Tag: catastrophe

Drifting Over the Edge

Dmitri Orlov is an interesting commentator. He has been claiming publically since about 2006 that the U.S. is on the edge of collapse similar to what the Soviet Union went through only a bit worse. He was born in Russia and experienced first-hand the privation of the post-Soviet period which, if you dug a little, was pretty bad. Interestingly this collapse had been predicted up to a decade before it happened but was not widely reported because of the Reagan agenda of demonizing the Soviet Union as an existential threat to the U.S.

Orlov along with people like James Howard Kunstler and many others on both the right and left-in fact, my monitoring of this movement shows a real blurring of left/right distinctions that is interesting in itself. I won’t go into the merits of Orlov’s predictions here but only want to say that the movement towards survivalism and a fascination and even longing for a collapse seems to be spreading in this country. I don’t believe this movement is irrational at all. Why do I say that? Because it should be very clear that we are in a kind of serious decline, not just economic decline, but serious political and social decline that we ought to wake up to or Orlov’s collapse scenarios may in fact take place.  

BP Now Admits It’s A “Catastrophe”

Well, that sure didn’t take long.  We’ve had more than a month of watching oil gush from a broken pipe a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico.  We’ve watched BP, which has Ken Salazar’s foot on it’s hydra-headed neck, take every possible step to save oil it could sell while it dithered about blocking the leak and invented sci-fi machines to capture oil.  And we’ve watched in horror while enormous amounts of oil flow into the sea and onto beaches and through marshes, and we’re seeing pelicans covered in oil and drowned turtles and fishing bans and devastation in the tourist industry.  And now, after all of that, as if we don’t already know that we’re watching something that foreshadows the impending death of the Gulf of Mexico, BP has revised its characterization of the spill from having a “modest” environmental impact to being an “environmental catastrophe.”

What a sickening development.

CNN has the story and video. So does Crooks and Liars:

And the result is that while the Gulf of Mexico is being ruined everyone is now officially “frustrated.”  The President. You. Me.  We’re frustrated because all of the smart people in the world in convocation apparently cannot put this Humpty Dumpty together again.  Or haven’t.  So at long last, according to TPM, DFA is now calling for a boycott of BP.  What else, I ask, can we do to express ourselves?

There are really two issues.  The first is the leak.  But the second, and over time it might be the more important, is collecting, containing and then cleaning up the mess.  That process is sadly long overdue and it does not depend on stemming the flow.  It depends on the government mobilizing the resources necessary to contain and clean up the oil.  And if you think that blocking the leak is/was a challenge, the clean up is a far larger one.

Can we please get going on that?  Every day that we wait on this is a day of more suffering and death in the Gulf.


simulposted at The Dream Antilles

Adieu, George

Goodbye, George. It’s time for you to go. Long past time, to be blunt. The low, shameful  years during  which you strutted and fretted upon the world stage, full of sound and fury but signifying less than nothing, are finally over. And what an eight years they have been! They were certainly the most eventful period in my lifetime — and I’m old enough to remember the Nixon era.  It feels strange now, at the end, to be so completely indifferent to you and anything you might have left to say or do. All I can manage now is a sense of weary resignation at the prospect of cleaning up the mess  you’ve left behind. You’ve left us so much to be angry about, if we only had the energy to be angry.

Terrorism? You’re 0-1 on the terrorism front, George. Much as you’d like us to believe that you magically appeared on the scene on 9/12/01 and took charge, the simple fact is that the attacks of 9/11 took place eight months into your watch. You “own” them, George – and you own the consequences.

Your self-described role as “war president,” a role you embraced with such juvenile abandon? You’re 0-2 there. Iraq, that monument to ego and hubris, remains a question mark; my personal sense is that, within a couple of years after we complete our withdrawal, the locals will go back to slaughtering each other with the same gusto with which they’ve slaughtered each other for 1500 years. As for Afghanistan, the good war, the war that a majority of Americans – including me – believe we needed to fight, things there are going very badly indeed.  Your hand-picked puppet, Ahmid Kharzai, has been reduced to nothing more than the de facto mayor of Kabul, and an independent analysis recently concluded that the Taliban have managed to put “a stranglehold around Kabul.” Afghanistan cannot end well, and history will blame your pointless sideshow in Iraq for the loss.

Let’s turn to the economy, George. The consequences of  particular brand of laissez-faire, buccaneer Capitalism has forced the pundits and economists to keep reaching farther and farther back in American history to find comparisons. In some cases, they’ve had to reach all the way back to those halcyon days of Herbert Hoover to find equivalent levels of damage to our economic structure inflicted by the man in the White House. Think of it, George: for centuries to come, historians will  mention your name in the same breath as Herbert Hoover.

And looming over all of it, possibly the greatest obscenity of your entire time with us, is the disaster known as “Katrina.” What made it a disaster was your sad, laughable (non) response to the crisis; if there was ever a moment when the phrase “crime of omission” had meaning, it was in August 2005.

It’s an odd thing, George: if one were of a paranoid mindset, one might wonder: do you actually hate America? It’s a question that really does need to be asked, so complete and all-encompassing has been the damage you have inflicted on America in your relatively brief time at the helm.

As you strut off into the sunset in your trademark plenty-tough kippy-ki-yay cowboy fashion, grinning that inane, pointless grin  of yours, many millions of us who were foolish enough to open the door and let you in back in 2000 struggle to find a way to forgive ourselves for playing a part, however small, in all the damage that you have inflicted  on our country and on our world.

Your hour upon the stage is over,  George. Finally, and forever – go!