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RE: [CF] "the outcome does not bear thinking about"

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  • Lenard Segnitz
    People are living in denial. There is a vocal minority who believe that climate change is a natural cycle and not man-made. Recently (a few weeks ago)
    Message 1 of 19 , Jan 8, 2004
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      People are living in denial. There is a vocal minority who believe that climate change is a natural cycle and not man-made. Recently (a few weeks ago) planetologists announced that Mars is undergoing a gobal warming of its own. There aren't enough SUVs on Mars to account for global warming there.
      Of course Earth's global warming is man-made. The corelation between the Industrial Revolution and the start of the warming is too strong not to be linked.
      I'm approaching this deep denial from the oil depletion argument. There is no denying that North America's major energy source is oil. There is no denying that oil is a finite resource. There is no denying our rate of oil recovery, consumption and that consumption is set to outpace supply. Unless people take that reality seriously we are all going to be shivering in the dark in the near future.

      Approaching over-consumption from the oil depletion argument is very selfish route. I'm trying to convince people to stop consuming so much because it will effect *them* in the long run. The global warming argument asks that people curb consumption because it will effect all other life. What is left unspoken that if all life is effected then mankind will be effected also. I'll ask those who deny the interconnectedness to stop eating, drinking and breathing.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: RIIN GILL [mailto:riin@...]
      Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 12:31 PM
      To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [CF] "the outcome does not bear thinking about"



      It's unfathomable to me how people can learn of these things and simply
      not care, and yet they must not, since they keep on driving their cars and
      trucks and FUV's. Some of them might care a *little* bit, but not enough
      to be "inconvenienced," as if it's convenient sitting motionless in
      gridlock. Others decided long ago where their priorities lie: the
      almighty dollar. Everything else be damned.

      I don't think Bush has a conscience. I think he truly doesn't care about
      staggering numbers of plants and animals going extinct. What is a tragedy
      to us is a "so what?" to him. All that matters to him is ensuring that
      obscenely wealthy Americans continue to get even more obscenely wealthy,
      and that nothing stand in their way. Obviously corporations can make more
      money if they can pollute more, and cut down all the forests, and screw
      all the workers and not spend any money to make anything safe. So screw
      the environment. Screw public health. As long as the wealthiest get even
      wealthier, that's all he cares about. The rest of us can die as far as
      he's concerned.

      ***********************************************************
      Riin Gill
      Interlibrary Loan 734-615-6168
      Taubman Medical Library fax 734-763-1473
      University of Michigan
      ***********************************************************
      http://www-personal.umich.edu/~riin/ <http://www-personal.umich.edu/~riin/>
      If you were riding your bike, you'd be having fun by now.



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    • Fitzsimmons, Diane
      I think De makes a good point, but I also think the Millennialists are far out-numbered by the Americans who have only so much emotional energy for dealing
      Message 2 of 19 , Jan 8, 2004
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        I think De makes a good point, but I also think the Millennialists are
        far out-numbered by the Americans who have only so much emotional energy
        for dealing with the crises of life. When you don't know how you are
        going to pay for your kid's trip to the dentist, you have a hard time
        getting worked up over the hole in the ozone layer. Maybe
        short-sighted, but there it is.

        I also think the sect of Christians (and I am a Christian, probably a
        "conservative" Christian by the standards of most of the people on this
        group, so I feel comfortable calling it as I see 'em) that poses a
        greater danger is the one that denies the validity of science. In their
        zeal to prove the literalness of the Bible as opposed to the "theory" of
        evolution, they tend to view all scientists and their work with
        suspicion, sometimes even ignoring them all together.

        But IMO most of these Christians of all stripes are not real power
        brokers in our country. I don't see them running car companies,
        advertising companies or, with a few exceptions, holding national public
        office. These types of Christians didn't go to the right schools or
        have the money to be members of that elite group of national leaders of
        both political parties. These types of Christians are seen only as
        votes to be bought and are ignored as soon as they are not needed.
        Ditto for other small minority groups, like union workers, ethnic
        groups, etc.

        Diane Fitzsimmons
        Norman, Okla.
      • De Clarke
        excellent points Diane and I am glad you did not take my text as a broadside against all US Christians or even all conservatives . after all, a real
        Message 3 of 19 , Jan 8, 2004
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          excellent points Diane and I am glad you did not take my text
          as a broadside against all US Christians or even all
          "conservatives". after all, a real conservative would...
          conserve! and that's what I surely wish more folks would do.
          though I am not a believer myself, it always seemed to me that
          if we consider the Earth as God's own handiwork, it's an insult
          to God when we treat it (and our own bodies) with such contempt,
          going out of our way to destroy, dirty, and despoil it for
          short term gain. I think B Kingsolver referred to reckless GMO
          releases as "spitting in the eye of God." seems to me that
          sincere reverence for the Divinity would include a reverent
          stewardship of soil, water, flora and fauna. but I guess that
          language about "dominion over" and "subduing" in the OT goes to
          some folks' heads.

          anyway...

          the anti-science tendency in literalist Biblical interpretation
          concerns me also, as it rules out the empirical testing of
          hypotheses and encourages the acceptance of evidence-free
          ideological soundbites. admittedly science in this country
          is so corrupted by commercial forces at this point that I
          have sympathy for all who mistrust scientists and all their
          works :-) but throwing the scientific method out the window
          seems a poor way to deal with impending thorny questions of
          sustainability and survival.

          as to the demographics of fundamentalist Christians and
          their relationship to commerce, politics and other wheels
          of power, it is hard to assess. I recall a Texas oil
          industry exec was quoted last year as believing that God
          will just put more oil in the ground if America needs it;
          he believes the planet was created 4000 years ago and all
          that stuff about it taking millions of years to make oil
          is just hooey -- the US is God's chosen country and if we
          need more oil for our SUVs we should just have faith, the
          Lord will provide. J Ashcroft, one of the most powerful men
          in the country at present, seems to be a literalist
          believer of some kind or other.

          otoh in a country where religiosity is a strong social force,
          politicians of every stripe are quick to play the God card
          (Dean has been waving it energetically of late) and it is
          hard to tell the true believer from the opportunist who is
          just saying what he thinks the "sheeple" want to hear this
          week. it's very difficult to assess the sincerity of the
          religiosity now pervading the White House -- the prayer
          meetings and so forth. could be window dressing, or genuine
          crusading zeal. w/o being an insider, I suspect it is
          impossible to figure out. either way I find it scary...

          well, I seem to have led us off topic here, sorry... and
          into the minefield of religious belief too!

          de

          .............................................................................
          :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
          :Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
          :Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
          :1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
        • Steven Schoeffler
          The American Geophysical Union board recently adopted a unanimous statement that global warming is manmade.
          Message 4 of 19 , Jan 8, 2004
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            The American Geophysical Union board recently adopted a unanimous statement
            that global warming is manmade.

            http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=BAB97D5C-169C-42E3-9426D997893F7
            C0F




            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Lenard Segnitz" <lsegnitz@...>
            To: <CarFree@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 3:29 PM
            Subject: RE: [CF] "the outcome does not bear thinking about"


            > People are living in denial. There is a vocal minority who believe that
            climate change is a natural cycle and not man-made. Recently (a few weeks
            ago) planetologists announced that Mars is undergoing a gobal warming of its
            own. There aren't enough SUVs on Mars to account for global warming there.
            > Of course Earth's global warming is man-made. The corelation between
            the Industrial Revolution and the start of the warming is too strong not to
            be linked.
          • Steven Schoeffler
            This link goes directly to the American Geophysical Union s policy page on global warming. http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html
            Message 5 of 19 , Jan 8, 2004
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              This link goes directly to the American Geophysical Union's policy page on
              global warming.

              http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html
            • De Clarke
              http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Home.html I find the white-on-black text irritating, but the prose is fairly readable (needs a copy editor here and there
              Message 6 of 19 , Jan 8, 2004
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                http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Home.html



                I find the white-on-black text irritating, but the prose
                is fairly readable (needs a copy editor here and there
                but not bad overall). mainpage is too long and needs
                some indexing.

                good collection of links.

                minor quibble...

                I refute only one of many claims made here, which is that
                agricultural productivity per acre will drop rapidly in
                the absence of factory/petro farming techniques. in fact,
                organic methods (and techniques centuries or millennia
                old) produce more food per acre than modern factory farming;
                but they do it with crop diversity and intensive labour.

                what is maximised in factory farming is pounds of food
                produced per labour hour, not per acre. per acre productivity,
                and soil viability in general, are sacrificed to the imperative
                to "cut labour costs" in commercial large scale farming.
                the subsistence farmer can spend full-time on cultivation,
                and any extra produce not needed for family survival may
                be used for barter or cash trading... the imperative to
                crank out 100 pct saleable output for the minimum salary
                costs simply doesn't apply.

                parenthetically it is worth noting that the so-called
                "war on drugs" in Colombia is destroying thousands of
                acres of family farms and driving peasant farmers off
                their traditional lands. defoliants and herbicides are
                wiping out heirloom vegetable, grain and fruit varieties
                that exist nowhere else on earth. regional farming knowledge,
                mostly transmitted from mother to daughter in this bioregion,
                can be stamped out in one generation if people are driven
                off their land; is it far fetched to suspect that among
                the many motivations for making covert war on Colombia
                (oil being one), wiping out independent agriculture and
                consolidating land ownership for corporate factory farm
                cash-cropping may be one? and that wiping out seed stocks
                carefully tended and adapted for centuries will "soften
                up" the region for expensive patented, hybridised or GMO
                seed from the US/Euro corporate sector? gotta wonder.

                another stray thought is that the Oil Crash experience is not
                unprecedented. it is exactly what happened to Cuba when the
                Soviet Union fell and the US embargo prevented other trading
                nations from supplying the petro products Cuba used to receive
                from the Soviets. the crash happened nearly overnight -- cold
                turkey, no industrial ag petrochemicals. the program of urban
                market gardening, research into organic ag methods, crop
                diversification, reduction of food transport distances, etc.
                which enabled Cuba to survive w/o having to knuckle under to US
                power, seems a suitable topic of study for anyone interested in
                post-oil life. of course, our (US) Gummint doesn't want us to
                go to Cuba and see how they are doing :-) but there are plenty
                of articles, papers, etc. by ag study groups, botanists, etc.
                who have been there and written about their experiences both
                positive and negative.

                de

                .............................................................................
                :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
                :Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
                :Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
                :1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
              • David Hansen
                ... I agree with your viewpoint. The trouble with a literal interpretation of the Bible is that it starts off with two stories of the creation which cannot
                Message 7 of 19 , Jan 9, 2004
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                  On 8 Jan 2004 at 16:58, Fitzsimmons, Diane wrote:

                  > I also think the sect of Christians [snip] that poses a
                  > greater danger is the one that denies the validity of science. In their
                  > zeal to prove the literalness of the Bible as opposed to the "theory" of
                  > evolution, they tend to view all scientists and their work with
                  > suspicion, sometimes even ignoring them all together.

                  I agree with your viewpoint. The trouble with a literal interpretation
                  of the Bible is that it starts off with two stories of the creation
                  which cannot both be literally true. They are different in many
                  respects, but perhaps the greatest difference is that in one the woman
                  is the man's spare rib and in the other male and female are created
                  equally.

                  The Bible doesn't get any easier as it continues. However, that does
                  not mean that it is a load of fairy stories, as practicioners of the
                  greatest religion of the (western) world, science, often claim. Rather
                  it indicates that one must study deeply, as is the case in other
                  religions (including science).

                  It is a pity that people who appear to have only a vague grasp of the
                  depths of any interesting question seem to dominate public opinion and
                  those making decisions. Perhaps the deep thinkers have better things to
                  do than take part in such shallow things.


                  --
                  David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
                  I will *always* explain why I revoke a key, unless the UK
                  government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
                • Lenard Segnitz
                  Yes, I believe human activity is effecting the global climate. I ve never had trouble believing it. It s the stunning capability of the masses to live in
                  Message 8 of 19 , Jan 9, 2004
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                    Yes, I believe human activity is effecting the global climate. I've never had trouble believing it. It's the stunning capability of the masses to live in denial of it.
                    How do people get themselves into this denial? It's fairly easy when the powers-that-be are trying to "tell the truth". Yes, mankind's carbon dioxide emmisions, large scale agriculture and urban sprawl are effecting the global climate. What the climatologists have to admit is that they don't know the *exact* effects (ie "it will get warmer here, but colder there", "it will get drier/wetter here"). Bush & Co hear this admission and trumpet it, "climatology is far from an exact science". The media gets a hold of that and perverts into "climatologists don't know". The public gets a hold of the media's waffling and say "global warming is bunk and even if it is true mankind is not the cause".
                    Before this ship can turn around Bush & Co (or his successor) have to say "we have a problem, mankind's activities are negatively effecting the climate". The media has to pervert that and say "we're all going to die unless we do something now". The public must then say "we want to live, what can we collectively do?"
                    Will the ship turn? So far Bush & Co believe that doing anything will negatively effect their profits. So long as that belief holds sway nothing is going to change.


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: Steven Schoeffler [mailto:steve@...]
                    Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 6:14 PM
                    To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [CF] "the outcome does not bear thinking about"


                    This link goes directly to the American Geophysical Union's policy page on
                    global warming.

                    http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html <http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html>



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                  • Steven Schoeffler
                    I think actually there s been some recent development in scientific understanding of this question, and that the uncertainty about the causes of the recent
                    Message 9 of 19 , Jan 9, 2004
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                      I think actually there's been some recent development in scientific
                      understanding of this question, and that the uncertainty about the causes of
                      the recent warming has been removed. There are other variable factors that
                      affect Earth's historically variable climate, such as changes in output from
                      the sun.

                      Steve


                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "Lenard Segnitz" <lsegnitz@...>
                      To: <CarFree@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 10:20 AM
                      Subject: RE: [CF] "the outcome does not bear thinking about"


                      > Yes, I believe human activity is effecting the global climate. I've never
                      had trouble believing it. It's the stunning capability of the masses to
                      live in denial of it.
                      > How do people get themselves into this denial? It's fairly easy when
                      the powers-that-be are trying to "tell the truth". Yes, mankind's carbon
                      dioxide emmisions, large scale agriculture and urban sprawl are effecting
                      the global climate. What the climatologists have to admit is that they
                      don't know the *exact* effects (ie "it will get warmer here, but colder
                      there", "it will get drier/wetter here"). Bush & Co hear this admission and
                      trumpet it, "climatology is far from an exact science". The media gets a
                      hold of that and perverts into "climatologists don't know". The public gets
                      a hold of the media's waffling and say "global warming is bunk and even if
                      it is true mankind is not the cause".
                      > Before this ship can turn around Bush & Co (or his successor) have to
                      say "we have a problem, mankind's activities are negatively effecting the
                      climate". The media has to pervert that and say "we're all going to die
                      unless we do something now". The public must then say "we want to live,
                      what can we collectively do?"
                      > Will the ship turn? So far Bush & Co believe that doing anything will
                      negatively effect their profits. So long as that belief holds sway nothing
                      is going to change.
                      >
                      >
                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: Steven Schoeffler [mailto:steve@...]
                      > Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 6:14 PM
                      > To: CarFree@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: Re: [CF] "the outcome does not bear thinking about"
                      >
                      >
                      > This link goes directly to the American Geophysical Union's policy page on
                      > global warming.
                      >
                      > http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html
                      <http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html>
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > To change your settings (such as receiving CarFree in digest form or read
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                    • De Clarke
                      ... I wouldn t leap to blame the public . we ve left out a major player in all this, which is the large number of very-heavily-funded corporate think tanks
                      Message 10 of 19 , Jan 9, 2004
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                        Steven Schoeffler (steve@...) wrote:
                        > > How do people get themselves into this denial? It's fairly easy when
                        > the powers-that-be are trying to "tell the truth". Yes, mankind's carbon
                        > dioxide emmisions, large scale agriculture and urban sprawl are effecting
                        > the global climate. What the climatologists have to admit is that they
                        > don't know the *exact* effects (ie "it will get warmer here, but colder
                        > there", "it will get drier/wetter here"). Bush & Co hear this admission and
                        > trumpet it, "climatology is far from an exact science". The media gets a
                        > hold of that and perverts into "climatologists don't know". The public gets
                        > a hold of the media's waffling and say "global warming is bunk and even if
                        > it is true mankind is not the cause".

                        I wouldn't leap to blame "the public". we've left out a major player in
                        all this, which is the large number of very-heavily-funded corporate think
                        tanks and PR agencies which live to crank out article after article
                        proclaiming all the positions listed here from Bush&Co onward. the public
                        *receives* these opinions -- is drowning in 'em, daily. of course they
                        prefer (except for the congenital pessimists) to believe that things are
                        OK rather than that a brick wall is rushing towards them at ballistic
                        speeds -- so they have a natural preference for guy who tells them
                        the feel-good "bunk" story. it's comforting, it's easy to understand,
                        and they don't have to feel bad about consuming lots and lots and lots
                        of fossil fuel every day. or, faced with so many conflicting stories,
                        they have a Rashomon-moment and throw up their hands. life is full of
                        stress and difficult decisions, it's easy to back-burner anything that
                        doesn't bear on today's crisis.

                        the public doesn't *generate* narratives (except urban legends) much these
                        days. increasingly, the general public is a passive recipient of
                        artificially created urban legends tailored by highly paid and highly
                        skilled spin doctors. there's a stable of professional corporate pundits
                        that crank out articles for every major publication proclaiming that
                        (ho hum) GMO tech is the only way to "feed the world," that organic food
                        is bad for you, that cars are safe, that "wacko environmentalists" grossly
                        exaggerate the hazards of fecal contamination in meat packing, that
                        industrial chemical contamination is actually good for you (go search for
                        "hormesis", and of course that "global warming could be advantageous".
                        and that Iraqi soldiers tip babies out of incubators (Hill and Knowlton's
                        greatest hit), etc. the propaganda foundry has always been a lucrative
                        biz and never more than now, in the Age of Spin.

                        so I wouldn't exactly blame the public, other than for laziness and a lack
                        of curiosity. only a minority have access to the Internet to do their own
                        research with minimum time and effort. the majority are totally dependent
                        on corporate owned news sources (75 pct of US mass media are now owned by
                        5 corporations, iirc) and local gossip. to do any real research of
                        their own would require hours in the library -- yeah right, with kids to
                        mind and 2 (maybe 2.5) jobs just to make ends meet, and the public library
                        closed half the time due to funding shortfalls? local gossip is framed
                        and informed by people who all watch/hear/read the same mass media news
                        sources, leading to an illusion of objective confirmation.

                        I'm not saying the general public is a nation of geniuses being stifled,
                        and would burst into a blaze of intelligent activity if only their
                        TVs were turned off for a week or two :-) human history tells us that
                        stupidity, complacency, liking a good story, mental and physical laziness
                        are always with us. but the public is more stupid because of being
                        deliberately misinformed and disinformed 24 hrs a day by commercial media.
                        and by being force-fed through an "educational" system that values only
                        rote learning and obedience, a training program for docile office and
                        factory workers rather than for thinkers and doers. we could be a lot
                        smarter.

                        > > Will the ship turn? So far Bush & Co believe that doing anything will
                        > negatively effect their profits. So long as that belief holds sway nothing
                        > is going to change.

                        romantically speaking, it will change when the hundredth monkey figures it
                        out and transformation spreads like a virus up from the grassroots. more
                        cynically speaking, it will change when the insurance industry realises
                        that it will be toast w/in 20 years if something isn't done, and goes to
                        war with the oil industry. we are ants crawling about the dancefloor of
                        callous giants (the transnational barons of commerce). the horrid thing
                        about our ant-life in this position is that much as we would love to bring
                        those arrogant greedy destructive psychopaths down, in their fall they
                        would crush millions upon millions of us. we can't live with 'em and
                        we don't want to be crushed under their corpses either. it's really
                        quite a dilemma.

                        "politics is the shadow cast upon history by commerce." (might not be
                        an exact quote).

                        de

                        --
                        .............................................................................
                        :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
                        :Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
                        :Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
                        :1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
                      • Steven Schoeffler
                        ... From: De Clarke ... when ... carbon ... effecting ... and ... a ... gets ... if ... Just to be clear, I didn t write the above, I quoted
                        Message 11 of 19 , Jan 9, 2004
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                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "De Clarke" <de@...>


                          > Steven Schoeffler (steve@...) wrote:
                          > > > How do people get themselves into this denial? It's fairly easy
                          when
                          > > the powers-that-be are trying to "tell the truth". Yes, mankind's
                          carbon
                          > > dioxide emmisions, large scale agriculture and urban sprawl are
                          effecting
                          > > the global climate. What the climatologists have to admit is that they
                          > > don't know the *exact* effects (ie "it will get warmer here, but colder
                          > > there", "it will get drier/wetter here"). Bush & Co hear this admission
                          and
                          > > trumpet it, "climatology is far from an exact science". The media gets
                          a
                          > > hold of that and perverts into "climatologists don't know". The public
                          gets
                          > > a hold of the media's waffling and say "global warming is bunk and even
                          if
                          > > it is true mankind is not the cause".

                          Just to be clear, I didn't write the above, I quoted it in my post.

                          > Iraqi soldiers tip babies out of incubators (Hill and Knowlton's
                          > greatest hit), etc.

                          You probably know this, but at the time Hill and Knowlton was deceiving the
                          country with this story, so bravely presented by the daughter of the Kuwaiti
                          ambassador to the US (of course we didn't know who she was at the time), the
                          CEO of Hill and Knowlton was, drum roll, Craig Fuller, Bush I's former chief
                          of staff from when he was VP.

                          Steve
                        • Fitzsimmons, Diane
                          Thank you, De. You have hit upon exactly my biggest concern as an allegedly thinking member of the public. ... to do any real research of ... to ... library
                          Message 12 of 19 , Jan 9, 2004
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                            Thank you, De. You have hit upon exactly my biggest concern as an
                            allegedly thinking member of the public.

                            > -----Original Message-----
                            > From: De Clarke [mailto:de@...]


                            > the public
                            > *receives* these opinions -- is drowning in 'em, daily.

                            to do any real research of
                            > their own would require hours in the library -- yeah right, with kids
                            to
                            > mind and 2 (maybe 2.5) jobs just to make ends meet, and the public
                            library
                            > closed half the time due to funding shortfalls?



                            My only slight disagreement (and it's very slight) is that I am not just
                            drowning in slanted-to-lying news from the right. I also get slanted
                            news from the left (not all the left, of course). That's not to say
                            that slanted news is inherently wrong, but, as a former newspaper
                            reporter, I get real antsy when I see/hear any stories with loaded
                            language.

                            I think one of the best examples of the confusing messages the American
                            public receives is in regards to food -- what is good, what is bad, what
                            *was* good, what *was* bad, organic from California vs.
                            pesticide-treated from your neighbor, etc.

                            Also, as I'm sure has been said before, we live in a competition
                            culture, so that we are lured into seeing every issue as this side
                            versus that side. When in actuality, most issues are very complex, with
                            complex solutions.

                            For instance -- to get us back to car-freedom! -- I am on my city's
                            committee to update our planning document. A "scientifically valid"
                            survey of the community shows traffic is the second top concern of the
                            public.

                            Fortunately for my viewpoint, the committee believes "traffic" to be a
                            slight misnomer. We believe the public is dissatisfied with the
                            transportation choices available to them now. So the solution to
                            traffic gridlock is not just build bigger and more roads. It is to
                            attack the issue on a variety of fronts, with a variety of solutions,
                            including increased walkability and bike-ability.

                            However, if we are not careful, our political system and media tend to
                            lead us into thinking it's simply an issue of more roads vs. less roads.

                            Diane Fitzsimmons
                            Norman, Okla.
                          • De Clarke
                            ... just more of the same familiar story that we are never gonna see on any corporate-controlled TV station... one quarter of all the cars in the world are
                            Message 13 of 19 , Jan 9, 2004
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                              ... just more of the same familiar story that we are never
                              gonna see on any corporate-controlled TV station...

                              "one quarter of all the cars in the world are found on US
                              roads..." no wonder it feels crowded out there!

                              --------------------------------------------------------------

                              http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0109-04.htm


                              Published on Friday, January 9, 2004 by OneWorld.net
                              Shop 'Til the Earth Goes 'Pop'
                              by Jim Lobe


                              WASHINGTON -- Fatter and ever hungrier for the latest physical comforts and
                              social-status symbols, the average U.S. citizen is leading the world in
                              building a global consumer society that is wreaking havoc on the world's
                              natural resources, according to the 30th annual edition of Worldwatch
                              Institute's 'State of the World' released here Thursday.

                              U.S. consumption styles have not only spread to other industrialized
                              nations, according to the "State of the World: 2004;" they have succeeded
                              in penetrating much of the developing world as well.

                              In China alone, 240 million people have joined the ranks of the "consumer
                              class,'' accounting for about five percent of the estimated 1.7 billion
                              people worldwide who have adopted the diets, transportation systems, and
                              lifestyles pioneered in the U.S. and quickly taken up by other
                              industrialized nations during the last century, according to the 245-page
                              report.

                              By contrast, some 2.8 billion people live on less than US$2 a day, 1.1
                              billion of whom lack access to safe drinking water

                              Some 122 million Indians are also living an essentially western
                              lifestyle--more than the roughly 121 million Japanese, 76 million Germans
                              and 61 million Russians, 58 million Brazilians, and 53 million French
                              people who also enjoy the fruits of consumer society, the report said.

                              The report defines membership in the consumer society as people with annual
                              incomes over $7,000 of purchasing power, roughly equivalent to the official
                              poverty level in the European Union. Members, according to the report,
                              typically use television, telephones, and the Internet, ''along with the
                              culture and ideas that these products transmit.''

                              Consumption of physical goods is important, Worldwatch stresses,
                              particularly in providing jobs and income to families and societies. That
                              income is vital to securing peoples' basic needs for food, clean water, and
                              sanitation, among other services. But consumption also has serious
                              downsides, especially on the natural resources that also contribute to
                              sustaining human life.

                              "Rising consumption has helped meet basic needs and create jobs," said
                              World president Christopher Flavin. ''But as we enter a new century, this
                              unprecedented consumer appetite is undermining the natural systems we all
                              depend on, and making it even harder for the world's poor to meet their
                              basic needs."

                              "Higher levels of obesity and personal debt, chronic time shortages, and a
                              degraded environment are all signs that excessive consumption is
                              diminishing the quality of life for many people," according to Flavin. "The
                              challenge now is to mobilize governments, businesses, and citizens to shift
                              their focus away from unrestrained accumulation of goods and toward finding
                              ways to ensure a better life for all."

                              Indeed, one of the more remarkable findings of the new report suggests that
                              consumption may not be increasing general levels of personal happiness or
                              social health.

                              Not only to do poor eating habits resulting from the growth in fast-food
                              consumption contribute to obesity and the ailments that come with it, but,
                              insofar as the United States is concerned, the sharp rise in consumption
                              over the past 30 years has been accompanied by increases in poverty,
                              teenage suicide, lack of health insurance coverage, and a steadily growing
                              gap between rich and poor. About one-third of U.S. citizens today say they
                              are ''very happy;'' the same share as in 1957 when average incomes were
                              half what they are now, according to the report.

                              Private household spending on non-essential goods and services has
                              increased four-fold since 1960 and now tops $20 trillion annually,
                              according to the report. Of this total, 60 percent is spent by people
                              living in North America and Western Europe--only 12 percent of the global
                              population.

                              By contrast, the roughly 33 percent of the world's people living in South
                              Asia and sub-Saharan Africa account for only 3.2 percent of total spending.

                              But consumption is rising most quickly in the developing world, as
                              globalization introduces millions of people to consumer goods, while
                              providing the technology and capital to produce and distribute them,
                              according to the report.

                              "Nearly half of all global consumers now live in the developing world,"
                              said Lisa Mastny, who co-directed the project that produced the latest
                              'State of the World' report. "While the average Chinese or Indian consumes
                              much less than the average North America or European, China and India alone
                              now boast a combined consumer class larger than that in all of Western
                              Europe."

                              Indeed, China, with roughly four times the U.S. population, will soon
                              overtake the United States in the size of its consumer class. The United
                              States currently has about 243 million people--or about 85 percent of its
                              total population--who fall into the consumer class. The countries of
                              Western Europe, where 89 percent of the people can be considered consumers,
                              account for a total of almost 350 million consumers.

                              On a per capita basis, however, the United States is far ahead of the rest
                              of the world and shows few signs of slowing down, according to the report.

                              In the U.S. today, there are more private vehicles on the road than people
                              licensed to drive them; indeed, about one-quarter of the world's cars are
                              found on U.S. roads. New houses in the U.S. were 38 percent bigger in 2000
                              than in 1975, despite having fewer people in each household on average.

                              Such consumption patterns help explain why, with only 4.5 percent of the
                              world's population, the U.S. accounts for some 25 percent of global
                              greenhouse gas emissions widely understood to contribute to global warming.
                              The average U.S. citizen currently consumes five times more energy than the
                              average global citizen, ten times more than the average Chinese, and 20
                              times more than the average Indian, according to the report.

                              U.S. consumers spend about $30 billion a year on toys, and U.S. children
                              now receive on average some 69 toys a year. The number of clothing items
                              bought by U.S. consumers increased 73 percent between 1996 and 2001, with
                              the average U.S. consumer purchasing 48 new pieces of apparel a year.

                              Annual consumption of soda--a staple at fast-food restaurants that have
                              introduced ever larger soda containers over the past decade--doubled to 185
                              liters between 1970 and 2001, and the United States has become the world's
                              largest consumer of shrimp and caviar. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are
                              either overweight or obese.

                              Moreover, consumption levels have not translated into more leisure and less
                              work. On the contrary, the need to worker longer hours to afford higher
                              consumer lifestyles has meant that U.S. workers, on average, put in 350
                              more hours on the job than their European counterparts.

                              Copyright � 2004 OneWorld.net:wq



                              .............................................................................
                              :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
                              :Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
                              :Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
                              :1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
                            • billt44hk
                              ... This reminds me. I keep meaning to ask if anyone knows the official traffic density of their city. Hong Kong has 286 vehicles per kilometre. They use this
                              Message 14 of 19 , Jan 10, 2004
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                                --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, De Clarke <de@u...> wrote:
                                >
                                >
                                > ... just more of the same familiar story that we are never
                                > gonna see on any corporate-controlled TV station...
                                >
                                > "one quarter of all the cars in the world are found on US
                                > roads..." no wonder it feels crowded out there!
                                This reminds me. I keep meaning to ask if anyone knows the official
                                traffic density of their city.
                                Hong Kong has 286 vehicles per kilometre. They use this to justify
                                discouraging cycling and also publish comparisons claiming this is
                                eight times higher than the USA and 4 times higher than the UK. This
                                could be true but HK is a small urbanised land area with a 6 million
                                population whereas the USA must have hundreds of thousands of rural
                                roads. So wouldnt a fairer comparison be between say New York City
                                and London?
                                So does anyone know the traffic density of your city?
                                Bill T
                                btw can anyone explain why I'm sometimes getting "ghost" writing
                                popping up as I type a message and even in my google search box
                                before i even type anything in?
                              • dubluth
                                ... My sense is that press in the US will not assert that someone is guilty unless they have been convicted of the crime. (I expect this will elicit a charge
                                Message 15 of 19 , Jan 13, 2004
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                                  --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "billt44hk" <telomsha@n...> wrote:
                                  My sense is that press in the US will not assert that someone is
                                  guilty unless they have been convicted of the crime. (I expect this
                                  will elicit a charge that I am naive. Anyway the press may not be
                                  entirely competent, but it is different from president Bush and
                                  attorney general Ashcroft who declare detainees to be "bad people,"
                                  "terrorists," and "dirty bombers" without the benefit of any legal
                                  determination (or prospects for constitutionally based law coming
                                  into play)). I think that it might even be possible to hold a
                                  newspaper liable for making claims of guilt in advance of a legal
                                  determination of innocence. In any case, declaring a person to be a
                                  jaywalker when the facts are in dispute is contrary to the American
                                  principle of "innocent until proven guilty". It certainly violates
                                  the practice of not arbitrarily taking sides.

                                  If the pedestrian in Hong Kong incident had already been found guilty
                                  of illegally using the road, the paper wasn't deviating from the US
                                  practice. The issue then is why place primary emphasis on the
                                  pedestrian's portion of fault in the collision?

                                  I hadn't heard of using automobile densities as a grounds for banning
                                  another mode of transport. It is an intriguing idea, but perhaps
                                  totally erroneous. In Shanghai the motivation seemed to be somewhat
                                  the opposite that: the density of bicycles on the street was
                                  interfering with relatively low densities of automobile traffic.

                                  <snip>
                                  > This reminds me. I keep meaning to ask if anyone knows the official
                                  > traffic density of their city.
                                  > Hong Kong has 286 vehicles per kilometre. They use this to justify
                                  > discouraging cycling and also publish comparisons claiming this is
                                  > eight times higher than the USA and 4 times higher than the UK.
                                  This
                                  <snip>
                                  > Bill T
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