Apr 222006

Spring is (finally) here in full bloom. Climate change is already noticeable throughout the world, this location is no exception. March rained non-stop it seemed, cycling between hail stones, snow, and warm days, but with April things began to look like spring.

If you’ve been watching the news, you’ll know that gas prices in some places is $4.30 a gallon, a new ‘record’, soon to be broken again and again. And again. The sad fact is that we are never going to have today’s prices – on anything. The cost of simply staying alive, let alone enjoying any of the extravagant modern pleasures (like driving) is getting harder and harder.

We all saw this coming, which was why in part, I explored the ecovillage concept, and went ahead and built a garden, chicken house and rabbitry. Today, I finally ‘populated’ my little corner of the world with some chickens in the new chicken house / yard and picked up some cute little bunnies.

It’s a strange feeling to suddenly be a ‘farmer’, I’ve been gearing up for this for some months. Today was the culmination of a lot of planning and work. I’ve already got my first egg to show for it. The chickens were about a year old and are laying hens, I opted to skip on a rooster for now. They moved right in like they owned the place, and checked everything out. I had everything ready, except for feeders, waterer’s and a roost, but all these were added in short order.

The chicken pen is co-located next to the fenced in garden, so I cut an gate in the fencing dividing the two and let the chickens into the garden area. They already discovered this gate which doubles their available yard. During certain times of the year, I can let the chickens roam the garden and help keep the bugs down.

The rabbits are New Zealand cross mixes (uncertain), but I’m not too worried about exact breeds or pedigrees. As cute as they are, they’ll be dinner soon enough. I picked up two does and a buck. They’re pretty young right now, but they’ll grow. I’ve also got a line on two bred does, which will be my first rabbit litters and will suddenly explode the rabbit population around here. I’ve got eight cages ready, so that will suddenly put me into the rabbit ‘business’.

I’ve already had offers from people to buy rabbits from me. I expect more and more people to turn to small farming / homesteading as prices continue to force people to stay home more and spend less and less. It’s going to become more and more important to people to live in zoning areas that allow for this. It goes without saying that a lot of zoning laws need to be changed, but until the bureaucrats catch up with the reality of peak oil, getting located in an area that allows you to raise the garden and animals you will need is going to be important.

I chose rabbits in particular because they are so easy to raise, and they have an almost perfect fertilizer for the garden. The only thing missing is a fish pond. Aquaculture is a ‘plan’ for future expansion on the homestead, which will be a fish pond located inside the greenhouse (still not built) in a semi-closed self sustaining system. The only outside inputs that will be required in fish food and a little bit of water to account for plant respiration and evaporation. I just happen to know the individual who invented this technology and it’s something we’ve discussed on numerous occasions. I’ve picked up the glass panels, submersible pumps and even a 350 gallon tank for this future project. I hit a garage sales and buy this stuff for pennies on the dollar, or in some cases like the greenhouse glass, it’s actually free. I also got a free folding glass french door.

Now is the time to be accumulating the tools and supplies you’re going to need to become self sufficient and sustainable, this stuff too will rise in price as people finally realize it’s real value in the face of ridiculous oil prices. Right now, that general awareness still hasn’t gotten through to people, and you can still get some really good deals. I only paid $75 for the 350 gallon water tank, nothing for the greenhouse tempered glass and only $20 for the fencing I used to fence in the entire garden and chicken yard. The rabbit cages were built from scratch and the roll of hardware cloth cost $100, but I’ve got over $500 in rabbit cages built from it.

The point of course, isn’t what I paid, but what you can get if you shop around for not very much money. The general awareness of prices heading north hasn’t yet reached the garage sale / used markets for tools and supplies for the homestead. A lot of the junk accumulated in people homes is basically worthless on the used market and can’t be sold for a fraction of what it cost new. There’s little point in actually get rid of this stuff, since keeping it is actually cheaper then exchanging or replacing it for something else. Televisions and electronics will be around for a long time and in fact, could increase in demand due to people staying home more. But the real valuable stuff is going to be things you can do for yourself, at home, as people feel the pinch more and more.

People will be forced to do more and more for themselves, which is something the current generations alive today aren’t used to. There will be a lot of ‘upsets’, as a crash course in personal survival and self-reliance are forced upon these people. Frankly, I find it enjoyable and a much preferred way of living, but I have other incentives then just saving money. As blog readers know, I reject the modern paradigm of living entirely, finding it slavish, degrading and destructive. Learning to do for oneself is certainly got to be a better way to live then wasting away in a cubicle for a faceless entity that cares nothing for you as an individual or for the world in which you and I live in. No thanks, I’d rather sleep under a tree then go back to that world.

I lived that life for decades, which I do consider valuable experience, but it showed me exactly what I don’t want, and what is wrong with modern living today and what was wrong with my own life. We are removed from the source of the land that gives us our life, the nourishment of the plants, animals and even the mineral resources that make our way of life even possible. We’re insulated, protected, coddled and covered up, in plastic, steel, glass and synthetic materials, padded and plumped up with ‘soft lives’ of relative ease and comfort. We spend long hours at stupid and mindless jobs making money for morons while we waste away in dead-end careers and watch the world fall apart around us. We’re contributing to the problems of global warming, ecocide and species extinction by clinging to the modern paradigms of living.

But it can’t, won’t last forever. In fact, it way only last a few more years, less then a decade as we pump the last of the oil into our automobiles, and then it’s going to come all crashing down. A lot of people don’t think that modern man would exploit the resources that sustain us down to the last drop or tree, but I disagree, and so would history. Jared Diamond’s book, “Collapse”, reveals that mankind has done exactly that many times before, destroying the very fabrics of their civilizations and falling into total collapse, cannibalism and ecological suicide. The example of totally denuded Easter Island landscape is perhaps the most noticable in recent history, but the very resource demands on Easter Island are exactly the same problems faced by the United States, and no determined effort to stop the ‘advancement’ (destructive behavior) of civilization is being made.

What is needed is to abandon civilization entirely and reject this destructive, resource intensive, exploitive way of living and return to sustainable practices. There is literally no other choice, but it still appears that this simple truth is failing to be widely embraced. And if it is not widely embraced, then global ecocide will be the result. Total resource collapse will happen as billions of people scramble for dwindling resources to survive. We can survive without oil, but we cannot survive without soil, air, clean water, and a habitable environment for plants and animals alike.

Waiting for government leaders to provide leadership for a new paradigm of sustainable living is pure folly. They don’t get it and have zero incentive to destroy their power base and funding. Whatever can be done will be done on a much smaller scale then national. What I’m doing here, on my own homestead, is a step in the right direction. It’s by no means complete or comprehensive, but it is on the path towards sustainability. My goal is to stop driving to the store for some of the consumable products I do buy, eggs and meat. The garden will produce vegetables and if I can get the greenhouse and aquaculture system built, I’ll be way down the road towards sustainability.

This is grass-roots personal activism, doing something for yourself that was ‘traditionally’ done by someone else. It won’t change the world by itself, and it won’t make a whit of difference in the greater scheme of things, but it will bring me personal satisfaction and important experience in what will soon be of the utmost necessity. Living closer to the land will become the new paradigm of living, as transportation slows and stops, and imported goods and foodstuffs becomes even more ridiculous in price.

What we will be able to afford in the future won’t resemble what we can still (barely) afford today. And what we do today will either create a path of sustainability for tomorrow, or it won’t. And if we choose the latter, then we deserve exactly what we will (or won’t) get, because we are quite simply, without excuse. We know what is happening to our planet, our world and our way of life, and what is causing all of this destruction and pollution. It’s us. If we willingly continue to exist like there is no tomorrow – there won’t be any tomorrows, for any of us.

Apr 172006

I’m reading Jared Diamond’s book, “Collapse – How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed”, which depicts the collapse of civilizations down through history, from the ancient past to the present. It’s an interesting book which I’m in the mood to read. I found it while browsing the book store at the mall. I hadn’t been to a mall in several years and finding myself inside one of the consumer constructed edifices was also ‘interesting’.

The stuff that they sell in these places is amazing! I suppose someone from a third-world country would think they’d died and gone to heaven when seeing this cornucopia for the first time, but I was deeply saddened by the array of plenty. The place was full with shoppers everywhere, carrying their traded treasures of goods for fiat money. But what were these goods?

Baubles and trinkets mostly. There were a few shoes stores that sold some sturdy looking shoes, even some really cool sandals ($99!!) that I passed up. But not much else in the entire place would be considered useful, necessary or even durable.

Living in the country gives you a certain type of perspective on things. I’m really hard on shoes and always have multiple pair of high quality boots around. I even own a pair of sandals, and some tennis shoes. I change my shoes at least twice a day, depending on what I’m doing. If I’m in the house, I’m barefoot (usually), but outside, I shod my feet in appropriate footwear, depending on the task at hand.

But in this vast mall, I didn’t find a single pair of shoes that were deemed fit to own. Some of them looked very nice, but I’d have destroyed them in short order. The shoes I own are well-used and the stuff being sold at the mall stores was designed for – mall walking. Paved streets and swept sidewalks.

I find this rather incongruous because of the incredible short-sightedness this type of living and thinking represents. Which is why I was in the mood when I came across Diamond’s book on societal collapse. The irony of finding such a book in a chain store (Barne’s and Noble), situated inside a massively overbuilt and redundant ‘shopping mall’ full of mindless and clueless consumers wasn’t lost on me. Never mind the shoes, what I was experiencing was cognitive dissonance.

I was able to sit down with Diamond’s book and a mocha. Barnes and Noble “does it right”, entertaining your mind while also filling your stomach. I must say, it was a great cup of coffee. Since I’m usually too cheap to buy a new book, I was able to peruse through this one before buying it. It was ‘worthy’ according to my standards and I took the book home with me.

But not before I had made at least two complete circuits around the mall, both upstairs and downstairs. The escalator was broken and I noticed that more people were using the working escalators rather then the staircase. Those baubles and trinkets they were packing around must’ve been heavy.

However, I came prepared. I wore my battered work boots and took the stairs two at a time. There were some young people (mall rats) coming down the stairs, but I didn’t see anybody going up the stairs. Gravity still works in the modern age.

I don’t understand mall shoppers, or even their very existence (the malls that is). Standing there with the book in my hand was a perfect real-life example of why our society and civilization is headed towards destruction. In general, the gross ignorance of life’s dependency and interconnectedness with everything else is simply not realized by most people. They’re not attuned to these ‘harsh’ realities that all the baubles and trinkets and clothing and shoes and gaudy crap being sold in these massive malls actually came from some natural resource, somewhere, somehow and was mined, grown, packaged, processed and delivered tens of thousands of miles to sit on a polished glass shelf for their consumption.

Diamond identifies this ignorance, but is unwilling to call it malicious for the most part. I have no such problem, because awareness of environmental degradation and depletion is widely known, yet continues to this very day, fueled by hordes of ‘shoppers’ and consumers who think nothing of supporting overseas sweat shops and exploited natural resources so that they can (very strangely) feel ‘better’ about themselves as they adorn their bodies with the latest fads and fashions.

Too harsh? I don’t think so. Responsibility for civilization must begin with each individual. If not us, then who? We cannot simply blame the politicians, or the corporate monstrosities, or the money barons that fund all of this ‘civilization’. We’re all tiny cogs in the wheel of human history, and we all play our role. But it’s a role that takes the path of least resistance. It’s simply not ‘convenient’ to consider our actions and our impacts upon the planet. And because we cannot be bothered, Diamond is right. Our civilization is headed for collapse, like all other civilizations before us.

And why not? There is little evidence that this can be prevented. Diamond reveals that there are five points that can cause the downfall of a civilization. Any one of these five points can cause it’s collapse. Any two or more ensures it’s rapid destruction. They are:

1) environmental damage and destruction
2) climate change
3) hostile neighbors
4) loss of support from friendly neighboring societies
5) societies response to environmental problems

Any of these pillars, once knocked down or damaged, can cause civilization to fail (and has, repeatedly throughout history). The global interconnectedness of trade, military force, environmental dependency (and resulting destruction) and lack of a unified ‘societal response’ clearly paints a picture of doom for modern civilization.

To be fair, I’m getting way ahead of myself, I’ve not yet read but 60 – 70 pages of Diamond’s book. However, I can easily see how the widespread ecological destruction, global climate change, hostile countries and lack of unified support to societies problems are all there, in massive doses. All of it. But underlying all of this is the general apathy and ignorance of the people themselves.

I don’t know yet if Diamond will address this in his book. As a simple cog in this civilization machine, I’m trying to add a little grease to the gears. But what I’m finding is the squeaky wheels doesn’t get the grease. It gets ignored. Which is what underscores the basic problem, which is all human caused and human induced, and that is something I’ve already said on this blog. We exchange truth and facts, for fabrications and fictions. Our imaginations become our refuge from our problems. So we imagine it’s not that bad and that the resources won’t run out, but last forever. We imagine that we don’t share any responsibility or any authority to deal with the problems.

Our flights of fancy and imagination are betrayed by the actual facts, but knowledge is giving way to profits and greed. The path of least resistance is being chartered while the well-worn stream of historical precedence is carving Grand Canyon size channels.

According to some, the outcome is far from certain, but personally, I’m not convinced. James Lovelock state’s that the point of no return is now already behind us. I suspect he’s right. Certainly, we are in for some cataclysmic type changes of biblical proportions. But I don’t blame God, most of what is going on (besides the natural solar cycles) is human-caused. What the sun does and how it affects climate change isn’t something we can do anything about.

I still believe that a five-year plan is essential on a personal level. I can chronicle the collapse with exquisite detail if I wanted to (and some do), but I don’t particularily find that interesting or useful. In fact, it’s downright depressing, so I don’t do it. I’m much more inclined to start finding personal solutions to the accelerating collapse that can offer some hope. Hope requires “doing”, not just imagination or flights of fancy. And it’s in the doing that I am most interested.

Humankind may be a terminal disease, but in the meanwhile, I believe that we can mitigate our problems, at least on an individual level.

But it is only fair to point out something that maybe some of you haven’t thought about yet. The five points identified by Diamond will also affect your own personal ability to deal with your collapse. If the larger society around you, even just your neighborhood, fails, you will too. Any one of these five points can be taken on a macro-micro level, which is why it would be so important to ‘save’ your entire community (which admittedly, won’t do a thing about global climate change). But it will make a small difference towards your personal survival in the years to come and that of your family.

This is yet another reason why the ecovillage is myopic in vision. The bottom line is this – if we are going to survive the collapse of civilization, we’re either going to survive it together, or we’re going to die individually. Isolated refuges and encompassed fortresses will eventually succumb to the greater factors surrounding them. It’s inevitable.

Apr 102006

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that our world is changing at an incredible rate. The increasing global demands based upon (still) rising populations, technological and social complexity, and increasingly scarce resources are remapping the face of the planet. I contend that it’s not a map I’d want or draw, given the choice. Competition for smaller and smaller slices of the earth pie will create extremely violent situations for nations worldwide.

What I suspected is true has been reported as true. Big business (big oil) and governments are well aware of this growing problem. They are simply not interested in taking either responsibility or the lead to mitigate the problem on a widespread level. Which can only lead me to one conclusion. They are anticipating the extremely fierce and violent competition that this will create, positioning themselves to take full advantage of it. That alignment is already self-evident and will become even more clear as dependent nations are forced into cooperation with larger more powerful nations.

Caught in the middle of this malestorm will be you and I. We simply won’t have any choice but to deal with it as best we can, when and how we can. Already, increasing energy costs are having a serious impact upon the price of transportation, metal, mining, manufacturing, plastics, air travel, food, everything. Whatever elastic was built into the just in time delivery system is being rapidly swallowed up as energy prices continue to stay at record highs.

There is absolutely no doubt that costs will continue to climb making its impact felt in numerous ways. What we complain about now in regards to price will seem cheap within five short years. I can’t predict with any accuracy just how bad it will be, but if it’s already bad enough right now, what will five more years of this bring? We’re already seeing a 200% – 300% rise in the cost of some goods in one year. That should sober you right up, because the future isn’t looking too good.

It does take a little bit of forethought when you consider just what this means, just how rapidly this is happening and how it is going to affect every living human on this planet as the competition gets worse and worse. But that’s not really the point to my commentary. It is the driving reason for what comes next, and that is, where do you want to be in five years? Ten? With the skyrocketing costs of energy, global climate change, social and politcal forces at work, the next five years will be very dramatic. Ten years from now none of us will recognize the planet.

The acceleration of the human decline and destruction is evident everywhere. I’ve reminisced on how much the world has changed since I grew up and that this acceleration is very evident and it is all leading to one inevitable conclusion. There’s not much I can do personally about this conclusion, but I can plan ahead, as best as possible. I propose a 5 year plan, which would encompass location, downsizing, self-sufficiency, income opportunities, alternative currency, and less dependency.

Find a location which is better suited for the coming resource wars then perhaps your present location. Location includes (in no particular order) climate, water, population, commerce, energy costs, accessibility, political structure, opportunities and cultural values. Not every location offers the “best” of all of these criteria. We all choose to live where we live for various reasons, however, I think these reasons in general will need to change along with the changing face of our world.

I think most of us can safely downsize and create a smaller economic and environmental footprint. The less stuff you own the more more freedoms and flexibility that you have. Most of us have an abundance of high cost and expensive to maintain “junk”. This would include houses, cars, toys (watercraft, motorcycles, electronics, and energy intensive crap), and garages filled with non-essential collections of junk. Nobody really thinks about where this stuff comes from, but it all represents a wrested resource from a tortured earth.

Especially in the West, we are incredibly wasteful with our present lifestyles and heap to ourselves piles and piles of useless crap meant to entertain and occupy us. The future will have less need for such things and divesting yourself now would be a good starting place. Have a garage sale. A big garage sale. Very little of what we all own today is really essential. A smaller house with less energy requirements (and storage) may be very necessary and the logical outcome of “downsizing”.

I’m only going to mention self-sufficiency, which is a common theme found on most of my blog posts. Do for yourself what you often take for granted or pay someone else to do. This can be anything, from fixing your own bicycle to growing your own food or making your own clothes. Recycling needs to become a part of your daily life, making things last and reused, over and over again.

The income opportunities of the future will dramatically change as the world shrinks due to rising energy costs. Some professions will probably go nearly extinct and will be in far less demand. Others will grow as the demand for local goods, services and commerce returns. I think specialized technical fields will still be in high demand as an increasing reliance on high speed communications and networks will increase. The return of the small local businesses should also occur, as people return to shopping locally. This will also increase the connectivity of communities, which can’t be a bad thing.

Barter will probably return as a means of exchange for goods and services. This is a great way to also level the playing field and mitigate costs. Rather then involving banks and inflationary exchanges (they loan up to ten times your money on deposit out to borrowers using fractional reserve banking thereby creating inflation), you’re dealing directly with the end user of your goods or service and vice versa, with no middle exchange ground. Other forms of alternative currency will return, including gold and silver, which has intrinsic value. Bypassing fiat money and ursury will make a huge impact on economic exchange and costs of goods. While I don’t think this will all happen in five years, it probably will happen given enough time.

All of the above, as simple as I’ve made it sound, will lead to less dependency and increased autonomy for individuals, families and communities. What is interesting to me at least, is this is a return to yesteryear when people interacted more on a community level for everything from food to entertainment, employment, travel and commerce.

There really is a silver lining in all of this, but it won’t all happen in five years. But I do think it will be a good idea to start gearing up for all of this now so that you can best be positioned for the coming changes. To do nothing and to continue to remain dependent on an increasingly violent and wasteful system / society will only excaberate the worsening conditions.

I think it is perfectly possible to put this all in place within five years, on an individual level. Liquidate, relocate, downsize, develop new skills and employment opportunities, develop community connections and interaction, and gain self-sufficiency and autonomy on a local level is probably within most people capability. Only a relative few will actually be willing to do this. But those that do, will be much more flexible and better positioned then those that try later and start too late. And those that don’t try, will become chattel to the State and will be told what to do and where to live.

Apr 072006

Every so often (rarely), I get some clown who thinks it’s acceptable to bash my business. As I’ve blogged before, this has happened by board administrators who think it’s acceptable to ridicule, deride or make negative comments on business owners that just happen to post on their boards. Never mind that we are experts in our field and are simply offering our opinions or sometimes just our commentary – commentary not even related to our businesses. Board admins and board mods think it’s an acceptable practice (some of them) to bash the very businesses that (sometimes) support them. Continue reading »

Apr 062006

I’m not writing as much as I could (should?) simply because spring has sprung and it’s nice to get some stuff done around here. It was a long winter (too long) this year and I nearly burned through every stick of firewood I had. Now it’s time to restock (I always cut wood in the spring for several reasons, the sap is running, which makes great firewood once its seasoned and this also give it many months to season before I need it).

I’ve got several sizeable trees I’m going to fall, which will be turned into a variety of things. I’ll be making log steps, a deck and probably some furniture. The rest will be turned into firewood. The trees “have to go” since I need better sunlight on my garden area. The garden did okay last year, but it could do better. The compost pile did quite well and I’ve got enough compost to do a richer garden this year, but the sunlight is something I have to deal with by dropping some trees.

So my days are being filled with work, website, food business and more work right now. The rabbit cages came out rather nicely, I followed a plan I had and they really do look quite professional. It’s time for some bunnies, which I intend to raise and eat. Rabbit meat is quite good and they are one of the easiest animals to raise, making no noise and their droppings make perfect fertilizer. Unlike chickens, rabbit droppings can be put directly into the garden and around plants and will not burn the plants.

My ‘chicken house’ is finished too, but stands empty, except for some storage items. Not at all sure I will be getting chickens with the bird flu threat. I can buy eggs right now, and have stockpiled powdered eggs, which are still cheaper then raising chickens. I’m taking a “wait and see” approach to how the bird flu threat pans out in the States. It’s expected and so I’ve stockpiled a great many things to make sure I can get through this, hopefully. If not, then so be it. I’ve done what I can which is all anyone can expect to do.

For me, preparedness is a way of life, so it’s not been either unusual or strange to have plenty of supplies set aside. I overstock on everything routinely, which oftentimes saves me quite a bit of money. Last spring, I found a great deal on some high quality socks for example and bought several hundred dollars worth (I bought them all). I still have new socks to use, and expect to for a few more years (I’m very hard on socks).

I’ve also made a very good deal on a recent garage sale I came acrossed. I found two brand new hydroponic pumps and timer very cheap. I actually bought a lot of stuff the guy had since so much of it was perfect for a sustainable homestead. I found timbers, tools, doors, plumbing and various parts and pieces at a fraction of what I would normally have to pay. I’ve got plans for all of this stuff of course and now is a perfect time to take advantage of low prices and availability. I doubt very much that this kind of deals will last very long as people began to realize that they’re going to have to start taking care of themselves more and more as they are being priced right out of the market with higher fuel costs.

Fuel costs affect everything and as prices skyrocket, people simply won’t be able to afford what they once were accustomed to buying. I like doing things for myself, always have, I prefer the independence it gives me and the freedom, so for me, it’s not hard. But I think it will be extremely hard for many people, who have never learned the basic skills to do a number of things. Now is the time to break free from that dependency on the system, it can’t last much longer and you won’t have the luxury of learning-as-you-go when your life is at stake.

I don’t think being shackled to the system with a dependency life style is a good idea, long term, for anyone or the planet. It removes the responsibilty for resource use and consumption away from the “consumer”, who often does not think about where the products and things they use and consume come from. Or the damage it causes. But if you are directly involved in it’s obtainment, raising, construction, feeding, slaughtering or assembling, you gain an appreciation that is far different then simply plunking some money down and buying it.

Learning “connectedness” isn’t that hard, it’s just doing and experience. Realizing that the life on earth and its resources actually and truly sustain us needs to be gained by getting your hands dirty. I had to laugh when I read this other blog the other day (which will politely be unnamed) when I read about how they had experienced a bit of ‘primitivism’ which was then culminated by a modern party. To my way of thinking, they didn’t actually ‘learn’ anything, since returning to the modern wasteful lifestyle negated everything.

Learning should be a life-changing experience. I don’t expect to change overnight, although at times, I have. But what we learn should change us for the better. Old habits die hard, as does ‘modern living’. But modern living is now being widely recognized as an extremely destructive and damaging lifestyle. Change comes from within as we learn the advantages and disadvantages of our way of life. We can change – if we want to. But I see rare examples of ‘want-to’. It’s just too ‘costly’ in terms of time, effort and ‘comfortableness’. Why build your own house when you can simply pay someone else to do it?

This is what I mean by dependency. You become dependent upon many things with this attitude. You’re dependent upon a job, oftentimes doing what you don’t like. An employer who isn’t interested in anything but making money (capitalism), usually with scant regard for the reverbrations that the enterprises causes in lives, resources, pollution, environment or long term effects. You work there, contributing your small part to this entire direction and outcome. You take home your paycheck (after ridiculous taxes, which furthers the State’s people control apparatus) and then using whats left over (there are over 400 taxes levied on people these days), you pay someone else to provide you with the goods and products you need to survive. If there is anything left, you pay someone else to entertain you with everything from movies to music. You have no idea where or how the things you consume and use are grown, slaughtered, manufactured, mined, designed, operate or assembled. Nor any real idea where they come from, or who made them, or the working conditions, salaries or sweat shops that were employed. You are for all intents and purposes, entirely dependent upon a vast global chain of available goods and supplies to keep you alive. You’re a cog in this entire machine that exists so you can exist. You’re a dependent and would be dead if that machine didn’t function correctly.

I find this type of lifestyle and living and more importantly, culture reprehensible and downright degrading. It’s an affront to our humanity, dignity, individualness and freedom. It’s also extremely destructive, pollutive and wasteful, destroying and exploiting entire nations of people, resources and species. It fosters incompetence, dependency, ignorance and apathy. It only serves a select few who profit immensely from its entire function. We exchange our very lives for this dubious “benefit”, which I don’t perceive as a benefit at all, but slavery and a dependency on these controllers for our very lives. They’ve extended this entire apparatus to the point where many things that were once the purview of the individual are now illegal. Simple things like raising your own food, now illegal in many parts of the world (just trying raising some livestock in your neighborhood and you’ll see what I mean or drilling your own well).

We’re given a lot of excuses and “reasons” why we aren’t allowed to do this anymore, but in reality, it’s all about control of the resources and governing every nuance of our lives for a profit. Our very lives are exchanged for a bowl of porridge so that we can simply exist, but not how we might want, but how they demand. We literally have little choice in the matter. By taking away that choice, we become entirely dependent upon what they ‘offer’ us, oftentimes presenting us with zillions of useless baubles and trinkets we neither need or want. Our world is full of this kind of useless crap that was once wrested from the ground in raw resources, assembled in overseas sweat shops and shipped half-way around the world to fill warehouses and shelves with gaudy useless creations designed to please and entertain us. And we buy this crap by the billions and billions of dollars every year, thus perpetuating the entire cycle of resource destruction, wage slavery, dependency and planetary extinction.

Are we stupid or what? I am convinced that this isn’t the way to live, because this life is artificial and a false fabrication from the day we were born until the day we die. The dependency fostered by the modern lifestyle and nanny State creates human beings that are devoid of ability, feelings, intelligence and independence. In essence, we’ve been robbed of who we are, who we should be and who we can become. We’re automons, slaves to the system and society, forced into artificial constructions and fabricated shells we call ‘living’. This isn’t living – it’s slavery, drudgery to a society run amok with power, control, greed, consumption, wastefulness, pollution and global destruction. We gladly exchange our total dependency and slave status for entertainment and useless baubles and trinkets that only serve to distract us for the pettiness and pitifulness of our lives. Without the system apparatus to support us, almost all of us wouldn’t even exist. But our very existence only perpetuates this total dependency, ensuring and perpetuating our slave-status, our resource destruction and ultimately, the widespread planetary destruction that will wipe out the human race.

Our actions have consequences, devastating consequences and we cannot avoid that responsibility of what our living and our lives are causing.

This in a long-winded nutshell is why I reject modern living and the slave cycle of dependency upon the system. It’s the root cause of our declining world, affecting everything from our society to our culture to our environment. The answer to this is to stop living like we do, all of us and wrest control of our lives back into our own hands, breaking the chain of dependency and demands we have accepted as being ‘normal’. This isn’t normal and never was. The world was never like this before. Modern living is an abberation, a distortion of the human spirit and the natural resources designed only to serve and enrich those in power and control. We were meant to live very much differently then this. We weren’t meant to sit on our asses all day long typing on keyboards in cubicles so that some fat cats can get even richer as our bodies atrophy with lack of use. Or to sit at home feeding our guts and our minds with useless crap that only pollutes us from the inside out.

We were meant to experience life and living, but these things are not living. They are monitored and controlled poisoning, a slow and painful death of body and spirit that encompasses the entire planet. We were meant, designed and purposed to live differently.

And we can. But we must choose to do so, consciously, and with great effort. If we don’t, then ultimately, we will guarantee our own destruction as we continue to overexploit the planet and each other.

Apr 012006

There are two good articles that you should read regarding what is happening to our ability to peacefully reform our political system:

If you protest, it won’t be me taking you out, it’ll be a sniper.

Do we have a protected First Ammendment? Judge for yourself.

But, now, it’s pay-as-you-go speech, which basically means that payment for your free speech comes in the form of bogus charges, lawsuits, police attending your events, writing down your license numbers, being followed, etc., etc.

The police and federal government are working with the private sector and corporations to also further the harassment of lawful activists. The feds, regularly, will call corporations and give information about activists on their individual lists. For example, there was a campaign against a hospital, where there were about 70 people at demonstrations doing completely lawful first-amendment activity and not even any civil disobedience that would have been a crime. The police said that they were interfering with the business in the entire area, took mug shots of all of the activists, blew them up and gave them to all of the corporate offices, and gave the corporations a direct phone line to the head of the police department in that particular town. They are also using business associations as spies. Many business associations have their own rent-a-cops that they are sending out to do the work of the police department, and they have regular meetings with law enforcement to confer and get their next assignments.

They are also giving names of activists to companies for lawsuit purposes, especially SLAPP suits, which are probably more popular in California than here, at this point anyway. They are making bogus arrests or stops simply to get the names of lawful activists and also stopping cars for seatbelt violations or other little weird things, so they can take a look at your license and go write your name in their police computers. They are lying on police reports to make activists look guilty after a bogus arrest, particularly in an instance where an activist is injured at the hands of law enforcement. It is amazing how many times that those people who got the shit beat out of them were also resisting arrest as their only crime.

The important thing to remember it’s not just eco-activist and animal rights proponents that are being targeted, it’s anyone that doesn’t agree with the status quo. Anti-war activist in particular are receiving a lot of this illegal attention and harrassment, but so are other types of activists. Bloggers, journalists, authors and public speakers. It shows just how out of touch our slave masters are with the people.

Our ‘commander in chief’ sees terrorists everywhere, or so we are led to believe. If you take on the right frame of mind, following in his goose-steps, you will to.

The terrorists are anyone that doesn’t agree with him. Journalists are terrorists. Protesters are terrorists. Being against the war means you side with terrorists. Activists are terrorist. Reporting facts about the war makes you a terrorist. Taking pictures of the dead American soldiers makes you a terrorist. Photographing a bridge, a monument or a public building makes you a terrorist. Carrying a pad and pen makes you a terrorist. Not meeting eye contact makes you a terrorist. This list of stupidities is absolutely endless, but these aren’t laughing matters, they are actually enforcing this stuff with guns, dogs, boots, jail, arrest and interrogations.

It takes a specially demented frame of mind to understand where George is coming from, which rules me out completely. But it doesn’t stop there. George is being actively supported by a gigantic apparatus, the ‘Octupus’ of state and federal agencies that also see terrorists everywhere. They’re quite happy to go along with this insanity (bigger budgets, raises, promotion opportunities as they actively dismantle American freedoms for their personal pot of porridge). Their very busy these days at bus stations, airports, subways, highways and breaking down doors in neighborhoods around you.

But don’t think that any of this is just going to go away. It’s just going to get worse (entropy prevails). Civilization, especially in America, is morphing into a police state, which is the natural outcome of state-sponsored aggression left unchecked and an apathetic population. The massively bloated Department of “Homeland” Security is rejoicing in its expanded role as “crime fighters” while terrorizing grandmas and children and looking for what is obviously not there. Funny how this fits so nicely into the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They didn’t find any of these things either.

The Charley Sheen flap has gotten a lot of attention, but only because of his celebrity status. If terrorists didn’t attack the World Trade Center, who did? That answer has been obvious since 9/11/2001 when the spin and coverup began. The only terrorists that I’ve seen are on television (not Charley), but the guy standing behind the microphone with the American flag in the background.

“President Bush exhibited symptoms of pathological prevarication,” says Dr. Stephanie Crossfield, a psychologist who treats people who have trouble telling the truth and who watched Bush’s performances on Monday and Tuesday at my request. “His eye movements, gestures, and changes in voice tone all display traits of consistent evasion of the truth.”

I got a chance to watch Farenheit 9/11 for the first time the other night. If you’ve not seen it, you should. I’m no fan of Moore, but video images convey a lot more (sometimes) then just words. I’ve had many people call and tell me about other videos they’ve seen. I’m probably suffering from information overload. It’s not more words we need, or more videos, heck, it’s not even more evidence that we need.

I’ve lived in America for a long time. Long enough to come to realize some startling truths. America’s brand of “freedom” isn’t something to desire or want. In fact, it’s something that I most certainly do not want. After what I have seen practiced by this country, the freedom practiced by America is most certainly something I DON’T want.

In America, freedom means that it’s okay to torture whosoever the President declares is an “enemy combatant”. Even other Americans. Freedom in America also means that you’d better not complain about it, even if you’re not the one being tortured. Freedom in the America means the President is held unaccountable – for anything. He can issue himself ‘signing statements’ declaring his own private interpretations and exemptions to the law (nearly 500 of these have been signed by Bush). Freedom in America means attacking any nation that has resources ‘America’ wants. Freedom in America means you’d better go along with it – or else.

torture, rendition, arrest, American gulags, international prison camps, assassinated journalist, civilians arrest,
phony evidence, trumped up charges, ’embedded’ journalists, media deceit, coverup and denial, corrupt politicians, bilked billions, the worlds largest arms trade, public dissent is outlawed, faked facts, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, secret prison camps, stolen elections, rigged votes and electronic voting machines, government sponsored drug running, a century of war and hundreds of millions of dead.

We would have to incredibly stupid to call this ‘freedom’, but that is exactly what a lot of Americans are doing. They still believe that while they sit locked in fear in their homes watching the latest mind bending stupidity on the idiot box that they are ‘free’. Free from what? Free to think? Free to have an opinion? Free to send their children off to die in a foriegn war, trading blood for oil, so that they can declare themselves supporters of the American empire?

Do I hate America? No. But nor do I recognize what America has become. Well, actually, I do. America is a police state, through and through. While the masses are being programmed to believe that 9723 television channels are ‘freedom’, I see fascism everywhere. But it’s even worse then this. America has a dictator at the helm and the Congress is going along with it.

WASHINGTON — When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act’s expanded police powers.

The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.

Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ”a piece of legislation that’s vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people.” But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ”signing statement,” an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law’s requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ”impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive’s constitutional duties.”

Only a dictator would act the way Bush has acted. Only a dictator would believe that he was above the law. Only a dictator would fail to faithfully execute the law, repeatedly. Only a dictator would ignore the law. Only a dictator would issue law exclusively by his own hand. Only a dictator would be allowed to privately identify ‘terrorist’ and have them locked away for life, with no evidence, no representation, no trial and no proof. Only a dictator would ignore the other branches of government. Only a dictator could start a preemptive war and call it ‘democracy’. Only a dictator could ask for hundreds of billions of dollars and receive it, repeatedly, to continue his campaign of mass genocide and murder. Only a dictator could have been (s)elected into office, twice, by rigged votes, quenched dissent and covered up evidence. Only a dictator would stand before the people week after week, month after month, year after year, and lie, repeatedly, lie often, lie with fabricated evidence and faked facts, lie with faked document, lie with faked videos and lie with such outrageous behaviour that only fools would accept anything he says as having even the remotest shred of truth. Only a dictator’s friends and Cabinet could get away with all the crimes of corruption, bribery, murder, shootings, lying and coverups that we’ve seen.

And only the dictated would stand by, silently, and let this travesty continue. And only a dictator could get away with all this sh*t as long as he has.

I write about subject of personal interest to me, topics that I think are far reaching, long lasting and ever present. As much as I write about this, I hate politics because I believe the very institutions themselves are hopelessly corrupt and evil. Gladhanding politicians and smiling monkeys are always up to some kind of evil machinations, you only have to dig deep enough to root this out. Greed, gluttony and corruption are found at the root of every corrupt tree. The complete lack of integrity, honesty, character and forthright dealings reveals that our political system from top to bottom is beyond repair.

Activism in all of its forms has not changed this. Every election cycle is only a repeat of what has gone on before. Which reveals a very disturbing truth. This means that the people themselves are as corrupt as their selected leaders. Corruption takes many forms, with apathy and indifference being at the forefront. The characteristics that make people free are absent in America. It’s not that hard to figure out what these characteristics are.

Respect, honesty, integrity, accountability, responsibilty, privacy and opportunity. From these qualities, you can build or even restore freedom. But none of these qualities exist anymore. Those few Americans that do have them are not in positions of authority. And those that have tried to restore such things are winding up dead, imprisoned, harrassed or ridiculed.

The fact that Americans themselves cannot recognize these things is very disturbing. What it really means is they don’t want freedom (either), but something else altogether. They prefer the nanny-state and the lack of personal responsibility and accountability, reflected in their own lives and in the lives of everyone around them. They don’t expect these things from anyone, neither themselves or their leaders, which is why they simply look the other way when their leaders prove to be hopelessly corrupt.

This is why America will fall. This is why America will fail. The corruption is hopelessly deep, permeating everything and everyone. And this is why activism will fail, why political reform will fail. We have a great many issues as a nation and as a planet that are signalling the demise of civilization and quite potentially, human life, all human caused, all human induced. At the root of this all is the disregard and even willful ignorance of why this is happening, coming from a very human condition, the cause and effect of our lack of self-awareness and our responsibilities to the planet and to each other. Everything that is happening, war, crime, terrorism, corruption, overpopulation, pollution, depletion, destruction, torture, gulags, all of it, can be traced to this lack of respect, honesty, integrity, accountability, privacy and opportunity.

The human condition on planet earth is not limited to just corrupted Americans. It’s found everywhere. However, it’s not so bad elsewhere where the decay isn’t as bad as it is here. Civilization seems to be a disease of spirit that horribly disfigures those that live within its confines. If humankind does manage to survive into the next millineum, the survivors may have figured this out. Maybe. I don’t know, I won’t be around to see it. But I know that the very qualities that make us human can also make us monsters when we abandon them. It is these qualities that make us different then all of the other species on the planet. And it is these qualities alone that will save us, if we even can be saved. It won’t be our inventions, our technologies, our civilizations or our machines, it will ultimately have to come from within.