Global Warming? What Global Warming?



Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.– Winston Churchill/Apocryphal
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – 1 Corinthians 13:11*

One of the true pleasures of recent weeks is watching the Clinton/Obama Liberal’s heads explode as Donald Trump has given every indication that he’s going to do exactly what he said he’d do (other than actually prosecute HRC as he promised to do, evidently): destroy the neo-liberal consensus, for which the bell-cow “issue of issues” is Anthropogenic (Human Caused) Global Warming (AGW), utterly and completely wherever he finds it. Whatever the name, whatever the ultimate cause, and whatever the ultimate truth of the matter, AGW remains a controversial political hot button issue among liberals, conservatives, and everyone in between for one simple reason: no significant coalition of people can agree on what exactly it is we should do about it, or yes (sorry liberals), whether anything can – or indeed – should be done about it at all.

Likewise, since dealing effectively with climate change is primarily a political problem involving large coalitions of like-minded people who are willing to deal with some exceedingly hard political trade-offs; it’s not simply a matter of convincing a small number idealistic individuals to take up gardening, buy solar panels to supplement their electricity use, and/or adopt hybrid or fully electric vehicles to reduce their carbon emissions. No, the problem is much deeper than that, and if we ever hope to deal with it, we have to at least be willing to tell ourselves the unvarnished truth, a willingness which seems to be in increasingly short supply as we get mired deeper and deeper in dealing with the many already quite observable effects. So let’s put on our big boy clothes for just few moments and take a look, shall we?

What’s the problem(s)?
AGW is a second order effect of two intertwined underlying problems: peak humanity (human overshoot) and peak oil (peak fossil fuel based energy use and depletion). We are now deep into human overshoot based on our use of a non-renewable energy source (oil and to a much lesser extent coal) for which there simply are no adequate replacements even remotely in sight. Further, our dependency is not reversible in any reasonable time frame absent catastrophic means – a massive human die-off and the complete collapse of the industrial society which supports us, which both allowed and demanded that all of those humans be born to service its needs. In plain English: AGW is every bit as much a human overshoot problem as it is an emissions problem!

In our current global paradigm, AGW is a global problem, demanding global solutions. Relatively simple (in comparison at least) nation state based solutions not only will not solve it, but in fact can only be expected to aggravate it even further, as nations states continue to disagree over proposed solutions. Paradoxically however, the failure of globalist systems to deal with AGW will force us back to nation state based solutions, with predictable and observable results.

Like the overshoot problem which underlies it, AGW is an exponential problem with huge time delays between cause and effect. As University of Colorado Professor Emeritus Albert Bartlett was famous for reminding his students, perhaps humanity’s greatest weakness (among many) is its failure to grasp the relatively simple concept of the exponential function, especially with regard to population growth. Throw in time delays of a hundred years or more as well, and human societies are particularly ill-equipped to deal with twin problems of the enormity of AGW and human overshoot.

The science of AGW is sufficiently complex that it is vulnerable to mis- and dis-information campaigns on both sides of the issue, and misunderstanding or less than complete understanding by just about everyone else. No one can possible doubt that we’ve seen this in spades already, and it further reinforces the stalemate we’ve arrived at regarding solutions. Complex political systems such as we have in the US today operate at least as much on the strategic use of mis- and dis-information as they do reasoned debate about agreed upon facts. In a very real sense, “facts” are what we collectively say they are.

And finally, our current economic system – already under considerable pressure itself for numerous reasons – rests on the continuance of now fully mature fossil fuel based energy systems, which are integral in keeping the 7.2B+ people currently alive from dying immediately. Undoing that current system in any relevant time frame would be catastrophic and would require wealthy first world countries (the few) to immediately forsake a lifestyle that benefits them greatly in favor of immature technologies that may or may not even pan out in the long run to benefit the many. As we are seeing already, this is simply not going to happen. And therein lays our basic conundrum: To deal with AGW immediately we need to first cull the herd by at least 6/7th’s. Any volunteers?

We’re lying to ourselves if we think politicians of any stripe are going to tell us the ugly truth – they haven’t and they won’t because they’ll be repudiated at the polls if they do – but more importantly, we in the first world west are lying to ourselves if we imagine we’re able to personally make the immediate quantum leap in understanding and accept the quantum fall in our living standards that effectively dealing with AGW would entail. To paraphrase the unforgettable Col Nathan Jessup: We can’t handle the truth! Nor are we even willing to contemplate it, if reactions to famous doomsayer Guy McPherson’s ominous predictions are any indication. Whether or not Professor McPherson’s admittedly rather frightening near term human extinction predictions prove to be even remotely accurate or not, the amount of vitriol I see expended against him even on so-called “doomer” discussion boards is truly remarkable.

But whether his extinction predictions prove to be true or not, the even more ominous truth is that if humanity is to survive long term, population reductions on the order of 90% or more in fairly short order (a generation or two at most) will be required; and further, the longer those reductions take, the more ominous the ill effects all along the way will be. Just as technological development all along the way up the population curve fostered the delusion of phantom carrying capacity and allowed us to push ourselves further and further into overshoot, technological and resource reductions and the environmental degradation they allowed will expose that phantom carrying capacity and push us further and further into contraction/collapse on the way down, in what will essentially be exponential growth running in reverse.

Where does that leave us now?
Paradoxically, the election of Donald Trump is actually a welcome step backwards toward sanity, or at least honesty. Donald Trump, by simply refusing to acknowledge AGW whatsoever, is effectively doing what we all were doing anyway, albeit without all the self-serving hypocritical bullshit attached. And absent an effective and truly committed left, who have had at least 16 of the last 24 years to martial a successful campaign to convince Americans, and thus presumably the world, to actually do something about the problem, it’s time to finally admit that no effective voice or sentiment for addressing AGW currently exists, nor does any appear on even the remotest horizon. In short: we have not, do not now, nor do we EVER intend to actually deal with AGW on anything other than an academic, theoretical, and/or as a next generation money making (Ponzi scheme) opportunity basis for opportunistic first world capitalists of either political persuasion. Furthermore, it’s probably time to admit that the train has almost certainly long since left the station with regard to mounting an effective response to the effects of AGW that are already in the pipeline anyway, even if we were to miraculously reduce our numbers and completely forsake carbon based energy today.

What’s next?
Political hysteria being what is these days, I’d expect the same old kubuki show to continue among political followers and prospective leaders alike until some sort of radical transformation gets adopted or imposed upon us. Will the left regroup, rebrand, and resurge again to counter Trump and his ilk in 2020? Or does Donald Trump represent an ascending nationalist wave that could perhaps lead to a twentieth century style WWIII or equivalent, which will drastically reduce population levels for us in fairly short order, albeit with untold knock-on effects? Further, at what point in the descent does nuclear warfare begin to actually appear as an – dare I say it – attractive scenario to some future leader or leaders? Indeed, have current leaders already considered such an outcome in that light? [I’m looking right at you HRC!] Thought experiment: imagine the effects on current population levels if the ~17M killed in WWI and the ~60M killed in WWII alone had lived to procreate. And that doesn’t even consider the Stalinist purges in Russia and all the other “little” wars fought throughout the 20th century.

In the end, especially when it comes to human overshoot and AGW, talk is cheap; although the sheer amount of bullshit expended in the coming years will no doubt be epic, the simple biological facts on the ground are the only thing that will matter, and they could not be clearer. Our little human culture experiment has missed its many opportunities to forsake our exponential growth madness and outgrown and fouled its only petri dish (no, we’re not going to colonize Mars!), the ultimate outcome of which has always been preordained: collapse to drastically smaller numbers or possibly even extinction. We’re not immortal interstellar time travelers meant to colonize the universe with our superior genetic seed, or any similar such sci-fi non-sense. Nor are we God’s specially chosen children meant to live forever and ever (Amen!) in his heavenly kingdom after our righteous terrestrial sojourns. We’re no more (or less) simply biological creatures of somewhat limited intelligence and even less wisdom who bit off more than we could chew when we discovered a once in an epoch non-renewable energy source of unimaginably concentrated power and utility, and who are only now being confronted with the very natural and predictable outcomes of our folly. And contrary to the quote that opened this piece, neither overshoot nor AGW are problems amenable to solutions arrived at only after trying and failing repeatedly at all others. And sorry Christians; but no, neither Santa Claus on the wings of eight magic reindeer or Little Baby Jesus on divine clouds of Thor are going to save us this time. Spare yourself some grief. Embrace the idea now, and beat the Christmas rush.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:32*

And while we’re contemplating the end, let’s just pray it doesn’t turn out to be something like this, a fate we westerners have already condemned millions of our fellow human beings to just to satisfy our own perverse craving for luxury at their expense.

And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. – Revelation 9:6

* Although I’m not Christian, I love the Christian Bible as a source of mythic allegory, which is its true purpose in my opinion. I’ve bloviated much on this previously, but the short version is that the New Testament Bible (The Gospels) is a written account, written several hundred years after the “fact” about events that may or may not have actually physically happened (sorry Christians, even your own Biblical scholars agree with me on this), by authors recounting oral traditions, where nuance and embellishment were the norm. And all written by authors who had blatant religious and political agendas to boot!

71 Responses to Global Warming? What Global Warming?

  1. Pingback: kulturCritic

  2. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Enjoyed reading your post, DA. I would add, though, that we would have reached endgame (sooner or later) even without our abuse of the carbon dead. The fundamental cause of overshoot is the mono-crop cultivation of grains and staples, and the carbon footprint of our 10-12K years of agriculture is equal to that of a couple centuries of the industrial age.
    When the debt collector comes calling, I believe there will be a few survivors. Even though they’ve destroyed the life of the San bushman, I understand there are about 400,000 reindeer herdsman still living a traditional life in Siberia…
    “I have cast a fire upon the world, and behold, I guard it until it is ablaze.” Gospel of Thomas #10

    • Disaffected says:

      Agreed F’Lainey. The “carbon dead” were no doubt the great accelerator, and there’s little doubt that they merely accelerated a process that was seemingly inevitable in any case. And it does us little good to wonder “what if” in any case, as this is the hand we were dealt, and this is the way we chose to play it. No alibis, no excuses, no bullshit.

      Once again, I’m drawn back to existential questions which the Coen Bros are fond of exploring. Is the meaning of life (assuming it has any of course) even remotely knowable, and if so, what’s the key to deciphering it?

      One thing I know for sure and I think we can agree on is that enriching the few obscenely at the expense of the many is a recipe for disaster. And I think I agree, in principle at least, that the root anthropological cause of that is the whole homo agriculturalist movement that began when we got “smart” enough to farm/hoard/organize and forsake simple hunting and gathering.

      But in the end, we’re there now, so the question remains, what are we actually going to do about it? My answer? There’s not much we can do about it at this late point. Nor – even more importantly – that we actually would, even if we could.

  3. cliffkrolick says:

    Da your initial comment / supposition about AGW that both conservatives, liberals, and everyone in between cant agree on whether it exists, what to do about it, what if any human activity has caused it is one point of view that I do not agree with. There are millions upon millions of humans on the planet that know dam well what is causing it and what needs to be done as soon as possible. Tke Siberia. off in the distance flying in you can see the coal fired plants spewing carbon dust into the atmosphere . Multiple that by 10,000 and you have Earth heating up at an alarming rate. All the “real science” has been done and there is not question about it. Earth changes of this magnitude seem to move very slowly but one day and not in the too distant future that may all change.

    I do not know how many folks in this blog have children but hope is a word that never disappears if you have children. There are many things that earthlings can do to slow maybe reverse the effects of excesses of carbon leading to further catastrophic conditions on the planet. Many of these things could be put into overdrive with wise humans at the helm of this planet. How do you get wise people to the front of the line. Civil disobedience by the tens of millions all over the planet.
    There are enough humans to go around that no longer have access to hope. What is hope, a weakness or a dream of what should or could be. Feel free to walk through “the valley of death”
    and do not give a shit.

    • Disaffected says:

      Thanks Cliff. But my point is, for all the “certainty” on yours, mine, and whomever’s part about the ill effects of AGW, what are any of us actually willing to do about it to stop it right now? And the answer I’ve come to over and over again is simply: not much.

      Further, “giving a shit” is simply not a meaningful sentiment. The TRUTH is, the most meaningful thing any of us could do (especially here in the first world, where we’re all profligate energy users) would be to gather our entire extended family together and commit mass suicide for the good of the earth. Then multiply that same sentiment by several hundred million at least. Still feel good about feeling good?

      In truth, THAT’S what we’re up against now. In fact, misguided notions of “hope” are perhaps our worst enemy at this point. Gaia doesn’t give two shits whether homo knuckleheadis survives or not (just as we have not given a shit for all the species we’ve driven into extinction over the last century or so), and it’s high time we woke the fuck up and realized that! Our time is running out as we speak!

  4. Disaffected says:

    From Nakcap today, a primer on ten leading contenders for Trump’s potential Energy/Climate cabinet positions (not that HRC’s would have been any better, they’d just have blown more smoke to cover their tracks):

    Myron Ebell. Donald Trump has chosen outspoken climate change denier Myron Ebell of the Koch Industries-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to oversee his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team. Ebell, who is not a scientist, chairs the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group of organizations which “question global warming alarmism and oppose energy rationing policies.”

    Jeff Holmstead. An attorney for the film Bracewell, Holmstead has served as a key anti-regulatory advocate on behalf of coal and utility industry clients and is in the running to head the EPA.

    Thomas Pyle. Pyle, President of the Koch-fundedInstitute for Energy Research (IER) and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA), was picked by President-elect Trump to lead the transition team for the Department of Energy upon the departure of McKenna.

    Kathleen Hartnett White. White is the director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a group funded by ExxonMobil, the Koch network, and the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

    Harold Hamm. A hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) oil baron, as well as founder and CEO of Continental Resources, Hamm is a leading candidate for U.S. Secretary of Energy.

    Heidi Heitkamp. A Democratic U.S. Senator from North Dakota, Heitkamp will meet with Pence and Trump to discuss the Energy Secretary and Interior Secretary openings in a meeting requested by Trump. Heitkamp is an outspoken supporter of fracking and the Keystone XL pipelineKeystone XL pipeline, as well as a cautious supporter of the Dakota Access pipeline, both of which Trump has come out in support of.

    Joe Manchin. A Democratic U.S. Senator from West Virginia, Manchin is best known as an outspoken supporter of the coal industry and he is under consideration as a potential Energy Secretary

    Mary Fallin. The Republican governor of Oklahoma and a vice chair on Trump’s transition team, Fallin resides in a governor’s mansion sharing a land plot with the shadow lobbying group, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), which she has twice headed up. The Oklahoma State Capitol has an oil derrick on the front lawn and its dome was funded by oil companies such as ConocoPhillips.

    Forrest Lucas. The founder and CEO of petroleum products company Lucas Oil and namesake of the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium, Lucas has also been floated as a potential Secretary of the Interior. Lucas Oil has a manufacturing facility in Corydon, Indiana, in the home state of Vice President-elect (and Indiana Governor) Mike Pence.

    Rex Tillerson/Lee Raymond. Joe Scarborough — host of the MSNBC show “Morning Joe” — has reported that sources have told him the Trump transition team is mulling hiring either the CEO or former CEO of ExxonMobil to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. Tillerson currently serves as CEO of Exxon, while Raymond served as his predecessor.

    The die is cast. And where the US goes, the rest of the world usually follows, willingly or not.

  5. kulturcritic says:

    DA, I agree, there would need to be massive State acceptance and then control of resource utilization… a massive security apparatus, which we already have in place, BTW. Also, the ideal of extended longevity would need to trump profitability, which I cannot see happening ever. So, until and unless we take down the oligarchs, we’re stuck. But if we do, then we need to control the maddening crowd. And yes, most of our foodstuff would need to be chemically based GMOs. So we could potentially kill off alot of folks that way. LOL

    • Disaffected says:

      That’s how it will eventually be “sold” to us I think. As AGW and peak everything gradually becomes undeniable and generally accepted by everyone, consensus will form around the idea of a managed contraction, not all that much different in principle from Hitler’s “final solution,” which was the perfect dress rehearsal. The triage will of course be a bottom up process starting with all the usual suspects: the sick and the infirm, the poor and the indigent, the old progressing from the poorest to the richest, etc. And of course there will be payoffs and political deals galore all during that process. But before that it will be nation vs nation, where I can’t imagine that the nukes won’t come out. The US simply has far too much political and monetary capital invested (and is investing still!) to let all that firepower sit on the shelf, as their deterrent effect will rapidly vanish when the shooting war for resources gets started in earnest. Fun times ahead!

  6. Ron McCafferty says:

    Two things stick in my mind when I think about the global warming problem:
    1. Between the industrial revolution and it’s Frankenstein monster (the modern day consumer) and the testing of nuclear devices which went unimpeded through the 50’s and 60’s, I have always thought that the Jeanie was let out of the bottle long before I came into being.
    2. As an observant person and long before the conspiracy films came out, I cannot help but notice that there is almost a daily routine of airplanes crossing the sky, leaving a trail of “something” in it’s wake which if one observes closely you can see a faint cloud cover across the sky. Air Force Planes? I don’t know.

    Which leaves me to think that someone knows what is going on in the government. It is sad to think that we as a species would be so willfully ignorant when we could have at our fingertips a better world.

    I enjoyed your article DA. Fellow skeptics unite!

    • Disaffected says:

      A fellow “conspiracy theorist!” Thanks Ron. Have you noticed that “conspiracy theorist” has been successfully binned with the other despised terms like “liberal,” such that dismissing someone is now as easy as breaking out the term? [I was even guilty of doing it above and elsewhere, but I try to at least use it ironically.] At any rate, conspiracies both big and small, are simply how the world works these days. They don’t need total secrecy to succeed either, which is where most people go wrong in dismissing them. Just a healthy dose of PR/propaganda and a steady stream of denial. Most people simply don’t pay that much attention anyway, so subservient are they to the allures of the great hologram.

      • cliffkrolick says:

        There are all types of ways to bring the system to its knees. Lets unravel the crap now, Have to start where we are NOW. military budget, voting, elections, Shifting of power from the few to the many
        People power can do it and since we face inevitable extinction anyway why not do something to bring the system down sooner then later.

        • Disaffected says:

          Keep on keepin’ on Cliff! And you’re right. You’ve certainly got nothing to lose if that’s the path you want to take. For me, I think the system will have to fail of its own accord first, which we have some very small amount of influence over, but not much. I’m convinced that organized protests and the like are totally useless however, and in fact do little more than paint a target on your back. You can’t beat a hierarchical system that’s at the peak of its coercive power by employing hierarchical methods, and in the modern day most of don’t even have the option of simply walking away from it either. Walk away to where and for what?

          The empire has wisely sought to foreclose on all other options, which reinforces the idea that this was their strategy all along. If they succeed in getting rid of paper money, already being seriously discussed by policy makers, another major building block (never mind biblical prophecy) will be locked into place. You’ll need a bank (chip) card to make transactions, and then it’s only a matter of time until the chip is implanted on your person after that. But the best part is that your bank account – your lifeline if you will – could be seized at anytime for any reason or no reason at all and we would all be forced to submit to whatever “security” measures the powers that be decided to impose on us. Comply or have your purchasing power shut off! At that point the hologram will have won the game completely. And that point could be a little as a few months away if the right people get behind the idea.

      • Ron McCafferty says:

        Yes, I have noticed the “scarlet letter” they give to conspiracy theorists. But it only takes common sense and an understanding of how greedy people operate.
        They own the airwaves and most information outlets so the effect is broad. But everything comes to an end even if it’s an ugly end.
        If I happen to die in this shit storm that is coming I will die knowing that I see things differently and I didn’t let the system corrupt me.

        • Disaffected says:

          The more I read about it these days (and I read A LOT!), the more CTs just sound like “business as usual” in the modern world, where secrecy is the norm anyway. Frankly, I’m flabbergasted that people still dismiss CTs so easily. Two reasons, I reckon: 1.) Cognitive dissonance (being forced to accept extremely uncomfortable facts) 2.) The comfort of the all-encompassing hologram.

          As to dying, it happens all the time. We first worlders have artificially insulated ourselves from it, but its high time we got over it. I think we’ve been conditioned to drape ourselves in our beloved exceptionalism, but I think it’s time we ditched that too. I thought HBO’s Six Feet Under handled the subject pretty well when they killed off main character Nate Jr. and his final service revealed that he just wanted to be wrapped in canvas and be disposed of naturally. I want to go him one better and be cremated and disposed by whatever means are convenient. The idea that even cremation has been turned into a “thing” via urns and boxes, which can both still be buried (and thus the sale of a real estate “plot”) just turns my stomach. Even in death the fucking money changers are after what little bit we’re still worth!!!

          Me? I’ll be 59 this month and I’m seriously considering putting an end to this pitiful existence before I’m 60. I’ve seen quite enough and I’m ready to go, so at this point it’s only a matter of fear of the pain during transition (Judeo-Christian inspired, no doubt) that stops me.

    • Disaffected says:

      In light of reading Nearing and Morris Berman, I’ve modified my world view somewhat. We baby-boomers have a decidedly post WWII viewpoint of history, which is of course perfectly understandable, since that’s when the rise of US became truly meteoric. But both these guys turned me onto the fact that the late 1800’s up to about 1920 or so is when all the really significant action took place. The Civil War, unlike what we’ve been told, was about hyper-aggressive northern industrialism vs. pastoral southern agrarianism and not the trite notion of black slavery. In many ways traditional southern slavery was less demeaning than the version northern industrialists had in mind, which we see played out today in its still unfinished form. Both view their workforce essentially as energy slaves in the effort to transfer the real wealth of the land into the artificial wealth of dollar denominated assets. Northern capitalists rightly surmised that the southern version simply wasn’t efficient enough, and of course they were certainly right about that.

      Then, in the wake of significant financial crises in the late 1890s, northern US banking and war interests began their assault on the now open for business US shamocracy, culminating in the blatantly false flag Spanish American War, where the US imperial beast first began its long 20th century march toward world domination, and of course the coup de grace in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act and the official seizing of the US money supply by global banking interests. Everything after that is best viewed as simply inevitable, as once the MIC and the banksters were in charge, the outcomes we see today were all essentially preordained. And that is why my friend the frankly quite silly notions that voting for a new president or supporting a protest movement are actually going to change things is misguided. The trends we’re seeing played out today have been in motion for well over a century now through 5 or 6 generations of elite families like the Bushes and absolutely no one should be deceived about the intentions or the seriousness of the elite cabal who advance them. They’re not going to give up ever, no matter what!

  7. Ken Hall says:

    This article/treatise encapsulates the essence of my thoughts both spoken and written for the past decade, to wit, there are too many fucking humans creating ALL of the ills which are destroying our only lifeboat, spaceship Earth. In addition to ranting about the exponential proliferation of humans upon this planet, however, I have come up with a potential solution to said problem which does not require direct elimination of 6-7 billion humans en masse. It would consist of a Manhattan style project to develop a human male irreversible sterilization compound which could be incorporated into food stuffs world wide such that every human male would be sterilized willingly or unwillingly. With zero reproduction the human population would drop precipitously and within 3 and certainly 4 generations the human population would be a few hundred million to a billion. A generation or so prior to this population point, time wise, stocks of frozen human eggs and sperm would be readied to initiate a sustainable reintroduction of non sterile humans.

    Never again would at will human reproduction be a viable option nor would it be possible to entertain any societies other than a single Earth society. No capitalism, no conspicuous consumption, ….. Any likelihood of such a scenario? Absolutely not because the “takers” of our societies would be removed from the game since their capacity to take rests on an inexhaustible supply of increasing numbers of consumers and workers. They will have nothing to do with any plan which might save humanity and some of the fauna and flora with which we share the Earth, but takes their access to obscene wealth away.

    • Disaffected says:

      Great idea Ken, but as you correctly note, it has little chance of being adopted anytime soon. Possibly after the proverbial shit hits the fan in earnest(!), but by then it will likely be too late.

      I think our current stage is best characterized as bargaining. Even the denialists for the most part these days aren’t really in denial IMO, they’re just bargaining that maybe against all odds things will remain stable for long enough that they can avoid the worst effects of AGW themselves before they die. Thus the hysteria over McPherson’t near term extinction predictions. If he’s even close to right, it means that a lot of people counting on AGW to be a mortal problem for future generations only will have to deal with it personally themselves. Not surprisingly, that scares the living shit out of them. Oh well, get used to the “new normal.” The closer we get to 2030, the more I think he might just be right. Things have definitely been accelerating all through the 2010s so far.

  8. Disaffected says:

    Not to rain on my own post, but I came across the following while listening to an NPR pod cast titled: “Apocalypse 3: So Far So Good,” an excellent listen in and of itself.
    I’ll post this user comment next in it’s own comment block, as it’s very long at just shy of 1900 words, which is just shy of my 2000 words above. Posted by “Pete Crangle,” 3 months ago. Enjoy.

    • Disaffected says:

      Highly recommend the podcast at the link above too. Very informative and touches on most of the points I made above. Very encouraging to know that their other people of like mind out there these days. Plus, you can listen to it in the background while you surf the web for other/related stuff. ROS’s ( I guess it’s not NPR after all) whole series of podcasts on that site look pretty intriguing.

  9. Disaffected says:

    0. Salience at a Glance

    Summary: Global Gilligan is screwed. Probabilistically speaking, of course.

    Salient points of current intractability, following the Rule of Three’s:
    (*) Anthropogenic global climate change and ecocide
    (*) Neoliberalism
    (*) Permanent war

    A modest drill down of each point:
    (*) Anthropogenic global climate change and ecocide; a continued deterioration of the habitat and habitat resources due to industrialization (e.g. carbon energy extraction & transport, hydraulic fracturing, mountain top removal, seismic blasting, big agriculture, CO2 emissions, toxic waste disposal, general pollution); rising CO2 levels; rising methane levels; acidification of large water systems; glacial erosion; permafrost thaw; rising global temperatures; rising sea levels; increasingly protracted and extreme weather events; deforestation; soil contamination and deterioration; mass extinction; invasive species proliferation; increases in novel epidemiological disease events; all of which is wed to zero-sum habitat competition, population dislocation, refugee migration, immigration policy contraction; which is accompanied by a retreat into fundamentalism: religious, luddism, technocratic, market, nativism, xenophobia, tribal alienation, and the narcissism of small differences…

    (*) Neoliberalism fed by the rapacious excesses of predatory capitalism, austerity, globalization, outsourcing, offshoring, massive inequality, carceral expansion, deregulation, resource exhaustion, endless repetition of boom-bust cycles, jobless recoveries, fast-track trade agreements, socialized risk for privatized profits, wealth contraction that is funneled upwards, privatization of public infrastructure, monetary and fiscal policy malfeasance and/or incompetence, legislative and regulatory malfeasance and/or incompetence; all of which is wed to zero-sum habitat competition, population dislocation, refugee migration, immigration policy contraction; which is accompanied by a retreat into fundamentalism: religious, luddism, technocratic, market, nativism, xenophobia, tribal alienation, and the narcissism of small differences…

    (*) Permanent war, erosion of treaty obligations and civil law (e.g. Geneva Convention Treaties, UN Security Council Resolutions, NDAA, War Powers Act, Patriot Act, Constitutional guarantees); weapon and surveillance proliferation; extra-constitutional domestic security and surveillance; market instigated instability both abroad and within the homeland; extrajudicial executions both abroad and within the homeland; escalation of cyber warfare, WMD proliferation and the looming potential for accident; non-human agency in espionage, surveillance, profiling, data mining, and archiving; escalated development, proliferation, and deployment of lethal, autonomous weapon systems where non-human agency will increase in target selection, acquisition, and go/no go decision capacity; all of which is wed to targeted assignation, zero-sum habitat competition, population dislocation, refugee migration, immigration policy contraction, which is accompanied by a retreat into fundamentalism: religious, luddism, technocratic, market, nativism, xenophobia, tribal alienation, and the narcissism of small differences…

    The salients are interconnected within a web of cause-and-effect rapport. Their impacts on human behavior have overlap, and yet, the existence of these problems, let alone a determination of the cause-and-effect, has become an exercise of indifference among the elite.

    Take away: We are at an inflection point where tribal alienation and the narcissism of small differences is interacting with, and being driven by, global planetary forces, neoliberalism, and endless war and domestic pacification (draconian security and surveillance).

    Recommendation: Do what you must with all the intention you can muster. It maybe time to confront the possibility of a dead end, perfect storm in the making. Perhaps, the magic ten percent will survive? Who can say for sure? Survival has always been a probabilistic dice roll. It may always be so. I will put the storm & stress to a 12 bar blues.

    1. Utopia Buzzkill or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love To Feel Your Pain

    “It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.” — Joan Didion, “Goodbye To All That”

    CO2 reading for August 20, 2016: 400.42 ppm at Mauna Loa.

    The horizon has gathered itself, and delivers its relentless furies to us. The human species is in the process of becoming an externality in Nature’s spreadsheet. The technological developments that humanity has cultivated and unleashed in the era of mass industrialization, usually without discourse or transparency as to efficacy, safety, or long term effects, has brought us to the vantage point where we can legitimately consider the potential for a vanishing point. We offer up the public commons, the non-human world, and the systems of life support alike, to the myopic vagaries of proprietary, human expediency.

    Strictly speaking, the imaginative powers of the human species has been the primary engine that has made the intangible manifestly tangible. Moreover, this has been brought about through collective effort which tends to revolve around the following coarse grained view: Research & Development, Extraction, Harvesting, Refinement, Manufacturing, Distribution, Markets, Speculation, Public Relations, and Legal Systems. Our activities of increasing abstraction cannot shed nor bury the physical connection and hold reality casts upon us — though, we separate ourselves more and more from reality, and each other. The market and media are ultimately atomizing forces for divide and conquer. Thus, we treat our habitat as a resource for profitable exploitation, not a home, nor a partner, nor an eco-system of robustness that can be made fragile and moribund. This is the first, and most important step one takes in the dehumanization of self, and then its outward projection. It is the sickness that infects a large and growing fraction of the human species.

    The Market, a quasi apocalyptic force itself — boom-bust cycles, jobless recovery cycles, product displacement cycles, downward wage pressures, etc. — is the ideological framework that organizes so much of human activity. It is a fiction, architected from collective imagination, made into non-fiction reality. The fiat monetary system emerges in much the same way. Determination of value, also, emerges in much the same way. It is important to remember, much of our activities are structured around fictional architectures made from collective, human imagination. The complexity that emerges is the stuff of superstition and religion; ideological sectarianism is one of many human blind spots that plagues non-peasant and non-nomadic human culture.

    Since our lives are attuned to the realization of imaginary forces, this also gives us a measure of control, and paradoxically, a measure of hopelessness, as these forces bring us suffering and a nearly intractable inertia once they take root. From human imagination we create institutions and ideologies of monstrous proportions and inertial vectors. Ideology is both handmaiden and outcome of hegemonic institutions, and likewise, hegemonic institutions are both handmaiden and outcome of ideology. One cannot thrive without the other, thus ideology and hegemony are wed together in western culture.

    The desire for, and necessity of, apocalyptic outcry is driven to a certain degree from living within institutional forces that have a dehumanizing effect upon our lives. And because of institutional inertia, an inertia we collectively create and maintain, we see no means of repair, redress, nor improvement. Legacy becomes the stranglehold that trumps our will and imagination. As Fredric Jameson wrote in “Future City”: “Someone once said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism. We can now revise that and witness the attempt to imagine capitalism by way of imagining the end of the world.”

    2. Nothing Personal, it’s just Hegemony

    Policy makers, specialists, corporate interests, speculative market forces, industrialization, etc. have essentially run amok. That is to say, the general population has the distasteful fate of serving the continued propagation and position of dominance of various, contemporary institutions, in a disproportional rapport to the ability of these institutions to serve the needs of our humanity. From the perspective of the cultural west, there is a confluence of six hegemonic, institutional forces that have coalesced into a unitary: Political, Economic, Media, Technological, Military, and Religion. Other hegemonic forces that play a role in this brew are science, education, medicine, and public relations. There are other ways to slice this, both finer grained and less meta-oriented, and there are other institutional forces in play, but the aforementioned forces are empirically verifiable. The means to observe their organizing unification is through their behavior in matters of existential crisis: war. It is in matters of war that we can observe that they become a reinforced collective for which lines of demarcation blur. Furthermore, they become the primary forces for which war is waged, and the spoils of the exercise, absorbed back into the culture.

    To answer Jameson’s conundrum, to envision a post-capitalism world, one must envision a post-political, post-economic, post-media, post-technological, post-military, and post-religion world. One must see a means of loosening their death-grip upon us, and undo the ideological framework they place upon our worldview. This would be fairly easy if these ideologies and institutions offered few payloads of virtue or efficacy. But, they offer, to put it in the parlance of the day: a mixed blessing. To tease out the virtue from the flaw may not be possible. Throwing out babies with their bathwater, tends toward the violent and reductionist, and candidly, propagates the human condition among a different fashion du jour. What changes are the cult-of-personality, not the human condition.

    Regardless, to address the problem of capital and political-economy, for which much of the current crises rests upon, it is not simply capital that has a hegemonic stranglehold upon mass culture, it is the interleaved institutional forces that have mass culture in an intractable bind. If our political structures weren’t teetering on collapse, one could argue that these ideological, institutional forces could be rehabilitated. It would require constant rehabilitation so they may satisfy one very important, primary concern: are they serving us, all of us, including nature, or are we serving them, disproportionately so?

    Problematically, our political structures are in decline, perhaps teetering on collapse. They are showing a lack of resilience brought about by neoliberalism and a permanent war economy. A permanent war economy twists and ultimately distorts reality for any cultural that thrives under its spell beyond the point of rehabilitation. Add into this mix that we live under the shadow of a growing, global, planetary crises for which our political-economy essentially ignores, and it is easy to become confident of a brutal outcome.

    Hence, our political-economy does not invite exercises in civil rehabilitation. The political climate sweeping the west especially, is a climate of growing misery that suggests the servicing of our institutions and their ideologies are reaching a tipping point of the proverbial house-of-cards. If the current crisis cannot be turned around, we face physical apocalypse brought about by nature’s corrective power, or the realization of human created catastrophe brought about by war in concert with industrial disaster. Or, we could simply slide into oblivion through the intellectual, emotional, spiritual impairment of our species — and with it, our means of understanding and articulating ourselves and the reality we have heretofore, thrived in. As a species, we may disappear into a noisy, jabbering but ultimately, mute silence, whether we are rendered so by nature, or by bread and circuses.

    We have found ourselves in a sort of contemporary dark age. The stakes have never been higher. Events are in the driver seat, and we are being overtaken by them. This is not particularly new or unique in human history, except that the scale and scope of the problem has never been larger. It is the scale and scope that makes the situation dire.

    And so, it is from here, that I breathe a stoic, primitive yawp into the face of the de facto inevitable. A blues howl, of sorts. Twelve bars and a cloud of dust… best regards to ROS and their guests on this series.

    • Disaffected says:

      Another great contrast/compare discussion of Weimar Germany and contemporary America. A LOT of parallels out there! But quite a few major differences too. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce perhaps?

    • F. Elaine Anderson says:

      DA!!!!!! What the ‘fish’ is wrong with luddism? XXX

      • Disaffected says:

        I think the author was railing about -isms in general F’lainey. Great piece though! I’m in awe of his writing style!

      • Disaffected says:

        He wisely highlights this fact as well:

        This would be fairly easy if these ideologies and institutions offered few payloads of virtue or efficacy. But, they offer, to put it in the parlance of the day: a mixed blessing. To tease out the virtue from the flaw may not be possible. Throwing out babies with their bathwater, tends toward the violent and reductionist, and candidly, propagates the human condition among a different fashion du jour. What changes are the cult-of-personality, not the human condition.

  10. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Try saying this to any random person, Cliff: “If voting and elections could actually change anything, they would make them illegal.” I’ve yet to say that to anyone without getting a laugh in response. It’s only funny, though, because everybody knows it’s true. And, with all due respect, if the power really could just be shifted from the few to the many, civilization would never have endured the 5-6K years that it has — carried, no less, on the shoulders of a species with 2 billion years of anarchy running through our genes. No, the true power ‘the people’ have is the power to choose between consumption and non-consumption. And until the human race grows up and gets powerful enough to renounce its addiction to agriculture, the best you’ll ever manage is to do is merely stall off extinction.
    One empire goes down, another rises to take its place. Civilization endures.
    That having been said, can you bring down a hated empire, military budget and all? (Especially one that is already coming apart at the seams). Probably yes, and Aric McBay has developed a very impressive strategy for just such an endeavor in the book Deep Green Resistance. It is not a strategy based on elections and faith in the people and protesting against military expenditures, but on common sense and the balls of a mere handful of militants. And may I suggest that you’ll have a lot more luck motivating them than you will the sedated masses. Hey, keep their bread and circuses coming and they don’t care what happens. Or, in the unforgettable words that an Occupier friend once spoke to me, “I can’t live without air conditioning.”
    The symbol for civilization is the pyramid. You can’t invert it so that the many are on top of the few. You can pull the foundation out from underneath it, though, and bring it all crashing down. That foundation is the cultivation of mono-crop grains and staples.
    You wanna fight? You wanna fight and actually change something that is entirely within your power to change? Fight your addiction to the foods of civilzation. Your body will adore you for it. So will the earth.

    • Disaffected says:

      And not so coincidentally, cultivation of mono-crop grains is failing as we speak due to AGW, environmental degradation, and the spot oil shortages. Oil as fertilizer might be every bit as important as oil as fuel for transport in the end. But that will affect industrial meat production as well, so it all comes full circle no matter how you slice it. In the end, we might just end up eating each other on the way down to collapse.

  11. Disaffected says:

    GREAT summary of how power actually works in the US!

    • Ron McCafferty says:

      Very interesting read, DA. I wonder how big the bombs would be if enough people woke up and realized what is going on? I also wonder where they house their private killers? Probably grow their own killers, which only makes sense.

      • Disaffected says:

        Private killers hide everywhere in plain sight. John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man series lays out the broad strokes pretty well, although his information is already quite dated. The spook community has progressed light years since he was a player. But the basic recipe is still the same. Infiltrate vulnerable governments, offer high interest “economic development aid” in the form of loans, put pressure on leaders to play ball or else, kill or remove by any means possible any who refuse to play ball, milk the place dry of natural resources and use the captured government for whatever other nefarious purposes that come to mind (like starting wars with their neighbors or using them as rendition sites), foreclose on the loans and impoverish the native population, then label the whole place a “terrorist haven” and declare open warfare on everyone and everything within its borders. Rinse and repeat over and over again for over a century and you get the world we live in today. A total, perpetual war on everything that stands in the way of American hegemony, including the American people themselves.

  12. Disaffected says:

    The article discusses “7 blind men” in relation to the old elephant analogy, who have tried to describe how the American Shadow Government operates, always with slightly different takes on the subject. Remember this guy from a few posts back?

    The fifth “blind” man is Professor of Economics and proud member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael J. Glennon. In his book National Security and Double Government, he debunks the myth that US security policy is still forged by America’s visible, “Madisonian institutions” – the President, Congress, and the Courts. “Their roles …have become largely illusory. Presidential control is now nominal, congressional oversight is dysfunctional, and judicial review is negligible.” Glennon’s book details the gradual shift in power that has occurred as the Madisonian institutions gradually became “hollowed out” and their impermanent custodians were gradually replaced by a concealed, non-elected perpetual Trumanite network.

    Glennon traces the rise of this double government to the seemingly innocent reorganization of the national security structure established by the Truman administration. Glennon details how the “National Security Act of 1947, which unified the military under a new secretary of defense, set up the CIA, created the modern Joint Chiefs of Staff, and established the National Security Council (NSC).” Also secretly established and not revealed until many years later, was “the National Security Agency, which was intended at the time to monitor communications abroad.”

    Glennon describes how the Trumanite network, mostly immune from constitutional and electoral restraints, consists “of the several hundred executive officials who sit atop the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement departments and agencies that have as their mission the protection of America’s international and internal security.” They contain elements mainly from the NSA, the FBI, the Pentagon, the State Department, as well as law enforcement, intelligence and the military entities of the government.

    “US national security policy is in fact conducted by a shadow government of bureaucrats and a supporting network of think tanks, media insiders, and ambitious policy wonks,” according to Glennon. He also sees the media as critical in reinforcing the illusion that the public institutions of US government are actually in charge: “For double government to work, the Madisonian institutions must seem in charge, for the Trumanites’ power flows from the legitimacy of those institutions.”

    Casting some of the blame on “America’s pervasive civic ignorance,” Glennon’s solution to the unchecked double government is a more informed and engaged electorate, without which the restoration of accountability in the formulation and execution of national security policy will be impossible.

  13. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    So! Glennon actually believes in the “legitimacy” of the “Madisonian institutions”- he actually believes “the solution” is a more “more informed and engaged electorate”.
    I’ll be damned. Another apologist for the status quo.

    • Disaffected says:

      He’s a Harvard guy, hence bought and paid for and dues paying member of the cultural elite, albeit likely mostly as a “useful idiot.” Some of the other six are much more open-minded, although you won’t see any of them seriously going out on a limb or anything. Academia and “professionalism” will do that to you, which is why even well-meaning official sources are so utterly unreliable these days. But his insights into the “Madisonian” government hint at the deeper truth, which is that there’s several layers even more entrenched, long lasting, and discreet than that, which is of course where any kind of in depth research tends to break down. At those levels, insiders don’t talk to outsiders at all (in fact they almost always know who the outsiders are and what they’re after before the outsiders even know enough to contact them in the first place) and they know full well the stakes of the game, which are deadly serious.

      It’s also important to note that when insiders like Glennon and the rest dismiss “conspiracy theories” in general, they’re: 1.) Regurgitating the standard, well crafted and rehearsed party line, since it was CIA that first coined the term in the first place 2.) Doing so to ensure their continued place in the insider firmament, especially since they’re likely on the very periphery 3.) Probably expressing an honest opinion anyway, since in the larger sense, none of this (the Shadow Government writ large) is truly “conspiratorial”; but rather, more just a secretive socio/political/economic cabal of “aligned interests.” The actual conspiracies – 9-11, OKC, Boston, Paris, etc. – are always conducted on a need to know basis by professional insiders and their unwitting recruited dupes using the much-ballyhooed “sleeper cell” methodology that was trumpeted with great success as being a hallmark of radical Islamic infiltrators. Imagine the knee-slapping mirth among the CIA spooks when they heard the unwitting media parrot that term over and over in the weeks and months following 9-11. I’ll bet the Shrub and Darth Cheney themselves had a few good laughs over a few Lite Beers over that one.

      The one dead giveaway for all insider conspiracies is that all means of official investigative redress are quickly and forever closed off, usually with a song and dance about healing and other such non-sense. Hence, we KNOW FOR CERTAIN that the Kennedy Assassinations, Watergate, The Savings and Loan Crisis, 9-11, and the 2008 Financial Meltdown were ALL insider orchestrated events for larger political purposes. The Iran Contra affair might have been the one planned event to have gone awry (that we know of) during all that time, although in retrospect even that might have been planned or improvised on the fly as a way to spur burgeoning conservative outrage at the end of the Reagan administration.

      In the end, that’s the true beauty of so-called “fifth column” insider schemes. They leave the rest of us plebes guessing at the true meaning of events and the motivations of our elected and other state actors. We end up on blogs like these to speculate on conspiracy theories and the like and wonder about each others’ sanity in proposing them. And THAT is the TRUE purpose for most of it in a nutshell right there. Turn the numb-nuts against each other speculating about shit they don’t know so that they take their eyes off the ball while we steal everything that ain’t tied down.

    • Disaffected says:

      And I agree with you about the “more informed and engaged electorate” line. It is simply not possible for a critical mass of people to effectively stay on top of all this insider shit, and if it were, the insiders would merely up their game another notch or two. Whether you call them “conspiracies” or not, well connected rogue insiders with money, resources, and proper motivation have always preyed on national governments since the days of Rome, it’s just that they’ve reached new levels of sophistication and capability here in the modern day. Informing the people is a very small first step, but it’s hardly enough to really change anything.

  14. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Amen. PS The CT I personally have a real problem with is the one about the “repitilians”, which an old hippie friend of mine is so fascinated with. It’s not just sematics. Look It! Reptiles freakin’ BELONG here. The archons are A-L-I-E-N-S and I do not mean mojaditos, amigos mios. Anyone with such disregard — no, hatred – of the earth is an alien. They are waging war against the biosphere of our planet, and if we aren’t willing to get the f— up and fight back, the least we can do is name them. PPS Happy birthday.

    • Disaffected says:

      Thanks, but I never feel good about birthdays anymore. Try to forget ’em really. Feel more and more like an alien myself these days. Or as Heinlein put it, A Stranger in a Strange Land.

  15. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Yup, DA — welcome to New Rome. Actually though, the game you point out precedes the evil empire of Rome the First. It is intrinsic to all institutional governments, everywhere, in every age. And since you and I are so fond of Biblical stories, I’ll say here that Genesis is one of the clearest allegories of the advent of the evils of civilization I’ve ever come across. Here we go. The Fall from Eden, paradise: the once wild and free (and healthy) human race submits to domestication. [Aliens anyone? How about that reptilian in the garden, lol? I digress.] Our ancestors choose to “become as gods” and assume mastery over the food supply, instead of continuing to accept the free gifts of nature that came from following the game around. The moral here is that whoever chooses security over freedom gets neither one. Whoever chooses security over freedom deserves neither one–the original sin of the human race, the original shame. Cain and Abel: Agriculturists and herdsmen arise, competing for the use of the land. Guess who freaking kills whom, y’all! So the agriculturist “goes away from G-d” (nature, creation) and builds a city, naming it after himself: Cain. Civilization arises from agriculture, we all knew that already, didn’t we? And it is murderous. We knew that, too. How about the tower of Babel? More alien influence, y’all, tee-hee–building a tower to the stars. And they still doing it, babes; look at any city skyline, all over the world. By the way, in the Jewish year count, we’re now at 5775. Although nonsense in terms of the lifespan of the human race, it probably gives a fairly accurate birth date for the rise of Mesopotamian civ!
    No. There has never been a government [over a body of people numerous enough so that not everyone knows everyone else] that has arisen and maintained itself without the overt/covert and internal/external use of violence, or the viable threat thereof, [[NOW go talk to the f–ers about “reducing the military budget”, boys; go waste your time!]]. There, likewise, has never been a government established to defend the interests of “the people”. Y’all want that? Keep your social unit no larger than the tribe.
    And instead of admitting that the woods are ablaze, the lame brain (grain brain) economic/political analysts and theorists are still busy examining the lichens on the trees and suggesting ways to try to coax a different color of lichen into growing here or there. The system can’t be patched up. Am I suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bathwater? Y’all, wake up. The baby is dead.
    So long as we continue to devour the very addictive mind candy of studying the little nuances and intricacies of how the system works instead of raising the fundamental question: Does civilization have a right to exist on the face of this Earth? — we will continue to slipslide our way down into hell, dragging the rest of the biosphere with us.

    • Disaffected says:

      That was a GREAT comment F’Lainey. You’ve got all the ingredients for a proper Blog Post (or two, or three) there. You should take the time and write it up for the holidays. Maybe throw an exploration of the fact that the whole Christmas tradition was lifted allegory for allegory from the pagan winter solstice traditions that went before it too. Good stuff!

      I like critiques of the “Good Book” because it’s so rich in allegory (those Jews could really spin some good yarns!) and because it’s the one thing that always gets Christians’ attention, albeit usually not in a good way. But I usually don’t speculate on Biblical things unless I’ve first heard an ordained biblical scholar or two say something similar, and its amazing what even ordained scholars will openly admit to when people just listen. Sadly, the faithful masses are more often than not locked onto simplistic tales they were spoon fed by authority figures as children, and really don’t want to know anything more that could challenge those childish beliefs. The western masses’ literary mind is sadly grossly deficient.

      On another note, I see the Donald is going full-speed ahead on AGW denial. If nothing else, the man’s a truth teller, that’s for sure!

  16. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Thank you for your kind words, DA. But will you and Sandy please continue to do the blogging for me and just let me continue to comment?? I’ve got my hands full already with my anti-civ fiction (fun, fun stuff!) and then, a long-time client of mine that I have great admiration for has just lined me up to edit his tech blog, so I can’t really commit to anything else in the near future. However, JMN!! I will be hanging out at the EL Paso greyhound station all day Christmas day (and the 24th too) on my way back from Cd. Cuauhtemoc to San Jose — if you looking for a kindred spirit to discuss Saturnalia with. . .
    I owe much of that comment to my appreciation for the works of sharp-eyed Biblical scholars – although my “moral of the story” is my own personal spin on the matter. 🙂 I very much enjoy studying the non-canonical documents of the early Jesus movement, and some of the Jesus Seminar scholars, as well as the lifelong radical activist and theologian Ched Myer. His “Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of the Gospel of Mark” is nothing short of life-changing. It’s written for seminarians, and very dense. I had to read and then go back and reread it to pick up the vocabulary of the theological field, but it was well worth the effort. And I utterly ADORE J. Dominic Crossan. XOX. He and Myer are really the ones who opened my eyes to how utterly subversive and satirical the gospels (in particular, the synoptics) were in the context of their own times, and what a powerful answer to the ideology of empire a well-constructed counternarrative can be. That is my sustaining inspiration. “I have cast a fire upon the world, and see, I guard it until it is ablaze.” Coming from the Jewish approach to New Testament studies, I particularly appreciate Hyman Jakoby (The Mythmaker) and Shmuley Boteach (Kosher Jesus). “James the Brother of Jesus”, by the firebrand Robert Eisenman, is quite interesting, if you can deal with his rather repetitive style.
    I normally communicate very well with the Christian right. That is, until i get off on my rant explaining why worship of the state is idolatry. Of course, I run into the same problem with the Christian left…
    The only ones who really got a handle on that were the Anabaptists (Amish, Memmonities) and to a certain extent the Jehovah’s Witnesses, except that the Witnesses replicate all the hated aspects of empire and tyranny without their own organizational structure. You know people say they hide when the Witnesses come to the door–baby, the Witnesses run when they see me coming, wah ha ha.
    So here I go, like Diogenes of Sinope, swinging my lamp in broad daylight, vainly searching within the institution of the church for vestiges of the Jesus assembly at Jerusalem…

    • Disaffected says:

      FASCINATING stuff! I had no idea you were into it so deep! I found some links to and reviews of Ched Myers’ work, so I’m going to go explore those now. We’ll see about Christmas. I’ve got some loose commitments, but I might decide to ditch them and get out of town instead.

    • Disaffected says:

      JD Crossan I recognized immediately from the several PBS videos – From Jesus to Christ, no on YouTube as well – I’ve seen him in. Really learned man, for sure. Found a book by an anonymous author (Passerby Dave) on the Gnostic Book of Thomas that I’m going to buy, and wouldn’t you know it, the same guy has a book(let) on kicking alcohol addiction too, so I picked that up for the princely sum of $.99. I’m a believer in synchronicity, so whenever coincidences like that pop up and slap me in the face I usually pay attention and follow them.

      • F. Elaine Anderson says:

        too cool!!

        • Disaffected says:

          My deceased uncle Dave, the black sheep on my mother’s side whom I’m a dead ringer for physically and whose daughter/my cousin is my closest living link to their whole fucking dysfunctional mess probably had something to do with it too. FAMILY! From a purely rationalist point of view, that’s it in a nutshell right there. That’s where the entanglements start!

  17. F. Elaine Anderson says:


  18. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Myers loses me when he starts applying his insights to modern leftist tactics, as in “Say to This Mountain” or his much of his website materials. Nonetheless, “Binding the Strong Man” is a spectacular achievement, combining both literary and socio-political analyses.
    Crossan is a lot more readable,and a lot more fun. He’s a scholar of Greco-Roman antiguities, as well as a theologian, member of the Jesus Seminar, and ex-priest. Irish. You might enjoy his “God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now,” which I have in my library back in Alabama. Or “The Historical Jesus”, which is on my reading list. A quote here from the Amazon blurb: “The Jesus who emerges is a savvy and courageous Jewish Mediterranean peasant, a radical social revolutionary, with a rhapsodic vision of economic, political, and religious egalitarianism and a social program for creating it.”
    Yeah, DA, I’m passionate about this field of study. I’m stalking the strategy for the overthrow of civlization, and this stuff from the early Jesus/Gallilean movement is potent indeed. Complete with a here-and-now organizing base.
    Warning — It may make you furious against the treason of what is now taught by the institution of the church!

    • F. Elaine Anderson says:

      I sent this before I saw your post on the Crossan videos.

    • Disaffected says:

      Good stuff. What the church teaches these days is nothing less than simple-minded hierarchical idolatry, which is why I’ve always rejected it. Think I’ll buy “Binding the Strong Man” and the book you’ve linked above for starters, to go along with “The Book of Thomas Unriddled” which looks more like a pocket reference than anything else. Should have some time over the holidays and I’m reading a lot more since I got the Kindle Apps for the computer. Makes reading MUCH easier for my old worn out eyes.

    • Disaffected says:

      A couple things F’Lainey:

      On the subject of books, I came across this one while surfing the interwebs one day, and I MUST SAY it doesn’t disappoint. Without resorting to hyperbole, I think its HONESTLY the funniest book I’ve ever read, hands down. Even more than that, it’s SMART and CUTTING and IRREVERENT in every POSSIBLE way. You can read the reviews yourself, but I can’t recommend it highly enough! I’m a little over halfway through it now and still haven’t figured out exactly what the “plot” is, which is part of its genius. Its a pure stream of consciousness diarrhea of words and ideas put together in such a way that would have put Hunter Thompson in his prime to shame, all in a way that TRULY takes you out of your body and mind while you’re reading it. In short: A MASTERPIECE!

      On the subject of our discussions above, I’d like to once again recommend the Coen’s A Serious Man, which, while almost certainly their most unappreciated work, it’s even more certainly their BEST work, in that it reveals layer upon layer of meaning for those who are willing to do the work of deciphering it. I write this while idly listening to ESPN’s College Football Awards play in the background on the ever present TV, where they’re giving some dutifully appreciative young black man “The Disney Award” for selling some poor young and soon dead youngster on the ideas of hope, college football, and Mickey Mouse; not necessarily in that order of course. A “SERIOUS MAN” indeed!

      Sorry for all the CAPS above, but I get tired of using internet tags for emphasis sometimes, AND I DO LIKE TO EMPHASIZE THINGS at times, don’t I?

      By the way, have you read the works of Scott Nearing? His critiques of capitalism, industrialism, and hierarchical civilization in general at the dawn of the 20th century literally shook my foundations. And nearing was most decidedly a “boots on the ground” kind of guy, who was interested almost exclusively in human organizations that WORKED in and SUSTAINED everyday life, unlike the ephemeral bullshit models that emerging capitalist hucksters were already proposing in his day. You think you know a lot until the moment you realize you don’t know anything at all. I had NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what went on before WWII, never mind WWI (which Nearing rightly grouped together as “The Great War”) until I read Nearing. He was surely one of the “greatest” souls alive during the 20th century who almost no one will ever hear of or appreciate. But then again, that’s how it usually goes, doesn’t it?

      In closing, two quotes from JD Crossan, which I think sums up our current state of affairs perfectly:

      My point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.

      and this..

      “We humans are not getting more evil or sinful but are simply getting more competent and efficient at whatever we want to do–including sin as willed violence. And so, we have become, as Genesis 4 warned us inaugurally, steadily or even exponentially better and better at violence. And now, at last, that capacity threatens not just the family or the tribe, but the world and the Earth.”

  19. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Love the Crossan quotes. The Sellout sounds intriguing. I’ve put it on a to-get list for when I get back to the u.s. Do you recommend Nearing’s The Making of a Radical, or which of his books? You are recommending A Serious Man, the movie?
    As to college football, NICK SABAN for PRESIDENT! 🙂 and Roll Tide. (I like emphatics too)
    Random: I’ve been playing, over and over, a song on YOU Tube in spanish, with acoustic guitar accompaniment. I’ve made a translation of the lyrics below.

    Nothing More
    Having a ranch and a horse, the sorrow is lighter
    Of all that I had, only the memory remains.
    Nothing more, nothing more
    I don’t have any accounts with God
    My accounts are with men
    I pray on the open plains
    In the mountains I turn myself into a lion
    Nothing more, nothing more
    I like to see a man planted upon the land
    Like a rock on the summit, like a lighthouse on the shore
    Some people die and return to be born
    He who doubts that, just let him ask Che.
    Nothing more, nothing more

  20. Disaffected says:

    “The Sellout” is hilarious, irreverent, bawdy, and just plain sacrilegious in all the best of ways throughout. I could just disappear in that world. It’s Hunter Thompson’s best work that he, unfortunately, grew too fat, rich, and complacent to write himself. Buy it and then read it in snippets if you like. It’s that kind of book.

    “The Making of a Radical” is indeed the best overview of Nearing’s life and times that I’m aware of. It redefines the term for us effete 21st century pantywaists.

    By the way, have you read any of the Che Guevera biographies or related books? Another TRUE American/world patriot/hero in the FINEST sense of the word!

    The concept of GOD for humans is right here right now and nowhere else. That’s why the so-called “evil-doers” win every time in this world. They realize and operate from that preposition every minute of their lives, while those who deem themselves “holy” imagine that their holiness is only something to be attained, and thus unattainable in this life. In striving for an imagined “heaven” in the next world, they forsake the only paradise this world has to offer. Crossan impresses me particularly as a bloodhound onto that scent. In short, our quest in this world is not to get over “things”, or “conditions”, or even existential issues like life or death; but rather, simply ourselves. We simply can’t come to grips with our own consciousness, and thus we try to deny it every waking minute of our lives!

    Goin’ to sleepy time now. Got a new CPAP machine to checkout!

  21. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    Yeah – that’s part of the power of Binding the Strong Man. Myers get the “here and now” business.
    Sleep well.

  22. Disaffected says:

    OK, a summary of “The Sellout” came to me overnight told, in the same run-on sentence, free form style used in the book:

    It’s a modern day Don Quixote epic adventure told in the first person by a black* farmer engaged in an epic quest with his dependent black “Sancho Panza” -like slave Hominy, who happens to also be the last surviving, albeit little known member of the the Little Rascals TV brood, to recover their lost black township in the middle of modern day LA, in an attempt to recapture a lost childhood, which both fondly hated, in memory of his recently deceased father, who he also lovingly hated, in a misguided attempt to bring back a time that only exists in their memories, to preserve the dignity and self worth of a group of people who never had any in the first place. Make sense now?

    * The term “black man” is rarely used in preference to the pejorative term “n*gger,” to the tune of maybe a half dozen instances or so per page. And yes, the author is also black.

    • Flaine Anderson says:

      Fine writing there, DA

    • Disaffected says:

      An excerpt:

      I said nothing and let King Cuz do my fighting for me. In twenty years, I’d never heard him say anything in a meeting more substantive than acknowledging the fact that the iced tea could use more sugar, but there he was, facing off with a man with four advanced degrees who spoke ten languages, none of them black except French. “Nigger, I refuse to let you impugn Dickens like that!” Cuz said sharply, standing up and pointing a freshly manicured nail at McJones. “This is a city, not a hellhole!” Impugn? Maybe twenty years of Dum Dum Donuts rhetoric hadn’t all gone to waste. To his credit, McJones, despite Cuz’s tone and size, didn’t back down. “I may have misspoken. But I must take exception to your implication that Dickens is a city, when it’s clearly a locale, nothing more than an American shantytown. A post-black, post-racial, post-soul flashback, if you will, to a time of romanticized black ignorance…” “Hey, look, fool, save that post-soul, post-black bullshit for somebody who gives a fuck, ’cause all I know is that I’m pre-black. Dickens born and raised. Homo sapiens OG Crip from the goddamn primordial giddy-up, nigger.” King Cuz’s little soliloquy seemed to impress Ms. R _ _ _, because she uncrossed her ankles, opened her legs just enough to show off some right-wing inner thigh, and then tapped me on the shoulder. “That big motherfucker play any football?” “A little running back in high school.” “Мои трусики мокрые,” she said in lip-licking Russian. I’m no linguist, but my best guess is that it meant Cuz could penetrate her secondary anytime he wanted. The old veterano strode into the middle of the donut shop, the rubber soles of his canvas sneakers squeaking with every step. “This, you proudly uncool motherfucker, this is Dickens,” and to some beat that only he could hear, he broke into the complex gangster soft shoe known as the Crip Walk. Never turning his back to the crowd, he pivoted on the balls and heels of his feet. His knees together and his hands free, he skipped around the room in tight concentric circles that collapsed upon themselves as quickly as they expanded. It was as if the floor was heated, and too hot for him to stop in one spot for even a second. King Cuz was debating with McJones the best way he knew how.

      Beatty, Paul. The Sellout: A Novel (pp. 219-220). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

      • Disaffected says:

        Just finished this up yesterday. The bewildering part of the book while you’re reading is figuring out exactly what Beatty is trying to say, as in who exactly is he skewering with his satire? Once again, Don Quixote comes to mind, because in the end he’s skewering just about everyone and everything his knife-edged wit sets its gaze on. Blacks and racist white culture alike, blacks willingness to play the race card as both a defense against racism and as an excuse not to assimilate completely into white culture, and indeed, just about everything else related to the modern politically correct vision of the world with regard to just about everything. Multiculturalism, sexism, political and legal dysfunction, angst against (as well as affection for) modern industrialism and suburban sprawl, all of it. In short, a TRULY GREAT read! Beatty’s one helluva writer and this is one helluva vision he’s laid out here!

        By the way, Kindle tells me he uses the word “nigger” on only 100 pages out of 293, but multiple times on most of those, so no actual word count. Why is that significant? Because Beatty’s a black writer and “nigger’s” a powerful word, and he knows full well that he’s in a unique position to get away with using it to make a point, which he does very well. That in itself is a powerful implied social commentary (blacks have adopted the word as part of their popular culture, but white’s can’t use it, ironically or otherwise), and I’m sure Beatty is fully aware of that fact. At any rate, if you’re the kind of person that appreciates the shock value of great satire, this book’s for you. If not, you’d definitely want to avoid this one at all costs.

        • Disaffected says:

          And to tie that into the Obama presidency and all the subsequent political correct multicultural bullshit that he has spawned in his wake, here’s a president who’s nominally “black” in skin color only, who by any other measure is just another silver spoon elitist fucking rich white boy, who has conned at least half of the American sheeple into imagining he’s some kind of god and harbinger of an imaginary multicultural American shangrila future that exists only in their most feverish and delusional dreams. In short: a true fucking “Sellout” in every last negative sense of the word. A human being so vile and disgusting that he could only have been dreamed up by corporate marketing. Too bad HRC fell short of even those modest expectations, but I think it spells at least a small glimmer of hope that the American people have perhaps finally begun to see through the simulacrum. Well, we can hope anyway…

  23. Disaffected says:

    I see the Dems and their acolytes are still trying to put forward the false flag notion that Russia “hacked” our election. CIA? Christ, they’ll conclude anything TPTB want them to conclude! Their “intelligence” is mostly just not very cleverly concealed propaganda these days anyway. It’ll be interesting to see if Trump falls for any of this crap. The pressures from the existing Madisonian government will still be heavy until he puts them definitively in line.

  24. F. Elaine Anderson says:

    DA, the Nearing/Berman take on u.s. history is interesting

  25. Disaffected says:

    No doubt about it. The full court press is still on for war with Russia. Some bloggers are now speculating that this might even represent the beginnings of an effort to overturn the recent election and stage a coup. If so, things will get interesting very quickly. Imagine, Trump is linked to Russian efforts to influence election, election is overturned in favor or HRC or Obama simply proclaims the whole thing null and void, declares martial law, assumes “emergency powers,” and war with Russia in some form then proceeds shortly thereafter. It could happen!

  26. Disaffected says:

    Here we finally have it. Obama’s vowing retaliation for an act that only that only the CIA can “prove,” except they can’t or won’t actually prove it. The possibilities are endless here. The Dems could start a major conflict/war before Obama leaves office, and combined with secret “intelligence” that indicated Trump was in cahoots with Putin or just plain benefited from this plan, declare the election null and void, and then use the whole brouhaha as an excuse to impose martial law and allow Obama to continue as president until the “crisis” is averted. Classic banana republic shit that the US has imposed on countless third world countries over the last 150 years. And we thought that keeping that psycho bitch out of the WH would end the drama. Silly us!

  27. Disaffected says:

    The plot continues to thicken. Clinton blames Comey and Putin for her defeat, and the NYT asserts that the Russians were “paranoid” about her. As if thinking Americans weren’t too! I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this yet.

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