Monthly Archives: December 2006

Enormous California Blogroll

Wow! Go to the link to check out all the great California progressive bloggers! Woo hoo!

Calitics: Soapblox California :: Enormous California Blogroll

So, on the flip, one will find an enormous California liberal / progressive / lefty blogroll.

Much of it will be sorted (priority given to state and local politics) and worked into the front page blogroll.

If you’re a liberal / progressive / lefty blogger in California, and you’re not on this list, believe me, it wasn’t for lack of trying on our part.

Force

Whenever you advise a ruler in the way of Tao,
Counsel him not to use force to conquer the universe.
For this would only cause resistance.
Thorn bushes spring up wherever the army has passed.
Lean years follow in the wake of a great war.
Just do what needs to be done.
Never take advantage of power.

Achieve results,
But never glory in them.
Achieve results,
But never boast.
Achieve results,
But never be proud.
Achieve results,
Because this is the natural way.
Achieve results,
But not through violence.

Force is followed by loss of strength.
This is not the way of Tao.
That which goes against the Tao
comes to an early end.

Tao Te Ching, Thirty

I have been struggling all day to write anything with meaning for this day, but, as always, the Tao says it best.

So a tyrant comes to an end. What about all those left?

And who will rise to fill this tyrant’s place?

It cannot end well. And so it will end badly. We have guaranteed it now.

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

Good thoughts for the day…

SistahCraft:

It is thriftier to use quality materials and take good care of your articles, so they will look fabulous on you for years to come, and not beat up after a few washings. Economy is not disposable. Really.

Sensei and Sensibility:

Stewardship, preservation and caring for things, is another of my values. This, too, is at odds with “get rid of it, knock it down and build new.” I feel confirmed—and joyful–every time I walk through Grand Central or attend a concert in Carnegie Hall, for example.

Maybe there is something here that helps to explain why I was so moved by the experience of Abu Simbel, one of the temples saved from the dammed up waters of the Nile. To save Abu Simbel required international cooperation, caring, commitment, skill and $400 million dollars. To save it required a lot of “Yes!”

Discardia

After visiting the home of a woman in an informal settlement in Soweto and chatting with her as she cooked on a paraffin stove in her two-room jury-rigged shack, the quantity of stuff I have in my apartment alarms me. And I’ve been consciously reducing my belongings over the last few years!

Miriam didn’t have many things, but everything she had had a purpose. Her home was painfully simple – and I do hope that she’ll soon realize her dream of moving into a more solid home, perhaps even with plumbing in the house – but she had put her heart into it and made it clean and cheerful. Her wallpaper was crafted from bright green wrappers from some household product and the exterior was painted gaily. The dirt floor was scrupulously swept and a few plants were growing in her yard.

Visiting Miriam’s house and a girl’s orphanage near Nairobi and a Maasai village made it very clear that it is not number or newness of possessions which make a home happy.

As I begin appreciating what I have more, buying fewer new things and getting rid of things I don’t need, it makes it easier to afford (or notice I could already afford) to contribute to other people’s quality of life. Sometimes that bit of money comes from skipping something I realize isn’t really worth spending my money on. (Never getting into wearing makeup sure has saved me a lot of money over the years!) Sometimes it comes from acknowledging that something brings me enough pleasure that I really should invest for the long term in it. Once you do the math you may figure out that ad hoc purchases are actually costing you a lot more than you really need to spend.

Santa Claus Is Chinese

December
14, 2006: Santa Claus Is Chinese, Or, Why China Is Rising And The United States Is Declining

It’s not the fact that our Christmas is made in China, but rather the mindset that has led to it that is most disturbing. We want to consume no matter what. We want to spend now and let our children pay. It is this same mindset that introduces tax cuts while waging a costly war. Economic sacrifice is no longer part of our vocabulary. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt banned the sale of private cars in order to mobilize the manufacturing capacity and engineering skills of the U.S. automobile industry to build tanks and planes. In contrast, after 9/11, President Bush urged us to go shopping.

In the United States we are so intent on consuming that personal savings have virtually disappeared. We have an average of five credit cards for every man, woman, and child. Of the 145 million cardholders, only 55 million clear their accounts each month. The other 90 million cannot seem to catch up and are paying steep interest rates on their remaining balance. Millions of people are so deeply in debt that they may remain indebted for life.

The official national debt, the product of years of fiscal deficits, now totals $8.5 trillion—some $64,000 per taxpayer. (See data.) By the end of the Bush administration in 2008, this figure is projected to reach a staggering $9.4 trillion. We are digging a fiscal black hole and sinking deeper and deeper into it.

Each month the Treasury covers the fiscal deficit by auctioning off securities. The two leading international buyers of U.S. Treasury securities are Japan and China. In this role, China is now also becoming our banker. This developing country, where income levels are one sixth those of the United States, is financing the excesses of an affluent industrial society. What’s wrong with this picture?

Via treehugger.