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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Anticipating Spring

Longing for Light,

Caitlin Johnstone looks at "liberals" in America FREAK OUT about Trump ordering 2000 illegally occupying American military personnel out of Syria...
It is absolutely bat shit crazy that we feel normal about the most powerful military force in the history of civilization running around the world invading and occupying and bombing and killing, yet are made to feel weird about the possibility of any part of that ending. It is absolutely bat shit crazy that endless war is normalized while the possibility of peace and respecting national sovereignty to any extent is aggressively abnormalized. In a sane world the exact opposite would be true, but in our world this self-evident fact has been obscured. In a sane world anyone who tried to convince you that war is normal would be rejected and shunned, but in our world those people make six million dollars a year reading from a teleprompter on MSNBC.
 How did this happen to us? How did we get so crazy and confused? ...
You stumble toward adulthood without knowing what’s going on, and then confident-sounding people show up and say “Oh hey I know what’s going on. Follow me.” And before you know it you’re donating ten percent of your income to some church, addicted to drugs, in an abusive relationship, building your life around ideas from old books which were promoted by dead kings to the advantage of the powerful, or getting your information about the world from Fox News...
 That’s all mainstream narratives are: hands reaching out in the darkness of a confusing world, speaking in confident-sounding voices and guiding you in a direction which benefits the powerful. The largest voices belong to the rich and the powerful, which means those are the hands you’re most likely to encounter when stumbling around in the darkness. You go to school which is designed to indoctrinate you into mainstream narratives, you consume media which is designed to do the same, and most people find themselves led from hand to hand in this way all the way to the grave.
That’s really all everyone’s doing here, reaching out in the darkness of a confusing world and trying to find our way to the truth. It’s messy as hell and there are so many confident-sounding voices calling out to us giving us false directions about where to go, and lots of people get lost to the grabbing hands of power-serving narratives.

​Vladimir Putin advises against US misadventurism, which is prudent advice. Declaring one will break the intermediate ballistic missile treaty is sort of acceptable. Breaking it will have retaliatory consequences. Russia doesn't bluff. To say this means it is already certain.
​Dan sends this long article about the Saudi use of American smart-bombs for maximum genocide, in this case, destroying the new water well for a drought stricken Yemeni town.
​The US is well prepared to foment massive war in South and Central America. Trump has apparently been dragging his feet on the war against Venezuela, which is overdue to go military after the failed coup-by-drone-attempt on Maduro.​ Thanks Eleni.
http://www.voltairenet.org/article204400.html

​The US has recently ramped up it's prisons-at-sea program for Latin American countries. Floating Gitmos. Thanks Dan.
The conflicting images the United States is projecting in the Southern Hemisphere are perfectly illustrated by its bizarrely bifurcated seaborne missions of hope and despair. On the one hand, the hospital ships, as their very names -- Mercy and Comfort -- suggest, are beacons of U.S. public diplomacy. On the other hand, those Coast Guard prison ships lower the “hammer” not just on drug dealers but on international legal codes, domestic law, and military law, while hammering this country’s reputation abroad as well. (It’s no irony but a reflection of twenty-first-century Washington reality that the prisoners shackled on those vessels are from some of the same countries, including Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, targeted this year by those hospital vessels.)

​Nafeez Ahmed looks at European economic decline as the fundamental feed-stock, oil, has to come from elsewhere at higher cost, and even European supplies are costing more to extract, as the "easy oil" gets finished off. Thanks Charles.
Moor cited internal Russian Ministry of Energy reports from 2016 warning of a “Western Siberia rapid decline curve amounting to a loss of some 8.5 percent in volume by 2022. Some of this is already underway.” Although Russia is actively pursuing alternative strategies, wrote Moor, these are all “inordinately expensive”, and might produce only temporary results.
It’s not that the oil is running out. The oil is there in abundance — more than enough to fry the planet several times over. The challenge is that we are relying less on cheap crude oil and more on expensive, dirtier and unconventional fossil fuels. Energetically, this stuff is more challenging to get out and less potent after extraction than crude.
The bottom line is that as Europe’s domestic oil supplies slowly dwindle, there is no meaningful strategy to wean ourselves off abject dependence on Russia; the post-carbon transition is consistently too little, too late; and the impact on Europe’s economies — if business-as-usual continues — will continue to unravel the politics of the union.
While very few are talking about Europe’s slow-burn energy crisis, the reality is that as Europe’s own fossil fuel resources are inexorably declining, and as producers continue to face oil price volatility amidst persistently higher costs of production, Europe’s economy will suffer...
The verdict on the UK predicament is stark. They find that “the UK as a whole has had a declining EROI in the first decade of the 21st century, going from 9.6 in 2000 to 6.2 in 2012… These initial results show that more and more energy is having to be used in the extraction of energy itself rather than by the UK’s economy or society.” ​...
In other words, early last year, a major scientific study found that for the last two decades and beyond, Britain’s economic growth is fundamentally constrained by domestic net energy decline. But this groundbreaking news did not make the ‘news’.​...
That is why despite the so-called ‘recovery’ — tepid as it is and based on accelerating debt levels (in biophysical terms borrowing from the Earth today with promise of paying it back tomorrow with what has already been over consumed today) — in real terms, peoples’ purchasing power continues to decline.​..
And so in France, instead of addressing the question of how to galvanise a third industrial revolution to speed a post-carbon transition and infrastructure revival, Macron’s response to the climate crisis was to protect fossil fuel and nuclear producers while hiking up fuel taxes. He didn’t want to tackle the horrendous supply chains of big French corporations. He didn’t want to penalise the powerful oil, gas and nuclear lobbies that he hopes might help him get re-elected, and did next to nothing to speed a viable post-carbon transition that might transform economic prosperity on more sustainable foundations.
And so by placing the burden almost exclusively on French workers and consumers, Macron triggered the spiral of rage and riots.​..
France’s riots therefore did not come out of the blue. They are part and parcel of a wider process of slow-burn EROI decline in which the returns to society from economic activity are being increasingly constrained by the higher energetic costs of that activity and productivity declines of the ageing centralised industrial-era infrastructure and technology. It was only a matter of time before the average person began to feel the impact of that squeeze in their day to day lives. Macron’s tax hikes were not the cause, but the trigger. They lit the match, but the tinder box was already fuming.​..
   Earth system disruption does not inevitably result in destabilisation of human systems. But if human systems refuse to engage and adapt to those disruptions, then they will be destabilised. As long as Britain, Europe and their citizens continue to obsess myopically on the symptoms rather than the causes, we will be incapable of responding meaningfully to those causes.​..
    The crisis of Brexit and the eruption of the riots in France are symptoms of a great unfolding civilizational transition, in which an old reductionist paradigm of materialist self-maximation is dying.   

​European Spring, Thanks Wiggs
In a sense, 2018 is less like 1848 itself and more like the decades that preceded that tumultuous year. These were, in the words of Trygve Tholfsen in his 1977 study of working-class radicalism in the run-up to 1848, ‘hungry decades’ – decades in which disgruntlement and radicalism bristled and grew before exploding in firm demands for change.

Nurturing New Growth​

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