Archive for May, 2009

The 8 Green Steps to Solartopia

May 29, 2009

Our eco-future is defined by the four Great Green Truths: we have a global crisis, it has a solution, the solution is winnable, and winning requires a “middle path” of action that is both non-violent and non-stop.

There are technological solutions to the crisis, but they demand political action. Together they comprise the Eight Green Steps to a sustainable world:

1. Ban Waste and War: Nothing may be produced that cannot be fully recycled or that will not completely bio-degrade. This includes weapons whose sole purpose is death and destruction, and whose manufacture and use must be ended by a global community that knows war to be the ultimate act of ecological suicide.

2. Maximize Efficiency & Conservation: From energy to building materials, food to fiber, water to paper, our resources must be preserved. Our unsustainable consumption and wasteful industries must be made appropriate and efficient, starting with a reborn mass transit system and complete preservation of all remaining virgin land and waters.

3.Transcend Fossil/Nuke: King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes & Gas) must take its place in the compost heap of history. Our addiction to filthy, finite fossil/nuclear fuels has led us to the brink of economic and ecological collapse. In the new green millennium, we either kick the habit, or it kills us.

4. Convert to Renewables: Solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave, current, sustainable bio-fuels and their green siblings are proven, profitable and have time on their side. Each has its imperfections, and no single source will dominate. But union-made renewables sing in economic and ecological harmony, and are the ultimate job-creators.

5. Go Organic: Factory farming, genetically modified crops and chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are unsustainable. Diverse, community-scaled, reliably organic agriculture is the key to a future fed by food that’s fit to eat.

6. Transform the Corporation: Our most powerful — and destructive — institution claims human rights without human responsibilities. Corporate charters must require social service, ecological accountability and establish a barrier between capitalism and cannibalism. “Green” corporations whose legal mandate still remains limited to accumulating profits will make a mess of the planet as surely as all those who’ve come before.

7. Assure Social Democracy: Universal hand-counted (recycled) paper ballots and curbs on the power of money to sway elections are the essence of global democracy, as is the demand for social justice. Until all humans are assured the basics of life — food, shelter, clothing, health care, education — democracy and freedom are shallow illusions.

8. Empower Women/Control Population: Where enfranchised, educated, fairly paid and in control of their own bodies, the natural union of women with Mother Earth brings us the children She wishes to support. On a healthy planet, birth rates find their natural level when all children are loved and wanted, which is where Solartopia starts.

harry wasserman

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Life In The Bible Belt

May 26, 2009

I would like to learn how to be interested in politics and avoid talking about religion because politics is so much affected by religion (religious beliefs). I just don’t understand how are you able to do it, and I envy you. To me, it’s like talking about pregnancy and forgetting mothers or babies. By the way, even discussion about pregnancy involves God again. I can’t remember any discussion in which God wasn’t involved at some point of time. Even the weather report can easily end up with “God’s will” or “punishment” or hope for “God’s intervention”. . . . The whole of public life is somehow based on religion. I am taking courses at VSCC. There are many young people. They walk around in T-shirts full of God’s words and look like walking billboards. They are too often offended by just hearing certain words, such as “evolution.” I’ve never seen less intellectually curious youth anywhere else in my entire life. I am sorry to say that I find it sad. Whenever I try to ask why is it so, I get an answer which makes me sad again. I am “just an immigrant,” or “socialist,” or “baby-killer,” or “godless European,” or “obviously against the greatest nation in the world.” Or people will just ignore me. There are so many forms of passive-aggressiveness. Someone should do something about it, but that’s politics or policy again. . . . I’ve gotten four bibles as gifts for some special events — I didn’t give my religious friends Dawkins’s books or videos on any occasion. I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life. I have lived in TN for two years and still can’t stop wondering. I feel absolutely attacked by religion and not in a good way. So, I don’t think that discussions about religions are result of “fascination by religion” but they certainly reflect, in my case for sure, fascination by what religion can do in and to one society. Why are people who claim to have rejected religion so preoccupied with religion? If there is a fly on the top of my nose standing there all the time, it’s impossible not to see it just because I rejected the idea that fly could be standing on my nose permanently. I could pretend that it isn’t there, but it IS still there shitting on my nose (pardon me, I could use “beep” instead that ugly word). If I can’t make it go away, the least I can do is share this unpleasant experience with those with the same experience.

a friend

Kunstler: Wishes, Hopes, Fantasies

May 25, 2009

Something like a week remains before General Motors is reduced to lunch meat on industrial-capital’s All-You-Can-Eat buffet spread. The wish is that its deconstructed pieces will re-organize into a “lean, mean machine” for producing “cars that Americans want to buy,” and that, by extension, the American Dream of a Happy Motoring economy may be extended a while longer.
This fantasy rests on some assumptions that just don’t “pencil out.” One is that the broad American car-owning public can continue to buy their cars the usual way, on credit. The biggest emerging new class in America is the “former middle class.” Credit kept the remnants of the middle class going for decades after their incomes stopped growing in the 1970s. Now, their incomes have stopped coming in altogether and they are sinking into swamp of entropy already occupied by the tattoo-for-lunch-bunch. Of course, this has plenty of dire sociopolitical implications.
Unfortunately, the big American banks did their biggest volume business in their biggest loans at the very time that that the middle class was on its way to becoming former. Now that the former middle class is arriving at its destination, the banks are so damaged by bad paper that they won’t make loans to even the remnant of the remnant of the middle class. In other words, the entire model for financing Happy Motoring is now out-of-order, probably permanently.
Even assuming some Americans can continue buying cars one way or another, I’m not convinced that we can make the kinds we fantasize about. Notice, nobody talks about hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars anymore. Why not? Because the technicalities and logistics could not be overcome at the scale required — i.e. at the current scale of mass highway motoring and commuting. Sure, you could build a demonstration vehicle and run it around a test track a few times, but could you build a mass production car by the tens of millions that would run for 150,000 miles without a hugely expensive fuel cell change-out? No, at least not within the time-window that the liquid hydrocarbon fuel problem presented. Or could you construct a hydrogen fuel station (and product delivery) network replacing the old gasoline stations? Fuggeddabowdit. Hydrogen, as an element, was just too hard to move and contain. It’s teeny-weeny atoms leaked out of valves and gaskets remorselessly and you couldn’t pack enough into a tanker truck to make the trip to its destination worthwhile. Schemes to generate hydrogen on-board all ended up in the “perpetual motion” sink.
The current wish is that the dregs of GM and Chrysler will hire low-paid elves with no pension or health benefits and pump out hybrid and/or electric cars. It’s conceivable that we could “reverse-engineer” a Prius or an Insight, but considering what a lousy job American car companies did on reverse-engineering everything that Japan or Germany pumped out over the past thirty-five years, the odds are pretty high that these new products will be just lame enough to fail against the established competition. What’s more, they also present logistical and technical problems. For the hybrid, gasoline is still an issue (and Jevon’s Paradox comes into play: the more efficient you make a means for using a resource, the more of that resource you will use). For both the hybrid and the electric car, the issue of how to get enough lithium for the batteries obtains, at least for now, given the current state-of-the-art battery technology. Most of this rare metal now comes from one place, Bolivia, and everybody wants “a piece” of it. Electric vehicles in large numbers depend on either coal or nuclear powered electric generation, each presenting special hazards. Both hybrids and electric cars would depend on the old installment loan purchase system — at least to work in the current mode of suburban living, long-range commuting, and interstate highway travel.
Boone Pickens’s plan of last year for converting the US car fleet to natural gas was another fantasy with wide appeal. But it depended on the companion fantasy of building massive wind-farm infrastructure on the great plains to shift natural gas use from power plants to vehicles, and the financial crisis has destroyed the capital necessary to even begin planning that project — it even destroyed a large part of Mr. Pickens own capital reserves. Anyway, I would not be so sanguine about the long-term future of the shale gas plays that this scheme was based on. The depletion rates of these wells is horrendous and the amount of steel needed to keep production up is not consistent with the realities of the available infrastructure.
All the technologies under consideration are not likely to extend the Happy Motoring era. A prayerful reflection on them can only reinforce the specialness of oil and its byproducts — cheap oil double-specially — as well as reinforcing the reality that the cheap energy era itself is over. And, of course, in the play of events over the past several years we can see the relationship between cheap energy and easy credit, and how our entire economy has run aground, one way or another, on resource limits.
The implications of all this in the sociopolitical and geopolitical realms are pretty daunting. As long as we maintain Happy Motoring as the normal mode of existence in this country, we are going to see an ever-growing class of very resentful citizens pissed off at being foreclosed from it. In my oft-repeated scheme-of-things, this leads very quickly to the trap of political extremism, perhaps even corn-pone Naziism, as the system becomes increasingly difficult to prop up except by force. In geopolitical terms it leads to ever more dangerous international contests over the world’s remaining oil reserves.
All this leads to two conclusions.
One is to accept the fact that the Happy Motoring era is over and to devote our remaining resources to re-localization, walkable communities, and public transit. It obviously requires a very drastic revision of our current collective self-image, of what we aspire to and who we are. If the car companies have any future at all, it should be based on making the rolling stock for public transit — and for now the most intelligent choice for us is to fix the existing passenger railroad lines instead of venturing into grandiose new transit systems requiring stupendous capital outlays. Let the car era wind down gracefully. Triage and prioritize the highway maintenance agenda — we won’t be affluent enough to keep repaving the whole existing system — and let other nations meet the diminishing demand for cars in the USA. This would be a “best case” scenario. (Other nations may decide to go further up the Happy Motoring road at their own eventual peril.)
My second conclusion is not so appetizing, namely that the bankruptcy of General Motors may set in motion a chain of events that will accelerate the destructive unwind of the bad credit economy, the damage to our bond values, the loss of faith in our currency, and the authority and legitimacy of our leaders. This last dire outcome might be allayed if, say, President Obama directed his policy efforts to the items in the paragraph above, that is, a reality-based agenda for true change in how we live — but who can feel confident about that happening these days? Maybe it will take a horrifying chain of events to get Mr. Obama there. And then, tragically, he may be overwhelmed by the chain of events itself. I hope not.

http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/

Obama: The Consistent Killer

May 22, 2009

Linked is an alarming article (alarming only if you still believe Obama and the national security state are going to “change”) on the sexification of the counterinsurgency program in Afghanistan, with the appointment of the media’s new hero-saint, General Stanley McCrystal (special ops, Delta, Rangers, etc.), who now is presiding over a qualitative strategic escalation by organizing the invasion-by-infiltration of Pakistan. “Stan”, as Cheney affectionately calls him, ran Dick’s “executive assassination” squad out of the veep’s office, wherein hunter-killer teams* roam the globe torture-murdering their way into targeted GWOT organizations. McCrystal is “Mr. Death Squad”, and proud of it. Various media worms have been absolutely gushing over him of late, noting how he has “no body fat” and is an encyclopedic intellectual. That makes torture okay, of course, if its practitioner is a scholar. The “new intellectualism” of the Obama admin is now a key element in the re-packaging of imperialism, as McCrystal’s boss, Gen. Petraeus is also slobbered over for his Princeton pedrigee. Obama himself was sold to us as “more intellectual” than the hapless preppie cretin who warmed the Oval Office chair before him. Anyway, all this reminds me of decades ago, when another Ivy League president with impeccable liberal creds ascended to power from an out group, one Jack Kennedy, and proceeded to sex up imperial war with the invention of Special Forces (the “Green Berets”) to pursue counterinsurgency across our ravaged planet. Today’s manifestation of blue-blood patriarchy torturing and murdering its way into other people’s lands and lives is simply old wine in new bottles. But ‘scuse me, folks, fer historical reminders, as I know it’s subversive to even have an interest in history in the Land of Amnesia.

I invite you to peruse a particularly interesting thread by VfP’s own Stan Goff, former special ops and Delta operator, on McCrystal, the culture of impunity in the killer subculture of special ops, its relation to patriarchy, and McCrystal’s role in the conspiracy to coverup the fraticidal friendly-fire killing of U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan.

http://www.feralscholar.org/blog/index.php/2009/05/15/mcchrystal-pelosi/

Winston Warfield

A Great American

May 19, 2009

Malcolm X
May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

a little reality

May 18, 2009

where is the nation to get the money to fund anything, let alone pay off its debts, unless it makes products it can sell to other countries? our manufacturing base has been destroyed. what are we to do about the literally millions of former workers who have been permanently placed among the unemployed with no chance of ever, in a capitalist economy, getting another job? the job-loss pace has slackened, only about 530,000 last month — a may 8th article says: “A total of 5.7 million jobs have now been lost since the start of the recession in December 2007.”
chrysler and gm have announced the closing of about 1,900 auto dealerships. this is going to wreak havoc with communities, even towns, across the country. who has any idea, for instance, how many children’s and adults’ sports teams and leagues are sponsored by auto dealers? are they important in the overall scheme? economically, no, but in quality of life, absolutely.

what kunstler has been saying for a long time is that there are going to be massive changes in this country. the question is to what extent are people going to be prepared, hence have any chance of surviving?

Kunstler

May 18, 2009

. . . it is so dispiriting to see Mr. Obama’s White House mount a campaign to sustain the unsustainable in the economic realm. Everything they’ve done for four months involving money management and enterprise policy — from backstopping hopeless banks, to gaming the bankruptcies of the big car companies, to the bungled efforts to prop up artificially-high house prices — amounts to a gigantic exercise in futility. Worse, it gives off odors of dishonesty or stupidity, since the ominous tendings of our system are so starkly self-evident.
Not least of the problems entailed in all this are the scary political consequences. It’s one thing for a business such as a bank to fail; its another thing for the public to lose confidence in banking, or their own currency, or the credibility of all the people who work in banking, or the authority of those charged to regulate these activities, or the courts and their officers who are supposed to adjudicate misconduct in them. When faith in all these things starts to go, all bets are off for even larger social constructs like democracy, justice, and the destiny of a federal republic.
The Obama White House has very quickly painted itself into a corner on these things. The so-called bank “stress test” couldn’t have backfired more completely. Rather than bolster confidence in our money system and the people who run it, it only made the system appear more obviously corrupt. It made the Treasury Department (and the White House by extension) look idiotic for concocting it. Worse, the game of allowing the banks to audit themselves, and cook their books under newly jiggered accounting rules, only made them look less sound and trustworthy, and their executives more venal and mendacious. The stress test scam also virtually guaranteed that the banks will not get another dime out of congress — even while it is common knowledge that they will desperately need quadrillions more dimes in the months ahead.
Who knows what the point of this ludicrous exercise was? Observers in all corners of the media saw through it, and the public has only been made more cynical, and is now so furious over related stunts like AIG using taxpayer money to pay back swaps bets to Goldman Sachs that there is a whiff of revolution in the American air for the first time, really, since 1861. A lot of reasonable people see a good chance that our society will sink into disorder if these trends continue, and these fears could beat a path into radical politics, even the frightful prospect of coup d’etat — not something that I advocate, by the way.
The president is playing with fire on all this. The old economy is not going to recover, and so far he has not used his rhetorical talents to articulate what the next economy is likely to be about. It is reasonable to wonder whether he even really has a clear sense of it — and, based on the fatuous utterances of his economic mandarins like Larry Summers and Austan Goolsby, this team is really behind the curve.
There are plenty of things you can state about the economy past and future with some confidence right now:
— Cheap energy is over and our wishes for alt.energy are currently inconsistent with reality, meaning we have to live differently.
— We have to downscale and re-localize our major economic activities: food production, commerce and manufacturing, banking, schooling, etc.
— We can’t hope to have a stable money system unless we allow a workout of unpayable debt to proceed.
— Even if we can do this, universal easy credit is a thing of the past. From now on, we have to save for the things we want and run our businesses and households on accounts receivable.
— Major demographic shifts are inevitable as it becomes necessary to let go of suburbia and reactivate our derelict towns and smaller cities (and allow our giant metroplexes to contract).
— We have to face the truth that our major social contracts cannot be met, namely the continuation of social security as we know it and probably all pension arrangements. We’ll probably have to change household arrangements to make up for these losses.
— Health care will have to go through a revolution more comprehensive than just changing how we pay for it. Like everything else, it will have to downscale, re-localize, and become more rigorous.
We’re not going to rescue the banks. The collateral for their loans is no good and it will only lose more value. All those tract houses on the cul-de-sacs of America and scattered on the out-parcels of our tragically subdivided farming landscape will only lose value, one way or another, in the years ahead. Right now they’re simply losing inflated cash value — and that has been bad enough to sink the banks. In the months and years ahead, they’ll lose their sheer usefulness as the distances once mitigated by cheap gasoline loom larger again, and the jobs vanish and incomes with them, and the supermarket shelves cease to groan with eighty-seven different varieties of flavored coffee creamers, and one-by-one the national chain stores shutter, and the theme parks, and the Nascar ovals, and the malls, and the colossal superfluous cretin-cargo of consumer nonsense that we’ve been daydreaming in gets blown away in a hurricane of change that we were not ready to believe in.

Obama Shows His True Katrina Colors

May 13, 2009

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If response to the crimes of Katrina is the litmus test for 21st Century Black politics – and it should be – then the Obama administration has failed to distinguish itself from its predecessor under George W. Bush. The Bush imperative was to take gruesome advantage of the hurricane’s destruction to accomplish a national goal: to drive poor Blacks from the central cities. Every governmental crime of omission and commission in the wake of Katrina was coldly calculated to permanently exile several hundred thousand African Americans from New Orleans. The city was deliberately rendered unlivable for a huge portion of its previous residents, while corporate vultures from across the nation and even Australia schemed to create a new urban “model” – minus African Americans.

From the beginning, candidate Obama denied that racism played a role in Katrina’s aftermath. The prevailing “incompetence,” he said, was “colorblind” – proving either that he, Obama, was the blind one or that the man who would be president is as hostile to the inner city poor as George Bush.

Obama waited until his first 100 days in office had passed to delegate to his minions the task of evicting Katrina survivors from 3,000 FEMA trailers. Most of the trailer inhabitants are elderly. Two-thirds of them own homes that they have been trying to make habitable, with or without help from the government. Their evictions from the trailers will make it that much harder to renew their lives as permanent residents of New Orleans – which is the whole point of the evictions.

“Obama has effectively adopted the Bush policy on New Orleans, in whole.”
FEMA claims that it has always offered to allow people to buy the trailers for as little as $300. But the trailer residents overwhelmingly dispute that story. According to the New York Times, “virtually all of the residents interviewed said they had offered” to buy their trailers, but were “told they could not.” Who are you going to believe, the people or FEMA?

And who is to blame? Not George Bush, not anymore. President Obama has effectively adopted the Bush policy on New Orleans, in whole. Not a single one of 500 planned “Katrina cottages” has been made ready for occupancy. Elderly people squat in abandoned buildings. There are no credible plans to repair or create an infrastructure that could accommodate the poor who still remain, much less the New Orleans diaspora, scattered to the four winds three and a half years ago.

President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, of which he is so proud, revealed his administration’s general attitude regarding Katrina. Rather than putting people to work rebuilding New Orleans for the benefit of its original population, the administration and Congress allocated the city less money than any other congressional district. And it was under Obama that the latest federal actions to demolish public housing in the city have occurred.

The line between Bush and Obama has not simply blurred in New Orleans: it has disappeared. The ominous ramifications reverberate far beyond the Gulf Coast. If post-Katrina New Orleans is the “urban model” for the future, then Black America has a great deal to fear from the Obama White House.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to http://www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

from Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América

May 13, 2009

“Capitalism is putting an end to humanity and the planet. What we are experiencing is a systematic and structural crisis, not just another cyclical crisis. Those who think the crisis will be resolved with an injection of tax money and some regulatory measures are very mistaken.. This is not a ‘failure to regulate the system’ but rather a constituent part of the capitalist system that speculates with all goods and stocks in hopes of obtaining the highest possible profit.”

http://www.counterpunch.com/sandels05132009.html

Decoupling From Reality: James Kunstler

May 11, 2009

Back in the golden age of American Flyfishing — say around 1913 — when technical innovation in a prissy and recondite sport was joined by a new leisure class emanating from the white glove canyons of Wall Street, some new-minted guru of angling came up with method for whipping up action on a trout stream when no fish would rise to the fly. It was really lame. The idea was to artificially create the illusion of a mayfly hatch — that moment when the larva of, for instance, Ephemerella subvaria, the Hendrickson mayfly, swims to the surface, molts, and dries its newly unfurled adult wings in the brisk spring air. This is famously the moment that drives trout crazy, and when it occurs en masse, with zillions of mayflies “hatching” off the water, a trout feeding-frenzy can ensue. The idea with the artificial hatch was to pitch a fake Hendrickson fly made of feathers and fur in so many furious, rapid casts that the dumb trout lurking below would get suckered into a feeding frenzy — and, shortly, into the buttered frying pan, with a nice “tuxedo” of cornmeal and bacon.

In the annals of flyfishing, this gambit has been all but discredited, except among the mentally sub-normal who sometimes venture over from the lumpen realm of crank-and-plug fishing in search of improved social standing. But the tactic naturally transferred into the precincts of finance, where it reappeared in such disparate practices as Ponzi schemes and Keynesian “pump-priming.” Now it is being employed at a scale never seen before, on an economy that is the equivalent of a great dead river poisoned by the toxic effluents of the same society that inhabits its banks (no pun intended). The dark secret of this river is that the fish who once ran there are all dead.

Much has been made in recent weeks of “animal spirits” and the “psychology of markets” in the hopes that mere attitudes might overcome the laws of thermodynamics. Math wizardry has now yielded to self-esteem building, an understandable sequence of events, since trafficking in the mutant spawn of Wall Street algorithms has ended up completely demoralizing the United States of America. Sadly, this is a little like subjecting a man who has just watched his house burn down to twelve segments of Oprah shows about the triumphal secrets of weight loss.

The Great Wish across America is to resume the life of comfort-and-convenience that seemed so nirvana-like just a few short years ago, when the very constellations of the heavens might have been renamed after heroic Atlanta realtors and Connecticut hedge fund warriors, and the boomer portfolios groaned with earnings, and millions of graying corporate salary mules dreamed of their approaching retirement to a satori of golf and Viagra, and the interior decorators grew so rich installing granite countertops that they could buy their own houses in the East Hampton, and every microcephalic parking valet in Las Vegas qualified for a bucket full of Ninja mortgages, and Lloyd Blankfein could dream of divorcing his wife to marry his cappuccino machine.

The choices now are stark and the kind of life on offer by the future is rather austere. The job of the current president, and the people who work with him, is to manage an epic contraction — let’s say, to land a very large, loaded defect-ridden airplane that has both run out of fuel and suffered grievous mechanical breakdown… and to bring down that vehicle in an unfamiliar country filled with angry savages. Sadly, the new president and his co-pilots just want to keep the plane up there, circling. The president’s viziers are working round-the-clock to come up with some way, some toggle-switch, that might turn off the laws of gravity (which are not unrelated to the laws of thermodynamics). But all they seem to be able to come up with are mumbled prayers that are pale imitations of the algorithms once concocted by the Wall Street engineers who designed the aircraft they’re riding in.

Well, that’s enough conceits and metaphors for today.

We’ve digested the so-called “stress tests” for now with nary a burp and in a few weeks General Motors will step into the dark cave of bankruptcy. All the ancillary businesses linked to the US car-makers face contraction and annihilation. A couple of things occur to me which have not even entered the national debate on these matters: 1.) the US will still need to manufacture engines and chassis for military vehicles. Do we intend to send out to Mitsubishi for those things in the years ahead? 2.) the US will need rolling stock (i.e. choo-choo cars and engines) for a revived passenger railroad system. Do we intend to buy all that from the quaint peoples of other lands? (While the US workforce instead focuses on updated releases of Grand Theft Auto.)

At the moment, there is tremendous hoopla and jubilation over the start-up of so many “shovel-ready” highway projects around America — as if what we need most are additional circumferential freeways to enhance the Happy Motoring lifestyle. How insane are we? Is this the only thing we know how to do?

I remain confident that the months ahead will introduce the American public and our leaders to a range of horrors that will begin to penetrate our addled collective imagination. We’re far from done with the crisis of banking and money and the related fiasco in mortgages — which translates into the very real situation of many people become homeless. It remains to be seen what may happen on the food production scene, but the current severe shortage of capital and the intense droughts shaping up around the world will resolve into a much clearer picture by mid-summer. The price of oil has resumed marching up and has now re-entered a range ($50-plus) that spun the airline industry into bankruptcy last time around. Enough carnage has already occurred on the jobs scene that the next act among many chronically jobless may tilt toward desperation, anger, and violence. The sporting goods shops around the nation are already rationing ammunition.

It’s not just the stock markets that have decoupled from reality as we enjoy the fragrant vapors of spring — it’s the entire conscious consensus of everybody holding the levers of power and opinion. To put it as simply as possible, we’re still sleepwalking into the future.

http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/