Category Archives: World Politics

Oil prices effect everything

As we well remember when oil prices spike we pay more for everything!  We pay more to heat our homes, operate our vehicles, and anything we bought that was trucked in to the store — pretty much covers everything.

Can someone explain why the prices for everything increase so quickly?

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Filed under Economics, Political Reform, The Economy, World Politics

What a Wonderful World

“I hear babies cry, I watch them grow.

You know they’re gonna learn,

a whole lot more than I’ll ever know.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

(“What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong – Thiele/Weiss – 1968)

Last night, I went to sleep watching images, from thousands of miles away, of a man hugging his young sons and wife after having been rescued from 70 days trapped in a rocky tomb. This morning, similar images flashed across the screen, as men that were thought dead emerged from the Earth, back to the loving arms of their families and their country, and the world united in joy at their safe return to this wonderful world.

This wonderful world – to read through pages of blogs on numerous websites, both left and right, you would think that life in this world is about to collapse in ruin, the blame assigned, of course, to the other side.

There is no doubt that this world of ours has issues to address, from economic stagnation to war, famine and a lack of human rights. There is no doubt, also, that this world has faced far worse in the recent past, genocide and world war, depression and the displacement of millions throughout the world.

In my little world, there are issues to address, just as there is in the world at large. There is never enough money, of course, our health could always be a bit better and the tank still needs to be filled if I want to drive. That is life, but there are still the smiles of my grandchildren and the love of my dog and cats to smooth the road. There are hugs to share with my children and my friends and the wonder of the natural world that I love to capture in photographs.

The looks on the faces of the rescued miners, their families and the rescue teams tell all that this is truly a wonderful world – a world that we inhabit with some that share our views and some that are vehemently opposed to us. The Chilean people and their international neighbors managed to set aside differences to united to save the lives of 33 brave and determined friends.

Perhaps, we can learn a desperately needed lesson from the events on the desolate landscape of the Atacama Desert, regardless of our perceived view, we still live in a wonderful world.

 

 

William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under World Politics

Through the glass, darkly.

 

Predicting the future is easy, as long as you don’t plan on living long enough to determine the accuracy of your venture through the glass. Nostradamus was famed for his prophecies, but actually, his predictions were so vague that they could be interpreted in any way one might choose. Accurate predictions of the future are much more difficult when measured against actual events.

Despite the odds, pun intended,  many people try to predict the future, months, decades and even centuries into the future. A few weeks ago, the sportswriters of America tried to forecast the winner of the Super Bowl, to be played in Dallas in February, 2011. Needless to say, most will be wrong, especially those that try to forecast the final score, not just the game winner. I can do that, too.

Patriots 27, Packers 17.

Easy, right? I will probably be wrong, however, the Pats are likely to score more points than that.

Forecasting the future of America a century from now is much more difficult. Unfortunately, some of the predictions made today will have an impact on life in the US 100 years from now. To properly address the problems of the future requires an accurate assessment of life decades or even centuries from now. The approaching mid-term elections most certainly will affect life for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

America is still a young country, growing into a mature nation while experiencing social and economic changes on a vast scale. What will American look like in 2110?

Well, since I won’t be around to see her then, these are a few of my predictions:

White people in America will be a distinct minority, but racial tensions will be far less  apparent than they are today.

To the largest extent, all people will be treated equally, gay and straight, young and old, people of all races, colors and creeds.

The disparity between the rich and poor will be far narrower than today.

Religion’s role in society will be greatly reduced as people express greater faith in science.

The world’s countries will all participate in a true global economy.

Social programs in the US will be stronger and far fewer citizens will fall through the cracks.

The pejorative term “socialist” will cease to exist, as most countries will employ a version of socialism as an economic engine.

Those are a few of my predictions – what are yours?

 

William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under World Politics

The Hate Train

“People all over the world (Sisters and brothers)
Join hands (join, come on)
Start a love train (ride this train, y’all), love train (Come on)
People all over the world (Don’t need no tickets)
Join hands (come on, ride)
Start a love train, love train”

The O’Jays, “Love Train”

Where was that magnificent thought lost? When was it that we all, all around the world, became so self-obsessed that any thought of “love for one’s fellow man” is met with ridicule and derision?

When did the “Love Train” leave the station and the “Hate Train” pull in?

I am very frustrated by the level of discourse, not just in America, but seemingly all around the world. It is not enough to disagree these days, but we must also humiliate and degrade those that disagree with us, lest we, in turn, be humiliated and degraded.

At least that is the way it seems.

If you ask the Republicans, they’ll tell you that the liberals started it. If you ask the Democrats, they’ll tell you that the conservatives started it all.

And so it goes, Arabs and Jews, North and South Koreans, Pakistanis and Indians, on and on and on and on.

What will derail the “Hate Train” and allow us to address issues that divide us without the rancor and flying accusations that not only dominate our rhetoric, but indeed seem to be the entirety of our rhetoric?

I am not so naive as to believe that there have not been significant divides between us in the past, but lately I have been losing hope that there is another track on which we could travel.

We seem to be hurtling down the tracks, riding the “Hate Train” with no brakeman on board and no concern about his absence. Our destination is unknown and what lies on the tracks seems of little concern to most. It seems that the passengers on this train are more interested in fighting with each other than any thought of where the train is headed.

We have become so accustom to the direction that we are traveling that we just can’t see another way.

William Stephenson Clark


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Filed under World Politics

Are these the worst of times?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

“A Tale of Two Cities” – the opening line – Charles Dickens – 1859

Two wars. A fired commanding General. An economy that is stubbornly refusing to recover fast enough. A massive oil spill that threatens our Gulf. Illegal immigration. No progress on Gay Rights to speak of. Conflicts in the Middle East. Tin-pot dictators run amok. Global financial crisis. Congress in perpetual gridlock. Fred Phelps and the Phelp Tone-Deaf’s. Drug wars in Jamaica and Mexico. Global freakin’ warming. Sandra and Jesse back on speaking terms.

Are these the worst of times?

Hell, no!

Absolutely not. Yes, the world has more than it’s fair share of problems right about now, but these are far from the worst of times. It is human nature to look at today and be dissatisfied. It is also human nature to look at yesterday with a certain fondness for times that “were better.”

I wrote a column published yesterday with that very topic.

No, despite the troubles of the world, we have a bright future. We may not get there soon, but it is there. Collectively, we need to move beyond pessimism and consider the optimistic signs that point the way to a “best of times” scenario.

The wars that we are engaged in will end. We will recover from the global financial  crisis. The oil gushing in the Gulf will be stopped and we will find away to clean up the mess. The tin-pot dictators will die off and be replaced by slightly more sane alternatives. The slow progress of Gay Rights will accelerate as the more bigoted generation dies off. The illegal immigration problem will continue, but better solutions will come to the fore. Fred will die. Eventually, a saner approach to drugs will be adopted. And Jesse will screw up again and America’s Sweetheart will be back on the market.

Progress has been made, abet slowly. A historic, but flawed, Health Care bill has been passed. Medical science has moved to the point now that living to one hundred will be commonplace. The world will grow tired of perpetual conflicts in the Middle East and the white-hot hatred will cool. The world will change for the better.

The best of times – maybe not in our lifetimes – but they are coming.


William Stephenson Clark

21 Comments

Filed under Psychological Disorders, World Politics

What to do about………………. Israel?

Raquel_Israeli_Flag.jpg picture by WSClark52

“Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?

Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?

Where have all the flowers gone, young girls picked them ev’ry one.

Oh, when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”

Pete Seeger, 1955.


Interestingly enough, there is a Hebrew version of “Where have all the flowers gone?” called “איפה הפרחים כולם” or Eifo Haprachim Kulam.

Of late, not much seems to get folks worked up more than the situation with Israel. Nominally, they are our primary ally in the middle East, but like a wayward child, she has a way of testing our patience.

The recent tragedy on the Rachel Corrie, enroute to Gaza, highlights the divide between Washington an Tel Aviv. Perhaps Israel had a right to stop the ship from Turkey and inspect the cargo. Perhaps they had a right to board the ship for that purpose.

But most definitely, nine people did not need to die.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a drop more than a quarter ethnic Jew. My first (known) European ancestor left England about 1620 because he was married to a Jewish woman. My paternal grandfather was an ethnic  German Jew that had converted to Christianity and changed his name to hide his Jewishness.

The history of Israel is long and complicated and much of it depends on who is telling the story.  In very simple terms, the U.N., led by the British, partitioned Palestine in July 1947 and in May, 1948, the State of Israel was formally born.

And then the fight that began in 1020 BCE resumed and a 3,000 year old battle between  Arabs and Jews was rejoined once more, a battle that continues to this day.

Arabs and Jews are ethnic cousins, both being Semites, although the term “anti-Semite” is used to reflect an anti-Jewish bigotry. Some would make the conflict in Palestine to be religious Jew v Muslim, but Islam wasn’t born until 610 CE and the conflict arose more 1,500 years earlier.

In my view, there will always be conflict in the middle East, but it can be mitigated by the establishment of a Palestinian homeland. Until there are two equal states in the Holy Land, this three thousand year old conflict will continue.


William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under WAR, World Politics

“And I ran, I ran so far away………..”

Alright, so it was a really bad tie-in. Forgive me, please.

(If you need help with the reference, Google “Flock of Seagulls.”)

Iran has been a hot topic of late.  Folks are getting all bent out of shape because a short little doofus in a tan windbreaker can’t keep his mouth shut.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an idiot, and that is being kind. The West should just consider him for what he is – a front for the clerics that actually govern Iran and a useful scapegoat when things go wrong.  Ahmadinejad is the worst kind of puppet – some folk actually think that he has some authority.

But what of the actual Iran? Should we consider them to be a threat? Does anyone really think that they are a threat to us?

Now, aided by  the infinite wisdom of  George W Bush, the US has effectively removed the counter balance of Iraq to Iran. We may as well have handed the keys to Middle East stability to Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad may rattle sabers, but the fact remains that Israel would  turn Iran into a wasteland within a week or so. If Ahmadinejad so much as farts in the general direction of Tel Aviv, he will find himself against a brick wall, wearing a blindfold.

So, what to do about Iran? Humor Ahmadinejad and let him continue to make a fool of himself? The West is making some progress in dealing with the cooler heads in Iran. We should continue that course.

My take – let Israel deal with him – no restrictions.

Bye, bye, Mahmoud!


William Stephenson Clark

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Filed under World Politics