Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back on 2014: Posts I Could Not Complete

Hexagon: Inverse of NASA colors (see last image)
There were quite a few posts I wanted to get to but had "writer's block" or blogger's block, and just could not "git 'R dun" for some reason.

So, in surrender, and to get beyond the block, I am providing the names of the posts that were not written, but not the links that were to have been included in those embryonic posts that were never born.

The three graphics shown in today's post are NASA Cassini-Huygens photos of the mysterious hexagon on the planet Saturn's north pole.

I have managed to write about it a time or two in times past (Saturn's Many Mysteries, Saturn - Home of the Hexagon Mystery, cf. Exploded Planet Hypothesis).
Hexagon & 'hot-spot' outlined
Original NASA Colors

There are many things about our planet, our Sun, our solar system, ourselves, and our universe that we do not understand.

So, it is fun sometimes to speculate and indulge in some science fiction mixed as always with scientific facts.

The year that begins tomorrow will be another interesting year.

I wrote about one event that will put climate change in the forefront of some minds that have not yet contemplated it fully (Message of Science & Religion - Western - 2).

There are many other events, such as the rising danger of nuclear war, as well as the rising sea levels, that will keep The Dredd Blog System focused on important issues.

Another mystery that was not solved in 2014 is the book written in a language that has not been deciphered yet.

I wrote about it some years ago (Ancient Ecocosmology?).

Anyway, here are the unfinished (shame on me) posts I planned to do, but failed to write, during 2014 --but which I plan to try again to complete in 2015:
Exploded Planet Hypothesis - 3
Ecosystems, Microbes, Viruses, and Virulence
Earth Farming vs. Organic Farming
A Savvy Ecocosmological Earth Calendar - 3
Big Bang Challenges
Wanted: Technology To Save Our Species - 2 (Done)
What Kind of Intelligence is Prescience? - 3
The Little People - 3
A Religious Doctrine For Toxins of Power - 2
Is Specialization a Source of Toxins of Power?
On The Origin of the Toxins of Conspiracy Power
Toxoplasmosis - Sapolsky
Origin of Cats
The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust? - 2
Propaganda In Microbes

Thanks to all readers from all over the world who read Dredd Blog System posts (Who Reads Dredd Blog).

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Petroleum Civilization: The Final Chapter (Confusing Life with Death)

"Oilandia: Capitol of Petroleum Civilization"
Some folks will say anything.

For example, a government website exclaims that: "Renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and water power play an important - and increasing - role in our nation's energy mix. The growth of clean and domestic renewable energy is an important part of addressing climate change and increasing our energy security" (Export Dot Gov).

At the same time, on another page, that government website exclaims that: "Oil is the lifeblood of America's economy.  Currently, it supplies more than 40% of our total
Bacteriophage T4: Oilandia's oilwell drilling rigs
energy demands and more than 99% of the fuel we use in our cars and trucks" (Export Dot Gov).

Another government site (DOE) used to proclaim the same thing (The Fleets & Terrorism Follow The Oil), but for some reason they took it down.

Anyway, the definition of the word "lifeblood" is: "the blood, considered as essential to maintain life" (Dictionary).

Using the word, as the .gov does, makes it sound like the U.S. economy, and hence the nation, is dead without oil.

Meanwhile, and to the contrary, other government and scientific reports indicate that if we keep using "the lifeblood" we will become dead (Are We Riding Out The Sixth Mass Extinction?, The Real Dangers With Microbes & Viruses, Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch - 4).

So, is the notion "oil is lifeblood but using oil is destroying us" a conundrum, a predicament, a paradox, or all three?

Petroleum Civilization has to go, but the question we face is "will it take humanity out with it when it goes?"

History gives us one answer we obviously do not like:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown." - A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee
(The Deceit Business - 3). If this is not the answer we like, we will just have to live and die with it, because no one in power in Petroleum Civilization seems to want the human species to pass the test.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Message of Science & Religion - Western - 3

I. Introduction

In today's post I will discuss aspects of a subject matter area where (what seems to be) the majority of scientists and religionists have found substantial agreement.

This development is furtherance of the subject discussed in the first post of this series as follows: "Science and religion both tell us of future catastrophe and a way out" (Message of Science & Religion, cf. Civilization Not Busy Being Born is Busy Dying).

II. An Ancient Seed Now Grown Humongous

In terms of religion, "Armageddon" is an ancient notion that has shaped cultural trances down through time all the way to our current culture (Viva Egypt - 2, The Universal Smedley - 2, Choose Your Trances Carefully, The Peak of Sanity - 3).

Regular readers know that in recent posts I have looked at the scientific side of the subject of climate & war catastrophe (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4).

III. The Nitty Gritty

So, in today's post I want to discuss some aspects of the religious side of life, because this subject impacts upon billions of people (List of Religious Populations).

To assist in grasping the issue, for reference I will use the Pope's upcoming official declaration (Edict on Climate Change, Think Progress) as well as the opposition to it by other religionists (Koch Operative Opposes Pope, Koch Operative is of Cornwall Alliance; Note: Eastern Religions also have environmental concerns: What Kind of Intelligence Is Prescience? - 2).

IV. The Opposing Views

The scientists are very unified in their discoveries concerning global warming induced climate change, with about 97% of scientists verifying its human origin, but with about 3% not agreeing that it is of human origin.

Religionists argue that "God would not have created creatures or a creation so weak that they would suffer their own extinction" while dominating nature as they multiplied as commanded:
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in His own image;
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
(MEV Bible, Genesis 1, emphasis added). The Pope has said that these Bible verses are not a license to destroy or pollute the Earth:
Pope Francis made the religious case for tackling climate change on Wednesday, calling on his fellow Christians to become “Custodians of Creation” and issuing a dire warning about the potentially catastrophic effects of global climate change.

Speaking to a massive crowd in Rome, the first Argentinian pope delivered a short address in which he argued that respect for the “beauty of nature and the grandeur of the cosmos” is a Christian value, noting that failure to care for the planet risks apocalyptic consequences.

“Safeguard Creation,” he said. “Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!”

The pope centered his environmentalist theology around the biblical creation story in the book of Genesis, where God is said to have created the world, declared it “good,” and charged humanity with its care. Francis also made reference to his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who was a famous lover of
"Oilah Akbar" vs. "God is Great"
animals, and appeared to tie the ongoing environmental crisis to economic concerns — namely, instances where a wealthy minority exploits the planet at the expense of the poor.

“Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,” Francis said.

Francis also said that humanity’s destruction of the planet is a sinful act, likening it to self-idolatry.
(Climate Progress). The Pope's detractors, both inside and outside the Catholic Church, take exception:
Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance, a Religious Right group that specializes in promoting pollution, has been well-paid by the Kochs and other polluters to say things like this:
[to believe in climate change] "really is an insult to God ... and it will eventually lead to tyranny."
Here's what he gave the Guardian for "balance":
Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.

“The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”
This is interesting on several levels.

1) Beisner is not Catholic, so why would a reporter ask him about the Pope? Other than that he is sure to return your email/call, since that's his job.

2) Beisner's grift is getting polluters to fund his propagandizing of white conservative evangelical Protestants like himself. Preaching to the conservative choir is a solid meal ticket these days. But it's not a Catholic choir in this case.

3) A minority of US Catholics are right-wing conservatives, and some of them have lots of media cred. Were none of them available (on presumably short notice) to espouse climate change denial?

4) Why would Francis care what "millions of evangelical Christians in the US" think about his endorsing the climate change consensus? If he thinks it's the right thing to do, he will do it, even if millions of American Catholics oppose him.

5) The "false religion" bit is ironic, since that's a charge evangelical Protestants have been aiming at the Catholic Church for 500 years.

Besides the encyclical, Francis plans to convene a summit of world religious leaders and speak to the United Nations General Assembly, all with the goal of influencing a major UN meeting on climate change in Paris next year.

Climate change will become a much bigger story next year, in good part due to Pope Francis.
(Daily Kos). This boils down to the reality that the science based warnings from government (Government Climate Change Report, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) are accepted by the Pope.

It is also an issue of religious hermeneutics, i.e., interpreting the meaning of religious text (e.g. Wikipedia: Hermeneutics, Hermeneutics For The Blogosphere).

V. Future Developments

That the Pope is anti-Qil-Qaeda is not a problem with Oil-Qaeda operatives, but when the Pope publishes his edict, that will trouble Oil-Qaeda and its cohorts.

Oil-Qaeda has controlled governments for a century and does not intend to give up without a fight (The Peak of the Oil Lies, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

In the U.S. where fundamentalism is strong, the Pope is likely to be portrayed as a "false Christ" by some (Cranky: Who is Mystery Babylon, Not so Cranky: Who is Mystery Babylon the Great?), but not so by other non-Catholics (Well Reasoned: Who is Babylon?).

So, expect a religious war of words in the form of Oil-Qaeda propaganda, as well as resistance to it.

VI. Conclusion

As pointed out by the links above (e.g. Viva Egypt - 2, The Universal Smedley - 2) the Armageddon doctrine of religionists has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The onslaught of climate change around the world, brought on by the terrorist organization ideology of big oil is to be resisted.

It does not matter who resists ... religionist or scientist ... because the catastrophe being produced by dirty fossil fuel advocates endangers us all.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

"Sympathy for the Devil", by The Rolling Stones

Friday, December 26, 2014

Raised by Animals

Dr. Frankenstein's Exit Strategy: Take Highway 61
Psychologists of both the conservative as well as the liberal political realms can agree.

Both are of the professional opinion that the idealized fantasy of "parent" is transported by our subconscious cognition onto our government.

One scholar in particular has studied this closely and has written essays and books on the subject, who, regular readers of Dredd Blog know, has been quoted from time to time in posts here.

Let's cut to the chase by focusing on one such quote:
... a common metaphor, shared by conservatives and liberals alike -- the Nation-as-Family metaphor, in which the nation is seen as a family, the government as a parent and the citizens as children ...

... the nation-as-family metaphor as a precise mapping between the nation and the family: the homeland as home, the citizens as siblings, the government (or the head of government) as parent. The government’s duty is to citizens as a parent’s is to children: provide security (protect us); make laws (tell us what we can and cannot do); run the economy (make sure we have enough money and supplies); provide public schools (educate us).
It’s no accident that our political beliefs are structured by our idealizations of the family. Our earliest experience with being governed is in our families. Our parents “govern” us: They protect us, tell us what we can and cannot do, make sure we have enough money and supplies, educate us, and have us do our part in running the house.

So it is not at all surprising that many nations are metaphorically seen in terms of families: Mother Russia, Mother India, the Fatherland. In America, we have founding fathers, Daughters of the American Revolution, Uncle Sam, and we send our collective sons and daughters to war. In George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the voice of the totalitarian state was called Big Brother.

As George Lakoff discussed at length in his 1996 book, Moral Politics, this metaphorical understanding of the nation-as-family directly informs our political worldview. Directly, but not consciously. As with other aspects of framing, the use of this metaphor lies below the level of consciousness.
(Security: Familyland, Fatherland, or Homeland?). This psychology is most often linked to the notion that only good parenting is done by government.

The father of American spin, of American public relations, and of American propaganda, wrote a book with the following words in the preface:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting Bernays' book Propaganda). But, does anyone in this day and age still think that parents are all good, all kind and caring, all about taking care of the kids, and have these qualities all of the time?

If so, let's shake ourselves out of that trance just for a moment before we continue, by checking out some strange declarations:
Raised by dogs He walked on all fours and exhibited many feral behaviors. A few weeks after arriving at the shelter, Andrei began walking on two legs instead of four.
Protected by wild cats A baby boy in Misiones, Argentina owes his life to eight wild cats that protected him. The abandoned boy was kept alive during cold nights by the cats' warm bodies.
Found in a wolves den In the Kaluga Region of Central Russia, hospital workers came upon a young boy in a wolves den. Reportedly, he exhibited many wolf-like traits.
Raised by goats A small boy was found living among goats by a social worker in the Rostov region of Russia. He was malnourished and he was unable to speak, eat or use a bathroom.
Raised by monkeys Marina Chapman was kidnapped and abandoned in the jungles of Colombia at the age of 5 years old. A group of capuchin monkeys took the young girl in.
Raised by Wolves In 1920 two young girls named Kamala and Amala were discovered in the jungles of Godamuri, India. The two girls were only 3 and 8 years-old.
(Raised by Animals, cf. Wikipedia, Living News). Even if true, those were the lucky ones in the sense that it gets worse:
A USA TODAY examination of more than three decades of FBI homicide data shows that on average, 450 children are killed every year by their parents. Northeastern University criminologists applied statistical models to the records. USA TODAY analyzed the database for a detailed look at who kills, who is killed and how. Several patterns are apparent:
  • The vast majority of child victims – three out of four – are under 5. More than a third of all victims are under a year old.
  • Nearly half of all victims died from physical beatings or other injuries at a parent's hands.
  • Fathers are more likely to kill. Men killed six out 10 children, most often beating or shooting them. Fathers were at fault in 75% of cases when children were shot to death by a parent and in 64% of cases when a child was beaten. "Violence is a masculine pursuit," says Jack Levin, a Northeastern University criminologist.
  • When mothers kill, they are far more likely to kill victims under the age of 1 than children of any other age. Nearly 40% of all children killed by their mothers were less than a year old.
When a parent is accused of killing a child, it dominates headlines and social media.
(Parents Who Do The Unthinkable). Ok, you may be wondering "so how does this apply to the metaphorical government as parent?"

Not every example of that can be presented in one post (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact, 2, 3, 4, 5), so, in today's post let's focus on one example, climate change:
Coastal communities are all too familiar with the catastrophic damage that can result from major storms, storm surge, and flooding, but they have historically seen high tides as routine. Some tides periodically rise higher than the daily average because of the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. Flooding can result, but that has until recent years been infrequent. Today, however, as the reach and effect of the tides is changing as sea levels rise, our thinking about how we live with the tides—indeed, how we live near the sea—must change, too.

To analyze how often flooding now occurs at locations along the East and Gulf Coasts—and the frequency and extent of flooding that communities along these coasts can expect 15 and 30 years from now—we relied on 52 tide gauges from Portland, ME, to Freeport, TX. We limited our analysis to locations where flooding thresholds, defined at the gauges, correlate well with coastal flood advisories issued by the National Weather Service.

Our analysis shows that many East Coast communities now see dozens of tidal floods each year. Some of these communities have seen a fourfold increase in the annual number of days with tidal flooding since 1970.

When tidal floods occur, water can cover coastal roads for hours, making passage risky or impossible. With water on the street, some residents can be effectively trapped in their homes, and homes can be damaged. Entire neighborhoods can be affected, even isolated. In many communities, retail stores, restaurants, other businesses, and public infrastructure are clustered in low-lying waterfront areas, in easy reach of tidal flooding.

No longer an intangible global trend, sea level rise has arrived on the doorstep of communities scattered up and down the East Coast, delivered by the tides.
(Encroaching Tides, Union of Concerned Scientists). It's not your parent's town any more, especially so when we consider all of the other climate change related things going on.

It is not the place you grew up in, in fact, it is not even the same planet (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4).

Those in the shadow government who Bernays described in the quote up-thread, those who have the hubris and self-righteousness to think that they, the 1%, are wiser, smarter, and better parents than the 99% are, have proven themselves to be insanely wrong (The Peak of Sanity - 3).

They turned the Earth into a nasty place that no longer can remain Mother Earth after having been tortured by Oil-Qaeda for so long.

Mother Earth has begun to morph into Monster Earth, and the fault lies not with the mother or the children, no, it lies with the murderous, suicidal "parent" Oil-Qaeda (Choose Your Trances Carefully - 2).

Dr. G. Lakoff on parental metaphors, etc. ...

Long version:

Music version:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Fruits of A Celebrity World of Illusion - 2

Inside the New Science of Motivation
I. Introduction

In the first post of this series we took a look at the book "Empire of Illusion" by author Chris Hedges.

Today, we will take a look at another book that is of a similar genre, albeit one concerning personal illusion rather than mass-population-illusion, such as a cultural trance or group-mind trance (e.g. Comparing a Group-Mind Trance to a Cultural Amygdala, Choose Your Trances Carefully, 2).

The author of the book we take a glance at, today, is determined to let us know what true positive thinking really is.

Let me attempt to illustrate that premise with a joke the author of the book uses, a joke that helps to stimulate our ability to focus, because the author who is a doctor, is all about strengthening our ability to actually make use of real positive thinking.

The doctor does that by first humorously showing us what the concept of positive thinking is, and what it is not:
Ever hear the joke about the guy who dreams of winning the lottery? After years of desperate fantasizing, he cries out for God’s help. Down from heaven comes God’s advice: “Would you buy a ticket already?!”
(Dare to Dream of Falling Short). Or, as Forrest Gump exclaimed: "your chances of winning the lottery get a lot better if you buy a ticket."

Let's use "buying the ticket" as a metaphor for doing what must be done in order to win, and let's apply it in this situation:
It's one of the jokes of our time that we Americans have literally plowed trillions of dollars into what’s called “national security” in the post-9/11 years without seriously facing climate change, a phenomenon that, if not brought under control, guarantees us a kind of insecurity we’ve never known. Call it irony or call it idiocy, but call it something.
(Celebrity Oil-Qaeda). The word "joke," like most words in our doublespeak culture, can have two or more meanings.

II. Will The Real Positive Thinking Come Forth

The author of the book, shown in the graph at the top of the post, goes on to show that improper or imaginary "positive thinking" is a detriment:
Conventional wisdom has it that dreams are supposed to excite us and inspire us to act. Putting this to the test, Dr. Oettingen recruits a group of undergraduate college students and randomly assigns them to two groups. She instructs the first group to fantasize that the coming week will be a knockout: good grades, great parties and the like; students in the second group are asked to record all their thoughts and daydreams about the coming week, good and bad.

Strikingly, the students who were told to think positively felt far less energized and accomplished than those who were instructed to have a neutral fantasy. Blind optimism, it turns out, does not motivate people; instead, as Dr. Oettingen shows in a series of clever experiments, it creates a sense of relaxation complacency. It is as if in dreaming or fantasizing about something we want, our minds are tricked into believing we have attained the desired goal.

There appears to be a physiological basis for this effect: Studies show that just fantasizing about a wish lowers blood pressure, while thinking of that same wish — and considering not getting it — raises blood pressure. It may feel better to daydream, but it leaves you less energized and less prepared for action.

Thinking she could get people to act on their wishes by confronting them immediately with the real obstacles that stood in their way, Dr. Oettingen and her colleagues developed a technique called mental contrasting.

In one study, she taught a group of third graders a mental-contrast exercise: They were told to imagine a candy prize they would receive if they finished a language assignment, and then to imagine several of their own behaviors that could prevent them from winning. A second group of students was instructed only to fantasize about winning the prize. The students who did the mental contrast outperformed those who just dreamed.

So much for the relentless “you can do it” attitude that pervades our culture. Apparently, being mindful not just of your dreams, but also of the real barriers that you or the world place in their way, is a far more effective way of achieving your goals.

It seems like an obvious and deceptively simple concept, yet according to the author, only one in six people spontaneously thinks this way when asked what accomplishment is foremost in his or her mind.
(ibid, emphasis added). So, just in case you might be wondering what this has to do with a celebrity world of illusion, we have to remember that celebrity is merely being widely known about, i.e., having fame.

The recent talk about a Chinese - U.S. agreement on greenhouse gases received a lot of celebrity in the media.

That idea or dream is said to be a very good one, so we must "think positively" about it.

But, based on the habits and history of celebrity, perhaps it is wiser to wait to see what action is taken, and what action is not taken.

III. Celebrity Worship Is Not Positive Thinking

The recent Sony hack attack is an example of the effects which blind faith develops.

Even though some competent experts are not sure that the government / media  explanations are correct (Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?, cf. Inside Job?), as a nation we still tend to swallow the media story without proper confirmation (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?).

When we consider members of government, business / entertainment, or science to be celebrities who are going to take care of / protect us no matter what, we are decidedly not thinking positively.

Rather, we are wishfully thinking in a very deceptive and dangerous manner, unless we demand to see positive results too.

This wishful belief that takes place inside the celebrity bubble is, unfortunately, a deeply embedded trance in our culture.

A cultural trance that has been around for ages:
ON THE night of October 22, 1929, one of America’s most widely known economists addressed a great banquet of credit men. Not only were Wall Street prices not too high, he told his delighted hearers, but we were really only on the threshold of the greatest boom in the nation’s history. The prophecy evoked a burst of applause. Next morning, a few minutes after the great bell announced the opening of trading on the Stock Exchange, the storm broke. The greatest economic depression in our history was formally ushered in — though it had been in progress for some time. From this point on, as the country slowly roused itself to a consciousness of the far-spreading crisis, leaders in politics and business repeated with invincible optimism that it was all just a wholesome corrective. After several years a waggish commentator published a little volume called Oh, Yeah! It was a sardonic recording of the persistent and unconquerable stream of promises of quickly returning health. There you will find recorded the statements of statesmen, financiers, university professors, leading economists, and editors assuring the people that it was all a blessing in disguise, a corrective phenomenon, that the broad highway to renewed prosperity lay just ahead. All of which proved quite conclusively that these men did not know what they were talking about because they had no understanding of the economic system under which they lived. Then came the collapse of 1933 on the grand scale — and a resumption of the bright prophecies of happy days.
(As We Go Marching, by John T. Flynn, 1944, page 166). Some may remember that during a recent presidential race (which are more and more about celebrity issues rather than being about working / middle class issues) one of the celebrities running for president was asked about the then-current "economic problems."

He replied: "what economic problems?" just as some of his ancestors with "clueless genes" had said just before the events leading up to the not so Great Depression.

That clueless ideology is still here with us in Petroleum Civilization (You Are Here).

IV. Petroleum Civilization

Yes, our current civilization actually is Petroleum Civilization, because as the U.S. Department of Energy pointed out:
"Oil is the lifeblood of America’s economy" [- U.S. Department of Energy]
If oil is the lifeblood, it being a finite resource, and said to be peaking in 2014 (if it has not peaked already as some say) our nation needs a blood transfusion or we will die out economically.

The truth of the matter is that the earth environment with its oxygen, water, food, and protection is the lifeblood of every living thing and nation.

Green renewable blood is better than toxic oil blood because green is of by and for the people, in the sense that the people need new blood that will not run out, or destroy the environment along with humanity itself.
(Do We Need A Blood Transfusion?, emphasis added). In a medical sense, people, nations, and civilizations are alive based on their having "blood" --which means oil, petroleum, i.e. fossil fuels, when metaphorically applied to Petroleum Civilization.

Hence, Oil-Qaeda is a celebrity because of the billions of dollars it spends on advertising and other ways of propaganda (Oil-Qaeda: The Indictment, 2, 3, 4) that present Oil-Qaeda as the lifeblood giver.

Rather than virtually worshipping such celebrities via wishful thinking, government and business celebrities need to get busy about getting busy.

That is, they need to get busy, yesterday, about the real "positive thinking" that requires clear thinking combined with positive action.

Bring on the blood transfusion (Greenland’s Ice Sheet Shifts Could Speed Melt).

V. Petroleum Civilization & Wishful Thinking

There are scientists and others who say that Petroleum Civilization is going to collapse soon (circa 2030).

Others disagree by saying, in effect, what ends up being the same thing, i.e., that Petroleum Civilization will not collapse until circa 2100.

Both are correct, because within the context of the 200,000 year time frame of human existence those dates are both "soon or near term" at the civilization level (even if that is not so soon based on an individual person's lifetime).

Petroleum Civilization is now on suicide watch without doubt, but that is not the end of the matter (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4).

The direction toward suicide is only one direction on the highway, but hopefully it is not yet a one way highway, even though it could be.

It has lanes, plural, and they go both ways like most highways do (or they might be called one-way streets).

But, as the following song lyrics and video below show, it is not the highway that moves.

The "rolling wheels" and the "flying carpet" are the vehicles that move upon the highway, or in the sky:
i am not your rolling wheels I am the highway
i am not your carpet ride I am the sky
("I Am The Highway"). The highway and sky are already both where each "is going" and where each "is coming from."

Two ideologies can be on the same highway, but, at the same time be a thousand miles apart.

Thus, it is the vehicles that must traverse the highway, not the other way around.

This is a metaphor for true positive thinking which is both the highway and the vehicle.

The destination is arrived at via the highway, but the vehicle is the entity that must move, the entity that must be moving in the direction of the destination.

The vehicle is included in real positive thinking, which only exists when real positive steps in the proper direction are taken on the highway.

The highway that both government and business must travel in order to reach the destination.

VI. The Point

Hopeful thinking alone without positive doing is false positive thinking, because hopeful thinking is only the highway.

It does not include the moving vehicle.

The real and lasting point is that the illusion of positive thinking urged upon us by government, business, and the media, is nothing more than an incomplete and illusory cognition.

It is absent the vehicle, absent the positive steps needed to save carbon-based life from Petroleum Civilization.

True positive thinking includes the positive action of a blood transfusion that removes petroleum fuels and replaces them with fuels compatible with the Earth's environment ("As it happens, the planet’s changing climate now demands that we summon up the energy to leave behind the Age of Fossil Fuel ..." - Rebecca Solnit).

VII. The Conclusion

Denial is actually two layers deep (Exceptional American Denial).

The first layer of denial is composed of those who deny any possibility or probability of global warming induced climate change, along with the catastrophes it has been spawning for years (The Most Brazen Lie Of 2014).

The second layer of denial is composed of those who are able to grasp the dire message of climate science, including those celebrities in government and business who are capable of acting on it seriously and adequately, but who are not seriously and adequately doing so (New Climate Catastrophe Policy: Triage).

This is because of their false positive thinking such as "technology will solve the problem for us, so we don't have to take any difficult steps."

That thinking is actually advanced by celebrities in government, business, and the media.

Whether or not this two-tiered denial has already caused the ongoing Sixth Mass Extinction to include the human race is disputed (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact, 2, 3, 4, 5).

Nevertheless, the growth of the acceptance of the possibility / probability of human extinction should must not be ignored (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4).

The previous post in this series is here.

"I am the Highway", by Audioslave (lyrics here)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We Are Riding Out The Sixth Mass Extinction?

The oceans are rising up
A message is being generated from many, many different origins of information.

The message now being generated is that the Sixth Mass Extinction is strongly under way, furthermore, we are all on the ship of petroleum-civilization that is currently going down.

Regular readers know that the Ecocosmology Blog and Dredd Blog have mentioned that particular species of scientific data for years now (e.g. The Damage Cannot Be Undone?-2009, Shadow of Time Governs The Earth-2009, What Do You Mean - World Civilization?-2009, Confusing "Civilization" With "Species"-2010, Embryonic Look At Civilization's Future-2010, Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4).

This debate and discussion is spreading around the Internet:
The point is simply this: you are welcome to analyse the scientific evidence for yourself and make your own assessment of the timeframe and the degree of severity of the threat. Perhaps human extinction will not occur until next century. But whether we define ‘near term’ as 2030, 2040 or even next century, human extinction is now a distinct possibility. And after 200,000 years of our species, calling this ‘near term’ seems reasonable.

So is near term human extinction inevitable?

In my view, human extinction is the most likely outcome. But not simply because we are inflicting too many insults on the planetary environment. Extinction is inevitable because of human fear and, specifically, unconscious fear: The fear in ourselves and others that is not experienced consciously but which often drives three capacities that are vitally important in any context: the focus of our attention, our capacity to adequately analyse the evidence (if we get our attention focused on it) and our behaviour in response to this analysis. For example, if you do not know that your fear is making you screen out unpalatable information, then you won’t even notice that you have turned your attention elsewhere and have now forgotten what you just read. Or your fear might prevent you adequately analysing the evidence and/or responding intelligently to it. See ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

So, if you are one of the people still reading this article, you are probably less frightened than most people. The others gave up before they got to this paragraph. So let me now tell you the primary problem with the fear. It distorts the mental focus, capacity for analysis and the behaviour of national elites, that is, corporate owners and their political, military, media, bureaucratic, academic and judicial lackeys.
(Why is Near Term Human Extinction Inevitable?, or here or here). There are scores of papers and books that inform us of the dangers we face:
The Current Mass Extinction:

Human beings are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If present trends continue one half of all species of life on earth will be extinct in less than 100 years, as a result of habitat destruction, pollution, invasive species, and climate change. (For details see links below.)

Scroll Down For Hundreds Of Links:

This website began on April 22, 1998 with the posting of the article below. (The article is still here to provide historical context.) Following the article are more than 300 links to recent authoritative reports and updates about the current mass extinction. New articles are added regularly. (Most recent update December 13, 2014.)
(Mass Extinction Underway, emphasis added). There is no doubt in the consensus of scientists that human civilization faces what all others before it have faced:
Historically, self-destruction is the common denominator for past human civilization, culture, and society:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown."
(A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee). As regular readers know, I have posted Sigmund Freud's writings where he indicated that psychoanalysis of groups, including civilization itself, would not prove unproductive ...
(Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch - 4). The difference is that we humans ourselves are causing this the Sixth Mass Extinction.

The tenets of Ecocosmology would have us avoid this predicament by our always having carefully taken care of the Earth (Tenet Three Basics).

Originally posted @Ecocosmology blog ...

Sea level rise yesterday ...

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Technological Stairway To Heaven?

Don't Take Highway 61
The psychology that bubbles up when our collective lives are threatened (i.e. when we contemplate human extinction) is a bit different than when we contemplate our own personal, individual death.

We tend to know that as individuals we will die (and we even tend to consider those who reject that reality to be delusional, religious, or both).

On the other hand, we tend to deny that "the collective" can or will die (and we consider those who think that the collective can die to be delusional, religious, or both).

In that regard the once popular historian, Arnold J. Toynbee, fell out of grace when he pointed out:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown."
(A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee). The once popular Sigmund Freud experienced the same loss of popularity when he opined:
"Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this --hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension."
(Civilization and Its Discontents, 1929, p. 40). This dynamism is still alive and is still widespread today:
A recent paper by the biologist Janis L Dickinson, published in the journal Ecology and Society, proposes that constant news and discussion about

"Let's spray chemicals in the clouds to stop global warming"
global warming makes it difficult for people to repress thoughts of death
, and that they might respond to the terrifying prospect of climate breakdown in ways that strengthen their character armour but diminish our chances of survival. There is already experimental evidence suggesting that some people respond to reminders of death by increasing consumption. Dickinson proposes that growing evidence of climate change might boost this tendency, as well as raising antagonism towards scientists and environmentalists. Our message, after all, presents a lethal threat to the central immortality project of Western society: perpetual economic growth, supported by an ideology of entitlement and exceptionalism.
(Monbiot, emphasis added). An interesting dichotomy has taken shape, in that, one ideology holds that civilization is the source of ultimate perpetuation, while a contrary ideology holds that civilization is the source of ultimate demise:
One would say that [man] is destined to exterminate himself after having rendered the globe uninhabitable.” - Lamarck (1817)

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
(Links to Quotes, cf. What Kind of Intelligence Is A Lethal Mutation?). The current hope that human technology is the way out of petroleum civilization's extinction, contrasts sharply with the opposing ideology that "civilization is suicidal".

The "petroleum civilization is immortal via technology" ideology manifests in many forms of cultural trances, including "creeping normality and landscape amnesia".

Current arguments declare that at any time petroleum civilization can be extinguished via nuclear war, or via ecological pollution over a larger time frame, that is, petroleum civilization can be extinguished by ecological omnicide.

The evidence is unequivocal that petroleum civilization's extinction is not only possible, it is looking to be quite probable.

One unknown aspect of the predicament is which extinction (nukes or pollution) will take place first.

Perhaps even more problematic is the question of when an ecological extinction might take place:
"The First Law of 'When': the more critical an issue is to the future of our civilization, the difficulty of determining when that critical issue will take effect tends to increase exponentially.

The Second Law of 'When': the greater the amount of time it takes for that critical issue to play out completely tends to exponentially diminish Civilization's grasp of that critical issue.

The Third Law of 'When': the more destructive the impact which that critical issue would have on civilization tends to exponentially increase the time when that critical event will be understood to have begun to take place."
(The Laws of When). The "human-diplomacy-created nuclear treaties will save us" ideology reminds me of those on death row who put their hope in stays of execution.

Even if a real nuke-treaty could happen, the problem with the survival scenario is that there is no court of appeal for addressing a stay of execution when it comes to a petroleum civilization that is destroying its human habitat.

The only solution is that we must stop using petroleum to poison ourselves and our habitat, assuming that it is not already too late.

In conclusion, the conflating of individual survival concepts and fears with survival of petroleum civilization concepts and fears is not useful.

It is fearful.

For further reading on concepts of survival, see: (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), (The Uncertain Gene, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), and Horizontal Gene Transfer.

"Stairway to Heaven", by Led Zeppelin

Highway 61: the lyrics of this song are here:

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Matrix of Plunder - 3

Pensions down the Plunder hole
Regular readers know that Dredd Blog, for years, has been observing and reporting on the plundering of the American People.

Plunder by the epigovernment, through the actions of their lackeys in federal and state governments (The Elections of Pontius Pilots).

Yes, Dredd Blog has been doing so for years (e.g. The Graphs Of The Age Of Plunder, 2, 3; Riders On The Storm ... Of Plunder, 2; Banker Jekyll Will Hyde Your Money, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

In today's post Dredd Blog is warning Americans that plunder is still happening to them (see the video at the bottom of the post for more info).

Basically, pensions of retired people can now be cut by as much as 60% under new laws passed in the "new budget."

If pension overlords think that the pension funds are encumbered (by their bad investments on Wall Street), then they change your life:
The legislation permits deep pension cuts to retirees in certain financially-troubled multiemployer plans. Financially-troubled plans are plans expected to not have enough money to pay 100% of benefits within 15 and, in some cases, 20 years. There are instances where the cuts could be more than 60% of a participant’s benefits. To find out how much your benefits could be cut use this calculator.

The decision to cut benefits is made by plan trustees, who are typically more aligned with active workers and employers than with retirees.

Retirees who are age 80 or over, or who are receiving a disability pension, are not subject to benefit cuts. Retirees ages 75-79 are subject to smaller cuts than retirees under age 75.

How big or small the cuts are for those under age 75 is determined by the trustees. The cuts are subject to certain legal limits, the most important of which is that benefits cannot be cut below 110% of the amounts that the federal pension insurance agency guarantees.

Plan trustees decide how to allocate the cuts. For example, they can cut retirees’ benefits more than those of active workers, and they can decide whether and how much to reduce survivors’ benefits.

Plan trustees are required to reduce the benefits of participants whose employers went out of business (or withdrew from the plan for other reasons without paying all of their obligations) first, before they reduce the benefits of any other plan participants. This will mean that those retirees whose companies went bankrupt will have greater reductions than other retirees.

UPS retirees in the Central States Teamsters plan are given special protection: their benefits are last in line to be cut. This provision is reportedly the result of a last-minute deal that will save UPS an estimated $2 billion that it would otherwise have been contractually be required to pay to its retirees.

There is no provision for automatic restoration of lost benefits if a plan’s funding status improves.

A trustees’ decision to cut benefits can only be reversed by the Department of Treasury, and then only if the Treasury concludes that the decision is based on a determination that is “clearly erroneous.”

Before cutting benefits, the trustees must provide information to all plan members about the cuts, and plans with 10,000 or more participants must appoint a retired plan participant to represent the interests of pensioners. The trustees appoint this representative and can even appoint a trustee or former trustee of the plan.

Plan trustees must allow all participants to vote on cuts before they are
Pirate Blackbeard
implemented. However, this right is largely illusory. First, a majority of all workers and retirees in a plan – not just a majority of the ones who vote – is required to block cuts. Thus, a vote to block cuts fails even if 100% of those voting oppose the cuts, if only 49% of participants actually vote. Moreover, ballots can be distributed by e-mail, which means that retirees who don’t use the Internet might not vote.

Even if all participants vote against cuts, the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC, the federal pension insurance program) can override the vote and uphold the trustees’ decision to make cuts if it concludes that the plan’s insolvency would increase the PBGC’s projected liabilities by $1 billion or more.

The insurance premiums that multiemployer plans pay to the PBGC are increased from $13 to $26 per participant per year. In contrast, premiums paid to the single-employer plan program are between $57 and $475 per participant per year.

Retirees, widows, and widowers whose benefits are reduced cannot bring a lawsuit under the federal private pension law, ERISA, to challenge the legality of the reductions.
(Pension Rights Center, emphasis added). If you "[r]etirees, widows, and widowers" don't like the pain you feel when your pension is cut, you can't sue for redress (You Are Here).

And if you get mavericky and begin to do the marching in the streets thingy, first think about what they spent your plundered pension money on, and be careful (Will The Military Become The Police? - 10).

All we citizen journalists can do is inform you, as Dredd Blog has done for free for years (you are welcome).

You have even been warned that psychopaths are running the show, and that they are dangerous to your freedom:
... the U.S. is becoming a Plutonomy – an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. And Plutonomies are far less stable than economies built on more evenly distributed income and mass consumption.
A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.
(The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy). The ones who are directly plundering pensions are also psychopaths:
One out of every 10 Wall Street employees is a clinical psychopath, the CFA Institute (an investment and financial analysis organization) reports in the latest issue of CFA Magazine. That makes psychopathy 10 times more prevalent among New York’s financial elite than among us plebeians, for which the accepted statistic is a more palatable one in 100. [Update]
(When You Are Governed By Psychopaths, 2, 3, 4). That is all we citizen journalists can do is warn you.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Video clip link.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On This Date Five Years Ago

Occasionally we take a look at the past on Dredd Blog to see how much things are the same or how much things have changed.

One thing going on back then that we did not know about, which we know now, is that psychologists, who are supposed to be doctors were torturing people as if that was their calling (Psychologists Torture).

The ground is still shaking from those revelations, so lets look at a couple of posts from this date in 2009:

The AP is reporting that Iran seized Oil Well # 4 which the Iraqis claim as theirs.

It is a border dispute in theory, but the reality is that it is an addiction dispute.

Drug dealers are very territorial and drug users are very dangerous.

Oil addiction and Copenhagen are linked in the sense that oil addiction is the disaster that is causing the impending climate disaster governments of the world seem too weak to prevent.

Oilah Akbar is the real religion behind all this madness.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Senator Dorgan presented a bi-partisan amendment to the health care bill to truly reform health care.

It was a bi-partisan amendment with co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle:
Dorgan and Snowe introduced bipartisan legislation that had over 30 Senate co-sponsors in the last session of Congress, including President Obama and Senator John McCain.
(Dorgan Amendment [Wayback Machine version here]). One segment of health care is prescription drugs, which was the focus of Senator Dorgan's Amendment:
... American consumers are charged the highest prices in the world for the same medicines that are available in other major, industrialized nations at a fraction of the cost. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Dorgan–Snowe legislation will save U.S. consumers more than $50 billion over the next decade.

The legislation will allow American consumers, pharmacies and drug wholesalers to import FDA–approved prescription drugs at the substantially lower prices available on the world market.
(FAQ About Amendment [Wayback Machine version here], emphasis added). Americans are treated unfairly by Big Pharma. A post yesterday shows the vote, which reveals who is serious about health care reform and who is not.

Those who voted against this amendment, including prominent democrats, are serious about getting money from Big Pharma for their election, but not about health care reform. Their vote exposes them.

Governor Dean is correct that the Senate Version of the health care legislation does not pass the smell test and should be rejected in favor of the House Bill.

It was a two-post day back in 2009 on this date.

As we look back, some things are still the same today as they were back then.

Suicide Ride, by Bodeco