... in a place no one has ever heard of Christmas. I'd share fish I caught and cooked.
My parents retired and escaped to that kind of life. Their "Christmas Trees" are pieces of driftwood decorated with handmade ornaments and Christmas cards from family, friends, and neighbors...
Yeah, I know what this Christmas Holiday is about. It's the great party before all the Northern Europeans start stacking up their old and infirm like Popsicles in the shed waiting to bury them come spring in the rain and the mud.
We don't have a birth certificate for Jesus, don't know the date of Conception when the Virgin Mary exclaimed "OH GOD!."
I try not to be a drag everyone else down during the Christmas Holidays, but it ain't easy.
In my personal universe I don't like to buy stuff unless I must, and I don't like people buying stuff for me.
I like to find stuff. I like to make stuff. If somebody finds stuff or makes stuff and gives it to me as a gift, that's okay too. But please, don't buy me stuff, unless I NEED it. (That would be food, shelter, or medicine. Those I've got now, so I don't NEED them.)
I've made my peace best I can with the Holiday, often cooking Christmas dinner.
Receiving or purchasing "gifts" some random stranger made, perhaps some wage slave in China, just makes me feel sad and cold.
When my grandma was dying of cancer, mets to her brain and everywhere else, she asked my brother if he could bring her some pot to smoke. They sometimes smoked together, in the "long term" hospital wing... hah! (All my brothers are much more reckless fellows than I!)
My situation with my grandma was a little complicated. My grandma sometimes thought I was her father. I don't look like him at all but maybe I sounded like him, and share some mannerisms.
We talked about airplanes. Such a wondrous thing flying must have been when she was a kid, and she married an Army Air Force Officer (promoted to Major during World War II) who later was an engineer for the Apollo moon project.
Sometimes she thought we were waiting at the airport. In a way, we were.
What the economists call "productivity" is actually the destruction of the natural environment that supports life on earth.
I think we should directly subsidize people who are willing to experiment with low energy, non-resource depleting lifestyles.
In other words, subsidize people who don't have cars, create "vegetarian" and "locavore" food stamp programs, design urban homesteads of community gardens and self-sufficient solar powered housing. Subsidize low energy economic activities... arts, writing, music, etc.
Experimental communities that work could be expanded throughout the greater population until destructive forms of productivity (fossil fuels, automobile commuting, "factory farming," high energy chemical and GMO agricultural monoculture) were forced into obsolescence.
A quasi-government news organization, say like the BBC or Al-Jazeera, would fail under the influence of big money in the U.S.A. just as our private news media has failed. National Public Radio and Television are hardly worth spit any more as independent news sources, they've become Fox News for people who think they are too smart for Fox News.
Papers like the Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the decrepit old queen of newspapers the New York Times, and all the other big city newspapers and major television news networks (CBS especially of the moment) are corrupt shadows of their former selves.
All these serious news sources had numerous blind spots in the past, issues they wouldn't cover and issues they sugar-coated, but mostly they maintained some journalistic standards. That's gone. It seems these days they are all faces of the Great Corporate Borg, little better than TASS of the Soviet Union. An informed reader must ignore the chaff and read between the lines. A story about the recent upsurge in natural gas production means only that we will be drinking polluted water long after the natural gas bubble collapses and heating or cooling our homes becomes a great burden again.
Simple things like smart phone tweets, photo sharing sites, and discussion boards like this one have remarkable power. But how long before they fall under authoritarian rule and disruption, either corporate control (U.S.A style) or central government control (Chinese style)???
"Lazy" is a label that either blames the victim for various sorts of mental health issues (including addictions), or blames the victim for the failure of a society to provide adequate resources and opportunities for its people by discrimination based in racism, homophobia, sexism, rejection of the disabled, etc.
It takes a fairly good income to create a truly lazy person. Most truly lazy people will be found among the offspring of the wealthy.
George W. Bush seems to be a person like that; incurious, venal, intellectually lazy, a person who "failed his way to the top" by family wealth and political connections. He's a very "dim bulb" compared to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or Barak Obama. Bush may be "intelligent" but it seems he's never exercised his brains much on anything but the navigation of the Bush family's Byzantine power structures; as if he didn't want to contaminate his "beautiful mind" (in the words of his mother) with anything else.
People who are unemployed and not fearing for their lives are often the source of great innovation. J.K. Rowling would be an example of a person who created billions of dollars of economic activity because she was not otherwise occupied living on the streets, eating out of dumpsters, and dodging dangerous human predators.
Progress in our society would greatly accelerate if everyone had a safe place to live, plenty of good food to eat, appropriate health care, and ample educational and employment opportunities.
Not difficult at all.
Homelessness serves another purpose in this society.
It's an act of state terrorism that forces people to accept wage slavery and tolerate entirely unacceptable working conditions.
The U.S.A. sucks.
We need to change that.
If there was any kind of eye-for-an-eye kind of justice there's quite a few uber-wealthy people who ought to be staring at the walls in prison cell or standing on the corners with cardboard signs begging for coins for the harm they've done to this nation's soul.
But no, there's not anyone who "deserves" abusive living conditions, not even the worst Wall Street criminal.
Everyone deserves a safe secure place to live for the simple fact they are human beings.
Anyone here can quit fossil fuel and nuclear electricity. Get off your butt, walk out to the main breaker of your place of residence, and flip it off. Done!
Anyone can quit burning gasoline in their automobile. Disassemble your automobile. Turn it into arts and crafts. Use the windows for greenhouses, the body panels for roofing materials, the seats for furniture. Attach the alternator to a stationary bicycle and generate your own electricity, get plenty of exercise too!
Anyone can quit being a "consumer." Quit buying stuff! Those huge diesel engine container ships will stop crossing oceans.
My point is that a world powered by "renewable" energy is a very different place then the world most people reading this live in. Renewables are not an "alternative" to fossil fuels or nuclear power, they are not a drop-in replacement. A civilization without fossil fuels or nuclear power would look very different than the civilization we live in now.
A world powered by renewable energy is slow paced world without personal automobiles, airlines or any other high speed transportation. People walk to work. They walk to the grocery store. It's a world without big box stores, fast food places, superhighways, or low-density suburbs. It's a world largely without central air conditioning and heating.
The only way we can maintain our current sort of civilization without fossil fuels is nuclear power. You end up with something that looks a lot like a future France might. More high speed rail and much less airline traffic. Fewer automobiles, but all electric.
Without nuclear power the optimal sustainable lifestyle is much simpler. There's room for high technology in this world, it's not impossible to keep cell phones, personal computers, and a worldwide communication system operating on renewable energy alone. It's not impossible to provide electric wheels or legs for the disabled. But in a world powered by renewable energy sources most of us are going to be getting around town on the power of our own legs.
As the energy math works now renewable sources of energy ARE NOT replacing fossil fuels or nuclear power, they simply allow those fossil fuels or nuclear power to be diverted elsewhere. As we burn less coal here in the U.S.A. (using fracked gas instead, a really dirty fuel...) our coal companies begin itching to export coal to Asia. As we import less oil from overseas, Canada is happy to sell us tar sand oil (a really, really, dirty fuel.) When Germany turned off its nuclear plants they build more coal fired plants, in spite of their installed solar and wind capacity.
I'm an advocate of a slow-paced high technology civilization. Few things in this civilization would travel much faster than a fast human can run. Most commerce would be local. World travel would be accomplished by robust, very advanced sailing ships. Rapid high-energy transport would be reserved for emergencies.
There are many sorts of "renewable" energy that are just as loathsome as fossil fuels. Tidal power and giant hydro-electric schemes are some. Huge solar power plants on undeveloped deserts are another. Chipping down and shredding forests for fuel is a wretched idea too. Every last square inch of remaining wilderness should remain wild and our civilization needs to pull back and restore much of the wilderness we have destroyed.
I'm not optimistic humans can accomplish any kind of sustainable civilization. We haven't yet. Every major civilization has fallen. If we can't accomplish it eventually Nature will remove us from the playing field entirely and a million or so years in the future little will remain of us but a confusing layer of trash in the geologic record and a few peculiar outer space artifacts.
I think the difficulty of fusion is as is said, "God protecting fools and children."
Given that kind of power our current civilization would simply eat the earth.
It is better we humans learn to live in harmony with the natural environment now, rather than later.
I think this is the most valid reason for opposing nuclear power too. Safety-wise, even with accidents at obsolete plants like Chernobyl or Fukushima, nuclear power is still less deadly than fossil fuels.
I've no doubt that nuclear power could be cheap and fairly safe; that we could all be driving our lovely electric cars with minimal pollution, that we could supply great urban areas in dry climates with desalinated water too, and run great aqueducts everywhere.
But an entire planet covered with suburbs, strip mines, and "factory farms," with a few parks and huge cities in between, with every able adult working a "productive" forty plus hour work week, the oceans swarming with bulk ore carriers and container ships, and the skies full of airliners and freight planes, no, bloody hell no, that is NOT my vision of utopia. (I don't want the desert wilderness covered with solar power plants either.)
My utopia is a low-energy post-consumerist society with a population of maybe a billion or less living very gently upon the land with plenty of room for all the diverse species that survive this current global man-made environmental catastrophe.
This sort of thing has happened often in the history of life on earth. Humans are not anything special.
We could land softly, with a healthy stable sustainable population, without all the flames and drama and messy death, but I'm not sure humans are actually intelligent. Maybe we are some kind of proto-intelligence, but even that seems less and less likely every day now.
An intelligent species, even one with a very dim sputtering spark of intelligence, would not destroy the natural ecosystems it depends on for its own survival.
I've played around with various ideas here on DU, most recently in Kentuck's "What is Money" post.
If we must have money, I think the power of huge banks ought to be much reduced.
"New" money out to be created primarily for the benefit of "We the People" and "Old" money needs to be skimmed off the top by taxes before it grows stagnant and corrupt, buying politicians and sucking the life out of the overall economy. Inflation ought to be controlled entirely by taxes, but people who are making a minimum living wage should not be taxed at all.
An oligarchy, as we now have, is comparable to a eutrophic waters.
The eutrophication of the Potomac
River is evident from the bright green
water, caused by a dense bloom of
The so-called "science" of economics ought to be based on ecological principals. Unfortunately the economists latched onto the language of Newtonian Physics (Isaac Newton himself was warden of the Royal Mint in his later years) and fucked up the world badly. This civilization will probably not survive the distortions and misallocation of resources that are a direct consequence of these economic ideologies.
To put it simply, Mother Nature doesn't measure anything in dollars or any other currency. Most of what we humans do for "money" is destroying the natural and social environments that support us. That's why this civilization will collapse.
Profile InformationName: Hunter
Current location: California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 38,203
About hunterI'm a very dangerous fellow when I don't know what I'm doing.
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