Friday, August 1, 2008

Raising the Stakes, or: From Tragedy to Farce

Remember the long defunct Kyoto agreement, that was crafted to save the world? This was about ten years ago, and at the time the expectation was that the catastrophe would come slowly and make itself felt in the second half of the 21st century. No longer. A panel of experts now tells us we have a mere 100 months left (such a pleasing clean number).

If I believed mankind had all of four years left to save the world (which I don't, not for a moment), I wouldn't be writing the article Andrew Simms has just given us. In essence, what he says is that the UK must take drastic and painful measures, and then the Chinese, Indians, Saudis, Brazilians and everyone else will be shamed into following, or inspired into following, or something. A more arrogant and simultaneously naive thought is hardly conceivable.

So how will the UK achieve this act? By emulating the sacrifices of WW2.

The challenge is rapid transition of the economy in order to live within our environmental means, while preserving and enhancing our general wellbeing. In some important ways, we've been here before, and can learn lessons from history. Under different circumstances, Britain achieved astonishing things while preparing for, fighting and recovering from the second world war. In the six years between 1938 and 1944, the economy was re-engineered and there were dramatic cuts in resource use and household consumption. These coincided with rising life expectancy and falling infant mortality. We consumed less of almost everything, but ate more healthily and used our disposable income on what, today, we might call "low-carbon good times".

A National Savings Movement held marches, processions and displays in every city, town and village in the country. There were campaigns to Holiday at Home and endless festivities such as dances, concerts, boxing displays, swimming galas, and open-air theatre - all organised by local authorities with the express purpose of saving fuel by discouraging unnecessary travel. To lead by example, very public energy restrictions were introduced in government and local authority buildings, shops and railway stations. This was so successful that the results beat cuts previously planned in an over-complex rationing scheme. The public largely assented to measures to curb consumption because they understood that they were to ensure "the fairest possible distribution of the necessities and comforts of daily life".

Well, no. There were bombs falling on London, and though Simms doesn't mention them, I'll bet they were more effective at causing change than all those marches. And it's a wee stretch of the imagination to call those years "low carbon good times". How obtuse can a person be?

Anyway, it's telling that throughout the article, chock-filled with alarmist gobbledygook, there is no suggestion of pouring the zillions of $ (or Sterling) all this will cost, into finding the technologies that will enable us to get on with our good lives while freeing ourselves from the yoke of Chaves and the Saudis. That would be the wrong agenda, you understand.



Anonymous said...


Waking up to the reality that our mega-press drives a clown car. So that when they stop these crazy stories spill out "as if they're popular." Or? How many of these stories can you fit inside a telephone booth?

England is suffering from socialism. And, from a shortage of prime ministers who carried the weight of Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher on their shoulders.

Sure. There's a lot of mischief going on. Where, in Ireland, the EU Constitution got kicked in its behind. So Sarkozy says "he'll do it again, and hold another election."

These are not good days for the professionals!

While I am reminded that back in 1974 Nixon resigned. And, ya know what? The mega-press has been reduced to clown status ever since.

Didn't help the press that they hated Ronald Reagan. And, when Reagan didn't care what they wrote; since he controlled his own visuals ... the press labeled him the Teflon Man.

Today, Arik Sharon lays in a coma. Induced by his doctors. But we're 2-1/2 years later into a story where the doctors said "without surgery on his heart valve," the prime minister could die at any minute.

I'd bet oodles of money (cash in envelopes) flows into the doctors' hospitals, funding pet projects. While their reputations did not go south.

Still? Arik breathes.

Someday? Well, in spite of the press, Ronald Reagan surprised ya. When he died, across America the outpouring was so notice-able, the press had only to show up and film it as news.

They couldn't interfere with the grief.


So, the complications to what happened yesterday, and today ... will still show up t'marra. And, beyond.

Will the press look like presstitutes? Sure.

Will Morris Talansky be a rich man? Well, he didn't do what he did do without accepting "cash envelopes."

As if most Israelis don't know.

As if the shinanigans coming out of the clown cars aren't outrageous enough. There's always the loss of goodwill.

Anonymous said...


I wonder what happens on Yom Kippur. When Jews are supposed to go public with their sins. Well? You can't ask God to forgive you for what you've done to Olmert. For such forgiveness, if you play by the rules, you need to go to Olmert, himself.

And, Katsav. Who raped no one. (And, sex in the work place is not new. Did the females think of this as job advancement? You want to sell the idea that the females are without brains? And, have no stake in the sex they provide to their bosses?)

Not that I expect anything.

Religion "for show" doesn't carry the messages from the heart.

And, as Martin Buber explained, when you go looking for God, just like it was told to Moses (except for the mis-translation); you'll find him in your heart.

To get there, Buber used a man's selfishness. And, what happens to this when he meets a wife whom he adores. He says the door opens on PITY. Oddly enough, that's what Buber says. Pity makes a man less selfish. Makes it possible for true love to take place.

And, from there it's a mere short leap to understanding faith. Which is irrational.

I can't believe that Israel has turned into such an obnoxious place; that a kid (Levey), from Canada, who takes a job at the Israeli Mission in NYC, then gets hired as a speech writer by Arik Sharon.

SHUT UP I'M TALKING is the name of this book. The kid moves to Israel, with his new wife. She HATES THE PLACE! And, eventually, after Arik Sharon is given a stroke by his doctors (because? He was supposed to die without heart surgery; and they were preparing him for this.)

How much money has the LIKUD spent to regain its toe-hold in Israeli politics? You thought Bibi went into the opposition for the good of Israel?

Perhaps you think Morris Talansky carries water for free?

Perhaps you believe in tooth fairies?

I don't.

I believe a day will come that the truth will be exposed. On the order of the commander who now says "shooting yourself in the foot" is a big joke.

As if history doesn't provide THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL.

As if Napoleon never said about the Bourbons: THE NEVER LEARN ANYTHING, SO THEY NEVER FORGET ANYTHING.