Dance with me

Dance with me

I want to hear your heartbeat

Thumping close against my chest.

Feel your muscles move beneath my hands.

I want to smell your perfume,

Touch the softness of your hair,

See the moonlight sparkle in your eyes

Come to me.

Dance with me.

Dance with me.

Each time I hear the music

Playing low, and soft, and sweet.

Or pulsing loud and urgent in the air.

And when I feel a rhythm

Rising from the rolling surf,

Or from a bird’s wing beating in the wind

I reach for you.

Dance with me.

Dance with me.

My body moves more slowly

Not with youth’s incessant spring

Nor with  summer’s endless strength.

But when you touch my outstretched hand

And smile with sparkling eyes

My heart remembers what it felt

When we met.

Dance with me.

Dance with me.

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ISIS

America has the attention span of a cat.  We move from issue to issue quickly and tend to view each problem we face as if it were a unique thing, unrelated to other, broader problems.

United States was born in an outburst of oppositional behavior disorder. We continue to exhibit symptoms. We tend to see issues from a strictly oppositional perspective.  If it is different, it is bad. .If it is bad, it is a threat. If it is a threat, it must be eliminated. We extend this sense of opposition to everything in our world. Capitalism is either good, or it is bad. Sugar is either good, or it is bad. Fossil fuels are either good, or bad. We have no sense of nuance so every position on every topic must be won, completely, or the argument is viewed as being lost. Every conflict is seen as unique. All previous alliances and opponents are forgotten in the heat of the current issue, which can be won. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

The Middle East is playing by a completely different set of rules.

In the 7th century AD, a dispute arose over who should succeed Mohamed as the leader of the Muslim world. One group, now known as Sunni, supported the succession of Abu Bakr, and the other, now known as Shia, backed Ali ibn Abi Talib. The two factions have fought ever since, often in very bloody and very brutal ways.. The Sunni faction spread Islam West and South through North Africa beginning in the decade following the death of the Prophet. It was a bloody, convert or die process. Shia Islam spread in the old Levant (Syria, Jordan), and east through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Today there are significant Shia populations in Turkey and Yemen as well.

While there have been frequent, brief rests, these two factions have been killing each other since 678 AD. That’s how far back their attention span goes. ISIL is merely the most recent incarnation of this battle, and even a surface read of history will show that is not the most viscous.

The conflict between Sunni and Shia predates the entire history of the United States by more than a thousand years. What Hubris we must have to think we can solve it. While over the years there have been different organizing principles in the Islamic conflict, both sides have found that finding a common enemy can help achieve a short term victory. For the past 50 years or so, The United States has filled that role. Every attempt we make to “solve” the Middle East problem solidifies our position as the “The Great Satan” against whom Islam must battle. But, as Bernard Hayke wrote in a recent New York Times op ed piece, for the Sunni and Shia, “the enemy of their enemy is still their enemy”. Shia and Sunni will never unite. They may ally themselves, temporarily, against a common enemy. But the United States is only serving to bolster one side or the other in this eternal conflict between two resolute opponents.

There is no strategy that will lead us to victory here. We can form a coalition to defeat al Quida, or Boca Haram, or Al Shabaz, or ISIL. But unless we find a way to extricate ourselves from that long standing religious war, we will find ourselves playing a continuous, giant, lethal game of Whack-a-Mole, a game with no winners.

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Good bye Mork

Albert Camus wrote an essay titled An Absurd Reasoning in which he argued that there is really only one serious question humans have to ask themselves. Is life, or is life not, worth living? It is, essentially, a question each of us must ask ourselves, consciously or not, each day. This morning one of my favorite actors decided that it was not. Robin Williams took his own life today.

Ironically, I watched one of my favorite movies last night. Robin Williams played a ‘Fagan” like character (Fagan was the evil character that held Oliver Twist in bondage and forced him to steal). August Rush is about joy, music, the search for love, and that desperate question posed by Camus. If you haven’t seen it, do.

In the film each of the main characters reaches that place. That point of decision about going on, about the value of the life they find themselves living. For the characters the answer, while not easy, was simple. Life is worth it, even in the worst of times. But life, if it is to be lived, carries with it a responsibility to act.

I cannot tell what was in Robin Williams mind or heart at the end. We have all been in terrible places, with little hope, and less light. But to find life no longer worth living, one must indeed be in a hopeless, helpless state.

I have no idea what waits for us beyond the boundary line. It would be nice if there were more. But even if there isn’t, I hope that by my end I will have made a difference in someone’s life beyond my own. Robin Williams can count me among the many he has helped to smile, and cry, and laugh, and act.  I feel badly that he couldn’t see his value any more.

 

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The Pipeline

The Pipeline

No. Not that pipeline, the other pipeline.

We should build a pipeline from San Diego, just across from Tijuana, to Brownsville, Texas,

that’s about 1,600 miles. Such a pipeline would connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Of course, safeguards to prevent cross ocean species migration would have to be installed at both ends, but it would be a relatively simple procedure.  An oil pipeline of the same length would cost about four (4) Billion dollars. Since a water pipeline would not have to be made of steel, the costs would be significantly less than that. But even if there were no savings, it would be worth it.

Let’s look at three major problems that will cost us billions over the next ten years or so.

  1. The lack of control at our southern border.

There have been many calls for a fence along the border, but it is a political hot potato. We need a steady flow of immigrants across the border for many more reasons than I care to go into here. A pipeline, with its attendant buffer and security protection, would provide an effective barrier to illegal immigration and funnel cross border traffic to legitimate crossing points. Huge savings in the cost of Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement, and Homeland Security would accrue. Additionally, it would force us to reckon, finally, with the issue of recreational drugs. That flow would slow to a trickle. Local resources now devoted to law enforcement, judicial proceedings, and incarceration would be freed up for more constructive uses.

  1. The continuing drought in the southwest.

While I do not want to get into a discussion about Climate Change, the fact of life in the southwest, including California, is long term drought. Even with slight natural improvements in rainfall, it is likely that the loss of crops will cost us billions in increased cost of food and the loss of jobs that would result. Our growing population is putting tremendous pressure on the limited water resources throughout the country, but especially in the southwest. By constructing de-salinization plants at strategic points along the pipeline, fresh water could be delivered where it was needed to irrigate crops, provide drinking water, and supply water for industrial purposes. Sale of this water could generate significant revenues, including taxes at the local, state, and federal level. It is likely that the significant depletion of the aquifers in the region could be at least stabilized, if not reversed. The process creates a salt sludge that could be pumped back into the pipe to re-join the ocean, or directed to shallow flats where solar evaporation would produce sea salt in huge quantities for industrial use. That is, after all, how sea salt has been harvested for thousands of years.

If what we are told about climate change and the rising sea level is even partially true (forget about the cause for a moment) the pipeline might even slow that process down a little.

  1. The now long term unemployment, especially among those under thirty.

The construction of such a pipeline would require a huge labor force. Even after completion, maintenance and operations would still require significant manpower. Additionally, at each de-salinization  station  communities would spring up to provide housing, schooling, provisioning, and support services. The boom to local economies would be incredible.

I’m sure there are pitfalls I haven’t considered. After all, I’m a cook, not a construction engineer. But I am also sure there are benefits I haven’t identified either. On the whole, I am sure it’s not a worse idea than, say, oh Hell, pick any idea the government has had in ten or so years.

Let’s build a pipeline. Let’s make water one of the few things we don’t have to worry about anymore.

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Why Romney

The other day I was asked an interesting question.  It came from an old friend from many years ago.  She is a person whose intelligence and perspective I respect and whose opinion I value.  She knew me well in the very early 1970’s when I supported McGovern, hated Nixon, and lived a very, let’s say Bohemian, lifestyle.

Her question?

“How can the person I knew then like Romney now?”

I saw and responded to that question after a particularly frustrating day at work and I am afraid it became a disjointed rant rather than a thoughtful response. She deserved more. The question has succeeded in causing me to think long and hard about who I was, who I am and why these two pictures appear so different to her.  This open letter, a copy of which I am sending to her, is my attempt, not to explain so much, but to explore why I have made this seemingly unlikely choice.

Let me begin by describing who I was then, from my perspective.  When I met Pam I had just blown into San Francisco for the second time.  It was 1974 and while I drove in that time, my main mode of transportation back then was hitchhiking.  I have crossed this country from water to water four times, hitchhiking three times and driving once. (That doesn’t count the times I have flown over Middle America).  I supported myself cooking at whatever restaurant or club would put me on, by picking up what odd jobs or tasks I could, and by panhandling.  I lived in the moment with a generally free and easy manner.  I was the hot dog cook at Candlestick Park, and a macramé artist in Embarcadero Square. The group of people I lived with were special. We shared a lifestyle and an “I can take care of myself, just leave me alone” kind of attitude, living each day as fully as possible.

My philosophy and political position then was very simple.  I hated Richard Nixon more than I can describe.  To me he embodied everything evil in the human race.  He placed his own success above that of any other consideration; above country, above humanity, and most of all, above the interests of me and my friends. He aggregated and exercised power in a way I had not imagined could be possible in the United States. Don’t get me wrong, this did not mean I was a Democrat.  Lynden Johnson was only slightly less problematic.  He succeeded in doing no less damage than Nixon, but I never got a sense of evil or a sense that he was putting his own interests ahead of the country’s.  A huge feature in my politics then was the Vietnam War. I don’t remember now how I arrived at the number, I used a calculation that included personal notes, government statistics, and some probabilities, but the wall in Washington DC, on which the names of the Vietnam War dead are inscribed, includes 461 persons with whom I personally interacted.  And I didn’t go to Vietnam.  I have tried three times but I have never been able to get close enough to that Black Wall to check.  I break down before I can get within 50 feet.  Even as I write this, I am crying for those I, we, have lost.

I served, with no distinction whatsoever, with the Marine Corps as a hospital corpsman.  It was no serendipitous accident that I was a corpsman.  From my earliest memories of my Mother I have had one, singular, absolute principle.  The Abrahamic tradition states it succinctly…Thou shalt not kill.  I do not recognize exceptions or corollaries to this mandate.  I will not kill another human being. I will not support the killing of another human being.  This has put me in conflict with both parties over the years and with many of my friends.  Because of this I cannot support any war.  I cannot support capital punishment, euthanasia, or abortion. I do not view the murder of Osama bin Laden as anything more than revenge, No better than the retribution killings that make tribal warfare in the Middle East the root of most of the political turmoil over there.

While that was, and remains, my “Prime Directive”, it is not my only consideration.  I believed then, and I believe now, that the American people are different from any other group in history.  Not on the individual level, but in the aggregate.  I have travelled extensively.  I have cooked on every continent except Australia and have met and talked with peasants, fishermen, shopkeepers, government officials, and even one head of state.  What makes us different, what makes us special is our diversity.  E Pluribus Unum,  Out of many, one. In France, Greece, and Turkey, there is an ethnicity that is Greek, Turkish, or French.  There is a commonality of purpose and a relatively homogeneous point of view.  We have never accepted a limited ethnic perspective.  My Italian mother married my Scotch-Irish father and begat an American, not a Scotch-Irish-Italian

In our earliest days as a proposed nation we recognized the polyglot nature of our future.  While they could not tell the future, and would most likely have not liked what they saw even if they could, they did find a way to prepare for it.  The Constitution of the United States, to me, is now and was then, biblical in its importance.  I was born with every right to do anything and everything I want to do.  As a civilization we have agreed to limit ourselves somewhat by yielding some of our inherent rights, which go well beyond life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to government.  We decided that our common good required the Federal government to defend all of us from external threats.  We yielded the right of retribution to civil authority.  We agreed to live together under the rule of law but were very suspicious of those who would apply those rules.  We limited them severely, and put in mechanisms to add and subtract the powers of the Federal government as we saw the need.  We did not give the government the right to expand to meet its perceived need.  We required that it come to us and ask for that expansion.

So that is who I was, and why I supported McGovern and the principles of “flower power”.  I was fiercely independent, suspicious of power, secure in my beliefs and accepting of your right to your beliefs.  I believed in limited government, that the best solutions to local problems were to be developed locally, and that the way to effect change was to first live the change, then petition the change, and then vote for change.

So, why Romney?

Barrack Obama came on the scene quickly and rose rapidly to power.  He took office in a swirl of high expectations, great hope, and the promise of change.  I have ever been suspicious of anyone who promised too much.  “If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.” But Obama was inspirational.  I was very proud of America when we rose above our differences and elected him.  I did not vote for him, but I was excited by the potential his election held.

I did not vote for him because I felt we faced huge challenges.  America was in a dismal state of affairs; Mired in two wars, facing economic collapse, struggling with an immigration nightmare on the border, and growing polarization in Congress. I believed we needed a proven leader, one with a record of achievement.   Obama had no experience.  His only qualification was that he was smart.  But to use his own quote, “a lot of people are smart.”  He went from academia to street politics in Chicago.  His ideas were all theoretical and not grounded in reality or in experience.  I believed then he did not have the chops for the job. It’s like making a good culinary school grad the executive chef of the Ritz Carlton.

I was very disappointed, but not surprised, at the results of the last four years.  Congress is supposed to fight with each other.  That’s where we sort out our problems and decide how to deal with them.  An immigration solution from Arizona’s perspective is very different from an immigration solution from Oregon’s perspective.  Energy decisions made in California are very different from energy decisions made in Alaska, or Virginia.  Congress is supposed to sort this out.  But like any other diverse group, they need a leader.  Under our system it is the President who is supposed to provide that leadership.  For four years now there has been no leadership.  He has relied on the Congress to stumble into solutions as they can with no real direction or support. This allows him to take credit for the good and distance himself from the bad; not very presidential.  I have about had it with his blaming Bush for the mess he inherited, blaming the republicans for obstructionism, and pitting one group of Americans against the other.  There will not be agreement in Congress until we have a President who can bring the two sides together.  Obama has been congressional in his performance.  Viewing his mandate as though it came from one segment of the population and trying to make that constituency happy that even though they are not getting what they want, the other side isn’t getting what they want either.  Meanwhile the debt grows to un-graspable levels.  More people are out of work than at any time in our history and there are no solutions being proposed.  Energy costs are skyrocketing.  Every delivery truck that pulls up at my business to deliver food now has a “fuel charge” because they can’t respond with price increases fast enough to meet the need.  The Fed has reduced interest rates to 0.  What’s next? Paying people to borrow money?  Obama seems to think that giving companies money (GM, the banks, Solyndra) and letting them spend it will stimulate the economy.  It hasn’t, it won’t, it can’t.  Businesses aren’t going to hire because the government gave them money.  They will only hire people when there is a business need to do so; when demand increases.  In this instance, Romney is no more correct than Obama.  Tax cuts for businesses won’t stimulate hiring either.  Only increased demand will cause a company to hire.  But when demand rises, the level of taxes will become important and Romney has the best plan for that.

So I am facing an election between two very different candidates;  O’bama, the incumbent, and Romney, the challenger.  It is not a hard choice for me.  My decision does not revolve around the softer social issues.  I don’t care who you sleep with and I don’t want to have any decision in whether you marry the one you love.  That’s totally your business and the government shouldn’t have anything to say in the matter. While I cannot support abortion, I make that decision personally and you should be allowed to make your decision, personally.  But don’t ask me to pay for it, directly or through taxes.  You should be absolutely free to choose when and with whom you become a parent.  Your choice of birth control is, and should be yours alone.  But don’t make me pay for it, directly or through taxes.  I am not religious and I don’t care if, where, or when you express your religious belief.  It is not likely to change my opinion.  Do not preach to me, though.  I have no patience for someone who thinks that just because they believe something, I must as well.  I am not here to validate you or your political or religious positions.

My decision can be found in the answer to three questions.

  1. Which candidate is most likely to reduce the size and scope of government?
  2. Which candidate is most likely to approach the role of President in an active, effective, leadership oriented fashion?
  3. Which candidate is most likely to have a plan to grow the economy?

These were the same questions I asked four years ago and now Obama has had four years to show me his style and I don’t like it.  I can’t be sure Romney will be any better.  I am sure he can’t be any worse.  Obama took Busch’s shovel and kept digging.  Now the hole is almost too deep to get out of.  I will vote for Romney, but if he picks up Obama’s shovel, I will be done with him too.  He has four years.  Get it done, or get out.  Don’t blame Bush or Obama.  Fix it.

So, Pam.  I haven’t changed much.  I’m less patient, more experienced, and my knees are shot.  But as another old friend of mine used to say “I may not be a genius, but I can stack rocks and I can tell which pile is biggest”  After four years, Obama doesn’t have much of a stack.

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Civilian Casualties

While many things have happened in the last couple of days, two are of particular interest. First, four young Palestinian boys were accidently killed by Israeli naval gunfire. The Israelis have indicated that the incident was a regrettable accident and have apologized for it, in their way.  Second, a Malaysian Airlines 777 was shot down by a surface to air missile over Eastern Ukraine by Russian separatists. This was apparently a regrettable mistake which I believe, once the dust settles, they will also apologize for. The airwaves, newspapers, social media, and cable news will be filled with arguments and explanations related to who actually pushed the button, who owned the BUK launcher, why the airline was in such dangerous space, and a dozen other completely irrelevant issues. The world has expressed horror and outrage over both of these events.

It is always a tragedy when civilians become caught in the jaws of war. And the world is always shocked and outraged when it happens. My question is why? Not why do these things happen, but why are we astonished. What other result can we expect? Once we loose the wolf, should we really be surprised when the sheep begin to go missing? What do we really think war is? And who do we think can escape its ferocious appetite?

Soldiers call it the fog of war. But it is more than that. War is a beast which once unleashed will always kill indiscriminately. It will obey no command to stop. It will recognize no friend or master. It will devour everything in its path until it runs out of food or fuel. As long as we choose to use war as a tool, the beast will be among us and innocents will die.

We need to get over our squeamishness, or find another way to solve our problems. Meanwhile, we should grieve, not for the dead, but for the living.  As Plato said so many years ago, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

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Sending “Advisors” into Iraq, Again

When I was 7 years old I did a very stupid thing. Of course it was neither the first nor the last stupid thing I did, but it informed my decision process from then on. I grew up in a very small town, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, which lies at the base of the bridge leading to Cape Cod. It was a true small town, rural, quiet, and closely knit. Late one afternoon I was walking in the woods just a few minutes from my house and came across a ground nest of yellow jacket wasps. I watched them for a time from a distance and the more I watched the more I became convinced I needed to do something to make that part of the woods safe from those stinging devils. I went home and found, under a tarp in back of my house, a stack of lumber including a 1×4 board about 8 feet long. Creeping up on that nest very carefully I stretched the board out and up over the nest (which was still buzzing with activity) and, with all my strength, smacked that nest. Those wasps were completely unimpressed by the strength of my attack and followed that board back to me. They were not happy. Slapping at my own head like a crazy person I ran back to my house where my mother sprayed me with a garden hose to chase the wasps, and applied liberal amounts of wet baking soda to my face, neck, and head. I was sick for two days and even now, nearly 60 years later, I remain highly sensitive to wasp stings.
As I said, that was not the last time I did something stupid. But it was a very valuable lesson nonetheless. That was the last time I made the mistake of thinking that I could out muscle every problem I faced. It was the last time I assumed that tiny things wouldn’t cause huge problems even if I couldn’t immediately see how. Right now our Congress is debating whether or not to smack a beehive and I am afraid there is not enough baking soda on the planet to fix the unintended consequences of that.

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The Meaning of Life

Whatever your origin myth, there is an over-arching concept that defines humans. We are members of the animal kingdom and share the common characteristics of animated life. The purpose of human life is the same as the purpose of any other form of life on this planet and, presumably, beyond. That purpose is to make more human life. We can, and most do, identify individual sub-purposes for our own lives. For all species, however, the concept of propagation involves more than a simple reproductive strategy. It also involves manipulating the environment to make it more hospitable for future generations. Even the earthworm burrowing into the dirt is constructing shelter and a place to safeguard new life. The roots of plants break up the earth to allow their seeds to take hold and grow. Species develop camouflage, teeth and claws, venom, and a myriad of other techniques all designed to assure the production and sustenance of new life.
For humans, the most sophisticated of animals on this planet, part of that innate reproductive strategy has resulted in an inexorable push to improve the human condition. The individual purpose of each human, to generate wealth, to care for the helpless, to feed the hungry, to discover cures for disease, to shepherd a flock, provides gratification and comfort to us. For me, life would be individually pointless without a service component. For others, there are equally important individual concepts that give their life meaning. But as we look at ourselves through the prism of history we can see the erratic, sometimes bumbling, often conflicting, forward movement to improve the quality of human life. We have certainly suffered some significant setbacks along the way, but always the long view is forward.
I do not see, even in this optimistic view, a universal morality. While there are certain behaviors we can generally agree to be “good” or “bad”, even the most basic principles such as those expressed in the 10 Commandments are relative. Thou shalt not kill comes with a whole host of exceptions and caveats, as does honor your mother and father and every other guiding principle. The Abrahamic tradition does not hold exclusive right to moral thought. The Upanishads, the teachings of Buddha, the spiritualism of the First Americans and virtually all other attempts to explain the mysteries of the universe and to order the behavior of humans are attempts to improve the ability of our children to survive and grow in an ever-changing world. The ability to recognize conflicting ideas and to synthesize a creative thought, the ability to examine one’s own behaviors and affect change, the concept of individualized thought…these are the elements of critical thinking. This is not new or modern. It is what humans have been doing since we’ve been humans. The ability to convert a rock into a sharpened tool to skin an animal is critical thinking at its most elemental. Socrates claimed, and I support the idea, that the unexamined life is not worth living. Following any set of rules without considering the alternatives does not move us forward. It locks us into the past with an unhealthy reliance on the rule giver and a resistance to change, even in the face of a newly discovered truth. 

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Bio-tech

Somewhere in Facebook is a posting about picketing of bio-tech concepts by well-meaning activists. Various opinions have been voiced on the matter, here is mine. 
I have expressed the opinion here on other occasions, that mankind’s time on this planet is marked by an erratic but consistently forward push to improve the human condition. But that progress has not been error free. We have had some significant setbacks over the millennia and must be on guard against that one mistake that wreaks havoc. I am a firm proponent of “sustainability”, but my definition seems to vary significantly from the current concept. The trendy embracing of un-processed, local, and natural foods is laudable but misplaced. These efforts significantly raise the cost and therefore the price of food, making it less likely, not more likely, that the least among us will have access to enough food to stave off hunger. I am pleased that top chefs and high profile celebrities are embracing the idea of nutrition. But if anyone thinks the bottom of our or any society is benefited by these efforts they are missing an important point. I have been involved in the fight against hunger for most of my life. I have learned one absolute and unyielding truth. It is not nutrition until it hits the belly. Food has to be available, accessible, and affordable.
While nutrition is our next challenge, let’s not forget why and how we got to the point where starvation is the exception in the human experience. I have heard, until it is almost sad, that “If you give a man a fish, he will eat today. But if you teach a man to fish, he will eat every day.” That is being extended to include community gardening, small scale aquaculture, and animal husbandry. I have found through hard experience, however, that if you try and teach a hungry man to fish he will eat the bait. Sustainability, to me, has always been better expressed as “Don’t eat the seed corn”.
I recommend to all a book that has been in my collection for years. It was in my mother’s collection before that. “The Hunger Fighters” by Paul de Kruif, published by Harcourt, Brace, and Company in New York, 1928. This book traces the work of food scientists and geneticists from the 1870’s through the early part of the 20th century, including those involved in adapting wheat, corn, meat, and minerals to the needs of an exploding population experiencing an ever-dwindling variety in their diets. It is the story of how our food supply was intentionally changed, not for profit, but to fight hunger, and success in that effort yielded profit. Profit is not the enemy of nutrition. It is the engine of change.
We have an epidemic of obesity in this country and it is growing around the world. It is not the fault of Monsanto or Carlisle, or any other company. Human health is not a simple linear equation, but first we have to get enough food to survive. Obesity indicates that problem may now be solved. Thanks, not derision, is due to those who accomplished that. We Humans used to spend our lives seeking enough calories to stay alive. Now that is an issue of distribution, not agriculture. Making mass produced food nutritious will be a simple fix once the engine’s attention is allowed to move in that direction. Perhaps it will be genetic manipulation that produces plants and animals containing within themselves, the keys to human health. Remember, the engine is profit, not government or social intent. Those are too parochial to be globally effective.

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Politics, Whose Side are you on, anyway?

Seems like everywhere I go
The more I see, the less I know
Michael Franti

Sometimes I find that the words of others can speak my mind more clearly than my own.
I am a fan of Shakespeare, especially his comedies. Watching the scenes unfold in the current Theater Poliltic I am reminded of that famous set of lines in As You Like It;
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women in it merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.”
In staking out their political positions, most of our elected officials and the talking heads in the media are gauging their actions, not with an eye to doing good, but to doing well. Seeking to play the justice but making sure their belly is full “with good capon lined”.
The left appears to be sliding more and more toward reliance on government for the solution to all problems. The concept of socialism has not shown itself to be up to the task of governance. Wherever it is manifest, the flattened standard of living removes neither the valley of poverty nor the peak of excess. It merely transfers to government the power over individual lives. By concentrating so heavily on the distribution of wealth, they are choking off the creation of wealth.
The right, by so firmly embracing “market solutions” is recognizing the peaks and valleys; is prepared to live with the peaks and valleys. They are measuring their success by the mean or by the average but both metrics accept the inevitability of failure. Market solutions concentrate on moving the mean by raising the upper measure. The right is concentrating so narrowly on wealth creation that they give no real attention to distribution.
The poor have no dog in either hunt. They never have. On the left, the vast resources of the economy are funneled into government where politicians dole out only enough to bribe each constituency into yielding more power to the governing elite. The right, jealously guards the wealth creators knowing that their largess will provide them with power. The left blames the wealth creators for poverty. The right blames the underclass for taking resources they did not earn and therefore do not deserve. The media doesn’t care one way or the other. They bark and yip, pushing opinion this way and that, to support whichever master feeds them best.
“A pox on both your houses!” “and your little dog too!”

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