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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 9, 2020

 

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Because dead people can't teach students to spell. If the point is to teach students to spell, dead people can't do it. The same goes for teaching anything at all. Dead people can't teach. What is hard to figure out about this?

The summer could have been spent figuring out how to pair educated and unemployed Americans with students furloughed by COVID-19. Doing this would eliminate problems caused by remote learning and keep lives moving ahead. Like lives matter.

The knee-jerk solution, remote learning, by itself has serious problems. The biggest problem is the mere suggestion of remote learning causes a person to think the problem is solved. Techno-narcissism creeps in and stops thought. Today we have remote learning and tomorrow we will have Mars. It takes a strong mind not to go fantastical. Particularly if you are an educated person who has used the internet to acquire a skill or two or three. You think everyone can do it and you don't see that you are unique, special and hooked up. You are also likely to think that there is no problem technology can't solve.

Remote learning is part of a solution for doing education in a pandemic but it is not a one size fits all solution. Distance learning panders to a connected elite in the same way mail-in voting does but more so. Part of a solution under the circumstances but far from ideal. A minimum computer literacy, which many students do not have, is required for remote learning to work. Those most in need are the least capable.

Schools as a COVID-19 Petri dish is a true fact even to those who deny that COVID-19 even exists. A rational person can be perhaps slightly forgiven for the current situation since the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic would not have been contained by September seemed crazy in May. Sadly we live in crazy times, and we are now in crisis. Paring educated and unemployed Americans with students furloughed by COVID-19 leads to small classes which by their size, contain COVID-19 infection.

Thinking about what to do about schools in September was put on hold. According to President Trump America will panic if they find out that we are in a COVID-19 pandemic. Trump's solution thus has been to pretend COVID-19 does not exist and that it will just go away someday. Obeying the impulse to follow the herd, America continued to assume it had a leader all summer long. Easily seduced America trusted in the miracle of remote learning. In both cases trust has been misplaced. Everything goes away and soon enough we are all dirt. Knowing this and knowing that it is the POTHUS job to protect the nation, I find the Trump reassurance disgusting.

Small class sizes so outbreaks can be contained. An obvious answer and one which in a time of no leadership is ignored. A national program using the forcibly retired and unemployed. Homeschooling at the local instead of the family level of implementation. This is and continues to be, a valid solution. Perhaps the only solution. A solution which could be deployed now as early as January.

Elite leadership made the mistake of pretending that the COVID-19 problem does not exist. Getting classes up and running in the fall because of the choice made in the spring is nonsense now. Countries which took appropriate action can recover somewhat. It may be safe to have coffee in a Rome Café now because Italy locked down. Not so in America which made no progress in eliminating their COVID-19 problem with any national lockdown. In America money has been far more important than lives and this continues to be true. COVID-19 remains someone else's problem in America. It is an exceptional point of view which on the scales of cosmic justice does not balance.

I realize an effort to create a New Deal style program of citizen teachers has no chance of being adopted by the major US political parties. It would empower people far beyond any mainstream Democrat or Republican level of comfort. I write this knowing that America will continue to choose ignorance because this is a 'write' thing to do.

The Last Steak Supper

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  on September 6, 2020

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I toyed with many different titles for this article from "A Tale of Two Steaks" to "Birthday in Collapse", but in the end it got the title at the top due to some unforseen circumstances which came after I did the recordings and shot the pics.  More on that in a bitt.

This week marked the beginning of my 64th year walking the earth as a meat package in this iteration of my immortal soul..  Many ups & downs through the years, some of which veteran Diners know from prior birthday articles and autobiographical ones as well.  One consistent joy for me through all the years and trials & travails was FOOD, both eating it and cooking it.  I love fine restaurants, although of course these days you can hardly find an open one.  Not to mention up here where I live "Fine Food" is pretty much relegated to Pizza and Chicken Wings.  lol.  OK, to be fair there are a couple of decent restaurants here in the Mat-Su Valley, but they ain't Lutece or Smith & Wollensky in NY Shity.

Brazilian Steakhouse Meal - Rio Grande Churrascaria | Groupon Of all the food I loved to cook and eat through the years, one stands out as #1.  STEAK! "Beef.  It's what's for Dinner."  In Brasil we had the great Churrascarias (Brazilian BBQ), and when we returned I started BBQing on a little Cast Iron Hibachi in the backyard of our McMansion in Queens.  After the divorce of my parents, when my Dad had me on the weekends for his visitations, every once in a while he would take me to Tad's Steajhouse in NYC.  Pretty decent steak grilled over an open flame for around $2 at the time as I recall.

So to celebrate my arrival here on the Big Blue Marnle 63 years ago I decided I would cook up a restaurant quality STEAK Dinner worthy of Delmonico's or any of the other great steakhouses around the world, generally located in the Big Shities where they can charge the customers through the nose for them.  As it turned out I ended up making not one but two STEAK dinners, one for just me on my actual birthday,  the other a couple of days later for a neighbor and his family.

Flannery Beef - Midwestern Dry Aged Prime Rib Roast - Midwestern - USDA  Prime Beef - Butcher For a great restaurant quality STEAK, you have to start with a great piece of Cow Flesh, generally USDA Prime, although sometimes a Choice cut is about as good if you find a good one.  AVOID Select except for Stews unless you like chewing Shoeleather.  Of course if you really wanna pay through the nose you can go for Wagyu beef, but I can't see spending THAT much money on a STEAK dinner.  I'm not a Billionaire of course.

Anyhow, over the course of the year whenever I saw a great cut of meat at a great price at 3 Bears, I would buy it and stick it in my chest freezer.  For the dinner I cooked for myself, I pulled out a Filet Migon and prepared it in real Gourmet style as Steak Au Poivre.  That's the cooking video at the top of the page.  If you want to see a SPECTACULAR flambe, do not miss this vid!  lol.

For the family dinner with the neighbors, I had scored a FABULOUS Standing Rib Roast whick I intended to cook for the Community for the Summer Solstice,but unfortunately COVID-19 jumped in and my Mobile Restaurant plans for this summer hadda be scrapped.  So it hung out in the freezer a couple of more months until I found enough people to cook it for and a Celebration WORTHY of such a lovely piece of a Dead Cow.  My Birthday definitely qualified as worthy. 🙂

Now, many ecologically aware Kollpsniks are vehemently against eating meat, for all sorts of reasons.   You have your traditional Vegans, Religions which are against it, animal rights activists who feel thiis is cruelty to animals and climate activists worried about Cow Farts and resource depletion.  Raising beef for the dinner table uses up a lot of water and land..

Predicting Mars Cuisine: Grasshoppers with a Side of Fungi | Space Also true is we can't possibly feed the current global population the way Amerikans have become accustomed to, with a Hamburger Joint in every Strip Mall,  There's just not enough arable land and water around to do that.  The most likely candidate for animal protein in the Homo Sap diet moving forward into the Collapse future are insects, which really can be quite good.  Grasshoppers and Mealworms are pretty good, at least if prepared well.

There is the other side of the coin though,which is that Homo Saps have been Omnivores ever since we dropped down out of the trees a few million years ago.  We are geared to eat a mixed diet of veggies and animals, which makes us very resilient as a species.  Given the choice, most HS would choose Filet Mignon or Prime Rib over Grasshoppers & Mealworms.

There is aso the acculturation aspect.  I have been cooking and eating STEAK basically my entire life.  I like it!  Now at 63 years old with one foot already in the grave I should switch to a Vegan diet when there is stiil plenty of top quality beef  in the refrigerated  meat department at 3 Bears?  This will save the world?  OF COURSE IT WON'T!  This will go on until it can't, and all the animal rights protests won' change that.  If I don't eat that STEAK, somebody else will or it will get thrown out.  The cow is already dead.  This is an utterly useless for of trying to improve the world and Homo Sap behaviors.

Now let us move on to the STEAKS themselves, which both were among the most perfectly done I have ever cooked, which you should be able to get a good idea of from the pics. 🙂  Well seaasoned and super juicy too!  Sadly, I couldn't eat more than a couple of bites from either one straight out of the stove/oven and hot like you would get it in a restaurant.  My appetite and ability to eat has once more taken a vacation/crash.  So most of my portions went in the fridge for leftover meals.

In terms of The Cooking Zone YouTube channel, the Steak au Poivre video is likely the last one I will do for quite some time, because my physical collapse has taken a rapid and marked turn for the worse over the last 2-3 weeks.  Now, I not only cannot Walk, , but I can't even stand up or do some seat transfers.  My legs are horribly swollen and extremely painful.  So I cannot stand in the kitchen to cook, and doing it from my Ewz is not at all practical.  I am now subsisting on Frozen TV Dinners, Canned Soups and Fritos. lol.  For the record, this stuff is almost all Vegan.  Pasta dishes for the frozen, Minestrone soup and Fritos are of course just Corn Chips.  I have them with Bean Dip or Salsa, also both Vegan friendly.

I now can no longer avoid going into Hospital, and if I make it out of there alive, then into some sort of assisted living arrangement.  I would rather go to a Euthanasia Clinic, but sadly I don't think they exist here.  I will look into an Assisted Suicide.  I think it's legal in Oregon.  I'm too big a coward to do it myselft, and I would probably fuck it up.

So I am likely to be quite scarce around the Diner as time progresses here, although I will bring my laptop to hospital as I usually do and report from there. I fully expect to be admitted.  I will be shocked if I am not, although there may be a shortage of beds due to Coronavirus.

It is fitting here that my own personal Collapse so closely matched the timeline with Industrial Civilization Collapse.  About the only thing I missed here is the Zombie Apocalypse and Global Thermonuclear War.  Not sorry to miss those.

Take care of the Diner for me, I will drop enough money on the server to keep it running for a couple of years after I Buy My Ticket to the Great Beyond.

Food Preservation in Collapse: Cheesemaking

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  August 30, 2020

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Candles in Collapse

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  August 23, 2020

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More  from Irv Mills and me on Collapse & Emergency Prepping, this time in the area of Heating & Lighting.

School Lunchrooms: A COVID Petri Dish

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  August 16, 2020

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Companion article to come later tonight or tomorrow.hopefully.  I am too wrecked right now to write, it's been a rough couple of days here.

Some Old White Cripples Once Could Jump

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  August 9, 2020

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Tihs post fits under the category of my autobiographical articles which covered various parts of my life.  The longest of these was the 5 part Over the Road series of articles which covered my years in the Trucking industry, but there have been many others, covering my early years in Brazil, my years at Stuyvesant HS in NYC and my years at Columbia University as well.  I have however neglected one period of my life, the 'tween' years between when I returned from Brazil around age 10 until I headed off on the #7 Flushing Line Subway to Stuyvesant at age 13 or so.

There are a couple of reasons I am writing this post now.  One is that at this time of year, every year, I get nostalgic for the days of my youth, when I was a fast and very coordinated athlete. My birthday rolls around at the end of the month.   That's me in the pic at the left, doing a backflip in the South of France around age 29 as I recall.  Kinda hard to believe that is the same guy you see in the video above in the Header here. The Cripple who can now barely make the walk from his Cripple Cart and pretend to take a shot at the Basket.  It's hard for me to believe it myself actually.  It was Long Ago & Far Away in another Galaxy.  But so it goes, age and living hard and fast take its toll on your Meat Package, and I have done some serious damage to mine over the years, so now I get to pay the price for that.

The other more proximal reason for this post is what went on Inside the Diner on our Forum over the past 3 monts or so.  Two of the longest Diners got in a row over a Political topic they both have strong opinions on, from opposite sides of the Political Spectrum.  Basically it was about Social Justice Warriors (SJW) and Black Lives Matter (BLM).  For a good 3 months, the forum discussion was monopolized by this dispute, which became ever more vitriolic over time as neither of these ideologically pure combatants would give an INCH on the topic.  As the verbal Napalm began to flow ever more freely off both keyboards, it became nothing less than emabarassing.  Embarassing for the 2 authors of these posts which became ever more juvenile and began to resemble the commentariat of The Burning Platform back in 2010,  embarassing for the Diner because it completely took the discussions off Collapse and onto this sub-topic, and embarassing for me because I did not put a stop to it sooner.  The final straw for me came when I got this message in my e-mail:

"Can you please get these two jerks to shut the fuck up on the racism stuff?  I visit the Diner to read about the latest news in collapse, not about racial politics.  Usually you guys have done a good job with this, but I'm not going to come back here anymore if this keeps going."

I myself felt exactly the same way, *I* no longer enjoyed visiting the forum myself!  So that did it for me, I decided to use the Power of Admin to squash this shit out, no matter what the consequences.  The consequences were that  BOTH of them went Walkabout and no longer post to the Diner Forum, and say they never will again.  I suspect both of them will also blame me for this outcome, which was entirely of their own making.

One of the biggest ironies here and what brought me to the topic of Basketball was because both the combatants attempted to justify their positions with anecdotal stories along the lines of "some of my best friends are/were Black".  "I grew up as a Poor White Boy in TX, and worked with all Blacks in a factory".  "I had a co-worker who was a Black Panther back in the 60's".  etc.  On both sides, these stories are not statistically relevant arguments and justify nothing.

What this did do though was bring back in my memories the years I spent playing Hoops on the playgrounds of NY Shity.  Returning from Brazil at age 10, I really was only good at 1 Team Sport, Futbol (aka Soccer here in the FSoA) which was none too popular at that time here.  I played with almost all Black Boys from the Favelas back then.  In NYC at the time, the New York Knicks were a dominant team, with Willis Reed at Center, Dave Debuscherre & Bill Bradley at Forward, Earl Monroe & Walt Frazier in the backcourt and Phil Jackso the "6th Man" who could play any position at all and came in as regualar substitute.  A very nicely integrated Black/White team of the era.  So I decided I would learn to play Basketball.

Which I did, playing by myself usually in my school playgrpunds, mostly filled with White kids because our neighborhood was almost all Irish & Italian.  It was not until my Junior High years that I found out all the REALLY GOOD  hoops players were in the BLACK neighborhoods!  So once I FINALLY got permission from my mom to ride my bike to Jamaica (another neighborhood in Queens but mostly populated by Blacks) I would ride over there and sit on the ground watching mostly, because for at least the first half dozen or so times I went there I never got picked for a game.

This for 2 reasons basically.

#1-  I wasn't Black, I was White.  Usually I was one of the only White boys on the playground at all.

#2-  I am not Tall, and Hoops is in general a Tall Meat Package game.

So I suffered "Reverse Discrimination" in 2 areas, one because of my Skin Color, the other because I was Altitude Challenged.  This sort of discrimination though is obviously nothing compared to economic descrmination as you reach adulthood for a Black kid.  You do get some sense of it though.

Finally I got picked to play in a 3 on 3 half court game, because there was nobody else there with the right skin color and personal altitude to pick.  lol.  I finally had my shot at the "Big Leagues", for my area of Queens anyhow.  Mostly I passed the ball to the other guys, but a couple of times I got an opening and all the time I had spent doing outside Jump Shots paid off.  I SWISHED a couple from around 15-20 ft out.  The next time I got there, a Black guy name of Ruben picked me right off the bat!  He was not very fast and really not a good athlete at all, but he was pretty fucking big for 14 years old, around 6'2" and probabably 220 lb would be my guess.  He could do a good layup and he could rebound, and he could deck about anybody else playing in that playground.  No Refs in playground Hoops, nobody ever gets called for a foul.  Ruben was on the other team we had played against.  We became friends, and practiced together on give & go and fast passing and setting pick & roll.

When I got to HS I practiced more in the playgrounds of Stuyvesant Town with my friend Sheldon and I had one ULTIMATE GOAL!  To be able to STUFF the Ball through the Hoop.  But at my height at the time, this was pretty fucking hard to do.  But I was one White Boy who COULD JUMP, and eventually I worked up a technique to do it, although it took a HUGE run-up and clear sailing all the way to get it done.

So one weekend I went down to Jamaica to play with Ruben and he says to me "Black Jacks and us are getting together and we are going to Harlem to play Full Court next week with the Big Hitters.  You wanna come?"  I nodded my head and gave the Thumbs up on that one!  It was a HUGE honor just to be asked!

The guys playing Ball there were better than us, but not THAT much better.  We got beat most of the time, but ocasionally squeaked out a victory.  We were playing there a few months when my BIG BASKETBALL MOMENT of FAME finally came to pass. 🙂  Ruben was blocking up the lane waiting for rebounds, and then a shot came which I could tell was off trajectory.  I took off heading for my basket just HOPING Ruben would pull in the rebound, which he did, He hurled the ball about 15 ft in front of me and I had to run hard to catch up with it, my full speed of the time.  I was at my top speed and the basket was all clear in front of me.  So no layup this time I decided, a split second decision.  I am gonna DO IT!  In a full court game, not practice!  And so up I went with the adrenaline flowing and every ounce of energy I could muster up and I got the job DONE.  I stuffed it!  Jaws Dropped on the court (especially the girls! 🙂 )  I got the greatest compliment any White boy could get  on the asphalt, "GODDAMN!  That little Mother Fucker is a White Nigga!". lol.

Anyhow, I tell you this history to make a point about the embarassment our two Diners caused us here, which is if you ain't Black, you cannot possibly know what it like to BE Black in a White dominated society, no matter how similar your childhood experiences may have been  For a Black person from the ghetto to rise out of that poverty is even more rare than a small White guy who can jump high enough to stuff the basket.  It does happen, of course, some rare talent in music or sports usually make Millionaires out of some Black people.  Statistically speaking however, it is an extrordinarily rare event.

The outcome of this exercise in Pitching Napalm was that BOTH the Diners went Walkabout.  Not only did they ruin the Diner experience on the Forum for everyone else, they ruined it for themselves as well.  But I am certain they will both blame me for this outcome.

Collapse Food Preservation: From Cucumber to Pickle

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  August 2, 2020

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This week I am back together with my Hoser counterpart in Prepping in the Great White North of Canada, Irv Mills.  This is the firrst of 3 vids, this one on Pickling.  The topics covered in the other 2 vids will remain a clsely guarded secret until I actually publish them for the following 2 Collapse Cafe Sunday Brunch Specials. 🙂  A little Mystery & Anticipation always makes opening the Present more fun!

Actually, the three vids were all recorded in one looonnng session, but I know most viewers of Prep Vids don't have a long enough attention span, so I cut the vid into 3 reasonable size chunks.  It also divided up quite nicely into 3 separate topics.

In this first vid, Irv explains the process first of grwoing the cucmbers, then the processing of those Cukes into Pickles.  It's quite a complete tutorial on Pickle Making from the very beginning of the process of grwoing the cukes out of the ground to bottling them for long term preservation in the absence of electricity and refrigertion,

I am trying to get Irv to make me some Garlic-Dill Half Sour Pickles that are as good (or better!) than my favorite commercially purchased pickle from my NY Shity years, Batampte Half Sours.  Made in a Pickle Factorry in Brooklyn, I have only rarely found them in the Food Superstores since I left that sewer more than a Quarrter Century ago,  I have never found them here on the Last Great Frontier of Alaska.  I'll give them a plug though in case you live in a neighborhood thatt carries them

Fight me: Ba-Tampte Half Sour pickles are the best grocery store pickles

Moving On

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on July 30 2020

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There are days when rolling your own blog is worth doing and today is a day like that. Last week also had a day like that when I hosted my own video (extracted from a tweet I was shown) and sidestepped You Tube censors. That felt good, very good. If I did not have my own blog as a place to post my heart would have felt chilled. I'd be unable to express myself. No options. I would have been silenced and I know what being silenced feels like. The humiliation of being silenced without options is hard to take. I have been silenced before which is how I became aware of special attention for the first time.

s K-Dog Experienced?   If it involves needles, no. But If I ever meet Edward Snowden I'd ask him

how many of us were getting the kind of special attention I was getting when he absquatulated. He would know.

 

Since then, I've posted an original Standing Rock video because I know someone who was there. My K-Dog for president KDFP escapade is not going unnoticed I'm sure. So I was not surprised that Homeland Security You Tube censors eliminated the video in my sidebar before I could even link to it. Less than two minutes. Thankfully HTML 5 makes embedding your own videos very easy. If you have access to a place where you can post some HTML that is. As I do.

I am aware I have personal attention. Everything I do is closely watched, but I am not writing to grind that ax. Things are happening that are a lot bigger than I am. The nation is being ripped apart and the ripple effects of executive mismanagement by Donald Trump are everywhere. People are turning on each other. Anger at the leader of the American Empire can't be meaningfully expressed and this is leading to that anger being 'acted out' in different ways. The anger is feeding on itself and growing.

I don't like gore and the video I have posted in my sidebar is hard to watch. (direct link here) A sanitized version was played by major main-stream media and my video is the part at the end which was cut from the publicly shown version. The American government would like people to think less-lethal munitions are less lethal and the video I show gives perspective which suggests otherwise. I wish the violence had never happened and the video did not need to be shown, but it happened and it does. The video needs to be shown.

Americans spend most of their waking hours lost in one fantasy or another. They have trouble appreciating reality and their fantasies tend to become more real than reality itself. The video in my sidebar helps to provide a lacking perspective. It is a frightening to know that Americans believe themselves to be well-informed, educated, and immune from propaganda. That belief is a lot easier to deal with than reality and we all like easy. Dealing with the truth would be a lot of work. America lives in a soup of propaganda and most people don't, I am sad to say, know propaganda for what it is.

For years, I have been active on the internet posting comments under articles and engaging in dialog with all sorts of people. This began with my interest in 'peak oil' which I became interested in on my own at an early age and long before the birth of the internet. An author widely read years ago among peak-oil people was James Howard Kunstler who wrote the 'Long Emergency' which describes that the end of oil will bring a storm of converging catastrophes into America's future. Jims' ability to write made him one of the minor gurus in the Peak Oil Movement and Jim has a blog called Clusterfuck Nation. I became a frequent commenter at Jims' blog and was for over ten years. Yesterday I decided I would not be commenting there in the future. Too long have I ignored James Howard Kunstlers' right wing conservatism and his insensitivity to other people.

Whenever you cease an activity you are able to make observations which you had been previously suppressing. I am a better man than most of the filth Jim allows to inhabit his blog. That is a truth and I need to own it. I can admit this now because a serious and well-thought-out comment which I wrote was censored by Jim yesterday. I don't take it as a personal affront. Someone who has their own blog does not have to explain what they do with their own property. They can do what they want. All they need to do is live with the consequences.

So through the years it comes down to the guttural expressions of right wing tyranny allowed at Clusterfuck Nation is what James Howard Kunstler is really all about. He is not interested in contrary points of view or the notion that the world could be a better place even on the way down. So I am gone. JHK is now a full-metal Trump supporter who wants the protest in America shut down. He considers the protest, unlike I, to have no rational basis at all. He considers no middle ground. Donald Trump is going Qasem Soleimani on Americans and we can't abide this. Fortunately the readership of Clusterfuck Nation is small and its role to the American government is primarily one of a Honey Trap (caught me it did) and it is not an organ of influence.

I did not like Mayor Ted Wheeler who had been tear-gassed by Trump troops being disparaged by JHK. I don't like a duly-elected mayor being tear-gassed by federal troops without there being profuse apologies no matter who they are. So I'm done with the curmudgeon. I don't want to be one.

* The above was posted at chasingthesquirrel.com yesterday before I had to go to Seattle to pick up my car which had spent last night at a dealership for service.  On the way home…

More agent provocateur violence. A Large peaceful protest today in Seattle induced by Trump troop presence. I was in Seattle, the dog-mobile had a recall inspection because the sun roof on my car could de-bond resulting in the sunroof possibly flying off the car at speed or something. Turns out my car is safe, not all cars have the problem.

As I returned to my side of Lake Washington I drove through a thick plume of black smoke which was blowing over I-90. A group of agent provocateurs had lit dumpsters on fire at the Seattle Youth Shelter. The same group then raged along the street smashing car windshields. This is a neighborhood where a lot of minorities live. I hope their insurance is paid up.

Nearby a Starbucks was trashed. I hope the employees were not hurt. The Subway shop next door was untouched showing the vandalism is targeted. I remember the trouble in the news a couple of years ago and why Starbucks would be a target of Boogaloo instigation. But a nearby minority owned hair salon which also had customers inside was also attacked. That one is going to be hard to blame on BLM or Antifa. Hate may have made a mistake there and succumbed to temptation. I hope the hair salon has insurance.

It seems to me the American Führer is playing both sides to make himself look good in an American Kristallnacht. As Americans do not consider themselves propagandized, Trumps' ploy could work. I'm not sure it will because Trump incompetence and racism is so egregious. But I'm afraid if I look at history I may find myself wrong.

I knew a dog named Boogaloo once. She was a Cockapoo.

 

Note from RE:  I did not spend near the time on Jimmy's Blog that K-Dog did.  I think he booted me off after about 5-6 posts in the commentariat.  lol.  I did however have several long correspondences with him via email, partcularly when we ran the Human Extinction Survey here on the Diner.  Other notables like Dr. McStinksion and Dmitry Orlov also part of that email stream.  I do not know if JHK is connected to the NSA or any other "Honey Trap" out there.  I can tell you however he is a first class asshole, much the same as Dimitry and Mr. Wizard John Michael Greer.  JHK is a good writer and can turn a phrase quite well, but he is a jerk, and he hasn't had a decent new insight in at least a decade.

 

Sunday, Bloody Sunday 2

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on July 26, 2020

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It's been a Bloody Week in the World of Collapse, and inside the Diner as well.  Never a dull moment inside the Diner, but this was an exceptionally strife ridden week.  Things have calmed down now some though, since the 2 Diners causing the most havoc and making life unpleasant for everyone have decided to go Walkabout.  These 2 guys are like the 2 guys from the original Star Trek series episode "The Alternative Factor".  It's the same guy, but they come from different Universes, one made mostly of Matter, the other mostly of Anti-Matter.  If they ever come in direct contact with each other, both Universes are instantly annihiliated.

They came as close as we have ever been to the annihiliation of the Diner Forum, but thankfully we survived it. 🙂  Together they did a better job of Nuking the Forum than all our worst Trolls of the past, known colloquially on the Diner ast Moriarty, Watson & F-Bomb.  Somewhat amazing to me that 2 long time Diners I consider friends would be so destructive.  It is now once again however a safe place to have a rational and respectful discussion of Collapse issues.

In the world at large, today I cover 3 major Collapse stories in progress, the Demonstrations which began in Portland and now have expanded to other cities as well. POTUS Donalditry Trumpovetsky sent in the SS to make Political Points with his Base as the "Law & Order" President, which so far has pretty much backfired on him as almost everything he does is ill conceived and poorly executed.

After that, I cover the required COVID story, which is more about Education since the Public Skules are scheduled to fully reopen here on the Last Great Frontier in less than 3 weeks.  This as new COVID cases climb here exponentially, with much of the disease problem being brought to Alaska by the Commercial Fishing industry.

Finally, I discuss the latest brouhaha with China, this time WRT the Embassies each one has in the other country.  In tit-for-tat fashion, both countries are requiring the other country to close its embassies.  This of course is another harbinger of War on the Horizon.

So, fix yourself a Loaded Bloody Mary and enjoy another 20 minutes reviewing the world in Collapse with me.  Try my new Anti-COVID Bloody Mary recipe as well!  It may not actually help, but it certainly will make you feel better (although your Breath will smell worse).  lol.

Education in the Age of COVID-19

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on July 19, 2020

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The Grand Reopening has turned into an Epic Failure, although not according to the Imbecile in Chief who gets on the Tube and spits out on bald faced lie after lie.  Basically he believes if he says it, that makes it true.  Fortunately I think this approach is losing its effectiveness even with his "base"  Coronavirus isn't a political problem, it's a health problem and you can't sweep100,000 Dead People under the rug.  They need to be buried, by the truckload.  Bring out the Caterpillar Back Hoe for digging the mass graves.

The biggest of the many COVID issues to lately become the hot potato pollitical football is the Education issue and the reopening of the Public Skules in the fall.  The normal reopening date is around a month away, and Trumpovetsky wants a full reopening, everywhere because in his warped mind, Amerika has won the battle against Coronavirus.  This is of course preposterous as cases spike up in many states even without reopened schools.  It's inevitable if kids go back to school they'll pass around the virus,bring it home and pass it on to other family members.  What is even more insane is some school districts are advocating reopening without even requiring masks or social distancing!  You just can't get more reckless than that.

So what possible solutions are there to this Morton's Fork?  Well, there is no real solution that doesn't have huge blowback, which is why it's a Morton's Fork. However, there are a few things we might do to ameliorate the problem in the near term:

 

Recommendations for an Education Plan from RE, M.S.Ed

1- Get rid of Donalditry Trumpovetsky.  He's the most dangerous man on the planet  right now.

2- Establish a nationwide, comprehensive Distance Learning program.  Distance Learning has many problems, because parents often don't monitor it or enforce it too well.  This is particularly important in the elementary grades.  But at the moment, it's about the best we can do.  Without the active participation of parents in the Elementary school grades, Virtual Classroom learning is virtually useless.

3- Reconfigure classrooms currently configured for 30 kids in the room to 6 kids in a room, and have them rotate and come in once a week for a review session with a live in person teacher.  Require Masks, hand sanitizers and gloves.  Open Air Classrooms are another possibility, particularly in the warmer climates of the Southern States, where the biggest spike ups are currently occuring.  The school vacation time can also be changed, and make the long vacation from December-February, instead of May-August so outdoor classes are more plausible through most of the year.

———————————————–

Another problem has cropped up in higher education, where many small colleges are now going bankrupt. Blowback from that is many of the local biznesses that depend on the college kids for their income, also going bankrupt.  College kids doing Online classes will not save the local cafes from bankruptcy.  In all likelihood, these towns wil suffer economic death over the next year or two.  Property values will fall, and the Rentiers will go bankrupt too.  It is a Cascade Failure of the system.

The education system as pursued since the 19th Century and the beginning of the Industrial system has alway been a terriffic failure, getting ever worse over time.  It's job was to warehouse kids until they were old enough to become workers in the industrial machine.  It is a system in need of eradication anyhow, and if this helps hurry that along, all to the good.  But how will kids get an Education, how will they get Socialized you ask?  Prior to the late 1800s, there were no real Public Skules, and kids got educated just fine and socialized just fine.  It's not the only possible model for education.

Moving forward into the future of Collapse, many things being taught now simply will not be necessary and many things currently not  taught will be.  Education needs a top to bottom revision and reexamination of its goals.  Coronavirus gives us the opportunity to do that.

————————-

Finally, in today's video I discuss nutrition and a few of my recipes to help you in the Battle against COVID-19.  None of my advice should be considered Medical advice, nor has it been in any way tested for its efficacy and effectiveness.  It is however based on sound Nutritional principles, and generations of Jewish Grandmothers will swear by it.

Jewish Penicillin

Collapse, you say? Part 1: Introduction

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool on June 30, 2020

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New Bamboo
2020

Most of the writing I have done for this blog assumes that my readers are at the very least open to thinking about the collapse of our civilization, and more likely that they have already accepted it as probable and are interested in discussing the details of how it might happen and how to cope with it. But it is pretty clear to me that the general public, even in the midst of a global pandemic, are not ready to entertain the idea that civilization could collapse. If I bring up the idea, the response is most likely to be, "Collapse, you say? Surely not."

There are a number of reasons for that attitude, the simplest being a cognitive bias against change—the feeling that tomorrow is likely to be pretty much like today. This is aided and abetted by a lot of propaganda about how great BAU (Business as Usual) really is and the progress it promises for the future. Indeed, we are told that there simply isn't any better way of running the world than neo-liberal capitalism, no real alternatives at all. We've been told this for so long (at least the 30 years or so since the USSR fell) and so forcefully that most of the world's population is experiencing an almost complete failure of imagination. And that is both a failure to imagine any better way of running things, and a failure to conceive what the consequences might be if we continue as we are.

Along with this, when the subject of collapse does come up, it is almost always discussed in terms of a hard and fast collapse—more of an apocalypse, really—which understandably stirs up such feelings of fear that people retreat into denial. But even minor suggestions of things like "degrowth" are not well received—we've been promised on-going progress, and any suggestion that a reduction in our consumption level, a little less comfort and convenience, might be in order, is met with consternation. You hear people saying that, if that's what's ahead of us, they'd rather be dead.

On the other hand, there are people like me who are convinced that the collapse of our civilization is either already happening or soon will be. Why do we think that?

It might be wise at this point to dig a little deeper into what I mean by "the collapse of our civilization". Well, one characteristic of all civilizations is that their individual members are not entirely self sufficient—they rely at least to some extent on the mechanisms of production and distribution built into their civilization for the necessities of life. What those necessities might be varies with who you ask. My list includes air, water, food, housing, health care, education and meaningful work, all provided in a context where people feel that they belong, where help is available when you need it and where you have a role to play in helping others when they need it. Of course, there are many approaches to how these necessities are to be acquired, and various ideas about what constitutes enough.

In our "industrial" society, since the invention of heat engines powered by fossil fuels, the production and distribution of what is needed has largely been mechanized. Our population is hardly self sufficient at all—only very rarely do we make anything we need with our own hands. And only a very few people, living in the remotest locations are independent of this system. We have filled up essentially the whole world, and converted it to our uses, so that a return to subsistence agriculture or hunting and gathering would not be possible for most of us even if we wanted it, and most of us don't.

When a civilization starts to collapse, its mechanisms of production and distribution begin to work less and less well. A decline in both population and complexity ensues. In our industrial society, where human and animal muscles have been largely replaced by machines powered by various forms of energy, there will also be a significant reduction in energy use and consumption of manufactured goods.

All this continues until the collapsing civilization either falls apart completely or overcomes its difficulties and recovers in a different form. In the past it often took hundreds of years for a civilization to collapse. My opinion is that our society started to collapse about 50 years ago and has a few decades, or at least years, left to go. But however long it may take to get to the end of the process, it is important to realize that, nowadays, collapse is going on around us all the time.

A scholarly expert on collapse might now offer some numerical measures to help us judge when a society has actually collapsed. I like to look at that a little differently, to turn it on its head, so to speak. I would say that if you, as an individual, are no longer being supplied with the necessities of life then for you collapse has already occurred, even though everything is going along quite normally for the people driving over the bridge that you are living under.

I seems to me that collapsing civilizations share some characteristics, and I can see those characteristics in events today:

  • One, collapse progresses slowly, so that if you're viewing it from inside and it hasn't hit you with any great force as yet, you may be hard pressed to recognize what is happening.
  • Two, collapse progresses uneven geographically—some places continue to do just fine while others fall apart disastrously. If you live in an area that is not yet affected, you may wonder what all the fuss is about, or at least think that while it's tough for those other folks, it can't happen to you.
  • Three, collapse progresses unsteadily in the chronological sense, with long periods where nothing much changes, separated by sudden steps downward. During those long quiet periods, you could be excused for thinking that everything is just fine because, at least on the surface, it is.
  • And four, collapse progresses unequally across social classes. The upper, ruling classes are in control (as much as anyone is) and have the wherewithal to direct resources to their own benefit, and away from the lower classes. And because they can get by just fine without knowing much at all about how things are going in the rest of society, they are often unaware that there is any sort of problem. Of course, when collapse finally does hit them, it is felt all the harder because they have never experienced hard times. For those at the bottom of the social ladder, collapse is just more of the same shit they've been putting up with all along.

Ideally, as an individual, family, or community in a collapsing civilization, you would like to be aware of what's coming, prepare for it and eventually succeed in adapting to it. But as you can see from the four points I've just listed, this is difficult because it's hard to tell what's going on until it's too late.

This started out as a simple, "one post topic", but now it looks like it is going to take about five posts to clearly get across why I think collapse is happening and to have a look at what options we have and where this process is likely to take us:

  • This post, in which I've introduced the subject.
  • Two, in which I'll look at the inputs and output of our civilization and what is wrong with the way they are being handled.
  • Three, in which I'll look inside our civilization at its fundamental, structural weaknesses.
  • Four, in which we'll look at how all this has been and continues to contribute to collapse.
  • And five, in which, we'll look at several possibilities for our future—what the rest of this collapse may look like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bike Path Blues

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  July 5, 2020

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This episode of the Collapse Cafe began as a rant on Infrastructure, but I strayed pretty far amd wide in it in just 10 minutes of time!  lol.  You get to experience with me somewhat of what it's like to ride a Cripple Cart on a torn up Bike Path, although you do not get to experience the pain involved.  lol.  That is your good fortune here.  For me, it took 2 days and a truckload of booze to recover from that shopping trip!

Anyhow, it's a short one so I won't bother with writing a synopsis.  If you watch it, great.  If not, you missed out.  It's pretty funny, IMHO. 🙂

Racism in Collapse

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  June 20, 2020

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Currently keeping pace as the top story in the news cycle with Coronavirus. From CHAZ to CHOP to BLM to Statue Toppling and of course George Floyd, anger over the racial divide has gone Global in all the Colonial Powers of the Western States. In today's video we disuss these issues and how things may progress as we move further down the Collapse Highway.

CHAZ in Seattle

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  June 17, 2020

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A Geezer Crosses the Bar


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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 14, 2020

“Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.”

 ― Alfred, Lord Tennyson  


"Crossing the bar" is a nautical metaphor Tennyson uses to compare death with crossing the "sandbar" between the river of life and the ocean beyond (death), the "boundless deep", to which we return. My friend Joe has crossed the bar.

When you retire, lunch is one of the few ways an old man has any chance for a social life. Thus it was with a small circle of my local friends. Every 4 to 6 weeks, several of us would gather for a "geezers' lunch." My friend Joe would generally facilitate the gathering, making the phone calls and wrangling the troops. He was the straw that stirred the drink. 

We geriatrics would toddle into some local pissoir for seafood, a couple of beers and some spirited conversation. Attendance would vary, but centered around four people: Al, a writer, poet and local gadfly, and publisher of a journal of working-class poetry with a small but fervent national following; Angelo, a painter and entrepreneur, who was successful at business without any real love for it, and who was far more interested in art and his own lines of independent thought; your obedient servant; and of course Joe. All of had met during Occupy in 2011, when old gathered with young on the streets to protest repression and economic injustice. Joe was a Renaissance man, by turns boat builder, contractor, student, teacher, gardener, actor, and especially raconteur.

And now Joe is gone.

Joe's devoted wife called me with the news and asked me to spread the word. The news hit me like a building falling. He had just been part of a gathering at my home the previous Friday, where we brought our own lunch, socially distanced on the back deck in heartfelt conversation while sucking down a twelve-pack of Modelos. I still don't believe it.

Joe was immensely intellectually curious, and was always delving into historical or nautical subjects. At lunch that Friday he had three books on 9/11 In hand. This was completely typical Joe; his appetite for knowledge and his intellectual curiosity was restless and unquenchable.


According to Joe, he once attended St. John Vianney seminary in Goochland, Virginia. At the end of that year he received a letter from the bishop, cordially inviting him not to pursue further studies for the priesthood. Joe attended Old Dominion College (at that time a branch of William and Mary) in the late sixties before embarking on a career in construction. From Joe's unofficial bio:

There was a satisfaction that I found in working with a pile lumber in the morning and walking away at the end of the day with a structure in back of me. Residential construction led to commercial construction of restaurants, hotels, motels, banks and apartments. As my woodworking skills developed I found occasional work for piratical friends who were restoring large wooden sailboats. I fell in love with wooden sailboats and wooden boat building.

From there, Joe worked for a year or so at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in their small boat shop but did not enjoy daily exposure to clouds of fiberglass dust and polystyrene vapors. He took over the management of a utility/ general-purpose carpentry shop for the Navy Exchange, then applied for a teaching position with the brand new Norfolk School of Boat Building opening on the downtown Norfolk waterfront. A direction was set for ship building and ship repair, and acting(!). Even though he left college without graduating, he maintained a lifelong interest in American and European history, as evidenced by his voracious reading habits.

During the mid-1970s he worked in the U.S. Merchant Marines. Sailing on small and medium sized tugboats while controlling tugs and barges of vast tonnage gave him a fundamental understanding of how ships handled under challenging sea and weather conditions. His practical experience, coupled with a respect for traditional building skills enabled him to teach woodworking and boat construction at the Norfolk School of Boatbuilding. This school was (as far as I know) the first official, permanent boat-building institution in one of the nation's earliest ports. It closed in 1991.

In 1980 Joe had already left, to work with the Norfolk Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Corporation as a rigger, eventually working his way into production engineering management.  In 1985, Joe started his own company, Decking Design, Inc., a shipboard marine flooring and decking firm serving naval and commercial shipping on the East Coast. He became a federal contractor and laid teak decks on warships. With that company, he ran work with 35 full-time tradesmen through 1993.

Since then, Joe continued work as an independent boatbuilder, artisan, craftsman and instructor.  He also worked with the historical department at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA as an interpreter and historical character actor. He portrayed, "the old sea captain", for audiences from all over the world. It gave Joe the opportunity to commit some of the works of Tennyson, Conrad and E.B. White to memory. His work as a character actor led to his being hired to portray a wealthy New York banker in the two episode historical documentary, "Clear the Way", based on a life of the Irish-American Civil War General Thomas Francis Meagher. The film was set during the 1863 draft riots, and produced by an Irish production company. The documentary film was shot in and around Hagerstown, Maryland in conjunction with the Smithsonian and National Geographic.

Following "Clear the Way", Joe continued to work in film and theater projects. He has appeared in, "A Witch in Time", and "Bon Voyage" produced by John Graves Warner, another personal friend. Joe's gift for voices and a beard straight out of the 19th century, led Stephen Spielberg to cast him in "Lincoln" as a "Republican Senator." He's in a number of scenes.

Joe also loved to perform and would memorize long seafaring stories and poems, from authors like Tennyson, Conrad, Villiers, Masefield, A.H.Clark, C.Fox Smith and E.B White, then perform them in public. He would commit many pages to memory, with the accuracy and precision of an Islamic adept memorizing the Koran.

In his later days, Joe served on the board of directors for Nautical Adventures, Inc., a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged youth in Hampton Roads.  His last love was the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop. Aside from his wife, "Miss Patricia" in Joe-speak, the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop may have been his greatest love.


Of all the many things Joe did, perhaps the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop was his finest hour.

Joe's partner there was retired Marine Col. Tom Brandl, who shared his enthusiasms. The Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop is a program that teaches young people life skills through boat building. Every meeting with Joe was an opportunity to be regaled with stories of young people having breakthrough "aha" moments as the learned the relationships between math, design, and problem solving. Joe's phone was always loaded with photos of the students and their workshop projects, and he beamed with pride and he shared those photos and the stories behind them  One of Joe's greatest pleasures was knowing that he was helping to shape lives, as the realization dawned upon his students that they could solve problems they heretofore had no idea they could even address. By learning concepts, how to use tools, and how to apply effort wth their own minds and hands and heart. This was Joe's greatest gift.

We geezers and broken-down former Occupiers recognized Joe as a wordslinger of the first order, a tireless fighter for causes of social justice, fairness, and equity under the law. Joe had empathy out the ass for anyone getting the short end of the stick or dealt a bad hand, an attitude which infused his latter day boatbuilding teaching and evangelism. He was always aware that those folk were his folk, working folk, and always felt a tie to the weaker-thans and the forgotten. He was an honorable man.

And now he has crossed the bar.


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. 

Surfing the Waves of Coronavirus

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  June 12, 2020

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This is an unplanned discussion that came after we finished recording our main topic for discussion, but since this question of whether we are experiencing a 2nd Wave of Coronavirus came up during the day yesterday Inside the Diner, I clipped it off the video to post today for discussion.

In the MSM you're hearing the term "2nd Wave" being used to characterize the spike in COVID-19 cases in many states around the country that have begun opening their economies back up and relaxing rules on social distancing. Is this REALLY a 2nd Wave yet?

Epidemiological Models: A Simple Explanation of How they Work

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Published originally on Cassandra's Legacy on June 3, 2020

 

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There is a certain logic in the way the universe works and so it is not surprising that the same models can describe phenomena that seem to be completely different. Here, I'll show you how the same equations describe chain reactions that govern such different phenomena as the spread of an epidemic, the cycle of extraction of crude oil, and even the nuclear reaction that creates atomic explosions. All these phenomena depend on the efficiency of energy transfer, the parameter that's known in energy studies as EROI (energy return on energy invested), related to the "transmission factor" (R) of epidemiological models. Above, a classic clip from Walt Disney's 1957 movie, "Our friend, the atom." 

 

You may be surprised to discover that epidemiological models share the same basic core of peak oil models. And it is not just about peak oil, the same models are used to describe chemical reactions, resource depletion, the fishing industry, the diffusion of memes on the Web, and even the nuclear chain reaction that leads to nuclear explosions. It is always the same idea: reinforcing feedbacks lead the system to grow in a frenzy of exploitation of an available resource: oil, fish, atomic nuclei, or people to be infected. In the end, it is perhaps the most typical way the universe uses dissipate potentials. As always, entropy rules everything!

 

Modeling these phenomena has a story that starts with the model developed in the 1920s by Vito Volterra and Alfred Lotka. They go under the name of "Lotka-Volterra" models or, sometimes, "Prey-Predator" models. This heritage is not normally recognized by people in the field of epidemiology, but the model is the same: the virus is a predator and we are the prey. The only difference is that an epidemic cycle is so short, typically a few months, that the prey, people, don't reproduce during the cycle. Then, if you think that oil companies are predators and oil fields are the prey, then we have again the same model. Finally, you can see the atomic chain reaction that takes place during fission as generated by neutrons acting as predators and atomic nuclei acting as prey. In the Walt Disney interpretation, shown in the clip above, ping-pong balls are the predator and mousetraps are the prey.

 

To describe the model, let's focus on epidemiology. These models are called "SIR," with the acronym standing for "Susceptible, Infected, Recovered." The idea is that the Infected stock grows proportionally to both the Susceptible and the Infected stocks — it is a feedback loop. No feedback, no growth, this is how these models work. Then, of course, the virus will gradually run out of susceptible people, growth will slow down and, eventually, the infected stock will start declining. Then, the epidemic will be over.

 

So, let's see what the model produces in its simplest version. I made it using the Vensim (TM) system dynamics package (see at the end of the post for the details *)
 

 

 
Note how the number of susceptible people (blue curve) gradually declines. Instead, the number of cases per unit time (green curve) and the total infected people (red curve) show a cycle of growth and decline. Finally, the recovered people (gray curve) grow and then stabilize. (they might also die, the equations won't change.)
 
Let's compare with peak oil models: the names of the variables change, but the model is the same

 

Susceptible  –> Oil Resources
Infection rate –> oil production
Infected –> Extracted Oil
Recovered –> Pollution

Note the green curve in the figure. It is symmetric and bell-shaped: it is the typical "Peak Oil" curve. In the case of oil, the curve describes the production in barrels per day. In the case of an epidemic, it describes the number of new cases of infections per day. The curve for the victims should be the same, but (hopefully) smaller and shifted forward in time to take into account that you die after having contracted the virus. The red curve in the figure is proportional to the amount of oil extracted and not yet burned. It is the "capital" of the oil industry. As oil is burned, it becomes pollution and disappears from the model.

 

You can play the same game with other phenomena. For instance, in the case of the "mousetrap model" developed by Disney studios, the one shown in the clip at the beginning of this post, you have that

Susceptible –> trapped balls
Infection rate –> number of traps springing per unit time.
Infected –> number of flying balls
Recovered –> balls on the ground

 

 

In general, epidemiological models are normally much more complicated than the basic SIR model that I showed above. That is, in my opinion, a weakness of these models. Attempting to evaluate such parameters as how many people will contact each other per day, and from that estimating the infection rate is nearly hopeless and, indeed, these models have a poor record in terms of quantitative forecasting. Even peak oil models, although not so bad, turned out to be unsuccessful in estimating the data of the peak, at least in terms of volumes of liquids produced.

But this is a long story and I won't get into it, here. Let me just say that, in general, models may be useful even (and perhaps especially) when you don't ask them to make exact predictions. Often, a correct warning may be much more useful than an incorrect prediction. That's true when the models are well-grounded in physics and can tell you what will happen, even though not necessarily when.

Something that you can learn from these models is how the behavior of the system is determined by an efficiency parameter called R in epidemiology and EROI (energy return on energy invested) in peak oil studies. Yes, these two parameters are the same — apart from some details. They share the property that they need to have a minimum value in order for the chain reaction (the epidemics or a cycle of extraction) to start. In epidemiology, you can show that R must be >1 for the infection to grow. As the epidemic proceeds, R becomes smaller. When R=1, you have the "peak virus" and the number of infected people starts declining. That's called "herd immunity."

Things are not so simple for the peak oil curves, but the story is the same. You can show that an energy-producing resource cannot be produced with a positive energy yield unless you have EROI=1/η at the beginning of the extraction cycle, with η the efficiency of the transformation of the energy of the extracted resource into useful energy (exergy). For crude oil, we may probably take η as equal to 0.1-0.2. The implication is that oil extraction is not viable for EROI<5-10, which is consistent with the current situation. We are close to EROI values that correspond to an unavoidable decline of the industry. (Note that this condition is for "peak capital" — "peak oil" comes for even larger values of the EROI)

Ah… by the way, these limits of the EROI values are valid only for exhaustible resources such as crude oil. They do not hold for renewable energy sources such as solar energy — of course, you can't run out of sunlight!
_________________________________________________________________________

The R and the EROI parameters of chain reaction models

If you know something about the peak oil theory, you may have wondered if the "Ro" (or simply R) parameter, the virus transmission factor, is the same as the EROI (energy return for energy invested) for peak oil studies. The answer is yes.

Ro is defined as the expected number of cases generated by one case in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection, that is, at the initial stages of the epidemic. As the epidemic proceeds, varying proportions of the population become immune. To account for this, the "effective reproduction number" is used, written as Rt or simply R. It is the average number of new infections caused by a single infected individual at time t. When the fraction of the population that is immune increases so much that R drops below 1, it is said that "herd immunity" has been achieved. It means that the number of infected people does not grow any longer and gradually decreases toward zero.

 

The EROI (or EROEI) (energy return of energy investment) factor in oil extraction is defined as the number of barrels of oil produced using the energy obtained from one barrel. It is more general than that, but let's remain with crude oil. Obviously, when the EROEI goes below one, the whole enterprise of oil extraction becomes useless in terms of producing useful energy. But "peaking" of oil production starts well before the EROI goes below one, as we'll see in the following.

 

R and EROI look similar and, indeed, they are the same thing. To say something more about this matter, we need to write down the equations of the model. Here they are for the SIR system, with S=susceptible, I=infected, and R= recovered

dS/dt = – k1SI
dI/dt = k1SI  – k2I

Note that the coefficient k1 is the same in both equations because the number of people who become infected is equal to the number of those who cease being susceptible. The other coefficient, k2, is the frequency of recovery of the infected people. There is a third equation describing the growth of the "recovered" stock, but it is simply equal to k2I and we can neglect it here.

 

Now, from the equations above, we can say that the R factor is equal to the number of new infections divided by the number of infected people. We need to take also into account the recovery frequency: the gradual disappearance of people from the "infected" stock. So that the result is:

R Sk1/k2

Note that the variables in this model are usually expressed in terms of fractions. So, the number of susceptible people at the very start of the epidemic is supposed to be 100% of the population, that is, unity. There follows that

Ro= k1/k2

 

Now we can determine the value of R needed for attaining "herd immunity." the value needed for stopping the growth of the infection. For this, we take the second equation of the two of the model. We want to know when the number of infected people, I, starts to decline. That means to find when dI/dt <0. That is:

k2R-k2 <0

Or, R<1.  

This is the condition for herd immunity. It explains the attention dedicated to this number for the current coronavirus epidemic. It is a correct point but, in reality, it is not a very useful way to forecast the trajectory of an epidemic. To measure R you need to know S, but normally you don't know who is susceptible and who is not unless you try to infect them. So, saying that "R has become smaller than one" is the same thing as saying that "the number of infected people in the population has started declining." And the latter term is what you can actually measure or, at least, estimate. As someone said, "Models are accurate only when they become irrelevant."

How about the EROI? The equations are the same, but with a small difference. Whereas people move quantitatively from the "Susceptible" to the "Immune" stock, transforming a unit of energy embedded in underground oil into a unit of usable energy cannot be 100% efficient. So, you need another coefficient in the equations, a "transformation efficiency", η as a coefficient of k1 in the second equation. Obviously, it must be that η<1 because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

We go through the same mathematical tricks and we find the condition for the amount of stored energy (the "capital" of the industry) starts declining. It has to be:

EROI < 1/η

For the transformation of crude oil into useful energy into a thermal engine, we can roughly estimate a life cycle efficiency of the order of 10%-20%. There follow that oil extraction is not thermodynamically viable for an EROI < 5-10, which agrees with independent estimates of EROI for crude oil. It was probably around 30 during the early stages of exploitation and therefore allowed the industry to grow. Currently, the average EROI for oil extraction is probably around 10-15, so that we are close to the start of the irreversible decline of the industrial system that exploits it. Or, it may have already started. 

Note that the condition EROI < 1/η does NOT correspond to "peak oil" as it is normally defined. It is, rather, "peak capital". Peak oil refers to oil production, which is not the same thing. But it is not possible to find an equivalent simple expression that correlates the EROI of the system with the occurrence of the peak. We can only say that it occurs earlier and, therefore, for larger values of the EROI.

___________________________________________________________________

(*) Here is the Vensim model I used for the graph shown in this post. If you want the code, just write to me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brutal Cops, Brutal Country


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Anthony Freda

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 7, 2020

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.


My family tree is replete with police and firemen. My great uncle was a cop. My cousins are cops. Likewise my wife's family is full of police and firemen. I suspect it's that way for most\ people; police work is so ubiquitous that most working class families have cops dangling somewhere from the family tree. So I bring to a discussion of police and police work no agenda other than that of a taxpayer, a citizen, and a pasty white man comfortable enough to be concerned for social justice, at least before cocktail time.

So it's with sadness that I beheld the events of the week and conclude that police departments in this country need a giant enema. What happened to George Floyd was bad enough; what happened to an 75-year man in Buffalo is quite another.

Video of two Buffalo, New York police officers pushing an elderly man to the ground quickly went viral late Thursday night, drawing widespread criticism. The mayor of Buffalo, Byron W. Brown, tweeted a statement saying “I was deeply disturbed by the video, as was Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood. He directed an immediate investigation into the matter, and the two officers have been suspended without pay.

(The victim was later identified as Martin Gugino, a long-time peace activist.) The ubiquity of video cameras on phones, such as that which documented the Buffalo incident, would make you think police might have some concern for better PR. These videos go viral and make it around the world while the excuses from the Police Union are putting on their pants. John Evans, the president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, said, 

They were simply doing their job. I don't know how much contact was made. He did slip in my estimation. He fell backwards.

In response to the suspensions of the two most egregious offenders, 57 members of Buffalo police riot response team resigned en masse. Not a good look.

We've also seen images of white journalists being shot with rubber bullets and beaten with truncheons, and innocent white protesters manhandled by warrior cops. What black Americans have been living with for many decades, becomes newsworthy only when it happens to white people. Better late than never. The fact that police are responding to protests about police violence with even greater violence indicates an innate brutality, an imperfect strategy, and the failure to remember who they ultimately work for. In particular, who is paying the bills.


No one minimizes that police work is hard. Imagine living with the prospect that the next routine traffic stop can explode in gunplay. Imagine daily contact with drunks, the mentally disabled and violent criminals. Cops confront life-and-death situations on a regular basis. Yet if media and police unions repeat the line that "police work is dangerous," it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do police develop an anticipatory mindset of violence when they believe that they are going into deadly battle when they head out on patrol? 

Is there no training?

Yet none of that should excuse away the snarling brutality exhibited by cops against unarmed, otherwise peaceful protesters. Ever since we were able to wink at the Eighth Amendment's prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment to justify torture (rebranded as "enhanced interrogation" ), we have forgotten who we were and what we once stood for.


As I noted last week, police are the occupation army of capital. Their job is to protect property and wealth. Regardless of what you think, the Supreme Court has held that police are under no obligation whatsoever to "protect and serve"  you. Occupation armies quite justifiably view a subject citizenry as hostile. We learn, for example, that the vast majority of city police in Minneapolis live in the suburbs. This is common among most city workers. But it means cops do not view the people they are patrolling as neighbors. Imagine the change in outcomes if they did. 

Consider the following headlines from US papers just this past week:

Buffalo cops expected to face charges for shoving elderly protester

June 6, 2020 | 10:33am  The officers are anticipated in court Saturday, according to sources cited by a local NBC affiliate. Their colleagues from the department’s Emergency Response Team are expected to escort them inside…

Riot police clear protesters with tear gas for Trump’s church photo op, drawing outrage

JUN 02, 2020|12:39 AM  Riot police in Washington, D.C., used tear gas to clear protesters from a park near the White House as President Trump vowed to crack down on the demonstrations. Around 6:30 p.m., a half hour before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew, police used tear gas, rubber bullets, shields and horses to force protesters out of Lafayette Park…

Protests about police brutality are met with wave of police brutality across US

June 6, 2020  Use teargas, batons, pepper spray, fists, feet and vehicles against protesters sparks lawsuits and international condemnation

Buffalo mayor blasts elderly protester shoved by cops

June 6, 2020 | 8:25am  The elderly Buffalo protester knocked to the ground by cops in a viral video that has become an international symbol of police brutality was an “agitator” who was “trying to…

75-year-old Buffalo man pushed by cops described as 'gentle person'

June 5, 2020 | 5:52pm Martin Gugino — the 75-year-old man who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police in a video seen by millions — is a long-time peace activist and “gentle person,”…

Entire police team resigns in solidarity with cops who shoved elderly man

June 5, 2020 | 3:56pm The entire Buffalo police Emergency Response Team has resigned following the suspension of two officers who were caught on video shoving a 75-year-old protester to the pavement, according to reports…

Black Tacoma man who died in police custody screamed 'I can't breathe': lawyer

June 6, 2020 | 9:20am  A 33-year-old black man who died in police custody in Tacoma, Washington, screamed “I can’t breathe” on dispatcher audio, a lawyer for the man’s family said. Marcus Ellis was apprehended…

Breonna Taylor remembered by NYC mourners on what would be her 27th birthday

June 5, 2020 | 10:42pm  Anti-police brutality protesters in New York City paid their respects on Friday to Breonna Taylor, a black EMT who was fatally shot by cops in her home in Kentucky home…

Minneapolis bans police chokeholds in wake of George Floyd death

June 5, 2020 | 1:41pm  Negotiators for the city of Minneapolis have agreed with the state to ban the use of chokeholds by police and to require police to report and intervene anytime they see…

DC mayor has 'Black Lives Matter' painted on street leading to White House

June 5, 2020 | 1:40pm  Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday had “Black Lives Matter” painted in large yellow letters on the street that leads to the White House, and also designated the square…

Kansas City announces police reform amid George Floyd protests

June 5, 2020 | 3:43am  KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is reforming police procedures after criticism from black organizations about police conduct during nearly a week of protests as well as long-standing tension between…

Minneapolis City Council members pledge to 'dismantle' police department

June 4, 2020 | 11:31pm   Members of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to “dismantle” the city’s police department in the wake of worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd. Council President Lisa Bender joined…

NYPD officers appear to beat passing cyclist with batons: video

June 4, 2020 | 9:50am  Three NYPD officers were caught on video apparently beating a cyclist with their batons. One of the officers is seen whacking the cyclist as he peddles across an intersection, with…

City Council secures veto-proof majority for bill criminalizing police chokeholds

June 4, 2020 | 1:39am  The City Council has secured a veto-proof majority for legislation to criminalize NYPD chokeholds, Speaker Corey Johnson said Wednesday. With 35 Council members supporting the bill, it can become law over…

Protesters take a knee at Trump Hotel and Trump Tower ahead of NYC curfew

June 2, 2020 | 8:39pm  A mass of anti-police brutality protesters gathered in front of Trump International Hotel ahead of Tuesday’s 8 p.m. curfew, as demonstrations continued to rage across the city for a sixth…

George Floyd's 6-year-old daughter appears next to weeping mom

June 2, 2020 | 7:08pm  George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter stood next to her weeping mom at a press conference Tuesday as the woman recalled how Floyd moved to Minnesota to help support them — and…

Six Atlanta cops charged in excessive force arrest of two students

June 2, 2020 | 3:06pm  Body camera footage shows the officers breaking the windows of a car and yanking the students, Taniyah Pilgrim, 20, and Messiah Young, 22, out Saturday night as they were riding…

Cop suspended for shoving kneeling George Floyd protester

June 2, 2020 | 1:09pm  A Fort Lauderdale cop has been suspended after he was caught on video shoving a kneeling protester during a George Floyd demonstration Sunday, according to a report. 

The Police Are Targeting Protest Medics

June 5– As people take to the streets to protest racism and police violence against Black Americans after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd last week ― it doesn’t matter who you are or why you’re there: The cops will take you out.

Police targeting journalists during protests is an assault on the First Amendment

June 4- It’s not unusual for politicians and candidates for office to express their fervent and unwavering support for the Second Amendment. Now would be an ideal time for them to show the same allegiance to the First Amendment and its guarantee of a free press.

Neighbors usually don't do these things to neighbors. One wonders how much of the brutality we see comes from the infiltration of law enforcement agencies by white supremacists, members of the alt right and neofascists. These groups maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. 

The FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account.

We saw in Charlottesville how state police and others stood aside while armed Klansmen and Nazis ran amok, resulting in injuries to antifascist protests and the death of one woman, Heather Heyer, run over by a Nazi from Ohio. (This was the episode that led to Trump's infamous refusal to disavow Nazis, proclaiming that there were "good people on both sides.")


"When the looting starts, the shooting starts." 

–Miami police Chief Walter Headley, 1968, tweeted by Trump May 29 

Trump's effusions of "treat 'em rough," and "Dominance!" all contribute to an atmosphere that lends itself to brutality. Law-enforcement officers know that they no longer have Obama and Holder looking over their shoulders; Now it's Trump and Barr, and they are free to indulge their darkest impulses. As recently as five years ago, the police were afraid of being filmed, having their images captured, with the potential to be identified. No more. Now it seems having brutality captured on video is a badge of honor. Virality, bitchez…

Little surprise that if cops know that state-sanctioned violence is permissible, state-sanctioned violence is what we'll get. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery was a clear a case of vigilantism as we are likely to see. The only thing missing were the robes and hoods. 

American authoritarianism is going to be rooted in racist violence. The Compromise of 1877, which ended a tie vote in the Electoral College and Rutherford Hayes becoming President, was conditioned upon the withdrawal of Federal troops from the south. This ended Reconstruction, as well as the vision for a unified country. It also reinvigorated the KKK, and birthed Jim Crow.

Racism received a booster shot when Woodrow Wilson screened "Birth of a Nation" at the White House in 1915. The D.W. Griffith film glorified the Klan and told a false story about race relations in the South, with the aim "to revolutionize Northern audiences that would transform every man into a Southern partisan for life." "Birth of a Nation" built upon the existing myth of The Lost Cause promulgated by Confederate propagandist E.A. Pollard, a fictional re-writing of history that endorsed the supposed virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the Civil War as a struggle primarily to save the Southern way of life, or to defend "states' rights", in the face of overwhelming "Northern aggression." Ignoring the abject treason of the slavers.

Racist policing has a long and ignoble pedigree, and now it has been given new life by the most openly racist president since Wilson.


The First Amendment is visibly under assault. Dozens of reports from around the country this week have shown journalists getting shot at, manhandled, abused and arrested by police officers, even after identifying themselves as journalists. We saw a CNN journalist arrested live on national TV while filing a report. Coming soon, a further assault on freedom of assembly, complete with truncheons wielded upon peaceful, defenseless protesters.

This is the sort of behavior we are used to seeing from Egypt, Brazil, Kenya or Paraguay, not the US. But the non-lethal techniques we've tested abroad have come home. And are paid for with our tax dollars.

We've seen an increasingly weak and desperate president label antifa as a "terrorist group" as he ramps up the tough-guy rhetoric. All in service to a sort of illusory "patriotism," which is simply rabid nationalism in drag. Trump wraps himself in the flag, and raises a bible as a worship object. Flag worship raises armies, after all. And military veterans often muster out and join the police. 

Next time we will review why it is so difficult to prosecute cops– the concept of "qualified immunity," which some are trying to end. And how we might effect change: Cut the rot at the root, go after the funding, And watch the weed wither and die. As always, follow the money.


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.

Food in Collapse 2: Cooking, Cheesemaking & Fermentation

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the microphones & cameras of Irv Mills & RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner  June 7, 2020

 

Audio Only

 

You can Download the audio MP3 to play while offline at Diner Soundcloud

 

Discuss this Video & Article at the Diner Pantry inside the Diner

 

And a whole lot more than that too! 🙂  When Irv & I get together on the topic of FOOD, we both have a severe case of Diahreah of the Mouth.  lol.  I actually edited this one down to get it to 1:30 hours. 🙂  I was going to chop it into parts to make it a little less time consuming and intimidating, but ya know I have so many videos and topics in the planning stages I just didn't want to get backed up on them.  So you get the whole thing in one healthy dose, like a Bloody Mary with 3 shots of Stolichnaya, 🙂  I suggest in this case to view it in parts over the course of the week, or downlod the .MP3 Audio and listen while you commute to work or are outside Gardening or Cycling to improve your Aerobic Conditioning or are out driving the endless miles of the Eisenhower Interstate in your Big Rig.  No connection to the Net necessary once you D/L the MP3, which takes just a few minutes under normal connection speeds these days.

Besides the stuff in the title, we talk about Freezing and the problems associated with that as well as the necessary Back-Up Electrics you need to keep your frozen meats and fish reasonably secure, at least for a temporary disruption lasting a couple of weeks or so.  Also storage of Grains and Breadmaking.

We will be doing another discussion on developing your own Electrical Resilience in the near future.  We should have several other contributors to this discusion as welll, with varying degrees of knowledge about both Electric Resilience as well as FOOD topics.  I am really looking forward to this discussion

 

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It Can’t Happen Here

From the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 2, 2020

"I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me." –Langston Hughes 


I'm old enough to remember when White America was outraged– OUTRAGED, I say– when H. Rap Brown offered America the simple truth that "Violence is an American as cherry pie" in July of 1967 at a press conference in Washington, D.C. That was long before the Chicago police and the FBI murdered a sleeping Fred Hampton in December of 1969.

I'm old enough to remember WMD. Remember those?  "Yellowcake," the excuse for a Republican administration lying us into the wrong war, with Fox News and Hate Radio accusing those opposed of treason. Remember The Great Recession?  Presided over by a Republican president who having pissed away the Clinton budget surplus on tax cuts (and more tax cuts) for a war based on lies?  The effects of which then exacerbated by Republicans in Congress determined to sabotage whatever Obama might have tried to ease the suffering of millions?

Memory: the liberal superpower. But the long history of this country is written in blood, built on the bones of the indigenous, the slave, the immigrant laborer, and other "conditional citizens," whose rights to "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" are conditioned upon not being locked on by a police searchlight or targeted by police weapons.

There has been an open season on black American males with no bag limit. Cops are able to summarily execute black Americans with minimal, if any, consequence. Hence the long overdue rising which has bubbled over this week In response to the on-video murders of George Floyd, and before him Ahmaud Arbery. But a list of the dead would be a roll call of ignominy: Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile… 

In late stage capitalism, where everything has been commoditized, where almost all speech is marketing, no one should be surprised that police are the occupation army of capital. Occupation armies treat the citizenry as hostile. Expect no less on America's streets.

Yet the brutality and direct targeting of journalists is new for this country, another milestone in the march to fascism.

Trump has sown hatred of the press for years, borrowing techniques more often seen in third world dictatorships, Now journalists are under assault from police and protesters alike.

On Friday, while reporting on live TV, CNN's Omar Jimenez and his crew was arrested as the crew covered George Floyd protests.  CNN reported that the arresting officers were from the Minnesota State Patrol. The reason for their arrests was not immediately clear, but was later attributed to orders issued by Gov. Tim Walz to clear the area. 

CNN's Josh Campbell, also reporting from the area but not standing with the on-air crew, said he, too, was approached by police, but was allowed to remain. Jimenez is black and Latino, while Campbell is white. For his part, Walz apologized to CNN, saying there was "absolutely no reason" for the arrests and that he took "full responsibility."

Elsewhere around the country, journalists were harassed and targeted by police.

In Louisville, a police officer fired pepper balls at a local TV reporter, Kaitlin Rust. In Denver, police fired paintballs and tear gas, hitting a news photographer and his camera. Bellingcat has documented at least 50 separate incidents where journalists have been attacked by law enforcement.

Those who say that Trump's rhetoric is just harmless bloviating are kidding themselves. We are watching a real time devolution to fascism, American-style. Steve Bannon may be gone from the White House grounds, but his message lives on. The press is the enemy, says Bannon.

The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

But they're going to understand it good and hard. Bannon's advice is to “flood the zone with shit,” overwhelming the media with disinformation, distraction, and denial. After three and a half years, the American press finds itself having gone from being called names to becoming targets of police suppression. Late Tuesday, Trump emerged from his bunker for a photo op and a message of repression.


"At this point we should probably just be called the states of america."

–Sarah Silverman

Trust in the government has steadily eroded ever since the Warren Commission report. Vietnam, death tolls. Pentagon Papers. Iran-Contra and that lying lout Oliver North. Pardons all around. Yellowcake. Cooked intel. War in Iraq after 9-11. Concealment, deception and outright lies have characterized U.S. national security policy for decades. So little surprise that some people are willing to dismiss appeals to authority and evidence-based claims.

Others are as eager and willing as ever to turn over their legal rights to a legally spurious junta making it up as they go along. 

Far-Right extremists Are showing up, hoping to Turn the George Floyd Protests Into a new civil war. They show up in cars with license plates removed, and often dress in "antifa" drag, wearing the black goodies associated with "black bloc" anarchists. Plus it appears that Agents provocateur may now be part of the standard policing playbook for dealing with protest. For those interested, the blog Just Security has published an analysis of these infiltration tactics, particularly those of "accelerationists," an extreme subset of white nationalism whose goal is to bring about chaos and destruction via a Charles Mansonesque race war.

Many reports from Minnesota of cars without license plates. When approached by police the occupants scatter on foot. Here is one. 

During Occupy I told anyone who would listen to assume that anyone exhorting you to violence is a cop or a spy. Now you can add infiltrator to the mix.

Trump called the protesters “thugs” and threatened to have them shot. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, parroting a former Miami police chief whose words spurred race riots in the late 1960s. Marvelous deflection from the over 100,000 deaths Trump has caused by his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. All the better to drive Whites into the arms of the assorted fascists, grifters and neo-Confederates that comprise the Trump regime. 

And we learn that "antifa," that all purpose blamesicle beloved of the alt-right, (and which is not an organized group), is to be designated as "terrorist organization." As with so many Trump pronunciamentos, the government has no existing legal authority to label any domestic group in the manner it currently designates foreign terrorist organizations.

Antifa just means "anti-fascist;" It's not a club holding monthly meetings.  But for the fuzzy thinkers of the right, antifa is some centrally controlled, George Soros-funded Monolith of The Resistance. Within the cult of perpetual victimhood that defines the drooling right in this country, antifa is a made-to-order whipping boy.

Why does he get away with it? The complicit beltway media and their apparatchik bosses whose fat livings depend on Republicans returning their phone calls. And whose stock in trade is "bothsiderism" punctuated by "whataboutism." A.J. Liebling famously said, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." And the bookers and producers understand that and follow their assigned scripts, all of which support the existing system and the preservation of capital.


This week we learned that the only way to protest correctly is show up armed with guns at a state capitol.


10 steps to closing societies and to totalitarianism.

Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
Set up an internal surveillance system.
Infiltrate and harass citizens' groups.
Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
Target key individuals.
Control the press.
Cast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason.
Subvert the rule of law.

–Naomi Wolf

We should have undone the so-called PATRIOT Act and other pernicious laws before now. Indefinite detention, anyone? Trump and Barr will exploit the far corners of American law to hound their opponents. So for the second or third time in a decade, I awaken to learn I've been labeled a terrorist by my own government for believing that the government is abusive. So now I find myself an enemy of the state. It's not even Wednesday yet.


"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

–Attributed to Sinclair Lewis

So why don't we just bring civil charges Or otherwise attempt to bring rogue cops to some sort of justice? 

But when Goerge Floyd’s family goes to court to hold the officers liable for their actions, a judge in Minnesota may very well dismiss their claims. All because of a legal doctrine called "qualified immunity" that specifically shields government officials, including poilice, from most such claims. Police act like laws don't apply to them because of 'qualified immunity.' They're right.

The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982. With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established.”Although innocuous sounding, the clearly established test is a legal obstacle that’s nearly impossible to overcome. It requires a victim to identify an earlier decision by the Supreme Court or a federal appeals court in the same jurisdiction holding that precisely the same conduct under the same circumstances is illegal or unconstitutional. If none exists, the official is immune. Whether the official’s actions are unconstitutional, intentional, or malicious is irrelevant to the test.

One imagines that if police were subject to civil liability for their actions, including loss of pension oif convicted, we might quickly see a change in the amount of abusive behavior on the part of police.

As I got ready to post this, events have swarmed these scribblings. Moments after threatening to unleash the military against the American people, styling them "antifa," or "professional anarchists” – for the crime of seeking racial justice, #BunkerBoyTrump had military police teargas and shoot rubber bullets into a peaceful crowd. This display of supposed "toughness" was so a reality TV "president" he could hold a pointless photo op, clutching a Bible in front of a church. Thus making Sinclair Lewis a prophet:  Fascism has come to America.

I'm old enough to remember a different America. One where the cop on the beat or street was a potential source of aid and safety. Where people didn't cower in fear or snarl in loathing at their neighbors for their political beliefs. And one in which every yahoo with a grievance didn't brandish an AK-47 (or a hunting bow) at a public demonstration. Or where the President at least pretended to care about the welfare of his fellow citizens. But those days are long gone, as the American public learns what foreign governments have already learned through the last three and a half years: America is no longer to be trusted or counted upon.


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.

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RE, you alive sunshine?Gone quiet on the RE front. Hope all is well mate.JOW

Its and interesting psychology of needing to belong in the first place. Maybe its being scared of isolation as we are all social creatures, or more often its jealousy or envy of what others have in this internet age. It seems everyone want to belong so...

Quote from: K-Dog on September 13, 2020, 01:28:19 PMEither we walking apes take the next step in the journey towards a higher consciousness, towards a truer and nobler way of life, towards the good — or we fall. Our civilisation c...

Quote from: Phil Rumpole on September 13, 2020, 05:41:18 PMHe makes some good points, but I believe this is probably wrong:They are going to go right back to their fascist leanings, and put someone even more dangerous than Tru...

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Knarf’s Knewz

Your news has been very helpful.  Thank you. [...]

Quote from: Phil Rumpole on September 12, 2020, 12 [...]

Quote from: knarf on September 10, 2020, 10:18:08 [...]

How can you be in Nebraska and not socially distan [...]

Diner Newz Feeds

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Doomstead Diner Daily July 17The Diner Daily is av [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily July 16The Diner Daily is av [...]

The point being to wear down the "precariat [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

Your news has been very helpful.  Thank you. [...]

Quote from: Phil Rumpole on September 12, 2020, 12 [...]

Quote from: knarf on September 10, 2020, 10:18:08 [...]

How can you be in Nebraska and not socially distan [...]

Quote from: K-Dog on February 24, 2020, 06:23:52 P [...]

I wonder how much these coins have been debased? [...]

Precious tip of the day.....Buy silver NOW  She [...]

Scientists have unlocked the power of gold atoms b [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM [...]

I am OUT of Jury Service!  I got summoned to be a [...]

Quote from: Eddie on May 16, 2020, 10:30:30 AMQuot [...]

Quote from: RE on May 16, 2020, 08:20:06 AMQuote f [...]

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Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Harvest at Chez Cog By Cognitive Dissonance   It became obvious to Mrs. Cog and I by early February [...]

  Perhaps a Crumble Rather Than a Collapse Chapter One By Cognitive Dissonance     “...we can endure [...]

The Flim-Flam Men by Cognitive Dissonance   I suspect if average Joe or Jane were asked to identify [...]

The Coming War With China Re-posted from CaitlinJohnstone.com   (Have you noticed that (suddenly) Ch [...]

Papers Please! By Cognitive Dissonance     For those who may not know, Mrs. Cog and I live in the mo [...]

Event Update For 2020-09-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-09-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-09-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-09-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2020-09-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

In other words, treat COVID-19 like a dry-run for the upcoming "big one" [...]

However don't expect strikes and yellow vests to fix underlying problems [...]

So how many more times are we going to hear that this is our last chance to take action in order to [...]

This is definitely not a bona fide post [...]

Daily Doom Photo

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Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

"If there is no one left alive there is no need for an economy." As the costs of uncontrol [...]

The Great Pause Week 26: Beer Cascades"The Scots forest smallholding system is inherently democratic. It encourages innovation and pr [...]

The Great Pause Week 25: Carbon Negative Beer"Watt recognized, like few others in business, that carbon neutral is not good enough. We have [...]

The Great Pause Week 24: Can we have a hammer and dance for the climate emergency? "If your carbon audit is 5% above where it needs to be, the dance stops and the hammer falls. [...]

The Great Pause Week 23: Toppling Towers"The pandemic is just the sound of one shoe dropping."At 8 am on the morning of August 10, [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

In reply to Bei Dawei. Klaatu barada nikto! (The Day the Earth stood Still, 1951. Classic movie) [...]

In reply to Herbie R Ficklestein. Herbie, I'm no Bible scholar, but I think the idea of a [...]

In reply to Duncan Idaho. I don't think this is a useful comparison. Those who died in the Viet [...]

In reply to Thierry38. Re Spain: ““The [health] system has already collapsed,” said Madrid-based pae [...]

There is a big 'he said, she said, I just said' going on today about an SNP article about [...]

In reply to Bachs_bitch. Good points. If we have a debt jubilee here, only those who already are in [...]

In reply to Ken Barrows. Back to 10 mpb per day. Recovering from Laura, I guess. [...]

First of all, thanks for the recent back-to-back articles Steve. Always nice to pop in here and know [...]

@sp gp https://www.artberman.com/2020/09/03/stop-expecting-oil-and-the-economy-to-recover/ [...]

McCloskey, yikes, glad to have never heard of her (?) But I have never had much use for the Episcopa [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

Protected areas are the backbone of biodiversity conservation but are fixed in space and vulnerable [...]

This paper presents the results of a systematic literature review of climate change adaptation and r [...]