Category: News and politics


The intention of the 2nd Amendment - Thehour.com: Letters

Many, including the NRA, argue that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of the individual to own “guns” in order to protect himself from the potential abuses of a tyrannical government.  This article contends that is, in fact, not the case at all.

Even if you were to assume that the NRA and its paranoid ilk were correct in their assumptions, do we honestly believe that hand guns and semi-automatic weapons would be any match against a government that possesses nuclear, biological and chemical weapons?  The argument for individual protection from a tyrannical government no longer holds water.  And if we eliminate that argument then what we have left is a rational interpretation, much like what is presented below.

Mr. Jacovitz recently claimed in a letter to The Hour that gun ownership prevented the Japanese from landing on the West Coast during WWII.

via The intention of the 2nd Amendment – Thehour.com: Letters.

On the eve of Charles Darwin’s birthday I want to take a moment and tell you about a movie that never made it into wide circulation in the United States.  The movie is called “Creation”.  I have blogged about the movie before,  mostly to lament my inability to see it.  At the time of its release back in 2009, I would have had to travel 300 miles to view this movie in exactly “1” Manhattan cinema.  Yes I said “1”!  Well surely it must have been a movie that just wouldn’t have had wide appeal with two bit actors and a measly budget.  Not so!!  The movie stars Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly.  Their movie credits include such critically acclaimed works as, A Beatiful Mind (Oscar Winning), the DaVinci Code, and The Tourist.  The reason that this movie was kept from America was the “controversy” of its subject; evolution.  What most educated 1st world nations accept as fact, we here in America are still on the fence about.  And apparentlythe last thing we can handle is any form of rational discussion on the topic, something that this movie would have most certainly provided.  It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I discovered that Netflix had it in their library for ondemand streaming.  Oh joy!!  I normally nod off pretty early in the evening but when I settled down to watch this cinematic work, I was transfixed.  You must see it, if only to honor the man who dared to speak the truth, a truth he could not ignore, a truth that nearly destroyed his life. 

Happy Birthday Chuck!!!!

James Howard Kunstler

Image by Dean Terry via Flickr

Thought I would share a recent email exchange I had with James Howard Kunstler over the downside of planetary rescaling.  I think we both agree that there is only one direction for humanity, given the current state of affairs.  The point I was trying to make was although globalization has been for the most part a negative, there are some upsides that will be sorely missed in the massive scale back that Jim predicts is inevitable.  Namely, in my opinion, we will see a dramatic rise of regional violence or what might be referred to as “Balkanization”.  As communities become more insular and localized there will no doubt be a de-homogenization of the human species.  That’s great if you like diversity but not so great if you champion the cause of greater peace and harmony.  Here’s the exchange below:

________________________________________________________________________________________

Jim,

Love the podcast and the books.  One thing about your predictions has left me unsettled, a topic not yet addressed.  If we move to a smaller scale society and away from globalization will this not have the effect of Balkanizing the world?  I think one of the great advantages of our modern world has been to open communication and dialogue between citizens of Earth.  This homogenization of society in many ways has led to less conflict between people. I am not suggesting that we should remain in our hyper-consumer, car addicted fantasy.  I just worry that in an effort to curb our consumptive ways that we are going to create a new era of regional conflicts.  I suppose you could argue that this is inevitable either way.  As resources (water, gas, minerals, etc.) dwindle, conflict is nearly unavoidable.  Just thought that the topic would be good for the podcast.  Keep up the great work and say “hey” to Duncan!

Take Care,
Jim Spignardo

________________________________________________________________________________________

From: kunstler james howard [mailto:XXXXXXXXXXX]
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 8:49 AM
To: jim@XXXXXXXXX

Subject: Re: Podcast Topic

On Jan 27, 2011, at 11:44 AM, Jim Spignardo wrote:

If we move to a smaller scale society and away from globalization will this not have the effect of Balkanizing the world?  I think one of the great advantages of our modern world has been to open communication and dialogue between citizens of Earth.

Well, sure. of course.

You may like "diversity" et cetera, but the trajectory of events is not based on your personal preferences.

I certainly do expect more friction between various groups and tribes of people contesting for dwindling resources.

Jim

James Howard Kunstler

“It’s All Good”

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Jim

I agree it’s not based on my personal preferences whatsoever, or yours for that matter.  For the record, my preferences aren’t for the continued devastation of our planet at all costs.  My point (although poorly made) is that not much discussion has been paid to how we could possibly keep alive the parts of globalization that have been positive as we move toward smaller scale societies.  If anything “diversity” has caused much of the friction, historically speaking.  I see things moving, in its current state, away from diversity (a mocha world if you would)…at least in the short term.   Thanks for the taking the time to respond and keep up the good work.

Take Care,
Jim Spignardo

_________________________________________________________________________________________

From: kunstler james howard [mailto:jhkunstler@XXXXXX]
ent: Friday, January 28, 2011 11:29 AM
To: jim@XXXXXXX

Subject:RE:Podcast Topic

On Jan 28, 2011, at 11:07 AM, Jim Spignardo wrote:

My point (although poorly made) is that not much discussion has been paid to how we could possibly keep alive the parts of globalization that have been positive as we move toward smaller scale societies. 

I just don’t thing we’re gonna, really.

Jim

James Howard Kunstler

“It’s All Good”

________________________________________________________________________________________

Jim,

That is a sad and miserable portrait that you’re painting. So how do we, as a society , soften the blow? I suppose that’s a topic for a much longer discussion.

Take Care,
Jim Spignardo

________________________________________________________________________________________

Not really. The future I depicted in my "World Made By Hand" novel and it’s sequel is real different from ours, but it’s not miserable.

Globalism was an anomalous set of conditions. Now it’s passing. We’ll be more focused on our own region, for the better.

Jim

James Howard Kunstler

“It’s All Good”

 

 

If you are interested in more of JH Kunstler’s ideas and predictions see the right navbar for a feed of his weekly article and subscribe to the KunstlerCast Podcast.

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Mr. Jackson lays out an extremely disheartening and powerful look at the damage that humankind has inflicted upon the oceans.  There really can be no doubt that we are continuing to write own epitaph unless we do something dramatic to change our ways.  This is no longer about fluorescent light bulbs and hybrid cars.  We need to fundamentally restructure society in order to overcome the challenges that lie ahead of us.  That begins with the ability to accept honest truths and the courage to sacrifice in ways we (at least in Western societies) have not done in 100’s of years.  The most powerful statement issued by Mr. Jackson comes in the last 30 seconds of this 18 minute clip.  I recommend replaying it multiple times and letting anyone who will listen hear it!

Centro bus stop.JPGMoney well spent?  That’s a real good question.  As one of the only people I know who rides the bus, I can’t see how this will do anything to increase ridership or as the grant money is intended, encourage bus usage.  The same 5 people who ride the bus now will just find it a little (very little) more convenient.  Of this small number, the vast majority ride the bus out of necessity, not for some sort of moral or environmental concern.  Without an $8.5 million grant from the Feds, they would still have no other choice to get from point A to point B.  Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for making the lives of the less fortunate more comfortable.  My argument is that funds spent on mass transit, when there are limited funds to go around, need to be focused and spent on projects that have some chance of seeing a return on investment and increasing the viability of mass transit.  I firmly believe that you can have your new Transit/Hub center and encourage more riders.  I just haven’t seen any plan for that yet though.  Only the future will tell.  For the record, I’m not holding my breath.  For the full scoop or at least as much as is reported by the only newspaper left in Syracuse, click the link below.

Centro receives millions from feds for new downtown Syracuse bus hub | Syracuse.com

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Why Doesn’t the Media Interrogate Tea Partiers’ Beliefs? – Newsweek

This a honest examination of the "kid-glove" handling that the media has been giving the Tea Party movement.  Many of the points stated in the article are things that I have been repeating myself or at least inquiring about.  Here are some interesting quotes:


"But what if what motivates them is ignorance? A CBS/New York Times poll showed that 44 percent of Tea Partiers believe their taxes have gone up under President Obama, and only 2 percent believed they have gone down, even though, in fact, Obama has cut taxes."

"Likewise, a University of Washington poll found Tea Partiers to be roughly twice as likely to have negative attitudes about African-Americans and immigrants as the general population. Might it be possible that the Tea Partiers who profess no racial motivation are, let’s say, not entirely aware of their own visceral motivations?"


I would hazard a guess that most get their news from FOX and therefore ignorance is high on the motivating factors.  What’s more astonishing is that ignorance does not translate to uneducated.  The profile of a Tea Partier is middle-aged, male, white, and college educated.  The frustration expressed by this movement is shared by all but I fear that this is the worst group to carry that frustration forward into action, action that would result in a very intolerant, mis-guided state similar to the post World War II, McCarthy era.

Our own undoing

It’s hard to argue that when all is said and done, humanity will destroy itself.  Yes imagethere are all kinds of potential  calamities that could bring us to our demise but  they really are long shots.  Meteors crashing to the Earth and annihilating life in the blink of eye has been done before.  Super volcanoes blotting out the sun and smothering the planet with ash and toxic gas is oh so Holly Wood.  But when it comes right down to it though, life on planet Earth for Homo Sapien is going to consist of a lot of events – starvation, war, disease, ecological catastrophes, over-population, energy deficits, etc.  And every one of these will have our own DNA all over them.  We have now reached a point in human history where we can create massive change in the blink of an eye – both good and bad.  Looking back we will probably mark the early 21st century as the beginning of the end of the dominance of humankind upon planet Earth.  I foresee humans existing for 1000s more years but not in the way we have become accustomed to.  It is also very possible that we will rise once again to assert our supremacy over all other creatures.  I only hope that the second time we can learn from our self-centered ways and figure out how to live in harmony with all life. 

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The price of our oil addiction – CNN.com 

In light of the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, I think it’s high time we start asking ourselves some real tough questions about our oil consumption practices.  We need to begin to connect the dots between our gluttonous consumer lifestyles and the mess that is unfolding before our eyes.  This article is a well written explanation of the damage our addiction is doing to our planet but also our society.

The crack addict needs the dealer; the trafficker needs the producer; and each is embedded in an immense empire of shady government officials,mules, cartel acolytes and peasant growers, as well as a vast shadow world of drug barons, security forces and corrupt governments.

…90 percent of our transportation is fueled by oil; 90 percent of all goods involve oil in some way; and 95 percent of our food products require oil. (To raise one cow and deliver it to market requires more than 250 gallons of oil.) Globally, the world consumes more than 80 million barrels every day; the United States alone accounts for one-quarter of that. According to most industry expectations, by 2025 global oil consumption will increase by more than 50 percent…

By conservative oil industry estimates there were almost 7,000 oil spills between 1970 and 2000, more than one each day (the real figure might be twice or three times that number).

Our oil addiction is hugely destructive, defies logic and is nearly impossible to break. But unlike crack and tobacco, we will eventually run out of oil.

Something has to give.  We need to start viewing every single policy and law through a post-oil filter before it is too late.  It is no coincidence that as we attempt to supplement our oil addiction with other carbon-based resources that tragedy has struck again.  One only needs to read the headlines about the multitude of coal mine disasters that have happened in the last few years, to understand what I am referring to.  I don’t want those deaths on my conscience.  How about you?

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Christopher Hitchens 

A very worthy read and something that I have been saying for a long time.  If the Vatican is a state, or deems itself as such,  then it should have to pay taxes and be subject to all matters and treatment that nation states receive, good and bad.  So, if you want your diplomatic immunity for your child rapists then we can expel your diplomats (priests and bishops) from U.S. soil.  Or the alternative is to maintain you’re merely a religion and prepare yourself for the hammer of justice.

OFFICIAL Position of the US Department of State – For human rights purposes, the Vatican is not a state.

Why is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

 
 
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Why is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate MagazineWhy is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate MagazineWhy is the Obama administration siding with the Vatican? – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

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In an effort to underscore the ridiculousness of the Islamic ban on depictions of Mohammed, everyone is encouraged to put pen to paper Moor whatever media you use to depict the head honcho of the Muslim world.  Don’t misunderstand the reasoning here.  This is not an attempt to ridicule Islam or an effort to stir up anti-muslim sentiment.   People have been threatened with death and even killed for making a cartoon!  No religion, government or individual should be allowed to terrorize someone over what amounts to freedom of expression.  Maybe by creating so many depictions we will just create way too many targets for the zealots.  And ultimately they will surrender their campaign of terror.  So here’s my offering to the cause. 

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