Friday, June 25, 2010

Seize The Future. Part 1

"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction," Payne said. "This is not on any body's radar, no government's radar anywhere, and I think it should be."

Where the sentence above is concerned, I'm afraid that we humans could just as easily substitute the term mankind for whale species.

Plan of Action

Over a century ago Vladimir Lenin composed a famous tract entitled What is to be done. The pamphlet was, of course, about what needed to happen to enact a communist political program in Russia. Today, the human species faces a far more important-at least to my mind- and daunting task than the one Lenin outlined. What humanity is faced with is nothing less than altering the way we inhabit the planet.

Last week, in a nationally televised speech notable for its lack of gravitas, President Obama asserted that "the time is now" to make a shift in our nation's energy arrangements. Plainly, such an idea is nonsense from the standpoint that the time for such a shift was generations ago, but, we humans, both at the individual and the collective level, rarely make bold changes until (usually for reasons of survival) we are forced to. Bearing in mind that A.) it is quite likely too late to ward off catastrophe, which I choose to define as an accelerated massive die off of human, animal, and plant species, and B.) that the task of radically changing how we power our homes, package our food, travel to work and play, fertilize our soil, build our dwellings, and generally take care of ourselves on an individual and societal level is overwhelming in prospect, I would like to offer that our first steps, because they will be the most difficult, are, almost certainly, the most critical.

One thing we mustn't do is look to government to act as a leader let alone a facilitator of reform. Government has proven time and again that they are retrograde and obstructive to progressive and essential reform. In fact, part of the necessary change will involve living, to the best of one's ability, beyond the reach, literally and figuratively, of elected and appointed officialdom.

For generations, Republicans of yore, and presumably those who still think of themselves in what now seems like a hoary and absurd political affiliation, were committed to a program known as "starving the beast". This concept generally meant, and must still mean, destroying all non corporate friendly government functions by dint of choking off their funding. In large measure- excepting hysteria tinged rhetoric by "right wing" cadres that assert that President Obama is some sort of crypto-Marxist- proponents of "starving the beast" were very successful. In fact, they were so successful that, with very few exceptions, the banking sector and a few other malefactor industries, have now managed to co-opt the entire Federal Government to such an extent that it is the rest of us who are being figuratively and literally starved.

Towards (a sort of Luddite) Resistance

As much as one can, one needs to live one's life in a way that defies anything that smacks of a well established cultural norm, because entrenched cultural norms are, quite frankly, killing us. By eschewing institutionalized cultural norms I do not mean that, starting tomorrow, we should all discard such endeavors as building nuclear families, or creating a network of friends, or holding memberships in civic or charitable organizations. Far from it. What I have in mind are cultural practices that support and bolster the maintenance of materialistic existence of the sort that systematically eats away at basic social networks that are vital to the maintenance of local community. And if it's not clear now, it will, in due course, become clear that the creation and maintenance of robust local communities will be vital to our individual and collective survival. Having said that, I would like to add that the irony of my preaching such a message on a blog read by people who live far away from where I, and my family, dwell is not lost on me.

To say that we are subsumed by devices and products that are utterly devoid of all but the barest utility is hardly an exaggeration. I really don't know where to start by way of cataloging and describing a phenomenon that, for the purposes of this post, I'll refer to as horrific technological waste, but, however one wishes to refer to this monstrous and seemingly all encompassing condition, it is, indeed, a menace that is almost impossible to exaggerate. I submit, for example, that the omnipresent sub culture of the cell phone-yes, dear readers, I, too, own one- may be, to date, the single most infamous progeny to ever emerge from the steaming cauldron of horrific technological waste. We must endeavor to divest ourselves of this sort of gargantuan cultural junk as if our lives depended on it, because, quite frankly, they probably do.

In keeping with that sentiment, we must also strive to become, with respect to daily necessities, as self sufficient as possible. I imagine you've all heard this line before, ad nauseum, so forgive me for, as it were, piling on when I say that, where possible, grow your own food. And if you can't grow your own food, then support local operators that do. We should do this for the simple reason that even though it will almost certainly entail a greater strain on our personal finances, the price for not doing so is simply too high.

Humor me when I advocate avoiding, if possible, the purchase of items packaged in plastic. Likewise, where you can, use public transport instead of a car. Equally, when and where you can, walk rather than availing yourself of public transit. Most importantly, at least where the subject of personal transportation is concerned, avoid, if possible, owning an automobile. I'm sorry to report that better and more fuel efficient cars aren't the answer. Far fewer automobiles of all kinds are much closer to the answer, at least until such time as autos are powered entirely by means that are vastly more fuel efficient than anything available presently.

Making the aforesaid changes amounts to a case of we can take these steps ourselves with some modicum of control over the process or we can cede any potential for autonomy that still exists, and expect to be dealt with in an arbitrary (and most likely) harsh manner as exigent circumstances dictate.

End of Part 1

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stay Tuned

I have been busy of late, too busy to write any blog entries even though there is no shortage of events to cover. I'm sorry to say that my conviction, of late, that things are going to become even more chaotic and crazed over the next (not so) little while has not lessened. In the meantime, I hope to have something to say worthy of your time by week's end.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Weekly (well, monthly) Haiku

Rent by mankind's lust
The implacable chasm
Blows relentlessly

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cataloging, Commenting, Anticipating

The Main Stream Media, in the form of the New York Times, is now unwittingly disseminating a truth that any gimlet eyed observer would have long since unearthed, namely that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan has never been about anything but the great game. I bring this story to your attention, in case it has not already caught it, because we citizens need to be aware of what the Mandarins have planned if we remain passive and uninvolved.

The idea that the mineral wealth in Afghanistan is a new discovery ranks right at the top of the bullshit meter, but we can at least be grateful that the paper of record has now confirmed that it wasn't just the promise of vast quantities of heroin profits that were the primary driver behind deploying the U.S. military to the poppy center of the world.

If you think our government has (or ever had) any intention of leaving that desolate part of the planet on its own accord, without tremendous pressure brought to bear on it to do so, than you are sadly mistaken. Going forward it will be up to "We The People" to ensure that our young men and women are not hung on a cross of lithium for generations to come.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Here's The Problem

...with respect to the catastrophic oil gusher(s) in The Gulf of Mexico, and with many, if not most of the other man made disasters of our time. We have all, the citizenry, government, and private industry, colluded to create the abominable state-namely, one of financial, economic, ecological, and soon, political collapse-we find ourselves in.

While I tend to attach the lion's share of responsibility to the most powerful actors in our society, government, corporations, and the main stream media, the fact is (or at least I think of it as fact) we citizens have largely ceded our potentially superior power to steer the ship of state. Equally, it can be argued, as I have in this blog, that collective action by a disparate group of citizens, spread over a land mass that is three thousand miles from east to west, has considerably more obstacles to harnessing its potential than do smaller, more cohesive, and integrated collectives, and yet, even as one acknowledges, if only in the abstract, our considerable handicaps, We The People, have failed miserably to act vigilantly against our nation's worst impulses and tendencies.

In the meantime, collapse, or what I like to call, "The Grand Wobble", a complex phenomenon with multiple tributaries, comprising many intersecting components, some of which are more spectacular, and, therefore, more manifest than others, gathers force. The U.S. (and now European financial debacle) has been, perhaps, the most visible breakdown in our decrepit and corrupt system over the last few years, and this has been followed, not surprisingly, given the perversely outsized stature of the financial system, by severe economic contraction. All this is set to be exacerbated to some unknown and unknowable degree by The Gulf of Mexico fiasco which is beginning, despite my comment about unknowability, to, if only dimly, take on the horrifying patina of an extinction level event.

Going forward, I'm undecided on whether to devote more time to simply cataloging and commenting on what I view as a very long term state of disintegration and peril for humanity, and all living things, broadly defined, or, simply, on methods by which we may anticipate and respond to the great challenges we face. I imagine I needn't spend too much time ruminating on the issue, as events, and my own natural tendencies, will likely decide for me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thai McGreivey Remembered

Appearing in debate for the first time on national television, Vice Presidential candidate James Stockdale's first words to a curious and somewhat befuddled electorate were, "Who am I, and why am I here?" I feel obliged to offer the same greeting to those who read or hear my eulogy for Thai McGreivy, since, I only "knew" Thai within the relatively obscure and abstracted confines of the blogosphere. Even then, I know there are others who developed longer and deeper relationships with Thai than I, so it is with some reticence that I offer my thoughts.

Like a number of Thai's cyberspace acquaintances and friends, I first encountered Thai on the Sudden Debt web blog. There, we often exchanged observations about the economy, finance, and other related matters. Later, Thai became a fairly frequent visitor to this blog, and though, at first, his passion for fractals, and unerring tendency to apply that cornerstone of chaos theory to such seemingly disparate phenomenon as Sarah Palin and the European banking crisis vexed me, I soon found conversing with Thai unerringly worthwhile and pleasurable, not just because he was clever, learned, and curious, but because he managed to convey a sincere sense of warmth and playfulness even as he leveled incisive criticism. As I'm sure many know, this is no mean feat, since, among other pitfalls, miscalculations of tone on internet fora are fiendishly easy to achieve, and the fallout from such misunderstandings too often lead to all manner of unpleasant blowups. But Thai's charm was such that no matter how decimated at his hands my argument may have been- and this was rare by the way- nary was a ripple seen or felt on the surface of our friendship. Well, I certainly hope Thai thought of me as a friend, because that is how I will always remember Thai.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Peak Oil is Here

Funny how the timing of this announcement comes on the heels of what is shaping up to be far and away the biggest oil patch disaster of all time. Got solar panels or geo thermal?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The U.S. Government Lies.

The headline of this post should come as no surprise to anyone over the age of 7, or perhaps 6. The question before us is can we have a government that does not prevaricate about, among other things, issues of basic safety? I would argue that, yes, but as is the case for most of us when it comes to achieving goals we put great store in, not without, as Winston Churchill was wont to say, blood, toil, and tears.

But take heart, because, as things stand, our government has made the daunting task of enacting great reform easier for us since their functioning already exacts so much discomfort, if not downright pain. Why do governments cover up? They cover up for the same reasons that individuals do, to avoid unpleasant consequences, and/or to achieve ends that the rest of us would find repugnant were we to know the truth. So, what to do? Remove the incentive, the reward for the steady stream of deceit that government engages in, and which is designed to bamboozle us voters into granting otherwise unworthy elected officialdom further, if not permanent, purchase, (Yes, that was a double entendre) on seats in The Legislature.

If one's job tenure expires in relatively short order, if the gravy train of public service is derailed permanently, there's no need to cover up for the purpose of trying to beat the clock to the next election. As Kris Kristofferson observed, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." As such, our government won't need to lie when they lose nothing by telling the truth.

Until then, the oil will keep gushing from places you'd rather it didn't, while, the truth, at least from officialdom, will be in very short supply.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Hello, dear readers. Today I offer for your consideration a wonderful analysis regarding what neo-liberalism/corporatism was always about, what it hath wrought, and what its intentions are going forward.

TWOB Watch: Low Profile

Have you noticed that "Drill baby, drill" uber imbecile, and mainstream media Frankenstein, Sarah Palin, aka The Whore of Babylon is nowhere to be found lately? It's one of the few good things happening to our ship of state that the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska is not befouling the airwaves with her bilious presence. Other than the fact that she no doubt has realized that she has heaping quantities of oily red blood on her hands-not that she can be expected to have any shame about it- and that everyone and their mother is apt to look upon her right about now with less than admiration, or, perhaps, while searching for new supplies of petroleum, Palin fell down the massive sinkhole that just opened up and swallowed a three story building in Guatemala City, I can't imagine why TWOB seems to be on a MSM sabbatical.