Monday, October 22, 2007

How to Get a Clue

Thanks largely to the strenuous efforts of our corporate-financed mass media, the American public has now become so fucking clueless that it sets new, daily records in its ever-increasing levels of cluelessitude. Sort of like the price of crude oil.

With an assist from the teevee nooze, we the people set a new benchmark for willful ignorance last week, and one that took us waaay off the charts. For as the price of crude oil briefly topped $90 and the stock markets melted down last Friday, the talking heads continued to chatter about the agonies and ecstasies of His Gayness, Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, and the underpantslessness of Britney Spears. You know, important stuff we need to know about.

The corporate media's criminal malfeasance and nonfeasance in these matters is duly noted in Jim Kunstler's coverage of last week's Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas meeting at their annual get-together in Houston. It's new today on his Clusterfuck Nation blog, and it begins with an overview of the conference's host city, Houston, a place I've personally never been to, and I earnestly hope never to go.

Highlights of the conference included a presentation by Robert Hirsch, described by Kunstler as a "co-author of the now-famous 2005 Hirsch Report, commissioned by the US Department of Energy, which, much to the consternation of its sponsor, first told the nation in no uncertain terms that it was heading for a catastrophic set of disruptions in 'normal' American life if we heedlessly continued energy business-as-usual."

And of course, what we've done since 2005 is heedlessly continue energy business-as-usual.

Hirsch told the APSO conference attendees that things are now worse than he originally thought, and he predicts "a future of 'oil export withholding,' panicked markets, and allocation disturbances that would make the 1973 OPEC embargo look like a golden age."

Another speaker was Matt Simmons, an investment banker specializing in oil industry finance, who analyzes the industry from the "futures" point of view. Simmons is certain that "market allocation problems in the near future (will) almost certainly induce 'hoarding behavior' among the public that (will) cripple the economy, lead to enforced rationing, and shock the nation."

And so it went, with speaker after speaker delivering more bad news which, incidentally, the corporate media will never share with a public who doesn't want to hear it.

I'd strongly encourage anyone who's interested in personal survival in a state other than total impoverishment to read Kunstler this morning, and to turn off the television. It's now virtually impossible to get any real, useful information from the box, which was never anything more than a platform for corporate advertising anyway.

The news that you won't hear on teevee is that this country is living like a methamphetamine addict who refuses to acknowledge his illness and doesn't believe he can actually die, but at the same time holds the thought somewhere in his mind that if he should die, he wants to do so with a full load of happy dust in his brain.

The Cheney administration's solution to this, of course, is to bomb another Middle Eastern country with four letters in its name. So if you'd like to die a slow, painful, agonizing death, vote Republican.

There are solutions to our energy crisis, a crisis which no longer lies in the future but is here now. But all of them are hard, and all of them require sacrifice and self-denial and the breaking of an addiction. There is not a single solution to these difficulties that doesn't necessitate the end of the age of happy motoring as we've known it.

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