Banksy, Capitalism, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Consumerism, Corporate Espionage, Corporate Lobbyists, Corporate Shills, Corporate State, Corporatocracy, Disneyfication of Society, Eco-Apocalypse, Economic Collapse, Empire, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Financial Elite, Financialization of the Economy, Globalization, Gross Inequality, Inverted Totalitarianism, McDonaldization of Society, Military Industrial Complex, Near-Term Extinction, Nine Inch Nails, Peak Oil, Philip K. Dick, Police State, Ponzi Schemes, Poverty, Propaganda, Pseudo-Realities, Public Relations, Ralph Nader, Resource Wars, Revolution, Security and Surveillance State, Social Unrest, Stephen Fjellman, The Elite 1%, unwashed public, Vinyl Leaves:Walt Disney World and America, Wall Street Fraud, War for Profit, Worship of Mammon
Rejoice: McDonald’s to open up first restaurant in Vietnam in 2014. Disneyland can’t be too far behind.
The . . . metamessage of our time is that the commodity form is natural and inescapable. Our lives can only be well lived (or lived at all) through the purchase of particular commodities. Thus our major existential interest consists of maneuvering for eligibility to buy such commodities in the market. Further, we have been taught that it is right and just—ordained by history, human nature, and God—that the means of life in all its forms be available only as commodities. . . . Americans live in an overcommodified world, with needs that are generated in the interests of the market and that can be met only through the market.
~ Stephen Fjellman, Vinyl Leaves:Walt Disney World and America
From the Amazonian tribe driven off its land by fossil fuel companies to the wage-enslaved city dweller dependent on mass-produced food and other commodities, no place on Earth has escaped the planet-wide reach of capitalist industrial civilization’s profit-extracting mechanisms. The oligarch’s of industry and banking shape public thought through an all-pervasive mass media monopoly, control legislation and regulation by pulling political purse-strings and commanding an army of lobbyists, sew death and mayhem with the global arms trade, sacrifice the next generation in resource wars, decimate ecosystems for short-term gain, manipulate and devalue currencies, create economic bubbles, and sell this entire vile process back to the masses as “progress” and “development” with measurements of inflated stock prices and skewed GDP figures. The untold human and environmental costs are now bursting at the seams with societal disintegration, epidemic mental illness, wide-scale resource depletion, industrial pollution and contamination, and the on-going collapse of the Earth’s biosphere.
If you’re wondering why there can never seem to be any significant action taken on climate change, don’t look for honest answers from those whose livelihood is tied to capitalism. If the true costs of the global industrial economy were calculated in terms of environmental damage, the ill-health effects on workers and the public, as well as the fraying of the Earth’s web of life, industries would find the costs too great to bear. The honest truth is that this ecocidal economic system would have to be dismantled for there to be any hope of humanity preserving a living planet and averting extinction.
“…big-time corporate capitalism is an omnicidal momentum. I mean, it just has one thing in mind, and it will destroy or weaken or co-opt anything in its way that is civic, that is democratic….corporations have been very clever A) in distracting people, especially young generation, with entertainment, with professional sports, turning them into spectators. Now you’ve got, you know, 24/7 entertainment. There’s no end to it. And they’ve also been very good in making people internalize a sense of powerlessness.” ~ Ralph Nader
Perhaps the three biggest crises facing civilization are unrestrained financialization of commerce and society, climate change, and peak oil (or peak net energy). Let’s take a quick look at how America is handling each of these crises:
Employing paid shills for the financial industry is now simply standard operating procedure in the U.$.A.:
…Consumer advocates and independent analysts do their best to weigh in as well, but they are outgunned. Meanwhile, consulting firms dedicated to playing matchmaker between corporations and hired experts have flourished in the new regulatory environment. Director Charles Ferguson, whose film Inside Job highlighted the role of sponsored professors in supporting the deregulatory policies that led to the financial meltdown in 2008, says the business of economic consulting firms that work to “source” academics for expert testimony and regulatory filings “has been going on for quite a while, and it’s now quite a large industry.”…
Of course anthropogenic climate change, the existential threat of modern times, would seem to be a catastrophe deserving of mankind’s attention, would it not? Well, as you can see, the capitalist only views it as a public relations war:
An extensive study into the financial networks that support groups denying the science behind climate change and opposing political action has found a vast, secretive web of think tanks and industry associations, bankrolled by conservative billionaires.
“I call it the climate-change counter movement,” study author Robert Brulle, who published his results in the journal Climatic Change, told the Guardian. “It is not just a couple of rogue individuals doing this. This is a large-scale political effort.”
His work, which is focused on the United States, shows how a network of 91 think tanks and industry groups are primarily responsible for conservative opposition to climate policy. Almost 80 percent of these groups are registered as charitable organisations for tax purposes, and collectively received more than seven billion dollars between 2003 and 2010.
How about peak oil? Again, the energy industry has its PR machine in full swing touting America’s imminent energy independence along with many other myths, but commenter James of this blog cuts to the chase:
Now, which ponzi is most despicable, a religious or financial one? Both are based upon deceit and both serve primarily the enrichment of the scheme officialdom. One promises a payoff in eternal life while the other promises financial success. One examines your credit score while the other applies tick marks in you behavioral ledger of good and evil. Both systems of fleecing are based upon human fear and herd mentality. Society shuns the heretic of either ponzi and damnation awaits those that do not participate fully. Ponzis collapse when increasing numbers of fools, resources and energy can no longer be sucked into their cancerous growth schemes. The religious structures will be more enduring as they can always find plenty of poor dolts to give their last penny to gain a chance at the big after-life payoff. The financial schemers, faced now with meeting the absolutely unbelievable limits of growth will have to leave all those little nest eggs of promises, unhatched. The key is to convince the ponzi participants that the U.S. is the new Saudi Arabia, that fracking oil and natural gas is the future and we can get enough oil from shale to last a million years. “Just relax folks, you’re all gonna get your money back”. Not. What a miraculous world we live in.
As you can see, America is handling all three crises like a sleazy car salesman unloading a lot full of lemons.
And if anyone was spooked by the Snowden revelations of government spying, the implications of corporate espionage on social-change organizations that threaten to impede unfettered access to profits is truly terrifying.
Although I’m not a particularly religious person, all evidence does point to a civilization which has completely succumbed to the worship of Mammon:
…The fruits of such idolatry are clear: the injustice and unemployment and waste of human talents; the corruption of our political leadership and their collusion with immoral financial practices; the depredation and degradation of our natural environments and the exhaustion of our natural resources; the inevitable wars and other crises that arise from the systematic fostering of base human appetites and the refusal to compromise our ways of life, and pursue a more equitable sharing of the gifts bequeathed to us…
I would not blame anyone for wanting to seek comfort in a bottle or some other form of self-medication, but perhaps doing something more dramatic to escape this nightmarish reality of a thoroughly corrupted, money-worshipping society is in the cards. When your back is against the wall and you’ve lost faith in everything, then revolution is the antidote for the “pseudo-realities” that plague us.
“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.” ~ Philip K. Dick
The specter of death, near-term extinction, haunts us as we silently endure the evil and decay all around us, going along just to get along in the belly of the American empire. One day pent-up anger and hunger will burst forth, pushing us into the streets. Blood and emotions will flow freely. Inept and crooked governments will fall. We’ll have nothing left to lose.
Thank (god) there is always death.
At age 65, what is the big deal?
But the kids……they will want to live.
(God) bless them!
So, so glad to be 65.
There is a fight going on in my community about a proposed wind farm project. Look it up…..Mill Pond Wind Farm in Newport NC, by Torch energy from Texas.
Actually, the 500 foot windmills will be right behind me, maybe 3/4 of a mile, overtaking my view. Big deal I say. I don’t care. But my neighbors are frantic. The rest of the community is hyped up against it. A man John Droz, secretly connected with the fossil fuel industry, is leading the fight against the project: It will crush tourism here. It will create health problems. It will cause the demise of the marine corp air station at Cherry Point, a big employer here. It will kill so many bats that agriculture here will fail. And on and on.
But the ignorance of the people here is immense. Virtually none of them understand that continuing fossil fuel use will create a catastrophic future for our kids. To these people, that is an Obama generated lie, told in order to bring more socialism and government control. There is literally zero understanding of the dire situation humanity is in right now.
The denial is huge, even among pretty well educated people. No one has any sense that we should sacrifice I order to save the biosphere. That whole concept is completely alien to them.
I see absolutely no possibility of any policies ever being made that can adequately deal with the massive problems, urgent problems, that we face. No chance at all.
I guess it is best to just have fun til it all ends.
PlantinMoretus (@candleflame3) said:
IWTs are catastrophic too, really no better than fossil fuels. The materials to make them must be sourced (mined, usually) and transported, then the IWT parts must be manufactured and transported to the sites, then assembled and activated. And of course they must be maintained. On the scale required to meet our energy demands, switching to wind power would be an IMMENSE industrial project and create a gazillion tons of emissions, pollutants and other environmental impacts. So there’s really no point to them, they won’t save us. The ONLY thing that will save us is vastly reducing our energy demands – basically back to the 18th century (except let’s at least keep hospitals and dental clinics running). But no one wants to hear THAT.
That doesn’t save us either, because you have to drastically reduce the population level back to what it was then, supported by that technology and infrastructure, which would be or will be, unimaginably traumatic.
But even then, you’re still fucked, because the systems then had take centuries to evolve. they were highly complex and inter dependent. You can’t just re-create them from scratch, in a decade or two.
For example, transport, something basic like a farm wagon, needing wheels, needs a hub and spokes and rim and preferably a metal tyre, or if you’re going on a paved road a rubber tyre. The technology and skills involved begin with growing the right sort of trees in the right places in the right ways, which means the right sort of people growing up learning this stuff. They have to learn how to make the tools to make the tools to make the right pieces of wood from the right trees into the right shapes.
The best quality wheels ever made were done for chariots in the Iron Age c. 2000+ years ago, and nobody ever reached that level of mastery since. Really, you need several lifetimes of masters and apprentices over centuries to get really good quality wooden wheels that don’t fall to pieces quickly. Of course, you can make crappy wheels, but then you’re going to spend most of the time with a wagon that’s not going anywhere. Then there’s harness, breeding animals to slaughter to skin and tan the right leather…And then, you have to breed and train horses, or mules, or oxen, or yaks or something, to pull them…
Circa 1750, the roads of Britain and Europe were busy with wagons and coaches and riders taking people and goods all over the place… none of that would be happening, so you’d be dropping back a long way, to a much lower population level, maybe walking on foot with pack ponies and donkeys…
And then there’s shipping and barges… they grew the right crops, flax and hemp, to make the ropes and sails, in the right way. All those skills and trades are long lost.
Basically, it’s back to the Iron Age, and population levels that can be sustained by scavenging…
But there’ll be the Fascist Dystopia stage first, where TPTB try to assert control by force, telling their soldiers and police to kill anybody who is on the streets. But that’ll only work so long as the ignorant thugs obey orders. Eventually, they’ll wise up when they realise they are killing their own brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers.and there’s nothing to buy with the money they are paid. Then you get the Romanian style Revolution with a lot of bodies and TPTB get disposed of.
But there’s nothing to come afterwards any more, because the whole ecology has collapsed. No electricity, communication, trade, food, melting down nuclear Fukes worldwide, chaotic weather, total fuck up.
Mad Max stage. ‘Small pockets of survivors’ stage…
Transition ? Hahaha
mike k said:
A friend ended his long commentary on our fatal trajectory with this:
“Or, longest of long shots, our belief systems may evolve, along with our inner being, into dynamic spiritual and ecological balance with the world–and our numbers will follow suit.”
Aye, there’s the rub. We are rapidly running out of time due to our colossal addictive binge. Spiritual evolution of individuals and their culture demands considerable time to take place. As is typical of all addicts, we are too impatient to undertake the practices that could foster deep change in ourselves. Locked into the imperative demand for MORE NOW we lack the patience which is the only soil in which wisdom can grow. Over the precipice we go as our delusional civilization shatters into billions of broken lives and lost possibilities….
PlantinMoretus (@candleflame3) said:
I didn’t say “entirely recreate the 18th century”. I meant that our energy demands must return to the pre-fossil-fuel-era levels. That era ended in roughly 1800. Anyway, I reckon this will happen, just not by choice. It’ll get really ugly, a lot of people will die, and the only societies left with any kind of chance of survival will be the few hunter-gatherer groups still hanging on in the little corners of the world.
Kevin Moore said:
Monday, 6 January 2014
Extreme weather – 2013 in review
Epic Extreme Events Of Earth 2013 Review Mass Media Reports
Warning: This video may be too intense and dramatic for some viewers to handle. Viewer discretion is advised!
Extreme weather events for 2013 here on this video. 2013 was one of the more extreme years on record with the biggest storms, the biggest tornados the most fireballs the biggest floods and the list goes on.
Posted by seemorerocks at 12:16
“one doesn’t need to put chains on people, if one can put chains on their minds.” To put chains on minds, all one needs to do is to deceive, cover up and spin the reality of a situation, to make it appear as something else, with repetition, repetition, repetition, until it is firmly ingrained in the minds of people.
Attributed there to C B Luce, but I think it goes back to a Frenchman in the 1700s whose name I have forgotten.
The vast majority of us humans are stuck in the matrix. Not even knowing.
As far as electronic communications go, the surveillance state knows everything. I’m sure they’ve got all the people networks mapped out… like who talks to who, when and where, and if they want to dig to learn more, it’s incredibly easy for them with the technology, resources, and manpower at their disposal.
They know what the next big corporate moves are going to be in the stock markets. Politicians and global events are carefully manipulated. I bet they’ve got all the criminal organizations towing the line, since the nsa surely knows almost everything they do. The surveillance state likely supports specific politically-oriented drug cartels and gangs serving their interests abroad and at home, as well as their corporate cronies’ interests. They know how much crime is being committed, but obviously they’re doing little to stop it, because that’s not in their interest to do so. With this much power, and economic might, their power will only increase, until something shatters that world. I never thought i’d see the day when the crazy conspiracy theorists were (mostly) right.
Sometimes i feel like the main character in a certain scene of the first matrix movie. In it, he becomes disconnected from the machine-manufactured fantasy world, and awakens to the real world in his little life-support pod, in which the evil machines harvest billions of peoples’ energy and feed pulped, dead humans to the living ones… a whole lot like capitalism, if money really is energy. He takes a look around for the first time in his real life and sees the endless sea of other people in their pods, still connected to the fantasy dream-world, their only purpose is being batteries for the machines. The machines grow us, define our realities, extract their energy from us (when we work) and even feed our accumulated energy to others when we die, (as i recently observed when my mother died of cancer. Thousands of dollars were spent at the hospital for ridiculously complex treatments. When she passed, the members of my family wasted no time carving up what little value they could get from her possessions, damn everyone else. I was disgusted, and no longer speak with them. Long story…).
Maybe this is going to sound obvious to most here, but im screaming in the wind and need to think this through. My point is, my “millenial” generation, along with everyone else, has been grown, carefully molded into professional consumers (no one knows how to make or grow things anymore), and harvested by all of the companies that make their living off of us. Energy companies, clothing companies, supermarkets, farms- every company- they are all harvesting our energy. They are the machines and the government agencies are the agents in this matrix we live in. I wish i could’ve figured this out a few years ago.
Who allowed this to happen? What kind of world is this? What kind of government is this? Some kind of oligarchic fucked up totalitarian police state, propagandized as the best possible example of government humanity can achieve silently hidden behind a mask of illusion so convincing to the average American idiot that they unquestioningly buy into the bull crap streaming in at them via commercials between quarters of their college football games… I’m sorry guys, I’ve seen too much and it’s still blowing my mind that nearly everything i’ve been taught growing up has been a web of carefully crafted lies. Am i welcomed to the club?
Sorry 🙂 maybe some other kid might read this and be helped by it. Thank you so much COIC. Thank you. Run for your lives children. Resistance is futile. Either way, we die tired. Make a goal. Die happily. Peace.
Yes, you’re in. I admire your thoughts.
Ken Barrows said:
Even getting a free pass on environmental damage, industries find the costs too great to bear now. That’s where credit (debt) comes in, lots of it.
the Heretick said:
here’s what worries me about this seven deadly sins thing, the fact, and i believe it’s fact, that every one of these points is woven into what passes as the “progressive” narrative.
empire is so ingrained into our national character that we don’t even realize it anymore. the worlds largest weapons suppliers all sit on the UN Security council.
you can watch segments on the wonders of modern technology regularly on PBS, which is undoubtedly the most liberal outlet of the mass media, or MSNBC, and while they may regularly whine about how bad things are, they never offer any real reforms.
the corporate state has a dog and pony show going which never touches upon any reforms or solutions.
i know you feel there’s no hope, well, if there is any hope it lies with people who can get far enough away from major population centers to be safe and who can learn to live off the land.
I’m afraid you are 100% correct. Chris Hedges used the phrase “monastic enclaves” to describe “people who can get far enough away”:
We have to create monastic enclaves where we can retain and nurture the values being rapidly destroyed by the wider corporate culture and build the mechanisms of self-sufficiency that will allow us to survive. – link
…This phenomenon, known as a “sudden stratospheric warming event,” started on Jan. 6, but is something that is just beginning to have an effect on weather patterns across North America and Europe.
While the physics behind sudden stratospheric warming events are complicated, their implications are not: such events are often harbingers of colder weather in North America and Eurasia. The ongoing event favors colder and possibly stormier weather for as long as four to eight weeks after the event, meaning that after a mild start to the winter, the rest of this month and February could bring the coldest weather of the winter season to parts of the U.S., along with a heightened chance of snow.
Sudden stratospheric warming events take place in about half of all Northern Hemisphere winters, and they have been occurring with increasing frequency during the past decade, possibly related to the loss of Arctic sea ice due to global warming. Arctic sea ice declined to its smallest extent on record in September 2012…
Read the rest
Kevin Moore said:
Stating the obvious, the extremely cold weather spurs greater consumption of coal, oil and natural gas, thereby slightly speeding up depletion and slightly increasing climate chaos Good for corporate profits, however.
The Red Queen says: “Now run a little faster to stay where you are.”
mike k said:
The most frightening thing is having to live among those whose identities are totally formed of cultural conditioning. These fearsome robots, clones, zombies are capable of the most astonishing violence at the behest of their puppet masters. And they are assured by their conditioning that they are performing their most patriotic, religious, human duty in destroying anyone representing a threat to the Matrix. Torture, death – nothing too extreme for those who would question the State or its loyal agents. How to engineer a self-policing nightmare fascist system, eh?
I cannot watch this climate denier. It’s all a conspiracy as far as James is concerned. Me and James had our home town of Calgary nailed by a huge flood last June. Last I heard the clean up was at 5.3 Billion and counting.
Great post and comments everyone.
The Matrix was probably the most influential movie to my reality when it came out. Despite many other previous movies which pointed out the problems of civilization, this one, as clear metaphor for our reality, blew me away. The violence and sci-fi were fun, but the underlying message was unmistakable: we’re controlled from birth to death and few ever even get to realize it!
Now we’re living in the polluted sewer of industrial by-products, from mercury and BPA’s to pharmaceuticals, lead and many other toxins in our food and water. Add to this the continuing increase in radiation from Fukushima (and all the other sources – like dumped containers of it from the 1940’s on) and it won’t be long before it’ll be impossible to grow enough nutricious food for the current population, mutation and birth defects in plants, birds, animals and humans prevent population growth, and life-expectancy takes a nose-dive.
We’re on the cliff. Many here and on similar blogs see the frightening panorama before us, but the great majority of people are looking the other way, immersed in their fantasy worlds of entertainment and distraction.
Keep up the fantastic posts xraymike79, you’re a treasure to us reality addicts.
mike k said:
Reality addicts indeed! Give me some fresh air, I’m suffocating in this atmosphere of lies and stupidity and delusion. I want the TRUTH whether it burns my mind, and everyone else’s. The pains of awakening to the REAL reality promises to give birth to my authentic self, not the plastic overlay I took to be me. Rip those phony glasses off of me, so I can see the nightmare of this world clearly. Purge me of all the cultural garbage I have ingested. Help me vomit out all the crap I mindlessly swallowed over the years, so I can see things as they really are. Show me the light of day beyond the cave of my illusions… Let it be so.
Unfortunately we have evolved to chase neurochemical rewards along neural pathways established and refined over hundreds of millions of years. Life is about acquiring things that feel good and staying away from things that feel bad. What felt good was a useful guide to acquisition. Although we possessed the motivation, we were never able to exceed the limits of local environments for a prolonged period as our population was balanced against the detrimental forces found therein. Today we still have the motivations – the greed. There was no need to provide a behavioral mechanism for self-limitation. Nature was more than up to the task of limiting our numbers. But then something happened, we began to change, unlike any organism before us. Morphological changes occurred rapidly and we accelerated like the wind towards a strong low pressure cell. Our genetic and morphological changes progressed to equip us for a systematic, technological existence that lifted the limitations on our numbers. Specialization, complexity and plunder proceeded as the upstart grew to a scale that could extinguish itself and the system from which it escaped. The result is a mammalian, primate neoplasm that will be thoroughly described in the Annals of Ecosystem Pathology henceforth. Also unfortunate is that the diagnosis and description cannot be completed postmortem since those doing the analysis will also likely perish with the patient. We are experiencing the equivalent of the last cellular doubling of a tumor(s) that will become so toxic and impinge upon natural systems so greatly so as to establish a descent into a cachexic state, a relatively brief descent into apparent failed system state from which there is no return. Such is the end of life in the “Magic Kingdom”.
Russia Just Says “Nyet” To Japan’s Radioactive Exports
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2014 19:34 -0500
While Japanese imports are surging on the back of an ever-depreciating currency and ever-appreciating cost of energy, it would appear the enterprising Easterners have come up with a solution to two problems – exports and radiation. As RT reports, more than 130 “contaminated” used cars from Japan were denied access to Russia last year. The consumer watchdog agency Rospotrebnadzor is also closely monitoring deliveries of fish.
A customs officer holds up a device used for measuring radiation levels, while standing in front of vehicles delivered from Japan, in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok.
Via The Guardian,
Jacob Horner said:
This and the previous post and comments have brought to mind one of my favorite essays of the past few years…
“The spooky thing is, we discover global warming precisely when it’s already here. It is like realizing that for some time you had been conducting your business in the expanding sphere of a slow motion nuclear bomb. You have a few seconds for amazement as the fantasy that you inhabited a neat, seamless little world melts away. All those apocalyptic narratives of doom about the “end of the world” are, from this point of view, part of the problem, not part of the solution. By postponing doom into some hypothetical future, these narratives inoculate us against the very real object that has intruded into ecological, social and psychic space.”
From “Peak Nature: Capitalism Has No Soul”, by Timothy Morton
Waking up is a process…there are new red pills to be swallowed every damn day. I often reflect on the meaning and implications of Morton’s notion of “hyper-objects”, as well as all work in the relatively new field of “object oriented ontology”. This has been essential to my own particular & ongoing awakening.
Wasn’t that in a song sung by Janice Joplin and written by Chris Christoferson? Bobby McGee I think was the title.
You mean this line:
“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”
— I love that line, but was never aware of the lyrics. It’s exactly what I was intending to say, though.
How were your recent gigs in the US?
In the five years since we’ve been there, everything seems to have gotten a lot sketchier. Maybe (probably) we were projecting to an extent, and judging a country by its truck stops and music venues is no way to get a balanced perspective, but completely subjectively speaking it felt like being on the brink of a failed state. I have no idea how that country is going to cope when oil prices become prohibitively expensive.
When you’re stuck in a parking lot in Salt Lake City for eight hours because the engine of the rickety van you’re travelling in has imploded, for example, you eventually start to wonder where all the housing and public transport is. Vast, low-lying expanses of restaurants, motels, parking lots, fast food, more fast food, but no way of getting to any of these places unless you drive to them. It’s like a city-wide Centertainment.
How do the people stuck on minimum wage even travel in to work at these places? Where do they live? Do they have to spend all their money on gasoline? It’s not a new observation – that America is entirely reliant on oil – but when you’re broken down somewhere like that because your vehicle didn’t have enough of it, it all kind of leaps out at you.
Never heard of ’em, but I like ’em… a lot.
Great video by them about the very things we discuss here (gotta watch it all the way through):
More from them here.
Kevin Moore said:
6 January, 2-14
New Zealand has emerged from its second-warmest year and warmest winter on record.
But it is bad news, as it follows a global trend which an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report blaming it on ”increasing greenhouse gases augmenting the greenhouse effect”.
Climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger this morning released the figures.
The above-average temperatures were expected to continue this year, he said.
They show 2013 was the warmest winter nationally since records began in 1870.
Last year was the second-warmest on record nationally with temperatures on average 0.84 degrees Celsius above normal. The only year it was hotter was 1998, when it was 0.89C above average.
Masterton, Omarama, Timaru, Invercargill and the Chatham Islands all had record years.
So many great comments over the last few days! I’m actually relieved I was taking a break from screen time and enjoying the good weather out in my little part of meat world, or I would have been sucked into the discussion on many topics that fascinate me.
But anyway, here a bit from Kunstler’s new year’s predictions post, a good one even though its nothing he hasn’t said before.
“…a few stray words about the state of American culture. Outside the capitals of the “one percent” — Manhattan, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, etc. — American material culture is in spectacular disrepair. Car culture and chain store tyranny have destroyed the physical fabric of our communities and wrecked social relations. These days, a successful Main Street is one that has a wig shop and a check-cashing office. It is sickening to see what we have become. Our popular entertainments are just what you would design to produce a programmed population of criminals and sex offenders. The spectacle of the way our people look —overfed, tattooed, pierced, clothed in the raiment of clowns — suggests an end-of-empire zeitgeist more disturbing than a Fellini movie. The fact is, it simply mirrors the way we act, our gross, barbaric collective demeanor. A walk down any airport concourse makes the Barnum & Bailey freak shows of yore look quaint. In short, the rot throughout our national life is so conspicuous that a fair assessment would be that we are a wicked people who deserve to be punished.”
No arguments from me. Living here among the 1% the rot may be hidden better under a slim aesthetic veneer, but all you have to do is look a bit closer and its just as conspicuous. Our flavors of Hopium may be a bit more appealing than most too, but they are just as imaginary. Our Socialist took her spot on the City Council today, and it looks like we have a chance at a living wage. As a member of the local Precariat, any slight improvement in our hospice conditions is welcome, even though it changes nothing about our terminal condition as we hurtle towards Doom.
Here’s an article from Dec for those who enjoy anthropological/sociological musings, if you didn’t see it already (I bookmarked it but just read it today, reminded of it by warintcontext).
And though I’ve mentioned the book before, I’ll do it again, so very much worth reading.
And since Diamond and the Yanomami come up whenever questions about human nature and collapse are mentioned, here are some articles worth reading if you haven’t already. A very necessary corrective to the worst aspects of the dominant Dawkins/Pinker/Diamond/Chagnon views that fit so effortlessly into the capitalist cultural paradigm.
If anthropology is your thing (it is definitely one of mine), check out this site, lots of great stuff to read.
Kevin Moore said:
Something I forget about and then suddenly remember in connection with propaganda is TINA: There Is No Alternative (or alternatives are so horrible you would not want them).
We have to pre-emptively strike terrorist nations. TINA. Otherwise they will launch weapons of mass destruction, invade the homeland, steal everything you have, rape the women and kill the children. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?
We have to frack and drill, and build pipelines. TINA. Otherwise old people and babies will freeze to death. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?
We have to develop GE organisms. TINA. Otherwise millions of people will to starve. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?
We have to generate economic growth. TINA. Otherwise millions of people will be unemployed and starving on the streets. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?
We have to enact emergency measures to bail out banks and speculators. (We’re not sure how much money exactly, or exactly where the money will go, but it must be now). TINA. Otherwise the American economy will implode and there will be mass unemployment and poverty. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?
TINA: every elite’s best friend.
As we all know, there are many, many alternatives, and a lot of them would generate far better outcomes than anything imposed on us by the elites.
However, the system is geared to ignoring or stamping out alternatives.
What amazes me is people with supposedly sustainable agendas talking about GDP, and the effect their pet ‘alternative’ would have on GDP (Global Destruction Paradigm).
This is why the American cadillac desert is ground zero for our multi-pronged crisis:
Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States
…Faced with the shortage, federal authorities this year will for the first time decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, from Lake Powell 180 miles upstream. That will reduce even more the level of Lake Mead, a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and for millions of acres of farmland.
Reclamation officials say there is a 50-50 chance that by 2015, Lake Mead’s water will be rationed to states downstream. That, too, has never happened before.
“If Lake Mead goes below elevation 1,000” — 1,000 feet above sea level — “we lose any capacity to pump water to serve the municipal needs of seven in 10 people in the state of Nevada,” said John Entsminger, the senior deputy general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.
Since 2008, Mr. Entsminger’s agency has been drilling an $817 million tunnel under Lake Mead — a third attempt to capture more water as two higher tunnels have become threatened by the lake’s falling level. In September, faced with the prospect that one of the tunnels could run dry before the third one was completed, the authority took emergency measures: still another tunnel, this one to stretch the life of the most threatened intake until construction of the third one is finished…
…“There is no planning for a continuation of the drought we’ve had,” said one expert on the Colorado’s woes, who asked not to be identified to preserve his relationship with state officials. “There’s always been within the current planning an embedded hope that somehow, things would return to something more like normal.”
Unfortunately, the Colorado during most of Lake Mead’s 78-year history was not normal at all.
Studies now show that the 20th century was one of the three wettest of the last 13 centuries in the Colorado basin. On average, the Colorado’s flow over that period was actually 15 percent lower than in the 1900s. And most experts agree that the basin will get even drier: A brace of global-warming studies concludes that rising temperatures will reduce the Colorado’s average flow after 2050 by five to 35 percent, even if rainfall remains the same — and most of those studies predict that rains will diminish…
…Lake Mead currently stands about 1,106 feet above sea level, and is expected to drop 20 feet in 2014. A continued decline would introduce a new set of problems: At 1,075 feet, rationing begins; at 1,050 feet, a more drastic rationing regime kicks in, and the uppermost water intake for Las Vegas shuts down. At 1,025 feet, rationing grows more draconian; at 1,000 feet, a second Las Vegas intake runs dry.
Lake Powell is another story. There, a 100-foot drop would shut down generators that supply enough electricity to power 350,000 homes.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation’s 24-month forecasts of water levels at Powell and Mead do not contemplate such steep declines. But neither did they foresee the current drought….
In the 1960s, California’s legislators demanded first dibs on lower-basin water as a condition of supporting federal legislation to build the Central Arizona Project, a vast web of canals irrigating that state’s farms and cities. Should rationing begin in 2015, Arizona would sacrifice a comparatively small fraction of its Colorado River allotment, while California’s supply would remain intact.
Painful as that would be, though, it could get worse: Should Mead continue to fall, Arizona would lose more than half of its Colorado River water before California lost so much as a drop.
That would have a cascading effect. The Central Arizona Project would lose revenue it gets from selling water, which would raise the price of water to remaining customers, leading farmers to return to pumping groundwater for irrigation — exactly what the Central Arizona Project was supposed to prevent.
“By going back to the pumps, you’ll have made the decision that agriculture will no longer be an industry in central Arizona,” David Modeer, the project’s general manager, said in an interview.
Even Californians doubt Arizona would stand for that, but no successor to the 1960s agreement is in place. And California has a vital interest in holding on to its full allotment of water. The Southern California region using Colorado water is expected to add six million people to the existing 19 million in the next 45 years, and its other water source — the Sierra Nevada to the north — is suffering the same drought and climate problems as the Colorado basin.
“The basic blueprint of our plan calls for a reliable foundation that we then build upon, and that reliable foundation is the Colorado River and Northern California water,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “To the extent we lose one of those supplies, I don’t know that there is enough technology and new supplies to replace them.”…
…“The era of big water transfers is either over, or it’s rapidly coming to an end,” said Mr. Entsminger, the southern Nevada water official. “It sure looks like in the 21st century, we’re all going to have to use less water.”
the Heretick said:
many people call it hyperrealism, i don’t like that term, it implies a surfeit of realism, a close examination of something of substance, when the truth is there’s nothing there. look at the ads on teevee where they say how much the newest mobile device can “do”, when really, data does nothing, only work accomplishes anything of substance.
the rampant wastage of energy has insulated the west from the reality of market transactions, try to find something made in the USA in any store, not your local
co-op, a mainline store.
we have millions of people unemployed yet offshoring continues.
i prefer to call the state of mind of the typical americans one of living in irreality.
Taibbi: ‘Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War Is a Joke’
British bank HSBC received a settlement deal from Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer that amounts to a slap on the wrist for laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels and violating a host of international banking laws. At Rolling Stone in mid-December, Matt Taibbi called the preferential treatment “the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge.”
The $1.9 billion fine amounts to five weeks of the bank’s income. As The New York Times put it, the feds refuse to prosecute bank officials because the corporation is a systemically important institution:
At Rolling Stone, Taibbi responds:
The appropriate penalty for a bank in HSBC’s position, Taibbi writes, is to take all of its money. Take “every last dollar the bank has made since it started its illegal activity. … Dive into every bank account of every single executive involved in this mess and take every last bonus dollar they’ve ever earned. … Take their houses, their cars, the paintings they bought at Sotheby’s auctions, the clothes in their closets, the loose change in the jars on their kitchen counters, every last freaking thing. Take it all and don’t think twice. And then throw them in jail.”
If that sounds harsh, recall that that’s exactly what the government does almost every day to ordinary people involved in drug cases.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
Crazy Cult and the Polar Vortex
The cold weather provides no relief
So deniers are giving us grief,
But soon heat will result
In transforming our cult
Into a major belief.
In August 2013, National Geographic placed a spotlight on climate change in its extensive feature story, “Rising Seas,” which focused on a central series of concepts: As the planet warms, the sea rises. Coastlines flood. What will we protect? What will we abandon? How will we face the danger of rising seas?
In addition to including insights from engineers and policy makers, “Rising Seas” has discussions with some notable scientists, including Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences oceanography professor and storm surge expert Dr. Malcolm Bowman.
…ridiculous engineering plans to try and save the unsalvageable.
Kevin Moore said:
With the net energy Hubbert’s cliff now in sight and expected to impact from 2016 on I am waiting for someone to demonstrate to me that present financial-economic-energetic-political arrangements can be maintained much beyond 2018.
Kevin Moore said:
Nice to know not everyone in academia is insane.
‘It is known that the sulphate particles produced by volcanoes, which are relatively quickly washed out of the atmosphere, can reduce incoming solar radiation significantly, and so cause average global temperatures to dip.
However, a study by scientists at Reading University has found that the effect of a massive and continuous injection of sulphates into the air would be to alter the rainfall patterns over vast regions of the world, notably Africa, South America and Asia which could as a result be devastated by drought.
“We have shown that one of the leading candidates for geo-engineering could cause a new unintended side-effect over a large part of the planet,” said Andrew Charlton-Perez of the University of Reading, a co-author of the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
“The risks from this kind of geo-engineering are huge. A reduction in tropical rainfall of 30 per cent would, for example, quickly dry out Indonesia so much that even the wettest years after a man-made intervention would be equal to drought conditions now,” Dr Charlton-Perez said./
Which would then prompt them to seed the clouds in those drought-stricken areas in order to produce manmade rain. It all gets rather complicated, doesn’t it?
Kevin Moore said:
New temperature extremes. Climate chaos seems to have ramped up to a new level. .
One cannot help wondering whether we will witness some kind or return to normality or whether we will witness rapid deterioration of climate stability from now on.
Here in NZ we have recently experienced warm and dry followed by cool and wet. (It’s approaching the height of summer.)
Officialdom still tells us climate change will be good for the economy.
Hey Kevin: yeah, they’ll say that all the way down. My opinion is that climate will wobble around normal like a slowing down toy top, but will elicit more and more extremes as time goes on (the top leaning far over as it slows). As the effects of this wobbling messes with food production and the health of plants, birds, animals (like humans), marine life, etc. it’ll further degrade the environment to the point that we won’t be able to live here any longer. Already I’ve seen articles citing the slowing of the thermohaline conveyor that runs from the Gulf of Mexico up the east coast of the U.S. (due to the BP oil disaster) which (once) distributed warm water to the coast of Greenland, which kept Europe’s weather within certain bounds. Now, as ulvfugl has been attesting, things have gone beyond belief. It’s the same down south I see from your posts.
BtD: Good one! All the best to you this year! NTE is gathering speed.
Read the rest
Brazil: From Happy Days to Apocalypse Pretty Soon
Here’s what they were saying about Brazil six years ago: it was entering a new oil bonanza, it was going to be bigger than Saudi Arabia, it was going to enjoy energy independence, all the graphs of oil production were going straight up, through the roof, to the moon, Alice. It’s oil reserves were 50 billion…no, 100 billion…wait, 240 billion barrels. (How do you sing “Happy Days are Here Again” in Portuguese?)
Sound familiar? Sound like what the same folks are saying about the United States today? Funny how they’re not singing about feliz dias in Brazil any more. How did things work out for them down there?
Not good, according to a long piece in the Washington Post yesterday. Oil production is flat or falling; Imports of gasoline, sold to the public below cost to prevent inflation (and revolution) are climbing; the state oil company, Petrobras, is debt-ridden and has lost one-third of its value on the stock market; the second-largest oil company, OGX, declared bankruptcy in October.
The euphoria was based on the “discovery” of vast new oil “reserves.” (In Portuguese, the root words from which “discovery” and “reserves” are derived also translate as “a vague hope there’s something down there.” This is also true of Arabic and English, as spoken in the oil patch.)
The newly discovered Brazilian “reserves” were under a mile and a half of water, plus two miles of rock, and another mile and a half of salt. Drilling into this oil and getting it to market would require the most expensive and difficult corporate project in the world, at an estimated cost of $237 billion. Still, as Brazil’s president declared at the time of the “discoveries,” it seemed Brazil had won the lottery.
They must have misplaced the winning ticket.
Read the rest
Tom says: NTE is gathering speed.
NTE is gathering speed,
So extinction is guaranteed,
But we will succeed
To be finally freed
From the misery of our breed.
h/t Steve Kurtz:
Excerpt from Casey’s research letter:
Russia and the former Soviet nations control nearly half of the world’s uranium supply
Some “victory” that – as if Fukushima and their own Chernobyl weren’t lessons enough!
I doubt if they’ll ever be completed or get to the up and running stage. The world is racing toward collapse and it won’t be held back by our stupid plans to ruin it further every year. In fact the planet takes all of our pollution (not just CO2) and uses it to destroy our habitat and everything we used to rely on for food (the oceans, the air, the fresh water sources, and the lands’ capacity to produce food) so that soon everyone will clearly see and experience what we’ve done.
Great posts xraymike79!
Many Countries Reaching Diminishing Returns in Fertilizer Use
…There are still some countries with a large potential for expanding fertilizer use. But in the many countries that have effectively removed nutrient constraints on crop yields, applying more fertilizer has little effect on yields. For the world as a whole, the era of rapidly growing fertilizer use is now history.
LOL. (funny commentary by Cenk)
The freak show that is Dennis Rodman:
The Rude Pundit: Australia Would Like You To Shove Your Climate Change Denial Up Your Ignorant Arse
Hey, wow, look at that. It’s cold outside in the United States. So cold that if you haven’t dried properly after showering and getting dressed, your scrotum will freeze to your thigh. Yeah, it’s really fucking cold, as it will be for another day. What that means in the grand scheme of things is that everyone you know will write something clever on Twitter, like “Polar vortex? I thought that was Sarah Palin’s vagina;” they’ll get on Instagram and post photos of ice doing icy things; and another bunch of fucknuts take to Facebook to declare that the fact that they had to wear longjohns is proof that “global warming” is a hoax or some such shit.
You can’t do anything about the first two groups. But that last one? Tell ’em that it’s called “global” because it means the entire motherfucking globe. And then tell ’em to suck on a kangaroo’s sweaty dong:
Most Americans need to be told that that’s Australia and that the temperatures listed there are in Celsius. That means the 50 degrees C is 122 degrees here. Temperature, not heat index or whatever they wanna make up to make it seem hotter or colder. It’s so fucking hot in Australia that they had to come up with new colors for the map. It’s so fucking hot in Australia that you can’t use your iPhone. Because it’s too fucking hot.
2013 was the hottest year on record, kicking the ass of the old record, which was 20-fucking-12. Not only that, but the temperatures in Australia are hotter than have ever been recorded there. And unlike our punk-ass two days of arctic cold here, the heat wave in Australia, especially in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, has lasted since December 27. That’s two weeks of heat that’ll singe off a koala’s dick. (First person who makes a “shrimp on the barbie” joke gets a punch in the goolies.)
This is not to mention the fires everywhere. And the dead bats. It’s pretty much Armageddon down under.
So today, when your co-worker or your aunt tries to tell you about how stupid climate change is or forwards you some ludicrous denialist email from World Net Daily or whatever, send ’em some wallaby jerky and tell ’em they didn’t even use an oven to make it. Then maybe explain that a single weather event demonstrates nothing. But years of heat are a pattern. And patterns…you know what? Fuck it. Just throw some hot water on them and ask them if they feel better now.
(Note: This could also have been about Argentina.)
OK. I’ve had enough of this insanity for today.
Abby, did you finish answering those questions I emailed you?
I didn’t remember this line from THE movie.
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