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Missive #35

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: February 10, 1935

I have not quoted from America Saved From Weather Balloon Threat but provide a link to the good posting. The ONLY reason that I can see for all the media spin over the China Spy/Weather Balloon is it has removed any coverage of the Project Veritas Pfizer Scandal from the front page.

I think it was on 6 February that I installed the Antispam Bee plugin. At that time I had manually sent 50 messages to Spam and a few more to Trash. On 7 February the first message caught by Antispam Bee that was sent to the Spam Honeypot automatically. Caught the same Spammer on 8 February; so it works!

The group training for Erik on Wednesday was to have breakfast with our dogs on the patio of Taco Giro. Erik was not comfortable in that environment but he behaved very well; better than both the trainer and I had expected. My efforts these past week or ten days on getting him to respond to the Down command seems to have paid off; he was responding as if he always did it so what was the big deal?

The morning low temperatures continue to be below freezing and probably will be for the next 10 days although the weather guessers have forecast a couple of them to be above freezing. They are also forecasting possible snow again next Monday and Wednesday mornings with the Wednesday low maybe in the high teens.

In the waning days of the American empire, we find ourselves mired in political crisis, with our foreign policy coming under sharp criticism and our economy in steep decline. These trends mirror the experience of the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. Reinventing Collapse examines the circumstances of the demise of the Soviet superpower and offers clear insights into how we might prepare for coming events.

Rather than focusing on doom and gloom, Reinventing Collapse suggests that there is room for optimism I recommend this book. All the quotes give you a good preview of what to expect. if we focus our efforts on personal and cultural transformation. With characteristic dry humor, Dmitry Orlov identifies three progressive stages of response to the looming crisis:

Mitigation—alleviating the impact of the coming upheaval,
Adaptation—adjusting to the reality of changed conditions,
Opportunity—flourishing after the collapse.
He argues that by examining maladaptive parts of our common cultural baggage, we can survive, thrive, and discover more meaningful and fulfilling lives, in spite of steadily deteriorating circumstances.

This challenging yet inspiring work is a must-read for anyone concerned about energy, geopolitics, international relations, and life in a post-Peak Oil world. — Book promo @ goodreads.com

A lot of good quotes.

I therefore take it as my premise that at some point during the coming years, due to an array of factors, with energy scarcity foremost among them, the economic system of the United States will teeter and fall, to be replaced by something that most people can scarcely guess at, and that even those who see it coming prefer not to think about. This stunning failure of the collective imagination is the specific problem this book seeks to address.
The risk is there for all to see, and it is huge. Even if you happen to believe that the probability of economic collapse is low, it is the product of the two — the probability of it happening times the value of everything that is at risk — against which you should seek to insure yourself.

The universal right to drive a car is the linchpin of the American communal myth. Once a significant portion of the population finds that cars have become inaccessible to them, the effect on the national psyche may be so profound as to make the country ungovernable. Solving the underlying transportation problem, through the reintroduction of public transportation or other means, is beside the point: the image of the automobile is indelibly imprinted on the national psyche and it will not be easily dislodged. For many, their car is a public extension of their persona, a status symbol and even a symbol of sexual potency, and this makes the automobile, along with the gun, a sacred national fetish.

The Soviet Union had a single, entrenched, systemically corrupt political party, which held a monopoly on power. The US has two entrenched, systemically corrupt political parties, whose positions are often indistinguishable and which together hold a monopoly on power. In either case, there is, or was, a single governing elite, but in the United States it organizes itself into opposing teams to make its stranglehold on power seem more sportsmanlike. It is certainly more sporting to have two capitalist parties go at each other than just having the one communist party to vote for. The things they fight over in public are generally symbolic little tokens of social policy, chosen for ease of public posturing. The Communist Party offered just one bitter pill. The two capitalist parties offer a choice of two placebos. The latest innovation is the photo finish election, where each party pre-purchases exactly 50 percent of the vote through largely symmetrical allocation of campaign resources and the result is pulled out of statistical noise, like a rabbit out of a hat. It is a tribute to the intelligence of the American people that so few of them bother to vote.

Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power? In Soviet-era Russia, intelligent people did their best to ignore the Communists: paying attention to them, whether through criticism or praise, would only serve to give them comfort and encouragement, making them feel as if they mattered. Why should Americans want to act any differently with regard to the Republicans and the Democrats?

The signal event that brought the Soviet experiment to a close was the inability of the government to expand and roll over its foreign debt. The United States is now approaching a similar point of no return with regard to its level of indebtedness. Whereas the Soviets had to export energy in order to import food, the US has to import energy with which to produce and distribute food. In either case, the sudden inability to continue going deeper into debt is what triggers the final economic convulsion.

While Russian agriculture presents us with a particularly frightening example, let us not discount American efforts in the same direction: with enough effort at subjugating nature, through chemical farming, genetic manipulation, pumping down non-replenishing aquifers, ethanol production and other weapons of mass desertification, anything is achievable, even starvation, right here in the US.

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