Defy Authority… Build Trust In One Another

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So it now seems that Chris Hedges (TruthDig) and James Kunstler (CFN), both of whom have typically shown an underlying support for, and belief that the Curriculum was salvageable, have taken a more circumspect position of late. From Hedges we now read:

 It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none. 

While, for his part, Kunstler shouts:

…consider that it will be generations before anyone believes the ‘authorities’ again… 

I believe these two post-liberals are moving more dramatically in the direction of a post-civilized anarchy, not negatively construed as chaos and mayhem, but rather as the realization that hierarchy can never deliver what is best for our Paleolithic genetic makeup – trust and egalitarian sharing!

And, these two statements were both made prior to revelations about the Obama administration’s media surveillance, seizing phone records from the AP and FOX News, as well as labeling reporter, James Rosen, a co-conspirator for releasing information that disclosed the CIA conspiracy to manufacture a false-flag incident of domestic terror.  Tell me, please, dear reader: has this administration gone completely bonkers, along with its diverse cadre of secret police, paramilitary units, and covert domestic ops.  Or is this just standard operating procedure in an imperial dictatorship that is finally now coming into full flower?

We, the people, have always labored under the assumption that democracy was real.  But, perhaps it is dawning upon the unwashed masses that democracy is only a wishful fantasy, an illusion, wherever hierarchy exists.  And in this State – The United States – hierarchical arrangements are no less formal and institutionally determinative as they are in any other modern political system, whether autocratic, parliamentary, or otherwise. The institutional power of political hierarchy, deriving from the administration of any contractual or imposed arrangement between the body politic and the head(s) of State – whether those powers be executive, legislative, or judicial – such power structurally undermines the very possibility of truly democratic social or economic arrangements.  Either a single author or a select cadre of authors will ultimately determine the rules that apply to such arrangements, and the influences on those author-ities will become increasingly determinative.  SLowly but surely, if not immediately, the consolidation of power in the hands of one or a few will show itself.  And here, in the corporate State, those with capital will ultimately determine the rules of the game.

You can see this in the way ‘justice’ is administered among the parties within our ‘democratic’ State: the little people with no money have no political clout, those like Bradley Manning (or a host of others); and so they become targets for a hierarchy (head of State) that seeks to cover its own ass; while those with the bucks and therefore, the political clout… well they are just To-Big-To-Jail!

And then, of course, we have the recent witch-hunt by the IRS, peeking inside the panties of politically un-favored groups; first they came for the Moslems and their NFPs, then the Tea Partiers; while treasure troves, like  General Electric, Boeing, Verizon, Honeywell, Wells Fargo, and DuPont go along their merry way paying virtually no corporate tax,and the powers that be don’t bat an eyelash.

So much for transparency and fair play in a democracy!  While there really never has been any, we increasingly are coming to grasp that fact with each passing day.  And we also understand that we have been spoon-fed by those in power, over our many years, only what they wanted us to know.  So, it is not now surprising that more of us become increasingly suspicious of the government’s actions, and their explanations, and the conspiracy theories become more plentiful, if not believable, every passing day. As the lies and half-truths mount, one increasingly questions everything heard from TPTB and their merchants of propaganda.  What did happen on 9/11? Was bin Laden really killed? What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary?  In Boston?  In Yemen?   The number of questions multiply with each questionable story released.

Trust, if it ever really exists in a modern State, or a least the illusion of trust, evaporates rapidly, and a growing chorus of the body politic continues to raise concerns and voice doubts.  In a world that is rapidly shrinking, overpopulated, with diminishing vital resources, starving and disillusioned populations (even in a land flowing with milk and honey), the potential for civil unrest, even insurgency, becomes palpable.  There is a point at which once the water is on the stove it begins to boil; maybe we are close to that boiling point.  And so what does a hegemon do in such a case?  Of course, the social contract becomes malleable because we are in a state of constant war, the State must be defended, the lies and cover-ups mount, the security apparatus of the State becomes both more entrenched and more obvious to the public, and so the concerns continue to grow.

I am not sure where this is all headed folks, but it does look like a ‘ClusterFuck’ is underway in our Nation (thank you JHK), and around the globe for that matter.  It is not as if the administration of your country cannot address the real issues; they do not want to address them!  Besides, it is already too late, and some others have their feet on the gas pedal.  They know we are heading fast to the wall, and they are busy making preparations for their own endgame.  Meanwhile our drones are on active duty killing American citizens around the world, without direct provocation, and without trial, fair or otherwise – just protecting the homeland.

Yet, the biggest question still looms.  If the proverbial 800-pound gorilla does fall, what replaces him?  Is it possible to reconstitute modern urban society, American society, on a foundation of trust and mutual sharing, on a foundation of reciprocity?  How does one orchestrate that in the context of a modern State with several hundred million people, or even in a small city of 100,000 citizens?  Perhaps the long emergency (thanks JHK) will result in a concurrent Reduction-In-Force (RIF… not to be confused with RIP) among the body politic.  And that may leave us with some more manageable numbers.  But, who really knows?  And can we overcome millennia of ‘psy-ops’ (a.k.a. enculturation to the Curriculum) and learn to serve one another rather than servicing an anonymous master?  Who really knows?

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96 Responses to Defy Authority… Build Trust In One Another

  1. the Heretick says:

    hedges is one of the few i can actually read anymore, he and glenn greenwald, though i must say both of them seem to be laboring under the delusion that there is a right and a wrong (such a quaint and outdated notion), when we all know in these post-modern times that it is all just a matter of perception dependent upon the position of the observer.
    i do not however think they are moving in the direction of anarchy, only towards the false hope of somehow propping up the house of cards comprising contemporary society.
    for myself, i have never “labored under the assumption that democracy was real”, but then there are a bunch of other assumptions i have never bought into………………
    we can but hope “it is dawning upon the unwashed masses that democracy is only a wishful fantasy, an illusion, wherever hierarchy exists”, but there you go, using words like “masses”, sounds like Commie talk to me. but seriously, people may not think it in those precise terms, but they may finally be realizing that it just ain’t working.
    those with capital will ultimately determine the rules of the game, especially with artificail entities, the creatures of the state called corporations to hide behind, in order to buy the govt. on the open market.
    i believe it is always wise, no matter what political persuasion you may be, to look at govt. with a large dose of libertarianism. it is just plain sad and disheartening to see people who describe themselves as left supporting the crackdowns on dissent we see going on these days, and this on top of the many laws we also have that are bone-headed and outdated.
    our govt. tries to do too much in many ways, and not nearly enough in others, by this i mean they attempt to control the many headed hydra of capitalist depredations, while never giving a thought to just swiping off the head.
    i really don’t feel the lies are about the specific real world events that have happened, but more about the conditions which cause such things to happen, the huge big lie behind the entire facade of the fascist state. witness how quickly Jeremiah Wright was cut loose by our Peace Prize Prez; to be jingoistic about it? Rev. Wright served his time, if anybody had the right to tlak about our foreign policy it would be someone classified as “Completed Military Service”, a dubious distinction which i share, earned or not.

    yeah, we are in a state of constant war, have been for a long time, now it is coming home. now it is becoming more and more apparent that the ruling class cares not one whit who they exploit, where they exploit, or how they exploit. the world is just one big wage-slave colony for trans-national corps. to plunder under the sign of the almighty UPC; now of course this will all be attractively packaged, it will come with stirring slogans, high minded ideals, and laudable goals, but it is the same old divide and conquer, bait and switch.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Heretick

      Thanks for checkin in early. I basically agree with you about Hedges hedging his bets; but his language is somewhat stronger and much more defiant in this latest post, IMHO. Certainly we continue to believe here in fairy-dust, at least as a “nation.” But, the worm is turning, and while most still drink the kool aid and buy the rhetoric, an increasing number seem uncomfortable with the fit of the costume… they losing their homes and their ability to eat. That tends to create anxiety and raise questions. And many of them have weapons and are not afraid to use them, at least we have seen an indication of that lately. So, we will see where this baby is headed; but I think when the going keeps getting tougher, the tough ones keep getting rougher. We shall see; in any event, it will be interesting, even in the short term.

      • the Heretick says:

        “an increasing number seem uncomfortable with the fit of the costume… they’re losing their homes and their ability to eat” and “many of them have weapons and are not afraid to use them” and there’s the problem, the stratification, the alienation, parts of it caused by our fractured history, part of it caused by identity politics, there is no class-consciousness. if the govt. was truly confronted by a united citizenry then changes would maybe be made, and w/o violence, but i don’t see it happening.
        even if changes happened, then we would have reached consensus to confront the very real problems of the ecology, resource shortage, etc. we would not be out of the woods, but it would be better than where we are.
        there is so much vitriol from both sides, i go to blogs and don’t even comment, i just go away, don’t care to participate. i’m on strike, for now, must have time to contemplate the Synthetic Schizophrenia.

  2. hines says:

    I just read Hedges’ latest the other day, Sandy, and got the same sense as you. He seems to be at his wit’s end with the whole charade. Maybe the long, ongoing court battle over the admin’s NDAA is taking its toll on him and their latest indiscretions are the last straw. As for JFK, I’ve been reading his weekly posts for a few years now and keep finding myself agreeing with just about all he writes but always asking “when?” How long can this house of cards stand up?

    I hope that Americans will wake up, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Hines, Even if they awaken, en masse, it would lead to nothing sustainable, I’m afraid. The fix was in long ago. And, in case Phlog misunderstands me (LOL) on this point… I am not even holding my breath. I am just watching the spectacle unfold from a remote corner of the world, as the main characters strut about and play their sorry, meager parts on the stage.

  3. John Bollig says:

    The issue is not if the TPTB did all of this to disarm us all and to lead us like sheep into the slaughterhouse. It is how they plan to do this and how they intend to exploit a MEDIA created crisis to disarm us by denying us weapons then to deny us ammo. then to take our guns away from us. Indeed we are in a clusterfuck stage, aka long emergency. but the emergency is the fear of the sheep by the small minority who hides in their walled communities. The real problem is that we are so stupid that we can’t see the truth. The witch hunt by the IRS is just one issue. The real issue is the death panels and managed care programs which will lock the doors of the medical system to those who need it the most at the exact period of time in which the first generation of post ADA students leave college to find the doors of employment slammed shut in their faces. The great culling has started already and we can’t trust our doctors, nurses or even our dentists. We can’t trust our former friends who have essentially told us we can’t help you. So, what is a guy to do in this untenable slow motion lethal injection machine which is sure to come next ? The powers are actually fearful of us and their fear and growing insecurity is leading to some very very interesting alliances . So called liberals are actually mimicking nixonian methods of running a nation.

    1 . You demonize the opposition
    2. You intimidate the press
    3. You disarm the public
    4. You call in the plumbers to fix the leaks
    5 You lie and lie again and again
    6. you ignore the real criminals and frauds
    7 . if all fails, bribe and intimidate your potential opposition into silence

    • kulturcritic says:

      Unfortunately, you are right on all counts, John. Jesus of Nazareth (if he ever really said anything, or even really existed) was wrong… the weak will be buried in the earth.

    • Disaffected says:

      Welcome back John! I think the threat to disarm the public is mostly a veiled and empty one, meant mostly to inspire fear and anxiety in the population. When you think about it, a well armed public actually helps feed the suspicion of one’s neighbors and helps perpetuate the meme that the empire is under armed attack from within as well as without. Believe me, the best arsenal out there ain’t gonna protect you one bit from a USAF Predator drone surgical strike, which could be carried out at any time of day or night and then simply be denied. I predict a whole lot of political windage will be expended in the coming years over gun control, but as usual and not surprisingly, nothing at all will actually happen. It’s just good for business.

      • Disaffected says:

        Just to add, it goes back to the “have your cake and eat it too” comment someone made a week or two back. The threat of of gun control is such a great fear inspiring device, that the authorities would never actually dream of implementing it. It’s the threat that carries the actual value, not the actual implementation, which would be a long and grueling process under the best of conditions, and still probably never be effective. Kind of like Mutually Assured Destruction where only one side actually has the Assured Destruction capability, while the other side only has a delusion of strength.

      • Disaffected says:

        And come to think of it, there’s a lot of political issues just like that. Hot button issues that are great for getting the body politic all stirred up, but yet, somehow never can be resolved. Gay marriage, gays in the military, school prayer, gun control, immigration control, universal health care, etc. are just a few that come to mind. All are sufficiently vague issues that they can still be hotly debated even after they’re allegedly “settled,” either morally and/or legally. In that respect, they all serve the hot wind producers well in that they allow them to continue to keep us stirred up in service of issues that no one in power really wants settled at all in the first place, and distract us from all the genuine issues that go unnoticed hiding in plain sight. In short, why is U.S. government dysfunctional? Because it’s in the best interests of our elected governors to keep it that way, just as it’s in the best interests of the MIC to keep us fearful of enemies, either real or imaginary, the financial industry to keep us in debt, and the deathcare industry to keep us afflicted, drugged, and scared to death of our own mortality.

  4. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    If the proverbial 800-pound gorilla does fall, what replaces him? Is it possible to reconstitute modern urban society, American society, on a foundation of trust and mutual sharing, on a foundation of reciprocity? How does one orchestrate that in the context of a modern State with several hundred million people, or even in a small city of 100,000 citizens?

    Sandy, you are such a romantic. As was revealed under DA’s guest post, you and I have quite a different opinion regarding urban society. I guess I will now have to add a little more of my perspective.

    Trust, mutual sharing and reciprocity are attributes associated with small communities of about 100 or so that are well known to each other. You cannot trust 100,000 people and it is pretty much left to the sainted to share with them.

    Modern urban society is falling apart for logistical reasons having to do with the finitude of the planet’s non-renewable resources. If the resources were infinite, I’m semi confident that most everyone could be kept fat and happy. If an urban society can be reconstituted, I don’t see any chance that it could be “modern”.

    My feeling is that the 800-pound gorilla is actually a costume animated by The Four Horsemen. When it falls over, they will be freed whereupon they can mount their steeds and ride. Just like old Crazy John of Patmos said they would.

    And now for my first attempt at embedding a video.

    • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

      I see that didn’t work very well, but the link does work.

      • kulturcritic says:

        The link works fine, Phlog… BTW, You are in Brighton Colorado?

      • Disaffected says:

        PAdB,

        Don’t use the embed code, just copy the address straight out of the browser window. Sandy’s site automatically embeds it from there. I struggled with that for weeks too. We over-thinkers are sometimes handicapped in that regard. I find myself at constant war with “legacy systems” and processes at work for the same reason. I try to reason my way through such minefields and often struggle, while my more simple minded colleagues merely go with the flow and get better results. Sigh…

        DA

        • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

          Thanks DA, I would surely have only discovered that by accident. There oughta be a clue somewhere. 🙂

    • kulturcritic says:

      We are in complete agreement, Phlog! You may misunderstand my cynicism sometimes! I am only partly a romantic; but not on this issue. Purely cynical!! Ha ha. Sandy

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        Misunderstanding comes easily, does it not? I’ve learned that you can never be too cynical and I shall endeavor to stay mindful of your cynicism. 🙂
        BTW, where did you get the idea that I’m in Brighton, Colorado? Currently hanging out in the winish part of California.

    • Disaffected says:

      BOC! Excellent! Been a LOOOONG time.

  5. leavergirl says:

    “Tell me, please, dear reader: has this administration gone completely bonkers, along with its diverse cadre of secret police, paramilitary units, and covert domestic ops. Or is this just standard operating procedure in an imperial dictatorship that is finally now coming into full flower?”

    Heh. Both.

  6. Kevin Frost says:

    Dear author: Good essay. I couldn’t find your name written anywhere. But hello anyway.

    The meat and potatoes of the piece begins with the paragraph ‘We, the people’. ‘We, the people’ already signifies an advanced situation. Whoever is able to speak with the authority of ‘the people’ has a licence to .. do all the things detailed in the rest of the essay. But that is surely your point. I take it that the endeavour is (in part) a critique of ‘representation’.

    Political authority ‘deriving from the administration of any contractual or imposed arrangement between the body politic and the head(s) of State – whether those powers be executive, legislative, or judicial – such power structurally undermines the very possibility of truly democratic social or economic arrangements’

    Heads of State. The ‘head’ of the body politic is something strange and aloof, seemingly detached from all reality or any sort of goodness, truth, justice, or decent form, none of this, or no more. This peculiar head of the body politic seems to have grown wings of its own and flies where it pleases, now to London and Frankfort, then to Singapore and Tokyo, and off to the Cayman Islands to take stock of things and maybe back again to New York and Washington but not necessarily for long. Frequent flyers indeed.

    I’m fond of Gerald Celante (‘the white shoe boys’ – ‘the Goldman gang’ – figure it out!). About a year ago when British students were on the streets against the tuition hikes somebody saw HRH the Prince of Wales (and his equestrian gf) being tooled about the City of London in a somewhat ostentatious old Silver Shadow. One of the students recognised them and shouted ‘off with their heads!’ Gerald thought that was a moment of considerable significance and used the phrase as a title for one of his Trends Quarterly Journals. I think Gerald’s on to something here. It’s happened before. I don’t think it will involve Chris Hedges or JHK, or happen so soon, but at some point it will.

    ‘Conspiracy theories’. Recently when the Boston business was going on D. Orlov, who, as we know, lives there, got in touch with Mike Ruppert sounding his views regarding what was being broadcast from the radio. Rupert wrote back: ‘of course the bombing was a lie and a set up. I don’t chase the details anymore though. Waste of time’. That hits the right note. I do wish the left would get clear about these things.

    Hedges writes ’rise up or die’ But this is something that people need to do together and will not happen when they are divided, such as they are. Hedges, Chomsky, and Co. could do something about that but won’t. Instead Rupert Murdoch will, when the time is right. Watch this guy. They do a lot of polling and know perfectly well that nearly 40 percent of the country doesn’t believe what they’re hearing from the govt. about 9/11 and all the shootings, and FBI stings and such, or anything else (i.e. Murdoch understands that people don’t believe what they’re hearing from Fox). Presently a fair few of these people read websites like Veterans Today. I think Murdoch is waiting for something dramatic to happen and is already taking aim at the neocons (these are his very, very best friends) who will be tagged with the blame, them and the lefties who shielded them from the accusations of ‘conspiracy theorists’. Hedges speaks in the tones of morality and justice, but makes no mention of treason. If he could, even he might be surprised how many friends he’s got out there on the streets. But on this I’m not holding my breath. If Murdoch beats him to it that might well be it for the left; watch the attrition. That’s happened before to. Watch out, ‘conspiracy theory’ will go mainstream at some point and when you hear about it you’ll hear it first from Fox.

    But getting back to the thread, building trust is a do it yourself exercise and we’d best stay focused on this, regardless.

    • Disaffected says:

      Many astute comments, especially regarding conspiracy theories. I think we need to coin a new term for them myself, as I regard them as simply smart strategic business decisions carried out behind closed doors and executed by a closed cadre of select individuals on a need to know basis. I’m sure that’s how the powers executing them view it anyway. The war of all on all has already begun; it’s just that most of the (mainly powerless) all hasn’t woken up to that fact yet.

  7. Malthus says:

    It is time to become very, very unreasonable. Anarchy is a good start especially with the government and the corporations. Case in point the dream world of the techno world. Always keep in mind that Hitler, Stalin, and the rest all had a great deal of help and these people seem to be everywhere. They are the believers that elections mean something, or if necessary brute force will suffice to keep the fantasy going. Where anarchy will lead us I do not know and yet I am one that wants to trust and cooperate with my neighbors and friends around the world and take it from there. True friends, not Facebook social crap friends that one never even has a beer with. Still all in all, too damn many people and not enough resources. Basically we are dumb as rocks and twice as predictable.

  8. Disaffected says:

    Best post in recent memory Sandy. So many excellent points:

    Tell me, please, dear reader: has this administration gone completely bonkers, along with its diverse cadre of secret police, paramilitary units, and covert domestic ops. Or is this just standard operating procedure in an imperial dictatorship that is finally now coming into full flower?

    Asked and answered. It’s the latter I think.

    We, the people, have always labored under the assumption that democracy was real. But, perhaps it is dawning upon the unwashed masses that democracy is only a wishful fantasy, an illusion, wherever hierarchy exists. And in this State – The United States – hierarchical arrangements are no less formal and institutionally determinative as they are in any other modern political system, whether autocratic, parliamentary, or otherwise. The institutional power of political hierarchy, deriving from the administration of any contractual or imposed arrangement between the body politic and the head(s) of State – whether those powers be executive, legislative, or judicial – such power structurally undermines the very possibility of truly democratic social or economic arrangements. Either a single author or a select cadre of authors will ultimately determine the rules that apply to such arrangements, and the influences on those authorities will become increasingly determinative. Slowly but surely, if not immediately, the consolidation of power in the hands of one or a few will show itself. And here, in the corporate State, those with capital will ultimately determine the rules of the game.

    That’s IT right there in a nutshell! That should be a mandatory part of every commencement address given this year from here on out. Then make it a mandatory public service announcement to be broadcast several times a day on all radio and TV stations granted a licence to broadcast.

    And yes, the RIF has already begun as well. I think those two shrinks I got into the argument with a few weeks back probably sensed that as well, and hence their existential terror surrounding end of life issues. American’s staunch resistance to even consider such issues in the abstract ensure that things are going to go badly for a great many elderly and infirm people – mostly poor – in the coming years, and as I’ve predicted for years, suicide will lose its sting for a great many, as they realize continuing on in a world which has condemned and abandoned them is a fate so much worse.

  9. Excellent message here today.
    Keep up the good work everbody!
    If only the masses of channel flippers would tune in here!

    Tums and Hubris

    The world we inhabit is ninety-nine percent invisible.
    The focusing eye or pointing finger takes in all it can,
    though little of it for sure.

    We could spin our gazing heads
    like the girl in the exorcist movie
    and still not see anymore of it,
    probably less in the blurring of it all.

    Still we fashion ourselves well informed,
    opining on this and that but never all.
    Surely our vast intellects have taken in enough
    opinions to pick our favorites, and pick we do.

    And the world keeps right on turnin,
    spinning us dizzy,
    though we know not enough to fall.
    Though, fall victim we do, to our own hubris,
    having scanned all the channels by remote control,
    surely the world is under our thumbs.

    Pass the cheese doodles and then the tums.

  10. the Heretick says:

    whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/world/asia/earthquake-in-russias-far-east-prompts-evacuations.html?_r=0
    first it’s the meteor, now it’s the earthquake, everybody okay?

    go ahead, turn it up.

  11. Well, just to comment on the conspiracy theory comments. I get a lot of grief from people when I say this but I cannot help but think about the group of banks and politicians here in the states that run the Fed. Is that not, by definition, a conspiracy? They control the value of our currency. Therefor, they control everything since everything we do is monetized. Am I wrong in my belief?

    • Disaffected says:

      Matt Taibbi certainly thinks so and offers up some pretty good evidence to support it.

      The Mad Science of the National Debt

      The Real Housewives of Wall Street

      In “defense” of the Fed system itself, I guess I’d only add that it’s first and foremost a legally chartered monopoly over the money printing industry, which is then secondarily operated as a conspiracy, which should only be expected (IMO) under such circumstances. The basic problem was sown when we first granted the charter for a private bank to control our money supply in the first place back in 1913. Everything after that just naturally followed. And now we somehow imagine that fully privatized “Obama care” is an idea that’s gonna work out any better Amazing!

    • kulturcritic says:

      Ron – I believe you are not incorrect. Any machinations not open to public scrutiny constitutes a conspiracy. As when two phone competitors in a single market secretly decide to fix their prices…’conspire’

      • Thank you, gentlemen, for the affirmation. I feel as though I am going crazy at times. Thank you Sandy for your posts. I enjoy them. You have many followers with good insight and sense of humor. If you all were to get together it would be one heck of party.

  12. Disaffected says:

    HBO’s REAL SPORTS is running a piece linking the Boston Marathon bombing with the OKC Memorial Marathon and its links to the OKC bombing of 1995. A number of the runners who were unable to complete Boston were invited to go finish at OKC and naturally bonded with Murrah Building survivors and family members.

    The basic problem for us and advantage for would be conspirators within the current federal power structure is that people have been conditioned to and genuinely want to believe in the goodness of their government. And why not? If they’ve been paying attention at all to world affairs, they know that we’ve got it pretty damn good by world standards at least, no matter how well off they themselves are personally, and most have at least sustained the dream that they’re just one lottery ticket away from easy street themselves. So what if we have to fuck over the rest of humanity (and eventually ourselves as well!) and the very natural environment that sustains us to do it! That’s the mindset and it’s a damn powerful one. Short term personal greed is a powerful motivating factor and one our capitalist masters have leveraged to the hilt. Absent a mass return to basic human values (simple religion might have at one time been a possible solution, but alas, even that’s been corrupted beyond redemption these days), which is nowhere in evidence, I think it’s safe to predict that we’ll continue marching in lockstep into the current nightmare of corporate dystopia until it’s had its complete way with us, for better or worse. And once again, the twin horsemen of peak oil and global warming might be the rainbows in such a situation; that is, the natural force limits that put a stop to all of this madness before it does us all in. Or not.

    • kulturcritic says:

      “Short term personal greed is a powerful motivating factor and one our capitalist masters have leveraged to the hilt.” This is the cornerstone of the system, DA; it is built into the lining of capitalism… it begins with private property, accumulation and then mercantilism… voila

  13. The best model I can find to describe agricultural civilization is alcohol. In small doses, at the beginning, it’s euphoric.

    We’re in the Cirrhosis, beat-the-children, puke-all-over, chainsaw-the-cabinets-for-heat stage now.

    But total withdrawal (anarchy) will kill the patient, just as much as imbibing. It’s a conundrum, especially difficult because humans in large numbers don’t have a large enough neocortex* to coordinate a reasonable solution.

    DRINK
    OR DRY
    WE GONNA CRY
    STINK!

    __________
    * Dunbar, R.I.M. (June 1992). “Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates.” Journal of Human Evolution 22 (6): 469–493.

    • Disaffected says:

      We’re in the Cirrhosis, beat-the-children, puke-all-over, chainsaw-the-cabinets-for-heat stage now.

      Nice post! And humans in large numbers increasingly don’t have a choice as to which course to take.

      We’re damned if we do damned if we don’t these days. Turn our back on industrial agriculture and industrialism in general at this point and the die off begins immediately for sure. A TOTAL political loser in a democratic system based on satisfying the desires of its most affluent constituents. Continue to embrace industrialism and the more gradual die off and at this stage still plausibly deniable/obfuscated current die off continues, while the still not quite scientifically certain long term catastrophe continues to loom and grow more certain by the day. Which “choice” will we make? Jared Diamond’s work has already documented which choice cultures before us have made when faced with the same choices. Will we be different? Certainly no evidence whatsoever to support that idea out there yet. If I were a betting man…

    • Disaffected says:

      Just to add, I guess it’s no surprise that alcohol and agricultural civilization are pretty much linked at the hip, err… brain. Alcohol itself is a direct byproduct of grain production and storage, as is alcohol in the gut from grain ingestion and subsequent fermentation (albeit without the negative effects of immediate absorption in the mouth, stomach, and high small intestine). One might indeed say that we of the modern industrial agricultural age were all born to be alcoholics. And so it seems, we are.

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        Umm, since it is implied in my handle, I can’t very well speak out against alcohol. Grains contain other compounds that pose quite serious hazards without giving much of a buzz despite the presence of opoids. Some good info here.

        I think of agriculture as the biggest mistake made since the descent from the trees.As is often true of serious mistakes, we can’t undue either one. As Morris Berman would say, onward and downward!

        • Disaffected says:

          Of course you can! But regardless, I’m inclined to agree with Berman. We’re headed in the wrong direction fast and getting FASTER by the day. Alcohol might be the LEAST of our worries at this point.

  14. Kevin Frost says:

    Hi Sandy. On my first reading of this weeks piece I misread it. Didn’t realise you wrote it (thought it was another guest post) and beyond that didn’t respond to your intentions. So I’ll have another go. It’s a bit long so I’ll post it in two parts. Good reading of Hedges, Knustler, and many others. Things are heating up; I think so to. The fix is in, yes.

    Preliminary points: on my understanding – yes, democracy was always an illusion, the legalistic authoritarianism was ever built into the constitutional machine, the present moment of over the top corruption eliciting revolution – or what? – was, I’d have to agree, inevitable, and to explain that we have to go way back to the origins of all such things, the headwaters of what you term ‘the curriculum’ and these streams flow from an anthropological time/place where agriculture and herding first got going. Well, yes and no but will have to address these things by the by.

    You sense that Hedges and Knustler, as they heat up to, start sounding less like curriculum minded do gooders and more like . .. something else. This is where it gets interesting

    ‘Yet the biggest question still looms …’
    Is it possible to reconstitute .. society … with community (as I would put it)? Short answer, and to paraphrase Kafka: ‘yes, it’s always possible, but .. not for us’.

    Our intuitions of a Hobbesean/Malthusian future, are, I fear, well founded. But if we insist on keeping the question open, insistent on not loosing sight of ‘possibilities’ then I’d want to say that it’s possible because it’s been going on all along, though not in our part of the world. But instead of arguing historically I’m much rather try to address the apriori’s of our thinking, that’s really more to the point. This: we think society is large and community is small. Societies feature big cities with millions, thanks to the ‘rule of law’ power at a distance, an abstraction that makes limitlessness possible, and hard to resist for those who are ever fondling the levers of power (now, now ..).

    Society is large. Community is small, proceeding from a circle of family, friends, people we trust, people we know, able to work with, able to share. So, not so many. But think. The circle just considered .. is it actually a circle? Circles are closed but communities are open. This is not to contradict Dimitry’s (or Greer’s) point that cooperative circles are exclusive and necessarily so, but rather to recognise that the very nature of relationships is such that extendedness is the way things are. I know people I trust, people I trust know people they trust, and it goes on. It didn’t have an origin nor does it have an end, the whole thing is an indefinite progression. Therefore it’s quite possible to have large cities filled with hundreds of thousands of people who live, or at least once lived, very much on the basis of mutual trust, mutual aid, cooperative economic endeavours where ‘right relations’ were the heart of all things. That used to be the norm, as empires came and went, communities everywhere carried on.

    • Disaffected says:

      LOL! Nice post Kevin! This ain’t Sandy, but forgive me for saying that you sound a bit harried in your post tonight. Regardless, this caught my eye:

      Therefore it’s quite possible to have large cities filled with hundreds of thousands of people who live, or at least once lived, very much on the basis of mutual trust, mutual aid, cooperative economic endeavours where ‘right relations’ were the heart of all things. That used to be the norm, as empires came and went, communities everywhere carried on.

      I myself would be hard pressed to make that argument regarding modern American communities (in particular, but more than likely world communities in general) of larger than 250K for certain, but probably as low as 100K or lower in many instances as well. Just how in the world do you have “right relations” in large populations of constantly migrating/shifting people with more often than not personally conflicting (by design) economic interests thrown into the mix as well?

      DA

    • kulturcritic says:

      Kevin – I am with you on the trouble of rebuilding real community. Certainly impossible on a grand scale. But, that should not inhibit us from reaching out and joining together with folks we can share with. Trust must be built one person at a time, given our current mindset. Alot of us are still looking for an angle… a way to make a buck. But, we should be honing our life skills, assuming money will soon be worth alot less. But, I do think small communities can flourish; nuclear families will be a harder test in the brave new world.

  15. Kevin Frost says:

    cont.
    But be that as it historically may, the point is the abstract, a priori of how we suppose things to be. Actually it’s society that’s bounded by the circle, or was. Society is a thing of this world and as such has a history. Modern history, Whig history, insisted that it was modern, recent, an historical accomplishment of the first order, the substantial meaning of History as such. Before and after. Society arises simultaneously with ‘The State’, which is also new, requiring a radical thinker like Hobbes to spell it out. State sovereignty draws the circle; within the boundaries of the modern state, society is hammered into shape. But now states are out of vogue and society is ‘in a state’ so to say, and increasingly so as things fall apart in our globalised late imperial world.

    To return to the ‘is it possible’ then, again, not for us. Legalism is what we’ve idealised since the Greeks. It’s hopeless. How about the others: China, India, Iran and elsewhere? Maybe, we’ll have to see. And then there are still a few indigenous peoples who managed to make it though the recent dieoff/genocides. Oren Lyons says ‘we’re still here, you know. you thought you had us out of the way, but not yet’. And here we are, our crises ridden civilisation, the endgame of an ancient legalism sandwiched between the vestiges of the two forms of barbarism against which Western civilisation has ever defined itself: Orientals and primitives. Presently the globalised Americanisation of everything is a real worry.

    But personally I don’t take it from anthropologists, I listen to the people they make it their business to represent, the ‘native informants’ so called. These are the only people worth listening to, at the end of the day. The most important traditions in NA are, as I understand it, the Hopi and the Six Nations people. Both say it will go to war and in the aftermath there won’t be much left in the way of ‘America’. Things will go on, somehow. As for the rest, they don’t say. It’s clear enough that America’s going to get the worst of it. Well, that should make the Malthusians happy. They were always saying there’s not enough to go around.

    All in all, I’d say stick with Siberia. The recent podcast with Hedges, Morris Berman, and D. Orlov linked over on Dimitry’s site is very good. Berman’s reply to Hedges, whom he describes as a man who wants to die with his boots on, was to try to get clear about how these things happen, just for the record. Hedges says he fights for the generations to come, good man. But Berman is thinking about future generations to. So in that regard, trying to get clear about the curriculum is, I think, a worthwhile thing to do, maybe all we can.

    • Disaffected says:

      WOW! Kevin Frost is a veritable firehose tonight! All in all, I think I’d do what all thinking humans should always do, which is to read/listen to the best considered opinions out there (and Hedges, Berman, and Orlov ain’t a bad place to start IMO), and then make up they’re OWN mind on what they choose to believe and the actions they choose to take in response.

      But ALWAYS remember, it was YOU who came into this world ALL ALONE however many years ago all by yourself (with a little help on this end of course), and it is YOU who are living this current life of yours and will DIE OUT OF IT one day just as surely as you were born in the first place! And always remember, it is YOU and YOU ALONE who you will answer to on that day, and live your life accordingly. Of THAT MUCH you can be certain. All else is speculation.

    • Disaffected says:

      To add, I doubt “the curriculum” (if, indeed, there even is such a thing) going forward will be anything that anyone currently alive thinks it will be. In my mind, the current “dispensation” is about to be washed over completely just like so many before it, albeit even more so. Mere mortals are never so mortal as when acclaiming themselves to be immortal. We’re about to find out the truth of that statement once again the hard way!

    • kulturcritic says:

      I think listening to the indigenous speakers is an excellent means of understanding the depth of the problems with our curriculum. And the Hobbesian war is just heating up; he was only a few centuries too early. And it was not pre-civilization that was short, brutal and rough… it is the closing out of civilization that will be such.

      • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

        And now for a little audio-visual reinforcement. Do watch it to the end for some pre-enactment.

        • Disaffected says:

          Good link. But the deniers realize the truth of things. Throwing up denial after denial to people who are a.) scientifically illiterate, and b.) don’t want to believe the science anyway, since it implies that their way of life is doomed, is a winner. In an open, media dominated democracy with a very large megaphone available to pretty much anyone who wants one, this is what we get. Caveat audiens!

          • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

            Yup, the ultimate truth is that obfuscating the truth pays a lot better than revealing it. Therefore obfuscation will never stop.

            In defense of the scientifically illiterate, don’t wanna believe crowd, I believe the dismal truth is that there seems to be no benefit to them in embracing the truth. If my own experience is any sort of guide. It helps a lot that I personally have nothing left to lose. People with plenty to lose and those still hanging on by their fingernails, if they chose to accept the science would IMHO be hard pressed to do anything affirmative without unleashing chaos. “In chaos there is profit”, for a few and death and destruction for the many. At the fork, one path leads to chaos now, the other leads to chaos later, choose wisely.

            • kulturcritic says:

              I choose a russian banya… LOL

            • the Heretick says:

              Joker: Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon’s got plans. You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say… Ah, come here.
              (He takes Dent’s hand into his own)
              Joker: When I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing personal, you know that I’m telling the truth. It’s the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and look where that got you.
              (Dent tries to grab the Joker.)
              Joker: I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know… You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan.” But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
              (Joker hands Two-Face a gun and points it at his forehead.)
              Joker: Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair!
              (still holding the gun, Two-Face pauses and takes out his half-scarred coin.)
              Two-Face: (shows the clean side) You live.
              Joker: Mm-hmm.
              Two-Face: (shows the scarred side) You die.
              Joker: Mmm, now we’re talking.

              hey, don’t blame me! it’s a major motion picture.

              • Disaffected says:

                It’s true though. That’s the thing about major motion pictures, they allow us to reveal little portions of ourselves through play acting, which we can then uncomfortably laugh at because they’re “fiction.” That has always been the attraction to the court jester / joker. And yes, I would imagine script writers would have more insight into these things than most.

                • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

                  I think script writers sometimes get a lot of freedom to show us things otherwise submerged in the culture. I alluded under the previous topic to the StarTrek writers invention of the Borg. I am of the opinion that they patterned them on what I choose to call the paleoBorg who move among us today. Well, not so much among us as above us.

            • Disaffected says:

              In defense of the scientifically illiterate, don’t wanna believe crowd, I believe the dismal truth is that there seems to be no benefit to them in embracing the truth. If my own experience is any sort of guide. It helps a lot that I personally have nothing left to lose. People with plenty to lose and those still hanging on by their fingernails, if they chose to accept the science would IMHO be hard pressed to do anything affirmative without unleashing chaos.

              VERY true. I’ve said as much many times as well. Who will be the first to say that the current system is failing? Those who have the least to lose of course, regardless of insight. Who will be the last? You guessed it. We humans. We’re not terribly creative or altruistic in that regard. Every man for himself and his to the end I guess. But then again, we’re viewing it all through corporate capitalist lenses these days, ain’t we?

      • Kevin Frost says:

        Hi again,
        Yes, our understanding of Hobbes is good. I think Hobbes even said somewhere in his book that ‘the life of man, nasty, brutish, and short.’ was not to be taken seriously as an historical assertion but rather the condition that entails with the breakdown of his Leviathan state. Just as you say. The whole thrust of my argument is an attempt to be encouraging in spite of the fact that our dominant culture heavily stacks the deck against communitarian culture. Just bring the subject up and people start going on about racism, patriarchy, the idiocy of village life, nostalgic romanticism, luddites, mysticism, ‘we can’t go back’ and … shall I go on? But in spite of all we are perfectly capable of sustaining properly human relations with each other, the kind Dimitry talks about, because it’s in us. That’s the interesting part. I want to try to say more about this later. Best to all from Tassie, KJF

        • Disaffected says:

          But in spite of all we are perfectly capable of sustaining properly human relations with each other, the kind Dimitry talks about, because it’s in us.

          Agreed, In fact, it’s already going on in small towns and villages the world over. In first world cities of ~100K or more, not nearly so much, although there are still pockets of course. Something about living like rats stacked in towering cages does something to us I think.

          • kulturcritic says:

            The act of sharing reinforces bonds of kinship, of affinity, of caring between and among people. It is a primal and very natural human tendency. It is how our earliest ancestors lived before the first city walls were erected, before the first social laws were enacted, before the first kings and priests started lording it over the rest of us, first giving voice to the illusion that competition and personal advancement — getting to the top of the power pyramid — were all that mattered. It is simply a human act, naturally human. It is not a selfless act either, because the act of sharing implicates you in a profound circle of reciprocity. But neither is it calculating, like a quid pro quo doing something in order to get something in return. It is merely the human thing to do, rooted in our very genetic makeup as a species, in our Pleistocene origins.

            • Kevin Frost says:

              Hello once again,
              Just last night I managed to download (for free) a recent book by Marshall Sahlins: The Western Illusion of Human Nature with this long, rather 18th century subtitle: With Reflections on the Long History of Hierarchy, Equality, and the Sublimation of Anarchy in the West, and Comparative Notes on Other Conceptions of the Human Condition (2008). Sahlins has been around for awhile; I think he’s 82 at present. This is by far the best treatment of the whole subject I’ve ever come across. It’s brief at 116 pages, magisterial as they say. Sahlins has long been the anthropological authority of choice for lefty intellectuals so this book along with a more recent one called ‘Kinship: What it is and What it is Not are milestone works, quite important methinks. Even the marxists are coming around. Anyway, in terms of the subject at hand I think it’s must reading. Sahilins explains with wonderful clarity why the majority view ‘human nature’ as hardwired to self interest and competition in his extended discussion of ‘nature’ as ever a chaotic and violence prone force ever in need of subjection and restraint. But he also explains why this supposed majority is really, in world terms, a quite narrow minority. Very helpful. Now I have to ask Ilona how to do links.

              • Disaffected says:

                Good stuff! From the Amazon book description:

                In this pithy two-part essay, Marshall Sahlins reinvigorates the debates on what constitutes kinship, building on some of the best scholarship in the field to produce an original outlook on the deepest bond humans can have. Covering thinkers from Aristotle and Lévy- Bruhl to Émile Durkheim and David Schneider, and communities from the Maori and the English to the Korowai of New Guinea, he draws on a breadth of theory and a range of ethnographic examples to form an acute definition of kinship, what he calls the “mutuality of being.” Kinfolk are persons who are parts of one another to the extent that what happens to one is felt by the other. Meaningfully and emotionally, relatives live each other’s lives and die each other’s deaths.

                In the second part of his essay, Sahlins shows that mutuality of being is a symbolic notion of belonging, not a biological connection by “blood.” Quite apart from relations of birth, people may become kin in ways ranging from sharing the same name or the same food to helping each other survive the perils of the high seas. In a groundbreaking argument, he demonstrates that even where kinship is reckoned from births, it is because the wider kindred or the clan ancestors are already involved in procreation, so that the notion of birth is meaningfully dependent on kinship rather than kinship on birth. By formulating this reversal, Sahlins identifies what kinship truly is: not nature, but culture.

                Hard to argue with that overview at least.

              • kulturcritic says:

                Kevin, you may not know, being relatively new to the site, that I have referred to Sahlins quite alot over the last two years. And, I agree, he is critical in terms of understanding this issue of human nature, particularly the view that there is an evil human nature that must be checked by civilized (state) controls. Check out this post of mine from March 9, 2012, for example. https://kulturcritic.wordpress.com/posts/naturally-human-a-hypothesis/

            • the Heretick says:

              funny thing, when i go sharing i just get hostility for the most part, either that or a suspicious look. maybe it’s what i am sharing, which is mostly uncomfortable facts which the rednecks i live among don’t want to hear, and this includes family.
              i cannot bring myself to sit around and speak about inane subjects, so i try to be witty and pleasant.
              it seems the last thing people want to talk about is the truth.

          • Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

            Having grown up in such a town, I can confirm that sharing and caring was an inherent characteristic of that town and as near as I could tell all similar towns in the area. It is my supposition that such has probably been typical way back into prehistory. Maybe all the way back into the trees.

            Today things are not quite the same. My hometown has grown by about one-third, which still makes it pretty small, maybe about 450 people. Almost all of my generation, having come of age during the period when family farming was transforming to non-profit operations, left for greener pastures. Thus the kinship factor was seriously diminished. It’s still a peaceful little village populated by mostly nice people. Most of them are migrants from a nearby industrialized city of substantially less than 100k, where they still work. It’s pretty similar to any bedroom community now.

            The old spirit is still strong among the remaining farmers that surround the village. They are now few in number and quite a few of them are older than me. As they die or retire, their land is almost always assimilated into corporate operations. More often than not, absentee owners.

            • Disaffected says:

              Yeah, cheap internet, satellite TV, WalMart (!!!), and other ubiquitous corporate influences (most car dealerships, among other things, are now corporate too, regardless of the sign out front), mean that even the remaining small towns ain’t what they used to be. My aging mom came down to visit me in rustic NM a few years back when I lived over on the eastern side of the state (aka the west Texas side), and god bless her, I knew she was looking for something positive to say about the dirty little hovel town I was living in at the time, living as she still does in the Omaha-Council Bluffs (NE and IA respectively) metro area. And sure enough, her positive comments all revolved around which national franchises we had (oh, you’ve got a Walmart SuperCenter; oh, you’ve got a McDonald’s; oh, you’ve got a fill in the blank), as if that was the only true measure of “civilization.” Out of the mouths of babes and old people (and increasingly, they’re one and the same). I had to laugh and let it all go, but I did find it remarkable how someone born in the heart of the “Great Depression” (1936) so clearly equated prosperity and civilization with corporate presence. Clearly NM disappointed her in every other respect, and I suspect it reminded her of the depression / dust bowl era Kansas and Nebraska where she grew up as well, although little did she know at the time, the area I was living in at the time was the true ground zero for the dust bowl at the time she was born.

              Anyway, I suppose you can’t say that corporatization and technology have been a complete failure in areas like these, but then again they’ve merely enabled the continuation of land use practices that never should have been used in the first place, which will inevitably result in even more catastrophic failures down the line. Albeit all well after every last dollar of corporate value has been safely extracted and electronically piped back to its true “owners” in all of the world’s “capital allocation centers.” It’s a new world we’re living in these days, where actual hands-on land and animal husbandry is for serfs, and everyone else is a self-appointed suburban investment king/queen, relying on infinitely increasing asset prices, all supported by a government granted monopoly to the money masters of old. What could possibly go wrong?

              • the Heretick says:

                “where actual hands-on land and animal husbandry is for serfs, and everyone else is a self-appointed suburban investment king/queen,” maybe true about most of the hired hands who work on farms and ranches, but most city folks are every bit as much serfs as the exurban population. mortgaged to the hilt, a paycheck or two away from insolvency, a real powder keg.

                it’s been remarked upon before that one of the reasons people join gangs is to have community, whatever gang that happens to be……………..

                • Disaffected says:

                  Actually, that crack was directed at city folk, who’ve lost their connection to the land and replaced it with a connection to a “virtual world” in the internet. I think many will welcome serfdom again once their virtual world crashes for good.

  16. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    In a comment under DA’s guest topic I said that after the paleoBorg’s earth rewarming program had cleared the ice from Greenland there would be lots of open land available. I have since learned that Greenland is actually an atoll. Someday it may have a nice large lagoon. I now suspect that there may not be much additional good land to be had there. As some of the fjords cut all the way thru to the future lagoon, some mighty big bridges will be required if overland travel around the atoll were desired.

    As Mulder always said, “the truth is out there.”

  17. Malthus says:

    Paleoborg. Wow that is good. Sandy this is one of your best. Somewhat depressing if I let my imagination in on the game but then I hope to see it all come crashing down. I have been expecting it for a long time. Any you know what they say about expectations. Down the rabbit hole stuff.

  18. Phlogiston Água de Beber says:

    Damn! Just when you get to thinking it might be safe to go surfing on the Intertubes, the youtube pipeline carries you to a place of unpleasant data. As we know, Guy McPherson has been lecturing the world on how the planet might be able to get to 5 or 6 C warmer, rather soon. and make ducking extinction very problematic. I’ve seen a number of scientists say that is possible, though they like to favor longer dates.

    This video presents, without saying so, what seems to me a quite plausible scenario for how we stand a good chance of hitting about 10 C warmer. The last time that seems to have happened they call The Permian Extinction. They say it took 10s of thousands of years. Of course, as there were no Homo Saps roaming the earth then, it could only proceed at the rate of natural processes. We’re Number 1! Get some popcorn and beer and start the show.

    All the reason you’ll ever need to hope the denialists are right.

    • Disaffected says:

      Excellent and sobering video. Fill in humanity’s role for the Siberian Traps and voila! A recipe for another extinction event. And the dates won’t really matter once the process is firmly established (the point at which most political action is even first considered), as it will then be too late to reverse it. Evolution strikes again!

  19. Disaffected says:

    Speaking of conspiracies, here’s one of the most elaborate and well executed ones of the good old-fashioned variety pulled off in recent history:

    The Legend of Lance Armstrong – The Champion Who Was Anything But

    Nike has been accused of helping Armstrong cover up his past of using performance-enhancing drugs. In 2006, Kathy LeMond, wife of cyclist Greg LeMond, said under oath that Nike paid $500,000 to a former International Cycling Union (UCI) president to cover up a failed drug test. Nike officials said it never happened.

    Executives of the UCI are meeting in Russia this week to appoint a three-person panel to look into whether allegations of an Armstrong payoff are true. Aside from the Nike claim, the report released by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October said that Armstrong paid the UCI $250,000 to keep a positive test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland quiet. Armstrong said the allegations are “absolutely untrue.”

    It was all about the bike? No, sadly, same it ever was. It was all about the money and fame.

  20. bmiller says:

    Sandy,
    Well, we can always “hope” for the best when considering your 800 pound gorilla. Or we can do like the moronic politicians do after each natural disaster, “Folks, all we can do is pray”. But like all civilizations before us we can expect a hard fall, whether it takes a century long Greer descent or a fast McPherson plunge remains to be seen. Since the civ is now global it may take a bit longer to settle the dust.
    Hedges appeal for a revolt is, I’m afraid, half a century too late but still welcome. As is yours consistently humorous doom and gloom my friend.

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