Max Keiser: Greece run by financial terrorists + Satyajit Das: Global economic chaos + James Howard Kunstler: The Political Awakening

Dandelion Salad

on Nov 2, 2011

Global stock markets have plunged over Greece’s shock announcement that it would hold a referendum on an EU bailout deal.

The decision has raised fears that a rejection of the unpopular EU agreement will renew risks of a Greek default and might even force the country to leave the eurozone.

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Peak Oil and a Changing Climate

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videonation | January 03, 2011

The scientific community has long agreed that our dependence on fossil fuels inflicts massive damage on the environment and our health, while warming the globe in the process. But beyond the damage these fuels cause to us now, what will happen when the world’s supply of oil runs out?

In a new video series from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, Bill McKibben, Noam Chomsky, Nicole Foss, Richard Heinberg and other scientists, researchers and writers explain.

Go here to learn more about “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate,” and to see the other videos in the series.

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James Howard Kunstler: The Long Emergency (2005)

Dandelion Salad

talkingsticktv

Talk by James Howard Kunstler author of “The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century” given June 9, 2005 at University Bookstore Seattle.

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Event Horizon by James Howard Kunstler

Dandelion Salad

by James Howard Kunstler
Speaking Truth to Power
jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com
Monday, 14 July 2008

[And it ain’t pretty–CB]

There’s a particular moment known to all Baby Boomers when Wile E. Coyote, in a rapture of over-reaching, has run past the edge of the mesa and, still licking his chops and rubbing his front paws in anticipation of fricasseed roadrunner, discovers that he is suspended in thin air by nothing more than momentum. Grin becomes chagrin. He turns a nauseating shade of green, and drops, whistling, back to earth thousands of feet below, with a distant, dismal, barely audible thud at the end of his journey. We are Wile E. Coyote Nation.

Is there anyone in the known universe who thinks that the US financial system is not fifty feet beyond the edge of the mesa of credibility?

Nothing will avail now. Not even if Sirhan Sirhan were paroled at noon today and transported directly to the West Wing with a .44 magnum in each hand (and a taxi driven by the Devil waiting outside to take him to the US Treasury and the offices of the Federal Reserve).

It’s hard to imagine what kind of melodramas were unspooling on the Hamptons lawns this weekend, while everybody else in America was watching Nascar, or plying the aisles of BJs Discount Warehouse for next week’s supply of mesquite-and-guacamole flavored Doritos, or having flames and chains tattooed on their necks, or lost in a haze of valium and methadrine.

With the death of the IndyMac Bank last week, and the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac laying side-by-side in the EMT van on IV drips, headed for the Federal Reserve’s ever more crowded intensive care unit, there was a sense of the American Dream having passed through the event horizon that denotes the opening of a black hole.

What would happen if the US Government acted to bail out these feckless enterprises (and what if they don’t)? Either way, it’s not a pretty picture. If Mr. Bernanke does start shoveling loans into the GSE black hole, he’ll further undermine the soundness of his own outfit and do nothing, really, to repair Fannie and Freddie’s structural problem of having securitized too many loans that will never be paid back. If instead Fannie and Freddie are flat-out taken over entirely by the US government (and remember the Federal Reserve is not the government), then the national debt will roughly double overnight — which will pound the US dollar down a rat-hole.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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American Economy: “The Veil of Money” by Josh Sidman

IndyMac seized by regulators, marking second largest bank failure in U.S. history

U.S. stock indexes tank as crude touches new high

Kunstler: The Remorseless Algebra of a Deflationary Death Spiral By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
06/02/08 “ICH”

Look around. The evidence of a withering economy is everywhere. In “good times” consumers shun the canned meat aisle altogether, but no more. Today, Spam sales are soaring; grocery stores can’t keep it on the shelves. Everyone is looking for cheaper ways to feed their families. The Labor Dept. assures us that core-inflation is only 4 per cent, but everybody knows it’s load of malarkey. Food prices are going through the roof. White bread is up 13 percent, bacon is up 7 percent and peanut butter is up 9 percent. Inflation is rampant and there’s no end in sight. The dollar is closing in on the peso and working people are struggling just to get by. The bottom line is that more and more people in “the richest country on earth” are now surviving on processed pig-meat. That says it all.

In Santa Barbara parking lots are being converted into hostels so that families that lost their homes in the subprime fiasco can sleep in their cars and not be hassled by the cops. The same is true in LA where tent cities have sprung up around the railroad yards to accommodate the growing number of people who’ve lost their jobs or can’t afford to rent a room on service-industry wages. It’s tragic. Everywhere people are feeling the pinch; that’s why 9 out of 10 Americans now believe the country is now headed in the wrong direction and that’s why consumer confidence is at its lowest ebb since the Great Depression. This is the great triumph of Reagan’s free trade “trickle down” Voodoo economics; whole families living out of their cars waiting for the pawn shop to open.

The economy is on life-support. The rest of the world would be doing us all a favor if they decided to chuck the dollar and boycott US financial products altogether. That would put an end to Wall Street’s chicanery once and for all. Foreign investors should be demanding restitution and impounding American assets to compensate for the trillions of dollars they lost in the subprime/securitization swindle. Litigate, litigate, litigate; that’s the only way to make the guilty parties pay for their crimes. Either that or set up a gallows on Wall Street and get down to business.

The pundits on the business channel are telling us that the “worst is over”; that the Force 5 hurricane in the financial markets has weakened to a squall. Don’t believe it. The corporate bond market is still frozen, housing is in free fall, and the banking system is buckling from the overload of bad investments. The FDIC is even trying to lure former employees out of retirement to deal with the tsunami of bank failures set to touch down later in 2008. Corporate defaults are on the rise and and commercial real estate is crashing.

“Commercial property prices in the US in February saw their sharpest decline since records began nearly 15 years ago as sources of finance for deals has dried up, according to data from Standard & Poor’s out yesterday. Sales of commercial properties were down 71 per cent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.” (Financial Times) Commercial real estate is following the same downward trajectory as residential housing. They’re both headed for the bottom of the fish-tank. Any slump in CRE will send unemployment skyrocketing while adding to the solvency problems facing the banks.

We’re not out of the woods by a long shot, and won’t be for years to come. According to Bloomberg News, soaring raw material costs have caused a sharp rise in costs to producers that they won’t be able to pass on to cash-strapped consumers. That means that corporate profits will fall and stock values will plunge.

Last week, Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney announced that:

“The real harrowing days of the credit crisis are still ahead of us and will prove more widespread in effect than anything yet seen. Just as strained liquidity pushed so many small and mid-sized specialty finance companies to the brink, we believe it will do the same to the US consumer. We believe losses will only accelerate further and far worse than the most draconian estimates.”

Whitney has been one of the few consistently accurate analysts of the current market meltdown.

The fate of the larger investment banks is just as uncertain as the smaller “depository” banks. Carlyle Group Chairman David Rubenstein summed it up like this last week, “US and European banks and financial institutions have enormous losses from from bad loans they haven’t yet recognized and may have a harder time wooing sovereign fund rescuers. Based on information I see, it will take at least a year before all losses are realized, and some financial institutions may fail. Many financial institutions aren’t going to be able to survive as independent institutions.”

That means there will be greater consolidation and more formidable banking monopolies, all of which is bad for the consumer.

The banks and financial institutions have never been in worse shape. They’ve already written down $344 billion since the credit crisis began last August and they’ll write down another $200 billion next year. By the time the crisis is over, they will have racked up an estimated $1 trillion in losses. That represents a $3 trillion contraction in loans to consumers and businesses. Also, these estimates don’t take into account the losses of revenue from the slowdown in consumer spending, shrinking GDP, and massive business failures; all of which will wreak further havoc on the financial sector.

The amount of stress on the banking system is unprecedented. The Fed is loaning out money hand-over-fist just to keep the scaffolding in place. Take a look at what is going on at the Fed’s so-called “auction facilities” where the Fed is providing loans and US Treasuries for “unsellable” mortgage-backed junk and other toxic bonds. The numbers are staggering.

According to the Seattle Times:

“The Federal Reserve’s emergency loans to banks climbed to the highest level on record even as Wall Street investment companies scaled back their borrowing….Banks stepped up their borrowing, according to the Fed report. They averaged $15.95 billion in daily borrowing for the week ending May 28, compared with $13.5 billion for the previous week, and the total was a record. The previous high of $14.4 billion came in the week ending May 14…In the broadest use of the central bank’s lending power since the 1930s, the Fed in March scrambled to avert a market meltdown by giving investment houses a place to go for emergency overnight loans….The Fed also announced Thursday it will make a fresh batch of short-term cash loans available to banks as part of an effort to ease stressed credit markets…The Fed said it will conduct three auctions in June; each will offer $75 billion in short-term cash loans. It would mark the latest round in a program that the Fed launched in December to help banks overcome credit problems so they will keep lending to customers.” (“Banks step up Fed loans, investment firms scale back”, Seattle Times)

Another $225 billion?!?

The Fed is trashing its balance sheet–to the tune of $225 billion–when the money could be used to provide free college tuition and universal health care. What a waste. Instead, the money is being used to throw a lifeline to dodgy speculators would were trying to snooker foreign investors with garbage securities. At the same time, the Fed’s emergency facilities have done nothing to restore trust between the individual banks who are more reluctant to lend to each other than ever. The ongoing scandal surrounding Libor (the interest rate that banks charge each other and which determines the rates on $3 trillion of financial products including mortgages) strongly suggests that the banks are lying about the true rate they are paying so the public doesn’t find out how battered they really are.

Bloomberg News: “Banks routinely misstated borrowing costs to the British Bankers’ Association to avoid the perception they faced difficulty raising funds as credit markets seized up.”

Consumer spending is sluggish too, since lending standards have tightened and home equity continues to vanish. Subprime problems have migrated from Wall Street to Main Street as credit trends appear to be getting worse. Consumers are maxed-out on their credit cards, student loans, mortgages and car loans. The lack of personal savings is not the result of a profligate lifestyle (as the right wing media likes to opine) but 30 years of stagnant wages and class warfare waged via big business and the federal tax code. None of the baby boomers are counting on Social Security to pay the bills when they retire but, still, that doesn’t justify the money being ripped-off from their paychecks every week and slipped into the general fund where it is used to pave roads and purchase cluster-bombs. Social security is nothing but a flat tax for paupers. (The rich get a free-ride after the first $87,000 income) These are some of the factors that are bearing down on an American economy like a Daisy Cutter. 2009 is looking is looking more and more like a chapter out of Revelation.

An article is this week’s The Economist summarizes the malaise in housing in particularly apocalyptic terms:

“America’s house prices are falling even faster than during the Great Depression. As house prices in America continue their rapid descent, market-watchers are having to cast back ever further for gloomy comparisons. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller national house-price index, published this week, showed a slump of 14.1% in the year to the first quarter, the worst since the index began 20 years ago. Now Robert Shiller, an economist at Yale University and co-inventor of the index, has compiled a version that stretches back over a century. This shows that the latest fall in nominal prices is already much bigger than the 10.5% drop in 1932, the worst point of the Depression. And things are even worse than they look. In the deflationary 1930s house prices declined less in real terms. Today inflation is running at a brisk pace, so property prices have fallen by a staggering 18% in real terms over the past year.” (“The Economist”)

The country is undergoing a collapsing real estate market that surpasses the Great Depression and former Fed-chief Alan Greenspan’s book is still on the New York Times Best Seller list. How’s that for irony?

Regrettably, there’s no sign of a bottom yet in housing. Some markets have already dropped by 30% costing the states (like California and Florida) billions in tax revenue and triggering a steep increase in foreclosures. In California, sales are not only down by roughly 50 per cent, but 40 per cent of new sales are sales of foreclosed homes. The pool of potential buyers has dried up. Now the vultures are circling and picking up homes for $.50 on the dollar. The losses are enormous. If the downward trend continues, (as many now expect) and housing prices drop 30 per cent nationwide; the market will shed $6.5 trillion in aggregate value and lower household spending by $300 billion. That means GDP will shrink at least another full percentage point.

The crisis in the financial markets won’t be resolved until housing prices stabilize, that’s why the Fed and Congress are scrambling to put together a plan (Hope Now) that will slow the rate of foreclosures. Trillions of dollars in complex bonds and mortgage-backed securities will continue to be downgraded until investors see that it is safe to “dip their toes in the water” again and reinvest in a (currently) moribund market. So far, Congress has made little headway in keeping homeowners from defaulting on their mortgages. Credit Suisse predicts that foreclosures will be somewhere north of 6.5 million homeowners over the next few years. It is the equivalent of Hurricane Katrina sweeping from one side of the country to the other.

The next administration—whether it’s McCain or Obama—will be forced to restore the Resolution Trust Corp., which was created in 1989 to dispose of assets of insolvent savings and loan banks. The RTC would create a government-owned management company that would buy distressed MBS from banks and liquidate them via auction. The state would pay less than full-value for the bonds (The Fed currently pays 85 per cent face-value on MBS) and then take a loss on their liquidation. “According to Joseph Stiglitz in his book, Towards a New Paradigm in Monetary Economics, the real reason behind the need of this company was to allow the US government to subsidize the banking sector in a way that wasn’t very transparent and therefore avoid the possible resistance.”

There it is; a taxpayer-funded bailout of Biblical proportions looming on the horizon, possibly as soon as 2009. Ultimately, it is the only sure-fire way to stabilize the crumbling banking system and put a floor under housing prices. The effects on the dollar, however, will be catastrophic. Don’t expect the greenback to survive as the world’s “reserve currency”. Those days are about over.

The troubles in the financial markets will be with us for some time. The massive expansion of credit has created numerous equity bubbles that are unwinding at an unpredictable pace. Author James Howard Kunstler calls the present process “the remorseless algebra of a deflationary death spiral”. That’s about as close to a perfect description as imaginable. There’s bound to be considerable disagreement about the origins of the bubble and who is to blame. Was it the Fed’s “low interest ” policy following the dot.com bust in 2000, or the lack of government regulation in the securitzation process, or was it just the natural corollary of a political system which invariably bows and scrapes to Wall Street?

The real origin of the problem is ideological. It’s rooted in the prevailing “trickle down” orthodoxy which opposes any increases in wages or benefits for working people. Henry Ford realized what today’s captains of industry and finance refuse to accept; that if workers aren’t adequately paid for their labor—and wages do not keep pace with production—then the economy cannot grow because consumers do not have the money to buy the things they make. It’s just that simple. Greenspan and his ilk believed that they could prosecute the class war and make up the difference by relaxing lending standards, changing bankruptcy laws, and by creating a nearly endless array of exotic financial products that expanded credit. But shifting wealth from one class to another has its costs. By crushing the worker the Friedmanites have killed the golden goose. The world’s most prosperous consumer society is in terminal distress and no amount of “free market” gibberish will keep it from crashing.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

World Made By Hand: Not Just Another Book Review By Carolyn Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A review of the 2008 novel by James Howard Kunstler (Atlantic Monthly Press)

“The world has become such a wicked place,” she said quietly, just a statement of fact.

“There’s goodness here too.”

“Where is it?”

“In all the abiding virtues. Love, bravery, patience, honesty, justice, generosity, kindness. Beauty too. Mostly love.”

“I’m afraid sometimes that we drove those things out of existence.”

“No, we carry them in our hearts. They’re always with us.”

“I don’t know what’s in my heart anymore. It’s too dark to see.”

“Light follows darkness.”

This dialog between the main character of World Made By Hand, Robert, and his housemate-become-lover, Britney, offers a glimpse into the anguish of those few survivors of collapse living in the small village of Union Grove, New York in a post-petroleum world.

As I sit down to write this review, I’ve just finished lunch-a generous bowl of organic broccoli slaw mixed with garbanzo beans, tomatoes, diced turkey breast, and Caesar dressing. For dessert, a bit of Hagen Dazs coconut sorbet chased with my twice-daily regimen of vitamins and supplements. In a “world made by hand” I would have none of this unless I were able to grow or raise it myself or trade something for these items, assuming that they were even available. I would be forced to rely on my friends and neighbors in close proximity, and they on me, for life’s fundamental necessities.

I was riveted to this stunning novel by James Howard Kunstler even as my heart was laden with sorrow while turning every compelling page. Like nothing I’ve ever read or imagined, the book takes the reader into the smells, tastes, textures, sounds, and emotions of a post-petroleum world devoid of electricity, media, sophisticated technology, and a plethora of conveniences and distractions that are ubiquitous in twenty-first century Western civilization.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Black Swans Everywhere by James Howard Kunstler

Dandelion Salad

by James Howard Kunstler
Atlantic Free Press
March 24, 2008

After a one-day reprieve from total meltdown in the financial markets, news media cheerleaders for the most reckless gang of bankers in world history declared the crisis over on Good Friday (with the markets safely closed). Whew, that’s a relief. Problem solved. And just in time for baseball season, too, so none of the Banker Boyz have to sell their sky box leases.

Commodities Drop, Rally in Dollar, Stocks Vindicate Bernanke

What is meant by “meltdown,” by the way, since the word is used so promiscuously by myself and others. I’d define it as the shock of recognition that many big institutions are worse than flat broke and are therefore powerless to conduct normal operations. By “worse than flat broke” I mean they are so deep in hock that all the accountants who ever lived, in the life of this universe and several others like it, using the fastest parallel processing computers ever built, could not keep up with their compounding accelerating losses (now approaching the speed of light).

The current vacation from reality on Wall Street may last a few more days, or even a couple weeks, but it seems as though a whole flock of black swan events is circling the sky over Financial-land and is about to blot out the sun. By black swan, I refer to the concept popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his recent book of that name, namely unexpected events of great power that tend to change the course of history.

For the moment, with the crisis “contained,” and the Boyz getting ready to air out their Hampton villas for the coming season, we are once again primed to be blindsided by potent random events that nobody saw coming. The trouble is, there are enough potent potential fiascos already visible on the horizon.

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Carolyn Baker Reviews “The Final Empire” Part 1 By William Kotke

Dandelion Salad

by Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Friday, 01 February 2008

My intention in reviewing this stunning book is to share how it has illumined my understanding that collapse and vision are not separate, but that in fact, they travel together and need each other. That is to say that collapse makes vision possible, and vision makes collapse the most desirable option of all as we confront the earth community’s current dilemma.

Disaster is not approaching,
It has arrived.
It is happening now.
Blessings and Grace are not approaching
They have arrived.
They are here now
I say I believe in Grace
But I think, feel and move as though
Only Damnation is real.
Or if Grace does exist,
It is for someone else.

I close my heart to pain
But it doesn’t help,
I cannot circumvent disaster.
But in closing my heart to disaster
perhaps I can circumvent Grace.

Can I bear the burden
Of knowing disaster and Grace,
Each in its own awful fullness?

James Hillman says our problem
Comes down to a failure of imagination.
I need an image, a picture…
Who would I be
If I were willing to risk believing
That Grace is real?

~By Paul Tierney~

It has repeatedly been my experience that when a book is supposed to enter my life, it does. Often it falls off the shelf into my lap, and at other times a friend suggests it, or the author him/herself sends me a copy for review. William Kotke has written articles for this website, and his Final Empire has been reviewed elsewhere, most notably by Dan Armstrong. However, the timing of my requesting a review copy of the book from him could not have been more momentous. As a result, I am not only reviewing the book, but using the review as an opportunity for sharing a recent shift in my perspective that may make this the most important article I’ve ever written in my life. It is written in two parts: The first contains Kotke’s extraordinary analysis of why civilization is collapsing and must collapse, and the second offers his vision of what is possible when empire has been eliminated.

My intention in reviewing this stunning book is to share how it has illumined my understanding that collapse and vision are not separate, but that in fact, they travel together and need each other. That is to say that collapse makes vision possible, and vision makes collapse the most desirable option of all as we confront the earth community’s current dilemma.

For at least the past two years I have been writing and speaking about the collapse of empire/ civilization, along with a chorus of other voices such as Matt Savinar, Mike Ruppert, Dmitry Orlov, Catherine Austin Fitts, Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, and Tim Bennett and Sally Erickson. I name only a few of us, mindful that ours are not the only voices speaking from the depths of exhaustive research and personal experience. And now in the first month of 2008, the world is beginning to witness a dramatic unraveling of civilization. The spectacle has begun with the convergence of what I have been naming for years as the “Terminal Triangle”: Peak Oil, climate change, and global economic meltdown. A number of related issues such as population overshoot, species extinction, and global pandemics, abide in the mix, but the “Big Three” are now juxtaposed in what appears to be the beginning of the end of life as we have known it on planet earth.

William Kotke has brilliantly articulated what I would not only describe as an “encyclopedia of collapse” but has skillfully depicted a vision of possibility imbedded within the core of apocalypse. The introduction and first chapter of this masterpiece can be read online, but they do not include what I believe are the book’s fundamental underpinnings consisting of Chapter 9, “The Cultural Dynamics Of Empire” and Chapter 10, “The Psychology Of Empire”, nor do they contain Kotke’s elaboration of the exquisite vision he holds for the earth community.

…continued

see

The Plan By William Kotke (Survival; resources)

THE HERO’S JOURNEY By William Kotke

The Switch Has Been Flipped: It’s Too Late For Solutions By Carolyn Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Sunday, 04 November 2007

This past week I attended another screening of “What A Way To Go: Life At The End Of Empire“[1]. My intention was not to see the documentary yet again-perhaps for the fifteenth time, but to support the film makers, my friends Sally Erickson and Tim Bennett, who were completing the last leg of their West Coast screening tour in my state. However, I did watch most of the film again, and this time, my experience was different. No doubt that had something to do with the walk Tim and I took during part of the film, bouncing around the narrow, vintage streets of Silver City, New Mexico and filling our lungs with the chilly night air. Maybe it was Tim’s comment that when people ask “What can I do?” they don’t really want the truth but rather ten easy steps that will require no sacrifice, no pain, and certainly no change of lifestyle. Tim’s comment resonated with my experience in teaching history to college students who incessantly ask, “But what can we do?” when I systematically lay out the reality of the corporatocracy the United States has become, energy depletion, climate change, and of course, the police state in which we now reside. When I answer the students with my perception of options rather than solutions, they tend to sink in their chairs and tell me that they feel overwhelmed not only with the daunting reality of the planetary situation but even worse, that they wanted me to offer them “hope”, and are disappointed that I instead offer them responsibility. I tell them that since I don’t have any “hope” it would be disingenuous of me to attempt to offer it to anyone else.

Along with showing them “What A Way To Go”, I’ve been showing another documentary lately, “Escape From Suburbia[2] which focuses on individuals and communities who are either relocating to other countries or areas of the U.S. or are digging in to relocalize their communities for sustainable living. It seems that when students or most Americans for that matter realize the enormous personal responsibility that telling the whole truth about the collapse of civilization requires and the commitment, courage, and action that is necessary in order to navigate collapse, they can’t wait to turn their attention elsewhere. Perhaps if they don’t think about it, it will all go away-or so they wish.

By the end of the semester my students usually realize that the future they thought they had doesn’t exist, and they admit, albeit reluctantly, that the class has caused them to ponder profoundly their career path, their values, their desire to have children, and the very reasons they are on the planet. While it’s true that they may leave my class and repress everything they learned, it’s also true that they will not be totally surprised by collapse and that they will have some tools for preparation they might not have otherwise had.

What The Question “What Can I Do?” Prevents Us From Experiencing

As I teach, write, and travel throughout America, I have come to understand that Tim was right: No one who asks “What can I do?” really wants an answer-at least not a real answer. For this reason, the charade of political candidates, elections, and the corporate media that guarantees the success of that particular con game has hypnotically entranced the electorate who overwhelmingly prefer to remain delusional. The majority take little interest in the candidates anyway, perceiving them as yet another group of celebrities. Yet even more delusional are those who call themselves progressive. These individuals are desperate to keep the show on the road and sanction its validity, and they are the ones who least want to know the answer to “What can I do?” because of what it would cost them.

Consequently, they must pre-occupy themselves with “solutions” that have nothing to do with the actual state of the earth and its inhabitants but which offer a false sense of making a difference. When I think of them, I cannot help but note that as the Titanic was sinking it would have made no difference if hundreds of its passengers had collected endless buckets of water the ship had taken on and emptied it back into the sea, but it may have provided them with a momentary sense of participating in a “solution.”

Tenaciously grasping for solutions serves no other purpose at this point in human history than distracting us from the myriad layers of feelings we have regarding the death of planet earth. As Americans we are more afflicted with “death phobia” than are other cultures around the world. Most indigenous traditions have some sort of “good day to die” perspective, but we heroically persevere in our war on death. It seems this is what Tim Bennett meant earlier this year when he wrote a blog piece in which he stated that the switch had flipped and that it is now time to let go of the shore, sailing into the unknown in the lifeboats we have created. As we do so, we exit the paradigm of suicide and opt for survival, knowing all the while that there are no guarantees that we will not succumb.

Whereas many collapse watchers disparage feeling feelings as extraneous and insist that we must focus on taking action dispassionately, I argue that action must be informed by emotion. Otherwise, we will only perpetuate the paradigm of doing estranged from feeling, that is, living from the head while disowning the heart-one of the fundamental premises of the culture of civilization which has brought us to where we are now. Thus, as one part of us may minimize the importance of our actions being informed by emotion, the seasoned sage in us must continually ask ourselves how different we want the new world/community/individual that we are becoming and shaping to be? If we merely pour new wine into old bottles, we fundamentally change nothing. If we take action without feeling the full impact of our fear, grief, and anger, as well as our gratitude for what resources we do have in our lives, we are likely to re-create the culture of empire in another form elsewhere.

Lose The Word “Solutions”; Embrace The Notion Of “Options”

At the same time that I’m pleading for the end of “solution obsession”, I’m suggesting re-focusing on options. We cannot “solve” the issues of climate change, energy depletion, species die-off, global pandemics, global government, or the rampant proliferation of fascism. For those awaiting a mass awakening or mass resistance, I fear you wait in vain. We would be hard-pressed to find any population in the history of the human race that is as comatose as that of the United States in this moment. In my opinion, focusing on “mass” anything is the opposite of where our attention must be, namely, local and community survival. Notice, I did not say local “solutions” but rather, survival. As I have stated repeatedly, the issues are: Who do I want to be in the face of collapse? Who do I love and trust and want to share my life with? Who do I need to reach out to in order to enhance all of our well being? As the “I” becomes “we”, we all must ask: Do we need to remain where we are in order to survive, or do we need to go elsewhere? What actions should we be taking? Have we put in place a structure or process for practicing and improving our communication skills and resolving conflict? What is our level of food and water security? What is our access to alternative or traditional medicine?

These are merely a few of the plethora of questions that must be addressed, and putting our attention on “solutions” will only distract us from doing so. In other words, “What can I do?” is not only not useful, it could actually get you dead.

More Options

I borrow again from the film makers of “What A Way To Go” when I offer “Five Things You Can Do” from their website:

•1) “Fully acknowledge and internalize that the culture of Empire is destroying the support systems on which the community of life depends, and robbing us of our essential humanity.”

I suggest mulling the words “internalize” and “humanity.” Then ask yourself how electing presidential or Congressional candidates, not unlike putting lipstick on a pig, can stop the evisceration of your essential humanity. Ponder the system that nominates and owns those candidates and determines their political positions during their terms in office. Notice that all candidates, in order to be nominated or elected, must participate in the evisceration of your humanity.

•2) “Talk about your concerns with everyone you know.” Notice their reactions. Notice the incredulity, the apathy, the denial, the false hopes of “solutions.” Then notice how you feel. Notice also the individuals who hear you and sense that what you are feeling is valid because they feel it too. Continue to connect with those individuals; they are inestimably valuable to you.

•3) “Find your work in the world to preserve life, change this culture and/or create restorative ways for individuals and communities to live in harmony with each other and the non-human world.”

Start asking yourself why you are here. What did you come here to do? Why did you show up on planet earth at this time and not another?

•4) “Assess what you actually need during this transition in order to live and do your work. Only buy what you need and buy from local sources in order to support the creation of local economies.” To what extent are you powering down and simplifying your life? Do you know your neighbors? Local farmers? Local business people?

•5) “Find or deepen your spiritual connection to that which is greater than you. Ask and then listen for guidance about how to live joyfully and creatively in the face of these unprecedented times.”

Notice that none of these has anything to do with mass movements or political candidates. In fact, they are all about you and your internal and local worlds. Could it be that for some of us it might be easier if the options were all about the macrocosm instead of the microcosm? Is it not more comfortable to focus on mass movements and political candidates instead of the personal responsibility that collapse throws in our faces?

Options Engender Opportunities

Collapse is a multi-faceted word which I frequently use in my writing and speaking. It is important to use the word and not resist it because the entire construct of civilization is collapsing in front of our eyes. For example, the U.S. has not “entered a recession” but rather the first stages of global economic collapse. Our public schools are not merely turning out undereducated students, the entire educational system is collapsing. It’s not that energy depletion will make it more difficult to “grow our economy,” but rather that in reality, growth is over! Although we refuse to recognize our limits on planet earth, planet earth is setting limits whether we like it or not. As James Howard Kunstler says in “Escape From Suburbia” in response to Dick Cheney’s maxim that “The American way of life is not negotiable,” if we refuse to negotiate our way of life, then energy depletion will make sure that we get a new negotiating partner called “reality.”

When we refuse to accept the fact of collapse, we armor ourselves from endless opportunities for personal and community growth. Perhaps other collapse watchers would prefer not to hear about “opportunities” inherent in collapse, but I feel compelled to name them!

I would be the first to admit the possibility that nuclear war may erase all potential for human survival as collapse more fully unfolds. However, I would also adamantly insist that it may not be inevitable and that local communities and families who have consciously prepared for collapse can not only navigate it but create mini-societies where an entirely new paradigm prevails. In the latter scenario unimaginable opportunities (a word very closely connected with “options”) abound for remaking human relationships, human connection with the earth and the non-human world, and the reclaiming of our ancient memory of living within limits as partners with, not dominators of, the earth.

Paradoxically, “solutions” obfuscate opportunities whereas options nurture them. Not only is it too late for “solutions” but the process of collapse, which is well underway, challenges us to revere and seize options in which reside unfathomable opportunities. The switch has been flipped; there’s no turning back to antiquated means of addressing unprecedented challenges. Time to stop asking “What can I do?” and start doing the five things you can. It could mean the difference between suicide and survival.

__________________________________

Watch this website, Speaking Truth to Power for more information about Carolyn’s forthcoming book, The Spirituality Of Collapse: Restoring Life On A Dying Planet.

[1] See review of “What A Way To Go: Life At The End Of Empire” by Carolyn Baker

[2] See review of “Escape From Suburbia” by Mick Winter

see
Escape from Suburbia: A Documentary Review By Carolyn Baker + Holloway: Escape from Suburbia (videos; trailers)

Who Runs The World And Why You Need To Know Immediately By Carolyn Baker (updated)

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
10/02/07 “ICH
Speaking Truth to Power
Monday, 01 October 2007

A review of The True Story Of The Bilderberg Group, By Daniel Estulin

It is difficult to re-educate people who have been brought up on nationalism to the idea of relinquishing part of their sovereignty to a supra-national body. — Bilderberg Group founder, Prince Bernhard

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The End of the World as We Know it: Hope vs Mindset By Carolyn Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Thursday, 16 August 2007

A friend for whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration recently challenged me on my incessant hope-bashing stance and gave me some food for thought which has caused me to reframe the concept of “hope” in my own mind in a way that I can live with. What I cannot live with is a definition of “hope” that externalizes it-that fosters denial and a false and naïve anticipation that government, religion, or to quote Lincoln, “the better angels of our nature” will somehow save humanity from slamming with lethal velocity into the brick walls of our own making-climate chaos, global energy catastrophe, planetary economic meltdown, population overshoot, species extinction and die-off–or nuclear holocaust.

The iconoclastic and cynical James Howard Kunstler is fond of mocking people who ask for “hope” and insists that any hope we have in the face of the end of the world as we know it (EOTWAWKI) must come from within. I’m not sure what that means to Kunstler, but I’m getting clearer about what it means to me.

Naïve hope takes myriad forms and from my perspective one example is the hope that impeachment of Cheney and Bush is even possible. And I must add that Bush has not lost his “brain” with the departure of Rove. Who needs a brain when Darth Vader is the real man behind the curtain and has more political and economic power in the United States government than the average American can even imagine? Another example of false hope is faith in the U.S. political system and the possibility that clean elections exist, not to mention the hope that one will even happen in 2008. Other “hopes” include: the hope that the Democrats will finally find their spine, that the economy will improve without the working and middle classes being eviscerated by a financial meltdown as catastrophic or worse than the Great Depression, that technology will solve the energy dilemma, that moving to another country guarantees personal safety and human liberty, that the human race can exist for another century without a nuclear exchange, that a global spiritual awakening will occur in time to transform the human race and avert catastrophe.
Continued…


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Joyride That Was The American Empire By Carolyn Baker (Michael Panzner)

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
ICH
Speaking Truth to Power
08/13/07

A review of Financial Armageddon: Protecting Your Future From Four Impending Catastrophes

A few days ago a friend called me just after hearing Michael Panzner on the Thom Hartmann show on Air America. My friend wanted me to read Panzer’s book, Financial Armageddon and see what I thought. Apparently, Panzer’s radio interview remarks were filled with passion and a sense of urgency, and upon reading the book, I experienced the same intensity in the author’s writing which pleasantly surprised me. Here was a financial guru with 25 years’ experience in the stock, bond, and currency markets and a faculty member of the New York Institute of Finance, who unlike Ben Bernanke and the silver-lining pundits of the financial pages, was not telling us that everything is going to be fine or that things will “bounce back in 2010”.

Anyone familiar with my writings knows that I have never claimed to be a fiduciary wizard, but in recent years I have written more on topics related to economics than at any time in my life. I do not believe that all social issues can be resolved if only we change how money works in the United States or the world, but I am profoundly aware of the role of economic issues-perhaps more than militarism, healthcare, education, politics, or any other institution, in the dead-ahead demise of empire. I also notice that few in the left-liberal end of the political spectrum have a firm grasp on economic issues which I suspect comes from a fundamental polarization between activism and financial intelligence-a reality which motivated me a few years ago to write an article entitled “Activists And Accountants: Absolute Allies.” Michael Panzner is definitely not from the left end of the political spectrum, which makes the contents of Financial Armageddon all the more fascinating and momentous. I came away from the book with both remarkable reinforcement of my position that the United States has entered economic collapse, but also perplexed regarding the myriad blind spots that the author seemed to have regarding the causes of the current economic meltdown. I am not aware of how Panzner may have altered his views since the publication of his book earlier this year, but at the time of writing, Panzner did not mention or was not aware of a number of glaring realities regarding the gluttonous greed-fest that has characterized the United States since the end of World War II. I will address those inconsistencies first, then highlight the places where I think Financial Armageddon is absolutely on-target.

What is most disturbing to me about the book is what appears to be a total lack of perception regarding the role of fraud, theft, and malicious intent in the American and global financial train wreck which has been exacerbating over recent decades. Panzner seems to conclude that all of this is just one huge accident attributable to incompetence or the American consumer being lulled by creature comforts. The book begins with a chapter on debt-personal and governmental-a factor so pivotal in economic catastrophe, but little attention is given to the intentional engineering, for example, of consumer debt by centralized financial systems and how monstrously profitable it is.

In the recent documentary “Maxed Out“, Harvard law professor and author of several books on consumer debt, Elizabeth Warren, states that the middle class is near extinction not only because of a lack of financial information, but specifically because debt is, in her words, “obscenely profitable” for lenders. Panzner says little about this in the book, but he does say that “Ever-growing investment returns, an endless housing boom, and the Federal Reserve had conditioned Americans to believe that, inevitable good fortune would eventually bail them out-should it even prove necessary.” (4) The current debt nightmare, however, is not merely about “conditioning” but is, in my opinion, based on hard evidence, calculated and contrived. Both “Maxed Out” and “In Debt We Trust” make this exceedingly clear. Furthermore, in examining the history of the financial train wreck now in the making, one must grasp the history of America’s aristocracy, not only in the days of the Robber Barons, but within the past thirty years. Catherine Austin Fitts’ website subtitled, “The Aristocracy Of Stock Profits” provides an excellent historical account of this.

Nowhere in the book does Panzner mention the $1.3 trillion missing from the Pentagon or the $59 billion missing from the Department Of Housing And Urban Development and a plethora of other instances where money is “missing” as documented, again, by Catherine Austin Fitts. Nowhere does he address the issue of fraudulent inducement, also noted by Fitts in her audio CD on the housing bubble, which simply means, enticing people to borrow when it is obvious that it will be impossible or near impossible for them to repay.

It is crucial to understand that the current economic meltdown is a transfer of wealth from the middle and lower classes to the ruling elite. Wealth transfers do not just happen, nor are they the products of incompetency. They are intentional and well-planned. Central to wealth transfer is corruption at the highest levels of the economic and political systems. In hindsight, we look back upon the Savings and Loan debacle of the 1980s, at that time, the largest theft in the history of the world, yet today, our minds cannot begin to wrap around the wealth that has been stolen from the American people, making the S&L scam look like piggy bank pilfering–and to my knowledge, Catherine Austin Fitts at her Solari and Dunwalke sites, is the only person to have documented this so impeccably.

In fact, I recently received an email notice from Fitts stating:

Recently, we have seen numerous press accounts of bank and hedge fund losses from sub-prime mortgages. Remarkably, these reports imply that the losses are the result of a market downturn or contracting credit cycle. But there has been no mention of the extraordinary profits that were generated or who reaped them. There is no mention of who is poised to make a fortune on the bubble collapse. Even the most sophisticated commentators of our day are describing this financial coup d’etat as the unintentional consequence of “market forces.”

Coup d’ etat? How’s that for blowing the “incompetency theory” out of the water? Panzner alludes to corruption in his book but overall tends to place it in the future. Locating it in the context of a chaotic society during and after collapse, he says that “Corruption will likely become endemic…”, but, I protest, corruption is now and has been and is the principal reason for our financial predicament. In fact, in the opening of the chapter “The Retirement System”, he states that it is the leaders of the public and private sectors who put off an accurate assessment of what the future held, “even though they knew a day of reckoning would come.” (15) Yes, they knew a day of reckoning would come, and their intention was to feed as voraciously as they could off their current situations and be long gone before the reckoning. Just as the culprits of the Savings and Loan caper profited on the way up, they also profited on the way down, as will a few predators in the current subprime catastrophe.

In fact, an article this week in Forbes Magazine, “Profiting From The Meltdown” opens with: “A consortium of the nation’s leading investment banks have quietly created an index that is not only protecting them against the recent market meltdown but also promising to make them bundles of money in the process.”

Panzner does not mention the role of the Federal Reserve in engineering Financial Armageddon and the fact that it is neither “federal” nor has any kind of reserve. No expose of the Fed’s money policy, fractional reserve banking, or printing money out of thin air backed by nothing is offered. Nor does he illumine the reader about the Fed’s ultimate ulterior game plan. It appears that he is unaware of the global ruling elite, sometimes are referred to as the New World Order, who have engineered Financial Armageddon and will be safely ensconsed in their solar-powered bunkers, calculating their profits while surrounded with an abundance of food, water, and private security forces when all hell breaks loose.

One cannot adequately comprehend the perfect economic storm that is brewing worldwide without understanding the role of the Fed as one of the pivotal entities necessary for the construction of what financial analyst, Bill Bonner, calls the “Empire of Debt“. Curiously, Panzner does not address the reality of empire nor its historical ascension to global economic superintendent a la the Federal Reserve.

Mike Whitney states in his most recent article “Stock Market Meltdown” that:

Economic policy is not ‘accidental.’ The Fed’s policies were designed to create a crisis, and that crisis was intended to coincide with the activation of a nationwide police state…. The Federal Reserve is a central player in a carefully considered plan to shift the nation’s wealth from one class to another. And they have succeeded. Nearly 4 million American jobs have been sent overseas, the country has increased the national debt by $3 trillion dollars, and foreign investors own $4.5 trillion in US dollar-backed assets. While the Fed has been carrying out its economic strategy; the Bush administration has deployed the military around the world to conduct a global resource war. These are two wheels on the same axel. The goal is to maintain control of the global economic system by seizing the remaining energy resources in Eurasia and the Middle East and by integrating potential rivals into the American-led economic model under the direction of the Central Bank. All of the leading candidates-Democrat and Republican—belong to secretive organizations which ascribe to the same basic principles of global rule (new world order) and permanent US hegemony. There’s no quantifiable difference between any of them.

Whitney, of course, is talking about organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderberg Group. It is within these entities that the ruling elite have been planted and cultivated.

Additionally, Financial Armageddon does not mention energy depletion or climate change as precipitous factors converging with global economic meltdown, exacerbating it and creating what I have frequently referred to as the Terminal Triangle as we “cook on the road to collapse”. These are factors that will only intensify the grim post-collapse world that Panzner does acknowledge later in the book. However, to fail to mention the current and future juxtaposition of these three for the first time in human history is a glaring omission.

To his credit, however, Panzner does steer his writing into future scenarios which sound remarkably like those posited by Dmitry Orlov in his series on collapse entitled “Post-Soviet Lessons For A Post-American Century“. Echoing James Howard Kunstler’s adage that “suburbs are the slums of the future”, he states that “In the wake of the early 21st-century housing boom, the migratory landing points may well be the millions of condominiums and boarded-up new homes left empty or mired in foreclosure in what were once the hottest real estate markets.” (107) Reminiscent of Orlov he writes:

Meanwhile, newfound transparency in the wake of the unfolding financial crisis will expose a scale of fraud, corruption, and self-dealing that many will find almost impossible to comprehend. Day in and day out, reports will surface about hidden losses, false accounting, inflated appraisals, sizable off-balance-sheet obligations, valuation discrepancies, unregulated offshore entities, phantom, profits, insider trading, and businesses bled dry to enrich a few individuals at the expense of employees, investors, bankers, and bondholders.(116)

Sorry to say, but all of this sound a whole lot like the current moment, and certainly everything enumerated here will only worsen, and Panzner admits as much in the final chapters as he presents a world of chaos, lawlessness, hunger, thirst, homelessness, inveterate wandering, and people with nothing to lose doing whatever it takes, in order to survive.

I was getting worried early-on in the book that the author would not mention martial law and “vast detention camps”, but he does when explaining the extent of lawlessness, troublemakers, and immigrants “who will increasingly be seen as an unacceptable threat to national security.” (127) Additionally, “Americans will be confronted by an unfamiliar and frightening array of legal, financial, and security restrictions, including lockdowns, curfews, internments, capital and exchange controls, and even [oh yes especially] martial law.” (185) It will be a world where the dark and seamy side of life are apt to be predominant with addictions, vices, and suicide prevailing everywhere. There will be much thievery, scamming, and violent crime and as Panzner says, “People who underestimate the severity of the dangers ahead and fail to take the necessary steps at the outset risk being left penniless.” (142)

When all is said and done, Financial Armageddon offers some sound advice and strategies, which some readers may be aware of, for navigating the crumbling empire . The author insists that having access to information, especially alternative news, will be crucial. Not knowing or predicting how long the internet will exist or remain uncontrolled, he strongly recommends that people familiarize themselves now with alternative news sites and continue to do so as long as they can. In addition, he emphasizes hyperinflation and the risks it will entail in terms of using cash. Precious metals will be a strong hedge, and barter will become a basic, commonplace form of exchange. Practical knowledge of fundamental skills, healing with herbs and other alternative remedies, and personal disaster planning will be essential-as will be the ability to navigate a rotting infrastructure which, and I’m sure Panzner would concur, that in August, 2007, we are just beginning to witness the tragic consequences of.

Panzer also adds the spiritual factor in the equation:

Coping when many people are trapped beneath the rubble of an irresponsible or impetuous past will call for considerable courage, stamina, and resolve, which must come from within. Constant turmoil and heightened uncertainty about the future will require ‘what if?’ thinking and the ability to anticipate situations that used to be rare or non-existent. (143-144)

In addition, Panzner states unequivocally that:

For most Americans, the period ahead will be a time to scrimp and scrape and shy away from a natural sense of optimism that says tomorrow will be better than today. Instead of looking for handouts and loans, people will increasingly have to draw upon their own creative inner spirit to satisfy whatever needs they might have and uncover alternatives to spending money, without necessarily expending a great deal of valuable time and energy in the process. (179)

Gee, do I hear Panzner saying what I have been saying for years– that we must “kill hope an enliven options“? Yes, indeed I do, and I also hear in his chapter on Relationships, that brains, wit, physical fitness, and the best laid plans of mice and men without human connection and skills that enable people to sustain it, will come to nought.

I look forward to Panzner’s next book and trust that it will hit harder than Financial Armageddon. Nevertheless, I enthusiastically recommend this book as well as the Financial Armageddon website.

In summary, the joyride is over, and if you are reading these words, you are probably one of the few people in America or in the world who really understands what that means.

Carolyn Baker is an adjunct professor of history living in Southern New Mexico. She can be contacted at cbaker@nmsu.edu

Speaking Truth to Power

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

Stock Market Brushfire; Will there be a run on the banks? By Mike Whitney

Stock Market Meltdown By Mike Whitney

A Brief Commentary On Financial Crises by J. R. Nyquist

The Grim Reaper pays a visit to Wall Street By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
08/10/07 “ICH

Thursday, August 9, 2007:

Alan Greenspan’s low-interest, subprime, snake-oil Caravan took another spin down Wall Street today—ripping up pavement, knocking down power-poles and sending traders scampering for safety. When the dust finally settled, “Maestro’s” wrecking ball had lopped another 387 points off the Dow Jones leaving markets reeling and investors cringing in fear. No doubt about it; the mood on the “Street” has taken a 180 overnight. A long procession of bears—marching three-abreast with arms locked—can now be seen winding through downtown Manhattan. Their sense of triumph is palpable.

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Escape from Suburbia: A Documentary Review By Carolyn Baker + Holloway: Escape from Suburbia (videos; trailers)

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Thursday, 02 August 2007

Sit still and listen
For you are drunk, and
We are at the edge of the roof…
–RUMI

We must cease investing our emotional energy and condition in the events of civilization. It is diseased to the core. We must realize the “dear thing” cannot be saved, even with major surgery.
–William Kotke, The Final Empire, The Collapse Of Civilization

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