The Persistent Idiocy of Climate Change Deniers

Ah sheesh. Just when I thought I found a website that was serious about challenging the IPCC report on climate change, you find this: “The foundation was established in November 2009, shortly after the start of the Climatic Research Unit email controversy, with its headquarters in a room at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, subsequently moved to 55 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL. Its director is Benny Peiser,[7][8] an expert on the social and economic aspects of physical exercise, and it is chaired by former Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson.[9]”

An expert on … what? In a room… where? So, who’s funding you? They won’t tell, while insisting that opponents are funded by the environmental “industry”. Of course. Then they had to admit that a graph showing the temperature declining was “in error”.

“People such as Lord Lawson [a board member] are not skeptical, for if one major peer-reviewed piece of scientific research were ever to be published casting doubt on climate change theory, you just know they’d have it up in neon at Piccadilly Circus. ”  They only doubt science that gets in the way of profits.  But hey, if you get cancer, you’re free to choose a chiropractor over a physician if you really want to.

This kind of BS is exactly why reasonable, open-minded people have very little reason to credit the climate-change deniers. You do a search, survey the pro and con sites, and find the deniers are embarrassingly thin on the science, the logic, transparency, and integrity. And without exception, are funded by the carbon industry, oil and coal.

[whohit]The Persistent Idiocy of Climate Change Deniers[/whohit]

The Oil of Machines

We are not running out of oil.  We are inundated with the propaganda from the oil industry which simultaneously requires us to believe that there is so little oil left that we must pay dearly for it and that there is so much oil left that we don’t really need to pursue alternative energy sources seriously, but we are not running out of oil.  Yet.

We will, some day.  We are using a lot of it.  But there is a lot left, and a lot is being “discovered” at times convenient to the industry, at such a rate that even though we were literally, absolutely, indubitably, running out of oil in the 1970’s, during the first great oil crisis, we remain inundated with oil, everywhere.  The U.S., in fact, imports far less oil now than it did 20 years ago.  That would be very, very strange, if we had actually been running out of oil in the 1970’s, or 80’s, or 90’s.

Furthermore, there will not be a monumental crisis when we run out of oil.  The fact is that there are numerous potential replacements for oil, all of which already work quite well.  Why don’t we use them?  Because it is still cheaper to use oil, right now, and more convenient.  But if we ever really started running out of oil and the price per barrel began to soar, to $500, $750, $1200, $2000 a barrel, we would move rather quickly to electric or hydrogen cars, and we would begin to build more nuclear reactors, and windmills, and solar panels, which are quickly becoming cheaper and more efficient.   There is no great impediment to these technologies right now, except for the cheap cost of oil, and the massive existing infrastructure that supports it.

Oil, of course, is used for many things, besides transportation.  There will be hardships and adjustments, but nothing mankind can’t handle with some effort.

Soon or not so soon, we are not going to freeze in the dark.  We will use cleaner, more efficient forms of energy.  In the end, the world will probably be a better place.  Is that a tear I see on your cheek, for the passing of oil?


“We shouldn’t be criticized for using Chinese workers,” a current Apple executive said. “The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need.” Ny Times, 2012-01-21

I couldn’t get over that quote: The U.S. has stopped producing people with the skills we need. Oh woeful day– America doesn’t even educate it’s own people properly and they can’t keep up with those backward Chinese.

Apple computer, selling itself to us as the totemic object of enlightened consumerist fantasy… but we aren’t the kind of people who can produce these objects. The Chinese are out there feeding us, suckling America, clasping the American consumer to it’s massive breast…. and guzzling American dollars and jobs in the process.

Is your iPhone made by slave labour? And if it was, would it actually be possible for you to own a other electronic communications device– say, an Android phone– that was not manufactured under somewhat odious conditions somewhere in China?

It has been estimated that an iPhone would cost about $65 more if it were assembled in the U.S. Would American consumers be willing to pay about 10% more for a product if it produced thousands of good-paying jobs in America instead of China? I think they probably would, right now. But nobody is campaigning on that strategy. And probably rightfully so– a trade war would not be helpful to anyone.

Foxconn is a very, very large company. It is actually owned by the Hon Hai Precision Industry Company based in Taiwan. I’ll bet you’ve never heard of it. It is the world’s largest producer of electronic devices.

All those U.S. dollars flowing to China to pay for the iPhones and iPads and Acer laptops, etc., etc. ,etc… what will they do with all those American dollars? Nobody really seems to know. Whenever I see an article on the subject, I read it, but I still can’t figure out what people think is likely to happen eventually. Keep in mind, that China is now increasingly competitive with the U.S. in one other area: guzzling oil.

Wiki on Foxconn.

Oil Subsidies

The oil industry in the United States receives about $2.3 billion in government subsidies every year. Why? Because they can’t make a profit? Obviously not. Because they are good to the environment? Obviously not. Because they contribute to national defense, our cultural heritage, anything, anything at all other than the profits of their investors?

The oil industry gets this money because the rich owners of oil companies have lunch with your congressman frequently and contribute to his re-election campaign so he can run ads telling you how he will go to Washington and clean up all that corruption and perversion, with the help of that corporate jet supplied by BP.

Did you get your share? Not likely. But if you are GE or Goldman-Sachs, you will get your share of government largesse: they are collecting hundreds of millions of dollars to build alternative energy farms.

Now, a normal business takes a risk and invests in a certain technology and, if it’s leaders are wise and diligent, they will make a profit. And then they will tell you that they should pay less tax on their large profits than you pay on your meager earnings, because, they’ll say, they take risks, and they create jobs, and they are the engines of growth.

Except that, as in the case of the NRG Solar Ranch in the California Valley, which has received nearly $1.6 billion in government subsidies. Which is pretty well 100% of the cost of the project. NRG has also obtained a guarantee that the government will buy it’s power at a certain fixed price guaranteed to ensure a very healthy profit for NRG, possibly as high as 50%.

Are you getting your share? Not if you work for a living. But if you invest, you might be. And you can see why we need less government regulation– my goodness! It’s just strangling those businesses!


Fracking was invented way back around World War II, as a means of getting oil to come out of the ground more easily. Back then they used napalm. The process was invented by Halliburton, the company Dick Cheney headed before becoming vice-president.

Halliburton didn’t want you to know what chemicals are used in fracking– besides the millions of gallons of water. Could be benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, diesel fuel, sand. But there was this contentious little law– something about drinking water– that made it illegal for them to inject these deadly chemicals into the ground near anybody’s sources of drinking water. No problem. With former oil executive Bush in charge, Dick Cheney was appointed to meet with oil industry executives– in secrecy– to draft some new laws, one of which gave the oil industry an exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

This is how the system works.

Did you know that in Alberta and British Columbia, you only own the top layer of the ground beneath your house? What’s below that– including any natural gas or oil– belongs to the government. Now, you might think your government would at least make sure that any money to be made from the deposits under your home would benefit you directly. And you might also believe in the tooth fairy.

In fact, you are not entitled to one red cent for any oil or gas beneath your house.  The government doesn’t care about your rights or your property: they will hand over the oil and gas to Exxon or Shell or some other carbon company and they, in turn, will reward the government with “Royalties” they can then spend on things they can give the taxpayer.

And the government’s share of the profits from this mineral wealth guarantee that the government is going to support these industries if you try to fight them.

And do you think the cost of the water used, and the damage to the environment, is an expense to the oil industry? Are you mad?

In the U.S., you might own the mineral rights. You might not. It depends on state law and previous agreements with previous owners. You might very well purchase a property only to discover that you own nothing beneath the surface In principle, just like in Alberta and British Columbia, though, mineral rights to anything below the surface are owned by the property owner.

How can you own part of an oil deposit if it encompasses several properties? Under the “rule of capture”, whoever pumps out the oil first gets it. You snooze, you lose.

Some oil companies have, in fact, been caught digging their wells on an angle in order to pump out the oil below somebody else’s property.

So once again, it’s socialism for the investors– they get to share the property below your house– and free enterprise for the working classes– you have to go out and work for a living. And then you have to pay them for the oil. And then you might find out that your drinking water has been contaminated by the toxins they inject into the ground to free up that oil and gas. And then you find out that you won’t be compensated because Dick Cheney and George Bush saw to it that the oil industry will not be liable for any damage done to your drinking water.

True, but unbelievable.

More on who owns your oil.  But not much more.

Even more.  Better information from Wiki.

Tuvalu: A Land Soon to be Down Under

George Wright, the fugitive murderer and bank robber recently found, after 41 years, in Portugal, might have been better off had he chose Tuvalu to hide in. It’s way out there in the middle of the Pacific, half-way between Hawaii and Australia, about as remote as you can get. I don’t believe they require your fingerprints on an id card for citizenship.

But then again, he might have been noticed. Tuvalu, with a population of about 30,000 and a gross land area of about 8 square miles, is the second smallest nation in the United Nations. Only Vatican City is smaller.

There may not be much of a future in Tuvalu. The highest elevation of the land in Tuvalu is about 15 feet above sea-level. During a good storm, you have to be careful where you park your car.

Yes, the citizens of Tuvalu are concerned about Global Warming because one of the results of Global Warming will be a rise in sea levels. Just to understand this clearly– the sea levels don’t need to rise 15 feet to cause a problem for the Tuvaluans (if that’s what they call themselves). If it only rises a foot or two, they will be in deep trouble. If it rises much more than that, they will have to be evacuated to New Zealand or Australia.

Ayn Rand and the Trees

People own things. In fact, today, one of the most sacred rights in our society is the right to keep what I have out of your hands. It’s mine.

This would be good and just if all of us started from zero on the day we were born and only acquired what we actually earned directly from our own labour. This is the myth a lot of conservatives love to flog: that somehow they earned it. And those who have nothing didn’t work hard enough.

Somewhere, some time in the past, obviously, nobody owned anything. You are thrown into the world with nothing. The world is already here, including the trees.

Do some human beings have the innate right to take whatever they want? If you’re a royalist, I guess they do. For the rest of us, the idea that anything or everything in the world can be taken is repugnant.

If you’re Ayn Rand, life is simple. According to Rand, if you are big enough and strong enough to take it, you should take it, you must take it, you have a divine right to elbow aside those weaker or less ruthless than yourself and take it. Take it. Take all of it, without reservation. Let the sheep tweet about justice and rights– the only thing that matters is that they can’t take it from you. Unless you have a government. Damn! They’ve organized.

Forget that. It’s not too hard to buy the government. An assistant to a congressman recently went to work for the Recording Industry of America after sneaking a provision through the back door of some irrelevant legislation granting lavish privileges to their members in the battle against composer’s rights. That is one tiny example among a ocean of cheating. It works pretty well- you won’t hear Michelle Bachmann complaining about this kind of deal. Rick Perry won’t complain, obviously, because this is exactly the way he does business all the time in Texas. There is nothing more maddening in the world than the crowds of inflamed tea-partiers mad for Rick Perry because they actually believe he’s going to reduce corruption in government.

So, back to the trees. Most people would agree: trees are magnificent. But not all trees are equally magnificent. The most magnificent trees are the ones that are 200, 300, 400 years old. These trees are monumental. They are gloriously tall and beautiful and endowed with the patina of age and endurance. Most people would enjoy seeing trees like that. Even once or twice in your life.

Already back in 1802, Lord Nelson was appalled to discover that few trees suitable for navy shipbuilding were left in England, and requested that replacements be planted and protected for an anticipated 200 years.

What is really quite shocking is that no one prevented anyone from taking tree after tree after tree until virtually all of the oldest and most beautiful trees had been permanently removed. Forever. No one can go back now and see a primeval forest. No one can recreate a forest of 300-year-old oaks or pines or anything: someone wanted to build or burn or cook, and so the trees were taken.

The use of these trees was so transient and ephemeral. The ships or homes or fires made are all long gone. So is the forest. When my wife and I walk through the forests of Ontario for pleasure, we cannot be unaware of the fact that all of the trees were are looking at infants compared to what might have been there if only the government had said, “no, you can’t take every single tree. Leave some forests for the future”. No, they said “screw the future– take every last one.”

Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry both want to excise the Environmental Protection Agency from American life and allow oil companies to drill everywhere, any time, without annoying restrictions, regulations, or consumer protections. In fact, it appears that they both want to give the oil to the oil companies in the bizarre belief that citizens have no rights to the resources that exist under the ground in their own country.


Who’s Stopping Thorium?

“Too good to be true”. I think we all have an innate suspicion of stories that sound like the stories about the possibilities of thorium.

Scientists discover an abundant, cheap chemical element that can produce energy safer and more reliably than any other substance. It doesn’t produce ugly by-products that can be used in bombs. It doesn’t produce emissions. It can be used in numerous small reactors that can be buried in the ground and managed remotely. It’s will be so cheap, they won’t bother to meter the electricity.

We used to hear this kind of talk about nuclear energy. Thanks to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and now Fukushima, we don’t now.

Anyone my age or older probably remembers hearing about some amazing carburetor developed secretly by General Motors that could give cars incredible fuel mileage, but which was suppressed by GM and the oil industry and the government, for obvious reasons.

I’m not saying definitively that there never was such a carburetor. And I would never say it wasn’t likely that the oil industry– if they could– would have suppressed it. I’m skeptical that if such a device really were possible, that someone else somewhere else (India? China? Japan?) would have not have developed it as well, and we’d know about it. Almost every brilliant innovation in industry was developed in fits and starts in many different locations by many different people. There is almost no invention of which you could say, without this particular person, it would never have happened.  [Skeptical?  Check out most of Thomas Edison’s “inventions”: almost all of the important ones, and almost all of the unimportant ones, were being worked on elsewhere at about the same time– or even before!]

Any reasonable, well-informed person would immediately conclude that thorium is all pie in the sky. If it were true, we don’t doubt, nobody could have stopped it. The benefits are too wildly important. China or India would have developed it. Come on…

So, when I read about thorium, that’s what I ask myself. If it was really as good as claimed, is it really possible that it would have been resisted.

If it’s possible to believe that, here is why: to develop an efficient, effective thorium reactor, you need to invest billions of dollars and years of research and development. No individual researcher can hope to prove that thorium is viable by himself. But to get the kind of funding you need to prove it, you need the collaboration of the powers that be– the Senators and Congressmen who are all arguably in the pockets of billion dollar industries– oil and conventional nukes, and the military-industrial complex.

The military-industrial complex rejected thorium because it did not produce, as a byproduct, the plutonium needed to develop weapons of mass destruction. Hyman Rickover, who ruled the U.S. nuclear energy program in all of it’s facets, wanted that deadly plutonium very badly. He wanted the U.S. to be able to kill millions of people if it had to. It if really, really had to. Because it would never do so if it didn’t really, really have to.

So we got thousands of nuclear missiles and bombs, enough to kill the entire world over and over and over again until no possibility of human life existed ever again. And our lousy, dangerous nuclear power plants.

When I think of it that way, I don’t think you’d have to be especially paranoid to conclude that it is quite possible that thorium really is at least as promising as it’s proponents say.

You would have to believe that the powers that be, for understandable reasons, stopped it.

Now, in the realm of understandable reasons, the most understandable is self-interest.

You also have to understand that as promising as Thorium is, it would take years and years and billions of dollars to develop it… precisely what was invested in uranium instead, because the U.S., leading the way, decided it needed nuclear bombs more badly than public safety. Ditto the Soviet Union.

So why, in the face of global warming, isn’t it being promoted today? Well, it is, in India and China. Stay tuned.


Read this and tell me it doesn’t sound too good to be true.   Is there a downside we don’t know about?   Wiki on Thorium.

Wired on Thorium

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to believe that the oil and nuclear industries would both stop at nothing to prevent development of thorium reactors.

Indeed, India now does have a thorium reactor development project under way, and China appears to be working on one.

Some skeptics, at least, argue against thorium because … well, why?  Because we’re already here is why.

In the U.S., Senators Harry Reid (D) and Orrin Hatch (R) have co-sponsored a bill that would allocate $250 million to the Department of Energy for  research into thorium reactors.

The primary challenge, they say, is that the special containers for the thorium can degrade due to exposure to radiation and salt.  It will take some research to find a solution.

It’s in the nature of new, promising technologies that proponents exaggerate, in their minds, the benefits, and minimize the challenges.


Molten Salt Reactor

The Last Christian President

I have long regarded Jimmy Carter as the only real Christian president of the last 50 years. He has recently given a number of interviews with the publication of “White House Diary”, an account of his four years in the White House.

Carter used to carry his own luggage, even as president. He also put a stop to the absolutely inane practice of playing “Hail to the Chief” every time the president enters a room.

Did you you hear that, tea party Republicans? You howl about your politicians being corrupted by Washington. So how did people react when Carter put a stop to paid musicians following him around with idiotic tributes every time he met with the public? They hated him. They hated him when he put solar panels on the White House and Ronald Reagan, in a monumental act of mindless spite, had them removed. They hated him most of all when he preached to America, when he suggested that people learn to postpone gratification, make sacrifices for the greater good, and stop indulging in mindless consumerism.

Frank Capra used to make movies about naive innocents of pleasant virtue suddenly being thrust into corporate or political rats’ nests of corrupt decadence. In the Capra films, virtue triumphed and “the people” came to the rescue. Well, no they didn’t– check out “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”. It’s actually one of the most darkly cynical movies about politics ever made.

So Carter kept America out of a war with Iran, and he cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil by substantial amounts, and his conservation policies produced stunning gains in efficiencies. And he was vilified by Republicans for leaving office with a deficit of about $45 billion. Ronald Reagan came in and tackled that deficit problem: he ran it up to $450 billion by the time he left office, but you should hear Republicans wax nostalgic about the “great” Ronald Reagan. It took another “liberal” (by American standards), Bill Clinton, who got the deficit under control.

The closest recent presidential candidate to Jimmy Carter was Al Gore, who, similarly, understood that some self-restraint and sacrifice is good for the country. Gore was smart and fairly virtuous– as politicians go– and he seemed more rueful than disappointed when the Supreme Court paid its debt to the Republican Party and put Bush into office. Gore, like Carter, was a bit of a moralist. He liked to lecture people about social virtue. Americans don’t like that. Gore might well be the best president the U.S. never had.

Since he left office, Carter has made a career out of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, various peace missions, and living modestly on his farm indulging his grand-children. Everyone calls him the best ex-president there ever was. He may also have been the most responsible president there ever was, but his reward was to be ridiculed by the very people who elect those characterless, corrupt politicians over and over again to undo all the good policies Carter implemented.

The greatest compliment to President Jimmy Carter: the scads of third world dictators, torturers, and murderers who expressed their relief when he was knocked out of office by Ronald Reagan. Thank god! Finally an end to all the hassles about human rights, for heaven’s sake.

The attitude of many European leaders to Carter: I remember reading about it at the time and being rather flabbergasted that they seemed to prefer the worldy and “sophisticated” Nixon. I thought Nixon was the bad guy, bombing Cambodia, rattling the sabres, promoting the nuclear deterrent.

It turns out the Europeans appreciate someone who understands that you have to break a few eggs to make an omelets, as they say. Well, no, let’s say: you have to kill people to get what you want.

It’s complicated.

Dien Bien Phu

The Japanese took Viet Nam away from France during World War II. At the end of the war, France– it’s manhood seriously in doubt, I suppose– tried to take it back. To do this– believe it or not– they accepted the assistance of some Japanese forces that had yet to be repatriated. You can’t make this stuff up.

Let’s go back a little further: history is incredibly rich in instructive detail about empires and irony.

The French chose sides in a long-standing civil war in Viet Nam, which had it’s roots in the 1850’s. Eventually, the French and their proxies simply elbowed aside the natives and took over. Why? History books simply tell you that the French “took control” as if there was something logical and reasonable about a European Nation walking into a foreign country on the other side of globe and taking control. It’s ours now. Your wealth will now flow into our pockets. You are now working for us.

With the defeat by Nazi Germany, France lost control of their colonies, to the Japanese. During the Japanese occupation, Ho Chi Minh agitated for a end to any foreign domination, and formed a guerrilla movement. When the Japanese were defeated, Ho proclaimed an independent Viet Nam. That seemed an insanely rational thing to do.

The French, deeply moved by the sad experience of being occupied by an evil foreign power, congratulated them and moved on.

Hoo hah! Did you believe that even for a second? No, France said, not so fast. They offered a puppet state to Ho; he declined.

It was the French and the Americans who defied rationality. The French decided to try to take Viet Nam back, as if they had some sacred title deed to the nation. After the negotiations failed, the French moved their armies in. A little cheesy, you might think. Having been soundly defeated by the Germans and restored to power by the Americans and British, they go marching into Viet Nam all bluster and courage and medals and parades. In fact, General Gracie, the British commander, allowed the Japanese to be re-armed in order to help the French retake Viet Nam from the Viet Minh!

It reminds me of those parties in New York where people you thought were political or literary enemies all gather together and toast themselves.  Kissinger and Truman Capote and Barbara Walters and Jackie Kennedy and Prince Andrew– all together, schmoozing.

Here is the fork of history– how many lives would have been saved if the French had simply admitted that they didn’t belong there in the first place, and if they had simply congratulated Viet Nam on their independence and moved on? Where would we be today? How many French, Americans, and Vietnamese, and Cambodians, and Laotians, would be alive and well and perhaps even prosperous today, if some asshole Frenchmen had not decided that it would do France’s honor some good if it could bully some Asians into submission and take their rubber?

Yes, what they wanted, I believe, was the rubber.

Let’s not be overly simplistic– the communist government in the North were no saints; they destroyed the economy and caused famine into the 1950’s. Russia and China interfered, using them for their own purposes. But the decisive matter is this: Viet Nam resisted both the French and the Americans because they wanted independence, and once the French and then the Americans were gone, they turned on the Chinese and the Russians and did just what they said they would do originally: take control of their own nation. Had the French departed in 1950 as they should have, they would have learned their lessons about management of the economy much sooner. The moderates would also not have been driven from all levels of government the way they were when civil war broke out.

The Americans, we are told in one documentary, confronted Chinese troops in Korea, which led them to believe that communist China must be “contained”. The glib voice doesn’t tell us how the Chinese came to be involved in Korea, of the arrogance of McArthur, and the diplomatic bungling, or the hubris of the allies. (China wanted to stay out, but the Americans blundered into the border areas in order to crush the North Koreans. China warned the U.S. that they had an interest in who occupied the towns near or on their borders– the U.S. ignored the warnings and were completely taken by surprise by the Chinese attack.)

So the French, in order to cut off a possible Viet Minh initiative into Laos, moved about 10,000 troops into a valley in North Western Viet Nam called Dien Bien Phu. Comments on Youtube in response to a documentary on Dien Bien Phu rhapsodize about the honor and courage of those 10,000 French.  These commentators want you, the reader, to be willing to do the same thing, because it’s so honorable and courageous, for your government, if they ask you do.

Are you mad?

What is “courage”, when placed in the service of idiocy and patriotism?  The French built an airstrip and fortifications and promptly found themselves surrounded by 50,000 Viet Minh. Even the possibility of retreat had been excised.

In early stages of the battle, the Viet Minh lost 10,000 casualties to 1,700 French. At that rate, you might think the French might eventually win.

But all the lessons the U.S. later took 13 years to learn were in full expression at Dien Bien Phu already in 1954.

  • technological superiority may not prevail
  • the determination of the enemy should not be underestimated
  • an enemy with a deep and abiding knowledge of the terrain and culture will drive you crazy
  • a war should never be about settling scores or proving your manhood or making points: what, really, was the French interest in Indochina?
  • the full support of the nation is required for a long, drawn-out conflict
  • God knows that you are sacrificing the lives of others. God knows that you asked others to risk what you yourself would never risk for anyone: your life.
  • God knows that you were blinded by self-interest when you assessed the relative risks and benefits of the military actions you commanded.

How many of these lessons apply to Iraq?

They almost certainly apply to Afghanistan which, after 10 years of occupation, shows no sign of pacification.

Above, the monument to Ho Chi Minh.

It’s always been the oil. It’s never been about anything other than the oil. And the fact that naive Americans still fervently believe that it is about anything other than oil tells you a lot about how astoundingly successful the massive public con of “patriotism” has been. My goodness- it’s there, right in your face. It’s not even camouflaged. It’s Dick Cheney in the White House actually admitting that it’s about the oil. And the open question about whether George Bush ever, deep in his heart, did not believe it.

Invariably, the terms offered during negotiations after fighting has broken out and the costs have become clear are worse than those offered initially.

And so it was in Viet Nam: in 1953, the terms offered to the French were far less attractive than those offered at the start of the civil war in 1950. If you were the parents or wife or lover of a young soldier who died in the civil conflict before 1953— would a monument ease your sense of lost?

There is a magnificent monument to Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi. Isn’t it beautiful? You should read about Viet Nam in the 1940’s and 50’s and 60’s, and the wars, and the betrayals, and the genocides, and the Vietnamese intervention in Cambodia to put a stop the Khmer Rouge, and then the Chinese putting a stop to the Vietnamese… you should look at the monument and contemplate it’s stolid quiet complacency, the almost zen-like beauty of it’s ghostly visage against the horizon, and you will see history. You will see the millions of shattered and destroyed lives, the starvations, the tortures, the explosions and fires, the bombs and bayonets, the rivers of blood– there they all are, asleep, anesthetized, dreaming of the lives they might have lived, were it not for the grand mission of history embalmed in the monument by the name of a general or king or president for life… in this case, a dried up old corpse named Ho Chi Minh.