The Earth vs The American Dream. At least one of them must go.

The End of The American Dream

My current vehicle has hit the end of the line. The clutch and throw out bearing expired in a puff of foul smoke. This is the 5th time I have had this happen. It’s a 1998 Subaru and needs other work as well. It served me will taking me up and down I95 and around central Fl. but it’s time to let it go. The replacement will be of a similar sort. Newer but not new. I do not require a brand new car as I do not drive that much, but do need to on occasion.

As the saying goes we are living in interesting times. What Morris Berman calls the Waning of the Modern Ages. Like The Waning of the Middle Ages described by Dutch historian Johan Huizinga and the collapse of the Roman Empire as explained by Joseph Tainter in his “The Collapse of Complex Societies” our modern capitalistic society is coming apart. And as Morris Berman says

….like our own age, not much fun to live through. One reason for this is that the world is literally perched over an abyss. What lies ahead is largely unknown, and to have to hover over an abyss for a long time is, to put it colloquially, a bit of a drag. The same thing was true at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire as well, on the ruins of which the feudal system slowly arose.

The right knows this. The right knows that by admitting that our current free market capitalistic system is the direct cause of climate change and global warming is the death kneel of this system.

But the Right is not fooled: it sees Green as a Trojan horse for Red, the attempt “to abolish capitalism and replace it with some kind of eco-socialism.” It believes—correctly—that the politics of global warming is inevitably an attack on the American Dream, on the whole capitalist structure. Thus Larry Bell, in Climate of Corruption, argues that environmental politics is essentially about “transforming the American way of life in the interests of global wealth distribution”; and British writer James Delinpole notes that “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, [and] regulation.” Continue reading “The Earth vs The American Dream. At least one of them must go.”

Detoxing from the Market based Economy and why it’s Advisable

Money syringe – flickr

OK here we are. The FED is once again trying to get people to indulge themselves in more needless spending so as to keep the severely damaged heart of the economy from going into cardiac arrest. This time the stimulant is call QE3. And as Ives Smith says, forgetabtoutit.

But the elephant in the room is what, if anything, these measures will achieve in terms of real economy impact. “Let them eat stocks and housing” has not been terribly successful. Even with super low rates, it has also taken massive sequestering of inventories for the housing market to have the appearance of stabilizing. We have low household formation due to young adults facing high unemployment, low paying jobs with generally short job tenures, and heavy student debt burdens. On top of that, we have generational headwinds as boomers hit retirement age and want or need to downsize. Keeping money on sale is not going to induce banks to lend more if they can’t find enough qualified borrowers. And the consumer deleveraging story is not as positive as the statistics would lead you to believe. A lot of it is involuntary, meaning driven by foreclosures. In addition, retirees also curtail their spending thanks to the fall in interest income they’ve suffered under ZIRP.

. . . . .

And where does the Fed go if a financial crisis or other shock occurs?

The Fed failed to see the crisis coming, failed to push for restructuring of consumer, particularly mortgage, debt, and is now in full bore “if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” mode. And in the crisis, the Fed was slow to act and then overdid when it finally roused itself (remember “75 is the new 25″?) it looks as if the Bernanke Fed is incapable of looking at its own history. Continue reading “Detoxing from the Market based Economy and why it’s Advisable”

A Little Orlov in the Morning – Green Life Eco Fest

Green Life Eco Fest – March 22, 2011 from Dmitry Orlov on Vimeo.

It’s funny ya know. How even those on the far left politically are convinced that we can save our economy/government etc. if only we could find the right policies/representatives/etc.  Rather like someone with a know fatal disease is convinced they can get cured and live forever if only they could find the right treatment.    Denial and  delusion are very powerful mindsets.

Because of this I find Dmitri Orlov to be curiously refreshing.

Violators

One day late last September, my classroom began being dismantled. There was nothing I could do about it. It was completely out of my hands.

The logging trucks came and began removing the trees from the 720 acres of woodland where I had learned and where I had taught. I did not own this privately held land. I was a constant trespasser upon this ground, a violator, and had been one since childhood, instructed by my grandmother to always carry a jacket when exploring a piece of private property. The jacket was not to fend off a chill, but to hang over any ‘No Trespassing’ sign so you could honestly say you couldn’t see any sign in case you were caught violating.
no trespassing
Using this method, Grandma and I gathered apples, pears and blackberries from abandoned farmsteads and with my Aunties, I gathered up bushels of black walnuts, hazelnuts and an assortment of botanicals used medicinally and for Native American ceremonies. Continue reading “Violators”

Why the Military Is an Anachronism

WWII reenactment, Rockford, Illinois – Lyle Flickr Creative Commons

The other day I though I would surf over to Dpreview and check out the latest Digital SLR cameras from Nikon. I will admit it, I’m a Nikon bigot. The site reviews digital cameras and sometimes lenses. It’s pretty good with good comparisons, sample images and quality tests.

Yes I am lusting after the the Nikon D800, their latest offering in the pro-sumer or semi professional line. Excellent imaging even at ISO6400 and above. I have a D200 which is not that old but compared to the latest, it’s a 1957 Chevy.

And the newest Hasselblad medium format digital is even better. But then it’s 13 grand. We have the ability to find planets circulating other stars. Nearly every cell phone has a built in camera and the ability to upload images to the internet. We can eavesdrop on radio waves from other galaxies.

And here is the point of this diary – you can bet your sweet bippy the government, ours and others, have capabilities a few orders of magnitude better than what us lowly peons get to play with.

It’s a pretty good bet that no one country is going to invade another without someone knowing about it. Probably ahead of time. Continue reading “Why the Military Is an Anachronism”

The End of Capitalism? – David Harvey

This is a fairly long presentation by Dr. David Harvey given at the Penn Humanities Forum in Nov. of last year. He gives a very good history of the situation in Europe as well as here. What lead up to it, why it was inevitable and the obvious outcome. And as the title suggests, why the end of capitalism is not only likely but also necessary. [h/t to SouthernDragon for turning me on to this as well]

If you watched the whole thing through you will see how Dr. Harvey says that a centrally managed zero growth economy is necessary. Before you ask how this could be done remember that during WWII that is exactly what we had. We also had some of the most technological innovation and advancement during those three years. And the remnants of this during the cold war years of the 1950s through the 1970s was nearly as great. Dr. Harvey’s website.

One of the biggest problems we have is that there are still a lot of people who either consciously or subconsciously still believe in the Fantasy of capitalism. Who still insist on playing the game the way TPTB have set it up. That things will “Get back to normal” if only _______________.

They fail to realize that THIS is the normal condition and that the previous decades or time up until the 1970s were the aberration and anomaly. And that they have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever “making it big”. Mostly the upper 20% and until they themselves are sleeping under some underpass, this is not likely to change except getting worse.

Everything that Bush and Obama has done and is doing,  is simply to hide this economic reality from the top 20% so they go on with their little fantasy. The financial equivalent of soma.

Nuclear is out. How best to generate the power we need.

This is a blog on energy. More specifically on electrical energy IE electricity. When we talk about energy we are talking about electricity, the single most used and necessary for of energy in our lives. From heating, cooling, cooking, transportation, medicine, security, fire, communications, light, water, sewer, garbage disposal, transportation and on and on. There are very few aspects of our lives that do not depend on electricity. Continue reading “Nuclear is out. How best to generate the power we need.”