Thursday, June 12, 2008

One Group of Americans Unconcerned with Oil Prices

My wife and I toured east-central Ohio yesterday- an area often referred to as 'Amish Country.' The Amish and Mennonites are a simple people whose carbon footprint on the land is next to nothing. This couple moved down the same highway as we, but our car's impact was enormous.

They lead the 'simple life' and, to us in the 21st century, it seems odd. Surely we appear odd to them as well. The Amish use no electricity nor gasoline, content with horses and lanterns. Many of the men were out in the fields cutting their hay while the children tended their strawberry stands aside of the road. We could not help stopping for two brothers who held up a 'strawberrys' sign as we passed by. We turned around went back. The older boy, about 9, said in choppy English, 'Three dollars quart.' As he approached our car with the berries, our two wrlds collided. Bare feet, blue shirt and dark blue pants and straw hat, he handed me the berries and I, sitting in my rented '08 sleek and air-conditioned car, sunglasses on, handed him the money. He stared at us as if we were visitors from outer space, not even smiling when he took the money. He just turned and went back to his brother and grabbed his sign once again. We sped off. Close encounters of the third kind.

Later we stopped at an Amish house that had a sign outside, "Honey, eggs, baskets for sale." Interestingly, we were invited inside the house. The only sound was the clock ticking away in the other room. The milky blue enameled paint of the woodwork enhansed the otherwise stark interior. It was strawberry canning time and an older woman was canning them in the kitchen. I asked permission to snap a photo and she obliged, quickly ducking to the corner of the room.

We purchased a basket and some strawberry preserves from the younger woman, a smile fixed upon her face. While my wife was going through the baskets, I said, in high-German dialect, " My wife has to pick out the basket." The young lady smiled and said, "I like languages." I asked her to say the same sentence in her Swiss-German, aka Pennsylvania Dutch. There were a few minor differences and we both smiled at the outcome.

Wednesday's wash hung out to dry throughout the countryside. Letting nature dry clothes surely beats an electric or gas dryer with added fabric softener. The washing was done without the aid of electricity as well. The simplicity of it all boggles the modern mind. Many of our modern suburbs have rules and regulations banning clotheslines. Unsightly they say.

We would prefer to burn coal in our electric plants and spew out CO2 and SO2 into the atmosphere. After all, we have grown accustomed to the 'good lifestyle' that we can afford.

Wednesday was auction day in Mount Hope and the Amish came to sell and buy livestock and feed. Well behaved children found simple pleasures in looking at a few toys that the English [non-Amish] brought to sell at the flea market on the other side of the barns. They seemed happy although I did not talk to any about their life. No MP3 players, no text-messaging, no hand-held electronic games, these youngsters stayed close to their parents as they wandered through the displays of 'goods' offered by the English. There were no temper tantrums for items not bought, no display of anger at the parents. Just children being children sans the modern gadgets.

We English were the odd ones that day with our desire to have the best, the latest, the most convenient. Fat English men and women sat behing their trucks offering trinkets- not unlike what occured in this very place 250 years ago. Only the names were different: Shawnee, Potawatomie, Ottawa. English offering trinkets to the 'savages.' English devowering the land, burning the forests, modernizing the area.

Look at the mess we have created in an attempt to make the 'good life' for us. Maybe we deserve the 'oil plague' now ravaging our economy. The gluttons are paying the price.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rockefeller Intelligence Report

Chairman Rockefeller of the Senate Intelligence
Committee reported the Committee's bi-partisan
conclusions to the Senate. With two Republican
Senators joining in the Report, the Committee
concluded that the President of the United States
lied to Congress and the people so as to justify
a pre-emptive, first strike war on Iraq.

Rockefeller: " making the case for war,
Administration officials distorted the facts, or
said things that were not supported by the facts,
said thngs that they knew or should have known
were not true." What word comes to mind to sum
up what he said?

Couple this report with McClelland's book and what he
calls a constant stream of propaganda to justify war
on Iraq. Just remember how the various neo-cons became
talking heads for war, the Cheney and Rice interviews and
speeches, and Colin Powell at the UN told the lies that
Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons and
a means of delivering them, and was involved as a conspirator
with al-Quaeda in the destruction of the Twin Towers. None
of it is true! What the Report demonstrates is that the lies
were obvious from the beginning, but Congress ignored the
truth and the media fanned the flames for war.

What is so tragic is that the Democrats went along with it.
There were a few exceptions like Sen. Graham of Florida who was
Chairmen of this same Committee prior to the war and took the
floor of the Senate, after studying and reviewing the same
intelligence, and stated the facts did not meet the standard for
attacking Iraq. Sadly, the majority of Democrats refused over-
sight, in violation of their responsibilites as Senators under
the Constitution. They are to be excused for this, right?

Democrats and Republicans want to pretend now that the loss of
U.S. military lives, the injured, and the trillions of dollars
should just be allowed to disappear. Why should Democrats and
Republicans walk away free from the damages they caused? Their
illegal decisions must be dealt with in some way also. On the
one hand we have a lying Bush Administration, and on the other
there is a negligent Congress of Democrats and Republicans which
facilitated this travesty on so many people.

Just the past two days the Democratic leaders in Congress have
stepped in again to protest the President and themselves by shelving
Kucinich's impeachment call to burial in the Judiciary Committee.
After all this, why would one want to remain identified as a Democrat?
Hell, they are co-conspirators.

If no impeachment, what can be done? Much can be done outside of
impeachment, it seems to me. On leaving office, Congress could cut
the Bush Cabal off at the knees. Obviously, 'could' is the operative
word. Congress may want to duck and hide, but if the election sends
more progressived people to Congress who believe in restoring the
Constitution, maybe something can be done. The can have their pensions
revoked, be prevented from sitting on company boards, getting speaking
fees. What happened just in Iraq is close to treason it seems to me,
especially with the conclusions of Rockefeller's Report. There are ways
to do this, so say Constitutional authorities. Will we allow the Bush
Cabal to walk away scott free? It seems to me, for Constituional
preservation, they cannot be permitted to do so. To do so is to
establish Constitutional authority for another president. This could
be a real make or break time for the Constitution.

A McCain Campaign Plan

As I have remarked a few times, the shortest
nerve in the human body is that nerve which
runs from the hip pocket or purse to the
brain. With gasoline at $4 now and very likely
$5 for regular by Fall, that nerve is really
stressed. It's a perfect opportunity for some
one to step in and massage it.

Watching 'Morning Joe' this morning, he was
yaking about a McCain energy program and was
stressing nuclear. I'm not all that confident
McCain could sell a nuclear program as a relief
to prices at the pump. However, McCain could
come out with a no-holds bared U.S. oil production
gimmick, that is, open up Alaska, open up the
continental shelves, open up the Great Lakes,
open up the Rocky Mountain West(Teapot Dome area
would be dwarfed), and go after oil shale rock
which until now has been economically unfeasible
to exploit. He 'might could' sell this to the U.S.
voter. We are 'dumbed-down', you know.

While we know the objections to such a program, it might
have enough appeal to swing votes. The appeal, of
course, is that this would be domestically produced
oil. People may just be willing to "damn the torpedoes,
full speed ahead". "I want oil, find me oil, give me
oil." Sure it's a play on people's fears, but desperate
people, do desperate things.

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