The Pentagong Show

The Pentagong Show
United State of Terror: Is Drone War Fair?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Trump L'oeil: The Vision of the Future That's a Stick in the Eye.

Floating Aloan: Riding the Petro.

U.S. factories still haven’t recovered from the recession, according to an article in The Washington Post. I wonder if they've receded from the recovery? If a recovery is what happens after a recession, what happens when the recovery is just a TARP?

There is a continuity to economic events, the signal of which is lost amidst the rah-rah speculative noise, much of which emanates from the Fed, the very organization that, were it doing its job, should be working to squelch it.

American Malls In Meltdown – The Economic Recovery Is Complete and Utter Fraud 

The crash in oil prices was received enthusiastically as amounting to a 'tax break' in that consumers having more money to spend. Remember that idea from just a year ago? Of course you don't. The one thing for which the  American public can be counted on is their complete lack of memory and their insouciant attitude toward their own demise. Kept distracted by such tittylations as Caitlyn's insistence that the foot attached to her 6'4" frame, that of a triathlon athlete, can be squeezed, as though he were one of Cinderella's step-sisters, into a lady's glass slipper, they simply don't have the time for such mundane issues as WTF the price of oil is, was, or will be, nor what that has to do with their everyday lives.

Since every economy on the globe, even the miracle economy of China, has been sinking, one might even say spiralling, down, the crash appears to be accelerating. Yet nowhere have I seen any direct connection being made between the termination of the Fed's QE3 and the implosion that has followed it, even thought there is in fact a direct link such that global growth took an immediate hit, one that was then cheerily wall-papered over, since the TARP, having wended its way into corporate coffers, had been already dissipated.

This is the great dilemma we face as humans, there is simply no way to change course from our current headlong rush to disaster without wrenching changes, yet, when such changes, which the Lehman collapse was certainly an example of, occur, the perpetrators of the calamity close rank, come up with a solution that will keep their power and control over the vital functionary levers of the economy firmly in their grip, then use our political "leaders" to foist said plan onto the rest of a sheepish public, a play right out of either John Perkins', "Confessions of an Economic Hitman", or Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine".

Yet even now, as voices of doom keep warning of the imminence of the collapse, nowhere do you hear any plan to do anything different than what was done the  last time, with the proviso that, now the Fed's bag of tricks has been emptied, and so, the last shuddering collapse will have nothing to stop it from leaving all the economies of the world, which we have so proudly strong-armed into leaving open to the known depredations of a predatory capitalist culture, from all going down together with no viable plan to kick start them into some kind of a functioning state. 

America’s silent-but-deadly billionaires: How our tight-lipped overlords are waging stealth campaigns against the middle class Salon

Okay, but how about the not-so-stealth campaign of the middle class that was waged against the poor during the Reagan years, and then continued into the Clinton era, that everyone ignored and in fact, at the dangled  prospect of getting rich themselves, totally bought into? That was the plan, set the middle class against the lower and they won't even notice that they're undermining their own wealth. And before you get all defensive, they pulled the same trick on themselves, or should I say, each other, so don't feel so bad. Even the middle-class is too busy running their everyday lives to have much time for concern for others (or so it always seems, then you read the stats on TV viewership, with hours per person in the 6-hour/day realm and ya gotta wonder ... if their lives are so, so busy, where does all that time come from that's spent in front of the tube?).

The real secret, although not really so secret, just not acknowledged, of the so-called Reagan Revolution, was that it was a Revolution of the Aristocracy against the yoke of overtaxation it felt it had been saddled with since WW2, and it needed a consummate salesman as their frontman, and since all actors are basically salesmen, the product they're selling usually being the role they've been cast in. Ronaldo Reagan was the perfect sleazy salesman to front for them. His Van Heusen days behind him, he was coiffed and governored and run on a platform that even the criminal from the CIA he chose for his VP categorized as Voodoo economics.

Bush had good reason to categorize The Plan as such, because it consisted of nothing less than subverting the Welfare State and re-establishing the Weathfare State. A generation after WW2, the Rich Club, in which he was a charter member, no longer had the need of the Credo "We're all in this together", used to persuade the masses to fall in line to fight for their (the aristocracy's) interests. Do or Die was the work order of the day, and it's the attitude Reagan was chosen to champion, as he could put it in terms more easily swallowed.

Using the same pretext that the Cliveden group in England used to support Hitler, namely, "defeating Communism" (ie crushing Labor and setting the stage for the biggest rout in Workers' rights since  ... well, ever!) as the rallying cry to allow the Bush/Reagan administration to subvert the economy and  manipulate the price of oil (while championing"Free Market" economics, no less. Oh the Irony!) by a concerted effort to invest in such hard-to-produce oil as the Alaskan slopes and the frigid North Sea, the Bush/Reagan duopoly perverted what they continuously, strenuously, kept referring to as the 'free' market, even as they purposely distorted it for purportedly geopolitical reasons while in actuality using such distortion to enrich the Bush family and its multifarious linked enterprises, with their fellow scalawag from 'across the pond' Margaret Thatcherhead, to help. Because it was her championing of the same perverted philosophy to enrich her cronies while impoverishing her countrymen, selling the vast store of resources in the North Sea for a fraction of their worth. In case you missed it, this is why the Jebbish Bush hailed her as a hero: he shares her same attitude toward society, that it exists only as Society. In deference to which she cringingly knelt before the crown to receive her Damenation from the queen of the damned who rains all HER kingdom's goodies into the coffers of the devils of Lorddom. The piers of the realm are indeed rotting right out from under the docktored economy.

Peter Schiff Warns: "The Whole Economy Has Imploded... Collapse Is Coming"

When the State desires your co-operation, even though it means it's a losing proposition from your point of view, they say it's for the greater good, or that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few; but when the greedy require the State to enforce their control of the economy, such as raising the interest rate as Janet just did as a sop to the banks, imposing a tax on the economy that, instead of flowing into the Treasury's coffers, will instead fill the already-bloated bank accounts of the Captains of Sindustry, they demonstrate their real belief: that the greed of the Capitalistic few outweigh the real needs of the crushing majority of the many, who are comprised of the voiceless, powerless poor.

And now, with COPout21 behind us, we can clearly see (except in Beijing, where you can barely breathe, let alone see) that those needs aren't going to be ignored anymore. They're going to be submerged along with several South Sea islands, a third of Florida and a host of coastal cities, including New Orleans. 

The three largest sources of CO2 exhaust and no-cost (to them) polluting for the industries that are responsible for it, are Manufacturing, Auto Sales, and Shipping and Travel; yet not one of them was even mentioned at the conference. All of these industries require intense energy utilization, whether the products are ICE (although the term Internal Combustion Engine has been quietly abandoned, the Tons of CO2 spewing from more than  a billion exhaust pipes because of gasoline incineration has not) machines or electric, a minor percentage of the energy they consume will be coming from  windfarms. Nor was that benzedrine of constant stimulus to the global economy that creates massive unmonitored CO2 production (unmonitored because it comes under the rubric of National Security, the cost of which promises to kill us in order to save us): the manufactory of tons upon tons of weaponry of mass destruction stockpiled in the United States of Armamentaria, where no voice may ever be raised to protest the sheer folly, not to mention downright evil, of this concentration of destructive energy as the driving force of the greed-driven engine, blithely referred to as "Free-Market Economics". Instead, it's as though the mere incantation of these words frees its practitioners from all accountability for the hellacious repercussions, whether as individuals or nations, baked into its swaggering, adolescent "fuck you" attitude.

And now, one of its more heinous warlocks comes forth in the person of The Donald promising to do for Democracy what Hitler did for Socialism and Stalin did for Communism. In the process, he'll send it to the trash bin of history, having been proven to be too evil and too dangerous to ever allow it to run roughshod over a helpless global population again. He personifies Fukuyama's "The End of History", the title of which predicts what the Trytrumphalism, that mimics the triumphalism that the US indulged in at the fall of the USSR, will actually lead to: The end of history. As in no future:

No Democracy ... No Nation ... No World. 

Or at least not one capable of supporting complex life as we know it.

Yet the preparation to celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace continues unabated without a shred of self-awareness of the unmitigated hypocrisy evidenced by the fact that the generations growing up under the rubric of The World's Sole Superpower have been promised nothing more than a State of perpetual War. But as they flock into theaters to watch yet another chapter of the Star Wars saga, proving once again that no mater how long the US populace enthusiastically supports its government's fomenting an absurd state of  War against War, otherwise known as the War against Terror which War is the ultimate instrument of, they still find nothing so entertaining as even more War. Gone is the naive and kitsch fantasy of a mere trek into the unknown, an Enterprise of this scale needs the ultimate projection of power and control if it's to attract the viewership of millions, so the true barbaric heart must be on display and the bloodthirsty nature of humanity stoked for profit. And for that, the promise and glory of War had to be emblazoned in the very title. But as the force awakens, the peace slumbers, unaware of the danger to its reign. It looks like the Elois are perfectly content to accept the Morlocks' control of, not only their lives, but their minds as well.

Friday, September 25, 2015

"Fahrvergnügen": "Enjoy driving" (over anyone in your way).

Vee double (Cross) you: "Truth is whatever VW can get believed."  

 The scandal behind VW's rigged readings is far murkier than anything anyone wants to talk about just yet. A light embarrassment, a little false note in the tinkling coins. The marriage of State and Corporation that we so decry we can no loner deny, 'cause when VW pulled their nasty trick, it wasn't just for themselves, but the palm oil plantation owners and the diesel refiners and stations all palming off palm oil diesel to the public as, "eco-friendly", even as a choking smog sends 25 planes into the air over in Singapore as more rainforest is burned down to plant palm oil plantations from which this bio-fuel is produced.  But the diesel made therefrom has lost its price advantage over dirty diesel since the collapse of oil prices, and that gives this scandal its real juiciness. 

Like Putin's 'Champions" or China's State Enterprises, corporate heads do exactly what Adam Smith, their go-to man when they want a catchy phrase like, "the invisible hand of the market", (with no one ever noting that the only reason a hand needs to be invisible is when it's picking your pocket, and that the best place to do that is in a busy marketplace), to sell the complete rape of the public to that very same public (ya gotta admit, they're pretty good at it), but failing to mention that it was that same Adam Smith who warned, in the same tome (it's very tome-y), that at no time nor any place have two or more members of the corporate class got together than that within ten minutes they have entered into a conspiracy against the public.

This particular conspiracy had a lot more in mind than selling a few extra Jettas. It was inter-corporate intrigue that was out to salvage an industry and the trillions in investment that have been sunk into it, billions of which was wrung out of climate change believers, those pro-Lifers, as a conscionable alternative to fossil fuel investment. This was the way to maintain the carefree pursuit of mindless driving, driving ,driving without all that nasty guilt about habitat annihilation. 
But of course, it was/is a lie. The only way, not only to sell more vehicles, but to make the science work such that bio-diesel has a smaller carbon footprint than its fossil fuel-derived counterpart was to  play us all for the colossal suckers we're always obligingly molding ourselves into, and simply fix the tests. Those who knew wouldn't care and those who cared wouldn't know, or at least wouldn't care to know.

This goes right to the heart of the beast. The economic system can only be maintained by deliberately lying not only to the public but fellow businessmen and investors, bankers, insurance personnel and accountants; complete fabrications that are massaged for your comfort and relaxation. The entire global economy has been Enronned. The transportation sector is not only a vital artery, but a contributor of a vast portion of the world's nations' economies, and it is buttressed by a pack of lies created by the same mAdMen who concocted the same campaign of obfuscation and outright lies to sell cigarettes to a gullible, sensation -hungry public. But this is the transportation sector that they've hoodwinked us about this time. On an enormous, unfixable scale. 

Think about the resources that need to be brought to bear just to repair VW's wanton damage, Then consider the dozen or so other Car Manufacturers that did the same or something similar, and you begin to see the picture. The US alone robofactured 18 million units in the last year. But don't stop there. Now let's consider the impact of an entire industry blowing second-hand smoke, of a much more toxic mixture than any cigarette, in your eyes. The scale of this crime is monstrous. Yet the same type of shenanigans still goes on in the housing industry, and the Banking industry, the insurance companies, all doing business making decisions on the basis of false data. But not just false. As in the VW case, one of the few times they weren't able to hide the evidence of their crime, data deliberately manipulated to be false for other than just the obvious underhanded reason. 

The same carefully  planned deception undergirds the entire globalized economy. An over-leveraged house of cards that were all slipped from the bottom of the deck of a pack of lies by a bunch of Jokers who built a sand Bank on the coast of an inexorably rising ocean of debt. 

Metaphorically speaking, that is.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Après quelques Mois, Le Déluge.

Trying to keep down a poplar uprising.

Much has been written about the circus act that Fox Views sponsored last week, but I find Kunstler's description of it as, "The Spectacle", to be the most apt. That's why I was surprised to see Jeff Subleski retort to a comment I made describing Rand Paul as a toy poodle surprising: "Got it, you are one of those voters that makes his choice based on superficial characteristics like a haircut or maybe gender.  Good luck with that." 

"How strange", I thought, "he intends to use this cavalcade of debauched wannabe's, paraded like a gaggle of well-groomed geese complete with nonsensical honking, as something on which to base his decision for whom to vote". Well, right back atcha Subleski, Good luck with that.

Jeff's comment is far more illustrative than even Kunstler's description. Because, whereas Kunstler sees through the gossamer thin veil of contempt which with Fox presented this lineup one would more expect to see in a police station behind a one-way mirror being eyed by a potential witness to a crime, Jeff's remark reminds us that many of our young people are taking this Spectacle as much  more than the Kabuki theatre it's orchestrated as; they really think this charade is a "Debate", never having actually seen what an authentic debate, conducted by a non-partisan panel of inquisitors, would normally look like.

The above picture was posted by a "friend" on Facebook, and, using the pun in the above caption, I answered his objection that, "You'd think those trunks would be thicker after 76 years" (The chairs were (supposedly, I don't believe a word of it) laid out for a wedding in 1939 in Poland. The wedding was abandoned, and so were the chairs due to the German invasion. They were found again after the war with the trees growing through them. (Mmm -Hmmm)), with the assertion that that was a poplar misconception. To which he brusquely replied, "Those are not poplars". Well, "Duh!"

That's how I felt after reading Jeff's comment. Really? You took that literally? To be taken to task for something you say is one thing, but to be reprimanded for saying something that you thought was obviously (or  at least you thought it was obvious) said for humor, leaves me a little paralyzed. What do ya say to that? For the FB post, another friend came to the rescue by responding, "They must be poplar, look how many "likes" they got", saving me from  having to get snarky (which was my first impulse, which it often is online ... one I am sagaciously, methinks, usually able to suppress, as it is less than helpful). But for the Foxy snarky Jeff post, I can't conceive of any way of setting him straight in a one-line quip, not when I feel pretty much like The Kunstler on this one, namely, as he said in closing this week's posting:

"I’m with those who think that the 2016 election campaign is going to be a wild spectacle beyond the current imaginings of news media. I’m serenely convinced that, among other things, the banking system is going to implode so hard and fast well before the nominating conventions that the nation will be in a state of near chaos. What’s out there now is just a tired dumb-show replaying the shopworn themes of an era that is about to slam to a close."

That seems fairly close to how I feel about things (except the "serenely convinced" part, I feel neither serene nor convinced, apprehensive would more aptly describe my general outlook), not that either one of us is necessarily right. But when you get most of your news form the internet, it leaves you with a different perspective than you come away from the nightly news with, namely, that this haphazardly stitched together collection of discarded promises, blood-sucking scams and bally-hooed asset valuations, riding on an economy that everyone, (even the most ardent "deniers", all of whom , including The Donald, were, a mere four  years ago during the last election cycle, all proudly calling themselves, "Birthers", because they knew, just knew, that the President was born in Uganda or Kenya, or somewhere in the country of Africa (now don't go all Jeff on me, that's a joke, son, a JOke! Although it is actually what many of those birthers said), even as they were proposing to pass a Constitutional amendment so that they could do exactly the same thing, ie, make the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger was not a citizen still allow them to vote for him as President), is fully cognizant of the fact that the path we are heading down currently will not ever "Make America Great Again".

As even these deniers know, we are in nothing more than a holding pattern right now. Nobody, not even the self-congratulating employees of the Fed, know the way forward. They have become so inured to simply fixing the numbers so that they align with their prognostications that they've lost all conception of an economic system that has real accounting standards that can't just be waved away by the FASB so that the perpetrators of a globalized Ponzi scheme can rob the public blind in order to keep their sinecures and thereby, as a second thought, keep the maelstrom swirling by filling the punchbowl with what they hope no one will notice is cheap gut-rotting moonshine.

But, given that we know the future has no place for the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) machines we're slapping together at a rate of 17 million vehicles per annum (a scant percentage of which are electric, since the heftier price for such vehicles renders them unaffordable, even to the relatively well-heeled, without public monies being used to supplement their purchase), while we stoke the tourism trade, which assumes cheap and reliable air transport, which spews carbon into the atmosphere at the highest level, 30,000 feet, and without which the tourism trade collapses, or this internet, which, despite the seemingly small cost to us to stay online, is supported by a creaking electrical grid and was built with the purpose of collecting all of the users' data and sifting through it for evidence of misbehaviour, leaves us with an economy more and more dominated by fewer and fewer companies,  the largest of which are currently using the Fed's free money to buy back more and more of their own stock, making it unavailable to the buying public, enriching the current shareholders and impoverishing the rest, the same thing the Fed is doing with the housing market, and, until recently, when the lack of demand could no longer be hidden by accounting tricks and hedge fund inflows, with commodities.

Now, I know I'm not the most  optimistic person in the world, but when I see Michael Snyder's "Economic Collapse" blog, Wolf Richter's "Wolf Street", Stephen Roach, David Stockman, Peter Schiff, Michael Shedlock, and, my mentor Doug Noland ( I found his new blogspot, well not so new anymore, I suppose, just recently; Whoohooo!, thanks Naked Capitalism), all perceiving 'weakness' in the economic picture, it tends to give one pause, and it tends, given many of the facts about the economy listed above, to leave one less than sanguine about our economic prospects going forward. Yet this most germane of issues was never even flitted over during the Spectacle.

But Jeff didn't notice any of this. Jeff thinks, even after watching a debate about our future in which the moderators ask superbly coiffed and manicured contestants what they said to god when they woke up that morning, and, of course, what he said in response, that the reply to any such queries can be anything but superficial, yet can, apparently, be used to make a sound analysis on which to base your voting behavior on. But, of course, it can't. All it can do is demonstrate that the private sector, which is what the Fox network would swear it belongs to until it's red in the face, has now become yet another realm where religion is using its bigotry and intolerance to assert its ugly agenda, making this debate look more like a Punch and Judy Show the Taliban would orchestrate than anything a Democratic Republic of free-thinkers and their duly elected (except The Donald, The Donald's never been elected to anything) representatives would debase themselves by participating in. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Age of Futility: What goes to Wall St. stocks, stays in Wall St.'s stock.

Precarious perch: it's not just a fish on the "Endangered Species" list.

The one favor that we can we thank Paul Krugmaniac for is the association he made between weather and the economy. After hurricane Sandy he made a remark about the economic benefits rebuilding would bring. This started a bit of a firestorm in and of itself. If true, it would mean that the rising sea levels and megastorms that the climate is promising to deliver in the future will give the dying beast of Kamikaze Kapitalism Kulture a new lease on life as it sparks fires, inundates houses, and destroys transport.

Now that we're in 2015, the year it all becomes Manifest, the beginning of the revulsion against the proud and stupid Marc Rubios and Senator Inhofes of the world, to the point that if they continue, they will be hunted down like the rabid dogs they are and torn to pieces by an incensed mob of climate refugees. The Members of ALEC will have their names made public and rounded up and shot off the planet in a rocket, sentenced to live aboard the Space Station. David Koch will be hog-tied to his brother and lynched in tandem if they keep fueling the burning of fossil fuels on one hand, while showing the inevitable results on PBS' Science on the other. By funding both, they show the evil nature of their activity, they know full well, but prefer your death to their having to live without a constantly growing fortune of bribed/extorted/bullied, gains from their criminally insane, but highly profitable, enterprises.

As national heat records on three continents fall to a blistering heat wave, the first winter cyclone to hit the southern hemisphere, ever, Racquel, drenched the Solomon Islands; meanwhile in Portugal, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, parts of India Russia, and China, Brazil and Chile, Australia, the North American West, and Oceania, all across the globe, the land is drying out, subjected to an increasingly intense cycle of desiccation followed by a deluge of rain that torrents down hillsides and floods cities and agricultural crops, leaving a swath of devastation that provides further examples of the interactions of Nature and nurture: when weather is unpredictable, there is no possibility of growing anything with which to nurture ourselves, as it is destroyed before it can be harvested: flooded before the shoots can grow, or baked dry by desiccating heatwaves and never-ending drought.

This is the harbinger of a new era: The Era Of Futility. The era when the harder you work, resulting in merit pay increases, makes you, not more likely to be rewarded by a promotion, but with a pink slip, because those increases make you more likely to be laid off as "uneconomical". Additionally, the more sick/personal days and vacation days you accumulate, the larger a liability you become. And this isn't merely on a personal basis, but on an economy-wide scale, it is the dynamic that ones builds when one allows the accumulation of a nation's savings to be spent on not only evil-minded, nefarious foreign adventures to bring hallowed demockracy to other lands, while it is systematically and deliberately undermined in your own, or when one invests, using the capital built up by the savings of your own population, in other countries' production, using government guaranteed funds that will leave the gamblers richer should the enterprise succeed, but the taxpayers poorer should they fail, and still refer to the economy upon which such shenanigans depend and within which they flourish, as Capitalism. It is not. It is Capitolism. The evil doppelganger of capitalism wherein the governing elite are more instrumental in your success than fulfilling the needs of the populace for which enterprises supposedly exist in the first place. If this were not true, the amount of money businesses spend on Pac's, lobbying, campaign finance, and advertising for services they don't actually render and products they can't really manufacture, such as the nonexistent "Love" in that Subaru that was shipped from thousands of miles away, so they must tell you, and spend millions and millions of dollars to do so, and you must, DO, believe it's true (else the campaign would've been scrapped long ago, but it wasn't ...because it works! You buy into the absurd belief that a piece of iron is welded together with  love). The Congress just voted to reinstate the EXport-Import Bank for just such enterprises. You take the brunt of the Risk, the businesses reap the rewards, using the profits derived therefrom to pay lobbyists to reduce their own tax burden to zero ... see Apple for details on how this is done, as they keep $200billion offshore to avoid taxation, or, as Cisco did, amass enormous amounts of capital while your stock is soaring skyhigh and pay your investors nary a nickel in dividends.

So it goes with education. The more education that you're on the hook for, the lower your chances of getting hired, because, employers do a credit check, and that amount of debt makes you a bigger credit risk, DEcreasing your prospects.

The more you save of the pittance they do pay you, the less likely you will be to have any ability to accumulate assets, because, as we're once again seeing in China, repeating the pattern set in 2007, and in the oil patch here in the US, since the collapse in oil prices a year ago, the retail investors are left in the dust as the insider traders cash in their chips and leave the table, yet again. In a healthy economy, this isn't such a bad thing. It means that older investor leave a healthy share of their capital in interest-earning CD's in insured accounts in banks and younger entrepreneurial energy uses excess cash to start businesses instead of putting it in the Wall St. casinos. To paraphrase Las Vegas' motto, what goes to Wall St. stocks, stays in Wall St.'s stock. Main St. is now Down-the-Drain St.

This is the quandary one ends up in when one turns over the entire economy to the Militarization of not only industry , but the culture. When a Muslim blows himself up to protest the presence of foreign armies in their sacred sites, we call it militarized Islam, or the Religion of Terror, completely ignoring that that is exactly what the White Supremacist south had been doing for generations, or that the AIPAC calls any attempt to stop the burgeoning growth in military spending, referred to blithely as "Defense" spending, "anti-Semitic". In other words, ALL mono-theistic religions are bloodthirsty: it's their nature. They are all based on exclusion, and often eradication, of non-believers, enabling confiscation of their property, and, should said religion rise to the level of governance, to the murder of any heretics who are first tortured into 'confessing' their apostasy, and then dispatched in the most heinous manner, as an example to what happens to non-believers in the sanctioned Truth. Which isn't to say that governments can't end up with this attitude as well, but they usually don't start out that way, so there's at least a chance for people.

What brought this to mind, is the situation in Egypt, where those poor people ousted a dictator, followed all the rules, or so they thought, arranged an election, and the majority, which was overwhelmingly Muslim, ruled, but they then instituted religious rule so stifling and undemocratic that there was revolt, and now the military, which, like their Isreali neighbors', is supported by you via your tax dollars flowing into their coffers, rules once again. Futility.

As fires blaze in the northwest of North America, and drought dries out once-fruitful farmland, while floods inundate huge swaths of Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh, this may sound less than tragic, but it is but one more example, along with trying to plan for your future, get through today, or decide who to vote for in your own country's elections, of the New Beginning humanity is facing: The Age of Futility. When planning, whether to buy a house with savings that end up confiscated, farm a plot, where seeds sprout only to wither in blasting solar radiation or be inundated by raging floodwaters, or birth a child that you wish to raise, but, sans insurance, you're so overwhelmed paying for the maternity stay that saving for college is simply not an option, the interest on the hospital debt is all you can manage to pay, and so it's futile to even try to save, which, of course, is your own fault, somehow.  You should have given your money to the crackers who became frackers and gotten rich. Of course, that would make you a true believer, and so, you'd have invested your ill-gotten gains in more fracking companies, and lost it all when the price collapsed and all the insiders got their money out first. Tough luck, Charlie! Welcome to the Age of Futility, when no matter what you do will soon enough do it to you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Reign of Error: Centralization Begets Tyranny.

CSA: Criminally Segregated America

As the resemblance between the methods used by the Communistic Soviets Union and the one Party State in China becomes more and more undeniable, the question for anyone who believes, if not in  Fukuyama's "The End of History", at least in the one compelling claim that  Democracy has, that of being the most consistent with the requirements of Justice, it seemed to me that it might be a good idea to return to the seminal work on Democracy done by Alexis de Tocqueville, and see if there wasn't somewhere that we went astray.

Tocqueville believed that democratic societies carried with them serious moral and political risks which had to be faced and overcome. As the democratic form of government, Egypt being the centerpiece for the fact that it is non-viable in regions of the world where the Muslim religion dictates that the Muslim religion dictate the movement of all citizens and follow them about throughout the day enforcing its rigid rules, via floggings, beheadings, ostracism and imprisonment, such that, as in Iran, the state of the State is one of subservience to the whims of those who make claims of congress with the supernatural to impose their will on all citizens, much like a one-party system, has become less and less viable as a replacement for the US-backed military dictatorships that ruled the region for decades, it becomes incumbent upon us to investigate not only why it doesn't transplant well to any of the countries in the Mideast, including the pseudo-democracy of Israel, but why, as we're witnessing more and more in the OECD countries as well, it doesn't work, period.

Which isn't to deny that it, in different forms and with different attributes, didn't work in some places to enable a spectacular increase in the standard of living of those who  lived under its auspices. Now, it always seemed to me, that of course it worked here, there was so much to steal and the federal government treated the West with much the same attitude that the crown treated its colonies before the first Civil War, usually referred to, less accurately, as The Revolutionary War, before the majority of his English subjects in the colonies decided that they'd had it with The George (no surprise that the eponymous Georgia was the only colony to actually surrender to his highness' forces). Even before independence, the spirit of the colonists was radically different than those of their contemporaries on the Continent, as a perusal of Van Wyck Brooks' "The Flowering of New England" would show, when contrasted with Emil Zola's, "The Earth" which depicts peasant life in rural France, as they highlight the stark difference in attitudes between those living under a democratic government of self-rule, and those existing under a collapsed aristocratic feudalism. The difference was argued as a difference between atomization and centralization and was called "The Great Debate" of the 1820's.

Tocqueville was so taken up with this debate that he wanted to see for himself how the fledgling US managed to balance the two conflicting forces of central power and local autonomy without the existence of an aristocracy. He soon discovered, once he'd left the 'profit-loss' mentality of New York, where the market-place reigned supreme in a hive of frenetic commercial activity, that the West displayed more profoundly the advantages to be had living in a society that lacked class consciousness, the most notable of which was 'the absence of government', by which he meant the absence of the machinery of the state with which he was all too familiar from living in France. It was this vigor of the civil society that convinced Tocqueville that Democracy in America contained an ingredient missing in his own country, and he determined to unearth just what that might be. And it was in studying the flowering institutions of New England that he found what he sought.

He came to believe that it was the autonomy of the townships that fostered the self-reliance and habits of association that were lacking in a France that had killed off its aristocracy leaving the peasants that had depended on it for guidance aboard a ship of state in choppy seas they had no experience navigating. Yet the Americans seemed content to do without government, due, he believed, to the federal system's constitutional rules. Local officials were held to account, not by bureaucrats answerable to Washington (or Paris, the way it was in overly-centralised France), but by local people. It was only when he visited the south that he saw how slavery had created the only approximation to an aristocratic society in all of America. And a very unstable one at that, because the American Southern Aristocracy had none of the feelings of Noblesse Oblige or at least, none of the Oblige part of the equation. Ensconced in their superior social position by virtue of their genetic ascendancy over what they considered an inferior, backward race of savages, the Southern Aristocracy ruled by virtue of one ingredient of legitimacy alone: Power.

But a return to the atavistic forces of slavery were not what Tocqueville came to America to study, but the possibility of expanding representational government from its continental constraints, as Guizot, soon to be France's Prime Minister, was doing in France then what southern Republicans are attempting to do in southern states today: restrict, not expand, the political franchise. In the France of the day, the Doctrinaire's - Guizot, Barante, Royer-Collard - understood how the French state machine had left local government little more than local administrators of centralized authority, with even mayors more answerable to officials in Paris than to their local electorate.

This is the danger that the Confederate flag, gay marriage, and black civil rights poses to Democracy in America now. That Washington, because the south is still very much the south and has no intention on relenting on any of the above issues, is taking the place of Paris in centralizing power by imposing on the south the liberalizing influence of modern thought, whereas they would prefer to act like the Muslims of the Middle east and, via lynchings instead of beheadings, rule by a tyrannical fear to keep their black populations in place: separate and unequal. Because whereas Tocqueville saw the impossibility of restoring the aristocracy to its former rank of privilege without responsibility, southerners see no such thing, a restoration of genetically-based (all aristocratic positions and the monarchies from which they spring, are based on your birth, and are therefore genetically-based) aristocratic privilege, essentially all whites being better than any black person, being what they believe to be a return to the natural order of things.

This is why the Confederacy flag still flies over the State houses and is carried in the back of pick-ups and is a symbol of what Tocqueville saw more than one and a half centuries ago: that the south is not part of the zeitgeist of the United States, it is a land of passive, entitled people who have used the industrial north to reach a level of material well-being they would never have attained without it, but who still feel that they have a right to deny that well-being to a genetically inferior 'race', not because of the simplistic, 'color of their skin', but because they feel that color is merely a marker for a whole panoply of genetic failures that the Negro, to them, epitomizes.

But by imposing the will of the rest of the country onto a south that clearly rejects it, Washington begets tyranny.  Putting southern mayors, vis-a-vis Washington, in the same position as those French mayors Tocqueville remonstrated against: more answerable to officials from DC than to their own local electorate. And how do you maintain it's a democracy when you remove one of its essential ingredients? If we wish to help spread democratic institutions to other countries around the globe, it seems to me that we would do well by answering that question before we do so, not let it languish for another couple of centuries.

When "E Pluribus Unum" was replaced by the motto "In god we trust", in the fifities, it indicated a change from the dynamism that Tocqueville was a witness to with the subservient mentality of slaves, a nation feigning to put its trust in a Master it will never see instead of a nation of capable citizens striving to make their great creation function via their own initiative and the bond of brotherhood that the motto "E Pluribus Unum" implies. Thus have we come to where we are now: no Liberté, no égalité, and no Fraternité, just atomized individualists scrabbling against one another for a scrap of material gain. But if that's all that 200 years of democracy buys you, how dare we foist it onto the rest of the world. It doesn't even have legitimacy here.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Science Friction: The Frisson of Science and Fiction.

Who can help but chuckle at Hoofinmouth, the senior Senator from Oklahoma, who leads the God-Offal Party's Troglodyte sector and receives enormous amounts of campaign money from fossil fuel companies who pay him to deny that anything  mankind could do would effect the weather, even as his state shudders from becoming the most active earthquake zone in the country, from the freedom to frack and crack, while simultaneously being deluged by yet another series of what he apparently believes are extra-terrestrial rain storms.

As we cluck our tongues and shake our heads in a display of our superiority over such reality-denying hubris, a Facebook entry in which a user posts the suggestion that we should be building pipelines from the flooding Texas and Oklahoma regions to bone-dry California, to which another adds the further exaltation that if we can build a pipeline for oil, why not one for Water? This is after a week or two of seeing posts suggesting that all California need do is start building desalination plants, and recycling water from their toilets to their faucets.

Each of the people who advocated these ridiculous solutions to California's water crisis, which, it has been suggested, rightly so I believe, that it is not a crisis, as crises come to a head and then are resolved, whereas this one, much like the so-called financial crisis, is not so easily put to rest and so would be more aptly defined by the phrase water-predicament, much as the financial crisis would have been more aptly described by, 'world-wide global depression'. And very similarly to the Global Depression, all the solutions suggested and those more than likely that will be tried, such as the current one of pumping out all the ground water until there's simply none left, are patches: sewn on to obscure the deteriorating condition of the underlying garment, but which, once the fabric has been completely obscured by them, will give way to show the true barrenness of the underlying condition, and hence the paucity of such unseamly (sic) solutions.

And these problematic reactions to problems caused by climate change are not made by climate-deniers, but by those who believe the science behind climate-change being anthropomorphic, so how do you reconcile such energy-intensive solutions to a problem that has been created by the very mindset that uses energy-intensive solutions that caused the climate-changing pollution in the first place? Who is really in denial here? It gets harder and harder to tell which group is the more ridiculous.

Are they aware, for example, that before the recent deluge, Texas and Oklahoma were both in historic droughts of their own? So let's build a costly, environmentally-damaging pipeline from one desert to the other, exacerbating the very conditions that brought the drought to both, as pipelines are very energy-intensive, both to build the materials for and to lay. 

And as sea life off California's coast becomes more and more stressed by both a warming Pacific and an accumulation of irradiated genetically-mutating cesium and strontium-90 concentrated waters, lets add more CO2 to the air to further warm the oceans, as those plants are not going to be powered by solar, and concentrate the salt in the water as well, because what's going to happen to all the resultant accumulation of NaCl? If you don't know the answer to that, let me give you a hint: Whatever's cheapest; and you can figure out from there what that'll mean.

Finally, as for the 'toilet to faucet' scenario, how about not shitting in the water in the first place, considering that we've already spent fucking millions to both transport and clean it? How about that? Is the paucity of our scientific knowledge so acute, our imaginations so blighted, our habits so calcified that we would stomach a solution that would necessitate spending further millions to clean water so that we can enjoy the privilege of defiling what is obviously a precious commodity anew? Because, just as now, most of that newly- filtered and treated water will not be drank, the vast majority of it will go right back into the same toilets from which it was flushed and then used to carry more filth back to the plant where it can once again be filtered and chemically adulterated so that it can yet again be used for more fecal despoilation. What kind of mindless morons have we morphed into?

And why would we do such a thing? Well who do you think benefits from such a concentration of sewerage? Do you not realize that, as a product of a biological process, 'waste' from metabolism is not waste at all, but is feedstock for plant growth? The reason no other method of transporting or transforming human feces and urine into beneficial fertiliser is that Corporations can use the huge public expenditures necessary to insure we keep using a water-borne, centralised method of disposal to enrich themselves and collect all that nutrient-rich exudation and ship it to China where they have no qualms about using 'black soil' to fertilize their food crops, which can then be shipped, despite, as per the TPP, any objections we may raise, to a Supermarket (except they are disappearing) near you.

All of which impoverishes us and enriches the Corporations, and which is the paradigm for the supply-sided economy: build solutions profitable for Corporations, using pubic monies, such that there is nothing else to do but succumb to the 'Build it and they will come' philosophy of CorproCapitalism. And because we have allowed the military to promulgate this business model across the globe via invasion, base-building and drone-enabled destruction, all in the name of spreading Demockracy, the US has now done for 'Capitalism', what the Soviets did for Communism: made it anathema to all the populations of the globe that are being left scratching in the dust as Capitalism rides into their country promising the earth but instead defiling it.

Democracy promised that the majority rules, but, even as the US Congress, after centuries of Democracy, becomes more and more dysfunctional because of the cranky tantrums of a vocal, vicious  minority, we insist that it can work in countries where it's never had any history and that has neither the institutions nor the mindset of a population ready to direct their own affairs. But that is never what the Bush junta had in mind in the first place anyway, they merely wanted to short-circuit the route to corporate control it's gotten here in the good ole USA, which it achieved mostly by wrangling the US Supremes to give all the power in the land to monied interests, having taken it away from the people via Citizens United and a host of other Corporate-bought rulings, that also enable a minority of well-heeled 'citizens' to either deride or ignore, since money is free speech, majority rule, imposing their own will onto a public that ostensibly rejects it but passively accepts it. 

Something is rotten in the current state of Democracy, and by spreading it, the West is despoiling its image around the globe more than any amount of Soviet propaganda was ever able to do. Far from becoming the end of history, the Fall of the Berlin Wall seems to have instead ushered in the end of the same Liberal Democracies it supposedly enshrined forever, as it extended to them, just as Lenin suggested it should, enough rope, which has been used exactly as recommended.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Democracy's Failure: Our "Doing Something" is worse than doing nothing.

  "Doing more of whatever made the crisis happen in the first place reliably makes things worse".

The caption under the picture above is from John Michael Greer's latest Archdruid Report, entitled, "The era of Response". The quote is so remarkable in that it is only now, years after an essay I posted claiming the exact same thing, that it is being  made, not on the MSM, of course, but on an obscure (unfortunately) internet blog, and carried by

Although the meme's the same, my target for the remark was something more specific: Climate change, and the fact that since the signing, or non-signing, in the case of the USA and China, of the Kyoto protocols, the amount of energy used and therefore, CO2 released into the atmosphere has not only accelerated, it has done so at such an alarming rate that it looks as though someone shot the starting gun off for the beginning of the Rat Race to extinction.

However, Mr. Greer's more inclusive meaning is, if we look around the globe at the course that events have followed, much more accurate. However, some responses can be worse than a non-response.

Let's start with Reagan's response to the arrival of peak oil in the United States:

Closer ties with the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, and the removal of the solar panels from the White House roof, symbolic of the determination of the USA to continue down a path of profligate energy usage and War everywhere, forever more, as evidenced by his concomitant buildup of the Military and the National debt by means of ever-escalating Federal budget deficits, all while promising to reduce the size of the Federal Government, but instead INcreasing its size substantially. When the response of the President of your country is an out-and-out blatant liar, and the response to that by the polity of said country is to enshrine said President as though he's some kind of saint, the adoption of a strategy of lying right to our faces while doing exactly the opposite, is one that we asked for, and have received in spades.

His response also ensured that his campaign contributors would get paid back in kind, not only via tax breaks, but with those tax breaks resulting in an enormous deficit, meaning they could buy up that debt via government bonds at escalated interest rates, as Milton Friedan was simultaneously advising Reagan to let said interest rates float so that the bonds issued to pay that ballooning federal debt would be at eye-popping interest rates and poured into the bank accounts of the very people who used Reagan's tax cuts to turn around and sop up those bonds at a discount from Goldman Sachs, etc. and other "investment"  banks, after they'd skimmed off their take. This is how Reagan, "got the government off your back".

The response to the Soviet Union's attack on Kabul: Radicalization of Islam and fostering rabid hatred of infidels, a hatred that couldn't but redound back onto the USA, which we all know it in fact, did. We also, should know, although I have yet to hear a single person anywhere mention the fact, that given what we know after more than a decade in Afghanistan, had we allowed the Afghans to handle their problem themselves, the Soviets would have brought about their own demise without our having made the Middle East into a tinderbox of rebellious hotheaded religious zealots who would then conspire to hijack planes and fly them into iconic American buildings, killing thousands.

Response to communist threats (supposedly) in Central American countries: This response gave us the Arms For Hostages, Trading arms for drugs, selling of drugs in American Cities under government, specifically CIA, auspices, and rampant murderous regimes in Nicaragua and El Salvador. The result, children without parents showing up at our border. Our response? "SEND 'EM BACK". This resulted in Iran using our own weapons against us, as the US president authorized, then denied doing so, the endangerment of US soldiers to placate the hostages' relatives.

Which brings us to the Iran/Iraq War. Our response? Arm and advise, and supply intelligence to Saddam Hussein, and our becoming dependent on the free fuel Kuwait was supplying our Navy with. But Kuwait was already on the cusp of peak oil itself, so their response to that was to use the newly tested technology of horizontal drilling developed by Halliburton and brought to them by the VP's relative, Marvin Bush, to drill across its border with Iraq and siphon off their oil.

So Saddam's response was to amass troops on the Kuwaiti border. Our response? What it always is: WAR. Which we rapidly won. But left the dictator in power. To which we responded by stoking Iraq's tribes to rebel against him. Our response? Let Saddam  massacre them, and THEN declare a no-fly zone.

From there we get Clinton's response to the Serbia/Croatian dispute, to Albania and Kosovo, and to the request by the banking industry to repeal Glass-Steagal.

The response of GW and  his junta to the Terrorist attacks on the WTC and Pentagon, or Obama's to Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya, Maidan Sq. in Ukraine. The response to the financial Crisis, to Climate Change, to manipulation of the Libor, to the perversion of MERS, to the culpability of the Ratings agencies, the monoline insurers, Aig's rampant criminality, the Clinton /Bush involvement in all of the horrible responses made to all of the above, ie, our response being to run other members of those same criminal families to be the next President of the US .....

I just started to list a couple, but they kept going on and on, so I'll stop there, as I'm scaring myself. Because if the Age of Response is upon us, as Mr. Greer is suggesting, then a new age off Calamity is sure enough crossing the threshold. As all of our responses, similar to those we've made to the reality of Climate Change, will be made, not to address the source of the problem, but to make a "work-around" that will only make it worse. And the main reason, the one that's brought us to this state of entangled affairs, is something I've posited in several of my earlier posts. All this is because of one Mania, the Mania for speed and the Freedom of flying down the freeway at breakneck speed: the techno-magic sensation of effortless flight while seated on our spreading derrieres. And not just the soaring in the air variety of flight, but flight, as in from problems: family, crimes, our past, all aided and abetted by the Machine, this one machine in particular, all our problems flow from this one Love affair that will only end in our destruction: it is that strong. I've seen normal people turn into raving madmen at even the suggestion that cars are the slightest bit of a problem, never mind the source of our most insurmountable one.


It's not a popular meme, but the automobile, the internal combustion engine (ICE) in general, by producing poison gasses that shorten lives and afflict children with respiratory ailments, while it spews CO2 and other noxious gasses into the troposphere, is, in fact, a chemical weapon of mass destruction.  Cars, together with the industries and factories that build and fuel them, and the smooth pavement it requires as it covers larger and larger swaths of earth's surface with tar, is, by turning the atmosphere into a chemical soup, changing the very climate of the entire planet. In our heart, We know this. Mankind begins to understand. These Machines will claim all life. You know this. You have foreseen it. In the gathering dark, the will of the Machine grows strong. It works hard now driven by the hands of men. Men, who are so easily seduced by its power. The ice sheet of Greenland has but to slide off its land, take the Arctic for its own and the world will fall. It is close now, so close one's blood runs cold. For Machines now have dominion over mankind, and by extension, all life on this Earth, even unto the ending of the world. Yet our response is to keep building more and more and more and more of them and have no intention of stopping. Ever.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Tone Meant to Deceive.

Joe Barton: "A Flood is an example of Climate Change."

In Ian McEwan's novel, Atonement, he uses a device I can't remember ever having seen before in a novel: he suggests to the reader a change in the ending from one that is happy to a more realistic, and sobering, one. A couple, the man, a son of the family's servant, the woman, the daughter of the servant's employer, grow up together in almost sibling familiarity. One day, while arguing over a trifle, they break the handle off a priceless vase, and the woman blithely disrobes to practically nothing and plunges into the fountain basin into which it's fallen in order to retrieve it.

Her precocious younger sister witnesses the scene, and, due to ensuing events, gets the young man thrown into prison on her testimony alone, her false testimony. But because it's on the eve of WW2, the man is able to get released from prison by volunteering to be sent to the front, without even getting the chance to see his employer's daughter, who, of course, is in love with him, beforehand.

He ends up in Dunkirk, struggling to get away before the Germans massacre them all, while she has become a nurse, faithfully writing to him and promising to wait. This all takes years, and in the meantime, her sister has become a nurse to help in the care of the war wounded, and, wandering in the London streets, decides to find her sister and see if she can't at least attempt a reconciliation. She does find her, and out of the bedroom, in the middle of their conversation, steps Robbie, the man she has so wronged.

And it's here that McEwan pulls the rug out from under us. He suggests that really, none of this happened (really? But this is fiction, none of it is real). He slyly suggests that perhaps his book is based on a true story, only that, in the real version, Robbie died in Europe of septicemia, and the sister he's in love with dies in a London air raid. The whole scene where her sister sees them together and remarks in the book's most haunting phrase that, "I remember how easy they were together", nurturing a picture of the possibility of happiness, despite terrible circumstances and horrible suffering all around them. But it has been a mere fantasy of the same girlish mentality that brought about the impossibility of it ever having a chance of coming true n the first place. A picture of bliss she uses to torture herself with the knowledge that her crime destroyed what could have been an island of love in a sea of hate.

I bring this up because I find analogies in trifles and parallels where they're not. This one has to do with the unmitigated evil of another Bush era, the possibility of it woven by a web of lies, being thrust upon us once again by that same Machiavellian monster, the conniving spider Karl Rove.

While Jebgeorge Bush claims that science is intellectual arrogance, his self-serving lies, as in Atonement, have repercussion that destroys lives. In just this week alone:

Fairbanks, Alaska, will Start the Weekend Warmer Than Phoenix.

Drought urgency hits rain country: Washington governor declares state emergency.

Arctic Sea Ice At Historic Low.

The Blob of hot ocean water now expands from Gulf of Alaska to Baja California.

Heat is Piling Up in the Depths of the Indian Ocean.

Glaciers in part of Antarctic thought to be stable suddenly melting at a massive rate, say scientists, causing a sudden onset of ice loss so large it affects Earth's gravity field (the likeliest impact being sea level rise along the northeast coast of the US).

May’s torrential rainstorms super-charged by strengthening climate patterns.

Americans are crowding into future heatwave zones, study says (ie, because of denial from liars who know better, citizens foolish enough to believe charlatans are moving to where they will need constant AC, burning ever larger amounts of fossil fuels, because, burning fossil fuels doesn't matter, and it's arrogant to suggest that it does).

Climate change is making California's epic drought worse (So that, like Chile is doing even now, more desalination plants will be built, burning fossils fuels to desalinate water, since snowmelt is already non-existent due to the warmer climate) just one more of the many positive feedback loops created by burning hydrocarbons, and spewing their carbonaceous constituents into the atmosphere.

Burning fossil fuels to generate energy contributes to climate change. Finding and exploiting additional fossil fuels is reckless abandonment of moral responsibility. It is arrogance to think that even Tea Party voters are so stupid they would believe a candidate who has profited, and wishes to continue to profit enormously from the rampant and spreading combustion of fossil fuels, when scientists, who have nothing to gain, and everything to lose, like their jobs, by sounding the alarm are called arrogant by this self-same mamby-pamby silver-spooned Fratbrat so that he can reap even more profits and enable his crony capitalist friends to continue to use the public's funds, to the tune of $5.3 Trillion, to befoul the public's air unabated..

But the Mother of all positive feedback loops is caused by another of the Bush family's and Oil Industry's Denial of Reality: Peak Oil. More and more of the fossil fuels we burn are burned in the search, excavation, and delivery of fossil fuels to where they can be used to do useful work. Like ethanol itself, another Bush crime family debacle, that used public monies to build coal-fired power plants throughout the Midwest, we will soon be at the point where it takes more energy to bring the fuel to market than the energy the market gets from burning the fuel that's delivered. That's why the free-market system is in freefall: denial of reality, the very reason Capitalism was supposedly superior to Communism. It uses demand to deliver supply to where it is needed, but supply-side economics turned all that on its head and mandates that whatever they decide to supply will create the demand for it, because any alternative has been purposely destroyed in the process.

And this is what the arrogant SOB wishes to continue to do, and, despite all his pettifogging denials to the contrary, for one overriding and totally obvious purpose: his own ascendancy. Nothing else matters. He cares not a dash what the hell happens to the rest of us, yet he is hell bent on convincing us that it is he, not those arrogant weasley scientists, who have our best interests at heart. That he has gotten even this far is testament, not to his cleverness, but to the pathetic marshmallow state of our brains.

Remember that repaired vase in Atonement? Well, because our lovelorn heroine must leave home, incapable of living in the same house with the person whose puritanical adolescent machinations got the only man she loved thrown into prison, his reputation forever destroyed, the vase gets moved, which results in this irreplaceable treasure being smashed to smithereens. Such is the nature of lies. They are like ripples on a pond that, once set in motion have consequences that can never be changed simply from the uncovering of the truth the lie was meant to hide. As in the first Bush Brother's Presidency, where even now, President Obama is blamed by the very people who lied to get us embroiled in that disastrous conflagration, knowing beforehand the tremendous profits that would flow to them and the horrific costs that would rebound onto us, asks us to once again, simply ignore the man behind the curtain, and vote for the fiend who panders to your wished-for version of reality instead of the one we're being confronted with everyday now. It is a tone meant to deceive, in dissonance with reality, in consonance with the evil dreams of a man who laughs in your face because he knows you are busily engaged in the process of your own extermination. While He, a member of the Master Class Aristocracy that owns America, need yield to nothing  - least of all to the arrogance of the truth. And this continuation of his sibling's lie will have the same effect: it will smash something whose value we underestimate, our world, to bits. But, like the vase in Atonement, and unlike in 2008, it will have no possibility of being cobbled together again.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Des Crudités.

In an article that sound like it's attempting to persuade us that we are doing the right thing by switching to personally owned and operated electric vehicles, once again marrying highly destructive neoliberal policies with equally destructive neoconservative values, a sort of Marriage between Larry Summers and Groveling Norquist, Deborah Lawrence, in a post on entitles her article, "US Crude Oil Consumption Peaked a Decade Ago".

The implication of that title is that US energy consumption peaked, and in particular, that used in automotive transportation, both of which may be true without having the least effect whatsoever on the  underlying reason why those two facts would be of interest, ie, because if true that would mean the US has reduced the amount of climate-changing gasses it's venting into the atmosphere by human activity, which assumption the title is purposely designed to prompt readers infer is true, but which is patently false.

The manufacturing jobs of US citizens were moved to China in order to take advantage of the repressive labor laws, lack of environmental regulations, and cheap healthcare costs for the inevitable ailments that would result from such unfettered development in a totalitarian country. But those manufacture goodies must then be shipped to the  US consumer via horribly polluting, and totally unregulated, bunker fuel (except in the last couple of years, for there are now restrictions on burning this horribly filthy carcinogenic fuel near US port cites. There are no restrictions on its use in the open ocean however). This arrangement resulted in not less, but more CO2 being vented into the atmosphere. Because neither China nor the US have to claim the increase in CO2 generated by the shipping of manufactures as part of their own contribution to global growth in CO2 production, the fact that it produces not only carbon dioxide, but a mixture of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants that have been linked to acid rain, increased asthma, lung infections and tens of thousands of premature deaths every year in port communities of both countries, is something neither country needed to account for. The fact that citizen activism got the law changed in the US, whereas China still burns it in port, is testament to the dynamic pointed out in the first line of this paragraph, and further proof that moving such manufactures offshore reduces the carbon footprint of the consuming country while increasing the human costs to the country that actually does the work.

But on the face of it it reduced the carbon footprint of the average US citizen without impacting their energy usage, and increased the carbon footprint of the average Chinese citizen without a commensurate increase in their energy usage, since most of the increase in per capita usage was in the production of goods, not for their own use, but for the use of consumers thousand of miles away. Their carbon footprint is also increased by the transportation costs and energy usage for transporting those good in their own country, in the form of new roads, bridges, port facilities, trucks and rail, container ships, and, of course, the manufacture and shipping of those containers themselves, all of which are made of highly energy-intensive-to-manufacture metal. In fact, the carbon footprint of the US consumer INcreased also, because now they had to drive for miles and miles, burning up more fuel, to get to the big box stores inconveniently located where the taxes were low, land plentiful and more importantly, cheap, so the stores could sprawl like an unfettered amoeba, and the local politicians easily persuaded (bribed) into granting generous tax breaks.

The case is very similar for the peak on US consumption of CRUDE oil. Not energy, not fuel, just CRUDE. Because, well, first of all, the world's consumption of crude peaked a decade ago. because its production did. Also, a decade ago is when the fracking revolution started in the US, and fracked oil is not crude oil. So when Deborah Lawrence says, "Hence we do not need crude oil to the extent that we have in the past", she is right, but, like the situation where the US can say we are not putting as much CO2 into the atmosphere, because we're having our junk made on another continent and shipped here, the reason we are not using as much crude as we were is just as deceptive, because the fact that we're not using as much is because we're using Tar sands and fracked oil instead, which, in terms of CO2 being generated, are worse than crude, and in term of methane being vented into the atmosphere, is nothing short of disastrous.

And that is the reason the title purposely specifies 'crude oil', so that Ms.Lawrence can wax eloquent about how wonderfully we're changing our ways, implying that therefore, less CO2 is being vented (which btw, she never mentions, to her credit, it's as though this were just an exercise, like food for fuel, that is beneficial when it is actually quite the opposite: in terms of CO2 production it is worse), because not only are people able to use electric cars, well, those in the middle class, because the working class can't afford the extra $10-20,000 price tag, but the increase in electricity production now needed means that even more heat is being produced, as well as the blanketing gasses to keep it from escaping into space.

But the reason IS in order to  keep carbon, and the other heat-trapping gasses, out of the atmosphere. So there is absolutely no reason to cheer because, "Oh look, we're using less crude oil", when what we are using instead, like the example of ethanol instead of gasoline, (to process that ethanol we built dozens of coal-fired power pants throughout the Midwest), we now likewise use oil, (although not crude!) from even dirtier sources than crude, by using methods that are poorly  understood, by corporate design, and therefore unregulated as to their release of other, even worse, heat-trapping gasses, such as methane, into the atmosphere at so prodigious a rate that the US has caught up with the historical flarer of the largest amount of methane, Russia, to become the #1 flarer of methane on the globe.

As in Capitalism itself, where we have completely forgotten that the measure of how well an economic system works is by how well it serves the public weal, not how well it serves the self-aggrandizing zeal of a few private interests, we've forgotten that the entire reason for switching to these new energy-generating technologies and fuel production regimes is to stop the accumulation of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere. So when  you read someone like Ms. Lawrence, try to keep that in mind and realize that, if as she claims, we are using less energy from burning carbon fuels, why then have the reading of CO2 in the atmosphere reached and all-time high of 404ppm at Mauna Loa this month? The two do not jive. We are barely keeping the economies of the globe functioning and yet, even as we bring more and more of those wind farms and solar generators on line, the pace at which we spew CO2 continues to increase unabated. Imagine what that figure would be if the economies of the world were exhibiting healthy growth! (Of course, that's impossible, because there's not the energy available in quantities sufficient enough to accomplish such growth). What she conveniently left out is that the reason consumption peaked is that production, despite our temporary glut, did, not the other way around.

 And to comprehend the main reason for that one need only look to Beijing. Whereas once the roads were full of bicycles, they are now clogged with automobiles, all of which are spewing CO2, and all of which were manufactured long after human beings knew the disastrous ramifications of continuing to do so. Despite what we already knew, all those factories were built to manufacture internal combustion engines (ICE's) not electric engines (many of them with US taxpayer dollars, used to bail out GM, which used the funds to build factories to build ICE's in China after the 2009 bailout), not because we didn't know that building ICE's was madness, but because more profits could be wrung out of ICE manufacturing. So now Beijing's air is clogged with pollution, as are the lungs of its children. This is what is thought of as progress. Even more, this is what we insist is progress. Every country where Capitalism is introduced and all other forms of economies are pushed aside if not actively destroyed, such is the case. The more roads, and the  more cars, the more modern you are, without those amenities you are a second rate power at best. As long as that is true, and it shows no sign of changing, US usage of crude oil can drop to zero, but the reading at Mauna Loa will only rise inversely, yet we'll pat ourselves on the back for being such good global citizens, as we export our own crude, the ultimate aim of Big Oil, and burn more and more unconventional oil instead.