Posts Tagged ‘apocalypse’

PRUNING: Gentle Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Inc.

June 4, 2019

libertytallwd6.jpg

Illus: “CONSERVATIVE CONQUEST OF AMERICA” ©JLegry

Short Story – Approx. 2,500 wds

“January gives a man pause, doesn’t it, Bob?” Lowell W. Lucash Jr., President of the United States, asked. “Turn of the year, life shrouded in ice and snow, but still a time of renewing and all that crap.”
“Not so much,” Old Bob replied, never diverted by simple life.
Lucash stood at the windows of the Oval Office, staring out at the frosted White House grounds. The bare trees were thin sticks against a pale sky. A guard muffled in winter clothing, accompanied by a large breath-steaming police dog, crossed the snow-shrouded vista and went into the dormant Arbor. Lucash felt the cold despite warmth from his cheerful fireplace. He shivered.
His distinguished senior advisor, Robert “Old Bob” Archer, was seated in front of his desk, neat and meticulous, resolutely bald and shiny on top, with a thin signature file in his lap. Lucash had depended upon him from college into the White House, a legacy from Dad, now safely buried in New Jersey.
“Profits are up,” Lucash said. He sat at his desk, glancing at a crystal paperweight from Tiffany engraved with his name and the Presidential Seal– a gift from his wife, Marilyn, at his joyful first-term inaugural celebration.
“Buying power is down,” Old Bob replied.
Lucash smiled humorlessly. “We are committed?”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
“There are no alternatives?”
“No, Mr. President.”
“So, we are ready to ‘relieve the strained, overpopulated regions of earth,’” Lucash said uncomfortably. “Isn’t that what the agreement says?”
“Everything is prepared,” Old Bob replied. “We are ready for pruning.”
“‘Pruning,’” Lucash repeated. He ran a nervous hand through his famous luxuriant, color-enhanced hair. “I should never have allowed this.”
“We have no choice,” Old Bob replied. “The Developed Fossil-Fuel Nations, China, the Arab Oiligarchies and the Russian-Ukrainian Petroleum Alliance have already signed the secret accord. There is no going back now, Lowell. You must be resolute.”
“What is the full list?” Lucash asked, stalling. “How many continents and countries are we pruning? I can’t believe that I have to do this. Trump ignored the problem. Why me? This is hard. I need an assistant. I need more options.”
“There are no other options,” Old Bob said. “You can’t use an assistant. You are the president. You have to do it yourself. That makes it legal. No one likes this, but it is all that is left. If we wait any longer, we are lost, overwhelmed by starving, desperate people in a rising tide of garbage and toxic waste.”
“How did the world prune before it had me?” Lucash asked resentfully.
“The same sorts of things: famine, fire, war and pestilence, but considerably less well managed, more drawn out and agonized. We are not savages, Lowell. We do not want people to suffer. We are organized. Our pruning will be swift and merciful.”
“We’re the Gentle Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Incorporated.”
“It is self-defense, Lowell,” Old Bob sympathized. “As difficult as this is, you’ve seen the projections. Our way of life will be destroyed, if we don’t act.”
“There must be a way out,” Lucash said helplessly. “Trump’s ‘Take a Big Stick and Flail It Wildly’ Strategy was an utter failure.”
“It’s pointless to rehash the whole discussion,” Old Bob replied. “It is too late. Too much is at stake for last minute change of plan, or a time-wasting crisis of conscience. Sign the Executive Order, authorize the Third World Strike, suffer crippling angst later.” He opened the file, put papers and pen on Lucash’s desk.
“This is wrong,” Lucash said. “What about a total embargo?”
“Embargo what? The world’s resources are running out. A few years ago there was choice. Trump pissed it away. Today, billions are eating each other.”
“I thought they didn’t eat meat,” Lucash said. “Or, is that only Hindus?”
“It is getting worse,” Old Bob replied. “The good Lord provided necessary tactical devices, and it is up to us to use them to clean up our mess.”
“‘The good Lord provided necessary tactical devices,’” Lucash mocked.
“But we survive,” Old Bob argued. “Food and water are short, energy is giving out, food riots here at home, overflowing prisons, border fights with migratory gangs the size of military battles. We must control the situation. Do it quickly. Do your duty, sign the fucking accord.” Old Bob urged, not unkindly.
“It’s good we waited until after Christmas,” Lucash said bitterly, “because genocidal holocaust depresses sales. Not even Trump could think like this.”
Old Bob looked away in pain.
“I still need time to think,” Lucash said, avoiding the papers on his desk.
“There’s not much time.”
Lucash did not reply.
“Don’t agonize,” Old Bob said gently. “It will only consume you, Lowell.”
“I followed the rules,” Lucash said. “I did what I was supposed to do. I went along with the Trump Libertarian Me-First Agenda. But… I’m having trouble beating my conscience down on this. How do you do it, Bob? How do you stay so detached?”
“I approach it academically,” Old Bob said uneasily. “I try to keep my perspective.” His hands were atremble in his lap. Old Bob’s academic perspective was wearing thin. That still doesn’t stop him from being a bossy old murderous bastard, Lucash noted.
“Why don’t you go to hell?” Lucash asked with sudden anger. “Why don’t you do your damned hideous holocaust pruning without my signature? Get that frickin’ robber’s nest in the senate to sign it!”
“It’s your legal responsibility,” Old Bob insisted. “You make it official.”
“My signature makes it official to kill, how many, Bob, seven billion?”
“Five and a half, before they multiply to twenty and eat the planet.”

Lucash studied his mentor and saw a tired frightened old man. It scared him. “I need more time,” he said. “Please ask Marilyn to see me on your way out.” He turned his profile to the right to close the meeting. He often turned that way for photographic effect. He did so now to hide his fear. Old Bob rose, said farewell and left. Lucash rose and went to the windows, looked out at the frozen day and shivered again. Moments later, his wife Marilyn entered, a slender dark-haired beauty, elegantly dressed as always. They were loyal to one another, publicly and privately, despite discrete dalliances on both sides.
“You sent for me, darling?” she asked.
“Oh, Mommy!” he cried, going to her.
She held him, soothing him and stroking his hair.
“Now, now,” she crooned, “it’s all right. Poor little Lowly. It will be all right. You didn’t think the Presidency was all golf, after dinner speeches and rallies, did you? Of course, you did. Remember your programming. It would make old Uncle Puti proud if he wasn’t down with stroke. Der Don would pop his buttons. You’re trained to pop buttons too, aren’t you? Don’t you carry a big flailing stick?” Lucash flinched and released her.
“Whose side are you on?” he asked in distress.
“I support you, Lowly, as always, but you must act soon. Do something.”
“What should I do?”
“Do what Old Bob wants. Don’t think and sweat. It’s bad for vid lights.”
He nodded grimly, staring at the documents on his desk.
“The hell with Bob,” he decided. “I’m going to the War Room.”
“‘Situation Room,’” she corrected. “They haven’t called it the War Room since FDR died. I don’t think they have wars anymore, just situations.”
“Whatever,” he replied and was soon the center of noise and activity: voices, phones, flickering screens. Hours passed, predictions piled up, scenario after scenario was analyzed. At last, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General McClean Benson, arrived with a small entourage to receive immediate private audience with the President.
“Every scenario runs the same, Mr. President,” Benson said. He put the summaries on Lucash’s desk. “Pruning is the only option.”

Lucash looked at him suspiciously.
“I’m not eager for this either, Mr. President,” Benson said defensively.
“The projections are totally unbiased?” Lucash asked.
“Totally unbiased, Mr. President.” I did not have to bias them, he thought.
“Not good enough!” Lucash yelled. “Run it again. Find something!” Upset by his own passion, he said, “Keep working, General, thank you. Carry on.”
Benson saluted stiffly and departed.
Hours later, with the early morning darkness still upon the city, Old Bob returned to the Oval Office to find Lucash hunched tiredly at his great desk.
“Come up with anything?” Old Bob asked, wanting to say, I told you so.
“There’s enough data to reflect every possible variable on the uncertain face of the whole planet. It all adds up the same, regardless of how arranged.”
“You admit that we have no other choice?”
Lucash abruptly picked up the pen Old Bob had provided hours earlier and signed the accord. He shoved the papers across to him.
“There are two more copies,” Old Bob said, pushing them back.
Lucash stared, then quickly signed the copies. He tossed the pen down.
“Souvenir, Bob. Put it in your breast pocket. It will eat a hole in your heart.”
“It already has, Mr. President,” Old Bob said. He picked up the documents, avoiding the pen, and advised, “Destroy it.”
“Pruning is set for seven-thirty a.m., EST,” Lucash said, glancing at his Rolex. “We’ve two hours, fly the damned pen to the closest target and nuke it.”
“I’ll have the Secret Service dispose of it,” Old Bob said. He picked the pen up with a tissue. “I…uh, must get the documents to the courier.” Lucash nodded and Old Bob left. Marilyn Lucash entered immediately. He looked at her bleakly.
“Are you all right?” she asked and was suddenly crying. He went to her.

“It’s done,” he said, hugging her close. “Please, be still.”
“How bad will it be?” she asked, wiping her cheeks with her palm.
“’If everyone holds to the accord,’ he cited the official Trumped Scenario, “‘and if we contain effects, according to projection, we guarantee safety for the civilized world: North America, Europe, Russia, Japan.’ Unfortunately, Australia may suffer due to wind, or ocean currents, but that is part of the ‘necessary cost to succeed.’” She stared at him. He took a deep breath and released her.
“What about China and Korea?” she asked.
“Whatever must be done, will be done. This is no time for mourning.”
“We must be brave,” she agreed, drying her eyes. “You look so tired.”
Thirty-eight hours later, a haggard Lowell W. Lucash Jr. stood at a microphone, looking at a largely uniformed crowd of men and women cramped into Command Shelter Number One. Their families were in equally crowded adjoining quarters linked by a brightly-lighted tunnel network. Built for ten thousand, the bunker accommodated sixteen-thousand-five-hundred for the “duration of the emergency.”

Lucash saw Marilyn with the White House staff group. She smiled bravely at him and he smiled back uneasily.
“Your attention,” Lucash called, stilling excited voices. “Pruning is over. We think it is. Nothing has been released, or detonated for an hour. I regret that everyone exceeded pruning level by, uh, 32%. Is that right, General Benson?”
“That may be conservative, sir,” Benson replied. “We matched ’em release for release. Some analysts say fifty, but, damage assessment isn’t complete.”
Lucash nodded. The world felt upside down.
“Your prepared remarks,” Old Bob urged.
“In a short while,” Lucash read, feeling disconnected, as if in a dream, “we will return to the surface, hopefully. Thank each of you for your dedication and loyalty. The real task lies ahead: building a strong new America and a brave new world order.” There was scattered applause. “I know that you are up to the challenge. Our goal is worth sacrifice. Our country began nearly three hundred years ago and it is up to us to see that it lasts for a thousand more. Our brave new world order will be finer, better and safer than ever. As Tiny Tim once said, ‘God bless us every one!’” There were patriotic tears in many eyes as he finished. The crowd applauded and cheered, full of hope, glad the speech was over, their optimistic echoes springing back from the high-vaulted thick concrete ceiling.
“Can we trust the Chinese and Koreans, sir?” General Benson asked.
“Trust has to begin somewhere,” Lucash replied. “I’d rather not spend the rest of my life cooped up down here, would you, General?”
“What if they are waiting for us to come out so they can finish us off right now?” Benson warned. “We should hit ’em first. Pre-emptive strike.”
“General, everyone is horrified,” Lucash said. “I even heard it in Imam Fuad’s voice when he agreed to cease fire and he thought it was a holy war.”
“I wouldn’t mention that publicly,” Old Bob cautioned.
“It’s all my fault,” Lucash said sorrowfully.
“Stop that,” Old Bob scolded. “Be strong.”
Lucash looked at the people waiting to return to their normal topside world. The great concrete walls curved over their heads into black darkness and they instinctively moved closer, seeking comfort in proximity. Lucash wanted to console and wish each one well, and then lead them straight up out of that claustrophobic over-filled chamber.
A military attaché arrived with a message for Lucash. Lucash was shocked at what he read. He handed the message to Old Bob, whose face went white.
“The surface is contaminated beyond habitability,” Lucash told the crowd.
A moan went up.
“Damned Korean overkill!” General Benson shouted angrily.
People wept.
Lucash signed to Marilyn who quickly joined him. They hugged as when flashbulbs exploded and the Party Convention rocked with cheers short years before. Such pride. This time, shame almost overwhelmed Lowell W. Lucash Jr.
“We must…we must somehow live with this,” he told the crowd. Amid a common agonized murmur, an Air Force general went to his knees on cold concrete and began to pray. Others followed. A droning wail went up as echoes.
“My God,” Old Bob said at Lucash’s side, assessing the bunker’s long-term livability, “this is like being buried alive.”
“There are other bunkers all the way to California,” General Benson advised. “They were doing okay until communication went out. If they survived, they will be loyal to us.”
“If they survived, they are in the same mess,” Lucash said. “Cut off.”
“Meantime,” Old Bob said, “we must survive underground and there isn’t much room.” People looked at Lucash in horror. His flesh crawled.
“The Great Pruner!” an enraged technician screamed, pointing an accusing finger. “The bloody-handed Great Pruner!”
There were angry shouts, more weeping, more hostile eyes, more people screaming at Lucash. Marilyn’s arms tightened around his waist.
“O, Lowly, what do we do?” she whispered.
“This is a nightmare, Mr. President,” Old Bob said, taking Lucash’s arm.
“I wish to God it was, Bob,” Lucash said, trembling.
“Get behind me, Mr. President,” General Benson ordered, drawing his service weapon, as the angry crowd surged toward the Presidential party.

THE END: JL:Portland: 05-19
© JLegry

HELP SAVE LIFE ON EARTH CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY www.biologicaldiversity.org

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HACKING JACK’S

June 13, 2011

[ ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Nr. 10!! (New old stuff)]

“Hacking Jack’s Fine Cigars” Sign, Futurama.

“I prefer the hands-on touch you can only get with hired goons.” Mr. Burns, Simpsons.

“God, give me strength to be what I want to be, and forgive me for being what I am.” Antonio Banderas, Desperado.

Q: What’s it like in your little dream world? A: A little humid. One nanobot to another, Jimmy Neutron.

“There’s nothing like a little bit of truth to sell a big lie.” Barnaby, MidSommer Murders.

Excessive greed precedes the collapse of civilization. Archeology hypothesis (Mayan/Roman, etc.).

No nation in history has ever escaped the consequences of its own hubris.

“Thank god we live in a country so hysterical over crime we can try a ten-year old boy as an adult.” Mr. Burns, Simpsons.

If you want fantasy, go to the movies, a singles bar, or church.

“Take Memoprove and forget memory problems!” T.V. ad. Blanks your mind?

“I don’t have time for this! I’ve got 75 shortcakes to strawberry!” Chef, Simpsons.

“Dead man’s nothing but a corpse. Nobody cares who he is now.” Sgt. Zack, Gene Evans, The Steel Helmet.

“Men fear death as children fear the dark.” Sir Francis Bacon.

“Those who seek justice, fall prey to it.” Character, The Reckoning. Tell George Bush.

“With the 14th moon, there’s always tomorrow and hope.” Millennium Actress.

Hope never filled a soup bowl.

Sign of overpopulation: everyone walking about in headphones to find “a bit of peace,” “relief,” and “escape.” (more…)

SNEAKY PEOPLE

May 11, 2011
The Poet Dines Alone
The Poet Dines Alone

Excerpt: SNEAKY PEOPLE, unpublished novella.

Okay, this is a story about me.  It’s my diary, so I can write about anything I want – even things I wouldn’t tell other people (especially other men).  I’m a sneaky person.  I come from a long line of sneaky people – really sneaky people.  We’re part of the anonymous swarm that comes out like rats – day or night – picking off top or bottom of the midden heap (depending upon status in the pack) – seeking sustenance while awaiting the ever-approaching End of the World.

Which is pretty much occurring every day.  The End of the World is both cumulative and individual specific.  On the upper end of the End of the World Scale is Climate Change, which promises wholesale extinction (and, some bitch winters and summers between now and then); and, on the other is the latest starving Somali, homeless person, or helpless geriatric.  Somebody’s pretty much meeting the End of the World every single second.

I was born in San Francisco a bit before the mid-point of the Twentieth Century.  My parents were apprehensive about the spreading World War of that time and, I believe, my arrival was an oasis of joy for them – odd as that seems to me now.  My birth was an opportunity for them to hold the rest of the insane world temporarily at bay, basking in the momentary glow of life’s continuity.  Like all young people, they huddled secretly under the covers with their arms around each other, whispering about futures and possibilities – hopes.

My presence – miniscule and infantile – was accepted as God’s reassurance that all of us – each one: Dad, Mom, and Jr. – would come out all right.  In the end, the enemy would be defeated and the world brought majestically into the bright, painless peace of Forever After and the New Deal (which sounds like a rock group and if someone cops the name, I’ll sue).

However, my parents honestly felt that they were finishing the “undone business of World War I” – there were still German vermin to exterminate and, unexpectedly, the sudden need to fumigate Italy and delouse Japan.

Shortly after I was born, father was sent to the war by our beleaguered government and mother moved in with his mother – grandma – and three maiden aunts who were all destined to have affairs with transient servicemen who “might be killed in a matter of weeks,” and were.  None of my aunts’ fellahs made it back.  One aunt went bonkers, one married a dull-witted postman, and the third wed a fat automobile dealer and got a divorce from the rest of us.

Anyway, we waited at grandma’s for dad to come home.

He arrived late at night three years later.  He was flown into San Francisco International and taxied seventeen miles to his mother’s Oceanside home – to his wife and growing son.  I looked up at him as he stood over my bed.

“Did you fly home?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said with a pleased laugh.  “Do you remember me?”

“I have your picture,” I replied, pointing to his image on my dresser.

He looked at himself in the photograph for a long time, silent and withdrawn.  The day the photo had been taken, he had been a young soldier, vibrant, self-assured, and alive.  His face now was subtly different from the one in the photograph mounted between fifty-caliber machinegun rounds.  In the picture he was young and proud with new sergeant’s stripes on his Eighth Army Air Force uniform.  Standing there looking at himself, he was weary and grim.  A trace of the young man remained – a hint of optimism, which fired his eyes.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said at last, hardly believing that this would and could be so, that the bombs were left far behind, and gratefully forgetful that half the world’s population was still awakening in a world of ruins – picking hungrily through the rubble, hunting rats for nourishment.

I learned that he’d been in photo reconnaissance.  I liked the sound.  The French word “reconnaissance” had a lean mean underground battlefield resonance.  I was a romantic kid.  (That drove Dad nuts – among other things).  I learned, too, one evening when he was drinking, something he did more and more, that he had helped empty a rocket-hit orphanage one night in downtown London, carrying out its dead and dying children and their bloody parts.

He saw and lived with death as a routine for three years.  His photograph war souvenir album had pictures of massive bombers dumping lethal rain on Dresden, Berlin, German gun emplacements in Normandy, French coastal towns, war ships and hospitals, trains, cars, horses, wagons, canals and villages.  Now, home, he attacked normal civilian life as if it was the new enemy.  He had lost time to make up, things to do, family to feed and a top to possibly find.

In his free time, he watched boxing on the new-fangled television, tense with pleasure waiting for the knockouts, heavy K. O. punches, and T. K. O. s swimming in blood.  He watched the gymnastic exhibitions of professional wrestling until he realized that the mayhem wasn’t real.  He watched John Wayne repeatedly and successfully storm Iwo Jima.  He saw Errol Flynn shoot his way single-handedly through the entire Japanese Army in Burma.  He observed as Jeff Chandler really died of pleurisy while filming a mediocre account of Merrill’s Marauders on location in Imperial Indochina.  Pa’s latent violence had to translate into real life.

He punched Ma.  He punched me.  He drank himself finally and completely to death.  In his scarred wake, he left two sons, one daughter, and his frightened, yet indefatigable wife.  He also left behind the lingering echoes of Henry David Thoreau, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Father was a desperate man.

I’ve thought since that he was born in belief, raised in faith, condemned to hell, pardoned to purgatory, and eventually dispatched to…wherever he went.

Mother always said, “The War changed him.”  This is certainly so – I’ve seen other young men come back from Korea and Viet Nam.  They all have Dad’s eyes.  The men who fought at Salamis probably looked that way too.  Bloody fields and death process slowly.

Because of all this, justifications of violence appall me.  Its price is too high.  Brought home in the eyes of our young men, violence compounds as it seeks its vent.  Within the peacetime marketplace it ripples out on a high, spreading across the schoolyards, streaming into ghetto back alleys, finding its way into the boardroom.  Man against man, clan against clan.  So it goes, as Vonnegut says, and I?  I go on, watching to left and right, mindful of the dangers on the street, wary in my sleep – as restless as I was at the mouth of my cave one million years ago.

The history of mankind is a dry narration of famous battles, famous generals and famous kings, interspersed with profiles of failed political, social, economic and religious systems, which all rose and fell on the profit line.  The chronicle of anything else is incidental, a coffee table book.  Art, music, literature, dance, theater, magic are a sideshow to the main show.  Those things are the province of dreamers, romantics and fools.  For, if anyone is able to live a placid life, outside the maniacal slashing and hacking of whole peoples intent on the obliteration of other whole peoples, then one is, indeed, fortunate.

Life is a series of accidents.  Chance, not choice, governs (although, why we are in one spot at a particular time and not in another may be divinely inspired).  However, I doubt there is a Master Plan.  Master plans and master crimes require cumbersome plotting.  One can, or should be able to see their patterns, but impulse fires most of us.  We deal with consequences afterward, which is when they should properly be dealt with, I guess.

I’d like to do something to help my fellow human beings, but I don’t know what.  Everybody’s fighting and clawing, biting and scratching.  I’m hiding.  Scared to death.  Who wants to attract attention?  The threat to life may be worldwide conflagration, or in the mouth of some filthy city alley, with a knife wielding, coked-up assailant standing over one’s punctured corpse.  “Neither a peacekeeper, nor a lender be.” It’s too painful, too expensive, and too dangerous.  Experience is a great teacher; if we survive the lesson, but we’re still not gonna get out of this alive.

I wish I could stop the clock.  Turn back time until I’m just short of the primordial ooze – watch by degrees the slow progression of life.  See just how long it takes to make a human being out of all that gloop.  Think about just how quickly that complex organism can cancel itself out with a single bullet.

The universe is infinite.  I don’t really understand what that means, and it’s expanding, but into what?  It’s cosmic and vast and when you think about it, without the artificial augmentation of religious zealotry, perhaps meaningless.  Even so, this ship was pilotless before we knew that it had no pilot and continues so and nothing changes that.  Either way, I don’t expect the Creator to wash my dirty laundry or lift my heavy load.  It’s clear I gotta hoe my own corn.

I am alive, well, and living past the immoral end of the Twentieth Century and on the ignorant cusp of the early Twenty-first – unhappily still under threat of the nuclear-bomb, dismayed by Russians and Chinese, the System and the decay of the World, as ever.  “Is it just for the moment we live?”  You betcha.  What’s it all about, Alfie?  The End of the World is only a heartbeat away.  Whether one is one of a half million blown away at Hiroshima, drowning alone in the pool of a cliffside villa in Monterey, or choking in the arms of a lover on a sunny Egyptian Sunday.

Well, Diary, that’s my Summer Vacation.  I’m going home now.  Wonder what I’ll find?  It’s still the End of the World and Sissy Wagner doesn’t love me anymore.  Who’s going to do my laundry?

— JL:PDX, 8-09

Little Brown Bat with White-nose disease.

IMPORTANT LINK: Bats are present throughout most of the world and perform vital ecological roles such as pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds.

Bats are on a clear trajectory toward oblivion.  The Center for Biological Diversity has warned that the bat crisis is dire while calling for more funding to try to determine what, exactly, is killing America’s bats — and how the disease can be stopped.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/bat_crisis_the_white-nose_syndrome/index.html

Little Brown Bat with White-nose disease.

DEAD BROKE EMPIRE CROWD

November 3, 2009

Negative Horizon

Our Economy Was a Scam and Now We’re Dead Broke By Joe Bageant, JoeBageant.com.

America is broke. And the easy credit, phantom “growth” economy has been exposed for what it was: a credit scam.

When Barack Obama took office it seemed to some of us that his first job was to get the national silverware out of the pawn shop. Or at least maintain the world’s confidence that it was possible for us to get out of debt. America is dead broke, the easy credit, phantom “growth” economy has been exposed for what it was. A credit scam. Even Hillary Clinton and Obama’s best efforts have not coaxed much more dough out of foreign friends. But at least we again have a few friends abroad.

So now we must jackleg ourselves back into something resembling a productive activity. No matter how you cut it, things will not be as much fun as shopping and speculative “investing” were.

The fiesta is over, the economy as we knew it is dead.

The national money shamans have danced around the carcass of our dead horse economy, chanted the recovery chant and burned fiat currency like Indian sage, enshrouding the carcass in the sacred smoke of burning cash. And indeed, they have managed to prop up the carcass to appear life-like from a distance, if you squint through the smoke just right. But it still stinks here from the inside. Clearly at some point we must find a new horse to ride, and sure as god made little green apples one is broaching the horizon. And it looks exactly like the old horse.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/143521/our_economy_was_a_scam_and_now_we%27re_dead_broke

6 Signs That the American Empire Is Coming to an Early End By Michael T. Klare, Tomdispatch.com.

The day of America’s global pre-eminence is over. We must face the new global realities.Posted October 27, 2009.

Memo to the CIA: You may not be prepared for time-travel, but welcome to 2025 anyway! Your rooms may be a little small, your ability to demand better accommodations may have gone out the window, and the amenities may not be to your taste, but get used to it. It’s going to be your reality from now on.

Okay, now for the serious version of the above: In November 2008, the National Intelligence Council (NIC), an affiliate of the Central Intelligence Agency, issued the latest in a series of futuristic publications intended to guide the incoming Obama administration. Peering into its analytic crystal ball in a report entitled Global Trends 2025, it predicted that America’s global preeminence would gradually disappear over the next 15 years — in conjunction with the rise of new global powerhouses, especially China and India. The report examined many facets of the future strategic environment, but its most startling, and news-making, finding concerned the projected long-term erosion of American dominance and the emergence of new global competitors. “Although the United States is likely to remain the single most powerful actor [in 2025],” it stated definitively, the country’s “relative strength — even in the military realm — will decline and U.S. leverage will become more constrained.”

That, of course, was then; this — some 11 months into the future — is now and how things have changed. Futuristic predictions will just have to catch up to the fast-shifting realities of the present moment. Although published after the onset of the global economic meltdown was underway, the report was written before the crisis reached its full proportions and so emphasized that the decline of American power would be gradual, extending over the assessment’s 15-year time horizon. But the economic crisis and attendant events have radically upset that timetable. As a result of the mammoth economic losses suffered by the United States over the past year and China’s stunning economic recovery, the global power shift the report predicted has accelerated. For all practical purposes, 2025 is here already.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/world/143514/6_signs_that_the_american_empire_is_coming_to_an_early_end

Apocalypse Soon: Halloween Interview on Overpopulation with Kierán Suckling

Scared of ghosts, goblins, and jack-o-lanterns? None of those are on the Santa Fe Reporter‘s list of the top five environmental horrors. But human overpopulation is. “Apocalypse Soon: Today’s Environmental Horrors Could Lead to a Scary Sci-Fi Future” interviews Center for Biological Diversity director Kierán Suckling. Click below to read the whole article. Here are few excerpts:

“Virtually everything that is destroying wildlife habitat and the environment is driven by overpopulation,” Kierán Suckling, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, says.

“Whether it’s too many people diverting water out of the Rio Grande or too much wood use leading to the logging of old-growth forests, the bottom line is there are too many people using too many resources to be able to have a healthy environment.”

“It’s great to focus on reducing our carbon footprint, but…unless we start reducing the footprints to begin with, we and other species are not going to survive on this planet.”

“The majority of environmental groups avoid addressing overpopulation like the plague. I think that’s largely because they lack the courage of their convictions. They are fearful that in saying that [we are overpopulated] they will be viewed as being anti-human somehow–as if squalor and overpopulation are somehow pro-human.”  READ MORE:

Read the Santa Fe Reporter interview and learn what the Center’s doing to confront the overpopulation crisis head-on.

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