Monday, February 4, 2008

SNAKE OIL AND POLITICS

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.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the tanking of the dollar, which is still the world's currency in the form of petrodollars, is a deliberate act to make everything cost more -especially for third world countries. Less value to the dollar will cause an already bad situation get much worse, resulting in the death of millions of people, thus culling the heard and creating a two class system (the haves and the havenots) throughout the world.

The PTB look at the masses in the third world as non-persons who are using up valuable land and resourses -but are not able to purchase the crap the PTB peddle. So, in the eyes of the PTB, well, a slow extermination is their plan.

There was movie a year or so ago called, "Lord of War" with Nicholas Cage which was about an American arms dealer who deals weapons to anyone with the cash -mostly third world country dictators/rebels. In the end, he gets caught by an overzealous American agent, but is soon let go by the agents higher-ups to resume his role as an international arms dealer.

The U.S. is by far the largest arms dealer in the world and I think it's just part of 'culling the heard.' Our defense industry makes some bucks and poor people in Africa or South America kill each other over resourse, tribal differences, etc., etc.

Ya know, a handgun cost about $300 - $500 in a sporting good store or pawn shop, but, the hommies in da 'hood can get a good piece for $50 or so. Why do you think that is? Culling the heard, man, culling the heard.

I believe the PTB, especially in this country, are ardent supporters of Social Darwinism. I think they feel that their kind -the filthy rich (strong) should and will survive and the rest be damned.

Later -

Dude

rockpicker said...

I haven't had a chance to read this latest post yet, but I feel compelled to add this bit of probably-off-topic information, as things are changing so rapidly it's hard to stay abreast.

On the stevequayle.com website, he's got an interview with Celeste Bishop you can listen to for free. I recommend it. Has to do with RFID chipping, and the invisible ink, and the US 2007 Census of Agriculture 24-page reports due today. Also, Bishop has a website with more info at nonaiswa.org

First seeds are being delivered to Spitzbergen.

I wish we could all sit together and hold hands when the wave comes in.

stoney13 said...

It's times like this when I'm glad I live in the North Carolina Mountains!

Around here we've got good old fashioned self-lubricating snakes! A friend of mine caught one once that looked like it had a grease fitting, but when it bit him and his hand swelled up like a $2.00 balloon, we figured out it was for something else!

You pretty much summed up my feelings on the next election! No matter who wins, it will be more of the same old shit, it will just be cooked by a different chef!

None, and I mean NONE of the front-runners have addressed the failed War on Drugs to satisfy me, and the ones that tried were left so far back in the dust they can't even find the road anymore!

I've come to the conclusion that this country deserves the choice between Clinton, and McCain! Just like we deserve George W. Bush!

All we need now is another spoiler with about as much chance of getting elected as I have of flying to the moon on a craft fueled by my own flatulence! THAT should handily ensconce the next clueless idiot in the White House with a hand-picked chorus of "Pod-People" to parrot all that they decree!

Both of the fornt-running candidates seem to decry all that Bush has done, but neither has shown any inkling of changing it!

Expect "The Patriot Act" to remain in play because it gives the President power, and ALL Presidents love power! Don't matter who or what they are, they love the power!

Ditto for all those emergency procedures that hand the President the government on a silver platter, and whatever totalitarian enactments that got signed into law while the populace was staring slack-jawed at "American Idol", or howling at their television at the rich spectacle of grown men in their underwear getting paid obcene amounts of money for playing children's games! All of this, of course, while our veterans are sleeping under bridges, and the people that teach our children are moonlighting at Starbucksw, and using their own money to buy school supplies to do their jobs because their respective states used all the education budget on D.A.R.E., and drug testing!

The MSM hasn't addressed ANY of the issues that are as we speak eating this country form the inside out, but we all know that Britney Spears is smoking weed, and doing blow with unknown persons of assorted ages and gender, and I for one couldn't give less of a fuck!

And as far as Nataly Holloway's mother goes? You raised your daughter to abuse drugs, and behave like a idiot in a foriegn country with people she didn't even know! How the fuck did you EVER think the result would be different! Now you and Nancy Grace want to blame a whole country for your spoiled rotten daughter's dissaperance? Get fucking real, and stop infecting my television with your sob story!

(Ran out of pot yesterday. Can you tell?)

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

It is an old joke now but have any of you ever seen the cartoon where the world is divided out into one square yards and these are all occupied and stretch out in every direction as far as the eye can see. One guy right in the front says to his neighbour “I will make you a very attractive offer for your square”. Ok, it is a silly way to make a valid point and we will run out of resources long before we get anywhere near that situation. I recognise that most working people are kept too busy to get the picture but I am truly aghast that those running the show are still sliding around on the snake oil. I was next door in Netherlands (used to be Holland) the other week and was amazed at the amount of new auto routes (freeways) that are going in. They probably think they are being really progressive. I often wonder what the amortisation periods for such projects are and who it was that sold them on the idea that such things are necessary.

Dude,

We often hear that so many million people in the third world exist on two dollars a week and so many other million have only one dollar a week to exist on and we are expected to feel sorry for their plight. Well I for one feel especially sorry for them. They managed, to get by for tens of thousands of years, without anyone’s help and now they can’t even help themselves to the end of next week because their one or two dollars are insufficient. What theses one or two dollars represent is dependency. They weren’t dependent before they had them but now they are, and it was us (collectively) who made them that way. They got through all of ancient and modern history without them but once they had accepted the Kings Shilling they have no idea how to see the week through without them. All of these ‘third World’ dependency dollars should be put into a large envelope and sent back to Ben Bernacre with a polite note asking if he really could not find a better use for them.

rockpicker said...

Murph,

I agree. Those of us who stopped drinking the kool-aid a while back have been disenfranchised and marginalized. We are offered only a change of wardrobes with which to regail the Status Quo. Substantive change has been hung out to dry.

The question remains, how will we deal with the future "They" have in store for us?

Are we warriors who will resist the taking of our liberties and our identities?

Are we children of a loving God, limitless in our capacity for forgiveness and understanding?

Whose torch do we follow to the cave above the stream?

It occurred to me to write a post about the split in national identity I feel has taken place in America since the advent of the 'internets.' But then, I reasoned, I'd only be preaching to the choir, so I postponed the idea in lieu of further observation.

With each day now the theorized schism becomes more apparent. We who rely on the alternative media for our information have, by our rejection of mass culture and its alluring, (and brain-numbing), accoutrements, become 'foreigners' in our native land.

We can not engage in meaningful discourse with three- quarters of our populace without first bringing our fellows up to speed, such is the level of general ignorance. We are surrounded by those who, simply put, just don't know any better. And they are going to skew what pitiful semblance of democracy we hope we still possess, voicing ill-conceived opinions in defence of misunderstood self-interests.

Last week I went into a jewelry store on Main St., here in my little town, to inquire about the purchase of gold and silver, as aquisition of even a modest amount now would seem a prudent hedge against the darkening financial firmament. The owner admitted only to a small trade in ornamental gold, and that he did nothing at all with silver. We talked about the economy and the general state of things for some time. In due course, two relevant facts emerged.
The man perceived himself to be a devout Christian, guided by a faith in the righteousness of men, and, therefore, believed his country's recent foreign policy to be, as an extension of his own goodness, wholesome and just. He also, out of hand, rejected any suggestion that elements of his own government might have had a hand in the 9/11 tragedy, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Eventually, I asked him if he knew the term "peak oil." He stared at me, briefly, and shook his head.
I left soon after, shaking my own head and wondering how we can all be witnessing the same events and interpreting them so differently?

Those who would still deny the ptb's role in 9/11 must certainly possess a capacity for denial I find difficult to imagine.

What can they think when they look up and see their beautiful blue skies desecrated with persistent, inexplicable contrails?

Do they wonder at all? Do they ask themselves about H5N1, Morgellon's, the war, (and rumors of war,)the loss of rights?

Has television rendered them so reptillian and dulled to the evil done in their own names?

We are two countries, unable to converse. One sees a rough patch coming, but insists all will be well once things settle down. The other sees cataclysm, from which no recovery is certain.

The clock is ticking. Inaction, now, will, in time, I fear, be judged a crime.

rockpicker said...

Hey,

Anybody got the straight scoop on the cut cables. Rense is reporting there are now 5 (five) cables out of service. Cryptogon says Iran HAS NOT lost service. WTF? Is this a prelude to war?

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Rockpicker

Re first above, Joe Bageant reckons it’s the descendants of the Picts who are not yet up to speed after their success with the Vikings.

Re your last, Fars News Agency, Palestine Chronicle and Al Jazeera strangely all have nothing to say, yet Google Internet Down in Middle East and there are pages of it BUT all reports are one short paragraph long. It sure looks like everybody knows and nobody knows. Hunker down.

rockpicker said...

Belgium;

As re: the Picts. In their naked belligerance, they did earn the wall Rome erected in their honor. I count myself among the progeny of those wild, rebuffed warriors. But without the tatoos.

LATOC compares Bush's trip to the Middle East last week to the scene in the Godfather where Lucca Brozi makes the movie producer an offer he can't refuse with the horse's head. Great image.

Maybe, after further consideration, leaders of the various Arab fiefdoms will say, "Buzz off, Butch!" I'd love to see them call his bluff. Russia has sworn to uphold its committments to protect Iran's sovereignty. China has signed similar agreements with Tehran. What is the Moron-In- Chief planning?

murph said...

Stoney,

A self lubing snake. huh! I think I need a toke. sigh

I agree that none of the candidates have addressed your favorite problem, but then, just what problems have they really addresed except in generalities, (read opinions) Like previously mentioned, they would have to pay big bucks for the privilege to do so, and probably wouldn't help them anyway, considering what the electorate is looking for.

You are so right, we have gotten what we thought we wanted, what we voted for and exactly what we deserve.

Stoney, for petes sakes, run out and get a lid, keep the hinges oiled.

murph said...

Belgium,

It also amazes me how unaware most people are of the rapid and serious deterioration of the environment. It is as if they think we can go merrily on without it. Had a conversation today with a fellow that virtually said that. I closed my mouth for a change. Otherwise I really like the guy. But he hasn't a clue either on this issue. Environmentalist are all just a damned bunch of fools, with which I agree. Good intentions but they also don't understand the nature of the opposition. I think D. Jensen has it nailed absolutely.

buzzard said...

Murph- I did real your post and I have to say that the answer to this fiasco is to dump "civilization" pronto. There is no other way. It was mentioned by one of the others that people in so-called third world countries lived sustainably for thousands of years until western civilization showed up to show them a "better" way. We owe it to the land. The experiment failed. Back to the tribe.

murph said...

Dude,

Unfortunately I think you also have to include the general population of our country also in the outlook of the PTB. My observations say that as someone climbs the ladder of "success" there is a corresponding decrease in respect for those below. I've seen it over and over with people I have known for 40 years. If and when the top is reached, those at the bottom are less than human, slobs and idiots. When we make an investigation in what it takes to make it up the ladder, it makes sense.

Oh yes, social Darwinism is alive and well, all over the world.

murph said...

Rockpicker,

Well, those that consider themselves warriors, include me in the circle please. I simply cannot conceive of myself sucking ass for the privilege of staying alive.

We do pick up new reader periodically so writing a post is not a complete waste of time. I know we preach to the choir here, but damn man, we need the outlet and a very few might just come on board. If I didn't think that was true, I wouldn't be doing this and I suspect that is true for most of the bloggers. Look at all the neat information exchanged here. Plus, when you get discouraged with talking to people around you to no effect, it helps to have someone say "Right on man!" Then you can at the least say maybe I am not living on Pluto after all. lol

You got something to say you think is important, write it down man. This site is open to anyone that wants to put something together.

But, you are right, there is a great divide in perception.

murph said...

Buzzard,

Yes, I agree that we have to dump civilization. It is going to get real nasty if/when it is accomplished. I suppose it somewhat depends on ones values and perceptions on this. Those people that cannot conceive of living outside of what we call civilization, naturally, are not going to want it to go away.

One caution, I see it happening now. Those that have no fear of dumping civilization are tending to become elitists about it. I think that would be a mistake.

Thanks for the comments and speak up again.

rockpicker said...

Over at www.rense.com there is an article just up called "Connecting the Many Cut Undersea Cable Dots- 9 Or More?" I took this quote from there;

"The hard reality is that we are now living in a world of irrational and violent policies enacted against the civilian population by multinational corporations, and military and espionage agencies the world over. We see the evidence for this on every hand. Only the most myopic among us remain oblivious to that reality."

The article says that as many as nine cables may have been cut, so, of course, the media have been lying to us again, or at least, shirking their responsibilities. Which is, sadly, the normal state of things Bushent. Google News is no longer covering the story.

The article goes on to say;

"1) The USS San Jacinto, an anti-missile AEGIS cruiser, was scheduled to dock in Haifa, Israel on 1 February 2008. The Jerusalem Post reported that this ship's anti-missile system "could be deployed in the region in the event of an Iranian missile attack against Israel."(1) Are we to expect another "false flag" attack, like the inside job on 9-11 perhaps? -- an attack that will be made to appear that it comes from Iran, and that is then used as a pretext to strike Iran, maybe with nuclear weapons? And when Iran retaliates with its own missiles, then the Americans and Israelis will unleash further hell on Iran? Is that the Zionist-NeoCon plan, or something generally along those lines?"

Meanwhile, the radio is all Clinton and Obama and the financial pundits are already calling Feb. 5 Black Tuesday. (Dow closed off 370 pts. today.)

Tomorrow, the beginning of Lent, remember, the old ones say, those who dropped the gourd of ashes will have the gourd of ashes dropped on them...

aho

freeacre said...

Boy, there sure is a divide between those who get their news from the internet and those who don't. Today I saw a white, middle class-looking woman interviewed at a mall or something. She was asked "what state is New Orleans in?" She laughed and looked around, then said, "I have no idea!" God! It's like these people are proud of being pig ignorant. It's astounding to me. I can only conclude that our arrogance has made us intellectually lazy. Maybe once it all falls down and other countries surpass us in power and prestige, our countrymen will be challenged to know more and do better.
Well, I guess tonight is sort of like watching the Playoffs of politics. I feel like Al Pacino in the Godfather, when he said, "I try to get out, then they THEY PULL ME BACK IN!" I gotta watch it.
I don't know about those cables. It sure seems significant to me. Maybe the Middle Eastern countries that Bush talked with didn't go a long with his program, so he decided to show them what we could do. Maybe Israel did it in anticipation of some sort of military action. I sure don't know, but it seems ominous to me.
Oh, one more thing about new posts... we have around a hundred people a day checking into our site, many first timers. So, it's not just the same old choir. More readers than commenters,by far.

RAS said...

Okay, I need to pop in here and comment on an important distinction about civilization that seems to have been overlooked. Civilization (especially as broadly defined)hasn't failed. Western civilization has. There's a big difference. There are civilizations that have proven to be extremely resilient and sustainable. China, for example, before Western ideals were adopted, had an extremely stable society that lasted literally thousands of years. And with no loss of fertility on their farms, either. There are lots of socities that fall under the realm of civilization that are often overlooked -the Mound people, the great alliance of the Cherokee and other cultures, etc -that were incredible societies, and civilizations, but were mostly destroyed by Western thoughts or military might.

Now, as the Archdruid would say, we have a false dichotomy ingrained in our heads: we either accept 'civilization' as is, or we go back to hunting and gathering. But there are many, many other alternatives.
I'm not knocking hunter-gatherers (though they too can be extremely unsustainable and I for one would not like to live that lifestyle) but there are indeed other options.

I think those of us who are aware of the problems and desire change need to be especially careful of going too far in our thinking. When people reject something as bad, evil, etc, they innately tend to over react and lurch automatically towards the extreme opposite of whatever it is they are rejecting.
That is what the TPTB wish, and one of the reasons false dichotmies exist; they help to reinforce and maintain the existing structure.

Just some food for thought.

murph said...

Rockpicker,

In continuance of the comment about preaching to the choir, I found an article that talks about this. An excerpt from this is below. It is found on Tomas Pain site and written by william Blum;

This is why it’s so important for all of us to continue “preaching to the choir” and “preaching to the converted”. That’s what speakers and writers and other activists are often scoffed at for doing — saying the same old thing to the same old people, just spinning their wheels. But long experience as speaker, writer and activist in the area of foreign policy tells me it just ain’t so. From the questions and comments I regularly get from my audiences, via email and in person, and from other people’s audiences as well, I can plainly see that there are numerous significant information gaps and misconceptions in the choir’s thinking, often leaving them unable to see through the newest government lie or propaganda trick; they’re unknowing or forgetful of what happened in the past that illuminates the present; knowing the facts but unable to apply them at the appropriate moment; vulnerable to being led astray by the next person who offers a specious argument that opposes what they currently believe, or think they believe. The choir needs to be frequently reminded and enlightened.

"As cynical as others may think they are, the choir is frequently not cynical enough about the power elite’s motivations. They underestimate the government’s capacity for deceit, clinging to the belief that their government somehow means well; they’re moreover insufficiently skilled at reading between the media’s lines. And this all applies to how they view political candidates as well. Try asking “anti-war” supporters of Hillary Clinton if they know what a hawk she is, that — as but one example — she’s promised that American forces will not leave Iraq while she’s president. (And Obama loves the empire as much as Clinton.) When Ronald Reagan was president, on several occasions polls revealed that many, if not most, people who supported him were actually opposed to many of his specific policies."

"In sum, even when the hearts of the chorus may be in the right place, their heads still need working on, on a recurring basis. And in any event, very few people are actually born into the choir; they achieve choir membership only after being preached to, multiple times."

murph said...

ras,

I thoroughly understand the thoughts you presented on the differences of civilizations. However, in my reading about past civilizations, while some of them appeared to last a long time, they all had similar characteristics. While some did not destroy the farmland, they destroyed much other parts of the environment. While some of these large civilizations failed or declined for unknown or speculative reasons, the primary reason was destruction of the land base by overpopulation. Very large groupings of people exist by means of destruction, it is just a fact of their existence. No city is sustainable in itself, it absolutely depends on voluntary or involuntary acquisition of outside resources. I also think you are somewhat incorrect about China. As I understand the Han dynasty, for example, when they militarily defeated a foe they often would destroy the ability of the defeated to feed themselves by destroying the the farm land. Remember the victors of many civilizations salted the land to keep an uprising from being possible. It would be years until the land would grow again. While it is true that many of these civilizations were resilient and lasted many years, it appears that it was always at the expense of the non elite part of the society. The great wall of China was not built by volunteers. We now have evidence that the early Chinese actually tried to expand to what is now the Western United States, formed colonies and had a military force here, long before Columbus or the Vikings.

Another characteristic of great civilizations is the support of the few in luxury of the time, on the backs of the commoners. In the recorded history that we have, it always seems to be true.

Another characteristic is the constant effort to expand which of course means military, killing and defeat.

I personally know of no "civilization" that was not of this mind, at least with the people that ran the show. The present earliest history from Mesopotamia suggests they were the same way.

I would be interested in what data you have to support a contention that not all civilizations are mostly the same.

murph said...

I came across this article, and rather thorough investigation into mercenary troops within the U.S. and overseas.

http://www.bestcyrano.org/cyrano/?p=244

Palooka's Revenge said...

rp....

there might be a whole lot more to compare to the head in the bed. rumor has it there's this certain white paper sits on jr's desk and he's using it to hold the dems, or anybody who challenges him, hostage. he symbolically taps on this thing to remind them this is the trump card and he'll play it if they get frogie about the war or investigations or impeachment or whatever. the white paper is what the gambit computer spits out when the monster nimars (the maniacs at nat intel mgt agency) get real imaginative about running scenario simulations. scenarios like complete marshal law, suspension of the constition and elections, $200 oil, and so on. one recent situation run amuck was a mock terrorist attact involving dispursement of radiological weapons above phoenix, portland and guam. then they come up with real cute names for em like solid curtain citidel shield. the mobsters just thought they were the only ones who had extortion tactics aced.

rockpicker said...

If your commanding officer asked you if you would have a problem shooting a friend or family member if ordered to do so, say, you were attempting to collect weapons from a civilian population back home, would you wonder about that officer's motivation? According to an article on Rense's site, the military has been asking such questions of American soldiers deployed in Iraq. What do you suppose that's all about?

Freeacre, you know I mean the people who visit this site are inquisitive, or they wouldn't wind up here. They're net nerds who have pretty much examined the merits of the lamestream media and found them lacking. They suspect the media of lies and deceptions, cover-ups and omissions. That's why we all come here. We instinctively sense the internet is a place to access truth. If a story smells fishy, you can always keep digging until the real deal's out.

So the people who read this already are experiencing the problem I'm having, not just with strangers, but with close friends as well. For some, the technology is too expensive and they don't feel the information is worth the expense, even when free hardware is available.
Others object to even being made aware of the current state of affairs in this country, and prefer to not know, because the weight of reality is too much to bear. I understand the impulse, but I'm appalled by the degree of effort such thorough denial requires.
I have one friend who's mouth just drops open when I tell her some of the everyday news I find on the net. It's kind of funny to watch her reactions sometimes. Another just tells me, "Stop. I don't want to know!"

But the real problem is that most of the inhabitants of this country are boobs when it comes to things like geography, science, history, politics, art, or current affairs.
Oh, they're likable enough, all right. But they're ill-informed, uncritical in their thinking and, as Freeacre said, mentally lazy.

"Kill Your TV" is fast becoming my favorite bumber sticker.

Can anyone else relate to this observed duality? How do we communicate with a majority, (and I'm convinced it is, by far,) who have most of the salient facts of the last seven years, with their attendant biases and emotions, so scrambled from exposure to the "legitimate" media, that most would be hard pressed to describe concisely what has happened in this country since Bush took orifice?

How do we debate policy, or identify common interests with these willfully-ignorant masses?

I don't wish to sound elitist, here. I have nothing against Joe Sixpack, or the common working stiff. I just want to have an important conversation with him. That's all.

BTW, William Rivers Pitt has written a classic piece called "The Bush Administration In One Sentence." I found it here:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/5822

rockpicker said...

Palooka;

Yeah, I hear ya loud and clear on the martial law stuff. Problem is, Geo. might just drop the hammer anyway, not matter who sucks up to him, or how sucky the sucker gets. All it takes is a national emergency. FDIC declaring an inability to cover insured deposits would qualify, no?

freeacre said...

You know, Rockpicker, it occurs to me that we are in much the same condition as when the alternative movement began...kids began objecting to the war in Vietnam, began to criticize their parents, began to investigate the government, began to look at the greater culture and found it lacking on so many levels. They caught some sort of mental wave, began a new vision of what living should be about. The alternative clothes, music, vegetarianism, pot, free sex, the women's movement, meditation, communes, etc. etc.
The straight people were going WTF??? Damn freaks, etc. But, the alternative lifestyle was more fun, and more satisfying, and more intelligent. It got killed when the powers that be got real hard-assed and raised the rent, drove prices up, and it became necessary to have everybody work full time just to get by. And, it morphed out of control from there. We got co-opted, bought off, distracted. The alternative leaders got assassinated, incarcerated, or went underground.
But now that the economy is tanking, the hippy values of peace and brother/sisterhood, ecology, communal living, etc. might have a chance to rise again. Because, the greedhead lifestyle is unsustainable. I think that if we can come to a place of acceptance that things are going to be tough, but offer alternative and satisfying ways to deal with the new realities of peak everything, it will be attractive, even to those who are woefully late in coming to the party. We can function as a sort of vanguard, and be ready to lead the way out of this mess. We will have to be smarter this time. Hopefully, we will have learned from our mistakes, and won't allow ourselves to let the corporates take over. In ten years, I don't want to be watching the "Collapse Channel."

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Just to make a small point about the descendents of the Picts, now generally referred to as Irish Americans; no one doubts their belligerence, their fearlessness or their bravery in battle. Bageant’s point is that this has become so ingrained in their collective nature and they have been so long involved with it that there has never been any time left over for the thinking part. Hence Freeacre’s statement “I can only conclude that our arrogance has made us intellectually lazy”. It should not however in any way be taken, either stated or implied, that this or any other comment is in any way directed towards anyone with the last name of Murphy.
Ever heard the joke about what is the collective noun for a group of Irish Americans. The answer is a thicket. It would only be a Brit that would come up with such a racist uneducated comment as that, certainly no one like wot I am.

rockpicker said...

So, this Mick who's just come over, goes to the same neighborhood bar each Friday, after work, and he orders three shots of Tulamore Dew, and three Guinness's.

Bartender pours the drinks, and on delivery, asks the chap, "Eh, you appear to be by yourself. What's with all the booze?"

Mick says, "Oh, one round is for me, and the other two are for me two brothers, whom I've left in the old country." Bartender nods assent.

Well, this develops into a pattern. Every Friday night after work the Mick comes in and orders three shots of whiskey and three beer chasers.

One Friday, however, the fellow comes in and orders two shots, two beers. Bartender gets serious. He sets the drinks down and says, "Tom," he says, "I hope something tarrible 'asn't 'appened to one of yer brothers?"

The man smiles, with a reassuring pat on the bartender's forearm, and says, "No, no, Paddy, m' brothers are both fine. It's just that, I've given up the drink, ya see?"

Palooka's Revenge said...

rp.... well aware of the point you make. i don't think for a minute the paper's sole purpose is extortion. in the meantime, it appears to be an effective tool to keep the wolves, who would love to have a piece of his sorry and most deserved ass, at bay. leave it to jr to double dip his assets.

between him and his sidekick we have, hands down, the most sinister pair to ever sit in the white house. there are reasons.

all...

hold the line. that is, in their twisted minds, their charge.

for our own good. that is, in those same twisted minds, their justification.

anything and anyone who gets in the way of that is, in those same twisted minds, just so much collateral damage. including our own citizenry. listen to them. they tell us loud and clear. its there in their words and actions.

ironically we were given a pre-view. we need only recall the reaction of the masses when one tim mevey used this exact same word. we brought our rage to bear as we lined up in unison to watch the monster fry for it. and then turned right around and aligned with the justification to rationalize the agressive actions of our leaders in iraq and around the world. they used this exact same word to justify their actions.

did we hear it? have we forgetten completly that the dynamic knows no brother and can just as likely, come home to roost? some of us did. and we'd have them fry for it. would that make it go away for all time? if we kill bin laden would that make him go away for all time?

the true state of realities manifest and can come in the most difficult of lessons. it is the way of universe. lessons equal to, or greater than, the level of denial involved.

we need only go take another look at the movie "a few good men" to see this very same twisted reasoning as justification for actions as portrayed by jack nicholson's character. when you see nicholson loose it on the stand after the "good guys" found him guilty, think bush, cheney, feif, wolfman, norquist, addington, libby, rove, et al. right there you have how they think. (speaking of rove, he slithered out of his hole to join the crew at faux news last nite.)

a few good men. thats how they see themselves! how's that different from how we see ourselves here around this campfire and justify our own views and actions? look beyond the perceived good or bad of the parties involved. look to the driving forces fueling both them and us. the energetic dynamic in play, not the good or bad of it.

support for the war was 85% in the early going. and though the support has dwindled significantly over time, a considerable % of that is only because we are viewed as loosing.

so "we" does not really apply eh? there were exceptions. from the get-go. most who hang here were/are in that small minority. yet most of us here have accumulated our own arsenal to hold the line with full intent to use it. david and goliath ride once more. but at least we'll go down fightin eh?

probably. but is there a deeper layer of the cake? can we look beyond for some clue that might be the sin qua non to a different outcome?

our brother mf keeps reminding us of the mirror. like collateral damage, the mirror knows no brother. the masses appear to be asleep. perhaps there's a reason. perhaps most are mere fragments. what could that bode for the ones who are more awake? the ones we count ourselves among. could they/we then perhaps be more parental? could there be a layer of the cake we're missing despite its staring right back at us? despite its slapping us smack-dab in the face over and over and over? could it be fragmentation flicks off a little at a time? add a few generations, aka lifetimes, and there's billions running around gobbling up resources at unsustainable rates. and, ignoring the mirror, it just looks like us against them when, collectively, we're all in the same boat... a monster eating itself alive.

could it be there's an original cause to be found in that deeper layer of the cake? and it ain't cheap oil. nor too much production. nor the industrial revolution. nor, nor, nor. those are just symptoms manifest. and symptoms are reflections.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Rockpicker, I experience the same when I speak to others about world events, geography, politics, etc. Living in Mormon HQ has a "Stepford Wives" feel to it with a plus side being that they have a better understanding of geography due to going on missions for the LDS church. Not so when when speaking with people while living in South Carolina -they too had no idea where New Orleans was located.

The other day I ran across someone having a cow about Hillary. She considered Hillary the devil's spawn or worse and so I asked her if she thought the current administration was any better and she said, "At least our president is a Christain."

To a lot of people I've come across, their church and what the church tells them is pretty much what they're gonna believe. To them, GWB is the second comming and nothing you say will make them change their minds. To question or to think differently from their church would just blow their minds. They "can't handle the truth."

I've tried to enlighten those who DO question the dogma or can see through some of the BS on MSM. I've told them where to go to get information that hasn't been filtered through multinational corporations, explained to them why what they've been told by Charlie Gibson is wrong, etc, but then the laziness sets in and they go back to being sheeple.

Part of it is fear, also. Showing facts that point to our government being responsible for killing 3,000 US citizens on Sept 11, 2001 is hard for most people to grasp. They just don't want to believe it and will continue to keep their heads in the sand -or stick their fingers in their ears saying, "lalalalaIcan'thearyouIcan'thearyou....." What's to do about it? I don't know -I've given up. They are beyond hope and cannot be unplugged from "The Matrix."

Later -

Dude

Anonymous said...

From Belgium,

Back on the economy swing just for a minute, this one is an interesting explanation of what has happened.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/JA30Dj02.html

It is a long article and some of it is hard to follow if you are not steeped in the subject but it is definitely get throughable. I haven’t reached the end of it yet. I have to bail out to go out and chew the fat with a mate I haven’t seen for over a month.
Many of us have followed through the logic that money represents debt even if we couldn’t do it now on a piece of paper. For those who haven’t, check out Money as Debt from www. brashchecktv.com
What I hadn’t realised is that the opposite is also true, that the writing off of debt, as when the housing bubble bursts, represents the withdrawal of money from the economy. The Fed can try to control the liquidity of the economy but what they cannot control is the wealth that any given amount of money represents and this is where much of the problem lies, according to the article. Anyway, it is worth a look see.

buzzard said...

Ras, "At one time nearly half of China was forested. The famous agricultural scholar, Georg Bergstrom estimates that 670 million acres of China were once covered. this forest, with its complex ecosystem was gone almost before written history."
"The Final Empire" by William Kotke

The Yellow River received its name for the tremendous load of silt which it carried yearly to the sea from agricultural sources.

The story is the same for all the empires of Civilization: Greeks, Romans, Mesopotamians, Maya, Aztecs, Indus River Valley et.al. They all degraded the environment until the empires collapsed. Civilization, which basically means Empire is by definition unsustainable. We humans have been going down this dead-end road since the inception of agriculture.

The fact that farming exists anywhere means that land has been degraded. Farming of any stripe so far attempted is in the end unsustainable. In times past this situation has been masked largely because populations were relatively small and there was always new continents to conquer and ravage. When the environment could no longer support people they moved on like locusts to decimate new horizons.

The problem we face today is that there is nowhere left to go. The irony is that Civilization is coming down whether we will it or not. The difference is that every little bit sooner which it does come down saves that much more of our land base for future generations.
We still have options but they are quickly running out. The one mistake that we can't afford to make is to think that there is a difference between Western and Eastern Civilization.

Murph, You said, "Those that have no fear of dumping civilization are tending to become elitist about it. I think that would be a mistake."

I battle that particular demon almost daily. Lord help me- I loose patience and become arrogant. I'm just a poor peasant seeking truth.

freeacre said...

When John Fremont "discovered" Lake Tahoe, he thought the region uninhabited. The truth was that the Washoe tribe had lived in the area since before recorded time. They used to live winters below in the valley, and summers all around Lake Tahoe. They considered the Lake sacred. Each year it took weeks of ceremony to purify themselves enough to be worthy to set foot in the area. Artifacts can be found of the Washoe Indians dating back 5-10,000 years. But the forests and the waters remained pristine. The animals, fish, and birds remained in balance, and everybody thrived.
The Washoe people may not have had books, manufacturing, or finance, but they sure knew how to act. Personally, I would probably not be able to make the transition back to that lifestyle, even though I greatly admire them. But, I will try to at least get out of the way.

rockpicker said...

Hey, John Pilger has put together a great documentary called "The War On Democracy." It's a small history lesson covering some of the shit the US has pulled on its South American neighbors. Includes great interviews with Hugo Chavez. It offers us a glimpse into our own future, I think.

Viva la revolution!

http://freedomvideo.org/blog/?p=849

Anonymous said...

Salutations brothers and sisters, great post and comments as usual, sitting here with a head cold or whatever the current crud that issues forth from the contrails that are almost constantly overhead in ( visible in contrail weather).
langosta tells me stories about the happenings in her world as i slide back and forth, oblivion wise,we watch the passing snow storms in wonder and relish the return of an actual winter,.... thought they were a passing memory in the mind of a former hashish freak but now here they are, great spirit we are blessed.
murph she takes a slight twitch at the " dirty bug infected bunch of bullshit " but i smooth her over and tell here not to take it personally and she smiles that special smile and says " i know". she likes to romp in the snow for a good cleanse and smells right good too.
i wish i could remember all the things she says during the day and night but its just to much, she talks of death a lot and says its a pity that people are so frightened of something they know nothing about and thereby know nothing of life, i find this interesting because the body we wear is nothing more then a costume she says, a good one though and if we took better care of it we might live long enough to actually understand some of the less fashionable topics that are available and says the people might come to love their existence here if they stopped for a minute and put aside the mind numbing inventions of humans.
i say good luck on that one.
it seems as if the comments here are really outstanding and not that hard to follow.
the self lubricating snake sounds like nc has much to offer and the reasons for remaining in the mountains there is just as sound as here in these parts, the mota season is just around the corner and a telephone call from humboldt county last nite gives me the squiggles in anticipation, purple cush, yummy, for all here that are lax in the groovy times of the sixties,afghanistan is way more then just a place to kill people for fun and profit,..o yeah its fun to kill folks, i mean join the military and get free guns, free ammo, and free people to kill and usually no court appearances to justify ones actions, a psychopaths dream come true.
the bug says thats a dumb thing to say and i say so what? its true ain't it? she looks at me as if there is not one single thread of hope for me and , i ponder this.

you know a lot of the comments here have to do with trying to enlighten folks that would just as well have us mind our own business and i agree somewhat, however on occasion someone will come along that displays a spark of interest in what we blither about and don't mind the questions that are a requisite to opening the mind to the possibilities that exist in perhaps understanding the rudimentary features of the illusion that we are smothered in, (like mustard on a hot dog bug says) from birth and perhaps even before that if a deeper look has taken place.
so this one has take the position of looking at those around me as friends and neighbors and just try to do what i can in this tiny corner of the world and and teach by actions, which has been said many times before and still holds true i expect.
the multitude of teenagers that troop through this square teepee are really a special bunch to me and they really shine when given the freedom to express their issues, and it is actually fun to be included in their world of teenage angst. its a noticeable difference when they talk of their constricted home life and how fucked up their parents attitudes are and i have to truthfully agree with them and manage to throw in a biscuit of a question now and them in a thoughtful manner and they respond if they know there is no judgement involved in their response to a question, because it is such a novelty to actually have someone to listen to what they have to say.
instead of being told what to do and what to think i say what do you think? and what would you do? its really amazing folks if you haven't experienced this, a true delight to the light for sure. these kids are really brilliant in the unexpected stuff that comes out of their mouths.
what a fucking waste public school is, and of course its all planed by the cretins that have their foot on our necks to produce generations of cloned tv watchers as consumers, and the comment sounded right about the balance of the number of consumers and the havoc of earth destruction and limited resources available to consume, i mean there is only so much shit to sell on the earth, right? and if there is to many people the earth ends up as toast and profit and greed are tilted somewhat i think,maybe not, i do not understand these things as well as i would like to.
i am finding out a little more about humanity by being turned on to this sight,

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/148141-The-Trick-of-the-Psychopath-


its a long read but hell even i can understand the fucker. i hope


After reading the book Political Ponerology, A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes by Andrzej Ɓobaczewski, I wished to interview the author. However, ..........................

peace to all that attend this wonderful place of sacred beings
aho
mf

rockpicker said...

Morning, mf,

Sorry to hear you're feeling "under the weather," but then, aren't we all?

Hey, I have a bug, now, too. A little lady appeared a few days ago on a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, where I keep a small, potted Thai pepper hold-over from last year's garden. I placed her on it and she's been busy munching
aphids ever since.

Palooka, how's the weather down there? Sounds pretty bad.

oldensoul said...

I thought I’d add to the comments by rp and dude about friends who choose not to stay abreast of daily happenings, via the internet, in our ever-changing and increasingly unstable world. Perhaps some people, I’m thinking of three of my friends, instinctively know that a “mainstream” lifestyle is unacceptable and their daily adult lives have always been geared toward a sustainable survival. Today’s news does not drive their actions, but seems to validate them. These friends listen to public radio and are voracious readers, but feel they don’t have the time or the desire to use the internet for information. They are too busy: baking bread for the community in their outdoor wood-fired bake oven, built by them and a group of locals; tending chickens who supply organic eggs for many households; salvaging buildings to reconstruct for themselves and others in town; building and maintaining compost piles that enrich so many gardens in our area; growing sizable gardens and an orchard to feed themselves and to supply our local farmers market with fresh organic produce and garden products; gathering, drying and packaging organic heirloom seeds from vegetables, herbs and flowers for themselves and for sale at market; helping build and maintaining a booster tower to bring public radio into this small mountain town; volunteering to protect local resources and otherwise, so extensively that I won’t even begin to list what they do to help this community; creating arts and humanities programming for a culturally isolated region; networking to bring people together to discuss successful sustainable/survival techniques being used in our area, such as permaculture….and on and on…..Days filled with practices that soon could help them and others survive our uncertain future.

…So maybe we all can share what we learn each day…teach each other by example, as mf points out…..and form a greater circle of knowledge.

freeacre said...

Oldensoul,
Those friends of your don't need the internet nearly as much as we all need them. They are the vanguard and should be treasured by us all. Good for them!