Sharing the Privilege of Abundance

Sharing the Privilege of Abundance

Hunger will not be eliminated by bold resolve. Nor even by ramped-up philanthropy. It is an effect of a global system of reliance on organized charity to do what governments, regardless of their political system, refuse to do. One has merely to look at the expenses of governments to see the gap between safety net spending and spending on arms and military ventures. Charity is what we refuse to afford.

When the President delivers his West Point speech and his Nobel address, the basic problem he’ll be dealing with is this disastrous imbalance. There is no more politically perilous road than that of stating the truth of our condition and flagging the underlying hypocrisy and corruption involved. But until the iron grip of the military industrial mindset is challenged, we will lack the wherewithal to do more than maintain the system of genocide. And columns like this will appear annually with the same sad result.

We need something different. Without it we are doomed to repeat and repeat and repeat.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


Here is What The President Has Said and What I Think

NOTE: I have submitted this to Huffington Post. My last several blogs there have been subjected to delays of from several days to over a week. This means they are not timely when and if they appear. It also means that they cannot be featured as they would not come up as recent posts. I will remove this if and when the piece is published there.


The self-referential headline is a slap at all the speculative stuff on what the President will say next week when he deals with Afghanistan. As far as I am concerned, the President has said little more than the following:

He will offer “a clear rationale for what we’re doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals.”

Here’s what I think makes sense.

1. The only rationale for being in Afghanistan involves a documented and defensible assessment of the risk involved in NOT being there. For example, the country will be able to launch attacks globally with impunity. The whole region will be prey to the spirit of Al Qaeda whose aim is Islamic hegemony. The fact that we risk creating a genuine global terror movement worse than we have faced thus far cannot be ignored.

2. Achieving our goal lies more in a global push for sanity and a cleansing of ALL national human rights records — aka global penitence — than in an iffy ground war in a particular country. The real enemy is not localized to the extent that success in Afghanistan would protect against terror.  Being in Afghanistan would make sense only if we were not seen as occupiers. The only way to achieve this would be by moving from combat save for defensive purposes. The only acceptable aggression would successful efforts to take out actual, known Al Qaeda strongholds. Negotiation would seek to create the basis for a stable governance in the future. Even if all of this took place, the political conditions there and here are hardly likely to spring for such an approach. For this reason, I do not believe the President has made a final decision on the details of his speech.

3. What I think is that we cannot leave immediately, but that the only rationale for increasing troops is a purely political gamble on the viability of 2 above and the likelihood of gaining support for this “hawkish” position  here.  Sadly though, conservatives may favor what Obama proposes,  but they are so oriented to bringing the President down that their praise will be drowned in the bile of their consistent damnation. This GOP hypocrisy will be accompanied by increasing bile from the progressive side. This will create a pincer that will be politically impossible to stanch.

So what I think is exactly what I thought when I brought up these issues a year ago. We are at a watershed in world history. The angels are on the side of the rejection of war and violence as an instrument of politics. We need to go deeper down. This is where the Nobel needs to go. This is why I think the jury is still out. All the leaking may be just that and no more. When all is said and done I hope that Obama assumes the risks involved in being a peacemaker on steroids.  That is, paradoxically, the only way to defeat terror.

pattern language, politics

Components of New Settlements — One: Parameters 1

A parameter is not a component, but this is the first post in an effort to use words to describe what I have clearly in my mind relating to the creation of new settlements.  Here I simply want to begin noting parameters of such settlements.

1. They will contain within their bounds most if not all the elements of ecological  sustainability. Their own recycling capacity for all or most waste. Collection and distribution and recycling of water. It is important to understand that we are talking about creating duplicable elements that could be used in many settlements.

2. They will have no private automobiles and trucks within their borders. Most transportation will be pedestrian with all mechanized transportation limited to public and service vehicles. Communities will be designed to make access to private vehicles possible only outside of their boundaries. Important that this not be seen as a complete rejection of private vehicles. They will have a place, but they will not dictate design as they now do.

More parameters will be discussed in future posts, setting the stage for a discussion of actual components.. In essence, the parameters will be suggestive of the components.


COMMENT ON: Will The Unemployment Disaster Be Obama’s Katrina?

UPDATE: I have taken to this comment format because Huffington Post has consistently posted my blogs there so as to get no notice, since notices are tied to dates of the original posts.  In addition my status there is clearly in the cellar. Authorship if 15 books and achievements over the years are apparently insufficient to place me among the bloggers they care to feature. I have vacillated between polite rejoinders and borderline protests, but today I am moving to protest period, though it will do little to change things. The comment below was, as far as I can determine, NOT posted at Huffington Post. That is an obvious and to me unpardonable instance of censorship. I shall continue commenting there and testing their biases. I wish I could say I take satisfaction in any of this. I do not. It lowers Huffington Post in my estimation and that is too bad, because it now joins other progressive media which have shown themselves to be unsupportive of the President, immature in judgment and with little or no longterm view.   If Huffington Post poses the comment below I will happily withdraw this update.

Read the Article this comment is addressed to at HuffingtonPost

The carpathon continues.

Not a day a day goes by without another (gnat) arrow at the heart of the President. There is a basic misunderstanding at work. Things were never going to happen overnight and the order of deeds was and is utterly necessary.

The order goes this way. ONE: Solve the free fall economy. DONE if three and four occur.

TWO: Set up the health care process — en train de faire.

THREE: Redo the War on Terror — in progress, Huffleaks and all.

FOUR Jostle the business community into an aha moment when it begins to get serious about what products and services will be needed for a new and sustainable way of living.

This order of events is what the spoiled, we-want-it-all-now folk who trash the President ignore. We are facing an entrepreneurial necessity — “connect the dots”. The final result will a post-oil economy with a recalibration of the elements of settlement and community. Little of this is taken seriously in these precincts.

So — the daily knife continues. The carpathon goes on. Meanwhile the President stays the course and brushes it off.


pattern language

Pattern Language — Warm Colors

[Index] [Previous] [Next] [Group] (Page reference: 1153)

Warm Colours

May be part of Good Materials (207)Floor Surface (233)Soft Inside Walls (235)


The greens and greys of hospitals and office corridors are depressing and cold. Natural wood, sunlight, bright colours are warm. In some way, the warmth of the colours in a room makes a great deal of difference between comfort and discomfort.


Choose surface colours which, together with the colour of the natural light, reflected light, and artificial lights, create a warm light in the rooms.

May contain Half-inch Trim (240)Ornament (249)Soft Tile and Brick (248)Canvas Roofs (244).



So reified (thing-ified) is our world that we risk simply trying to color up the current structures and thinking we have humanized things. Any effort to move toward pattern language is to the good, but I believe we need some subtlety in colors. I have two crayon drawings by the artist Joseph Yoakum on my walls and they are more earth tone than anything else and I doubt they would look good on a bare wall, minus Yoakum’s stellar organization of his work.  I guess I am wanting to move in the direction or replacement as against refurbishing. I would rather see metrosprawl replaced than tweaked.

Which is why my next post and subsequent ones — in a series — will be titled Components of New Settlements.