Theater of the absurd

En route to Tucson for a two-day visit last month, I retrieved my mail from the local post office. Included was one of the few Christmas/New Year letters to appear this year. Apparently you have to write them to receive them, and in this case it was a form letter from a long-time friend and colleague. The opening line took me aback: “Especially considering the political strife and random unexplainable (sic) violence of the past year, we find ourselves feeling incredibly blessed …”

Wow. Apparently this particular professor hasn’t been paying attention to the news. Or perhaps she is plagued by the sentiments of James Baldwin, the American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic: “Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with society.” Being at war with society is a tough sell for a university professor embedded within and dependent upon the current version of society. After all, this is the society that brings her blessings, courtesy of American Empire.

Thinking of my friend and her predicament brings to mind Loren Eiseley, the American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer. Because of Eiseley’s intense and poetic writing style, and his focus on nature and cosmology, he was not accepted or understood by most of his colleagues. “You,” a friend told him, “are a freak, you know. A God-damned freak, and life is never going to be easy for you. You like scholarship, but the scholars, some of them, anyhow, are not going to like you because you don’t stay in the hole where God supposedly put you. You keep sticking your head out and looking around. In a university that’s inadvisable.”

If being at war with society is a tough sell for a university professor, you can only imagine how difficult is the challenge of being at war with the very university writing the paychecks. (As an aside, I need not imagine the challenge. I’ve lived it.)

The violence is “random, unexplainable” only if you’ve been living under a rock for a very long time. The violence visited upon countries in the Middle East and northern Africa by the current war criminal in the Oval Office — fully supported by my long-time friend — is all about the Carter Doctrine (i.e., the world is our oilster). Even the mainstream media have outed Obama as a war criminal, but he doesn’t care enough to change policy (and there’s no need, with supporters like my friend backing his every vile maneuver).

I don’t know if my friend’s car sports the “Obama for Peace” bumper sticker seemingly required for self-proclaimed liberals in this country. As with anybody who believes Obama is promoting peace, she’d better not poll the citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia (and doubtless other countries bombed by the current commander in chief).

Even Obama’s choice for Secretary of Defense, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, once admitted the truth to law students: “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are. They talk about America’s national interest. What the hell do you think they’re talking about? We’re not there for figs.”

The line echoes in my head all the way to Tucson: “political strife and random unexplainable violence.” It’s as if I’ve seen a twenty-car pile-up on the Interstate highway. There’s blood on the Christmas gifts. But in this case, the blood isn’t merely on the packages. It’s on our hands. Looking away, as my friend chooses, doesn’t make the blood go away.

Maybe, instead of looking at the violence our military carries overseas, my friend was referring to the lack of violence she perceives here in the homeland. Unable to wrap her mind around the “obedience at home” mentality required by police state America, perhaps she subconsciously replaces contemporary evidence with an idyllic image from her youth. The image was incorrect then, too, but she was too young to understand America as a rapacious empire. At this point, she’s old enough to know better. If she lived in Houston or Miami, her cries to support the troops would be overwhelmed by the gunfire and rotor blades as U.S. military helicopters conduct drills. Hell, even her beloved New York Times asks the question: Who Says You Can Kill Americans, Mr. President?

The line ricochets in my skull: “political strife and random unexplainable violence.” Like most professors, she’s a cheerleader for empire, unable to question the costs of imperialism. In financial terms alone, these costs run between $22 billion and $250 billion annually (maybe more). But we’re so deeply in debt we’ll never climb out, even if we believe the fiction of U.S. debt in the few tens of trillions of dollars.

But money is the least of the costs. After all, we simply print the world’s reserve currency in the greatest Ponzi scheme of all time. The truly significant costs include the U.S. occupation of Africa, which will tally 35 nations later this year. Well, 35 the Department of Defense admits to occupying. Only five years after AFRICOM was established, the occupation of Africa is complete.

Obama’s drone wars are sold to a willing adoring citizenry under the guise of minimizing American deaths because they spare sending our troops into combat. Collateral damage from the drones accounts for 49 of 50 kills in Pakistan, but Americans can’t be bothered with the details. Never mind the Orwellian double-speak from the President himself: “there is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.”

Meanwhile, lawyers in the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) claim drone targets receive due process, but they won’t say how. And Americans simply don’t want to know. “Liberals” such as my friend and purported scholar keep listening to NPR (National Propaganda Radio) as it leads the cheers for imperialism.

I thought good news was on the way when I read a headline: “The First Prison Sentence Related to Gitmo Torture ….” Then I finished reading the headline, and the story. Sickeningly, the first person sentenced for torture at Guantanamo Bay was a whistle-blower hunted down by the Obama administration because he spoke out against torture at the facility Obama promised to close throughout his initial campaign, and several times after he took office.

At this point, any reasonably literate person can see the whole story as it unfolds in slow motion. In this country, we initiate terrorism to create terrorists to overthrow governments. And then, the president moves to make war on terror permanent. It goes around and around, the tail chasing the dog and Americans seeking every opportunity to look away. A movie was created about it, nearly four decades ago.

My penalty for the intellectually torturous three-hour drive was landing in Tucson for two days. Any city, epitomized by the one that imports its water from more than 300 miles across the desert — uphill, no less — drives me further down the path of crazy. It doesn’t help that my friends and colleagues in the Old Pueblo find themselves “incredibly blessed” (aka willingly blind) or that they find me a “God-damned freak” (maybe they’re not so blind, after all). Given a choice, I wish I could un-see most of what I see.

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Blazing Kat Productions has been creating and broadcasting episodes about the Occupy movement for more than a year. They’ve run out of money, primarily because the U.S. government has stopped the flow of funds into Iran, where the OWS Weekly station is broadcast on Press TV. I’ve given them significant support, and I ask readers here to do the same. There is a “donate” button toward the bottom of their home page.

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My monthly essay for Transition Voice is available at this link. It’s slightly adapted from an earlier essay in this space.

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TRC radio show 1 February 2013

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My email in-box has spoken with a clear voice, and I agree. Please terminate the ridiculous comments, especially if you’re posting several times daily. It’s bad enough to feed the trolls here. It’s much worse to be the trolls here. If you find it too difficult to maintain civility in the comment space, please stop commenting.

Comments 328

  • Guy, what’s “ridiculous” (i’m not being picky, i just need some guidelines): do you mean personal (ad hominem) attacks? postings about topics other than NTE? too many postings (and how many should we limit it to)? Thanks in advance for clarification.

    http://m.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/greenland-ice-melting-climate-change

    Jason Box speaks the language of Manhattans. Not the drink—the measuring unit.

    As an expert on Greenland who has traveled 23 times to the massive, mile thick northern ice sheet, Box has shown an uncanny ability to predict major melts and breakoffs of Manhattan-sized ice chunks. A few years back, he foretold the release of a “4x Manhattans” piece of ice from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier, one so big that once afloat it was dubbed an “ice island.” In a scientific paper published in February of 2012, Box further predicted “100 % melt area over the ice sheet” within another decade of global warming. As it happened, the ice sheet’s surface almost completely melted just a month later in July—an event that, in Box’s words, “signals the beginning of the end for the ice sheet.”

    Box, who will speak at next week’s Climate Desk Live briefing in Washington, D.C., pulls no punches when it comes to attributing all of this to humans and their fossil fuels. “Those who claim it’s all cycles just don’t understand that humans are driving the cycle right now, and for the foreseeable future,” he says. And the coastal consequences of allowing Greenland to continue its melting—and pour 23 feet’s worth of sea level into the ocean over the coming centuries—are just staggering. “If you’re the mayor of Hamburg, or Shanghai, or Philadelphia, I think it’s in your job description that you think forward a century,” says Box. “They’re completely inundated by the year 2200.”

  • Radio EcoShock podcast:
    Tuesday, January 29, 2013
    A Warning From the Future

  • Tom, off-topic doesn’t bother me. But if you read every comment as an attack on your own ideology, and feel compelled to respond in a matter of minutes, you might want to think twice. On the other hand, if your first response is to ignore the comment and not post at all, then thinking once will do the trick.

  • Guy, do you think it’s possible that our government may actually have known about the inevitability of NTE and have plans of action in place with the hope of human survival either in protected environments here on earth or in the near solar system (Mars or the Moon)?

    I can’t believe that the best minds on earth would ignore this contingency and have no organized response. Would it be possible for underground or off planet survival? It sounds science-fiction but I can/t imagine the psychopathic elite not having some scheme set up to perpetuate themselves. Maybe they even look on this as an opportunity to clean the slate and start over with more control via genetics and technology.

  • Guy, this is one of the few sites I check all day, despite the trolling that does go on. Isn’t it amazing that we all know we are doomed, know what is killing us and the earth, and we still find it worthwhile to attack others here? No wonder we will go extinct!

    I too find it mind boggling that Obama can ratchet up the violence abroad and the repression at home (Kiriakou is just the latest and most obscene) and the “liberals” still support him.

    From the previous essay is a quote I may try to engrave in stone: Denial is America’s 51st State. Vonnegut will be missed, but he left us some doozies.

  • The root of the problem is industrial civilization and over-population. Any “solution” offered by the governments of the world would need to include a lessening of our numbers, it seems to me.

  • S. Oats, thanks for your first-time comment in this space. Anything’s possible, I suppose, with respect to what “they” know and their actions. I suspect, though, that they lost control too recently to develop contingency plans beyond moving to the southern hemisphere (to extend the run of the few individuals). Space is not an answer, and neither is living underground where there’s no water and no ability to grow food.

  • Phil Ochs had the same feelings


    Love me I’m a liberal

    I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
    Tears ran down my spine
    I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
    As though I’d lost a father of mine
    But Malcolm X got what was coming
    He got what he asked for this time
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    I go to civil rights rallies
    And I put down the old D.A.R.
    I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
    I hope every colored boy becomes a star
    But don’t talk about revolution
    That’s going a little bit too far
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
    My faith in the system restored
    I’m glad the commies were thrown out
    of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
    I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
    as long as they don’t move next door
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    The people of old Mississippi
    Should all hang their heads in shame
    I can’t understand how their minds work
    What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crain?
    But if you ask me to bus my children
    I hope the cops take down your name
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    I read New republic and Nation
    I’ve learned to take every view
    You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden
    I feel like I’m almost a Jew
    But when it comes to times like Korea
    There’s no one more red, white and blue
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    I vote for the democratic party
    They want the U.N. to be strong
    I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
    He sure gets me singing those songs
    I’ll send all the money you ask for
    But don’t ask me to come on along
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

    Once I was young and impulsive
    I wore every conceivable pin
    Even went to the socialist meetings
    Learned all the old union hymns
    But I’ve grown older and wiser
    And that’s why I’m turning you in
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

  • ‘the Carter Doctrine (i.e., the world is our oilster)’ that’s a good one, guy!

    ‘“Obama for Peace” bumper sticker seemingly required for self-proclaimed liberals in this country’ guy, i like to think of obama and his supporters as ‘obama nation’. (i can create a clever pun or 2 myself!)

    ‘U.S. Department of Justice (sic)’ i prefer to just put (in) as a prefix to ‘justice’ in this case. u and i see eye to eye here. the dissolution of this evil empire is part of the silver lining, if such a thing exists, to the awful cloud of collapse and nte we face.

  • Thanks again Guy. I always learn a thing or two from your posts; had no idea that Loren Eisley was perceived as a freak.

    I’ve been framing the “unexplainable” as the explicable usual course of empire (writ LARGE this time ’round). A really good summary of imperial outcomes is Ronald Wright’s A Short History of Progress.

  • @ wildwoman

    Isn’t it amazing that we all know we are doomed, know what is killing us and the earth, and we still find it worthwhile to attack others here?

    That’s why I find the spectrum of beliefs here so fascinating. It’s very much a reflection in microcosm of the war of ideas that got us into this mess.

    I accept Gail’s point that few if any earlier, simpler, tribal societies, h/g, etc, did no harm at all to the environment – e.g. the Maori devastated the wildlife of NZ, etc – but the Europe could, theoretically, have settled for the way the Estonian peasantry lived, or USA, how the Mennonites and Amish lived, instead of going for industrial capitalism, and then we’d have had a much extended stay, a longer time to come to terms with what we needed to do…

    It’s the battle over the ideas and beliefs in people’s heads, here and in wider soceity. Imo, our fate was decided in the Thatcher/Reagan period. That was when we could have taken effective action. But a small group of very powerful greedy capitalists, Kochs, Hayek, Milton Friedman, powerful banking families, CIA, etc, let loose the neo-liberal ‘market forces’ globalisation thing… and that sealed our fate… too late now…

    It would be an interesting thought experiment to have everyone on this blog, with their many and varied ideological, philosophical, political, religious, and anti-religious perspectives, imagine themselves on Easter Island, considering the last trees and whether to cut them down or not.

    What arguments would you put forward, pro and con ?
    That’s where we are at, isn’t it ?

    The capitalist economists, business men, bankers and financiers say, ‘Cut ’em down, we need the wood, we need the money, we need the jobs…’

    The environmentalists say, ‘Don’t cut ’em down’, but then have a lot of different reasons, some are scientific, conservation, ecology, some are spiritual, ‘Trees have spirits, it’s a sacred place’… everybody is arguing…

    As I understood it, the position we arrived, at several topics back, articulated by Daniel, was that we are gradually coming to terms with the grim news that even if we do not cut down every single last remaining tree, so to speak, we are already in rapid terminal decline…

    Some days we face that, head on. Some days, we can’t face it, and carry on, like everyone else, like Guy’s professors, like children lost in imaginary fantasy worlds…

  • war on terra/
    this is the canadian way and the australian way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RM3W5XBrVEA

  • In anticipation of an awakening …… followed by necessary behavior changes within the human family toward sustainable lifestyles, right-sized business enterprises and renewed commitment to the stewardship of Earth and its environs.

    Perhaps top-rank scientists will begin to tell the whole truth, according to the lights and best available science you possess, about human population dynamics, unbridled global human population growth and the multitude of ruinous impacts derived directly from overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities of the human species on the climate as well as the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the children…… and coming generations, if there are any.

    Why not also talk straight, in an intellectually honest way, about the manmade, artificially designed, soon to become patently unsustainable Economic Colossus we call the global economy as well as its many recognizably destructive impacts on future human well being and environmental health?

    The Economist —–
    http://www.economist.com/user/3324281/comments

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population
    established 2001
    Chapel Hill, NC
    http://www.panearth.org/

  • China now burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined:

    http://science.time.com/2013/01/29/the-scariest-environmental-fact-in-the-world/

    A lot of their coal comes from British Columbia, in the Kootenays.

    Six open pit mines producing coking coal:

    http://www.infomine.com/careers/jobfair/jobfairbooth.asp?booth=elkvalleycoalet

    New coal company to open in 2016:

    http://www.thefreepress.ca/news/138010303.html

  • Our fate was sealed in the 18th century when coal, iron smelting and the steam engine coalesced and triggered a paradigm shift in the West. The new religion was based on the belief that history was progressive and that it was driven by technological innovation. The new insanity (Christianity being the waning insanity of the West) was predicated on the energy revolution which started with coal and by 1880 Edison’s electric generator had confirmed the utopian dreams of the new capitalist priesthood.

    Before the industrial revolution, our energy needs were modest. For heat, we relied on the sun—and burned wood, straw, and dried dung when the sun failed us. For transportation, the muscle of horses and the power of the wind in our sails took us to every corner of the world. For work, we used animals to do jobs that we couldn’t do with our own labor. Water and wind drove the simple machines that ground our grain and pumped our water.

    Simple machines based on the ability to harness the power of steam have been dated by some sources as far back as ancient Alexandria. The evolution of the steam engine continued over time and significantly ramped up in the 17th and 18th centuries. But it was the significant adaptations of Thomas Newcomen and James Watt in the mid 1700s that gave birth to the modern steam engine, opening up a world of possibility. A single steam engine, powered by coal dug from the mines of England and Appalachia, could do the work of dozens of horses.

    http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/a-short-history-of-energy.html

  • If the 51st state is the state of denial,it is our most populated and powerful state.
    Plain old “There’s nothing wrong” denial is easier for me to take then Liberal denial. NPR liberalism doesn’t tend to deny that there are big problems, but, in general, the causes and cures that liberals espouse seem unexamined and self-serving to me.

    I live in an area with several colleges and universities and they were jointly running an Ad campaign to increase enrollment. They put of large billboards that said
    “Learn More,Earn More”. I wanted to get up there and re-write it to say “Learn More, Consume More” or “Stay Stupid, Save the Earth” or something catchy like that.
    I was discussing the billboards with a liberal friend of mine and they said that I misunderstood the message, that it meant if you are educated you will be better able to provide for your family.
    I asked him what he though “provide for” meant. Once you have basic needs met, providing for is just another way of saying “surplus consumption”.

    In the last thread Tom’s joke about the snail knocking at the door reminded me of a knock-knock joke I made up a while ago that seems pertinent to Guy’s post.

    Knock-Knock

    Who’s There?

    TEOTWAWKI

    WHO’S THERE??!!!

    TEOTWAWKI!!!!!!!!!

    I SAID, WHO”S THERE!!!!!!!!

    T-E-O-T-W-A-N-K-I !!!!!!!!!!!

    (from the other room) Who is it Honey?

    No one Dear,Don’t worry about it. Go back to your show.

    I

  • Liberals, it seems to me, are a little less oblivious and less mean spirited than most conservatives. But the liberal/conservative binary is just another trap set by the Matrix to contain the political discourse within the coordinates set by our feudal lords. Both of these ideological camps implicitly accept the notion that change (either to the left or the right) can and must occur within the system. They don’t understand that the system is designed to remain structurally static, i.e. it will preserve the power and privilege of the banking and corporate classes at all costs. The only allowable changes are cosmetic ones. We get to have an African-American president instead of a white guy … maybe next time it will be a woman. Regardless of who it is, they are inevitably puppets and figureheads who get to wear the crown and pursue the pre-scripted policies that meet with the approval of their masters.

    Identity politics, political correctness, social wedge issues like gay marriage, abortion and so on do not cost the controllers anything and it keeps the idiocracy immersed in endless verbal wars about nothing. This is why it amuses me to see the Obamists so willing to throw themselves at his feet when in fact Obama is just Bush, Jr. in blackface.

  • So why do your professor friend and others act like that? My two cents is that challenging that paradigm would show how insignificant they are. I look at my job and know it could go away. Then what? I’d have to learn a whole new set of skills and find a place to live and food to eat without money. That’s really hard 😉

  • Last year, Cornel West called Obama a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface.”

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cornel-west-obama-a-republican-in-blackface-black-msnbc-hosts-are-selling-their-souls/

  • “Before the industrial revolution, our energy needs were modest. For heat, we relied on the sun—and burned wood, straw, and dried dung when the sun failed us. For transportation, the muscle of horses and the power of the wind in our sails took us to every corner of the world. For work, we used animals to do jobs that we couldn’t do with our own labor. Water and wind drove the simple machines that ground our grain and pumped our water.”

    It depends on what you call “modest”. Thousands of years ago the trees in the mideast, which was a deep dark cedar forest, were all chopped down, leaving the desert that remains to this day. Also, many societies prior to the Industrial Revolution didn’t just rely on horses and wind for labor and transport, they used slaves, serfs, and indentured servants.

    I don’t disagree of course that our destruction of the earth accelerated hugely thanks to fossil fuels – I just think that it would have happened eventually anyway. Human population and consumption have been growing relentlessly, with a few localized, temporary setbacks now and then.

  • 500 BC – forward — Greek coastal cities become landlocked after deforestation, which causes soil erosion. The siltation fills in the bays and mouths of rivers.

    •• Greek philosopher Plato (427 – 347 BC) compared hills and mountains of Greece to the bones of a wasted body: “All the richer and softer parts have fallen away and the mere skelton of the land remains.”
    •• One river located in Southwestern Greece, the Maender, becomes so silted that its twists and turns come to represent a river wandering – or meandering.
    http://www.radford.edu/wkovarik/envhist/1ancient.html

  • @S. Oats “Do you think it’s possible that our government may actually know about the inevitability of NTE … I can’t believe that the best minds on earth would ignore this contingency and have no organized response.”

    There simply is no helping progressive liberals. It’s almost like a perverse Cassandra-like symptom: while they themselves can understand facts & trends (including non-linear), they seemingly cannot imagine others who possess the same exact knowledge decide to act in ways to serve their own self-interest(s) rather than the public good.

    Please, for the last time, I implore you – yes, the PTB understand all that is discussed here & more. But, if you’re going down anyway, wouldn’t it behoove one to score as much tail as possible before going gently into the good night?

    A brief cursory read of history, from any era, will quickly illuminate a recurring theme of complete, utter debauchery & nihilism amongst the ruling classes. We are no different – our times are governed by those who see the wall ahead and have decided to step on the peddle.

    I don’t understand the complaining – this is the way the world works. It has always been this way. We’re just at the point where the whole MOFU is coming to a finally coming to a head.

    Would you prefer to have lived in the 1700s, when millions of Africans were brutally rounded up & transhipped to the Americas? What about ancient Rome, where a significant % of the population also toiled as slaves? Or the middle-ages, where all sorts of exotic tortures were developed to punish anyone who questioned the sovereign?

    Lighten up Francis – understand the facts-of-life and make your way apace without causing a ripple or stir. Unless you’re a player, you’re a victim.

  • S. Oats

    You wrote:

    “I can’t believe that the best minds on earth would ignore this contingency and have no organized response. Would it be possible for underground or off planet survival? It sounds science-fiction but I can/t imagine the psychopathic elite not having some scheme set up to perpetuate themselves. ”

    What do you suppose the rush up there with the Diavic Gold and Diamond mine in Cannada is all about.
    heroising the Ice road Truckkers is ok, but is it a smoke screen for the biggest bunker there is, apart from the one in Russia that is?

    These lever pullers aren stupid.

    Age old wealth always has bolt holes and knows when to use them.

  • @Gail
    I don’t disagree of course that our destruction of the earth accelerated hugely thanks to fossil fuels – I just think that it would have happened eventually anyway.

    I think you are probably right Gail. In times past, we were nomadic and when we wound over-run and an area, we moved on to new ground. However, once our numbers grew sufficiently where the land became depleted, we transformed from largely hunter gatherer to agrarian – it is really this which has allowed us to multiply beyond the ability of the nature flora and fauna to support us.

    This of course, began the death blow to nature as we forced it to yield to our will. It is amazing earth has held out as long as it has under our aggression. Knowing all of this is one thing, but coming to terms with what the realization of this means (to be truly human and parasitic), how do we keep our mental health and peace of mind? I am finding it very hard to do.

  • ..sorry for the typos. I was in a hurry.

  • @KathyC – You don’t have to go back to ancient Greece to explore the devastation man can inflict on the environment in very short order. Only 165 years ago, not more than a few thousand natives & Europeans lived in California. However, with 10 years, the 49ers made such an impact that the SF Bay is still effected by early mining techniques:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ZoH6ZKItI1IJ:sfbaysubtidal.org/PDFS/Ap1-3%2520Anthropogenic%2520Alterations.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    ***
    By 1853, mining companies were using hydraulic mining techniques in which
    giant “water cannons” aimed huge jets of water, under pressures of hundreds of pounds per square inch, at gold-bearing riverbanks and hillsides. The material washed away was directed into sluices hundreds to thousands of feet long, which were lined with elemental mercury (quicksilver) to capture the gold by amalgamation (Hunerlach et al. 1999).

    Tens of millions of cubic meters of hydraulic mining debris, consisting of rock, gravel, sand, and mud, were annually washed into Sierra streams and carried into Central Valley rivers, causing disastrous floods (Nichols et al. 1986). After years of lawsuits by Central Valley farmers and towns, hydraulic mining was effectively ended in 1884 when Judge Lorenzo Sawyer of the federal Ninth Circuit court in San Francisco granted an injunction making it illegal to discharge mining tailings into streams and rivers (Kelley 1959).

    The effects of hydraulic mining on San Francisco Bay did not factor into the Sawyer decision and were not recognized until later. However, these effects were significant. Sediment deposition
    In recent studies, researchers have used surface-modeling software to conduct very detailed analyses of historical hydrographic surveys whose dates bracket the approximate period of hydraulic mining activity. These analyses have determined that approximately 115 million cubic meters of sediment, mostly hydraulic mining debris, were deposited in Suisun Bay (including Carquinez Strait) between 1867 and 1887 (Cappiella et al. 1999) and approximately 270 million cubic meters were deposited in San Pablo Bay between 1856 and 1887 (Jaffe et al. 2007).

    Gilbert’s analysis, published nearly a century ago, of the same
    surveys yielded quite similar estimates for those embayments, as well as an
    estimate of 190 million cubic yards (about 150 million cubic meters) of hydraulic mining debris deposited in other parts of the Bay between 1856 and 1896.
    ***

  • Bailey, I hope we can all talk more about this:

    “…how do we keep our mental health and peace of mind?”

    I am too practical to resort to any sort of mysticism or spirituality. So I think that’s an excellent question which I certainly haven’t answered.

    Meanwhile I’m watching Attenborough, who just famousy declared our species a plague upon the earth, on youtube talking about the impacts on other species of our overpopulation. Apologies if it’s been posted here before, it’s excellent:

  • I can go on:

    http://www.nationalparkreservations.com/featuredpark.php

    ***
    Few non-Indians knew of the existence of Yosemite Valley prior to 1851. It was at this point that the discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills brought thousands of gold seekers to the area. In 1889, conservationist John Muir and editor Robert Underwood Johnson found the high country overrun with flocks of domestic sheep. Muir wrote of the devastation that these ‘hoofed locusts’ wrought upon the land as early as 1869.
    ***

    There isn’t a single living person who has any memory of what a high Sierra meadow actually looked like before the shepherds arrived after the Gold Rush. While some meadows (such as Tuolumne in Yosemite) have been ‘restored’, in reality, they are nothing like they really were.

    For others, they have been rendered veritable wastelands. Check out these photos of how some meadows have been turned into deserts even after grazing has been banned for years:

    http://www.owensvalleyhistory.com/sierra_experience2/page40.html

  • Gail the Muse says: I don’t disagree of course that our destruction of the earth accelerated hugely thanks to fossil fuels – I just think that it would have happened eventually anyway.

    Our behavior is nothing new:
    We’re the apex, of course we subdue;
    We eat till we choke,
    When the food’s gone, we croak—
    As animals normally do.

  • @Gail,
    Bailey, I hope we can all talk more about this:

    “…how do we keep our mental health and peace of mind?”

    I am too practical to resort to any sort of mysticism or spirituality. So I think that’s an excellent question which I certainly haven’t answered.

    Actually it presents more of an ontological or teleological problem for me than just a “we humans are evil” one. As I mentioned elsewhere, any number of species would do the same thing if not held in check by forces of balance (which we have twarted temporarily via our intellectual prowess and skills).

    To keep from self (and other) loathing, I do try to remind myself that at least of few of us humans have the positive attribute of reflection and resulting remorse concerning the destructive nature of our actions. No other species which could get out of hand could do this.

  • wildwoman says: Isn’t it amazing that we all know we are doomed, know what is killing us and the earth, and we still find it worthwhile to attack others here? No wonder we will go extinct!

    Extinction assures we’ll be sad,
    Despite horrors from hatred we’ve had;
    While we’re not bad or good,
    We don’t act as we should,
    So extinction might not be that bad.

  • Climate scientists err on the side of the least drama:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-scientists-esld.html

  • Born into coal:

  • @ Gail, Bailey

    “…how do we keep our mental health and peace of mind?”

    The peace of mind part I can answer relatively easily, and if anyone wishes to know I’m happy to attempt to do so.

    But the mental health part, how can anyone even begin to define what that is ?

    Psychiatrists ? Does anyone except members of that profession, trust that profession ? I mean, they had Ewen Cameron ( link in a separate following comment ) probably one of the most evil men to have lived in the last century, as President of the American and World Psychiatric Associations. The American DSM is ridiculous. It’s controlled by Big Pharma. The whole notion of what mental illness is defined by power. You don’t see ‘the lust for power’ defined as mental pathology, or the demand that people be blown up with drones or renditioned for torture, as mental pathology. The men who planned to blow up the whole fucking planet with nuclear bombs, indeed the ones who planned to blow up the Moon, just for kicks with nuclear bombs, they don’t get classified as mad… but some poor nervous confused frightened kid…. well, here’s a quote :

    Children are concocted as a prime target for early diagnosis of non-existent mental disorders, because in the past, a number of these children, diagnosed and drugged by psychiatrists, went on to kill people as a result of the drugs’ actions on their brains. That’s called irony. It’s also called a crime, in the very real sense that psychiatrists contributed mightily to the killings.

    So now, every child in school who twitches the wrong way or picks up a bubble-gum toy shaped like a pistol, or points his finger at a friend and says Bang, or looks sad and lonely for ten minutes at the back of the class on a rainy Tuesday, or draws pictures when he should be adding numbers in his notebook, or wears odd clothes, or gets angry for any reason at all, or objects to taking a vaccine, or wears a jacket with a small American flag sewn to the shoulder, or doesn’t play well with others, or makes a positive statement in class about the Bill of Rights, or reminds a teacher of a little criminal in a movie, or has a bottle opener in his pocket, or dreams in class about designing a rocket that will take people to Mars…can be referred to a counselor, who in turn will refer him to a psychiatrist, who will make some sort of off-the-shelf diagnosis, which will travel with the child for the rest of his life, making the child believe he has a brain problem, and the psychiatrist will prescribe that child drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, Zoloft, Paxil, or Prozac, drugs that scramble neurotransmitter systems and can very certainly cause that child to go violent.

    That is the reality.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/038861_psychiatry_mental_disorders_children.html

  • In the second half of the 20th century, mind control projects resulted in extensive political abuse of psychiatry. Many thousands were subjected to unethical mind control experiments by leading psychiatrists and medical schools. Mind control experimentation was not only tolerated by medical professionals, but published in psychiatric and medical journals. Dr. William Sweet participated in both brain electrode implant experiments and the injection of uranium into medical patients at Harvard University. [11][12] Army doctors were involved in LSD testing at least until the late 1970’s. Subjects of LSD experiments included children as young as five years old, and brain electrodes were implanted in children as young as 11 years of age. BB, pg. K, 1, 21

    Linda MacDonald was a victim of Dr. Ewen Cameron’s [13][14][15][16] destructive mind control experiments in 1963. Dr. Cameron was president of the American and World Psychiatric Associations. He used a “treatment” which involved intensive application of these brainwashing techniques; drug disinhibition, prolonged sleep, and prolonged psychological isolation. These were combined with ECT [Electro Convulsive Therapy]. [17][18][19] The amount of electricity introduced into Linda’s brain exceeded by 76.5 times the maximum amount recommended. Dr. Cameron’s technique resulted in permanent and complete amnesia. A class action suit against the CIA for Dr. Cameron’s MKULTRA experiments was settled out of court for $750,000, divided among eight plaintiffs in 1988.

    http://www.wanttoknow.info/mindcontrol

  • @ Gail

    Don’t know if you caught this one, “Too little too late”, it’s about four years old, but I remember it being one of the first times I had ever heard the fate of humanity being so candidly and honestly discussed in a forum. And it was the first time I had heard Attenborough basically state what many of us have known for awhile.

  • THANKS Daniel no, I am (ashamedly) only recently enlightened. My whole life I always was a luddite, and wanted to live out as far in nature as I could…but until the past few years, I really had no idea how badly we have been trashing it…for centuries, at least

  • ulvfugi says, “but the Europe could, theoretically, have settled for the way the Estonian peasantry lived, or USA, how the Mennonites and Amish lived”

    Oh really? To begin with, the Mennonites and Amish have very large families. Than there is the tradition of the father providing each of his sons with farm land. Since land in NA is prohibitively expensive, the Mennonites and Amish are invading Central and South America and as a consequence clear cutting and devastating forrest ecosystems, and they do not give a shit about wildlife conservation. They clear cut every square inch of property and eliminate all wildlife that negatively impact their cop yields. You have read too many fairy tales.

  • @ Gail

    No need to be ashamed……I assume that for many of us here, our secret shame, among others, is that we are laptop Luddites.

  • I voted for Obama and I am relieved that he won. Would you have preferred a Romney administration? And any discussion of third party candidates is not a viable choice.

  • Guy, thanks for spelling it out for me. i’ll try not to offend.

    This may be what’s coming. A fascinating article:

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/For-40-Years-This-Russian-Family-Was-Cut-Off-From-Human-Contact-Unaware-of-World-War-II-188843001.html

  • Jimmy Carter was the last president to have made significant contributions to Americas park system. Carter talked the talk and walked the walk. Carter was also responsible for reducing America’s importation of foreign oil and America’s consumption of fossil fuels.

    The first official act of the Reagan administration was to tear down the solar panels that Carter had installed. Reagan stated that conservation was a moral issue which had no place in government, and furthermore America succeeds because of consumption.

  • @ Frank

    To begin with, the Mennonites and Amish have very large families…etc

    Oh, I am very well aware of that criticism of the Amish, Frank. But if you had paid closer attention to my comment, I did say that more eco-friendly cultures would have bought us time. Maybe a thousand years or so ? Who knows, perhaps the Amish would have realised there was a problem, and adjusted their doctrines to restrict population growth.

    You can hardly compare the relatively minor damage that the Amish do, to, say, Exxon or Monsanto or the nuclear power industry or the military armaments complex. In the last decade, the destruction has speeded up to such an extent that the hockey stick curve is now vertically upward, as if we cannot destroy the biosphere fast enough.

  • Gail,
    I am guessing that Loren Eiseley would have described himself as “practical”. Yet he also wrote:

    “I am treading deeper and deeper into leaves and silence. I see more faces watching, non-human faces. Ironically, I who profess no religion find the whole of my life a religious pilgrimage.”
    “The religious forms of the present leave me unmoved. My eye is round, open, and undomesticated as an owl’s in a primeval forest — a world that for me has never truly departed.”
    “Like the toad in my shirt we were in the hands of God, but we could not feel him; he was beyond us, totally and terribly beyond our limited- senses.”
    “Man is not as other creatures and. . . without the sense of the holy, without compassion, his brain can become a gray stalking horror — the deviser of Belsen.”

    Seems to me that one of the contributing factors to the situation we are all in is the perception that science/rationalism and mysticism/spirituality are mutually exclusive. I would recommend the book Life Is A Miracle by Wendell Berry. He writes,”We are alive within mystery, by miracle. He also quotes Erwin Chargaff, who said,”Life is the continual intervention of the inexplicable”. Seems pretty accurate to me. By the way, I really like the work you are doing on your blog. Thanks!

  • As higher education becomes increasingly corporatized (even in the state college systems), fewer and fewer voices will be heard among academics willing to speak up about imperialism or the empire that feeds and clothes them.

    This piece reminded me of this article from last summer…

    http://www.studentreporter.org/2012/06/are-academics-afraid-of-action/

  • @ Frank

    I voted for Obama…

    So you collaborated with the system. You did not have to vote. I no longer vote in the UK, I don’t want the blood on my hands, or the shame and guilt of being associated in any way.

  • If you do not vote, than you do not have a voice. If you do not vote, than stop complaining.

  • @ patrick k o’leary

    Seems to me that one of the contributing factors to the situation we are all in is the perception that science/rationalism and mysticism/spirituality are mutually exclusive.

    Exactly. Thank you so much. As I have been trying to explain ever since I began commenting on this blog, right brain and left brain, mythos and logos, poetic truth and literal truth.

    The idea that we can banish one and keep the other, or that one is right and the other is wrong, is insane. Like trying to insist that ‘up’ is good whilst ‘down’ is bad. They are two ways of being, knowing, inherent to humans, built into our physiological structure. There’s absolutely nothing we can do about that, except understand it and accept it.

  • B9K9 you wrote “@KathyC – You don’t have to go back to ancient Greece to explore the devastation man can inflict on the environment in very short order.”

    How true. Gads here in Alabama there used to be 5 foot of topsoil they say before the Europeans came. Cotton was king and the soil turned into cloth. Now with depleted soil all the woods are becoming pine. Can’t tell you how many ads we get a month wanting to come cut our hardwoods and plant pine so we can make Money!

    But my point was that humans have been doing this for quite some time. In fact at the link I posted it shows this sad history of humans

    60,000 years before present — Earliest probable evidence of fire used deliberately to clear forests in the Kalambo Falls site in Tanzania. (Grove, 1995).

    7000 BC — Emergence of Catal Huyuk, Jarmo and Alosh cultures in the Middle East. The destruction of lush forests may have given rise to myths about the Garden of Eden. (O’Brien, 1985) Also see K.J.W. Oosthoek, The role of wood in world history.

    6000 BC — Deforestation leads to collapse of communities in southern Israel / Jordan. (Grove, 1995).

    2700 BC — Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh describes vast tracts of cedar forests in what is now southern Iraq. Gilgamesh defies the gods and cuts down the forest, and in return the gods say they will curse Sumeria with fire (or possibly drought). By 2100 BC, soil erosion and salt buildup have devastated agriculture. One Sumerian wrote that the “earth turned white.” Civilization moved north to Babylonia and Assyria. Again, deforestation becomes a factor in the rise and subsequent fall of these civilizations. (Perlin, 1991).

    2700 BC — Some of the first laws protecting the remaining forests decreed in Ur. (Grove, 1995).

    2600 BC — Large scale commercial timbering of cedars in Phoenicia (Lebanon) for export to Egypt and Sumeria. Similar commercial timbering in South India.

    I read somewhere that the deforestation in Greece in Plato’s time was mainly to make fires to forge weapons.

    And now even the olive tree Plato was thought to have taught under has gone http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/olive-oil-basics/platos-sacred-olive-tree-vanished/32262

    Given the fact that humans have behaved so badly for so long, I agree with Benjamin the bard of the apocalypse “extinction might not be that bad” –

  • ulvfugi says, “You can hardly compare the relatively minor damage that the Amish do”

    What? These groups have and continue to clear cut hundreds of thousands of hectares of rain forest throughout Central and South America. As reported by the New York Times, “You drive the distant roads and suddenly find an area of two and five kilometers completely cleared from one week to another,” said Christopher R. Carden, an agronomist in Santa Cruz. “We are at the headwaters of the Amazon and are destroying it.” Groups of Mennonites who have migrated here have established farms that look like the countryside of Pennsylvania or Ohio, with soybeans and other crops growing in meticulously kept fields for miles. In a recent report, Mr. Carden wrote: “Much of the new damage is being done by Mennonite communities who are already responsible for large-scale forest clearance and soil destruction in Santa Cruz. Most of them, when interviewed, show little understanding of or concern for the environment.”

  • Further reported by the Times, “Agronomists warn that in Bolivia winds and heavy rains quickly deplete the acidic soils, forcing communities like the Mennonites to abandon their lands and look for others every few years. If Rules Are Set, They Are Ignored. The Amish and Mennonites are devastating these once virgin forests. They have little regard for the irreversible damage they are inflicting, and take comfort in the biblical command to subdue nature, be fruitful, and multiply.”

  • Thanks Guy, for not ridiculing my question. I appreciate your measured response. I know it’s really neither here nor there whether the military or monied elite have a survival plan or bolt holes as mentioned above. I’m not trying to ease my personal grief by imagining hail Mary schemes. I don’t find it inspiring to imagine techno mechanisms in place to inseminate the stars with our particular brand of crazy.

    I keep reading and seeing little stories and snippets that collected together, seem to imply that plans have been and are being made for some limited human survival. Recent headlines about asteroid mining, inflatable space hotels, nuclear engines for faster space travel, reality shows in Dutch about Mar’s colonies, moon colonies, LaGrange Point space centers, manufacturing in space, collecting and storing water from lunar ice caps, perhaps refining oxygen and hydrogen from it, even platform communities in the oceans, here on earth. I watched a USGov documentary on YouTube the other evening about a “city” built under the ice in Greenland with it’s own nuclear reactor, apparently built in the 1950’s. What else could be hidden away for emergencies out and about the planet?

    What if the very swine who have engineered and profited from the destruction of our planet actually survive long enough to send some of their “chosen” ambassadors of Empire out into the stars? I wonder if the rest of us, “left behinders” would be all copacetic with that?
    Finding out more about this blasphemous possibility might make a good end-time hobby.

  • For those who have not yet caught up with the ancient Greeks, here, once again, a reminder… see also Robert Pirsig’s Classical knowledge versus Romantic knowledge, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which is quoted somewhere on the web, which concerns the very same issue.

    Throughout our history, we human beings have used two different approaches to think about the world around us and to acquire knowledge of it: mythical thinking and logical thinking.

    Some people are weighted more towards one, some more towards the other. Artists and musicians are typically more right brain, scientists and bureaucrats, more left brain, but everybody uses both, and we can’t avoid having both, we NEED both, to be complete human beings. The trouble is, they are not very happy together, they are like twins fighting in a sack, because the way they understand things is so very different. Nobody knows why this should be so. It is a strange mystery of evolution, so much so, that most scientists have tried to avoid tackling it, until Iain McGilchrist’s monumental work.

    http://journeytothesea.com/mythos-logos/

  • @ Frank

    Okay, so they are clearing the rain forest. Do they do that any worse than industrial agribusiness using machines growing GMO soya ? I doubt it. Sure it’s still bad. But I seem to recall you were inviting people to go and live in Colombian rainforest. How is that different ? You think you can live there with zero impact on the ecology ?

    In any event, my argument still stands. There have been ways found by cultures in the past that causes minimal damage to the environment that could, in theory, have permitted us to have lived for a lot longer into the future. As it is, imo, it’s too late now. Nothing is going to stop the slide into NTE. Alberta Tar Sands, coal burning in China, aircraft travel, etc, etc, cancels out all the permaculture communities and eco-friendly campaigning for sustainable technology. Not saying people shouldn’t do it. Do whatever you think is right.

  • @Frank

    I was willing to let you go off on your highly inappropriate UFO tangent, simply because a part of me very much wants to believe in aliens, I mean, nothing would probably make me happier, than to think that we are somehow being observed by some advanced species.

    “Phoenix lights” is utterly mind binding.

    But enough is enough……..this isn’t the Huffington Post, and your classic lesser of two evils mindset, is far more a product of you not being able to vote your conscious, than determining the outcome of whatever imaginary power struggle you think your voice is somehow eliciting.

    You stated:

    “I voted for Obama and I am relieved that he won. Would you have preferred a Romney administration? And any discussion of third party candidates is not a viable choice.”

    “…….a viable choice”?

    First off, this connotes you think you are actually making a choice in voting between two corporate vetted stooges. This, far more than you are obviously aware, reveals your level of understanding of the realpolitic behind what is masquerading as political science in our nations absurd electoral process.

    Secondly–and assuming you are somewhat ecologically minded, given you believe aliens might be attempting to communicate our ecological peril, wherein forgetting to ask yourself, “who would the aliens want me to vote for”–is that somehow after listening to Jill Stein, which I assume any rational voter would have done, in wanting to make the most informed decision possible. You decided that no, even though she was clearly the most ethical, honest, genuine candidate by several orders of magnitude, to the point of being arrested for her ecological beliefs, you voted for the guy who could arguably be considered the worst president in U.S. history, based on his incredible assault on our civil liberties, alone!!!!!

    I blog at NBL simply because I don’t suffer fools. If you feel inclined to espouse your puerile political beliefs, please do us all a favor, and take it elsewhere.

    The aliens are very disappointed in you Frank……..

  • Bug-Splats

    George Monbiot talking about Obama’s use of drones:

    “…a report by the law schools at Stanford and New York universities suggests that during the first three years of his time in office, the 259 strikes for which he is ultimately responsible killed between 297 and 569 civilians, of whom 64 were children”

    He has murdered children.

    Vote for him?

  • Concerning us colonizing the stars and other planets, over 90% of our cells are terrestrial microbes which also evolved HERE over 100’s of millions of years. If we do make it somewhere else, we would not be ‘us’ after very long.

  • @ Frank

    If you do not vote, than you do not have a voice. If you do not vote, than stop complaining.

    That is the quality of logic that satisfies you ?

  • @ depressive lucidity

    Identity politics, political correctness, social wedge issues like gay marriage, abortion and so on do not cost the controllers anything and it keeps the idiocracy immersed in endless verbal wars about nothing.

    Indeed. The ruling class has had centuries of experience. They don’t forget the lessons. Since Bernay’s it’s become ever more sophisticated and refined. The idiocracy are clueless. “If you do not vote, then stop complaining” Hahahahahaha…

    “If voting changed anything, it’d be illegal”. Emma Goldman. (I think, although she could have been quoting someone else.)

    Propaganda and advertising (essentially one and the same thing) both depend on creating a mind-set based on a variety of false psychological needs and in essence producing what is known as a ‘conditioned reflex’ – a term coined by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov after his well-known experiments on dogs, where he conditioned them to salivate in anticipation of being fed, in association with the ringing of a bell ( he measured the saliva by making a hole in the dogs cheeks, exposing the salivery gland and attaching a phial in which the spit was collected). He discovered that without the food, and just by the ringing of the bell the dogs would start to slobber. Hence the expression ‘Pavlov’s dog’.

    What is less known about the good Professor Pavlov is that he conducted the same experiments on children- the homeless and the orphaned- using exactly the same vile methods. The Soviet government feted Pavlov, and he won a Nobel prize for his ‘discoveries’.

    http://incubusblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/biting-the-hand-that-feeds-you/

  • @ Tom

    Hey Tom. That’s quite the civilized link you have there. I think it will be much worse than that especially in the winter time. If you think we’re losin’ our beloved trees now then wait until everyone starts cuttin’ them and burnin’ em in order to heat and cook. No worries though. The place will heat up super-fast after that.

  • Poor Daniel. I am familiar with a sore loser but you have reached the pathetic heights of buffoonery. You are so bitter and angry about the loss of your candidate that you must attack me using the “ad hominem kitchen sink” method”. This is the United States of America where majority rules whether you like it or not. I am proud for having supported President Obama and I would happily vote for him again.

    Unfortunately for you, your candidate of choice garnered just 00.36% of the vote. The people thoroughly and resoundingly rejected your choice.

  • Yeah ulvfugi, I used my hard earned personal wealth to buy and protect in perpetuity a large expanse of rain forest as a wildlife reserve that would have otherwise become one more Mennonite plantation.

    You know nothing of our plans in Colombia. We are expanding the borders of the widlife reserve and in order to save the greatest amount of land we are working as a group.

    We are actually making a real world difference as opposed to yourself who simply criticizes and attacks many people on this site.

  • Huge New Slick at Site of BP’s 2010 Gulf Oil Spill: Macondo never stopped leaking, despite the lies from BP and Obama

  • @ BtD

    In response to…….

    @ Daniel: In a previous thread, you said:

    …I believe we are only at the beginning of seriously questioning how this new paradigm [NTE] completely overrides our past presumptions.

    I’ve been hoping to hear more about this from you. 🙂 BtD

    Not far from claiming the dog ate my homework, I spent quite a lot of time pouring over the that very question, in fact, I’m rather tardy in sending an essay to Guy at this point. But, like an idiot, I somehow erased an enormous amount of work. And given that it was already the emotional/psychological equivalent to dredging the Mississippi, the idea of somehow rewriting it, seems………….I don’t know, even more pointless right now.

    I have my moments where I’m able to detach from the suffocating sadness and achieve a pinch of clarity, but honestly, most often I feel as though I’m knee deep in molasses…….and compared to others, I have it easy. (thinking of Jennifer Hartley and Badlands)

    The concept of Pre-TSD resonated strongly with me, if not for a lack of a better depiction of having been on the front-lines of witnessing this decades long train crash. It’s a strange paralysis of never having had more to say, while being at a complete loss for words.

    I’m also firmly entrenched in the “ethical suicide camp for when the time comes”, which is probably the most hot button taboo concept concerning NTE, and I’m not quite sure if this is an appropriate subject to dive into, given I’m personally still needing a couple a more years of data sets, before I feel confident to abandon my current living arrangements and fully walk my talk. So, I still sense a tinge of hypocrisy in fully delving into the incredibly stark choices now before us all.

    But aside from that, thanks for asking, and BTW, love your prose, it strangely makes this mind numbing reality a little easier to digest……..keep it up. Big love, D.

  • Kathy C

    Can I ask, is what you write about the ancient forrests in the Meditarrainian…

    Are the deltas, muddy and unvegetated,the result of cutting trees in those actual river mouths, and of course upstream, creating silt?

    Were the modern deltas forrested, or at least vegetated even in flood time?

  • depressive lucidity said
    They don’t understand that the system is designed to remain structurally static, i.e. it will preserve the power and privilege of the banking and corporate classes at all costs.

    frank said
    If you do not vote, than you do not have a voice.

    You and others can debate this proposition indefinitely, perhaps until you have to stop due to fight over the last mole of oxygen left on the planet. The two world views are sufficiently inelastic that neither can stretch enough to incorporate or embrace the other.

    Maybe you and ulvfugl could agree that regardless of the value of voting, people do have a voice when they are “in the street”. Whether it is generally non-violent, like the People Power crowds that brought down Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos, or more extreme, like the Romanian resistance that ended in summary executions on TV, (OK to take a mental breath about here) non-anonymous arms in the air and boots on the ground seem to be serious force multipliers of public opinion compared to the relative whispers of votes cast in private.

    Gail & Bailey

    Comedy and music work as well as anything for my mental health and peace of mind.


    Hasta proxima

  • @ Frank

    You’re the one who voted for yet another war criminal…not me. I also don’t think you really know where you’re at, here. Your position is so politically sophomoric, it would take a lifetime to disabuse you of your inculcation, which no one, here, either has the patience or desire to engage in. Just take your facile bumper stickers someplace else where it might hold some currency. That way, you won’t further continue to display all that you don’t know.

    And it’s not poor me, it how poor our murderous foreign policy has made the world.

  • Guy,

    If I had sme substantial har left, after your last link on the continuing oil slicks, and BP and Coast Guard obfuscation, I would be pulling it right now.

    I might just have to pull something else to relieve the stress…

    I mean a beer,
    Dont fear,
    How could anything so small,
    The beer,
    Do you hear?
    Negate the fall,
    Of this grat ape Humanity?
    Though it wont keep intact,
    As a matter of fact,
    Unanimously Humanity’s sanity.

    Ha!

  • Depending on which index you refer to, Crude oil nudging toward US$100 and US$115 per barrel today.

    “The fact that Brent crude oil prices have been rallying less than WTI crude oil is important due to the fact that gasoline prices are much more closely correlated to the price of Brent than they are to WTI crude oil. The chart below compares the prices of unleaded gasoline to Brent crude oil prices over the last six months. As shown, the relationship between gasoline and Brent crude is much stronger than the relationship between gasoline and WTI (shown in the top chart).

    ‘Crude Oil Rises, But Prices At The Pump Lag ‘

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1143661-crude-oil-rises-but-prices-at-the-pump-lag?source=google_news

    A snippet:

    “The fact that Brent crude oil prices have been rallying less than WTI crude oil is important due to the fact that gasoline prices are much more closely correlated to the price of Brent than they are to WTI crude oil….

    So for now, the fact that Brent crude oil has been rallying less than WTI is good for drivers. However, the relationship works both ways. Back in 2011, gasoline prices soared when Brent was rallying more than WTI. Then, in the late summer and fall of 2012, gasoline prices fell much more slowly due to the fact that Brent crude oil prices fell more slowly than WTI.”

    The gyser could just go anytime now.

  • Global Warming: Future Temperatures Could Exceed Livable Limits, Researchers Find. Not to worry, though. Quoting the ludicrously conservative IPCC, these researcher conclude it won’t happen this century. And the study ignores impacts on ecosystems.

  • Re: The oil spill. When oil crude was washing up on a nearby FL beach just in coincidence of the worse of the spill, we held an anti BP rally on the beach. There were thousands of people on the beach and most just turned their noses up at us, many laughed, and only a handful joined us. I really think that humans have funny creepy crawlies going in and out of their ears (invasion of the mind snatchers it seems). There are so few humans operating on more than a couple of cylinders. We are so screwed it ain’t funny.

  • Apologies for sloppy editing there in my previous comment.

  • Bailey

    From your:

    “…There are so few humans operating on more than a couple of cylinders. We are so screwed it ain’t funny.”

    So ‘aint funny’ I am laughing out of one side of my mouth,
    but crying out of the other.

  • To vote is to sanction the continued use of the gun of enforcement by the state: enforcement by the threat of coercive violence. Voting is the attempting to move the aim of the gun: to point it at someone else. Or to keep it pointed at the same place.

    If you do not vote, than you do not have a voice.
    A voice to direct where the gun is pointed.

    Not voting, one declines to be an sponsor of the violence.

  • I am too practical to resort to any sort of mysticism or spirituality.

    There is no need to do so.


    How to Study the Scriptures
    Lecture by Swami Sriddharananda

  • @ Frank

    I am proud for having supported President Obama and I would happily vote for him again.

    I think that says all that I need to know about you. If that’s as sophisticated as your understanding has got regarding politics, not surprising you’ll believe bizarre nonsense on other subjects, is it.

    …to buy and protect in perpetuity a large expanse of rain forest…

    Perpetuity ? How long is that going to be do you think ?

    We are actually making a real world difference…

    Oh yes, I’m sure that the whole world appreciates and applauds you voting for Obama, and going to live in pristine rain forest, hahahaha.

    You avoided answering the question. how are you going to live there and have zero impact on the ecology ? What’s the difference between you and the Mennonites ?

  • @ Bailey, Ozman

    There are so few humans operating on more than a couple of cylinders. We are so screwed it ain’t funny.

    I’m wondering whether either of you were conscious of the…erm, sad imagery hiding behind the words, the malfunctioning motor car engine…. that depends upon that oil…

  • Who runs the world? But behind this is a more basic drive: the need to get energy (gone amock). Those who are best at it reproduce more. The rest don’t and thus aren’t any more.

    http://www.doomsteaddiner.org/blog/2013/01/30/who-runs-the-world/

    As I read this I kept thinking, nature bats last. I suppose in a few millions years, nature will come up with just another version. So far, all the versions seem to be alike; chasing energy as if it were a matter of life or death….which it is. Wait and see.

  • To run on all cylinders, we need our full quota of energy. How will we get it? I’m going to watch “Three Days of the Condor” again. Helps pass the time, maybe.

  • Oz man
    From the Encyclopedia of earth
    In ancient Greece, regional analyses of historic erosion and alluviation demonstrate that massive erosion follows eforestation, by about 500-1,000 years the introduction of farming in the various regions of Greece, ranging from the later Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age.[6] The thousand years following the middle of the first millennium BC saw substantial instances soil erosion in numerous locales. The historic siltation of ports along certain coasts of Europe (Bruge) and the coasts of the Black Sea and southern coasts Asia Minor (e.g Tulcea, Clarus, and the ports of Ephesus, Priene and Miletus, where harbours were reduced in use or abandoned because of the silt deposited by the Danube and Meander Rivers) and in coastal Syria during the last centuries BC.
    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Deforestation?topic=58071#gen3

    Foot note 6 is from Tjeerd H. van Andel, Eberhard Zangger and Anne Demitrack, .1990. Land Use and Soil Erosion in Prehistoric and Historical Greece. Journal of Field Archaeology. 17.4 pages 379-396

    In other words, the ports were abandoned because the silt built up land beyond them making them no longer ports. From wiki Küçük Menderes, “Little Meander”) or Cayster River is located south of İzmir, Turkey. The Cayster generally flows westward and arrive into the Aegean Sea at Pamucak beach near Selçuk, İzmir. The ancient city of Ephesus was once an important port on the Cayster, but over the centuries, sedimentation gradually filled in the inlet around the city. The coastlines moved seaward and the ruins of Ephesus are now some 5 miles inland from the coast.

    I presume the deltas would have built up anyway but more slowly. Does that answer your question?

  • From Daniel:

    “The aliens are very disappointed in you Frank……..”

    Beautiful! +1

  • You might enjoy this, dmd, Animations of Unseeable Biology, stuff that’s happening inside us all of the time…

    http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology.html

  • storms getting stronger, encompassing wider areas

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2270878/US-weather-Tornado-tears-Southeast-leaving-dead-homes-destroyed.html

    TWENTY Tornadoes tear through Southeast, leaving two dead, homes destroyed and tractor-trailers overturned on the road At least two people have been confirmed dead in today’s 1,000-mile-long storm system
    20 Tornadoes reported in six states, from Missouri to Georgia

    Stunning video footage of the tornado in Georgia captured by local news

    Winds as high as 115 mph and tens of thousands are without power

    and this is early for tornado season!

  • @ infanttyrone

    …like the Romanian resistance that ended in summary executions on TV…

    Hi, those events take a long time building and often a lot of blood. If you look at the State as a complex system, there a key control points. If those change, the nature of the system changes. For example, you’ve got Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court, that’s a key control point. He’s Opus Dei, means he’s the Pope’s man. All through the system there are nodes like that. In UK they’ll typically be Freemasons or whatever. There’s a sort of invisible skeleton embedded in the system. Forget the name, but in France, ever since the Revolution, since Napoleon, every village, factory, school, etc, has a clandestine informant who reports secretly to the Gvt. on anything worthy of note. The peasants, the general public, are typically totally unaware of these invisible power structures. For radical change to occur, means moving power, taking power, as you said re Marcos, as in Egypt, etc. But that means the people have to understand the system which oppresses them, or else just blast everything away and start afresh. We see what happens in Egypt. Mubarak is sacrificed, but then the USA, UK, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc, use the power of international finance to re-colonise and make a new dictatorship to serve their desires, and the ordinary people lose once again.

  • S. Oats, for quite some time I was devoted to developing viable space colonization. It started in 1969 when at the age of 9 I watched humans walk on the moon. I was enraptured and hooked. My dreams were cultivated further by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke, Ben Bova, and Greg Bear. I went so far as to establish a company to develop a low earth orbit space station. You can read about my efforts in the book Free Space by Alex Howerton. My company was also featured in multiple newspapers and magazines at the time (early to mid 90s).

    My point is that while I grew to understand the impossibility of an extended human presence in space, many have not yet come to the same conclusion. Just as I was not connected in any way to the government nor the political elite nor anyone else of influence, so too many of those who still long for life in the stars are just as independent as I was.

    Newspapers and other news sources are always looking for something different with which to attract readers/viewers. While there may be some wealthy men and women out there who see what is coming and are pursuing whatever means they can to make sure they and their power and influence survive, the bulk of what you are seeing in the news is of people like I was, just doing stuff that someone else found interesting enough to write about – regardless whether the project is viable or not.

    Personally, I would be very surprised if there are not some serious efforts by the top power elite for a select few of them to survive what’s coming, but unlike Glen Beck’s fiasco, you will never hear or read anything about it.

  • Personally, I would be very surprised if there are not some serious efforts by the top power elite for a select few of them to survive what’s coming, but unlike Glen Beck’s fiasco, you will never hear or read anything about it.

    I should have added to that: nor will it be successful.

  • S. Oats:
    You’re right, the only fun left to us may just be keeping an eye on the survival strategy of those whom you so aptly described as, “the psychopathic elite…the very swine who have engineered and profited from the destruction of our planet.” Unless we’re blind to reality, we shouldn’t expect the world’s landlords to suffer the same fate as their tenants. I think we should try to envision what these invitation only intentional communities for the world’s owners could look like.

    http://www.iter.org/

    Whether it will work is still a big if…but if it works, they would be able to survive in heavily fortified city-states around these fusion power stations, with as much hoarded supplies as possible while the rest of us deal with raging fires, massive droughts, and mass starvation. Perhaps 10 plants could be built in time (2040?), with a million people for each plant living in relative comfort, with food and other vital plant species grown in protective greenhouse structures. Power could be used to desalinate seawater and make oxygen, if it comes to that. All this should come as no surprise to us, after all, they live in walled communities patrolled by armed guards now, why wouldn’t they continue this with this mode of operation to the bitter end? Their needs, desires, and priorities come first now, and there’s no reason why this won’t continue as conditions worsen. I doubt there would even offer much resistance, just like today, people would rather suck up to the elite and try to join it, rather than fight it. If things go well for them, the 99.9% will die off quickly, so they won’t have to worry about security for very long. And so the threat of revolution or revolt from the masses, however unlikely, will be gone forever. Hey, who can say that this wasn’t their plan all along?

  • On the Impossible Becoming Possible, Jeff Kripal, great lecture imo.

  • ulv, if you will notice, this lecture touches on what I have been pointing out about the anomalous (including UFOs, abductions, crop circles, moth men, etc). They are coming from us instead of some ‘other’ (God, aliens, etc). Now I suspect the truth is that ‘us’ is not what we think we are.

    Even science realizes today that the world is defined as not just the super symmetry of matter-energy, but is all information based. As I said, we are holons. This has even become evident in the new discoveries revealing signal detection of an expansion of the planck scale granular ‘bit’ sizes of this information – postulating that our reality is the event horizon of a 2-d surface and the world is holographic in nature.

    That is why I am a neutral monist, and though we apparently live in a phenomenal world, the true ground of being is more like the Kantian noumenon. The anomalous has a Heisenberg like quality which will never allow it to fall neatly under an empirical microscope because it exists in a liminality as a reflection of our collective unconscious. We should learn from it’s language – especially as it reveals our psychopathology!

  • ..BTW, when I say I am a monist, it means that I don’t believe in a spirit vs physical world. I believe it is one world, but that there is a much deeper level of reality than the phenomenal world with it’s five senses and empiricism can ever reveal to us. My background is science, and so I would not take this stance if it were not for being personally convinced in the existence of the psi and the anomalous.

  • Interesting paper recently released in Global Environmental Change:

    Climate Scientists Erring on the Side of Least Drama

  • ..And that science leads to irreducible conclusions as per the supposed creation even where matter-energy-time originated from non matter-energy-time (requiring the formulation of all sorts of convoluted and non provable M-branes, multiverses yada yada).

  • @Gail

    “…how do we keep our mental health and peace of mind?”

    KC and the Sunshine Band – Get Down Tonight (1975)

  • ulvfugl; Thanks for the Drew Berry Ted Talk link. It’s hard to believe that this goes on all the time and has for billions of years. What fascinates me even more is that collection of building blocks, the Periodic Table of elements, that makes this all possible. I have referred to these elements as a “Lego Bricks” kit. Matter matters.