Communism

Hemingway of the Donbass 2

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 9, 2016

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Full Audio Only Interview, both parts

Watch Part 1 on the Doomstead Diner Blog or the Collapse Cafe YouTube Channel

Russell-Bentley-1In the first part of our interview with Russell, we discussed his personal history and what brought him over to Donbass to become part of the militia fighting against the Ukrainian Goobermint installed by NATO and the CIA in the anti-democratic Maidan "revolution".

Here in part 2, we look in detail at the fighting that has ensued, and what the future may hold for the people of Donbass.  Can they survive on their own as an indepent state? Will they hold a referendum to become a part of Mother Russia?  Russell offers his opinions on these questions and many more in Part 2 of "Hemingway of the Donbass".

 

 

 

 

Hemingway of the Donbass

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on February 24, 2016

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A couple of months ago while doing my usual web surfing to find collapse related newz stories to drop on the Diner Newz Channels and our r/globalcollapse Reddit sub, on the Greanville Post I ran into a video produced by Essence of Time telling the tale of an Amerikan who had joined up with the militia in the Donbass region of Ukraine to fight in the ongoing Civil War there, attempting to break away from Fascist rule in Kiev sponsored by the FSoA Goobermint.  The man's name: Russell Bonner Bentley. Subsequently, I found more articles about him on Greanville, and the story just fascinated me.

http://www.greanvillepost.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Screen-Shot-2015-12-08-at-12.36.43-PM-1.jpg

80 years ago now, in 1936 there was a Civil War in Spain which pitted the forces of Fascism against the forces of Communism, a prelude to the even bigger war of WWII which followed on its heels.  It was a brutal fight, one which inspired the Guernica Painting by Pablo Picasso,memorializing one of the first aerial bombardments of a city, dropping the Death from Above that has become commonplace now in the wars fought since that day.

http://www.museoreinasofia.es/sites/default/files/obras/DE00050_0.jpg

Many more since that day of course, from the Fire Bombing of Dresden; to the Incineration of Hiroshima & Nagasaki with the Nuke Puke of Fat Man and Little Boy; to the smell of Napalm in the Morning in Jungles of Vietnam.

In Spain in 1936, fighters from all over the world came to volunteer in Spain to fight against Fascism, one of those men was Ernest Hemingway which he later recounted in a novel, "For Whom the Bell Tolls", later still to be made into a movie starring Gary Cooper and the young Ingrid Bergman.

I determined to get in touch with Russell, to get more of his back story and a better understanding of what drove him to leave his life here in the Land of Good & Plenty to go fight on the battlefields of the Donbass, to put his life on the line for people he had never known.  I tracked down his email, and after a couple of false starts I ran across a line in one of his blogs I recognized.  "No brag, just fact."  That line comes from an old television series, "The Guns of Will Sonnett" starring Walter Brennan as an aging Gunfighter.

Lot's of folks out there talk a good game, but very few actually go out and prove their courage and their convictions as Russell Bentley has.  Truly, he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk.  In the interview, I believe you will find that to be as true as I did.

My gratitude to my fellow Admin here on the Diner Surly, who compiled the clips to go along with the interview, and to Essence of Time, the video unit that did the recordings in the warzone that go along with this interview.

We will air part 2 of the interview in March.

The Vicar Visits Congress

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on October 2, 2015

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Big Newz from last week besides the endless stream of Refugee stories was the visit by His Holiness, Vicar of Christ on Earth, Pope Francis to the Hallowed Halls of Congress.

The VoCoE has been making a lot of Headlines lately, a couple of months ago he issued out an Encyclical "Laudato si", which translates from Latin as "Praise be to you".  Basically his Popeness was encouraging the flock to take better care of the Earth, and also to do a better job of sharing the wealth of the Planet.

1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.[1]

 

2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

The share the wealth thing didn't play too well with right wing think tanks however.  From the Gatestone Institute International Policy Council:

  • Some high-profile commentators think they smell a Marxist clothed in white papal robes, who dreams of redistributing the world's wealth. Pope Francis insists that he has little interest in Marxism and that his political advocacy against materialism, capitalism, greed and idolatry are largely religious in nature. However, the flavor of some of his statements might suggest otherwise.

  • The Pope also knows that the UN is poised to strong-arm member nations to sign on to an impossible globalist agenda that will require a total shift of the world's wealth, and a restructuring of international politics and economics with a one-world government and a universal religion at the steering wheel.

  • Even to the Pope's admirers, that sounds a less like peace and love and more like a utopian totalitarian nightmare.

OMFG!!!!  THE POPE IS A COMMIE!

Not to mention he also wants a One World Goobermint with the Holy Roman Catholic Church in charge again!

Now, anybody who gets the righty think tanks in such a tizzy gets a thumbs up from me for that, and overall I do support the agenda of His Holiness on these issues.  However, I do have a few issues with exactly how serious he is in terms of doing more than just jawboning.

With that in mind, here's the Pope Rant:

Snippet:

The fact religion is becoming more prominent in the political environment is a disturbing, if not unexpected outcome. Much of the popular sentiment against the refugees stems from the fact they are by and large overwhelmingly Muslim. The Hungarians for instance have explicitly stated they will only take Christian refugees, although I don't know how you can determine this with folks leaving war zones with no documentation. Who would you call to find out if they attended Sunday Church services recently?

 

There is also a huge cultural divide between the more fundamentalist Muslim sects and Western culture and ideas about women's rights, standards of dress and so forth. Polygamy is still acceptable in many Muslim nations, and child brides are fairly common as well. Arranged marriages rather than the Western ideal of Romantic Love forming the basis for a marriage also are common. To the Westerner, this all seems positively medieval. To the Muslim Fundamentalist, its positively lurid that women are allowed to walk around with short skirts and hit the beaches in itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis. You smash together two groups of people with such wildly different cultural perspectives and sprinkle in the vast inequality of wealth since even f they had some money when they left their home countries they are probably dead broke by the time they make it to Sweden or Germany, and you have an instant recipe for social strife.

FOR THE REST, LISTEN TO THE RANT!

Cuba: Figuring Out Pieces of the Puzzle

Off the keyboard of Gail Tverberg

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Published on Our Finite World on May 26, 2015

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Cuba is an unusual country for quite a few reasons:

  • The United States has had an embargo against Cuba since 1960, but there has recently been an announcement that the US will begin to normalize diplomatic relations.
  • The leader of Cuba between 1959 and 2008 was Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro is a controversial figure, with some viewing him is a dictator who nationalized property of foreign citizens without compensation. Citizens of Cuba seem to view him as more of as a Robin Hood figure, who helped the poor by bringing healthcare and education to all, equalizing wages, and building many concrete block homes for people who had only lived in shacks previously.
  • If we compare Cuba to its nearest neighbors Haiti and Dominican Republic (both of which were also former sugar growing colonies of European countries), we find that Cuba is doing substantially better than the other two. In per capita CPI in Purchasing Power Parity, in 2011, Cuba’s average was $18,796, while Haiti’s was $1,578, and the Dominican Republic was $11,263. In terms of the Human Development Index (which measures such things as life expectancy and literacy), in 2013, Cuba received a rating of .815, which is considered “very high”. Dominican Republic received a rating of .700, which is considered “High.” Haiti received a rating of .471, which is considered “Low.”
  • Cuba is known for its permaculture programs (a form of organic gardening), which helped increase Cuba’s production of fruit and vegetables in the 1990s and early 2000s.
  • In spite of all of these apparently good outcomes of Cuba’s experimentation with equal sharing of wealth, in recent years Cuba seems to be moving away from the planned economy model. Instead, it is moving to more of a “mixed economy,” with more entrepreneurship encouraged.
  • Since 1993, Cuba has had a two currency system. The goods that the common people could buy were in one set of stores, and were traded in one currency. Other goods were internationally traded, or were available to foreigners visiting Cuba. They traded in another currency. This system is being phased out. Goods are now being marked in both currencies and limitations on where Cubans can shop are being removed.

I don’t have explanations for all of the things that are going on, but I have a few insights on what is happening, based on several sources:

 

  • My recent visit to Cuba. This was a “people to people” educational program permitted by the US government;
  • My previous work on resource depletion, and the impacts it is happening on economies elsewhere;
  • Other published data about Cuba.

The following are a few of my observations.

1. Many island nations, including Cuba, are having financial problems related to dependence on oil. 

Dependence on oil for electricity is one of the big issues affecting Cuba today. Island nations, including Cuba, very often use oil to produce much of their electricity supply, because it is easy to transport and can be used in relatively small installations. As long as the price of oil was low (under $20 barrel or so), the use of oil for electricity is not a problem.

Figure 1. Cuba's energy consumption by source, based on EIA data.

 

 

 

 

Figure 1. Cuba’s energy consumption by source, based on EIA data.

Once the price of oil becomes high, the high cost of electricity makes it difficult to produce goods for export, because goods made with high-priced electricity tend not to be competitive with goods made where the cost of electricity is cheaper. Also, once the cost of oil rises, the price of imported food tends to rise, leading to a need for more foreign exchange fund for imports. In addition, the cost of vacation travel becomes more expensive, driving away potential vacationers. The combination of these effects tends to lead to financial problems for island nations.

If we look at current Standard and Poor’s credit ratings of island nations, we see a pattern of low credit ratings:

  • Cuba – Caa2
  • Dominican Republic – B1
  • Haiti – Not Rated
  • Jamaica – Caa3
  • Puerto Rico – Caa1

None of these ratings is investment grade. Cuba’s rating is the same as Greece’s.

Cuba’s credit problem arises from that there is an imbalance between the goods and services which it is able to sell for export and the goods and services that it needs to import. As with most other island nations, this problem has gotten worse in recent years, because of high oil prices. Even with the recent drop in oil prices, the price of oil still isn’t really low, so there is still a problem.

Figure 2. Cuba balance of trade. Chart by Trading Economics.

 

 

 

 

Figure 2. Cuba balance of trade. (In US $. 000,000s omitted) Chart by Trading Economics.

2. Cuba has a low-cost arrangement for buying oil from Venezuela, but this can’t be depended on.  

Venezuela is Cuba’s largest supplier of imported oil. The recent drop in oil prices creates a problem for Venezuela, because Venezuela needs high oil prices to profitably extract its oil and leave enough to fund its government programs. Because of these issues, Venezuela is having serious financial difficulties. Its financial rating is Caa3, which is even lower than Cuba’s rating. Cuba uses its excellent education system to provide physicians for Venezuela, and because of this gets a bargain price for oil. But it can’t count on this arrangement continuing, if Venezuela’s financial situation gets worse.

3. Neither high nor low oil prices are likely to solve Cuba’s financial problems; the real problem is diminishing returns (that is, rising cost of oil extraction).

Cuba finds itself in a dilemma similar to that that the rest of the world is experiencing–only worse because it is an island nation. The rising cost of oil extraction is pushing the world economy toward lower economic growth, because the higher cost of oil extraction is in effect making world’s production of goods and services less efficient (the opposite of growing efficiency, needed for economic growth). The extra effort needed to extract oil from deep beneath the sea, or used in fracking, makes it more expensive to produce a barrel of oil, and indirectly, the many things that a barrel of oil goes to produce, such as a bushel of wheat that Cuba must import.

Figure 3. Cuba's oil consumption, separated between oil produced by Cuba itself and imported oil, based on EIA data.

 

 

 

 

Figure 3. Cuba’s oil consumption, separated between oil produced by Cuba itself and imported oil, based on EIA data.

If the price of oil is low, Venezuela’s financial problems will become worse, increasing the likelihood that Venezuela will need to cut back on its low-priced oil exports to Cuba.

Also, if the price of oil remains low, it is unlikely that Cuba will be able to increase its own oil extraction (Figure 3). The recent decline in US oil rigs and production indicates that shale extraction in the US (requiring fracking) is not economic at current prices. Cuba’s onshore resources also seem to be of the type that requires fracking. Thus, the likelihood of extracting Cuba’s onshore oil seems low, unless prices are much higher. Offshore, none of the test wells to date have proven economic at today’s prices.

Conversely, if the price of oil is high enough to enable profitability of oil extraction in Venezuela and Cuba, say $150 barrel, then airline tickets will be very expensive, cutting back tourism greatly. The cost of imported food is likely to be very high as well.

4. One way Cuba’s problems are manifesting themselves is in cutbacks to entitlements.

Back in the early 1960s, Fidel Castro’s plan for the economy was one of perfect communism–the government would own all businesses; every worker would receive the same wages; a large share of what workers receive would come in the form of entitlements. What has been happening recently is that these entitlements are being cut back, without wages being raised.

Wages for all government workers are extremely low–the equivalent of $20 month in US currency. This was not a problem when workers received essentially everything they needed through a very low-priced ration program and other direct gifts, but they become a problem when entitlements are cut back.

Each year, each Cuban family receives a ration booklet listing each member of the family, each person’s age, and the quantity of subsidized food of various types that that person is entitled to, based on the person’s age. Other items besides food, such as light bulbs, may be included as well.

Figure 4. Ration booklet being explained by one of tour leaders.

 

 

 

 

Figure 4. Ration booklet being explained by one of tour leaders.

The store providing the subsidized food keeps a list of foods available and prices on a blackboard.

Figure 5. Ration price list on wall of store we visited.

 

 

 

 

Figure 5. Ration price list on wall of store we visited.

One way that the standard of living of Cubans is being reduced because of Cuba’s financial problems is by cutbacks in the types of goods being subsidized. Also the quantities and prices are being affected, but the average wage of $20 month remains unchanged.

5. Another way Cuba’s financial problems are manifesting themselves is as higher prices charged to Cubans for goods not available through the ration program.

Since 1993, Cuba has had a two currency program. Cubans were able to purchase goods only in stores intended for Cuban residents using Cuban pesos. (This situation is similar to a company store program, in which a business issues pay in a currency which can only be used on goods available in the company story.) A second currency, Cuban Convertible Pesos (“CUC”), pegged 1:1 with the US dollar, has been used for the tourist trade, and for international purchases. Cubans were not allowed to purchase goods in businesses offering goods in CUCs.

Now the situation is changing. Goods in stores for Cubans marked in both currencies, and Cubans are permitted to purchase goods in more (or all?) types of businesses.

The change that seems to be occurring in the process of marking goods to both currencies is that goods as priced in Cuban pesos are becoming much more expensive for Cubans. Cubans are finding that their $20 per month paychecks are going less and less far. This is more or less equivalent to value of the Cuban peso falling relative to the US dollar. This decrease is difficult for international agencies to measure, because the prices Cubans were paying were not previously convertible to the US dollar. The big impact would occur in 2015, so is too recent to be included in most inflation data.

6. Another way Cuba’s problems are manifesting themselves is through low traffic on roads.

How much gasoline would you expect a person earning $20 month to buy, if gasoline costs about $5 gallon? Not a lot, I expect. Not surprisingly, we found traffic other than buses and taxis to be very low, especially outside Havana. Figure 6 shows one fairly extreme example. The three-wheeled bicycle in front is a popular form of taxi.

Figure 6. Example of low traffic on road. This road was not far from Havana.

 

 

 

 

Figure 6. Example of low traffic on road. This road was not far from Havana.

If a person travels away from the Havana area, transport by horse and buggy is fairly common.

 7. As a workaround for Cuba’s for falling inflation-adjusted wages of government workers, Cuba is permitting more entrepreneurship.

Certain workers, such as musicians and artists, have always been able to earn more than the average wage, through programs that allowed these workers to sell their wares and keep the vast majority of the sales price.

Now, individuals are able to form businesses and hire workers. These businesses generally pay wages higher than those offered by the government. Many of these businesses are private restaurants and gift shops, serving the tourist trade.

In addition, many individual citizens try to figure out small things that they can do (such as sell peanuts, pose for photos, or sing songs) to earn tips from foreigners. The amounts they earn act to supplement the wages they earn working for the government.

Other new businesses are in the food production sector. We met one farmer who was growing rice, with the help of twenty workers he had hired. The farmer used land that he had leased for $0 per year from the government. He dried his rice on an underutilized two-lane public road. The rice covered one lane for many miles.

Figure 7. Rice laid on road to dry.

 

 

 

 

Figure 7. Rice laid on road to dry.

The farmer sold most of his rice to the government, at prices it had set in advance. The farmer was able to pay his workers $80 per month, which is equal to four times the average government wage.

8. Cuban citizens and its government are concerned about the country’s financial problems and are finding other solutions in addition to entrepreneurship.

Cuban citizens are concerned, because with only $20 month of spendable income and higher prices on almost everything, they are being “pushed into a corner.” The vast majority of jobs are still government jobs, paying only an average of $20 month. There aren’t very many ways out.

In order to make ends meet, it is very tempting to steal goods from employers, and resell them at below market prices to others. We were warned to be very careful about changing money, because it is very common to be shortchanged, or to receive Cuban pesos (which are worth about 1/24th of a CUC) in change for goods purchased in CUCs.

One legitimate way of increasing the wealth of Cuban citizens is to increase remittances from relatives living in the US. Legislation making this possible has already been implemented. Estimates of remittances from the US to Cuba range from $2 billion to $3.5 billion per year, prior to the change.

Another way of increasing Cuban revenue is to increase tourism. Selling services abroad, such as sending a Cuban choir to perform for US audiences, also acts to increase Cuba’s revenue. Getting rid of the US embargo would help expand both tourism and the sale of Cuban services abroad. This is no doubt part of the reason why Cuba, under the leadership of Raul Castro (Fidel’s brother), is interested in re-establishing relationships with the United States.

9. Most of Cuba’s accumulated wealth from the past is depleting wealth that requires continuing energy inputs to maintain.

Cuba has many fine old buildings that are a product past glory days (sugar exporter, tobacco sales, casino operator). These buildings need to be maintained, or they fall apart with age. In other words, they need the addition of new building materials (requiring energy products to create and transport), if they are to continue to be used for their intended purpose.

Cuba now has a severe problem with old buildings falling apart from decay. I was told that three buildings per day collapse in Havana. With a chronic shortage of energy supplies, Cuba has been able to use these buildings from past days to give themselves a higher standard of living than otherwise would be possible, but this dividend is slowly coming to an end.

Likewise, fields used for growing sugar or tobacco are assets requiring continued energy investment. If the Cuban government were to stop plowing fields and adding fertilizer to restore lost nutrients,1 nature would take care of the problem in its own way–acacia (a type of nitrogen-fixing shrub/tree) would overtake the land, making it difficult to replant. The fact that the Cuban government did not keep adding energy products to some of the fields is a major reason the Cuban government is now leasing land for $0 an acre. Quite a bit of the land formerly used for sugar cane needs to be cleared of acacia before crops can be grown on it.

Even Cuba’s famed 1950s vintage autos are a depleting asset. Replacement parts are needed frequently to keep them operating.

The illusion that Cuba could afford to pay owners for the value of property appropriated by the Cuban government in 1959 is just that–an illusion. The wealth that was available was temporary wealth that could not be packaged and sent elsewhere. Sugar cane and tobacco had been grown in ways that depleted the soil. Furthermore, most workers had been paid very low wages. The buyers of these products had reaped the benefits of these bad practices in the form of low prices for sugar and tobacco products. It is doubtful whether Cuba could ever have paid the former owners for the land and businesses it appropriated, except with debt payable by future generations. It certainly cannot now.

10. I wasn’t able to find out much about the permaculture situation in Cuba, but my impression is that the outcome is likely to be determined by financial considerations.

Subsidies can work reasonably well, as long as the economy as a whole is producing a surplus. Such a surplus tends to occur when the cost of energy production is low, because then it is easy for a growing supply of low-priced energy to boost human productivity.

Now that Cuba’s economy is not faring as well, the government is finding it necessary to start evaluating whether approaches they are taking are really cost effective. More emphasis is placed on entrepreneurs producing goods at prices that are affordable by customers. Thus, an entrepreneur might operate a permaculture garden. My impression is that permaculture will do well, if it can produce goods at prices that consumers can afford, but not otherwise. Consumers who are starved for money are likely to cut back to the very basics (rice and beans?), making this a difficult requirement to meet.

11. Cuba has done better on keeping population down than many other countries. 

If we look at the population growth trends since 1970, Cuba has done better than its nearby neighbors in keeping population down.

Figure 8. Cuba population compared to 1970 estimates, based on USDA population estimates.

 

 

 

 

Figure 8. Cuba population compared to 1970 estimates, along with those of selected other countries, based on USDA population estimates.

In fact, Cuba’s 2014 population per square kilometer is low compared to its neighbors, as well.

Figure 8. Population for Cuba and several nearby areas expressed in population per square kilometer.

 

 

 

 

Figure 8. Population for Cuba and several nearby areas expressed in population per square kilometer.

One thing that many people would point to in the low population growth statistics is the high education of women in Cuba. This is definitely the result of Fidel Castro’s policies.

It seems to me that housing issues play a role as well. Cuba has added very little housing stock in recent years, even though the population has grown. This means that either multiple generations must live together, or new homes must be built. Cuba hasn’t provided a way for doing this (financing, etc). Under these circumstances, most families will keep the number of children low. There is simply no more room for another person in state-provided housing. No one would consider building a shack with local materials, without electricity and water supply, as a work around.

Also, US policies have allowed Cuban citizens who reach the United States to obtain citizenship more easily than say, residents of the Dominican Republic or Haiti. This has offered another work-around for growing population.

12. In many ways, Cuba is better prepared for a fall in standard of living than most countries, but a change in its standard of living is still likely to be problematic.

As we traveled through Cuba, we saw a huge amount of land that either was currently planted in crops, or that could fairly easily be planted as crops. We also saw many acres over-run by acacia, but that still could support some feeding by animals. Cuba is not very mountainous, and generally gets a reasonable amount of water for at least part of the year. These are factors that are helpful for supporting a fairly large population, if crops are chosen to match the available rainfall.

The Cuban population is also well educated and used to working together. Neighbors tend to know each other, and work to support each other through community associations called Committees for the Defense of the Revolution.

The problem, though, is that the changes needed to live sustainably, without huge annual balance of payment deficits, are likely to be quite large. Sugar production in Cuba began  in the early 1800s. Since that time, Cuba’s economy has been organized as if it were part of a much larger system. Cuba has grown large amounts of certain products (sugar cane and tobacco), and much less of products that its population eats regularly (wheat, rice, beans, corn, and chicken). Residents have gotten used to eating imported foods, rather than foods that grow locally. According to this document, the government of Cuba reported importing 60% to 70% of its “food and agricultural products,” amounting to $2 billion dollars, in 2014. Regardless of whether or not this percentage is calculated correctly, there is at least a $2 billion per year gap in revenue caused by eating non-local foods that needs to be closed.

In theory, Cuba can produce enough food for all of its current population, even without fossil fuels. Doing so would require changes to what Cubans eat. The diet would need to be revised to include greater proportions of foods that can be grown easily in Cuba (plantain, yucca, bread plant, etc.) and fewer foods that can’t. Many people would likely need to move to locations where they can help in the growing and distribution of these foods. Given the current lack of funding, most of these new homes and businesses would likely need to be built by residents using local materials. Thus, they would likely need to look like the shacks (without electricity or running water) that Fidel Castro was able to do away with as a result of his 1959 Revolution.

There might also need to be a reduction to the amount of healthcare and education available to all. This would also be a big let down, because people have gotten used to the current plan of free education and free modern medical care for all. Education and health care no doubt account for a big share of Cuba’s high GDP today, but Cuba may also need to bring down these costs down to an affordable level, if it is to have a sustainable economy.

Note:

[1] Alternatively, better practices might be used that involve crop rotation and permaculture practices. The effect would still have been the same–some type of energy, including a combination of human energy and other kinds of energy, would be needed to keep fields producing some kind of useful crop.

The Human Extinction Survey

SURVEY SUBMISSIONS TO DATE: 277

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on May 17. 2015

extinction-button

05-24-human-extinction

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Discuss this Survey at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

human-extinctionEarly on when I began my journey into the World of Collapse, probably the biggest and most contentious issue that got kicked around on the Collapse forums and blogs was whether the monetary system would collapse in Hyperinflation or Deflation.  In fact here on the Diner itself this remains one of the most popular threads, with more than 30 pages of posts at this point.

Lately however, the Doom community has become more Doomerish, and what is being kicked around now is whether Homo Saps are bound for Extinction, not in some long distant future but in the Near Term.  In fact, some folks like Guy McPherson of Nature Bats Last are predicting this Extinction Level Event will occur as early as 2030, only 15 years down the line from present day.  Obviously, if you are in the process of going Extinct, the monetary issues pale before that one!  LOL.  For the purposes of this survey though, we will consider anything under a Century as "Near Term".

In an effort to get a better clue on what people think will occur here (and WHEN!?) as we move along the Collapse Highway, I worked up a little Survey utilizing yet another of the numerous Plugins I have installed lately to spruce up the Diner before I Buy My Ticket to the Great Beyond TM. 🙂

Before you take the Main Survey, if you haven't done so already here on the Diner, you may want to place yourself in on our Taxonomy of Doomer Types Survey.  If you have already done this survey before, don't do it again, it will skew the results.  I haven't got a way yet to stop Duplicates out by User.  I don't want to require email addys or any identification for these polls, as I think that would discourage readers from responding to them.

I came up with this taxonomy back in my days Blogging on The Burning Platform with Jim Quinn.  I had just 2 categories for it back then, now I am up to 4 with it.  Here's the old table though for some descriptions.  This goes back to 2011 BTW.

Topic

Doom Lite

Full Doom

 Dollar & Monetary System  We can fix the monetary system and rehabilitate the Dollar if we STOP PRINTING, feed Helicopter Ben to the Lions, Slash Spending, allow TBTF Banks to FAIL, Incarcerate the Criminal Banksters and use Precious Metals to underpin the currency.  The monetary system cannot be rehabilitated by any means, there will be a complete collapse of ALL Fiat money and financial instruments and commerce will for quite some time be mainly Barter.  PMs will only retain value in areas where there is a surplus of basic commodities.
Inflation, Hyper-Inflation, Deflation, Stagflation, DICK UP YOUR ASSFLATION WTF CARES ANYMORE?  WE ARE TOAST NO MATTER HOW IT COLLAPSES. WTF CARES ANYMORE?  WE ARE TOAST NO MATTER HOW IT COLLAPSES.
Energy To resolve our Energy problems, we must IMMEDIATELY begin building more Nukes, Drill Baby Drill for more Local Oil and build more Hydro Plants and Wind Farms, and eventually pick up the slack from lost energy from Imported Oil sources. Lost Energy from depleted Oil is Irreplaceable and it is far too late to stop an extensive Power Down throughout society which will halt most of our Transportation methods and bring down the Electrical Grid.  Our only choice is to prepare for a Low Energy footprint in the future.
 Goobermint  We can fix Da Goobermint if we Vote Out all the scumbag CONgress Critters and replace them with Honest Politicians who cannot be Bought who all demonstrate the Wisdom of the Founding Fathers and abide by the Constitution.  Said new Goobermint will be made much smaller with fewer Regulations and less Taxation, allowing Commerce to revive as the Free Market takes over.  Da Goobermint is inherently unfixable and corrupt and cannot be rehabilitated via the Ballot Box.  Only a Revolution can remove the current power structure, and the results of a Revolution will likely bring a new Goobermint as bad or WORSE than the current one.  The failure of the monetary sytem and energy systems will eventually render all large scale Goobermints unable to function, with the power vacuum filled by local Warlords and Dictators in most places.
Jobs We must stop the offshoring of Productive Jobs and rebuild our Manufacturing Base in order to build an export based Mercantilist economy with a Trade Surplus. The Industrial Model is FINISHED, even if we could rebuild Factories here in the FSofA, we wouldn’t have the Oil to run them anyhow, and there won’t be anyone here or abroad who could afford the products we build with them anyhow, because of the upward spiraling cost of energy measured in EROEI.
 Immigration  We must Seal the Borders and deport all Illegal Aliens and get FSofA Citizens to work at all the scut jobs at below Minimum Wage they currently fill to reduce Unemployment and reduce the liabilities of Aliens who are soaking up free Medical Care in the Emergency Rooms of our Hospitals.  We can TRY to seal the borders and deport the Illegal Aliens, but they will just be replaced by more home grown Citizens who are falling off the economic cliff and will be just as big a drain on the Medical System.  Besides that, at least on the Border with Mejico,  it will likely create an ever growing Shooting War with a Tsunami of Wetbacks seeking to escape an even worse situation in Mejico.
 Imperialism & Foreign Wars  We must STOP trying to be the World’s Policeman, bring all our Boys & Girls HOME and reduce the outrageous COST of maintaining the Big Ass Military.  As soon as we STOP running all our Imperialist adventures, we will basically be CUT OFF from the Foreign Oil still making its way across the Sea Lanes to our Refineries.  We also will crash just about the only type of “productive” thing we build here anymore, which are the Weapons of War and we will bring back a whole new crew of people to put on the Unemployment line.
 Free Shit Army & 30 Blocks of Squalor  We must end all transfer payments, all Welfare, Social Security and Medicaire which are all unfunded Liabilities we cannot afford.  Former Welfare recipients will be FORCED to go back to work and become Productive Citizens rather than Useless Eaters.  Old Folks will rely on their Savings and their Extended Families to take care of them in their dotage.  The minute we knock down all these social support mechanisms is the minute we turn into Egypt or Libya or all the rest of the 3rd World countries where the people with Nothing Left to Lose go BERSERK.  We don’t HAVE jobs these people could do, even if they were qualified to do any job, which they are not for the most part.  Most Old Folks have no savings, and the Extended Family died back in the 1950s for the most part.  The Medical Industry as a whole would COLLAPSE without Goobermint input, putting the Doctors, Nurses and Medical Records folks on the UE lines also.

China

 China will succeed long term because they are net creditors, have most of the Industrial infrastructure and have more Science and Math geniuses studying at Elite Universities.  China is TOAST because of outrageous Population Overshoot, a depleted Water Supply, insufficient arable land and insufficient local supplies of remaining Fossil Fuel energy.

 

FINAL

SOLUTIONS

 Boomers should be EXTERMINATED  Pigmen should be EXTERMINATED

 

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the-apocalypse11

RE

The Trouble With Money

Off the keyboard of td0s

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Published on Pray for Calamity on January 24, 2014

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Rolling Stone recently published a piece titled, “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For,” which was apparently written by a “veteran” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Jesse Myerson. The quality of the writing is low, in that the voice of the piece sounds like a character out of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” The author describes everything negative about society using the choice phrase that these things, “Blow.” Of course, Rolling Stone is probably trying to appeal to young people in the hackneyed way that media outlets usually do, assuming that everyone between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five are perpetually stoned and that they have never read a book voluntarily in their lives.

Despite the tone and vernacular of Myerson’s piece, there are concepts within it that are worth discussing. What Myerson does offer are these reforms:

1. Guaranteed Work for Everybody
2. Social Security for All
3. Take Back The Land
4. Make Everything Owned by Everybody
5. A Public Bank in Every State

I’d like to examine the first two of these concepts, but must start by noting that if these reforms are to be taken seriously, then we must start by accepting a handful of premises. The most obvious is that by implementing such notions as policy, we would be maintaining a large megalithic social organism, i.e. the nation state. With this nation state, we would also be preserving a hierarchical structure of rule, and a money economy complete with private property and banking. Deep green anarchists like myself are primarily concerned with industrial civilization’s strangling of the biosphere, so we don’t roll through life assuming that such institutions now and forever will be in place. However most people in our culture assume that institutions and social concepts like money, property, banking, and nation states are more immutable and more important to human life than the world of plants, fungi, insects, and animals despite humans relying upon these neighbors for the basic sustenance of life, but I digress.

Partly due to the horrid nature of Myerson’s writing, and partly due to the seeming influence of communism in his proposals, his editorial is garnering a bit of attention, primarily in conservative outlets that are looking for easy intellectual prey. It’s easy to debunk poorly articulated concepts, and it’s easy to then use this debunking as proof that your own concepts are thus well heeled and reasonable.

The rabbled response to Myerson’s five suggestions has drawn forth much defense of the status quo. Defenders of money economies usually speak of money from one angle, as a reward for work done. Their reasoning goes, that If a person doesn’t have enough money, it is their own fault for not having worked enough or for not having any particularly in-demand skills. Their reasoning also implies the inverse, that people who have plenty of money do so because they have done much work to achieve it, or that they are particularly skilled or ingenious in some capacity which society demands.

When money is viewed through this lens, it is presumed to be innocuous in and of itself. It’s merely a token, a chit for hours or labor put in. This view removes money from the context of the society in which it is used. It is ignoring the context of the social arrangements which make money a survival requirement, and also ignores the power dynamics that are born between individuals within money economies. When viewed with a wider lens which incorporates social context, it cannot be denied that money gives one the power to buy another’s labor. Money gives one the power to buy another’s time, power to buy their bodies, their minds and even, the power to buy their souls. Money is also the power to deprive others of land, of resources, and of autonomy. Point blank, money is power over other human beings.

—-

There is a general attitude that capitalism is democratic, that it’s implementation was agreed upon by all as “for the best,” and even that we are all daily consenting to leave capitalism in place as our economic architecture. When describing the condition of a particular individual or set of individuals as either wealthy or poor, their life choices are often invoked to explain their financial standing. Consistently ignored is the fact that the overarching paradigm of the economy was not selected by the individual. We all don’t elect to “play the game” of capitalism. It’s thrust upon us from birth by those who have already entrenched their wealth and power. The language of capitalism’s defenders also creates a false equivalency between man made conditions and our natural state. To them, failing at capitalism is spoken of as if he who fails is a “loser,” and social Darwinism is invoked giving the impression that the poor, due to their own deficiencies, essentially don’t deserve to survive. The language used by capitalism’s defenders makes their position clear; they do not believe that poverty is a component of a system created and perpetuated by humans with conditions that make “success” extremely difficult for some and a guarantee for others. Capitalism’s defenders speak as if the economic system is as natural as the jet stream or the seasons.

This thinking is of course, ludicrous. It is insane to use the language of natural selection to describe economic failure or success despite the stark contrast between nature and the man made social paradigm in which individuals are forced to acquire money to survive. Such an inference is not only absurd, it’s an intentional obfuscation of what poverty and even wealth, are. If money is power over other human beings, wealth is access and domination while poverty is deprivation and powerlessness.

We cannot examine money, as defenders of the status-quo do, by merely looking at it as a reward for work done. We must also see the social reality by which people must acquire money to survive. Requiring money is not a natural condition. Requiring food or shelter are natural conditions, sure, but requiring the acquisition of a man made currency is a social construct. Money is a middle-man, if you will, between people and their needs. And here the picture starts to emerge; humans are made to need money by other humans in order to attain their needs, and the primary way of attaining money is as a reward for labor. Who benefits from this system? Who is the primary recipient of the labor of the masses? Who seems to be doing very little in the way of labor, yet are having not only their needs met, but surplus wealth with which to consume to excess?

If we are exploring what money is, we must investigate how it is that humans in modern societies require money. There is a quaint and conventional understanding that money is merely a tool that replaced barter, making trade more efficient. It is assumed then, that before money, humans met their needs via trade. This myth was shattered one hundred years ago in the work of Alred Mitchell-Innes which David Graeber invokes in his work, Debt: The First 5000 Years. In his book, Graeber states:

We did not begin with barter, discover money, and then eventually develop credit systems. It happened precisely the other way around. What we now call virtual money came first. Coins came much later, and their use spread only unevenly, never completely replacing credit systems. Barter, in turn, appears to be largely a kind of accidental byproduct of the use of coinage or paper money: historically, it has mainly been what people who are used to cash transactions do when they for one reason or another have no access to currency.

Though money is seen in ancient Sumer as a method of accounting for the rations available in the great temples, it was not used for exchange. Money as coinage is a product of hierarchical social arrangements in which the leaders of a society pay soldiers with to protect their rule and expand their empires. Graeber:

Say a king wishes to support a standing army of 50,000 men. Under ancient or medieval conditions, feeding such a force was an enormous problem… On the other hand, if one simply hands out coins to soldiers and then demands that every family in the kingdom was obliged to pay one of those coins back to you [to pay taxes], one would, in one blow, turn one’s entire national economy into a vast machine for the provisioning of soldiers, since now every family, in order to get their hands on the coins, must find some way to contribute to the general effort to provide soldiers with the things they want.

This is all to say, money wasn’t an invention created to make survival easier for the masses, but to make hierarchical and state structures more secure and immutable.

In this culture, we have no common space where we can live without paying a sum of money. We also must pay for food, which is a situation caused by the fact that land is all privately owned or state held. This paradigm of restrictions, of deprivations by owners of non-owners creates a dependency of non-owners upon owners. I covered this in my essay, Privare. Non-owners cannot grow or wild harvest food, they cannot just build a small shelter to live in. As long as this paradigm is in place, every new human born (to a non-owner) in this culture is necessarily immediately in debt. This condition is not natural or accidental. It was intentionally created by elites via primitive accumulation and enclosure of the commons. In essence, those with power and wealth took control of all lands where free peasants lived, exploited the land for materials for industry, passed laws to prevent survival by gathering from the wild, and created social conditions in which the only manner in which it was legal for one to gain sustenance was by first working for wages which could then be used to buy food and other goods.

Those who refused were often cast as criminal beggars by legal edicts. Howard Zinn writes of this in his seminal work, “A People’s History of the United States.” Zinn writes:

In England, the development of commerce and capitalism in the 1500s and 1600s, the enclosing of land for the production of wool, filled the cities with vagrant poor, and from the reign of Elizabeth on, laws were passed to punish them, imprison them in workhouses, or exile them. The Elizabethan definition of “rogues and vagabonds” included:

… All persons calling themselves Schollers going about begging, all Seafaring men pretending losses of their Shippes or goods on the sea going about the Country begging, all idle persons going about in any Country either begging or using any subtile crafte or unlawful Games … comon Players of Interludes and Minstrells wandring abroade … all wandering persons and comon Labourers being persons able in bodye using loytering and refusing to worke for such reasonable wages as is taxed or commonly given….

       Such persons found begging could be stripped to the waist and whipped bloody, could be sent out of the city, sent to workhouses, or transported out of the country.”

This set of conditions allowing for only one legal means of attaining survival is still in place today. The wild has been devastated by ownership and economic “progress”. The closest one can come to “opting out” of participation in the money economy is either to buy enough land on which to attempt self sufficiency, or to live a houseless life dependent upon the excesses and waste of capitalism, e.g. dumspter diving. The former option still requires participation in the money economy in order to acquire the money with which to buy land, and at some level requires continued participation in order to pay property taxes. This option is also primarily individualistic while sustenance living is more practical as a communal activity. It is also unrealistic as an option for the majority of the poor. The second option is only quasi legal, as there still exist laws concerning loitering, vagrancy, trespassing, curfew, etc. By and large, the architecture of society forces participation in the money economy. The controllers of money, the wealthy, those who work in high finance, and politicians know this all too well. They understand there is a subjugation of the poor to the wealthy, and they very much intend to maintain this subjugation because they benefit so greatly from it. By depriving the majority of humans of access to the basic needs of survival, the wealthy “owner” class can make demands of the non-owners and confiscate the surpluses created by their labor.

To be sure, this arrangement was not invented with capitalism, merely refined and perfected. Humans can create a surplus of food using agricultural techniques, and the history of civilization is essentially the history of one set of humans finding ways to manipulate other sets into laboring. This first set can strip the second set of the surpluses they generate, and thus live toil free themselves. This is our society in nutshell, but it is packaged in flowery language, titles, laws, and many other forms of pomp used to legitimize the acquisition of these surpluses by non-laboring owners. Money is just some of this pomp. Money is a magicians trick used to convince the masses that their perpetual labor is owed to the perpetually non-laboring wealthy. With a wave of their wand and some academic babble, exploitation becomes merely, “the economy.”

When understood from this angle, a society based on the deprivation of the masses and inequity of the relations between the owner and the non-owner classes can never be truly equal or free.

Returning to Myerson’s piece, I would like to meditate on his second suggestion, “Social Security for All,” and his mention of a universal basic income for all citizens. This is a concept that has been making its rounds in various online discussions lately. I do think there is a kernel of merit contained within this suggestion. If the hierarchy of wealth begins between the owners of land (as well as the means of production) then some sort of distribution of sustenance income could begin to even the playing field. Land being the source of both home and food, and most people being deprived of free access to land, a basic income with which to afford a reasonable home and diet removes the immediate debt non-owners are born holding to owners. This is to say, that if a person is not even given the opportunity to build a home or raise their own food as any human would be devoid of the current set of social arrangements, then at least giving them the money to acquire these things could be said to mitigate this deprivation.

Defenders of the status-quo will of course, find this idea foolish because they see money only as a reward for work done. Their reasoning will be that people who have done no work should receive no reward. These defenders are failing to acknowledge the totality of what money represents, as well as where both money and wealth originate.

I wouldn’t say this basic income idea is one that I necessarily support, because I do not support the overall set of social arrangements which the basic income concept seeks to make more equitable. However I do think it’s an idea worth exploring conceptually as it reinforces the folly of money economies. If everyone is given a sum of money with which they can afford modest housing and a healthy diet, one of the first consequences of such a distribution would be for a large portion of people to quit their jobs. As it stands now, people must go to a person with capital and fall into their employment in order to attain money. This means that at some level, those with the most capital control the majority of society and what it produces and in which sectors the most work is done. Capitalist “investors” disproportionately control the momentum and direction of society. For instance, if an investor owns shares in petroleum extraction companies, they have little incentive to invest in any competing energy source until they have maximized profits from their petroleum investment. They will also dedicate a mathematically reasonable amount of money into preventing others from destroying the value of their in-the-ground petroleum assets, be this through political manipulation, corporate buy outs, etc. By holding the majority of the available money, the wealthy have the ability to steer both industry and the government. The sheer weight of their wealth outflanks even the combined wealth of so many poor, that even a union of the poor is unlikely to be able to shift society in a direction which benefits them.

It is kind of difficult to examine money without investigating where money comes from in the modern sense. Money in modern economies is loaned into existence, either by the central bank or smaller banks. The numbers in accounts, whether digital or annotated in paper ledgers, spring forth in the form of loans. That’s it. Reserve requirements exist to limit the amount of loans lower banks can make, but even these rules are easily circumnavigated. Central banks are limited in money creation by policy only, which boils down to their own fears of ruining the good thing they have going by opening the spigot too much or too little. The flip side of this is that loans need to be paid back with money acquired through labor. This is truly a con game, in that those closest to the control mechanism of money creation are in a position where for themselves, the social requirement to buy one’s life through money acquisition is essentially negated. A quote from Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild comes to mind.

Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes it’s laws.

Many of the wealthy have learned how to game the capitalist system through participation in the machinations of finance. By manipulating numbers and laws, they have generated for themselves in some cases more money than can be spent. Combined with the corruption of usury (interest) the wealthy literally get paid just for having money, whereas the poor are told they owe the rich for not having enough. For the wealthy, this is essentially ultimate power. They can buy the time, labor, influence, and lives of virtually anyone. They can buy absurd land holdings so large they could not conceivably walk them. Despite the obvious system rigging evident in how the wealthy become and stay rich, defenders of money systems still convince themselves that the wealthy have earned their money through reward for work done.

The last conflict presented by money that I would like to address is that money as it currently functions, can be used as universal value conversion unit. Combine this fact with the fact that modern people must acquire money in order to exist, and the result is that they will destroy anything of perceived value in order to stay alive. Examples are tragically bountiful. In West Virginia, mountains are strip mined layer by layer for the coal they contain. The land base is irrevocably altered and the human communities surrounding this ecocide suffer many maladies including high incidence of brain cancer. It would seem strange to us then, that so many residents of these mining regions in West Virginia defend the mining industry and the corporations that are destroying the region, killing the wildlife, and immiserating the people. The defense always boils down to a word; Jobs. We hear it again and again in any environmental struggle. Jobs are prioritized over everyone and everything. This is of course because of the money requirement placed on non-owners by the owner class. Without money, these people will be thrown out of their homes and starved. They must work for money and the only option given to them is to destroy their landbase and their bodies mining coal. The more they mine for coal, the more the health of their ecosystem is diminished, making it more and more impossible to survive off of the land instead of the economy.

It is this cycle which has placed a price tag around the neck of every living being on Earth. People need forests, but people think they need money more, so out with the chainsaws and feller-bunchers. People need oceans, but they think they need money more, so out with the fishing trawlers which drag nets so large a 747 could fly into one. People need bees and other pollinators, but they think they need money more, so out with the neonicotinoid insecticides. It could be a rhino’s horn or a child sex slave, everything is convertible into money, and thus we are all at risk of being thrown into the hopper so someone else can squeeze out the dime they have been made to need by a completely imaginary set of social conditions.

As long as we exist within the confines of the capitalist paradigm, we will owe our lives to the controllers of capital. We will buy our survival day by day via the bending of our backs. Capital will accumulate, poverty will grow, and the natural world will be converted into an arid waste dump as we watch powerless to help. Mike Ruppert has presciently said, “We will change nothing until we change how money works.” When we understand that money came into being as a direct accounting of social debts community members had to one and other and to the whole, and has now morphed into the relation itself between people, it becomes clear that money is power over others, and that the accumulation of money establishes non-negotiable power dynamics in which those with large sums of wealth can subjugate those without. If we seek to interact with one and other horizontally and to destabilize the current pyramid of power, we must take the power out of money. There are likely several theories on how this can be done, and reforms such as those presented by Myerson are too little too late. We need to abolish money altogether, and we need to abolish monoculture and industrialism along with it.

The question is can we achieve this actively, or must cataclysm do the heavy lifting for us?

The Validity of Rage

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Published on Pray for Calamity on November 14, 2013

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There are a lot of blogs out there that focus on “collapse,” and many of them will from time to time post statistics about increased crime rates in order to demonstrate the slow deterioration of society, occasionally showing videos of flash mobs such as this one below.

Video Removed by You Tube

There was a time when I would have seen something like this and thought, “Whoa, things are getting bad.”  My evolution has been long, and now I find myself seeing something like this and thinking, “Good for them!”  Previously, I was subject to knee jerk reactions which were preprogrammed responses that were silently imprinted in me by our culture.  Now that I have slowly stripped away layer after layer of cultural programming and dogmatic response, I can examine any given scenario based on it’s specific criteria, and come to an analysis that I find satisfying.  I’m open to critique of my analysis, as challenging my biases and interpretations hones my senses and my ability to comprehend my surroundings.

I think it is fair to suggest that most people residing in our culture see such a thing happen, and as a matter of reflex, condemn it.  This condemnation comes from an inner policing that was built partly from Judeo-Christian values as well as capitalist social indoctrination.  I would even argue that Judeo-Christian values as they currently stand are informed by mercantilist necessity.  Summarizing briefly my interpretation of the knee jerk condemnation of such acts as the one in the above video, I would say most people feel like Society (capital “S”) is a good thing, and that people who would mob into a retail store and in a flash, steal as much as they could get their hands on, are going to negatively impact Society.

This is where my personal bias comes into play.  I do not believe Society to be a good thing.  My view is that megalithic Society — these nations of millions of people — are unnatural constructs ultimately glued together through violence, whether implicit or explicit.  Humans, I do not believe to be social creatures, as much as they are tribal creatures.  This is to say, I believe when not arranged into massive groups by other humans wielding power (via violence, whether armies, police, law, etc.) people will self organize into smaller groups, communities, clans, or tribes.  The main difference being the over all size of the social organism created by such organization, and where the individual falls within this organism.

In a small tribe or clan, the individual is an integral component and is valued.  However, the unit as a whole can maximize the benefits of group togetherness and group work without losing prowess due to curves of diminishing returns.  Why is this?  For one, the human animal and our psychological and emotional responses have evolved to exist within smaller communities.  Emotions like empathy are a boon to tribes and clans, as individuals are all known to each other, are interrelated with one another, care for one another, and thus gift and sharing come naturally.  Not only are members of small tribes capable of caring for those who are less skilled, sick, elderly, etc. but they almost always insist upon doing so.  The empathy of the individual becomes collective and thus becomes a cultural norm: When you are successful in the hunt, you share the meat, and no one goes hungry.  When you are not successful in the hunt, but another clan member is, you eat because they share.

These sorts of relations which are natural to humans, which have allowed humans to survive through massive environmental shifts and calamities of the past, are not only absent from mega-social structures, but under capitalism, they are considered foolish.  Does anyone really believe that the people who wield power within this Society are actually empathetic to the masses at large?  This is a crucial failure of democracy.  Unless decisions makers and policy setters actually know — and I mean in person — all of the people they claim to represent, how could they possibly be expected to be truly empathetic towards them and their particular circumstances?  Democracy and the governmental architectures of megalithic social organisms suffer a myriad of contradictions and failures to be sure, but I would just like to highlight for this argument that small clans of people can function in a fashion that is far more agreeable to the individuals involved, thereby giving these individuals a reason to care about the well being of the greater social system.  Large scale Society cannot do this.

Even when humans are corralled into massive social constructs like those of today, tribal behavior is still implicit in many of our daily activities.  This behavior, depending on who is engaging in it and what the ultimate outcome, will be dubbed “gang activity,” “nepotism,” “cult,” “clique,” or even “patriotism,” “networking,” etc.  Tribal behavior that is seen to have a net benefit to the social organism — and primarily to those who sit atop the social hierarchy, will be granted a positive connotation.  Tribal behavior that is engaged in by those low on the social hierarchy that is gauged as only having a benefit to that tribe at the expense of the social organism or its narrative is given negative association and is often the target of state repression.

When a group of teenagers mobs into a corporate retail location and in a flash, steals a large amount of wares, this is immediately cast as “bad for Society.”  As noted above, I personally believe Society to be a bad thing.   Massive social organisms such as the Society in which we live require massive prison complexes, squadrons of well armed police, and a penal system so obtuse and selectively applied as to make Franz Kafka blush.  Above all, we have to recognize that the Society in which we live, and the greater industrial civilization of which it is a part, are both decimating the biosphere of the planet.  Polluted, overfished, rapidly acidifying oceans; mountaintop removal coal mining, hydraulic fracturing, deep water drilling, and tar sands strip mining; top soil loss, rivers and waterways tainted with agricultural run off, deforestation, over grazing, desertification; massive die off currently underway of trees, amphibians, mammals, and so on; must I even argue that the way humans are organizing and sustaining themselves (with the exception of the world’s remaining indigenous tribes who are also fighting off an ongoing genocide) is killing the planet?

When a true and honest calculus of the costs is visible, it is clear that modern human paradigms must be shattered immediately if there is to be any hope for the future of life on Earth.  This is if it is not already long too late.

Balancing this knowledge in one hand, and then watching as a bunch of modern teens, whose minds have no doubt been warped and bent by a lifetime of consumerist propaganda, plunder a store of some clothing no doubt made in a third world sweatshop, I am supposed to weep for the retailer?  It would require a chasm of cognitive disconnect to see an injustice.

In discussing this, people have been quick to point out to me that these young people are likely not aware of the larger social and environmental context in which their action took place, and that in all likelihood these teenagers just wanted to steal because they wanted stuff they couldn’t afford, and maybe the adrenaline rush generated by breaking the social convention was an alleviation from boredom.  Most people assume these youth aren’t knowingly taking direct action against an unethical capitalist system, and thus the robbery is just another example of disrespectful teenagers acting out.

I think this is an extremely unfair assessment.

I’ll start with a thesis statement: I believe rage is valid.  This culture demotes emotion to be subordinate to thought.  The predominantly white male “educated” upper class has for centuries defined what reason, logic, and rationality are.  Not surprisingly, logic and reason have always substantiated the Social order, and hence the system can constantly reify itself while those who benefit from it the most can claim that it is all high minded and rational.

Members of the lower social classes are abused by the Social organism.  They are subject to the highest levels of toxic pollution that accompanies industrial activity, they are far more policed and prosecuted by the penal system, and in general are confined into a go-no-where economic merry-go-round that keeps survival necessities always just barely within reach so they will tolerate egregious treatment by employers; low wages, poor conditions, etc.  When people from these classes finally act out in society, whether via a peaceful demonstration or a full blown riot, their demands and their actions are almost universally decried as irrational, unreasonable, and anti-social.  Their actions and movements are condemned all the more thoroughly if their demands or motivations are not articulated in a language acceptable to the mostly white middle and upper class.

The absurdity in this rejection is that articulation follows feeling, not the other way around.  The feeling of “getting the shaft” or “being shit on” is actually far more relevant than any individual’s ability to explain the particulars of their condition in academic verbiage.  The feelings are the truth of lived experience, the explanation is merely a communication of these feelings.

Right and wrong, our internal distinction between the two, and our sense of justice are natural to us.  Empathy is a survival instinct, as I noted above, as it promotes the welfare of the tribal unit which is ultimately beneficial for the individual participant.  Society has co-opted this sense and attempted to blur the line of what is moral or ethical to include the social machine not as a construct, but as another member of the whole.  In this sense, the judicial system uses language which claims criminals have wronged society and that in doing so they owe a debt to society, as if society is itself an individual who could be wronged or paid restitution.  This methodology of thought is then further blurred when it is also applied to businesses and enterprises as if these entities are persons.  This is why shoplifting from Wal-Mart is condemned by those who think in binaries, where stealing is always wrong regardless of what or from whom something is taken.  Wal-Mart in this example, is given the status of an individual to be empathized with, instead of allowing a detailed analysis of just what exactly a Wal-Mart unit is, where from and by what means they acquired their inventory, and what the true costs of Wal-Mart’s existence are relative to the environment and humanity.

This is how those in power manipulate people into expressing outrage and dismay when they witness an incident of flash mob shoplifting.  They have confused people into equating the retailer with an individual, whose shoes the witness then mentally dons, and thusly they ask, “If these kids so brazenly rob a retail outlet, what is to prevent them from doing the same to me or my home?”  And the illusion is complete, with the average proletariat seeing the retailer as a poor victim, setting the stage for themselves and their loved ones to be next.  This leads to fear and demands that the perpetrators are dealt with swiftly, which leaves the social narrative and the hierarchy of power in tact.

If my bias against Society and the greater industrial civilization is well founded, if we can accept for a moment that continuing along with business as usual will allow the continuing onslaught against life which is driving at least one hundred species per day into extinction and will certainly lead to the extinction of human beings as well, then the only moral response is to shift one’s biases to agree with mine: to see the massive social organism as a parasite which needs to be expunged.

Let me be crystal clear; I am not suggesting that humans are parasitic, but that the current experiment of civilization, is.  Human beings are just another mammal, who have in the past, and who do in last remaining pockets now, live in balance with nature.  Mine isn’t misanthropy, but an anti-civilization (or anti-civ) understanding, which is biocentric, meaning that I believe all life has value despite whether or not it plays a role in human economy.

If the current paradigms of human organization, thought, and behavior — our Societies — need to be completely undone, then why are we at all concerned with whether or not particular retail outlets profit off of the merchandise in their stores?  Should this not be among the least of our concerns?  Should we not see a breakdown in the domination of commerce as positive?

On this point, people have suggested to me in many manner of ways, that it is not the retail outlet for whom they are concerned, but for the individuals involved, as well as any future victims they may have should they make a habit of breaking social conditions.  This suggestion contains a handful of premises.  First, concern for the perpetrators.  I too share a concern that these young people might end up in the hands of the prison industrial complex, to be sure.  Concern for their general state of being, for their character, is less of a factor for me, because all people in this Society have the content of their character on the line every day.  Frankly, the store employees who rush after thieves worry me more than the thieves themselves, because in these individuals I see subjugated minds chained and shackled by the hollow promises of a market system that demands loyalty to wage payers, as if we should all be oh-so-grateful to have employment under which to waste away the years of our lives.  For those concerned about the character and potential “slippery slope” of looser and looser ethics on the part of the teenage flash-mobbers, there is still an underlying assumption that this act is one that is of low moral fiber — a premise not demonstrated — and an assumption that this act won’t lead in the other direction, to a greater and greater questioning of the status quo, of why some people have a lot when the rest have very little, of how global neo-liberalism actually functions, etc.

The second major premise is that this is in fact, a “slippery slope,” a “gateway drug” to breaking more and more laws and/or social conventions.  While this could be one possibility, it is not necessarily the case.  Some slopes are not slippery at all, and some acts are not gateways.  In fact, in committing such actions and challenging the social conventions impressed upon one since youth, it is quite reasonable to assume that these young people have had internal or external dialogues about their actions, and whether and how they are justified.  In any case, to assume that it is necessarily so that these teenagers will engage in more brazen acts, possibly including violence, is unfounded.  Someone who smokes marijuana doesn’t necessarily move on to crack cocaine.  Someone who runs a red light doesn’t necessarily move on to tax evasion.

Law is interesting in that some of Society’s prohibited behaviors are those that run counter to our natural state of being, such as murder and rape.  These are acts that to a mentally and spiritually stable human, are repugnant.  Our natural empathy for one another and our evolution as a tribal cooperator already has cast murder and rape as abhorrent in our minds.  Crimes that are bureaucratic, or prohibited actions which are prohibited to preserve an economic order — such as theft, writing bad checks, counter-fitting, what have you — do not require necessarily that the perpetrator have been mentally or spiritually broken.  These are crimes committed because Society itself creates an enormous amount of economic pressure and lays is on every individual, requiring everyone to take on wage labor in order to survive. This unnatural order creates scenarios in which certain pockets of Society have very few options to legally attain a dignified survival.  Or again, some people sense the greater injustice of “getting screwed” by an imaginary construct over which they have no say in their participation.  So while committing a murder or rape usually requires first that the perpetrator be mentally or spiritually broken down, this is not the case for those who commit “crimes” against the economic order.  This is all to say, engaging in actions of the latter type, does not place one on a “slippery slope” to commit actions of the former type.

Systems of power do not create available methods for the ruled to dismantle the power structure.  Power accumulates more power, consolidates it, and entrenches itself.  It throws up walls and defenses to ensure its continuation.  There is no flow chart of legal and available political channels for the ruled (I should say, “owned”) peoples of the world to set themselves free and to terminate the industrial economy which is hell bent on destroying all life on Earth.  The only hope, is calamity.  This calamity can be an environmental mega disaster, or an amalgamation of social disruptions compounding upon each other.  Either way, the current paradigms — economic, political, social, et al — are toxic, and grass roots behaviors that are detrimental to the success of these paradigms are ultimately to our benefit, as contradictory as this may seem at first glance.  In simple terms, “Good for the machine, bad for you.  Bad for the machine, good for you.”

Of course, billions of people are now dependent upon the machine to access their needs.  This is aptly described by Derrick Jensen’s statement that,

“if your experience is that your food comes from the grocery store and your water comes from the tap, then you are going to defend to the death the system that brings those to you because your life depends on them. If your experience, however, is that your food comes from a landbase and that your water comes from a stream, well, then you will defend to the death that landbase and that stream.”

We should not be inclined to preserve the machine because it is meeting our basic needs today when we know that it is accomplishing this by destroying the planet’s ability to meet those needs tomorrow.  This is doubly true when we know that the machine is only accomplishing this task through a massive program of violence meted out upon the global poor as well as all non-human species.

My last observation on this issue concerns balance.  The universe is a system in balance.  Even temporary imbalances are only perceptions of a frozen timeline, for all they will all come into balance once again.  Our mega Societies — the global civilization — is a system out of balance.  When I suggest to people that we abolish police and prisons, most are immediately mortified.  They assume that such an abolition would be immediately followed by an immense surge in crime.  To this I respond, “Of course!”  This should tell us something about the Society in which we live, particularly that it is entirely out of balance.  The need of so many runs up against the wealth of so few.  No natural state would allow such a one sided distribution of resources.  Any other place in nature, devoid of constructed law and cordons of militant law enforcers, would see a rapid diffusion of the resources to a balanced state.  Imagine one-hundred gorillas, with two of them controlling ninety-eight percent of the available bananas, and the other ninety-eight gorillas having two percent of the bananas to divide amongst themselves.  This would be an absurdity even modern humans from this culture wouldn’t be able to explain if they stumbled upon it in the wild.  Yet we exist within such a system!  In our example, the hungry ninety-eight gorillas would quickly take what they needed from the other two by whatever means necessary, and we wouldn’t expect them to validate their actions or any sense of indignation that preceded them with artful discourse.

No doubt, the teenagers engaged in flash mobs, and indeed plenty of other people who steal, are often taking non-essential items.  Cultural distortion of need due to advertising propaganda is surely playing it’s role.  Despite this, we should at the very least see these acts as the result of causation.  These hard and fast broad daylight robberies are a clever tactic undertaken by people who have been given zero reason to care about the bloated social organism  The real question we should be asking ourselves, is when and how we are going to join them in acting out against that which is rapidly killing us.

 

Podcast: On the Guillotine

Off the Microphones of RE & Monsta

Aired on the Doomstead Diner on June 17, 2013

logopodcast

Discuss at the Podcast Table inside the Diner

 

I’ve long been known for writing some pretty Over-the-Top Blogs advocating for Capital Punishment for the Crimes Against Humanity perpetrated by the Elite Class of society.  “Bring on the Guillotine” as it were.

In this Podcast with Monsta, I try to explain my POV on this topic without going TOO FAR OTT.  LOL.

Anyhow, for long term readers of my stuff, I hope this Podcast gives you a little better perspective on my views, without the usual Graphics and Videos I use to make such things a bit more visceral.  Trust me, even just in this short intro post, it’s tough for me to not drop on a Guillotine Video. LOL.

For newbies, I can only hope you don’t go running off after listening to my POV on this.  It is NOT the most popular one on the Diner by any means, in fact I am pretty much in a Minority of One.  My fellow Admin Surly takes the complete Opposite View, and has confronted me many times on this subject.  The second part of his Podcast with Monsta is forthcoming shortly, so you will get a bit of the flavor of the running debate we have been engaged in for years now.

For more than this, visit the Diner.  It never stops there.

RE

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

The Anniversary date of Occupy Wall Street has passed, barely a Blip on the Radar in the pantheon of major Newz Events unfolding around the world these days.  Die hard OWSers showed up on Wall Street, vastly outnumbered by the Massed Force of the World’s 7th Largest Army, the NYPD of Billionaire Mayor Micheal Bloombug.

With the exception of a few Striking Teachers in Chicago who Capitulated after a mere 6 Days of Striking, Amerika mostly proceeds onward here in gradual deterioration of Opportunity for most people, while a few at the top have access to the now ENDLESS supply of ZIRP Funny Money being produced by Da Fed.

Over in Asia, disgruntled Chinese are taking their Anger out on the Japanese, who didn’t manage to succeed in dominating China though WWII, but as the Chief Agent for Anglo-Illuminati Bizness Interests have done a pretty good job dominating China in the post-War years, accessing their Cheap Labor  and sieving profit out of that land mass for their Illuminati Masters.

Now the Nipponese are in their own World of Shit as Fuk-u-shima inexorably poisons their water supply, agricultural produce and fisherie, and so they covet some disputed Islands that they say they “own”, while the Chinese say they “own” them.  Mixed into that Ballgame, NATO is working on setting up more Oz Military fortresses and the Chinese are Talking a Bond War on the Nips, while their Hackers mess around with a few dozen websites to show they are SERIOUS.

Over in MENA, Syria remains a sewer, the Israelis keep Trash Talking the Iranians and Putin occasionally flexes Ruskie Muscle.  So the Flashpoints for International War between major Global Nation States are all in place here in many places, A False flag or even a REAL Flag might at some point get any of these rolling onward here.  But is INTERNATIONAL WAR, aka Global WWIII the most likely outcome here?  It may happen, but IMHO is subsidiary to the CIVIL WARS which are going to Sprout like Mushrooms as time goes by here.

Ambrose Evans Pritchard of the UK Telegraph  had this to say about the recent shenanigans going on over in Spain:

Tens of thousands marched in Madrid at the weekend to protest against drastic cuts, including a 7pc cut in public wages. A man set fire to himself in Portugal, where clashes turned violent.

The protests followed a traumatic week in Catalonia, where 1.5m took to the streets amid a wave of secessionist demands. Catalan leader Artur Mas has been swept by events into open confrontation with Madrid. Mr de Guindos pleaded for time, insisting that the reforms would lay the foundations for recovery. “These sacrifices are absolutely unavoidable.”

His claims were badly undercut by Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz, who told a Spanish forum that German austerity medicine is “utterly misguided” and will push Spain deeper into a downward spiral. It would be “suicidal” for Spain to accept a rescue if it involved more fiscal tightening, he said.

You know what the word secession means of course.  Same thing it meant here in the FSoA in the 1860s.  Southerners will often refer to the Civil War as the War of Secession or the War of Northern Aggression.

In another of the remakes of 1930s Cinema, Spain is on the brink of Civil War.

Like the Civil War here, the Spanish Civil War was really about the transition from the Agricultural Economy to the Industrial one.

From Wiki:

At the end of the 19th century, the owners of large estates, called latifundia, held most of the power in a land-based oligarchy. The landowners’ power was unsuccessfully challenged by the industrial and merchant sectors.[9] In 1868 popular uprisings led to the overthrow of Queen Isabella II of the House of Bourbon. In 1873 Isabella’s replacement, King Amadeo I of the House of Savoy, abdicated due to increasing political pressure, and the short-lived First Spanish Republic was proclaimed.[10][11] After the restoration of the Bourbons in December 1874,[12] Carlists and anarchists emerged in opposition to the monarchy.[13][14] Alejandro Lerroux helped bring republicanism to the fore in Catalonia, where poverty was particularly acute.[15] Growing resentment of conscription and of the military culminated in the Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909.[16] After the First World War, the working class, the industrial class, and the military united in hopes of removing the corrupt central government, but were unsuccessful.[17] Fears of communism grew.[18] A military coup brought Miguel Primo de Rivera to power in 1923, and he ran Spain as a military dictatorship.[19] Support for his regime gradually faded, and he resigned in January 1930.[20] There was little support for the monarchy in the major cities, and King Alfonso XIII abdicated;[21] the Second Spanish Republic was formed, whose power would remain until the culmination of the Spanish Civil War.[22]

In Spain between WWI and WWII, it was finally the Industrialists time to take control over this country, which they had not been successful with in the 19th Centruy as they had with Britain, Germany and the FSoA.  A Military Coup d’Etat was organized up with Generallisimo Francisco Franco as the Strongman, backed by the other Fascist States of Europe at the time, the Italians led by Il Duce Benito Mussolini and the Krauts led by Der Fuehrer Adolf Hitler.  The Ruskies were funding the Loyalists, which ironically represented the traditional Landowners of the Feudal system but had a large Grassroots component which represented the Peasant class of Spain at the time.

The Spanish Civil War was particularly violent (though all such conflicts really are pretty nasty), and is best known to Amerikans through the writings of Ernest Hemingway in his Novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls“, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and made also into a film starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.  At the end of the story, Hemingway’s Protagonist Robert Jordan is wounded  and makes his Last Stand to take out as many Fascists as he can while his Guerilla Fighter friends and True Love Maria make their escape.

The theme of Self-Sacrifice in Civil War and the conflicts to come in this Go Round are ones often explored around the Tables inside the Diner, as each person attempts to work out for themselves how they will react when confronted with such situations.

For those of us currently living inside the FSofA, these choices still seem Far Off, far enough off that most folks do not even want to consider them.  More often the discussions are about how you might try to AVOID becoming Cannon Fodder in such a war and how to achieve basic survival with enough Food and Fresh Water and Shelter once the current systems holding our society together begin to break down.

It is however unlikely that most of us will be able to avoid the consequences of the breakdown of Industrial Society, already well in progress across much of the world as we speak.  The ongoing Wars both Civil and International all throughout MENA now are the direct consequence of diminishing Available Energy from Fossil Fuels, and the diminishing ability to bring the “benefits” of Industrial Civilization to more societies, or even to maintain them in the societies that took them on in the aftermath of WWI and WWII.

This diminishing capacity to maintain the Industrial Society is already most apparent in the Western societies in Greece and now Spain as well.  Greece is a relatively small economy though, and in order to keep the banking system from suffering a Cascade Failure numerous Kludges have been undertaken to prevent an outright Officially recognized Default from occurring there.  The Greeks themselves are not doing any better with the perpetual Bailouts of their banking system, but their political organization is in complete dissarray and Greece is well on its way to becoming a Failed State on the model of Somalia or Zimbabwe.  Critical difference there in terms of general perceptions is that this is in EUROPE, not in AFRICA.

While the problem inside Greece can be masked somewhat, it is not so easy to mask the SAME problems occurring on a larger scale in Spain.  The much larger scale of the problem along with long standing animosity between the Castillians and Catalonians have now created a clear division in Spain, not dissimilar in many respects to the division in the Muslim world between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.  Like that situation where all are Muslims, in Spain they are all Roman Catholics.  The division here is more along traditional Tribal Lines rather than all that much disagreement on Religious principles.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard contributed a bit more to this yesterday in another article about the possibilities for Secession by the Catalonians:

 

Catalonian independence graffiti

It is the latest move in a fast-escalating clash between Catalan nationalists and Spanish nationalists, the latter backed by King Juan Carlos and the Spanish military.

Jose-Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the foreign minister, threw down the gauntlet, calling Catalan secession “illegal and lethal”. He warned that Spain would use its veto to stop the region of Catalonia becoming an EU member “indefinitely”.

The constitutional crisis has eclipsed the parallel drama of a Spanish bail-out request from the European Stability Mechanism. It is no longer clear whether premier Mariano Rajoy can deliver on any austerity deal with Brussels.

Catalan leader Artur Mas held high-stakes talks with Mr Rajoy in Madrid on Thursday, armed with a mandate from the Catalan parliament and with charged emotions left from an unprecedented protest by 1.5m people in Barcelona 10 days ago.

He demanded an independent treasury for the rich Catalan region, with control over its own tax base akin to the model already enjoyed by Basques. The 9m Catalans have an economy the size of Austria’s.

“It did not go well,” he said. The Rajoy government said Spain’s constitution allows no margin for compromise. Mr Mas refused to meet the press in the prime minister’s offices, retreating to the Catalan delegation, where he spoke before the Catalan and EU flags. “Constitutions may or may not be modified, but they do not subjugate the will of the people,” he said.

Catalonia’s parliament will meet next week to “think deeply” about its next fateful step. “Catalonia will follow its path. We have no enemies but we will build our own project as a country,” said Mr Mas.

The newspaper Confidencial reported that his Convergència i Unió (CiU) party and coalition partners have asked the European Commission whether Spain can prevent Catalans exercising democratic self-determination, and whether a sovereign Catalonia could remain part of the EU’s single market and the euro.

The speed of events has caught almost everybody by surprise, including Mr Mas himself. His CiU has, until now, pursued a policy of calculated ambiguity over secession. Mr Mas has pivoted quickly, embracing what he calls the “popular outcry” as his own.

The antagonisms date back to the Franco era and, above all, to 1714 when Philip V abolished all Catalan institutions, and imposed Castilian laws and absolutism by right of conquest.

Diplomats say Mr Rajoy’s Partido Popular has provoked the latest eruption of fury by exploiting the economic crisis to break the power of the regions. This came to a head over the summer when Catalonia was forced to request a €5bn rescue from Madrid, though it is a net contributor to the Spanish state.

Spain’s economic slump has frayed nerves across the country, much as it did before the Civil War in the 1930s. Unemployment has risen to 25.1pc and may go higher as the delayed effects of austerity bite deeper.

Citigroup expects the economy to contract by 3.2pc next year and 0.8pc in 2014, pushing public debt to 100pc of GDP.

Chief economist Willem Buiter said the mix of austerity and reform will not restore Spain to “fiscal sustainability”, even if EU loans keep Spain going for another couple of years. He expects “debt restructuring” in the end. The warm glow of the European Central Bank’s bond plan helped Spain sell 10-year debt at 5.66pc on Thursday, the lowest since February.

Mr Rajoy appears to determined to play for time, hoping that he can muddle through without a rescue.

Traders say such gamesmanship is unlikely to succeed for long. Mr Rajoy also hopes to siphon off part of the €100bn in EU rescue package for Spanish banks, but this is certain to infuriate Germany’s Bundestag.

Spanish politics are now intruding, in any case. An EU bail-out memorandum would have to include fiscal restraint for the regions, further inflaming Catalonia.

The risks of a misjudgement are growing. The king caused irritation in Catalonia this week by warning against the seduction of “chimeras” – his first such crisis intervention since 1981.

A serving army officer, Colonel Francisco Alaman, has fuelled the flames by comparing the crisis with 1936 – when Gen Francisco Franco seized power – and by vowing to crush Catalan nationalists, described as “vultures”.

“Independence for Catalunya? Over my dead body. Spain is not Yugoslavia or Belgium. Even if the lion is sleeping, don’t provoke the lion, because he will show the ferocity proven over centuries,” he said.

Retired Lt-Gen Pedro Pitarch, a former army chief, said the words reflect “deeply-rooted thinking in large parts of the armed forces”. He also accused Madrid of bungling the Catalan drama disastrously.

“Are we looking at a failed state?” he asked. Investors holding Spanish debt are listening carefully.

Catalonians unhappy with the general distribution of Wealth and Taxation throughout Spain now wish to form their OWN seperate Country recognized by the European Union in general.  Though why anyone would care or want to be recognized by that bunch of scumbags I have no clue whatsoever.

What this represents is much the same as the breakup of the Soviet Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is One-to-the-Many dissolution; as opposed to Many-to-the-One Consolidation which has been underway since the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 10 Millenia ago or so.  This Many-to-One consolidation accelerated tremendously of course in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, as the War machine of the Military-Industrial Complex moved around the world basically beginning with the War of Northern Aggression and the forcible openning of Japan by Matthew Perry’s Gunboats.  WWI and WWII were the final steps in Consolidation of Power by the Industrialist Illuminati, and Bretton-Woods brought the entire World under the domination of the BIS, utilizing the Dollar as World Reserve Currency.

The Dissolution of the Soviet Union along with the progressive dissolution of many smaller Nation States into their separate components is the Beginning of the End for Globalization.  The opposite side to the Secessionists in Catlaonia are of course the Krauts and their Client states in Northern Europe who all wish to perpetuate the European Union under THEIR control, forcing all the PIIGS nations to accept a loss of Soveregnty and Fiscal Watchdogs from the IMF dictating to them how they spend their money, which of course is not their money at all but money created out of thin air by the Bankster Cabal of the Illuminati.

To me, the obvious loss of control here throughout the system with evermore Nation-States devolving into this type of internal bickering spells the Death Knell for Globalism, and with that the withering of the Power of the Illuminati.  Not that they will go Quietly into this Good Night of course, but without the Cheap Oil to power the War Machine and maintain the vast connections of the Electric Grids and the World Wide Web, this kind of Global Power simply cannot continue to function.

As it decays, certainly you see the International Wars being fought here for Oil in MENA, but really the more important and critical wars are the Civil ones already underway, and those still to come.  Anyone who believes that the FSoA will hold together as a Unit once the spin down works its way inward from the Peripheral Economies into the Central Ringfenced ones is positively nuts.  CBs can print Money in perpetuity, but they CANNOT Print Oil or Print Food.  You CANNOT MAKE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING!

It is just a matter of time before the Spanish problems migrate to Italy also, from there to France and then finally work their way inward past the Ruhr Valley into Krautland.  In fact it may not even take that long, since it remains unclear that the Krauts can split themselves off from the collapsing economies of the PIIGS either.  Europe is bound to fracture, and then after that the FSofA and China and Russia and Japan will all fracture also.  Countless and endless Civil Wars everywhere is the outcome of that, not really International Wars fought by integrated Nation States.

In such a time, with so much strife coming to your neighborhood in due time, for anyone to believe they will be able to manage a Peaceful Doomstead is mostly a pretty unreasonable hope.  Similarly unreasonable are hopes that having a large stash of Possessible Gold and Junk Silver Coins will help you all that much either.

Like the Spaniards in Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, you have to come to grips with the fact inside your own country, nay inside your own COMMUNITY there will be Competing Interests at work, those with a stake in the Game of Globalism who wish it to continue onward, and the vast majority of the disenfranchised with little stake in this other than their dependence on the Systems it uses for control.  In every community in one way or the other you will be forced to line up on one side or the other as the society fractures along the lines of Haves and Have Nots.

When it does, it behooves all to remember the words of John Donne

 from
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
MEDITATION XVII.
N
UNC LENTO SONITU DICUNT, MORIERIS.
Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.

PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him.  And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.  The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member.  And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.

There was a contention as far as a suit (in which, piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest.  If we understand aright the dignity of this bell, that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is.  The bell doth toll for him, that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute, that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God.  Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises?  But who takes off his eye from a comet, when that breaks out? who bends not his ear to any bell, which upon any occasion rings?  But who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island,  entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;  any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbors.  Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.  No man hath afflicion enough, that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.  If a man carry treasure in bullion or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current moneys, his treasure will not defray him as he travels.  Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another’s danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

Remember the Words of John Donne when the Big Show Comes to a Theatre Near You, for it most surely is coming now to about ALL Homo Sapiens who Walk the Earth at the End of the Age of Oil.  Go With God my Friends, and…

SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

RE

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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Inside the Diner

Ugh. Capitalist Apologetics.The real problem is that the Poor don't have enough $MONEY$ 🤑.  So where do you get the money?  From the Rich, who have more than they need.  CFS.RE

One of the pet topics of anti-capitalists like Bernie Sanders is the gap between rich and poor. In their opinion, this is the greatest of the problems that afflict modern society. And yet the evidence they repeatedly cite in support of their claim that...

7 pic slide showNEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — With sunlight sparkling off surrounding Yaquina Bay, workers are putting up an ocean-studies building, smack in the middle of an area expected to one day be hit by a tsunami.Experts say it’s only a matter of time ...

The planet’s far North is burning. This summer, over 600 wildfires have consumed more than 2.4 million acres of forest across Alaska. Fires are also raging in northern Canada. In Siberia, choking smoke from 13 million acres – an area nearly the size of...

‘Crisis pregnancy centers’ seek to discourage women from getting abortions by ‘deceiving them about services they do or do not offer’[img]https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/670ff1a324c4ebbfbfb60748a14d9bbfda961a99/0_233_5364_3218/master/5364.jpg?wi...

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Knarf’s Knewz

Ugh. Capitalist Apologetics.The real problem is th [...]

One of the pet topics of anti-capitalists like Ber [...]

7 pic slide showNEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — With sunlight [...]

The planet’s far North is burning. This summer, ov [...]

‘Crisis pregnancy centers’ seek to discourage wome [...]

Diner Newz Feeds

  • Surly
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  • Knarf
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Doomstead Diner Daily August 19The Diner Daily is [...]

Plague-infected prairie dogs have shut down parts [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily August 18The Diner Daily is [...]

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

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

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

Ugh. Capitalist Apologetics.The real problem is th [...]

One of the pet topics of anti-capitalists like Ber [...]

7 pic slide showNEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — With sunlight [...]

The planet’s far North is burning. This summer, ov [...]

‘Crisis pregnancy centers’ seek to discourage wome [...]

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

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

Wisconsin Bill Would Remove Barrier to Using Gold, [...]

Under extreme conditions, gold rearranges its atom [...]

The cost of gold futures on the Comex exchange inc [...]

The Wasilla Fred Meyer has reopened.  They're [...]

Quote from: AJ on August 16, 2019, 03:08:52 AMYeah [...]

Yeah, anybody who follows the climate change catas [...]

Good Newz!  The less people the better!  More Salm [...]

Alternate Perspectives

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

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

A Window Into Our World By Cognitive Dissonance   Every year during the early spring awakening I qui [...]

Deaf, Dumb and Blind Who Is Better at Conceding They Are Wrong - Conservative or Liberal Extremists? [...]

The Apology: From baby boomers to the handicapped generations. by David Holmgren Re-posted from Holm [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-08-13http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

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Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

The Dark Cloud"Skynet needs to send a terminator back to 1984 and take out Mark Zuckerberg’s mom before he ca [...]

Accelerating Climate Solutions"When politicians set a lofty goal like zero emissions, engineers scramble." In 1834, Alex [...]

Roots"A foray into genealogy prompts some observations about the Anthropocene." Last week, an h [...]

The Hawkwood Elephant"Large-scale problems do not require large-scale solutions. They require only small-scale solut [...]

How the gourd killed the whale"It was a dried gourd that brought whales to the edge of extinction in the 19th Century. " [...]

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

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

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

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

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

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

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

Why has it taken so long for the climate movement to accomplish so little? And how can we do better [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

If population can be greatly reduced, and the globe is much warmer, perhaps coal in Alaska and elsew [...]

I don't think gods tell us we are here forever. Gods tell us we are somewhere else forever, alt [...]

The devil is in the details. If the write-off can be done in a way that leaves the banks "whole [...]

We have expanded as far as we can reasonably expand. [...]

I know that peat moss played a huge role in the Netherland's rise to, at least temporarily, bec [...]

Hi Steve. I recently found what I believe is a little gem, and I'm quite confident you'd a [...]

The Federal Reserve is thinking about capping yields? I don't know how long TPTB can keep this [...]

As some one who has spent years trying to figure out what the limits to growth are. let me say that [...]

Peak oil definitely happened for gods sake. Just because it isn't mad max right now is no indic [...]

@Volvo - KMO says he made some life choices he regrets. Not sure what they were. And I don't th [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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

Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

An urban heat island (UHI) is a phenomenon that shows a higher temperature in urban areas compared t [...]

Passive microclimate frames are exhibition enclosures able to modify their internal climate in order [...]

European climate change objectives aim to reduce CO2 emissions, promote the spread of renewable ener [...]

Urban territorial expansion generated in the last decades has brought a series of consequences, such [...]

Institutions matter because they are instrumental in systematically adapting to global climate chang [...]