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

  • Taking a page out of China’s playbook, the powers that be now want to allow the use of radioactive metal in recycled products! What could go wrong?

    http://www.cryptogon.com/?p=33492

    What to Do with Thousands of Tons of Radioactive Scrap Metal? Recycle It Into Consumer Goods

    Via: Wall Street Journal:

    The Department of Energy is proposing to allow the sale of tons of scrap metal from government nuclear sites—an attempt to reduce waste that critics say could lead to radiation-tainted belt buckles, surgical implants and other consumer products.

    The department, in a document released last month, said the recycling proposal is in line with its policy of “reusing materials whenever possible.”

    The approximately 14,000 tons of metal under review for possible initial release is only a fraction of the tens of millions of tons of metal recycled annually, it said. Smaller amounts could be eligible for release in future years.

    Selling the metals could bring in $10 million to $40 million a year, the DOE estimates.

    While the metal would come from “radiological areas” such as research laboratories and nuclear-weapons-related facilities, any contamination would be so low that a member of the public would be exposed to a “negligible individual dose” of additional radiation, the DOE said. The allowable annual radiation dose to an individual from a given shipment of the scrap metal would be half the estimated amount of radiation a person gets flying cross-country, or even less, the document said.

    Some industry and environmental groups aren’t satisfied by the government’s assurances.

    “We are concerned about what could happen in the marketplace if you have to worry about radioactive material possibly being in your eyeglass frames,” said Thomas Danjczek, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association, a trade group whose members use recycled metals. “Why is the government trying to hurt the image of American products?”

    It is difficult and expensive to prevent the commingling of recycled metals. Metal-processing facilities already face contamination problems when they inadvertently accept medical devices and other radioactive products, Mr. Danjczek said. Cleanup from such incidents can cost a recycling plant as much as $15 million, he added.

    Some critics argue the DOE’s proposed exposure standards are too high and that information provided in its 50-page document explaining the proposal is even more worrisome.

    Higher exposures could occur if contaminated metal is made into items such as belt buckles or hip-replacement joints, said Daniel Hirsch, a lecturer on nuclear policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and critic of the government’s proposal. Such exposures would further increase a person’s cancer risk, he said.

    On Friday, Rep. Ed Markey wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, calling the recycling proposal “unwise” and stating the proposal “should be immediately abandoned.” The Massachusetts Democrat added that contaminated products could “ultimately be utilized by pregnant women, children and other vulnerable populations.”

    A DOE spokesman said procedures for clearing the metals for sale are designed to ensure the materials don’t cause problems for industry. He disputed the claims that the metals could possibly cause higher radiation exposures to individuals. The DOE is preparing a response to Mr. Markey, he added.

    Related: Toxic Sludge is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber

  • @ Bailey

    Well, thanks for that interesting comment, Bailey, I don’t know why you didn’t say that in the previous thread, when I was trying to drag out of you the most interesting part, which is the bit that is supposed to connect the inner psychic e.g. demon, with the external physical e.g. demon claw marks, ;-) but anyway…

    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.

    Yes. I recommend, start by refraining from any pre-imposed worldview or belief system, otherwise you’ve already distorted or contaminated the ‘thing’ you’re trying to investigate.

    Even science realizes today that the world is defined as not just the super symmetry of matter-energy, but is all information based.

    Some scientists take that view. Tom Campbell likes to say it’s all information. I dug into that Shannon-Weaver stuff and went along with Campbell a lot of the way, but I think…. well, it’d take too long to explain, but I’m not onboard that ship anymore.

    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.

    Yes, you said it. Interesting. Doesn’t mean it’s right. ;-)

    As for the rest. Our positions are probably not so far apart. Jeff Kripal suggests that the anomalous experiences occur when the ego is ‘asleep’, so to speak, when it gets out of the way. This happens for ordinary people more or less accidentally. However, if one follows the classical buddhist meditation techniques, ( the jhanas, Theravada terminology ) where ego loss is regular, then the anomalous experiences become normal ( siddhis ).

    Neuroscience has demonstrated that in just six months of meditation for 15 minutes daily, the brain structure and function changes, so it almost certainly very, very different after many decades of intense training. Of course, speaking to people who have no experience of meditation or siddhis or anomalous experiences is unfruitful and frustrating, as illustrated frequently on this blog.

    However, although I am not sceptical regarding psi, I think the weirdest part is the link, if there is one, between the psychic and the physical. Of course, what we call the physical, the material, is not really that at all. Science knows that very well. And what is the psychic ? I suppose it’s consciousness, and nobody knows what that is, the scientists are just as as useless as the mystics and gurus. It’s all hand waving and obfuscation. But you don’t need to know what it is to be able to use it.

    Incidentally, I just listened to this talk about elongated skulls. I knew they had been found in Mexico and assigned to aliens, which I considered to be nonsense. But this guy studying them says they occur in many other parts of the world, and in Peru in the hundreds, which was news to me, and I am very open to his suggestion that prehistory is much more complex and interesting than the standard schoolbook version.

    It seems likely that we are less intelligent and physically capable than our palaeolithic ancestors, and yet strong smart people now, could build a craft and circumnavigate the planet, so I don’t see any reason in principle, why it shouldn’t have been done many, many times in the last few hundred thousand years.

  • ulvfugl:
    I agree with the part about ego dissolution. I tend to align with Terrence McKenna, who once said in a talk that I was attending, ” You can be sweeping out the ashram until the cows come home and won’t get a glimpse of the true reality that can be achieved by ingesting five dried grams of psilocybin mushrooms in a dark room”. To each his own.

  • Has everyone seen this? “Home”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU

  • @ BC Nurse Prof Says:
    January 30th, 2013 at 11:33 am

    “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

    what do you hope to gain in this conversation by pointing to stories that are 4+ years old (re the job fair), and 1 year almost to the day (re the latter) ?

  • ulv, the reason I didn’t comment more, was because I don’t feel this is the best forum for digging into that subject matter. And also, because I do feel there are scientifically (current science) unexplained legit anomalous phenomenon, I really don’t have an understanding of it beyond what I posited. I will further say that anyone who claims to have an understanding of it, is delusional. I can only say that it somehow comes from us and my point is more of what it ‘is not’ (true ETs, demons, gods, chupacabra, virgins, etc).

    That being said, this whole field of the paranormal is rife with crap and woo woo new-ageology, UFOology, quantum bullshit, etc. But just as counterfeit money does not invalidate true money, literal mythology does not invalidate psi and a greater essence of our being than what our empirical minds currently reveal.

    I am agnostic to the whole skull thing. It is well recognized that there were mutational and disease deformities, and all sorts of skull shaping practices which could account for these findings. We also know that the crystal skull stuff is hoaxed crap.

  • Thanks for all the links, folks!

    Here’s a great video with Attenborough:

    I’ve been reading an article from before Copenhagen that quotes scientists as saying it represented our last change to make an agreement to avert total catastrophe (and as we now know, it was a giant failure):

    The world is now firmly on course for the worst-case scenario in terms of climate change, with average global temperatures rising by up to 6C by the end of the century, leading scientists said yesterday. Such a rise – which would be much higher nearer the poles – would have cataclysmic and irreversible consequences for the Earth, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable and threatening the basis of human civilisation.

    We are headed for it, the scientists said, because the carbon dioxide emissions from industry, transport and deforestation which are responsible for warming the atmosphere have increased dramatically since 2002, in a way which no one anticipated, and are now running at treble the annual rate of the 1990s.

    This means that the most extreme scenario envisaged in the last report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in 2007, is now the one for which society is set, according to the 31 researchers from seven countries involved in the Global Carbon Project.

    Although the 6C rise and its potential disastrous effects have been speculated upon before, this is the first time that scientists have said that society is now on a path to meet it.

    Professor Le Quéré said that Copenhagen was the last chance of coming to a global agreement that would curb carbon-dioxide emissions on a time-course that would hopefully stabilise temperature rises to within the danger threshold. “The Copenhagen conference next month is in my opinion the last chance to stabilise climate at C above pre-industrial levels in a smooth and organised way,” she said.

    “If the agreement is too weak, or the commitments not respected, it is not 2.5C or 3C we will get: it’s 5C or 6C – that is the path we’re on. The timescales here are extremely tight for what is needed to stabilise the climate at C,” she said.

    Meanwhile, the scientists have for the first time detected a failure of the Earth’s natural ability to absorb man-made carbon dioxide released into the air.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/world-on-course-for-catastrophic-6deg-rise-reveal-scientists-1822396.html

  • infanttyrone

    I was not implying that popular resistance movements cannot effect change. I was saying, rather, that fundamental changes in our unsustainable living arrangements will not occur via the avenues afforded by the “system”. Hence, voting for corporate candidate A, or corporate candidate B, will not alter the balance of power in this society. Obama (assuming he was not a willing Wall Street prostitute) is powerless to impose policies that would significantly reduce carbon emissions in the US because there is a direct link between carbon and wealth. And wealth runs the planet. Which means that China and other developing economies are going to burn as much carbon as they can to feed cars and other consumer goods to their burgeoning middle classes.

    This spiral of insane shit will continue until the whole thing collapses, by which time we will have exceeded major climactic tipping points …!

    In examining the key reports being made by the scientific community – such as drafts for the new IPCC document and the National Climate Assessment (of the U.S.), one might expect there to be dire warnings about a potential “point of no return” if these forces are unleashed. We do find a discussion of the various consequences of climate disruption that are hitting right now – Arctic and glacial melt, extreme weather, more powerful hurricanes and storms, increases in drought, food shortages, wildfires, and flooding. But where is the discussion of what these symptoms of disruption are leading to? One of the most frightening spectres looming over humanity – the tipping point of a methane “runaway” – is completely ignored.

    https://arctic-news.blogspot.ca/

    They will continue to ignore it because it’s bad for business and no elected official is going to stop that Thelma & Louise dive off the extinction cliff.

    In short, voting is a waste of time.

  • meh, my last comment is stuck in moderation – I forgot about the 2-link taboo. Anyway, I had heard about darker ice from soot (from wildfires) leading to more melting but didn’t really take it seriously as a major amplifying feedback until I saw the picture in this post:

    https://climatecrocks.com/2013/01/31/jason-box-can-we-save-greenland/

  • Regarding voting, no one will be elected if they are not OK with TPTB. No one will stay alive or in power if once elected they decide to go against TPTB –

    The Onion in using humor, shows us what our elections are for – entertainment and the illusion that we the people have any power.

    http://www.theonion.com/video/diebold-accidentally-leaks-results-of-2008-electio,14214/

  • @ patrick o’leary

    To each his own.

    Oh, he was lazy and undisciplined and all over the place, can you imagine having to put up with someone like that as company ? He had no idea how to be peaceful and serene and quiet and tranquil. He liked to open the door on his stream of consciousness thing and let it all come flooding out… I suppose he had to, otherwise he’d have drowned himself in it or exploded or something ;-)

    I’ve had this argument hundreds of times already. It’s not an either/or. There’s people who spend years and years meditating and going to centres and gurus, who are totally clueless airheads, and there’s people who take all kinds of entheogens who end up completely messed up idiots, nothing like McKenna. Everybody is different. There are lovely people who have never done either, and why would they need to ?

    Meditation is definitely safer, because it is slower and gentler, but if you really get into it, it can have dramatic phases, like kensho or satori, that can be just as disorientating as any psychedelic trip, well, it’s the same thing really, and can go on for days, weeks, months, and it is probably a good idea to have someone trustworthy to be in attendance, although I’ve always preferred complete solitude myself, faraway from people.

    Look, the basic, fundamental, foundation of where I am at, what I got from soto zen, is totally simple, ORDINARY MIND IS BUDDHA MIND. Or, to put it another way, Buddha mind is ordinary mind. Don’t go looking for anything, don’t seek enlightenment, don’t try to find exotic mental experiences, don’t try to do any fucking thing at all… just STOP doing all the stupid shit. Just sit. You ALREADY have everything. You ALREADY are everything. There is nothing to be achieved. Like the Taoist’s say, ‘To the mind that is still, the whole Universe surrenders’. It’s totally simple, easy, effortless. And yet doing it, is so incredibly hard…. even for one minute…

  • As Guy has so eloquently said over and over, the only salvation for some species on this planet is collapse of industrial civilization. The massive melt of Arctic Sea ice, among other “surprises” for climate scientists, pretty much tells us it is too late, for now powerful positive feedbacks will be triggered and nothing will stop them.

    But in case it is not quite too late, there is some hope that the 2012 hopeful prediction for the collapse of industrial civ actually happened. Growth not only contracted but actually declined in the 4th quarter and western civ REQUIRES growth to keep going. Thus I think you can make the case that Guy was right – its over. Note also that Brent is at $115 and West Texas Intermediate is at $97 which is a big problem for industrial civ. Sort of like a sinkhole – it is becoming a sinkhole, but doesn’t show on the surface – but when it goes, everything resting on the fragile piece of ground goes as well.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/31/econ-j31.html
    US economy contracted in fourth quarter of 2012
    By Barry Grey 31 January 2013
    The Commerce Department on Wednesday reported that the US economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012, the first decline in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) since the second quarter of 2009, the final three months before the official end of the recession.
    The report, showing a decline at an annual rate of 0.1 percent between October and December, stunned Wall Street and government economists, who were expecting a growth rate lower than the 3.1 percent recorded in the third quarter of last year, but still well above zero. The consensus projection was for an increase of 1.1 percent.

  • I think this is complete vindication and besides the line about seismologists made me laugh:

    http://www.dailyimpact.net/2013/01/28/renowned-scientist-says-global-collapse-likely/

    According to a paper appearing in the March Proceedings of the Royal Society, “Now, for the first time, a global collapse [of civilization] appears likely.” The paper makes, in a scholarly, peer-reviewed manner, many of the same points about the existential threats that I made in my book Brace for Impact:Surviving the Crash of the Industrial Age. According to Paul R. Ehrlich’s paper, titled “Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?” the threats include toxic pollution, land degradation, scarcity of water and oil, plagues, resource wars (perhaps nuclear), over-consumption, overpopulation and the overarching threat multiplier, climate change.

    Yes, it is that Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb. This will no doubt raise hoots of derision from the anti-science crowd who have pilloried him (and his wife and collaborator Anne) for decades because some of the scenarios in the book describing what will happen when population growth exceeds carrying capacity have not yet happened. This is like ridiculing seismologists because the great San Francisco earthquake has not yet happened. Science should not be credited or discredited on the basis of pinpoint predictions, but on the basis of its understanding of consequences. As Ehrlich says now [to the Los Angeles Times] about The Population Bomb:

    “When we wrote it, there were about 3.5 billion people on the planet; about half a billion of them were hungry. Today there are 7 billion people on the planet and about a billion of them are hungry. We’ve lost something on the order of 200 million to 400 million to starvation and diseases related to starvation since the book was written. How ‘wrong’ [were] we?”

    But to get back to the future as seen in his current paper: “Humankind finds itself engaged in what Prince Charles described as ‘an act of suicide on a grand scale,’ facing what the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor John Beddington called a ‘perfect storm’ of environmental problems.”

  • .
    There’s Worse Things Than Winding Up Dead

    There’s worse things than dying in bed,
    Or working your life just for bread;
    When I see what’s ahead,
    I think I’ll eat lead—
    There’s worse things than winding up dead.
    ==

    In the previous thread, the virgin terry says: …find a musical collaborator…someone with a good deal of talent.

    There’s Worse Things Than Winding Up Dead
    Performer: The Dixie Chicks Doomer Reunion
    3/4 A little up, a little bit country

    There’s worse things than dying in bed,
    e/eee/fed/c/ /
    C/G/C/ /

    Or working your life just for bread
    a/aaa/fga/g/ /
    F/F/C/C7/

    When I see what’s ahead,
    gg/aaa/b
    F/G/

    I think I’ll eat lead,
    b/cgf/e
    C/ /

    There’s worse things than winding up dead.
    e/eee/fed/c /
    C/G/C/ /

  • Kathy C, thanks for the link to the Onion. Even though it’s old, it’s a classic!

    The links to George Carlin were also much appreciated. Man, there is another one who is missed! Comedy does help.

    Re: American elections….I think I voted in my last one and I too went third party. There was a picture going around of Obama and Romney merged and the tagline was Obamney 2012. I thought it was a perfect comment on the corporate choices before us. Any belief I once had in American democracy went out the window with Citizens United. If you still believe that your vote counts, I want whatever you are smoking! It’s clearly better than mine.

    BtD….does this mean I get to be a muse too?? I’m honored.

    I’m thinking of renaming my blog from i got somethin to say (which is a reference to “To Kill a Mockingbird” to i got somethin to say while waiting for extinction. Probably not as catchy, but hey, that’s what I’m doin’.

  • @ Bailey

    …literal mythology does not invalidate psi and a greater essence of our being than what our empirical minds currently reveal.

    Well, we can agree upon that last. Here’s scientific evidence for remote viewing, one of the siddhis.

    Remote Viewing is still considered fringy by many in the mainstream scientific community although this has not prevented the military from using it for spying purposes. Those who limit their thought to a purely materialist explanation of the universe are the primary holders of this skepticism. However there are many well respected scientists that have done the hard work of showing through scientific method that indeed an additional sense does exist in the human mind.

    http://www.gabrieldroberts.com/theblog/2012/8/16/non-locality-2-first-time-remote-viewers-showing-astounding-results

  • @ Benjamin Donkey

    I want it on an mp3 with a Little Feat sorta rhythm, please ;-)

  • wildwoman says: does this mean I get to be a muse too??

    A quick count shows you’ve already inspired five (5) (!) entries (including the Roseanne Roseannadanna one, which I REALLY enjoyed writing), so absolutely! :D
    ==

    @ ulvfugl: Bob Dylan couldn’t turn this fucker around.

  • Kathy C, I wish it were truly over. However, they just took many acres of the last stands of historic live oaks on my Fl island, so the patient still breaths. Also, when these no longer have fuel, I will be laughing at the funeral of the Empire..
    https://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/41_kruppdistance9_1229638943.jpeg

  • Obama justifies “prolonged detention” of civilians for thought crime. Rachel Maddow is starting to catch on.

  • If anyone is in New York next Wednesday, please join us at Foley Square – should be fun:

    Lawsuit Plaintiffs & Hundreds of Activists will ‘Flood’ 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Fight Against NDAA Indefinite Detention

    A lawsuit over a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will be back in federal court at 10am on February 6, 2013, awaiting decision on an injunction prohibiting indefinite detention of civilians without charge or trial. A group of academics, journalists, and activists filed suit last year over § 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA alleging that the provision suspended due process rights and threatened first amendment protections.

    In a landmark ruling last September the plaintiffs —former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, linguist and author Noam Chomsky, Icelandic Parliamentarian Brigitta Jonsdottir, RevolutionTruth founder Jennifer “Tangerine” Bolen, US Day of Rage founderAlexa O’Brien, and Occupy London activist Kai Wargalla— were awarded a permanent, worldwide injunction against the provision by Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of NY (2nd Circuit).

    In her ruling Judge Forrest, an Obama appointee, challenged the Justice Department attorneys for refusing to provide assurances that journalists and activists would not be indefinitely detained under the provision for exercising first amendment rights:“Not once in any of its submissions in this action or at either the March or August hearings has the Government said, ‘First Amendment activities are not covered and could never be encompassed by § 1021(b)(2). This Court rejects the Government’s suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention, and have as their sole remedy a habeas petition…That scenario dispenses with a number of guaranteed rights.”

    Despite including a signing statement expressing deep reservations over the “indefinite detention provision” and promising not to use such powers against American citizens, President Obama immediately appealed Judge Forrest’s ruling, and sought an emergency stay on the injunction, claiming “irreparable harm” would be incurred by the US if the government lacked the ability to indefinitely detain civilians under section 1021.“This is the final battle between the restoration of due process along with our most cherished civil liberties and the imposition of a military state,” said Chris Hedges, “if we lose this battle, will be vulnerable to being seized on American soil by the military, stripped of due process and held in indefinate detention in military facilities, including our off-shore penal colonies. It is up to federal judges now to pull us back form the brink. Our legal challenge to section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA is one of the defining moments of our era.”

    Plaintiff and lawsuit coordinator Tangerine Bolen will lead a press conference upon adjournment of the court session. Speakers will include Daniel Ellsberg, Chris Hedges, Bruce Afran, Alexa O’Brien, Tangerine Bolen, Cornel West, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack and a number of others working to prevent indefinite detention and restore civil liberties.

  • Guy,
    The youtube url says that video was uploaded 11/27/2011. Over a year ago. Before the election. More sadness because nobody cares. Indefinite/prolonged detention? Assassinations, even of children & American citizens. What constitution? And… he got reelected. Millions of people voted for him. Many think he is really great! How does Rachel go from that video to her elation at his reelection?

    IR

  • Hi Gail,
    Chris Hedges had a column right before Christmas about the NDAA lawsuit. Here is a link:

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_final_battle_20121223/

    From that article:

    “The corporate state knows that the steady deterioration of the economy and the increasingly savage effects of climate change will create widespread social instability. It knows that rage will mount as the elites squander diminishing resources while the poor, as well as the working and middle classes, are driven into destitution. It wants to have the legal measures to keep us cowed, afraid and under control. It does not, I suspect, trust the police to maintain order. And this is why, contravening two centuries of domestic law, it has seized for itself the authority to place the military on city streets and citizens in military detention centers, where they cannot find redress in the courts. The shredding of our liberties is being done in the name of national security and the fight against terrorism. But the NDAA is not about protecting us. It is about protecting the state from us. That is why no one in the executive or legislative branch is going to restore our rights. The new version of the NDAA, like the old ones, provides our masters with the legal shackles to make our resistance impossible. And that is their intention.”

  • Re: the NDAA law suit

    It’s nice that a group of legal activists have filed a constitutional challenge to the eradication of the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights. Afterwards, they will hold a press conference which will be covered by the Village Voice and The Nation magazine, and Chomsky will be interviewed by Amy Goodman. The 2d Circuit (which stayed Judge Forrest’s order last October) will reverse. The appellate court will most likely hold that Chris Hedges lacked standing to bring the suit and the the president is vested with expanded powers during wartime (and Amerika is now in a perpetual state of war). The law has already been upheld by the DC court of appeals.

    Chris Hedges will then write another despondent essay on Truthdig. Don’t get me wrong, I love an angry Chris Hedges dissertation on hopelessness, but at the end of the day all of this amounts to little more than a limp wristed pantomime of resistance … the kind that professional intellectuals enjoy because they get to brag to their friends about their liberal credentials over a cup of herbal tea at the farmers market. This is the inertia of flacid pseudo-revolution (bloodless rebellion for mice). Not the sort of stuff that brought Lenin and Mao to power. The billionaire feudal sadists love it because it demonstrates to the rest of the walking dead what a wonderful open society we have. Where else can a bunch of bean sprout vegan intellectuals openly challenge the dictator without getting bludgeoned to death on the street, or thrown in gulags (at least not yet), or witness their wives raped by CIA trained dogs?

  • Heh well, Islandraider, I know it first hand because I was convicted last week on 2 counts of disorderly conduct for exercising my Constitutional right to free speech. Haha. I’ll send you a postcard from the FEMA camp.

  • DL: that was lucid and depressing. Unfortunately, also true. My onion keeps getting pealed back. I am having some difficulty coping. I am way less fun at parties.

    Gail: Thanks for your act of resistance. Thanks also for your wonderful blog. That was some treatise you published on Greg Laden’s blog! Link for those that missed it:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/

  • Sorry depressive, but anyone who can characterize Hedges as a bean-sprout vegan intellectual can’t really know anything about him. He has spent more time in real war zones than anyone who doesn’t actually live in one that I can think of. He has been in the trenches, literally as a war correspondent and figuratively, losing his job at the NYT for being just about the only US reporter to take a principled stand on the invasion of Iraq. You might want to google him and read up on his experiences before you so condescendingly pigeon hole him as limp-wristedly pantomiming resistance. Jeesh.

  • dl: i wondered after the Bush II gift of the presidency by the Supreme (kangaroo) Court why people weren’t out in the streets en masse – like Watts or Vietnam protests. i knew we lost right there. Well actually i knew we lost when they murdered JFK and surely after they pulled the 9-11 theater piece and claimed “national security” about everything so they could take away our rights. So here we are down to a few left. With the collapse imminent, the rest will go by the wayside any day now.

    Guy: It’s nice to see when someone with Maddow’s status call out Obama. Obedience at home.

  • ulvfgi says, “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 ?”

    Your question is to simply argue. The difference is that we are preserving the forest not clear cutting it for monoculture plantations. Yes, a living area of 4.5 acres is set aside. Based on the current land area that means 99.50% remains as virgin forest.

    At least we are making a difference for the world as opposed to attacking and feeling sorry for yourself. Life has been good to me. I enjoyed a very successful professional career in the insurance industry and now I am using my wealth to buy and preserve threatened ecosystems. To date, I have saved 8.987 hectares from destruction and I provided half of the funding to prevent the extinction of the Yellow Eared parrot. Yes, this makes me feel like I am making a difference.

    World Land Trust-US Press Release:

    Huge Environmental Victory
    Parrot once thought extinct now numbers over 1,000

    The Yellow-eared Parrot, once widely-considered extinct, now numbers over 1000 and has been downgraded from “Critically Endangered” to “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Parrots’ remarkable recovery comes after years of efforts by World Land Trust-US partner Fundación ProAves to buy and protect the unique habitat of this colorful bird.

    The overall population of Yellow-eared Parrot dwindled to near zero during the latter half of the 20th century as a result of extensive habitat loss. The bird was generally thought extinct – until 1998, when researchers from Fundación ProAves were stunned to find a colony of 81 Yellow-eared Parrots in Colombia’s Andes Mountains.

    That discovery presented a new responsibility and a critical challenge: protecting the quickly-vanishing habitat of these extremely rare birds and growing the colony to levels that would better ensure long term survival.

    Fundación ProAves, in partnership with American Bird Conservancy, World Land Trust-US, Conservation International and the Loro Parque Foundation, spearheaded the Yellow-eared Parrot Project to ensure the survival of the bird and to purchase land for protection in its fragile habitat.

    This extraordinary success is the result of years of surveys and monitoring by ProAves researchers, who documented the most important areas for conservation – in a region where less than 5% of the native forest survives.

    “Today, almost 11 years later, we see the results of the ongoing work of over 180 individuals and 47 organizations around the world. This also includes contributions by local communities as well as success in research, conservation and environmental education activities,” said ProAves President Alonso Quevedo.

    Key to this breakthrough were the habitat-conservation efforts of various individuals and organizations.

    In April 2009, World Land Trust-US was presented with an urgent appeal to purchase critical habitat for the Yellow-eared Parrot. Recognizing the importance of this appeal, WLT-US donor Frank Friedrich Kling from Illinois – committed to funding half the acquisition cost as part of a matching gift campaign. This generous matching support persuaded many WLT-US supporters to donate to the appeal, allowing ProAves to acquire 7,448 acres. Our donors also helped leverage additional support from American Bird Conservancy, IUCN Netherlands/SPN in conjunction with the Netherlands Postcode Lottery, Conservation International and Robert Wilson, allowing a further 2,614 acres to be acquired.

    In total, our partner acquired and saved 10,062 acres on the eastern slope of the Central Andes of Colombia which connect to a further 6,653 acres of cloud forest already under their protection on the mountain chain’s western flank, creating an expansive natural reserve for the parrots.

    “This amazing success is proof positive that World Land Trust-US, working in conjunction with local partners, is making a demonstrable difference in the preservation of critically endangered species,” said WLT-US supporter Frank F. Kling.
    “I am grateful to have participated in the fundraising campaign that made this possible and now look forward to the next World Land Trust-US critical appeal.”

    “In light of the numerous challenges facing wildlife conservation, it’s inspiring to know that we are making the difference between extinction and preservation,” Kling added.

    The 14-mile-long Yellow-eared Parrot Conservation Corridor gives this burgeoning population of endangered parrots a secure place to call home, and stands as a testament to the power of private land purchase for conservation.

    Today, the population of Yellow-eared Parrots numbers over 1000 individuals, a key threshold for the recovery of the population. Conservation efforts continue, with the hope that the spectacular Yellow-eared parrot will once again be a common sight across the Andes of Colombia.

    For more information on the project, click here.

  • @ Friedrich Kling

    Your question is to simply argue.

    Hello Friedrich Kling. No it is not. If you had followed the thread from where it began, it was about the impact of humans upon their environments from earliest times. Some people insist that our extinction is inevitable, because we will always reproduce beyond the carrying capacity, regardless of culture or social or economic system. The point was made that it is romantic nonsense to think that hunter gatherers or simple ethnic tribal groups, etc, lived in harmony with nature, and so forth.

    To an extent, I agree with that point. Earlier peoples did impact their environment, e.g. the Maori caused extinction of many N Z species. But the Kalahari San, Australian aborigines, etc, have lived for tens of thousands of years. Our modern culture trashes the whole planet in a few decades.

    In theory ( although, given human nature, possibly not in practice ) we did have the choice, the option. We could have chosen a different culture. I gave a couple of examples, the Estonian peasantry, and the Amish, the latter because they rejected modern technology ( let’s forget the Mennonites in Colombia and Frank’s objection, just for the moment ). That might have given us, who knows ? a few more thousand years ? The dominant system we have now has made the destruction exponential and unstoppable, until it implodes.

    That’s what I was talking about.

    At least we are making a difference for the world as opposed to attacking and feeling sorry for yourself.

    I am not feeling sorry for my self, so you can fuck off with your condescension.

    Yes, this makes me feel like I am making a difference.

    I wish you every success in protecting the cloud forest, and protecting the parrots, and all the other species there. It’s an excellent thing to do.

    Two points still remain. The species their will still get disturbed by the human presence, so your ecological impact will not be zero, even though you attempt to minimise it. The more people, the greater the impact, and if it’s a community, children ?
    The Estonian peasant example I mentioned, found a way to support a human community, integrated with the temperate ecology, which actually increased the biodiversity, rather than diminishing it. But that must have taken many centuries to learn. Some permaculturalists are now trying that approach, but they have… the second point… a big problem… because…

    Whilst I applaud your effort, it’s much better than doing nothing, how the hell will you protect the cloud forest from climate change ? Are you intending to protect it by force if there is increasing social chaos ?

    I mean, the basic position of most people on this blog is that we are looking at a future of decades, not centuries…

    Fwiw, I have also expended much of my life and resources to trying to preserve ancient woodland and the species that inhabit them, and I do whatever I can to help species to survive as long as possible. But here ( in UK ) it is, basically, futile. The climate changes faster than they can adapt or move.

  • @ Friedrich K.

    Another thought, do you use the Kogi, or other local indigenous folk, as a reference ?

  • @ Gail

    “Sorry depressive, but anyone who can characterize Hedges as a bean-sprout vegan intellectual can’t really know anything about him…..”

    +1

  • @ Daniel: Thanks! :)

    Daniel Says: I somehow erased an enormous amount of work.
    Sorry to hear that. I bet it was good.

    FWIW, I’m having trouble defining a new paradigm, finding it easier to think in terms of extending current trends into collapse.

  • ogardener

    After KC I got the Disco Bug:

    ‘Bee Gees, Staying alive’

    The lyrics are not what I expected, and not as way forward looking as ‘Ship of fools’,but it is the mainstream of Disco, so maybe it is as ‘radical-and-out-there’ as Disco could get then?

    “Stayin’ Alive”

    Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk,
    I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk.
    Music loud and women warm, I’ve been kicked around
    Since I was born.
    And now it’s all right. It’s OK.
    And you may look the other way.
    We can try to understand
    The New York Times’ effect on man.

    Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother,
    You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’,
    And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive.

    Well now, I get low and I get high,
    And if I can’t get either, I really try.
    Got the wings of heaven on my shoes.
    I’m a dancin’ man and I just can’t lose.
    You know it’s all right. It’s OK.
    I’ll live to see another day.
    We can try to understand
    The New York Times’ effect on man.

    Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother,
    You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’,
    And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive.

    Life goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me.
    Somebody help me, yeah.
    Life goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me, yeah.
    Stayin’ alive.

    Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk,
    I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk.
    Music loud and women warm,
    I’ve been kicked around since I was born.
    And now it’s all right. It’s OK.
    And you may look the other way.
    We can try to understand
    The New York Times’ effect on man.

    Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother,
    You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’,
    And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
    Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive.

    Life goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me.
    Somebody help me, yeah.
    Life goin’ nowhere. Somebody help me, yeah.
    I’m stayin’ alive.

    Wow, so ….powerful especiall while strutting your stuff, Tony Manero style…

    What it maybe soon all about, Stayin Alive.

  • Guy,

    your last link to Rachel Maddow should make anyone of sufficient means quietly get the fuck out of the USA, …
    You could call it a ‘Prolonged Absence’, just go!!!!

    Plenty of room down here, Down Under, but be warned, the USA has many army bases here, and if you got it now, we will have that ‘Rule-of-Law’-crikey-bjebus-where-the-heck-did-next-door-neighbour/work-colleague/spouse/son/cousin/my classroom-teacher/get-to very soon here too.
    Our house is big enough for a few more.

  • @ Daniel

    Last time C. Hedges was mentioned, I said I thought he was in favour of the Iraq invasion, and you said no, and you were correct, I was confused, I was thinking of the earlier Kuwait war, which I believe he did support, didn’t he ? Anyway, the man is perfectly free to change his view, I hope he has. Perhaps he deserves your enthusiast support. I really don’t know. I still feel he is Controlled Opposition. I googled for his stance re Kuwait but didn’t pursue it far, but this is what I did find, from 2005. It is very far from flattering, pretty much says he’s a liar whose war reports are made up.

    http://herbertsobel.blogspot.co.uk/2005/03/open-letter-to-chris-hedges.html

  • It’s worth watching the whole thing, but if you just want the alien crop circle visitation part, you could skim to around 15 minutes in:

  • @Ulvfugl

    Well, since neither of us are capable of either validating or denying the details of Hedges activities during the first Gulf war, I can only go with my gut in trusting my ability to judge the character of others.

    The book in question: “War is the force that gives us meaning”, was his first book, and it is what put him on the stage, it’s also what got him booted off the stage. It’s a damning book about America’s culture of war mongering, so I’ll assume anyone who desires to discredit him, are those who most likely took offense by what it said–which was everyone right of center, including most liberal democrats.

    We anarchist have a nasty habit of labeling those we consider to not be “radical enough”, as somehow being compliant.

    Over the last ten years he has become increasingly radicalized, but since I have never read anything from him prior to ten years ago, I can’t speak to his earlier positions. But I can’t imagine he ever supported any U.S. invasion….but I could be wrong. Look what happened to Hitchens.

    All I know, is that there are very few writers today, that have his platform who are so “effectively” challenging both the republicans and the liberal elites. He reserves his most acrimonious attacks for America’s liberal institutions. His body of work over the last decade is extensive, and if after reading it, you or anyone, are left with the impression that he is somehow “control opposition”, then I simply don’t know what to tell you.

    Derrick Jensen, who is about as radical as you can get without being assassinated in this country, is a huge fan of his, if that gives you any clue.

  • Gail, I did not intend to characterize Hedges as a “bean sprout vegan intellectual” (my bad for having been inarticulate). I like Hedges and I admire his willingness to tell the raw truth (most of the time … he won’t touch 9/11 as a false flag). I was referring to the effete band of iPad followers who pretend that these kinds of demonstrations and law suits can ever amount to a hill of beans.

    Remember, on July 14, 1789, before storming the Bastille (in part to get gunpowder that was stored there) the Parisian demonstrators first stormed Les Invalides and armed themselves with about 30,000 muskets. My point was that a fundamental transition of power can only happen through violence and bloodshed, or as Mao put it: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Of course, at this stage of the game where the overlords have such overwhelming superiority in technologies of surveillance, mind control and weaponry, I don’t see a repeat of the French Revolution happening in North America. Twitter and Facebook are no match for drones and M16s.

    There is not a petition campaign that you can construct that is going to cause the power and the status quo to dissipate. There is not a legal action that you can take; you can’t go into the court of the conqueror and have the conqueror announce the conquest illegitimate and told to be repealed; you cannot vote in an alternative, you cannot hold a prayer vigil, you cannot burn the right scented candle at the prayer vigil, you cannot have the right folk song, you cannot have the right fashion statement, you cannot adopt a different diet, build a better bike path. You have to say it squarely: the fact that this power, this force, this entity, this monstrosity called the state maintains itself by physical force, and can be countered only in terms that it itself dictates and therefore understands.

    It will not be a painless process, but, hey, newsflash: It’s not a process that is painless now. If you feel a relative absence of pain, that is testimony only to your position of privilege within the Statist structure. Those who are on the receiving end , whether they are in Iraq, they are in Palestine, they are in Haiti, they are in American Indian reserves inside the United States, whether they are in the migrant stream or the inner city, those who are ‘othered’ and of color, in particular but poor more generally, known the difference between the painlessness of acquiescence on the one hand and the painfulness of maintaining the existing order on the other. Ultimately, there is no alternative that has found itself in reform there is only an alternative that founds itself — not in that fanciful word of revolution- but in the devolution, that is to say the dismantlement of Empire from the Inside out.

    — Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology

  • @ dl

    Here! Here! Brother…..

  • We have a federal election called for September 2013 here in Australia.

    ‘Election called for September 14’

    http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2013/s3679899.htm

    Julian Assange is running for a senate seat!!

    ‘Julian Assange to run for Senate’

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/latest/a/-/article/16029133/julian-assange-to-run-for-senate/

    If JA is voted in, and he will be, then there will be an interesting tet-a-tet with the old colonial mother England, about sending him back here unharmed and fully escorted with diplomatic accoutriments.

    A couple of fingers to TPTB, if they let it go that far.

    Some bean counter lawyers probably scouring the legal pretexts for withholding any eligibility for him to run I suppose.

    Go JA.

    I mean, a stray rougue micro-meteorite just might hit the Ecuadorian Embassy there in London, and it will be curtains for JA.

    Hoping he is elected though.

    It is all going to get wierder by the minute from now on, I predict.

    The weather too.

  • On Rhetoric vs Reality, or does the liberal choir need to be preached to….

    On the Real News with Paul Jay
    Jeff Cohen: Illusions about Obama and the myth of the need for bipartisanship are reasons why progressives and liberals must have a vigorous debate – there really is no choir
    9 mins

  • @ Daniel

    Hope you’re right about Hedges.

    Derrick Jensen, who is about as radical as you can get without being assassinated in this country..

    The fact Jensen, ( and for that matter, Zerzan and others ), lives, talks, writes, probably suggests how low he is on TPTB’s assassination list, eh, he’s just not that much of a threat… until he can arrange a million man march on Washington or something, should they care ? and even then, they’ve got Apache helicopters and other good kit for clearing the streets…

    I’m very cynical. What I mean about ( Lenin’s conception ) controlled opposition, all my life, in UK, there’s been radical leaders making fiery emotive speeches about change, and people get all enthused, just like they did about Obama’s Hope and Change crap, and then, by stealth, the followers get neutralised, lead away from the radical agenda, and then, years later, usually when the guy is dead, we discover that, in secret, that leader had been blackmailed, or bought, or were a plant, and all along were working for the very people they claimed in public to be fighting against. It’s a strategy to defuse any threat to the status quo.

    It’s the standard pattern, not the exception. As I see it, the privileged ruling elite really couldn’t care less about left/right politics, so long as they retain power, that’s what matters to them.

    Btw, I am totally confused as to what left and right mean these days, in Europe and USA.

    As I see it, Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, were extreme right wing fascist dictatorships. A mix of nationalism, corporatism, and totalitarian state control.

    As I see it, that’s the way USA has moved over recent years. A militaristic police state, run by, and for, banks and corporations and a ruling oligarchy, represented by a puppet President.

    I’d call that extreme right. However, when I read American blogs and forums, I see it being called extreme left, by, say, the Patriot movement, who see liberal progressives, as the enemy.

    In the UK, which I can understand a bit better, the right/left spectrum is very different.
    Imo, there is no equivalent to the libertarian patriot movement, because we’ve got no right to guns, and no open spaces to move to, it’s very densely populated compared to USA.

    Afaik, the mass of the people are what I’d call left of centre, they’d like a mild socialism, where the resources of the country are owned by the people, the taxes pay for public services and infra structure, etc.
    However, the ruling elite are selfish right wing, and want to exploit everything for their own advantage, and they usually maintain control and power.

    The extreme right here would be people who add nationalism and racism to the mix.

  • @Daniel

    “@ dl

    Here! Here! Brother…..”

    I second that emotion!

  • Leaked emails have allegedly proved that The White House gave the green light to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that could be blamed on Assad’s regime…

    http://aangirfan.blogspot.de/2013/02/chemical-weapon-attack-daily-mail.html

  • American politics continues to repeat the practice of buying domestic power by inflicting misery and destruction on third world nations. In my view, Obama’s own contribution to statecraft in this regard has been his ability to lobotomize almost the entire Democratic base. The same people who were screaming about Bush’s illegal wars, unconstitutional surveillance, lack of due process, etc., are now silent or singing Obama’s greatness.
    Even when Democrats can see how Mr. Obama has disappointed them, the insanity of Republican politicians provides the Democrats a ready rationale to excuse Obama. (By the way, does anyone notice that if Hagel is confirmed it means two of Obama’s three SecDefs will have been Republicans?)
    The Republican party, with a few exceptions, is so visibly crazy that they have become an indispensable foil that permits Obama to govern as he does. The conventional wisdom of liberals is that Obama’s heart is in the right place, but he is conflict averse and therefore must govern as a centrist (really a center-rightist), because the GOP is crazy and intransigent. But in reality, Obama actually is a center-rightist who uses his image as a diffident compromiser as a cloak to hide his pro-corporatocracy given aways. And because most people prefer center-right governance to out-and-out fascism, the GOP plays an essential role as a “bad cop” to the center-right “good cop,” which is why Democrats went along with Obama’s plan to enshrine the Bush tax cuts for the bottom 99.3%, and a huge giveaway on the estate tax, in perpetuity. My fear is that, in the same way, Democrats will go along with Obama’s inflated defense budgets and his permanent conflict foreign policy.

    http://nation.time.com/2013/01/14/the-afghan-endgame-and-where-it-will-lead/

  • Hierarchy and doom are distinct:
    They’re different, even when they are linked;
    While you’re welcome to bitch
    About changing your niche,
    It won’t stop us from going extinct.

  • @ B the D

    Very True. Re-arranging the deck chairs.

    @ depressive lucidity

    My point was that a fundamental transition of power can only happen through violence and bloodshed, or as Mao put it: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Of course, at this stage of the game where the overlords have such overwhelming superiority in technologies of surveillance, mind control and weaponry, I don’t see a repeat of the French Revolution happening in North America. Twitter and Facebook are no match for drones and M16s.

    Thing is, imo, power is much more subtle and fluid than who happens to hold the gun. For one, someone has to have the cash to buy the guns, so then the power is with the bankers… and then again, everything depends upon what’s going on inside the head of the guy who holds the gun, so then it’s the war of ideas, and mind control…

    When the Berlin Wall fell, the guys holding the guns, something inside their heads had changed, they didn’t have the will to shoot any more, the loyalty to the cause, the loyalty to the employer, had faded away…

  • Interesting, ( repeating what someone says without checking ) collapse of Roman Empire urban population down 90%, including rural, overall population decline 40-60%
    So that’s what collapse looked like then.

    http://www.tulane.edu/~august/H303/handouts/Population.htm

  • Vinay Gupta, his take on the future of Europe

  • I’m sure many of you have probably read “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” by Jared Diamond. It’s interesting that the tribes of New Guinea thrived with their form of government while not devastating the environment with a human presence there for around 40,000 years. I guess it’s proof us humans can be non destructive given the right ingredients.

  • With regard to extraterrestrial long-term survival of humans:

    The soil. A gram of soil contains between 3 billion and 16 billion bacteria, in around 16,000 species. The vast majority (90+%) cannot be grown in the lab, and are identified only through their DNA sequences. Even among the ones that can be grown in the lab, there are many that cannot be grown on their own, and require certain other bacteria to grow with them. Some are strict anaerobes – will not grow in the presence of oxygen. And then there are micronematodes (roundworms), microarthropods (insects, mites), viruses (a hell of a lot of them), fungi, and the bigger critters that one can easily see, such as earthworms, grubs, etc. And then again the soil varies from season to season, and from place to place.

    The ocean. Let us remember that half the oxygen in every breath we take comes from the ocean. All the petroleum comes from bygone phytoplankton: all the energy that moves all the vehicles was stored by them. The plant life that grows on the soil produces only 50% of the oxygen used by both photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic life. The other 50% comes from oceanic phytoplankton (one-celled plants floating in the ocean). These are part of a tight ecosystem that involves zooplankton (tiny animals, not all one-celled, floating in the ocean) and viruses. 80+% of the DNA sequenced from the ocean is viruses. They are essential to the functioning of the oceanic ecosystem: remove all the viruses from a sample of the ocean in the laboratory and the photosynthesis stops.

    It may be possible to grow a single plant in a sealed bottle with some soil for prolonged period, but if you include animals to eat the plants, it’s a whole ‘nuther ball game. You may well have to include enough ocean with its phytoplankton and zooplankton – and viruses – in the mix. It should be remembered that the Biosphere experiment in which humans were sealed along with plants in a huge glass enclosure failed to be self-sustaining. Permaculture on the moon, anyone?

  • Peak Oil solved, but climate will fry: BP report. BP’s “most likely” path takes us to 4 C warmer by 2030. I see no way for humans survive that rapid rise in global-average temperature.

  • ulvfugl … I completely agree that the question of power is far more complex and subtle than who has the most guns. One also needs to control the minds and the so called “hearts” of the masses (whatever that means). The causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union are still being debated and it’s probably too early to reach a definitive conclusion. One thing that is critical is the issue of desire and the manipulation desire, or as Zizek commented:

    The people [of the former Soviet block] wanted to have their cake and eat it: they wanted capitalist-democratic freedom and material abundance but without paying the full price of life in a ‘risk society’ . . . As sarcastic Western commentators duly noted, the noble struggle for freedom and justice turned out to be little more than a craving for bananas and pornography.

    imo, when conditions of scarcity become permanent in the US and Europe, the Controllers will resort to a full blown police state, i.e. Totalitarianism sans a Coke and a smile. As you know, there are many psychopaths and situational psychopaths who once given a uniform, a pistol and some minor privileges will be more than happy to sodomize the rest of the population. One thing the feudal lords can always count on is that the human ape loves power and to feel like s/he’s on top of a sadistic hierarchy.

  • «I’m sure many of you have probably read “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” by Jared Diamond. It’s interesting that the tribes of New Guinea thrived with their form of government while not devastating the environment with a human presence there for around 40,000 years. I guess it’s proof us humans can be non destructive given the right ingredients.»

    the main reason why those tribes did not overcome their environment (says Jared)is because they had no readily available (just a few pigs) or vegetal (no cereals) proteins in the said environment. The last sentence should thus read: I guess it’s proof us humans can be non destructive if we do not have certain ingredients.

  • Gail, have you seen this?

    http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/mobilize-to-stop-ge-trees/

    Wish I could join you in New York.

  • Yes, indeed, depressive lucidity. Isn’t it depressing ? ;-)

    Many years ago, I heard a radio piece, how the Greek fascist regime under the Colonels, installed by the CIA, retained control. It said they went around remote villages recruiting dumb farm boys with the right thuggish appearance, brutalised them with a few weeks training, gave them a posh uniform and a gun, told them repeatedly how important they were and how they must not tolerate any disrespect, how proud they must be to serve the nation, etc.

    When they got on a bus or train, that was full, they had the right to order any passenger to stand and give up the seat so they could sit, etc. And then the best of the crop were taught how to torture… It’s an easy and simple formula and can be done in any country.

    From what I gather, under DSM V, ‘traits’ such as irritability, resentment, being easily annoyed, etc, can be considered as possible signs of mental illness… so anyone who gets pissed off about the state of soceity, the state of the world, the way they are treated, and actually shows it, can be pathologised and viewed with suspicion, and become eligible for ‘treatment’…

    Milgram Obedience Training

    https://youtu.be/pdb20gcc_Ns

  • Guy, I doubt that Peak Oil is a non issue anymore (ie I don’t trust their rosy projections), but I have no doubt that they will mine enough of the nasty oil to raise the temps to levels we humans cannot survive.

    Hardly seems like there is anything else worth talking about. Diamond asked what they thought on Easter Island when they cut down the last trees. Some unlucky human will have the last thought a human has before they die and conclude our extinction. What will that thought be?

  • If I am the last human, my last thought will be:

    “did I leave the stove on?”

  • On another reactor in Japan
    Chubu Electric Power Company has announced that it detected fresh corrosion from seawater in the Unit 5 reactor.

    The Japanese government ordered the utility to shut down all 5 reactors onsite in May 2011 due to concerns related to seismic activity in the area.

    One day after the order to shutdown, workers found that over 40 pipes inside the steam condenser were damaged or fractured, while they were trying to shut the reactor down. This damage was found to have allowed over 400 tons of seawater to flow into the Unit 5 reactor building, where salt corroded pipes and other equipment, and delayed attempts to bring the reactor to a state of cold shutdown for hours.

    Chubu Electric had admitted at the time that there was a possibility that 5 tons of seawater may have also entered the Unit 5 reactor, and the recent corrosion damage confirms that assumption.

    In November 2012, workers used waterproof cameras to investigate the reactor containment and found multiple locations where damage was found on the steel lining of the containment.

    The licensee has planned to further investigate the corrosion using ultrasonic waves.

    The damage caused a delay in the Unit 5 reactor reaching a state of cold shutdown, and will likely ultimately retire the reactor permanently.
    http://enformable.com/2013/01/hamaoka-unit-5-likely-permanently-crippled-due-to-seawater-corrosion/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Enformable+%28Enformable%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

    worth checking for the link to see a picture of the damage.

  • everything depends upon what’s going on inside the head of the guy who holds the gun

    There is one major difference between the police and the military. The police for the most part come from, live in, and are part of whatever “community” might still exist. The military comes from across the entire country and has few, if any, local ties. “Kill a commie for mommy” is much harder if the “commie” is a part of one’s own “community”. Even the National Guard is drawn from a wider base than the police.

    My point was that a fundamental transition of power can only happen through violence and bloodshed,

    A transfer of power is just that, a transfer of the gun of coercive control/enforcement from one person to another. Not a abjuration of the violence.

  • wildwoman, thanks for the link! Growing trees to burn them is horrible idea but just like Guy’s link shows, we’re going to keep burning until their’s nothing – or nobody – left, whichever comes first.

    Hedges is a committed pacifist, but even if you think that more is required (sabotage? armed resistence?), and whether or not you think that would make any difference, movements need to be articulated and that is what Hedges does, really well, and so does Jensen. Also, movements evolve and as people participate they learn and become radicalized.

    But the main point is, for me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a futile gesture – protesting injustice and evil, and speaking the truth about how we are trashing the earth, is a moral imperative.

  • I posted my comment above as a comment on Joe Romm’s latest essay (Peak Oil solved, but climate will fry: BP report). Alas, blocked again. Joe really doesn’t appreciate reality.

  • Re J. Diamond

    Jared Diamond, in his new book, The World Until Yesterday, makes two erroneous assertions which, if they go unchallenged, will set back by several decades the movement to secure for the world’s 150 million tribal people the right to exist, and be themselves, in the 21st Century.

    The first, no less wrong for being a common prejudice, is that today’s tribal people are in effect living fossils, the last vestiges of human society as it once was. The obvious endpoint to this argument is that today’s tribes will in the end ‘evolve’, and ‘progress’, in the way everyone else has. This tired notion has been debunked by experts for years.

    The second, and this one’s received remarkably little publicity, is that tribal people engage in constant warfare, and need the benevolent hand of the state to stop them killing each other. This will raise a hollow laugh in West Papua, an area Mr. Diamond knows well, where 100,000 Papuans have been killed by the Indonesian authorities since 1963.

    If you think all this sounds a bit like the arguments put forward by missionaries, explorers and colonial governments from the 16th Century onwards, to justify the ‘pacification’ and conquest of ‘savages’ in far-off lands, you’re right. And it’s just as harmful now as it was then.

    Stephen Corry, Director, Survival International, San Francisco, CA

  • It’s funny because a lot of people – deniers and climate activists – think Joe Romm is and extreme alarmist, and he has a lot of commenters who say pretty bleak things about the future. I’m not sure where his line is.

    “The destruction of the natural world is not the result of global capitalism, industrialisation, ‘Western civilisation’ or any flaw in human institutions. It is a consequence of the evolutionary success of an exceptionally rapacious primate. Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.”

    ~ John Gray, Straw Dogs

  • On the topic of peak oil, if I read BP’s report correctly, they are basing their “rosy” predictions for oil on shale, and other so-called tight plays.

    I’m doubtful.

    Some of you may have seen two recent Bloomberg articles. The first reports that a management company recommended to Hess Oil that it sell it’s shale business. Typically, when a company is trying to improve its bottom line, it sells the underperforming segments and keeps the profitable ones. If shale is so profitable and has such longterm potential as to make peak oil no longer a problem, then why would Hess sell that portion of its business?

    The second is an article reporting that the big oil companies are not able to obtain record profits on their business despite record high oil prices due to the high costs of shale oil and other tight plays.

    Several other articles in recent days show that the life of a shale well is significantly less than a convention oil well – a few years compared to 50 or more. In some cases, the life of the well has not been long enough to pay off the cost of developing the well.

    So, the costs of the new oil to end peak oil are so high that they are eroding profits, and some companies are actually looking to divest their shale business. Not sure BP is giving us the whole story.

  • @RD A transfer of power is just that, a transfer of the gun of coercive control/enforcement from one person to another. Not a abjuration of the violence.

    That’s right, RD. I never said that a hypothetical post-revolutionary society will be nonviolent. Unfortunately, nonviolent societies are an aspiration, but almost unachievable by evolved chimpanzees.

    Chimp Wars

    In 1974, Jane Goodall witnessed a disturbing scene in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania. A gang of male chimpanzees invaded their neighbors’ territory and attacked a male chimp sitting by himself in a tree. The intruders dragged the chimpanzee to the ground, pinned him down, and bit and hit him all over his body. The attack ended when one member of the gang threw a rock at the bleeding victim. The battered chimp was never seen again and presumably died from his injuries.

    The murderous chimpanzees weren’t attacking a stranger: They had recently all belonged to the same group. When the group split in two, one community took over the northern half of the range and the other the southern half. From 1974 to 1977, during the “four-year war,” the northern males obliterated the southern community, hunting down and killing all of its adult males. The northerners took over their enemies’ territory and females.

    This was the first time scientists had documented “warfare” among chimpanzees. It wasn’t the last. Since then, researchers have recorded similar violence in a variety of places where the animals are studied. Discovering that our closest living relatives are capable of such slaughter led some anthropologists to suggest that an instinct to kill may be a grisly trait that humans and chimpanzees inherited from their common ancestor some 7 million years ago. The conclusion: Violence is just part of human nature, stamped in our DNA.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_evolution/2012/10/chimpanzee_wars_can_primate_aggression_teach_us_about_human_aggression.html

  • Jared Diamond, in his new book, The World Until Yesterday, makes two erroneous assertions which, if they go unchallenged, will set back by several decades the movement to secure for the world’s 150 million tribal people the right to exist, and be themselves, in the 21st Century

    The one thing needed to secure for the world’s 150 million tribal people the right to exist is to stop climate change. If climate change is not stopped (and it probably can’t be and almost assuredly won’t be) nothing else matters at all anymore.

  • Guy,
    If the observations that you convey weren’t so pathetic they would be humorous. We truly do live in an Orwellian Twilight Zone. Just earlier today I was forced to comment on a talk that Bill McKibben gave in Vermont where he continues to deny reality, still painting the “we can do this” picture.
    Like you, I read Joe Romm, and some of my comments to Joe’s writing haven’t past “moderation”. It makes my wonder how the, so called, leaders of the Climate Issue can be in what I can only deem to be their own particular state of denial.(someone in this thread called denial the 51st state and that must be true for it certainly isn’t a river in Egypt…)
    Few people appear to understand how the issues of peak oil (and oil in general), illegal hegemonic invasions (I won’t give them the dignity of calling them wars), overpopulation and political corruption are part and parcel of the same problem. It’s depressing at best.
    Thanks for posting “Day of the Condor” as it was the first time that I realized that mine was a corrupt empire. At 67 I probably won’t make it to the “finish line” but I’m gonna try.
    Hope to be able to get up to see you when you come east in a few weeks.
    Best Regards,
    Ed

  • The REAL Dr. House

    “On the topic of peak oil, if I read BP’s report correctly, they are basing their “rosy” predictions for oil on shale, and other so-called tight plays.”

    It all boils down to EROEI – Energy Returned On Energy Invested. If it takes a barrel of oil (energy equivalent) to extract a barrel of oil then what’s the point?

    I’m sure environmental degradation costs are not figured into the equation. Same old, same old. Privatizing gains, externalizing costs.

  • @Gail

    Throughout all of history and prehistory, human advance has coincided with ecological devastation.”

    What if humans didn’t advance and remained in a state of homeostasis with their environment? I find very little in the literature that indicates Native Americans or the so called indigenous people trashed the North American Continent and they were here for thousands of years pre-whiteman.

  • That’s true OG, and I mentioned the New Guinea tribal peoples who have existed there sustainably for approx 40,000 years.

  • ogardener Says: «What if humans didn’t advance and remained in a state of homeostasis with their environment? »
    But they did advance, because they can neither stop nor backup as a society. Life cannot back up. When the oceans will have absorbed their fill of CO2, there will be a short stop (kind of retrograde moment) and the process will reverse: the sinks will become sources. That is life. The inhabitants of this (amerikas) land before we came (who were part of a lot of destruction in many areas) were advancing towards where we are now. This constant constant effort to find excuses, to find humans of good will in the past, this is all very annoying.

  • ogardner you might want to read “Too Smart for our Own Good” by Craig Dilworth to get a long explanation about our advancement as humans and why we advanced and why as Dilworth concludes we are too dumb to do anything about it. Its our programs and vicious circle principle

  • I’ve posted from Fairewinds from time to time – run by Arnie Gundersen and about nuclear power plants – Looks like he has upset some folks
    Fairewinds is Experiencing a Cyber Attack
    Please note this has effected our ability to receive emails
    Beginning early this morning the Fairewinds Energy Education website was taken down by what we have now confirmed was a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS). This type of cyber attack is similar to that which rendered the wikileaks website inoperable for days in August of 2012. While some of you may be able to load the website, many of you will not. We will update you as we receive more information on the matter.

    In the mean time to receive updated information please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  • It’s not just the animals eating the other animals. The Aspen groves would overtake the forests if they could – see, even the plants are in constant battle – and they would overtake until they could overtake no more, and commit overshoot, and then become extinct. And, not to say that in doing so they wouldn’t also take ever living species with them.

    To be alive is to be challenged. The challenge is different for each in its subtle nuances, but the goal is the same: to win.

    Win a breath of air, win a bite of food, win a bed for the night. But, once won, we must win again, and again, and again – there is no reprieve, thus, no harmony.

    There is no harmony in anything if you look closely enough.

  • michele/montreal

    “The inhabitants of this (amerikas) land before we came (who were part of a lot of destruction in many areas) were advancing towards where we are now.”

    Please enlighten me Michele. Can you cite or provide examples of “a lot of destruction in many areas”? And on what scale and duration? It doesn’t seem to me like the Native Americans/indigenous people advanced very much at all over the course of many thousands of years. There were some minor improvements in arrow head and fish hook design but their technology remained relatively stagnant.

  • @Kathy C

    “Fairewinds is Experiencing a Cyber Attack”

    Most anti-establishment websites seem to experience that inconvenience as counter culture truth seeking and the questioning of authority appears to be highly upsetting to TPTB. Ask HilaryClinton if she’s pissed off at JulianAssange.

  • The Americas were intensely managed by indigeneous people. Read 1491 by Charles C. Mann about the cultures that lived here.

    All people will eventually make use of wood, iron, bronze, and upward to civilization similar to this one. In the Americas, there were no beasts of burden larger than llamas, but the people still managed to radically change the landscape.

    It has been demonstrated over and over again that whenever a native people comes into contact with European culture, they immediately recognize the advantages of steel tools and large animals. It’s just that the people of the fertile crescent got there first. That was their only advantage.

    We are all the same. To suggest otherwise is to engage in a genetically racist argument.

  • Ogardener – the Native Americans had a lot of land to work with and precious little time to devastate it before white man came and took over the job. But nevertheless there is some strong evidence that the megafauna extinction in North America can be tied to early hunters. Tainter in “Collapse of Complex Societies” goes over some of the increasing land use and misuse by the Mayan civilization and the Chacao culture (who kept cutting down trees in an ever enlarging area to build their houses)

    The First Future Eaters In Australia – the Aborigines – had 60,000 years and depleted their environs dramatically per Tim Flannery http://www.ecobooks.com/books/futureat.htm “The Future Eaters describes the geography, flora and fauna of Australasia and the long history of how it has been changed and consumed by the Aborigine, Maori, Polynesian, and European peoples over a period of 60,000 years.”

  • «ogardener Says: Please enlighten me Michele. Can you cite or provide examples of “a lot of destruction in many areas”? And on what scale and duration?»
    Many have answered you after my post. I will not do the research work for you. I can only tell you: as long as you still have electricity and a connection to internet, Google it! for yourself. We all had that discussion many times before.

  • Thanks BC Nurse, Michele and KathyC for answering that question for me!

  • @Kathy C

    “Ogardener – the Native Americans had a lot of land to work with and precious little time to devastate it before white man came and took over the job.”

    Actually I think they had all the time in the world. Ten thousand years plus seems like enough time to me.

  • “It’s not just the animals eating the other animals. The Aspen groves would overtake the forests if they could.”

    One must really drill back far into time to consider first principles. Imagine, if you will, a pool containing the earth’s very first life forms. Whether their energy source was the sun, hydrothermal vents or what have you, if they had any ability to reproduce greater than 1:1, then a standard exponential function would apply.

    Soon enough, the result would be that there would be too many ‘lives’ jostling about for the particular scarce energy resource. (No matter the source, it eventually becomes scarce since a given population will simply expand until it reaches some kind of physical limit.)

    Long before DNA, heritable traits would have somehow been passed onto successive generations to enable those who jostled the best to in turn receive the greatest amount of energy. Once that cycle was begun, the winners who had developed that advantage would quickly gain even more success.

    The next important mutation would be absorption. While all of the ‘lives’ where jostling along in the soup, at some point, once of them ‘ate’ the other. At first, it would not have been intentional; one moment you’re swimming alongside your best friend, the next, you would have experienced a tremendous energy boost far in excess of what you could gain hanging around all day soaking up as much energy as possible.

    These two turning points, some multi-billion years ago, are the basis for all competitive life forms today: aggression and killing.

    What I don’t get is all the complaining – them’s the facts. I guess some of it has to do with an interesting notion that we have a moral imperative to rise above our natural instincts, but what the hell is that?

    Anyway, even if there was some kind of consensus reached that the majority could live by (hah!), the PTB who benefit from the existing model would never accede to such a notion. I mean, really, it’s a complete joke.

    So, as I’ve suggested before, come to grips with the facts-of-life, and do the exact opposite in what Hedges is engaged. Fly low and avoid the radar.

  • My final thought will most likely be along the lines of “What was the bloody point?”

    Yeah, yeah – the “wonder” of consciousness, reason, cleverness, the “good times” of winning at something, getting laid, being in love, pets, the beauty of nature (before we royally screwed it up), and all such human experiences like getting stoned, blasted, tripping, psyilocibin, mescaline, peyote – SO WHAT?! We always come back (if we’re fortunate) to THIS – a shithole filled with greedy, sweating, obese, obnoxious, deviant, self-centered, obtuse cretins who just keep making it worse (and i’m one of ’em)! The whole idea of money is a swindle, business is a con, advertising and entertainment are odious propaganda, the culture, if that’s what this incessant insanity is, is rubbish and now it’s come to the point that academia is a scam, the government is a fraud and the powers that be are psychotic at best. What the fuck is the point?!

    Remember that song “Is That All There Is?” from way back?

    so much for human life.

  • “Actually I think they had all the time in the world. Ten thousand years plus seems like enough time to me.”

    Not really. Not without steel, domesticated animals for food and work, and cereal grains. They had corn, beans and squash, llamas, and slaves.

  • @ pat

    It’s not just the animals eating the other animals. The Aspen groves would overtake the forests if they could – see, even the plants are in constant battle – and they would overtake until they could overtake no more, and commit overshoot, and then become extinct. And, not to say that in doing so they wouldn’t also take ever living species with them.

    To be alive is to be challenged. The challenge is different for each in its subtle nuances, but the goal is the same: to win.

    Win a breath of air, win a bite of food, win a bed for the night. But, once won, we must win again, and again, and again – there is no reprieve, thus, no harmony.

    There is no harmony in anything if you look closely enough.

    Hello pat.

    I think these are ideological statements, rather than scientific or ecological facts.

    The piece of forest which I have studied, which had its beginnings on bare rock when the glaciers retreated around 12,000 years ago, hasn’t followed the pattern of ‘winning’ that you outline. What has happened is that it has become increasingly complex and additional species have found places to fit in. There is evidence to support the argument that increased complexity means increased resilience in the face of perturbations, to the benefit of the forest as a whole.

  • @ B9K9 & pat

    These two turning points, some multi-billion years ago, are the basis for all competitive life forms today: aggression and killing.

    But it becomes nonsense, if you consider that your own human body is composed of these so-called ‘competitive life forms’. If they were not sharing the energy, passing the nutrients around, co-operating, you could not exist.

  • Ogardener – it takes longer to deforest a land with stone axes than with metal axes, than with saws, than with chainsaws, than with huge cutting machines. Given enough time and population explosion however such deforestation can take place with the simplest of tools. Easter Islanders managed with stone tools in hundreds of years to deforest their island. Given the much larger size of North and South America and the more resilient nature of a such a large land 10,000 years wasn’t enough to deforest it. But in the more vulnerable areas well early Native Americans managed Water wasn’t the only limited resource in Chaco canyon; timber was also a valued and finite resource. “Deforestation, as revealed by packrat midden analysis” (Diamond, 145) quickly became a problem within the confines of Chaco canyon. Packrats only travel a short distance, so by dating ancient middens (deposits of pooh and partially digested foods etc.) and cataloging their contents, we can get an idea of what surrounding landscapes looked like. Packrat middens at Chaco canyon show that pinyon/juniper woodlands in the canyon disappeared around A.D. 1000. Those forests have never returned.

    Read more: http://tenthmil.com/mission/timeline/ancient_forest_management_in_the_chaco_canyon#ixzz2Jh7BTAw0

    But as Michele said, do your research – Jared Diamond’s Collapse, Joseph Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies and Tim Flannery’s Future Eaters would make a good start. BC Nurse mentions 1491 which is on my list to read.

  • Here is a link to a summary of Dilworth’s Too Smart for our Own Good in which he outlines what he calls the vicious circle principle. We are in the last iteration of that – having made it from small numbers all the way up to extinction. You have to be dedicated to read the book (but its worth it)
    http://candobetter.net/node/2755

    A snippet below
    Humans’ development of technology distinguishes us from other life forms. It is what has made us the only species whose population has constantly grown from its inception. Not only has our population constantly grown, the rate at which it has grown has constantly increased: human population growth has always been accelerating.

    Unlike other species, humans have invented and employed such devices as the hand-axe, fire, clothing, the bowl, spears, boats, the bow and arrow, the hoe, the plough, irrigation, watermills and windmills, sailboats, various petroleum-driven engines, and electricity generators operated by nuclear power. And this technology, paradigmatically, has had the effect of pushing back the limits to human population size, a phenomenon we do not see in other species.

    Humans’ development of technology has been exponential, and has led to a corresponding exponential increase in our total resource consumption as well as in the size of our population – even before Homo sapiens came into existence. Most notable in this regard are early humans’ harnessing of fire some 1.5 million years ago, the horticultural revolution 10,000 years ago, the beginning of the mining of metals 6000 years ago, and the industrial revolution 250 years ago. But this process is going on all the time, with such apparently minor technological innovations as that of the stirrup or horseshoe, or ball-bearing or adjustable wrench, each contributing to the end result of increasing the number of humans that can occupy a given area of land.

    There can be no human population growth beyond a certain limit without technological changes permitting more food to be provided per given unit of land. Population and technology have a feedback relationship: population growth provides the push, technological change the pull.

  • U – But it becomes nonsense, if you consider that your own human body is composed of these so-called ‘competitive life forms’. If they were not sharing the energy, passing the nutrients around, co-operating, you could not exist.

    That may be true, but many of them would cease to exist as well if we died, so they aren’t doing it for us, they are doing it for themselves.

    Symbiosis is one way of competing and symbiosis sometimes ends in permanent attachment as in the chloroplasts in green plants

    per wiki “Chloroplasts are one of the many different types of organelles in the plant cell. They are considered to have originated from cyanobacteria through endosymbiosis. This was first suggested by Mereschkowsky in 1905[3] after an observation by Schimper in 1883 that chloroplasts closely resemble cyanobacteria.[4] Almost all chloroplasts are thought to derive directly or indirectly from a single endosymbiotic event in the Archaeplastida. ”

    Looks like chloroplasts are big winners in the competition event and cyanobacteria the loosers. The plants they joined up with benefited too, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they won big time.

    Just because a species cooperates with another for advantage doesn’t mean that it is not competitive – gut bacteria compete with their own species and others within our gut – often leaving no room for bacteria we don’t want to get a food hold. Lucky for us that they usually win the battle for space on our body.

    Think of a sports team – the cooperate for the benefit of the team to compete with other teams. The cooperation is for the purpose of competing.

  • @ Tom

    What the fuck is the point?!….so much for human life.

    Ha ! Yes, I recognise that sequence. But there is that absolutely marvellous and exquisite state of inner balance, of perfection, of nobility, where one has faced all of the stuff you mention and prevailed, very hard to find, very hard to retain, because if you try to possess it or hang onto it, it’s gone, but it can be expressed in great art works, in master strokes, and everyone recognises it when they see it, or hear it, someone who is soaring above all the crap…

  • @ Kathy C.

    Think of a sports team – the cooperate for the benefit of the team to compete with other teams. The cooperation is for the purpose of competing.

    This is all anthropocentric AND anthropomorphic nonsense. Who decides what the purpose is ? Who decides what winning is ? Assigning agency to chemistry is ridiculous.

  • Gail says: Growing trees to burn them is horrible idea but just like Guy’s link shows, we’re going to keep burning until their’s nothing – or nobody – left, whichever comes first.

    There’s not too much time left, it’s true,
    To do all we might like to do,
    But if things are begun
    And they never get done,
    That’s probably O.K. too.

  • this is why i hate amerikkka: http://green-aid.com/?page_id=66

    listen to this woman scream as fascist ‘authorities’ abruptly arrest her and her mate and forcibly take their newborn and toddler child for legally growing cannabis for home medical consumption. this is amerikkka’s ‘war on drugs’ in all it’s visceral horror/evil. this is power abused and corrupted, running roughshod over sheeple’s lives, inflicting severe trauma and loss and grief. this is what happens when dogmas, lies, corporate greed, and puritanically misinformed hysteria rule.

    some of u may be still misinformed regarding this supposedly dangerous and medically harmful ‘drug’. perhaps u think there’s scientific evidence that cannabis is responsible for a variety of harms, including certainly to a developing infant of a mother who ingests the herb during pregnancy. in fact, if one is to believe the propaganda that is regularly put out via corporate/government media, taking any illicit ‘drug’ including cannabis by a pregnant woman is a criminally negligent behavior subject to prosecution, judgement, and punishment, including shockingly abrupt, cruel, sadistic, forceful, and if necessary violent separation of children from parent(s).

    i have learned that governments and corporations lie day and night, as routinely as we breathe, at least about some things. their lies are often based on rigged ‘science’ and fabricated or exaggerated accounts of how ‘drugs’ supposedly turn sheeple into criminals, zombies, sub-humans. i have read several articles and books debunking the establishment’s junk science and demonizing re. cannabis. it sickens me to live in a world where blatant lies pass for truth, where most sheeple are apparently too damned stupid to ever figure out that the whole damned culture is steeped in deceit, delusions and dogmas that keep ‘the masses’ (vague term, like ‘elites’/ptb) from ever being able to perceive or acknowledge this surreality.

    i’ve also read books, articles, many many personal reports, as well as known sheeple (including myself) who have used cannabis to great therapeutic effect, with little if any undesirable side effects aside from the anxiety/fear/paranoia that comes with the territory of being a ‘criminal’ in a brutal orwellian police state that creates ‘wars’ on things like cannabis to help keep dissidents like me and maybe u, under their ‘authority’. so i’ve become a firm believer that cannabis is in fact a very beneficial herb, one whose benefits far outweigh it’s supposed downside. i don’t believe a damned word any governmental or corporate troll has to say on the matter, and i find my respect for the damned fools who do believe is ever diminishing. it leads to such a sense of alienation and isolation and paranoia (perhaps warranted). a kafkaesque sense of living in a nightmare.

    btw, here’s a little something i guarantee u’ll never see coming from any corporate/government media troll. it’s a study done by a respected reputable researcher (an amerikkkan, if u can imagine that) on jamaican mothers to determine the surreal effects of cannabis use during pregnancy on child development. it’s conclusions are shockingly opposite the trolls propaganda. if u decide to read further links past this one, u can also read how jamaican mothers give infants and young children ‘ganja’ tea as both a curative and preventative medicine to positive effect. so much for the most anguished and hysterical troll concerns for the welfare of children ‘exposed’ to this ‘harmful’ ‘drug’:

    http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/1422.html

    now that i’ve got that off my chest (thanks to the great guy who created/provides this forum), i wish to briefly add my pair of pennies to a question posed a couple of days ago in these comments re. tptb supposed awareness and prospective preparedness for the shitstorm to come. i reject the notion that this vaguely defined term ‘the powers that be’ constitutes some special monolithic group of select sheeple whose knowledge/awareness vastly exceeds us ‘commoners’. i reject any notion that ‘tptb’ are fundamentally different from u and i. i’m almost convinced that most of those in ‘power’, despite whatever access they may have to ‘privileged’ information denied to u and i, are just as ignorant or in denial of the anthropogenic gaian crisis we imminently face as the common joses and marias and non-virgin terrys among us. lol

  • @ Kathy C.

    Assigning agency to chemistry is ridiculous.

    What I mean by that. The chloroplasts, or for that matter the mitochondria, all the other organelles, all the bacteria inside us, everything including the atoms and molecules… you can’t say ‘Oh they say to themselves, “We want to win, so what we need to do is get together, and that way we can have a better chance against the competition”‘

    It’s chemicals. They don’t think, or decide, or plan. They are doing what they are doing in patterns that have taken billions of years to evolve. Then we come along, look at the patterns and super-impose our own cultural and ideological conclusions and preferences onto what we see.

    Isn’t that VERY BAD SCIENCE ?

  • b9k9: ‘These two turning points, some multi-billion years ago, are the basis for all competitive life forms today: aggression and killing.’

    true, but one sided/incomplete. left out are cooperation and nurturing, at least amongst small groups.

    ‘interesting notion that we have a moral imperative to rise above our natural instincts, but what the hell is that?’

    at least a few of us have an intelligent, sane idea that we need to try to harness our instincts to avoid destroying ourselves. too bad we’re too few to give it a go. thus:

    ‘come to grips with the facts-of-life, and do the exact opposite in what Hedges is engaged. Fly low and avoid the radar.’ -nice doggy (lol)

  • .
    The use of money and law
    And persuasion by logic and awe
    Is more gentle and kind
    (Not to mention refined)
    Than using the tooth and the claw.

  • i should clarify/elaborate an opinion i just expressed in a long comment submitted about an hour ago that’s awaiting moderator’s approval. i kind of contradicted myself in saying that government/corporate ‘trolls’ lie as routinely as they breathe, while further opining that ‘tptb’ are in fact probably just as ignorant or in denial as ‘the masses’. such deceit implies that they are indeed more aware, more knowledgable. what i neglected to say is that the surreal deceivers among tptb, the ones who are aware and concealing their awareness while attempting to fool the rest of us, are probably a small minority. i think most of ‘tptb’ are among the true believers, the ignorant, misinformed, or in denial. thus while they may put out disinformation routinely as part of their job, they do so as fools, not intentional deceivers.