Addiction to Fossil Fuels, Capitalism, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Complexity Trap, Corporate State, Corporatocracy, Cyberwarfare, Eco-Apocalypse, Ecological Overshoot, Economic Collapse, Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Financial Elite, Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Global Nuclear Meltdown, Inverted Totalitarianism, Kurt Vonnegut, Mass Die Off, Nuclear Proliferation, Overpopulation, Peak Oil, Peak Water, Police State, Security and Surveillance State, Social Unrest, Steve Matthews, the Achilles Heel of the Electric Grid, The Elite 1%, Wall Street Fraud
As media spin and political rhetoric of the corporatocracy diverge further and further from reality, modern society appears more and more to have been lifted from the pages of dystopian fiction. While the majority of the population succumbs to a serial-bubble economy, a disintegrating social safety net, and extreme weather, The elite are wasting scarce resources in an effort to hold together the cracking and buckling foundation of our sprawling industrial civilization. It’s in the short-term interest of the elite to construct a police state that will protect the gamed system they have created for themselves even though we know such short-sightedness sets us all up for a more spectacular fall. Capitalism has enslaved the world to the lifelong pursuit of little bits of paper and metal in order to buy the mass-produced products and food that have become essential to the survival of billions of people. Money and the illusion of material wealth are now perceived as more important than preserving the habitability of the planet. We live in a pathological dystopia of money worship.
Punch-drunk on fossil fuels, humans have been more destructive than a bull in a china shop; the true cost of fossil fuels continues to be externalized and downplayed as ever more ecological debt racks up, revealing itself in an increasingly destabilized biosphere and collapsing web of life. Sadly, the ‘climate emergency‘ has become yet another excuse for the elite to accelerate their looting by treating CO2 emissions as one more capitalist market tool — tax/trading policies as well as the costly and impractical capture and storage of carbon. In the end, any such market schemes will fail due primarily to the harsh consequences of human ecological overshoot and the complexity trap modern civilization has created for itself.
“…Societies struggling with the dilemmas of complexity are vulnerable from two directions. First, systems that are too tightly coupled or too efficient are fragile; they lack resilience. Thus they risk being toppled by a cascade of failure. That is how region-wide electrical outages propagate. The failure of one sector brings down another and another until the grid itself fails, and once down it takes a heroic effort to get it up and running again.
Second, they are exposed to simultaneous failure. When formerly separate problems coalesce into a problematique, a nexus of interlocking problems, the society does not face one or two discrete challenges, as in simpler times, but instead a swarm of simultaneous challenges that can overwhelm its capacity to respond, thereby provoking a general collapse.
Take climate change as a current example. To address this overall problem will require us to surmount a host of challenges in many different sectors (e.g., agriculture, forestry, public health, energy production, infrastructure and so on) not only in one country or economy but in every country—to varying degrees…”
In the geological blink of an eye — 20, 40, 60, or 80 years from now, ghostly ruins will be all that remains of the most technologically advanced civilization that once spanned the globe. I don’t believe there will appear any sort of Hail Mary invention to solve the gauntlet of problems facing mankind — peak fossil fuels, climate change, ocean acidification, keystone species extinction, water scarcity, peak antibiotics, chemical pollution, nuclear proliferation, overpopulation, capitalism, and the complexity trap. Just a few weeks ago, a drill was conducted between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico in order to simulate a large-scale electric grid failure:
“…The vulnerability of our power grid due to solar flares or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is getting new attention. Our system of interconnected power generation, transmission facilities, and distribution facilities are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than ever before. It would cost $3.6 trillion to fix everything, and would not be completed until 2020.
Smart grid systems make the power grid more accessible to cyber hackers so the upgrade can increase the risk. Electric car charging stations are essentially an accessible computer that cyber hackers can access the power grid. Right now, America has relatively few electric car charging stations, but we will be seeing a significant increase in government and privately funded vehicle charging station projects…
…It is estimated that a long-term failure of the power grid would likely be so catastrophic to society that casualties would be in excess of 60% of the population, according to the Chairman of the EMP Commission. With the grid vulnerable to solar flares, cyber attacks, EMP’s and weather related events it is important that we have supplies in stock to reduce the waiting time for overseas shipments and manufacturing delays. Currently we lack the inventory.
When, not if, the power grid fails, not only will the citizens of the U.S.A. be at risk of interrupted supplies of water, fresh food, fuel and the shut down of communications, but our very own military will suffer the same affects. Civil unrest would inevitably overwhelm the police department’s ability to respond…”
Back in August of this year, Outgoing DHS Director, Janet Napolitano said the following:
“A massive and “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, and a natural disaster, the likes of which the nation has never seen is also likely and on its way.”
Of course the extreme weather events of climate change are also a factor in the fragility of the power grid. And ironically, converting to ‘green energy’ to supply power to the grid could compound the problem:
…”Energy officials worry a lot these days about the stability of the massive patchwork of wires, substations and algorithms that keeps electricity flowing. They rattle off several scenarios that could lead to a collapse of the power grid — a well-executed cyberattack, a freak storm, sabotage.
But as states, led by California, race to bring more wind, solar and geothermal power online, those and other forms of alternative energy have become a new source of anxiety. The problem is that renewable energy adds unprecedented levels of stress to a grid designed for the previous century.
Green energy is the least predictable kind. Nobody can say for certain when the wind will blow or the sun will shine. A field of solar panels might be cranking out huge amounts of energy one minute and a tiny amount the next if a thick cloud arrives. In many cases, renewable resources exist where transmission lines don’t.
“The grid was not built for renewables,” said Trieu Mai, senior analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The frailty imperils lofty goals for greenhouse gas reductions. Concerned state and federal officials are spending billions of dollars in ratepayer and taxpayer money in an effort to hasten the technological breakthroughs needed for the grid to keep up with the demands of clean energy”…
The electric grid truly is the Achilles heel of industrial civilization:
…”Outside of the electricity industry, few fully understand the centrality of the grid to life in America today. The most graphic realizations occur when the grid goes down. It’s not just a matter of light and comfort in our homes. Without electricity, citizens may have no access to potable water, sewage treatment, safe food, fuel supplies, traffic control, or health care…
…Not only is the electrical grid central to modern life, but the grid also has multiple vulnerabilities that make keeping it safe a very difficult task. Weather outages are common, although some, such as an ice storm, can do enormous damage. A January 1998 ice storm destroyed much of Hydro-Québec’s massive 765-kV transmission system, blacking out more than 3 million Canadians, causing 30 fatalities, and leaving many customers in the dark for weeks. Tropical storms, such as 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, can also cause long-term and widespread destruction.
Human error can also take down the grid in a hurry, as was the case with the massive August 2003 blackout that turned off power for 55 million people in the Northeast, Midwest, and Canada…
…The 2003 blackout also highlighted another chilling aspect of grid failure: the propensity of the system to suffer from a cascading failure. Because of the grid’s interconnectedness, grid failures can spread quickly, concatenating across the system. This same effect occurred during the 1965 blackout that slammed most of the eastern U.S., an event that began with a simple hardware failure in Canada.”…
And lastly, without electricity for an extended period, we would have hundreds of Fukushima nuclear disasters unfolding all over the planet:
…”Unfortunately, the world’s nuclear power plants, as they are currently designed, are critically dependent upon maintaining connection to a functioning electrical grid, for all but relatively short periods of electrical blackouts, in order to keep their reactor cores continuously cooled so as to avoid catastrophic reactor core meltdowns and fires in storage ponds for spent fuel rods….
What do extended grid blackouts have to do with potential nuclear catastrophes? Nuclear power plants are designed to disconnect automatically from the grid in the event of a local power failure or major grid anomaly; once disconnected, they begin the process of shutting down the reactor’s core. In the event of the loss of coolant flow to an active nuclear reactor’s core, the reactor will start to melt down and fail catastrophically within a matter of a few hours, at most. In an extreme GMD [geomagnetic disturbance], nearly every reactor in the world could be affected…
If an extreme GMD were to cause widespread grid collapse (which it most certainly will), in as little as one or two hours after each nuclear reactor facility’s backup generators either fail to start, or run out of fuel, the reactor cores will start to melt down. After a few days without electricity to run the cooling system pumps, the water bath covering the spent fuel rods stored in “spent-fuel ponds” will boil away, allowing the stored fuel rods to melt down and burn . Since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) currently mandates that only one week’s supply of backup generator fuel needs to be stored at each reactor site, it is likely that, after we witness the spectacular nighttime celestial light show from the next extreme GMD, we will have about one week in which to prepare ourselves for Armageddon.”…
The Energy Skeptic reports that Russia is on a crusade to spread these ticking time bombs all around the world.
Thanks, xraymike, for another realistic post.
See, this is what I envision as our future. It’s so hard trying to convince others that, despite heroic efforts to survive, we’ll have essentially tied our own hands behind our backs before-hand with the modern, complex, interrelated systems we’ve “grown” via business efficiency (like ‘just in time delivery’ for example) and governmental policy. Everyone just goes along day to day being an insignificant cog in this enormous machine called civilization, expecting it, like the sun, to be there every day to supply our needs, provide important work to do and make our lives meaningful. It’s complete delusion! It’s non-sense! We were supposed to be tending to the earth – all of us, from the very beginning. Now we’ve lost our way and it’s too late to “undo” all the damage that we’ve done through our neglect of mother earth.
As we’re witnessing now, what used to be simple storms have grown to super-storms that no one has ever seen before – and this is only the beginning of what we’ve wrought through CO2 pollution. We’re seeing millions of people wiped out economically, as in Typhoon Haiyan recently, the tornado outbreaks that have become seasonal expectations in the central part of the U.S. (but expanding now), and the flooding that’s seen world-wide.
It takes time and money (besides the political will) to “re-build” or even to provide for all these climate refugees – and we can’t keep up! The insurance industry will not be there, despite our steady payments, when damaging storms and weather events wreak region-wide havoc, as is now unfolding across the globe. The reason is that insurance is a gamble – they bet that enough people will not be wiped out and that their accrued pile of money will be enough to get people back on their feet. When enough multiple millions are left homeless and destitute, they’ll simply declare bankruptcy and walk away. This is bound to happen. Even re-insurance schemes, whereby they back up their bets with other, larger insurance companies, won’t work when almost everyone is affected, as in the above mentioned typhoon-type storm wiping out most of the east coast of the U.S., where even their own facilities are destroyed or crippled at the same time as many countries in Europe are severely damaged by similar occurrences. [Oh, we never imagined that, or it’s more than 3 standard deviations from any model we ever used. Sorry.]
No one thinks about these far-off or unlikely scenarios before hand because that’s not how we’re wired and the statistics don’t warrant it. Nature doesn’t play by our rules – as we’re now seeing. Oh sure, it USED to be reliable and steady but we changed the chemical balance by polluting every aspect of the living planet’s systems for our own expediency. Now we’re going to pay the price.
People talk about survival, our DNA-driven directive, as though we’ll still have electricity, health care systems, and the rest to rely on after an event. I’m afraid they’re being a bit short-sighted. Look at the Philippines to get a glimpse of what it will be like, and it won’t stop – they’ll be more and worse to come for the foreseeable future. Who is going to help when the systems are all compromised, too many are affected and resources run out or are in short supply?
We need to decommission all nuclear reactors and figure out what to do with all that nuclear waste before it’s too late. A global nuclear meltdown is only a matter of time.
We can’t do anything about the nuclear waste, because nobody, NOBODY, knows what to do with it.
Years ago, in the days of optimistic world views, we were sure somebody, somewhere, would have a perfect answer to the problem.
But now we know we aren’t going to come up with a workable solution.
I’d imagine the rods of yesteryear will remain in pools surrounding the plants. Until they explode one day on the near future, maybe during my lifetime, but no later than the end of my kids’ lifetimes.
We always thought that they would simply be transported to some safe, faraway place. Can you imagine transporting tens or hundreds of thousands of these fuel rods by rail or truck, with no mishaps? Think of the opportunity for a terrorist attack.
We are stuck with these time bombs. Ticking away. These time bombs will go off. Just not sure how the timing is set on this.
Someone at Reddit calculated what it would cost to jettison the stuff out into space:
“Shooting radioactive material in space seems good on paper. But it isn’t about the amount of space we have to use, it’s about the cost of sending it into space. It currently costs 10 grand per pound to send something into space. A typical power plant produces 20 metric tons per year of nuclear waste. $10,000 x 44,000lbs = 440,000,000. Not to mention additional infrastructure that would need to be put into place to safely transport and then launch this waste.”
And the possibility of the whole thing going BOOM before exiting our atmosphere. That would be a good way to quickly, once and for all, collapse industrial civilization.
Hahaha, I don’t think the cost comes into it, a rocket would fail, the thing would burn up in the sky and all the radioactive material would be spread around the atmosphere falling back down on us…
crossposted same idea, Paul 🙂
And in the same minute! Amazing.
It would be ironic…or something like that, if all this madness was all because men were afraid of losing “their” woman in simple cooperate and share societies and visa versa I suppose. Reality is, he might have more to be concerned about regarding (her) desires rather than other men. Monogamy and more lose sexual attitudes are probably about the same in simpler cooperate and share societies as in “regular” life/society. Just came to mind watching the video. I think the root cause of humanities problems go way deep and generally we don’t want to go there. Though, given the extreme consequences it would seem no stone should be left unturned.
Here’s a comprehensive rundown that I hope will get out into the mainstream. Comments welcome.
Collapse: The Post-peak Narrative
A consensus appears to have been reached that the world’s production of conventional oil peaked in recent years. And to many observers, it means that from this time forward the supply of oil and natural gas, along with peaking coal and uranium, will decrease toward zero, leaving global Industrial Culture without the precious energy that made that culture possible. With such a precipitous future awaiting the Industrial Tribe, it is curious that one does not hear much about declining energy supplies in the mainstream media. Instead, we are bombarded daily with the “Industrial Progressive Narrative” (Princen et al, 2013), a comforting meme that portrays society as having ever-more energy resources that will drive never-ending growth into the future:“This month Continental Resources told investors that the [Bakken Formation] contains enough recoverable oil to double the official count of U.S. reserves and enough ‘oil in place’ to meet the nation’s needs for hundreds of years” (Dokoupil, 2013). This completely illogical idea has parasitized the minds of nearly everyone in the Industrial Tribe. Young people, who are the future of a species that more than ever needs to make radical new adaptations, have been completely bamboozled by the corporate media and industrial education system into mispreparing themselves to live in a push-button, pill-popping world of abundance and technofun that very soon may not exist.
The Post-peak Narrative, by contrast, paints a grim picture of inevitable decline and biological downsizing in the face of decreasing supplies of cheap and easy-to-obtain sources of energy. In this narrative, Industrial Culture and its overbloated human population grew out of the luxurious but temporary carrying capacity that coal and oil and the other fuels made possible. As the fuels run out, the artificial carrying capacity they created would disappear, and the culture and population that grew up around those fuels would collapse. The Post-peak Era would be a tragic fall characterized by decreases in energy use and cultural complexity, the obsolescence of megatons of cultural stuff, and the shrinking of the human population.
W.S. Jevons in 1865 may have been the first to call attention to the danger to society of increased technical efficiencies that led to faster exhaustion of Britain’s finite coal deposits: “To allow commerce to proceed until the source of civilization [i.e., coal] is weakened and overturned is like killing the goose to get the golden egg” (Jevons, 1865, p. 345). Jevons’s warning that energy sources will one day run out, creating serious problems for society, has since been echoed by M. King Hubbert, Colin J. Campbell, and others who have persuasively shown that world oil, gas, coal, and uranium production is (or will be) decreasing during the 21st century at the same time that demand will be increasing. This mismatch between energy supply and demand will likely not turn out so well for most of us.
To find out just how badly things may go, I took a dark journey into the Peak Oil and Culture Collapse literatures to identify specific predictions about what will happen when the industrial fuels run out [see Readings, below]. Six predictions stood out that paint a picture of imminent cultural and biological collapse.
Technological Systems Shutdown:
[read the full report at http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/897/1/ ]
Kevin Moore said:
“My home was a dystopia till it disappeared into the sea. Now I don’t have one.”
We are now seeing the chickens come home to roost in increasing numbers as all the ‘mistakes’, the corruption, the bad policies and the general incompetence of the people making decisions in the past result in increasing carnage amongst the masses, and a higher cost of living amongst those not hit directly. .
‘The storms sweeping across northern Europe cannot be directly attributed to climate change. However, scientists agree that global warming will increase the frequency and intensity of floods as a result of rising sea levels and an increasing number of storms.
Ministers agreed a deal with insurers three months ago that would protect 500,000 households in areas now deemed to be at such high risk that their owners are unable to get cover. The £180m raised each year – which would be managed by a not-for-profit fund known as Flood Re – ensures that properties remain insurable through a £10.50-a-year levy on all residential premiums due to be introduced in 2015.
But an impact assessment published by the Government last week admits that its numbers don’t cater for any rise in flooding as a result of climate change – despite a separate piece of Government research estimating that 800,000 residential properties could be exposed to a significant risk of coastal or river flooding by the 2020s.’
Of course, people living in increasingly flood-prone places such as Bangladesh don’t even exist as far as the elites are concerned, except in their capacity to produce cheap stuff for sale in the globalised consumer economy.
xraymike says: As media spin and political rhetoric of the corporatocracy diverge further and further from reality….Money and the illusion of material wealth are now perceived as more important than preserving the habitability of the planet.
Humans invented legality
To modify nature’s brutality;
So much, we don’t know reality.
Ah, but what is (social-ethical) “rationality-reality”? A lot of agreement here on scientific facts and about the evil system. But the pursuit of “money and material wealth” came with the Europeans right from the get go. Nothing new there, its family based pure and simple. Very competitive, exploitive and very inefficient. So….what’s the alternative to that? The sky may indeed be falling, but is that the extent of consensus?
I love this line from a Canadian journalist:
“In politics, perception is reality and the truth is negotiable.”
2013 is well on its way to becoming the warmest calendar year on record in Australia. The country has just set a new record for the warmest spring ever.
Mean temperatures for Australia’s spring (which occurs during the U.S.’s fall) were 1.57°C above the 1961-1990 average. September was especially hot, with an average temperature of 2.75°C or nearly 5°F above normal. October came in at 1.43°C above average, while November came closer to normal, at 0.52C above average. And in addition to being unusually warm, spring also came early. On August 31, the last day of winter, average temperatures reached 85.9°F. It was the warmest last day of winter recorded since Australia started collecting temperature data 104 years ago.
To date, the year is 1.23°C above average and 0.18°C above the previous record year, 2005.
I haven’t heard from one of the best writers this site has had – Darbikrash. I think I scared him off with all the extinction talk.
Since I think his writings are well worth people’s time, I’m in the process of tagging his work so people can more easily find it.
His primary emphasis is on Class Consciousness. Just recently Chris Hedges noted that the lack of Class Consciousness was one of the Left’s biggest failures.
Here are his posts he wrote for this site:
Stations of the Crass
Down by Law
“Two Midnights in a Jug”
A Nation of Hustlers and Swindlers
Thank you for your purchase
If it’s too loud- you’re too old.
The Promised Land
I think that any threat to the System in UK from Class Consciousness was eliminated long ago.
There are still plenty of people who like to think of themselves as ‘working class’ but imo they have no coherent voice or identity or political platform or even anybody who represents them effectively.
The elite have completely annihilated the old working class of industrial manual workers, automating their jobs, or exporting their jobs oversees, or tempting them to see themselves as middle class. Their representation in the Unions has been corrupted and destroyed with legislation and their party, the Labour Party was taken over from the top by Blair who was a patsy for the elite.
All the old blocs of workers who had some political leverage, the dockers, miners, printers, etc, have all vanished. The only workers who could put pressure upon government are road transport delivering food and fuel, etc, and the electronic people doing the IT infrastructure networks and energy systems.
What sort of political views do those folks have ? I don’t really know, but I don’t suppose it’s exactly class solidarity. Someone said the other day that UK will be the last vestige of the Empire to collapse. I don’t know about that either. My impression is that everyone is extremely pissed off, but also extremely apathetic and demoralised. The ruling Tories are totally corrupt, the whole system is useless, but nobody has a clue what can be done about it.
The dismantling of the American middle class started with Reagan and his economic advisor Milton Freidman who “extolled the virtues of a free market economic system with minimal intervention.” The dismantling of unions and economic regulations commenced thenceforth. Financialization of the economy and offshoring began at this time as well.
Now in a world of peak everything, we know that laissez faire capitalism is hastening our demise and the only alternative would be some sort of socialist system. Eco-socialism. However, one can see that the police state is becoming stronger, wealth is concentrating, and the masses are being herded into the grave.
Capitalism won and the planet lost.
Aptitude Design said:
Free Market: one in which somebody gets the benefits of others’ efforts without paying a fair price?
More capitalism for Chinese ‘Communist’ Party
“…China’s role in global capitalism, despite its impressive growth figures, has been an assembly platform for foreign multi-national corporations. This system has brought wealth to a minuscule layer of Chinese capitalists while enormously profiting Western and Japanese companies, and their East Asian contractors…
…most of the money captured by this Chinese production is taken by Western and East Asian multi-national corporations, not by China. The world’s multi-national corporations profit immensely from China’s low wages and like the current Chinese system just as it is…
…China’s economy continues to be overly dependent on investment and unable to easily shift toward more household consumption, and thus dependent on exporting. Its ability to be the world’s workshop rests on its ultra-low wages, which are in turn based on systematic exploitation of its rural population…
…The vast disruptions, vicious exploitation and cavernous inequality of early capitalism is being repeated in China, at an accelerated pace. Earlier industrializing countries did so during a time when capitalism covered only a portion of the globe and thus had considerable room for growth. Wages could eventually rise because of the scope for expansion via exporting, capital controls and the difficulty of moving production to other countries. Mass organizing, including the creation of then-militant unions, leveraged those factors into rising living standards.
Capitalism no longer has places into which to grow, having blanketed the Earth, and the capitalist class has succeeded in eliminating barriers to their moving production at will, accelerating a race to the bottom. The rise of China, or any other country, can only come by taking market share away from somebody else, and the growing mass of low-wage workers drags down wages globally. The alliance of party-connected Chinese capitalists with Western capitalists is profitable for them, but at the expense of working people in those countries and around the world.”
Kevin Moore said:
A severe winter storm warning has been issued by the Government’s National Weather Service, and forecasters say the storm is heading for Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic next.
Yesterday, the mercury dropped to -29C in Montana and South Dakota during the day, while officials have warned residents in northwest Minnesota to brace for temperatures as low as -45C with the impact of wind chill.
What was described as a “complex winter storm” affected much of the central and eastern parts of the country this weekend, and the storm warning was due to remain in place until 10am EST (3pm GMT) on Monday in some areas.
Meanwhile, the NWS also issued a “hard freeze warning” for large parts of the Midwest, and freeze warnings for the west coast.
Four people have died in the San Francisco Bay area of California as a result of hypothermia, and at least six deaths in traffic-related incidents were blamed on the severe weather across several states.
One person died in North Texas after a pick-up truck lost control on an icy bridge.
In Virginia, state Emergency Management spokeswoman Laura Southard said the storm had the potential to be a “historic ice event”.
“This forecast is very concerning to us,” Ms Southard said yesterday. “I’ve worked multiple disasters, but I’ve never worked an ice storm with a forecast like this. It’s just really important for everybody to take extra precautions.”
With the entire political system acting to promote the short-term interests of corporations and money-lenders, the response to climate instability and mayhem is to keep implementing policies that increase climate instability and mayhem until the system gets completely overwhelmed.
I see British MPs are to get a salary rise of 11% (at a time when conditions in Britain are deteriorating rapidly) for keeping their mouths firmly shut when it comes to all the things that matter.
In every state in the country, there is at least one ostensibly independent “free-market” think tank that is part of something called the State Policy Network— there are sixty-four in all, ranging from the Pelican Institute, in Louisiana, to the Freedom Foundation, in Washington State. According to a new investigative report by the Center for Media and Democracy, a liberal watchdog group, however, the think tanks are less free actors than a coördinated collection of corporate front groups—branch stores, so to speak—funded and steered by cash from undisclosed conservative and corporate players. Although the think tanks have largely operated under the radar, the cumulative enterprise is impressively large, according to the report. In 2011, the network funnelled seventy-nine million dollars into promoting conservative policies at the state level.
The Guardian newspaper has dug up more information about the workings of SPN…and its plans for 2014. The paper published an article on the subject entitled State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax just last week. According to Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg, the authors of the article, SPN and its affiliated conservative groups/”think tanks” are planning “a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment…”
…Read the rest of the story.
Kevin Moore said:
The system of government by the rich and for the benefit of the rich is working out very nicely for them all around the world.
I don’t have an immediate link but child poverty in NZ (in the past described as the land of milk and honey) has been highlighted yet again.
Meanwhile In Britain:
The biggest drop in living standards since the Victorian age is seeing low and middle earners suffering an unprecedented squeeze on their incomes as austerity measures continue to bite, with women and part-time workers disproportionately affected, research reveals today.
A police state on steroids…
Hundreds of local police departments buy MRAP’s for as little as $10 from the Pentagon. An MRAP is a $500,000, 18-ton, mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored vehicle of a sort used in the Afghan War and, as Hunter Stuart of the Huffington Post reported, built to withstand “ballistic arms fire, mine fields, IEDs, and nuclear, biological, and chemical environments.”
Chase Madar: The Criminalization of Everyday Life
“In every respect, the creeping over-criminalization of everyday life exerts a corrosive effect on American families.
Do We Live in a Police State?
The term “police state” was once brushed off by mainstream intellectuals as the hyperbole of paranoids. Not so much anymore. Even in the tweediest precincts of the legal system, the over-criminalization of American life is remarked upon with greater frequency and intensity. “You’re probably a (federal) criminal” is the accusatory title of a widely read essay co-authored by Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. A Republican appointee, Kozinski surveys the morass of criminal laws that make virtually every American an easy target for law enforcement. Veteran defense lawyer Harvey Silverglate has written an entire book about how an average American professional could easily commit three felonies in a single day without knowing it.
The daily overkill of police power in the U.S. goes a long way toward explaining why more Americans aren’t outraged by the “excesses” of the war on terror, which, as one law professor has argued, are just our everyday domestic penal habits exported to more exotic venues. It is no less true that the growth of domestic police power is, in this positive feedback loop, the partial result of our distant foreign wars seeping back into the homeland (the “imperial boomerang” that Hannah Arendt warned against).
Many who have long railed against our country’s everyday police overkill have reacted to the revelations of NSA surveillance with detectable exasperation: of course we are over-policed! Some have even responded with peevishresentment: Why so much sympathy for this Snowden kid when the daily grind of our justice system destroys so many lives without comment or scandal? After all, in New York, the police department’s “stop and frisk” tactic, which targets African American and Latino working-class youth for routinized street searches, was until recently uncontroversial among the political and opinion-making class. If “the gloves came off” after September 11, 2001, many Americans were surprised to learn they had ever been on to begin with.
A hammer is necessary to any toolkit. But you don’t use a hammer to turn a screw, chop a tomato, or brush your teeth. And yet the hammer remains our instrument of choice, both in the conduct of our foreign policy and in our domestic order. The result is not peace, justice, or prosperity but rather a state that harasses and imprisons its own people while shouting ever less intelligibly about freedom.”
Kevin Moore said:
This propagandists view of propaganda and the freak show that America has become is quite long but is worth watching if you have time. A lot of stuff I already knew and some stuff I did not.