Wednesday, August 31, 2011

US involvement in Libya

While there were undoubtedly some things that were extremely fucked up about the regime of Moammar al-Gadhafi, there was also an aspect to it that involved sharing some of the country's oil revenues with the people through popular social programs. In order to do this, control of Libya's oil production and sale necessarily had to be nationalized. To put an end to this for the benefit of the US and its NATO allies likely had a great deal to do with why the US invested as much as it did in the way of resources and effort to overthrow Gadhafi's "Green Revolution". After all, even the triumphant rebels themselves admit that they likely would have been crushed by Gadhafi's forces had it not been for NATO's intervention.

But even from a tactical "nuts-and-bolts" perspective, there is more to Gadhafi's ouster then what we're told by the mainstream press, and what the mainstream press is willing to relate is necessarily dumbed down to accomodate a domestic audience that believes that being a narcissistic fucking moron is a virtue.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Both sides do it"

I really do reject the whole notion that both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of the same degree of extremism and irrationality in exactly the same ways. They're just not. This line of nonsense would have us believe that the Democratic Party champions left-leaning values with the same tribalist zeal and fanaticism that highly partisan Republicans do right-leaning values. When you look at what's really going on, you see that the Democratic Party establishment has been backing away from defending left-leaning values while its supporters concoct increasingly absurd justifications why liberals should keep supporting them anyway.

But to deny that the Democratic Party has been playing a serious enabling role in the encroaching plutocratic and imperialistic realities of our age is to indulge a partisan Manicheism that is both self-deceiving and codependent. This sort of willful cognitive dissonance, however, is to be expected when people cling with a white-knuckled death-grip to defending the increasingly indefensible. In playing increasingly twisted mind-games with themselves to pretend that they are supporting something worth unconditional support, they are in fact supporting the very "Long March to the Right", as I call it, the countering of which is their supposed justification for this support.

I have to admit that the thing that is problematic about my own view of things is that I don't really have any alternative solutions to offer simply because I doubt that there are any to be had by way of conventional politics or perhaps any politics. We are entering an age of decline and contraction, and this reality is why the context in which our media and politics exist are irreparably sick and broken. Wishful thinking and codependent fantasies are not going to make it otherwise, and I feel sorry for those who insist on thinking that it will. If there is anything to be done, it lies in making specific preparations for dealing with an age of decline and collapse and attempting to bond with one's neighbors (difficult to do in a society as profoundly socially atomized as ours, I will readily admit) as we will need one another in order to deal with the coming difficult times. But as dubious and vague as this course of action sounds, one really must admit that it makes a lot more sense than expending one's time and energy supporting any of our dying society's decaying institutions.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

You heard it from Mr. Roboto first

If you're any sort of observer of US society, one thing with which you are all too familiar is the middle-class American tendency to cling to notions that are manifestly untrue to an utterly ridiculous extent. I like to point this out with the Orwell reference "2+2=5 and we've always been at war with Eurasia". As the various crises of deindustrialization rise and interact with one another to have a synergistic effect (this is known as "catabolic collapse"), I expect this characteristic to kick into high gear in a way that will be truly astonishing to witness. The Tea Partiers are the gold-plated, lemon-scented example of what I'm talking about here. But the phenomenon will be nearly universal. That's why I still expect to see Kostards and Democratic-Party Kool-Aid drinkers still rambling and ranting about how we have to support Obama and the Democrats long after martial law has been declared and elections have been cancelled.

You can take it for granted that people will deal with the ongoing catastrophe by waiting for some ideological Santa Claus to come sliding down the chimney, and they will base whatever decisions they make on this assumption. In the face of mounting evidence that "Santa ain't comin' down no chimney no time soon", they will simply "double-down" on their respective delusion of choice. This is what human nature does in the face of disastrous societal predicaments that are too massive for small groups of concerned citizens to deal with in the sense of "solving a problem". In a socially atomized society such as ours in which you have most people drinking one flavor of Kool-Aid or another to be able to deal with life when things are normal and stable, look for this phenomenon to metastasize like a cancer being fed pure estrogen when things are decidedly not normal and not stable.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Apple

Industrial economies are like an apple ripening on a tree branch. The first phase is the "green" phase in which there is room for a lot of growth, and that capacity for growth is what makes so much expansion and favorable change possible. The second phase is the "peak" phase, in which society has a great deal of surplus available to take care of people and for all kinds of grand projects, and here prosperity and growth are taken for granted as luxuries become viewed as necessities. The third phase is the "ripe" phase in which the apple falls to the ground and becomes soft and brown. In this phase, resources become more scarce and expensive and need to be rationed differently. This is where you really see the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer. This is where we are, and things are going to get worse, not better. The decay of the American industrial economy, not to mention the world industrial economy, is no more reversible than the decay of an apple fallen from its tree-branch.

This is why Keynesian spending doesn't work as well as it used to work. Because we're at our maximum capacity for growth, such social spending starts to encounter the principle of diminishing returns. In fact, you can pretty much count on all the usual solutions petering out in their effectiveness because the capacity for any further growth is now exhausted. And because you cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet, trying to recapture the growth phase will only yield mass-insanity such as the Tea Party.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Paul Craig Roberts gets it right

Could it have been any other way? Probably not.

The money quote:

In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.

Well, at least Mr. Krugman has a glimmering of understanding of what's really going on, as limited as even his perspective necessarily is. What he needs to understand is that the fixed political realities in play made the outcome virtually scripted if not fully scripted.