Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No more champagne and the fireworks are through

Some people like to play Ald Lang Syne every new year. I was an ABBA fan as a teenager, so this is my New Years Day song. It was written for the 1980 New Year, but of course we know that the new decade doesn't really begin until the year ending in "1". The lyrics are very Doomer-friendly, of course, as the Zeitgeist of the late seventies wasn't exactly optimistic. Of course, we buried our justified pessimism by blowing through our last stores of cheap fossil fuels in a massive growth-for-the-sake-of-growth binge, all the while doing nothing to prepare for the coming Age of Scarcity, so....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Civil religion in an age of collapse is for the birds



To understand from where I am coming in this post, it is probably helpful to read John Michael Greer's blog-post on The Fate of Civil Religion. If you don't feel like doing that, what the post is about is how people in the modern world make quasi-religions out of politics and other non-theist ideas, and one major drawback of that sort of religion is that being of this world, it is very brittle and prone to cognitive dissonance because its premises are inherently falsifiable. Greer's classic example is the way communist ideology definitely became such a religion, and when the communist regimes of the previous century proved unable to deliver the promised paradise on Earth, very many people simply stopped believing altogether. These days the only old-fashioned Marxists you tend to find, in the USA anyway, are ivory-tower academic types or splinter-party cultists who get together every now and then and grimly pretend that the very flow of history they revere hasn't left them flat on their backs in a dusty ditch somewhere.

I see the Democratic Party civil religion as now arriving at a similar point in its particular journey. Don't get me wrong, here. I am most certainly not comparing post-World-War-Two American liberal ideology with the ideology of the old USSR and its now-defunct client-states. I'll leave that sort of invidious comparison to the slavering, inbred fuckwits who live in Glenn Beck-istan and need right-wing talk-radio to tell them when to eat, sleep, shit, and play with themselves. The only respect in which I am comparing liberal Democratic-Party faith and Marxist ideology is that the adherents of both have become devotees of a sad ghost of a bygone era that will never be able to deliver a different and better world.

An instructive metaphor may be helpful here. I see supporters of the Democratic Party faith as being a bunch of people, many of them in hipster garb, running down the street chasing after something that passersby can't see because that something simply isn't there. It looks awfully futile and silly to the passersby, but the folks who are doing this clearly have an emotional investment in maintaining their pretense that keeps them existentially intact somehow. Now, just as long as the pursuers aren't interfering with the business of the passersby and the pursuers feel this is something they really need to be doing, the more rational and well-adjusted passersby won't attempt to interfere with the contrived business of the pursuers. After all, any passersby or apostate pursuers who would get all caught up in attempting to stop any of the pursuers and show them the error of their ways would be just as silly and codependent as the pursuers themselves. In fact, such people would certainly turn out to have issues of their own that they might be doing a much better job of managing instead of trying to set other people right.

To extend the metaphor a bit, I can easily imagine an intelligent grade-school-aged boy asking his mother why those people are so frantically engaged in an endeavor that appears to be so imagination-based from everybody else's point of view. The boy's mother would distractedly reply, "That's just their religion, honey" and the young lad would nod in sudden clarifying comprehension. Indeed, if you look at such devotion to the politics of the weak and dying Democratic Party as this devotion exists on the Internet, calling it religion is not just a cute metaphor employed by cynics such as yours truly looking for some clever new way to make our point. This devotion is increasingly using not just the attitude but the language of religion, and it really is old-fashioned, service-attending, heretic-excoriating, demonology-obsessing religion in the truest sense of the word. As such, it is inherently non-falsifiable and more about keeping the psyches of the remaining faithful intact than it is about any concurrent social, political, or economic reality. And I really do think that the only way one can deny this is if one is a devotee of this religion who doesn't wish to admit that it has become a civil religion.

I suppose if I would have realized this sooner, I wouldn't have felt the need to waste all this time commenting on it and simply decided that I'm probably too much of an old-fashioned theist religionist (I suppose it would be not entirely unfair to describe me as a reconstituted or reformed New Ager, even though I don't think there's going to be any freaking "New Age" of goodness and sweetness and light in this world anytime soon) to be able to go there with the Democratic Party civil religionists of my era. Devoting oneself so thoroughly to an entity as manifestly unworthy as the Democratic Party of the USA seems to me to be about as creepy and sad as creepy and sad gets. Besides, I've done the civil-religion thing back when I was a know-it-all denizen of the college PC scene (which is, let's face it, mostly a post-modern reconstitution of Marxist ideology), and to say I ultimately found it unrewarding and untrue would be the understatement of the year. Those idiots including myself were much bigger losers then the Democratic Party's codependent doormat supporters ever could be.

If my "civil atheism" somehow qualifies as a species of civil religion, in the same way that today's atheist-skeptic orthodoxy has become a religion in its own right, I guess I can live with that. I'm not going to sit here and fatuously claim, "What I believe isn't a civil religion because I'm always right about absolutely everything!" in a manner comparable to some sophomoric Richard Dawkins fanboy from Reddit.com.

Considering that we're facing some pretty harsh shit as a civilization in terms of exhausting energy and resources, pollution, agricultural exhaustion, and climate-change, it probably is rather uncharitable of me to paint liberal supporters of the decidedly not-liberal modern Democratic Party as being nothing but silly nincompoops because I'm sure that's not all there is to them. They do have some significant awareness that things are changing for the worse and that changing how we do things would be a good idea in the face of that. Even if the approach they continually pursue is based upon an illusion, their wanting to do something about the troubled nature of current human life in this world comes from an essentially good place. I guess where I part company with them is in being of the mind that things have progressed too far to halt or significantly mitigate any consequences of what is charging at us over the horizon, and US society is too locked into the way it now is for it to be anything but too late. Whatever is going to happen is simply going to happen.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Well, du-uh!

Princeton [study] makes it official: USA has become [an] oligarchy, [there] is no democracy

This blog will likely fall into increasing disuse in the near future. Things are now at the point where everybody who cares either realizes this or is too addicted to false hope to do anything except just keep right on "shootin' up".

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Collapse is ringing the doorbell and loudly announcing that it ain't going away

As usual, other bloggers do a better job at explaining the omens and portents better than I ever could, so I shall simply link to them.

James Howard Kunstler explains why the surging US Dollar and the falling price of oil are not actually signs of President Obama-sama's brilliant leadership.

Reverse Engineer podcasts about the deflation and currency wars that are now in their early stages.

Steve from Virginia explains how and why we are nearing the apex of what has been labelled his "Triangle of Doom".

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Archdruid Report: Dark Age America: The End of the Market Economy

The Archdruid Report: Dark Age America: The End of the Market Economy

One thing I appreciate about this latest entry from John Michael Greer is the brief section where he explains why Marxist dogma, while providing a decent critique of industrial capitalism's failings, is nonetheless an unnecessary intellectual cage.

What was true twenty years ago remains every bit as true today



US elections: Deja vu all over again by Shamus Cooke writing at the Global Research Centre's Global Research website.

Cooke ends his article with a fairly standard socialist prescription with which I have no real theoretical dispute:

Third parties don’t spring out of the air. They are built by organizations with pre-existing resources and large memberships, like labor unions and other large community organizations. The various failed attempts at creating third parties in the U.S. can be blamed on the lack of any large national working class organization investing in them.

A workers’ party financed and co-organized by the unions has that ability to smash the two-party system. Such a party can’t compete with the Wall Street cash, but it can use its resources and membership to rally the broader country around a progressive platform of green job creation to fight climate change, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and taxing the rich and big corporations to pay for better schools and other vital social programs. Such demands would reverberate across the country in a political landscape where working people’s aspirations are complete ignored.

On a practical level, I'm not sure how realistic this is. Our two parties in this country are as much formal public institutions as they are traditional political parties (that's why if I could scrape together five hundred bucks and collect enough signatures, I could actually run as a Republican candidate for governor or US senator here in Wisconsin), and there are laws in place designed to make it more difficult for a third party to get off the ground. One solution would be for a socialistic third party to do what the Working Families Party of New York state does and back Democrats who mostly agree with their positions but run their own candidates when the Democratic choice is a blow-dried hack in the mold of John Kerry. But a mass-based third party of the left would also likely find itself coming up against the sort of institutional plutocratic harassment that the now-defunct "Occupy" movement did. If the idiot-squad of the college-campus left gets involved in any potential leftist third party the way they did the "Occupy" movement, then there you have a fairly built-in guarantee of failure from the get-go. And also, it's pretty late in the game for any new players to be entering the field. I'm still thinking that whatever is now likely to happen is simply going to happen.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Wisconsin is now officially a red(neck) state



Come on, we all knew it as going to happen.

Much of this stinging defeat, I tend to think, has to do with the fact that the sort of voters upon whom we once upon a time relied to save us from the likes of Scott Walker and ALEC have left the state for greener pastures. Wisconsin simply isn't the culturally and economically "happening" place it used to be, and so intelligent and talented people have been leaving.

As to the main reason why Burke lost, I think a Reddit.com user on the Wisconsin Subreddit known as corduroyblack summed it up best:

I mean, nominate a businesswoman who was handed her position in business thanks to nepotism, has no political experience but a school board position she basically bought in the most liberal city in the state, and her only other experience was two years in the cabinet of the previous democrat governor who just so happen to leave office right before a massive recession. And add in the not so minor detail that she's never been married, has no children, and really has nothing in common with 95% of the people in the state.

And in continuation with this blog's tradition of telling people things they don't want to hear, I'll let you my three or so readers in on some scuttlebutt: There was a user on that subreddit who is a Wisconsin state employee who hates Walker on account of the witch-hunt going on within the ranks of his segment of the state government workforce based on who signed the recall petition back in 2012. According to this employee, a section of his colleagues who feel as he does about Walker decided to just abstain from voting in the gubernatorial race on account of their experience of working for Mary Burke when she was the commerce secretary. These state employees felt she was an incompetent disaster.

I realize that sounds rather like something I'm pulling out of my asshole. That is why I would refer the reader to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about Burke being dismissed from her position at Trek Bicycle. This isn't about the main topic of the story, because the one of the two witnesses who is way more credible doesn't think Burke was necessarily incompetent as a corporate executive, just that dealing with people from all those different cultures made that job too much for her. But what confirmed what I heard in that bit of admittedly questionable subreddit-gossip was this quote from an individual in state government who worked under Mary Burke when she was commerce secretary:

In a September 2006 email that first surfaced two weeks ago, [Cory] Nettles expressed a far harsher opinion of Burke.

"She's a disaster," Nettles wrote at the time to another political appointee who was still working under Burke at the state Department of Commerce.

Nettles recently said the note does not represent his current view of Burke's two-plus years running the commerce agency.

Nettles's recent denial of what he said previously doesn't sound terribly credible. What, after all, would have made him change his mind about such a strongly-held opinion?

So why did the Wisconsin Democratic Party choose such a weak candidate for such a vital race? One of two possibilities suggest themselves: They are either stupid and incompetent, or they simply took a dive. At this point, I find it fairly easy to believe both. As for Burke herself, I guess I feel about her the way I felt about Tom Barrett in the recall election: Her heart was certainly in the right place, but that wasn't enough to make her a strong choice for the candidacy in question. Both Barrett and Burke, after all, ran on not much more than not being Scott Walker, and as John Kerry learned in 2004, that particular tactic usually just isn't enough to carry the day in an election.

As you would expect, both houses of our well and truly gerrymandered state legislature also remain in Republican hands.

The national results appear equally grim for the inept and clueless Democratic Party. I would attribute at least some of this result to the fact that people aren't really all that enthusiastic about Obamacare now that it's here, all the Democratic-leaning blogs and websites drinking the Kool-Aid about it notwithstanding. President Obama tried to combine providing near-universal health-insurance coverage while also preserving the "for-profit" nature of the US healthcare system. These two goals are simply not compatible, and popping the economic healthcare bubble by instituting national single-payer healthcare isn't going to be an option on the table. I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact that we're going to see a lot of this country's contradictions, conflicts, and ugly side come to the surface in a very nasty and obnoxious way now that we no longer have unlimited access to cheap and abundant energy and resources.

The Democratic Party's codependent doormat supporters will, of course, double down and mainline the Kool-Aid (not just about Obamacare) with a syringe and a tourniquet. But that's their choice and really none of my beeswax. As for me, I can now fully accept that whatever is going to happen is simply going to happen, and it will certainly not be good, and just fucking let it go and not feel the least bit bad about it. Going to demonstrations isn't going to help (and will probably backfire in the unlikely event they succeed in drawing any media attention), voting isn't going to help, writing to your elected representatives isn't going to help, because the Democratic Party is a joke, the plutocrats can buy any political race or politician they want to buy, the plutocrats also own the media, and the electorate is flat-out ignorant.

In fact, I intend to celebrate my new-found freedom from the malign influence of the politics industry tonight with some blue corn-chips and habanero picante sauce. Though I have to admit that even though I am accepting this intellectually, on the emotional level, there is part of me that is somewhat "having a cow" that we're really this fucked up of a state and a country now. But then again, any grieving process is bound to a complex and multi-faceted thing. As Reverse Engineer at Doomstead Diner is fond of saying, "See you on the other side!"

Monday, November 03, 2014

The First Honest Cable Company



But surely the Democrats will save us. Because we all know you're a secret Republican if you don't think so.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Th-th-that's all, folks!



Well, according to Nate Silver's generally accurate political website, Scott Walker stands seventy-six percent chance of winning his re-election battle. And I not only early voted for Mary Burke on Monday, October 20, I also donated money despite previously promising myself I was done giving the frauds and fools of the inept Democratic Party political machine any more cash. So I did my part to stop my beloved home state from becoming a "red state", apparently to no avail.

While this certainly isn't a good thing, it's always important to see the silver lining on the cloud. And in this case, the silver lining is a pretty major one, in other words, being done with the sorry-ass politics industry in this country and getting to the point where I can truly accept that whatever is going to happen is simply going to happen. The race looks to be pretty close, so I'll save dumping my usual bucket of piss and vinegar on the hacks of the Democratic Party until Wednesday.

I'll have egg on my face in a pretty major way if it turns out Nate Silver is wrong, but in such a case, it will be good to be wrong.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

One thing to worry about with regard to the ebola epidemic

I have been noting with concern the emerging stories about doctors and healthcare workers who had all the modern protections while providing care for ebola-patients, getting ebola just the same. That makes David Lindorff's point about the plantation-like work-system in the USA (not to mention our thoroughly-broken for-profit healthcare system) reason to be even more concerned, if not downright worried.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ebola: Get the facts, not the hysteria

In furtherance of this blog's tradition of telling people things they might not want to hear (in this case, people who want to stir up as much fear about the ebola epidemic as they can get away with), I recommend the following reality-based perspectives:

Ebola is not a bio-weapon by Nicholas G Evans writing for Slate.com.

The money quote:

And no—even though you may have heard this—Ebola is not “airborne.” The one study everyone talks about showed that pigs could transmit Ebola to macaques through an unknown mechanism that may have involved respiratory droplets. The researchers noted, however, that they couldn’t get macaques to transmit it to each other. The take-home from the study is really that pigs can spread Ebola.

From the same website, Ebola is no measles: That's a good thing by Gerardo Chowell-Puente.

The money quote:

Ebola’s reproductive rate is significantly lower than either measles in the prevaccination days or the Spanish flu, but it’s high enough that Ebola will not peter out on its own. Our 2004 work, which produced the first estimates for Ebola’s reproductive rate by using mathematical modeling and epidemiological data from the West African outbreaks, found that each case of Ebola produced 1.3 to 1.8 secondary cases on average. This ongoing outbreak, a colleague and I recently found, has a reproductive rate that is about the same. If allowed to spread unchecked, Ebola retains its ability to get out of control. But at least this is essentially the same virus we saw previously. It hasn’t become more transmissible in the more than 10 years it was lying low—and humankind has experience in dealing with it. We know that it takes substantial contact for Ebola to spread: Someone has to touch or ingest infected body fluids. So last time, health care workers contained the outbreaks by isolating infectious individuals; providing more gloves, face masks, and gowns in hospitals and clinics—and requiring nurses, doctors, and other health care providers to wear them; having trained personnel handle the bodies of the deceased (rather than allowing family members to commune with the body, as favored by many West African cultural traditions); and tracing contacts from infectious individuals immediately to isolate potentially new infectious cases.

Monday, August 11, 2014

No shit, Sherlock!

"Everyone I know is brokenhearted" by Josh Ellis at Zenarchery.com.

To that I would only add the qualifier "Everyone who's not living in some prefabricated fantasy-world like a good little middle-class drone".

Teaser:

All the genuinely smart, talented, funny people I know seem to be miserable these days. You feel it on Twitter more than Facebook, because Facebook is where you go to do your performance art where you pretend to be a hip, urbane person with the most awesomest friends and the best relationships and the very best lunches ever. Facebook is surface; Twitter is subtext, and judging by what I’ve seen, the subtext is aching sadness.

I’m not immune to this. I don’t remember ever feeling this miserable and depressed in my life, this sense of futility that makes you wish you’d simply go numb and not care anymore. I think a lot about killing myself these days. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do it and this isn’t a cry for help. But I wake up and think: fuck, more of this? Really? How much more? And is it really worth it?

In my case, much of it stems from my divorce and the collapse of the next relationship I had. But that’s not really the cause. I think that those relationships were bulwarks, charms against the dark I’ve felt growing in this world for a long time now. When I was in love, the world outside didn’t matter so much. But without it, there is nothing keeping the wolf from the door.

It didn’t used to be like this when I was a kid. I’m not getting nostalgic here, or pretending that my adolescence and my twenties were some kind of soft-focused Golden Age. Life sucked when I was young. I was unhappy then too. But there was always the sense that it was just a temporary thing, that if I stuck it out eventually the world was going to get better — become awesome, in fact.

But the reality is that the three generations who ended the 20th century, the Boomers, their Generation X children, and Generation Y, have architected a Western civilization that’s kind of a shit show. Being born in 1978, I fall at either the tail end of Gen X or the beginning of Gen Y, depending on how you look at it. I became an adolescent at the time Nirvana was ushering in a decade of “slacker” ideology, as the pundits liked to put it. But the reality is that I didn’t know a whole lot of actual slackers in the 1990s. I did know a lot of people who found themselves disillusioned with the materialism of the 1980s and what we saw as the failed rhetoric of the Sixties generation, who were all about peace and love right until the time they put on suits and ties and figured out how to divide up the world. I knew a lot of people who weren’t very interested in that path…


Sometimes it really does feel like we're living in 1985's Day of the Dead.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Coronal mass ejection doom

I have a comment I made on John Michael Greer's "The Archdruid Report" blog that I copied to my clipboard in case Blogger.com ate my comment while I was in the process of posting it. So I may as well copy it here and turn it into a post.



This post provided some very delicious and exotic food for thought as usual. It certainly comes as no surprise that the ancient Greeks were equal to the task of inventing and constructing a working steam engine, at least if their philosophy is any solid indicator of their cultural intellectual prowess.

If you'll forgive me for veering off-topic just a little bit, I read some news today (oh boy!) that spoke of an apocalypse. Well, maybe not really, I just wanted to preserve the meter of the beloved old "Beatles" song! Seriously though, this article in the UK newspaper The Guardian described a coronal mass ejection (CME) event that might have brought down the electrical grid, everything that relies on it, and most modern communication systems too, had our planet been in its line of fire. And we would have been, too, had this CME erupted in the same way a week earlier than it did.

Considering where we are in terms of resource depletion and resulting economic near-exhaustion (a fancy way of describing the way the world's industrial societies are pretty much hanging on by the proverbial thread these days), I really do think this would have precipitated a "fast-crash" event, or something close enough to a fast-crash that it would certainly have been the primary turning point in the decline of industrial society.

It wouldn't have been an apocalypse in the traditional religious sense, but the hardship and mayhem that would have ensued certainly would have resulted in very many people calling it the apocalypse. The fact that it would have happened in 2012 would certainly have added to the temptation to call it just that. I have to admit, the new ager in me has to wonder if that CME would have hit us were it not for the spiritual growth of ordinary humans ultimately redeeming us from being hit with "the worst". What do you think? :-)

Monday, July 21, 2014

The downed Malaysian airliner: Whodunnit?

There's something about the spin being perpetuated by the Western media that just doesn't smell right to me at all.

But I will admit, the way the separatists are blocking access to the crash site and holding onto the bodies of the passengers really doesn't look good.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Stonekettle Station: Self Evident Truths

The underlying truth of Jim Wright's essay linked below, is that a democratic republic such as ours will only be as good as the people who are its constituent elements.  The reason I strongly suspect that it's all over for the USA in the very near future is that we have and always have had a disproportionate number of deranged morons in our population, and a lot of these people are the class-narcissists who have the largest percentage of money and wield all of the real power.  When this reality collides with the reality of resource depletion and ecological collapse, I can't imagine how we're going to deal with it all.  Please, American people, prove me wrong!  But both my gut and my rational mind continue to tell me that you probably won't.

Stonekettle Station: Self Evident Truths: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rig...

Saturday, July 05, 2014

One last precious chance

One may well wonder why I'm willing to give voting as means of changing things one last precious chance in the face of all the evidence that one may as well piss in the wind. Paul Krugman in one of his recent columns does a good job of explaining what is at stake and why.

If the people of Wisconsin are dumb enough to keep Scott Walker in power because of ignorance, apathy, or some paltry tax-cuts that mostly benefit the rich, then they will deserve whatever they get as a consequence. End of story.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Archdruid Report: In a Handful of Dust

The Archdruid Report: In a Handful of Dust: All things considered, it’s a good time to think about how much we can know about the future in advance. A hundred years ago last Saturday...

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

"Get ready for an even bigger threat to Obamacare"

I've long thought that Obamacare is an ass-backward Rube Goldberg device that will likely blow up in the Democratic Party's face in a very major way. Well, it would appear that I may possibly soon be vindicated in that opinion, despite being a very bad robot-boy whom Democratic Party Kool-Aid drinkers don't like. Who'd have thunk!

And here's a bone-us op-ed about why Obama ain't doin' so hot, no matter from which perspective you view his administration. Yes, some of the fault definitely goes to the Republicans here, but that only buttresses my belief that our political system is fundamentally sick and broken because the societal and cultural context in which it exists is fundamentally sick and broken. And I have to say that I never cease to be amazed by the sheer volume of pure cognitive dissonance it takes to prevent oneself from recognizing this obvious and fundamental fact.

Lately it just seems as though all this political sound and fury is merely more empty words that we don't really need.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bowe Bergdahl is mentally ill

This piece from The Washington Post effectively sums up what happened with this guy and why. Basically, Bowe Bergdahl never should never have been allowed in the US Army at all. The man had a history of hearing voices, for fuck's sake.

Edited to add bone-us links: Bowe Bergdahl did not help Taliban, according to a US Army investigation. Also, Bowe Bergdahl lodged false war crime allegations against his unit, according to a soldier who served with him in that unit. That Bergdahl was of one mind in his communications with his parents and another with the soldiers in his unit really tends to verify that the kid is as loony as a three-dollar bill, and it would have been wrong to leave a severe mental patient to the tender mercies of the Taliban.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown

From the UK newspaper The Guardian.

Gee, you mean the Democrats/ Republicans/ Libertarians aren't going to save us?

Monday, June 09, 2014

Sunday, June 08, 2014

This Bowe Bergdahl thing

Here is an overview of the specific components of the controversy. It may be that Bowe Bergdahl is a military-deserter, but the fact remains that we don't know that for certain. There needs to be an investigation, which I have no doubt the military will conduct. And while American soldiers may have died in the search for Bergdahl, that's not exactly and open-and-shut case.

Regardless of all of that, it's not just hard-lefties such as myself who think President Obama did the right thing here. But unsurprisingly, the hard right appears to have made up its mind already, facts be damned, never mind that Republicans were pressuring the Obama Adminstration to do something to retrieve Bergdahl. And they are behaving pretty much the way one would expect them to behave once they've focused on such a potent catalyst for their pathological Obama-hatred. It also bears pointing out that Israel has made vastly more lopsided prisoner-swap deals with its enemies in order retrieve their abducted soldiers.

And as long as this post is essentially a link-stew, this in-depth Rolling Stone article about Bowe Bergdahl's situation from two years ago is a must-read.

Oh, and I can't forget my entirely gratuitous video-posting, can I? This one is for the movement-conservative pissants and their Pretty Hate Machine:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

University president salaries skyrocket despite spiraling student debt

There are three major parasites on the US economy: The military-industrial complex, the medical-industrial complex, and the higher education racket.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The teatard medicine doesn't work

It doesn't work in Wisconsin, and it doesn't work in Kansas. But I'm sure that's exactly what the plutocrats want. After all, their ultimate goal is for the vast teeming majority of the population to be their serfs in the now-unfolding age of scarcity and decline. Welcome to the elder George Bush's glorious new world order studded with a thousand points of light!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Obama gives net neutrality the finger

Imagine my shock!

Actually, what amazes me is the willful refusal of the Democratic Party Kool-Aid drinkers to realize that the Republicans would not have been able to get as far as they have without the Democrats either passively or actively enabling them nearly every step of the way over the past thirty years. But then again, it's not unusual for those who are locked up in a cult mindset to double down when confronted with evidence that their view of the world is missing the mark.

And this is for Monster from the Id in case he never finds his old record:

When it comes to setting policy, the views of the rich seem to count for more

As if those of us who aren't drinking one flavor of Kool-Aid or another haven't figured this out already, an article in The Economist sagely informs us why it's not a good idea to base your sense of purpose in life on being able to influence the decisions made in the centers of power. And that is because, if you're not rich, you won't be able to do so. At least if you live in America.

This is not to say that the Democrats are exactly the same as the Republicans. Of course they're not. The problem lies in the fact that the Democrats are an entirely inadequate opposition party to the Republicans, and this is largely by design. Of course, if beating your head against a brick wall and gunpoint-optimism are your cup of Earl Grey, then hey, whatever gets you through the night! Just don't expect the rest of us to be enthusiastic about such an utterly grim prospect.

And as long as I'm at my keyboard typing a post, here's some Doomer-gruel for you: An article from the Irish Examiner that describes annual honeybee die-offs in the USA as "economically unsustainable". And of course, the neonicotinoid pesticide makers are denying their increasingly obvious role in this catastrophe. But it's okay. I'm sure the Democrats will save us. After all, it's not as if the Democrats are beholden to any corporate interests whose policies and practices are bringing the demise of civilization as we know it ever closer! :-D

It's hard to believe that a Gloomy Gus such as myself came of age during the "can-do" nineteen-eighties. Or maybe that's exactly why I'm so predisposed.



Yes, I like embedding YouTube videos for the fuck of it. What about it?

Friday, May 02, 2014

The Archdruid Report: The Time of the Seedbearers

The Archdruid Report: The Time of the Seedbearers: Myths, according to the philosopher Sallust, are things that never happened but always are. With a few modifications, the same rule appli...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

About ready to throw in the towel

Being born and raised in Wisconsin, I had that Midwestern civic-mindedness drilled into me from a pretty early age. But now our sad, sorry political system has brought me to the point where I am ready to throw in the towel and become a permanent non-voter.

When I first learned about Peak Oil and Gas more than a decade ago, I held out hope that the Democratic Party could be vehicle for mitigating the worst vicissitudes of the coming decline and eventual collapse of industrial civilization. Looking back, that seems terribly naive, but sometimes one must try to work with what one has. After Prez Obama-sama turned out to be about anything but "hope and change", I had pretty much arrived at that point by 2010, so I sat out that election. Then came Scott Walker and his campaign to strip the state-worker unions of most of their collective bargaining ability. It was truly shocking to see how fiercely proud the right had become of being so completely full of ignorance and hate. The resulting demonstrations in Madison in early 2011 breathed new life into my support for the Democratic Party. But the party squandered all that energy and enthusiasm that came its way by putting up the guy who lost the original election in the recall race against Walker. Don't get me wrong. Barrett is a good man and he was a way better choice than that popinjay Kathleen Falk, and I would have liked to have seen him win. But by the start of February of 2012, I had a feeling that he wouldn't, and that feeling was correct. But I knew my home state, and I was pretty sure that old-fashioned, straight-laced Wisconsin didn't want to recall an official who wasn't guilty of any high crimes or misdemeanors that had been substantively proven.

In the time that has passed between election 2010 and now, I really have to say that the co-dependent hanging on and self-delusion of the Democratic Party Kool-Aid drinkers has been bringing me steadily closer rather than further away from throwing in the towel for good. Now I'm at the point where I mostly detest Scott Walker for getting people so riled up that I decided to go back to the fountain a few more times for more helpings of that Kool-Aid. If holding on to false hope (which is a sign of courage and integrity exactly how?) is what gets them through the night, then fine, since whatever is likely to happen will happen regardless of what anybody does. But straw-man-ing the holy crap out of realists who call see things as they see them on their own blogs, is truly the behavior of desperate people who see their carefully-constructed fantasy-world crumbling all around them and consequently have to lash out at those who tell them "This is what I said would happen." It's really quite pathetic and does nothing to make me want to take up the Kool-Aid pitcher yet again.

I remember how eloquent these Democratic bloggers were in heaping well-deserved scorn upon the Bush Administration for its war and civic crimes. But I also remember that when the Obama Administration perpetuated and extended those errors, we camp followers who questioned this found ourselves excoriated as if we were those same war criminals and accused of somehow being in league with them by whom we were forced to realize were mere shills and co-dependent Kool-Aid drinkers. It appeared that ideals were only useful to some people when they served partisan goals. And couching it all in American gunpoint-optimism certainly didn't make it anything other than cynical tribalism. But such is what comes of what Archdruid John Michael Greer calls "knowing only one story", or believing in a single mythic narrative that supposedly explains everything about the world, particularly when this single story prominently involves one kind of demonology or another.

And so in 2014 with Governor Walker up for re-election, our complacent, craven, ignorant, and politically incompetent Wisconsin Democratic Party is putting up a political hack named Mary Burke up against Walker. She is an establishment Democrat not well-suited to win against Walker, and this is the choice the chief politicos of the Wisconsin Democratic Party is imposing on their voters, forget about any primary. Her political experience consists solely of being an appointee of Governor Doyle's administration who was in the post for a very short time, and this position was clearly a reward for a big campaign donation. (This is a standard practice in state-level politics.) Oh yeah, I guess she also had a seat on the Madison school-board that she essentially bought. Don't get me wrong, I made a decision three years ago that I was going to be "in for a penny, in for a pound" against Scott Walker, so I will vote in one more election. But if Mary Burke loses, that will be it for me because I have had it with playing Charlie Brown to the Democratic Party's Lucy with the football.



Another beef I have with the Democratic Party is Obamacare. While the roll-out is less of a clusterfuck than it was six months ago, it's not really making health insurance affordable for working-class people. The only thing Obamacare is going to mean for a lot of working people is a four-hundred dollar hit on their 2014 taxes that will make their situation worse, not better. Of course, since I am voting in the upcoming election regardless, Obamacare will have a total of almost three years to prove me wrong. But somehow, I don't think it will, because these days, I usually end up being right about these things. And the righter you are, the more shit you get for it.

And if the Democrats are doing such a bang-up job in nominating hacks such as Mary Burke and with Obamacare, then why are millenials planning on mostly staying away from the polls this November, huh? Keep in mind that the twenty-somethings was the only group that Barrett won in the recall election that he lost, so this is the group upon which Democratic victories largely depend now. But for some reason, they are not impressed with what they see. I would remind the reader of economist Thomas Pikkety's exhaustive academic study that reveals that the average person has almost no say, short of shouting into the wind (as I am doing with this very blog), in what is ultimately decided in the centers of power in the USA.

Those disillusioned millenials are certainly aware of that without any help from Mr. Pikkety. But rather than allow myself to be trapped in a false dichotomy of false hope or despair, I would submit that there is a third option. This option is calm acceptance of the way things are and what is likely to happen, and the cultivation of spiritual growth in change in the face of a society that has almost entirely forgotten what those things even are. If I can do it, anybody can do it. :-)