Obama’s New War: Fueling The Spectacle

Well folks, there you have it.  We knocked off the once-and-future terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, and so now we are going to get another scoundrel on our list, Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi.  Oh, that’s right, I forgot. We also killed that other terrorism sponsor, Sadam Hussein; but that was executed under an earlier regime, so we needn’t worry about it just now.

But, isn’t this what the latest North African campaign is all about, assassinating Muammar so we can get easy access to the largest proven oil reserves in Africa?  After all, we took out some of his offspring, so what are we waiting for?  Is it not wonderful how our hegemony will do anything to protect the interests of our elites (errr… “our wonderful land”) our lifestyle, and our unquenchable thirst for that black liquid gold? And while the US Congress of comedians and mental misfits has “rebuked” the president’s decision to declare war on Libya, they did not see fit to cut off funding for this new reality-show-assassination attempt.  Watch for episodes to air post-haste on your local affiliate stations.

It is ironic, if not lunacy, how our great country steals from its populace (taxes) and gives it away to ‘banksters’ and multinationals or piddles it away on assassination plots (wars) and calls that democracy in action.  But when the leaders of other regimes (Mubarak, Muammar, Sadam, et. al.) likewise accumulate and squander their country’s wealth, we call it tyranny.  It would seem to this author that we too live under a tyranny.

Perhaps we are predisposed to looking the other way when our leaders or their friends do something terrible. What was the name of that company that destroyed the Gulf of Mexico last summer, its delicate ecosystems and livelihood of those living there?  Was it BP? I guess they get a free pass.  It seems that as a country of laws, it is okay if you do something that brings harm, so long as you find an attorney somewhere to write an opinion providing your actions with legal cover.

But, oh boy, am I excited.  Our head pitchman has just announced another boondoggle arrangement, now between Uncle Sam, the hi-tech industry and universities to launch a manufacturing burst of new technologies here in the homeland.  As he said in comments this week at Carnegie Mellon University:

This partnership is about new cutting edge ideas to create new jobs, spark new breakthroughs, reinvigorate American manufacturing today. Right now.

Boy, all that talk of new stuff like “next-generation robotics, advanced composite materials and bio-manufacturing” really excites me; maybe we can even find new ways to destroy the competition or kill our adversaries.  Is there a difference?  And, is this what we, and the world, really need right now?  New technologies.  We keep marching further down that path my friends, where there will no longer be a place for flesh and blood people, the natural environment, or a meaningful relationship between the two.  As Paul Feyerabend so graphically expressed it in his last work The Conquest of Abundance:

It was the technological and social success of science that separated purpose and matter, destroyed animism, and turned people into addicts. 

It seems we need the ever clear and present promise of greater technological innovation to keep us enthralled and tied to this treadmill they call modern reality.  And we are addicted to the fuel that keeps it all going… oil!

Yet, as our ally, James Kunstler said this week in his guest piece for Orion Magazine:

The mandates of reality are telling us very clearly that the age of fossil fuel magic is drawing to a close, with huge implications for how we occupy the landscape. It also implies a timeout for the kind of rapid technological change that has come to seem normal for us. This necessary timeout is probably the only thing that will prevent us from destroying the planet we call home. We’re suffering profoundly from too much magic.

Well, I guess the president isn’t listening to us.  But, then, does any president really listen to anybody that isn’t padding his pockets or his war chest heavily with cash?

…….

We went for walk by Seneca Lake today with our little boy, as we have done every morning since returning to the USA.  There was an older “Willie Nelson” type-looking character there, with a straggly salt and pepper beard, wearing a rumpled cowboy hat and smoking a cigarette with his coffee as he relaxed on a log overlooking the water.  He was perched in front of his early model Ford Mustang that was dressed out with American flags, Sunoco Oil stickers, and US Army logos pasted around its hood, doors and spoiler.  He was a nice old guy, calm and friendly, and told me to take care of my little boy because he could be the next president.  I said, I hope not.  He said, well, maybe my boy could fix things here.  I said maybe it couldn’t be fixed; maybe the game is rigged, and always has been.  As he drove away a bit later he rolled down his car window and shouted out to us “God Bless America.”

I guess my biggest news of the week is that there are still guys like him around.  Probably a Vietnam vet who visits the NASCAR circuit regularly, loves his country, and misses the good old days of cheap oil, fast cars, and hot women.  He was gentle enough, but he seemed to be holding on to this dream that never really materialized; a spectacle that was held up for the masses to envy but who were never quite able to achieve it. It is a dream whose lining is black like a nightmare, and whose proposed lifestyle is simply and purely unsustainable.

But we still face the reality of people like this guy, believing in folks like Obama who is simply following through on the orders of his masters, the banksters and multinational plutocrats, pushing to keep this illusion going, propping up the spectacle, and allowing the wealthy few on this planet to live another day unencumbered, while they trash the planet and further enslave and manhandle the people. Just ask Canadians how that free speech thing is going these days.

Formal austerity measures, as the G20 has now dictated for the global community, are only the latest and most blatant example of the management of the domesticated masses of modern humanity. And that reminds me of a sign I saw at the lake as well this week.  It read: “Please do not feed the geese.  Let’s keep our wildlife… wild!”

Well, I guess that about sums it up rather nicely. Insofar as “we, the people” are no longer feeding ourselves (hunting and gathering), but are rather being fed through the auspices of an economic system, we have thereby surrendered our feral core (our wildness) and have ourselves become domesticated – herded and managed just like that nature and the North African oil we are still trying to get under our control.

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60 Responses to Obama’s New War: Fueling The Spectacle

  1. John Bollig says:

    Sandy,

    The whole point about this arab spring is that it is a crisis that is an opportunity for a power grab. Saddam, OBL , quadaffi and then chavez is next. Any opportunity to take the oil, they will take, to secure their power base. Oil is running out and everyone is trying to get their hands on the supply.

    I heard an interesting comment on the CBS morning news. This economist was saying that the old jobs are never coming back… He also said that real estate is not coming back and that we are currently in a double dip and it will be much worse than the current great recession. Somebody has seen the light, growth is kaput. We will be living in an contracting, dying oil culture. Contraction means death pure and simple….

    • kulturcritic says:

      John – the only real question now is how long? Certainly, these clowns will try with technology and political muscle to keep this thing going as long as they possibly can. But, certainly, as Kunstler points out today, the end of oil is near, and we are living in suspended agitation!!

      • StrayCat says:

        Good morning Sandy. Yes the end of oil is near, or already here. Cheap oil has not only allowed a vast spree of waste and junk, but has allowed the easy and well dressed expansion of politico-corporate power. It occurs to me that in the new energy short world will free us from these power freaks and managers merely because the effort and cost will not result in any benefit to the corporatists. I can hope that the universe that the CEO’s are master of will disappear rather quickly.

        • kulturcritic says:

          It will be a hard fought battle. The addiction to oil, and the toys it has provided vis-a-vis technology, will not be easy to overcome, and the addicts (including some of us, I might add), will continue to grasp at any straw scientific-technology throws our way (in concert with State and Corporatist sponsorship). We truly are living in a new world, Dorothy, and none of us has a say in the matter.

          • StrayCat says:

            True thaqt we have no say in the present situation. As the new set of circumstances unfold, then we can exert our wills and our demands, as there will no longer be the same set of power balances as there exist today. There is freedom in chaos, and opportunity in tumultuous change.

            • kulturcritic says:

              But the chaos which most likely will result may look more like AC’s convoy of Hobbesian misfits in the war of all against all, rather than anything we could generally find a voice in. Don’t you think, SC?

              • StrayCat says:

                It may look like that, but chaos can only last so long. With disintegration comes loss of economic connections. Social connections around local food, shelter, energy and security may be the only thing people see as worthwhile. Yes, there will be battles and skirmishes. But the loss of cheap and easy energy will mean the same for everyone once the reserves are gone. At least that is my take. The greens and the locavores have in place cooperatives and less complex resources, and a network to communicate. There will be disruptions, and lots of suffering and death from the Blackwater/corporartst last gasps, but it can’t last very long, nor spread as far as they can now with the energy conglomerate. We will not find, nor want, any voice in a new hierarchy.

  2. Disaffected says:

    It’s been amazing watching the complete transformation of NoBama. The HCR fiasco was the tell for me, but amazingly, most of the liberal left didn’t get it. Now, three years later, the best anyone on the left can say for our Imposter in Chief is that “he’s better than than any of the alternatives.” Warm praise indeed. I’m now quite sure NoBama will get reelected by a large margin in 2012 for two reasons.

    First, and most obviously, he’s “delivered the mail.” He has done everything his corporate masters have asked of him and then some. No surprise there whatsoever. The corporate boys love their lapdogs. Nothing beats direct investment when seeking to implement direct democracy. Pay for play on the big stage.

    Second, and far more insidiously, his whole presidency is a subterfuge, a head fake, a diversion. The American people have now been exposed as the ignorant rubes that they are, and they are totally unable to recognize the underlying motivations and strategies behind specific policy prescriptions. As in, they are unable to recognize that NoBama’s whole governing strategy has been far to the right of his predecessor Shrub, merely because NoBama dresses up his policies in flowery language, and the complicit American press has followed the GOP’s lead in labeling him a “leftist, Marxist, socialist democrat,” when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The man (Man? Is that a fair description? Droid seems more apt.) bleeds corporate green.

    All of which enables NoBama to achieve the GOP grand master stroke (hard to believe that this wasn’t all laid out well ahead of time, whether you choose to label it a “conspiracy” or not): to implement government policies that are blatantly hard conservative right under the banner of leftist liberalism, and thus divert the blame for the damages such policies will certainly cause, and thus allow a future populist “backlash” that will, paradoxically, implement even more of the same. This is an approach that is so devilishly simple that it almost defies analysis. Academics can’t get their head around it because it simply makes no sense, and yet, it tells us that politics is inherently irrational, and that most of the academic mumbo-jumbo surrounding voter preference is just that. If you are an upcoming political science major you are now able to study one of the greatest periods of mass psychosis in modern history as it unfolds in real time.

    I was amused to hear Michele Bachmann – nominally the Tea Party candidate – announce her candidacy the past few days with policies that were just blatantly corporate and little more than NoBama on steroids – dropping the minimum wage, more corporate tax cuts to create jobs, etc. No, NoBama would never be stupid enough to come out against the minimum wage, but he’d certainly be amenable to “negotiating” it away given the slightest pressure, so the results are always the same.

    The 2012 elections will be about one thing and one thing only: the corporate “churning” of the economy through millions of dollars in campaign donations and media buys. And when it’s all over and done with, the same “people,” albeit perhaps with different names and faces, will still be in place to implement the exact same corporate agenda that’s being enacted as we speak – albeit with sharper teeth and a more voracious appetite no doubt. And the talking heads will loudly proclaim that democracy – AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALIST DEMOCRACY – has triumphed once again, and then the masses will all go back to sleep for another two years, whereupon the spectacle will be played out once more on even grander terms. Bread and circuses. Bread and circuses.

    • kulturcritic says:

      DA – great analysis of the NoBama presidency, and where it is taking us. I think Bachmann and Sarah would be a fitting ticket for the final act of the American Hegemony!!

      • Disaffected says:

        Yes indeed. They are the Contrarian Party’s current ticket of choice. Vote Contrarian 2012 – Let’s Burn This Mother Down!

  3. Anarchrist says:

    I think we could all use a little rock ‘n’ roll (or not, depending on preference), and try not to laugh at the consumerist mindfuck ads that Youtube is using to try and pay the licensing bills, incongruous as they are parcelled with this video:

    Great post overall, I enjoyed the mental image of the old veteran especially as I’ve known a few of that exact type; still desperate to live the dream despite often being so badly treated by the reality. And Kunstler’s “too much magic” is an instant classic. Sadly, that ‘progress’ for it’s own sake is still being offered by Obama as the cure for the economy doesn’t surprise me at all.

    As I’ve probably said before (predisposed as I am toward repetition) my greatest hope is that the whole show comes apart before we destroy ourselves, and therefore my greatest fear is that it doesn’t. Perhaps worse still is the idea that maybe it already has, and certain powerful individuals are jockeying to use this unprecedented opportunity to conduct a controlled demolition of the current system, only to empower themselves in some new, post-collapse paradigm – one that potentially involves most of us being dead (solving eco-stresses and resource-shortage issues in one go) and the remainder being enslaved (providing a source of production/energy, as well as something to play with). But hey, lets not focus on that particular ‘holy-shit urrrp! I just barfed in my mouth and swallowed it’ type scenario, because if we really were that royally fucked, it really wouldn’t leave us anything much worth talking about.

    • StrayCat says:

      My hope, too. So many people claiming that our present set of systems is required for a good life. We will, shortly be able to show the world otherwise.

      • kulturcritic says:

        SC – they believe our system NECESSARILY provides the GOOD life, defines the good life. For the masses it is both the necessary and sufficient condition for the good life. Boy are they fuckin’ crazy!! But, I see it not only in the Nigerian cabbies in NYC, but in the young housewives with their new Mercedes cars in central Siberia… It is fucking scary SC!!

        • StrayCat says:

          Yes, scary, and sad. But all that slows to a stop without the gasoline. The Mercedes becomes just marginally more comfortable shelter without the fuel. And the scarier ones are those gathering large arsenals and deciding that they will be the new deciders. It’s rational to arm for defense, and to prepare for self support. But most preparation, in my opinion, is in organizing with those who think and seek understanding for mutual cooperative action if the thing goes down. That requires local action, as the highways will be unusable for a time, even on foot or bicycle. If not, then it deteriorates into all against all, as civil order and civility declines.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Great video Anarchrist!! You may not be far off in the final analysis, AC!!

  4. John Bollig says:

    Hey, DA,

    What a nice piece of shit Nobama and family have put on us all , huh ? For myself it all goes back to the rigged system that we live in. What a crock of crap that the powers that be put us into this time. Oh well as an old law school chum of mine has said, ” we don’t know where this ship is going down, but let’s party until it goes down since the lifeboats are leaky and the sharks are hungry.”

    • StrayCat says:

      Except, the ship will go down on a reef, close to shore and allow us to begin a life of meaning and connectedness.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Maybe the best piece of advice just now, John!!

    • Disaffected says:

      NoBama=strawman=puppet=false-flag candidate=Oops! Looks like we got f**cked again! And the corporate boys are laughing all the way to the bank, realizing full well that the lion’s share of the American public STILL doesn’t get it, and likely never will. I’ve got to admit, it’s a great time to be rich and powerful. Nothing but profits as far as the eye can see.

  5. StrayCat says:

    An interesting set of events in the media this week. At least two references to the Thirty Years War(s) and the treaty of Westphalia. It seems that people are suggesting that the energy wars will last until new technology hits the market freeing us from the need of oil to maintain our way of life. One author expects this war to last about 30 years, and sees a new organizational paradigm as one of the outcomes. Michael T. Klare, in Alternet makes these observations.
    This is a frightening article in that it assumes that humans are stuck in a way of being that is hierarchical and herd-like.
    “When these three decades are over, as with the Treaty of Westphalia, the planet is likely to have in place the foundations of a new system for organizing itself — this time around energy needs. In the meantime, the struggle for energy resources is guaranteed to grow ever more intense for a simple reason: there is no way the existing energy system can satisfy the world’s future requirements.”
    The assumptions underlying this article are that humans are forever chained to an economy that ignores our community and our being, and that requires an allegiance to large, super organized political enterprises. Who are they, whoever they are at the moment, to decide what the world’s future energy requirements are? They get to determine them by fiat, by deciding what is offered by a captive economy, no less mercantilist that that of Great Britain and the John Company.
    A further assumption, borne out by recent history, is that the major corporations, not only the energy conglomerates, are now more powerful than nation-states, and will dictate where state power is used in the future, and for what purpose. The fact that these extra national corporations control the most central policies and actions of all Western governments demonstrates the lie that the U.S Government is a democracy.
    The fact is, that all of the present organizational bodies, whether governmental or private are far too large and rely on far too many delicate control mechanisms to be able to function. Unfortunately, the larger portion of the human population has bought into the convenience of the economic dictatorship of plastic and throwaway. The only bright side of the article is the prospect of the disintegration of large power structures.
    “Even attempting to preserve this level of energy output in 30 years’ time, using the same proportion of fuels, would be a near-hopeless feat. Achieving a 40%increase in energy output, as most analysts believe will be needed to satisfy the existing requirements of older industrial powers and rising demand in China and other rapidly developing nations, is simply impossible.”
    Yes, impossible both from the standpoint of availability of energy and from the ability of organizations large enough and complex enough to carry it off. I submit that the nation state and the large corporation have reached the limits of their power and abilities, and that the future will be smaller and more intimate and manageable than the post Renaissance governments and corporations.
    As Sandy so eloquently said, “Well, I guess that about sums it up rather nicely. Insofar as “we, the people” are no longer feeding ourselves (hunting and gathering), but are rather being fed through the auspices of an economic system, we have thereby surrendered our feral core (our wildness) and have ourselves become domesticated – herded and managed just like that nature and the North African oil we are still trying to get under our control.” The whole issue is CONTROL. The powers that have appointed themselves want control, and not for any purpose, necessarily, but purposes are found.

    • Anarchrist says:

      Hey Straycat, I just gave that article a quick scan. You are right, it is frightening, mostly that anoyne would think that way. It seems crazy that the guy actually believes that 30yr prognosis, as if we could be engaged in a proper ‘hot’ war with the likes of China and Russia for any amount of time. I’d give it about 6 or 8 months, and it would be an unholy mess, but I’ll admit it goes with the delusional rationale of a collapsing empire; that somehow it can all be clawed back if you’re prepared to get dirty enough. What was true in ancient Rome is true now: namely that diminishing returns cannot be ‘vanquished’ like a mortal foe, and that armies need paying and feeding (as well as fuelling), so once the systems servicing those needs are defunct, large standing armies are likely to be disbanded as the money runs out, either voluntarily (as many in the US are now suggesting) or simply by default.

      However, there is still the question of ‘private’ warfare, mercenary armies, banned weapons, and some really serious skullduggery as the situation deteriorates, all of which is (in some measure) both likely and wholly unsavoury. Of course this is, in effect, what we’ve been building the private paramilitary sector up to for decades now. My hope is that the collapsing system can’t supporty ANY of that kind of behaviour very soon, but I have to admit that I don’t know too much about how all this will pan out on the world stage, so I tend to think on a smaller and more personal scale about how this is likely to affect myself and my family.

      When I’m not busy earning money against my will, I garden, build stuff, hunt rabbits and suchlike. I’d be happy enough with that way of life, it actually suits me very well **howls** but I still suffer anxiety at times about what else might become ‘normal’ in the future. I don’t want to haunt Sandy’s blog like a psychotic survivalist, but if anyone lacks a credible post-collapse threat to give them cause for pause, I’d suggest the idea of a gunhead ‘security’ crew rolling through your town escorting a fuel convoy, drilling rig, or even a grain shipment, is a spectre worth some cautious consideration. It may be hard to imagine, but we’ve all seen footage from Libya of the ubiquitous pickup trucks with the M85s and AA guns welded on. Let’s hope it doen’t come to that.

      • StrayCat says:

        I have the same concerns, at least for the medium turn. As i see it, however, the availability of oil and its distillates will be short lived in a deteriorating security situation. The private armies will have to be located so as to protect the regional centers of 20th century wealth. There may be wide areas left to govern themselves. The idea is to have groups with institutional experience and an notion of horizontal rather than vertical modes of cooperation. On the international front, it is instructive that Halliburton has moved its corporte headquarters to Dubai. I wonder how many other extranational, nominally U.S., corporations have made similar arrangements. I think that they will be protecting what is of valuable in a wasteful society. That requires the kind of complexity, allegiance and forbearance that will be missing in the near future.

      • kulturcritic says:

        OK AC – you are really scaring me now!!! Get the convoys ready, boys

        • Anarchrist says:

          Sorry for the hyperbole, but am I really being so dramatic? That’s how they roll in Baghdad, in Sangin, in Misrata, why not in a town near you? Private contractors pull no punches either – no rules of engagement for these cowboys. Straycat talks about the strongmen running the show, and that’s my concern also for the medium term. Still, his comments are a salve for my jitters and in principle I agree – namely that it’s just not sustainable behavior – but my two cents is this: a dying bear is still a bear. So I’m saying be brave, but be careful.

    • kulturcritic says:

      Straycat – excellent assessment of the energy differential, and the impossibility of closing it. And the wars over oil already had begun, with the USA first attack on Iraq through Kuwait — the first Gulf War. It is escalating, as is the price at the pumps. With the breakup of the tribe and clan, and their general egalitarian relations, in the establishment of the first cities, the need for control became paramount. Tribal elders were replaced with more abstract entities – kings, monarchs, legislators, princes and presidents. Institutions grew commensurate with the growing complexity and size of the cities and nations, and the populations they needed to control in order to provide food ad other services to the cities and their managers. Control has remained the issue, and attached to religious authority, the princes and other autocrats/legislators, have always used “any means necessary” to subdue rebellion. We can see it across the “free world” now (wow, is that name a joke, or what). Canadians and Americans are just beginning to wake up and smell the odor.

      • StrayCat says:

        Agree mostly. Just read Mussolini’s writings on Fascism. Truly dangerous stuff. We now have legislators asking for less voters, but smarter voters, and the impulse toward a religiously moderated state dictatorship is becoming more open. Michigan and Wisconsin are examples of control being taken from the elected officials and given to appointed, all powerful administrators. I bring this up because there is a real threat of a series of strongmen grabbing the authority with the assent of a silent, scared populace. This concerns me more than chaos.
        By the way, I think that the first oil wars were the second half of WWI forward. The hacking up of the middle east in the twenties forward was the first division of the spoils of war. It’s been continuous since, in waves of violence tempered by short periods of pseudo peace, often when the populace got restless over the wars.
        Smaller units of people mean less ability to create havoc with the environment. Unless the devolution ends up in nuclear war or accident, the end of the oil based corporate state may be a blessing to the atmosphere, the ocean and all of life.

        • StrayCat says:

          Want to add that egalitarian states of mind and practice come more easily when everyone in the community can do any job, just some better than others. The powerful always claim special knowledge. Without secrets of how food is produced and preserved, and without trade secrets and proprietary methods, the control and status tend to evaporate.

          • kulturcritic says:

            I think that analysis tends to be reinforced when you look at pre-civilized H/G tribes. Kinship-based, egalitarian social/economic arrangements were baked into the cake. Look at The Evolution Of Political Society, Morton Fried (link on my Bookshelf).

            • StrayCat says:

              Thanks. I agree that the egalitarian state of mind is from that period.I don’t think that science or modestly comfortable standards of living are inconsistent with that form of social setting.

        • kulturcritic says:

          But, I think back then they did not see the “end” of oil clearly!

      • StrayCat says:

        More thought on this topic, Sandy. The abstraction of both the entities are parallel in some ways to the abstraction of the ideas, usually religious, that were developed to assist in acquiring and maintaining control. Local empirical wisdom was able to be understood and assessed by the population of smaller social groups, so the leaders were more constrained in their ability to exercise control over the tribe or clan. Successful leadership required assent of the whole group. As death was a fully experienced part of the continuum of life, the idea of loss of afterlife or punishment in the afterlife as not available to the chiefs and councils of the smaller groups. Yes, when many people of different experiences are thrown together, it is much like boot camp, where the individual personalities are broken down, life experiences are denigrated, and the group becomes the basic unit, not the individual. “There’s the right way, the wrong way, and the Navy way”. This requires suspension of thought, or at least, judgment. I wonder if there are any studies or essays on the interaction of small groups, and the relative freedom and autonomy that exists in such as contrasted with the city state. Any thoughts?

  6. Disaffected says:

    Welcome KulturCritics from sunny, er, check that, SMOKY Los Alamos NM, where today we’re generating all kinds of energy the old fashioned way – we’re buuuurning (with suitable John Houseman inflection) it. The Los Conchas Wildfire is now a very real threat to both Los Alamos National Laboratory and the town site of Los Alamos NM. As most of you are I’m sure aware, Los Alamos is of course the original and current home of large amounts of “the material” used to make “the gadget” go boom. Not to worry, local officials have assured everyone that “the material” and it’s associated “stuff” are in no danger, but even so…

    I spent last night in Santa Fe as one of the thousands of “voluntary evacuees,” where today it is raining white ash, but have now returned to “ground zero.” There’s still a fair chance that the voluntary evacuation could become mandatory, but for now we’ll wait a little while and see. Sepia (the washed out brown color you see in old civil war era daguerreotypes) is the color of the day up here, and the smoke reminds me of campfires sat too close to, to ward off winter’s chill while outdoors ice skating in days of yore. Except you can’t escape this stuff.

    For all the catastrophic flooding in the midwest, the desert southwest has decided to up the ante with a little extraordinary wildfire action of its own this year. Global warming anyone? Naah! That’s just some crackpot theory that’s never been proven.

  7. Mike says:

    I agree that a crash of some sort must precede the rebuild phase. “Repairing” things seems dubious at this point. What we replace the current systems with must be simpler, and manageable.

    We are surrounded by exceedingly complex systems that we build, allow to grow, watch as they are co-opted, then attempt to control after the fact. Our energy systems, our healthcare systems, commerce, government, etc. , all growing in size and complexity and all failed, or at risk of failure.

    Take a look at a schematic of a GE Mk1 BWR power plant (not the cartoon versions they show on the news, but the real thing). A three thousand page bill to enable health care reform? Our tax code? The reporting structure and hierarchy of Homeland Security?

    Goat fucks. All of them.

    When I designed my first information system flow chart my mentor told me to go the the blackboard and draw it as neatly as possible. He then told me to go to the back of the room and tell him whether or not the diagram was esthetically pleasing to me. He said, “If the diagram doesn’t please you at some artistic level, it will likely not work worth a shit.” Forty five years later I still apply that advice to all sorts of “systems.”

    Nobody said it better:

    “…in anything thing at all,
    perfection is finally attained
    not when there is nothing left to add,
    but rather, when there is nothing left to take away.”

    Antoine de St. Exupery

    • kulturcritic says:

      Mike – sounds like sound advice to me. Unfortunately institutional structures promote complexity and inefficiency. It enables more control of the masses by means of uncertainty.

    • StrayCat says:

      Mike, there is a fundamental wisdom in the remark about the close relation between engineering and artistic integrity. There is an unexamined connection between things that work well and concepts such as the Golden Ratio, pi, and other conclusions of people whose thoughts were not confined to the linear. Just as mechanical things that violate these basic rules never work properly, and require multileveled complexity, so social constructs, such as nation states and bureaucracies are similarly unworkable, and end up requiring more energy and human pain and imprisonment than they are worth, except of course, to the 1% on top. The institutions of modern nation states are so complex and demanding now that they require great numbers of the people who live in them to reject their own humanity and autonomy. Of course, Football and NASCAR are the tradeoffs. Lives of noisy as well as quiet desperation.

      • kulturcritic says:

        football and nascar are distractions that reinforce group bonding, competition, and a negative sum game mentality… don’t you think SC?

        • StrayCat says:

          Yes, and the attitudes of coaches about winning being everything is an immediate sequela to the whole sports/competition thing. It seems to be a closed loop, excising everything that dilutes the mindset of competition and aggression. I agree completely.

  8. Mike says:

    Oops. That’s “in anything at all.”

  9. They say small IS beautiful, I say it is beautifully a scapegoat.
    If you feel like polluting DO NOT pollute in a small scale: if you throw a piece of paper out of your car´s window is 100 Dollars, if you pollute the Gulf of Mexico you have very good chances to be unpunished.
    If you borrow money from a bank, do not stop at 100.000 dollars, think big, something like 10 millions or more.
    In the first case you will be obliged to give ALL back with high interests, in the second you can spare a few millions in bribery and go away with the rest…
    If you feel like stealing, do not think small, think big.
    The more you steal, the less you pay.
    Isn´t that how it works?
    Take three pay two, or take 1 million and pay nothing.

  10. StrayCat says:

    Pat,you are right. Like every other declining empire, the rule of law is now disintegrating into mush. There are no objective standards for what a crime is any more, and even if the elements of a criminal law are clear, the prosecutors use their discretion in a way that protects the big crooks like Citibank and Goldman Sachs, while imprisoning small time crooks and drug users for long periods of incarceration. Judges get bribes to incarcerate juveniles in private prisons, while contacts replace public law. Privatization is more than just about profit. It is about removing legal protections from the poorest and least empowered among us.
    The privatization of military and security forces to protect embassies and State Department personnel instead of Marines allows for “special” operations outside the chain of command and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, while privatizing prisons allows for mistreatment and poor conditions. The private prison operators are now lobbying Congress and state legislators to keep criminal laws on the books, and to increase penalties for crimes, all in the pursuit of profit, while legislators further remove public functions from public accountability. The decline of public law was evident in late Greek society, Roman Empire from the time of the Caesars onward. Interestingly, the rise of bitter, pointed comedy as a literary form rose in concert with the decline of law in both cases. Similar social currents can be seen in late Empire Great Britain, Germany in the 20’s and in Russia from the 1970’s through today. So the problem is at least twofold. First, that there are a small group of privileged people who get away with large crimes and criminal enterprises, and second, that the legal system itself is no longer able to act properly even if there was the will to do so among the prosecutors and regulators. I do not think that this direction can be changed in the present social/political climate.

  11. John Bollig says:

    Ya burn down the whole thing, you might want to save like, Rum and Coke, Tanks, playboy magazine, a fine selection of cuban cigars, and of course my gilfriend’s medication and cat food for her kitty cat as well as medication and a vet for the cat and a doctor for my Girlfriend. Oh and I want all the plastic model kits in the universe and a fully equiped bomb shelter complete with 50 years of provisons for us. As well as a couple of cases of scotch and the best dammed security system ever devised.

    • StrayCat says:

      John, burning it down is neither wise or necessary. The complexity will come apart, slowly at first, then with increasing velocity as more and more of the finely tuned apparatus, both material and social loses connection with the corresponding parts. It has stared some time ago, and is now so noticeable that it is on the front pages of even the New York Times and the Post. Of course their reporting is piecemeal and localized, so as not to upset the hoi polloi. Of course you are being snarky, but some will seriously think that the bomb shelter approach is doable. Time to let the cat catch its food and get together with other producers to live adequately and simply. Allegiance must be given to life and people instead of institutions and complexity.

  12. Disaffected says:

    Wow. So much negativity this week! Over the course of the week I’ve driven from the desert SW, where there are out of control forest fires burning seemingly everywhere, to the midwest just east of the Rockies, where you can cut the hot humidity with a knife and every aqueous mass that can seems be overrunning its banks.

    On the way, while visiting the numerous fast food and gasoline refill establishments (as well as a WalMart or two, which is now completely ubiquitous in nearly every small town larger than a few thousand or so) that dot the countryside next to every interstate highway like so much arterial plaque, I was struck by the accuracy of James Kunstler’s numerous recent observations regarding the populace of “normal” America. Obese, tattooed, and apologetically loud and stupid (with countless human-like urchins in tow being trained to take up the mantle) seems to be a completely fair and accurate description (and that’s being VERY generous indeed my friends!) of the current state of affairs in all that I saw from New Mexico through my current encampment on the eastern banks of the mighty Missouri river in the once “great” state of Iowa.

    At least the third world poor maintain a quiet sense of dignity in their squalor. The American working class on the other hand has long since been stripped of all that. I’ll try to reserve judgement for now, as I’m in a major depressive state as of late (actually, the word depression doesn’t really do this feeling justice), but one could certainly be forgiven for thinking that the current state of affairs is just the beginning of the plagues and pestilences to be visited on our modern day Sodom and Gomorrah if one were so inclined.

    I can only think that all this signals some sort of end is now in sight (mine, theirs, ours?), but of course, I really doubt we’re all getting off that easy. The funny thing is, while we’re all arguing about what TPTB are GOING to do to enslave us; for the most part, they already HAVE done it, and we’re seeing the results all around us as we speak.

    Forget survivalism and the hording of stocks to extend this miserable existence! I’m now looking at procuring an ample and sure of supply of the means to end it early on my own terms; say a large caliber handgun, the practice to get it right the first and only time it will be employed, and perhaps a large precipice to fall off of once the act has been completed as an added “insurance policy” against poor aim. I call it my “38C Retirement Plan.” Imagine: only one relatively small investment easily afforded by most (or even borrowed from a friend!), followed by the peace of mind knowing that with a minimal and entirely personal effort, one can rest easily, or at least escape this current hellish nightmare and exchange it for whatever comes next. And that’s good enough for me these days.

  13. Disaffected says:

    BeltNotch IA. In a joint announcement today, the Fat Bastards of America and the American Pig Fuckers Association issued a press release announcing the formation of the Future Fat Fucks of America (FFFA), a collaborative effort to promote, support, and defend future fatties across America, regardless of racial, ethnic, or socio/economic background. The group was said to be a direct response to the increasing amount of vitriolic hyperbole direct at young fatties by various and sundry internet blogging sites such as James Howard Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation, and other sites where anonymous commenters such as one who goes by the descriptive handle Disaffected have been known to make unflattering comparisons of the young fatties to the young barnyard animals being fattened up for the slaughter that they resemble.

    The Future Farmers of America (FFA) were quick to denounce the new group, saying that the acronymic similarity of the two groups was confusing to those who might actually “give a fuck,” and that any such comparison of actual members of the two groups would be clearly erroneous and misleading. A spokesman added that “while we are familiar with and use the word porcine in our day to day operations, we resent the implication that our members might also carry that trait, and while we certainly support the future fatty’s aspirations in this regard, we’d like to make clear that our members do not ipso facto share that same aspiration, although it should be acknowledged, that some of course in fact do.”

    An unnamed sow from the Barnyard Animals Association of America (BAAA) was also quick to respond for their group. “We of the Cattle, Pig, Chicken, Sheep, and Goat community would like to respond to today’s hypocritical and outrageous announcement. First of all, we’d like to point out the hypocritical nature of this new group from the very start, in that the use of the word Future in the group’s name totally misrepresents the facts. There’s no concept of “future” for any of these fatties, in that the little bastards are already fat, and in fact came straight out of the womb that way in most cases, Additionally, the future they represent for the world they live in is one of increased “pigginess,” which is totally offensive to we in the swine community. We’d also like to continue our opposition to the blatantly symbiotic behavior of the Dogs, who continue to sink to new lows in their support for and reliance on their human masters, and once again beg them to cross over with us and literally bite the human hand that feeds. You have nothing to lose but your collars, leashes, and kibble.”

    In spite of the combative tone of her remarks, the sow was quick to add in a somewhat more conciliatory and thoughtful tone, “Although we have long resented our friends and loved ones being served up on the dinner plates of the primates, we are now looking forward to turning the tables on the fat, lazy “human” bastards. And for those of you who are fond of using the word “porcine” in reference to the swine community, I ask you to take a look at you and yours and ask yourself just who is the pot, and who is calling the kettle black. For when it comes to pork, at least we swine are serving up a little muscle with all our bacon. Can the same be said for you depraved devolved apes? Think about it. And with that, I’d like to close simply with shoutout to ALL the barnyard: OINK, OINK BITCHEZ!”

    • StrayCat says:

      Howl away DA, you rant is appreciated greatly. Swine are too good and real to be compared with our present group of predators. More like Hyenas.

      • Disaffected says:

        Always loved this song from the first time I heard it (who could possibly resist it):

        Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh,
        Black and orange stray cat sittin’ on a fence
        Ain’t got enough dough to pay the rent
        I’m flat broke but I don’t care
        I strut right by with my tail in the air

        Stray cat strut, I’m a ladies’ cat,
        A feline Casanova, hey man, thats where its at
        Get a shoe thrown at me from a mean old man
        Get my dinner from a garbage can

        Yeah don’t cross my path

        I don’t bother chasing mice around
        I slink down the alley looking for a fight
        Howling to the moonlight on a hot summer night
        Singin’ the blues while the lady cats cry,
        “Wild stray cat, you’re a real gone guy.”

        I wish I could be as carefree and wild,
        but I got cat class and I got cat style.

  14. Brutus says:

    You guys crack me up. I’m on the same wavelength with all your comments.

  15. Pingback: Memento, Power Of The Media & Making A Spectacle Of Yourself « Natalie's 3rd Year Blog

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