Survival

Sabotage

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 28, 2016

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Discuss this article at the Collapse Narratives Table inside the Diner

 

 

Here at the Diner we're discussing the Collapse of Industrial Civilization from a variety of perspectives: survivalists, socialists, anarchists, and wildists share their approaches to the future. The following interview presents an anarchist view.

 

Saboteur

An interview with a domestic insurgent

 

From the book

RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War

By William T. Hathaway

 

I first met the man we'll call Trucker in 1970 at a rally against the Vietnam War. Our demo was going to start on the Berkeley campus and continue with a march down Telegraph Avenue. This was shortly after the National Guard and police had murdered six demonstrators at Kent State and Jackson State, so the mood was extremely tense. The Berkeley city government had denied us a permit to march and called in police reinforcements from Oakland. The Oakland cops had a reputation for brutality (based on their treatment of the black population), and we were expecting an ugly and possibly violent confrontation. Out of fear, many people decided not to march, but others of us argued that marching was now more important than ever. We needed to defy the government's attempts to scare us into silence.

 

After speeches and music in front of Sproul Hall, we marched off the campus and were met by a wall of police sealing off Telegraph Avenue. Some of our hard-cores in front tried to break through the barrier but were clubbed down. Cops began firing what looked liked shotguns, and people started screaming and running in panic, but it turned out to be tear gas.

 

A demonstrator wearing a biker helmet, swim goggles, and a cloth around his face picked up a gas canister with gloved hands and hurled it back at the police — a classic scene of a brave individual defying tyranny. Inspired, I pulled off my old green beret that I'd been wearing and used it to protect my hands as I scooped up a hot canister and threw it back where it came from. I thought about all the grenades I'd thrown in Vietnam and felt much better about this one.

 

The first line of cops, those who were firing, wore gas masks, but those behind didn't, and I felt a surge of triumph seeing them run from their own gas. But the ones in masks kept advancing and firing, looking like robots.

 

The peace marchers fell back, fleeing down side streets. Agonized from the tear gas, I sank to my knees, hacking convulsively. My eyes were seared, nose and throat raw, skin burning. Through the tears I saw the guy in the biker helmet approaching. He helped me off the street into a doorway and pulled out a first-aid kit. From a squeeze bottle he squirted glycerin water into my eyes and nose, helped me rinse my mouth and throat with regular water from a canteen, then rubbed moist baking soda under my eyes. He was firm but gentle, like a good combat medic. I saw the cloth around his face was a towel wet with vinegar to absorb some of the gas. This man was equipped.

 

As soon as I could walk better, we straggled away from the scene. The police strategy had worked: the march was broken up, scattered in all directions. We walked down to People's Park, angry, bitter, exhausted.

 

The park was full, and no cops dared to show, although they and other agents were probably there undercover. Joints were being passed around, and we got high. Smoking grass back then had an innocence to it that it hasn't had since. Cannabis helped us to abandon the death world we saw around us and resurrect our child-selves. Stoned people were learning to play again, singing, blowing giant iridescent soap bubbles, juggling pine cones, tossing Frisbees back and forth. But under it seethed a mood of defiance and rebellion. A statement in Ramparts magazine summed up our feelings: "Alienation is when your country is at war and you want the other side to win." But I would have spelled it a-lie-nation. A group of conga drummers were playing, and their furious, insistent beat seemed to herald a rising tidal wave of protest that would sweep the militarists out of power.

 

We didn't realize it at the time, but this wasn't the beginning of the wave but its crest, and in the next years it would dwindle down. But this was better than no wave at all. It didn't sink the ship of state, but it did slosh over the deck. And now a new one is rising that may go even higher.

 

The events of the day bonded Trucker and me as friends, and although our lives took different directions after that, we stayed in touch. Years ago he went totally underground, changing his identity and location, and since then all I've had for him is a webmail address, through which we held the following interview.

 

Hathaway: Why don't you start by telling us why you became a saboteur.

 

Trucker: Well, like Jerry Garcia said, "What a long, strange trip it's been." After you went back to New York I joined an anarchist affinity group, and we worked with the Weather Underground to move demos in the direction of revolt — trashing the headquarters of war corporations, barricading the entrance to the Oakland Army Terminal, throwing rocks at the cops. By then the fuzz had refined their tactics and had special squads that would target the activists, rush into the crowd and grab the hard-cores. They clubbed me, kicked me, punched me, then charged me with assaulting a police officer. I did four months in the Alameda County Jail. Later I found out our group had been infiltrated. One guy who was always pushing us to be more violent was actually an agent. He gave them all our plans, even photos of us he'd made with a hidden camera.

 

After that I gave up on groups and since then have focused on individual guerrilla insurrection, autonome actions, monkeywrenching the machine. Especially now with the Patriot Act, that's become the safest way to work. There's a good book, Leaderless Resistance, on how to organize that without getting smashed. You can't totally prevent being infiltrated, but you can prevent the agents from knowing much.

 

Hathaway: I remember back then you were complaining about all the infiltration, and I thought you were paranoid, but it turned out you were right.

 

Trucker: Yeah, the government took our threat very seriously and did everything they could to smash us. But they couldn't.

 

Once the war was finally over, I and lots of other people were totally burnt out. We needed a break, to depressurize. But after a while exhaustion turned to apathy, and many people lost interest in the ongoing struggle.

 

I remember when Nixon violated the Paris Peace Agreement by refusing to pay the reparations we'd promised to help Vietnam rebuild their infrastructure and buy medical supplies. Refusing this humanitarian aid was an outrageous, criminal act, and some of us tried to organize a mass protest. We ended up with a hundred people on the steps of the San Francisco County Courthouse. The momentum was gone.

 

I too began to focus more on my personal life. I'd met a woman I wanted to build a future with. We were both tired of being poor. Living on the fringe is a struggle, it wears you down. Neither of us wanted to work for the Man and go the yuppie route, and we wanted something with a bit of adventure to it.

 

I'd done a little dealing before, but now we got into it in a big way. Just grass and hash, though — natural plants. I never liked hard drugs. Went to Mexico and spent a long time in Michoacán finding a good connection. Not just price and quality, but also good personal vibes.

 

We moved to San Diego, and I cut my hair and shaved my beard. Customs was using dogs on the border by then, but we came up with a way to beat that. Formed a little company called Baha Divers, stenciled this on the sides of a van. I'd drive south across the border about every other day with the van full of scuba tanks and gear, supposedly to give diving lessons to the tourists at Rosarito Beach. The US border guards thought of course American tourists would rather learn to dive from an American. In Mexico we sealed the stuff inside the tanks. We filled them with hash because it's more concentrated. I had cut the tanks in the middle and had an airtight way to reseal them. Then we would wash them off with ammonia, to get rid of any smell. The first couple of times I was totally nervous and was afraid the guards would pick up on that, but they didn't. Pretty dull bunch. After a while they didn't even bother to put the dog in the van, just waved me through.

 

People I'd known in the Bay area were now spread all over the West Coast, so before long we were supplying all the way up to Vancouver.

 

But one day the border guards flagged me into the inspection lane. They knew exactly what they were looking for, took the tanks apart and handcuffed me. It turned out that one of our guys on the Mexican side had got busted by the Federales, and he traded his way into a lower sentence by ratting me out.

 

It looked bad, like I'd be going back to the Bay area — all the way to San Quentin. But we hired a very good, VERY expensive lawyer, and he got me off. I had to plead guilty as part of a plea bargain but ended up with a suspended sentence.

 

I decided to get out of the business. By then our savings were enough to buy a spread of land with an old farmhouse in Oregon. We settled down, went back to college, got involved in local issues and environmental organizing.

 

Then it all exploded in our faces. We let a guy, friend of a friend, stay with us for a couple of weeks. He was going through hard times and needed some peace and quiet out in the country. He was active in the Black Panthers, and so of course the cops were hassling him, but what we didn't know was that they had warrants on him for the armed robbery of three supermarkets. They tracked him out to our farm and arrested everybody there, charged us all with the robberies. He had some of the loot with him, and he'd given us some bills that turned out to be marked, so that tied us in. Cops found a few pot plants in our garden and added drug charges. They could tell we were radicals, so they wanted to send us away for as long as they could. Considering the other busts, I was looking at major time as a repeat offender.

 

We decided to scram. Sold the house and land. Our forfeited bail took a huge chunk of that, but since we weren't going to pay taxes, we came out OK. With the help of some of our old contacts, we transferred the money off shore, then followed it and kept moving, got passports under new names. We thought about staying overseas and becoming ex-pats, but we both missed the USA. The thing is, we like the country. We just don't like the people running it.

 

We had some facial surgery — my wife loves her new nose — and after a couple of years came back as different people. We haven't been back to the West Coast, though, don't want to push our luck. And we're super law-abiding, except of course for the small matter of burning military vehicles.

 

Cutting ties was hard. Both our are families are conservative and had shut us out a long time ago, so that part wasn't so difficult. That was pain we'd already gone through. But we had to let go of a lot of friendships. We have webmail with a few close and trusted folks like you, but none of them know where we live or our names.

 

Hathaway: Thanks for including me on your list.

 

Trucker: Well, we go back a long time. And those were very formative times.

 

But by the time we came back, the country was deep into the Big Chill. Straight and retro. Women were abandoning feminism and returning to femininity, joining the Fascinating Womanhood movement. Guys were majoring in business and wearing suits with suspenders like their grandfathers. Bill Gates replaced John Lennon as the generational hero. Disgusting.

 

Maybe as part of our trying to fit into the mainstream, we became tamer ourselves. Got married, in church yet. Stopped smoking dope … pretty much at least.

 

Politically, we started thinking that the way to bring change was through the Democrats, gradual reforms. Now we see that was a trap.

 

We turned radical again when Clinton ignored the chance for disarmament that the collapse of the Soviet Union offered. He could've turned the end of the Cold War into a new era of peace. Instead he saw the chance for empire and went for it. Modernized the military with high-tech weapons, clamped sanctions on Iraq that led to millions of children dying from lack of medicine, bombed Yugoslavia and built a huge base there. Rather than communists, the people who opposed the empire were now called terrorists.

 

Domestically he declared war on welfare. Thanks to his policies, millions of single mothers were forced away from their children and into crummy, low-paying jobs. Their kids grew up just as poor but much more neglected.

 

Underneath the big smile, Clinton was just a loyal servant of the corporations and the military. Both Clintons are masters of giving the impression of working for real change, but it's just show. And Obama is even better at that show than they are.

 

The Democratic Party leadership serves the interests of the mercantile side of the business establishment. They support slightly higher wages and unemployment benefits so people will have money to keeping buy stuff. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't go any farther than that. The basic injustice of the system is never challenged. The Democrats just bring mildly expansionist policies to stimulate the economy.

 

The Republicans bring mildly contractive policies that serve the interests of the fiscal side of business. They keep wages low, which holds costs and inflation down and thus preserves the value of capital.

 

Although these two tendencies conflict, they're two complementary ways that corporations maintain their control over us, two sides of the same gold coin. Both are necessary for them, and trading the power back and forth keeps things running in a wobbly balance.

 

The goal of both parties is to continue this system with little changes here and there, fine tuning. Neither one is going to take it apart and rebuild it, which is what we need. And both parties support an aggressive foreign policy to force US economic and military power into other countries, which is what nobody needs except the corporations they represent.

 

Although there's little difference in their policies, there's a great deal of difference in how the parties are marketed to us. Liberal candidates are sold as figures of great hope. We're supposed to think, Finally someone who'll change things. But their changes turn out to be trivial. The system stays mostly the same, and we slump back into disappointment. As the disappointment builds to mass discontent, another fresh liberal face is presented to us with new slogans. But they're all tied to the system. The only candidates that have a chance of getting nominated are those supported by business. They're in their pockets. That's the price of their coming to power.

 

Look back in the past. The only major changes to come out of congress have been the New Deal in the 1930s, passed to stave off a total economic collapse, and the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, passed under the threat of armed insurrection. And congress has been whittling away at them ever since.

 

We have to take the power away from both parties, close down their whole show. Or else we'll keep on being their vassals.

 

We fall for their shell game because we have a desperate need to believe the USA is a great country and our personal lives will turn out well. So we ignore what our leaders are doing in the rest of the world and cling to their mirage of a better future. That's comforting. But things are not improving, they're declining. And that'll continue until we get rid of this corporation government, both parties. We can't build a new system until we break the power of the current one.

 

Hathaway: How are you trying to do that?

 

Trucker: After Bush & Co invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, I knew I couldn't just sign petitions and march in demonstrations anymore. That wasn't going to have any effect on these guys. I had to do what I could to keep them from waging war, to take away their equipment, to bankrupt them. The people running the show are just businessmen. If they see it's costing them more than they can get out of it, they'll stop. So I decided to start destroying expensive military items.

 

I took off in a pickup truck with a camper and a dirt bike to become a domestic insurgent. Slept in the camper so I didn't leave records at motels. Showered at truck stops. I used the bike to scout out targets and escape routes.

 

I found out that security around the big bases was tight, so I started checking out National Guard branches. I liked the idea of taking revenge on the Guard for Kent State. I found a unit that had all their trucks and humvees locked in the motor pool behind a chainlink fence, but someone had left a staff car parked behind the building. I guess the colonel didn't want to have to walk very far.

 

I decided to go for it, but this first time was damn near my last. I set myself on fire. I made the mistake of starting at the top. I poured gasoline over the trunk of the car above the gas tank, and then more under the tank. But without my knowing it, the gas ran down onto the sleeve of my coat. When I flicked the lighter, my whole arm caught fire. The car did too, of course, and I had to run away from it with a blazing arm. By the time I got the coat off, I had third degree burns. Hurt like hell but I couldn't scream. Scared to.

 

But it was great seeing the car go up. When the vapor in the gas tank gets hot enough, it explodes, not a huge explosion, but enough to set off the whole tank, which erupts into a fireball that swallows the car. You can feel the concussion and a blast of heat. Everything is flames. It's quite a scene, a real charge.

 

Getting away, I could hardly steer the bike, my arm hurt so much. I didn't sleep that night because of the pain. Terrible oozing blisters, skin peeling off. I'd brought a first-aid kit with salve and stuff, but this was way past that.

 

I was afraid to go to the emergency room because they might call the cops — a guy comes in with burns right after an arson fire. But next morning I headed for the down side of downtown.

 

I had tried heroin once years ago and didn't like its down, shut-off feeling. But now I needed it. I went to the bus station, knowing that's a good place to score in most cities. I could pick up on dealer vibes, having been one myself, so I talked to this guy who was hanging out there, standing and looking around rather than just sitting and waiting for a bus. At first he was suspicious, but he sensed I wasn't a cop. A dealer has to have that instinct or he won't last long.

 

I probably paid twice as much as his regular customers, but I got a balloon. Mixed a quarter spoonful with orange juice, drank it down. Bitter. I threw up and had to take some more. But a half hour later I was fine.

 

I bought the newspaper and read about "Arsonist Torches National Guard" with a picture of the burned-out car. I felt great. I knew that the money it was going to take to replace that car couldn't be used to bomb Afghanistan. This had a lot more impact than writing a congressman or shouting slogans in a protest march. It made a bottom-line difference. I wanted to save the newspaper, but it could've connected me, so I threw it away.

 

By then I was getting woozy. Went back to the truck and passed out. Pain woke me up in a few hours, I took some more smack and nodded out again.

 

I've still got the scars, patches of turkey skin.

 

Hathaway: That didn't make you stop?

 

Trucker: No, it made me realize what all the people who've been hit by US napalm and white phosphorous are going through. Right this moment men, women, and children are crying in agony because of our bombing. And they don't have the luxury of pain killers.

 

It's worse for the kids. They have a lifetime of pain ahead of them, because the scars don't grow. As the skin around them grows, that stretches the scars. The tissue becomes very thin and sensitive. It hurts for the rest of their lives.

 

Hundreds of thousands of people in Vietnam and Cambodia are still living with this on a daily basis. And now Iraqi and Afghan children are facing this future.

 

My pain gave me just a taste of what they are suffering. It also made me aware how terrible it would be if someone got caught in one of my fires. I'd never torch a building. Just vehicles. I even look in those to make sure no one's sleeping in the back.

 

My burns made me see that what I was doing was important, trying to stop this war machine.

 

If Americans knew, I mean really opened our hearts to the mass suffering we're inflicting on Iraq and Afghanistan at this moment, we'd overthrow this government. Not to mention what we did in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, Indonesia, the Congo, Iran, and so many more. But we don't want to know. We turn it off — it's a long ways away. And the media sure don't want us to tell about it. Their job is to distract us from it with all sorts of nonsense.

 

We close our eyes to the killing because it conflicts with the patriotic fantasies about America we learned as children. Reality is too disturbing, so we deny it. Our love of country has blinded us.

 

But deep down we do know. We push it away, but it sinks into our subconscious and festers there and pops out in sick ways. That's why we have so many crazy shootings.

 

We're convinced our society is good, because that's what we were taught. But good societies don't kill millions of people. Pathological ones do that. And you don't cure pathology with reforms. It needs major surgery.

 

Hathaway: What do you see as your greatest triumph?

 

Trucker: The Air National Guard watches their planes pretty carefully, but I found one parked at an unguarded airstrip. This was in the middle of the day, and I was hoping it would still be there at night. It was, and no one around. I needed more gas because the flames had to reach higher, and I wasn't sure where the tanks were. I soaked some boards with gas and laid them against the fuselage and on the wings. The plane went up fine. A beautiful sight. Had a different smell because of the kerosene.

 

Hathaway: Are you going to get more planes?

 

Trucker: I hope so, but the vehicles are easier to find. My favorite are the deuce-and-a-halves, those big trucks with canvas covers. They make a huge fireball, and they're expensive. That's what this game is about — make the war too expensive, so it becomes bad economics. There's lots of ways to do that, and this is my way.

 

A couple of times a year, but not in any regular pattern, I take off and look for targets of opportunity. My wife keeps the home fires burning while I go out and set a fire. I follow the basic principles of guerrilla warfare — pick the time and place to attack, make it quick, and get out before the enemy can react.

 

Once I almost got caught. I always pick Guard units of the edge of town, somewhat isolated. Those are less likely to be patrolled by the police, and they offer quicker access to escape routes, trails where only the bike can go. This place looked good, and they'd left a truck out. Right after it erupted in flames, though, I heard a siren and saw flashing lights. A patrol car must've been cruising nearby.

 

He was between me and my escape route, so I had to take off on the bike in the other direction. He saw me, even though I was running without lights. I was hoping he'd first go to the fire, but no such luck — he charged after me. The bike is fast, but so was he. I kept turning corners because I could do that faster than he could, but he caught up on the straights. I zigzagged back onto the main road towards the escape trail, but by then other sirens were approaching from different directions.

 

He was right behind me as I got to the trail. I was afraid he was going to run me over and claim it was an accident. As I slowed down to turn left onto the trail, he swung beside me into the oncoming lane and blocked me off. I couldn't turn, just had to keep going.

 

Up ahead was an intersection. I sprinted towards it and swung a wide U-turn in the middle of it, so I could get back to the trail. But he turned his car sideways to block the road. His front tires covered the right shoulder I wanted to drive on, and I couldn't turn sharp enough to get behind him.

 

I was still going fast and had only a split second to react. I plunged the bike down into the drainage channel next to the shoulder of the road, right in front of his headlights. I could barely hold it stable. I skidded on the wet bottom of the channel, almost laid it down, but kicked out with my foot and managed to stay up. Then I hit an old tire and lost control. The bike bounced up and keeled over, and I scraped through the mud, wrenching my leg and banging my knee, and finally stopped, front wheel still spinning. I was hurting and covered with dreck.

 

The patrol car was backing around to get me. My engine had stalled, but it started again on the first kick. I roared up the side of the channel at an angle, back onto the pavement.

 

The cop was closing fast, and I moved onto the shoulder so he couldn't cut me off from the trail again. Another patrol car was speeding from town, red lights flashing, siren blaring, but he wasn't close yet. Approaching the trail, I slowed just enough to slue through the turn. As I careened down the trail away from the road, I imagined the cop swearing at me in frustration.

 

I was on a tractor path leading into a big area of cornfields, and the tall corn swallowed me up in a second, friendly and protective. It was dark in there, but I kept my lights off so they wouldn't reflect off the stalks and show my position. I slowed down and laughed out loud in the warm, fragrant September night.

 

The fields ran for miles, gridded with other tractor paths, and I was sure they couldn't find me here in the dark. The feed corn was so dense that even with a helicopter they'd have to be right above me before they could spot me. I was safe here until dawn.

 

This was my territory now, but the streets were enemy territory, and I was going to have trouble getting out of here. When I had to try, my best bet would be a road with lots of traffic, so I could blend in. The cops couldn't be everywhere.

 

A state highway ran north of town, and I headed for it, now pushing the bike so they couldn't tell my direction from its sound. It took hours. I had to cross a couple of gravel roads, first waiting out of sight until it felt safe, then running across. Finally I could hear the highway ahead. It was almost dawn, but I wanted to wait until rush-hour traffic, so I lay down and tried to sleep. The ground was cold, I was hungry, my knee hurt, and a field mouse scampered over me, but I managed to doze.

 

About 7:30 I crept up towards the highway, peering out from my tractor path, afraid again. To my relief, there were enough motorcycles on the road that I figured the cops couldn't stop them all. I waited until I felt lucky, then started the bike, accelerated along the shoulder, and joined the stream between two big trucks. I saw one cop, but he was going the other way. I kept expecting a patrol car to pull beside me with a shotgun leveled out the window, but it didn't happen.

 

I stopped in the next town and hid the bike near a shopping center. I was covered with mud, so I bought new clothes, cleaned up as best I could and changed, then ate a big farmer's breakfast of steak and eggs, grits, and three cups of coffee. It was the sort of place where cops might stop for doughnuts, but none came in. Poor guys must've all had to work overtime.

 

I took a cab back to near where my truck was parked, drove back to the bike and loaded it in, drove a hundred more miles, and collapsed into the bunk. My body was still clogged with fear, my leg was swollen and aching, I had a nervous tic in my cheek, but I was almost glowing with bliss as I sank into sleep.

 

It was a long time before I went on another sabotage mission, though.

 

Once I had a close call at what looked like a perfect set up — a humvee parked behind a Guard admin building, secluded, dark, no one around. As usual I waited an hour after the bars closed, so the streets would be emptier. Also it was a regular work night, so fewer late partygoers. But as soon as I took the lid off the gas can, this car pulls in and two guys get out, drunk. They were fumbling at their zippers to piss when they noticed me by the humvee. They shouted at me — probably thought I was trying to steal it. Seeing their chance to become heroes, they forgot about their bladders and started towards me. One of them pulled out a knife.

 

Part of me wanted to throw the gas can at them and light it, but I couldn't do that. I know what burns are like. Instead I threw the can at an angle between us. The gas spewed out in a long trail, and when I lit it, the flames leaped up, high enough to reach their zippers if they'd tried to get through. That stopped their charge long enough for me to take off on the bike while they were shaking their fists and swearing at me.

 

Never did get that humvee. Went back a year later and everything was locked up.

 

Once I found two humvees and a truck parked together. What a blaze they made! Someday I'm hoping to get a whole motor pool … or a squadron of planes.

 

Hathaway: Some people would call that violence.

 

Trucker: Violence means harming living beings. I'm very careful not to do that. It's only because our culture worships property that we see destroying war machines as violence. What I'm doing is depriving the military of their tools of violence. I'm decreasing their ability to harm people. Since they refuse to disarm, I'm doing it for them.

 

But I admit I've got some psychological quirks. I like fire — the huge eruption of flames is magnificent. Torching is an adrenaline high … like dealing. Apparently I need that. Maybe that makes me neurotic, but if so, I've managed to channel my neurosis into a socially useful activity — destroying war machines. The real crazies are those who go along with this system and think they're sane.

 

It's probably true that certain personality traits make people more likely to oppose their society. But conservatives use that to discount the rebels' objections by branding them abnormal. They say radicals have psychological problems, they're not well adjusted, they have a bad relationship with their father.

 

But what does it mean to be well adjusted to a society like this? It means you've accepted and internalized its values. If you think about what those values really are, it's insane to do that. The people who do are normal only in the sense that they're the majority.

 

And since most fathers are the spear carriers of patriarchy, since they are the power structure, how can we not oppose them? That kind of authority needs to be defied.

 

Having a "good" relationship with your father isn't necessarily good. It tends to make people support the powers that be, to want to please them. Kids who need their father's approval turn into toadies. That's the only way to please a patriarch. If we want to build a new kind of person, we have to become different from the old kind, and that usually means displeasing them.

 

Hathaway: Would you prefer matriarchy?

 

Trucker: I'd prefer no-archy. No group should have power over another group. That's what anarchy means.

 

Conservatives conveniently forget that they're supporting this culture because of their own personality traits. And look at those — the desire to placate authority rather than defy it, to actually become the authority and have power over others, to preserve with violence if necessary an unjust economic system that denies the majority of humanity the basics of a secure life. Those are conservatives. And if you put them under pressure, they become fascists, as we're seeing.

 

Hathaway: You're in your sixties now. Do you have a protégé, someone to, so to speak, pass the torch on to?

 

Trucker: No. This business is too risky. I'd feel terrible if something happened to them. Also there's the security issue. With all the government surveillance and infiltration, this sort of work has to be done alone. No one knows what I do except my wife, and they can't make her testify against me.

 

Hathaway: Why tell me?

 

Trucker: I know you won't turn me in. And if they waterboarded you — always a possibility these days — well, you don't know where I live or what my name is now. All you have is a webmail address.

 

But it is a calculated risk. I want to go public in an anonymous way to let people know what's happening with the resistance movement. The government is hushing up about all the sabotage that's going on. It's not just me. I'm just a small part of it. There's a growing movement to undermine the machine from within. People are trashing recruiters' offices, slashing their tires, cutting their phone wires, grafittiing-out their billboards. In universities they're squirting glue into the locks of ROTC departments, stealing their mail, hacking into their computers. The government and corporations have had to set up internal security units to catch their own people who are sabotaging them — leaking secret memos, destroying equipment, zapping computer files. An autonome threw a log under the wheels of an arms train and derailed it. It's only a matter of time before a vet sets up a mortar outside an air base and starts blowing up Stealth bombers.

 

The war is coming home where it belongs. But this is just starting, and the government doesn't want people to know. They're scared it'll spread.

 

Hathaway: Do you want it to spread?

 

Trucker: Yes. I'm convinced that's the only way to stop these wars. Make it too costly for the USA to extend its empire. We need to lame the beast so it can't attack anymore. We have to maximize chaos on all fronts, a thousand different kinds of uprisings so the country becomes ungovernable. That's the only way to break their hold and build something new.

 

Hathaway: That's going to make things tougher at home.

 

Trucker: Yep, it will … for a while. And that's why a lot of people are against it. They don't want to lose their comfort level. That's more important to them than the lives of millions of people overseas … and the lives of their own grandchildren.

 

You can't blame people for wanting to have a pleasant life, but in times like these that turns them into accomplices with the system. The only way life can stay pleasant now is if you play along. The punishments for opposition are getting increasing unpleasant.

 

But rebelling is invigorating. It's an authentic life, not the superficial pleasantries of a lackey life.

 

Even the lackeys are going to lose their precious comfort level before long. Things are getting worse and worse here because that's the nature of the system. It devours everything.

 

The country is run by corporate robots. They're squeezing the people at home and strangling them overseas. And the military is their enforcer. It's become a monster rampaging out of control, fighting enemies that it itself created, like Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban. This beast knows only to kill, and it does that reflexively, mechanically, massively. The leaders elected to stop it end up serving it. Amerika is running amok in a mania of unconscious killing. Amerika is a berserker battling the universe, a gut-shot hyena devouring its own entrails.

 

We have to stop doing this … and we can. We don't need to live this way, by bombing and killing.

 

I want people to know there's a movement here to resist militarism. It's rolling. They can be part of it … in many ways.

 

Hathaway: Would you recommend that people burn trucks?

 

Trucker: I would not. It's very dangerous.

 

Hathaway: What would you recommend that people do?

 

Trucker: That's a question only they can answer.

 

Hathaway: What if you get caught? Would you shoot it out?

 

Trucker: No, I don't have any weapons. I don't believe in killing people for peace. And cops are still people.

 

I'd probably spend the rest of my life as a prisoner of war in Guantánamo West, that new supermax in Colorado.

 

Hathaway: Doesn't that scare you?

 

Trucker: You bet it does. But even if that happens, my life will have meant something. I'll have done what I could to stop this monster from invading more countries and murdering more people.

 

But I don't think it will happen. I'm very careful. I want to continue the struggle. As Ed Sanders said, "Resist and Survive."

 

*

"Saboteur" is a chapter of Radical Peace: People Refusing War, which presents the experiences of activists who have become criminals for peace, defying the government's laws and impeding its capacity to kill: http://media.trineday.com/radicalpeace. William T. Hathaway is an adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. His new book, Lila, the Revolutionary, is a fable for adults about an eight-year-old Indian girl who sparks a world revolution for social justice. Chapters are posted on www.amazon.com/dp/1897455844. A selection of his writing is available at www.peacewriter.org.

 

 

Philosophy of Survivalism

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Aired on Canadian Prepper You Tube on Jan 3, 2016

 

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Survey: Future of Energy – Results: Ordering Preps for Collapse

survey-says-2gc2Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 6, 2015

oilwell

Discuss this article at the Survey Table inside the Diner

TAKE THE FUTURE OF ENERGY SURVEY HERE

For this Week's Collapse Survey TM, we are looking at the Energy question, with respect to Fossil Fuels, Nuclear Energy and Renewables, and what their future looks like over the next few years.  Results for last week's survey follow BELOW.

What is the future for these forms of energy production?  How long will they last?  How will Homo Sap adapt to a lower per capita energy future if we don't get some Magic Bullet like Cold Fusion from an Italian Inventor working in his garage or from the Ferengi arriving on Starship Freighters loaded with Dilithium Crystals and Gold Pressed Latinum, which they will trade just for a date with Kim Kardashian?

Copius amounts of energy are of course required to live the Technological lifestyle, from the energy required to move tons of metal around on the highways and byways; to the energy required to lift an Airbus off the ground full of Hawaii Vacationers; to the energy required to create your laptop and then to send information packets all over the globe on the World Wide Web.  This is a SHIT LOAD of energy!  So how much of this lifestyle will we retain, and if it is going to disappear, how fast will that happen?

Those are the questions for this week's Survey.

TAKE THE FUTURE OF ENERGY SURVEY HERE

Now, onto the RESULTS from last week's survey! 🙂

survey-saysAll Kollapsniks TM think about Prepping Up for collapse in some way, but it is very Money Dependent for the most part.  How much Spare Change you have at the moment limits just how far along you personally can go into the world of Prepping.  If you're Steve Wozniak you can buy Doomstead property in New Zealand and probably afford to buy your own Micro-Nuclear Reactor from Hitachi too!  If you are a well to do former Stand Up Comedian like Hardscrabble Farmer, you can by a nice little Farm in Vermont and live the Gentleman Farmer life, at least for now before the Zombie Hordes start bicycling out of Beantown anyhow.

For most folks though, this kind of Prepping is just out of financial range.  At least 50% of the current population of the FSoA has no more than a month or two worth of savings to cover their regular bills, much less go spending it on a bunch of Collapse Preps!  So I decided to LIMIT the amount of money to something reasonable for an Amerikan still employed who has a little Stash of Cash that might be used for Prepping Up.

$10,000 seemed about right, you can buy a decent amount of food with this, you can buy a gun and some ammo, you can even afford a small plot of raw land out in the boonies for around $2000/acre.  This is still more cash than the average J6P has, but it's within reason.

How to allocate this money though?  What items are most important, which least important?

First question up, Order the Priorities!

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standard Deviation Responses Weighted Average
Long Lasting Foods (dried, canned, freeze dried etc) 17
(51.52%)
3
(9.09%)
6
(18.18%)
3
(9.09%)
2
(6.06%)
1
(3.03%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.03%)
4.77 33 2.33 / 11
Food Production (Hydroponics, Aquaculutre, Garden etc) 1
(3.03%)
8
(24.24%)
7
(21.21%)
5
(15.15%)
3
(9.09%)
1
(3.03%)
1
(3.03%)
3
(9.09%)
2.49 33 4.61 / 11
Land 9
(27.27%)
4
(12.12%)
1
(3.03%)
2
(6.06%)
2
(6.06%)
1
(3.03%)
6
(18.18%)
2
(6.06%)
2.59 33 4.79 / 11
Guns & Ammo 0
(0%)
2
(6.06%)
5
(15.15%)
7
(21.21%)
2
(6.06%)
7
(21.21%)
2
(6.06%)
1
(3.03%)
2.26 33 5.85 / 11
Barter Items (Booze, Cigarettes, Diapers, Tampons, Tools etc) 0
(0%)
3
(9.09%)
4
(12.12%)
2
(6.06%)
4
(12.12%)
5
(15.15%)
6
(18.18%)
5
(15.15%)
1.86 33 5.97 / 11
Cash (FRNs. Euros etc) 3
(9.09%)
4
(12.12%)
3
(9.09%)
2
(6.06%)
2
(6.06%)
4
(12.12%)
2
(6.06%)
2
(6.06%)
1.28 33 6.12 / 11
Alternative Shelter (tents, sleeping bags etc) 2
(6.06%)
5
(15.15%)
1
(3.03%)
2
(6.06%)
6
(18.18%)
3
(9.09%)
1
(3.03%)
1
(3.03%)
2.22 33 6.42 / 11
Alternative Transportation (bicycles, electric vehicles etc) 0
(0%)
2
(6.06%)
4
(12.12%)
3
(9.09%)
2
(6.06%)
5
(15.15%)
4
(12.12%)
4
(12.12%)
1.35 33 6.55 / 11
Energy Production (Solar PV, Wind Turbine etc) 0
(0%)
2
(6.06%)
1
(3.03%)
3
(9.09%)
6
(18.18%)
3
(9.09%)
6
(18.18%)
4
(12.12%)
1.76 33 6.73 / 11
Gold 1
(3.03%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(9.09%)
0
(0%)
3
(9.09%)
3
(9.09%)
8
(24.24%)
2.52 33 8.03 / 11
Silver 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.03%)
1
(3.03%)
4
(12.12%)
0
(0%)
2
(6.06%)
2
(6.06%)
3.52 33 8.61 / 11

The Gold Bugs will not be happy!  Gold & Silver rank the lowest on the list of priorities for Preps!  Cash in the form of paper notes got a much higher ranking, and Barter items higher than that.

Food unsurprisingly tops the list here, then after the food a way to Protect & Defend it, aka Guns & Ammo.  For the most part I agree with this ordering, although I think alternate energy production should be a little higher in prioritization.

Next up, how much of your small pile of FRNs do you allocate to long lasting foods?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 0
(0%)
8
(24.24%)
11
(33.33%)
9
(27.27%)
3
(9.09%)
1
(3.03%)
1
(3.03%)
4.16 33

Once again a nice Bell curve, with most people coming in from $500 to $2000.  I'd go in on the high side with the $2000.  At about $3/day, this is about 2 years if you buy bulk and buy cheap.  A 50 lb bag of rice will last a long time, especially if you Vacuum Seal it into smaller bags.

How about buying a patch of land?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 17
(50%)
2
(5.88%)
1
(2.94%)
4
(11.76%)
2
(5.88%)
0
(0%)
8
(23.53%)
5.51 34

The largest number of Preppers came in with the max amount of $5000, which could get you 2 acres of raw land out in the Boonies.  I personally would not spend my money that way though, unless you have several people involved who could each contribute.  Protecting & Defending the land would be difficult,

How much to CASH?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 7
(20.59%)
6
(17.65%)
9
(26.47%)
7
(20.59%)
3
(8.82%)
0
(0%)
2
(5.88%)
3 34

20% of Preppers allocated ZERO to cash.  That is nuts to me.  Even in the worst case scenario of rapid hyperinflation, you can get rid of it for more barterable items in the last few days before the shelves go empty.  Put me in for $1000 in cash in the preps.

How much to Gold & Silver?

Gold Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 15
(44.12%)
7
(20.59%)
8
(23.53%)
1
(2.94%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(8.82%)
5.11 34
Silver Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 17
(51.52%)
8
(24.24%)
4
(12.12%)
1
(3.03%)
1
(3.03%)
1
(3.03%)
1
(3.03%)
5.57 33

With such a small amount of available funds for prepping, most preppers allocate Zero to Gold & Silver, and I tend to agree with that.  Your money is better spent on some of the other items on the list.  If you have a lot more money to work with and have all your other bases well covered, then the PMs can be inserted into the prep supplies.

What about Guns & Ammo?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 6
(17.65%)
10
(29.41%)
9
(26.47%)
7
(20.59%)
1
(2.94%)
0
(0%)
1
(2.94%)
3.83 34

Once again, you're working with a small chunk of change, so you can't spend too much money this way, but at least having your own handgun for self-protection is proabably a good idea.  If you are in an area where there is good hunting, a rifle as well would be good.  At gun shows and in pawn shops you can probably do both for $1000-2000.  Ammo is pretty expensive these days though, so if you are working with more than one caliber, this can drive your costs up rapidly.   After TSHTF, the ammo probably will become unavailable, so this prep has a limited lifespan.  For hunting purposes, you're probably better off with compound bow & arrow and/or crossbow, slingshot for small game like squirrels and traps.  Also Fishing gear as well of course.

How much for Energy production?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 9
(28.13%)
5
(15.63%)
12
(37.5%)
4
(12.5%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(6.25%)
4.2 32

Once again, you're working with limited funds, and unless you have your own property on which to install a large PV array or a big Wind Turbine, it's pointless to spend a lot of money this way.  However, it is good if you at least have enough to keep your small electronic devices such as laptop, flashlights, FRS radios and so forth charged up. $500-1000 seems about right for this.  Small Wind turbines for RVs and Sailboats are available, and 1 250W Solar panel probably is what you go with on this one.

In the short term for short disruptions of electric power, you are simply out to lunch if you don't have a gas or propane powered Generator that can keep your electrics going for a week or two.  these things are NOT that expensive!  $300 will buy a decent one that will keep the fridge going, the lights on and your laptop up and running too!  20 Gallons of Gas or a 100lb Propane tank keeps you up and running for a week at least.

What about Food production?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 7
(20.59%)
4
(11.76%)
11
(32.35%)
5
(14.71%)
2
(5.88%)
2
(5.88%)
3
(8.82%)
3 34

This also brings you back to having your own property, it's hard to be a food producer if you don't at least have your own property on which to do it!  However, even if you currently are living in a small apartment in NY Shity, you can experiment with Hydroponics and growing veggies in window boxes and so forth.  Learn how to save seeds, and use Heirloom seeds that will breed true.  At least you will learn the techniques.  So $500 spent this way seems OK to me.  This is a post TSHTF educational investment.  You're most likely NOT going to be able to raise enough food without a decent amount of space to feed yourself, but learning how to do it is worthwhile.  We do have one Diner though who manages to raise about 80% of his nutritional needs inside his McHovel utilizing Hydroponics, so you can make a real good dent here even in a small space.

How much goes to Barter Items?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 5
(14.71%)
9
(26.47%)
15
(44.12%)
4
(11.76%)
0
(0%)
1
(2.94%)
0
(0%)
5.11 34

If you don't have your own means for producing Food, Barter items can be of great value in helping you last a while longer before you Buy Your Ticket to the Great Beyond TM!  I'll go with the majority opinion here of $1000 for barter items.  If you have your own distillation apparatus and can distill alcohol, this could help you last long term as well. 🙂

What about Alternative Transportation?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 9
(28.13%)
15
(46.88%)
5
(15.63%)
2
(6.25%)
1
(3.13%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5.21 32

RE-EwzYou definitely want SOME form of alternative Transportation for TSHTF scenario, a good Bicycle with a Bike Trailer is MINIMUM here.  This you can do for the $500 that most Preppers suggest.  In my case, I have an Electric Scooter, the famed Ewz,  which I picked up for $550, plus an extra BattSet for another $150.  This can get me around a range of 20 miles or so, which is plenty in most circumstances.  So, $500-1000 seems about right for alternative transportation.  On the slim budget of $10K you are NOT going to be able to afford one of Elon Musk's latest EVs!

http://static5.businessinsider.com/image/530610acecad049d0316d24c/elon-musk-teslas-suv-will-be-more-popular-than-the-model-s-sedan.jpg

Do I need Alternative Shelter?

  Zero $500 $1000 $2000 $3000 $4000 $5000 Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 8
(24.24%)
17
(51.52%)
5
(15.15%)
2
(6.06%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.03%)
5.7 33

The majority of Preppers do favor spending some of your precious FRNs on Alternative Shelter, but not a lot. Basically this amounts to having a good Tent or Tents to use in Emergency Circumstances, like say Wildfires were threatening your McHovel and you had to make a run for your life.  You can do the Tents for well under the $500 mark.

However, you can do better than this depending how you allocate your $10K.  For instance, I picked up my ancient but well preserved Bugout Machine on the used market for $5000.  A very comfortable and well appointed Emergency Shelter, and mobile too as long as the tank is filled with gas!  Add in an acre of property to park it on, you might be able to make it for a year with enough food preps!

RE-BM-Camp3

You can do an even cheaper but better-than-tent shelter with a Used Van, which you can pick up on the used market for under $1000.  Roamer & me call this "Stealth Living", because it is possible to do even in an Urban environment.

For myself, obviously I did spend the $5K for the Bugout Machine, and it drove up my Prep costs to over the $10K we have to work with here in total.  However, the rest of my preps at the moment come in somewhat less than $10K, so I am not too much over the limit.

Now, if you are allocating some of your Cash Stash to Barter Items, which ones are best?

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standard Deviation Responses Weighted Average
Antibiotics 12
(37.5%)
3
(9.38%)
0
(0%)
2
(6.25%)
8
(25%)
1
(3.13%)
2
(6.25%)
0
(0%)
3.43 32 4.06 / 13
Toilet Paper 8
(25%)
3
(9.38%)
2
(6.25%)
1
(3.13%)
5
(15.63%)
2
(6.25%)
4
(12.5%)
2
(6.25%)
2.17 32 4.75 / 13
Cheap Booze (Generic Vodka etc) 4
(12.5%)
4
(12.5%)
6
(18.75%)
5
(15.63%)
3
(9.38%)
1
(3.13%)
2
(6.25%)
2
(6.25%)
1.74 32 4.78 / 13
Soap 1
(3.13%)
4
(12.5%)
6
(18.75%)
3
(9.38%)
2
(6.25%)
5
(15.63%)
5
(15.63%)
2
(6.25%)
1.91 32 5.31 / 13
Cigarettes 2
(6.25%)
4
(12.5%)
4
(12.5%)
7
(21.88%)
4
(12.5%)
3
(9.38%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.13%)
1.82 32 5.5 / 13
Bullets 4
(12.5%)
6
(18.75%)
3
(9.38%)
2
(6.25%)
3
(9.38%)
2
(6.25%)
1
(3.13%)
2
(6.25%)
1.55 32 6.00/ 13
Shoes 0
(0%)
4
(12.5%)
3
(9.38%)
2
(6.25%)
0
(0%)
3
(9.38%)
2
(6.25%)
7
(21.88%)
1.99 32 6.97 / 13
Laundry Detergent 0
(0%)
1
(3.13%)
3
(9.38%)
3
(9.38%)
0
(0%)
2
(6.25%)
3
(9.38%)
3
(9.38%)
1.78 32 8.03 / 13
Tampons 0
(0%)
2
(6.25%)
1
(3.13%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.13%)
4
(12.5%)
2
(6.25%)
6
(18.75%)
1.87 32 8.69 / 13
Expensive Booze (Single Malt Scotch, etc) 1
(3.13%)
0
(0%)
2
(6.25%)
3
(9.38%)
1
(3.13%)
2
(6.25%)
2
(6.25%)
2
(6.25%)
1.5 32 8.81 / 13
Pampers 0
(0%)
1
(3.13%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.13%)
1
(3.13%)
2
(6.25%)
5
(15.63%)
3
(9.38%)
1.95 32 9.06 / 13
Condoms 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.13%)
0
(0%)
4
(12.5%)
2
(6.25%)
2
(6.25%)
1
(3.13%)
2.06 32 9.25 / 13
Marijuana 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(3.13%)
3
(9.38%)
0
(0%)
3
(9.38%)
2
(6.25%)
1
(3.13%)
2.53 32 9.78 / 13

This was the most surprising result of this survey to me.  Although antibiotics do have great value when somebody gets sick, they're not too commonly needed and for the most part you can do without them and let your immune system take care of most infections if you wait it out, keep the wound clean and so forth.  Chicken Soup also works well. Jewish Penicillin. 🙂 lol.

Matzoh_Ball_Soup

I would go with stuff more commonly necessary, like the Pampers, Tampons, Shoes etc.  Booze also since in a SHTF scenario many people will want to stay drunk as much as they can.  LOL.

Whatever your barter item choices are though, I would go with about $1000 spent total this way, and distribute it out amongst the choices.

Now, onto the ENERGY QUESTIONS!

Survey: Ordering Preps for Collapse – Results: Fate of Countries in Collapse

survey-says-2gc2Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on Septemeber 30, 2015

http://momswhoprep.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/4_person_premium_home_survival_kit.jpg

Discuss this article at the Survey Table inside the Diner

TAKE THE ORDERING PREPS FOR COLLAPSE SURVEY HERE

Our new Collapse Survey TM for this week is on how you should order up your preps for Collapse.

There is a lot of dispute on this topic, particularly with folks who think Gold & Silver are important Collapse Preps to have.  Theory there is that the PMs will hold their value when the fiat money collapses. So do you want to convert your current paper or digibit money into Gold if you have some savings?  How much of your pile should be held in Gold? 

Alternatively, you have many folks looking at a Mad Max scenario unfolding, so they are more partial to Steel & Lead as an investment.  AKA, Guns and Ammo.

Then you have the Back to the Land folks who feel the best investment is to buy your own piece of property and start growing your own veggies.  Except, once your Goobermint is outta biz, who exactly enforces you Property Rights to that patch of land?  If you are a Libertarian or Anarchist who wants to see Goobermint disappear, than what gives you the right to own a piece of property?

In the survey, you get $10,000 to spend on whatever preps you like, distributed out however you like.  If you're going to buy land with that, it's probably going to take at least half of it right there.

Anyhow, you can express some of your opinions on these topics in this Survey.

survey-saysNow. on to the results from last week's survey, the Fate of Countries in Collapse! 🙂

Although I did include questions to rank many countries and/or regions as to their fate in collapse, mainly the survey was focused on the "Big 3", the FSoA, Russia and China.

There s a constant debate ongoing in the Collapse Blogosphere as to which of these countries will fare the best as collapse marches onward, and there is a lot of ideological spin that goes along with that analysis also.

So, here I tried to strip some of that out and just get a hard and fast global viewpoint on which will be best and worst as time goes by.

Below here are the results from this survey.

For most dead people in gross numbers, the Winner is

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standard Deviation Responses Weighted Average
China 19
(31.15%)
15
(24.59%)
7
(11.48%)
5
(8.2%)
2
(3.28%)
7
(11.48%)
2
(3.28%)
1
(1.64%)
5.9 61 3.18 / 11
India 12
(19.67%)
11
(18.03%)
10
(16.39%)
6
(9.84%)
7
(11.48%)
5
(8.2%)
2
(3.28%)
2
(3.28%)
3.8 61 3.97 / 11
Middle East-North Africa 3
(4.92%)
7
(11.48%)
13
(21.31%)
10
(16.39%)
5
(8.2%)
7
(11.48%)
10
(16.39%)
2
(3.28%)
3.96 61 4.74 / 11
Japan 4
(6.56%)
10
(16.39%)
2
(3.28%)
8
(13.11%)
8
(13.11%)
8
(13.11%)
6
(9.84%)
5
(8.2%)
2.81 61 5.38 / 11
USA-Canada 10
(16.39%)
3
(4.92%)
4
(6.56%)
8
(13.11%)
5
(8.2%)
3
(4.92%)
4
(6.56%)
6
(9.84%)
2.31 61 5.8 / 11
Sub-Saharan Africa 4
(6.56%)
8
(13.11%)
7
(11.48%)
4
(6.56%)
9
(14.75%)
0
(0%)
4
(6.56%)
9
(14.75%)
2.54 61 5.95 / 11
Europe 2
(3.28%)
3
(4.92%)
4
(6.56%)
6
(9.84%)
8
(13.11%)
11
(18.03%)
8
(13.11%)
8
(13.11%)
3.37 61 6.08 / 11
Southeast Asia 3
(4.92%)
3
(4.92%)
5
(8.2%)
5
(8.2%)
7
(11.48%)
7
(11.48%)
7
(11.48%)
3
(4.92%)
2.84 61 6.49 / 11
Russia 3
(4.92%)
1
(1.64%)
7
(11.48%)
4
(6.56%)
4
(6.56%)
3
(4.92%)
9
(14.75%)
11
(18.03%)
2.78 61 6.89 / 11
Central-South America 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(3.28%)
2
(3.28%)
4
(6.56%)
8
(13.11%)
8
(13.11%)
9
(14.75%)
4.48 61 7.9 / 11
Australia-New Zealand 1
(1.64%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
3
(4.92%)
2
(3.28%)
2
(3.28%)
1
(1.64%)
5
(8.2%)
10.7 61 9.62 / 11

China!

India #2.

Since these are the two most populous countries on the planet currently, this makes perfect sense.  The Kollapsniks TM got this one right! 🙂

Now going by percentage of the current population:

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Standard Deviation Responses Weighted Average
Middle East-North Africa 14
(22.95%)
9
(14.75%)
4
(6.56%)
6
(9.84%)
3
(4.92%)
6
(9.84%)
15
(24.59%)
1
(1.64%)
4.92 61 4.28 / 11
China 7
(11.48%)
16
(26.23%)
7
(11.48%)
3
(4.92%)
10
(16.39%)
7
(11.48%)
0
(0%)
3
(4.92%)
4.31 61 4.41 / 11
India 3
(4.92%)
13
(21.31%)
6
(9.84%)
5
(8.2%)
13
(21.31%)
5
(8.2%)
5
(8.2%)
5
(8.2%)
3.85 61 4.87 / 11
Japan 6
(9.84%)
7
(11.48%)
6
(9.84%)
16
(26.23%)
5
(8.2%)
4
(6.56%)
4
(6.56%)
4
(6.56%)
3.65 61 4.9 / 11
USA-Canada 16
(26.23%)
3
(4.92%)
5
(8.2%)
3
(4.92%)
4
(6.56%)
6
(9.84%)
6
(9.84%)
5
(8.2%)
3.87 61 5.07 / 11
Europe 6
(9.84%)
2
(3.28%)
6
(9.84%)
6
(9.84%)
5
(8.2%)
14
(22.95%)
3
(4.92%)
8
(13.11%)
3.29 61 5.77 / 11
Sub-Saharan Africa 4
(6.56%)
7
(11.48%)
6
(9.84%)
6
(9.84%)
5
(8.2%)
1
(1.64%)
5
(8.2%)
20
(32.79%)
4.96 61 5.87 / 11
Russia 2
(3.28%)
3
(4.92%)
14
(22.95%)
2
(3.28%)
3
(4.92%)
4
(6.56%)
10
(16.39%)
6
(9.84%)
3.53 61 6.3 / 11
Southeast Asia 1
(1.64%)
0
(0%)
2
(3.28%)
11
(18.03%)
7
(11.48%)
3
(4.92%)
8
(13.11%)
5
(8.2%)
5.09 61 7.15 / 11
Central-South America 0
(0%)
1
(1.64%)
2
(3.28%)
1
(1.64%)
4
(6.56%)
9
(14.75%)
5
(8.2%)
4
(6.56%)
6.16 61 7.92 / 11
Australia-New Zealand 2
(3.28%)
0
(0%)
3
(4.92%)
2
(3.28%)
2
(3.28%)
2
(3.28%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11.62 61 9.48 / 11

In this case, MENA got the nod for most dead people by percentage of population, which I also would generally agree with considering so much of it is already DESERT.  However, I would have ranked both Japan and sub-Saharan Africa higher.

Now the "Big 3" questions, comparing the fate of the FSoA, China & Russia in the post-collapse world:

Which one does best?

  USA China Russia Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 19
(31.15%)
11
(18.03%)
31
(50.82%)
8.22 61

The Ruskies win this one hands down.  Most Kollapsniks believe that since Mother Russia has already experienced collapse, they're more resilient.  Also, they like the people/land ration and the resources.

Here's Text Responses:

Strict. Authoritarian. Tight control. Strong military. Organizational capability and enforcement.
Our words are backed by working nuclear weapons.
Technology, temperate lands with a relatively large amount of resources, mid-large population, science.
abundance of natural resouces, people/land ratio
 

Where would most Kollapsniks prefer to be living post-collapse?

  USA China Russia Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 47
(77.05%)
2
(3.28%)
12
(19.67%)
19.29 61

Despite most Kollapsniks believing Mother Russia will do better, they still would rather be here in the good old FSoA.  This also is not surprising given the demographic of Kollapsniks is about 50% Amerikan and most folks want to stay where they are comfortable, know the language and fit in culturally.

Here's text responses on this one:

As a country, the United States may still be able to hold things together. Even if not, the social and cultural landscape is most familiar.
I speak English
The other two have a funny history when it comes to instability and killing people.

Finally, which country is likely to experience Political Upheaval and Revolution first?

  USA China Russia Standard Deviation Responses
All Data 26
(42.62%)
27
(44.26%)
8
(13.11%)
8.73 61

This is almost a dead even race between China and the FSoA, with Mother Russia coming in a distant 3rd.  Not sure why Kollapsniks think the Ruskie Goobermint is so stable though.

For myself, I will take a Middle Ground here (not available on the Survey) and stay in Alaska, but have it Repoed by Mother Russia. 🙂

OK, now get to it and take the new Ordering Preps for Collapse survey!

Morning Hunt

Off the keyboard of K-Dog

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Published on Chasing the Squirrel on February 24, 2015

http://theredlist.com/media/database/cadavre_exquis/Rabbit/rabbit-005_durer_theredlist.jpg

Discuss this Story at the Collapse Fiction Table inside the Diner

The grass field was fifty feet below the potato garden. He locked the gate behind him as he always did. His air rifle pointed down towards the ground. He stepped down the rock path through bushes, carefully placed the bushes provided seclusion.  They hid his path and guarded the fence. High pressure sodium lamps along the fence top shown over grass. He looked for shape or movement. The first rabbit was easy and soon into his cloth bag. The second one was caught after a short walk in the concealing wood opposite the grassy meadow. Two in the bag and now back through the hidden gate in his fence, an hour before dawn, lights off.

His land everything from the edge of the bushes by the fence and inside. The sloped bank of rock and bush and the wide valley of grass field, wood and creek to the opposite slope a half mile away, public recreational area. His rabbit farm.

He always listened quietly before opening the fence gate. Coming or going he was cautious, taking care not to be seen. Better to drop the bag and take the long way around than be seen. Going to the back of his shed against the fence any noise that could possibly be human and hunting or enjoying its fruits would wait for another day. Today had been quiet, nothing amiss through his peepholes going and all was quiet coming back. The hunt had been a go and had given meat.

He quietly slipped through his hidden gate locking it from the inside his shed where the gate opened from. In the shed he dressed his kill and hung it making it ready for a later meal continuing to listen. Now he unlocked the shed door and glided through his potato patch back over to his house. His .177 pellet rife was quiet and accurate and hunger improved his aim. His hollow point ammo deadly. Public parkland in a city that now had no time for parks fed his family. He was quiet; not noticed, telltale robust health disguised by heavy clothing.

In the house the pellet gun would be put away and the regular gun checked. Curfew would end at sunrise and it would be safe to walk the streets. Neighborhood control would keep order with militia arriving if large crowds appeared. Unsavory and curious types were dealt with privately. Property was protected. He would head out for news and a chance for rations when he saw the neighborhood watch patrolling the road outside.

News had been getting better. Fewer people had been dying recently. Deliveries were keeping up with demand for the first time in months. Things were getting stable and a third of the local population was still alive. His neighborhood had done well. The properties were large and gardens had been tended the months when food prices had soared.

Soon vacant houses would be razed to produce more agricultural land. The country had changed and it had only been a year since American had collapsed from what had once been a land of plenty. Now with die-off nearly complete food security was achievable.

All it had taken was the trucks to stop running but now with food deliveries under military control trucks ran once again. Diesel was allocated to emergency services, police patrols, food delivery, construction equipment as needed. Some of the land soon to be cleared would be growing biodiesel along with food and the power grid was working fine. The claims of its demise had been exaggerated. It had only been a year and from now on its maintenance would be a priority. He had not needed his generator except for the single time the wind storm had knocked things out for weeks. It had been a serendipitous wind storm though; lights out. It had been a good time for night travel to be difficult. Desperate mobs filled the land. They walked as long as they could before they dropped and died. Devastating everything in their path. No neighborhood wanted wandering mobs; but the mobs had not been able to plunder in the dark. By the time power was restored all the wandering were dead.

The plan was under military control. Each region had an agricultural plan and land for biodiesel allocation fell out naturally from the plan. Global tumult would not interrupt food delivery a second time when the plan was in place.
Throughout the rest of the world populations were being thinned. Pervasive drought combined with no fuel for transportation devastated crop yields everywhere. The world had starved. In America only in the most rural of areas did dogs survive.

Daily Impact Double Feature– Flags Up: Take Cover

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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God may not play dice with the universe, but the Masters of the Universe shoot craps with everything. (Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks/Flickr)

God may not play dice with the universe, but the Masters of the Universe shoot craps with everything. (Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks/Flickr)

Financial Storm Flags Up: Take Cover

First published at The Daily Impact  August 23, 2014

This is not about TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It), nor about the Crash of the Industrial Age (Wait! The acronym for that’s CIA!) that we expect. But it is about a very hard time we are all about to go through, most likely beginning before next year is out and ending God knows when. Most probably, it will not end, but like the last Great Recession simply deliver us to a new plateau of diminished expectations that will become the New Normal. This imminent event is being forecast by a rising chorus of voices like those who warned us 10 years ago that a prosperity based on subprime mortgages, and financial derivatives thereof, could not stand. These voices — actually some of them the very same people — are telling us that we face not one, but two, train wrecks that will be nearly simultaneous, in that one will bring on the other.

Train Wreck Number One could come at any time, and it is being brought on by the same people that caused the last one. Playing with Other Peoples’ Money, with borrowed money and with play money in the casinos otherwise known as stock, bond and commodity markets, the banksters (as someone has brilliantly labelled them) have inflated a number of bubbles, most smaller than the housing bubble was, but together capable of doing as much damage. They include:

  • The Car Bubble. Same formula, different asset. Sub-prime, low-interest-rate, long-term loans for cars, with the loans bundled, securitized, sold, resold and resold again. Everybody involved is making tons of money (25 per cent of all car loans are now subprime, and another 25 per cent are leases, many designed for people who can’t qualify for a subprime loan) until the music stops and the whole system folds.
  • The Housing Bubble (The Sequel). In which the Masters of the Universe, having driven millions into foreclosure or under water (with mortgages exceeding the value of their homes) snap up bargains via short sales and rent them out. What could go wrong with that>? Being a landlord is easy, right? These cash purchases are giving the appearance that the housing market is recovering much faster than it is.
  • The New Covenant Bubble. Business lending has become dominated by a new instrument known as the “covenant-lite” loan. Previously, business loans included a covenant signed by the borrower to the effect that the proceeds would not be used for non-productive things, such as buying in stock or paying bonuses to CEOs. Not so much anymore. The result is that instead of flowing into the economy, helping to create jobs, products and services, loan proceeds are going into the pockets of those who play in the Car Bubble and Housing Bubble casinos.
  • The Stock Bubble. This is the big one. Stock prices on average are at all-time highs, for no good reason. Price-earnings ratios are in the stratosphere, right where housing prices were in 2006. Phoenix Capital Research recently put it this way:

“The market is extremely tired and the systemic risks underlying the Financial Crisis are in no way resolved. With investor complacency (as measured by the VIX) at record lows, the Fed withdrawing several of its more significant market props, and low participation coming from the larger institutions, this market is ripe for a serious correction.”

Among the authoritative people (we are not referencing those doomer quotes down where you see “One Simple Trick to Cure Cancer” links, okay?) who have recently run up storm flags:

David Stockman: “the watchword at this point is stay out of harm’s way.  We are headed into a perfect storm of policy failures. Train wreck is a pretty good term to describe what is coming.”

John Ficenek: “Investors are dumping riskier debt faster than during the financial crisis in 2008. The money is rushing to safe havens such as US government bonds and gold. The staggering shift in investment strategy marks a reversal of the chase for returns that has been in place for five years.The credit market usually leads the equity market during turning points, as happened when credit markets cracked first in 2008.”

Bob Buckland: Citi Bank analyst Buckland has defined four phases the economy typically goes through, Phase One following a recession and Phase Four being the next one. He says we’re in Phase Three.

Train Wreck Number One, then, which could begin at any moment, is a “serious correction,” aka “crash,” of the stock market, with all the attendant collateral damage, much amplified because these guys are playing with borrowed money. Personal and corporate wealth will evaporate, banks that are too big to fail, will fail, and we may need swift, decisive action from the government to save the system, as we did in 2009. Wish us good luck with that.

And then there’s Train Wreck Number Two. More on that next time.

***

Oil Storm Flags Up: Take More Cover

Coming soon to an economy near you: a two-train wreck.

Coming soon to an economy near you: a two-train wreck.

 First published at The Daily Impact  August 24, 2014

The second train wreck about to sledgehammer the world’s economies is the implosion of the oil-and-gas renaissance scam. This implosion, most likely to occur in 2015, may occur before Train Wreck Number One (the financial “correction,” see the previous post, Financial Storm Flags Up: Take Cover) and bring it on, or it could kick in just afterward as the panicked Masters of the Universe run for the lifeboats. The cumulative effect of the two events will be devastating and lasting. They are not likely to bring on, quite yet, the ultimate crash of the industrial age — there is a lot of momentum left in the old battleship yet. But they will come close. Because while the financial implosion may not be quite as bad as that of 2008, the end of the oil scam, in itself, will be devastating to the world.

Big Fracking Lie. For at least five years now, the hype has been relentless.

Technology, in the form of hydraulic fracking, has saved us. With it, we have unlocked huge new reserves of oil and gas that will last a hundred years. We will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia, become Number One in the world again, even reach energy independence! It’s gonna be great!

Now, the hype wasn’t aimed at you and me, it was directed at the people who move money around, because it takes a lot of money to frack a well. And in that respect the hype has worked — panting investors have opened their checkbooks and emptied their minds to finance this new American oil boom — even though, as I have been writing here for five years [See A Frack Job for Marcellus, December 2009, and many others], the hype flies in the face of arithmetic and logic.

There is no question that during the past decade, hydraulic fracturing in horizontally-drilled wells has greatly increased U.S. extraction of oil and gas. Gas frackers pretty much blew themselves up by bringing so much gas to market that they lowered prices below the cost of production; in the past two years natural gas extraction has been virtually flat.

Oil is a different animal. It goes into a global system, and is priced globally. The 3.7 million barrels a day of additional oil from the four main shale-oil plays in the U.S. went into a system that gobbles 80 million barrels a day, in a country that uses 20 million barrels a day, so the impact on global prices has been minimal. At best, shale oil can be credited with preventing steep price increases over the past five years or so based on flat and falling oil production in the rest of the world.

It is remarkable that it still seems irrational to talk about the end of the shale oil and gas boom and the return of peak oil worries, because the evidence all along has been abundant and clear that the boomers are the ones who have been irrational. And mounting evidence now indicates a breakdown is near:

  • Nothing lasts forever; fracking doesn’t even last a year. Traditional oil wells increased in productivity over years, then declined gradually over years, often having a useful life of 20 years or so. Fracked wells max out in a few months, then decline an average of 60 per cent in the first year. So if you’re a fracking company, and you want to show your investors rising production in your second year (and you do), you had better bring a new well on line at the beginning of that year. And two more the next year, and four the year after that. You’re on a fracking treadmill.
  • When the treadmill goes around fast enough, it throws you off. This treadmill effect is the reason why none of the players in the fracking revolution are making any money. According to a report out of Energy Aspects last year:

 “As a result, the average Capex (capital expenditure) spending of the 35 companies analyzed to serve as a guide to the industry has amounted to a staggering $50 per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) over the last five years, at a time when their revenue per BOE has averaged $51.5.”

  • The only way to stay on the treadmill is to borrow money. Lots of money. Led by the frackers, the oil business as a whole is going seriously into debt with little to show for it. According to the US Energy Information Administration, 127 oil and gas companies worldwide took on $106 billion in additional debt in the first quarter of this year, while at the same time selling off $73 billion in assets. Collectively, their cash flow for the past year was negative $110 billion. In the shale patch alone, according to Bloomberg, in four years debt has doubled while revenues have risen 5.6%.
  • The sweet spots are going sour. The hypists have talked continuously about shale oil reserves as if all oil-soaked shale rock was equal, and equally available to extraction. In the immortal words of Rick Perry, “Oops.” The “reserves” of California’s Monterey shale play were the basis of much of the “America’s Back” hype, until the EIA took a second look and downsized the estimate — by 96 per cent.  Of course the wildcatters are picking the low-hanging fruit first. Correction: They have picked it. The only oil-shale field that has not peaked yet is North Dakota’s Bakken, where last year there was increased production in only one county.

Given all this, what should we expect? According to a study by Australian oil scientist David Archibald, for example, shale oil production in the United States will peak in mid-2015 and resume its steep, irreversible decline. (Okay, he’s a climate-change denier and an ice age promoter, but in contrast, he knows something about oil. Check out all his charts before you dismiss him.)  This fact alone will remove from world markets the only plausible reason for optimism about the economic future. The effects will be disastrous, especially when you combine them with those of Train Wreck Number One.

Duck, and cover. Get under your desk and put a helmet.

***

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

 

This Week in Doom: Appointment at Sentara

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

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 19, 2014

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 death cheated

 

“There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, ‘Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?’ ‘That was not a threatening gesture,’ I said, ‘it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.'”

― ancient Middle eastern tale retold by W. Somerset Maugham                                                                                               

 

Anyone reading this space on a semi regular basis knows that it is devoted to poking and sifting through the abundant scat left by doom  as it slithers its way through the postindustrial economy and neoliberal politics.  This week, “doom” dropped a load closer to home, and of a  much more personal nature.

At about 9:30 last Sunday morning, I was working at the computer and found myself getting lightheaded, images swimming front of my eyes. Nausea rose, and with it  cold sweating, which was curious because the room was reasonably warm. I immediately went to the bedroom to lay down.  Contrary, usually hard to arouse and who could probably sleep through percussion grenades detonated in front of the house,  cracked one eye open and immediately sat straight up. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked. Because of hardwired habits of mind, and because I’m an idiot, I replied, “Absolutely nothing,  I’m just a little dizzy, and I am going to lie  here for a little bit.”

She importuned me to go immediately to the hospital. I brushed her concerns aside, and muttered dark oaths. By family example, long-standing habits of mind, and a flinty Pittsburgh upbringing, my reflexive response to injury is along the lines of, “Rub some mud on it.” I was certain I would feel better shortly. After a shower, I joined my daughter and some friends for brunch. I found that I couldn’t eat anything, and found myself sweating through a shirt in a well-air conditioned room. Contrary watched this scene unfold with increasing agitation, but didn’t say anything until our guests left. As the door closed, she turned to me and said, “Are you going to the hospital or do I have to cut you?”

I’ve seen that expression on her face before. When it appears, she means business. This time it was tempered with evident worry, which struck something in the recesses of my mind where empathy lives in sullen exile, like Napoleon on Elba,  and I went without more of bitching.

We checked  in to the emergency room of our local Sentara hospital complex where, having presented with cardiac symptoms, they saw me reasonably quickly. An intake nurse hooked me up for an EKG.  Dropping the various wires on my chest she said, “Excuse my castanets.”  I asked,  “Does dancing come with an EKG? ” She smiled and quipped, “Yeah, the Dance of the Seven Flails.”  That I was in the hands of a clever nurse with a good sense of humor made a fortunate omen. After six hours of monitoring, they admitted me.

After apparently finding  my insurance card still carried some headroom, the following day they ran me through every EKG, CT scan, sonogram, echocardiogram, ultrasound and stress test available. (Without doubt the hospital system will make their third-quarter based on this run of diagnostics.)  Apparently I have an arrhythmia, and the chambers of my heart are not beating in sync. When I was young and got a pro-forma physical for the junior high school football team, the doctor observed that I had a “heart murmur.” These are apparently pretty common, and certainly had had no practical impact on my life until this moment. But it certainly had claimed my attention now.

The cardiologist assigned to my case, having reviewed the welter of evidence from the tests, suggested an ablation, which is a procedure similar to a cardiac catheterization, in which they Roto-Rooter a garden hose up your femoral artery into your heart, where a tiny laser actually cauterizes the parts of the heart sending aberrant signals. He said that they have 85 per cent success with this procedure, but that it was not without risks. Fortunately for me,  the previous evening I have exchanged some personal messages with agelbert,  who had also gone through his own rounds of cardiac testing and procedures.  AG exhorted me to resist an ablation should it be proffered, and to ask what other options might exist on the continuum of care. Now regular readers of the Diner Forum know AG’s work, and his propensity for tireless research. Plus he’d already gone through many of these procedures himself and was decent enough to share what he knew. Thus armed, when the cardiologist proposed ablation, I asked him if there were not more moderate steps we could take before rushing to do something  permanent and irrevocable. He affirmed that there were, and agreed to try another higher-level beta blocker to get my rhythm back in order.

The medical teams are very good at knowing “what,” and even work at “why.” In my case, blood testing ruled out some mineral deficiency as a proximate cause. Of course in my case,  the “why” probably centers on years of dissolute, then sedentary living. But here we are.


who-cheated-death
So they switched my meds and kept me for observation. That evening, Contrary and I went for a walk after dinner down to a station where they have all those cardiac care on monitors. There I was able to see a visual display of my louche heartbeat. Now I’m as competent to read the signals as a plumber, but both sets of signals looked far more synchronous than they had the last couple days.  Contrary described it best: she said that by top chamber had been going “Ka-boom, Ka-boom,” while the bottom chamber was going, “Boom-shaka-lacka-lacka, Boom-shaka-lacka-lacka.” Now they were more uniform, with my renegade ventricles tossing off fewer PVCs. But then I’ve always had rhythm.

I remained on low-calorie house arrest for another couple of days  tethered to a heart monitor, having my blood pressure and my EKG regularly assessed, and cutting up with the nurses assigned me.   And here I would be remiss if I didn’t call out those nurses, as well as all members of the care team, for their professionalism, expertise and good humor. I found them remarkable. The story ends on an up note, in that the hero doesn’t die at the end, but learns on the fourth day of his medical incarceration that the cardiologist says he is stable and good to go home and resume regular life.

This experience has been pretty challenging, as it tests my usual cynicism about what Diner Lucid Dreams, a former EMT with abundant firsthand experience with Big Med, calls the “wealth care system.” Certainly plenty of cynicism is warranted at all times about the interlocking cartel of health insurers and hospital systems, not to mention Big Pharma, at it is with every vertical of crony capitalism. Yet when one’s own health is swinging in the balance, one’s habitual cynicism is directly challenged. Which is quite where I find myself now. During the entire process, was very grateful for the fact that I had employer-provided health insurance. And I wondered what my prospects would be if, like so many others in this toxic economy, I were unemployed and without such insurance. As I’m too young for Medicare, they would be grim, and the Reaper herself might be waiting for me at Samarra.

As you might imagine, friends of long-standing and those more recently acquired, especially via Occupy,  have checked for the latest news. For this I am most grateful. One conversation I had is worth repeating.

A friend of extremely long-standing who I have known from third grade,  a man in otherwise superb physical condition, found himself with a bout of tachycardia this last August. He felt faint and nearly passed out. His wife implored him to go to the hospital as well. He was initially resistant, but found that he was glad he did. They put in a pacemaker, had a good recovery and now feels like a milk fed athlete. He will retire from his university career this coming fall, and in considering next steps  had an epiphany. He realized he might think about it differently: what if, on that day in Augest, he had not gone to the hospital but had died instead? (The doctors told him that it was indeed fortunate that he came in when he did, else he would have been at grave risk.) So he posited: what if you died, but the Great Scorer reviewed the replay and overturned the ref’s call, and gave you a new lease on life, for a to-be-determined term:  what would you do with that “bonus time?” How would you live? He certainly considers his pacemaker as providing that new lease on life. And 100 years ago, his story would have ended differently. One of the interesting implications of high-tech medical science.

It’s a provocative question, and a refreshing way to look at the time we have remaining. Every day we spend on this side of the dirt is “bonus time.” Precious, worthy of a sense of gratitude and wonder.

Many years ago I read a little book by Baba Ram Dass entitled, “Be Here Now.” It opened my mind to the importance of living in the present and seizing the moment, but I spent a great deal of that awareness in hedonistic pursuits. There are, in fact, worse ways to spend your time, but it’s not a path to enlightenment, whatever that is. (What is it the Buddhists say – ” Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water?”) It’s not until the last dozen years or so that I’ve actually put into practice the discipline of reminding myself to be aware, to be mindful, to be fully present and in the moment, at many different points during any given day, and to cultivate a sense of gratitude for the life I have and the people in it. Sometimes easier said than done.

Whenever we brush up against intimations of our own mortality, we tend to think about Big Questions, Legacies, and other ephemera that day-to-day living pushes out of our minds when avoidance is not completely up to the task. I am untroubled by such thoughts. If I kicked today, I would leave behind a remarkable daughter with an active mind and a preturnatural capacity for making good decisions, as well as one discomfited Contrary, as well as a handful of friends and family who would tell funny stories about me at my wake. Legacies are much overblown because at the end of the day, none of this lasts aside from the memories we create and the decency we show others along the way. Long time Diner PB Shelley said it best:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

As the many Tyler Durdens say over at ZeroHedge, “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” So the only question that really matters is, “What are you going to do with your time today?” That’s a question worth considering whether you’re on a gurney or at a keyboard. As for me, I’m on “bonus time.”

 

***

Surly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, articles and spittle-flecked invective on this site, and has been active in the Occupy movement. He shares a home in Southeastern Virginia with Contrary and is delighted this week didn’t end in a dirt nap.

 

 

Who Goes Dry First? Vegas or Phoenix?

From the keyboard of Thomas Lewis
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lake mead

First published at The Daily Impact  June 11, 2014

The title of first American city to be abandoned for lack of water will be awarded in the next decade or so, and it’s hard to decide whether to bet on Las Vegas or Phoenix. It could be a tie. Those among us who still like our stories to end with a moral are rooting for Vegas, whose demise would round out a lovely wages-of-sin, Sodom-and-Gomorrah kind of fable. Phoenix seems less blameworthy, but only if you think what’s about to happen is retribution for sin. If you lean more toward the inevitable-consequences-of-stupidity theory, then there’s not much to differentiate between Dumb Phoenix and Dumber Las Vegas.In Vegas, “the situation is as bad as you can imagine,” according to climate scientist Tim Barnett at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Vegas gets its water from Lake Mead, impounded by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Lake Mead is less than half half full, and is dropping fast, probably by another 20 feet this year. It is lower now than it ever has been since the lake was filled in 1938. Another 37 feet and the Las Vegas intake pipe will be sucking air. (All this was updated thoroughly last week in the London Telegraph. Why are the best stories about America’s environmental problems found in British newspapers?)

Not to worry, there’s another water intake for Las Vegas, 50 feet below the present one. Oh, good, two more years. Assuming drought conditions get no worse than they are now, and that is far from a safe assumption. Then what? Vegas has a plan. A boring machine the size of the Pentagon is chewing through solid rock at the rate of one inch a day to punch a line through to the very deepmost bottom of Lake Meade. Another few years, if they make it in time. The country can’t find the money to fix its roads and bridges, but it found $817 million to keep Las Vegas in flushing water for a few more years.

Then what? According to Rob Mrowka, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, “As the water situation becomes more dire we are going to start having to talk about the removal of people (from Las Vegas).”  

Who else gets half its water from the very same lake Mead on the very same Colorado River? Phoenix, Arizona, that’s who. A city that has been in drought conditions for ten years and is expected to remain so for another 20 or 30 years. (To say that Vegas is in a 14-year drought is redundant. It’s in a desert. Four inches of rain a year is normal.) Yet until two weeks ago, no one had told Phoenix, officially, that unless there are substantial (and unexpected) improvements in the flows of the Colorado River and the level of Lake Mead and Lake Powell farther upstream, deliveries of water to Phoenix are going to be curtailed.

Now the Central Arizona Project, which manages the lower Colorado watershed, has said exactly that. “We’re dealing with a very serious issue,” board member Sharon Megdal told the New York Times, “and people need to pay attention to it.”

In other words — Brace for Impact.

 

***

 

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editor of The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

 

The Need for Revolutionary Ideas

Off the keyboard of Graham Peebles

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 [Admin Note: I posted this article in the Diner Forum and it spurred some vigorous back and forth. If you would like to read the responses, visit here. I also wrote a post about it available hereIt occurred to me that it would be best if more people could read the original. I contacted Graham, and he graciously permitted us to republish it here.  –Surly1]

195_train

Originally published in Dissident Voice June 26, 2014

Comment on this article here.

 “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other – that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister.”

–Mother Theresa

 

The mode of contemporary living is in many ways dysfunctional. There are the obvious and painful daily signs that affirm this: the thirteen or so wars taking place; the fact that half the world’s population live impoverished lives on less than $2 a day, 80% on under $10 a day. Most of us live with financial anxiety and job uncertainty; 22,000 children die every day of poverty related illnesses; 900,000 people in desperation commit suicide every year and 360 million people are known to be suffering from depression (more in acutely materialistic countries – average 20% in America for example), tens of millions go undetected, untreated and uncounted. And then there are the quieter, less quantifiable ills: the repression, the controls of thinking; the propaganda that conditions and inhibits; the education systems and mass media that manipulatively demand conformity, subdue dissent and deny independent thinking. As Noam Chomsky wrote: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Clever isn’t it.

Worldwide, life is dominated by an unjust economic model – beloved by all colours on the political spectrum, which has infiltrated every area of life. The preeminent concern of 99% of humanity is the practicalities of daily living – how to pay for food and shelter, education and health care, water and sanitation. There is no time or energy for living, for creativity and self-enquiry, for exploring one’s nature and the world.

Neo-liberal economics, or market fundamentalism, has contributed to extreme levels of poverty, social division and criminality. It is largely responsible for the environmental crisis and man-made climate change and has fueled worldwide inequality. Not just income and wealth inequality, but inequality of opportunities of access, influence, power and rights, including the observation and enforcement of so-called ‘universal’ human rights. The right to food, shelter, education and health care, for example, ‘rights’ universally available if you have money to pay for them. Inequality distorts democracy; indeed it denies democracy as it limits participation, corrupts free speech, suffocates dissent and perpetuates the concentration of power. It causes resentment and anger and fuels a plethora of social ills, from homicide to depression, community suspicion to substance addiction.

This current economic model nestles complacently at the core of many of our problems. It has reduced everything to a commodity – including people: the economically vulnerable are marginalised and exploited, traded like cattle, abused and violated. The system needs to be re-evaluated and fundamentally changed – along with the worldwide value system (promoting materiality) that flows from its ideological roots, and colours all areas of living. Arundhat Roy, in a June 2, 2011 interview with BBC, stated: “We have to re-define the meaning of modernity, to redefine the meaning of happiness.” And re-imagine the world based on altogether different values to the divisive ones espoused by the neo-liberal model. Perennial values that will facilitate the observation of human rights and honour our common humanity: values of unity, tolerance, cooperation and sharing. Principles of goodness held firmly within the hearts of all men and women of goodwill that need to be at the heart of new structures, political, economic and social.

A revolution of ideas is needed; a revolution, the Dalai Lama suggests, “in our commitment to and practice of universal humanitarian values.” Defined by His Holiness as ‘honesty, morality, compassion and wisdom.’

There are positive signs that suggest we are living in a time when such fundamental changes are not only possible, but that if one looks with an open mind (a rare jewel indeed) – the signs of the new can be seen within the fog of conservatism and extremism.

There is a worldwide popular protest movement, the like of which we have not seen before. It stretches from Thailand to Ethiopia, from Turkey to Brazil; it is an expression of group responsibility, of anger and hope. It is largely peaceful and represents a change of mind, a recognition that, as a great teacher has said, “nothing changes by itself,” that “man must act and implement his will.” Sensing their collective power, huge groups of people are uniting and demanding change, calling for freedom. An end to injustice, to state and corporate corruption, the destructive influence of global institutions – the International Monetary Fund and World Bank – and to be listened to by arrogant governments, who for too long have serviced their own ambitious interests and their corporate bed-mates and failed to serve the people.

The Arab Spring, together with the ground breaking Occupy Movement is, perhaps, the loudest cry amongst a chorus of voices calling for political and social change in recent years. And yes there is turmoil in the region, but it is a time of transition, change takes time and resistance is deep-seated. The revolution in Egypt brought hundreds of thousands, some claim tens of millions onto the streets of Cairo; it toppled two presidents, and, as Ahdal Soueif wrote in the Guardian, “… proved that a framework enabling people to self-organise in small but coordinated communities will empower them and set free their creative energies. Yet the political system is built on the opposite idea – of people coalescing around leaders in hierarchies. The struggle is to invent a new system while the old one is attacking you, bad-mouthing you, murdering and imprisoning you.”  The idea of people coming together, uniting under a common cause is a major factor in the times we are living in. Group work, unity and cooperation are essential qualities of the age, themes reminding us of our common humanity that run contrary to the largely divisive individualistic ways of the past. Themes suggesting there is a developing awareness of both the power of collective action and the group or “universal responsibility”, as the Dalai Lama puts it.

 

chairs

Individual and society

For there to be sustained substantive social change, a shift in consciousness or awareness is necessary, a change of mind. The great 20th century Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti taught that, “we are society”, that society is not separate from us. He maintained that “this immoral destructive society is made by each one of us, so we are responsible for it,” the crisis, he says, “is in ourselves and we are unwilling to face that crisis and try to escape from that fact through various forms of entertainment.” Whilst I am reluctant to disagree with the Great man, I suggest that a symbiotic relationship exists between society and us. That the nature of society and the systems under which we live encourage and aggravate certain behaviour, both positive and negative, and that the current systems cultivate and accentuate destructive divisive attitudes and actions. Take as an example tea pickers in Assam earning $2 a day for backbreaking work; they have two daughters but cannot afford to feed them properly, to clothe them and send them to school. So they reluctantly sell one of the girls for $50 to a local recruitment agent. He promises work in a home in Kolkata, but promptly traffics the child into a brothel in the city for $800 and the 14 year old finds herself working as a prostitute within the week. All are victims more or less of the system. The girl is abused, her life ruined, the family exploited, the agent desperate and conditioned into survival no matter what, to think only of himself. ‘It’s a dog eat dog world’, ‘look after number one’. Well, we are not dogs; we are human beings, brothers and sisters of One Humanity. And in the realisation of that underlying unity lies great happiness and the answer to many social issues. As Mother Teresa put it, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other – that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister.”

Facilitate a change of mind in the recruitment agent (and the world is littered with such men) by shifting the focus, changing the value system. Establish an economic model that is designed to serve the needs of everybody, that moves people out of harm’s way – removes their vulnerability. A system that is just and fair, that brings people together, fosters cooperation instead of competition and thereby encourages brotherhood – an expression of unity. Place sharing at the epicentre of a new way of living: share the world’s resources, including knowledge and skills equitably amongst the people, based on individual need, and see a reduction in inequality, a lifting of fear, anxiety, stress, and the cultivation of trust and community.

***
Graham Peebles is Director of The Create Trust, a UK registered charity supporting fundamental social change and the human rights of individuals in acute need.

Peak Food. It’s Here.

Off the Keyboard of Tom Lewis

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What has long been just a walk in the park for most Americans — food shopping — is about to become considerably more grueling. (Photo by Wonderlane/Flickr)

What has long been just a walk in the park for most Americans — food shopping — is about to become considerably more grueling. (Photo by Wonderlane/Flickr)

First published at The Daily Impact April 30, 2014

[Editor’s Note: It is a pleasure to welcome Thomas Lewis of The Daily Impact to the Doomstead Diner blog. Tom is a nationally recognized author of six books, journalist and professor who currently edits the website, The Daily Impact. He is a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. We are pleased to have him with us. –Surly1]

 

High food prices — which have been destabilizing (and in some cases, vaporizing) governments around the world — are coming belatedly to America. The prices of beef, pork, shrimp, eggs, dairy products and produce are all reaching record highs right now. Overall food prices are up almost 20% this year. The reasons appear at first glance to be varied, but in almost every case the root cause turns out to be either climate change or the practices of industrial agriculture. Indications are that there is no relief in sight. In fact the days of cheap and plentiful food, like the days of cheap and plentiful oil, may well be over for good.

Where’s the Beef? Ground beef prices hit $3.55 a pound in February, marking a 56% increase in four years and a 20-year record. Chalk it up to supply and demand; there are fewer cattle at home on the range in the United States than at any time in the past 63 years. Why? Because of extended, severe drought in most of the places where cattle are raised and their food is grown. [See Dead Town Waking] Why? Because of climate change.

When Pigs Die.  Since June of last year, about seven million pigs — about ten per cent of the American herd — have been wiped out by a new virus that was unknown before May of last year. It is not the cause of the record high pork prices now in effect, but the disease virtually guarantees no relief for the foreseeable future. The disease, similar to one that has been ravaging China’s pigs, may have something to do with feeding pig-blood products to pigs. You know, like feeding cow’s brains to cows had something to do with Mad Cow Disease.

Crustacean Deflation. Shrimp prices last month jumped more than 60 per cent above last year’s, to a 14-year high, because of a new bacterial disease ravaging the shrimp farms of Southeast Asia.

Hedge Your Vegetable Bets. The region that produces most of America’s produce (the virtual desert in the middle of California) is experiencing the worst drought in history. Its farmers are leaving idle a half a million acres of cropland this year because there’s no water for irrigation. We’re already paying more for our lettuce.

Wake Up and Smell the Absence of Coffee. It was already expected that world coffee production this season would be about five million bags short of a full cup. Then an historic drought struck the coffee belt of Brazil, source of most of the world’s coffee, decimating this year’s crop. Although the price tsunami has not yet rolled into our supermarkets, it has launched wholesale and futures prices into the stratosphere.

With the average American family spending only 10 percent of  its income on food, it’s not surprising that there is a widespread lack of empathy for the millions around the world who are clinging to the edge of extinction as incomes shrink and food prices spike. With the ongoing devastation of the US middle class and the imminent increases in US food prices, Americans are about to get a lot more empathetic.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has observed that when its global food-price index hits 210, governments in the Third World begin to fall like tenpins. You have to wonder; what’s the magic number for America?

 

***

Thomas Lewis is a nationally recognized and reviewed author of six books, a broadcaster, public speaker and advocate of sustainable living. He also is Editorof The Daily Impact website, and former artist-in-residence at Frostburg State University. He has written several books about collapse issues, including Brace for Impact and Tribulation. Learn more about them here.

 

The Light Brigade of Doom

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 22, 2013

http://www.originalpaintings.com/images/David_Cartwright/gunsmoke_new.jpg

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

A while back when we got going with our Podcasts, one of our first Guests to discuss the oncoming DOOM was Guy McPherson of Nature Bats Last.  In the Taxonomy of Doom Scenarios, Guy fits under the rubric of what I call “Uber Doom“.  Guy projects a high likelihood if not certainty of Near Term Human Extinction inside the next Century.  I myself fit under the rubric of “Full Doom“, which projects out a pretty massive knockdown of human population, but not necessarily an Extinction Level Event for this species.  The conversations we had with Guy were entertaining and informative, I’ll include them here for folks who have not listened to them as of yet.


The relationship the Diner has with NBL sorta simmered on the Back Burner until recently, when Guy published a couple of my articles on NBL.  As a result of that, I found out about technical problems Guy was having with NBL, and offered our help in resolving them, under the theory Doomers should stick together even if they don’t have precisely the same spin on the end game here.  Result here is that as of today, there is a New NBL on a New Server, and we hope it works real well for the Uber Doomers on that site.

In publishing my spin on NBL though, in commentary I have already been subject to quite a bit of derision regarding my philosophy and how I am approaching the oncoming problems we face.  As opposed to most websites where my views are considered extreme and TOO DOOMERISH, on NBL I am not Doomerish ENOUGH!  Rather than answer each and every individual comment that has been made inferring that I am unrealistic, in denial, not conversant with all the issues etc, I thought a better idea would be to write an article looking at the different Attitudes that are extant among people who are aware of the issues we face here.  In  so doing, I hope to clarify this, and eliminate or at least reduce the number of comments my articles on NBL elicit which are so far off the mark it isn’t funny.  Assumptions being made by many of the commenters are entirely wrong, made only because they have their own  ideas and spin and have not looked at all at how we approach these issues on the Diner, and now on SUN :icon_sunny:as well.  So let me now elucidate the problem as I see it overall.

Once you grasp hold of the many problems we face coming down the pipe here, not the least among them being a Non-Zero likelihood of Near Term Human Extinction, there are a few way you can react to this:

1-Party Like it’s 1999.

Party like it is the End of the World, well, because it IS the End of the World!  Nothing can be done about in anyhow, so go out in Style.  Of course, if the world does NOT end on your timeline and you spend all your money partying it up BEFORE TEOTW comes, the succeeding years will be more difficult than they otherwise might have been.

2-Starship Hale-Bopp

Queue up for the next Comet passing reasonably near Earth and attempt to Hitch a Ride on the Starship trailing it.  Since we don’t have enough decent Spaceships available at a reasonable Ticket Price to make Earth Orbit, you will need to divest yourself of your Corporeal Baggage and try to Thumb them down in Spirit form as they blow by here.  This of course was the Heaven’s Gate  meme, and who knows maybe it worked?

Heaven’s Gate was an American UFO religion doomsday cult based in San Diego, California, founded in the early 1970s and led by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1927–1985).[1] On March 26, 1997, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had committed mass suicide[2] in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following the Comet Hale–Bopp, which was then at its brightest.[3]

3- Bemoan it on the Internet

Relieve your frustrations through Daily Posting on a variety of Blogs and Forums dedicated to TEOTW ideas.  Complain about the sad state of Homo Sapiens, greed and stupidity while you while away the days, weeks, months or years it takes until the Internet Goes Dark.  We do our share of this on the Diner, so I can’t say this is without value.  It has a cathartic effect to do some venting on this issue.  However, you can overdo a good thing here, and miring yourself in dismal thinking is not real productive overall.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BhaQdAImYwE/Ugptn4XtgrI/AAAAAAAAhz0/WUXxe3OJrGQ/s1600/Cocoa_Puffs_shirt_link.jpg4- BAU Denial

Look at every Fact & Factoid available, and construct a rationale for why it won’t actually happen, then just go on living your normal life convinced you have resolved this issue and the Doomers obsessed with it are Fruit Loops or Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

5- Take on the CHALLENGE!

Figure if TEOTW is a possibility, challenge yourself to see just how long you can actually keep going!  Why be the First to Die here rather than the Last?

http://mommography.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/lets-make-a-deal-doors.jpg

I am in the Door #5 Camp, despite the fact in the original Let’s Make a Deal, Monte only had 3 Doors available.

Why pick Door #5?

Well, first and foremost, there is no Absolute Guarantee that we will get complete wipeout.  When Toba went Ballistic, 10K Human Souls made it through that one.  Second, for the AGW crowd, there is no absolute proof you get runaway warming that does not reverse even with CO2 levels at 1000 ppm, and right now we are only at around 400.

First of all, how much does atmospheric CO2 rise if you add 3000 GtC to the system in a (geologically) short period of time? Zeebe et al. did this calculation and the answer is about 700 ppmv – quite a lot eh? However, that is a perturbation to the Paleocene carbon cycle – which they assume has a base CO2 level of 1000 ppm, and so you only get a 70% increase – i.e. not even a doubling of CO2. And since the forcing that goes along with an increase in CO2 is logarithmic, it is the percent change in CO2 that matters rather than the absolute increase. The radiative forcing associated with that is about 2.6 W/m2. Unfortunately, we don’t (yet) have very good estimates of background CO2 levels in Paleocene. The proxies we do have suggest significantly higher values than today, but they aren’t precise. Levels could have been less than 1000 ppm, or even significantly more.

During the PETM, temps on Earth rose significantly higher than today, and CO2 also despite no Industrialization we know of.  Nevertheless, the Earth was able to recover and all life was not extinguished.  So there is also a Non-Zero possibility that this time again the Earth recovers; if this is the case all you as HS has to do is figure out means to make it through a few tough millenia to come.  When the Going Gets Tough, the Heliopaths* get Going!

(*Heliopath is my terminology for folks involved in the SUN Project.  “Following the Path of the SUN” :icon_sunny:)

In terms of some of the other Door Choices, I find it a waste of time to be getting all bent out of shape over whether HS is responsible for this or not.  We have always been living on Borrowed Time, another Supervolcanic event or another Large Asteroid Collision is a GUARANTEE inside the next 100K-300K years at the outside.  All the geological signs I see point to a near term GW effect regardless of what HS did or does in the future.  The Yellowstone Caldera IS filling with magma, and the earthquake swarms there ARE on the increase. All you need to do to see how much geotectonic activity is increasing is go review the charts produced by DLindquist:

So we were going to face this stuff down sooner or later no matter what Homo Sapiens did during our existence on Earth.  Life here was always a temporary thing, just as your own corporeal existence is a temporary thing.

http://www.hotflick.net/flicks/2009_2012/0092012_Woody_Harrelson_011.jpg

So, in essence I consider myself a fortunate man, I got to be alive at the CUSP of what is likely to be either an ELE or a VERY serious Bottleneck of Population on the order of the Toba Cataclysm 75,000 years ago.  If 10,000 Human Souls could make it through that one, it can be DONE AGAINI have a challenge before me only one other generation in the last 75,000 years of human history ever faced before.  That is not just the challenge of a Lifetime, it is the challenge of MILLENIA of Lifetimes.

The Toba eruption or Toba event occurred at the present location of Lake Toba about 73,000±4,000 years[6][7] ago. This eruption was the last of the three major eruptions of Toba in the last 1 million years.[8] It had an estimated Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8 (described as “mega-colossal”), or magnitude ≥ M8; it made a sizable contribution to the 100X30 km caldera complex.[9]Dense-rock equivalent (DRE) estimates of eruptive volume for the eruption vary between 2,000 km3 and 3,000 km3 – the most common DRE estimate is 2,800 km3 (about 7×1015 kg) of erupted magma, of which 800 km3 was deposited as ash fall.[10] Its erupted mass was 100 times greater than that of the largest volcanic eruption in recent history, the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which caused the 1816 “Year Without a Summer” in the northern hemisphere.[11]

The Toba eruption took place in Indonesia and deposited an ash layer approximately 15 centimetres thick over the whole of South Asia. A blanket of volcanic ash was also deposited over the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian and South China Sea.[12] Deep-sea cores retrieved from the South China Sea have extended the known reach of the eruption, suggesting that the 2,800 km3 calculation of the erupted mass is a minimum value or an underestimate.[13]

…The Toba eruption has been linked to a genetic bottleneck in human evolution about 50,000 years ago,[28][29] which may have resulted from a severe reduction in the size of the total human population due to the effects of the eruption on the global climate.[30]

According to the genetic bottleneck theory, between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, human populations sharply decreased to 3,000–10,000 surviving individuals.[31][32] It is supported by genetic evidence suggesting that today’s humans are descended from a very small population of between 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs that existed about 70,000 years ago.[33]

 

I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain’t gonna lose. -Freddie Mercury

Not if you Party like its 1999 will you be there after the Zero Point though.  Not if you Hitch a Ride on Hale-Bopp will you be either.  Nor will it do you a whole heck of a lot of good to just bemoan the TEOTW on the Doomstead Diner or Nature Bats Last or Deny what is coming and live life BAU EITHER!

brigade460x276Your ONLY chance (which may be very small, but still Non-Zero) is to TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE!  What’s the worst that can happen?  You fail and die, but that would have happened anyhow, so not a downside risk in this case.

For those of us involved in the SUN Project :icon_sunny:, we will not go down without a fight.  We will NOT GIVE UP.  We will not QUIT until the Fat Lady Sings.  The very WORST that happens is we Die With Honor, doing what is right.  BEST case, we are the 10,000 who make it through the Zero Point, as another group of Homo Sapiens did 75,000 years ago when things looked REALLY BAD and the Skies Went Dark. We Ride into the Valley of Death Unafraid.  We are the Light Brigade of Doom.

I leave you today with the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

1.

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

2.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

3.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

4.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

5.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

6.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

Zombie Snake’n a Box

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

Published on Epiphany Now on June 26, 2013

ninja fox

Discuss this article at the Zombie Rehab Table inside the Diner

One of the main questions that came up in the discussion about Zombies, over at the Doomstead Diner, is whether killing them is advisable or not. The main concern is that the title “Zombie” is a demonizing title that places blame for the American Hologram in the wrong place. Rather than blaming the rich, sociopathic, Corporatocracy Masters that have the good fortune of being on top of the pyramid, we are blaming the “Zombies” who are too worthless to live. Apparently the Libertarians have co-opted the word to describe retired government workers with pensions. Cause, you know, the retired government workers with pensions are the main reason why we can’t get the budget balanced? Never mind the hundreds of billions a year just keeping the military machine kickin’ ass and takin’ brown people’s gas, or the billions in government subsidized CEO bonuses, or the trillions of printed dollars given to the same sociopathic assholes running the too big to fail banks, it’s the government pensioners that are the Zombies suckin’ the balance out of the budget. Fuck politics…and that concludes my response to the libertarians and their co-opting of the word “Zombie.” I’ve gone to great lengths to outline, describe, and define what I consider Zombies to be, and I will not be doing so again. I want to talk about the possibility of killing zombies in a post-collapse scenario to protect and defend your post-petroleum tribe’s resources.
Naturally the discussion about killing zombies ended up in the realm of religion. “Man does not live by bread alone,” inevitably came up. True, man doesn’t live by bread alone, but he can’t live without it either. He will die without the bread, and the zombies want his bread, so what’s man to do? Especially a man with children and a wife to keep alive. Recently I’ve had cause to reflect on the action of killing due to participating in some killin’ myself. Basically, best I can tell, life requires death. This is true all the way to the level of virus (which aren’t technically considered living organisms). In order for the virus to replicate cells must die. Seems the only life forms that don’t directly require death are plants and autotrophs. The rest of us need shit to die in order for us to live. To illustrate my point, I’m going to use an anecdote from my recent life.
I have 3 Rhode Island Red hens, 11 Deleware Hens, and a Rhode Island Red rooster named Archimedes all living in a chicken shack that I’ve created via Scavenge Engineering named “Eggmahal.” It’s been dubbed Eggmahal cause that’s where my hens poop out the nutritious back yard chicken eggs that I feed to my family and sell. I sell the eggs for 3 dollars a dozen in an attempt to cover my costs for keeping said chickens. This allows me to have a steady supply of better quality chicken eggs then I can buy, as well as fertilizer and stored meat to feed my family (no better way to store meat than on the hoof…or in this case, on chicken feet). Keeping chickens requires you be willing to kill to keep them. If you aren’t willing to kill the occasional chicken, or chicken egg, predator, than you might as well not bother keeping them. I’m the only thing that’s going to kill any of my chickens or take any of their eggs.
So a couple of days ago I went into my coop to do the daily routine of feeding and watering the chickens as well as collecting the eggs. I walked over to the nesting boxes to collect the eggs and there was Mr. King snake with an egg half way in his mouth. He had found him a wonderful all you can eat king snake buffet equipped with a comfy new home to live in. He couldn’t ask for a better set up. All he had to do was lay in the nice cozy nest box with a bed of hay, and whenever he got hungry he’d just reach on over to one of the other boxes and snatch an egg. Hell, he didn’t even have to move more than a foot. He had quite literally found himself a snake paradise. Not on my watch Jack. My identifying him set off a chain reaction of immediate snake dispatching. I went straight into the Gypsy House, got my Earth Scalpel (a flat tipped short shovel) and a trashcan. I went back into the coop and jabbed the shovel into the snakes neck trapping him in the nest box. I then began, with my upper body, pushing as hard as I could. My shovel has not been sharpened so I simply broke his neck. This made him a bit more docile, and I was able to get him into the trashcan where I then took him out of the coop, dumped him out on the grass, and finished the job with my machete (which is one I found backpacking a few years back and never got around to sharpening…sooo it was a little messy).
Now, I don’t want to kill anything. I really don’t. I derive no pleasure from killing, but I also eat meat. Do you eat meat? Cause if you do then you kill every time you eat it. It’s not violent for you, you just go to the store and get your sterilized meat that comes from the grocery store refrigerator. Or you go to a restaurant where all you have to do is shovel said dead meat into your meat hole. Eating meat, in the reality outside of the Matrix, requires you to violently kill, gut, skin, quarter, and butcher whatever meat you want to cook. We have lost touch with this reality.
Unfortunately the very next day, I went into Eggmahal to take care of the chickens, and there was King Snake number two…he was an upgraded version of Mr King Snake #1. I noticed that the nest box just to the right of the one the other snake was in, had a new snake in it. He was twice as large as the first as well. I went and got the Earth Scalpel and attempted the same method I used the day before. However his neck was much larger in diameter and so all it did was piss him off. He tried to make his escape by going to the coop floor to rather hurriedly slither off. I jabbed with my shovel and separated his head from his body like Disney’s Hercules did to the Hydra of Lerna. It took him about 30 minutes to figure this out for himself. I apologized to him while he was laying there watching his headless body slither around oblivious to it’s new headless status. I thought about having the common courtesy to at least remove his head from the situation…so he at least didn’t have to watch…but failed to do so.
Now I didn’t want to kill either of those snakes. In fact, after slaying the first snake, I went into the Gypsy House and announced to all of the snakes in ear shot that they could eat all of the rodents they wanted to, but that if they touched my chickens, chicken eggs, children, or family, that they would end up like captain headless over there watching his headless body aimlessly coil around. It’s nothing personal I said, just…you can’t have my damn eggs. I’m not starving. I don’t have to have those chickens or those eggs to feed my family right now. I may, in the near future, require them to feed my family, but right now just in time truckin’ is truckin’ along just fine (well it’s not fine, actually it’s anything but fine…but it doesn’t know that…and neither do the zombies). So I didn’t have to kill either of those snakes (nor the two I killed last year) for my survival. I killed those snakes because their presence makes a mockery of my chicken keeping. The bottom line is that I’m not keeping chickens to feed the local fauna. I’m keeping chickens to feed my family nutritious food, and to provide them with some food security. You see, when JIT truckin’ stops truckin’ just in time…I’ll have a source of food to keep my family fed.
Only there is a problem with keeping those chickens to keep my family fed in that post-collpase world I see potentially around any corner anytime now. That problem is that I’m not the only one who wants to eat those eggs and chicken asses. In a post collapse world there will be zombies who will want to eat my chicken asses. I’m not doing the work of keeping those chickens to feed zombies. Yet if I were not willing to use force to keep zombies from eating my chicken asses, then they WILL eat my chicken asses, and then what was the point in having said chicken asses to begin with? I don’t want to kill anybody, or anything, but I want to ensure my family is fed more than I don’t want to kill. My killing the snakes isn’t exactly a product of that, since I admit I don’t need those chickens right now, but it’s still something I must do to make my chicken keeping efforts not pointless.
Now, killing snakes in times of relative peace just on account of my chicken egg count is something entirely different from killing a zombie (or zombies rather) in a post collapse world. I’m not comparing the value of the life of that snake to that of a hypothetical zombie. What I’m saying is that I didn’t want to kill either of those snakes. When I identified that there was a “snake in the box”… it ruined my day instantly because I knew that my day now required me to kill something violently (I mean…how else does one kill anything really?) and with extreme prejudice. The matter is further complicated by the type of snake. King snakes are a great snake to have around because they eat other snakes (hence the “king” in the title). They are thought to be immune to the venom of poisonous snakes. Also, which annoys me in this case, they are of no threat to humans. This is a good snake to have around if you’re going to have snakes around. I feel bad for killing both of them. But they can’t have my eggs. There is no way I know of to get them to understand that they can live if they just leave my eggs alone. So they must die. I’m not going to want to kill any zombies either, but I am going to want to feed my family
Man doesn’t live on bread alone. I believe that. I really do. There is more to life than this life. There is consciousness beyond my brains. I believe that as well. However I’m a father, and that’s in this life. I can’t make sure my children are fed if I’m dead, and I won’t watch my children starve in this life either. I’ll do whatever I need to do to make sure they are well fed. There are grave dangers in labeling the majority of people zombies. They become infected and less then human. It becomes alright ethically to kill something that is already dead. This is damaging to the human psyche. It’s really the same process that goes on in the mind of a soldier who’s convinced himself that these people are somehow less then people. Or as the Nazi’s labeled the Jews, “Lebensunwertes Leben” or “life not worthy of life.” When is it ever justifiable to kill people? I would answer that by saying it is justifiable to kill a person whom is trying to kill you, or yours for that matter. So it’s justifiable to kill in order to stay alive. We do that every time we eat meat. Granted we aren’t killing humans.
In just about every case of a society collapsing there has been cannibalism documented. We are at a point in the history of our species where we are talking about near term human extinction due to run away anthropomorphic global temperature rise. It seems WW111 is lookin’ to start up over in Syria, and we have nuclear power plants that are spoogin’ radioactivity into the acidifying ocean environment faster than you can say “death by cancer.” Our world is in a terrible way just now. Everything we take for granted as normal in relation to our quality of life is built on a network of non-renewable resources that are becoming scarcer by the second. Every day there are less species on our planet than there is today, and that as well can be placed at the feet of humanity. The fact that zombies are real is a sad and depressing fact. But it is a fact. Like those snakes attempting to take up residence at Eggmahal, and therefore forcing me to kill them. I can imagine zombies doing the same in the near future as a reality I will live to see. I can guarantee my sons will see it…if I don’t. Those zombies will force me to kill them if my son’s starvin’ belly is on the line. It will be their decision. I will do everything I can to not kill them. I will give warnings and wait till the last minute. But in the end, when it comes to my children being fed or me killing a zombie…I’m sorry to say the zombie will have to go. Just like those snakes.

The best we can do is attempt to curtail that eventuality by fostering community. Get the zombies involved and try to wake them up. But that’s a waste of time. They can’t be made to have the Epiphany Now. I’ve tried. The only zombies that wake up are those that decide they want to wake up. The hard cold bitch of a fact is that our world is FUBAR and getting worse by the day. Life requires death and nature doesn’t select organisms whom readily die. The fact of the matter is that we are headed into times that could easily feature such things as cannabalism…just like the last complex societies that collapsed and began eating one another. I’d rather be a zombie slayin’ professional than a person eater. Guess what zombies are good at? They’re good at turning you into a cannibal cause they ate all of your chicken asses and taters. So maybe I’m an ass hole for talking about such things. Maybe I’m delusional and our society is not doomed to the reality of zombies. What I know is that I’m a survivor. Before I’m eating other people I’m gonna be the meanest, toughest, most calloused, bad ass professional zombie dispatching agent you’ve ever met. Cause fuck eatin’ another human. That’s not my idea of a world I wanna be in…or that I want for my sons. Here’s to the hope that renewable energy will curtail World War Z. But so far…and this is the most important fact, it seems just now that Zombie Whispering is working just fine. Zombies aren’t really that dangerous until the shit hits the fan.

Here’s a video I made after killing the second snake.  Warning…the video features a snake that has been decapitated…although you can’t see any blood and it looks like it hasn’t been aside from the shovel that’s separating the head from the body.

Zombie Rehab

Off the keyboard of RE

Published on the Doomstead Diner on June 23, 2013

“It’s da Same old Theme since 1916”

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

zombiesInside the Diner, a HOT THREAD has been percolating for several days, running some 19 pages deep now.  The topic is not a new one in the Collapse Blogosphere, really it is one of the oldest ones.  The question is what to do about “Zombies”, aka the vast majority of people immersed in Industrialized Culture who are completely unaware of the spin down underway here, and who are as completely unprepared for collapse as they are unaware of it.

The context here is a bit different than usual, in that in this case the Diners are trying to figure out a Fair & Equitable system of dealing with the Zombies, who very well may include some of your Close Friends and Relatives.  The assumption made here is that you are a well prepped Doomer Member of a larger Doom Community on a limited size patch of land which can support only a fixed number of people.  No absolute figure is set on this hypothetical since it depends a lot on the overall size of the community and what systems of food production you have in place when TSHTF.

http://i2.wp.com/listverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/ayof-image-21_794222i.jpgOver the course of the 19 pages so far, the arguments have morphed around to questions of Charity and Selflessness versus Utility and Darwinian Selection.  As a pretty strict Darwinist, I argue for what I call the “Test for Survival”, which amounts to taking all Males who reach Puberty and sending them out into the Wilderness for a year equally equipped, and seeing who makes it back alive at the end of the year.  Said returnees are then Fully-Fledged members of the tribe and allowed to reproduce.

What about the Females you ask?  Why don’t they also have to rough it out in the Bush for a year to see if they are Worthy of reproducing?  Reason is Females already HAVE a Test for Survival built in, the Childbirthing process.  Modern Industrial Era medical practices notwithstanding, in a society with limited access to hospitals Ceasarian Section and other proceedures which increase the Survival rate of Childbearing females, there is a pretty decent Mortality rate for Childbearing females.  There also is increased Infant Mortality, so women have to bear children more often to have a few that survive.  More regular Childbirth increases the chances that any given one of them will have complications threatening the life of the Mother and/or Child.

One of the primary arguments made against such a “Test for Survival” is that it is Coercive, forcing all the Males to endure these tests whether they want to or not.  The fact is though that all societies produce tests of once sort or another that you MUST take and MUST PASS in order to be a fully fledged member of that society and enjoy the greatest benefits of it.

http://www.eduinreview.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/sat-test.pngThe examples I made of this inside the Diner are that of the SAT, Law Skule and the Bar Exam.  On the SAT, if you do not SCORE BIG you are shut out of getting a spot at one of the top Ivy League Universities, and without that Sheepskin and the Contacts you make there, you are shut out of getting the Top Spots in the Top Corporations.  Don’t Pass the Bar, you can’t even Chase Ambulances and File Bankruptcies for all the Broke People who have nothing to pay you with anyhow, and best case scenario you will be making Cappucino as a Starbucks Barista for $8/hr, except with a $100K Student Loan to pay off.

These are your Tests for Survival inside this society, though of course through the Growth Period there have been some other ways as well to Hitch a Ride on the Prosperity Bandwagon.  Mortgage Brokers and RE Agents did pretty well there for quite a while, though to make the Big Paychecks they hadda sucker a lot of people into buying more McMansion then they could afford.  What your Test for Survival does here is insure the Greediest and most RUTHLESS people will be the “Successful’ ones who got enough MONEY coming in to Procreate.  Seems to me this kind of Test for Survival REWARDS Greed, and each generation gets GREEDIER than the last one, by BOTH Nature & Nurture!  The Koch Brothers for instance are bred from a Greedy Family, and then on top of that have been Educated since BIRTH that their Greed is GOOD!

http://media.cleveland.com/ent_impact_movies/photo/rites-of-passage-91dzmlvst1l-aa1500-jpg-74682646d4c017f4.jpgBut you say, while these Tests may be Tough & Selective, FAILING them does not end in your DEATH, as a Test for Survival will if you Fail it.  Thing is from my POV, this generally just condemns you to a slower form of Death, where you exist at the margins of society making a minimum wage, falling ever deeper in debt each year, suffering the Marital Problems that come from never having enough money to cover the Bills and from Panicking when a child gets Sick or the Tranny on the SUV gives up the ghost.

Next question comes in the FAIRNESS of the test, and the criteria which is being tested here.  In the case of the SAT & Bar Exam, these things test for attributes the Industrial Society wants to perpetuate itself.  It rewards those with the Legal Mind sharp enough to protect the Corporation with layers and layers of defenses, while the Individual has about none.  Are these skills really what we need to be testing for in a Post-Industrial world?  Your ability to survive in the absence of Electricity at the Flick of a Switch and Bare Shelves at Walmart and Safeway are likely a good deal more important as Industrial living goes the way of the Dinosaur.

Why do you need such tests at all though?  Can’t people simply willingly refrain from Reproducing on their own if they can’t afford the cost in resources of raising a child?  Answer is, no they cannot, at least historically speaking that is true.  So all sorts of EUGENICS solutions are proposed for STERILIZING people who cannot AFFORD Children.  Criteria involved usually revolve around either Intelligence or Economic Wherewithal for Eugenics Solutions.

Problem with this of course is who actually APPLIES these Tests, and who designs them?  The Elite of the Society who want to perpetuate it, of course.  So it is ARTIFICIAL and testing and rewarding for all the WRONG THINGS!

http://www.icecreamnation.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/hunter-gatherer-cartoon-by-Bizarro.gifAt the Perpetuation of the Species Level, the MOST important thing is that the Individual of the Species can survive to Feed at least himself.  If you cannot feed yourself, you are always dependent on the rest of your Species to provide something for you to survive.  In reality of course EVERY species has some dependence on the other Individuals for Success, for instance a Pack Wolf tends to do better than a Lone Wolf.  However, even the Lone Wolf CAN survive!  Then of course there are the Procreation Aspects, NO SPECIES can survive without some form of Cooperation between the Male & Female members of their grouping.

In the Early Years of the Growth of Homo Sapiens, Cooperation was Selected for, along with the ability to be Self-Sufficient to a degree.  A BALANCE was achieved here.  However, we were SOOOOO successful relative to all the REST of the Species we share the Earth with that we at first Gradually and then with ever increasing Rapidity simply OVERWHELMED every other Living Thing on the Face of the Earth.

With the development of Agriculture, Hierarchies, Militarism and Greed replaced Cooperation as the dominant meme for Homo Sapiens.  The Ag Paradigm requires taking over vast swaths of land, first from other species, then from other Homo Sapiens and it becomes a contest of who can control the most the fastest.  The Commons are replaced by Privatization and Land Ownership, creating a class of Haves in the society and a class of Have Nots.  Masters & Slaves, Capitalists & Labor, the Illuminati & J6P, however you care to phrase it, all the same idea.

What Ag was MOST successful with of course is vastly increasing the relative Biomass of Homo Sapiens on the Earth, beginning the process of pushing out of existence many other species as their habitats were destroyed, and vastly accelerating of course through the Age of Industrialization.  That we already have an Extinction Level Event in progress is not an arguable point.  200 species a day go extinct, the only question here is when the Sentient Species on the Planet ALSO will go EXTINCT, or will we drop down to a low enough level fast enough that Last Batting Mother Nature has time to recover?

It is the two factors of Ag & Industrialization which have led to the development of Zombies, which essentially represent the excess amount of Human Biomass that a Finite World cannot support.  What distinguishes a Zombie from a Diner is the complete lack of comprehension that this is an ongoing and accelerating problem.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_EbalnGkkACg/TH4Sa1S00FI/AAAAAAAAAGM/4b0YwndCpxg/s1600/heads+in+sand.gifWhat troubles many Diners is what to do about Zombies AFTER TSHTF, particularly Zombies you care about, like some Close Friends or Relatives who no matter what information you pitch at them every day still keep their Ostrich Heads firmly Buried in the Sand.  In the Save As Many As You Can paradigm, are you obligated to Save them also?

Picture Twin Sisters who marry Twin Brothers.  TwinsA work inside the Industrial Culture, very successfully.  Jon is a Dentist and Kristen is a Doctor.  They have a gorgeous McMansion in Greenwich, CT with two lovely children, Robert & Samantha in Private School at Choate and Phillips Exeter.

TwinsB started Reading Peak Oil back in 2008, and have been Lurking for years now in Reverse Engineering and on the Diner, following RE wherever he ends up on the Net. LOL.  Back in 2010 John quit his job as a Social Worker and Kirsten quit her job as an Elementary School Teacher, and they were able to Unload their McHovel in Minneapolis to a Chinese Real Estate Investor as a Rental Property.  LOL.  John cashed out their IRA also, and they took the proceeds and bought a 50 Acre Farm in Palmer, AK.  Kirsten now Home Schools their two kids Bobby & Sammy, while John takes them out on Hunting and Fishing trips along the Copper River, where they also do some Panning for Gold while eating freshly caught King Salmon sauteed over the campfire.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00779/twins-marrying-460_779941c.jpgJon & Kristen think John & Kirsten are NUT CASE DOOMERS, and make fun of them every time they get together for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Family Compound in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod, where their aging parents Papa, a former Stock Broker for Dewey, Cheatham and Howe and Mama a former member of the Weather Underground and close friend of Squeaky Fromm are finishing out their Declining Years, collecting returns on the Vast Quantity of APPL and NFLX Stock Papa invested in over the years.

BANG!  TSHTF,  Greenwich CT turns into a WAR ZONE as vast numbers of Zombies from NY Shity bicycle their way up from Brooklyn to Greenwich, ransacking McMansions from Nassau & Suffolk right through Westchester County, Consuming the McMansion Dwellers on the Backyard Propane Fired Coleman BBQs along the way. Papa & Mama are under similar threat, as the South Boston Zombies board Dmitry Orlov’s Sailboat moored in a Boston Marina, consume him and Sail for the Cape!  This would be the 6th Stage of Collapse for Dmitry. LOL.

TXT messages fly fast and furious across the Iphones and Papa, Mama, Jon, Kristen, Robert & Samantha all board Jon’s Cessna hoping to Frog Jump their way across the FSoA and the Great White North of Canada finding enough Small Private Airports with enough Gas for the Cessna to make it across the Yukon Territory and come in for a Safe Landing at John & Kirsten’s Doomstead in Alaska.

They MAKE IT, but in the Intervening Time John & Kirsten have taken in many of their Local Friends onto their Doomstead because they were unable by themselves to Protect & Defend said Doomstead from the Zombies cycling their way up to Palmer along the Glenn Highway packing ENORMOUS HEAT since everybody in Alaska owns at LEAST 6 Guns, and it is already questionable whether the 50 Acres they picked up can FEED EVERYBODY already esconced on this land.

BC2K_doomsteadSo, in this situation, are John & Kirsten OBLIGATED to take in Jon, Kristen, Robert, Samantha, Papa & Mama onto the Doomstead?  Well, given “Blood is Thicker than Water” and being real nice folks, John & Kristen probably would be Thumbs Up for sheltering the rest of their Family, problem here is it no longer is JUST their DECISION anymore. All the REST of the Peoples they ALREADY took in here now have a SAY in this also, and taking in still more people when you are at the Carrying Capacity of the land you inhabit means that it will begin a slow starvation process as if evenly distributed, the Product of your land is now LESS than what it takes to keep everyone well fed.  So, chances are in this situation, everyone ELSE now occupying this piece of property NOT connected by Blood to these Refugees will NOT vote to accept them onto the Island.

While John & Kristen being Prescient Doomers with decent Means were able to Buy & Build a decent Doomstead in Palmer, this does not give them the Final Say in who gets to live on this land JUST because they got a Title to it from a Now Failed Goobermint Structure.  It now becomes a COMMUNITY Decision, and one has to expect that over time any successful Community will have to make EXTREMELY difficult decisions on who to take on to a given property and who to REJECT.

http://scm-l3.technorati.com/11/07/28/48465/richmenneed.jpg?t=20110728065424As I am given to understand after conversations with a few people who have visited the 4 Quarters Inter-faith Doomstead where the Age of Limits Conference was held, this problem ALREADY weighs heavily on them.  The location has a few people who have devoted many years to developing this Doomstead, but many MORE than that who are tangentially attached but do not actually Live & Work on the Property.  When TSHTF, how do you say “No” to people who may have been helping you and supporting you over the years, but in Numbers are just too many for the property to support?

Difficult decisions are coming down the pipe here for everyone, regardless of whether you are a Diner or a Zombie at the moment.  Being aware, preparing and so forth does provide an Advantage for Survival, but it most certainly does not resolve the most DIFFICULT questions that will arrive when real SCARCITY problems hit in the area of JIT Food Distribution.  If you accept the idea that MANY people are going to DIE here once the Conduits of Industrialized living begin to fail earnestly and in Cascade Fashion, then if YOU are to SURVIVE, inevitably you will end up watching many other people, even LOVED ONES, DYING.

How can you live with this problem?  How can you make such a Die Off JUST?  These are the problems we consider every day inside the Diner, and I suspect some of the other Bloggers here will also respond to the questions in their own way as well.  I applaud that, because it is a Conversation we all must have, because this Problem is QUITE REAL, and you cannot WISH IT AWAY.

RE

“Coming To A Theatre Near You…”

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on June 19, 2013

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

In researching TWTWID, it is doom, doom, doom all the time. So for a break, let’s talk about movies about Doom.

It would be difficult to overstate just how oblivious I am to some aspects the world in which I live. While acutely aware of political developments on the local state and national scene, and while passionately devoted to a handful of vital causes,I am in fact one of the more popular-culture-ignorant people you could ever meet. There is an entire skein of knowledge about individuals and phenomena of which I am blissfully unaware. (Of course, any free time I have is devoted to reading the Diner Forum, a few other blogs, and eternal maintenance on my mouldering urban slum.)

With that admission in mind, consider this: on Fathers’ Day, my daughter took Contrary and I to the movies, which was a first, since I have been taking her since Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The movie we saw was just fine, but what really struck me were the coming attractions.

I found, in the trailers we saw in the cool darkness,  a remarkable reflection of the zeitgeist, and distinct echoes of topics and issues we have discussed in the recesses of the Forum. To that list I’ve added from a brief web search, so that you will have an idea when Doom is Coming To A Theatre Near You.

Now this is not a stretch, because we talk about EVERYTHING on the forum at one time or another. Yet I found the timing of the upcoming release of these films quite remarkable. Take a brief tour with me:

 

World War Z

Due for release  June 21
WWZ
The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop a pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself. The pandemic involves zombies. Given the rollicking “Zombie Rehab” thread inside the Diner Forum, this film is being released right on time.

Since Brad Pitt is starring, it is reasonable to expect boffo box office, as the Variety hacks might say.

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Assault on Wall St.

Was released on May 10, but I never heard of it, and its plot is such that it deserves a mention here. Especially given RE’s predilection for “Orkin Man” solutions.

Assault on Wall Street

 

A security guard for an armored truck, Jim (Dominic Purcell) is a blue-collar New Yorker who works hard to earn a living. His wages support himself and his wife Rosie (Erin Karpluk), who is on the upswing recovering from a near-fatal illness. Yet things start to fall apart after Rosie’s health insurance stops covering her treatment and Jim’s life savings are lost via a disastrous investment his stockbroker had advised him to make. As a row of professional and personal dominoes falls, Jim is confronted by the realization that, after being abused and exploited by financial institutions for far too long, he has only one choice: to strike back.

 

Simply based on the trailer and description, this film promises to rettrace some of the ground broken in Falling Down, a 1993 crime drama film starring Michael Douglas in the lead role of  a divorcé and unemployed former defense engineer who tears up LA in a violent rampage. This time, it’s the bankers’ turn. RE is already ordering the Blu-Ray version…

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The Purge

The Purge

 

This film has been released in some markets as of June 7; and is actually playing here. Starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headley, it touches upon themes of lawlessness, tight governocorporate supersision, and how much liberty people will trade for security. Newshawk Joe P. brought this film to our attention recently on his remarkable Newz page.

 

 

A thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home.

In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity—including murder—becomes legal. The police can’t be called. Hospitals suspend help. It’s one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking.

When an intruder breaks into James Sandin’s (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headley), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.

Sounds like family fun, yes?

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Elysium

Elysium

Scheduled for release on August 9, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

In the year 2159 two classes of people exist: the very wealthy who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Rhodes (Jodie Foster), a hard line government official will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in, by any means they can. When unlucky Max (Matt Damon) is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that if successful will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

 

Elysium 2

From the trailer, this film promises to revisit themes familiar to Diners,especially H.G. Wells’ story, The Time Machine, including the tension between the Elois, who in this incarnation are aloft in another realm, and the Morlocks left behind in the rubble of a ruined planet.

Or it could just be Jason Bourne in space.

Wells’ story has spawned  two feature films of the same name,  and, according to Wikipedia,

…two television versions, and a large number of comic book adaptations. It indirectly inspired many more works of fiction in many media. This story is generally credited with the popularisation of the concept of time travel using a vehicle that allows an operator to travel purposefully and selectively. The term “time machine”, coined by Wells, is now universally used to refer to such a vehicle. This work is an early example of the Dying Earth subgenre.

I am planning to remain oblivious. But I surely intend to catch a couple of these films, in the dark, cool comfort of a local theatre, here at the end of the Age of Oil.

Petroleum Corn Sugared Zombies

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

Published on Epiphany Now on June 10, 2013

ninja fox

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

bloody foxOnce again due to discussion over at the Doomstead Diner I’ve been asked to define what I consider a zombie to be. The issue is that the goal of the Diner is to “save as many as you can,” and from what are we saving all of these people in need of saving? Well, if you don’t know the answer to that question than I’m sorry to inform you that you are most likely a zombie. Now, don’t go gettin’ all pissed off at me cause you fit the description of a zombie. It’s alright to be a zombie. At least you won’t have to worry about not being able to find like minded folk to hang around with (which is a problem for us non-zombies). I’ll now begin breaking down the requirements for membership in zombiehood. First I’ll start with what Wikipedia has to say about zombies:
The idea of zombies is present in some South African cultures. In some communities it is believed that a dead person can be turned into a zombie by a small child. It is said that the spell can be broken by a powerful enough sangoma.
It is also believed in some areas of South Africa that witches can turn a person into a zombie by killing and possessing the victim’s body in order to force it into slave labor. After rail lines were built to transport migrant workers, stories emerged about “witch trains”. These trains appeared ordinary, but were staffed by zombie workers controlled by a witch. The trains would abduct a person boarding at night, and the person would then either be turned into a zombie worker, or beaten and thrown from the train a distance away from the original location.
This idea that a witch can turn somebody into a zombie by killing them and possessing their soul in order to shanghai them into slave labor is mostly what I mean when I call somebody a zombie. Only it’s not a witch, it’s the agents responsible for the Matrix’s hologram that are controlling the zombies. This is mostly done via the thaumaturgy that’s perpetuated by television, Hollywood, marketing, and the corporate directive dictating profit beyond all else. This all leaves the zombie blindly following business as usual (BAU) with no consciousness whatsoever about the consequences of BAU.
A zombie has no idea that petroleum is a limited resource on which we have built our civilization. They have no idea that you can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet. They don’t care about 400 ppm carbon in the atmosphere, and they likely don’t care that America’s number one goal is to bomb your ass and take your gas. They don’t care that there is no precedent for GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), that our oceans are acidifying, that our food causes cancer, that allopathic medicine causes cancer, that we are loosing our topsoil at an alarming rate, that our government has been coopted by multinational corporations concerned about nothing but profit whom have decimated the constitution and bill of rights, that we have no freedoms, that we live in a surveillance Big Brother state where they can indefinitely detain you and torture you for no reason other than you fit a profile, or that we are running out of the very energy that is needed to keep all 7 billion of us on planet Earth alive. I can go on and on, but you get the picture (or you don’t…in which case you are a….zombie).
A zombie is incapable of seeing all of the above for what it is. The usual zombie response to any of the above information is that it’s all a libearl conspiracy (or “conservative” one depending on which side of the puppet show you’re on), or scientists know what they are doing and will figure out how to fix all of the problems, or you’re just a kooky nut job for bringing any of that up. A zombie lives their life from day to day having no idea that anything is wrong with our society. They have no idea how close we are to what has been dubbed our “near term extinction” or NTE. This is the idea that we have so destroyed our biosphere that the damage is rapidly becoming irreversible, and that we will soon enter a period where the biosphere will no longer support human life due to exponentially increasing problems due to CO2 concentration (that 400 ppm figure), as well as a host of other environmental problems due mainly to our industrial chemical making proclivities…and lets not forget the nasty habit we have of splitting atoms to insure a continuous stream of free flowing electrons into the magical holes in our sheet rocked walls for the purposes of single use appliances like electric can openers and hair dryers. The problem with this being the nuclear waste that we collectively ignore. It’s not that bad…just bury it or leave it in tanks indefinitely while the scientists come up with the solution. In a couple of hundreds of thousands of years it will no longer be radioactive anyways.
Okay, so you are a zombie if you see no problem with our particle boarded, car dependent, GMOed monocropped, processed chemical food, military/corporate industrial complex, Matrix controlled, NSA electronic communication data collecting, cancer causing for profit allopathic medicine perpetuated, biosphere destroying, petroleum fueled holographic suburban Orwellian New World Bravely carcinomic arrangement commonly called BAU. If you think BAU is just fuckin’ dandy then you are a zombie, and I am not going to waste anymore time with you. I’ve tried wasting my time with zombies. I tried for years after taking the red pill that opened my eyes to the truth about the American Hologram. I tried telling everybody I knew about how poisonous our food is, and how we’re destroying our biosphere to keep a civilization dependent on the limited resources that are fossil fuels alive. My efforts were rewarded with more ostracizing and sideways looks than I care to ruminate on. You see, liberating yourself from the Matrix/hologram complex makes you an Outkast. You become an Outkast because you wake up and realize that you’ve been subsisting by catabolizing your environment in an unsustainable fashion…that same environment that creates a sufficient amount of oxygen and fresh water to keep your zombie ass alive.
It should be clear now what makes a person a zombie. So why does any of that matter (I mean aside from the fact that anthropomorphic NTE is something a hefty percentage of non-zombies are finding it worth while to discuss just now)? It matters because at the Diner we are attempting to save as many people as we can from all of the NTE causing agents. Zombies are people to…so maybe we should change it to “save as many non-zombies as we can.” If it were up to me it would be something like that. At the Diner, we are trying to come up with a model of human socioeconomic strategies and tactics to weather the bottleneck that has been created by all of the zombies blindness and their unquenchable desire for more petroleum sugared brains. We’re trying to “bioneer” a way forward that pays attention to all of the problems our species has created. This is no easy task. We’ve dubbed this entity SUN for “sustaining universal needs,” and hopefully the first SUN project will be creating a viable foxstead for us to hole up in while civilization finishes glutting itself to death on petroleum sugar and the sweat of third world brown child labor for iphones and Bananas.
The zombie issue has become an issue due to my distaste for the way zombies smell. It’s not that I don’t care about zombies because I do. I know they are people to (if we agree to be extremely loose with the definition for “people”). They all have the same Buddha nature as I, and they will all bleed if cut and suffer in the same way. They all have feelings, favorite songs, and laugh and cry just like I do. But they also like watching football and grilling concentrated animal feeding operation pellets over gas while eating genetically modified fried corn chips sprayed with chemical flavorings. I understand all of that, and that’s fine…hell I eat CAFO food…but I’m just not happy about that fact and see a problem with it. Zombies mostly don’t like to read and prefer to have their world views issued to them by thaumaturic idiot panel MSM news. They DON’T SEE A PROBLEM with our society other than that gasoline is costing a bit too much these days…and so is the food…and medicine…and well just about everything else now that I think about it. And this is the main difference between a Zombie and an aspiring post-petroleum human; a zombie does not do anything about any of these problems because they aren’t aware of them. But wait…what am I thinking for? Oh well, my favorite football team is on…holy shit did you see that sack…he got nailed like a motherfucker…that shit was crazy wasn’t it. Pass the corn beer and chips…wait…what was I just talking about?
Nothing, you weren’t talking about anything, you should get back to your beer and chips. Nothing to worry about, nothing to see here, go back to sleep America…your government is here to protect and provide for you. They will grow all of the food, keep all of the steady evolving microorganisms at bay with petrochemicals, and bomb all of the brown people for gas on your behalf. You just eat your chips and drink your beer and the scientists will figure out all of the problems. You can be a zombie, but don’t come runnin’ to the foxstead when diesel is 6 dpg at the pump and our just in time trucking insanity stops being viable. You didn’t do shit to deal with the realities outside of the flatlands projected by the hologram. You didn’t care to concern yourself with the dire reality we’re inheriting for the ride down the back side of Hubbert’s curve. I consider zombies nothing more than nature selecting the next quantum leap in the human genome. As in zombies will mostly be deselected for that leap. This is not a value judgement. This is just facts facilitated by the red pill.
Go back to sleep Zombie America…there’s a zombie apocalypse coming to a theater near you any day now. With any luck I will be surrounded by nature and in the company of a post-petroleum human tribe when that apocalypse kicks off. Thanks to you that probably won’t be the case. I’ll probably still be here, slaving away with the zombies, trying to figure out how the hell to build a lifeboat out of the refuse from this plastic fabrication of a boat we call civilization. If I manage to cobble together said boat…you ain’t gonna be welcome on it. It’s not like belief in Jesus Christ…where you can be a shit bag your entire life and then repent just before your last breath gaining you access to heaven. No, I’ve seen you take your last breath, and I won’t be mourning you. However, there still is time for you to wake up and stop eating brains. So do that…wake up now, while you still can, and be welcome amongst my tribe. Or…perish with the zombie horde. Either way I’m not going to lose any sleep over you…and you’re not welcome at the foxstead as a zombie. It’s nothing personal…just I’ve got a family to support.
You see, I’m holding you responsible for your beliefs. If you are an adult than you are responsible for what you believe and don’t believe. You are responsible for knowing the truth about things. Nobody forced me to open my eyes up and develop a distaste for brains. I decided that I wanted to know what the truth was because it was time to grow up and take responsibility for myself. I’ve done that. Zombies don’t do that. Zombies get on fukitol and watch football drunk and satiated on all manner of petroleum corn sugar, and zombies will watch the zombie apocalypse on the idiot panel during the halftime marketing break. Not me, hopefully I’ll be outside in nature trying to facilitate the growth of food that’s not dependent on petroleum to gain the calories I’ll need to keep me and mine alive once the JIT truckin’ inanity comes to an end. Zombies will most likely be shot on sight and burned in large piles. Such are the concerns us evolving post-petroleum humans have here at the precipice of near term human extinction.
BTW…I have no idea why Blogger decided the text color needed to change in this entry…every time I use the quote option that happens.  ???

 

The Week That Was In Doom, May 26, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 26, 2013

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

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

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

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AOL2013

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

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bridge skagit

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

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

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

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

 

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

Infrastructure, schminfranstructure

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

And Equire's Charlie Pierce observed thusly:

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

Of course, not.

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

Forget I asked that.

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Slevery for everyone

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Artwork: Anthony Freda

 

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

 

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

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

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

Gallup-Consumer-LivingNeeds-051713

And then, in a fking nutshell:

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

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

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

Social-Benefits-DPI-051713

 

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

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

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

It is one of the oldest professions in the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate change: human disaster looms, claims new research

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Authorities never have “issues with authority.”

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

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

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

 

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More from the Department of Your Tax Dollars at Work.

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

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

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

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photo by Jenna Pope

 

 

 

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

 

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artwork by mario piperni

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, OK.

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http://mariopiperni.com/

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

Just a coincidence. Nothing to see. Move along.

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

Well, here are some new talking points.

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

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

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

Point four: Read point three again.

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

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

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

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

The Daily Caller broke this story.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

True dat.

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

 

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

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

–Chris Hedges.

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

Petrodollar collapse

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

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

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

 

 

 

 
 
Add Detroit
 
Monsanto and stock rally
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Week That Was in Doom May 19, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 19, 2013

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

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 In which we walk around the weekly cultural signifiers that indicate that we are, week by week, proudly and confidently approaching the zero point with the same cheery sense of self-assurance with which lemmings are said to approach a cliff.  The Week That Was In Doom, might otherwise be known “as things that make you want to guzzle antifreeze,” with apologies and a tip o’ the Surly Crown of Thorns to Charlie Pierce. Pass the Prestone, hold the ice. And see what the rest of the crew will have, will ya barkeep?

 “Violence is as American as cherry pie.” –H. “Rap” Brown

We started out the week by celebrating Mother’s Day in traditional American fashion, meaning blowing the shit out of a bunch of people with guns.

Nineteen people have been wounded in a shooting at a Mother’s Day parade in the US city of New Orleans, police say. The victims included two children who were grazed by bullets. Police say most injuries are not life-threatening. It is unclear what sparked the shooting in the city’s 7th Ward on Sunday afternoon. Police say three suspects were seen fleeing the area. The incident happened at about 14:00 (19:00 GMT) at the intersection of Frenchmen and Villere streets. “Shots were fired with different guns,” a police statement said. “Immediately after the shooting our officers saw three suspects running from the scene.” The statement said 10 men, seven women, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were wounded by gunfire. FBI spokeswoman Mary Beth Romig said they had “no reason to believe it was an act of terror, just street violence”.

 

For my money, Rising Hegemon’s rising snark sums up the whole proceedings just fine.

What could be more American  

Than this headline?

It is unclear what sparked the shooting, which happened in the city’s 7th Ward on Sunday afternoon. Police say two or three suspects were seen fleeing the area. Police said that, as well as the 12 people with gunshot wounds, one person was injured in the ensuing panic.

It is all part of a typical week of gun incidents in this country, which the NRA would like to have you completely ignore. Cue Lee Greenwood.

By the end of the week, two brothers with gang ties and a history of drug offenses had been arrested for the deed, the narrative in place, the crime scene tape pulled up, so everything is hunky-dory again, right?

Two brothers with a history of drug arrests and suspected ties to a neighborhood gang each face 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder in a shooting spree that brought a sudden bloody end to a neighborhood Mother’s Day parade.

Right?

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 Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.    ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

How really depraved are we? Really? (h/t Joe P.) Earlier in the week I found myself arguing that the story could not possibly be true, but I discoved that the only problem here is my own paucity of imagination.

Rich Manhattan moms hire

handicapped tour guides so kids can

cut lines at Disney World

The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day. “My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ — the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.

“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,’’ she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”

The woman said she hired a Dream Tours guide to escort her, her husband and their 1-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter through the park in a motorized scooter with a “handicapped” sign on it. The group was sent straight to an auxiliary entrance at the front of each attraction.

Someone on Facebook observed that at least this gave some occasional employment to the handicapped.  Sometimes we are left without words. And sometimes the news comes pre-loaded with its own layer of snark.

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Those paying attention to continued congressional treason and the incompetence and misfeasance of the Obama administration were treated to The Benghazi Dumb Show and Obama’s IRS shooting itself in the foot. Charlie Pierce’s take:

Obama’s IRS answer probably won’t satisfy Republicans demanding a public apology from the president and insisting the story indicates Obama’s White House is run like Nixon’s. But the president put himself on the same page with elected officials of all political stripes Monday who demanded to know more about what happened at the IRS and the firing of those responsible for any malfeasance. No. It won’t satisfy them. He could have climbed up on a cross and driven nails into his own palms and that wouldn’t have satisfied them. Why is that the point? The media has no affirmative obligation to decide that a “political circus” has broken out and that it has no job left except to write play-by-play on what the monkeys are doing. Obama’s White House is not like Nixon’s any more than it is like the court of Robert The Bruce. Because some Republicans are still carrying old Watergate grudges around like goiters in their consciences is no reason for smart people to play along with it. Nixon’s IRS did not call out its own mistakes. Nixon’s IRS did not apologize. Nixon did not call a press conference and denounce the IRS for what it did, and this was because Nixon ordered the IRS to do what it did, and not even Nixon was a rancid enough bag of old sins to do something like that. So what is the purpose of throwing his name in there at all? Because the Republicans used it? That’s not good enough. In 2004, the NAACP actually got audited in the wake of its having been critical of the then-reigning Avignon Presidency. Remember how that dominated the Sunday Showz for months and led to endless hearings in both houses of Congress?

***
Dept. of Now They Notice. Funny how AP notices what many of us have been bitching about for about for a fking decade, governmental investigative overreach and the metatastized surveillance state,  when it’s their titty caught in a wringer:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news. The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.
Now there is some debate as to whether or not the seizure was justified,  on grounds of the ever-useful “national security” reason. Meanwhile, we are treated to the spectacle of editors drawing themselves up to their full Lilliputian stature and solemnly intoning on how the seizure of AP phone records is an insult to an independent press. How quaint. Actually it is the current state of the press that is an insult to an independent press.  you’ll recall that nobody said a damn thing when Eric Holder’s Justice Department took numerous mulligans on investigating white-collar financial crime. In the so-called independent press had very little to say when “Homeland Security” (sic) and its federalized local thugs employed overwhelming force against unarmed Occupy protesters.  But then that was somebody else’s titty, wasn’t it?
Again, Charlie Pierce’s take:

This is what got people sent to jail in the mid-1970s. This is the Plumbers, all over again, except slightly more formal this time, and laundered, disgracefully, even more directly through the Department Of Justice. And of course, this is not nearly good enough. And even if you point out, as you should, that the AP is hyping this story a little — The government “secretly” obtained the records? Doesn’t that imply that nobody knew the records had been seized? Wasn’t there a subpoena? The phone companies knew. — the ignoble clumsiness of this more than obviates those particular quibbles.

No Charlie, no subpoena, thanks to the quick work of our friends at Verizon Wireless.

When the feds came knocking for AP journalists’ call records last year, Verizon apparently turned the data over with no questions asked. The New York Times, citing an AP employee,reported Tuesday that at least two of the reporters’ personal cellphone records “were provided to the government by Verizon Wireless without any attempt to obtain permission to tell them so the reporters could ask a court to quash the subpoena.”

Customers of Verizon Wireless, take comfort in the knowledge that your company passed AP reporters’ phone records to the feds. Remember, muppets, “It’s The Network™.”

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In other news, we learn that many of the troglodyte members of the House of Representatives, the mouth-breathing consensus who yearn so dearly for the opportunity to lay a dollop of tar on presumed 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with the Benghazi flap as the tar-laden cudgel, can’t even locate Benghazi on a map. Hilarity ensues.

 

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And  in less amusing news,  the results of the preliminary investigation into the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas came in. Or not.

Robert Champion, the ATF special agent in charge, said investigators have ruled out the possibility of an earlier fire, spontaneous ignition, smoking, weather or a 480 volt electrical system. He said investigators have not ruled foul play, or a problem with a 120 volt electrical system. The officials would not discuss the arrest of Bryce Reed, a volunteer paramedic and one of the first on the scene, who was arrested last week for possession of bomb making materials. The Insurance Council of Texas estimates the damage to surrounding homes and businesses will exceed $100 million.

Clearly, Texas investigators have also not ruled out attack by the Tsarniev Brothers, an alien energy death ray from a UFO, an attack by Al Qaeda, the Symbionese Liberation Army, or the work of a secret, “self-radicalizing” terrorist cabal led by Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater.  But never fear, the usual gaggle of self-righteous hypocrites are showing up for the cameras, squatting down and pinching off the expected pieties:

Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Thursday evening expressing his appreciation to the investigators. “While the cause of the fire remains undetermined and the investigation continues, this tragedy has shown the world the definition of compassion, from volunteer firefighters across the state rushing to help their colleagues at the scene, to friends, neighbors and Texans stepping in to help those who lost so much in the blast,” he said. Texas U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz issued a joint statement thanking the investigators. “Our prayers remain with those struggling to recover and mourning the loss of loved ones. While the cause remains undetermined, it is our sincere hope that at the end of the investigation, the residents of West can find closure and begin to heal,” they said.

Thanks, investigolators, for the camera opportunity to flog a continued regime of deregulation. en, the Grey Lady herself took note  in the NY Times. Texas don’t need no stinking regulations:

Asked about the disaster, Mr. Perry responded that more government intervention and increased spending on safety inspections would not have prevented what has become one of the nation’s worst industrial accidents in decades.

“Through their elected officials,” he said, Texans “clearly send the message of their comfort with the amount of oversight.”

This antipathy toward regulations is shared by many residents here. Politicians and economists credit the stance with helping attract jobs and investment to Texas, which has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, and with winning the state a year-after-year ranking as the nation’s most business friendly.

Raymond J. Snokhous, a retired lawyer in West who lost two cousins — brothers who were volunteer firefighters — in the explosion, said, “There has been nobody saying anything about more regulations.”

Texas has always prided itself on its free-market posture. It is the only state that does not require companies to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage. It boasts the largest city in the country, Houston, with no zoning laws. It does not have a state fire code, and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes. Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there.

But Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012.

Have a good look at what deregulation looks like. The explosion in April of a fertilizer plant near West, Tex., was so powerful that it registered as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake. McLennan, the county that includes West, has no fire code. Res ipsa loquitor. Awaiting the results earlier in the week, Pierce had it thus:

Whatever the investigators announce, the explosion will be linked to four decades of conservative-inspired deregulation, four decades of conservative-inspired corporate triumphalism, the deregulatory enthusiasm of every damn possible contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, and Rick Perry’s entire political career are pretty damn long, I’m guessing. But give up the e-mails, Holder! Ten more people died here than died in Benghazi.

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Paluel-Nuclear-Power-Plant

In a development will be very satisfying to many readers of this page, particularly those who find room for cautious optimism in the growth of renewable energy and alternative fuels (thinking of you, AG), the nuclear industry had what by any measure has to be described is a pretty bad week.

Once touted as a successor, or at least a competitor, to carbon-based power, the nuclear sector has taken a beating as the momentum behind new projects stalls and enthusiasm for domestic fossil fuel production grows. Across the country, plans to build nuclear plants have hit roadblocks recently—a sharp turn for a sector that just a few years ago was looking forward to a renaissance. *** In recent weeks, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ruled against a proposed partnership between NRC Energy and Toshiba, citing a law that prohibits control of a U.S. plant by a foreign corporation. Elsewhere, Duke Energy scuttled plans to construct two nuclear reactors in North Carolina, while California officials warned that two damaged reactors could be shut down permanently if the NRC doesn’t take action to get the plants back online. The change in nuclear’s fortunes is staggering, given that the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power …. “Starting about four years ago, the industry felt it was in the middle of a renaissance” with applications for many new plants pending with the NRC, said Peter Bradford, a law professor and a former member of the commission. “They’ve gone from that high-water mark to a point at which … we’re actually seeing the closing of a few operating plants,which was unthinkable even a few years ago.”

 San Onofre, Palisades, Hanford, and even Shearon Harris near New Hill in Wake County, NC.    And none of this even includes anything new from Fukushima, where last week TEPCO engineers wanted to dump radioactive water right into the ocean.  Aging designs, expensive maintenance, which often turns into maintenance deferred, which in itself causes additional problems as corrosion builds up and makes restarting an idle plant even more problematic. Nuke plants are gifts that will continue to keep on giving; of that you may be sure.  Consider the implications when more local municipalities and utilities catch the virus Detroit has, of not having enough of the tax base and revenue stream to support infrastructure, and consider moving if you live within 50 miles of a nuke.

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Of course none of this may make much difference if the sun has its way with us. We are told that a large solar flare may be a prelude to an entire year of heavy sunspot/solar storm activity.

The Sun erupted with a large solar flare in the direction of Earth early Friday morning, causing potential disruption to radio signals in the coming days and serving as a prelude to a period of heavy solar activity. The mid-level flare, classified as an M6.5 solar flare, “was associated with an Earth-direction coronal mass ejection (CME), a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space and can reach our planet days later,”according to Science World Report. While X-class solar flares are 10 times more powerful than Friday’s eruption, the radiation burst was the largest on record in 2013 and “caused an R2 radio blackout that has since subsided,” the site reported. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration classifies radio blackouts caused by space weather on a scale from R1 to R5, with R5 being the strongest. Scientists expect more such solar flares this year, because the Sun’s 11-year activity cycle is approaching its peak, expected to arrive in the closing months of 2013, Science World Report noted.

And now were told that NASA is warning that solar storms are possible. The implications of such an event are difficult to fathom. Current sunspots are said to be the diameter of 6 Earths, and some sunspot activity can lead to significant eruptions of radiation.

The Sun is currently reaching the peak of its 11-year solar cycle. The Solar Dynamics Observatory was launched by NASA in 2010. The observatory spacecraft is just one of many alerting NASA to signs of solar flares, or coronal mass ejections. One of the biggest concerns surrounding solar flares is the ability the storms have to take down our antiquated power grid. If a massive solar flare is directed at Earth, the fiscal destruction could be legendary. Both NASA and NOAA experts estimate the potential damage of such a direct hit would be in the trillions. The last major solar flare to directly impact Earth was in 1859, the Carrington Event. Telegraph wires reportedly snapped in half and caused multiple blazes. The folks of the 1800s were far less impacted by the solar flare than we would be today. Due to the computerized equipment inside vehicles built after the 1950s, nearly anything on four wheels (or two) would come to a screeching halt.

Just let the implications of that one sink in for a moment. Imagine a Carrington-type of event on top of the current economic and social dislocations we have. The mind reels.  We could be facing “a world made by hand” sooner than even Kunstler imagines.

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According to Annalee Newitz,  We may be in for a disaster or set of disasters so profound they could kick off a series of mass extinctions. Of people this time,  in contrast to the mass extinctions that Homo sapiens has already caused for other species. Ms. new it’s has written a book, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction,  that insists that human evolution has prepared us to survive future disasters.

Are we in the first act of a mass extinction that will end in the death of millions of plant and animal species across the planet, including us?

That’s what proponents of the “sixth extinction” theory believe. As the term suggests, our planet has been through five mass extinctions before. The dinosaur extinction was the most recent but hardly the most deadly: 65 million years ago, dinosaurs were among the 76 percent of all species on Earth that were extinguished after a series of natural disasters. But

185 million years before that, there was a mass extinction so devastating that paleontologists have nicknamed it the Great Dying. At that time, 95 percent of all species on the planet were wiped out over a span of roughly 100,000 years—most likely from megavolcanoes that erupted for centuries in Siberia, slowly turning the atmosphere to poison. And three more mass extinctions, some dating back over 400 million years, were caused by ice ages, invasive species, and radiation bombardment from space.

***

During the last million years of our evolution as a species, humans narrowly avoided extinction more than once. We lived through harsh conditions while another human group, the Neanderthals, did not. This isn’t just because we are lucky. It’s because as a species, we are extremely cunning when it comes to survival. If we want to survive for another million years, we should look to our history to find strategies that already worked. The title of this book, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, is a distillation of these strategies. But it’s also a call to implement them in the future, by actively taking on the project of human survival as a social and scientific challenge.

So what promises to be another work of techno-optimism. Perhaps we will be smart enough, unselfish enough, and astute enough to employ strategies that will be necessary to save the bulk of humanity. Indeed, part of the mission statement of the Diner is to “Save as Many as you Can.” However my money is on the illuminati bunkering up and leaving a combination of disease, solar storms, acid rain and widespread dislocation to scour the Muppets from their earth.  Or so they think.

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And Just so you know, the truth about lemmings has nothing to do with them committing suicide en masse by leaping off cliffs. it turns out that a Disney film, “White Wilderness,” used selectively shot and staged scenes that showed lemmings leaping off a cliff into water, and from there swimming out to the ocean to their Doom. (The film is still available on YouTube, for the curious.)  Turns out that the demise of lemmings, a voracious little Arctic vole, has much more to do with stoats, fox, owls and other predators. Far more so than cliffs.

 And here, in all the news that doesn’t fit for this week are some other links gathered liking gleanings from the field, and for which I lack the time and attention to  comment. You may find it of interest.   One thing is reasonably sure: next week will bring even more.

Brandon Smith on  terror, circular logic and the debasement of language in the quest for power: http://www.alt-market.com/articles/1501-lions-and-tigers-and-terrorists-oh-my

GO’s article on vectors of human  extinction  

Personal extinction: Suicide rates in middle aged Americans- Mercola http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/16/suicide-rate.aspx?e_cid=20130516_DNL_ProdTest2_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130516ProdTest2

America’s first climate refugees– with a tip o’ the Surly Crown o’Thorns to JoeP: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2013/may/13/newtok-alaska-climate-change-refugees

The Week That Was in Doom 5/12/2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 12, 2013

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

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

Plenty of doom and doom-related happenings on the domestic and international front this week, so let’s go right to the videotape:

Across the pond in Greece, where Question Mark and the Austerians are administering the same sort of save-the-rich economic policies that plutocrats like Pete Peterson so dearly wants to bring to the FSA, youth unemployment has reached a staggering 60 per cent.

While the overall unemployment rate rose to 27 percent, according to statistics service data released on Thursday, joblessness among those aged between 15 and 24 jumped to 64.2 percent in February from 59.3 percent in January. Youth unemployment was 54.1 percent in March 2012.

“It is by far the highest youth unemployment rate in the euro zone, highlighting the difficulties young people face in entering the labor market despite government incentives to create jobs,” said economist Nikos Magginas at National Bank.

Athens has lowered the minimum monthly wage for those under 25 years by 32 percent to about 500 euros to entice hiring.

Note that last succulent little datapoint, and keep it in your pocket when the solons in DC look up from Benghazi! BENGHAZI!! BENGHAZI!!!!!!!!! long enough to recommend a lowering of the minimum wage, or pass a bill to eliminate overtime wage payments.
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As our friend Joe P. posted earlier in the week, researchers have once again discovered the glaringly obvious, a link between racism and stupidity. Whouda thunk it?

Findings taken from numerous research projects strongly indicate that prejudice, racism and intolerance are more likely to be present in individuals with greater cognitive rigidity, less cognitive flexibility and lower integrative complexity.

Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice.

We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups. In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology.

A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status.

Original here. This is well known by those in power, who have thoughtfully provided these people their own reality-free 24-hour Cable News Network.
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“If voting changed anything they would make it illegal”

–Emma Goldman

Although I am a pretty political creature, I tend to eschew politics on the Diner blog. The reasons for that are that there is a time and place for everything, and secondly, I share the apparent presupposition of most Diners that electoral politics is a sham and dumb show conducted every four years to keep we muppets amused.  With that in mind as background, I proudly ginned up the following segue, citing as additional evidence of mass stupidity the reelection of Terry Sanford in South Carolina this week. South Carolina has been the crazy uncle living in the attic of American politics ever since, oh, say 1859. But it never trotted out its stuff more aggressively than it did this week, and elevating the serial philanderer, trespasser, liar, adulterer, and misuser of state funds to noble office. Proof positive that debating cardboard cutouts of Nancy Pelosi in. the absence of having anything to say for yourself is really all you need to be elected in South Carolina. This person says it best, the unvarnished, unpolished, wholly unedited letter from a mad-as-shit South Carolinian:

Dear Fellow South Carolinians of the First District,

What the fuck are you people thinking? Mark Sanford, really? Way to keep us in the running, as the shitass craziest state of the nation. One more fuck-up like this and we’ll surpass even Florida  — home of child killers, cannibals and roach eaters! The “Palmetto State”, my ass. I think the “Facepalm State” is becoming increasingly more accurate here.

I have to hand it to you though–go big or go home, right?  On the same ballot where you elected Mark Sanford, that two-timing turd, you also voted–by a majority of 65%, no less–to protect the sanctity of marriage from scary gay people. Why shart quietly when you can shit the whole bed, am I right? The irony is intoxicating and it makes me puke.

We all know that South Carolina is a conservative bastion–no Democrat has won here in 30 years. Elizabeth Colbert Busch had the qualifications, ran a strong campaign and was leading Sanford in the polls late into the campaign. Realizing that Sanford couldn’t beat Colbert Busch, one-on-one, he had to invoke the name of that Satanist Minx, Nancy Pelosi as the straw man to gain traction. And with all of the cognitive skills of Pavlov’s dogs, you clownfuckers fell for it.

Where is the outrage of 1998, when the Clinton administration was nearly tanked over a blow job? And who was leading the charge in the furor against Clinton’s infidelity back then? None other than fucking white Grimace, himself, Newt Gingrich–you know, that other adulterous goat diddler that you elected as Republican presidential nominee last year.

So what gives, South Carolina? Is this insanity a cry for help or is it, more likely, a stunt for more attention? Were we paying too much attention to Mississippi again? You’re like the pretty blonde with the dazzling smile that boils the pet rabbit at the first hint of rejection.

And don’t pretend like this recent spate of cray-cray is a fluke, either. We also have you to thank for Joe “You lie!” Wilson, and racist hypocrite Strom Thurmond who fathered a child with his parents’ 16 year old black housekeeper. “There’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches” But you’re totally down with porking them ain’t ya, eh, Strom?

There is much to love about South Carolina: the food, the gentility of its people, the mellifluous accent, and we can certainly appreciate colorful characters. We dig eccentricity! But hypocrisy is unbecoming, and so is stupidity in the face of facts.

Too bad Congressman-elect Sanford won’t be able to luxuriate in the after-glow of his win. He’ll be tied up in court defending the charge of trespassing onto his ex-wife’s property. I wonder if he’ll repay the state of South Carolina the money he used for his Argentinian booty call. Surely he will because he’s all about “family values” and responsible government spending.

I just snorted mint julep through my nose!  You know what, First District? All y’all can kiss my motherfucking ass– that’s right, all y’all ignorant motherfuckers!!

XXXX XXXXXXX
A Formerly Proud South Carolinian

A truly well done rant. Wish I had said that.
________________________________________________________________

 

As the journalists would say, “add stupidity.” We offer up this article on the overreach of law enforcement. Free Lilly-May Allen!!!

A girl aged ten was told by police that she could be arrested for causing criminal damage – over a game of hopscotch.

Lilly-May Allen was playing with a friend on a grid she had chalked on the pavement in front of her home when a marked police van pulled up.

An officer warned the girls that using chalk on the pavement was criminal damage and they could be arrested for it, before driving off.

But the girls did not understand what they had done wrong and Lilly-May is now reluctant to play outside, according to her father.

After Lilly-May told her parents about the incident, they called the police to clarify the law, but officers refused to confirm whether drawing a hopscotch grid in chalk on the pavement was an offence – even though it washes away in the rain.

The girl’s father, Bob Allen, 51, who runs his own karaoke business, said: ‘The policeman said to her that what she had done was criminal damage and she could be arrested. He then drove off.

‘She didn’t come into the house for a while and didn’t tell us  straight away because she  thought I was going to tell her off for being naughty.

‘She couldn’t even remember what the policeman had told her it was – only criminal something.’

He added: ‘She is only ten and didn’t know what she had done wrong.

‘I rang up the police and asked if chalking up a hopscotch grid was an offence and they wouldn’t say yes or no and said it was a grey area.

‘I’m angry and upset and if it was against the law then the policeman should have knocked on our door and said something.’

Mr Allen, who lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached home in Ramsgate, Kent, said the  incident on Monday had knocked his daughter’s confidence about playing outside.

   

This reminds of a set of charges encountered by some of our number during the heyday of Occupy Norfolk. Some of our folks had inscribed drawings and slogans on the sidewalks and upon the pediment of the local Confederate monument. The local Keystone Kops wasted no time bringing charges of “defacing a monument” against these colored-fingered revolutionaries. In the fullness of time those charges, just like the obstruction of justice charges brought against other members of Occupy Norfolk, disappeared like . . . sidewalk chalk on a rainy summer day.

________________________________________________________________

As as long as we’re piling on the gobshites  in what is rapidly becoming the “stupidity” edition of The Week That Was in Doom, let us turn to that gift which keeps on giving, Sen. James Imhofe (R-Saturn):

 

“The Obama Administration’s cover up of Benghazi is the greatest conspiracy of all time, even greater than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which happens to be totally true by the way.”

 

All this in a week where the Heritage Foundation managed to put out a factually laughable report attributing trillions of dollars to the future costs of immigration. The fact that the report was a tissue of bad assumptions lashed together by a proven bigot seemed to be no impediment.

 

James DeMint resigned from the Senate (as a representative of South Carolina) some months ago — so he could get a big pay raise to be the head of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

What better place to be rewarded with seven-figures at a think tank, when this is your big thought:

DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.

Classy.

Naturally as head of the Heritage Foundation, DeMint used his first big project — critiquing immigration reform to keep those big “ideas” flowing.

One of the co-authors of the Heritage Study claming immigration reform would add $6.3 trillion to the deficit, Jason Richwine, advocated barring immigrants from entering the United States based on their IQ in 2009.

Really getting their Confederate Dollars’ worth the Heritage Foundation.

Rising Hegemon has this one covered:

Yesterday I posted about how former Senator, freak, and current Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint managed to put out a factually laughable immigrant bashing report put together in large part by a bigot.

But the bigot, Jason Redwine, is so much, so very much more:

The Heritage Foundation’s Jason Richwine, who co-authored the think tank’s study claiming immigration reform will cost trillions of dollars, contributed two articles to a “nationalist” website about Hispanic incarceration rates, Yahoo News reported Thursday. Richwine came under fire after the Washington Post reported Wednesday that his Harvard dissertation argued Hispanics have lower IQs than Caucasians and that the United States should screen immigrants based on their IQ scores.

Meanwhile in reality, which is NOT a whiter shade of pale:

A record seven-in-ten (69%) Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall, two percentage points higher than the rate (67%) among their white counterparts, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Looks like it is time for resign again Jim DeMint.

 

South Carolina again. Caveat emptor.
________________________________________________________________

 

Mmmmmmm… tastes like chicken . . . with arsenic.

In other doom-related news this week, the Center for Food Safety has caught the FDA admitting that chicken meat contains arsenic. Skip the chicken when taking mom to Sunday afternoon dinner for Mother’s Day today.

 

Attorneys at Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit on behalf of CFS, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and seven other U.S. food safety, agriculture, public health and environmental groups to compel the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to respond to the groups’ three year-old petition which calls for immediate withdrawal of FDA’s approval of arsenic-containing compounds as feed additives for food animals. Filed the same day Consumer Reports released an alarming study on antibiotic resistance in turkey, the lawsuit highlights yet another gaping hole in FDA oversight of animal feed additives.

Arsenic is commonly added to poultry feed for the FDA-approved purposes of inducing faster weight gain on less feed, and creating the perceived appearance of a healthy color in meat from chickens, turkeys and hogs. Yet new studies increasingly link these practices to serious human health problems.

.  .  .

“FDA leadership is asleep at the switch, if not turning a blind eye to public health,” said David Wallinga, MD, a physician with the IATP. “Seven years ago, IATP blew the whistle on FDA’s indifference to arsenic being needlessly fed to chickens and turkeys. More than a decade ago, we sounded the alarm on how FDA let the routine feeding of drugs to chickens and turkeys help ensure that Americans would eat meat often contaminated with bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics. We are filing suit because nothing much has changed.”

Some years ago I read a biography of Rasputin, who reportedly dosed himself with arsenic every day as a preventative against assassination. Rasputin was astute enough to realize that his proximity to the Czarina placed him in mortal danger from opportunists in the Czar’s court. In the fullness of time, they did indeed assassinate Rasputin, but he shrugged off the initial doses of poison like after dinner brandy. Disposing of Rasputin required the assassins to shoot him multiple times, wrap him in chains and throw his body into the river. I offer this anecdote in the hopes that  regular dosings of arsenic will have a similar salutary effect for those of us who dine regularly at the Doomsday Diner.  Bon appetit!
________________________________________________________________

 

Elsewhere, in a thoughtful and detailed look at the excesses of the FSA Security State, Peter Van Buren writing for Tom dispatch describes appalling detail just how deep the Washington rabbit hole really goes with respect to whistleblowers. A truly Kafkaesque tale.

 

Robert MacLean is a former air marshal fired for an act of whistle-blowing.  He has continued to fight over seven long years for what once would have passed as simple justice: getting his job back. His is an all-too-twenty-first-century story of the extraordinary lengths to which the U.S. government is willing to go to thwart whistle-blowers.

First, the government retroactively classified a previously unclassified text message to justify firing MacLean. Then it invoked arcane civil service procedures, including an “interlocutory appeal” to thwart him and, in the process, enjoyed the approval of various courts and bureaucratic boards apparently willing to stamp as “legal” anything the government could make up in its own interest.

And yet here’s the miracle at the heart of this tale: MacLean refused to quit, when ordinary mortals would have thrown in the towel.  Now, with a recent semi-victory, he may not only have given himself a shot at getting his old job back, but also create a precedent for future federal whistle-blowers. In the post-9/11 world, people like Robert MacLean show us how deep the Washington rabbit hole really goes.

 

The Whistle Is Blown

MacLean joined the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) in 2001 after stints with the Air Force and the Border Patrol. In July 2003, all marshals received a briefing about a possible hijacking plot. Soon after, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), which oversees FAMS, sent an unencrypted, open-air text message to the cell phones of the marshals cancelling several months of missions for cost-cutting reasons. MacLean became concerned that cancelling missions during a hijacking alert might create a dangerous situation for the flying public. He complained to his supervisor and to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, but each responded that nothing could be done.

It was then that he decided to blow the whistle, hoping that public pressure might force the TSA to reinstate the marshals’ flights. So MacLean talked to a reporter, who broadcast a story criticizing the TSA’s decision and, after 11 members of Congress joined in the criticism, it reversed itself. At this point, MacLean had not been identified as the source of the leak and so carried on with his job.

A year later, he appeared on TV in disguise, criticizing the TSA dress code and its special boarding policies, which he believed allowed marshals to be easily identified by other passengers. This time, the TSA recognized his voice and began an investigation that revealed he had also released the 2003 text message. He was fired in April 2006. Although the agency had not labeled that message as “sensitive security information” (SSI) when it was sent in 2003, in August 2006, months after MacLean’s firing, it issued a retroactive order stating that the text’s content was indeed SSI.

A Whistleblower’s Catch-22

That disclosing the contents of an unclassified message could get someone fired for disclosing classified information is the sort of topsy-turvy situation which could only exist in the post-9/11 world of the American national security state.

The full story will reward the reader.  Suffice it to say that at the same time Guantanamo now holds “86 prisoners  who have been carefully vetted by the U.S. military, the FBI, the CIA, and so on, and found to have done nothing for which they could be charged or should be imprisoned and who have been cleared for release– there is no place to release them to, especially since the majority of them are Yemenis and President Obama has imposed a moratorium on transferring any prisoner to Yemen.”

Thus indefinite detention, which is constitutionally prohibited, and which should properly be anathema to the American justice system, is the legal legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren.  That relatively few Americans are aware of or care about this should be startling.  “No charges, no trials, but never getting out of prison: that would once have been associated with the practices of a totalitarian state.”

“At the same time no one, not George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, or other top officials involved in setting up such a global system of injustice, sweeping up the innocent with the guilty, and subjecting them to horrors without end (including now force-feeding) will ever be brought to justice in an American court, nor will anyone involved in the system of rendition, torture, or abuse.”  The  Obama legacy  will be that of having institutionalized the worst anti-constitutional excesses of the Bush years, and having sold them with a charming, intelligent brown face. Had John McCain as President tried to do the same thing, liberals and fellow travelers would have stopped this country in its tracks. In 2008 people went to the ballot box to elect Obama as a repudiation of the Cheney-Bush regime. Upon leaving offoce Obama will not only have institutionalized the incursions of the Bill of Rights to which we most objected, but also having insured that no accountability will ever be visited upon the neocons who let us into a pointless, illegal, and immoral war.
________________________________________________________________

 

And then Carl Herman, or whoever posts things up over at the estimable Washington’s Blog, wraps it all up in a ball for us in a post sure to appeal to doomers of all stripes with Why America Fell So Far … So Fast.

An excerpt:

All Empires Crash Soon After They Reach Their Peak

Thomas Jefferson said, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”   And because I love my country, I frequently criticize America’s shortcomings in the hopes of making her better.

But the truth is that the United States is not unusual … it is just like all other empires which have hit their peak and then quickly crashed.

.  .  .

The indications are always the same:

– The financialization of the economy, moving from manufacturing to speculation;

– Very high levels of debt;

– Extreme economic inequality;

– And costly military overreaching.

.  .  .

PhD economist MarcFaber states:

How [am I] so sure about this final collapse?

Of all the questions I have about the future, this is the easiest one to answer. Once a society becomes successful it becomes arrogant, righteous, overconfident, corrupt, and decadent … overspends … costly wars … wealth inequity and social tensions increase; and society enters a secular decline.

[Quoting 18th century Scottish historian Alexander Fraser Tytler:] The average life span of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years progressing from “bondage to spiritual faith … to great courage … to liberty … to abundance … to selfishness … to complacency … to apathy … to dependence and … back into bondage”

[Where is America in the cycle?] It is most unlikely that Western societies, and especially the U.S., will be an exception to this typical “society cycle.” … The U.S. is somewhere between the phase where it moves “from complacency to apathy” and “from apathy to dependence.”

In other words, America’s rapid fall is not really that novel after all.

 

This article also cites Jared Diamond’s excellent book “Collapse”, whose conclusions I will not discuss here, is that will be the subject of another post that I had been planning for quite some time. The article over on Washington’s blog is quite good. Don’t miss it.
________________________________________________________________

 

Closer to home, Tamerlan Tsarniev  has reportedly been interred at a burial site in a Muslim cemetery outside of Richmond Virginia. You might well think the dead are dead, let them rest in peace, whatever their transgressions in this life.

All the graves in the Doswell, VA cemetery were covered with reddish-brown mulch except for two that appeared newly dug, neither with any kind of marking and one of them presumably Tsarnaev's.

All the graves in the Doswell, VA cemetery were covered with reddish-brown mulch except for two that appeared newly dug, neither with any kind of marking and one of them presumably Tsarnaev’s.

The Virginia woman whose actions led to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev being buried about 30 miles north of her Richmond home said the angry backlash from local officials, some cemetery neighbors and online critics has been unpleasant, but she has no regrets.

“I can’t pretend it’s not difficult to be reviled and maligned,” Martha Mullen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday. “But any time you can reach across the divide and work with people that are not like you, that’s what God calls us to do.”

 

Some of my neighbors think otherwise. A so-called “friend” opened up a thread on his Facebook page in criticism that allowed the butt-picking-finger-sniffing contingent to reveal its howling id. Stunning. As HL Mencken once observed, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” The reflexive hysteria even manifests itself on the local Craigslist site. I found myself yesterday shopping for an old beater truck, which I could use to haul mulch for Contrary. Under the “rants and raves” section I found these offerings from my esteemed fellow citizens:

  • That piece of shit deserves to be dug up and tossed in a trash pile like every other man, woman, and child that worships islam
  • Now that we know he’s buried so close to here (a 2 hour drive), I know what I will do. I’m gonna eat me a big slab of pork baby back ribs and a laxative. Then I’m gonna drive up there, drop my pants and shit my bowels on his grave.
  • people they brought that pig shit that bombed Boston to Virginia and secretly buried him on OUR SOIL!!!!!!!!
    I say we start a petition to have him and every other muslim UNBURIED and thrown in the trash dump of any state EXCEPT Virginia
    Muslims are pissed cause he wasn’t buried in the place he died in? fuck islam, fuck muslims, I’m pissed cause that pig shit is buried here in Va.
  • its our new slogan Welcome to Virginia where we will handle other states garbage

All above (sic).

In closing, I offer you this piece of wisdom: never think it can’t get worse. It can, and will. Your neighbors will insist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slavery & Survival of the Little Fish

Off the keyboard of RE

Published on Reverse Engineering in February 2012

Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner 

Note from RE:  These were my last couple of Rants on Reverse Engineering before we launched the Diner.

Febuary 17, 2012 Rant

I was reading another one of the gazillion Greek Tragedy threads on ZH where a bunch of the Piglets got into discussing Slavery and the economic cause of the Civil War. Unsurprisingly, not a few of them think Slavery wasn’t so bad as an economic system and of course clearly ALSO figure since they got Gold in their basement safes, they will be Masters not Slaves in the world to come.

It makes you want to PUKE really, but in my case not because I think we will return to Slavery but because these folks just don’t seem to grasp that Slavery won’t WORK as an economic model.

The problem is, as it was really back in the Old South that the COST of feeding, clothing and housing the slaves is greater than the income you can derive from their labor. In fact same problem has hit at the Industrial level now.  By burning up a lot of Oil we were able to support a population of 7B slaves; in the absence of Oil we cannot do that.

Let’s say for argument’s purposes you Own Free and Clear 10,000 Acres of Prime Bottom land on the Mighty Mississippi and when TSHTF, you offer starving Chicago residents the opportunity to become your Slave. In return, you will feed, house and clothe say 1000 of them on your land.  How much Surplus Food will say 1000 Slaves be producing on your land after you feed them and the Oxen JUST enough to do a day’s work?  How much will it cost you to provide shacks or trailers to live in squalor in so they don’t die on you from exposure?  How much does it cost to buy all of them 1000 Parkas to wear in the winter so they don’t freeze to death in the unheated shacks?  You really think anybody running slaves is going to be taking home a huge Profit here?  Of the excess food you MIGHT produce for a while, what exactly are you going to take in payment for that food?  Gold Coins?  Why?  What will the Gold Coins buy you?

That is just the economic problem.  What about CONTROLLING 1000 slaves on your 10,000 Acre Doomstead? You’ll need at least 100 Overseers to do that.  You better start Prepping Up with Overseers right now and doing classes in Slave management.

Explicit Slavery is not that much different from the Debt Servitude system, both require an extreme SURPLUS in the environment to function.  In times of deprivation, slave systems fail just like everything else does.  Look at the quote from Revelation I have on the Homepage again:

“Revelation 18:11-13 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 12The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.”

That is how it WENT DOWN in Babylon! In a Civilization Crash, it ALL goes worthless, even the Souls of Men!  Why does Pharaoh Let Moses and his People Go?  Because Pharaoh can’t AFFORD to keep them fed and clothed and housed, that’s why!

I’m not saying here people will not be enslaved or sell themselves into slavery just for 3 hots and a cot, as long as those things ARE available, many people will do that. In fact, probably 50% of Global Population ALREADY does that on the economic level.  If you value Living more than Freedom, Slavery is Preferable to Death. However, when the Masters can no longer AFFORD to enslave you, you got only two CHOICES left.  You either buy your ticket to the Great Beyond right there and then, or you follow Moses out into the Desert in search of the Promised Land.

I do not think Slavery is the long term Outcome here.  It’s not economically viable and sustainable in a world of limited resources, only in a world of surplus.  In the world of limited resources and population overshoot, the long term outcomes are only 2. DEATH or FREEDOM. To find FREEDOM, you will have to walk FAR into the Desert and find a way to survive on the Cactus and the Scorpions and Snakes.  You will never find Freedom in the Belly of the Beast, in the Big Shities.  There you will only find the Horseman of Death.

If you want to LIVE, prepare yourself best you can for the Journey into the Desert with the Bushmen of the Kalahari, or the Inuit of Nunavut if you prefer a cold climate.  those environments will be EVERYWHERE.  Slavery is not an Option.  The Signpost Ahead in this Greatest Depression doesn’t read “Jobless Men Move on, we cannot take care of our Own”, it reads “SLAVES move on, we cannot feed you or clothe you or house you”  You are on your OWN now, the Masters are fresh OUT of resources they will sprinkle down on you to keep you warm and fed.

At the very least here, try to GTFO of Dodge just as soon as you can, or Prep Up a good Bugout Plan for when TSHTF.  You have a DEATH SENTENCE in the Big Shities.  GTFO of Dodge before the Window Closes. With as many preps as you can carry with you and plenty of Ammo also.

RE

 February 14, 2012 Rant

While Athens Burns, Obama-sama delivered unto Congress another utterly ludicrous
“Budget” full of false assumptions on future revenue, all based on even faltier
statistics conjured up out of thin air to justify said budget. It’s not meant to
reflect any reality, just to set up yet another Kabuki Theatre “battle” in the
election year.

Anyone with half a brain at this point can see all “Budgets” produced by
Goobermints is complete nonsense. Goobermints with the ability to print their
own money are doing so and distributing out that money in the places the
Lobbyists want them to distribute it to. How much money is or is not collected
in Taxes each year has become close to irrelevant here. The Greeks cannot
collect enough in Taxes to pay their bills and are in the process of being
completely CUT OFF from credit by the Money Masters. The FSofA isn’t yet being
cut off from Credit as a Corporation, but its constituent citizens are being so
cut off.

Denninger posted yet another graph showing the exponential Increase in Debt
since 1980, with the tacit idea embedded in that we could have avoided all these
problems with “fiscal responsibility” had it been undertaken then rather than
blowing more financial bubbles and so wildly increasing debt levels. No, sorry
Karl, that isn’t true.

Had this great Debt Expansion not been undertaken back then, we simply would
have begun the tailspin downward earlier. The economy based on Oil was already
shrinking in real terms and only the expansion of credit resuscitated it for a
while. Perhaps we might have avoided some of the more extreme consequences we
will get now of the credit collapse, but we still would have faced down a
shrinking economy with ever lower standards of living and faced increasingly
costly energy problems that much sooner.

1980 Amerikans were not prepared to go back to the land any more than 2012
Amerikans are. Through Advertising and Education, Amerikans were all inculcated
into the idea we could have ever increasing Prosperity through Technological
Innovation. The advent of the Personal Computer and the Internet made this idea
a Virtual Reality and Credit Ballooned offering every Geek with a Computer the
opportunity to Strike it Rich in the Dot Com era. Exactly what having the
Internet ever really PRODUCED other than addicts like myself is not real clear
here. It built this huge artifice of Information available at the click of a
mouse button, but just having more information doesn’t make more food available
or put any Oil back into the ground. Energy is constantly being consumed at a
rapid pace to keep all those computers running and routers functioning. Its
burning itself up as we speak/keyboard here of course.

So, we lived a Virtual Reality FANTASY here for around 30 years which kept the
Credit flowing and made a few folks extraordinarily wealthy while just about
everyone else sank ever deeper into debt to buy all the new toys the Geeks put
up on the shelves at Best Buy every year. The Debt problem and the
unsustainability of the paradigm goes WAY further back than 1980 though, and
this is where Karl just does not seem to Get It.

Accessing the Thermodynamic Energy of Oil on the mass scale allowed populations
to grow large and essentially prevent a Malthusian collapse of the Ag Economy
which was having sustainability problems itself going back to the 1600s. Why do
you think there were always so many Wars going on in Europe all through those
years? Finding the New World gave some Breathing Room to this economy for a
while, but finding ways to utilize fossil fuel energy gave a whole lot MORE
breathing room. That Exponential Growth Karl tracks in the Debt was preceded
by exponential growth in World Population which really took off in the 1800s.
The whole problem was Baked in the Cake back then.

The folks who gained control over the issuance of Credit long ago fully
understand the problems of exponential growth. However, the Monetary system
they run DEPENDS on it, and so they have always fostered this sort of growth.
This is how you become exponentially more Wealthy of course. A Slave owner with
just 100 Slaves is only moderately Rich; a slave owner who controls the
production of Millions of Peoples is far richer of course. The contraction of
the system as a whole results in a contraction of the overall wealth, which
cannot be stopped. What can happen and is happening is that any reamining
Wealth in the hands of J6P can be transferred to the Illuminati, but only until
J6P is completely BK. Then further contraction requires Illuminati to be pit
against Illuminati, with smaller Pigmen being Cannibalized by Bigger Ones, until
only the very Biggest of the Fish remain swimming in the pond. Finally, those
very BIG Tuna themselves end up starving, because there just ain’t any little
fish left to eat anymore.

The very TINIEST fish can still survive though, too small to see for Big Tuna.
They survive by swimming into a Coral Reef, where they are relatively free of
bigger predators since the Big Tuna ate all of them up. They live by consuming
the Phytoplankton and Algae.

You too can survive as a Tiny Fish in this maelstrom. The Big fish at the top
of the food chain are going the way of the Dinosaur here, you just have to find
your Coral Reef and Hide out until they all finish each other off. The Meek
Shall Inherit the Earth.

RE

Islands of Freedom III: Polynesian Survival Demographics

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner

Build it and they will come. -Field of Dreams

I have been involved on  daily basis now with the Collapse Blogospere for about 5 years.  I began as  fairly Clueless reader, evolved to a slightly less clueless Commenter, morphed into Collapse Troll on Steroids getting my ass Banned from several Boards and Blogs, and eventually Graduated to become yet another Collapse Blogger on the net.

Many of my early concepts have evolved and changed, and I sure as hell haven’t been Spot On  with Timing issues in many areas, but on a broad level the Collapse has played itself out exactly as I thought it would when I was writing on Peak Oil in 2008.

Besides the Graduation to Blogger though when we launched the Doomstead Diner in February 2012, the most recent evolution for me has been to go from Theoretician to Practical Application of the Principals I write on, of Tribal Formation and preparing not as an Individual, but as a GROUP for the oncoming Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

This series is one I started on my Yahoo Group Reverse Engineering with a few Collapse Friends, and in the Final Chapter I took a look through the Time Window at what the parameters were for Polynesians who took those INCREDIBLE Voyages in search of new Islands to Populate, and to live out their lives in FREEDOM.  What is astonishing here is how accurately it represents what is now occuring here on the Diner with the Foxstead Project:

Polynesian Suvival Demographics

In considering the Demographics of who is likely to survive and how, I have to return back here to the example of the Polynesians. Who do you think was actually ABOARD that first Ocean Going Catamaran rigged set of canoes that MADE IT THROUGH to the Big Island of Hawaii?

Was there an Old and Wizened Navigator aboard who had many years of sailing about the local island under his belt? Almost certainly there was. NOBODY accumulates enough knowledge to guide a sailing vessel across that vast expanse of ocean and recognize all the signs of wave patterns signifying some land mass a thousand miles distant without being on the water for decades, with the aid of virtually no navigation instruments of any kind, save some Coconut Shells with star patterns drilled into them. These dudes didn’t even have a Magnetic Compass to use, for crying out loud. It’s almost beyond belief they were able to do this.

Were MOST of the crew in their teens and 20s? Almost certainly so also, these were the OWSers of their time. These were kids growing up in a time where most of the island they lived on was spoken for and there was no OPPORTUNITY for them other than to go somewhere ELSE. The demographic would have been younger than the 20-30 Something’s of today because the average lifespan was so much shorter then. The “oldster” Navigator was also likely younger than a 50-something of today, more like 30 something, but the same principles apply.

Would the crew have had many established Families with Children? Unlikely they would risk the voyage, and if they were flush enough to be having children, they were part of the “haves” group of that Island, they did not NEED to risk such a voyage outward into the Unknown.

So it’s clear here why the Polynesian OWSers went a-Voyaging in the Oceans Going Catamarans, what is not quite so clear is why at least One Oldster Navigator would go with them to Guide the Canoe? Said Navigator was probably pretty safe himself in the home island, knowing all the best fishing spots and so forth. The answer to that one is the ADVENTURE and opportunity to LEAD. He also is probably tired of the Inbred Monarchs who are running the island. He’s done it all, seen it all as far as his little island is concerned, he’s most of the way through his life already here and just more of the same old thing isn’t all that appealing anymore. So, when a bunch of hopeless young members of his tribe come to him and say “We have built a Canoe. Will you Guide Us?” what else would there be for that Navigator to say to them but “YES! I will Guide the Canoe.”?

Of course you take a risk here in making such a choice, but what of it after you have already lived most of your life and all you have to look forward to is more of the same old shit?

For the 50+ something’s here in the group, this is your CHOICE now, either be complacent and live with the same old shit, or to take this opportunity now to use what you have learned and try to FIND the Big Island of Hawaii with a bunch of 20 something OWSers. Unfortunately, unlike the Polynesian Navigator of 1000AD, you yourself may not have the necessary skills right now to lead such an adventure, but you do have a greater depth of knowledge from which to work and the ability to gather together the information you need here if you are so predisposed as to do so.

If you follow this path, you may or may not make it through to the Big Island of FREEDOM, but so long as you can get your crew of 20 something’s close enough that they can see in the distance the fiery light of a distant Volcano, you will have done your job.

You cannot make this trip on your own, and really you cannot even be the instigator for the trip, the Crew has to come to you and ask you to help guide the Canoe. You can however teach yourself enough now to be ready for the day they DO come and ask you, and if you have an answer they can believe in and they believe in you, they will follow.

So to answer the Question what is the Best Demographic here? Based on how I recreate the Polynesian Model of dispersal across the Pacific Islands, it would be one or two well versed Oldsters who no longer wish to participate in the society they were born into, along with a crew of young OWSers who have no opportunity and nothing left to lose.

RE

I wrote that article on November 6, 2011, before the Diner was even a twinkle in the eye of the crew aboard the Good Ship Reverse Engineering.  At the time,  around a year and a half ago, I did not know of the EXISTENCE of William Hunter Duncan, nor of Roamer, nor of Lucid Dreams or his wife Gypsy Mama.  One by one, these folks became known to me once the Diner was born, as I cruised the Web PLUGGING THE LIVING SHIT out of the Doomstead Diner on any Doom Board that would still let me Post and Link.

The Diner is like a Canoe sailing in the waters of Collapse here on the net.  It’s not a REAL LIFEBOAT though, in the sense that it can support you and feed you and your family.  It only affords emotional support, a place to meet with others who see the same things as you do, who in this sense are DIFFERENT from your IRL Friends and Family who just don’t SEE IT, or don’t BELIEVE it.

Building a REAL LIFEBOAT takes REAL PEOPLE, in a REAL PLACE, doing REAL THINGS to create an Island of Freedom, a haven from the collapsing Industrial Civilization surrounding them.  Not really something an old guy like me is capable of anymore, nor do I really need it either for myself, I had my days of Adventure as a Child of the Age of Oil.

Those days are quite soon to be quite GONE, and NEW ADVENTURES beckon those who grasp what is coming down the pipe here.

What is tuly remarkable to me in this adventure is how closely what I wrote about Polynesian Survival Demographics MATCHES the Demographics of the folks now involved in the Foxstead Project in North Carolina, myself included in this of course.  Is that the result of Predictive ability based on what occurred before, or is it a case of BELIEVING so strongly in a DREAM, that you can pull others into the Dream with you?  Honestly I do not know the answer to that, all I know is that the Crew and the Navigator here all match almost precisely what I wrote in November of 2011.

Build it, and THEY WILL COME, indeed.

This adventure is quite different than the one undertaken by the Polynesians so long ago, beginning with an exodus from Tonga to New Zealand, from there to the Society Islands, from there to Rapa Nui, from there finally to the LAST STOP of Human Migrations in the aftermath of the Toba Supervolcanic Eruption 75,000 years ago, the Big Island of Hawaii.  It was the very LAST place Homo Sapiens migrated to where no others of their species had ever set foot before, approximately 1 Millenia ago now.

The Diners don’t have the option of Freedom Seeking this way, seeking a pristine Wilderness teeming wih Life,  the only possibility is to CREATE an Island of Freedom in a Global Sea of Tyranny.  The challenges are enormous, and the Dangers at least as great as those faced by the Crew and Navigator who pushed their Cat Rigged Sailing Canoe off from Rapa Nui, where they had spent GENERATIONS building Monolithic WATCHERS to look after that Island.   Probably they thought they would die on the Voyage, and so also they left those Watchers as Testimony to their brief existence on the Earth.  Brief so it is for all of us.

They did NOT die though.  They FOUND the Big Island of Hawaii.  So I hope is true for the Diners, as we make our way to FREEDOM.

RE

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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