Violence

Preparing for Collapse, A Few Rants

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Published on The Easiest Person to Fool July 25, 2018

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Beans and Squash in My Front Yard Garden

For a while now I been promising that when I got some other things out of the way, I'd actually talk about preparing for collapse. And that is just what I'm going to be doing in this and the next few posts.

Unfortunately, my crystal ball isn't any better than anybody else's, probably worse than some. What I'll be recommending will reflect my own biases and weaknesses. But even so, I think I do have some insights that will be of value to many people.

Among these insights are a few things that I feel the need to rant about. Let's get that out of the way first.

Rant 1: A Fast and Hard Collapse, NOT

I should admit that by using the phrase "preparing for collapse" I am really being somewhat misleading. As I see it, collapse is not a single event that will occur at some point in the future, but a process that has already been going on for several decades, since the oil shocks of the 70s. Progress has been coasting slowly to a stop while collapse gains momentum. This will continue.

I certainly don't buy into the whole idea of a hard, fast, apocalyptic collapse. That is a fantasy that allows us to imagine getting rid of many of the less pleasant aspects of modern life all at once. Get it over with and start fresh, so to speak. In particular, I think many people see the complete and final collapse of the financial system as freeing them from oppressive debts and jobs they hate. A pretty drastic way to solve those problems….

And of course many of us have been influenced by apocalyptic fiction. A sudden and cataclysmic event certainly sets the stage for a dramatic story. But let's try to keep reality and fiction clearly separated in our thinking here.

At any rate, what I want to talk about is how to survive the slow and unsteady collapse that I believe we are experiencing, so that is what I'm going to do. There is much less to be said about surviving hard, fast, widespread collapse because it is much harder to do and there are fewer strategies that are likely to succeed. Still, much of what I have to say would apply to some extent, should I turn out to be wrong and things all fall apart all at once.

As I have said before this that collapse has been and will continue to be uneven geographical, unsteady chronologically, and unequal socially. Certainly there will occasionally be sudden downward bumps, but in some locations more than others and effecting various social strata differently. And then there will be a partial recovery and things will carry on for a while, somewhat worse than they were before.

This will continue on for quite a few more decades before we finally reach the bottom and the dust begins to settle. At that point, in a few lucky locations, there will still be people arguing that nothing much has really changed. For most of us, though, it will be clear that a great deal has changed and not for the better. Already the world is significantly different than it was when I was young and the strategies that served well in those days are not something I would recommend now.

Perhaps most importantly, we'll need to recognize that collapse is happening and act appropriately rather than carrying on doing the same old thing, trying to fine tune a system that is fundamentally broken and wondering why things don't improve.

Rant 2: Lifeboats and Eco-Villages, NOT

For quite a while yet it will not be feasible for most of us to completely sever our ties with BAU (Business as Usual). We'll find ourselves going in two directions at once, trying to prepare for collapse while still being dependent for many of the necessities of life on the very system that is collapsing. Of course, part of our preparation will consist of reducing key dependencies. But it is challenging to reduce those dependencies when BAU can supply our needs for less than they can be produced locally. This makes it hard to earn much of living as a local, sustainable producer—the prices you have to charge mean that only those who are well off can afford to indulge themselves with your products.

Many have suggested setting up a lifeboat community or an eco-village in a remote location and waving BAU goodbye. Some days it is tempting, but there's a long list of problems with that approach. It's hard to find a group of people who are both interested, willing to sever their ties with BAU and competent. It costs a lot of money to set up such a project. There are getting to be fewer and fewer remote areas that BAU has not claimed and/or spoiled, and where the locals would welcome you. Those that are left are less than ideal (to cold, too hot, too dry, too wet, poor soil, etc.). In any area where farming is feasible, there are likely to be property taxes and building codes. So you can't completely withdraw from the money based economy if you are going to pay your taxes, and it may be difficult to build the way you'd like to without running afoul of the building code.

Better to reconcile ourselves to having a foot in both worlds for now, and whole heartedly become a part of the communities in which we find ourselves living. We can quietly prepare for the day when BAU is more obviously faltering and local production can compete successfully. Of course some communities are more suitable for this than others.

Rant 3: Renewable Energy and Eco-Modernism, NOT

There are some people who recognize problems like peak oil and climate change but think they can be solved by switching over to high tech, low-carbon renewables (mainly wind and solar) and re-organizing things to be more efficient, allowing us to go right on with a green washed version of BAU, and keep the economy growing. These folks don't understand the economic problems with the low EROEI of renewable energy sources, or the degree to which those energy sources are dependent on fossil fuels for their manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance.

Eco-modernism is a particularly egregious example of a plan to fix our problems using technology. It relies on the idea of absolute decoupling. That is, being able to reduce our impact on the resource base and environment while still improving our standard of living and allowing the economy and our population to grow. So far, our best efforts have only achieved a small amount of relative decoupling. That is, at best, increases in population and standard of living have led to slightly less than proportional increases in impact, but nothing approaching decreases in impact.

Looking realistically at what technology can do, I find it hard to see how it could be otherwise and expect that collapse will force us to reduce both our population and level of consumption. At such lower levels of consumption, energy use and technology, renewable energy sources such as biomass, wind, moving water and passive solar will no doubt supply essentially all of the energy we use. But nowhere near enough to support the sort of high tech industrial civilization we have today.

Rant 4: Violence, NOT

Violence is another area where ideas based on apocalyptic fiction are likely to lead you astray. Conflict is necessary to make a story move along, and a long tradition of collapse porn saturated with interpersonal and inter-group violence has lead many people to see that as the only way things can unfold. Food becomes short, the "have-nots" go after the "haves" and mayhem ensures. This may make good reading, but it's not so much fun in reality, and certainly not something I'm interested in.

So, I am not a survivalist, and you won't find me talking much here about security and defense. There are lots of other sources of that sort of information, if it interests you. I'm more interested in not being where the fighting is likely to break out and setting things up in the community where I am so that co-operation is a more likely outcome than serious conflict. Like giving people better alternatives than violence, meeting them with food rather than guns. The trick is being able to do so.

Rant 5: Back to the Good Old Days, NOT

A number of well known voices in the "collapse sphere" have claimed that recent advances in social justice such as feminism and equal rights for LGBTQ people are likely to be rolled back during collapse. The argument is that these freedoms are possible only in a society with lots of surplus resources. These guys are men who are obviously uncomfortable with what they see as disadvantageous changes to the power structure of our society. They have a socially conservative fantasy of collapse putting them back in charge. But really, that is not the way it works.

First of all, while we will be returning to levels of energy use and material consumption that were common one or two or even more centuries in the past, it isn't really possible to go back to the way things were then. We are starting from a different place, we know a lot of things now that we didn't back then, and formerly oppressed people who have been given a chance at equality aren't going to give it up so easily.

Second, if you look across the world and throughout history, the patriarchy is far from universal and many societies working at very much lower levels of consumption than ours have functioned quite well as matriarchies or anarchies. A patriarchy is neither the most natural way to organize human societies nor the most efficient.

I am an old white guy too, if I can accept social changes, so can you.

Rant 6: Saving the World, NOT

Some have accused me of being out to save the world. It's pretty clear that by the world, they mean "Business As Usual" and in my opinion that world needs not to be saved, but to be shut down as quickly as possible. Sadly, this isn't going to happen voluntarily. Too many powerful people and institutions have a vested interest in keeping things going as they are. Heading straight toward collapse, in other words. A collapse that will see a drastic reduction in human population and consumption of resources per capita. This isn't going to be much fun to live through and many of us won't. The only good thing about it is that it will be the undoing of the very system that caused it. And when it is over it may be possible to continue on in a more modest, less destructive way.

Rant 7: Crunchies and Woo

I've noticed lately that posts on this blog often draw positive comments from people who go on to make it clear that they are "Crunchies" who believe in one sort or another of idea that isn't supported by the evidence, that isn't reality based—what I call "woo". After they've said such nice things to me, I always feel bad having to break it to them that I don't agree. Most of these folks are organic farmers or gardeners, who have bought into the "naturalistic fallacy" and think that everything that's natural must be good for you. In fact the products of organic farming and conventional farming about equal in terms of safety these days. That's good news for the many people who can't afford pricey organic food and don't have a garden to grow their own. The bad news is that both conventional and organic farming are also about equally unsustainable, mainly due to their reliance on energy from fossil fuels. We need to develop a "sustainable farming" that's based on science, not woo.

The tagline for this blog is "A reality based approach to life in the age of scarcity." When I use the terms "evidence based" or "reality based", I mean ideas that are supported by the scientific consensus. Many people today unfortunately believe that the scientific consensus supports BAU, and that's no wonder since BAU does its best to encourage that view. Fortunately, it's not true. The scientific consensus support some things on the Crunchy side and some things on the BAU side, because those things happen to be true. The scientific method is an excellent tool for filtering out biases, political or otherwise. There really isn't any good reason for ignoring its results.

But to be clear, comments from Crunchies of every sort are welcome here, just be aware of what the project of this blog really is and, that if you are pedlling woo, you'll get a gentle but firmly negative response.


But enough ranting for now. Time to talk about what we can do to prepare for the continuing process of collapse. We need to anticipate where current trends are taking us, and harder still, when things as likely to reach a tipping point and changing more drastically.

First off, I'd say that if you are new to this, give it a year or so to sink in before making any big decisions, and don't do anything rash in the meantime. Then you may want to consider some changes in the way you are living. What those changes might be will be the subject of my next few posts.

We'll be considering the following subjects, and probably a few more:

  • where you want to be—where bad things are less likely to happen
  • who you want to be with—people you know, trust and can work with
  • what you are doing—something that can support you, and allow you to develop the skills and accumulate the resources you will need

While waiting for my next post (these things often take a while), here are a few links to articles which may be of help:

On this blog:

Sharon Astyk hasn't been very active as a writer lately, but her earlier writings are a great source of practical advice on "Adapting in Place", which is exactly the sort of preparation I'd advise you to do.

The Art of Yielding

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Published on Pray for Calamity on March 10, 2016

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The ache in my left arm seems to travel up a nerve towards my shoulder. I wince as I stretch the arm up and then rotate it in an arc. Every Friday night I attend a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, and last week during open rolling – which, to the uninitiated, is essentially grappling with a partner – I was thrown to the mat by a zealous fellow student, and crashing onto my left arm I immediately felt the shock of pain that now lingers there in my bicep. At the time I was bit angry, as the amount of strength my opponent applied was a bit excessive for such a drill, but thinking about it now perhaps that is foolish of me. It is a fight exercise after all. Myself, I am always slow to apply great strength in any drill, as I am fairly frightened of hurting someone. I often find that during a roll where I am dominant and pressing down with intense force that I periodically ask my opponent if they are OK. If they weren’t, they of course, could easily tap out, but still, it concerns me that I might needlessly hurt someone.

Jiu Jitsu, if we return to the Japanese root words (Ju Jutsu) is the art of yielding. As combatants roll they are applying strength and force, but they are also reading the direction of the force being applied against themselves and then attempting to use their opponents energy against them. My trainer once relayed a statement that he heard from a master practitioner, which was essentially that all of Jiu Jitsu is knowing which square inch of the opponent on which to apply all of one’s body weight, and knowing when to do it. This trainer is by day, a police officer. Funny, myself an anarchist, a vehement supporter of efforts to abolish prisons and police, respectfully and humbly listening to this man and trying to always devour with my eyes all of his movements and motions so that I can absorb them in the fibers of my own legs and hips. I laugh at his jokes, as he is genuinely funny, and in the next moment, I imagine him using the very techniques he is demonstrating to subdue me in the streets. I wonder how these skills he imparts on me have been applied against people who now sit in a prison. When we roll, he out classes and out strengths me, but each time I am able to resist his efforts to sweep me, I smile. That smile is then quickly followed by him quickly overtaking me.

Life is complicated and so entirely writ with nuance and irony. There is a beauty to such contradictions, and I am grateful to be reminded of the great complexity of our context, and I am grateful too for the reminder that a world so replete with complexity and contradiction is a world in which easy answers need not apply. Often we simplify what we experience to make our day to day existence easier or more efficient. In doing so, we almost certainly shuck away the truth of things until we create an existence with a lot more mutual exclusivity than is actually present. We make binaries out of gradients. This is often necessary. It is also often the first step towards justifying violence as it is the root of manifesting the “other.”

Thirteen people were arrested in Anaheim this past week as a Ku Klux Klan rally was quickly cut short by anti fascist activists who confronted and then fought with the Klan members. The Klan members pulled knives, and even used the point on the tip of a flag pole to fight back, and they ultimately stabbed three people. Back in 2012 several young people crashed a meeting of white supremacists in Tinley Park, Illinois attacking the attendees. Five of them were eventually arrested and served prison sentences. Anti-racist actions such as these often have mild mannered Americans suggesting that we must refrain from violence and respect free speech. They follow with the claim that the only weapon to be used against Klan members and neo-nazis is either counter speech, or out right ignoring them.

The logic of such suggestions goes like this:

Free speech will conquer bad ideas and hate. Those with hateful ideologies will be shown as the fools they are by the reasoned counter arguments of those who oppose them, and these counter arguments will affect society at large in a positive way, resulting in a society in which those who proliferate hate speech are mocked and shunned. Thus, no violence is necessary to counter them. Further, the application of violence to counter speech opens us to the “slippery slope” whereby violence is brought against more and more people for even slight deviations in thought or opinion. Also, violence begets violence, so we should always and forever avoid it.

The entirety of this issue needs unpacking because it is quite convoluted. “Free Speech,” as it is referred to in the United States is a reference to a constitutional protection offered by the first amendment which prohibits the government from interfering with the speech of individuals and groups. It is not an obligation of an individual to hear out any other. Of course, it should be said that like most constitutional protections, “free speech” goes right out the window once it is not convenient for the state or their capitalist counterparts. Endless videos of protesters being gleefully beaten by the police can attest to this fact.

Obviously, unthinking and mindless violence is not the tool we should immediately reach for every time someone says something we disagree with. Someone at a bar stating that, “climate change is a hoax,” is not justification for me to haul off and break his nose. As a long time bartender, I have found that usually mockery and humor are the best weapons against the drunken loud mouth who wants to use my bar top as his soap box. This is a skill I have finely tuned over many years of dealing with drunks, almost always men, who after a few beers want to loudly espouse their right wing talking points. I may well be a black belt in rhetorical judo.

However, what if this person says, “I am going to fucking kill you!” Am I justified then in kicking him in the jaw and crushing his face into the floor? Surely I would need to read the tone and intention in his voice, but the point remains that a direct threat of aggression permits a response that can meet and dislocate the threat. And that is where the waters begin to muddy. The Klan has an extremely violent history. Their rhetoric is rhetoric of violence towards entire swathes of the population. How tolerant should the general public be of a group that has incited horrendous and gruesome violence spanning generations?

More imporantly, how patient should the would be victims of racist violence be with liberal society’s calm and reasoned counter arguments? If a cross is burned in your front yard, or a black man dragged behind a pickup truck in your town, should you sit back and wait for well articulated, non-violent responses to convince white supremacists of the inappropriateness of their behavior? The sheer fact is, that sometimes, counter violence is the exact response necessary. Indigenous peoples were completely justified in fighting back against the encroaching settler presence as it occurred in the Americas. It is still the appropriate response in those last places where indigenous peoples live in their traditional homelands which are threatened by attempts at civilized exploitation, be it for the construction of an oil pipeline, a hydroelectric dam, a nuclear waste dump, or the construction of a university telescope.

Those who are the victims of the violence meted out by the dominant culture need not wait for those behind the levers of power to spawn a conscience. They need not wait for a critical mass of pacifists to turn the gears of democracy and generate a legal response for their protection.

I am reminded of Albert Camus’ Letters to a German Friend, in which he laments the absence of an immediate and forceful response on the part of the French to Nazi aggression. Camus suggests that the French consciousness is one which responds to the absurdity of the human condition by seeking beauty and love, whereas the Nazi response was one of nihilism and the pursuit of conquest. Such dispositions gave the Nazi an advantage over the French who first pontificated on the righteousness of counter violence. The Nazi did not care for such ethical questions, and according to Camus, in the end it took the French coming to terms with the righteousness of their position, indeed, it took the confidence of spirit and the sword together to be victorious over the Nazi:

“…[W]e shall be victorious thanks to that very defeat, to that long, slow progress during which we found our justification, to that suffering which, in all its injustice, taught us a lesson. It taught us that, contrary to what we sometimes used to think, the spirit is of no avail against the sword, but that the spirit together with the sword will always win out over the sword alone.

Any suggestion that the tool of violence is appropriate does require that those who would take it up think long and hard about the implications of their actions. Our world of seven billion people and growing is a world of seven billion minds all generating individual interpretations of reality. To be sure, the majority of those minds are convinced of the righteousness of their actions and ideologies. The abortion clinic bomber is convinced that his is a justifiable counter-violence. The ISIS executioner is convinced that his is a justifiable counter-violence. The anarchist arsonist and US military drone pilot are likely also convinced that theirs is a justifiable counter violence. How in such a cacophony of noise, confusion, and rash behavior can one escape what is a seemingly impossible knot of human delusion, anger, and misunderstanding? How in good conscience can a person with deep concerns for autonomy, cooperation, and compassion suggest adding to the violence and misery of the world?

When would it have been OK to start attacking Nazis during the rise of the third reich? When Hitler was giving speeches in small halls to small audiences, would it have been reasonable counter violence for anti-fascists to have attacked him and his cadres? There would have been a point in time where this small man loudly screaming his nonsense to a room of twenty people was absolutely laughable. Rational minds would say, “Just ignore him! He is a fool, and he and his ideology will amount to nothing.” Years later there would have been a time when organizing to violently confront Nazis would have meant a death sentence, when the party already controlled the state apparatus and resistance would have been near impossible. At what point in between was the exact right moment to strike, according to a pacifist or liberal dogma?

This is the trouble with nuance. Easy answers are usually wrong answers. To strike opens us up to greater realms of ethical complexity and realms of possible negative fallout. To wait cedes crucial time and ground to those who have absolutely no concerns for such ethics. At what time, and what place, do we place one hundred percent of our strength? When do we yield and allow the momentum of our opponents to be their own undoing?

Sometimes yielding is fighting. And sometimes you give up your back and get caught in a vicious rear naked choke. Master tacticians can be brutal in their yielding. But even master tacticians can be knifed in the dark. As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.

At the end of it all, we must choose which is the preferable mistake, and in making such mistakes we put our souls on the line, killing an integral part of ourselves because we hope that in doing so a greater beauty is allowed to survive. Then we pray that our children can forgive us.

I, for one, will not err in favor of compassion for a Nazi.

Choirs of frogs still sing along the rim of the pond as dawn breaks. While still technically winter, the robin hopping along the ground near budding daffodils tells me that spring is here. Another cold front is always possible, but this winter that never really materialized is bowing out. The garden calls for so much attention. Greens need to be planted, pathways need covering with wood chips, and I need to get annual seeds started and placed in a cold frame. Energy surges upward from the subterranean metropolis of tree roots and mycelium, and as it flows through the flesh of hickory and maple, oak and dogwood, so to it flows through my limbs. I am anxious to get back to the long, slow process of developing our homestead. My endless list of projects is less daunting these days as I approach it one job at a time.

Out in the world of human hollering and bickering, an impending election is drawing a lot of attention. I try to ignore it. I try to focus on our small hollow here in the backwoods. Our community of young families trying to get by on the day to day with what little we have while surmounting the challenges that the raw entropy of civilized life throws at us can absorb pretty much all of the mental capacity I have to offer. But then there are whispers and hints that the authoritarianism and racism being whipped up by certain campaigners finds it way to my ears, and I ask myself, if it comes here openly and brazenly, what am I to do? What cannot be tolerated? What requires a response, and am I prepared to offer one?

Perhaps we should all start asking ourselves such questions. By the time the shadow has covered us all, it is too late to take shelter from the storm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrorism Survey

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 8, 2015

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TAKE THE TERRORISM SURVEY HERE

Discuss this article at the Survey Table inside the Diner

Our latest Collapse Survey TM aims to see what the Collapse Community thinks is the best way to handle the problem of increasing Terrorism as we move further down the Collapse Highway.  Before you take the survey however, it might be worthwhile to review some of the Options currently on the table, either already being implemented or being proposed by various Pols from Obama-sama to Tony Blair to Geert Wilders to Marine LePen to The Donald.

As Terrorism becomes ever more prevalent around the Globe, the population at large begs for their leaders to DO SOMETHING about this nasty problem!  Over in Europe, the Pols in Charge are doing something, they are putting up electrified fences at the border crossings, dispatching NATO troops to Greece, and dropping bombs on Syria.  So far of course, these actions haven't done a damn thing to staunch the flow of blood on the streets of Paris though, if anything it is only serving to increase the frequency of shootings and bombings.

Over in Brussels they put the city under Martial Law for several days officially while they went searching for the "Usual Suspects", and I'll bet the streets are still crawling with Special Forces in Camo Outfits and RoboCops in Black & Blue Pajamas.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/abbde32b4fe505c77b73a21da9807a8c53ff2f3d/0_342_5176_3106/master/5176.jpg?w=620&q=85&auto=format&sharp=10&s=5bc05db4dd89843ba9588bbbdbdf17c2

http://media.vocativ.com/photos/2015/11/brussels-security-lockdown2401615694.jpg

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/OJ-AC811A_eLION_P_20151122233635.jpg

Notice these guys all have their faces covered?

Over here in the FSoA, we have the Texas Pols threatening to sue the Federal Goverment if they send any Syrian Refugees to TX and The Donald threatening to deport all Muslims once he gets elected POTUS, but neither of these ideas seems to be doing a lot to slow the tide of Campus Shoot-em-Ups and freshly radicalized and disaffected locals with their own personal armories from blowing away random citizens in San Bernadino.

http://sharing.abcactionnews.com/sharescnn/photo/2015/12/04/SanBernardinoShootingsCar_1449246566171_27881145_ver1.0_640_480.jpg

http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/eee6faa14149742387ce249399a9eb2c6bbf7f16/c=0-6-2766-2086&r=x404&c=534x401/local/-/media/2015/12/03/USATODAY/USATODAY/635847092891547105-AP-APTOPIX-California-Shootings.jpg

http://www.trbimg.com/img-56625ea6/turbine/la-me-san-bernardino-shooting-pictures-20151202/650/650x366

Of course once again the call goes out for more Gun Control, but this is not real popular amongst the legal owners of guns first of all, and then there would be the logistical problem of trying to confiscate all the guns already out there.  This is one of those horse left the barn/genie out of the bottle problems, aside from the fact that the Right to Bear Arms is one of the few Constitutional protections that hasn't been completely undermined yet.

Another faction thinks the solution would be for EVERYBODY to be Packing Heat.  Sort of like the good old days of the Old West when every cowpoke Had a Six Gun on his hip.  Well, except for Lucas McCain, who carried his modified Winchester Lever Action Rifle with him and could hit a beer can at 1000 yards without even aiming.  LOL.

Better than a Kalishnikov!

Then of course you also have a crew of people out there with the FINAL SOLUTION to Terrorism, Glaze over all of MENA with "Surgical" strikes with "Tactical" Nukes, thus wiping out the breeding ground of Terrorists!

http://www.shomreitorah.org/wp-content/upLoads/2015/08/nuclear-explosion.jpg

To be fair, there are Peaceful Solutions being proposed and even undertaken, like sending $Billions$ in Aid to build spanking new Refugee Camps in Turkey along with Truckloads of MREs so the Terrorists won't keep trying to migrate to Europe, they'll be happy to live in a Refugee Camp where the average length of stay is now up to 17 years!

https://helenemontpetit.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/refugees-jpg.png?w=736&h=490

Homemade Self Organized Refugee Camp

http://seithyulagam.com/news_images/tamilanagam.jpg

Upscale Goobermint Organized Refugee Camp.  This one in Kenya supposedly houses around 300,000 Human Souls!

Seventeen years: the average length of stay in a refugee camp. The figure came up in a conversation last week with a French journalist who’s making a documentary about camps, but I’d heard it many times before—perhaps you have, too. Here are a selection of international sources quoting this figure, which I turned up with a bit of cursory googling in English and an even briefer bit in French:

  • A 2013 article on TakePart.com (“a digital news & lifestyle magazine and social action platform for the conscious consumer”), quoting Liesl Spitz of FilmAid.
  • From 2012, the Khalid Hosseini Foundation supporting a UNHCR campaign.
  • A 2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Hobart) news article about an Oxfam educational resource.
  • From the same year, an edited volume in one of the best academic series on refugee studies, Berghahn’s Studies in Forced Migration: Hajdukowski-Ahmed et al., Not born a refugee woman (see p16).
  • The info page for the Ideas Box, a Libraries Without Borders initiative (and toolkit) for providing education in refugee camps.
  • A Radio France news article about the above, including an interview with the designer, Philippe Starck (yup, that Philippe Starck).

Granted, there is some dispute over the 17 year figure, but I think most of the statisticians would agree it is over 5 years for sure, and IMHO anything more than maybe 2 years and all these camps become is a breeding ground for still more Terrorists.  But of course, as long as we can keep them all on the Turkish side of the border, we should be OK, right?

So there is no shortage of suggestions on how to solve or at least reduce the Terrorism problem, but the question is will any of them work at all?  Will one at least work better than the other ones?  Are there other solutions to this growing problem that could be undertaken?  If so, what are they?  These questions and more appear on the Terrorism Survey TM, and this is your opportunity to be heard (if only by a tiny number of Kollapsniks) on this very important topic.  Your Vote is IMPORTANT here!  VOTE TODAY!

TAKE THE TERRORISM SURVEY HERE

What is Really Behind the Refugee Crisis in Europe?

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Published on Question Everything on September 11, 2015

Boat-Refugees

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The Resource Crisis and Climate Change

Back in July, 2013 I wrote this post, MENA – A Model of the Future? in which I dug deeper into the then crisis transpiring in Egypt where a revolt against the Morsi government was being spurred by the fact that the dwindling natural resources per capita (especially energy) were fundamentally unsolvable by any government. The people were unhappy because they thought that by voting in a new government democratically they would solve their problems (jobs, food, water, fuel, etc.) But it didn't happen for the simple reason that the resource pie was shrinking faster than any government actions (say attracting some kind of investment in the country) could counter. Things got worse and people once again took to the streets. Today, two years later, things have gotten considerably worse under the military regime that kicked out Morsi and took over. As I claimed then and reiterate, it is a matter of plain and simple physics, not politics. You cannot legislate resources into existence.

People have gotten used to thinking that solutions come from politics – having the right officials in place means that they will solve the problems. People everywhere pretty much assume this is the case, even in the US where the freak show called the presidential campaign is off and running. No doubt many republicans in the US sincerely believe that Donald Trump will solve all the problems and everything will be right as rain once again ("Make America great again").

But politicians are not miracle workers. They cannot feed the multitudes from a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. What they have become, however, right along side their neoclassical economics allies, are fair magicians — prestidigitators. They know how to manipulate smoke and mirrors and conjure economic spells. They are nothing more than snake oil con men (and women). The irony is that they actually believe what they say and are convinced they know how to really make good stuff happen. They are a testament to the capacity of the less-than-sapient mind's ability to double think.

The simple truth is that when you find yourself in deep resource depletion and high population no amount of financial hocus pocus or political posturing or brute force can fix anything. The Morsi government nor the military junta before and after could ever possibly satisfy the needs of the people. No government could. Nor could there be massive aid influx to ease the situation. The other nations of the world are all much poorer than they will admit. They cannot pump enough resources into the region to solve the problems. There is no scenario in which this comes out well.

Our talking heads continue to evaluate the “causes” of the mass exodus from the MENA region as due to the political unrest growing more violent by the day. For example they look at Syria and blame the problems, initially, on Asad and the rebellion/civil war that threatens so many civilians. Then the US government focuses on the ISIS threat as causing so many people to want to leave. These destructive acts are merely proximate causes. The rebels against Asad are basically repeating the story in Egypt. They claim that bad government (Asad) is the cause of the problems experienced by the people. Replace the government and problem solved! Right? Much the same story is being repeated through out the other failed states in the region.

The civil wars and lawlessness (e.g. Boko Haram) are driven by the rapid decline of resources compounded now by climate consequences, drought and severe temperatures. People are fighting for dwindling resources in increasingly unlivable conditions. The citizens of these states are responding most immediately to the violence, and claiming political asylum on that basis. But make no mistake. They are ultimately climate and resource refugees. And there is no policy or plan that will correct the situation. The lucky ones will escape (if they don't die on the journey) to Europe and possibly to the US. But that will simply cause resource strains in those areas where they settle. Nor will the flood taper off until the region is mostly emptied.

MENA is just the first example of what is happening in the world. As the climate situation worsens, and we now know that it is and will further, affecting every continent on the planet, and as resource depletions grow acute in various focused locations, we will see this same scenario played out again and again. Political upheaval based on the belief that the government's ineptitude, or corruption, or whatever, is responsible for the problems that ensue (food shortages, fuel shortages, unemployment, etc.) will give over to violence. Regimes will change, but the problems will just grow worse.

Perhaps the US and some of the remaining western “rich” nations will try to help, intervene to reduce violence, or attempt to aid relocations. But their capacity to afford such actions are growing weaker with every day that passes. At some point the wealthy nations will no longer be truly wealthy and will decline to try to help. They will, in fact, be starting to feel the same effects themselves. Already we see the discord and extreme polarizations taking place in many western polities. In the US we tend to blame the congress for its deadlocked inability to pass laws that will effect economic change (and assumed progress). Neither side gets a thumbs-up on its economic ideas. In any case both sides firmly believe that economic growth is the solution to all problems and neither recognizes that we've used up all of the resources that we need to do so. They are so blind to reality that all they can really do from now on is exacerbate the problems. In the US we are in a situation that only the most blind persons even seek political position. They are so stupid and ignorant that they cannot even conceive that problems have real physical roots. Pity.

All over the world, right now, you can find cases of pockets of affected areas where people are starting to move out seeking somewhere where they can find work and resources. Within nations like Brazil, China, Russia, and even the United States there are instances of people becoming refugees. The Dust Bowl events in the US are another model for what is happening. Right now, in each of these countries the migrations are within the borders (except in Mexico and other Latin American countries) and so don't show up in “official” statistics.

Certainly there have been relocation migrations throughout humankind's history. We've always managed to deplete local resources forcing people to abandon a region, for example areas in the Middle East were once far more productive than in recent history before ungulate grazing changed the region's climate. And there have been many cases of people simply seeking better conditions (e.g. the American West promised great possibilities, especially during the Gold Rush). What is different about the current situation is that we are looking at a global phenomenon. Resources have been depleted just about everywhere. Climate is changing everywhere and at a breath-taking rate. The regions that are experiencing the worst effects are now quite obvious. The MENA region is probably the most dramatic. For example, by contrast, island nations being threatened by sea level rise and Arctic regions being impacted by loss of ice have fewer people affected and so do not rise to the level of global-level stress. Nevertheless the people effected in these regions are beginning to plan their escapes from their situations.

Right now in China there are many local emigrations taking place due to combinations of insufficient resources and climate change consequences. There is also a fair amount of unrest brewing in various areas. These are not as dramatic (yet) as the case in the MENA region. And internal migrations, as I said, are not depicted in the same manner as the refugee flood from the MENA to Europe. In fact it might be even worse in China than we know. The country is so much larger, the populations involved so much larger, and the information flow coming out of the country is subject to so much filtering that we might not get a good idea of what is happening there until significant violence breaks out that can't be hidden. But based on China's geographical conditions, and its potential susceptibility to climate disruptions, and the distributions of its huge population, I expect to soon see a situation similar to the MENA refugees become obvious in China.

India might erupt before China. The Indian subcontinent's orientation (North-South axis), its reliance on the snow falls and ice reservoirs in the Himalayas and its proximity to the equator make it a candidate for significant climate disruptions. It is already suffering changes in its monsoon patterns at the same time the huge population is withdrawing more water from its limited resources. However, in India I would not be surprised to see a somewhat different response from the populace. The vast majority of people in the country do not have mobility resources in the same way many Chinese do. It would not surprise me if a significant portion of the Indian population simply succumbed in place rather than trying to trek out. The distances are too great and the conditions along the way are likely to not provide support. There is no other large body of land nearby for those in the costal regions to escape to.

As the MENA refugee crisis unfolds this fall we will have a good view of what to expect world-wide. Right now a fair amount of European sentiment is in support of the migrants (I know there is a technical difference between a migrant and a refugee, but as I claimed above, these refugees are really climate-escape migrants). As more and more pour into the continent we will see how long this sentiment carries. There are many anti-migrant advocates already making noises and trying to get more political purchase. A lot will depend on the economic strength of the countries taking in the migrants — will the local natives be able to get jobs? — and the behavior of the immigrants. There is a real danger of culture clash based on the religious backgrounds of Muslim immigrants and secular (or Christian) natives. I refuse to predict anything on this count. The situation is too chaotic.

What I will predict is that the phenomenon will grow and worsen over the next decade. This is a one-way street we are on and no U-turns are possible. You can't un-deplete resources, especially fossil fuel energy. Readers of my biophysical economics writings will know how dim a view I have of the prospects of alternative energies replacing fossil fuels even if we were to undertake a huge reduction in net energy use. Alternatives might ease the pain a bit, for a while, but they cannot provide the long term flows of high power energy that it takes to drive our modern technologies. Magical and wishful thinking cannot change that fact. Alternative energy capture and conversion equipment (i.e. wind towers and solar arrays) are still built, installed, and maintained using fossil fuel power. It is quite doubtful that they will ever be self-sustaining to the extent of providing adequate net energy for economic uses.

If you want to consider your own future, imagine yourself in the shoes of one of the MENA refugees right now. Many of the ones who are making the trip had some basic monetary resources to afford the passage. But look at what they were reduced to in doing so. Imagine yourself now in a situation where the local stores are no longer stocked with food and other necessaries. Imagine your electricity being intermittent, maybe only on ten percent of the day. Imagine transportation breakdowns, perhaps gas is no longer delivered to your gas station. Imagine communications breakdowns. No Internet. No telephones (cell or land lines). What will you do?

But more than that, imagine that you decide to escape. Where will you go. The MENA refugees have Europe, ostensibly, to escape to. They expect their problems to be greatly reduced in these new lands. After all, the North is rich. Where will you go? What country will you escape to? Maybe some Americans are thinking they will go to Canada! But do they actually understand what the climate changes are going to mean for all of North America?

I doubt there will be any real escape. The best a sapient being can do is find a location that looks like it will be least impacted by climate, get situated and hunker down. With luck, you might just make it.

Violence Cometh

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The End of the American Dream on May 28, 2015

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Prepare Your Homes And Neighborhoods For The Violence That Is Going To Sweep America

Crime - Bloody Handprint - Public DomainThe thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis is beginning to disappear, and a new era of chaos and anarchy is coming to our cities.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but violence is increasing on the streets of America.  Over Memorial Day weekend, 29 people were shot in Baltimore and 55 people were shot in Chicago.  But of course the trend that I am talking about is much broader than that.  According to the FBI, the number of police officers “feloniously killed” in the line of duty rose by an astounding 89 percent in 2014.  We live at a time when Americans are becoming extremely angry and extremely frustrated, and this is only going to intensify as economic conditions worsen.  But already we have seen some of this anger and frustration boil over into violence in Ferguson and in Baltimore.  And you know what?  The vast majority of Americans expect more of the same in the coming months.  According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey that was recently released, 96 percent of all Americans believe that there will be more civil unrest in America this summer.  What we have seen up until now is just the warm up act.  The main event is still to come.

If things are this bad already, how bad will they be when the next great economic crisis hits this nation and unemployment skyrockets and poverty is everywhere?

That is why I am encouraging people that currently live in the heart of our major cities to consider moving.  Unfortunately, most Americans are completely dependent on the jobs that they currently have, so moving is not really a practical option for a lot of people.

For those that cannot move, you are just going to have to get prepared right where you are.  That means making your home and your family as unattractive a target to potential criminals as you possibly can.  The goal should be to avoid a violent confrontation if at all possible.  So you will want multiple layers of security between you and those that would potentially harm you and your family.  You want to try to deter the bad guys from ever coming on to your property in the first place, but if they do come, you need to be ready to deal with them.

At the moment, we are still in the midst of relatively stable economic times.  But even in these relatively stable times, violence is escalating.  Just consider what happened in Baltimore over the recent holiday weekend.  A grand total of 29 people were shot…

Police say 29 people were shot, 9 of them killed over this weekend, adding to the  record-breaking violence.

The shooting didn’t stop on Monday night after a 9-year-old boy and another man were both injured by gun fire in the 2900 block of Arunah Avenue. Police say the child was shot in the leg and another man suffered a graze wound to the head.

Overall, this past month has been the deadliest month for Baltimore in 15 years.

Things are even worse in the city of Chicago.  Over this past weekend, 55 people got shot…

Twelve people were killed and at least 43 — including a 4-year-old girl — were wounded in shootings across Chicago this Memorial Day weekend, police said.

The 4-year-old, identified by her family as Jacele Johnson, was shot about 8 p.m. Friday in the West Englewood neighborhood. She and her 17-year-old cousin Romare Wilson were inside an SUV in the 7000 block of South Justine when another vehicle pulled up and someone inside opened fire, according to their family and Chicago Police.

Early in April, I went on the record and specifically named Chicago and Baltimore as two of the cities where we would be seeing civil unrest.  Since that time we have seen horrible rioting in Baltimore and the violence in Chicago continues to spiral out of control.

Other experts are issuing similar warnings.  For example, consider what an assistant professor at New Jersey City University recently had to say

Urban unrest expert Dr. Max Herman says that the United States is on the “cusp” of a wave of domestic disorder and that the country will see more race riots.

Herman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at New Jersey City University, told the New Republic’s Joel Gillin that the economic downturn, in addition to incidents of police brutality, have provided fertile conditions for civil unrest.

He sees the re-emergence of a 60’s-style “protest ideology” amongst black communities which will lead to more disorder.

“It’s very clear from studying history that these things tend to run in cycles,” said Herman, adding, “I think we are at the cusp of another cycle.”

Author Chris Hedges is saying similar things.  The following comes from a recent article about him in the National Post

The United States is primed for a rebellion. So argues Chris Hedges in his new book, Wages of Rebellion, in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and polemicist examines revolts from 1700s to the ending of apartheid in South Africa, as well as the “sublime madness” that drives the people at the centre of such rebellions.

When asked by the National Post why he wrote his new book, this is what Hedges had to say

I didn’t write it as a warning or a prediction. I wrote it more as an assessment. I covered disintegrating societies like Yugoslavia. I know how they break down; I know what the warning signs are, so it’s familiar. I don’t think at this point there’s much dispute. Even just the financial indicators in terms of wealth disparity and chronic unemployment. The fact that Congress has a nine-per-cent approval rating. Where I’m coming from, the book is an attempt to explain where we are in this particular historical period.

But it isn’t just that we are entering a new cycle of unrest.  Our “leaders” have made things much worse by the decisions that they have made.  For instance, Barack Obama’s decision to leave our southern border virtually unguarded has resulted in a massive flood of illegal immigrants coming into this country.  As a result, violent gangs that have roots in Central America and South America have mushroomed in size.  So now major cities far from the border such as Charlotte, North Carolina are being absolutely terrorized by these gangs…

Recent busts of murderous MS-13 gangsters put the lie to President Obama’s sympathetic amnesty narrative of illegal immigrants as “workers who mow our lawns, make our beds (and) clean out bedpans.”

Authorities Wednesday rounded up 37 MS-13 gang members in Charlotte, N.C., on racketeering conspiracy charges, along with charges of murder, attempted murder and firearms violations. All of them are illegal aliens from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Several are round-trippers — illegals who broke in once, committed crimes, got deported and broke back into the U.S. — proving that our border is porous and unsecured.

Charlotte police discovered the rat’s nest of foreign gangsters after some of them started shooting up local nightclubs and bars.

In 2015, it isn’t just our own citizens that we need to be concerned about.  At this point, many of our biggest cities are absolutely packed to the gills with gangs made up primarily of illegal immigrants.

I discussed Chicago earlier.  Did you know that it is estimated that approximately 150,000 gang members now live there?

When things start really breaking down in this country, those gangs are going to have a field day.

America is changing, and not for the better.  And when violence starts sweeping this nation, don’t count on the government to come in and rescue you.  After watching what happened in Ferguson and in Baltimore, you should know better than that by now.

It is time for the American people to prepare their own homes and their own neighborhoods for the chaos and the violence that is coming.

For the moment, things are still relatively stable so we have a little bit of time to prepare, but it won’t last for long.

High Expectations of Civil Unrest Coming

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

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Published on The Economic Collapse on May 3, 2015

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96 Percent Of Americans Expect More Civil Unrest In U.S. Cities This Summer

Are you ready for rioting, looting and mindless violence in major U.S. cities all summer long?  According to a brand new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 96 percent of all Americans believe that there will be more civil unrest in America this summer.  That leaves only 4 percent of people that believe that everything will be just fine.  In this day and age, it is virtually impossible to get 96 percent of Americans to agree on anything.  So the fact that just about everyone agrees that we are going to see more civil unrest should really tell you something.  The anger that has been building under the surface for so many years in this country has finally started to erupt.  If you have been following my website for a while, you know that this is something that I have been warning about for a very long time.  Many people may have thought that I was exaggerating when I talked about the civil unrest that was coming to American cities.  But I was not exaggerating at all.  In fact, if anything I was downplaying it.  In the years to come, we are going to see things happen in our cities that are going to absolutely shock the world.

Ever since the violence first erupted in Baltimore, what has surprised me more than anything has been the level of hate that I am seeing all over the Internet.  I am seeing white people openly proclaim how much they hate black people.  I am seeing black people openly proclaim how much they hate white people.  I am seeing things said about the police that are absolutely horrifying.  Yes, there has been a tremendous amount of police brutality in this nation.  In fact, I have been one of the leaders in writing about it.  But most police officers are just trying to serve their communities the very best that they can.  So why is there so much hate for anyone that is a police officer these days?

If all of this hate continues to grow, it is going to eat our nation alive.  Why can’t we just learn to forgive one another, love one another and work together to rebuild our once great nation?

I know that what I just said is going to mostly fall on deaf ears.  But it needs to be said.

I wish that we could change course as a nation and avoid all of the rioting, looting and senseless violence that is coming.  Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening, and neither does the rest of the country

Americans are bracing for a summer of racial disturbances around the country, such as those that have wracked Baltimore, with African Americans and whites deeply divided about why the urban violence has occurred, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has found.

A resounding 96% of adults surveyed said it was likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer, a signal that Americans believe Baltimore’s recent problems aren’t a local phenomenon but instead are symptomatic of broader national problems.

What happened in Ferguson set the precedent, and now what has happened in Baltimore has provided the spark for a national movement.  Similar “demonstrations” are popping up all over the nation, and a number of them have already turned violent.

For example, check out what happened in Seattle on Friday night…

Demonstrations turned violent in Seattle after night fell, with police reporting that protesters hurled rocks and wrenches at officers and damaged 25 vehicles. Police reported that an “explosive device” was thrown at officers, and a trash bin was pushed down a hill toward police.

Three officers were injured, two seriously enough that they were taken to a hospital, Seattle police said on Twitter. At least 16 people were arrested Friday night, police said.

And just down the coast in Portland, we also witnessed some very ugly violence…

One Portland, Oregon, police officer was injured by a protester, according to police. Portland Police reported on Twitter that protesters were throwing “projectiles” and “incendiary devices” at officers.

Police used pepper spray on protesters who tried to march on a bridge Friday afternoon and later sheriff’s deputies used stingballs, filled with tiny rubber balls, on protesters who were throwing chairs at police, according to the department.

These protesters are just copying what they saw in Baltimore.  And things would not have ever gotten so bad in Baltimore if the police had not been ordered to stand down and let the riots spiral out of control.  Now, we have learned that many police officers were so outraged by this that they want Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to immediately resign…

During a Baltimore-based radio talk show on Thursday, a man who identified himself as a Baltimore police officer named “Jeff” called into the program and said fellow police officers were organizing to push out the city’s mayor.

There is right now over 50 of us officers who are immediately asking for [Baltimore Mayor] Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to step down for what she did to us Monday,” the caller told WBAL radio host Derek Hunter.

The Baltimore mayor has denied giving “stand down” orders and blamed the media for misinterpreting her comments about providing “a space” for protesters to loot.

“Any other time in my career, if somebody were to throw a brick or a block at me, we would take immediate actions to pull our weapons on them. Numerous times on Monday when our officers were being injured, our commanders are telling us ‘stand down, stand down.’  You had no idea what it did to us as police officers to sit there,” said the self-described “21-year veteran” of the Baltimore police department.

Scenes of protesters attacking police were broadcast all over the nation, and it was inevitable that we would start to see “copycat attacks” against the police start to happen.  In New York City, a plainclothes police officer was shot in the head on Saturday…

A plainclothes New York City police officer was shot in the head and critically injured while in an unmarked police car Saturday as he and his partner attempted to stop and question a man they suspected of carrying a gun, officials said.

Officer Brian Moore and his partner, Erik Jansen, noticed Demitrius Blackwell “walking and adjusting an object in his waistband” when they pulled up on him in their car, exchanging words with him before he turned and suddenly fired at least two rounds into the car, police Commissioner William Bratton said.

“The man immediately removed the firearm from his waistband and turned in the direction of the officers and deliberately fired several times at the vehicle, striking Officer Moore in the head,” Bratton said at a press conference at a Queens hospital. The 25-year-old Moore was undergoing surgery but listed in stable condition.

We are seeing the same thing when it comes to racially-motivated violence.  This is something that we witnessed in Baltimore, and now all over the nation people are being attacked just because of the color of their skin.

For instance, one young man in California attacked a random passerby with a baseball bat

A Fontana man accused of beating a passerby with a bat in an apparently random attack in Rialto, leaving the victim with life-threatening injuries that he was not expected to survive, was charged Wednesday with attempted murder allegedly committed as a hate crime.

Jeremiah Ajani Bell, 22, was arrested Monday, a day after a daylight assault on 54-year-old Armando Barron, who was walking down the street when he was attacked.

So why did this happen?  Well, apparently it was because the passerby had the wrong skin color

“It appears he was targeting anybody who wasn’t black,” Rialto police Detective Sgt. Paul Stella said Wednesday.

We witnessed an even more disturbing example of racially-motivated violence just the other day in South Carolina

Witnesses and police say a mob of 60 black teens took to the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, to unleash attacks on unsuspecting drivers and pedestrians, all but one of whom were white.

And of course police in some areas of the country are also using unnecessary violence.  Just consider what happened to a group of peaceful protesters in Denver on Wednesday…

With much of the nation focused on the police abuse protests happening in Baltimore and New York City, the Denver police and their actions against a group of protesters on Wednesday has largely gone unnoticed.

But police were dressed for war. Paramilitary style. And they weren’t going home without using a few cans of pepper spray and filling up a paddy wagon.

Video that surfaced shows a group of about 100 protesters walking the streets of downtown Denver where they were met with line of motorcycle cops who forced the group on to the sidewalk.  One overzealous officer can be seen breaking away from the pack chasing down pedestrians, using his motorcycle as a large weapon.

It’s war on the streets of America, and this is only just the beginning.

As we enter the next major economic downturn, people are going to become angrier and even more desperate.  And desperate people do desperate things.  The next few years are not going to be a good time to be living in urban areas.  Even if you only have peace and love in your heart, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get caught in the crossfire as the violence escalates.

For years, most of our politicians have been preaching hate and division.  For years, the mainstream media has been preaching hate and division.  For years, Hollywood has been preaching hate and division.

Now we have a nation that is deeply, deeply divided and that is filled with hate.

Things didn’t have to turn out this way, but they did.  I hope that you are getting ready for what comes next.

Bomb Iran? Not now: bomb Yemen

Off the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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People walk past a car damaged by an airstrike in Sanaa April 8, 2015. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

People walk past a car damaged by an airstrike in Sanaa April 8, 2015. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Originally published in RT on April 9, 2015


‘Operation Decisive Storm’ – the Pentagon-style House of Saud glorifying of its ghastly ‘Bomb Yemen’ show – could be summed up in a single paragraph.

The wealthiest Arab nation – the House of Saud petro-hacienda – supported by other GCC petro-rackets and also the wealthy “West”, has launched an – illegal – bombing/war/kinetic operation against the poorest Arab nation in the name of “democracy.”

And this absurdity is just the beginning.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, the innocuous as a stale cannoli Federica Mogherini, seems to be mildly alarmed. She remarked that Saudi bombing of hospitals and “deliberate targeting and destruction of private homes, education facilities and basic infrastructure cannot be tolerated.”

Well, the EU tolerates exactly the same thing in Donbass perpetrated by Kiev’s goons – so nothing will come out La Mogherini’s feigned outrage.

The Red Cross and the Russian Federation, for their part, at least are demanding a temporary ceasefire to allow for humanitarian relief. Humanitarian relief is incompatible with the House of Saud’s bloodline. So after two weeks of Saudi ‘Shock and Awe’, the current toll of at least 560 Yemeni civilians dead (and counting), and 1700 wounded – dozens of them children – is bound to increase.

Bab-el-Mandeb me, baby

Bomb Iran? Not now; the new normal is bomb Yemen. But still bomb Iran might be back in a flash. Pentagon supremo Ash Carter confirmed last week “all options are on the table” even if an Iran-P5+1 nuclear deal is finally reached in June. So, for the record, the Pentagon is affirming nuclear negotiations are just white noise unable to deter the tantalizing prospect of yet another nice little Middle East war.

Needless to add, the so civilized ‘West’ didn’t even flinch when “our bastards” the House of Saud invaded and started shockin’ an’awin’ dirt-poor Yemen. No UN Security Council resolution. Not even a mandate from the totally discredited Arab League. Who cares? After all the ‘Empire of Chaos’ has done the same over and over again with total impunity.

Much hysteria has been raging on whether the Houthis are about to take control of the Bab-el-Mandeb – one of the key strategic global energy chokepoints along with the Straits of Hormuz, and as crucial as the Suez Canal. Nonsense. Whatever the House of Saud does, the not so hidden ‘Empire of Chaos’ agenda is never to lose control of the Bab-el-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands.

A man reacts as he inspects the damage of a building caused by an air strike in Sanaa April 8, 2015. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

A man reacts as he inspects the damage of a building caused by an air strike in Sanaa April 8, 2015. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

This is part of what we could dub ‘Chokepointistan’; wars taking place near or around energy bottlenecks, and always narrated in Global War on Terror (GWOT) deceitful terminology. US Think Tankland is more straightforward, carefully following US naval deployments. That’s what this is all about; an Orwellian “freedom of navigation” masquerading a hardcore strategy of shutting out the geopolitical enemy – be it Iran, Russia, China or all of the above.

‘Chokepointistan’ is all over the place: just watch the war or pre-positioning action in the Bab-el-Mandeb (with spillover effects from Yemen to Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti); the Straits of Hormuz (all about Iran); but also the strait of Malacca (all about China), Panama (about Venezuela), the coming Nicaragua canal (about China), the Korean Strait, the Taiwan Strait, the Kuril Islands, and last but not least the Baltic Sea.

A Grand Armada Run Amok

Saudi intel knows the Houthis can’t possibly control the Bab-el-Mandeb – not to mention Washington would never allow it. What freaks the Saudis out is that the Houthi rebellion in Yemen – supported by Tehran – may encourage bright rebellion ideas among the Shi’ite majority in the eastern provinces in Saudi Arabia, where most of the oil is.

And this where the Saudi excuse for war interfaces with the empire’s paranoia of preventing Iran, Russia and/or China from establishing a possible strategic presence in Yemen, at the Bab-el-Mandeb, overlooking the Gulf of Aden.

So we have once again Pentagon supremo Carter insisting, “The United States supports Arab plans to create a unified military force to counter growing security threats in the Middle East, and the Pentagon will cooperate with it where US and Arab interests coincide.” Translation: we gave the green light for our bastards to maintain “stability” in the Middle East.

Yet there’s a spanner in the works; the possible Washington-Tehran rapprochement, assuming a nuclear deal is reached. For the self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama administration, the nuclear deal will be their only foreign policy success. Moreover, without Tehran there’s no meaningful fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in “Syraq”.

None of this mollifies the cosmically paranoid Saudis, who assembled in a flash a Grand Armada Run Amok (GARA) – 100 jet fighters, 150,000 soldiers – respectfully described by US Think Tankland as a “coalition” of 10 countries. Without even blinking at UN norms, the Saudis instantly declared the whole of Yemen as a no-fly zone.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif addresses during a joint statement with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (L) in Lausanne April 2, 2015. (Reuters/Ruben Sprich)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif addresses during a joint statement with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (L) in Lausanne April 2, 2015. (Reuters/Ruben Sprich)

And along with routine bombing of residential complexes, the al-Mazraq camp for the internally displaced in Hajjah, a dairy factory near Hodeida, and other instances, came, what else, hardcore internal Saudi repression, via a crackdown with tanks and indiscriminate shooting in Awamiyah, in the eastern provinces; Shi’ites there can’t even think of organizing protests against the bloodbath in Yemen.

In a nutshell, this is the immensely wealthy, corrupt, medieval Saudi regime busy at war against their own people. The usual hard-line Wahhabi imams are busy working up anti-Shi’ite and anti-Iranian fever everywhere; these are all “apostates” under the takfir doctrine, and Iranians are lowly “Safawis” – a quite pejorative reference to the 16th century Safavid dynasty. It’s crucial to remember that Islamic State treats Shi’tes and Iranians the exact same way. But forget about any of this being reported by Western corporate media.

The General and the Sheikh

The House of Saud insists it wants to reinstall the government-in-exile of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. Or, as Saudi Ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir glowingly put it, “protect the legitimate government of the country.”

Royally paid Saudi lobby hagiographers are once again frantically spinning the Sunni versus Shi’ite sectarian narrative – which totally ignores the mind-boggling tribal/class complexity of Yemeni society. In a nutshell, this laughable Saudi defense of democracy is paving the way for a ground war; a long, bloody and horribly expensive ground war.

And it gets, as expected, even more absurd. Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was recently asked during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether he knew of “any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL.” His response: “I know major Arab allies who fund them.”

Translation: the US government not only does not sanction or punish these “allies” (the real fun is to sanction Russia) but showers with logistical and “non-lethal” support the “coalition” that is arguably fighting the same Islamic State they are funding. No one is making this up; this is how the endless war on terra remains the gift that keeps on giving.

It gets even curioser and curioser when we have Dempsey on the same page of Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah. In this crucial speech, Sheikh Nasrallah offers the most extensive and precise account of the origins and ideology of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. And here he expands on Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

So what we have is the ‘Empire of Chaos’ ‘leading from behind’ in the war on Yemen and also de facto ‘leading from behind’ in the fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh; the ones doing the heavy lifting are Iraqi militias supported by Tehran. The hidden agenda is always – what else –chaos; be it across “Syraq” or inside Yemen. With an extra bonus; while Washington is engaged on striking a nuclear deal with Tehran, it also turbo-charges an alliance against Tehran using the House of Saud.

Vietnam in the desert

The House of Saud badly wants Pakistan to take no prisoners, supplying bomber jets, ships and lots of ground troops for their war. Riyadh treats Islamabad as a vassal state. A joint session of the Pakistani Parliament will decide what to do.

It’s quite revealing to learn what happened when Pakistan’s most popular private TV channel assembled representatives of all major political parties to explain where they stand. Soon they reached a consensus; Pakistan should be neutral; act as mediator; and commit no troops, unless there was a “tangible threat” to the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina, which is far from the case.

The House of Saud remains on overdrive, showering tons of cash over Salafi and Deobandi preachers to bullhorn their war; that includes a delegation of ulema visiting Riyadh. Support has already duly poured from Pakistan-based hardcore groups that trained with al-Qaeda and fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan; after all they are all funded by Wahhabi fanatics.

Followers of the Houthi movement attend a protest against the Saudi-led air strikes in Sanaa April 5, 2015. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Followers of the Houthi movement attend a protest against the Saudi-led air strikes in Sanaa April 5, 2015. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Meanwhile, in the front lines, a real game-changer may be ahead, with the Houthis already firing missiles across the border at Saudi oil installations. Then all bets are off – and the possibility that long-range missiles have been pre-positioned becomes quite credible.

That scenario would mean a foreign intel agency luring the House of Saud into its own Vietnam quagmire in Yemen, setting them up for a barrage of missiles hitting their pumping stations and oil fields, with catastrophic consequences for the global economy. It’s crucial to remember that the Grand Armada Run Amok (GARA) assembled by Riyadh happens to account for no less than 32% of global oil production. This cannot possibly end well.

Everyone in Yemen has an AK-47, not to mention RPGs and hand grenades. The terrain is guerrilla heaven. History spells out at least 2,000 years of hardened tribes fighting foreign invaders. Most Yemenis hate the House of Saud with a vengeance; a majority follows what the Houthis announced in late February, that the House of Saud and the US were planning to devastate Yemen.

The Houthi rebellion includes both Sunnis and Shi’ites – thus totally debunking the Saudi narrative. When they captured the Yemeni National Security Bureau, which was basically a CIA station, the Houthis found a wealth of secret documents that “compromised” Washington’s Yemeni chapter of the war on terra. As for the Saudi Army, it’s a joke. Besides, it employs a huge contingent of – you guessed it – Yemeni soldiers.

“Operation Decisive Storm” – yet another Pentagon-style illegal war – has already plunged Yemen into the twin plagues of civil war and humanitarian disaster. The remains of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and most of all ISIS/ISIL/Daesh (who hate the Houthis and all Shi’ites with a vengeance) couldn’t be happier. The ‘Empire of Chaos’ couldn’t give a damn; the more widespread the chaos, the better for the Pentagon-defined Long War (on terra).

Over five years ago I wrote that Yemen is the new Waziristan. Now it’s also heading towards the new Somalia. And soon it may become the House of Saud’s Vietnam.


Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

Either you’re the Butcher or the Cattle

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on October 16, 2014

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I know many people have no interest in watching the boob tube because 99% of the programming is either mindless drivel or government sanctioned propaganda. It’s the 1% that reflects the deeper themes and moods engulfing our society. Television shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead reflect the darkening mood of this intensifying Fourth Turning. I wrote one of my more pessimistic articles called Welcome to Terminus in April regarding the season four finale of the Walking Dead series. I essentially argued we are approaching the end of the line and the world is going to get real nasty.

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In the six short months since I wrote that depressing article, we’ve seen men beheaded on Youtube videos by terrorists no one had ever heard of at the beginning of this year. Somehow a ragtag band of 30,000 Muslim terrorists, using American military equipment supplied to fight Assad in Syria and taken from the Iraqi Army when they turned tail and ran away, have been able to defeat 600,000 Iraqi and Kurd fighters with air support from the vaunted U.S. Air Force. Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan descend into never ending religious based warfare. We’ve even had passenger planes mysteriously disappear in Asia with no trace.

Crimea seceded from Ukraine and rejoined Russia, initiating a plan to punish Russia by the western powers. America supported and planned the overthrow of a democratically elected government in the Ukraine, with a predictable push back response by Russia, leading to a bloody civil war in the Eastern Ukraine. We’ve had a false flag shooting down of an airliner over the Ukraine by the Ukrainian government, blamed on Russia and Putin by Obama and his EU co-conspirators. The American corporate media mouthpieces have ignored the cover-up of missing controller transmissions, black box recordings, and physical evidence regarding the murder of hundreds of innocent people by western politicians. Israel and Hamas resumed their endless religious war in Gaza, with thousands of casualties and destruction.

UK fear mongering and financial threats barely averted the secession of Scotland from the UK. Cantalonia continues to push for a secession vote to leave Spain. Violent protests have broken out in Spain, Italy, France and even Sweden. Turmoil, protests and riots in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico have been driven by anger at political corruption, high inflation, and general economic dysfunction. Saber rattling between China and Japan has increased and young people in Hong Kong have been protesting the lack of democratic elections being permitted by China. The world economy, undergoing central bank monetary stimulus withdraw, is headed back into recession as Germany, China and the U.S. join the rest of the world in economic decline. And now the Western Africa outbreak of ebola has gone worldwide, with predictions of an epidemic potentially causing worldwide economic chaos.

What’s happening in the real world makes the dystopian zombie world of Walking Dead seem almost quaint. The writers of this show brilliant use of symbolism and imagery captures the violent, chaotic, inhumane, darkening, brutal world we inhabit as the Fourth Turning crisis period we entered in 2008 deepens on a daily basis. There is a good reason why the first episode of their fifth season drew the biggest cable TV audience in history. The show is clearly tapping into the mood of the masses. Early in the latest episode you realize Terminus has become a processing center run by cannibals. The line between victim and criminal, killer and prey, good and evil, madness and sanity, and moral and immoral is blurred. Everything is relative in the post-pandemic world of the Walking Dead.

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Seeing Wall Street cannibals walk away unscathed after devouring the worldwide economic system in 2008 with their fraudulent financial schemes, corrupt politicians enriched by throwing taxpayers under the bus, militarized police forces trampling the Fourth Amendment, the NSA spying on every American, a private central bank enriching their owners by funneling trillions into their bank vaults, a president trampling on the Constitution by issuing executive orders to bypass the other branches of government, and billions of welfare and tax fraud from the urban ghettos to the penthouse suites in NYC, has convinced a large swath of Americans that everything is relative and nothing matters in our warped dystopian world. Right and wrong no longer matter. Morality is an antiquated concept. Adhering to the Constitution is an outmoded notion. Our society celebrates and condones our dog eat dog economic paradigm. Or zombie eats anything world in the case of Walking Dead.

The Terminus complex is reminiscent of the concentration camp in Schindler’s List. It is complete with railroad cars to hold the prisoners, gates with barbed wire, armed guards, and extermination facilities to “process” the prisoners. Thick black smoke belches into the air. There is a room stacked full of booty, teddy bears, watches, clothes – everything except the gold fillings.The Nazi like precision and attention to detail is reflected in the almost business-like method in which the Terminus administrators go about gutting their prey. The bone chilling efficiency and antiseptic processing facility evoke memories of the holocaust gas chambers. The opening sequence when Rick, Daryl, Glenn and Bob are among a group of men lined up to be gutted like pigs over a trough in place to collect their spilled blood, might have been the most brutal scene ever put on non-premium cable TV.

The callous and dispassionate way in which the prisoners (cattle) are lined up in front of a stainless steel trough is disconcerting and bone chilling. The victims are hit with a baseball bat and then their throats are slit over the trough by men in protective suits. They have become nothing but cattle to be butchered and consumed by the Terminus cannibals. You see another part of the processing plant where human remains are hanging from hooks like sides of beef. Gareth, the leader of Terminus, supervises the operation like a CEO, berating the butchers for not meeting quotas and following standard operating procedures. Not much different than how our mega-corporations are run today.

thewalkingdead_season5_trailer

The other fascinating similarity between the dystopian “nightmare of want” setting of Terminus and our modern day dystopian “empire of excess” is the use of false advertising and propaganda to lure “customers” into their web. Their version of billboard advertising was plywood with the hand written messages of “Sanctuary for All”, “Community for All”, and “Those Who Arrive Survive”. The Terminus cannibals would have fit in well on Madison Avenue with the highly paid spin artists, propagandists, and whores for the corporate oligarchs.

The signs along train tracks and radio transmissions from a call center like facility showed the calculated business-like efficiency of the cannibals in systematically and methodically luring victims to their slaughterhouse. It is the same techniques used by the apostles of Edward Bernays to consciously and intelligently manipulate the habits, opinions, tastes, ideas and actions of the masses, in order to control and influence their buying habits, voting decisions, and support of their rulers. The unseen men who constitute the “invisible government” use these techniques to keep the cattle docile, fed, and ignorant, as they are led to slaughter.

The government and lack thereof is always lurking in the murky background of how and why the United States has devolved into an infected world of the walking dead. This episode provided some clues about government labs producing viruses as weapons to be used against some unexplained enemy. The insinuation is that the government somehow lost control of the virus and the ensuing pandemic destroyed our modern world and left the survivors to battle the biters and each other for the remaining scraps. The Federal government caused the societal collapse and is nowhere to be found in rebuilding the nation.

It is unclear how the apocalypse went down, but you can assume it began with fear, which led to panic, chaos, economic collapse, violent upheaval, war, and total breakdown of governmental authority and control. It is ironic that today fear of a worldwide ebola pandemic is coinciding with an inevitable economic implosion, wars raging in the Middle East, violent protests raging around the globe, and trust in governmental authority plunging to all-time lows. The Walking Dead has wittingly or unwittingly captured the ambiance of our turbulent times.

When you are faced with desperate circumstances you can either do whatever you need to survive or you can submissively accept your fate and die. Gareth and his cannibalistic cohorts had been in the same situation as Rick and his posse, but they had somehow turned the tables on their captors. Gareth’s survival of the fittest creed was “either you’re the butcher or you’re the cattle”. Human beings react to intense pressure and life threatening situations in different ways. Some people snap and turn into monsters, like Gareth. Some people snap and lose their minds. Others, like Rick and Carol, summon an inner strength to do whatever it takes to survive while barely maintaining their humanity. Others turn into blind followers of a strong forceful leader, not questioning the morality, legality or humanity of what they are ordered to do. The line between right and wrong, necessary versus unnecessary, vengeance versus justice, and butcher versus cattle is blurred in a world without rules, government or accepted norms.

I believe the “butcher or cattle” analogy is sadly a valid meme for the world we currently inhabit. In the Walking Dead world, individuals must choose to be butcher or cattle. It’s a Darwinian world of kill or be killed. Like minded individuals with common values and goals form communities to protect themselves, provide for themselves, and attempt to bring a semblance of order in a chaotic world. The community of Westbury, led by the governor and the community of Terminus, led by Gareth, are founded upon a foundation of evil and ultimately destroyed. Rick’s community of liberty minded freedom fighters do whatever is necessary to survive, but retain their humanity, decency and desire to create a better world.

Our present day world may not be as brutish as the Walking Dead world, though the line between reality and fiction is often indistinguishable when you turn on the news, but the distinction between butchers and cattle is clear. The elected and non-elected rulers of the deep state are the butchers, sending young men off to die for oil companies and arms dealers, impoverishing the masses through inflation and their control of the currency, and enriching themselves through their complete control of the political, financial, judicial, and economic systems. This establishment, or invisible government as Bernays described, is committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. Its scope, financial resources, and global reach put it in a predator class all by itself.

The common people are the cattle being led to slaughter. We are kept docile with incessant propaganda from the mainstream media; marketing messages to consume from Madison Avenue; filtered, adjusted, manipulated economic data fed to us by government agencies; an endless supply of iGadgets and other electronic distractions; government education designed to keep us ignorant; 24/7 reality TV on six hundred stations to keep us entertained; corporate toxic processed food to keep us obese and tame; and an endless supply of Wall Street supplied debt to keep us caged in our pens with no hope of escape. The butchers of the deep state have maintained control for decades, but we’re entering a new era.

Fourth Turnings result in the tables being turned on the butchers. Some cattle are awakening from their stupor. They can see the bloody writing on the slaughterhouse wall. Anyone who isn’t sensing a dramatic mood change in this country is either a mindless zombie or a functionary of the deep state. The financial shenanigans of the ruling class are again being revealed as nothing but a Ponzi scheme built on a foundation of debt and propped up by delusions and ignorance. When the house of cards collapses in the near future, the tables will turn. When people have nothing left to lose, they will lose it. The butchers will become the cattle. There will be no sanctuary for these evil men. Their reign of terror will be swept away in a whirlwind of retribution, death and destruction. It might even make the Walking Dead look like a walk in the park.

 

SNAP to RIOT IN #ferguson

Off the microphone of RE

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Aired on the Doomstead Diner on August 16, 2014

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…Today I am going to move away from the international geopolitical clusterfuck going on in Ukraine, MENA et al to return home to the FSoA, where the latest local Clusterfuck is ongoing in Ferguson, MO, which actually is part of the St Louis metro area. Ongoing as I write the script for this rant is some amount of undetermined rioting, but a very determined amount of large scale Gestapo crackdown.

The ostensible reason for the excitement there was the shooting of a young black male by a cop, for unknown reasons in any detail. This followed by numerous other young black males taking to the streets in protest, then taking the opportunity to do some Looting, again of how big a part of this looting is or was is open to conjecture.

All you need far as Newz Propaganda is concerned are one or two good shots of a black male exiting through the broken window with a Big Screen TV on his shoulder, and you get the immediate knee jerk reaction that the whole biz is about stealing merchandise, which happens of course but is hardly the underlying cause of the whole thing. It’s also not even clear how much of that really is going on, and frankly everybody knows the Newz Corps will pull out Stock Photos from some OTHER event in the past (Katrina for instance) with some unidentified Black Male running out of a store with a Big Screen TV. HTF do you know as reader of the story where and when a picture was taken? You don’t. You are just sold the spin with this about Looting being the big deal here, and it takes your eye off the ball of the underlying causes, and reactions by TPTB with their Proxy SWAT Team forces….

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!

Of Dogs and Corpses…

Off the keyboard of Steve from Virginia

Published on Economic Undertow on January 14, 2013

How Hwee Young, EPA-Al Jazeera, what the end of the World looks like: midday pollution in Beijing … the Chinese accept this as an integral component of ‘progress’.

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On Sunday, the monitoring center released data showing particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM 2.5), had reached more than 600 micrograms per square meter at some monitoring stations in Beijing and was as high as 900 on Saturday. According to the World Health Organisation, the recommended daily level for PM 2.5 is 20, and the high levels in Beijing has been identified as a major cause of asthma and respiratory diseases.Air quality in Beijing showed airborne particles with a diameter small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs at a reading of 456 micrograms per cubic meter, the warning center said.The quality is considered good when the figure stands at less than 100, but a reading shown on the website of the US embassy in the city was above 800.

Beijing only measures up to a maximum value of 500, with the US embassy tweeting that their own readings were “beyond index” (“Crazy bad!”).

 

Beijing is located within the Chinese rust belt. The districts surrounding the city are filled with coal-burning heavy industries … Citizens are placated by the infinitesimal likelihood that they themselves might become tycoons. To tend the tiny flame of possibility the citizens endure every abuse. A number the Chinese need to keep in mind is 12,000 … Londoners who perished as a result of a similar coal-driven smog event that occurred in the UK from December 4th onward, in 1952 (pdf alert).

No telling how bad Chinese pollution will become as managers frantically aim to increase output and boost precious GDP. As usual, nothing will be done until there are dogs gnawing corpses in the streets …

No telling the effect of more Chinese pollution on the world’s climate … the prospect of more pollution is not something to look forward to. It is likely the Chinese will endure more extreme weather … more GDP … more pollution … more floods and blizzards … more dogs, in a vicious cycle.

The Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice (PHP) and the Committee on Population (CPOP) has issued a lengthy report on the comparative fatality rates for different countries broken down by cause. Wolf Richter has filtered the report so as to bring forth information. From ‘Part One’ of his analysis:

 

How Americans Stack Up In Dying From Violence, War, Suicide, And Accidents … the first thing I did was check out the category “deaths from intentional injuries” and its three subcategories, “self-inflicted injuries,” “war,” and “violence.” Grisly statistics, all of them.As expected, the US has the most violence among the 17 “peer” countries in the study with 6.5 deaths per 100,000. Almost three times the rate of Finland, the next most violent country in the group with 2.2 deaths per 100,000 people, and over 15 times the rate of Japan with 0.43 deaths per 100,000 people. The third most violent country, Canada (1.6), is practically a bastion of safety for those Americans who make it across the border.The apparently permanent element of US foreign policy, “war,” killed 0.44 Americans per 100,000 in 2008. It killed a lot fewer people in the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and France, and none in the remaining peer countries.

Deaths from self-inflicted injuries are an immense cultural tragedy in Japan—and its literature is replete with it. But the Japanese rate of 19.8 suicides per 100,000 people is not that much worse than that of the Finns (17.7). Americans are in the middle of the pack (10.3). The least suicidal are the Italians (4.5).

Combine the deaths from all intentional injuries—violence, war, and suicide—and the leader of the pack is … drumroll … Japan! With 20.2 deaths per 100,000 it is a hair deadlier than Finland (19.9), somewhat deadlier than the US in third place (17.3), but 3.6 times deadlier than the country of the Mafia, Italy, where people are least likely to die of intentional injuries (5.6).

 

Humans are violent, machines make violence more efficient while denaturing it at the same time. Denature means altering fundamental characteristics, ordinarily to render unpalatable. Industry denatures violence into an anodyne ‘process’ that runs quietly in the background, outside of control. By this process violence becomes unremarkable, ordinary. Industry and its fetishes alter the style or ‘fashion’ of violence, giving it respectability then promoting its usefulness.

Managers strive to increase efficiencies … to inform company narratives so as to gain- or maintain credit flows … there are unintended consequences. Non-natural death can be considered a form of industrial pollution … Alternatively: accidents, disease, war and other forms of violence are all waste products of the industrial system. Violence-waste is a component of an efficiency-limiting negative feedback loop, a kind of cost. Waste increases along with efficiencies until the system modifies itself or is overwhelmed.

The managers demand others absorb the waste … or ‘adjust themselves’ to it. This is what happened after Chernobyl, is happening post-Fukushima, is happening now in Beijing, what has taken place after millions of car crashes and fatalities … what will happen after Newtown. The costs are agonizing … but not yet high enough to cause the system to modify itself or blow up.

Finance is subject to the same dynamic. Corruption and theft are the waste products of debt-money and finance speculation. The waste is denatured … in order to permit greater efficiencies and ‘finance innovation’. For the system to behave otherwise … to corral corrupt managers and reform the system … is more threatening than breakdown.

In this way, all of our human problems are larger or smaller versions of the same problem. As with fractals, our waste-cost dilemma scales. What this means is contriving strategies to cope with problems at one level would also produce workable strategies at other levels at the same time. This is something to think about when analysts insist that ‘this or that problem cannot be solved’ (except to give bankers more of the citizens’ money). Our problems aren’t irremediable predicaments. Rather, solutions are unpleasant to business tycoons who would be required to sacrifice for others than themselves.

More from Wolf Richter:

 

Even if you’re white, insured, educated, or in upper-income groups and live a healthy lifestyle, you’re still getting the short end of the stick … Americans under fifty are paying the price. We don’t know exactly why. Even the panel of experts that authored the massive report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, admits that it can’t entirely pinpoint the reasons. But we do know how Americans under fifty, particularly males, are paying the price: with their lives.The US health disadvantage, as the report calls it, is more prevalent among “socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.” But even if you’re “white, insured, college-educated, or in upper-income groups” and live a healthy lifestyle, you’re less likely to make it to 50 than your counterparts in the other 16 wealthy “peer” countries of the study …The report, based on mortality studies for the years through 2008, carves out three categories, “Deaths from Noncommunicable Diseases,” “Deaths from Communicable, Maternal, Perinatal, Nutritional Conditions,” and “Deaths from Injuries.”

“Deaths from Communicable, Maternal, Perinatal, Nutritional Conditions” is divided into dozens of categories and subcategories, and every country has its own nightmare. In Portugal for example, 7.4 people per 100,000 die of HIV/AIDS, more than double the rate of the country next in line, the US (3.4), and 246 times the rate of Japan (0.03).

“Something fundamental is going wrong,” lamented Dr. Steven Woolf, who chaired the panel. “This is not the product of a particular administration or political party. Something at the core is causing the U.S. to slip behind these other high-income countries. And it’s getting worse.”

The panel tried to nail down the culprits: a health-care system that leaves millions of people uninsured, the highest rate of poverty, education, eating habits, socioeconomic and behavioral differences, cities built for cars not pedestrians…. But it determined that these reasons cannot adequately explain the differences—because even wealthy, educated, insured whites with healthy lifestyles are getting the short end of the stick.

 

Numbers lie, so do reporting agencies, particularly if the numbers make bureaucrats look bad. Malnutrition will not appear in statistics from Greece, Spain and Portugal. The 1,000,000+ radiation deaths over the next 20 years are not going to show up in Japanese databases … If spent fuel pool in Fukushima Daiichi reactor number four collapses a large part of the country will receive lethal doses of radiation … any deaths that result will not be tallied. Keep in mind there are only 128 million Japanese so there is an upper limit to the body count.

Americans die like rats because we live like rats: the infernal car business has turned what was once a nice country into an ironic, Beelzebub-ish hell hole. To live in the US of A is to camp out in a cardboard McBox under a freeway overpass. To cope, a large segment of the population continually self-medicates: peeps abuse prescription drugs, over-consume alcohol, refine/manufacture street drugs like crack, crank, PCP and meth, import cocaine and heroin. Shifting to pot puts the medicant into prison. All this is ‘Life-enhancing’ … right?

Add to this is ordinary stress … the constant fear-mongering which has become the thump-and-drag of US advertising- and political business, the effects of pollution and radiation, the toxic chemicals in food and water, pharmaceutical misdeeds and medical incompetence … the breakdown of families and supportive communities … isolation and withdrawal into ‘self’ and entertainments. Humans are not adapted to this, modernity is ‘too new’ … there hasn’t been enough time for evolutionary process to work nor is there likely to be.

The Council report does not list ‘death by ignorance and greed’ … the two categories are all-inclusive.Our incredible consumer economy with all its various cogs … drives people insane. We’ve gained a lot of worthless diversions that have big costs that are shoved off onto those least able to bear them. Consumption is layered over with a fetishist obsession with images associated with militarism … not militarism itself. We’re cowards addicted to death porn.

We aren’t in the hands of evil men … we are the evil men and we cum all over ourselves in our ‘righteousness’ and ‘progress’.

The unraveling is underway, the proposed solutions are cosmetic, (Center for American Progress):

 

Preventing Gun Violence in Our Nation Neera Tanden, Winnie Stachelberg, Arkadi Gerney, and Danielle BaussanAfter last month’s senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—in which 20 children and 6 adults were shot and killed—we need to immediately address the gaps in our current law that enable mass shootings, as well as the everyday shootings that on average claim the lives of 33 Americans each day.In this issue brief we recommend 13 legislative proposals and executive actions to prevent gun violence in our nation. These actions are targeted in the following three key areas:

– Better background checks

– Taking military-grade weapons off the streets and out of criminals’ hands

– Better data, better coordination, and better enforcement …

 

It’s most likely that the ‘modernized date (gathering) systems’ … would be used to snoop on Occupy Wall Street- and anti-nuclear activists, persecute organic farmers, harass and infiltrate climate groups … that is what ‘modernize’ means in the 21st century. Controlling firearm violence will be difficult and costly. There are no easy ‘user pays’ solutions. Keep in mind, firearm manufacturing is Big Business. The imperative is to sell products, it is the same for all industries at all levels. Selling firearms is a cycle: the first round of sales justifies successive sales of ‘better quality’ materiel so that the buyers can maintain a (illusory) qualitative advantage. This requires additional rounds of sales. The enterprise is self-perpetuating as long as it can be fed money. For example, sales of military goods are a way to direct funds sent to oil producers back to the United States.

Military sales are another ‘nothing for something’ trade. If the material is not used it is useless in a practical sense. If it is used it is likely damaged or destroyed and must be replaced.

The way to sell firearms is to sell fear first. The way to ‘un-sell’ firearms is to stifle the fear and make firearms unfashionable:

– End the war on drugs and de-fund crime organizations thereby. Prosecute high-level criminals such as Jon Corzine. The issue is lawlessness and the perceived (real) breakdown in the social order. Lawlessness starts at the top. Prominent figures in and out of government and business need to be held to account!

– Treat gun violence as a public health issue. Expand the concept to include all forms of mental illness and suicide prevention. If the current healthcare infrastructure cannot manage the task (it can’t (it is hopelessly corrupt) a parallel provider system needs to be installed …even if it is hated ‘single payer’.

If the government or lobbyists aren’t willing to extend themselves in this way they should simply shut up.

– Increase employment by creating non-industrial jobs … ! A 21st century Civilian Conservation Corps would cost little, employ many and money spent would flow into the economy rather than to banks’ reserve accounts or to offshore tax havens. Employment would reduce poverty and the incentive to commit crimes. Conservation is capital husbandry, an exotic concept that needs to be revisited in a period of runaway insolvency.

– Improve veteran mental health services including in-service care. How the govt treats its veterans is a national disgrace. Lurking in the background are the endless, pointless wars-for-profit. There is a connection between the wars and turmoil across the country: one is the cause of the other.

– Close Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and shift investigative services to FBI. End the ‘terror war’. Paranoia feeds violence, we are consumed by it.

– Crack down on private armies of all kinds: contractors, paramilitaries, ‘patriot’ and other neo-nazi & similar hate groups.

– Hold firearm manufacturers liable for damages.

– Further down the road, with less fear and more confidence steps can be taken such as to nationalize the entire defense industry complex and repeal the 2d Amendment … the same way the US repealed the 18th Amendment. By doing so the baleful consequences of these industries’ influence would be reduced.

The clock is ticking on our foolishness:
CLB 010613

Figure 1: How little time in one chart (click on for big), Brent crude amalgamated futures contracts (from TFC Charts). The top line represents the high price of crude oil beyond which the economy contracts. The bottom line represents the price required by the so-called ‘producer’ to bring each barrel of crude oil to the marketplace. This price relentlessly increases because crude oil becomes more difficult to extract with each day … and every 90 million barrels removed then wasted.

By the end of the year the price that triggers deflation will decline to less than $120 per barrel while the price that drillers will need to stay in business will exceed $100 per barrel. The endgame is when the price of crude cannot be met by wasting the fuel or borrowing against the wasting process. We’re almost there …

Society is Crumbling…

Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder

Published on Economic Collapse on December 16, 2012

Discuss this article at the Fifth Horseman Table inside the Diner

Society Is Crumbling Right In Front Of Our Eyes And Banning Guns Won’t Help

What in the world is happening to America? I have written many articles about how society is crumbling right in front of our eyes, but now it is getting to the point where people are going to be afraid to go to school or go shopping at the mall. Just consider what has happened over the past week. Adam Lanza savagely murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 42-year-old Marcus Gurrola threatened to shoot innocent shoppers and fired off more than 50 rounds in the parking lot of Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, California. After police apprehended him, he told them that he “was unhappy with life”. Earlier in the week, a crazy man wearing a hockey mask and armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on the second floor of a mall in Happy Valley, Oregon. He killed two people and injured a third. On Saturday morning, a lone gunman walked into a hospital in Alabama and opened fire. He killed one police officer and two hospital employees before being gunned down by another police officer. So have we now reached the point where every school, every mall and every hospital is going to need armed security? How will society function efficiently if everyone is constantly worried about mass murderers?

In response to the horrible tragedy in Connecticut, many in the mainstream media are suggesting that much stricter gun laws are the obvious solution.

After all, if we get rid of all the guns these crazy people won’t be able to commit these kinds of crimes, right?

Unfortunately, that is not how it works. The criminals don’t obey gun control laws. Banning guns will just take them out of the hands of law-abiding American citizens that just want to protect their own families.

Adam Lanza didn’t let the strict gun control laws up in Connecticut stop him from what he wanted to do. Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and Adam Lanza broke at least three of them.

However, if there had been some armed security officers or some armed teachers at that school, they may have had a chance to protect those dear little children from being brutally gunned down.

If gun control was really the solution to our problems, then cities that have implemented strict gun control laws should be some of the safest in the entire country.

But sadly, just the opposite is true.

For example, Chicago has very strict gun laws. But 10 people were shot in the city of Chicago on Friday alone. Chicago is now considered to be “the deadliest global city“, and the murder rate in Chicago is about 25 percent higher than it was last year.

So has gun control turned Chicago into a utopia?

Of course not.

And it won’t solve our problems on a national level either.

You can find more statistics about the futility of gun control right here.

Well, how would things be if we did just the opposite and everyone had a gun?

Would gun crime go through the roof?

That is what liberals were warning of when the city of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law requiring every home to have a gun. But instead of disaster, the results turned out to be very impressive

In March 1982, 25 years ago, the small town of Kennesaw – responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. – unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of “Wild West” showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting – as a victim, attacker or defender.

The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law.

Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available – for the year 2005 – show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189.

When criminals know that everyone has guns, they are much less likely to try something. And often armed citizens are able to prevent potential mass murderers from doing more damage. You can find several examples of this right here.

But of course most of our politicians are not interested in common sense. Instead, they are obsessed with the idea that gun control will make our country “safe” again.

Senator Diane Feinstein says that she is ready to introduce a strict gun control bill in January that will “ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession” of many types of firearms.

Will such a law keep the criminals from getting guns?

No way. Just look at what is happening with the cartels down in Mexico. The criminals are always able to get guns.

If our “leaders” were really interested in stopping these mass murders, they would take a look at the role that mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs play in these incidents. If you look at the mass murders that have occurred over the past several decades, in the vast majority of them the murderer had been using mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has raised concerns about severe acts of violence as side effects of anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs not only on individuals but on society as well.

Just a month ago PRWeb described drug induced violence as “medicine’s best kept secret.”

And the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRI) is calling for a federal investigation on its web page which links no less than 14 mass killings to the use of psychiatric drugs such as Prozac and Paxil.

And guess what?

According to the Washington Post, one neighbor says that Adam Lanza was “on medication”.

But will our politicians ever consider a law against such drugs?

Of course not. The big corporations that produce those drugs give mountains of money to the campaign funds of our politicians.

So the focus of the debate will remain on guns.

And a lot of liberals would have us believe that our society could be transformed into some type of “utopia” if we could just get rid of all the guns.

Unfortunately, that is simply not true. Our society is in an advanced state of moral decay, and this moral decay is manifesting in our society in thousands of different ways. The corruption runs from the highest levels of society all the way down to the lowest.

For those that believe that gun control would somehow “fix America”, I have some questions for you…

Down in Texas, one set of parents kept their 10-year-old son locked in a bedroom and only fed him bread and water for months. Eventually he died of starvation and they dumped his body in a creek.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

A pastor in north Texas was recently assaulted by an enraged man who beat him to death with an electric guitar.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

Police up in New Jersey say that a man kept his girlfriend padlocked in a bedroom for most of the last 10 years.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

A 31-year-old man up in Canada was found guilty of raping an 8-year-old girl, breaking 16 of her bones and smashing her in the face with a hammer.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

According to the FBI, a New York City police officer is being accused of “planning the kidnap, rape, torture and cannibilization of a number of women”.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

A Secret Service officer that had been assigned to protect Joe Biden’s residence has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

Over in Texas, a very sick 29-year-old man stabbed his girlfriend to death and then burned his one-year-old baby alive because she had gone to court and filed for child support.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

Over in Utah, a 21-year-old man is accused of stabbing his grandmother 111 times and then removing her organs with a knife.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

There are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every single year.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

An average of five children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every single day.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

The United States has the highest child abuse death rate on the entire globe.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

It is estimated that 500,000 Americans that will be born this year will be sexually abused before they turn 18.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

If there was a way to take all of the guns away from all of the criminals, I would be all in favor of it. Unfortunately, no government on the planet has been able to do that.

Instead, we have seen that criminals thrive whenever gun bans are instituted and the guns are taken away from law-abiding citizens.

But the bottom line is that our social decay will not be solved either by more guns or less guns.

Our social decay is the result of decades of bad decisions. We have pushed morality out of our schools, out of government and out of almost every aspect of public life. Now we are experiencing the bitter fruit of those decisions.

And this is not a problem that our government is going to be able to fix. Violent crime increased by 18 percent in 2011, and this is just the beginning.

As our economy gets even worse, the rot and decay that have been eating away the foundations of America are going to become even more evident. The number of Americans living in poverty grows with each passing day, and millions upon millions of people are becoming very desperate.

Desperate people do desperate things, and crime, rioting and looting are going to become commonplace in the United States in the years ahead.

So you can pretend that the government is going to be able to keep our society from crumbling all you want, but that is not going to help you when a gang of desperate criminals has invaded your home and is attacking your family.

We definitely should mourn for the victims in Connecticut. It was a horrible national tragedy.

But this is just the beginning. The fabric of our society is coming apart at the seams. The feeling of safety and security that we all used to take for granted has been shattered, and the streets of America are going to steadily become much more dangerous.

I hope that you are ready.

 

Gun Battles

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Fifth Horseman Table inside the Diner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RE

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gun Battle Begins.

RE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen

Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on September 22, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasboard inside the Diner

Today I joined a gym. Yes, I know. I haven’t set foot in one for 15 years but the time had come to do so again. I apologise to regular readers who might be expecting something along the lines of some subject matter that is at least tangential to peak oil, global hegemony or environmental meltdown – that will all have to wait until next week. I should probably say now that if you’re of a sensitive disposition you might not want to read certain parts of this post, because today’s post is about … (drumroll) … violence!
 
But first, let me explain a little something. When I say I haven’t set foot inside a gym for 15 years, that’s not because I am some kind of couch potato who can’t walk up a flight of stairs. In fact, I run around 20km a week, bike about 100km and I’m even training for a half-marathon. Don’t forget, part of preparing for a future of limited medical care and inaccessible or ineffective drugs is the ability to keep fit and try and heal your own body. And just like sex, poetry and friendship, exercise is one of those things that you shouldn’t have to pay for. In any case, I have to exercise because if I don’t then the chronic pain I live with gets worse.
I’m not sure how it happened or what it is, but I live with an endless pain in my chest. It could have been when I had a snowboarding accident, or maybe it was the time I was infested with a tropical parasite that gnawed away at my insides unchecked for two years, but it’s been with me for this past decade, and sometimes it is debilitating, but usually it is just a low level ache in the upper left side of my chest. I’ve been to doctors and hospitals aplenty and they’ve run numerous tests on me and the conclusion is always the same: there’s nothing detectably wrong with me. Except there is. At times the pain spreads right up through my neck into my head and leaves me finding it painful to breathe and sleep. It isn’t fun.
 
I don’t know how it started or how to fix it. People have suggested acupuncture, visiting a chiropractor or various homeopathic treatments. Alcohol and coffee make it worse, whereas rubbing a pressure point under my left eye makes it go away temporarily, as if by magic. Very intense exercise also makes it go away for a few hours, as do strong pain killers. It’s a pain, but apparently not a fatal one.
 
So that’s why I go running. The only thing is that it seems to be getting more and more dangerous to go running where I live. Some people might think that it doesn’t get much safer and cleaner than Copenhagen – that is how the city likes to present itself to an international audience. That’s probably what the unfortunate American tourist thought last week who met a grisly end after an automated street cleaning machine suddenly developed artificial intelligence and went amok, sucking him up and ramming his head against the wall of a bank, thus killing him in a most unexpectedly unpleasant way. But anyone who has ever lived here or watched the superb TV series Forbrydelsen (renamed ‘The Killing’ in English) won’t be entirely surprised by what I am about to say. This has been my experiences in the past ten days or so:
 
  •     A man was murdered with a single shot to the head outside the office I work in. The attack was thought to be a revenge attack for a hit on some people walking out of a mosque a year ago (also next to my office) which I heard. At the time I had thought somebody was throwing heavy things into a skip – that’s what it sounded like.
  •     A couple of days later I went running at night. On a particularly dark street near the beach a car pulled up next to me and a man yelled something obscene at me. I ignored him and he drove off. Ten minutes later the whole place was full of police cars and it was on the news later that a man on that street had been randomly cruising around and stabbing passers-by. One victim was stabbed in the chest but managed to walk to hospital.
  •  I also went running the next night and surprised two men doing something suspicious at a deserted building site – they didn’t take it well and I had to put a sprint on.
  • Three nights later I encountered a gang of youths, one wielding a metal pole outside a grim local shopping precinct. They were dressed in the American ‘gangster’ style of pants hanging down and covered in bling. They were also smashing the place up and again I had to sprint to get away from them as they shouted after me.
  • Then last night – the final night I went out. Half the police force of Copenhagen descended on the island of Amager where I live after violence flared up between the two main Hells Angels gangs who are Denmark’s de facto mafia. One man was thrown out of a moving car, and another was found kneecapped in the back seat of another. Just another night in Copenhagen.
 
Sporadic random cases? Maybe.  But I used to regularly attend crime scenes in my capacity as a reporter here a couple of years ago, so I know very well that there’s a very dark underbelly in this city. Here are a few of the scenes I attended during that time:
 
  •         A cold blooded murder of a Somali man who was leaving his flat for work and was gunned down from a passing car in front of his children.
  •           A local bar (very close to my flat) invaded at night by a machine gun wielding gang hunting for junior members of a Hells Angels club. After shooting up the bar they dragged one unfortunate punter outside, pulled his trousers down and put the gun up where the sun don’t shine. I photographed the blood spattered plants pots and gore covered latex gloves of the paramedics.
  •          The assassination of a powerful Chinese businessman in a restaurant outside the office.
  •          The aftermath of a drugs turf war related grenade attack on some people enjoying a quiet beer in the alternative commune of Christiania. The grenade landed on the table and blew a young man’s jaw off.
  •          The attempted assassination of a biker leader as he sat in a Joe and the Juice café drinking a milkshake. The bullet went through the window into his back, where he was sitting, although he didn’t die.
 
Apart from those there have been dozens, perhaps hundreds of others. Just across the water from where I live, in the Swedish city of Malmø, they also had to contend with a serial killer who was shooting dark skinned people at random. Luckily he was caught, but the fact remains that these kinds of people just seem to pop up over here with unnerving regularity. How long before we get Denmark’s answer to Anders Breivik?
 
But now the police fear a new biker war. Forget Islamic terrorists, Scandinavia is plagued with home grown ones with blonde hair and blue eyes.  It brings me back to the happy days on the mid-nineties, when I first visited Denmark. In those days the various biker gangs, who ride around on shiny $80,000 Harley Davidsons and control the lucrative drug trade in these parts, were taking part in some pretty spectacular public battles. Who could forget the machine gun battle at Copenhagen Airport, for instance, or the RPG attack in central Copenhagen which launched a victim through a plate glass window as shoppers stood by gawking?
 
I should probably say that the leader of the Hells Angels, convicted killer Jørn Jønker Nielsen, is particularly web-savvy and on occasion phoned the office I used to work in to politely point out factual errors in our stories. So, if you’re reading Jørn, er, hello.
 
This is all very puzzling. The statistics don’t bear out my observations – Denmark has, on average, 0.9 homicides for every 100,000 people, making it the 21st safest country in the world (the US rate is about five times higher). It could be that victims are treated well in state of the art hospitals and usually recover, combined with the observation that most attacks tend to leave people half-dead rather than fully. And, of course, most violent crime tends to occur in the capital city, and most of them are premeditated attempts on the lives of various gang members and religious minorities.
 
So I have no particular desire to get caught up in all that again – hence my decision to join a gym in an international hotel near where I live. It’s a peculiar place to be. Everyone is so focussed on themselves and whatever is playing on their headphones, and they hardly seem to notice one another. It’s a kind of anti-community, where the lycra clad denizens drink only from plastic water bottles and nobody says a word but instead focuses on the numerous flat screen TVs affixed to the walls spewing out their 24 hour news and MTV feeds. Paper towel dispensers are much in use as every drop of sweat is quickly dealt with, and occasionally one of the gym employees will come round and empty the bins which quickly fill up with these and the plastic bottles. Various tattooed meatheads lift the free weights and flex their muscles in the mirrors, and afterwards there is a pool to cool off in, or a sauna to heat up in if you prefer. I quite like it.
 
It’s all very artificial and contrived, but for the time being it’s where I’ll be spending several evenings a week. What exactly am I doing as I run my standard 10km like a rat on a treadmill, dripping sweat onto the iPhone docking station? I’m writing my new sci-fi novel in my head, if you must know.  And not getting shot up the backside or stabbed or having my jaw blown off by a grenade.
 
Normal service will resume next week.

Burlesque in Norfolk and the TRUTH about Violence at Occupy

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table in the Diner
                 

In the scheme of things, the politics of Occupation occur on bigger stages than Norfolk, VA. Better known and noisier Occupations on Wall Street or Oakland, even Richmond, make the news and earn the headlines. Yet the fact that several groups of Occupiers maintain a presence and effect actions here in the heart of East Coast military might, and continue to bear witness to the abuses of the combination of state and economic power even here, has seemingly rattled the judgement of the stewards of that power here in southeastern Virginia.

Later she told me, “Right before it happened, I had a moment of clarity: that this was going down, and I could choose to go through with it, and if I did there could be repercussions. And I decided then to do it. And while they were arresting me, I felt pity for them.” The pretrial thoughts ofCarmen, my 20-year old daughter, the “littlest Occupier.”

 

The case of three of the Norfolk Occupiers for “obstruction of justice” by the police of the city of Norfolk went to trial today in General District Court. The three, Angela, Tess, and Carmen, had charges dismissed by the judge.

The judge found the charges overdrawn and that the behavior in question failed to rise to the standards required of obstruction in the statute, which was it itself clarified in a 1925 Virginia state decision cited by the defense.The charges were dismissed even before the defense attorneys mounted their defense of their clients. As the judge said, “Had the City pursued tresspass or even resisting arrest charges, they might have made a case. But they didn’t bring it to court.”

The issues were several: 1) there was no evidence that a lawful order to clear the park had ever been given; discovery produced no order; 2) there was no clear indication why the three women were even arrested, where it was clear that people that were in the park at the same time were not arrested; 3) the arresting officers failed to bring those arrested before a magistrate, violating procedures. From the cheap seats, it was pretty clear that the City might have made a trespassing charge stick, but the requirements of obstruction were too high a judicial hurdle to clear.

The defendants’ behavior didn’t even belong in the same zip code as obstruction: the accused were at all times peaceable, linking arms and engaged in chanting and prayer. At no time did they so much his raise their voices. They simply linked arms.

Given the events of this morning, one has to wonder why the district attorney even brought these charges, knowing that she had such a weak case with so many holes? If doing this was an attempt to send a message to the burgeoning Occupy movement, I have to think the message was marked as “not received.” That doesn’t mean that civil disobedience does not and will not have its costs.

On this day, justice was served. There will be other causes, other days, and we must remain ready.

UPDATE March 9: Yesterday, three Norfolk Occupiers, Anna, Tess, and Aliaka had a court date in room #6 in the General District Court Building downtown. They faced the heinous charges of “desecration of a monument” for having written in CHALK messages of peace, love and hope on the base of the Confederate monument opposite Commercial park (where the encampment had been.)Yes, you read that right: the messages were in chalk.
Their cases were dismissed. Nothing in their actions, as in the case of Carmen, Tess and Angela, rose to the level required by the definition required by the city statute.

So what you see at work is the same phenomenon at work in other places, that of the local police being enlisted to “crack down” on Occupy using trumped up charges. In Norfolk, the authorities are 0 for 4; the first set of cases for obstruction (Anita, Angela and Geoffrey) when the park was shut down were nolle prosequi’ed; Joelle’s arrest for trespassing, for simply sitting in the park, was dismissed; and both my daughter and colleagues’ case and the case described above were both dismissed.

One more court date remains, for a separate action on December 17. Ought to be interesting.

***

Update: The Truth About Violence at Occupy

I get a lot of crap from right wingers about supposed violence at Occupy gatherings. from first hand experience, I can say that I have never met such a fine and peaceable group of individuals. There are those, the younger, less patient “black bloc” crowd who want more confrontational direct action and to mask themselves, etc.

For my part I want them to know who I am, for better or for worse: I own a home, have raised a daughter, pay taxes and have had a career and a public life of sorts in this community, and I withhold consent from the entire rotten edifice of fixers and thugs.

In any event, it comes to this: a definitive look at the record of Occupy’s supposed record of lawlessness in the face of multiple police riots, by Rebecca Solnit, one of the most inteligent observers we have.

Surly

From Salon.com

When you fall in love, it’s all about what you have in common, and you can hardly imagine that there are differences, let alone that you will quarrel over them, or weep about them, or be torn apart by them — or if all goes well, struggle, learn, and bond more strongly because of, rather than despite, them. The Occupy movement had its glorious honeymoon when old and young, liberal and radical, comfortable and desperate, homeless and tenured all found that what they had in common was so compelling the differences hardly seemed to matter.

Until they did.

Revolutions are always like this: at first all men are brothers and anything is possible, and then, if you’re lucky, the romance of that heady moment ripens into a relationship, instead of a breakup, an abusive marriage, or a murder-suicide. Occupy had its golden age, when those who never before imagined living side-by-side with homeless people found themselves in adjoining tents in public squares.

All sorts of other equalizing forces were present, not least the police brutality that battered the privileged the way that inner-city kids are used to being battered all the time. Part of what we had in common was what we were against: the current economy and the principle of insatiable greed that made it run, as well as the emotional and economic privatization that accompanied it.

This is a system that damages people, and its devastation was on display as never before in the early months of Occupy and related phenomena like the “We are the 99%” website. When it was people facing foreclosure, or who’d lost their jobs, or were thrashing around under avalanches of college or medical debt, they weren’t hard to accept as us, and not them.

And then came the people who’d been damaged far more, the psychologically fragile, the marginal, and the homeless — some of them endlessly needy and with a huge capacity for disruption. People who had come to fight the power found themselves staying on to figure out available mental-health resources, while others who had wanted to experience a democratic society on a grand scale found themselves trying to solve sanitation problems.

And then there was the violence.

The Faces of Violence

The most important direct violence Occupy faced was, of course, from the state, in the form of the police using maximum sub-lethal force on sleepers in tents, mothers with children, unarmed pedestrians, young women already penned up, unresisting seated students, poets, professors, pregnant women, wheelchair-bound occupiers and octogenarians. It has been a sustained campaign of police brutality from Wall Street to Washington State the likes of which we haven’t seen in 40 years.

On the part of activists, there were also a few notable incidents of violence in the hundreds of camps, especially violence against women. The mainstream media seemed to think this damned the Occupy movement, though it made the camps, at worst, a whole lot like the rest of the planet, which, in case you hadn’t noticed, seethes with violence against women. But these were isolated incidents.

That old line of songster Woody Guthrie is always handy in situations like this: “Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.” The police have been going after occupiers with projectile weapons, clubs and tear gas, sending some of them to the hospital and leaving more than a few others traumatized and fearful. That’s the six-gun here.

But it all began with the fountain pens, slashing through peoples’ lives, through national and international economies, through the global markets. These were wielded by the banksters, the “vampire squid,” the deregulators in D.C., the men — and with the rarest of exceptions they were men — who stole the world.

That’s what Occupy came together to oppose, the grandest violence by scale, the least obvious by impact. No one on Wall Street ever had to get his suit besmirched by carrying out a foreclosure eviction himself. Cities provided that service for free to the banks (thereby further impoverishing themselves as they created new paupers out of old taxpayers). And the police clubbed their opponents for them, over and over, everywhere across the United States.

The grand thieves invented ever more ingenious methods, including those sliced and diced derivatives, to crush the hopes and livelihoods of the many. This is the terrible violence that Occupy was formed to oppose. Don’t ever lose sight of that.

Oakland’s Beautiful Nonviolence

Now that we’re done remembering the major violence, let’s talk about Occupy Oakland. A great deal of fuss has been made about two incidents in which mostly young people affiliated with Occupy Oakland damaged some property and raised some hell.

The mainstream media and some faraway pundits weighed in on those Bay Area incidents as though they determined the meaning and future of the transnational Occupy phenomenon. Perhaps some of them even hoped, consciously or otherwise, that harped on enough these might divide or destroy the movement. So it’s important to recall that the initial impact of Occupy Oakland was the very opposite of violent, stunningly so, in ways that were intentionally suppressed.

Occupy Oakland began in early October as a vibrant, multiracial gathering. A camp was built at Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza, and thousands received much-needed meals and healthcare for free from well-organized volunteers. Sometimes called the Oakland Commune, it was consciously descended from some of the finer aspects of an earlier movement born in Oakland, the Black Panthers, whose free breakfast programs should perhaps be as well-remembered and more admired than their macho posturing.

A compelling and generous-spirited General Assembly took place nightly and then biweekly in which the most important things on Earth were discussed by wildly different participants. Once, for instance, I was in a breakout discussion group that included Native American, white, Latino, and able-bodied and disabled Occupiers, and in which I was likely the eldest participant; another time, a bunch of peacenik grandmothers dominated my group.

This country is segregated in so many terrible ways — and then it wasn’t for those glorious weeks when civil society awoke and fell in love with itself. Everyone showed up; everyone talked to everyone else; and in little tastes, in fleeting moments, the old divides no longer divided us and we felt like we could imagine ourselves as one society. This was the dream of the promised land — this land, that is, without its bitter divides. Honey never tasted sweeter, and power never felt better.

Now here’s something astonishing. While the camp was in existence, crime went down 19 percent in Oakland, a statistic the city was careful to conceal. “It may be counter to our statement that the Occupy movement is negatively impacting crime in Oakland,” the police chief wrote to the mayor in an email that local news station KTVU later obtained and released to little fanfare. Pay attention: Occupy was so powerful a force for nonviolence that it was already solving Oakland’s chronic crime and violence problems just by giving people hope and meals and solidarity and conversation.

The police attacking the camp knew what the rest of us didn’t: Occupy was abating crime, including violent crime, in this gritty, crime-ridden city. “You gotta give them hope, “ said an elected official across the bay once upon a time — a city supervisor named Harvey Milk. Occupy was hope we gave ourselves, the dream come true. The city did its best to take the hope away violently at 5 a.m. on October 25th. The sleepers were assaulted; their belongings confiscated and trashed. Then, Occupy Oakland rose again. Many thousands of nonviolent marchers shut down the Port of Oakland in a stunning display of popular power on November 2nd.

That night, some kids did the smashy-smashy stuff that everyone gets really excited about. (They even spray-painted “smashy” on a Rite Aid drugstore in giant letters.) When we talk about people who spray-paint and break windows and start bonfires in the street and shove people and scream and run around, making a demonstration into something way too much like the punk rock shows of my youth, let’s keep one thing in mind: they didn’t send anyone to the hospital, drive any seniors from their homes, spread despair and debt among the young, snatch food and medicine from the desperate, or destroy the global economy.

That said, they are still a problem. They are the bait the police take and the media go to town with. They create a situation a whole lot of us don’t like and that drives away many who might otherwise participate or sympathize. They are, that is, incredibly bad for a movement, and represent a form of segregation by intimidation.

But don’t confuse the pro-vandalism Occupiers with the vampire squid or the up-armored robocops who have gone after us almost everywhere. Though their means are deeply flawed, their ends are not so different than yours. There’s no question that they should improve their tactics or maybe just act tactically, let alone strategically, and there’s no question that a lot of other people should stop being so apocalyptic about it.

Those who advocate for nonviolenceat Occupy should remember that nonviolence is at best a great spirit of love and generosity, not a prissy enforcement squad. After all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who gets invoked all the time when such issues come up, didn’t go around saying grumpy things about Malcolm X and the Black Panthers.

Violence Against the Truth

Of course, a lot of people responding to these incidents in Oakland are actually responding to fictional versions of them. In such cases, you could even say that some journalists were doing violence against the truth of what happened in Oakland on November 2nd and January 28th.

The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, reported on the day’s events this way:

“Among the most violent incidents that occurred Saturday night was in front of the YMCA at 23rd Street and Broadway. Police corralled protesters in front of the building and several dozen protesters stormed into the Y, apparently to escape from the police, city officials and protesters said. Protesters damaged a door and a few fixtures, and frightened those inside the gym working out, said Robert Wilkins, president of the YMCA of the East Bay.”

Wilkins was apparently not in the building, and first-person testimony recounts that a YMCA staff member welcomed the surrounded and battered protesters, and once inside, some were so terrified they pretended to work out on exercise machines to blend in.

I wrote this to the journalists who described the incident so peculiarly: “What was violent about [activists] fleeing police engaging in wholesale arrests and aggressive behavior? Even the YMCA official who complains about it adds, ‘The damage appears pretty minimal.’ And you call it violence? That’s sloppy.”

The reporter who responded apologized for what she called her “poor word choice” and said the piece was meant to convey police violence as well.

When the police are violent against activists, journalists tend to frame it as though there were violence in some vaguely unascribable sense that implicates the clobbered as well as the clobberers. In, for example, the build-up to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the mainstream media kept portraying the right of the people peaceably to assemble as tantamount to terrorism and describing all the terrible things that the government or the media themselves speculated we might want to do (but never did).

Some of this was based on the fiction of tremendous activist violence in Seattle in 1999 that the New York Times in particular devoted itself to promulgating. That the police smashed up nonviolent demonstrators and constitutional rights pretty badly in both Seattle and New York didn’t excite them nearly as much. Don’t forget that before the obsession with violence arose, the smearing of Occupy was focused on the idea that people weren’t washing very much, and before that the framework for marginalization was that Occupy had “no demands.” There’s always something.

Keep in mind as well that Oakland’s police department is on the brink of federal receivership for not having made real amends for old and well-documented problems of violence, corruption and mismanagement, and that it was the police department, not the Occupy Oakland demonstrators, which used tear gas, clubs, smoke grenades and rubber bullets on January 28th. It’s true that a small group vandalized City Hall after the considerable police violence, but that’s hardly what the plans were at the outset of the day.

The action on January 28th that resulted in 400 arrests and a media conflagration was called Move-In Day. There was a handmade patchwork banner that proclaimed “Another Oakland Is Possible” and a children’s contingent with pennants, balloons and strollers. Occupy Oakland was seeking to take over an abandoned building so that it could reestablish the community, the food programs and the medical clinic it had set up last fall. It may not have been well planned or well executed, but it was idealistic.

Despite this, many people who had no firsthand contact with Occupy Oakland inveighed against it or even against the whole Occupy movement. If only that intensity of fury were to be directed at the root cause of it all, the colossal economic violence that surrounds us.

All of which is to say, for anyone who hadn’t noticed, that the honeymoon is over.

Now for the Real Work

The honeymoon is, of course, the period when you’re so in love you don’t notice differences that will eventually have to be worked out one way or another. Most relationships begin as though you were coasting downhill. Then come the flatlands, followed by the hills where you’re going to have to pedal hard, if you don’t just abandon the bike.

Occupy might just be the name we’ve put on a great groundswell of popular outrage and a rebirth of civil society too deep, too broad, to be a movement. A movement is an ocean wave: this is the whole tide turning from Cairo to Moscow to Athens to Santiago to Chicago. Nevertheless, the American swell in this tide involves a delicate alliance between liberals and radicals, people who want to reform the government and campaign for particular gains, and people who wish the government didn’t exist and mostly want to work outside the system. If the radicals should frighten the liberals as little as possible, surely the liberals have an equal obligation to get fiercer and more willing to confront — and to remember that nonviolence, even in its purest form, is not the same as being nice.

Surely the only possible answer to the tired question of where Occupy should go from here (as though a few public figures got to decide) is: everywhere. I keep being asked what Occupy should do next, but it’s already doing it. It is everywhere.

In many cities, outside the limelight, people are still occupying public space in tents and holding General Assemblies. February 20th, for instance, was a national day of Occupy solidarity with prisoners; Occupiers are organizing on many fronts and planning for May Day, and a great many foreclosure defenses from Nashville to San Francisco have kept people in their homes and made banks renegotiate. Campus activism is reinvigorated, and creative and fierce discussions about college costs and student debt are underway, as is a deeper conversation about economics and ethics that rejects conventional wisdom about what is fair and possible.

Occupy is one catalyst or facet of the populist will you can see in a host of recent victories. The campaign against corporate personhood seems to be gaining momentum. A popular environmental campaign made President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada, despite immense Republican and corporate pressure. In response to widespread outrage, the Susan B. Komen Foundation reversed its decision to defund cancer detection at Planned Parenthood. Online campaigns have forced Apple to address its hideous labor issues, and the ever-heroic Coalition of Immokalee Workers at last brought Trader Joes into line with its fair wages for farmworkers campaign.

These genuine gains come thanks to relatively modest exercises of popular power. They should act as reminders that we do have power and that its exercise can be popular. Some of last fall’s exhilarating conversations have faltered, but the great conversation that is civil society awake and arisen hasn’t stopped.

What happens now depends on vigorous participation, including yours, in thinking aloud together about who we are, what we want and how we get there, and then acting upon it. Go occupy the possibilities and don’t stop pedaling. And remember, it started with mad, passionate love.

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table in the Diner

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