Thursday, February 28, 2008


from Murph

For all of history, the radical members of any society have been preaching one kind of doom or another. I fall into the classification of a doomer. I have been preaching that bad things were coming down, and while I/we couldn’t project the timing, I assured all that would listen, it was indeed coming. It sure appears that we are now in the midst of some kind of collapse. How extensive and how fast it will hit us all, in a drastic sense, is still open to speculation.

It is obvious to me that we are all living in the belly of the beast. The beast being the system and the owners that are pushing us over the abyss of self destruction. The very real threat of a harsh police state, scarcity of food, ever increasing fuel costs, mass starvation, mass dislocation, mass population movements, pandemics, ever increasing military action, and above all, advanced repression, is now upon us. It appears that when a county’s social and economic systems begin to disintegrate, humans become more repressive, more mean, nastier and more violent, more intolerant, more irrational, more vicious. Is that our fate this time around? It sure appears so to me as our owners are obviously becoming all of that and more.

I’m sitting before the computer screen, keyboard under my fingers, agonizing over what to write. I have just read some critiques of Descartes, Bacon and some history of the attempted complete annihilation of the American Indian and how this all ties in with observations about our civilization, and that is just in 20 pages of one of the books by Derrick Jensen. It is upsetting reading, even if it is familiar stuff.

I recently had several emails exchanged with a dear and long time friend. I had sent him a fairly benign web page outlining some aspects of the economic situation in this country. He reply was that he had read it, it was the longest read he has ever done on such subjects because he felt that since there wasn’t anything he could do about it anyway, it was best ignored. I replied back that I felt that I needed to know because I would then have at least some idea about how to duck and cover from what was coming at us. He wasn’t convinced, and quipped that; what was he to do, have a 357 by his side while he made guitars? My reply to him was ‘you bet’.

The coming turmoil I expect to be some of the worst the world has seen. Of course, not having lived through other such catastrophes, (or at least that I remember for those who believe in reincarnation), I can’t attest to the severity of past events. But irregardless, suffering as a country we will experience. It has already begun and the evidence is right before us if we choose to pay attention. In this fairly rural community, including the city nearest us, we have a total population less than 100,000. Between the two school systems, we just learned there are over 600 homeless children. Our local food banks are pleading for food donations and the meals for the homeless and destitute are getting skimpier. We are experiencing an over abundance of repossessed houses in this area. Perhaps they will be the refuge of choice for the homeless.

Our Citizens Action group that is fighting tooth and nail with the county over the septic and ground water issue has finally gotten some reasonably hard numbers concerning costs of the systems they want us to put in. It is equivalent to purchasing a house and property, in the range of $160,000 over a 30 year span. The immediate cost to households comes out at this time to about $40,000 plus $2000 per year for maintenance and all of the permits and related costs. And these are our elected officials. As you can see, this is simply beyond the reach of most of the population. The prestigious “Mother Earth News” recently came out with a big article by a fellow that has fought these septic issues before. He states that it is a national push by the bigger construction lobbyists for these expensive individual systems. Local officials at the city and county level of government are talking big time about expansion, destination resort building, airports and more. The latest is that because of the health hazards of dirt roads, they want to pave over them all, at an average household cost of $10,000. Needless to say, there is some angry grumbling going on. I fully expect some hothead to take up arms over it all.

The local senior center gets overstock and out of date food to feed the seniors in our town. Every Tuesday, a friend brings us over the food they are going to throw out. The last donation to our personal and chicken larder was two big boxes of organic groceries. A fairly hefty proportion was unusable for us, but after the chickens picked through it and stuffed themselves, the compost system got the rest. I figure that most of you know that if you shop for strictly as advertised organic grown food, you up your grocery bill by at least 100%. But, not to look gifts like this as bad stuff, we welcome the donations. We give away eggs and produce from our garden in return. It’s a nice trade.

I mention these things because I am reading that we are not an exception to the general state of the country. Even down to the local level, the beast is denying that we have to do anything different, that growth is good for us, that everything is just fine. A chamber of Commerce pod person made a recent comment that we aren’t in a recession and one is not coming and there was no unsolvable problem with the economy. The people that are supposed to be concerned with our interests, are not. They are exercising their dictatorial powers with a vengeance, just like the federal and state governments. It’s all about money and the power, influence and privilege it buys.

On a world wide level, large scale famine appears on the horizon. Food stores are at an all time low for the last 50 years. We are seeing battles shaping up over water. Have you been following the Georgia-Tennessee dispute over a corner of the Tennessee River? Georgia wants to move their state line 1 mile north so they can tap into the river for water. I wonder when the shooting will start.

We are living in a country (that appears to not be an exception) where the majority of the population is completely unaware of what is and has been taking over their lives. The whole process has been gradual enough that most people aren’t even aware of it. The U.S is now truly a service economy, dedicated to shuffling our feet and saying “yas sir, yas sir” when demands are made of us. We have been indoctrinated for so many years to be passive, to take orders, to bend to the will of authority and majority that we have forgotten, as a society, that they have no mandate from heaven to do this to us. So now our time is spent figuratively and in actuality wiping the asses of the elite and thanking them for their attention, and of course dreaming of the day when we too can have our asses wiped by someone lower on the power totem pole.

In the meantime, the very land base and ecology that is absolutely essential to our survival as a species is degraded at a furious pace in the name of progress and resource development. And while we are at it, let’s not ignore our breeding like rabbits, piling up our garbage as if it wasn’t important. Meanwhile our owners are progressively becoming more insistent that they have the right and duty to involve themselves more and more into our private lives, into our very health, and of course it is justified as providing for our safety and security. I wonder what it really says about us that we aren’t out rioting in the streets and eating the rich for pleasure. But, of course, we must respect our betters, those of the elite class, because they must be finding favor with God since they are at the top of the heap. Isn’t that what our religions teach us? Or haven’t you read the Old Testament lately? Or read the religious leaders teaching around the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. The essence of those teachings was that if things are not good for you, you must have angered your God.

While I am on this subject, I want to make a brief mention about a subject we have touched on a bit before, cognitive dissonance. By definition, it is contrary and mutually exclusive perceptions of reality. When our belief systems are contradicted by observable events, it creates a tension, a stress, a very uncomfortable feeling we call cognitive dissonance. Since the belief system and the data are mutually exclusive, to relieve the tension, one or the other has to go. The effort that is necessary to resolve the truth of the matter is extensive. The easiest route is to ignore the data that contradicts the belief system. An example; who would want to admit that the country they love and adore with all its comforts and advantages would kill its own citizens for gain, or would kill a million people for gain and realize that they have contributed to putting the people in charge that are doing this?

To keep our population under control, the mass media has been taken over by huge conglomerates. The predominate aspect of these dispensers of “news” is deception, distortion or outright ignoring of important information. Have you followed the "60 Minutes" blackout of a section in a couple of major metropolitan areas of Alabama? In case you are wondering about it, Karl Rove took a hand in that little bit of political hiding. Coincidently, (perhaps synchronicity would be a better term), most of the population is on a circular treadmill which makes it impossible to question what we are fed as news. Getting out of bed, going to work (probably for far more than 8 hours) coming home, eating supper, watching TV and then back to bed is the standard of life. I know about that too, I’ve been there. There is not much time or reason to question what you are fed by the media. After all, if it is in print or put out by a “journalist” it has to be true doesn’t it? I recently read of an investigation into the biggest newspapers in England where they found that only 12% of the news stories were actually written by investigative research. 8% were so outright ambiguous that they didn’t know where they came from. 80% of the news was repeated second or third hand from public relations outfits. Of that 80%, only 12% of the information was checked for accuracy. Political propaganda machines are the primary information sources for “news” publications of all types. Is it any wonder that those living in the beast’s belly have no idea that they can escape this situation? Is it any wonder that we have a society composed predominately of sheeple?

There are moments when the screaming voice in my head takes over, when I can barely live with myself over these observations. That’s when I have those self defeating fantasies of violence. That is when I have to turn to activities instead of thinking to push the screaming voice back down its hole. As always, I keep asking the question to no one in particular, “when will this end?”

And so today, in the name of whatever god you want to name, we continue, as a species, raping, pillaging, killing and destroying the environment, and of course, the main god is money and profits. The few, the very few, who object, are stopped cold from having any influence, any power, any veracity.

I listen to the news blurbs about the campaign, listen to the mongrel humans blurting forth their platitudes, their lies, their stupid innuendos, and observe with horror the cheering of the crowds. It’s all a giant circle jerk of mental masturbation. The winner gets to eat the cracker.

Living in the belly of the beast has only one solution that I can see. Want to take a stab at what that is? It sure doesn’t appear that we are going to have a mass movement to change consciousness. That would be nice and sure nu’f a bunch less violent. Oh, I will keep looking for it, but you can bet I won’t hold my breath about it. Sort of like Jonah in the belly of the whale. Need to find its sneezing meat and give it a good whack. Getting sneezed out of the belly of the beast is one way to do it I suppose.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"I Got Your Culture...Right Here!"

(or, The Sopranos as Metaphor for our Culture of Crime)


“Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun…

your momma always said you’d be the Chosen One.”

She said, “You’re one in a million,

You’ve got to burn to shine”...

Born under a Bad Sign, with a

Blue moon in your eyes…”

(from the theme song of the HBO series)

I avoided watching “The Sopranos” until three weeks ago. When the series began, too much was happening in my life for me to focus on it. I had been raised by a Sicilian step-father, and he was still alive. That was enough of the vibe to deal with, even though he was in no way associated with the Mafia. Many of the cultural dynamics are shared by Italians, Mafia or not. The Church, the “Family,” the resentment of authority figures, the justifications for their anger, the abuse, as well as their love of food, art, education, sense of humor, and drive to succeed. I’m not trying to be stereotyping. That’s just my experience. My dad was raised in Brooklyn and Queens. If he had been raised in Kansas, it probably would have been different.

Anyway, my father has long-since passed, and Murph and I decided to catch up on the seven years of “The Sopranos” that we had missed by ordering it on Netflix. One can watch a whole year’s worth in only a couple of weeks that way (with no commercials). We are on year three, and by now I have not been able to get the theme-song out of my head for the last three days.

But, what I am noticing is that “The Sopranos” seems to be a metaphor for our whole culture of crime, exploitation, and violence. The Italians certainly have no corner on the market of crime. In fact, compared to the Royal and the international banking families (Rothchilds, Rockefellers, et al) they are small potatoes (except for the Papistry). In fact, I find my self sympathetic to the Sicilians – they’ve been worked over by them all. No wonder they are pissed.

I’m assuming that pretty much everyone has watched the series but us. But, in case that’s not true, I’ll apprise a little of what the story is so far, in case you don’t know. “T,” or Tony Soprano is the head of a crime family in New Jersey. His life is enmeshed in the rituals associated with running the mob, doing “business,” being intimately associated with the daily lives of his nuclear family, as well as his extended family. They are a wild bunch. His father was a gangster, his mother a toxic narcissist matriarch, his Uncle a boss, his friends all “soldiers” in the fight to get over in a hostile world. He makes his money exploiting the weaknesses and addictions of the greater population (sex, gambling, drugs, greed) and a vast array of twisted schemes enforced by brutality and murder.

Meanwhile he comes home each day to a house on a hill in a ruling class neighborhood, surrounded by doctors and country-club types, and sends his kids to school with the heavy expectation that they will do well in the future, seemingly freed from this necessary life of crime. Tony’s wife, Carmella, does volunteer work, supports the Church, organizes school functions, and spends much of her time cooking and responding to everyone’s angst by justifying it and comforting them with food. A classic enabler, she teaches the kids how to go along with the corruption and puts a veneer of respectability on the whole twisted system. She reads Time Magazine, watches Oprah, reads the self-help books, even directs Tony to seek therapy to deal with his anxiety attacks. Tony is on Prozak, like much of the U.S. population, to help suppress his sadness and guilt at what he does to “make a living” and “take care of his family.”

Much like a lot of the business class in the greater culture, they are in denial about the exploitation, violence and theft upon which their lives are based. The offspring of these miscreants are funneled into the “best” schools. Georgetown, Berkeley, Yale, Stanford – all headed for careers in law and medicine, finance, insurance, marketing, politics, etc.

The problem is that once in these fields, they bring their criminal values with them. When one looks at the fraud, duplicity, hypocrisy, and sociopathic disconnect to the greater good of humanity that is the cultural poison in which we are all immersed, it becomes easier to understand. All of the ruling class offspring of all the differing ethnic crime families gather at the springboards into power that our "best" universities have become. From these leadership positions, they have taken control.

How else can executives of the Monsanto Corporation justify poisoning the global food supply with their genetically engineered Franken-foods? What story do they tell themselves about the 600,000 Indian farmers who have killed themselves in their despair of having destroyed the future of their families due to using their genetically altered seeds and petro-chemical based fertilizers? What about Big Pharma responsible for more deaths by far than the illegal “recreational” drugs that are such a supposed scourge? How about the IMF, responsible for the destruction and debt servitude of whole nations? How about the plastics and oil industry pollution that poisons our people into cancer in every family and the deaths of 200 species a day? How about the doctors guilty of Medicare fraud, ripping off the taxpayers for millions of dollars each year? How about Monsanto (again) manufacturing Nutra-sweet that leads to tumors and possible Alzheimer’s and autism in children? How about the international arms manufacturers, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and land mines horribly mutilating children for generations to come?

How about FOX News, who just rounded out their fascist “journalists” with the greatest political criminal mastermind since Rasputin, Carl Rove? Or our own little Carmella Soprano, Katie Couric, and her brothers Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Wolf Blitzer, etc. who feed us a shallow, but tasty, concoction of mental smörgåsbord that is as poisonous as the Big Pharma drugs and toxic product advertising that support the mainstream media fabrications which keep us all in line.

Oh, yeah, and how about that FEDERAL RESERVE? Hahahahaha!

The problem is that none of us is innocent, unfortunately. Even though the worst have risen to the top of the power heap, the rest of us, though marginalized, are complicit. We may not have been able to compromise our integrity enough to become outright nefarious banksters, war profiteers, financial enslavers, insurance enforcers, or marketing lackeys, but we are complicit, none-the-less. If we enable them by paying to subscribe to their programming propaganda, take advantage of their “sweet deals” that enslave workers, buy the products that are poisoning the planet, or vote for the corrupt villains who orchestrate this whole evil governmental construct, we share the karma. The Walmart shoppers, the Tyson Chicken and Factory Foods eaters, the gas-guzzling car and truck driving, throw-away, chemical based product crowd. You and me, Baby, are at least to some extent, guilty as charged.

And, we are all about to go down.

That was in the cards from the start. It is classic self-defeating behavior. This slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging, evil, bullying, perverse, and twisted death culture is killing itself in an almost operatic tragic drama. The more successful the crime family is, the harder is the fall from their sick sense of grace. Eventually, the orchard no longer produces the olives, the vines do not bear fruit, the ground has been salted, the children are sold into slavery, the animals are barren, the wine has turned to vinegar, and the perpetrators are hung on crosses as an example for others who follow. It ain’t going to be pretty.

What are we to do?

We need to sow seeds that lead in new directions, away from the beaten path of corruption and death. Seeds of forgiveness and compassion and natural joy, health and happiness to nurture the ones who come are our duty to cultivate. Before we can do that, we need to heal ourselves.

We are still re-playing the dramas of the brutal cultures that have come before ours. The Roman Empire, the Aztecs, the Mongolian, the Hun. Different time, same shit – slavery, hierarchy, exploitation, brutality, patriarchy. If we don't get right, it will just be re-created again.

It looks like we will have another shot at making things better, after the crime family clusterfuck and meltdown. We’re going to have to put our heads together on this one. What do you think? How do we do this?

And, how do I get this darn tune out of my head?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Recipes for the Collapse, Part III. Right Livelihood

from freeacre

“Primitive people see time as a circle. Civilized people see it as a line. We are about to see it as an open plain where we can wander at will. History is broken. Go!” - Ran Prier

I was raised with an acute sense of “The Depression,” due to my father having lived through it, and never being able to separate himself from it. We would eat kidney bean soup, and he would hunch over his bowl and say, “It reminds me of The Depression.” He never got over the tragedy of his father selling vegetables on the corner after the crash, despite his having been a medical student in Italy. When he got older, my father was drafted into WWII, and then again, into the Korean War. It was a tale of diminished accomplishments and crushed dreams. I felt as though I had lived through it all with him.

And, if the reports of the collapse of the dollar, the credit meltdown, resource depletion, and Peak Everything are at all trustworthy, it would seem that a Depression is about to come around again. And, that’s without taking into account disasters like war, famine, or plagues, which are distinct possibilities for us as well. This tsunami of events may just sweep away much of the way life as we know it has been. Ultimately, that could be a good thing.

We have already addressed preparations for food and housing. Next is making a living. What is it going to take, when the pink slips begin to be handed out and the unemployment checks run dry? For many people who are unprepared, it is happening already. Just look around at “the homeless.” In our county, Deschutes, in Oregon, there are 600 children in the Bend-La Pine School System alone who have been identified as homeless. That is a staggering amount! Google “tent cities” and see what you get. Large cities and suburbs are beginning to be surrounded by people camped in tents and living in underpasses and vacant lots, or squatting in abandoned buildings. These are not simply drunks or “bums,” as we used to refer to them when I was a kid. These are veterans and families, young people and old who have been financially wiped out by jobs disappearing, or medical bills overwhelming them. Or, maybe it’s as simple as missing teeth that can’t be replaced because there is no money for dental work. Once you lose a tooth or two your chances of getting hired for work go down the tubes. So, when thinking about employment, factor in dental care. That would mean preventative measures such as not eating a lot of sugars, brushing with baking soda now and then, flossing, rinsing with peroxide periodically, treating irritated gums with garlic oil to cure infections and generally being diligent in taking care of your teeth.

What do you tell a young person today? When I was growing up, it was all about getting a college education. That was the ticket to success. Period. With the predatory credit industry combined with the coming collapse, now I am not so sure. It is still just as important as ever to get an education. That should be an on-going pursuit throughout one’s life, just because knowledgeable people are more interesting and their lives are usually less lame and more fun. But, a college education in order to gain employment may not be the ticket to ride that it once was. A two year associate degree with some experience in a field you want to work in is easily negotiated into a job that requires “a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent.” And, it’s a lot cheaper, unless you are a Pigmy or a Martian or some other preferred group that can get full ride Ivy League Scholarships. Going into debt for 30 thousand or 50 thousand dollars or more will only put you into debt servitude. At the rate we are going, debt servitude might end you up in some Halliburton Work Camp, indentured servitude, or the military in the near future.

So, unless you can afford to go to graduate school and get a masters degree or a doctorate, an associate degree may be enough to parlay into something you can live with. There are also alternative on-line degrees and company sponsored schools that can give one certification to do specific jobs and trades that will still be useful after all hell breaks loose. You may not get rich, but you won’t starve, either. As the numbing world of paper-shuffling “Dilberts” fades into the past, real productive and meaningful jobs have a chance to come to the forefront again. The more you know that can be applied toward either localized food production or alternative energy or maintenance and recycling of existing resources the better.

Recently, I asked a friend of ours, George Strickert, how he broke into the field of alternative energy. My son, Micah, is thinking about cultivating a sustainable career in alternative energy. This is George’s advise:

About 30 years ago, I adopted a mindset similar to Micah's and found a way to get into the wind energy business and made a career out of it. I used what I knew and did not take any special training at that point -- though I had finished college in Economics.

I attended a wind energy conference and befriended a fellow who was looking for a couple of employees at the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado. Applicants must have been scarce then, for he hired me, and I was able then to move around within the industry by meeting people and picking up the jargon of wind energy.

Micah might go on-line (maybe he has already) and consult the national associations in various renewable technologies such as:

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) American Solar Energy Society(ASES)

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) International Solar Energy Society (ISES)

and find out if:

1. They are having a conference soon and, if so, when, where and how much it costs.

2. They have a job openings posting.

3. They have a directory of industry members that can be purchased.

4. Other pertinent questions (some of which may be answered on their websites).

There is a great deal of interest in renewable energy, and there may be job openings in various companies or government agencies that have renewable energy programs. Once inside the industry, there are newsletters, conferences, directories, projects and other sources of information that become available to insiders. It may take patience and luck to end up where a person wants to be, but I found it fairly easy to bootstrap myself by being eager, listening to decision makers, showing up at key places and finding a mentor to guide me along. My jobs were my schools, and my fellow workers were my teachers.

I was not an engineer or a technician but rather I became a land person -- that is, someone who leased sites from farmers and ranchers for wind projects and also helped secure permits from various county Planning Departments. I was also briefly a project manager during construction, a low level manager in a wind turbine maintenance company, and I also was a small wind turbine dealer on my own for about a year. Most of the time, however, I worked (and later consulted) for large-scale project developers who needed hundreds of acres in windy places to install dozens and dozens of giant wind turbines.

Once Micah meets someone in a renewable energy company, he should ask questions and listen to find out what that person (or his/her company) needs most -- and then try to become that needed person.

Perhaps he already has a talent for computers or report writing or on-site security or doing work outdoors (such as installing and monitoring wind or solar measuring equipment) or something else that an energy company might need.

There are many aspects to the renewable energy field such as:

!. Technology invention, development and testing.

2. Equipment sales

3. Project development

a. Energy resource measurement

b. Land leasing or purchasing

c. Energy contract negotiation

d. Legal and financial work

e. Equipment purchasing

f. Project construction

g. Project operation and maintenance

4. Industry promotion

5. Government regulation and support

6. Etc.

The 3 aspects of wind energy that most appealed to me were:

1. The whole field was intrinsically interesting to me -- and my friends and family (and some girls) were "wowed" by me knowing about it.

2. It promised to pay well -- I wasn't going to become a millionaire, but I managed to earn a good living -- and have a good travel expense account. I travelled abroad a great deal and worked in all the western states in the US. There were risks and long shots, but I managed to survive and do well.

3. It was certainly good for the planet -- I found myself "preaching" with genuine enthusiasm about no polluting emissions, abundant energy resources that were inexhaustible and not imported, American jobs in local communities, increase in local tax revenues without a commensurate demand for additional local services, support for the electric vehicle industry, growth of a new industry for kids in school to aspire to -- and so on. I got so carried away that I gave slide shows at civic luncheons and in schools as part of a promotion for the industry.”

I am so grateful to George for having taken the time to share his experience and wisdom. I think they can be applied to any form of sustainable energy – whether wind, solar, geo-thermal, or whatever.

Another factor that I think we should all keep in mind is what we find genuinely pleasurable to do. What we take pleasure in is actually a really sophisticated indicator of what to do sometimes. We just “forgot” about that while we were funneled into secretarial courses or the business school brain trust. Wisdom is not just held in your head. It gets diffused throughout your whole body. Being aware of how you feel while working different jobs may give you better information that you would get from a career counselor. Do you like to fix things? Do you enjoy working with plants or animals? How about making cheese, baking bread, or brewing beer?

All sorts of artisan skills and productive work will be needed as the financial and “service” economy bites the big one. The more versatile you are, the more valuable you will be to someone who has a home to share or a piece of land to work, or to the community as a whole.

As school systems that rely on huge central schools that require miles of bus lines are dismantled due to prohibitive gasoline costs, teachers will be needed for smaller groups of people. Teaching jobs might come with a home included as they did during the turn of the century out West. Naturopathic, homeopathic, and alternative medicines of several sorts may become more and more viable as a reaction against Big Pharma. Nurse Practitioners will be ever more valuable.

Some people may be tempted go all Mad Max and form gangs of looters and thieves. This would be a huge error. I lived in Jamaica in the 80’s, where I saw impoverished people denied the ability to put together anything at all that would allow them to get ahead. Every time someone would raise a couple of goats or cultivate some vegetables, they would be stolen by bands of thieves. It was a heartbreak that kept everyone poor.

As the financial and physical infrastructures deteriorate, traditional jobs will evaporate. We aren’t going to need so many valets, manicurists, travel agents, retail workers, truck drivers, social workers, and other employees in industries dependent on cheap oil, transportation, or big government. But, the potential for creating more fulfilling, sustaining, and meaningful work is there for those who have the flexibility and talent to let go of what is failing and embrace a future that is more in harmony with the new tune in the wind now only dimly perceived. This time, let’s dance with the earth, not stomp all over it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Don't Panic, but...

by freeacre

Once again, I risk being perceived as an hysterical freak. Whatever.

I perceive two major threats to “Wally World” right now. I really like the term “Wally World,” by the way, because it conjures up a sense of contrived corporate reality (like Disneyland) combined with the “wall” of Wall Street. Thanks goes to Montana Freeman for introducing this term during our blogsite converstations which neatly sums up the corporate house of cards that our country has become.

And, what would the residents of Wally World be called? We began as “citizens”, morphed more recently (during the Regan era) into “consumers.” Now, I guess, we could be considered “ticket holders.” We bought the ticket. Now we take the ride.

We won’t be considered “consumers” once there is not much left to consume. The blowback from the ill-conceived complicity with Israel, the central banksters and the Wall Street Crime Family may just empty the retail and grocery shelves very soon. We may receive the answer to our long standing question, “Will the crash be a slow one or a fast one?” Will it be due to climate change, resource depletion, or over-population (slow), or some acute thing such as global nuclear war, meteor hit, plague, or some other natural cataclysm (fast).

I don’t have a Magic 8 Ball that gives me the answers. But, two recent events have me imagining the fast crash right now. The first is the disturbing information that can be read on many sites including cryptogon, rense, Urban Survival, survival acres, steve quale, prison planet, or LATOC (to name a few), about the cutting of underwater communications cables off the coasts of several Middle Eastern countries. Some sites report 5 cables cut, others report 9. Whatever. It’s big. Real Big. And the timing is significant, in that it is during some Islamic holiday that honors the anniversary of the creation of Iran or something between Feb. 1 and the 11th, wherein Iran was supposed to begin an oil bourse which would begin trading oil for non-US denominated currencies. We all know what happened to Iraq after Saddam tried to do the same thing.

Additionally, other indicators of war related hardware seem to be gearing up all over the place. There are our air craft carriers and ships in the Persian Gulf. There are reports of Israel advising their citizenry to get their “rocket rooms” stocked up in anticipation of large scale attacks on the country, tied to them vowing to intensify their Gaza operations and beefed up threats against Syria and Iran.

We also note that Iran seems to have space vehicle launching capabilities that they demonstrated by their Safir-1 test. Hammas has expanded their missile targeting area to cover larger parts of Israel. Iran has also started testing advanced centrifuges which could speed their nuclear program. All this is neatly summed up on today’s Urban Survival with links to sites that verify the information.

On the more esoteric side, the web bots (Half-past are noting the linguistic patterns (which so accurately called the recent “wind events”) calling for “shortages” and “revolution” and “war” with multi-generational implications. The scenario, it seems, is maybe an attack by Israel (and/or the U.S.) against one of their Middle Eastern neighbors which is not well-received by the rest of the world, and triggers a response that we will not enjoy. Like, maybe an OIL EMBARGO against us.

Entertain for a moment thoughts of what an oil embargo would do to our economy. Keep in mind that we are already trillions of dollars over-extended and dependent on foreign capital to even stay afloat in the financial ocean of digital liquidity. We are not just dependent on foreign oil. We are dependent on foreign money as well. So, the threat from the outside is that both the money that props up our banks as well as our stock market and the oil that keeps our whole infra-structure going could be discontinued simultaneously. Hold that thought as I propose another one.

Mortgage holders are currently walking away from their homes in record numbers. “Jingle Mail” is what the mainstream media is calling it. People are putting the keys to their homes in the mailbox and just walking away from their bloated loans on the McHomes that are now worth less than the mortgages they are on the hook for. The adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) that they dim-wittingly signed up for are still re-setting, thereby making the payments unaffordable. With little equity to lose, there is not much incentive to go out and take on a third job for the foreseeable future to pay off a home worth half as much as you owe on it.

All this is going on while things are tight, but relatively stable. Think of what the impact would be if there is a war and an oil embargo against us, and people begin to lose their jobs in droves. Could our bovine brethren, that herd relied upon by the corporate class to keep them enjoying their golden parachutes and corporate dividends, be unwittingly turned to trample their owners?

As their jobs, their credit cards, and their gas tanks dry up, the plaintive “moos” will be crying into the wind. Not exactly a determined, angry, collective scream as in “Braveheart,” but an effective attack on the ruling class nonetheless. This from Kevin at cryptogon:

“Voluntary Simplicity in terms of asymmetric warfare.

In America (and wealthier parts of the “West” in general), people don’t have to blow up a natural gas pipeline and shut down a factory or cut enough fiber to crash the NYSE and the NASDAQ market systems for a few minutes, hours or days. Voluntary simplicity, or, living well on very little money, kicks evil people in the nuts and gouges out their eyes. (Pacifists may think of this as sending the enemy Joy and Happiness if they desire.) Doing this in the U.S. has a force multiplier effect because the U.S. is the largest source of the funds that keep the global ponzi scheme running. When people in wealthy countries opt out, the action causes major economic damage to the machine.

It’s a matter of hacking The Matrix in an efficient and innovative manner to reduce your monthly expenses to a fraction of previous levels. The extraction/domination system in the U.S. has few effective defenses against people who opt out—to the extent possible—by making smart use of available resources. The system assumes that you’ll stay hooked forever on a lifestyle built around profligate waste and going deep into debt to buy crap that you don’t really want, or need. Indeed, most people are content to go through life this way.

If a regular insurgency movement reduced the banks and their data centers to piles of smoking rubble and assassinated the executives and members of the boards of directors, that situation would represent a walk in the park compared to what “consumers” are about to do by abandoning their McMansions and stucco boxes.

Obviously, this isn’t a conscious insurgency movement, with Joe and Jane Zombie Slob plotting to stick it to “the man.”

Maybe it’s a subconscious insurgency movement, where all those years of thinking, “F*$% this,” and “Actually, my life sucks,” and, “This can’t continue,” are boiling over into simple actions that hurt the machine, and bad. It’s a very dangerous situation for Them when the herd realizes that it can, “just walk away.”


We may actually be backing into the Big Change that people are babbling about. God knows we had no chance of doing it consciously. HA!

I just ordered new glasses, figuring that I better get them now because they might not be available later. And, maybe we need some more switch grass for feed, if we increase the numbers of chickens and add rabbits to the mix around here. I’ll leave you to making your own plans and this latest thought from George Ure at Urban Survival:

“If we get the kind of outcome that seems to be fuzzily developing in the Middle East, the US could get some serious blow-back from pending events and that means we might need to think about what an oil embargo would mean. Linguistically 'encounters with scarcity' due soon would be kick-started by such an outcome of a 'sudden war'. So would the pogrom and calls for 'revolution' meme.”

Monday, February 4, 2008


from Murph

I have been cruising around the liberal and conservative sites, observing and taking a few notes. Problem is, the notes are short and the boring is long.

The Liberals are screaming that the only way out of our problems is to vote for them. That they have so many supporters is astounding, even with their horribly failed policies from the past. NAFTA and CAFTA are the first to come to mind. The conservative sites are lamenting the exit of Bush and crew; even though they have virtually destroyed this country in 8 short years.

It is all snake oil.

Let’s get real. Progressive and neo conservatism have both failed us, us being the general population of this country. I hear or read nothing to indicate it will be any different in the future. But what can we expect, when we are just dealing with two sides of the same coin. May look different, but it is still the same coin. More inept nanny state government by the progressive/liberal bunch isn’t going to improve shit. More of the neo conservative agenda obviously won’t either.

All of us at this site have read and heard much about trying to change the system by voting in a new bunch of rascals, thieves and liars. There was so much rejoicing when both houses of congress got a Democrat majority. Tell me honestly now, has anything gotten better and not worse? The president and his minions are still eroding whatever freedoms we have left, and both houses of congress blithely rubber stamp what he wants, and what they oppose he just works around with signing statement and making sure none in congress gets to read or study any of his noxious fume bills, passed on by his fawning party loyalists.

The campaign is more snake oil. The only candidate who even approaches talking about the hard stuff is Ron Paul, and there is a bunch of questionable stances he has taken in the past, and if you hadn’t noticed, there is a blackout on Paul by the lame stream media. And, of course I feel quite confident that he will never see the oval office anyway. Somebody will do him if he even gets close.

Economically, we are awash in snake oil. Get out the towels and wipe off if you dare. If you wipe too much off, you might just start becoming aware how bad it really is. The dollar is constantly decreasing in value in world trade, and consequently the rising prices of just about everything as a reflection of this decrease. Necessary commodities like food and energy are the hardest hit, but hell, that doesn’t count according to our economic gurus in Washington. Meanwhile, those in control of the money (read the mafia criminals in the federal reserve) just keep further inflation alive and increasing by printing more money and lowering interest rates in the vain attempt to keep the scam afloat and operational while the top 1% of our society keeps skimming off as much as they can. They must know that this can’t continue for much longer. But in the name of growth, expansion and liquid capital, they keep pouring snake oil on the fire. Gather round folks and keep your hands warm because when the fire goes out, it’s gonna be cold. I surmise that when they run out of the snake oil to keep our hands warm, 1929 is going to look like a picnic in the park.

The last few times around when the economics started to mess up, we had the Savings and Loan melt down, then the artificially created dot com bubble. That of course is old history now, and the economic boys in Washington assured us it wouldn’t happen again. The last was the housing market bubble which as we know has now burst. What will be the next big bubble to pour money into to keep draining whatever savings and investments the commoner has made? I read a lot of speculation about this. The most common idea is green technology is going to take off and be the next big investment bubble, green energy in particular. In my opinion, for whatever that is worth to you dear readers, is just more snake oil. Now why would I say that?

In the first place, there are only two areas of energy that are being investigated; substitute and/or more efficient extraction of oil, or, production of electricity. Atomic energy is just about more electricity.

Now depending on what you see as being our present state of affairs world wide and what the major problems are, will influence how you view such developments. If you view these developments as a means to keep afloat the civilized structure we have had going, you will be overjoyed at these developments. If however, you view the principle problem as overpopulation of this world, I rather imagine you might view these developments with some trepidation. For, always in history, when more energy becomes available, there is a population increase, which overshoots the energy availability, every time, thus demanding more energy input. It is the same in the natural world too. Increase in population of primary energy sources, prey, also increases predatory populations, until the prey decrease to the point of not supporting the predators. The same rules apply to the plant kingdoms also. In our case, oil and its products have supported a logarithmic increase in population. All of which is dependent, in the final analysis, on a finite resource. If we find and develop a means of energy which is cheap and plentiful, and which will do all that oil has done, population will continue to increase. Now some might say there is nothing wrong with that. Now ask yourself the question, just how many square feet of living space do you want to have available to you? If you like living in a city, your requirements and desires about this will be considerably different from mine. We currently have about 300 million in this country, give or take a bit. Let’s double that. Now how much living space do you have? And we haven’t yet taken up just how much other resources besides energy it is going to take to support that population, food, lumber, cement, metals, water, etc. How much degradation to the environment are we willing to tolerate? At what point, regardless of the energy available, will the other parts of what sustains life on this planet be exhausted? Are we really willing to cut down every available tree to build structures? Are we really willing to level every mountain for minerals? Are we to no longer have rivers and streams so as to supply water to the mass of people? Are we going to be happy with dead oceans?

I have read and heard people speak on this subject that maintain that it is just fine, that humans don’t really need all this biodiversity to live good lives. I heard Mike Savage on the radio, one day, say that people are crazy to live outside of the city and who in hell wants to go camping anyway? It’s just a dirty bug infected bunch of bull shit, (or at least something to that effect). I was working in a chem. Lab at the time. I had to get a grip before I really started breaking things.

The minute we take the view that all life is interconnected and also recognize that we cannot live without the bio systems and land base, more cheap energy sources become suspect. It appears to me that the only viable and sustainable way that humans are going to be into the long run is for a rapid and large decrease in population and that energy sources, regardless of the technology, needs to be as small as possible, local and/or individual controlled. If it is allowed to become large and complicated, that just gives one more area that the big boys and the enforcement boys a means of controlling us. And we sure as hell don’t want wall street (if there is such a thing in the future) investing it it. So we got to keep it small and localized.

Here is a statement from Richard Heinberg;

….” In principle, however, we have already ruin the “free energy” experiment, on a smaller scale, several times in human history, and other species have run it as well. Every time we humans have found a way to harvest a dramatically increased amount of food or fuel from the environment, we have been presented with a quantity of energy that is, if not entirely free, at least cheap and abundant relative to what we had previously. Each time, we have responded by increasing our population, and correspondingly, the load on the environmental systems that sustain us. Each time, we have ended up degrading the environment and creating the conditions for a crash.” He goes on to site specific examples of migrating from Africa, then eating all the mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths, etc. through the invention of agriculture in one civilization after another where they built densely populated cities, then collapsed after exhausting the soil and cutting too many trees…and on to increasing the population from 800 million to 6.4 billion in 3 centuries after the Industrial Revolution”.

He continues;

“So, if some new free-energy device were to become available tomorrow, how would people respond? We really don’t need to speculate much. Absent a self-limiting, culturally reinforced, Powerdown program, we can be virtually 100 percent sure that the response would be to continue population growth, and to increase the harvesting of other resources, from the environment until Liebig’s Law got us in one way or another. Liebig’s Law, also known as the Law of the Minimum, states that the carrying capacity for any given species is set by the necessity of least supply. Eventually one crucial thing would be missing from the balance and life as we know it would be over."

Folks, I have no hard answers to all of this. What I do think I know is that we have all had our dose of snake oil, and way too many people have embraced it. I honestly think we will pay a heavy price for that.