Sunday, November 25, 2007

Predatory Nation, Chapter 8: Zombie Debts

Like a voodoo priest, some enterprising souls here in the decaying Empire have figured out a way to raise deceased debts, long buried in the grave of bankruptcy, and market them to firms who specialize in "junk debt." The big lenders are involved (surprise), refusing to report discharged debts to the credit bureaus. It isn't necessary to delve far into the details of this little practice to observe that it fits nicely with Chaos' recent theme of the predatory nation that the Empire is becoming.

Scott Burns Says, "Time to Leave"

Oh, and forget about Medicare; may as well just opt-out rather than pay the increasingly inflated premiums that will occur in the future. Seriously, though, Scott has on occasion floated the idea of retiring in some cheaper country, for those spendthrifts who have participated in the greatest wealth explosion known to humankind (with, of course, its attendant waste...) and somehow failed to lay in any retirement savings. Gosh, wonder how that could happen? But happen it apparently has, to a number of residents of the Empire, and a few more who will be facing retirement age, and of course only a fool would assume the government would take an interest in this phenomenon, beyond mere lip service. What's new in today's column, however, is the frank admission that one might go ahead and not only retire to another country, but not participate in the Medicare program at all. (Scott suggests making "other arrangements," without specifying what those might be...). Those students of collapse who have read Tainter will note that opting out of a country's programs or facilities is one of the features of a disintegrating civilization. If you'd like to read the conventional response to the healthcare problem in the Empire, today's paper of record provides this fruitless survey. Ponder well, readers who still believe in American exceptionalism. That ship has sailed, in Chaos' opinion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wow! Another Reason To Leave...

Garrison America, the title of a recent study by two economists, finds that 25% of the labor force in the Empire is devoted to policing itself, through "guard labor," whether actual security guards or imposing "work discipline" at factories, corporations or elsewhere (how's that for an Orwellian phrase?). This 25%, of course, is unique among other Western nations, but that's pretty much true about most every alarming statistic you can name these days, isn't it? Look for a national identity card to be instituted relatively soon (the immigration debacle would be the impetus for this), and the steady erosion of privacy of any sort to continue. Not to be outdone, however, is this article which purports to show one how to "profit" from this trend. Needless to say, Chaos was awakened from recent slumber by this pair of snapshots into the American mind....happy holidays, readers. Look for a perhaps more regular posting schedule in the coming month...

A Wonderful Holiday Video, From Japan

This small 5 minute exploration into some universal political themes kinda captures Chaos' current feelings regarding the upcoming US elections. Funny stuff, and also true. On the musical/holiday front, SOMA fm is once again offering holiday music, 2 channels this year (one suitable for all ages, the other, well, not...). Visit, and consider contributing, since the RIAA seems determined to alienate every last music aficionado through its ridiculous tactics.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Monday Morning Rant

From the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, of all places (you'd better believe this is truly a voice in the wilderness...), comes this very fine rant on the current political situation. It covers all the bases, in Chaos' opinion, starting with the screaming disaster that the current administration has wreaked upon the nation and the world, but also mentions a topic near and dear to Chaos' heart, that the politicians elected in a semi-free country are an accurate reflection of the public who "elected" them. Thus, George W. Bush is truly owned by the American public. (If not, of course, he'd not remain in office: there are mechanisms to accomplish this...). Chaos can simulaneously hold two somewhat opposing positions at the same time: that the current US president is perhaps the worst in history, and that a change in leadership would not change the current situation in significant ways. On the subject of rants, please consider our friend James Howard Kunstler's weekly one at his might disagree, but the man always has something to say, and in proper rabble-rousing fashion.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Government Mendacity: Beyond The Age of Petroleum

Nice article in The Nation, by Michael Klare, an early and often proponent of oil geopolitics. He helpfully lays it all out for those who are a little new to the subject, with an emphasis on military/political turbulence sure to occur with more and more frequency in the coming years, when access to black gold becomes harder and harder (exporting nations who realize the value of their resources are inclined to hoard, when not providing ever-increasing amounts of subsidized oil for their own populations, turbocharging the decline rate...). Also delves into a little bit of "government-speak," describing how changing the definitions helps keep the sheep from learning the truth--that we are about to begin a most interesting time, when cheap energy is no more, and a new way of life will be forced upon most of the world. Cheers.