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DEAR JON LETTERS
Sort 429, Mixing Oil and Water
is like mixing politics and humor. All you get is a sticky mess and a lot of upset environmentalists.

by Dear Jon
May 18, 2010

So far no one has written an actual letter,  texted, facebooked or called Dear Jon on my cell, to ask my advice on how to plug oil leaks that are a mile under water. My philosophy is the same as it is for the Chicago Cubs: You can pay a guy nine million dollars a year and put him in the bull-pen, or you can pay me one million a year to throw nine pitches in the general direction of home-plate in the middle of the eighth inning. BP can hire an engineering consulting firm to fail, or they can get me for one-fifth their price and I can give them lots of suggestions.

My ideas tend to involve torpedo tubes, pressure resistant droid robots, and a whole lot of chewing gum. 

Meanwhile, back at Camp David, everyone's liberal dream-boat president wants to solve the oil leak by making sure it does not happen again. That means reducing our need for oil. One of the key pieces to his platform is that America ought to re-invest in nuclear power. I guess in liberal America, nuclear plant advocates are the "new tree-huggers" for the 21st Century.

Unfortunately, we have yet to see a plan from our President which reduces America's need for the Gulf of Mexico.

President Obama has the right idea about nuclear power. Funny thing is, Iran's President Mockmydjinnibad or whatever his name is has the same idea of developing an independent energy grid of nuclear power. For Iran, of course, this is ridiculous since they have all that oil. For the United States it makes perfect sense, because our oil --and we have lots of it -- is disproportionately to be found either under water or under the pillows of baby polar bears. 

Even so I agree with the American position. Iran ought to go to a nuclear energy grid only if the international community can verify that they are not building nuclear warheads with targetings systems programmed for Tel Aviv.  The United States, having the bombs already, ought to develop an energy-delivery system that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and dependence on foreign suppliers. It really does make sense, it really is not hypocrisy, it just looks that way.

Maybe we can compromise by promising that we will have our nuclear plants open to UN Security Council inspectors at all times. You know: China, and Russia, and France. All nuclear powers could have a reciprocal reporting relationship with each other and the UN for compliance on weapons inventory and so on. That would put us on the same footing as Iran in terms of monitoring, allowing the United States to again take moral leadership in the world.  To me, that makes a lot of sense.

It does not make sense to anyone who puts the idea of national sovereignty ahead of all other principles. That is the shield that Iran is hiding behind. They are saying, and rightly so, that what they must be subject to, all other nations should also be subject to. Only, from Iran, this is a bluff. They are counting on American isolationists raising cain over any notion that the US should open its nuclear plants and weapons stock-piles  to French, Russian, and Chinese inspectors.

Over the past twenty years, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall, progressives have been contemplating the benefits of super-sovereignty, and the European Union has been its test case. Now that the Euro has tanked in the wake of Greece's national debt, the idea of super-sovereignty seems to be getting flushed down the toilets of French nationalism.

I do not understand all that stuff about why Greece is in trouble, or why its troubles should mean that Portugal is going down the drain too. I have a suggestion, though. Since the Greeks built all that stuff for the Olympics in 2004, let us just keep the Olympics in Greece until the tourism pays off and lifts them out of debt. The Olympics always were in Greece before, anyway. By "before" I mean, of course, three thousand years ago. (I can present this confidently as a solution since Chicago lost its bid anyway.)

History teaches us more than that the Olympics were in Greece.  I have learned that national sovereignty is not an innate condition, it is instead a cultural construction. Consider the map of Europe and how it evolved. For over a thousand years the issue was not "national" sovereignty but rather the sovereignty of various royal houses and the inter-breeding among them.

World War I, in fact, could be considered the Worst of All Family Reunion Picnics Gone Bad. It all got started when an agent of Serbian nationalism assassinated an in-bred Austrian royal and his wife. So much for the Volleyball Game, all the big boys just wanted to play Tug of War after that until everyone landed in the mud. The USA got involved because President Wilson had 14 Points to talk about and no one was paying any attention to him until he sent his soldiers into the mud and had them cut the rope. One of those points was that to End All Wars, every self-declared ethnic group in Europe should have its own democracy.

Great idea!

On paper!

In another universe! Like a universe where Spock can talk to himself as a young man and William Shatner is flipped the bird!

Why it did not work in this universe, is that most of Europe's ethnic groups east of the Oder were still 99% illiterate and still had their women pulling the plows (or "ploughs" in World War I spelling). Most of these peasants had world-views in which they knew that they owed their lives to the Count, The Tsar/Kaiser/Emperor, and the Pope/Patriarch/Church.

Despite World War II, the super-sovereignty of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact et cetera, America decided that this idea of "every state a democracy" was so wonderful, the Bush Doctrine has expanded it to include the entire Arab Leage and various and sundry rogue states. Of course we know that democracy comes with a learning curve, so we will just keep our soldiers in place "over there, over there" until all those foreginers "get it." As one of my friends quoted to me from sources I'm not bothering to look up: 

"Give them liberty or give them death!"

President Obama has put his own spin on the doctrine, by building more robot drones for service in Pakistan which, though it might not be a rogue state technically, definitely has some rogue provinces. Can we modify some of those drones for underwater missions against rogue oil wells? I'm imagining arming those drones with missiles that carry a payload of Wrigley's(R).

Maybe a lot of issues about sovereignty and America's role in nuclear energy and what to do about Iran and China and Korea and Israel and Europe and the Balkans, would be clarified if we just removed the two-term limit from the presidency and crowned the next one. That would be either "Jeb I" or "Bush III." But that is just a brainstorm and I am digressing.

The point is, of course, that if you don't like my chewing gum idea for plugging an oil leak, then please continue not asking.  I need to keep the phone line open anyway, here in the bullpen.

 




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