cartoon by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell
Sometimes when I write these monthly posts I catch myself reacting strongly and negatively to what I’m reading and writing about. You can probably detect that in the links below about John Bolton, Johnson & Johnson, and Larry Summers. Since I don’t believe we have free will over what we believe or do, I am surprised that I still react so viscerally to cruelty, abuse, manipulation, and stupidity. If everything is unfolding the only way it can, what’s the point of getting upset about it? We’re all doing our best (grumble, gripe) and no one is to blame (grrr, scowl). Thanks for sharing my cognitive dissonance.
Photo: Electricity rationing in Oslo. Woman and a child knit by light of candles and kerosene lamp. 1948 by Leif Ørnelund via Wikimedia Commons via Richard Heinberg’s Museletter
Ukraine war provides an early opportunity to ‘practice’ fuel rationing: Richard Heinberg’s Museletter explains that despite a massive fallback on coal energy production, much of the world (outside the Americas) will be faced with oil rationing this winter, perhaps a rehearsal for when oil production permanently declines. The situation is especially bad in Europe, where backfiring sanctions against Russian gas have already crippled economies. Thanks to Paul Heft for the second link.
No, actually that doesn’t work: John Michael Greer, explains, one more time, why neither nuclear nor “renewable” energy can prevent economic collapse.
The shrinking of the lakes: As many once-massive lakes around the world dry up due to chronic droughts, their loss is devastating wildlife, threatening water supplies and exposing those nearby to windblown lakebed arsenic dust. John Halstead describes the madness of thinking we can escape such ecological disasters by traveling to other planets.
Violence brewing: Indrajit Samarajiva muses on what happens when the increasingly oppressed and struggling masses give up waiting peacefully, on the biological tipping points that lead to climate collapse, and how civilizations built on fragile representations of reality never last long.
Carbon bombs and Gulf Stream collapse: The two latest harbingers of ecological collapse. Meanwhile, a third harbinger is accelerating sea level rise. Thanks to John Whiting for the links.
“Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent”: The Honest Sorcerer reviews how our economy is utterly dependent on cheap and abundant energy, and how, both in the short and long run, that dependency is blowing up in our faces. (The brilliant quote is from Keynes.)
How will the “saving remnant” live?: Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen talk about life after collapse. Thanks to Paul Heft for the link. Excerpt:
There will no doubt be many variations in how a saving remnant manages to survive on the other side of collapse, depending on geography, climate, and environmental conditions. And because we won’t be starting from scratch, the many different cultural histories that people carry into the future will influence outcomes… The most important experiments in coping with unprecedented challenges are the ones that help us amuse ourselves as we mill around and live cheaply until we die.
cartoon by Dave Coverly
Everybody’s leaving Iowa: Lyz explains why she is not.
POLITICS AND ECONOMICS AS USUAL
meme from Facebook via John Whiting
Stella Assange confronts war criminal John Bolton: A great recap of the history of the Republicans’ most dangerous warmonger and why Assange should be set free.
Corpocracy, Imperialism & Fascism: Short takes (thanks to John Whiting for a bunch of these links):
- Biden resumes construction of Trump’s border wall.
- The SCO consolidates as an economic alternative to the Western Empire, and it has more of everything. Thanks to Paul Heft for the link.
- Chris Hedges draws parallels between now and 1930s Europe.
- Johnson & Johnson uses an alarming legal loophole to screw the consumers made ill by its deadly drugs.
- The World Bank president is a climate change denier.
- The NYT beats the drum for more wars against its “enemies”.
- Florida Governor shrugs off massive flooding in the state as “freak”.
- Liz Truss follows the same path that destroyed the Russian economy. And gets rebuked by the IMF.
- The right’s war against the BBC.
- Activists acquitted after rescuing piglets from abuse at mega-factory farm corporation Smithfield Farms. Thanks to Kavana Tree Bressen for the link.
Propaganda, Censorship, Misinformation and Disinformation: Short takes:
- US/NATO/Ukraine propaganda agencies resurrect “atrocity porn” as a tool of war. Most of it is utterly preposterous, aimed at the gullible, and a lot of it is recycled from past propaganda campaigns.
- NYT misreports the consensus at the SCO summit.
- US increasingly using bots to spread anti-Russian, anti-Chinese, and anti-Iran propaganda.
- What can we say about the Nord Stream “pipeline attack”? Contrary to what we’re being told: It wasn’t done by Putin. It wasn’t done by Putin. It wasn’t done by Putin. It wasn’t done by Putin. Give your head a shake if you think it was.
Just A Few More Words About Ukraine: Short takes:
- Putin was wrong to invade Ukraine and annex Donbas. Period. Satisfied now? There are no “good guys” in this war.
- Diplomacy is the only option.
- The long, dark, complex history behind the war.
CoVid-19 Becomes the Invisible Plague: Short takes:
- Growing evidence that each repeat infection increases the danger of Long CoVid.
- The preponderance of evidence, despite the blather of a few headline-seeking scientists, is still that CoVid-19 spread from bats, not mad scientists.
- The vast majority of anti-vaxxers and their family members who subsequently died of CoVid-19 were Republicans. Thanks to Kavana Tree Bressen for the link.
- The next human pandemic is very likely to start on poultry factory farms. Thanks to John Whiting for the link.
- In the meantime, please be kind to others, especially the old and vulnerable: Get vaccinated and boosted as often as possible, wear a mask in crowded places and indoors, and if you’re having even mild symptoms, test and self-isolate until you’re better.
Could insurers force cities to curb rogue police forces? The cost of compensating victims of police malfeasance could bring about reforms where other strategies have failed. Thanks to Kavana Tree Bressen for the link.
The servants of our times: We have pressed into servitude our own working classes, the workers of the Global South, billions of years of fossil fuel energy, and the world’s increasingly imperilled land, waters, and air, all forced to do our bidding to keep the illusion of perpetual growth and the myth of progress alive. Small wonder that they are all, in their own way, pushing back.
FUN AND INSPIRATION
from xkcd, of course
The trouble with 5G: No, it’s not radiation eviscerating your insides, it’s the fact it interferes, severely, with weather forecasting instrumentation, and will set the accuracy of weather predictions back 30 years.
How San Francisco lost its humanity: The real story of Chesa Boudin, and how idealism of the left can lead us astray as much as idealism of the right. Thanks to Raffi Aftandelian for the link.
The world’s weirdest languages: A rundown of the world’s most unique languages. What’s the weirdest? Basque Icelandic Pidgin.
“Why doesn’t anyone want to work anymore?”: Lyz does a spoof of the moronic Larry Summers. Thanks to PS Pirro for the link.
Honest laundry care symbols: “Do not let your spouse put this in the dryer“.
Virtual reality painting: In case 2D painting isn’t challenging enough for you.
Dolphins surfing: You know, because they can.
Seagull hitching a ride: Can I get a Lyft?
All the biomass of Earth, in a chart: Revel in the insignificance of humans.
Funny headlines of the month:
- School budget committee votes to eliminate 4th-graders entirely (Onion)
- Chapters-Indigo to phase out books to sell more fleece blankets, reading socks (Beaverton; ask a Canadian to explain it)
- Poilievre confident THIS endorsement from an alt right conspiracy theorist won’t blow up in his face (Beaverton; after the new Canadian Conservative Party leader acknowledged the support of Alex Jones)
- The Onion files a US Supreme Court brief in support of a man charged with spoofing his local police force. No laughing matter, apparently.
The most complex pop song of all time: Rick Beato breaks down Never Gonna Let You Go, for music theory geeks.
THOUGHTS OF THE MONTH
from the memebrary
From Henry Miller on peace (via Whiskey River; thanks to Euan Semple for the link):
We need peace and solitude and idleness. If we could all go on strike and honestly disavow all interest in what our neighbor is doing we might get a new lease on life. We might learn to do without telephones and radios and newspapers, without machines of any kind, without factories, without mills, without mines, without explosives, without battleships, without politicians, without lawyers, without canned goods, without gadgets, without razor blades even or cellophane or cigarettes or money. This is a pipe dream, I know. People only go on strike for better working conditions, better wages, better opportunities to become something other than they are.
From Indrajit Samarajiva, on our dependence on fossil fuels:
I think people don’t get it and, indeed, I didn’t get it until recently and am probably missing significant chunks now. We don’t understand how much our lives are intertwined with fossil fuels not because we can’t understand but because we don’t like the answer. Even as I write this now I don’t believe it. I’m just going to take flights and order shit on Amazon like every other schmuck.
… and on the death of capitalism:
Mark Fisher said, “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism. [there is a] widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.” Even as I write this I don’t know how or what to replace this system with… People keep looking for a way out within this system, without sacrifice, but that’s just not possible. In truth, we can’t understand what comes after capitalism [any more] than we can understand what comes after death. It is that entwined with our being as social animals. This civilization really just has to die to find out.
Dave, according to my lovely, witty late wife, Linda, you are not experiencing cognitive dissonance, but rather cognitive pissiness.
At this point, I think I somewhat regret sending the link to The Atlantic article on San Francisco as a failed city. I think the piece makes a lot of interesting points, but I ran it by a friend of mine (who, in my view, shares a lot of your perspective on the state of the world), “CMc.” Over a couple of emails CMc shares the following thoughts:
The politics of the left have barely even been tried in SF. And where they have they’ve been quite successful. It is rightist politics that are causing problems in SF, as well as in the country as a whole, where they bleed into SF…
but basically the problem is that it is becoming a city for the rich only.
There are major problems with corruption….
The article is totally wrong about Boudin and the city.
Most people in the city support the ideas he was implementing and an also support the ideas of the three schoolboard members who were recently recalled.
But the Mayor does not. She, using the Willie Brown power machine, has undemocratically hand picked 4 important government officials who are by law to be elected. She couldn’t get her people elected in a fair election so she organized low turnout recall elections to eliminate them. As mayor she gets to appoint replacements.
All of this is done in support of a corrupt bureaucracy in which several important figures have been arrested by the FBI (including the Mayor’s ex-boyfriend, who she has admitted accepting bribes from).
All the people who are being punished with removal from office are the good progressives while the corrupt right wingers are laughing all the way to the bank. “Right wing” in this context means Clintonesqe pro-corporate types, who of course are pro-LGBT pro-BLM etc (as I am) but really represent the rich liberal elite.
The recall of Boudin (the only person ever to hold that job who had direct experience w/ the criminal justice system…his parents were incarcerated) was accelerated by an order given by the power elite NOT to enforce crime.
Their goal was to create a lot of crime, so that a progressive could be eliminated. Check out this story, which pointed out to me by my friend who was a victim of catalytic converter theft…and cops did nothing.
Other errors with this story:
–People think that SF is creating these drug abuse problems. The reality is that the whole USA is in the midst of a drug epidemic that is killing 10s of thousands of people which the last two presidents have done nothing about. The only reason you see a lot of these problems in SF is that it is the once city compassionate enough to provide care for these people, so they flock to SF.
–SF Also had good care for homeless people, which means that our homeless problem will never be solved. Even if thousands of homelesspeople move into a house tomorrow, the number of homeless people wouldn’t change. Those people would just be replaced by an equal number from San Jose, Gilroy, Modesto, Fresno, etc.
A link you might be interested in:
“Nondual awareness: consciousness-as-such as non-representational reflexivity” Zoran Josipovic
Ancient spiritual practices meet state of the art neurobiology…