War and the Tree Hugger: Everything is Connected.

Image source: truththeory.com

Image source: truththeory.com

Two places on the earth. Two different problems. Powerful juxtaposition.

Everything is connected to everything else. Everything.

What follows is not a cogent piece. It is the dumping grounds for stuff running around in my head this morning. There is clearly a bias here – it is rather obvious. However, this blog is my stump (Ha!) and stump I shall.

Yosemite

  • The Yosemite Rim fire continues to burn.
  • People, trees, animals, insects, fungus, bacteria and protists die. Habitat is destroyed. Wind and water erosion in affected areas will increase. Air quality is compromised.
  • Fighting fire costs time. Can’t ever get it back. Ever.
  • Fighting fire costs money. Pooled monies (Tax dollars) are consumed as surely as the trees. Tax dollars that likely don’t exist. More debt. More financial burden for us all. I prefer to use the phrase “pooled monies”. “Tax dollars” reads too sterile for me. Like insurance, the underlying idea is that we are trying to help each other. The idea has been corrupted.
  • The brave people who slog it out day after day, laying their lives on the line for others, need food, shelter, clothing, equipment, fire retardants, airplanes, support vehicles, fuel, etc.
  • Fires are not fought within a comfortable commuting distance from anyone’s home. Families are separated. Cars and trucks are driven great distances. Fuel is consumed.
  • People are sacrificing for each other and for the forest.
  • Fighting the fire means other work will not be performed. What was that work? Was it community work? Most assuredly.
  • Businesses in impacted areas suffer; many are small businesses that can’t survive 1 or 2 years of lost revenue. Some survive month to month. These are enterprises owned and/or operated by people living here. Less dollars for them means the flow of money slows or stops. A blockage in the coronary artery is a “local” issue but the heart and the body dies all the same.
  • Everything is connected.
  • Resources are ALWAYS limited. Constraints are part of the real world. If deficit spending occurs, there is a cost. There is always a cost.
  • No such thing as deficit-Time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Oh hey, I’ll just ask for an extra year of life because of that year I was helping to keep the Sierras from burning. Sorry. No time-loans available.
  • What if the fire consumed the entire Yosemite Valley? The entire Sierra Nevadas? What is lost? What is the cost? I can’t help but feel a slight sarcasm here. The Smith’s won’t get to have their weekend in the mountains before Johnny and Sally go back to school. This is SO not the issue here. The wilderness experience has value, but again, it must be seen in the context of everything else. In fact, there does not need to be human value placed on the forest. The forest is yet another life with which we share the planet whether we label it as valuable or not.
  • Again. Everything is connected.
  • Forests burn. Cities, towns, homes and other structures and systems (electrical, water, sewer, roads, etc.) are built in the forest. These structures and systems will burn. Unless everyone moves away, they will need to be repaired or rebuilt.
  • Insurance is purchased and claims are filed. Monies are pooled together to take advantage of the statistics. The basic idea: those insured won’t all suffer losses simultaneously. I help you and you help me when the time comes. Unfortunately, the business of insurance is not universally altruistic. Once the money is spent on problem X, without sufficient time to grow (and what financial instruments are growing very well these days) or to be replenished, problem Y is out of luck. Sorry. The pot of funds is not large enough. People can barely afford to pay their monthly bills let alone kick in additional money for a depleted insurance fund.

Syria

  • The drums of WAR are beating once again. The propaganda machines are running at full speed. At least we can SEE the Yosemite fire via satellite imagery (another tax dollar supported piece of equipment). Claims being made about what weapon was used where are not so easily corroborated.
  • Chemical weapons may have been used. Unconscionable. This always makes me sneer. For the most part, War is unconscionable, but it seems to be the result of what is coded in our DNA. It kills me that we have “rules” for war. Some days it seems to make sense, and others (today), its laughable. If you’re going to declare war and fight a war and kill each other for reason X, Y or Z, do it like this. It’s more humane.
  • The human cerebral cortex is too young. As a species, we are conflicted. Our brains and our behaviors are not in sync. In fact, they may be at war. We experience, we feel, we think, we act. We are destroying our planet and ourselves. This is not logical. We have problems. There are so many of us. Will we survive long enough to evolve/develop brains and cultures that can dispense with war? What if we don’t? Will we be a blip on the earth’s historical timeline that pales in comparison to the trilobite? We don’t even eat each other, so our acts of killing each other is such a waste (sarcasm). Oh. I forgot. We kill each other, so we can have the “means” to feed ourselves, or enjoy weekends in Yosemite. Having written this, the trilobite now seems more humane.
  • Humans think too highly of themselves. Not all do, but I’d wager that a majority do. This is a problem or rather contributes to our problems and the planet’s problems.
  • Camps are forming. The US must intervene in Syria. The US must NOT intervene in Syria. There are threats from other countries. If the US intervenes, there will be dire consequences. No shit. Does this mean that if the US intervenes to kill the “bad guys”, or attempt to remove them from power (who are we to say who should be in power), or intervene to help the “good guys”, that we (our soldiers, our instruments of war) will be killed instead. Kill or be killed. Is one of these killings morally superior to any other? Is morality even relevant, or is stupidity the operative concept?
  • The US has its own problems. Does this one (intervention in Syria) rise to the top of the list? What happened to the outrage over the NSA digital sponge and loss of real privacy? How are things going in Afghanistan and Iraq and the myriad other places we have forces and consultants? How’s the Gulf of Mexico recovering after it was poisoned with millions of gallons of oil from a hole we drilled but couldn’t plug? How’s John Q. Public fairing after losing his home in the real estate bubble and is the CEO of John’s mortgage firm (and financial backer) able to vacation in Yosemite this year on his dime? We have such short attention spans, and we’re too damn emotional. When the DoD appears to be leading the charge (more propaganda and misinformation?) we are doomed to repeat past mistakes.
  • Speaking of the Department of “Defense”, what exactly are we “defending” in Syria? Humanity? Morality? Whose morality? Relativistic Morality? God’s morality? Whose God? Those unable to defend themselves? Our way of life? The oil that fuels our way of life?
  • Everything is connected.
  • The United States of America is a great country. The United States of America is also a horrible country. It was founded on ideas, but it’s made up of people, and there are great people, and there are horrible people. The ideas aren’t giving the orders, nor pushing the launch buttons on cruise missiles, the people are. Not every citizen is reading from the same playbook. How can we be? We elect people every so often, who have their own ideas about what the USA is and what it can and should do. We elect for specific ideas, and we get the baggage too. Unfortunately, elections are won by people who have brains, feelings and thoughts that have nothing to do with their stint representing us in our government. There are just too many of us. We try to be efficient with our time and we elect professionals and hope for the best. We rarely get it. The “package” we elect does not act as a representative 24 x 7, it acts as an individual that serves multiple masters. Representative government is a very tricky undertaking. As with everything, it succeeds and it fails. The rub is how it succeeds and how it fails.

What is government?

government |ˈgəvər(n)mənt|
noun

1 [ treated as sing. or pl. ] the governing body of a nation, state, or community: an agency of the federal government | [ as modifier ] : government controls.
• the system by which a nation, state, or community is governed: a secular, pluralistic, democratic government.
• the action or manner of controlling or regulating a nation, organization, or people: rules for the government of the infirmary.
• the group of people in office at a particular time; administration: the election of the new government.
• another term for political science.

2 Grammar the relation between a governed and a governing word.

What is a moral imperative?

A moral imperative is an ethical responsibility. A line of conduct or behavior judged as the right one, by a majority of people within a community.

If we believe this is a good working definition of “moral imperative”, I want to know who the “community” is in which this majority exists. How big is a community? Is it about the size of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the upper echelon of the DoD? I guess based on the powers of our Executive Branch, the community can be a single individual – the president. I for one am glad the march to war is a slow one – at least this go around.

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