Oh, the Absurdity of it All!

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By DA

In light of the many utterly absurd events we’ve experienced of late, plus the fact that the coming western holiday season invites us all to seek refuge and meaning in religious traditions that seem more and more absurd by the day themselves, it might be in our best interests to review a certain philosophy of the same name, which invites us to at least acknowledge, if not actually revel in the profound absurdity we see everywhere these days, rather than to merely settle for continually bemoaning it. But first some definitions: we’ll go new school low-brow here and stick with Wikipedia, as I’m no philosopher and this is certainly no philosophical treatise.

[1] An absurdity is a thing that is extremely unreasonable, so as to be foolish or not taken seriously, or the state of being so. “Absurd” is an adjective used to describe an absurdity, e.g., “this encyclopedia article is absurd.” It derives from the Latin absurdum meaning “out of tune”, hence irrational. The Latin surdus means “deaf”, implying stupidity. Absurdity is contrasted with seriousness in reasoning. In general usage, absurdity may be synonymous with ridiculousness and nonsense. In specialized usage, absurdity is related to extremes in bad reasoning or pointlessness in reasoning; ridiculousness is related to extremes of incongruous juxtaposition, laughter, and ridicule; and nonsense is related to a lack of meaningfulness. Absurdism is a concept in philosophy related to the notion of absurdity (1).

[2] In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between (1) the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and (2) the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean “logically impossible”, but rather “humanly impossible.”The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd, but rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously (1).

[3] Accordingly, absurdism is a philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd) because the sheer amount of information as well as the vast realm of the unknown make total certainty impossible. As a philosophy, absurdism furthermore explores the fundamental nature of the Absurd and how individuals, once becoming conscious of the Absurd, should respond to it. The absurdist philosopher Albert Camus stated that individuals should embrace the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning (2).

As I’ve gushed here in the comments section extensively previously, the Coen brothers’ movie A Serious Man (3), broadly labeled a “black comedy-drama film (4),” is the best recent example I’m aware of, of an extended and tightly focused commentary on absurdism, and if you’ve followed the comments on this blog for long at all, you’ll know that I’m quite enamored of it. Not surprisingly, it’s not the kind of movie that either American movie critics or audiences were at all willing to embrace, as its major “themes,” where they were decipherable at all, were simply not ones mainstream film audiences, accustomed as they are to basically being fed industrial grade shit through a straw, were willing to accept even in small doses. As the Coen’s protagonist, mild mannered Larry Gopnik, a rather high strung, hen-pecked, late 60’s Jewish college physics professor, husband, and father, suffers through a series of inexplicable life crises, he repeats the existential life question “what’s going on” over and over again, only to find that the many “experts” he consults with his problem apparently don’t have a clue either. In fact, most of the people he talks to seem to be speaking in tongues, so unintelligible is their gibberish when responding to his queries. And that’s where the Coens leave him in the end, with more questions than answers, as befuddled at the end as he was in the beginning. The parallels to our everyday modern life are obvious, which is no doubt why audiences avoided it like the proverbial plagues of Job that movie critics compared Gopnik’s plight to, and by extension, theirs as well.

Granted, many of Larry Gropnick’s misadventures seem absurd on their face, and thankfully most of us are not routinely subjected to such adverse events in the same rapid fire sequence that poor Larry and his immediate family were; but as a dramatic device, the movie succeeded all too well in alienating much of its target audience, accustomed as they no doubt were to appealing to and presumably finding at least some minimal amount of comfort from the same authority figures that poor Larry did. As to the larger question of whether or not life is best viewed through an absurdist lens (undecipherable and unknowable, although not necessarily meaningless), the movie simply asks the same questions that all of us do and leaves us to ponder them anew if we choose. An absurdist’s dilemma indeed!

And so it is that we seek to make sense from a world that more and more seems to be spinning completely out of control. As we speak, we are confronted with many of the same problems we faced a century ago, albeit in ever more virulent and lethal forms. A corporate fascist and militarist world “government” by other means instituted by the most extreme capitalist elements and given birth and continued sustenance in the new world “cradle of democracy,” the United States. A debt-based exponential growth financial/economic system that first divides and conquers the world population into economic “winners” and “losers,” then promises tomorrow’s consumption today and demands exponential human population growth to service its needs as dutiful consumers and war implements, only to likewise demand their destruction by whatever means is most profitable once their usefulness is done. A likewise exponential growth system of environmental degradation that has now morphed into exponential growth climate change which threatens to end this round of evolution not only for the humans so stupid as to implement it, but for most of the remaining “lesser species” we share the planet with as well. An emerging 24/7 National/World Security State that is rapidly developing the capability to monitor and “neutralize” anyone, anywhere, at any time, in an attempt to lock in the gains made by the exceedingly few at the expense of the frighteningly many, in a misguided attempt to establish some sort of perverse “heaven on earth,” which presumably even Jesus Christ himself would be charged to gain entry to. There’s certainly a lot more to go along with the above, but those capture the broad strokes.

What does it all mean, we ask? Is there a plan, an agenda secret or otherwise, or even a coherent guiding principle behind all this; or is history truly just “one damn thing after another,” as many of our so-called “leaders” will sheepishly contend when their guard is down. And even more frighteningly, if even our religious, political, and scientific/technological leaders don’t have a clue as to “what’s going on,” then exactly who in the hell does? Yes indeed, the Coens’ little tale seems to have had us all in mind after all and the answers we’re finding thus far are no less disquieting. But as absurd as the questions above are on their face (and they are truly ridiculous when you stop to think about it), they point directly to the even larger, truly existential questions which all philosophies and religions grapple with. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Are the answers to either of those two questions even remotely knowable? Just what in the fuck is going on here anyway?

Hierarchical systems, even relatively benign ones, are inherently coercive. They usurp the right to use violence and then in turn demand upon threat of that same violence that the individual pledges his or her unconditional subservience. And although we as individuals often appeal to a higher power spiritually (not surprisingly, usually depicted as violent and capricious as well), there can be no doubt who that higher power actually is here on earth, even after many of us have withdrawn our consent to remain subservient to its enormously destructive coercive power. Have we effectively locked ourselves into a cell from which there is no earthly escape, or are there things that we can actually do to alleviate our predicament, and if so, what are they and what price will we and our families have to pay personally to pursue them? Similarly, are we or anyone else for that matter in any way truly “exceptional,” as our hierarchical masters would have it, and what does it say about us that we’d even consider such an idea in the first place? Indeed, have we all effectively traded “a walk on part in the war” (a modest but truly free life) “for a lead role in a cage” in the form of capitalist provided wealth and leisure, as the Pink Floyd lyric(5) famously asked?

Unfortunately for all of us who have made our peace with hierarchy as embodied by global industrial capitalism (which is to say virtually everyone in all of the so-called “developed” countries in the world today) if not actually welcomed its cold embrace, recent and ongoing world events seem to indicate an end game of sorts is playing out now before our very eyes; and as capitalism has already demonstrated, it’s every bit as aggressive during its elimination cycle as it is in its growth stages, what with the ever continuing expansion of the military state at the expense of domestic infrastructure and the social safety net. In short: what happens when the few still in love with hierarchy find out that hierarchy’s no longer in love with them?

And what are we to make of the many rampant contradictions we’ve witnessed during the recent (and apparently still ongoing) election cycle, where two openly corrupt and deeply cynical politicians ran almost solely on the appeal of being the next worst option; where one openly stated that returning an ongoing cold war to hot was on the table front and center, and the other has since revealed that he’s evidently of a like mind too if blatantly coercive trade threats towards China are not capitulated to; and where climate change, now almost universally accepted as a global fact in the scientific community, has been officially relegated to ideology non grata status once again, perhaps permanently precluding any faint glimmer of hope that we will at least take responsibility for our actions in what might well be the twilight of our physical existence on this planet. In short, can our current dominant hierarchical forms be reformed at all at this late stage, or are we already in their final largely unrepentant and totally unrecoverable death throws?

And so it is that I leave you with the same absurdist existential Larry Gopnik dilemma that I came in with. What in the hell is going on here? I’m not sure what the answer is to that question and I’m not sure it’s even knowable to any significant extent, but one thing I – and Larry Gopnik as well I think – have most definitely figured out is that if you’re looking to hierarchy to provide you with the answers, you’re looking in the wrong damn place!

Best wishes to all during this Winter Solstice Holiday period, still my favorite time of the year despite all of the commercial agitprop spewed here in the west in the name of consuming even more of our non-renewable resources in the interests of making a handful of us rich at the expense of all the rest. And for those of you so inclined, HAPPY FESTIVUS as well! But please, PLEASE remember to fetch the aluminum pole from the crawl space before beginning the feats of strength! There are serious repercussions if you don’t!

*******************************************************
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdity
Absurdity – Wikipedia
en.wikipedia.org
An absurdity is a thing that is extremely unreasonable, so as to be foolish or not taken seriously, or the state of being so. “Absurd” is an adjective used to …

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdism

Absurdism – Wikipedia
en.wikipedia.org
Basic relationships between existentialism, absurdism and nihilism; Atheistic existentialism Monotheistic existentialism Absurdism Nihilism; 1. There is such a thing …

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Serious_Man

A Serious Man – Wikipedia
en.wikipedia.org
A Serious Man is a 2009 black comedy-drama film written, produced, edited and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film stars Michael Stuhlbarg as a Minnesota Jewish …

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedy-drama
5. http://www.lyricsfreak.com/p/pink+floyd/wish+you+were+here_20108843.html

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103 Responses to Oh, the Absurdity of it All!

  1. Disaffected says:

    From the Comment Netherworld:

    Jack Waddington says:
    December 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm
    I concur with most of what is being stated here. There is a major problem for us humans and it starts off, IMO, with the notion that we humans are the top of the food chain; hence superior. Secondly the greatest conceit ever is that the United States of America was and is the greatest democracy. No it isn’t and never was. They, the original colonials from the United Kingdom; that other corner of the planet that thought it was the greatest thing since the creation of mankind; which it isn’t, nor ever was. I do see that you have seen the absurdity of it all. I feel strongly that Karl Marx was another that saw the problem. BUT in each case It was the solution that befuddled us. We, humans were determined to keep most of that we’d created intact. Therein, is my contention … for being blinded to a solution.

    So!!! let’s start off by acknowledging the problem is capitalism and all the trappings that it entails. Marx suggested that the potential solution was by a “Dictatorship of the proletariat”. I contend that is where he went wrong, and hence, led the rest of humankind down a blind alley.

    There is, I contend, one way out of the mire … that I rarely if ever see suggested from resolving it and creating a solution … simple as my suggested solution is; most will reject it out of hand. The first and foremost is the question posed back to me, when I make the suggestion:- “How would it work?” It is a question that on the face of it seems meaningful … until we look a little deeper. The question is absurd because no-one knows the answer … NOR ever will. like most things in nature, it has to EVOLVE.

    So!!!! here’s my notion of the solution:- Just abolish money ………. then like water; it will all fall into place. When it does we will wonder … just as we did after dissing Copernicus and Galileo for 100 years. Then we’ll say “Oh yeah!!!! that makes sense NOW … why did no-one think of this before?

    Jack Waddington
    Reply
    Disaffected says:
    December 20, 2016 at 8:08 am
    This commenting protocol continues to leave me baffled. Glad you found it Jack. I’m beginning to come around to your way of thinking too. Certainly a much needed first step is to abolish the Federal Reserve System and the entire Central Banking scheme the world over. They’re nothing more than grossly corrupt political hierarchies meant to convert the world’s real resources into monetized, interest bearing debt, and then transfer that wealth to the top of the pyramid. But certainly money as a means of accumulating inter-generational wealth, status, and power has to stop.

    As for the rest of it, I think most of the anarchy and confusion we’re seeing in the world today is by design. How do you keep a potential citizens’ revolt tamped down without exposing the iron fist prematurely? You simply use the mighty propaganda machine to sow the seeds of doubt every where one looks so that any potential rebels have no idea whatsoever what or who it is that they’re rebelling against. In other words: rain down the Plagues of Job on their heads and watch them all turn into Larry Gopniks, feebly asking “what’s going on here?”

  2. Disaffected says:

    I think you’re onto something when you say that sometimes things just have to “evolve,” Jack. I think we’re so enamored of our technological and rational calculative powers now, that we’ve forgotten much of our historical progress has been made by simply experimenting with stuff until we find what works. No, it’s definitely not the most efficient way forward, but we would be wise to remember that nature’s not “efficient” either. Nature evolves s-l-o-w-l-y over eons of time by trial and error – aka natural selection – which is how we all got here today. And no, we’re definitely not as smart or wise as we think we are either, otherwise we wouldn’t be in our current predicament in the first place.

  3. Disaffected says:

    Jack Waddington says:

    December 20, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Disaffected: Thanks for the response. I see it as more complex in terms of what the over all problem is. We get indoctrinated from childhood into believing what we have, and what culture we belong to, and ‘some pie in the sky’ benefactor, is all that is needed. From there-on-in, we settle for this ‘nothingness’, fearing that any REAL change will “rock the boat” to the point we’ll all be thrown overboard and there’ll be no land in sight.

    It’s a story that has been conjured up for eons and to wade through it all to see the ‘REAL LIGHT AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF IT ALL’ requires more thinking and contemplating than most are willing to consider. We’ve bought into it all ………….. yet the simplest of solutions eludes us. “Abolish money and all forms of exchange, including barter”, AND voila … it’s all so simple. then and only then are we REALLY free and BE our own natural simple selves, without all the pseudo pressure conjured up to prevent us from even getting off our arses (asses) to even protest. Protest never make it. “Oh! that was so good of you all to conduct a civilized non- violent protest” … such that the elites can then go about their business … believing that for some concocted reason, they deserve their privilege.

    Not so. ONLY a TOTAL radical change will make any REAL difference. Alas, not likely to happen … in my life time least-ways.

    Jack Waddington
    Reply

    • Disaffected says:

      I agree. Radical times call for radical solutions. We’re (most of us, anyway) not quite there yet, but I think the end of the road is in sight now.

  4. Ron McCafferty says:

    I agree that money is a real problem, but only in the sense of who is controlling it’s value, as stated in previous posts. If we are to have radical change then the first step should be arresting and jailing those who have manipulated policies to artificially inflate currencies.

    I can see wresting control of the system as a very difficult proposition for the average working person to accept. But we will have no choice when this system implodes, which shouldn’t be too much longer with the stock market approaching 20k? Talk about pumping sunshine up the ass!

    It will take a gradual systems approach to fully ween people off of the use of currency. But it can be done. And yes, Jack, the solution is very simple.

    • Disaffected says:

      There’s just enough dwindling prosperity left in the balloon to keep it inflated for now, but it won’t be much longer now. Trump’s election was definitely a shot across the bow (either that or one helluva false flag twist that we’ve yet to figure out), and it got A LOT of the well to do’s attention. Judging from what I’ve observed locally, this holiday season will see a BIG uptick in travel and spending, as people seek refuge in traditional holiday escapism before entering the great unknown on Jan 20th. Might be a wise choice, even though Trump’s avowed policies should benefit them greatly. But the cognitive dissonance in the US was already so thick you could cut it with a knife before Trump came along. People are nervous as hell about the US’ tenuous position in the world economically, politically, and militarily, and the mounting effects of AGW, all issues about which Trump has promised to damn the torpedoes and steam full speed ahead. And the fact that as bad as Trump will almost certainly be, the only credible alternative was orders of magnitude WORSE tells you all you need to know about the state of the union in the US these days.

      For my part, I think we’re FINALLY getting the LONG overdue government we deserve, and not a moment too soon for the good of the rest of the world. If anyone lives to write the history of the Age of Oil, they will no doubt rightly lay the blame firmly at the foot of the United States at every step along the way. We had it all, including the technologies, intelligence, and responsive government to know exactly what we were doing wrong and implement policies to avoid the worst of it, but we chose the road of personal enrichment, imperial power, and decadence instead, and the results will be our legacy. We are truly fucked!

      • Ron McCafferty says:

        DA, what is your take on the BRICs chances of removing the dollar as world reserve currency. I know that if this happens the walls will surely come crashing down as banks in the US will likely start calling in credit, mortgages and the like to stem loses.

        Either way we are fucked. We can only sustain the dollar’s stranglehold for so long, as other imperialist nations have failed when they went global. We are not far behind that shit storm. Trump does not seem like the likely candidate to give up the ghost so this will be an interesting year. Maybe this is why he is surrounding himself with military people in his civilian cabinet?

        • Disaffected says:

          Ron,

          Good question. While I think the collapse of the petro-dollar is inevitable, and is indeed already being gradually undone as we speak, USGov.Inc will fight it tooth and nail until it does, or at least until they view it as inevitable and have mapped out a concrete strategy to profit from it in the aftermath. The shiny US military with all its high tech gadgets and toys is keeping a lid on things for now, but soon even that won’t be enough. It’s hard to imagine BAU continuing uneventfully past the end of Trump’s first term in 2020 (assuming he lasts that long) but who really knows what’s going on behind closed doors in DC, NYC, London, and Boston these days? The scary thing is that the big boys profit even more from collapse, so it could all happen at anytime. Financial collapse, especially the engineered variety (2008 was the proof of concept trial run), is just the foreclosure period for us little guys and the consolidation period for the big boys and corporations.

          Imagine a debt default, consolidation and reorganization (including bank bail-ins and asset seizures across the board), followed eventually by a new currency issue based on previous closing positions. Good bye bank balances, retirement accounts, legal claims to property, and all the rest, and with it, probably the US as a coherent entity as well. Hello small states and regional alliances, local currencies of some sort or another improvised on the fly, and a total reshuffling of the social and political order. The few who make the jump to the Federal/Corporate level would probably do pretty well, while everyone else not so much. The whole thing would probably closely resemble the collapse of the USSR, although an order of magnitude worse, since we’ve had it so much better all along.

          Yeah, I get the feeling Trump is doubling down on security and military under the guise of defending against outsiders. But anyone at his level has to know where the real threat lies, and that’s from US citizen’s themselves. Might turn out that Obama was the velvet glove to Trump’s iron fist. I think I hear the drones overhead now!

  5. Ron McCafferty says:

    A total recall on debts, loans and credit will cause big problems here. I know for sure that if this currency does collapse I am not giving up my house since I didn’t cause it to happen. I am lucky in that I have some backup in case this happens but there will be a lot of pissed-off people WITH GUNS who may not be so agreeable to the terms in the fine print on their mortgage agreements.

    Hey, where has Heretic been? Haven’t seen him post anything in a while.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Guys-with-Guns seems like a good backup to me. LOL

      • Ron McCafferty says:

        Guys-with-guns scares the shit out of me because most of them don’t have much going in the grey matter. I am more worried about them then I am of the government. LOL

        • Disaffected says:

          Yep, I think guns are overrated too. They’ll mostly be used to turn on each other during the initial phases of a meltdown. The Feds will be too smart to fight hand to hand when they can just stand back and let nature take its course. With a little help from their ever-present friends overhead too, of course. Reaper drones! What a perfect name! Bet ya the boys at the Pentagon have a chuckle or two over that almost daily.

    • Disaffected says:

      Ain’t heard from the HT for a while now. Hope he’s still doing OK.

      Lots of speculation about debt. I have one friend in particular who advocates for the contrarian view. As in, run up personal debt like there’s no tomorrow if you don’t believe there will be anyway. Repossessions will likely be impossible in the aftermath of any kind of crash. He could be right. Trouble is, crashes are usually not catastrophic single events, but a series of lesser major shocks. And remember, any crash is likely to be engineered and not just random as well.

      So imagine something like 2008 all over again, but with a feeble government response (sold as “because the people demanded it”) and managed collapse where people get hit by a series devastating shocks (bank bail ins, suspension of government services and transfer payments, imposition of martial law, a series of synthetic and real terror events, centralized government “FEMA camp style” food and basic medical deliveries, etc.), each properly stage managed and sold to an increasingly panicked public until we’re totally pacified and dependent. And drones overhead everywhere “for our protection;” lots and lots of drones.

      • Ron McCafferty says:

        I hope that HT is OK as well.

        Expanding personal debt seems like a big risk, I always try to think worst case scenario.

        So what you are saying, which makes sense to me, is that we are going to have a “Katrina Response” from the gooberment? With all the FEMA camp amenities, what’s not to love?

        To me it looks like the MIC’s 100 year plan is going well. Gain control of the currency. Check. Gain control of the gooberment. Check. Create a strong propaganda system. Check, check, check. Destroy public education. Big fucking check. Control supply of basic needs. Check mate!

        Looks like it’s going to be real and it’s going to be fun, but it’s not going to real fun.

        • Disaffected says:

          Pacifying the peeps will be little more than creating dependencies and then tightening the noose. Guns are of little use for people who are starving and in need of basic medical care.

          Hey, remember these guys? I remember hearing this song all the way back in 1980!

          • Ron McCafferty says:

            Yep! Came out when I was in 10th grade. I think I still have the vinyl.

          • Disaffected says:

            David Byrne is such a David Bowie like character on stage. I always dismissed the ‘Heads out of hand for being frivolous back in the day, when now I view them as possibly being wise beyond their years and delivering tongue-in-cheek social commentary that was simply over my head at the time. The more I live, the more I realize what a fool I am!

            I that vein, here’s a Bowie clip from Ricky Gervais’ Extras that just floors me every time I see it! Setup: Gervais and his girlfriend are aspiring actors. Gervais finally achieves commercial success with a BBC “catchphrase” comedy that he deems beneath his talents, quits, and is actively (and ultimately futilely) looking for the proverbial “bigger and better deal” when he comes across Bowie in this scene at a party:

        • Disaffected says:

          I always have to pinch myself and remember that war on the US will be no different in principle from war on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or anyplace else. Yes, the propaganda and specific techniques will need to be adjusted accordingly at first, but after a short time it will likely just be brief periods of full scale war against “rebel” groups (who will no doubt be a mix of actual rebels groups and synthetic rebel groups, just as we’re seeing all over the middle east as we speak) interspersed with long periods of “benign neglect’ to let conditions further deteriorate. Play that out for a few years and any resistance gradually subsides to the point that it’s easily managed and/or neutralized with minimal effort. And of course the US should be much easier to manage as well, dependent as most Americans are on hierarchy to take care of them. With few exceptions, we were sheep on the way up and sheep we will remain on the way back down again.

          • Ron McCafferty says:

            It amazes me at how simple and shallow people’s thinking has become. I live in an area where a lot of people have these license plates that have the “Don’t tread on me” with the snake in the middle (which looks like a pile of shit from a distance). They have no fucking clue as to how brutal it can get and what they will have to do to make it in a system that has collapsed.
            Storing away guns and ammo, and some MRE’s is not going to cut it. You are right DA, sheep on the way up, with their false sense of security (guns and ammo) and sheep on the way down (missing every creature comfort).
            I am a watcher of people’s habits and what I have noticed is that a disturbing number of people are prepared materially but are missing the most important piece. Mental preparation.
            Some will be in shock at first but recover but a lot will not. Too soft in the mind.

            • Disaffected says:

              The whole Christmas season mentality highlights your points Ron. The mindless crass materialism as a perverse “God given right” just grows more obscene every year. And of course now we get an endless parade of news pieces about do-gooders out there doing great altruistic things for the homeless and the “disadvantaged.” Never a second thought about how and why the system we live under and benefit from produces such piss-poor results in the first place and calls for it’s overhaul and/or replacement. Americans have no idea whatsoever what a sudden fall to third world conditions would be like, but they’d no doubt be shocked to find out that the people most likely to thrive under those conditions are the ones who are essentially living in them right now – the poor and the disadvantaged that they currently look down their noses at. Feral humans indeed!

              • Ron McCafferty says:

                This is where I grew up and there are so many people living in abandoned houses that they are calling them abonminiums. These people live in Philadelphia and know what third world conditions are.

              • Disaffected says:

                Nice. The picture of humans with no place to go and nothing much to do is not nearly as rosy as most people imagine it to be. We like to imagine a heroic battle for survival of sorts, but reality is much more mundane. Seemingly infinite amounts of boredom punctuated with brief interludes of scrambling for food, shelter, heat, alcohol or whatever. And Americans are particularly prone to simply being bored, so inured are we to the 24/7 hologram to keep us occupied these days. I imagine the suicide and suicide by other means (becoming so psychotic that someone kills you to put you out of your misery) rates will be enormous early on.

                The only “saving grace” for many would be the elimination of the dichotomy of obscene wealth living side by side with abject poverty. People of means will of course dismiss this idea out of hand, but in reality it makes a GREAT difference. We humans can deal with a great deal of stress fairly easily if we feel that stress is being shared by those around us on at least a somewhat equal basis. It’s the proverbial “social contract” in action. When that social compact no longer applies, as it certainly no longer does here in the west, EVERYONE – EVEN THE RICH – in the social order feels the stress due to the inequalities in the system. We’re living in a profoundly sick society these days, one so sick that it even feels the need to destroy itself and its physical environment in an attempt to alleviate the pain from its cognitive dissonance. We could certainly do much better, but it remains to be seen if we will. My bet is not.

                • Ron McCafferty says:

                  Yeah, no kidding. People around here haven’t got a clue as to the reality of conditions where I come from, and when I talk about it I get the same phrase “but you made it out”. Of course they speak out of ignorance because for every “one kid that makes it out”, there are 99 that don’t.
                  People just don’t understand what a trap that place is. I never dreamed of living where I am today. Kids where I come from know that better places are out there but the opportunities to make it there are extremely limited or come down to luck (in my case).
                  Suicide is reality for people in Kensington (nic-named The Badlands) and the family base has been destroyed so you could die in your house and no one would know for months. I remember one old lady, very large, died in her house and no one knew until the smell got so bad and the flies showed up. They carried her out in separate bags as she had exploded when they moved her.
                  We had bars every two blocks or so and they never lacked customers as drowning your sorrows was all one could do to block out reality. Now all the “old folks” are gone and these young kids who were running the streets in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s are so wide open throttle, it’s not even funny. They just don’t care.
                  Current events are going to bring an end to what little civility still exists in Kensington. It was a red-lined area back in the 70’s and now it is a vast waste land the size of a small town in Virginia.

    • Disaffected says:

      In reply to Ron’s last post below and to move the thread back to the left margin again:

      Keep in mind Ron, elimination of places like Kensington are of course part of the plan as well, so none of this is by mere chance, although that’s how it eventually gets sold. Blacks and other darker minorities are of course the current targets of choice, but as we’ve already seen in the talk prior to the recent election, lower class whites are certainly on the menu as well.
      The Liberal consensus is primarily an elitist consensus, which dovetails nicely with the Conservative consensus that preceded it. Of the two, I have to respect the Conservative viewpoint more, in that it rests on more solid and less pretentious and objectionable grounds. The Liberal consensus, in addition to flaunting its obscene wealth, demands that we pay allegiance to their superior breeding, intellects, and tastes as well; a bridge WAY too far for most folks in my opinion.

  6. Disaffected says:

    Watched this on PBS while working out today. More biblical mythology explained/debunked. Great video!

    • Ron McCafferty says:

      You know this design actually makes sense. A long boat would be subject to overturned when hit broadside by a wave(barring God’s protection). But round boats just make sense. Great video DA.

      • Disaffected says:

        Yeah, but it didn’t scale well. They had to resort to all kinds of modern tricks to get this thing to work and it was still a fraction of the size needed to fulfill the biblical myth. But it was a good lesson as to how garden variety oral tradition myths get blown up over the generations and written translations then codify them as literal fact. Our modern imaginations simply don’t work like they once did. We’re hamstrung by modern literalism.

        • RON MCCAFFERTY says:

          Bah! Biblical schmibilical! Back then it was easier to sell ice to eskimos. What ever works, right?
          My brother is always trying to convince me that the god of the bible is real and the stories are all true as they are “God’s Word”. I usually tick him off when he gets over-zealous by giving him my opinion that if there was a loving, compassionate god, he or she would NOT let children play with guns.
          Speculation is part of translation when dealing with oral tradition. My wife and I can talk about the same event we shared with our kids and not get the detail exact or agreed upon and that is recent history for us.
          How does that work over a period of millennia? It comes down to what I have seen you say in your comments that people believe what they want to believe.

          • Disaffected says:

            Speculation is part of translation when dealing with oral tradition. My wife and I can talk about the same event we shared with our kids and not get the detail exact or agreed upon and that is recent history for us.How does that work over a period of millennia? It comes down to what I have seen you say in your comments that people believe what they want to believe.>/i>

            We’ve played that same exercise in every leadership class I’ve been in over the years (which obviously didn’t “take” in my case!), so I too am amazed at how people simply don’t get it. Bottom line of course: all beliefs and belief systems are first and foremost irrational, including the belief in rational beliefs and systems. Our conscious minds only think they’re in control. I’m penning a screed on cults right now, but you’re giving me food for further thought here, Ron. You should work one up too!

    • Disaffected says:

      And a pull no punches article asserting that historical Jesus did not exist at all (as a single personage anyway). I agree with this. I think the mythical Jesus is apocryphal. Which is fine, since it’s the true value of the myth anyway. The literal version is literally riddled with inconsistencies and makes no sense whatsoever, even as a mythic tale.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/18/did-historical-jesus-exist-the-traditional-evidence-doesnt-hold-up/

      • Ron McCafferty says:

        I don’t know how anyone with the ability to critically think would believe any claims Christianity has expressed as truth.

        The Roman Catholic Church ruled by violence for sixteen centuries until the Protestants came along and joined the fray. An individual back then had three choices:
        a. believe what the church tells them
        b. face death by sword, fire, drowning, etc.
        c. banishment

        Today they use fear and/or ridicule to get followers. Alas the church is dying, but the Catholic Church, like the mobsters of the 40’s and 50’s has become DIVERSIFIED. I think they realized fifty years ago that the winds were changing after WWII and they branched out into the service industry. Retirement homes, real estate(not new to this business), Job Corps, etc.

        I am amazed at the ability born-again’s possess to be able to melt away into La-La land as they try to convince you of the truth of Jesus. Historical fact usually removes the look of ecstacy from their puss which I do admit makes me smile inside. I am not one to walk around bursting people’s bubbles but when backed into a corner I will let the needles fly.

        I do have to say that I am dismayed at the fact that I have yet to convince any of them that I have flying monkeys and will release them if they don’t leave me alone. I guess their fantasy has limits. Oh, well.

        Interesting article DA. Happy New Year to you and everyone here.

        • Disaffected says:

          Happy New Year to you too Ron. Nice to have someone to talk to here again.

        • Disaffected says:

          If you Google ‘Raphael Lataster’ (the guy who wrote the article), he’s got a few video lectures out there too. He’s got a rather thick Australian accent, so he’s a little hard to understand to my American ears, but it’s good stuff otherwise. He’s certainly no shrinking violet.

          • Ron McCafferty says:

            I have a book by DM Murdoch titled, Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection.
            Long book with lots of references.

            Lataster is hard to understand but his method is good.

            I have always been of the belief that we are connected to the Mother Earth and Father Sun is what gives us life. I don’t know if you are into the whole “hippie movement” but I usually start me day setting outside with no shoes and me feet firmly in contact with the Earth. No phone, just coffee and the sounds and smells and sights of our world.

            It is a tough time we live in DA, and being skeptical with the ability to reason makes it harder. But people are resilient when we don’t lose our connection.

            I firmly believe that if industrialization continues to destroy our habitat, Mother Earth will rid itself of the human disease and heal herself. But that is a ride I will stay on till the end just to be on the right side in case some of us do survive. Just thinking out loud here. I enjoy reading your comments and your emotion is evident in your writing.

            Talk at cha’ later, DA.

            • Disaffected says:

              Thanks Ron. I was amazed at the number of serious academic videos out there contesting Christianity when I Googled Lataster.

  7. Disaffected says:

    Kunstler’s latest – his 2017 annual forecast – is especially good this week. Whether he nails the predictions or not, he’s really been doing his homework on the economic fundamentals of late.
    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/forecast-2017-wheels-finally-come-off/

  8. Disaffected says:

    An example of how an oral “myth” (actually, just a plain old lie passed around as propaganda) turns into “accepted wisdom,” and before you know its written down as “gospel truth.” Amazing!!!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_United_States_election_interference_by_Russia

    Trump is apparently meeting with the intelligence chiefs tomorrow to discuss a major reorganization, so hopefully he’ll come out of it with some heads on a platter, and not them with his.

    • Disaffected says:

      This could turn into a pretty big deal, as all this is at the very least an indirect attack on Trump and the validity of his election itself. The Dems and the entire Trumanite and Madisonian wings of the US Government are fighting back hard on this one, as Trump is threatening their very existence here. Good for him! Expect the madness to continue at least until Trump is safely inaugurated, although John McCain and his assorted Republican wing nuts are apparently on board with this too. Any port in a storm for old man McCain, whose glory days are now decades in the rear view mirror. You’d think he’d have the good sense to just die already and spare us all his senile ramblings.

      • RON MCCAFFERTY says:

        Makes me wonder how McCain survived this long with what he purportedly went through in Vietnam. That has to take some toll on the brain.

        • Disaffected says:

          Personally, I think McCain’s been showing signs of dementia for at least 20 years now. But then again, most of his AZ supporters are in similar shape as well, so go figure. This was an interesting headline this morning: Russian official: ‘Republicans trust Putin more than the Democrats’
          The thing he left out is that many here in the US now trust Putin more than any of our current US leaders.

          • Ron McCafferty says:

            Trust in government died, at least where the masses are concerned, after Vietnam. My generation in particular, I am a gen-x’er, has a severe mistrust of government. I have been saying for years that both parties are no different than watching World Wide Wrestling on Saturday afternoon. They talk shit prior to the match, fight it out in the ring then drink beer and count money together after the show.
            Putin, I think, would be wise to let the system of propaganda put it’s foot in it’s mouth and let the Republicans jump at any chance to create a deeper quagmire within our system.
            Personally, the Irish rebel in me wants to make boat anchors out of the whole lot of them. To answer your post below:
            I think Trump is the light at the end of the tunnel. He is a big mouth and he appeals to a mass of voters that, although are most likely armchair quarterbacks, will create some kind of shit storm if something goes wrong. I get frustrated with people where I live now. They believe the propaganda so easily and have enough trust in their government to buy the whole 911 story.
            But when I ask them directly if they trust the government, they will almost yell NO! But they believe the government when they tell us who our enemies are. I don’t know DA, if it’s cognitive dissonance or poor education or what it is.

            • Disaffected says:

              I think it’s mostly cognitive dissonance. The pain of admitting that forces within their government pulled off the greatest atrocity in recent history is simply too much for them to face. Which is what the plotters were counting on for success to begin with. When it comes to propaganda and lies, ‘go big or stay at home’ is the proven wisdom. They’ve been going big ever since. This latest ‘Russia hacked the election for Trump’ bullshit is just another case in point. But it does indicate he’s got some serious resistance within the DC machine. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes about now.

        • Disaffected says:

          From the sounds of all this hubbub over the election intelligence, Trump’s going to be in for some rough sledding for at least his first six months. I trust that he’s not been read in on 9-11 yet, or he wouldn’t be questioning the rationale for all of the current US foreign policy non-sense, so it will be interesting to see if he suddenly does an abrupt about face on foreign policy a few weeks or months down the road. I seriously doubt he’ll ever be fully read in on the facts, but he’ll almost certainly be threatened in one way or another, and if that fails, he’ll simply be removed. Criminal scandals are too easy to gen up these days, especially with Trump, so he’s in a very vulnerable spot taking on the MIC boys without an army of his own.

  9. Disaffected says:

    Never thought I’d read something like this in a mainstream source, but this is actually very good advice:

    Commentary: Reading news in the age of Trump? Think like a spy.

    This is slanted against Trump, of course, but it’s good general advice in an age when CIA and other spook propaganda/disinformation is being widely circulated as “news.” I’ve been reading it that way for years now, and it’s proven to be very effective in weeding out some of the most glaring bullshit.

    • Ron McCafferty says:

      I have always read the news this way as I am a natural born skeptic. The one thing I hate about the news is how it puts a slant on anyone and anything. This is what I believe is the CIA’s way of creating controlled confusion as people don’t really know which way to turn.

      Not many people follow their gut instincts I guess. One day I was discussing the CIA with some people and raised the question of why so many people from Wall St and corporate CEO’s have been chosen to run a SPY AGENCY!!!! I mean, WHAT THE FUCK, OVER!!
      Does no one question this? Then you read about the “interventions” in other countries to supposedly stop the spread of communism and really it is about squashing unions and fair labor for the likes of a fruit company based here in the US.

      It is daunting, DA, as to the future of this country and the world. I teach automotive tech at a high school, so the future of oil is of very special interest to me and I teach my students about the future of oil and vehicular travel.

      If it is true that world use of crude has crossed Hubbert’s Peak then people here in the USA are in for a rude awakening sooner than later. I personally believe this to be so. What I use to corroborate my rationale is that if crude were in such large supply on dry land then the oil corporations would not spend upwards of 400-650 million to build an offshore rig when they could spend around 10 million for an onshore rigs.

      When in the business to make money, expenditures are kept to a minimum. Unless, that is, you have no other choice. Which is what I believe. They have no other choice. I don’t know why people don’t think of this as it directly impacts their future. I purposely bought a house within walking distance of my job for this reason. Easier said than done for some but at some point they will be facing hard reality.

      • Disaffected says:

        Your instincts are good Ron! Keep it up.

      • Disaffected says:

        Teaching auto tech, eh? That sounds much cooler than playing with spreadsheets (that no one pays attention to anyway), like I do. I’ve always been interested in automotive technology and likely would have gone into that out of HS if I hadn’t joined the military first, although I’m piss poor mechanically (ZERO patience!). I also live close enough to walk and/or ride the bus to work, which I do occasionally. I drive mostly anyway, but only put about 5K/yr miles on my car, which makes for nice trade in values and low insurance and gas bills at least. Driving anywhere remotely close to even moderately sized cities anymore is just more aggravation than I can take, what with non-attentive drivers and cops with their speed/revenue traps everywhere now. Even driving the 3 miles to work gets my BP boiling, what with all the texting and cell phone yapping. Evidently most Americans are even more bored with driving now than I am.

        • Ron McCafferty says:

          Teaching is very enjoyable to me and I have patience with most everything except Excel Spreadsheet and Fundies, I find both to be extremely frustrating to deal with.
          I have always been interested in mechanical things and turning wrenches but didn’t pursue it as a career until after trying everything else under the sun and a three year stint in the Army.
          I will usually walk to school myself and when I first started at the school I don’t know how many teachers were passing me on the road and stopping to ask if my car broke down.
          It took every bit of strength not to let my Yankee Irish sarcasm answer them with “Nope, just got out of prison and I am headed to work. Can you give me a lift?”
          Sounds like you are not very happy doing what you do. Someone, somewhere is going to pay attention to those spreadsheets. Hopefully not but usually when they need evidence to pass the buck.
          Have you read Chris Hedges latest? I think he can be a little melodramatic (sarcasm).
          I need something else to read, do you have any suggestions?

          • Disaffected says:

            I’ll go look at Hedges now. My reading’s kind of stalled out right now, but the best books I read last year were “Command and Control” by Eric Schlosser (great writer) about the whole US nuclear command and control apparatus and the Damascus Incident in Arkansas in particular, and “Family of Secrets” by Russ Baker, which is ostensibly about the Bush family, but actually goes MUCH MUCH deeper than that into the whole US CIA/spook world, plus the DEEP background on the JFK assassination and Watergate (they were related). I read both books in less than a week. If you find Baker’s book believable, and it’s IMPECCABLY researched, completely logical, and correlates well with the “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” series by John Perkins (also great books), you’ll never look at US politics the same way again. And I was pretty damn jaded before I read those books! And if you like over the top satire, check out any of Paul Beatty’s recent works. He’s got the same skewed outlook on life that I do, so I really got a kick out of him. But he’s definitely not for everyone. And of course if you haven’t read “Overshoot” by William Catton you need to get a copy, read it, and keep it for reference. It’s actually the only “collapse” book you’ll ever need to read, and it was written all the way back in 1980! Another life changing book. You’ll either dismiss it out of hand because it scares the living shit out of you (like most people), or you’ll be forever changed by the knowledge it provides. There’s really no fence sitting after reading that one.

            • RON MCCAFFERTY says:

              Thank you for the reading material list. I have a few books that are good reads but maybe not to the level at which your list is. I have seen interviews with John Perkins and found him to be very interesting.
              I don’t know how to explain this exactly and I don’t want to sound nuts, but I am a realist to the point where I scare people when discussing future prospects. Since I am a mechanic by trade the oil industry has always been of interest to me. Checking new production methods, recycling procedures, crude prices, etc.
              One point I like to make, and to me this is common sense, is if oil were in unlimited supply there would be no need for exploration expense. The first oil rig dug in PA in the 1850’s would still be pumping out crude if there was an unlimited supply.
              I won’t go into numbers with you as you may be aware already, but we are well below the supply/demand curve. Which I believe the MIC use unemployment to control demand(to a small degree) and not have people panic.
              I am a realist and one who does not shiver when I look at the future. I may shake my head in disbelief but I face things quite differently than most.
              So fire when ready, Gridley.

              • Disaffected says:

                Sounds like you’re up to speed already. I just add that disclaimer every time I recommend Catton, as the implications of his book are very sobering. But even that’s always up to the reader. Most read it and just shrug it off as “one man’s opinion,” so people are fairly inured to doomer predictions already as well as stuck on their techno-triumphalist fantasies, which of course is what TPTB wants them to do. But long story short, human overshoot was probably locked in as much as 150 years ago after we’d already been exploiting coal for some time and then discovered oil. That made industrial civilization inevitable and that made human overshoot and everything else that afflicts us today inevitable as well. And as we’re seeing in the news everyday, rolling all that “progress” back in an orderly manner by conscious willpower is simply not even remotely an option. We will continue to accelerate toward the cliff Thelma and Louise style until we fly off into the wild blue yonder to meet our final demise as a species and there’s really nothing that can be done about it at this late stage, other than acknowledge the process and cope individually as best we can. Should be one helluva ride!

  10. Disaffected says:

    Yes! Amazing post by Hedges which sums up perfectly a comment that I was going to make but now won’t have to: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_real_purpose_of_the_us_governments_report_on_alleged_hacking_by_russi
    I’ll take it one step further though and suggest that this will likely be used to either force Trump into line after the election and/or to remove him if he doesn’t. There it is! The plot is revealed, the knives are finally out in the open for all to see, and the Ides of March rapidly approaches!

    • Disaffected says:

      And I should add, it’s also quite obviously a justification for war with Russia, which the MICC is apparently still intent on, with or without HRC and her merry band of Neo-Liberal Dem kooks. We could all be getting that (not so) healthy “nuclear glow” much sooner than we thought!

    • Disaffected says:

      I’ll be very surprised if Donald lasts 6 months, even if he capitulates. I think they want him out by whatever means necessary.

    • Disaffected says:

      New talk of Obama staying in DC to lead some sort of “counter movement” against the evils of Trump. Yeah right. Obama.Inc has done a marketing study and found that liberal money is willing to fund a more than profitable “insurgency,” thus driving prices for canned speaking gigs through the roof. What’s not to love. Jet around the world, stay at the finest hotels in the finest cities, eat an exorbitant “rubber chicken” dinner at your hosts’ expense, and stand up and mouth 20 minutes of canned gibberish in return.

  11. Ron McCafferty says:

    There is a book series that you may find interesting, the writer is a friend of Sandy’s. He wrote an online book that I read and now he is publishing them in a three book series with books one and two already in print.
    The series is Inter States 2040 by Ralph Meima. They are fictional writings based in the year 2040 with actual events and people from the past mixed in. They paint a possible scenario of the future here in the United States of Capitalism-run-amuck.
    They are well written and too scary for my wife to read. The main event that is still a mystery in the book is an apparent terror attack at a place called “Sanderville” in the 2000 teens.
    Just watched a documentary called the Siege at Jadotville. Interesting foray in the early Kennedy years for the UN in the Congo. I had never heard of it and I pride myself on knowing most things Irish.

    • Disaffected says:

      I’ll check that out today. I’ve heard of it through various comment boards and it sounds like a good read.

    • Disaffected says:

      I’m looking at his Sep 2012 online presentation now at: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Q6CBuQfIjm75cimeIUlErFP6S7pla4Rf_GLkzmhNSz8/edit#slide=id.p14
      Still trying to figure out where the book is at. Right from the get go, like many other authors out there, I think he’s underestimating the speed of all the changes he envisions here. I don’t see the US being a coherent “going concern” much past 2020, and it might well happen before that. We’re looking down the barrel of a constitutional crisis as we speak with the MICC already gunning for Trump and likely to stage a barely concealed coup very soon. Likewise the position of the dollar as the global reserve currency. The collapse of the dollar, which could happen at any time now (and could easily be part of the coup), will signal the end of the DC Federal Government’s hold on the rest of the country. Some sort of corporate monstrosity will almost certainly spring up to replace it in part, but that will definitely not embrace everyone. At that point, much of the US will simply be abandoned as far as civilization is concerned. The infrastructure will be left to rot (which is already happening for the most part) and the people will be left to fend for themselves. And the much vaunted “hope and optimism” that Americans always so proudly proclaim will vanish into the “thin air” along with all the notional wealth that we currently think we have. And just personally, I think that USGov.Inc will find a reason to use all those nukes along the way down too, many of them likely on its own people. Why? Why not? They built them so they’re DAMN SURE going to use them.

      • Disaffected says:

        I see that Miema acknowledges as much right up front in the Author’s Note section:

        A final note: I have been experiencing a disturbing phenomenon first-hand as I write. I call it “severity inflation” or “plausibility creep.” Again and again, a fictional future situation or event (political, economic, climatological, etc.) that felt implausibly extreme to include upon first imagining – alarmist, corny, melodramatic – has, as time passed and current events piled up, started to feel increasingly tame and predictable. I don’t know whether this reveals more about me or about the future. But the early chapters of Inter States were written well before Hurricane Katrina, Tropical Storms Irene and Sandy, Abu Ghraib, the financial crash of 2008, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, the European debt crisis, the rapid spread of the acceptance of same-sex marriage, rapid advances in space technology, and much more of both a positive and negative nature. Most of these have entailed the arrival and acceptance of a strange, unfamiliar future circumstance sooner than imagined. And I have had to go back many times to earlier chapters to “turn up the heat” because – you know what? – the future seems to be consistently arriving ahead of schedule!

        Meima, Ralph. Inter States: Fossil Nation (The Inter States Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 44-52). Founders House Publishing LLC. Kindle Edition.

      • RON MCCAFFERTY says:

        Have you ever watched the series called Jericho? The networks cancelled it after the 2nd season. I do not doubt for one second that our own government would use whatever means and/or resources they have to control people here and factions will develop from those actions among the people and the government.
        I don’t think that the general public is aware of just how despicable people of money and power can be.

        • Disaffected says:

          Nope. Haven’t seen that one yet. No doubt “The American Dream(TM)” has most Americans totally captivated. We’re such gullible and greedy creeps, ain’t we? All thinking that if we just play by the rules one day it will magically happen to us. But that’s the hook upon which empires are built, isn’t it? I imagine “the crackdown” will come in two stages: 1. The crackdown proper, really just an extension and escalation of what we have right now, and 2. The abandonment, which might well be “justified” based on complaints about the violence caused by the crackdown. Of the two, the abandonment will of course be the most destructive, as it will represent the semi-official end of “business as usual” for most of us living here in the US and the “beginning of the end” (which was the title of a recent blog post idea I had but never developed).

          Indulged a guilty pleasure and watched The Witch on Amazon Prime streaming video while at work today – all while doing other “productive” work too, of course! Best movie I’ve seen in recent memory. True psychological horror the way it was always meant to be. And it didn’t hurt that the star of the movie – Anya Taylor-Joy – reminded me a lot of one of my somewhat recent flings either. The younger generations have really got a talent for this stuff now! I especially liked the realism that this movie went for: physically, psychologically, historically, and thematically. As I watched it I could easily imagine the events happening just as easily 400 years (or much less) in the future, as now almost 400 years in the past. In the end, to sound a tired old tune again, we humans, for all of our supposed technological prowess, remain “just not all that” in understanding our most basic psychological drives, and in the end, THAT is what is going to be our ultimate undoing. And by the way, if you get a chance to catch this movie (which is excellent from start to end!), I don’t believe that I’m giving anything substantive away in revealing that the “ultimate evil” (which is mostly ephemeral) depicted here is in the end embodied by a male black goat/ram. But that’s almost beside the point. Watch the movie. It’s excellent!

          http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/17/11028378/the-witch-movie-review-satanism

          • Disaffected says:

            Just a small addendum to the movie review, which I’m watching again as I speak, is that it really gets to the heart of we humans’ fear of death and the hereafter, which in my opinion is still the ‘fear of all fears’ and the cause of all the ills we humans continue to inflict on the world today. As the movie clearly depicts, we humans have always been and remain hung up on our most basic urges: procreation and elimination/death, with the ultimate question – TRANSCENDENCE – hanging in the balance. Can any of us actually live beyond/transcend this mortal coil? THAT, as always, remains the question.

    • Disaffected says:

      Alright, found the books on Kindle. I’ll take a look today. Needed to start something new anyway!

  12. Disaffected says:

    By the way, a documentary regarding the Damascus Incident is available to be watched on Now for free!

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/command-and-control/player/

    • Disaffected says:

      …on PBS now for free!

    • Disaffected says:

      Watched/listened to all of this while at work today too. That said, I’m a pretty damn good multi-tasker if I do say so myself. All rang true to my time in the USAF in aircraft maintenance (which happened to be at the same time as well!) as well, for what it’s worth. Bottom line: put your faith in hierarchy and you’ll eventually get burned. Yep!

  13. Ron McCafferty says:

    This is a trailer for the show Jericho. I am assuming they cancelled it to remove it from the American public’s short memory span as this may very well happen here and I DO NOT put it passed the MIC to do this or allow it to happen as their ship goes down.

    I watched the Damascus Incident and it doesn’t surprise me. Putting full trust in anything government operated is like trusting that glue and toothpicks will make a strong house.

    • Disaffected says:

      I was in the USAF at the time of the incident, although I don’t remember hearing about it, but the enlisted guys’ description of their chain of command really rang true to me. The USAF, as might be expected, REALLY goes into strict hierarchy mode when shit goes wrong, which is more often than not the exact wrong thing to do, as once you get two or three degrees of command removed from the operational unit handling the crisis you get (usually) well meaning officers who haven’t got a fucking clue what they are doing. The same thing happens more or less in any large bureaucracy, but the military is just a little more rigid about it. Official crash investigations are the one exception to that rule for the most part, but of course the damage has already been done in those cases, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to find out what actually happened. That said, the punishment hammer usually falls on whoever’s most expedient, which is to say the lowest ranking guy involved.

      • Ron McCafferty says:

        I know what you are saying when you speak of the hierarchy in the military. While I was stationed in Germany the unit I was in guarded the Pershing II’s and to say the least it was stressful. Stressful to the point that two privates came out to morning formation and shot their squad leaders.
        The officers didn’t have a fucking clue as to the tension going on behind the incidents. They just stood in front of the company demanding an explanation and commanding that we all “behave accordingly as Americans guarding the gateway to the American way of life” or some bullshit like that.
        I mean it was right in front of their noses that there was so much racial tension going on that you could cut it with a knife. But they either chose not to address it or were completely blind.

        • Disaffected says:

          Always thought that the military would be better served by solely recruiting their officers from the enlisted ranks. Take the best of the best after a four year hitch and then give them the chance to become officers, because you can’t tell one damn thing about a man’s character if you put him in charge of things from day one. The chasm between conventionally commissioned officers and their enlisted troops is simply overwhelming. And the equal opportunity military for gays and females is total bullshit too, especially in operational combat units. The military is ideally a calling and a privilege for a select few, not a god-given right for every namby pamby crybaby who needs a paycheck. But of course that would destroy its usefulness as an unemployment line of last resort, which is mostly what it is now.

    • Disaffected says:

      Reminds me a little of the 1983 made for TV flick, The Day After. As I recall, that one made quite a big splash during Reagan’s first term, although I “remember” it as being earlier than that (so much for aging memories!). Unfortunately, films like that might have jaded American audiences to the possibility of nuclear war, especially after the fall of the USSR and the declared American “victory” over “communism and the red menace” (which if you read Scott Nearing, Howard Zinn, or other similar accounts of early 20th century US history, was an existential threat long before the USSR became a nuclear power).

      My guess is that Jericho simply didn’t stimulate the popular imagination all that much, what with the presumed absolute superiority of US hegemony in the world today. Plus, it would have to compete with the current “Zombie-Apocalypse” craze that has been sweeping both TV and movies for the past several years, and which I find so COMPLETELY perplexing on every possible count. I guess I’d have to explain it as the natural effect of being exposed/immersed to graphic over the top violence from our youths’ formative years on. They are simply calloused to the effects of violence in a way that no previous generations before them have ever been. Hardly surprising really, given what they’ve lived through already and can reasonably expect just ahead.

  14. Ron McCafferty says:

    I don’t remember The Day After but I do remember the The Postman. They have been prepping us psychologically for years upon end. The unfortunate part about it is that I believe they are itching to use nukes, probably getting woodies just thinking about it.
    I have Zinn’s book on American history and I have read Jared Diamonds’ Guns, Germs and Steel. I don’t watch much television as I can’t get passed the cost for junk that is nothing more than “Chewing gum for the eyeballs” as Frank Lloyd Wright put it.
    Although, I do have a weak spot for Zombie movies, which if you think about it could be a metaphor for some kind of germ warfare?

    • Disaffected says:

      Just cut the cord with DirectTV about five minutes ago. Over $150/month for that shit! Going strictly “off the air” for now (surprising number of channels available, although they’re mostly shit of course), and likely permanently. Don’t know why I waited for so long. How about a post nuclear apocalypse, cross dressing trannies, zombie apocalypse, with voluptuous alien she-devils from outer space show? I’ll bet THAT would put butts in the seats!

    • Disaffected says:

      Don’t know what’s up with all the zombie stuff, other than it’s a loose metaphor for post-civilized chaos that’s as close as the mainstream can get to the idea that all of this is happening simply due to the choices we’ve made, rather than some overwhelming supernatural external force. But I sense the great hologram’s force is weakening significantly as we speak, as real events begin to overtake fictional ones. Big finance has decided that just about all of it is no longer profitable, and so the funding sources are increasingly running dry, and the MSM is now so shrill and psychotic that its main purpose seems to be just to confuse and frighten the rest of us.

      While I was just over at Dimity Orlov’s blog this morning, where he appears to be increasingly an alternative press publisher these days, I noticed that the alternative publishing community appears to be thriving these days. So events are definitely shifting right under our feet now, a trend that’s only likely to increase this Friday when The Donald gets sworn in. I think it’s safe to say that politics/business as usual is officially over now for at least the rest our lifetimes. Some will thrive, but most will simply die uneventfully from increased stress or illnesses caused by their increasingly dire personal circumstances. But that too is simply inevitable. The iron law of overshoot is about to have its way with us all in all the usual crazy, unpredictable, and more often than not merely mundane ways.

      • RON MCCAFFERTY says:

        Have you seen any of the Atlas Shrugged movies? I find them to be comical but the conditions displayed for the common people I found to be realistic.
        The kids in school talk about zombie apocalypse like is it a real possibility. I have to keep reminding them of reality and find it disturbing at the depth these kids delve into video games and fantasy TV.
        Not sure if the interest rates rose yet or whether they were just talking out their ass again but the general population knows something is just not right. Even the people I work with, who are Trump supporters, know that our system is broken. They just believe that Jesus is going to make it all better. Ugh!

        • Disaffected says:

          Surreal, isn’t it? Wow, just Googled the Atlas Shrugged movies. Those flew below totally my radar! I’ll have to read up on them tonight.

        • Disaffected says:

          I guess the main problem I have with Atlas Shrugged, both the movie and the book, is that it postulates a future where the evil totalitarian government drives out industry (Rand’s grand, totally unjustified literary trope), when in fact, we know it’s just the opposite. Government is almost totally captured by big corporate and big finance. If anything, it should be titled Atlas Raged. Trump is essentially the culmination of this trend, albeit likely its end (one way or another) as well. Big Corporate and Big Finance are now completely global, freeing them from responsibility to any one government(s), and actually allowing them to run governments via “elected” bought and paid for proxies. The only question is, is that sort of fascist totalitarianism sustainable for any length of time, especially in a time of rapidly diminishing resources, or will they simply harvest what they can while they can and then quickly abandon the rest as soon as possible? I’m quite sure now it will be the latter. The big profits have already been harvested. The only thing that remains is the foreclosure sale and the inevitable eviction notices – this time from our very lives on earth.

    • Disaffected says:

      I’ve toyed around with a four horseman of the apocalypse post quite a bit. To my mind they’re peak humans, peak energy/natural resources, peak environmental degradation including climate change, and peak finance. Peak finance will likely be the first thing to “officially” collapse to get the ball rolling, but in reality the other three have been collapsing all along while we were unaware and just operate on longer time scales. As far as geographic locations for disaster, they’re almost irrelevant. They could well/likely will come in clusters like dominoes falling, so I don’t spend too much time worrying about it anymore.

      My personal take is that a casus belli, either real, synthetic, or more likely a combination of the two, will be generated to justify use of nuclear weapons, and once that rubicon is crossed, the free for all will officially be on, although perhaps not all at once. But either way, once we conquer that mental barrier in the popular zeitgeist again, there will be no turning back. The rush for the exits will officially be on. And further, I think many of them will be used against Americans as a false flag justification for an all out attack on Russia and/or China. To think that DC will settle for anything less with the arsenal they have in hand is naive in the extreme.

  15. Ron McCafferty says:

    Here’s another interesting article delving into the Russian Gas pipelines into Europe:
    http://oil-price.net/en/articles/russian-gas-pipeline-hacking-elections.php

    • Disaffected says:

      VERY prescient article! While DC wasted the last eight years (or more!) trying to create boogeymen under every bed, Putin was very cannily maneuvering Russia into the catbird seat in the energy markets. Trump will be wise to make peace while he still can, but question is, will the neo-con/lib fucktards in DC who want it all allow him too? They’d MUCH rather get their war and access to all the remaining energy stocks and let civilization go down the tubes than play nice and extend what little time we’ve got remaining. I’m still QUITE skeptical that Trump will last six months, maybe much less.

  16. Disaffected says:

    GREAT article about the Donald. I really have to admire his chutzpah! Who says old money wins every time?

    http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2016/12/how-donald-trump-beat-palm-beach-society-and-won-the-fight-for-mar-a-lago

    • Disaffected says:

      This article supported much I had read about The Donald previously (albeit a bit more un-flatteringly) in this book – free on Kindle!: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0053GEH4Q/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 Also a very good read.

      Really highlighted some themes that ran through the Atlantic City book. AC was founded as a poor man’s decidedly working class resort way back in the late 1800’s (about the time industrialism really began to take root in the US), which it mostly remained until the 1980’s and the advent of The Donald, who was looking to leverage his early winnings in NYC real estate, and become **rich** in the way we know the term today. And using the same scams that more “traditional” industrialists had transformed their economic landscapes a century earlier (basically, hyper-aggressive debt-based financing (financial leveraging) and reckless disregard for any potential downsides), he succeeded FAR beyond any of the stuffed-shirt’s snooty dismissals.

      Fast forward to the 1990’s and the still young (and apparently still fit and trim) Donald’s entrance into the old money bastion of West Palm Beach, and he really begins to exhibit the traits that have led to him being President today: brash, cocky, hyper-arrogant, and just an all around pain in the ass! All of which, considering the class of people he’s doing it to, couldn’t possibly have happened soon enough!

      Not to say that Donald Trump is anyone I’d ever want to encourage anyone to emulate myself, but coming from a working class background all my life and even now working side by side with ignorant cock-suckers who make many multiples of what I make for doing far less, I have to admit I have a grudging respect for the man. “The American Dream (TM)” has officially been revealed of late to be a bankrupt delusion foisted upon the working class losers stupid enough to believe in it, and Donald Trump; if he’s nothing else, is a metaphorical thumb in the eye of the old money establishment who have long since foisted it upon them/us. Whether or not he ever delivers any change “we can believe in” (and I have my doubts), he’s still someone that has challenged the old guard, however briefly, and BEAT THEM ON THEIR OWN TERMS! And that’s not nothing.

      • Disaffected says:

        And the truly sad thing about the miseries that McMurtry elucidates so well in his songs is that they are endemic problems to global capitalism itself, and not merely the products of individual or even corporate greed. Yes, greed is the underlying motivation for all of it, but capitalism and its variant global capitalism, enshrine, institutionalize, and stamp it with the imprimatur of legitimacy, further concealing the roots of our current evils. In short, none of the problems McMurtry rails against will EVER be addressed, and he damn well knows it. Whether or not that makes McMurtry and his kind just another variety of capitalist sellout I don’t know, although I think that’s certainly a fair accusation to make. But once again, in the bigger picture, all of that is probably irrelevant too.

        And what better way to counter that type of cynicism (which I know I’m prone to) than with something like this (see it through, it’s EXCELLENT!):

      • Disaffected says:

        More new/old stuff:

        Borderline Beatles reprising Beatles standards before they fade into history. Good as it gets:

        Jeff Lynne doing rock opera the way it was always meant to be. Fresher than it was on day one:

        Plus this one, virtually a lounge act version of the original (in the mid 90’s no less). Ain’t it amazing how fast culture gets stale these days?

      • Disaffected says:

        Another great song, and a reminder that once upon a time the “existential enemy” was “identifiable and conquerable,” only to find out too soon that the goal posts had been moved, and that our “existential enemy” was first no more, and then what do you know, back again! Anyone else feeling like they’ve been lied too here? Credit guys like these for seeing through the bullshit way before most of us were able to.

      • RON MCCAFFERTY says:

        Awesome tune, DA. People round these parts would just say “pussy, pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

      • Disaffected says:

        Looks like Archdruid’s seeing the same “class bigotry” regarding Trump that I noticed in the article above, although he’s focused mostly on the bigotry towards Trump’s supporters, and not so much against Trump himself. But it should be remembered that Trump himself is the worst kind of outsider to the east coast establishment: a “new money hick” who has mastered their own game and beat them (severely!) at it!

        Are the poor bigoted against the well-to-do? You bet. Bigotry directed up the social ladder, though, is far more than matched, in volume and nastiness, by bigotry directed down. It’s a source of repeated amusement to me that rich people in this country so often inveigh against the horrors of class warfare. Class warfare is their bread and butter. The ongoing warfare of the rich against the poor, and of the affluent middle and upper middle classes against the working class, create and maintain the vast disparities of wealth and privilege in contemporary American society. What upsets the rich and the merely affluent about class warfare, of course, is the thought that they might someday be treated the way they treat everyone else.

        • RON MCCAFFERTY says:

          Did you watch the speech. I thought the Donald looked bored while waiting for his turn. But his speech was basically a “you fucking clown screwed everything up and I am going to fix it” kind of speech. He sounded less Presidential as he went on.
          Let the games begin!

          • kulturcritic says:

            What did you expect, Ron… the Rodney King speech? “Why can’t we all just get along?” Holy smokes. They want him dead. So he’d better play rough!

          • Disaffected says:

            Yep. I’m all for “non-presidential.” My vision of a real president is one that would come in and cancel all the inauguration pageantry altogether, get sworn in early in the morning at 8:00 AM sharp, and then tell the congress critters to cancel all their plans, because they’ll be working all weekend for the rest of their terms. And the next, and the next, and the next… Assign Secret Service agents to each to enforce that mandate. Have a list drawn up of laws and agencies to be overhauled and/or repealed altogether starting day one. DHS, gone. DoD, cut to the bone (75% reductions!) with every major contract up for review. NATO, canceled. Overseas bases, eliminated. Drug laws across the board, eliminated. Drug sentences across the board, commuted. Reparations for drug convictions, paid. Taxes for everyone below $100K eliminated. Taxes for everyone above $250K, raised significantly. Tax rates for those >$1M raised to 75%. All tax loopholes, completely eliminated and tax code greatly simplified. Corporate personhood, eliminated. Big banks, broken up. Glass-Steagall, reimposed and vigorously inforced. Nuclear weapons research, canceled. Nuclear treaties, renogotiated and strictly adhered to (by the US). Old nukes vigorously decommissioned and destroyed. Congressional and Presidential salaries means tested and eliminated for those who are already wealthy. Strict revolving door rules drawn up and vigorously enforced. Public/free basic health care created and vigorously funded/supported. Federal reserve, eliminated. War crimes tribunal established and a legitimate 9/11 Commission seated. Surplus war equipment seized from police departments and destroyed. Arms manufactures taxed out of existence. Assign FBI to investigate every sitting congressperson, registered lobbyist, and all pentagon officials, and prosecute freely. Eliminate the CIA and investigate/prosecute all current and past history. Declassify EVERYTHING that’s currently classified, period. Etc., etc., etc. I could on and on.

          • Disaffected says:

            You read it all again here Ron: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/20/donald-trump-inauguration-speech-full-text

            All in all, standard political boilerplate, albeit with The Donald’s personal spin, of course. I’m mostly curious how much of that thinning hair he’ll have left after a few years of the grind. The office is notoriously hard on its occupants’ hair.

            But I loved the fact that he was totally non-conciliatory toward either HRC or Obama, especially since Obama’s vowed to hang out in DC for awhile and continue to wield whatever influence he has left, as will Bill and Hill, I’m sure. If I were Trump, I’d instruct Secret Service to harass him if he causes any problems. That’s well within his purview. And he should re-open the prosecution on HRC for ServerGate and on Bill for influencing a federal prosecution.

            • Ron McCafferty says:

              Boy, you don’t want much, do you DA?! I agree with both you and Sandy. Piss all over those pricks. I just didn’t think it would happen.
              Are we looking at a true wildcard? If so, how long will that last before he goes the way of a previous president from the 60’s?
              I am all for gutting this system of pomp and circumstance, of uber rich pricks old or new, parading around in ridiculous splendor, the weapons makers and all. Flush!!!
              I am not holding my breath though, I don’t look good in blue.

              • Disaffected says:

                LOL! Yeah, why not swing for the fences, if only in my mind?

                No idea how this thing’s going to go now, but I think it still comes back to the basics. Trump will either be brought to heel or he will be removed/eliminated. No single president has the ability to take on the MICC (which includes the entire intelligence community). It will come down to which scenario serves their interests better, but thinking long term, I’d say they’ve allowed Trump this much leash so far only in the interest of discrediting any future populist candidates, since Obama and HRC represent the ideal: say one thing while doing the exact opposite, while placating the east and west coast cultural, academic, and economic elite who actually decide elections these days by spouting a bunch of pseudo-intellectual multicultural bullshit to ease their consciences for all the death and destruction committed in their names to support their elitist lifestyles.

                In short, the world is now smack dab in the middle of total economic class warfare and it appears that the underclasses have at long last woken up to that fact. Viva la revolucion!

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