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Picture Perfect Day on the Last Great Frontier

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on July 22, 2018

Image result for sunrise in alaska

Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Table inside the Diner

Regular readers of the Diner may have noticed the recent absence of my Sunday Brunch article, which I have been religiously writing basically since we launched the Diner in February of 2012.  For quite some time I was actually publishing 2 or 3 blogs a week, and/or pocasts or videos.  For the first time in my memory, I missed 3 consecutive weeks with nary a word, at least not outside on the Front Page of the Diner.  I'm still posting inside the Diner, though vastly reduced numbers there as well.  So what's the story?

Well, regular readers should also know about my many health issues, which seem to be on a fixed course headed Due South.  The last couple of months have seen 3 stays in hospital, with new and ever more debilitating symptoms showing up all the time.  My available energy for contemplating and writing about the issues of Doom is all being consumed by trying to cope with my own personal Doom and the impending arrival of the Grim Reaper for his final visit.  He pays me a call just about every night, but so far has left me still ticking after each visit, but also with some new problem to make my exit to the Great Beyond a little more arduous.  I am not getting the EZ Ticket Out I had hoped for, going out quick in  blaze of youthful macho glory in one of my motorcycle crashes or defending the first SUN☼stead from hordes of incoming Zombies with my AR-15, or hell even just a massive coronary, richly deserved after decades of copious beer, tobacco & and saturated fats consumption.  No, I bought the ticket on the Local Train to the Great Beyond, packed in a wooden crate in the luggage car.  I rolled craps on this one.

Anyhow, fortunately my Cohort in Collapse Surly has been picking up the slack here with his Week in Doom articles, and the Doom as well has been much in the world of Politics lately with the ongoing Clown Show of Donalditry Trumpovetsky 🤡 and the Merry Jokers 🃏 from the Ruskie Mafia.  This material is treated far better and in more depth by Surly than I ever manage with it, he follows politics much more closely than I do.  My focus has always been Economics first, followed by Environmental degradation and related Climate and "Natural" Disaster problems, and the Psycho-social effects such as Mass Shootings. Not to mention of course all my FOOD articles!  lol.

Anyhow, coming up in about a month I am getting a visit from another Cohort in Collapse here on the Diner, my friend Eddie who is coming up here to visit with me for my Last Great Bucket List trip, a whirlwind tour of Alaska which he has never seen.  I would call it my "Last Great Adventure", except I already used that title last year around this same time when with the assistance of another friend I made the trip down to Rexburg, ID to witness the Total Eclipse of the SUN☼, which I had never been in a position to witness in all my years walking the Earth before that.  It's quite the show and experience, and I urge anyone who has never seen one from inside the Path of Totality to go to the next good one passing over the FSoA, which who knows I might still be alive for and which the Path of Totality will pass over Eddie's neighborhood in Texas in 2022.    If I do live that long, I sure hope it will be with some sort of miraculous recovery, because I don't want to live another 4 years in endless pain, that is for sure.  Just fending off the Grim Reaper for the next month to make the Bucket List trip is a daunting enough challenge these days.

So, in the absence of having much energy to write, for today I am putting up a little Photo Essay from pics I shot a couple of days ago on a Picture Perfect Sunny Summer's Day here on the Last Great Frontier.  I took the pictures on my regular Prep Run to my local Food Superstore on my newest Cripple Cart, a 3 wheel EV trike job that is pretty slow compared to my old 2-wheeler, but still covers this short distance in a reasonable amount of time.  Plus it gives me time to enjoy the weather and the great outdoors, because I don't see much of that any more.

A Picture Perfect Day on the Last Great Frontier

Over the River…

      

and thru the Woods…

down the bike path we go…

to check to see if the shelves are still stocked up with food goodies at 3 Bears 🐻🐻🐻

Great Deals on MEAT!

90% Lean from WA @ $4 lb! That's cheaper than Hot Dogs with who knows what in them!  A Meat Loaf to feed the family on a SNAP Card Gourmet Budget and Brown Bag Lunches for School and Work too!

Baby Lamb from Oz @ $6/lb for Boneless Legs and $12/lb for Rack of Lamb!  Great End of the month Premium meals for the SNAP Card Gourmet Budget!  Put them in the freezer at that price!  I can smell that Irish Lamb Stew simmering now…

Riding back home past the Flower Communities

This is where the white flowers live.  They have nice big estates to grow on.

Here is where the purple flowers live.  They have a more densely populated community.  Some white flowers are moving in to the outskirts and gentrifying the neighborhood.  Rents are going up.

Here is a multi-cultural community with purple, yellow and white trash flowers.

Looks like somebody flew in from the Bush to  visit while I was shopping!

Not me though, my friends are eco-aware and fly on commercial jets and visit in gas-guzzling RVs not Private Planes.

Finishing the day with Sunset on my Back Porch reflecting…

on all that I have done, all that I have not done, all that I should have done, all that I should not have done…of all of them there is one I have no regrets about, moving up here to the Last Great Frontier as the world comes to Collapse around me.  I am at peace here, and it is a good place to die.

 

Coda:  I may return to blogging Doom in the future, I may not, at this point I don't know.  For now, my Collapse Muse is on the D/L list as Surly put it.  While this remains the state of things, I will begin bringing back some Oldies but Goodies from the archives for my Sunday Brunch contributions to the Diner Blog.  There are many rookies here who never read them, and even the veterans here have probably long since forgotten them.  Old Doomer Bloggers never die really, they live on for all Eternity in the Archives.

The Week in Doom, July 15, 2018


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 15, 2018

“[The beast] also forced everyone… to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark.”

 ― Revelation 13:16-17  


A friend had a close call this week. A reminder of both the fragility and resilience of life and its tenuousness.

As we consider the trajectory of ecocide, it is easy to become demoralized by how little each of us can do. The earth we leave the next generation will be hotter, dryer, more toxic, less fruitful. Extinctions are reported regularly. Glaciers melt, rivers dry, wildfires rage, even in the Arctic, and the ticking methane hydrate bomb continues to lurk.  What can one person do? We can change our habits, prep up, sell our homes and goods and wander the earth like Cain. And the Universe will still turn. What one individual can do is limited, but we can commit to work for change. Difficult to do, and made harder still by the corporate co-optation of the political process. 

If you are collapse-aware and follow current trends in population, energy and resource consumption,, and concludes they are insupportable at current trajectories, what is the moral and ethical course of action? 

We are impatient people. We expect resolution of most stories in the compact arc of TV. Reality has other ideas.  Our current ecocide is a blip in geologic time, and history of Earth is written in eons. The planet doesn't really care what we think. In the fullness of time, after Earth sloughs off the virus known as humanity, within 10,000 years or so– the blink of Nature's eye– the healing will have begun. The planet will be fine; it's humanity that is well and truly fucked. 

It is a depressing prospect. My course of action is to tend to my knitting, and create some happiness and love for those closest to me, and try to leave some small piece of the world in better shape than I found it. It is not nearly enough.


Population Clock Ticking

This week on r/collapse, someone posted this little diversion: TOP 20 LARGEST COUNTRIES BY POPULATION (LIVE)

On this site you can watch the world population clock tot up births in real time as we rush toward the Seneca cliff of population overshoot. China and India tip the scales at a billion and change, and the US is third with 326M. The world population rate of growth is declining as overall population continues to increase.

Population in the world is currently (2018) growing at a rate of around 1.09% per year (down from 1.12% in 2017 and 1.14% in 2016). The current average population increase is estimated at 83 million people per year.

Annual growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at around 2%. The rate of increase has nearly halved since then, and will continue to decline in the coming years.

Human overpopulation exacerbates all of the key environmental issues. Like so many grasshoppers in a wheat field, we consume finite natural resources like fresh water, arable land and fossil fuels, far faster than they can be replenished. Overpopulation aggravates global warming, pollution, habitat loss, the sixth mass extinction, chemical-intensive farming, etc.

Spend five minutes on this page and consider how sobering the evidence is of a reduced future for the next generation, and the inexorability of massive population increases, all based on easily calculable birth rates.


Whither the economy?

Buoyed by the Trump Tax Cut, the economy is in go-go-go mode. The stock market is up, Even the solons at Marketwatch say so.

Surging sales at retailers is merely part of a broader wave in the economy that’s likely to swell gross domestic product to around 4% growth in the second quarter that runs from April to June.

Times are good. Unemployment is a measly 4%. Companies are hiring so fast they can’t find enough skilled workers. Business investment has strengthened.  And a flood of companies are likely to report heady second-quarter profits in the next few weeks. Americans simply haven’t felt this good about the economy in a few decades.

Happy days are here again! Yet financial journalists sound like touts when you look beyond the low-hanging statistical fruit. For one, the Trump Trade War and escalating tit-for-tat tariffs are not yet priced in. Plus we are at the tail of a prolonged, steady expansion since 2009, the third-longest upward climb on record. Juiced by the tax cut, the United States recorded 111 months without a recession in June. Only the 120-month run in the 1990s, a Golden Age for the U.S. economy created by the end of the Cold War and the rise of the Internet ran longer. 

What goes up…

A personal observation. My business is advertising sales, with revenue highly dependent on auto advertising. The auto sector has lagged projections all year.  Advertising spending is down. After seven straight growth years for domestic new-vehicle sales, manufacturers reported a sales drop of two per cent. 2018 has been equally soft. Edmunds.com predicted in January that domestic auto will be down nearly another two per cent. And when business is in the tank, one of the first things to go is advertising spend. What happens to a banana republic when no one wants bananas?

Zero per cent money helped bankroll the party. That too is ending.  

All this is before Trump's tariffs take that bite. We tend to think of tariffs as transactional, but we forget the ripple effects through the economy.

It's almost as if steel is critical to almost everything made, including… cars. Metals will cost more. Period. Anything manufactured, like soup cans, will cost more. I'm sure Trump is counting on his phalanx of infinitely-re-programmable Fox-watching meatbags to be unable to connect the dots between cause and effect.

American workers will suffer as other countries respond with their own tariffs, meaning that our stuff will become more expensive and/or unwelcome in global markets. Canada, Mexico and China have already announced retaliatory tariffs.

Even Tom Donahoe, President of the US Chamber of Commerce, warns that upwards of two million jobs will be lost.

Donohue wrote according to the Wall Street Journal, which reviewed the memo. “Our businesses will lose customers, workers will lose jobs, and American consumers will lose family income through higher taxes and higher prices.”

America’s relationship with its allies has taken another massive kick in the balls. Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on our allies is so unilateral, in violation of existing trade deals, and a breach of protocol that the administration had to invoke "national security," meaning the we had to label our allies as a threat. The Washington Post pointed out on Thursday, the United States is now placing more tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU than on China.

The smart money calls for a dip in 2019-20. But auto and related industries are already in a two year dip. For auto a recession is already here. Imagine scenarios that could trigger the "R" word– Democrats win control of the House in 2018 and ignite a long-overdue impeachment. Mueller rolls Manafort or Cohen. The Fed could raise interest rates. China's debt bubble could pop. North Korea could erupt, or Iran could blockade the Straits of Hormuz. 

It only takes one pin to pop a balloon.


Want Chips With That?

The trend for technology to get  smaller and more personal got a boost this week. A story moved about a contraceptive computer chip that can be controlled by remote control. The project, backed by Bill Gates, has resulted in a chip that when Implanted under a woman's skin releases a small dose of hormone. The dosage can be stopped at any time by using a wireless remote control.

No word on what happens when someone else grabs the remote. (They say secure encryption prevents someone from trying to hack your reproductive cycle.)

When microchipping was first advanced as an e-commerce technology in 2004, it was met with wholesale revulsion. It took the place of bar codes as "the mark of the beast" and a sign of pending apocalypse among the tinfoil hat set. 

Now, who knows? There is a real trend among consumers to prioritize convenience. Some say it's inevitable. Over time look for convenience and speed to trump revulsion. I give it 50 years. Glad I'll not live to see it.

As Eddie on the Diner Forum observed, 

And on third world birth control? If women are given a choice, they'll line up around the block top get micro-chipped.

Birth control empowers women, and until now, the major religions and the patriarchal social and political systems in the 3rd world have effectively prevented birth control. If you're chipped, nobody has to know. I predict it'll catch on like you would not believe.

Consider the implications for the abortion fetishists who want to make the fetus property of the State, and the re-chattelization of women a priority. Women's agency is a real threat to these people. What if this technology renders Roe v. Wade moot? What if this normalizes "chipping" and makes it more acceptable, rather than apocalyptic?

Does that "rough beast, its hour come round at last,/ [who] Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born" come with a chip?


Short takes

Trump says the 20-foot-tall angry-baby blimp flying in London makes him feel 'unwelcome'

Maybe it was the 250,000 angry demonstrators.Trump was met by mass protests in Great Britain. Everywhere he went, there they were, although his handlers made sure all of 45's events were outside of the city. 

Strzok: I could have exposed Russia investigation to hurt Trump, but didn’t

In a grueling interrogation in the House, Republican partisans in the House GOP lost all connection to reality and embarrassed themselves in the process. Led around the ninth circle of Hell by Benghazi poster boy Trey Gowdy, the House GOP revealed its abject devotion to all things Trump, and themselves as useful idiots for America’s enemies.

Papa John's Founder Resigns from Board After Using the N-Word on Company Call

Shitty Pizza. Shitty Human being. Papa John's.

Forget Killer Robots: Autonomous Weapons Are Already Online

Unknown to most of us, cyber weapons that operate with great autonomy with the potential to crash financial networks and disable power grids already exist in cyberspace.

Trump pardons Oregon arsonists in case that sparked Malheur refuge occupation

45 sends sovereign citizen fringers an early Christmas present. Depicted as "devoted family men," by the right, the Hammonds set fires to cover up an illegal hunt. This pardon signals a loss for advocates of public lands, and a nod and a wink to theft of the commons by a privileged handful of cowboys. 

Red-hot planet: All-time heat records set across the world last week

From the normally mild summer climes of Ireland, Scotland and Canada to the scorching Middle East to Southern California, numerous locations in the Northern Hemisphere have witnessed their hottest weather ever recorded over the past week. See also:

The sea-level threat is worse than you think

The rate that Antarctica is melting has tripled since 2007, new research shows

 


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author for Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

This Week In Doom, July 8


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 8, 2018

“The world that you see is being configured to a probable reality that you haven’t yet chosen.”

 ― Douglas Rushkoff  


What occasioned some collapse-related noise this week on the Diner Forum was an article penned by Douglas Rushkoff entitled, Survival of the Richest–The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind. Worth a peek.

Rushkoff is a writer, documentarian, and lecturer whose work focuses on human autonomy in the digital age.  (See his website. ) He had been invited to an exclusive resort to deliver a keynote speech to investment bankers on the subject of “the future of technology.” The fee was un-turn-down-able for a university professor–he described it as  "about half his annual professor’s salary ."

After he arrived, he was ushered into a room he thought might have been the green room, but was instead the setting for him to meet his REAL audience: five super-wealthy hedge fund bankers with questions of their own.

Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”

The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.

This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless?

Yes, the rich are different from you and me. They have private security. Plus they know we're doomed and have absolutely no intention of doing anything aside from saving their own skins. This should surprise no one. For them, a "talk about the future of technology" is really about

…preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape. 

There was a time within recent memory when the future seemed inventable and accessible, in Rushkoff's words, " a playground for the counterculture, who saw in it the opportunity to create a more inclusive, distributed, and pro-human future." Now, when Elon Musk is launching cars into space, Peter Thiel reversing aging, or Ray Kurzweil uploading his mind, they saw a digital future with far less to do with making the world a better place than with transcending the human condition altogether.

It's been obvious for years that our technology has far outstripped our ethics, this since the moment the Enola Gay released her cargo. At a time when everything that can be commoditized will be, and all transactions, including moral, ethical, and spiritual, are filtered through the logic of the spreadsheet, we should expect nothing else.

Now we wrestle with the ethical dilemmas presented by unchecked technological development at the behest of corporate capitalism. Dreamed-of digital utopias have waxed into marketplaces that have become exploitative and extractive. Bots and algorithms, and even conversations overheard by your cell phone prompt offers of new deals just over the digital horizon. Workplaces for suppliers become increasingly dehumanized and automated (think Amazon). We collectively wring our hands with each story about jobs lost, exploitations of the gig economy, and collapse of local retail. And tthose about the rest of the world, where we export our trash and poisons, create toxic waste dumps in third world countries picked over by peasant children and their families, who sell recovered materials back to the manufacturers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Our extractive culture exports our problems: out of sight, out of mind. And once out of sight, we escape to fantasies afforded by new tech baubles and toys– VR fantasy worlds, shooter games, movie franchises based on comic heroes and 3D animation, zombie apocalypses, and so on. The zeitgiest is fairly shrieking at us. Ours is the logic of the junkie: we believe that the next tech fix is just around the corner.

When the hedge funders asked Rushkoff how to best maintain authority over their security forces after “the event,” He suggested should treat those people really well, right now, engage with their security staffs as they would family members. And extend an "ethos of inclusivity" to  business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution…

They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it. They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future. They are simply accepting the darkest of all scenarios and then bringing whatever money and technology they can employ to insulate themselves.

We should take them at their word.


Short takes:

EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandals, blames critics 

Pruitt's 14 scandal investigations finally became too much of a burden even for The Orange Lout to take, and Pruitt did an el-foldo, blaming everyone else on the way out the door. Crying the obligatory "witch-hunt," and pour everyone a round. Pruitt's successor promises to be Pruitt without the serial grifts.

China and Russia hit back at Trump tariffs

45 launched his "easy-to-win" trade war this week. China's commerce ministry lodged a new complaint with the WTO. Russia announced extra duties on US imports in retaliation. Beijing accused the US of starting the "largest trade war in economic history". Evidence mounts that Trump's trade fights will be most harmful to the people who voted for him, especially in states with large exports of soy.

It Was Absurdly Hot in North Africa Thursday

The entire globe is in the grips of an unusual heat wave. Following sweltering temperatures in the U.S. and a hot, smoky Siberia (with temps above 90 degrees F at the Arctic Circle), we have what may be the hottest temperatures ever recorded in Africa. The heat dome over Algeria and the rest of North Africa was “3.5 to 4 standard deviations from normal, meaning highly unusual.”

Intense heat wave shattering temperature records in Iran and the Caucasus

An intense heat wave has shattered temperature records in Iran and the Caucasus nations of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia, causing power shortages. Weather experts said the heat wave is the result of a high-pressure dome that formed over the Eurasian region and reaches as far north as southern Russia.


Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

Oh Say Can You See?


From the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 4, 2018

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

 ― Mark Twain  


As we celebrate the nation's Independence, a virtual pallor seems to hang over the proceedings like a shitmist. There will be parades, fireworks, cookouts and picnics, and the attendant mindlessness of a hot summer day. There will be 21-gun salutes with appropriate solemnity. But in many ways, it's almost as if it's "Bizarro- Fourth of July–" similar, but a bit off. As if our hearts are not fully in it. Given that hundreds of thousands attended over 800 rallies demonstrating against government-sanctioned kidnapping of children and separation of immigrant families, they may not be. Now comes proof we're just not as patriotic as we used to be.


New Low of 52% "Extremely Proud" to Be Americans- Gallup

For the first time in 18 years, a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of US adults are not "extremely proud” to be Americans. That's an average across political ideologies, with the sort of steep differences on either side of the political aisle you might expect.

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, 52% of U.S. adults say they are "extremely proud" to be Americans, a new low in Gallup's 16-year trend. Americans' patriotism spiked after 9/11, peaking at 70% in 2003, but has declined since, including an eight-percentage-point drop in early 2005 and a five-point drop since 2013.

                                Trend: How proud are you to be an American -- extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little proud or not at all proud?

From a peak of 70 percent in 2003, the proportion of those "extremely proud to be Americans" has eroded consistently, leveling during the final years of the Cheney-Bush regime and most of former Obama. A slide started in 2015 and continues.

No surprise the numbers split along age and political affiliation. Young adults today are significantly less patriotic than in 2001. Also no surprise that liberals (36%) join young adults as the least patriotic major subgroup. Independents, Democrats, non-whites and college graduates are also slow to salute. In contrast are those major subgroups most likely to wave the flag:  Republicans (68%), conservatives (61%) and those 50-64 (64%).

The 23-point gap in patriotism between Rs and Ds is now roughly double what it was in January 2001.

What's it all mean? Gallup suggests that Americans' continued frustration with national conditions — likely tied to their concern about the economy and lack of faith in public institutions — are reasons patriotism is at an ebb. Not surprisingly, I can offer some other thoughts.

How about the erosion of the middle class? For years, we've read the headlines: the middle class in the United States has been in decline.

CNN May 18, 2018: “Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food”
Marketwatch June 2, 2018: “50 million American households can’t even afford basic living expenses”
Wall Street Journal February 13, 2018 : “US households shoulder record $13.15 trillion debt”

In Asia, government policies favor the emergence of a prosperous middle class. In China in 2000, according to McKinsey, just 4% of the population was middle class. By 2012, it had exploded to 68% of the population. 

Meanwhile in the US, The Orange Lout has instituted tariffs against our friends, which will have the net effect of raising prices.  When prices rise faster than wages, the middle class struggles. And that’s what’s been happening. The coming round of price gouges will worsen the buying power of the dollar. Powerless workers will demand wage increases, which will further erode the dollar's worth, producing the inflation which the Fed has so dearly wanted to create. The only ones who will suffer are the wage slaves and retirees. Happy days are here again for the swells and grandees. 

Housing is a powerful example. Simon Black points out:

In late 2011, the average home cost around 3.56 times the average salary in the US, according to data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. By the end of 2017, the average home cost 4.73 times the average salary, even though mortgage rates were essentially unchanged.

In other words, even when you adjust for the fact that people are earning more, housing became 33% more expensive in just six years– and that doesn’t account for increases in property taxes, home owners association dues, insurance premiums, etc.

And of course, rents follow. So even though people are technically earning more dollars, those increasingly-worthless dollars purchase less and less house. And everything else. And we haven't even addressed the medical-industrial wealth-extraction conduit scheme. Such long term inflation and value extraction is simply theft baked in to the system. 

How about security? Consider that the postwar Marshall plan to rebuild Europe and institute a consensus of mutual trade and defense endured for 70 years. We're busily thumbing our allies in the eye over trade, and toying with the notion of leaving NATO, the better to get those Eurochiselers to pay Their Fair Share.  While Trumpsuckers cheer, "America! Fuck, Yeah!" they ignore the fact that the nuclear-tipped arsenal purchases their standard of living, thus enabling them to have that chrome-plated eight burner Weber grill on the deck of their double-wide.

Reflecting on recent history,  Watergate shocked the system as we were exposed to our first criminal President. Then Reagan, and Iran-Contra, and Ollie North, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and then Fox News. Plus we elected two Republican Presidents that lost the popular vote, and two Democrats that governed as centrist Republicans. A useless war, a PATRIOT Act, Citizen's United, and the theft of a SCOTUS seat all reinforced by lawmakers who gerrymandered their own voters.

Yet another President-without-a-plurality institutes policies at clear variance with our stated "values" and which flout both international law and human decency, such that hundreds of thousands are moved to take to the streets in sweltering summer heat. Little wonder the 'proud to be a 'Murkin'" contingent continues to shrink.

How about the fact that public sentiment and voting seems to have almost no effect on national policies? A 2015 study shows the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. As the authors put it, 

"Economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence."

Who does? Major donors and lobbyists. Your cynicism is well placed. 

Never forget that Grover Norquist's avowed goal was to shrink government to the point that he "could drown it in the bathtub." A good way to do that is to vitiate support for government, especially among its natural constituency. As well as to demoralize the general populace, the better to depress voter turnout. 

The current adminstration's policies are designed to immiserate and outrage. Border atrocities done in our names, attacks on the rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about turning American exceptionalism on its head even as our "President" brays the words.  The so-called "leadership of the free world" is something we are gleefully throwing away. For what? And who benefits?

When Trump declares war on Mars, where are the young people whose patriotic ranks will swell the all-volunteer Space Force?


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.


 

SNAP Card Gourmet: Cooking Your Premium Steak

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Published on the Doomstead Diner Blog & Forum on June 24, 2018

Discuss this Video at the Pantry iinside the Diner

REMINDER:  The Summer Solstice inaugurated our Fundraiser here at the Diner to keep this establishment open after I croak (any day now…). We raised $150 last week which is not a bad start but we have a long way to go to reach the $2000 goal.  For those of you who have not yet coughed up some FRNs, this would be a good week to do it.  The longer it takes to raise the money, the longer I will drop these annoying pleas at the beginning of my articles.  Just take the pain and get it over with!  It costs MONEY 🤑 to maintain a good websie!  I have been footing the bil for over 6 years, but I will not be alive forever,  Both members and guests often send me emails stating that the Diner is their FIRST STOP across the Collapse Blogosphere for the latest in Doom News.  If we don't get a revenue stream going, after I Buy  My Ticket to the Great Beyond the lights will go out on the Diner before the entire Internet Goes Dark, and you wouldn't want that, would you?  We have no Ads and no Paywall, so if Diners don't kick in to fund it, this ship will head to the bottom of Davey Jones Locker shortly after my meat package is Fish Food.  Don't be CHEAPSKATES!  I know several Diners live on limited budgets, and I don't expect any contribution from them.  They Dine for free here on the Diner.  However, numerous other Diners are still making plenty-o-money, and if they can't see their way clear to donating a few FRNs to keep this place running, then they are definitive CHEAPSKATES!   Cheapskates are even lower on the evolutionary ladder than Lurkers!  Don't be a Cheapskate!  Donate to the Diner today!

OK, without further ado and begging for money, lets move onto today's Brunch offering, a SNAP Card Gourmet Video episode of how to cook your premum meal of the week on the SNAP Card Budget…

OK! after a couple of weeks of vids on just how to get your premium, Prime Beef (USDA ranking) Ribeyes prepared for cooking, today we will finally get to some COOKING! 🙂  I actually enjoy the prep part of putting together a meal as much or more than the actua cooking of it, but many people find that part tedious.  Still, in terms of the final outcome of the meal, the prep is often as important or even more important than the cooking.  I also used to love the EATING of the meal when all was said and done and you served it up for consumption on the dinner table.  Unfortunately, eating has become one of the biggest problems for me since my accident.  About the onloy part of a meal I never enjoyed and still don't is the CLEAN UP.  Now that is truly tedious and thankless work.

If you are a regular watcher/reader of the SNAP Card Gourmet or you are reasonably experienced with BBQing Steaks on the outdoor grill, none of the cooking in today's episode will be new to you.  It's really more about how to use and arrange your mobile kitchen and how you budget your meal plan, the cooking of the steak is more of a prop here than an actual primer on how to BBQ.  I also talk about some of the social issues involved with food, the lack thereof in the post-SHTF environment and how to deal with your own personal failing economics now if you lose your job  or become crippled like me.

I also want to reinforce what I mean when I say "homeless".  I do NOT usually mean a person living out of ahopping cart sleeping in a refrigerator box under a highway overpass, although I talk about those folks occassionally also.  If you are that far off the cliff you generally have no mens of cooking your own food at all, about the best you can do is heat cans of Campbell's Chunky Soup or microwaving a frozen food dinner in a convenience store microwave.  Really though, at this level (the  real bottom before you go to the Great Beyond) you mostly will get your food in Soup Kitchens run by folks like the Salvation Army or in fast food joints where you can also get some warmth for a while and sometimes even some sleep before they kick you out.

Who I AM generally talking about are people more recntly fallen of the economic cliff, but still does have some form of housing to maintain some possesions, have some spce to do cooking and so forth.  This could be anything from Section 8 housing in a one room Bates Motel to living out of your Stealth Van in Parks and Campgrounds and maintaing a Storage Unit to safeguard your personal possessions.  You do need SOME income for this, or at least realize you are headed in this direction and begin to conserve what money you have to make it last before you end up a Street Person.  It's not that much, around $100/week can keep you at this level quit a while if you aready have the stuff you need for homeless living.  You can make this money y begging if need be, although it is usually still possible to find a part-time Min Wage job which will pay you around $10/hr 20 hours/week for $200.  You can live quite well out of your Stealth Van on this moneuy, at least as a Single Person.  Families have their own set of problems that are much more intractable

.Far as the actual cookinghere goes, this video only covers the outdoor grilling method, not the indoor skilelt/oven method for steaks.  There also won't be a one of those for a while, because I dcided to save the second one for  a meal with my friend and Executor of my ill Brian so no video on that one. I'll get to such a recipe, preparation adcooking in due time I am sure, as long as I am still above ground level myself anyhow.

Until then, I hope you enjoy this recipe for Ribeye on the Barbie,  Be sure to pay atention to your temperatures amd cooking time, you don't want to ruin a beautiful prime ribeye ovrcooking it and turning it into leather more worthy of the soles of your shoes than your palate.

 

NOTE:  Yes, I know the lighting is still fucked up.  I'll fix it…eventually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHTF Driving- Or, C5 Turns A Honda Civic Into A Truck

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 28, 2018

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shtf 1

 

(Special welcome to the regular reader coming in from Ecuador. You know what I’m talking about).  This should be a fun read today with lots of twists and turns.

 

I thought I would toss up these couple of Glam Shots to make a point. This is how MrsC5 first found me. I had some of these shots taken just in case I ever decided to tell the whole story

The reason I put up these “Me so manly. I’d do me”, shots is to provide myself a bit of Gear Head Cred… because I know some truck and NASCAR guys are going to have a bit o’ trouble hearing my Survival Training, philosophy and advice here. I get it. Most things that get people miffed are because of “Previous Investment” or our self identifying “Sacred Mythologies”.

So, I have a new survival rule for you.

C5 Rule of Survival- People ask me, What is “The Best” survival product  to deal with (insert your apocalypse here)? That is easy to answer. “The Best” item is the item you have on hand when you need it.

I have stole this rule from my first Ninjutsu instructor when I was 17. I have a Bad Ass side that I keep carefully muted. Like Bruce Banner, it doesn’t serve me well but I bring it out when I need it.

shtf2

I cant say that I learned a lot from him… and yet he was one of my most influential mentors that turned me into the person I became. He taught with a lot of self deprecating humor, making fun of himself. He cast off all the cultural trappings associated with that martial art. He didn’t treat himself as some type of master that his students needed to defer to. There was a practicality to it and it was his WORDS that stuck with me.

One of those was, “People ask me, What is ‘The Best’ survival knife or fighting knife. That is easy to answer. ‘The Best’ knife is the one you have on you when you need it”.

Because of his words alone, a knife is permanently welded to my body. From the moment I put my pants on to the time I take them off, it is there. Its not a very high quality knife. Its not very big. Its rarely very sharp. But it is there when I need it.

So, how do we get from the self aggrandizing  photo at the top of the page and yet find ourselves here?

shtf car

Or here

shtf car 2

Or here

shtf car 3

Where, o where to begin.

When you saw that title I chose, what came to your mind?

Did you think I was going to talk about, the bootlegger maneuver, the pit maneuver, drift steering, high speed judgment training, where to hit a vehicle, person or animal, off roading or mud bogging, hot fueling while moving, alternative fuels or wood gasification, or perhaps “The Best” Road Warrior, SHTF vehicle.

Yawn.

Seeing that rather impressive zombie apocalypse vehicle I built in the first photo, you might have been thinking to yourself, C5 has a cool, over the top mod to transform a Civic into a Road Warrior, Twisted Metal, Zombie Apocalypse vehicle.

Nope, we are talking ninja philosophy here. Philosophy leads Technique. Before the how comes the why.

By now you are thinking, “That C5 ripped me off”. (another line I have shamelessly stolen from the for mentioned instructor)

Other C5 Rules of Survival I could have used would include…

C5 ROS- If all else fails, lower your expectations.

C5 ROS- Go small or go home.

C5 ROS- Take all the old Survival advice and, pretty much, do the complete opposite… and your chances of survival increases substantially.

C5 ROS- Needs Must when the Devil Drives

C5 ROS- If you want to know how to prepare for the dark future I see coming, it all starts by coming to grips with that refrigeration is a privilege and not a right. If you can fully come to grips with and accept that, ALL ELSE FOLLOWS.

(That magic line came from one of the first conversations I had with MrsC5. She asked me what I thought about the SAS Survival Manual. I looked across the table to where it sat in my book collection, then replied, ‘It’s a false sense of security.If you want to know how to prepare for the dark future I see coming,  it all starts by coming to grips with….”. I realized later, it was one of the smartest lines to accidentally roll past my lips. And I am not talking about refrigeration in this context)

Do you notice a theme here? A general theme that consistently underlays my thinking in previous posts.

I could also have used one of the Murphy’s Rules of Combat… from which I gratuitously stole the concept of the C5 Rules.    http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-war.html

Murphy’s Rule of Combat- Always remember, your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.

(You may be noticing all the vehicles in the backdrop of those photos. They are done and gone to meet their maker. Our place is starting to look like a real farm with the slow accumulation of dead vehicles)

or… The side with the simplest uniform wins.

or… (in the case of this post)… If it is Stupid but it works, It is not stupid.

SHTF car 4

The photos are getting redundant but I was making a point. Its not theory or a one off. This is how I use it to get shit done. All my firewood of the year is in and I did it with a 14 year old Civic. I’m rather proud of myself for that one.

And a mystical, magical, timing synchronicity happened while doing this post. When I  first sat down to write this post, I was greeted by a randomly paused movie on the computer. It made me chuckle because the gods might be involved.

SHTF car 5

In the rest of the world, this is just how people get shit done. Its just that First Worlders are at a distinct disadvantage in a collapse…

…because they are insane…

and the rest of the world sees this.

Back to Ninja Philosophy. The ninja consistently kicked samurai ass because they saw that the samurai culture had the distinct disadvantage…. of being insane. More on that latter. My point being, is your Survivalist strategy underpinned by a philosophy of Samurai thinking.

There were a couple of things that happened recently that spurred me to write this post and say, we have to have this conversation.

The recent one was while I was getting willow for my live fence. (see the first Civic photo with willow on top, above)  By the way, it is looking good, in spite of the worst weather I have ever seen here, as predicted. https://darkgreenmountainsurvivalresearchcentre.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/c5-says-build-me-a-wall-permaculture-style/

A lot of farmers and CSA growers just got wiped out here. They will have lost everything. Some of them, their farms as well. In a proverbial SHTF world, there might be starvation here. This is exactly why we store food. This is exactly why we should never trust debt… and it is why I have been building greenhouses like crazy. (see the second Civic photo of me recycling large windows. The third and fourth photos are self explanatory)

FYI, If you have been observing world temperature maps over the last few years, you will have observed the entire world in various shades of red representing higher temperatures. Red. Slightly deeper red. Ridiculously dark red. There is only one tiny place on the world map that is blue. We are right in the middle of that blue spot. It may turn out to be the last habitable place on earth but that is too early to call. In the mean time, it is a bit of a pain in the ass. (as of the writing date, june 12, we have had killing frosts most days for the last couple weeks, the real killer being a well below freezing kill off. The day before it happened, it was a record breaking 36c for that day of the year)

So, I am driving home with this load of willow on my roof. Every vehicle that passed me was a newish pickup truck. F-150s, Silverados, Dodge Rams. Every single one of them. Each one of them single occupancy.  Not a single one of them carrying anything. All of them pretty shinny. The only one doing what a truck was designed for… was ME… in a Honda Civic. And I suspect, I was the only one of them with no debt.

Now, someone is going to come along and say, “You could accomplish so much more with a truck. Look at what you are hauling and how you live. You are who a truck is made for”.

My response would be, “OF COURSE!!!… Well duh. Of course”…. but that leads to story number two.

I have to be careful here. This guy is in my circle and I have a handy arrangement with him that makes my life easier. Nice enough guy. He works hard in a decent paying job, (ironically in road maintenance), then farms some cattle as a second job. He rolls up in a shiny new mondo truck. I mention that we will have no money coming in this year but it is OK  because we have paid for land and this gives us a lot of freedom. He mentions that he had finally just paid off his house. A bit later, he talks about all the bells and whistles on his truck. He then mentions it was an impulse buy and he is now 25 thousand dollars in debt. He then says he guesses he will just have to keep working. There is a lull in the conversation and not much else to say afterwords.

One of the best phrases I have heard over the last few years is “That is very 2007 of you”.

Its pretty obscure and most people wont get it. I use it a lot. My point being, 2018 problems can not be solved with pre- 2007 thinking. For those that do not know what I am talking about, I think future historians will call 2007 as the year western civilization had reached its peak and began its slide into “The Age of Consequence”. Oh, it was already long since bancrupt by this point. But it was hard for Average Joe Douchebag and Spandex Jane Soccer Mom, Prostitute Lite, to see this because upward mobility was still happening, the dough was being raked in and  Negative Nellie’s like myself were lumped into the category of crazy Y2K false prophets  that needed to be medicated.

It was rather hard to be prophet of doom during those boom years leading up to 2007. It left me scratching my head and my nuts, not in any particular order, trying to figure out how we were floating on thin air. It made no sense. Now we understand that it was all financial fraud causing a bubble. But before that, jobs were plentiful and even a bottom of the social ladder, dirtbag like myself could find work that paid more than minimum wage. So I did. Thus the toys in my sexy glam shot at the top of the page. This was a one time in my lifetime event. Then BAM! 2008 hit and shook the world.

So, what has Samurai Joe and Jill Jackoff learned since then. Absolutely nothing. Sweet fuck all. Backdoor bumpka. Neurotic Na’da.

Because they are insane. Batshit crazy, jello pudding, Koo Koo for Coco Puffs, NUTS.

The Commodities Crash (caused by a lot of broke people that could no longer afford to buy things made with commodities) sent gas prices into the basement. Being as gas was so cheap, those still employed, took out huge loans to buy big trucks. Go figure. And now the gas price is creeping back up, so oil workers are racing back to the bottom of the barrel oil, tar sands and fracking fields. At least the ones that didn’t commit suicide after they lost their financed trucks, houses and wives, during the crash. They have to get back to work, fucking up the planet to finance new trucks, houses and wives. The fuel prices will continue to climb until it sets off the next Liemans Event or commodities crash. The next time will be much worse. Then “The Crazies” will do it all again and again and again. Because they be crazy.

I’ve given up arguing with insane people because when you crack their delusion, they tend to get violent, vote for crazier people and start civil wars. Best to pull a Ninja and try to stay out of their way.

The first sign of crazy is people identifying themselves with the products or name brands they own or wish to own. If you find yourself asking “what vehicle defines me?”, well, “That is very 2007 of you”. Please go talk to a mental health professional before making any large purchases.

So, lets get to the meat of the matter. ANY vehicle is the Absolute Worst investment you will ever make. There is no getting around that. I don’t remember who said vehicles are now designed to last 5 years… but are financed for 7 years. It is a losing proposition. I know of no good vehicles. They are all walmart cars now days. Cheaply made and designed to be thrown away. Period.

So, if you are asking, what is “The Best” vehicle for when the SHTF, you are asking the wrong question. Its probably the one you have right now. Whatever it might be. Hopefully its paid for and isn’t a big drain on your resources. If you face that final handshake and pink slip and no more jobs are coming, bye bye truck, one way or the other.

The right question to ask is, What vehicle drains my resources “The Least”?

What is my least worst option?

 

{ This is the ghostly apparition of C5 coming to you from the future. That means I got to the end of my post and realized I  hadn’t put in the the practical advice I intended. Here is a good place to put what I forgot.

-Aftermarket roof racks are expensive so try to find uses. Detachable are better because racks affect the aerodynamics of your car, reducing gas mileage. Keep them in your trunk for when you find that item you may have to carry. Don’t forget ropes or ratchet straps. A blanket may help to avoid scratching paint. Also, some of these attach into your door roof so the door might not fully close. This may let water in or cause a whistle while you drive.

-The Civic doesn’t have the power for a trailer. Most cars do though. Just get the smallest and lightest trailer. You want to pull gear, not trailer. Most trailers are designed to be pulled by a large truck. That aint you. Adding an aftermarket tow hitch is a VERY good idea… but it can be pricey… and subject to rust. Keep your slide out ball hitch out or it will permanently rust into place. Keep grease in the receiver tube. Only invest in a trailer hitch if you are keeping your car along time. It ain’t working out for the old vehicles we cycle through.

-Some racks aren’t useful so you can modify them like this

SHTF Car 10

-Don’t overwork your vehicle. I have had 2 vehicles burst into flames in my life. Oh ya. Carry a fire extinguisher within reach. Keep all your liquids topped and watch your heat gauge. Carrying large loads (on roof or trailer) can catch wind and affect your steering. Go as slow as you have to. If you need to travel 30kph…travel 30. Put your blinkers on and make people go around. Pull over to let people go by if several people are behind you. Stick to the back roads or do the job at night to reduce other vehicles.

-Flat roofs are easier to use than curved roofs (why aren’t they making station wagons anymore?)

-Recheck all your ropes and straps regularly because they will loosen and your load shift from movement. Definitely check it after your first few miles.

We now return you to the real time article. Best to not alter the time line by going to meet myself and causing a temporal explosion }

 

Who’ld of thunk, C5 (and my local backwoods mechanic down the road) would say the Honda Civic or the Toyota Corolla would turn out to be the road warrior vehicle of the apocalypse. Its the least worst option. Its the best chance at throwing away the least amount of money on an older used car. Money that has much better uses, preparing you for when there is no money at all. If you need a high paying job to pay for your truck and gas, to get to your job, you are caught in a vicious cycle.

By the way, I also have this, for when the gas, the functioning infrastructure, the jobs and the money are no more.

SHTF car 6The bikes. Not the bus used as dry storage. There is 7 of them in there. All recycled or second hand rebuilds.

SHTF car 7This is my favorite. A long tail  on an early Stump Jumper. For when I have to do stuff like the first bike guy in the photo nearer the top.

Lets get back to a little Ninja philosophy.

Might as well start with, whatever image you have in your head from pop culture is probably wrong. Assassins with primitive weapons and masters of killing. Even that whole black clad in masks was a make believe creation that came about during the kabuki theater age where the set movers wore black outfits and you weren’t supposed to notice them in the backdrop. Now I am going to be the first person to ever say this. The ninja were sort of the Hippies of Medieval Japan. The back woods counter culture that were hiding in the least hospitable parts of Japan. They were there to “Tune in, Turn on and Drop Out. It was a mix of many cultures and traditions, but they were primarily there to avoid all the crazy turns of constant war happening around them, while seeking enlightenment from direct exposure to nature. The dominant warrior culture saw them as sub human, without honor, to be killed when possible. The true, underdog story. But being the outcast, they could see strait through the Samurai shit and all that crazy.

Masaaki  Hatsumi is the 34th generational grandmaster of the nine schools of Ninjutsu and is designated by the Japanese government  as “Living History”. What is meant by that is that part of the history of Japan is stored in this mans body.

Once again, the image you might have is completely different to this cheerful and playful person. He will say things like,” Its no great thing being the Grand Master of Ninjutsu. I still have to take out the garbage. My wife still yells at me”.

But we are getting to my point. He will talk about “Intention” or “Intention to cut” and to make his point will draw a razor sharp sword across his face without being cut. There is nothing metaphysical about it. Its a highly skilled circus trick. He knows what the blade will and will not do. But he is teaching about your intention and focus.

So, what is your “Intention” here. Are you a Do’er or a Talker.

This all isnt about learning nijustsu or getting a 14 year old honda civic.

Facing necessity, the only thing keeping you from doing this…

SHTF car 8

or this…

SHTF car 9

…is your “Intention to Cut”. Your will to do it. You can work out the how as you go.

Now you may look at that car and think it is filled with garbage and say, “Eww. Dirty poor people! I would rather die than do that…”

Or…

…do you think, ” Those fucking batshit crazy Samurai breeders. No wonder we are on the edge of extinction. First they destroy lives, demanding to drive to awful jobs to get money to buy this stupid shit. Then they throw it away. Well I better figure out how to get it home…”

That there is a mondo pool and one of the stupidest products they sold to the rubes. Its garbage in a couple of years, usually with mouse holes chewed in the bottom… but I will grab any one of them I can find. Its fantastic, rubberized tarp material. Once you cut it down, it is one big curricular rubber tarp, two or three long, thin  tarps that conveniently cover a stack of firewood and usually one good quality rope. We just use the tarps for weed control and mobile mulch lately. If you want a lazy mans garden without tilling or simply to hold garden space for future apocalypse growing, put this on your lawn and simply come back to it in a few years. Nothing will grow under it and the worms and moles will till it for you. Plus you get some valuable poles for other projects and a ladder to be used for….a ladder. Lately I am just using them for the grapes to grow up.

Grape vines climb

It all comes down to intention. The will to do the needful. Fuck what the samurai think.

Remember that bus at the top of the page that I used to live in. I used to have people come up to the door all the time and say, “I always wanted to convert a bus like that” or “some day I am going to do that” or “I always wanted to live in a bus”.

It was flattering at first. Oh, good. I’m not nuts after all. I made the right life choice.

But after hearing it for a few years, I would roll my eyes because I eventually figured out they were lying to themselves and me. If they really wanted to do it, they would have already done it. There are Do’ers and then there are Talkers. 99.9% are talkers. Talkers wont survive.

Do'er

Oh..My…God! Is it physically possible to be any more pretentious. Love it. Total Rock Star moment.

 

Oh, yah. I am supposed to give practical survival advice about SHTF Driving. O.K.

Drive it like your grandmother stole it.

Get into the habit of driving under 80kph. That is 50mph for the U.S. and 2 other third world countries. Sound silly and backwards? There is a point of diminishing returns in vehicles. When you jump up to highway speeds, you can used up to a third more fuel for the same distance. When things get tough, what fuel you have is All You Have and might be all you will ever have again. Memorize all the routs you can do that on.  Even in short  term emergencies, the first thing to run out is fuel. If you must highway travel, try to do it at nigh where you can slow down to that level without bugging  all the samurai. Ninja driving. Your struts and alignments will thank you. Especially if it is the last vehicle you will ever be able to afford and you are watching the nations infrastructure crumble, one pothole at a time.

If you can’t except any of this advice, keep in mind the old farmers truck advice. “The guaranteed way to destroy a truck is to put a winch on it”.

You see, without the winch, you would never say to yourself, “Oh, I can get through that. I have a winch”.

One last thought. During recent disasters and conflicts, trucks and 4x4s get confiscated or appropriated  by governments for disaster relief. They also get confiscated by local militants or stolen by organized crime groups. Anything Green or military looking can get you killed or questioned with a set of jumper cables. That bus colour was a bad idea. Recently, I cant even find my car in a parking lot because there are a dozen that look just like it.

Totally Ninja.


Its that time again. Its DJ-C5, your Wolfman of the Wasteland. Howooooo! Spinning secret ninja survivalist tunes. This one goes out to one of my home boys who I ran into today, working at the local country store… proudly wearing a Public Enemy T-shirt. Very stylish. I Want. He gets a Triple play for that fashion statement

Now, other than my soft spot for Public Enemy, I’m not a big fan of hip hop or rap… and certainly not Wanksters. But I got my big boy pants on and can acknowledge when someone hit a nerve. A survivalist nerve… and this song Represents.

This is what My blog is all about…. “You’ve only got One Shot. Do Not miss your chance and blow This Opportunity comes Once In A Lifetime”. plus I can really relate at the 3:25 mark

Staying with the personal survival theme. “I Wanna Get Out. Had To Get Out. Got Out!”

Well, Lets lighten the mood. As an equal opportunity Survivalist, lets bring out some Prepper Elvis, AuHauh.

Feel free to get up and dance. I know I will…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week in Doom June 25, 2018


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 25, 2018

“We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”

 ― Donald J. Trump, June 20, 2018


This was a week for visceral outrage in the face of unspeakable human rights atrocities. The Orange Lout signed an executive order countering the effects of his previous decision separarting children and infants from their parents, then scattering them to the winds.  The Trump message, scrawled clear as day and quite literally on  the back of Melania Trump, was that the Trump administration could not care less. Independent artists, students, and even actor Jim Carrey, created striking visuals that surfaced on covers of TIME and the New Yorker. (See examples.) The U.S. withdrew from the U.N. Human Rights Council, Trump ordered the creation of a new Space Force. The gnomes running the Dow Jones Index removed General Electric, the last 19th century holdover, from its ranks. Open season on black Americans by cops continued, in an episode with personal relevance. 

In spite of the wholesale revulsion expressed by a distraught populace, over the weekend Donald Trump continued to use fear of MS-13 to justify his ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy, but only 180 of the 187,000 people apprehended at a major border crossing are connected to the violent criminal group.

It is essential to remember that Trump’s executive order was not a reversal or a capitulation. The administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, under which everyone crossing the border illegally, even those who present themselves as seeking asylum, is subject to criminal prosecution, remains in place. Only the kidnapping of children has been held in abeyance. For now.


Creating a Crisis

Time Magazine Cover, July 2, 2018 Edition New Yorker Magazine Cover, July 2, 2018 Edition          

In pursuit of his singleminded objective to control each day's narrative and the news cycle, thus to suppress his pending exposure of the world's largest money-laundering operation, the current White House incumbent doubled down on crazy. Trump’s inhumane "zero-tolerance" policy forcibly removed children, toddlers and babies as young as three months old from their immigrant parents attempting to enter the United States at our southern border, even those seeking asylum. The Trump ruling junta executed this policy in a move designed to outrage, to alienate, and most important, drive the name "Robert Mueller" from the front pages. Trump reverses course, signs order to keep families together

This heinous operation has been condemned by everyone from the Pope to Fox TV producers to foreign leaders like  Theresa May to top corporate CEOs like Apple’s Tim Cook to U.S. airlines (who learned they may have unwittingly transported such children to destinations hundreds of miles away from their parents.) 

The outcry and revulsion from kidnapping without due process, and incarcerating them in internment camp conditions caused schisms in the solid Republican Congressional majority. Even longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt threw in the towel.

“Make no mistake about it when you’re ripping breastfeeding children away from their mothers and putting them in detention facilities, that’s an evil policy. To see the Republican Party break up the way it has, to lose its moral compass, it is tragic. It’s tragic for me personally, but I won’t be part of it. I won’t share a party label with people who think it’s all right to put babies in internment camps. My fidelity is to my country, not my political party. Country first.”

The optics were terrible, and the sound was worse. News networks played the sounds of crying infants ripped from their mothers. Outrage mounted across the country, and burst into flame in Portland, where an Occupy-style protest shuttered the local ICE facility. Oregon Public Broadcasting:

“Demonstrators have also been camping outside the building and festooning the area with signs with slogans like “Kick out ICE” and “Will trade racists for refugees.” Two tents on Monday evening had increased to six by Tuesday morning. Twenty-four hours later, nearly 30 tents had been erected…

Tents line trolley tracks outside the ICE facility in Southwest Portland, Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Dirk VanderHart/OPB

“The encampment — largely grassroots, but supported by a coalition of local groups — also has a medical tent and a kitchen area overflowing with donated water and food.”

Classic Occupy. The facility reopened, but the backlash continued to grow. The policy credited to Goebbels cosplayer Stephen Miller started to smell like dead fish within 24 hours, and by Wednesday Trump had signed an executive order modifying his earlier decision.

Here is what the executive order does: It keeps families together, keeps them under DHS control, does nothing to reunite families already separated, seeks indefinite detention with a DOJ challenge to Flores v. Reno, a consent decree that limits government detention of immigrant children to 20 days. If successful, they’ll be able to hold families indefinitely. It enlists military facilities as concentration camps. It also blames Congress, since Congress failed to pass immigration legislation, leaving the administration no choice, even as it reversed course.

If these policies seem irredeemably cruel, and the characterization of would-be immigrants as "insects" and "vermin" spectacularly racist, remember that from the beginning, cruelty was the whole point.


Trump Administration Withdraws U.S. From U.N. Human Rights Council

On Tuesday, The FSoA withdrew from the world’s most important human rights body in protest of that body's frequent criticism of Israel’s brutal and genocidal treatment of Palestinians. In other words, for telling the truth. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, that counter of sustaining votes, scrivener of dissenters and settler of scores, announced this latest effort by the Trump administration to withdraw and diminish those international organizations and agreements it finds unsuitable to the reward of cronies and punishment of opponents.

It was the first time a member has voluntarily left the United Nations Human Rights Council. With one deft foreign policy stroke, the US now joins other rogue states such as Iran, North Korea and Eritrea, as the only countries that refuse to participate.

“If the Human Rights Council is going to attack countries that uphold human rights and shield countries that abuse human rights, then America should not provide it with any credibility,” Ms. Haley said.

Human rights advocates denounced the decision. 

“All this administration seems to care about when it comes to the council is defending Israel,” said John Sifton, an advocacy director at Human Rights Watch “If the Trump administration’s complaint is that the council is biased and flawed, they’ve just made it more so.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel welcomed the decision. “The U.S. decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough,” he wrote on Tuesday.

The withdrawal came as the administration faced worldwide condemnation from rights groups and governments. Your tax dollars at work. Done in your name.


Victory on Mars

On Monday, the floundering Orange Lout found yet another subject to which to attempt to change the subject from #TrumpRussia.

And this one is really bigly. He ordered the Pentagon to establish a stand-alone Space Force as a new branch of the armed forces.

"We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal," Trump said at a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House.

"It is going to be something so important."

"Our destiny beyond the earth is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security, so important for our military and people don’t talk about it," Trump said. "When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space."

Of course, this order, like so many that bubble from the porcine lips of the Prevaricator-in-Chief, is patently illegal and meant to mollify his base of droolers and window-lickers. Establishing a new military branch requires congressional action and corresponding funding, as pointed out by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio):

"Congress has asked DoD to study how we handle space. We still don’t know what a Space Force would do, who is going to be in it, or how much is it going to cost," Turner said. "After we get the report that we required as a legislative body and the president signed off on, then this issue can be appropriately evaluated for what’s best for national security."

But boy, it changes the hell out of a subject. At least for a news cycle.


And Stay Out!  GE Kicked To Curb, Last 19th Century DJI Member Removed 

General Electric added shame to suffering on Tuesday as overseers of the Dow Jones Industrial Average kicked the company out of the benchmark index it had inhabited for more than a century. GE will be replaced by Walgreens. The slippage is just another trailing indicator for what was once the world’s most valuable company.

“It was an issue not of if, but when,” said Quincy Krosby, the chief market strategist at Prudential Financial Inc. “The GE that was dominant in the Dow in the ’70s and ’80s is no longer the same GE.”

Down 26 percent, GE had been the Dow's worst performer in 2018, as it had been last year. Once an embodiment of American industry and managerial know-how, GE had arguably died some time ago. The DJI announcement was just the first shovel of dirt on an open grave.


State Terror Comes Home

Antwon Rose, 17, was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nickole Nesby via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

On Wednesday, local police executed 17-year-old Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh, PA. The boy was fleeing from a traffic stop and and unarmed when he was shot in the back by a cop who had been sworn onto the force mere hours earlier. This story had particular resonance for me because it happened on the next hill over from where I was raised, and I was visiting friends in the area when it occurred.

A bystander’s video showed the officer opening fire as Rose fled from police. In terms of seeking justice, video is the great equalizer. Video does nothing to stem the tide of summary executions of black Americans by rogue cops, but it marginally increases the likelihood of survivors successfully seeking accountability.  

According to the Allegheny County Police Department, police initially responded to reports of a shooting around 8:20 pm on Tuesday, finding a 22-year-old man who had been shot but was taken to the hospital and survived. Police put out a call for a vehicle that was seen fleeing the scene, and officers stopped a car that they said matched the description. While they were detaining the driver of the car, two people jumped out. An officer opened fire, killing a 17-year-old. 

The 17-year-old was Antwon Rose, a student at Woodland Hills School District, according to Shelly Bradbury and Andrew Goldstein at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said Rose was unarmed, although officers found two guns in the vehicle he fled from.

The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle was released after he was questioned by police. The third occupant of the car remains at large.

A bystander captured a video of the police shooting and posted it on Facebook. It shows two people running away from police cars, with their backs to the officers, as police open fire. Multiple law enforcement agencies are investigating the shooting. 

On Wednesday night, four of us were driving to a pizza restaurant in East Pittsburgh, a favorite from childhood and adolescence. We'd been planning it all week. We drove east in what for Pittsburgh is a serious storm event, but in coastal Virginia is known as "rain." About half a mile from our destination, we came to a red light where several cop cars were parked, lights flashing. A large trailer truck was trying around in the intersection and reversing field. Another cop car drove toward us and against traffic, parked his car at a slant directly at us. WTF? I moved to turn around by moving to the left lane and asked a cop what the issue was. (This area had previously received national notoriety some weeks ago when landslides demolished houses and blocked PA Route 30, so another rain-induced landslide calamity was by no means out of the question.) The cop said people ahead were demonstrating. In a driving rain. I wondered what they could be possibly demonstrating about in such conditions, as we were not yet aware of the shooting.

We tried to reach our destination another way, by navigating through the rain-slicked streets of our old neighborhood and going back down the hill and approaching from the other direction. The cut-through I recalled from adolescence had been removed at some point in the past forty years. With no other recourse, we turned around and left. 

Only when we got back to my friend's house did I learned of the execution by cop. Antwon Rose was from all accounts a good, bright kid. He attended the same high school we did. The cop is reported to be being treated for "shock," a ruse doubtless from the police union manual on how to execute the unarmed black American without consequence. I expect he will be placed on "administrative (meaning paid) leave,"  and receive a vacation for several months, before his pro forma hearing and exoneration a la Ferguson, Cleveland, et al.

The demonstrations in East Pittsburgh have continued for at least four straight days.


Other short takes worth mentioning as they whiz by include the passing of conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer,  the introduction of retaliatory tariffs on US goods  by the European Union in an attack on Trump's trade war, Disney raised their bid for Fox assets to $71.3 billion in cash and stock, topping Comcast, Instagram hit 1 billion monthly users, SCOTUS punted on its biggest decision of its term so far regarding partisan gerrymandering, and a sporting event called the World Cup began group play.

Another week as we spin toward Seneca's cliff.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

Doomstead Diner Summer Solstice Fundraiser

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Published on the Doomstead Diner Blog & Forum on June 24, 2018

Stonehenge at dawn on the Summer Solstice

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The Summer Solstice brings with it many things, first off is the longest day of the year.  Here on the Last Great Frontier that means it's still light at midnight, and for the few hours we do have "darkness", it's more of a twilight where you can still see to walk around without a flashlight, (torch for you Brits).  Where I live is below the Arctic Circle, if you go above that you will get light 24 hours a day.  Conversely, during the Winter Solstice it's dark most of the time, with the few hours of sunlight coming in the afternoon with the SUN very low on the horizon.  This type of seasonal lighting regimen can cause a psychological condition know as SAD, for Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Here is a photo from my back porch Collapse Perch at Midnight on June 21, 2018.

The view from my back porch at Midnight on June 21, 2018

I'm not a sufferer of the official version of SAD, in Summertime all I do is throw a Sleep Mask on (the kind you use on planes that they give away for FREE if you ask for them) and in the Winter I spend most of the time indoors anyhow and I have plenty of Diode Lights in my Preps.  This year I am SAD for another reason though, and no it's not because Industrial Civilization is Collapsing or because we might incinerate the globe in a Thermonuclear Holocaust on July 19th, according to our local Nostradamus Soothsayer on the Diner.  The reason is because I worry about the future of the Diner when I buy my ticket to the Great Beyond, which comes a little closer each day.

For the past 6 years, I have carried the costs for keeping the Diner up and running, and have had to upgrade the server and my package from the web hosts I have used to do things like handle increased traffic, handle SPAM attacks, keep backups automatically, etc.  I am not a Code Jockey who can go inside a software package and diagnose problems and fix things when they are broken.  I'm not even confident to do routine maintenance like upgrading to the latest version of WP or the various Plug-Ins the Diner uses to spiff it up some because I am afraid I will cause a problem myself.  So it would be nice if the Diner had a little Buffer to handle emergencies.

There are also upgerades I would like to do on the Diner, like opening a Storefrom to sel l"Best in Class" Preps for getting ready for SHTF Day.  It would be good to have a "one stop shop" for SHTF Day prepping instead of having to track stuff down all over the net all the time and read reviews and so forth.  I do that stuff myself all the time, so why should the readers here have to reinvent the wheel?   Also Diner products and Memoribilia, so after the Internet Goes Dark, you'll have something tangible to remember those great lead up years on the Diner waiting for the Collapse of the Monetary System and Industrial Civilization.  The Diner does need some form of an income stream in thi world where you can't do jack shit without MONEY, and since we are Ad Free and no Paywall, this is about the only way to do it.

So anyhow, I am setting a modest goal for this fundraiser of $2000, which I am contributing to 10% or $200 as Kickoff Money (in addition to the 38% of the Server Bill I covered for this year).  If you have enjoyed our work in covering the Collapse of Industrial Civilization for the last 6 years, give generously what you can afford to help the Diner last until the Internet Goes Dark!

You can make your Donation by hitting the DONATE button on the right side menu bar at the top of the page.

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Coal Dust From The Forum

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 24, 2018

A coal train once supplied the city of Holland, Michigan with fuel for its electric generating plant. They converted the plant to natural gas. Their costs are down, their emissions are down, and coal is down for the count. (Photo by wsilver/Flickr)

Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner

 

It seems to me bringing things 'worthy' from our Diner Forum over from time to time might be a good thing to do.  An entry I just made over there spawed this post.  I'll work it in here with some background that I'll add since the thread context is lost bring it over here by itself.  Here I go.

Trump seeks to project global power through energy exports

Thats a recent headline from a buisness journal.  I'll start with that, this is from our forum thread at the beginning.

In the 1950s, geologist M. King Hubbert predicted that the world will experience an economically damaging scarcity of fossil fuels. This idea has remained in the collective consciousness as the Peak Oil theory, according to which the production of oil, as a finite resource, will peak at some point and ultimately decline and deplete. According to some researchers, Hubbert included, Peak Oil is already behind us, and we are now living in a decline.

Here is the original source. 

http://peakoil.com/consumption/how-long-before-the-world-runs-out-of-fossil-fuels/comment-page-1

Living in the age of Trump the refrain of drill baby drill echoes in my head.  Oil trains, I pass them lined up waiting to move north.  100 cars long 70,000 barrels of oil on a train.  They slink north together and then stagger back alone hiding with grafitti tagged boxcars they go east for more.

Trump speech Unleashing American Energy backdrop

Trump Unleashing American Energy

Now Coal Trains have joined the oil trains going north for export.  I have seen 3 coal trains passing through Seattle in the last week.   I saw the first one only two weeks ago.  It had three engines pulling and was a mile long easy.

Seattle Coal Train

Seattle Coal Train

I do not want to criticize or disrespect anybody here who cares about their carbon footprint but when I see megatons of coal and oil leaving the country to keep the fat cat gravy train going and nobody caring I wonder what is the point of it all.  

We import, so we export.  I get that.  I also know that our fracked oil is best blended with other stock because refineries just for fracked oil don't exist.  I get that.  Stop using the stuff tomorrow and we are all dead.  I get that.  It is not a black and white issue.  I get that.  Nobody cares about changing the equations so we survive.  I don't get that.

As too how much is left I'll make the observation that the conservative element of suit wearing forked tongued devils in American have digested peak oil dogma as well as we have here but from a completely different perspective.  The point of peak oil was only ever to show that the oil supply is finite.  The M. King Hubbert classic depletion curve is from a single field with a simple development and extraction profile.  All it was ever meant to do is tell everybody, see kiddies if you eat all your candy it will be all gone.  

The world was never going to follow that simple curve and even we advocates of understanding have been distracted by the 'theory' aspect of it all, as if the ragged edge of the real depletion curve disproved something.  The ragged edge reflects real world complexity.  Humans have wars and kill each other.  Economies crash.  People want to make America great again.  These things throw more variables in the picture than a single field has and the fact that the peak is ragged does not change what remains in the ground in any way.  Yet some are quick to say peak oil is dead and the theory wrong.

Ugo Bardi has pointed out that collapse can, most likely will, resemble Seneca's cliff.

The Seneca Cliff 

http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2011/08/seneca-effect-origins-of-collapse.html

In that scenario significant oil will be in the ground but it won't be easy to get to and it won't matter because we will be in a new stone age.  Fact is if we were not fracking and had we not had some international hard times we would all be fucked right now.    In 1980, the Reserve/Production ratio suggested only 32 years of oil production from existing reserves. (thats from the peakoil.com source above)

A minor detail it seems everybody has overlooked.  We found some more borrowed time.  That is all that has happened or America would already have crashed so hard that 2008 would be looking like a summer picnic.  The above 32 years projection which has now expired was not an irrational gloom and doom prediction.  It was made with hard facts.  But life is a moving target.  It did not and could not account for an innovation that would provide a way to keep population and resourse depletion at bay a brief moment longer.  We go nowhere but for a while we keep up.

Borrowed time, that is what we have done yet again.  The red queen runs, technology which in modern times is mostly the hundreds of ways in which we use hydrocarbons, has enabled us to innovate our way out of a corner that we have painted ourselves into to get more hydrocarbons to use up.  The can has been kicked down the road for a moment of happiness. But it can't last.  Our ditch awaits.

Ouroboros

Summer Solstice – Peak Light, Maximum Darkness

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Published on the Question Everything on June 21, 2018

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If you feel as if chaos is accelerating you are not alone. I'm sure that most still reading this blog are completely aware of what I mean.

The irony to me is that Trump is right to call out the major institutions of our world as being dysfunctional. Yet his 'fix' is not really a fix, it is an acceleration of destruction. Perhaps, in the long run, that is actually a good thing. Perhaps humanity needs a major reset. But my fear is that it won't necessarily lead to a better path. The problem is that we humans seem incapable of learning from our past mistakes, even when we acknowledge them as mistakes and vociferously claim we will do better. We will not make the same mistakes again in the future.

I remember growing up reading about the rise of Nazism and Hitler and the Holocaust and wondering how on earth that could ever have gotten traction. The story line goes that the Germans were in a world of hurt after WWI and were ripe for his kind of 'leadership.' People needed to blame someone and the Jews were a convenient target with historical precedence. But I took great solace in the fact that knowing how that scenario played out, we human beings would never allow ourselves to go down that road again. At least not in the United States of America! As our role in WWII showed, we were the good guys.

What happened?

My theory is that we human beings are caught in an evolutionary purgatory, between our experience of self- and future consciousness that is just nascent and wisdom that uses that consciousness to project long-term consequences of our decisions. We evolved the beginnings of sapience but are not fully sapient in our current species. And like the old saying goes: "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

Back in 2009 I put forth a theory of the state of human evolution and of our capacity for wisdom that suggested we were not yet capable of true wisdom (sapience) for a number of reasons having to do with our brain's limitations. You can find the start of a series of posts on the subject at: http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2008/12/sapience-introduction.html. This will actually take you to my personal repository where the whole series is stored and give you links to the later posts in the series. I have since expanded these posts into a full-blown book but it remains unpublished for the simple reason that, by definition, there is no audience for it. Who among the merely pseudo-sapient beings on this planet wished to know they are kind of defective? The publishers I approached, including my own for the systems science books, were loathe to publish something that basically concludes there is no hope for you mere mortals and here is why!

Honestly I think my message is more positive than that. I do believe there are true sapient individuals in our populations, though they are probably quite rare. I have been trying to convey the idea that the rest of us could take the brave stand of supporting them (if we knew who they were) and seeing to it that they would be able to survive the collapse of our civilization (an absolute certainty in my mind) and provide the seed stock of a new species of Homo. I have dedicated my efforts to encapsulating and codifying systems science as a seed knowledge bank that could be used to guide future populations of eusapients and provide the basis for a future science (e.g. systems biology) so they would not have to start from scratch. Thus far my efforts have gone well. My first book, with Mike Kalton, is very well received in the systems science and engineering communities and my second book, still in process, has received rave advanced reviews from many in those communities. I'm trying to fulfill my commitment.

How about you the reader? Know anyone who you think is eusapient and of breeding age???? Somehow, we need to find these people and get them together. That problem eludes me so far. If you have any thoughts let me know.

Meanwhile the day will be the longest of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) and tomorrow we start the long descent into winter (passing Fall along the way). It is hard to grasp that with so much light from the Sun we are mired in deep darkness of understanding. Well, we are only human.

Oil Producers and Their Governments

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Published on the Economic Undertow on June 2, 2018

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Being a top oil producing country is not conducive to good government.

Looking at the top fifteen oil producing states, nine are autocracies, seven of which are of long standing. Only three are democratic republics. Two other producer states are transitioning to single-party status or decaying to warlordism. While the US is officially a democratic, multi-party republic, it is a de-facto corporate autocracy. The policy impulse for the US establishment as it is for other single party states is enrichment of elites: waste-based, finance-driven ‘growth’ regardless of the cost, ‘out of the barrel of a gun’ as necessary; (from Wikipedia):

 

  Country Oil Production, Bbls/day Political System
World Production 80,622,000 Indicates OPEC membership
1 Russia 10,551,497 Single-party police state
2 Saudi Arabia 10,460,710 Monarchy/Single-party police state
3 United States 8,875,817 Corporate autocracy
4 Iraq 4,451,516 Iranian protectorate.
5 Iran 3,990,956 Single-party police state
6 China 3,980,650 Single-party police state
7 Canada 3,662,694 Multi-party republic
8 United Arab Emirates 3,106,077 Monarchy – effective single-party state
9 Kuwait 2,923,825 Monarchy – effective single-party state
10 Brazil 2,515,459 Transitional*
11 Venezuela 2,276,967 Single-party police state
12 Mexico 2,186,877 Transitional**
13 Nigeria 1,999,885 Multi-party republic
14 Angola 1,769,615 Effective single-party state
15 Norway 1,647,975 Multi-party republic

* Brazil is in the process of transitioning to military rule or single party status.
** Mexico is in the process of transitioning to warlord (failed) state or control by criminal gangs.

Petroleum resources offer enormous leverage for those able to gain control over them; at the same time control over the resources offers political advantages that are both obvious and difficult to overcome. Because of its dependence on integrated refining, processing and distribution infrastructure, petroleum is a resource that lends itself to ‘cartelization’. A government has only to create a monopoly to access resources at hand or take over control of existing businesses and combine them together.

Because of the absence of public input or a ‘negative feedback channel’ to restrain leadership, single-party states tend to be militaristic. Control over large petroleum resources offers managers the appearance of the means to dominion, to overrun or undermine neighbors, to expand control over resources or to destroy consumption in target countries so that it can be exported elsewhere:

  Country Military Expenditures (in US dollars) Current Wars – Potential Wars
1 Russia $63 billion Ukraine, Syria – Poland, Baltic states, Balkan states
2 Saudi Arabia $69.5 billion Yemen, Syria – Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran
3 United States $610 billion Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, western Africa – China/North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Mexico
4 Iraq $19.4 billion Turkey, Syria, Islamic militants
5 Iran $14 billion Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Turkey – US, Saudi Arabia
6 China $228 billion Low intensity war in Xinjiang – US, Vietnam, S. Korea, Japan
7 Canada $20.6 billion Various support efforts for US and Nato
8 United Arab Emirates $21.8 billion Yemen
9 Kuwait $7 billion Iran
10 Brazil $29.3 billion Civil war
11 Venezuela $4.5 billion Civil war, US
12 Mexico $6 billion Civil war
13 Nigeria $1.8 billion Civil war vs Islamic militants and others
14 Angola $2.3 billion South Africa, civil war
15 Norway $6.3 billion Russia

The US gets away with its belligerence because the dollar is the world reserve currency; Wall Street simply produces dollar credit on demand, borrowers both domestic and abroad wind up indirectly funding the US war machine. Because Wall Street cannot lend resources into existence, credit creation runs ahead of available resources as they are depleted. At the same time, the US must hunt everywhere for new resources to cannibalize … or rivals to destabilize. In a way, the US has given itself no other choice, wasting fuel and other resources is what makes up our precious lifestyle.

Primary credit providers such as Great Britain during its imperial heyday are aggressive in preserving their credit monopoly, exorbitant privilege. The US’ role as primary credit provider suggests conflict with China is likely, perhaps between the two countries’ proxies on- or near the Korean peninsula or in the South China Sea. It is probable none of the autocrats in either country understand credit provision and the necessary infrastructure, these being a native currency, a treasury, a lender of last resort, strong commercial banks (able to distribute their own losses into the general economy); also private property, equitable regulation, enforceable contracts, the rule of law and a body of jurisprudence. All of these marshaled over time equal ‘creditworthiness’; the last three — enforceable contracts, rule of law and body of jurisprudence — are absent in China. Without fundamental changes, it will rely on external (dollar) credit. As it is, of the fifteen top oil producers, only the US is a credit provider, a status that required over 100 years and the exhaustion of Great Britain in two world wars to achieve.

As economic activity continues or increases, so does resource depletion. It is not depletion per-se that is causing problems within individual countries but the larger dynamics, energy deflation and dollar preference. The peripheral countries are affected first.

Single party states = poor economic management; inflation in Iran, (Prof. Steve Hanke):

Figure 1: Annual inflation in Iran is now running 78%. Iranians are ‘voting with their wallets’ and using the local currency to buy whatever dollars they can get their hands on.

Figure 2: Inflation in Venezuela is accelerating, now an amazing 30,000%+. Venezuela has the world’s largest reserves of oil but it does not matter: the country lacks the funds to access them, even as Venezuelans must either flee their country or face starvation.

There is inflation elsewhere: official figures tend to understate actual rates of inflation because they discount black-market rates; Angola, 30%; Nigeria, 16%; Russia, 4%, etc.

The question for Americans and the West becomes how much erosion of rights and privileges will people accept, how many wars, how much ruin; how far down the rat hole to we travel before questioning the energy-wasting status quo? How much are we prepared to give up for illusions?

This Week in Doom June 10, 2018


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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 10, 2018

“It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.” ― Barack Obama  


This was a week in which The Orange Turd blasted our allies and trading partners, gave aid and succor to Russia, declared himself above the law and that he can pardon himself, called the special counsel unconstitutional and otherwise appealed to his rump base of hard core supporters and tagalong stupids. This stuff would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous. Anti-intellectualism has been the glue holding together the Republican platform, and is normalized for a third of the electorate, such that we are unequipped to deal with the complex problems we hasten to create all over the world. 

Right-wingers label intelligence and being well-informed as “elite,” implying that ignorance is somehow both valuable and under attack, because a sense of continued victimhood  is necessary to stoke the flames of grievance.  Richard Hofstadter described our anti-intellectualism as “older than our national identity” in his 1963 classic, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Observers from Tocqueville on noted American ignorance as an essential element of the national character, never found far from its running buddy, nativism. Yet our founders established a form of government that requires an informed citizenry. Hard to do when television prefers simplistic arguments, solutions, answers, and a story arc that resolves in 22 minutes. And even TV is losing the attention battle to the smartphone.

We can't agree on what constitutes a "fact." Trump's War on Truth starts with "No Collusion," and proceeds to denying climate change, asserting widespread voter fraud, and asserting evidence doesn't matter. Evidence-based communities are under attack — the intelligence community, law enforcement, think tanks and journalists. Such attacks come in various forms — disregard for data, ad hom attacks on messengers and motives, deflections and false analogies. And outright lying. Now any theory is valid if it sells books, earns ratings, or moves units, anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough, and fact is whatever enough people believe, determined by how fervently they believe it. Praise Jesus.

American 15-year-olds rank 24th out of 29 countries in math literacy, and their parents are as likely to believe in flying saucers as in evolution; roughly 30 to 40 percent believe in each. Almost half of Americans can’t name even one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. 35 percent think gay people can choose to become straight. 29 percent say that a bloody fight against the U.S. government “isn’t just imminent but imperative.” A late-night comic interviewed a Georgia Rep about the bill she co-sponsored  that would require display of the Ten Commandments in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. When asked, she couldn't actually name the commandments. Apparently we don't need to know anything because, hey, we can look it up on the Internet.

Just don't lose your phone.


Trump cuts and runs from G7. End of the world order?

The G7 (G6?) is in apparent disarray after Trump rejected a joint communique and attacked Canada's Justin Trudeau as 'weak.' In a PR offensive meant to bring his low IQ voter base of to full erection, The Orange Lout managed to threaten new trade wars, insult our friends, coddle our enemies and call for Russia to be reinstated to the G7. He arrived late to a meeting on human rights, signaling his disdain for the proceedings, and then left early in case anyone missed the point.

Yet for all that, the US had appeared to agree a version of a draft statement on contentious issues thanks to an all-night negotiating session by officials from all sides. But then Trump's personal Iago, John Bolton, went to work on his erratic, easily swayed charge.

But after leaving for Singapore, Trump tweeted personal attacks on Trudeau and said that he had told his representatives not to sign the summit communique, turning what had already been a tense meeting of the world’s leading industrialized democracies into a fiasco.

A few minutes before Trump sent out his inflammatory tweets, his hawkish national security security adviser, John Bolton, appeared to anticipate them by sending a tweet of his own, deriding the G7 summit he had just attended.

“Just another G7 where other countries expect America will always be their bank. The President made it clear today. No more,” Bolton said.

On meeting Trump, Trudeau made a gift of a framed photo of The Orange Turd's  grandfather’s Canadian brothel in British Columbia, where Friedrich Drumpf made the fortune that was the foundation of the Trump family real estate empire. Orange Julius seemed happy with the gift, even bragging about it on Twitter. Some speculate it was a brilliant troll. 

Apparently this was not the only viral slight from Trudeau to Trump. In the released photo of the world leaders together, the two leaders also stood side-by-side and clearly showed that Trudeau is visibly taller than The Orange Lout. Trudeau is listed as 6-foot-2 while Trump was comically listed on his official White House physical as 6-foot-3. Compared to Trudeau, he appears to be at least two inches shorter than his listed height, which would classify him as obese.

It is not known whether the point of the gift slowly dawned on The Orange One only later, or whether that helped fuel his tantrum. In a related rumor, Vladimir Putin was heard singing a happy tune.


How Singapore, Astana and St Petersburg preview a new world order

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a meeting of a diffreent kind took place. Pepe Escobar outlines how Russia-China are now well-placed to have Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India join them along with the central Asian stans, in a new mega trading bloc, even as the  US/Japan/EU western bloc is collapsing and divided.

The Astana Economic Forum in Kazakhstan centered on how mega-partnerships are changing world trade. Participants included the president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, the president of the EU Commission, the deputy director-general of the WTO, and academics. You may ask, "who cares?" 

In a nutshell; this New Great Game installment revolves around “Russia’s strategy to enhance its bargaining power with the West by pivoting to the East.”


While Putin's Man in the White House left the G7 early in a snit, he  left behind a giant turd in the punch bowl, demanding that Russia be re-admitted to the G-7. 

Cui bono?

Join now in another rousing chorus of "No Kollusion!"

As the New Silk Road initiative continues, along with mega-partnerships changing world trade, meetings like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) occurring soon, the US is quickly becoming a pariah state.

Cui bono?

Maybe you missed this as well:

Add to the debate the crucial Astana headline, ignored by Western corporate media: Iran signed a provisional free-trade-zone agreement with the EAEU, lowering or abolishing customs duties, and opening the way for a final deal in 2021. For Iran, that will be a golden ticket to do business way beyond Southwest Asia, integrating it further with Russia and also Kazakhstan, which happens to be a key member of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The rest of the world is going its own way, and will be doing so without the US. Let's review the bidding: Trump hollows out the State department, and surrounds himself with "my generals." Military acumen replaces statecraft. Ambassadorships go unfilled. Wary of "globalists," the US retreats from the world, and China rushes in the fill the vacuum. Trump picks unnecessary fights with allies, who consider other trade and strategic options. Putin and Xi offer options. America become increasingly isolated as Trump Makes China Great Again.

Once again: cui bono?

We all like to forget that "the American standard of living" is financed by foreign debt, backed by the full faith and credit of the US nuclear arsenal and delivery systems. Which mean less ability to burden the rest of the world with all those troublesome dollars, and when all that debt comes home to roost, great will be the hue and cry therefrom. The "average American" will suffer a bigly shock to his and her standard of living, and our children might be able to afford a chicken for Sunday Dinner luxury once a month… Maybe only then will we put all the goddamn phones down.


Trump: 'I have the absolute right to pardon myself'

It's hard to think back thus far and realize that this happened within this week, such are the serial insults to our attention, but the Orange Lout continue to make his above-the Law-assertions that he could, indeed, pardon himself. He was quick to add that He didn't need to do that, because he had done nothing wrong. Just ignore all those indictments…

The DOJ ruled 44 years ago that the president cannot pardon himself

Trump took to Twitter on Monday to claim his "absolute right" to grant himself a presidential pardon, though he said it would be unnecessary as he has "done nothing wrong." He cited "numerous legal scholars" to back his claim.

However, as Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis pointed out, that wasn't the case at the end of former President Richard Nixon's time in office. "Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself," the Department of Justice declared in 1974. The DOJ spelled it out just four days before Nixon resigned, explaining that the president's pardoning power "does not extend to the president himself."

Even his designated TV legal rodeo clown, Rudy "9-11" Giuliani, added that Trump pardoning himself is "unthinkable" and "would lead to probably an immediate impeachment."

As we have already seen,the fact that this course of action may be illegal in no way precludes Trump from taking it and saying, in effect, "What are you going to do about it?" The Republican majority has proven themselves to be as craven a bunch of lickspittles as ever gathered together to submit to serial forcible sodomy, so expect no "rule of law" relief from that quarter.

Along those lines, Charlie Pierce submitted an article, Trump Has Access to Everything a Dictator Could Want, in which he outlines how Trump consolidates power based on deceit at an alarming rate, and is becoming more popular for doing so among the only voters that matter to him. They care only about winning at all costs, and immiserating godless "libruls" is just an added lagniappe.

The president*, installed at least in part by ratfckers in the employ of a former KGB thug now running a murderous kleptocracy, has at his easy disposal everything a dictator could possibly want. He has combined an instinctive contempt for democratic government with a swindler’s nose for easy cash and a junkie knifepoint robber’s reckless disregard for consequences. He has a tight, loyal cabal of flunkies who’d be chasing ambulances if it weren’t for their talents as sycophants. He has a largely impotent political opposition and a largely supine congressional majority. He is one vote away from a rubber-stamp Supreme Court…

The prion disease began when the party ate the monkeybrains provided by Ronald Reagan, who served up crackpot economics leavened with a cynical alliance with splinter American Protestantism. It has gathered strength within the party, its symptoms becoming more and more obvious year after year. 

Iran-Contra. Willie Horton. Atwater. Rove. Falwell. Graham. Luntz. Bauer. Gingrich. The Impeachment Kabuki. Florida. The lies undermining the Iraq War. Gay-baiting in the 2004 elections. The U.S. Attorneys scandal. Phony charges of voter fraud. The barbaric use of Terri Schiavo for political gain. The unprecedented obstruction, based in overt racism, of Barack Obama. The tolerance of Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Blake Fahrenhold, and Michele Bachmann. The endless flogging of the events at Benghazi. 

And, finally, confronted with genuine, uncut, unfiltered, un-consulted authoritarianism, these people affect surprise that their party was ready for this president* or someone like him? Or that their party was helpless to stop him, or to confront him once in office? The Republican party abandoned its political innocence long ago. It’s only now just noticing.

This administration is the culmination of 40 years of conservative Republican politics melded with an atavistic, fringe Christopathy. The executive is accumulating unchecked power at a breakneck pace, and it is debatable whether he can even be stopped. If you don't like it, get thee to the polls in November. And if you DO like it, eat a bullet.


Suicide Is Painless

The deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have called attention is rising suicide rates in The Home of the Brave, Land of the Free. NBC reports that US suicide rates are up 30 percent since 1999, according to the CDC. Only half of people who died by suicide had diagnosed mental health conditions.

That may be in part because it’s so difficult to get mental health care, said Dr. Jack Rozel, medical director of the Allegheny crisis services facility in Pittsburgh and president-elect of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry.

“I run a major crisis center. We have 150 staff. We provide almost 150,000 services every year,” Rozel, also a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said.

Yet even his team sometimes has problems finding help for people.

“I think I am reasonably well-connected. About a year ago a friend of mine reached out to me. He was feeling more sad, more anxious, than usual," Rozel said.

"It took me days to get him an appointment with someone. It’s a problem.”

AA calls suicide a "permanent solution to a temporary problem." Who among us really knows what the other guy is going through?

A couple of trends here: In the Reagan years, we de-funded and closed mental hospitals, and in one fell swoop created a homeless problem of off-their-meds schizophrenics wandering the streets, to swell the ranks of other unfortunates. Which was then exacerbated by a casino economy that picks winners, and criminalizes poverty. (Being poor in America is really the only unforgivable sin. My city has jerked up benches in almost every park , even at the airport, and recently fenced off a vacant lot in which Food Not Bombs fed the homeless.)

Another trend has been the pharmacologing of mental illness. Therapists are expensive; pills are cheap. No paychecks needed for pills, which we can make for $.05 and sell for $10 the each. And who gives a fuck about the problems of a handful of muppets? Bad for profits.

Who knows what private torments someone otherwise enjoying the fruits of fame may suffer. But when you look behind the headlines, many thousands of people suffer with depression, with mental illness, and other ills, and our solution is to throw medications at them to paper over the problem, and then blame them for "being weak." Weakness being a sin almost  as unforgivable as poverty.

In the search for answers, we'll look it up on the Internet on our phone. Everywhere except in a mirror. 



banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

SNAP Card Gourmet: Steak Edition

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Published on the Doomstead Diner Dlog & YouTube Channel on June 10, 2018

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The SNAP Card Gourmet is BACK!

It was touch and go as to whether I would get back to doing these vids, but after getting out of hospital a couple of weeks ago I worked up the energy to get going with it again.  Before you get on my case about the poor lighting in this vid, I AM working on it!  Anyhow, you don't really want to see my Grim Reaper ghoulish appearance these days anyhow.

One thing I do want to address today is the criticism I periodically get inside the Diner for my food obsession in a thread I maintain daily called "The Diner Menu".  In that thread daily I feature different recipes for Diners to drool over while they are contemplating doom.  "What does this have to do with collapse?" the critics bellow!  To me the reasons are obvious, but some Doomers are so focused on their own interests in Collapse they can't fathom them, and then make a nuisance of themselves by complaining about it.

To begin with, Food is probably the #1 concern of people who see Collapse coming down the pipe.  "Where will I get it when the shelves go empty at Safeway?"  You have your Doomsteaders and Permies all trying to create subsistence farms they can feed themselves with.  Then you have your Survivalists who are going to go out into the bush and hunt and fish up their sustenance.  At least if they are doing this on their own, both groups are doomed to failure.  You can't produce or gather enough food on your own, it takes at least a small tribe to do it.  A FEW really expert survivalists like Cody Lundin can make it for a while, but even they would eventually succumb without a tribe working together.

Related image The next reason is it demonstrates many of the things we take for granted, primarily JIT delivery of food from around the world.  You can't walk in a food superstore and shop without being overwhelmed by produce from Mexico, Fish from Thailand, Olive Oil from Spain and Wine & Cheese from France.  It's going to be mighty hard in the post-SHTF Day world to be cooking up a Gourmet Meal without these goodies.  So enjoy them now while they are there, because it won't last forever.

Third, it provides a respite from the constant stream of Doom Newz we are inundated with on the Diner every day.  "The World will go up in a Nuclear Fireball on July 19th!  The Chinese will take over the world and Amerikans will be their Slaves!  The Dollar will crash and the Petro-Yuan will be the Reserve Currency of the World!"  etc, etc, etc.  I doubt any of these predictions are accurate, but that doesn't stop Diners from pasting in articles every day to justify their POV.  It's nice (at least for me and other Diners who enjoy the thread) to get away from that constant stream of Apocalyptic Predictions and  enjoy reminiscing about great meals we have eaten or cooked up.

Finally, I am a lifelong "foodie" who has been frequenting various types of eateries my entire life, from cheap recent Greek immigrant street vendors of Souvlaki to the best restaurants in NY Shity..  Besides eating in them, I worked as a chef for a while also.  I love to cook for family and friends.  I also have great concern for the homeless and for those who are trying to get by on a tight budget provided currently in the FSoA by SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), so I created the SNAP Card Gourmet to demonstrate how you can eat very well on the current SNAP Card allowance, if you shop carefully and watch your pennies.  You can even afford to eat Gourmet Meals with Premium Foods a couple of times a month, even once a week if you scrimp the rest of the week.

With that in  mind, in this installment of the SNAP Card Gourmet we go over a couple of ways to prepare PRIME Ribeye Steaks. 😋

Image result for prime ribeye steak Anyhow, all that being said, the Steak Edition of the SNAP Card Gourmet premiering today on the Diner is a Premium Foods meal which was inspired by a great find of Prime Ribeye Steaks at my nearby food superstore of 3 Bears, which has the best meat department around here, far superior to Walmart, Safeway or Kroger.  Well, a small butcher Matanuska Meats has better meat sometimes, but never at the prices that 3 Bears offers up periodically.  Prime is the top designation by the USDA on meat, signifying extensive marbling of fat and tenderness of the meat.  Prime Ribeyes from online purveyors of top quality meat like Chicago Steaks or Omaha Steaks can run $30-40/lb, I got these two little beauties for $12/lb.  So one of them got cooked up as I generally most like a Ribeye done, over the fire on an open grill, and the other one I did as an indoor cooking method braising the meat in a pan and then slow roasting in an oven.  There are several episodes in this series to come which include not just the cooking but the preparation aspects as well and the importance of your cooking tools, especially for the homeless or near homeless person.  A simple question to consider here is where are you going to get your high-carbon stainless steel cooking knives from after SHTF Day arrives?  They won't be arriving on a Bunker Fuel powered container ship, that is for sure.  Pretty hard to do any decent cooking of anything without a good knife.  If you don't have some good ones in your preps along with some backups, now would be a good time to stock up.  A good Barter Item as well.

Intro done, now have fun watching the vid!  Again, apologies for the poor lighting.  This will be fixed!

Farmgal, Farmgal, Farmgal

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 7, 2018

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With your host Category5…and guess who? Could it be Farmgal?

I have been getting some press and respect lately. Its been a nice ego boost. I have accomplished most of what I set out to do. Doing a slight adjustment to the prepper world to tweek it into something that is a little more Real, Relational, Relevant… and Rational.

Then I had a mini, introspective, self revelational attitude adjustment. That, “Wow! Do I Ever Suck or what” moment, evaluating just how little I actually know. People might look to me for their survival. In reality, I simply stumble from one problem I’m forced to solve and this leads me to the next problem to solve. Each time, I am dumbfounded at the shear lack of knowledge society has equipped me with to achieve my own survival in a world, presently imploding. I figure most people find themselves in the same place… or will find themselves there the moment they try to enact their own survival.

Then along comes someone, unassuming, on the periphery of the prepper world that can honestly say, “I know stuff”.  That person should be exalted into the Limelight.

It is my privilege to do that today.

I recently wrote in another article, “Farmgal is a top tier prepper. Some people have Fantasy Football teams. If I had a Fantasy Prepper Team, I’d make Farmgal the Captain of the team. If she showed up at Dark Green Mountain, I would say, “Thanks for coming to my apocalypse. You are in charge now…. “.

So, what does a Top Tier Prepper do? Not alot of running around in camo. She grows food.”

She also Forages food, Stores Food, Raises animals as Food, Saves her own seed to grow next years Food, Prepares all this Grown, Foraged, Stored and Raised Food in creative ways.

And she teaches others her expertise about FOOD.

Do you notice a theme here?


 

C5-    Farmgal, Farmgal, Farmgal! Thanks for coming to my apocalypse.

Farmgal-    First I would like to say Thank you to C5 for inviting me to do a post or posts. I go by the handle Farmgal on the net and I have adored reading C5 back to when he was called that the very first time.

I have been very interested in the tidbits of background that have been shared on the Green Mountain Blog about both Mr. and Mrs. C5  So for those that know me from my blog, you are going to get more background then you normally do and for those that are new to me, you might get a glimpse of what happened in the past to bring me to the present point.

C5-   Welcome Farmgal. Im honored to have you here… and to be my guinea pig for my very first ever attempt at an interview.

As a long time voice in the prepper movement, you have seen every shade of paranoid nut job, extremist and strait up racist. You have also seen great steps forward in people embracing there own resilience, safety and food growing.

What are your thoughts about the state of the Prepper Movement at this point of its evolution?

Farmgal-  Wow, I didn’t expect that question.. LOL, this could be interesting.

Well, the first thing that I feel is worth noting is that the overall prepper movement has been split into three factions. Survivalist Preppers, Permaculture Preppers and Tinfoil Hat Preppers.

The main reason’s for this is all due to Media.. The Survivalist’s didn’t like the backlash of being called a Survivalist and so many of them turned to the “softer side” and became a prepper.  I personally find there are two main types of Survivalist that use the prepper name. A) they want a split from the neo-Nazi White Supremacist angle that is tided to that movement. B) They use it as a humor shield.

That Humor Shield comes directly from Doomsday prepper.. it makes what they do seem lighter, funnier and more garden and fewer guns.

The core of what the prepper movement was trying to make happen shifted very heavily towards homesteader or permaculture.  This has led to where we are right now. A major slow down on “official” Prepper boards.

Which is going to bring me to what I personally see as the biggest thing happening in the past few years and it just keeps growing bigger..  The split in the prepper movement between the “male” vs “female” prepper.

I know this is a touchy subject but the divide was always there but its grown so wide in the past years. When I got into the prepper movement, we heard time and again from the prepper women that they didn’t feel that they could have a voice on the boards, that they were overwhelmed by the much more vocal males.  This lead to the biggest Canadian Prepper Board to create a women only area.. (I want to give a big old THANK YOU and nod to Denob for being willing to do this).

Its been many years since but the reason that this was a issue then, is very much still a issue today. We have a large group of male preppers that are “last man standing” that are ” we are going to bug out and live in the bush”.. They are the loudest voices.. Ooo Raaa!

Then we have a smaller amount of men who are some of the best prepper’s and we are darn lucky to have them.. they are family men, they are working side by side with their partners. They are the ones that are doer’s.. they show you how to weld this or build this with solar panels or will talk about 100 subjects that will help to create a better life for their family and those around them.

Then we have the women in the movement.. They are exploding in numbers.. they are a underground grass roots movement.. they are the driving force behind the homestead blogs, the permaculture blogs, they are the driving force behind community gardens, school gardens, Permaculture food forests, chickens being allowed into urban area’s, beekeeping on roofs, Canning being taught in local community halls, a booming push at farmers markets and CSA.   Its not just local to me (which is huge) its across Canada, and I have connection with thousands and thousands of women doing the same in the states.

C5-   Nice answer. You go, FarmGalfriend.

Now Mrs C5 is going to read this and tell me, “You ass! I could have been talking to women preppers all this time and you diddnt tell me.” Hey, I claim computer incompetence. I only came on grid a few years ago.

I hear ya. Last Man Standing types have severely fucked up prepping, or Last Man On Earth, types ironically referred to as LaMOEs.

If you will indulge me a little Megalomania, you had my back right from the start and have always been one of my biggest backers. Just like The Doomstead Diner, I carefully chose posting on the International Preppers Network. It was a very intentional, strategic gamble. I bypassed the big boards on purpose. I’m clearly no family man. I came crashing into IPN like a drunk bull in a china shop, telling a story of how I had just rode home with a few gallons of Sodium Silicate perilously dangling off the sides of my motorcycle, cruising down the highway and realizing I had just graduated to the next level of prepper. I came in thinking, “Wait till some of these LaMOE fuckers get a load of me. I better be prepared for a fight”. You were a board Moderator at IPN who’s voluntary job was to Moderate. So, why did you back me considering I was there to intentionally Shit Disturb and piss off the Survivalist Preppers, and the sometimes, even more dangerous, Everything is a conspiracy, Tinfoil Hat Preppers.

Farmgal-   A couple reasons.

One, you are always willing to admit when something didn’t work.. and you are always willing to try this or that and see if it will or will not work in real life. Its a personal pet peeve of mine when folks will only talk about “the perfect” it all worked so well.. because that is total bullshit in real life.. you can be the best gardener or with a chain saw or rifle.. and you are still going to have crop failure.. have your chainsaw do a kick back at some point and have a misfire..

C5-   Yup. Big pet peeve of mine as well. There is lots of “Survival Advice” and even “Pemiculture advice” out their that doesn’t pass the real life test. People post their grand ideas and builds  but they never seem to come back later and say, “Well that was a big ol waist of my time and money”. That is one of the points of the DMG Survival RESEARCH Centre. Honesty is important about failures. Boy, have I ever accumulated some.

Farmgal-  Two, You talk about a lot of things I do but never post.. dumpster diving, figuring out how to take some thing common and make it useful again, bringing home others “junk” and more.. I so often nod along when I read your writing.. (not all of it mind you) but a good portion.

Three, you are respectful to the ladies, its not that you don’t speak your mind but you are not rude in the same way as other and while I know that some would consider the way you speak about your wife as crude, I figure Mrs. C5 is cool with it, or she seems strong enough that she would tell you.

C5-   He, He , He. Yes. I use MrsC5 as the strait man in a lot of my comedy. She is a seething polecat though. She would have tracked some of these guys to their homes (lets just leave it to your imagination). Its actually Mrs Dr.C5.

Farmgal-   Four, your funny.. sorry but its just true.. your writing is fun to read.. I like to think that same sense of both adventure and humor blends into who you are in real life. I have found most folks that are willing to try new things, are willing to admit when something didn’t work out and are willing to laugh at life or themselves are some of the best kinds of folks

Five, You at times get to pick the fight that I as a mod would choose not to do. My motto was walk soft but carry a big stick.. Most of the time I read the posts and even if I have a strong reply, I ask myself.. walk soft.. or Big STICK time.. if you really look, I give advice, encouragement and information.. I rarely give my own thoughts on subjects.. It makes me as a mod far more Balanced, then I would be if I was just me

So there you.. and if I have to answer this.. so do you! LOL What made you like Farmgal..

C5-   “Quid pro quo. Clara”. You knew who Permaculture practitioners were (the OTHER preppers).   You actually knew who Transition Town were (the OTHER, OTHER preppers). You even knew the SCA (the ones I refer to as the OTHER, OTHER, OTHER preppers). Most Manly Men go limp at that point… or whine about socialists because their manlyness is threatened. AND you obviously know SEED SAVING which is a science in itself. Lets talk about that. Biannual seeds consistently kick my ass and make me question my manly survivalistliness. No seeds? No second harvest. No future.

I picked some serious fights… and then showed my own serious problems that they didnt even know were the problems they would face because they were too single focused and inexperienced to even know what questions to ask… Then Farmgal would magically appear and say, “Its a common problem. Perhaps you might try this. Here is where to go…”


 

Abrupt Stop

Now, if you have read this far, you are about to get into the Meat of the matter. There is a reason Farmgal knows something worth listening to about food.

I asked a question…. and then she answered honestly and deeply.

Her answer is none of your fucking business. You have heard me say the same about some of my past. She shared it with me because we have known each other for a while and built trust. You, not so much. I expose myself a lot on this sight because we have to be honest about realistic preparedness as opposed to, fantacy, invincible warriors of the wasteland, absolute bullshit. I have been around somewhat. If someones Survivaly Expertlyness starts by the credentials of their rank and regiment and what war they got sent to, their expertlyness immediately goes into the questionable file but I will always let them “earn it” from there. The people I look for are those who have been through shit without a regiment and a nations worth tax dollars for resupply backing them.

The only reason I have anything to teach you is because fucked up shit happened. I fell through the cracks of our society. I got first hand, SHTF experience. Farmgal has had fucked up shit happen. Most likely, more than me. She didn’t become a food expert because its nice to be nice and gardening makes happy tie died rainbows. I’ll only share one line from her intimately shared response.

“I remember my mother sitting at the table crying because she was so happy that she found a case of kidney beans that she had bought and tucked behind the stairs and she had found them.  It meant protein for the table..  That was the year I added in a small snare trap line of my own to look after..”

That was as a pre teen.

She was heavily motivated to know food production, inside and out.

Now, this is why I have chosen to embarrass you, The Reader, and often come off contemptuously. This is what the Tighty Whity Righty that see poverty as some type of moral failing or weakness need to hear. Its your future and the future of your children as resource depletion and economic contraction bites. Coming right up. The Lefty Looseis don’t get off the hook either. A bankrupt, overextended government cant fix injustice and subsidized renewable energy to run electric cars. There is nothing renewable about that.

Farmgal knew hunger and fear and homelessness and outcast status… and here she is, A Proven Survivor. Just like me. So, who do you want to get survival advice from. I thought so.

Lets continue the interview

______________

I said to Fgal, I recently had a good friend, doomsday blogger and one of the more influential local proponents of Transition Town implementation, hanging out for one of our dinner parties. He said he would be willing to do a similar interview. During the hang out, someone asked, what was the moment You Knew? What moment? What book? What decision or experience, made you decide to “prepare” or decide the world was going to implode? It is a peak moment in a persons life. You and I started much younger that the gen pop and I know your learning curve was better taught than mine from a young age. What moment convinced you, it aint a hobby, this is why I am doing this.

Farmgal-   Its never been a hobby, it never had a title or a movement to me until I was labelled with it as a adult. It just was the way to live.

(C5s interjection. This is not a story from The Great Depression. Fgal is younger than me. I was still comfortably in the burbs at this point)

So I was born in Alberta, Canada to parents that were both raised on the poor side of town, married young and were what was called Back to the Landers in the 70’s and 80’s. What that meant was that I was raised without power, by wood heat, with a outhouse and that it was a huge deal when we got a well instead of hauling water. That we moved a lot to follow work for my dad is a understatement.. I had moved 47 times before the age of 18 following my parents from small farm, bush cabin and in some cases what can only be called shacks.

I was running a small trap line (for helping bring food onto the table) by 8, which is the same age I got my first 22, my mom gardened, we wild harvested and we put up food and we ran limited animals, horse’s were a staple (the horse’s might have come and gone over the years) I had my own little milk goats by the age of nine.

But before that…

My grandfather (mom’a side) bought a farm and my grandmother and their children worked hard on that farm. They were poor but getting by nine children plus two extra (cousins that were brought in an raised because the dad had passed way and the mom split out the older children to their relatives) There was never  really enough but the worst was to come. It would turn out that the man they bought from kept the money they paid him and didn’t pay the person he bought the land from.. and in the end they lost it.

Not because they didn’t work it, or pay, themselves but because trust was placed in the wrong person…

First lesson to learn in life.. Never trust a person’s word.. look to their actions. Hard work and honesty does not mean that it can not be taken away from you.

Second Lesson in life.. Never EVER trust that the good times will last! they can be gone in a split second. You can get by without a lot.. but you can not live without food, water or a form of shelter (and in Canada winter.. heat!) The rest is gravy!

Third Lesson in life.. Sometimes you need to do things you don’t want to do and you had better be able to deal with it. The second part of that lesson is that you can have those shakes, those tears as a release.. it allowed.. but when you are done.. you get back up and keep moving forward.

That’s it C5.. the gut of it.. those three things added up to why I am who I am.. Never trust debt, always try and own your own land, always be willing to let go and move on, don’t hold onto anything other then those you love , everything else can be replaced if need be, shelter, water and food are #1 needs.

Feast or Famine..  Feast or Famine.

Every time you prepare, you hedge off that Famine just a little bit more..

Feast or Famine..  Feast or Famine. That is what I want people to take away.

C5-   Hey Farmgalfriend. That’s all the prepper Cred I will ever need to hear, right there. Not survivalist theory. First hand experience. Lets talk about your Learning Curve. John Michael Greer mentioned that in the future, survivors would get used to finding over grown garden patches and empty garden in a box kits next to the skeletal remains of preppers where the learning curve lasted just that much longer than they did. Tell us about your learning curve.

Farmgal-  My parents loved Black Powder Shoots and I have great memories of sitting with my dad melting lead and doing reloading, working in the shop making knives and training for the kids Ax throwing.. you get the idea.

It all changed to a point when I was 12. My dad got a steady job (that took him away from home for about 10 months of the year and they moved us to town..  across the tracks in the trailer court town, I hated it, I spent as much time out in the gravel pit with handmade huts to hide in. Spring, summer, fall and in the winter, I had a special hiding spot in a frozen culvert under a road that I would snow pack in and bring gear with me and heat with a candle.

Then as I hit 14 my parents started worrying about the three B’s, Booze, Bordom an Boy’s so I got shipped off in the summers to a family friends farm. I was back to hooking a line from a running tractor to run the well, and hauling water, having no power. Just a propane stove and a outhouse but I didn’t care. I traded working with four 2 coming 3 year old horse (halter breaking, sacking, ground work and ponying) for a bit of cash and a riding horse for the summer.  I learned how to run a team to haul logs from the bush, how to switch out summer wagons to winter sleds and how to cut hay with horse’s. It was always just enough but rarely more. I would disappear into this world during the summer for five more years..

Then collage and city living came while still working hunting camps in the fall for outfitters and taking this and that job in the country. I then meet my hubby and moved to Yellowknife NWT and spent as much time on the land as we could and still keep a job. Making due and only packing in what you point in fact need and of course learning even more about wild forage. O it was a grand time in NWT!

Then we got transferred to Iqaluit, Nunavut Canada. Conditions in many ways was very much 3rd world. Suddenly I was above the tree line, I was on a massive learning curve..

So C5 says show me your sheet metal? Here is the first lesson I learned up there and its stuck with me.. and is reflected in so many ways on my own place and when it comes to the prepper’s talking about being prepped and ready..

Show me your Worm Bins!

Within the first four days of arriving in Iqaluit, I was offered worms by three different folks and had chats on worm raising over coffee.

There is no soil up there.. there is no bush up there.. you can’t compost when 10 months of the year are too cold do so, you have a limited time for fishing and even more limited time for other sea food or caribou hunting.

You can get protein and fat but what you can’t get very easy is greens but you can compost all your extra’s in worm bins, you can get worm castings with is a rich potting mix and you can worm tea to feed seed planting’s.

You can get a very limited amount of soil shipped up in your sealift order but its going to cost you (if you are smart, you will bring up peat moss, its much better bang for your buck as it will expand massively in amount, its just that you have feed it to keep it producing year after year)

Remember that for X amount of months you have 24 sun but the highest temp it ever gets to in summer in the years I lived there was plus 8c..

C5-  That is important for some of our readers further south where the soil isnt conducive to growing much or has already been stripped of nutrients, or they can only afford to buy “Junk Land” on rocky hillside. Same for forest homesteaders. Forest soil isn’t conducive to gardens . You have to, quite literally “Grow Soil”. I recall Chris Martenson saying he wasn’t really a gardener. He was a soil farmer.

Farmgal-  The second thing that has to be done, was unless you wanted to be held hostage to the local store and their insane prices, you needed to order in by sealift a 12 to 16 month household supply once a year. And because you paid by both space and weight, you had better learn to like and use dried foods, get creative and figure out real fast that you can not eat willy-nilly..  because if you eat all of one food in the first three months you will NOT have it again for another 9 to 12 months!

So here is my Next show me.. Show me your copy of the Food Substitute book.. If you have long term food storage and you don’t have this book.. I am going to give you the eye.. the sideways eye that says, you have never lived it.. you have never worked it.. because if you had you would have done some thinking and found this little gem on your own..

https://www.amazon.com/Food-Substitutions-Bible-Ingredients-Techniques/dp/0778802450

So if its in your books, you get a cookie and a gold star! That’s were we end of Part one.. It made me who I am in many ways.

C5-  OK, Farmgal. Give us all a quik tip on how to better improve our survival.

Farmgal-   Show me your pumpkins…  Everything on a pumpkin plant can be eaten on the top side, the young leaves cook up like tender greens, the bigger leaves can be dried, crushed and used as green powder, the flowers can be eaten, the young fruit can be eaten and those rare few that you are going to let finish will give you the flesh but more important, it will give you the rich fatty seeds.

C5-   Nice. I’ve long time promoted my own joke, “Shit Hits The Fan, Tactical Squashes” to take the piss out of useless tactical guys that seem to think they are survivalists for some silly reason I have never been able to figure out. MrsC5 points out, its not funny if I am the only one laughing at my jokes. These posts are some of my least read but most important articles. No one looks at a squash or pumpkin and thinks, “Oh My God. We are saved”.

Give us a bit more on that.

Farmgal-    Give you a bit more on that.. well then lets talk about a few things in regards to the food front..  So it will not surprise anyone that I am going to say that you should be growing potato’s, I mean come on.. its darn near the perfect food. If you can grow it, it should be a staple and you had better have plans on your homestead on having a way to store a huge amount of them.  If its to hot to grow regular potato’s then I expect to hear that you are going sweet potatos (and you lucky dogs that get to do that, you are also eating those greens right?).
 
But lets get back to our spuds.. you are not just growing Yukon gold or any of those other really popular ones that you can get in the store.. right??  You are growing some of the older heritage ones because it means that they are also producing seed balls and like a really good little prepper, you are collecting and learning how to save, start and grow TSP right..
 
Right, I know you are, because all you need is one bad summer, some freak winter or you need to eat those potato’s in storage to save the life of your kids.. you have TSP in your seed storage and you have the ability to start over on year two, three or four???
 
Show me your True Potato Seed Collection? I want to see at least five kinds, and even better, I want to see the ones that you have breed though to the next generation!
 
The other thing worth noting is that everyone is so concerned about breeding pure strain of heritage seed and I get it, I do.. I mean I work with programs and I grow pure seed to send back as a seed grower that then sends that seeds across Canada to local gardeners.
 
However as a prepper.. Landrace breeding should be very high on your list for your own personal garden turn out.. I am in year five working with others in a three hour area on breeding a land race for the butternut squash that thrives in our climate. Some of the things I breed for are not what others do, but we have been successful at not only creating one that matures early for our season, averages 3 to 5 pounds for a average family’s needs but holds for up to 18 months with proper storage.
 
The reason given for the storage was to be able to provide local food a steady winter supply of locally grown produce but flip it for a prepper and bang, we have bred in the trait to hold a extra six months to go from harvest to harvest in zone 5, some thing that was unheard of six years ago!
 
Get out there and order from every seed house you can find and mix it all up and start working your landrace plantings.. they will be a saving grace in our new extreme climate gardening culture.
 
C5-   Then I will finish with one last question. So. I present you with my soap box. What do you really want to tell the prepper world, that you wouldn’t say as a moderator or on your own blog. Lett’er fly. Be a contrarian. Be Alpha Fargal”
 
 
Farmgal-  I have already answered and been more open in this post in many ways then I have on my own blog over the years, or at least shown another edge or side to myself.
 
Lett’er fly.. Alright you asked for it but I don’t think you will be surprised.. All that stuff you are sinking money into, all those toys, everything you are packing away, buying and planning to live “in a somewhat similar manner” as you or your family or the rest of us who live in 1st world countries..
 
Its a fool’s game..  you really can’t take it with you.. and those skills, they are great, train for them, work them.. you can have the best gear, the best training and simple infection can and will take you down.
 
The truth that I always think and never say out loud.. IF or when SHTF where to happen in a real way.. all this talk, all this will mean nothing.. not really.. break this or get sick with this or freeze to death.. all the Rambo talk.. blah!
 
As Mr. FG or Dear Hubby says to me. .” talk to me about how to work around climate change or job loss or reduced health, talk to me about energy crisis or peak oil or water wars
 
 Don’t bother trying to talk to me about the BIG EVENTS because if those happen.. nothing we are doing will truly prepare us for what would be coming. If it goes down like that.. we be fucked!”
 
It always makes me sigh and ground my feet again when he reminds me of that cold hard truth..
 
C5-   Thanks Farmgal for taking time out in what I know is your mega busy season of planting. A big shout out to Mr FG as well.

 

 

 

 

 
We will try to have Farmgal back as soon as she can fit us back into her schedule for a part two where she will tell us the rest of the story about here farmlife.
 
I am going to be a presumptuous ass and assign a homework assignment task for Farmgal to take some time formulating.
 
Farmgal pointed out the lack of bees this spring on here blog. I promptly went out to the flowering service berry trees. Almost no bees. I only counted 9 bees. Holy Apocalyptic Shit Storm Batman. Now, I know what hand pollination is… and have long predicted there will come a time that if you want to eat, we will be forced to hand pollinate. Its an epicly daunting proposition. I have zero experience in it. I might be able to handle hand pollinating squashes.
 
I hope Farmgal can take some time to think about what hand pollination of what foods would be beneficial to preppers or Adapters and what would just be trying to grasp the wind. Speaking of wind, what wind pollinated plants might be better to focus on. I think we could all use an Adapter specific tutorial from a seed expert. Hopefully Farmgal signs up for the task…. No pressure….
 

 

You can read much more Farmgal Here- https://livingmydreamlifeonthefarm.com/

And check out her 31 day Self Reliance Challenge and the other bloggers she spotlights.

31 Day Self Reliance Challange


Lets end this with a little ditty from DJ-C5, your Warrior of the Wasteland. The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla.

This song has been on my mind alot lately while out in the garden or cutting firewood. I’ve played it a dozen times this week. It goes out to the rubes that fell for Washington’s latest  Bait and Switch. “What. No chemical weapons. And we just fired upteen millions of taxpayer dollar missiles. Quick, declare war on Iran before anyone notices… What can possibly go wrong?”

Bonus reads of the week… since we are getting in touch with our inner Amish…

https://qz.com/1275194/the-amish-understand-a-life-changing-truth-about-technology-the-rest-of-us-dont/

and, why Iran?

http://washingtonsblog.com/2018/05/stephen-cohens-misrepresentations-about-the-2014-coup-in-ukraine.html

No wonder the Amish rejected TV… and cars. Silly English.

High, high marks go to this one as well as a last minute entry, if you have ever got stuck in a gardens VS food storage VS hunter gatherer foraging argument, instead of all complimenting each other for a complete system of “Resilience”

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-05-24/grains-of-truth-and-falsehood-about-grain-bean-and-veggie-storage/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week In Doom June 4, 2018


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 4, 2018

“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”

 ― Nemesis  


Madness in DC is certainly in evidence, with the Lout-in-Chief hurling tweets like Zeus' thunderbolts, with the primary intention being suspension of the rule of law. Trump further weaponized the pardon power as a political tool, issuing a presidential pardon for confessed felon and right wing ideologue Dinesh D'Souza to the delight of right wingers and the annoyance of those who care about the rule of law. On Monday Morning, Trump tweeted, “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” Melania was still missing after 22 days, prompting speculation as to her whereabouts and safety.  Rumors that she had been renditioned to a black site in Thailand for threatening divorce remain unproven at press time.

Each week seems to have a day bruised by a flurry of Trump rage-tweets. His bouts of fury are well-documented. In Trump's 81 weeks as POTUS, has threatened individuals, institutions, businesses and countries, including the media, the NFL, NATO member countries, allies and enemies with bluster and braggadocio. He’s even promised Joe Biden a physical beat-down for challenging him.

Morris Berman in his blog Dark Ages America, has said it best:

Trump's historical mission is to dismantle the country, and he couldn't be doing a better job. John Kiriakou is worried about the state of the American soul (see his essay…), as though the jury was out on that one. In fact, it can be summarized in a single word: rotten. As he notes, 67% of the American public approves of torture, and Trump's approval rating continues to rise.

It's all over but the shouting.

Two-thirds of Americans support torture. The same number believe in guardian angel who keeps them safe from spiders and muslims. As one raised Roman Catholic who left the church after learning about the Spanish Inquisition, I’m appalled that anyone can think such a thing is even remotely acceptable. And now it is policy, part of the Trump governing ethic of putting a fox in charge of every henhouse. There is a dark terror and viciousness in the American soul, given full expression by the Lout-in-Chief. D.H Lawrence one wrote, "The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” And the magisterial American historian Richard Hofstadter acknowledged that “Americans certainly have reason to inquire whether, when compared with other advanced industrial nations, they are not a people of exceptional violence.” Make that "they" a "we."

Meanwhile, the shouting continues. As Shakespeare once said, “Words, words, words.” 


On Again, On Again

The North Korea Summit Is Back On—But Don’t Expect Miracles

Trump says Kim meeting is back on: ‘We’re getting along’

In a triumph of low expectations, the once-off "summit" with North Korea is back on again. “It went very well,” Trump declaimed, “And now we’re going to deal.”

This did America's greatest showman arrange to receive a letter delivered from the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in a symbolic show of good intentions. The delivery boy, one Kim Yong Chol, a former spymaster still legally sanctioned by the United States and reputedly the second-most powerful man in North Korea, was there to provide the photo op that the Koreans are savvy enough to know that the figurehead and loose cannon needs.

Just the week before, Trump cancelled the first ever summit between American and North Korean leaders in a dramatic letter to Kim, whose government had not been picking up the phone regarding summit preps and terms.

Some speculate that Trump appears to have recognized that diplomacy is more complex, more nuanced, and potentially takes much longer than a business deal. After all, it's not like Trump can make a phone call and get someone to lean on some troub lesome unions working on a high rise. And in diplomacy there are no sub-contractors to stiff.

“We‘ll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore,“ Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House after escorting Chol to his vehicle.

Trump tempered expectations for what the meeting in Singapore will yield, saying nothing would be signed during the summit and that it would simply be the beginning of a process toward denuclearizing North Korea.

“It‘s a process. … We're not going to go in and sign something on June 12 and we never will,“ the president said. “We‘re going to start a process.“

Trump just can't get enough of those chants of, "Nobel! Nobel! Nobel!"


Roseanne and the Art of War

If you're not living on an island, by now you are aware that Roseanne Barr has been fired from ABC and her hit show canceled after making a particularly egregious series of racist tweets. ABC abruptly canceled their top-rated show “Roseanne,” bringing an end to one of Hollywood’s boldest efforts to reach out to red-state viewers in the Trump era.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement.

Added Disney chief Robert Iger: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

In an article that informs the title of this segment, Kevin Tully puts the episode is a larger, useful perspective. The entire soul of Trumpism and thus what passes for Republicanism/ conservatism is bound up in Roseanne's compulsion to tweet and the white nationalist, racist impulses she has been empowered to vent.. She couldn't suppress her bigotry, anger and racism and more than her pole star, The Orange Lout, is able to. Last summer in Charlottesville, we saw the consequences of white nationalist rhetoric. Last week, we saw that although speech is "free" in this country, it does carry commercial consequences.

Republicans talk about taxes, deficits, defense and on and on — but what do they really talk about in a significant way? The Trump phenomenon has absolutely nothing to do with government, just as Roseanne's rant had nothing to do with governing — it was selfish, personal garbage wrapped in political clothing. This is what ninety percent of Republican/conservative rhetoric is. The pretense that the Republican party continues as a political party is ridiculous. It is a cult. It is a cult of destruction — it has traded a rudder for a hammer. Roseanne just used that hammer on the "family" that depended upon her.


Ireland overturns abortion ban

Ireland repealed a constitutional amendment that banned abortion by a two-to-one margin. The vote was to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%. The referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side.

Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman's life is at risk. The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced.

Some think that  Ireland’s “Yes” Vote on Abortion Changes Everything. The historic vote to enshrine reproductive rights is the result of decades of organizing by Irish women—and its impact will be felt in countries across the globe. This follows another vote signaliing the loosensing of the Roman catholic Church's grip on Irish politics: in 2015 the country voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum.

The decades-long battle to repeal Ireland’s eighth amendment—the 1983 law that gave equal value to the lives of a pregnant woman and a fetus—may be the biggest news to hit Catholic-majority Ireland since the country gained majority independence from England in 1922 (and that battle took 800 years).

The winning “yes” vote comes as welcomed vindication not just for the 170,000 Irish women who have obtained overseas abortions since 1980, but for everyone who supports human rights.

“This is a celebration of women’s equality,” says Susy Freelove, an artist who lives in Ballydehob, County Cork. She says Irish women who have openly shared their experiences of traveling to London to terminate their pregnancies can now finally feel a weight has been lifted.

“It’s a real sea change in Ireland in terms of how we view sexuality,” says Beth Wallace, a therapist who was born in a Dublin home for unwed mothers. “Generations of shame are falling away.”


Media Lies, That's Their Job

News provided by mainstream media properties is delivered on a two-edged sword. On one hand, professional media organizations have resources, reporting assetsand a reach far beyond the solitary scribbler. And they also have editorial staffs devoted to fact checking and source-vetting. Their occasional stumbles are much publicized, but for many stories  they are excellent. The problem comes with the editors and publishers, strategically placed with a thumb close to the scale to soften language, change verbs, reframe or even spike coverage of stories that challenge the current regime's status quo. Such it is with these:

With More Gaza Protests Planned, Don’t Believe the Mainstream Media’s Lies

 The one lobby that may not be flouted in the USA is the Israel lobby. Well funded and interlocked, it provides the political underpinning for a base of American support for any Israeli policy, no matter how inhumane.  

And it in stories about Israel, or Gaza, that the heavy thump, of editorial censorhip and influence cna be most readily seen in the American press. By any measure, the Palestinians in Gaza or horribly oppressed. It is inhumane to expect a massacred population not to resist their own decimation, like the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto.

Since the beginning of the Great March of Return on March 30, Israel has killed over 100 Palestinians and injured over 12,000. Only one Israeli, a soldier, has been injured in the context of the march. 

Most mainstream western media coverage of Gaza’s march has systematically decontextualized the mass civilian protest, brushed off Israel’s weekly massacres as “clashes,” reified the boundary fence between Gaza and Israel a “border,” presented Palestinian protesters as “Hamas pawns” passively “dying for photo ops” and deployed other strategic falsehoods to dehumanize Palestinians fighting for their freedom. The net effect is the demonization of the march and the absolution of Israel of its murderous assault.

Since Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in 2007, it has waged routine invasions that level infrastructure and kill thousands—a policy described by some Israeli analysists and politicians as “mowing the lawn.” According to the UN, Israel’s attacks, coupled with the siege, have rendered Gaza “unlivable.” Over 96 percent of Gaza’s water is unsafe for drinking and 57 percent of households are food insecure.

The Gaza Strip is often called the world’s largest open-air prison. Israel controls the maritime, aerospace and land borders of the coastal enclave.

Israel determines who and what can enter or exit Gaza. They control shipments of fuel, medicine, building supplies, and food—at one point allowing only the minimum calories each person in the strip could consume without starving.

There are details rarely mentioned in America's MSM. There was a time when America attempted to influence and shape Israel's policy. Now the shoe is on the other foot.Veneuuela is often also lied about, in accordance with policy. Newly re-elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

The real Venezuela is not what you think– The U.S. press doesn't tell you what Maduro has done for the poor.

Venezuela also gets the red pencil treatment, in large measure because the avowed socialist economy spends more money on "the people" then the avatars of austerity" think prudent. Never forget that every penny spent on a crust for a poor child comes out of the pocket of a multinational construction company or an international banker.

Daniel Kovalik, who teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, published the linked article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kovalik recently visited during the recent election. Did you know that Jimmy Carter has called Venezuela’s electoral system “the best in the world?” Me, neither. Prior to the election on May 20,  which included an opposition candidate, Henri Falcon, from the business community, the U.S. government announced that it would not recognize the outcome, no matter who won. It also threatened Mr. Falcon with sanctions if he even ran in the election, and  threatened further economic sanctions on Venezuela if incumbent leftist Nicolas Maduro won. After Maduro's victory, the trump administration wasted no time imposing yet additional sanctions, further immiserating the Venezuelan people. 

How about another chorus of "Home of the Brave?"

First, the true patriots of Venezuela, not surprisingly, resent the United States’ devastating economic sanctions as well its constant call for regime change. Some U.S. officials even talk of military intervention to overthrow Mr. Maduro. In part, the vote for Mr. Maduro was a vote against U.S. meddling in the affairs of Venezuela.

In addition, despite the real hardships in Venezuela — for which the U.S. is largely to blame — most of Venezuela’s poor are better off now than they were before the Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. For example, over the past 7 years, the government has built 2 million units of housing for low-income Venezuelans. In a country of only some 30 million people, these units are now home to a large proportion of the Venezuelan population. The current government also has provided free health care and subsidized food.

Many of us read blogs like these to try to find a voice in the wilderness, in Leonard Cohen's lyric, "a crack where the light gets through." The Venezuela report reminds us that while poor people have been given a voice in Venezuela, their voice remains muzzled in this country, and by a press which passes off pro-intervention and pro-war propaganda as journalism. Little wonder the United States continues to careen into one disastrous military adventure after another.


Immiseration At Home

The U.S. immigration and border complex has never been particularly rational or humane. Yet with the latest iteration of “zero tolerance” border policing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought a disgraceful legacy to a new low.

As Debbie Nathan reports, Sessions’s cruel policy of deliberately separating immigrant parents from their children as a deterrent to would-be border crossers has even outraged a federal judge in south Texas.

Time was when It used to be rare to charge migrants seeking asylum with crimes. Those so charged would be put into detention with their children while they pursued their claims. Or they were released with supervision — along with their children. The best interests of the children were considered paramount, and those interests included keeping families together.

No more.

Such asylum-seekers now find themselves charged with “illegal entry,” and now the Trump administration's policy  is breaking up families, sending children to detention centers, often hundreds of miles from their mothers and fathers, or to distant foster homes.

In practice, this means that even parents fleeing violence to protect their young children will be deemed smugglers — that is, criminals. Sessions’s announcement came just two weeks after an official with the Department of Health and Human Services told Congress that the agency had lost track of 1,475 unaccompanied migrant children it had placed with sponsors.

The anguish that parents communicated in Morgan’s courtroom, and the spectacle of dozens of migrants being convicted and sentenced en masse, in proceedings lasting just a few minutes and with only the most perfunctory legal representation, has shocked courthouse employees. …

A young father then said he’d been separated from his 6-year-old and was very worried.

The judge tried to assume his crisp air. But he seemed overwhelmed, with the parents’ worry and with suspicion that the government was misrepresenting to him what was really happening to the children.

“The way it’s supposed to work,” he told the parents, “you’re going to be sent to a camp where your child will be allowed to join you. That’s my understanding of how it’s supposed to work.”

“They told me they were going to take her away,” a mother interjected about her young daughter.

“Well, let’s hope they don’t,” said Morgan. “You and your daughter, you should be joined together.”

And then, for many seconds, he was silent.

This the freedom our young men and women in uniform are fighting and dying to protect? Oh, right, it's about corporate interests.


Short takes:

Same cancer, worse results and twice the cost in the US

No War Like a Trade War– U.S. hits E.U., Canada and Mexico with steel, aluminum tariffs, sparking trade war

"This is not about the American people. We have to believe that at some point their common sense will prevail," said Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau.

Corporations Are Profiting From Immigrant Detainees’ Labor. Some Say It’s Slavery.

At privately run detention centers, immigrants say they're forced to work for $1 a day.

We Made Plastic. We Depend On It. Now We're Drowning In It.

The miracle material has made modern life possible. But more than 40 percent of it is used just once, and it’s choking our waterways.


That's more than enough for one week. Every story here demonstrates that Americans do not understand that the country is addicted to economic growth, and cannot account fo, what is happening as the pyramid scheme is approaching its limits. These are the stories that sadly mark the "days of our lives," as America's final decades consist of an increasingly frenzied no-holds-barred focus on keeping its economy from collapsing.


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and was active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary and is the proud parent of a recent college graduate. He will have failed if not prominently featured on an enemies list compiled by the current administration.

💀 Pain, Freedom & Death

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on June 3, 2018

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I shot the picture above from the threshhold of my Back Porch.  It was a beautiful day here on the Last Great Frontier in early summer/late spring.  Rain in the morning and then lots of warmth and sunshine through the afternoon.  The farmers in Palmer I am sure loved this day, more like it through the summer and we will see new records set at the Alaska State Fair for Giant Vegetables.  For me though, it was a day of realization that I am finished, done, kaput.  I have nothing new I wish to write about Collapse, and I am tired of arguing the fine points with morons.  I did what I am going to do with my life, which certainly could have been better but could have been worse too.  I did manage to stay out of prison.  The time has come for me to make my trip across the Great Divide, only cowardice stops me now from pulling the plug on myself.  I am a worthless heap of meat flesh and should be dead many times over already.

Today I am sharing with my readers a video I made last week while in Hospital.  It is a video of the pain I was undergoing prior to getting a morphine infusion via my IV lines put in place to get drugs into my system without poking me full of holes every 4 hours or so.  I still got numerous holes poked though for extracting blood from my system for daily testing.  Those worked up nice Black & Blue spots.

I have experienced many sorts of pain over the years, I skied off a cliff in my youth and broke both legs and I have had numerous issues of tooth pain as well as various of my teeth went bad after being destroyed by incompetent dentists.  I have had more than 20 teeth pulled at one sitting.  I have had my arteries rotor-rootered without a general anaesthetic so I could watch the proceedure.  However, nothing including the toothaches ever compared with this pain.  Toothaches are constant but a kind of dull pain, not the kind of sharp and repeated pain I experienced with these episodes, which came once or twice a day for 3 days until the problems were brought somewhat under control, although they are still not resolved.  Without the Morphine, I do not know how I would have maintained my sanity through this period, so the Anti-Opiod crawd can go straight to HELL.  Absolutely NOTHING can knock down pain like Morphine, except probably Heroin which is a derivative of Morphine.  I wish they had Heroin available in Hospital when I was there.  Even the Morphine did not do the whole trick.

To try and imagine what it is like, imagine your leg as a really BIG tooth that needs to be extracted, except it comes in with pain thrusts that are sharp and powerful, not dull and continuous.  If a surgeon had showed up in my hospital room while undergoing this and offered to amputate my leg to relieve the pain, I would have enthusiastically agreed to the surgery.  Unfortunately, no surgeon showed up volunteering to do this job and I remained stuck with the offending leg connected to the rest of my body.  Not that it does much good there these days anyhow, the fucking piece of my meat package can't even lift me to my feet anymore without tons of help.

The progress here of my deterioration in many respects mirrors that of the civilization I inhabit.  I am now somewhat free from the extreme pain I was undergoing last week, but with each passing day I beome still more debilitated.  I have just about no reason to live anymore, but I am too big a coward to pull the trigger on myself.  The only thing left is my self-made project of my Tombstone, but that will get done by my executors whether I make it through the next few months or not.  Everything else in my life is all tied up and packaged now, for all it was worth in the end.  I wrote a few words and I taught a few kids.  That sums up the reasonably significant things I did with the 60 or so years I had walking the earth.  Otherwise, I never lived up to my own goals and expectations of myself.

As I make my way to the Great Beyond in this excruciatingly slow process, one of my own thoughts and also suggested to me by other Diners was it was time to check myself in to an Assisted Care Facility, aka a Nursing Home of sorts for Cripples where there is staff around 24/7 to pick your carcass up if you fall down and help you get in and out of bed or onto the throne.  I can't bring myself to do this anymore than I can put a gun to my head and pull the trigger.  It would be giving up the last vestige of FREEDOM I have, which is not much really but it's what I have.  I love my little digs and my space here, which is MY SPACE and nobody tells me how I should live here or dictates what I can eat either.  I want to die here, in my space in my way.  I want to leave this world as I lived in it, by my own rules with nobody telling me what to do or how to do it.  I have nobody left I need to satisfy besides God, and believe you me he will get a piece of my mind when I cross the Great Divide.

The space of our Industrial Civilization is also going Bye-Bye, although not quite so fast as my personal space, and many people will suffer pain similar to what I did as they also make their way across the Great Divide.  Most won't even understand why they are expiring and go down blaming stupid politicians they themselves voted for.  They will cling to stupid religions and stupid political viewpoints and go straight to HELL, where they belong.  These are the people who cannot be saved, and we have them here on the Diner as they also exist throughout the real world.  They will burn in everlasting damnation, so will their parents and their children and grandchildren, all the acolytes of Satan.  I will take everlasting pleasure in watching them burn from my perch in the Great Beyond.  A few days of pain was a small price to pay for this Eternal Schaudenfrede.

 

What’s Missing?

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Published on Pray for Calamity on My 30, 2018

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My farm truck is fairly old.  It’s a Ford F-150 and it was made in 1992.  While not a vehicle I need every day, if there is a load of firewood or manure to be moved, it is the only thing that will do the trick.  So last week when I went to fire it up and it wouldn’t start, I was frustrated to say the least. Not only was my day’s plate of errands full, but beyond that the truck was blocking our narrow driveway preventing another vehicle from passing.

Lifting my daughter out of the cab I took a deep breath. An azure blue sky beamed overhead as I shifted the truck into neutral, placed my hand firmly against the steel doorframe, and began heaving with my legs.  Slowly the tires began to roll backwards as I used my free hand to steer the truck onto the grass under the shade of a hickory tree.

“OK, fire it,” he yelled. I turned the key in the ignition, and got the nya-nya-nya-nya sound of the starter motor. My friend was under the hood holding the handle of a thin screwdriver, the tip of which was in a wire running out of the distributor.

“Well, you’re getting good spark.” I am not a gear-head by any stretch of the imagination, but I attempt to fix what I can on my cars, which also means I tend to prefer older cars, hence the 1992 Ford.  However, whenever I have an issue I cannot readily tend to myself, I have a friend I call over who is a far better mechanic than myself.

After changing out my cap, rotor, plugs, wires, and ignition coil, and checking to make sure I had fuel pressure at the rail and gas getting into the cylinder, I was stumped. My friend was stumped too.  At this point, it could be numerous things preventing the engine from catching, from a timing issue to a failing in the computer.

Computers in cars. Goddammit why? Even the 92’s have them, primitive as they may be by today’s standards.  Looking at the myriad different color wires running in a tight bundle to the truck’s computer, I have a brief flash, a memory of my friend’s 1970 Ford Mustang. This is a car my friend bought maybe twenty years ago and had worked to restore. The engine was so simple, so clean. Its functional simplicity was like a Japanese tea ceremony.  A loud, roaring, ground shaking tea ceremony.

Mass shootings are almost a weekly occurrence in the United States these days. In fact, more students have died at school in 2018 than US troops have died in combat zones. For a nation with troops on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Niger, and lord knows where else, that is a morose statistic indeed. After each shooting event, there is a ritual of news coverage and political handwringing, and somewhere in there amongst all of the constitution waving and twitter snark, someone will suggest that the tragedy is the result of the fact that the perpetrator was crazy.

It is a simple argument on its face, for of course, who but a crazy person would commit an act of mass murder? For a particularly shining example of a seemingly very mentally unhinged person acting out violently, we only have to harken back a few weeks to April of this year, when a young man walked into a Nashville, Tennessee Waffle House – naked – brandishing an AR-15.  After fatally shooting four people, another young man, James Shaw, who had been hiding in the bathroom rushed out and disarmed the murderer, who then fled.

Upon capturing the suspect, it was revealed that he had a very storied past of behavior that was more than bizarre. For instance, he had gone to a public pool wearing a lady’s housecoat and exposed his genitals to the lifeguards. Apparently he was under the impression that musician Taylor Swift was stalking him, and he had even once approached the secret service at the White House and demanded to inspect the grounds.

If killers are merely crazy, then there isn’t much we can do about them, I guess the argument goes. We can only throw up our hands and roll the dice every time we go to a movie theater or a restaurant or a high school. Unless someone asks the next most obvious question: What is making so many people crazy?

Or perhaps more accurately: What is making so many Americans crazy?

Or perhaps even more accurately: What is making so many American white men crazy?

Or perhaps even more accurately: What is making so many American white men lash out violently at those around them? 

Of course, I am not the first to ask this question or a variant of it, and the easy answers have flowed forth in a torrent.

Epidemiological studies are often used to make some sort of nutritional claim, like, “Eating pasta helps you lose weight.” These make for great headlines (which is why Barilla pasta finances them) but usually make for a terrible understanding of nutrition. The reason is co-factors. Nutritional epidemiology is basically running surveys. Get a group of people, ask them what they eat, examine their lives over a set window of time, spit out a result.

However, putting aside for a moment that these are not double blind, controlled, randomized, clinical trials which can actually tease out causality, we have to look at all of the lifestyle factors that aren’t being considered. Is this person a smoker? Are they under a lot of stress? Do they drink? Do they exercise? And even after all of that, when some headline about some new epidemiological study tells you that eating this or that thing causes cancer, we have to ask, “Was adding the new thing bad, or is absence of an old thing the problem?”

So when a kid walks into his Santa Fe, Texas high school with a shotgun and executes teachers and students, there will be plenty of talking heads and social media policy gurus who settle on the idea that the young man responsible is crazy. Some will even venture to posit that this modern epidemic of craziness stems from the addition of the internet, video games, cell phones, or movies to young people’s daily activities.

Perhaps we should not just look to what things have been added to the lives of young men, but also look to what has been replaced.

What’s missing?

Social media use has been linked to increasing rates of depression. Is this because people get anxiety seeking the approval that comes in the form of shares and likes? Is it because of the increased level of scrutiny people face when a large portion of their lives becomes public? Or is it because people spend more time engaging with other humans in a non-intimate way, interfacing with keyboards and glowing touchscreens instead of in person with all of the gesture, eye contact, subtle humor, and other nuance of face-to-face interaction?  Is it the new thing, or the lack of the old?

Capitalism is built on a simple premise: Locate a resource, use labor to convert it into a good, sell the good at a profit, repeat.  For generations this has meant a sprawling march of death moving over the globe, seizing lands, razing them, expropriating the resources available, subjugating the masses to labor, and leaving mountains of waste in the rear view. This has made life interesting indeed. In the US, and likely much of the west, even high-end goods are so plentiful that they become valueless nearly instantly. Peruse the racks at any Goodwill and you will find DVD players and video game systems less than ten years old haphazardly strewn about. Yet the songbirds are going silent, and the insects are vanishing.

In any given town in America you could hop on Craigslist and find a functioning small car for less than a thousand dollars. You could certainly find a dollar store of some kind chock full of sugary drinks, vape pipes, cheap home goods, and a discount bin of blu-ray discs. Everything is available everywhere in disgusting heaps of material excess, all so the individual can return to their isolated apartment to enjoy this stuff alone. Atomized. Singular. Powerless. Meaningless. Then they can hoist it into the dumpster before going out into a dying world for more.

Every year I go on an extended camping trip with friends. It is important to me that I spend time with people I care deeply about, who care deeply about me, and that we sit directly on the Earth. We share food together. We laugh and play games. It is a spiritual recharge to head down to a lake or river with one another, and to swim in the cold water, mossy rocks underfoot. At night we tell stories around a fire. Wood smoke whirls towards the charcoal blackness above and we breathe in the night together, and then exhale.   Sitting in a circle we sing. We lean in onto eachothers shoulders.  We slowly fumble towards our respective beds and sleep that good, out of doors sleep.

For the record, I do not actually think that Americans are any crazier than anyone else in the developed world.   I think living in ways that are completely foreign to our evolutionary self throws us out of whack. Eating foods foreign to our guts, sitting for long stretches of time, staring at screens, existing in digital worlds, working jobs which have no direct benefit to ourselves, financial struggle, the bombardment of advertising, the bombardment of propaganda, authoritarian power structures, the almost total lack of ability to effect our world, the list goes on.

There are the things we are doing that are new, and the things we aren’t doing because of it.  Touching the Earth.  Touching plants.  Singing with friends.  Wrestling with friends. Smelling a fire.  Walking long distances through unpredictable, non-man made spaces. Harvesting wild foods. Drinking from springs.  Touching bone.  Touching flesh.  Listening to owls.  Staring at stars.  Engaging in ceremonies thoughtfully designed to highlight our sense of place and wonder within this great and beautiful and tragic mystery called life.

We live lives foreign to our physiology and damaging to our souls in a rapidly changing context that is always requiring that we prove our value to people we do not know.

I cannot help but to think that these things place a massive stress on us, all of us. Despite having everything we seemingly need in the form of food and shelter, something is not right. As we are all individuals with individual circumstances, how we crash land through the plinko game of modern capitalist civilization is anyone’s guess. Some of us adapt, some of us suffer in silence, many of us self medicate, and a tiny fraction – who also happen to have been mystified by narratives about their place in society due to their gender – pick up a gun and kill.

Is it all this new stuff we are surrounded by? Is it something we have lost? Is it a dynamic combination of both?  Who knows, exactly?

What I do know is that in the United States guns are pretty easy to come by. We probably aren’t any crazier than anyone else. The crippling physical and psychological stress of the modern industrial world reaches far outside of US borders.   We just make it a lot easier to slaughter one and other.

If we want to keep the guns around, the culture has to change. I, for one, would happily trade this economy for actual, functioning community.  Though something tells me it would be a hard sell, especially to those who benefit most from our fracture. Until then, the bi-weely festival of carnage is likely to continue undeterred.

Better keep the flag at half mast.

We had fuel, we had air, we had spark, and still that old truck wouldn’t start. Biting the bullet, I had the old mule towed to a nearby mechanic’s shop. Days later he called me on the phone to tell me I had a dead MAP sensor, which is a little doodad that effectively controls fuel system pressure.  A damn doodad.

I had everything I needed for proper function, just not in the exact right amounts at the exact right time.   The devil is in the details.

Dulce Et Decorum Est…

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 28, 2018

“If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.”

 ― Wilfred Owen


As we observe yet another Memorial Day, it is at this time of year that thoughts turn to those who have served, those lost, those gone. At a time when the NFL make rules to enforce compulsory public worship of militarism (let's not call it patriotism, shall we?), the better to stifle the protest of domestic oppression, it is well to remember a time when grace and magnanimity softened hearts. Today marks the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day's official nationwide observance. The annual commemoration was born in the former Confederate States in 1866 and adopted by the United States in 1868.

Although not widely known today, the early evolution of the Memorial Day holiday grew from a Southern expression of magnanimity. An article by Richard Gardiner, The Forgotten History of Memorial Day,  traces the holiday's beginnings. 

During 1866, the first year of this annual observance in the South, a feature of the holiday emerged that made awareness, admiration and eventually imitation of it spread quickly to the North. During the inaugural Memorial Day observances which were conceived in Columbus, Georgia, many Southern participants – especially women – decorated graves of Confederate soldiers as well as, unexpectedly, those of their former enemies who fought for the Union. 

Shortly after those first Memorial Day observances all across the South, newspaper coverage in the North was highly favorable to the ex-Confederates. 

“The action of the ladies on this occasion, in burying whatever animosities or ill-feeling may have been engendered in the late war towards those who fought against them, is worthy of all praise and commendation,” wrote one paper

On May 9, 1866, the Cleveland Daily Leader lauded the Southern women during their first Memorial Day. 

“The act was as beautiful as it was unselfish, and will be appreciated in the North.”

Newspapers spread word of the magnanimous deeds of the southern women on "Decoration Day,", and it was memorialized in a popular poem, "The Blue and the Grey," often learned and recited by schoolchildren. With the ritual repeated on both sides of thre Mason-Dixon line, the holiday became a part of binding the wounds of a fratricidal war. It was a visible manifestation of Lincoln’s hope for reconciliation between North and South.

Somehow, the revulsion to war was lost as late nineteenth America grew in commercial and economic power. By the time a marine named Smedley Butler appeared in the US military, American was already flexing its muscles for entry as a player on the world stage.

Those not familiar with the career of Butler have missed a fascinating chapter of US history.

Smedley Darlington Butler was at the time of his death, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. He was a welter of contradictions: a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, an outspoken critic of U.S. military adventurism; a high school dropout who became a major general, a Quaker and devout family man who was among the toughest of Marines; an aristocrat who championed the common man; a leader who thought of himself as striving to help the oppressed of the countries he occupied as commander of an imperial fighting force. During a 34-year career he participated in actions in the Philippines, China, Central America, the Caribbean, and France in World War I. He twice won the Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as numerous other U.S. and foreign medals. Our age has not seen the like of this larger-than-life soldier, but ours is not an age that produces heroes as readily as louts.

After he retired, Butler became a well-known and outspoken critic of the US military-industrial complex. His most well known work is his 1935 book "War is a Racket", in which he described war as a money making enterprise.

In "War is a Racket" he described and criticized the foreign actions and wars of the United States including his own, as so much gangsterism, not sparing American corporations and the politicians who enable them.

Butler's words have resonated through our day, when the interstices used by the interlocking nexus of international banks, construction companies, corrupt politicians and "foreign policy professionals" have combine to inflict a new, less straightforward version of colonialism on smaller, weaker countries or those (e.g. Greece) inclined to go their own way. Many of his memorable phrases are still quoted today, as they remain eternally true.

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

Near the end, Butler has some modest proposals for making war unprofitable, thus less likely.

It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation's manhood can be conscripted.

One can imagine bow unpopular this prescription was to the war profiteers. 

In an interesting codicil to an outstanding career, Butler was recruited to be a member of what came to be knows as the Business Plot. He later told a congressional committee that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Butler would be selected to lead a veterans march to become dictator, along the lines of other Fascist regimes emerging in Europe. The conspirators had picked the wrong man. All involved denied the existence of a plot and the media ridiculed the allegations. But a final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed some of Butler's testimony. The incident was forgetten. 

The techniques Butler describes are updated decades later by John Perkins, who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, published in 2004. In it Perkins describes his role as to convince leaders of underdeveloped countries to accept substantial development loans for large construction and engineering projects that would primarily benefit the richest families and local elites, rather than the poor. And the projects would be contracted to U.S. construction companies. Such loans would give the U.S. additional leverage for access to estract the host country's natural resources at favorable rates. Indeed, the business of America is business.

Just another reason Why People Hate Us. A nation immune to history has no recollection of its own history of intervention and interference. Saddam Hussein and Khaddafi were undoubtedly bad actors, and many believe that regime change was rightly forced upon those countries. But via the CIA, America has been busily replacing democracies with dictatorships in countries all over the world for more than 30 years. The justification was often to counter Soviet influence, but in many cases there was little or no evidence.

So why would the rest of the wrld hate us? Simply because Americans act like we are the center of the universe, we have to win everything all the time, we eat everything, Nukes, your country's natural resources are our birthright, and so is your energy– only 5 percent of the world’s population, we consume 26 percent of the world’s energy. We meddle all over the world, the scream to high heaven when other countries meddle back, we export trash materialistic culture, and we act unilaterally whenever and wherever we want, because American Exceptionalism. 

Now as Twitler advances a foreign policy of brinksmanship, there is talk in some quarters of reinstating the draft, since the time may come when the prospect of being the first to rush into the breach to die for the Trump corporate brand may be insufficiently motivating for enlistments.

Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

 


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and was active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary and  will have failed if not prominently featured on an enemies list compiled by the current administration.

This Week In Doom May 27, 2018


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 27, 2018

“–nor had I understood til then how the shameless vanity of utter fools can so strongly determine the fate of others.”

 ― Philip Roth, The Plot Against America  

 


Once again, we get out the bike pump and re-inflate this occasional feature. If you're interested in doom or impending collapse, you got your nickel's worth this week. 

Trump tweets, knowing that the media leaps to follow like Pavlov's dogs to the bell. In this way he controls the news cycle and accomplishes two important objectives: to constantly feed red meat to his base, who must be kept in high dudgeon in order to maintain his approval ratings above 30 per cent. (Never forget that Nixon still maintained a 28% approval rating when he stepped onto the helicopter, and into richly deserved but only temporary shame.) This has been Trump's strategy since the beginning, evident and plain to see, and a look at polls illustrates that it works. This artificially high approval rating is ably assisted by the crew at FOX News, almost all of whom seem to have signed onto the white nationalist agenda. It is what it is.

And while the media rushes to cover the fresh tweeted outrages, the real business of this administration occurs mentioned only on the back pages, if at all. Remember Steve Bannon's desire to "deconstruct the administrative state?" Bannon may be gone, but the agenda remains, and you can see it enacted every week if you look beyond the headlines and the contrived cable news panels.

Trump tweets because it works. It really is that simple.


The big news this week was that Trump "canceled" the pending summit with North Korea. What is truly amusing is that there're actually people who believe the summit was actually going to happen. Many of them were in a recent Trump "campaign rally,"(read yet another fund raiser to pay legal fees) and were heard chanting,"Nobel! Nobel!"

The Washington Post's article  got the high points.

President Trump’s abrupt decision Thursday to abort a summit next month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left the White House scrambling to explain the outcome to allies amid fears that the collapse of talks would mean a return to heightened tensions between nuclear powers in East Asia.

Trump announced he was pulling out of the planned meeting in Singapore on June 12 in a letter to Kim that came less than 12 hours after a North Korean official had personally disparaged Vice President Pence and warned of a nuclear showdown if the United States did not alter its tone ahead of the summit.

Ostensibly, Trump's purpose was to teach the younger man something about the "real balance of power" on the Korean Peninsula. The entire notion of the summit came about because Trump, who mightily believes in playing from his gut, blew through all the warning signs offered by aids and advisers. Trump rushed headlong into the summit process, ignoring warnings that North Korea has long been an unreliable negotiating partner.

Meanwhile, as John "Yosemite Sam" Bolton urged Trump to scuttle the talks, Kim destroyed his nuclear testing facility hours prior to Trump's announcement

TOKYO —  North Korea claimed Thursday it destroyed its key nuclear weapons testing site, setting off explosions to collapse underground tunnels hours before President Trump called off a planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. 

The North had used the site, tucked into a remote, mountainous area, to detonate six increasingly large nuclear bombs over 11 years. 

The apparent demolition was widely seen as a diplomatic gesture toward Washington, even as it remained unclear whether the made-for-TV blasts marked any significant change in the North’s nuclear capabilities.

At a subsequent  White House briefing an anonymous source revealed on background that negotiations continued, and the summit might be on again. Trump fumed and fulminated otherwise.

Mr. Trump posted on Twitter to denounce part of the article, which reported in the 10th paragraph that “a senior White House official told reporters that even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.”

In a tweet, the president took issue with that sentence, saying, “WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.”

It is not clear whether the president was simply unaware of the actions of his own senior staff or if he knowingly ignored the truth. The source of that sentence was a White House official who held a briefing on Thursday afternoon in the White House briefing room that was attended by about 50 reporters, with about 200 or so more on a conference call.

Trump grabbed his cell phone with his famously small hands, and tweeted out this was not so, and the "failing New York Times" was manufacturing sources. Facts dictte otherwise. In other news, 35% of the population doesn't know or care.

Meanwhile, as Trump spluttered and Tweeted, back in Korea the leaders of North and South Korea held their own surprise meeting Saturday. One wonders what Bolton made of the news.

The two "exchanged opinions" on several things successfully carrying out a future US-North Korea summit, according to a released statement.

It was said Moon would  announce the result of his meeting with Kim on Sunday morning local time, according to the South Korean statement.

The report went on to say that Moon called for an emergency meeting with Kim in the middle of the night after Trump called off the June summit. In canceling, Trump cited hostile comments from top North Korean officials, including that a North Korean Foreign Ministry official called Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy"  Clearly, the North Koreans have not the lesson learned by all mass media in the United States: that under no circumstances may you ever utter the actual, unvarnished truth about an American political figure, especially a Republican.


 

On Wednesday, the owners of teams in the National Football League, as lily-white, male, and privileged a group as ever occupied a luxury box, took an action more craven than any before, which is saying a lot. They voted to mandate a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance, but gives them the option to remain in the locker room. The owners may think that they are "getting out in front" of this issue, but they are trailing well behind, especially in the court of public opinion. But the truth is they are terrified of Trump and the effect he can have on their precious bottom-lines.

There's reportedly one big reason why the NFL took sweeping action Wednesday in adopting a new national anthem policy prior to the start of the 2018 season. And he resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington.

“Our league is f—–g terrified of Trump. We're scared of him,” one unnamed source told Bleacher Report as reaction to the plan poured in.

Which is just the way Trump likes it. Like any bully.

After a tumultuous 2017 season, which saw NFL attendance and TV ratings drop as President Trump and others criticized on-field protests by many of the league's players, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced this week that the league would fine any team or league employee if they failed “to stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

Trump came out in support of the NFL’s decision Thursday and blasted players who kneel during the anthem.

"I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good,” Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade in an exclusive interview. “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. You shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe they shouldn’t be in the country.”

Reaction was swift.

As ESPN puts it,

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith reacted with displeasure in a series of tweets Wednesday.

"History has taught us that both patriotism and protest are like water; if the force is strong enough it cannot be suppressed. Today, the CEO's of the NFL created a rule that people who hate autocracies should reject," Smith tweeted.

"Management has chosen to quash the same freedom of speech that protects someone who wants to salute the flag in an effort to prevent someone who does not wish to do so. The sad irony of this rule is that anyone who wants to express their patriotism is subject to the whim of a person who calls himself an "Owner."

Chris Long, a defensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles with a firmly established track record for charitable work, wrote the following on Twitter:

The NBA is a far more progressive league with different attitudes (and a more heavily African-American fan base). The league boasts some thoughtful coaches, such as Steve Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors:

I think it’s just typical of the NFL. They’re just playing to their fan base and they’re basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people. It’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business. I’m proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech and about peacefully protesting.

I think our leadership in the NBA understands when the NFL players were kneeling, they were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality. They weren’t disrespecting the flag or the military, but our president decided to make it about that. That NFL followed suit, pandered to their fan base, created this hysteria.

This is kind of what’s wrong with our country right now. People in high places are trying to divide us, divide loyalties, make this about the flag, as if the flag is something other than what it really is. It’s a representation of what we’re really about, which is diversity, and peaceful protest and right to free speech. 

The owners may think that by taking this action, they have put this issue to bed. I am willing to bet (now legal, thanks to the Gorsuch Supreme Court) that this issue will flame up again once the season starts. Another example of how Trump is remaking this country in his own image.


Already far too long, here are some short takes on other news that occurred this past week:

Trump signs the biggest rollback of bank rules since the financial crisis

  • President Donald Trump signs a bill rolling back certain bank regulations into law. 
  • The law, which Congress passed with bipartisan support, eases rules on all but the largest institutions.
  • Proponents argue the measures will help community lenders, while opponents contend it went too far to help mid-sized and regional firms.

China Makes Massive Cut to Car Tariffs After Truce With Trump

  • Tariff reduced to 15% from 25%, boosting automaker shares
  • Expected shift comes after truce in the U.S.-China trade war

MH17 missile owned by Russian brigade, investigators say

  • The missile that downed a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine in 2014 belonged to a Russian brigade, international investigators say.
  • For the first time, the Dutch-led team said the missile had come from a unit based in western Russia. All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died when it broke apart in mid-air flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Philip Roth dies at 85; novelist both probed and skewered Jewish American culture

Author Philip Roth, who tackled self-perception, sexual freedom, his own Jewish identity and the conflict between modern and traditional morals through novels that he once described as "hypothetical autobiographies," has died. He was 85.

  • Roth was one of America's preeminent 20th century novelists in a career that began in the 1950s and continued up until nearly the end of his life, resulting in more than 30 novels and short-story collections over seven decades. His work persistently blurred the lines between fiction and memoir, and often left readers both smitten and outraged… There is a good Vanity Fair article on Roth here

 

“The pleasure isn't in owning the person. The pleasure is this. Having another contender in the room with you.” 
― Philip RothThe Human Stain

 


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere, and was active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary and  will have failed if not prominently featured on an enemies list compiled by the current administration.

I Spy Doom: Hospital Edition 1

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Published on the Doomstead Diner You Tube Channel on May 27, 2018

Discuss this Video at the  Frostbite Fall Insider Table inside the Diner

As regular Diners know, I'm back for my 2nd trip to Hospital in as many weeks, this time due to an infection acquired here the first time round.  My lower legs became inflamed ind swollen and over the coure of about a week it became impossible to walk at all and the pain level was incredible.  Finally, on last Thurday I took myself to the ER and got admitted for nother go round as an in-patient.

Just GETTING to the ER on myo own without calling 911 and riding in an ambulance was a challenge.  I wanted to bring along my Cripple Cart, and an ambulance wouldn't do that nor would most regular cab drivers.  After much searching at the last minute I found the one small company in the Valley that does this, and they charge less than a regular cab does!  So I got here and got admitted and they put me on IV antibiotics, and gave me another nice room to enjoy another Medical Vacation to the tune of something like $10,000/day.  That is just the room and basics, it doen't iclude any doctor's fees those are separate.

I got dropped on the ward for Cripples, where I have been since and had various drugs and minerals and vitamins either pumped into my body via IV or handed to me every 4 hours or so by the nure in charge of the Cripple Ward.  Meanwile I am stuck in the electric bed which I wish I had one of them at home, but is not something you want to be stuck in 24/7 either. I have bizzied myself improving my workspace, which I took a Selfie of as best I could without seeing the composing screen which you see at right.  It now sports a lighted keyboard a well a a side dek for my food and other stuff.  Enough room now to the right for my wireles mouse.  The computer is my newly refurbished Dual Boot Windows/Linux with 8 Gigs of RAM and a 500 Gig SSD Hard drive.  It is BLAZINGLY fast.  So far also it has accumulated no malware.  Can't say the same for my 5 year old phone, which has to get to the experts for cleanup, it's totally infected.  My first project when I get released is to either get it fixed or get a new one.  It's nearly unusable at the moment.

In any event, for the next couple of days at least this will be the World Wide Headquarters for DOOM, focusing in the next few Sunday Brunch videos on the medical industry.  In the video above I outline some of the topics we will discuss.  Join us Inside the Diner for other video available only to Registered Diners.

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