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View from the Edge

Peter Riva of Gila has offered his many years of columns for this online newspaper. His writings have been published in East Coast newspapers, and he decided to share them with the Beat and you, our readers.

Imagine if that car you bought was over 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.

Speaking of Windows... It’s even worse than that. And in case all you Apple people are chuckling, think again. All new Apple software is built on Unix (which was a derivative of the original government-paid for IBM DOS software that Microsoft and others freely re-branded as theirs). The loopholes, backdoors and patches to Unix make a hand-sewn quilt look like child’s play.

Gustave Gilbert, an intelligence officer at the end of WWII, interviewed on-trial (Nurnberg 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 USA leaders’ response.

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.

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.

Many people feel that the divide in America is primarily caused by location, ethnicity, and education. To a large extent those are the markers or the outcome of the real reason behind the divisions among the population. And, no, I am not blaming the rich or the poor here either. America has always been the nation where you could work to get ahead, to prosper if you had the brains or the drive.  But there is a creeping issue that’s endemic in America now—social mobility seems frozen. And as anyone who’s been immobile can tell you, the body, mind and possibilities atrophy.

Let’s deal with something simple; basic science, nothing complicated. A 6-year-old can handle this measurement (meaning: if anyone denies this level of science, discard them as unreliable or silly): Air gets trapped in ice. Go to your freezer, take out an ice-cube and look. You’ll see air bubbles. Those air bubbles may be compressed, they may be large or small. What each air bubble is, is a perfect proportion of the air surrounding the ice as it formed. It cannot change the air around it when formed. Period. Basic 1st grade physics. Don’t understand that? Stop reading, go back to school.

Johnny Appleseed was not a myth. He went about the country, especially the northeast to the Ohio Valley, and planted apple seeds. Now here’s the clever part... he mostly wanted to plant the seeds atop hills. Why? If you walk around the bottom of valleys and stream banks, you will suddenly come upon “wild” apple trees there. Some are small crabapples, some are forgotten varieties. Untended and wild—these trees are Johnny Appleseed’s legacy. You see, a tree planted atop a hill will drop apples that will, naturally, roll downhill finding another bed to grow in.

US Airline passenger traffic is rising, fast. In the next 20 years, the estimates are that there will be half again as many people flying as there are today in America. By the end of the next decade, the estimate is that over 1,000,000,000 people will fly in America – that’s 3 trips for every American on average. The growth rate is around 2% per year which sounds low until you compare it to the airports—already over-crowded and congested—which only have development budgets at less than 1% per year. Something has to give.

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