Technical difficulties in the Mediterranean

My apologies for being missing in action the past 10 days. I am presently touring the Mediterranean and Middle East and although I have on line access, the satellite has been mysteriously blocking my access to the blog. This should change by Friday when I will return to mainland Europe.
For those who have been thinking the US is in bad shape these days, one really needs to visit abroad for useful perspective. The past few days I have been in Cyprus and Egypt. Lets just say green energy and progressive waste management are far from their agenda at this point. Widely evident is the incredible chasm between the ultra wealthy and the average population who seem almost hopelessly poor. Government corruption has been a key theme and oil has been the blood money of choice. Piles of garbage line the streets and the rivers. The child cancer rate is high and rising. Given the evident pollution one cannot be surprised.
Despite having more than 300 days of brilliant sunshine a year this part of the world still harnesses almost no solar energy. Oil is cheap and environmental concerns are far below more immediate issues of basic food and shelter. It seems the best hope for change will be driven by declining demand for oil in more prosperous countries. As we move to more sustainable, cleaner energy sources oil based economies will feel the pinch and social unrest will intensify. Needing to produce products in world demand, will eventually force a shift to alternative energy production from even the most stubborn oil conglomerates.
I write this mindful that my own Canadian economy is also oil dependent. As our government foolishly promotes unsustainable energy production like the Alberta Oil Sands, we are prolonging the inevitable change we will eventually embrace to survive and lead in the world. In plundering our water reserves at a ratio of three barrels for each barrel of oil produced we are no wiser than the South Americans who are clear cutting the rain forest for short term cash. The world over, we humans are notoriously short-sited and self-destructive. The good news is that many of us do know better, and we can evolve. Governments must force change through regulation. We in the western world have a responsibility to lead humanity in responsible energy and environmental management. Western consumers have a duty to spend our discretionary dollars responsibly. Without us taking our leadership role in this, there will be no hope for needed change in poorer countries.
The upside of this story is that even with our credit crisis and recent asset deflation we are incredibly fortunate in North America and we have endless opportunities now to develop smart technologies that can support our economies and lead the world. The world is truly our oyster. I have long said that the US would lead the world in the economic recovery, and after what I have seen the past 10 days I am convinced of this idea now more than ever.
Meanwhile the stock market has rallied over the past 5 days. It is showing signs of hope for an extended rally. It is possible that recent action is simply another rally within a still cyclical bear. If this is the case we will look for another down side test between now and the fall of 2009. The more optimistic read is that we are seeing here the timid beginnings of the next cyclical bull. As more time passes, the likelihood of the next cyclical bull starting builds.

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