Pushed to the edge and really pissed off …

Hunger March – flickr/wikimedia commons

My old education institution in Florida – The Univ. Of Central Florida that was originally called Florida Technological Univ. – has had it’s own brush with a plot for mass violence. The person who was plotting this however committed suicide before carrying it out. Thought he did have the required implements of destruction.

UCF police said they received a fire alarm call around 12:20 a.m. As they responded to that call, police then received a 911 call reporting a man with a gun.

When police arrived, they found a student with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They also found a bag of improvised explosive devices, along with a handgun and an assault weapon. – Central Florida News 13

We may never really know the motivations behind this individual or his actions and proposed actions but it’s safe bet is was some personal problem or agenda that drove him to it.

There a those who like to see such situations as some idealistic political and/or religious or some other kind of plot. In most cases those who are involved are just people who feel they have been pushed too far and are generally just really pissed off and desperate. Desperation can drive people to do things and behave in a manner they would not under other circumstances.

If one looks at the history to most political and/or economic upheavals, they were generally started by people who had “Had enough” and were desperate. Even the Russian revolution caught Lenin by surprise when it began even though he and others had plotted the over throw of the Tzar, it was a spontaneous event by desperate people that initiated it. The same for the French revolution and nearly all other such situations.

And now with the current situation in Europe and the EU ministers decision on the Cyprus bank bail outs, they are sowing and fertilizing the seeds of another upheaval.

There’s been a great deal of discussion of how the deal came about, with a particularly detailed account at the Wall Street Journal. The new stance at the creditor nations and the ECB is that there will be “private sector participation” which is bureaucrat-speak for haircuts to the people who funded the banks. And in the fracas over renegotiating the pact so as to make it less unpalatable to the locals, the Eurozone officials have made clear they don’t care how Anastasiades skins this particular cat as long as he comes up with €5.8 billion from local deposits. Banks were due to be closed Monday on Cyprus for a holiday; officials are now considering imposing a bank holiday on Tuesday. Funds have been frozen in the meantime, producing what is likely to be the emblematic photo of this crisis, of a man trying to break into his bank branch:

. . . . .

Now the EU officials could easily calm nervous depositors by announcing an ECB-backstopped deposit guarantee, instead of the current national system which depends on not-exactly-credible central banks. Germany and its fellow surplus countries have hesitated about proceeding with the necessary steps to further economic integration (notice how the plan to implement eurozone wide bank supervision, which Germany insisted was a precondition to Eurozone-level deposit guarantees, has languished?). Germany is trying to maintain policies that are contradictory: it wants to continue to have large trade surpluses, yet not fund its trade partners; its wants debtors to meet their obligations, yet refuses to allow either enough in the way of fiscal deficits or monetary easing to keep debtor countries from falling into deflationary spirals, which assure default. Germany’s failure to relent on any of these conditions means that what breaks will be the financial system. – Naked Capitalism

It took FDR meeting with the heads of the unions and communists and socialist parties to convince him that this country was very close to another revolution in the 1930s. It was this sort of situation that brought Hitler to power and also brought down a number of leaders in other countries. People are not stupid and when they see that they are being sacrificed for the good of those in the upper crust..when they feel they have no say or recourse…when they feel desperate, they will eventually take matters into their own hands.

The PTB need to realize and be aware that it’s groups of highly desperate and pissed of people that will force a change in the current situation for good or bad. Not some high minded organized plot by some subversive element. Though these elements will often take credit for it, they generally are not the instigators.

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.

Cold War – Hot Profits

“I’ve found the job where I fit best!” – Artist: George Ropper

Anyone who was here state side during WWII can tell you of the rationing that went on. Everything was rationed. From bread to tires. They can also tell you that no matter what industry you were in, you were doing defense work. WWII took this country from nearly 30% unemployment to 0 unemployment over night. New businesses formed overnight to meet the demands. Struggling businesses like Willys Motors became major contractors.

There were factories and corporations making each other’s products to meet the demand of the military. RCA, Stromberg Carlson, and Bendix all making the same radios. Willys and Ford made the Jeeps. Whole towns grew up from nothing to support new ship and arms factories. One could say that nearly every corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of USA Inc. The technology of the time expanded at a breakneck pace and the war paid for nearly all of it.

When WWII came to an end in 1945 the so called Cold War against what was called Communism began as well as a new war to fight it. Korea and the cold war kept many of these plants humming right along. And new defense systems needed new advances which meant lots of dollars for research and development and nearly all of it paid for by Uncle Sam. Working for a defense contractor – and at that time nearly all the major corporations were defense contractors – meant you could get whatever new and necessary equipment you needed to advance your project. And a lot of this made its way to the products that were sold to the general public as well.

Pretty sweet deal wouldn’t you say? Putting a good part of your research staff’s overhead on the government’s bill. And if the US military stopped being interested, you could also sell it to France or Egypt or Iran or Iraq or Israel or some South American country. And nearly every technical advance we saw had its origin or was advanced in some way through military material need – and I include NASA here . From television – improved for WWII, to computers – ENIAC for WWII became IBM. Continue reading “Cold War – Hot Profits”

The American Fantasy Land

Crossroads Fantasyland – dualdflipflop Flickr

One of the comments to a post by David Seaton was this quote by Bertrand Russell.

“In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors, since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors, for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards, not downwards”.

We do not see ourselves in a realistic light but in the way we wish we were or hope to become. This is true of racial relations, finances, politics…you name it. The so called American Exceptionalism. This is evident int the tax proposal of the president to except the first $250,000.00 of income from the tax hike. To same the Middle Class. But as Ted Rall points out in this column, this is hardly middle class. More like the top 2% of earners. Especially since the median income is $49,000.00. Bit of a difference, wouldn’t you say. Continue reading “The American Fantasy Land”

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.

The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….

Future Shop B/W at the new Uptown mega mall in Victoria
Future Shop Uptown mega mall in Victoria BC – Flicker

While watching the tube as I ate breakfast the other day there was a commercial on from one of the large consumer electronics companies. Japanese, if I remember correctly – though I do not remember which one. It showed a large factory turning out various new gadgets using all these robotic arms and what not. The message being that their product was not touched by human hands or some such.

Continue reading “The Future Can’t Wait, No Place to Hide….”