You know . . . it's getting pretty hard for me to be optimistic about the immediate future. With a US administration that is clearly comfortable with the idea that the 'glorious ends' they strive for are sufficient to justify whatever means necessary to bring their desired results about and a dominant economic order that is still socially and conceptually retarded as regards to the potential of our species' recently accumulated knowledge of materials and processes--it ain't looking good.
Perspective on the most politically powerful member of the order Primate pontificating today:
. . .
HIS TEXT ISN'T news summaries or the overnight intelligence dispatches. Those are for later, downstairs, in the Oval Office. It's not recreational reading (recently, a biography of Sandy Koufax). Instead, he's told friends, it's a book of evangelical mini-sermons, "My Utmost for His Highest." The author is Oswald Chambers, and, under the circumstances, the historical echoes are loud. A Scotsman and itinerant Baptist preacher, Chambers died in November 1917 as he was bringing the Gospel to Australian and New Zealand soldiers massed in Egypt. By Christmas they had helped to wrest Palestine from the Turks, and captured Jerusalem for the British Empire at the end of World War I.
Now there is talk of a new war in the Near East, this time in a land once called Babylon. One morning last month, as the United Nations argued and Washingtonians raced to hardware stores for duct tape amid a new Orange alert, the daily homily in "My Utmost" was about Isaiah's reminder that God is the author of all life and history. "Lift up your eyes on high," the prophet of the Old Testament said, "and behold who hath created these things." Chambers's explication: "When you are up against difficulties, you have no power, you can only endure in darkness" unless you "go right out of yourself, and deliberately turn your imagination to God."
Later that day, the president did so. At Opryland in Nashville-the old "Buckle of the Bible Belt"-Bush told religious broadcasters that "the terrorists hate the fact that ... we can worship Almighty God the way we see fit," and that the United States was called to bring God's gift of liberty to "every human being in the world." In his view, the chances of success were better than good. (After all, at the National Prayer Breakfast a few days before, he'd declared that "behind all of life and all history there is a dedication and purpose, set by the hand of a just and faithful God." If that's so, America couldn't fail.)
After his speech in Nashville, Bush met privately with pastoral social workers and bore witness to his own faith in Jesus Christ. "I would not be president today," he said, "if I hadn't stopped drinking 17 years ago. And I could only do that with the grace of God." The prospect of war with Iraq was "weighing heavy" on him, he admitted. He knew that many people-including some at the table-saw the conflict as pre-emptive and unjust. ("I couldn't imagine Jesus delivering a message of war to a cheering crowd, as I just heard the president do," one participant, Charles Strobel, said later.) But, the president said, America had to see that it is "encountering evil" in the form of Saddam Hussein. The country had no choice but to confront it, by war if necessary. "If anyone can be at peace," Bush said, "I am at peace about this."
Every president invokes God and asks his blessing. Every president promises, though not always in so many words, to lead according to moral principles rooted in Biblical tradition. The English writer G. K. Chesterton called America a "nation with the soul of a church," and every president, at times, is the pastor in the bully pulpit. But it has taken a war, and the prospect of more, to highlight a central fact: this president-this presidency-is the most resolutely "faith-based" in modern times, an enterprise founded, supported and guided by trust in the temporal and spiritual power of God. Money matters, as does military might. But the Bush administration is dedicated to the idea that there is an answer to societal problems here and to terrorism abroad: give everyone, everywhere, the freedom to find God, too.
Bush believes in God's will-and in winning elections with the backing of those who agree with him. As a subaltern in his father's 1988 campaign, George Bush the Younger assembled his career through contacts with ministers of the then emerging evangelical movement in political life. Now they form the core of the Republican Party, which controls all of the capital for the first time in a half century. Bible-believing Christians are Bush's strongest backers, and turning them out next year in even greater numbers is the top priority of the president's political adviser Karl Rove. He is busy tending to the base with pro-life judicial appointments, a proposed ban on human cloning (approved by the House last week) and a $15 billion plan to fight AIDS in Africa, a favorite project of Christian missionaries who want the chance to save souls there as well as beleaguered lives. The base is returning the favor. They are, by far, the strongest supporters of a war-unilateral if need be-to remove Saddam.
. . .
Apparently the above is not an exaggerated report for Bush essentially reiterates his reliance on faith at his March 6, press conference. It is also interesting to note the opinion survey results of about 100,000 people who chose from three options:
Does George W. Bush's religious faith inappropriately dictate policy?
* 99814 responses
Yes. Church and state are supposed to be separated.
No. What's wrong with bringing morality to the White House?
I don't know.
QUESTION: Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war, with many organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus pushing for continued diplomacy through the U.N., how is your faith guiding you? And what should you tell America? Well, what should America do collectively as you instructed before 9/11? Should it be pray? Because you are saying, "Let's continue the war on terror."
BUSH: I appreciate that question a lot.
First, for those who urge more diplomacy, I would simply say that diplomacy hasn't worked. We've tried diplomacy for 12 years. Saddam Hussein hasn't disarmed. He's armed.
And we live in a dangerous world. We live in new circumstances in our country, and I hope people remember the -- I know they remember the tragedy of September the 11th, but I hope they understand the lesson of September the 11th.
The lesson is that we're vulnerable to attach wherever it may occur, and we must take threats which gather overseas very seriously. We don't have to deal with them all militarily, but we must deal with them.
And in the case of Iraq, it is now time for him to disarm. For the sake of peace, if we have to use our troops, we will.
My faith sustains me, because I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength.
If we were to commit our troops -- if we were to commit our troops I would pray for their safety, and I would pray for the safety of innocent Iraqi lives as well.
One thing that's really great about our country is that there are thousands of people who pray for me who I'll never see and be able to thank. But it's a humbling experience to think that people I will never have met have lifted me and my family up in prayer. And for that I'm grateful. It's been a comforting feeling to know that is true.
I pray for peace.
This does not comfort me at all! The whole situation rather makes me feel like prey! I and others have been warning of this religious/political/economic movement for sometime:
Right Wing Watch Online
August 12, 1998
In The Wings: Former Christian Coalition Chief Ralph Reed Moves His Holy Politics to the Private Sector
Ralph Reed has removed himself from the high-profile press conferences and photo-ops that characterized his eight years as executive director of the Christian Coalition. But his fascination with political power and devotion to a Religious Right political agenda remain unchanged. Instead, he has shifted tactics and is now promoting his cause from the private sector, via a new political consulting firm called "Century Strategies." Unlike the cadre of backstage players like Lee Atwater, James Carville, David Garth and Dick Morris, who have moved into the limelight from behind the scenes, Reed has leaped from one limelight to another with the launch of his new venture.
So far, Reed's move has been successful by any measure. Reed's new firm has been touted in countless stories in the media and candidates have been flocking to his doors. According to "The New York Times," Century Strategies has attracted so many clients that Reed has turned down several prominent candidates. At one point, three different contenders for the Georgia Lieutenant Governor's post were vying for Reed's attentions. No less than seven potential presidential candidates for the 2000 election have inquired about retaining Reed's services. Currently, Reed has 27 clients vying for state and national office, including at least three for governor, two for Senate, and eight for the House.
These clients are attracted to Reed because of his national prominence and recognition as well as his political skills. The mandates of his firm, however, are also a selling point. Reed's organization has pledged itself to "electing 100 'pro-family, pro-faith, pro-free-enterprise' candidates to Congress in the next 10 years," and there are several who would like to be included in that number. NYT columnist Richard L. Berke writes that Century Strategies represents Reed's attempt "to use his celebrity to become a kingmaker for religious, conservative candidates and to use that platform to help elect the next president."
. . .[continued]
WASHINGTON - In a controversy that touched White House political adviser Karl Rove, Enron Corp. signed contracts with GOP consultant Ralph Reed worth more than half a million dollars, the Federal Election Commission revealed in a ruling.
Enron paid Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader, about $300,000 before the energy company's collapse.
The payments came to light as part of an FEC inquiry into whether Enron's hiring of GOP consultant Reed was a sham designed to disguise an in-kind contribution from Enron to Bush's presidential effort.
In dismissing a complaint against Rove and the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, the FEC disclosed that the Enron-Reed ties involved far more money than has previously been reported.
The FEC said that just months before Enron filed for bankruptcy in 2001 it entered into a one-year contract paying Reed $30,000 a month plus expenses. The contract was for "ongoing advice and counsel to Enron" in pushing deregulation in the energy industry. The FEC ruling says that the agreement apparently was cut short after four months as Enron careened toward bankruptcy.
Reed collected about $200,000 from two earlier Enron contracts beginning in 1997 as Bush prepared a bid for president and then ran, the FEC ruling disclosed.
. . . [continued]
Reed launched his career from the University of Georgia--from where I write:
UGA 15 years ago [from 1999]:
Playing without Herschel Walker, who turned pro early, the Bulldogs win 10 games, including the '84 Cotton Bowl over No. 2-ranked Texas . . . Future Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed inflames Red and Black readers with his editorials opposing the nuclear-freeze movement.
These people are not going to bring Heaven down to earth much less foster a society capable of peaceful Space development. For a positive future based on real objective values we need to heed the words of people who have contributed much to society rather than the divisive Ralph Reed type zealot.
Perspicuous economic principles from one of brighter wealth building brains of our kin: Frederick Soddy
WEALTH AS A FORM OR PRODUCT OF ENERGY. ITS
We thus arrive at the conclusion that any sort of
perpetual motion is impossible. A continuous stream
of fresh energy is necessary for the continuous working
of any working system, whether animate or inanimate. Life
is cyclic as regards the material substances consumed, and
the same materials are used over and over again in
metabolism. But as regards energy, if is unidirectional,
and no continuous cyclic use of energy is even conceivable.
If we have available energy, we may maintain life and
produce every material requisite necessary. That is why
the flow of energy should be the primary concern of
economics. In a world which has adequate supplies of
energy, scientific knowledge and inventions for utilising it,
and the man-power able and willing to perform the neces-
sary duties and services, poverty and destitution are purely
artificial institutions, due to ignorance of the principles of
government, actively, if not deliberately, fostered for class
ends by legal conventions confounding wealth with debt.
Under any scientific system of government they would
disappear like small-pox and malaria, by means of pre-
ventive rather than ameliorative or curative measures.
It is, of course, perfectly well understood by those who
have studied the subject, that consumable wealth is not
like gold, silver, radium, or other elements that exist only
in small quantifies in the earth and which cannot yet be
artificially made. The attraction of such substances as
measures of wealth, upon which to base monetary value,
is, of course, in the power over the debtor they put into
the hands of the creditor. Money, in fact, becomes a
monopoly, and this monopoly is the real government.
Wealth, in the sense of the requisites of life, can now be
made as required, and has no relation whatever to such
ingenious financial devices. Its study has been sadly
neglected by the economist.
Although, to everyone except an engineer or a physicist,
energy seems to be quite a minor item in the production
of wealth, if we concern ourselves with what is used up
in the process of creating wealth, it is the largest and most
important item. Thus, in the cost of upkeep of a car the
petrol is a minor item. Till lately the tyres cost more. Yet,
if we pursue the tyres to their origin, we shall find how
much of their cost is due to expenditure of energy. They
call for a flow of the solar energy of a particular climate,
physical labour in rubber plantations, coal for the railways
and ships that transport the raw materials from the tropics,
as well as for the factories where if is made into tyres.
These railways and ships, again, and all the buildings and
equipment necessary for their manufacture, no less than
the materials they use--the iron and metals and the coal
which have to be mined--are the results of the expenditure
of physical energy. The armies of people these industries
maintain have to be supplied with food, clothes and houses,
and energy under intelligent human direction is the first
requisite for the supply of all such things.
POVERTY and UNEMPLOYMENT. A MONSTROUS
Much of this, of course, if not its implications, is well
understood to apply by the specialist, though usually the
source of wealth is not quite traced back as far as the
physical energy of sunshine. But long ages of penury and
subjection, to one form of injurious domination or another,
have accustomed people to look upon wealth as something
which, like gold, is essentially limited in amount, so that,
if some get much, others must go short to make up the
balance, rather than a quantity which scientific advances
have made capable of almost indefinite expansion, none
of the world's real problems centre to-day around the
mere provision of wealth. The difficulties arise rather in
getting rid of even a small part of what can be made,
without fighting for the privilege of either making or
selling if. But to people who think of wealth not in terms
of energy and human endeavour, but in terms of money-
tokens, there seems to be nothing incongruous in the con-
tinuance of the acute economic suffering into which Europe
has been plunged, nor any evidence of failure in the most
elementary function of government in the spectacle of
unemployment and poverty at one and the same time.
WEALTH, VIRTUAL WEALTH AND DEBT
THE SOLUTION OF THE ECONOMIC PARADOX, 1926
FREDERICK SODDY, M.A., F.R.S.
DR. LEE'S PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD;
NOBEL LAUREATE IN CHEMISTRY, 1921
AUTHOR OF "THE INTERPRETATION OF RADIUM,"
"MATTER AND ENERGY," AND "SCIENCE AND LIFE"
Soddy was chided by economist for entering their 'dismal-science' domain--perhaps his premises were a bit beyond their pecuniary scope.
Our reality is dynamic; there are only means which, when employed, produce results. If we wish to produce a better future for Life on this planet we need to consistently utilize constructive means and methods; we cannot build a better world by employing destructive means--though such practice may indeed provide a tragic End for US as a positive model.
With regard to resources that we can advantageously bring from Space to our terrestrial environment, in addition to information there is perhaps no import more important than solar energy. Either we can or we can't figure out how to safely 'pipe' the abundant energy flowing past our planet into our down to earth environ--it's an engineering issue not an economic one. Making the effort to accomplish this so that we could more rapidly move to hydrogen as a portable fuel would also develop the skill and hardware needed to divert potentially hazardous objects:
The global distribution of traditional fuel sources is obviously a contemporary threat that could have a terminal impact on civilization:
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