Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Egypt Under the Gun

It's a pity that this requires discussion. When millions of unarmed people are willing to stare down tank treads, discussion should not be necessary - but it is.

Government legitimately exists by consent of the governed. The so-called government of Egypt is a thing of the past. What we have now is an attempt by a gang of thugs to hold a nation hostage. They should be de-fanged.

It might be argued that this is a matter for the Egyptian people, and so it is, but we have armed the thugs over a period of more than a quarter century. That's one of the things we do; we arm thugs. Are we then complicit in their crimes? Maybe that needs some discussion.

We do it closer to home also. Guns are shipped south to the Mexican drug cartels. Guns are sold to minors, criminals, and lunatics at shops and gun shows. Money talks, especially in the Congress of the USA. Maybe that needs some discussion.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Game Goes On

In recent years a popular revolt has been suppressed in Iran and a popular revolt has overthrown the government of Tunisia. The outcome of a very massive popular revolt in Egypt is still unknown.

In Egypt President Mubarak has hung on but it remains to be seen whether he is willing to walk on corpses and to what extent the army will support that.

We are what we are, we do what we do, and it is clear that we have not yet learned how to govern ourselves in a humane, productive and stable manner. Until we do, life, even in what we call "civilization", will sporadically become nasty, brutish and short.

While people in all parts of government can be bought, co-opted, or suborned these problems will remain. Haven't you noticed?

Bigger Storms

Regardless of the cause, NASA's data on mean ocean surface temperatures, both globally and in the tropics, show an undeniable warming trend. This means that there is more energy in the atmosphere and also more water vapor in the atmosphere. This translates into more energetic storms and more precipitation when the moist air encounters cooler air.

The exact way in which this will increase the violence and flooding cannot be predicted without a good computerized weather model, which I do not have. However, we do have some actual data, for example the flooding and the storms that have recently hit Australia and the big rain/snow storms recently in the USA. This is only an indication and not a proper global model, which will vary locally much more than it varies globally because it is so dependent upon the local wind directions.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bravo, Mr. President

Having been critical of the President in past communications, I am now delighted to express my admiration for his speeches at Tucson and today, at Schenectady. At Tucson, he relaxed some of the growing rhetorical tensions promoted by the extreme Right. At Schenectady, he demonstrated his deep involvement in the much needed effort to promote American economic growth. Some even more difficult work lies ahead.

There are three very powerful forces at work to increase the already very large concentrations of wealth and disparities of income. One is the fact that labor is in plentiful supply while natural resources are limited. In addition, ever advancing technology will continue to improve productivity. This means that owners will prosper while workers will not. The third one is the powerful army of
serve-the-rich politicians and professionals who will not readily sacrifice privilege, even for the sake of a stable, humane, and productive social order.

Dealing effectively with these facts will require not only the will to do so but an unprecedented combination of genius and political skills.