Off the Grid

K-Dog Strikes Gold: (Yukon Gold Potatoes)

pic_zerogc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of K-Dog

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 22, 2016

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Saturday is my day for yard and garden work. My garden now fallow, will be improved with soil amendments and a rabbit fence will be added to augment next years carrot yield.  Next year I'll be ready at the start of the growing season.  The first two years I got a late start getting the ground ready.  The first year because it was a new garden but this year because I doubled its size and sifted rocks out of the soil so it could be easily worked.  That took a few weekends.  With a rabbit fence not only carrots but my yield on other veggies will also go up. Thumper was busy in 2015. There are plenty of wild veggies for rabbits in the neighborhood; still I would share my bounty but rabbits don't wait for plants to grow and eat new shoots to the ground. Not a good thing, nothing gets started.

Here is a pic of what my garden looked like early last season.  The shape catches a good amount of sun even though a Douglas fir tree I planted many years ago towers over it.  The fir tree has been limbed more than twenty feet up and only blocks some early morning light.  Not seen out of the picture our house defines the angle of the front edge of the raised garden bed.  I chose the angle so the house does not block any sunlight.

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Just to the right of this picture is my potato box.  This Saturday I disassembled the box months after my potato plants had died. To my surprise there were potatoes in the soil I removed from it. All my potato plants had died in midsummer and I had thought my crop had been a total loss.

Starting out the summer my potatoes had shown promise. Here is my potato box early into my 2015 grow.  You can see my garden next to it and the trunk of my Douglas fir.

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Potatoes had been planted at ground level and a layer of boards now hold soil which has buried the growing plants in the above picture. When the plants had grown enough to be buried the first time a layer of boards seven and a half inches wide had been added to uprights and then the assembly had been dropped over the potato plants and filled with soil. Here is a picture of me to give you an Idea of how big the box is.  The boards holding back the soil are two feet long.

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The view below is of the box showing a second row of boards added with plants buried another five and a half inches.

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I added a third layer of boards and this view of the top shows the potato plants buried for the last time.

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Before I could add another layer of boards one plant had mysterious and suddenly wilted. I removed it above ground level but within a week all the other plants had also wilted and died just as the first had. I had read about the Irish potato famine last year and knew that all the potatoes in the famine had turned to a stinky black mush.

I figure my potato crop had been a loss.  It had been so early in the season I had not expected any potatoes to have even started to grow! I was wrong and before the potato plants had died potatoes had grown.

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K-Dogs 2015 potato crop

My personal potato famine had stopped growth above but not below ground. It had not been of the Irish kind as there was no black mush. For months healthy potatoes had been waiting for me to find them and I had not known it. 🙂

The soil I had used to bury my potatoes in had been some bagged garden soil I had bought on clearance.  It was cheap but it may have carried a fungus.  The first year I had used compost I had made and cured myself without problems.  I am going to gently pressure wash the potato box lumber and place the wood where it will dry until next spring.  I'll repaint the box then since I have plenty of the same paint I originally used when I made it.  I'll use different soil next year and I don't think any contamination on my box will survive being painted over.  This was the second year I used my box since I built it and its first year of use I had a lot more potatoes and the plants had lived well into fall until frost had killed them.  The year before I had grown Russet potatoes.  Perhaps the change in variety had something to do with this years early death of my plants.

Regardless of how it happend the potatoes are delicious.  I have made French fries and I have had them mashed.  Today I had some with a roast that baked in a crock pot all day.  It was fantastic.

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This picture of my dogs dream dinner is a bit out of focus.  I took it with my phone.  The potatoes I cut open with a knife and I've added a little butter.  The yellow color is the natural color of Yukon Gold Potatoes.

You can tell I have not yet gone vegan.

The Georgia Guidestones: Warning or Prophecy?

Off the keyboard of Surly1
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Published in the Doomstead Diner September 22, 2014

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“When the mob governs, man is ruled by ignorance; when the church governs, he is ruled by superstition; and when the state governs, he is ruled by fear. Before men can live together in harmony and understanding, ignorance must be transmuted into wisdom, superstition into an illumined faith, and fear into love. Despite statements to the contrary, Masonry is a religion seeking to unite God and man by elevating its initiates to that level of consciousness whereon they can behold with clarified vision the workings of the Great Architect of the Universe. From age to age the vision of a perfect civilization is preserved as the ideal for mankind.”
                                                                                      ~ Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages

In northeast Georgia near the border with South Carolina, lies the town of Elberton,  county seat of Elbert County and the self proclaimed “Granite Capital of the World.” Elbert County is so rich in granite that it supports over 40 active quarries and more granite construction per square mile than you are likely to see elsewhere.  There is an excellent chance that regardless of where you live in the FSoA,  there’s a chunk of Elbert County near you. Over the course of the past century, Elberton granite has been exported all over the country and the world in the form of buildings, monuments, countertops and the ubiquitous gravestone.

What is brick where you live is granite in Elberton. Homes, road signs, banks, the community center, the local jail and even  high school football stadium are all constructed out of the sparkling local rock. Geologists describe it as a combination of  feldspar, mica and quartz. Not surprisingly, little Elberton, with a population under 5,000, probably has the highest concentration of monuments in the world.

On a tall hilltop in Elbert County, Georgia, stands a large granite monument. Five giant stones, astronomically aligned, support a common capstone. Each is engraved with Guides, or commandments, in eight different languages.Georgia_Guidestones_2014-640x400

These are The Georgia Guidestones. Though relatively unknown, this unique monument was erected with little fanfare, but continues to fan the flames of endless rumor and speculation. Some see in it an important link to an occult hierarchy that dominates our world, others to the Illuminati, others to Freemasonry or the Rosicrucians.  The stones stand idle, and readily accept whatever images and interpretations projected upon them. But what do we really know?

We do know that this past weekend, a story moved that posited that the stones had been updated with a granite block inserted into one corner of a slab bearing the date, “2014.” Great has been the flurry in certain sectors of the alt media this weekend, though no one saw it being installed. The fact that no one has anything to report has not deterred them from reporting it.

I had started a draft of this article, and hoped to drive to Georgia to photograph it myself before publishing it. But this latest odd wrinkle, and the speculation it has generated, led me to cut it loose now.

The monument

GuidestonesThe Georgia Guidestones are a monument of four vertical granite slabs, on which are carved ten “commandments” in eight languages. Supposedly adherence to these will ostensibly help mankind usher in a “New Age of Reason.”

The first commandment? Maintaining the world population under 500 million people. Which means 92 per cent of you will have to oblige by getting off the planet. Whether these stones are a proclamation or a warning, and whether or not they are the works of a small group of eccentrics or an occult secret society, one does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to observe the assaults on the well being of ordinary people, on standards of living, on the earth’s very climate, on vectors of disease and man-made toxic threat, on real food, fresh water and clean air to connect the dots and posit the likelihood of a “Great Culling” to accomplish such an objective.

By the way, a very fine article here provides a good deal of the background.

 

 

 

 

 

The monument itself, sometimes optimistically known as the American Stonehenge, is almost 20 feet high and is made of six granite slabs, weighing 240,000 pounds. The most astonishing detail of the monument is less the size and more the, “Ten Rules for an “Age of Reason.”

These “guides”  touch upon subjects typically associated with the “New World Order”, including massive depopulation, a single world government, the introduction of a new type of spirituality, etc. The authors of those rules have remained anonymous in spite of several investigations to uncover the sponsors. But before disappearing into the Georgia mists, this mysterious group left a text explaining the reasoning behind the rules, which purports to describe an ideal world, as envisioned by occult Secret Societies. Let the reader make what he or she will of the stone’s declarations.

 

The Guidestones’ “Ten Commandments”

The ten guides for a new Age of Reason are as follows:

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.
10. Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature.

As you can see, the guidelines call for a drastic reduction of the world population, the adoption of new a world language, the creation of a world court and vague allusions to eugenics. In other words, a blueprint for a New World Order.

 

“World democracy was the secret dream of the great classical philosophers. Toward the accomplishment of this greatest of all human ends they outlined programs of education, religion, and social conduct directed to the ultimate achievement of a practical and universal brotherhood. And in order to accomplish their purposes more effectively, these ancient scholars bound themselves with certain mystic ties into a broad confraternity. In Egypt, Greece, India, and China, the State Mysteries came into existence. Orders of initiated priest-philosophers were formed as a sovereign body to instruct, advise, and direct the rulers of the States.”
-Manly P. Hall, The Secret Destiny of America

 

Stones 2 w david

At this point, you might well be saying, “All well and good for you to wrap your head in tinfoil. So some southern cranks put together a pot on money and erected some standing stones. It doesn’t necessarily mean what you intend, and certainly does not necessarily indicate the work of a secret cabal…”

Indeed. Most days, we might ordinarily agree with you. But to do so would be to overlook the single most significant piece of evidence left behind, the above mentioned text, easily found in The Georgia Guidestone Guidebook, a 50-page pamphlet published by the Elberton Granite Finishing Company, which erected the monument. In a straightforward manner, and describing their motives in great detail,  the authors of the monument make it clear that they do seek the creation of a New World Order.

So feel free to belay the finger-circles-at-the-temples just yet.

 

 

From the booklet:

It is very probable that humanity now possesses the knowledge needed to establish an effective world government. In some way that knowledge must he widely seeded in the consciousness of all mankind. Very soon the hearts of our human family must be touched and warmed so we will welcome a global rule of reason.

‘The group consciousness of our race is blind, perverse, and easily distracted by trivia when it should be focused on fundamentals. We are entering a critical era. Population pressures will soon create political and economic crisis throughout the world. These will make more difficult and at the same time more needed the building of a rational world society.

A first step will be to convince a doubting world that such a society is now possible. Let us keep in view enduring appeals to the collective reason of humanity. Let us draw attention to the basic problems. Let us establish proper priorities. We must order our home here on earth before we reach for the stars.

“Human reason is now awakening to its strength. It is the most powerful agency yet released in the unfolding of life on our planet. We must make humanity aware that acceptance of compassionate, enlightened reason will let us control our destiny within the limits inherent in our nature.

“It is difficult to seed wisdom in closed human minds. Cultural inertias are not easily overcome. Unfolding world events and the sad record of our race dramatize the shortcomings of traditional agencies in governing human affairs. The approaching crisis may make mankind willing to accept a system of world law which will stress the responsibility of individual nations in regulating internal affairs, and which will assist them in the peaceful management of international frictions.

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‘With such a system we could eliminate war, We could provide every person an opportunity to seek a life of purpose and fulfillment.

“There are alternatives to Armageddon. They are attainable. But they will not happen without coordinated efforts by millions of dedicated people in all nations of the earth.

“We, the sponsors of The Georgia Guidestones®, are a small group of Americans who wish to focus attention on problems central to the present quandary of humanity. We have a simple message for other human beings, now and in the future. We believe it contains self-evident truths, and we intend no bias for a particular creed or philosophy. Yet our message is in some areas controversial. We have chosen to remain anonymous in order to avoid debate and contention which might confuse our meaning, and which might delay a considered review of our thoughts. We believe that our precepts are sound. They must stand on their own merits.

Your mileage may very, but this sounds pretty new-world-ordery to me.

 

 

How Did the Guidestones get there? And by whom?

The unveiling of the Georgia Guidestones. Could one of these people be the mysterious R.C. Christian?

 

The story of the ordering of the Guidestones is recounted thus in the official guidebook.

“What started out as a usual Friday afternoon in mid-summer has ended in the production and erection of one of the world’s most unusual monuments, produced under the most unusual conditions. Joe Fendley, president of Elbert Granite Finishing Company, Inc. in Elberton, Georgia,was spending this Friday afternoon in June 1979 like he spends most Friday afternoons … studying his weekly reports and generally closing up shop for a weekend … and then it all started.

A neatly dressed man walked into Fendley’s Tate Street office and said he wanted to buy a monument. Since everyone else in the office was busy, Fendley decided to talk to the stranger himself and explained that his company does not sell directly to the public, but only on a wholesale basis.

Not to be discouraged, the middle-aged man who identified himself only as Mr. Robert C. Christian, said he wanted to know the cost of building a monument to the conservation of mankind and began telling Fendley what type of monument he wanted. With this he outlined the size in metric measurements.

Fendley admitted that his first reaction to Mr. Christian was not very good, but after listening for about 20 minutes and learning the massive size of the monument he wished to purchase and have erected, Fendley decided he should take this man seriously.”

 

If the name R.C. Christian was simply a meaningless pseudonym, why would it engraved on to the monument for posterity? And “pseudonym” misspelled? Some allege that the name “R.C. Christian” is a clear reference to Christian Rosenkreuz whose English name is Christian Rose Cross, the legendary founder of the Rosicrucian Order, and thus a hint for posterity.

 

 

 

Is the message of the stones a cynical one predicting, or urging, the elimination of 12 of 13 people currently alive? The last rule of the Guidestones, “Be not a cancer on the earth – leave room for nature – leave room for nature”  is a deeply troubling comparison of  human life on earth to cancer. It does not take a great deal of speculation to infer what sort of person would view the great majority of humanity thusly. If you are one of the elite, and assured of your place in the “lifeboat,” it becomes easier to rationalize the extinction of nearly all of the world’s population.

Since their erection in 1980, the stones have often been defaced with red paint and epithets. Locals come out to clean and restore them. Little is clear other than the swirling speculation, but the stones will clearly outlive the defacers, their frustrations  and their red paint. Whether the Stones will continue to exist in the planned-for future envisioned by those who erected them, to deliver their cautionary message, seems assured.

 

 

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***

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and quit barking and got off the porch long enough to be briefly active in the Occupy movement. He shares a home in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and is grateful each day for the life he has with her, and that he is not yet taking a dirt nap.

Winter Garage Greenhouse

                                                                                                                                                                             Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

 Published Originally @ Off The Grid in Minneapolis

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Three scrap sliding glass doors, recycled lumber and some acrylic glass I found in a dumpster. The rack is covered with 3 and 4mil poly sheeting, a greenhouse within a greenhouse.

 

 

This old radiator I inherited from the blogger @ Eighth Acre Farm. The idea is, one more thing to collect solar energy. The effect is probably not negligible, but probably not that effective. It should be facing the other way, the long side facing the sun, but there isn’t room.

 

 

The view from inside the garage. I had been pulling the rack inside every evening, as it has wheels. But the garage tends to be like an icebox, and it occurred to me, perhaps the concrete of the driveway is radiating heat somewhat during the night. I’ve been leaving the rack outside now in the greenhouse, just opening it up to add water, every third day.

 

 

The temperature at floor level inside the rack seems to stay around 40 degrees, no matter what, cooling somewhat in the evening when it is exceptionally cold outside: 3F the lowest outside this year. The bottom of the rack is covered with a sheet of 1 1/2in, rigid pink insulation.

 

 

The lowest of the four racks. Below are four bulk cooking oil, plastic containers, filled with water. They should be painted black (but I keep forgetting to buy black paint.) Otherwise, solar energy seems to pass through without heating the water much. Though, it seemed to me that of the four racks, this lowest one sprouted second, though now there does not seem to be much difference between the lower three racks, in terms of growth. In fact the plants in this lowest rack appear more yellow now than those of the upper three racks.

 

Early sprouts. I have seen the soil temp on days when there is sun all day, @ 60F. Lately though we have seen much sun in the morning, overcast most of the afternoon when the sun is strongest. Even on cloudy days when the temp outside is in the 20’s, I have seen the soil temp @ 50F. Here it is actually lower than the air temp at the bottom of the plant rack, about 38F, @ 11am on a sunny morning after three or four days of sun in the morning, cloudy the rest of the day.

 

 

 

The racks are about 10in wide, 70in long and 3.5in deep. I filled each with 3in of potting mix, scattered spinach, lettuce and lambs quarter seed, about 30 different varieties, and then applied 1/2 inch of homegrown compost. Here are several different kinds of plants sprouting, on the second level. Spinach, lettuce and lambs quarter appreciate cool temps.

 

 

The real magic seems to be on the top rack, about twice the growth, about twice as fast, the plants appearing much healthier. Heat rising, of course. I imagine the soil temp here is more moderate, and warmer generally.

 

 

 

I planted, the second weekend in November. Three weeks of growth, slower than it would be, planting outside in the spring, but not by much, at least not here @ the top level. We are still three weeks away from Solstice, when the sun is lowest in the sky, so growth is not going to speed up. After Solstice, there might be a gradual increase in sunlight, but temperatures outside on average will be less than they are now, for the following two months, January and December.  In March the greenhouse will be for starting the spring and summer vegetables.

 

While I have heated this greenhouse using nothing but solar power, my intention is to insulate the garage, and build a rocket stove, pulling the racks inside over-night. Burning small amounts of wood, I hope to moderate overnight temperatures around the rack, to moderate temps inside it. At present, because the racks are shallow, soil temperature fluctuates too radically 60-38F, considerably more than it would in the garden in the spring. Heating the garage even slightly, overnight, would help maintain soil temp generated by the sun, putting less stress on the plants, making consistent growth more likely.

 

Otherwise, I am happy with the progress. It would have been better to start a month earlier, at the beginning of October, so the plants would not be at such a tender stage when the temperature dropped outside consistently below freezing. Still, I’m hopeful that I will have some edibles by the Solstice, with slow growth throughout the winter.

That Was The Week That Was in Doom June 23, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 23, 2013

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This edition caps a week full of nonsense, proving nothing so much as that rust never sleeps. We were shocked… shocked to learn that Bank of America issued performance bonus for employees managing to force homeowners into foreclosure.  Negotiators firmly set upon enacting a treason against the American people continued busily negotiating the Trans-Pacfic Partnership under circumstances so secret they may well as be hermetically sealed,  lest the proles get wind of the scale of the planned sellout. In other surprises, Congress' poll rating is the lowest EVAH, Klansmen attempted to build a radiation weapon to use on Muslims, Louie Gohmert sees king crab legs in the shopping carts of SNAP card recipients, reporter Michael Hastings perished in a vehicle fire in a vehicle that, being among the safest on the planet, should never have caught fire, and an entrepreneur is planning a megadoomstead in underground limestone caves, in a facility formerly used for government storage. I know there is meaning in these entrails, so grab a stick and let's start rooting around for signs, shall we?

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Bank of America Lied to Homeowners and Rewarded Foreclosures, Former Employees Say

As an Occupier, special opprobrium was reserved for the Bank of America. Located close enough to the Occupy Norfolk encampment to cast a shadow in late afternoon, B of A seemed to embody the very incarnation of everything wrong with banking.

The popular "Move Your Money" campaign shifted around a few millions, and quoted bank execs shrugged it off, but one sensed they were at least a bit concerned.

Then we find out this, courtesy of ProPublica:

Bank of America employees regularly lied to homeowners seeking loan modifications, denied their applications for made-up reasons, and were rewarded for sending homeowners to foreclosure, according to sworn statements by former bank employees.

The employee statements were filed late last week in federal court in Boston as part of a multi-state class action suit brought on behalf of homeowners who sought to avoid foreclosure through the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) but say they had their cases botched by Bank of America.

In a statement, a Bank of America spokesman said that each of the former employees’ statements is “rife with factual inaccuracies” and that the bank will respond more fully in court next month. He said that Bank of America had modified more loans than any other bank and continues to “demonstrate our commitment to assisting customers who are at risk of foreclosure.”

Six of the former employees worked for the bank, while one worked for a contractor. They range from former managers to front-line employees, and all dealt with homeowners seeking to avoid foreclosure through the government’s program.

 

And Paul Kiel's reporting even gets better. The Squid itself is involved, through a subsidiary:

Sometimes, homeowners were simply denied en masse in a procedure called a “blitz,” said William Wilson, Jr., who worked as an underwriter and manager from 2010 until 2012. As part of the modification applications, homeowners were required to send in documents with their financial information. About twice a month, Wilson said, the bank ordered that all files with documentation 60 or more days old simply be denied. “During a blitz, a single team would decline between 600 and 1,500 modification files at a time,” he said in the sworn declaration. To justify the denials, employees produced fictitious reasons, for instance saying the homeowner had not sent in the required documents, when in actuality, they had.

Such mass denials may have occurred at other mortgage servicers. Chris Wyatt, a former employee of Goldman Sachs subsidiary Litton Loan Servicing, told ProPublica in 2012 that the company periodically conducted “denial sweeps” to reduce the backlog of homeowners. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs said at the time that the company disagreed with Wyatt's account but offered no specifics.

Five of the former Bank of America employees stated that they were encouraged to mislead customers. “We were told to lie to customers and claim that Bank of America had not received documents it had requested,” said Simone Gordon, who worked at the bank from 2007 until early 2012 as a senior collector. “We were told that admitting that the Bank received documents ‘would open a can of worms,’” she said, since the bank was required to underwrite applications within 30 days of receiving documents and didn’t have adequate staff.

Your refinance dollars at work. The HAMP program was an apparent clusterfk for banks from inception, as they never had any intention of hiring sufficient staff in order to process the paperwork needed to fully implement it. ProPublica began detailing its failures  from its inception in 2009. HAMP turned out to be a perfect storm created by banks that refused to adequately fund their mortgage servicing operations and lax government oversight.

Bank of America was far slower to modify loans than other servicers, as other analyses ProPublica has cited have shown. A study last year found that about 800,000 homeowners would have qualified for HAMP had Bank of America, Wells and the other largest servicers  done an adequate job of handling applications and paperwork. And we'll not event mention the outright fraud of robosigning. Yet.

Add B of A

This in, from firedoglake.

 

The latest story is courtesy of one of those much maligned whistle-blowers who saw something and said something. In this case the whistle-blower disclosed that the Too Big To Fail/Jail bank had a bonus system setup encouraging foreclosure on desperate homeowners.

Bank of America (BAC) rewarded staff with cash bonuses and gift cards for meeting quotas tied to sending distressed homeowners into foreclosure, former employees said in court documents.

Mortgage workers falsified records and were told to delay U.S. loan-assistance applications by requesting paperwork that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had already received, according to statements from ex-employees filed last week in federal court in Boston.

 

The affidavit details a litany of abuse including widespread fraud.

I witnessed employees and managers change and falsify information in the systems of record, and remove documents from homeowners’ files to make the account appear ineligible for a loan modification,” said Terrelonge, a loan servicing representative. This allowed managers to meet quotas for closed cases, she said.

Bank of America instructed employees to delay applications and mislead customers “as part of a deliberate practice of stringing homeowners along,” lawyers said in a June 7 filing.

 

Salon published a very fine article by David Dayen that included this morsel:

And they would have very specific targets: the ex-employees listed specific executives by name who authorized and directed the fraudulent process. “The delay and rejection programs were methodically carried out under the overall direction of Patrick Kerry, a Vice President who oversaw the entire eastern region’s loan modification process,” wrote William Wilson. Other executives mentioned by name include John Berens, Patricia Feltch and Rebecca Mairone (now at JPMorgan Chase, and already named in a separate financial fraud case). These are senior executives who, if this alleged conduct is true, should face criminal liability.

Bankers facing criminal liability. Here in the FSA. That's pretty funny.

 

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More on the "Trans-Pacific Partnership"

Last week we kicked the tires of the Trans-Pacific partnership, a piece of secret legislation being secretly negotiated by the White House, with the help of more than 600 corporate advisers and representative from Pacific Rim nations. Described as a "trade agreement," the US already has trade agreements covering 90 percent of the GDP of the countries involved in the talks. Instead, the TPP is a major power grab by large corporations, conducted under cover in much the same way that NAFTA was foisted upon the American middle class. The deal will reportedly give multinational corporations a favorable economic and legal status vis a vis sovereign nations, and the ability to challenge legislation in each nation unfavorable to the corporation's interests.

Why so secretive?

As Margaret Flowers reports in an article, if people knew what was in the bill, the groundswell of opposition would be such as to make it impossible to sign.

The text of the TPP includes 29 chapters, only five of which are about trade. The remaining chapters are focused on changes that multinational corporations have not been able to pass in Congress such as restrictions on internet privacy, increased patent protections, greater access to litigation and further financial deregulation.

So far, all that is known about the contents of the TPP is from documents that have been leaked and reports from NGOs and industry meetings. Unlike other trade deals, the White House refuses to make the text available to the public. In fact, the negotiators refuse to publish the text until four years after it is signed into law. Why are they being so secretive? Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said he opposed making the text public because doing so would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.

From the information available, one thing is clear about the impacts of the TPP on health care: the intention of the TPP is to enhance and protect the profits of medical and pharmaceutical corporations without considering the harmful effects their policies will have on human health.

recession-2

No reader will be surprised to learn that the net impact of this pernicious bit of treason is to maximize corporate profits. The TPP agreement takes particular loving care of Big Pharma, and attempts to limit the capacities of state owned public health enterprises to care for its own citizenry.

Text from a section of the TPP called "Annex on Transparency and Procedural Fairness for Healthcare Technologies" was leaked in June 2011. It reveals this conflict between medical industries that have strictly commercial interests and public health systems that are concerned about the health of the population. Medical industries are pushing on all fronts to keep their prices high while public health systems must negotiate to keep prices affordable and maximise what they can cover within their budgets.

To the medical industries, such price negotiation is one of the "unfair advantages" of public health systems. When a public health system negotiates a lower price, it is said to be exerting its market power. On the flip side, when a government extends patent protections to medical industries to keep prices high, this is not considered to be an unfair advantage granted by the government.

Medical industries are pushing for other concessions within the TPP to "level the playing field", also known as forcing public entities to operate as market-based entities, such as factoring the cost of not just research, development and production of drugs and medical devices, but also the cost of marketing them into what is considered to be a fair market price. And they only view prices negotiated without any government influence as fair.

As always, Mammon remains hungry.

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Americans' Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record

Congress ranks last on list of 16 institutions; military earns top spot again

To the surprise of almost nobody, the results are in: virtually no one trusts the scripted mainstream media and even fewer trust Congress. We’ve known it for years, but a new Gallup poll shows that a whopping 77% of Americans distrust mainstream media television and nobody likes Congress who is willing to give their name to an interviewer. . .

Only a bit more ‘trustworthy’ than Congress, which scored in at a record low of 90% saying they do not trust the government body, the Gallup poll details that only 23% of viewers actually trust the mainstream media television news. A reality that has been clear as day in light of blatant mainstream media blackouts on key events like the outrageous DHS Fourth Amendment free zones that stretch up to 100 miles out from every single border of the US, to the blackout over eyewitness reports at the Boston Marathon.

Gallup sez:

Americans' confidence in Congress is not only at its lowest point on record, but also is the worst Gallup has ever found for any institution it has measured since 1973. This low level of confidence is in line with Americans' low job approval of Congress, which has also been stuck below 30% for years.

 

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Gohmert: Cutting food stamps not evil because poor people buy king crab legs

 

Going out on a limb here, but just perhaps– perhaps– the low approval rating of Congress stems in large measure from antics like these. Raw Story moved this item in the wake of the defeated Farm Bill this week, which illustrated a new level of political incompetence in Washington unseen in at least one observer's lifetime.

Congressional comedian Louis Gohmert

complained that Democrats had portrayed Republicans as evil because they supported a measure to cut nearly 2 million low-income people off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which would mainly impact working families with children.

On the other hand, Gohmert said, poor people were using food stamps to buy food that other Americans could not afford. He claimed his “broken-hearted” constituents had repeatedly told him they had seen people use food stamps to buy king crab legs.

“Because he does pay income tax, he doesn’t get more back than he pays in, he is actually helping pay for king crab legs when he can’t pay for them for himself,” Gohmert explained.

“How can you begrudge somebody who feels that way,” he added. “How can you begrudge anyone who steps up on behalf of constituents who feel that way. We don’t want anyone to go hungry, and from the amount of obesity in this country by people who we’re told do not have enough to eat, it does seem like we could have a debate about this issue without allegations about wanting to slap down or starve children.”

The average monthly SNAP benefit for one person is $133.44.

Reports have circulated that the king crab leg purchaser was wearing purple wings and riding an ebony unicorn when sighted making the crab leg purchase.

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Klansman and accomplice charged for building radiation gun

The men allegedly intended for their "Hiroshima on a light switch" to be used on the Muslim community

We are all familiar with elements of the ignorant , violent nativist right in this country, which is much like the ignorant violent and nativist right in every country. But these folks have set a new by attempting to apply technology with a lethal, deadly twist.

 

Two men, one of them a member of the Ku Klux Klan, were arraigned today in Albany, N.Y., on federal charges of plotting to build a mobile radiation gun intended to kill Muslims – or “medical waste,” as the plotters called their intended targets.

Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, a Klan member from Galway, N.Y., and Eric J. Feight, 54, of Hudson, are both charged with conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism in the use of a weapon of mass destruction.

The case has been under investigation by a Joint Terrorism Task Force since at least April 2012, when Crawford allegedly reached out to Jewish organizations, asking if Israel would be interested in such a weapon to kill its enemies.

“The essence of Crawford’s scheme is the creation of a mobile, remotely operated, radiation emitting device capable of killing human targets silently and from a distance with lethal doses of radiation,” says a 67-page criminal complaint filed by the FBI.

It might sound far-fetched, but experts told investigators that the design would work, producing a “a lethal, and functioning, remotely controlled radiation-emitting device,” the complaint says

A “central feature of the weaponized radiation device is that the target(s) and those around them would not immediately be aware they had absorbed lethal doses of radiation and the harmful effects of that radiation would not become apparent until days after the exposure,” the complaint says.

At one point, Crawford described his planned device as “Hiroshima on a light switch,” the complaint says.

The case against this pair appears built around extensive recordings of their conversations and e-mails. Within six weeks of Crawford’s attempts to solicit financing from two Jewish organizations, the FBI was monitoring and recording much of his activity and had recruited an snitch In.

Last August, Crawford traveled by car from his home in Albany to North Carolina to meet and solicit funding from an unidentified  “ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan,” who cooperated when contacted by FBI agents. In early October, he traveled to Greensboro, N.C., to meet with a cooperating witness and two undercover FBI agents who posed as “Southern businessmen of means who were associated with the KKK.”

Reminds me of the descriptions we often hear about serial killers. “He was a nice boy. Quiet. Shy. He didn't have much to say.”  Keep this in mind when you're tricorn hat-wearing neighbor seems to be spending the too many late nights in his garage, tinkering on his neighborhood death ray.

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Michael Hastings, RIP.

As you know, reporter Michael Hastings died in a fiery car crash earlier this week. There's a great deal loves that chelation about the causes of the crash, and especially the resultant fireball that supposedly consumed is vehicle. Reader Supported News moved an article earlier in the week, and I can do no better than to run it in toto:

The death of reporter Michael Hastings, best remembered for taking on General Stanley McChrystal and other powerful people, has been met with shock and grief in the journalistic community, especially from those fortunate enough to work alongside him. But one layer below the fond remembrances are a host of vague questions and inferences about the circumstances surrounding the 33-year-old BuzzFeed reporter's fiery solo car crash early Tuesday in Los Angeles. Bringing those suspicions to the forefront last night was WikiLeaks, never reticent to insert itself into a story, which teased, "Michael Hastings death has a very serious non-public complication. We will have more details later." And after three hours tweeted: "Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him."

"Yeah," BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith confirmed to Daily Intelligencer. "Before his death, Michael told a number of his friends and colleagues that he was concerned that he was under investigation."

But other, less reputable sources have taken the speculation much further. "Vince Foster-like murder plot emerging in Los Angeles? Did the Obama administration knock off a star reporter?" asked one blog early on Wednesday, adding to existing conspiratorialTwitterchatter. Another wrote, "Admit it, Michael Hastings' Death is Weird and Scary." Hours before revelations about a potential FBI investigation, InfoWars, the Alex Jones website that serves as a catch-all conspiracy-theory clearing house, mentioned Hastings's death with an editor's note: "Journalists who mess with government and military power often die under mysterious circumstances." None had more than conjecture.

The circumstances are these: "Police said a vehicle was southbound on Highland about 4:20 a.m. when it lost control south of Melrose and smashed into a tree," the L.A. Times reported. Videopurports to show Hastings's Mercedes-Benz running a red light at a high speed minutes before the crash. "It sounded like a bomb went off in the middle of the night," a witness told the local news. "I couldn't have written a scene like this for a movie, where the engine flies from the car." Photos and video from the aftermath show extreme wreckage, and as of yesterday, the coroner had not officially identified the body because it was too badly burned.

But an automotive writer also fed the doubters:

I'm here to state that I've seen dozens of cars hit walls and stuff at high speeds and the number of them that I have observed to eject their powertrains and immediately catch massive fire is, um, ah, zero. Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is an evolutionary design from a company known for sweating the safety details over and above the Euro NCAP requirements, should be leading the pack in the not-catching-on-fire category. Nor is the C-Class known for sudden veering out of control into trees and whatnot.The crash is under investigation and there will be an official accident report (a toxicology report could take weeks). Whatever its findings, they can likely coexist with Hastings's mind-set at the time and a potential government investigation without representing something more sinister.

"He was incredibly tense and very worried and was concerned that the government was looking in on his material," said Hastings's friend and Current TV host Cenk Uygur. "I don't know what his state of mind was at 4:30 in the morning, but I do know what his state of mind was in general, and it was a nervous wreck." But Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffery put it plainly: "Ugh, the people posting Vince Foster style comments re Hastings death do a disservice to his no BS truth telling." Let's wait for the facts.

Update: The L.A. Times reports that Hastings, prior to his death, "was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by the Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI." The paper also notes, "Since Hastings's death early Tuesday, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet implying that he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him."

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Limestone Doomstead

 We've entertained a lot of discussion about doomsteads on the Doomsday Diner, and discussed many of the preparations and planning that would be necessary to create such a place. It appears that one man is planning on an extinction level event, and is acquired a former government facility in which to plan a doomstead with a few of his friends.
 

After most of the world's population is wiped off the map by a wayward meteorite or hail of nuclear missiles, the survival of the human race might just depend on a few thousand people huddled in recreational vehicles deep in the bowels of an eastern Kansas mine. 

That's the vision of a California man who is creating what he calls the world's largest private underground survivor shelter, using a complex of limestone caves dug more than 100 years ago beneath gently rolling hills overlooking the Missouri River.

'I do believe I am on a mission and doing a spiritual thing,' said Robert Vicino, who has purchased a large portion of the former U.S. Army storage facility on the southeast edge of Atchison, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City. 'We will certainly be part of the genesis.'


 

Before it comes time to ride out Armageddon or a deadly global pandemic, though, Vicino says the Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort will be a fun place for members to take vacations and learn assorted survival skills to prepare them for whatever world-changing catastrophe awaits.

Jacque Pregont, president of the Atchison Chamber of Commerce, said some people think the shelter plan sounds creepy or that Vicino has 'lost his mind,' while others are excited because they will finally get a chance to tour the property.

Atchison is known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart and one of the most haunted towns in Kansas, Pregont said, so the survival shelter is likely to add to the town's tourism draw.

 

Here is a scale model of the facility:
 
Apparently according to the current pricing structure, a person who plans to park a 30-foot vehicle in the shelter with four people inside will pay $30,000 for the space and $6,000 for food.  Actual sales won't begin until a 'critical mass' of reservations are received and processed, Vicino said, which hasn't happened yet at the Kansas shelter. Vivos also owns a shelter in Indiana with room for 80 people to live comfortably for up to a year.There, members pay $50,000 per adult and $35,000 per child, so a family with two adults and two children would have to come up with $170,000 to be part of the "new beginnings" generation. So it appears that the 1% will at least be safe in their year-round, 70°, temperature regulated chambers.
 
In closing, I am moved to wonder why the government sold this facility. Where have they moved whatever was stored here? Why did they sell it, and so cheaply?
 
Just wondering.
 
I'm sure the answer lies in the entrails of the next sheep.

The Week That Was In Doom, May 26, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 26, 2013

http://991.com/newGallery/That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964.jpg

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

It was a week in which we found ourselves awakened, much like Rip van Winkle after a 40 years sleep, to relive the worst excesses of the Nixon administration.  A week in which, 175 years ago Friday, the Trail of Tears began and the United States once again led world opinion in affirmation of human rights and the treatment of indigenous peoples. A week in which part of an interstate fell into the Skagit River, sex workers are having to call it quits for lack of customers with sufficient disposable income, A couple of senators from Oklahoma demand disaster funding for their state while insisting that the hardships of the people of Oklahoma be visited upon unnamed someones elsewhere,  and thousands of people in hundred cities marched against Monsanto.  Plus plenty of other goodies. So let’s go to the highlight reel.

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AOL2013

Truth be told, the biggest news in the world of doom this week is the Age of Limits Conference currently being held in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our redoubtable correspondent haniel is there and is filing reports. He also promises to bring back audio, video and images, all of which he is having great difficulty uploading due to the lack of bandwidth in his rural location. But suffice it to say there is no other single activity this week in the world of doom that is as significant or as newsworthy as this ongoing conference.  Follow haniel's reports here.

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bridge skagit

In one of the most remarkable and egregious examples of infrastructure collapse as a result of maintenance deferred, the I–5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington collapsed when struck by a truck.

The Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Skagit River in Washington state collapsed Thursday evening, dumping two cars into the water. Three people were injured.

Authorities initially weren't sure how many people were involved or if there'd been any injuries or deaths. Shortly after the collapse, Washington State Trooper Mark Francis told CNN that he didn't expect a high casualty rate, in part because the bridge is located in a rural area and is rarely crowded.

CBS is reporting that the collapse was caused by an oversized semi-trailer truck, which hit a beam across the top of the bridge.

 

Great was the mewling and puking over this affair, and may stood ready to extrapolate from the specific to the general. Rising Hegemon probably had it best:

Infrastructure, schminfranstructure

Good thing we can keep affording to give tax breaks to oil companies to avoid those nasty public safety measures that also provide actual jobs!

The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed Thursday evening, dropping two vehicles into the water and injuring three people.

Both the northbound and southbound portions of the bridge collapsed into the river sometime before 7 p.m., according to Washington State Patrol trooper Mark Francis.

Xavier Grospe, 62, who lives near the river, said he could see three cars with what appeared to be one person per vehicle.

Obviously the only thing that can keep a bridge from collapsing is another bridge with a gun.

 

 

 

And Equire's Charlie Pierce observed thusly:

First, the BridgeHunter people declared the bridge in question to be functionally obsolete three years ago. Second, the local inspectors declared it to be safe and sound back in 2008. America's bridges heve been in sorry, dangerous shape for years, and practically everybody agrees with that. Time for some lifesaving Keynesian stimulus spending, no?

Of course, not.

I mean, does a bridge have to fall on their heads?

Forget I asked that.

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Slevery for everyone

 Robert Reich asks, “who needs Republicans when Wall Street has the Democrats?” In his blog, Reich details how congressional Democrats are helping Wall Street rollback the financial reforms enacted after the near meltdown. With Citigroup and chase writing legislation, eager Democrats are rolling as many logs they can to undo Dodd-Frank and otherwise carry water for the plutocrats.  Not to be outdone, members of the troglodyte party decided to raise student loan rates, plus approved a variable-rate that will really stick it to prospective students. Your democracy at work.  Meanwhile, in the small fishing village in the south of France, The US Department of Education “has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers”, more profit than reported by Exxon and Apple. No word on whether that includes Apple's Irish offshore accounts.

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Speaking of offshore accounts and other tax dodges,  this week AlterNet  filed a superb report on how corporations are stealing billions in tax breaks, why we confused and misdirected Muppets turn on one another, to their continued enjoyment and enrichment.  this again by Mr. Reich, who had a busy week.

 

 

… global corporations have no allegiance to any country; their only objective is to make as much money as possible — and play off one country against another to keep their taxes down and subsidies up, thereby shifting more of the tax burden to ordinary people whose wages are already shrinking because companies are playing workers off against each other.

. . . Meanwhile, At a time when you’d expect nations to band together to gain bargaining power against global capital, the opposite is occurring: Xenophobia is breaking out all over.

Here in Britain, the UK Independence Party — which wants to get out of the European Union — is rapidly gaining ground, becoming the third most popular party in the country, according to a new poll for The Independent on Sunday. Almost one in five people plan to vote for it in the next general election. Ukip’s overall ratings have risen four points to 19 per cent in the past month, despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts to wrest back control of the crucial debate over Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

Right-wing nationalist parties are gaining ground elsewhere in Europe as well. In the U.S., not only are Republicans sounding more nationalistic of late (anti-immigrant, anti-trade), but they continue to push “states rights” — as states increasingly battle against one another to give global companies ever larger tax breaks and subsidies.

Nothing could strengthen the hand of global capital more than such breakups.

This sounds very much like a movie we've seen before. And none of us like the ending. Betting here we're not going to like the ending of this one either.

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Artwork: Anthony Freda

 

And while were on the subject of money, anyone who actually has to buy anything in this economy realizes that the price of goods keeps creeping up at the same time that there seems to be less and less money in the economy. Small business owners are really hurting. We have friends, Nick and Vicky, who run a beauty shop and spa, who  had had to close the spa part of their business due to lack of traffic. Many women who used to be regular once a month visitors have vanished, and with it their income.  At the same time, the landlord raises the rent on their building, meaning they have to shrink the business to survive.  Thus is it in the real world.

 

Meanwhile, this on the widening gap between Wall Street and Main Street.

While asset prices are inflated by continued interventions of monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, boosting Wall Street profits and widening the wealth gap between the top 20% of Americans and the rest, "Main Street" continues to suffer a from a rising cost of living and falling wage growth.  Just recently Gallup released the following survey:

"The federal poverty threshold for a family of four is just under $24,000; however, Americans believe such a family unit living in their community needs more than double that — $58,000, on average — just to 'get by.' That estimate reflects 29% of Americans saying these families need up to $50,000 in annual income, 47% saying they need between $50,000 and $99,999, and 10% saying they need $100,000 or more."

Gallup-Consumer-LivingNeeds-051713

And then, in a fking nutshell:

This is why the gap between corporate profits and the number of working employees is the highest level on record.  Fewer workers, higher productivity and longer hours for the same pay, or less, equals higher corporate profits.  This is great for executives, primarily the top 10% of wage of earners, who are compensated from rising share prices, bonuses and other performance related compensation.  However, for the "working stiff," there is little reward for their labor.

At $58,000, Americans' perceptions of the amount it takes just to get by in their community is substantially higher that the national median household income.  This level is also well out of reach for a bulk of the lower 30% of American households.

However, this gap between incomes and living standards goes a long way to explaining the "welfaring" of America.  As incomes have waned against a rising cost of living – it is not surprising to see more individuals receiving income supplements in the mail either from "food stamps", social security benefits or disability claims.  All of which are currently at record levels.  The chart below shows the level of social security benefits as a percentage of disposable personal incomes which is currently near the highest level on record.

Social-Benefits-DPI-051713

 

"How long can the disconnect last between Wall Street and Main Street? "

There is no clear answer for that as consumers have shown a willingness to draw down savings rates to historically low levels while quickly returning to cheap credit forgetting the disaster that it caused them not so long ago.  However, in reality, when you have a family to feed, clothe and house – it really doesn't matter what is logical, but what is necessary, regardless of the consequences down the road.  Of course, for many American's today, the only real difference between now and the "bread lines" of the 30's is that the "bread" is delivered in the mail rather than at the "soup kitchen" on the corner.

A splendid article that offers a precise description of what is happening. I mentioned above the effect of this “recovering economy” on my friends with the beauty shop and spot. Newshound Joe dug up this article earlier in the week that illustrates how even sex workers are feeling the pinch.

It is one of the oldest professions in the world.

Yet, just like many other businesses up and down the UK, even prostitution is now struggling with Britain's struggling economy.

Many sex workers are now saying its almost impossible to make a full time living out of prostitution with rising rents and energy costs and a reduced demand for services.

They also complain of a saturated market in which students and those recently sacked turn to  prostitution to make money.

Like many other workers across Britain, sex workers even complain that immigrants are providing tough competition.

All of this has resulted in many massage parlours and private flats heavily reducing their prices or even closing.

Prostitutes also say men are increasingly unable to pay for sex, with pressures on household spending increasing.

30 years ago, Richard Pryor joked about pimps having to drive Volkswagens. And now this. Clearly,  yet another sign of the breaking of the Seventh Seal.

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And perhaps none of this makes any difference because we are all screwed in the fullness of time, As we seem to be unwilling or unable to manage our energy footprint, consumption, and behavior in a responsible manner that would benefit the great bulk of humanity. This is of course a subject which has been discussed many times in many different ways within the Diner Forum.

Climate change: human disaster looms, claims new research

 

A human shadow is seen on a dried out field after drought in Germany. Photograph: Patrick Pleul/EPA

 

Forecast global temperature rise of 4C a calamity for large swaths of planet even if predicted extremes are not reached the world is still likely to be in for a temperature rise of double that regarded as safe.

The researchers said warming was most likely to reach about 4C above pre-industrial levels if the past decade's readings were taken into account.

That would still lead to catastrophe across large swaths of the Earth, causing droughts, storms, floods and heatwaves, and drastic effects on agricultural productivity leading to secondary effects such as mass migration.

Some climate change sceptics have suggested that because the highest global average temperature yet recorded was in 1998 climate change has stalled. The new study, which is published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows a much longer "pause" would be needed to suggest that the world was not warming rapidly.

Alexander Otto, at the University of Oxford, lead author of the research, told the Guardian that there was much that climate scientists could still not fully factor into their models. He said most of the recent warming had been absorbed by the oceans but this would change as the seas heat up. The thermal expansion of the oceans is one of the main factors behind current and projected sea level rises.

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Authorities never have “issues with authority.”

It’s simple. Authorities invented the idea that other people have issues with authority.

Psychiatrists rank right up there among the elitists setting the standards. They, for example, have concocted a little fictional doodad called Oppositional Defiance Disorder. And magically, they never accuse their professional colleagues of having it. No.

Why should they? They amuse themselves by deciding when civilians are overly defiant and need pacification (drugs).

 

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More from the Department of Your Tax Dollars at Work.

Got PTSD? No problem. Here: take this. At a time when government funding for veterans hospitals and healthcare is being diverted by the military and replaced with private donations comes this news of the Pentagon development of memory adjustment pills. Perhaps the combination of so-called “medication” coupled with the use of targets featuring children and pregnant mothers waving guns will usher in a new generation of conscience-free troops for the next round of "nation-building" and empire extension.

The Pentagon this week announced an $11 million grant for three research institutions, all of them long-time hubs for the military’s ongoing PTSD investigations. Experts at Emory University, the University of Southern California and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center will study the effectiveness of D-Cycloserine (DCS). DCS is a pharmaceutical thought to help extinguish fearful memories. It’s usually taken right before exposure therapy, a process that involves recalling traumatic experiences in an effort to nullify the menacing associations that accompany them.

Your tax dollars at work. This is a clue that we will continue to be in a perpetual state of war.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/fear-erasing-drugs

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photo by Jenna Pope

 

 

 

Everyone's favorite fixer and leg breaker Rahm Emanuel has come a cropper in his plan to close 54 public schools in low income neighborhoods.Three days of  protests have been going on in Chicago to fight back against the biggest public school closing action in the history of the U.S.
 
Teachers, students, and parents marching through the West Side of Chicago today for the 3-day March for Education Justice. "The mayor and Board of Education want to destroy 54 school communities. This will be the largest destruction of schools in U.S. history. We need our neighborhood schools and we should all fight together to save them."

 

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artwork by mario piperni

In the holy city of Washington DC, otherwise known as Jerusalem-on-the-Potomac, we were treated to the spectacle of two Oklahoma solons rightfully demanding disaster aid for their tornado-stricken state, but only at the cost of insuring that the suffering visited on the people of Oklahoma was transmitted by the miracle of the appropriations process up its on innocent and unsuspecting others located God knows where, but presumably not Oklahoma. "Budget offsets"so the Blessed Messrs. Cobern and Imhofe solemnly intone. In response, we need to visit with the Master, Charlie Pierce.

This is a guy who, one day after a devastating natural disaster killed his own constitutents, said he will not vote to allevate their suffering unless he can inflict some pain on someone somewhere else in the country. And his spokesman defends this as a matter of principle, and uses the worst act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States as a salutary example. (And the link demonstrates that Coburn's aversion to tossing money down various ratholes is not universal.)  Does Senator Coburn really believe you can budget for the unthinkable? That tornadoes are zero-sum events? That you can horse-trade on human suffering as though it were a line-item on a transportation rider? I no longer am willing to try to understand how people like this think. They are monsters and they operate on their own monstrous imperatives.

The attack on the natural instincts of a self-governing political commonwealth has been a long one, a powerful one, and (alas) a very effective one. It has made the politically unthinkable a viable alternative in the face of the literally unimaginable. It is a return to the days where people died alone on the prairies during blizzards, or they drowned in floods along the plains, or they were lost in hurricanes that struck without warning. It's not a great distance removed from staving off severe weather by judging the flights of birds or reading the entrails of a disembowelled goat on a rock. The idea that there is even a "debate" worthy of mentioning over this money shows how far we've fallen.

By the way, here is the City Of Moore's official FAQ page about storm shelters and the like. I may be wrong, but this fairly reeks of defensiveness. The explanation for the lack of storm shelters seems economically prissy and more than a tad lame—people won't use them because they won't leave their pets behind? So, therefore, we don't build one? Really?—and the cruel irony of this tornado is that people were warned specifically not to "shelter in place" but, rather, to get in their cars and drive like hell. There is considerable real-time audio from local radio and TV to that effect. And this is a masterpiece of You're On Your Own, Jack:

"What if I live in a mobile home?
This means that you have additional responsibility for your safety, and that begins much earlier! Mobile homes typically do not offer good shelter from thunderstorm winds, and that means you should find shelter elsewhere—perhaps the house of family or friends. You need to plan your actions long before thunderstorms arrive, and leave early…don't wait until warnings are issued or the sirens are blowing to leave."

Oh, OK.

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http://mariopiperni.com/

In a week where the Obama administration has managed to resuscitate the cadaver of the Nixon administration through various scandals, and right-wing pols are making hay out of Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!!,  Comes this little noticed and curious aspect to the Benghazi story from one of my favorite cranks, Jon Rappaport.

Just a coincidence. Nothing to see. Move along.

Remember the Benghazi attacks? Remember how the White House rewrote their talking points to scrub out mention of a terrorist attack?

Well, here are some new talking points.

Point one: Star CBS investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, has been discussing leaving CBS since April. She can’t get some of her Benghazi stories on the air. Attkisson was hot on the trail of figuring out who, at the White House, rewrote the Benghazi talking points.

Point two: One sure candidate at the White House? Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser and “mind-melding” speechwriter.

Point three: Who is Ben Rhodes’ brother? He is David Rhodes, who happens to be Sharyl Attkisson’s boss, the president of CBS News.

Point four: Read point three again.

Point five: Those White House Benghazi rewrites scrubbed prior mention of “terror attacks.”

Point six: Again, reporter Attkisson was hot on the trail of the White House fiction writers—which could have led to her boss’s brother.

Point seven: Again, Attkisson got into hot water at CBS for her Benghazi coverage.

Point eight: Again, the president of CBS News, her boss, is the brother of the man who helped organize the White House fiction writing on Benghazi.

The Daily Caller broke this story.

Point nine: Somebody has been fiddling with reporter Attkisson’s computers. Attkisson has been assembling evidence on the what and the who for several months.

As loath as I am to repeat anything uttered in the pages of The Daily Caller–even its very name makes me twitch–even a stopped clock is right twice a day,  Much in the same way that Crazy Uncle Liberty and his son, Sen. Aqua Buddha are often right twice a day. Remains interesting to watch to see if this aspect of the story goes anywhere. Politico's Dylan Byers has a take on this. Little surprise that Attkisson has trouble getting anyone inside the Obama administration to talk to her since most of her stories have often been extremely critical of the administration and often seem to bespeak a partisan political agenda. No duh.

The only thing certain in this murky affair is that House Republicans will do everything possible to keep these flames alive well into the midterm election season. Meanwhile, in at least one poll I saw this morning, House Republicans are writing a 59% disapproval rating. Double down on crazy, boys.

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IMG_1261

 

Many protesters gathered in Virginia Beach yesterday as part of a March against Monsanto,  one of dozens of such marches organized across the globe in protest of CGI and months and tell and its genetically modified, potentially toxic food.

 

Organizers  were reported to have said the protests were held in 52 countries and 436 cities. Locally, the demonstrators were out in force by the hundreds on a clear, brisk day at the oceanfront that also heralded the beginning of the vacation season.

 

You have to love the creativity of the people who brought signs and banners. Enjoy the examples below. It was a pleasure to reconnect with local occupiers and many other activists, including many people who would not otherwise even dream of being part of a protester a demonstration, yet who are well enough informed to take a keen and abiding interest in real food. One woman held aloft a sign that said, “our children are not eating the same Cheerios we did.”

 

True dat.

IMG_1263 - Version 2

 

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IMG_1246IMG_1248

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many of the volunteers passed out information flyers explaining what GM owes are. Salient facts included  that most major US food companies managed to keep GM oh ingredients secret from the public. That agribusinesses have spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat Geo labeling laws. Products may contain genetically or all-natural modified foods and still be labeled natural. The most common genetically engineered crops are soy, corn, papaya, rice, cotton, tomatoes, dairy products, potatoes and peas.IMG_1255IMG_1257

 

And herewith a roundup of other news, the bones of which  I have not had the opportunity to chew, and some links that may reward the follower.

Murder is our national sport. We murder tens of thousands with our industrial killing machines in Afghanistan and Iraq. We murder thousands more from the skies over Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with our pilotless drones. We murder each other with reckless abandon. And, as if we were not drenched in enough human blood, we murder prisoners—most of them poor people of color who have been locked up for more than a decade. The United States believes in regeneration through violence. We have carried out blood baths on foreign soil and on our own land for generations in the vain quest of a better world. And the worse it gets, the deeper our empire sinks under the weight of its own decay and depravity, the more we kill. 

–Chris Hedges.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34929.htm

Petrodollar collapse

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-20/guest-post-coming-collapse-petrodollar-system

 
Virginia Republicans take a Great Leap Backward:
 
Add I-5 bridge:
 
NC and renewables
h/t AG
 
See it yourself
 

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." – Frederic Bastiat

 

 

 

 
 
Add Detroit
 
Monsanto and stock rally
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Boston Marathon Bombing

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

Discuss this in the Conspiracy thread, in the Forum

Let me say first, any speculation about what happened in Boston, April 15, should be prefaced by empathy, for those who died, for those who were so gravely injured, for those in the immediate vicinity who were traumatized. (It should also be noted that this is a slightly edited version of what appeared originally here in the forum, to better reflect new information, and to correct factual errors.)

Blessings to you. All.

Now, let us consider the “evidence,” like rational people.

First, let us consider the bombs. Supposedly, pressure cookers filled with gunpowder, nails and ball bearings. If you have any familiarity with a pressure cooker, and most people do not, a pressure cooker is generally a fairly heavy apparatus. It has to be, to contain the high pressure and heat, to not blow up in your kitchen, as you are cooking or canning. Typically large enough to hold at least four quart-sized mason jars, though as many as eight or more. So the smallest pressure cooker is going to weigh, empty, between 15-25 lbs. Full of gunpowder, nails and ball bearings, more like 50-70.

The authorities are saying now, these bombs may have been carried to their destinations in back packs. Can we assume then, that one person lugged a big heavy back pack through a large crowd, dumped it in a garbage can, then retrieved another backpack, made another journey through the crowds, dumping big heavy backpack in another garbage can, with nobody noticing? Or are we talking about multiple bomb droppers? Which is a conspiracy.

Unless these bombs were placed well before the crowds showed up. Still, these are going to be awkward things to lug around, and dump; doing so would stand out, among those preparing for the event. Unless the bombs were already in the garbage cans, when the cans were placed there, in which case the person(s) who put the garbage cans there, are either employed by whatever company or gov agency that is in charge of the receptacles, or person(s) masquerading as such.

Assuming the bombs were in garbage cans, as early reports stated.

Second, one can be relatively certain, that just about every square inch of downtown Boston is covered by closed circuit TV (CCTV). So, there should be video of whomever put those bombs there.

Third, let’s consider the time the bombs went off, just before 3pm. The winner of the Boston Marathon crossed the finish line a full three hours before the bombings. That means, all the elite runners were done with the race by approximately 1:00-1:30, which means most of the media, public officials, important peoples, would have vacated the scene by 3pm, with most of the people remaining, regular Joe’s and Jill’s, supporting family and friends running the race.

Forth, the bomb exploded on Patriot’s Day, a Massachusetts holiday, and also tax day. Close to the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing in ’94, and the burning of Waco. Which has led many to surmise that this is the work of home-grown right-wing extremists. Boston being of course,  site of the original Boston Tea Party.

Five, there are conflicting reports, relative to the official story that there was no forewarning of an attack, that officials were running drills with bomb sniffing dogs, in the vicinity of the bombs, during the race, prior to the bombs going off.

As to the CCTV, do not expect to hear anything about that in the MSM. One, they do not like to allude to the ever-increasing surveillance state, at any time, under any circumstances. Two, if there is video, we are not likely to see it any more than we have seen video of Adam Lanza breaking into and rampaging through that elementary school in Connecticut, though we know there was CCTV coverage. (What is the point of all that surveillance if it can’t catch bombers in plain sight?)

As to the timing of the remote controlled bombing, and it being tied to domestic right-wing extremism, there are indeed many right-wing gun nuts who glorify the Boston Tea Party, who fetishize the Constitution, who despise government in all it’s forms. Ask yourself however, even if the bomber is a right-wing lunatic crazy man, precisely what irrationality would justify in his mind, killing random regular folk, and not government agents, so typically the targets of right-wing rhetoric? Even in the Oklahoma City bombing, most of those killed were employees of the Federal Government.

As to the reports about drills – that flies in the face of the MSM story that there was no forewarning, as well as circumstantially tying it to 9/11, the 7/7 bombings in London, and the shootings @ Sandy Hook Elementary, official drills coinciding, even mirroring, the actual attacks. (The MSM and Gov still maintain, contrary to considerable evidence, that there was no forewarning of 9/11.)

The Liberty movement is aflame. Go to infowars.com, or Alt-market.com, and you can read about their fears, that this is another false-flag operation designed to demonize the Liberty, Patriot and Tea Party movements, and take away their guns, i.e. initiate total martial law, lockdown in America. This is not without reason. You will never hear the MSM, for instance, discuss the 2 billion+ bullets the Department of Homeland Security has ordered in the last year, or the 1000+ bullet-proof check points. This is news every American should know, but it is not news the MSM will report. Several Obama administration officials, law enforcement officials and MSM pundits have already alluded to home-grown “terrorists,” that oh-so popular catch phrase of fascist authoritarian control freaks everywhere.

Whatever the case, whoever did this is INSANE. And I personally lean toward blaming agents of a secret cabal of behind the scene, fascist authoritarian control freaks, for whom most of the global population is cannon fodder. It doesn’t matter to these people, these fabulously wealthy monsters, who gets blown up, be they in Afghanistan, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran or the streets of America. The point is the maintenance and consolidation of power. Total information control; as many observers note, a fearful people are a pliable, compliant people. It really isn’t complicated; it is only that such an evil is something few are willing or able to contemplate. Most people, like the people who died in Boston, and those so gravely injured and maimed, just want to go through life staying out of trouble.

Well, increasing trouble is coming, of which Boston is only a glimpse. And just remember, no one on this earth is more fond of bombs than governments, and all governments are controlled by the moneychangers.

I suspect those bombs were already there when the winners of the Boston Marathon crossed the finish line. If this was about maximizing mayhem, that would have been the time to set those bombs off. Unless this was about controlled mayhem, in which case, better to kill, injure and maim ‘a bunch of people who don’t matter.’

It is often said, the simplest answer is generally the right one. Conventional wisdom would suggest, this is the work of a right-wing crazy person, or an Islamic fundamentalist. But in a world where the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin, 9/11, 7/7, Sandy Hook and even Aurora, are all known or suspect of conspiracy, when the FBI and CIA are known and suspect of cultivating terrorists, the simplest answer may very well be the one answer hardly anyone is willing to consider – that this world is controlled by a vicious, ruthless people, for whom the ends ALWAYS justify the means.

Twilight of the Standard Model

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

Published originally @ Off The Grid in Minneapolis, March 20, 2013

Discuss this in the Doomstead Diner Forum @ Epicurean Delights

 

I consider physics to be one of the great spiritual triumphs of modern society. In a way, quantum physics is like coming full circle – a reintroduction to mystery in the universe. Indeed, if the point of civilization is to come to know our place in the physical universe, Science (with a capital S) could be said to be one of the great triumphs of the coming-of-age of humanity.

But then, it is not as though Science sees physics as a spiritual triumph, but more a triumph over nature. Thinking so, it cannot see that Science is in part responsible for the proliferation of nuclear material: in major facilities next to people, nuclear tipped missiles, and out of the barrel of guns (depleted uranium bullets). Phlatlets, chemicals, GMO and nano-particles released into the biosphere with near-total abandon. The wanton use of antibiotics threatening new plagues, while industrial methods dependent entirely upon fossil fuels threaten the exhaustion of the land, waters and air. The machinery of quantum mechanics looks to turn the entirety of the earth into a wasteland.

Which the news last week, that the Higgs Boson is semi-officially discovered, “giving” mass to the universe as we know it, under the standard model of physics, should have been considered another great triumph. Alas, word is, the discovery of the Higgs was supposed to open up new vistas of ethereal landscape, in the elucidation of dark matter, gravity, angular momentum, the “vacuum catastrophe”. It was not meant to be a dead end. To reiterate, the standard model of physics, and the elucidation of the Higgs, does not account for that mysterious substance referred to as dark matter, or gravity, or why anything in this universe spins or spirals, or why quantum physics suggests that empty space is in fact denser than matter by an order of magnitude running to infinity. Consider again the devastation wrought by the fruit of Science, and then you might begin to comprehend, that the standard model of physics can be seen as a dismal failure.

Scientists are still hopeful. They are doubling the energy of their Hadron Collider, ever attempting to unlock the mysteries of the universe by FORCE. Meanwhile, the earth and it’s people languish, under ever increasing aggression, as a million and one ideologies seek to silence every other, as every one and their mother attempts to catch, grab and hold what they can of what remains of the once abundant earth, among a population growing exponentially in a way that would not have been possible without Science. And only a very few on the margins are dedicated to healing.

Do you suppose it is mere coincidence, that the twilight of the standard model of physics arrives, at the same time humanity appears to have reached the carrying capacity of the earth, at the same time war is threatened everywhere, as if we are preparing for one last great conflagration, at the same time the financial system seems on the verge of collapse? Does it surprise you that the fiercest of new “superbugs” should arise out of hospitals? Does it surprise you that the “green revolution”, the proliferation of industrial agriculture, should threaten famine unforeseen at any point in human history? Should it surprise you that in a time when their are so few jobs to be had, they are making machines to replace people in many of the jobs that remain? It should not surprise you, if you have not made a god out of the technology wrought by the ingenuity of humans. It should not surprise you, if you are unconvinced that scientific progress is an unequivocal good, for the betterment of humanity. It should not surprise you if you do not believe that Science is the be-all, end-all of human understanding.

Science will never unlock the full mystery of the physical universe, as long as it is assumed that to understand a thing, you must destroy it, as they do so energetically with the Hadron Collider, as they do with cells by tearing them apart. Science is an extension, at this point, of the will to power, of the will to dominate. Science has driven spirit from life, and in so doing, has stultified. Making of the material universe material ONLY, scientists have closed themselves off to themselves. By banishing the irrational, they have closed themselves off to the full breadth of life. In short, scientists need to get HIGH.

Which I think accounts for some of the recent attempt to de-stigmatize cannabis here in America, a kind of unconscious awakening to the fact that what passes for answers in this culture of high tech this-and-that, are not answers at all, but more like gratification of our basest desires, our most cruel assumptions about what life is and what life is about. Consider that modern Science has desired to understand every material thing in the universe, except that most useful of all plants here on earth, except any plant or fungi that can be considered hallucinogenic. Which is to say, Science has closed itself off to the full breadth of the universe of the mind. To claim the mind as a weak and flawed piece of meat, elecro-chemically active but otherwise inert, is to diminish it and humans and life, in a self-similar way as Religion (with a capital R) cut human consciousness away from the earth (which is precisely why the only thing on this earth as rigid as a fundamentalist for God, is a dogmatic scientific atheist.)

More and more, I do hear scientists talking sense. Referring to the human body as an ecosystem, a kind of mirror of the earth outside. It should follow then, that you cannot poison the body of the one and expect it to thrive, any more than you can poison the body of the whole and expect it to support abundant life. Four hundred years after Francis Bacon, Rene Descartes’, Sir Isaac Newton, et al, elucidated for us the scientific method, Science is beginning to comprehend the bombast, the crudity of it’s ways. Too little too late? We shall see. At the same time I hear some Scientists talking about mimicking Nature, I hear others talking about bio-engineering, as a solution to climate change (and really every other problem there is), which is just more of the same over-weening hubris, a fundamental lack of ability to self-reflect. A most paternalistic and immature desire to control everything.

I wonder sometimes if most of what has been wrought, will have to be lost, before we awaken to the error of our ways? If most of that has arisen from the ingenuity of men (mostly), will have to be lost, before we will accept that the universe and life is considerably more mysterious than we like or care to believe? I wonder too if Science will help lead to the total destruction of the earth and biosphere upon which the species depends, and there will never be anything like a search for understanding, by any human, ever again?

It is not merely the twilight of the standard model of physics. It is the twilight of the standard model of everything human.

Embrace the mystery.

 

God and Football

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

Originally published at Off the Grid in Minneapolis

Discuss this article in Epicurean Deights, in the forum

 

God made an appearance, during the Super Bowl fiesta, did you see that?

Or was that the devil everywhere? I’m not sure anymore, between the two, but then, there’s football to think about, so, all’s good.

I mean, what a dramatic game! A very dramatic Super Bowl – with even a game shifting power outage, following an astounding halftime show; WHAT TECH! And Beyonce’ “killed” it (which for you old timers, is a euphemism for “totally rocked”). I found myself totally cheering for the 49’ers, for old time’s sake, amazed at the strength and accuracy of the arm, of the young man Kaepernick – who, check it out, wrote a letter when he was a kid that he wanted to play in the Super Bowl for the 49ers! Flacco and the Ravens showed extreme poise, and unified vision. The brothers angle was special too, the two opposing head coaches (between whom there is enough antipathy that they could not even embrace after the game.) The ending was a drag, literally, a weird non-call on the last play from scrimmage for the 49ers, and then the punter for the Ravens running around in the end zone, but on the whole it was a great game, and Ray Lewis finally got his title.

As for God, He showed up early, before the game, just like He always does. Ray Lewis gave an interview. Among other things, asked about the man he supposedly killed 13 years ago. To paraphase, “God is perfect, and He wouldn’t ever let a man who could have done what was accused of me, to accomplish what I’ve accomplished.” After which, it was revealed that the interview was recorded before it was revealed that he had used a banned pharmaceutical to heal more quickly from a triceps injury.

Kaepernick called out God’s name too, though Colin compared to Ray Lewis, seems a genuine “babe in the woods,” though it might not seem that way to conservative America, what with all those tatoos. FAITH being most prominent on the golden biceps he is so fond of kissing. Too bad though, God showed up for the bad guy, this time.

Beyonce’ called out to God too, from that fabulous stage. She seemed classy about it too, IMO, thanking the audience at the end, some 111 million Americans, for the opportunity. What an opportunity! One wonders, or at least I do, what would have happened had she called out to the Goddess, instead. LOL. The horror of it.

The devil was more prominent in the commercials. He appeared as Willem Dafoe, for Mercedes (did anyone else notice the Mercedes emblem hovering over it all, at the peak of the Superdome?), and several times, as Stevie Wonder/witchdoctor/Bud Light pimp. There was plenty of mayhem, as Kunstler pointed out:

Did anyone notice how violent and psychotic the Superbowl advertising
was this year? An Oreo commercial that depicted a mob of nerds
destroying a library —  huh? The Doritos spot where “Daddy” and his
male buddies transform themselves into an insane clown posse of
cross-dressers. The Fast and Furious 6 trailer featuring the
destruction of every vehicle known to man and a few office buildings,
too. The third-quarter power failure was a neat harbinger of
things-to-come in the Most Exceptional United States of America. Party
on, peeps! 

The coup de grace’ did not actually come, until after the game, a contrived Elementary strip tease, and then the slaughter of two doctors, two nurses and a policeman, shot in the head, and throats slit. I only saw three people die the rest of that show, shot in the head and stabbed in the neck, though I never finished watching it. Sometime much later, I caught three minutes of a CSI episode, a middle class woman chained to a bed, mouth covered with duct tape – close-up on her face as she is stabbed to death with an ice pic – her death-image repeated about 50 times in the next 2 minutes, spasmodically.

I have a few theories about that power outage. I didn’t actually know until almost game time, that the game was being played in the New Orleans Superdome. I didn’t want to be a downer during the game, so I didn’t mention all the people who died in that building, post-Katrina. The first thing out of my mouth when the power went out was, “The ghost of Katrina rises!” Or ghosts. It might have been intentional too: the lights out in HALF the building. Notice, the 49er’s were 3rd and 14, down 28-6, early in the third quarter. That’s a lot of advertising that isn’t going to be watched ($), and another 34 minutes of downtime to show them. It worked, great. DHS is sure to make use of the power outage, too, in their propaganda to take over the internet. Maybe it was God though, maybe it was, a little harbinger of what is to come, like Kunstler says.

After the game, I went to a local bar with my brother in law. The ending of that Elementary show was on the TV, the psychotic killer of nurses and doctors in some nice apartment, in a battle of wits with the protagonist, Holmes. Rather than follow along with the captioning, I started talking to the guy next to me, about the tv show, and how weird it was there was so much violence, immediately following the game. He started analyzing it in a sort of comatose and not necessarily overly-drunken way, like, why was it necessary to kill those nurses, as if those first two dead health care professional/doctors and police man made sense, dramatically speaking – identifying with the mass murderer, without really knowing he was doing it. He wasn’t a bad guy; banal would be the word, eating up a “morality” tale on the relative righteousness of revenge killing/psychopathic slaughter. Which there seems to me a great many like him. People who don’t think very well, basically, inured to the imagery of violence. For instance, I hear some hesitatingly harsh talk today about the extreme sexuality of Beyonce’s performance. Violence, on the other hand, is being discussed on NPR right now as I write this, with about as much detached apprehension as that everyman at the bar. If I had to say, what is TV about, after last night’s foray, myself not watching TV very often, I’d say it’s more and more about training people to be killers, clinical like.

So, stepping into the archetype of the raving mystic, for a moment, making a Prophecy, my take-away from Super Bowl XLVII (you might want to avert your eyes):

Ravens will pick from the bones of the dead, 
before the descendents of flower children shall rise;
with gold and precious metals, to make a new way 
to communicate freely, or to enslave, 
or be enslaved if they are not wary

2013 thus far, America

Well, 2013. Here we are, not yet a month in, and it already feels like a decade to me. Where are we? I’ve been distracted. Some thoughts.

How about that Inaugural? Could there be a more appropriate metaphor for where we have come, as a country; history is indeed fractal. A private ceremony/swearing in : pageantry and theatre for the people. Paraphrasing Kunstler: the Black Messiah, Lincoln cum MLK. He’s better at it every time, I’ll give him that, and more hollow sounding. With respect to my gay friends, I think they will have a hard time now criticizing his drone killing, indefinite detention, war making. Not that my gay friends give a shit about that kind of thing, the suspension of the Bill of Rights, et al, any more than your average American. And OMG, he mentioned CLIMATE CHANGE. Historic! He only has to utter the words, and they genuflect before him, never mind that he has never suggested a policy that wasn’t a boondoggle for some entrenched, monied interest, that wasn’t also basically a fuck the earth, whatever, it serves.

 

 

I’ve been reading about the Julian-Claudian emperors of Rome: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero (49BC-68AD). Julius Caesar was about a thousand times the man turd-bucket GWBush is; and the supposed democratic Senate Julius Caesar deposed, was a tyrant hydra; but for sake of argument let’s say they, BUSH and JC, are both war mongers who said to hell with freedom: Crossing the Rubicon, I’m the DECIDER, Patriot Act, torture, et al. Then there’s O as Augustus Caesar, who institutionalizes tyranny like a constitutional lawyer would, making it the eternal function of the State, who LOOKS and SOUNDS like the pious defender of the principles of the Nation, but who wouldn’t hesitate to unleash the Legions anywhere in the empire, including the capital, if he thought his rule were in danger. Now we’re on a bit tighter of a timeline here, as Augustus ruled for several decades, but if the next four Prezidents correspond to anything like Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero, well at least America will be more accepting of gay people, theoretically. As for a difference between us and Rome, it seems to me, while the preferred method of destroying political enemies then was murder, forced suicide and character assassination, OUR elite mostly have each others back, while they leave the murder and the suicide and incarceration for the slaves and freedmen, ie regular people, despairing over a shitty economy.

                         

(I.E. Davos. Private meetings, Public theatre.)

                            

Where is the media on any of this? Huffpost published a scathing feature on Obama’s war on cannabis, and the people by extension, by staff writer Ryan Grim – last Saturday afternoon. It was off the front page by Sunday night, nowhere to be found but by digging, Monday morning. This sycophantic puff piece on the basic goodness of government surveillance/control/lockdown posted Saturday, is still one scroll down, main page Monday late, with 1/20th the comments, (never mind, as Ward Churchill pointed out, you can appease TPTB right up to the door to the crematoria.) Speaking of Rome, what was the Jewry of Jerusalem and the surrounding country, in the time of Julian-Claudian rule? Just about the only people ruled by Romans, who could not be crushed. Compared to the 20th century Jewry of Germany, which many millions allowed themselves to be herded, unto an early, hideous death. Wait, I was talking about media, and then Cannabis. Well, if there is an antidote on this earth to being herded, it is pot. If there is a mechanism for herding more powerful than media, I can’t fathom it. Which message from the media just lately, synthesized amounts to: A RECOVERING ECONOMY/IMMINENT ENERGY INDEPENDENCE/NATURAL GAS IS CLEAN! NPR to FOX to MSNBC

MSM, it is safe to say, is become a black art of dissimulation, Bernays vision fully realized. For a brief moment, let us focus on the gun debate. First of all, there was never supposed to be a standing military here in America. Standing armies, the founders knew, become a fraternity of mercenaries and professional soldiers, who care to do little but soldiering, who become the tools of tyrants who destroy the core principles of any republic (generally 😉 Second of all, any weapon, standard-issue in time of war, to the infantry, should be available to ANY adult citizen who displays competency. Such a well regulated militia was meant to be the guard against the herding unto tyranny/war/genocide. Third, we were never supposed to be entangled in other country’s bizness.

So what are they talking about now? National database, gun “buy backs”, guns left at the shooting range? (See Australia) What did the MSM have to say about the 450 Million .40 cal hollow point rounds, DHS alone purchased in 2012, or the billion+ rounds they purchased total, of various calibre? Nada. Nothing. And that hardware is just DHS. That doesn’t include CIA, FBI, NSA, DEA, ATF, et al Fed, State and Local law enforcement, and all the decommissioned weaponry of Afghanistan and Iraq, heaped upon them. From a strictly strategic standpoint, American’s are going to need a hell of a lot of AR-15 .223cal rifles, well-organized, to fend off the State with all those .40cal hollow points, domestic surveillance apparatus, drones, etc. That doesn’t even count the Military. Assuming all that hardware is facing the people, and not turned back against the State, of course, should trouble start (see, I do have faith in Americans). But the job of the MSM, you see, is to support the State, not question it. BTW, I don’t own a gun, and I’m not on the market for one. I figure, if I ever need one, the universe will provide, which is good enough for me right now, thanks.

Has anybody out there read Sibel Edmonds book Classified Woman? There isn’t a better book right now, that I’m aware of, detailing how low this country has sunk. Basically, Ms Edmonds, being a First Generation American, exiled essentially from her native Turkey because she wrote an article in grade school about the necessity of a free press, found herself courted by the FBI, immediately after 9/11. Her familiarity with Middle Eastern languages and culture, and her standing in the community recommending her. A true believer in The American Way, she signed up to serve her adopted country, as a translator.

What she found was an FBI leadership not the least bit interested in protecting America, operating primarily as a domestic surveillance organization dedicated to protecting the bureau, and it’s Washington, corporate, banking and military patrons, at the expense of America’s safety. Uncovering a brazen spy network within the bureau, notifying the bureau, the bureau did what any Machiavellian enterprise would do. Classified Woman is a study of modern character assassination, with the United States Federal Government, as Assassin. Suffice to say she didn’t have ANY friends or family left, (except her loving, dedicated husband) by the time gov got done with her. They went so far as to classify HER, as in, she couldn’t even declare her age, without running afoul of anti-espionage laws. Which, if you think Bush was an ASS, Obama has treated whistle-blowers like spies, more egregious in his harsh treatment of them than any president in modern American history. A real monster.

Ms Edmonds book, too, is another tale of how 9/11 was not what it was purported to be. It’s abundantly clear, to anyone who cares about this country, and will take the time, that 9/11 was in some way all about gov. The 9/11 Commission was a fraud, and no serious government attempt to get at the truth of what happened, has ever occurred. Which Americans neither, have invested much time in thinking about what that means for this country. Consider the recent hoopla about Zero Dark Thirty. To torture or not to torture. It is almost laughable; the Left will get uppity about torture, but not Obama bombing Americans with drones, indefinite detention, or Stellar Wind and the domestic surveillance state, etc. (The Right doesn’t seem to care about anything but more war, less taxes, and making abortion – and by extension, miscarriage – a freedom-ending criminal offence.) I have a visceral revulsion at the very idea of a movie about the Bin Laden killing, not least because of this country’s soulless acceptance of perpetual war and militarism generally; but consider too, how that film basically serves to sanctify the 9/11 official story, like a collective absolution for such a feckless, soft, easily manipulated people, so prone to denial and willing to forget. Here now, feel how righteous you are, arguing about torture, while your government operates as a quasi-authoritarian, do-as-we-please-because-we-can, expanding information capture, incentivized asset forfeiture, criminal racketeering conspiracy/enterprise. When was the last time you heard someone say “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” except as a joke? I feel like if I went out in public now, with that orange afro wig I used to dance in, on Hennepin Ave, out in front of the Halloween store, I’d be arrested and detained indefinitely. That’s how lock-down things have already become. But if you are a banker…

 

Meanwhile there is Sandy Hook. Granted, that happened in 2012, but most of the conspiracy talk has surfaced here in 2013. The latest? Here at the Doomstead Diner, Peter, one of the founding members and the techie genius who put this site together, who’s work on Hydroponics I have highlighted in my blog, is convinced he has found evidence that Sandy Hook was a false flag operation,. He says he has evidence that several web pages dedicated to the tragedy, were in fact posted before the tragedy occurred. He believes the incident was meant to take place on Dec 10, but something happened that put it off for four days; during which time they failed to pull back all their co-conspirators, who posted the prepared info as originally directed. He has screen shots of the offending web-sites, and Google has evidently locked the cache, so they cannot be accessed by the public now. He also claims the activist Aaron Swartz, was murdered, because he was the one who found the cached documentation. In irony, it would be the RSS feed Swartz had a hand in inventing, that provided for the information being available? I don’t know; I’m not a techie, strictly speaking, and haven’t been able to my satisfaction verify what Peter is saying. I do trust him, however.

Which, I relay the information not because I believe it or am convinced, necessarily, but because Peter is concerned that he is going to end up suicided, or accidented, basically; and having accepted gross malfeasance of my gov, and because I trust Peter, and we are a lonely outpost here at the Diner, I affirm his right to exist.

Whatever you believe, consider, they say this Adam Lanza was the killer. Try a google search about Adam Lanza’s medical records. All I found was speculation. Not even reporting, nothing official. We do not have access to his medical records, or even a discussion, just a blanket declaration of better mental health care? These records are said to be “private”? The government is on the verge, with Stellar Wind, of Total Information Capture of All Digital Communications anywhere in America, but the medical records of a mass killer of innocent children are “private”? My government obeys laws to the degree it finds convenient, it seems to me. Whatever ‘investigation’ is happening, it is sure to result in a justification for further exploration of Max Weber’s ideas about the only legitimate powers (violence) belonging to the State. See, the people will be disarmed, but for Law Enforcement/Military, there is no conceivable limit…

                             

But, like Tiberius, I mean Hillary, said(paraphrased), “What does it matter now, what happened? The only thing that matters is that we prevent it from ever happening again.” What does 9/11, Benghazi, Sandy Hook matter now – the truth does not matter – the only thing that matters is increased powers for the State, that the State can “prevent” bad things from happening again. But then, if the State was behind 9/11…

Anyway, lively already, here in 2013. Likely to get livelier. At least we won’t see Caligula until 2020 or 2024. Claudius 2024 or 2028, and Nero 2028 or 2032 approx. Which, based on the trends, I expect America as the light of the world to be mostly snuffed out by then. Unless of course Americans start asserting their independence, like citizens of a republic; less wards of the Imperial State.

                

 

RIP Aaron Swartz

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan
Originally published on Off the Grid in Minneapolis
 

Discuss this article at the Heros of the Revolution Table inside the Diner

The death of the techie “wizard” Aaron Swartz has affected me as much as, and really even more deeply, than the incident at Sandy Hook. I’m not comparing the two cases in any other way than to say that they affected me deeply; nor did I know any of the dead. It affected me though, not merely because of what happened, but also because of what I have learned about my country, by the response. On one extreme is the netherworld of the fringe of fringe media, claiming Sandy Hook was a covert government/Illuminati operation to lead to a national database on all guns and eventually their seizure and martial law and extermination of Americans; to the other extreme of MSM manipulation, and hopeless obfuscation, about damn near everything newsworthy, left and right, the Swartz case a prime example.

If you think the charges against Aaron Swartz levied by the Federal Government were about some science documents he attempted to liberate from MIT and JSTOR, then you don’t know anything about power. I mean yeah, he was challenging their right to profit selling public-paid-for research (which the government accused the dead man of having wanted to do.) But really, Those charges were RETRIBUTION for SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, 2011 Federal legislation that nearly everyone in Congress and the President were firmly behind, Left and Right, when it was first introduced. Which, after Google, Craigslist, much of the techie crowd and Aaron Swartz including a great many Americans across the spectrum, made it very clear that this bald-faced government attempt to take over the Internet was a problem, Congress and the President were united firmly against the bill.

So, when Aaron Swartz took those documents from MIT and JSTOR, despite it being clear that he was making a statement more than anything – that research paid for by public funding should be free to the public, which it was not – he opened the door for them to attempt to destroy him.

Never mind that he had been described as a “wizard of programming.” Never mind that he was at least partially responsible for the RSS feed. Never mind, that he was responsible at least in part for Reddit. A prodigy. A genius. Deeply caring and peaceful.

Government now is circling the wagons. Various enquiries are being suggested, others initiated. MIT administration is taking a beating somewhat, for their betrayal of him. Laws are being discussed. The Wall Street Journal as early as Sunday night, doing it’s elite service, quoted “a person familiar with the matter”, that Aaron had been offered a 6 month plea deal, managing the discussion with unaccountable bullshit, trying to manage the blowback. It seems clear to me now they were fully intending to ruin him.

And why, really? Because he wasn’t an empire builder.

What did the great Eric Shmidt of Google have to say about this case? How about the techie genius Larry Ellison at Oracle? Bill Gates? That Facebook guy? Craigslist merely notes generically that Aaron Swartz “is a person who has recently died.” No call out to their friend, their fellow culture-warrior, protector of freedom, no goodbye header. WTF?

And gov? Darell Issa is at least going to investigate. Which, yeah, he’s one of the few who was against SOPA, but that’s mostly just because he’s a pirate basically, and he despises that “cock-suck” Eric Holder, and he’d do anything to embarrass Holder’s boss. Speaking of “cock sucks”, Elijah Cummings, ranking DEM member of the House Oversight Committee, jumped to the defense of the government. Whatever. Bunch a god damn wet noodles in the face of the banks.

The whole god damn scenario basically confirms for me that Authority in this country is overrun with murderers, pedophiles, sadists and thieves. Counting on American obliviousness, basically. Expecting American obedience for sure.

I mean, jail time and financial ruination, one way or another, for the young man? For “stealing” public-paid-for research, that he gave back. Where the fuck is John Corzine? I mean, these guys can’t even offer up one of their own as a sacrificial lamb! For stealing 2 billion dollars! HSBC gets caught laundering international drug money to the tune of many tens (hundreds) of billions, AND NOTHING HAPPENS.

And even with all that surreality, more than all that, it’s like a betrayal of the promise of science and technology. Because it’s clear to me now, it’s not about what is good or best for people, it’s only about power. Money and power; who controls what and whom.

So let it be known, America. You will play along. You may question the arrangement of things; but if you stand in our way, if you embarrass us with any success, we will destroy you.

RIP Aaron Swartz

Doom and the Spiritual Path

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan
Published originally @ Off the Grid in Minneapolis

Discuss this article in Epicurean Delights in the Forum

A reader contacted me last week, with this to say,

“By the way, You’re awfully full of doom and gloom and woe-is-me and
isn’t-my-life-hard of late. It’s not very becoming and I don’t get how
creating this narrative serves you–or the goddess for that matter. You
are so not a victim in this life. So knock this shit off. And stop
creating corners that you can then back yourself into. Infinite
possibility, compassion, love, cosmic mystery–that’s where your power
is.

It’s a new year, a new era, and (for me, at least) a brandly [sic] new
decade. This year, I’m choosing surrender as my theme. Not raise the
white flag surrender. More like jump in the river and let it take you
surrender. We’ll see where that takes me.”

I was like, wha? Letting go of this house and dancing around the world, farm to farm, in an orange afro wig isn’t surrender enough for you? LOL. As for not being very becoming, it’s January in Minnesota, I don’t have a job, and I’ve been spending most of my time on-line or on the computer, at least since I started at big bank in late August 2012, and anyone who knows me knows I have a high tolerance for chaos in my immediate surroundings; so no, not very becoming at all. lol 🙂 But yes, goodness, kindness, compassion, love, cosmic mystery; and yes, the possibilities are indeed infinite, maybe – I’m not sure about that exact specific just yet 😉


She replied, “What was that again, about Cosmic Mystery?”


Hmmmm….

On the Doomstead Diner, there’s a Nobody in the forum who wrote about being at the cusp of leaving this plane, this dimension, Dec 21, 2012. But she stayed, and speaking of Doom and Gloom she has two teenage sons, who can’t imagine there is anything at all really wrong with the culture, blase’ even to the point that Mom being followed in a wooded park by a disturbing stranger, is merely reason that she’s just crazy basically, to want to go for a walk on a trail in the woods. She is like a lot of people who think about DOOM, or the meme basically that Industrial Civilization is coming apart around us, on it’s way to almost total dissolution, who feel trapped in current circumstances, whose families are mostly about BAU, and/or they “own” city real estate/debt they can’t discharge.

She seemed to resonate when I said this, in the Doomstead Diner Forum:

It is funny how easily the response to Ashvin* has overwhelmed any other
discussion. It is I think, in a way, a dearth of answers about how to
perceive the changing landscape. It is changing very fast; no wonder
really Ashvin has lashed onto something he has perceives [sic] as fixed. I
perceive instead, I think, that chaos is the new reality,
and that is about opening up to an irrational, right-brain way of
perceiving, learning to flow with the inherent flow of nature, which is
like what is said about the Tao, which makes the whole concept of Doom
something spiritual, a kind of search for balance between left/right
ways of perceiving. IMHO LOL.

So I encourage Diners to speak in a spiritual way about how they perceive Doom. And I hope Ashvin is over having to use us to flagellate himself.”

*  Ashvin is a curious case, a former contributor to the website The Automatic Earth, whose work on economics and the abuse of power I have highlighted in this blog, who has abandoned the Doom meme entirely in favor of Christian Theology, to the point that if you do not accept the inherent logical and reasoned foundation of Christian exegesis, then you are according to Ashvin by definition incapable of reason or logic. He has been known to use the words reason and logic like incantations, like a bludgeon. He has also been accused (by me) as an exceptional, or at least profligate, name caller; Ashvin just as ready to claim he never said whatever, even at times contrary to evidence. I’m also convinced he is going to stand one day at the head of one of those televangelical mega-churches, assuming there are such things 10-15 years from now. The Doomstead Diner has been like a crucible on his path to Glory, I think. Unless he repents of course and grows himself a sense of humor. ;)LOL

I’m of the opinion, like I say, that he has lashed onto Christianity because he sees it as a thing fixed, as in, a firm foundation, lasting. Which is an understandable response, facing the dissolution of Industrial Civilization. No doubt Christianity appears a very sturdy dock. But any mariner will tell you, lashing to the dock, in rising, turbulent waters, you better hope the tethers hold; whereas it would be better generally to head for open water, seeing esp. as most of those docks extant, were not built for the reality of rising seas that is in progress.

Doom, is a spiritual exercise insofar as it is a coming to terms with the fact that almost everything we have been told about this existence, is false in some fundamental way. Doom is facing the reality that many of those stories that have held society together are shattering, in the face of sheer fundamental terrestrial realities, of 7+ billion people and climbing exponentially, about half of whom are wanting to and have been at least until lately, living like profligate consumers. It is the reality that neither Science nor Religion nor Government nor Banks nor Corporations are protecting us from disaster, they perpetuate it everywhere. Because they are sustained by ideas of control, which is about power. Seeking not to understand nature, or even the furthest implications of Science, but to control nature and people generally.

Which process began about the time we started growing food agriculturally, about 10,000 years ago. Which has come to it’s logical conclusion, which is a nearly complete surveillance state, at the cusp of radically shifting climate extremes, systemic toxicity, global financial collapse…so on and so forth.

Which, when I consider the effect all this has had on my body, after nearly 40 years immersed in American consumer culture, I recognize that the left hemisphere of my brain quite literally has been over-developed, which has resulted in the right side of my body, full of pain, tightness, restriction, to the point that it has been warped out of alignment; while the left side of my body is comparatively free of such restriction. Such misalignment is probably inevitable, to the degree I have been immersed in and accepting of Western culture, to the degree I was unaware of the effect and not striving for alignment, physically and mentally. By alignment, I don’t mean any kind of Pythagrean or Platonic ambidextrousness as ideal, but more just being aware that there are two hemispheres to your brain, which are connected to opposite (and complimentary) sides of your body, and they have different specialities, and to be radically over-reliant on either is to be out of alignment. Alignment meaning, it seems to me, as natural and easy a flow as is possible, of energy, through both sides of the brain and body? Which is to say, loosely, equal facility with order and chaos, logic and intuition, conscious and unconscious, culture and wilderness, etc.

And then add in things like quantum physics, that the ether, or empty space, is in fact denser energetically than matter by an order of magnitude running to infinity (vacuum catastrophe), making dense matter something more like an impossibly ethereal dream, compared to the energy permeating EVERYTHING; and then you begin to perceive that this universe and reality is mysterious by orders of magnitude greater than any of the various control freaks would have it; and most of the ideas extant are about keeping people ignorant, dependent and pliant, to keep them in line. Because control is about power, and power is very lucrative.

Which, for me, alignment in my mind and body is more important than power over people. Power over people akin to power over nature. Which I am more about how to let nature flow through me more freely. Which for me, is more about being friendly, kind, compassionate and loving to people and the earth generally. Which if Industrial Civilization is indeed coming apart around us, we might do well to facilitate both that collapse, and the friendly, kind, compassionate and loving inside ourselves, as opposed to cultivating various ideas about control, as example, or cultivating nothing much but fear and acquisitiveness, to be eventually overwhelmed by circumstances. Which it seems to me, the universe has a very real sense of humor, which I sense whenever I cease to take things too seriously, which is akin to the “acting with out acting”, the wei wu wei, of the Taoists. Which if the “ether” is in fact denser energetically than matter by an infinity, what in fact are humans capable of? Which question I leave mostly to your imagination, your consciousness, and what you are able to pull out of it to show us, in the very real world we inhabit, in a world that is very much in need of fresh ideas.

Which, it seems to me, those most honest about Doom, are at a kind of evolutionary advantage, compared to those who are assuming someone somewhere is assuring that some techno utopia is right around the proverbial corner, as example. Or that God will intervene as some Messiah. Or the many not thinking, and many not capable of thinking, the herd and media manipulated reactionary consumer, “driving” the economy devouring the earth.

Which, I guess all I’m really saying is, there are many ways to imagine a culture. Strong characters required. 😉

Realities, 2013

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

Originally published Jan 03, 2013 @ Off The Grid In Minneapolis

Discuss this article in Epicurean Delights, in the Forum

2013 begins for me, with about $1200 cash, a mortgage and bills, a house to maintain, without a working furnace, in the midst of a ten day stretch of below freezing weather with average temperatures around 10F (-12.22C), with no job, no income, and no real prospect of any. Two working, 1800W oil-filled radiators, and a working 40 gal water heater it turns out, are in no way sufficient to heat even this small 750 sq ft house, to anything even resembling what most Americans would consider a minimum threshold of comfort, in even half of this house, when it’s this cold. Not least because this house was built in 1918 when the only idea I suspect was to burn as much wood as was needed, to maintain whatever they considered normal, which was probably austere by today’s standards. The woodlot has since been swallowed up by urban sod, tar and concrete for forty miles in every direction at least. Most everything beyond that for a hundred miles+, by corn, sod and road. They build homes these days basically to burn as much natural gas as is necessary. Though you won’t find any of that for 500 miles in any direction, with Minneapolis as your starting point.

If I’m completely honest about it, even the energy necessary to run these two modest heaters and the water heater, comes increasingly from fracked natural gas. The electricity is also generated by the burning of coal, and of nuclear fission, there being two nuclear facilities on either side of the Twin Cities Minneapolis/St Paul greater metro, thirty-five miles upriver and thirty-five miles downriver on the Mississippi. Some electricity is generated in the west and the south of the state, and in the Dakotas and Iowa by wind, but only a small fraction; and as Congress has been playing games with the Wind Tax Credit, in the faux-furor over the fiscal cliff, what turbines we have may be all we’re going to have for awhile.

When I returned to this house in the spring of 2010, with $80, no income and no prospects, I had already as long as two years before that been dreaming of rebuilding this house, to take it off the grid, with as much scrap material as I could find, to show how it can be done, to be a model for what could be possible for the entire region. That vision has evolved, but I have failed miserably, in creating any of that vision for this house – but a few cosmetic effects, which do little to improve the livability of any insufficiently or unheated house, in a cold climate.

I’ve been much more successful with the land. There’s not much land here, but I have 18 fruit trees, 14 grape vines, 2000-3000 sq ft of veggie gardens and another several thousand feet of wildflowers, perhaps 300 different species of plants year to year. The healthiest black-cap raspberry patch I’ve ever seen anywhere in the region, red raspberries, asparagus and strawberries. Half of the driveway now is antique paver, there’s a paver patio next to the pond. The front walk is partially paver. I built stone garden beds along the driveway and the garage. I’m hoping to plant hops on the garage this spring.

All of which is cold comfort, in a cold house in winter. Much of which would likely be bulldozed and poisoned if it fell into the hands of the bank or a speculator. The house torn down, replaced by some hideous suburban Mcmansion style three story energy sink surrounded by sod, on this corner lot-and-a-half, south-east facing. Onward progress. I don’t know that my neighbors would mind overly much. Though when those pavers went in this fall, more people came by and spoke to me in a friendly way than ever before, even esp. because of the White Pine in the driveway 🙂

 

 

(My neighbor across the street just walked out of the back of his house, and chucked his Christmas tree off the back porch) LOL

Perhaps I am not ready to build the house I imagine building here? I imagine travelling around the world, helping people build unusual houses, helping people build gardens, dancing across Europe, dancing in Africa, going down-under, building a boat, sailing that boat eventually to the Big Island, Hawaii, walking around that island, eventually sailing to an inlet of British Colombia; and from there, either crossing the divide on foot, then paddling home, or depending on the security situation, sailing all the way around the Americas, up the Great Lakes to dock in Duluth. Maybe then, I think, I would be prepared to build the house I imagine. Perhaps by that time, Minnesota will be prepared to rebuild.  Perhaps this house and this garden will not be destroyed, and available.

That would make a nice novel, too. Wouldn’t mind making this the home place, actually, a little writing loft above the greenhouse/garage. But oh right, one must finish a novel, to have something to sell, assuming someone is willing to buy; to help see this thing through. Which, novel writers need time, which I am in possession of for a short while at least. Dedication…Oh right.

Then I’m reminded of the security situation here in America. Not least increasing government surveillance, indefinite detention, expansion of the punitive penal, quasi-military state, but also pending food and energy problems. All hail the House of Saud. Natural gas is an investor inspired bubble, which threatens a vast investment bubble in natural gas infrastructure, that is sure to be useless when the fracking bubble pops. Never mind the polluting of aquifers, inevitable in punching so many holes deep into the earth, pumping vast amounts of chemical laden water at high pressures to fracture the underlying rock strata, leaking pipes etc. Aquifers not just necessary for drinking but for farming also. What if we had to rely on what falls from the sky, with an increasingly unstable climate? A lot of people die, that’s what.



$8,000-$15,000 an acre for farm land is called investors fucking with food, btw. An investment bubble exactly like the Tech bubble, Housing bubble, and the natural gas/oil fracking bubble. That’s going to be some dear corn after the investors take their cut, the interest paid, particularly during drought. Of course once the Ogallala is sufficiently empty, that’ll be the end of the breadbasket of the world, so make your riches while you can, I guess. Of course, pumping all that fossil water couldn’t save the crop this year. Nor the mass culling of the herd. Then there’s all the guns. A hungry people increasingly insular, manipulated by the media, made hungrier by debt bondage, few of them ever taught how to think. Seems a strange strategy to run a civilization, but no doubt the major players have their own plans to GTFO if TSHTF.

So you see, it’s no more crazy to stay here, than to go traipsing around the world in an orange afro wig. LOL

I applied for Unemployment bennies. That was easy. Twenty minutes online. My estimated benefit came to 0$, because there was no bubble to click in the section about why I am no longer employed, about a peaceful exit from a crooked enterprise. I didn’t massage the how or the why about why I left big bank, came right out and said the job involved potentially unethical and borderline criminal work, so I put on an orange afro wig and danced at my cubicle/work station, knowing my job performance was too good to get me laid off, otherwise. If I just walked away I wouldn’t qualify, and walking away, the Agency wouldn’t place me again, anywhere. Apparently I’ll get a letter in the mail, after the application is reviewed by a living human. The computer only recognizes that I got fired. There’s an appeal process, should I be declined.

There’s one job I might possibly be able to finagle my way into, but I’m going to have to be super charming about it, and I know it won’t pay more than $11.25-$11.50/hr – goodbye, $200 left over for food, craft beer. LOL Good thing I’ve got that 6 gallons of 2011 Frontenac wine in the basement, which I cracked last night and you know what, it ain’t all that, but it ain’t half-bad either. Works as advertised! In three years I could be producing 200 bottles, between what I planted here, and the vines at my sisters. Maybe more.

Plenty of food staples in house to get me by, till the thaw. Theoretically, I shouldn’t have to leave my house for the next two months, except for coffee. Oh right, Mortgage, bills, job…

Oh right, and my State of Minnesota tax return is going to get swallowed up by the State of Minnesota, because they say I owe them $300, because they say I made $12,000 in 2008, instead of the $9000 I apparently reported. Going back in time, to fleece the poor. That is the criminal racketeering enterprise American governance has become. Oh joy; big bank, big gov.

Oh and my Unemployment Benefit’s should I receive any, generally said to be less than 50% of previous income, are taxed at a rate of 10% by the Feds and 5% by MN? Nutz. Bizarro.

Oh wait. Remember how the media supported the OWS movement, mostly? And then mocked them for their weakness, for not returning to the streets in 2012? Here is evidence that there was a vast nation-wide suppression of the OWS movement, lead by the FBI, at the behest of the big banks and big corps, with even planned assassinations by sniper of OWS leadership – and you have to go to the Guardian in the UK to find anyone in the major media reporting on it? Which makes the media of America what, whore to the expanding police surveillance state? Which begs the question then, can one remain good or moral or have real integrity, and work for big gov, big bank, big corp, big ag, big edu, big law enforcement, big military, big media, big monstrous global machine devouring people and the earth?

Not sayin you can’t, just sayin the question needs askin’

Fired

Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

Originally published at Off The Grid In Minneapolis, Dec 21, 2012

Discuss this post in Epicurean Delights inside the Diner

I got fired from big bank Thursday, Dec 20, 2012.

Fired, for dancing, in my orange wig, on my break, an hour before the end of day at big bank, before a five-day holiday break.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It basically went down like this:

Sometime about Monday, an idea about dancing at my cramped cave-like work station, took hold in my imagination. Like all great ideas, it felt exactly right, until I had a day to think about it, flooded with all the reasons why not to, there being many. Wednesday night though, the vision took hold again, and I pulled out my dusty glitter dancing shoes, the wacky jacket and the wig, the Bose sound system, the iPod and the necessary cords. Thursday morning I packed them up, and off to the bus I went.

On the bus I wavered. Then, listening to my mp3s, I heard the two songs I would dance to and then I knew. Arriving at big bank per-usual twenty minutes early, I walked into the back break room and started preparing. I put on the shoes, the jacket and the wig; when I turned around, ready to dance to my station, there was Bob, the head manager in the department, looking at me, smiling. “Hi Bob!” I said, and he smiled again and walked out of the break room, uninterpretable, but not seeming to mind. I followed him down the aisle about six paces behind, between regular big bank employee cubicles, bouncing around like I do, to the very song that inspired the costume (which only I could hear), which had looped to that point serendipitously. Heads were turning, mouths agape or turned upward with a light in the eye, I sauntered to my station, danced awhile, while I punched in online, talking to a woman seated near me, people laughing and giggling. Then I took the gear off and went to work.

My original intention had been not to pull out the gear again, until the last five minutes of the day. But there was little work to do, people were clearing out early to go home, so I kicked up the timeline to the afternoon break.

In the meantime, I struggled against a cold sweat. Dancing in my chair to stay warm. Serendipitously too, I found this article on the website Zero Hedge, as to whether or not one can remain moral, and continue to work for a big bank. I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion – I don’t know what a moral is, it sounds to me like a dead fish – but I do consider myself a man of integrity. Then, minutes before I started to prepare for dancing, a guy behind me was reading a loan and he said, “Look at this, this guy is a Pastor of an evangelical church and school, making $20,000 a month. His wife is a teacher at the school and makes $1000. Saving the poor and disfortunate, I guess.”

I put the jacket and the wig on (I wore the funky shoes all day), and at exactly two o’clock, I turned on the music.

The first song, Junek Bug Joe, only 2:18 long, djembe drum and mandolin based without vocals, by my friend Joe Credit, out of Missouri, or wherever he is now. (This link is to Joe’s song about coffee, the only one I could find. Blogspot doesn’t have an audio upload. You’ll get the idea.) LOL. Up tempo, up beat. Nearly every head I could see was facing me, perhaps 70 people, and most of them were smiling.

Before minute one passed, Jeffery, one of the work directors, who has a very genuine heart, leaned over the cubicle wall, and told me I needed to turn it off and take it to the break room. I asked him if I was going to get fired, and he said he didn’t know, and I told him I was going to take that chance. He tried to convince me otherwise, but there seemed in his surprise, a hint of admiration. Work Director Mark, told me to turn it down, which I did, but then I turned it up again, and then Manager Jim told me to turn it down, and I told him I couldn’t, lamely that it was my “dream” – trying to dance all this time. I turned it down, and then back up, and he stomped away angrily, “You’re not going to turn it down then, that’s just great!”

Mind you, it was never anything like so loud, that we couldn’t speak easily to each other from a distance. Some time last week, when I was sitting at a computer out in the middle of the department for a day, all three of these guys had stood around me in my chair, while we discussed, puzzled over and tried to solve a mystery about a loan I was working on. Four adult men putting their heads together to solve a problem – it was quite enjoyable actually, and the first time I felt like I connected with these guys in a very real way. Now, it was all command and control. I heard Jim saying to someone piercingly, “You aren’t taking pictures, are you?”

The first song ended, and there was a spontaneous uproar of cheering, clapping and laughter, MUCH louder than the Bose had ever been. I leaned back, cupped my hands around my mouth and projected out, smiling, “if the apocalypse is indeed upon us…I recommend…Dancing!” and there was another round of laughter.

The second song, G.B.A, by Xavier Rudd, out of Australia, began more ominously, though it basically being about making the world a better place for kids. He cusses twice, but we’re all adults here, yes? Manager Jim had fire just about blasting out from his ears, and work director Mark stalked around giving me a look, ready to pounce. As I danced, periodically berated to turn it down, turning it down, turning it back up, I could feel the vibe darkening, and watched as people disappeared back into their atomized space, fewer and fewer looking at me. Jim finally gave up and stomped back to his desk. I continued to dance, trying to maintain my own joyous vibe, letting go as I could (I could see at least one wild haired woman intent on what I was doing, the very same “true princess“) and when the song ended, there was a depressing, cold silence.

I sat down, took off the wig, jacket and shoes, packed up the gear, and punched out for the day. I saw both Jeffery and Mark standing around Jim’s desk, so I walked there to talk to them.

“What do you need?” said Mark, hostile, ready for a fight.

“I just wanted to let you guys know, It wasn’t my intention to try to show you guys up, at all. I didn’t mean any disrespect. I realize this could get me fired, but even then, no hard feelings. I punched out for the day.”

“You’re leaving for the day?” said Mark, his hostility quite suddenly vanished.

“I think that’s best. And if I don’t hear anything tonight or tomorrow, I’ll just show up next week.” Jeffrey seemed to think that was reasonable. Meanwhile, Jim was seated at his desk on the phone, scowling at me. He got off the phone, I reiterated what I had said, for his benefit, but he scowled some more and got back on the phone without saying a word.

I walked back to the break room, sat down somewhat stunned, and then prepared as if I might have to walk home, as the bus would not arrive for another 90 minutes. Mostly packed, I picked up my long underwear pants, and began walking to the bathroom.

As soon as I walked out of the break room, I saw both work directors walking down the main aisle toward me. Mark said, “hold on right there,” and I stopped, standing there with my long underwear in my hand. They rounded the corner, a woman with them, who I immediately saw by her badge, was none other than the vaunted Sheila, head dept-manager Bob’s boss, the same dragon lady who I have criticized in this blog, who I never have met, who I have been told, “never look her in the eye.”

Looking her in the eye, smiling, all three people before me prepared for a fight, she says to me, quite calmly but with the slightest edge, “Ok, what you did, you disturbed the other staff. Are you waiting for the bus?”

“I was; thinking about walking home maybe too.”

“Well we can escort you out, or I can call security.”

I laughed softly and shook my head and smiled. “That won’t be necessary; but, um, would it be ok if I slip into the bathroom for a second, and put on my long underwear?” which I was holding out in front of me in my hand, and I’m pretty sure all three of them, even dragon lady, giggled.

When I came back, dragon lady was gone, replaced by Lanni, my contact at the temp agency. She got there quick. “Hi Lanni!” I said. “So this is it, my last day at big bank?” Mark pointed at my badge, and I said, “I still need to be able to get out of the building,” and made a gesture smiling, as if to keep it, and it got awkward for a second, though not in any harsh way, Mark almost apologizing at that point. “I tried to do a good job while I was here,” I said, and Jeffery and Lanni esp. seemed to agree that I had. “I just have a very real antipathy toward big bank,” and then I wished them a happy holidays and Dec 21, Solstice, and they walked me to the door. On the way out through the revolving gate, Mark’s goodbye was loudest, out of all proportion.

Outside the gate in the stairwell, Lanni told me she had received a phone call and raced from downtown to protect her employee.

I hypothesized out loud, laughing, faux serious, “There is a lunatic dancing in an orange wig, and he’s yours. Come retrieve him.” She hadn’t heard the actual story, so I explained, briefly.

“Well that’s relieving,” she said. “Usually when people leave like this there is a lot of acrimony, shouting. You just made me laugh. After a pause, “Are you Ok?” She seemed genuinely concerned.

“I’m doing great,” and then I lied a little bit, saying that this work is “not what I am here to do.”

“When you think about it, all I was doing was dancing.” I explained the costume and how I danced outside the Halloween stores I managed. She asked about the songs. She said some people here at big bank are on edge, in lock-down mode, understandably, that she’s noticed that, everywhere she manages temp employees. She said if she hadn’t been able to come down to get me, they were going to call the police. I said thanks for showin up (though that would have been interesting. Hi Guys!), and then we said goodbye.

“Hey, it’s almost the Apocalypse, right?” I said, by way of alluding to the weirdness of it all.

She had a faraway look then, “Oh right, when is that?”

“Tomorrow.”  As I started toward the door.

She turned away, but turned back. “You don’t really think the world is going to end, do you.”

“Nope,” I said, smiling, and walked out the door, seven miles home, on the heels of a Midwestern snow storm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Looking back, my only regret is that I wasn’t singing softly on my way out of the department, the first verse from the Blind Melon song “No Rain”:

All I can say is that my life is pretty plain,

I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain.

And all I can do, is just pour some tea for two

And speak my point of view, cause it’s not sa-aane

It’s not sa-aa-aaa-aane…

That, and I guess, when Sheila walked up, I didn’t say, “Hi Sheila! We finally meet!”

There was video. My sweet friend Shelly, who I have also defended in this blog, like a true champ, pulled up a chair, right up front and got comfortable, with her phone. They chased her back to her seat, by the end of the first song, and I’m not really sure, but she may have been the one Jim interrogated about taking pictures. I called twice and she checked in by email, I asked if it would be ok with her if I posted the video here. She didn’t reply until 3:42 this morning, saying that she learned it was security policy at big bank, no pictures or video, so she deleted it. I’m kind of crushed about that. But it’s ok I guess, and there were a lot of smart phones in that space so perhaps there is a video floating around the internet somewhere. Perhaps I could petition the NSA for a copy. LOL.

Which is funny too, when I first conceived of this idea, about an announcement, it certainly wasn’t then about getting “term’d” by big bank. It was more personal, about how all I really want to do is dance around the world in an orange afro. There’s a lot more to it than that, but no room now to go into it, in this post. I will say, it feels confirmed for me now; not least as I sit here in the sun, drinking coffee, listening to the great advocate of Liberty, Wayne Lapierre of the NRA, like a a true capitalist/militant/fascist gun lobbyist, advocating for moral lock-down, a government database for the “mentally Ill,” and a full frontal, visibly military State even in the schools.

I didn’t anticipate the command and control response I got, in the specifics. I figured there was a strong chance they would fire me. I thought though, they’d just let me do my thing and then fire me. Oh well, I disarmed them, at every turn, except Jim, who is new to the job, neither of his superiors were there, and he’s got two kids, a house and a wife. The “other staff” who were the ones “disturbed,” were the regular big bank employees who could not have seen me dancing unless they came to investigate. That a djembe beat from a pot-loving starry eyed mandolin genius, a digerridoo based song about making the world a better place for kids, and a guy dancing in an orange afro wig, on a day when there had not been any work for most of us to do for several hours, would be mistaken for any of the various horsepersons of the apocalypse, shows IMHO how far gone these folks are. Though I’m sure any of them might see the error in their ways, if they would just lighten up.

To my knowledge, though, big bank has not in firing me, forgiven the mortgage payments I owe it.

So anyway, that’s what I did, at the end of the Mayan Long Count.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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