Saturday, August 2, 2008

ready to Crow

I flew by to discuss recent developments with Susan but she's not here - probably out buying hummingbird food or staring at her color wheel, waiting for inspiration. She gets like that sometimes but it's okay. One of her pets is here to keep me company and meanwhile I'll talk to you if you have a moment. I've been doing some long distance traveling and need a break.

Where was I? Well, since things are a bit difficult in the US these days I thought I'd scout out a few other places just to see if there's anyplace 300 million people can go until the political, social and economic problems resolve. There are already 7 or more millions of ex-patriot US citizens living in other countries. Many of the younger ones have headed south of the southern border to places like Panama and Costa Rica for fun, adventure and entrepreneurial exploits. If Susan wants to see hummingbirds that's really the place to go but if Americans are leaving the United States, Canada is certainly one of the most convenient places for interim relocation. It may be a little chilly at times, but it’s right across the border and most Canadians speak English. Many of the major issues that divide people and political parties in the U.S. seem resolved in Canada. They have a lower crime rate, universal health care, and reportedly better education. Their medical doctors can dispense marijuana and they officially recognize same-sex marriages. On top of all that, the rest of the world isn’t mad at them.

Things have reached the point in this country that one of the best economic indicators is the 'pizza index' - the skyrocketing price of 'recession-proof' foods: pizza, hot dogs, bagels and beer. The major presidential candidates grumble about each other and just how fast or slow the US military can tiptoe out of Iraq while still leaving the oil giants, six huge permanent bases and the world's biggest 'embassy' in place but they don't talk about the fact the economy as a whole is collapsing. Individuals need help but we all need change. Is this just another market mistake, the latest bubble gone bust in a volatile business cycle? Can we solve all this with an Alka-Seltzer-like infusion of new taxes or regulations? I don't think so. We're talking big time crony capitalism here and not party politics.

If you're not quite ready to immigrate (which would probably only encourage the jerks who got you into this mess), I heard about the Fifth Party candidacy of Divajood and Nunley and stopped by to talk over the issues with my old friend David Korten who had some advice for those hoping to establish a progressive democracy. He says that the best way to start would be to envision the following changes:

1. Instruments of war to health care and environmental rejuvenation.
2. Automobiles to public transportation.
3. Suburban sprawl to compact communities and the reclamation of forest
and agricultural land.
4. Advertising to education.
5. Financial speculation to local entrepreneurship.

'There is significant evidence that for all the apparent differences, most all the world's people want the same thing: happy healthy children, families, communities, and natural systems. Properly understood, the imperative creates an unprecedented opportunity to unleash long suppressed potentials of the human consciousness to bring forth the world for which humans have long shared a deep yearning.'

Remember, humans are Pleistocene people with a 600,000 year history of being nomads. My people know because we were there with you when walked, ran, danced and rode through mighty, mysterious forests and endless grasslands. You sailed the seas in reed and wooden boats long before steel hulls and engines were invented. Wars were fought killing untold numbers of my people as well as yours but your inventiveness should provide the evidence that minds and hearts can evolve beyond destruction to something better for all of us.

Now I'm off to see if I can find something decent to eat around here and I don't mean hummingbird nectar either. Yuck.

(artwork by Rudi Herzlmeier)

21 comments:

  1. Aw, Crow. The idea of flight - not just lifting off the Earth, but flight from this mess our country is in - is so tempting.

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  2. There's no doubt about it, crows have more brains than most humans. I'd love to migrate to a friendlier country or a small island somewhere, but then I'd have to leave the Chicago White Sox. It's becoming more and more tempting, though.

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  3. dcup - Have you noticed nobody says about this place 'love it or leave it' anymore? I think there are many who'd like to go but can't.

    me - Crow comes from a very intellectual rookery. Maybe the White Sox will agree to go too - I hear there's a big empty ballpark in Montreal.

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  4. What a cool write, kiddo!

    //most Canadians speak English //

    Break me up! I wish I could say that most 'Wisconsinese' speak English.

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  5. if everyone took mass transit, mr. crow, it would make my driving easier!

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  6. Hey Crow! I'm headed up to Lake George tomorrow morning. Canada is but a short 2 hour drive away, as the crow flies...(sorry about that),

    I really like what you wrote here. I like that you feel there's still hope for us despite our best efforts to screw things up.

    You're my kind of bird.

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  7. If we could implement those five things, well, imagine how much better the world would be. I'm not sure people are ready for such a change.

    The bus rates are going up here to $2.50 ONE way in the fall. That's $25 for a typical week. Sure, cheaper than parking for you car, but that's a piece of cash for someone who really can't afford it. We'll need to reach a terribly visible tipping point before we change the way we operate, I fear.

    No more hedge funders, less advertising and overt consumerist culture. Sounds nice. Crow's a sharp bird.

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  8. okjimm - If you want to hear local dialects just wait til nobody can afford to travel anymore. At the turn of the last century in England you only had to go 5 miles between country villages to hear how incomprehensible our language can get.

    seraphine - That's a problem a Crow doesn't have to contend with.

    spartacus - Hope springs eternal - warrented or not. Have a great trip!

    randal - It's the same around here with public transit getting very expensive - and there seem to be fewer buses too. We'll reach the tipping point faster than anyone can imagine if the US and Israel attack Iran.

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  9. Break me up, Susan....

    //only had to go 5 miles between country villages//

    ...it is still true in the Upper Penisula of Michigan..... Da Yuppers are kind of Canadian Lite....... with a severe identity crisis to boot.

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  10. okjimm - Holy crap! It must be the same everywhere and come to think of it most people still don't go anywhere.

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  11. Hi Susan
    A very entertaining column once again with some excellent references. Too bad there isn’t the interest that would demand a debate about the internal economy and aspects that are now clearly unsustainable, such as over spending and excess financial organizational layers surplus to the provision of sensible credit services. Even so by necessity some rationalize will happen in the financial services and brokerage areas before too long.
    If I can stay on the nature theme, a cat will avoid being scalded a second time by mistakenly cuddling up to a red hot stove top. Let us consider the overseas investors and sovereign risk overseas funds who have recently invested very large sums into many of the leading failed leading institutions. If they were to find subsequently their capital depleted a second time around there is no prizes for guessing what their reaction will be then?
    I have also read some unbelievable comments elsewhere to the extent their authors seem to think it doesn’t matter how big the deficits is because the Government will simply borrow more or print more money. The end result of such a policy is clearly visible and evident in history in the economic collapse which would be accompanied by rampant inflation.
    Best wishes

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  12. 1. Instruments of war to health care and environmental rejuvenation.

    Well, that would mean population expansion right? Are we for that? Randal? Are we for that?

    2. Automobiles to public transportation. How about adding bicycles and walking to the list. That might help with health care.

    3. Suburban sprawl to compact communities and the reclamation of forest and agricultural land.

    Population explosion, 101.

    4. Advertising to education.

    There are some people who say that advertising IS education.

    5. Financial speculation to local entrepreneurship.

    I'm all for that. Whatever. Is there chocolate cake involved?

    Seriously, if we could make those five changes - feed universal health care and environmental recovery; decrease the number of fossil-fuel burning vehicles; small communities that work WITH the environment; REAL education rather than uber-testing; and encouraging local entrepeneurs - that would be something.

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  13. lindsay - People here do understand there are serious economic problems but most have little comprehension of the underlying reasons. The media is not the watchdog of public interest but to a large extent the lapdog of the corporations.

    divajood - Interesting counterpoints and some I would have made myself but Crow insists on sticking with direct quotes.

    1. Population control tends to follow naturally with healthcare and opportunity for women.

    2. Absolutely, with horses, carriages, surreys and dirigibles too.

    3. See answer to #1

    4. The US is the most propagandized nation in the history of the world - mostly the fault of advertising.

    5. Local entrepreneurship involves multiple excellent bakeries many of which have semi-annual chocolate cake contests. I like the strawberry shortcake competition too.

    David Korten is a great man. He wrote a book called 'When Corporations Rule the World' about ten years ago and I still remember it well.

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  14. I am not sure what I can contribute today - Canada? Maybe not a bad choice, they have hummingbirds there as well.
    You see, the candidates speak about gas prices and such, and what they are going to do about the rising costs.
    The funny thing is, it has absolutely nothing to do do with them. They can not dictate to those who got the free ride. The "free-market" economy after all is the ticket to democracy, or so I have been told.

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  15. We're certainly worried about population. Thus, free birth control for all, especially with our head of EPA spearheading that sex=energy independence program.

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  16. So we get to keep sex, right? And cake?

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  17. Wait, I've been away for awhile. Is someone saying we can't have sex? What???? I might as well go into the convent after all! Yikes!

    Sorry I've been away, so busy...way too busy. Next week will be back to normal again.

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  18. can i stare at your color wheel too? mine's the color of mud, atm. feels like it too.

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  19. zee - No the candidates can't do anything about current gas prices but what they can do is be honest. Nothing is going to change until people understand the options left to us.

    randal - I've heard if you could harvest the energy of people in motion we'd never have to pay for energy again. Go for it :-)

    Divajood - Since chocolate is an aphrodisiac maybe that could come before the sex.. which should be frequent.

    Seraphine - I've worn a hole in mine. I was going to ask to borrow yours.

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  20. Hello, Susan.
    It is my own personal belief that all members of the clergy willing to perform a blowjob at the end of the ceremony should be allowed to perform a gay marriage.

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