Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just a bit of fun.

Thinking back over the last few weeks I am struck by the "mistakes" made by the Republican line up for President.

Lets hope that if one of them gets elected to that post (Horror of horrors!) they don't make even more mistakes. Mistakes made when you have the kind of power that the President of the United States has, could end in the demise of us all!

I will begin my list with those gaffs of Michelle Bachman - ladies first.
"If elected I will close the Iranian Embassy in Tehran." It was closed, by President Carter, in 1980.
"Hurricane Irene was a divine message from God because we are not balancing our budget." No comment from me here!
"The HPV vaccine (to prevent sexually transmitted diseases) causes mental retardation." Here I wonder if she had the vaccine! (It does not cause mental retardation - in case you are wondering.)

To continue, let's move on to Rick Perry.
He got the date of the election in 2012 wrong - it is on November 6th 2012 not November 12th 2012. (To be fair to him, it has only been since 1845 that the date has been set as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.)
He is apparently also ignorant about when our youth is first allowed to vote - it is at age 18, not age 21 as he seems to think! Age 21 is when they are first legally allowed to drink alcohol. To set the record straight, they can drive at 16 (Too young in my opinion.) Serve in the armed forces at 18 (Way too young for anyone - I would make it 65 years of age for that privilege. Better yet make it MANDATORY for ANY politician of ANY age to serve in the front line if we get into a war!. That ought to drastically cut down on the number of wars we get into!)
He forgot the name of one of the three agencies that he wants to close down.
Here I must give him credit for saying that he is not good at debates! After all those blunders perhaps he should avoid speeches too? Certainly I would be EXTREMELY NERVOUS about letting him loose in The White House!

Lets move on to Mr Cain, although as he is out of the race it seems pointless to poke fun at him too. But I just can't resist!
He mistakenly thought that China was "developing" nuclear weapons! Hey don't laugh, who can keep up with all those countries that have nuclear weapons nowadays?
He thinks the US recognises the government of Taiwan. (We stopped recognising it 32 years ago!) I don't suppose China minds if the US President thinks we still recognise them. A minor mistake? Whats a little mistake between friends?
He asked some reporters interviewing him what Obama's policy was on Libya! I mean there was hardly anything about Libya on the news. Was there?
But he made up for all his errors with his strong character!

I'd start on Newt now, but I might run out of space.

And I have to pause to have a good laugh. Or perhaps I should have a nervous breakdown?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Once upon a time . . .

. . . . there were millions of Bison, Passenger Pigeons, Ducks, small furry animals, fish and other animals - and just a few people. "Harvesting" some of these creatures was not a problem, you went out and got a duck for dinner and fed the family, or a deer and fed the community and your family for several days. A fishing trip brought about a change of diet, fish, crabs and shellfish. No problem. The population of "Food animals", was large, seemingly inexhaustible.

But now we are no longer few, we number in the millions, indeed the hundreds of millions. We know now that the "Wild food", is not inexhaustible and in fact many have become extinct - like the Passenger Pigeon that once numbered in the billions - or almost extinct like the Bison, and many fish and birds.

But do we change our habits? Of course not, we continue to hunt our "Inexhaustible" wild food to the point of extinction. And as we are many, inexorably growing in numbers and becoming increasingly clever in ways of catching our wild heritage, the pressure on them increases daily.

Also we now not only use these creatures for our food we use them for pet food, fertilizer, animal feed, any use that will bring in a profit, with no thought to what it is doing to us and our environment.

Some of the worst slaughter happens to animals we cannot even see, such as Oysters and Menhaden. Clean water is necessary for the survival not just of the country's animal, bird and fish populations but also for us. We too need clean water and air. Our greed for more money blinds us to this need. Oysters and Menhaden spend their whole lives, 24 hours a day, cleaning the waters of the Chesapeake Bay for example. So what do we do? We remove them. We eat the Oysters, and as we cannot eat all that are caught we ship the rest to other parts of the world. We can't eat the Menhaden, so we feed them to our animals, and to our pets, and to fish that we can eat, and for fertilizer.

So a miracle of efficiency is removed from the Bay and the Bay dies. Now we have to spend Billions of dollars to clean the Bay!! We had the worlds most efficient cleaners working at doing just that 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for free! Now we have removed them and will have to spend, probably more money than they brought in in the form of taxes to the State treasury, to clean the Bay.

Of course I should not ignore the fact that the removal of almost all of the Menhaden and Oysters has made a few people very rich and the attempts to clean the Bay will make more people rich. (This will never happen because more rich people will bribe the politicians to remove the teeth from any attempts to clean the Bay.) They want to continue to dump chicken manure into the Bay - because that is a cheaper way to dispose of it. And to pour billions of gallons of fertilizer, weedkiller and insecticide into the Bay - in pursuit of the "perfect" lawn - as millions of homeowners continue to do, because it is their "Right" to have a better lawn than their neighbors, even though they can see the dead fish floating off of their beaches, killed by their poisons washed into the water, and by the poisoned insects that the fish ate. Even though they can see the lack of Bay grasses that used to be there to nurture fish, crabs and other creatures essential to the Bays health, killed by their weedkillers. None of this seems to matter - as long as they can have that "Perfect" weed and insect free lawn.

My lawn is my idea of a perfect lawn. It has had no fertilizer on it, and yet it grows. (Perhaps because I let the grass clippings lay there) No insecticides are sprayed - there are still a few natural "Insecticides" around - called birds. No weedkillers - because I don't have any "weeds". I bet that surprises you! No, I don't have any "weeds", I have violets, I have, red, white and pink clover, I have a profusion of tiny yellow flowers, small red flowers, and countless other flowers that I can't begin to name. When I walk out onto my lawn and see the flowers, with the bees and other insects working them, I see a beautiful lawn. I look next door and see a boring green lawn, just one color. (The raft of dead fish float just off of his lawn) Look back at mine and it is lush with color, generous in its variety. So much so that I am reluctant to mow it!

We are killing not just our wonderful variety of animals, fish and birds as fast as we can, we are killing ourselves, and even more scary our children and grandchildren. How many children suffer from allergies and asthma now? A lot. Many times the numbers that suffered from those insidious ailments and afflictions just a few years ago. Of my parents, my friends, relatives and neighbors, I honestly can't recall any. But most of my grandchildren and their friends suffer from asthma and allergies. This has happened in two or three generations. What is to come if we continue to poison our home (The Earth) in the name of profit and greed?

Already we can see that it costs more to put back what we destroyed, but still we refuse to do the right thing. Corruption is so rampant in all walks of business, government and politics that we stand almost no chance of correcting our misdeeds.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it time for a political comment? More of an economic comment really.

I was watching Fareed Zacharia on CNN this morning. For those of you who don't know him, he is an Economist who was born in India. He is also very intelligent and has a grasp on economic issues that keep on surprising me. He seems to cut to the meat of the situation or problem every time.

One of his guests this morning was John Huntsman - one of the Republican contenders for the Presidential nomination. If I were Obama I would more worried about John Huntsman than I would be about most of the other candidates. He made a lot of sense. There were still some problems, in my mind anyway. For one thing he supports cutting taxes, which I think is a mistake. It seems to me that we are way under taxed. Pretty obvious really when you consider that we borrow 40% of all that we spend! You couldn't keep that up at home for long, could you. But of course it is an easy vote getter to say "I want to cut your taxes".

The facts, as Zacharia pointed out, are that our tax rate at present is the LOWEST that it has been in more than 60 years! It is also the lowest of the top 28 world economies. In other words our tax rate is the lowest of the top 28 economies in the world. And it doesn't seem to be helping does it? He then pointed out that growth in all areas has historically been better when taxes were higher! Under Reagan and under Clinton for example.

Our infrastructure - roads, airports etc - standing in the world has dropped dramatically as had a long list of standings, not least of which was from number 1 in University graduations to number 14. Our output of graduates in the scientific areas was even worse.

Seems to me that we need an increase in taxes. And we should use the money to pay down our debt, to rebuild our roads, airports etc, and to help our young people to go into the maths and sciences at university. We should also encourage saving - remember when we used to be encouraged to save? I do. Those savings were used to loan money to businesses.

And while I'm at it, when you go to war you need to ask everyone to help and to sacrifice. That has always been the way. Now we just sit in front of the TV and watch the wars happening, like it was some sort of "Reality Show". I'm sure people would respond if we were told "Hey we are at war, we need everyone to pitch in. Cut your use of electricity, gasoline, or whatever is necessary. Oh and by the way, there will be a 'war tax', an across the board tax of 5% of every ones income to pay for the war (or whatever amount is deemed necessary)" That would bring home to everyone that we are at war. And it might bring it to an end earlier.

Just a few common sense thoughts.