Friday, March 10, 2006

Dr. StrangeBush or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blood

I've been sooo over-reacting to the state of the nation, its terrorism, the torture, our revocation of rights and treasonous absolution of the democracy. Thanks to my recent readings, I'm slowly coming to realize that and, as a result, I want to apologize to those of you who drop by and read some of my rants here. I didn't mean to contribute to anyone's growing angst about the state of the union. That's because there's really no cause for alarm!

From the book, The Party's Over--Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, I've learned, unless there's some top secret alternative energy source stashed away until the last barrel of oil's sold for a million dollars, several billion of the Earth's population will perish for lack of energy that's enabled the current population glut we now "enjoy".

So if we understand that, we shouldn't be so upset about Bush "spreading democracy" around the world. He just has to call it that. He's really trying to secure as much of the Earth's last oil for us he can so we Americans can live in the manner to which we're accustomed for as long as possible before we collapse into total chaos and anarchy.

And from The Collapse of Complex Societies I've learned that all of the edginess we as a society are feeling doesn't have as much to do with the illegitimacy of our current Bush government and its crimminal international activities as the fact we're living at the end of a cycle that's been repeated over and over with societies like the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Mayans, etc. That is, we're on an increasingly steeper and steeper slope of decline into total mayhem. It's just the natural progression of history.

As an interesting sidenote, I learned of a couple characteristics that historically all empires in decline seem to share. They become increasingly more and more vulnerable to attack from outside and, increasingly, there is growing dissatisfaction among the citizenry, many of whom begin to view living somewhere else preferable to toughing out the collapse.

(To this latter trait, I confess there have been moments in recent years where the idea of moving to Canada, Mexico or Paraguay has seemed increasingly more attractive.)

Oh, and another characteristic common among these former empire giants of the past, now vanished? At their height, they are huge exporters of goods and creditors to the lesser world ala the former USA. But at their end, they become enormous importers of goods they no longer are capable of manufacturing for themselves. They become debtor states, which is a huge understatement for the US today. We have become the most monstrous debtor state the world has ever seen. That's probably not a good sign.

Finally, from A Terrible Love of War, a tome which I've shared a few thoughts from in recent blogs, I've learned not to be alarmed at man's seemingly endless lust for war. Of the shock at the death and destruction, maiming and mayhem it causes because, as its victims and victors discover, it delivers a "profound sense of existing, of being human" like nothing else can.

So the point is, these apparently alarming dysfunctions the US is displaying should be of no concern if taken in their proper historical and psychological contexts. Bush is just the man we need at a time like this. And despite my revelation, I read in this morning's headlines that poor Bush's approval ratings continue to sink like a rock. Americans, even those of his own party, are deserting him faster than passengers deserted the Titanic.

That's a real shame, because Bush's plunge is nothing but a reflection of our own as a nation. Deserting Bush may be a huge mistake we may live to regret. He's leading us where history dictates we must go. And more than that, probably exactly where we deserve to be.

In the words of Bobby McFerrin who echos the theme of Dr. Strangelove, the movie, "Don't worry, be happy." There. Hopefully everyone reading this is feeling a little better now!

15 comments:

some_maineiac said...

oooh, yes, feeling much better, especially after reading the transcript of Senator Feingold's "online chat" session this morning, which I had every intention of attending, but had to work, instead...in it, he mentions the importance of a "manhattan project" style of approach to dealing with our oil habit and also mentions something (apparently ongoing or in the works) called the Apollo Project (need to do a google for that)

now, not to increase your fear and loathing at the world, but i've been having trouble accessing your blog from home...very slow or won't load at all...Firefox just sits there...granted, we don't have DSL or cable in the sticks, but other blogs load OK...fortunately, there's more than one way to skin that cat, even from home...

enigma4ever said...

Did you try to access through my blogroll- try that and see if that works better ....

I will leave a comment later on this post Dada..still trying to digest it...

Anonymous said...

Dada, I've also had trouble with slow-loading of your site & wondering if maybe you need to archive some of the older months? And as of a few days ago, your IMPEACH BUSH banner no longer comes up (i miss it)!

And "don't worry, be happy" ... I felt so much better after I carefully scraped the sarcasm off that. I had trouble cuz it was so thickly encrusted. Necessary layers to coat the poison, eh?

E4e, great picture, I love it! I keep seeing Monty Python's cartoon version of venus on the half-shell with her leg flipping around, though, haha. D.K.

dada said...

maineiac, e4e, and D.K. - I appreciate all of youse guy's feedbacks. Maineiac, you being first to mention it and revealing you're somewhere in the backwoods, I thought maybe it was a local problem.

Then D.K.'s experiencing same, so I'm thinking maybe I did need to do something. At first I couldn't even get blogger to accept my changes (like reducing active msgs/increasing archives). But an hour or two later it seemed to accept my changes. I'm hoping this has improved loading speeds.

Any feedback is appreciated. R.K.-a couple of days ago, I noticed that little Impeach Bush banner wasn't loading. That may be the problem of the site where I got it, not sure. So, rather than a blank box there, I deleted. Maybe it'll be back before your camping return. I miss it too.

BTW, when you camp, does the weather matter?

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can wait & change that banner to "Bush Impeached", wouldn't that be great! Your site did come up faster for me just now. And weather does matter, muddy dogs are a misery. Today it started snowing for the first time all winter. We will drive extra-careful & deal with it. It looks to be nice all next week. D.K.

dada said...

Oh D.K.--Any suggestions how the rest of us make it thru this coming week sans your erudite comments (which will be sorely missed!)?

(BTW, thanks for the feedback re page loading.)

Dogs? There'll be dogs?? Oh wow! Now this is beginning to sound like fun.

Anonymous said...

Dogs, of course! What did you think the whole D.K. family means? Have dogs, will travel ... don't leave home without them. And nice of you to say MY comments when it's I who will sorely miss the wit and purposefully skewed view of this bit of Texas. D.K.

some_maineiac said...

yes, the blog loads much better now, dada, whatever you did worked...

heeheehee, "venus on the half-shell with her leg flipping around", DK, i knew that picture reminded me of something...have a good time providing yourself with the very basic needs of life (food, warmth, shelter) while camping, your wit will be missed!

dada said...

Thanks for the feedback Maineiac. Glad it's working better again.

Have a great/safe week, D.K.!

thepoetryman said...

"That's a real shame, because Bush's plunge is nothing but a reflection of our own as a nation. Deserting Bush may be a huge mistake we may live to regret. He's leading us where history dictates we must go. And more than that, probably exactly where we deserve to be."

Complicity! It's not just for breakfast anymore!
Hubris! Greed! Vengeance!

Undone Trembling

Brian de Ford said...

I've not read The Party's Over so I don't know if it is lacking or your summary is too brief.

By some estimates, when Peak Oil hits, around 95% of the world's population will die of starvation, and this will affect the developed countries (like the US) worse than the undeveloped countries. If you think that those who are left are all going to be suddenly imbued with all the knowledge and skills necessary for subsistence farming rather than find guns and kill the few people who do know how to grow food in order to steal that food, I have a bridge to sell you.

Those who survive all that face a wonderful future. We've exploited all the easily-accessible resources needed to support technology above that of the stone age. The day when men with picks and shovels, along with a few mules, could tap into rich seams of iron ore and coal are long gone. These days you need machinery that is powered by cheap gasoline that will not be available for much longer. Even the Amish level of technology requires iron ore and coal (as well as limestone, but that's readily available) to smelt iron and steel to shoe horses, make nails, etc. So the survivors will enter a new stone age from which there will be no recovery. Ever. And that's if they're very lucky.

So now you know why Cheney and Wolfowitz planned to invade Iraq in order to steal its oil back in 1992 (as documented in the PNAC Primer. Now you know why Cheney said in his 1999 Speech at the London Institute of Petroleum that: "Governments and the national oil companies are obviously controlling about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow." (emphasis mine).

And now you know why PNAC's White Paper of 2000 (essentially adopted as Bush's foreign policy) when talking of the process of transforming the US Military into a gang of pillaging thieves to steal the world's oil (OK, I paraphrased that a little, but this next bit is verbatim) stated: "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor." (emphasis again mine).

Wow! Because of their own (apparent) negligence, incompetence, and stupidity they were fortunate enough to get on 9/11 the event that made their wet dream come true. It couldn't have worked out any better for them had they planned it that way. Weren't they incredibly lucky?

And I could almost (but not quite, because there were options that were definitely better morally and probably more likely to succeed without triggering global thermo-nuclear war) forgive them for trying to steal the world's oil if they were doing so in order to buy time to develop and deploy alternative energy sources and then use those to rescue the rest of the world from the stone age. But they're not. As you so rightly observed, the plan is to piss it all away to ensure that they and their rich cronies are the very last people on the planet to join everyone else in the stone age (you were wrong in assuming that the whole of the US would enjoy the oil while the rest of the world suffered: the rich will benefit and the poor everywhere will suffer).

If you think the Chinese, Russians, Indians and Pakistanis are going to sit calmly and watch the US steal the world's oil while their populations starve, think again. These countries have large populations, apart from Russia they have high birthrates, and they're all industrializing. They need that oil even more than the US does. And they have nukes.

By now you might just be tempted to wonder if the Bush administration is totally bug-fuck insane or if they are all the spawn of Satan determined to destroy the planet. The US lung cancer rate jumped to six times normal in January and February this year as a result of the depleted uranium munitions used in Iraq, which create nanoparticles of uranium oxide which are then spread over the entire planet. If this continues they eventually will (if they haven't already) put enough DU into the biosphere to kill all life everywhere on the planet (what some refer to as "omnicide." Whether they're insane or evil, this planet is totally fucked if they stay in power much longer.

dada said...

Brian de Ford: Hey, excellent comment. I enjoyed reading it, but of course, as a result, I'm depressed as hell right now.

Just a point or two in response. First, as I confessed here on the blog within the past week or so, the thing I share, have in common with, our president is: I don't read. Where he has it over me is, I don't even have someone to meet with me each morning and tell me what's going on with my favorite newspaper cartoons.

So, with that in mind, rather than have you take my terse review of"The Party's Over" out on Richard Heinberg, it's author, know when I blogged this I had only read the first 40 or 50 pages. What I alluded to from that was just much like what one learns from an introductory course in anything, it's easy to feel knowledgable. And as the old saw goes, a little of that "is a dangerous thing."

But from your "Peak Oil" stats, I'm really looking forward to what's to come in "The Party's Over", not to mention the future. And truth be known? I'm not sure whether I'm hoping to live to see this part of history begin to unfold (or, it may be already!), or hope to be out of here by then? Either way, I don't think it's going to be anywhere as pleasant as the 60's with all the civil rights and war beatings many endured trying to transit us into the future.

As to my suggestion that U.S. aggression in the middle east (or wherever there's oil) is simply Bush and Cheney trying to secure a secure future for all of we Americans for as long as possible while the rest of the world is fighting for the remaining drops of oil NOT under our control as being wrong? Well, that was just my attempt at sarcasm. I have no allusions as to Bush and Cheney 'sharing ANYTHING with us'.

I confess, reading of your description of 9/11 and the neocons being "incredibly lucky" to use that as the beginning of their wet dream? Well, it did cross my mind you may have been employing sarcasm as well?

Anyway, I really appreciate the time, effort and thought put into your comment. I only wish Americans would wake the hell up and smell the oil.

Brian de Ford said...

Hi dada

Sorry for depressing you. But look at it this way: I didn't mention global warming. It looks like the process has gone past the "tipping point" with positive feedback mechanisms coming into play so that even if we completely halted the emission of greenhouse gases (totally impossible: even Kyoto only tried to reduce the rate at which we were increasing to emit greenhouse gases) it's going to get worse. A lot worse.

And I didn't mention that we've exceeded the carry capacity of the planet. We're no longer consuming little enough that what we take is renewed. We're not living on interest any more, we're living on capital. You only have to look at the collapse of fish stocks worldwide: for at least two decades we've been taking more fish than are replaced and the inevitable result is there are almost no fish left. A week or two ago the UK's Ministry of Defence issued a report that echoed one from the Pentagon a year ago: expect major wars over resources - not just oil but freshwater (almost all the world's rivers are on the point of collapse from over-extraction).

I understand you being in two minds about whether or not you want to see things unfold. I'm 50. From family history on my father's side I think it almost impossible I'll see 70; from family history on my mother's side I doubt I'll see much beyond my 60th birthday. But that may be a blessing. I don't think these things are going to be pleasant to try to live through (unless you're one of the 0.1% of the population with immense wealth) so I'm not that worried if I do kick the bucket early (it will save me going through the unpleasantness of starving to death or having to figure out a quick and painless way of suicide when the shit hits the fan).

Optimistic estimates says we have 20 years before Peak Oil. Pessemistic estimates say it happened in 2000 (the slope of the bell curve around the peak is too shallow and the actual production curve too irregular to say yet if it has happened or is yet to happen). What we do know for sure is that even if Peak Oil has yet to come, the resource wars for it have already started. It was no mistake that the Iraq war was initially called Operation Iraqi Liberation (OIL) because these people are psychopaths and want to increase the suffering of intelligent people by giving hints knowing those people are powerless to stop things.

Yes, my comment that they were "incredibly lucky" was sarcasm. They got the excuse they needed to execute plans they drew up back in 1992 (maybe even earlier, but that's the first documented instance). The excuse came to pass because of their apparent incompetence and stupidity. It gave them and their cronies wealth and the means to perpetuate their power. As I said, it couldn't have worked out any better for them had they planned it that way. Which means any half-way rational person would at least want an investigation to see if they did plan it that way, even if said person thought it improbable that they did. As dectectives say: Cui bono? (Who benefits?) As Seneca the Younger said: "Cui produs est fecit" (he who benefits most from the crime is most likely to have committed it). And the phrase journalists learned from investigating Nixon: follow the money.

Like you, I wish people would wake up and do something about this evil crowd. All I can do is try to alert people. And since my own blog (infrequently updated) gets few readers, I often leave long comments elsewhere in the hope of spreading the word.

dada said...

Thanks for another great post de ford! So, is what you're telling us is, we're seeing the Marsification of Earth? (grin <--except it's no 'smiling' matter)

You know, you mentioned the possibility of 'peak oil' being some 20 years distant (that's the glowing end of the estimates chart). Well, it may be by saying that, you caused me to "peek into the future" last eve as I was on the verge going off to 'lalaland'. See, knowing it will probably be months before I get to the end of "The Party's Over", I snuck a look towards the back of the book. I encounter what we should be doing NOW, if in fact peak oil may still be as far as 20 years off. Of course, the further in the future it is, the better the chances to lessen the impact of declining production. And if it's closer than 20 years, the nearer, the bleaker. But, whenever it is, WE MUST START NOW, and that just ain't gonna happen. It's next quarter's profits we're worried about.

Yeh, it may be one thing we've got going for us is life expectancy. We just had a new niece enter the world and I can't imagine the things she will see/experience in her lifetime. (And it scares the shit outta me.)

BTW, I just want to mention that last Friday Amy Goodman, one of the remaining few of the vanishing journalists in this country, featured a lengthy (and most excellent) interview with your former Labour MP Tony Benn. "Holy holocaust, Batman!" If Americans had access to real news and information like Benn was spewing, world history would be spinning in a different reality than the one mainstream media has led us to.

But we don't, so we're stuck with what we got. And that makes what you're doing so important. Keep jousting with the windmills brian! Eventually, people will be forced to face reality, if not by your admonishments, then by increasing chaos all about us.

Brian de Ford said...

Hi dada

So, is what you're telling us is, we're seeing the Marsification of Earth?

We're fucked at least five ways: exceeding the carry capacity of the planet; global warming; peak oil; almost-certain thermonuclear wars over resources (water and oil); Bush's use of DU munitions. Which one actually does us in is hard to predict because it's a race.

You know, you mentioned the possibility of 'peak oil' being some 20 years distant (that's the glowing end of the estimates chart).

Very much the glowing end. Looking at a half-empty glass and instead of saying "the glass is half full" or "the glass is half empty," saying "the glass is nearly full" for every item of data.

See, knowing it will probably be months before I get to the end of "The Party's Over", I snuck a look towards the back of the book.

The butler did it. :)

Anyone who doesn't have the book and doesn't have the money for the book, Wikipedia has a balanced (he said/she said) overview of the implications here. After that, googling for "Peak Oil", and "Hubbert Peak" will turn up loads of information (99% of which boils down to "oh shit, we're fucked" but gives you the details why).

I encounter what we should be doing NOW, if in fact peak oil may still be as far as 20 years off.

We should have started in 1956 when Shell geologist M King Hubbert predicted that US oil production would peak in the early 70s. That would have given us plenty of time. But even his fellow geologists didn't believe him back then.

We should have started in 1970, when US oil production did peak (as Hubbert predicted, but a little early, allowing the Middle East sheiks to grab us by the balls. But even the minimal belt-tightening needed to deal with that immediate problem didn't go down well.

Had a US president of the 70s tried going even further in saving energy and developing alternatives it would have been political suicide (pretty much as desegregation turned all the southern crackers from Democrats to Republicans). And anyway, it was only about 99% certain - no president would want to risk all the harm that would result from the crash of the stock market if he announced the problem only to find out decades later that it was the long-shot that won.

Back in 2000 there might just have been time to stave off the stone age (at least in the US) if we really do have two more decades. Mass starvation would still be unavoidable (you need a lot longer to convert agriculture away from using vast quantities of oil and to shrink the population to match reduced agricultural production by encouraging birth control). But you might be able to develop and deploy enough alternative energy sources in the remaining time to keep the US out of the stone age (even if the rest of the world wasn't so lucky) and then help the rest of the world recover. You probably wouldn't get much beyond an Amish level of technology even then, but Amish-level technology can create paper and print books whereas stone-age technology cannot.

Has Bush given tax incentives for conservation? Nope, he removed the incentive for hybrids and added a tax break for SUVs. Has Bush ploughed every spare penny the US has (and then some) into research into alternative energy? Nope, he cut the fucking budget for it (which resulted in people getting fired, then getting re-hired just before a Bush photo-op on alternative energy, and who will probably be fired again). All of Bush's actions show he does not intend to steal Middle-Eastern oil to buy time but to ensure the US is the last country standing in a game of "piss it all away."

Of course, the further in the future it is, the better the chances to lessen the impact of declining production. And if it's closer than 20 years, the nearer, the bleaker. But, whenever it is, WE MUST START NOW, and that just ain't gonna happen. It's next quarter's profits we're worried about.

It's more than that (although that's enough to mean it won't happen). Economists and politicians believe that as peak oil starts to bite and prices start to rise that alternatives will magically appear due to economic pressure. That's just plain wrong. All of those alternatives can only be developed and deployed in significant quantities as long as there is cheap oil. Once peak oil hits, that will no longer be the case. The Energy Return on Investment (EROI - how much energy you get in return compared to how much energy you spend getting it) is around 33. For every barrel of oil burned exploring, making drilling platforms, drilling, and pumping, you get 33 barrels back. The best of the alternatives under development have an EROI below 2 and most of them currently have EROIs below 1 (you use more energy than you get back). By the time market forces make people want to build hydroelectric plants oil will be too expensive to make the concrete needed for the dams. Etc.

Besides, there is Jevon's Paradox to consider. What happens if people switch to hybrid cars, energy-efficient lightbulbs, etc? They have more disposable income. Which they spend, usually on things that require the amount of oil to manufacture that their savings reduced. So any attempt at conservation measures is likely to have little or no impact, unless... Unless there are tax increases on oil that put the price up to where market forces would put it in 10 or 20 years without those tax increases. Obviously, at the start you'd have to raise the tax gradually over a few years until the price is where it would be 20 years on without the tax. The tax would force conservation and force companies to investigate alternatives. The increased federal revenue from that tax would be used to fund development and deployment of alternative energy sources and to buy oil to put into the strategic oil reserve. You can imagine how well that would have gone down amongst the public unless the President of the time could convince them just how serious things were and that the choice was a few more decades of good times followed by the collapse of civilization or an endless future of not-very-good times at an Amish level of technology.

Yeh, it may be one thing we've got going for us is life expectancy. We just had a new niece enter the world and I can't imagine the things she will see/experience in her lifetime. (And it scares the shit outta me.)

I'm more fortunate than you: no direct descendants (that I know of) and one niece and nephew (from an older half-brother so they're not far off my age). But the niece has kids (the nephew may have, but if he has the Child Support Agency hasn't tracked him down yet). But I am still saddened that we may be the only intelligent lifeform in the universe and we're about to be wiped out, or at least be reduced to stone-age brutes with all our learning lost.

BTW, I just want to mention that last Friday Amy Goodman, one of the remaining few of the vanishing journalists in this country, featured a lengthy (and most excellent) interview with your former Labour MP Tony Benn.

For many years Anthony Wedgewood Benn was the MP of the town where I was born and raised. Most of the UK (including myself) thought he was a raving nutter. Even in his constituency, many people voted for him only because he was the Labour Party candidate (the emblem of the Labour Party is a red rose and a common saying in those parts was that "people would vote for a bucket of shit if it had a red rose growing in it." Benn was portrayed by the media as that deranged bucket of shit, and all they had to do so was to quote what he actually said, without even taking it out of context.

As the years go by, I see that more and more of what Benn said was not the deranged rantings of a Communist ideologue (although he was one) but valid statements about how the world actually works. I still disagree with his conclusion that Communism is either desirable or workable but the facts he uses to reach that conclusion are mostly solid.

"Holy holocaust, Batman!" If Americans had access to real news and information like Benn was spewing,

They do have such access, on the Internet. But they had such access before the Internet, if they cared to read those foreign newspapers which have English-language editions and to think about what they read. Joe Six-pack wants to be spoonfed news featuring mainly cute blondes lost in Aruba.

Keep jousting with the windmills brian!

Even Don Quixote eventually ceased tilting at windmills. Death has a way of crimping your ambitions...

Eventually, people will be forced to face reality, if not by your admonishments, then by increasing chaos all about us.

Some will. But at least 30% of the US, those with shit for brains, will not. The US economy is fucked and they think Bush has improved the economy greatly. The war in Iraq is a disaster and they think it's going well. Bush is preventing al Qaeda destroying the American way of life by wiping his arse on the Constitution and they think it's wonderful. Etc. By the time it gets bad enough to force even the shitheads to notice that something is wrong it will be far too late to be able to change things.