Monday, August 06, 2007

Dog Daze...

Cheat River at Holly Meadows. Homewaters of the Parsons clan.

Returned from the Parsons Family Reunion in Canaan Valley WVA ready to face the dog days of August. It rarely gets above 80 deg. in the highest Allegheny Mountains. The valley is above 3000' and the surrounding mountains are 4000' and up. This reunion marked a generational shift as all but one of 13 Parsons children of Cyrus Parsons (he married twice) have died. That would be my mother Ruth (Parsons) Brunner who is 90 yrs. of age (she lost two brothers over the past 2 years). She just wasn't up to making the trip, which is about 5.5 hours drive. My mother's sister-in-law, Virginia Parsons still hosts the reunion picnic and she is 95!

The Delaware River and most of its tributaries are running at or slightly below the median daily discharge. One exception is the Musconetcong River which appears to be benefiting from a 130 CFS release from Lake Hopatcong, just enough to perk it up a bit above average. We need rain but we don't need 6 inches in one day so let's hope for a moderate end to the summer and a storm-free autumn.

Read a compelling piece this morning penned by local writer Chris Hedges that gives a pessimistic view on where Iraq is headed (hint: it's not headed where Bush says it is headed). Hedges was a foreign correspondent working in the Middle East and the Balkans for the NYT. He is not too kind to those on the NYT staff (Friedmann and Safire) who led the cheering section for the Iraq so-called war (isn't it really an occupation?).

Hedges says in "Beyond Disaster": "The war was not doomed because Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz did not do sufficient planning for the occupation. The war was doomed, period. It never had a chance. And even a cursory knowledge of Iraqi history and politics made this apparent."

Yes, anyone who has seen the movie Lawrence of Arabia would have had enough reason to doubt idiots like Bush, Cheney and Rummy. But maybe they never believed their own BS. Maybe they really aren't idiots. Maybe they are just pure evil, and were counting all along on chaos and bloodshed, knowing that anything less than a complete collapse of Iraq would jeopardize their oil grab. OUR oil grab. Maybe causing the needless deaths of several hundred thousand innocent people means nothing to your average Bush-supporting Republican. Afterall, Iraqis have brown skin and aren't Christian, and if we don't fight them over there they will be fighting us here in the streets of Lambertville, right? Eh, what's a few hundred thousand dead? OK...700, 000 killed. We need to keep our fossil fuel based society humming right along.

More on that here from my favorite curmudgeon of Clusterfuck Nation fame -- James Howard Kunstler:

"You can spin out any number of strategic scenarios about what is liable to happen in the Middle East from here on, with or without America trying to run a police station there, and none of them are good. They range from Iran gaining control of twenty percent of the world's remaining oil, to a free-for-all world war joined by virtually all the nations capable of projecting military power into the region. We'd be stuck with the consequences because we are otherwise too cowardly, lazy, and greedy to face our situation at home -- which is simply that we cannot keep running a drive-in utopia. We have to make other arrangements and we have to make them now.
Our denial runs deep and hard. Even the educated minority (including the tech wonks) believe that we can run the freeways and the WalMarts on alternative fuels. They flatter themselves listening to the morning yammer about "renewables" on NPR as they make the daily commute from, say, the suburban asteroid belts of Northern Virginia into Washington, DC.
They bethink themselves progressive, cutting edge, morally superior in their Priuses.
The major media have done a huge disservice to the public in supporting these delusions. CBS's 60 Minutes show did it twice this year already, broadcasting one segment that flat-out stated the Alberta tar sands would solve all our problems, and then a second segment a few weeks later stating that coal liquefaction would keep everything humming indefinitely. CNN ran a prime-time Sunday show the week before last saying that we could keep running all our cars on ethanol forever. The damage that this disinformation might do is really out of this world.
What can we do? Oil man Jeffrey Brown of Dallas has made the interesting suggestion that we replace some or all of the national income tax with a substantial national gasoline tax. A congressional debate over that would be worth hearing. It would be a good start in concentrating our minds in the right direction: that is, toward the problems we have created for ourselves at home. There are many other things we could do also, from rebuilding our railroads to removing incentives for suburban development. They would all require major shifts in our behavior. We can either begin them voluntarily or wait for events to compel us to live differently. In the absence of that, our presence in Iraq is not optional."