Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Almost mirror finished bowls for Freeacre for Christmas present.

from Murph

The last post by Freeacre has generated a plethora of comments that got my attention. Ok, ok, Freeacre has been taking up the slack in writing posts lately. I have been speechless lately at what I am reading and experiencing to the point of wondering what words can possibly comment on the goings on in this world and this nation, and, at the local level of government.

We got a copy of the revised edition of Charles Smith’s “Survival +” book in hopes that could shed some more light on the observable crazy shit that is happening. It does help, and is an excellent book for an analysis on what is transpiring in the economic world and how it affecting people and societies. But it does not explain a lot of the craziness I am reading about. I had downloaded his first book when it was available for downloading, went through it, and it is excellent all by itself. I haven’t gotten through the “Survival +” updated book yet. Next on the list.

Not leaving me speechless, this is worth a hoot from ‘The Onion’ if you haven’t seen it..

For instance, dig this little tidbit;
Now is this article pointing out crazy shit or what? This penchant to hang dead animal parts on a wall is something I just don’t understand. I am impressed with their drive to kill every living thing out there, except themselves I suppose, and then brag about it. Unless of course it is Cheney and a lawyer. Uggg. Lawyer parts on a wall?

By now we have all heard about Pfat Roberthem and his ‘god is responsible for Haiti’. Line feed says; “Haiti cursed by pact with devil”.

Our local county government is pushing to let developers put up more destination resorts in the county. Now does that make sense? The country is in a depression and they want more expensive resort areas built? IMO its pure craziness.

Ok, here is another;
This is one of the articles slamming “Avatar” movie. Notice the reasons for putting it down. Good lord, it’s even anti Christian.

This one may be a bit of a stretch for speechlessness and craziness, but I am sure you have seen this one.

For those that are curious about conspiracy theories and how they are debunked, dig this The entire paper has a download link at the site. Interesting reading.

I presuppose that all of you are familiar with the new Supreme Court decision lifting any restrictions on what corporations can buy in the political bull shit arena. Now this is scary in my opinion. We thought we had the best government money could buy? Now it is going to be up to the highest bidder for sure, foreign and domestic. Want to make a lot of money, go into politics. This bit of news literally leaves me speechless. They also lifted the limit of individual political donations. All this in the category of free speech. We are doomed, I tell you, doomed!

Joe Bageant has a real rant focused on a letter to him from Jan 24th. I get the feeling that he is sick and tired of people writing him bull shit.

I went to the feed store a few days ago to pick up some rabbit food and got in a conversation with the owners wife. Turns out she gets the majority of her ‘news’ from the morning “700 Club” show on TV. She expressed the opinion that Obama had rescinded almost all of Bushe’s advancements in the government. I asked her to tell me what these were. She couldn’t. I said he hadn’t repealed the Patriot Act and she thought that was good. I asked if she meant the restriction on our freedoms. She said that was a good thing for national security and to catch the people that want us all to die. Sigh. I was able to restrain myself and not laugh at her. I told here I would rather have my freedoms, thank you. Come to find out I ran across some other people that also listen to the 700 Club. Talk about a disinformation move by the evangelical churches.

We recently got a copy of Mike Rupperts new book “Confronting Collapse” that put all of his conclusion and a lot of his data together into a rather precise analysis. Some new stuff in the book that is interesting. Worth the read.

I’m about half way through James Wesley Rawles book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It”. He is the guy that started that indeed has a lot of useful information. His listing of what we need to survival is downright daunting and would take a millionaire to supply, but the listing is very interesting about what he conceives we should be working toward and why.

Since it is getting close to seed starting for the garden, we have made our seed order and gotten some of them already. I have been pouring through loaned books from friends on multiple ideas for growing food locally.

I’ve finally finished the jobs in the shop/garage that demanded I keep it heated. Burned up over a cord of wood doing them. At current prices for pine burning wood ($150/cord, split) it was reasonably expensive projects. Freeacre had a couple of myrtle wood bowls with beautiful graining that had gotten a bit beat up over the years. I had decided I would do a mirror finish on the two of them for Xmas presents while I was also doing a mirror finish on a rifle stock for a guy. After Freeacre informed me that we didn’t have anyplace to display mirror finished large bowls and was going to use them, I quit short of an absolute mirror finish after 8 weeks of working on them. I’ve found that mirror finishes are really difficult to do, even with practice over the years. To complicate it, I did them in tung oil. At least I’m now freed up to work on some other projects I have in mind, especially ones that don’t involve fancy finishes until we get to the planting stage in the weather.

I can’t tell you of the number of retired folks I am acquainted with that express boredom since they don’t have a regular job to go to anymore. Bored? Hmmm, how is that even possible? I guess TV and jawing with friends must constitute most of their time wasting. We can’t seem to generate enough time to do what we want to get done. Talked to an older retired guy at the Grange meeting. He expressed that his garden was all set to go. I blinked. It is winter in Oregon after all. Upon questioning him, seems he was referring to his decorative garden and planting of bushes and flowers, etc. When I expressed my thought that he was referring to a vegetable garden he laughed and said he doesn’t do vegetable gardens, too damned much work. I said that when and if the trucks stopped running or the grocery store got too high priced the vegetable garden that was too much work would suddenly be valuable. We quit talking about it about then. People standing around nodded in agreement.

People at this site have periodically expressed how hard it is to talk to people about the coming bad times, the being treated with contempt/disbelief/skepticism etc. And yet, in this area, rural Oregon, there is a surprising number of people that also believe it’s not going to get better any time soon. Difference in opinion of how it will play out and how bad it will get, but not with a whole lot of optimism. Then of course there is the ultra right people that blame everything on those damned ultra left liberals and figure if we can get Sarah Palin elected everything will go back to normal. I don’t indulge much anymore in conversations that start out that way. They are stuck in a political ideology and aren’t about to listen to a counter opinion and data. After all, I do listen to what they have to say, but if I contradict anything, their voices gain considerably in volume and they begin to wave their arms and would prefer I just shut up. Critical thinking seems to be a lost skill in the general population.

Now that this rant is finished, I can become speechless again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Despite Efforts, Population Getting Worse

Photo courtesy of Hot Springs Wizard. Honoring the landscape with a hand-made head on what he calls, "The Rock of Knowledge"

Happily, our friend from Belgium (AKA Spirit Across the Sea) has contributed a post to give us another starting place for the on-going conversation...

Attempts to Solve the Population Problem Only Make Matters Worse

Over population is one of those proverbial elephants in the living room that nobody wants to talk about, mainly because it is easier to ignore an insoluble problem than attempt to deal with it. Thomas Malthus essentially said that population would continue to grow until it ran out of food. He used different words but that is what he meant. The problem is that there is no way you can stop turkeys from having little turkeys or any other species including humans from having offspring. They have been doing it since pre-history and regard it as an inalienable right but this inalienable right has caused a problem. It doesn’t matter whether you blame it on the age of oil or any other reason it is a fact that there has been a mushroom cloud of people on the planet in the last hundred years and the Malthus train is headed at full speed towards the buffers. The world population is expected to reach seven billion by 2012. At a current population level of almost 1.4 billion, which is a mere billion more than the population of the USA and 20% of all humans on Earth, the Chinese saw the problem coming, switched the points at the last moment and sat back to watch the train head for the cliffs.

China Set to Abandon its Failing Population Policy

It is fairly obvious that if two parents have two children during their lifetime the children replace the adults and if these children replace themselves on a one to one basis then the population remains stable. If they have more than two children then the population increases and if they have less than two it decreases. In an attempt to decrease its population China did just that. From the mid 1970’s it limited each female to just one child during her lifetime so that the population would halve over one generation. The experiment was a partial success, which means it didn’t work or more correctly it worked but not in the way intended. It is true that this policy has prevented the population jumping by an estimated 400 million but it has also resulted in unforeseen social problems which are now preoccupying the regime. Normally children are born in roughly equal numbers of males to females. Nature skews this slightly in favour of males since generally they do more dangerous things like fighting in wars for instance. Proportions vary throughout the world with ‘normal’ being about 103 males for every 100 females but in isolated groups can be as high as 107 males to 100 females (jargon shorthand for this is a ‘ratio of 1.03’ or a ‘ratio of 1.07’). Currently China is approaching a ratio of 1.21 resulting in 33.31 million more men than women being born during the twenty years between 1980 and 2000 (and of course more since). This short post is actually about gender imbalance rather population per se. There are at least 33.3 million men roaming around China that can’t find women, many living a new phenomenon called bachelor villages, resulting in male depression; an increasing sex industry and crimes against females. It is so much of a problem that in the two years between 2001 – 2003 police freed 45,000 abducted women and children and these are just the ones they found. There is also a disproportionate aging population with too few working age people to support both the elderly and the state structure.

Since the time of Mao, China has dragged itself into the industrial age but old habits die hard and its mentality is still largely peasantry. The country is not known for its human rights or its social (welfare) policies. When the elderly become too old to work it is traditionally for the offspring to continue the pastoral life in the same locality and provide for the parents. In this way strong family bonds are maintained. Now with migration of the young into the new industrial areas combined with the one child policy, the elderly have become vulnerable in a way previously unknown. Previously, sons took over father’s duties in the fields and lived in the family home or nearby to care and provide for the parents. Daughters married and went to live with her husband or in the home of his parents. Thus it was mainly the sons and their wives who cared for the parents. In a way, sons represented their pension policy. Now with the one child policy that safety net has been lost especially if the son is enticed into the new industrial areas which could be a couple of days train journey away. If parents have a daughter they are even worse off since it is almost certain she will be lost to them during their working lifetime with no one to carry on the family line or provide for them in old age. Not only this, the daughter’s family has to provide a dowry on her marriage yet it is the bridegrooms family that receive care from her in later life. A growing market within China for affordable ultrasound scanners has allowed many parents to ‘choose’ for sons with illegal selective pro-choice abortions becoming an increasing fact of life. If this fails or the woman ‘chooses’ too late, then incidences of infanticide of daughters are reported to be drastically increasing. The administration now realizes it got a few details wrong and that even the plans of an authoritarian regime can be sidetracked by the will of the people. It is now expected that there will be proposals in the next five year plan (2011 – 2016) to drop or at least shelve the one child policy to replace it with a sliding scale policy where the one child per female law will remain in the main cities; two children per female in the designated countryside and three in areas like Tibet for instance where gender ratios are within normal world wide limits. It is suggested that this will be combined with some sort of welfare plan which favours girls. Proposed measures include exempting girls’ families from contributing towards school fees; parents with two daughters would also receive the equivalent of $150 pa for the rest of their lives (this is a lot in China); preferential health care treatment together with modern housing and secure employment. A care package for the elderly would also be provided. There are three foreseeable problems with this; firstly this break with existing policy would seriously conflict with China's population control effort; secondly there are not enough working people to pay for it and finally export revenue may get caught in the dollar’s demise.

Mainland Chinese have more in common with the Yanomamo People than with the inhabitants of Hong Kong

The above is just a knee jerk reaction of the people to an ill thought through policy by an authoritarian regime – and it couldn’t happen anywhere else, right? Well, No!
The Yanomamo are a tribal people who inhabit Venezuela’s jungle region along its southern border with Brazil. There are about 15,000 of them living in 150 or so scattered villages. If you accept the initial premise that they are often attacked by their neighbouring villages, then their solution to this can only be described as bizarre logic. But before that, some interesting numbers. Villages of forty members or less cannot survive since there are too few men to defend it. At numbers of 100 – 125 inhabitants, there is constant squabbling about policy and at a level of 150 inhabitants it becomes totally unworkable as a cohesive unit and splits into two. Bear with me for a few seconds because I am going to run the argument backwards and then the reason for the attacks will become clear. The villages are attacked so the attacked village needs a strong force of men to defend it and because of this the attacking side needs a strong force of men to prevail in their mission. In order to get a sufficient proportion of warriors it is customary for separate communities to practice infanticide against females. This leaves a disproportionate number of men and the reason for inter village conflict is to steal women from their neighbours. If they only had the wit to stop with the infanticide then there would be enough women to go around without any need for fighting at all. Maybe the whole thing is nature’s way of sharpening their survival skills.

Well that is all fine or not, depending on whether you are one of the victors or the vanquished and we can see the disproportionate numbers of males and therefore the connection with the mainland Chinese but what has all this got to do with the people of Hong Kong. Well it seems that the men of Hong Kong just don’t like very much to marry the ladies of Hong Kong and go on more of a poaching rather than raiding mission to the mainland. The reasons for this are not at all clear but it just is so. Perhaps city slicker males don’t like to marry city slicker ladies and go off to find mainland maidens. This leaves a more than an average number of local ladies on the island - for those of you who are interested in knowing this fact.

Imbalance Redressed?

Now that the ladies of Hong Kong have entered the conversation, is there anywhere else in the world that has a surfeit of women? Well it just so happens there is but I am not at all sure the surplus men of China would want to head there in droves. It is in Greenland and the Arctic waste territories; the peoples who are collectively known as Eskimos. The reason is not reverse infanticide but all the same, I am sure it is not one you are going to want to know about. Their diet consists entirely of fish and other sea life, seals, walrus etc and these species over the years have absorbed much of the toxic waste our civilisation has dumped into the sea – DDT, PCB’s mercury, cadmium and other heavy metals. These chemicals affect hormones and endocrines in pregnant women in a way that favours the formation of a female fetus. So next time you see an Eskimo woman smiling in your direction, just remember that she might be a sack of toxic waste.


It seems to me that when you set about deliberately meddling with the primordial forces of nature then nature has ways if biting back and although they might not always be conventional, they are always effective.


Rolic News – Chinese syndicated newspaper Dec 2009
Experts urge switch from one child policy

Human Sex ratio – Wikipedia
NBC: China begins to face sex-ratio imbalance

National Geographic Magazine August 1976 pp211
Yanomamo, the True People
(Borrowed from the doctor’s waiting room)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Year of the Bad Serf"

photo courtesy of Hot Springs Wizard

by freeacre

“In the face of expensive wars and a dying desperate federal state, 2010 will mark the year that Americans self-consciously embrace the power of civil disobedience, and launch a decade of fundamental and good-natured repudiation of all things government – its wars, its debts, its never-ending lies and yes, even its promises. It’s already happening, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.” That’s a quote from an essay (“Year of the Bad Serf”) by Karen Kwiawatowsky on that got my attention.

Humm….rebellious fun. Yeah, fun would be good. People who are familiar with me already know that I tend to favor the adolescent responses of immature name-calling and vulgar gestures as my first response to adversity or bogus authority. I consider it my survival response to a rather objectionable childhood that has served me quite well. If nothing else, it helps to disconnect me from knee-jerk subservience or fear while giving me time to think of a more effective retaliation. Some people might say that I have an “anger racket” and that it is not good for my health. But, you know, I just tell them to "bite me."

When George Bush was the president and we were writing on cyclone’s site, I used to keep a handy list of insulting labels when referring to the assorted miscreants in his abysmal administration. Since then, my list has been lost. But, it may be time to make up another one to keep handy when firing off a quick letter to the lamestream media talking heads or to one or the other of the political or financial wizards responsible for the unfolding debacle in Washington and Wall Street. To that end, I am beginning a new list. Feel free to use it yourselves or to add to it. Collectively, we could create a compendium of choice appellations that would be both convenient and emotionally satisfying to use. Let’s see…

There are some restrictions to insults these days. You can’t call a Republican “retarded” anymore, for instance. It would be an insult to the, um, mentally challenged among us. And, you really can’t exclude the females from the mix, either, since women seem to have broken the barriers and become equally as despicable as the men. So, “scum bag” can be gender-balanced with “scum queen,” for instance. Sometimes one needs some extra verbal ammunition to heap justifiable scorn on those who so richly deserve it. So, hauling out the trusty thesaurus,

Nouns Adverbs & Adjectives

Abomination (something
that is sick and wrong) abhorrent (loathsome, abysmal detestable, disgusting, wretched)

Accomplice (partner-in- Addled (befuddled)
crime, abettor, henchman) bovine (stupid, cow-like)
Bankster (thief, robber, crook) (fake, phony, fraudulent)
Brain trust (PTB)
Dumbass dumbassed (also works as adjective)
Fraudster (see: bankster) fetid (foul, rank, rancid)
Hack (trite, banal, inane, heinous (evil, wicked, atrocious)
lamestream journalist) hideous (monstrous, appalling)
lout (dolt, oaf, idiot)
minion (lackey, servant)
miscreant (criminal, villain, Malicious (misanthropic, malignant)
see: carl rove)
Nozzle (I just like it)
numbnut (numbskull, nitwit) nefarious (heinous, detestable)
nut, nutjob (fruitcake, flake)
Overlord (ruling class asshole) Obnoxious (odious, revolting)
Peasant (serf, wage slave) pernicious (destructive, harmful)
Pinhead (butthead) pathetic
Pimp (whore, pl.,congress) perverse
Rapacious (plundering, savage)
Reprobate (evil-doer) relentless (persistent, cruel)
Scum (loathsome as in
yuppie scum, or scum queen)
Suit (minion of overlords)shameful (despicable, contemptible)
Shyster (unethical lawyer)
Shit (turd, piece of…) shit (… for brains)
Tool (toady)

I like alliteration. It adds color and emphasis to a description. So, one can combine adjectives and nouns with the same first sound, and it becomes a colorful term: shameful shyster; pathetic pinhead; nattering nozzle; malignant miscreant; heinous hack; bogus brain trust, etc.

Well, those are my favorites. There are so many more wonderful taunts and insulting terms with which to season your letters to the editor, your congressional representative, your local financial analyst, or comment on a blog site. Consider it art. Consider it therapy. This is my own little step toward making it perhaps somewhat quicker or easier to heap one’s dissatisfaction with the way things are to those who richly deserve it.

Later, if the system still holds, we could examine entertaining ways we can demonstrate our dissatisfaction in real terms, like stuffing a “postage paid” envelope to our credit card company with the cut up bank card with a half pound of junk mail; or, walking merrily away from your upside-down mortgage or unsecured credit card. Thinking of creative bumper stickers we can put up all over, like “No Incumbents!” when it’s time to vote. Let’s think on it… Acts of civil disobedience will probably be called for. We can attempt to do rebellious acts that are fun street theater that makes a point without inviting being hammered by the powers that be.

I guess the point of all this is to keep our spirits up while dealing with the relentless slide that seems to move at a glacial pace, and win some hearts and minds along the way. Naturally, if some big crisis or disaster suddenly happens, forget it, and duck and cover. There are many things to keep our eyeballs on right now. I’m sure that we will be keeping each other apprised through our comments. Until then,