What about that John Corzine? Is he the man, or what? The guy lost a few billion dollars of his clients monies in a series of financial charades, some of which he cannot even account for, and he expects to be given a hall pass. Is that hubris, or what?
It is maddening to observe how the anesthetized and confused American consumer continues to absorb the avalanche of bad financial news concerning the rest of the West – Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Hungary – while refusing to acknowledge the fact that her own country is itself on the brink of financial ruin. Is it not good old American hubris? She resists admitting that austerity measures yet more severe, and likely much more damaging than in those other countries, are about to strike at the heart of the homeland as never before imagined. Then she reads in the news:
Congress’ super-committee conceded ignominious defeat Monday in its quest to conquer a government debt that stands at a staggering $15 trillion, unable to overcome deep and enduring political divisions over taxes and spending. (AP)
Hearing this, she wonders: ‘What does that have to do with me?’ Her ignorance is as sad as it is maddening.
Of course, the not-so-silent footnote here is that the entire GDP of the USA for 2010 was a mere $14.5 trillion. So ignoring the financial wizards of OZ and their goofy protestations, we really are living a dream, a fairytale, or perhaps, a nightmare; and we are about to be rudely awakened by a hard fall out of bed. The value of everything this nation produces does not even equal the debt load we carry, and which continues to mount daily. All the while, our investment in the military and the “war on terror” continues to expand like a hot air balloon. It is much easier to justify the expenditures and keep the citizens off-guard and in-tow when the enemy is an amorphous idea – terror, as opposed to another nation.
Of course, when the forced austerity measures come into full swing, it will only add to the economic pain and social turmoil already riddling the citizenry – the 99% that refuses to be silenced. Federal and state layoffs, reduced public services, reduced financial assistance for the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the vets; all of this will have a much broader impact. It will push us closer to, if not over, the tipping point. Imagine if the twenty billion dollar ($20,000,000,000) mayor of NYC has to layoff a whole lotta’ policemen. Wow! They may just join the ranks of those they recently harassed. Furthermore, we must recognize that…
[T]he failure of the panel, formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, has left behind a separate house full of orphans that Congress must find a way to deal with before January 1, or else taxes will soar on the middle class, jobless benefits will expire, and doctors will see their reimbursement rate slashed by nearly a third, threatening elderly access to health care. (HuffPo)
Just watch the ranks of the 99% swell then!
In the meantime, the US and its comrades-in-arms are already plotting attack scenarios for Syria, and laying the foundations for an attack on Iran – again in the interests of feeding their self-consuming hunger for oil and world domination before the end-time arrives. They are spoon-feeding the public with rehashed and dubious information about Iran’s nuclear position and goals; and they are inserting themselves into Syria under the pretense of protecting human rights (Bradley Manning, anyone). Never mind that the Syrian opposition has already requested us not to interfere. Yet we remain undeterred. More hubris?
Speaking of human rights: what about the recent shredding of the US Constitution that is keeping apace with larger socio-political developments? You thought the Patriot Act was a freedom-buster. Well, wake up comrades, and read some of the fine print in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (Senate Bill 1867). Not only does it authorize the deployment of US Armed Forces (military units) on homeland soil in support of States’ efforts to squelch dissent (Sec 1607); it also gives the Commander in Chief the right to authorize indefinite detention of US citizens in military prisons without charges or due process, if such citizens are deemed a threat to national security. (Sec. 1032) The tyranny of our democracy is becoming ever more strident. Hubris?
Given all of the convergent factors, many prognosticators have speculated over the past few years as to the events that would trigger the turning of this beast, put it on its knees, and usher in the final days of this proud empire and its industrial civilization. There are several elements contributing to this imminent outcome: peak oil, climate change, the increasing severity of natural disasters, systemic destruction of ecosystems and the biosphere, slow destruction of the water tables, the meltdown of world markets, increasing social unrest globally, and political upheaval, are all key indicators and symptoms of the approaching final solution.
The issue of global warming that is now just getting heated-up, is yet more hubris, our over-reaching self-confidence, our willful ignorance, and our consequent refusal to accept responsibility for this death spiral. According to the World Meteorological Organization:
Global warming gases have hit record levels in the world’s atmosphere, with concentrations of carbon dioxide up 39 percent since the start of the industrial era in 1750, the U.N. weather agency said Monday. WMO Deputy Secretary General Jeremiah Lengoasa said CO2 emissions are to blame for about four-fifths of the rise. But he noted the lag between what gets pumped into the atmosphere and its effect on climate. (HuffPo)
Such hubris is a psychological flaw that seems to be rather deeply entrenched in our cultural memory, at least since the beginning of historical reckoning. This confidence, nay cockiness, clearly reflected in the emergence of hierarchy, special statuses and classes of citizens, underpins this history and our dominating approach to the world we once shared. In this sense, our history is the story of a tragic hero, blind to his own frailty, marching headlong to bring about his own demise through heroic ignorance.
Not to worry, however, the powers-that-be are getting ready to blow this joint anyway, leaving its rotting and fetid corpse to us riff-raff, 99% of the global population. ‘Let Mother Nature have her way,’ the oligarchs must be mumbling to themselves. ‘What the hell do we care! The end of the world as we know it is only a problem in THIS solar system.’ NASA has already assured them that planet Kepler 22-B is a real “earth analog” residing in the sweet spot or “habitable zone” of another solar system only 600 light years away. Isn’t that the great good news? Imagine (as John Lennon said), it will only take 6,000 to 10,000 years to get there. Refueling on the way may be a problem, however.
But hey, we got the money and we got ‘the right stuff’. Pack your bags, comrades, we are going to Kepler. We are going to fuck up that place even more quickly than we fucked up Mother Earth. Don’t hesitate, however. There is no time to spare. Download your DNA and get the Avatars ready, because our mission is clear; we are going to take out anyone standing between us and our manifest destiny, a new civilization in our new planetary home. It is our fate, and we will not allow any freaky sideshow indigenous savages to get in our way.
OK. So maybe I am jumping the gun here. Maybe it is not Kepler 22-B; maybe it is too far away. But, I am certain that while the oligarchs are preparing to unleash the US military on us homies, they are simultaneously reviewing all possible scenarios, and still paying NASA researchers to find them a new homeland to secure. Hubris, on the grandest scale.
Again, the deflections, obfuscations, fairytales, and plain lies just keep mounting, while we continue to believe we are who they tell us we are; and we dutifully comply with their demands, because we do not really understand how to question their logic. They keep the big show coming so we do not have the time to stop and look around behind the curtain to see the wizard pulling the levers. And most of us never get to witness the profound alienation and anonymity we suffer in their ongoing game of charades.
The incredible journey has already begun, my friends. Make sure your space suit is on and your gravity boots are laced up; it is going to be one hell of a long and tumultuous ride, I’m afraid. Now, grab your fracking-fluid and GMO salmon, before the supplies run out.