Volatility

February 9, 2019

The Purpose of Paris

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This one’s for the trees

 
 
“In more ingenuous times, when the tyrant razed cities for his own greater glory, when the slave chained to the conqueror’s chariot was dragged through the rejoicing streets, when enemies were thrown to the wild beasts in front of the assembled people, the mind did not reel before such unabashed crimes, and judgment remained unclouded. But slave camps under the flag of freedom, massacres justified by philanthropy or by a taste for the superhuman, in one sense cripple judgment. On the day when crime dons the apparel of innocence — through a curious transposition peculiar to our times — it is innocence that is called upon to justify itself.”
 
– Albert Camus, The Rebel
 
Some call it a loophole. If so it’s a loophole wide enough to push a dead planet through. But it’s really no accident.
 
There’s a clear and simple fact. Real conservation, especially in the face of the climate crisis, means ceasing from destroying natural forests, leaving them alone, and letting them resume their ranges. Anything other than this is a fraud, and especially a climate fraud. The “biomass” industry is an atrocity. The civilization destroys forests in order to burn wood pellets for industrial electricity and heat. This is enshrined within all existing international climate agreements. The climate industry accelerates deforestation and greenhouse emissions under the rubric of “the climate”. The flag of the Earth flies from the tree-burning factory. Arbeit Macht Frei.
 
 
The climate-industrial movement, including most of its critics, has exalted the 2015 Paris agreement as the movement’s climax achievement to date, its gold-mined standard for enlightened climate policy and especially for right belief.
 
Eco-hypocrisy and eco-treason is the worst kind, and the Paris crime reaches the worst extreme yet. All mainstream climate concern focuses not on saving the Earth but on finding a way to drag out the death march of production and feeding the consumption maw. The climate movement wants to drag out the consumer economy as long as possible and has no other goal. Paris is the epitome.
 
Natural forests are the primary carbon sinks. The primary goal of the Paris scam is to complete the destruction of all the world’s natural forests and replace them with ecologically dead tree plantations as part of an ongoing logging and coal-burning industry which will continue to be a massive emitter of carbon dioxide. Of course every acre of natural forest destroyed toward this goal releases all its stored carbon in a massive surge. Contrary to the Paris lies, this carbon surge will never be “recaptured”, and it’s not meant to be.
 
Thus Paris directly contradicts the climate movement’s own IPCC which in its most recent report stressed the critical need to preserve and restore natural forests to serve as permanent sinks.
 
The Environmental Paper Network recently released a report on the escalating subsidy-driven commodity wood pellet industry. Are Forests the New Coal? lays out a “global threat map” of the toxic politics of this meld of the logging industry, the coal industry, and the climate-industrial movement.
 
Here are the report’s “Key Findings”: 1. The production and burning of wood pellets has doubled over the last ten years to 14 million metric tons in 2017. The report cites industry projections which have the destruction increasing 250% to 36 million tonnes by 2027.
 
2. In climate-industrial propaganda usage, “renewable energy” and “carbon neutral” are fake terms. Most wood pellets are processed from whole trees and the complete destruction of natural forest sinks and biodiversity. The biomass industry drives climate change and mass extinction. It’s as non-renewable and anti-ecological as it gets.
 
3. Encouraged by the Western propaganda and practice as enshrined by Paris and other climate accords, such Asian countries as Japan and South Korea are planning a massive expansion of pellet imports and burning for industry electricity and heat.
 
4. The great bulk of industrial “biomass” comes from forests. It comes from the clear-cutting of natural forests and the farming of tree plantations which are cultivated on the ground where those massacres took place. This is a direct contradiction of the movement’s own IPCC, which stresses the critical importance of natural forests as carbon sinks.
 
5. The projected surge of wood pellet consumption will escalate the destruction of all remaining natural tropical, temperate, and boreal forests. Paris and the movement envision a world where ALL natural forest will be eradicated and where all logging will be done on industrialized tree plantations. This will be a world of radically higher atmospheric CO2 concentration, higher temperatures, greater climate chaos, and greatly escalated mass extinctions of every kind of plant and animal species.
 
 
Prior to the great escalation over the last ten years, and especially prior to the subsidy regime which Paris has escalated, pellet burning was less prominent and for the most part regionally based. But in ten years the international commodity stream has surged, with an increasing number of giant tree-burning factories. This expansion, this “growth”, this cancer is the real purpose of Paris.
 
For confirmation of intent, one need only look to the system of fraudulent accounting this and other agreements set up.
 
 
The EU and the various international climate mechanisms always have used false accounting to label things “carbon neutral”, and the climate movement then launders this fraud as “renewable”, “green”. The Paris scam is the culmination to date of this atrocious political process.
 
Before getting to the Paris crimes, let’s start with the fact that the proclaimed Paris goals are absurd. Paris enshrines 2 degrees Celsius as its temporary red line, though as heating increases the goalpost will move with it. Meanwhile the last time the atmospheric carbon concentration was above 400PPM, as it has been for several years now, the global temperature was 5-10 degrees higher than now. That much heating already is locked in, although temperatures will take some time to catch up to millions of years worth of carbon increase compressed into a hundred year deluge. And throughout the thirty years of the UN-enshrined climate movement emissions have continued to increase and have been increasing at an escalating rate. Emissions will continue to rise for as long as the industrial civilization exists. So the ultimate global heating will be higher than 5-10 degrees Celsius. How much higher depends solely on how long industrial emissions and destruction of sinks continue.
 
As if these goals aren’t pathetic enough in principle, they’re also purely voluntary. The Paris goals are a pure sham in every way.
 
In fact the only part of Paris which is not voluntary are the subsidies for logging and coal. And of course the dying – by trees, by native plants and animals, and if the architects have their way, by Gaia herself.
 
So in principle all Paris has are fake goals along with the fake premise of “green capitalism”, “green growth” aka cancer, and that there’s still a “carbon budget” left to spend. This “spending”, as they abstractly call it in their technocratic way, is direct ecological destruction in the real world, the deliberate extermination of hundreds of species per day.
 
The destruction wrought by wood pelleting is clear. It eradicates old-growth forests from northern Canada to the Amazon, Latvia to Borneo, and triggers a massive emission surge. There’s the initial hemorrhage from the destruction of forest sinks (and the lost uptake those forests would have performed in the future). Logging itself and the transportation of dead trees and processing them into pellets are carbon intensive industrial actions. On “managed” forests and tree plantations we can add the fossil fuels embedded in the massive volume of insecticides and herbicides sprayed, and the fuel for the aerial spraying. The tree-burning factories spew huge amounts of CO2. Burning wood for electricity emits 50% more CO2 per megawatt hour of electricity than coal. The factories also are major emitters of particulate pollution.
 
The double high-carbon impact of destroying natural sinks and the tree-burning process makes the Paris claim that the biomass industry is carbon neutral “doubly false” in the words of the EPN report.
 
Paris bases its “carbon neutral” claim on systematic accounting fraud. They start by simply refusing to count any emissions by the energy sector. These emissions are massive, far worse than burning coal, but Paris brazenly declares them to be zero. They claim to justify this by counting all the emissions of the entire process at the logging end. This is just a trick in order to claim they’ve attained carbon neutral electrical generation.* Meanwhile they grossly under-count the emissions at the logging end and then lie about “recycling” this carbon through industrial plantation trees. There are many lies in play here.
 
1. Destroying a natural forest (the most capacious mid-range ecological sink) causes a massive release of carbon. In principle a sanitized monoculture plantation could never assimilate more than a fraction of the carbon of an old-growth forest. The ecological basis for maximum tree growth and soil building doesn’t exist.
 
2. Plantation trees never come near reaching even this diminished potential since they’re harvested much younger than this. Natural forests are renewable in themselves if left alone. If they’re destroyed and prevented from regrowing, including replacement by factory-farmed tree plantations, they never renew themselves nor is their carbon ever stored. Monoculture industrial plantations are so unproductive and counter-productive as sinks as not to count. The entire process of destroying a forest and replacing it with a plantation adds up to a non-renewable and therefore unsustainable state. So the “carbon neutral” claim is a lie both in principle and in practice.
 
3. In a natural cycle some of the carbon taken down from the air is stored in the soil, and some flows in solution to the ocean and ends up as sedimentary limestone deposits. When civilization burns the trees and destroys the soil, 100% is emitted.
 
4. Then there’s the time frame which the Paris accounting pretends doesn’t exist. The process burns all the wood and releases all the CO2 today, and in return the Earth receives the Paris IOU promising to re-sequester all this carbon twenty years from now, thirty years, a hundred…As Derrick Jensen put it, “This is accounting fraudulent enough to make Enron jealous.”
 
These future carbon-sinking forests which exist only on the Paris books and will never exist except in their propaganda are a lot like Hitler’s ghost divisions which existed nowhere but on a map. By now the Earth-destroyer civilization is becoming more and more like Hitler in the bunker. One measure of this is its felt need for such massive lie campaigns.
 
So according to their own premise, the industrial biomass carbon cycle will take a long time. But their own propaganda also says there is no time, that societies need to act now. So there’s this direct self-contradiction within the climate-industrial propaganda.
 
In reality there’s no way such a program could ever do anything but escalate and accelerate the destruction of natural forests. Productionism, the framework which Paris and the movement seek to sustain, inherently always works toward oversupply and expansion. Therefore by design and inertia it always works to generate more demand for its supply. No one who knows anything about the production economy would be surprised by the projection of 250% expansion of tree destruction and pellet burning over the next ten years. Given any fuel, as Paris fuels this industry with subsidies and propaganda support, any industry will expand as far and destructively as is physically possible.
 
The fact is, anyone who really wanted the necessary immediate action would start with a total end to the destruction of natural forests. The mainstream movement’s own IPCC, as a rule conservative in its projections, even says so. The biomass industry as enshrined in the Paris agreement directly contradicts the IPCC.
 
The whole Paris regime of fraud with its “Renewable Energy Directive” is typical of the long-running fraud of the technocratic mainstream movement as a whole, in the tradition of “offsets” and other scams designed to mask escalated emissions and wholesale ecological destruction under the “climate” rubric.
 
Massacres justified by philanthropy, and indeed a taste for the superhuman.
 
The specific biomass accounting fraud and the propaganda of calling this non-renewable extraction industry “renewable” goes back to Kyoto in 1997.
 
 
The propaganda says the biomass material is supposed to come from “residues”. This is intended to put the public in mind of leftover shavings in timber plants and dead twigs and such. In reality it means any whole trees which are killed for pellet and biofuel processing rather than for lumber are classified as “residue”. It means that most pellet production comes from whole trees killed for this purpose, most of these coming from destroyed natural forests, while those from tree plantations come from ground where the natural forest or wetland was destroyed, releasing all its carbon along with the eradication of all its biodiversity.
 
Contrary to the lies, “sawmill residue” could never accommodate the surging subsidized production and artificially generated demand, only whole trees can. Therefore Paris enshrines this fraudulent accounting of whole trees as residues. This incentive for logging trees not suitable for timber is a great driver of quantity-based deforestation. As the EPN report says, “The income generated by high-intensity harvests based on quantity criteria may make more logging operations financially viable, as compared to those operations constrained to take high quality wood alone. In places where the community is struggling to retain natural forests the advent of such a lucrative, incentives-based ‘residue’ trade can drive further logging incursions and promote clear-cutting as a logging method.”
 
This escalation of logging and in particular clear-cutting natural forests is the intended purpose of Paris. Otherwise the accord wouldn’t have gone so far out of its way to legalize this fraudulent accounting.
 
 
Since this destruction of natural forests and use of plantation trees competes with use for lumber, pulp, and other industries, it drives further logging and deforestation. If one acre of forest was slated to be clear-cut for lumber (or one acre of a plantation on a formerly forested site), and now you add an acre for wood pellets for industrial electricity, that obviously requires doubling the deforesting.
 
In the same way, they tout how some biomass comes from agricultural leftovers like straw and stover. But this means stripping agricultural land of the residues needed to maintain the soil, thus hastening its own process of destroying the soil and having to move on to further deforestation and wetland destruction.
 
This depletion of agricultural soil also drives the escalated use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides (the lower quality the soil, the more you need). The vicious circle is total.
 
Finally, the Paris drive to maximize the replacement of forests with tree plantations for maximum biomass and biofuel production is a great spur to the campaign to deploy GM trees, especially fire-prone and destructively invasive eucalyptus, which grow faster and/or are better composed for processing into biofuels. In turn, the alleged “need” for this technology is in order to feed the Paris maw. They mass murder trees to run their pleasure cars.
 
All this is environmentalism, according to our “climate movement”.
 
 
The privileged method of burning trees includes “co-firing”. This means wood pellets are mixed with coal before burning. It’s cheaper for coal-burning factories to retool for combined wood-coal burning than to switch completely from coal to wood. This reinforces the Paris goal of artificially propping up both the logging and coal industries at the expense of the climate, Earth, and public. The policy is designed to extend the life of coal-fired power factories. France in particular has been explicit that one of its primary goals was to economically prop up coal-mining. No wonder the recent COP24 in Poland, where one of the purposes was to further hammer out procedural details for carrying out the Paris guidelines, was openly sponsored by Big Coal. All this under the flag of “the climate”. (I first typed “Big Caol”, as if really for Big Gaol. Not really a slip, but expresses reality.)
 
This is the culmination so far of Big Green’s Judenrate ideology based on collaborating with the mass murderers in order to “have a place at the table” to “manage” the ecocide-genocide. This mindset and practice goes back to the 1970s, with the mainstream corporate-dominion-environmental groups espousing an ideology which can be summed up as: Industry is good, industry is natural, industry is ecological, ecocide is ecological, destruction is conservation. As then-president of the National Wildlife Federation Jay Hair put it while denouncing the attempts of EarthFirst! and others to actually defend the Earth, “there’s no fundamental difference between destroying a river and destroying a bulldozer” (cf. Green Rage by Christopher Manes, p. 17). Which of course really means the bulldozer has precedence and right to destroy the river, destroy the forest, destroy the wetland, destroy the entire Earth. The statement is incomprehensible in any other way.
 
 
The “biomass” atrocity is the most clear proof to date that it’s impossible to do anything real within the capitalist framework, and more broadly the framework of the production-consumption civilization. It proves the politics and the culture are impossible. The grossly destructive production sectors play whack-a-mole. Try to reduce the subsidy for fossil fuels and “biomass” pops up. And as we saw, the biomass scam is based on fossil fuels and specifically designed to entrench coal-burning within the “climate” framework.
 
It’s impossible to go beyond fossil fuels anyway under the framework of modern civilization, since modernity is founded on fossil fuels. The definition of “modern” is: The period of the mass extraction and burning of fossil fuels. Industrialization inherently depends on fossil fuels and all alleged alternatives actually depend on the fossil foundation.
 
The climate-industrial movement and mainstream environmentalism as a whole want to save the industrial capitalist economy, not the planet. They’re usually explicit about this, citing their desire to save “civilization”, aka the modern production-consumption civilization. Anyone who really wanted to save the planet would have very different goals, very different demands and would organize and act in a very different way.
 
Mainstream environmentalism is just like a dope fiend trying to negotiate some level of continuing drug binge which somehow wouldn’t be as addictive and destructive as what he’s doing now.
 
Every prescription, every policy of the climate-industrial movement has zero secular purpose but to Feed the Maw. Maximum production is necessary to satisfy maximum demand, and maximum demand needs to be artificially drummed up to provide a market and “use” for maximum over-supplied production. This hideous circle swirls round and round in the most all-destructive escalating feedback loop. The Paris agreement, and all the works of mainstream Big Green, are dedicated to continuing this vicious circle unto the final lethal exhaustion of Gaia and humanity.
 
In the meantime they work to misdirect action in order to waste time and good will we no longer have to waste (contrary to the lies about “carbon budgets”), and to sow cynicism among those who might truly want to fight for the Earth, to sow denial that this is possible at all. It’s a massive sheep-dogging and gate-keeping campaign. It’s a big con.
 
 
There’s one and only one way to avert the worst of the climate crisis and the ecological crisis as a whole. This way is threefold:
 
*End all industrial emissions; *Stop destroying sinks; *Rebuild sinks and let natural sinks resume their natural ranges.
 
This is the only way to avert a total Gaian phase change which almost certainly would cause the biological extinction of hominids (unless we figure out a quicker way to wipe ourselves out), the only way to arrest the ongoing mass extinction, the only way to save anything of humanity.
 
Of course this would mean the end of industrial civilization, the end of extreme energy consumption, the end of the production-consumption framework, the end of capitalism, the end of grotesque consumerism and materialism. It would also mean the regeneration of health, happiness, and freedom as the only truly human purposes.
 
Therefore this way is anathema to the modern civilization and its tendrils, including the mainstream corporate environmental tentacle.
 
Does this faction have any ecological goal at all? With its exaltation of the biomass scam and the campaign to finish modern civilization’s extermination of the forests, we have the final smoking gun, the smoking chainsaw, the smoking ashes of the burned forest. The all-consuming fire, symbolized and fetishized in the tree-burning factory, is the real goal. Thus the climate change movement wants climate change all right. Until industrialization collapses or is abolished through an act of human self-preservation, they will drive global heating, the desert, and the flames of the wildfires as far as these can be driven. Every aspect of the modern civilization is nothing but an aspect of the hatred of life and lust for death.
 
 
 
 
*This is part of the general fraudulent practice of moving things off the books of the energy (electricity) sector and/or using the term “energy” to stand only for the electrical sector. And it’s part of the overall move of depicting climate change as identical to the ecological crisis as such, with all other elements of this crisis being relegated to non-existence for official purposes. Anytime you see claims about “100% renewable energy”, if you look at the small print you’ll usually find scams like these.
 
Then we have the broader deception of the whole notion of “renewable energy”. According to 2015 OECD numbers for industrialized countries (as reproduced in the EPN report), what they dub “renewable” makes up less than 10% of their energy production. Of this 9.7%, over 53% is “Biofuels and waste”, i.e. industrial biomass.
 
But since this all is from newly destroyed natural forest or high-impact industrial farming on land where the natural sink was destroyed, to call this “renewable” is a lie. Therefore over half of what they call “renewable” is the non-renewable (within the industrial framework) destruction of sinks. The other industries called “renewable” – industrial wind, solar, hydro, etc. – also are all directly eco-destructive and depend upon a foundation of fossil fuels. None can be self-sustaining, and none is renewable in any non-Orwellian way. It’s an axiom: Nothing industrial and nothing commodified ever can be renewable.
 
 
 
 

January 20, 2019

The Bliss of the Knife

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Gaia’s greatest beauty, our ancestral home, our only hope going forward

 
 
The judge speaks: “Why did this criminal murder? He wanted to rob.” But I say: His soul wanted blood, not robbery. He thirsted after the bliss of the knife.
 
His poor reason, however, did not comprehend this madness. It persuaded him: “What matters blood? Don’t you want at least to commit robbery with it? To take revenge?” And he listened to his poor reason; it lay upon him like lead. So he robbed when he murdered. He did not want to be ashamed of his madness.
 
What is this man? A heap of diseases which through his spirit reach out to the world: There they want to catch their prey.
 
What is this man? A ball of wild snakes which never enjoy rest from one another: So they go forth singly and seek prey in the world.
 
Look at this poor body. What it suffered and coveted this poor soul interpreted for itself: Murderous lust and greed for the bliss of the knife.
 
– Nietzsche, “On the Pale Criminal” from Also Sprach Zarathustra, Part One
 
 
Do the destroyers of the Earth do it for energy and profit? Fracking has bad fundamentals and no long-term future but leaves behind everywhere a toxic desert and wrecked communities. Yet the elite consensus exalts it and the people tolerate it. It seems that energy and profit aren’t the real collective reasons civilization is fracking to death its own basis for life, fracking to death the water, air, soil, the all-comprehending environment.
 
Since there’s no rational or practical basis for turning much of America and Europe and the rest of the globe into fracking death zones, since even by their own productionist measures they could instead subsidize alternatives which are more effective and less destructive, we’re left with the conclusion that the real purpose of the fracking onslaught is destruction for the sake of destruction. They do it for the bliss of the knife.
 
And the economic civilization as a whole, “growth” aka cancer, and the science cult, historically are grounded in the Christian dominion theology, Man vs. Nature, the reclamation of Earth from the wilderness of Satan (and before that the long, bitter Hebrew monotheist struggle against the Canaanite Asherah cult), destruction for the sake of destruction, waste for the sake of waste, ecocide for the sake of ecocide. It wants the bliss of the knife.
 
Then there’s the faction which explicitly denigrates profit (sometimes), and even (sometimes) suggests using less energy: The mainstream environmentalists, leftists, etc. They say they don’t want profit, don’t want maximal extreme energy – so why can’t they relinquish the productionist civilization itself? Why must they too cling to the campaigns of destruction, for industrial fake-“renewable” energy, the continued crippling and enslavement of rivers for energy, proposed monkeying with the already dying oceans for energy? They too want the bliss of the knife.
 
Perhaps this doesn’t sum up each individual murderer. But we know productionism, consumerism, capitalism, the modern civilization itself is a suicidal-homicidal failure. We know it makes no one happier, healthier, more free, that on the contrary it harms all of these. We know all the economic civilization’s propaganda is nothing but trickle-down lies. But when we look at how far this civilization has gone, how we know it’s all a failure, yet how the collective anthill, leadership and mass, continues the destruction, escalates it, accelerates it, even as the propaganda increasingly hijacks the name of the environment, the climate, the Earth: When we look at the unrelenting action of destruction and the sadistic mockery which accompanies it, we can see nothing but the bliss of the knife, if we’re honest with ourselves.
 
The destroyers continue out of nothing but hatred of the living Earth, hatred of the truth that human beings once lived happy and free amid the Earth, hatred of the prospect that human beings will ever again live free and happy, the way so many did before being “put to work”, before “civilization”. This hatred drives them to hack with the knife.
 
And this is the hatred which above all drives silvicide, tree-hatred, the bliss of the chainsaw. From the wholesale destruction of natural forests for the sake of vast industrial monoculture farming of agricultural crops and plantation trees for pulp and “biomass”, down to the individual suburban squatter who pointlessly and mindlessly murders the trees on “his property”, we see a civilization deranged with homicidally insane hatred of trees. Here most of all there’s no rationale, only pointless destruction. We depend for our very lives on the forests, the primary conjurers of rain and primary sinkers of carbon. Civilization destroys the forests in order to generate desert – in the Mideast, in the Sahara, in the Harrapan and spreading through southern Asia, spreading across South America and soon to engulf the entire Amazon, spreading across North America soon to bring the ultimate dust bowl. The campaign of civilization to destroy forest and replace it with desert has been ongoing for thousands of years. Modern civilization strives to complete the desertification of the globe once and for all. That’s the core globalization campaign, in tandem with suffusion of the whole Earth with industrial poisons and heating the climate beyond complex life’s endurance.
 
These three campaigns of civilization – desert, poison, global heating and climate chaos – go together and reinforce one another, and the pivot point is the destruction of the trees.
 
The nominal purposes of deforestation are to open more space for industrial agriculture, so that it can slather more poison; and directly to log the trees to generate industrial commodities. The real bliss is to end the rains, release the carbon, parch the soil, heat the air, bring the desert. Assorted geeks of the climate-industrial complex pretend to care about the heating. Under this propaganda gambit they push for the accelerated destruction of the forests and the acceleration of the climate crisis by touting another industrial commodity, wood pellets for biomass and biofuels. The lies about “biomass” are absurd and long debunked: Destroying natural forests is always a massive carbon hemorrhage, bringer of aridity, and eradication of biodiversity, while monoculture tree plantations are never carbon sinks and only contribute to drought and mass extinction, as they provide almost no wildlife habitat. They’re a pure loss and pure destruction. But tree plantations have everything in common with grain and soybean plantations: They wipe out the natural forest ecology and replace it with a dead zone, they provide the pretext for the massive slathering of poisons which suffuse the entire environment, they destroy the most capacious sinks and spew massive amounts of carbon into the air, and they dry out the air, dry out the land, bring the desert.
 
With the biomass scam all the political factions, the whole “political spectrum” joins hands to exalt big logging and big coal, and does it in the name of “the climate”. Arbeit Macht Frei. Such vileness, such sadistic glee in destroying while smiling and saying, “This is because I love you Mother Earth”, is not the act of regular greed. It’s the act of a psychopath caressing his knife. Or in this case his chainsaw.
 
 
We owe everything to the trees. The forest is our ancestral home, it spawned us, it sculpted us. That’s why so many have never forgiven the trees. It’s the same hatred of origins, the same hatred of history, which infuses all modern ideology and religion. It’s the same hatred of the physical Earth, the same hatred of biology, the same hatred of our bodies, the hatred of sex, the hatred of the fact that we have to breathe and drink and eat, which infuses the technocratic onslaught, its totalitarian drive to eradicate all of nature and replace it with artificial control. Deforestation and regimented tree plantations are one stage of the destruction and replacement of Gaia with a desert. The same is true of industrial agriculture. Genetically engineered trees are intended to escalate and accelerate this destruction and replacement, just as commodity crop GMOs have accelerated agricultural destruction and desertification, just as they have begun to replace true food.
 
There’s all kinds of superficial power and profit goals here, and elite motives seem manifold. But the collective mass, even as it feels ambivalence, even where it feels revulsion and an ancient imperative to fight or flee, numbly follows where told. The geeks who turn out to “vote” in fake elections invariably vote for the same destruction they fear and deplore. This is a collective inertia, not so much an anthill as army ants on the march. To find the deeper reason we can look at the scientism-technocracy cult for whom modern ecocide-genocide is a religion. They’re the tip of the iceberg, the glaring neon sign fronting the dive, the glint off the blade of the knife.
 
“What matters blood? Don’t you want at least to commit robbery with it? To take revenge? And he listened to his poor reason; it lay upon him like lead.”
 
The revenge campaign as well as the global plunder expedition are part of the vandal berserking. The myths of parricide have haunted our collective unconscious for thousands of years. Now the modern civilization plays out the final act of the infinitely greater crime of matricide, the attempt to murder our Earth Mother Gaia, the core of the future’s myth through which it will try to make sense of this infinite insanity, this infinite blood-lust, this infinite bliss of the knife.
 
 
 
 

January 6, 2019

Either/Or

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Eucalyptus plantations, “gasoline trees” as South American community peoples call them because they’re so incendiary, burn in Portugal in 2017 killing over sixty, burning them alive in their cars. The plantations burn in Chile, in Africa, in Australia, soon GMO plantations will bring flaming death to the US Southeast. And the same fires burn across the globe, everywhere the natural habitats have been devastated and parched. This civilization will burn every last BTU’s worth it can, will burn every last splinter, will dry every last clod of soil, will pump every last molecule of carbon, will poison every drop of water, will kill every plant and animal, will be as a mythologist of modernity wrote “free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy”, until Gaia finally puts an end to the horror.
 
 
It’s self-evident that profit-seeking corporations can never seek any goal other than power and profit. By definition they can’t be enlisted toward any other goal. Any other goal automatically would constitute a constraint on maximal profit-seeking.
 
This is logically self-evident. And for those who don’t trust logic, we have the entire evidence record of capitalist history proving it out. Without exception every example where profiteering was enlisted on behalf of a goal outside the pentacle of power, the venal motive always hijacked, distorted, destroyed the nominal goal. And that’s not even taking into account technocratic religious hatred of nature and freedom. This has been most obvious through the tragic and treacherous history of the environmental movement, whose mainstream quickly decided to become an adjunct of the corporate state with results which easily were predicted.
 
This is obvious to anyone who knows history or who has common sense. At this late date, at this extreme of the crisis, anyone who still claims to believe it’s possible to seek a climate goal through a corporate tollbooth is a liar or an idiot. There’s no other option.
 
Then we have the mass of mainstream environmentalists, Big Green NGOs, climate scientists, progressive and fake “socialist” politicians, and the mainstream media. We have thirty years of a unified, highly visible, lavishly financed climate movement, all dedicated to the proposition that the way to solve the climate crisis is to enlist the profit motive and set up more corporate tollbooths. This movement has accomplished nothing but ever rising emissions and corporate subsidies, ever more severe climatic effects, and ever more threadbare rationales from the likes of the IPCC for how civilization still has time to make those tollbooths work.
 
To the extent these are idiots rather than conscious liars, they comprise those who have been so brain-washed that they assume corporate profit-seeking as literally a law of the universe and find the claim that profiteering and any other goal are mutually exclusive, or very idea of an alternative to profiteering, inconceivable. Therefore they assume on faith that the climate answer has to be a profit-seeking answer. And since this is the only way possible, and since they want it to work, therefore it has to work. That’s their mode of magical thinking. They want the cancer economy (“growth”), they want the resource intensive worthless junk, they want their fundamentalism of Extreme Energy, and so they must have it, and their climate too.
 
For them this is religion, and in the world of the Western middle class corporate system they exclusively inhabit, its cultural and intellectual life, this religion is thus far an unchallenged theocracy. And like the faithful flock of any other theocracy, they don’t see their religion as a religion, indeed can’t comprehend having things phrased to them that way.
 
For example, last week I got into an online argument with someone who vehemently insisted that climate scientists are not pro-capitalist shills across the board, invariably touting nothing but corporate profit-seeking “solutions” to the climate crisis and invariably insisting that the climate crisis can and must be solved purely within the framework of capitalism. (Typical examples – industrial “renewables”, biomass, biofuels, electric cars, carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, “offsets” and similar long-proven frauds, all purely within the framework of capitalism and productionism/consumptionism as such.) This person demanded I give him an example of a pro-capitalist climate scientist. Amazed at such cluelessness, I cited their big climate hero James Hansen (who has never touted anything but capitalism and these days has a second career as a nuke shill) and from there could only reply “Show me an example of one who doesn’t.” This person is typical of a mainstream “environmental” type so inured to an economy, polity, and culture completely dominated by the capitalist imperative that to say to him “climate scientists are pro-capitalist” is like saying to a fish, “you swim in water.” A fish would have no intellectual notion of what water (or swimming) are. In the same way, the devotees of any theocracy don’t recognize themselves as “religious” or their system as a theocracy. To them such things are just the way of the world. Only under pluralistic conditions do people even develop such words and concepts as “religion”.
 
What follows from this? It’s not only impossible to work constructively toward any real action within the system, it’s practically impossible even to talk about it with system devotees, the faithful flock of “green capitalism”, a “green new deal”, a UN climate conference directly sponsored by Big Coal, IPCC reports designed mostly to keep moving the theoretical goal posts to assure its constituency there’s still time and a “carbon budget” left to burn, a Paris scam designed mostly to give political cover for the final destruction of the world’s forests and grasslands under the rubric of a planetary Arbeit Macht Frei of climate policy called “biomass”.
 
And the whole congregation keeps holy rolling with hymns to “1.5 degrees” (or the Paris-enshrined 2 degrees, depending on which establishment climate preacher one follows), dispensing the old snake oil (and of course palm oil). Yet reality says the last time the global atmospheric carbon concentration was above 400PPM, as it has been for several years now, the global temperature was 5-10 degrees higher than now. That much heating already is locked in, although temperatures will take some time to catch up to millions of years worth of carbon increase compressed into a hundred year deluge.
 
And the carbon will continue to escalate, and escalate at an increasing rate as it’s been doing throughout the UNFCCC period. The atmospheric concentration, and the eventual heating, will continue to escalate for as long as the Extreme Energy Civilization exists. So wave bye-bye to 1.5 degrees, let alone to “350” PPM, a fake goal one prominent mainstream sect names itself after. The Earth already is at 410PPM and surging. We won’t see 350 again until hundreds of years after the demise of the technocratic-industrial civilization.
 
 
Again we come down to the need to burn our ships and build a movement completely outside and against the system, very likely with no adherents who ever had any stake in the system, and devote this movement to preparing for the imminent catastrophes and collapses as Gaia goes kinetic and the Earth’s reaction against civilization’s vermin onslaught gathers force. Prepare to endure this storm, and the inevitable extreme violence of an already ultra-violent civilization now in its death throes. Prepare to endure these storms, and speak truth, spread the word of the coming storm – what the Shock Civilization is, what it has wrought, what the inevitable ecological shock reactions are and shall magnify to become, how the burning tower shall never quench its own flame but only do all it can to spread the flame to consume the entire Earth if it doesn’t collapse first, and therefore why nothing can be done with this system and nothing hoped for; but also what must and can be done outside and beyond the system, and what an ecological way of life, what restored natural communities such as those humanity enjoyed for thousands of years before being forced out upon the death march, will truly mean……
 
 
 
 
 

September 21, 2018

Human Cleansing

 
 
Part of the banksters’ deliberate demolition of the global finance system in 2008 was a great surge in food prices which triggered spontaneous crowd scenes the mainstream media branded “food riots”. These pudgy writers and editors didn’t let us know how they believe they’d fare if they and their families were being intentionally starved amid plenteous food, on account of purely artificial scarcity generated by purely political choices made by criminals.
 
We’ve long known the nature of these political decisions. It’s fundamental to capitalism that it generate scarcity amid plenty. This is part of why the productionist civilization works so aggressively to murder the Earth: It wants to generate this scarcity as a physical reality, which it thinks will render its power mission more easy. That’s one reason civilization wants to turn every forest, grassland, and wetland into a desert.
 
Short of this final goal of physical destruction, capitalism accomplishes the enforcement of scarcity by stealing the vast majority of what the productive people grow and craft. In the case of agriculture, the basic mechanisms of this crime have been land enclosure in the West and globalization for much of the global South. The result in both cases has been to drive vast amounts of people off the land, generating mass migrations similar to the barbarian migrations into Europe in the first millennium. Today they pair the economic war campaign with their campaign to drive climate chaos. Global warming will help generate the deserts, and before that drought, flooding, and other disasters will escalate the forced migrations. At the same time the corporate economic dominion and the intensifying ecological chaos will destroy all food security, rendering every society on the planet extremely food insecure.
 
These migrations head to the shantytowns of Southern and European cities, while their ghetto and tent city equivalents in America already are burgeoning. The South is undergoing a new onslaught of land enclosures, as regional kleptocracies sell vast amounts of tribes’ and farmers’ land in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and elsewhere to corporations and conglomerates from places like Sweden, the UK, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and of course Wall Street.
 
Proximately this renewed colonial land grab is to grow commodity soybeans, flowers, feedstock for biofuels, and other worthless luxury items. Commodity soybeans aren’t food but CAFO feedstock designed to be turned into cheap meat in the most wasteful way possible, while biofuels are wasteful, destructive, and malign in principle. In a country like the US ethanol mandates are pure corporate welfare, and globally they serve only to degrade the environment, cause further rainforest destruction and greenhouse gas emissions, and drive up the price of food by diverting it from the mouths of billions of the most vulnerable to the gas tanks of the richest and fattest. Now they’re also the engine of accelerating corporate land enclosures.
 
These assaults on the Southern farmer are the latest depredation of the same globalization in agriculture which has dumped subsidized Western commodities on the domestic markets of almost every country. The goal here is to force all agriculture on Earth, the vast amount of which is logically subsistence agriculture and agriculture grown for local and regional markets, to conform to the practices, prices, and power relations of globalized corporate commodity agriculture. At the same time the IMF, as part of its structural adjustment assaults, forced most of these countries to dismantle their well-functioning state investment programs whose explicit goals had been to assure decent prices for their farmers and make affordable credit available to them. This helped keep much of the wealth generated by small farmers in the hands of those farmers. Today the dumping includes subsidized proprietary GM seeds which cabals like the Gates Foundation and USAID are trying to force upon these already beleaguered farmers, to further enforce this global indenture.
 
Another major driver of grain prices, similar to biofuel mandates, is the diversion of grain from food to feed for livestock. As the corporate system aggressively advertises the consumerism of meat, logs ever greater subsidies which enables them to lower the retail price, and more people in the East can afford to eat more meat, this generates more demand for the extreme waste of grain to feed cattle and pork rather than letting the land be used to grow food. The special arithmetic of the corporations, governments, media, and science establishment says that it’s right to use ten grain calories to produce one calorie of beef; the ratio is only slightly less wasteful for other CAFO inmates. At the same time, everywhere CAFOs exist they’ve destroyed all independent cow and pig farmers. This adds to the forced migrations and the food insecurity of all societies. All these assaults have been subsidized by Western governments. We can add bankster speculation in agricultural commodities to the array of weapons the system deploys to destroy all small farmers, indenture bigger ones, and impose food insecurity.
 
The goal of the economic civilization always has been to drive people off the land and into slums. This maximizes the number of people who are completely detached from any food production whatsoever. Those who still do farm are to be subjected to the forces of capitalist production. That means the constant upheaval and escalating corporate enclosure of the procedures, technology, and basic concepts of production. Synthetic fertilizers, the crop lien, dependency upon cash crops, mechanization, collectivization, dependency upon federal subsidies, the poisons of the Green Revolution, total monoculture, dependency upon global markets, the fencerow-to-fencerow Stalinization of American farming, the rise of Monsanto, GMOs: These are milestones in the history of the farmer’s complete passivity in the face of power imposed upon him from on high. In all of this, domination of food, and in particular the eradication of all food culture, is the totalitarian goal.
 
The goal is to maximize power and impose total domination and control. The power then can be used any way the elites choose: In the short run, to maximize production, profit, and ecological destruction sheerly for their own sakes; in the longer run, to enforce a de jure slave economy in order to maintain their power and luxury in an apocalyptic world of fossil fuel exhaustion and and total ecological collapse. Since a key power tactic is to completely uproot the people, detach them from every frame of reference, every anchor they have, and force them to look to the regime itself as the one and only stable point amid the chaos, it follows that destroying all ability of communities and societies to produce their own food, to destroy even all knowledge of food production, is the way to force total dependency on and obedience to the corporate-technocratic system. This is the way to enforce domination over all of humanity. This campaign has been underway for decades now, starting with the Green Revolution.
 
 
 
 

March 31, 2017

The Role of GM Trees

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Belgium’s Field Liberation Movement (FLM) has released a video opposing the latest Belgian field trial of GM poplar trees engineered for ready processing into biofuels. See here for more on the concept of biofuel-ready GMOs. The FLM is best known internationally for its 2011 action against an illegal field trial of GM potatoes, and the Belgian government’s subsequent, much-condemned attempt to prosecute these participatory citizens as a criminal organization. This was a typical example of the corporate gangsters calling the kettle black.
 
GM trees are easy to understand. Their purpose is the same as the purpose of corporate agriculture in general, albeit in a specially radical way, and they’re designed and deployed toward the same goals.
 
1. The goals of GM tree plantations are to drive deforestation, destroy ecosystems, and drive the people off the land. The goal is to destroy all human cultural diversity and wild biodiversity.
 
2. The goal is to destroy all diversity and impose social and environmental monoculture. The goal is to replace humanity and the Earth with a monocultural dead zone.
 
3. Corporations and governments do this for the sake of power. They and the scientism cult work to generate the monocultural dead zone for its own sake, on religious/ideological principle, and because monoculture, physically and culturally, always helps concentrate power and wealth.
 
4. For public consumption, this is for the sake of the propaganda idea of sustaining the extreme energy consumption mode of civilization and of doing so while finding solutions to climate change and environmental destruction.
 
Of course this always is only the idea of these, never the reality, always the contrary. Nothing can replace fossil fuels to enable the continuation of modernity’s extreme energy consumption, nor can such consumption be done in a way which doesn’t radically aggravate climate change and every other environmental crisis.
 
Biofuels are among the worst criminal frauds in both ways: Like other so-called “alternative” energy sources they depend completely on the foundation of fossil fuels; they’re less efficient than fossil fuels as energy sources; and they’re even worse greenhouse gas emitters and destroyers of carbon sinks. Meanwhile they function effectively to destroy agricultural land and food production by taking this land out of food production and consigning it to this purely worthless, destructive purpose. Biofuel-ready GM trees aggravate deforestation and climate chaos in the name of mitigating them. Other types of GM trees serve similar criminal purposes.
 
All GMOs are hoaxes and frauds in these same ways, in addition to their many other evils. GM tree plantations, which add a great escalation of the direct destruction of forests to the direct and indirect deforestation driven overwhelmingly by corporate industrial agriculture, comprise a new level of criminal destruction and evil being premeditated and carried out by those responsible, from the engineers to the media propagandists.
 
GM agriculture, and corporate industrial agriculture, offer nothing to humanity and the Earth but social and economic destruction, environmental destruction, famine, pandemics, war, and death. It’s clear that here is no way forward, only the deadest of dead ends.
 
The only way forward to survival, transcendence, and victory is the return home to the Earth. The broad highway home is the necessary global transformation to agroecology and Food Sovereignty. We must turn the clock forward.
 
 
 
 
 

February 24, 2017

Fueling the Destruction of Food

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The fire is in the mind of the scientism cult. Their goal is to consume the Earth with it.

The fire is in the mind of the scientism cult. Their goal is to consume the Earth with it.

 
 
GM ethanol-ready corn is perhaps the perfect GMO, at least within the realm of what readily can be sold given conventional subsidies. The only thing better would be a GMO which spontaneously combusts in the field prior to harvest. Indeed, this would be less costly to society, which is why it wouldn’t be as attractive to the GMO cult which is dedicated to being as destructive as possible.
 
Ethanol-ready GMOs represent an advance in the anti-food paradigm of corporate industrial agriculture. Corporate agriculture’s primary goal is to eradicate direct, efficient food production and replace it with highly costly, highly wasteful, highly inefficient commodity production designed to channel all proto-food production through CAFOs and processing in order to generate one calorie of eventual food product out of as much as a hundred calories’ worth of energy. This is the most effective way to destroy as much fuel and food as possible for the least return to human beings. The real product is concentrated power for governments and corporations. The process is made economically possible through massive subsidies and forcing all the costs onto society and the environment. The entire human and earthly economy must bear the burden of this massively bloated parasite. There’s the true cost of corporate industrial agriculture, which through smoke and mirrors is made to seem so cheap to the Western consumer at the retail checkout aisle.
 
This mirror effect is part of the funhouse designed to reinforce the religious mindset which believes that food comes not from the earth but from the supermarket, and ultimately from corporations.
 
Ethanol and biodiesel production comprises a refinement in this Food is Dead paradigm. With cropping bound for ethanol, the commodity crop no longer will be turned into even the most vestigial food. Instead the entire process is a pure loss: The land, the soil, the seed, the water, the air, the work, the socioeconomic destruction, the massive poisoning of the environment, all a total write-off for humanity. This is why ethanol subsidies persist even though this is one of the few corporate projects which actually has provoked resistance from other corporate sectors. In spite of the self-evident insanity and impracticality of the agrofuel concept, it remains sacred to the core of the anti-food technocratic priesthood. To put that more precisely, agrofuels are attractive to technocracy exactly because of their insanity and impracticality. Which is also why GMOs in general are such an object of cult worship for this fundamentalist religion. The cultists believe because it’s insane.
 
The “anti-GMO” movement will never get anywhere until it understands this fact.
 
Ethanol-ready GMOs offer another benefit from the technocratic point of view. Commodity agriculture in general eradicates food production. For a typical example, NAFTA was designed forcibly to convert Mexican production from regionally-based food corn for tortillas to globalized commodity corn for CAFOs, while food corn now would have to be imported and at the mercy of Wall Street speculators. The intended result was a great price surge in tortillas and radically escalating hunger in Mexico. Today ethanol-ready corn is taking this assault on tortillas one step further.
 
Corn is wind-pollinated and therefore is one of the most readily cross-pollinated crops. For that reason it’s among the most difficult to protect from contamination by toxic pollen such as from GM corn.
 
Today we’re seeing an epidemic of documented contamination incidents in Nebraska, and of poor-quality masa flour used to make tortillas. The preparation falls apart during cooking, just the effect one would expect from contamination of corn bred to be more starchy by corn engineered to be more sugary. There have also been many reports of food poisoning caused by the contaminated corn. All this is what we’d expect if the tortilla flour was contaminated by the ethanol-ready corn. This latest contamination and food poisoning outbreak is parallel in every way to the StarLink crisis of 2000-2001 where another special type of GM corn, this one designed especially as CAFO feed, contaminated the food supply causing an epidemic of allergic reactions, many of them life-threatening.
 
All this is what we’d expect from a system committed to wiping out food production for human beings as well as human participation in commodity crop production in general. It’s a system dedicated to driving humans off the land in the most literal sense and denying them food in the most literal sense, all the while preaching such religious mantras as “Corporate Profit is Food” and “Hunger is Food”, that these are the modes of “Feeding the World”.
 
The truth is that from the technocratic point of view, corporate persons literally are the world, and are the only “people” who need to be fed. Meanwhile, except for a handful of elites and their cult supporters, actual human beings are supposed to disappear. Corporate agriculture is designed to make human beings disappear, first from the land into shantytowns, and then, via famine, from the earth completely.
 
The assault of GM corn upon corn bred to be food for human beings is an epitome of this corporate/technocratic paradigm.
 
 
 
 
If you like these seeds, propagate them.
 
 

November 8, 2012

NOW Obama’s Going to do Good Stuff! (Michael Pollan version)

Filed under: Climate Crisis, Corporatism, Disaster Capitalism, Food and Farms — Tags: , — Russell Bangs @ 2:30 am

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Here’s a good test of liberal Obama-worship, a prediction by Michael Pollan:
 
“I think we will stop subsidizing biofuels very soon, perhaps right after the election.”
 
Obama, of course, has been aggressively pro-ethanol so far.
 
Pollan’s a typical case. He spent eight Bush years calling for bottom-up food relocalization and warning against technocratic control of our food, including faith in the central government. As soon as Obama came along, Pollan performed a 180 degree flip-flop. Suddenly the future of the food movement depended on begging elites for Better Policy. This included support for the Food Control Act, whereby Pollan mystically believes that giving far more power to the Monsanto-adjunct FDA will, by magic, make it less pro-Monsanto. Someone with common sense might be forgiven for suspecting that it’ll merely help the FDA further Big Ag’s interest even more aggressively, but then we’re not initiates of the liberal cargo cult.
 
At least Pollan supported the Right to Know initiative, so he’s a somewhat less pure liberal elitist than the scum mentioned in this piece, who opposed the initiative simply because as a good “process” liberal he “distrusts” filthy peasant ballot initiatives as such.

 
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February 10, 2011

The Revolution of Food

 

Two years ago a hideous surge in food prices triggered spontaneous crowd scenes the MSM termed “food riots”. These stout writers and editors didn’t let us know how they think they’d fare if they and their families were being intentionally starved amid plenteous food, on account of purely artificial scarcity generated by purely political choices made by criminals. Today this food stagflation is upon us again, and this time it looks permanent.
 
We’ve long known the nature of these political decisions. It’s fundamental to capitalism that scarcity be generated amidst plenty. This is accomplished by stealing the vast majority of what the productive people grow and craft. In the case of agriculture, the basic mechanisms of this crime were land enclosure in the West and globalization for much of the global South. The result in both cases was to drive vast amounts of people off the land, generating mass migrations similar to the barbarian migrations into Europe in the first millennium. This migration headed to the shantytowns of the cities (and their ghetto and project and trailer park, and now tent city, equivalents in America). In the wake of globalization, in line with the new feudalism, the South is undergoing a new onslaught of land enclosures, as regional kleptocracies “sell” vast amounts of land in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and elsewhere to corporations and conglomerates from places like Sweden, the UK, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and of course Wall Street.
 
The number one reason for this new colonial land grab is to grow jatropha and palm oil feedstock for biofuels. This is just the latest and most malevolent result of the West’s biofuel mandates, a policy as wicked as it is irrational. Within a country like the US, ethanol mandates are pure corporate welfare, and globally they serve only to degrade the environment, cause further rainforest destruction and greenhouse gas emissions, and drive up the price of food by diverting it from the mouths of billions of the most vulnerable to the gas tanks of the richest and fattest. Now they’re also the engine of the new feudal enclosures.
 
These assaults on the Southern farmer are the latest depredation of the same globalization in agriculture which has dumped subsidized Western commodities on the domestic markets of almost every country. The goal here was to force all agriculture on Earth, the vast amount of which is logically subsistence agriculture and agriculture grown for local and regional markets, to conform to the practices, prices, and power relations of globalized corporate commodity agriculture. At the same time the IMF, as part of its structural adjustment assaults, forced most of these countries to dismantle their well-functioning state investment programs whose explicit goals had been to assure decent prices for their farmers and make affordable credit available to them. This helped keep much of the wealth generated by small farmers in the hands of those farmers. (If one chose, one could cite this as an example of a liberal government program which worked well. In that case, the Western liberals’ betrayal of such enlightened Southern governments in favor of Western globalization and agribusiness is just another on the ledger of their great crimes.) Today the dumping includes subsidized GMO crops as well as the proprietary seeds, which cabals like Bill Gates’ AGRA (Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa) are trying to force upon these already beleaguered farmers, to further enforce this global indenture.
 
Another major driver of grain prices, similar to biofuel mandates, is the diversion of grain from food to feed for livestock. As more people in the East can afford to eat more meat, this generates more demand for the inefficient use of grain to feed cattle and pork rather than be used directly for food. The conversion rates are c. 7 grain calories to produce 1 calorie of beef; for pork it’s 4-5:1. People wanting to eat more meat isn’t intrinsically wicked the way using food to fuel one’s SUV is. What is evil is the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) mode of animal farming which has been designed to foster this conversion process. Everywhere CAFOs exist they’ve destroyed all independent cow and pig farmers and radically accelerated the food conversion process and concomitant structural price increase for grain. This process, too, has been subsidized by Western governments. 
 
Today every survey of food stagflation cites biofuel mandates, CAFOs (though they usually blame the consumers themselves; this was Bush’s favorite culprit) and the decline of agricultural investment as two of the main drivers. Over the last ten years, we can add food speculation to the indictment against Western capitalism. There’s been a lot of controversy lately over how much of an effect on prices food speculators really have. It’s true that they don’t have the same structural effect as subsidized commodity dumping, subsidized proprietary inputs and seeds, the forced privatization of investment, and biofuel mandates. These are all structural crimes. In light of these, speculators may serve as a scapegoat for some who want to politically shield these interests. Then we have globalization ideologues like Paul “It’s not class warfare” Krugman who are ardent to absolve all direct criminal actors of blame. So in desperation he blames poor harvests, this time in Russia, which are perhaps effects of climate change and its volatile weather patterns. He claims that the absence of evidence of significant grain hoarding proves his case. He trots out his stupid supply-demand graph which conveniently assumes and therefore conceals all the structural criminal aspects of the system, the crimes he spent years fighting to see committed. “Once we ignore the artificial scarcity built into the system, and all the rents it extracts, then we can call it a ‘market’. And once we’ve rationalized, moralized, normalized the status quo in this way, it’s easy to see that speculators can’t have any effect compared to a failed harvest.” 
 
But this whole line of argument is ridiculous. The very fact that climate change may be affecting harvests renders the effects of speculation all the more destructive, as the margin is that much more thin. The market already teeters on the brink of a price explosion even under the best conditions, on account of the system’s already being a hostage to global commodification in all its aspects. Under these conditions of structurally hardwired volatility, how much would a speculator have to hoard in order to drive up prices enough that his bets would win? I bet it’s not much. What other manipulations could a player like Goldman Sachs perform?
 
It’s common sense that if banksters start messing around with a market and the price explodes, they played a role in it, even if exactly how they did it isn’t always immediately clear. As Sherlock Holmes said to Watson, “If I asked you to prove two plus two is four you might have some trouble doing it, even though you know it’s true.”
 
So we have permanent food stagflation afflicting billions in the non-West as well as, increasingly, the West itself. We know this is not the result of supply-demand fundamentals, since supply has been grotesquely manipulated by power. Subsidies in the form of direct payments, tariffs, IP policy, and one-way globalization “treaties” which boil down to “free markets for me, prostrate victimization for you”, more than make up for any revenue which would otherwise be lost according to textbook supply inefficiencies. Globalization was never anything but colonialism by other means. And just as the original imperialism eventually came home politically to Europe in the form of totalitarian politics, so today’s globalization is coming home in the form of totalitarian corporate economic rule.
 
This is the essence of globalization, and it’s the structural reason for food stagflation as we descend into global depression and permanent mass unemployment (also an intentional policy). Food speculation is the last straw added to the already burning pile. Given how the banksters were the ones who coordinated the globalization onslaught, set in motion the process of mass permanent job destruction, and have now intentionally crashed the world’s real economy and used this as the pretext to steal trillions more in the form of the Bailout, it’s not surprising that their speculation in food is the most inflammatory element of the price explosion, even if relative to the structure its effect is supplementary. In essence, speculating in food, just like any predatory manipulation of food supplies, is a crime against humanity. All of commodity agriculture, and all proprietarianism related to it (it’s conceptually impossible to have a property right in any food plant, since commercialized plant varieties are already the result of thousands of years of grower selection and breeding, and any new work is merely a miniscule add-on, like placing a pebble on a mountain; any intellectual property is already long since hardwired into its public domain existence), is such a crime. So if food speculators are becoming the public face of infamy, this is really an armed robber and mass murderer being hanged for one of his lesser muggings. He still deserves it, of course. I’ll go along with whatever’s most politically effective, since it’s the same capital criminal. But our analysis should identify what’s fundamental (globalization itself, capitalism itself) and what’s ancillary. 
 
The peoples of the world know these crimes for what they are, evidently far better than those of the West itself. It makes sense – they have far more experience as the victims of these crimes. Unlike in 2008, they’re reacting to this new, permanent round of food price crime, not with “food riots” but with revolutions. I have high hopes that we’re finally seeing the anti-colonial movement resuming after so many decades of having been hijacked and subverted. This time the people of the world won’t fall for the lies of the West. They’ve been through this too many times before. This is the final bid for liberation, and although many of its initial demands will be political, it’s more profoundly about the people taking control of their economies. Most of all, it’s about food. These are lessons we’ll have to bring home to ourselves to meet the totalitarianism now coming home to us. Here too, it’ll be about food.
 
Meanwhile, I haven’t been seeing much of the MSM calling this a food riot anymore. That must be why they sound so confused, tentative, disgruntled – such easy dismissals will no longer be easy for them. Oh no! Somebody’s actually making them work! Horrible. Hopefully we’ll soon be making them work as well.

December 24, 2010

What Does the Class War Mean for Research and Development?

 

We have a permanent Depression setting in, the normalization of 20%+ unemployment, and it’s clear that the kleptocracy views the health care system as nothing but a rent extraction machine. The legislated policy is to use the IRS as a strong-arm goon to extort protection money in exchange for a worthless Stamp, while there will be no credible cost controls or realistic regulatory restraints on the health insurance rackets.
 
Under those circumstances, it’s hard to imagine how, for as long as this system endures, the actual care available to the non-rich won’t continue to rapidly deteriorate.
 
So we must ask about something like medically necessary research (publicly subsidized, of course): What difference does any medical advance make if it will increasingly be the monopoly of the predatory rich? In that case, don’t even medical advances become weapons against us? Weapons we pay for, to add insult to injury. Gibbon depicts the plight of conquered people doing forced labor in metal shops, “forced to forge the implements of their own destruction”. Is this the case with all technological R&D by now?
 
Do alleged advances really still advance us? Does the African farmer benefit by being driven off his ancestral land, which is then converted to corporate biofuel production to feed Western cars? No honest person would try to argue that. Yet isn’t that the core logic of neoliberalism, which is increasingly coming home to the West itself? Those same biofuels have been driving up the price of our food for three years now, even as our jobs vanish and the cost of living soars in every other way. Is the ethanol mandate, and the cost it imposes on us, different in kind from the looming health racket mandate? Aren’t all these mandates really the same thing?
 
African agro-imperialism is only a seemingly extreme, but really typical example of how this system allocates its research and the output of this research. None of it is intended to benefit the people. The people are only there to be mined and exploited, or just driven out to die. The only intent, anywhere, is corporate rent extraction. “Profit”. We are those dispossessed tribal farmers. We can see it everywhere already. Their enemies are our enemies. We’ll end up exactly as they are.
 
In the end, all the mid-century liberal advances were fruit of the cheap oil surplus. With Peak Oil, that period has come to an end. That’s part of why in the 1970s the power structure switched over from normal exploitation, which could include the concessions* that enabled the rise of a mass middle class, to neoliberal kleptocracy, through which those concessions have been rolled back and that middle class is being liquidated.
 
So everything has changed politically. The kleptocratic process is intended to be terminal toward the the restoration of feudalism. 
 
[*I use the word concession with deliberation. Liberalism, as an elitist trickle-down ideology, never contested the right of predatory elites to steal the labor and produce of the productive people. At its best, what liberalism did was beg for some concessions to be trickled back down. Today it no longer even does that.]
 
At the same time, physical resource limits are imposing a great change, the end of “growth”. A different way of putting what I said above is that it was easier for the corporatists to concede more wealth equality when the pie was growing thanks to cheap, plentiful oil. But now that the pie must contract, and the oil surplus recede, we’re headed back to history’s normal economic course, the course prior to the drawdown of the fossil fuel principal.
 
It’s up to us whether we let ourselves be driven back into serfdom, or whether we take all we’ve learned from the Oil Age, politically and economically, and use it to build a wiser, more prosperous world.
 
That requires the relentless fight against corporatism on every possible front. This fight must supersede all other concerns, since the progress of the fight dictates the status of those concerns. Even issues which are ambiguous in themselves will often become clear once placed in the corporate war context. We have to oppose the redistribution of wealth upward in all its forms, including the use of public money for alleged social goods which will really be rationed by ability to pay in an extremely wealth-concentrated environment.
 
When I say “fight” I’m thinking of the likelihood that it’s far more possible to block bad government actions than to induce it to perform good ones. I’ve long considered the latter impossible, and that it’s a waste of effort to beg the system for the good. But maybe it’s still possible for citizen pressure and resistance to block some of the bad. On that front, we have to be obstructionists wherever possible.
 
We can no longer afford to contemplate the intrinsic ambivalence of things. The struggle against corporatism and for direct democracy dictates most positions out of its own imperatives. Few things now are significant in themselves.
 
So that’s what I meant when I started out expressing skepticism about system research, and obviously all proprietary research. Like so many things which look intrinsically benevolent from the ivory tower, removed from the real world context (cap and trade? electric cars? a VAT?), it becomes far less so in practice if undertaken under kleptocratic auspices.
 
So that’s why by now my default position is: Political transformation first, even at the temporary expense of things which may be theoretically beneficial but are not so under this dispensation. 

December 23, 2010

The Limits to Racketeering

 

According to Joseph Tainter’s theory of imperial collapse, as societies become more complex, they must expend an ever greater portion of the energy they have available simply on maintaining their complexity. Although social and technological advances may achieve profitable returns for awhile, once a certain level of complexity is reached, diminishing returns set in. Eventually, at the late imperial stage, the complexity of the power structure, the military infrastructure, the bureaucracies, all the rents involved in maintaining an ever more bloated parasite class, their luxuries, the police state required to extract these rents and keep the productive people down, and the growing losses due to the response of the oppressed producers, everything from poor quality work to strikes to emigration or secession to rebellion, reaches a point where the system can only cannibalize itself and eventually collapse.
 
Julian Assange’s theory of the secrecy tax he’s trying to impose through Wikileaks is one example of these diminishing returns on imperial complexity. All the indications are that Wikileaks has been successful in this.
 
One dynamic of the system which makes citizen action so difficult is its distributed responsibility for repressing the people. But perhaps the same dynamic also generates an inner weakness.
 
The way things are today, anyone who wants to reform anything, anywhere (or in the case of politicians, pretend to try to reform) finds himself blocked by some vested interest which pops up to resist. There’s always a particular criminal who, in defending his own piece of the action, also takes the lead in defending the corporatist system as a whole, in that particular fight. The resources of change are always more thinly and broadly distributed than the force of the status quo, which concentrates immediately in the form of that special interest. That’s the way kleptocracy works. That’s also part of the reason regulation of rackets can never work.
 
However, there’s also a reverse vector here. The system is dedicated to the growth of every wealth and power cell. So the federal government never has any intention of rigorously regulating anybody. If it ever tried, it would face the same concentration of resistance. But it’s also constantly importuned by the aggression of those same concentrations, usually many or all of them at once. Each interest is not only a conservative defender of the status quo, but a reactionary aggressor.
 
So we have the vector of reform blocked and shattering itself on the immovable object of the entrenched racket. And in the same way we have the vector of that same racket’s insatiable greed and aggression as an irresistible force pushing the inertial government and power structure as a whole. As physics equations, these are identical effects, although in one case the racket is stationary, in the other it is in motion. In both cases its inertia is immutable.
 
The vector of racket greed, what Marx called the siren song luring the racketeer, cooing “Go on!…Go on!”, is always in the direction of greater expansion, greater complexity, monopolizing more of the finite system resources for itself. The system as a whole cannot achieve sufficient concentration at any point to resist this aggressive concentration.
 
It follows from this that there’s no way the system can rationalize itself or retrench in its own self-interest. Trying to do this, it would run into the same special interest resistance at each point. It too would find itself more dispersed than the concentration which resists. Nor can it even keep up its sham pretenses to democracy, two conflicting parties, the rule of law, since there’s no way for it to distribute responsibility for anyone in particular sustaining a loss. Nor is there anyone who would be rewarded for imposing this loss on anyone within the fraternity. Each racket or individual racketeer says, “Why should I take the hit for the common (elite) good? Let someone else take it.”
 
The recent doubling down on the ethanol mandates is a good example. The ethanol racket is absurd even by this kleptocracy’s standards. Many other rackets opposed this blend wall extension. All rational observers think the mandate should be repealed completely. It will only exhaust the people even further (exhaust their economic capacity and perhaps their political patience; everything runs that risk) and render the infrastructure even more prone to breakdown. But the system is helpless. At each point, like this one, there’s one aggressor against a dissipated front. It’s the same as when the people try to fight them.
 
This is a welter of parasites battening on the same host. They’re in a zero sum game, not only against the people, but among themselves. Each has an interest in just exploiting the host, not killing it. But together they are killing it and therefore themselves. It’s clear none is capable of organizing or regulating the others. The federal government isn’t capable of doing it. If one big bank tried to do it, it would be subverted by the others. Each racket, from highest to lowest, is going to maximize its bloodsucking until there’s no blood left.
 
It’s the truest and most extreme example of the tragedy of the commons. (The “tragedy of the commons” is a Big Lie in general, but in cases like this one it’s true.) Biologically, it can’t stay this way. It’s impossible to exploit any resource this way forever or to maintain such cannibalistic complexity. Such a bottleneck cannot endure. That’s why no such tyranny has lasted long, and in the acceleration of modern times, where tyrannies take only years to go through the same life cycle which once took centuries, we can reasonably aspire to soon see the collapse of this one.
 
The Tower of Babel grows ever higher, ever more top-heavy, ever more unstable, ever more tottering.
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