How many people died for your eight-hour day?
The first week of May is the anniversary of some of the bloodiest struggles in the history of labor, culminating in a holiday commemorated worldwide in recognition of American events, but ignored by design in the United States.
In Hampton Roads, several Occupy groups came together to plan an action whose results quill be seen on Tuesday. All of this effort in support of the Occupy call for a general strike on Tuesday.
Many of the labor conditions that we accept as our birthright came at a huge cost, generally borne by working-class people banding together to insist on better conditions for themselves and their comrades. As Americans, we take for granted the many working conditions that were won for us only by the struggle of organized workers coming together in common to work for common goals. From the vantage point of 2012, it’s easy to forget that the eight hour day was such a radical, leftist idea that police would fire into crowds of workers to stop it.The 8 hour day was actually a labor movement in the 19th century that took place over decades.
May 1 is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. International Workers’ Day (also known as May Day) is a celebration of the international labor movements. It commonly sees organized street demonstrations and marches by working people throughout most of the world. International Workers’ Day is the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago.
Following the Civil War, the United States experienced a rapid expansion of industrial production. Chicago was a major industrial center and tens of thousands of German and Bohemian immigrants were employed at pauper’s wages, about $1.50 a day. Not surprisingly, the city became a center for many attempts to organize labor’s demands for better working conditions. Employers responded with repressive tactics, including acts of violence, often abetted by police.
On May 1, 1886, in support of the eight-hour day, Albert Parsons, head of the Chicago Knights of Labor, accompanied by his wife, two children, and 80,000 fellow workers, marched down Michigan Avenue, Chicago, in what is regarded as the first modern May Day Parade. Every road in Chicago stopped running, and most of the industries in Chicago were paralyzed. The stockyards were shut down. The state militia had been called out, and the police were ready. In the next few days they were joined nationwide by 350,000 workers who went on strike at 1,200 factories, including 70,000 in Chicago, 45,000 in New York, 32,000 in Cincinnati, and additional thousands in other cities. Some workers gained shorter hours (eight or nine) with no reduction in pay; others accepted pay cuts with the reduction in hours.
On May 3, 1886, August Spies, editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung (Workers Newspaper), spoke at a meeting of 6,000 workers, and afterwards many of them moved down the street to harass strikebreakers at the McCormick plant in Chicago. At a subsequent rally on May 4 to protest this violence, a bomb exploded at a rally in Haymarket Square. The bomb wounded 66 policeman, of whom 7 later died. The police fired into the crowd killing several people and wounding over 200. Hundreds of labor activists were rounded up and the prominent leaders arrested, tried, convicted, and executed giving the movement its first martyrs. Those put on trial were guilty only of their ideas. None of the accused had been at Haymarket that day except for one, who was speaking when the bomb exploded. A jury found them guilty and they were sentenced to death.
There was some evidence to suggest that the person who actually threw the bomb was an agent of the police, and agent provocateur, hired to throw the bomb enable the arrest of hundreds of people, and thus the revolutionary leadership. This was never proved. The immediate effect was to suppress the radical movement of labor. But the long-term in fact was the fan the flames of class anger in many and to inspire many others to action the revolutionary and labor causes, and effort that would bear fruit in subsequent generations. Many thousand people signed petitions and a later governor of Illinois, John Peter Altgeld, investigated what happened and pardon the 3 remaining prisoners who had not yet been executed.
The American Federation of Labor, meeting in St Louis in December 1888, set May 1, 1890 as the day that American workers should work no more than eight hours. The International Workingmen’s Association meeting in Paris in 1889, endorsed the date for international demonstrations, thus starting the international tradition of May Day.
May 1 is known as May day and celebrated as international workers day across the world, except in the United States, where the official holiday for workers is Labor Day in September. This is because Pres. Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre and thus create martyrs. So he moved in 1887 to support Labor Day in September, and thus obscure the focus on the rights of working people. Right wing governments have traditionally sought to repress the message behind international workers day, with results that we see today.
The site of the Haymarket affair was designated as a landmark in Chicago in 1992, and the public sculpture was dedicated in 2004.
The lessons of history demonstrate that change ONLY happens when ordinary people band together to educate one another and work to achieve their common interests. This is why we occupy.
Article Submitted by Chris Travers.
Creating Community in the Modern World
This article represents a collection of my thoughts and views on neo-tribalism, as well as notes about what is required to make a community successful. Everyone has their own perspective, and this is mine. I offer it here in the hope that by contemplating, grappling with, and challenging the ideas herein, this article may lead folks on to greater successes.
Part 1: The Basics
First of all, there are a couple of specific problems that folks run into when trying to set up tribal groups:
1. Mobile society. We are more mobile than our ancestors generally were, and if we look to very sedentary, locally-based societies for tribal approaches, we are not going to find a lot that works.
2. Impossibility of economic separation. We can’t disconnect ourselves very well today from society at large. Telephone, internet, gasoline, electricity, and other resources end up being purchased, and we are hence dependent on “foreign” currency.
Mobility of Society
We live in an incredibly mobile society, but not one which is unprecedented in this regard. People move to find work and for a variety of reasons. This can negatively affect group cohesion because it allows a level of turnover that was not possible far in the past. If we expect a tribal unit to be fully local, this causes a large number of problems that defy resolution.
However, we are not the first society to have to address this problem. During the early Bronze Age, the Yamnaya Horizon developed (probably by proto-Indo-European speakers, see The Horse, The Wheel, and Language by David Anthony). This society was somewhat nomadic, based on the wagon and the raising of cattle, and was so successful that the largest settlements in the world of the day, which were on their borders (the Late Tripolye Super-Towns), were apparently assimilated and joined in the nomadic way of life.
We don’t know how large the Yamnaya groups were as they traveled. However, they seem to have spread out quickly, and this would suggest fairly small groups which nonetheless seem to have maintained a high degree of cultural and linguistic cohesion among the larger society. Very likely the great Indo-European emphasis on hospitality dates from this era if not before (assuming that Dr. Anthony’s dating of migrations correctly corresponds to Indo-European language splits; it is not clear to me to what extent this emphasis was present in the Anatolian and Tocharian branches).
It is, therefore, possible to maintain a dispersed, federated aspect of tribalism on top of more intense, local groupings.
The second major difficulty is simple. Economic interdependence is helpful to group cohesion and we can no longer develop the same level of interdependence our ancestors had. Most communities were largely but not entirely self-sufficient in the past. Today, achieving that self-sufficiency within a community is extremely difficult. Perhaps only the Amish have succeeded to that extent.
This problem is one only to be managed. It cannot be solved at present.
There are a number of groups that have maintained a fairly tribal approach despite a great deal of resistance from the internationalists in the world. I think successful approaches to neo-tribalism will need to be based in part on seeing how these groups have managed to survive as well as they have.
The Jews have managed to survive as a distinct group despite over a thousand years of concerted attempts to wipe them out. It’s hard not to be inspired by that. Indeed, the hatred of and resistance to Jews has tended to increase their ability to survive instead of reduce it. Like all of the groups mentioned here, they are bound by tradition and commonality of practice, and have tended to have a strong loyalty towards helping each other out.
Particular elements of the Jewish approach to survival as a group have included the conviction that they are chosen for a specific covenant. Jews generally don’t see other traditions as being invalid, just that they are not applicable to Jews. In other words, most Jews see the covenant of Moses being one which does not necessarily rule out other covenants with other peoples.
The Quakers began in the mid-17th century as a demotic splinter of Christianity (in other words, the founder of Quakerism had no ministerial training in another denomination, so it was entirely a split of lay people). The Quakers initially faced charges of treason for not belonging to the Church of England, and were also prosecuted for a wide range of offenses, such as contempt of court (for failing to observe traditional rituals of respect for judges), disrupting Church of England services, and the like. They were a rebellious bunch as they continue to be today.
I was raised in a Quaker family and spent a great deal of time in places (like central Utah) where there were few other Quakers. This was an enigmatic experience for me as a child. When I was 7, I couldn’t have told you whether or not my parents had any religious beliefs. I could tell you they were Quakers but nothing more, simply because Quakers don’t spell out group beliefs in concrete terms. Indeed a common experience was to ask Quaker adults whether they believed in the Bible only to watch them pause, think, and answer something like “I believe there is wisdom in it.”
My parents rarely condemned other people but would usually try to teach us kids to act in “Quakerly” ways by saying something like, “This is something we don’t do….” As I have become older, I have noticed that the unspoken assumption is that there’s a difference in the mind of Quakers between what’s “right” and what’s “Quakerly” and what’s “Quakerly” is a subset of what’s “right” for a Quaker, but it doesn’t necessarily preclude other ways for other peoples.
One of the key elements of Quakerism is reliance on other Quakers. Quakers “believe” (if that’s the right word) in continuing revelation, or that “God” (if that’s the right word) “speaks” to each of us regardless of tradition, and that one function of community is to challenge an individual so as to help weed out false messages. Quakers have traditionally valued group self-sufficiency, but not valued individual self-sufficiency except in spiritual matters and then only to a moderate degree.
Quakers are organized in essentially concentric circles of autonomy. Each circle is ruled on the basis of consensus by the congregation, so local groups have a lot more freedom to experiment than regional or global groups. One typically has local “monthly” meetings (in the sense of a monthly meeting for business) organized into geographic regions with “quarterly” meetings (for business). Quarterly meetings are grouped into yearly meetings, and these are eventually grouped into national and international conventions which also meet yearly. This is fairly interesting because it mirrors the structure of Iceland (with local things, regional things, and the Althing).
The Anabaptists (Amish and Mennonites)
The Anabaptists were a group I learned something about as a Quaker because they seem to have been the original inspiration for the Quaker traditions of Conscientious Objection. These groups are extremely insular (more insular than Quakers). They also emphasize individual self-sufficiency to a much larger degree.
Amish, in particular, are very strict about defining their community. An individual may choose to leave the Amish lifestyle but in so doing leaves his or her family. Prior to baptism (done by Anabaptists as adults), it’s acceptable to experiment with other ways of life. After baptism, much of this is considered to be sinful.
All of the groups above share a common outlook, namely that they have a tradition which defines their group and an acceptance that other people may have other traditions. The difference is not between some sense of universal right and wrong (as it is in internationalist religions such as mainstream Christianity and Islam), but rather between “our traditions” and “their traditions.” This mindset is the most important thing to cultivate. I don’t think one can have a cohesive tribe if the motivation is opposition to others instead of the well-being of the group.
I think successful neo-tribal attempts today will have to be based on our changing world. I don’t see a Neo-Pagan group equivalent to the Amish ever working out too well. Well, maybe someday it might. But not today. Instead the proposed solutions here look at the groups which have provided inspiration.
The Internet poses both challenges and benefits to attempts at neo-tribalism. In addition to being a distraction par excellence, it’s also a very useful tool for coordination of both local and non-local groups. The internet allows people to telecommute so they can live in areas of their choice regardless of occupation, and it also enables the discovery of like-minded folks nearby.
The internet additionally allows coordination of affiliated groups over a dispersed area (worldwide). In the long-run we’re going to have to really master both types of community interaction.
Groups need to be fairly exclusive. The public may be encouraged to attend some gatherings, but individuals of the public should be required to apply for membership, and it’s reasonable to put them through a probationary period of some sort. In my view, applications should be generally subject to consensus of local groups. Other federated groups might not have veto power over the admission of members, but it might not be a bad idea to give them an opportunity to respond nonetheless. Furthermore, the group must have a way to remove truly problematic members (probably again on a consensus basis).
Travel Infrastructure and Directories
In my opinion, hospitality is a value we should take advantage of here. One way to do this is to allow members of federated groups to join travel directories, stating that they are willing to bring into their homes traveling members of other federated groups. This is scary for a lot of people but it can help build ties between groups.
As with fosterage, opening ourselves up to some risk is necessary to build strongly cohesive groups.
Another way we can build cohesion is by having our kids stay for periods of time with other members of the community.[maybe mention that this is an age-old Heathen custom? Same for hospitality above, both important Heathen values.HL]
Group cohesion isn’t possible if we are spending our time obsessing about the latest consumer craze. I think it’s important for people to expect that prospective members of the community are trying to live consciously, buying what they feel really adds to quality of life and not just buying things due to rampant consumerism. This helps separate the group from the undifferentiated masses of consumers, and it helps free up resources that can be used for group projects.
I can see basically two models for federation: the alliance model and the Quaker/Icelandic model. In the Quaker model, groups are organized into locally autonomous groups, which get together in progressively larger groups progressively less frequently. In this model, the federation is a fairly fixed structure into which groups enter. The group has local autonomy, but no choice in who they federate with – it’s either the whole group or nobody at all.
The alliance model is just that: locally autonomous groups deciding to engage in federation with other specific local groups. This could become far harder to work in practice, but it allows the local group autonomy in who they federate with.
I suspect in the long run, larger federated units will exist in both ways.
Part 2: What the Internet can Teach Us
Internet-based communities are both like and unlike communities of people who meet and have to deal with each other face to face. The internet is clearly not a replacement for neo-tribalism; however, in some cases online communities can have similar functional requirements, particularly when there is a high degree of economic interdependence, as there might be in an open source software project. These projects in particular have a great deal to teach us about running successful tribes today.
Open source software is of particular relevance here, because it is a form of communally developed software, where the development efforts and rights relating to the results are spread throughout the community. It is not the only way that software might be communally developed, but it is the predominant method today.
Open source software has a couple of specific defining features which make it relevant to the study here. The first is that the software is made available to the community to use free of charge, and the community is also given permission and means to modify the software and continue to develop it. The second is that the dynamics of contribution to the joint project (when it is successful) is such that the contributor is economically better of sharing the contribution widely than keeping it to him or herself. This builds community ties of a sort that don’t exist in many other forms of software development.
Open Source Projects as eTribes
A typical open source community is actually a conglomeration of commercial entities (often individual consultants, but corporations are often represented as well), which work together on a common purpose. Contributions are freely shared both within the community and to the general public, though sometimes some restrictions exist on that sharing (for example, one popular copyright license, the GNU GPL requires that non-copyright holders to the main project refrain from changing the license when they make changes).
The number and complexity of such communities typically exceeds those of normal joint projects. For example, the LedgerSMB project (which I helped to found) has at its core four individuals representing four businesses, but the larger contributor community is probably around thirty different business entities, and the active user community (in terms of communal support) has several hundred members. The silent, extended user community is estimated to be around a thousand businesses, and there are projects out there with extended communities likely reaching hundreds of thousands of users and thousands of active contributors.
It’s generally found that communities of this size and complexity require governance, organization, and leadership beyond the narrow shared business interests of the participants.
It’s probably not surprising to find that open source projects have ended up with a wide range of governance models from the slightly stratified to fairly formal and rigid. In general, the models are generally inspired by governmental models which have been shown to work in governing small countries, with the note that abuse of power is controlled by the fact that folks are always free to leave.
Interdependence is a key feature of open source software development. By sharing contributions each participant gains access to other contributions (this is true not only of projects whose licenses force sharing but also those whose licenses do not), reduces their own costs of doing business, and allows everyone to better serve their customers. All the while, each member of the community is competing with every other member, though this is rarely acrimonious, and usually cooperation is a part of the competition.
The governance models tend to be built on the basis of what has worked for governments. Republics, democracies, and dictatorships are all represented among major projects, though the model of the stratified republic is becoming standard.
In general, open source projects often find that there is such a thing as too much democracy, and that the best models are built on the idea of becoming vested through the course of contribution.
One major problem that occurs with open source software is that an individual could, either through error or malice, introduce security vulnerabilities into the project, which could lead to problems for users. Typically there are various mechanisms which projects come up with including mandatory review for most contributions, and having those who do review audit contributions of others.
Trust here isn’t just about mitigating malice. It’s also about mitigating incompetence and even honest error by otherwise competent people. I have found myself pretty heavily criticized by code reviewers in the past even on projects I have helped to found. The code review process works pretty well because it ensures that quality work is done. This sort of peer review is central to the success of such a community.
Open source projects also exhibit significant diversity and duplication, but also learn from each other. For example, there are multiple operating system projects, multiple database projects, and the like. Each has a different goal and vision of what they want to build, but in the end successful projects also learn from each other.
Drawing from the Open Source experience
The experience with open source suggests that even where the difficulty leaving the group appears to be low, fairly highly stratified groups with a variety of government structures can exist and thrive. In general, stratification addresses many of the issues that come up with dealing with a group of people, some of whom may not be fully trusted. It also allows for leadership and service to the group to be recognized in an official way. In general, I am for some level of stratification in any sort of neo-tribal framework.
The second point which is probably greatly overlooked is that open source projects work because of economic interdependence, not just because the group is like-minded. Open source communities allow people to achieve together what they cannot achieve individually. I think this point is particularly important when looking at Heathenism as orthopraxy (right practice) instead of orthodoxy (right belief). One thing that would be critically important in creating a tribe would be to expect each member to be able to contribute economically to be a full-fledged member.
At the same time, most of these groups inevitably spawn spin-off local organizations. There are users groups for all manner of open source projects out there (LedgerSMB is too small to have them though). These provide evidence that what starts in cyberspace doesn’t always stay in cyberspace, and that the interaction between internet-based groups and physical groups if a project is successful is complex.
Part 3: Creating Successful Tribes Today
Much of this is based on my experience in open source software development, and I believe that most of these are lessons fairly universal across types of groups today. The goal is to create lasting group cohesion, allowing some movement in and out of a group while encouraging stability. To the extent that those goals are shared and the circumstances are not too different, the lessons should apply without much modification, though of course we must make the lessons our own in the course of applying them.
Create a Tribe from an Existing Small Group
While it is possible for a single individual to bring people together to form a tribe, experience shows that this is much easier when a few people are involved, usually between three and five to start. There are a few of reasons for this:
1. The core community will consist of multiple personalities who can compensate for each others weaknesses.
2. Labor can be spread out more effectively, and core community members can step in for each other as needed.
3. Many tasks can be taken on by those most interested in doing so rather than merely as necessary work.
4. A small group provides some protection against bad decision making.
Consider the Market for Tribal Recruits
Note: This article was written in the direct aftermath of the Tsunami which led to the meltdownn of the Nukes at Fuk-U-Shima. Not all the predictions I made in the heat of the moment have come true…yet. However, most of the analysis here I think is still correct, so I put it up unedited from its original version.
I had a nice Daily Rant about ¾ done yesterday following up on the issue brought up in the Lawrence of Arabia thread regarding Winston Churchill and the behavior of the Anglo branch of the Illuminati which I was going to finish up tonight, however that post is now on Indefinite Hold due to Geological and Cosmological events swamping out the Man Made economic disaster, currently unfolding in real time on the island of Honshu.
I started a Geological and Cosmological Event Watch 3 years ago on the Peak Oil board when the increasing frequency of active volcanism and earthquakes was first becoming apparent. This is a fun thread to read if you have a LOT of time on your hands. LOL. My friend Stormbringer and I covered the Earthquake Swarms in Yellowstone in one of the longest running threads on that board ever, it ran over 80 pages and more than 1200 comments long. We had contributions from geologists working for the USGS along with Rock Docs from the Oil Patch all contributing to the thread.
The general consensus was that there was definitely increasing geological activity and that we would definitely be seeing “The Big One” coming down the pipe, though of course nobody could pinpoint where it would strike or exactly when. Now, I don’t know if you want to categorize the Sendai Quake and Tsunami as “THE” Big One, or just “A” Big One, but by all measures “Big One” does apply to this event.
Now so far the MSM is studiously avoiding estimates on Loss of Life for this event past the “more than 1000” level, but given the size of the Tsunami, variously estimated at 7 meters high to 10 meters high which traveled inland some 30KM or so in one of the most densely populated regions on earth, the final tally on this one is almost certainly going to surpass the Indonesian Tsunami which took out over 200,000 Human Souls. This is not even including any further problems that might come down the pipe from the currently overheating Nukes, nor does it take into account the firestorms raging in various cities and towns in the area.
The last MSM story I read described the scene in Tokyo as “Apocalyptic”, with many fires raging, and the epicenter of the quake was FAR from Tokyo. At least 4 Commuter Trains have been listed as “Missing”. Many people still remain trapped in
Elevators and in the Tokyo Subway system. Besides the currently offline Nukes, many Thermal plants and Hydro plants are still offline. Fresh Water supplies have been contaminated over a vast area. In the area where the Tsunami has receeded, rescue teams still cannot get in because the roads have been washed away.
All in all, this disaster makes Katrina look like small potatoes. By itself with a population of 1M people, Sendai is bigger than New Orleans was pre-Katrina. Thing is, the Tsunami hit all along a densely populated coastline over at least 200 kilometers and moved 30 km inland, and the total population affected is far more than 1M people. Its just mind boggling.
Like Katrina, this story is going to be dominating the Newz for weeks and months to come here, at least until we get an even BIGGER Black Swan flying in for a landing. Trying to predict how the Manipulated Financial markets will react to this next week is nearly impossible, though I will make a stab at it later in this article. The Japanese are going to float Bonds here, which Helicopter Ben is likely to buy up en masse with more freshly printed Dollar digibits. Oil may DROP in price because so many Nip Oil Refineries are offline and no longer demand the Oil. Resultant from that, to get enough Gas and Diesel, the Nips will have to import the stuff already refined, and for gasoline particularly that is a difficult thing to do, because it is so volatile. Very specialized tankers necessary for that, and there are not many of them. Basically, virtually INSTANTLY, a large area of one of the most Industrialized First World countries is facing all the system breakdowns of energy, transportation and sanitation/water supply to be expected more gradually from general Oil starvation. Besides that, a significant portion of their Rice Crop has been destroyed.
This isn’t Haiti folks, its not poor black folks in a 3rd world hell hole. It’s fucking JAPAN. One wonders how NHK MSM is going to cover it. As a Client State of the FSofA since WWII, one suspects they will be quite controlled in what Newz actually gets dispersed. This will be a real TEST of the alternative media of the Blogosphere and of individuals using their Cell Phones to capture and distribute the images across the net.
So, what is causing this, and what can we expect in the future? Explaining it categorically with proven scientific “facts”isn’t possible (Muckabout is sure to take this paragraph to task.LOL), but there are some curious coincidences to consider. Right before this Quake, the Sun had one of its biggest Magnetic Storms in years. Up here on the Last Great Frontier, the Aurora Borealis was simply EXTRAORDINARY the night before the quake. The Earth’s molten core is mostly Iron, and changes in the magnetic field could be creating a lot of stress on the spinning field it creates itself. How much physical stress that puts on the plates and how much heat stress you get is open to conjecture, but on a planetary scale it most certainly could add up to a lot of energy transfer through the whole of the Solar system. Remember your Thermodynamics, Energy is neither created nor destroyed, just transferred from one form to another. If the Sun shoots out a TSUNAMI of magnetic flux directed at the Earth, its going to get transferred into the earth. It did that, evidenced by the spectacular light show we got from the Northern Lights. The Solar Cycle we are expected to go into here Peaking in 2013 has more of these magnetic storms occurring more frequently. So if there is a relationship between Heliomagnetic Storms and Terrestrial Geophysical events, then they are going to increase in magnitude and frequency along with the solar disturbances.
On a pure physical level, each big disturbance here destabilizes other vulnerable areas where stresses have built up. So in Japan, directly after the Big One in Sendai estimated at 8.9 on the Richter scale, there have been dozens of aftershocks themselves over 6, quite enough to cause significant damage themselves. Will this destabilize the ENTIRE Ring of Fire in Cascade fashion? Doomer that I am, I
expect it will, and so I expect to see more Big Ones all around the Ring of Fire, and more Vulcanism.
How often are these “Big Ones” on the Ring of Fire coming now? Well in the last year we had a Big One in Chile, and we just had a Big One in NZ. We are due for one anyhow on several areas along the San Andreas fault in CA, and here in Alaska as well. If we do get another one someone along this ring in the next year, I think you can say with good assurance we are in the DEEP Doo-Doo, because we are still a good 18 months to 2 years away from Max Stress based on the Solar Cycle. Add to that the unknowable stress we will be subjected to as we pass through the Galactic Ecliptic on 12/21/2012, the very bowels of the earth might vomit up under the vast flux of energy through the Milky Way Galaxy.
Even “Big Ones” though are not Civilization terminating events anywhere but where they actually occur. In aggregate, many of them could make this civilization ending if they happen frequently enough, but a single one will not do it anywhere. Not even taking out all of Tokyo or Los Angeles would do that. The only SINGLE event which might be Civilization Ending on an local planetary scale (excluding external Asteroid impact) would be if this stress sets in motion enough of a cascade to set off one of the Supervolcanos, Yellowstone of course being the prime candidate because its about 60,000 years overdue. I am going to be monitoring the Seismos at Yellowstone in mid June and again mid December this year. If what has been occurring here follows the pattern, this is when we would see another big Swarm of Quakes around the Caldera there. It seems to be related to the summer and winter solstice.
Even before Yellowstone blows though, I am quite sure we will have some more “Big Ones” along the Ring of Fire this year. This one in Japan hit 8.9, possibly 9.0, making it the 5th largest Quake ever recorded. It’s the current Benchmark. If/when we get bigger ones than that, it would be a good time to start Drinking. Heavily. Keeping my fingers crossed my Cabin is not right above Ground Zero for the next one of course. Not that this would not be a bad way to go out, but I sure would hate to buy that ticket to the Great Beyond and MISS Yellowstone going Ballistic during my corporeal existence a measely year later.
While considering the Supervolcanos sprinkled around the Globe, let us not forget that Toba is just north of the recent quake in New Zealand and south of the quake in Japan. So it is getting stressed from both the North and the South. Also let us not forget the biggest Motherfucker of ALL TIME, Fish Canyon Tuff in La Garita Caldera which put an astounding 5000 cubic kilometers of ejecta up into the atmosphere is also probably due, though its periodicity isn’t known because it only blew off once 2.3M years ago in the geological record. If just Toba or Yellowstone blow, its civilization ending, but might not be the end of Homo Sapiens. There might be a tribe of 10,000 Human Souls or 1000 Breeding Pairs who makes it through somewhere. If La Garita goes, it’s a Permian-style Extinction event of just about all life forms above the level of the Tardigrades.
Now, let us leave the musings on a forthcoming extinction level disaster aside for a moment, and just focus on the current disaster unfolding in Japan. What are the secondary effects it is going to have on the worldwide financial markets? Well first off, the Insurance and Reinsurance industry is going to be about wiped out here. The nuke plants alone taken out here are liabilities in the Billions. Add all the other industries, loss of farmland, loss of life and property, we’re certainly looking at triple digit Billions here, even Trillions is not out of the question when you consider how this is going to affect the total Japanese economy.
The Japanese have been mired in a 20 year long depression, barely papered over by extend and pretend keeping their banking system floating. How can all the BROKE Nation-States of the world really loan them any money to rebuild after this disaster? Is the “solvent” Nation of China going to lend them Hyperinflating Renminby because the Chinese LOVE the Japanese so much? You think the Chinese have forgotten what the Nips did to them in WWII? I think not. With Nuke Plants exploding here, one suspects the Japanese would not have much stomach for building new ones anyhow, and obviously they cannot replace them with Fossil Fuel burning plants, so replacing the lost electrical power generation capability really is not even possible even IF you had money to do it with. Whatever recovery does take place in the Land of the Rising Sun, its going to be on a whole heck of a lot lower energy footprint. This means we are likely saying goodbye to Sony TVs and Toyota Cars built on their home soil. The energy they use in manufacturing this stuff is going to have to be redirected to just maintaining basic services internally. I think you can say with reasonable assurance that along with the British Isles, the Sun has now Set on the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido also.
What does this mean for all the currency traders who hold a lot of Yen? Well, briefly it might make the Yen more valuable, since the Japanese will need it to do any kind of rebuilding with, but what is the value of the Yen based on? Their manufacturing capacity of course. They certainly do not have a lot of arable for food export, actually a good deal less of it today than they had 2 days ago. They don’t have local reserves of Energy for export either. So the Japanese are now essentially a Welfare state dependent on the Kindness of Strangers to float them loans based on…NOTHING. The Yen as a currency is going to go down the toilet, and anybody who holds a lot of Yen based assets is going to lose his shirt. And his underwear.
One has to suspect that the Illuminati will be running for the fire exit here next week on the Tokyo stock exchange. Katy Bar the Door! Unlike the Brainy Asian children in Miyagi-Ken Prefecture who were studying hard in their Science and Math classrooms when they got washed out to sea to become Fish Food and will now NOT Apply to the Wharton School of Bizness at the University of Pennsylvania adjacent to the 30 Blocks of Squalor in Philadelphia, these folks still retain their lives, but all the MONEY they invested in Japanese stocks was washed out to sea with the Tsunami. Of course, the Tsunami on the Nikkei Exchange will wait for Monday to begin, but I do not see how that will not go lock limit down in the first hour of trading. The Japanese are going to have to halt trading. Even Helicopter Ben cannot print money fast enough to stop that Tsunami. Or can he? If the International PPT can keep the Nikkei floating, I will just be astounded.
If indeed there is a run on the Nikkei, then this means MARGIN CALLS across the board. All the Big Boys are levered up here to beat the band, so to meet those calls they will have to liquidate assets on other exchanges around the world. By about any measure, the PHYSICAL collapse of the City of Sendai and Miyagi-Ken Prefecture is a WAY bigger Black Swan than even Lehman. I’m NOT however going to go in on Monday morning and bet short, though I am quite sure this is a winning bet for next week. I simply cannot bring myself to take profit in the loss of so many lives. Anybody who does this can consider themselves a Profiteer of Death, and you will Burn in Everlasting Torment in the Fire and Brimstone of Hell if you do it. Its just like bidding up the price of Commodities when you KNOW people are starving because they cannot afford the food. It is fundamentally immoral to take profit on the misery of others in this way.
Now, besides all this going on, apparently ALSO the Hacker COLLECTIVE known as “Anonymous” is going to release documents on Monday proving the Corruption and Fraud perpetrated by BofA. While the Public Unions are currently in Full Retreat losing the battle against the Power of the Statists, the POWER of the UNION of Hackers is growing. It is the power of the COLLECTIVE, the power of the BORG. Resistance is Futile. “Anonymous” is TRULY powerful, much moreso than Julian Assange BECAUSE they are “ANONYMOUS”. There is no one person for the MSM to focus on, no one to prosecute for “sex crimes”. There are many of them out there all with their own Laptops, all connected to the World Wide Web. No central hub to take out, unless you take down the Internet itself. MANY angry IT Geeks out there right now who have lost their 6 figure jobs for smaller companies running the LAN for that company when it went under. Many recent graduates of IT programs at many Universities who cannot find a Job. Not every one of them is a fucking GENIUS who can go in through the back door of a Goobermint or Bank network and bypass the security, but most certainly a few of them CAN and nobody KNOWS who they are. They know how to use proxy servers and launch bots and viruses to hunt down what they want to find, or swamp out servers they don’t like with DNS attacks. They have PROVED this already. They are ANONYMOUS, and NOBODY, not even the Illuminati can Fuck with Anonymous. Anonymous is as close to Bulletproof as you can GET in an information based society. Anonymous means literally “No Name”. If you cannot NAME the enemy, you have no target. No “Al-Quaeda”, no Osama Bin Ladin, no Obama, no “el-Kabong”, nay not even “Jamie Dimon” or “Lloyd Blankfeien” to pillory. Only “Anonymous”, no face to put to the “enemy”. As long as you remain Anonymous, you cannot be touched, and the more Anonymous there are, the more POWER they will accrue.
There is no “Bradley Manning” or “Julian Assange” for the MSM to focus the attention of the masses on with the Hackers of Anonymous. Anonymous is the UNION of the smart and disenfranchised who have now had ENOUGH. They cannot be stopped by the Illuminati until they take down the Web entirely, and they cannot do that because it is their own means of control. “Anonymous” will WIN this battle. “Anonymous” are the BORG. The COLLECTIVE will WIN against the Individual eventually always. The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth. The Illuminati are FINISHED. The Borg will eat them alive. You want to be on the WINNING side here? Join with the Borg, JOIN THE COLLECTIVE. Become a part of the UNION of Anonymous.
RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.
The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.
SUBLIMINAL sub·lim·i·nal [suhb-lim-uh-nl] Show IPA
adjective Psychology .
existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the behavior of the individual: a subliminal stimulus; subliminal advertising.
Do you notice the similarity in definitions between intuition and subliminal?
Do both result in making decisions without conscious thought?
How can we tell the difference between intuitively making a decision and making a decision based on subliminally suggestive ideas/objects placed into our environment to elicit a specific reaction?
Wikipedia has a good collection of different definitions for intuition and also suggests some of the origins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuition_%28psychology%29
It is often suggested that intuition is based on subliminal knowledge that we hold within our genetic makeup which retains information about important situations experienced by our ancestors, and also by ourselves.
To me this type of intuition is very dangerous as it is based on conditioning and equivalent to mindlessly following the directives of outside forces.
Here is an impressive example of blatantly employing such a strategy to get a specific result.
More good stuff here…. http://www.mindpowernews.com/SubliminalAds.htm
In a natural setting intuition is a very valuable tool that allows us to respond quickly without thought to dangerous situations based on similar experiences had by our ancestors. However such instinctual reactions are very dangerous within our society because there is a small elitist group determined to control the actions of the massive majority that they cannot control by force by using subliminal conditioning.
CONDITION Train or accustom (someone or something) to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances
- we have all been conditioned to the conventional format of TV
- the child is conditioned to dislike food
- the program examines aspects of social conditioning
The Elite have expended enormous resources to learn how to influence our actions subliminally because many of the things they desire to condition us to would likely be rejected if we used logic to determine our actions.
The Wilhelm Reich book, “The Function of the Orgasm”, which I keep mentioning details how the very structure of our families was manipulated to create people who could be known to respond in specific ways to subliminal cues which can be successfully activated many years later and throughout our whole lifetime.
A very blatant example that affects almost all of us is that we have allowed our leaders to rape and pillage without consciously saying, “yes I agree with this”. We may not like what they do but we have let them get away with it. Why? I say because there were many subtle conditioning experiences placed throughout our lives that make us submit to authority figures. Many of us are now struggling to overcome this conditioning but the vast majority are still in thrall to their masters.
To me making a decision without knowing why I made it is suspect. I now attempt to apply logic to such intuitive ideas and also do research to see if they make sense before acting on them.
There is another sense that has similarities to intuition in that it accesses information below the conscious level. The difference is that although the process itself is unconscious the process is consciously initiated.
To limit our access to information within our physical reality, which is manipulated by the elite to give them dominance, our conscious level of thought is trained to reject all information that is not physically sense-able within our environment. This means our consciousness is tuned to one carrier wave/program/reality which is controllable by the elite.
Without this conditioning we would discover that our consciousness can be tuned at will to a limitless number of carriers/programs/realities many of which do not include a controlling elite.
More broadly… once this conditioning is broken it is possible to perceive the environment that ALL the broadcasts exist within without being tuned to any specific broadcast. In this sentient mode beyond the conscious/unconscious divide, there is available all information at once and information gained there is based on the full body of all information not just information that is based on one genetic program.
What initially differentiates this process from normal intuition is the ‘INTENT’ to seek this information. When the process is successful the information arrives ‘intuitively’ (without thought) into your consciousness, but results from previous ‘intent’. It is not information that appears in your consciousness without known ‘reason’.
The way I initially taught myself to access this place was only accessible when I was extremely well rested and calm. Such conditions are rare while we are stuck on the treadmill of trying to keep up with the status quo. This treadmill is no accident. A big part of our induced lifestyle is the intent to keep us so frazzled that we can’t ‘think’(?) clearly or well. It is a primary reason for getting off the treadmill.
I experimented for a number of years with the sleep state. When well rested I would attempt to enter the sleep state while remaining conscious with the intent to find specific pieces of information. This intent when executed successfully takes you into a totally different place than normal sleep. If you have dreams, even very lucid ones, you are in the normal sleep state, not in the state needed to access all information.
For a long time I didn’t realize I had arrived in this other place. Although I was aware, I appeared to be in a black void of nothingness. There appeared to be no detail of any kind. Surprisingly even though the experience seemed undifferentiated nothingness, the answer I sought would pop into my consciousness instantaneously at/near the point of awakening.
To get into this space requires being aware enough to sidestep into this space at the instant you transition from waking to sleep mode. There is a tiny instant when you can step into greater consciousness. If you are too tired or stressed out it is impossible to concentrate well enough to accomplish this.
After spending much time there it becomes possible to perceive detail(?) there.
After much time you also come to understand that that mode of sentience can be accessed directly even while physically conscious.
To describe that experience and the structure(?) of that reality is probably not possible within words. It is a completely different way of being aware. It is not based on localized individuality or personality. There is no ego there. You just are ‘everything’.
Time is definitely RUNNING OUT now to make your ESCAPE. I do not recommend you try to escape outside the borders of the FSofA unless you have contacts and some connection to people wherever it is you are planning on evacuating to and you fit in racially, ethnically and religiously with the dominant population of the area. Do not head for South America unless you speak FLUENT Spanish and/or Portuguese and can pass as Hispanic. Do not head for Asia unless you speak FLUENT Mandarin and are at least half Han Chinese. If you are a White, the only places you should head for are the ones where Whites are dominant. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, the Falkland Islands, Norway, Tasmania, Tristan de Cunha-Edinburgh of the Seven Seas are about the ONLY places I would ever consider as reasonable to try to evacuate to if you were going to leave the FSofA as a White Person. Britain is OUT. Britain is TOAST. The Sun has SET on the British Empire and the little island they Ruled the World from for a while. Ireland might be survivable.
Ranked more or less in order here are RE’s Top Ten North American Doomer Holes.
1) Matanuska-Susitna River Valley, Alaska
2) British Columbia/SE Alaska Fjords
3) The Valley of the Great Salt Lake, Rocky Mountains Utah (especially if you are a Mormon)
4) Cascade Mountains, Oregon,Washington
5) Ozarks Mountains, Missouri and Arkansas
6) Tennessee Valley, Smokey Mountains
7) Shenandoah Valley, Poconos Mountains
8) Adirondack Mountains, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire
9) White Mountains, New Hampshire, Maine
10) Louisiana Bayou (if you are OK with Sweating all the time)
You can buy some raw land CHEAP in many of these places right now (though not as cheap as it will be in the future, but if you have the money and want to secure the purchase now the prices are not too bad). A good purchase would be Raw Land bordering on a National Park. Much as I do not believe in Land Ownership for myself, I bought 20 Acres bordering on Mark Twain National Forest and put it in my Grand Nephew’s Name. Used about half my 401K when I cashed out to make that purchase. He is only 5 years old, but unlike his Dad my Nephew, he has no Debts encumbering him. The Banksters do not Own him yet. He OWNS that land under our current Goobermint and Property Ownership system, Free & Clear. I’ll pay the Taxes on it long as I can, it is unimproved hunting land and the taxes are low. My family in Missouri can pack up and go there if things get tough. I have hammered down on them for the last 3 years to Prep Up and be ready to move, I can only hope they will when it becomes necessary, I am too far away otherwise to make a difference for them. As it is, they aren’t in a bad zone, Springfield MO is a small city surrounded by a lot of working Farms, I think Springfield will do OK for a while. My Brother-in-Law is a Tool & Die Man, and his company got a contract to supply plumbing fixtures for the building going up on the old WTC site in NYC. Should keep the company going a few more years if the monetary system does not crap out completely. Call me a Hypocrite if you like for doing this, for taking some of my Illuminati Money and BUYING land, but this IS the system and its not changing this minute, so I might as well get rid of the Fiat this way, eh? WTF else would I do with the money anyhow? Buy GOLD? Sorry, I don’t need a new Paperweight and besides, I can always go out and pan up some more, it just takes a lot of patience to do it and you get very little each day, but good grief, when its price goes up to $1500/oz, any idiot with a pan can pull up that much in a month of work by a good stream. Tedious work, but not as bad as flipping burgers at Mickey Ds, and while you do it you can ponder on the nature of existence, quite like when you go Ice Fishing. It’s not stressful, very relaxing actually.
Of course, you also can only do it for 3 or 4 months or so after the spring thaw, it’s not year-round work. I expect though that if the Gold price continues to skyrocket, this summer there will be a LOT of Panners out there. LOL. I am actually considering taking the summer off this year just to Pan, Fish and Hunt. Probably won’t do it, but I am considering it. Another alternative I am considering for the summer is touring Doomstead locations in NZ and British Columbia, and maybe making a last trip to Europe before it devolves into complete anarchy (assuming that has not already occurred by June). Another alternative I am considering is taking one last Gas Consumptive Tour of the NA Continent, driving from the Mat Valley across the Al-Can and all the way back to my birthplace in NYC. If it looks like the gas is going to be available for that trip at anything under $5/gallon, I might go for it. Visit tent cities, check out the real stories across the nation. Perhaps make some speeches and talk from the pulpit of some Unitarian Churches across the country. I still have decent connections with the Unitarians, it’s the “religion” I was brought up under. If I use the Bugout Machine for it, it probably costs $10K in fuel. There is REAL Hypocrisy for you if I do that one. LOL. But Hell, I am gonna die soon enough anyhow, and the 2000 gallons of gas I use to make this trip isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference anyhow globally speaking, so WTF. I think it would be a decent utility of the fuel and my money, to chronicle what I see and write about it. Anyhow, I will decide come around May what I will do this summer. Call this Doomer Vacation Planning.
Anyhow, I have drifted quite a bit in this Rant off the main topic of the evolution of WWIII we are witnessing. I really do not see at this point how anyone could make the case that WWIII is not already in progress when you look at what is currently going on in the M.E. At this MOMENT, it is not really affecting directly most of us here in the FSofA, but it most CERTAINLY is affecting millions if not BILLIONS of people across the M.E. countries. All of these countries are LOADED with the weapons of the Industrial War Machine, in order to Maintain Power Puppets like el-Kabong and the Saudi Sheiks have spent a FORTUNE in Oil money buying the tools of high tech warfare, from the assault rifles to the helicopter gunships to the jets. The system is coming apart at the seams, and now these weapons will be used, one way or the other. It is getting ugly out there NOW, and it is Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You.
See you on the Other Side.
Hiding in plain sight:
It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
Q: How would you describe the economy?
A: It is a system that allows a select few to borrow immense fortunes. The rest of us … you, me, everyone else … repay the debts.
Q: That’s it?
A: That’s it.
The face of Peak Oil. 
We are in the middle of a crisis that has been ongoing for almost five years now: the managers demand the economic system be bailed out. Of whom do they make demands? Entrepreneurs? Innovators? The finest minds of a generation?
The economies must become more productive which means increasing the efficiency of output. Consequently, pensioners are called upon to sacrifice their retirements in the UK, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, in the US … in cities and states pensions everywhere are under attack.
Why not more machines? If machines are productive, wouldn’t deploying more machines solve the economic problems around the world rather than deploying pensioners? Technology is supposed to save us but raiding pensions insists otherwise: the scraping of the bottom of the barrel in real time. It’s an admission that technology won’t work, from the people who are in a position to know.
What happens after the retirements are pilfered? Who knows? Nobody has a plan.
The world is shocked to discover a shortage of capital, not for investments but to prop sagging balance sheets. Who could have guessed as capital has been shoveled into the furnaces of ‘development’ for decades? Only economists and bureaucrats believe that we never run out of inputs.
Neil Gough (NY Times)
China’s banks are among the biggest and most profitable financial institutions in the world. But the state-backed banks are also starved for capital after an aggressive lending spree that was encouraged by the government.
Maybe they are profitable and maybe not. “Starved for capital,” suggests not. The operating idea is that capital is money rather than material inputs. These inputs are mispriced so that the money-equations used by industrialists add up to something ‘positive’. Cheating works until it doesn’t any more: substituting debt for unaffordable inputs doesn’t produce anything. Debt isn’t capital and self-delusion isn’t capitalism. Maybe we should call our economic system ‘Delusionism’ and be done with it.
Within the last year, seven of the biggest Chinese banks tapped the markets for 323.8 billion renminbi ($51.4 billion ) in new funds, according to Citigroup estimates. Several financial firms are expected to raise another $17.7 billion in the next few months, with China’s fifth-biggest lender, the Bank of Communications, accounting for $9 billion.Banks around the world have been tapping investors for new funds as they struggle with slumping share prices and waning profits. But Chinese firms have maintained that their profit growth is strong and their balance sheets are solid, raising red flags among some analysts about the banks’ persistent capital needs.
Chinese bankers and business tycoons, each more corrupt than the last: raise that Red Flag high! The Chinese need capital because so many are stealing it and removing themselves overseas.
The problem is that paying out high dividends blows holes in their base capital. Thus, banks need to continue tapping the markets for fresh funds, often diluting minority shareholders by issuing new shares. The finance ministry, the banks’ ultimate controlling shareholder, always buys in, keeping its stakes topped up.
Somebody at the bottom always takes it in the neck. Today, it’s the minority shareholders, tomorrow it will be the senior bondholders or the pensioners or the schoolchildren forced to eat radioactive school lunches. This is part of an ongoing process, not a new feature within delusionism. It was invisible when everyone was busy getting rich: now that the abuses are visible it can only be on account that fewer are getting rich. The endgame heaves into view.
The amount of cash that is churned in the process is staggering. In 2010, China’s five biggest banks (the Big Four plus the Bank of Communications) paid more than 144 billion renminbi in dividends and raised more than 199 billion renminbi on the capital markets, according to GaveKal.“This is the nonsense of it,” says Fraser Howie, a managing director at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, who is based in Singapore and is a co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.” “There’s an awful lot of money just going round and round from one pocket to another, giving the appearance of strength when it’s really not there.”
Fraser Howie cannot see what is under his nose. What else is he missing? How about Peak Oil? The owners of industrial enterprises borrow (steal) their fortunes and oblige the rest of us to repay the loans. The lending-go-round is the reason for industrial economies, their purpose in the first place. “Money just going round and round from one pocket to another,” is the theatrical production that is collateral for the loans. More appearances of strength means more loans — and bigger fortunes — for the owners. The churning of the bank funds is a feature, not a bug: modern finance villainy hiding in plain sight!
The public must accept the process at face value otherwise loans to ‘entrepreneurs’ could not be justified. There would be nobody able to commit to debt-service. As it is, the public has over-bought, the cost of fuel crowds out debt service. The solution is to chop off pensions with a samurai sword.
It’s not just Chinese banks that are starved for capital and it is not just banks. The world is capital constrained.
Europe’s Capital Flight Betrays Currency’s Fragility
The euro area’s financial troubles appear to be flaring up again, as this week’s gyrations in the Spanish bond market show. In reality, they never went away. And judging from the flood of money moving across borders in the region, Europeans are increasingly losing faith that the currency union will hold together at all.
The flows are tough to quantify, but they can be estimated by parsing the balance sheets of euro-area central banks. When money moves from one country to another, the central bank of the receiving sovereign must lend an offsetting amount to its counterpart in the source country — a mechanism that keeps the currency union’s accounts in balance. The Bank of Spain, for example, ends up owing the Bundesbank when Spanish depositors move their euros to German banks. By looking at the changes in such cross-border claims, we can figure out how much money is leaving which euro nation and where it’s going.
Figure 1: Surprisingly, there is still capital in Greece and Ireland remaining to flee. Perhaps the last capital out the door in these countries will please turn out the lights.
This analysis suggests that capital flight is happening on a scale unprecedented in the euro era — mainly from Spain and Italy to Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. In March alone, about 65 billion euros left Spain for other euro- zone countries.The idea that Europe’s current incremental approach has the advantage of saving money is an illusion, and not just because the disintegration of the currency union could trigger a global financial meltdown. As the capital flight figures demonstrate, the stricken nations of the euro area are bleeding private money and becoming increasingly dependent on taxpayers. In all, the debts of struggling banks and sovereigns to official creditors such as the EU, the ECB and national central banks now exceed 2 trillion euros, much of which would be lost if the debtor nations dropped out of the currency union.
What isn’t mentioned is the flight out of euros into other currencies or assets such as US equities. Wait until the euros start flowing out of France. Bloomberg will have to draw a much larger chart.
What have you … done for your car, today? 
Resource nationalism should be giving more billionaires reason to pause. The game has instantly become much more interesting:
Argentine government to pay Repsol ‘zero pesos’ for YPF seizure as Spanish oil company issues legal warning
Fiona Govan (Telegraph, UK)
Spain’s Repsol has threatened legal action against any company that attempts to invest in YPF following its expropriation by Argentina last week as the government expressed determination to “pay nothing at all” in compensation to the Spanish oil company.
The move would discourage external partners from providing the investment YPF needs to exploit vast shale oil deposits discovered within the Latin American country and is the latest attempt by Repsol to fight back against the illegal seizure of its subsidiary.
“We reserve the right to take legal action against any party investing in the YPF and its assets following the unlawful expropriation of the company,” Kristian Rix, a spokesman for Repsol in Madrid, told the Daily Telegraph on Monday.
The Spanish energy company believes billions of dollars are required to develop Argentina’s prospects including at least €25bn a year over the next decade to exploit the Vaca Muerta shale discovery made last year.
Resource colonialism on a foundation of paper promises and graft will prove to be worthless as the distances to overcome are too great and leverage of the colonialists insufficient. The Argentine example is appropriate for the various biofuel plantations landgrabbed in Africa and elsewhere by the Saudis, Chinese and others. When the locals decide the renege on the contracts and expropriate the ‘goods’ there will be nothing the ‘New colonialists’ — and their Blackwater-esque goons — can do about it.
Hiding in plain sight: peak oil.
Nobody mentions that the reason for the Greek economic unraveling and that of the Eurozone is caused by peak oil. The blame is fixed on Greece’s debt exceeding it GDP by a few percentage points. Ditto the other countries under siege around the world.
Figure 2: Chart by Jon Stewart/the Bonddad: Greece borrowed euros hand over fist for ten years to import fuel that increased in price 600% since the beginning of the euro. All the other countries in Europe (except Norway and Denmark) did the same thing. Why did the price increase from $20 per barrel to $120? Because of diminishing supply relative to exploding demand. Meanwhile, Greece earned absolutely nothing from burning/wasting the fuel. Greece also has little in the way of non-fuel output to pay for imports: it’s ‘Uncompetitive’.
The Greeks were conned into believing that they could live like Americans. That they could borrow as do other large debtors at very low cost. That they that sovereign privilege and could roll over their debts as they came due just like other states. They believed they could monetize pyramiding debt the way the Japanese and other large debtors do.
They would have been able to do so if the Eurozone was a country instead of a Ponzi scheme with the euro a sub-prime mortgage, if the industrial economy wasn’t a debtonomy and capitalism a delusion. Greece gulped the Kool Aid and ignored its own absence of real output and the structural deficiencies of the EU. Greece’s lenders did the same thing: once these lenders got cold feet and strangled cash flow the credit Greece depended on was cut off.
No credit and fuel is cut off, the Greek cash flow diminishes further, there is less output in a vicious, self-amplifying cycle. The outcome of peak oil process is Greece, destitute.
It’s also Ireland, Spain, Belgium, France … and Syria. Those who believe that the endgame of peak oil is Mad Max are wrong. The outcome for the unlucky is ten- times worse. The movie warriors did not have armor or heavy artillery and the willingness to turn it loose on civilians.
 Unidentified cinematographer, ‘The Character Humongous from the film, Road Warrior’.
 Unidentified photographer, ‘Syrian armor on the streets of Homs’.
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I am proud to report that in our first competition as a Team against all the rest of the Elementary Schools in the Matanuska-Susitna River Vally, out of 16 schools competing we took 3rd Place. All the rest of the teams are from the Public Schools, ours was the only one entered for Homeschoolers/Private Education. To make an almost full team of 9 (10 is max) we combined my group of 5 intrepid Trebuchet builders with 4 traditional Homeschoolers who all signed up as a single team. Top 7 scores count. You get 1 point for a win, 0 for a loss, .5 for a stalemate or draw. The tournament goes 7 rounds so your max individual score is 7 points if you win every game. 15 minutes on your clock, so 30 minutes maximum time for the game. Touch-Move Rules. We started at 9 this morning and finished around 2:30PM
We lost out to Shaw and Knik, both schools with hundreds of students and well developed Chess Clubs. My Chess Warriors are all first year Chess players except for one who learned some from his Dad before this year. He did the best out of the group with 5 wins. One of the Homeschoolers also had 5 wins. The rest of our counted scores were all 4 or 4.5 Points., 3 of them from my group and 2 from the Homeschoolers.
For my group, attendance at the Tournament was Mandatory since I am teaching Chess as part of my curriculum, its not a Club. This was their “Final Exam”. We play chess or discuss strategy twice a week for about 1 hour. It is IMHO one of the finest games ever invented for learning to think ahead, develop strategy and spatial awareness and how to focus your mind. Go is the only other game you can make a case for it being as good, but its not a very popular game in the Western countries.
Gender demographics at the tournament were the usual Male Dominated at about 5:1 ratio. I remain unsure as to whether this is a cultural or genetic discrepancy, I think it is mostly genetic though. Chess favors a more aggressive nature found more often in Boys. In the top 20 of 84 Players, there were no Girls.
As we look forward to the end of the Age of Oil and Electronic Joystick Games, Chess will endure through it all. I played Chess on Ipanema Beach in Rio as a 6 year old using sea shells and rocks and cans of Fanta Orange soda, drawing out the 64 squares of the board by hand in the sand many times. The Game was invented long before there were joysticks and video screens, and depend on nothing but the Mind of the Individual really. It is possible to play chess with no board at all and just do the game in your head, that is how you play multiple boards at the same time. When I was young I could do this, I can no longer though, brain cells too stiff with age and I just do not play enough anymore to do it.
There is no element of “chance” in Chess as there is in say Backgammon or Poker or Bridge, other very good games but all dependent on the Roll of the Dice or the Deal of the Cards. The miniscule advantage you get by playing first with White dissipates quickly if you play someone of equal ability. There are no guaranteed victory strategies you can play by memorizing games, though this does help you if you have many memorized. Modern computers have now exceeded the ability of even the top Grandmasters mainly by crunching through billions of possibilities in nanoseconds, but no Grandmaster ever goes that deep, its done more by developing strategy and securing the space. I think the AI now does some of this as well.
In the world to come, I consider Chess as important to teach as how to construct a Trebuchet or how to field dress a Caribou or Filet a Fish. It refines your thinking and focuses your mind. It also teaches you that there are Winners and Losers in a very real sense, and that the smallest of mistakes can drop you into the LOSER category very quickly. It also transfers to other areas very well, for me a Debate is just like a Chess Game. You build a case; you feignt; you misdirect; you ATTACK when you see an opening and then you go in for the KILL. From my POV, these kids will not SURVIVE if they do not know how to go in for the KILL when necessary here. They are the generation destined to fight the Last Battle for ALL THE MARBLES. You don’t win against the Illuminati playing White if you are Stupid and playing Black, and you don’t win by playing nice either. You win by TAKING OUT their Pawns and then their Bishops and Knights and Rooks, until you finally get the Queen and leave the King isolated. We NEED really good Chess Players in this game, and I hope I can teach a few how this game is played.
Metaphors aside here, its nice to get away from the Doom for a few hours and play/watch some Chess. I occassionally still play some against my computer, but of course the damn thing is so good I can’t beat it unless I turn down the settings a couple of notches. I’m no Bobby Fischer or Gary Kasparov either, but I do the best I can to teach what I do know about how to play the game of Chess. No Josh Weitzman’s either in my classroom so far, but ya never know, one may turn up here someday. I am Searching for Bobby Fischer.
Off the Keyboard of RE
Note from RE: This article was originally written during the Napster File Sharing prosecutions in around 2005 or so. I’m featuring it again here in “honor” of Apple’s recent “victory” over Samsung in the Smart Phone/Table Copyright War.
Discuss this article inside the Diner
Sometimes, because we are so immersed in the values, social system and laws of the late stage industrial society in which we live, it is difficult to see how some of the concepts we think are immutably set in concrete really are not that way at all. The concept of intellectual property and ownership of ideas is one of those cases. The issue of Musical Ownership and Copyright provides an excellent test case for the validity of some of our current concepts. Music, because it does not have substance, is particularly easy to reproduce. This makes it a very difficult thing to “own”, and to have “rights” to. Technology of course has made this easier, but this has been the case since the dawn of time.
Lets say I am a tribal flute player in post-Neanderthal France, and go to the annual gathering of tribes at the Summer Meeting to play my latest tune. I worked all through the cold days of winter in the cave composing this masterpiece. It is such a moving love song that the birthrate in the spring for my tribe is huge We are talking a Double Platinum Chart Topper on the Cro-Magnon Billboard. All the flute players from all the other tribes come to the Summer Meeting, and the teenyboppers squeal when I arrive in camp toting my flute. Of course since writing has not yet developed the other flute players can’t buy the sheet music from me, and it is darn tough to cut a CD out of rock. The teenyboppers will have to come to my campfire to hear the tune also, a major league benefit. (… and this one time, at band camp…:-)
Reaching back into our human history, all music was heard, learned and played by ear live, and in fact people who learn this way generally have what we call today “perfect pitch”. Anyhow, the outcome of my performance is that now all the other flute players can play my masterpiece. There is no way for me to “charge” them for this knowledge. I could charge them to come listen to me around my campfire, but I could not charge them for every time they played their flute after that, or for teaching it to other flute players. Of course, in a tribal society, I would have huge status from this, and most likely I would get quite a bit of tribute, particularly from the teeny boppers. Modern day Rock Stars have long capitalized on this particular phenomenon as well. However, its not obligated, because there is no way to do so. Even if I exclude people who don’t pay to hear my flute performance, they will eventually learn it from the people who did pay. This is why traditionally, musicians earned their money through performance, which is effectively manual rather than intellectual labor.
On the other hand, lets say I am a first class spear point maker. While my friend the flute player is composing his masterpiece, I am toiling away making 10 razor sharp double edged press-flaked obsidian blades a day, a totally revolutionary technique. With 50 blades I can trade for a goat at the Summer Meeting. 200 blades will buy me a nice new wife. 500 blades will buy an even nicer horse Spear Points, unlike Music, have substance. They can be traded for other things of substance.
Like the composer, however, I do have something about my blades that can be copied. Other blade makers will figure out my cool double edge technique. Before you know it, the market will be flooded with double edge press-flaked blades. At next year’s Summer Meeting, it might take a whole winter of point making just to buy a goat. I’ll really have to save up for a couple of winters if I want to buy another wife. I’ll really need the wives if I want to buy a horse, because I’m going to have to teach a slew of my kids point making to have enough spear points to trade for one of those. Of course, if I was real smart, I would have kept my special press-flaking technique a secret, and only teach it to my kids, who I will have a ton of because I bought so many wives
The idea of copyright on music is a relatively modern one, as is the idea of patenting an invention. Both of these ideas have stimulated modern creativity and invention, because they make it extremely profitable to have an idea. It is even very profitable to steal other people’s ideas, change them enough to make them look like yours, and corner the market. Just ask Bill Gates.
In the world of academia, traditionally no one “owned” an idea. You publish your work to further the total knowledge of human kind. Other academics then use your ideas to create new ideas of their own. Knowledge expands exponentially because of the free exchange and use of ideas. However, in recent years academics have become jealous of engineers and industrialists who patent ideas and become rich, while they are pulling down a professor’s salary. You now have people patenting things like parts of the Human Genome, which clearly they did not invent, just elucidated first. Does this further human knowledge? I hardly think so. It just enriches those who get there first and legally binds up the ideas.
While the concept of ownership of ideas has been good for our society in some ways, in others it is not so good. It devalues individual work of the manual kind, because you can be paid many times over for having one good idea. It limits the free flow and use of information. Finally, it creates an incredibly tangled legal concept that is extremely hard to enforce. So in addition to outrageously wealthy “owners” of ideas like Bill Gates, you have some extremely well-to-do patent lawyers.
What goes around, comes around. The ability to “sell” idea oriented stuff like literature and music worked very well when the means of producing printed material or plastic discs required large industrial style production facilities for the printing of books or the pressing of record albums. However, because of technology, as in the days of the Cro-Magnon when stories were passed on orally and music was played and listened to live by individuals, protecting and charging for these ideas has become impractical and unenforceable, for the most part. On the large scale, the ownership concept can still be enforced against a service like Napster, but it can’t stop the millions of individuals burning CDs, or establishing their own small Napster-like trading systems on the web.
As a person who values thought and ideas, and who has quite a few of my own, I certainly try to protect my material so that it retains its value. But I recognize also that because of the nature of technology and communication systems in the modern era, it is quite possible for people to copy things I conceive of. My curret project is particularly hard to copy in its full form, because it has many aspects which only I can personally provide, at least at the bargain basement price I provide them. The database software is custom designed for every individual bizness. Most people don’t know how to REALLY use Access, so I have to teach that. Many people don’t have quite the information set I have worked up over 20 years, and certainly they don’t have them in searchable MPEG digital video form. Few people have the time, ability or inclination to do graphic layout and write promotional material for their small biz, and paying professionals who do this for a living is costly. Few people give bang up motivational seminars. I protect my ideas not by using the legal system, but by providing so many things that copying it becomes at best impractical, and in many ways impossible.
Certainly musicians should be paid for their compositions. Choreographers should be paid for their choreography. Inventors should be paid for their inventions. Writers should be paid for their writings. But how many times should they be paid? Once you put your ideas out there, you need some other means than the legal system to protect you from copying. Evolution of technology has made this concept simply impractical to apply.
In the intervening years since I first wrote this article, Digital Copyright Protection schemes and limiting the capabilities of computers to do digital copying has successfully maintained the system a while longer, although to be sure particularly in the Music and Film industry “pirating” of material remains a major problem for this bizness model. All to the good there, “Pirates” and “Hackers” are serving an important goal in removing the profit from extractive corporations which use the desire people have to be “entertained” as a means to tax them on that aspect of the Human psyche.
Also in the intervening years here, my opinion that people should be “paid” for anything they do has changed, since I no longer believe in using money at all. Whatever it is you do, from playing Love Songs on your Flute to making Press Flaked Obsidian blades should be freely given to others and all should be encouraged to give as much as they can to their community. Your generosity should be rewarded, not your greed.
I spent the last few Daily Rants examining the Past and what occurred during the Great Depression, and for now at least I think that subject has been exhaustively covered, at least with the data we have available to work with. So with this Daily Rant, I’m going to move out of the past and into the present and likely future.
In this area, the argument divides again into two fundamental camps, those who believe that Technology will come in to save the day and those who believe that the end of the Fossil fuel era will require humanity to REVERSE ENGINEER back to a lower energy footprint utilizing more sustainable technologies from the past. As with most of the critical debates we have, I hold up the less popular side of the debate, which is the power down side. For this post, rather than focus on whether or not we can replace the Oil with Nukes or Renewables or even Cold Fusion, I am going to argue the position that we shouldn’t even bother trying. Why? Because high technology while it has in some senses made some people’s lives easier, for the most part its negative consequences destroy the spiritual side of our lives and destroy our liberties. In a Cost-Benefit analysis, it is a loser.
I put up in the Daily Video spot the 1984 Super Bowl Commercial for the Macintosh Computer, aired only that one time on Network Television. It was such a fabulously POWERFUL commercial though that everyone who saw it remembers it. At the time, I still watched Super Bowls, so I did see it. It was probably the greatest TV Commercial ever produced. In 1 minute of time, it said about everything about the Zeitgeist of the time.
The commercial airs a powerful Image of George Orwell’s “1984”, with Male Drones glued to a Big Screen TV being Mind-Controlled by the Talking Head of Big Brother, all in Black & White. As the Commercial comes to a close though, an Athletic Olympian Female Athlete toting a Hammer comes running into the auditorium, herself in Technicolor. She is pursued by SWAT/Robocop style Police, but before being caught swings the Hammer in full Olympic Spinning style into the Big Screen TV. It blows the living shit out of the TV, metaphorically FREEING the drones from the Mind Control.
The idea being conveyed here was that the Personal Computer was going to FREE the minds of people from the medium of Television, which had reached its Zenith in 1984. The Technicolor of the Female Olympian was just like the Technicolor in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy moved from her drab life in Black & White Kansas of the Great Depression Era to the Free and Full Color life in the Land of Oz. But of course, in both Oz and in our own post-techno revolution computer age, that Freedom wasn’t real at all, and in fact TRAPPED Dorothy even more than the trap she was in back in the Black & White land of Kansas.
Have computers and the worldwide net REALLY freed us? Well, there is certainly a whole lot more information out there we can now access, and of course we are all free here now to Napalm the Living Shit out of each other on the pages of TBP as well. This is more or less a positive thing, but the DARK SIDE of this technology is much more powerful.
As a whole, all the technologically connected people of the world become ever more dependent on this technology, and their lives are ever more consumed by it. Everything you do or say through the medium is recorded, and everything recorded can and is filed in databases to identify who you are and how you think. Not just what you DO, but how you THINK. People create Facebook pages, which link them to all their friends, so when that Joe McCarthy style Purge comes, consider how easy it is now for Da Goobermint to not only nail you, but then by extension nail everyone you are connected to.
Every Transaction you make with a Credit Card or Debit Card is recorded. Your food preferences, your recreational choices, everything. As we move forward here if a technological society could continue, those cell phones you carry would be your transaction card, and they also carry with them a GPS chip which records your every move, so as long as you have it switched on, every place you go can be mapped out, along with the route you took to get there and how fast you were driving. And of course everyone ALWAYS has their cell phone ON, because you just MUST be connected! A friend might send you a TXT message, cannot miss that. They do not even need to implant Chips into people, the people will WILLINGLY carry their Tracking Units all the time to be connected to the Network. Because without that, they are not part of this type of community.
At the same time you have become part of this Global Interconnected Web Community though, you have given up your personal connections to people in your local community. I mean really, I KNOW people I work with who will walk around Texting friends totally GLUED to their Iphones. They are too busy doing that to talk to the person they are in the same room with.
For right now, there remains a certain amount of choice still, you can turn off your cell phone, you still can make transactions in Cash, you can still save some of it in the Bank of Sealy or bury it with a few ounces of Gold Dust and Diamond Rings in Denali National Park in a hermetically sealed PVC Pipe at a location only YOU have the Latitude and Longitude coordinates to and can find even without a GPS if necessary using just a Magnetic Compass, Watch and Sextant. If the Magnetic North Pole keeps migrating at 40 Miles/year, I’ll just have to rely on the Sextant and Watch and some dead reckoning on Geological features that don’t change too rapidly. Fortunately, the Stars don’t seem to be changing their positions too rapidly, so hopefully I can find the damn pipe with ¼ of my Savings when I need to. LOL. I have a good self-winding mechanical watch in case my digital ones get taken out by an EMP. My sextant is a nice Brass Reproduction of an 18th Century one made in India, reasonably accurate. Should be accurate enough to get me within a mile or so of the area, after which I can find my Buried Treasure by the local terrain features. I haven’t tried that yet though, but I’ll test it this summer when the weather improves. Wandering around Denali National Park in mid-winter is not a good idea unless you are a fucking good Jeremiah Johnson type, which I am not. It is a fucking HUGE place and you can quite easily get seriously LOST or trapped by bad weather. In the summer though, it is very pleasant. The rest of my Savings is distributed out ¼ in Digimoney in a Local Credit Union, ¼ in Anonymous Debit Cards/Pay Pal Accounts and ¼ in easily accessed cash in local storage spots. All the electronic money is immediately accessible as long as the network is up and running, and worth having available if for some reason cash goes no good. I am trying to cover both bases here 50-50, half cash, half electronic digibit money. The digimoney is half directly attributable to me, half anonymous in accounts only I have the password for but cannot be tied to me otherwise. This way, hopefully I do not get a 100% Wipeout of my savings regardless of how the crash proceeds before I can spend it into Hard Goods.
However, regardless of my eccentric Banking methods, in the industrialized countries, if the system was to be maintained after the collapse of the Dollar and all the rest of the Fiat currencies, it is almost certain that any new currency system centrally created would be 100% Digital, no Cash at ALL available to sequester in the Bank of Sealy. For this reason ALONE, I cannot support maintaining the technological grid of the Internet, but when you conjoin that with the fact that every last thing you write gets recorded and every last friend you have is recorded you can see where by accepting this system you accept Big Brother, WILLINGLY. You give up your autonomy by becoming a part of this vast interconnected electronic Web, and you become COMPLETELY dependent on it. The minute the Internet goes down for good, even under the quasi-choice system we have now; the minute you will have simply gobs of people completely LOST, like a Borg who has been cut off from the Collective. If/when it became effectively MANDATORY to be connected in this way, then when such connections are lost the people would really be in dire straights. They will have become so completely disconnected from the simpler means of living they simply will be unable to return to it. Like Dinosaurs faced with a radically changed environment, they will just helplessly die off.
There are people here I have chatted with, Plubius and Flash particularly who think that this is the road we are destined for. “1984” on Steroids where there is NO ESCAPE from the power of the Illuminati. I don’t agree with that viewpoint, because I do not in fact believe that these systems can be maintained in the post-Peak Oil world of the future. However, if it were true that we could in fact build enough Nukes or harness Cold Fusion to maintain this kind of structure, then I would have to agree with them that this would be our destiny. Technology is not liberating, it is ENSLAVING. Every last technology you accept and come to depend on enslaves you a little bit more. When you accept the Automobile as your transportation means, you become enslaved to the provider of the fuel for that automobile. When you accept the Light Bulb as your Light Source at night, you become enslaved to the Electricity Provider.
Who are the ONLY really FREE people left? They are the very few people still walking the earth who depend on NO technology other than their ability to make the few tools they need out of available materials they can pick up and who have knowledge enough to be able to fish for subsistence with the tools they make or find wild edible plants to eat in remote places that somebody else has not claimed the land they forage from as their own. The only way to be truly free is to be able to independently subsist in this way, and virtually no one can do this anymore. I know a few people who might be able to do it, but I am not one of them.
I do not advocate for that kind of freedom anyhow, I think people do need each other and can depend on each other in small groups of interdependence. The kind of Freedom I would like to see evolve here with the Failure of the Technological Conduits is one of small Communities and Tribes, not large Nation States. I believe that will come to pass with the collapse of the Age of Oil, and I would not hope for it to be replaced by Nuke Plants which would just perpetuate the central control paradigm and the loss of Freedom. THAT is why I am against Nuke Power, not because I am a big Tree Hugger, though of course I AM a Tree Hugger who values the natural ecosystems more than man made power sources. Big Nuke Power Plants give the POWER and Control over the society and the people in it to the few people who CONTROL the power plants. Once you come to depend on this, you are forever under their control. Only if you can GIVE IT UP can you be truly FREE.
To me, true FREEDOM is more important than the creature comforts we get by accessing great sources of thermodynamic power, which ALWAYS are controlled by a very few people in the society. There were others like me also through history, who walked away and rejected the trappings of the technological society of their time. The Jeremiah Johnsons, the Mutineers of the Bounty on Pitcairn Island, the John Dunbars who “went Native”. I haven’t walked so far away as that, mainly because I cannot anymore, not because I would not do it if I could. For younger folks in better health than I am though, I most certainly would recommend rejecting as much technology as you possibly can and becoming as self-sufficient as you can to become as FREE as you can.
This process does not have to come all at once, I wouldn’t suggest to anybody to smash their laptops and cell phones or junk their cars while it is all still working, and while in fact to live in the society we have now in the FSofA you really must use these tools. I certainly haven’t done that, I’m just trying to distance myself from it and prepare myself psychologically for the day Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You all these toys just don’t WORK anymore. That is why I wake up at the crack of dawn on a cold Saturday Morning to go out onto a lake on the Last Great Frontier to cut a hole in the ice and see what I can fish up. Do I do this EVERY day? Hell no, I don’t have to, nor could I since I have to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to my REAL JOB, which thankfully I still have. Thankfully also I still have a working 1989 Mazda MPV 4 wheel drive which brings me quickly in comfort to my job. Thankfully also I can still buy gas for it at the local convenience store for $3.80/gal. I don’t have to subsist on a daily basis from what I can fish up, I can drive over to Walmart and buy just tons of food shipped in from all over the world! I’ll sure miss that when it is gone, but at the same time I would be foolish not to prepare myself for the day it IS gone, as long as it is within my power to do so.
As we observe the turmoil developing throughout the Oil producing countries of the M.E., it is a foregone conclusion now that the Oil which powered our society is NOT going to be available in perpetuity to continue doing that. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to figure that one out. Nor is it very likely that even if possible would we be able to transition to alternate power sources fast enough to stop this type of technological society from coming to a screeching HALT. It is going to crash, and you can observe the crash in slow motion occurring, starting at the most peripheral economies and working its way inward toward the center. By cutting off vast populations of the earth from the remaining Oil, our Oil consumptive society may perpetuate a few more years, but equally possible is we will get a sudden STOP before that as the monetary system fails and societies go to WAR over the remaining resource. A War that cannot be won by anyone of course, but that does not mean it won’t be undertaken. That War is the last gasp of a dying technological paradigm, the Death Convulsions of a sick society.
For those of us born in the right place at the right time, for a couple of generations we got to Party like its 1999. Some folks became quite wealthy hitching a ride on this waste based paradigm of Production and Consumption, but they did so always at the expense of others or at the expense of the resources of the earth. You cannot make something from nothing of course. In the Blame Game of who is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in, it is all those people who took profit in this, who became manufacturers and industrialists, who controlled Da Goobermints and bought the politicians to serve their interests, who controlled the Banking system and created out of thin air the Money we all needed to make our way through this type of world. These are the people who are responsible, not J6P Union man who always was just trying to get a decent wage to live in the society and raise his kids. The Capitalists and Banksters and the Profiteers are the responsible ones for this collapse, and they must shoulder the blame for it. They must and will be put on Trial for their Crimes Against Humanity and Rape of Mother Earth. Eternal Justice will not be denied. When the Capitalist Inquisition is finished, whoever is left will then be able to build a Better Tomorrow.
There will be no George Orwell 1984 in the long term, we are already LIVING in that world NOW, and it is coming apart at the seams. It is made possible only by control over the vast thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels and the Conduits of transportation, communication and energy they support. When that energy is no more to be found at a positive EROEI, these Conduits will all collapse, and with that collapse will come the end of the control of the Illuminati. It will usher in a new age of FREEDOM, albeit with a vastly reduced population. You can’t make an Omellette without Breaking a few Eggs of course. When this Matrix falls apart, it will not be pretty.
One of the important factors to consider on a Population level here in the FSofA during the Great Depression was what occurred BEFORE it and how the land got settled in the post Civil War years through the Great War and then the Roaring 20s.
First off, the “Sooners” of Oklahoma got their land for free after the Natives had been pushed off the land. These were generally immigrants from Europe, poor Swedes and Germans who homesteaded that land and began to farm it. Under the technology of the day, that land wasn’t really suitable for farming, it was Grazing land. They did not have the massive pumps to bring up the water from the Ogalala Aquifer in place yet. It really only took a couple of generations to deplete the land and set it up for the Dust Bowl. So all these 2nd generation poor immigrants on the poorest land would have been the first ones displaced and formed one itinerant army of Poor People once the Dust Bowl and the Depression set in.
The other army of poor folks were the Refugees from Europe who came over directly after the Great War. My Paternal Grandparents were in that Wave. Grandpa was Russian, Grandma was a Romanian Gypsie. This group of people formed the labor force building the Great Cities of the FSofA during the Roaring 20s. My Grandfather the Acrobat found good paying work on the High Steel in NYC. A smart guy and heavy drinker, he used his money to set up a Speakeasy in Brooklyn during the Prohibition years. My Grandma ran the Still producing fine Vodka and Sour Mash Whisky in the basement of the Brooklyn Brownstone they lived in, which he eventually bought also, for all CASH. I vaguely remember him telling me he bought it for $500. Said Brownstone was worth $100K even when I was in college. Probably worth $1M in the Boom years. He also bought land in Westchester county, then all farms, again for all CASH. When RE building collapsed in the Great Depression and he no longer had work walking the High Steel, his Speakeasy carried the family through, and frankly he did pretty well. He was a funny guy and the local Brooklyn Politicians all frequented his bar. There were guys Running Numbers out of the Bar, he took a Piece of the Action. Grandad was a smart Bizman, though not a very legally correct one. My father’s older brother ran a large Junkyard during the Depression years, he also did OK. My dad was able to go to College at Pace University majoring in Accounting just as WWII ended because they all made it through. Pretty well off actually. This of course is why I am here today writing from the Last Great Frontier. LOL.
My mom’s side did not do so well. They were Polish Jews who evacuated Europe just as the Nazis were coming to power. Her father, my maternal grandfather I never knew died shortly after coming to the FSofA of Tuberculosis. My maternal Grandmother kept the family going running a Rag Shop on the Lower East Side of NY, on Delancey Street. They did go through periods of great Hunger, but made it through on the food at the Soup Kitchens and did not starve to DEATH, although my mom was one Skinny 17 year old when my dad met her at a Dance in one of the Settlement Houses. Her brother wasn’t just skinny, he ended up with neurological problems which likely came from malnutrition.
Sadly of course, many others in the immigrant labor force during the years from 1917-1929 weren’t quite so smart and fortunate in how they used their decent wages for those 12 years as my Grandad, they didn’t have a Speakeasy to fall back on when the construction jobs disappeared and the Longshoremen jobs disappeared as Trade came to a grinding halt. The later immigrants from my mom’s side pretty much missed the boom entirely and were impoverished from the time they arrived here.
Together, once the Depression hit in full force in the 1930s, this was the other massive population of poor people besides the rural poor of places like Oklahoma. Basically all at the same time, once the jobs disappeared and poor land was no longer producing, ALL of these folks took to the road in one way or another looking for a Better Place and an Opportunity. For a Decade of time, until we entered WWII in 1941, no such opportunities existed for them anywhere. You see that in the Signs from the period, “Jobless Men KEEP GOING! We Cannot support our OWN!”
Whatever Die Off did occur here in the years of the Great Depression came from this group of itinerants, and this is why they for the most part are not remembered. They were mostly newby immigrants who had no other family ties here, nobody to remember them, how they lived and how they died. People who had family ties here, who were parts of small communities that survived and looked after there own mostly DID make it through, although of course not without much hardship. The ones who did actually die of starvation or starvation related disease, however many of them there were, were the most recent immigrants in the poorest of the poor situations.
As we look into the future here, History is likely to Rhyme in this regard. The folks here in the most precarious situation are the most recent Immigrants, particularly the Illegal immigrants. They are the ones who are going to first be cut off from the SNAP cards and told to “Move ON, because we cannot take care of our own”. How many of them are there? Estimates are around 20M I think, and for the most part this bunch of people are GONERS. Just like the friends and relatives they left behind in their home countries to escape the desperate poverty there.
Quite a bit of LUCK involved in when you were born, when you emigrated and where you emigrated to, both prior to the Great Depression and now as well. My Paternal Grandfather emigrated at the RIGHT time, and hitched a ride on the Prosperity that was the Roaring 20s. Vietnamese who emigrated here in the 1970s similarly are likely to make it through, having established themselves and having family networks to fall back on. My mother’s family is more like the recent immigrants from places like Pakistan and Guatemala. They will not fare so well.
The biggest difference I see between then and now is the difference in potential for rebuilding once the initial Holocaust takes its toll worldwide. Similarly, I do expect a World War and Conscription to commence, but in this case it is very hard to see how the factories hiring “Rosie the Riveter” will be able to both bring jobs to the women not conscripted and the folks too old to fight but still young enough to work on a production line or as a Manager. This because at the time of WWII, the OIL was available locally to run those factories, not so today. Today, that Oil must be IMPORTED from the War Zone ITSELF. I cannot see how enough Oil can be moved from that War Zone to the FSofA to BOTH ramp up the war production machinery AND continue to run the civilian systems we have here that have come to depend on it over the intervening years.
Austerity in the form of Gas and Food rationing in the WWII years was pretty tough, but this time round it has to be much tougher than that to keep fuel moving to the War Machine. I don’t think the integrity of the society can hold together under that much austerity, and moreover I don’t see it possible that enough Oil can be moved from the war zone to even keep the war machinery itself going very long. This adds up to systemic collapse of the Oil conduit entirely.
Once that happens, pretty much all the International War for Oil will stop and at this point all the Wars will be loal ones for local resources amongst the people currently living on particular patches of land around the globe. No rebuild of industrialized society, just further destruction until enough are dead so there are enough local resources for the survivors. It would be at this point you could attempt a rebuild on 1850s era technology, utilizing mostly Coal and scavenging parts from the Age of Oil. Call that a 50 year timeline, then another 100 years perhaps rebuilding with that technology until it also gives up the ghost.1750s after that fo another couple of centuries, back to the Stone Age after that.
There is ZERO on the horizon I can see that will stop this inexorable progression. Nuclear Plants will not do it, neither will renewable Hydro or Solar. However, as long as some people survive, the great experiment that is Human Sentience will continue onward, and then perhaps after all of this we can build a Better Tomorrow. Only time will tell.
It was called, “A Marxist and Free Market Analysis of the Crisis in Capitalism and public forum. It was sponsored by the Old Dominion University Philosophy club. Who would’ve thought that such a thing as a philosophy club could possibly exist in this era of untrammeled free markets and Ayn Randian supermen striding like colossi across the post 9-11 landscape?
Featured speakers included Dr. Lawrence Hatab, Dr. Rod Evans, and Prof. Anthony Nattania, along with Ed Hightower of the Socialist Equality Party, several young men from ODU Out, plus two Occupiers, Tess Amuroso, artist and photographer, and Deb Lassiter, a local activist. An interesting, if combustible mix.
Dr. Hatab was the first to speak. A tweedy, affable and clearly thoughtful fellow, Dr. Hatab was a University Professor and Eminent Scholar and has variety of degrees from Villanova, Fordham et al. and a resume brimming with the variety of publications one would associate with an Eminent Scholar, spanning neighborhoods from Nietsche to Heidigger, through Postmodern Politics and “The Redemption of Time and Politics.” Brimming with a sense of both incredulity and outrage at the excesses of the market and their government enablers in 2008, Hatab came to engage the assignment, that being an analysis of a “crisis in capitalism.” One of his more fascinating observations was that he thought that the Marxist view of capital would work if it weren’t for the phenomenon of corporate welfare. He noted that we do not have the capitalist system whether we have a crony capitalist system in which government picks winners and losers through the various mechanisms of tax breaks, favorable legislation, and outright gifts, not to mention no-bid Government contracts . . .
Dr. Hatab described our state as “welfare capitalism” and that without welfare capitalism, Marx would’ve been right. He noted the meltdown of 2008 as an example, in which massive wealth was transferred to banks while risk transferred to the taxpayers, in the form of debts that will likely prove unpayable. He talked at some length about the way that what used to be tangible has become abstract– the phenomenon of derivatives, and “rehypothification,” et al . . .an interesting rabbit hole regarding the nature of money as a quantitative unit standing for qualitative things. His opinion was that these thieves and pirates on Wall Street understood exactly what they were doing: “These people make the old industrialists of the Gilded Age look like choir boys.” Lending used to have something to do with relationship. Time was your mortgage banker was an individual, who looked you in the eye, assessed your value and reliability, and who otherwise had an interest in who you were and what your ability to pay might be.No more. Hatab decried the fact that the financial transaction itself is become utterly and completely abstract, its value restricted to the fees gained on their resale.
A “Free Market Analysis” was presented by Prof. Anthony Nattania, a professor of philosophy and religious studies since 2001. Nattania, tall, slender and understated, asked rhetorical questions to frame his argument. He laid many ills at the feet of Fannie and Freddie, and the infamous “no document loans” I had never heard of. The motives of fee-mongers had apparently not crossed his mind as a potential ill.
Nattania equated people who receive government services to “thieves.” He decried the attempts on the part of government to mitigate the problems caused by the poor choices made by individuals. and he thought that this level of coercion in which government picks winners and losers was the root of the problem.
His fellow Austrian, Dr. Rod Evans, was far more voluble. He came not to analyze, but to deliver a blistering manifesto of accusations against the state, in one instance managing to work “Nancy Pelosi” into the conversation twice in five minutes. Evans evidently intererned for a summer at the H. Ross Preot school for presentation, so ready was he with a variety of flipcharts for the easel. They appeared then disappeared with a staggering frequency. One example of the many in which he provided proof that it was the umngrateful proles of the working class that should bear the responsibility for all the ills that affect society: Unhealthful diet+inadequate exercise+drug use= explosion of health care costs. Why should they have to pay for health care because of the poor choices “they” make?
At no time did Evans give shrift of any kind to the role of Big Pharma in escalating drug use of market manipulation…
After a break, Ed Hightower offered a brief 20 minute summation of Marx’s analysis of capital. I was somewhat familiar with these, having reread the “Communist Manifesto,” A Christmas gift from my daughter. His presentation was basic: how “surplus value” is sieved from the working class by the capitalists. Some discusion of how socialism is not a moral idea, and discuision materialism v. idealism. This presentation was intellectual and could have benefitted from making the almost self-evident with more immediacy. Which is precisely what happened as the presentation came closer to the present day, as we saw how the economic position of the working class has collapsed since 1980, corresponding almost one-to -one with the transfer of wealth to the one per cent. The top 20% have realized a 277% increase in their income since 1970. As most of us know, the Reagan revolution has corresponded with the greatest transfer of wealth from the middle-class to the upper class in American history, an enormous boondoggle benefiting the upper 1%.The conservative professors sat and listened to this presentation, Hatab having already left. Then as the occupiers made ready to speak, and they all left and went outside, as if they had nothing left to learn. One could have made the excuse of other commitments, except that they stood outside and talk to one another while the occupier presentations were going on.
Tess Amoruso was first. An artist and photographer, Tess showed a slide show of her pictures from various occupations ranging all over the country, while she made her appeal for peace and justice through people power, and envisioning a better world through the use of peaceful non-violent demonstration. Her words were deeply moving, her pictures absolutely riveting. I was transfixed by her work, and how the images, in series, moving from one occupation to another all along the East Coast, captured the essence of the essentially decency of most people who self-identify as Occupiers. With an eye for the telling detail or small truth, her images captured that oft-repeated truism that “we need to be the change that we envision in our world.” It is precisely those images I wish these self-satisfied professors had had the patience and willingness to see.
Posted originally on TBP on 21st February 2011 by Reverse Engineer in Economy
40 Years of Economic History in the FSofA
Back in the 1970s our beloved POTUS Tricky Dick “I am not a Crook” Nixon took a trip over to China, “opening” the closed doors of the then “Communist” nation to the wondrous world of Capitalism. Just around the same time, the same Tricky Dick slammed shut the Gold Window on Charlie DeGaulle’s fingers, Women were out on the streets Burning their Bras and at about the same time as all of that we hit local Peak Oil here in the FSofA and became a net Oil Importer. Interesting Coinkidinks, no? Of course, it is no coincidence, all of these factors are integrally related. This Rant will explain all these relationships, and how Unions and the Capitalist model functioned from the period between 1970 and 2011. It will also explain why the spin down occurring now was inevitable regardless of the economic behaviors of the participants, although the spin down might have occurred differently had other paths been pursued. Pretty big undertaking to complete inside of 3600 Words, no? 41 years of economic and political history squashed down into 3600 words is damn good condensation as I see it, so anyone who accuses me of being too wordy here will get a piece of my mind for sure. Besides which, included in the Grand Rant are a few VERY funny (IMHO) Mini-Rants which should entertain you and make reading the whole fucking thing a bit more bearable. LOL.
In the Capitalist model of production and consumption, you seek to produce at the lowest cost while you sell at the highest price the consumer will pay for the product. The difference between those two represents your profit, the Holy Grail of the Capitalist. In the FSofA as the 60s were winding down and most of Europe leveled during WWII had been rebuilt, we no longer had a ready market over there funded by the Marshall Plan for what our industry was producing, so the main market had to be ourselves. Nobody in the 3rd world of course could afford to buy the toys we were building at the time.
Embedded in the cost of each product is the labor and the energy it takes to make that product. In order for the workers to afford to buy the products, they need to make a good wage, which Unions had the job of negotiating for the workers. As long as the energy came cheap and local, the capitalist could still make a profit on the value added by the cheap energy while still paying a good wage to the worker, who then could afford to buy the product. The profit margin was coming from the amazingly low cost of energy, practically free up until the 1960s. Even I remember when gas was 15 cents/gal. Even with 200% inflation since 1960 you would still only be at 60 cents/gallon today, and while inflation has occurred, it wasn’t that bad. The REAL price of energy has been increasing steadily since we hit local Peak Oil in the early 70s.
Once Local Peak Oil was reached here and energy began its relentless upward climb, the amount of profit that could be extracted from the amount it cost to produce versus what the consumer could afford to pay began to shrink. A squeeze on margins of course. How does the Capitalist seek to resolve this problem? By driving down the labor cost, which in the 1970s began to happen as factory jobs started getting offshored to China where the Capitalist could buy a slave for $1 a day, courtesy of Tricky Dicky’s Ping Pong Diplomacy. Got offshored other places as well of course.
Before packing his bags and heading for China, the Kind & Caring Capitalist goes first to the Union Shop Steward in his local factory before he picks up his factory and lays down the LAW with him. If you don’t take a pay cut to $15hr, we will move the plant to China! Or any other place they could arbitrage a cheaper wage.
What does this pay cut mean to J6P Unionista? Well it means he will no longer be able to afford the very products he is making, nor will he be able to afford the cost of his house he is living in and paying a mortgage on or anything else that in his community was all based on the economics of him making $20/hr, not $15/hr. So he refuses, and the Capitalist goes ahead and picks up the machine tools and all the rest from the factory floor and loads them on a container ship bound for China, where Mao provides him with millions of slaves who will work for $1/day.
The Capitalist is now Happy, he is making a profit again, but J6P is Sad, because he no longer has a $20/hr factory job, but rather has a $10/hr service sector job. He is out of his house completely, and his nice little factory town becomes a Ghost Town. Starts looking like Detroit or Gary, IN. He might have had a $15/hr factory job a while longer had he agreed to take the pay cut, but it would have eventually been arbed out by cheaper Chinese labor to much less than that down the line. Nothing short of protective tariffs could have stopped the migration of capital toward the lowest possible labor costs, and of course protective tariffs were anaethema to “free trade” globalists.
The Capitalist does have a significant problem here though, which is now that J6P here is only making $10 on average in the service sector, he can’t sell as many products to him, and he sure can’t sell them to his Chinese slaves who are making $1/day. This problem is first resolved by having the Women Burn their Bras and head out into the workforce also to bring the combined family income back up to nearer $20/hr. However, this brings with it two things, first is that it drives down wages still further here as more people are competing for fewer available jobs, second is that the family now has added expenses in day care as well as the general structure of the family starting to fall apart. J6P and Wife are running harder to stay in place economically, and this gets harder and harder to do as the price of energy continues its inexorable climb upwards. The gas bill for the 2 cars they now need to commute to two different jobs keeps going up, the cost of electricity for the house keeps going up, and of course the taxes keep going up. Why? Because all the Unionistas employed by Da Goobermint have the same problems here and keep negotiating bigger pay packages of course. Besides the fact that of course bureaucracies always continue to increase in size until they crash under their own weight.
Still the Capitalist is doing OK because the labor is so Cheap in China and Walmart here marks down to the LOWEST Price Every Day so J6P can still buy some stuff, assuming he is bombarded with enough advertisement convincing him he needs the stuff. Sadly now for the Capitalist though, the energy input price for his products ALSO continues to rise, and he has now arbed down his labor costs as low as he possibly can, there simply is nowhere on earth to find cheaper labor than the Chindians or Egyptians or the Mexicans will work for. The cost of the products begin to rise at Walmart, and unless the Capitalist can figure out some way to put more money in the pockets of J6P to buy said products, he is going to go outta biz. Does he find a way to do this? Of COURSE he does. VISA! For everything you ever wanted but could not afford, there is VISA! By the time the 1990s are underway, the consumer credit binge has begun, and not only that because J6P cannot afford to pay higher taxes also, in order to keep funding Da Goobermint it ALSO runs up its own credit card bill, selling debt to those frugal, smart and hard working slaves over in China.
Frantically now as we move into the 2000s the whole fucking House of Cards is going to fall down along with the WTC unless more money gets injected into the system. Enter Stage Left the Maestro Alan Greenspan, who Blows the biggest fucking Bubble of all time in the RE market and Banksters start issuing no doc LIAR loans to anyone who has a pulse, putting all sorts of funny money into the system, some of which does get distributed out to J6P since he is now employed again at $20/hr construction jobs in the housing industry building McMansions while his Wife the RE Agent takes home megabucks Commissions selling the $300K McMansions to Janitors and Burger Flippers, on ARM loans with low teaser rates said Janitor can barely afford for a few years, but he then takes out a HELOC on his ever increasing in value McMansion to live the good life a while longer still. LOTS of funny money flowing around here during this period, and Banksters create still MORE of it in the Shadow Banking industry. You get fucking geniuses like Blythe Masters, the Limey Economic Bimbo from Trinity College of Cambridge University who create CDS so everyone can start betting on who will be first to fail. Man, there are days I wish I had hung on as a Pigman at Merrill, because I sure would have enjoyed having a Blackboard Contest with that fucking Bimbo. What kind of Bullshit Math was she pitching out there anyhow? Was she smoking Crack or was she just too busy Blowing her Boss to think straight? The fucking Stooges over at JP Morgan never could do a decent regression analysis anyhow. Don’t even get me started on the jackasses over at Goldman, although my College Roommate was one of them. Those guys actually DID know their math, the fucking problem with them was they FAKED shit on PURPOSE. Goldman math wizards will take a fucking TURD and PROVE to you why it’s a profitable Turd to invest in, and the Due Diligence you have to do to figure out exactly HOW they fake the analysis is virtually impossible to do they are so fucking good at it. You would have to hire out the entire graduating class from MIT and rent out a year’s worth of time on a Cray Supercomputer to figure it all out, except you can’t do that because Goldman already hired the geeks and leased out the time for the next 50 years! Those guys turned Financial Fraud into a goddamn Science, a whole new branch of mathematics.
Anyhow, Stockbroker Pigmen are making money hand over fist through this time period, and again some of this money drifts into the Main Street economy as these guys spend megabucks at fancy restaurants eating with $5000 Hookers now also making a decent living for a night of flatbacking. Besides that, they are taking their “hard earned” funny money and investing Venture Capital in some Geek who creates Guitar Hero software, who then again uses his new found “wealth” to buy still more shit for himself and buys his own $5000 Hookers and Hamptons Cottage. Said Geek goes Public and the Goldman Pigmen set up an IPO for him and Pension Funds fork over megabucks to him buying the stock. In a year out of college, the dude goes from Nerd beating off to Internet Porn in his Dorm Room to Master of the Universe dipping his wick into Ford Models after he stuffs their noses full of enough Coke to energize the entire Defensive Line of the Dallas Cowboys. The “Virtuous Cycle” of wealth creation, right? Problem of course is Guitar Hero is just a fad, the Pension Funds that bought the IPO lose their shirts, but the Goldman Pigmen did quite well by underwriting the IPO and so did the Nerd that wrote the original software. Does he CARE that Guitar Hero went Belly Up? Hell no, he collected up $200M or so in the IPO, made some more money while it was a fad, then the company goes belly up, BFD. He’s still got plenty of money to buy $5000 Hookers, and he now has plenty of time to work on his next project, Hooker Hero. His Goldman Pigman buddies will package up that Turd ALSO and PROVE to you why it’s the greatest fucking Investment of ALL TIME.
Obviously the whole thing was going to implode, and implode it did in 2008. Bang, all the LIARs start defaulting on their mortgages, the Banks are in crisis and Hank the Skank Paulson rides to the rescue with his Bazooka pointed at the CONgress Critters, explaining to them that if they don’t simply shower the TBTF Banks with MORE Funny Money, Human Civilization as we know it will come to an end. This actually was and remains more or less true. Despite what some pundits here in the blogosphere believe, once we let the TBTF Banks fail, other smaller banks well run and managed won’t ride to the rescue like the 7th Cavalry of George Custer. The TBTF Banks are the OWNERS of the Fed, and when they go, so also goes the Fed, and so also goes the Dollar. All the mortgages, all the securities issued by the TBTF Banks go worthless, which means practically everybody’s Pension gets wiped out. You can’t fix this with a few prudent small banks who watched their pennies stepping in here, because there simply won’t be any functioning money for them to step in with. Virtually all of this money is debt which would be repudiated once you let the TBTF Banks fail.
Anyhow, this brings us from 1970 to where we are today, and the questions here are, was this avoidable, and would it have made a difference if J6P Union Man had taken the pay cut from $20/hr to $15/hr to keep the industrial job in His Hometown? My answer to that is no it would not have made a difference.
You see, if J6P had taken that pay cut, it would have reduced by 25% his discretionary income to buy the products he was making. In fact it would have reduced it by more than that, because he has quite a few fixed costs that are not getting reduced while his paycheck is. At this point the Capitalist will be selling fewer products, so unless he gets J6P to take another pay cut to further reduce the product cost so he can sell more of them he is going out of biz anyhow. Add to that the fact that energy keeps increasing in its real price, his margins are going to get squeezed no matter what here. I don’t even think the timeline would have been all that much different had the Union dudes taken the haircut, though without injecting more debt into the system through the time period we would have seen an ever decreasing standard of living and perhaps might have eased our way into a power down. As it was, by utilizing cheap Chinese labor and taking on infinitely more debt we sold to those SAME Chinese slaves, we were able to perpetuate the ILLUSION of wealth for around 30 years. Although clearly that illusory wealth was not evenly distributed as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
Now, the poor really cannot get any poorer, certainly not in Egypt anyhow. Who is left to get poorer then? Well, first the Middle Class will become poorer, then the Rich will become poorer. A few Power Brokers at the top will remain Rich a while longer, but they will all begin Cannibalizing each other as they fight to retain control of a failing system. In the end, we should see quite a leveling across all societies resulting from this spin down.
Unions were a by-product of the Industrial Era, at the beginning they served to prevent the kind of exploitation that the modern Chinese factory worker faces. This of course was the time of Tom Joad and the Grapes of Wrath. That they became corrupt and in many cases in fact counterproductive is without question, but whether in the Private Sector or the Public sector, their fundamental job was to get the best wage and bennies package they could from the employer for their members, be it a Private Enterprise Capitalist or Da Goobermint. That is essentially a Free Market idea, the Worker is Free to Organize, the Capitalist is free to pitch him out on his ass if he thinks he can replace ALL of them at the same time. This was of course done many times in many ways, the most popular modern example being Ronald Rayguns firing all the Air Traffic Controllers en masse back in the 1980s. Generally speaking though, trying to replace everyone in a Union at the same time is pretty difficult, so rather than doing that the Capitalists made a whole heck of a lot of Promises they could not keep. Read that generous Pension packages and so forth. This kicked the can down the road some, until of course the workers started retiring en masse and the math no longer worked. Corporation goes Belly Up, Capitalists walk away with all the profit they sieved out of the company for those years, and the Pensions get chucked into the soup of the Pension Guarantee fund the Federal Goobermint currently runs to handle this problem.
By paying the Union Workers the good wage they negotiated, for a while at least their members got to live a decent Middle Class life, able to afford a House and a Car. They hardly got rich, not Pigman rich anyhow. A few Union Bosses got Pigman rich though, and a few Pension Fund managers got Pigman rich, that is for sure. The GM Production line UAW worker could afford to buy the car he himself helped to produce, he could afford to buy a nice little house which some other J6P Carpenter built, earning his wage as an effect of the GM worker having a good wage. Whether the GM worker took a pay cut or lost his job completely, a spin down in standard of living all through the chain would have begun back in the 1970s without the expansion of credit and taking on the irredeemable debt. By offshoring the production to China, we first got the benefit of their cheap labor, and second got the benefit of handing them all our irredeemable debt. Got a nice 30 year long party out of it. The Chinese are stuck with the worst hangover, they ended up with the most polluted and degraded environment, and moreover they never got to Party like its 1999. Well a few of their Elites did, but not most Chinese.
As we move into the future here, it is a foregone conclusion that what is left of the Unions will be broken once and for all, but so also of course will the Capitalists be broken with them. You see, they all depended on the Thermodynamic Energy of Fossil fuels for this system to run. In this sense Karl Marx was quite wrong in his perception of the future, because he predicated it on the industrial model continuing onward. This will not happen because “proletariats” he writes about are Industrial workers, and they are going the way of the Dinosaur here, along with the Capitalists who run the show.
What will replace this model? Well, nobody can be quite sure of that, and likely different solutions are undertaken in different places. There may be a return to Feudalism in some places, along with a return to explicit slavery. There may be experiments with Agrarian Communism. There may be Fascist Dictatorships in some places. There may be Mad Max and complete Anarchy in some places. And in some places very far from the center of Human Civilization with very low populations and good resources, there may be a return to Tribal living. What there will NOT be in any of these places is quite the number of people living in them that currently are living in them, of this you can be quite sure. Nor will there be whole heck of a lot of Freedom anywhere through the spin down. Even in complete Anarchy with NO Goobermint are you very free, because you are constrained by the danger which lurks about you. No law to protect your property, no safety from the Highwaymen you will run into each day you venture out of your house.
In the end, if Humanity is to survive, some sort of Social Contract will be established again somewhere so that the People can work together cooperatively to build a Better Tomorrow. Where will that place be? I don’t have the answer to that one either, but I can tell you for damn sure where it will NOT be, and that is in the Big Shities. For myself I am unlikely to see where it will be during the rest of my time walking the earth. See it I will though, from the Great Beyond.
See YOU on the Other Side.
It is said that dogs have no real sense of time, and it seems that I have entered a period of mental deterioration where I have joined my canine compadres in this regard. And what makes it sadder is that I cannot have a complete news download from the local hydrant nor derive great satisfaction from sniffing butts. But so be it. In that amorphous zone of time which I have now entered, I think I became a regular reader, and then commenter on TAE sometime in early 2007, first as el Pollo prior to my species upgrade.
Prior to then I have always hated economics. When I was 20 I took a course in economics 101 and never signed up for 102. It made me appreciate my chemistry major all the more. I remember telling a friend that I would rather study God’s rules than some little skinny bald guy with bad breath and a green eyeshade. I must have been having a flash forward of the Maestro. But once I hit 60 and I could see the end of the line in terms of the manual work from which I earned my living, like it or not, I decided I better learn something about the dismal science, which, though far from a science, is certainly dismal. And living on an island where the annual coast-to-coast racing event is titled 8 Tuff Miles, I turned to the Internet to reignite my education.
As an aside, because my island was a tourist haven and a villa retreat for the 0.1%, I saw little chance of being able to retire there without (what the IRS refers to as) an earned income, despite the fact that almost all my close friends lived there. And sadly, though it is usually not included in that great inverted pyramid running from gold to derivatives, good friends underlie gold in that pantheon of value. Starting about that time I decided to take at least six weeks off during the heart of hurricane season to visit Latin America in the hopes of finding my retirement paradise. I had originally considered Costa Rica as my first stop (primarily because of all the holistic groupie hype about it). But I mistakenly thought that it was also a seasonal target of hurricanes, so chose Peru as my first adventure. (As I later learned while residing there, Costa Rica is too close to the equator to take a direct hit from a hurricane). As I love the sea and high mountains Peru seemed a natural, and I wasn’t disappointed, returning there several years afterward for my “hurricane break vacation.”
Prior to my foray in 2005 into the dismal science, I had occupied my synapses with the 9/11 “question.” By happenstance I had seen the second jet crash live on TV, and for a period of many months I drank the kool-aid like the rest of the American sheeple. But certain things about it didn’t add up, and I starting digging into it deeper using the Internet and my background in the physical sciences. The deeper I dug, the more ridiculous the government conspiracy theory became. This is not the place to go into why the Potemkin Village of 9/11 is such a crudely crafted farce other than to say that the men who designed it though immensely arrogant, had accurately gauged the degree to which the typical American sheep was plugged into the matrix. Crafting it more convincingly would simply be a waste of black resources. But the mass murder of 3000 odd “citizens” of various ethnic backgrounds and financial status (none of the true elites however) was a small price to pay for this second, self-manufactured Pearl Harbor and the paving of The New American Century.
But I was forbidden to discuss it in TAE in the comment section and this became, over the years, an infected burr under my saddle. To this day I feel more than a tinge of red anger when I think about it. I was discussing this with RE of the Doomstead Diner a few weeks ago, and his comment, to the best of my recollection was something like, we don’t discuss the 9/11 that much on Doomstead Diner as anyone with any brains knows that it was an inside job, and those that don’t are too stupid to bother with or have an agenda which is not in accord with what we regard as the best interests of our readers.
But one cannot underestimate the importance of 9/11 as it formed the basis of the transformation of American jurisprudence leading to its final coup d’grace or however the bullfighters refer to their ritualistic final slaughter at the end of the “match.” That occurred this past New Year’s Eve for the many who may have been too drunk to notice with the presidential signing of the NDAA. It also formed the basis of the paramilitary Stasi state that the USA had become with TSA thugs groping the genitals of children, removing artificial limbs from the handicapped, and ogling the naked pictures of the young and better endowed. And now they have moved from the airports to Interstate road blocks. One step at a time to boil us frogs. Vaterland Insecurity recently ordered 450 million rounds of .40 hollow point bullets, known as “man shredders”. This calibre is used exclusively in semiautomatic pistols, which are rarely used in true military combat. Further, the Geneva Conventions forbid the use of hollow points in combat, requiring a full metal jacket. So it is the American ”citizen” who will be the proud recipient of an exit wound the size of a cantaloupe. But my calculations indicate the DHS under ordered. A proper gangland murder is a “double tap” – two shots to the back of the skull, and there are an estimated 320 million residents in the USA at the moment. So to kill us all off with a double tap, they should have ordered 640 million rounds. But perhaps they have other surprises in store for us.
9/11 also ushered in the “long resource war” which so far has included Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, and Syria (in its overture , a crass plagiarism of Libya), with a thrilling climax eventually when the time is deemed proper, for Iran. But, of course, all these events and manifestations are economically extremely unimportant and would only sully the pristine comment section and feature articles of TAE.
In 2005 I took time out from my 9/11 investigations, which by then had reached the point of redundancy since the conclusions were inescapable, and I started to investigate economics in relationship to my upcoming retirement. And I soon got past the MSM, Judith Miller type New York Times parrot drivel. I suddenly felt a tinge of fear that my retirement was not to be as I planned. I must admit that in the earliest period, I actually purchased a book by Paul Krugman, but I take solace that I bought it used through Amazon for 99 cents and never read it. Soon I saw that there was this huge financial wave heading at us, a veritable tsunami, that practically everyone was ignoring. In my attempt to learn more about this tsunami I happened onto TAE blog site and the rest is history
So let me at this point offer a certain thanks to the two original editors of TAE. I got a very good training in basic macroeconomics over the years and it gave me a forum to sharpen my rather inept writing skills. It also put me in contact with scores of very fine people. But now we have a parting of the ways. I have chosen to leave on three grounds but in summary, they all add up to the fact that I, personally, am finding the site increasingly irrelevant.
Just as Ilargi and Nicole moved on from the Oil Drum Canada because it chose to ignore the most immediate threat, that of global financial collapse, I have moved on from TAE because it has, for the most part, chosen to ignore the new, most immediate threat, even superseding financial collapse, namely the fascist, federalized police state both in the USA and the EU. The staff of TAE chooses to believe that the coming collapse is just a mindless Hegelian unfolding of the age old boom-bust cycle, but for reasons which were never really clearly spelled out, this time it’s different, in that the boom is an order of magnitude bigger than any that preceded it, and so will be the bust.
Mindless my ass. Just like the nanothermite that imploded WTC7 on 9/11 (without the obfuscations of a structurally insignificant airliner collision), what is going on with the finance of this planet is a planned demolition structured by a tiny minority of the world’s population. They are referred to by different names. Historically they were the Illuminati. George the Elder, himself a significant player, referred to them as the New World Order or NWO. Some just refer to them as The Powers That Be, or more accurately, The Powers That Shouldn’t Be. Some are too frightened, as the peasants in the Harry Potter series in regard to Voldemort, to even acknowledge their existence or affix a name.
Sometimes I imagine two German colonels with high peaked hats, large field glasses, and facial saber scars, high over the beaches of Normandy and looking out to sea. It is the early morning of June 6, 1944.
Fritz: Wolfie, you see all those warships and troop transporter out there on the horizon? You think they are up to something?
Wolfie: Yes, I see them but the enemy is incapable of organizing themselves into a coherent plan. They are too busy bickering among themselves and jousting for power advantage among their leaders.
Fritz: Yes, I am sure you are right. That’s what the planners at high command tell us. Yet they seem to have method to their movements. Everything seems so well synchronized.
Wolfie: I am quite sure that a storm on the English side broke those ships free from their moorings and some are simply drifting over here, propelled by the forces of tide and wind.
Fritz: Yes. And who am I, a lowly colonel, to argue with the opinions of the high command. Let’s put down these heavy field glasses and go have a shot or three of schnapps.
I am now pretty bored by the economic analysis of TAE. It’s sort of like watching the stewards moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic without a clue as to why they are doing it. TAE is not a blog for traders and investors, unlike say Zero Hedge. So what exactly is the point? It’s started to feel like reading the bridge column in the daily paper, which in truth I enjoyed for many years. But their picture, which Nicole lauds as a BIG PICTURE, is simply too damn small for me. Once I understood that this is a titanic struggle for a tiny, mainly heritable banking elite going back hundreds of years or more to finally enslave the entire global population in a totalitarian neofeudalism (not to mention to cull it drastically) any analysis of financial movements has to tie it into an overall strategy. Otherwise it is of little interest to me. And the analysis of TAE just doesn’t cut that mustard. But everyone’s milage may vary.
Here I eliminated several long paragraphs from my draft where I dealt with the recent “debate” between Ash and me regarding the Constitution. The paragraphs I black lined could be described as highly acerbic humor. This “debate” was in truth the final straw vis-a-vis TAE on this camel’s back. To put several long paragraphs into a single word, I found Ash’s method of dealing with my concerns duplicitous. I do attempt to keep my ego out of it, though that is always difficult, and to approach problems as a seeker of truth, corny as that sounds. Drawing from this experience, dealing with Ash in the future is not my royal road to enlightenment, though as previously mentioned, everyone’s milage may vary. For me, that closes my book on TAE.
I hold the late Douglas Adams in high regard and affection, though to paraphrase John the Baptist or Larry Holmes, I can’t quite remember which one, I am not worthy to carry his jockstrap. So I would like to close this commentary with the title of one of his Hitchhiker series, an utterance of departure from the second most intelligent species on our planet (the first not being humans), So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.
Posted originally on TBP on 18th February 2011 by Reverse Engineer in Economy
Round 9: Pummel Da Goobermint Unions
We now have entered the stage Greece hit about a year ago. The Illuminati have their backs against the wall and they need a new Scapegoat. Blazing across the MSM at the Speed of Light on the Internet the word went out from Goobermint to the Propaganda Machine, and the word was WAR on the Goobermint Unions.
Far and wide, from WI to IL to NY the Goobernators slashed Jobs and slashed collective bargaining rights. Except for the Cops and Firemen of course. They’re going to NEED them. Lots of them.
20,000 or so irate Goobermint Employees surrounded the State House in WI, and a dozen or so Demopublican legislators fled the state to prevent the bill coming to a vote. Billionaire Pigman Mayor/POTUS wannabee Michael Bloomber announced he is going to lay off-get this-some 4400 Teachers. NYC schools ALREADY have absurd teaching ratios over 30:1, which means you would have to redistribute out around 13K students into other classrooms. Hello, besides the obvious issues of controlling said classrooms, when the buildings were constructed the size of the classrooms maxed out at 30 kids, and that was crowded. Really, you cannot even physically put 40 kids in such a classroom unless you make it Standing Room Only.
As I have mentioned, I run a sort of One Room Schoolhouse paradigm here on the Last Great Frontier. I have set it up so each of our classrooms max out at 16:1, with 12:1 being the expected number and 10:1 is about Break Even at the current tuition. Besides myself, I have 2 Kindergarten Teachers (1 Half day, 1 Full day), a Grade 1-2 Teacher, and yours truly, Grades 3 to AP College Courses in ALL subjects an AP Test is available for taking. I am a generalist, I learned a lot about everything. I don’t specialize, I look for relationships in information. At the moment though maxing out at 6th Grade since we are only 4 years into the paradigm. Reason we need fewer teachers as we go up in grade level is because after Kindergarten, mostly the parents go into the Public Schools, because they are of course FREE. However, as the education there deteriorates due to high teaching ratios, those who can afford it will keep their kids in this paradigm. I only need 10 to teach to Break Even. As we are economically structured at the moment, if you want this for your kid, a median income will suffice if you direct it toward the child’s education. However, I will not keep any child in the classroom who will not Listen & Obey. You can’t buy into it with lots of money. Eventually as we move to subsistence level, I expect this to be done by Barter. Unless there are not enough Fishermen and Farmers with kids they want educated, I should do fine with this. I can give a child the equivalent of an Ivy League education such as I had, just with a little better ideological underpinning and some focus change on what is actually worthwhile to learn for the FUTURE we are presented with. Nobody stays in my classroom who will not Listen & Obey though, I have ZERO tolerance for disobedience. I am as intolerant of that as I am of Capitalist Pigmen here on TBP. LOL. I am a TEACHER, not a fucking Babysitter or Prison Guard. To the best of my ability also I will SCHOLARSHIP kids out of my own pocket if they are good kids who like to learn. I can’t do that past the point of break even though. I am also limited in how many I can actually Save myself, it maxes out at 16 kids. I CANNOT save them all.
I am drifting off topic here a bit though, the issues here in this post are not about teaching paradigms, its about what will happen as a result of Austerity being dropped down on Public Education, as well as the other sectors of Goobermint.
In reality, these kids will no longer BE in these classrooms, like the Unemployed who fall off the roles at 88 weeks, they will no longer be counted. Where WILL they be then? They will be out on the street, making Trouble and getting IN Trouble. Ever been around a bunch of wasto teens in a Mall? Its SCARY. Lord of the Flies time.
Now, here in the FSofA, we aren’t in quite the situation that Greece is in, since at least the Financial Economy at the TBTF Bank level is still functioning and at least theoretically paying Taxes on the money they are making FROM the Taxpayers. Its not spinning down quite as fast YET, but the Shot Heard Round the World was FIRED at the Unions and Goobermint Workers in the MSM over the last couple of days. THESE are the folks we should REVILE, because they make so much money and have such good bennies we can no longer afford!
Obviously it is true we cannot afford this, but these folks are NOT the ones who soaked up most of the wealth here. They are just apparatchiks who made it possible for the Illuminati to soak up most of the wealth. Cutting these people off from their source of income so Bonds can be paid off on to the Illuminati is NOT going to help our economic situation at ALL. In NYC, you just took 4400 Tax Paying Teachers and put them on the UE roles. You took 13.000 kids and put them out on the street where they will do mayhem. You INSTANTLY made more criminals and potential “terrorists”. Laying off these teachers is a SOLUTION to our socioeconomic woes? Hardly. It will only exacerbate them.
Meanwhile, folks like Mish are having their Wet Dream come true of the Goobermint Unions being destroyed. Sadly Mish, this isn’t going to solve the economic problems, it will just make them WORSE. Laying off Goobermint workers and cutting pensions just means that you will have fewer people with disposable income to keep the consumer based economy running. This will drive more private biznesses which exist as a result of their disposable income to go belly up also. Austerity doesn’t work to make you more solvent in such a system, it just drives a deflationary spiral. It is irrelevant here how much money Helicopter Ben prints, it just is not getting distributed out into the consumer economy. The fake money eventually will go up in smoke. Prices in commodities will rise past the ability of the people to buy them, there will be excess product causing more companies to fail, prices will fall and speculators who did not exit fast enough will get hammered.
Food prices aren’t JUST affected by the speculation though, they are also affected by actual production, and if that ALSO is falling off a cliff here, even in a deflationary spiral those prices could increase. That just means more people are pushed over the edge, and economic destruction translates to real starvation. Happening already in the poorest countries, Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You if the spiral is not interdicted.
Somewhere along this timeline there WILL be Interdiction. The more Goobermint Workers that get laid off and SHAFTED of what was promised to them, the more will begin to act like Greeks. It can get ugly quite fast in such a situation. Only time will tell if this latest attempt to salvage the system doesn’t quickly BLOWBACK. I suspect it will.
An Oldie but Goodie from my Peak Oil Forum years…
by ReverseEngineer » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:13 pm
Why did I hate school so much? It wasn’t because it was hard, it was pretty easy. It was because it was so regimented, and fundamentally dull as far as I was concerned. So I avoided everything I could with regards to school, the only thing I really had to “perform” on were the TESTS. The tests however were ridiculously easy themselves, so long as I got 100 on a test I was doing fine so far as TPTB in the school were concerned. Never did my homework though. LOL.
The Debate in the last Daily Rant on John Steinbeck’s “Starvation Under the Orange Trees just about completely bogged down on the question of how many people actually died of starvation here in the FSofA during the Great Depression. There was a lot more worthwhile stuff in that essay to discuss, but this is what got focused on. So be it. Thing is, it is pretty much an impossible question to answer unless you have Mr. Peabody’s WAYBAC Machine. Why? Because there are like ZERO statistics published by Da Goobermint on Starvation Deaths in the FSofA. Presumably because of course NOBODY ever starved to death in the FSofA. To try to figure it out, you have to look at Total Births, Total Deaths, Total Immigration and Total Emmigration and Total Population Increase or Decrease to see if you can do an accurate calculus. Even then, it would need something like a Certified Public Accountant or Astrophysicist or the equivalent to make a complete analysis of such a data set. Then of course you also have to trust all Da Goobermint Statistics on this data set. Not having the whole data set in front of us right now, let us leave the absolute question aside for a moment. Hopefully a CPA on this board will find these tables and do the calculus at some point to resolve this question at a future date. I have Full FAITH in the HONESTY of CPAs and Astrophysicists on TBP, as opposed to say CPAs who worked for Ernst & Young or Arthur Anderson. LOL.
Until such time as we get a Certified Public Accounting from a Trustworthy CPA on this Data Set, what we do know for sure is that there were plenty of Anorexic looking folks Dorothea Lange took photos of. I plastered a number of them across the Comments Section of the last Daily Rant. We also know there were Food Riots and Hunger Marches all over the country starting in around 1931-32. I plastered News stories from the era up in the thread also. We know these riots were so bad that in some cases numerous people were shot during them. We know there were some 20,000 Bonus Army Veterans and their families who were stampeded and burned out of their tents by Douglas MacArthur and his Cavalry. All this mayhem going on, but nobody is starving?
We also know observing what is going on right now around the world in impoverished countries that the people do not start Rioting and overthrowing their Goobermints UNTIL they are starving. So why were people here rioting if they weren’t starving? Makes no sense.
We also know that opportunistic infections and diseases like Tuberculosis and Pneumonia and Rickets were rampant during the Great Depression. Somehow these diseases became more virulent even though nobody was Starving? Not likely, the reason there were more epidemics of these things is likely because the population as a whole was weakened by malnourishment. So on the Death Certificate it doesn’t get recorded as Starvation, but as Pneumonia. In reality, they starved.
Man, if it looks like a Dead Fish; if it smells like a Dead Fish, it IS a Dead Fish. People definitely did starve during the Great Depression, but no records were ever published on how many it actually was. At a certain point the MSM just ignored it. It would not have played very well against FDRs Fireside Chats preaching Hope and “the only thing we have to Fear is Fear itself”. Sound familiar? Goobermint Hopium.
We do know for a “fact” how many people starved or otherwise had very shortened lifespans over in Europe somehow though, variously quoted as around 13M to 16M when all the Jews, Gypsies and Ruskies who bought the farm are tallied up. How is it we have statistics on that but not statistics on ANY starvation related Death here? Answer to that is that he who wins the War writes the History Books.
I must have spent at least 2 hours yesterday Googling to find ANY kind of stories/statistics/pictures that could give a better picture of what went on to force people into Food Riots here during the Great Depression, and very little specific is easy to find. All you get are general statements like “people were facing starvation” in most articles. You get Zillions of pictures of emaciated looking people, but almost NO Biafra style walking Skeletons. In fact I only turned up one of those, but no information on where it was taken or what the circumstances were. So you can either buy the idea that Starvation simply did not occur here, or alternatively that Da Goobermint and the MSM simply kept a lid on any information about this. Knowing what we know about how our Goobermint behaves now with respect to “bad newz” and putting a positive spin on even less emotionally charged stuff like our collapsing economy, would they really have allowed this kind of newz to be spread around? When they are busy trying to save their asses?
These are all the questions you have to ask yourself when considering what really occurred during the Great Depression. What you WANT to Believe is the main driver here, and most people WANT to believe that Plucky Amerikans muddled through a bit hungry, but nobody really starved here. All the circumstantial evidence says that in fact some portion of the population did in fact Starve, because they would not have been rioting in such numbers if they were not starving, nor would they have looked quite so Anorexic in Dorothea Langes’ Photographs.
Also clear though is that Da Federal Goobermint responded to this problem with increased Food Relief programs, the beginning of the Food Stamp program etc. Since the FSofA was in fact capable of producing plenty of food at the time, one would figure that the starvation problem was probably brought under control by these programs, which kept the country from going totally Commie, just Socialist with FDRs social safety net. It is doubtful therefore that the high end estimate Boris Badanoff pitches out of 7.5M Dead People from starvation in the FSofA is accurate, but nor is it accurate to say that Zero people died from Starvation. The truth lies somewhere in between, but we will never know where in between for sure, and bogging down in this question is a waste of time until we can fire up Mr. Peabody’s WAYBAC Machine, or at least get a hold of more Goobermint statistics then just aggregate population and analyze them in detail.
I did turn up a video of Boris explaining how he arrived at his numbers, which was by just using published data from our own Goobermint. It sounds like it is something anybody can do if they can get a hold of all these tables, so I am going to try to do that. According to Boris, when you do the math, you come up with around 7.5M missing people. According to Boris, 5M children and 2.5M adults. Like the rest of you, I find that hard to believe, but the only way to know for sure is to look at the same tables Boris was looking at. I also would suggest anyone else here interested in this question tries to get a hold of all these tables and then publish them here, or at least links to them if you can locate them. Then all of us can run the numbers and discuss them intelligently, rather than flinging napalm at each other.
Although from a historical perspective figuring out precisely how many people died here from Starvation or Starvation related opportunistic disease is important if it can be done, the more IMPORTANT questions are the moral and philosophical ones we face as we work our way deeper into a similar collapse here, along with their practical implications. What we should learn from this is that WITHOUT the SNAP card system (or something similar) all the folks here who currently depend on this for Food would in fact Riot. They are doing it in Egypt and Tunisia, why would they not do it here? That is some 1/7th of the Population, around 43M people last time I checked dependent on SNAP cards. Even if half of them are children or old folks who would not pose much of a threat in a riot, that still leaves around 20M pretty dangerous starving people out there to do mayhem. Also a number which has been steadily increasing in size.
Given the experience of the original Great Depression when the Food Stamp program was initiated to resolve this problem, one can expect TPTB in Da Federal Goobermint know this, so about the last thing that will happen here is that the SNAP card system is removed. Social Security may go, Medicaire may go, but the SNAP Card program will stay in place right up until the Day the Music Stops. It will in fact likely expand quite a bit here in the near future. As long as Da Goobermint keeps it running AND keeps the JIT food distribution system running to the Big Shities, will not see Egypt or Libya style Mayhem in the streets.
TPTB can probably keep it running for quite some time, because first off they print the money (or conjure up the digibits to drop on the SNAP Cards), and second off because most of the Production is centrally controlled by Conagra and Monsanto and Krafft. As long a the Military Machine can keep Oil flowing into this apparatus along with the Distribution system through the big chains like Walmart, Safeway etc, the food will continue to be produced and distributed at least in the FSofA with what is produced here on Home Soil..
The problem of course is in the Oil producing nations which neither produce enough of their own food NOR do they have Helicopter Ben’s ability to keep shoveling digibits onto SNAP Cards. The Saudis have enough Oil revenue for a while to sprinkle out $36B to their workforce with 15% raises, but it is not at all clear that all their UE people will be getting much more money or Food Relief. So eventually here the segment of their population not getting extra money to buy increasingly expensive food will Riot. Losing Libyan Oil is a problem, but losing Saudi Oil is a much BIGGER problem.
So, to avoid this problem, it is absolutely NECESSARY at this point that NATO goes in with Miltary force to try to bring Libya under control. If they cannot bring Libya under control, Saudi Arabia is sure to follow. I do not think that NATO CAN get Libya back under control in any reasonable timeframe, but that doesn’t mean they will not try to do it.
So, the FSofA is currently building up ts Military Assets in the waters surrounding Tripoli, and it is only a matter of time here when the Marines return to those shores to try to secure the Oil Fields. How will NATO forces be Greeted by the various factions all now slugging it out over there in Libya? Will they be viewed as Liberators? Not likely considering how the Iraquis view our presence there.
Its going to be interesting to see precisely HOW Obama-sama delivers the message that we are going to ramp up an Invasion of Libya. How will CONgress react to this after the Clusterfucks of Iraq and Afghanistan? Will it be Rubber Stamped because it “HAS” to be done to “save” the Libyans and “restore Democracy”? Or will there finally be a backlash and Ron Paul wins the day with a “NO, this did not work in Iraq, and its not gonna work in Libya either!” I will go with the Rubber Stamp on this one.
Late breaking Newz I read before heading back to the Cabin had it that some 400 Marines were going in to make a Beachhead in Libya. Not literally of course, obviously only 400 Grunts won’t do jack squat in that situation overall. The most logical objective here would be to try and capture/kill el-Kabong. The problem is, this doesn’t fix the anarchy, it makes it worse. There is nobody there to step in and take control once the “Evil Leader” has been vanquished. What NATO has to do is gain control over all the Oil production facilites before they get permanently sabotaged, and it will take a LOT more than 400 Marines to do that job.
Besides this direct problem is the diffuse one. Every last country in that region is in turmoil, including Iran. Though we all are supposed to HATE the Iranian Goobermint, if that one falls you have another failed state that currently ships out a lot of Oil. For how long can the entire world demand for Oil continue to be supplied with country after country in the OPEC sphere suffering massive political upheaval? My general response to that would have to be not too long at all.
This is nasty from the Food Distribution POV as well across the area. Besides Prices the people cannot afford, it is almost impossible to distribute out food through a War Zone. As this anarchy and breakdown of systems increases in size and scope, less and less food will get into the area, causing still MORE riots. At least until the people are too weak to keep rioting anyhow. The Middle East is on the BRINK of an almost unimaginable Holocaust now. We will likely never see the pictures of it or get reliable statistics on it, but the numbers are likely to dwarf the Holocaust in Europe by an order of magnitude here. It is an unstoppable Juggernaut at this point. The monetary system is failing the resources are depleted and GROUND ZERO is the M.E., where Civilization of the Ag variety began so long ago. Ironic is it not?
I cannot say precisely how many will Starve in Egypt or Libya or Tunisia or Iraq or Iran or Saudi Arabia as this spin down proceeds, but I can say that the numbers will be far larger than will ever be reported by the MSM. How will this end up impacting YOUR neighborhood? This also I cannot predict for sure, but I CAN say for sure where the impact will be the WORST. It will be in the Big Shities so dependent on the thermodynamic energy of Oil for their systems to operate. The Big Shities are TOAST. GTFO NOW! You STILL have time, but it is RUNNING OUT. Do not wait too long here if you want to LIVE.
See You on the Other Side.
Over in the 53 Million thread discussing the Abortion question, I brought up the alternative to abortion for the poor, which is Starvation. However, given the copious amount of food currently available in the FSofA along with Social Welfare programs like SNAP cards and Free School Lunches for children, starvation is not YET really a problem here in the FSofA. Will it be a problem in the future though? Was it a problem during the original Great Depression? How will society deal with these issues in the future if it is a problem? These are complicated questions not amenable to simplistic exchanges of photos of Fat Kids and Anorexics in Amerika. Although they can be entertaining, these kind of juvenile debating methods do not do much to elucidate the real problems and solutions. So I will treat the questions in greater depth here in this Daily Rant. Not for the squeamish, because I am very Darwinian in my analysis in what is likely to come to pass here. I don’t view this as so much a moral question as it is a question of numbers and real human behaviors as were practiced for most of the history of Homo Sapiens on Earth. The morality with respect to Abortion we developed that is being argued here was mainly a result of the development of Agriculture and then Industrialization after that. As the fossil fuel energy we accessed to make these paradigms possible becomes too low in EROEI to access, I believe we will REVERSE ENGINEER our way back to the systems which worked for some 60,000 years after the Toba Bottleneck until the development of Agriculture, and I will explain here in this post why I believe this to be true. It is a long argument, so settle down with a nice Bloody Mary on this Sunday Brunch Rant to read it, if you so choose.
It’s never going to be possible to determine exactly how many people died from starvation in the FSofA during the Great Depression, in large part because “Starvation” isn’t generally the proximal cause of death in the malnourished. Opportunistic diseases take out the malnourished person usually before the biological systems shut down simply from lack of energy in the chronically malnourished.
We know for a fact that many people fell off the economic cliff during the Great Depression. We know there were “Hobos” who were reviled and who led a hand to mouth existence through those years. They slept in Boxcars and in Parks. Many of them would have died from exposure in the Winter months. Up here in Anchorage every year we turn up a number of Dead Indigents in the parks and in the tent city in Anchorage when the Spring Thaw comes, a few more each year since I moved up here. One has to suspect there were many more such deaths during the Great Depression nationwide. Freezing to Death is listed as the cause, not starvation.
What of poor families where the mother got pregnant, putting another mouth to feed at the table? How many of those children were undernourished and succumbed to the many childhood diseases running rampant at the time? Measles, smallpox, etc. We know that the mortality rate from Childhood disease was quite high during the Depression years. How many mothers on the road from Oklahoma to California on Route 66 chose to take a newborn infant and drown it in a lake and bury it by the side of the road? This happens even TODAY in the inner cities, in fact it happened in the 1980s also and Neil Young sang about it.
I see a woman in the night With a baby in her hand Under an old street light Near a garbage can Now she puts the kid away, and she’s gone to get a hit She hates her life, and what she’s done to it There’s one more kid that will never go to school Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.
What was the suicide rate during the Great Depression? How many people chose to take their own lives rather than suffer a slow death from starvation? How many people became violent criminals, stealing until they got shot in a robbery attempt? We know about Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow of course, but there were many other small timers who did not get so much press as Bonnie and Clyde. You can’t find out “reliable” statistics on this sort of thing no matter how long you Google. Frankly, any stats that come out of Da Goobermint that you do turn up are NEVER reliable, so using statistics to try and elucidate what happened is a waste of time..
Now, the Great Depression officially lasted from the crash of the Stock Market in 1929 until our entry into WWII in 1941, with the worst years being 1932-1934. However, out in rural Amerika, land values crashed well before that in the 1920s. So let us say there was a solid 15 years of real deprivation there. To work up to 7M dead with malnourishment as part of the cause would only take around 500K each year, spread out Nationwide in an average population at the time of around 100M. This means only about 1 in 200 people dieing this way in a given year through the time period, which would be pretty easy to miss. I do not agree with Boris Badanoff’s estimation that there was a huge and sudden die off in 1932-1934, that seems unlikely. However, a distributed Die Off between 1925 and 1941 totalling to 7M, similar in size to the Holocaust in Europe seems quite possible to me, particularly when you look at the population stats Boris Badanoff was looking at. It’s just logical to conclude with so much economic dislocation and such a thin social safety net as existed at the time that quite a few folks fell so far off the cliff they starved, or died as a result of malnutrition over more than a decade of time. Frankly, I doubt the 6M Jews and 6M Gypsies and various other poor folks quoted as official numbers who died over in Europe mostly went to the Gas Chambers in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, rather I suspect most of them died of starvation and opportunistic diseases in places like the Warsaw Ghetto, and it happened over a pretty protracted period of time there as well.
Remember, Da Goobermint writes the Textbooks and controls the Statistics any researcher can use to try to piece together what occurred in the FSofA during the Great Depression. Whether the historian is a Russian like Boris or an American, trying to figure this out when it is in the interest of Da Goobermint to paint the happiest picture possible is very difficult. We all are witness to how Da Goobermint is currently manipulating statistics on UE; they would be even MORE likely to manipulate really unpleasant data about the Death rate in the society. So the picture is painted that Plucky, Self-Reliant Amerikans came through the Depression a little deprived, but nobody starved. In fact Herbert Hoover said that, while at the same time 20 dead folks were plucked out of Central Park in NYC. 20 isn’t a big number, but again its just the Tip of the Iceberg of people with no family support and so forth. When a family has someone die, they don’t list the cause of death as Starvation, nor does it get reported in the newspaper in the Obituaries as such. You just don’t know how many people were dieing then from malnourishment, not in exact reported numbers anyhow.
Dmitri Orlov has written about the Die Off over in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the country is depopulating and this is reported in population statistics, its almost unnoticeable on a daily basis. A few more older relatives go, a few more funerals. Are they starving to death? Not in the sense we think of mass and rapid starvation like in Africa where we get whole populations rapidly cut off from food supplies for one reason or another and images of large numbers of people who are walking skeletons, but a slower form of starvation coming from chronic malnutrition. This of course hits the weakest of the population first, generally the very old and the very young.
Here in the FSofA moving into the future, we most likely would see a mirror of what has happened in the old Soviet Union rather than an African style starvation scenario playing out rapidly, but even that is not out of the question. If/when we suffer a transportation breakdown into the Big Shities where they generally only have a few days of food supply n hand, there could be a rapid starvation scenario. Same thing even in rural areas because most people are not farmers in those areas and most do not have a year’s worth of preps to tide them over during a transportation breakdown where the local Supermarket doesn’t get supplied. They may be able to raid the Grain Elevators in the Midwest, but then again the National Guard may be surrounding them and directing the food elsewhere.
Beyond all this is the aspect of Globalization, and who will be faced with starvation first and hardest, and that obviously it’s not the FSofA, its places like Egypt & Libya. That is where the REALLY poor people of the world are right now, and clearly for every one of them that ends up dieing off here it leaves that much more food for the remaining populations around the globe. So, barring a transportation collapse of Food resulting from a collapse of the Oil distribution system, I do not see a mass starvation scenario happening here in the FSofA in the near future, it comes first in the impoverished countries. I don’t see the SNAP Card system here being removed, and essentially Free Food for Amerikans who are UE will continue on right up until the Dollar goes the way of the Dinosaur. I still Prep for the Fast Food Crash though (pun intended), just in case we DO get quickly cut off from food shipments from the lower 48 up here.
Long term of course, my Food Preps don’t keep me well nourished more than a couple of years, and that is only if I kept them all for myself, which I would not do. I’ll be sharing them with friends not so well prepped. Once as a community we strictly have to get by on what we can harvest from the environment around here, its quite possible that chronic malnutrition will be a problem. In this case I don’t go out as a rapidly starving Skeleton, but rather probably get hit by opportunistic diseases hitting on older and weaker individuals. Do you list my death as Death by Starvation? No, it is listed as Death from Pneumonia, but really the cause of that death was slow starvation leaving me succeptible to infection by Pneumococcus.
Even after the collapse of the Dollar and the SNAP Card system administered by JP Morgan (which they book a nice profit on, and more all the time as more people need their SNAP Cards), Da Goobermint in Fascist cooperation with corporations like Monsanto and Conagra still will have the ability to produce copious quantities of food as long as the Oil is available. I can certainly envision a Fascist society here where each person gets a Food Ration Card from Da Goobermint to go to Walmart and get your ration of Goobermint Cheese. So, barring a catastrophic failure in transportation, mass and rapid starvation for people in the FSofA seems unlikely in the near future.
In this sense, the Abortion-Starvation Choice is less about the current FSofA then it is about impoverished countries like Egypt. There, right NOW it really is a direct choice, you can see it in the pictures of the Skeleton-Children. Is it really a better choice to let these children be born just to starve, rather than abort them? When I write about this choice, I am not really talking about the current situation in the FSofA, I am talking about really IMPOVERISHED societies right now, but also as a society I think this is coming down the pipe in the future for the FSofA as well. Right NOW in the FSofA, no problem, we can feed EVERYBODY, at least so long as we will hand out SNAP cards so they can get Free Food, and provide Free Breakfast and Lunch in the schools to impoverished children.
Simply Feeding these children is not enough though, because what good is it to feed the population of the 30 Blocks of Squalor when there is no economic opportunity for them, and they simply will perpetuate the endless dependency cycle as a result of being provided with free food? Here is where you walk into the deep moral abyss of trying to Limit the Reproduction of Poor People. The Margaret Sanger Eugenics style Abortion Clinics theory. Please remember folks, Margaret Sanger was promoting this means of resolving the problem of poor people back in the 1920s. See the connection? You generally cannot expect people will self-limit their reproduction, particularly not horny teenagers with nothing better to do with their time than fuck. You can issue free condoms until you run out of Oil to make the condoms with, they won’t always use them. Teenage girls will still get pregnant with no means of supporting the child growing in their bellies. You will not be able to place ALL of these children with Adoptive Parents, particularly not when they are Brain Damaged as a result of drug addiction the mother has. This leaves you only with the Choices of Forced Abortions or Forced Sterilizations of the Poor. This is just a small step away from Forced EXTERMINATIONS of the Poor, which of course is the FINAL SOLUTION Adolf Hitler undertook. Certainly Jews took a Big Hit in Hitler’s Final Solution, but so did Gypsies. Hitler’s Final Solution wasn’t really about anti-Semitism, it was about eliminating Poor People. In Germany at the time, there were many poor Jews, who got there as a result of Pogroms in Russia preceeding that time. Just like there are now many poor Muslims in Europe now who were driven out of their homelands by economic reasons to become Guest Workers in the rich countries of Europe.
Thing here is, you don’t target people specifically for being Poor, because you probably have a poor relative. You target them based on racial and ethnic characteristics instead. So the Racial/Ethnic Tribe in POWER targets the disenfranchised Tribe. Poor Jews went to the Gas Chambers in Europe, but Rich Jews mostly did not. A few did of course, stripped of their wealth by the Authorities at the BIS much like el-Kabong is being stripped of his, but the REALLY rich ones did not go to the Gas Chambers. No Rothschild went to the Gas Chamber, because of course the Rothschilds are the “Authorities”.
As we spin down here this go round, the vast population of Poor People in the world now are Muslims through Africa and the M.E, along with of course the poor Chindian Hindus and Buddhists Put together the populations of Impoverished in China, India and the M.E countries, and you probably are looking at half the current population extant on the Planet right now. These are the folks Targeted for Extermination, but there are so MANY of them that it would take too much Xyclon-B to Gas them all, and rounding them all up in Boxcars would be too difficult. So instead of that, these folks are going to be EXTERMINATED by Starvation and Malnutrition over the next decade, at least within the borders of the countries from Africa to India that they live in. Their populations have grown WAY past their ability to grow their own food, and once they are economically CUT OFF from being able to import food, they will mostly starve to death. They will fight with each OTHER, Sunni’s vs Shiites, Haves and Have Nots in their various Nation-States, all mostly artificially constructed at the end of WWI after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This kind of economically driven starvation in poor countries can happen VERY quickly, as we have seen in places like Biafra and Somalia over the last 30 years. Their internal Goobermints break down, food importation comes to a halt and inside a year you have an entire country of walking skeletons. Walking only until they finally drop dead of course. Unlike Movie Zombies, they don’t last forever, they just seem to for the Living because they keep being replaced by still more Zombies as they fall off the economic cliff.
What will happen to the ex-pat Muslim Guest Workers in Europe is a more difficult question to answer. It is unclear that the remaining White European population in those countries has sufficient POWER to try and undertake the kind of Final Solution Hitler undertook. It is not clear that they can control the riots sure to come here once the Euro collapses. Europe is a big crapshoot in this regard.
Here in the FSofA, the Muslim Population is still relatively small compared to the overall population of Christians, which means they probably can easily be controlled and targeted. They can be Rounded up and placed in FEMA Concentration Camps before being shipped to the Human Waste Reprocessing Facility in San Antonio, much as Japanese Americans were rounded up here into Concentration Camps in WWII. Not so easy in this country is the vast population of the long term underclass, mostly Black and Hispanic that live in places like the 30 Blocks of Squalor. Like the Guest Worker population over in Europe, the numbers here are soooo big in these groups that any kind of Industrial extermination in Hitler-style Gas Chambers is nearly beyond comprehension as to how it might be accomplished.
The original debate JimQ set up was with regards to the Morality of Abortion. In a society of great PLENTY, abortion is quite immoral of course. How can you possibly justify taking the potential life of an Innocent when there is quite clearly enough food around to feed EVERYBODY, really to the point of OBESITY here in the FSofA? The thing you must remember here is that this extraordinary plenty is an artifact of the Age of Oil, which is rapidly coming to a close here. Its close is certainly hitting the peripheral economies of places like Egypt and Libya first and hardest here, but eventually the same problems will roll around to our own society. The ETHICS you must define are with respect to exactly how you view and implement such things as Abortion, Euthanasia, Exposure, Sterilization and in fact WAR as well as a means by which you control population size.
Every last “30 Blocks of Squalor” post has as its subtext that these folks are WORTHLESS people, LEECHFUCKS on society. It is a form of Propaganda demonizing the impoverished. It’s the area I have the greatest disagreement with JimQ, because I think he writes pure propaganda there that panders to his primary readership of Conservatard Aging White Bizmen suffering from the combined effects Senile Dementia and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy from eating too many Big Macs over the course of their lives. LOL. Regardless of the Propaganda though, Haves in the society no longer want to nor can they really afford anymore a social welfare state which provides these people a living. At the same time, to forcibly require them to ABORT their children or to STERILIZE them is an ethical swamp that puts people who have POWER in charge of life and death of people with no POWER. This is nothing short of Playing God of course. You cannot resolve this dilemma ethically, and so it always ends up in WAR or GENOCIDE, both of which themselves are ethically irresolvable.
Small Tribal populations never really had this problem on this kind of scale, although they also most certainly faced similar questions when for one reason or another their resources ran thin. For the most part though, they controlled their reproduction by a variety of means around the time of Puberty, with Rites of Passage tests. Unhealthy children at birth were left exposed, they were left to die quickly. The healthy children were succored by the tribe until they reached Puberty. At this time Males for the most part had to demonstrate their ability to be a successful tribe member, if they could not they often did not even survive the test, the slightly better alternative was they would not be permitted to reproduce, aka they do not get a Wife. Women did not usually have such tests because childbearing itself was the test. The mortality rate in childbearing was of course quite high back in the day.
I expect this sort of Reproduction control in the population to reassert itself in the future. As long as it is exercised fairly, it’s a little more morally justifiable than Mandatory Abortion, Sterilization or War, the consequences of which always get visited on the less powerful in the society, namely the Poor in a society run on a Monetary system, which all Ag based societies have been. Money, the love of which is the “Root of all Evil” according to the Bible comes as a result of distributing out Ag production. In parable form, the Bite which Eve took out of the Apple was the bite into Ag production of food. In Biblical terms, Evil per se did not exist before Agriculture and Money, and the life of the original H-Gs was essentially the “Garden of Eden” which existed from roughly 70,000 years ago when Toba bottlenecked the population of Homo Sapiens down to around 10,000 Human Souls or 1000 Breeding Pairs up until around 5000 years ago with the development of Agriculture.
In Rites of Passage tests among H-Gs, they are visited equally on all male members of the society, children of Chiefs as well as Hunters. You can’t buy a deferment out or get a cushy job behind a desk to avoid the challenge. You aren’t generally pitted against other males, but rather against yourself and your strength, endurance and intelligence to survive the challenges put before you. If you cannot do that by the time you hit puberty and can reproduce, you are not acceptable to the tribe to reproduce, and so you do not get a wife. Can you imagine how MOTIVATED generally rambunctious 13 year old boys would be to LEARN and LISTEN while being instructed in the means to SURVIVE if they knew the CONSEQUENCE of not learning and not listening would be they would DIE, or at best be allowed to live getting no nookie? Methinks you would have some pretty attentive Teenage Boys in the classroom in that scenario. LOL.
The development of Agricultural society mostly removed these sort of tests, Religious Rituals like Confirmation and Bar Mitzvahs became simply that, RITUALS. No real consequence for not doing too good at these festivals. Everybody Passes their Confirmation or Bar Mitzvah, it is No Child Left Behind. Namby Pamby stuff compared to the Rites of Passage in Hunter Gatherer societies . If you don’t have your shit more or less together by the time you can Reproduce, your reproduction will NOT help the Tribe so it is Taboo and Forbidden. This is FAIR, it gives all healthy children the opportunity to succeed as long as they LISTEN AND OBEY.
What of the children born with Disabilities? Not to sugar coat this, these kids are TOAST from the get go. Minor disabilitites maybe a successful tribe can cope with, maybe there is a role in the society for a child with a bad arm or something like that. SEVERE retardation, Blind Deaf and Dumb though? Sorry you get an early ticket to the Great Beyond when Mom holds you under the bathwater just a little too long there. Maybe I get napalmed for this here with this picture of the future, maybe not. From my POV, I am just being fucking REALISTIC about how people dealt with these issues in the past, and how they are likely to REVERSE ENGINEER their way back to similar solutions in the future. The society that is to come here will not have means to support Blind, Deaf and Dumb Drooling Vegetables. Similarly, the society cannot support rebellious teens who will fuck other children into the world without a means to support those children. Best case scenario for losers like this is they get to live out their natural lives mating with sheep. Generally speaking this produces no progeny so is not a problem for the society overall. Whether the ewes like it or not is another question entirely. LOL.
Is this kind of Rites of Passage testing Morally supportable? Not in a society where there is Plenty for everybody, where you have enough resources to support every blind, deaf and dumb drooling vegetable born into the society. Once your society has limited resources though, it is about the most fair way of limiting reproduction in the society. The only other ways are through forced Sterilization or War, which both also were undertaken in some H-G societies. New Guinea tribes practiced castration of male infants to keep their populations down and many Plains Tribes were quite the warmongers with their neighbors, Apaches were quite a nasty bunch overall and so were the Payute. Given Door #1 of Rites of Passage, Door #2 of Castration or Door #3 of Warmongering, I’ll take Door #1, Monty. This gives me as the Teenage Boy the Power and Responsibility over my own Life to Succeed or Fail in a fair manner. If I study hard and listen to my teachers and I build my strength and endurance, I will make it through. Elsewise, I take an early Ticket to the Great Beyond or I live out my life with great affection for the Sheep I herd. LOL.
The bottom line here is that the population must and will reduce in size, the only real questions revolve around how that reduction is undertaken and then how the lower population will be maintained at a steady state. Eventually the society will self-select against the corrupt, which come at both ends of the spectrum. Both the poorest of the poor and the most outrageously rich will die in the greatest numbers by percentage of their populations, and this is unlikely to be a very fair process. Many Poor folks will be unwillingly conscripted up as Cannon Fodder, many rich Folks will be unwillingly Guillotined. The Meek in the Middle who remain will have to find ways to control their population size in a world of limited resources. It will be a difficult and lengthy process, likely lasting for the next Century. Eventually when this time comes to a close and we have finished our Journey down the Trail of Tears, if we do not exterminate ourselves, we will reach a Better Tomorrow. Until we do though, it will be a major Clusterfuck.
In the initial stages of nearly every recorded tyranny, the saucer eyed dumbstruck masses exhibit astonishing and masterful skill when denying reality. The facts behind their dire circumstances and of their antagonistic government become a source of cynical psychological gameplay rather than a source of legitimate concern. Their desperate need to maintain their normalcy bias creates a memory and observation vacuum in which all that runs counter to their false assumptions and preconceptions disappears forever. It is as if they truly cannot see the color of the sky, or the boot on their face. The concrete world of truth becomes a dream, an illusion that can be heeded or completely ignored depending on one’s mood. For them, life is a constant struggle of dissociation, where the tangible is NOT welcome…
This is the problem that we in the Liberty Movement deal with most often in our writings and films. Our confrontation with willful ignorance has been epic, even by far reaching historical standards. The gains in social awareness have been substantial, and yet the obstacles are incredible. Unprecedented. As an activist trend, we have an almost obsessive drive to draw back the curtain so that the public has at least the opportunity to see what is on the other side. Unfortunately, there is another danger that must be taken into account…
It is one thing to bear witness to the rejection of truth in our time and the oblivious attitudes of many towards the growth of totalitarianism. Eventually, though, a second phase in the development of oligarchy arises. I am speaking of the point at which tyranny becomes so blatant that the skeptics have to acknowledge its existence, but after doing so, they choose to rationalize it as necessary. Yes, there are many in this world that will laugh at the prospect of the Orwellian nightmare only to happily embrace it when it arrives in full color.
I was recently looking into the divisive issue of U.S. Marine Sgt. Gary Stein, whose position has come under threat due to his criticisms of Barack Obama and his founding of the ‘Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook Page’. What I discovered was a large number of Americans in support of Stein’s right to speak as a citizen (even under Marine regulations) against the unconstitutional actions of any president or presidential candidate. I also discovered a considerable number who wanted to see the soldier dishonorably discharged, or even set upon a noose as punishment.
Now, we all know that the Department of Defense monitors web news and social networking activity, and they have been caught red handed in the past posing as regular citizens with strangely militant pro-authoritarian views (look into their organized propaganda attacks on websites dealing with the levee failures during Katrina, for instance). It is by no means a stretch to suggest that they would also troll the comments sections of mainstream news articles in an attempt to engineer a fraudulent consensus that Sgt. Stein’s actions have been negatively received by the majority of Americans. But that aside, the underlings at the DOD are still Americans, and the views they espouse are still expressions of a subsection of this country (a small elitist one). Also, sadly, there are plenty of non-government-paid people out there who believe exactly as they do.
Surely, we can debate over the details of Marine regulations until our ears bleed, and I could point out several facts that the mainstream media did not cover in their hit pieces on Stein (like the fact that he went to his superiors and asked them to advise him in the handling of his political position long before the present charges against him were ever formulated, and the fact that he followed many of their suggestions…), but ultimately, the regulations of the Marines or the Federal Government are irrelevant. Such laws are transitory, and are usually written so broadly that the authorities of the day can execute them however they wish to fit their needs at the moment. The real question here is one of principle, moral compass, and Constitutionality (a document which is a reflection of eternal natural law). We have to set aside the pointless legalese of defense standards in the case of Sgt. Stein and ask ourselves an important question; do U.S. troops have a right to free speech?
If you believe so, then their rights are not limited or exclusive. They are free to say whatever any other American has a right to say. If you believe they do not, then you have relegated the troops to the position of second class citizens, or even property of the state. There is NO in-between. Discipline and military coherence be damned. Either these men and women have First Amendment protections and are full citizens or they are mechanisms of the government whose civil liberties have been erased.
Even though I understand the psychology behind it, I am still shaken with raw electrical astonishment when confronted by those who support the latter notion that American soldiers are indeed property of the state, that their actions must be dictated by the president and not the Constitution, and that this is required for the military to function.
Very few of these absurd multitudes ever ask what “function” such a military, populated by ethical robots who are blindly subservient to the dictates of a single man, would actually serve?
What good is an unprincipled military? An unprincipled government? An unprincipled society? What reason is there for these constructs to exist? The Nuremberg Trials solidified the reality that soldiers will be held accountable for following criminal orders, and still, there are some who claim that our troops must adopt a shoot first pay later methodology.
I bring up the circumstances of Sgt. Stein to illustrate the situation our nation is currently facing; we are on the threshold of total despotism, where the naysayers who shrugged off the threat of rogue government yesterday suddenly embrace it and support it today. When Stewart Rhodes first formed the Oath Keepers organization, the same talking point was consistently used in an attempt to derail it; “The orders you would refuse to obey could never occur in this country…” And yet, many of the warnings of Oath Keepers have come to pass, including the unlawful disarming of peaceful U.S. citizens during the disaster in New Orleans, the institution of government directed assassination programs of U.S. citizens under Bush and Obama, the passing of NDAA legislation which includes provisions for indefinite detainment of Americans without trial, warrantless wiretapping, surveillance, and even home invasion by authorities is becoming common, and the Obama Administration has put into place several executive orders (including the The National Defense Resources Preparedness EO) which pave the way for Martial Law to be declared.
The cold hard reality is, the Oath Keepers were right, and Sgt. Stein is right.
And, now that this is becoming undeniable, the opponents of their tenets are switching gears to fight for the implementation of unconstitutional laws which they used to deny were even possible. Can this situation be any more insane? Oh yes…
There are no limits to the surrealist hell that can be unleashed when dealing with what I like to call the “Slave Mentality”. The slave mentality takes many shapes. It is pervasive in times of social distress, and, it can be infectious. The psychologist Carl Jung wrote in his book ‘The Undiscovered Self’ that the cruel sociopathy seen in the populations of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia is actually latent in many of us. All it needs is the right set of sociopolitical circumstances and a weak enough will, and the shadows in the hearts of lesser men are given license to come out and play. This is just as true in America, where people now operate on assumptions that the state is an absolute provider in the event of national calamity.
But what are the signs of this unconscious desire for collectivism and control? What makes a slave do what he does? Here are just a handful of explanations to consider…
The True Slave: The true slave is not a person who has been shackled, beaten, tortured, and made to comply under threat of death. As long as that poor soul has the spirit of rebellion and is ever seeking freedom, they are not imprisoned fully. The true slave is a person who enjoys their subservience, who is weighted with fear by the very idea of independence from the system, and who would actually fight and die to maintain the establishment which enslaves them. The true slave is not able to imagine living any other life beyond his micro-managed existence.
The Facts Lose Value: The worst flaw of the slave is not necessarily his ability to overlook the truth, but his ability to see it, comprehend it, and then shrug it off anyway because it is contrary to his mission to fulfill his private delusions. For the slave, the truth exists, but is no longer useful. Lies make his universe turn, and facts are a tool to be used or cast aside at his leisure.
The Obsession With The Law: The slave mentality, though illogical and psychotic, still requires a certain foundation to hold it together. The laws of governments tend to suffice. These laws may go completely against the force of inherent conscience, but because the slave has already abandoned listening to his inner voice of reason, this does not bother him much. If you have ever wondered why modern tyrannies always feel the need to put their horrific enforcements in writing first, THIS is why. Oligarchs understand that the law provides the slave with a means to rationalize his participation in the crimes of the state. After all, if some gut-bloated bloodthirsty elitists in government etch their mad inbred ramblings into law, then we have no choice but to follow them, right?
The Need To Be Accepted: A slave seeks harmony not within, but without, even when that “harmony” is with a system that is designed to destroy him. The viciousness of collectivism lay in its ability to comfort converts with atrocity. As long as the slave feels as though he is a part of the machine, and accepted by the group, he cares not what the machine does to others. Common arguments include; “We all have to live together, and so we must sacrifice our selfish individualism for the greater good…” or “Governments are here to protect us and we should do everything we can to make their job easier…” Rarely if ever do they question if the system is legitimately helpful or harmful. The system just “is”, it fulfills their need to be coddled, and that is good enough for them. For all their talk of “unity” and the “greater good”, collectivists are for the most part deeply selfish. They do not support or participate in the collective for the sake of others. They do it to satiate their personal desires.
The Need For Control: I suppose it’s ironic, but the average slave loves tyranny because it affords him a perceived seat at the table of power, perhaps for the first time in his entire life. Collectivist slaves are often people who have felt weak and inadequate since childhood. While honorable human beings fight this personal uncertainty by strengthening themselves physically and mentally, and improving upon their own character, the slave takes the easy route by joining with bureaucracy and living vicariously through its conquests. Through the state, the hollow, cowardly, and stupid, have the ability to “show the world who’s boss”, and get revenge for a life filled with meaninglessness.
The Need For Structure: An individual takes responsibility for himself, learning over time to provide his own structure which works at his pace and serves his unique needs. A slave does not have the energy or the drive to do that, and so, he asks the establishment to tell him how he should live. He will hold at face value the word of nearly anyone in a position of petty authority. When confronted with those who go their own way, or who rebel against the cookie-cutter template for social participation, the slave sneers in disgust. Independent rebellion is abhorrent to him, because the system provides him with his very identity. To insult the fabric of the system is to insult who he is. It’s pathetic, but common…
The Need For Vindication: Sometimes it is not enough for certain people to have their own world view. The slave seeks approval for his world view at every turn, even if that world view is twisted by bleary eyed logic, and will go so far as to force others to agree with it so that they can feel safer in their beliefs. It is natural for people to seek out others with similar views and ideals, but, it is not natural or healthy for those same people to use the government apparatus as a weapon to frighten the rest of us into submission just so they can become more confident in their ludicrous slapdash philosophies. Slaves want a world without contradiction. Laughably, everything they do is a contradiction.
What I have seen in a number of the reactions to the honest activism of Sgt. Gary Stein is a knee-jerk bias that reeks of the slave mentality, but it offers us a window in gauging the leanings of the general public. Now that the once theoretical dangers of federal fascism are breaking the surface of the water and circling the American sinking ship, the great test is to watch closely where the masses place their priorities. Will they take the path of the individual, admit to the laboratory mutation that our government has become, and try to make things right again? Or, will they take the path of the slave, forget their past follies and empty arguments, and jump on the totalitarian bandwagon? Certainly, it is not as if the cheerleaders of the state usually get out of the tumult with all their limbs intact. In most cases, they are lucky to get out alive once the smoke clears. One might think that the lessons of history would be guide enough, but then again, the average slave has taken every conceivable measure to ensure that his particular fantasy land is magical enough to withstand substantial examination. The system is their drug, and the upheaval that free thought brings is such a buzz-kill…