As Colorado Burns and Another Hotly Contested Issue

I landed here in Colorado on Thursday for a short visit with some old friends. I must say this place is on fire!  Forget the arid 100+ degree heat.  The flames outside of Fort Collins and Colorado Springs have ravaged surrounding landscapes, taking entire planned urban developments (PUDs) – including homes, cars, and several lives with them.1  Certainly, the loss of life, property, and hope is unfortunate and tragic, but not to be unexpected given the density of these communities and the aggregation of property there. Yet, here in Denver it seems just another Pleasant-Valley Saturday. In fact, you might never know anything was amiss around the state, unless you were hooked-up intravenously to the local television news where they eagerly provide hungry spectators with scorching, blow-by-blow descriptions and visuals without commercial interruption.  But the smell of the burnt destruction flashing through those very images on the screen must have been overwhelming.

No need to fear, however, the “hopey-changey” man was coming to town.  That’s right, the Prince of Peace was taking some time off from his busy war-planning and terror-management schedule to make a show of sympathy while engaging in a little promotional campaigning right here – as Colorado burns.  The shameless political pandering proffered by any disaster like this is, what shall we say… shameful. Still gloating over his apparent healthcare win in the Supreme Court, Obama was busy congratulating every public employee and manager on bloated federal, state, and local government budgets.

So the Affordable Care Act apparently survives as law now, reluctantly blessed by the same psychotic judiciary that brought you corporate personhood and the corporation’s right to free speech (aka., political donations). Yet, what has really transpired with the dueling opinions proffered by the schizophrenic Chief Justice Roberts?  Well, on the one hand, he has confirmed the obvious – that Congress (our legislature) is really in the business of regulating (controlling) behavior, what we citizens can and cannot do.  He says,

Congress already possesses expansive power to regulate what people do.

Of course, we already knew this.  Yet, what his argument in the majority opinion further achieved was to lay a subtle legal basis for imposing limits on governmental regulation of commercial (economic) relations.  In other words, he is building the case (precedent) for further de-regulation of the marketplace.  Bingo!  That is exactly what his “free-market” casino-capitalist CEO paymasters desire. He did this by specifically arguing against expanding the regulatory powers of the State over commerce.

Construing the Commerce Clause to permit Congress to regulate individuals precisely because they are doing nothing would open a new and potentially vast domain to congressional authority… Upholding the Affordable Care Act under the Commerce Clause would give Congress the same license to regulate what people do not do. 

According to some analysts, this lays a groundwork for the coming attraction – future rollbacks in the scope and ability of the Feds to regulate business, effectively giving the corporate oligarchs free reign over the face of the earth, much like Yahweh, as if they did not already possess it.  So, while Obama and his flunkies believe they have won the battle, they may have lost the war.2  A legal basis for reducing the size and reach of the federal government has now been established in the judiciary.  Of course, it is only a loss for anyone who still buys into the dominant neo-liberal theology of the State.  Obviously, I don’t.

From my perspective, the Roberts Rule provides several key takeaways.  On the one hand, it represents an immediate (if only short-lived) expansion of Federal power to tax US citizens.  In this respect, it also enhances the Fed’s ability to further dictate individual behavior by compelling us to be commercial insurance consumers by force of law.  Call it a tax, if you will, either way its net effect is control.  Additionally, his opinion opens the door for corporations to exercise increasingly aggressive roles in the fleecing of America, as apparent government oversight diminishes. Indeed, we will become less cognizant of the increasing incidence of the sorts of shenanigans described in a recent case with British-based multinational pharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline.

GSK’s sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations to paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours to a European pheasant hunt to tickets to Madonna concerts, and this is just to name a few,” said Carmin M. Ortiz, U.S. attorney in Massachusetts.3

Yet, ultimately, the Roberts Rule represents just another clever distraction from the real issue, expanding the sphere of control and increasing manipulation of the body politic by the corporatocracy.

However, it now appears that even the president and his handlers may be uncomfortable with the wording of this big win, at least with the circuitous logic that allowed Roberts to suddenly flip his position.  Obama and his minions have systematically shied away from use of the “tax” word at all costs.

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, appearing on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, sought to characterize the mandate as a penalty, not a tax. 4

It certainly appears as though the Daily Mail in Britain had it about right: “A Pyrrhic victory at the Supreme Court as Obamacare becomes Obamatax.”4 So perhaps the conservative Chief Justice, an unlikely political trickster figure, was smarter than everyone by half, handing the president a victory at the cost of his own reelection hopes.  Now, wouldn’t that be sweet, poetic justice!

Nevertheless, it seems that such tinkering, or side-stepping, with language is now de rigueur in this crazy game of pretzel-logic-law-making-cum-political-huckstering, as we discussed just last week.  The wily, but not so feral, Chief Justice simply redefined terms of the debate in order to justify the opinion he feels compelled to deliver. And, in so doing, he provides that Pyrrhic victory for the visiting team; but then the marketing experts, err… career politicians, go right back to work trying to circle the wagons and reconstitute the discussion on other grounds.  And they engage in this sport, endlessly, whenever it suits their needs.

It appears that in this world, where A=A, and only A, we rather enjoy this game of wordplay, perhaps because it expands our already deluded sense of freedom, like the way we feel empowered when we encounter all those different brands of deodorant for sale on the grocery store shelf.  Of course, the legislators, judges and politicians love this game of scrabble as well; it allows for ongoing public distraction from the main event – a tightening death-grip on the citizenry – each new law bringing us under stricter control by the metropole – the colonizers, the imperialists and their corporate paymasters.

Nevertheless, we sit enthralled by the spectacle, awaiting further acts of dissemblance, manipulation, justification, and outright lying by the various parties involved in the latest dispute.  I am certain we shall hear much more from legislators of all stripes, the administration, and the bench, as the race for the White House and the vote tally nears its final leg late this fall.  Isn’t the Spectacle exciting?  But it creates such a stench that is becoming harder to ignore. Try not to get lost in the swirling, decaying miasma.

As the fires continue to ravage Colorado, and the American hegemony ravages the globe, Roberts may just have ravaged the president’s reelection bid, while Obama in turn ravages us, and we continue ravaging the earth.  When will all these appetites be sated?

89 Responses to As Colorado Burns and Another Hotly Contested Issue

  1. “When will all these appetites be sated?”

    Perhaps sometime after a global liquidity crunch? Collapse of the electricity grid? Massive food shortages? Nuclear facilities popping their tops like zits? Perhaps when the air is no longer breathable because we have toxified the oceans to the point that phytoplankton disappear, and the ocean food chain collapses? Perhaps sometime after DHS starts spraying around those 450 million .40 cal hollow point bullets they bought this spring? I could go on, but reciting it ad nauseum isn’t going to overcome the enervating, all-consuming effect of the mainstream media, mesmerizing America. The closer we come to collapse, the thicker and louder the lies. Techno triumphal cornucopian phantasmagoria. While the earth burns.

    Is there an antidote to despair? Pealing back the veil, looking within, grounding oneself in the earth, and trusting that you are divine.

    • Martin says:

      William -
      I like your antidote – and (to add a bit to it) to enjoy the moment, no matter how sour the moment may seem on its surface. I’m aware of your situation since I read your blog and I have empathy having been there in a way myself.

      The Stones said it well – “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you may find, you get what you need.”

    • kulturcritic says:

      I just want to understand this “trusting that you are divine,” otherwise I am with you WHD.

    • Disaffected says:

      Techno triumphal cornucopian phantasmagoria.

      I’m going to have to remember that one! VERY nice! And I liked the rest of the post too.

    • Sorry I haven’t been back. I’ve been compelled by others to explain what I mean by divine. The next post, when I let go of my anger at the world.

  2. Martin says:

    Re: ‘Robert’s Reversal’ – Back a few years the congresscritters, et al, instituted Medicare part D which, ostensibly, offered us old creaks a break on the cost of whatever drug du jour we were saddled with in order to continue keepin’ on keepin’ on. We-all had a certain period of time to sign up to receive this boon or, if we didn’t, we’d have to pay an ongoing fine of no small size when and if we did. I don’t use Big Pharma’s products (other than an occasional aspirin or ibuprofin)) and am determined to never do so, such is my disdain for them (both Big Pharma and the drugs), so I opted out. Anyway, on to my sort-of-point: It seems to me that this was a precursor to the current situation, even though no one took up t’s constitutionality in court, and therefore could form a precedent that clearly states that the result of such shenanigans is a fine and not a tax. Makes no difference to me, but it would seem to be a big enough question which, if raised by some sharp Atty., could generate enough of a wordplay argument to muddy the waters for awhile.

    Just sayin’.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Big Pharma is almost a bigger bitch than Big Banking. They are also looking to outlaw the buying of registered drugs over the internet through India, Canada, etc. The new intellectual property law is going to close that option down. We are “locked in a prison of our own devise.”

      • gregg says:

        excellent post again, sandy.

        not aware of the “new intellectual property law”. is that part of the super-secret and horrific “trans pacific parntership” that is “nafta on steroids”?

        this new fascism seems to have no end or bounds. no surprise there, really.

        • kulturcritic says:

          no walls, no boundaries!!

        • Ed-M says:

          The new fascism: the motto is on the back of each dollar bill, “Novus ordo saeculorum.” new order of the ages. Fascist Feudalism. The global tyranny.

          And it will be under a “Republican form of Government” meaning, GOP one-party state. because not only the democrats are the enablers, they are also the patsies, to be eliminated when they are no longer needed.

    • Disaffected says:

      As an aside and separate and only tangentially related diatribe, the idea of constitutionality with regard to any particular legal issue has always been sort of pet peeve of mine, something akin to interpreting the Bible (or Torah, or Qur’an, or whatever). It always reminds me of the Samuel Johnson quote “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” “Constitutionality,” just like “patriotism,” more often than not being in the eye of the beholder. And just like patriotism, constitutionality arguments are more often than not put forward by weak minded little twits who have run out of logical ammunition otherwise.

  3. Tom says:

    i’m convinced that were “toast” as a species.

    We’re all going to realize that we blew it big time – we’re a failed experiment. Despite our so-called “superior brain” we’ve managed to succumb to the most basic desires like reproduction(overpopulating the space) in which we’re no better than yeast, or greed (gluttonous of the worlds resources at the expensive of all other species) and many other deadly sins.

    We’ve never learned from our mistakes, can’t get along with each other or care about anything beyond our immediate needs (no matter what, as it turns out) and we’ve painted ourselves into a corner now with respect to resources, energy, population, and encompassing it all, civilization.

    We’ll continue to collapse, but the pace will pick up exponentially at some point and we’ll have an economic meltdown as the climate ultimately makes it impossible to grow food while we pollute and misuse the only water sources we have through fracking, ocean acidification, and dead zones.

    - fucking Brilliant mankind.

  4. Malthus says:

    Well done Sandy, I guess you and I have some things in common with Colorado. Me being a 4th generation Coloradoan and actually lived in Golden a few short years before heading for the high country. I know you taught at Mines so we have stomped some of the same ground. The fires are not good and yet half the forests in Colorado have or are dying because of the beetle. Prince of Peace now that is good. This whole election reminds me of year eight episode eight of South Park where the kids are voting for a name for their mascot a cow. The choices are between a \”turd sandwich,\” and a \”giant douche bag.\” And of course they come to realize those are the choices we usually have in our elections. The episode can be seen on youtube. Roberts is a sly devil turning the mandate into a tax and the liberals are dancing in the streets not realizing that he is sitting back and chuckling and patting himself on the back for pulling off one more rip off of the nation of zombies and dummies. Anyway this week is exceptional. Thanks.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Well Malthus.. now we did sow some of the same fields. We shall see just how smart the American public is; and how well Obama and Roberts are able to walk a tightrope. The noose is getting tighter here around the necks of the body politic. Question: How do you boil a frog? LOL

  5. derekthered says:

    the american citizenry reminds me more and more of the Eloi from H.G. Wells “The Time Machine”, who the Morlocks called to the dinner table with their siren call. i truly despair of any political change coming to pass, the citizens having succumbed to the simulation our synthetic society has become.

    a recent trilogy that i feel compares well with classic dystopian/utopian poli-sci/fi is the “Hunger Games”, sure they say it’s a kid’s book, but then how many of us read “Brave New World”, “Fahrenheit 451″, and other such books when we were young? topical and easy to read pulp fiction, easy to digest, rather like our saviors political message.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Exactly, derek!! LOL

      • derekthered says:

        and it leaves your hair soft, shiny, and manageable, that’s right! but that’s not all!!! act now, and we will pay your airfare for an intimate dinner with Sarah Jessica Parker!!!!!!
        sweepstakes politics, a real horse race, as they go thru the first it’s………………….

    • Brutus says:

      I have gone back to reread the classic dystopian novels of the mid-20th century. They’re not kiddie lit. I’m sorry, but even with its inventive conceit, Hunger Games offers very little by way of comparison. The language is flattened to fit pea brains, and it offers little of the insightful social commentary that made the classics, well, classic.

      • derekthered says:

        “but even with its inventive conceit, Hunger Games offers very little by way of comparison.” well, i liked it anyway, but then i’ve always had a penchant for “lowbrow”, trashy, pulp fiction. one of my favorites is “I, the Jury” by Mickey Spillane. get into “The Long Goodbye” by Raymond Chandler, there issome pretty biting social commentary. now, since you have an opinion on Hunger Games, you must have read it.

      • derekthered says:

        you are right in that hunger games is kiddie lit. but does it matter? i think collins nailed it. the wildly divergent cultures between the districts and the capitol, the mutations are topical considering XNA, the strip-mining of the districts for wealth. all these things reflect contemporary society, whether it is the western powers carving up “spheres of influence” worldwide after the second colonial war, or the state of the US today. kiddie lit or not, i think she put some actual intellectual content into her books, and it is resonating with young people.

        • Brutus says:

          It does matter. I suspect our ideas of what qualifies as “actual intellectual content” varies. Statements of the obvious easily understood by children do not qualify for me. With that standard, we are all reduced to adult-child status, which has been occurring through, for instance, TV news insistance on no rising above the level of 9th-grade language.

          • derekthered says:

            i’m with you, really, i am. i managed to graduate high school, but am constantly amazed at the lack of logic in the dialectic of today. people rattle off statements with internal contradictions all the time, on both the left and the right. now, i enjoy a light read, that’s all the hunger games is, kiddie kit, as you say, but still………..the districts? spheres of influence? she did manage to get some concepts across about politics. these concepts go right over the heads of most children, but not mine, they got it. that’s who i got the books from, the kids. “Twilight” i took a pass on.

            and the teevee news? i’d say more about the third grade.

        • kulturcritic says:

          Of course, not living in USA much, I have no idea what this hunger game stuff is about… another reality show???

          • derekthered says:

            hunger games is teen fiction, by a lady named suzanne collins

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger_Games_trilogy

            first book is the best. she robbed all sorts of plot elements and ideas from all sorts of places. she even robbed some of the title references from the millennium trilogy

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Trilogy

            yes, of course it’s trash, i read a book a day, the whole thing over a weekend. after parsing my favorite cultural theorist it’s nice to have a quick read. no, to my mind nothing compares with “brave new world”, and to think huxley wrote this stuff in the 30′s! the man was genius, can’t read his other stuff, i’ve tried, too hard for my little brain.

            but then i find lots of hemingway, faulkner, and fitzgerald unreadable also, so go figure.
            as my grandma always said, “to each his own, said the old lady who kissed the cow”. i have picked barbours book back up, i was re-reading ‘seduction’ when i bought it.

            but back to the hunger games, she may not be a great writer, but the concepts about panem, the arena, mutations and such? i think she has presented a valid concept of a dystopian future.

            • Ralph Meima says:

              Derek, as an avid reader of dystopian novels, I agree that much of what’s currently relevant was already written between the ’20s and the ’50s. Huxley is superb, of course. But he read “We” by Zamyatin (1921), as did Orwell (1984) and Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), and to some extent these are all rehashes of “We,” which must also have influenced Fritz Lang’s film “Metropolis” (1927). Zamyatin himself probably read or heard of Jack London’s “The Iron Heel” from 1908. Suzanne Collins is rummaging around in some pretty old and heavily re-used tropes. Entertaining movie, though, with a comley heroine who’s an archeress and scampers through Eden-like forest scenes…

              For a detailed attempt to depict how we might actually fall into a dystopia far worse than our own, near-term, check out my emerging installment novel “Inter States” http://interstates2040.wikispaces.com/

  6. Kenuck says:

    Hey…Cruise and Holmes are breaking up..get real…”Oh beautiful,for burning skies,for amber waves of malls…for crappy jobs at slave wages,and make believe democracy!More R2D..more R2D,Monsanto help us please…fake Justice too,Frankenfoods of goo,and fools from sea to sea”

    • Disaffected says:

      Kinda running out of decent memes these days, aren’t they? Its almost like the professional liars (aka propagandists) can’t even stomach the shit they’re peddling anymore. Maybe a good sign? Deep down ( I know, I know, this one’s a stretch), even right wing corporate fascists are people too.

  7. Ralph says:

    Sandy, excruciatingly honest, as usual. I don’t want to watch the carnage, but you make me, and I thank you. Indeed, aren’t the influence-arbitrage, manipulative rhetoric, winner-takes-all partisan frenzy, and complete absence of honest governmental counsel about real blood, sweat, and tears issues (with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders, I-VT) consistent with the impending heat death of fossil fuel oligarchy? Not that biofueled, solar, or mammalian-body energy regimes can be expected to deliver oligarchies that are necessarily any kinder or wiser… (The accompanying Wagnerian theatrics of the Western states ablaze add to a sense of the Twilight of the Kochs. And now we even have new language for our downfall, such as “derecho”.)

  8. Schwerpunkt International says:

    Tax, penalty or whatever, the regulations are all aimed away from the corporations and teir owners and directly at the Great Unwashed.

  9. Disaffected says:

    Roberts is crazy like a fox. That’s always been the GOP’s strong suit – the LONG game. That’s why they’ll always have it over their retarded “liberal” cousins, the Dems. It’s so obvious now you wonder if they aren’t actually roll playing from a predetermined script. I’m quite sure now Obama was a plotted plant all along, either by selection of his superiors and/or by opportunistic personal choice. His meteoric rise to fame and power is hard to explain any other way, and his actions since taking office are just completely inexplicable otherwise.

    But once you realize it’s all a staged production a la the Wizard of Oz you can finally sit back and enjoy the show. Take your shoes off, put your feet up, y’all come back now, hear? American democracy. The biggest spectacle that corporate money can buy.

  10. javacat says:

    Let the scheduled backlash begin!

    From our ‘governor’: “…what’s next? More taxes if we don’t drive Toyota Priuses or if we eat too much junk food or maybe even pea soup? This decision has made America less free. We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.”

    (http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/07/politics/lepage-calls-obamacare-an-expensive-stripping-away-of-freedom-says-irs-is-new-gestapo/)

    Invoking the Nazis? Your sign of higher-order thinking.

    • Disaffected says:

      SUCH hyperbole! You have to wonder if the Repubes won’t eventually wear it out, much like the overworked pancreases of most of their sugar addicted, lower class, fat-assed right wing constituents. Granted, there’s an awful lot not to like about O.Co’s ACA, but “IRS Gestapo” hysteria is probably the least of them. You honestly have to wonder if the empire is even worth saving anymore. And not just because of total corporate capture and lying pols. Hell, pols have been lying forever, and corporate capture has been underway for most of our lifetimes. The REAL question to my mind is, have the masses of sheep been fed so much figurative GMO ideological shit for so long that the gene pool has been permanently altered? It would certainly appear so these days.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Let the games begin!

    • Ed-M says:

      Exactly. If you have to invoke the Nazis, you’ve lost the argument.

  11. Angie says:

    Why don’t you all vote Green?
    Seriously.
    ?

    I know it’s not my business, but no-one here has gone there, and your two party system is fucking our world.

    Any thoughts? This is a great site for a no holds barred conversation about an alternative to all this shit.

    Does defection to the Greens ensures a Republican win?

    • javacat says:

      Angie,
      I don’t think anyone’s avoiding the topic of the Green Party or of a third party in general. Unlike other countries, in the U.S. a third party mostly has not been viable.
      Your question gets at part of the problem: the voters that tend to vote Green are mostly Dems, independents or unaffiliated–at least where I’m from. The risk of splitting the vote and having a Republican win is valid concern. That said, we have had Independent candidates run and win–twice in our gubernatorial races. In the last race for governor, however, our strongest candidate was an Independent; the weak Democratic candidate held onto the party loyal, and the Tea Party Republican candidate won with ~38% of the vote–so risks are real.
      The other problem for the Greens has been the quality of the candidates. The marginalized party regularly offered marginalized candidates with little skill and few credentials. Ours have either had egos that got in the way of their message or knew so little about anything that they had limited credibility as a candidate and inspired little confidence in their ability to get things done.
      Green Parties have fared better in Europe, most notably Germany, but I don’t know the status of any of the Green Parties these days. How about in your part of the world?

      • Disaffected says:

        Java, just as an example, have you considered how easy it would be / is for big money to fund extremist third party strawmen candidates for the express purpose of discrediting said third parties in the first place? When you start viewing politics as war (which it is), everything that goes on now begins to make a lot more sense. As a corporate business investment expense, influencing elections has a decidedly asymmetric return on investment.

        • javacat says:

          DA, I’ve tried three times to write a reply that means anything. Is it possible? Yes. Have I considered it? No. I’ve seen no evidence of such manipulation. But in the end, which is the now, none of it matters anyway. JC

          • Disaffected says:

            You’re more trusting than I then. I wondered all through the hysterical Repube primary season whether some of those nut bags weren’t funded just to take the steam out of the fringe groups so that they wouldn’t have to deal with them during the fall campaign. A preemptive strike if you will. Of course Obama/Romney is mostly win-win for conservatives interests. With the former you get conservative policies by proxy, while enjoying the undeniable luxury of being able to blame any untoward outcomes on the opposition party. With Romney, they actually have to own the results, especially if congress were to swing hard right as well. That’s why I think it’s in the conservatives’ best interest to keep O.Co in the oval office. He keeps the party faithful all stirred up in all the right ways, while still delivering the mail for his conservative masters. Recent Romney campaign missteps over the issue of whether the ACA represents a tax or not would seem to support this idea. Roberts served him up a fat one and Mitt whiffs on it completely. Too stupid to be credible in my opinion.

    • Disaffected says:

      Whatever “new and improved” ideological banner one were to defect to would be co-opted by the big two soon enough. That’s the power of big money and total ownership of the media these days. Better to just defect altogether in my opinion. Quit the system to the maximum extent allowable by personal circumstances and start something new at the local level. That’s going to happen over the long term either way, as the powers of globalism recede from everything local as unprofitable and therefore not worth the trouble in favor of all things supranational. Globalist forces are already working (and succeeding!) to undermine the very idea of national government, so you know damn sure they don’t give two shits about anything local. Therein lies the people’s only true remaining power.

    • Disaffected says:

      Oh, and it will be Obama’s performance over the past four years that guarantees a Repube victory, should big money be on board with it of course. Not that it will make one bit of difference either way. Obama will merely tell you he’s not going to fuck you before doing exactly that (all with that wry little smile of his), while Mitt will let you know right up front and then try to make you feel better about it after the fact (cigarette anyone?). That’s the only real choice we have these days. Two professional mouthpieces who represent the same global corporate interests, each with their own little personal flair just to make it interesting and provide the illusion of “choice.”

    • Malthus says:

      I don’t know which country you are referring to Sandy. In my observations anyone who even wants to get into politics is psycopathetic, and that is anywhere on this planet. The mere need to represent an interest and lead is someone who has a inflated ego so big he/she sees nothing but the past.

    • derekthered says:

      angie, lots of people have thoughts, and lots of people are sincere, myself included, no real agenda other than wanting a square deal, and not to be so ruthlessly exploited. the problem is polity, and imho, the inexplicable failure to realize that govt. (by it’s very nature) suppresses behavior the polis finds objectionable, hence the difficulty reaching polity.

      reaction to the status-quo is not free thinking, merely being reactionary (in the classic sense of the word, not the marxist) colours analysis with unsupported assumptions. if you start fresh without preconceptions you find yourself in novel places, and many times accused of being reactionary in the standard sense of the word.

      the very vastness of the human/machine hybrid concentrates power to such an extent that reform seems hopeless. the easy availability of energy has turned the USA into such a narcissistic nation with so many distractions and gadgets at our fingertips that critical thought is very rare, there is just so much inertia to go along with the status quo.

      empire has become such a way of life that hardly anyone thinks outside of the box. witness the 4th of July where high govt. officials praise our “brave men and women” for “defending our country” when the mainland has not been seriously attacked for 200 years. of course one has to put in the obligatory disclaimer about how you support the troops and i shall, i have never been with a better bunch than when i was in the service, i was treated fairly by everyone i had dealings with, doesn’t mean empire is correct.

      no, we are in this thing so deep, both puppet parties preach the same mantra, there really is nothing for it except try to keep an open mind, try to retain your sanity, and endeavor to persevere, yes, that’s it,

      “Lone Watie: We thought about it for a long time, “Endeavor to persevere.” And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.” Chief Dan George – The Outlaw Josey Wales – written by the way, by a former Klan member.

      we see how that went.

    • I plan to vote Green. In the state where I live there is no chance Romney will win. If it was a swing state I might have to think a little longer. But it’s not, so I don’t.

      • kulturcritic says:

        why vote at all? Are you mesmerized by the spectacle? don’t let them distract you, mistah charlie

        • Malthus says:

          I agree with your “why vote at all,” premise. It appears to me that voting for anyone just keeps propping up the same old song and dance. Now if no one showed up at the booths that would be something.

          • gregg says:

            malthus,
            agreed. if no one showed up, it would be clear that the puppets are naked, and the hands up their arses would be in plain sight. we now have a voting rate ~ 50pc. that’s a lot of dupes. we should be much more ambitious and get that number down to around 5 to 10pc. i suppose everyone’s seen the brilliant george carlin bit about the voting scam (“if you voted, you have no right to complain!”), but that’s always worth another look every cycle or so.
            also, some anti-voting logic prior to the last “election” hoax, now more obvious and applicable than then: http://ehrlum.com/groundup/9-23-08/ .

            • kulturcritic says:

              Great speech from Kennedy – but, the cynic in me wonders if he was just throwing up a smoke screen to give the appearance of openness.

              • gregg says:

                yeah, maybe so. then i guess there’s really nothing much to hope for. 100pc bullshit, 100pc of the time. so it was all just a nice little diversion from the usual pillage and plunder? heheh. bring on the greys.

        • Bruce says:

          “Why vote at all?”

          Why not? I’m in the process of planning a European vacation in August, hoping that whatever “foundations” of civilization (by which I mean the collective illusions of legitimacy that have somehow sustained the unsustainable longer than most thought possible) don’t suddenly crumble before I can make my way home with my family to enjoy Armageddon in more-familiar surroundings. I’m starting to think of it as my “bucket list” of things to do before civilization itself dies.

          And, in spite of my vote not meaning anything in the Presidential election (my very-blue state will get exactly zero dollars spent in it trying to woo my vote towards either Obama or Romney, which is exactly what my vote is worth, of course), I am considering adding “vote Green Party” to my bucket list.

          I mean, how many more chances will I get to do that? :-)

  12. cpopblog says:

    There is an excellent oratorio by Sir Michael Tippet called ‘A Child of Our Time’ for those with an hour to kill and brooding questions of how to gracefully go down with the ship.

    Excerpts:

    The world turns on its dark side.
    It is winter.

    Man has measured the heavens
    with a telescope,
    driven the Gods from their thrones.
    But the soul watching the chaotic mirror,
    knows that the gods will return.
    Truly the living god consumes within, and turns the
    flesh to cancer!

    Is evil then good?
    Is reason untrue?
    Reason is true to itself;
    But pity breaks open the heart.
    We are lost.
    We are as seed before the wind.
    We are carried to a great slaughter…

    A star rises in midwinter.
    Behold the man!
    The scapegoat!
    The child of our time.
    ….

    The man of destiny is cut off from fellowship.
    Healing springs from the womb of time.
    The simple-hearted shall exult in the end.

    What of the the boy, then?
    What of him?

    He, too, is outcast,
    his manhood broken in the clash of powers.
    God overpowered him.
    The child of our time.

  13. Angie says:

    Hi

    Thanks

    Totally agree on the sociopathology of your average politician, but every now and then a sincere change agent steps up, as happened here. Even the MSM commentators had to concede the integrity and consistency of message of our recently retired :( leader of the Australian Greens.

    Yep, Sandy, not keen on the PM, though she has managed to enact a price on carbon. Predictably Aussie’s own answer to your Tea Party, the leader of the opposition, is poised to take government next election, and will rescind this new tax, principally because CO2 emission abatement in Australia can have no effect (other than jeapordising our economy) while the US and others do nix to abate theirs. Thus my remark above.

    If there’s any hope for the biosphere, it’s in urgent global cooperation. We really need the Leader of the Free World, hmm, to step up. The threat of concerned moderate voters abandoning the Dems for Greens can force the former to actually address the main issue, no matter the pull of big oil et al strings. And if Obama can’t or won’t then you just never know, a funded media saturation campaign showing Colorado burning and all the other attributable effects, with ghastly future scenario ads, and a call to arms against the common threat of extinction could even get the people electing Jill Stein. Unlikely, yes. Worth a go? You bet….if you’ve got kids!!!!!

    Disaffected, my family and I are with you; “Quit the system to the maximum extent allowable by personal circumstances and start something new at the local level. That’s going to happen over the long term either way, as the powers of globalism recede…. Therein lies the people’s only true remaining power.” We chucked the corporate life and are living simply. But we can still vote against the machine in the meantime, to try to buy a little more time to prepare.

    Sandy, I am naive and out of my depth here. There are a thousand structural obstacles to a solution to this mess.

    Roll over and die?

    • Disaffected says:

      I think the period 1996-2000 was the tipping point. The economy was good (although, little did we know), Clinton had just been reelected and enlightened liberalism seemed to be ascendant, the Kyoto protocol was on the table for ratification, and a sense of optimism seemed to pervade everything. Then came Monica, impeachment, Bush v Gore, 9-11, Iraq and the phantom WMDs, and all the rest of it. The forces of imperialism and globalism have clearly signaled the direction they’re heading, and they won’t be turned on a dime now. But much more than that, you get the distinct feeling that people everywhere (well, in the US and Europe at least) have simply given up hope altogether in big (read: governmental) solutions. Which is where the misguided support for corporatist “free market” solutions come from, as in, “Hey they might be corporate, but at least they’re not government!” And yes, desperate people are indeed susceptible to such simple minded dichotomies. In the end, the fact that the civic political philosophic waters have been poisoned for a generation or more will have an even greater impact on our joint long term outcomes than the actual physical environmental degradation we’re imposing as well. We can only hope that the madness is generational and will die out in time for the kids to turn it around. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

      • kulturcritic says:

        DA – incredible sense of clarity in your remarks here. Thanks, sandy

        • derekthered says:

          if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
          i don’t see the tipping point as 1996-200, i think it was 100 years ago when the incipient socialist movement was quashed in this country, but then that is just social justice, the technology would have marched on. i see it more when the anglo-iranian oil company was formed, the first neo-colonial war, and when tractors were first used on the prairies. when agriculture went mechanized in the 20′s and 30′s was the death knell. when food production exploded, when hoover dam went up, we were off to the races, of course it didn’t help when americans were urged to “see the USA, in your Chevrolet”.

          Lewis Lapham once wrote an essay about L. Frank Baum being the first window dresser in the world and the rise of the consumer culture. nope, mass production and the internal combustion engine put paid to our atmosphere a long time ago.

          we may have slowed it down a bit with Kyoto, politics notwithstanding, so here we are.

          • Disaffected says:

            True dat to all of the above. ’96-2000 was more of a last gasp, I’d say. Kind of the real no shit point of no return, even though we’d have been hard pressed to do much even then. And with the second coronation of Bush/Cheney in 2004 the deal was sealed for good. As Cheney famously said, “The American way of life is not negotiable.” And he was right. We won’t negotiate it, even until the bitter end.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Just keep your head down and tend your garden, sweet Angie! That is all we can do. sandy

      • Angie says:

        No it’s not. And don’t patronise, please.

        I have teen kids learning at school that by 2030 the polar caps will be gone and half the planet’s species extinct. While it’s not spelled out to them, they know that food will be unreliable, water contaminated, disease rampant and violence prevalent. They are scared. They want and need us to take control.

        Anyone who doubts these scenarios check with the world’s re-insurers. And fuck off actually. You’re irrelevant now. Anyone who concurs, get off your asses and do what you can to save the future.

        Sandy, forgive my presumption but I’m thinking that your son would, on reading all this likely say, gee thanks Dad. You articulated so clearly where we were going, and you had online reach to influence some big brains, who in turn had reach. And you said, oh well, it’s all fucked so let’s talk endlessly about why and keep identifying obstacles not attempting solutions.

        Come on everyone. This is not academic.

        Hat tips to readers who are actively resisting – convince, challenge, plead where you can to bring others on board. Think abolition, suffragettes, civil rights movement, vietnam war protests. The historical trajectory for grass-roots action in America is sound, and you guys influence a lot of the world.

        (BTW, I don’t enjoy getting smacked, and I know I’m about to, but, well, it’s our job as adults to stand up for children and that’s what I’m trying to do.

        Yours,
        Ducking for cover- eep,
        Angie

        • kulturcritic says:

          Angie – If you are constantly insulted by my comments, maybe you want to hang out somewhere else. Your naivete is certainly noteworthy with respect to my influence on this blog and our capacity to make large scale change. Again, if my words disturb you, I have nothing else to tell you.

        • Disaffected says:

          That was a nice cheeky comeback all the same. No need for a smack down, just a difference of opinion. For what it’s worth, I DO talk about this stuff to everyone I know all the time. Does nothing but get me labeled a crank and a paranoid pessimist and almost killed me when I decided to drown it all in drink. I’m OK with all that, but I harbor no illusions that anyone’s listening. Those who don’t see it by now just plain don’t want to. And of course they’re all addicted to the mass-media crack that’s being served up 24/7 here in the first world. For all we know we’re all playing out some sort of cosmic evolutionary meta narrative as a species that involves extinction or near-extinction. I don’t know, just throwing that out there.

        • Brutus says:

          A range of responses is available to us in response to the foreknowledge of our demise. Despite my fatalism, I do believe it matters how one behaves in the face of disaster. And yet, the end result will be the same, so the heroic call to seek solutions falls deaf on my ears. Better to consider how we might wish to go into that dark night: gently or kicking and screaming. YMMV

          The mental image for me is the sudden and abrupt realization that once the RMS Titanic hit the iceberg and ruptured the hull, no amount of bailing was going to save the ship. The catastrophe was unavoidable due to structural features of the ship.

          In our case, industrial civilization may not have struck the equivalent of an iceberg, but the structural features leading to collapse were always present. Just took time to recognize and play out.

          • derekthered says:

            “I am naive and out of my depth here. There are a thousand structural obstacles to a solution to this mess.”
            don’t get into the middle of a dogfight, you could get bit…..
            besides, i’m a lover, not a fighter, so funny. but hey it is confusing, for instance, here we have mr. cleantech promising blue skies from now on

            http://www.cleantechblog.com/

            http://www.cleantech.com/

            excuse me, but these two may be linked? might cleantech have a pecuniary interest? or is he just so much smarter than the rest of us? i have gathered that one coal train carries about 15,800 tons of coal, and that a coal train leaves the powder river basin every 20 minutes. i’l tell you what, that’s just one coal field of many, and one source of energy that we gobble up every day of the week. you do the math, my brain hurts. the sheer size and complexity of this subject does boggle the mind. anyhow, personal peace is hard to come by, no matter what happens, no matter the time frame, the middle way seems best to me. hell, life is hard enough, best to try to get by.

  14. derekthered says:

    i have been following this guy, Robert Jensen, for awhile, posters here might find it interesting, some good links.
    The Challenge of Our Dead World
    Hope is For the Lazy

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/09/hope-is-for-the-lazy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hope-is-for-the-lazy

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not of yours truly, DTR.

  15. Greg In Colorado says:

    Sandy,
    Momentary change of subject…
    Disappointed to read that you were (are?) in Colorado.
    Would love the chance to shake your hand.
    –Greg in (Laporte northwest of Fort Collins one mile from fire lines) Colorado.
    p.s. Excellent rant this week. As usual.
    p.p.s. The little irrigation ditch that waters my back pasture is running black with sooty water from the Poudre River coming out of the High Park burn zone. Goodbye to the trout.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Hey, Greg… I am sorry I did not notify you guys of my trip, but I had no forum in which to do that, unless I just blurted it out in a blog. I may be back in Colo in Dec. I will let everyone know my plans from here on out. best, sandy

  16. Kenuck says:

    I was living in the arctic Sandy…near Agnaniviarauq..just around Killiq…where they filmed the Disney thing about the Amaruq…wish I was there again.

  17. John Bollig says:

    Sandy,

    Of course the Roberts rule saved and yet screwed obamatax. Any person with a brain and a copy of a recent constitutional law treatise can figure out that congress has the right to levee taxes/ enslavement/death injections. In my part of the society, we face the last one. States have no power, only multinationals have the true power as the capital markets show today. European multinationals can move faster than our states can since they have no nation state loyality. Inherently, our rights are shit on a shingle. The courts can and have played a larger and larger role in a society in which litigation and political gamesmanship gain a paramount position in national life. Cynically, I have no doubt as to my fate.

  18. Kenuck says:

    Do you think the plankton can recover?Re-evolve….with the ph I mean…finally beat the computer on chess tonite…time for deep blue! Thank you for this blog..my only sanity for now..

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