Mar 292011
 

R.I.P – One of the most colorful, and some would say influential writers of our time is now gone.

I want to post in entirety one of his more recent pieces that aptly describes the state of our nation and its decline into a sordid cesspool of ignorance and apathy.

Posted under Collapse because that’s what Joe has been saying for a long time. We’re in steep decline as a society and in our culture, what awaits us can’t be better, but worse.  ~Admin~

AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM?

By Joe Bageant

If you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked? Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.

One explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp, and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks. Another might be pop culture, which is not culture at all of course, but marketing. Or we could blame it on digital autism: Ever watch commuter monkeys on the subway poking at digital devices, stroking the touch screen for hours on end? That wrinkled Neolithic brows above the squinting red eyes?

But a more reasonable explanation is that, (A) we don’t even know we are doing it, and (B) we cling to institutions dedicated to making sure we never find out.

As William Edwards Deming famously demonstrated, no system can understand itself, and why it does what it does, including the American social system. Not knowing shit about why your society does what it makes for a pretty nasty case of existential unease. So we create institutions whose function is to pretend to know, which makes everyone feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes the savviest among us — those elites who run the institutions — very rich, or safe from the vicissitudes that buffet the rest of us.

Directly or indirectly, they understand that the real function of American social institutions is to justify, rationalize and hide the true purpose of cultural behavior from the lumpenproletariat, and to shape that behavior to the benefit of the institution’s members. “Hey, they’re a lump. Whaddya expect us to do?”

Doubting readers may consider America’s health institutions, the insurance corporations, hospital chains, physicians’ lobbies. Between them they have established a perfectly legal right to clip you and me for thousands of dollars at their own discretion. That we so rabidly defend their right to gouge us, given all the information available in the digital age, mystifies the world.

Two hundred years ago no one would have thought sheer volume of available facts in the digital information age would produce informed Americans. Founders of the republic, steeped in the Enlightenment as they were, and believers in an informed citizenry being vital to freedom and democracy, would be delirious with joy at the prospect. Imagine Jefferson and Franklin high on Google.

The fatal assumption was that Americans would choose to think and learn, instead of cherry picking the blogs and TV channels to reinforce their particular branded choice cultural ignorance, consumer, scientific or political, but especially political. Tom and Ben could never have guessed we would chase prepackaged spectacle, junk science, and titillating rumor such as death panels, Obama as a socialist Muslim and Biblical proof that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs around Eden. In a nation that equates democracy with everyman’s right to an opinion, no matter how ridiculous, this was probably inevitable. After all, dumb people choose dumb stuff. That’s why they are called dumb.

But throw in sixty years of television’s mind puddling effects, and you end up with 24 million Americans watching Bristol Palin thrashing around on Dancing with the Stars, then watch her being interviewed with all seriousness on the networks as major news. The inescapable conclusion of half of heartland America is that her mama must certainly be presidential material, even if Bristol cannot dance. It ain’t a pretty picture out there in Chattanooga and Keokuk.

The other half, the liberal half, concludes that Bristol’s bad dancing is part of her spawn-of-the-Devil mama’s plan to take over the country, and make millions in the process, not to mention make Tina Fey and Jon Stewart richer than they already are. That’s a tall order for a squirrel brained woman who recently asked a black president to “refutiate” the NAACP (though I kinda like refutiate, myself). Cultural stupidity accounts for virtually every aspect of Sarah Palin, both as a person and a political icon. Which, come to think of it, may be a pretty good reason not to “misunderstimate” her. After all, we’re still talking about her in both political camps. And the woman OWNS the Huffington Post, fer Christsake. Not to mention a franchise on cultural ignorance.

Cultural stupidity might not be so bad, were it not self-reproducing and viral, and prone to place stupid people in charge. All of us have, at some point, looked at a boss and asked ourselves how such a numb-nuts could end up in charge of the joint.

In my own field, the book biz, the top hucksters in sales and marketing, car salesman with degrees, are put in charge of publishing the national literature. Similarly, ex-Pentagon generals segue from killing brown babies in Iraq into university presidents and CEOs. Conversely, business leaders such as Donald Rumsfeld who fancy themselves as battlefield commanders and imagine their employees as troops to be “deployed,” find themselves happily farting behind Pentagon desks. On the strength of having mistaken Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as a business text, they get selected by equally delusional national leaders to make actual war on behalf of the rest of us.

But the most widespread damage is done at more mundane operational levels of the American empire, by clones of the over promoted asshole in the corner office where you work. At least one study demonstrated that random selection for corporate promotions offset the effect significantly. Research again confirms what is common knowledge around every workplace water cooler in the country.

Save my spot in the gulag, I’m off to Wal-Mart

Cultural ignorance of one sort or another is sustained and nurtured in all societies to some degree, because the majority gains material benefit from maintaining it. Americans, for example, reap huge on-the-ground benefits from cultural ignorance — especially the middle class Babbitry — from cultural ignorance generated by American hyper-capitalism in the form of junk affluence.

Purposeful ignorance allows us to enjoy cheaper commodities produced through slave labor, both foreign, and increasingly, domestic, and yet “thank god for his bounty” in the nation’s churches without a trace of guilt or irony. It allows strong arm theft of weaker nations’ resources and goods, to say nothing of the destructiveness of late stage capitalism — using up exhausting every planetary resource that sustains human life.

The American defense, on those rare occasions when one is offered, runs roughly, “Well you commie bastard, I ain’t ever seen a sweatshop and I got no Asian kids chained in the basement. So I’ve got what the guvment calls plausible deniability. Go fuck yerself!”

Uh, don’t look now, but the banksters own your ass, your country has become a work gulag/police state and the most of the world hates you.

Such a thriving American intellectual climate enables capitalist elites to withhold and ration vital resources like health care simply by auctioning it off to the richest. Americans fail to grasp this because the most important fact (that a helluva lot of folks can’t afford to bid, and therefore get to die early) never gets equal play with capitalist political propaganda, to wit, that if we give free medical attention to low income cleft palate babies, a wave of Leninism will seize the nation. That is cultural ignorance. We breathe the stuff every day of our lives.

But when Americans too poor to buy health care nevertheless vote to retain the corporate auction process, that is cultural stupidity.

(Let us now pause to clutch our hair in our fists and scream AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!)

Like the old song says, “Them that don’t know don’t know they don’t know.” I venture to say that even if they did, they would not know why. Primary truths elude us because of the junk affluence and propaganda. We get buried under a deluge of commodities that suggest we are all rich, or at least richer than most of the world. A mountain range of cheap shoes, cars, iPods, ridiculous amounts of available foodstuffs, and the entire spectacle of engorgement defines, and is enforced as, “quality of life” under materialistic commodities capitalism. The goods we have in our clutches trump the philosophical, or even the most practical considerations. “I may die early eating unidentified beef byproducts soaked in waste chemicals, but I’ll die owning a 65-inch HDTV and a new five speed automatic Dodge Durango with a 5.7 L Hemi V8 under the hood!”

Even the threat of toasting planetary life is not enough to shake Americans loose from this disconnect. As Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Guy R. McPherson points out, “79.6% of respondents to a Scientific American poll are unwilling to forgo even a single penny to forestall the risk of catastrophic climate change. Scientific American readers undoubtedly are better informed than the general populace. And yet they won’t pay a thing to avoid extinction of our species. Kinda makes you warm and fuzzy all over, doesn’t it?”

Let us pray the next generation is a tad sharper.

Taser the tots

The “American Lifestyle,” increasingly suspect as it is these days, is heavily soldiered and policed in the name of keeping we self-defined lotus eaters safe and secure from a jealous outside world. Which according to cultural consensus is a world that is at this very moment is stuffing its under drawers with explosives and buying plane tickets to Moline. Cultural ignorance dictates that the best way to stop foreign terrorists flying into the country is by humiliating American citizens flying out of the country. Go ahead, grope me, X-ray my dick and for god sake don’t let anyone bring a large bottle of shampoo on board. In an obedient, authority worshipping police state, physical insult and surveillance are proof of safety.

It’s profitable too, and not just for scanner manufacturers. The brouhaha over body scanners and crotch groping provide media with titillating fuel for ratings, thereby driving up TV advertising rates, which is passed on in the price of products we buy. So we pay to be insulted, have the hell scared out of us, and to unknowingly have our behavior shaped. Under American style capitalism, this mobius strip of cultural ignorance is called a win-win situation for everybody.

This also conveniently distracts us from the everyday human insult we practice on one another, as a result of state manufactured cultural misinformation — fear. Ten years of orange alerts and post 9/11 fear mongering have led us to draw some paradoxical cultural conclusions.

Let us briefly careen off into one of these paradoxes. For instance, that we can taser our way to domestic security and tranquility. Yes, it’s ugly business, but tasing the citizenry must be done. And besides, in these days of high unemployment, it’s a paycheck for somebody — usually, the guy who sat behind us in grade school happily eating chalk.

With taser packing police officers in thousands of schools, even grade schools (a weird enough cultural statement to begin with — needless to say, the resulting deaths and injuries of school kids have personal injury lawyers shouting eureka and contemplating new recreational sail craft moored at Martha’s Vineyard. Such are the rewards of righteous works through cult-ig.

In any case, the chance at a juicy lawsuit is accepted as a satisfactory offset to any screaming and writing in our school hallways. What are 50,000 volts and a little nerve damage, compared to a shot at paying off the credit cards, upgrading the family ride, and maybe remodeling the kitchen too?

But we gotta stick to the subject of cultural ignorance here, mainly because I wrote the title first and am determined to maintain some illusion of a theme here, or at least bullshit the reader into thinking that I have.

Soooo . . .

It can be safely said that cultural ignorance consists of the rational, sensible questions that never get asked. But it also includes the weird ones that are. For instance, one of the questions asked regarding tasering school kids is: What is the allowable weight range of a child to be tased? (Taser manufacturers say 60 pounds.) Somehow, by this geezer’s prehistoric reasoning, that sounds like the wrong question, not to mention one that by its nature leads us away from the cultural truth.

The truth is that we live in a society which sanctions semi-electrocution of its own children on the grounds that it is not fatal, and therefore not true electrocution. It springs from the same streak of cultural cruelty that deems semi-drowning by water boarding not to be torture because it is seldom fatal.

This is not to be uncharitable to American communities willing to pony up tax money for school tasers. They’ve amply demonstrated their affectionate commitment to their children by bringing creationism and pizza-for-breakfast into the schools. But there remains the question, “What kind of community comes up with the idea of tasering its own children?”

The information racketeers

It is the job of our combined institutions to manage cultural information so as to deny the harmful aspects of the rackets they protect through legislation and promote through institutional research. That’s why research shows that cell phone microwaves cause long term memory loss in rats, but do not harm people. Evidently, we are of different, more bullet proof mammalian material.

Our hyper capitalist system, through command of our research, media and political institutions, expands upon and disseminates only that information which generates money and transactions. It avoids, neglects or spins the hell out of information that does not. And if none of those work, the info is exiled to some corner of cyberspace such as Daily Kos, where it cannot change the status quo, yet can be ballyhooed as proof of our national freedom of expression. Here come the rotten eggs from the Internet liberals.

Cyberspace by nature feels very big from the inside, and its affinity groups, seeing themselves in aggregate and in mutual self reference, imagine their role bigger and more effective than it is. From within the highly directed, technologically administrated, marketed-to and propagandized rat cage called America, this is all but impossible to comprehend. Especially when corporate owned media tells us it is.

Take the world recent shaking WikiLeak’s “revelations” of Washington’s petty misery and drivel, which are scarcely revelations, just more extensive details about what we all already knew. Come on now, is it a revelation that Karzai and his entire government is a nest of fraudulent double-crossing thieves? Or that the US is duplicitous? Or that Angela Merkel is dull? The main revelation in the WikiLeaks affair was the U.S. government’s response — which was to bring US freedom of speech policy firmly in line with China’s. Millions of us in cyber ghettoes saw it coming, but our alarm warnings were shouted inside a cyberspace vacuum bell jar.

Bear in mind that I am writing this from outside the US borders and media environment, where people watch the WikiLeaks story unfold more in amusement than anything else.

The WikiLeaks affair is surely seismic to those whose asses ride on the elite diplomatic intrigues. But in the big picture it will not change the way the top lizards in global politics, money and war have done business since the feudal age — which is to say with arrogant disregard for the rest of us. Theirs is an ancient system of human dominance that only shifts names and methodologies over the centuries. Two years from now, little will have changed in the old, old story of the powerful few over the powerless many. In this overarching drama, Obama, Hillary and Julian Assange are passing players. Watching the sweaty, fetid machinations of our overlords with such passionate involvement only keeps us from seeing the big picture — that they are the players and we are the pawns.

Still, I for one am in favor of giving Assange the M’daille militaire, the Noble Prize, 15 virgins in paradise and a billion in cash as a reward for his courage in doing damned well the only significant thing that can be done at this time — momentarily fucking up government control of information. But “potentially stimulating a new age of U.S. government transparency,” (BBC) it ain’t.”

Which brings us to back to the question of cultural ignorance. For ten points, why was Julian Assange forced to do what the world press was supposed to be doing in the first place?

Bulletin: PayPal has caved to government pressure to pull WikiLeak’s PayPal account for contributions. However, the feds generously let PayPal keep its porn and prostitution clients.

The transparency scam

It is a form of cultural ignorance to believe that at some point or other, we were more in charge and that our government was somehow more transparent in the past. Societies declining into obsolescence understandably resist looking forward, and hang onto their past mythologies. Consequently, both liberals and conservatives in America feed on myths of political action which died in Vietnam. The results are ludicrous. Tea Partiers attempt to emulate the 1960s protest gatherings by staging rallies sponsored by the richest beneficiaries of the status quo. For the average TP participant, the goal, near as I can tell, is to “start a new American Revolution,” by wearing foodstuffs, screaming, threatening, and voting for nitwits. Media pundits proclaim the Tea Party “a historic populist movement.”

Neither populist, nor authentic movement, the Tea Party may yet prove historic, however, by seriously fucking things up more than they already are. Spun entirely from manufactured spectacle (and thus void of cohesive political philosophy or internal logic), the Tea Party lurches across the political landscape bellowing at the cameras and collecting the victims of cultural ignorance in sort of a medieval idiots crusade. But to the American public, seeing the Tea Party on television is proof enough of relevancy and significance. After all, stuff doesn’t get on TV unless it’s important.

Progressives also fancy a revolution, one in which they participate through the Internet petitions, and media events such as the risk free Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity, where no one risked even missing an episode of Tremaine. Seeing people like themselves on television was proof fighting the good fight. The Stewart rally was nonetheless culturally historic; we will never see a larger public display of post modern irony congratulating itself.

In the historical view, cultural ignorance is more than the absence of knowledge. It is also the result of long term cultural and political struggle. Since the industrial revolution, the struggle has been between capital and workers. Capital won in America and spread its successful tactics worldwide. Now we watch global capitalism wreck the world and attempt to stay ahead of that wreckage clutching its profits. A subservient world kneels before it, praying that planet destroying jobs will fall their way. Will unrestrained global capitalism, with all the power and momentum on its side and motivated purely by machinelike harvesting of profits, reduce the faceless masses in its path to slavery? Does a duck shit in a pond?

Meanwhile, here we are, American riders on the short bus, barreling into the Grand Canyon. With typical American gunpoint optimism, we’ve convinced ourselves we’re in an airplane. A few smarter kids in the back whisper about hijacking and turning the bus around. But the security cop riding shotgun just strokes his taser and smiles. Not that yours truly has the ass to take on the security surveillance state. Hell no. I jumped out the window when the bus shot past Mexico.

What America needs is some balls

GOP honcho Mitch O’Connell says what America needs is for Republicans to finish beating the snot out of Obama, and strengthen the already rich by eliminating taxes for them and shifting the burden onto us. Obama says America needs to find bipartisan cooperation with the party of ruthlessness. Elton John says that America needs more compassion (Thanks, we never noticed).

What America really needs is a wall-to-wall people’s insurrection, preferably based on force and fear of force, the only thing oligarchs understand. And even then the odds are not good. The oligarchs have all the legal power, police, jails and prisons, surveillance and firepower. Not to mention a docile populace.

Shy of open insurrection, a nationwide refusal to pay income taxes would certainly shake things up. But broader America is happy in the sense they know happiness as an undisturbed regimen of toil, stress and commodity consumption. Despite the way it looks in the news, most Americans remain untouched by foreclosure, bankruptcy and unemployment. So risking loss of their work-buy-sleep cycle in an insurrection looks to be sheer lunacy to them. Like cows, they are kept comfortable in the pure animal sense to be milked for profit. Animal comfort kills all thoughts of revolution. Hell, half of mankind would be thrilled with the average American’s present material situation.

And besides, revolutionary history does not exist for Americans. The 20th Century’s successful revolutions in Russia, Germany, Mexico, China, and Cuba are wired into our minds as history’s evil failures, because all but one were Marxist. (The only successful non-Marxist revolution of the 20th Century was Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution).

So if we are talking change through revolt, we’re necessarily talking about deconditioning because the thing we fear already has a life deep in our own consciousness. Deconditioning from cultural ignorance is at the heart of any insurrectionary politics.

Deconditioning also involves risk and suffering. But it is transformative, freeing the self from helplessness and fear. It unleashes the fifth freedom, the right to an autonomous consciousness. That makes deconditioning about as individual and personal act as is possible. Maybe the only genuine individual act.

Once unencumbered by self-induced and manufactured cultural ignorance, it becomes clear that politics worldwide is entirely about money, power and national mythology, with or without some degree of human rights. America still has all of the above to one degree or another. Yet for all practical purposes, such as advancing the freedom and the well being of its own people, the American republic has collapsed.

Of course, there is still money to be made by the already rich. So the million or so people who own the country and the government use their control to convince us that there is no collapse, just economic and political problems that need to be solved. Naturally, they are willing to do that for us. Consequently, the economy is discussed in political terms, because the government is the only body with the power to legislate, and therefore render the will of the owning class into law.

But politics and money are never going to fill what is essentially a public vacuum that is moral, philosophical and spiritual. (The latter was instantly recognized by fundamentalist Christians, disfigured by cultural ignorance, as they may be.) Not many ordinary Americans talk about this vacuum. The required spiritual and philosophical language has been successfully purged by newspeak, popular culture, a human regimentation process masquerading as a national educational system, and the ruthlessness of everyday competition, which leaves no time to contemplate anything.

Still, the void, the meaninglessness of ordinary work and the emptiness of daily life scares thinking citizens shitless, with its many unspeakables, spy cams, security state pronouncements, citizens being economically disappeared, and general back-of-the-mind unease. Capitalism’s faceless machinery has colonized our very souls. If the political was not personal to begin with, it’s personal now.

Some Americans believe we can collectively triumph over the monolith we presently fear and worship. Others believe the best we can do is to find the personal strength to endure and go forward on lonely inner plains of the self.

Doing either will take inner moral, spiritual and intellectual liberation. It all depends on where you choose to fight your battle. Or if you even choose to fight it. But one thing is certain. The only way out is in.

Mar 192011
 

Fire Earth has been documenting the global catastrophe’s for a long time. This year, they are doing a blow-by-blow of major disasters documented around the world.  Their next prediction:

THE NEXT MAJOR DISASTER COULD STRIKE THE U.S.

The next major anthropogenic or human-enhanced natural disaster [e.g., climate related] could occur in the United States with a probability of 0.75

The world’s next catastrophic tectonics event could occur in

  1. Western United States, Iceland, or Taiwan [Probability of 0.74]
  2. New Zealand Region, Indonesia, FIJI Islands, or Chile [Probability of 0.73]
  3. Japan Region [Probability of 0.72]

Well worth reviewing:

January 2011 Disaster CalendarFebruary 2011 CalendarMarch 2011 Calendar

The full extent of the Japanese mega-disaster is still not entirely known.  The death toll from the earthquake / tsunami will take several months most likely to calculate with any accuracy.  The effects of radiation will take much longer.

Undoubtedly the worst radioactive disaster in human history.  I have not gone out and bought any potassium iodide however.  There is a lot of price gouging and fear, hype and hysteria taking place.  I’m in Washington state, but still half a world away from Japan.  I am not concerned (at all) about radiation poisoning.

But I would be if I lived in Japan.

Few could now argue with any credibility that we are not in collapse.  Many have expected some global or national cataclysmic event to signify this fact, but this need not happen.  Collapse is a series of events, both large and small, combining together towards the same downfall.  It happens over many years and need not be a single, trigger event.

Japan’s misfortune is exceptional, as was the 2004 tsunami that swept away many thousands of people, home and businesses. Haiti’s earthquake was also exceptional, and so was Chile’s.

Many people are ‘looking’ for such signs to signal (for them) the evidence that they seem to need that collapse is real and is happening now.  While this would most certainly be a hell of a wake-up call to anyone who experiences one of these mega-disasters (and survives), this is not what I’ve been writing about for years.

Collapse is a series of events, large and small, that impact our civilization and our way of life. They are events that are now happening all over the world, every single day now.  Most do not make it to the American headlies, err headlines.  They challenge our assumption that we are always going to have life and our daily existence as we have it today, and in the recent past, and even challenge the notion that the American way of life is utterly “non-negotiable”.

It is this kind of claptrap that I have long refuted, because it is so patently false and full of misconceptions, false belief, phony ideologies, and ridiculous assumptions that it defies common sense.

We are in collapse and have been now for some time, and it does not take a radioactive cloud hovering over our coast line  to signify this fact.

Survival Acres has long been focused on these facts, it is a huge reason why I “exist” and have conducted this site (blog, food site, newsletters, forums) as I have these many years.  Humanity is in peril on an increasingly escalating scale of danger.  A danger scale that continues to escalate. Millions have already suffered and hundreds of thousands, if not more, have already died, in just the last couple of years.

I pose this here not to scare you, because I think panic is stupid and senseless and the sensationalists that try to capitalize on this are simply out to make a quick buck and capitalize on your coming misfortune.  These scum-bags are coming out of the woodwork in droves.

We all need to take a deep calming breath and not be persuaded by the fear-mongering.  We DO live in a world that teeters ever closer to something big and tragic coming our way.  We also must deal with all the little things, such as when we get laid-off, or lose our homes or personal tragedy strikes.  These too are collapse events, happening one-by-one to millions and millions of us.  We need not think something “bigger” must first take place to teach us individually, that we are in fact in collapse.

Our world is highly interconnected and when disaster strikes, it does have an effect on us all. We may not feel it right away, but eventually we will.  The American economic crisis for example, is not over, but then again, it is not over for Iceland, Greece, China or anywhere else in the world either.  We are all going to have to adjust to these effects as our economy continues to spiral farther and farther down. But this is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg so to speak, there are even large events and effects lurking beneath the surface, hidden from the common public perception.

There are in fact, very positive steps that each one of us can take to help insulate ourselves from what is happening. But there is NOTHING that can be done to make you immune.  Potassium iodide does not make you immune from radiation poisoning, and neither does buying guns make you immune from a police state.  These things do happen, are happening and the only thing that can be done is to accept their reality, make your adjustments as best you can, and get on with your life.

Nobody should or needs to live in a constant state of fear and paranoia. This is exceedingly unhealthy. I have personally been around a lot of people that exist in this state of panic every single day of their (miserable) lives. It has a terrible effect upon their sanity, health, family, relationships and ability to make sound decisions.  It costs some of them everything, and in some cases, their very lives (they died because they made some very stupid decisions).  Talk radio and television “hosts” (frauds) right now are stirring up this panic-pot to an increasingly “scarier and scarier” scenarios, all based upon their own misconceptions (and desire for ratings).  My advice it to turn the damned thing off.

I do not watch the news, listen to the radio or allow any of these fools to “tell me what to do”.  Or frankly, do I listen to any of their advice, because the majority of them are idiots.  And I mean IDIOTS.  They have no real idea of what they are talking about and are spinning yarns and fables trying to make a buck off of your paranoia.  I have investigated most of the crap they’re pushing and find that I come up with entirely different reasons, solutions and plans of action then what they are claiming.  I think that they are working their agenda to be honest, which includes their personal fortune, ratings and readership.

I am about none of that, and continue to turn down all efforts by everyone for interviews, appearances, fame or fortune.  Capitalizing off the fear of people is just plain STUPID and it marks you as a FAKE from the get-go.  If some of these clowns actually BELIEVED what they said, they’d already be deep down in their underground bunkers existing off their crappy MRE’s.

‘Nuff said.  Every time the fear-mongering starts up (again and again and again), I come out with something like this.

Having said that — we are still in for a hell of a ride.  Collapse is not pretty, not fun, not “romantic”, not something to relish, not something to wish on anyone.  Never forget — it WILL happen to YOU too.

I have long wished that humanity would change its terrible ways, how we treat each other, how we treat our home, how we live on this planet, but getting from “here” to “their” is going to be extremely difficult, painful and at as terrifying cost.

You can prepare for THAT.  And you should. If you have yet to do anything about any of this, well then, shame on you. Your family is looking up to you, and you mothers and fathers need to realize that you do NOT live in the world that you grew up in.  It is RADICALLY different now in a million different ways and NOTHING is guaranteed.

I had a long talk the other day with a young woman and gave her my two-cents of advice.  She’s thinking of college and we discussed the persistent paradigm that so many young people are still being told to embrace (and which many are smart enough to reject).  We do not live in the world that I grew up in anymore. The days of “security” are OVER.  The days of getting a job, raising a family, buying a house, complete with white picket fence, dog and mortgage are not promised to anyone anymore.

The reasons are vast and they are also simple.  Collapse is happening everywhere now, all at once in a thousand, ten thousand different ways.  Jobs are being lost and not replaced, the financial markets are in ruins, the economy continues to contract as the government and Wall Street continue to betray the people.  Housing is no longer any sort of certainty unless you can somehow manage to pay it off and ensure it actually does belong to you. College grads are finding absolutely no work at all, and I mean “flipping hamburgers” is not even an option for tens of thousands of them.

Climate collapse is wreaking havoc all over the world and gathering speed. Energy collapse is now doubly, triply imperiled as we are seeing right now, nuclear reactors all over the world are being shut down and the people are claiming in larger and larger numbers that they are deeply afraid of what could happen HERE.  Peak oil is quite real and we absolutely know without a doubt that our civilization will collapse as we know it since fossil fuels still have no real replacements.  Food production throughout the world is falling faster then a rock dropped from an airplane and yet the world’s population continues to grow.

This is all happening right now, and young people are utterly bewildered why they should believe in the old paradigms. They shouldn’t, and should invest the time and energy making themselves ready to cope with a rapidly changing world.

But few teach this.  Few of our institutions and none of our leaders seem to understand any of this. They keep spewing the same old lies and misconceptions that they embraced themselves.  The reality is, we are the LAST generation that will be living the “good life” and that is a FACT.  Why? Because we have voraciously consumed all the “easy stuff” from this planet like the predatory piranha’s that we are.  And it shows, because as Fire Earth documents in exquisite detail, and as Desdemona Despair documents every single day, WE DID THIS TO OURSELVES.

There will be a few that still manage “the good life”, having been born with silver spoons lining their cradles, but for the rest of the world’s billions, NO.  We’re effectively on our own, receiving little support and no effective leadership or solutions from the “gifted government” we have all been blessed with.  So you have to figure this all out for yourselves.

But don’t panic.  Common sense and sustainable living is what you ALL will need.  I am doing all I can, as fast as I can to help those that I can.  I’ve had to leave off writing because I’m badly overworked and in a constant state of exhaustion.  I will write more when I can, as I can.  It’s not enough, it’s just a tiny, tiny start, but ultimately it all depends on YOU anyway.  You have to HELP YOURSELF NOW.

As an example of this,  I will not “pick out food” for people who want me to do this.  I categorically refuse to do so.  You must help yourself, take charge of something incredibly simple and pick out what YOU want to eat, not what someone else picks out for you.

This is the tiniest of steps, but believe it or not, it cuts the “doers” from the “dont’s” or “wont’s”.  Our world is chock-full of these people in reality, having really never taken charge of their own lives or even come to understand the most basic elements of life that keep them alive.  They truly do expect someone else to do this for them.

It’s very sad, but they’ll be the first wave of the die-off still to come.  The age-old rule of natural selection still applies to us humans.  The mammals, fish, amphibians that still exist in the “wild” today are their because they adapted to their environment and survived.  Humans must do the same thing today.  Our pampered, comforted and increasingly imperiled civilization can only do so much until cataclysm strikes, or until we screw things up so badly that nothing else is left alive, making our own existence factually impossible.

Frankly, I’ve absolutely no interest in trying to “save everybody”.  This cannot happen and will not happen. It’s also self-destructive to do so.  If you have not realized this yet, the first wave of die-off is now happening. It is NOT striking the “old, the weak, the infirm” yet, but is striking at the very heart of us all.  Some of the best of us are falling, while some of the worst of us are excelling.  Go look at Obama’s “picks” for example — these are the same scum-sucking bottom feeders that helped run this country into the ground.

Why did this happen? It’s simple — survival of the fittest.  Even in Wall Street or government, this is a fact of life (and so in the Peter Principle).  These people adapted to the changes that were happening, and we’re still saddled with their incompetence (or callous carelessness).

This last point that I’m trying to make here is that none of us should expect the “better ones” to survive.  If collapse means anything at all — it means that the most ruthless, cruel, indifferent and callous will be the survivors when it is all said and done.

You should carry that reality around with you every day.  Civilization permits many things, including “good” and “compassionate” and the “beneficial” to survive because it creates the necessary environment and conditions, but what do you think happens when civilization starts to collapse?

Right now, Americans are tolerating a LOT of these ruthless people.  This is a huge and gigantic MISTAKE because these scum are going to be some of the survivors of what is coming down. Who do you think will then try and “rule the roost” or take over markets, or govern?  Or divide up the food?  Or offer help or withdraw it?

The good ones among us are here because civilization creates boundaries, rules and laws, social norms and expected behaviors that permit good to exist.  But when this collapses, even in part (such as we do not punish ruthless bankers), then what can the rest of society actually expect?

There are catastrophic consequences now unfolding because of our inactions.  Corrupt corporations that go unpunished, corrupt Wall Street moguls who gain cushy government positions, government “insiders” and lobbyist who become politicians leading the country further down the path of destruction, what in the world can we honestly expect?

Good exists because we honor good, we respect its benefits to us all or to those who need it. We realize that it is fundamental to our peace and harmony as a species.

But we now live in a world where corruption is honored, recognized and rewarded.  We ultimately only have ourselves to blame for this tolerance, but we will now have to PAY FOR IT in ways which I do not think most people have yet to realize.

These very people will now be a part of collapse.  Many of them are RESPONSIBLE for it.  Directly and indirectly, far more then you or I.

Why we continue to let these scum still walk among us is beyond me.  But we do, because our society is deeply corrupt, divided and largely disinterested in doing the right thing.  And this too has led to many, many more of these predators living among us, who will be our attackers in the days ahead.

The strong will always prey upon the weaker. This a fact of life.  It can only be controlled (but not eliminated) when society as a whole pulls together and puts a stop to it (always temporarily, these people spring up all the time).

In collapse, it will be the strong that survive.  “Surviving society” MUST recognize this fact and come together to ensure that this does not become a feudal “warlord” state of existence for the survivors– otherwise there is (in my opinion) no point to any of it.

Enough for now.  I’ve more to say (eventually), but must go.

Mar 152011
 

Rainy Day released a new price list early this morning. I had shut the site down in order to accommodate these changes. The site is now re-enabled.

About a dozen products are gone on this new list.  And as expected, pricing has gone up on nearly 900 items.

Unrelated but interesting news: I have received an email from an American in Japan. The media is reporting panic-buying by Japanese citizens, however the eye-witness report I received does not support this (at all).

I’m certain that this could change, or be different in other areas. But it certainly lends me to continue to totally distrust the mainstream media.

The situation is worsening, day by day it seems. I am not going to speculate on where this is going or what happens next.  I’ll reiterate yesterday’s post: remain calm.

Mar 142011
 

The above headline is a direct quote from Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan.

To Americans: “I would like to ask the nation – although this is an incident of great concern – I request that you act very calmly” – Survival Acres

I am experiencing a catastrophic level of panic in people. Some are acting very irrationally. Everything possible is being done to accommodate these people, but it’s getting out of control (here, on US soil, just so I’m very clear).

This is not the end of the world. The mega-disaster in Japan is unbelievably huge, but it is not the end of the world. We’ve got a long, long ways to go before this happens.

Japan’s problems are going to become ours, of that we can all be perfectly clear. But … we will NEVER experience the magnitude of the crisis now being endured in Japan unless something truly and equally as catastrophic occurs HERE.

This means we can CALM DOWN PEOPLE. The orderly conduct of the Japanese people in the face of their own mega-disaster is an example we should all follow.

I have a saying of sorts, and we’ve all heard it: “What will be, will be”. We can do nothing at all about what happens after the fact, all we can do is a) plan ahead; and barring that, b) deal with whatever comes our way.

For most of this nation, we’re “dealing with whatever comes our way” but it is not being done in the orderly fashion we’ve seen on television. Americans react — often badly, with knee-jerk panic.

Whatever for? This accomplishes exactly nothing, but creates gigantic problems for anyone who is unfortunate enough to run into one of these people.

To put a finer point on it, the food industry has exploded.

People are now lining up in massive droves to stock up before it’s too late.

Ahem…

If you waited this long, then do not expect instant service (anywhere). If you are willing to get into line, then please be patient. Nothing more can be done to make us go any faster, we’ve been doing all we can since NOVEMBER.

The current food rush is just all that much worse since the worst disaster in human history struck the Japanese island.

The biggest problem I’m having (as always) is the failure of some to READ and to respond in a calm manner. I have been experiencing increasingly larger and larger daily order volume to the point now where it is truly catastrophic. It’s a tsunami in effect, a tidal wave of human being crushing in all at once.

One reason I get so many orders is because of these factors: pricing (best around); response time; selection; honesty; integrity; and being quite “direct” in my communications, email, blog and efforts to help as many people as I possibly can.

This is starting to take a terrible toll on me. I have been working non-stop since November and to help with this, I’ve brought on some help (who has to be fully trained). But I’m still unwilling to tolerate bad behavior from customers, would-be customers or trouble makers. The demand right now for food stocks is truly HUGE and there is no time to spare to babysit or placate problem people.

All customers, would-be customers, visitors, aliens and reptiles are reminded that there are limited resources in terms of time, capacity, volume, stock levels and supplies to fill the huge crush of orders now being placed. This is also true of the human resources too — the people you are asking to do all this work for you. We definitely have our limits.

The truth be told (always told here), we have been enduring a long series of collapse effects and actions for quite some time now. This is one of those “big plateau drops” I’ve wrote about in the past. We coast along, seemingly “ok” but in reality, it’s just the (appearance of) calm before yet another storm. And this one was a doozy, and down we go to a “new level” of reality.

Japan will achieve some sort of equilibrium again, and so will we. But we can make this dramatically more difficult and harder to achieve if we do not calm down. I’ve been warning about this day for a long, long time. This is only yet just another event, and I’m not trying to make light of what has happened. The number of dead will exceed anything the media has released, and the nuclear disaster now unfolding is truly terrifying.

But there is nothing we can do, except take whatever comes our way.

Proper planning and preparation was always an option, but long ignored. And even this (being prepared) would not “stop” or “fix” anything. It would only help you weather the next storm a bit better. That’s all.

The truth is, NOTHING is going to stop our ongoing collapse. I have documented this again and again as have many others. There are far too many collapsing dominoes all around the world to expect us to do anything more then to temporarily catch our breath before the next big one hits. Even so — panic is pointless.

So I would like to ask the nation, although this and all the other seemingly endless series of disasters taking place of the last year and more are of a great and ongoing concern — I request that you act very calmly.

I am NOT here to capitalize on this fear, or this disaster, or the hype and huck that is now taking place throughout the blogsphere. There is far, far too much REALITY already to deal with.

Mar 032011
 

Mountain House has suspended all further can sales for all dealers until further notice.  This had already happened for sales on their website, back in December they started “dealers only” on weekly allocations.  Now, no can sales of any kind will be allowed.  This situation is expected to last for several months (present estimate).

Mountain House cans have been removed from the website until further notice.  This includes the year units, and the special custom units we carried.

All existing can orders will still be filled. This may (eventually) help their production capacity and fill the existing back orders a bit faster, but it is too early to tell yet.

Please, nobody panic on this topic, nothing has changed for all existing orders.  Just be glad you got in line when you did.  Existing can orders will be filled from current production runs and capacity.

I do ask everyone to be patient, we are doing everything we possibly can to accommodate everyone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have also instituted new order minimums, $250 $100 minimum orders, with $100 minimums per product line.  This means you must have at least $100 from any cannery / product line you order from.  You must also have $250 $100 in total products.

These measures are necessary to try and get a handle on the situation.

The shopping cart will issue warning messages for any orders that do not meet these new requirements.

Other changes: Freight quotes are valid for 7 days.  There is a freight quote page where you can follow the instructions to obtain a freight quote.  We will only do this once, so be sure you have a finalized order before requesting a freight quote and are actually ready to order.

Shipping times have been updated to my current, best estimates.  This page can change quite frequently, as often as several times per day now.

I expect the food emergency to last for several more months. At that time, we can all reevaluate the situation. Panic buying is causing a lot of anxiety and fear.  I don’t think this is a good thing.

Update: Mountain House restored most dealer accounts, including mine, and we have no order minimums.

Mar 032011
 

Seems like all I ever have to share here is bad news… well, so be it.  Can’t be helped.

Mountain House has issued emergency discontinuing of 17 additional items from their product lines.  I have updated the shopping cart database to reflect this.

All existing orders for these discontinued products will be honored to the best of their ability, so no existing customers should be worried about this.

However… I decided to check on stock levels and what’s been disappearing from my internal records.  I counted 507 items that are now no longer available.

This is huge (imo), because it represents something that is happening in the food supply.  We still have over 1600 items “left”, but it is certainly possible that we will see more products disappearing as demand continues to skyrocket.

In other news… well, lots of things are disappearing.  Faith in government, the dollar, oil, good weather, tolerable climate, clean water, uh… I guess that this is more bad news too.

Grrrr…. what really bugs me about all this is how we still have a very large contingent of supposedly sentient humans who categorically refuse to believe that any of this has a human cause.  Well, it does, all of it, but I don’t have the time right now to get back into that “debate”.  I’ve already done that dozens of times here.

I hope you are now wide-awake about what is happening.  The domino-effect of collapse is WELL underway now.

Mar 022011
 

Found over on Desdemona:

World food prices rise for seventh consecutive month, reach new historic peak

There is definitely panic in the air.

I have recently been contacted by a couple of people who allege they were prepared to make some major storable food purchases. One would-be buyer wanted nearly 2 million dollars in food, the other would-be buyer asked for over a quarter-million dollars worth.

I turned them both down.

Purchases of this size would max out all capacity at the respective canneries (in this case, all four of them) for quite some time and would hurt anybody else who was waiting on their shipments. This would have a pretty noticeable impact too on stock levels.

During the Y2K rush, these “big buys” happened then too, where big money would effectively show up and gobble up all capacity the moment an order was taken.

I’ve decided not to allow this since it would have a really huge impact upon the entire storable food market. I told my prospective buyers why, and that they needed to reduce their order sizes down to something more manageable.

Anybody who has followed enough of this blog will have long since realized that money doesn’t motivate me. Everybody gets treated the same, large or small, rich or poor. Fortunately, these inquires were polite and that was that. In the past, I’ve had people try to “bully” me and the cannery reports the same thing. They get turned away at the door.

I am however, going to “have to do something” since volume remains quite extreme. Raising order minimums may help slightly, and also ensure that anybody who is truly concerned is focused on getting “truly prepared”. Right now, minimum order size is $100. This may go to $250 or even $500 if things don’t slow down.

No news yet on the eggs situation. USDA remains at a snails pace and nothing can be done about it. Corn is still gone, but we did get buckwheat back in (yeah!). I really feel for the packers and shippers who are doing a Herculean job (round of applause everyone!!) to accommodate the gigantic crush.

Oh, almost forgot… I HAVE made several changes, as follows: No more substitutions on units (food plans). If a food plan doesn’t work for you, simply order ala-carte (pick out what you want yourself), we no longer have time to go back and forth with making up custom units.

All freight quotes will now be done just once (1 time). A finalized order is REQUIRED before we will obtain a freight quote (1,000 lbs minimums), with no changes permitted later on. This has been extremely problematic lately and the only solution is to make sure you are actually “ready” and not changing your order or mind later on.

Spring is coming, do not forget your heirloom seeds! Still a TON of snow here, it just doesn’t seem to stop and already I can see that our spring is a long ways away.

Sigh…. five months of snow is not fun, especially when there is no play time.

Mar 012011
 

Received via email today:

DO YOU SELL FOOD?!?! IF I CLICK MY MOUSE WILL FOOD COME TO MY HOUSE?………… I CLICKED MOUSE ON SOME FOOD WILL IT COME TO MY HOUSE NOW?!?! IS THIS A GOVERNMENT WEBSITE WHERE WE SIGN UP FOR FREE FOOD LIKE FREE HEALTH CARE?!?!, I AM A LAZY PERSON, SEND ME FOOD TO MY HOUSE, THE ONE YEAR PACKAGE AND SOME EXTRA MEAT, AFTER YOU SEND ME FOOD SEND BILL TO WASHINGTON DC FOR PAYMENT, THANK YOU AND REMEMBER, SNAP! SNAP! I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!! FORGET ABOUT THE OTHERS THAT WAITED IM A “VIP” GO GO!! DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE DESERT.

LOVE YOU GUYS

I can definitely use a good laugh. Demand remains extreme. I’ve got carpal tunnel now in my right wrist / arm, which needs a break.

I’ve been trying to stay up on the news, but can’t do much right now.

Guess I’ll send this guy some free food once I figure out who to send the bill to.