The Pentagong Show

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

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 Resilience.com.

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.

However,

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 resilience.com 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.
















Friday, May 15, 2015

Having a Manic Attack.


Freedom Flighters

Remember how it felt in 2005? How no matter what you said about the coming train wreck it was met by exuberant, frothing-at-the-mouth descriptions of the rich future in store for us all, even as our troops trampled through Iraq and Afghanistan, showing just who we meant by "us all", in our so-called "Globalized" economy? How people already well-off: better-fed, better-housed, and more mobile than any population in human history, mortgaged their future, cashed in their nest-eggs, willingly put their heads up their own arses for more ...   more ...   more ... ? So much more it became an embarrassment. It was like watching as strangers watched a close relative push aside someone smaller and weaker than them to ransack their bag of Halloween candy, even though their own bag was already overflowing with crap that was not only nutritionally empty, but was disastrously unhealthy. Yet there I was huddled with  my Beloved, and "the smell of disapproval was sharp." Whatever I owned was Stamp Paid. Like the neighbors of Sethe, "watching such a reckless selfishness made me furious, hearing voices from a saner time as they whispered to each other in backyards about fat rats, doom and uncalled-for pride. As neighbors indulged, they thought nothing amiss, yet there were signs that we had overstepped, taken too much, offended the world with such unseemly excess". That was what created the queasy feeling that we were helplessly witnessing what was, as it turned out, exactly what it felt like: a Crime.

And not just petty criminality. This was malfeasance on a scale never witnessed before outside of a totalitarian dystopia. Bush had shown that everything, even the rain, belonged to the men who had the guns, men who were not even embarrassed that their manhood lay in their guns; men who knew without gunshot the fox would laugh at them. And these "men" who made even vixen laugh could, if you let them, stop you from loving the sound of cooing doves or the loveliness of moonlight. They were the haves, and the have mores. But they were wrong, they no longer had mores, they had only an immoral and unquenchable lust for power and wealth, and so the other classes followed their lead in the vain hopes they could join their ranks. There was not anything that could be raised above the furor, nothing safe from the all-consuming fires of the greed-stoked mania. Family, brother, sister, children, home, all were sacrificed for the illusion of wealth. So you had to learn to protect yourself and love small. Pick the tiniest star out of the sky to own, grab those treasures your neighbors had thrown out as though they were garbage, harness the resources thought of as trash, hoping someday they'd be more valuable than all their worthless cash.

Yet now, a full decade after 2005, having been shown the utter folly of mindless accumulation for its own sake, we are back to the same game, churning up the same unattainable desires, and, like cigarettes sold in their new electronic packaging, the poison's still the same; killing us softly's still the endgame. But the Cheshire cat grins are now on our own faces and the impetus to fool us comes not from politicians and Corporate giants, but from our own lack of imagination to steer ourselves toward anything sane. We refuse to stoke any desire for cultivating the enjoyment of what we have, succumbing instead to the grasping instinct for acquiring what we haven't. As a culture we reject the wisdom of Ursus from The Man who Laughs, ignore his warning that "better is the enemy of good", losing, as did the Gwynplaine, what is precious in the pursuit of vanities and power.

Thus can The Washington Post write articles about how War makes us safer and richer and while derivatives valuation surpass a quadrillion dollars, we still fail to discuss, as Elon Musk unveils his home-solar energy pack, and google goggles about pilotless cars they call driverless (what? no motor?),  the significance of investing everything we have, or, more accurately, since it's all done on credit, what we don't have, or how we're squandering our still considerable resources, not on a possible future, but on an impossible future that harkens back to an unsustainable past that even the pursuit of which is quite likely to prove our complete undoing.

In Upton Sinclair's Wide is the Gate, he asks, "Suppose that you had a chance to address the workers of Germany, what would you say?" His character responds by saying he would point out to them that the increase in employment of which the Nazis boast is based entirely on the manufacture of armaments and the piling up of debts, an answer Ian Morris, the penner of the trash printed by WAPO, would feel quite comfortable with, as his article was a complete apologia for War as not only a lifestyle, but a civilizer and impetus for progress, something which those who refer to themselves as Progressives should take note.Wrapping himself in Hobbes, he fails to mention, that, as Ursus from The Laughing man chuckles, because of his name and that of his only companion, a large domesticated wolf, whom Ursus (Latin for beast) has named Homo, which is, of course, Latin for “man”, (a pun over the Hobbesian saying "homo homini lupus", meaning, "man is a wolf to [his fellow] man"), to stave this predatory instinct of man toward his fellow man, Morris decides a fascist state is a perfectly acceptable device.

But, returning to Sinclair's opus, "When a nation turns its whole substance toward war materials and profiteering, it will go to War ... it can do nothing else because it is equipped for nothing else." Goebbels liked to brag that so many of the Nazi leaders, including Goring, had been airmen, like HW Bush, because bombing people who are unarmed and helpless on the ground beneath you, is a school for eliminating the scrupulous. Targeted assassinations via drones is even more unscrupulous. Lacking what used to be our conception of human brotherhood, his aim in life, as Morris suggests ours should be, was to compel others to submit to his will. And now, like Hitler did before us, we iterate constantly our declaration of peaceful and honorable intentions, which the world has by now learned to know means more terror is soon to be unleashed on its helpless peoples.

Hitler on German re-arming: "Not intending a warlike (pre-emptive?) attack, but exclusively for defense and thereby for the maintenance of peace" (almost verbatim the words of Presidents Reagan/Bush/Obama).

"The rich: Birds of passage, beautiful and elegant, for whom the whole of the modern world has been made", (as the rest of society sinks into the morass of depression there is absolutely no concern amongst the current aristocracy. The modern world was made by, for, and therefore belongs to, them. Never mind that, most of the R&D for it, having been done under the military umbrella, was paid for by the public they so excoriate. A fact that only makes them sneer all the more at how irredeemably STUPID we are).

"He knew how diplomats would slip in weasel words which would sneak away with the substance of any sentence" (these weasel words are now included in your credit card agreements, mortgage contracts, and the 'agreements' you check for your online or computer software, carefully coded phrases designed to entrap and connive from institutions waxing sentimentally about how they build on a relationship of trust).

"Like most humans, she found it easy to believe what she wanted to, but everything goes back to the fear of the Reds; preferring Fascism every time."

And it is this that Ian Morris is really saying in his article. His paean to War is simply giving the bosses in Washington permission to be the unscrupulous men they have become, devoid of any real belief in the ideals they professed to get them elected. They talk Globalization, but they trust only each other and are plundering all the world's peoples they've gotten in their power. They have no thought but to hold Power and extend it and they now believe they have the whole world at their mercy. They think of themselves as all things to all men, and have become so removed from their fellow citizens that they have adopted all of the Soviet practises, not the least of which is the practise of telling the most bare-faced and obvious lies, and then maintaining them in spite of any facts offered in rebuttal.

This is what War and its glorification does, as, in its inevitable outcome of assigning one party as victor, it renders truth as nothing more than whatever they choose to make it. It is the consequence of the denial of the existence of any moral law, and an expression of their contempt for their opponents. Like their position on torture, or NSA eavesdropping, they'll tell you a lie and then laugh in your face - not because they think you believe it, but because you're foolish enough not to understand that they are Superior to both the Truth and you. Because you're foolish enough to believe that there's actually any such thing as truth in the world! Because you are inferiors, doomed to extinction and it doesn't matter in the least what you believe about anything. That's really the way Ian Morris and the Washington Beltway feels, and lying to you (Boehner: "We're Broke") is just part of the process of your extermination. They, the new Master Class, The Aristocracy that owns America, the Possessors, the Rulers of the World, yield to nothing  - least of all to the truth!

Married to this reality is what William J. Astore refers to as the "full-scale emergence of a new and dangerous mutant version of our armed forces", and the "almost unimaginable way the military has been “privatized” in the twenty-first century." And although he means such Corporate privatisations as Dyncorps, KBR, Blackwater and Halliburton, the way the Military has been privatised is much better portrayed by the Morris article, because it demonstrates that it has not only been privatized, it has been internalized. To such an extent that there is no USA without the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as Special and PSY-ops, Seals and Drones, ICBM's and cluster bombs, Depleted Uranium and phosphorus bombs, collateral damage and unintended consequences. As much as the world associates the Nazi Reich with concentration camps and Blitzkrieg, it now associates the USA with Stealth Warfare and Pre-emptive strikes, two more of the dreams, together with drone strikes, of absolute power imagined and voiced by Hitler in Berchtesgaden and reported on decades ago by Upton Sinclair.

But as the Powers that be and its toadies try to stoke the public into another feeding frenzy, the spirit may indeed by willing, but the wallet is weak: it is not only empty, it is overdrawn. As the governments of the world, as supplied by their Central Banks, lose sight of the fact that credit is finite, and debt has a meaning and an onerous cost to actual living beings, the underclass is reminded of the fact constantly. The new generation saw their parents thrown into the street, their cars repossessed. They ride bicycles with a fierce determination. Why? To make drivers pay for their hubris of poisoning the air the bikers need to breathe? I doubt it's anything that concrete. They can't take out loans because they have college debts, no chance of saving, even the chimera of interest as payment for the use of their funds has been stolen from them. Their money is worthless and cheap; the banks', valuable and expensive. This is what we tell them every day. Is it any wonder they cling to only their phones as a sign of modernity? Everything else has been taken away. So the urge to splurge in manic buying, the careless sloughing off of decades' worth of savings to satisfy some adolescent whim, that should be ignored but is instead indulged in, isn't there.

But, as in all societies run by militarized diktats, the victor eventually pushes too hard, not on the loser, but on their own citizens, until thoughts of escape override thoughts of security, and they take their loved ones and flee. Because all they want for their children is exactly what is missing in the world since Y2K: safety. Which has been supplante by fear. And maybe, upon seeing their pursuers they don't, can't, just surrender, they think No. No. Nono. Nonono. Simple.  Just fly. Collect every bit of life they have made, all the parts of them that are precious and fine and beautiful, and carry, push, draggg them through the veil, out, away, over there where no one can hurt them. Over there outside this place, where they'll be safe. And the hummingbird wings beat on.

























Thursday, May 7, 2015

BURN IT UP!

The Carboniferous Error.

I watched a presentation by Guy Mcpherson the other day about the direction we all know that we are taking the planet in, yet all refuse to acknowledge, not only in our lives, but in our desires ... our dreams ... our hopes, for our own and our children's future, that last one bringing to mind how, here in San Francisco at least, parents sit in their running SUV's that snake around the block, waiting to pick up their children from school, sitting there burning up carbon, sending not only the fumes from their own machines into the atmosphere, but, just as in this medium here, the internet, the part of the CO2 equation represented by the end devise, be it car or PC, being only the tip of the iceberg, the part pictured above, reminding us of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, representing the vast, unacknowledged burning done in the background to allow us to do our own private combustion.

Because such accidents are only the more dramatic, photogenic burning of what is sent up in smoke everyday before you put a single drop of fuel into your automobile. So, back to those parents, they do what they do, why? Why, for their children's future, of course. They just figure everyone else is doing it, or, if I don't do it someone else will, so it might as well be me, and so we arrive at the place we are now, where no one really has to give a damn about their own actions, and can look at everyone else and think how thoughtless they are, but, since it is only by being thoughtless that you are able to survive and try to give those you love a leg up. the future you give them a leg up on is so frightening that most of us don't want to even think about it (hence one kind of thoughtlessness begets another kind of thoughtlessness).

In an article in Harvard magazine called, Altering Course, by Jonathan Shaw, he sets out to explain why the US may be on the cusp (I assure you we'll get no further, before this cusp runneth over) of an (other?) energy revolution, in which he starts the article with the salient fact (remembering those parents in their SUV's) that, "Of the 100 quadrillion BTU's of energy generated in the US, 61 are wasted." He then goes on to explain not only that the US economy is pretty much dependent on a heat engine (he serenely glides over the fact that civilisation itself is a heat engine), but that the generating capacity of that engine is bound, not just by the fuel available, but by the very law of thermodynamics (now you see why he peaked my interest ...someone talking reality about the economy and its relation to energy ... only in our capitalist society does such rational linkage seem to be all but banned from all public discourse  ... only one of many reasons Derrick Jensen referred to it as "The Culture of Make Believe") that results in an electrical power plant's efficiently being maxed out at 50% (what he refers to as its,"Carnot limit"). In real terms, that 50% limit, as atrocious as that sounds, is, as maximum implies, rarely, if ever, actually reached.

All this is preface to his explaining how Mara Prentiss, in her book, Energy Revolution: The Physics and the Promise of Efficient Technology, tells how we can, just by having the courage (she never mentions the trillions of dollars and the additional CO2, obtaining those trillions will entail, we just need courage) change our entire energy equation, so that, heaven forbid, we won't have to make any "sacrifices to Americans' lifestyle" (hallelujah Momma!). She naturally goes on to say just how we can manage this miraculous change , but the kicker comes at the end. Because the reason we're going to do all this, the motive behind it all, you may have inferred, was to be a reduction in the burning of fossil fuels; but you would be wrong. At the end of informing us how we can alter our way of producing our own energy from fossil fuel by switching to wind and solar, she exclaims triumphantly, "Such a  decrease in US demand for petroleum would allow Americans to substantially increase petroleum exports", in other words, considering what has enabled the increased oil production that would allow us to do so, we can substantially increase FRACKING. WHA?!

So the fact that now those SUV's you're all sitting in snaking around the block will be electric, makes not a single bit of difference in the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere (although it will dramatically increase the amount of methane being leaked  into the atmosphere), only the amount of CO2 you're putting into the atmosphere. Whereas this is a good thing for your local air quality, it is a bad thing, a very very bad thing, for those little ones for whom you wait so patiently to come screaming out of those schoolroom doors. Because by using solar and wind to drive our own energy infrastructure, it only enables us to make sure that CHina, that cares nothing about pollution (have you seen Beijing? Oh that's right's right, no one can see Beijing, least of all those who live there) can have all that oil, which, of course, they'.ll need, in order to manufacture all the parts that go into building that SUV you're sitting so smugly in.

This is why I call it Carbongeddon. Because the Car, the Automobile, the personal transport vehicle, that we don't even want to drive ourselves, apparently, as the first driverless truck has been given the go ahead to ply the highways of Nevada, is all that matters to us. It is the lynchpin from which all the rest depends: our economy, our American way of strife, that tantalizing modernism that has become our main export, our prodigious crime rate, our consumption of fully 25% of the world's resources despite our measly 5% of the worlds population ...

And speaking of that driverless, truck I will end with this anecdote, derived from a Facebook interchange on that very subject. While discussing the driverless future of  motoring in the US, a reader, a very Portland reader, so much of a vegan, nature-loving, pot-smoking, Capitalist-hating, Corporations-ruin-everything and Noam Chomsky-is-a-hero-working-against-the-system-from-the-inside Portland denizen, that you could use her as the prototype for a Portlandia inaction figure, flannel shirt and all, bemoaned the nascent technology that was making the driverless car possible, because, "I'm glad I wont' be around then, because I cannot imagine a future where I wouldn't be able to floor it down a lone country road", speeding through the blur of nature, so to speak.

That has got to be one of the most depressing things I've ever heard. Because it truly implies there really is no hope. A future constrained by rising oceans and a desertified arid West, constant warfare and starving millions as industrialised civilisation goes through its death throes? No problem. Being unable to drive? Put me in my grave now. Wow. It is really that pervasive, that desparate, our lives are that empty, that to consider a future without auto mobiles is worse than considering the extinction of mankind itself. That is the state we are in. But you know what? The way that Mr. Mcpherson ended the speech he was giving, with which I opened this essay, which answered the silent question I had posed during his presentation: "How does he manage to get people to pay to listen to his Cassandra-esque prognostications?", was by telling his audience that the way to go about their lives, given the knowledge of what just going about their lives was doing to the climate was, "Just go about your lives." But knowing what we now know about Ms. Portlandia up there, just what kind of advise is that, when the main ingredient of living those lives is the vehicle used for driving through them? If someone as far to the left as Ms. Porltlandia is such an auto-phile, what makes Guy think all those people, "Just going on with their lives", aren't going to be making that journey via automotive transport? Like every other step taken to purportedly alleviate climate change, Guy Mcpherson, with all his good intentions and all his erudite assemblage of the facts, simply by the extra energy he burns to bring people the data about climate change, yet then giving them nothing in actionable items to do, is making the problem worse, not better.

But even though we deserve exactly what's coming to us, it's still such a horrendous waste of all the gifts we've been given that I can find no sustenance in that fact. That we simply threw it away for the thrill of speed with no physical effort, when life - intelligent life: literary, musical, theatrical, family life, all the wonderful poetry of existence that artists down through the centuries have worked so hard to produce for us, all thrown by the wayside, for one thing, one carbon spewing machine to hasten us to our demise while giving us the illusion of speed, an illusion that's so bewitched us that we don't care there's no longer any destination, just a conveyance, now pilotless, to, distract us from the fact that our journey goes nowhere. But all we can think to do is speed it up. It's as though we feel we can only change direction after we've had a crack-up, only then can we pull something from the wreckage that may be viable, as though as long as it's motorized, a horrendous accident itself has become the Destination.

However many people thought the same thing about the economy, that only after it crashed could they hope to change it. But, having brought it to its knees, those who did so only gained more power, because while everyone else was in deer-in-a-headlight mode, those who brought about the crash and most vociferously claimed that no one could see it coming are exactly the same people who indeed saw it coming, and so were prepared with a ready-made plans to rob you and aggregate even more resources under their control.  And people say they're insulted when told we're descended from apes? Our intelligence is pulp.