Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Daniel Ellsberg Challenge

Jeff Morley, in his article: JFKfacts - The Ellsberg challenge, asks two questions posed to him by Daniel Ellsberg, liberator of "The Pentagon Papers":

"What do you want to happen as a result of your understanding of the JFK [assassination] story? What, if anything, does it require the American government to do in 2014?" 

Unfortunately, "the government" cannot and will not do anything regarding the Kennedy / King / Malcolm X assassinations, because the legitimacy of the United States government is held hostage to the truth. 

There will, of course, never be a grand reveal of the truth that strips away the fog of amnesia from the minds of the American public. This will not be allowed. While there may be startling revelations at some point in the future, they will be stage-managed by the mental manipulators, such that their effect on the perceptions of the public will be minimized, if not entirely negated. The Emperor's nudity must never be allowed to be revealed.

We already know, with little doubt, of the complicity and outright authorship of activities by United States government security agencies such as the FBI and CIA, in COINTELPRO-like programs to discredit the reputations of public figures, internationally and domestically. It is only a tiny step from disinformation (lying) and propaganda to averting the official eyes from more active interference, and yet a smaller step, once on the path, to participation. The result of the officially sanctioned oppression of the 60s is the prevailing surveillance state we experience in today's enemy-deficient world, where Terrorism has replaced Communism as justification for the recision of Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights. 

One can hope that if documentation of government complicity in the 60s assassinations were to be globally distributed, say, by a WikiLeaks type action, such widespread opening of the collective eye would indeed destroy the legitimacy of the United States government sufficiently to cause its downfall and replacement by a democratic parliamentary form of government. This would, unfortunately, require a degree of public participation in the process of government now sadly lacking. But let us not discount the ability of the American people to rise to an occasion when sufficiently motivated. We are long past due our responsibility to "water the tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants."

Unless and until the documented truth is revealed, there is nothing the government need do, and nothing the awake and aware public can do about our ineluctably corrupt government. The corporate oligarchy controls access to information, inescapably surveils the public for signs of unrest and incipient rebellion, creates and maintains an atmosphere of fear of fictive external enemies, and maintains a monopoly of force against any potential or actual uprising.

In Oliver Stone's words, as Jim Garrison in his 1991 film, JFK

 It may become a generational
 affair, with questions passed down from
 father to son, mother to daughter, in the
 manner of the ancient runic bards.  Someday
 somewhere, someone might find out the
 damned Truth.  Or we might just build
 ourselves a new Government like the
 Declaration of Independence says we should
 do when the old one ain't working.

 An American naturalist wrote, "a patriot
 must always be ready to defend his
 country against its government."

That "American naturalist" was Edward Paul Abbey, author of Desert Solitaire, Fire on the Mountain, and The Monkey Wrench Gang, anarchist, gadlfy, curmudgeon, and inspiration to a generation of patriots who continue to defend this country, and its natural habitats and species, from an overweening government. 

There's plenty of work to do and time is on our side.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Signs of the Decline

In this critically important analysis, World Oil Production at 3/31/2014-Where are We Headed? Gail Tverberg points out the instability of global oil production leading to ultimate declines in oil availability and increases in prices.

"The fact that the selling price of oil remains flat tends to lead to political instability in oil exporters because they cannot collect the taxes required to provide programs needed to pacify their people (food and fuel subsidies, water provided by desalination, jobs programs, etc.) without very high oil prices."

The general trend is a global decline in oil production amidst unstable to declining production worldwide. The disparity between the cost of production and the price that consumers are able to pay increases the instability of global oil prices.

As I've said many times in the past, Peak Oil is far more immediately threatening to human societies than climate change. In fact, the economic results of Peak Oil will largely negate the contribution of human greenhouse gases to observed climate variation.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two Realities, the choice is up to us

This article by Richard Heinberg, Two Realities, is so important I want to spread it liberally about cyberspace.

There exists a vast chasm betwixt the environmental reality of the biosphere on this planet, and the infinitely smaller but nonetheless overwhelming reality within the noosphere of economists, Chambers of Commerce promoters, property developers, corporate CEOs, legislators and their pet lobbyists, and government administrators.

Economic growth is viewed as the universal panacea for all human ills, from poverty to environmental destruction, even though it is obvious to all who care to see that economic growth is the ultimate cause of these problems. Anyone who dares rise in objection to the mantra of continued economic growth is met with withering stares, outraged expostulation, public obloquy, and social sequestration.

Unfortunately, all governmental bodies are ineluctably under the thrall of growth maniacs, such that economic growth is unquestioned and unquestionable in public discourse. What passes for media these days are filled with assurances that economic growth is increasing, or bemoaning a lack of sufficient economic growth in the past quarter, with not the slightest question as to whether said economic growth is a good thing for human societies, let alone for the natural world.

The political will does not exist to reassess our growth mania and turn it around, in large part because those who control the economy are the beneficiaries, at least for the moment, of its excess. The populace is largely unaware of the conundrum, concerned with jobs, family and the consumerism necessary to live up to social expectations. Economic growth is viewed as the Great American Dream, despite the looming Great Global Nightmare that will sweep it all away as Peak Oil and climate change begin to seriously erode the fabric of the economic fantasy.

Despite this pessimistic outlook, the incipient proto-mammals of steady state economy are nibbling away at the dinosaur eggs of the growth-at-any-cost status quo. Heinberg has here set out a program of public awareness and funding for study and promotion of alternative economies, that, at the very least, may lessen the shock of global economic collapse on the horizon.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Two Worlds... on one planet

In Two Worlds: #203 / A Two Worlds Analysis, Gary Patton states:
"My own belief is that global warming is 'real,' and is caused by human activity, and that global warming poses a major threat to human civilization."

It is true that climate variation (aka, Global Warming) is real. It is inaccurate to say that it is “caused” by human activity. Climate variation continues apace, as it has done for millennia. Human activity, particularly production of greenhouse gases and modifications of the landscape that affect atmospheric water vapor, modify, to a greater or lesser extent, this natural climate variation.

There are many factors that pose major threats to human civilization, in addition to climate variation. The most immediate threatening factor is Peak Oil, which will change human civilization much sooner and much more drastically than will climate variation.

It is certain that oil will soon become an uneconomical source of energy. It is certain that human civilization is unalterably based on abundant, inexpensive oil and other finite fossil fuels. It is certain that renewable energy sources are less energy dense, less portable and less reliable than fossil fuels. It is certain that no combination of renewable energy sources can replace the amount of energy now consumed by our civilization at present population levels, let alone with any future population growth.

The effects of present and future climate variation are uncertain. Beyond consideration of the accuracy and precision of numerical global climate models, which are only as good as their data inputs, climate variation is chaotic and nonlinear, and thus, virtually impossible to predict with less than hemispheric accuracy over a limited time period.
It seems to me that the one problem facing us, Peak Oil, will cancel out the other, human modified climate variation. Either we will find a way to lower our energy demands and switch to renewable energy sources, thus lowering our “carbon footprint,” or we won’t, thus lowering our “carbon footprint.” The former will allow some maximum cultural continuity, the latter will entail considerable cultural chaos and collapse.

Laid out thusly, in glowing black and white phosphors, the choice seems clear to me. We must do everything we can to lower our energy demands while at the same time using our remaining fossil fuel energy sources to develop as much renewable energy as possible… and here’s the catch: We must accomplish all this without laying waste to the natural biosphere that supports all life on this planet.

It’s a big prescription, to be sure. One way or the other, a thousand years from now, all will be well, as humans will have found a way to live within natural cycles of resource availability and waste assimilation, either by our own determination, or by Nature’s own resolute requirements.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.


Wilderness and wild spaces, even not so wild open spaces in urban areas, are increasingly under attack by gearheads, young recreationists and self-centered entitlement aficionados. Their mantra is "antiquated laws," which they chant whilst lobbying policy makers to change or rescind regulations to allow them unfettered access to places that have been long protected for their unique natural values.

No one is surprised by this contradictory behavior. Humans have always been masters at straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Popular human culture is replete with self-defeating behavior by a populace in thrall to consumerism and corporate personhood.

It remains for us 60ish conservationists to trod heavily in our expensive hiking boots in the path of the unknowing, youthful recreational enthusiasts, while we still have the gumption, intestinal fortitude and energy left to defend the wild at every opportunity, stand in their faces and so to them, "No, you will not destroy this wild place.

These laws regulate behavior that is destructive to the very characteristics of wild lands that make them attractive to humans in the first place. Those screaming the loudest for access are lobbying for the right to destroy that which they profess to enjoy.

What they refuse to understand is that environmental laws and regulations do not exclude anyone from these areas. It is behavior that is excluded, not individuals or groups of humans.




This past week, my wife and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by hiking into the Hoover Wilderness in the east Sierra above Mono Lake.

No toys, no gear, just us and our feet, eyes, ears, noses and skin. It was a healing walk, away from the din of what passes for civilization in the "developed" world.


"But love of the wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need - if only we had eyes to see." - Ed Abbey

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Supply Shock, Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution

Brian Czech’s Supply Shock, Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution, 2013, New Society Publishers, brings the “dismal science” to life as a luminous discipline. Czech, founder of the  Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, begins where Herman Daly’s 1996 Beyond Growth leaves off, bringing ecological economics into the present turbulent economy while explaining how we got here.

In addition to an enlightening and enjoyable history of economics, and projections for the economic future, Czech makes two significant contributions to our understanding of steady state ecological economics.

Czech tells us the story of Henry George, whose 1897 Progress and Poverty, brought land back into the equation of the means of production, alongside capital and labor. George promoted the idea of a single land tax, thus fostering the enmity of industrialists of the time who were busy locking up land along the expanding railroads for their personal profits. George’s work not only encouraged the burgeoning agrarian and socialist political movements, but also engendered the reactionary slide from classical to neoclassical economics.

Czech’s explication of  this largely forgotten economic history tells us that our present economic system is not carved in stone, and that we can indeed craft a new economic system more in keeping with modern realities of a finite, fully populated world.

Czech’s important contribution to ecological economics is his trophic model of human economies. Just as non-human economies can be organized on trophic levels, based on their relationships to primary producers (those who directly transfer energy from the sun to nutritional needs), human economies can be organized on trophic levels, based on their relationship to human primary producers (farmers and those who produce directly from the land).

The importance of this model lies in its explanation of production within our modern services and information economies, which professes to have a smaller impact on the environment because they exploit fewer resources and produce less waste than manufacturing economies. Czech points out that, just as large fierce animals are rare in non-human economies because they require a very large base of primary producers, service and information economies require a large base of primary producers (farmers) creating an excess of produce for its support. In an economic growth scenario, the expanding secondary production economy requires an expanding base of primary producers from a land and resource base that is constantly shrinking.

Therefore, continued net economic growth in a world of finite resources is impossible.

Czech’s trophic model of human economies firmly marries economic theory with ecological theory, exploring human economies as a subset of the broader natural economy, leading the way to a unified theory of steady a state economy that can function in perpetuity within natural cycles of resource availability.


Supply Shock is a significant contribution to economic theory that offers a path through and beyond the inevitable limitations of economic growth.