Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Artificial Nature

Urban Jungle Critters,

There is a lot going on in our world, and before I look at some links, it's important to consider what we take for granted, our food security and the infrastructure that brings us food, water, energy, communication and transportation. It seems like like water to a fish. A lot of people have recently died without it, half a million Syrians, and so many in other countries with the same fate.
As I grow my garden, I find things that I want to improve for next year, based on difficulties now, like not being able to harvest the green beans easily from the jungle I inadvertently created. I have this problem each spring when I plant things too densely for how they will be 3 months later. It just looks like so much empty space... My paths between rows are so small. I fall down, I have to contort painfully to grab tomatoes and harvest okra.
Mainly, for all the work I put in, I am not feeding us most of our calories, even in June. I am giving away a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers and even green beans right now, and eating a lot from the garden. It's good; best yet, but I have city water, city gas for cooking, electricity and all the windows closed now.
I work as a doctor in Austin, and have good income, a lot of which goes to help family these days. The main thing I realize, again and again, is that I am as completely dependent upon the life support system as if I did not grow vegetables. I'm developing a good skillset, and it is instructing me on this path as I work. It is way hard to support yourself from food you grow, even with all of the other advantages of modern America. I can only extrapolate a little of the way into the grindingly hard existence that is natural for humans, that billions live every day.
Vast industrialized farms make our calories, and huge corporations ship them to our local store if we keep doing our part, and the big machine keeps working reliably. It is a very expensive machine to run on oil and coal, and lots of information flow, and strict cooperation at every level.

Food, Trading Away Our Future, Part-3 looks at the destruction of subsistence farms by the vast mechanized farms which produce commodity crops so cheaply. There are huge, hidden subsidies in cheap diesel and roadways, communication networks and fossil water. These external subsidies favor American corn-belt farmers over traditional subsistence farmers, and drive them out of farming, since they cannot afford shoes and cooking oil with prices so low.

John Helmer presents the case that the US is waging an undeclared war on Russia, and has been doing so for years. Roosevelt did this against Germany (refused bait) and Japan (took bait) in the years before the US officially entered the war. This war is being carried out on many fronts, in many ways, and the fact that this war is underway casts the military maneuvers on the Russian border, in so many places, in a different light. The US/NATO has the capacity to completely destroy Russia, though there would still be nuclear consequences in Europe and North America. Europeans are not making this decision. Are Americans? Who calls these shots for the Neocons?

"The European Dead End" There just is not a European identity. It never happened. Europe was promised one big paid-vacation for everybody and it never happened either. Maybe there could be a European identity in some hundreds of years. Get back to me on that. Thanks Eleni.

Israeli Intelligence Chief is unusually honest in saying that Israel does not want ISIS defeated in Syria. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" stuff again. (500,000 dead Syrians have no stated opinion. Is this part of the flood of humans fleeing to Europe for a hope of survival?)

California lost a lot of natural gas storage with that massive rupture and leak this winter, which is projected to create a whole lot of rolling blackouts this summer, as limited fuel is available at times of peak demand, to run all those power plants.

There are 10,000 abandoned leaky fracking wells in Texas, orphaned by the recent price drop, abandoned and still seeping and farting into ground water, air and land. Maybe Texas will raise taxes on Texans to plug these up. Drillers are either gone or prepared to declare bankruptcy if told to clean up. Pump a little or pump nothing, is the choice presented to Texas, and it's not a threat, but a fact.

Washington State Democratic Party endorses Bernie Sanders for President. (One little news story to give a smile for a minute.)


1 comment:

  1. Brexit: The Movie


    I've watched this twice. It was something of an eye-opener for me. I was aware that the EU commission system was somewhat in cahoots with the European Central Bank in the destruction of the middle class in Greece. But this film really made clear that the EU structure is profoundly anti-democratic and entirely elitist. It's been said that France is run by 5,000 people. Much the same can be said of Europe inside the EU, but with even less accountability for the the elite leadership class.

    While the right wing UKIP is a leading voice for Brexit in the UK, there's also a compelling argument from the Left to abandon a bad system of neoliberal corporate domination of Europe. Bye bye Brussells, we are not going to miss you.