|When Even a Star Pupil sees Nothing.|
I keep trying to put this blog to bed and write fiction instead, but I have about as much imagination as a Republican once I actually sit down to do the actual typing, and I really can't get fired up enough about writing a fictitious account about anything, really, when the reality of the world is so much more interesting and frightening than anything I could concoct. I have the same problem with producing artwork lately too. Who Cares? It's just a form of self abuse, mental masturbation, as they say. But then, after finding this book at the library, "A Woman in Berlin", about a journalist trapped in Berlin just before the Russians roll in with their katyusha rockets and over-amped sex drive, reminded me that the reason I started this blog in the first place wasn't to comment on how I felt things were heading, but to document what was occurring since there was nobody else that seemed to be noticing that their world was heading pell mell toward a brick wall of reality while they entertained lunatic delusions of grandeur (in 2006, during the period during which I was keeping written journals, because I didn't know how else to register, if only silently (as there was no google blog then and all my friends were avoiding me, feeling I'd gone over the edge), my shock and awe, one of the entries is: "@ the current rate, nearly a million people will have entered foreclosure by the end of '06", yet this was well before the start of CDO squared or "Covenant light" loans), by pulling their "savings" out of their homes to build extensions, put marble on their kitchen floors, or granite on the counter tops, or buy that boat they just had to have, while, because I was in a black neighborhood and saw first hand the slimy tactics and deliberate targeting of black people, with the full cooperation of City Hall with its black Mayor, Willie Brown, helping to skewer his "brothers", because churning property in post prop-13 California was the surest way to increase municipal receipts, since, when a property gets sold, it resets the basis upon which the tax on said property is levied, which sometimes increased it by a factor of ten or higher, as was documented by Thomas Hudson in his book, "The Monster", I was once again reminded of how white middle-class folk think they're so much smarter than "the blacks", and yet then do the exact same thing.
Then, on Naked Capitalism 's web site, there was an article posted, entitiled, "Postcard from the end of America: Washington DC", by Linh Dinh, describing DC from an outsider's perspective, and those two accounts, the anonymous lady's and Linh Dinh's, were so compelling and touching that they gave me heart, because they were both coming from the same place as I was. Just wanting to document what was right in front of everyone's face but that nobody wanted to see. In other words, I don't have to be writing a novel to feel like I'm writing something worthwhile. Not, of course, that that in and of itself makes what I write worthwhile, but at least that I'm in good company, and there is, if not a genre, a body of writing that, although it may have no impact, at least has a heart, and to which I can aspire to produce something that has merit enough to perhaps warrant my continued efforts and that someone may someday like to read.
What all that is prologue to is the need to express the continued feeling that has been with me, especially since the beginning of the year, and was caused by the twin events of cessation of the FED's QE, initiated by Benron in order to leave Janet Yellen, and the halving of oil prices, which two events are conjoined at the hip, that the endgame of what started in 2008, and that we've all been pretending for seven years isn't going to happen, is now upon us.
This sentiment is constantly being re-enforced, not only by events, but by those pundits I like to read, as disparate as Mish and AEP (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard), and Resilience.com's Archdruid, John Michael Greer, Kunstler, and Dmitri Orlov , Wolf Richter, and various investment newsletters. Now whereas some of these are what I've come to call, Collapsniks, as their entire self-worth seems to be invested in an almost pornographic depiction of collapse as a necessary and even desirable eventuality, they more and more resemble those who are always calling for revolution, even as we witness the civil wars in both Ukraine and Syria, along with the disintegration of the late state of Iraq, and seem to find the horrendous price extracted by the downward spiral into revolution, one they're willing to pay. But these (the collapseniks, not the revolutionists) have now been joined by Michael Klare, Gail the actuary, Ilargi, and other more sober-minded analysts, in heralding the start of something new in 2015 that is not going to just blow over, or allow us to continue in what has become our melancholic madness, our dance with death, as we witness in silence the monetary maelstrom which, as announced on Friday, and reported by Wolf Richter, the US federal government has started stirring into a greater frenzy by buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Even as California keeps drilling wells to grow lettuce to ship out of the state, it's like drill baby drill to ship oil out of the past-peak-oil US: selling out your own future.
Kamikaze Kapitalism Kultur: Once the malinvestments are made with QE borrowed money, now all securitised and leveraged, as the continued production of fracked oil demonstrates, the loans must continued to be serviced, so the drilling must continue, even into the teeth of a glut and a crash in prices that necessitates producing twice as much oil to earn the same amount of dollars. But those loans must be serviced, as the banks have once again invested in a fallacy, this time that oil prices, like home prices and dot-coms before them, will always go up. That is why Janet's Yellen about raising interest rates even as the fed sits on 4 trillion dollars of MBS that would otherwise be in the NPL category of the big four TBTF banks' balance sheets. So Obama's initiated millions of dollars in federal purchases of fracked oil to store in the SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve). Do you see that? Do you get the suicidal dynamic of burning energy to drill out oil that releases so much methane into the atmosphere, all needing to be flared, that the US has overtaken the historical holder of that record, Russia, and become the #1 flarer of natural gas in the world, then shipping that oil in railcars (more energy burned, more CO2 dumped into the only atmosphere we have) that explode on a regular basis and burn it all up in order to deliver what's left to a hole in the ground, all of which will cause the California drought to intensify, all while California does the same thing with its underground water supplies, with the same rigs, now retired from the overproduction in the oilfields, digging deeper and deeper into its irreplaceable emergency fund to ship water out of the State in the form of heads of lettuce, even while none is coming down from the sky? This isn't an economy, it's a death spiral.
There were a couple of sentences in the woman in Berlin's journal mentioned above that were stark comments, first on American power, then on government power in general. One of the sentences was her jaundiced view of a fellow Berliner who was going over to the hospital because they were supposedly neutral locations that were banned from being bombed, about which she commented to herself, "The strategy of carpet bombing was woven so tightly there were no holes big enough to allow compassion through". That hasn't changed. But she also referred to the Russians in their midst as her enemies. Not Hitler, not the Nazis, although she neither agreed with nor accepted their ideas. The Russians, the Americans, the "other": those were her enemies.
Now here is a woman both intelligent and perceptive, and even she didn't see what was right in front of her own eyes. These so-called enemies of hers would be nowhere near Berlin, would be in their beds, in their own countries, tending to their own needs and those of their families, if it weren't for Hitler and the Nazis, her very own homeland, home-grown enemies. Her True enemies were not the ones spilling across Germany's borders to mow down what was left of German manhood and rape and pillage the countryside and the women now left helpless to stop their advances. The subtitle of her journal is "Eight Weeks in the Conquered City", which were gruesome, but which could not even compare, (as it occurred in April/May, not December/January, for one thing) with the privations and inhumane suffering wrought by the Wehrmacht amid the German invasion and siege of Stalingrad for a far longer period on a people who did absolutely nothing to the German Volk, yet that volk sat quietly by and allowed it to happen, with no more purported justification for the invasion than slogans praising the glorious future of the Fatherland.
Poland, France, Spain, Serbia, Hungary, country after country the German Blitzkrieg rolled over and flattened into the muck all for the greater glory of the Reich, and none of that mattered; only when the armed forces of the countries that her countrymen had FORCED them into developing, was there any conception of what they had wrought, and even still, it is the Russians she sees as her enemy.
When was it? '91? I was the on-call tech for the weekend and the pager went off calling me to troubleshoot a problem on one of the Front-end processors in the Wells Fargo network newly moved to the old Crocker Bank building where its purchaser had relocated their Data Center. Having resolved the problem, I was filling in the logbook, and looked up to see the entire operations staff goggling at the monitors in the glassed-off room adjoining the one in which the machines hummed away in their chilled, dust-free goldfish bowl. I was the only fish looking out at their world and wondering what was so transfixing. George Herbert Walker Bush had started the stealth war against a former ally, Iraq, and was, under cover of darkness, with the Soviet threat of retaliation removed, destroying the civilian infrastructure of Iraq, purposely targeting roads, bridges, power plants, and systematically eviscerating a modern nation and leaving it prostrate to our plunder, the rewards for which he, his cronies, and his family, would be positioned to reap in the decades to come, with our oh-so-silent blessing. And here they stood, oohing and aahing as though they were watching a video game, as the means of subsistence of an entire people that had done nothing to them, was being bombed to oblivion. Delivering smart bombs as presents from stupid people.
The populace of the United States had been primed to accept this, the world cajoled into accepting the right of the US to initiate a bombing spree in order to show off and test their newest technologies and bask in a glow of triumphalist hubris that was as painful to watch as witnessing a fat, spoilt 10-year-old slap and bully his younger, weaker siblings the minute their parents went out for the evening.
As hard as it is to face the fact that your government is your enemy, the fact remains for anyone who takes even a cursory look at the events of the last few decades, the US government has become the worst enemy of the US people: not ISIS, not Al Qaeda, not the Taliban, none of these entities, like the US B-52 flying fortresses and the Brit's RAF and the Russian katyosh missiles in WW2, would even be in existence if it were not for the actions of Hitler then, and the US now. But because the human mind and condition is what it is, we will always prefer to allow our true enemies to do as they see fit as long as we don't have to see our homeland bombed. It can be utterly destroyed via fracking, or from pumping our only emergency water supply out of the ground because it "creates Jobs" even though those jobs, mostly filled by people from another country crossing our borders in violation of not only our own laws, but international law as well, will leave us all without the most vital fluid necessary for our survival, and think that those who pursue their own self interest to the detriment of their own countrymen and the ultimate destruction of the very Homeland they tax them so heavily to "protect", have a perfect right to do so.
We have fed a War Machine that was created to destroy the Third Reich but that we neglected to disassemble after doing so, instead importing its staunchest avatars all the while nurturing it and encouraging the mindset that supports it until we've reached the point where it is devouring itself, as US weapons are used, first by the Taliban and Al Qaeda, now by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, against us, yet we still refuse to see that our enemy, as the cartoon character, Pogo, so long ago pointed out, is US.
But whereas no human agency is currently in a position to put an end to the mad spree of currency debauchery and militarized megalomania, the triple e's of Energy, Economics and Environment are conspiring against the continued mayhem of a non-stop onslaught against humanity and the natural world. Denial about its ramifications, insisting that free-for-or-all economics is not only the best way to run the world, but the only way, leaving no room for alternative solutions to develop, gets louder, the extremes gone to continuing to escalate, all to prove that, "It's all good". Now we're threatening to raise the interest rate to show how hunky-dory the US economy is as it sinks further into recession and the economic slowdown in the rest of the world deepens, which will, of course, price US exports even higher, and make oil, even as its nominal price goes down, more expensive, because it's priced in dollars and those are getting more and more expensive as other countries engage in currency wars in a race to the bottom that devalues their own currencies, pushing the price of oil even lower here, although higher elsewhere, causing the US oilpatch to throw out of their jobs the only workers in the private sector who aren't living on starvation wages, and thereby demonstrating to their fellow citizens that even those with the best jobs in the most profitable industry are precariously positioned. Hunger will, as only hunger can, convince the citizenry finally, that it isn't in Denmark that something is rotten, but in the much-vaunted "American Way of Lies" that we've somehow decided must be maintained despite all the forces insisting that it is worse than a chimera, it is a nightmare we've woven so tightly into the fabric of our warped consciousnesses, we'll insist on whatever is weft of the social safety net being shredded to ribbons, because even as disaster looms, "there are no holes big enough to allow compassion through".