Tuesday, December 28, 2010
... and Brie is starting out right with new tennis balls for Christmas. Can't really see it, but there is one in her mouth.
Finally the Christmas season is over. Now that my computer is back up and working right again, I can get back to the doomer reading and speculation.
Every once in a while I run into someone who wildly explains that I am crazy to believe or look seriously at some issue. Had an acquaintance not too long ago that declared, in a loud voice for all in the immediate area, that peak oil was a bunch of garbage, intimating of course that I had to be crazy to even consider it. It was pointed out to me that the huge reserves that have been found in the last few years would keep the U.S. running for the next 500 years or so, completely forgetting that domestic oil production is sold on the open market for whatever the market will pay. The most usual thing that is put in my face is the Baakan oil reserves in the U.S. The last time that was used, I asked what their source of information on that reserve was. I was told to just Google Baakan reserves and I would get all the info I needed. So, one more time I decided to see what the information was. The very first entry from Google was a forum where some guy wrote in wildly exclaiming that there was no shortage of oil in the U.S. because of the shale oil in the Baakan reserves, would feed the U.S. oil habit for the next 200 years. Then I found a bunch of states, mostly from the Oil Drum web site, but verified it from some other sites also. It seems that the recent USGS study, if they are to be believed, say that the recoverable oil from that site is 3.4 to 4.3 billion barrels. Frankly, that doesn’t even qualify as a super site. In fact, all the larger discoveries in the last 10 years have been in that range, or somewhat larger, but not a super site.
Some stats for your information; The U.S. has been using from 18-25 million barrels per day for the last 5 years. The 18 million barrels is from the last year stats. That works out to 6.8 BILLION barrels per year. Current U.S. oil production is around 5 million barrels per day. This means that the Baakan reserves if pulled out right now, would last the U.S. about 300 days at last years usage. Long way from 200 years plentiful and cheap supply. In fact, the total world oil production is around 3 billion barrels per year, Considering that they are trying to extract oil from more and more expensive and hard to maintain regions (like deep sea and shale and sands) it sure doesn’t appear that our usage is sustainable for much longer. Hmmm. And oil is now over $90/barrel and gas is over $3.00 per gallon.
So who is the crazy one here?
A very good friend of mine once suggested that one way of defining a crazy or insane person is that their brain processes information different than most of us. Of course, the popular idea is that a crazy person is not dealing with reality, not including just what in hell reality really is and if it even can be identified. When I read through history it often touches on the insane among the population. Interestingly, the insane can be right just enough to make a mockery of the “not dealing with reality’ crowd. Of course those really primitive people often revered the “crazy ones” among them for having communication with god or gods. But of course, we can’t take them primitive folks seriously now can we. We know better now, and you would have to be crazy to look at that seriously. By our present paradigm on the subject, the Old Testament prophets were flat out crazy, talking to god and such schizophrenic behavior.
Freeacre wants me to include my/our predictions for the next year and beyond. I’ve never offered something like this before but here goes.
Employment; won’t get better; in fact I predict unemployment is going to keep going up. I expect it to exceed 1930 levels of 20% in the next year. Only so much government hiring will take place and I figure we have just about reached the limit at this time. Lower level manufacturing jobs are not going to be coming back anywhere in the near future. College degrees, that used to insure high paying jobs, are going to be shown as having less of an impact on individual lives compared to our past. More and more hi tech jobs are going to be shipped somewhere else and the demand for degrees will go way down in this country. The few stats on this show it is already happening.
U.S. and world finances; they are going to get worse too. Dollar will eventually be devalued. Our business as usual paradigm is going to take some serious hits. What will result is pure speculation. The un-capitalized hedge funds are going to have to be absorbed one way or another. See next entry.
Government; it will become less and less important to individual lives and just plain become irrelevant, even if very dangerous. At every level of government, and particularly at state and local levels, look for some pretty shitty and unique ways they are going to try and skim even more money out of your pocket as the financial situation worsens, in the form of increased fees and more tickets etc. I don’t know how much longer we can expect government to take any action that maintains the safety nets and entitlements that are in place. If the government prints the money for distribution for these entitlements, we can expect run-away inflation which would just negate the value of the entitlements anyway. I do not expect the PTB to back off of the business as usual paradigm in the next year, they are going to defend it savagely down to the bitter end.
Education: going to continue to degrade, graduating even more really uninformed stupid people. Colleges and Universities will begin shutting down because lack of students, cost are out of reach except for the wealthy and jobs are scarce anyway. Plus we can expect next year big defaults on student loans. There will be a continuation of degrees being just another name for job training, having not much or nothing to do with being educated. Consequence will be an even more rapid decrease in logical thinking among the general population, and the inability to see consequences of actions taken and belief systems upheld.
Politics; it is already apparent that political parties have no relevance to the general population, but only to the elite power struggles. I expect that to become even more evident and the consequence to the general population is going to be even more negative. I also expect that the political infighting will become increasingly savage, disappearing or plain old assassinations of opponents more common, and excuse me on this, but more nut cases like Palin coming on line.
Food, shelter, and water; are going to become more expensive to obtain or maintain. Water is already becoming a problem and I expect food to be an even bigger problem than it already is this next year, expect a tightening of all kinds of silly shit, like the making illegal to collect rain water for your home. While housing purchases are much lower than in 2006, maintenance costs are going up with inflation. Some necessities for life are going to become out of reach for a lot of people, even more than it already is.
Travel; I expect travel to become ever more difficult and/or odious for most people, ie, the air travel screening. I expect to see more restrictions and stops on the roads, making travel even by auto more odious. Expect to see air travel screening applied to most bus and rail services also. Better learn to stay at home to have a life.
Standard of living; will be going down for most of the population. Get used to it now and avoid the rush.
Religion; is going to also become more radicalized and have less relevance to most people. Conflicts between sects and believers and unbelievers will increase. I expect some of these conflicts to become savage and violent.
Medical and health care; I expect higher prices and decreasing services except for the wealthy despite the new health care bill. Big up tick in non allopathic medicine I expect, more natural and herbal remedies, more practitioners of Chinese and related medicine. I also expect more incurable (probably genetically engineered) diseases coming at us. Less people will be kept artificially alive. I don’t expect a big surge in death rates, not this year anyway and in this country. The rest of the world is open to speculation.
Weather; I expect more violent and unusual weather world wide. Exact causes are being debated, as well as the nature of what to expect.
I would add a couple of predictions:
The internet will be more regulated and under surveillance for "domestic terrorists." Anyone not supporting the corporate paradigm, including the resource wars, will be suspect. We may decide that keeping a blogsite is too dangerous for us and as a vehicle for our tribe.
If it looks like the sheeple are becoming restless in any big way, we may see an outbreak of war or some space based disclosures, such as alien bases on the moon or Mars, space battles, alien DNA in our genetic code, and whatnot.
I think that the consequences of the contamination of the Gulf of Mexico and the seafood from that area will be awful. The sicknesses that people are experiencing will become obvious even to the lamestream media.
It may be confirmed that the Gulf Stream has been interrupted and that is contributing to the unusually cold weather in Europe. We may not have much of a summer this year, and have to start building greenhouses in a big way. We should stock up on seeds that can be sprouted in that case.
Wilder and wilder speculations on "The End of the Mayan Calendar" and associated doom scenarios will be featured on cable TV and other popular sites. The magnetic pole keeps moving towards Moscow, and more and more near-miss asteroids may head our way, since our solar system actually is entering the galactic center.
Scalar weaponry and military uses of "new energy" might be rolled out as Peak Oil production can not be denied much longer. The Pentagon has already acknowledged it, so it's only a matter of time.
Fear and loathing are going to be fostered by all these fear tactics, and snitches and squid minions will be on the prowl. Our challenge will be to keep cool and try to remind people of the fact that the American Dream has been based on freedom, inclusion, justice, fair play, tolerance, and helping one's neighbors.
How’s that for doomer predictions? Lol
On the more optimistic front, I expect a whole lot more self reliance coming up next year, probably more communal living is in the works just for self preservation. I expect to see a turning away from the religiously organized con jobs that have been prolific for so many years. Probably a turning to more internal spiritual concerns by many. Not that I expect it to do much good in the immediate future to alleviate social distress and the physical demands of continuing on in this life but may allow people to exit graciously. I also see a good possibility of some of the older social organizations come back to life as our society gets mired down in all of the shit that is being heaped upon them. More groups will be formed for self protection and survival.
Overall, I am not optimistic about the near future but some good things may come out of it yet. For you and yours, we wish you all the very best. The more we cultivate our own lifestyles, the happier we will be.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Many thanks to our dear Spirit Across the Sea (AKA from Belgium) for this new posting..
This is a précis of a paper by Lance deHaven-Smith which first appeared in the February 2010 edition of American Behavioural Science and was reproduced in WikiSpooks December 2010. Owing to length restrictions this present offering has been reduced to about 20% of the original which has necessitated many omissions. For those interested in reading the original it can be found here:
This post seamlessly interweaves sections of the above article with personal comment.
NOTE: the terms Elite or Political Elites refers to those at the highest level of governance and the military and not to the highest strata of international bankers sometimes called TPTB.
The Problem with Conspiracy Theory
When major political events take place in which the involvement of high governance is suspected, such as 9/11; Watergate or the JFK assassination, then each event attracts its followers and researchers which try to analyse all available information but they limit their inquiry to that specific event.
Until recently, social scientists have focused, on graft, bribery, embezzlement, and other forms of government corruption where the aim is personal enrichment rather than social control, partisan advantage, or political power. Conspiracy theory, since the 1960s, has been associated with paranoia and harebrained speculation. Considered as a label, the phrase conspiracy theory does a poor job of characterizing speculations about political intrigue, yet the label remains popular because it functions normatively to protect political elites from mass doubts about their motives and tactics Although not immediately apparent, this function becomes evident when the label’s surface meaning is compared to its meaning in use. On the surface, the term conspiracy theory refers to a suspicion that some troubling event was the result of a secret plot, but the term’s usage implies something else.
Not every theory that alleges a secret plot qualifies as a conspiracy theory in the common sense of the term. The official account of 9/11 claims that the Twin Towers were brought down by a team of Muslims who conspired to highjack planes and fly them into buildings. The theory posits a conspiracy, but the theory is not what most people would call a “conspiracy theory.” Conspiracy theories of 9/11 claim more than that the attacks were secretly planned and executed by an organized team. Most conspiracy theories of 9/11 allege that the U.S. government itself carried out the attacks or that officials knew the attacks were coming and allowed them to succeed. Thus, the conspiracy theory label, as it is applied in public discourse, does not disparage conspiratorial thinking or analysis in general, even though this is what the term suggests. Rather, the broad-brush “conspiracy theory” disparages inquiry and questioning that challenge official accounts of troubling political events in which public officials themselves may have had a hand. Deployed in public discourse to discredit and silence those who express suspicions of elite criminality, the label functions, rhetorically, to shield political elites from public interrogation. Moreover, there is often dissatisfaction when public opinion is attempted to be assuaged by an official enquiry since sometimes members of the enquiry are seen to be compromised. For instance, The Warren Commission which investigated the JFK assassination was appointed by Lyndon Johnson who was one of the main beneficiaries. Allan Dulles, a former CIA Chief who was sacked by JFK and was a political enemy, sat on the enquiry. More or less the entire 9/11 enquiry was manned by Bush cronies or at least players who were not unsympathetic to Bush’s motives.
Conspiracy theorists have contributed to this disjunctive dispute because they have focused on each suspicious event in isolation. Amateur investigators have developed a large popular literature on the assassination of President Kennedy and a number of other political crimes in which state complicity is suspected or alleged. The research has discredited official accounts of many incidents, thus casting suspicion on the government. But such ad hoc research has failed to actually solve the crimes under analysis or even to identify the agencies and officials most likely to have been the perpetrators.
Clearly a new approach to assessing such events is necessary.
State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs)
By delineating a specific form of political criminality, the SCAD concept allows inquiry to move beyond incident-specific theories of government plots and to examine, instead, the general phenomenon of elite political criminality. Similar to research on white-collar crime, domestic violence, serial murder, and other crime categories, SCAD research seeks to identify patterns in SCAD victims, tactics, timing, those who benefit, and other SCAD characteristics. These patterns offer clues about the motives, institutional location, skills, and resources of SCAD perpetrators. In turn, as SCAD research brings SCAD perpetrators into focus, it provides a basis for understanding and mitigating the criminogenic circumstances in which SCADs arise.
For research purposes, the universe of SCADs must include not only those that have been officially investigated and confirmed but also suspected SCADs corroborated by evidence that is credible but unofficial. Although including the latter brings some risk of error, excluding them would mean accepting the judgment of individuals and institutions whose rectitude and culpability are at issue. Public officials are usually quite reluctant to allow independent investigations into questions about their own actions or those of their close associates. For over a year after 9/11, the Bush–Cheney administration resisted and dodged demands for a 9/11 Commission before finally acceding to pressures from the victims’ families, at which point the administration gave the commission a very small budget and placed it under unrealistic deadlines.
Conflicts of interest also plague agencies that are typically charged with assisting investigations into suspected SCADs. Such agencies usually bear some blame or have some connection to the events in question. Hence, personnel in these agencies are inevitably tempted to conceal evidence that would implicate or embarrass the agencies or their top managers. Both the FBI and the CIA concealed evidence of their contacts with Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby. Likewise, the Department of Defence appears to have withheld from the 9/11 Commission evidence that military intelligence agents had uncovered the 9/11 hijackers’ activities well in advance of September 2001.
Now we are considering such activities as a criminal class instead of a group of isolated incidents, let us look at a number of major events which have occurred in recent history and see what conclusions can be drawn.
[editorial note: the graph didn't transfer to blogspot properly, so I made some changes to facilitate reading - apologies if I have mangled it, Belgium]
EVENT/YEAR/MO MOTIVE/SUSPECT/PERP °OF CULPABILITY
Event: McCarthayism Fabricating evidence of Soviet infiltration
False Info re Defence Purge of leftists from government and business
Assassination of JFK LBJ’s escalation of Vietnam War
1963 Control of war policy
Assassination CIA/ FBI/ SS
Possibly LBJ RN
Assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald Connection between CIA & Oswald concealed Medium
1963 Trial Avoided
Assassination Conceal Crime
Gulf of Tonkin Incident
Escalation of Vietnam conflict
Planned International Event Control War Policy
Assassination of Robert Kennedy
Election of Nixon stop JFK investigation Escalate Vietnam War
1968 Control War Policy
Burglary of Office Daniel Elsberg‘s Psychiatrist
Discredit Elsberg Control War policy
Richard Nixon CIA Burglary
Attempted Assassination of George Wallace
Wallace taken out of 1972 election, Nixon Re elected
Political Opportunism Assassination
Watergate Break in
Re Election of Nixon
RN CIA Political Opportunism Burglary
Attempted Assassination Ronald Reagan
VP WH Bush’s position strengthened
1981 Control War Policy Assassination
Iran Contra Hostage release
/Civil war Nicaragua
1984 – 1986 Pres Reagan VP Bush CIA Military
False info re Defence Control War Policy
Disputed 2000 Election
Legally mandated recount blocked by US Supreme Court
Election Tampering Political Opportunism
9/11 2001 Terrorist Attacks
Bush popularity up Defence spending up Invasion of Afghanistan leading to invasion of Iraq
Planned International Event
Attempted Assassinations of Senators Daschle & Leahy 2001 by Anthrax spores If successful would have given Republicans control of Senate Medium
Assassination Control War policy
Assassination of Senator Wellstone
Republicans regain Senate
Assassination Control War Policy
Iraq-gate US gains control of Iraq oil
Iran surrounded other Mid East nations intimidated Control War policy
False info re Defence
Result Bush wins Ohio and US Presidency
Election Tampering Political Opportunism
In the list of SCADs above, several patterns stand out. First, many SCADs are associated with foreign policy and international conflict. Such SCADs include the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, Iran-Contra, 9/11, Iraq-gate, the assassinations of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, and the attempted assassinations of Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle. All of these SCADs contributed to the initiation or continuation of military conflicts.
Second, SCADs are fairly limited in their modus operandi (MO). The most common SCAD MOs are assassinations (six) and mass deceptions related to foreign policy (three). Other MOs include election tampering (two), planned international conflict events (two), and burglaries (two). With the possible exception of election tampering, all of these MOs are indicative of groups with expertise in the skills of espionage and covert, paramilitary operations.
Third, many SCADs in the post-WWII era indicate direct and nested connections to two presidents: Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. Not only was Nixon responsible for Watergate and the illegal surveillance of Daniel Ellsberg, he also alone benefited from all three of the suspicious attacks on political candidates in the 1960s and 1970s: the assassinations of John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy and the attempted assassination of George Wallace. If JFK and RFK had not been killed, Nixon would not have been elected president in 1968, and if Wallace had not been shot, Nixon would probably not have been re-elected in 1972. The SCADs that benefited Bush include the election-administration problems in 2000, the defence failures on 9/11, the (U.S. defence grade) anthrax attacks on top Senate Democrats in October 2001, Iraqgate, and the multiple and specious terror alerts that rallied support for Bush before the 2004 presidential election.
Since assassinations form the largest category of MO’s let us consider these as typical in order to see the benefit that the SCAD analysis brings over conventional conspiracy theory.
Several patterns contradict the conclusion from official inquiries that political assassinations in the United States have been random, with no connections to one another and no involvement of political elites. First, the range of officials targeted for assassination is limited to those most directly associated with foreign policy: presidents and senators. Most other high-ranking officials in the federal government have seldom been murdered, even though many have attracted widespread hostility and opposition. No vice presidents have been assassinated, nor have any members of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Supreme Court. If lone gunmen have been roaming the country in search of political victims, it is difficult to understand why they have not struck more widely, especially given that most officials receive no Secret Service protection. Why did no assassins go after Joe McCarthy when he became notorious for his accusations about communists, or Earle Warren after the Supreme Court’s decisions requiring school desegregation, or Spiro Agnew after he attacked the motives of antiwar protestors, or Janet Reno after she authorized the FBI’s raid on the Branch Davidians in Waco?
A second pattern has to do with the particular presidents and senators who have been targeted for elimination, as opposed to the many who have not. Presidents and senators have been targeted only when their elimination would benefit military and pro-war interests. Because a president who is killed or dies in office is automatically succeeded by the vice president, a presidential assassination would benefit military interests only if the vice president’s background or policy positions were dramatically better for the military than the president’s. This situation has existed only twice since 1960—during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Unlike Kennedy, who was trying to end the cold war, Lyndon Johnson was a well-known hawk and pentagon supporter. Similarly, although Reagan and George H. W. Bush had similar positions on the cold war, Bush’s background as former director of the CIA gave him much closer ties than Reagan to the military establishment. This type of analysis could benefit potential Presidents in their choice of Vice Presidents and could have influenced GH Bush in his own choice of VP.
These patterns in assassinations, as well as the patterns across SCADs in general, point to likely suspects and criminogenic circumstances. SCADs frequently involve presidents as either victims or principals, benefit military and military-industrial elites, and employ the skills of intelligence and paramilitary operatives. Conditions conducive to SCADs include periods of warfare or heightened international tensions, administrations with prowar vice presidents, and Senates closely divided along partisan lines. SCADs often appear where presidential politics and foreign policy intersect. This policy locus could mean that the nation’s civilian leadership is being targeted by military and intelligence elites or that military and intelligence assets and capabilities are being politicized by the civilian leadership, or both.
Although I have concentrated on assassinations which are the largest group, similar type of conclusions can be drawn for other SCAD MO’s.
The first step toward SCAD detection and prevention is facing up to the nature and magnitude of the threat. Recently, many mainstream scholars and journalists have concluded that American democracy is becoming increasingly corporatist, imperialistic, and undemocratic. However, mainstream authors have seldom considered the possibility that authoritarian tendencies in American politics are being systemically engineered by top-ranking civilian and military officials. Rather than thinking in terms of high crimes, their diagnoses have blamed abstract institutional weaknesses or isolated failures of leadership.
In contrast, the upshot of the foregoing analysis is that SCADs are surface indications of a deeper, invisible level of politics in which officials at the highest levels of government use deception, conspiracy, and violence to shape national policies and priorities. This sub-rosa manipulation of domestic politics is an extension of America’s duplicity in foreign affairs and draws on the nation’s well-developed skills in covert operations. Through its experience with covert actions, the National Security Apparatus has developed a wide range of skills and tactics for subverting and overthrowing regimes, manipulating international tensions, and disrupting ideological movements. The United States, or more specifically presidential administrations, uses these skills in combination with visible foreign policies to maximize the impact of both the visible and invisible sides of their efforts.
U.S. capabilities for covert operations enter the nation’s domestic politics as SCADs in at least two ways. Sometimes, the process is rather haphazard. In Watergate, for example, the Nixon administration was using covert-action skills domestically in legitimate matters of national security when it diverted these skills, first, to attack Daniel Ellsberg and perhaps other political enemies and, subsequently, to gain advantage in the 1972 presidential election. Generalizing from this example, covert-action capabilities can end up being exploited for SCADs because the officials who control these capabilities are operating in an intensely political environment, and they occasionally succumb to temptations to use their national security powers for personal or partisan advantage. The idea that SCADs are opportunistic gambits in presidential politics was the conclusion reached in the official investigations of both Watergate and Iran-Contra.
On the other hand, several SCADs for which evidence of government involvement is unofficial but nevertheless credible point to elaborate planning by enduring networks of strategically placed insiders pursuing a combination of bureaucratic, ideological, and economic objectives. The assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, and the attempted assassination of George Wallace, all benefited Richard Nixon and served the interests of military and military-industrial elites. Furthermore, arranging these shootings and pinning them on patsies would have required many operatives, extensive resources, and a variety of skills. Similarly, if the attacks of 9/11 were executed or somehow facilitated by U.S. public officials—as much evidence suggests—a number of agencies would have had to have been involved, including elements of the Department of Defence, the CIA, and the FBI
As it stands, events with profound implications for the nation and the world are left to be investigated on an ad hoc basis; procedures for controlling crime scenes, inventorying evidence, interviewing suspects, interpreting evidence, overseeing the investigative process, and reporting findings are developed on the spot in the aftermath of the tragedies, when the nation is in shock and the perpetrators may be covering their trail. Public officials or their agents lost, discarded, or destroyed critical evidence in the World Trade Centre destruction, the anthrax mailings in October 2001, the disputed presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King, and the attempted assassination of George Wallace.
SCADs can become an important tool for political analysts to link and categorise seemingly isolated or random politically or military motivated events. However with Representatives and Senators becoming increasingly linked to corporate and military interests there could well be apathy towards them outing higher level wrong doing. The fact that the top political and military personnel are having their seemingly unrelated actions coordinated could make them wary of being so cavalier in their contempt for those below them. At least it could make them tread more carefully so that not too many pieces of the jigsaw are connected together. Let us hope that this method of analysis can shine enough light into the dark corners of history that the crimes against democracy can be redressed and democracy can once again be restored to its former pride.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Homemade goodies from the Grange market
Wonderful soaps made by ras
With the comments from the last post reaching into the 80's, I am feeling compelled to put up another post, just to keep it from getting stale and unwieldy. It's a little more difficult, as I have had to put the mouse on the left of the keyboard, as I have spent so much time at the computer lately that I'm starting to experience carpal tunnel. But, that's just me.
My thoughts in the last few days are revolving around opposing collapse scenarios and responses to the holiday gift-giving season. Happily, we took part in two craft fairs last week. One was a community Christmas craft fair that our Citizens' Action Group uses annually for a fund raiser. The other was at the Grange, which allows locals to secure a really inexpensive booth and sell their homemade or flea market items. We figure that both these events exemplify good ways to support the people in our community who are trying to make ends meet, are creative, and produce pleasing products that don't involve globalist commerce. There are several couples making a business out of homemade salsas and sauces, sauerkraut, apple and apricot butters, jams, and jellies – all canned at home. Then there were baked goods of every sort, from breads baked in a brick oven to scrumptious bascotti, muffins, cookies, fudge, and caramel corn. Knotted hats, scarves, booties, and holiday decorations, lovely soaps, wooden carvings, paintings, jewelry, and on and on. Not the Lexus or the diamonds featured in the television ads, but nice, unique and personal gifts as expressions of affection for family and friends. None of it goes on credit cards, so one won't have to suffer the New Year depression that so many people set themselves up for each January.
The more we can set up the infrastructure for local vendors, the easier it will be to transition into localized survival mode commerce when the dollar crashes or the wheels come off the cart as oil goes to a hundred bucks or more per barrel and life as most know it grinds to a halt.
Speaking of that, Alternet has a story up now entitled, “4 Scenarios for the Coming Collapse of the American Empire” by Alfred W. McCoy (Tomdispatch.com). It makes a pretty much iron-clad case for the demise of the privileged status the U.S. Has enjoyed and exploited since the end of WWII. He lists four possibilities, each more depressing than the last on what it would look like as peak oil is no longer deniable, the economy is gutted from military over-extension, the crippling effects of the great transfer of wealth, the wasting of money to save the banks while not supporting critical infrastructures like the railroad system, debilitating wars that we lose, and the rise of nation states like China, Russia, India and Brazil who come to dominate us. Well, it's not like we haven't talked about all this for years, but when you see it coming from places like the Council on Foreign Relations and given a time projection of something like fifteen years, it is sobering.
I was surprised that he didn't have anything positive to say. I guess that is because he was writing about the demise of the Empire. The Archdruid, on the other hand, has a good post up now as well. His is part of the Green Wizard series he's doing that offers tangible ideas to cope in the post collapse communities. This one is called “In the Wake of Victory.” He writes about the challenge that the peak oil and doomer collective has now that peak oil and impending bankruptcy and all the things that the doom-o-sphere has been warning about for years is actually at hand. It's “put up or shut up” time. It seems to me, at least, that if we can't come up with some good alternatives, we will be stuck with the dismal corporate reptilian response of control and ruthless fascism.
The challenge is great and there is a lot to do for the foreseeable future. Personally, however, I find myself getting tired. I am haunted by p's and Charles's comments on the last post about busy-ness being a form of violence and denial. Hummm... I don't know about violence, but feeling compelled to respond to every need out there is exhausting and, perhaps, damaging.
I feel lucky that we have been able to prepare and be a part of this transition for the last five to eight years. There is no doubt that it is a lot of work. But, most of us work hard anyway. So, at least we've been working for ourselves rather than working to feed the squids and further their agenda.
But, I feel like we need to shift gears. For one thing, we've had food stored up for so long that the expiration dates are coming due on a lot of it. Time to seriously start eating it and replacing it with fresh stuff, not just storing it. Also, the alarming escalation of the police state and it's surveillance of the internet and just about everything else (Homeland Security snitches at Wal-mart, even!) is making me wonder how vulnerable we want to be to the goon squads potentially threatening all those marching to a different mental drum.
At our advanced age, maybe it's time to haul out the bucket list and tick off some of the more fun goals that we have not accomplished yet. Or, maybe it's time to just relax and not feel like we have to do much of anything. Winter is the season to kick back after the harvest, take stock of things, and plan for the new year. We all need to take some time and mull things over while we sip our eggnog and, while they are still on, enjoy the colorful lights of the season.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Murph's got a fire going in the greenhouse while working on the hides.
Thanksgiving week - and I know we've all got things to do and people to see. Our heart is with Montana Freeman, especially, as we all hold his daughter in our collective embrace as she heals from a car accident.
Rather than list the many aspects of our collective lives that are deteriorating or the obvious threats to our well-being, let's take a look at what we can do to make things better. Bear with me as I repeat myself because we have a lot of newer readers who may not know what we've been doing for years. We are getting over 2,000 hits a month now, so there are many new people in the shadows around our cyber campfire.
We have been criticized for not supporting public protests against the resource wars or other reprehensible policies and behaviors. That's not exactly the case. We are very active in a local, grassroots citizen action group that has been very successful in changing policies and personnel at the city and county level. It's been a dog fight and we're still at it. We have replaced 2 of 3 county commissioners, the mayor and one city counselor, got one of our own on the DEQ Steering Committee, and several of our group on the County Planning Commission. We have spent three years organizing, standing outside grocery stores collecting signatures on petitions, raising money for class action lawsuits, submitting testimony at commission hearings, and attending meetings of many kinds. We're active in the Grange, support the area's youth, and have organized a Farmer's Market. I would not say that we are just whining about things and sitting on our hands. Oh, yeah, we also grow our own food, raise chickens and rabbits, and have stored up about a years worth of food and supplies. Our house is paid for, we are out of debt, we bank at a community bank, and we don't fly. We also have created this Campfire to support those who “get it” that we are on the brink of the end of the world as we know it. And we do it on a combined income of $24,000 a year from social security (plus some savings for back-up)
We understand and sympathize with those who get annoyed with writers who bemoan how screwed up everything is but do not walk the walk to make things any better.
What we do not do is stand outside of Walmart with a sign saying “Don't Shop Here” or run cross country “to find a cure for cancer” or picket against the One World Order. Hey, I'd love to be standing at the base of a skyscraper on Wall St. with a sign saying, “JUMP!” I'd do that in a heartbeat if I lived in New York. But, I live in Central Oregon in a town that just got it's first stoplight and where there isn't even one two story commercial building. So, if you think you can do something else that will work, by all means do so. We all need to do whatever is appropriate to our individual circumstances. And, yes, we all definitely need to do more than piss and moan about things and take no action.
I've been participating in that exercise to imagine a better world emerging from all this deterioration and chaos that is outlined on the Reality Transmission site (http://www.wix.com/realitytransmission/11-11-transmission/page-1). I'm not doing it perfectly, as I am not disciplined enough to do anything at the same time every day. But, I have been thinking as well as meditating on what kind of reality I would like to see manifest and how to get there. If that's too “New Age” for ya, so be it, I guess. You gotta go with what works for you. This works for me.
I've come to terms with the idea that “some things are worth believing in whether they are true or not” (a quote from the movie, “Secondhand Lions”). Things like liberty, honor, compassion, courage, love, and honesty. Science is discovering more and more that objective reality is an illusion anyway. The observer seems to affect, or even create, what is observed.
So, what concrete endeavors do I suggest that we do to create a better world once the shit hits the fan (as it is already doing) and a new paradigm needs to be created? I envision a world where the people feel a strong harmonious connection to each other and to the planet. Something like the Na'vi people in “Avatar.” To that end, we stay in touch through the internet, through community meetings and organizations, etc.
Work to localize food production. Grow your own food and support local farms and gardens, farmer's markets, etc. Learn about fish farming or hydroponics, building brick ovens, making cheese – anything to help feed your neighbors and yourselves.
Stop Feeding the Beast. Identify the malefactors (the Central Banks, Wall St., and the Military/Industrial complex), and shun them as much as possible. Don't purchase goods made by slave labor. Shop at second hand stores and flea markets. Learn to make things like soap, laundry detergent, herbal medicines, toothpaste, candles, clothing, etc.
Demonetize as much as you can. That does not mean “caste out demons.” although maybe that would be good, too. .. It means pay off your credit cards so you are not paying interest. Do not invest in 401K's. (Personally, I'd buy physical silver or barter items instead). Barter and trade and gift each other. Be generous and compassionate with your money, your time, and your stuff. When somebody shows up in your life who needs help, then help them. If you have space to allow a person to camp out in your yard or a room to rent or crash in, then make it available. We would not have a homeless problem if people would share their housing.
Be a resource for your neighborhood or community. Build a personal library of resource books, tools, documentaries to teach coping skills. Teach by example. When people see you walking the walk, they will be inspired without you having to convince them. Then, all you have to do is answer their questions.
What else? Stop eating processed food, corn syrup, commercial beef and pork from food lots and poultry concentration camps. Stop using fluoridated toothpaste and drinking or eating contaminated or adulterated crap. Prepare sit down dinners for your family. Teach your kids how to grow and cook healthy food. Invite your neighbors over for dinner, or bring them homemade bread or muffins once in awhile. You might want to organize a neighborhood self-defense group. Learn to shoot and re-load. (I know, this is not for everybody.) If it's not for you, figure out what you are willing to use to defend yourself and your neighbor – even if it is just a baseball bat or some wasp spray (shoots 27 feet and is debilitating). If you are not willing to do anything, then it would be poor form to ask anyone to help you if push comes to shove.
We began reading the tea leaves concerning the potential mortgage meltdown and resource depletion back in 2002. We began doing what we figured we needed to do. But, the tea leaves keep changing. Younger people and those with children need to look at what is happening and make their own plans. If I were younger, I'd be real careful not to get into debt servitude with student loans training for professions that are not going to be there when you graduate. I'd be looking for apprenticeships and trade programs in skills that will be needed in the future, such as manufacturing useful items, or re-fitting homes to make them more energy efficient. If I were wanting to invent energy or new building materials, I'd be learning another language in case I need to leave the country in order to secure financial backing. I don't want to go all Bruce Springsteen on you, but, let's face it – America has been red-lined. The jobs aren't coming back and neither is the financing. I'd be traveling to South America, China, India, Vietnam and Singapore. Learning to teach English as a second language to people in those countries as a start. I'd be studying permaculture, re-cycling, cluster septic systems, geo-thermal, alternative medicine. If you don't, you may find yourself enlisted in some goon squad to secure a meal and a roof over your head. People with children are going to need to team up to buy land collectively, or homestead. It isn't going to be about carting them around to soccer practice and keeping in touch with cell phones when gas goes to $5 or more a gallon and the electrical grid is unreliable. Kids are going to get their exercise tending the garden and the animals and playing hacki sack. Eventually they will still be able to become builders and astronomers, scientists, healers, and artists. But, it will be different. Hopefully better. With any luck, there will be no more MBA's.
Thinking about immanent war, false flag events, financial melt-down, die off, weather wars, earth and sun changes, et al, can be frightening stuff. But, it's also exciting to think of the possibilities for transformation. It's empowering to change the fear into resolve, once one takes steps to prepare. To cope with all the weirdness and pathos, it helps to have faith that we were born into this incarnation for a purpose.
“Ride the Slide!” (as Lucretia counsels) and make a better world.
I am certain you have your thoughts on this, so, as always, we want to hear them.
A venison flank gifted from a neighbor - stuffed with quinoa, craisins, bacon, onion, sage & thyme
Monday, November 15, 2010
From the comments posted here, it seems that everyone is keeping up pretty well with the goings on of the PTB and the political elites, at least as well as we are able to. I have seen some articles and commentaries lately that I sure do wonder about concerning their validity.
So let’s assume that around half of what we are reading and seeing on the internet has some actual factual basis. Our problem is deciding, of the two alternatives in what we read, what is the factual and what is propaganda or just plain speculation. Most of what I am reading is pretty much speculation concerning the future, which of course is what it will always be until it either does or does not happen. As I’ve said before, history shows that humans have a pretty poor ability to see future events, and then we have universe throwing surprises at us all the time.
However, when we determine that something sure enough appears to be factual, and we get enough of these tidbits, we can start to connect the dots of information and come to some conclusions about what is coming next.
Let’s look at the MSM stuff. I hardly every hear on the news that things aren’t just fine, a few bumps in the road but things are getting better, like the Postman movie; unemployment is down, disposable income is up, it’s going to take only a couple of years for the housing mess to get straightened out and we can all start dreaming of the McMansion with the Beemer in the driveway again. Then I start to look at the dots of facts and start connecting them.
According to most of the information I see on unemployment, it is at the same level as it was during the last depression and is going to continue to get worse, not better at 20% I think. Which makes sense to me. Just how many service workers does a country actually need? Just how many resorts need around 40 million workers to bow and scrape before the elite enjoying the fruits of their free lunches? Every week, the unemployment claims turned in are in the 5-6 figures if I remember right. So just what could possibly lead me to draw the conclusion that it is getting better? That maybe there isn’t just that many non government employees to fire or lay off? Hmmm, last stat I saw said the amount of government employees (at all levels) is approaching 50% of the work force presently employed, (around 150 million I believe) and for most, at stupendous salaries and benefits too, way over the median or average pay and benefits. But things are getting better.
Then, we just saw a news clip about how the upscale shops are experiencing a big boost in purchases and anticipate a really really good Christmas season. And that is a fact where we can draw the conclusion that things are getting better? They featured a watch for sale at $800 grand and have a years worth of back orders for them, and that is to tell time on your wrist. Then I saw a news clip of a woman modeling a new bra that is made of precious stones strung together, up in the high 6 figures again. Then we saw a show where the upper income ladies are getting moral support to decrease the amount of clothes they buy and partner with another to keep tabs on each others spending and to limit their shopping time. Oh yeh, I just bet disposable income is going up, but for whom? I sure haven’t heard of SS recipients getting a boost in their incomes. And, the MSN never seems to get around to noting that wages for everyone under the elites has stagnated or decreased since 1970 in purchasing power. But times are getting better for sure.
I’m sure that all of you have at least a passing taste of how the home foreclosure business is doing. We now have “rocket courts” in Florida to process claims by the banks, at the rate of one every 2 minutes or so, processed by retired judges in hole in the wall slapped together courtrooms about the size of our kitchen. That works out to around 2000 people made homeless every day that court is held. And what we get from the bankers concerning this is;” the dumb shits shouldn’t have bought these places, they owe the money and won’t pay”. Now I ask, what in the world do the banks want with all these properties that can’t be sold, will start to deteriorate with no occupancy and are really fucking up neighborhoods? But the-times-they-are-a-getting better. You bet.
Of course the political pundits and talking heads are all over the last election and what that means, and Obama’s visit to the East. Here at least, there seems to be some difference in opinion. Some think this is going to force bipartisan support for legislation to fix the problems. Other not so sure. It appears to me that one of two things is going to happen. 1. Political gridlock. Or 2. The dems will once more find they are balless and cave in to the demands of the right wing, which of course means that we definitely get more of the same shit thrown at us. Then I understand that Obama’s reception overseas was not all that great, couldn’t get agreements to bolster the U.S. economy and maintain the hegemony of the dollar. I guess Indonesia had a lot of demonstrations putting poor Obama down. But things are getting better.
Then we learn that the sun is going berserk and there is a bunch of earth quakes and volcanoes erupting all over the place. Of course this is the reason for the 800 or so FEMA camps scattered all over the country, to take care of the displaced of course. But things are getting better, (said in a loud and forceful voice)
Then we are reading a bunch of news concerning food production world wide. This really doesn’t look good in the statistics. And then there is the water problem that nobody seems to have an idea about how to solve it either. But things are getting better, (screaming it out).
It remains to be seen if Cliff High’s predictions come true or not. There is support for is "release" language. Events like the missile launch or the G20 debacle or some other weirdness might have had the stage already set and just need time to manifest. If his prediction of some kind of event that is much greater than 9-11 comes about, I suspect that we will see some rather dramatic changes in some way in this country. If nothing happens, I further suspect that any of the “things getting better” will be a very long way down the road. If we do have some kind of monumental event, then we do have the potential for things getting better after the chaos that follows. But I sure as hell don’t see things getting better in the near future, no matter what happens. Batten down the hatches, here it comes!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Times long past, my jug band I had in Germany in the 60's.
ALL RIGHT!! THE ELECTIONS ARE OVER, FINALLY!
From Murph, A short post this time.
This round of (s)elections are done. Notice how the call to not elect any incumbents didn’t work out that way. Now we have more of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush types in office. A promise of more governmental gridlock coming up; which is probably a good thing. No telling how much more damage to the country is/maybe going to be done. Near as I can tell the supposed paradigm changing (not) election carried right down to the local level, I know it did here. Already the local winners are proposing jaw dropping, head scratching; I don’t believe promises to fix everything.
And now the ambitious can begin campaigning for the next election cycle. At least the lying dreadful political ads will be taken off the air for another 2 years. I bet Rove and Limbaugh are having mammoth wet dreams. Expect more promoted ideological splits to be evident. Liars, all of them, to the very backbone of their souls.
So now we can all get back to our run of the mill doom and gloom predictions, or, our run of the mill optimism, take your pick. The people (sheeple) have spoken and now we got to live with it again. The old question of; “when will the sheeple wake up?” Is still the question, hasn’t gone away.
Did you notice how much money had to be raised for this election cycle? Holy shit! Talk about boosting the economy, at least for the ad agencies and the mass media networks. Whitman alone spent $140 million out of her own check book, and lost the race anyway. Again, we have been assured that only the wealthy or those in step with wealthy backers can win elections. See; http://www.houstonconews.com/articles/2010/11/03/opinion/02whitehead.txt
An estimated $4 billion spent on this election. Not a bit of which will actually change what is happening in this country. Amazing! Sickening!
Meanwhile the Fed is planning on spending $600 billion in buying up our own countries debt. Hmm, just who again is this going to benefit? I surmise the Joe six pack’s job won’t be a bit more secure. I sometimes wonder just how many Wall Mart greeters that company can absorb from the population. Of course, the hiring of more people into the governmental systems will increase. Big boost to the economy for sure.
In reading a multitude of articles and commentaries concerning the great “UPS bomb scare” I’m coming to the opinion that it was a false flag op, again. Like the 9-11 event, way too many questions concerning it. I find it amazing that in between the drone bombing runs and hiding out from the anti terrorist forces, those pesky terrorists would come up with something so lame. And, what about those announcements out of Yemen about no UPS planes in or out of the country? And, what the hell actually was that powder? Talcum powder or what?
So where do we as individuals go from here? I’d suggest more preps for sure. I, for one, do not see anything improving from this election cycle. What about you?
Thursday, October 21, 2010
A picture of Brie babysitting one of the rabbits. She seems to be the sanest one in the family.
Monsters, Madmen, and Couch Potatoes
Universe, it seems, is putting enough examples of what I would I would lump together as “delusion” to prompt me to write a post about it. I mentioned in a comment recently how we attended a public debate between candidates for county commissioner. When asked to give himself a numerical placement, with “One being Barack Obama and Ten being Ronald Reagan (an inherently stupid question), one of the candidates gave himself a Ten. Then, he became overcome with emotion, thinking of Reagan's vision of American being a “shining city on a hill,” and teared up, explaining that “I just love this country so much...” Of course, the Murphinator's dropped jaw and steely gaze was an exception to the general reaction of sympathy in the room. Given that Ronald Reagan's accomplishments included closing the mental hospitals in California and throwing patients into the streets, thereby starting the “homeless” phenomena in this country; putting an end to the programs to conserve oil begun by President Carter when it became clear that domestic oil production had peaked; cutting taxes on the rich that has led to the outrageous disparity of wealth in this country between the rich and the poor; the systematic destruction of unions; the deregulation of the financial industry which is now destroying the wealth of the planet, well, I hope it is clear why we would consider his idealization of Reagan “delusional.”
To enlarge upon this theme, a movie that had been in our Netflix queue for awhile showed up. It was entitled “Shutter Island.” Directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Leonardo DeCaprio. I would rate it as one of Scorcese's best. It's a tight-knit psychological thriller set in the 1940's period just after the war. DeCaprio is a U.S. Marshal sent to the island to investigate possible wrong-doing at the creepy mental hospital. A female patient has apparently disappeared from the “escape-proof” island, similar to Alcatraz. Upon further investigation, it seems that the psychiatrists who run the hospital have ties to secret government programs, one of the shrinks in charge was a former Nazi, and lobotomies are performed in a part of the grounds that have been declared off limits.
I don't want to give away the whole story, but the movie has been haunting us for days and has prompted many discussions between murph and myself as to the nature and function of paranoia and delusion. Lets harken back to that roomful of confused Reaganites. Despite the facts that the U.S.A. Is woefully behind almost all the “developed” nations in life expectancy, birthrate mortality, math and science education, literacy, disparity between the rich and poor; the deterioration of our environment and lifestyles; and the horrendous health and dental care in this country, these people tell themselves and each other that “We're Number One.” We are the Best, the Bravest, the Luckiest, the Most Free, the Envy of the World. Sorta reminds one of the pitiful North Koreans making tearful homage to their “Dear Leader,” doesn't it?
Shutter Island ends with the question, “Given the choice between living as a monster or a madman, which would you choose?” Good question. We've been chewing on it for days. Negative interpretations of reality are labeled paranoia. Rosier-than-real perceptions can be labeled delusional. Can they both be coping mechanisms that shelter us from a reality that is worse than we can accept and live with?
The human mind is capable of incredible feats to protect itself against hideous abuse. The most extreme is “splitting the personality,” or dissociative disorder. The original innocent personality contrives alternate personalities that are more able to deal with circumstances that are beyond their control, and then “inhabits” them separately as a way to cope with an unacceptable reality that they are powerless to change. Insanity. We say that they have been driven mad.
Paranoid personalities create elaborate, imaginative, and oftentimes brilliant alternative explanations for what is going on. Dad is not simply an arrogant, self-centered, malicious prick, for instance. He's really a spy for the empire of Orgon, a planet in the Sirius star-system who is posing as a plumber and being mean to his kids while serving his nefarious off-planet overlords....
Where am I going with this? I'm wondering if insanity can drift from individuals to the greater culture. Hearkening back to that roomful of true believers, I recall other dramatic examples of ill-conceived, intense, some would say, “crazy” misadventures in history. The Crusades, the Salem witch trials, the Inquisition, the Stalinist and Maoist excesses, as well as lynchings, burning women at the stake, and the Holocaust come to mind. What brought on these atrocities? What were people telling themselves and others to justify such cruel actions? Were they crazy?
I can't help but wonder about these things as, more and more, I note that the population seems to have lost their senses. I read that an alarming number of us are taking psychotropic medication, and that much of it is proving to be permanently damaging to the brain. This, in addition to the manipulative brain-washing perpetrated by the mass media in their advertising, news, and social dramas meant to keep us compliant and BUYING THINGS. Or, am I just being paranoid?
Are the Wall Street investment bankers and their associates just flawed human beings much like the rest of us, who have succumbed to the temptations of greed and avarice in the face of enormously lucrative inducements? Or, are they minions of the Illuminati, spawn of the reptilian Annanaki, who are here to create suffering and servitude?
Monsters or madmen? The third choice in the movie, Shutter Island, was lobotomy. Go in through the eye socket, scoop out the painful memories, and leave one desensitized, diminished, but comfortable.
Go back to the television, Citizen. Nothing to see or think about here.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Well, it's October and officially Fall. I love the Fall. Colorful trees and shrubbery, brisk nights, the harvest coming in, looking forward to Thanksgiving, etc. But, there is one aspect of this Fall that is a little different this year.
Dire Predictions. Well, hell, dire predictions are nothing new at this campfire. Damn! We've been preparing for financial, political, natural and un-natural disasters, resource depletion, and every possible way we can think of for things to go to hell for years. So, No Big Deal, eh?
My son keeps telling me not to be fearful and to quit imagining the shit hitting the fan. He says it's bad for me. I agree that fear can be bad for the body and soul, but that denial is stupid and planning ahead makes me feel safer, not more fearful. He says I should have more fun. I agree. I just accepted an invitation from a friend and neighbor to come and sit in her hot tub under the stars with her tonight. I can hardly wait! Also, the Bean and I am planning a trip to the coast on my birthday with a visit to the aquarium in Newportin February. So there!
Being out of debt eases my stress. It took a long time to earn my impeccable credit status, after suffering a catastrophic medical bill related bankruptcy years ago, the death of my husband, etc. etc. But, it got done, and murph and I have remained debt-free for years and have perfect credit as far as I know. It feels good. I'm not trying to brag, I'm just telling ya...
But, I have just made the decision to put a few necessities on the card that may not get paid off right away. I'll tell you why.
Cliff High's Alta Reports of the Shape of Things to Come have been anticipating for YEARS now that in November of this year, some huge “tipping point” is going to be reached that will be extraordinary. I mean, like the History Channel's Mega-Disaster-Series-Huge. Read them for yourself. Go to Half Past Human, spring for the ten bucks, and read the last one. Or, read George Ure's Urban Survival posts regularly and he will relate the major points for free, or subscribe to his Peoplnomics reports, and he'll go into more detail.
Cliff and George are not the only ones. Since we are now approaching the Galactic Center on our solar system's regular trek through space, assorted “lumps” in normally clear space are becoming more frequent. It's like following a gravel truck down a highway. You can't be real surprised if your windshield gets cracked by a flying stone. A quick check of the chart of near earth asteroids on spaceweather.com will demonstrate just how frequent these near earth encounters are - and those are only the ones that are being tracked.
Then there is the recent news of foreclosures being halted in 23 states. Why 23 states? Because those are the states that require a judge to okay foreclosures. Well, heck, that doesn't sound so scary! I mean, no foreclosures is a good thing, right? Well, yeah. It means that people could continue to live in a dwelling instead of under an overpass for a year or two. But, it also means that the paperwork involved – the titles to the properties are so hopelessly screwed up, lost, or full of fraud that not only foreclosures, but sales will come to a standstill as well. Think of it. All those millions and millions of dollars and all the billions and trillions of derivatives that banks have created from those original loans... all the pension funds and city and county governments who bought those derivatives... on and on around the world. When it dawns on people just the magnitude of what is behind this quagmire, look for a stampede out of the stock market and into commodities like gold, guns, food and arable land. Dmitri Orlov has written a hard-hitting essay on the cascading effect of peak oil that can be applied to the real estate meltdown in many ways as well. It's called “Peak Oil is History” and is available at culturechange.org. Denninger on themarket-ticker.org wrote an incisive analysis of the potential real estate foreclosure debacle probably before anyone else. It's called “MERS/MBS/Foreclosure Goes RICO”; as well as Howard Kunstler, Gerald Celente, Mike Ruppert, and many others. They aren't just talking about “sometime.” They are talking about five weeks.
So, I am breaking my own rule and putting more on my cards than I will pay off in one month. If all hell breaks loose, a bill in the mail will be the least of our worries. Paying an interest charge to the frigging criminal banksters will be annoying, but I can live with it if nothing terminal happens. But, on the other hand, in case there is some life-altering event, say between November 8-12 or so, you may want to make a list of things you really couldn't do without if the trucks stopped running – and maybe the lights went out.
We decided on three things right off the top: I use a teng electrical stimulator devise to reduce the pain in my back. The electrodes don't last very long. I ordered several more. I also need some medication for my eyes that I would be in a world of hurt without. I just placed an international call and ordered a year's worth from Canada. And, in the event of the electricity going out, we just ordered the propane to fill up the tank with backup gas for a year.
Note that these things are necessities that we will use anyway, even if everything is smooth sailing and nothing bad happens. And, it's not so much money that I'd have to become a fugitive from justice if I could not pay the bill right away. I'm not planning a cruise around the world, only to have to dive overboard on the way back home to avoid the creditors – although if I am still alive after 2012, I may decide to re-visit that decision...lol.
My point is, that only you can assess what is the most necessary for you right now just in case November is a BOP – a Bitch of Outlandish Proportions. Let's hope that we will all enjoy a great Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. Let's envision all gathering after the feast sharing good wishes for each other at the Campfire – truly grateful for our lives, families, friends, and this beautiful planet that we share.
I am all for living in the moment, enjoying life as it comes, and all that. But, I don't want to be in the middle of a stampede for the exits, either. So, right now would be a good time to do whatever it is that you have been putting off in terms of gathering together the things you can't live without.
“I see you.” I see the beauty in you. I don't want you to be miserable. If that's so bad, well, I guess I'm bad.
Monday, September 27, 2010
A new beautiful rock circle left in the wilderness by Hot Springs Wizard
On September 23rd, Montana posted a comment on the last posting which I think is very important. One part of his comments; “what about when we string an entire sentence together with each word in the sentence interpreted according to the experience each has with that word. see what i mean,? in reality there is no truth in actual comprehension as to what another says,”
What I take that to mean is that we can never really understand what another person is thinking by what they say, or write for that matter.
I have touched on this subject before, several times. I want to examine this in a bit more detail. Montana, if I put it out there different than you see it and misrepresent what you said let me know. Anyway, this is my expansion in my own style on the subject.
I assert that communication between humans is tenuous at its best. This statement is based on what Montana said and my own experience and study of the process.
All language is a system of symbology, that is, sounds strung together that mean something relating to the external reality we experience.
This symbology is unique to the individual person due to the fact that all of our individual experiences are normally unique events relating to the individual, with same exceptions. But, in almost all cases, the interpretation of those events will be different than other individuals sharing the event. This has been tested over and over again to the same conclusion.
There are thousands of volumes written on the study of what people mean when they are communicating. Copi and his “Symbolic logic” I consider one of the best.
This symbolism gets in the way of understanding and can have disastrous consequences.
The only solution I can see to this problem is for human to develop absolute empathy, that is, the ability to know what another person is feeling or thinking when talking or writing. Doesn’t appear this will happen, at least in my lifetime.
It does appear to me that the understanding of another person’s use of verbal symbols can be very enhanced by close association for an extended period of time, depending on similarity of experiences and interpretation of those experiences.
What this lack of understanding of the symbology in communication lends itself well to what we call propaganda. That is, the convincing of people to accept a particular notion of reality by the twisting, spin, redefinition of words, and the way the words are strung together to produce an emotional reaction. We are being besieged by this in the news in all its various forms, but principally TV. Look at how the advertising industry uses this. With little exception, we are presented with something for sale that is associated principally with some aspect of sex, or inadequacy, or fear, of desires, or---, on and on. We are whipsawed back and forth by this propaganda to experience fear, hopefulness, anger, sexual frustration, caring and a multiplicity of other abstract emotions as a means of control of our perceptions of the reality around us. In all cases that I can think of, this propaganda always contain assumptions that are not presented as such. This appears consistently in religion, politics and personal communication. If a person is attempting to truly point out his perceptions of reality, he must also include his assumptions. An assumption is a statement that can be backed up by observations, (the most common way of making assumptions) empirical testing, or even theoretical assertions, and is hardly ever addressed. We are all guilty of that omission. There is good reason for this. It would complicate communication by orders of magnitude, and the assumption is that there is a common experience that can be included and drawn upon, which I have shown above to be complete nonsense in almost all cases that can be sited. So we abbreviate our communication by making assumptions that the listener has a shared experience and perceives it the same way. Thus, as Montana says, “in reality there is no truth in actual comprehension as to what another says,” Also, notice how words are twisted around to mean something else. I had a very good friend that once insisted that greed is a very good thing; we have greed for food and for air etc. I never did get a response to the question as to where in hell he got that definition nor that the common usage of the word had nothing to do with that concept. I’m old enough to notice that over my life time, principally from the main stream media, how key words have been spun into meaning something quite different than the original meaning. That particular process seems to be speeding up in my perception. Notice what the word “terrorist” now means. Go ahead, look it up in a dictionary older than 20 years and compare it to a new dictionary. Wikipedia goes on for pages in the discussion on its meaning. There evidently is no agreed upon definition internationally. And yet, the word is slung around within the media and conversations and assumed that the reader/listener knows what you are talking about. The operational meaning from old dictionaries and old political science texts indicate it is a means of scaring (terrifying) civilian populations into compliance by threats or use of violence, principally killing. In its discussion of “terrorist” it says; “In November 2004, a United Nations Secretary General report described terrorism as any act "intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act". And; "Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them." One more; A definition proposed by Carsten Bockstette at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies, underlines the psychological and tactical aspects of terrorism:
Terrorism is defined as political violence in an asymmetrical conflict that is designed to induce terror and psychic fear (sometimes indiscriminate) through the violent victimization and destruction of noncombatant targets (sometimes iconic symbols). Such acts are meant to send a message from an illicit clandestine organization. The purpose of terrorism is to exploit the media in order to achieve maximum attainable publicity as an amplifying force multiplier in order to influence the targeted audience(s) in order to reach short- and midterm political goals and/or desired long-term end states."
But I guess that is just plain old collateral damage to accomplish a political end. Now days, a “terrorist” insists on adherence to Constitutional principles. How weird is that?
Here is a report that is worth while going through. http://www.foia.cia.gov/2025/2025_Global_Governance.pdf
Want some more? Take a look at this little news story and tell me who is being a terrorist if you haven’t read about it yet.
As I stated above, it appears to me that long association with others can lead to a better understanding of what they actually mean in the verbal symbols they use. Maybe what Jesus really was talking about when he stated that you should love another as yourself?
Of course we still have to deal with the psychopaths that are going to be found in any human society. And god knows, our supposed leaders are not going to be concerned with shit like this. They consistently manipulate verbal symbols to get the reaction they desire from the listeners. It’s all about manipulating perceptions. Dig Obama, a very charismatic speaker, but he is no less guilty of this than Bush or any other elite out there vying for power and money. At least he knows how to use a complete sentence.
So where does this leave us? Because we don’t really have alternatives, as I see it, those people that are aware of the problems in communicating with symbols (language) will continue to try and clarify and define the mental processes behind the symbols so that the people they are trying to communicate with have some understanding of the points made. Notice how long the regulars of this blog site have been around and how much change has gone on in perceptions. It appears to me that we have achieved at least partial understanding of what is being said. None of us will ever have total understanding; our backgrounds are just too varied. But, we keep edging toward the total understanding. I suspect that as this kind of understanding increases, emotional closeness also increases between people and that is an anathema to those that hold power over our lives since their goal is to divide and conquer, which they have for the most part been successful.
All of this leads me to question whether or not I actually understand Henny Penny (our oldest hen) when she talks to me. Sigh. Just how much common experience do we really have? Lol.
So now, your assignment if you choose to accept it, is to go through this posting and look at the assumptions I have made, (remember the old TV series Mission Impossible?). Are they common to your experiences or not?
A lovely setting sun captured by our own Montana Freeman..
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Rhubarb custard pie and veggies from the backyard.
colorful carrots, ready to blanch and freeze
I attended the “Food Summit” at the Bend Community College, and it was really quite the event. I was amazed by the participation of so many different people, agencies, farmers, chefs, and individuals - all wanting to be involved in the food localization and sustainability movement. It was well organized, with a renowned main speaker, lots of seminars on different topics, a coming together to share what we learned, and a circle at the end where people committed to what they are going to do to make a difference. Also impressive to me was the large number of younger folks who were in positions of responsibility for the event itself and also for raising the awareness for the pressing need out there for sustainable food. Interestingly, the most underrepresented group was sitting county commissioners or city council representatives. I guess they are not as yet real interested in the problem of “food insecurity” in the area. That’s what they call hunger now - “food insecurity.” Statistically Oregon is second only to Mississippi in food insecurity.
I learned that there are big problems with the local production of food, difficulties with distribution, rules that favor Big Agriculture, and limitations imposed with certification, licensing, permits, and fees to sell locally produced food. On the one hand there is a big push to encourage people to eat healthy, lose weight, and encourage food security. But, on the other hand, Big Agriculture and Big Grocery lobbyists seem to have written the rules to serve themselves. Another surprising problem is that people seem to have forgotten HOW TO COOK! Yup. Over half the people surveyed in Madras, for instance, reported that they don’t know how to cook food from scratch. I guess many people are not watching The Food Channel or picking up any magazines or cookbooks that surround them….hard for me to fathom. Maybe the schools should include cookbooks in their reading programs. I’m serious.
I came away with the renewed purpose to teach people what they can grow and raise in their backyards and to teach them how to cook it. I am hoping that we will be able to use the kitchen at the Grange or Senior Center to present cooking and preserving classes to those who need and want to learn.
But, I attended a session on Health that turned out to be part of a national effort to fix the “huge” problem of obesity in this country. I learned what an enormous liability fat people are to the insurance companies, employers, and everyone and everything you can think of. We use up more gasoline because we are too much of a load in autos. We take off to much time from work because of problems linked to overweight… on and on.
So...just could not resist sending this letter to the young yuppie professional women working for a couple of local hospital programs involved in the new push to identify and fix fat people, and who led the workshops:
Dear Kati and Beth Ann,
After attending the Food Summit yesterday and the presentations on Obesity and Health, I must write to tell you of my concern. I was the obese woman in the room.... I am, of course, more than that, but when the focus is on weight, "obese" becomes the definitive perception.
Although I agree that obesity is a very real health challenge in America, I fear that all this emphasis on "teaching obese children and adults how to eat according to the food pyramid" is only going to target the overweight population by the insurance companies and the corporations. In the long run, it will not reduce the weight of the vast majority of obese people, but will insure that we will have a new population to discriminate against. The fat person will become the new "Negro", as the term was used in the old days to keep brown people marginalized and out of the mainstream moneymaking track and in "their place". It is already a reality, and soon it will be justified by all kinds of statistics that prove that we are just a liability to the country and to employers of all kinds. If two people apply for a job, even if the fat person is more qualified, which one will an employer hire? The fat person who is seen as a potential high medical risk that will inevitably cost the insurance company and/or employers more money? I think not.
After all, our economy is contracting due to outsourcing so many of our jobs. They are not coming back. A new segment of the population needs to be taken out of the running for the decreasing number of jobs. Eventually, all sorts of laws and penalties will be instituted on what will be viewed as lazy, ignorant, slobs who are "scientifically" proven to not be worth their weight in anything but scorn. Their genetic code will be labeled substandard. They will be relegated to housecleaning and janitorial jobs with no benefits of any kind. Have you ever watched the movie "Gattaca"? If not, I recommend it. You can rent it from Netflix, and it stars Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawk, and Jude Law.
Just as the American Cancer Society focuses on "finding the cure" for cancer while ignoring the causes of it, the anti-obesity campaigns will focus on eating disorders while ignoring the many other root causes of obesity. Those causes, to my mind are: contaminants in our foods which mimic estrogen, the decreased quality of our soils which render our vegetables lacking in nutrients, the side effects of many of the prescription drugs which makes it almost impossible to lose weight while taking them, the stress most common in the working class, the cost of nutritious food, lack of sleep, the effects of spending too much time in front of the TV set or playing video games, and lack of unstructured free time to play outside for children. Also, of course, the marketing of high fructose corn syrup, chemicals and dyes, in almost all foods marketed for kids or commuters.
Yes, obesity is an important issue. We are being poisoned and fattened up like cows in a feedlot by Big Agriculture, Big Pharma, Big Business. And talking about it is not going to change it. Eating according to the Food Pyramid is not going to change it, since it was bought and paid for by Big Agra. I never gained as much weight as when I followed the Dean Ornish program for weight loss and heart health. My metabolism seems to be ruined. Even though I was a vegetarian for years. But, that's me. What I am saying is that there is no one right way for everybody. The vast majority of folks who are obese are desperate to lose weight and try everything - mostly to no avail. But, weight loss is Big Business and a lot of people are making big bucks on it.
Personally, I think that it would better serve people to raise consciousness on the issues of poverty, stress, lack of free exercise programs for children, low self-esteem, the side effects of pharmaceuticals in our food, water, and not making a living wage. But, that won't happen. The big money won't let that happen. In this global economy, they need us to be peasants. Obese people are going to be marginalized and then persecuted in the ways I have said and probably many more that I have not thought of yet. Just watch.
As I have said, I grow my own food and live as sustainably as I can. I am going to organize cooking classes and canning classes once I get the Grange kitchen certified. I am doing this on my own. No legislation involved. Nobody telling me that I "have" to. I will not be paid for it. But pretty soon if the trends continue toward curtailing liberty and choice, the authorities will tell me that I can no longer eat my own food that I grow on my own land without a license, permit, or micro-chipping my animals - all in the name of "food safety." Then, I guess they will have to kill me for my own good.
Like it or not, fat or thin, smoker or non-smoker, we are all going to die. If I choose to risk dying at 70 rather than 90, it is my choice - or should be in a free society. The only way the young people today are going to have a chance of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" is if the whole system gets off our backs. Personally, I think it would take an asteroid hit. As our solar system approaches the center plane of the galaxy, this solution gives me at least a glimmer of hope.
Duck and cover.
I bet they have not received a letter like that before…
Monday, August 30, 2010
murph exercising his inner Neanderthal with the hides
Had to do something with the mint and lettuce from the garden: Tahbouli salad
By murph (& freeacre)
Scrapwood asked the question in the previous comments, "Why are their no longer people like Mario Silvio (deceased). Where are the protests and why do young people just sit on their hands and do nothing.
I have a tentative answer for you.
I have had the excuse to talk a bit with younger people lately, 20 somethings. It appears to me that many of them realize that something is terribly wrong. It also appears to me they have no idea what to do about it or they realize the futility of trying.
IMO, it appears to me that we missed our chance (if there ever was one) to do something important in the direction our society was taking back in the 60's -70's. Yup, lots of protesting, lots of ideologies floating around back in the day. However, you probably noticed that nothing came of it. I attribute that to the naïve-ness of the population at the time. I was into some of it. We really didn't understand the nature of what we were dealing with or fighting against. We actually believed that protesting in the streets would/could change anything substantial. How wrong we were and we got beaten up bad. We were also under the impression that we lived in a system where those that governed actually had our interests and well being at heart. Wrong again.
I read/listen to speeches and documents by people that have some influence and the fringe activists of every stripe. None of them will actually admit (if they realize it) what the problems actually are and as you should realize a problem can't be fixed if it is not defined correctly.
This country, socially, decided a long time ago that bigger, more, and more complex was better and that there was nothing wrong with greed. Consequently, there is never enough of anything, enough of actions or things or laws or ANYTHING. Always more and more.
While we have a very few examples of (what we call primitive) social groups where that drive for more is suppressed or not indulged in, it certainly is prevalent in all of what we call western civilization. There is much written concerning this drive for more of everything and what drives it. Take your pick of the explanations; it is readily observable no matter what its driving force is. This is the fallacy of western civilization; that there is always more available. Which is true for the short term. For the long term, we have all kinds of examples from history of what that attitude brings down on the societies of the time, collapse and chaos. (Notice that I do not use the term anarchy for this.) In the 60’ and 70’s we forgot that in the end analysis, there is no free lunch, that infinite expansion is not possible, that there are always consequences for decisions and actions, that there are absolute limits to growth dictated by the environment we live in, the physical reality of finite stuff on this globe.
Back in the day we forgot that there is always a certain percentage of the population, (usually around 1%) that are by definition psychopathic, that is, they will do absolutely anything they can get away with to further their acquisition of stuff and power over other people. They are absolutely ruthless in this pursuit. Supposedly, our system of government was put in place to limit and control those tendencies. Over time this was corrupted almost absolutely until we now have multiple crises over it. The psychopaths are truly and absolutely in power. The people put into power now have almost complete control and are expanding their control over the absolute essentials needed for personal survival. These people are not content with having every single material thing at their disposal and enjoyment. Instead, this is expanded into the desire to absolutely control everyone else on the planet also. I have to admit that I don’t understand or have any empathy concerning this drive to control people like this. Right down to the local level in communities, there are those that wish to control what people can or cannot do even when it is benign. Science is often utilized to prove that the control is necessary for the general good. In some cases, that might even be true. But, unfortunately, most of the “good for you” control has nothing to do with your or my well being. It is control for control sake and not to enhance the experience of living and making it safe. Every time I hear someone say that there ought to be a law about something I want to scream. Shit, we have laws governing right down to what we can eat or drink or smoke or even say or think now. There are never enough laws to satisfy the psychopaths. Of course, the psychopaths don’t have to live according to those laws, just everyone else.
We no longer live by the concept that your freedom stops at the end of my nose and visa versa. We no longer have the live and let live paradigm in our society. Instead, we have opted for more central control over our lives and opted for the greed is good concept. We are now looking at a future of consequences of those decisions.
If my above observations are correct, protests are an exercise of futility. Just a good way to let off emotional steam and maybe get beat up bad by the police and see just how much physical abuse one can take and still function. Protest will not change anything currently dealing with how the system operates nor change the minds of the people in power.
Which brings me to the subject of attitudes of the people in power. It seems obvious to me that there is a rather large chasm between those in power and everyone else. It also appears to me that those in the political elite (the minions for the PTB) have little if any respect for the peons below them in economic and social status. We are viewed as being useless eaters, stupid and untalented. For a good rant on this see; http://www.joebageant.com/ titled “Understanding Americas Class System”, his latest missive on this subject that I totally agree with. If Bageant is correct, what will protests or any other agitation actually accomplish? To have protests and challenges to policies and actions to have any affect on those policies and actions, those initiating them must recognize the validity of the protests, which they sure as hell do not.
One thing I do maintain is that if we want serious changes, we have to stop feeding the psychopaths and ultimately take away their power. That’s what revolutions are about. The problem is, historically, revolutions always seem to end up with another set of psychopaths in power. They may tread lightly for a while and make all kinds of promises, but in the end it is their power they are concerned with. World power is one giant Medusa. Cut off one head and another takes over. If this madness is to cease, the Medusa must be eliminated, by any means possible. That means that the controlling elite over the political elite has to be eliminated. How that would be accomplished I have no idea. Feel free to put the ideas of how to accomplish it out there. You will find that most will laugh it off. There is still that hope that one may one day become part of that elite too. I have not much hope for the elimination of the psychopaths, to be frank, at least in my lifetime. That’s for the younger generation to deal with. No wonder they are skateboarding.
(an add-on by freeacre)
I have a soft spot in my heart for the next generations. My very dear son is a GenX-er. I think these kids mostly fall into three categories, in terms of how they are choosing to deal with the struggles that they face:
1) They are techies who think that there is a technical fix to the problems ahead. These are the ones devoted to green power, better phone apps, or whatever. They are optimists (like my son - go figure) who are scarcity deniers, and who also do not read the papers, watch the news, and could care less about political parties. They are probably acutely aware, however, of the many ways the military could stifle them with the newest pain rays or other computer chip horrors if they were to openly rebel.
2) They join the military, due to economic realities, joining the ROTC in high school, or playing too many video games. These mostly working class kids are cannon fodder for our endless series of wars to prop up the stock market. Hoo Raaah! There are not enough of them being born here, which has required a permeable southern border.
3) Our “surfer” dudes, skateboarders, snowboarders, X-treem types or their tattooed and pierced wannabees who I think of as “shunners.” These kids are disenchanted with the foreseeable future, would like to get off the grid, and are trying to figure out some ways to get out of the system, since they have long since figured out that it holds nothing good for them. They have turned their backs on the corporate ladder (obviously), and are attempting to Not Feed the Beast. They do not read newspapers or watch the news, except maybe John Stewart on Comedy Central. These are the ones who call in sick to their pizza delivery jobs due to the National Snowboarding Championships being on the tube.
That’s my take on these Dear Ones born into this House of Horrors. Personally, my bet is on an asteroid to hit the re-set button.
Hot Springs Wizard preparing for Burning Man