Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Women on the verge

A conversation between two of my friends, James Howard Kunstler and Piero San Giorgio, about Piero's recent book, which I translated and published. Please have a listen.

You are not in control

My recent book tour was very valuable, among other things, in gauging audience response to the various topics related to the technosphere and its control over us. Specifically, what seems to be generally missing is an understanding that the technosphere doesn’t just control technology; it controls our minds as well. The technosphere doesn’t just prevent us from choosing technologies that we think may be appropriate and rejecting the ones that aren’t. It controls our tastes, making us prefer things that it prefers for its own reasons. It also controls our values, aligning them with its own. And it controls our bodies, causing us to treat ourselves as if we were mechanisms rather than symbiotic communities of living cells (human and otherwise).

None of this invalidates the approach I proposed for shrinking the technosphere which is based on a harm/benefit analysis and allows us to ratchet down our technology choices by always picking technologies with the least harm and the greatest benefit. But this approach only works if the analysis is informed by our own tastes, not the tastes imposed on us by the technosphere, by our values, not the technosphere’s values, and by our rejection of a mechanistic conception of our selves. These choices are implicit in the 32 criteria used in harm/benefit analysis, favoring local over global, group interests over individual interests, artisanal over industrial and so on. But I think it would be helpful to make these choices explicit, by working through an example of each of the three types of control listed above. This week I'll tackle the first of these.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Parbuckle and Launch

Most of what it will take to assemble QUIDNON from a kit is quite easy. The plywood panels that make up the core of the hull are fitted together using mortise and tenon joins which are then fixed in place using wedges driven in with a mallet. Outer layers of plywood are glued on and screwed in place using an electric drill. Joints are saturated with epoxy and filleted using brushes and other hand tools. An outer layer of fiberglass is applied to the hull by draping it in fiberglass cloth and saturating it with epoxy using rollers. Most of these are fun activities for family and friends. But there are two operations that are daunting for even the seasoned and experienced DIY people: flipping the hull over, and launching it.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

It's the Saudis, Stupid!

[I am still in recovery from the book tour (which went well), so here is a timely rerun. Trump just banned entry to migrants from a list of “terrorist” countries that had been concocted by the Obama administration. Missing from that list is terrorist country number one: Saudi Arabia. It would be too much to hope that Trump will amend Obama's list, however; no matter who happens to be president, the US and the Saudis are pretty much joined at the hip.]

[Just nine days after I pointed out that Obama's latest “humanitarian” bombing puts American lives in danger, we have the video of the journalist James Foley's beheading at the hands of Daash, a.k.a. Islamic Caliphate, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL. Well, that didn't take long! But there is more to the story: what stands behind this event, and others, such as 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Benghazi massacre and numerous other acts of terror is none other than America's best friend, the House of Saud. Here is a post by my friend Idris to explain this vital connection.]

The recent rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, along with its bedfellow Jahbat Al-Nusra (JN) is being viewed with alarm worldwide. It is the latest in a series of problems related to Islamic extremism for which Al Qaeda is the poster child. From Somalia to Yemen to Nigeria to the Levant to Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Chechnya to Xinjiang, China and even raising its head among the populations of western countries, both Muslim and non-Muslim are facing the ravages of the Salafi/Takfiri Nexus of Jihad.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In Psychopaths We Trust

There is a new executive team taking over in Washington. Some people view this development with cautious optimism, others quake in trepidation, gnash their teeth, rend their garments and scatter ashes over the heads Old Testament-style. Those who expect things to be a bit different in Washington now can point to something rather specific: in his inaugural address, Trump used words never before heard in an inauguration speech: words like “bleed,” “carnage,” “depletion,” “disrepair,” “ripped,” “rusted,” “sad,” “stolen” and “trapped.” These words describe the real United States, not the fake United States concocted by politicians, the media and wealthy elites. The fake United States is close to full employment; the real United States has sidelined close to 100 million unemployed workers. In the fake United States the economy has recovered and is growing nicely; the real United States is sinking ever deeper into unrepayable debt, rushing headlong toward inevitable national bankruptcy. It would seem that Trump is interested in reality whereas his predecessor excelled in deluding himself—and others. This would indicate that perhaps the new boss won't be the same as the old boss.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

East Coast Book Tour

Later this month I'll be appearing at the following bookstores to give a talk and to sign copies of Shrinking the Technosphere:

Tuesday, January 24, 17:30—18:30
Firestorm
Asheville, North Carolina

Wednesday, January 25, 19:00—20:00
Flyleaf
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Thursday, January 26, 19:00 – 20:15
Quail Ridge Books
Raleigh, North Carolina

Friday, January 27, 19:00—20:00
Four Seasons
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Hope to see you there!

If you are interested in inviting me for a talk and a book signing, please email EJ at newsociety.com.

The Day the World Changes

We are conditioned to think of change as lots of small changes—a continuum—although history tends to be punctuated by large, unforeseen events that are only understood after the fact. Last year's reconquest of Aleppo was one such incident. People are still assuming that Pax Americana is still an item; well, we'll just have to see. The US defense establishment may have just joined higher education, medicine and, of course, finance as just another brazen swindle.

Whenever something big happens, people become confused. Is a power cut just a temporary glitch in the grid, or is it the end of the grid?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Wherefore Goes Germany?

About a year ago, in of a mood of despair and a sense of looming danger, I wrote an article, which Dmitry was kind enough to publish on his blog, titled Exit Strategy for Traitors. This article is an update. Nothing has changed fundamentally, but a lot has happened, and the situation has improved in just one single respect.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

How to Make America Great Again with Other People’s Money

A lot of the sharper-minded commentators have recently started pointing out a problem with Donald Trump’s plan to “make America great again”: lack of funds. The US is bankrupt: sinking ever-further into unrepayable debt, unable to achieve a rate of economic growth that could ever catch up with its growing debt burden. It is in the midst of a giant financial bubble that is propped up by various scams and rackets, from car loans whose term exceeds the useful lifetime of the car, to retirement fund shortfalls caused by effectively negative interest rates, to educational debt that condemns ever more young people to a lifetime of indentured servitude, to the medical racket which is now eating up over 20% of the economy while delivering some of the worst levels of well-being in the entire developed world… Attempts to fix any of these problems would inevitably run into long-standing, intractable political conflicts and contradictions and go nowhere while also bursting the financial bubble and turning the political realm into one very large and angry poop party. Better not even go there!

And so Trump’s plan to “make America great again” through infrastructure spending, repatriating manufacturing jobs and other great quests will have to wait, possibly forever. All of these things would require taking on even more debt, even as around the world everyone tries to unload US debt as fast as possible, leaving the Federal Reserve as the debt-buyer of last resort. This would have the effect of turning US sovereign debt into a pure Ponzi scheme, and Ponzi schemes don’t go on for too long. But if the requirement to “make America great again” is nonnegotiable, what alternatives are there?