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A Partial Solution to the Problems in the Middle East

What’s happening in Yemen is horrific.  More people are being killed there than I  thought even lived there, civilians are being bombed mercilessly, and there’s no good reason that I can  see, except that the Saudis are being dicks.  It probably has something to do with oil, but Saudi Arabia has plenty of their  own oil, so, yeah, it comes down to just being dicks.  And they have the full backing and weaponry of the U.S., which is also at the moment being governed by dicks.
There is just no way that Yemen, which is probably less than 1/100th of the size of Saudi Arabia, was in any  way threatening it.  Also, their position on the southernmost coast of that barren, godforsaken peninsula means they aren’t a strategic threat to anybody  in  the world.
So, here is my solution to  ‘the problem of the Middle East’ (and I put that in quote marks because there is  way  more than just one problem in the middle east).  Take oil out of the equation.  It’s not going to make the Sunnis and Shias suddenly love each other, it’s not going to make the Israelis any less arrogant and genocidal, but it will end the foreign  involvement (they’re only there for  the oil), and that would go a long way.
How can you take oil out of the equation?  Solar energy.  Saudi Arabia could put up  hundreds and hundreds of miles of solar arrays.  They’ve got the land mass and it’s sitting there doing nothing.  So could Iran, Egypt, Libya and Algeria.
Any country with lots of sunshine could be a wealthy, energy producing country in a very  short period of time.

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The Need to be Able to Change

They have legalized marijuana in Canada, and  that is  a very good thing.  They join the ragtag band of plucky countries and U.S. states who have lightened up on pot in recent years.  Nobody, yet, has legalized it quite to the extent that it should be legal (It’s a plant, with zero known negative side effects and plenty of known health benefits.  It should be as legal as carrots.  Grow it, sell it, give it away, smoke it, bake it into brownies, do whatever you  want to do, and let all the prisoners out of jail  and clear their record) but we’ll celebrate every bit of progress we make.
The whole illegalization thing was based on  a pack of  lies, and knowing what we now know, there is no reason – zero, not one, nada, zilch – to maintain that farce.  Yet, there are major forces (big pharma, big tobacco, big alcohol, the private prison industry, corrupt politicians getting money from all the above, and some people in law enforcement just because they are power tripping assholes) arrayed against it.
The thing is, even though they have a lot of money, and a lot of influence, they don’t have a case.  Like, at all.
That is a huge problem with our society.  Even when something is clearly wrong, and pointless, and stupid, we often seem powerless to change it.  But, that really can’t remain the case if we want the human race to survive on this planet (and it  would still be pretty darned difficult for us to survive anywhere else).  We have to be able to change.  We have to be able to say “Well, that was dumb.  Let’s do it the right way now,” and change course.
That applies to the environment, international relations, everything.  Marijuana is  just one example.

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Donald Trump, Instinct for Science

Trump says that he has a natural instinct for science, and that since there are scientists on both sides of the issue, the climate’s doing fine, the air quality is better than ever, and these things come and go, there’s no proof it’s man made.  There is so much stupidity in that speech, it’s hard to know where to begin, but he did actually say  all  those things.
There is no such thing as an instinct for science.  Science is fact based.  Either something is true, or it isn’t.  He may have meant that he has an ‘aptitude’ for science, but I seriously doubt it.  I’ll bet he can’t name all 8 planets in order or tell you what the first element is in the periodic table, or say what a LaGrange point is, or define a light year.  It is perfectly clear to  anyone with an IQ requiring 3 digits that he is a grade A moron, who probably struggled with science in high school and never got beyond that.
I’ll bet he hasn’t even read any of the science fiction classics.  Maybe some Jules Verne, the comic book  versions.
Then there’s that old ‘there are scientists on both sides’ nonsense.  Not really.  There is, on the one hand, over 90% of the world’s scientist who say that climate change is real, it’s man-made, and if we don’t cut it out we’re all  going to die.  On the other hand, you’ve got people with science degrees who are working for oil companies, writing bullshit for cash.
Then he says “The climate’s doing  great!”  It’s like he hasn’t even noticed the hurricanes, or the summer of wildfires large portions of North America went through  this  summer.
“These things come and go.”  Certainly, that’s true, but when this one comes, human beings are going to be what goes, and it may be that the environment won’t recover for hundreds of thousands of years, and certainly won’t include any human beings.  If he actually understood what’s happening, he might not be so damned flippant.
Then there’s the brilliant “no proof it’s man made” argument.  Of course it is,  but what would  it matter if it weren’t?  It’s still something we should  try to stop.  Trump’s not interested in solving problems, just in  not being blamed for them.
Of course it is man-made, though, and I know a little scientific experiment that would prove it.  Shut all the factories down for a week.  Tell  people to stay  home and not drive.  See if the air isn’t cleaner.  See if the water isn’t cleaner.  Then we’ll know.  That would be science.

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12 Years

Songs are poetry.  The good ones are, at any rate.  I’ve had Bowie’s Five Years on my mind today, a beautiful, poetic song about what happens when we find out we only have five years to live, as a planet, as a species.
Except every time he says 5 years, I’m hearing 12 years, because that is the finding of a recent report, which apparently almost all the scientific community agrees with: that we only have 12 years to turn this shit around.  That if we do not reverse course on putting carbons into the air by using too many fossil fuels, factory farming, breathing, stuff like that, the change to our atmosphere will be irreversible and, over the next couple of centuries, we will be hit with a series of hurricanes that will swamp Florida.  The oceans will rise to  overcome Venice, New York, and London, and change coastlines all around the world.  It will become impossible to travel from the northern hemisphere to the southern, except possibly by rocket ship or tunnel, because it will  be too damn hot, like, other planet hot.
And eventually, the air will become unbreathable, plants will  stop growing, and we will all die.
No, we aren’t going to die in 12 years.  It will probably be a couple of centuries, at least.  But that is not a long time.  Some of us may have grandchildren still alive then, great grandchildren certainly.  And, although we will have survived and lived out our pathetic years, they will not think well of us.  They will curse us as the generation which doomed them to die early, which robbed the future of the past, which denied them the opportunity that every generation throughout human history has had, the opportunity to live and procreate and add another link to the chain.  They will piss on our graves, and speak our names with scorn.
I would rather avoid that.  We need to convert completely to solar and wind energy.  Maybe a bit of kinetic energy here and there.  All of this exists.  We need high speed magnetic and hyperloop trains, we need electric cars, we need to plant trillions of trees and build new cities which are vertical  jungles, to clean the air of the excess carbons it already has.  We need to save the honeybees, and the rain forest, and the coral reefs which are almost all dead already.
We have the technology, we have a deadline, and if a few oil executives, or a few thousand, need to be swept out of the way, then they need to be swept out of the way.  This is an emergency.

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Pay Up, Cheeto Head

I’ve been very open about the fact that I’m not a fan of Elizabeth Warren.  She talks a great game on economics, and I’ve no doubt she is well informed on that subject, but she didn’t support Sanders during the primaries, she didn’t stand with the protesters at Standing Rock, and she voted for the insanely outsized military budget so, basically, she sucks.
Nonetheless, Donald Trump owes her a million bucks and an apology.  He took her casual statement that she has some Native American ancestry (and I’ve heard lots and lots of people make that casual statement – in some cases it is probably true, in some cases probably not) and never once thought to question anybody about it.  If somebody tells me they are an Aries, I don’t say “No way!”  If somebody tells me they are allergic to cucumbers, I would never say “There isn’t any such thing!”  I’d listen to them instruct the waiter to not bring them anything with cucumbers in it, and hold my tongue.  Not my business.

But, Donald Trump did make a big deal about it.  He said if she could really prove Native American ancestry, he would donate a million dollars to the charity of her choice.  He has been calling her Pocahontas, as if he thinks that’s the funniest joke in the world, for over a year now.  It’s not a funny joke.  It wouldn’t be a funny joke if she were 100% Native American, and it wouldn’t be a funny joke if she were 0%.  It’s a stupid joke, and a racist joke, that left the decent, civilized people of the world cringing.  His followers loved it, though.

Now, Elizabeth Warren has taken a DNA test, and she does indeed have some blood of the old tribes in her.  So, she’s calling on Trump to pay up.  Trump, for his part, is saying he never said that (but he did.  He’s just a liar.)
I’ve heard from plenty of his supporters on my Facebook page, saying “It’s not very much Indian ancestry,” and “It doesn’t really matter, does it?”

These people can turn on a fucking dime.  Their only interest is in winning the immediate argument and they don’t care if they have to contradict every thing they’ve ever said before, possibly because they can’t remember most of it and didn’t mean it sincerely even at the time they said it.

 

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October Spit It Out

Just got home from a poetry reading.  It was the newly returned Spit it Out series, still  at the A Maze in Tchaiovna, and I was glad to see it back, although minus founder and driving force Kae Pillar, who is off seeking other,  weirder environments.  I was a bit nervous as to whether or not it  would have the same energy and, to  tell the truth, the jury’s still out on  that, and I mean the jury inside my own head, I can’t  vouch for anybody else’s opinion.
There were not a lot of people there at the start, and I believe the new host was getting a bit nervous but, power to him, he didn’t waste an absurd amount of time before he rounded up what stragglers he could from the front room and outdoors, for a balmy Indian Summer evening it is, and got things going.
There were a lot more readers than you would have thought possible for a crowd that size (which did grow a bit once things got started) and there were quite a few poets I  liked, particularly the girl who did the poem about ‘resting happy face’ which started off nice and upbeat, and then turned pretty dark in the middle.
My stuff was received about as well as it deserved.  This  concept  poem that’s been rattling around in my head for about a week now, all about magic and science and witchcraft as an ancient art and why  shouldn’t it evolve in tandem with science, it’s all about use of arcane knowledge to alter the environment, and  there are portals to alternate dimensions but we need to figure out how  to find them, wasn’t coming together and I was losing the thread but there were a few stanzas in  there that worked, I chopped it up into two  short poems and left out what I  had to and it  worked fairly well.  I was pleased, anyway.

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Was JFK Killed Because of Aliens?

O.K. here’s a conspiracy theory I’d never heard before:  On November 12th, 1963, 10 days before he was shot, President Kennedy wrote a letter to the CIA requesting everything they knew about UFOs and also requesting they share their information with NASA.
Now, this letter was declassified in 2010, but I’m just hearing about it now, watching a program about UFOs, but that’s the thing about waiting 50 years to declassify something, nobody’s really paying attention any more.
I guess the implication is that the CIA thought, “Uh-oh, that Kennedy fella is getting close to the truth, maybe we’d better whack him,” but there are several reasons I’m skeptical about this.  Just because he wrote such a letter doesn’t mean that was the reason for his assassination.  People had all sorts of reasons to kill Kennedy.  The Florida Cubans were pissed off about the Bay of Pigs, the Mafia might have wanted him dead, either because he was threatening to prosecute some of them or because he was shtooping Sam Giancanna’s girlfriend.  Even if people from the CIA wanted him dead, it probably had more to do with Cuba, or Viet Nam, or something else, other than aliens.
To believe that the CIA killed Kennedy because he wanted info about UFOs, you have to assume that the CIA had information they didn’t want to share with the President of the United States about ALIENS, and the only reason they might have for doing that is if there actually ARE aliens among us, and the CIA is covering for them.  I am always suspicious of the CIA, I think they are a horrible organization which deliberately sows discord and starts wars at the whim of American corporations, but I’m just not seeing the motive here.
I hold with the notion that it was forces within the military industrial complex who felt Johnson was more reliably war-like.
But, it could have been aliens.

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