I have collected two weeks worth of half-written blog posts as an exciting goulash of important issues worthy of further discussion, addressed in a half assed manner because
I can barely get my shit together I am experiencing technical difficulties. Someday I will look back on this portion of my life, laugh nervously and change the subject.
half written blog post number 1: links about the Bundys and the Malheur wildlife refuge occupation:
So this is a good essay and great reporting written by an author disposed to be sympathetic to the occupiers, but best of all written with both skepticism and a far more thorough understanding of western history, Mormon history and law than possessed by all of the occupiers put together. If you want an introduction to the context that was unreported by more mainstream outlets, and of which most of the actual occupiers were largely ignorant, you can find it here.
The American Lands Council leads the charge for the privatization of federal lands. High country news has written about them in these articles:
The hidden connections of the sagebrush insurgency
The surprising history of the Malheur wildlife refuge
A History of the Sagebrush Rebellion
A meditation on the assholes in our midst:
Over on Lawyers Guns and Money, there was a post on how the global temperature is 2 degrees C above average, and how that represents a huge climatic tipping point. Lawyers Guns and Money Since we have passed it, we get
all most of the sea level rise, ice cap melting major climate shift crap that climate scientists have been warning us about for decades. Which is a bummer. If human civilization is to survive in a recognizable form, we are going to have to start taking climate change seriously. But the most interesting thing about that thread, was not predictions of possible effects, viable alternative energy solutions, geoengineering or anything interesting or constructive. It was one commenter’s personal crusade against the consumption of meat. It was a crusade, in that he was mostly in it for religious reasons, he didn’t particularly care about making a case to the unconvinced, he was showing off for the true believers in the “confrontational vegan” choir loft. This character makes one or two good points in the most intentionally confrontational way and completely loses his shit when people disagree with his arguments. I mean, he’s not wrong, the way Americans eat meat really is a perfect storm of terrible policy, terrible conditions for livestock, terrible conditions for workers and terrible use of agricultural production capacity. If humans calmly stopped eating meat as of 11:00 we’d have a hard time realizing the so called advantages of meatless world for years. Meat packing workers would be out of their (admittedly exploitative) jobs, but they wouldn’t automatically get hired to work in an artichoke packing plant. rats and coyotes would gorge themselves on billions of livestock carcasses, we’d get to see up close and personal what a “plague of flies” really looks like. Some island communities would face immediate starvation due to the lack of food other than fish. Here in Wisconsin, the unhunted and newly unhuntable deer population would explode and it would be decades before the predator population could come anywhere near to controlling them. Until then, farmers would have to put up 10′ and 15′ fences to have any crops to harvest in the fall, and every vehicle bigger than a skateboard would need massive brush guards to protect against collision with deer, wild turkey, and any surviving feral livestock. But to be honest, that’s not the way a global embrace of the vegan lifestyle would work. It wouldn’t work that way because it won’t happen at freaking all. Look how hard it is to simply put an end to whaling. We can’t even get Iceland and Japan to stop killing creatures that are arguably sentient with human level intelligence for food. Simply asserting that the global meat industry is harmful, is brutal to workers and is an environmental disaster and accusing anyone who disagrees with those facts is a conservative, an animal torture enthusiast and a terrible human being isn’t a very convincing argument, unless the audience is already chock full of vegans.
I am going to go ahead and admit that commenter is correct, the meat industry is horrible to livestock and workers and wastes capacity that could be used to feed actual human beings instead. And it would be more efficient to satisfy our needs for protein by using soy or insects like termites. But to the extent that we moderate or eliminate our consumption of meat and beef in particular, we can together take a big step in slowing down the coming shitstorm. And maybe meat is something you feel like you can’t live without. But if we sit down and make an inventory of things we can each personally change in our lives to slow down global warming, now might be a good time to start. For that matter now is a good time to start most any positive change.
But I notice that people tend to have the default assumptions and customs and appetites of the culture which produces them. Forward thinking people (or liberals or progressives) tend not to have “enlightened” opinions on more than a handful of their own cultures, customs, and attitudes. Thus we get Berniebros who are excited about income inequality but hostile on topics like Black Lives Matter, or the sexism of some of the civil rights protesters in the 1960s. Some paragon out of time might have the most enlightened progressive take on every single issue facing humanity, but that person would have a hell of a time communicating with the rest of us especially if they spent all their time criticizing their audience as opposed to those people that are entirely hostile to the progressive agenda. And we ourselves should occasionally take the time to consider the words of the occasional obnoxious confrontational troll who tells us we are doing it all wrong. Are they telling us something about ourselves? The one honest thing about a troll is that it doesn’t care about protecting the feelings of it’s victims. It’s hard and draining work to filter out nuggets of wisdom from attacks and abuse, so I don’t blame anyone one bit if they don’t think it’s worth the effort most of the time. But sometimes when I am bored or need a distraction it can be a source of insight to at least try to find valid criticisms in attacks from trolls.
Post 3: Trumps wall
I have to decided to collect and expand on some comments I made at LGM regarding Trump’s wall on this thread The hugest classiest wall ever.
I think that if Trump is elected, there will be a border wall. I also think that the project will collapse under the weight of being an idiotic idea designed by incompetents and constructed in an unsafe manner by corrupt and mobbed up contractors employing undocumented workers at rates below the minimum wage using substandard materials. The 100 or so miles of wall actually constructed will be an F-35 scale economic disaster, an inconvenient eyesore, a hazard to navigation, an attractive nuisance, and a monument to the stupidity of humankind.
As one commenter noted a straight up wall is a really expensive way to control a border when most of the border is uninhabited desert. A more economical idea would be a well monitored and patrolled exclusion zone a few miles wide where any unauthorized person could be detained. Controlling a border is a stupid way to fight illegal immigration because most illegal immigrants in the US do it by overstaying their visas.
So, Like every Trump project ever, the concept is flawed, not to say idiotic. The thought of building a titanic wall along the entire 2000 mile long US Mexico border when we have millions of miles of roads and bridges that could actually use some infrastructure spending is infuriating. The design of such a monstrosity will be undertaken by a firm with not even a memory of integrity, because those kind of firms wouldn’t want anything to do with a surefire disaster. So the the design will be undertaken by grifters who will pay the fewest number of discount bin civil engineers they can get away with, virtually guaranteeing that the design will be flawed from the outset.
It will be the hugest classiest border wall ever. Taking inspiration from such notable historical walls as The Berlin Wall, The Great Wall of China, The Maginot Line and Some Wall Designed by Liberace’s Decorator in a Particularly Late Baroque Mood and Built by Some Dude With No Artistic Talent But a Couple Megatons of Glitter, Gold Paint and Sequins to Use Up, the Trump wall will forever redefine corrupt, tasteless, incompetent, decadent, excess.