Antarctica

A Cli-Fi Story: Winter Solstice in Antarctica

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Published on the Chimeras on December 27, 2015

Antarctica deglaciated and uplifted, as it could appear ten thousand years after the Great Warming of the 21st century (from global warming art). 

Discuss this story at the Collapse Narratives Table inside the Diner

The text below is part of my cli-fi novel "Queen of Antarctica" that one of these days I might be able to publish, somewhere. The novel takes place in a remote future and it is based on the idea that, after the runaway climate change of the 21st century, the survivors managed to colonize the extreme North and the extreme South of the planet, including Antarctica. And here is how their remote descendants living in Antarctica would tell the story. Note that the story assumes a relatively warm Antarctica, but it reflects the peculiar conditions of a civilization living near the South Pole that would experience six months of light followed by six months of darkness.In this world, people would spend the dark winter in a sort of hibernation. For them, seeing the stars in the dark sky would be something special, worth celebrating. 

Children, come. Come here, because this is a special night. It is the night when the Moon is highest in the sky, and the night when the Moon starts to go down and, slowly, to let the sun come back, and give us light again after the long winter night. And we call this night the night of the winter solstice.

So, children, you have been sleeping through the long winter night, but now you are awake, and it is good that you are awake because this is a very special night. It is the night when we all wear heavy clothing and we go out to look at the stars! Yes, children, the sky is dark during the solstice night, and this night is darker than all the other nights of the year. So, we go out and we look at the stars, and at the moon, and at the planets above us. It is beautiful, and many of you have already seen it, and some of the youngest among you see the dark sky for the first time because they were too young to go out the last solstice.

But before we go outside to see the stars, children, it is the time for me to tell you a story. I'll tell you the story of the land where we live, that we call Antarctica; and of the city where we live, that we call just the city. And it is for me to tell you this story, children, because I am the oldest woman of the city and some say that for this reason I am a wise woman; and some call me witch because I know many things. And this may be true, though all that I know I learned from other wise women who came before me, just like you, children, are learning this story from me. And maybe, one day, when you'll be old as I am now, you'll be telling this story to the children who will be here because this is what has happened in our city for a long, long, time, since it was founded long, long ago.

So, children, listen to me. You know that the world was created when the Goddess separated the waters from the land, and then the She created the Sun and the Moon, and she made the Sun so that it would shine light on the land during half of the year, and She made the Moon so that it would stay in the sky for the other half of the year, and then the cycle would restart. And it is the light of the Sun that makes grain grow and makes us live. And then, it is the time for the Moon to be alone in the sky, then the land rests, and the people of the city rest, all the creatures of Antarctica rest, ready for the new cycle to start, when the sun comes back, the snow melts, and grain grows again for us.

But, children, you must know that Antarctica has not been the same forever. And this is a story that I have to tell you, children, because it is an ancient story that comes from the time of the founders and that the wise women of the city have kept by telling it to one another for a long, long time. And the story says that long, long ago, Antarctica was not the same as it is today; no, it was colder. Much colder than it is today. And the land was covered in ice, by mountains of ice! So big and so tall were these mountains that you can't even imagine how big and how tall. But they say that the tip of these mountains of ice was as tall as the mountains you see today. So tall that and so big that nothing of what you see today was visible. The land where now our city stands was covered in ice, and the grain fields around the city were covered in ice. Everything was covered in ice.

Long, long ago, when Antarctica was covered in ice, no one lived here. People lived far, far away, on the other side of the sea. And the lands in which they lived were not so hot as they are today, and people lived there. And people had built cities there, great cities with tall buildings. But those cities don't exist anymore and the people living there have died. It was because of something terrible that happened in those ancient times and that was what the founders called the Great Warming. Some say that it was the will of the Goddess that caused the world heat up so much that so many people died and they say that it was because people had become too proud and they were not paying to the Goddess the respect she deserved. But the founders say otherwise and they say that it was a fault of the ancient who had done something that had caused the Great Warming without knowing what they were doing.

The founders said that the ancient had found something underground, a dark stuff that they could burn as if it were wood, but that was not wood. They dug it out and they burned it to warm themselves, to cook, and to smelt metals. And this dark stuff was easy to find and easy to burn, so they burned a lot of it. And they burned so much of it that it poisoned the air and made it warmer. It was like when you warm yourself in a sealskin and it may be too warm for you if you do that during the summer. And this blanket made the world much hotter than it used to be, and it covered the whole world. And it covered Antarctica, too.

The founders say that the wise among the ancient understood what was happening and warned the others, but that the less wise among the ancient did not believe what the wise people were telling them and so they didn't want to stop burning that dark stuff, and that was perhaps how they offended the Goddess, as some people say. So they kept burning that dark stuff and the world became hotter. And then, the founders they say that something came out of the depth of the earth, something that made the air even hotter and did it faster, so fast and that could not be stopped, no matter what the ancient tried to do. And that was the Great Warming that some say was a punishment sent by the Goddess.

When the great blanket of ice that covered Antarctica felt the heat of the Great Warming, it started melting. And all this ice that melted went into the oceans as water, and the oceans rose. And the cities that had been on the coasts of the continents in the North were submerged, and the people who lived in those cities had to move inland, and they didn't have enough food to eat because the Great Warming had dried up much of the land, and many places were too hot for people to live. So, many of them died, many, many of them. And those who survived migrated to the Northern Lands, where they say that their descendants still live today, although it is so far away from us that nobody has been there for a long, long time.

Here, in Antarctica, when the ice melted, much of it crashed into the sea very fast, because the great ice sheets slid over the water under them, and they moved very rapidly and, soon, there were great stretches of land in Antarctica that were free of ice. But there was nobody living in there because nobody had ever lived in Antarctica up to then. It was at that time that the founders came. They came from the North, they were some of those who had survived. They came by boat, and it was a difficult trip for them, because the currents that circle around Antarctica were strong and dangerous at that time and they are still strong and dangerous today. But they crossed the Antarctic Ocean and they landed in the land that we call the Peninsula, even though it is an island, because at that time it was connected to the mainland of Antarctica.

The founders came, and they came to Antarctica to settle. They were wise and learned, they brought tools and machines that today we don't know anymore how to make, but so many years have passed and perhaps we don't need to make those tools and those machines anymore. And they brought animals with them that we don't have anymore, because they died and so still today Antarctica has no other animals than the birds who flew here by themselves; and the creatures who swam here by themselves, seals and iguanas, and others. It was a difficult time for the founders, because the land was bare, there were no plants and no animals, and the sea was growing in height as the ice kept melting. But the founders were resourceful and they had brought seeds with them, and they sowed grain, and they planted trees on the land left free by the ice.

In time, there was no more ice on the land of Antarctica, and much of the land was submerged and under the sea. But they also say that, slowly, the land rose, little by little the waters receded. It took many centuries, millennia, and the land is still rising, but much more slowly by now, so that Antarctica is now the way we know it; without ice, and with its coasts that fall rapidly into the sea.

And while the ice was receding, the founders moved inland they built cities. And they built them the way we see them today. And they built the city in which we live today. We live in this city and we remember the old times, and we remember of the founders, and we remember the things that happened so long ago. And some say that, one day, the ice will return; and some say that in the mountains, something is now happening that never happened before; and it is that when summer is at its height, there still remains a little snow on top of the mountains. And some say that the snow will grow and it will become ice. And that, one day, Antarctica will be covered with ice again. But that will take a long, long time, longer that we can say, longer than we can ever imagine. If that happens, then the people of the cities of Antarctica will have to move to somewhere else, because things always change and as the founders came here, so long ago, we can go back to where they came from, if that will be necessary.

But now, children, it is time to go. It is the solstice night, and you'll come with me and we'll go outside; to see the stars. The stars that you never see during the summer, the stars that come out when we are all sleeping during the winter, the stars that we see together in the night of the solstice. And you'll see the moon shining bright, and bright stars that the ancient told us are not stars but are called planets. And you'll see how beautiful is the dark sky, how beautiful is the moon, and how beautiful are the planets! Then, children, you'll go back inside, and you'll be warm and comfortable in the city until the next cycle starts and the sun comes up again, and this is the cycle that keeps us alive, and it has been going on like that for a long, long time, and it will keep going like that for a long long time. And you'll grow in this city, children, you'll become adults, and then you'll become old, and then you'll go dreaming underground. And then you'll become grain, and then you'll become people again. And that's the great cycle that was created by the Goddess, as it has been, as it is, and as it will be for a long, long time to come. May the Goddess bless you, children! And now come with me, to see the stars!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Year in Doom 2014

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 4, 2014

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.


I have always thought that in revolutions… madmen, not those so called by courtesy, but genuine madmen, have played a very considerable political part. One thing is certain, that a condition of semi-madness is not unbecoming at such times, and often even leads to success.
― Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 1859)


In each year’s end, and in a condition of semi-madness, it is the habit of the commercial press to generate various lists of “the year’s top stories.”  The top ten this, the top 14 that… Lindsay Lohan’s Top Ten excuses for failing rehab, the Top Five reasons Charles Koch likes slavery as a business model for the 21st century, the Top 77 views of Kim Kardashian’s ass… These lists are legion.  And if you’ve read this far, you’ve stepped right in one. For this is my personal whack at the year-end pinata.

With this modest compendium, we will not attempt to tell you what is important;  the mainstream media can lie to you about that. What follows here is my highly idiosyncratic take on those news events which have contributed to a sense of impending collapse speeding us along on the road to doom. A word about methodology: not worth considering. I asked for some feedback, then picked what seemed right. That’s it.  Basic assumptions are that to the extent that an issue is reported in the MSM,  whatever we’ve heard is state propaganda, thus wrong.  The rest is my idiosyncratic take; blame no one else, aside from those indicted by hyperlinked citations.

Madness is in the air,  whether from the madmen of ISIS or Foggy Bottom, Ferguson or New York City. Readers of “doomer” blogs do so with a shared sense that “something ain’t right.”  A pervading sense of unease,once marginal and seen only among survivalists and conspiracy theorists, has gone mainstream. Witness dystopian threads that run through literature and mass media, from World War Z to Doomsday Preppers. Now even the Weather Channel has a series called, “Fat Guys In The Woods.” (It’s just what you think.) It illustrates vividly how far most of us are from knowing how to survive in the wild, let alone transition to a “sustainable” lifestyle. As writer Tom Lewis recently told me, “If my ability to live depended on my skills in sustainable living, I’d be dead.” Like most of us.

 

Kim 2

This was the year that Paper Mag and Kim Kardashian determined they would “break the Internet.” with a photo spread of naked and near-naked Kim flesh. Not quite. Many men dropped in to see what all the furor was about. (I just read the article.) The reigning queen of social media and Instagram selfies continued being curvily famous, and social media continued to wag the media dog.   Zero Hedge published a year-end article about the most important US events according to Twitter:

When it comes to social networks, Instagram is where the world’s best food photographers reside, Facebook is where “cool parents” and ad-clicking robots can be found, while Twitter is where the up to the minute super-informed, sophisticated intelligentsia hides. At least according to Twitter. So what did said sophisticated audience find to be the most important and talked about American events of the year?  The top 10 US stories of 2014 were:

  1. Ferguson
  2. Midterms
  3. Ebola
  4. Israel
  5. Iraq
  6. Russia/Ukraine
  7. Sterling/Clippers
  8. Guns
  9. Obamacare
  10. Marijuana

As you see, this Twitterlist falls off quickly in terms of doom potential. Let’s pass on the mounting list of war crimes committed by the Zionist Apartheid State against Palestinians, and I have a decidedly minority view when it comes to l’affaire Sterling, about which I could otherwise give less than no f*ck. (Sterling was recorded in secret, and under circumstances in which he might have had an expectation of privacy, had we not willingly surrendered that quaint 18th century expectation along with the right to search our DNA, bodily fluids and credit reports to Corpstate™. This concern was brushed aside in the haste to publicly pillory and shame an egregious racist.) As for the others, don’t care, don’t care, and it’s about damned time.


Ferguson/Police Militarization/”Wartime Policing”

Ferguson has become a metaphor for the militarized state, for open season on black males, with apparent no bag limit for the Boys in Blue.   Ferguson is not just about Michael Brown, but also, Kajeimi Powell, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice and countless others who have been executed with impunity and no fear of consequence by agents of the militarized state. And now we have the specter of the New York Police Department declaring that they will engage in “wartime policing.” So many words have been expended about this phenomenon, that we will leave analysis in more capable hands.  It seems to me that the reaction of the police, and a large segment of law and order-worshiping ordinary citizens, is really about the conflict between the egalitarian impulse and the authoritarian impulse. Every time someone says, “if you would just do what the police tell you to, you would have no problem,” lingering notions of individual autonomy and justice die another death.

What the cops pictured above who turned their back upon the mayor are doing is the moral equivalent of throwing a tantrum. They have traduced legitimate protest and have staged a “work slowdown” to justify the delusional narrative that no cop, anywhere, should ever be at fault for anything. Localities all across the country, including my own, are staging their own “blue lives matter” rallies in support of “victims” that do not exist, except in their own minds. Meanwhile, this.

Charles Pierce conflates police authoritarianism and recent release of the CIA torture report with  proper perspective:

If the NYPD runs a slow-motion coup against the freely elected mayor of New York, then it is running a slow-motion coup against all the people of New York. There is no exemption from this fundamental truth about the way this country and its system is supposed to work. The military — and its civilian analogues in Langley and in the precinct houses — always is subordinate to the civil power which, no matter how much it may chafe them, means that they always are subordinate to politicians. If we render our torturers superior to the political institutions of the government, and if we render the police superior to the civil power of elected officials, then we essentially have empowered independent standing armies to conduct our wars and enforce our laws, and self-government descends into bloody farce.

But, alas, in the past few weeks, we have shown ourselves to be relatively at peace with that very thing — as long as the torture is done in the prisons overseas and the judicial killing is done in the streets of the ghetto, and as long as our fear of some omnipotent Other is what drives our politics. In turn, and in its mind, the country has now turned peaceful mass protest into some sort of violent revolution, and it has converted the murderous rage of a criminal lunatic into the ultimate expression of the cries for justice that have been heard in the last month in Ferguson, and Cleveland, and on Staten Island…The last thing to go to the waterboard is the tattered remnant of what we thought ourselves to be.

Both appear to be a manifestation of the undercurrent of authoritarianism in American culture — a deference to authority figures supposed to “protect” us, otherwise at odds with the libertarian impulse currently in ascendant. Likely we never were “the people we thought ourselves to be.”  The police slowdown in NYC has given threadbare hack Rudy Giuliani yet another chance to emerge as chief defender of murderer cops, and thus give voice to the authoritarian impulse in American politics. In any event, “wartime policing” underlines an escalating separation along race and class lines.  And reminds of financier Jay Gould’s famous dictum, “You can always hire half of the working class to kill the other half.”


 

Climate Change

It was a year of the Super Typhoons, polar vortexes, continued warming and devastating drought.  2014 recorded the warmest year on record globally, leaving some to wonder whether 2015 may be the year nations finally act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2015 is the year of the Paris meeting to develop the next international agreement. It promises to be a big year for more talk at a variety of levels. Rising heat has led to changes in weather patterns that are of such overriding importance that Pope Francis plans to urge Earth’s Catholics to take action on global warming via a rare papal encyclical,  “urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds.”

This is a very big deal:

One is that encyclicals are published on issues of high priority to the Pope, and what’s high priority to him is high priority to the church. There are more than a billion Catholics on the planet, so this could have a profound effect.

Another reason is that, also according to the Guardian article, he is doing this to directly affect the outcome of a very important meeting late in 2015: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet, and their express intent is to create a legally binding global agreement about actions to take on climate change.

GOP outraged.  It didn’t take long for the Koch brothers to stand up one of their stooges to warn off the Pope.

Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance, a Religious Right group that specializes in promoting pollution,and which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion, has been well-paid by the Kochs and other polluters to say things like this[to believe in climate change] “really is an insult to God … and it will eventually lead to tyranny.”

The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

2015 was filled with evidences of a changing climate not to the betterment of humankind. It was a year of unparalleled drought, heat, and ice, perhaps a harbinger of a tipping point on climate. From Greenland to Antarctica and glaciers in between, this warmest year on record melted ice to an extent never seen before.

A second potential climate development has to do with the Arctic, where temperatures continue to rise at twice the rate of the rest of the world.

Experts track sea ice, which floats on the ocean, as well as the Greenland ice sheet, which if it completely melted into the ocean would raise sea levels by 20 feet.

As for Greenland, a study earlier this month found that melt predictions are likely too conservative. Advances in ice sheet modeling will soon provide a much better sense of how much sea level rise to expect from melting Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

“Will we see three-plus feet by the end of this century or less?” [climate scientist Jonathan Overpeck] asks, referring to some model predictions. “Will stabilizing the Earth’s climate at two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial (times) commit us to 20-plus feet of future sea level rise or less?”

And then there was the California drought.  You may have heard of it.  Recent year end rains were a mere drop in a very dry bucket. The drought threatens not only water tables in California, but top soil for one of the nation’s key agricultural areas.  Tree rings reveal the most devastating drought in California in over 1200 years.  It is easy to dismiss such proclamations as the hand wringing work of nervous nellies with a liberal bias. Pictures do better; especially when they come from NASA.

According to NASA, the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River basins have been hit the hardest by the water loss, in part because of the increasing volume of groundwater being pumped out for farming. For the last three years, these regions have been losing a total of 4 trillion gallons of water per year.

California drought

The sun is reflected off the water remaining in an irrigation canal that is drying up near Yuba City, Calif.

The data was compiled from two satellites that have been orbiting the Earth since 2002 as part of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, a collaboration between NASA and German space agency DLR. The satellites measure small fluctuations in Earth’s gravitational field that are most often caused by variations in water supply. 

In a podcast interview with Science Magazine, UC Irvine hydrologist James Famiglietti used the analogy of a bathroom scale to explain how GRACE uses highly sensitive gravity measurements to track changes in the amount of water stored underground in soil and rocks.

“Each [satellite] is about the size of a squashed minivan, and they orbit at about 400 kilometers. And what happens is that the change in mass on the surface, say, because of a big flood or a big load of snow on the mountains, actually pulls those spring-loaded weights towards Earth’s surface,” Famiglietti said.

The added danger in groundwater depletion is that unlike surface water, it is not easily replenishable.

 

With James Imhofe as incoming chair of the science committee in the House, it’s odds-on that NASA will get its climate science funding radically slashed for  producing evidence like this.

“We’re seeing it happening all over the world. It’s happening in most of the major aquifers in the arid and semi-arid parts of the world where we rely on those aquifers. But we’re able to see now the impact we’re having on this over exploitation,” Famiglietti told Science Magazine.

Peak Water: The Water Problem. The problem of drought is certainly not confined to California– in northeastern Brazil drought has wrought havoc, severe drought conditions are also plaguing Australia and Ethiopia, threatening to cause food shortages in some of the poorest nations on earth and higher prices across the world.  Consider the implications:

There are two types of aquifers: those that are replenishable through rainfall (the majority), and those that consist of water laid down eons ago, and thus do not recharge. The latter, known as fossil aquifers, include two strategically important ones, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain and the Ogallala aquifer under the US Great Plains.

Tapping underground water resources helped expand world food production, but as the demand for grain continued climbing, so too did the amount of water pumped… overpumping creates a water-based food bubble, one that will burst when the aquifer is depleted and the rate of pumping is necessarily reduced to the rate of recharge.

Today some 18 countries, containing half the world’s people, are overpumping their aquifers. Among these are the big three grain producers – China, India and the US.

Peak water? Peak grain? Saudi Arabia is curtailing irrigation based grain production,  and Syria and Yemen are depleting their aquifers as well. Elsewhere in the Middle East, both Syria and Iraq are also suffering from a reduced flow in the Tigris and Euphrates as Turkey claims more water for its own.  What could possibly go wrong?

The Arab Middle East is seeing the collision between population growth and water supply at the regional level. For the first time in history, grain production is dropping in a geographic region with nothing in sight to arrest the decline.

Hungry and thirsty people will inevitably go somewhere. Should current drought trends continue, 2015 could see  the world’s first climate refugees, with significant numbers leaving California’s Central Valley, and possibly parts of Arizona, Texas and Nevada, as well as Sao Paulo, Brazil and parts of China and India.  In China, the Gobi desert increases nearly 1400 square miles per year.  And drought is simply one vector for creation of climate refugees. Low-lying areas such as the Maldives, and Venice are clearly threatened by sea level rise, as are Norfolk, VA and New Orleans, closer to home.  Water, food, grazing lands, habitat –  all resources for which we compete. Climate change will only exacerbate this competition, with conflict almost inevitable.


Rise of ISIS//ISIL/The Islamic State/Daesh/The Caliphate

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We are expected to believe that the rise of ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State, fully armed and spoiling for a fight, came as a complete surprise to our vaunted foreign policy establishment, those same worthies who can play back years of your phone conversations, predict your actions and movements through data collection and analysis, and even analyze the contents of your diet and health through sifting through your shit,  were taken unawares by this armed juggernaut?

No kidding.

 

Opposite this block of text is a  letter to the editor which articulates a critique of “our” foreign policy, and which makes the case for its illogic far more succinctly than anything I can add.

In a recent article, Dmitry Orlov argues that Anglo-imperialists are finally being forced out of Eurasia, as part of the Big Picture of understanding geopolitics. By Anglo-imperialist he means that combination of Britain and the FSA that has set the tone for global policy for two and a half centuries. America essentially inherited Empire from the bankrupt British, and is now in decline… with no new up-and-coming Anglo-imperialists to take over the family business.

Orlov makes a compelling case, buttressed by historical events, for the scorched-earth policies  of oppressors amounting to a policy of, “if we can’t have it, no one can,” otherwise known as “poison every well.” He makes the point that [Britain and America’s] common playbook has remained the same for many decades– a phony neoliberal crony capitalism for well-wired insiders coupled with domination by the big-ass military, coupled with a strong dose of  economic exploitation for everyone else involved, otherwise known as “cockroaches” to the elites. Orlov discerns a pattern to the Anglo-imperialist “playbook ” that has always called for a specific exit plan to be executed whenever plans to dominate and exploit a given country eventually fail.

 

On their way out, they do what they can to compromise and weaken the entity they leave behind, by inflicting a permanently oozing and festering political wound. “Poison all the wells” is the last thing on their pre-departure checklist.

• When the British got tossed out of their American Colonies, they did all they could, using a combination of import preferences and British “soft power,” to bolster the plantation economy of the American South, helping set it up as a sort of anti-United States, and the eventual result was the American Civil War.

• When the British got tossed out of Ireland, they set up Belfast as a sort of anti-Ireland, with much blood shed as a result.

• When the British got tossed out of the Middle East, they set up the State of Israel, then the US made it into its own protectorate, and it has been poisoning regional politics ever since. 

• When the British got tossed out of India, they set up Pakistan, as a sort of anti-India, precipitating a nasty hot war, followed by a frozen conflict over Kashmir.

• When the US lost China to the Communists, they evacuated the Nationalists to Taiwan, and set it up as a sort of anti-China, and even gave it China’s seat at the United Nations.

The goal is always the same: if they can’t have the run of the place, they make sure that nobody else can either, by setting up a conflict scenario that nobody there can ever hope to resolve.

The Sykes-Picot agreement that redrew the map of the Middle East is quite dead, leading directly to the rise of these al-Qa’ida-affiliated Sunni fighters to whom the artificial borders of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan are the meaningless artifacts of a world long passed by. At the end of WWI, the British and French wanted Mosul for its oil. With the rise of the Caliphate, Mosul’s oil is Sunni oil, and the Saudis are happy.

Much speculation abounds that the Monsters of Mosul and Beheaders of Baghdad are funded by unspecified “rich patrons.” Mmm-hmm. . And some of them will have offices at Langley, others in Riyadh…  Meanwhile, ISIS will continue to serve its propaganda purposes and as a convenient vehicle for the purposes of the neocons who infest the American foreign-policy/war establishment to accomplish their aims within Syria. Plenty of madmen to go around.


 

Ukraine/Missing plane/NATO train

The same strategy of leaving a poisoned and permanently weakened state behind is being deployed as effectively in Ukraine as it is in the Levant. Again, Orlov:

The goal is always the same: if they can’t have the run of the place, they make sure that nobody else can either, by setting up a conflict scenario that nobody there can ever hope to resolve. And so if you see Anglo-imperialists going out of their way and spending lots of money to poison the political well somewhere in the world, you can be sure that they are on their way out.

Fast-forward to 2014, and what we saw was the Anglo-imperialist attempt to set up Ukraine as a sort of anti-Russia. They took a Slavic, mostly Russian-speaking country and spent billions corrupting its politics to make the Ukrainians hate the Russians… The result was what we saw this year: a bloody coup, and a civil war marked by numerous atrocities. Ukraine is in the midst of economic collapse with power plants out of coal and lights going off everywhere, while at the same time the Ukrainians are being drafted into the army and indoctrinated to want to go fight against “the Muscovites.”

To counter, Russia made a nice play of self-determination in  Crimea: if self-determination worked for Kosovo, why can’t it work for Crimea? International norms, yes? Oh, the Anglo-imperialist establishment  doesn’t approve? At which point Putin responded that the West should go suck a bag of dicks. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan for the Masters of the Universe.

By the end of 2015 the FSA plans to station nearly 150 tanks and armored vehicles in countries on Russia’s borders, according to Reuters. The evil Russians have moved their country closer to these weapons, so to protect them, we need to double down with more ABM systems, troops, weapons and bases, the better to justify profits for war profiteers and protect the interests of the Corporate State. Our madmen light matches in a loaded armory?

The failure of the neocons to start WWIII started through proxies in the Levant and  Ukraine, coupled with the little noted recent “cromnibus” appropriations to fund oil and gas infrastructure in the Ukraine, ties all the loose and desperate “ends” that indicate Orlov’s analysis is correct. Even Henry F*king Kissinger blames the West. And a nervous world watches the Sino-Russian led response of the BRICS nations against the dollar.

Smedley Butler observed the true uses of the military a century ago and today the FSA uses bloated and constantly growing military forces to leverage control of a vast commercial empire.  And if we can’t buy it, we break it.

If the U.S. shut down the more than a thousand military bases on foreign soil and the various command&control centers, it would not be able to threaten non-compliant nations with regime change. If the Federal Government made a massive shift from military spending to infrastructure and other domestic spending concerns, the U.S. would no longer be able to offload its debts onto its trading partners. Thus the problem goes deeper than the “nuclear mafia” of  weapons contractors, lobbyists and other former government officials siphoning off more and more federal tax dollars.

Regime changes in Libya, Iraq, attempted in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Ukraine and now – Russia, are thus due to the simple fact that these are non-compliant nations, and do not take orders from the IMF with the expected alacrity.

Have an aircraft, any aircraft…

In order to ramp up public opinion against Putin and in favor of whatever mischief NATO intended to gin up, a couple of Malaysian aircraft went missing, MH-370 famously leading CNN’s Don Lemon to speculate on intervention “beyond our understanding” occurring, that “something” being perhaps supernatural?

“Especially today, on a day when we deal with the supernatural,” Lemon said. “We go to church, the supernatural power of God…people are saying to me, why aren’t you talking about the possibility — and I’m just putting it out there — that something odd happened to this plane, something beyond our understanding?”

Uhh– because it’s supposed to be the f*king news? I’m sure they are readying a pedestal for the bust of Don Lemon to be erected in the Newseum some time soon.

And then there was MH-17, shot down over eastern Ukraine by Vlad himself/by Russian air defense batteries/by a rebel held Buk surface-to-air missile system/by a Ukrainian air-to air missile/by a Ukrainian fighter’s 50 caliber machine gun. The US wasted no time in accusing Putin; and then dummied up. The MSM worked overtime to vilify Putin. The multinational investigation (Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, and Netherlands, of whom all four are U.S. allies, and, one of which is a suspect)  has worked for months and has not yet released, or even leaked, a report. Meanwhile, a pilot’s first person account says that MH-17 “was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” and that a Ukrainian fighter returned from its air mission without its loaded complement of air to air missiles. From the interview with the informant:

– Airplanes flew regularly. All day since the morning. In the afternoon, about an hour before the downing of the “Boeing”, three attack fighters were raised into the air. I don’t remember the exact time. One of the airplanes was equipped with such missiles. It was a Su-25.

– Have you personally seen it?

– Yes.

– Where was your vantage point?

– On site. Cannot tell you exactly.

– Did you have an opportunity to see specifically what the pylons of the aircraft where fitted with? Could you confuse “air-to-air” and “air-to-ground” missiles?

– No, I couldn’t confuse it. They vary in size, plumage, coloration. With a guidance head. Very easy to recognize. Anyway, after a short time, only one airplane returned, two were shot down. Somewhere in the East of Ukraine, I was told. The airplane that came back, was the one with those suspended missiles.

– It returned without the missiles?

– Without the missiles. That pilot was very scared.

And it would appear that TPTB have again overestimated their ability: the narrative that “Putin did it” has blown up, so they’ve buried the report, and thus the story, thinking that people will forget over time. In the country which Gore Vidal once famously described as “the United States of Amnesia”, they are probably correct; worldwide, not so much.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes tribunal has exercised “universal jurisdiction” to try in absentia Western leaders for crimes against humanity: in November 2011,  George W. Bush and Tony Blair, for crimes against peace because of the unlawful invasion of Iraq. In May 2012, after hearing testimony from torture victims  at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the tribunal unanimously convicted Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, former Deputy Assistant AGs John Yoo and Jay Bybee of conspiracy to commit war crimes, specifically torture. The tribunal referred their findings to the chief prosecutor at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. In November 2013, the tribunal convicted the Zionist Apartheid State as guilty of genocide in Palestine. Any connection between the missing Malaysian planes and the above described events is the province of conspiracy theorists, and thus wholly coincidental.


Since this overheated screed is now reaching epic proportions, and has taken on a length such that even my wife won’t read it,  here’s a list of other  top stories of 2014 with significant “doom” potential  which will here go further unremarked:

The rise of protest parties (left and right) in Europe. 

Oil Price Collapse/Currency Wars and devaluation.

Peak Grid/ Detroit/  Rotting Infrastructure. Tom Lewis gets credit for elucidating this. Grid failures in Detroit brought this into sharp relief, if flagging attention, for a brief moment this year. Every physical system in America, from the grid to highways and bridges  to public sanitation systems to dams, ports and airports has seriously exceeded design life with no provision for replacement. At a time when corporate taxation is at its lowest point in a century, we seem unable to summon the will to rebuild our flagging infrastructure. After all, this would benefit working people and give a boost into the economy, so why exactly would we do that?  The response of the flat-earthers who drive the latter-day American political agenda is to privatize everything, “privatization” referring to theft of public resources. It is impossible to predict when any one of our critical systems will fail, yet fail they must. And the “solution” the yahoo caucus will offer is more privatization. Write it down in ink.

Junk Bond Market Yield Explosion.

Federal Deficit reaches $18 Trillion.

Ebola

Ebola promised to be the prefect existential threat to mankind: a game of “Plague” writ large. You’ll recall that the growth of infection rates was exponential in the early days of summer; many were simply waiting for the disease to board a plane in Liberia and then present itself in every airport in the known world.  FOX “News” discovered the “President Ebola” meme  and pounded it relentlessly into the fear centers of elderly white Americans right up through the midterm elections, whereupon, Ebola was miraculously cured, never to be discussed again.

Continued rising Economic inequality. 


 

garbage-canThat’s the view from Mount Nerd. Madmen and psychopaths are in charge of every single sphere of human effort. As the new electees of the Klown Kar Kaukus assume the reigns of power in 2015, rest assured that Tocqueville’s “genuine madmen, will played a very considerable political part.”

 

And if, like me, you like to look at the magician’s off hand, the better to know where the misdirection is coming from, here is a bonus: Project Censored’s Top 25 censored stories for 2014. And another: the worst cable news reports of 2014. No, don’t thank me. Pour a double skepticism, have one for me and toast 2015!

 
***

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 with her, and that he is not yet taking a dirt nap.

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