“Bernanke Rides to the Rescue”

More Cowboy Deception

“Bernanke Rides to the Rescue” assures an heroic headline in the Jan.
23 Wild West’s “San Francisco Chronicle.” Yet all the king’s men on all
the king’s horses with all their band-aids and sugar pills will not be
able to prop up the rapidly crashing US economy. “Fed Gallops to the
Rescue,” the corporate newspaper’s sub-headline continues its cowboy
deception.

The Federal Reserve cut its short-term interest rate by an
unprecedented .75% on Jan. 22. This is its largest single day slash
since the central bank started disclosing its policy moves over two
decades ago. Ben Bernanke’s cut and the Bush-Democrats alliance to give
taxpayers a $800 gift so consumers can spend the economy back to growth
will fail. Our leaders are driving the Republic to ruin—by their
over-extended war-making and by depleting our natural and human
resources. Other empires, including the Roman Empire, have gone this
route.

Where was the National Guard when it was needed after the Hurricane
Katrina hit? This will not be the last “natural disaster” provoked
partly by an increasingly chaotic global climate. If Hurricane Katrina
taught us anything, it is that we cannot depend on this government in
the face of crises. It contributes to making catastrophes by supporting
polluting, climate-changing behavior and in other disaster-making ways.

Our domestic scene is unraveling, economically and in other ways. As
people get more anxious about their futures, the media’s propaganda
machine encourages them to rush out and spend, rather than look at the
root, systemic causes of the failing economy.

A Chronicle economics columnist reports the following: “A Bloomberg
survey of 35 economists published Jan. 9 put the odds of a recession at
40 percent.” Dream on. Once again, the public, which is experiencing
the recession, is far ahead of the corporate media’s economists.

Don’t look to our conniving government to get us out of the US’s
current mess, which is far more than merely economic, and could develop
into a major depression. Such futile attempts at quick fixes mask how
desperate the false US economy has become. It will probably plunge
further down, down, down, and perhaps out.

It’s bad enough that some banks are beginning to fall. As someone who
has lived in remote Hawai’i when the grocery shelves were almost bare,
when that happens to food suppliers on the continent, we will know how
bad the situation is. We will feel it in our stomachs.

It’s time to return to some traditional, basic American values, such as
cooperation, community, sharing, courage, and integrity. We would
benefit by moving from understanding ourselves as consumers and
investors to seeing ourselves as citizens and producers. Consumers
typically respond, whereas citizens can take action and become
activists, which is what we need. Producers can grow some of their own
food in backyard, rooftop, and community gardens.

“Monetary medicine” the Chronicle article describes the cut. Surgery
would be a better response. The bloated military budget needs to be
slashed. US military spending exceeds that of all the other nations of
the world combined, and we are still losing a war against tiny, weak
Iraq. This patient is sick to the bone, not just in the limbs; heroic
topical methods are not likely to revive it. A systemic solution will
be necessary—one that gets to the heart of the problems.

Attempts to prop up the economy to continue its growth are likely to
fail. The US needs to powerdown—militarily, politically, and
economically. (See Richard Heinberg’s book “Powerdown: Options and
Actions for a Post-Carbon World.”)

“This foolishness is actually a calculated attempt to bait, bribe and
placate the American public,” comments the depth psychologist Craig
Chalquist, Ph.D. “The people who came up with it know full well it
isn’t going to fix anything. It’s just one more example of the ongoing
campaign of psychological abuse directed at the public to keep us from
waking up.”

This fall will be far more than economic. As long as the US continues
to batter Iraq and threaten Iran with a pre-emptive nuclear strike, the
global economy that the US uses to suck natural resources (like oil)
and labor from the lands and peoples of the globe will continue to
fall. The worse is yet to come. (See Richard Heinberg’s new “Peak
Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines.”)

If you thought the housing and credit hits were bad, wait until the oil
hit arrives more fully. If you thought the brief stint at $100 a barrel
for crude oil was bad, wait until it approaches $200 a barrel and
gasoline rises above $5 a gallon.

Losing a war should be warning enough, though “heroes” seldom admit
that they have lost until they are truly down and out. The US’s
growth-oriented, exploitive financial system is broken. It is paying
the price of years of over-spending and dependence upon outside
resources, such as oil. The rich have been getting richer in the US and
the poor have been getting poorer.

Bush’s “go out and shop” response to Sept. 11, followed by invading
both Afghanistan and Iraq, has failed to stabilize the US. The wound
was more after Sept. 11; it was self-inflicted when Washington reacted
with vengeance, which may prove to be a mortal wound to the
now-declining American Empire. Washington’s bellicose actions expose
the US–as does its predatory financial practices–to be acting as a
wounded beast, cowboy style.

Our last recession was provoked by Sept. 11. To continue the attempt to
bomb our way out of a recession will bring greater disaster. Yet
Washington continues to rattle its high-tech sabers at Iran, an
opponent who would be far more formidable than the weak Iraq; Iran has
powerful allies.

Washington’s Eastern adversaries may be wisely watching and taking
their time, as the Russians did when Napoleon sacked Moscow at the
beginning of the 19th century and lost most of his army trying to get
back to France. Here at the beginning of the 21st century, we seem to
have another empire in decline, partly because of its foolish forays
into the East.

In recent months I have read hundreds of article in the mainstream
media about the US economy. They do not make the essential connection
between our losing war efforts and our failing economy. To do so would
certainly not fit the US’s heroic Western mentality. The resources
being employed overseas to occupy another nation need to be brought
home and applied to our substantial domestic problems.

In addition to analyzing the current situation of the US economy and
attempting to put it in an historical and international context for
readers and students, I have also been taking personal steps to enhance
my own financial security. Readers often ask what can be done, so I
want to briefly share what I have been doing.

After 25 years of teaching college, in the early l990s I bought a small
farm, sensing an economic crash might be in process. Not everyone can
move to a farm, but those willing to return to the Earth and grow their
own food in gardens and with others are more likely to thrive as the
US’s false economy goes down. Here in semi-rural Sonoma County,
Northern California, more community gardens are being planted.

My main teacher in recent years has been a farm with plants and
animals. I wanted to study the real economy of nature. “A chicken in
every backyard” is one idea that I have been promoting. Not everyone
has a backyard, of course, but many suburban dwellers do. They can
plant perennials, such as trees and berries, as well as vegetables.
Rooftop and sidewalk gardens are growing in many cities.

Though Maine and Vermont are among the coldest places in the US, two of
my teachers, Scott and Helen Nearing, lived there and managed to grow
80% of their own food. In their classic book “Living the Good Life”
they write about how to do it. If more of us returned to the farming
and gardening of our ancestors, we would be better able to weather the
coming storms.

We need to return to a real economy based on nature, rather than the
current false economy based on financial paper transactions,
speculations, and manipulations by ruthless, clever people. Getting
from here to there will involve substantial hardships in the coming
years. We should not expect the corporate media to be very helpful. The
collapse of the false economy could stimulate more people to create
real economies.

Shepherd Bliss (3sb@comcast.net) teaches college part-time and farms. Read other articles by Shepherd, or visit Shepherd's website.

14 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. rgaylor@pvtnetworks.net said on January 24th, 2008 at 9:47am #

    OK.
    So what?
    We have never been a democracy … oligarchy perhaps … and currently a classic example of a kakistocracy … so what are the so-called people except a class to be exploited? The current melt down has been predicted. Those who predicted such a thing had no way to pin a precise date and were relegated to the fringes by that class of idiots we currently call ‘the media’ — though lackies for power might be a better description.
    As an educator I have felt that one of the reasons we do little or nothing to ‘fix’ education in this country is simply because it is easier to manage ignorant rather than well informed people. Sadly those people find themselves perpetually being led around by the nose and we may actually elect an honorable person but the system either rejects them or co opts them.
    I have been accused of ‘communist tendencies’ over the years, but I have very few really left wing beliefs. I have come to believe that ‘communist’ in the past a ‘terrorist’ in the present are terms we banter about in order to prevent expression of thought.
    Care to respond? If so, we can do it here, or go back and forth via email. My address is ten.skrowtentvpnull@rolyagr , so feel welcome to be whatever you consider honest.

  2. Don Hawkins said on January 24th, 2008 at 10:52am #

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080122_DearChancellor.pdf
    Don’t read this unless you can handle the truth.
    Old geezers living on high ground may not be concerned about ice sheet stability and future sea
    level rise, or the out-of-control mess that we threaten to leave for coming generations. James Hansen

  3. Don Hawkins said on January 24th, 2008 at 1:06pm #

    Things In The News

    Globalisation allowed the US to suck up the savings of the rest of the world and consume more than it produced. The US current account deficit reached 6.2 per cent of gross national product in 2006. The financial markets encouraged consumers to borrow by introducing ever more sophisticated instruments and more generous terms. The authorities aided and abetted the process by intervening whenever the global financial system was at risk. Since 1980, regulations have been progressively relaxed until they have practically disappeared.
    The danger is that the resulting political tensions, including US protectionism, may disrupt the global economy and plunge the world into recession or worse.

    The writer is chairman of Soros Fund Management

    Recent laboratory tests performed for The New York Times found so much mercury in tuna sushi that a regular diet of even two or three pieces a week at some restaurants could be a health hazard for the average adult, based on guidelines set out by the Environmental Protection Agency. IHT

    But who is prepared to fight the necessary class war? Not the government, or not yet at any rate. Not the Charity Commission. Unless the Labour party starts to show some mettle, we will be stuck with a system which cripples state education, preserves the class structure and permits a few thousand frightening, retentive people to rule over us. And this will continue to be deemed a public benefit. George Monbiot

    Potential consequences of passing these tipping points include (1) loss of warm season sea ice in
    the Arctic and thus increased stress on many polar species, possibly leading to extinctions, (2)
    increasing rates of disintegration of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, and thus more
    rapidly rising sea levels in coming decades, (3) expansion of sub-tropical climates adversely
    affecting water availability and human livability in regions such as the American West, the
    Mediterranean, and large areas in Africa and Australia, (4) reduction of alpine snowpack and
    water run-off that provides fresh water supplies for hundreds of millions of people in many
    regions around the world, and (5) increased intensity of the extremes of the hydrologic cycle,
    including more intense droughts and forest fires, on the one hand, but also heavier rains and
    greater floods, as well as stronger storms driven by latent heat, including tropical storms, tornados
    and thunderstorms.
    The nearness of these climate tipping points is no cause for despair. On the contrary, the actions
    that are needed to avert the tipping point problems are not only feasible, they have side benefits
    that point to a brighter future for life on the planet, with cleaner air and cleaner water. It will be
    necessary to roll back the airborne amounts of several air pollutants, but that is plausible, given
    appropriate attention. Already all pollutants except CO2 are falling at or below the lowest IPCC
    (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scenarios, and there is much potential for further
    reductions. James Hansen

  4. J.S. Lucas said on January 24th, 2008 at 2:58pm #

    Perhaps this is simplistic, but all this talk of sequestration of CO2 I have heard nothing about the effect of sequestration of the oxygen involved.Is this effect serious or am I missing something?

  5. Don Hawkins said on January 24th, 2008 at 5:35pm #

    Reuters

    Thursday 24 January 2008

    Davos, Switzerland – Climate campaigner Al Gore urged world policymakers on Thursday to change laws “not just light bulbs” in tackling global warming, and a UN official said world market turmoil must not be allowed to delay action.

    An annual meeting of world political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, this year has scheduled a record number of sessions and workshops on global warming. But a sharp downturn on markets and fears of recession have dominated discussion.

    “If we get distracted by the aberrations that you see in the financial market right now it would clearly be very unfortunate,” said Rajendra Pachauri, head of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Gore, in a swipe at U.S. President George W. Bush’s environmental record, said the election of a new president in November could only bring an improvement.

    “In addition to changing the light bulbs, it is far more important to change the laws and to change the treaty obligations that nations have,” Gore told delegates, in apparent reference to what he sees as the Bush administration’s reluctance to initiate legislation on environmental control.

    “Whoever is elected is going to have a different position and a better position. But let’s be clear: whoever the leaders are, this issue is going to be dealt with responsibly and effectively only when there is a sufficient degree of urgency on the part of the people themselves.”

    You don’t have to read between the lines much to see what is going on.

  6. Bl4ckP0pe said on January 25th, 2008 at 2:43am #

    “The worse is yet to come” … classic parody, this yelping of another functionally illiterate N.American silverback Baboon of the ‘inter-leck-shoe-all’ caste perfectly defines the advanced state of decay in the Homeland of Public Experimental Sociopathy a.k.a. United States of Lusers, anno 2008.

    With just a little more ego-stroking, this one will make an excellent CampGuard!

    Well, enjoy your accelerating slide to disaster on skids greased with utter moral bankruptcy, and don’t forget to rearrange those deck-chairs before hitting rock bottom. The rest of the world will certainly lean back, light up a cigarette and savour the spectacle of USL’s long-overdue implosion.

  7. maddpaece said on January 25th, 2008 at 7:46pm #

    I like the article for emphasizing simplistic living . Unfortunately, I feel that the sapien drive to self-destruction may short circuit any positive and creative attempt to evolve. Well maybe this is a silly way of saying I’m scared to death of the possibilities. We are at risk. Dying is a real possibility when things turn shitty. This is an existential perspective encountering all the abstract talk of economic treachery. But I think the treachery involves a whole bunch of people and not just a few paranoid insanely clever people who run everything. It is “systemic” for lack of a better word. It is easy to vilify the rich or the Ivy Leaguers or the Fed or Bush or who ever. That said, God knows that fingers can be pointed more or less directly at certain individuals. But to say that we are somehow without responsibility is a falsehood. We all have contributed to the development of the comtemporary economic regime. Do we buy gasoline? Do we turn on electric lights or for that matter any electrically driven device? Do we consume products from any location outside of our homelands? It is easy to redirect blame, but maybe we are all guilty in some huge or some little ways. The real struggle will be to appropriate power from the powerful and not be corrupted in the process. This is shameless idealism, but maybe we can do it?

  8. Don Hawkins said on January 26th, 2008 at 9:18am #

    t r u t h o u t | Report

    Thursday 24 January 2008

    Under sworn testimony at a Senate hearing today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson repeatedly said he stood by his decision to deny California a waiver under the Clean Air Act. Yet, he refused to offer specific technical information that led to his decision or answer questions surrounding the timing of his decision and speculation about White House pressure to deny the waiver.

    If granted, the waiver would have allowed California and other states to enforce more stringent auto emission standards and curb greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, in a shorter time frame than under current federal law.

    Meanwhile, a letter signed by EPA union officers, representing thousands of EPA employees, was being sent to Administrator Johnson expressing concern that “a large part of the American public believes the White House motivated your recent decision,” and the decision to deny California’s waiver overruled a reportedly unanimous recommendation of the agency’s legal and technical staff. “We call on you to explain why you chose the option you did and, of utmost importance, we ask that you explain why you rejected the options recommended by your technical and legal staffs.”

  9. Don Hawkins said on January 26th, 2008 at 1:27pm #

    It is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. That of course was from the movie the Matrix. What is going on in today’s World is not a movie, it is the real thing. This administration has tried it’s best to keep a system going that is not only broken but very bad for the mind. It looks to me like most people are giving up on the future. To many problems big problems and it will be just to tuff to solve them. Wrong, that feeling you have about the World is bullshit. There are two forces at work. One force that wants to keep things the same the other force who see we need to change and change in a very big way. What you hear from policy makers or a great example is the candidates running for President the talk keeps us all in the middle ground the twilight zone. One man just put a comment on DV and he said,” Well, enjoy your accelerating slide to disaster on skids greased with utter moral bankruptcy, and don’t forget to rearrange those deck-chairs before hitting rock bottom”. Thank you, you are right. China 1.3 million people it’s not going to work out well. They are running out of coal to keep those powers plants going that we all know because of the amount of Greenhouse gas the United States produces and India this Planet is in big trouble. I take that back the planet will be just fine it’s the humans and other forms of life that are in big trouble. Today in South Africa they closed gold mines because they are running out of coal to produce energy. Rearrange those deck-chairs before hitting rock bottom not me thank you I am fighting back, courage. Yes courage as hope is what the people who don’t want change want you to feel. To have courage to fight back and say dam it I see a future for my kids and there kids and we know the truth so if you don’t mind cut the bullshit it’s time to start solving some problems. We know it won’t be easy but I think we can handle it. You see we live in the real World not the make believe World you would like us all to think we are in. It’s not to late to slow the worst of the changes but we need to start now and changing out a few light bulbs to solve the problem. No, much much harder than that. Old geezers living on high ground may not be concerned about ice sheet stability and future sea level rise, or the out-of-control mess that we threaten to leave for coming generations but many of us do. Now I am sixty but don’t conceder myself an old geezer more like unplugged.
    The Guardian UK
    Friday 25 January 2008
    Space imaging gives the lie to Brazil’s recent “great achievement” of halting rainforest destruction.
    Rio de Janeiro – In a world of climate change and general environmental degradation, it was one ecological disaster that had apparently been averted.
    After decades of steady obliteration, the tide appeared to have turned against the illegal deforestation that has disfigured the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Brazil’s president, Lula da Silva, went on the radio in August to trumpet the breakthrough. His environment minister, Marina Silva, hailed “a great achievement for Brazilian society”.
    Yesterday, however, the good news came to a halt when ministers admitted that after three years on the wane deforestation had once again risen sharply.
    Government satellite images show that at least 1,280 sq miles (3,235 sq kilometers) of rainforest were lost between August and December last year, mainly because of soy planting and cattle ranching. Environment ministry officials believe the true figure could be as high as 2,700 sq miles (7,000 sq kilometers).
    “Never before have we detected such a high deforestation rate at this time of year,” said Gilberto Câmara, the head of the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), which is responsible for monitoring the Amazon region. “We had never seen this before in Amazonia.”

    The system is broken we need to slow down go backwards until we can slow this down. Now to those old geezers and some young want-to-be old geezers go backwards slow things down are you crazy? No, sure not but that backwards thing or slow it down if we don’t have courage and go after climate change going backwards doesn’t begin to explain it. Now the rainforest destruction is going on Worldwide and it helps to sustain life on this Planet in a big way. So why are we destroying these forests? To move forward. We are beyond the point of stupidly. Let’s put it in away that these old geezers high on the hill can understand. We are beyond the point of good taste.

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain said on January 26th, 2008 at 4:48pm #

    We need to face the fact that barring a miracle in the order of Divine or extra-terrestrial intervention, we have sealed our fates. The voices raised against capitalist destruction have been sounding the alarm for centuries, rising to a crescendo over the last twenty years. They have been armed for decades with science, allegedly the final arbiter in our ‘rational’ society. All to absolutely no effect. Just for the record, or for some solace, as with the terminal patient finally understanding how he came to his predicament, or, infinitessimal hope, to discern some last minute escape route, we must seriously attempt to understand the forces at work. How is it that it has become a secular religion to place unending economic growth above every other value, even at the risk of human existence? I know its simple enough to imagine it is just the inevitable result of a system that ruthlessly selects the greediest, the most callous and the most unscrupulous, and which punishes apostasy pitilessly, but these people mostly have children! How do they live with the knowledge, that must have percolated through even the most obdurate cranium, that their actions are sentencing their children to suffering, if not premature death. And why, when money-making is possible from beneficial activities, do the capitalists almost invariably choose the destructive path? Why when exploiting rain-forest for food, medicines, tourism, water purification, let alone for less tangible but real benisons like climate stability, are all eminently possible, and almost certain to be more lucrative, do they choose destruction for short-term cattle ranching? Why do we insist on driving cars, when it kills our grandchildren? I’ve read various attempts over the years to put this all down to evolutionary processes, beneficial on the savannah, that are proving destructive in late capitalism, but I’m convinced something more malignant is at work. I’m convinced a significant stratum of humanity is driven by hatred of everything-hatred of themselves, hatred of others, hatred of existence. Existence is an heavy burden, what with all those years of contemplating your own inevitable death, bearing the death of loved ones, illness, presentiments of futility. I imagine these existential distresses can also explain the preponderance of conversions from Left to Right in the ideological spectrum, as individuals age. The Right has always seemed to me innately mad, bad and dangerous to know , since my school days, when our religious indoctrinators were always the most ignorant, but most unflinching in their prejudices, the least amiable and most prone to outbursts of anger directed at non-conformity. At least it cured me of any religious tendencies. I was put in mind of it yet again the other day. The media here is now uniformly Rightwing, like our political parties. Media commentary is utterly predictable, with climate change denial, praise of the US and Israel, or, very occasionally, a bit of friendly advice that perhaps the Holy States had fallen a little from their lofty moral perches, a few thousand too many civilians obliterated in the ‘injun country’ of the Middle East, perhaps, and ideological fury for the Free Market to the fore. One of my favourite opinionators is Miranda Devine, a creature, in my opinion, devoid of any discernible talent bar Rightwing blathering, but the recipient of great praise from her adoring Rightwing audience, and the splenetic outrage of Leftist losers such as my pathetic self. The other day the Devine Miranda was pontificating on child-care. The case was of a screaming two year old, left unattended as it wailed by its clearly helpless mother, who sat transfixed, frozen, as the baby screeched. So what did Miranda recommend? Pick up the child and comfort it? Pick up the child, comfort it, comfort the mother, and perhaps enquire as to whether the child had been fed, or one of those other baby placating verities we all know, even the least child friendly amongst us (a growing category)?No, of course not! Miranda, friend of Howard, supporter of Iraq, ‘the war on terror’ and every other trademark Rightwing position, prefers beating, or to use her splendid euphemism, a ‘smack’. Naturally smacking is no longer possible (this is a favourite Rightwing rant) because of the subversion of society and all that is good and noble by ‘chardonnay quaffing, latte-sipping, ‘nanny state ‘do-gooders”, ie the Left.
    The Devine Miranda may be a slightly hysterical example of the tendency, she may dress up her predictable Rightwing diatribes in colourful language to maximise their appeal in a crowded market for Rightwing agit-prop, but the invariable message is undisguised. All topics are judged according to the position, not so much of the Right itself, but in opposition to anything the Left proposes. The idea of social progress is anathema. Even scientific progress is now suspect, unless it comes up with the answers required. Faith-based science trumps any research that questions the system. So Climate Change Denialism grinds on, and will grind on, even if the waters lap the doors of the Institute for Free Enterprise, Truth, Justice and the American Way. Unless we manage to understand the psychopathology of the Right, we’ll never stop their unceasing destructiveness. Then the question arises, how do we disempower them, and keep them from resuming their frantic destructiveness? Frankly, and considering the Right’s invariable recourse to violence and lack of inhibition in mass murder, I think our escape from the horror of a deliberately destroyed world to some truly sustainable and humane future, is unlikely in the extreme. I certainly hope I’m wrong.

  11. anthony innes said on January 26th, 2008 at 6:02pm #

    mulgabrain is not mumbling nonsense.The infantile response of the people of this planet to to the ecocide inherent in the process “civilisation” ( from the greek to make city) is carefully cultivated by authoritarian psycho cripples (see John Dean).
    Various Tipping Points have been reached where the violent response to reality checks that this denial of really obvious human stupidity and unsustainable practice have us at a precipice .A cascade of major historical change must unfold.
    Survivors will need education in which conventional schooling will have played little part,robust physical constitutions,lotsa luck and as hitler said ” i have seen the man of the future and i am afraid”.This from a total raver.
    The information we need to correct and adjust our behaviour has never been so abundant.Those afflicted with religion,wishfull thinking,pride arrogance and a penchant for violence are earmarked for a sorry end.As usual they will annihilate untold innocent poor creatures struggling to exist.
    One of the salient features of the Limits of Creaturehood is a faiure of most successfull organisms to recognise the optimum population size.
    Human beings have been such a success and as Phillip Wylie said unfortunately a schizoid relationship with the environment.As such it has fallen to the time honoured mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation to sort us out.We do have a sentient self awareness among all people worldwide that has been vilified ,bullied into silence ,just plain ignored when not actually punished and Mumble and his cohorts are hot on the tracks of a solution.
    This is not a moment to assemble emotional crowds but to quietly duck and weave and care for those you love.Group think is a contagious state of mania to be avoided.
    Life and Existence are not simple.
    Reductionist mythology is just that.
    The homeostasis of our internal setup must be reflected in our general relationship with the external world .
    We all die; try not to die for nothing.Sensual gratification is just one component of a full life.The quest for meaning is not a futile act but a measure of our personal success in achieving a peacefull and dignified life and death.
    Thanks to all contributors to my understanding and a special dip of the lid Mumble “on ya mate”
    moc.liamtohnull@40nitna

  12. Don Hawkins said on January 27th, 2008 at 7:23am #

    It is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It’s called the truth and with reason and a little luck we can make this happen. Can that happen? Why not many people are trying there best now and as we all know we only have to ramp up what is already being done to slow climate change by only 98%. What an adventure and slow things down at the same time. It takes the pressure off and I think most people you know people who don’t need to be multimillionaires to be Ok will help. Dam it courage we can do this after this summer when the numbers start coming in courage it’s not to late. We can do this we the people. Dam I wish Al Gore would run. He knows the why and how.

  13. Don Hawkins said on January 27th, 2008 at 9:05am #

    Did you notice how I turned that around by 180 degrees. Al Gore is only one person and James Hansen that makes two. Now we only need 1.3 billion in China, 1.1 billion in India, 300 million in the United States that put out one hell of a lot of CO 2. Can this be done sure the truth helps. Here is the truth we don’t keep selling cars and trucks to China that only get 29 MPG. We are talking a crash program more like a crush program. Total focus on a system that turns people into batteries. We are moving into a new age one way or the other. A simpler life in some ways is the answer. Can you imagine if a candidate for President said this? They might want to wait until they get into office. Is that what they are doing? I don’t know. There maybe one or two who have a few plans. It looks like only three years and one hot summer is on the way. The ice up North probably ice free in 5 years and West Antarctica well I am glad I don’t live on the coast. Now is the time people we need to relearn everything we thought we knew well almost. Can this be done, sure and may the force be with you. Come on just one candidate go on national television and say this and then the last thing they say to the people may the force be with you. Now is that crazy or what? No what they now say to the American people is nuts. Pure unadulterated nonsense and I wonder some times if they really do believe there own stuff? We can only have courage that they are smarter than they look or what they say. Sorry this has gone well beyond good taste. Oh just to get better gas mileage is only one small part of slowing down the problem. Many of the answers are out there we just need to use them. May the force be with you.

  14. Don Hawkins said on January 27th, 2008 at 12:01pm #

    The streets are empty. Trash rustles down the road past rusted barbecues, abandoned furniture, sagging homes and gardens turned to weed.
    This is Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland and a town ravaged by the subprime mortgage crisis roiling the United States.
    Faded “for sale” signs sit in front of deserted houses. The residents are gone, either in search of new jobs after the factories shut down, or in shame after being evicted for missing their mortgage payments.
    A red, white and blue American flag flies over windows and doors which have been boarded up to keep the drug dealers away.
    Thieves have stripped many homes of the plumbing, the doors, the windows, the aluminum siding.
    The police station parking lot is full. The officers, who have seen their numbers triple since 2006, are coming back from their rounds. They speak of installing alarms in some of the homes claimed by squatters.
    At 9422 Chagrin Street, a hand-scrawled sign attached to a window indicates someone lives there: “Please Used.”
    After three rings of the bell, Sarah Evans, 60, opens the door with a mixture of curiosity and alarm.
    She says she is one of the last people left on the street. And she is on the verge of losing this two-bedroom house in which she has lived for more than 30 years because she simply cannot afford her monthly payments.
    It is a complicated story. She refinanced in 2003, but did not realize the document she signed included provisions to radically increase the interest rate.
    She stopped making payments in 2006 and shows her unpaid bills totaling 24,000 dollars.
    Her bank is in the midst of eviction procedures.
    “When folks buy a home they expect to die in it, I guess,” she said as she stood outside in the cold. “I had my American Dream but it became a nightmare.”
    Her words are echoed by the angry barks of the guard dogs pacing behind a chain link fence two houses away that was installed by the new owner: a bank.
    The massive parking lot of the Eagle Fresh supermarket is empty.
    Behind her till, Myra Bibldwit lifts her head when a bell signals the entrance of a customer.
    “Not many folks come anymore. We’re used to it,” said the 24-year-old cashier, one of the few in the neighborhood who managed to hold onto her job.
    In the five hours since she started working today she has served just 10 customers. “Maybe you will buy something,” she says with a smile.
    Then comes customer number 12.
    Laura Johnston, 50, says that her street — about 10 minutes away by car — was alive two years ago. Today, half the houses are abandoned.
    “Folks could not afford their payments. They were asked to pay loans which doubled. They could not afford it, some lost their job. Lenders were greedy. They threw them out of their homes,” she told AFP.
    “I’m very upset. I missed my friend Helen. She disappeared overnight. She did not even say goodbye.”
    There are plenty of cases like Helen. They are called the neighbors who disappear in the night.
    For county treasurer Jim Rokakis, the greed of the banks is to blame for this man-made disaster.
    “All you needed was a pulse to buy a house. Some loans were written with no money down, no proof of buyer’s incomes. They did not even check what people were saying. Most of those folks were jobless,” he said in an interview.
    “Shaker Heights was the perfect storm: poor folks, unemployed and a desire to get a piece of the American Dream.” afp

    Other empires, including the Roman Empire, have gone this
    route.
    “This foolishness is actually a calculated attempt to bait, bribe and
    placate the American public,” comments the depth psychologist Craig
    Chalquist, Ph.D. “The people who came up with it know full well it
    isn’t going to fix anything. It’s just one more example of the ongoing
    campaign of psychological abuse directed at the public to keep us from
    waking up.”
    May the force be with you.