Now that I have this online venue, I have informed the Hermit League that I will now post and answer their queries here. Oddly, though, I have yet to receive replies from any of them. Ah, well, on with the questions!
I recently heard, from a passing fur trader, that the United States is involved in a war in the Middle East. Since I know your weakness re: contact with the outside world, I figured you would be the one member of the League that might know the truth behind this rumor. Could you elucidate the facts for the rest of us?
The Back Forty
First of all, let me say that it is great to hear from you, and to know that you recovered from the Boy Scout "invasion" of last summer. I trust that you have moved back out of the cave and into your Scout-rebuilt cabin. I reiterate, they were only trying to be helpful, as is their wont.
Yes, it is sad, but true, that George W. Bush (whom you may recall was selected, in the year 2000, by the Supreme Court of the United States, against the popular vote, to be President) has entered the country into a war in Iraq. He told us that Saddam Hussein possessed "weapons of mass destruction" and his National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (who has since been promoted to Secretary of State) warned us that if we didn't act first, our only warning would be "a mushroom cloud." He also alluded to a connection between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 11 September, 2001.
It has since been proven that the Iraqis had no 'WMD' or connection to Al-Qaeda (even though Dick Cheney still makes those claims on a regular basis). Once the claims were shown to be erroneous, the Current Occupant began stating that we were in Iraq to spread Democracy. Apparently he was unaware that Democracy cannot be forced upon a people, but can only be gained by the will of the people.
As it has become increasingly evident that the Iraqis are more interested in resurrecting millennia old fights between religious sects and settling old grievances than establishing a functioning Democracy, the Current Occupant has decided to send in even more US troops, in the apparent hope that our soldiers can keep the warring factions separated until Bush's term in office ends, thus keeping him from being seen by history as the man responsible for destroying the country.
My hopes that this answers your question,
Dear Mr. Speaks,
I have heard through the grapevine that there is still a debate going on in the world regarding climate change. Speaking as one who has had to rebuild her cabin three times in the past two years, due to the permafrost melting, I don't understand how there is still a question. Can you explain what is going on?
Yours in Solitude,
Mild Mary Grimble
Dear Ms. Grimble,
There is indeed still a debate going on in the United States regarding the existence and cause of climate change. However, there is also still debate in the US about evolution, an established and well proven aspect of biology, so that tells you something about the level of debate in America.
It appears to me that those who deny that human activity is contributing to climate change are the ones that either, a) depend, for the most part on one news source, namely the Fox News Channel or b) would be adversely affected financially if we actually tried to alleviate the readily observable changes (such as your cabin sinking into the newly melted swamp) that are occurring. By the way, Fox News- which is owned by Rupert Murdoch (whose vast wealth no doubt has tentacles reaching into many, many different companies besides the media outlets he owns all over the world) - falls into the latter group, so their “fairness” in reporting about climate change can validly be called into question.
The obvious conclusion to be drawn from this is that the health of the planet - and of humanity as a whole - is inversely proportional to the amount of profit generated by the world economy. And since 40% of the total wealth of the planet is held by the richest 1% of the population (in the US the top 5% sit on nearly 70% of wealth and property), and money - under the system of capitalism - equates with power, the other 99% of us are pretty much shit out of luck.
It seems, therefore, that as long as money continues to be worshiped, the 'debate' will continue.
My best advice to you is to move to higher ground and stock up on heirloom vegetable seeds (most commercially available seeds produce ‘fruit’ that does not contain viable seeds - which requires the farmer to purchase new seed every year instead of using seed from the previous year‘s crop) and farming tools.
Yours in agriculture,
If you have a question for the Mailbag, send it to me here.