too!
Savannah Guthrie: Yes, yes you both can speak Spanish. This next question is for Senator Warren. Senator, you have many plans for America. Do you think rich people should be allowed to feast on the flesh of poor people?
Elizabeth Warren: No. We should stop allowing rich people to eat poor people because there are laws against this and my plan is to enforce those laws.
Julián Castro: I can actually speak Spanish better than anyone here, so I pretty much win this debate.
Cory Booker: Yeah well I live in a poor neighborhood...
Bill de Blasio: May I just interrupt for a moment to say that I am a white guy who would like to be president?
Lester Holt: Yes, you may.
John Delaney: Can I?
Lester Holt: Fuck you, limp dick. 

Governor Inslee, you’re a white guy who wants to be president. How do you feel about a woman’s right to choose?
Jay Inslee: I basically invented it.
Amy Klobuchar: I would like to collect my identity politics points for him saying that please.
Cory Booker: The neighborhood I live in is rather poor actually.
Tulsi Gabbard: War is bad.
Tim Ryan: I also am in this debate.

This is drier...
​ ​Everyone on the stage expressed the usual platitudes about providing universal access to healthcare. In true Democratic Party fashion, all ten candidates based their ideas on the assumption that government alone can provide the most efficient and cost-effective healthcare system the United States will ever have...​ ​Warren, who was literally center stage, was given the most time to speak during that first section of the debate. Indeed, there was a definite bias – throughout the event – toward Warren, former Texas congressman Robert O’Rourke, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. The other candidates had to fight for the opportunity to speak, on many occasions...
 Castro made the biggest impact as one of the lesser-known 2020 contenders. Cory Booker perhaps comes out of the event with a slight boost and Warren, while not especially captivating, certainly retained her position as one of the front-runners...
​ ​Robert O’Rourke continued to flail and did nothing, on the stage, to dispel the feeling that he is entirely out of his depth in a presidential race. He was scolded by Castro for his immigration ideas and falsely assumed that his command of the Spanish language would, perhaps, earn him some street cred, but that did not appear to work either.
​ ​Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard had a moment to shine when she schooled Washington Governor Jay Inslee on the futility of the Afghan war but was not one of the chosen few who were allowed to hog the limelight. Inslee himself has a very limited future in this race.
​ ​Ohio Representative Tim Ryan made little impact, though he was one of only two candidates who acknowledged that his party has lost its way – becoming disconnected from blue-collar America and evolving into the party of the elites. The other candidate who made the same assertion was DeBlazio, who may have an equally limited lifespan in the 2020 race.

​A weird thing happened during the debates, as people did Google searches about the candidates, when they said things. 
One candidate was different, and got the most searches.​
​ ​As Fox News reports, Tulsi Gabbard, an Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq, grabbed the attention of the viewers every time she spoke about foreign policy and the military.
​ ​During the debate, she called for scaling back of U.S. military presence abroad and accused “this president and his chicken hawk cabinet have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”
​ ​Gabbard's military experience gave her authority in a harsh exchange with Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who said the U.S. must maintain forces in Afghanistan to ensure the Taliban is kept in check.
"When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings," Ryan said.
"The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11, Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11," Gabbard replied.

​ I keep reading about how capitalism, which turns resources into refuse as a race against time, is not compatible with a healthy and sustainable ecology on the face of Planet Earth. 
Did these very powerful capitalists not get that memo? What is their intention?
LONDON (Reuters) - Investors managing more than $34 trillion in assets, nearly half the world’s invested capital, are demanding urgent action from governments on climate change, piling pressure on leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies meeting this week.

​ ​What I am seeing of late is that the Climate Crisis is destroying environmentalism. What I consider real environmentalism. The Climate discourse is quickly being taken over by monied interests whose desire is to save capitalism before they save the planet. They fly (in jets, often private) to conferences in which avocados (or whatever) are flown in from California (or wherever). And there is aristocracy, literally, in attendance. It feels almost required. The British or Dutch Royals, if we’re talking carbon footprints, are tracking in with size 12 Florsheims– while the indigenous activists who toil and are persecuted in places such as Honduras, or Colombia, are not invitedThey are of an other way of life, the life of actual concern for nature. These conferences are a kind of ceremonial environmentalism.​..
 The new Climate Crisis…or Climate Emergency, feels increasingly distant from radical environmentalists of an earlier time. And I think part of the problem in wrapping one’s head around this crisis is that one has to tie together so many different topics. Fertility, mental health, dropping literacy, infrastructure neglect, pollution, militarism, Big Agra and Big Pharma, as well as digital technology and the psychology of contemporary westerners. A psychology mediated in huge part by lives increasingly spent staring at screens. And rather than expend the effort to actually connect these threads I find most people gravitate toward a simplistic and generalized position on the environment. And that position feels increasingly shaped by a marketing of fear.​..
​ I mean honestly, Coca Cola is going to help save the planet? If you only read the Global Shapers section you will arrive at a pretty clear idea of how this all works. My point is that once you have The Climate Reality Project, Coca-Cola, Salesforce, Procter and Gamble, Reliance Industries, Oando, GMR Group, Hanwha Energy Corporation, Rosamund Zander and Yara International *investing* in saving the planet, you know something is wrong.​..
 The U.S. military hides statistics on its petroleum usage and its disposal of chemical waste, and of course the severe consequences of all the current ongoing U.S. wars (see Cholera in Yemen just for starters). The socio-political landscape is seeing the rise of global fascism as well as a continuing migration of wealth to the very top tier of the class hierarchy.​..
 ...Environmental destruction has been going on a long time. And the industrial revolution intensified the harm and civilization never looked back. The greenhouse emissions theory may or may not be completely true or accurate. But it also doesn’t matter, really. Society itself is unravelling. People are sick, depressed, even increasingly suicidal — and the U.S. seems to want to wage even more war. The madness of this is stupefying — and it again underscores the need for a political vision that begins with a platform that says STOP WAR. All war, all of it. That men like John Bolton or Mike Pompeo are in positions of authority, that such men can manipulate their power to create military conflict speaks to the utter and absolute depravity and decadence of the Capitalist system (of course in a wider sense Bolton and Pompeo are just following the mandate of the ruling class, something they learned and perfected long ago). Capitalism cannot survive. I have no idea if the planet can survive, but I suspect it will, though with rather substantial damage and suffering. But the hierarchical profit driven capitalist system cannot. The new feudalism is here, already, but its not sustainable.

​"Hell Is Coming", Western Europe faces a serious heatwave.
The Sahara moves north. 15,000 people in Paris died when this much heat hit in 2003. 

The European Central Bank says that Italian gold is not really in the possession of Italians, and it's important that they don't try to hold it themselves. They can't be trusted. They might sell it to pay some bills. This is a bone of contention, and the future of Italy and the ECB hinge upon this settlement. Italy has rather large gold holdings, unless they don't have any.


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