Wednesday, February 4, 2009

One more thing...

I forgot to mention during my last post, but I will continue to update both my shared items and Delicious bookmarks. They are accessible from the right-hand column of this blog, or by bookmarking the hyperlinks in the last sentence.

Also, it appears that I'm not the only one feeling this way. Sharon Astyk writes a great blog, and today she wrote the following:

You see, I’m starting to feel I can’t compete with reality - any actual attention to events as they unfold points up the fact that my own doomiest imaginings are being wildly exceeded.

Let’s see - California is broke, functionally insolvent, and has stopped paying for just about everything, including its state police. Remember how often they trumpted that they were the 6th largest economy in the world - well, that’s kinda like saying the UK is insolvent…oh, and that actually might be not so far from the truth too, since they just had to nationalize their banking system. We’ve lost at least 300,000 jobs in two weeks. The New York Times may be out of business by spring. While neither rain nor sleet nor hail will keep the postal service from its appointed rounds, money probably will, and they are talking about cutting out Saturday deliveries. Homelessness and hunger are rapidly on the rise, as are suicide and murder suicide.

There’s rioting in Russia, China, Greece, and massive worker demonstrations in France and Britain. Australia is seeing record high temperatures, while many of the rest of us struggle with record lows. California’s drought may be the worst in a century. And the already hungry are among the deepest sufferers of the food crisis. The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Bloomberg - they are all starting to use words like “Biblical proportions” “Deep Depression” “Apocalypse.” It is getting hard to compete with the mainstream doomers.

We’ve been “fixing” the problem - which is a big part of the problem - think of the word “fix” here as in “the fix is in.” We’ve just spent 8 trillion dollars bailing out the banks - more than all the wars in US history, the Louisiana purchase and the space program combined. And what did we get for it? Bank of America and Citi are still teetering, the jobs are still being flushed daily. The estimate is half a million a month - every month.

And people aren’t really very angry yet. They should be - think about what 8 trilliion dollars could actually have bought us, had anyone cared as much about the people as they do about the banks, and about the wealth of the fortunate. At some point people will realize that it isn’t going to work - and their anger will be frightening - and just. The New Hampshire state legislature is currently debating legislation that would assert that if the US implements martial law or abrogates the Constitution, it will effectively dissolve the Union. While one wonders where they were the last eight years, this is being taken quite seriously, and it would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

Eight trillion could have paid for free health care for every American, cradle to grave for a century. Eight trillion was sufficient to cover the cost of almost all the mortgage debt - every American could have been given their house and the “foreclosure crisis” ended instantly. Eight trillion was enough to build renewable energy infrastructure that could have softened the crisis, to reinsulate our houses, to provide basic food and health care to the world’s poor. The same eight trillion we were told we didn’t have when it was needed by those who wanted educations, basic medical care, decent shelter, a home, hope, a decent life, we had a plenty for the banks and the wealthiest people in the world.

A number of energy and environmental advocates don’t seem to grasp that the 8 trillion figure - and the monies spent by other nations - aren’t proof that we can build a renewable infrastructure or address peak oil if we really want to - instead, they are what we are doing *instead.* Yes, nations can print money, but in order to inflate our currency, we’d have to disentangle ourselves quite violently from the other nations with which we are economically intertwined, and that would have its price too. That is, our ability to keep bailing is limited - and the 8 trillion now buried in bank vaults and flushed down the toilet is money we don’t have for future adaptations. Think about it - we’re debating 3/4 of a trillion dollars for all the American people combined (and some of that will also make its ways into the coffers of the bank) - while we’ve already spent almost 9 times that much on the banks. 300 million Americans get 1/8 or less what the banks get. What does that say about us? And what does it say about the ability and willingness to mobilize funds for things that actually protect human lives?

I encourage you to read the whole post, but that's the part that really struck me. I guess that's why I can't keep talking about all of this, it's got such an air of inevitability. Anyway, if you want to see the full-text of the New Hampshire (state motto: "Live free or die") legislation that would define the conditions under which they will secede (and encourage other states to do the same), it's here. Quite a read. Stunning really, watching this type of history unfold. I mean, the fact that the majority of the population in the US does not realize that there is a new debate about secession going on is really quite amazing. It ought to really hammer home the seriousness of the problems. And to think, I wondered if I was being too dramatic when I wrote about the potential for new wars of secession in November last year.

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