Tuesday, December 27, 2011
photo credit to blogodak.com
from Belgium (sats)
It is not usual for me to talk about film reviews in a piece like this however sometimes a piece from a film strikes you as significant or starts a thought process. So it was with the film Satantango (Satan's Tango) by Bella Tarr. It is a hell of a film and is only for the very brave. The storyline is not linear, rather it goes backward and forward like tango dancers. The reason it is a hell of a film is that with a quick coffee break and a quick WC break it is eight hours long. That means you go into the cinema at 2 in the afternoon and come out at 10 at night, unless like me you watch it on DVD. It is shot in glorious black and white, the spoken language is Hungarian (Magyar) with English under text and during the whole film there is practically no action to speak of apart of the consistency of the rain falling on the quagmire of the Hungarian plain in winter. Having said that, the whole experience affected me greatly and even a month after seeing it I was still thinking of the significance of various parts. The film deals with life after the collapse of communism in Hungary. A group of people try to sell their collective and use the money to become 'free' however the silver tongued Irimias (I-ra-me-as) who everybody thought was dead, turns up and persuades the group to reinvest in a more modern farm somewhere else. He has such eloquence almost everybody agrees, thus placing themselves in a hierarchy under his control. I was going to be nice and call Irimias a false prophet of hope but he is in fact a con man. Because he doesn't work but always seems to have money he and his sidekick Petrina are summoned before the Police Captain to see if they should be turned over to the tax authorities. As it turns out, the police captain lets them off the hook provided they do some spying for him. During the course of the conversation the Captain comes out with the following monologue, which was the starting point for the current post.
"Captain: Not that human life was so highly valued. Keeping order appears to be the business of the authorities, but in fact it's the business of all. Order. Freedom, however, has nothing human. It's something divine, something... our lives are too short for us to know properly. If you're looking for a link, think of Pericles, order and freedom are linked by passion. We have to believe in both, we suffer from both. Both from order and freedom. But human life is meaningful, rich, beautiful and filthy. It links everything. It mistreats freedom only... wasting it, as if it was junk. People don't like freedom, they are afraid of it. The strange thing is there is nothing to fear about freedom... order, on the other hand, can often be frightening."
Hmm, I think this is one of the most profound pieces of dialogue I have ever heard but is it true? There are probably as many meanings of freedom as there are people so let us see if we can come up with a definition which is universally acceptable. Then we can have a look at social order and see if there is any link between the two. Freedom is such a simple word, probably too simple, that we automatically assume we know what it means.
At the end of the last World War the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made an election broadcast on the radio in which he expressed the view that now the Allies had won the war, the world was free from the tyranny of the Third Rich. Replying the next night Clement Atlee for the opposition said “Mr Churchill has made much of the concept of freedom but it was not many years ago that employers were free to send little children climbing up the inside of chimneys. Is that the sort of freedom to which we wish to return?” This demonstrates that the word is not such an easy take.
Here are Murph's thoughts on the subject from ibid April 2008, which are about as broad as you can get and are difficult for anyone (me at least) to take issue with.
“It would seem obvious to me that a concept of total freedom of action when living in groups cannot work. Being by yourself in the wilderness is not how most of us live. More power to those that do so. The early mountain men were about as free as you can get. But, some enforceable means has to exist to impede those who do not respect others right to freedom within a social context. I sum it up this way; you cannot perform an action which takes away from or restricts another persons freedom, that is, you cannot harm another or their property, and I include the environment. That simple edict would automatically stop environmental degradation, exploitation and legal thievery.”
So, summarising, you can do anything you like so long as it does not harm another or the environment.
Not that many of us are mountain men, in fact most of us in the 'developed' world live in industrialised countries. We live in conurbations from small villages to great cities where by and large we all have to get along with one another. The tighter we pack ourselves the more chaffing occurs which impacts on others rights to do as they like.
Most people do not see that there is a problem with freedom because they believe that they are already free. They feel they have a right to improve their lives, which indeed they do however they exercise this right by placing themselves under almost life-long obligations to financial institutions. What most don't realise is that for a mortgage for instance, for every dollar they borrow over the term of the loan they will pay two dollars in interest. Even if they do realise it they figure there is little they can do about it if they want a place of their own to live. Most buyers do not choose a place that fulfils their spacial needs for a modest price but are influenced by peer pressure to buy the most expensive they can afford. Another thing not commonly realised is that the sort of new properties projected at the aspiring owners are not priced on a cost plus basis but on what is the greatest proportion of average income they can afford to miss and still get by on. That is until negative equity comes along and they suddenly realise that the freedom to own a home does not apply to them. There are only so many times a loan can be restructured before the debt becomes overwhelming. A similar system operates with credit cards, it is only the matter of degree that is different. The minimum repayment is designed so that the interest is on a continuous roll and the principle sum is never paid off. So much for taking the waiting out of wanting.
If people grow up within a system which everybody regards as normal they never realise there may even be a problem with it. So it is with Federal Reserve Notes, or Euros or in fact with the majority of the worlds currencies. In every country which has a national bank, that bank issues the local currency which it prints out of paper and ink and apart from the cost of the building and the printing workers, that is the only cost to the bank. It costs exactly the same to make a hundred dollar bill as it does to make a one dollar bill but the bank sells the currency to the government at the face value of the bill. Not only that but the bank charges the government interest on the currency whilst it is in circulation. You are only allowed one guess where the government gets the money to pay for this. And all the time you thought your taxes went to pay for infrastructure. So where does the money for infrastructure come from? Well that is also borrowed from the national bank as well and the repayments are recouped through income and sales taxes. What alternatives do people have if they don't want the banks to appropriate the benefits of their hourly labour? Well there are Credit Unions. It is very difficult for the government to place a tax on sea shells or chittys for a number of hours worked or what ever else may be used in place of money. The down side is that it is very difficult to buy a Japanese car or any other consumer item with a currency which is not nationally or internationally recognised. Not only this but the pressure on such systems to conform to the national standard is enormous. A question then arises if people participating in such alternatives should be allowed to enjoy the infrastructure paid for by others. Should they be allowed to travel over a bridge which they have not paid for or must they do a twenty mile detour or should they be defended by a national military to which they have not contributed? Allowing the bankers to skim the fruits of your labour is a system which is very difficult to opt out from. As employers were free to send children working up chimneys so also are you free to give the banks a portion of your income. You might not consider this to be much of a freedom and you might be right but it is the system with which most of us are forced to conform.
Over the years, commentators here have bemoaned inflation, the invisible tax. Even though the standard of living has improved over time, the quantity of things that can be bought with a weeks wage has decreased. We have long said that grandfather could work to support a home, a wife and a house full of kids. Then couples decided to leave the kids until until they had filled their house with stuff. When it was realised that women were willing to go out to work, with a bit of strategic nudging, the elite bankers began the femanist movement in order to farm two lots of taxible income instead of one. Where as previously, the second income was there to provide extras, inflation now ensures that the second income is necessary for the family just to get by. The elites are currently progressing onwards and upwards with their unfettered greed. Throughout Europe in general and Belgium in particular the countries have been so reduced by the rolling financial cricis that there is a move by governments to increase the pension age by two years to 67 for men and correspondingly for women. At present there are one day protest strike actions but if something is not done about this increasing disparity of those on either side of the zero sum game then this could develop into Europes Occupy Movement. I don't know how things will pan out but if the situation is left to fester I can't see the Europeans being as genteel as the Occupiers. The elites are becoming more brazen with their stick prodding. Maybe they are anxious to take their new crowd control toys out of their boxes.
Nearly everybody knows that there are three branches of government. The one I am interested in here is the legislature. In the case of the USA this is The Congress and its job is to enact new laws as it sees fit. It has been estimated that the USA has at least a quarter of a million statute laws. Every one of these inhibits a freedom either by denying an action or making an action compulsory. A law is the removal of a freedom, as it dictates that there is something you cannot or must do. If the former, you're not free to do it; if the latter, you're not free to do otherwise. You will probably ask if laws are not for the benefit of all? After all not killing another, God knows it might be you on the receiving end, or not stealing another's property is clearly to the greater good. The purpose of other laws is more moot. Is it to your benefit to have your private telephone conversations listened to by a government body or every e mail read? Is it to your benefit for any US citizen to be withheld indefinitely without trial or even access to a lawyer, yet according to the Military Commissions Act this is the state of US law as it stands at present. Clearly many of the newer laws have less to do with the public good and more to do with controlling the population, thus giving the government more power and the citizenry less. In former times the legislature made just laws, now it just makes laws. This begs the question of who works for whom and why we allow a system in which our freedoms are balanced against us. As an exercise I did try to find a league table of the number of statute laws by country as a measure of which ones were freer than others but if such a table exists I could not find it.
Because the USA does not adequately provide for health care as other countries do, people are forced into very expensive substandard health care where people are obliged to do battle with insurance companies at a time they are least able. This is a clear case of butter or guns; a healthy nation or shiny missiles in a silo. Even if you are dying because you cannot afford appropriate medicines, you are free to know we will get our retaliation in first.
Let us look at a hypothetical example of how freedom might be wasted. Suppose a country existed, for argument sake we will call it The Land of Milk and Honey and this land was ruled over by a benevolent benefactor who was paternalistic towards his own people but who regarded the outside world with some suspicion. In fact this ruler put the well being of his people before that of his own family (now you know I am making it up).
In order to make the lives of his people as free as he possibly could he gave them the following things. Every citizen received a free house, even before the benefactors own parents received one, so the citizenry was free from mortgages and obligations to the financial institutions. Of course nobody was forced into the standard fare and if they wanted to build a mansion at their own expense then they were free to do so. To go with the new free house they were also given free electricity. Throughout the land, there was no difference in status between men and women. As a result of the universal free education, literacy rates had increased above the 90% level. Free education means no student loans. The idea of incurring personal debt for the countries greater benefit was a concept abhorrent to the benefactor. Along with free education there was also free health care. Health care in the land was pretty comprehensive but as an exercise in PR, the leader said that if anyone needed any health care or a procedure that was not available in that country the patient would be taken free of charge to any other land where it was available. If any citizen wanted a loan they could have one from the benefactor free of interest. Agriculture was considered one of the most important professions to the benefit of the community so anyone with serious intent in starting a farm was given land free of charge together with seed for the first year.
Then there were the nice to have things, the icing on the cake: a yearly present of $500 to every citizen; a wedding gift of $50,000 to every couple that got married; the benefactor paid for half the price of a new car and gas throughout the land was 14 cents a gallon.
What silliness! Such a land of Milk and Honey can only exist in children's fairy tales. Yet it was real, it did exist. How many of you guessed that the land I have described was Libya and the paternal benefactor was Colonel Gadaffi. Not everybody's first choice of a leader I will admit but those people didn't live in Libya. When Colonel Gadaffi faced the news cameras and said “Nothing will happen to me because my people love me” he actually believed this to be true.
Now that is all gone, the people in their greater wisdom have decided to swap all of this for the pleasure of having a national bank. Such is the power of persuasion and taking a step backwards whilst the flow goes past.
Those interested in knowing what is behind the Arab Spring can check out the post I wrote here in January 2011 entitled Non Violent Resistance. We know what Libya has given up, you can remind yourselves what Tunisia gave up.
“Human life... mistreats freedom only... wasting it, as if it was junk. People don't like freedom, they are afraid of it. The strange thing is there is nothing to fear about freedom...”. Well it sure looks like the police captain had the right of it after all.
Freedom is a zero sum game in the world of us and them. The more we have the less the PTB have; The more they have the less we have. In order to maintain this disparity the PTB need control and the means of control is Social Order.
Concepts in social order have changed over time. Writing for the American Journal of Sociology in March 1944, Lawrence K Frank had this to say.
“Social order has long been conceived as an organization or mechanism which exists as a part of the cosmos and operates through large-scale forces acting at a distance. Social theory has taught man that he must learn to submit to these assumed forces and accept this cosmic organization as necessary to social order, while social research has attempted to measure these assumed forces. Recent studies of culture and personality indicate that social order is not given but historically developed ideas, beliefs, and patterns of conduct and of feeling which each culture has evolved as the guides to human conduct and the management of group activities.”
Whilst it is certainly true that the type of social order within many cultures is different from each other, the statement that “Social order is not given” has, in recent times, been shown to be false. Since the advent of the internet, the source of social order has been identified and is no longer believed to be an invisible force like gravity acting somewhere out in space. It is now believed to be manipulated by a clique of top international bankers and their programmes acted out through governments, particularly those of the United States and the European Union. It would seem that in recent times, social order is inversely proportional to economic stability. In other words, as the world economy goes to hell, there is a greater social crackdown on the citizenry. Whilst we are unaware that any US citizens have yet been 'rendered', the obvious question is how would we know since checks and balances are now things from a different age?
So far as I am aware there have been no physical conflicts by the US authorities against a large body of its own population apart from the police maintaining the status quo against demonstrators in Seattle, Miami and earlier in Watts. The military were used similarly in Little Rock according to the Force Act when the Alabama authorities refused to let the police intervene. The present effort seems to be a psychological war to undermine the moral confidence of the citizenry. Although there are too many examples to list here, I give a few to demonstrate what I mean.
Do you remember a year or two back a small You Tube clip that went viral of a great bear of a traffic cop tazing a 70 or 80 year old lady over some minor traffic offence. Was this released by a well meaning colleague or was it a set piece intended to build a picture in the mind of the general public? We are in control and you don't matter. This was followed a short time later by a video clip taken with a cell phone camera of students first being tazed and then shot by police in the public areas of a university.
Over in England, the ex government scientist Dean Warwick died on stage whilst in the middle of giving a lecture. Amongst the subjects he had planned to talk about was WTC 1 & 2 and his experience of bringing down different tall buildings, in Russia if memory serves, using only infra-sound waves. Also what really happened with the Lockerbie plane and why a small number of survivors were allowed to die on the hillside of hypothermia. He also said he was going to name the Antichrist. It was commonly believed that he was taken out with some sort of beam weapon which resonates the brain's delta waves. These are the subconscious ones which keep the body's heart and other organs functioning so the body's organs just stop working. A man holding a device which resembled a camera was seen laughing as he left the building after the death. A couple of months later it was reported that one of the minor Rockefeller's was taken out in a parked car in a similar way.
There has been much commentary on this blog and others that drones exist and could be used to break up demonstrations, insurrections and other forms of civil disobedience. If the type of beam weapons mentioned above could be incorporated into such drones then this would give the authorities an awesome advantage.
There have been many reports, on You Tube particularly, of hundreds of detention camps throughout America which according to popular belief, are intended for American citizens whenever the time comes. This is reinforced by images of fenced off fields stacked high with what are reported to be three person open coffins.
Is this all fantasy? The thing that gives it some credibility are the reports that came out of Iraq a little time ago that US troops stationed there were asked if they would be willing to stand militarily against US citizens on US soil. What a strange question, why was it asked at all if there was no intent behind it? And why did President Bush rescind the Posse Comitatus Act which now allows the military to do such things?
Let us remind ourselves where we came in, with the police captain's speech from Satantango.
"Captain: Not that human life was so highly valued. Keeping order appears to be the business of the authorities, but in fact it's the business of all. Order. Freedom, however, has nothing human. It's something divine, something... our lives are too short for us to know properly. If you're looking for a link, think of Pericles, order and freedom are linked by passion. We have to believe in both, we suffer from both. Both from order and freedom. But human life is meaningful, rich, beautiful and filthy. It links everything. It mistreats freedom only... wasting it, as if it was junk. People don't like freedom, they are afraid of it. The strange thing is there is nothing to fear about freedom... order, on the other hand, can often be frightening."
For me this is case proved.
Next time we will have a look to see if it is possible to rescue self order from the authorities. We will examine the part of the police captain's speech which says “Keeping order appears to be the business of the authorities, but in fact it's the business of all” and we will see if such a self ordered Anarchistic type, fairly well developed society has ever existed in the past.
Monday, December 12, 2011
More on this picture below.
I am going to propose a different perspective on our society today that I have not come across before. It has been an idea in the back of my mind for a lot of years now. It is the concept of the progress of western civilization and probably most of the world toward personal convenience.
It appears to me that most people are very happy to have much more convenience, which is in reality, less physical expenditure for a given goal. I realize that I indulge in this myself. There are several ramifications to this. Less physical and/or mental output for any desired goal means one more step toward physical atrophy and in many cases, mental atrophy.
Let’s examine the mental atrophy first.
When I was doing my practice teaching at the university, I noticed that the classrooms were filled with students happily punching in 2 + 2 into hand held calculators to get an answer, literally. Frankly, I was appalled. When I had my chance, I asked the classroom how many people thought that every time they punched in a request for an answer to an arithmetic problem that what the calculator told them in the readout was to always be assumed to be correct. Every one of them affirmed that it was always correct. At the time I was fresh out of classes engaged in all kinds of math problems and it was so long ago that I don’t remember the examples I used to show them that it wasn’t always true. I do remember asking them to give me an absolute number for pi. Of course this is not possible. For most hand held calculators, you get only 8 or so numbers that represent pi. I got some varied responses to this.
But, one of the results of students at the grade school level using calculators was that very simple arithmetic problems, (like multiplication) were seemingly beyond their abilities, same with simple addition, subtraction and division. I am forced to call this a form of mental atrophy.
Further, I found this to be true in other areas. Discernment, critical thinking, and logic were lacking, even at the university level of study. The convenience of calculators, computers and experts’ pronouncements on anything were accepted at face value rather than expend the mental energy to determine a truth for oneself. This mental atrophy can show up in some of the most obtuse areas. When we moved here to north central Oregon the “experts” told us that raising our own food was impossible, don’t bother to even try. Well, we found out that wasn’t a true statement, but most of the residents accepted it at face value. We and a very few others had to demonstrate that it was not a true statement and call attention to that fact. In the last couple of years, there has been a flurry of gardens and greenhouses in the area and the raising of small livestock for food.
I am sure that all of us can point to physical atrophy through convenient tools and gizmos that reduce our physical expenditures of energy. Otherwise there would be no reason to have workout gyms or home workout gadgets. Interesting, that sports do not fall into the concept of convenience but most of our daily lives do. It’s as if we are encouraged to make up for the convenience of daily life functions by being very extreme in our inconvenience of non-productive physical exertions. We are constantly being admonished to get off the convenient sofa and walk, run, go to the gym, whatever. And of course, there is the age thing to deal with; as we age, the ability to engage in non-convenience diminishes. I find interesting the proliferation of extreme sports activities that in actuality are quite dangerous. It’s as if the extreme convenience of modern life for most of us has to be compensated for by risking life and limb on dangerous sports.
In my younger days I participated very little in dangerous sports. Not that I wasn’t fascinated by them and wanted to, it just seemed that I never had the time or the money to participate. I was too wrapped up in expending energy on just living. Things like making money cutting, splitting, hauling and stacking firewood for the folks that would never be bothered with doing that. Or the making of things by hand for sale.
One of the themes running through the Archdruid posts is that convenience entails complexity, and that appears to be true to me. He further asserts that complexity also entails fragility, which also appears true to me. Complex technology has increased rather dramatically, in the last 200 years, the convenience of daily living. It would take very little to completely interrupt this technology and convenience. If a person has no idea how to make things, or how to maintain simple technology, and the complex technology is interrupted from whatever source, how would that person have a chance to survive? Examples; what percentage of our adult population knows how to either produce their own food or to even prepare it if they had it? Prepared boxed food that is tossed into the microwave or heated in a pan on the complex technology in the modern kitchen is the norm. I lived for a while in a city where almost without exception; the people I knew didn’t even have food in the refrigerator since they ate out at every meal.
IMO, we have carried the technology of convenience to such an extent that any interruption of this technology means a distinct lack of survival for most. It has also promoted the mental attitude of dependence and disdain for those that chose to not live that way. I’m a lazy old cuss, I want to find the easiest way to solve problems, and I have to admit that if I had the money to compensate, I probably would indulge in complex technology more than I do. You know, the bigger, better, more powerful machinery to accomplish a given task or to hire it done. I have to ask though; are we actually better off for it?
Let’s take a look at just one example of what is lost from a hi tech society with lots of convenience.
Only a few generations ago, we were predominantly an agrarian society wherein most families produced their own food. The extended family normally lived fairly close by. In the fall when the harvest came in, everyone got together and helped in the harvest and also got to share in the harvest. Also, fall was when the butchering of animals took place to supply winter meat, the steer, the hog, the rabbits the goose, etc. Everyone from toddlers to the oldsters took part. This is a far cry from going to the grocery store (the convenience) to doing it yourself. Without even touching on the quality of food difference, it did make the extended family all have skin in the game. In this only one example, convenience has an impact on social structure. I am sure all of you could come up with other examples that illustrate how convenience has affected social structure.
This also applies to the broader society, not just those in an extended family. The Amish are a good example of this cooperation between the whole community in projects that benefit everyone in the community and that group certainly cannot be accused of living with a whole bunch of technology to make their lives more convenient.
The top photo of a log building that encloses our wellhead is a personal example. We had loaned some money to a couple that were just flat out desperate. They reciprocated by helping us build that building. Now we could have bought sized lumber that probably would have been a lot easier to build, or even bought a pre-made small building and just had someone drop it on a rough foundation, a lot more convenient. But I had the small logs on hand taken off the property several years ago and a pretty good pile of reject lumber and roofing. I figure we have forged a much more lasting relationship doing it the less convenient hard way. Now believe me, I understand that our modern day life of long work hours to make the money to buy the convenience gizmos is the standard today. I spent a lot of years on that treadmill.
For the most part, it sure appears to me that the convenient life style has encouraged divisions between the populace rather than closeness and cooperation. I also think it has made our society a lot less resilient. Cripes sake, I live in a community of several thousands of people but yet there is only maybe a couple of dozen or so that I see face to face to exchange ideas and thoughts and to help each other out when there is a need. Depending on what value system you hold close to your heart, you can answer the question; are we better off?
Saturday, November 26, 2011
(photo credit to wikimedia)
It sure appears to me that the worldwide and US situation is escalating in the protest department. It may get dampened a bit during the winter, but I do think it will pick up again come spring, barring some catastrophic event. The PTB are ramping up their suppression and their counter attacks are becoming more severe. If the protests do not degrade into negotiated talks, which the protestors will seriously lose, I do expect protests to increase and probably escalate into some form of violence, which of course the PTB will forcibly answer. If that indeed comes to pass, the character of the American public will be laid bare by their response.
I have run across some younger folks that when I talk about the doom and gloom crowd on the internet talking about how bad things will develop, I am hit with the idea that these folks are selling fear through their advertising. I wanted to point out that there was a big difference between scaring people for economic gain and warning them that bad events were coming and to get ready, with or without economic gain. There are some kinds of mindsets that simply are not worth the time to argue with. Of course when I come across the Pollyanna folks I figure they may feel the same way. Being a doomer is hard work and very seldom much in rewards. J These kinds of conversations remind me of a Robert Heinlein statement that optimists have more fun in life but the pessimists are more often right.
There has been a lot of discussion all over the internet, including this blog, that goes back and forth over the idea about violence to affect change. I would like to examine a bit the assumptions on both sides of the argument.
Those that advocate or predict violent responses to perceived injustice, of course, assume that they can win confrontations, particularly if they have enough people involved. In today’s world, with the modern technology involved in suppression of a populations uprising, (like Libya) this is a tenuous assumption. If the western powers had not intervened, the uprising in the Eastern countries and Africa probably would not have been successful. And, in those cases, the goals of the uprisings are highly suspect as to agendas and alliances. Another problem with the violent uprisings is the agreement that if they are successful, what is to take the place of the current way things are done. I look at the outcomes of the French, the Russian, the Chinese revolutions, and what forces took over in the aftermath and it sure doesn’t appear to be any better than what was fought against. The assumption that something better will be the result is not born out historically except in very few isolated examples.
On the other side of the discussion that proposes non-violence, their assumptions have some very real problems too. The first assumption revolves around that if sufficient pressure is brought to bear by non-violent protest, the situation will change, that those in power will see the legitimacy of the demands and change their policies. This contains another assumption that those in power will voluntarily give up some or all of their power. Historically, I don’t see this as a reasonable expectation (see Tibet’s non violent attempts at freedom from Chinese rule). Or, our own attempt at separation from English rule by peaceful protest and demonstrations, the protests by the Indians against the atrocities by the US government and their brutal suppression, or the protests after WWI by the veterans, or the peaceful protests of bailing out of the bankers not so long ago that were just flat out ignored.
I do realize that any movement to change the status quo by whatever means will result in attempts at more suppression and a lot of blood in the streets, at least in a figurative sense. I do not see the PTB voluntarily giving up power, ever. It has to be taken from them and they always seem to escalate the suppression dramatically every time that is attempted.
I do realize that if enough folks (in the 70% or above) all got on the same bandwagon, change would happen. In this country, that would mean around 200 million insisting on an agreed upon agenda. What is the chance of that happening today? I do not see a general consensus agreement on what needs to be changed nor what is to take its place. Yes, lots of discussion on this, and small groups of people do agree on a few things, but by no means a consensus of the population. If and when that consensus does happen, then watch out! Something will change. The scary thing for me is what groups agenda would prevail. If the Christian right had its way, we all would be living under Old Testament law as they interpret it. Frankly, blaming Katrina on homosexuals as god’s punishment as an agenda for social organization is scary to me.
Now maybe I purposely seek out writers that support my own view of what is happening. I do periodically seek out the other side of stuff, but am always disappointed. Rhetoric, outright false information and political ideology seem to be the only mainstay they have. None of which impresses me in the least.
The comments from the last posting were intense and plentiful. I must have spent 4 hours on them and the links within the links and the added stuff that looked interesting on the sites.
My inbox email is being overrun with political ads and propaganda, from all sides. Maybe I’m just prejudiced on the subject but the ones from the conservatives leave me thinking what a bunch of asses. Not that the liberal side is any better. After all, both sides of the political spectrum are bought and paid for by the same groups. I am left with the question of how any thinking person can vote for any of them. Maybe all this ideology talk should be settled by a duel at 20 paces. Oh, I forgot for a minute there, the Repugs would win hands down. What liberal would think of violence and guns to settle anything? But at least it would provide more profits for the popcorn distributors.
Other than a vast majority of citizens agreeing on an agenda and willing to take part in it, I do not see a successful non-violent change in the status quo. Our own revolution against the British had less than 40% of the population support, at least in the beginning. Same with our civil war and WWI. It takes time and propaganda to fire up a population to go to war or have a popular uprising.
I truly wish I could come up with a solution so that violence was not the outcome to affect the changes we need if we want to preserve any sense of freedom at all in our society. Freedom to be consumers and wage slaves is not freedom in my book. But to achieve anything else, control has to be wrested away from the corporations and the sociopaths that are currently in power and there must be a consensus about what to replace it with. Otherwise, it will just be another cluster fuck laid on all of us.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
photo credit to SV40foundation.org
Belgium (From Belgium or Spirit Across the Sea) has kindly written a very informative post that I find shocking. We delayed posting it until I could get my nerves under control... Before reading, I would suggest that pie is in order...
Post No 1 of 2
It is very recently that Murph and Freeacre asked readers their opinion over the continuation of this blog. They had two main concerns, firstly they considered that over the years they had covered most bases and were having difficulty finding new subjects to write about. The second was that they had noticed that an increasing number of politically motivated bloggers were dropping out and wondered if they were being subjected to any pressure or at least that difficulties were being put in their way. They had concerns both for their own personal futures and also for those of their contributors and readers. Following an overwhelming positive response they decided to continue. I said I would write a couple of posts for the blog even though my output is not prolific. Typically for me I tackled the logically second post first and then went on to the first post which was about what we are not being told about Fukushima. I had two main sources for this, the first was the blog of Investigative Journalist Jim Stone with additional photos; charts and diagrams from Jennifer Lake's blog. Two days ago the following appeared as a header to Jim Stone's latest post.
Sep 28 2011 What happened to Jim Stone?
After being detained without charges or a phone call for six days, even after repeated requests to be allowed to make a call to let friends and family know where I was, and to be allowed to call 4 radio programs to cancel appearances, I was released without charge within 43 minutes of FINALLY getting a call out in a way they did not plan for. They destroyed my business, destroyed the equipment and inventory, and forced me to flee. I have lost EVERYTHING and that is why I am now silent. Even posting this is probably a huge risk. I am under severe threat and will not post another article until I am certain I have found safety in a foreign nation. I have been left too devastated to get out of the country and am living on the streets. That's the price you pay for doing real research and getting the real truth out. Journalism, TRUTHFUL ground breaking journalism is DEAD in America.”
First MCR and now Jim Stone. It sure looks like he touched a nerve. I am determined that Murph and Freeacre whom I regard as friends should not be added to this list and so have abandoned the first post.
All the material I was going to use can be found here:
This has some overlapping material
These articles are insanely long and my intended purpose here was to summarise them into a reasonable length without loosing the plot. Notwithstanding this I regard them as extremely important and would urge all those who want to stay appraised of the world events we don't usually get to hear about, to read them. With this introduction in place of a post and the footnotes at the end of the second post I am already well over normal length. I hope the Murphs regard them as two posts together and put them up as one piece. If they decide on balance that the material is too sensitive then I will understand.
Post No 2 of 2.
THE EFFECT OF RADIATION ON HUMANS
This is a serious subject but lets start off with a question you may think you know the answer to because the real answer made my eyes open wide.
What disease, caused either solely by radiation or radiation in combination with toxic pollution has the greatest effect on people, world wide, in modern times?
Those of you who said radiation sickness, well it was a brave try but unless you have actually witnessed a nuclear test, been one of the clean up workers at Chernobyl or live in the immediate vicinity of Fukushima then this one is not likely to affect you.
The ones who said cancer in any of its various forms are getting up there but it is not the biggie.
Line up for a gold star, all those who gave the correct answer of polio myelitis or its big brother influenza.
Not so many I see. This information is a real eye opener and jaw dropper.
So many questions come tumbling into the mind at the same time. How can it be caused by radiation when everyone knows that both of these diseases are viral? If polio is so prevalent then how come we never hear about it? I thought we eliminated polio in the 50's along with smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet fever and a host of other nasties? If polio is still around at the levels you say then what was the Salk vaccine all about with its initial main shot and two subsequent boosters? Didn't it work?
I shall be addressing all of these questions throughout this article but lets start by answering what class of disease polio myelitis actually is and how it works. But first to deal with the question that is still hanging in everybody's minds, whatever polio is and we are getting into that, a double sized polio unit is known as the disease influenza.
Polio is a brain infection, sometimes involving the nerves of the spinal cord and sometimes not. It never went away like they say. Most people who get it have a mild case of flu and then it’s gone –almost no one thinks twice about it or ever guesses that it might be something other than the familiar symptoms of a normal ‘bug’
Not climbing the mountain of lies surrounding the nature of the disease will not preserve the life you have now because at the heart of Polio’s story are the most fundamental issues of Life. The future of your experience has been pre-determined unless you take an active role in moderating the outcome. The War on Germs is a War on You. Take it personally.
But how is it that people who were properly vaccinated as children end up sick with polio as adults? How is it that a paralytic illness called Guillain-Barre Syndrome struck hundreds of Americans in the round of 1976 swine flu vaccines? What’s happening in the world today with Alzheimer’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, MS and other neurological illnesses afflicting so many? Is it normal? Is it contagious? Is it pollution? Does it cause cancer? Is it in the vaccines? A frightening surge of perplexing illnesses, including AIDS and Ebola have emerged since the late 1970s. Are these “polio-like” in some way? Is there a parallel in the 1970s and 80s with the emerging illnesses that followed the Spanish Flu in the 1920s and 30s? More questions than answers appear, but unravelling the history of polio has surprising discoveries in store.
First, we need to know what polio is, the way medical experts describe it, and second we need to know that the official historical record began erasing polio as quickly as possible in the mid-1950s in order to give the appearance of creating a successful vaccine –successful, not in the ordinary sense, but in the triumphant and heroic sense of the Greatest Medical Achievement of All Time!
I am not a microbiologist and I hope that I have this right but as I understand it the whole thing works like this. Radiation from whatever source attacks the brain and sometimes the brain stem and spinal chord . Collectively this is known as the Central Nervous system. The exact location of this attack depends on the type of radiation, its frequency and strength. The brain is slower to show signs of this attack than other bodily organs however the specific part of the brain under attack controls a specific part of the body or organ. For instance polio attacks the part of the brain which controls the lower part of the body particularly the legs and this is noticed before brain damage becomes apparent. In order to try to protect itself the brain collects proteins and other chemicals which will minimise the effect of the radiation from the ganglia (the part of the brain which is not associated with neurons, synapses or motor functions). This collection of chemicals does not have a 'life force' and is known as a virus which is then absorbed into the brain cells under attack by the radiation. So contrary to what we have been told before, virus's are the good guys not the bad ones. The composition and size of virus's are specific to the type of radiation and hence to the part of the brain under attack. Flu virus's are similar but bigger than polio virus's and are specific to a different region of the brain. Mostly the virus's do their job and the brain repels the effect of the radiation allowing the effect of the disease to just go away but sometimes the strength of the radiation overwhelms the cells containing the virus and this is when damage to the CNS sets in with associated varying degrees of debility.
Paralytic polio was a rare disease before the Industrial Age but the palsies were not uncommon and known to be caused by toxic medicines containing mercury, arsenic and other assorted ingredients, referred to as “mercurial diseases”. Examples of toxic paralysis are all around us in nature. Snakes, spiders and species of fish in particular emit potent neurotoxins as a means of food gathering and survival defence. Our ancestors coined the word “virus” in its original meaning of “poison”, a concept that still resonates with us now although a false belief persists that viruses are living things, encouraged by the inaccurate use of words like “live” and “killed”. Viruses are biochemical structures with crystalline shapes and coded genetic information very similar to enzymes. They’re considered key components of evolutionary change, carried in the cells of living organisms which transmit viral ‘programs’ into the greater environment, internally and externally. Viral infections are usually specific to the type of tissue infected because they are biochemically ‘directed’ and require a precise set of conditions to occur, including “receptors”. Viral infections can arise when living cells die and decompose, their viral components released in a phenomenon called a “cytopathic effect”. This is why antibiotics don’t work on viral infections, and can actually increase the presence of virus.
Large inputs of new chemicals introduced in the 1860s began affecting small pockets of people who shared geographic proximity, industrial labours, or contamination sources With hindsight, it’s easy to see how the Rothschilds' and Rockefellers' institutionalized their practice of eugenics. It’s much harder to encompass the scope in our present time and realize that millions of good people have been miseducated into helping them execute their plans. But planned it is. Hand over hand in the great military-industrial complex that we were warned to watch, ironically by the same man under whose tenure the polio vaccine came to fruition, the wheel has come full circle (President Eisenhower - ed).
Speaking on behalf of the Gulf War Syndrome researchers, Dr. Howard Urnovitz happened to relate his graduate experience in the lab inducing polio in animals with chemicals or radiation. Radiation! Why has no one else told us that radiation causes polio? The obvious answer is that we might dig into the record and find out that almost everything we learned about disease is a lie and we totter now on the brink of losing the last domain which we thought was truly our own –our genes and chromosomes. If the establishment choice of ‘treatment’ is an indication of how we are being targeted for control, Dr Urnovitz’s words are right on the money. “It’s not the germs –it’s the genome.”
Through the use of X-ray experiments, and subsequent studies on fallout, we can finally see the connection to polio and understand how hundreds of disease conditions were brought into unnatural being
These are quotes from research documents dating from the 1950s and 60s, most of them prepared under military auspices. The chief military concern was human performance under conditions of the Nuclear Battlefield:
“Radiation-Induced changes in the nervous system’s..central role in behaviour makes it the presumed primary mediator of radiation-induced performance deficits.” (Radiation makes soldiers performance diminish - ed).
“…One hypothesis is that a sufficiently large radiation dose causes permanent brain lesions, demyelination,and necrosis, which in turn produce chronic behavioural deficits. In addition, short-lived behavioural phenomena may be mediated by transient vascular changes that induce edema or ischemia in the CNS (Central nervous system - ed). A second hypothesis is that performance changes are mediated by significant alterations in brain function due to neurochemistry and neurophysiology. As is often the case, there is some truth in both hypotheses”
“A review of many standard radiobiology textbooks reveals the common belief that the adult nervous system is relatively resistant to damage from ionizing
radiation exposure…however, this view was eroded when it was later shown that the latency period for..radiation damage..is simply longer than it is in other organ systems.”
“In the brain…different topographical regions may have varying susceptibility to ionizing radiation.
…gamma nerve fibres are more sensitive…reflexes are more radioresistant than motor coordination..indicating that radiation mainly affects the functions of the subcortico-brainstem formations of the brain.”
“The phenomena of latent Central Nervous System radiation damage (with doses above the threshold) has been well documented.
…speculation on the likely pathogenesis of late radiation lesions reveals (a) radiation may act primarily on the vascular system…and (b) radiation may have a primary effect on cells of the neural parenchyma ['parenchyma' means "primary organ tissue"]
There are thousands upon thousands of declassified and publicly produced medical citations in the GWU archives indicating all manner of conceivable experiments with radiation and radioactive chemicals on human beings. Paralysis, cancer, birth defects, psychological disorders – this is just a taste. X-ray abuse was an essential component in paving the way for nuclear proliferation and high-energy weapons. Chemical giant Monsanto, wartime operator of the Oak Ridge nuclear facility along with Union Carbide, began pumping out reactor-made radioisotopes for medical ‘study’ in 1946 under the direction of the Atomic Energy Commission and its chief, David Lilienthal http://citizen2009.wordpress.com/monsanto/. The imperative of covering up the radiation cause of polio, and “racing for a vaccine” after 1945, is obvious in retrospect. The military-medical establishment put its top guns on the task. The anomalous propaganda and distortion of polio takes on a meaningful light with the knowledge that Operation Polio was integral to maintaining and advancing nuclear weapons. The Salk vaccine was a massive radiation experiment
This graph was designed only to bolster the DDT cause of polio, and yet it more accurately supports the radiation cause, strengthening an argument that pesticide poison data helps to cover-up the mass irradiation of the public. In reality, it does not. Careful perusal of this graph demonstrates radiation exposure, including the accident at Chernobyl (but not Three Mile Island until cumulative problems emerged between 1982-83). There’s nothing on the graph for 1979, yet it is famously known within the polio story that outbreaks among the Amish in 1979 were the “last wild polio” cases in North America. It simply doesn’t rate. The first burp on the line appears in 1887 and disappears completely in 1967. It’s assumed that less than one thousand recorded polio cases in a given year don’t show at all, because Zero cases in any year since the 1890s, the introduction of x-rays and radium, has never happened. In 1983, the line takes off like a rocket with the inclusion of ‘post-polio’ diagnosis (cumulative TMI fallout from ‘venting’), peaking in 1986 (Chernobyl), dropping fast to 1991 and falling as rapidly as the ’83 rise over the course of 1992, where it levels near the case-rate of 10,000.
Heady stuff for contemporary thinkers. 90,000 commercial chemicals, gene-destabilizing radiation, and 150 years of conditioned social science later we stand on our own crossroads. Scientists have the means and the will to “build better humans”. The issues are matters of utility. Weapons and Germ Theory have proved-out the degenerate lot of the human species. The Nuclear Age’s Baby-boom generation is mature: yesterday’s polio children are in their Golden Years but Americans would probably not survive another assault of the kind perpetrated in the 1950s. Our bodies are more fragile. The fallout from atomic-bombs has been estimated to be equivalent to 40,000 Hiroshima-sized blasts, or 16kt of deadly poisons 40,000 times over. It came down with the snow and rain, grew up with the grasses and trees, and the cycle is repeating itself with Chemtrails as we shift from Nuclear to Nanotech, biologically speaking. Nuclear energy is not going away. In fact, more is planned and the medical research hierarchy is devising ways of reconfiguring entrovirus 71 DNA to become radio-resistant.
In 1963, it also became public news that the Salk and Sabin vaccines were contaminated with a monkey virus called SV40, now known as the most useful biological agent in creating artificial transgenic lifeforms. How deep does this experiment go?
Here is a list of diseases that are polio by another name or are medically very closely related to polio.
Accute flaccid paralysis
Entrovirus 71 (Real polio's new name)
Influenza / Grippe (the French name is common in Europe)
Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Fibromyalgia (Sorry about that one but it was in the list)
Creutzfeld Jacob Disease
West Nile Virus (Real polio)
(FDR caught infantile paralysis when he was 39 except it isn't contagious so best medical opinion decided it was Guillain-Barre syndrome)
1 I would like to introduce you to Jennifer Lake. All of the material
for this post and the previous one came from either of her two blogs.
Jennifer was a nursing student who read extensively around her subject. As a result she discovered that polio was caused by radiation alone or radiation together with toxic waste. She also discovered the depth of the fraud of the military industrial medical complex in creating modern disease, not for use just against an enemy but against the population at large. She gave up her studies to concentrate on research because she had no intention of patching people up for another ride on the health bus only for them to get thrown off again further down the road. The result is the two blogs listed above. In two years they have become an extensive work. New articles are tagged and tagged headings appear down the side of the page. An article appears in full as part of each tag so the whole subject can be read without going backward and forwards.
2 Colloidal Silver
I know some of you are into ingesting this for health reasons. I would recommend those people to read Jen's article “Every silver lining has a black cloud” subtitled “How the PTB got the informed to poison themselves.” You can then make a balanced decision on how you proceed.
Detox is usually performed with a class of chemicals called chelates (pronounced key-lates). This is a class of chemicals which seeks out heavy metals and traps them in a spatial arrangement of atoms known technically as steric hindrance. It can be thought of like a hand and fingers gripping a tennis ball however there is no chemical bond between the chelate and the metal. The body then disposes of the chelated metal in the usual way.
3 German New Medicine
I found this through Jennifer Lake's blog and was so seduced by this I was considering writing a third post about it. After getting fairly deep into microbiology for beginners for a couple of weeks I decided it was all Emperor’s Clothes and so I junked it.
The theory goes like this. Other diseases, cancer particularly, also begin with a physical assault inside the head in a similar way to radiation. According to Dr. Hamer, who invented the theory, this is not some Freudian psycho babble but a real effect that can be detected on a CT scanner. Like radiation this is always associated with a physical disease at a part of the body controlled by the brain at the point where where the brain attack occurs. The effect of disease is actually the healing process and not some random act of terrorism by nature. As the body heals then also does the brain. There is a lot more to it than that but this is the theory distilled down to its essence. The initial problem I had with this is how does leukaemia and other diseases of the blood occur since the blood doesn't have a site, it is everywhere. I did some reading around and found that Dr Hamer is not all that he first appears but that in itself does not make his theory wrong. The non-sequitur step is the initial supposition that other diseases attack the CNS in the same way as radiation. This combined with the fact that anomalies or quirks in the CT brain scan results is a known issue of some models of generation 1 CT scanners. The best thing on this one is to let you decide for yourself. I think however that Jennifer Lake is letting herself down a bit by endorsing this theory without mentioning there is unresolved controversy over it.
Here is the pro argument:
And here is the anti:
It should not be implied from this that I am throwing my weight behind Anaximperator. I consider him to be a shrill for big pharma. His purpose seems to be to denigrate anything that is not established mainstream treatment. If anything new shows promise or is well received such as this which appeared in New Scientist:
it is just never mentioned, not a sausage, not even a hint of a whisper even though a well researched guy like him must know of its existence. On the balance of probabilities, however I am going with the sticky mud theory.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Those of us that spend a disproportionate amount of time getting their news and views off the internet (like us) are seeing more and more discussion about the OWS (Occupy Wall Street) movement. Every web site that I go to daily for information and commentary are dealing with it to some extent. On a personal level, I have to lend moral support to those folks that are out demonstrating against the big banks and the Federal Reserve.
However, upon close examination it sure appears to me that all this demonstrating, occupying some small area of a city and chanting will be for naught. The reason I say this is because of the assumptions these demonstrations have to justify their happening, namely; 1. That change in the economic system can be affected by the citizens by the demonstrations, 2. That the demonstrations are taking place in an environment where the government is sensitive and hopefully sympathetic to the demonstrators, and 3. That our government is an independent entity (not controlled by the financial interests). None of those assumptions appear to be true to me.
Charles Smith in Monday’s post put up a link to a Tyler Durden article, which outlines what he thinks should also be done. His article contains much of the same kind of assumptions that the OWS demonstrators have. Common throughout Durden's article and others of the same sentiment is the theme that the money has to be removed from the big banks and the Federal Reserve has to be abolished. There are many more assumptions contained in these ideas, namely removing money from the election process, doing something about the Supreme Court being another toady group for big financial interests, citizen financing of the electoral process, term limitations and so forth. I happen to agree with all of it.
However, upon close examination of these problem-solving ideas, there are some rather palatable big problems that I can see being created.
For instance, removing money from the too big to fail banks, that is, closing your accounts and taking possession of the money, such as it is. For those citizens that have bank accounts of one type or another, that means doing SOMETHING with the cash. Hide it under a mattress or bury a fruit jar full of it or put it into a small regional bank or a credit union? I have seen no commentary on what would happen or what the PTB response would be if that became a mass movement.
So let’s take a look at the probable PTB response. They could create the environment and/or laws where small regional banks and credit unions could not operate and force you to use the to big to fail institutions. They could force a cashless economy for those who insist on having in hand possession of the cash money. If you start investigating this you will find that the push to a cashless society is actually underway. In Louisiana you supposedly cannot buy and sell used goods with cash anymore. Toll roads all over the country are going cashless. The internet is full of examples of this push to a cashless society. When we can avoid it, we do not use the big international banks either. But, I so see that if a lot of momentum in the populace to remove money from the big international financial system caught on, there would be a big response from the financial elites.
Lots of other suggestions abound to fight the big money interests. Going to a mostly barter system for exchanging goods, going to a gold and silver means of exchange, etc. I do hope that you all realize that the IRS does not like barter systems because then flow of capital in whatever form is neither traceable nor taxable. If that caught on, you can bet the screws would be tightened up on that. In fact, in many states right now, barter is considered illegal under some circumstances. In the news has been a bunch of instances where coop farms, (a form of barter) is prosecuted and shut down and food coops are being shut down, again a form of barter and localization.
Going to local currencies and script for trade has been in the past and currently being shut down by law enforcement. Just try and issue a local currency in your community to cut out the big banks for their grabbing a chunk of the dough. If local currencies gained much traction you can bet there would be a massive effort to stop it.
All of this is to enforce the use of plastic as currency and focus control by the financial elites.
Of course, it sure appears to me that the financial elite’s control of money and its usage has been going on forever. The means of control has remained rather constant over time. The government and its control over law enforcement, enactment of advantageous laws and control of the military make sure the uppity citizens that want to keep a bigger share of whatever capital in whatever form is available are thwarted, and ensures the flow to the top people at any given time in the financial world. It also appears to me that enforcement of this has worked by keeping citizens afraid of all sorts of things. Enforced starvation and/or poverty, incarceration and even death being the most potent forms of fear based control.
Again, I encourage people to look at assumptions contained in solutions to the many problems that are engaging societies. They will be the death of many legitimate movements to change how things are done.
In my view, as long as most of societies view government as the means controlling how people interact with each other and controls their well being, it will not improve the situation. There was a certain amount of truth to Reagan’s statement that “government IS the problem”.
I think that the latest essay by Survival Acres (Oct 31) is a synapses of our situation these days. Although he is the king of gloom and doom for sure, it doesn’t take away from his premises and conclusions. His conclusion that humans on this planet are a blight and are doomed to extinction may indeed be a bit extreme, all due to our hubris about ourselves. It also seems fairly obvious that if we don’t change our ways of living that we very well could drive ourselves to extinction, along with almost all other living things on this planet. I do not believe that it is necessarily inevitable though, even if a definite possibility. Whatever the conditions of development in humans to end up where we are today is not necessarily a condition that has to be perpetuated. Humans can change, perhaps a bit of oddity in the animal kingdom on this planet. If humans are incapable of changing how they view themselves and what they do, down the road I do not see how we can survive as a species. Hell, there is even a question of survival in the lives that inhabit this planet today.
I see but one solution. Humans must change.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Things are pretty good at the homestead.
“I, too, have been seduced by the Intellect - obsessed with "understanding" and "knowing what is going on," I can while away hours, big hunks of days and years, trying to put it all together in my head, despite wrong information, lies, deception, with enough just enough truth thrown in to keep things going.” From freeacre
Zoner shared in the comments from the last post, that he has come to terms with not knowing, and now he has more time for his kids and his guitar. Somehow, a balance between awareness of the world and a subjective immediate immersion in one’s own life and location needs to be established, it seems to me.
I was mulling over the conversation regarding a “fast” or a “slow” crash as I walked around the property in my pajamas the other morning. I was checking out the garden and the greenhouses while being followed by the poultry posse. After all, it was upon reading Michael Ruppert in 2002 and 3 that we began to anticipate a fast crash. Ruppert nailed the timing of the real estate bust. It gave us time to take out a home improvement loan, pay off the car and the credit card debt and re-model the house. We figured that we had a year to fix up the home and sell it before the housing market tanked. I am grateful to that “knowing what is going on” fixation. As you all know, we sold the house in Tahoe, moved to central Oregon, and bought the cheapest acre with a mobile home in the local MLS listings in September of 2004. And retired.
That was seven years ago.
Anticipating the crisis that would manifest once Peak Oil became a household term (we figured around 2006), we began stocking up on food supplies, and began to compost our leftovers and planted a garden a year after that. It’s a good thing that peak oil has not caused the disruption that we thought it would. I mean, it has led to all sorts of political and financial mischief, wars, etc. But, so far the gas is still in the pumps. The oil barons are just pumping it now from deep waters where the damage will not only be to the land and air, it will now extend to the seas as well. I guess the big plan was to reduce our use of oil by getting rid of manufacturing. Americans can all be waiters, stockbrokers, bank tellers, ski-slope trimmers or whatever… Yeah, that was a plan. We can see how that one is working out. I guess it did buy some time. And the rich have been able to get richer, so their plan seems to have worked. I had a different plan. But then life hit.
That food we stored up is going bad now that the expiration dates have long since expired. I guess we were not as diligent as we should have been regarding the “rotating” of the canned goods. For openers, it took murph about two years to convince me that rotating the cans didn’t mean turning them upside down. Well, anyway, I digress…
I was walking around in my p.j.’s thinking about a “fast crash” with a sense of irony. If and when things ever really fall apart it might seem fast. But, it will be like the actress who works her ass off for years in small plays and bit parts, all the while learning her craft and making the right contacts. Then “all of a sudden” she gets a part in a film that puts her on a whole new star track for the foreseeable future. So, was that sudden or not? Depends on how you look at it.
So, for us, living in a way that anticipated coping with immanent disaster, has led us to the way we are now. We’re feeling pretty secure on the crisis front. We have not slacked in our efforts to cope in a post electronic and post petroleum world. The latest effort that murph is making with the help of this young couple who are our friends, is to build a well house over the well head that will shelter a hand pump installed in the well. I figure that if an EMP from the sun or some man-made weapon takes out our electricity, we had better figure a way to get water than standing outside in the winter dipping it out by hand with an Amish dipper. So now, thanks to the Lehyman’s non-electric catalog, we have the hand pump, and soon we’ll have the shelter as well. Just, you know, in case…
Peak Oil doesn’t seem to be the critical issue right now. But, after reading Matt Savinar’s blog for years (Life After the Oil Crash – Breaking News), there is no doubt that it is having an impact on our lives – and fortunes. It’s probably part of what drove the money mutants to ramp up the finance industry with real estate and assorted derivatives when they couldn’t depend on Oil anymore. So, The Rich have been squeezing it out of the The Rest for the last thirty years or so. They also have been enriching the military-industrial complex, running the international drug trade, and propping up the stock market with the laundered drug money. They’ve managed, world-wide, to centralize banking to the point that sovereign nations are secondary to the regional currency, as with the Euro. The plan to institute the Amero for us, Canada, and Mexico seems to have stalled after many of the neo-cons left Washington D.C. It’s probably still on the books.
A different warning that Ruppert, et al, also trumpeted years ago was about debt. He and many money gurus counseled avoiding being crippled by personal debt. But, back then they were really pissing into the wind. Advertising, media, and international corporations merged and became the communications arm of the globalist bankers. Computers, cell phones, desk-tops, iPads, television programs combined with social networking – all commercials for stuff and more stuff to purchase with a credit card, of course. And now banks are going to charge a fee for us slackers who do not maintain at least a $1,500 balance of debt!! It’s like a pimp telling his lady to not come home without at least five hundred dollars. What a pimp job.
Most of the kids growing up didn’t have a chance. Everybody told them they had to go to college at all costs if they were to have any chance at all to jump onto the gravy train. Many even signed up for the armed services just to get the chance to someday go to college. Now, on average, they are graduating at least $25,000 in debt at an interest rate that most of them will never be able to re-pay and from which there is no bankruptcy recourse. Debt servitude. That’s slavery without the housing. With not near enough jobs in site, for them, the shit HAS hit the fan. And, on top of that, the country just put them in the position of footing the bill for the trillions of dollars of national debt – all owed to the same detestable douche bags (Yes, that’s you, the Federal Reserve). And there is no real promise of any social security or any other help from the government for them.
Engineered or not, this is getting pretty close to the spontaneous combustion stage. If you think back to most of the rioting in the world, it’s mostly youth who feel that they have nothing to look forward to or to lose. Who can blame them? School loans and growing up with no medical and dental have taken their toll on a lot of them. With the “take over” movement, maybe the oldsters will stop whining long enough to take a look at what young people’s suffering looks like, what families are going through, Reminds me of the poem by Langston Hughes,
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Well, here in my backyard, I’m not sensing any explosions. Even the comets and asteroids, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, earthquakes, planetary alignments, stuff falling from space, the marching magnetic poles of the earth, and the alignment with the Galactic Center seem to be managing to hold things together without my help. One of my biggest problems is that my pole beans only produced two beans in the greenhouse. Why? Why?
But, still we build a hand pump onto the well. By now, it’s not so much for the Crash – fast or slow. It’s because more and more it feels good to be connected – to the land, the water, the garden, the animals. It tastes good to eat mostly stuff that is not contaminated with godknowswhat. We like the neighbors and friends we have developed here. We are on a first name basis with our city and county commissioners, as well as the DEQ and the planning commission’s steering committees.
Sometimes I have to remind myself to tear away from all the things that are sick and wrong, and focus on what’s around me that has worked out right, even though it was not a well-controlled event.
But, once again, I think the Overlords already have a plan to deal with the troublesome Useless Eaters. Take a look at Clif High’s most recent post. He anticipates a Shock & Awe event around the 15th of this month if I am not mistaken.
There goes that Compulsion to Know thing again. Rats!
Friday, September 23, 2011
HSW calls this the circle of everything
Upon investigation, the term middle class is a real tough definition. We tend to want to define it in terms of income. That is not complete because a $30 -$50 grand income supports very large variables in standards of living, depending on where you are locating that income. Manhattan and $50 grand income is nothing. In Podunk city a $50 grand income is indeed upper middle class. I think that middle class should be defined as the amount of income left over after a very basic cost of living, and that does not include a 3000 sq ft house in the burbs with a BMW in the driveway. It seems that when distributed across the US, middle class is commonly accepted as incomes anywhere from $50 grand a year to $100 grand a year.
I did a bit of poking around and the difference in definitions of middle class is spectacular. Industrial countries all define it different. But it appears to me that it is mostly dependent on the amount of stuff you can buy over and above basic median living costs of the area you are living in.
So how does middle class life style show up in job demographics? After perusing government stats and several papers on the subject, I have to conclude that for the most part, middle class jobs consist of what we call white collar jobs, that is, jobs that make nothing and mostly consist of paper and computer work and supervisory positions. Parts of the health care areas that are middle class and several other areas are exceptions to that.
It appears that the most meaningful demographics on middleclass indicate that it comprises about 30%-50% of the working part of society.
Now what got me started on this is that for the last several years’ economic commentaries from a variety of authors are bemoaning the decrease in the amount of middle class households. Other than the idea that middle class incomes are the mainstay of government taxes and support of the consumer society, they haven’t much else to say on the subject. Oh the poor middle class, they are disappearing and it’s all the fault of government taxation and confiscation of wealth that class had accumulated. Bull shit!
There have been several periods in this country when the middle class had heavily invested in stocks and commodities through various means and that was where a lot of their wealth was centered. Direct buying into stocks and things like 401K investments. In what appears to me as a valid perspective on that; it was a gamblers position. So when we had the big financial dump in 2008 these people got hurt, they lost all or a large percentage of their wealth holdings. Now do we have sympathy with the folks that go into a casino and lose a bundle? Of course not. We know the casino is loaded against the gambler. Well, investing in the financial services and stocks and municipal bonds and all the other forms of finding a means of making money with no output of effort is a gamble. If the financial situation turns sour, as it has, you lose. All of this investment effort was directed to increasing ones money holding with free money and making no productive effort in doing so, in other words, trying to get something for nothing over and above your original payout.
Same thing applies to other investments. Housing and land are a very good example. Remember during the early 2000’s that the common concept on land and housing is that they would never go down in value, that is, what they could be exchanged for in dollars. Well, the middle class bought hook line and sinker into that and many got burned with the housing crash. All of a sudden, their million dollar home cannot be sold for anywhere near their purchase price. And, in conjunction with that, many had refinanced multiple times so that they owe much more than the property can be sold for. Under water home ownership indeed! I feel their pain!
My lack of sympathy extends to more than the financial aspect too. What economic class bought into the consumer society? It sure wasn’t the poor folks that barely got by, at least originally. I think it is apparent where that has gotten us; Huge degradation of the environment, huge usage of non-renewable resources, and the throw away society. As a class of consumers I reckon that is something to hold up with pride, right?
The middle class has always jumped on the wagon carrying the value system that “I got mine and if you ain’t got yours, your either lazy or god doesn’t approve of you at all” That last part was in very common usage from about the end of the civil war to the last great depression, encouraged by the Christian value systems of the time. Although I have had that attitude expressed to me countless times over the years and a lot of the new age semi religion advocate it in a variety of forms. Did that attitude encourage the “greed is good” value system? I would posit yes it did and then along came Ayn Rand and Bernays, and Karl Rove and Leo Strauss that reinforced it at the government level. You know, “the American way of life is non-negotiable” stuff out there.
During the heydays of the American industrial revolution the blue collar workers could actually have some hope of reaching the middle class position. Many did. WWII helped a lot on that also. The late 40’s and the 50’s were the period of the largest percentage of middle class folks in our society. It’s been down hill since the 60’s for a variety of reasons. Since 1944, inflation has devalued the dollar by over 90% and wages began a very noticeable stagnation since the 60’s, that is, blue collar workers pay didn’t even keep pace with inflation. The incomes of certain types of jobs did increase enormously, from the middle class jobs up to the elites income in the form of investments and the complete financialization of the economy, to where today; those with the top positions have increased their share of the countries incomes and wealth way beyond whatever justification you might offer. Multiple million dollar bonuses are absurd, especially when they are causing so much grief down the ladder of economic class.
I would expect to get some disagreements on this kind of analysis, but for me, the data speaks for itself. I have no sympathy for the downgrade of the middle class. They brought it all upon themselves as far as I can see and with rare exception, their value systems suck.
That said, I return to a brief statement about the last post on SF and Greer.
Several people noted that Greer and some other writers have, in a nutshell, a real ego problem. It shows up in their comments concerning disagreement of perceptions or reasoning and in some cases, of data. I can understand the impulse to defend ones position on some subject; hell I do it too. This subject of defense of ones most cherished beliefs I have covered before. When a person’s beliefs are based on ideology rather than a realistic assessment of what is transpiring around them, that person then becomes immersed in a defensive position, and is a trap easy to fall into. My father years ago had what I considered a piece of wisdom for me; every thoughtful person should take out their most cherished beliefs and examine them very periodically for how they work, consequences and how they match up with the reality around them. If they no longer work, or have undesirably consequences or not match up with the reality around them, then change those beliefs. Unfortunately, this usually involves some mental energy and usually some emotional pain, both of which are generally avoided by most people. You first have to admit that your stance is/was wrong. Not an easy thing for most to do, a contradiction of the ego. I am using “belief” here in a broad sense; A commitment to an idea or pattern of ideas that may or may not have substantial data to support it. An example. A writer that Freeacre and I have followed for years maintains that all questioning and conspiracy theories concerning 9-11 are bullshit, there is ample evidence that none of those theories have weight. I along with some others have suggested to him that he needs to dig a bit deeper into the data, which he adamantly refuses to do and has shut down all discussion on the subject. His sole defense that he has presented to me is an article in Popular Mechanics put out in Feb of 2005. (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/1227842)
It’s as if Popular Mechanic has the last word on the subject. When I take that article and compare it to a lot of the other 9-11 data dug up by supposedly reliable researchers, the PM article becomes a joke, in my opinion of course. Read it if you haven’t before. It is easy to tear it apart using other data from other “experts”. Now, this writer is seemingly unable to delve deeper into this controversy. What are the consequences of a general population doing the same? Does this position actually work with the additional data being presented? Or, is my stance (beliefs) on the corruption of high elites in our government and the reliability of the “science experts” that presented this article in PM not realistic and am I taking a stance that has no basis in reality?
In reality, the best an individual can do is to examine as much of the data available on any subject and come to some kind of conclusion (Belief) concerning it. That mine is very contradictory to the above writer’s conclusions proves nothing. It appears that this problem of “beliefs” on any subject is a black hole that cannot be resolved. If a person is conscientious about such stuff and keeps an open mind to new information that can be considered reliable, we can hope that we are at least somewhat in alignment with the reality of the situation. However, it appears to me that we can never be absolutely sure of that. I honestly try and keep in a mental space where I can change those “beliefs” with sufficient evidence to the contrary. LOL But we all know that 9-11 was an inside job.
As a side note, I find it very interesting that large amounts of the elites are assembling in and around Denver Colorado, where the huge underground city (documented) has been built. Does this have anything to do with space events that have been posited that promise to be detrimental to life on earth? I guess if that huge solar flare heading for earth actually happens and fries most everything on the surface, all we can really do is put up the lawn chairs and enjoy the light show as it comes at us.
This brings up my last comment for this post. One of the common assumptions is that the elites are people who, at its most basic level, are pretty much just like us. You know, the putting their pants on one leg at a time kind of thing. While their value systems we take issue with, they are not necessarily more intelligent than we are but, obviously more clever at making money and exercising power. I’m beginning to question that assumption for these reasons. Outside of the newly rich, the power families of this world are very closed, in some cases inbred and their children are raised having just about every advantage this world has to offer in education and health care. Would this lead to a dynasty in these families of overall superior intelligence and abilities? Notable exceptions do appear, like our last president, either that or he was immensely clever at disguising his superiority and appear as just another dumb Billy Bob. With smart breeding and culling of the less desirable traits, humans can do the same thing as we do with domesticated animals, breed for the desirable traits. Now there obviously is not data on this kind of speculation, but I do wonder about it. If it is true, us other mere mortals are so doomed. In which case I just can hope that when the elites emerge from their underground cities that there is enough of a wasteland left that they all commit suicide from depression. Sigh.
I can't believe these feathered dinosaurs. They actually threatened me with a moratorium on eggs if I didn't hurry up and get the grain out!
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Dehydrated cherry tomatoes. Finally getting some things from the Garden!
SCIENCE FICTION AND THE FUTURE
I know many of our readers follow The Archdruid postings. I do faithfully. A few of them I considered important enough to archive into storage. John Michael Greer (the archdruid) I have great respect for. Knowledgeable, well read, studious, pays attention to details and a good writer and I seldom have serious dispute with his postings.
However, I have to take exception to his Sept. 7 post titled “Invasion of the Space Bats” that is concerned mostly with science fiction writing.
I will fully admit that I have been a big fan of science fiction writing since the late 60’s. I had a rather huge collection of paperback novels a bunch of years ago, finally got tired of moving them and sold almost all of them, comprised of nearly 1500 books. I still have around almost the complete works of Heinlein and several others of my favorite authors.
In my opinion, Greer has a rather myopic view of SF writing. He stated; “it was basically a collection of wish-fulfillment fantasies for teenage boys. (And that, Mr. de Camp, is what the woman in the brass brassiere is doing on the cover of your book.) “. Bull shit in my opinion. In fact, Greer’s belittlement of SF smacks of Ayn Rand and her condemnation of everything but classical music. I sure would hate to see Greer go in the direction of Randisms, he’d lose me in a heartbeat.
My fascination with SF up until about 1980 was the alternate views concerning how humans could organize themselves into societies and how they would work. “The wish-fulfillment fantasies” dealing with technology was entirely of secondary concern for me. I was interested in the author’s conception of how societies could be organized differently, how motivations of individuals and groups could influence actions and what the consequences might be, and how future societal values might evolve. I have a rather long list of SF books that highlight that line of thinking. Greer’s myopic view that these novels were exclusively about technology and teenage fantasies is very poor reductionism and IMO misses the author’s points by wide margins.
It is true that many SF novels focused on the author’s concept of future technology and engaged in how that technology was used. These novels usually had poor character development, pretty thin plot lines and rather predictable outcomes. I read them for the purely entertainment value. But to make Greer’s mistake of lumping them all into “wish-fulfillment fantasies” is only showing a lack of extensive investigation on his part.
I mostly stopped indulging in SF reading around 1980 or so because I observed a couple of changes going on. I got tired or reading acclaimed novels that seemed to only be concerned with the number of words being printed and paid for and had nothing significant to say. I also lost interest in the change from speculation on social organization to what I call science fantasy. These works migrated into magic and the occult and completely unbelievable futures. Purely entertainment without significant content and probably would fit into Greer’s “wish fulfillment fantasies”.
I recently had an acquaintance lay on me 4 sacks of her SF books to read. I recently went through two of the sacks and am reading only one of the novels. The rest I won’t bother with because they are those science fantasy types that IMO have nothing significant to say about anything. The person that let me borrow these book is a retired teacher and a self proclaimed SF nut and offers literary critique on a broad scale. I’m not looking forward to returning the books unread since she recommended them so highly. But I refuse to waste my time on them. The one novel I am reading is concerned with nano-technology misuse and how it affected the people involved. The author seems to have made the attempt to really understand the technology as it is today and project it into the future applications, mostly military. So far, that novel hasn’t disappointed me. I shall see how it ends up.
In talking about SF we also need to include the movie part of it. Freeacre and I have recently seen a bunch of the most wretched god awful written and produced Sf movies ever. The plots were pretty good, but everything else presenting it was so poorly done as quite literally, were not worth watching. For some reason that I don’t fully understand, the SF movies for the most part do not have much significant to say, pure entertainment alone. There are exceptions IMO. The Matrix series I think have some significant statements as does the Terminator series. “The Road” which is a pretty dark movie does project some possible scenarios into the future, as does the movie “Children of Men”. I think that “The Postman” (which is a futuristic movie and SF) also has some significant statements about humans and how they can organize and live after a huge catastrophe.
Which leads me to another subject associated with SF that I have touched on before. There is much written today and in the past concerning the past, present and future. The advice from many authors, religions and philosophy views is to live in the present. Upon examination of some of these “live in the present” positions, I have come to the conclusion that it is a fantasy game in the brain. There is no such thing as “the present” and humans that try and live there are kidding themselves. What is possible is to limit to some extent the amount lived in the past or projections into the future.
Let’s start with some definitions. The future is what might be, but is not manifested at this time and space. The past is what is remembered and has already taken place. The present is what is “now”. That is where the rub is. What is the time interval for “now”? The minute you identify “now”, it is in the past. The past and the future have no time limitations. I am going to assert that humans cannot live in that short a time span of brain activity. What are we going to talk about, milliseconds, Pico-seconds? “Now” in reality simply does not exist in any human conceptualization that has meaning. What we mostly refer to as “now” is a short time span in the past.
It is true that humans may indulge in what is called “impulse behavior” that does not have significant reflection on past memories, but, I would assert that operating primarily on impulse behavior has more negative consequences on a person than might be acknowledged. Even the “fight or flight” impulses are based on past memories.
One of the characteristics of the human brain is that it has selective memory and is most of the time very inaccurate for a variety of reason. Since the memory of the past events can never be absolutely verified we have to accept our interpretation and “memory” of events that influence our actions in the future. Living in the “now” implies that memory of the past and projections into the future can be discounted and that, my readers, is flat out impossible. It is not the way the human brain works. Even other animals operate by remembering the past, which is the basis for actions in the future. A well-trained dog remembers past commands and acts accordingly. So do all of us. .
The real question for me anyway, is how accurate are the memories and their relationship to reality. From experience, I know damned well that I have memories that are doctored, maybe even pure fantasy. How many times have friends said to you that your memory of some incident is not how it was, or that they saw it very different? Or how many times has a friend related and incident you were involved in sometime in the past and you don’t recognize it because you remember it different?
On a very rudimentary level, our very survival depends on memory of the past. That memory and the resulting consequences of some event is what keeps us alive and able to project consequences into the future. When our memory is very inaccurate most of the time and not in conjunction with reality, we probably will not survive. In my view, that is the purpose of history, inaccurate as it is, to keep us focused on what has gone on before and its implications for the future. If the history that we keep locked up in our minds is way off base in relation to reality, we will make some really bad decisions concerning future actions, much to our detriment.
I conclude that all the new age stuff about living in the “present” in the “now” is so much nonsense. It can’t be done and only diverts ones attention from what is important to human living and survival.
At this point I want to thank all of you that have offered opinions concerning this blog and its continuance. That the comments were so predominately encouraging and supportive took me a bit by surprise. It truly felt to me that the blog was becoming stale without much new to talk about. We are not about to disconnect from this blog in the immediate future, and maybe we just need a few people to make contributions with some fresh insights we haven’t thought of. Belgium says he has some in the works. Let’s see how this progresses.
Thanks again to all of you.