.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, July 09, 2007

G.W. Bush's Legacy

I've read that as these last 18 months of his occupation of the Oval Office begin, G.W. Bush has been worrying about his legacy. I've also read that to that end a bunch of scholars came to the White House to discuss the matter.

Both activities are such a waste of time that they would be laughable, were it not for the fact that Bush's decisions since taking over the Office have had such drastic consequences.

I don't know why anyone has to determine it, because his legacy has been as obvious as the nose on your face for several years, and he has reinforced it so much that now there's nothing that he or his supporters can do to brighten it.

Because they are so used to having friends that can control what the media puts out, G.W. Bush and his people can try to change the verdict, and I suppose that just such an attempt has been behind the efforts of David Horowitz and others to purge the universities of professors that do not see things the same way that the Regressives do. After all, the Horowitz's, in their support of the Bush regime, are guilty of complicity in that regime's crimes. But time has longer feet than do the would-be fixers of History's verdicts, and it is the tendency of historians to be more progressive than regressive. Progressivism and liberalism open windows and let light in. Conservatism likes to keep things dark, so that the nefarious doings of their junkyard dogs can't be seen.

I'm not aware of one thing the Bush time in office has done that can be called a real achievement, an act for the lasting bettering of things. I wonder what their supporters would put on such a list.

But we are all conscious, to mention just one thing -- there are many other misdeeds -- of the incredible misery that Bush's orders unleashed upon Iraq.

Years ago someone, I think one of the primetime networks, aired a documentary on the Second World War, which at that time hadn't been over very long. As I recall it focused on the campaigns in Europe and on the German role in them.

The main thing I remember about this program is that it had the most memorable ending of any documentary I've seen. It had the narrator saying something like, "Adolph Hitler died by his own hand in a bunker in Berlin, on April 30, 1945. He was 56 years old. If you seek his legacy, look around."

Then, without any other comment, the camera rolls over images of the seemingly endless, severely bombed-out remnants of the city of Nuremberg.

I wonder if any of Bush's scholarly guests dared or bothered to tell him that his legacy is similarly waiting in the hundreds of bombed-out ruins of Iraq, a legacy that he may not have realized he has now totally wrested out of the hands of a man who, before Bush "salvaged" him, had himself proceeded much on the model of Herr Shickelgruber: Saddam Hussein.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Stay-at-Home

I have lost any desire I may once have had to see Machu Picchu, Paris, the Giza Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, or any of the other fabled spots around the world, because with a much smaller loss of time and far less trouble and expense and the expenditure of oil, every day I can visit my garden. Also I would fully expect to find that my garden compares to them in beauty and interest, for all its lack of a great variety of bright, resplendent colors, caused by its enduring romance with Mother Nature. Besides, I have already experienced, in 1959 in Japan, Nikko in the rain and Miyajima in the sunlight.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cats and the Ballet

Though I can appreciate the music and the beauty and grace of the women, and the mental feats that are involved in remembering what to do next, and the fact that you have to be in great shape to do it at all, ballet dancing is by far my least favorite of the arts. Maybe that's because I have no talent -- or desire -- to do any of the dancing and singing that is supposed to come so naturally to people with my kind of ancestry. A lot of the time ballet dancing looks just plain silly to me, and I'm also leery of the fact that you'd better be slim and "good"-looking if you're going to do it, which also makes ballet the least democratic of the arts.

The dancers' arms contribute a lot to it looking silly, though I know they are a big part of the artistic expression, as well as providing balance and lifting up partners and stuff. Still it looks to me as if they are waved about mostly because they are there and something must be done with them, while the legs, on the other hand, are absolutely essential and do most of the work.

This makes it look for all the world as if cats, a more worthy and far less harmful species to everything around them than are humans, had the right idea. They kept their arms on the ground, which keeps them out of trouble, like making atom bombs and endlessly waging war and performing pointless, boastful acts like rocketing some golfers to the Moon. Instead cats can perform real feats of individual physical prowess, such as casually strolling along the tops of fences and railings, which even the aged among them can do with nary a quiver. Their use of their arms must be one reason why they were welcomed to the planet so many millions of years before we were, and why they have a much brighter future...

Australia's Oil Spill

The Indian tribes, having been subjected to countless broken treaties and promises by the swarms of “settlers” from Europe, thought of snakes, and they developed a saying that has rung down through the generations, “White men speak with forked tongues.” And there are other terms for that same sort of behavior, such as “deceit,” “double talk,” and “speaking out of both sides of one’s mouth.”

The current gigantic tragedy that has spilled across Iraq is typified by the profligate use of forked tongues on the parts of the people who are most directly responsible for it, especially when it comes to the question of why the men with their hands on the triggers in mainly English-speaking countries continue to try to cloak their real reasons for having started that conflagration in the first place and why they are still sending gun-toters to Iraq, which mainly serves to keep the flames fanned.

I remember how, in the first days of the Bush-ordered invasion of Iraq, people of all sorts went to great lengths to avoid speaking of the real reason why that happened, which was to take over control of the oil wells. Instead they laid down a vast smoke screen consisting of words like “Saddam,” “terror,” WMD’s,” “democracy,” “freedom,” and the like.

But recently, as it becomes ever clearer that the earth is becoming far less generous in yielding up to a bunch of ever proliferating two-legged locusts a treasure that had taken eons to make, people are starting to concede that soldiers from overseas are in Iraq for one reason and one only -- to keep an iron fist on the Iraqi oil so as to have it for their own disproportionate use.

A day or two ago a big brouhaha broke out in Australia in which a clearer light was shone on all this than is usually the case in the U.S., where apparently there is slightly more marching in lock step. The Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, said : ““Energy security is extremely important to all nations throughout the world, and of course, in protecting and securing Australia’s interests.” In other words, We are still making our contribution to Geo Bush's bloody enterprise by keeping our vast legion of 1,500 troops somewhere in Iraq to protect OUR share of the oil from the Middle East, because that is OUR oil and no one else’s!

Despite his avoidance of the dreaded “O” word and instead using “energy security,” Nelson’s message came through, and it immediately stirred up the wasps in Australia and elsewhere. But his boss, Prime Minister John Howard, who has probably been even more staunch in following the Bush lead than has Tony Blair, quickly tried to tamp down things by saying, “We’re not there because of oil and we didn’t go there because of oil, we don’t remain there because of oil.” And his Treasury guy, Peter Costello, amplified that by adding,” “We’re fighting for something much more important here than oil, this is about democracy and freedom in the Middle East.”

Yet Howard himself had just finished telling a conference in Canberra that energy demand is a big factor in trying to stabilize the Middle East.

I don’t know how that sounds to you, but to me it looks as if, in Australia, home of the five most deadly species of poisonous snakes in the world, the concept and use of forked tongues is still alive and well.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Wars Without Victories

I'm always puzzled by the impression that the Cold War is over and that the U.S. won it.

Actually the Cold War was badly misnamed and was never a real war at all, since very few people were killed during it, relatively speaking. Mainly it was a decades-long session of breast-pounding in the gorilla style, full of sound and fury and providing nothing much except for being a tremendous boon to the people who make weapons and to the people who can't get enough of having at hand new instruments of death and destruction.

The U.S.couldn't have won the Cold War, because Russia didn't lose it. Instead it just sloughed off all those satellite countries as if they had gotten to be just some extra plates of armor that had gotten too unbearable to wear. Russia downsized to a sleeker and more manageable and less expensive size and shape.

Meanwhile the Americans and the Russians are going jaw to jaw with each other much as before, as shown by the talks going on now between Bush and Putin, with nothing much changed, even though they seem to have pledged to reduce their nuclear arsenals. To what size? Merely enough to turn the whole planet into a radioactive wasteland just once over, instead of enough to do that many times over when they had warheads up into the tens of thousands? Certainly they will never vow to keep only enough warheads to ravage each other, the most fitting result because of the basic immorality of even making such weapons and stockpiling them and pointing them at each other, and also because of the equal obscenity of being ready to drag all other living things down into rack and ruin with them, when the rest of the world had nothing to do with a quarrel whose significance diminishes the moment you ask people to define capitalism and communism.

The hostile attitudes called "the Cold War" never ended and still are being expressed, and will keep on doing so as long as the U.S. and Russia, in particular, along with several other countries in general, still have the means and the will to lob nuclear and other types of weapons at others, in a variety of constantly updated ways.

Actually this means that World War 2 never ended either, and that these countries just have never been able to halt the powerful charges they made to apparent victory in 1945. I say "apparent" because in the 1970's and 80's, it was easy to think that because of the positions of their economies, Japan and Germany had won instead, and that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. had lost.

It seems that in recent times wars don't end at all but just get all tangled up with each other. For instance look at Israel and Palestine, and how long their confrontations have been going on without letup and in the process igniting other hostilities as well. Soon there will be few left alive who'll be able to remember when that part of the Middle Eastern desert wasn't on fire.