Six impossible things before breakfast
How does a sane person deal with the insanity that is America today? The party line on just about every topic one might mention is the wrong side of stupid. The media zeitgeist is to ignore our falling apart ecology, economy, infrastructure, educational system, political system, and foreign policy. Our duty is to worship the crooks on Wall St. and the warmongers in the Pentagon, both of whom are robbing the citizenry blind while providing negative value to the 99% with their "services".
I'm starting to avoid reading the news, even the little honest leftwing news I can find, because things are just getting worse on every topic that I see. If I see one positive news event in a week, I consider myself lucky.
This essay is an attempt to layout all the categories, from economists' theoretical smokescreens to flat out lies about foreign policy, which are used as the premises for "permisable" opinion in America today. I hope that such a typography can allow me to simply categorize the propaganda, without reacting to it emotionally.
There's no use trying, one can't believe impossible things." - Alice
"I daresay you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - The White Queen
- Alice in Wonderland
IMPOSSIBLE THING #1) The environment is not being destroyed
The big lie is that our relentless drive to find and burn more fossil fuels is not destroying the planet. Detailed lies include:
1) there is no such thing as climate change or sea level rise or vanishing arctic ice or cracked off Antarctic ice sheets or retreating glaciers or increased forest fires and methane release across the higher latitudes.
2) fracking is not a four-way environmental disaster (pollute aquifers, use scarce fresh water, burn off methane, add both the methane and the oil to the global warming) and the answer to Peak Oil is to find even newer ways to throw more pollution into the atmosphere.
3) ignore that wind and solar are already cheaper than coal and nukes. We should continue to subsidize both fossil fuel and nuke industries. We should not try to limit CO2 release in any meaningful way.
4) That the EPA and Federal stewardship of Western lands are not merely unnecessary, but actually anti-industry. We should drill in the national parks, we should set up hotels and casinos in national parks. We should continue to encourage population growth in the arid Southwest. We should let rivers and the air be polluted. We should not regulate carcinogen releases or nicotinamide pesticides or agricultural runoff - because there is no such thing as an "externality" (see Imposible Thing #3).
IMPOSSIBLE THING #2) We can have infinite growth on a finite planet.
We have already overshot the carrying capacity of the planet. Humans are consuming something like 70% of the biosphere, and a lot of that consumption is eating the seed corn. Drawing down aquifers that took millennia to fill, clear cutting forests (especially in the Amazon), drift netting fisheries to extinction, letting suburban sprawl pave over prime farm land.
IMPOSSIBLE THING #3) Neoclassical economics has any relationship to reality
This topic alone is impossible-squared. Even "fake Nobel" prize winning economists have trashed their own models. The biggest lie is "the veil of money", i.e., that banks and credit have zero effect on what is, according to prevailing models, really just a barter economy. Here is Congressional Testimony on this insanity by a fake Nobel winner:
I don’t think that the currently popular ...Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium...models pass the smell test. They take it for granted that the whole economy can be thought of as if it were a single, consistent person or dynasty carrying out a rationally designed, long-term plan, occasionally disturbed by unexpected shocks but adapting to them in a rational, consistent way. I don’t think that that picture passes the smell test...
The DSGE model populates its simplified economy with exactly one single combined worker, owner, consumer, everything else who plans ahead carefully, lives forever; and one important consequence of this representative-agent assumption is that there are no conflicts of interest, no incompatible expectations, no deceptions. This all-purpose decision maker essentially runs the economy according to its own preferences—not directly, of course, the economy has to operate through generally well-behaved markets and prices...
the basic story always treats the whole economy as if it were like a person trying consciously and rationally to do the best it can on behalf of the representative agent, given its circumstances. This cannot be an adequate description of a national economy, which is pretty conspicuously not pursuing a consistent goal. A thoughtful person faced with that economic policy based on that kind of idea might reasonably wonder what planet he or she is on... (The snark is in the original!)
the DSGE story has no real room for unemployment of the kind we see most of the time and especially now: unemployment that is pure waste... The only way the DSGE and related models can cope with unemployment is to make it somehow voluntary,
- Testimony of Robert Solow[NOTE]
BUILDING A SCIENCE OF ECONOMICS FOR THE REAL WORLD
U. S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JULY 20, 2010
NOTE: Dr. Solow was awarded the Swedish National Bank's Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1987.
After you swallow this line of hooey, you are duty bound to support outsourcing, piecework, Social Darwinism, austerity, the new share(cropping)-economy, and the absolute invulnerability of the sharks on Wall St.
IMPOSSIBLE THING #4) There is justification for our gigantic, out of control MIC
The waste and fraud of the MIC is off the charts, but I must never criticize these warmongers.
Even ignoring the money spent for military purposes by the Dept. of Energy (develop nuclear weapons) and the VA, our military budget is bigger than the rest of the world's militaries combined. The US has close to 1,000 overseas bases. We are busy creating privatized armies by farming out basic functions like fighting (mercenaries) and supplies (logistics companies) at obscene rates. We have overthrown at least seven governments in the last ten years. WE have done this, in part, by setting up, funding, and advising terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaida.
As the terrorism excuse became increasingly non-viable due to our involvement with the terrorists, we had to resuscitate the Russian boogeyman to justify the ever growing MIC. Today, everything is Russia's fault; and we think its a great idea to threaten first use of nukes. As some wag paraphrased Putin speech:
The actual message, for the non mental defectives left in this drooling idiocracy of a republic, was as follows: Nuclear war remains unthinkable, so kindly stop thinking about it.
IMPOSSIBLE THING #5) Privatization of government is what everyone, even Democrats, wants
I'm supposed to support the Demopublican duopoly that wants to privatize our government out of existence.We should do this out of deference to the neoliberal lunatics who gave us the 2008 crash and continue to give bipartisan support to the looting and destruction of the American economy and middle class. (See Impossible Thing #3.)
The Democratic Party is a joke. They actively oppose progressives. They do not support labor. They are an even bigger bunch of neocon warmongers than the GOP. The GOP have reverted to racism and fascism. In short, we don't live in a democracy anymore, we live in a Weimar Republic-like condition where dueling totalitarian systems are fighting over who gets to run our rapidly emerging police state and direct its aggressive military policy.
IMPOSSIBLE THING #6) The media is honest and investigates on behalf of the public
The media is so important that it is called out in the First Ammendment to our Constitution. Quaintly, the Founders could not imagine a situation where all media (and the Internet means to deliver all media) could be captured by five megacorporations. Instead of facts, all our problems are posed as cases of Identity Politics or the Russian Boogeyman. Stories investigating economics and foreign policy are verboten, except to follow the propaganda lines above. Our citizens are so dumb they have to be protected against "fake news" by censorship, but we are a great democracy.
How can any intelligent person (who is not part of the 1%) keep his sanity in this open air lunatic asylum of a country?