Monday, July 13, 2009

Kunstler Weighs in As Optimist.

James Howard Kunstler is still holding out for a last minute conversion of the PTB to his train-centric view of the world. He starts with this:
The cat coming out of the bag this week -- a frazzled, flaming, rabid, death-dealing cat -- is the news that Goldman Sachs will announce impressive second-quarter profits, and set aside $18 billion or so for employee bonuses averaging $600,000 per head (though, of course, not evenly distributed among them). There probably are not fifty-three people in the USA who can explain how this development figures in with last fall's bailout gift from the US treasury, or the $13 billion GS received on the backside of US gift payments to the failed AIG insurance company, plus the reams of necrotic securitized debt paper rotting in the back of the GS vaults. This is a company playing with the fire of world history.

And somehow ends up here....
I'm not ready to capitulate to cynicism. There is something in the political wind this summer. I think events will force Mr. Obama to assert some real leadership and take the national debate on our predicament in another direction, even if it is an uncomfortable direction for him and everybody else. Despite the massive disappointment being expressed by so many Obama voters these days, I believe the president will redeem himself before long.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced over the weekend that he will commence an investigation into the Bush regime's misconduct with terrorism suspects. His department is capable of running more than one investigation at a time. Why doesn't President Obama direct him to open an investigation of Goldman Sachs's behavior in the area of securities fraud, insider trading, and misuse of goverment funds? Without an official inquiry into financial misconduct of this company, and others, I believe public anger will overwhelm any attempts to transform our contracting economy and the president's ability to manage it.

James is correct in that he hasn't given in to cynicism. He is incorrect in his assumption that when the outrage comes to a boil it will assume any sensible shape.The american people are in a word: morons. (see California govt., fiscal crisis, yearly) Individuals may be intelligent but our collective decision making ability is insufficient to make toast without an automatic toaster and sliced bread. This is by design.

For over fifty years the formative years of the american populace have been corrupted by High Schools and Colleges. These institutions, as known in the US, practically guarantee that no brain will be corrupted by the words of somebody whose hands get dirty every day. Sixteen years of the U.S. school system and your average citizen can't change out a light switch, balance a budget or understand any of the contracts they sign every day.

To quell the hopes that somehow walkable communities will fix something....what are we walking to? We don't make anything anymore. Will we all walk to our offices and wait for the genies to bring us food and fix our houses?

We're going to collapse. People are going to point fingers wherever Rush or DailyKos tell them to and then proceed to destroy the tools needed to help them survive. Then they will attack those folks who actually know how to grow food or fix things just out of frustration.

GM is NOT going to be put to work making trolleys. Obama and the corporate-bankster, congress are not going to finance a massive energy overhaul. We are not suddenly going to all get a reasonable health care system and find new jobs installing solar panels and growing organic vegetables. We're going to squander our wealth bouncing rocks in Afghanistan that the Soviet's bounced in the '80s.

The rich, despite setbacks, still own most of what is worth owning in this country and they aren't giving up control of land, wealth, housing or other assets because they hope to keep up with the Gates and the Buffets someday. The middle class are simply too occupied with keeping themselves firmly on the the treadmill by means of social posturing. (skills don't matter; who you know rules all) The poor are just hoping that they can hang on and avoid eviction for another month and maybe get drunk, stoned, or laid enough mask the pain.

That doesn't leave very many people. The people actually trying to turn things around represent the equivalent effort of a guy with an oar in the bow of the Titanic preparing to fend off the iceberg. A bigger oar isn't going to cut it nor is the whole-hearted assistance of your dubious best buddy and spouse.

We're screwed. If we should somehow manage the banking crisis, the health care crisis, the education crisis there are still the mega-bergs of Peak Oil and Climate change mysteriously following in our wake. Just barely glimpsed now these last two will grind human civilization into dust unless every passenger on this boat starts converting the ship to lifeboats.

Which isn't going to happen. Whether stoned, Prozac'd, religiously whacked or just too preoccupied with the dress for the ball tomorrow most passengers don't know, don't care, and aren't willing to listen to your scary tales.

Build your own lifeboat; get as far from the wreckage as you can. Organize your tribe, save seeds, get paper copies of any information you might need for survival. If you're a loner; join a tribe and expect to be on shit-bucket duty when things get bad. Don't complain; known and useful is better than unknown, cold and hungry.

I'm probably going to change my mind about this and post something positive later but to honest it's just me taking my turn trying to push the iceberg.


Publius said...

Just discovered your blog through Nina... I'm up north in my prospective escape country, my home county, and about to hit the hay.
Nice little essay.
Right on.
What is your escape plan, brother?

Pangolin said...

No offense but if there were a logical location for a 'Garden of Eden' I am at ground zero.

Food falls off trees around here and people don't bother to pick it. For the effort of bending over or reaching or, gasp, using a picking pole I can eat: grapes, figs, oranges, lemons, walnuts, almonds, apples, peaches, pecans,plums, pears, olives, persimmons, quince, prunes and kiwis. FREE. Gardeners leave winter squash on neighbors doorsteps in the dead of night.

The local doves are clean, fat, happy and dumb. Crawdads swarm the rice fields and bass fishing is easy. Deer, 'coon and skunk wander downtown with fair regularity.

Currently we heat during what we call "winter" (just to mock you) with almond wood pruned from the orchards. If the global transportation system breaks down we will have enough almonds to burn in wood stoves more cheaply.

Locally our problem will be cleaning up excess food in order to keep rat populations down. We get fat, somebody else starves.

I have a cargo-bike and a kama and if need be could harvest a years supply of rice on a dark night in a few hours. The "rice-farmers" are really truck drivers who exercise their pointing finger with mexican labor. Too lazy to stay up nights and defend 1200 acre fields. Gleaning almonds is better return on labor.

Only people on the big island of Hawaii will have an easier time in a true crisis.