Friday, December 3, 2010

What Will it Take?

To the multitude of readers who regularly take in my column for kernals of insight, pearls of wisdom, and, of course, just for its sheer entertainment value, I would like to extend you an apology for not posting for well nigh almost three weeks. I have no reason to offer as an excuse for the dearth of new content from this quarter other than that a certain exhaustion set in last month. Perhaps it was the onset of the dreaded holiday season, or an impending birthday, or the paucity of sunlight at this time of year, but, whatever the reason(s), they served to short circuit my usually regular, if not always stellar, output.

Still, even as I was taking a self imposed and modestly refreshing break, I did happen to notice, among many global developments, that Ireland has unsurprisingly, but disappointingly, been broken by the monetary hooligans of the EU, and, also, that some here in the U.S. are expressing their deep disapproval, not to say outrage, at the methods and behavior of the Transportation Safety Administration whose
conduct of late has been markedly unkind to a number of folks seeking to get from point A to point B by air.

For what it's worth, I was in the less than enviable position of having to fly recently, and when it was my turn to stand inside the backscatter used by the TSA, I opted, as is my wont-call me crazy, but I trust the safety of the TSA's x-ray machines about as much as I trust the assurances of The Federal Government that The Gulf of Mexico is cleaned up and ready for unbridled shrimp harvesting-for the dreaded pat down.

The new pat down procedure, which the TSA employee assigned to check me for bombs and other such potentially dangerous cargo, made sure to let me know was in place and would be practiced, involved, among other things, the use of the back of the hand when slapping, excuse me, when checking passengers in what the TSA agent euphemistically referred to as (a tad nervously or so it seemed to me) "sensitive areas." The entire exercise was silly, which, other than the fact that the procedure likely amounts to a violation of the 4th Amendment and almost certainly won't do much, if anything, to safeguard passengers, is fine.

And all this puts me in mind of my opening apologia for my blogging absenteeism. I've just have had a Eureka moment wherein I suddenly feel I have a firmer grasp on just what it was that might have been keeping me from posting. While I am heartened that some number of my fellow citizens have chosen to stand up for themselves in the face of utter police state piffle as practiced by the TSA, I am, in the main, disheartened at the response of the vast majority of my fellow citizens who appear to have the demeanor of overfed sheep in the face of a constant barrage of myriad outrages.

It doesn't seem to bother most of my fellow Americans in the slightest that such entities as commercial banks and institutions like the The Federal Reserve are as lawless as wild west bandits. The behavior of these institutions is bad enough, but it doesn't seem to so much as provide the hint of a transitory wrinkle on the collective brow of the nation's above twenty one crowd that, in the face of a level of egregious scamming that would make Charles Ponzi blush, their Federally elected officials act, for all the world, as if they had either no clue, no balls, or were on the payroll of the scammers, which, of course, they are.

And so, one is left to ask the question that one is constantly faced with when one witnesses a strong electric shock administered to a subject who does little more than faintly twitch in response: Is the subject dead? And if not, just what is it going to take to make the subject remove the instrument of pain and strangle the son of a bitch who attached it to them in the first place? To be a tad less abstract, what are the American people waiting for, well, besides waiting in very long overnight queues for flat screen T.V.s and cut rate computers on sale at Best Buy on Black Friday? Why, dear reader, I will tell you what they are waiting for. They are waiting, like the sheep they are, to be shorn of their remaining threadbare wool. Pardon the unsavory imagery, but not until they are as naked as a porn star in a shoot on a public beach will they likely wake up and realize that they don't want to be sheep any longer. I am talking real deprivation wherein the sheep are left cold, hungry, and without shelter. Yes, I think that is what it's going to take to inspire the sheep to be something other than (utterly shorn) sheep.

Unfortunately, by then, and there will be a then, because the folks calling the shots in The Land of The Free aren't merciful, it will be too late. Glad I'm back yet?


Johnny D. said...

Yeah, I'm glad you're back. I was wondering what happened to you.

A thought-provoking post as usual, Edwardo. I suspect you're correct as to what it will take. It's never too late though - so we'll have to disagree there - though I suppose that is a philosophical question based in one's beliefs about what one considers "too late."

Anyhow, good to see you around. Don't know if you celebrate Christmas, but I do, so I hope you don't mind a sincere "Merry Christmas."

Peace to you and yours...

Edwardo said...

Thank you, Johnny. And I wish you the same.

Toby said...

I hear you, Edwardo.

The funk you describe visits me often, and had been with me until yesterday, when my daughter noticed a free magazine on a counter in a store we were visiting. I've just translated an article from it over on my blog (in case you're interested), but thought at least I could spread your way a little of the hope the magazine has lent me.

Germany, for all its ultra-conservative austerity right now, is also home to a very lively subculture I am learning more and more about. I imagine other European countries offer the same. People are leaving the system behind to do their own thing, at the community level, motivated only by building a better community simply because a better community is better for everyone.

Recently awards were given to 17 teenagers for their contributions to the community, three got special awards, and the judges had a hard time because of the high number of candidates, whose average age is 17. All are motivated not by money, but by the health of their communities. This was reported in our local newspaper. In the same paper there was a report of an artist who teaches street kids whatever he can. He has set up a studio with his own money, equipped it with what he can afford, and gives his time to the children who turn up. Again, for free.

There is also the growing guaranteed income movement here, which I have already reported on. My own daughter, without my either prompting her or knowing about it until later, initiated a discussion in her ethics class (she's 13) on a moneyless future. It went down well and provoked a lively debate, with only one student from a class of roughly 30 refusing to believe such a world would be possible.

Change is underway (yes I know this is all anecdotal, but there is much more than I could possibly write here) and beginning to emerge in the fringes of the mainstream. It is even happening in the US, though the potential for violence there seems very high to me. I know too we (you and I) do not agree on everything, which is anyway an impossibility, but it is, I feel, heartening to hear there are people 'out there' struggling to build a better way. In short, stuff is happening!

These are very difficult times, and it is precisely because they are difficult (they will get much harder) that we must try to remember the star of hope that also fled Pandora's Box...

Edwardo said...

Thanks for dropping by, Toby, and for your hopeful perspective.

DED said...

No apology necessary. Everyone needs a break from time to time. Me, I had to channel my energies elsewhere for my rants felt futile.

I don't know what it will take to wake people up. Maybe, as Toby pointed out, it will take the next generation to reject what ours has accepted.

The TSA... people prefer its placebo of security at the price of getting felt up. I would love to see a prankster pretend to get all "hot and bothered" during a patdown. Or have someone fake a seizure, complete with foam bubbling from their mouth, during a scan from the X-ray machine. Maybe a little video ridicule could go viral on YouTube and be a catalyst for further debate on the matter.

As for the Fed, too few people (in terms of percentage of the public) understand what it does to be outraged with it.

Edwardo said...

"As for the Fed, too few people (in terms of percentage of the public) understand what it does to be outraged with it."

I think that gets right to the nub of the problem. One can't protest against something of which one is ignorant.

Liminal Hack said...

"And so, one is left to ask the question that one is constantly faced with when one witnesses a strong electric shock administered to a subject who does little more than faintly twitch in response: Is the subject dead? And if not, just what is it going to take to make the subject remove the instrument of pain and strangle the son of a bitch who attached it to them in the first place?"

What has happened here is that the subjects pain receptors are attuned to a different kind of pain.

They are being prodded with the wrong instrument, if one hopes to get a reaction.

For example, take away their internet access and their TV and I bet you they'd be on the street with a pitchfork or worse quick as a snap.

Sheeple are not interested in what the Fed is doing because their deposits are insured, assuming they have deposits that is, and if they don't, because basedon very recent experience they don't think the Fed can help them.

P.S. Nice blog Edwardo.

Edwardo said...

Well, we will see, LH how they respond when there is widespread internet disruption. I know it's likely to cause me some dyspepsia.

Edwardo said...

Joe Bageant has an interesting answer to the question I posed, "What will it take?"

Anonymous said...

Internet disruption:

Yes, it'll be interesting to see how the Internet dies over the next few years. Between the gutting of net neutrality, the abandonment of the NBP (why the fuck did they even bring that up if they weren't going to do it?) and the access ideal, more and more people being economically driven off, and the sudden escalation of political censorship, this thing's just about finished as a vibrant communication medium.

Although I do wonder about these hackers as a group. They seem to be starting to rally for Wikileaks. I've heard many of them want net neutrality and hate the Lieberman ideology. I guess it wouldn't take many of them to launch actions to hold the (racketeer part of the) Internet hostage unless demands along those lines were met.

Anonymous said...

Its ironic that you have positioned me as a usury hack, Mr A, given that firstly, I don't advocate anything - I simply narrate change, and secondly because while I might forsee peak debt being a new equilibrium, peak debt also implies zirp and interest free issuance of public money.

Hardly usury that, is it?

Its ironic that freedom loving people would like to re-institute a monetary system that has usury at its heart.

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