Institutional Collapse


Who lived in a pineapple under the sea?

SpongeBob! SquarePants!

Who died in an oil spill because of BP?

SpongeBob! SquarePants!

* *I see the climate-crisis massacres are recommencing

*Maybe atmospheric scientists made up all those dead Indians for money, and invented the oil spill, too *Good thing a cold snap on K Street equals a cooler world

9-11, Enron, Iraq, Katrina, mortgage crisis, bailout, euro crisis, climate crisis, oil spill — we’re led by liars and sleepwalkers

Every major event that hits us is a fake, a fraud, a provocation, a panic or an organized denial — never anything we foresaw or averted

We’re way past the point of rationally managing events and into a business and politics of “lemming retention”

*And I’m not even angry — I’m saving my temper for the endless, ugly, Soviet-style ordeal of watching the Gulf Coast drown in tar

– tweets from @bruces (Bruce Sterling)

I’m not in the ‘it’s our (collective) fault’ camp. Yes, it’s impossible to argue that our oil addiction is not at the root of the Gulf disaster. But we, as a civilization, do a lot of things that involve risk – develop drugs, fly aircraft, drill and refine oil – and we have institutions/mechanisms in place that are supposed to mitigate these risks and ensure that there are good plans for when things go pear-shaped. The proximate cause of the Gulf spill (wrapping safety issues, inspection issues, lack or inadequacy of disaster planning into one package) is regulatory capture. Interior’s Minerals Management Service was not doing their job, to put it mildly. To paraphrase, power elites have always been with us, but it seems that in the past 15 years or so the world has gotten tougher to manage, while the (American, at least) power elite, aka Villagers, has become populated by nepotistically placed incompetents. If we’re going to make it through the crisis bottleneck that looms, we need to do better. My suggestions:

  • Go local. Though it’s like trying to change the course of a supertanker by hitting it with a feather, it needs to be done. Garden. Gather. Walk. Find your local farmer’s markets.
  • Learn whats up. One of the most dangerous trends of the past couple of decades has been the complete collapse/capture of the traditional media who are now fluffing power like there’s no tomorrow (with any luck, for many of them there won’t be – see Newsweek). There are people committing acts of journalism – mostly on the web. Seek ’em out. Look for who can back assertions up with facts.
  • This one may get me in trouble – vote. The government (local, state, federal) is _our_ tool. Although corporations are people (a court decision I’ll never understand), they can’t vote. If your Senator represents Big Oil or Wall Street or the RIAA/MPAA more effectively than s/he represents your interests primary her (if D) or vote him out (if R). Sorry conservatives – if you are firm in your beliefs and honest about what’s going on , it’s third party (and NOT teatardism) for you. Although both parties are well integrated into the oligarchy, one (R) is a bought and paid for subsidiary of corporate power.

I’d love to see full cleanup costs extracted from, and Clean Water Act fines levied against, BP. If that means BP’s US assets are auctioned off and the company ceases to do business in this country, all the better. It would be a salutary lesson for many large entities.