Guns

Bang, You’re Dead

good violence bad violencegc2smFrom the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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good violence bad violence
Illustration by Anthony Freda      
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation October 12, 2015
 

Apropos of the recent Roseburg, Oregon, school massacre that left nine dead, President Obama said, “we’re going to have to come together and stop these things from happening.” That’s an understandable sentiment, and the president has to say something, after all. But within the context of how life is lived in this country these days, we’re not going to stop these things from happening.

And what is that context? A nation physically arranged on-the-ground to produce maximum loneliness, arranged economically to produce maximum anxiety, and disposed socially to produce maximum alienation. Really, everything in the once vaunted American way of life slouches in the direction of depression, rage, violence, and death.

This begs the question about guns. I believe it should be harder to buy guns. I believe certain weapons-of-war, such as assault rifles, should not be sold in the civilian market. But I also believe that the evolution of our Deep State — the collusion of a corrupt corporate oligarchy with an overbearing police and surveillance apparatus — is such a threat to liberty and decency that the public needs to be armed in defense of it. The Deep State needs to worry about the citizens it is fucking with.

The laws on gun sales range from ridiculously lax in many states to onerous in a few. Yet the most stringent, Connecticut, (rated “A” by the Brady Campaign org), was the site of the most horrific massacre of recent times so far, the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting. The handgun law in New York City is the most extreme in the nation — limiting possession only to police and a few other very special categories of citizens. But it took the “stop-and-frisk” policy to really shake the weapons out of the gang-banging demographic. And now that Mayor Bill deBlasio has deemed that “racist,” gang-banging murders are going up again.

Which leads to a consideration that there is already such a fantastic arsenal of weapons loose in this country that attempts to regulate them would be an exercise in futility — it would only stimulate brisker underground trafficking in the existing supply.

What concerns me more than the gun issue per se is the extraordinary violence-saturated, pornified culture of young men driven crazy by failure, loneliness, grievance, and anger. More and more, there are no parameters for the normal expression of masculine behavior in America — for instance, taking pride in doing something well, or becoming a good candidate for marriage. The lower classes have almost no vocational domain for the normal enactments of manhood, and one of the few left is the army, where they are overtly trained to be killers.

Much of what used to be the working class is now an idle class that can only dream of what it means to be a man and they are bombarded with the most sordid pre-packaged media dreams in the form of video games based on homicide, the narcissistic power fantasies of movies, TV, and professional sports, and the frustrating tauntings of free porn. The last thing they’re able to do is form families. All of this operates in conditions where there are no normal models of male authority, especially fathers and bosses, to regulate the impulse control of young men — and teach them to regulate it themselves.

The physical setting of American life composed of a failing suburban sprawl pattern for daily life — the perfect set-up for making community impossible — obliterates the secondary layer of socialization beyond the family. This is life in the strip-mall wilderness of our country, which has gotten to be most of where people live. Imagine a society without families and real communities and wave your flag over that.

President Obama and whatever else passes for authority in America these days won’t even talk about that. They don’t have a vocabulary for it. They don’t understand how it works and what it’s doing to the nation. Many of the parts and modules of it make up what’s left of our foundering economy: junk food, pointless and endless motoring, television. We’re not going to do anything about it. The killing and the mayhem will continue through the process of economic collapse that we have entered. And when we reach the destination of all that, probably something medieval or feudal in make-up, it will be possible once again for boys to develop into men instead of monsters.


James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

Plugged Back In

ninja foxgc2Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

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Published on Epiphany Now on October 5, 2015

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After five years of resistance I'm back on Face Palm.  I blogged about the evils of Face Palm when I deleted my original account, you can read about that here.  I still agree with everything I wrote in that essay, but becoming a business owner has necessitated the removal of some idealism.  I got tired of losing business on Thumbtack because I couldn't respond quickly unless I was home with access to our laptop.  Often times people will select the first professional that contacts them (I know, I've been that professional several times).  We were also commonly receiving texts that said "no content," and I got tired of explaining to potential clients that I had an alleged dumb phone and all I got was "no content" rather than a text they had spent their time typing.  Several times they were long texts and I suspect that was the reason my alleged dumb phone couldn't handle it.  Still we fought on with our obsolete ways. 

Finally Wendy was off shooting a wedding and the phone went missing.  We decided we'd better just accept the fact that we needed smart phones, and so off to Sprint Wendy went to progress us into the 21st century.  I didn't go, but apparently the entire staff circled around my alleged dumb phone and made noises of amazement while they took turns passing around the alleged dumb phone marvel (it even had a touch screen, but we had fixed the phones so that they would not connect to the internet…it was a rumor touch from 2010).  They gave us two iphone 6's to replace our obsolescence.  The next day my laptop bit the bullet for the final time.  My laptop was a Toshiba Satellite that I bought in 2007.  I had the hard drive replaced and had to bring it in to the computer geek many times to have it fixed.  However, seeing as how an iphone is a computer, I found that by simply ordering a blue tooth keyboard for the iphone, along with an iphone stand, I could side step even needing a laptop.

Still, I resisted Face Palm.  I tried running my business Face Palm page, Ancient Earth Landscaping , using my wife's FB account on my phone, but that resulted in me posting to her page.  We couldn't figure out how I could run my page using her account on my phone, and it was just adding frustration to her life attempting to figure it out.  I thought about it and realized that I really had no leg to stand on where opposition to FB was concerned.  I had plugged back in, and that was necessitated by my need to run a business FB account.  You can't have just a business account.  All my opposition was doing was making my wife's life more complicated.  It was rapidly shaping up to my return to FB, and so here I am, completely plugged back in. 

I enjoy being able to listen to Spotify with blue tooth headphones anywhere I go.  The CD player in my truck stopped working years ago, so up till now I've been at the mercy of the radio.  I haven't listened to the radio in my truck since I got my iphone.  I have a camera, a video recorder, a calendar, a virtual jukebox, and the apps keep piling up (so far it's Thumbtack, Spotify, Weather, Blogger, Wikipedia, youtube, FB, and yes even Angry Birds).  It's great except for when I imagine myself holding that damn "phone" staring into the virtual world that I've detested for so long.  My world is the green world of plants and soil, not the virtual world of Face Palm and Instagram, except for the fact that these virtual places are part of my world now.  I'm embracing this inherent hypocrisy.  What am I to do other than accept it?

 


What is a reason to resist any longer?  The world went and got virtual, at least where people are concerned.  Now Wendy and I can lay in bed and be blissfully alone together in the evening (we have a healthy love life, but you know what I mean).  As far as privacy is concerned, what of it?  I'm amazed at how frazzled so many facepalmer's seem to be about the privacy issue with Face Palm.  What privacy?  Maybe some of my readers haven't heard about a federal agency called the "National Security Agency," or NSA, and the city they have in the desert that is five times the size of Washington DC dedicated to the surveillance of every communication of all stripes in the good ole Fascist States of America.  Every phone call, text, Face Palm message, email, and squeaky fart you let out is recorded and pigeon holed into your communication record at the NSA.  You can read about this fact here.  Here is a quick excerpt from the linked article:
 

 Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.


 So, if you are upset about privacy on Face Palm than you obviously have not been paying attention.  Of course there is the Patriot Act to consider.  If you don't know, that's the legislation that was enacted day's after 9/11 that makes it legal for our government to make you disappear and tell nobody about it.  You'll never be seen or heard from again and this is all legal.  They just have to suspect that you are a terrorist and away you disappear.  So if you don't want to have your privacy trampled on than you should no longer communicate with any kind of device.  Don't talk on a land line, don't use a cell phone, and don't use the internet under any capacity because even your google searches are being recorded by the NSA.  This brings me to the final issue I'll be tackling in this essay…that's right, gun control (and now for my promised trick where I make some Face Palm friends disappear).

In my opinion "gun control" is where you slow your breathing, keep both eyes open as you look through your iron sites (or scope), calm your nerves, and finally slowly exhale as you gently pull back on the trigger knowing that your aim is true.  I am not a violent person.  In fact, I don't believe in violence.  When I was training in Nihon Ghoshin Aikido my Sensei first taught me how to not fight.  He taught me how to use my words to diffuse any aggression and how to not get cornered and assure an escape route if at all possible.  Then he taught me how to use the energy of my attacker against him to cause controlled pain via joint locks and pressure points to further convince him that violence was not the answer.  Then he taught me how to kill with extreme prejudice and efficiency using my attackers weapon.  That's when I stopped training having achieved Ni Kyu or student instructor with all 50 techniques in the art and joined the Navy.

Firstly I'm not going to surrender my guns because I like them.  Occasionally I put venison on the table for my family to eat by hunting with my riffle.  This is 100% organic meat, and it's as organic as meat gets being that the animal has eaten from the wilderness it's entire life.  I could do this with a bow and arrow, but I don't have a bow and arrow right now.  I have guns.  Secondly all disarming the populace would do is to ensure that only our tyrannical government and criminals would have guns.  Law abiding citizens would be the only people without guns.  The hunting industry in the U.S. is a billion dollar industry and so removing guns would remove a lot of jobs from our atrophying economy.  If citizens don't need guns than why do police need guns?  Why does the military need guns?  Would the proponents of "gun control" agree that the military and police should surrender their guns?  I think not.  The fact of the matter is that guns exist, and so bad people have guns, and therefore I need guns.  If I could hockity pockety wokity whack every gun off of the planet I would do so, and I would happily hunt for my venison with bow and arrow, but I, nor anybody else on this side of mortal, have that ability.

Now for the school shootings, isn't this a bit like the terrorist bogey man?  You can't fight terrorism because terrorism resides in the black heart of the terrorist.  At any moment anybody can decide to be a terrorist, just as any kid can decide to go to school and start killing.  Let us imagine for a moment that all guns are completely eradicated from the Earth, even the world's military's don't have guns any longer.  Now some high schooler that's all bent out of shape because daddy left years ago and mommy has taken to prostitution to put food on the table and pay bills.  She's an alcoholic and on cussitol to cope leaving her virtually paralyzed to care for our bent high schooler.  On top of all of this he can't get a girlfriend to save his life, and nobody wants to be friends with him because he has bad hygiene and his breath constantly stinks.  He's also socially awkward.  Well he's had enough of this shit and decides he wants to die, but before he goes he wants to release his rage on the peers that have caused him so much pain.  He acquires a Samurai sword and spends weeks getting it as sharp as possible.  He goes to school one day and just as he enters the main hall minutes before the bell rings, he pulls out the sword and starts decapitating heads.  How many heads do you think he could decapitate before being stopped by the police?  Remember, there are no longer any guns, so I guess the local law enforcement would have to taser him?

Now, before you delete me from your Face Palm friend list, let me apologize for being so crass and brazen with making my point.  I am an Aspie after all, and I can relate to the feelings of the imagined high schooler I just created.  My father left when I was four and I have always been slightly awkward socially.  I was lucky enough to have the unconditional love of a beautiful mother (and I still do), and I was also able to find romantic love as a teenager, and I had a few friends to boot.  I'm not trying to make lite of the recent school shootings, or any school shooting for that matter.  I feel for all of the people caught up in these tragedies, but I also know that our government regularly kills innocent civilians with drones and that they drop bombs on hospitals, mosques, and red cross centers (I was on the USS Carl Vinson during Operation Enduring Freedom and I know this first hand).  There is no shortage of tragedies in our imperfect world.  Removing guns will accomplish nothing except making it easier for criminals to commit crime.  Guns or no, it's not guns that kill it's people.  Now go ahead and hit delete.  Your delusions will not stop me from telling the truth.

The Week That Was in Doom June 1, 2014

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964Off the keyboard of Surly1

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 1, 2014
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bilderberg6

“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. …  They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. 

“You know what they want? Obedient workers ­ people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all… It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.”

― George Carlin

 

It has been a week less potent with news events than with movements and shifts with long term consequences. Not sure than anyone outside the Beltway has begun to wrap their minds around the consequences of the Russia-China energy and trade deal. Besides having a trillion dollars of planned trade not settled in petrodollars, what do you suppose having China as a trading partner is going to do the bite of sanctions? And how will the EU feel when they are shivering in the dark, waiting for the endless flow of fracked hydrocarbons from Saudi America? Mammon remains hungry, as a mounting toll of senseless and preventable deaths reflects our appetite for weapons and lack of common sense. And the Bildaboogers were at it again, enjoying a gathering you weren’t invited to, not that you’re bitter. You’re not in the club. Welcome to “The Week That Was in Doom-” a fascinating week, so let’s go right to the videotape.

Last week, we wrote about Fukushima, and the environmental catastrophe unfolding on the Pacific Rim. All of which will, in the fullness of time, be playing At a Theater Near You. More recent news from the Far East: China and Russia inked a little deal that some say herald the beginning of a new “Eurasian century.”

“Geopolitical Earthquake” That Is Historic China Russia Agreement Not Appreciated

The agreement between Putin and Jinpeng last week is historic, not only because trade between the two economic superpowers will not be carried out in dollars, but also because locking in China as a customer for all of those Russian hydrocarbons throws a trump on NATO’s plan to use sanctions to punish the Russians for what they are doing (or thinking about doing) in Ukraine.

The deal goes beyond just hydrocarbons. The two countries are considering joint construction of power plants in Russia, including nuclear power plants. Yes, in Russia. What could possibly go wrong? The Chinese are also making suggestions to the Germans that they use existing rail lines to decrease cargo travel time from eastern China to Europe.

And what potential quid for the pro quo might China exact? You might recall China flexing its  muscles lately with Japan in the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, and this past week with Vietnam in the Paracels (see below). A little Russian help with the Security Council vis-à-vis Japan couldn’t hurt. From the Russian perspective, having another friendly face (and vote) at the UN in re Ukraine, Syria, and Iran might prove useful in further negotiations with Western neocon – controlled regimes.

According to a report in Goldcore, Russia will sail $1 trillion worth of natural gas to China, all of which will be settled in rubles and yuan. If you are scoring at home, you might remember that in July, the BRICS Development Bank was announced as an alternative to the IMF for the developing world. None of which is good news for the petrodollar. If you read the Goldcore article, these guys positively are giddy about the prospects for gold, what with Ukraine simmering and the usual unrest in the usual sewers in the Middle East. Not to mention the potential flight into safety of American wealth as the rentier class wakes up to what the rest of the world is acting like it already knows. Given the state of what passes for media in this country, that won’t be happening anytime soon.

 

Situation in Paracels- China Attacks, Sinks Vietnamese Fishing Vessel

On Tuesday, as China pressed oil drilling claims in the South China Sea off the Paracel Islands (waters which Vietnam also claims). China had amassed a virtual armada of over 70 vessels around the Paracels around its oil rig. Yahoo Japan reported that “a Vietnamese fishing vessel is sunk after being rammed by a Chinese vessel and the 10 fishermen have been rescued.” Stern communiqués ensued. Here’s Vietnam’s:

According to new information received, at 16 am on 26/5, the Chinese fishing boat collided number 11209 90 152 DNA sinking fishing boats of fishermen in South southwest of Da Nang, Hai Duong rig – rig by 981 and 17 nm , is a traditional fishing grounds, under the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam.

In 10/10 fishermen on board the ship Da Nang we picked and safe rescue.

At the time of the incident, there are 40 Chinese fishing boats surrounded unruly group of our vessels.

ZeroHedge reported the “verbal grenades” tossed by both sides of the dispute:

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry held a press conference on Friday when officials stressed the country’s historical claim to the Paracels.

“Historical and legal evidence shows that Vietnam has absolute sovereignty in the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos,” said Tran Duy Hai, deputy head of Vietnam’s National Border Committee.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang disagreed.

“Seeing that the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry held a press conference last Friday on the subject, I felt it was extremely ridiculous,” he said at a briefing on Monday. “The Paracels are the indisputable territory of the Chinese people.”

At other times, a face-off between fleets of fishing vessels might seem to be a fit subject for musical comedy. But things are a bit antsier today. Think ahead to the end game: the prospect of the United States intervening to help Vietnam assert territorial claims vis-à-vis mainland China? View that through the lens of someone whose friends and relatives served in the war in Vietnam, and get back to me.

Gunz

The post-Sandy Hook toll of gun violence continues without respite here in the FSoA, where any suggestion of common sense or political will to curtail the availability of automatic weapons and other mass killing devices is met with the snarling fury of the National Rifle Association, lobbyist for the weapons manufacturers. Any attempt to limit the availability of such weapons is met with righteous indignation as curtailing “our freedom.”  Your scribe looks on wistfully, wishing that the ardor brought in defense of the Second Amendment might have been utilized in defense of the First, Fourth, Fifth and Eighth. Just sayin’.

Even before Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree in Isla Vista California, there were at least 80 gun related deaths across the country, according to Huffington Post.

That these shootings failed to garner the national attention that the one in Isla Vista did shouldn’t shock anyone who has followed the gun control debate. High-profile instances of gun violence are more likely to grab the spotlight than the everyday scourge of gun-related killings. And certainly, the shooting of three (and stabbing of three others) by the 22-year-old son of a Hollywood director who happened to leave a dark, depressing trail of self-made YouTube videos qualifies as high-profile.

But instances such as the one at UC Santa Barbara are rare in respect to gun-related homicides. In fact, FBI data shows that there were 900 people who died in mass shootings from 2006 through 2012. By contrast, firearms were used in 11,078 homicides in 2010 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Huffpo article notes that many of the shootings failed to garner press attention outside of their own localities. Perhaps we have become as inured to them as acceptable “background noise” for our insane culture as we have to “greed is good.” Both violence and greed are BAU in the FSA.

No need for an alternative blog to mention the work of The Grey Lady, but the New York Times’ Joe Nocera has been publishing “The Gun Report.” It is poignant to read for the matter of factness of it all; pulled from local news reports, the blog recounts in declarative journalistic style the people, many of them children, killed and injured by gun violence the past week. It concludes: 

According to the Gun Violence Archive, 7,650 people have been injured by gun violence in America and 4,358 have been killed since Jan. 1, 2014. That number includes 15 police officers killed, 475 children injured or killed and 355 instances of defensive gun use.

To which I’ll add this local item that I came across this morning:

James Andrew Brown II, of Norfolk, Va. was previously charged with assaulting an officer and carrying a loaded weapon, but but he got the charged reduced to a misdemeanor, so that he could exercise his Second Amendment rights, and continue to “open carry”. He was known around his neighborhood as “Wyatt Earp” because he always carried a gun on his hip. Friday May 30 Mr. Brown randomly killed a 17-yr old high school junior and an on-duty police officer, wounded a second police officer, before a third officer killed Brown. Everybody thought he was just another “good guy with a gun”. 

Res ipsa loquitur.

 

 

Bilderberg

The Bilderburgers were it again this week, with all the hue and cry, hand wringing and consternation that their meeting generates. There are those who insist that this notoriously secretive gathering of the world’s most powerful bankers, politicians and business people meet behind closed doors to create a new world government. For its part, the official Bilderberg website is as mild as mother’s milk:

Bilderberg is an annual conference designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America.
Every year, between 120-150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media are invited to take part in the conference. About two thirds of the participants come from Europe and the rest from North America; one third from politics and government and the rest from other fields.
The conference is a forum for informal discussions about megatrends and major issues facing the world. The meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, which states that participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor of any other participant may be revealed.
There is no detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued.

Much was made on RT and some other sites about the so-called “secret agenda” leaked. If you really want to know here it is:

1. Nuclear diplomacy and the deal with Iran currently in the making.
2. Gas deal between Russia and China.
3. Rise of nationalist moods in Europe.
4. EU internet privacy regulations.
5. Cyberwarfare and its potential effect on internet freedoms.
6. From Ukraine to Syria, Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
7. Climate change.
8. The new architecture of the Middle East
9. Ukraine
10. The future of democracy and the middle class trap

Read RT’s reporting here, and The Guardian’s snark at not being able to get inside here. The Bilderberg Group has been at this for six decades, and any gaggle of the world’s most influential individuals, politicians, officials, businessmen, academics and European royalty (dare we say Illuminati?) who regularly gather to discuss global policy issues is going to attract critics. And there is little doubt that these days this group is under far more scrutiny than before. Some see them as acting as a shadow unelected government, de facto rulers of the world, making decisions affecting billions him behind closed doors, with little regard for the needs or wishes of mere proles. What is ironic is that, of the subjects listed on the so-called “secret agenda,” most have been addressed in this space over the past weeks. But then ironies abound.

 

And in closing–

Real Life Mosquito Tornado Is Far More Terrifying Than Sharknado

Photo credit: Ana Filipa Scarpa

Damn…  and from io9, this:

While visiting Leziria Grande at Vila Franca de Xira in Portugal recently, photographer Ana Filipa Scarpa noticed something off in the distance that resembled a funnel cloud. But it wasn’t a tornado, or even a funnel for that matter. Rather, it was something… alive.

What you’re seeing here is an insect swarm. A swarm of mosquitoes, to be exact.

“It was a very high funnel swinging to the left and to the right. I pointed my camera and began shooting before it hit me. But the funnel did not move toward me — and I thought it was so strange — so I got into my car and started to drive towards it, and that’s when I realized it was a mosquito twister.”

As she drove nearer, the mosquitoes actually started entering into her car.

Leziria Grande de Vila Franca de Xira is a highly fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes, Scarpa told me, because there are many water branches to assure water to animals and harvests.

Scarpa says the swarm extended about 1,000 feet high and was nearly a quarter mile (300 meters) from her position.

 

And if the rest of this week’s analysis is not left your skin crawling, this last item certainly will.
***

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He shares a home in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and a shifting menagerie of women both young and young at heart.

 

This Week In Doom January 19, 2014– A Week For the Ages…

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964 Off the keyboard of Surly1

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 19, 2014

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A Week for the Ages . . .

Freda freedumville

 

The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”  –– Charles Bukowski

“In my head, I hear “pomp and circumstance” being played on Vuvuzelas as the parade of derp that is America the Embarrassing makes its way along the large intestine that is our political system.                           I can almost smell it from here.” –Peter Kaufman, on William Rivers Pitt’s Facebook page

In the desert I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it “Because it is bitter,

“And because it is my heart.”

 

– Stephen Crane, “In the Desert”

 

Having thought I would take the week off from another blog post due to travel in the heart of secession, Tea-Partydom, I find the events of this week scream for a resuscitation of that overwrought franchise, “This Week in Doom.”

If ever a week’s events heralded Full Doom sooner rather than later, this was it: a week seen best in the rearview mirror, heralding the arrival of more, worse, and sooner. It was a week in which a retired cop shot a theatre patron and the man’s wife over texting the man’s sitter, and a four year old shot another four year old; in which a neocon shill commemorated the 100th anniversary of  WW I by wiping his ass on Wilfred Owen’s elegiac poem; in which we learn more about the TPP; in which the Senate failed to extend unemployment bennies for the poors and out-of-works, The US Appeals Court shreds net neutrality, and the President gives a speech on civil liberties suggesting you kiss them goodbye. A week which invites strong men to drink. In fact, a writer I admire, William Rivers Pitt, has suggested laying in a case of Jameson and buying it a brother— which is not a bad start.  (I suggest you read his linked article, in which he does it better and more stylishly.) Charlie Pierce is no doubt ordering up double Prestones for the boys in the bar, asking what the pundits in the back will have. You are, as always, free to choose your own poison. It’s Manhattans here… although a fattie is not a bad idea…

 

A retired police officer with a taste for confrontation shot and killed a 43 year old father. Chad Oulson and wounded his wife at a Florida theatre.  The shooting happened early Monday afternoon. Police retiree Curtis Reeves sat behind Oulson, and his wife,  according to authorities.

Oulson was using his cell phone during the previews before the film and Reeves told him to put it away, according to police and witnesses. The two men began to argue and Reeves walked out of the auditorium.

Police said Reeves was going to complain to a theater employee. When Reeves returned, witnesses and authorities said that Oulson asked him if he had gone to tell on him for texting.

Police said Tuesday that Oulson was texting his young daughter’s babysitter. An argument then ensued, in which Oulson threw a bag of popcorn at Reeves, police said. And in response the former police officer took out a .380 semi-automatic handgun and shot Oulson, again according to police.

A report in the Tampa Bay Times portrays a shooter with two sides.

 

Reeves claimed self-defense, saying he was struck in the face with an unknown object. Deputies dispute that. They arrested him on second-degree murder. How did it get to this? Reeves’ past offers hints, but answers have eluded friends, who both hope and assume that exonerating evidence will soon be revealed. The Tampa Bay Times spoke to a dozen of Reeves’ former and current friends and co-workers, as well as Reeves’ attorney, neighbors and pastor. His family did not respond to several attempts for comment. Friends describe Reeves as a proud, church-going man who spent much of his career in positions of authority, a strong leader who never had a problem telling people what he thinks.

Media speculation has it that Reeves will invoke the “stand your ground” law, because, uh, Florida. And freeeeeeedum.

In other news in responsible gun ownership a four year old shot and killed his four year old cousin in this report from Detroit’s WXYZ.

Detroit police say two people are in custody after a 4-year-old was shot and killed by another 4-year-old on the city’s west side.

Authorities say a male and female are being held on felony possession charges.

Early Friday 7 Action News was told the boy, who we are identifying only as Jamel, was shot by his cousin after she pulled out a long gun from underneath a bed at the home on the 7100 block of Tuxedo. 

As officers recover the weapon that took the life of the boy, parents in this neighborhood on Detroit’s west side are thinking of those affected, and holding their own children a little tighter.

“I’m hurt.” said Queensbury, “I’m hurting real bad for the family.

And then there is this that barely needs any exposition–”Responsible Gun Owner ‘Second Amendments’ Himself in the Face While Changing His Pants…” You simply can’t make this stuff up.

A Tennessee man is alive after accidentally shooting himself in the chin as he was getting undressed Sunday night. Carter County Sheriff’s Deputy David Caldwell told the Johnson City Press that William Rood apparently left a loaded .25 caliber Beretta pistol in his right front pants pocket (we gather he packs to the right) and as he placed the pants on his dresser, the weapon fired one bullet striking Rood in the nose and chin, finally lodging in his neck.

Pants kill.

anthonyfredagungirl

Wilfred Owen

In other news, this week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of “the war to end all wars,” World War I. That obscenity of letters William Kristol, writing in the Weekly Standard, observed that

1914 saw the beginning of World War I, a calamity perhaps unmatched until then in the history of the West. We will be reminded many times this year in centennial commemorations of the war’s terrible destruction, but also of its devastating political and cultural effects over subsequent decades, and of its continuing deep if often indirect contribution to today’s demoralization of the West. 

What is this demoralization of which he speaks? It seems to be the fact that we are no longer able to wave the flag and get the poors to leap to the opportunity to wage overseas war with the alacrity that earlier, less educated generations leapt so willingly. In the process Kristol cites and perverts the words of Wilfred Owen, one of the best and brightest of a new generation of English poets coming of age during the second decade of the 20th century, and who, along with so many English, French, Germans and Americans, soaked the fields of Flanders with their blood. The poem is, of course, the luminous and transfixing “Dulce et Decorum Est Pro patria Mori,” one of the most effective anti-war statements ever made. I take this somewhat personally, as I had to memorize this poem as a young man and found myself moved to imagine the sacrifices and sufferings of people I had never met and could scarcely conceive of… In perverting Owen’s poem to his own war-shillery, Kristol reveals the completeness with which he has sold his soul to Satan, in this article in which he ratfucks David Frum:

Writing several years ago in this magazine about its seismic cultural consequences, David Frum quoted the concluding lines of “the most famous poem in our language about World War I”:

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

The Latin, which translates as “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country,” comes from an ode of Horace’s. As Frum pointed out, Horace’s line is one “that any educated Englishman of the last century would have learned in school.” Those pre-War Englishmen would, on the whole, have understood the line earnestly and quoted it respectfully. Not after the War. Living in the shadow of Wilfred Owen rather than Horace, the earnestness yielded to bitterness, the respect to disgust. As Frum puts it, “Scoffing at those words represented more than a rejection of war. It meant a rejection of the schools, the whole society, that had sent Owen to war.”

Recognizing the power of scoffery and ridicule to endanger those institutions which protect and honor his underserved position as a public intellectual, Kristol thus wrinkles his patrician nose. Fortunately, the aforementioned Charlie Pierce recognizes depravity when he sees it and took note of Kristol’s insanity thus:

Given the author, and given the publication, I would like to propose that this is the most singularly obscene paragraph ever written.

Today, after all, we see the full consequences of that rejection in a way Owen and his contemporaries could not. Can’t we acknowledge the meaning, recognize the power, and learn the lessons of 1914 without succumbing to an apparently inexorable gravitational pull toward a posture of ironic passivity or fatalistic regret in the face of civilizational decline? No sensitive person can fail to be moved by Owen’s powerful lament, and no intelligent person can ignore his chastening rebuke. But perhaps a century of increasingly unthinking bitter disgust with our heritage is enough.

So saith the Moloch of the Green Room, from whose hands still drips the blood of Other People’s Children.

Decent folk should spit on him. Daily.

Res ipsa loquitor.

In other news, Wikileaks revealed the  environmental section of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, also known as “NAFTA on steroids and meth and in a very bad mood.” If you have not been following this monster, step up your game, because this surly bitch will be Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You. Brought to you by the same civic-spirited public servants who brought you NAFTA, CAFTA, and the other “free-trade™” agreements that resulted in the export of American manufacturing and millions of jobs, this “fast-track” (read minimal oversight or public discussion) treaty will trump national protections on a variety of fronts.

What observers conclude is that the deal says many nice things about protecting the environment, but contains almost no significant means to enforce the sentiments behind those happy burblings. “This draft chapter falls flat on every single one of our issues,” Sierra Club president Michael Brune says, “oceans, fish, wildlife, and forest protections – and in fact, rolls back on the progress made in past free trade pacts.” The fact remains that the negotiations continue to be shrouded in secrecy, while our elected solons have placed its execution of a “fast track.” The coming vitiation of such scant environmental protections as exist (see West, TX and Charleston, WV) will no doubt thrill the residents of the Kanawha Valley, who drink replacement water from tanks filled with the same toxic effluent. You cannot make this shit up. While officials offer an “all clear,” pregnant women are advised not to drink or use it, and meanwhile, the whole toxic blogs makes its way to the Ohio and then to the Mississippi. The gift that keeps on giving. Be sure to that your Repug lawmakers who are ever-so-helpful” to keep the regulations off the backs of the “job creators.” Meanwhile, the toxin that has poisoned WV is utterly unregulated. Coal, you know.

And speaking of the US Senate, this week that world class deliberative body illustrated how the existing system exists only to serve the unelected, monied interests who have purchased it, which serves to illustrate the stark difference between Rs and Ds: “Republicans™” kick the working class in the balls, while the “Democrats™” merely hold their coats so the Rs can kick more freely.

Unemployment benefits for 1.3 million of the long-term unemployed — and millions more in the future — were imperiled on Tuesday after Senate efforts to reach accord on legislation to revive them collapsed in partisan finger-pointing.

After days of negotiations, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, abruptly called a vote to end debate on two Democratic measures that would extend benefits for out-of-work Americans for at least three months, gambling that he could muster enough support from moderate Republicans to move on to final passage for at least one of the proposals.

But both votes failed, and the possibility of a bipartisan deal collapsed during procedural arguments, with Democrats and Republicans accusing one another of negotiating in bad faith.

I am “shocked . . . shocked” at allegations of gambling in Rick’s Cafe.

Meanwhile, in a year where Time’s Man of the Year staff  lost the slip of paper on which the name of Edward Snowden was written, our Glorious Leader gave a prononciamento on how you should just get the fuck over yourself and your memories of what used to be a Constitution. Here is BHO himself:

It is hard to overstate the transformation America’s intelligence community had to go through after 9/11. Our agencies suddenly needed to do far more than the traditional mission of monitoring hostile powers and gathering information for policymakers. Instead, they were now asked to identify and target plotters in some of the most remote parts of the world, and to anticipate the actions of networks that, by their very nature, cannot be easily penetrated with spies or informants.

And it is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of our intelligence community that over the past decade we’ve made enormous strides in fulfilling this mission. Today, new capabilities allow intelligence agencies to track who a terrorist is in contact with, and follow the trail of his travel or his funding. New laws allow information to be collected and shared more quickly and effectively between federal agencies, and state and local law enforcement. Relationships with foreign intelligence services have expanded, and our capacity to repel cyber-attacks have been strengthened. And taken together, these efforts have prevented multiple attacks and saved innocent lives — not just here in the United States, but around the globe.

 

Thus we are asked to accept on faith the speculation that the NSA has actually prevented attacks on US soil, rather than decide for ourselves the facts on the ground, namely that the Surveillance State is designed to observe and suppress any attempt to consolidate the prerogatives and power of the burgeoning Corporate State. Hoovering up your every text message, purchase record and porn search gives the State unlimited power to go back and re-create an ex post facto criminal record for anyone who becomes sufficient source of irritation. Here’s Pierce:

The president’s big speech on the NSA today was an extended exercise in running in place. The one thing it was not was an attempt to strike a “balance” between the current surveillance state and civil liberties “concerns.” (You will note that the Bill of Rights is now apparently a Bill of Concerns.) There is very little question that the former is being asked to give up very little of its power — I decline to feel comforted by the fact that intelligence agencies have to submit requests to a secret court — while the latter are being asked to adjust their expectations to the reality of new and gathering threats.

Throughout this evolution, we benefited from both our Constitution and our traditions of limited government. U.S. intelligence agencies were anchored in a system of checks and balances, with oversight from elected leaders and protections for ordinary citizens.

Balls. COINTELPRO. CISPES. The McCarran Act. The Plumbers. Mossadegh. Arbenz.  The “U.S. intelligence agencies” were anchored in nothing but their own arrogance. The president should be ashamed to base his arguments in such plainly ahistorical balderdash.

Meanwhile, totalitarian states like East Germany offered a cautionary tale of what could happen when vast unchecked surveillance turned citizens into informers and persecuted people for what they said in the privacy of their own homes.

If the bar were any lower, you’d have to dig for it in China. . .

This is the government, in the person of this president, telling you what you have to give up in order to be safe. (As near as I can tell, the NSA is not being asked to stop doing much of anything, and the president’s Bush-standard apocalyptics doesn’t give me a lot of faith in whatever oversight he says he’s put in place.) Perhaps the country is willing to live with the arrangement, but it is a lie to call it a balance.

Thus we are asked to accept the status quo by this president. And if you don’t like it, citizen, go organize a protest using the internet. Heh, heh, heh….

Well, you may be saying, at least we have the internet. Uh… not so fast, did you read about the decision this week by the US Court of Appeals?

U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel, writing for a three-judge panel, said that while the FCC has the power to regulate Verizon and other broadband companies, it chose the wrong legal framework for its open-Internet regulations.

“Given that the commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the commission from nonetheless regulating them as such,” Tatel wrote.

Long story short, what this ruling means, if it stands, is that bandwidth providers will be free to favor some traffic and throttle others, all in the interest of commerce. The FCC has the option of appeal to the US Supreme Court, that bastion of the Federalist Society, or of reclassifying bandwidth provides as common carriers, which it was loath to do last year amidst a firestorm of opprobrium from some of Verizon’s best friends (see R’s and Ds, above). So if Verizon strikes a deal with, say, Amazon’s streaming service to share profits, Amazon traffic can zip to the front of the bandwidth line while Netflix moves to the back of the line. And alternative news sites? Get them while the getting’s good, citizen. You’re on the clock.

Are you not entertained?

***

are-you-not-entertained

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He lives in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and a shifting menagerie of adult children in various stages of transition.

The Anti-Empire Report #120 By William Blum

Off the Keyboard of William Blum

Published  in The Anti-Empire Report, September 3rd, 2013

weapon_of_mass_destruction

The Anti-Empire Report #120 Discussion

Found at last! After searching for 10 years, the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have finally been found – in Syria!

Secretary of State John Kerry: “There is no doubt that Saddam al-Assad has crossed the red line. … Sorry, did I just say ‘Saddam’?”

A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1

So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?

  • Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
  • Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
  • 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
  • Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
  • President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
  • None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
  • The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
  • We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
  • The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
  • In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
  • President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.

So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!

Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10

Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.

 

United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)

The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.

  • Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
  • Guatemala 1954
  • Indonesia 1958
  • Cuba 1959-1961
  • Guatemala 1960
  • Congo 1964
  • Laos 1964-73
  • Vietnam 1961-73
  • Cambodia 1969-70
  • Guatemala 1967-69
  • Grenada 1983
  • Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
  • Libya 1986
  • El Salvador 1980s
  • Nicaragua 1980s
  • Iran 1987
  • Panama 1989
  • Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
  • Kuwait 1991
  • Somalia 1993
  • Bosnia 1994, 1995
  • Sudan 1998
  • Afghanistan 1998
  • Yugoslavia 1999
  • Yemen 2002
  • Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
  • Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
  • Afghanistan 2001 to present
  • Pakistan 2007 to present
  • Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
  • Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
  • Libya 2011
  • Syria 2013?

The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.

A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12

Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.

Humanitarian intervention

Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.

“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13

Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.

Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.

It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?

I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.

The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.

And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?

A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.

Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!

Surrounding Russia

One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14

But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16

We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?

America’s love affair with Guns

Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.

On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17

I sent Kokesh the following email:

“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”

I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.

Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.

Notes

  1. The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris
  2. Reuters/Ipsos poll, August 26, 2013
  3. Sunday Times (UK), YouGov poll, August 25
  4. Le Parisien, August 30, 2012
  5. Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2013
  6. Washington Post, August 29, 2013
  7. The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013
  8. Washington Post, August 31, 2013
  9. UN Web TV, August 27, 2013 (starting at minute 12:00)
  10. The Washington Post, August 31, 2013
  11. Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran”, Foreign Policy, August 26, 2013
  12. William Blum, “Anthrax for Export”, The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin), April 1998
  13. Washington Post, August 22, 2013
  14. Washington Post, July 31, 2013
  15. Associated Press, June 16, 2001
  16. Time magazine, December 2007
  17. Washington Post, August 13, 2013

 

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission, provided attribution to William Blum as author and a link to this website are given.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Off the keyboard of RE

Published originally on Reverse Engineering on November 29, 2010

Discuss this article at the Frosbite Falls Daily Rant table inside the Diner

I was over at a friends house tonight cooking up some Halibut Scampi, after
which we watched the film “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, a historical film
produced by HBO which covered the period from 1876 to 1890, when what was left
of the native population of Lakota in the FSofA got progressively pushed back
into Reservations in South Dakota, successive treaties were reneged on, various
massacres occurred, until in the end as we all know, the Natives thoroughly got
shafted and South Dakota was made safe for the Railroads to build a spur into
the Black Hills to pull out the Gold discovered in them thar hills.

It was a well produced film, and of course for me a sad thing to see dramatized
the history of the inexorable death of this culture in the face of overwhelming
technological advantage of the oncoming swarm of European locusts. Not to
mention of course all the diseases that decimated the population during that
time as well.

A few things stood out for me in the film, one thing is at the end its revealed
that the US Supreme Court did in the end come down with the opinion that the
Lakota had been horribly wronged, though they would not return the lands stolen
from them, and instead offered them $600M in Damages, which to this day remains
uncollected, because the Lakota will not accept it as compensation.

Even more important though is some of the methodology that was used by the
Bureau of Indian Affairs through this period to try and disposess these people
of their lands through “Legal” means. Once they had herded them onto
Reservations, what they tried to do was to get each individual Lakota to sign
for a piece of Property of 160 Acres he would “Own”. Problem was, Lakota didn’t
even have a word in their language for “owning land”. Besides this, under the
technology of the time, 160 Acres of that land couldn’t support farming, it was
grazing land. So anyone who actually signed for such a property grant was
signing his own death warrant, after a year or two he wouldn’t be able to grow
much off of it.

The myth with small farms through this period of history was that an individual
farmer could both grow enough food to feed his family, AND produce enough Cash
crop to sell at market so he would also have enough Gold or Silver to pay his
Taxes. Problems being of course that first off many of these tracts of land
weren’t well suited for farming, Lakota weren’t farmers, and besides all that
this is all occurring during the Long Depression of the 1870s when there just
wasn’t much money circulating, Gold, Silver or Fiat. Even if you had a tract of
land growing enough excess to sell, you could not sell it because consumers of
said food had no money to buy it!

There is no way to hold onto your “ownership” of the land once confronted with
the three way problem of Taxation and commodity Speculation and monetary cycles
based on compounding debt which can drive down prices below your costs of
production. As it progressed, even beyond the Natives who had their land
outright stolen from the beginning, from the mid 1800s onward, progressively
over time individual farmers were bankrupted and the land consolidated by
agribuisiness run by the Banksters. The Lakota never bought into this paradigm,
and they still haven’t, refusing to this day to accept $600M for land they don’t
believe anyone can own individually. They were of course incapable of defending
their communal ownership of said land also, so they became amongst the first of
the FSA, squashed down onto small reservations and totally dependent on Handouts
of Goobermint Food. Really here in Amerika the modern Welfare State and the FSA
began with the Bureau of Indian Affairs distributing out food rations to the
underclass they had dispossessed of their land.

In the process of this, their culture was destroyed, and so also destroyed was
any pride they had. The remaining survivors for the most part descended into
Alcoholism, a thoroughly broken people. This is little different from the modern
day Ruskies who have descended into alcoholism as their civilization has
devolved, nor is it different from the FSA of former Slaves here in the FSofA
who became mirrors of the Lakota on an industrial level.

I know many Native people, as I mentioned in a post a while back I have known
numerous of them since I was a boy, friends of my Grandfather who worked the
High Steel in NYC of the 1920s. I know more now since I moved up here to
Alaska, where really the locals didn’t sell out until after Seward’s Folly, and
the “purchase” of this tract of land from the heirs of Peter the Great. In both
cases of the Lakota and my Inuit friends, they went through a very bad period,
and still suffer extremely high levels of alcoholism to this day, but even so
the survivors ended up doing better than the descendants of the Black Slaves who
became a big part of our FSA today. They actually did get some land, they did
get some big payoffs (Native tribes up here did pretty well with the Oil
leases), they retained National Sovereignty also. Meaning, they don’t pay TAXES
on the crappy scraps of land they were left with, and they get to make their OWN
laws. So through the last 30 years, they have built Casinos and in a few cases
done pretty well scarfing up Fiat money out of the system.

For the descendants of the ex-slaves, no such luck. They got yanked off their
land in Africa, they have no claim whatsoever to anything here in the FSofA,
they served only as agricultural labor for a while then industrial labor until
that played out, and then they became the broken people they are, the FSA so
reviled here on the pages of TBP. They don’t even have what the Lakota and the
Inuit still have, PRIDE in their culture, because these natives are still
together, often living in poverty but still more or less on their ancestral
lands and still TOGETHER. The FSA of the Big Shitties has NOTHING. No pride,
no ancestral lands, no casinos, NADA. Absolutely everything was ripped from
under them the day they were herded into steerage in the Slave trade.

Of course, all along the way some Natives and some descendants of ex-Slaves
joined the Capitalist system, and to varying degrees of success made their way
in the world that came to be as a result. The main protagonist in fact in “Bury
My Heart at Wounded Knee” is Charles Eastwood, a Lakota who was taken and taught
at Dartmouth and then Boston College and became a Doctor. Lots of politics
involved there of course, but thing is here it’s an anomaly. MOST Natives did
not end up doctors, most ended up broken Alcoholics. If you were lucky and/or
assimilated well into the Capitalist culture the Europeans brought here to Rape
the Earth, you might have done well from the years of 1876 to 2008. Today
however, unless you happen to be one of those ultra powerful mega rich who have
succeeded in sucking all the wealth of the world into their Greedy little hands
by virtue of legal contracts for OWNERSHIP, you are just SOL here. You are soon
to be just like the Lakota, just like the African Slaves deposited on the shores
of AmeriKa. You’ll be accepting Goobermint Handouts also, or you will starve.
That is how it has always gone down, and it will go down that way again now,
unless maybe I am right and the Meek get Angry. Very, VERY Angry. That is the
only chance here it might change, and with the failure of the Conduits, it just
might.

In any event, I just shake my head in Sadness for what was lost, and in my
mind’s eye as I look out over the vast landscape of mountains and trees here
surrounding my cabin, I often spend time imagining how life was before the
European Locusts brought their Plagues of Money and Capitalism to these shores.
Clearly the life was much tougher on a physical level, particularly up here
where the environment is so harsh in the winter, but for the most part when a
given population found its balance in numbers with the food resource available,
starvation wasn’t a big problem. In fact looking back in the fossil record in
the Middle East when Agriculture was just beginning, the Hunter Gatherers of the
time were better nourished and didn’t suffer from the boom bust cycles of famine
that swept in waves over Ag communities.

In lands like the Pacific Northwest where the environment isn’t so harsh and
where the bounty of nature provided enormous quantities of food to harvest,
there was so much available that they developed the system of Potlatch, the Gift
Economy. In terms of how much time it took out of a person’s day to gather
food, it generally was not more than about 2 hours. Sadly of course, this
civilization and culture went the way of the Dinosaur when confronted by the
Guns, Germs and Steel the European Locusts brought with them, along with a
monetary system designed to enrich a few at the expense of the many.

As we spin down here off the Peak of the Age of Oil, if we do not end up going
extinct, over a very long timeline the Earth will heal herself. Once the last
of the Oil and Coal has been spent, it won’t be possible to roll steel into the
Barrel shape of a Gun. It won’t be possible to pump up water from the Ogalala
Aquifer to irrigate grazing lands, drop high energy phosphates on top of them
and turn them into Food Factories plowed and harvested by the great metal beasts
of the Machine Age, the Tractors and the Combines. It won’t be possible anymore
to hoist tons of metal up into the skies to drop Death from Above on the people
who live in balance with nature on their lands.

I will not be alive to see this happen of course, anymore that I was alive when
those first Polynesian Navigators made landfall on the Big Island of Hawaii
around a millennia ago. Or was I? Perhaps my soul cycled through living back
then, and will cycle around again to live in the far future when we are reborn
into a culture and civilization that once again is Pay as You Go, in balance
with the energy dropped down by the Sun on the Earth each day until it burns
itself out a few million years into the future. In this iteration of the cycle,
I got dropped down into the maw of the great machine, and my soul wandered
around looking for a place to be Free, and found the closest thing still left to
that here on the Last Great Frontier. Its not real Freedom of course, and I
still remain dependent on the systems of the Age of Oil in my daily life. It
does provide me though a good perch from which to muse on what was, what is, and
what will come to be.

For the Lakota, for the Inuit, for the Slaves ripped from their homelands in
Africa, the years of colonial expansion turned many once proud people into the
FSA often reviled here on the pages of TBP. The Lakota were left to live on
Food Handouts from Da Goobermint, or starve or fight. Some starved, some
fought, many died. The survivors were those who took the food handouts, but
they did so at the expense of their pride in themselves as the Tsunami of
History overwhelmed their cultures and methods of living. They were overcome by
the Thermodynamic Energy of Oil. There was no winning that battle, there was
only becoming very meek and waiting for oh so long until the Oil spent itself,
as it is doing now. To be sure, it will still be many years before it is
completely gone, but the writing is on the wall now, and in many places I see
the spirit reawakening as individuals and communities begin to prepare for the
long slog off the energy addiction.

It is of course a sad thing that to get from here to there, the path that is
likely to be followed is the one laid out in the Book of Revelation, as the Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse come down to ride herd upon Humanity. It seems
unavoidable now that this is the path we will follow to arrive at a Better
Tomorrow. For myself, to not lose hope, to not become mired in the belief that
Evil will Forever rule on Earth in the company of men, I turn outward and look
outside my cabin window at the Wilderness which surrounds me, and in the far
distance the Great Mountain called Denali. I know that not even a Supervolcano
can forever wipe life off this planet, and not even Toba was successful with
wiping all sentient life off its surface either. 1000 Breeding pairs of Homo
Sapiens did survive that cataclysm, and they did populate up the earth to the
6.3B people living on its surface now, courtesy of the one time exploitation of
the thermodynamic energy of Oil. In the next go round, that Oil will not be
available, all to the good there.

There will still be battles over land and resources as time goes by, but they
will be battles played out on a level playing field. Not Muskets and Cannon
against Bow and Arrow, not Drone Aircraft and Death from Above against
Kalishnikov Rifles and RPGs. The battles will be Bow against Bow, Trebuchet
against Castle Walls, Mano-a-Mano fighting for your own community and its
survival. A fair fight that will keep each population in check, a part of the
nature of survival. War of this kind is inevitable in a world of constrained
resources, and is naturally limited as the populations become exhausted by the
war. Certainly, the brief moment in time you had after Toba, when the entire
WORLD was empty and to find freedom all you had to do was take a hike for a few
weeks to go to untamed lands had to be as close to Nirvana as you could achieve
in the corporeal life, and short of a near extinction level event that time
won’t ever come again. The next best level to that was the level achieved in
the New World prior to the infection and infestation of the European Locusts.
That level can come again, and I believe it will.

Regardless however of how it does all play out, I can close my eyes and imagine
how it once was, I can imagine how it might come to be. When I walk into the
Great Beyond, I will become part of the Timeless existence of all of this, and I
will be able to pick my place and time to rest for all eternity. I will place
myself on the deck of the first Catamaran Sailing Canoe that successfully made
the Journey from the Marquesas Islands to the Hawaiian Islands, and in the
distance one night on the Journey I will see Mauna Loa erupting off in the
distance, and I will direct my Canoe toward it. I will find an archipelago
teeming with life, unoccupied by any other people, and I will be FREE. For all
the rest of Eternity. I remain trapped here for only so long as my soul stays
trapped inside this body in this place. Its not such a bad place to be,
certainly a better place than many people are stuck living in these days, but
its not the kind of freedom I seek. I’ll only find that Freedom when I walk
into the Great Beyond.

See you on the Other Side.

RE

Gun Battles

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Fifth Horseman Table inside the Diner

I’ll begin this article with a few of the posts I’ve made so far on the Fifth Horseman thread, concerned with the most recent Postal Event of Adam Lanza.

The Amerikan Love Affair with Guns goes back beyond the Constitution and the 2nd Ammendment which Guarantees the Right to Bear Arms, which many Gun Freaks hold up as the primary Legal Justification for Gun availability to the general public.

In fact, in the colonial years, it is unlikely the FSofA could have been settled at all without Guns available to all settlers. While a few dummy Injuns made friends with the Colonists at the beginning, they pretty quickly realized these folks were none to friendly and they were AT WAR with them for the land they lived on.

Though the Smallpox wiped out many, it is still unlikely that without the advantage that Guns gave them, few settlers would have been able to defend their Doomsteads from the Locals they were dispossessing. Besides that, they needed the Guns for Hunting in the early years before major Ranching got up and running. Hunting for Animal Protein was common right through the Civil War really anywhere west of the Appalachian Mountains.

Besides this, as I have noted in some of my monetary threads, the 1800s were quite Wild and Crazy times with many Money Panics, and even once the Injuns were mostly Genocided out, Outlaws were common and “Justice” such as it was was pretty rudimentary. Generally speaking, any community and individual was mainly responsible for protecting themselves. So really in this environment, everybody needed Guns and everybody had guns, outside of a few early Big Shities like NY and Philly and Boston. These places got “Police Forces” fairly early on in the 1800s and Property Protection began to become mainly a Goobermint function.

However, as the Gang Wars during Prohibition in the 20s&30s demonstrate, Guns were still ubiquitous in Big Shities like Chicago right through the 1930s. Really only in the aftermath of WWII did Da Federal Goobermint of the FSofA begin to become powerful enough to begin limiting somewhat individual access to Guns, but eventhere they faced the Gun Lobby of the Sellers of Guns who did not want to lose such a big market for their weapons. Besides, even though nobody really needed to Hunt for food anymore, Hunting was truned into a “Sport” for the Nouveau Riche, as it has been for a long time for the Illuminati. We are all KINGS in this land as the meme goes, and the King’s Fox Hunt was for everyone!

There have been all sorts of compromises and kludges here, you can OWN a Gun, but you can’t CARRY the gun without special permits. Though the technology allows for rapid automatic fire, common weapons only are capable of semi-automatic fire. This BTW is easily overcome by a decent Gunsmith, even at the amateur level.

As our society spins down here, pretty obviously the Pyschos our society creates along with the just plain old PISSED OFF J6Ps are likely to use the MILLIONS of guns floating around the FSofA in various Nefarious ways, of which the CT Shooting is just an example really.

Thisone is sufficiently egregious and arrives at a time the Fascist State really NEEDS to control Guns in the society if they want to retain control overall, but this is an exceedingly hard thing to do at this point. Trying to COLLECT all the guns already out there would cause more than a few Gun Freaks to Go Postal in and of itself. The Gun Lobby STILL doesn’t want to lose the market of all those folks looking to have a Gun for Self Protection and Sport Hunting and Target Shooting, a fabulous WASTE of copious amounts of Ammo. You can get decent good target shooting with an Air Rifle really. Principles are all the same, just you don’t have the range.

Anyhow, no matter how many kids end up as Target Practice for Sociopaths with Asperger, it is very hard for me to imagine how Da Goobermint could get Alaskans to hand over their Rifles and Handguns. Hunting is a way of life up here, many Guides make a living off this. Take away their means of making a living, I GUARANTEE few of them will go Postal, and this is not a bunch you want to see Going Postal, because they HIT what they Shoot at.

I see more restrictions coming down the pipe, more difficulty buying guns and higher prices for ammo, but a Gun Ban is about impossible politically here for many reasons. I for one don’t think such a ban is a good idea anyhow, despite all the Dead Kindergartners. Take away the guns we still have, and ALL Deadly Force is in the hands of Da Goobermint and Criminals, mutually interchangeable entities really.

Far as my Guns are concerned, as the saying goes they will have to pry them from my Cold, Dead Hands. My guns most surely will not stop the Gestapo from taking me out, but long as I got them I got the chance to take a few with me to the Great Beyond. Its about the last vestige of Freedom left. There are sacrifices that are apparent and coming ever more rapidly now for this freedom, but the alternative is WORSE. The alternative is a Boot Stomping on the Face of Humanity FOREVER!

RE

In the aftermath of the Adam Kindergarten Shooting Spree, it is pretty evident that the Pols are making a big PUSH now for an Assault Weapons Ban.

Precisely what will end up being defined as an “Assault Weapon” is pretty hard to determine here, since if you call Semi-Automatics Assault Weapons, that includes nearly all handguns sold. Most people don’t buy Revolvers for personal protection anymore, and Cops don’t carry revolvers anymore either.

Trying to imagine how Da Goobermint could get even just all the legal holders of Semi-Automatic guns to turn them in is impossible. Even if you just kept it to the rifles its pretty hard to imagine. Some Hunters still use Bolt Action rifles, but I don’t think the majority do anymore. In any event, I know plenty of guys with Gun collections in the hundreds, worth of course 10s if not 100s of thousands of dollars. If they turn them in, will Da Goobermint reimburse them?

I imagine a majority of Gun owners would turn them in if faced down with Jail Sentences and so forth for Possession of such a weapon, but I don’t imagine ALL will do that. Some percentage will elect to go down with their guns battling with the Gestapo when they come to take them away. If there is anything that could get a full on Civil War going here in the FSofA, an attempt to confiscate Guns would almost surely do it.

TPTB have to realize this, so they will probably try to make some kind of new laws without going down the road of confiscation. I can imagine Gun Owners being required to drop in at the local Gestapo Headquarters on a weekly basis for a Psychological Test to be deemed Stable Enough to own a Gun. After a few weeks of doing this, the Gun Owner would either get tired of it and hand over the guns, or stop showing up for the testing, in which case of course you get the Gunfight at the OK Corral around his McMansion when the Gestapo show up.

meanwhile of course, in the Drug Gangland community, Guns will continue to flow back and forth across the border with Mejico, and I sure can’t imagine most Texans on the Border will be amenable to handing over their Guns. So this would likely push the Secession Movement in TX which is pretty strong already over the edge.

The Gun Battle Begins.

RE

speculated in a prior post on this topic that Adam Lanza might have been Greenbaumed, and I don’t discount that as a possibility/probability here. However, the revelation that Mom was a DOOMER SURVIVALIST makes some other possibilities more likely now.

Adam Lanza was only 20 when he went Postal. Assume Mom became a Full On Doomer 10 years ago, and began Prepping and talking about Zombie Hordes to her kids. So starting around age 10 Adam is being bombarded by Mom with the End of the World coming in his lifetime. How does this play in the mind of a growing Preteen/Teenager?

Even if he was a fairly “stable” and “normal” kid on the Biochemical level, this would be very depressing to grow up with. Reports are though that Adam had Aspergers Syndrome and wasn’t all that “normal” even had Mom not been a Doomer.

GO made the speculation that perhaps Mom was a Lurking Diner, I suppose it’s possible but not likely. Anyhow, so far the Black Cadillac Escalades have not shown up at the Cabin. Not even an Email from the NSA! We are way down the Alexa list, so we don’t get any attention. :( lol.

This isn’t the first Doomer to go postal, we had that guy a while back who blew away his wife and daughter before offing himself in his Bunker. And of course legions of other Doomers have gone Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs in other ways, notably Matt Savinar going full tilt Astrology of course.

Obviously, living life as a Doomer is pretty stressful overall, and a percentage of Doomers crack under the pressure. The growing child of a Doomer, particularly one with some genetic/environmental development issues is clearly at high risk for cracking.

If/when a few more Doomers get Trigger Happy, you would have to expect a general backlash against Doomers, something to consider here. In communities chock FULL of Doomers like places in MT and ID, the Doomers start to have to worry about EACH OTHER. Is my Doomstead Neighbor a “Normal” Doomer or is he on the verge of becoming a RAMPAGING Doomer?

All in all, it’s looking more like a “Children of Men” endgame here all the time. Things haven’t even really got that bad yet, the SNAP Cards are still working and the lights are still on in most places most of the time. When TS REALLY HTF, its gonna get mighty ugly out there.

RE

Many issues are rising to the surface with the Adam Lanza Postal, Gun Control being the most clear one on the Political Level.  Beyond that though is the clear RAGE bubbling just beneath the surface of our society, acted out in general here at the beginning by people identified as “Psychologically Disturbed” or unstable.  Then there is the additional issue that such psychologically disturbed people are being PURPOSEFULLY used to provide grounds for restricting further any Freedoms we still have left here, which are few and far between these days.

The “Gun Battle” on the Political level now will be to escalate the effort to criminalize the possession of guns by the general population.  Given that ever more people are likely to “Go Postal” here as time goes by, if you could in fact remove Guns from the society then your average Postal probably could not do so much damage as say an Anders Behring Breivik or Adam Lanza.

Thing is, one group of people and their apparatchiks will NEVER let go of their Guns, that is the Military and Police forces which serve to Enforce the Order of TPTB.  Disarm the entire population, the ARMED group has Absolute POWER, and as we all know, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

In any event, disarming the entire population of the FSofA at this point is a logistical nightmare, well more difficult than the confiscation of Gold was in the 1930s.  Guns have been manufactured by the millions, they are all over the place here in the FSofA.Gangs have tons of them, and do you think they will show up at the local Gestapo Headquarters to turn in THEIR guns?  I highly doubt that.

As I see it, the Gun Battle at the Political level is a reponse to the Gun Battle going on in the streets, Post Offices and now Elementary Schools of our society.  Lotta ANGRY, disaffected and now PSYCHOTIC people are out there, making Gun Play more prevalent all the time.  How can the average J6P defend himself and his kids from the EVIL out there that HAS Guns, the Military, the Police and the Drug Lords if he gives up his own Guns?

It is of course sad indeed that our “civilization” has spun down to this point already, but you know the invention of the Gun to begin with let the Genie out of the Bottle here.  As a Civilization, we used Guns to rid the planet of numerous people who had no Guns to defend themselves.  We STILL use superiority in weaponry to enforce our Will over everyone else, that is what the Drone Aircraft do now.

There is no “Safety” in a collapsing civilization, and even though your Neighbor might be the one to Go Postal next, giving up your right to keep and bear arms is about the LAST thing you want to do here.  Rather, EVERYBODY needs to be Packing Heat now. Teachers for sure.  Even the kids.

The Thin Line Between Global Collapse and Faith

Off the keyboards of Ashvin Pandurangi & JT

Published on Picturing Christ on October 3, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasboard inside the Diner

I am pleased to present my first guest post here on Picturing Christ – an article by reader “JT”. His article focuses on one of the most basic questions that inspired me to start this blog in the first place – how do we truly respond to the systemic trials and tribulations that humanity faces in the upcoming decades? There are many blogs and websites dedicated to documenting these predicaments and offering advice on how to prepare for them.

Some of them even venture into questions of spirituality and faith from time to time. My own writings at The Automatic Earth over the last few months regularly touched on these issues. However, I recently started to feel like the constant divide between our Earthly predicaments and my spirituality was much too forced and arbitrary. I had the sense that there was a fundamental flaw in the process of offering insights and advice when they were artificially divorced from spiritual truths.

So, with that in mind, I was very glad to hear that fellow Christian and reader of PC also felt the same way, and decided to put those concerns into writing. As Christians, we cannot hesitate to rely on the word of God when it comes to all spheres of our lives. The fact that we may be talking about economics, finance, geopolitics, energy and environmental issues, psychology, etc. shouldn’t make a bit of difference. All of these issues are inextricably woven into the underlying philosophies of spirituality and faith, and, specifically, the God of the Bible and His word.

We are now living in a world where the structures that have come to dominate human civilization are crumbling. Financial contagion from the global banking crisis has spread to all regions of the world and is destroying economic growth. Tensions between Western nations and those in both the Near and Far East are growing, with several theaters of war already firmly established. Our total reliance on fossil fuels and industrial processes for global economic activity has destroyed our natural ecosystems and warmed our atmosphere to extremely dangerous levels, while also depleting those resources and creating the potential for systemic environmental, economic, political and social collapse.

So, before getting to JT’s excellent article, I would like to offer my own personal (yet brief) opinion on these grave matters of collapse and faith. The trying circumstances and events that confront all of us in the years ahead are exactly those which require us to remain resolute in the unconditional truth and morality of our faith. Jesus tells us that there will come a time in which “many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another… and because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold“. (Matthew 24:10, 12).

I believe that whether we are actually living in that specific time or not is irrelevant, because the underlying lesson applies to all times of tribulation before the second return of Christ. And there is no doubt in my mind that severe tribulations have already started to descend upon us, and that they will only grow more imminent and threatening to humanity over time. Therefore, we must always remember to be on guard and ensure that we are NOT the ones who are falling away from God’s truth, the ones hating each other or the ones watching our love for our fellow humans grow cold.

If our understanding and fear of systemic collapse ever begins to lead us towards such a mindset, then, regardless of whether we are physically prepared for Earthly concerns or not, we must immediately re-orient ourselves back towards our faith in Christ.

That being said, here is JT:

THE THIN LINE BETWEEN GLOBAL COLLAPSE AND FAITH

Having first read Ashvin’s writings on The Automatic Earth, I believe that many who are reading this article may be walking a path similar to mine and dealing with the same issues related to systemic collapse. I would like to pose a question to you all that has occupied my thoughts for some time – can Christians also be “preppers”? Can we honestly say that we are following Christ while we are also preparing for the collapse of the world systems around us?

There is one particular evening that I will never forget. My wife, I and another couple were having dinner, and we all considered ourselves to be committed, born again Christians. The topic of preparedness eventually came up in conversation. This was many years ago, before the financial disasters entered mainstream awareness and before peak oil was a serious concern. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters were already storing food, learning how to garden and how to recreate some of the lost arts and crafts, such as grinding grains, canning, shoe-making and tailoring.

At this time my wife and I still had young children, and we lived in a relatively wealthy suburb outside of Boston. While I was raised in a comfortable middle class home, my wife grew up in a world where a bowl of oatmeal or tomato soup was often your main meal of the day. She understood deprivation and what happens when things stop functioning well in society. Even so, her parents had taught her to always rely on God to get her through any situation. The discussion of preparing for disaster or social upheaval always made her uncomfortable.

At some time during the dinner, my friend announced that, in addition to food storage and other steps of preparation, he had purchased a gun to defend himself and his family in the event that the economic and sociopolitical situation became chaotic and violent. After hearing this revelation, my wife became incredibly agitated. She spit out her words with a force that surprised me:

“So does that mean you will shoot me and my children when we come to you begging for food? Where in the Gospels do you find that??”

My friend quickly tried to regroup, “Of course I wouldn’t shoot you or the kids. You are part of our extended family. We would share and make do.”

My wife was not to be consoled. “So we get to stand behind the barricade and watch you shoot down other starving women and children?”

Needless to say, dinner was over for that night. We have still remained friends, but the topic of preparedness is resolutely avoided when all of us are together. As I have become more aware of the issues of peak oil, as well as the immense fragility of our economic systems, the question has once again returned. As a devout Christian, should I focus on preparing for potential disaster or should I just rely on God?

Scripture does not seem to directly answer the question. The clear meaning of Matthew 6:34 is that we should not worry about tomorrow at the expense of today. So is preparing for a radically different future the same thing as “worrying”? More importantly, is prepping an attempt to rely upon our own devices rather than God? Does Matthew 6:34 prohibit us from acting on the knowledge that things are changing, and not for the better?

It becomes an even more puzzling issue when you consider the parable of the foolish bridesmaids described in Matthew. Jesus was clearly chiding them for their lack of preparation when he described the wise bridesmaids responding to the foolish who asked for their lamp oil – “since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves” (Matthew 25:9).

Yet, this parable was referring to the fact that we must have a certain level of awareness and preparation if we are going to enter the Kingdom of God when Christ returns. Jesus was mainly referring to a need for spiritual preparation, rather than a strictly physical process of preparation. There is no doubt that the last days will be characterized by much physical hardship, but it is critical to remember that we must always choose spiritual salvation and integrity over physical survival, if we are ever put in a position where such a choice between the two must be made.

The miracle of Jesus multiplying the five barley loaves and the two fish also tells us that Jesus has things under control and He will provide the necessary resources for us when we lack them. However, even He used the fish and loaves of a boy who had prepared for the day’s journey (John 6:9-11). And, once again, these miracles primarily point to the spiritual provisions of God in times of need, rather than physical ones (even though He may often provide us with both). So, after wrestling with this subject for several years, I have come to a formulation in my mind as to what I need to do and how I need to handle the issue of preparedness.

I have no issue with acquiring knowledge about the predicaments we face and what potential outcomes are likely to come. Knowledge is an invaluable tool, just like a hammer or a rope. It can be used for both good and evil. I believe that Christ wants us to be knowledgeable – to capture all knowledge that we can and to put it to use for God, His people and His Kingdom. Therefore, I have no problem with learning all that I can about these issues or trying to educate others about them as well. As we learn in the Bible, “an intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15).

It is not wrong to be prepared, either. Hurricane Katrina, for example, showed me how our government cannot handle a single hurricane that was predicted to arrive many days before and impacted only one major metropolitan area. Therefore, it is clear that we will be on our own with all sorts of calamities, especially those which happen simultaneously and feed off of each other, and especially when our governments are even more strained financially. To have food, water, medicine set aside is to be prudent, as is to have a plan of action to secure our safety and the safety of others.

God told Joseph to store up the grain in the seven years of plenty so that the people of Egypt would have enough in the years of famine (Genesis 41:47-49), and Joseph was blessed for heeding God’s wisdom. We have a responsibility to be able to care of ourselves, our children, our parents, our communities and perhaps even strangers. This responsibility lasts every day of our lives – not just when disaster strikes. Saving and storing some of the surplus God has given us is actually a part of this daily duty. We are to be good stewards of the abundance that He has blessed us with, and we can pray that our blessings continue as they did with Joseph.

In stark contrast to that charitable nature, God has called very few (if any) of us to emulate Rambo or the Terminator, even in the face of extreme threats or adversity. Our Christian life, being only one part of the whole body of Christ, is necessarily a community life. Wherever we find ourselves, it is our duty to look at the needs of those around us and to work together to fill those needs. Part of our preparation needs to be the strengthening of bonds with our Christian brothers and sisters so we can carry each other through difficult times, rather than alienating them or treating them as hostile competitors.

Our own individual or family preparations should not overcome the rest of our lives. We should take prudent steps to care for ourselves, family and neighbors, but we cannot allow ourselves to become obsessed with those preparations. The acts of worship, work, education, community development, charitable works, etc., are all important and cannot be set aside to collect more stuff or to spend all of our time “getting ready” for collapse. As Jesus makes clear, we cannot ignore the present in the hope of having secured the future.

Jesus commands us to share our abundance and our skills with the less fortunate among us (Matthew 25:44-45). This command applies regardless of whether we are living in a pre-collapse or post-collapse environment. Does this mean we have to open our pantry to the desperate masses, so that we are completely wiped out and our families are left to die? I don’t think so. Does it mean we have to be alert and open to the needs of others around us and attempt to ease their suffering whenever we have reasonable opportunities to do so? Yes.

What is the limit of our charity? How far do we have to go? I don’t know, and I doubt there are any absolute answers. Each situation will present itself differently and, ultimately, we must above all seek to do God’s will (not our own) in each individual case. We need to be open to the idea that God may want us to share even when we are unsure if there is enough for ourselves and our family. There is no doubt that serving God will sometimes call for radical departures from our “normal” sense of what’s appropriate.

Another important question is whether Christians should use force to protect themselves, their families and their property? This is a very difficult issue for me. I do not own a gun. Several years ago, I would have unequivocally and judgmentally stated that Christians should not own guns; that Christians should never resort to violence. I would have said to rely on God, and He will save you. Recently, I have moved away from that absolute position.

There are instances in the Bible when God calls upon the strong to protect the weak, and we can all imagine circumstances when only physical force will stop the perpetration of hideous evil against us or those close to us. The Bible clearly states that “whoever shed’s man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6), which implies that those people whose actions threaten or lead to imminent death of others have removed themselves from God’s protection and have subjected themselves to the proportional justice of man.

I have come to see that Christians, just like anyone else, may be required to defend themselves and those who God has placed under their protection. At the same time, though, I believe that the use of force on another human being should be avoided if there is any possibility of doing so. Such force should only be used after very careful and prayerful  consideration of the alternatives. The Bible repeatedly tells us that we should never be quick to “repay evil with evil” (1 Peter 3:9, Romans 12:17), and that we should always rely on our prayers to seek out God’s guidance and His will.

Therefore, physical force should be used in the smallest amount required in any given situation. Overcoming our enemies by wounding or killing them is never something about which we should be proud or about which we should gloat, but rather a course of action that we should mourn and regret with every bone in our body and all of our hearts. God is truly in control of everything, and once we have taken prudent steps to secure the basic well-being of ourselves, our families and our neighbors, we must rely on God to take care of the rest.

We have to remember the loaves of bread and the fish that Jesus provided to the masses. We have to be like the widow confronted by a creditor who wished to take her two sons away for the debts owed by her husband. All she possessed was a small jar of oil, but she trusted in God’s prophet, Elisha, and her oil was multiplied greatly by God so that she could pay off the debts and live off of the surplus (2 Kings 4:1-7). Many Christians may look on these events as irrelevant ancient history, but God is still very active in the world today. Many people find themselves buried in debt today, just as the widow was then, and God’s grace towards His children remains the same.

Therefore, be not afraid. The most important part of Christian prepping is to realize that God has not abandoned us. To paraphrase Saint Paul – governments will fail, pensions and 401K’s will fail, banks and commerce will fail, electricity and running water will fail, our political and social institutions will fail, but God’s love will never fail us (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). We must carry the joy of knowing Christ into the future. No matter what the future brings, He will be there with us. We need to find peace and we need to quiet our anxieties with this knowledge. We need to let this knowledge make us joyful and loving in the face of trials and tribulations.

The thoughts contained in this article are my own. They are a reflection of my own struggles to follow Jesus in a world gone mad. I claim no special knowledge or understanding of scripture or God’s will. No one should feel that I am telling them that they have to do things exactly the way I do, or believe exactly as I believe. Please do not feel judged by any of these words. God has given each of us a conscience and, if it be His will, He will put the Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds to show us what he wants for and from each of us as individuals. We each have our own walk of faith to follow.

God may be telling some of you to build a fortress and stock it with weapons and supplies to last a lifetime. To others, He may be telling them to renounce all of their worldly possessions and, like Saint Francis of Assisi, approach the world as naked as the moment they were born. He may be telling them to rely solely on God to clothe them, just as He did with Adam and Eve after the Fall (Genesis 3:21), and to fulfill their needs. Either way, I pray that my thoughts can be of some assistance to those who have the same burning questions.

And I recommend that everyone solemnly pray to Jesus and listen very carefully for His answers. Since we were all created as unique beings, those answers will no doubt be unique for each of us. I hope that I will receive comments and feedback from those who are reading this. God knows that I have much more to learn and that your comments will perhaps open my eyes to perspectives that I have not yet considered, and will help me ask even more questions that I have yet to formulate.

We are brothers and sisters in this journey. Please be gentle with me and with each other in your comments and replies. It saddens me to see the vitriol and petty remarks that many commentators dump on each other in some of the blogs that I follow. There are many people who are mean and judgmental just for the sake of building up their prideful images of themselves and stroking their egos. However, as followers of Christ, our goal should be to abandon our egos and our pride, and to do everything we can to support each other and build each other up.

Peace and Hope,

JT

A Meditation on Guns, in 2012

Off the Keyboard of William Hunter Duncan

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasboard of the Diner

I think I first shot a gun when I was about six or seven. My father was an avid hunter, hence my name, and he believed it was a healthy thing to put a gun in a young boy’s hands, early. It was a lever action, compressed air pellet gun. I shot aluminum cans first, and then moved onto birds, squirrels and chipmunks. I think I might have killed a robin before I knew it wasn’t a good thing to kill a robin. I was told to kill black birds, or grackles, because they were supposedly predators of songbirds (I didn’t know at the time, the three leading causes of death for songbirds are pesticides, cats and automobiles – and that being black in America is to have all sorts of things projected onto you.) Mostly, with birds, I killed the ubiquitous English sparrow, perhaps as a kind of subconscious legacy of the revolution, but mostly because they were a constant invader of our martin bird house. The chipmunks chewed holes in the sides of our house. There were a few squirrels, which were more like taking big game, for a young child.

 

It wasn’t like I was an exterminator. I was just hunting, patiently; the death toll never impacted the local population in any noticeable way. It was more like feeding something natural in me, something inherent to my being, not the killing so much as the hunting. Even then, I did a good deal more playing than killing, and it wasn’t long before I grew tired of killing, and graduated to hunting frogs, snakes and turtles with my hands, to capture and cage, while I treated them like pets, before I would eventually let them go. That began when I was about eight, and continued until I was maybe 11. I still shot the pellet gun, most often in the fall when I would go duck hunting with my father. I would wander around the land we hunted, trying to sneak up on ducks that were close to shore. Once, I was convinced I killed one, or wounded it, before my dog rushed into the water and retrieved it alive, and I wrung it’s neck. Looking back, the duck, a blue wing teal, was probably injured previously, by somebody else’s shotgun.

 

At about 12, I graduated to a single shot 20 gauge shotgun. When I was thirteen, I shot 28 shells that duck hunting season, and killed 27 ducks. When I was fourteen, I graduated to a pump, 3-shot, 20 gauge shotgun, and never shot that well again.

 

At thirteen, I also graduated to a 30-30 rifle, an old lever action, for deer hunting. I didn’t see a deer that first year, but that second year I shot a little spike buck, and an old matriarch of a doe. Every year after, for about a decade, I killed a deer, or more than one. I duck hunted throughout high school as well, and a little in college, but gave that up about the time I realized ducks mated for life. I kept deer hunting, more for the meat, but by the time I was 30, I had given that up too.

 

I haven’t shot a gun in almost a decade now. I took a kind of pledge against it. I had become so sick of the work of firearm wielding men and boys in this world, I gave it up, out of revulsion. My first year managing a Halloween store, unable to convince the owners not to sell the mock uzis, M-16 and AK-47 with their little kid packaging, I stayed late one night, disassembled said guns from their packaging, and built a six-foot machine gun monster, propping it up on an elevated stand in the middle of the showroom floor. I hung the little kid packaging from the tips of the M-16 arms. (I wrote about that in my second book, Green Man, in the chapter called “Blackheart”.) No one got my point, about Blackheart, in the store. To them, our consumer shoppers, it was a display, not Art.

 

There has been a kind of evolution in my thinking on guns, in 2012. Lets review: The Department of Homeland Security purchased 450 MILLION rounds of .40 cal Hollow Point bullets, a few thousand hardened, bullet proof checkpoints, and boatloads of potassium iodide pills to protect the thyroid from nuclear fallout (for DHS, not the people). The Military is flooding local police departments with decommissioned weapons from Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones in our skies, authorized by the president. A 100,000 sq ft computer being built in Utah, to spy on American’s digital communications. The recent Executive Order authorizing the President to take over all communications outlets in the country, via the military and homeland security. The National Defense Authorization Act, that allows for indefinite detention, military martial law, and the takeover of all food supplies, public and private. The President’s TPP trade deal that would allow multi-national corporations to operate in America but not be answerable to any American law or court. Our president sits down every Tuesday and decides who he is going to kill with drone strikes, about 3,000 so far, about half civilians – effectively saying he has Absolute Power to kill whoever he decides, and he doesn’t have to tell anyone the details, unless he thinks it will benefit him politically. There are rumors of a major False Flag operation planned, to initiate global control. There are people already eating people, and there hasn’t even been any kind of disruption in supply chains yet, which would be the case if there is a global financial meltdown.

 

I’ve been thinking lately, I wouldn’t mind at all, a serviceable handgun, a riot gun (.12 gauge shotgun) and an AR-15, the civilian semi-automatic equivalent of the military issue automatic M-16. In case of zombie cannibals, of course. In that particular case, should it arise, I would not hesitate. Looters too. And that includes police and military, if their intent is to pillage.

 

It’s not even a half-hearted desire, really. I would be more than happy never to fire another gun the rest of my remaining 30 years or so, Goddess willing. My government would be happy with that too, except they are arming themselves to the hilt, in pursuit of total control apparently. That is called the pursuit of the monopoly on power, which is every power monger and bureaucrat’s wet dream – they can’t help themselves, it’s in the nature of the institutions they inhabit. The UN is currently hashing out a global small arms treaty, which purports to be an attempt to prevent the transfer of hand-held guns across international borders; but really, it’s an attempt to restrict the manufacture of such guns, and the registry of all those existing, so that the bureaucrat knows exactly who owns what – while said bureaucrats pursue their monopoly on power. They voted on it on the day of the opening ceremony of the Olympics, of course, while the world was distracted. The only person in America to my knowledge who even reported on the vote before the vote was the conspiratorialist Alex Jones (all the legit sources I consulted said there was no such vote planned.) Thankfully the US did not ratify it, or there would have been a real possibility of bloody revolt in this country.

 

It’s as if Americans have no history. As if we think no government anywhere ever abused it’s people. As if men have not been attempting to rule over their fellow men for 5,000 years at least. What was it like when the working man in American cities didn’t have any guns, back in the day before unions, when the average life expectancy of such a man was maybe forty, and his wife too, and their kids’, if they made it past their 6th year. It’s not like guns are the reason we don’t live like that anymore (we’ve made third-world people live like that to sustain our lifestyles), but guns may be of use to make sure the likes of the Koch brothers and the Rockefellers don’t return us to that. Or worse.

 

Still, many are calling for gun control, after that shooting in Aurora, CO. Bloomberg is testing it as a potential opportunity to steal the presidency. Wouldn’t that be awesome, a multi billionaire media conglomerator apologist for the rich as God class, as our President, instituting a mandatory gun registry and confiscation, for everybody but the government? That shooting, as has been implied, has all the hallmarks of a False Flag, about which I could go either way. It’s either that, or the monster is a true evil genius madman, to have figured out how to build all those improvised explosive devices (IEDs) all by himself, in such a short period of time without raising much suspicion anywhere apparently, and without blowing himself up. Whatever the case, it has provided a fine opportunity for the government via the media to put the breaks on Americans arming themselves in the face of the government’s very much on-the-table legal and logistical preparations for martial law.

 

Austerity for everybody but the rich as God class, anyone? I mean, if there is a global financial breakdown and a collapse in supply chains, and they just checkpoint the outlets of all the cities in the midst of nuclear power plants, and let the carnage take it’s course….well, you get the point.

 

Like I said, I don’t care if I ever have to shoot a gun again. I really would rather not. I don’t own one and I don’t have the money to buy. But I wonder too, because I am a good man who knows the difference between predator control freaks, the burned out losers without conscience, and the basically good, and because a gun feels perfectly comfortable in my hands, don’t I have some responsibility to stay alive, to help protect those who cannot protect themselves from said monsters? Or is it more important for me, as a grower of food, as a builder of shelters, as a knower of the medicinal qualities of plants, is it better to exist at the periphery, and let the idiots shoot each other into oblivion – should the whole thing come crashing down of course – that I might be there to help rebuild?

 

I don’t know. I do know, there’s a reckoning coming, one way or another. We don’t get to increase our numbers like we have, while encouraging unlimited consumption on a finite planet, and have it all work out like a Disney fairy tale. The culture is rotten beyond redemption. Such a people of such a culture are not capable of simply stopping and making the world a better place for everyone and everything in it. Particularly not when the obvious trajectory they are on is leading to a shootout.

 

 

 

 

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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