WE’re now past the big day of the 2016 election. As we went through October, I basically thought the following. The circus continues, the theatrical farce of the current American presidential election. It’s like a plague of locusts blocking out the sun, everything else gets lost. Madness. Seriously, as this farce carries on, watching the whole scene it seems increasingly apparent that it’s making people nuts. As the farce thrashes away, it’s notable to notice a couple of things. One is the way the two star candidates (there are others, let’s remember) manage to avoid any serious grasp on the things that really need a new president’s attention as soon as possible. The other is how badly distracted and diverted so many Americans are from the same things.
A couple of weeks ago I watched the documentary video Blind Spot. You should take the time and watch it, too. One of the parts that stand out is a portion of the interview with Jason Bradford, a biologist who is part of the Willits Economic Localization effort, a long term project working on the goal of restoring the basic idea of functional local economies in America again.
One segment of a couple of minutes in Blind Spot that carried a large dose of profundity was when Jason Bradford talked about the difficulty people can encounter, when they sort of clear the fog and noise around all of us in this culture, and see and get at least some understanding of how things are, instead of what we’re relentlessly told to think they are, in a continuous bombardment of what should be understood as the propaganda that it is. That’s including advertising pumped out at people in a general cultural madness wherein people are not people, or, in context, even citizens, but “consumers”.
As Bradford says, what people can run into as a profound difficulty is not only all the difficulties of dealing with the reality involved, but finding that a culture of general crazy will then look at them, and regard them as crazy.
A different bit of commentary from one of the people interviewed was pretty profound, talking about the cultural blind spots being tied in with a pervasive tendency of so many people to bury themselves in assorted games of make-believe.
One running fantasy has it that we just have loads of oil everywhere just awaiting the application of the wonders of fracking, when the actual reality appears to be that the main bulk of what there is within the United States is found in two main areas, the Bakken in the general area of North Dakota, and Eagle Ford in Texas, and it turns out that both of those regions are now displaying a demonstration of Hubbert’s Curve going over the crest and into the down slope of declining rates. In other words, they have passed the peak.
This is big news. This is huge news. It should be a primary issue, a huge story, getting widespread attention among the general public and people in positions of power. Not only is it being ignored, but I recently passed along this news in online communication on the web, and the result was, as far as I can tell, nothing. No response, from anyone, no sign of any indication that anybody even read the stuff. Crickets.
I have written in the past about the idea of a collected group of subjects abbreviated as the three Es (3E maybe?), grouping a lot of things that fall under the headings of energy, economy, and ecology, or maybe substituting “Earth” for the last term. That still goes, everything under that large grouping is as important, essential, and even urgent as ever, and I think it’s fair to say that in all the noise of the endless marathon farce of the presidential election, the great sucking lack of attention and reasonable thinking and positive action in any of that is pretty profound.
It’s an old story, but one thing missing from most retrospective viewing of the past eight years of the presidency of Barack Obama is the glaring lack of any governmental corrective action on the fantastically twisted state of affairs and behavior in banking and finance, following on from the gigantic train wreck known commonly as “the financial crisis” of 2008 that was the main backdrop of the path of Obama to election and installation in the White House. Getting into all that inevitably gets into all kinds of noisy squabbling about government and what place it has in “the economy”, and sense and reason gets tossed out in the fray. Yes, I keep talking about it, as do quite a few other people, and the same situation just hangs around us. Make your own metaphors and comparisons and analogies, but it strikes me as something like people having an attitude and perspective that adjusts to an idea that massive pollution around them of the air and local water and pervasive trash, clutter, and rot and neglect is just normal, just how things are.
It continuously amazes me to see that generally people seem to be unaware of any discussions of the way that what is sometimes described as “real income” for Americans, most anyway, that is, an assessment of people’s income in context, considering all they have to pay for with their income, has trended downward since sometime way back in the decade of the seventies, with the connection to the peak of Hubbert’s curve in US oil production rates around 1970 and 1971. Despite all the people rationally analyzing facts of reality in this area, the connections between our energy supply situation and economic matters, including the various people I’ve referred to often here in this space, all that gets lost in the noise, and given the current situation of what is now the aftermath of the Trump/Clinton game, it’s all even more buried in the histrionics about all that.
Partially setting aside the linkage between diminishing returns in the underground hydrocarbon department and economic and financial matters, I think it’s reasonable to say that at least more people somewhat realize that for years now, several decades, “the economy” has become more and more of a weird game, increasingly divorced from actual value of anything, largely revolving around people manipulating the game looking at the whole phenomenon of “economic growth” and making their entire existence about finding ways to skim and scoop the largest possible quantities from the “growth”, and continually finagle ways to get more and more. A key core part of the problem is that this kind of thing has tended to have people operating in this mode seeking all possible ways to gather larger and larger piles of wealth from this skimming, even as the reality of things has been pointing toward the “economic growth” becoming less and less real, and more some sort of delusional phantasm created by an assortment of games of, let’s say, pretend “growth”.
How this works out in the near future and long term is beyond me, but things are going to change. They already have, and the weird problem we have is how many people have not grasped what already has happened, never mind seeing into the future.
All this is old news, and yes, I am repeating myself. It really does say something, the need to keep repeating many of the same broad things, especially now. The passing of the national election day here in the United States has just shifted the public noise into a different kind of phase, that still provides a barrage of histrionics revolving around the Godzilla vs. Megalon freakshow of the Trump/Clinton contest. I came across a great interview segment on the web from RT with British journalist John Pilger, who does a wonderful succinct summary of the reality of the election tragic farce and situation surrounding it. He lays out the truth of the whole mess very clearly in short simple form, hitting a series of nails square on the head.
I’ve already passed along the link to that to people elsewhere. I wonder how many people will even bother to watch it (the interview is twenty-some minutes long), and, if some people do take the time, how many people will react to it in some sort of twitching knee-jerk reflex irrational burst. For that matter, from experience I can confidently predict that there probably will be somebody who reacts without even bothering to listen to what Pilger says and proceeds to launch a burst of noisy bullshit about the whole thing being “Russian propaganda” because it’s a TV interview from RT.
I figure that anybody who would be bothered to read the kind of writing I’m doing here is certainly paying attention to things at large in the world through the conduit of the WWW enough to have been wading through all sorts of items, a whole barrage, of a variety of election postmortems and commentary, from news articles to punditry to general individual proclamations and shrieking, with loads of histrionics and hyperbole. There has also been a decent amount of analysis and commentary that, like the Pilger interview, actually shines a light on things very clearly, actually cutting through the noise to some clear truth, and I have been trying to pass things along to people. I can only hope that some of it gets through, but I have to suspect that there is, as there is in many scenarios, a kind of preaching to the choir aspect to this, with the people in the greatest need of reading such things and getting their minds wrapped around them being the most unlikely to do so, as they bounce off the walls.
That extended circus is a topic for another time.