Tuesday, April 7, 2009

So, the Privateer takes on the Profiteers.

Since I've neglected this site for most of a year I've decided to revive it with a goal in mind. Since it's very difficult for one with such a strict anti-consumerist message as I've had for years to make ends meet--I'm going to try out a sort of wacko "sustainable" business model here. In other words, I'm going to attempt to offer guidance and leads to resources that help one to "not consume." We'll see how this all works.  The idea is to proactively subvert consumer attitudes and especially anything that stinks of "greenwash." while advocating good products, business, and ways of living.

We'll see how it works.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The storm has hit. . .

Looks like I bought a house today. Too bad I'll never get a chance to see it.

Watching the financial markets today is more interesting and exciting than watching the NFL.

I'm pretty much going to drop the Commonstrike blog, more info on this later in the day.

So this is where I'm heading: Sensible Simplicity

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July.

A thoughful one, at least for those that think, with oil at 145, unemployment rising rapidly, rumors that neither GM nor Chrysler will survive the year, and Budwiser to be sold overseas.

Worth a read.

As well.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hello Mr, Wolf, won’t you please sit down?

Just a few thoughts.

As we come off the peak of what may well be the greatest period of wealth the world may ever see, it is interesting to see what it is we have gained in terms of standard of living, the hypothetical(if you can afford it)quality of health care, relative(for the moment) security, and a host of marvelous tools, machines, and technological gadgets. Most of these things are good for the most part, and while we can continue to afford them we will enjoy their benefits, no denying.

It is as important as well, to see what we have lost. Many things for sure. Privacy for one, as the same technological gadgets we enjoy aid snoopy meddlesome folk in the extreme. The ecology of the world has all been shot, and the Mother Goose of Nature that laid golden eggs has mostly been slaughtered, to the point where those who are caught up in the Neo-back to the land movement should stop and really consider how viable a vision that is, especially in the face of unpredictable climate disruption. Individual Sovereignty as envisioned by Enlightenment political thinkers has more or less been tossed out, with the State being asserted in most every manner, and with the rising power of Corporate power the individual is more or less powerless in fact to resist even the most mundane of affronts and injustices. Don’t think so? Try to combat an erroneous charge on your bank statement. . .

Still, I think perhaps the most dangerous thing we have lost is a sense of community, and especially community responsibility. That notion perhaps exemplified in the Amish tradition of “Barn raising,” an incontestable display of “take care of your neighbor”--where within the community exists the value that one should be COMPELLED to care for your neighbors, that good neighbors are valuable, and good neighbors in tern will take care of you. Unfortunately, wealth has given many the luxury of independence, and many have never learned the skills of “getting along” in the human community and its many social contracts--even within most families--most relationships and marriages in fact-- the bonds of mutual responsibility are pretty thin. That may feel liberating while things are good and life is easy, but there is quite a skill in people knowing how and that they can rely on each other in hard times that is GREATLY undervalued. Community spirit isn’t so much taking up causes that you value when in your free time--that is simply indulgent dilettante ethics borne of affluence. Community spirit is taking on the causes that are NOT fashionable, nor fun--and taking them on when it’s inconvenient or frankly a hassle.

This may well become a major difficulty here in Hawaii, as there is a fair amount of bad blood and alienation floating around, there are strong racial and economical factions here, there are strong cultural factions as well. We need to get beyond this. The population here is too small, and our location is far too remote from the rest of the world to indulge in the luxury of “not relying on each other.” Self-sufficiency is a myth--and as one who has studied homesteading and frontier lifestyles extensively I will have to say that the single largest cause I can identify with failure is alienation and lack of community support.

As far as I can see we as a world, and as an island face some very very difficult times in the relative near future. We are simply not prepared for resource scarcity and the rising costs that we will be facing in the next 3 - 5 years. Most of the suggestions for short term remedies we see may have been sensible 15 years ago, but today we need real solutions, and those solutions unfortunately are lacking. I don’t believe those solutions exist. Our lifestyles are likely to change radically, and this is going to create a good deal of individual difficulty and outright suffering here--and as one with a lot of skills to share I’d like to be positively proactive in building real meaningful social networks that will allow our area to weather these difficulties in “relative” ease. Hawaii has a lot going for it in many ways, and has a tradition of pretty easy living. So does the grand experiment of Sea-steading. Let’s not let that relative easy lure us into the complacency that may well entrap the rest of the world.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


As I've come to say a lot lately--a pessimist does not plant trees.

Actually, part and parcel of the vision I see for the future--with the collapse of affluent human society, climatic destruction, and a tend towards overt neo-feudalism--as part of this process SO many people are going to take such a beating that there is simply NO WAY that the cultural values now in place will survive. That trend is already occurring among the "newly maturing." Those under the age of 20 hold a radically different perspective towards their future than those of my age. They are, to my mind, best described as complacently hopeless, simply willing to take on without resistance the semi-feral future that awaits for them. Of course, this attitude is still an attitude born of relative affluence, as no one who has ever gone hungry is complacent ever again. . .but I certainly signal that as the beginning of what one might call "the revaluation of all values."

This will be uncharted territory, but by a quarter way through this century I'm certain that any semi-conscious semi-informed person alive will be unable to feel anything other than having been royally, thoroughly, ruggedly screwed over. They will feel that they've been lied to at every turn, insulted, manipulated, marketed, fucked over so completely that the sense of distrust towards any and all expert opinions or authority figures will be unprecedented. And of course this attitude will be completely justified. This will be a very dangerous time, as far as I can see, but ultimately Hobbesian ethics will prevail--and to avoid a life that is "nasty, brutish, and short" a sense of community will arise, if for no other reason than it will be impossible to survive without--but I tell you, people will really give the stink-eye to anyone who is remotely sketchy, unclear, or underhanded in their motives.


If there is anything I thoroughly despise about culture as it exists is the utter depraved dishonesty of it. The surest and fastest way to find alienation is to speak the truth: the fastest way to finding acclaim is to fake it. Don't you dare do anything on your own, for real. That makes others look stupid and they won't appreciate it. Be sure you demand nothing of anyone. Virtue has been turned on its head: the latin term "vertus" in its day meant nothing other than explicitly manly values--to speak the truth, to shoot well with arrows. Today, virtue is equated with effete, non-confrontational sentimentalism--good natured but harmless. It will be obvious that this has served no one.

One of the more interesting predictions I've heard so far, from Kunstler: "this will be the year that conspicuous consumption goes underground." I think he's a little bit ahead of the curve, but it's bound to happen at some point, as it's going to be far more likely to bring you a bullet than admiration.

Ah well, a little rave here waiting for the rain to clear so I can buck up a little more timber. The garden here is growing so fast I can actually see it. Thanks you guys for the robust camaraderie. Dennis especially, I enjoy that direct and straightforward unrepentant gun-toting liberalism. I wish we had more of a chance to shoot the shit before I moved out of Bellingham. Maybe October!

Friday, May 2, 2008

This is nuts. . .

Reading the financial news daily, mostly I read the macro finance stuff off of Bloomberg or Mish's link at the bottom of the page. Jesus. . .if you were going to diagnose the "mood of the markets" at this point you could only say that you were dealing with a undedicated manic/depressive paranoid schizophrenic with multiple personality disorder.

The Fed and the Treasury want to "restore investor confidence." You do, eh? Right.

If there is anything that wholly destroys investor confidence it is fucking around with financial policy. Once you start bailing out banks(bear sterns) that simply screwed up and should by rights fold at whatever cost, when congress starts talking about linking foreclosures with jail time, and all sorts of fiddling with the economy--while you screw with and devalue a nation's currency--you create an environment of utter uncertainty in which any informed investor will simply sit on the sidelines. Or invest in whiskey and ammunition. Uncertainty is not risk. Risk involves a calculated chance: with uncertainty you have no means of judging what's coming at you. And any prudent investor or businessman never takes chances with uncertainty. This alone will have a profound impact on the economy as a whole.

For those of us who have lived very prudent financial lives, we especially are very pissed off. Those of us who didn't speculatively borrow during the housing boom, as it was fucking obviously unsustainable, or elsewise, and didn't get ourselves in a hole, thinking perhaps we'll buy in when the bubble bust, as it did, will now look at a situation in which government policy is only interested in protecting bad speculative behavior and devaluing the cash some of us have saved. That isn't funny in the slightest, and it will take a while for most of us to forget it.

The policy is clear. Protect the kleptocratic banking system, and devalue the dollar to shed the vast amount of unrecoverable debt that the US now holds. Those with a lot of money will hide their assets in Dubai and the rest of us can all go to hell. 5 years down the road these guys will come back, and buy up the remaining country for pennies on the dollar.