Double Your Money by Using Your Savings From Cheap Gas to PAY OFF CREDIT CARD DEBT

The news and the ads look a lot alike, both do their damnedest to convince their audience that folks will be spending the money still in their pockets after buying gas on needless consumer crap during Xmas...and unfortunately many will. The boys and girls at the Bankers and Billionaires Club know though that some percentage of those monies won't and that's not 'a good thing' for [their] growth. What they fear is the indebted, especially the credit card balance carrying multitudes, will instead use a big portion of the dough to pay off their high interest debt.

Many experts are saying that plummeting oil prices are a reflection of the true state of the broader underlying economy. From what i've seen 'underlying' doesn't mean on Main St., it means the 'markets', it means the size of quarterly profits, not real stuff of people. All the blather about growth and jobs is just propaganda to mis-direct our attention from the real problem those doing the blathering have: the party could be ending before the assholes have totally cleaned the trough.

As Robert Reich said the other day, "The wealthy and corporations are not the job creators. The people who create jobs actually are the vast middle class and the poor whose spending creates incentives for companies to hire.” We are the demanders, we will create the future our present actions dictate.

Demand is weakening across the board for needless crap because of high debt levels everywhere and an ageing boomer population who've already bought all the crap they need. Deflation means rising real wages for those folks in parts of the Main St. economy involved in stuff folks really need, like food, shelter, health and basic transportation. Deflation means some folks changing jobs - hopefully changing the nature of themselves and the economy newly localized communities.

The folks at the B@B Club are flummoxed, they've learned recently, especially in Japan, they can’t force people to spend no matter how dastardly the fear tactics used and what happens is they wind up scaring people into even less spending. Japanification is both an empty fear tactic of the B2Bers and very instructive.

Recently in another Kami-Kazi like deflation speech the Bank of Japan's Kuroda said the bank was ready to ease even more "to ensure the Japanese public shakes off its "deflationary mindset." What is the deflationary mindset he fears? Is it a frugal, hard working mindset? One where basic empathetic values return to the fore? i have friends who are Japanese , friends who live part of the time here in Canada, part back in Japan. They say life's good there, lottsa prices are lower, wages too but a days pay still put a roof over a family's head and fish on the table.

The Japanese have always been a population that is more frugal and less consumptive. But even here in Canada, if one lives frugally, and especially outside of a major city, life would be normal despite the phantom of deflation roaming the moors. But for those that must consume, that only want the live large lifestyle, disappointment could arrive any day now. An old Zen metaphor is 'to be like water and take the of the container'. Very wise words when considering that adopting a deflationary shape is the best stratedgy both personally and globally in the battle against the B@B Club.


Explaining the Climate Change Myths Liberals Employ

There is another way.

Yesteday was another Ah-Ha day. A friend sent a link to Erik Lindberg's '6 Myths About Climate Change that Liberals Rarely Question'. It's an excellent assessment of our intertwined environmental and economic predicament from the science/engineering to the psychological. Throughout Lindberg's article he uses the true cost of meaningful change to anchor his argument very well.

Lindberg understands that it is high-consumption lifestyles are responsible for situation saying, " The comforts, luxuries, privileges, and pleasures that we tell ourselves are necessary for a happy or satisfying life are the most significant cause of global warming and that unless we quickly learn to organize our lives around another set of pleasures and satisfactions, it is extremely unlikely that our children or grandchildren will inherit a livable planet.  Because we are falsely reassured by liberal leaders that we can fight climate change without any inconvenience, it bears repeating this seldom spoken truth.  In order to adequately address climate change, people in rich industrial nations will have to reduce current levels of consumption to levels few are prepared to consider.  This truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."

Sweet music to these old ears.

Lindberg goes on to say,  "...fossil fuels are burned in the greatest quantity by wealthy people and nations and for the products they buy and use.  The larger the reach of a middle-class global society, the more carbon emissions there have been.  While conservatives deny the science of global warming, liberals deny the only real solution to preventing its most horrific consequences—using less and powering down"

Erik's assessment is great, but as Albert Bates said yesterday in 'Revolucíon' about Klein and Brand's recent efforts, it's "long on dirty laundry and short on detergent" exactly what The Mud Report has called the 'how to' section recently, but so much better poetically. [sorry Alan, i'm stealing it immediately].

Victor Hugo said, "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come." The idea whose time has come is the detergent. The chasm all of these distinguished yet detergent challenged authors can't cross is the fact that almost no-one is willing to voluntarily downgrade their lifestyle.

When you consider that the only yearly decreases in GHG emissions ever recorded have come during massive recessions and that the banksters everywhere are spinning fear, it seems to me mild-deflation leading to mild degrowth which doesn't need voluntary choosers could, like Tinkers to Evers to Chance, see our current consumer demand reduction situation move on to mild deflation, degrowth, demand re-direction from crap to crops, wants to needs, to a re-localized economy, to a hands on, organic, GHG sequestering agriculture.

There is another way, a bottom up permaculture way and a new form of government, dromocracy - from the Greek word "dromos," meaning the street.


Deflation = Falling Demand For Wants, Not Needs-Bread and Beans Over Bankers and Billionaires

The elites are peddling the danger of deflation as job losses to disguise their real fears...

There's fear in the hearts of bankers and billionaires, politicians and prognosticators, you can hear it in their public speeches...Deflation fills their days with worry and their sleep with nightmares. Deflation... anything every elite fears is worth looking into.

The part the elites fear most about deflation is debt defaults. The whole stinking system runs on debt when times good for the rich, but the whole thing falls apart as the interest rates pass zero on the down. The rich need interest to keep getting richer, they fear folks just walking away enmasse middle finger aloft. From China to Europe the bastard bankers drone on about how deflation will result in falling prices that will turn into job losses. This is the basic neo-con propaganda line about anything that threatens their position and the biggest scare tactic going.

University of Chicago finance prof John Cochrane argues that sharp, sudden deflation might well cause trouble. But a gentle, anticipated deflation, probably not. Cochrane reminds folks that from 1870 to 1900, Canada had zero inflation — and spectacular growth.

The real world isn't a simple yes/no sorta place, just as during mild inflation some prices go up, some come down [housing vs. computers] the same is true during mild deflation BUT the focus shifts as to what gets demanded. The prices that go down the steepest will be those on needless crap as that's where demand can most easily/comfortably be eliminated by individuals. Afterall who really needs a 6th cashmere sweater or a second Hummer, so the Hummer and other needless crap industries will suffer.

The prices of and demand for bread, beans and potatoes certainly won't suffer. The demand for real stuff will increase. Jobs will be lost in useless sectors during mild deflation. i'll be first in line to re-train them into the sectors where jobs will be 'growing' [hands on organic ag.]. Mild deflation could turn the head of our galloping consumer economy enough to establish a permaculture way of life that empowers us to take responsibility for our own welfare, provides endless opportunities for creativity and innovation, and connects us to nature and community in ways that makes sense of the world around us.

Mild Deflation, far from the phantom boogeyman of the establishment money merchants, will end up being exactly the slow-motion slide to gradual degrowth, to a change in production to a more localized, hand-built, labor intensive world economy. Deflation could move the our agricultural system from intensly insane to organic and sequester GHGs - externalized costs of capitalism. What the banksters deceptively refer to as a phantom menace is nothing but common sense because there are no profits, no good jobs, no dreams for your children on a dead planet.


All of Capitalism's Horses and All the Empire's Men Can't Put the Consumption Disaster Together Again

Chinese farmer just outside one of China's empty cities built to meet future demand. 

Along with the very rich and the very poor there has developed throughout the centuries since the onset of the industrial revolution a middle class made up of entrepreneurs, small farmers and city artisans that has grown to include lawyers, doctors, teachers, trades people, etc. who, given small rewards have become a solid buffer between the privileged few a an invitation to party with Ms. Guillotine

"Those upper classes, to rule, needed to make concessions to the middle class, without damage to their own wealth or power, at the expense of slaves, Indians and poor whites." wrote Howard Zinn near the end of chapter 3 in A People's History'. Zinngoes on to explain how by using the expectations of this emergent middle class the elites in the 'colonies' managed to "unite just enough whites to fight a Revolution against England, without ending either slavery or inequality."

Since then the global elites have used this mirage of allowing a small group access to enough crumbs so that their bourgeois dreams appear achievable [though always just out of reach]. The most effective tool in the deceiver's toolbox these last decades has been the stock market. Watered by the never ending inflow of mandated dollars from the defined contribution pension plan flim flam, fed by the boundless bullshit of swindlers and manipulators and shined on by banksters worthless fiat currencies, the mirage appeared to be working.

The ease of believing in 'magic bullet' solutions is built into the way our brains work. Consequently, behind the Wizard's curtain, the illusion of market growth has been maintained in recent years while in reality capitalism is self-destructing. The elites are in trouble and they know it. One group is busy loading their booty into the lifeboats they've built. The other, still not admitting the iceberg is just feet off the starboard rail keep praying that version 1.0 of the grand stock market divide and conquer tactic that had worked so well, so long, isn't floundering

Check it out, during this last day China unexpectedly cut interest rates because the demand for needless crap has fallen and continues to fall along with China's own goiter like 'growth'. Japan has too. Europe and Japan admit they are in recession and  the US economy shrank 2.9% in the 1st quarter of 2014 despite QE and accounting gimmicks. The Europeans and Japanese, now that the U.S. Fed has made its last QE buy of worthless mortgage backed securities from the banksters and is no longer buying up stocks and bonds, have jumped into the stimulus game along with the west's Central Banks by announcing their own money printing QE crap..

It all adds up to the fact that the 'markets' whose indices appear on your TV news nightly, are controlled and manipulated by the elites [for your dining and dancing pleasure] so as to keep the bourgeois hopeful that their material dreams are just around the corner as long as they each individually and collectively continue consuming, continue believing that the cancer of endless growth is their ally.

Believing the deceivers only serves them not you. In reality, all of capitalism's horses and all the Empire's men can't put the over-consumption disaster back together again.

"No one wants to incorporate everything we actually know about our predicament, into the assessment of solutions to our predicament, because it keeps coming around to stopping mass production of consumer crap, stopping burning fossil carbon, stopping industrial agriculture, and making our living with the sweat of our brow." Tyler Durden, 0 Hedge

The fact is that without all of the trillion$ wasted on convincing the rabble to continue shopping , without all the gimmicks to avoid degrowth, here we are. And, if we're real lucky, it'll begin a long era of slow deflation that'll prove the middle-class stock market buffer only serves the very rich and that slow, mild deflation is the best plan for the rest of us.


WAKE UP Canada, Harper is Balancing the Budget on the Backs of the Most Needy, Including Veterans

Harper, Fantino, Oliver, the whole slimy mess of 'em should be thrown in jail or worse. Yesterday it came to light that Veterans Affairs handed back $1.1-billion in unspent funds to the Treasury, cash that should have gone towards improved benefits and services for veterans. Somewhere between 4.7 per cent and 8.2 per cent of the total allocation has been allowed to lapse because of the department’s inability or reluctance to spend it all.  NDP veterans critic Peter Stoffer couldn't understand "why so much of the budget has been allowed to lapse", noting that, "the overall budget of the department is something the government is committed to under the law."

Then there's former legion chaplain Sandra Tankard who's livid over Veterans Affairs revelations.  Sandra says, "The Treasury Board take back of 1.1B from Veterans Affairs is a 'kick in the teeth'." Adding, "That is money that rightly belonged to Veterans Affairs to provide the service to the Afghan vets and that they have returned it to the treasury so [Finance Minister] Joe Oliver can say we have a surplus is, well, it's beyond words," Tankard said. "It's just beyond words."

Liberal veterans critic Frank Valeriote said, "Ex-soldiers who've been denied benefits will look at the unspent funds and feel hoodwinked, completely abandoned and wonder why they've made sacrifices for their country. “It is reprehensible and unconscionable what they’re doing so that the government can create an image of fiscal responsibility,” he said.

Apparently the use of lapsed funding to reduce the federal deficit is an exercise that’s being practiced across all departments, austerity for us, including veterans, who've seen local offices closed across the country, seen services reduced and become so difficult to access their usage is greatly reduced. Frank Valeriote and Sandra Tankard know Harpo and his henchmen are balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest and the most needy.

Tax cuts, like income splitting that are meaningless the poor, subsidies to the fossil fuel industry that bankrolls the Conservatives play, and austerity for the rest of us, that's the song being sung by the spinners here and throughout the capitalist world. Hopefully this, Harpo's most outrageous betrayal of his oath of office, will cause Canadians of all political stripes to WAKE UP.


Rand Paul's Senate 'No' Vote on the NSA Reform Bill Shows He's Just Another Politician

Rand Paul...sure ain't Ron

Many media outlets are focusing on what Glenn Greenwald calls a "Summary of the (non-tea-party) GOP argument against NSA reform: 9/11, ISIS, 9/11, ISIS, 9/11, ISIS, ISIS and 9/11" But Libertarians are all sadly reading articles about how 'Libertarian Champion Rand Paul Helped Kill NSA Reform Bill' or 'Rand Paul Beats Ted Cruz, Saves NSA From Reform’ at the Daily Beast.

Rand Paul showed by voting No that, like Obama before him, talk is cheap. Rand isn't Ron. Ron Paul. Ron many tough votes in his long career in the House of Representatives. He took 'em and he defended 'em afterwards in part by saying his position was what he stood for long before there was a bill to be voted on. Instead Rand, the son, voted for what he sees as best for his candidacy for President in '16. Rand Paul is just another politician.

This bill would have ended the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata, first brought to public knowledge by Edward Snowden; created a special advocate position to argue against the government in the FISA courts; and allowed tech companies to release statistics about government demands for information. Paul's lame post vote justifications are being widely met with a combo-nation of laughter, tears, and jeers.

Obama's voting record in the Senate showed long before his betrayal of all those promises where he was really at. Overjoyed and blinded by hope in real change through the process i fell for Obama's words in '07 and refused to listen to clearer minds warning me. Along comes Paul the younger and because his dad is such a straight shooter, i was buying into Rand's palaver, not anymore...

The Mud Report has been quick to praise Rand in the past for his seemingly heart-felt rhetoric on the issue of our right to privacy. But Rand's duplicitous vote has changed that. Further, it makes me doubt the underlying nature of the all his earlier rhetoric. From foreign policy to drug legalization, Rand Paul is sliding to Mitch McConnell's mushy Republican middle on issue after issue. It reminds me of Paul Simon's Slip Slidin Away..."You know the nearer your destination. The more you're slip slidin' away."

i used to think/hope wistfully that if Rand were to have a Libertarian epiphany and see that abortion is a private/personal, decision that is outside the purview of government, that homosexuality is too, that a real libertarian philosophy encompasses the fact that every individual has the right to clean air and water and that corporations aren't real people and have no right to poison anyone's water and air, he could be elected President in 2016. Now i know Rand Paul is jusyt another politician


The Women's Warrior Song Rings Out Over Burnaby Mountain's Protest Camp Defenders

It's still peaceful on Burnaby Mountain today.. The injunction has, as many expected, increased attendence at the defender's camp. More than 800 people showed up at 4pm yesterday – the exact time a B.C.-Supreme-Court-ordered-Kinder-Morgan injunction took effect. Those attending to the conservation park on the mountain lately have seldom seen a larger crowd. "Youth, seniors, native, non-native all showed up in force", said The Vancouver Observer.

Solidarity is in the air, the tanker threat to Burrard Inlet and the Georgia Strait is obvious. As it is already every week Kinder-Morgan [KM] ships 1,000,000+ barrels of Tar Sands crap through Burrard Inlet. We are already, as Rafe Mair says, "risking it all".Why? Because the Trans Mountain Pipeline means big bucks for their US Investors who know well how to grease palms and 'pressure' holdouts.

Kinder-Morgan has done its job. They've bought and coerced their way into lax regulations in B.C. and Canada and, as Robyn Allen explains in today's article at The Tyee, 'Trans Mountain Pipeline: Big Bucks for US Investors, Peanuts for Us', the firm pays minimal taxes here, sometimes none. Kinder-Morgan is a typical corporate criminal, they won't just stop and change their ways.

IMO KM will end up offering a compromise. A compromise that's been their first choice all along. KM will offer to send all of the pipeline's new [and maybe it's existing capacity], to Cherry Point in Washington St. There's already a spur line, KM has been sending a small flow there for decades. In the last decade the Cherry Point joint has been re-tooled to refine tar sands crud instead of the much lighter Alaskan oil it was built to handle.

Dustin Rivers from Squamish Nation (Skwxwú7mesh-Kwakwaka’wakw) gives a speech denouncing the Kinder-Morgan expansion yesterday. 

Helicopters and planes buzzed overhead last night and today. TV crews, satellite trucks, photographers and film-makers, are everywhere, apparently a drone was seen, too. The First Nations are untied all along the pipeline route. My body is to old and i live to far away, but, like millions of people and countless others throughout the biosphere, my heart is on Burnaby Mountain.


Is Deflation the Best Hope for a Species Incapable of Voluntarily Controlling Its Wants? You Betcha

The graph above illustrates the fact that during the huge expansion of the U.S. economy deflation has been king more than not. Milton Friedman [himself] long ago recognized slight deflation as the “optimal” monetary policy, since people and businesses can hold lots of cash without worrying about it losing value. Saying at the time, "So why do people think deflation, by itself, is a big problem?"

Profits are the difference between the price it costs to produce a good and the price that good is sold for. As economics professor Jörg Guido Hülsmann makes clear in his book 'Deflation and Liberty', “In a deflation, both sets of prices drop, and as a consequence for-profit production can go on.” Adding, “Deflation is one of the great scarecrows of present-day economic policy and monetary policy in particular,” Hülsmann says. "It seems a nation will destroy its finances battling a non-threat." Why? Same thing Friedman asked, eh.

Answering Friedman's and Hülsmann's query will be my quest in the coming days.

The article 'Who’s Afraid of a Little Deflation?', by adjunct scholar John N. Cochrane at the Cato Institute, explains why a sudden drop wouldn't be good, but a steady annual decline of, say, 2%? Worries about that are overblown." This timely and well written article explains, point by point, why each of the most common mis-understandings being trumpted about the phantom are bullshit. How in almost all cases exactly the opposite is true.

Deflation means dropping prices and a slowing of the velocity of consumption. With European inflation declining to 0.3%, and U.S. inflation slowing, the phantom that now haunts the Western world's capitalists, bankers, investors, economists, elites and political puppets of all stripes - deflation - is finally being seen as the mirage it is. This phantom, this mirage, this cancerous growth  paradigm, is a tool of elitist oppression.

Deflation means below zero interest rates. How can that be something the rich think tantalizing. Deflation means debts are often walked away from. Slow deflation means turning down the heat under the whole of consumer driven extractive capitalism 'sorta' voluntarily.

As the rogue primate apparently can't reel in it's collective wants to anywhere near a sustainable level. And as it's political suicide for any elected govt. to even suggest regulated degrowth. And as totalitarian type rules only highlight that we are more like a herd of cats than we like to admit.

So its apparent that mild, slow deflation of the huge debt bubble our dear leaders have created is not something to fear, it's our best and only hope. There are do-able solutions to our myriad of problems, in part because they are all connected at their base to...what must really change first...to what must never be spoken of...to Pogo's realization that "we are the enemy".


Farmers Don't Make Extra Money By Poisioning Folks With Agro-Chemicals, But Banksters Sure Do

Industrial agriculture's protocol [and banking's best practices requirements] for harvesting many crops in the United States, Canada and many other numb nut nations is to drench the fields with Roundup. Using wheat as an example, spreading the crap several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as withered, dead wheat plants are less taxing on the farm equipment and allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest. Bigger because wheat fields naturally ripen at slightly different rates but in response to imminent death from the Roundup, the wheat plants quickly ripen their seed.

Besides wheat, some of the other important crops where Roundup is used as a pre-harvest desiccant by the banker financed farmers are barley, sugar cane, rice, seeds, dried beans and peas, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and sugar beets?  Only be buying these crops in organic form can anyone avoid the collateral damage from this practice.

The 'industry' claims that using Roundup as a desiccant on crops prior to harvest may save the farmer money and increase profits. Or it may not, but one group that does make money is the banks loaning the farmers the money to buy the crap and apply it [ and of course Monsatan itself]. The banks are owned by the .01%ers, as corporations only have one master - shareholders profits. Industrial agriculture runs on credit. When a farmer, or any business, this is a culture wide strangle hold, goes for a loan, the bank demands that the farmer, or logger or ? agrees to use 'the best business practices' as defined by the bank.

So the farmers don't make extra profits by poisoning us, but the banks sure do. Personally i don't give a shit about the profits of any of 'em compared to the health of the consumer who ultimately consumes those ground up wheat kernels especially by those ignorant of what is happening and its effects. Until recently the herbicide industry has claimed that Roundup [glyphosate] is minimally toxic to humans, research published in the Journal Entropy strongly argues otherwise by shedding light on exactly how glyphosate disrupts mammalian physiology.

Billions of people globally are aware that chemical and energy-intensive industrial food and farming as a whole pose a fundamental threat to public health, the environment and the climate. Industrial agriculture is not only destroying the biosphere that supports us all, but it is poisoning us as it depletes the soils.

As all non-industry funded research consistently shows the significant nutritional differences' between organic and non-organic foods it is obvious that capitalism's tentacles touch every corner of our world. There are, like the organic farming and perennial grass solutions to sequestering GHGs, solutions to the mess we've made but they require hard work, sacrifice and change.


Avoid the Economic 'Titanic Effect' by Learning to Live With and Enjoy Mild Deflation and Degrowth

The Piketty Split Graph

The graphic above shows how the wealth of the 'top 0.1%' and that of the 'bottom 90%' are now equal. How in the hell did the rich manage to get so much richer during the 'recession'? In short, the .01%ers have been buying up assets with newly created money 'given' to them nearly interest free by the Central banks of the western world in what the deceivers call "a bid to boost lending and growth across the economy".

Better yet for the .01%, the Central banks haven't 'given' the money to the big players, what they've been doing is buying up the banks worthless mortgage backed assets. So the rich guys get to both dump their losses on the mortgages and gain free money to 'invest'. Tyler Durden of 0Hedge does a great job everyday of explaining the world's dire situation. Tyler, and most other 'market' analysts agree, says the stocks markets are where they are only because of the funny money being showered on them, "...it's the liquidity injections [funny money], not fundamentals, which we would argue has been the major driver of markets for the past few years. Put differently, it takes around $200bn per quarter just to keep markets from selling off."

YIKES. So the billions of dollars in funny money are pumping up the next huge asset bubble, the market's current stratospheric highs wouldn't exist, in fact the 'markets' would be singing the same tune the folks on Main St. are - deflation. On Main St.everybody  has jobs that are paid less and get far fewer benefits than they used to, everybody there has huge levels of personal debt. The only way the US consumer can consume anything, including necessities often, is by diving deeper into debt. The 99%  have to borrow before they can spend and in the US, consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP.

Retail sales equals velocity of money. Reduced consumer spending is deflation. Central banks can do all kinds of stuff, but they can’t make us spend our money on things we don’t want or need. Let alone make us borrow to do so. And if we don’t, deflation is an inevitable fact, its about how much fast we spend the money we have and how much we borrow to do it.

The stock market's index is being held aloft by the politicians and banksters to avoid the chaos that would ensue [and will inevitably when the curtain is pulled back] otherwise. In this interim period the elites are busy selling their holdings in worthless paper [while the market prices remain fraudulently high] and buying tangible assets instead, assets like south Pacific islands capable of self-sustaining agriculture. The .01% on our global Titanic are quietly climbing Into the lifeboats 'While the Band Plays On'.

The Titanic Effect can be avoided if, instead of listening to the band play on, we each open our eyes to the deception and respond accordingly. If, like the .01% are attempting, we use our leverage wisely we can let the hot air of excess liquidity out of the balloon slowly. Deflating the bubble slowly will cause prices to drop  Deflation is one of the great boogeymen of present-day economic and monetary policy. 'A Plea for (Mild) Deflation' by George Selgin is an excellent, concise, primer on the advantages of deflation and degrowth.


All Empires Collapse from Within Soon After the Boogeyman is Discovered to be a Phantom

Nearly every writer who doesn't employ a stockbroker wrote the same article i did yesterday, read quite a few of 'em, my fav: 'If You Really Think It Matters Which Party Controls the Senate, Answer These Questions' by Charles Hugh Smith. In it, his humor shines through just enough to allow you to read it all before barfing. What none of the articles i've read have is a "HOW TO" change things section.

Underlying each authors angst hides the same unspoken theme. Are we now, finally, over the brink and in freefall? Is the entire stability and strength of the Empire of Distopia just a hollowed out phantom, like all the empires before it, because a few self-serving and inept individuals are lavished with treasure?  Is this how Empires collapse?

Sir John Glubb, a British author and lecturer, argued that most empires generally don’t last longer than 250 years. Greek Empire? 231 years. Roman Empire? 207 years. Ottoman Empire? 250 years. Romanov Russian Empire? 234 years. British Empire? 250 years. Well, we’re sitting at a ripe old age of 237 and deep in the midst of what Glubb called the Age of Decadence.

Freefall? Maybe you can't see it out the window yet but how does your gut feel? Queezy or easy?

Phantom? As Judy Garland found out, behind the big curtains, they're all phantoms, phantoms who use our fears to control us.

The good news is that almost all of the problems the living planet faces, including the entire environmental catastrophe, is a byproduct of consumer driven extractive capitalism, an idea, a worldview  that can and will change, be it by design or Gaian response. As Sun Tzu says in 'The Art of War', "Know your enemy is the first rule."

Our greatest enemy is ourselves, our mind's ability to justify our actions. as J M Greer says, "...people [will] make quite a show of boycotting anything environmentally destructive on loudly proclaimed moral grounds, just so long as they can replace it without any actual change in their lifestyle or decrease in their comfort level.”  The  truth is that these crisises, political, environmental, financial or ?, can't be solved by improving the efficiency of capitalism, they are caused by over-consumption and only by reducing the amount of material stuff we produce and consume can we 'be the change we wish to see in the world'

The good news goes on to explain that there are solutions, time tested, totally safe ways for humans to live by following different laws, laws like 'The Law of Return' - of giving back - which Vandana Shiva explains in 'We Are the Soil', has "ensured that societies create and maintain fertile soil and can be supported by living soil over thousands of years". Whereas consumer capitalism follows The Law of Exploitation - of taking without giving back - which has led to the collapse of civilisations since long before the dawn of witten history.

It may appear that past empires existed because they managed to funnel the resources of a far wider region than they live within back to the 'mothership' by military might and/or the use of the fear of that region's particular boogeyman. The Empire of Distopia is global, it's military muscle the most powerful ever, but its most effective weapon is still fear, still the boogeyman.

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell said. The truth is it's impossible to consume the way out of over-consumption. All empires collapse from within soon after the boogeyman is discovered to be a phantom. The next couple of Mud Reports will focus on how to be part of ending the phantom boogeyman's reign.


Pot Legalization Wins From Oregon and Alaska to DC Prove The War and Wealth Party Ain't Invinciple

Voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. have voted to approve sweeping pro-marijuana legalization. The trifecta has pro-legalization activists looking towards 2016, when ballot initiatives in states such as California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Arizona are likely to be put to voters.

And residents of Maui County in Hawaii, frequently referred to as 'GMO Ground Zero,' claimed a victory Tuesday evening when a measure to ban the planting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) passed despite the fact that agribusiness giants Monsanto and Dow, which for decades have run enormous growing and testing operations on the island, spent nearly $8 million dollars to defeat the ban. [A GMO ban also passed in Humboldt County, California on Tuesday though many of my friends say that's in large part due the fact that GMOs have yet to be developed that compete with Humbolt's main crop.]

As Victor Hugo said, "An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come." Both the 'right to know' what's in the foods we feed to ourselves and our families and the right to grow a few pot plants in the backyard are ideas whose time have come. That those basic rights are so staunchly opposed by the War and Wealth Party - the rulers of the empire - shows that, like a levy, any breach, any breath of freedom, threatens a runaway by the entire river.

Also appearing at the Kabuki Theater yesterday was the mid-term elections. The headlines around the globe were, like the 188-2 vote in the UN last week, nearly unanimous 'The Republican wing of the War and Wealth Party [WWP] won control of the US Senate from the Democratic wing. Or, as Ron Paul wrote this morning, "The 2-party US political system in reality a monopoly".

Political analyst Eric Draitser gave a perfect example this morning in ‘Republicans and Democrats – two branches of the one party’ where he says, "The fact of the matter is that the two predominant parties in the US are really one party; they are merely two branches of the big business corporate party. This, I think, we can see quite clearly with a very recent example that was in the news just last week regarding the Food Bill and the supposed triumph by the democrats in the Food Bill, which they rejoiced over for the simple fact that they only cut nine billion dollars out of the Food Stamps budget while the Republicans wanted to cut 20 or more billion dollars out of the same budget. So as more and more Americans go to bed hungry and are homeless, and other various problems, you see that the two parties in fact work together to compromise against the interests of the American people."

A old friend commented recently that a few decades ago capitalism defeated communism, more recently capitalism has defeated democracy. My answer, it takes two to tango. Without the gullible to buy their flim flam, without those who in defending their spilled crumbs act as a barricade that protects the elites from their just meeting with Madame Guillotine, the empire's little old men behind their curtain would be exposed for the frauds they are.

The capitalists power grew quickly in America when, as Howard Zinn says in 'A People's History' at the end of chapter 3, "Along with the very rich and the very poor there developed a white middle class of small planters, independent farmers, city artisans, who, given small rewards for joining forces with merchants and planters, would be a solid buffer between black slaves, frontier Indians and very poor whites."

The middle class is still used as a buffer, still deludes itself into believing that the crumbs dropped for them by the deceivers differentiates them from the working classes thus compelling the idiots to act, live and vote not in their own best interests, but those of rich . They'd only be idiots except that now The War and Wealth Party folks are poisoning the biosphere that supports us all and the bill for the middle class's self-interest is un-payable.

The two headed War and Wealth Party ain't invincible, everything changes...someday.


The Local and State Initiative Process is the Last Vestiage of Real Democracy Left in Distopia

Tomorrow, is mid-term election day - Ballot Day in the U.S. of Distopia. From all accounts it'll be the best example ever of how money talks. Lawrence Norden and Wendy Weiser of Brennan Center's Democracy Program said earlier today, "Cash from unknown sources is flooding the most important races, while state politicians have instituted new barriers to the ballot box for millions of Americans. Regardless of who wins, the integrity of our elections has been undermined." On election eve, the results are already known, deep-pocketed dark money has bought itself another win.

Fortunately though their victory is incomplete and the corporate criminals are pouring millions a day, billions into key races, lest any breath, any hint, of another way raise its head. They know that the local and state initiative process is the last vestiage of real democracy left in Distopia.

Tomorrow voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will vote on measures that would allow recreational use of marijuana for adults. As well various reform laws appear on 7 state at least 17 municipal, and one U.S. territory. There's votes on abortion [where the other edge of direct democracy's knife is winning], on gun control, on mandatory labeling of GMOs - our right to know what's in the food we eat.

Unfortunately the deep pockets, like Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, have been busy spreading fear and general bullshit in a multi-million dollar media blitz all across the country. As usual fear works and in many votes that looked solidly progressive just days ago things look 50/50 now. Here's a great guide to important voter initiatives all across Distopia put together by the folks at CommonDreams.

Tomorrow night, homegrown doobie and non-GMO munchies nearby, i'll look to Oregon where i think most folks understand that if the billionaires, corporations and Chamber of Commerce are all preaching the same bogeyman story it must be bullshit. And i'll look to Colorado where, having seen the bogeyman wears no clothes on the legal pot situation, where libertarians live up every driveway, where folks believe they have a right to know, to be the first state, followed a bit later by Oregon, to mandate GMO labeling.

Finally, as the picture above shows, the initiative process has even brought real democracy to Washington D.C. The local and state initiative process is the last vestiage of real democracy left in Distopia.


The IPCC's Synthesis Report, Which Required Approval by 120 Govts, is Political not Scientific

As the sun slowly sets on the Anthropocene, the IPCC issues another report.

The IPCC's Synthesis Report had to be first approved by more than 120 governments before publication and the lowest possible deominator was agreed to only was after a week of intense debate between scientists and government officials. The IPCC, like its UN parent, is a political institution  So, surprise, the report proposes to reduce emissions without curbing the use of fossil fuels through carbon capture and storage [CCS] as has been advocated for years by energy corporations.

The report has pages of wonderful words but, polyticks being what it is, those 120 governments would each be seeking, above all, to retain popularity and power. It's very unpopular to tell people they must radically change their lifestyles immediately, much more popular to sprinkle pixie dust and promise never-never-land technological solutions. CCS is a proven technology, it's proven to be a disaster economically, technically and, most importantly to me, actually creates more GHGs because of CCS's own large enbedded footprint and the extra methane released by the extracting of the 40% more coal extra it takes to make the CCS operate.

Other than Canada's Saskatchewan Power that started up only a month ago [all the rest of the projects having failed as economic disasters before they could become environmental ones] there are zero examples for the IPCC to rely on  "With CCS it's entirely possible that fossil fuels can be used on a large scale," IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said.

The IPCC can't recommend conservation - the only footprint free alternative - because the 120 governments must have GROWTH, endless, cancerous growth. The politicians, corporations and governments are the problem. How can they possibly be expected to provide a solution.