The Preamble; Fix it or Nix It?



Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

At present, oil saturates the Gulf Stream.  An official six-month cessation of permits for new drilling did not actually affect the industry or government decisions.  Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead.  To explain such an authorization and waiver, the Department of the Interior and the Minerals Management Services Division which regulates drilling, pointed to public statements by Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar.  He did not intend to forbid all first cuts in the Earth’s crust.  Absolutely not.  The Federal Government approved wells off the coast of Louisiana in June. Regardless of the day, or realities that are anathema to our citizenry, little has truly changed.  Today, just as in yesteryear, we, the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union, polish policies to appear as though our civilization would wish to protect and defend all beings, equally.  

In an earlier era, and now, the electorate embraces practices that establish justice, while we unreasonably raze the planet.  As a devoted citizenry, we insure domestic tranquility through appeasement. Furthermore, for the sake of homeland harmony, we adopt practices that encourage petroleum production, excessive oil and coal profits, whilst we also rob crops of their inherent dignity.  We, the countrymen, commit to the promise that we will provide for the common defense. In accordance with the demands of the public, policymakers further endorse perilous practices.  

These pursuits are realized in the form of perpetual war.  Blood for oil, minerals, or any resource that makes more money for the few, is what we, believe brings security to the native soil.   Our energy plans, or was it the profound Preamble to the United States Constitution, afforded us world prominence.  Globally, America is seen as powerful, so much so other countries chose to emulate us.  

Our governance and Preamble now belong to many a proud nation.  Collectively, in this country and the next, people clamor, “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Over the years, there have been many opportunities to consider our constitution, our commitment to country, and our love of power.  Before this country was born, we could have seized on the chance to harness energy in a way that did not cause harm.  In 1766, British Scientist Henry Cavendish identified the energetic element, hydrogen.  By 1838, Swiss Chemist Christian Friedrich Schoenbein stumbled upon the “fuel cell.”  Only seven years later, Sir William Grove, an English Scientist and Judge, demonstrated the practicality of the discovery.  Mister Grove created a “gas battery.”  For this feat, he acquired the title “Father of the Fuel Cell.”

Most recall the Franklin kite experiment, which, while not the first appearance of an electrical consciousness certainly was one that gave us a jolt.  That event occurred in 1752.  Then, people began to realize that electricity, not produced from coal or dependent on fossil fuels, could make a meaningful difference in the society.  Initially, there were struggles.  Some people were afraid of an incomprehensible current.  A few did not wish to succumb to a change in lifestyle.  Convenience at a nominal cost convinced the citizenry to change their conventional ways, and of course, modify the meaning of the Constitution.

By 1769, with the advent of the first automobile, people began to ponder inexpensive means for mobility.  The invention of engines and the Industrial Revolution completed the conversion. Steamships and steam-powered railroads became the foremost forms of transportation.  These vessels used coal to fuel their boilers. Still, it was not until the 1880s that “coal was first used to generate electricity for homes and factories.”  Since then, there seemed no desire to turn back.  Way back when, our constitution, or at least the Preamble as practiced today, was set in stone.  

Give it to us cheap and dirty is the American credo.  We guzzle gas, burn through barrels of oil, and belch out endorsements for big businesses that earn billions on our backs.  Americans strip the countryside in search of more and more coal.  We savage the seas and shores whilst we annihilate all the creatures dependent on these.  Indeed, we ignore that we too are reliant on the chain of life to survive.  We disregard what science teaches us; each species and specimen plays a part in the planet’s endurance.  Instead, we loudly state, “We the people commit to cheap fossil fuels and biomass consumption that we have become accustomed to.”  Damn the damage to the planet, and ultimately to humans and all other populations.  We travel on, full speed ahead!

As the Gulf Bay puncture wound bleeds, present and former Governors, Jurists, and citizens clamor, Drill Baby Drill!  In June 2020, be it in Alaska, in the Gulf, anywhere, almost anywhere, regardless of known risks, we are ready!  We want our fix.  Fossil fuels and biomass flow through our blood.  Petroleum, or the reliance on this and other hazardous forms of energy, run our boats, cars, trains, planes, and our lives.  Even if a pipe, mineshaft, or the food chain are broken, the people say, Let it be!”

“Fix It or Nix It” defines the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity campaign. This statement is not an endorsement for renewable energy policies. Nor does it address the altered Preamble, No. This group does advocate for further advancements in fossil fuel usage.“ACCCE.cannot support the Kerry-Lieberman draft bill.”  This all-“powerful” organization considers these two Senators dissenters, or their proposed legislation a threat to the American way.  Reflective of past policies and practices, those who rebel are often forced into submission.  Popular opinion can suppress opposition.

Peers, polls, any pressure, can sway the people.  Promotional pieces are abundantly persuasive.  Ample advertisements feed the public and influence actions. Perhaps this explains why millions of people are easily fooled, or more likely just want to believe as we all do, that what we do now is wise.  

Factoids from associations such as the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity offer us food for thought.  Statements that support what we yearn for speak to our heart, head, and soul. These satisfy the American appetite for energy and satiate the anthem.  “We the people commit to inexpensive energy and welcome any reassurance that all is well, just as it is.”  

  • Coal costs less than any other major fossil fuel source.
  • According to an electric power industry journal, 23 of the 25 power plants in the U.S. that have the lowest operating costs (and therefore provide power to their consumers at the lowest prices) are powered by coal.
  • Thanks, in part, to $90 billion invested in new technologies, the environmental footprint of coal-based electricity generation has been significantly reduced.
  • Since 1970, the use of coal to generate electricity in the U.S. has nearly tripled in response to growing electricity demand.
  • Using coal to generate electricity is less than a 1/3 of the cost of other fuels.

Corporations that profit from the use of coal, petroleum, and biomass fuels flood the airwaves with anti alternative and renewable energy oratory.  Lobbyists and Legislators who like the status quo are also hard at work.

Commentaries, commercials, Congressional concessions, and common clichés do not negate the reality that whenever we invest in naturally replenished resources, environmentally friendly green energy, we ultimately provide jobs, as well as preserve the planet.  Research abounds.  studies confirm.  Pew Charitable Trusts asserts Clean Energy Economy Generates Significant Job Growth.

Nonetheless, the well-established Preamble persists.  We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”  Nations that did not accept our programs, sooner or later, were “willingly” brought into the fold. Money and might can move mountains, petroleum fields, and large quantities of botanical mass. Indeed, the production and use of any fossil fuel is encouraged.  Promised earnings offer a profound argument to dissenters.  

Some followers of the more modern Preamble, an altered petroleum policy, were brought onboard reluctantly. The bid for biofuels proved profitable.  Influential Advisors and Advertisers offered a rationalization. Plants can be grown.  Vegetation is renewable.  This thought removed a sense of guilt.  The public purchased the argument.  For most ethanol is envisioned as euphoria.

Some were less relieved by this opportune “reality.”  However, in time, they too do as the devotees do.  They drive hither and yon.  Petroleum and plants fill their gas tanks.  These persons call themselves environmentalists.  Yet, they know that they too, myself among them, consume gargantuan quantities of fossil fuels and biomass energy. To participate in present day life, we, the people, must pump petro and pledge allegiance to the American way, or else . . . For the sake of convenience, expediency, pragmatism and the Preamble, in a Twenty-First century culture, even conservationists surrender.  

Perchance, as gas and oil fill the Gulf Stream, and travel North, South, East and West, as microbes, mammals, and all other creatures in its path perish, we, the people, will think it is time to reflect.  Let us ponder our proud past.  Perhaps, through the plumes, we will unearth what the petroleum, coal, and biofuels Preamble has hidden, the history of hydrogen and how we abandoned this truly renewable and reliable source of energy.  

1920s German engineer, Rudolf Erren, converted the internal combustion engines of trucks, buses, and submarines to use hydrogen or hydrogen mixtures. British scientist and Marxist writer, J.B.S. Haldane, introduced the concept of renewable hydrogen in his paper Science and the Future by proposing that “there will be great power stations where during windy weather the surplus power will be used for the electrolytic decomposition of water into oxygen and hydrogen.”

1937 After ten successful trans-Atlantic flights from Germany to the United States, the Hindenburg, a dirigible inflated with hydrogen gas, crashed upon landing in Lake- wood, New Jersey. The mystery of the crash was solved in 1997. A study concluded that the explosion was not due to the hydrogen gas, but rather to a weather-related static electric discharge which ignited the airships’ silver-colored, canvas exterior covering…

1958 The United States formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s space program currently uses the most liquid hydrogen worldwide, primarily for rocket propulsion and as a fuel for fuel cells.

It would seem that we, the people, could have endowed and empowered the energy that was first recognized before our forefathers penned what was the United States Constitution.  We might realize that great strides have been made in endlessly renewable hydrogen energy.  However, we, the people, never stopped to consider what we accepted as our manifest destiny.   What we defined as divine intervention or intervention by design was our chosen well-deserved deliverance.  As independent Americans, free spirits, mavericks, we would not be bound by physical boundaries.  Petroleum, coal, and biofuels, we decided, would set us free.  We would drive as if we were driven, deliberately.  

We did. Whilst barrels of oil flood from the ocean floor, we still do.  Nary a person proclaims; it is time to stop the madness, completely.  Hardly an American truly thinks he or she will reinstate the Preamble in its original form.  No, the “better life” has been fashioned. Yet, in Louisiana and elsewhere in the South there is reason to question what had been our truth. “We the people commit to fossil fuels and biomass consumption.”

Possibly, now we will acknowledge belatedly, the better question would have been why did we rely on reports released by the International Oil Spill Conference.,  This organization offers studies sponsored by those who are the worst offenders, who are most dependent on petroleum, and who gain greater power and prowess when oil flows. After the fact, will we abandon the Advisors who brought us our present burdens, our blunders, and our oddly converted Preamble?

Will humans resume operations and disregard reality?  Will we proceed on a false premise that biomass is the better source for fuel? Will we look beyond the boundaries of our desires or will humans, not BP, Exxon, the company of your choice, nay the Governments of, the United States, Britain, Nigeria, or . . . rape the land, place food in the mouths of machines rather than man?  Might we finally admit, that we need not concede to consumption, crave petroleum products, and biofuels?  Will we choose to see that people, and the planet, will not survive if we rely on what has been our folly, our friend, and our funeral march, our converted constitution, and a corrupted Preamble?   Only we can decide.  Fix it or Nix it?  Perhaps, we must do both.

Written with thanks to By Larry Hartweg Zero Energy Design® for a visual presentation that inspires and investigates, Transportation Without Petroleum or Biofuels

Mother Earth to Millions, We Have a Problem



Oil Booms & Bird Habitat – NWF visits important bird rookery

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Americans acknowledge there is a problem.  Petroleum pours out from a broken pipe.  Thousands of barrels of fuel flow freely through the Gulf of Mexico, just as they have for more than a month.  Plants, animals, and people are affected.  People express distress.  Millions are dismayed. What can BP do. Indeed what can any company or citizens do? Most call upon the President. Mister Obama, the electorate pleads, please, protect us.  These same citizens ignore that the protection we need is from ourselves.  Our present circumstances are a reflection of our past.  Many Americans have forgotten an earlier time, when another of this country’s Chief Executives attempted to avoid the nightmare we experience today.

In 2010, people, plants and animals cry out in pain.  In 1977,  Americans laughed at Jimmy Carter when he appeared on television donned in a sweater.  President Carter had only been in Office for two weeks.  Decades ago, Mister Carter warned Americans.  The nation’s leader explained, if we continued to be as dependent on oil as we were, and are today, terrestrial doom would be our future.  Yet, few heeded the call.  Most did not take the President’s proclamation seriously.  Then, and now, citizens prefer to guzzle petroleum and plunge further into what we think of as the good life.  Our gluttonous ways have threatened the planet for a very long time.

As we gaze upon oil-soaked birds on our Gulf Stream beaches, or listen to the words of British Petroleum’s President, people ponder only the present.   However, our history haunts us.  Our choices in the last century have created what comes ashore in this millennium.  Tarballs.  Dead animals including dolphins, and pelicans,  have perished.  So many species affected, all unable to survive the sludge.

This is not a novel reality.  Americans, indeed, those in worldwide-civilized countries, have experienced similar catastrophes.  Nonetheless, humans persist.  People do as they desire to do.  Today, after the rig ruptured, man-“kind” engages in preventable hazardous activities, just as we have done before.  

E.O. Wilson, a noted Harvard Professor and Researcher observes, “(F)or every animal celebrity that vanishes, biologists can point to thousands of species of plants and smaller animals either recently extinct or on the brink.”  The numbers can only be estimated. However, Professor Wilson believes that those gone from an Earthly existence are in the many thousands.  Regardless of the exact calculation, scientists agree; Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve.  

“Measuring the rate at which new species evolve is difficult, but there’s no question that the current extinction rates are faster  . . . I think it’s inevitable,” said Simon Stuart, Chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  The organization which officially declares species threatened and extinct cautions, as other conservation experts have.  The world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species.

Humans have undone the natural balance.  People drive destruction.  Our craving for crude oil and coal kills natural habitats.  We hunt in ways that hurt the ecosystem, spread alien predators and promote disease.  The cruelty of climate change cannot be measured.

Even so, two-legged mortals carry on without care for their Mother, Nature.  

We allow what we cannot control or comprehend.  For a barrel full of petroleum, Mother Earth’s blood perhaps, or the baby she held safely in her womb. For centuries, man-“kind” drills deep into her skin, the Earth’s surface. Oh, of course scientists and the common folks surmise that man can do so without peril, regardless of “spills” or the effect of these on the environment.   People wish to profess; we understand the relationship between Mother Nature and Texas Tea, or Louisiana Sea crude.  Yet, might we consider what is evident?

Today’s Americans are as people in the past were.  We are good at believing what we want to think true.  We criticize and ridicule anyone or action that place our personal comfort in jeopardy.  We chuckle when someone says we need to change!  We worry only about our cash flow.  A crippled economy concerns us more than birds, fish, fowl, flora, and the coral reef.

A Governor’s decree in support of sustaining the oil industry while his wetlands and workers struggle to survive only serves to solidify what animals, mammals, and amphibian creatures already knew.  Mankind is crueler than any other critter; and yet, he or she calls him or herself humane.

Please may we acknowledge that we are part of the planet? We need not be the perpetual problem.  Let us act as the Mother Earth’s Shepherd would and be the solution.

References for a reality known long ago, realized, and ignored . . ..

My Hair; His Energy Policy



Bush Oil Dancing!

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“Drill baby, drill,” is the now ever-present and popular battle-cry for many Americans.  From Presidential candidates to everyday people, those who wish to consume sweet light crude as they have for a more than a century remind me of my hair, and the current President’s energy policy.  I ponder the parallels and invite you to consider . . .

During a recent press conference, as I gazed upon the President of the United States, noticeably aged after years in the Oval Office, I thought of my hair and my history.  His wavy gray locks are not as the strands that fall from my head.  Nor did the diminutive curl that danced on his brow remind me of my own tresses.  The style the Chief Executive donned did not resemble the permanent waves, pompadours, or ponytails I once wore.  As George W. Bush spoke of his energy policy, I pondered.  His approach to petroleum and power were as the methodology I embraced when I colored my hair.  

For years, I addressed the truth of my tresses just as the President assesses the paradox of propulsion.  In speech after speech, George W. Bush proposes, as he did on this occasion; America needs to end its addiction to oil.  In the past, I proclaimed, I need to bring to a halt the habit of dying my hair.  I, as President Bush, postured and yet, I did next to nothing to truly take me closer to my stated objective.

My progression towards a chemical free treatment of my hair was, as it seems Mister Bush’s advancement is.  I avoided more authentic change than I approached.  My evolution was perhaps slowed by love.  The tale of transformation began oh, so long ago.

Decades ago, I met a man who felt like family.  Indeed, emotionally Eugene was part of my intimate circle.  Gene did much with my Mom, Dad, brother, and I.  As a pair, Eugene and I often ventured off together.  We chatted on the telephone, spent time in each other’s home.  We were close.  This fine fellow was influential in many aspects of my life.  I respected his opinion.  I valued his friendship.  His wisdom often wowed me.  

Thus, when my good friend Gene, who was also my hairdresser, told me the tint would brighten my face, I thought he must have reason to think this sage advice.  At first, I protested.  As insecure as I was about my appearance, I was confident that my natural hair color was perfect.  Still, I considered the source.  Therefore, I trusted the recommendation.

Possibly, George W. Bush could share a similar story.  A loved one might have said, “Your future will be bright if you dabble in petroleum.  extraction”  “Build an oil well, my boy, and become a billionaire, or at least a multi-millionaire with substantial influence.”  “Taste the Texas Tea, and your life will be wondrous,” could have been the claim Papa George Herbert or Momma Barbara uttered.

“Oil,” family or friends may have opined, will improve the quality of the your existence.  Perchance George felt as I did.  He had no cause to distrust those he was close to.  Indeed, relatives of the heir apparent could avow, with knowledge, to refine sweet crude would put money in a person’s pocket.  Black gold had helped to grow profits for the Bush brood for generations.  As evidence, any of those related to George W. might have offered the family history.

Oil:. The Bushes’ ties to John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil go back 100 years, when Rockefeller made Buckeye Steel Castings wildly successful by convincing railroads that carried their oil to buy heavy equipment from Buckeye.  George H. Walker helped refurbish the Soviet oil industry in the 1920s, and Prescott Bush acquired experience in the international oil business as a 22-year director of Dresser Industries.  George H.W. Bush, in turn, worked for Dresser and ran his own offshore oil-drilling business, Zapata Offshore.

Frequently a boy child will follow a father’s path.  Fondness can fashion a future.  On land and in the seas sweet light crude secured the Bush family’s future.  Young George W. Bush looked at evidence.  His ancestral past, and his present circumstances even at an early age, helped establish a proven record.  Investments in petroleum equate to prosperity.  After a scant assessment, the youthful Bush likely decided, drill, drill, drill.  That would be the life for him.  Silver platters can be persuasive.  The opinions of friends and family can also be extremely influential.

Through our personal acquaintance, Gene taught me to trust him and to have faith in his beliefs.  Eugene had experience with hair dye.  He felt the practice was safe, sane, and offered a sensational opportunity to liven up a face and an existence.  Although initially hesitant, I concluded I would at least “try” what quickly became my habit.  However, what I did not realize was once you begin on a path, it is a challenge to change course.  Dark roots appeared in no time, as did my demand for more hair-dye.  

George too may have approached his novel exploration cautiously.  Many offspring resolve, they do not wish to be in the family business.  The son of the senior Bush might have thought to play at this prospect until he found something better.  However, George W. may have quickly discovered just as I did; it is easy to become hooked on a habit, newly acquired or tried and true.  

When a career choice yields great wealth and greater opportunity, it is difficult to resist the temptation to continue on a prosperous path.  Once the journey begins, an oilman such as George W. Bush realized, empty gas tanks require more fuel.  Electrical equipment must be charged.  The demand is endless.  The people, such as the Bush band, who earn income from the supply, are happy to serve.  Thus, the dissonance thrives.  

The provider of power or the person caught in a mad pursuit for peroxide journeys deeper into an endless downward spiral.  However, neither is aware of the consequences.  Gene might not have considered that his chosen career shaded his truth.  Nor did I ponder that a professional hair-styler has a singular perspective.

When first introduced to the idea of hair-dye,  I pondered; who was the person who presented the proposition.  However, I did not think of the veracity, or what later was so clear.  Eugene was trained to trust in toxic dyes.  When a person sees tinted hair all day, and into the evening, shades of stain on strands of hair seem sensible.  The individual that takes the time to apply the colors, surely must think the work wise.  

Perhaps, a young George W. Bush also concerned himself with the credibility of those who counseled him.  He too found reason to have faith.  The future President of the United States might not have pondered further.  He may not have investigated the possible hazards associated with oil production or petroleum use.  Often, when presented with a choice, we cannot imagine the infinite unknown possibilities, probabilities, or the perils.  

My friend not only shaded my hair; his beliefs tainted my own.  The hair on my head, and the thoughts in my gray matter were tinted.  The Bush family may have colored the consciousness of the youthful George and persuaded a future President to forget what he could have known.  Petroleum pollutes.  Refined crude contaminates the air and seas.  The fumes from Texas Tea in an engine cause temperatures on the terrain and in the troposphere to rise.

Granted, I understood how chemical treatments harmed my tresses and dulled the tint.  Aware of the damage done beneath the surface of a follicle, I persuaded myself it was slight and worth the sacrifice.  Possibly, the Bush family thought the same of their endeavors.  Certainly, George W. Bush still does.  He offers plans for renewable energy as he continues to pursue petroleum.  Ah, the dynamics of a decision are vast and deep.

Only now, as the globe warms, the climate changes, and the weather whips people and their property into oblivion, does Mister Bush face the true cost of his earlier decision.  Only recently did the  President recognize the harmful influence of fossil fuels on the environment.  Today, he finally acknowledges the immediate need for a commitment to cleaner energy.  Just as I slowly understood, the damage chemicals did to my hair, George W.  now touts his mindfulness.  There is a problem.  The planet is in peril.

As death and destruction beckon for attention, George sees as I did when I looked into the mirror.  Life, or the look, was out of balance.  The natural beauty was gone.  The breaks were bad.  Chemicals had stripped the surface . . . of the land or my locks.

However, while Mister Bush sees a need for transformation, it seems he is, as I was, reluctant to recognize the seriousness of the situation.  His does not act decisively to change what has become his [and our nations’] practice.  

President Bush advised Americans to ponder alterative renewable sources for power.  This country’s Commander touted; viable resolutions for our energy crisis are easily accessible.  “Biodiesel refineries can produce fuel from soybeans, and vegetable oils, and recycled cooking grease, from waste materials.”  The President proposed Americans could invest in clean energy.  Indeed, he exclaimed; we must go green.  However, for Mister Bush an emerald endeavor is black as oil or golden as bullion.  This oilman has reaped many a reward from America’s addiction, as have we all.  Convenience is but one benefit cheap energy bestows upon the United States public.  Profits have been more profound, more colorful for Chief Executive Bush.

Possibly, for the President charcoal is a fine hue.  “George,” if I might speak in the familiar, seems to think as I once did.  One shade can be substituted for another.  Only the more transparent tones cause George W. Bush much angst.  Who will or how might moguls who have invested lifetimes of worth, as this oil magnate has, harness, the sun, the wind, and water.  Mister Bush is unable to imagine a future so different from the life he and his family have long known.  Thus, he avoids the option he says he appreciates, just as I eschewed the thought of using no tint at all on my mane.  The untried did not ring true.

Attempts to transform what has been an American tradition are preferred by this President (and perhaps, the public.)  George W. Bush speaks of clean coal, as though there is such a substance.  Coal is a recognizable source of energy; yet, not a renewable or alternative choice.  Coal generates 54% of the electricity used in the United States. Whilst he ran for President, candidate Bush pledged that he would commit $2 billion over 10 years to advance clean coal technology.  Indeed, as promised, the National Energy Policy and budget requests to Congress demonstrated the President’s dedication to this cause.

Few fear what they do not wish to accept.  The Chief Executive favors an element that is essentially filthy.  The President might muse clean coal is the change.  Yet, he ignores that the hard black sedimentary rock is a health hazard to all it serves.  This “plentiful” element pollutes when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned.  This combustible material destroys life throughout the global community.  Many species cannot survive as well as man believes he might when nature is out of balance.

Equilibrium is the gracious essence that helps us to thrive.  I too sought to sustain symmetry.  I pondered the many ways in which my mane might maintain its sheen and still be enhanced.  I hoped to find energy in color.  When confronted with the notion that a tint could damage my tresses, I also contemplated other options.  Clean dye; that was my criteria.

I assessed what I thought would be safe.  With a similar pious conviction, I concluded henna could perhaps be a practical possibility . . . that is if I wanted to enhance the natural hue of my hair.  At the time, this substitute seemed sensible to me.  I thought only of what I believed true, just as George W. Bush does today.  Plants are pure, plentiful, and will provide what I need . . . or want, perchance.

I had not authentically considered the possible predicament a product could cause.  At first blush, I was content with what seemed an ideal and equal opportunity.  Then, later, after I acknowledged my error, I was easily satisfied with what I trusted to be an indigenous replacement.

Now, cognizant of the connection between my hair and his history, I wonder; what concerns did George W. Bush weigh.  Did he study the consequences of his choices?  Did he hear or think to heed any of the cautions?  Might President Bush have ruminated on the probable ruin of the land and lives?  Could he have predicted what might happen if we raped the land to gratify our need for energy?  

One never knows what is in the heart or mind of another.  Nonetheless, as I reflect upon times gone by in my own life, I trust the President did not imagine, and perchance, still, he has no idea of what he reaped and sowed.  I surely did not.

For me, awareness arrived slowly.  As I processed my hair, I did not have the opportunity to notice the subtle changes.  I was too close to the situation.  I could not see what I did not wish to acknowledge.  I suspect George W. Bush [and Americans absorbed in what feels, oh, so fine] do not realize what harm unhealthy dependence causes.  

To dye or to die.  To drive vehicles powered with fossil fuels or to authentically preserve the planet, which is now in peril.  These might be the questions George and I avoided, or only addressed half-heartedly.

When I thought tinted hair was desirable, each alternative possibility required me to treat my hair with color.  Upon reflection, I realize I had not known to think of how the texture or tone of my mane might change if I ingested a more nutritious diet.  That is another story for another time.  Today, I wonder.  Was George open enough to evaluate horizons he had yet to explore?

As I gazed upon the President speaking of energy, I could not help but think of how Mister Bush said we must work to improve technology.  He confidently confirmed, we can wean ourselves away from fossil fuels.  In his own words the President espoused , “(A)t the same time” we must find “oil and gas here at home.”  The mantra is very familiar.  It was mine.  I believe this rationalization is reflected in the adage ‘You can have your cake and eat it too.’

Indeed, for a very long time, I indulged in similar silly logic.  As the blonde stain grew out, I said, I could refresh the look and limit my use of artificial satin all at the same time.  Oh, if only that was possible.  As long as dye is applied, the harmful effects of the treatment will not fade away.  The problem was, and is, whether we speak of fossil fuels or human hair, the more you invest in the unhealthy habits you claim to condemn the less likely it is that change will come.

Much to our detriment, individuals such as George and I are, and mankind is, comfortable with the familiar.  Humans are content to engage as they have for so long, regardless of whether a practice nourishes the body, soul, or the planet.

People may plan for or posit a change.  George W. Bush emphatically pronounced, “(N)ow is the time to get it done.”  He or I might suggest a slow move towards purity.  However, as my hair taught me, as long as I [or we] do as we have done, nothing will be different.  

As long as I stained my mane, there was more reason to stain my mane.  As long as America satisfies its addiction to oil, there is more reason to continue to gratify the love of gasoline.  When manufacturers build more machines reliant on petroleum, they encourage a greater dependence on fossil fuels.  An obsession for oil is as a mania for a colored mane.  Each, initially, captivates an individual and then controls the person.

Most of us learn to love what we later determine may be detrimental.  

George W. Bush, just as many Americans seem to be, is as I was.  The President is caught in a horrific, harmful, spiral, and yet comfortable with what he knows and does.  While the cost, to the environment, and to personal pocketbooks, may encourage a desire for change, convenience and expediency are enormously more persuasive.  Oh, how well, I know this to be true.  

I was once victim to a viability that made sense.  The President and the American people are caught up in the same conundrum.  If he, or we, fails to eliminate our physical and psychological, dependence on oil now there may not be a later.

To transform our reality we need to recognize the delicate dance for what it is.  Just as less dye was an unwise compromise for me, limited selective, additional drilling is a concession with consequences.  Partial progression will not alter our habituation.  It is time to stop!  To rethink, reinvent, to re-power our plants and public opinion is to truly care for our selves and for generations to come.

Resources or Reflections on Refinery . . .

We Can Solve The Climate Crisis



To Our Leaders: Give Us 100% Clean Electricity in 10 Years

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Americans, addicted to oil and quick fixes, embrace a man and a mantra; yet, most are unwilling to envelop themselves in a cause.  The public appreciates the need for clean energy.  Accolades are bestowed upon the former Vice President, author, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and environmentalist Albert Gore for the work he has done to inform us of an inconvenient truth.  Nonetheless, as knowledgeable as the public may be, nothing truly changes.  Intellectually, nearly everyone accepts what a myriad of experts emphasize.  The planet is in peril.  However, emotionally, few internalize the urgency of what must be a global priority.  There is a problem.  We cannot wait to employ solutions.

Nonetheless, for the most part, the masses delay.  We, the people, pour our bodies into gasoline guzzlers we call cars.  We cry out loudly when the price of fossil fuels climbs.  Millions moan and groan at the thought of being without a vehicle or petroleum based plastic bags, bottles, or other commodities that produce pollution.  We, revel at the possibility that we might own the latest or greatest gadget.  A new widget is welcomed into our homes.  While the populace complains that today, products have a built in obsolescence, people prefer to trash what is no longer new.  For the most part, we are a population of consumers content with what we have.  Countless have emotionally closed the door on doing what needs to be done to save the planet.

Land is filled with what was once shiny and sensational.  Previously prized possessions are stored in garages and lockers far from the owners who loved these trinkets long ago.  Backyards, boulevards, and beaches are strewn with what was valuable way back when.  Shores and seas are saturated with treasures now declared garbage.  The atmosphere is clogged with chemicals used to produce these favorite assets.  Everywhere we turn, there is evidence that mankind has hurt Mother Earth; although a few still claim, humans do not transform the habitat.  The devout have faith only the Almighty can alter what is.

These individuals and those who do not share such conviction offer excuses.  They may say man is but a speck in the universe and on this planet.  Humans have dominion.  A single layperson or scientist might suggest these seeming contrary statements concurrently.  A solitary sole, so certain that consumption is good, may not perceive the cognitive dissonance that commands him, or her.  Few authentically consider the principles of cause and effect.

Most of us just cruise through life.  Persons imagine that cannot change what is.

We have all heard the pretext for what might be labeled laissez-faire, a lack of belief in the ability of one little being, or laziness.  People profess; economic prosperity and personal freedoms need to be sustained.  “Free enterprise will take care of all ills.”  Supply-and-demand governs the market effectively.  If the public wanted renewable energy, certainly entrepreneurs would manufacture products to meet the exigency.  Those who prefer a profit-driven system say, man must be able to produce, and even a tree-hugger would agree.  A creative productive populace can solve any problem.

However, those whose heart resides with Mother Nature do not think it wise to fabricate what will mar the milieu.  Yet, these persons rarely accomplish much to encourage environmental practices.  Ecologists frequently bemoan, the people have no political power.  Common folks cannot make true change.  Big Businesses must provide the means.  Helpless and humbled conservationists howl, we cannot cure the climate crisis.  We have no clout.

Few, among the masses acknowledge that the people are the power.  We have the energy.  If the average Joe and Jane enthusiastically, with eager fervor, and a commitment to clean energy insist that our Representatives free us from the constraints of fossil fuels, they will.  Their livelihood and lives, just as ours, depends on renewable sources for propulsion and production.  When the masses are resolute, Congress, and corporations, respond.  

Purposeful people can move manufacturers.  If the whole of the people adamantly avow and act on a promise not to purchase merchandise manufactured in a manner that is perilous to the planet, much will be done.  A dedicated population has the power to solve an energy crisis and a climate catastrophe.  Together, we can overcome what has been a tremendous obstacle.  United, we need not be a culture critically void of dynamic concern.  We the people can free ourselves from the restraints that bind us.  We need not rely on a man or a mantra.  We can solve it all, if each of us begins with me.

Please sign petitions.  Write to Congresspersons and Chief Executive Officers.  Purchase no wares that pollute.  Participate not in political actions that advocate policies that add to the concern for climate crisis.  Speak out and act in accordance to your environmentally friendly beliefs.  I, we thank you.

We Can Solve the Climate Crisis Together . . .

The Elections and Ethics; Gas and Gratification



Will A Gas Tax Holiday Help?

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Americans speak of the divide within this country.  Most accept the labels.  We are a nation of Red states and Blue regions.  People define themselves as Conservatives or Liberals.  West Virginian primary election voters, who were asked, reinforced the notion in this nation we are not unified.  One fifth of those polled stated, skin color influenced their decision.  Former Senator John Edwards often expresses his distress for what he sees as “Two Americas.” The one time Presidential candidate reminds us of why the common folks clamor.  The rich get richer while the poor become more impoverished.  For some of those who fight to endure, a “gas tax holiday” is thought essential.  Others believe such a measure will negatively effect the infrastructure and the environment.  In Grand Rapids, Michigan on May 14, 2008 a Black man and a white man stood on a stage together united and equal.  Some, in this splintered nation of ours, thought this was a sign.  Perhaps, Americans would finally come together as one.

People applauded and expressed a sincere hope for the future.  However, what segregates us may not be easily transcended; nor is it obvious and observable.  Ethically, Americans are not united.  Often the person the public elects to govern does not share their values, although citizens believe the esteemed Representatives do.  Rarely do we imagine that there are a myriad of definitions for morality.  However, there are.  What one person or persuasion thinks rational and reasonable is heinous to another.  This is not obvious or observable, for we all feel certain there is but one truth.  Nonetheless, research illustrates what we might consider before we hire, the next President/

Holier Than Thou? Employees Who Believe They Are ‘Ethical’ Or ‘Moral’ Might Not Be

ScienceDaily

October 31, 2007

Bad behavior seems rampant in business [politics], and scholars are divided as to why people act ethically or unethically.  Many have argued that ethical behavior is the result of simple judgments between right and wrong.  Others suggest that the driving force behind ethical behavior is the individual’s moral identity, or whether the individual thinks of him/herself as an ethical person.

New research from the University of Washington suggests that both of these forces are at play.  In two separate studies, Scott Reynolds, an assistant professor in the Michael G. Foster School of Business, and Tara Ceranic, a doctoral student studying business, surveyed roughly 500 college students and managers about their ethical behaviors.

In the first study, researchers asked students if they would have cheated in college in order to score better on a test.  Those who explicitly considered themselves to be moral people and considered cheating to be morally wrong were the least likely to cheat.  In contrast, students who considered themselves to be moral but saw cheating as an ethically justifiable behavior were the worst cheaters.

“Our research suggests that a moral identity motivates behavior, but that accurate, ethical judgments are needed to set that behavior in the right direction,” Reynolds says.  “A person’s moral identity can interact with his or her judgments and actually push ethical behaviors to extreme levels, as we saw with the students who decided that cheating was justifiable and OK.”

According to the researchers, a moral identity specifically centers on a person’s moral aspects and acts as a self-regulatory mechanism that sets parameters for individual behavior and motivates specific actions that are moral.

Previous studies implied that moral identity is “good” when it is associated with and motivates individuals toward socially desirable outcomes such as volunteering and making charitable donations.

Reynolds and Ceranic found that this motivational force needs direction, and that without proper guidance a moral identity can conceivably push individuals toward socially undesirable behaviors.

“Moral identity seems to be more motivational in nature than ‘moral’ in nature,” Reynolds says.  “Managers and organizations should not just assume that a moral identity will necessarily translate into moral behaviors.”

Executives and the electorate must consider that a performance may not be as principled as it appears.  Adults are only children in older bodies.  Babies learn how to get what they want.  Boys and girls perfect the practice.  Men and women are masters.  As we age, Americans, become better actors, not more ethical, merely more expert entertainers, and obtainers.

In a prosperous nation such as the United States, when a baby cries, Mommy coddles her child with the candy he craves.  If she does not, mother risks the toddler will throw a tantrum.  Dad does not hesitate when his little princess screams, “I want it!”  Papa understands a young women’s scorn can be great.  Daddy has no desire to be part of a stressful situation.  

Parents have learned to pamper themselves.  Moms and Dads indulge themselves, just as their caregivers’ cosseted them in their youth.  In this nation, people expect to receive.  Here, we have more than we need, and the price is right, or it was until the cost of petroleum rose.  Granted, many struggled to survive before the bottom fell out of the oil barrel.  However, these impoverished individuals were and are virtually invisible to the mainstream.  Perhaps, those without never had the opportunity to grasp the notion that the ends justify the means.  Nor did these less than distinctive individuals fully comprehend in affluent America if you wish to be successful and fulfilled you must adopt a certain style, an ethical standard.

Give the people what they want and you will get what you need.  Presidential hopefuls, New York State Senators, Governors, and those who are groomed for political prominence are fully aware of this truism.  

Promise the public a holiday from gas taxes, and perchance they will award you with additional support or  a spectacular win.  If a political aspirant wishes to ensure greater success amongst the electorate, then pledge to punish those who the people envision as the enemy.  Large corporations, whose Chief Executive Officers profit off the petroleum people depend on, conglomerates such as ExxonMobil,  are always good targets.  It will matter not that experts define the plan as a quick fix. A person who seeks  the highest office in the land will not be concerned if members of Congress, friends or fellow colleagues, reject the proposal.  Words of woe from Economists will not deter a determined doctrinaire dilettante.  When a man or a woman thinks they are correct, experienced, and will be the “best” Commander, then a plan, a pander, are appreciated for the power they yield.  Hence, talk of what may be a terminal action. a holiday that might place our planet in peril, will not die.  

This truth is evident out on the stump.  A month after Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton were harshly criticized by fiscal and political policymakers for a proposed “gas tax holiday’ the scheme survives.  Indeed, the rhetoric thrives.  Americans are comfortable with cognitive dissonance.  They embody this demeanor.  Let us have our cake and eat it too.

McCain: I will not shirk, the mantle of leadership that the United States bears.  I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges.

Bash: McCain promised  . . . To reduce greenhouse gases, he proposes a cap and trade solution which caps gas emissions but allows companies to trade emission credits.

McCain: As never before, the market would reward any person or company that seeks to invent, improve, or acquire alternatives to carbon-based energy.

Bash: Portraying himself as a rare species of green Republicans is a regular part of McCain’s stump speeches.

McCain: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR] I believe is a pristine place.  I don’t want to drill in the Grand Canyon and I don’t want to drill in the Everglades.

Bash: But coming to Oregon to highlight his environmental proposals is all about the fight  . . . for independent voters.  It’s why McCain is using one of his most precious resources — campaign cash . . .

McCain: I believe that climate change is real.  It’s not just a greenhouse gas issue.  It’s a national security issue.?? End Video Clip) ??

Bash: (on-camera): Democrats and several left leaning environmental groups blasted McCain for what they call hypocrisy.  Putting out, for example, that he praised renewable energy here at this wind power plant, but voted against tax credits to promote research.  The McCain campaign insists that legislation and others like it collided with another priority, which is to cut excess spending.

Indeed, the dollar dictates decorum.  Mores and expediency are often found in monetary policy.  In an opulent region, some pray to the Almighty buck.  It is no wonder the words “In G-d We Trust” are inscribed on every bill and embossed on each coin.

In this, the most affluent nation on the planet, all, but the hidden few, know it is possible to get what you want and not spend much.  Hence the harangue; Americans desperately want to ensure life is comfortable just as it once was.  Until now, in this country, petroleum was cheap . . . and that is the way the people like it.  Actually, comparatively speaking, the price Americans pay for petrol is still relatively low.

Our countrymen are as spoiled children.  They stamp their feet, hold their breathe, pound on the table and say, “Give me, give me, give me what I want, or else!”  Just as parents respond to the pleas of their babies, so too do Presidential hopefuls.  Moms, Dads, and potential Commander-In-Chiefs may be labeled as leaders; however, often they follow.  Ethical standards are often silenced in a time of turmoil.  Consequences can often outweigh principled wisdom.  We see this logic in our children, and in ourselves.

Perhaps, Americans might take a moment and reflect; are we children being coddled, the parent whose priority is to please, or the individual who will patronize just to get what they want?

Might we ponder when a Commander-In-Chief or a Presidential aspirant presents a plan that benefits him or her more than it does the progeny and the people seven generations from now.  Please remember the research; “Employees Who Believe They Are ‘Ethical’ Or ‘Moral’ Might Not Be.”

Consider the scenario.  Senator Clinton offers a glorious summary of her experience.  She is abundantly able.  When her future employer, the electorate, pressed her on an important issue, such as the cost of gas, Hillary Clinton offered her plan to the people who might provide her with what she most wants.  Just prior to the primary elections in Indiana and North Carolina, the former first Lady Hillary Clinton called for gas tax holiday.

The Arizona and New York Senators were not the only government officials to suggest that Americans need some relief, even if only temporary.  Governors also thought to appease the masses.  One day after Economists everywhere pointed to the problems with such a plan, Governors from The Everglades expanse, in the Show Me State, in The Empire area and lawmakers in the Lone Star region signed on to the idea that citizens need a gas tax holiday.

States Get In on Calls for a Gas Tax Holiday

By Damien Cave

The New York Times

May 6, 2008

Slocomb, Ala. – Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida has been fighting to cut 10 cents from the state’s gasoline tax for two weeks in July.  Lawmakers in Missouri, New York and Texas have also proposed a summer break from state gas taxes, while candidates for governor in Indiana and North Carolina are sparring over relief ideas of their own.

If experience with such gas tax “holidays” is any guide, drivers would save less than politicians suggest. But that is not necessarily the point.

“It’s about trying to serve the people and trying to understand and have caring, compassionate hearts for what they’re dealing with at the kitchen table,” said Mr. Crist, a Republican.

He added, “I’m supposed to respond to the people and try to make them happy.”

As talk of the possibility increases, throughout the countryside individuals are thankful.  To many Americans it seems, finally, politicians are listening to them.  The common folk forget that those who compete for elected positions never overlook the fact that the populace has the power to appoint a President, a Governor, or any other policymaker.  In a republic, many individuals who wish to “represent” Jane and John Doe have one purpose.  They wish to please [placate] the public.  If the people are content, the life of a politician is good.  If the public is displeased, they will act out as an angry child might.

Actually, parents [politicians] have learned to pamper themselves just as they were indulged in their youth.  Mother gives herself a present, or two.  She shops ’til she drops.  Papa purchases plenty for himself.  In the wealthiest country in the world, “Waste not; want not” makes little sense.  Here, we have more than we need, and the price is right, or it was until the cost of petroleum rose.  Americans, comfy and cozy with convenience do not consider the cost of a gas tax holiday.  Ordinary citizens look upon experts as overly protective.  Authorities always offer a doomsday scenario when they do not wish to give gifts.

Economists Criticize Clinton, McCain Gas-Tax Plans (Update1)

By Brian Faler

Bloomberg

May 5, 2008

More than 200 economists, including four Nobel prize winners, signed a letter rejecting proposals by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John McCain to offer a summertime gas-tax holiday.

Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz, former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin and 2007 Nobel winner Roger Myerson are among those who signed the letter calling proposals to temporarily lift the tax a bad idea. Another is Richard Schmalensee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was member of President George H.W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers.

The moratorium would mostly benefit oil companies while increasing the federal budget deficit and reducing funding for the government highway maintenance trust fund, the economists said.

“Suspending the federal tax on gasoline this summer is a bad idea, and we oppose it,” the letter says. Economist Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution is among those circulating the letter.  Aaron said that while he supports Obama, the list includes Republicans and Clinton supporters.

If Economists from each political party convincingly challenge a plan proposed by esteemed and ethical persons such as Hillary Clinton and John McCain, how might the people evaluate the dichotomy.?  Who might, we the people, the electorate, those who employ a President trust?

Certainly, these political contenders have long been admired.  Senators Clinton and  John McCain would not  have risen though the ranks were they not qualified, quality candidates.  Americans can have faith neither, a respected former prisoner of war, or a revered former First Lady, would recommend a policy that would intentionally harm the public.  Nor would these leader postulate a proposal that would place the planet in peril.  Yet, Economists, and yes, even Ecologists caution constituents that the gas tax holiday is unwise.  Hence, Americans are left to inquire, how might this variance be explained?  

The answer may not be as obvious as we would wish it to be.  We cannot condemn or condone a plan as Conservative or Progressive.  While the strategies differ, logistically, symbolically they are similar.  Each hopes to allow Americans to continue to consume as they had.  A satiated society can and will simply dismiss ethical questions, and ignore environmental issues.  A child content with candy does not consider how the sugar rots the teeth.  A Mom, who is comfortable with convenience foods, does not contemplate fresh fruits and vegetables might be much more nutritious.  A father fine with his fleet of vehicles does not ponder how he pollutes the air.  

Americans happy to have a gas tax holiday do not think beyond today.  Few recall what was foremost on the minds of the people in the 1970s.  As citizens in this country realized the reality of an energy crisis, laws were passed to improve fuel economy.  Memories are short.  The desire for self-satisfaction is deep.  In 2005, near three years ago, a New York Times editorial addressed what was and continues to be true.

There’s no serious disagreement that two major crises of our time are terrorism and global warming. And there’s no disputing that America’s oil consumption fosters both. Oil profits that flow to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries finance both terrorist acts and the spread of dangerously fanatical forms of Islam. The burning of fossil fuels creates greenhouse emissions that provoke climate change. All the while, oil dependency increases the likelihood of further military entanglements, and threatens the economy with inflation, high interest rates, and risky foreign indebtedness. Until now, the government has failed to connect our crises and our consumption in a coherent way.

That dereliction of duty has led to policies that are counterproductive, such as tax incentives to buy gas guzzlers and an overemphasis on increasing domestic oil supply, although even all-out drilling would not be enough to slake our oil thirst and would require a reversal of longstanding environmental protections.

Now, however, the energy risks so apparent  . . . have created both the urgency and the political opportunity for the nation’s leaders to respond appropriately. The government must capitalize on the end of the era of perpetually cheap gas, and it must do so in a way that makes America less vulnerable to all manner of threats – terrorist, environmental, and economic.

The best solution is to increase the federal gasoline tax . . .  That would put a dent in gas-guzzling behavior, as has already been seen in the dramatic drop in the sale of sport-utility vehicles. And it would help cure oil dependency in the long run, as automakers and other manufacturers responded to consumer demand for fuel-efficient products.

Still, raising the gas tax would be politically difficult – and for very good reasons. The gas tax, which has been at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993, is painfully regressive. It hits hardest at poor people for whom fuel costs consume a proportionally larger share of their budgets; rural dwellers for whom truck-driving over long distances is an everyday activity; and the gasoline-dependent middle class, particularly suburban commuters, who, on top of living far from their workplaces, have been encouraged by decades of cheap gas to own large, poor-mileage vehicles.

Fortunately, those drawbacks can be overcome.  A bolstered gas tax would raise huge amounts of revenue, roughly $1 billion for every penny of additional tax. Some of that money would have to be used to provide offsetting tax breaks to low-income households, such as an increase in the earned income tax credit . . . Eventually, the gas tax would pinch consumers less, as revenues from it are used to finance long-term structural changes to reduce oil dependency, including mass transit and research into alternative fuels and technologies.

Might Americans be ready to consider, a policy that protects a lifestyle of over-consumption is not as ethical as it would appear to be.  Those who vie for votes, wish to be employed by the electorate.  A candidate may benefit from a simple solution, but what of the Seventh Generation.  Will American adults continue to be as children concerned with nothing but immediate gratification?

There is a better way. Truly dealing with global warming . . .  The good news is that doing so is far more popular politically  . . . Voters overwhelmingly support this objective, and Gallup found last year that 65 percent of voters support spending at least $30 billion a year to do it.

If the environmental movement is to finally translate its rhetoric into reality, it will need to shift its focus from making dirty energy expensive to making clean energy cheap.

Truly, ethical parents who care for the lives of the children in the present, do not indulge, pamper, or pander to the whims of those who have yet learned the art of patience.  The best Moms and Dads teach the young, or juvenile at heart, to plan for the seventh generations, Might we all reflect upon the Chinese proverb . . .

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

As we consider which of the Presidential candidates we will hire, perchance we might ponder.  Are solid solutions and ten-point plans as fish in what we are led to believe is an abundant sea of aquatic vertebrae?  Might a mentor who inspires us to catch our own schools of trout, bass, and salmon better serve us, the people better?  Think of the species yet to be discovered.  

As employers, the electorate, we, future fishermen must assess, who truly has our best interest at heart.  Which individual shares our sense of ethics?  May we acknowledge and act on the imperceptible.  Morality is often in the eyes of the beholder.

References, Research, “Realities” Revealed . . .

Issue Number One; Economic Insecurity Breeds Bigotry, Bias and Bitterness



Fear Itself

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

He was a beautiful bouncing baby boy.  He was born to two parents that love him dearly.  Even before his birth, indeed, prior to conception, this little fellow was the apple of his parent’s eyes.  His biological beginning was carefully calculated.  As the seeds of life developed into a bright-eyed baby, the people he now knows as Mom and Dad thought of little else but Maxwell.  The soon to be proud Papa and Momma anxiously anticipated the day they could hold this bundle of joy.  Each of his parents was eager to meet and greet the small, sweet face of the guy that they would call Max.  Maximum value, supreme significance, marvelously magnificent, all this was and would be their son.  After Max was delivered and during any political season, such as this, Mom and Dad feel certain Max is issue number one.

The guardians look over their angel.  They plan for his future, and they are apprehensive, just as their parents and grandparents were before them.  For generations the realities of daily life have shaped parental priorities.  First and foremost, families want to survive, to feel safe and secure.  Yet, much that accounts for stability is beyond the control of a parent or any single person.  Moms and Dads agonize, as do all individuals.  Economic, educational, environmental concerns have an effect on caregivers and all citizens.  Military engagements also affect households, even if only one lives within the domicile.  Mothers, fathers, and babies, boys or girls learn to fear.

Ultimately, in the course of a life, each individual will ask, how does any matter affect me, my family, and friends of mine?  Countless citizens sense we have loss the sense that within a society, each individual works for the commonweal.  The words of Thomas Paine On the Origin and Design of Government in General are principles from the past.  In America today, the common folk feel they can no longer trust the government.  In recent years, people profess too many promises were broken; lies were told.  Intelligence was not wise.  Still, Americans sense there is an enemy.

In the minds of most Americans, the foe exists outside self.  Few have fully internalized the truth of the words uttered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  As people do, citizens in this country trust themselves.  People know their faith will guide them.  The Almighty will not disappoint them.  Proud of their personal strength and all they survived throughout the course of their lives, the American public, no matter their economic station believes their family will be fine.  All Americans trust in their ability to fight the opposition.  Residents in the United States are not afraid to take up arms if they need to protect themselves from evil forces.

Nevertheless, Americans are “bitter.”  People in the cities, the suburbs, and in the countryside, resent the precarious position their leaders have placed them in.  In the “Land of the free and home of the brave” the public is “looking for strong leadership from Washington.”  Individuals and communities recognize they cannot go it alone.  Sadly, those previously entrusted with Executive privileges have not served the common folk within the United States well.  Citizens have expressed their ample concern for quite a while and no one seems to hear the cries.  While some of the Presidential aspirants wish to believe Americans are not indignant . . .

Poll: 80% of Americans Dissatisfied

By Associate Press.

Time Magazine

April 4, 2008

(New York) – More than 80 percent of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, the highest such number since the early 1990s, according to a new survey.

The CBS News-New York Times poll released Thursday showed 81 percent of respondents said they believed “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.”  That was up from 69 percent a year ago, and 35 percent in early 2002.

The survey comes as housing turmoil has rocked Wall Street amid an economic downturn.  The economy has surpassed the war in Iraq as the dominating issue of the U.S. presidential race, and there is now nearly a national consensus that the United States faces significant problems, the poll found.

A majority of Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school say the United States is headed in the wrong direction, according to the survey, which was published on The New York Times’ Web site.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was doing better . . .

The poll also found that Americans blame government officials for the housing crisis more than banks or homebuyers and other borrowers. Forty percent of respondents said regulators were mostly to blame, while 28 percent named lenders and 14 percent named borrowers.

Americans favored help for people but not for financial institutions in assessing possible responses to the mortgage crisis.  A clear majority said they did not want the government to lend a hand to banks, even if the measures would help limit the depth of a recession.

Intellectually astute, each individual understands to his or her core, a country must work well as a whole.  If we act independently of others, with little regard for those who reside in our nation, we all will realize a reason to feel insecure.  No family can survive alone. Maxwell’s parents can plan and work to provide, but if the country suffers from a crisis, be it fiscal, a protracted feud, the cost of food, or fuel, the family will also find themselves in situation critical.

In a society, we are our neighbors’ keeper, for what affects those in adjacent abodes will influence us.  If one person is poor, so too is his brother.

The tenet is true in the abstract; it is also viable concretely.  We need only consider what occurs when one domicile on the block is in disrepair or foreclosure flourishes in an enclave.  Property values for all homes in the area plummet.  A family functions best as a unit.  A nation fares well when we are one.

Our most conservative estimates indicate that each conventional foreclosure within an eighth of a mile (essentially a city block) of a single-family home results in a 0.9 percent decline in value.  Cumulatively, this means that, for the entire city of Chicago, the 3,750 foreclosures in 1997 and 1998 are estimated to reduce nearby property values by more than $598 million, for an average cumulative single-family property value effect of $159,000 per foreclosure. This does not include effects on the values of condominiums, larger multifamily rental properties, and commercial buildings.

Less conservative estimates suggest that each conventional foreclosure within an eighth of a mile of a property results in a 1.136 percent decline in that property’s value and that each foreclosure from one-eighth to one-quarter mile away results in a 0.325 percent decline in value.  This less conservative finding corresponds to a city-wide loss in single-family property values of just over $1.39 billion. This corresponds to an average cumulative property value effect of more than $371,000 per foreclosure

In 2008, this consideration consumes millions of persons who thought they were safe and secure.  As the subprime debacle ripples through every community, people realize their very survival is at risk.  Everyone, even some of the elite now experience a profound sense of insecurity.  Again, people ask who or what might they trust.  The average American has faith only in what is familiar.  Max, Mom, and Dad, families turn to what is tried and true.  Whatever has protected them in the past, they hope, will save them from what is an uncertain future.

Certainly, people have no confidence in government.  Many are frustrated.  They resent those who placed them in such a precarious situation.  Mothers, fathers, sons such as Max, and daughters are reminded, without regulations only the few profit.  Dreams die.  Witness the subprime debacle.

Mortgage companies and banks, such as Wells Fargo, have twisted the average prime mortgage loan into something much more incapable of paying by the recipient, but profitable to the company. Subprime loans, as “adjustable rate mortgages,” are packed with deceiving modifications that have low “teaser” rates that expand in interest exponentially after an initial low pay period.  Families that have received Subprime loans have bit into a bitter center of the sugar-coated American dream.

Citizens in this once prosperous country wonder whether they will ever again be able to trust that they can aspire to greater heights.  Homes are no longer worth what they were at the time of purchase.  Payments on adjusted rate mortgages [ARM] are exorbitant and balloon expenditures are now due.  Americans feel pinched.  Businesses are also affected by a slowed economy and bad investments.  Bankruptcy is an option, although brutal.  As the cost of fuel and food rises, financial fears become more real.  Existence takes a toll.  As Americans assess the circumstances within their home region, they realize there is reason to hold on tightly to what they know and love.  

Perchance G-d and country are all citizens can believe in, and maybe there is no longer reason to believe either of these will save them.  Certainly, Administrations in the recent past and present have not protected us well.  After all, our Presidents, Congress, and the Federal Reserve were responsible for the Demise of Glass-Steagall Act.  This law once regulated banks and limited the conflicts of interest created when commercial depositories were permitted to underwrite stocks or bonds.  Without such oversight, Americans lost their security.  Survival no longer seems possible.  The American Dream is a nightmare.

The Next Slum?

By Christopher B. Leinberger

Atlantic Monthly

March 2008

Strange days are upon the residents of many a suburban cul-de-sac. Once-tidy yards have become overgrown, as the houses, they front have gone vacant. Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading.

At Windy Ridge, a recently built starter-home development seven miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 small, vinyl-sided houses were in foreclosure as of late last year. Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in.  In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, “I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville.  I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”

In the Franklin Reserve neighborhood of Elk Grove, California, south of Sacramento, the houses are nicer than those at Windy Ridge-many once sold for well over $500,000-but the phenomenon is the same.  At the height of the boom, 10,000 new homes were built there in just four years. Now many are empty; renters of dubious character occupy others.  Graffiti, broken windows, and other markers of decay have multiplied.  Susan McDonald, president of the local residents’ association and an executive at a local bank, told the Associated Press, “There’s been gang activity.  Things have really been changing, the last few years.”

In the first half of last year, residential burglaries rose by 35 percent and robberies by 58 percent in suburban Lee County, Florida, where one in four houses stands empty. Charlotte’s crime rates have stayed flat overall in recent years-but from 2003 to 2006, in the 10 suburbs of the city that have experienced the highest foreclosure rates, crime rose 33 percent. Civic organizations in some suburbs have begun to mow the lawns around empty houses to keep up the appearance of stability. Police departments are mapping foreclosures in an effort to identify emerging criminal hot spots.

The decline of places like Windy Ridge and Franklin Reserve is usually attributed to the subprime-mortgage crisis, with its wave of foreclosures.  And the crisis has indeed catalyzed or intensified social problems in many communities. But the story of vacant suburban homes and declining suburban neighborhoods did not begin with the crisis, and will not end with it. A structural change is under way in the housing market-a major shift in the way many Americans want to live and work.  It has shaped the current downturn, steering some of the worst problems away from the cities and toward the suburban fringes.  And its effects will be felt more strongly, and more broadly, as the years pass. Its ultimate impact on the suburbs, and the cities, will be profound.

Perchance, more weighty than the influence of a social degradation on a community is the impression such dire circumstances leave on a little lad such as Maxwell. Young Max will learn, just as his parents had.  Likely, he too will come to believe that he can only depend on himself.  An older and wiser Max will not fully grasp how extraordinary he is, or perhaps he will know all to well that no matter how glorious he is, someone might jeopardize his stability.  No matter how well he lives his life, another force, power, person, or authority might cause his dreams to go awry.  

Maxwell sees how hard life is for his parents.  He comes to understand that he too will always and forever, need to prove his worth.  How else might he hold onto his job, his home, his money, or his sense of self?  For Maxwell, as for us, anyone, innocent as they may be, might seem a threat.  His Mom and Dad, fearful that they might lose their livelihood, health care benefits, the family home, and their ability to provide, let alone survive, teach their young son trepidation.

Mom and Dad look around the neighborhood and they see society is shifting.  People of other races, colors, and creeds are destined to overtake the white majority.  This can be nothing but trouble, or so they think.  Maxwell trusts this sentiment to be true.  The parents wonder; might immigration and  Free Trade deprive them of their life style?  In the United States, Anglo Americans react more to what they muse might be so.  However, ample evidence affirms the contrary.  A 2006 study, by the Pew Hispanic Center avows, the sudden rise in the foreign-born population does not negatively effect the employment of native-born workers.

Growth in the Foreign-Born Workforce and Employment of the Native Born

By Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director for Research

Pew Hispanic Center

August 10, 2006

Rapid increases in the foreign-born population at the state level are not associated with negative effects on the employment of native-born workers, according to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center that examines data during the boom years of the 1990s and the downturn and recovery since 2000.

An analysis of the relationship between growth in the foreign-born population and the employment outcomes of native-born workers revealed wide variations across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. No consistent pattern emerges to show that native-born workers suffered or benefited from increased numbers of foreign-born workers . . .

The size of the foreign-born workforce is also unrelated to the employment prospects for native-born workers.  The relative youth and low levels of education among foreign workers also appear to have no bearing on the employment outcomes of native-born workers of similar schooling and age.

Nevertheless, people continue to fear what is less than familiar.  Maxwell’s mother and father often speak of the immigrants.  The words voiced are unkind.  Assessments often are unrealistic.  In this country, on this globe, our apprehensions, our insecurity, the fear that we might not survive divides us.  Self-surety is issue number one.  

When individuals do not feel as though all is fine, when distressed, emotional reactions may be exaggerated. Many persons prefer to deny that they feel distraught.  The press, the powerful, and persons who wish to be more prominent understand this.  Each is expert in the art of persuasion.  Tell us that we are doing well, that we are strong, that they will help bring certainty, security, and safety to our lives, and to our country, and we will croon along with them.

Anxious Americans, at home and abroad, such as the parents of young Maxwell attack.  Anyone can be considered the enemy.  Bankers, big business, bureaucrats, billionaire oil magnates, migrants, and of course, mutineers of Middle Eastern descent.  Our fellow citizens are easily terrorized, if not by the persons who they think might destroy the neighborhood, or take their job, the people who crashed a plane into the Twin Towers must be a target.  Since September 11, 2001, Maxwell parents have thought it wise to protect United States shores.

Some Americans say we must stay the course in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These persons may fear terrorists from the Persian Gulf.  There is great consternation when people do not think they are physically safe.  

Citizens feel a greater concern when they discover the reasons we went to war are invalid.  Again, the people in this country recognize the adversary is the American Administration.  Lie by lie, the Iraq War Timeline reveals greater reason for antipathy.

Those who cite security and survival as the primary concern proclaim, “It is the economy.”  They say, this is the number one issue Americans must address.  Too many persons, today, cannot even live paycheck to paycheck.  Disposable income, discretionary spending, savings to fall back on are luxuries of the past.  People dream of the cushion they hope to create.  Yet, in the back of their minds, they fear.  Again,  foreclosures are in the forefront in people’s minds.  Many are mired in debt.  In February 2008, another sixty percent (60%) of Americans concluded they could no longer pay the mortgage.  Mortgage Woes Boost Credit Card Debt. Balances on charge cards cannot be reconciled.

Plastic Card Tricks

The New York Times

March 29, 2008

Americans are struggling with a very rocky economy while they are also holding almost $1 trillion in credit card debt. In most cases, those cards provide a little flexibility with the monthly bills. But an increasing number of people are defaulting because of the “tricks and traps” – soaring interest rates and hidden fees – in the credit card business.

Before more Americans get in so deep that they cannot dig out, Washington needs to change the way these companies do business to ensure that consumers are treated fairly.

The stories about deceptive practices are harrowing. At a recent news briefing in Washington, a Chicago man told about what happened when he charged a $12,000 home repair bill in 2000 on a card with an introductory interest rate of 4.25 percent. Despite his steady, on-time payments, the rate is now nearly 25 percent. And despite paying at least $15,360, he said that he had only paid off about $800 of his original debt.

Once more Americans are confronted with what causes great bitterness.  No one, not Congress, the companies that lend citizens cash, the corporate tycoons, or candidates can imagine why Americans might be bitter. None of these entities care enough to help the average Joe, Jane, Maxwell, or his parents.

Why might inhabitants in this Northern continent be cynical, or feel a need to cling to religion, weapons, or hostility.  Perhaps, these sanctuaries feel  more tangible.  Faith, as an arsenal, and anger too, are at least more affordable than other options.

Petroleum prices are also an issue of import.  Citizens cry, I now work for fuel.  Only four short month ago, oil hit $100 a barrel for the first time ever.  The rate charged for petroleum continues to climb.  Now the expense exceeds what was once unimaginable. The cost of crude is the cause.  The effect is, Mommy and Daddy do not drive much anymore.  Each trip is evaluated.  Carpools are common considerations.  Vacations are not thought vital.  Parents who had hoped to show Max the seashore this summer cannot keep the promise they made to themselves and their progeny.  Plans did not prove to be predictions.

In 2008, the inconceivable is classified as inevitable.  Scientists share a stingy assessment.  The environment is no longer stable.  Nor are our lives on the planet Earth.  We, worldwide, have passed the point of no return.  Globally, groups and individuals pooh-pooh this determination.  For them, immediate concerns take precedence over the future.  

The question we all inevitably ask, even if not expressed aloud, is, “Will I continue to exist?”  If so, “Will my family and I be comfortable?”  The answers shade our sense of what is right or wrong.  Maxwell hears his Mom and Dad speak of free trade.  This is another hazard that haunts them.

The link between economic integration and worker insecurity is also an essential element of explanations for patterns of public opposition to policies aimed at further liberalization of international trade, immigration, and foreign direct investment (FDI) in advanced economies. Economic insecurity may contribute to the backlash against globalization in at least two ways.  First is a direct effect in which individuals that perceive globalization to be contributing to their own economic insecurity are much more likely to develop policy attitudes against economic integration.

Second, if globalization limits the capacities of governments to provide social insurance, or is perceived to do so, then individuals may worry further about globalization and this effect is likely to be magnified if labor-market risks are heightened by global integration.

It seems every issue intimidates us.  Each challenges the security we crave.  All beckon us and cause us to question whether we, Maxwell, or his parents will survive.  Our serious fears force us to believe we must separate ourselves from others, from our brothers and sisters.  In an earlier speech, echoing the words of Franklin Roosevelt, the eloquent Barack Obama spoke of this situation and how our own anxiety harms us.[ The Presidential hopeful offered solutions.

[W]e need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all . . .

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.”  We do not need to recite here the history of racial [or economic] injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the [any] community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered  . . .

Legalized discrimination . . . That history helps explain the wealth and income gap  . . . and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity  . . . and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of [all] families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban [and now with “no new taxes” suburban] neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

Potential President Obama understands and hopes to help all American realize that we are one.  While this vocalization was meant to focus on the more obvious rift between the races, the Senator from Illinois, the community organizer, attempted to advance awareness for what troubles Americans as a whole.

In fact, a similar anger exists within [all] segments of the  . . . community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch.  They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor.  They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense . . ..

Americans, no matter the color or circumstances might contemplate that anger is “often proved counterproductive” as are resentments.  These attitudes distract attention and widen any divide.  If Americans are to find a path to understanding, we must accept that our insecurity, our fears need not distract us.  We will survive if we work as one.

This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of [any child] black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem.  The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy . . ..

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics [poor and those the government classifies as affluent] who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life.  This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag.  We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

Today, we must be honest with ourselves.  We can admit that we are incensed, irritated, infuriated, and irate.  These feelings do not immobilize us.  Nor do we necessarily need to fight, and be combative.  It is time we teach Maxwell and also Maxine, distress can inspire us to dream the of impossible and make it our truth.  We, Americans can rise above our bitterness and build bridges to a fine future if we unite.

It is not elitist to speak truth.  It is ignorance and obfuscation to deny how we feel and what we fear.  We cannot change what we do not acknowledge.  Elusion will not bring bliss.  We may be insecure; we may question whether we can survive.  Indeed, if we act as we have in the past, if we focus on our faith and antipathy, there will be no reason to hope.  Americans, divisions have distracted us for too long.  To negate our natural response is to restrict our growth.  This time citizens of the United States, let us come together.  Bitterness can become sweet.

Sources of insecurity.  Resources for survival . . .

Invasion of the Corporate Destroyers

copyright © Judith Moriarty

The Corporate Destroyer is a peculiar mutation of man.  It is known for its inactivity in the practice of any virtue.  He is found in several different forms throughout the government, business, and nations.  The fruits of his labors can be seen throughout the earth in ‘greed, sloth, pride, wrath, avarice, envy, lust, and gluttony’.  Absent conscience or allegiance to any land, this mutant will use any means necessary to feed his insatiable appetite.  







His claim to fame is identified as being the seven deadly sins!



The Corporate Destroyer, and his cohorts, enter into naive, economically depressed communities, under the guise of JOBS.  They gather millions in grants, and various subsidies to set up shop.  Ironically, the taxpayer subsidies his employment (without royalty checks).  Being privately owned (ex: Ice River Springs) without public stock trading, they don’t have to reveal many of their operations / finances etc.  Being (many) foreign, they are extended ‘special benefits’ in various trade agreements.

Bird found with bottle caps from plastic water bottles.





This plastic is choking and poisoning the whole of the earth.  Consumers have been ‘programmed’ to believe, that water bottled from the TAP (called purified), or from some ‘unknown’ spring (not the picture on the bottle) is healthy?  The fact that plastic does not degrade, and is now being found in birds, fish, etc, is not part of the PR presentation to a town.  Conservation?  Huh?  The oil needed to make these plastic bottles for U.S.  shoppers; uses 1.5 million barrels of crude oil each year.  These approximately 52 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills – incinerated (toxins) in the oceans and on the beaches, or in birds and sea life.  





Next comes garbage; tons and tons and millions of tons.  The ‘Corporate Destroyer’ and his partners have now been ‘appointed’ to the most important jobs in Washington.  With the influence of lobbyists and campaign contributions, they write their own meal tickets (excusing themselves from responsibility & liabilities).  In rural places like Bethlehem, NH (above), which was once a health resort, there are approx 2.3 million TONS of other people’s garbage.  They (the waste destroyers) are cutting down the trees, to make room, for the excesses of a materialistic – mind-numbed society.  “I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongue.”  Dr.Seuss





The whales and the porpoises are dying of ruptured brains as the Navy trains for moneyed war (sonar – explosions).  The Navy did a study and reported that all is well – these explosions don’t kill nor does sonar confuse or rupture the eardrums of whales/porpoises!  Why they all must be committing mass suicide?





The ‘weapons of mass destruction’ for the native people’s of the world (from Indonesia to the rain forests in South America) are Corporate Sloth and his malignant buddies.  War and terrorism come in many forms.  For those who reside deep in remote jungles; its the timber companies – gas, and the OIL maggots.  Hired thugs kill those who object to their lands being plundered.  This never makes the national news.  Who are the truly civilized in this world?  Those in suits who destroy whole lands with the push of a pencil or the natives who are one with the earth?  And when the last tree is felled – it won’t matter if there’s anyone there to hear it!





Something awful is happening.  It is horrifying that citizens have to FIGHT their own government (federal – state – local) to save the environment/ protect their water and the health of their children.  No matter the deformity found in an animal, there’s a benign yawn, from those appointed to care,  announcing; ‘it must be a virus’?  The frogs in the environment are the canaries of the mines (used to detect gas).  Washington’s answer is to hide the ‘cage’.





Millions of fish are dying and they’re tearing down the Appalachian Mountains (for coal).  The inconvenient truth, of what these ‘Corporate Hucksters ‘ are ravishing, raping, and clear cutting etc; can’t compete with the news of car chases, Paris Hilton’s jail experience, or sports stars on steroids.  





War – forever war!  All the Destroyers (sloth, envy, pride, wrath, lust, etc) are profiting from this.  War is good for the economy.  It raises the price of weapons manufacturing stocks, makes billions for private contractors, oil interests, and investors.  A vote for the right bill will keep those campaign coffers filled!  It also is a great dumping ground (put into weapons) for all that depleted uranium (half life 4 billion years).  





“One cannot pluck a flower without troubling a star.”  Francis Thompson  

If the truth be told: “Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  Dr.Seuss / The Lomax  

JM

The Warning; America Accepts Distractions Abound


ArtofMentalWarfare.com: The Warning.

copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

The world is filled with distractions.  Sex is on the streets. Violence filters through videos.  Sensationalism  flitters across silver screens.  Television broadcasters speak of Senators in bathrooms.  Fallen sports stars are caught in criminal acts.  Americans are consumed with consumption.  We eat fast.  We play faster.  We work to attend to the world woes.  Yet, our eyes wander away from cold, hard, combative facts. 

It is easier to escape than it is to cope with the realities that we create.

Americans were informed; global warning is caused by and accelerated through human activity.  Still, citizens of the United States want the many possessions that enter our homes and garages.  This is the era of plastic and petroleum.

Clothing, carpets, even candies can contain an ounce of oil.  What we will not do for deliverance.  One hundred dollars a barrel or two . . . We admit to our dependence; however, we trust harm will not come in our lifetime.

We buy, buy, buy, and then trash, trash, trash.  Factory smoke billows, even if now the fumes come more from abroad then at home.  Products are placed “on-line,” assembled piece by piece or purchased in cyberspace.  Big box stores sell and Americans acquire.  We are satiated, although still not satisfied. 

Our prized possession is our car.  Vehicles provide the power we yearn to feel.  An automobile of our own grants us a sense of freedom and autonomy.  Forget the fact that the emissions pollute the air.  Ignore the waste we create when we build in obsolescence.  Our countrymen clamor,  “I crave a machine with horse power.”  Bring the petroleum home.  The boys and girls can stay and fight.

We understand war kills.  Yet, ultimately, unilaterally, we attack.  Administrators threaten to fight again and again.  More will die.  Americans do not heed the warning.  They continue to recreate.  We amuse ourselves with our bodies, with our toys, with sex, drugs, and violence. 

The nation is distracted and the planet destroyed.  Thus, is the nature of The Warning.  Caution is left to blow in the wind.

Logic of Bush Belies. Oil, Bush The Big Push! ©

In the heat of the night, when gasoline is selling at and all time high and home heating bills are more burdensome than ever before, President Bush decided to speak to the nation. In a rare prime-time press conference, he publicly addressed the concerns of the American citizenry.

Mr. Bush knows that his approval ratings are low and falling. He fears that his capital is spent. He realizes that he must reach out. He must appease the people; his legacy is at stake. Therefore, on Thursday evening, April 28, 2005, our President appeared, he presented his priorities.

Mr. Bush bemoaned America’s reliance on foreign energy. He proposed an aggressive expansion of domestic oil production. He said, "It’s time for America to start building again." He wants to build refineries, to do more drilling in the States. He wants to destroy the pristine environment of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR], Alaska.

President Bush asserted, “We must address the root causes that are driving up gas prices. In the past decade, America’s energy consumption has been growing about 40 times faster than our energy production. That means we’re relying more on energy produced abroad.”

Yes Mr. President, we are, and how could we not?

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of oil. Citizens of this country comprise six percent of the global population and yet, they, we, use 25 percent of the Earth’s oil. In other words, little more than 5 percent of the people worldwide use one quarter of all the petroleum resources. The European Union follows; they consume 18 percent of the global oil supply.

As of 2002, 65.4 percent of the proven overall reserves were located in the Middle East. In the same year, it was determined that Central and South America held 9 percent. What is now Russia, formerly the Soviet Union held 7 percent, and lagging far behind was the United States. America was able to boast a whooping 2.9 percent of proven reserves.

In 2002, the Middle East produced 28.5 percent of world’s oil. The Middle East had and has the capacity and the capability to produce petroleum. The United States does not; we may have capability, however, we do not have capacity! If we were to improve our technology, our capability, as the President proposes, this would not change our capacity. We cannot to fulfill our own demands. Supply is not the only dilemma, nor is demand. Physically, the United States does not have the resources to allow for oil independence.

It will not matter how well we use technology, how many refineries we build, or how much drilling we do. Geologically speaking, we will never produce enough oil to provide independence. The Bush logic belies.

The United Sates will always be dependent on others for oil. I believe that oil production is not the solution. Anwar is not the answer. Drilling in the United States will not drown our sorrows or produce an ample supply of petroleum. To continue in this vein only delays the inevitable. The President’s argument may temporarily appease Sports Utility Vehicle drivers; it may lessen the woes of those living in oil-heated homes; however, it does nothing to resolve our dilemma.

I propose that we invest in research and development. Rather than rant and rage of the expense, we must consider the cost of casting money to the wind. Let us consider “progress.” Progress is not paying for more oil production; progress is producing alternative energy sources.

Curious as to the thoughts of others speaking out on “oil,” I discover . . .
The Left Coaster, “Peak Oil" And The Bush Energy Policy”
On May 23, 2005, there is good news.  There is a possibility and hope, even in the era of King George II.
Please read Apollo in Action by Jay Inslee, Grist Magazine, Alternet.