Suicide

This Week in Doom June 10, 2018


That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 10, 2018

“It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.” ― Barack Obama  


This was a week in which The Orange Turd blasted our allies and trading partners, gave aid and succor to Russia, declared himself above the law and that he can pardon himself, called the special counsel unconstitutional and otherwise appealed to his rump base of hard core supporters and tagalong stupids. This stuff would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous. Anti-intellectualism has been the glue holding together the Republican platform, and is normalized for a third of the electorate, such that we are unequipped to deal with the complex problems we hasten to create all over the world. 

Right-wingers label intelligence and being well-informed as “elite,” implying that ignorance is somehow both valuable and under attack, because a sense of continued victimhood  is necessary to stoke the flames of grievance.  Richard Hofstadter described our anti-intellectualism as “older than our national identity” in his 1963 classic, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Observers from Tocqueville on noted American ignorance as an essential element of the national character, never found far from its running buddy, nativism. Yet our founders established a form of government that requires an informed citizenry. Hard to do when television prefers simplistic arguments, solutions, answers, and a story arc that resolves in 22 minutes. And even TV is losing the attention battle to the smartphone.

We can't agree on what constitutes a "fact." Trump's War on Truth starts with "No Collusion," and proceeds to denying climate change, asserting widespread voter fraud, and asserting evidence doesn't matter. Evidence-based communities are under attack — the intelligence community, law enforcement, think tanks and journalists. Such attacks come in various forms — disregard for data, ad hom attacks on messengers and motives, deflections and false analogies. And outright lying. Now any theory is valid if it sells books, earns ratings, or moves units, anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough, and fact is whatever enough people believe, determined by how fervently they believe it. Praise Jesus.

American 15-year-olds rank 24th out of 29 countries in math literacy, and their parents are as likely to believe in flying saucers as in evolution; roughly 30 to 40 percent believe in each. Almost half of Americans can’t name even one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. 35 percent think gay people can choose to become straight. 29 percent say that a bloody fight against the U.S. government “isn’t just imminent but imperative.” A late-night comic interviewed a Georgia Rep about the bill she co-sponsored  that would require display of the Ten Commandments in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. When asked, she couldn't actually name the commandments. Apparently we don't need to know anything because, hey, we can look it up on the Internet.

Just don't lose your phone.


Trump cuts and runs from G7. End of the world order?

The G7 (G6?) is in apparent disarray after Trump rejected a joint communique and attacked Canada's Justin Trudeau as 'weak.' In a PR offensive meant to bring his low IQ voter base of to full erection, The Orange Lout managed to threaten new trade wars, insult our friends, coddle our enemies and call for Russia to be reinstated to the G7. He arrived late to a meeting on human rights, signaling his disdain for the proceedings, and then left early in case anyone missed the point.

Yet for all that, the US had appeared to agree a version of a draft statement on contentious issues thanks to an all-night negotiating session by officials from all sides. But then Trump's personal Iago, John Bolton, went to work on his erratic, easily swayed charge.

But after leaving for Singapore, Trump tweeted personal attacks on Trudeau and said that he had told his representatives not to sign the summit communique, turning what had already been a tense meeting of the world’s leading industrialized democracies into a fiasco.

A few minutes before Trump sent out his inflammatory tweets, his hawkish national security security adviser, John Bolton, appeared to anticipate them by sending a tweet of his own, deriding the G7 summit he had just attended.

“Just another G7 where other countries expect America will always be their bank. The President made it clear today. No more,” Bolton said.

On meeting Trump, Trudeau made a gift of a framed photo of The Orange Turd's  grandfather’s Canadian brothel in British Columbia, where Friedrich Drumpf made the fortune that was the foundation of the Trump family real estate empire. Orange Julius seemed happy with the gift, even bragging about it on Twitter. Some speculate it was a brilliant troll. 

Apparently this was not the only viral slight from Trudeau to Trump. In the released photo of the world leaders together, the two leaders also stood side-by-side and clearly showed that Trudeau is visibly taller than The Orange Lout. Trudeau is listed as 6-foot-2 while Trump was comically listed on his official White House physical as 6-foot-3. Compared to Trudeau, he appears to be at least two inches shorter than his listed height, which would classify him as obese.

It is not known whether the point of the gift slowly dawned on The Orange One only later, or whether that helped fuel his tantrum. In a related rumor, Vladimir Putin was heard singing a happy tune.


How Singapore, Astana and St Petersburg preview a new world order

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a meeting of a diffreent kind took place. Pepe Escobar outlines how Russia-China are now well-placed to have Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India join them along with the central Asian stans, in a new mega trading bloc, even as the  US/Japan/EU western bloc is collapsing and divided.

The Astana Economic Forum in Kazakhstan centered on how mega-partnerships are changing world trade. Participants included the president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, the president of the EU Commission, the deputy director-general of the WTO, and academics. You may ask, "who cares?" 

In a nutshell; this New Great Game installment revolves around “Russia’s strategy to enhance its bargaining power with the West by pivoting to the East.”


While Putin's Man in the White House left the G7 early in a snit, he  left behind a giant turd in the punch bowl, demanding that Russia be re-admitted to the G-7. 

Cui bono?

Join now in another rousing chorus of "No Kollusion!"

As the New Silk Road initiative continues, along with mega-partnerships changing world trade, meetings like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) occurring soon, the US is quickly becoming a pariah state.

Cui bono?

Maybe you missed this as well:

Add to the debate the crucial Astana headline, ignored by Western corporate media: Iran signed a provisional free-trade-zone agreement with the EAEU, lowering or abolishing customs duties, and opening the way for a final deal in 2021. For Iran, that will be a golden ticket to do business way beyond Southwest Asia, integrating it further with Russia and also Kazakhstan, which happens to be a key member of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The rest of the world is going its own way, and will be doing so without the US. Let's review the bidding: Trump hollows out the State department, and surrounds himself with "my generals." Military acumen replaces statecraft. Ambassadorships go unfilled. Wary of "globalists," the US retreats from the world, and China rushes in the fill the vacuum. Trump picks unnecessary fights with allies, who consider other trade and strategic options. Putin and Xi offer options. America become increasingly isolated as Trump Makes China Great Again.

Once again: cui bono?

We all like to forget that "the American standard of living" is financed by foreign debt, backed by the full faith and credit of the US nuclear arsenal and delivery systems. Which mean less ability to burden the rest of the world with all those troublesome dollars, and when all that debt comes home to roost, great will be the hue and cry therefrom. The "average American" will suffer a bigly shock to his and her standard of living, and our children might be able to afford a chicken for Sunday Dinner luxury once a month… Maybe only then will we put all the goddamn phones down.


Trump: 'I have the absolute right to pardon myself'

It's hard to think back thus far and realize that this happened within this week, such are the serial insults to our attention, but the Orange Lout continue to make his above-the Law-assertions that he could, indeed, pardon himself. He was quick to add that He didn't need to do that, because he had done nothing wrong. Just ignore all those indictments…

The DOJ ruled 44 years ago that the president cannot pardon himself

Trump took to Twitter on Monday to claim his "absolute right" to grant himself a presidential pardon, though he said it would be unnecessary as he has "done nothing wrong." He cited "numerous legal scholars" to back his claim.

However, as Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis pointed out, that wasn't the case at the end of former President Richard Nixon's time in office. "Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself," the Department of Justice declared in 1974. The DOJ spelled it out just four days before Nixon resigned, explaining that the president's pardoning power "does not extend to the president himself."

Even his designated TV legal rodeo clown, Rudy "9-11" Giuliani, added that Trump pardoning himself is "unthinkable" and "would lead to probably an immediate impeachment."

As we have already seen,the fact that this course of action may be illegal in no way precludes Trump from taking it and saying, in effect, "What are you going to do about it?" The Republican majority has proven themselves to be as craven a bunch of lickspittles as ever gathered together to submit to serial forcible sodomy, so expect no "rule of law" relief from that quarter.

Along those lines, Charlie Pierce submitted an article, Trump Has Access to Everything a Dictator Could Want, in which he outlines how Trump consolidates power based on deceit at an alarming rate, and is becoming more popular for doing so among the only voters that matter to him. They care only about winning at all costs, and immiserating godless "libruls" is just an added lagniappe.

The president*, installed at least in part by ratfckers in the employ of a former KGB thug now running a murderous kleptocracy, has at his easy disposal everything a dictator could possibly want. He has combined an instinctive contempt for democratic government with a swindler’s nose for easy cash and a junkie knifepoint robber’s reckless disregard for consequences. He has a tight, loyal cabal of flunkies who’d be chasing ambulances if it weren’t for their talents as sycophants. He has a largely impotent political opposition and a largely supine congressional majority. He is one vote away from a rubber-stamp Supreme Court…

The prion disease began when the party ate the monkeybrains provided by Ronald Reagan, who served up crackpot economics leavened with a cynical alliance with splinter American Protestantism. It has gathered strength within the party, its symptoms becoming more and more obvious year after year. 

Iran-Contra. Willie Horton. Atwater. Rove. Falwell. Graham. Luntz. Bauer. Gingrich. The Impeachment Kabuki. Florida. The lies undermining the Iraq War. Gay-baiting in the 2004 elections. The U.S. Attorneys scandal. Phony charges of voter fraud. The barbaric use of Terri Schiavo for political gain. The unprecedented obstruction, based in overt racism, of Barack Obama. The tolerance of Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Blake Fahrenhold, and Michele Bachmann. The endless flogging of the events at Benghazi. 

And, finally, confronted with genuine, uncut, unfiltered, un-consulted authoritarianism, these people affect surprise that their party was ready for this president* or someone like him? Or that their party was helpless to stop him, or to confront him once in office? The Republican party abandoned its political innocence long ago. It’s only now just noticing.

This administration is the culmination of 40 years of conservative Republican politics melded with an atavistic, fringe Christopathy. The executive is accumulating unchecked power at a breakneck pace, and it is debatable whether he can even be stopped. If you don't like it, get thee to the polls in November. And if you DO like it, eat a bullet.


Suicide Is Painless

The deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have called attention is rising suicide rates in The Home of the Brave, Land of the Free. NBC reports that US suicide rates are up 30 percent since 1999, according to the CDC. Only half of people who died by suicide had diagnosed mental health conditions.

That may be in part because it’s so difficult to get mental health care, said Dr. Jack Rozel, medical director of the Allegheny crisis services facility in Pittsburgh and president-elect of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry.

“I run a major crisis center. We have 150 staff. We provide almost 150,000 services every year,” Rozel, also a psychiatry professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said.

Yet even his team sometimes has problems finding help for people.

“I think I am reasonably well-connected. About a year ago a friend of mine reached out to me. He was feeling more sad, more anxious, than usual," Rozel said.

"It took me days to get him an appointment with someone. It’s a problem.”

AA calls suicide a "permanent solution to a temporary problem." Who among us really knows what the other guy is going through?

A couple of trends here: In the Reagan years, we de-funded and closed mental hospitals, and in one fell swoop created a homeless problem of off-their-meds schizophrenics wandering the streets, to swell the ranks of other unfortunates. Which was then exacerbated by a casino economy that picks winners, and criminalizes poverty. (Being poor in America is really the only unforgivable sin. My city has jerked up benches in almost every park , even at the airport, and recently fenced off a vacant lot in which Food Not Bombs fed the homeless.)

Another trend has been the pharmacologing of mental illness. Therapists are expensive; pills are cheap. No paychecks needed for pills, which we can make for $.05 and sell for $10 the each. And who gives a fuck about the problems of a handful of muppets? Bad for profits.

Who knows what private torments someone otherwise enjoying the fruits of fame may suffer. But when you look behind the headlines, many thousands of people suffer with depression, with mental illness, and other ills, and our solution is to throw medications at them to paper over the problem, and then blame them for "being weak." Weakness being a sin almost  as unforgivable as poverty.

In the search for answers, we'll look it up on the Internet on our phone. Everywhere except in a mirror. 



banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

The Ark Project

ArkProjectReposted_html_m7435077dgc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Geoffrey Chia

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 4, 2016

extinction-button

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NTHE = Near Term Human Extinction, NBL = Nature Bats Last website

WACKO = Whiny, Anonymous, Cowardly, Killjoy, Orc

My final parts of “Peak Oil Revisited” remain on the backburner as I was sidetracked by the current topics of Terrorism and COP 21. I will get back to Peak Oil again in due course, focusing on the crucially important concepts of EROEI (especially ideas by Hall, Murphy and Lambert) and the ELM (by Jeffrey Brown).

A Diner reader requested re-publication of the original text of my “Ark project”, which formed part of my essay “A critique of some of Guy McPherson's views and certain NBL hangers-on” (see pdf link below) which unleashed a storm in the NBL world. I was especially polite toward Guy in that essay because it was my hope then that he might still turn away from the “dark” side at the time and consider applying his undeniable abilities to a project which was actually useful for humanity. Unfortunately he preferred to remain entrenched in misery, took the side of his WACKOs (for unknown reasons alien visitation was an obsession with some of them, others were preoccupied with holocaust denial or had racial/neocolonial mindsets) and to disavow me publicly. Whereas many of the NBL readers seemed reasonably sane, his most ardent disciples were complete WACKOs. I made factual observations about the loutish, vulgar and obscene way those WACKOs (one anonymous coward in particular) had hatefully and obsessively attacked those who disagreed with the NTHE ideology previously. I criticised the fanatical anti-human attitudes of the WACKOs and postulated possible psychological explanations based on information some of those WACKOs had inadvertently revealed about themselves. Guy publicly condemned me for criticising his idolisers, but overlooked the profanity and abusiveness which originated from those WACKOs to begin with, hardly an even handed approach. He portrayed me as the prime villain in his (NBL) world, even though he was the one who posted my essay on NBL in its entirety. He had my essay in his possession for several weeks before posting it and could easily have edited it beforehand if he did not want to offend his WACKOs, rather than censor it post hoc.

My observations about the NBL WACKOs remain especially pertinent and more vindicated than ever, seeing as how one particularly unhinged specimen crawled out of the woodwork into the Diner, transformed into an anonymous Troll and unleashed a torrent of hateful abuse against me for a relatively bland (for climate realists) piece I had written about COP21. RE censored those abusive posts of his own accord as they contained nothing of value, just trash talk. It is unclear how many “death disciples” Guy actually has. There may actually be only one or two with lots of time on their hands and nothing better to do, who have adopted numerous pseudonyms to confer the illusion of numbers.

NTHE may be probable but is not a certainty. This much is sure: failure to plan ahead will significantly increase the likelihood of NTHE. This seems to be the primary misanthropic purpose of the WACKOs: to eliminate all possibility of human survival. The very definition of a death cult with an anti-human agenda. For me personally, there are worse things in the world than being hated for having the audacity to improve the prospects of human survival. The venomous way in which the WACKOs vilify me merely add further proof as to their mental derangement. Why are they so emotionally invested in insisting that no efforts to prevent human extinction should even be attempted? If they are so certain NTHE is inevitable, then why even bother to oppose my efforts, which in their view are supposedly futile? If they are genuinely dedicated to their belief that humanity must die off completely, then for the sake of consistency and to demonstrate their commitment, they must set proper examples and they must kill themselves immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ArkProjectReposted_html_m7435077dA CRITIQUE OF SOME OF GUY MCPHERSON'S VIEWS AND CERTAIN NBL HANGERS-ON
Geoffrey Chia, June 2014
Does humanity deserve to go extinct?
"Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won't drown" – A. Ransome,
Swallows and Amazons

Philosophy of the Absurd

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 30, 2015 & Peak Resources on October 31, 2015

It is beauty, in all its forms, life as it is lived, that makes me shed tears…

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_axVgXvgTKc/VjP0RlLlwQI/AAAAAAAAA_0/gnqOXR3CpTE/s1600/IMG_3681.JPG

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Is it all for naught, we ask? This cold and uncaring universe goes against our feelings, our wants and dreams of purpose and meaning. And yet we are nothing but a burst of energy in a void of matter, a blue dot, an experiment, a random process. All ideas of intention and free will is but semantics. Yes, it is hard to accept. But I do not feel less today than yesterday because of my realisation. 
 
Life is simply a philosophy of the absurd, a futile search for meaning and clarity in a world devoid of God, eternal truths or values. As such, are we condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task, is there no way out?, you ask. According to Albert Camus “The struggle itself […] is enough to fill a man’s heart”, for what is life if not a series of experiences, of day by day living? So it is for the blue whale, the orangutan, and the arctic fox. We are not so special as we have come to believe. 
 
Upon insight, people react differently, some with sadness others with slackening life force or caring due to denial or intentional forgetfulness. But we don't have much of a choice but to accept the absurd and create a meaning of our own. No wonder that such a great number of humans today suffer from mental illness since they have nothing left: no nature, no culture, no community, no language…nothing that creates identity and thus meaning in our uncaring world.
 
We want to live and survive and yet if we continue on like today we will likely self-destruct. Prior generations only had to worry about one existential problem at a time (last time it was nuclear proliferation) but our current dilemma is the result of multiple converging crises, all life-threatening. Deforestation, ocean acidification, antibiotic resistant diseases, peak oil, ecosystem collapse, freshwater scarcity, resource conflict, economic collapse etc. 
 
Most people are not convinced we are in the midst of a collapsing global society, but a few of us are. And so if we follow the reasoning of Camus we have three different options, either 1) suicide, 2) nihilism, or 3) revolution. Unfortunately 1 million people die each year from suicide, that's one in every 40 seconds, and WHO estimates it will increase to about one in every 20 seconds by 2020. And there are plenty of people in the nihilism camp, I would say a majority, but I can find few in the revolutionary segment. At least here, in northern Europe. But perhaps we are late, as we see movements in Greece, Spain and Portugal towards self-determination and decentralisation of decision-making. 
 
From ecology we know that crisis creates opportunity in otherwise rigid systems difficult to change. The question is one of timing, to see the window of opportunity and seize it. Of course, this will play out differently depending on scales and places. So far we have not reached a critical tipping point in social behaviour. But there is a great tension, a rising worry, more disorder as entropy exacts its vengeance.

The Final Personal Solution

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on September 20, 2015

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This week, a close friend, really practically a Brother of one of the Diners committed Suicide.  The exact reasons for this as yet are unclear, but it is clear that this fellow had many troubles through his life, his ability to do the kind of fine work he had made his living at was impaired, his life was not going well for him, and he made the decision to end it this week.

His age, mid-60s since he was 3 years older than my friend Eddie, who also writes here on the Diner regularly.  This isn't the first suicide this year that touched Eddie's life, a contemporary of one of his children also pulled the life plug on himself.  In his case, apparently battling depression for many years.

Here is what Eddie wrote about his own friend this week Inside the Diner, Remembering his Friend and Brother:

Where do you start? There is so much I could say about him. A hundred stories, easy. I want to write something, but it is hard, hard. So fucking hard.

Okay, here goes.

We even had the same name.

Middle names, that is. Because we were both named for my father. It was my father's middle name too, but Dad was called by it…and he was called by it too, even though I was not.

FRIENDSHe was three years older than I was. We were childhood best friends. Yes we were. But it went much further than that. We were like brothers, two brothers of different mothers. Best friends whose fathers were also best friends.

And it went further still. My family was friends with all his many aunts and uncles, and grandparents….and we were good friends with his mother's people too. They were country people who lived right in Mud Creek Bottom, which would figure in a lot in our development.

Our relationship was better in many respects, than real brothers, because he lived a hundred miles away when we were growing up. We spent every Christmas together. In the summer, he'd spend a week at my house in the sticks, and I'd  spend a week at his house in the burbs. I looked forward to every visit. The first night he would be at my house, I wouldn't be able to fall asleep.

We were always going to get up early the next day and go exploring, or hunting. We used to wander up and down Bridge Creek for miles, not any respecters of property rights. We travelled with stealth, hidden from view down under the canopy of the creek. We mostly went unnoticed, even though we went armed. First with our BB guns and later with rifles and shotguns.

Anyway, I would lie awake long after he was sacked out and sawing logs, but I'd be awake at first light, and I'd poke him, and he wouldn't wake up. He'd tell me to leave him alone and then he'd turn back over and sleep for a couple more hours.

It went on like that from my earliest memory, until he turned into a teenager and we found reasons not to spend so much time together. But it didn't end there. We stayed close for many years, drifting apart in adulthood.

Like some other city kids I knew, he turned to petty larceny as an adolescent,out of boredom and for thrills and free beer, stolen from garage refrigerators in the Dallas tract house suburbs. He always got me in trouble, being the one who had nerve and lacked the kind of respect for authority that I had seemingly hardwired into my psyche.

After a couple of years of not seeing each other, he showed up at my surprise 21st birthday party and gifted me with a whole ounce of the finest Lebanese blond hashish. Best party ever.

I got married first and he did soon after. He was the best man at my wedding. I was the best man at his wedding. But he was, if anything, an even worse husband than I was,and his bride soon left him, as did mine. I went back for another try, and got lucky. He never did.

Thirty years ago he moved to a dying town in Central Texas, went to work for his father, who owned a jewelry store and a profitable jewelry repair business, and bought a run down house, where he lived alone, pursued his many hobbies, and slowly drank himself into ruin.

He had to give up his craft. A rattlesnake bite ruined his ever steady right hand. It was an avoidable accident that happened when he, probably under the influence, was handling a pygmy rattler owned by a friend. He loved snakes, and kept a big Western Diamondback for a pet (if you can call such an animal a pet) for more than 20 years, until she finally died of old age.

He drunk called me once out of the blue and asked me, in his alcohol induced honesty, why I didn't stay in closer touch. I told him I was just busy trying to raise my kids, which was true, but it wasn't the real reason. I just went a different way. I buckled down to thirteen years of school. He dropped out of college after a year. He was always a talented artist, drawn to beadwork and Native American arts and crafts. He, like his father, was a great hunter, and an amateur gunsmith. He built flintlock rifles from kits and used them. He got into rendezvous and re-enactments. He liked to take off and spend a week in Terilingua for the Chili Cook-Off, an event I always wanted to attend, but never seemed to find time for in my busy schedule.

He showed up one year in the late 90's for a fishing trip we had planned down in Aransas Bay. He spent some time with my famiiy then, and maybe we got together once or twice after that. I'm not really sure.

I really meant to spend more time with him. But I didn't. Life got in the way.

The last time I remember seeing him was at his Uncle Chester's funeral. Chester was the best woodsman of all our fathers and uncles. He fed his family off the largesse of Mud Creek. His kids, older than we were by some ten years, had built a cabin on the creek where we went fishing dozens of times with our Dads over the years.. Not on their land, actually, this cabin. I never knew who owned that land back in our day.  I went to Chester's house after the funeral, and he was there.  I asked  him to walk down the mile or two of ruts to the creek, but he wasn't into it. By that time the land had passed into the hands of a local millionaire who had torn the old cabin down and put in RV hook-ups.

I really wanted to walk down there anyway, because I knew it would be my last chance, but it didn't happen.


So…I got the call today. He took his own life over the weekend.

My brother called to tell me, right as I was finishing up my work day. He didn't know any details. There was a note, which he left for his sister. I have no idea as to his state of mind, but like most old alcoholics, he was probably fighting depression. Alcohol does that to people. I expect he shot himself. Once decided, for him of the iron will and supreme stubbornness, he would have done it quickly and efficiently.

I feel like shit right now. Guilty, mostly, for being a terrible brother and friend. Sadness, that it had to end that way for him. Sadness for his few remaining family and friends.

I feel that we will surely be together again. We have known each other over many lifetimes. So long, my brother. May you rest in peace, and in time….be reborn.

Suicides are virtually always considered "tragedies" by the people whose lives they touch, and bigger tragedies the younger you are when the person decides it is time to go to the Great Beyond.  But are they really always tragedies?

In another case of Death that has touched a Diner this year, a close friend of one of the younger Diners Roamer also crossed the Great Divide a couple of months ago while he was visiting with me.  In this case not willingly though, he fought tooth and nail to the bitter end against a Cancer which had left him paralyzed.  He had a wife and young child, and he obviously felt life was worth living no matter how bad things got for him.  This is clearly a tragedy on many levels.

Over on Guy McPherson's blog Nature Bats Last, Suicide is a fairly regular topic for discussion, while I participated over there the topic came up in almost every thread.  Guy even has a suicide information article up with a link from the Homepage of NBL.

Contemplating Suicide? Please Read This

MartinTue, Jul 8, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are contemplating suicide, please re-consider. And then click here for awareness, prevention, and support on the topic of suicide.

I’m not advocating for or against suicide. I’m non-judgmental about the issue, although I agree with Archbishop Desmond Tutu that every human has a right to make the decision to end his or her own life. It can be a thoughtful decision, as illustrated by Martin Manley.

In that note, Guy includes a link to the Blog of Martin Manley,  who pulled the plug last year, on his 60th Birthday.  Yahoo took the blog down, but it appears to have been republished elsewhere by friends and/or sympathizers.  He detailed in that blog the reasons for his choice, which basically came down to the fact he saw his mental capacities diminishing on the way to Senile Dementia, aka Alzheimer's.  Not a life threatening problem in the short term if you have people to take care of you, but the quality of life for an Alzheimer's victim is not too great, and it's not too great either for the loved ones who have to watch as the decay progresses and take care of this person.  If/When they need full time medical care, the costs can be enormous as well.  To spare himself the agony of watching himself decay and spare his family the same agony, he bought the ticket to the Great Beyond of his own volition.  To me, that is not a tragedy, it was an informed decision he made for himself.  The tragedy came before, which was his realization he was succumbing to Senile Dementia.

The reason they discuss suicide so often on NBL is because over there, the general belief is that the entire Human Race if not all life forms on Earth are bound for a Near Term Extinction, coming as soon as 2030 in recent estimates by Guy.  This is pretty depressing if you believe it to be the case, and similar to not wanting to watch yourself decay to Senile Dementia, it's none to pleasant to contemplate watching life on Earth spin down to nothingness.  Believe in this strongly enough, you might choose the suicide option.  Is that a valid option in this case?  That's a tougher question than your own personal problems and health issues.

Before we can examine that question, first we have to look at more common reasons for suicide, and whether they are Valid or Not Valid?

1- Terminal Disease

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XiK591jdL._SY355_.jpgWell, first off Life is a Terminal Disease.  Every living thing dies, it's not perpetual.  Just a timeline issue here.

Terminal Diseases can be defined though, say as something that has a 90% or better chance of killing you inside of say 2 years or less.  In this case, it depends mostly on whether this process will involve a lot of pain and expense over that 2 year period.  If it is likely to do that, suicide becomes a valid option.  In fact in this case it has even been made legal in a few states to be assisted in your trip to the Great Beyond by folks in the Medical Industry.  Oregon recently approved this form of suicide.  You can thank Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian for this becoming more "accepted" by the culture at large over time.

No other reason for suicide gets the LEGAL stamp of approval though, anywhere.  However, there are many reasons which in fact are more common than the terminal disease reason.

2- Depression

This is probably the Number 1 Proximal Cause for suicide.  Whenever you read about a suicide, Depression gets cited as a possible cause, often with something to back it up like the person was taking meds for this, had an alcohol addiction etc.  What rarely gets discussed is exactly WHY this person was depressed enough to take his own life?  Sometimes it is a biochemical problem, but there are many exogenous reasons that can cause a person to become depressed that themselves have valid reasons.  Marital and relationship problems are common here.  Loneliness and LACK of relationships can be a problem.  The Shrinks can sometimes medicate the depressed individual sufficiently he doesn't manifest depression symptoms, but that doesn't mean the issue causing the depression went away.

Depression is a form of emotional anguish or pain, and it is no less real than physical pain.  It can make life unbearable.  Just like meds for physical pain, anti-depressants have side effects and they are addicting.  With protracted use over time, their effectiveness can diminish, and again if the depression has its root cause in something else going on in the life of the sufferer, that root cause remains.

3- Physical Pain

Resultant from many possible causes due to illness like Cancer, Car Accidents or just deterioration due to  the Aging process, ongoing daily pain can become so unbearable that life is no longer worth living.  It is one thing to have pain that even if very strong is short lived, it is another thing entirely to have pain that never goes away.

Like the above example of anti-depressants for emotional pain, the meds that depress physical pain have many side effects, especially if you have to load up on heavy doses to relieve the pain.  If you have other addictions, the amounts grow exponentially larger.   The fellow I shared the hospital room with after my operation was in this category.

http://i467.photobucket.com/albums/rr36/altreel/Top%20Ten/HST%20Quotes/hunterthompsongun.jpgA few years ago, one of my favorite writers and role model for the Gonzo stylization I often use, Hunter S. Thompson blew his brains out with one of his many Guns.  Hunter was a real Gun Freak, not that common amongst left political leaning people.  In the aftermath of that suicide, it did come out that Hunter had been in pain for a long time, a likely result of his long time heavy use of alcohol and a whole pharmacy full of illicit and pharmaceutical drugs.  Probably in his later years not even an IV pump of Morphine could touch his pain.  Hunter burned his candle brightly, and then he burned it out.  It was his choice and his time to go.  That is not a tragedy.  It was a path he took early in his life and he never swayed from it, even though living that way is quite likely to shorten how long your personal timeline walking the earth will be.

4- Financial Problems

https://armstrongeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/jumper.jpg?w=584You could file this as a sub category of Depression, since when you get into financial difficulty, it is certainly depressing and taking meds does not cure your financial problems.  However, because this is a fairly common reason for suicide, I'm giving it a separate category.

Where this one really hits is in the category of people who have lived comfortable and financially secure lives, but then for one reason or another "lose it all" fairly rapidly.  The classic example are the Bankster Jumpers from the era of the Great Depression.  Not limited to that time period though, in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, there were numerous Bankster suicides of one sort or another.  One of the most well publicized was that of René-Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet, heir to a fortune that went back to the French Revolution.  René lost it all in the Bernie Madoff fiasco.

Magon served as the chairman and CEO of Crédit Lyonnais Securities USA. He also contributed to the founding of Apollo Management, financial management firm established by financier Leon Black.

http://www.fashion-writings.com/img/yv/rene-thierry-magon-de-la-villehuchet-wife/rene_thierry_magon_de_la_villehuchet_hedge_fund.jpgLater, he founded Access International Advisors, a research analyst investment agency that specialized in managing hedged and structured investment portfolios that involve commercial physical and biological research.[1][2] It had connections to wealthy and powerful aristocrats from Europe. Magon de La Villehuchet's family had done business with many of these aristocrats and their ancestors for almost 300 years.[3] Its funds enlisted intermediaries with links to the cream of Europe's high society to garner clients. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) do not believe Magon de La Villehuchet was involved personally in the US$50 billion fraudulent financial Ponzi scheme which Madoff was arrested for masterminding, on 11 December. Bloomberg News reported on 2 January 2009 that the AIA funds had increased aggregate exposure to Madoff from 30% to 75% of a total US$3 billion assets in 2008, for a US$2.25 billion exposure. It also identified Philippe Junot, former husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, and Prince Michael of Yugoslavia as partner and investor-relations executive, respectively, in the firm; and Liliane Bettencourt, the world's wealthiest woman, the 86-year-old daughter of L’Oréal founder Eugène Schueller, as an early investor.[4]

According to The New York Times, René-Thierry's older brother Bertrand said that Thierry was connected to Madoff by Thierry's partner in AIA, Patrick Littaye, another French banker, and that Thierry had not known Madoff personally. “He had a true concept of capitalism,” Bertrand Magon de La Villehuchet, 74, said of his brother, quoted in the Times. “He felt responsible and he felt guilty. Today, in the financial world, there is no responsibility; no one wants to shoulder the blame.”[5] Bloomberg reported that Bernard had invested 20% of his assets in an AIA/Madoff fund. It also reported that René-Thierry founded Access in 1994 with Littaye. The two had met at Paribas in 1970.[4] In February 2009, Littaye denied having heard of whistleblower Harry Markopolos' accusations against Madoff in the years before the scandal broke, and said Madoff was "of course" exempted from the usual handwriting analysis (graphology) which was among the due diligence efforts AIA made with its outside fund managers.[6]

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a9/49/5d/a9495dceeea96543d97c8d5be22a6c56.jpgOf course, most people aren't in that stratospheric territory of having so much to lose to begin with, it's much more common for the formerly middle class guy with the good middle manager job in his 40s or 50s who gets laid off, can't find a new job at anywhere near the old pay rate, has his McMansion foreclosed on and the best he can do is find a job at Min Wage as a Greeter at Walmart if he is lucky.  This is relatively speaking just about as huge a fall as René took, and the consequences are similar.  It is simply too much too deal with, particularly at that stage of your life.  You really can't start over at that point, and the prospect of living out the rest of your days in poverty is not the least bit appealing.  The suicide option becomes the valid choice for many who find themselves in this situation.

There are of course as many possible reasons for suicide as there are people if you want to get very specific, but in the end whatever it was just made life no longer worth living for the person who decided to pull the plug.  Is that not your right?  It's your life after all, you are the one encased in the meat package, nobody else.  However many people consider this morally indefensible, and in fact some Christians consider suicide to be a Mortal Sin.  They argue about this some.  Some figure you can't make it into Heaven if you buy your ticket this way, others are more lenient on it.

There are seven suicides in the Bible,[citation needed] most notably in Matthew 27:5, the suicide of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, and that of Saul (1 Samuel 31:4). In Acts of the Apostles 16:28 Paul prevents the attempted suicide of a jailor. Jonah (Book of Jonah 4:8), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) and Job (Book of Job 6:9) express suicidal feelings.

Some Christians state that one cannot repent from suicide since one is not capable of praying and asking for forgiveness after death. However, this can also be seen as that when one commits suicide they are repenting because when dead one cannot choose to sin again, ultimately making suicide one sin that can only be committed once.

One thing we do know from this though is that suicide has been around as a choice since at least Biblical times, and it probably goes back a good deal further than that for Homo Sap.  It also appears to be fairly unique to Homo Sap, at least in the way we go about it. Do other animals commit suicide?

Animal suicide is a hugely controversial issue in the world of animal research and psychology, because although there are numerous documented instances of animals seemingly intentionally ending their own lives, no one is exactly sure whether these cases can technically be classified as suicide.

http://s3-ak.buzzfeed.com/static/enhanced/terminal01/2011/8/12/12/enhanced-buzz-1962-1313166491-6.jpgFirst things first, because we’re sticklers for factual information, we feel like we have to point out that the most famous “suicidal” animal of all, lemmings, do not actually throw themselves off of cliffs when they migrate. As we’ve already mentioned before, no one is exactly sure where the myth originated from, but we can thank Disney for making it “common knowledge” when they used a turntable to throw dozens of them into a river and then filmed the results for an Academy Award winning documentary called “White Wilderness”. Why did they intentionally kill the lemmings in this way? Because it was thought at the time that lemmings did this, and the filmmakers needed a video of it. You can read the truth about the situation concerning the lemmings here.

Moving on, there are numerous cases from history of animals seemingly killing themselves for no explainable reason. Perhaps the most famous is the curious case of Overtoun Bridge. In a nutshell, since the 1960s dozens (or hundreds depending on which source you consult) of dogs have leapt off of the bridge to their doom for no discernible reason.

While the exact number of dogs who’ve plummeted to their deaths isn’t known, the phenomenon has been widely covered and written about for years. It wasn’t until an animal behavioral specialist, David Sands, investigated the bridge that the mystery was finally solved. Sands discovered that the end of the bridge most favoured by dogs seeking to end it all just so happened to be above a known nesting ground for mink. Sands also discovered that the majority of known dogs that had made the leap were long snouted breeds known for their extraordinary sense of smell.

Putting these two facts together, Sands was able to conclude that the dogs weren’t committing suicide at all, rather they were excited by the smell of a small furry creature and tragically leapt over the safety wall (which is above the sight-line of most dogs) not realising they were standing on a bridge.

In yet another apparent dog suicide attempt often used as an example that dogs are capable of the level of abstract thinking necessary to be able to contemplate ending it all, we have the incredible story reported in the Illustrated London News in 1845 about a Newfoundland dog that supposedly repeatedly threw itself into the water and refused to move until it drowned. The dog was rescued several times throughout this, but  every time it was rescued, it would return to the water and (apparently) attempt to drown itself by not moving. As amazing as that story is, how accurate it is and the events surrounding the apparent suicide have been lost to history. If this one dog was capable of it, one would think there would be numerous other irrefutable dog suicide attempt stories like it.  The closest we have today is the phenomenon of dogs that will sometimes refuse to eat after losing their masters, which does in rare cases continue to the death of the dog.  But the question still remains in these cases- is the dog refusing to eat so that it will die, or is it just refusing to eat because it’s sad and has no appetite, as can happen with humans, but in the dog’s case not realizing the potential consequences?

In an article about the strange world of supposed animal suicide, LiveScence contributor Katharine Gammon summed the key point up nicely, For an act to be classified as a suicide, the agent must know that what it is doing will end its life.”

Of course, it is nearly impossible to ever tell if any non-human animal knows its actions will result in its own death and performs the actions towards that end.  That said, there are several types of insects who willingly allow themselves to be killed, or even in a few cases, do the deed themselves.

For instance, it has been noted that certain species of ant possess the ability to explode themselves at will when threatened (often emitting some sticky or poisonous substance in the process), earning them the apt nickname of “exploding ants“. However, even if the ants realise what will happen in terms of their own existence when they perform this selfless act, most would not classify this as suicide any more than a soldier leaping onto a grenade to save surrounding soldiers would be considered to have committed suicide; the ant sacrifices itself for the greater good because as a species, it’s evolved to put the needs of the many before the needs of the individual.

The Forelius pusillus ant also has worker ants that will sacrifice themselves for the good of the colony, but this time in a slightly different manner than the exploding ants.  Every night, the nest of a colony needs sealed off in such a way that the nest will be undetectable from the outside, in order to protect it from predators.  As such, sick ants or ones who are older will (apparently) volunteer to perform the task of staying outside the nest at night.  Once all the rest of the ants are inside, the sacrificial ants will seal up and hide the entrance and usually will end up dying from being left outside.  Even when researchers have collected these sacrificial ants and taken care of them, they usually die soon anyway, which is why it is thought that generally older or sick ants are chosen or volunteer for this task.

Likewise, honey bees will willingly explode their own penises and subsequently die, just for a chance to pass on their genes. They will also willingly remove themselves from a hive if they know they’re infected with a disease that could potentially hurt other bees.

Japanese honey bees, when defending against the Giant Asian Hornet, will intentionally group together and ball the invader.  Once they’ve surrounded the hornet, they will decouple their wings internally and then beat their muscles vigorously, similar to how honey bees heat their hives despite being cold blooded. In this case, the heat at the center, combined with high carbon dioxide levels in the ball, becomes intense enough to kill the hornet- the bees only real defense against it.  Unfortunately, bees near the hornet in the ball may also die as a result, but do so (apparently) willingly for the good of the hive. Again, some would classify this as suicide, but others would classify it as a form of altruistic behaviour typical of a hive orientated species. Indeed, whether to classify an animal’s action as suicide is almost as contentious as the issue of whether animals possess the cognitive function to understand it as a concept. Do the bees at the center of the heat ball understand their actions may result in their death or do they simply do it as the introduction of the invader triggers certain innate actions built into their brains, without any real conscious or abstract thought happening at all?

In short, though we’re aware of numerous cases in which animals have seemingly intentionally taken their own lives, we simply don’t know whether the animals understood the ramifications of their actions, or were just reacting to environmental triggers without much thought going into it.

In all probability, suicide is an artifact of sentience and the ability to reflect on your own life.  This is a relative thing and differs between people depending on their prior experience through life.  Poor people don't commit suicide just because they are poor usually.  It's only when things become utterly hopeless and their survival is in question that they commit suicide, as has been the case for 10s if not 100s of thousands of subsistence Indian farmers over the last decade.

In 2012, the National Crime Records Bureau of India reported 13,754 farmer suicides.[1] The highest number of farmer suicides were recorded in 2004 when 18,241 farmers committed suicide.[2] The farmers suicide rate in India has ranged between 1.4 to 1.8 per 100,000 total population, over a 10-year period through 2005.[3]

India is an agrarian country with around 60% of its people depending directly or indirectly upon agriculture. Farmer suicides account for 11.2% of all suicides in India.[1] Activists and scholars have offered a number of conflicting reasons for farmer suicides, such as monsoon failure, high debt burdens, genetically modified crops, government policies, public mental health, personal issues and family problems.[4][5][6] There are also accusation of states fudging the data on farmer suicides.[7]

However, you don't have to drop into total poverty to become suicidal on an economic level, just a significant enough drop in your standard of living is enough to do it, if you start off rich or even just middle class.  Even more distressing is if you start off poor, climb out of poverty but then are threatened with having to RETURN to the poverty from whence you came.  That is a terrifying prospect for the social climber who got out of poverty to begin with.

http://www.bramun.com/uploads/1/2/3/1/12314222/219300602.jpg?531Similarly, those born with mental disabilities usually aren't suicidal, they never knew anything different, and besides that their ability to self-reflect is impaired.  However, for the person such as Martin Manley who had good mental faculties but saw them fading away, contemplating the future as an impaired individual was intolerable.  It was not a life he thought would be worth living.

This brings us back round to the issue of people who are observing collapse, and who have come to believe the future is hopeless.  If you empathize with the people you currently observe already suffering from the effects of collapse, such as the Syrian refugees, this can be a cause of such emotional pain in yourself that suicide becomes an option you contemplate.  For others, its not so much the people they empathize with, it is the rest of the biosphere, all the plants and animals they witness dying around them, of which there are increasingly more stories every day.

“Countless” dead birds reported in Pacific off US coast, nothing will eat the bodies — “There are no seals present” — Expert: “The fish are not there… all of them are starving” — Animals “acting weird, sick and weak, too weak to fly, too weak to run”

So in the end, for the Sentient Homo Sap, what this question begins with is the QUALITY of your life at present, and your perceptions of what that life will be like in the future.  If you're not happy with your life now and have good reason to suspect it's only going to get worse in the future, then suicide starts to become a valid option for you.

http://www.housingforseniors.com/pics/userpics/Image/woman_with_dog2.jpgAnother issue is one of having a purpose to your life, a reason to keep living.  In the case of Roamer's friend the young cancer victim, his wife and child gave him a purpose.  So even though his quality of life was poor, he wanted to stay alive for them.  With many older folks who are either childless or their children have grown and drifted away in our fractured society, they can lose this purpose.  You will see many older folks with pets, dogs or cats usually.  The dependence of the pet on them is a purpose for them to keep going.

I myself have many reasons to ponder on this question these days, as regular Diners know I injured my neck a year ago and the quality of my life has steadily deteriorated.  I now have trouble walking, doing common daily tasks and I have pain all the time.  3 weeks after the operation to repair it, there has been no sign of improvement, in fact some things are worse.  I now have to lie down much more often to relieve the pain.  At this point it looks unlikely that things will improve moving ahead.  The best I probably can hope for is things don't get too much worse too fast.

The issue here again is how far you fall from one state to another, and how fast it occurs.  For myself I went from this:

RE Backflips in Nice, France

RE-age-28-backflip

to this

RE Takes a Selfie after the Neck Job

Bed-Superstar

I could still do backflips into my 40s.  No pictures of me from those years, I had become a loner and in those days people didn't carry around phones to take selfies.  Nowadays, just to get myself from the desk & laptop to the bathroom & toilet is a chore.  The quality of life has diminished considerably.  I was also like the Picture of Dorian Gray for years, from 20 to 40 my appearance barely changed at all.  Even up to the last few years, when I looked in the mirror to shave I saw the young man I once was, not the old cripple I have become.  Now when I look in the mirror to get my neck brace on, I see the stark and unmistakeable truth, that I already have one foot in the grave.

I also face financial problems moving ahead, unless and until there is resolution in my favor with Workman's Compensation and SSDI.  I am fortunate to have savings that has carried me through thusfar, if I was already broke on top of all the other problems, suicide would definitely be an option I would consider.

In one respect I am fortunate in that I still do have a purpose for living, that is my writing here on the Diner and my discussions with the other Bloggers & Diners who are concerned with the topics of the ongoing Collapse of Industrial Civilization.  This is something I can still do, and it occupies my day.  I often get emails from readers who tell me how much my writing means to them.  This gives meaning to my life and a reason for struggling through the pain and the disability.  If I did not have such a purpose, again soldiering onward with the physical problems would seem kind of pointless.

Suicide itself isn't necessarily tragic, sometimes it is simply the best Final Personal Solution to finishing a life that has deteriorated to such a point you don't get any joy from pursuing it.  What more often is tragic are the circumstance that led up to this, be they an Accident, Cancer or Alzheimers, financial problems, marital problems, school bullying, drug and alcohol addictions, being a victim of child abuse or just being born with a biochemical imbalance in your brain that brings on the feelings of depression organically.

Out in the world at large, because collapse has already moved through several countries, Greece and Spain in the West particularly, for the farmers in India and so forth, suicide rates are rocketing upward in all these places.  As the graph above shows, even here in the FSoA, suicide rates are on the rise, and collapse hasn't even hit here yet with the force it has in Greece and Spain.  As situations become increasingly more hopeless for more people, this is an inevitable outcome of collapse.  Again for those people already, the suicide is not the tragedy, the tragedy came before that as they experience the loss of the life they once knew, and see no possibility for a better life in the future.  This will be the case for many more people as time goes by.  As the farms in California and the midwest dry up, many more people here will lose their homes and their livelihoods.  Eventually, if it has not already, a suicide of someone you know will occur.  When it does, think about why it was this person's choice, and if the reasons were valid, then be greatful that this person still had that Final Personal Solution to fall back on.  No pain anymore.

Rest in Peace.

Total Eclipse of the Doom: Requiem for Mike Ruppert

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 15. 2014

mike-ruppert-dogLast Sunday Night Mike Ruppert committed Suicide.

For those of you who don’t know who Mike Ruppert was, he was one of the first bloggers to investigate the ramifications of declining energy production, as well as someone who constantly questioned the narrative offered up in the MSM as explanation for things like the 9-11 destruction of the World Trade Center.  Some would call him a “Conspiracy Theorist”.  More like Conspiracy FACT, but that is a subject for another post.

Like many other bloggers and researchers looking at the problems we face now, Mike became increasingly upset and depressed over the progress and the lack of any real initiatives to try to deal with this stuff in a coherent manner.  This is evident in the progress of his writing over the last couple of years, and his demeanor in his podcasts on the Lifeboat Hour, his web based radio show.

Mike isn’t the first Blogger/Pundit to commit suicide in recent years, Matt Simmons also took his own life back in august of 2010.  Perhaps even more disturbing is the constant talk of Suicide and Hospicing on Nature Bats Last, Guy McPherson’s blog which concerns itself mainly with Climate Change and the hypothesis that we are on the cusp of Near Term Human Extinction, by mid-century if you accept the arguments made that this is an inevitable outcome.

Not unrelated to this outcome is the fact Carolyn Baker was the first Collapse Blogger to break the news of Mike’s suicide.  Carolyn posts regularly on Nature Bats Last, often these days with the explicit theme of Hospicing for people who have incurable illnesses and finding a comfortable way to walk into the Great Beyond.  The clear analogy being made here is that the entire Human Race is in need of Hospicing, as we are all condemned to imminent Death under the scenario of Near Term Human Extinction.  The difference of course is that while an individual can have a fairly certain diagnosis of Imminent Death in some circumstances, it is hardly a provable certainty that 100% of Homo Sapiens are destined for Death inside 30-40 years or so.  Really, even in the case of individuals diagnosed with various forms of inoperable and untreatable Cancers, rarely is there 100% certainty of Death.  “Miraculous” remissions do occur with virtually all forms of cancer, though granted at relatively small percentages of the afflicted people.

For the really depressed person though who sees NO ESCAPE from imminent Death and who becomes more focused on getting out of pain or avoiding future pain they are certain is coming down the pipe, the ideas of Hospicing and Suicide become attractive alternatives.  The idea here is to Accept Death and become OK with it, and pulling your own plug at a time of your own choosing is a kind of Empowerment for an an individual who feels disempowered by the seemingly hopeless situation they are immersed in.

Everybody should have the right to pull their own plug if they so choose, I have no problem with that idea.  What I do find to be worrisome is a developing zeitgeist which tacitly encourages suicide as an option, because people who sink into depression are very vulnerable and can and probably do latch onto this idea as rationale for the behavior.

http://www.bookofrevelation.net/ch6-4horsemen_pastorpack_small.jpg

There is little doubt that as a whole the World and the Human Race are in a World of Shit, and it is pretty easy these days to throw up your hands and say it is all utterly hopeless.  Climate Change, Fukushima, Global Wars over resources, Drought, Famine…all you gotta do is read the Newz on any given day and you can hear the Thunder of the Hoofbeats of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  Many times in my articles and comments in the Collapse Blogosphere I have used the iconic quote from The Sixth Sense, “I See Dead People”.

http://i3.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/012/818/Movie_i_see_dead_people-769472.jpg

Today, Mike Ruppert is one of those Dead People.  While he was alive, Mike Ruppert made a difference, many people who otherwise would not be aware of the problems which face us now are aware of them because once there was Mike Ruppert walking the earth, passing on to others what he saw and what he learned.

For those of us not yet counted amongst the Dead People, we still have choices to make, and the biggest choice of all is whether you live to fight another day, or whether you give up the fight, hospice yourself and wait for death, or hurry it along with a Bullet meets Brain combination.

I won’t make a judgement here on Mike’s choice, but for me I don’t see hurrying the trip to the Great Beyond as near appropriate yet.  There is a good long ways to go here between now and Human Extinction, even under the most rapid of scenarios.  The End Game is NOT written in Stone, and each person can still make a Difference, if not for the World at large at least for the people they know, love and care for.  Mike had a clear voice, and it would have been nice if he could have found it within himself to speak a bit longer, but that is not the choice he made.

For those of us not yet Dead, we still have choices to make.

RE

The Death of Debt

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 16, 2014

singularity

Drawing ever closer to the Singularity

Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

Anyone who has been following Economic and Political Newz over the last 5 years knows there are two words you will find in practically every article written  during this period,  DEBT & GROWTH.

The Debt issue comes up whenever you talk about any country, from the PIIGS to Japan to the FSoA, and the massive overhang of debt these countries have accumulated through the Age of Industrialization.  It’s measured in the $Trillions$, it’s measured as Percentage of GDP, and it keeps getting BIGGER every year by any measure you want to make, and that is just the stuff listed as Debt, like Treasury Bonds, Gilts, Bunds etc.  It doesn’t even include “Unfunded Liabilities” which are things like Social Security and Medicaire, and even private Pension Funds as well.

http://steadystaterevolution.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/cartoon_economic_growth1.jpgThe ANSWER to all the Debt always presented as coming down the Pipe at some point is further GROWTH, that other totally ubiquitous word that is featured in every speech from every Politician in every country, along with appearing in the papers of every Economista out there.  Growth will Save Us!  We need to Export more!  We need to be productive and competitive in the Global Marketplace!  EVERYBODY wants to Grow and to Export more, and certainly no politician ever talks about Shrinking and Importing more stuff as a means to become successful.

The issue of course is that EVERYBODY can’t be an Exporter, for every Exporter you need an Importer to buy your stuff.  What if the people you want to SELL your stuff to have no MONEY?  How can you sell anything to them if they got no money?  It doesn’t matter what it is that you want to sell, whether it is just Raw Commodities like Iron Ore or Manufactured products like Carz, Iphonez and Big Screen TVz, they gotta have the MONEY to buy it with.

How do they GET this money to begin with?  It is LOANED to them, basically from the Top Down through the Elite class of a given society, which takes out these loans in the Name of the People.  The People of the State are the Bag Holders on these loans the Elite sign for in their name, and the Elite sieve off a decent portion of it for themselves and sequester it in foreign bank accounts, but that is another story for another day and not really the fundamental problem, though it certainly exacerbates it a good deal depending just how Corrupt & Greedy the Elite in any given country are.

For Chinese to build all the Industrial Infrastructure they did over the last 20-30 years, they had to borrow GOBS of money.  For American Konsumers to buy the products that came out of said factories, they ALSO had to borrow tons of money.  Everybody has to borrow Money to get this rolling, because that is how ALL the money gets created in the first place, it is Lent into existence, and this creates an Asset and a Liability.  Whoever makes the Loan holds the debt of whoever took out the Loan as an Asset,  whoever took out the loan has it on their books as a Liability.  Once created this way, this money can then circulate around the economy in the form of Paper Notes in the Olden Days, or nowadays as Digibits but it is the same general principle.  Interest is created on top of this, and this of course is the final failing of the system, but more on that later.

You can think of the beginning of a monetary system as a Singularity,  a Zero Point.  At Zero, nobody has Credits and nobody has Debits on their personal or corporate balance sheets.  Once you take control of something, say a patch of land that grows food, you now can issue Debt to everyone else to buy that food from you.  Same idea if you control Oil Fields.  You now can issue Debt to others to buy that Oil from you.  If you control Manufacturing Plants, you can issue debt for people to buy the products of that Factory.  Your Zero Point now gets split up into +1 and -1.  It still nets to Zero, except of course for the Interest Charges on the newly loaned money, which each year compound up, so there is never enough money at the end of each year to fill this gap without constantly Inflating the money supply.  Which means of course, ADDING MORE DEBT!

To do this and to still have Stuff to sell in return for this ever increasing Debt load, whoever is issuing the Debt has to constantly increase the control they have over various Resources of the Earth, primarily Energy of course since the Age of Industrialization began.  Gaining such control generally takes Military Force, although once you get a given society to buy into the Legal System and the Monetary System you are running, you can use that to gain control as well.  See Confessions of an IMF Hit Man for this.

Who gets to be the Lender in such a schema?  Whoever holds control of the Resource Base upon which you are making these Loans.  So as the system Evolved in its modern incarnation since around the time of the Medici Banksters, various Feudal Lords and eventually Nation States got control over territorial Resources, and each state could issue Money based on those resources.  The more you controlled, the more money you could Issue.  The Brits got particularly good at this early on with a Powerful Navy that controlled the Sea lanes for trade, and the Bank of England has been issuing out money on this stuff since 1692 when said bank was Chartered.  Similarly, in the aftermath of WWII when most of the rest of the Industrialized world in Europe was a Pile of Rubble, the FSoA was able to start issuing out Dollars on its great Resource base of the era, all those Oil fields in Texas and Oklahoma of course.

http://callisto.ggsrv.com/imgsrv/FastFetch/UBER2/dah_02_img0296For the first 25 years of this act in the play from 1945 to 1970 or so, the FSoA was totally in the Cat Bird Seat as far as issuing debt was concerned.  We had the most producing Oil Wells, we had undamaged Industrial Infrastructure ramped up to supply WWII armies with Planes, Tanks and Bombs, and we had the Bread Basket of the Great Plains able to produce Copious Food at Low, Low Prices every day, courtesy of the Cheap Oil coming up out of the ground under Jed Clampett’s Farm.  The Baby Boom arrived, and the Amerikan Economy expanded Exponentially, though of course the proceeds of this expansion were not too evenly distributed.  in fact you had large pockets of Poverty developing even back then, and this blew up in the late 1950s and 1960s with the Race Riots from Alabama to Watts.  The economy was expanding so rapidly at this time though that the Elite came up with the Great Society program, basically a buy off of the disenfranchised with various forms of Public Assistance.

On the aggregate Debt level though, things started to Go South in the early 70s, once the EZ Oil started to run thin in the FSoA and we became an Oil Importer rather than Exporter.  At this point we had to start exponentially increasing Debt Issuance to be able to buy Oil from Saudi Arabia, basically holding a Gun to their heads to accept our Debt as the MONEY to buy their Oil.  The Saudis played along, and with their resource base we were able to keep expanding, while at the same time putting Outta Biz the old Soviet Union, which just did not ever have the same Credit Creation apparatus the West had developed over the Centuries for this.

The exponential increase in total Debt and the total money Supply measured in US Dollars has been ongoing since the 1970s, it was the only way to keep the Industrial Game rolling here over the period.

http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/business/assets_c/2011/04/Debt%20Ceiling%20History-thumb-570x314-49343.png

We could keep issuing the debt and everybody else would take it as money because we have the Big Ass Military.  You don’t take our Debt, we will Bomb You Back to the Stone Age, basically.  Various countries from Vietnam to Iraq have been subject to this sort of coersion over the years.  South American countries were taken over by different means, utilizing the Hit Men from the the IMF mostly, sprinkled in with Regime Destabilization from our friends in the CIA.  In pretty much all cases though, the system has been propped up through this period through the threat of violence as the Stick on one side, and the offer of Loan Money to buy into the American Dream of Fast Cars and Hollywood Entertainment on the other.  Everybody can be RICH like Americans!  We’ll LOAN you the money to do it!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_KCXLGR6gNyE/SvTyUSxNu6I/AAAAAAAAAGw/UpqPKZG_Sw4/s400/dees-fed-reserve-bank-counterfeit.jpgIn Actuality of course, it wasn’t America making the loans, it was the TBTF Banks, controlled as they always have been by a very small Oligarchy.  They control the creation of credit, the only thing “Amerika” does as a “Democratic” nation is to staff a Military Operation that backs up their right to create the credit and control the resources.  In fact Amerika itself has to Borrow Money from these TBTF Banks, through the artifice of the Central Bank of Da Fed, which is in fact a Privately Owned subsidiary of the TBTF Banks!

You don’t Own the money you hold, it is just a claim on resources that many other people hold also.  Over the time period that this system has expanded, those claims have become ever more diffuse and widespread, with the abstract “worth” of many assets dependent simply on what someone in  a position to issue EXTREME levels of debt money can pitch out.  Examples of this are the Railroads, the Interstate Highway System, and the Internet.  All of them have value only insofar as they still can work, and working depends on constant input of energy and maintenance.  They all are costly things to maintain.  The builders sieve out profit in the building of them, the public is left with the liability of maintaining them in the aftermath, when they have become dependent on them.

Recently in one of his articles, William Blum bemoaned the fact we are not using taxation revenues to maintain the Infrastructure we developed here.  Thing is, Tax revenues never built it, and they can’t maintain it either.  The stuff does not pay for itself, there is no Free Lunch here.

This is the basic History of the modern incarnation of Money that we are working with, so now is time to look at what is actually occurring with this artifice.

To keep the Daisy Chain going, new money in the form of new loans constantly has to be created.  If it is not, you run into Liquidity Problems.  All the Old Money invested is essentially Locked Up in various ways, you can’t really sell out a large position in any asset class you have money invested in without driving down the value of that asset class.  This would be the problem faced by the Chinese with respect to USTs for example.  Nominally, they hold $3T or more of this Toilet Paper, but if they tried to sell even a minor portion of this of say 10% or so, it would crash the market for USTs.  If you have 10 tons of Gold in your basement safe and try to sell all of it to cover other bad bets you made, this crashes the Gold Market.  Etc. So nobody holding large positions of anything wants to rock the boat and sell a lot of it at once.  They want to “Stealth Sell”, trying to get rid of it in dribs and drabs without rocking the boat too much.

Problem with this is that if some asset class starts to go Belly Up in a big hurry (like say the Chinese Credit Market), in order to stay Solvent you may have NO CHOICE but to try to sell a large position in something else to cover your leverage in the bottoming asset class.  That is where the Chinese market presents the most danger right now, and NOBODY KNOWS how much funny money the TBTF banks have invested in the Chinese Shadow Banking industry at all.  What’s the counter party risk if a Coal Trust in China goes Belly Up?  Nobody Knows.

Here’s a little bit from my favorite Illuminati Shill, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:

The proof is in the monetary pudding, and this shows that EMU is already in worse shape than Japan in early 1998 by a large margin. Private lending is contracting at 2.3pc, the M3 money supply has ground to a halt and EMU-wide unemployment is stuck at a near-record 12pc.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Rrf6b9lhh0E/TxfHpiOQjZI/AAAAAAAAN8w/4iQ41oyzVcg/s400/Italy%2BMoney%2BSupply%2BFigures.pngThe ECB and the TBTF EuroBanks aren’t creating enough new loans, so money supply is drying up.  Similarly in China, the Shadow Banking Industry which in January issued out something like $150B in new Loans issue out close to Zero in February, and various trusts all leveraged up to beat the band are cracking under the pressure.

No new loans, the system grinds to a halt.  Thing is, to issue out the new loans you have to have the resource base upon which to issue them, and you have to issue out the loans not just to the extractors of the resources but also to the consumers of the resource.  If you look at Fracking of NG for example, if you offer up loans to Drillers to access more gas but don’t simultaneously offer up new loans to consumers, they can’t buy the new gas at any price you offer it up at.

The  issue is, just about all consumers of such energy are in such deep debt up to their eyeballs already TBTF Banks are choking on issuing them more Credit, and the only way it happens is with Skanky deals through the IMF and World Bank.  A few large corporations are still able to access debt, particularly Energy companies since the same people who control those companies control the Banks that issue the credit, but if they can’t sell the product to tapped out consumers, even their credit lines will end up being cut eventually.

We can’t rebuild the industrial infrastructure on Taxation revenues, nor can we pay off the Bad Debts of the TBTF Banks on such revenues.  The TBTF banks weren’t bailed out from your Taxes, they were bailed out by Da Goobermint expanding its Debt load on Da Fed Balance sheet.  The choice was made to do this because if you did not do it, said banks would collapse, and with their collapse goes the entire artifice of the Money you are using.  Working money would essentially disappear close to overnight, ATMs would all shut down and rebooting a NEW system everybody could agree on with overall resources now so depleted would be a lot harder than it was when they made the original Bretton Woods agreements after WWII, when resources were still in copious supply.

Debt is Dying here, because there are not enough resources around per capita to issue more debt to all the Consumers to consume those resources.  Selectively, some areas of the world are being Cut Off from new Debt issuance, places like Greece, Spain, Portugal et al.  Places with their own ability to create internal debt like China have expanded it, but that is a very unstable House of Cards.  The most well off places are those with the closest connection to the main Credit Creators on Wall Street and the City of London.  They have the biggest and most well developed Credit Creation apparatus, and the Debt they create still is “trusted”, though less trusted all the time here of course.  When these behemoths finally do die, it is the END of the monetary system we have been using since the time of the Medici.

http://www.caehealthcare.com/images/made/images/uploads/Leiden_1_450_247_s_c1.jpgAs of right now, this Monetary System and the TBTF Banks that administer it are in the ICU on Life Support, propped up by Goobermints like the FSoA still deemed worthy of more Credit, but anyone in their right mind needs only look at the exponentially increasing Debt chart above here to realize that there is no way to ever pay off the debt, you just have to keep increasing it until something BREAKS.  CODE BLUE in the ICU!  Bring on the Crash Cart and the Paddles!

We are going to get another Code in the ICU here pretty soon, it remains to be seen if there is enough Juice left to kick start the Gomer TBTF Banks one more time when it does.  Based on what is going down here Geopolitically in Ukraine, it seems unlikely such a kickstart will work again.  The Ruskie Banking system is in at least as precarious a position as the Chinese one, and they are likely to suffer financial Lock Up slightly before the West does, but that won’t make Putin any less willing to roll his tanks.  He has Energy, and he can run a Command Economy.  If the Ruskies lose access to Western Credit and/or see their financial assets seized, Putin’s only alternative is to PHYSICALLY seize assets, like the rest of Ukraine, Poland…GERMANY.

The Death of Debt is the Road to War, they are one in the same thing really.  It all stems from an exhausted resource base that too many people Globally are competing to use and exploit.  Individuals don’t have much choice when they get cut off, so Suicide becomes a fairly Common Option.  Suicide rates in the hardest hit countries are already Skyrocketing, and even here in the FSoA Suicide is on the rise.

http://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/number-of-suicides-in-greece_chart-1.png?w=1024&h=576

http://static4.businessinsider.com/image/5134c5b46bb3f7431f00001c-2308-1731/vladimir-putin-4.jpgNation-States that are organized with Large Military Apparatus DO have an Option besides Suicide, which is to Go Belligerent as a  group and try to kill somebody else instead of dieing themselves.  Russia has a large Military force, they have Energy, and they have Vlad the Impaler, ex-head of the KGB, Capo di Tutti Capis.  Vlad will not roll over and die here.  If the Western Illuminati shut down Ruskie credit and freeze their overseas assets, Vlad will retaliate with the only weapon he has left, his Energy and his Military Machine.  It would seem likely that in such a situation, for at least the beginning of it the Chinese would line up with the Ruskies.  I doubt short of Global Thermonuclear War there is anything the FSoA could do about that, the Chinese and Ruskies would just roll over Western Europe.  Shall we Play a Game?

http://www.mikechurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/wargames.jpg?2578ec

However, I doubt such an alliance can last too long in the face of the resource problems.  I see a lot of Stranded Military units as logistics and supply lines fail here, at which point the issues become all Local.

It is hard to say how fast this scenario will play out, but it seems the likeliest scenario at the moment.  One thing it does mean is that if/when it does escalate, we will see Conscription and the Draft into the Military again, at first for 18-25 year olds, but likely to go up to the 30s.  Avoiding the Electronic Press Gang into the Military will be quite difficult, you definitely would need to dispose of your Iphone to even have a chance at that.

The next year will see  how it goes.  Everybody Knows though, it’s not going to be pretty.

RE

Unfinished Lives

      From the keyboard of Surly 1

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on February 23, 2014
Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

True freedom “means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.”

–David Foster Wallace

 

This story has been in draft form for months, because I have not known how to write it. Also because the subject is so sensitive, so personal, and remains filled with grief such that one fears to tread for fear of setting off a mine and injuring others.  It has been percolating for months; so it is time.

OBITUARY

Thomas A. L.

Thomas A. L., 18, of Virginia Beach, VA passed away Sunday, November 24, 2013. He graduated  High School class of 2013, was a Computer Science major at a local university and enjoyed drawing, making animation videos, and classical music.

Left to cherish his memory are his parents, sister, brother, extended family, friends, colleagues etc, etc.

A memorial service will be held  . . . and hundreds of people attended his memorial service.

Why?
His name was Thomas.  He was the son of Contrary’s cousin. Thomas was tall, handsome, and by all accounts (I never met him),  smart as a whip, quick witted, blessed by nature:  brilliant enough  to earn a full ride to a local university, an athlete, handsome enough that a local photographer recruited him for portraiture for his own portfolio. From those photographs, you see the features that distinguish Contrary’s family: the high cheekbones and strong eyes. (Somewhere in the central European part of Contrary’s family line The Hun stepped mightily, leaving behind generations of high cheekbones, elongated eyes,  and in the males, bushy eyebrows that are the characteristic tell of the Mongol stepping on a bloodline. You would swear that some of Contrary’s brothers rode with Genghis Khan in a past life.)

Thomas was a star. He had all these gifts, and the ginger hair of the Irish. From outward appearances, he had  everything going his way. And now he is dead.

One never knows what goes on behind closed doors. From as the story comes to me, the young man returned to the town where his father lives, went to the middle of the ball field in a public park, doused himself with flammables and set himself ablaze. Leaving behind a residue of grief, loss, guilt, anger, regret and the endless, unanswerable question, “Why?” which ultimately ends nowhere. Even now, months later, the loss remains.

I wrote some months ago about daughter’s friend Jonathan, who came to dinner at my house one evening. He was incredibly soft-spoken, such that I had to strain to hear him when he spoke. He was incredibly intelligent as well, and was the best man at a wedding that I photographed. And he too took his own life.

And then there is the young woman who lived in my neighborhood, a 15-year-old girl, all bright blonde hair and smiles. An honor roll student, long-distance runner, a Girl Scout, and a teacher’s assistant. Also dead by her own hand. The obituary mentioned depression.  You cruise the news articles, and the comments afterward, and so many write about how the loss of their best friend, their son, their daughter, a wife. People start support groups,  foundations and other well-intentioned efforts, but whatever good they do, it’s too late for the unfinished lives of the lost. The grief that pours out of these comments is overwhelming.

Some say time heals, I’m not so sure….he left an empty spot in our family that will never heal.

***

We look for answers. WebMD lists causes of depression that include physical or sexual or emotional abuse, interactions with medications, conflict, death or loss,  substance abuse, illness, even social isolation and genetics. There are as many reasons as there are unfinished lives. There are no answers, but as the body count mounts many ask “what’s going on?”

These unfinished lives represent not only a staggering and unrecoverable loss for the families affected, but also to at least some extent, an indictment of a morally bankrupt way of life quickly skittering to its endgame.

We raise entire generation of people who interact with others via keypad.  We go to great lengths to keep from engaging with one another in a meaningful way. Did we intend to create a society so inhuman, so impersonal that our best and brightest  can no longer bear to be a part of it?

Came across the story of the making of this remarkable little piece in Adweek. (This is Water from Patrick Buckley on Vimeo.)

It’s been viewed a million times since last night alone and has single-handedly resurrected the voice of troubled literary genius David Foster Wallace, bringing his words to a global audience that might not even recognize his name. And it was all done without permission. “This Is Water,” a cinematic interpretation of Wallace’s bleak-yet-inspiring 2005 commencement address at Kenyon College, has quickly become one of the week’s most passed-around videos. . . 

Naturally, I wanted to know more about the author, David Foster Wallace, and how he came to give this remarkable talk at a commencement ceremony at Kenyon College. Then I learned he too is no longer returning phone calls.

Wallace was a novelist, short story writer, essayist and professor of English and creative writing. He was widely acclaimed for a 1996 novel Infinite Jest, which was critically acclaimed. From what is available from public sources, he apparently lost a battle with depression in 2008 and took his own life at  home,  leaving behind both a wife and an unfinished manuscript, The Pale King.

I loved the message in “This is Water,”  as I am exactly the kind of person who needs to hear it most, probably three times a day.  I marveled that a man capable of this level of insight and imagination could take his own life:

In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it’s not impossible that some of these people in SUV’s have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he’s trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he’s in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.

Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.

Again, please don’t think that I’m giving you moral advice, or that I’m saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it’s hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won’t be able to do it, or you just flat out won’t want to.

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

And this:

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

Wallace ended his life at 46, leaving behind a huge sense of loss for his unrealized potential, for the works that would go unwritten. He dies with his work incomplete and his legacy tantalizing, as pass those other precious young people whose lives pass much closer to the ambit of my own life, yet who remain as unknowable as this author.

The  paradox  is that over the last 50 years, we have reached an unprecedented apex in material well-being. Yet  for all that, many suffer an existential despair that manifests  itself  via self harm and a loathing for living.  Last year writer Tony Dokoupil published a story in Newsweek entitled, “The Suicide Epidemic.

Throughout the developed world, for example, self-harm is now the leading cause of death for people 15 to 49, surpassing all cancers and heart disease. That’s a dizzying change, a milestone that shows just how effective we are at fighting disease, and just how haunted we remain at the same time. Around the world, in 2010 self-harm took more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined, stealing more than 36 million years of healthy life across all ages. In  advanced countries, only three diseases on the planet do more harm.

And this assumes we can even rely on the official data. Many researchers believe it’s a dramatic undercount, a function of fewer autopsies and more deaths by poison and pills, where intention is hard to detect. . . [one researcher] thinks the true rate is at least 30 percent higher, which would make suicide three times more common than murder.

What are we to make of the fact that the suicide rate for Americans 45 to 64 has jumped by more than 30% in the last decade? And suicides in the military has also escalated as well.

Doukoupil discusses Thomas Joiner’s theory of suicide in his article: Why do people die by suicide? Because they want to. Because they can. 

 

The theory is explained in detail if you follow the link.  Joyner has defined a “clearly delineated danger zone,” three overlapping conditions (represented by the Venn diagrams) that combine to create a dark night of the soul. At a time when the institutions that used to bind American society together have crumbled beyond recognition, we lear that belonging and community are important.

In a website and forum where most of our discussion goes to determine strategies for survival for ourselves, our families and community suicide strikes a discordant note. It doesn’t factor.   And new generation faces less abundance, fewer jobs, lower wages relative to inflation, a state wholly captive to corporate interests, and no help coming. So much abundance at the end of the age of oil, and so little meaning. Little wonder young people feel alone.

For those  raised in the bosom of Holy Mother Church, who internalized the teaching that suicide is a mortal sin and that all life is sacred,  such thoughts are more foreign than the prospect of cross-dressing. But we live in a time when even the CDC has defined self harm as an epidemic. We draw our own conclusions, but one of them is inescapably that we have failed to leave our children a world worth inhabiting.

So we’d best get busy.

 

**

(If you are interested in knowing more about the life and work of  David Foster Wallace and struggle to surpass “Infinite Jest,” read this fine New Yorker article, “The Unfinished.”)

 

Trail of Dead Banksters

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on February 18, 2013

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Does The Trail Of Dead Bankers Lead Somewhere?

Trail - Photo by Ws47What are we to make of this sudden rash of banker suicides?  Does this trail of dead bankers lead somewhere?  Or could it be just a coincidence that so many bankers have died in such close proximity?  I will be perfectly honest and admit that I do not know what is going on.  But there are some common themes that seem to link at least some of these deaths together.

First of all, most of these men were in good health and in their prime working years.

Secondly, most of these “suicides” seem to have come out of nowhere and were a total surprise to their families.

Thirdly, three of the dead bankers worked for JP Morgan.

Fourthly, several of these individuals were either involved in foreign exchange trading or the trading of derivatives in some way.  So when “a foreign exchange trader” jumped to his death from the top of JP Morgan’s Hong Kong headquarters this morning, that definitely raised my eyebrows.

These dead bankers are starting to pile up, and something definitely stinks about this whole thing.

What would cause a young man that is making really good money to jump off of a 30 story building?  The following is how the South China Morning Post described the dramatic suicide of 33-year-old Li Jie…

An investment banker at JP Morgan jumped to his death from the roof of the bank’s headquarters in Central yesterday.

 

Witnesses said the man went to the roof of the 30-storey Chater House in the heart of Hong Kong’s central business district and, despite attempts to talk him down, jumped to his death.

If this was just an isolated incident, nobody would really take notice.

But this is now the 7th suspicious banker death that we have witnessed in just the past few weeks

– On January 26, former Deutsche Bank executive Broeksmit was found dead at his South Kensington home after police responded to reports of a man found hanging at a house. According to reports, Broeksmit had “close ties to co-chief executive Anshu Jain.”

– Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old senior manager at JP Morgan’s European headquarters, jumped 500ft from the top of the bank’s headquarters in central London on January 27, landing on an adjacent 9 story roof.

– Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, fell down a 50 foot embankment in what police are describing as a suicide. He was reported missing on January 29 by friends, who said he had been “having problems at work.”

– Richard Talley, 57, founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was also found dead earlier this month after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.

– 37-year-old JP Morgan executive director Ryan Henry Crane died last week.

– Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, also died last month, although the circumstances surrounding his death are still unknown.

So did all of those men actually kill themselves?

Well, there is reason to believe that at least some of those deaths may not have been suicides after all.

For example, before throwing himself off of JP Morgan’s headquarters in London, Gabriel Magee had actually made plans for later that evening

There was no indication Magee was going to kill himself at all. In fact, Magee’s girlfriend had received an email from him the night before saying he was finishing up work and would be home soon.

And 57-year-old Richard Talley was found “with eight nail gun wounds to his torso and head” in his own garage.

How in the world was he able to accomplish that?

Like I said, something really stinks about all of this.

Meanwhile, things continue to deteriorate financially around the globe.  Just consider some of the things that have happened in the last 48 hours…

-According to the Bangkok Post, people are “stampeding to yank their deposits out of banks” in Thailand right now.

-Venezuela is coming apart at the seams.  Just check out the photos in this article.

-The unemployment rate in South Africa is above 24 percent.

-Ukraine is on the verge of total collapse

Three weeks of uneasy truce between the Ukrainian government and Western-oriented protesters ended Tuesday with an outburst of violence in which at least three people were killed, prompting a warning from authorities of a crackdown to restore order. Protesters outside the Ukrainian parliament hurled broken bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, who responded with stun grenades and rubber bullets.

-This week we learned that the level of bad loans in Spain has risen to a new all-time high of 13.6 percent.

-China is starting to quietly sell off U.S. debt.  Already, Chinese U.S. Treasury holdings are down to their lowest level in almost a year.

-During the 4th quarter of 2013, U.S. consumer debt rose at the fastest pace since 2007.

-U.S. homebuilder confidence just experienced the largest one month decline ever recorded.

-George Soros has doubled his bet that the S&P 500 is going to crash.  His total bet is now up to about $1,300,000,000.

For many more signs of financial trouble all over the planet, please see my previous article entitled “20 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Starting To Catch Fire“.

Could some of these deaths have something to do with this emerging financial crisis?

That is a very good question.

Once again, I will be the first one to admit that I simply do not know why so many bankers are dying.

But one thing is for certain – dead bankers don’t talk.

Everyone knows that there is a massive amount of corruption in our banking system.  If the truth about all of this corruption was to ever actually come out and justice was actually served, we would see a huge wave of very important people go to prison.

In addition, it is an open secret that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world over the past several decades.  Our big banks have become more reckless than ever, and trillions of dollars are riding on the decisions that are being made every day.  In such an environment, it is expected that you will be loyal to the firm that you work for and that you will keep your mouth shut about the secrets that you know.

In the final analysis, there is really not that much difference between how mobsters operate and how Wall Street operates.

If you cross the line, you may end up paying a very great price.

 

Why Are Banking Executives In London Killing Themselves?

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on Economic Collapse on January 28, 2014

jumpyoufuckers

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Bankers committing suicide by jumping from the rooftops of their own banks is something that we think of when we think of the Great Depression.  Well, it just happened in London, England.  A vice president at JPMorgan’s European headquarters in London plunged to his death after jumping from the top of the 33rd floor.  He fell more than 500 feet, and it is being reported by an eyewitness that “there was quite a lot of blood“.  This comes on the heels of news that a former Deutsche Bank executive was found hanged in his home in London on Sunday.  So why is this happening?  Yes, the markets have gone down a little bit recently but they certainly have not crashed yet.  Could there be more to these deaths than meets the eye?  You never know.  And as I will discuss below, there have been a lot of other really strange things happening around the world lately as well.

But before we get to any of that, let’s take a closer look at some of these banker deaths.  The JPMorgan executive that jumped to his death on Tuesday was named Gabriel Magee.  He was 39 years old, and his suicide has the city of London in shock

A bank executive who died after jumping 500ft from the top of JP Morgan’s European headquarters in London this morning has been named as Gabriel Magee.

The American senior manager, 39, fell from the 33-story skyscraper and was found on the ninth floor roof, which surrounds the Canary Wharf skyscraper.

He was a vice president in the corporate and investment bank technology department having joined in 2004, moving to Britain from the United States in 2007.

What would cause a man in his prime working years who is making huge amounts of money to do something like that?

The death on Sunday of former Deutsche Bank executive Bill Broeksmit is also a mystery.  According to the Daily Mail, police consider his death to be “non-suspicious”, which means that they believe that it was a suicide and not a murder…

A former Deutsche Bank executive has been found dead at a house in London, it emerged today.

The body of William ‘Bill’ Broeksmit, 58, was discovered at his home in South Kensington on Sunday shortly after midday by police, who had been called to reports of a man found hanging at a house.

Mr Broeksmit – who retired last February – was a former senior manager with close ties to co-chief executive Anshu Jain. Metropolitan Police officers said his death was declared as non-suspicious.

On top of that, Business Insider is reporting that a communications director at another bank in London was found dead last week…

Last week, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG died last week. The cause of death has not been made public.

Perhaps it is just a coincidence that these deaths have all come so close to one another.  After all, people die all the time.

And London is rather dreary this time of the year.  It is easy for people to get depressed if they are not accustomed to endless gloomy weather.

If the stock market was already crashing, it would be easy to blame the suicides on that.  The world certainly remembers what happened during the crash of 1929

Historically, bankers have been stereotyped as the most likely to commit suicide. This has a lot to do with the famous 1929 stock market crash, which resulted in 1,616 banks failing and more than 20,000 businesses going bankrupt. The number of bankers committing suicide directly after the crash is thought to have been only around 20, with another 100 people connected to the financial industry dying at their own hand within the year.

But the market isn’t crashing just yet.  We definitely appear to be at a “turning point“, but things are still at least somewhat stable.

So why are bankers killing themselves?

That is a good question.

As I mentioned above, there have also been quite a few other strange things that have happened lately that seem to be “out of place”.

For example, Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report posted the following cryptic message on Twitter the other day…

“Have an exit plan…”

What in the world does he mean by that?

Maybe that is just a case of Drudge being Drudge.

Then again, maybe not.

And on Tuesday we learned that a prominent Russian Bank has banned all cash withdrawals until next week…

Bloomberg reports that ‘My Bank’ – one of Russia’s top 200 lenders by assets – has introduced a complete ban on cash withdrawals until next week. While the Ruble has been losing ground rapidly recently, we suspect few have been expecting bank runs in Russia.

Yes, we have heard some reports of people having difficulty getting money out of their banks around the world lately, but this news out of Russia really surprised me.

Yet another story that seemed rather odd was a report in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week that stated that Germany’s central bank is advocating “a one-time wealth tax” for European nations that need a bailout…

Germany’s central bank Monday proposed a one-time wealth tax as an option for euro-zone countries facing bankruptcy, reviving a idea that has circled for years in Europe but has so far gained little traction.

Why would they be suggesting such a thing if “economic recovery” was just around the corner?

According to that same article, the IMF has recommended a similar thing…

The International Monetary Fund in October also floated the idea of a one-time “capital levy,” amid a sharp deterioration of public finances in many countries. A 10% tax would bring the debt levels of a sample of 15 euro-zone member countries back to pre-crisis levels of 2007, the IMF said.

So what does all of this mean?

I am not exactly sure, but I have got a bad feeling about this – especially considering the financial chaos that we are witnessing in emerging markets all over the globe right now.

So what do you think?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

JPMorgan Tower In London - Photo by Danesman1

 

Dense Fog Turns into Toxic Smog

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on December 31, 2013

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In mid-January of this year I wrote my annual prediction article for 2013 – Apparitions in the Fog. It is again time to assess my inability to predict the future any better than a dart throwing monkey. As usual, sticking to facts was a mistake in a world fueled by misinformation, propaganda, delusion and wishful thinking. I was far too pessimistic about the near term implications of debt, civic decay and global disorder. Those in power have successfully held off the unavoidable collapse which will be brought about by their ravenous unbridled greed, and blatant disregard for the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution and rights and liberties of the American people. The day to day minutia, pointless drivel of our techno-narcissistic selfie showbiz society, and artificially created issues (gay marriage, Zimmerman-Martin, Baby North West, Duck Dynasty) designed to distract the public from thinking, are worthless trivialities in the broad landscape of human history.

The course of human history is determined by recurring cyclical themes based upon human frailties that have been perpetual through centuries of antiquity. The immense day to day noise of an inter-connected techno-world awash in inconsequentialities and manipulated by men of evil intent is designed to divert the attention of the masses from the criminal activities of those in power. It has always been so. There have always been arrogant, ambitious, greedy, power hungry, deceitful men, willing to take advantage of a fearful, lazy, ignorant, selfish, easily manipulated populace. The rhythms of history are unaffected by predictions of “experts” who are paid to spin yarns in order to sustain the status quo. There is no avoiding the consequences of actions taken and not taken over the last eighty years. We are in the midst of a twenty year period of Crisis that was launched in September 2008 with the worldwide financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve, their Wall Street owners, their bought off Washington politicians, and their media and academic propaganda machines.

I still stand by the final paragraph of my 2013 missive, and despite the fact the establishment has been able to fend off the final collapse of their man made credit boom for longer than I anticipated, they have only insured a far worse outcome when the bubble bursts:

“So now I’m on the record for 2013 and I can be scorned and ridiculed for being such a pessimist when December rolls around and our Ponzi scheme economy hasn’t collapsed. There is no disputing the facts. The economic situation is deteriorating for the average American, the mood of the country is darkening, and the world is awash in debt and turmoil. Every country is attempting to print their way to renewed prosperity. No one wins a race to the bottom. The oligarchs have chosen a path of currency debasement, propping up insolvent banks, propaganda and impoverishing the masses as their preferred course. They attempt to keep the masses distracted with political theater, gun control vitriol, reality TV and iGadgets. What can be said about a society where 10% of the population follows Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga on Twitter and where 50% think the National Debt is a monument in Washington D.C. The country is controlled by evil sycophants, intellectually dishonest toadies and blood sucking leeches. Their lies and deception have held sway for the last four years, but they have only delayed the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. They will not reverse course and believe their intellectual superiority will allow them to retain their control after the collapse.”

The core elements of this Crisis have been visible since Strauss & Howe wrote The Fourth Turning in 1997. All the major events that transpire during this Crisis will be driven by one or more of these core elements – Debt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder.

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

My 2013 predictions were framed by these core elements. After re-reading my article for the first time in eleven months I’ve concluded it is lucky I don’t charge for investment predictions. Many of my prognostications were in the ballpark, but I have continually underestimated the ability of central bankers and their Wall Street co-conspirators to use the $2.8 billion per day of QE to artificially elevate the stock market to bubble level proportions once again. If I wasn’t such a trusting soul, I might conclude the .1% financial elite, who run this country, created QEternity to benefit themselves, their .1% corporate CEO accomplices and the corrupt government apparatchiks who shield their flagrant criminality from the righteous hand of justice.

Even a highly educated Ivy League economist might grasp the fact that Ben Bernanke’s QEternity and ZIRP, sold to the unsuspecting masses as desperate measures during a crisis that could have brought the system down, have been kept in place for five years as a means to drive stock prices and home prices higher. The emergency was over by 2010, according to government reported data. The current monetary policy of the Federal Reserve would have been viewed as outrageous, reckless, and incomprehensible in 2007. It is truly a credit to the ruling elite and their media propaganda arm that they have been able to convince a majority of Americans their brazen felonious disregard for the wellbeing of the 99% is necessary to sustain the .1% way of life. Those palaces in the Hamptons aren’t going to pay for themselves without those $100 billion of annual bonuses.

Do you think the 170% increase in the S&P 500 has been accidently correlated with the quadrupling of the Federal Reserve balance sheet or has Bernanke just done the bidding of his puppet masters? Considering the .1% billionaire clique owns the vast majority of stock in this corporate fascist paradise, is it really a surprise the trickle down canard would be the solution of choice from these sociopathic scoundrels? Of course QE and ZIRP have impacted the 80% who own virtually no stocks in a slightly different manner. Do you think the 100% increase in gasoline prices since 2009 was caused by Bernanke’s QEternity?

Do you think the 8% decline in real median household income since 2008 was caused by Bernanke’s QE and ZIRP policies?

Click to View

Do you think the $10.8 trillion stolen from grandmothers and risk adverse savers was caused by Bernanke’s ZIRP?

Was the $860 billion increase in real GDP (5.8% over five years) worth the $8 trillion increase in the National Debt and $3 trillion increase in the Federal Reserve balance sheet? Was it moral, courageous and honorable of the Wall Street plantation owners to syphon the remaining wealth of the dying middle class peasants and leaving the millennial generation and future generations bound in chains of unfunded debt to the tune of $200 trillion?

My assessment regarding unpredictable events lurking in the fog was borne out by what happened that NO ONE predicted, including: the first resignation of a pope in six hundred years, the military coup of a democratically elected president of Egypt – supported by the democratically elected U.S. president, the rise of an alternative currency – bitcoin, the bankruptcy of one of the largest cities in the U.S. – Detroit, a minor terrorist attack in Boston that freaked out the entire country and revealed the Nazi-like un-Constitutional tactics that will be used by the police state as this Crisis deepens, and revelations by a brilliant young patriot named Edward Snowden proving that the U.S. has been turned into an Orwellian surveillance state as every electronic communication of every American is being monitored and recorded. The Democrats and Republicans played their parts in this theater of the absurd. They proved to be two faces of the same Party as neither faction questions the droning of innocent people around the globe, mass spying on citizens, Wall Street criminality, trillion dollar deficits, a rogue Federal Reserve, or out of control unsustainable government spending.

My predictions for 2013 were divided into the three categories driving this Fourth Turning CrisisDebt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder. Let’s assess my inaccuracy.

Debt

  • The debt ceiling will be raised as the toothless Republican Party vows to cut spending next time. The political hacks will create a 3,000 page document of triggers and create a committee to study the issue, with actual measures that slow the growth of annual spending by .000005% starting in 2017.

The government shutdown reality TV show proved to be the usual Washington D.C. kabuki theater. They gave a shutdown and no one noticed. It had zero impact on the economy. More people came to the realization that government does nothing except spend our money and push us around. The debt ceiling was raised, the sequester faux “cuts” were reversed and $20 billion of spending will be cut sometime in the distant future. Washington snakes are entirely predictable. I nailed this prediction.

  • The National Debt will increase by $1.25 trillion and debt to GDP will reach 106% by the end of the fiscal year.

The National Debt increased by ONLY $964 billion in the last fiscal year, even though the government stopped counting in May. The temporary sequester cuts, the expiration of the 2% payroll tax cut, the fake Fannie & Freddie paybacks to the U.S. Treasury based upon mark to fantasy accounting, and the automatic expiration of stimulus spending combined to keep the real deficit from reaching $1 trillion for the fifth straight year. Debt to GDP was 104%, before our beloved government drones decided to “adjust” GDP upwards by $500 billion based upon a new and improved formula, like Tide detergent. I missed this prediction by a smidgeon.

  • The Federal Reserve balance sheet will reach $4 trillion by the end of the year.

The Federal Reserve balance sheet stands at $4.075 trillion today. Ben is very predictable, and of course “transparent”. This was an easy one.

  • Consumer debt will reach $2.9 trillion as the Feds accelerate student loans and Ally Financial, along with the other Too Big To Control Wall Street banks, keep pumping out subprime auto loans. By mid-year reported losses on student loans will soar and auto loan delinquencies will show an upturn. This will force a slowdown in consumer debt issuance, exacerbating the recession that started in 2012.

Consumer debt outstanding currently stands at $3.076 trillion despite the fact that credit card debt has been virtually flat. The Federal government has continued to dole out billions in loans to University of Phoenix wannabes and to the subprime urban entitlement armies who deserve to drive an Escalade despite having no job, no assets and a sub 650 credit score, through government owned Ally Financial. It helps drive business when you don’t care about being repaid. Student loan delinquency rates are at an all-time high, as there are no jobs for graduates with tens of thousands in debt. Auto loan delinquencies have begun to rise despite the fact we are supposedly in a strongly recovering economy. The slowdown in debt issuance has not happened, as the Federal government is in complete control of the non-revolving loan segment. My prediction has proven to be accurate.

  • The Bakken oil miracle will prove to be nothing more than Wall Street shysters selling a storyline. Daily output will stall at 750,000 barrels per day and the dreams of imminent energy independence will be annihilated by reality, again. The price of oil will average $105 per barrel, as global tensions restrict supply.

Bakken production has reached 867,000 barrels per day as more and more wells have been drilled to offset the steep depletion rates of the existing wells. The average price per barrel has been $104, despite the frantic propaganda campaign about imminent American energy independence. Tell that to the average Joe filling their tank and paying the highest December gas price in history. My prediction was too pessimistic, but the Bakken miracle will be revealed as an over-hyped Wall Street scam in 2014.

  • The home price increases generated through inventory manipulation in 2012 will peter out as 2013 progresses. The market has been flooded by investors. There is very little real demand for new homes. Young households with heavy student loan debt and low paying jobs will continue to rent, since the oligarchs refused to let prices fall to a level that would spur real demand. Mortgage delinquencies will rise as job growth remains stagnant, leading to an increase in foreclosures. Rent prices will flatten as apartment construction and investors flood the market with supply.

Existing home sales peaked in the middle of 2013 and have been in decline as mortgage rates have jumped from 3.25% to 4.5% since February. New home sales remain stagnant, near record low levels. The median sales price for existing home sales peaked at $214,000 in June and has fallen for five consecutive months by a total of 8%. First time home buyers account for a record low of 28% of purchases, while investors account for a record high level of purchasers. Mortgage delinquencies fell for most of the year, but the chickens are beginning to come home to roost as delinquent mortgage loans rose from 6.28% in October to 6.45% in November. Rent increases slowed to below 3% as Blackrock and the other Wall Street shysters flood the market with their foreclosure rental properties. My housing prediction was accurate.

 

  • The disconnect between the stock market and the housing and employment markets will be rectified when the MSM can no longer deny the recession that began in 2012 and will deepen in the first part of 2013. While housing prices languish 30% below their peak levels of 2006, the stock market has prematurely ejaculated back to pre-crisis levels. Declining corporate profits, stagnant consumer spending, and increasing debt defaults will finally result in a 20% decline in the stock market, with a chance for losses greater than 30% if Japan or the EU begin to crumble.

And now we get to the prediction that makes me happy I don’t charge people for investment advice. Facts don’t matter in world of QE for the psychopathic titans of Wall Street and misery for the indebted peasants of Main Street. The government data drones, Ivy League educated Wall Street economists, and the obedient corporate media propaganda apparatus declare that GDP has grown by 2% over the last four quarters and we are not in a recession. If you believe their bogus inflation calculation then just ignore the collapsing retail sales, stagnant real wages, and rising gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us. Using a true measure of inflation reveals an economy in recession since 2004. Whose version matches the reality on the ground?

 

Corporate profits have leveled off at record highs as mark to fantasy accounting fraud, condoned and encouraged by the Federal Reserve, along with loan loss reserve depletion and $5 billion of risk free profits from parking deposits at the Fed have created a one-time peak. The record level of negative earnings warnings is the proverbial bell ringing at the top.

negative earnings

I only missed my stock market prediction by 50%, as the 30% rise was somewhat better than my 20% decline prediction. Bernanke’s QEternity, Wall Street’s high frequency trading supercomputers, record levels of margin debt, a dash of delusion, and a helping of clueless dupes have taken the stock market to another bubble high. My prediction makes me look like an idiot today. I’m OK with that, since I know facts and reality always prevail in the long-run. As John Hussman sagely points out, today’s idiot will be tomorrow’s beacon of truth:

“The problem with bubbles is that they force one to decide whether to look like an idiot before the peak, or an idiot after the peak. There’s no calling the top, and most of the signals that have been most historically useful for that purpose have been blazing red since late-2011. My impression remains that the downside risks for the market have been deferred, not eliminated, and that they will be worse for the wait.”

  • Japan is still a bug in search of a windshield. With a debt to GDP ratio of 230%, a population dying off, energy dependence escalating, trade surplus decreasing, an already failed Prime Minister vowing to increase inflation, and rising tensions with China, Japan is a primary candidate to be the first domino to fall in the game of debt chicken. A 2% increase in interest rates would destroy the Japanese economic system.

Abenomics has done nothing for the average Japanese citizen, but it has done wonders for the ruling class who own all the stocks. Abe has implemented monetary policies that make Bernanke get a hard on. Japanese economic growth remains mired at 1.1%, wages remain stagnant, and their debt to GDP ratio remains above 230%, but at least he has driven their currency down 20% versus the USD and crushed the common person with 9% energy inflation. None of this matters, because the .1% have benefitted from a 56% increase in the Japanese stock market. My prediction was wrong. The windshield is further down the road, but it is approaching at 100 mph.

  • The EU has temporarily delayed the endgame for their failed experiment. Economic conditions in Greece, Spain and Italy worsen by the day with unemployment reaching dangerous revolutionary levels. Pretending countries will pay each other with newly created debt will not solve a debt crisis. They don’t have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. The only people who have been saved by the actions taken so far are bankers and politicians. I believe the crisis will reignite, with interest rates spiking in Spain, Italy and France. The Germans will get fed up with the rest of Europe and the EU will begin to disintegrate.

This was another complete miss on my part. Economic conditions have not improved in Europe. Unemployment remains at record levels. EU GDP is barely above 0%. Debt levels continue to rise. Central bank bond buying has propped up this teetering edifice of ineptitude and interest rates in Spain, Italy and France have fallen to ridiculously low levels of 4%, considering they are completely insolvent with no possibility for escape. The disintegration of the EU will have to wait for another day.

Civic Decay

  • Progressive’s attempt to distract the masses from our worsening economic situation with their assault on the 2nd Amendment will fail. Congress will pass no new restrictions on gun ownership and 2013 will see the highest level of gun sales in history.

Obama and his gun grabbing sycophants attempted to use the Newtown massacre as the lever to overturn the 2nd Amendment. The liberal media went into full shriek mode, but the citizens again prevailed and no Federal legislation restricting the 2nd Amendment passed. Gun sales in 2013 will set an all-time record. With the Orwellian surveillance state growing by the day, arming yourself is the rational thing to do. I nailed this prediction.

  • The deepening recession, higher taxes on small businesses and middle class, along with Obamacare mandates will lead to rising unemployment and rising anger with the failed economic policies of the last four years. Protests and rallies will begin to burgeon.

The little people are experiencing a recession. The little people bore the brunt of the 2% payroll tax increase. The little people are bearing the burden of the Obamacare insurance premium increases. The number of employed Americans has increased by 1 million in the last year, a whole .4% of the working age population. The number of Americans who have willingly left the labor force in the last year because their lives are so fulfilled totaled 2.5 million, leaving the labor participation rate at a 35 year low. The anger among the former middle class is simmering below the surface, as Bernanke’s policies further impoverish the multitudes. Mass protests have not materialized but the Washington Navy yard shooting, dental hygenist murdered by DC police for ramming a White House barrier, and self- immolation of veteran John Constantino on the National Mall were all individual acts of desperation against the establishment.

  • The number of people on food stamps will reach 50 million and the number of people on SSDI will reach 11 million. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jeff Immelt will compensate themselves to the tune of $100 million. CNBC will proclaim an economic recovery based on these facts.

The number of people on food stamps appears to have peaked just below 48 million, as the expiration of stimulus spending will probably keep the program from reaching 50 million. As of November there were 10.98 million people in the SSDI program. The top eight Wall Street banks have set aside a modest $91 billion for 2013 bonuses. The cost of providing food stamps for 48 million Americans totaled $76 billion. CNBC is thrilled with the record level of bonuses for the noble Wall Street capitalists, while scorning the lazy laid-off middle class workers whose jobs were shipped to China by the corporations whose profits are at all-time highs and stock price soars. Isn’t crony capitalism grand?

  • The drought will continue in 2013 resulting in higher food prices, ethanol prices, and shipping costs, as transporting goods on the Mississippi River will become further restricted. The misery index for the average American family will reach new highs.

The drought conditions in the U.S. Midwest have been relieved. Ethanol prices have been flat. Beef prices have risen by 10% since May due to the drought impact from 2012, but overall food price increases have been moderate. The misery index (unemployment rate + inflation rate) has supposedly fallen, based on government manipulated data. I whiffed on this prediction.

  • There will be assassination attempts on political and business leaders as retribution for their actions during and after the financial crisis.

There have been no assassination attempts on those responsible for our downward financial spiral. The anger has been turned inward as suicides have increased by 30% due to the unbearable economic circumstances brought on by the illegal financial machinations of the Wall Street criminal banks. Obama and Dick Cheney must be thrilled that more military personnel died by suicide in 2013 than on the battlefield. Mission Accomplished. The retribution dealt to bankers and politicians will come after the next collapse. For now, my prediction was premature.

  • The revelation of more fraud in the financial sector will result in an outcry from the public for justice. Prosecutions will be pursued by State’s attorney generals, as Holder has been captured by Wall Street.

Holder and the U.S. government remain fully captured by Wall Street. The states have proven to be toothless in their efforts to enforce the law against Wall Street. The continuing revelations of Wall Street fraud and billions in fines paid by JP Morgan and the other Too Big To Trust banks have been glossed over by the captured mainstream media. As long as EBT cards, Visas and Mastercards continue to function, there will be no outrage from the techno-narcissistic, debt addicted, math challenged, wilfully ignorant masses. Another wishful thinking wrong prediction on my part.

  • The deepening pension crisis in the states will lead to more state worker layoffs and more confrontation between governors attempting to balance budgets and government worker unions. There will be more municipal bankruptcies.

Using a still optimistic discount rate of 5%, the unfunded pension liability of states and municipalities totals $3 trillion. The taxpayers don’t have enough cheese left for the government rats to steal. The crisis deepens by the second. State and municipal budgets require larger pension payments every year. The tax base is stagnant or declining. States must balance their budgets. They will continue to cut existing workers to pay the legacy costs until they all experience their Detroit moment. With the Detroit bankruptcy, I’ll take credit for getting this prediction right.

  • The gun issue will further enflame talk of state secession. The red state/blue state divide will grow ever wider. The MSM will aggravate the divisions with vitriolic propaganda.

With the revelations of Federal government spying, military training exercises in cities across the country, the blatant disregard for the 4th Amendment during the shutdown of Boston, and un-Constitutional mandates of Obamacare, there has been a tremendous increase in chatter about secession. A google search gets over 200,000 hits in the last year. The divide between red states and blue states has never been wider.

  • The government will accelerate their surveillance efforts and renew their attempt to monitor, control, and censor the internet. This will result in increased cyber-attacks on government and corporate computer networks in retaliation.

If anything I dramatically underestimated the lengths to which the United States government would go in their illegal surveillance of the American people and foreign leaders. Edward Snowden exposed the grandest government criminal conspiracy in history as the world found out the NSA, with the full knowledge of the president and Congress, has been conspiring with major communications and internet companies to monitor and record every electronic communication on earth, in clear violation of the 4th Amendment. Government apparatchiks like James Clapper have blatantly lied to Congress about their spying activities. The lawlessness with which the government is now operating has led to anarchist computer hackers conducting cyber-attacks on government and corporate networks. The recent hacking of the Target credit card system will have devastating implications to their already waning business. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

Global Disorder 

  • With new leadership in Japan and China, neither will want to lose face, so early in their new terms. Neither side will back down in their ongoing conflict over islands in the East China Sea. China will shoot down a Japanese aircraft and trade between the countries will halt, leading to further downturns in both of their economies.

The Japanese/Chinese dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands has blown hot and cold throughout the year. In the past month the vitriol has grown intense. China has scrambled fighter jets over the disputed islands. The recent visit of Abe to a World War II shrine honoring war criminals has enraged the Chinese. Trade between the countries has declined. An aircraft has not been shot down, but an American warship almost collided with a Chinese warship near the islands, since our empire must stick their nose into every worldwide dispute. We are one miscalculation away from a shooting war. It hasn’t happened yet, so my prediction was wrong.

  • Worker protests over slave labor conditions in Chinese factories will increase as food price increases hit home on peasants that spend 70% of their pay for food. The new regime will crackdown with brutal measures, but the protests will grow increasingly violent. The economic data showing growth will be discredited by what is happening on the ground. China will come in for a real hard landing. Maybe they can hide the billions of bad debt in some of their vacant cities.

The number of worker protests over low pay and working conditions in China doubled over the previous year, but censorship of reporting has kept these facts under wraps. In a dictatorship, the crackdown on these protests goes unreported. The fraudulent economic data issued by the government has been proven false by independent analysts. The Chinese stock market has fallen 14%, reflecting the true economic situation. The Chinese property bubble is in the process of popping. China will never officially report a hard landing. China is the most corrupt nation on earth and is rotting from the inside, like their vacant malls and cities. China’s economy is like an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 coming in for a landing at SF International.

  • Violence and turmoil in Greece will spread to Spain during the early part of the year, with protests and anger spreading to Italy and France later in the year. The EU public relations campaign, built on sandcastles of debt in the sky and false promises of corrupt politicians, will falter by mid-year. Interest rates will begin to spike and the endgame will commence. Greece will depart the EU, with Spain not far behind. The unraveling of debt will plunge all of Europe into depression.

Violent protests flared in Greece and Spain throughout the year. They did not spread to Italy and France. The central bankers and the puppet politicians have been able to contain the EU’s debt insolvency through the issuance of more debt. What a great plan. The grand finale has been delayed into 2014. Greece remains on life support and still in the EU. The EU remains in recession, but the depression has been postponed for the time being. This prediction was a dud.

  • Iran will grow increasingly desperate as hyperinflation caused by U.S. economic sanctions provokes the leadership to lash out at its neighbors and unleash cyber-attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and U.S. corporations. Israel will use the rising tensions as the impetus to finally attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. will support the attack and Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel in retaliation. The price of oil will spike above $125 per barrel, further deepening the worldwide recession.

Iran was experiencing hyperinflationary conditions early in the year, but since the election of the new president the economy has stabilized. Iran has conducted cyber-attacks against Saudi Arabian gas companies and the U.S. Navy during 2013. Israel and Saudi Arabia have failed in their efforts to lure Iran into a shooting war. Obama has opened dialogue with the new president to the chagrin of Israel. War has been put off and the negative economic impacts of surging oil prices have been forestalled. I missed on this prediction.

  • Syrian President Assad will be ousted and executed by rebels. Syria will fall under the control of Islamic rebels, who will not be friendly to the United States or Israel. Russia will stir up discontent in retaliation for the ouster of their ally.

Assad has proven to be much tougher than anyone expected. The trumped up charges of gassing rebel forces, created by the Saudis who want a gas pipeline through Syria, was not enough to convince the American people to allow our president to invade another sovereign country. Putin and Russia won this battle. America’s stature in the eyes of the world was reduced further. America continues to support Al Qaeda rebels in Syria, while fighting them in Afghanistan. The hypocrisy is palpable. Another miss.

  • Egypt and Libya will increasingly become Islamic states and will further descend into civil war.

The first democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown in a military coup as the country has descended into a civil war between the military forces and Islamic forces. It should be noted that the U.S. supported the overthrow of a democratically elected leader. Libya is a failed state with Islamic factions vying for power and on the verge of a 2nd civil war. Oil production has collapsed. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

  • The further depletion of the Cantarell oil field will destroy the Mexican economy as it becomes a net energy importer. The drug violence will increase and more illegal immigrants will pour into the U.S. The U.S. will station military troops along the border.

Mexican oil production fell for the ninth consecutive year in 2013. It has fallen 25% since 2004 to the lowest level since 1995. Energy exports still slightly outweigh imports, but the trend is irreversible. Mexico is under siege by the drug cartels. The violence increases by the day. After declining from 2007 through 2009, illegal immigration from Mexico has been on the rise. Troops have not been stationed on the border as Obama and his liberal army encourages illegal immigration in their desire for an increase in Democratic voters. This prediction was mostly correct.

  • Cyber-attacks by China and Iran on government and corporate computer networks will grow increasingly frequent. One or more of these attacks will threaten nuclear power plants, our electrical grid, or the Pentagon.

China and Iran have been utilizing cyber-attacks on the U.S. military and government agencies as a response to NSA spying and U.S. sabotaging of Iranian nuclear facilities. Experts are issuing warnings regarding the susceptibility of U.S. nuclear facilities to cyber-attack. If a serious breach has occurred, the U.S. government wouldn’t be publicizing it. Again, this prediction was accurate.

I achieved about a 50% accuracy rate on my 2013 predictions. These minor distractions are meaningless in the broad spectrum of history and the inevitability of the current Fourth Turning sweeping away the existing social order in a whirlwind of chaos, violence, financial collapse and ultimately a decisive war. The exact timing and exact events which will precipitate the demise of the establishment are unknowable with any precision, but there is no escape from the inexorable march of history. While most people get lost in the minutia of day to day existence and supposed Ivy League thought leaders are consumed with their own reputations and wealth, apparent stability will morph into terrifying volatility in an instant. The normalcy bias being practiced by an entire country will be shattered in a reality storm of consequences. The Crisis will continue to be driven by the ever growing debt levels, civic decay caused by government overreach, and global disorder driven by resource shortages and religious zealotry. The ultimate outcome is unpredictable, but the choices we make will matter. History is about to fling us towards a vast chaos.

“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.”  – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Death Part II: Suicide East of Eden

Off the keyboard of RE

Published on Reverse Engineering  January 2011

 

Discuss this article at the Frosbite Falls Insider Table Inside the Diner

I didn’t really cover Suicide in much detail in Part I, because it didn’t really fit the definition of the type of Death I was looking at, which was Death unwillingly forced on one person by another. However, if you look at the type of suicide you are talking about which is actually caused as a reaction to the behavior of others, kind of a deprivation of Spiritual Resources if you will, then it does fit the definition, so it should have been included. I’ll make an addendum to the post here to cover this.

When you say “take me out first” rather than last and reference the Donner Party, I am looking at that as a form of Suicide rather than Murder, since you basically are giving up your life without a fight, even though the actual taking of your life might come at the hand of another. You are “voluntarily” quitting the game, so to speak. In the case of the Donner Party, at least according to the legend anyhow, your self-sacrifice also is going to physically help feed the remaining members of the party via Cannibalism.

I put “voluntary” in quotations because its only voluntary in the sense that given the parameters you are faced with, you would choose death rather than live in a world of Wolf Packs and become one of the Wolves. However, the fact that the world did become that way forces you to make this choice on a philosophical level, so its not truly voluntary.

In point of fact, many people are already taking the Suicide Option Out. I’m not going to try to Google them all up, but in the last 3 years I have read stories about increasing Seppuku over in Japan around some traditional Mountain where people go to Walk themselves into the Great Beyond, and quite recently a story about increasing Suicide among FSofA War Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Theatres. Add to that the occasional individual suicide which has some facet that attracts the MSM to report it, like the Tunisian fellow who sparked the riots and collapsed Da Goobermint by Self-Immolation when his Fruit Stand was confiscated because he didn’t have a Goobermint Permit.

Suicide Bombers and Postals fall into a slightly different category, since in the course of quitting the game such a person takes a few others with him into the Great Beyond. So here you are both voluntarily ending your own life while also engaging in involuntarily ending the lives of some other folks. That puts you more in the Lone Wolf category. At least in this country so far, the Lone Wolves are still pretty rare, and individual Suicides are more common. However, over in the Middle East, Suicide Bombings occur on such a regular basis these days they may be approaching the numbers of individual Suicides in those countries. Hard to say since you never get any kind of valid statistics on any of these things, you just have to extrapolate based on anecdotal stories and consider what is likely to occur in such environments.

Another type of event is the Mass Suicide, which recently was reported over in India as many small farmers (the number exceeded 10,000 as I recall) facing ruin from debt problems committed suicide, I think that was in 2009. Going back to a prior era when there were vast problems in the society, you had Jim Jones Walking a whole bunch of his followers into the Great Beyond via Mass Suicide, and I would not be at all surprised to see a similar Cult Mass Suicide occur here as we spin down further, in fact I will be surprised if such a scenario does not occur.

The result here is that the “take me first” personal solution is bound to increase amongst those people who neither wish to fight nor have the means by which to further support themselves. This happens even among people who thought they had the means, when they lose all they had suddenly as a result of being defrauded or in a stock market crash, etc. That is the Falling Stockbrokers Syndrome. I catalogued a few of those back on Peak Oil back in 2008, a German Banker and an heir to a fortune pre-dating the French Revolution among them. Over here, there was a corporate executive in VA who either committed suicide or was offed by a squad of cleaners, and there was another Oil Sheik whose Glider mysteriously crashed. You always have to view some of those “suicides” with a jaundiced eye, because they might be clandestine murders.

Is Suicide a more Moral Choice than becoming a Wolf? I think that depends on the situation. In a hopeless situation where there are no external enemies to fight such as was the case for the Donner Party, Suicide is clearly the more moral choice than taking the life of another unwillingly in the party so that you yourself could live. However, in a case where your Tribe (at minimum Loved Ones, Family and Friends) might be Saved by taking the fight to the Enemy rather than committing Suicide, becoming a Wolf is the more Moral choice. If you succeed in doing that and give up your life to save loved ones and they do survive, you go out as a HERO. Everlasting Glory in the Kingdom of Heaven is your reward for that one.

For most people here in the Fascist States ofAmerica, most of us as of yet are not really faced with the same kind of deprivation and choices that folks in the Middle East are making on a daily basis. However, increasing numbers of people here are falling off the economic cliff as their 99 Week UE bennies expire, and while they might be able to survive on a SNAP Card in a Homeless Shelter, Suicide might seem to them a better choice than becoming a member of the Free Shit Army. This is a good question to ask yourself about what you would do if you lost everything and your only choices were to commit Suicide, become a Lone Wolf or accept Goobermint Aid and become a member of the Free Shit Army? I wonder how many people here would answer that question Honestly?

For myself, as long as it is functioning, my choice would be to become a member of the FSA. I don’t see a need to commit Suicide when there is still really plenty of food to go round here in the FSofA, and I don’t see the point in fighting an unwinnable battle as a Lone Wolf as long as the Conduits are still functioning, which they must be for SNAP cards to still be available. In my community, it would have to go even further, to the point I could not fish up enough to survive, or find some means to trade for what we harvest up here for my sustenance. Only at that point, once all other means have been exhausted would I make the choice between Suicide or becoming either a Pack Wolf or a Lone Wolf. I don’t know which one of those I would choose, its such an extreme situation that I do not know what my mind set would be at that point. To know what you would do when you have reached the End of your Rope, you really have to BE at the end of your rope.

In any event, like all the other forms of DEATH we are faced with here like Abortion, War and Starvation, Suicide is yet another one that will increase in its frequency during the spin down, regardless of whether we think suicide is a moral choice or not. In some Religious belief, Suicide is a Mortal Sin, and under no circumstances should you do it as it would condemn your Soul to Everlasting Damnation Burning in the Fires of Hell.  I do not subscribe to that idea. In certain situations, Suicide is a very valid choice, and in those situations if you choose it, you will not be Damned, you will go to Everlasting Glory in the Kingdom of Heaven.

See You on the Other Side.

RE

Follow Up Response to Stuck in New Jersey in this thread:

Stuck, on one keyboard hand you argue that I am advocating for a return to the Garden of Eden, but then on the other keyboard hand you argue that I advocate for a system which legitimizes Murder, which clearly is not Garden of Eden living. So which one is it here? You cannot argue both at the same time.

In my response to OS, I covered some of the inherent conflicts that come from Suicide in a resource constrained environment. Essentially, some people are FORCED into committing suicide, so you can turn this around and say that they did not truly commit Suicide, but were in fact Murdered by the society around them. Who do you pin the Murder on though? The entire population still alive after the person offs himself?

Tribal living in a resource constrained environment is clearly NOT the Garden of Eden. In fact it is quite a tough environment overall, but for the most part a more fair system with a more equitable distribution of power. People will still be people, there will still be arguments, there will still be violence. These things will not disappear, so it is not the Garden of Eden.

The two most difficult Moral Questions to resolve in this type of system come at the beginning and end stages of life. At the beginning stage of life, the Death comes from Abortion and/or Exposure. At the end stage of life, the Death comes from Suicide or Exposure also. Just like infants are sometimes left on a mountaintop to die and be consumed by Wolves, so also will the tribe sometimes pack up in the middle of the night and leave behind sleeping one of their Elderly members who slows them down on the trail and no longer can contribute hunting or gathering. Given I accept both of these as inevitable consequences of living in a resource constrained environment, I hardly see how you can argue that I am either “sugar coating” this or advocating for a return to the Garden of Eden. I am doing neither.

My hope would be that after a period of time passes and the population gets knocked down to whatever minima the resource constraints demand, the environment will begin to heal, there will be fewer resource constraints, and then the population begins to grow again. At this point the two most difficult Moral Questions of Infanticide and Elderly Suicide can be removed from the mix, to be substituted for by more careful reproductive control of some form, and not allowing the growth of the population to exceed the growth of the resource base on a Pay-as-you-Go basis. Given where we are at NOW however, with a population well into Overshoot resulting from the exploitation of the one-time “Gift” of the Thermodynamic Energy of Fossil Fuels and the fact that those fuels are in a depleting state relative to the size of the population, we are a long ways away from being able to convert to such a relatively benign form of maintaining a steady state population in balance with the available resources. This is why I
maintain that we will not get from here to there without a considerable amount of pain.

We will likely never be returning to the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden came some 70,000 years ago for the 10,000 Human Souls or 1000 Breeding Pairs that survived the cataclysmic bottleneck of the population of Homo Sapiens in the aftermath of the Toba Supervolcanic Eruption. Once the atmosphere cleared and the environment surrounding them healed itself, that Tribe had the entire surface of the Earth to expand onto, to “Go Forth and Multiply”, and they sure did that, to the tune of around 6.3B people living here now. There were no wars then, because if you were dissatisfied in your community and sought Freedom you could just walk a few miles to the next valley over and start your own little community. Then do it again, and again and again, until all these communities started bumping up against each other with nowhere left to go for the Freedom Seekers. The Garden of Eden lasted for quite some time, to around 5000 years ago when Agriculture began to suck resource out of the land faster than it could be replenished. Then of course and right up until today, all HELL broke loose with the endless War of the Haves and the Have Nots.

The general paradigm of Warfare amongst conflicting Tribes and incipient Civilizations developing from Agriculture began 5000 years ago as most of the surface of the Earth was populated by Homo Sapiens, but the End for Freedom Seekers did not come really until about 1000 years ago, when a few Polynesian Navigators plying the Pacific Ocean in Sail Rigged Canoes came upon the Big Island of Hawaii. That was the very LAST vestige of the Garden of Eden, a place with sufficient food resources devoid of any prior population of Homo Sapiens living there that had to be displaced by Warfare. Once that last space was taken up, the last 1000 years has been all about consolidation and one group of people becoming powerful enough to displace another group of people. Accessing the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels gave one set of people vast advantage, and asymmetry developed in the aftermath of that. Industrial living VERY quickly became the only way to live anywhere, it really only took 200 or so years for this paradigm to overrun the earth. About ALL Hunter Gatherers disappeared through this period, and Agriculture itself became Industrialized. Thing is here, once the Fossil Fuels are unavailable, this 200 year experiment in Industrial Civilization will collapse in a Heartbeat in the grand scheme of 70,000 years since the Garden of Eden. It will not even take a Century for this collapse to occur. That is about 0.3% of the entire timeline since the Toba Bottleneck.

To return to the Garden of Eden, we literally would have to shrink back down in population size to 10,000 Human Souls and give Gaia 10,000 years to heal herself, and even I do not project that as likely. In the absence of a cataclysm on the order of Toba, Natural or Man Made, I do not see it likely that even with a massive Undershoot of population we would shrink down past 100M or so. There will be remaining tribes everywhere there is sufficient water and arable land or access to a fecund fishery. Those tribes will bump up against each other and there will be border wars. There will be no place for Freedom Seekers to go that both provide enough food in the environment and also are vacant of people. It is how those populations steward their environment and the principles upon which they base their community which will determine how Just they are and how successful. I maintain that the best means of doing that is to base the economy on Giving rather than Taking.

On the question of how you prevent those nasty Human Traits like Greed and Avarice from taking root and flourishing, the answer is Education. In childhood, these traits manifest themselves in children all the time. 3 year olds will grab a toy from another and say “MINE!”. Do not allow that behavior, Punish it quickly, it does not take much when a child is 3 years old to punish such behavior. Reward the child for Sharing and being generous. Do not reward Adults for Greedy behaviors, because children witness this and inculcate it into their developing brains as the way to be. Punish adults who take more than they need, Shun them to begin, if they don’t learn the lesson,  Hang ’em High.  Certainly do not put them up on a Pedestal on the pages of People Magazine or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. You will never entirely wipe Greed out of course, but you can Squash it down through the Culture and the Education of children. This is a cultural decision it is within our power to make.

In our lifetimes, and in the lifetimes of generations yet unborn, it will not be possible to escape the consequences of Overshoot, and the pain that is to come as the population must shrink in size to come back into Balance with what Nature provides on a Pay-as-you-Go basis. The tough Moral Questions of Abortion, Suicide, Murder and War will all be a part of our collective lives. Death comes in many ways, and the Grim Reaper will have the Greatest Harvest of all time in this go round. Your only choices in this revolve around where you will park your butt and whether you will be a Sheeple or a Wolf when the Big Show Comes to a Theatre Near You. If you Run Away NOW, run away FAR, you might avoid the worst of these choices for the rest of your natural life. I am as far out as you can GET and still have a connection to the Internet. I HOPE to live out what is left of my life in relative Peace, but as it stands at the moment, unless I die relatively quickly, the Big Show will Come to my Theatre and force me to make my choice. I do not know right now what that choice will be, Suicide, Lone Wolf or Pack Wolf? I won’t go to the Great Beyond as a Sheeple though. I won’t know the answer to this question until I am at the End of my Rope, and I am not there yet.

Come the Horsemen.

See You on the Other Side.

RE

Death: Part I

Off the keyboard of RE

Published on Reverse Engineering on January 22, 2011

Discuss this article at the Frosbite Falls Insider Table inside the Diner

Note from RE:  Another series of articles from the archives of Reverse Engineering.  In this series I look at DEATH as it has played out historically, and  how it might play itself out again in a Neo-Tribal post-collapse paradignm.  I take an unexpurgated  look at taboo subjects like Infanticide, Suicide and Postal Mass Murders.  IOW, not an article for the Squeamish. Part II will be posted on the Blog as well,  the rest will appear in the Frostbite Falls Insider members Only board inside the Diner, along with all discussion of this series.

Tonight’s subject is DEATH. I am not talking nice Peaceful Death quietly in your own bed at night from Old Age, nor even more wilful forms of hastening your own death through Suicide or just bad habits like Smoking, Drinking or doing Drugs. Nor even death that comes from the vicissitudes of Nature, such as an Earthquake bringing the roof of your hut down on your head or naturally occurring diseases that run around the environment and periodically take out large numbers of the population. No, the type of DEATH that I am going to address here is the WILLFULLY CAUSED DEATH of OTHERS. This includes Death caused by War directly, Death caused by Abortion directly, and Death caused indirectly by controlling and making scarce the resources other people need to live. All these subjects have been topics of heated debate here lately, so I thought I would bring them all together and put in my usual 3000 word opinion on the disk. It is sure to be a highly popular opinion. NOT! Actually, this one may make the Top 10 of All Time Most HATED RE Posts, which is saying a lot for me 😉 Or it could be one of the Top 10 All Time Most LOVED RE Posts among some readers. Either way I am pretty sure the reactions will be extreme to one side or the other.

For all these forms of Death creation mentioned above, they get nearly universal opprobrium. The Moral Group Think tends to be that War is Evil, Abortion is Evil and Starving People is Evil. In the situation where there really is enough resource to go round, all these Death Creation mechanisms ARE Evil, but once resources are thin for the Population as a whole, any one of them can be less Evil than the alternative.

The simple example would be the case of the Small Tribe barely ekeing out an existence. There is only enough resource for say 10 people to live. A woman in the tribe gets pregnant. What are your REAL choices? One choice would be to Abort the child. Then you will not have another mouth to feed. Another choice would be to allow the child to be born, and ask or have “volunteer” an Elderly person in the tribe to Walk into the Great Beyond. Take that last Kayak trip out to Sea, give himself up to the Bear, climb to the top of Denali and Freeze to Death, whatever the choice. Given a Healthy Infant, the better choice is probably for the elderly person to Die, but of course until Born and demonstrating healthy and robust traits, you just don’t know if that life is more worthwhile for the survival of the Tribe than the Elderly person, who might still have a few good years left to pass on some knowledge. In this kind of scenario, you have to consider Exposure as another alternative instead of Abortion. Allow the child to be born, see how robust that child is, and if not sufficiently robust expose it on a mountaintop and leave it for the wolves. These ARE the kinds of choices that had to be made in the past, and all of you come from people who made those choices. As I see it, these choices are coming again to Homo Sapiens. They won’t be taken on willingly or easily, but they WILL happen.

Moral questions which are paramount in times of Surplus do not have the same meaning as they do in times of Deprivation. When the PURE SURVIVAL of the Tribe is in question, life or death of the individual is subsidiary to the survival of the TRIBE, which is the smallest economic unit possible for Homo Sapiens. We are Pack Animals basically, like Wolves that run in small groups. The transition to Agriculture socially changed most of us more to Herd animals like Sheep, though Packs of Wolves still move about among the Sheeple in our society. It’s the juxtaposition of these two basic forms of living among mammals in one species that is at the root of our social dilemma.

As we move forward through the Collapse of our society these two basic forms of mammalian social behavior will assert themselves, and for the most part the Sheeple will be slaughtered by the Wolves. Difference from the rest of Nature is that at any point Sheeple can BECOME Wolves, we aren’t specifically determined by nature to be one or the other as REAL Sheep and Wolves are, it is socially inculcated behavior in our case. Homo Sapiens “sheeple” DO become “wolves” when the society devolves. Gangs form up of former Sheeple, and the deep nature of Homo Sapiens as a Pack Animal reasserts itself. A Failed State like Somalia turns into a bunch of Pack Animal Pirates; a Failed State like Mexico turns into a bunch of Pack Animal Drug Cartels, a bunch of Towel Head farmers in Afghanistan turn into Al-Quaeda Terrorists, etc. In none of these cases do these folks hold onto the same kinds of Moral Restrictions that Sheeple do. Nor of course do the top of the food chain Wolves of Banksters hold onto the same set of moral restrictions or laws that their prey among the Sheeple do.

As a Sheeple, at any point you can become a Wolf. Some are already becoming Lone Wolves. Joe Stack was a Lone Wolf, so was Jared. Lone Wolves don’t last long, but Pack Wolves do, as long as there are Sheeple around to prey on. You have 3 basic choices, which are to be one of the Sheeple, to be a Lone Wolf, or to be a part of a Pack of Wolves. Only one of those 3 choices will allow your survival.

Once you revert to Tribes of Pack Animals, the same type of moral dilemmas that are faced by Sheeple in War are not relevant. It no longer is a question of Wolves slaughtering Sheep, but of Wolves fighting with Wolves. This is the stage we are moving into here now. For a long time it has been Sheep being slaughtered, but now the Sheep are starting to Pack Up and become Wolves, at least in places like Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mexico.

Once you understand that your only REAL choice is whether to get slaughtered as Sheeple or become a Wolf yourself, if you want to LIVE then you become a Wolf. I am reminded here of that scene in Terminator II where Arnold reaches out his hand and says to Linda Hamilton “Come with me if you want to LIVE!”. You are in a fight for survival, and you have to Pack Up with some other wolves to have any chance at all. Once you do, you TAKE NO PRISONERS.

The Wars we are pursuing in Afghanistan and Iraq are a manifestation of this phenomenon on the aggregate level of the Nation State. As a Culture, it is Kill or Be Killed between our society and the one controlling the resource of Oil that we need as a culture to survive. Morality isn’t a question in this war, as long as it is perceived that we MUST have OIL to survive. ANYTHING goes. Killing civilian children is nothing more really than exposing them on a mountain top because your society needs the resources those children would use, just it is done on a mass scale as is the nature of war in the industrial era. From this point of view, its not morally wrong, and that would be the Bryzhinski/Kissinger/Cheney model of morality. It’s just a Geopolitical Chess Game.

Where the Moral Flaw really exists is in the inequity of power distribution between the Packs of Wolves. In fact it’s not so much a moral flaw or problem as it is one of homoeostasis. When there is relatively equal power distribution between packs of wolves, they tend to kill each other off in equal numbers when fighting over a given territory. When one group of wolves comes up with Industrialization, the whole power distribution setup goes out of whack and the Wars are not even in casualties. I remember those Numbers from Vietnam that used to be published each night on the Network TV Newz programs. 2000 Vietcong DEAD, 20 US Marines Dead. No Balance there, and so the whole shebang goes out of Homoeostasis.

This is why the pictures JimQ puts up of Dead and Mutilated Children are so disturbing, because people sense the inherent inequity here in the battle. A Big High Tech War Machine going in and Dropping Death from Above on a bunch of simple Villagers in Afghanistan is not a very fair fight. Same bizness in Vietnam. Who was not disturbed by the image in Platoon of the grunts torching the little Vietnamese Village, which of course was the cinematic version of the Me Lai Massacre? No matter how you feel about Commies or Towel Heads, your basic sense of fairness makes such slaughter seem quite immoral, which of course it is in this situation.

Its not the same moral dilemma when a couple of relatively evenly matched Tribes decide to Duke it Out over a Watering Hole. In this case one of them might sneak up in the middle of the night on the other one, and kill off everyone from the opposing tribe, women and children included, although more often just the men are killed and the women and children are taken as slaves. While this is a rather gruesome process, its not inherently unfair and doesn’t have the same kind of moral stink about it.

Abortion has similar inequities in the modern world, because it is inequitably distributed among the poor. Like Military Power, Economic power is inequitably distributed here, so MOST of the growing organisms being vacuumed up from mommy’s tummy are of course the potential progeny of poor people, likely to be poor themselves and in a social welfare state members of the dependent class, respectfully referred to on the pages of TBP as the Free Shit Army. LOL.

All sorts of Eugenics arguments have been put forth to justify this type of inequitable distribution of abortion, which basically comes from the faulty assumption that because people are poor, they also are Feeble Minded. This is much more likely to be the EFFECT of being poor rather than the CAUSE of it. Poor diet, poor educational opportunities and a poor nurturing environment is a more likely culprit than genetic differences for creating feeble minded people in this demographic. In any event, George Bush is living PROOF that rich people can be just as Feeble Minded as any Poor Person. LOL.

In our current Global society, in truth there is still quite a bit of surplus, and if a means could be found for equitable distribution of the remaining resources, neither Abortion nor War would be necessary. Unfortunately for a whole host of reasons setting up an economic system which can do such a job of equitable distribution is an exceedingly difficult problem, one which has never been solved for large societies at the Nation State level. It probably is an insoluble problem at this level, which means that both War and Abortion are inevitable, along with the slower form of death distribution of the powerful over the less powerful, which is resource starvation.

The main mitigating factor here is that due to the deterioration of complex systems, which I call the Conduits, power distribution is going to be levelled as these Conduits fail. As that happens, more of the Sheeple all over the world will morph into Wolves. Its going to become a fight of Pack Animals against each other with more or less the same tools for making that fight once the Oil resource drops below a critical mass. We are still a ways away from that though, so in the initial stages here of this spin down there will be a lot of very unfair fights and asymmetric types of warfare engaged in. Techno War simply breeds more Terrorists, because you cannot fight a Drone Aircraft with Guided Missiles with Homemade Bombs. So you have to carry the homemade bombs to hotels and buses and marketplaces where the people who are supporting the Techno Army are engaged in their daily toils, bringing the War to their shores and their lives. This type of asymmetric battle is in full flower in the Middle East already, and of course, its Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You also. It already has in small scale with events like Joe Stack and Jared, along with numerous College Campus Postals over the last couple of years.

In the great Moral Question here of whether any of this Death is necessary, the fault mainly lies in the fact that there is inequitable power and wealth distribution, and so those who support continuation of such inequity are most at fault, and so most morally corrupt. However, people immersed in a society dependent on the automobile and industrialization don’t see that as corruption, and they aren’t willing to give it up either. It “enhances” their lives. It will only be given up when it is no longer possible to run the War Machine which makes such an asymmetry possible. No individual can fight this, it’s a pointless and unwinnable battle. This is why the Back to the Land Hippy movement of the 1960s and 1970s failed to gain traction. Only when the Conduits truly FAIL will it be possible to fight and WIN this battle, and that day is coming, if not in this generation then almost certainly in the next one.

So, for the foreseeable future, for the rest of your natural life walking the earth, what you can expect to see are many more revoltingly immoral applications of Death by the Powerful on the Less Powerful, punctuated by instances of equally revolting Terrorist bombings of Malls, Train Stations and of course inevitably Elementary Schools or Day Care Centers by the Less Powerful on the Powerful. Besides the gruesome Abortion Mills, there will be more instances of newborns left in garbage bags in dumpsters. Neil Young wrote about this back as far as 1980 in “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

For myself, I see what is coming down the pipe here, and I report what I see. I don’t like the immoral wars of the powerful on the less powerful when in truth there is still plenty to go round. I don’t like the many dead babies that poverty creates in a world where there is still plenty. To be sure, real deprivation is coming when the Oil resource can no longer keep the Industrial Ag model producing copious amounts of food, but that day is not here YET. Right NOW, the reason people are Starving in Tunisia is because of poor wealth distribution and financial speculation in the Commodities market by people seeking to make a Profit on the misery of others. This is immoral and unjust, but it is an effect of Capitalism, where resources are privatized and artificial scarcity is induced to sieve wealth from one group of people to another. This is why I am so vehemently anti-Capitalist and find the whole system to be unjust and immoral. As someone who believes in Justice, I support the idea of Punishment and Retribution, and I understand why Marie Antoinette’s head went rolling like a Bowling Ball out in front of the Bastille. She was GUILTY, and she deserved what she got, as all people do who live in luxury while others starve.

Nobody should be forced to give away EVERYTHING they ever worked for, but there is a limit to what any individual really needs to keep for himself for some safety and security In any society, having a couple of years worth of food is a prudent measure and not unreasonable for an individual. In our economics here in Amerika, I wouldn’t even begrudge someone who had $100K worth of Gold Coins in his basement safe that measure of security. More than this though here in Amerika? To me sequestering that much wealth is socially destabilizing, and besides that you are likely to lose most if not all of it anyhow when the fiat goes south and most paper assets like stocks and bonds lose their monetary value. Better to give it away and help some friends and family who are hurting while the money is still good for something. That is what I have done. Nobody, not even Bill Gates can Save them ALL. You are also free to choose exactly WHO you would like to Save here, and most of us will choose Friends and Family rather than Strangers. Only AFTER you have helped all your friends and family and your own life is reasonably secured if you STILL have surplus does Noblesse Oblige come into play. It behooves you then to help Strangers also, because doing so will stabilize the society as a whole. If all people lived by these principles, then the Wars and the Abortions could be postponed, and the necessary die off could be spread out over a generation or more. Not gonna happen of course, but because it IS in theory possible, it makes the other choice of hoarding the wealth to be immoral.

To be truly Just, a Society must be based on GIVING rather than TAKING. This is possible, though only demonstrated in much smaller societies than those we have developed at the Nation State level over the last 5000 years. This is why some folks will maintain “It has ALWAYS been like this, and it ALWAYS will be like this.” Not true. Potlatch WAS a viable system, and it will be again, though likely not at population levels and with social structures we currently have extant. That is a failure of the complex system model more than anything else, not a failure of inherent human corruption. It will take the utter and complete destruction of this complex system for the inherent traits of Generosity of Spirit and Giving and Cooperation to once again reassert themselves as the governing behaviors in human society. That this destruction will involve pain beyond all measure is without question. Those who do survive this though must remember what CAUSED it, and never permit this Evil to spread again amongst the race of Homo Sapiens. The Greedy must be Exterminated with Extreme Predjudice. Bring in the Orkin Man, Exterminate the Cockroaches. With a Clean Kitchen, we can cook up a Better Tomorrow.

RE

Aaron Swartz: Suicide or Murder?

Off the keyboard of Steve Lendman

Published on the Steve Lendman Blog on January 17, 2013

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

 
Advocates of online openness and freedom lost a committed champion. The Economist said to call him “gifted would be to miss the point. As far as the internet was concerned, he was the gift.”
 
The Electronic Frontier Foundation called him an “Internet freedom rock star.”
 
An official family statement called him “(o)ur beloved brother, son, friend, and partner….We are in shock, and have not yet come terms with his passing.”
 
His “insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable – these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter.”
 
“Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge.”
 
“He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place.”
 
“His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.”
 
“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”
 
“Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims.”
 
“Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”
 
“Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost.”
 
Lawrence Lessig is an academic, political activist, online freedom proponent, former University of Chicago/Harvard Law School Professor, and current Professor of Law at Stanford. He founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society.
 
He knew Aaron as a friend and lawyer. On January 13, he headlined “Prosecutor as Bully,” saying:
 
Whatever Aaron did wasn’t for personal gain. He did what he thought right. JSTOR understood. “They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron.”
 
They asked prosecutors to drop charges. “MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear.”
 
Prosecutors took full advantage. They got the excuse they wanted to target Aaron. They wrongfully criminalized him.
 
“From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way.”
 
It suggested he downloaded academic and scholarly articles for profit.
 
“But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.”
 
“Aaron had literally done nothing in his life ‘to make money.’ ” Whatever he earned wasn’t by intent.
 
“(W)e live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis, (notorious despots, and other scoundrels) regularly dine at the White House.”
 
“(W)hy (was) Aaron labeled a ‘felon?’ ” Prosecutors bled him dry. “(W)e need to get beyond the ‘I’m right so I’m right to nuke you’ ethics that dominates our time.”
 
“That begins with one word: shame. One word, and endless tears.”
 
A previous article questioned the official suicide story. It quoted Aaron extensively in his own words. It asked if he sounded like someone planning suicide.
 
He advocated online openness and freedom. He called information “power.” He wanted it in the public domain. He wanted everyone able to share it freely and openly. Failure is “too high a price to pay,” he said.
 
It’s “outrageous and unacceptable,” he added. Possessors of information are obligated to share it. They’re morally bound not to “keep this privilege for (them)selves.”
 
“(S)haring isn’t immoral – it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.”
 
“Large corporations….are blinded by greed.” Politicians are “bought off to back them.” Legislation follows. It’s immoral and unjust.
 
“There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.”
 
Aaron advocated open access. He wanted information everyone has the right to know made public. Download them from scientific journals, he urged. Upload them to file sharing networks.
 
Make privatization of knowledge a thing of the past. He asked everyone to join him in a struggle for what’s right. He did it because it matters.
 
He paid with his life. New York’s medical examiner allegedly conducted an autopsy. He pronounced death by “hang(ing) himself in his Brooklyn apartment.”
 
A previous article said lingering suspicions remain. Why would someone with so much to give end it all this way? Why would he throw it away?
 
Why was no private autopsy and forensic examination done? Why aren’t questions raised about a potential coverup? Why isn’t independently determined full disclosure demanded?
 
Prosecutors notoriously lie. Medical examiners help them. So do media scoundrels.
 
Did Aaron take his own life or was he murdered? America has a dark history of eliminating noted figures it wants silenced.
 
Aaron perhaps is the latest. His death raises obvious suspicions. He appears a victim of capitalist greed. His open access advocacy had to be silenced. What better way than by making murder look like suicide.
 
Was he drugged and then hanged? Was eliminating him planned long ago? Was it done to avoid protracted headline-making trial proceedings?
 
Many of Aaron’s global followers would have reported them daily. Doing so would have revealed prosecutorial injustice. Dark forces perhaps decided not to risk it.
 
Prosecutors hounded him. His attorney, Elliot Peters, accused them of doing it to gain publicity. They cooked up alleged computer crimes against him.
 
They targeted his advocacy for what’s right. They wanted him silenced. They wanted him put away for decades. They wanted him out of sight and mind.
 
They crossed ethical and moral lines, said Lessig. They did what they did because they can. They made him a martyr in the process. He’s internationally recognized for fighting for what’s right.
 
Internet freedom is at stake. In 2008, candidate Obama promised to “(s)upport the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.”
 
As president he’s waged war to destroy it. He wants open access advocates criminalized. He calls doing so investing in America’s future. He wants censorship replacing First Amendment rights.
 
He and likeminded Washington extremists support an alphabet soup of federal and international freedom-destroying measures.
 
Various cybersecurity acts threaten constitutional freedoms. SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, ACTA, and TPP are stealth pro-corporate, anti-populist schemes.
 
Secrecy and misbranding conceal their harshness. Activists know what’s going on and say so. At issue is unchallenged global corporate empowerment regulation free.
 
Internet freedom, popular rights, and national sovereignty are too important to lose. They’re on the chopping block for elimination.
 
Profits alone matter. Compromising civil liberties is a small price to pay. So are public knowledge, privacy, and other fundamental rights free societies should champion. Democratic values are too important to lose.
 
Obama has other ideas in mind. Aaron and likeminded open access advocates challenged him. Doing so targeted him for elimination. Others are likewise threatened.
 
Doing the right thing is dangerous. Everyone involved is closely monitored. FBI, CIA and other national security files are maintained.
 
Lawless warrantless surveillance watches like Big Brother. Phones are tapped. Emails and other private communications are monitored, collected and stored. Stealth videos at times are used. There’s no place to hide.
 
Doing the right thing is hazardous. America’s unfit to live in. For many, it’s dangerous. Other Western societies operate the same way. The best, brightest and most dedicated are targeted.
 
Some are marked for elimination. Odds suggest Aaron was one. A fitting epitaph should read killed by capitalist greed.
 
He’s gone but by no means forgotten. Others continue his struggle for open access justice. Doing so is the only chance to have it. The alternative is too intolerable to accept.
 
A Final Comment
 
On January 15, Russia Today said Massachusetts federal court charges were dropped. Why pursue a dead man. A simple statement read:
 
“DISMISSAL”
 
“Pursuant to FRCP 48(a), the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Carmen M. Ortiz, hereby dismisses the case presently pending against Defendant Aaron Swartz.”
 
“In support of this dismissal, the government states that Mr. Swartz died on January 11, 2013.”
 
Omitted was full disclosure about how and most important why. Aaron was no ordinary Internet freedom advocate. His prominence made him a marked man. It cost him his life.
 
JSTOR didn’t press charges. MIT pursued a civil suit. Repercussions remain ongoing.
 
On January 14, the global hacktivist collective, Anonymous, broke into MIT’s website. It replaced its front page. A simple line read: “In Memoriam, Aaron Swartz.”
 
A statement followed. It called the Justice Department’s prosecution “a grotesque miscarriage of justice” and “a distorted and perverse shadow of the justice that Aaron died fighting for.”
 
“We call for this tragedy to be a basis for a renewed and unwavering commitment to a free and unfettered Internet, spared from censorship with equality of access and franchise for all,” it added.
 
Aaron grew up in suburban Chicago. On January 11, he died in his Brooklyn apartment. He was 26 years old.
 
On January 15, suburban Chicago’s Highland Park Central Avenue Synagogue was filled to capacity.
 
Family, friends and supporters came to honor him. Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman spoke for others, saying “Aaron wanted so badly to change the world. He wanted it more than money. He wanted it more than fame.”
 
“When things are hard – and he said it is the important things that are hard – you have to lean into the pain.”

Hang ’em High

Discuss this article inside the Diner

One of the most difficult problems I face on basically a Daily Basis on the Diner is that I advocate for a change in the Legal Structure to allow for Capital Punishment for Banksters rather than the typical Perp Walks.   I often refer to this as “The Inquisition”, nomenclature coming of course from the Spanish Inquisiton. Most Diners, and in fact most people find all the excesses engaged in during the original Spanish Inquisition, along with the Reign of Terror run by Robespierre in the aftermath of the French Revolution to be highly objectionable.  Why?

Well, first off it’s lots of DEAD PEOPLE! Nobody likes the idea of lots of DEAD PEOPLE! Well, at least nobody besides some Satanist Illuminati anyhow.  Then there is the problem of one person or persons PASSING JUDGEMENT  on some other person or persons.  INNOCENT people could be put to DEATH, and of course if you do that, you cannot take it BACK afterward if you made a MISTAKE.

Thing is of course, even if you just wrongly IMPRISON somebody for a few years, you can’t take that back EITHER.  You spend 20 years in Prison for a Crime you did not commit, some dude owns up to it on his Deathbed and you get Set Free, you STILL lost 20 years you can NEVER get back.  So the process of Passing Judgement on people because all Justice Systems are fallible always has problems associated with it.

The problem here we are faced with is that ONGOING are HIGH CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY.  This is not just limited to such outstanding and obvious Crimes like the Macondo Well Blowout in the GOM or FUK-U-Shima Fiasco, which is clearly a result of EXTREME levels of corruption between both Goobermint and Private Industry in Japan.   It extends to the AUSTERITY being forced down the throats of J6Ps all over the world as their Pensions are cut and current workers are laid off, all to SAVE THE BANKSTERS!  Bond Holders MUST be preserved at ALL COSTS!  Such costs of course include Greek Senior Citizens committing Suicide because they see their future Eating out of Dumpsters.

It extends to the continuing POISOINING of the Food Supply by Monsanto and other corporations with GMO Foods.  It extends into the pharmaceutical industry with Mercury based Vaccines. It extends into the Banking Industry with faulty MERS Titles and Foreclosures.  It extends into the highest tiers of Goobermint, where Politicians are literally paid MILLIONS to vote in the interest of Lobbies rather than their constituencies.  These Crimes Against Humanity are ONGOING, and they are ALREADY taking thousands if not Million of lives.

This does not even touch the ongoing WARS being pursued for the Oil Resource in MENA by the Big Ass Military of NATO,  led of course as it is by theFSoA. The “Collateral Damage” of Women and Children CIVILIANS being MURDERED by Drone Aircrraft is already uncountable. Yet STILL, nobody is HELD ACCOUNTABLE for it.

Nobody can be held RESPONSIBLE for this? All the Managers, all the Stockholders are UNNACCOUNTABLE, protected as it were by the veil of Corporate Personhood?Our Political Leaders are also not Accountable?  Its NOBODY’s RESPONSIBILTY here?  What?

NO.  There MUST BE ACCOUNTABILITY!

We cannot Save Ourselves or Save this Planet if people who are pursuing Evil for their own self-aggrandizement are allowed to do so without CONSEQUENCE for these actions. What consequence, what PUNISHMENT is appropriate for CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY? There is only ONE Punishment that can meet this goal even partially, and that is DEATH.  People simply cannot be allowed to pursue such agendas which result in the death of MILLIONS and walk away scot free with Golden Parachutes in the Millions of Dollars or Euros  usually.  They must be STOPPED, and made an EXAMPLE of.

Right now, Crime does indeed PAY very well.  The BIGGER the Crime, the Bigger the Payday.  This is a thoroughly dysfunctional Legal System as it stands.  It must be ABOLISHED.   The Punishment must fit the Crime.  The Crimes have become SO Great now, SO systemic that we are backed into a very ugly corner, a Morton’s Fork of unprecedented proportions.  We are OUT of Options.  English Common Law must be REPLACED.   Replaced by what you ask?

The LAW OF THE INQUISITION!

Hang ’em High!

Hang em High

RE

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