In the shadow of the horrible Tucson shooting and all the political bullshit foamed up in its wake, the earth continues its wild spin into disaster.
Peak oil and climate change, to use a nightmare analogy, are similar to a huge, unlimited-clipped Glock 19 firing into an unsuspecting crowd — except in this case, there doesn’t seem to be any heroic peoples nearby to wrestle the shooter to the ground.
(Illustration found here).
As 2011 unfolds in a most ugly way, the globe — the good, green planet — persists in moving through one worse-case scenario after another as the population enlarges its biological overshoot day-by-day.
And a major influence in a lot of confused (and in some cases, a twisted logic) human brains is the reality-knowledge that life is going to change, and change very dramatically and very quickly.
Especially as peak oil starts to catch up with daily life, which will lead more and more crazed peoples to do crazy things, maybe even widespread civil unrest as the penny drops on the realization we’re doomed.
Food is a must.
Gwynne Dyer has a post at commondreams.org on future food riots.
The food riots began in Algeria more than a week ago, and they are going to spread. During the last global food shortage, in 2008, there was serious rioting in Mexico, Indonesia, and Egypt. We may expect to see that again this time, only bigger and more widespread.
“We are entering a danger territory,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, chief economist at the Food and Agriculture Organisation, on 5 January.
The price of a basket of cereals, oils, dairy, meat and sugar that reflects global consumption patterns has risen steadily for six months, and has just broken through the previous record, set during the last food panic in June, 2008.
“There is still room for prices to go up much higher,” Abbassian added, “if for example the dry conditions in Argentina become a drought, and if we start having problems with winter kill in the northern hemisphere for the wheat crops.”
After the loss of at least a third of the Russian and Ukrainina grain crop in last summer’s heat wave and the devastating floods in Australia and Pakistan, there’s no margin for error left .
And with 2010 being in a tie with warmest year on record, and the flooding of ‘bibical proportions’ in Australia, climate change keeps its vise grip on events, tearing apart land, people and tomorrow.
David Stockman, Ron Reagan’s head of the Office of Management and Budget, says the US is in dire straits and maybe beyond salvage.
In an interview with Raw Story, Stockman explains the military empire the US created is pushing the disaster envelope.
A couple of bits:
“The Cold War is long over,” he continued. “The wars of occupation are almost over and were complete failures — Afghanistan and Iraq.
The American empire is done.
There are no real seriously armed enemies left in the world that can possibly justify an $800 billion national defense and security establishment, including Homeland Security.”
Short of that, he suggested, the United States has “reached the point of no return” with its artificial creation of wealth, and will eventually face a sharp economic decline.
Calling today’s military spending running at 5.4 percent of GDP “simply an absurd level that begs for radical contraction and surgery,” he said that a “reasonable target” to shrink the defense establishment would be 3 percent of GDP by 2015.
Stockman explained that before 1980, it took about $1.50 of new borrowing — public or private — to generate $1 of GDP growth.
By the mid-1990s, it was $2.50 or $3 of borrowing for a $1 of GDP growth. By 2007, before the big collapse and meltdown finally came, $7 of public and private debt was added to the national balance sheet in order to get $1 of GDP growth.
“When you get to the point of $7 of borrowing to get $1 of income, you’re obviously on an unsustainable path and pretty close to hitting the wall, which more or less we have,” he said.
“So the addicts in Washington are now unfortunately terrified to stop all this borrowing whether it’s for guns or butter for fear of the economy will collapse…. That’s why we’re just at the beginning of solving this massive financial collapse we had in 2008 and not in the process of healthy recovery as some of the pals in the White House or on Capitol Hill or on Wall Street would have you believe.”
America’s “massive debt-created, artificial prosperity” is unprecedented in history, he continued.
In 1981, Reagan reportedly chewed Stockman’s ass for talking too much via a magazine article — the infamous “a visit to the woodshed” incident — on how economics are not so simple.
Long, long ago in a place out of this world.