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A View From the Edge

Rising world tensions; relief is needed

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, is hardly ever heard from. He’s a bureaucrat and quite a calm individual. That’s why it was somewhat of a surprise, mid-summer, to have him issue a global threat warning. For months he has been gathering data and input from offices of the U.N. in almost every country. 

Lockheed’s Skunk Works at it again

Most Americans may not know what the Skunk Works are. A division of Lockheed set up after World War II, headed by the genius Kelly Johnson, the Skunk Works was named after the comic strip, “Li’l Abner,” in which there was a running joke about a mysterious and malodorous place deep in the forest called the “Skonk Works.”

The value of a little forest?

Some reading this will remember when Berlin was a divided city. The western sector, part of free Germany, was surrounded by the GDR or communist Germany controlled as part of the USSR. The industry around West Berlin burned coal, oil and, generally, polluted the air and water. West Berliners were trapped. Their main park, the Tiergarten, had the Berlin Wall running partway through it and what was left had Hitler’s bunker and other World War II constructions ruining its pastoral splendor.

We’re being extorted by computer giants

Imagine if that car you bought was more than 3 years old and you went to the dealer and they told you, “We no longer will service that model, it is too old, you should upgrade to a newer model.” And what if they then frog-marched you over to the newer models and told you that unless you bought one of them, you’d have no car to drive any moment now? Where would your loyalty be to that car manufacturer? Out the window.

Lesson from recent history

Gustave Gilbert, an intelligence officer at the end of World War II, interviewed on-trial (Nuremberg Trials) Hermann Goering. The Reichsmarschall and Gilbert had long, uninterrupted conversations, recorded in Gilbert’s journals, meticulously kept. 

The trial was not going in the Reichsmarschall’s favor. Here are Gilbert’s recorded observations. They warrant thinking about, deeply and clearly, especially with tensions rising around the world to which Congress seems no longer to have any oversight nor control of United States leaders’ response.

Democracy is at stake

As de Tocqueville pointed out over 160 years ago, US lawyers have risen to take the place of the older form of societal control: that of the aristocracy. They share habits, tastes and — he pointed out -— they share the aristocracies’ “contempt for popular opinion.” He felt, and this has been borne out since, that lawyers and their control and interpretation of the law, form a counter-argument for the intentions embedded in the Constitution.

Secrets and fact of CO2

Watching rapidly changing trends

Sometimes it takes a trip once or twice a year to sharpen your perspective of changes in society. The newest perspective is fresh and yet the past memory sharp enough to know what has changed — changes stand out in sharp contrast to what you remember.