Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Peak Oil Update

Most of my readers are probably well versed in Peak Oil. I always smile somewhat sadly, when I hear someone call something the defining issue of the time, like campaign finance, growing economic inequality, or even the erosion of individual liberty. Those of us long immersed in the Peak Oil scene, know what is, even if most of us are confused really, as to what to do with such knowledge. Especially as word from the media is trumpeting American energy independence, desperately inflating the next bubble, convincing a public that doesn't really need much convincing that there's no need to worry, despite what is staring us in the face. Anyone otherwise well versed in the language of EROEI - energy return on energy invested, the exponential function, and the difference between conventional drilling and deep water, shale and tar sands extraction, knows full well the whole mess is doomed, and sooner rather than later. Admitting that to oneself is hard enough, though. Communicating it is something different entirely.

Climate scientists have mostly failed in this regard, when it comes to climate change. Just as Peak Oil, the climate science is in, and it's conclusive. Obvious really, only confirming what one should be able to comprehend even without it. But so far, belief has plummeted, in favor of whatever will not blame us for it, or in outright denial of the science. Scientists don't get it, why the public doesn't get it. They just assumed, if we show them the numbers, they will understand. It reminds me of Timothy Leary back in the sixties, assuming everyone would just take LSD and all would be peaceful. Neither anticipated the establishment backlash, nor the people's refusal. Who knew that the climate numbers wouldn't matter to so many, that so many people would believe only what they wanted to hear? Who fully grasped the extent to which Americans would favor an emotional message, a narrative, and the reality of it wouldn't really matter as long as it confirmed one's ideologically driven world view?

There's a great implausibility of ever convincing Americans about any of the science behind Peak Everything, the exponential function, and climate change. You can't really argue for any kind of benefit, when the core of your argument is that everything is about to go to hell. Not any benefit that most Americans can conceive of, who have lost so much sense of any relationship to the Earth. I mean, how really are you going to communicate to someone bitching about economics and the welfare state, and the flaw in subsidizing either the poor or corporations, that the fossil fuel energy consumption of the average American is something like equal to the labor of about 160 slaves, who work without pause, who don't question your authority? In a sense, hardly a one of us truly earns the life we have grown accustomed to. Oh, and by the way, those slaves are about to be re-distributed in a way that is going to reduce the support for most of us. And this is why that is good for you!

People may not want to hear it, but connecting the economy, energy and the ecology of climate change, makes for a powerful narrative, hard to deny. Few are building this narrative better than Nicole Foss, Ilargi and Ashvin over at The Automatic Earth, John Michael Greer, @ The Archdruid-Report, Chris Martenson with his Crash Course*, Sharon Astyk on her farm, the many who contribute to the Post Carbon Institute and their Energy Bulletin, and the Oil Drum. There are myriad others, and it's encouraging to see, wherever some hyper-optimistic speculation about oil supplies appears, there are plenty who appear with literate comments to correct it. Citi-bank would have you believe that you never have to worry about oil ever again. So would the Motley Fool, who would make an unsuspecting one out of you, as if propaganda were somehow worthy as a tool of macro-economic punditry. By god, the Wall Street Journal had more sense, hinting at least, that claiming peak oil as dead is actually dependent on all that fancy technology accounting for a 12 million barrel a day shortfall in domestic supply vs imports, and not bankrupting the economy in the process.

It doesn't look like there is going to be the capital to make it work. The whole argument on technology and capital overcoming any finite limits, depends on some very dubious attitudes: first, denial that world oil supply has been flat since 2005, despite high prices; second, denial that economic growth is stymied by a flat oil supply, and a grossly over-extended economy in which far too much capital is swallowed up by interest payments on debt; third, pretending that throwing more and more capital at energy extraction and preparation isn't taking money from elsewhere in the economy; fourth, ignoring that upward ratcheting demand worldwide is putting severe strains on supply; fifth, denial of the evidence that all that new shale and tar sands play isn't nearly as productive as it has been made out to be by the industry; and sixth, denial that all these new non-conventional oil resources are exceptionally detrimental in every aspect, ecologically.

Meanwhile, just as dubiously, are mainstream environmentalists continuing to parrot the idea that we can all live supported by just as many energy slaves, if we just kick the addiction to oil and switch to renewables, an idea hardly one whit less delusional and detrimental to the future of this country than the idea that fossil fuel energy is unlimited. Any kind of renewable based economy, as we understand renewables, is one that would be considerably less complex. America's suburbs aren't designed for it. Nothing of America's civilization is. Everything we know as modern is entirely dependent on cheap and abundant oil...

Contemplating it all is akin to destroying, or over-coming, or transcending the ego. It is truly apocalyptic, whatever you may believe about the prophecies of the time. How much courage does that take, to face it without being forced to by fate? And how easy is it to fall into cynicism, or mockery, as a kind of boundary between myself and the reality of an unraveling world? I've grown weary of commenting in the Huffpost, so many there exercising both cynicism and mockery, and viciousness besides. The idea that we don't really deserve to survive, as a species, is an increasingly prevalent one. Is there any greater ugliness than this, a people convinced of their own inherent shame, as if a world of connection and clarity and love were not their's by right, whatever any authority might say about it? What rights do a people deserve, who have given up on caring and concern? What rights are they going to be given?

What distinguishes the writers and websites listed above, is their choosing life. The have not thrown up their hands, saying, "It will work itself out." They recognize this time as one of unprecedented upheavals, and yet also unlimited possibility, if one is willing to let go of the ideas that are driving the culture toward oblivion. They invest in ideas, and action, about what to do in response to declining energy supplies and economic breakdown; while most of the rest of the country is too busy blaming someone else for whatever problems, without really looking at the core of why things are as they are, and our own part in it. I've been reading a lot about the Illuminati, and end times thinking, in research for a book, and most of what I've found consists in looking for someone to blame, anyone but my self, the more abstract and distant the villain, the better. Consider instead, that no one is at fault for the state of the world, and everyone is. I recommend letting go of the madness, and focusing on whatever you can do to heal, to prepare your core for the troubles ahead. There is a point, when there isn't any more you can read about Peak Oil, Peak Resources, the state of the economy, climate change, epic corruption and denial, that isn't basically redundant. That is something like the beginning of understanding. After that, there is only what I can do, to recover my relationship to the Earth.

* I was cribbing off and parasitizing Chris Martenson's piece on “Dangerous Ideas” for this post. You can find links to the above sites in the Links section, on the left-side column of this blog, though I expect a fair number of my readers are familiar with them all.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rick Santorum

I was raised an Evangelical Christian by my mother. I gave my life to Christ when I was eight, or I played like I did. I remember the day clearly. I was with my mother at a meeting in the high school gym, held by the Peters brothers, Dan and Steve, semi-famous, or infamous, for burning rock and roll records on the steps of our state capital in 1979, interviewed by no less than Dan Rather and Ted Koppel. Claiming to have found subliminal lyrics by playing rock songs backwards, I remember straining to hear “smoke marijuana” in an otherwise, or really entirely indecipherable jumble of sounds, of Queen's, “Another one bites the dust,” in reverse. When the call went out to be born again, as it does at every Evangelical service everywhere, I bowed my head and repeated all the words, just like I knew my mother wanted me to. She was delighted. So was I, insofar as I had made my mother so happy, who was otherwise a typical Gemini, equal parts holy and holy terror. If Jesus accepted me, I do not know. I like to think he approves of my alienation from the religion in his name, if not necessarily from him. He may not approve of my service to the Goddess, which would be too bad, though I'm not convinced he disapproves. I don't think he was the dominator his followers make him out to be in approval of.

Thus, my interest in the two-term Representative, and two-term Senator from Pennsylvania. Here is a man who makes little attempt to hide what he believes. He is very earnest. That he rose to such an astoundingly high leadership position early in his second term in the Senate, the third-highest ranking, is almost as astonishing as his re-election loss by 18%. It's an open question as to whether Pennsylvanians objected more to his preoccupation with polygamy, man on man, and man on dog sex, or the fact that he was living across the border in Virgina. A lesser man might have given up politics, esp. after being nicknamed after a gross anal profusion (see Google). You don't fuck with the gay guys in a free society. But so anointed a cultural warrior by the media, he aspires to be Emperor. I find it perfectly fitting that a potential future President of the American empire should have such a nickname, except in foreign relations we don't usually use lube.

Most pundits don't take him very seriously. He is viewed equally too far right to be electable, and a liability to Republicans. One might think any man capable of saying, “there has always been inequality and I hope there always will be,” would be embraced by Republicans, but even if you believe it you aren't supposed to say it, and who really thinks a guy who condemns contraceptives could be acceptable to promiscuous America? Not even Fox News knows what to do with him. Of the entirety of Congress, in both houses of which he served, he has the support of zero Senators and three Representatives. And yet he has won as many contests as Romney, and is tied for the lead or leading in polls.

He has won these contests because of people like my mother. I don't know who she supports this time; she just returned from Israel, and seems otherwise preoccupied with the Constitution and the movement to restore the Republic. But she has always participated in local elections, as a volunteer, and she has always voted according to her understanding of the Bible. These days participatory democracy is inconvenient for most of us, preoccupied as we are with making a living, raising children and our televisions and computers and phones. The only people who tend to show up early in the process are the most passionate, and on the Republican side, at the local level, that's more often than not Christians, serving in the name of God, and more particularly Jesus.

The nightmare scenario for the GOP is Rick Santorum entering the RNC with more delegates than Romney - God forbid Gingrich comes in second, or even first in this crazy process. Romney is Obama's GOP reflection in alabaster, possibly not electable even if the economy tanks. This crowd is probably a nightmare any which way for the GOP, but the worst scenario is having to broker a deal for Romney, a Mormon. It might be preferable to pull someone out of a hat who hasn't run at all. Imagine the fuss Santorum and his Christian supporters would make. I could see that tearing the Republican party in two. Santorum could start his own party, call it INRI (the supposed Latin inscription on the cross meaning Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.)

The problem is, Rick Santorum is on firmer ground than pundits think. "This idea that man is here to serve the Earth, as opposed to husband its resources and be good stewards of the Earth.... is a phony ideal. I don't believe that that's what we're here to is here to use the resources and use them wisely, to care for the Earth, to be a steward of the Earth, but we're not here to serve the Earth.

"The Earth is not the objective, Man is the objective....Man should be in charge of the Earth and have dominion over it and should be good stewards of it.”

If stewarding and caring for the Earth is what we have done, I can't bear to imagine what dominion would look like. And, it is for every man and woman to decide for themselves whether they serve the Earth. That aside, his is precisely the message for a people accustomed to the lifestyle of empire, with dominion in their blood, who live as if the lifestyle is a divine right. Emphasizing the objective to be Man and not Human, he is affirming for men who have felt powerless against the perceived rise of women, and an economy that doesn't give a damn, that they are not only of value, but that they should by divine right rule over women, children and the Earth. There are plenty of Christian women who don't disagree with this.

His message is primarily moral, which is to say, emotional. Americans have been very well trained by media to respond emotionally, without thinking. And lest we forget, something like half of Americans don't believe in evolution. A people who refuse to deal with the greater implications of what Science has taught us about the world we inhabit, a people ready for one more thrust of imperial rape and pillage, have the perfect candidate in Rick Santorum.

The nightmare scenario for America is the American economy, or its perceived safety, heading south in a bad way in the next six months. If that happens, it will be a horse race between the fire-breather Gingrich and the theocrat dominionist Santorum, not just for the Republican candidacy, but for the Presidency. If Americans are especially afraid, I can see us falling for Santorum and war in Iran, with inflamed visions in the minds of people like my mother, of the apocalypse described in the book of Revelations, (all because of gays and liberals and pot smokers and radical environmentalists and women having sex for pleasure and abortion and dark skinned people,) the continuation and radical expansion of G-dub's “crusade.” Unless Americans have more sense than I think.

I hesitate to speak clearly to my feelings about Christianity. Mostly because I do not want to alienate Christians. Like it or not, they are bedrock in this country. Most of them are good people trying to live peaceful lives. Still, if I have been hard on the presumptions of scientists in recent posts, I have a similar disgust with the Christian refusal to re-evaluate their creation story. Which I consider a betrayal of their humanity, their country and their God. Some have, but most have not. When I think of the trouble ahead for America, I imagine a people inflamed with the violence sanctioned by the Old Testament God (see Jehrico), and their infatuation with firearms. A myriad number of male Americans inflamed by the likes of Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent (working class Americans both Liberals and Conservatives have abandoned as if they do not exist), as if the only cure for America's ills were to eliminate with extreme prejudice, anyone who fails to ascribe to the dictates of those who lust to kill in the name of God. If it comes to that, I hope good Christians rise up to fight the lunatic ones.

I've said before I've thought 2012 might be the year when people are forced to face the reality of impending oil constraints, with potentially massive upheavals. More and more, the attitudes about biblical apocalypse seem a mirror for the attitudes swirling around the 2012 Mayan end of an Age meme. I've begun to hope for a dud of a year. When I look at Santorum, I don't expect it will be.

If this last debate showed anything, it's that he can speak a language besides a purely moral one. That's to his advantage, if he's savvy. You don't rise to the third ranking position in the Senate after your first term by being a putz. Though I'm also well aware, it may not matter who the President is. Things aren't likely to change much that aren't going to change regardless.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Coming Clean

Coming home last Monday after spending time with my beloved niece and nephew, I read my last post and was taken aback by the anger of it. Where is my joy? I thought. I've been exhorting my friend over at Epiphany Now (the musings of an ex-EMT, who is possibly even more angry than I am), to find his joy. The synchronicities have been piling up, and it seems he has found it. In his last post he talked about the archetype of the fox, and how it pertains to his recent resignation from what he describes as the Matrix, the American Hologram. I failed to mention to him, that among the archetypes I am most accustomed to embodying, or attempting to, are the dragon and the green man. As such, my energies tend sometimes toward the intense, and I temper them liberally with coffee, beer, mead, wine, hard cider*, tobacco and cannabis. Looking back on nearly two years of this blog, I think I've said something to alienate just about everyone in America. I've tried too to temper that with the reminder that we are all divine, and existence is sacred.

I bought this house with my father, in the spring of 2006, or as I like to say, about 12 minutes before the market collapsed. I was living with my sister and my niece at the time, but our relationship had deteriorated, and I wanted a house and some land of my own. I owned my own business remodeling houses, and I knew the market was inflated, but I reasoned that this house, on a lot-and-a-half, near downtown, the freeway, the airport, light rail, lakes and small businesses, would level off and sustain it's price. Though the information was available, I knew nothing of the shenanigans going on within the banks and wall street, the now renowned credit default swaps and securitized bundling of mortgages they knew to be bad.

In 2008, working a doomed job at the headquarters of a Fortune 100, with a small mountain of debt and little cash, I walked away from the house, in love with a woman. I lived with her and her children in a neighboring state for two years, while my father, unwilling to walk away, or sell the house at a loss, sure in his boomer faith in the market, continued to pay the mortgage. In the spring of 2010 I returned to the house and started this blog. I have payed the bills since, while my father has paid the mortgage, and I have attempted to secure employment. It looks now like the house will be for sale April 01, as I have not found employment sufficient to pay the totality.

The house is in rough shape. It is an artifact, really, of an age when heating a house was not such a financial concern. There are 28 single pane windows in this 750 sq ft house. It is entirely 2x4 construction, with vermiculite asbestos insulation. The interior walls are painted with about five layers of lead paint. I revealed and refinished all the old hardwoods, and reconstructed a collapsed ceiling in the sunroom, but the kitchen has no foundation nor heat source of it's own except the sun. The bathroom is partially disassembled. The furnace just turned on, though it didn't at all yesterday.

My intention when I bought the house was to remodel it, maybe tear the kitchen off and put a real one in its place. I can do all that work myself. The resources never arrived, however, and now, the house is realistically $50,000-$100,000 under water. If you count the money my father has spent maintaining the house since 2008, my father stands to lose $100,000-150,000 on this house. As I have less than $4,000, and no real employment, 38 years old, that makes me the rich man's son who could never get his shit together.

I had hoped the national mortgage settlement might mean something for my father, but if that all-out lie of an agreement ever helps anyone but the banks, I will be amazed. Because my father is current on the payments, there is no chance for a reduction on the principle, though we bought the house at a price that this house will never see again. And because we signed a 5-year ARM that matured last spring, we already pay a lower interest payment than the banks would prefer. Hell, if you lost your house through no fault but the bank's “robo-signing” foreclosure documents, this agreement that is not in fact a written agreement may only give you $2000, maybe. Because there is not an actual written agreement, I suspect there never actually will be, or whatever is inked at some later date, probably immediately following the next election on a Friday before Christmas, will be so watered down it will probably end up steering whatever money is taken from the banks back to the banks, and then some. Is there a bath deep enough to drown the banks and the Attorneys General in?

Why is the onus entirely on the homeowner, for what was done to the housing market? The banks help inflate a bubble, and then get to draw interest payments on all those grossly inflated mortgages? Sweet deal. I realize they had to eat all those foreclosures, but they signed them and they got bailout money and zero-interest loans more than sufficient to make up the loss. They are bigger now than they were, remember. We're going to need a bigger bath, to fit the Fed, Fanny, Freddy, and really, the entirety of Congress.

None of that excuses me, for my failures, which go well beyond my inability to pay this mortgage. Had I really wanted to, of course, I'm sure I could have found employment sufficient to pay my bills. But something else has been happening to me since I first walked away from the credit financed life I was leading up to 2008. I have been studying economics, the market, the mythology of progress, the story of our culture, and I find myself alienated almost entirely from it. To be a cog in a machine that is remorselessly devouring the Earth, is no longer a thing I can be. To participate actively in policies that are clearly leading humanity toward economic and ecological oblivion, is no longer a thing I can tolerate for myself. To sleepwalk in the faith of salvation from the outside is no longer a thing I can do.

Though I had dreamed of taking this house off the grid, I've dreamt mostly of late of tearing it down and building a passive solar, straw bail house, or one entirely out of hemp. What is the likelihood my city government would allow me to build such a house? Really, if I want to grow hemp, to turn it into a house, where in America do I get to demonstrate that?

I may have failed this house and my father, but I turned this yard into a garden. I might plant fruit trees yet, just to continue what I started, what I would do if I were keeping it. Then leave it up to the universe to decide - if I am not to keep it, then whom? It would make me happy to transfer stewardship to someone who could, and do to the house what I have not been able to do. That's a rare one, I expect. More likely is the developer who returns the yard to sod, tears down the house and builds an inefficient 3000 sq ft stick-frame rectangle. And all the neighborhood can rejoice for the increase in relative property values.

I think I might even leave my country for awhile. Decouple myself as much as possible, from the system that sustains us. A decade ago, looking ahead to 30, I spent half a year in the Boundary Water Wilderness and Quetico Provincial park, on a solo canoe tour. Looking ahead to forty, I'm grateful for what this house has been for me. It has been a kind of energetic cradle, along with the yard, nurturing me on my path of healing. It was in the fall of 2006, in this house, that I reached the nadir of my adult life, when I could no longer fathom going on living as I had been. I put myself on a path of healing, and I could not have fathomed how much things would change, for me, for all of us. I've come to a similar nadir now, but this time it's not so much about me, as about my species. Its clear to me now that on the trajectory we are on, unless there is some inconceivable shift, we are going to turn this planet into a wasteland. And I think we could see that, either the shift or the wasteland, before my niece and nephew are old.

I'm sometimes at a loss, as to whether or not I have healed, whether or not the path I put myself on has been healing for me. In many ways, I'm not that much less estranged or alienated or isolated, than I was in 2006. I'm much closer to my sister, and my niece and nephew are like an anchor, holding me steady. I'm much more clear than I was, about what this life is about. Otherwise I'm mostly alone. The house across the street was built in the 1880's, and the streets plotted, to entice the people to settle the wilderness. I might as well be in a wilderness, for all the connection I have to my neighbors, for how distant are my friends. I thrive on solitude, but the distance between me and any kind of community isn't healthy. I've written two books, I'm writing a third, I've been maintaining this blog, but sometimes I despair, that the way I tell the story of my life is of any kind of value. Lately, I've despaired, that if I am to be the measure of my world view, then no one should be recommended to view the world as I do, that I should walk away from books and writing and let the world fall to ruin, which it is sure to do whether I write or not.

I named this blog Off the Grid in Minneapolis, because I meant it as a kind of venue for me to describe living without utilities, and the process of taking the house off the grid. Instead, it has been more a vehicle for my lifting of the veil, for the process of my disillusionment with the mainstream view of the world. It has been an exploration of ideas, an act of articulating and clarifying. I haven't always been right, and at times I may have been near delusional, but I have ever tried to be honest.

So what is this post? I may very well be homeless by the summer solstice. In which case, the premise for this blog will be at an end. I'm ready to move on. Waking up each morning to a 45-50 degree house has been rude, and it takes a long time to gather my head. I will continue to write. Where this blog will go from here, I cannot say. I have never known where I would go with this blog, week to week. Nothing about that is likely to change. Basically, if I am going to take such strong positions on the topics I do, there needs to be a regular reality check. If you are going to read my writing, you should know what I am. I'm still working that out.

I love my country. I love what America was meant to be. But more these days, I think of myself as a biological entity, in a biosphere that is increasingly degraded, by the exponential growth of a species that is not yet awake to its role on the planet, and may never be. I have no hope whatever that American Empire can be sustained, and I am wary of a people who do not know any other way.

*I'm fond of hard cider, in small amounts. Too much cider I find stupefying, literally. I've wondered at times, if the reason for the apple as the forbidden fruit wasn't the exasperation of the ancient Israelites, at the stupefying effect hard cider had on the community (if it has that effect on others besides me, and they had access to it.) It was surely a cause for prohibition in America. The most common alcoholic beverage in America, in the last half of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, was hard apple cider. It's no easy thing to follow the path of empire if the men of the aspiring empire are perpetually stupefied. Anyway, I'm going to be pulling back a bit from intoxicants for awhile, and focus again on healing. Because I can't heal the world but by first healing myself. And this Earth is very much in need of healing.

(BTW, I'm mulling a post on Rick Santorum, based on his statement that the Earth doesn't matter - this week)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nuclear Genies

As I was prowling Huffpost as I sometimes do, I found this quote from Dan Agin, in a book review,

“Quantum physics...would be nothing but an entertaining philosophical idea except that when you formulate the idea quantitatively you can use the equations to predict nearly everything that happens on Earth and in the entire Cosmos to a fabulous degree of accuracy.”

In a recent public radio interview, the physicist Michio Kaku expressed a similar sentiment:

“We physicists can project 10, 15 years into the future with near mathematical precision.”

Agin was lamenting the poor state of awareness in America, about quantum physics. Based on these quotes, I am more inclined to lament the poor state of awareness in quantum physicists. I presume this is a sentiment widely shared among physicists. Please physicists, tell us the outcome of the debt debacle in Europe. What will happen with climate change? What is the arrival of peak oil going to look like? Surely, with such understanding, you can save us in our predicament, in this, our exponential growth on a finite planet?

Without putting too fine a point on it, this is what I despise about science, and scientists, particularly physicists. Their infernal attempt to project perfect understanding, to inject perfectly rational predictability into universal processes. Their desire to deny the irrational, to eliminate the subjective, to refuse what can't be measured. In short, to turn us all into unfeeling machines, to denigrate what makes this life so worth living: love, feeling, connection. Communicating with scientists, particularly physicists, I sometimes feel like my not having the specialized background means I have no sense, that I am somehow less evolved, less than. Is it condescension, or am I projecting?

It is not merely that Agin and Kaku are pretending toward some quasi-mystical ability to predict the future, they are implying that all is well, that there's no need to be concerned about the progress of civilization on Earth. It's not surprising this comes at the same time the federal government has authorized the first nuclear reactor construction in 25 years. The Georgia facility-design is said to be impregnable, entirely self sustaining even without human input. If that doesn't sound like hubris, I keep wondering about the two existing facilities in Minnesota, on the Mississippi river. I can't get anyone to take seriously the idea, that decommissioning the ones we have is going to be a problem, after the credit bubble pops, peak oil kicks in, and climate change takes it's toll. The one thing Americans cannot, will not, shall not abide apparently, is using less energy. The high priests Agin and Kaku assuring us, everything is under control, technology will assure we needn't ever think about it, we can go about being good American consumers with our blinders on. My blinders don't prevent me from contemplating what would happen to the Mississippi river with a disaster at Prairie Island Nuclear Facility. A nuclear facility on an island in the middle of a major river? You tell me we don't worship technology as if it were God.

Everything is under control? I'm inclined to think, whatever control we think we have is an illusion. Claiming to be able to predict the future 'with near mathematical precision' is the epitome of control as illusion. That sense of control (delusion) is pervasive throughout the culture, or at least it was prior to 2008. We are less sure about what control we have now, but you can expect, when the credit bubble pops, our lack of control over the economy is going to shift, to an attempted control over people, authoritarian style.

In the comments section on a piece of propaganda on Huffpost, about the rebirth of nuclear energy in America, I had this to say:

“There is no such thing as clean, safe nuclear power.” Here are three of the responders.

Markkocaldo: Actually the safest form of power there is. No deaths in 50 years of operation.

MrBIgp: Actually it is true there is no perfectly clean, perfectly safe energy source. However, nuclear is the cleanest and the safest we have.

Atom4Peace1: Ask the US Navy.

(My reply) WHD: Mining it isn't clean on the front end, and there's nothing clean about disposing of it. That, and tell me we are going to properly decommission every one of those facilities after the credit bubble pops, peak oil kicks in, and climate change takes it's toll. Two cautionary tales, Chernobyl e Fukushima. No deaths by radiation indeed.

And I presume the depleted uranium from the Navy and elsewhere in the military is used at the end of bullets that have been scattered around the landscape of the Tigris and Euphrates, and in Afghanistan? Atoms4Peace?

Atom4Peace1: DU is off topic. This is about safe reactors which USN has a spotless record of. Thresher was non reactor incident.

WHD: You brought up the Navy. And I would ask every serviceman, would you use such weaponry on American soil?

Atom4Peace1: they use it on San Nicholas island on goats.

If there is anything more pathetic than me picking fights in the Huffpost comments section, I'm not sure what it is. But this particular exchange, somewhat edited for clarity, is emblematic I think of the madness of Americans. First, pretend that nuclear is only for power. Second, act like because we are Americans, we can't do anything wrong. Third, embrace anything that is big, powerful and destructive. Fourth, maintain empire. Check that, there is something more pathetic than me picking fights in the Huffpost comments section. It is me thinking Americans have any real desire to question the path of Empire.

Not questioning Empire, we are likely to be surprised when the collapse comes. And then I wonder, when things go to hell, as they surely will at some point, is our military going to spread nuclear material at the end of bullets across the American landscape? How do you recover depleted uranium, once it is dispersed by bullets? You don't. Do Americans have sense enough not to ruin their own landscape? Clearly not, if you take our suburbs and agriculture as the measure.

Hey Agin and Kaku, sage predictors of the future. Am I wrong?

Monday, February 6, 2012


If the original definition of the word Apocalypse is "the removal of the veil", then I would argue we are in fact in the midst of Apocalypse. Everywhere, there are people actively revealing the lies and myths that prop up our culture. The growing number of people everywhere looking plainly at the economy, ecology, and energy, asking, how did we come to this place of impending collapse, and how is it so few people recognize it?

To know is to seek out the work of such people, whose collective voice is growing louder and more whole, which voice still can not in any way compete with the mainstream Media. The Super Bowl was a prime example. Was it irony that lead Madonna to dress herself and her paramours in the style of Rome? Perfectly fitting, the aging Diva's reappraisal of a career spanning the peak of Empire, now in decline. Then also, the oblivious, clownish every-day American male, eating twinkies in the ruins of Empire (Chevrolet); the war machine glamorized by real warriors, priming and riling us up for more death and destruction (Act of Valor). Rumors that each player on the winning team will be given a million dollar bonus (while the NFL Man of the Year earns this title for helping some of the many men ruined by the pro game and otherwise forgotten.) Cars, Cars and more trucks, souped up as they ever were. Budweiser as the epitome of freedom. The people I was with, watching this grotesque imperial spectacle, were entranced; I was sick to my stomach.

More and more, 2012 seems to be a lifting of the veil. What is being revealed? Among other things, the poverty of local supply. If there is some kind of global economic collapse, I consider Minneapolis as good a place as any to be. The people here are mostly good to each other, I think they desire peace; though I've said before, there aren't gardens in this city of 400,000 to feed ten thousand people half the year, and we've got 30 miles of suburbs in every direction. Our water comes mostly from a polluted river downriver from a nuclear plant (I wonder if that stomach ache is partly from the water I've been drinking from the tap). Thankfully, we have good soil, there are abundant parks to transform into gardens, and enough rainfall to collect what water we need (as long as the climate holds). We should be thinking about seeds.

I wonder too about some greater shift in our awareness of what it is to be human. I hesitate to write about that, as I am so clueless. I'm having difficulty articulating the shift I feel going on inside me, which I can best describe as an expansion of my entirety, of everything that I am (which is met with plenty of resistance on my right side). The core of the shift is the turning on or increased clarity of the interior life, in conjunction with an awakening in the body. I'm optimistic about Nassim Haramein's attempt to reconcile Einstein's Field Equations and Quantum Physics, to give some scientific credence to the ancient myths of awakening, to help unchain us from the tyranny of the purely material and the religious, in a move toward connection.

According to his math, every proton at the core of every atom has the energetic potential to expand into an entire universe. Not only that, the vacuum that is empty space is calculated to be more energetically dense than the atoms that make up what I am, by an order of 38 magnitude. That is, add 38 zeros to the energetic mass of the little black holes at the core of my atoms. What would happen if I added 38 zeros to my bank account? I would be richer than everyone in America combined, by a magnitude of 25 or so. And, there is so much space between every atom in my body, that this profoundly more energetic empty-space is passing through me at all times.

A physics that could embrace infinity could help us remove many of the boundaries we have set for ourselves, or more properly, have been set for us by the culture. Because ultimately, what the apocalypse may be revealing, is the tyranny of much that we have been told about our world. That is, we and the world we inhabit are vastly more energetic and dynamic than we have been led to believe. And knowing it, opens up vast horizons of possibilities.

My point is, if there is going to be a lifting of the veil, it makes sense, as we can, to pull it back ourselves beforehand. Which may very well be the purpose of this time.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Governing Ourselves

Last Friday, I turned on the radio to NPR, and heard CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asking Newt Gingrich about the Moon. It was a repeat of that Thursday's Republican debate, the first of any of the debates I've heard. (I don't own a television, and if I'm listening to the radio it's usually The Current.) I found most of the candidates to be charming, in a way, in that I do see them believing that what they are doing is best for the country. I found Gingrich to be the most tactical, Romney would benefit from some dancing lessons, or yoga, Ron Paul is disassemblingly naive, and Rick Santorum aggressively disingenuous, aka desperate. Gingrich is a wild-card; potentially electable, and as likely as any of them to turn into a despot, should the opportunity arise. The advantage to Romney would be that he's not as likely as Santorum or Gingrich to initiate some semblance of martial law. It's hard to imagine a Mormon despot in this Christian nation. Assuming we make it to the election without a Greek default and/or oil shock, and a theoretical chain reactionary world-wide economic collapse - elect any of them with a Republican Majority in Congress and welcome to austerity, about 13-15% official unemployment, goodbye Social Security and Medicare, and hello the increased polluting and destruction of our ecological birthright. I've begun to wonder if that is a foregone conclusion no matter who we elect.

Mostly, I was reminded that we are not so much electing a President, as we are electing someone to lie to us about the severity of the situation. One hundred years of natural gas reserves? How is it the President of the United States of America is not as well informed as I am? But really, are we capable of hearing the truth? I've had the occasion to be reading Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting With Jesus. I wish he were still around. He'd be having fun with all this talk from Santorum and his fellow Republicans about the lack of class - I mean, the fact that there are no classes in America, that we are all Americans. We are all Americans, indeed. I'm just thinking about that 50-60% of Americans who don't vote, in this, um, classless society.

Are we capable of governing ourselves? There's something about that, at the core of who we are as Americans (and humans). Are we ready for that? It's looking like the Established powers are very weak. I certainly don't fantasize about any Marxian anti-solution, so what do we do now that Capitalism seems to be failing us? I heard someone on NPR, talking about how the US might ride out the storm of a European Union collapse. Really? I'm sort of anticipating the possibility of a collapse epic beyond anything hinted at. I find it astounding that I have to look to the blogs to find the truth about resources and the economy. I sometimes feel like I'm watching a movie, when I see people in the mainstream proclaim something in the full faith of the mythology of progress, like they were filmed at some earlier point, oblivious to the storm looming just over the horizon, like the fall of 2008, only worse. Much worse.

A beautiful woman came to my door this morning, the most beautiful Jehovah's Witness I have ever seen. I just read last night, about the Watchtower, in John Michael Greer's Apocalypse Not. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the imminent transition into a life of divine perfection is at hand, the wiping away of all that is evil and the elevation of all that is good and of God. I wanted to ask her if she'd like to come in for coffee, but my house is a little like the collapse has already come, not really fit for company. Which house might be for sale by the way, April 01 (I'm still conspiring to plant fruit trees. There's a little pond, and lots of berries). I might have asked her to meet me for coffee, but I was still in the yoga pants, cashmere sweater and hat, and synthetic hoody I sleep in, looking indigent. I wanted to ask her, what if the world you envision is only possible if we create it, and what if a long period of tribulation is more likely than peace?

Are we capable of governing ourselves? That's what I think about when I think about anarchism (when I think about anarchism at all), governing myself. I'm willing to take direction; I will not be ruled. Which sentiment I find quintessentially American. To what degree my fellow Americans have a sense of what it is to be American, I'm not so certain. How dependent have we the American Consumer become on Government? What would happen if credit dried up for everybody, including the government? Anyone want to take bets about what the absence of law and order would look like, in America? Do you remember the cheering at that one debate about the 234 executions by Rick Perry's Texas Administration? For God and Country. I'm hoping for a more civilized arrangement here in Minneapolis.

I'm profoundly disillusioned with my Federal Government. I see it mostly as a vehicle for extracting wealth from Americans, to distribute in a way increasingly beneficent to a Corporate/Military/Industrial/Financial empire. It is the pax-official economic driver, making the world a safer place for an increasingly trans-national global elite to consolidate wealth and power, feeding the ever increasing demand, demanding the growth required by fiat currency and debt bondage.

What choice does this Empirical nation have now, but to send the mother-ship to the Persian gulf? Can you imagine Americans getting by on what we produce domestically? American hegemony will be sustained to its logical end, as long as there is fuel to feed it. Obama and his 100 years of natural gas. What exactly do you do with a President actively engaged in the inflation of an economic bubble? And then there's that pesky language in the latest defense bill about detaining Americans indefinitely without trial; which our founders would have found appaling. But then, we'd have to have a Congress that defends the Constitution, or a people who cared. (Notice how those Americans who most treat the Constitution as if it were holy, are the most willing to support legislation that undermines that document.) If this is a Republic, it is one profoundly off the rails. If I were a cartoonist, I'd picture America as the train on a wooden bridge, the pylons labeled Peak Oil, Peak Water, Synthetic anti-biotics, Health Care, Federal Reserve, one for each of the big banks and investment houses, the Euro, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, climate change, Industrial mono-crop agriculture, etc. The train might as well be humanity, on the rails that have no destination, and every bridge is constructed of the same materials.

I'm not really on that train. I'm down here by the creek, watching. There are others with me, and we are waiting to help the survivors.


It seems I cannot write an entry (Free Energy) since the Solstice that I do not have to back-track on. I found this video of Nassim Haramein on youtube, Sacred Geometry and Unified Fields. I've used some harsh language in reference to physicists; Nassim is a physicist I can appreciate. Not only does he have a fairly convincing argument for the unification of Einstein's Field Equations and Quantum Physics, he argues well that physics as we know it is deeply and fundamentally flawed. Standing outside the mainstream, he is able to see the ways in which physicists lie to themselves, in order to be accepted by the mainstream (Dark Matter, renormalization, Strong Force). Most physicists don't live in their van for five years, looking for answers to physics problems; they find comfortable positions in institutions public or private, which is very comfortable, which also constrains one's thinking, as there are any number of ideas that if you cop to, you'll be relieved of that job, out of any job having to do with physics – which pretty much goes for any scientific position anywhere. Tow the line, stay within the boundaries of the story, or be exiled.

Nassim is free to let his mind wander where it will. There is always the possibility of madness in that, drifting off into inexorable absurdity, but it can also be very lucrative, insofar as consciousness is concerned (his strength as a physicist is in part that he's not allergic to either the word consciousness or God). I can't follow his math, but I can understand intuitively the idea that every proton at the core of every atom is a black hole, with a gravitational intensity that would explain the electrons spinning around it at near the speed of light. Or dual protons in close proximity spinning around each other at the speed of light. And the vast relative distance between atoms in the structure of the hardest materials (his example: diamond has one of the highest structural densities of any known substance, and yet if you inflate the atoms of a diamond to the size of an orange, the closest atoms would be two football fields apart – that is serious gravitational intensity). Nassim is also willing to consider ideas that no mainstream scientist could utter for fear of being forever ostracized – that there is evidence to suggest ours is not the first nor even the most technologically advanced culture on Earth; the existence of aliens; the relevance of ancient myth. It is going to be very inconvenient for science at every level, if Nassim's math works out. I can imagine most scientists ignoring the math and Nassim, so they do not have to question their own assumptions, thereby betraying the purpose of science.

Basically, Nassim is saying we are beings of light. If you consider too that the DNA strand is an emitter of photons, then it is perfectly in keeping with physics to say so. Listening to Nassim, I'm reminded how much there is in Science and Religion, to tell us that we are not very worthy, that we are small and insignificant, that we are deeply flawed and weak. Nassim argues that we are in fact a transmitter of information traveling back and forth from the infinitesimally small to the infinitesimally big, from the atom to the whole of the universe, and back again. Nassim illuminates the atom and the cell with profundity; In his conception of the universe, every atom contains the makings of an entire universe. We are much heavier than we think.

So is free energy possible? Nassim is showing us that the universe is a profoundly energetic place, that the problem is not energy, but engineering. Engineering that is destroying the world, but to change engineering, we have to change our worldview. We have to start thinking about the space that contains us, the energy revealed to be infinite in empty space. He says (in a different video) that he's reducing his theory to a very simple formula. If he succeeds, that may indeed be a paradigm shift. Will it save us from the predicament that is the end of fossil fuels? I don't know. Is it going to take collapse for us to appreciate what energy means, to change our assumptions about what it is to be human?

I encourage you to watch the video. Though Nassim is a physicist, he is also very much more charming and fun to listen to than most people, let alone physicists.