Bread and circuses

The big news on the climate-change front this week, for those of you living in caves, involves a big dose of denial. A large number of emails from the University of East Anglia webmail server were hacked, thus igniting a controversy about whether global climate change is “real.”

In a word, yes. Lethally so.

The famous climate-change hockey stick
The famous climate-change hockey stick barely hints at the dire days ahead

Interesting timing, wouldn’t you say? Immediately before world leaders meet in Copenhagen to discuss how they will respond to the probable extinction of our species, we’re saved. Global climate change is all made up, silly. Those scientists were just playing mind games. Government leaders need do nothing at all. Go back to your SUVs and televisions.

After all, the stock markets are up. Never mind the reason: massive illegal infusions of cash from the U.S. government (i.e., you and me, without our permission or even our knowledge). And it’s not as if any other news about the industrial economy justifies Dow 10,000. Consider these headlines, for example (with quotes from each article in parentheses):

U.S. Economy is a Geriatric on Viagra (Too much monetary Viagra can cause it to drop down dead from heart failure)

The U.S. Recession Jobless Interest Rate Conundrum (Fed chairman Ben Bernanke certainly has his work cut out for him if he is at all concerned about the international value of the dollar)

Long Way for Nothing (Despite the big stock market rally, we aren’t better off than we were before Lehman went under [in September 2008])

Revising the Fed Waltz with A.I.G. (The Fed, under Mr. Geithner’s direction, caved in to A.I.G.’s counterparties, giving them 100 cents on the dollar for positions that would have been worth far less if A.I.G. had defaulted)

U.S. Mortgage Delinquencies Reach a Record High (The economy and the stock market may be recovering from their swoon, but more homeowners than ever are having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments, according to figures released Thursday)

Congress is Losing Its Patience with the Fed (This is strictly circus action from the bread-and-circuses crowd on Capital Hill, as evidenced by this quote: “I don’t think it ever hurts to have a member of Congress stand up and denounce the Fed. There is a lot of anger out there, and this is basically a therapeutic gesture,” said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University.)

Joshua Kosman, Predicting The Next Credit Crisis (A rain of defaults is already starting)

Wave of Debt Payments Facing U.S. Government (“What a good country or a good squirrel should be doing is stashing away nuts for the winter,” said William H. Gross, managing director of the Pimco Group, the giant bond-management firm. “The United States is not only not saving nuts, it’s eating the ones left over from the last winter.”)

15 Signs American Society Is Coming Apart at the Seams (The economic elite have launched an attack on the U.S. public and society is unraveling at an increased rate)

So, the game is afoot. On one hand, recognition is growing that we are running out of time to save the living planet and our humanity (as I’ve been writing for years). On the other hand, recognition is increasing that the industrial economy is collapsing right along with our humanity and the natural world.

None of these matters of importance prevent the New York Mets from supporting terrorism (hence terrorists), or stop the Australian Senate from burying their collective heads in the sand about peak oil, or prevent the mainstream media from blathering about how Americans feel about about Obama’s endless wars, or prevent the mainstream media from blathering about any number of other stories relevant only to about six people on Earth.

Seems we have plenty of circuses. But for an increasing number of people, not much bread.

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Comments 7

  • Prof Em Guy:

    Yikes,cause for an extra drop when the sun sets below the yard arm.

    Frank

  • It was interesting to hear an interview with Naomi Klein on Democracy Now this morning. She pointed out the emergence of young people beginning to focus on issues rather than personalities and hopefully to attempt to hold Obama and the Democrats accountable. She also noted how Obama has effectively used marketing concepts to create political illusions without direct promises to which he can be pinned down and held accountable.

    NK thinks Obama will go to Copenhagen and pronounce a success. Unfortunately, that “success” will be unmeasurable and actually fantasy, just like all his other shenanigans.

    I see the day coming when Obama will tell his supporters that he did everything he possibly could, but now they are on their own, the government is broke, the shit has hit the fan, and he must take cover…

    Stan Moore

  • Good news Guy!

    The climate change debacle can be over with by the next new millenium (Year 3000 AD) if we stop greenhouse gas emissions now, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    see:

    http://nihongo.j-talk.com/parser/index.php?link=http://www.pnas.org/content/106/6/1704.full

  • The latest november scientific american has an interesting article on getting all our energy from renewables by 2030. It only requires 3.8 million 5megawatt windmills,490,000 tidal turbines,720,000 wave converters,89,000 solar power plants and 1.7 billion rooftop photovoltaic systems. I cannot wait to see what anyone has to say about this.

  • I would say that a collapsing economy and depleted petroleum supplies may make the transition to reneewables a physical impossibility at the scale of our current human endeavors.

    Which is an indictment for failure to proceed forthwith with the warning signals readily available in the 1970’s.

    Has anyone beside me noticed that flagrant design of automobiles now in non-aeordynamic shapes, like those squared-off cruiser vehicles that completely defy the aerodynamic logic that was so prevalent back when we were concerned about future fuel supplies?

    The realities of how many wind and water turbines it would take to replace fossil fuels shows once again how nature’s endowment has been squandered in a one-time enterprise that can never be repeated on this planet. We had a beautiiful inheritance from nature, and we squandered it and will be lucky to escape with our lives, even in small numbers.

    Stan Moore

  • Yah. True conservatives would be touting not drilling in Alaska, so as to, um, conserve those resources. Five million assorted turbines might need a bit of lubrication. Lube, baby, lube.
    Assuming the petro-outlay to build and install them comes before too far down the peak oil slide…

    A island town in Maine that I frequent installed three massive GE wind turbines, to generate maybe half their need and reduce their substantial electric bills. It took 27 tractor-trailer loads to bring the larger crane there for install. Then of course 27 away. All on barges. They’re good for 20 years. Repairs ought to be amusing.
    Gonna be hard to do when the oil is all dedicated to military use.

    We’ll need to hone the skills needed to make booze, for sure, Frank.

    You get your seed from Native Seeds/SEARCH, Guy?

  • vetalio, I bought some seeds from Native Seeds/SEARCH, and I’m a fan of their work. We also traded for some seeds with neighbors. But the vast majority came from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in a jumbo-sized container. I recommend Baker Creek if you’re interested in trying a large variety.