Today marks the 50th anniversary of when some brave activists broke into FBI offices and shared documents they obtained that described the FBI surveillance program known as COINTELPRO.
We’re living in a perfect storm today when it comes to misinformation, disinformation, and downright ignorance, all of which is accelerating societal collapse. Put the internet together with the effects of neoliberalism upon our educational system, and you have today’s civilization, which is rushing to the precipice.
I recently read an article in the New Yorker about nuclear power, energy supply and use. About how nuclear power is being embraced by so-called environmentalists as a non-polluting energy source. One problem I recognized immediately was the article completely omitted any mention of conservation or efficiency, both of which can offset energy supply. Worse yet, the author made only cursory mention of the nuclear waste storage problem, i.e. failing to talk about the persistence of human-caused radiation and its impacts upon the biological world, much less the ethics around dumping toxic contamination on a future world whose inhabitants have no say. The author, armed with information she no doubt gathered on the internet, decided she knew enough to pen an article on nuclear power. This is frighteningly naive. Actually its worse than that, its downright reckless and irresponsible.
The internet is both a wonderful and horrible resource. I can type in a search term and bring up a breathtaking amount of information. In our fast food, instant gratification society, people are under the impression that by using the internet, you can learn all you need to know in order to make informed decisions. This is a dangerous fallacy. People don’t know what they don’t know. This is especially true when it comes to technology, the pace of which requires ever deepening expertise to grasp and keep up with.
Now more than ever people must question sources of information. Does the author or speaker know what they’re talking about? What are their credentials? Do their arguments make sense? Are they on the payroll of industry or government?
Can ignorance be innocent? Yes. But that is no excuse to not challenge it.
Why is the “…world is failing to grasp the extent of threats posed by biodiversity loss and the climate crisis?” This is no simple question and the answer is complicated. One part of the answer for me comes from a book I read years ago entitled Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. If you haven’t yet read this book, you might want to consider it.
Excerpts from this newly published report: “Environmental deterioration is infinitely more threatening to civilisation than Trumpism or Covid-19…” and “Dealing with the enormity of the problem requires far-reaching changes to global capitalism, education and equality…”
BREAKING 🚨: The Bolivian electoral commission (@TSEBolivia) has failed to grant election observer status to PI delegation – including @jeremycorbyn, @DeputadoFederal, @HeikeHaensel, @SofiaSakorafa, @G_Pisarello, & @_mkonieczny – despite widespread fears of fraud & violence. pic.twitter.com/JLnknvnIOa
— Progressive International (@ProgIntl) October 5, 2020
Surveillance program that gathered Americans’ phone data was illegal, court finds was an article headline in the Washington Post of two days ago. This is wonderful news. Governments should have nothing to hide. That is, of course, if they’re not run by kleptomaniacs and sociopaths and that, my dear, is a whole other problem…
Seven years ago, as the news declared I was being charged as a criminal for speaking the truth, I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA’s activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them.
And yet that day has arrived. https://t.co/FRdG2zUA4U
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 2, 2020
Infinite economic growth flies in the face of real limits that exist in the Earth’s biosphere. Excessive loading of carbon into the atmosphere has disrupted the earth’s natural carbon cycle and has changed our weather patterns that were stable before the industrial revolution. Our monoculture and corresponding destruction of diversity has led to a global pandemic that is threatening to bring down civilization as we know it. These phenomena are integrally linked to humanity’s obsession with growth. Time for de-growth!
While Chris Hedges is considered far too radical by many, he has keen insights into the whys and wherefores of our present predicament. By sharing this interview on my blog, I am not endorsing XR America. Apparently Extinction Rebellion has had a bit of a schism in the USA due to either immature, megalomaniacal leadership and/or state subterfuge. Regardless, the interview with Chris stands on its own merit. Highly recommended!
The CORVID-19 pandemic and our response to it has exposed systemic flaws in our civilization in a crescendo manner. The protagonist in this moment is the federal government, which was by benevolent design intended to have command and control of the resources necessary to mobilize a response at the scope and scale necessary to deal with a national emergency. In my emergency management career, I have worked for government at all levels, including FEMA. For the most part I’m an unabashed believer in government, at times like this especially. I shake my head when I see how government has been stripped of its power (and effectiveness) and replaced with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism. Starting with Reagan, the solution to waste and inefficiency in government (not to mention increased taxes and regulations) was to reduce the size of government and shift its traditional duties and responsibilities to the private sector. A neutered government rendered incapable of mounting the necessary response in a timely manner. The end result? The circulation of do-it-yourself recipes for constructing face masks. Shame on us.
It wasn’t always like this. During the mobilization for WWII, the Richmond shipyards on the west coast built a ship a day. That’s right, a ship a day. That was before neoliberalism. Look at us now. When President Trump was pressed to enact the Defense Production Act to manufacture masks and ventilators that are in short supply and critical to mitigate the pandemic and save lives, he basically said the private sector will handle it, refusing to enact the statute. Excuse me? Do you mean to say that the private sector where parties are competing with one another relentlessly pursuing profitability are going to cooperate and scale up in a timely manner? The slogan now being heard in widening circles is ‘people before profits’. Hence the tyranny of private sector corporations that have no accountability to the people. None whatsoever. Of course, as everybody knows people can vote with their dollar and take it elsewhere. Meanwhile, how many people will become infected and die during this pandemic? Government anyone?
The rich and powerful who have by omission or commission neutered government are to blame for the present situation we find ourselves in. Their emissary in the White House is their wet dream come true, a person mentally deranged, a loose cannon if you will, but brazen enough to do the unthinkable. Like refusing to utilize the Defense Production Act. The elite who can afford treatment at any cost simply do not care. In this moment I witness neoliberalism as being vicious, cruel and uncaring. Democratic socialism anyone?