Monday, May 28, 2007

Musings On Humanity

In the history of our planet, humanity has been ruled many times by overly aggressive, cruel, brutal and ethically challenged Fascists.

Oh yes, "Democracy & Freedom" has taken root from time to time with limited success. From the heady beginnings of any newly grafted 'democracy', installed with the best of intentions, there is an easily charted progression from openness, and personal freedom, always, without exception to more 'control' and 'regulation' of people, leading finally to a diminishment of freedoms, loss of personal rights and personal deprivation.

It is inevitable that more 'conservative', selfish elements of any democracy always seek ways to 'protect' their own, mercenary interests at the expense of personal rights and freedoms. This culture is termed 'capitalism', and the rights of 'capital' and 'property' become co-equal and then soon begin to take precedence over the rights of humans. Associations of more aggressive individuals gather more and more property and capital under their control, seeking to protect it from others who may want or need it for survival.

The aggressives - today's NEO-CONSERVATIVES - always justify aggressions as their 'right' under the hallowed principles of 'democracy and freedom' and of course, 'capitalism'. No matter that they are crushing the 'rights' of other, less clever or aggressive individuals, often depriving and starving them in the process. That too, they consider as their 'right' under democracy and 'the capitalist system'.

Aggressive capitalists band together with the common interest of protecting 'property'. They use their wealth to 'buy' more control and regulation in their favor, until finally, the democracy transmogrifies into a capitalist 'corportocracy' with which much of the modern world is now afflicted. From corportocracy it is but one small step to true Fascism. At that point there is no longer any need to camouflage actions under the banner of 'democracy' and the true colors often then emerge. We have seen this from time to time in history, with the most recent being in Nazi Germany in the 1920's and 40's. We are pretty close to this now in the United States.

Fortunately for humankind, a 'tipping point' has always been reached where humanity reasserts its control, rounds up all the Fascists and hangs them, and reestablishes true democracy.

That is still ahead of us in the year 2007. When it happens, a new 'democracy' will take root for a while, until the next culture of greedy, selfish aggressives comes along and history repeats itself.

“Be Careful What You Wish For”

"More than you ever wanted to know about the ‘Wildfires’ in Georgia":

As a committed environmentalist (My enemies in Alaska eagerly insist I ought to be committed!), I want to share my personal thoughts about the current ‘wildfires’ in south Georgia and north Florida. The combined areas of these fires is estimated at 576,244 acres as of 5/27/07, or more that 900 square miles! This is the biggest woodlands fire in the lower 48 states since 1918, and threatens a community, wildlife refuge, railroad infrastructure and microwave installation. Smoke has affected most of the coastal states of the southeastern US.

My close friend in South Georgia sent me some pretty dramatic pictures of the ‘wildfires’ currently burning there, and for about the past month and a half. The term ‘wildfire’ in connection with these fires is misleading. Even though woodlands are involved, for the most part they are in fact ‘tree plantations’ on land cut over several times in the past.

The big timber companies own most of these lands and utilizing ‘silviculture’ (‘science of tree farming’), most of the area is in truth a big ‘tree farm’ of areas of trees, all in rows, all about the same age, species and size, with a tractor width of space between the rows. You can see this clearly in the attached pictures. There is about as much ‘wild’ about these ‘woods’ as in a corn or cotton field.

The fires are really just a marker or indicator, like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, of a much bigger, more serious problem. This problem comes under the heading of ‘Be careful what you wish for’, or ‘unwise and unrestrained economic development is not always beneficial for everyone’. This is also a serious problem which is being passed along to the generations who follow us. In other words, our children and grandchildren.

For, not only have big timber interests bought up the land, cut the timber and turned vast regions into monocultural tree farms, but they have also created huge mills (yes, they do employ thousands of people) which put huge demands on groundwater resources. In conjunction with other demands on the aquifer, like cities and farm irrigation, there are now ‘cones of depression’ in the aquifer, and the overall level of the groundwater has dropped significantly over the past 50 years. This can be seen empirically in water wells dug in the ‘thirties, ‘forties and ‘fifties which once supplied plenty of wanter but have now gone dry. In fact, almost all wells today are drilled well, and much, much deeper than earlier dug wells in order to reach sufficient water.

Why is it so dry? Besides the ever increasing demands on the aquifer, vast amounts of land once forested has now been turned into huge agricultural/industrial mega-farms of many thousands of acres. In fact a satellite view of the region is very telling, and shows vast regions of ‘brown’ which used to be ‘green’. These huge changes have helped change the climate and rainfall patterns and the entire region is now noticeably dryer than fifty years ago. The area is often in a drought status, especially when the jet stream shifts. In conjunction with a global warming trend things just seem to get hotter and dryer all the time, leading to conditions favorable to the current ‘wildfires’. If the trends continue, it will only get worse.

The huge ‘Floridan aquifer’ underlies this region. Having spent some years in this area in the distant past, and now having been away for many years, these changes are very noticeable - and disturbing - to me when I return. And, I’ll share a bit of research I’ve done on the aquifer:

“In some parts of south Georgia east of the Flint River basin, there have been long-term declines in the Floridan aquifer, indicating that withdrawals are exceeding recharge. Heavy industrial and municipal pumpage of the Floridan aquifer along the coast of Georgia, especially in Savannah and Brunswick, has resulted in large cones of depression in which hydraulic pressure has been significantly reduced. This has led to saltwater intrusion in Brunswick and Hilton Head, South Carolina, and the cessation of many flowing artesian wells.”



And, if you want to see what the state of Florida is proposing to do with the same aquifer in order to save money, you really ought to read this article:



If you are at all interested in the environmental health of this region, maybe you should do your own research and get involved yourself. You could start here:


But be forewarned! All those big money and development interests (and their supporters) will slam you, and accuse you of being a ‘dirty, rotten, stinking, liberal, pinko environmentalist’! It won’t matter if you actually vote Democrat or Republican. I can tell you this from personal experience!

Yes sir, resisting the depredations of the big money boys is a big ‘no-no’!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Wheels Done Run Off

Mountains of West Virginia, 5/17/07:

A roving reporter traveling through the West Virginia mountains was surprised to see a Texakan style RV sitting all broken down and forlorn by the side of the road. Hung over from the evening's reveling from the night before, he wiped his bleary eyes to make sure of what he saw. Sure enough, it was a Texakan RV. Believing the RV'ers may need assistance he pulled over to offer aid. That's when he saw the license plate reading 'RNC-1' and did a double take.

"Doggone! That's the president's rig!" he said to himself. "Man, what's that thing doing out here all by itself looking so bad? Something sure doesn't look right!" He stopped his car and walked over to the RV and knocked on the door. He was flabbergasted when the president himself opened the door.

"What'n hell yew want?" demanded an obviously inebriated President Bush.

"Yes Sir. No Sir." stammered the surprised reporter. "Yes Sir. I just stopped to see if you needed any help."

"Wail, I reckon I might, see'ns how's ever'body done gone off and left me." answered the president. "They's sayin' the wheels done run off my administration bandwagon and they's ain't a-ridin' with me enny more. They's a-bailin' out on me right'n left. What ain't left they own self is gittin' run off. I mean jist lookit. Mos' of my Corrupt Bastards is gittin' caught or in trouble with the law. Then yew got Scooter Libby goin' to jail, an' my token wetback Alberto Gonzales in trouble, and then they's after Paul Wolfowitz. They're gonna have all my Bastards in jail before long."

"An' on top of that, now Jerry Falwells done gone and died! Hail, now I'm out here tryin' to drive my bandwagon all by myself and jist between yew an' me, I don't know shit from Shinola. Iffen it weren't for folks helpin' me, and picking up behind me I wouldn't git noplace. I think I may be in a heap o' trouble."

The reporter answered. "Well, if you don't mind my saying so Mr. President, things are looking pretty damned rough for you around here right now. Your administration bandwagon has sure gotten all off the tracks, and hammered, wrecked and shopworn around the edges. And, yes, all your people are jumping ship all right. Your generals are coming out against you. Your party's turning against you, your supporters are abandoning you. Even your most hard line supporters in the Senate are coming out against you."

"And, it damned sure does look like the wheels have run off things for you. Now, if you don't mind sir, I must be on my way!"

"Wait! Wait!" yelled the president as our reporter drove away. "Yew cain't leave me out here like this, dammit! I'm yer War President!"