You’re Not Lazy. That’s It. That’s The Problem

You’re not lazy.

That’s not the problem.

It’s not that you’re scared or distracted or something else. You don’t have to hustle like Gary Vee. You don’t have to just do it. You don’t have to be a living embodiment of the swoosh. It’s interesting how many times this idea comes up. Even Shia LaBeouf has a spin on it.

Here’s the big secret…

We think being lazy is the opposite of being successful and productive. What if it’s not? What if being lazy was necessary? What if procrastinating weren’t a bad thing? What if you were just bad at them?

Maybe being lazy is a skill.

We’ve forgotten it.

Everyone is lazy.

Here’s the most basic definition of lazy:

Unwilling to do work.

I’m pretty sure that includes all of us. Nobody loves work. Some of us have managed to make money off doing things we enjoy. We call it “work” because it earns income or brings us some kind of reward. The dirty little truth is that we do it for its own sake.

We got lucky.

There was a point in human history where laziness couldn’t exist. You either found food and shelter, or you starved. You froze. You got eaten. Once you had food and shelter, you didn’t go about making more shelter just for the hell of it. You kicked back and relaxed. You painted the walls of your cave because you wanted to, not because it was “work.”

My neighborhood has a few stray cats. They don’t do anything more than they have to in order to survive. They enjoy long naps.

This is what animals do.

We’re animals.

None of us are exactly “willing” to do work. What we’re willing to do is exchange our time and energy for things we need. We want to do as little work as possible for the maximum outcome. Doing more work than necessary is actually the root of our biggest problems.

Laziness is good for you.


We crave homeostasis.

Do you know what really motivates people?

A desire to do nothing.

We operate on what psychologists call drives, or needs. Our biggest need of all is homeostasis, a point where we can stop worrying about everything and just chill out for a little while. We do things so we don’t have to do them anymore, at least not until tomorrow.

We don’t allow ourselves to do nothing anymore.

We’ve bought into the lie that doing nothing is wrong. If it’s not unproductive, it’s just plain boring. So we look for fun.

We eat out.

We go to movies. We play games. We throw parties. We bathe. We get drunk. We do anything but stay home.

The closest thing we have to nothing is called meditating. We’re supposed to do it sitting upright, with our legs in a pretzel. We’re supposed to by special clothes and download apps. We have to consume it. We write about it in journals. We track it in apps.

You know the worst part?

We’re constantly sold homeostasis. Every ad out there sells the idea of lounging around doing nothing. It’s just that they’re doing it in an exotic location, or in leisure, because that’s approved. The marketers and influencers have taken something we can do for free whenever we want, and they’ve turned it into the most exclusive form of luxury.

Only the rich can be lazy.


Being lazy is the best type of rest.

Tell me if this has ever happened to you: Your family goes on vacation, or you take a trip with friends. It’s supposed to be relaxing.

You come back exhausted.

Stuff like this has happened to me my entire life. I do something that’s supposed to be restful and restorative.

It makes everything worse.

We think we understand rest. We don’t. There’s actually seven types of rest, and you need them all:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Sensory
  • Creative
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual

Some people get all these types of rest without really trying. I remember those days, before I had a spouse or a kid. I could do whatever I wanted, and I almost never felt tired. I could be lazy, and there was nobody around to heap demands on me or pass judgment.

Those days are gone.

If you’re like me, you have lots of pulls on your time and energy. It’s easier to get worn out. It’s hard to figure out what kind of rest you need.

It’s even harder to justify getting that rest.

 Now I’ve honed the ability to procrastinate. I don’t have to clean the counters right now, or the toilets.

They can wait. My rest is more important.

Rest, it’s one of my favorite things. I enjoy it more than Netflix.

It’s even better than sex.

I love being lazy.


Drop the ball

One of my favorite books is Drop The Ball, by Tiffany Dufu. It’s one of the most underrated self-help books of all time. Maybe that’s because it suggests there’s nothing wrong with you, except one thing:

You do too much.

Some of us are overworked because we’re taking up the slack from coworkers and spouses who don’t pull their weight. We take on their responsibilities, and over time it becomes an expectation.

They feel entitled.

There’s a simple solution to this problem.

Stop doing it.

Being lazy is hard work for some of us. We have to learn the art of not doing their work, to the point it becomes a problem. It will bother us to see work not getting done. We have to get over it.

It’s called learning to be lazy.


Being “busy” is killing us

The true opposite of being lazy is having something to do. They fit together. We do things in order to satisfy our drives. Once they’re done, we’ve achieved homeostasis. We can go back to being lazy.

We’ve twisted purpose into something else. Now our lives our full of things we have to do that don’t achieve homeostasis.

They throw us further out of whack.

Most of us don’t need 40–60 hours a week to do our jobs. It’s not even close. And yet, we’re pressured to fill up that time. In fact, our jobs are often filled with disruptions and distractions.

Whenever we do finish our work earlier, we’re not rewarded.

We’re punished.

Our bosses give us more work. They cut our hours and send us home. So we find ways to look busy. We write memos. We hold pointless meetings. We attend professional development workshops.

It’s all a waste.


Bring back lazy

Maybe you feel out of whack. Maybe you struggle to focus. You have actual things you want to accomplish, not just busywork. For some reason you just can’t get started on them.

Maybe it’s not because you’re lazy.

Maybe it’s because you’re not lazy. You’re doing too much. You’re trying to please your family, your boss, and even total strangers. You’re not doing the things that would actually satisfy you, and it’s keeping you from achieving homeostasis. Either that, or you’re mistaking your body’s need to do nothing as a bad thing, and you’re depriving it of valuable rest.

I have a suggestion, and it goes counter to the Nike slogan. They say, “Just do it.” For some of us, that’s the answer — not always.

Just don’t.


This is the Dawn of the Age of Collapse

Our Civilization is Now Reaching an Omega Point — the Point of Irreversible Collapse

This gentle world that you and I know, that I love, of old parks full of ancient trees, long walks through them — all that is now coming to a swift and sudden end.

We are reaching what I call the Omega Point. “O” for game over. The Omega Point is the inflection point at which our civilisation will no longer survive — and we are coming closer and closer to it by the day now. We are surely going to hit it within the next two decades, perhaps the next decade, on the trajectory we are on.

Omega isn’t some kind of abstruse notion — it’s just simple economics, which any grade schooler can understand. Let me explain it you conceptually, and then I’ll describe how life will change as we begin to hit it.

The world’s GDP is about $80 trillion. Omega is theoretically hit when the costs of the existential threats of the 21st century that our civilisation now faces — climate change, mass extinction, ecological collapse, and the pandemics and social upheavals and economic depressions they’ll ignite — exceeds the world’s GDP. At that point, we are spending every dollar, euro, and renminbi we have to fight floods, hurricanes, fires, and pandemics — which leaves nothing, and I mean nothing, over for air, water, food, energy, medicine. Bang. The lights go out.

In the real world, though, Omega is hit long before the costs of our existential threats reach the ceiling of global GDP. As we fight climate change, ecological collapse, mass extinction, pandemics, authoritarianism, we must still feed and nourish and clothe and mend ourselves — that is, we need to spend a significant percentage on the basics, food, water, air, medicine, shelter, clothing, and so forth. That’s about half of global GDP right now.

So realistically, Omega — the point at which our civilisation collapses, for sure, permanently, game over — is hit at about half of global GDP spent on combating our existential threats.That leaves us too little left over for the basics of life, and civilisation descends into chaos, ruin, and social collapse — just as it has, for example, in America, as people fight each other bitterly for self-preservation.

So we hit the Omega point when the damage caused by our existential challenges — climate change, ecological collapse, pandemics, authoritarianism, etc — reaches $40 to 60 trillion at our current level of global income and wealth.

Now, if that doesn’t make sense, think about it this way.If you had to spend 100% of your income, say, mending your roof, or shoring up your home’s foundations, you’d be effectively broke. Sure, you could borrow, maybe, if you were lucky, and you had good credit. But you would still be bankrupt in net terms. And as a world, we have no such luxury — when we are broke, collectively, nobody is left to lend to us. Omega therefore represents the point at which our civilisation is effectively bankrupt: when we’re $40 trillion to $60 trillion in the hole.

At that point, there will be no way out. We will be broke, and not have the economic capacity to mitigate, avert, or address problems like climate change and ecological collapse anymore. Their costs will have exceeded the total economic resources of our civilization.

Nice theory, Queen, you might say — but so what? Surely Omega, this sci-fi concept you’ve invented, is in the distant future. It’s something our great grandkids might have to worry about! Relax, dude! Everything will be fine!

Wrong!

Let me put in context for you just how close we are to hitting Omega. $40 to $60 trillion might sound like a lot — but in fact, it’s not. It is frighteningly little. Take Covid. It’s a relatively minor problem compared to climate change or mass extinction, in scale, scope, and intensity. Its damages won’t remotely approach those of a melted down planet. And yet the IMF has estimated that Covid has already cost us $24 trillion.

Covid alone takes us about 40 to 60% of the way to hitting Omega. Covid alone. My God. This afternoon, when I thought about this, and ran the numbers in my head, my heart skipped a beat. We are in serious, serious trouble, I thought. My God. Are you seeing the problem here? Let me spell it out.

So what about climate change? The IMF has estimated that climate change costs about 7% of global GDP — but that’s just subsidies for undercharging for carbon (if that makes your head spin, don’t worry about it.) That doesn’t factor in the damage caused by climate change — megafires, megafloods, mega-hurricanes, and so forth. It doesn’t even factor in, for example, the global microchip shortage, that was essentially caused by climate change.

So how much is that? Easily twice as much again — so now we’re at another 15% of global GDP. And even that’s sure to be a significant underestimate. We don’t know how much climate change is really going to cost us — all we know is that the costs are going to be singular in human history. The costs are going to be so great at some point they can never be repaid at all — do you know how to make the Arctic ice freeze again, how to make a rainforest? I didn’t think so. So doubling that estimate of climate change’s costs is far too conservative. I’d put the truer number at closer to 25% of the world’s GDP. But we can put it on a spectrum from 15% to 25%, because even that conservative math makes the point frighteningly clear.

In a world of Covid plus climate change, we’re already close to hitting OmegaCovid costs us 10 percent of the world’s GDP, and climate change another 15% to 25%. That’s 25% to 35% of global GDP — just on these two threats alone. Omega’s hit somewhere near fifty percent, remember. That means that we are more than halfway to hitting Omega, right now. That we are almost sure to hit it by the end of the decade or so.

We haven’t even factored in the biggies yet: mass extinction and ecological collapse. We are used to living in an alienated, hyper-technological, disconnected way. But the truth is that the basics of our lives come from…the earth. The insects and worms turn the soil in which we harvest our crops and medicines. The fish clean the rivers which supply our reservoirs. The trees, like the ones in my park, breath out the air we breathe in. The earth’s great ecosystems are reaching tipping points, because industrialisation and its predatory economics rips their roots out at the bottoms, killing off the most vulnerable things: little insects, fish, young saplings. Where and when they’re “replaced,” monocultures are made, which are no substitute for natural ecosystems and their complexity and productivity.

As the planet’s great ecologies collapse, our civilisations basic systems will fail. The most basic of all. Air, water, food, medicine, energy. The ones we have long taken for granted. And that’s when the fireworks will really begin. Life will become a bitter, brutal battle for self-preservation. Neighbour will turn on neighbour, and friend on friend — not just at local scales, but at national and then international ones. What will you do when the food, water, medicine, and air begin to run out? Well, the first thing you’ll do — have to do — is pay through the nose for what’s left. And the ensuing despair, poverty, and rage will kickstart a new wave of fascist-authoritarian movements globally.

If you think all that’s some distant fantasy, take a hard look at how long it took America to collapse. The middle class became a minority in 2010, and by 2016, Trump was made President, by an enraged, downwardly mobile white majority. That is how fast a society comes apart — even the richest one in the world. And in that way American collapse is a tiny warning of what awaits the world in an age of civilizational collapse. People turn ugly and stupid as they fight for self-preservation. Politics turns fascist. Economies go south. And a sense of indifference takes over. Because life becomes a bitter struggle for each isolated, disconnected individual. If you’re living, like the average American, a life of unpayable debt, facing an impossible challenge till the day you die — what emotional or economic room do you have to care about anyone else? You don’t. Bang. That’s how societies collapse: poverty.

So how much will ecological collapse and mass extinction cost us?Physicists have a point called a singularity — where all the laws of physics break down. This is an economic singularity. Nobody knows, and in a sense, it doesn’t matter, because the question makes no sense. How much does it “cost” to live on a planet where the air isn’t breathable, the water isn’t potable, and the food isn’t edible? Where life itself is poisonous? The question itself is absurd. The only good way to frame it is the opposite: it costs so much that nobody really realises their potential. People live short, dull, stupid, angry, desperate, lives, where they get sick, die young, and nobody much cares about anyone else. That’s what it costs. Attempting to quantify all that is an exercise in futility — all that we can say is that the cost is civilisation itself.

Still, for the sake of argument, let’s say, conservatively, again, that ecological collapse and mass extinction cost us another 25% of global GDP. They do so by causing widespread shortages of the basics. You used to be able to go the store, and buy anything you liked — now getting good water and fresh food is a daily challenge, which often goes unmet. Then there are the pandemics, which seem to erupt every five years or so. There’s the shortage of life-saving medicines, which cost a society huge numbers of life-years. There are the costs of migrations — people simply abandon those places which have become deserts, as the topsoil eroded away. Fire Belts, Flood Belts, Plague Belts — all these are the vocabulary people speak now, and the price of being poor is living in one. If you have the money, you flee, at all costs.

As a result, financial systems begin to break down. Who’s going to insure a Fire Belt, Flood Belt, Plague Belt?Those who did go broke — bang! There goes a whole asking sector and insurance industry. Who’s going to write a mortgage against a home that’s going to be incinerated or flooded — or already is, every year? Who’s going to insure a life whose expectancy is declining due to a new pandemic every few years? As financial crashes follow ecological ones, as natural disasters metastasise into economic catastrophes, whole economies begin to seize up. Banks don’t lend, businesses shutter their doors, mass long-term unemployment is the new normal. Getting money out of the bank is an iffy affair. Paying your bills — who knows if you’ll do it this month.

All that? Easily another 25% of global GDP.

And that puts well past the Omega Point. 20% Covid. 15 to 25% climate change. 25% ecological collapse — in truth, the number will be much higher. Still, all that is enough to put our civilisation past the point of no return. Add those up, and you get somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of GDP as the costs of our existential challenges. Bang. That’s too much. We can’t pay it. We can’t afford it. It makes us broke. And growing, poverty produces across our civilisation what it always does in societies: despair, rage, hostility, cruelty, stupidity, violence, fascism.

Omega. Game Over. The point at which the costs of our existential threats exceed our civilisations economic resources. When that point is hit, there is no turning back. Collapse is inevitable. We are, in my estimation, somewhere between 10 to 15 years away from hitting Omega.

Those are words that are frightening for me to write. They take my breath away. I’m not often wrong on issues of economics — I predicted everything from the crash of ’08 to the wave of authoritarianism sweeping the globe to American collapse. That’s not to toot my own horn. It’s to warn you.

The problem of imminent civilizational collapse is not being taken nearly seriously enough. How do we fix it? We invest, right now, like never before.

While we still have the money, energy, time, While we still have the resources to address our existential problems. Before they swamp us, flood us, incinerate us, spin out of control. Take Covid as an example. It was better to swallow a bitter pill, like New Zealand and Taiwan and Vietnam did, and lock down swiftly and hard — they have, by and large, bounced back. Those that didn’t swallow the bitter pill, like America, Britain, and Europe, are now paying a price without end — a pandemic that has spiralled out of control and won’t go away.

The lesson couldn’t be clearer. We have to get serious about our existential threats now, before they spin out of control.The closer that we come to Omega, the uglier life will get. The poorer we will grow as a civilization, and the uglier, stupider, more violent life will get — and the more powerless we will be to change it all. Just like it has in America.

I’ve estimated it will cost about $20 trillion to begin really addressing all these problems — a quarter of global GDP. 

That’s the scale at which we’re talking right now. Do you hear anyone — a single prime minister, politician, leader, CEO, talking at those scales?

I didn’t think so. And that, my friend, is the problem. We are about to be engulfed by our existential threats, and it is already hitting us faster, harder, and more severely than anyone much thought. Civilizational collapse is now the theme that will dominate the rest of our adult lives. Covid is a warning. This is the dawn of the age of collapse.

I’m Sorry, but Climate Change Will Not Be Stopped

Don’t get me wrong. Your heart is in the right place, but you are still living a delusional life, thinking that your desires are reflected in our politics because a 70-something-year-old in political office said some words once. You’re kind of like a smoker saying they’ll quit tomorrow, right after they finish this pack.

Tomorrow never comes, however. The smoker buys another pack. They’ll quit after this fresh new pack, after all.

You vote for another corporate politician who is paid to be liked by you, paid to say the things you want to hear, who enacts legislation favorable to big industries — in this case, any industry reliant on or producing fossil fuels. Like that smoker, you’ll quit your bad behavior tomorrow. The behavior of electing the same people who make the same promises over and over that they then break over and over. The same behavior of purchasing goods and services from those corporations that create all the emissions that cause the climate issues.

Today, though? You still have hope. The future is always full of potential correct choices that we can make. You can always quit smoking tomorrow. The past and present, however…

I’m sorry liberals, but climate change is coming. Your carbon taxes and credits won’t stop the easy money of fossil fuels from either simply paying for those credits and taxes while still burning fuel in excess, or from avoiding those regulations altogether through accounting tricks and the systemic reality of global capitalism.

Dodging some phone calls

Corporations consume, just like whatever ate most of this mushroom.

How can corporations avoid those regulations? Well, depending on the implementation of these liberal political solutions, big firms will either just drill elsewhere, refine elsewhere, or find a consumer base elsewhere.

That “elsewhere” is whatever country doesn’t have those carbon-reducing regulations. If you think this won’t happen, I offer the entire history of neoliberal global capitalism as proof of how these regulations will be avoided.

New labor markets get exploited elsewhere when unions are a problem locally. Corporations move headquarters for tax avoidance all the time. They also find new markets to sell their goods within when consumers in one location can’t afford the price of the goods locally — the consumer can always import them from elsewhere if they want them enough and have the extra cash.

Cash is king. Screw the environment. That’s not your home, is it? Capitalism is your culture, now. Accept it.

Regulatory pressure and the corporations avoiding that pressure are no different — it will either be cheap enough locally to pay off politicians to prevent regulation, or corporations will just move their headquarters somewhere else, a place that doesn’t impose regulations on them in exchange for the jobs and GDP growth to bolster that country’s tax receipts.

The politicians love that stuff.

No, I don’t mean wherever you grew up, or wherever your parents are. Wherever that home is might be underwater when climate change is in full swing — depending on the surrounding topography, of course.

I mean go back home.

The interesting scientific fact of life here on earth is that we are all related. I’m related to you, even if the distance of our relation is large.

The other interesting scientific fact of life here on earth is that all life is related. From the tiniest little fungus growing on a fallen branch, to the huge oak tree whose branch fell off and is rotting on the ground, to the snake that lives under the fallen branch, to the coyote that just trotted past the fallen branch, to the human hunter tracking the coyote because it killed a chicken… We are all related.

Everything you look at that is alive is a distant relative.

You haven’t been home in a long, long time.

You’ve been in a world of steel and concrete and carbon and asphalt and glass and drywall. You’ve been in a world of on-demand air-conditioning and heating — all reliant on carbon, of course. You’ve been in a world of on-demand entertainment, unable to entertain yourself in the ways humans have entertained themselves for a million years. You’ve been in a world of on-demand McDonald’s and Panera and Subway and the French Laundry and Door Dash and Uber and Lyft and AirBnB and artisanal soaps and just this once, you know, treat yourself!

Your nature has been replaced with capitalism.

You’ve been renting an apartment in another city in another country on another continent, far from your home.

You speak a language that nature doesn’t know, now. Your home doesn’t speak your language, and you have forgotten how to listen to the words it uses. They’re not literal words — the home you left long ago speaks in a language of signs and symbols, able to be divined only roughly, and only learned through some intuitive form of semiotics.

Your home speaks a language of chirps, and barks, and rustles, and wind, and dampness, and sharpness, and roughness, and dirtiness, and growth, and decay, and heat, and cold, and fangs, and beauty, and fear.It’s a language you would need to know if you wanted to stop or reverse climate change — it’s how we didn’t notice a problem until recently. We didn’t hear the words our home was using to tell us about it, and now that it’s screaming, we’ve finally taken notice. It’s too late.

Without knowing the language, you will never be able to be comfortable in a carbon-free home. You will never stay there willingly. You will never make the pilgrimage back home because you will not be welcome there. You may crash there for a weekend, but you will go back to your normal world immediately due to the discomfort of not understanding the language. There will be nowhere for you to sleep comfortably, no food for you to eat, and no company to share.

There will be no one to talk to back home. You are a stranger to your family.

How to become welcome again

The religious know of a concept called revelation. As an atheist, I can’t say I have ever experienced religious revelation.

But I have experienced natural revelation before. The religious will try to attach their rhetoric to this somehow, but I know better. I received natural revelation when I started to remember the language, when I began to sense the dialect of our home.

I received a completely subjective form of knowledge that I couldn’t give anyone else — no attempt at translation could transmit it between you and I. It was knowledge only I could have. I could describe the steps to take to get there, but I couldn’t describe the knowledge sitting at the end of those steps.

And I could only describe my steps. I don’t know if your steps will be different. It brings to mind a quote I know, although it describes the inverse of this situation between us:

There is a false saying: “How can someone who can’t save himself save others?” Supposing I have the key to your chains, why should your lock and my lock be the same.

Friedrich Nietzsche

I know my lock and I have my key — but I don’t know your lock, and I do not have your key. You have to find those yourself for natural revelation.

It was easier for me to pick up the dialect of our home again than many others, I suppose. I spent most of my youth in the woods. I probably chopped down one hundred trees before I was twelve. I spent years in the military in the bitter cold of the arctic and the extreme heat of the desert. I’ve caught wild fish with my hands in a jungle pond. I’ve seined for bait fish to catch bigger fish to eat. I’ve seen cows, alienated from their natural world by human forces, get stuck in the mud of a ravine and die. They are not home just like you are not home.

Climate change may very well be your mud.

So, I have always been able to intuitively understand bits and pieces of the language of our home. My alienation was not as complete as most of us today — it’s harder for me to get stuck in the mud than many. I could tell there was a language being spoken, even if I couldn’t speak it, much like how I know when someone is speaking German and I understand the general idea of what they are saying, while I can only speak English fluently.

But, you? It’s very likely you’re reading this somewhere in a city, on a floor of a building not at ground level, or on a train scrolling through articles displayed on a phone that has a million times the processing power needed to get to the moon and back.

You likely speak a language completely foreign to your home. You need to go back — the door has always been open, and your family has been waiting for you. They’ve missed you, even if they don’t know what to make of you any more.

When you start to speak their language — when you have a naturalrevelation after some time spent at home — you will be welcomed again. Just like we always were, until only very recently in our history.

It’s not too late for you. It’s never too late to go back home — your real, ancestral home. You will only be judged there if you do not speak the language. That can be overcome.

When you can speak their language, you are what your family calls an apex predator. They respect you greatly. Only humans will ever debate whether you are one or not — a luxurious argument that only another apex predator could make.

The first painful steps

The first steps are the hardest in any journey. You know the road ahead will be long and difficult and maybe even dangerous.

The first step in going home is to go home. There is no way out of the process but through the process. It is natural and personal.In the language of humans, this means… Put your shoes on. Put on a hoodie or a jacket if it’s cool outside. Take a backpack or a bag you can walk with comfortably. Throw some bottles of water in there. Skip the snacks — you’re going hungry today. Trust me, food will only slow you down.

And now, just go walk somewhere that humans aren’t. That’s it. That’s how you go home.

And I don’t mean go to an abandoned strip mall, either. I mean go to where the woods and forests are. Go out into the desert. Go up into the mountains. Go down into the swamps and jungles. Go out into the grasslands. Go far down the beach, way past the parking lot where all the tourists are. Step off of a path and keep walking. Keep walking for hours in your home. And keep walking still, until you are exhausted. And then, sit there for a while. Regain your strength. Look around. Poke stuff with your fingers. Listen.

Maybe don’t eat anything just yet. You don’t know the language. Yes, I know you’re hungry. Let the feeling pass through you. It doesn’t have the power over you that you think it does.

Then, turn around and come back to your apartment in the human world, far from home.

You won’t speak the language at first, or even hear it. You will be startled by wild animals. You will be feasted upon by mosquitos or ticks or leeches or flies or all of the above. You will be tired and thirsty and hungry and sore and uncomfortable. You will feel not welcome.

But if you do this enough — if you practice this immersive form of learning the language of your home over days, weeks, months — you will understand what nature is saying when it’s trying to communicate with you. You will understand what your distant relatives are saying again, like you used to before the concrete and steel.

It will be that form of natural revelation that you are alienated from now that you will feel, the subjective knowledge that I cannot give to you. A form of knowledge only gained by experience. No words can suffice. No translation is possible. Your key is not my key.

Why you must go home

You have to go home if you ever want to reverse climate change. Capitalism has alienated you from a fossil-fuel-free life. Even if we stopped all use of fossil fuels — and thereby saved the climate and the world’s ecosystems from collapse, if we were lucky enough to have done it thirty years ago — you would be screaming and crying for fossil fuels to return within the next day.

That first night at home would be unbearable to you. It would be a Pyrrhic climate victory. You do not know that which you wish for.

This alienation is complete as long as we do not recognize it. We only do not recognize it because we do not feel the discomfort of going home and trying to speak to our family. The discomfort is unbearable and slaps you in the face with the alienation you have succumbed to unknowingly. A passive alienation you couldn’t detect, because it was made so easy for you.

The more you are home, though, the more you will be immersed in the language of your family. You will become comfortable around them. They’ll stop running away from you when you show up — not always, and not all of them, hell… some of them don’t even have legs — but you will be speaking their language and know what not to say to them that would cause offense.

They’ll share their culture with you freely. It costs nothing but your time and discomfort.

Have you ever wondered how wildlife photographers can take photos of lions and bears and poisonous snakes up close? They’ve spent a lot of time at home and they speak the language fluently.

If you want to save the climate — if you want to fix the world — you have to go home first. That’s the first step.

They miss you. You’ve been avoiding their calls. Stop sending them to voicemail just because you no longer speak the language fluently. It can be learned again. It’s natural for you.


Please, Joe Manchin, Get with the Program

The West Virginia Senator is blowing his chance to be a true leader.

Take, for example, his initial opposition to the COVID relief package. As Bob Woodward and Robert Costa document in their new book, Peril, Manchin was concerned that the package as initially proposed would incentivize people not to work. When I read this, I had to do a double-take to make sure that I wasn’t reading about a Republican, given that this is one of their key talking points when it comes to anything that helps to lift people out of poverty or give them assistance when they badly need it. Nope, instead it’s coming from the man who has been hailed as one of the most powerful people in the Senate, single-handedly capable of tanking his own party’s domestic agenda if it suits him to do so.

What I find especially frustrating about Manchin’s continuing recalcitrance is that it doesn’t even make political sense according to his own terms. Yes, he comes from one of the Trumpiest states in the nation but, and this might come as something of a shock, it’s also the poorest. Meaning, of course, that it would be one of the states that could benefit the most from major investment from the federal government.

Let’s start with infrastructure. If you’ve spent any amount of time in West Virginia, you know that its infrastructure is, to put it bluntly, shit. There are a number of reasons for this, but most of them can be traced in one way or another to the fossil fuel industries that have exploited the state for decades and show no signs of abating anytime soon. Not only do massive coal and oil and gas trucks wreak havoc on roads, the industries in question have spent decades making sure that enormous amounts of money flows right into the pockets of their pet legislators. Add in the fact that they’ve also managed to create a state Supreme Court in their own image, and you have a perfect recipe for disaster. One need look no further than the huge water crisis of a few years ago to see just how bad things can get in a state where regulation of any kind is a bad word and where there is no infrastructure investment to help defray the significant costs created from fossil fuel extraction.

Then there’s the social spending package. For several decades now, West Virginia has ranked near the bottom in all sorts of rankings when it comes to health and well-being. In fact, it’s become something of a running joke for many, including my parents, to say at least not one of the states that are worse off, like Mississippi or Alabama. It’s not that the state’s plight is actually humorous, of course. Instead, it’s more the fact that, if there’s nothing you can really do to change the course of events, you might as well react with a certain form of gallows humor.

More to the point, the population of West Virginia is a rapidly aging one, and it’s one of the only states to lose population over the last 10 years. It’s not hard to see how this is going to affect the lives of its citizens going forward. With fewer and fewer young people moving in — despite the state’s much-publicized efforts to draw in new talent with a variety of incentive programs (which have come in for their own well-deserved criticism) — it’s going to become quite an issue finding enough people, especially qualified people, to take care of the the elderly.

And, of course, it’s also worth pointing out that other programs that Biden has proposed, including paid family leave, would also benefit West Virginians, because it will certainly help alleviate the pressures that are inordinately felt by the working poor. It will come as no surprise to you that there are quite a few of those in West Virginia as well. I’m sure they would like to know that their Senator has their best interests at heart, but his disingenuous claims that he’s wary of supporting legislation that incentivizes people not to work must ring awfully hollow to those who are struggling desperately to make ends meet while also raising a family.

And, of course, it’s also worth pointing out that other programs that Biden has proposed, including paid family leave, would also benefit West Virginians, because it will certainly help alleviate the pressures that are inordinately felt by the working poor. It will come as no surprise to you that there are quite a few of those in West Virginia as well. I’m sure they would like to know that their Senator has their best interests at heart, but his disingenuous claims that he’s wary of supporting legislation that incentivizes people not to work must ring awfully hollow to those who are struggling desperately to make ends meet while also raising a family.

What I find especially galling about Manchin’s continued intransigence is how short-sighted it ultimately is. Part of the struggle that every politician faces is the elaborate juggling act between representing your constituents’ interests and desires and doing what you know to be right for them. Every elected representative knows that all it takes is one wrong move, one unpopular piece of legislation, and they’ll lose in the next election cycle, shut out of the halls of power that they enjoy so much. Manchin is, at the end of the day, a politician like any other, and so it’s easy to see the calculations that is constantly making to ensure that he stays in power. However, at some point he’s got to realize that he has the opportunity to really do something for the people of West Virginia, in the way that Robert C. Byrd did throughout his tenure in that august body. Say what you will about the late Byrd (and he was hardly a saint), but he really did make sure that a significant amount of money flowed into his home state, bringing it into the 20th Century. He understood that his job was to help his state become a competitor in the nation rather than the butt of every joke, and while he may not have succeeded as much as he would have liked, he still did a lot of good.

Manchin, on the other hand, seems to have allowed his newly-minted position of “most powerful man in the Senate” to go to his head. That wouldn’t be so bad, if he actually did something useful with his power, but as it is he is largely a speed-bump, earning himself the opprobrium of progressives (and, believe it or not, there are some of those in WV, too) and even some moderates in his own party. Far from a leader, he’s become yet another example of Washington egotism run amuck.

I earnestly hope that someday, in the future, Joe Manchin realizes that he actually owes something to the people who have continued to put their faith to him. It might also occur to him that he can both satisfy their desire that he be the sort of maverick politician that he aspires to be and vote for the sorts of legislation that will do the most good for those who live there. Unfortunately, if past is prologue, I have to say that I don’t have a lot of confidence in this ever happening. If Manchin refuses to change how he does business in Washington, I fear there’s a very real chance that Biden’s domestic agenda could founder on the rocks of his own party. If that is the case, then Manchin might also have the dubious distinction of being the man who tanked his party’s chances of maintaining their hold on power in the mid-terms. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go down this route.


It’s Time to Make Your Escape Plan From a Collapsing America

Over the years, I’ve predicted America’s collapse into fascism, hate, and backwardness. Often with enough detail and precision to chill many of you. And in response, you often wondered, here in the comments, or in emails to me, “Should I

leave?” I’ve left the question open. I’ll come back to why in just a moment. But now the time has to come to say it openly.

You should make exit plans from a collapsing America.

Over the years, we’ve discussed America’s abysmally low quality of life, and compared to Europe, Canada, or even many middle income countries, it’s one thing to wonder about leaving for a higher quality of life. It’s quite another to understand that the end of American democracy is now in sight, and is becoming more and more certain by the day.

Why? America’s future is now more or less obvious to anyone with eyes to see. Let me begin at the beginning.

America was given one last chance to preserve not just its “democracy,” but to stave off its inevitable plunge into fascism. 

That last chance was nothing short of a minor miracle. The coup on Jan 6th was stopped by a handful of brave police officers. Many of them literally gave their lives. Why? To prevent fascist militants from accomplishing their goal, which was to stop the counting of Presidential votes — even if by massacring anyone standing in their way. Remember those gallows? Remember the open cries for violence?

Societies do not often get chances like this. America got incredibly, incredibly lucky. If the coup had been successful — and it came within a hairs’ breadth of being successful — anything could have happened. The election could have been stopped, a full blown constitution crisis would have ensued, Trump easily could have declared martial law. American democracy would have come to an end.

So what have Democrats done with that fateful, incredibly fortunate second chance? They’ve squandered it. Yes, I know they passed a bill today. That bill is inconsequential. It adds up to less than 1% of GDP.

What does it actually take to stop fascism? Not in “my opinion,” but as in “what we know from history?” Three things. One, a socio-economic reconstruction plan, on the order of about half of a society’s economy, not 1% of GDP. Two, a process of special justice, which punishes the fascists for their transgressions and abuses of power. Three, the cultural impact of all that, which translates into stronger and more robust norms against hate and brutality and supremacy.

A society has to say never again. And mean it. Economically, culturally, socially.

The Democrats have not led America to that place. Instead, something dark and sinister is happening. Again, it’s not “my opinion” — it’s a fact. They are losing key races across the country. The midterms will be a rout. Why?

Because American fascism has hardened and grown and matured. Think about the last round of Big Lies. “They stole the election from us!” Now think about how Glenn Youngkin just won Virginia: “They’re coming for our kids!” Us. Our. Who are we talking about? Well, that’s coded — or maybe not so coded — language. It is the open language of white supremacy and fascism.

“Us” and “our” mean a certain kind of American. You can call it “white America,” though that’s certainly too broad, or you can call it “working class white America,” though plenty of downwardly middle class whites are part of this movement. This fascist movement. Which is Trumpism. And now it’s evolving and maturing.

“They’re coming for our kids” is a much, much more sinister and dangerous lie than “they stole the election from us!” Your kids are the most important thing in your life. It is a raw appeal to emotion, which triggers rage and aggression and hostility on a primal level. That is why you could see the bizarre scenes of parents… screaming… death threats… at teachers… and principals… at town meetings. “They’re coming for our kids” is a giant leap for American fascism. It is the kind of Big Lie that caused a mass hysteria, a moral panic, amongst Weimar Germans, and turned them genocidally against the Jews.

There are levels of fascist Big Lies. “They stole the election from us!” Is a political Big Lie. But “they’re coming for our kids!” is on a very, very different level. It is a cultural Big Lie. A social Big Lie. And most of all, a supremacist Big Lie.

Nobody is coming for Trumpist America’s kids. I told the story of how I was violently abused growing up in Virginia as a simple example. It’s minority kids who are under immense and profound threat in America today — and they will be tomorrow. Who’s really getting beaten and bullied and harassed at schools? It’s not regular old white kids. It’s minorities, Jews, Mexicans, gays, women, everyone else, at least most of the time. And that dynamic is of course mirrored across American society. Who rises to the top? American whites do, which you can see in everything from media to finance to business to the arts to the sciences to literature. Nobody is coming for America’s white people. How could anyone? They have all the guns, money, rights power.

So what are they so angry about? Well, the idea of any kind of progress for anyone else seems to drive them into a rage. That is because all the entitlements they enjoy are called “privilege.” I don’t like that word, but in America’s case it’s true. To say that little Johnny shouldn’t have to learn about slavery is only to say that he should be able to on being ignorant, and perhaps a bigot, like his parents — the Trumpists — are. And if he beats up a few minorities at school, harasses them, insults them…well, that’s just boys being boys. Just like, apparently, only white dudes get to be CEOs because everyone else is dumber than them, I guess. You see my point.

What is White America so angry about? All those Big Lies are designed to feed into the latent sense of supremacism and entitlement. Yes, living in a more equal society does mean the loss of some forms of privilege. Like saying no, my kid shouldn’t be insulting minorities or gays “for fun.” Or like saying hey, maybe our society should actually be fairerBut fairness, to the one in power, looks a whole lot like dispossession.

So why tell the Big Lie? To stoke all those Trumpist parents into a whole new level of rage, anger, violence. To drive them literally senseless with fear. If someone’s coming for little Johnny…who are they? Why? Now I’ve got to protect my kids at all costs. This is a horrific Big Lie to tell. It is the culmination of what I’ve tried to describe above. Manipulating White Americans into rage over the loss of their privileges, which are unfair ones to have to begin with. Stoking the fears of racial anxiety to a white-hot flame, by making white Americans imagine they’re genuinely under attack.

These are old, old fears. You have to understand them that way to really know them. White Americans have lived with these fears since they colonised the land. The Natives were attacking them. The slaves would rebel. They’re coming for our wives and kids are the oldest, most primal fears in the white American imagination. And here they are, being used to drive white America into a mindless rage, all over again.

The cycle of hate is repeating itself. It is being allowed to repeat itself precisely because the Dems haven’t done enough to stop fascism. It’s true the Dems probably couldn’t have done the things I talked about — a socioeconomic reconstruction plan on the order of a New Deal, etc. But they haven’t even tried. And it only really begs the question: well, maybe America’s just essentially a fascist country then.

So Youngkin won easily in Virginia. Without a platform. With no political experience whatsoever. Simply by telling the Big Lie that “they’re coming for your kids” to white working class America. That template is going to be followed across the country — and Trumpists are going to believe it. The question of course is: why are they going to believe it? After all, the only possible thing really coming for little Johnny is another kid with a gun. And they support gun “rights,” to the point where guns have more rights than women. Trumpists are going to believe the Big Lie because they are still possessed by paranoia and rage. They feel entitled to the soil, and everything on it, by virtue of blood. You can still trigger rage in them with the old lie: “They’re coming for our wives and kids!” Last time, that led to slavery, genocide, apartheid, segregation.

What will it lead to this time?

That a Glenn Youngkin can trigger white rage on a mass level, drive it to the level of mass hysteria, make a society senseless with fury, with that one little Big Lie? That white Virginians were gullible enough to believe that their kids were under attack? Only this time it wasn’t communism or rebel slaves…but “CRT”…a theory (LOL)? It tells us everything about the future American politics, which is that it’s just like the past.

All of that is a long, long way to see: you can see the future from here. You meaning you. Anyone vaguely sane and thoughtful should be able to see what is going to happen next. The Democrats will lose in the midterms. They’ll lose the Presidency. They’ve barely been able to muster the littlest will to fight fascism at all — meanwhile, fascism is now telling the kinds of Big Lies that actually lead to genocide. Telling those Big Lies, the platform of the GOP is now openly about ideological and then ethnic cleansing, like in Texas, where women don’t have rights anymore, or like in Virginia and Ohio, where they’re not about to, either. As white America’s driven into a mass hysteria of white-hot rage by the Bigger Lies of “they’re coming for your kids! Your wives! Your land!” — Trump wins again.

And you should know what’s going to happen when Trump wins again. The abuses of power will be much, much worse. This time, it’s going to be American families separated. American kids and moms thrown in concentration camps. Martial law and military justice will be deployed against critics and opponents. Every school-board thug will be the town’s local chief Gestapo officer, policing kids and parents alike for thoughtcrime.

Want to live in that kind of society?

You shouldn’t stick around for what’s coming, my friend. I’ve held back for as long as I could, because I felt there was still a small enough chance — a slender one — that, even if only by sheer dumb luck, America might just make it. That chance is now gone. The game is over. There is no stopping what’s coming, and what’s coming is something like Russia, the Balkans, or America in the Jim Crow era.

You should make an exit plan, now. You don’t have to use it right away. But you should make it and have it. You should have an option you can exercise to escape what’s coming in America. I know that makes me sound like some late-night TV hysteric. I’m sorry to sound like that. I wish I was only trying to scare you. Sadly, like I said, anyone should be put together what I’ve outlined for you.

If you want me to (tell me in the comments), I’ll give you some tips and ways to make an exit plan.

No, it’s not easy to do such a thing. But now is the time. You have about two years left, maybe three, before all of the above — Bigger Lies, white rage, growing hate, mounting fanaticism, fascism going local — really culminate in serious disaster and horror. After Trump gets elected again, it’ll take maybe six to nine months for the next wave of abuses — American families separated, little Gestapos everywhere — to begin. That gives you tops three years. That’s a good amount of time to make an exit plan. Don’t wait. Don’t dawdle. Make it now. Even if you think what I’ve said is mostly nonsense, and there’s only, say a 25% chance of it happening…do you really want to risk it? You should at least have the option, even if you never use it.

I’m sorry to have to say it, and plenty of people will object vociferously. They’ll say it’s better to be patriotic and whatnot. I’ve never had strong feelings about America being some kind of home. It’s always hated me too much for that. Can’t you see it now, all that hate, growing every day, like a cancer? This one’s terminal.

Get out while you can. Because America’s not going to get another chance. The last one was the last one — and it was squandered. That leaves you with one goal, I guess. Survival, my friend.

If Rittenhouse Walks It’ll Be Open Season For White Supremacists On our Streets

I swear, sometimes it seems like people don’t even pause for a second to consider the consequences of their choices. I’m not talking about basic things like adding a serving of vegetables to every meal (though people should do that too). No, I’m talking about idiots holding seats of power who make abysmally idiotic choices on a regular basis.

It seems like our Supreme Court gets every single decision wrong. Even when it comes to flat out basic ideas that should be no-brainers for law students on their first day of class. The people occupying the Supreme Court are supposed to be the best of the best, yet every time they get into the spotlight they reveal themselves to be absolute FOOLS!

Those decisions trickle down, and now we’re in a situation where a 17 year old kid allegedly walked around the streets of Kenosha and allegedly killed two people. I’m saying “allegedly” because the case is still at trial. He’s claiming self-defense, but let’s pause for a moment and take a macroscopic look at this.

Do we really want to live in a society where frustrated individuals feel emboldened to buy military grade weapons and march around our city streets shooting people? What’s the best case result in that scenario? The best thing that can happen is that the people go home without shooting anyone. That’s the TOP! Anything else that might happen is a tragedy.

Just pause for a minute, I’m begging you, pause and consider what kind of a world it would be if yet another court emboldens yet more frustrated people to buy guns and become armed vigilantes. Will that end well? Do we want that? Just shut up about your rights and your sacred beliefs and consider the potential loss of life. We don’t have to live in that world. It’s a bad world. It’s an ugly world.

All the conservatives I know want to kill people

If you ever have the misfortune of talking to a conservative, it doesn’t take long for them to bluster about how they want to kill people. First they start blustering about their guns. They’ve got this gun and that gun and a scope for this gun and a whatnot thingamabob for that one. Then they pivot and start talking about what they’d do if the police ever came to their house and asked to take their guns.

“I won’t live in tyranny!”

“You’re saying you’d shoot them if they came to your door?”

“Dang right!”

Then they put on YouTube and start watching heavily edited riot videos and working themselves up into a murderous rage. They conveniently ignore that it’s white police officers in disguise throwing bombs at houses. Conservatives don’t care about the truth because they’re racists and at the root of everything they just want to slaughter black people with their AR-15s.

It is a historical fact . . . that law enforcement frequently infiltrates progressive political movements using agent provocateurs who urge others to engage in violence. It is also a historical fact that, more rarely, such provocateurs commit acts of violence themselves

It escapes me why the authors of that paragraph use the word “rarely” at the end. The whole point of their article is to demonstrate how infrequently law enforcement and the media take seriously how often police forces are guilty of inciting violence at peaceful protests. This is something that should be prominent in every legal proceeding related to any form of civil unrest.

Somebody needs to stand up and say, “It’s a well known fact that our police forces frequently engage in activities either to commit acts of violence themselves, or urge others to do so.”

The police create kill boxes. They escalate the violence. Does “defund the police” still seem like a bad idea to you fools? Why are we using tax dollars to fund groups that run around inflicting violence on our communities? Why won’t the media cover this? This seems like pretty big news. Every single time there is a riot, some journalist should be investigating whether or not there was any covert police instigation of violence.

But nobody cares.

The Supreme Court wants more guns

Even with the tragic loss of life that came with the Rittenhouse incident, the Supreme Court is looking to make it easier for citizens to carry guns around.

Faced with the question “does the constitutional right to possess a gun extend outside the home?” the majority of the Supreme Court appears to be heading toward the answer “yes.”

On Nov. 3, 2012, justices heard oral arguments over New York’s restrictions on the carrying of firearms in public. Supreme Court watchers reported that conservative justices — who make up the bulk of the court — appeared to be of the view that the state’s laws contravene individuals’ right to self-defense outside of their own property

Morgan Marietta

At what point will the right to life be part of the question? That’s in the Constitution too! These absolute morons with nothing to lose and a couple hundred bucks in their pocket are free to run around with military grade weapons. What about MY right to live?

Even if these losers don’t intentionally want to kill me, there’s a high chance I’ll be hit by a stray bullet. It’s like bringing an alligator to preschool and then being shocked when a child gets eaten.

If there wasn’t an alligator at the preschool, the alligator couldn’t have eaten anyone.

Why do I have to trust that a person is going to handle his alligator responsibly? What part of living in American society provides an indication that gun owners are responsible? They don’t take vaccines, they don’t believe the Earth is a sphere, they think JFK Jr. isn’t dead and is planning on being Trump’s running mate in 2024.

These people are unhinged! I don’t want them toting military grade weapons around! Why is that so hard to understand?

There need to be consequences for loss of life

The self-defense argument is so broad, and brainwashing tactics are so effective, that it might actually work in the Rittenhouse case.

Another factor is that Americans are flat out stupid and half of them (or more) are flat out racist. We all need to recognize the fact that there are millions of hostile white people in this country who are looking for any excuse to take to the street to shoot black people. That’s the reality of the United States. That needs to be acknowledged in the media, in politics, and in schools.

Deceitful white supremacists will try to frame the narrative as a person’s right (they’ll ignore race when they talk about it), to defend himself/herself (they’ll ignore who incited the violence), and try to make fearful suburban housewives think a guilty verdict represents an assault on their ability to protect their children.

The argument of whether people have a right to walk around our streets without the threat of being shot will never even be mentioned. But here’s the wild card that, in my opinion, might hurt the defense.

Though Rittenhouse and all three men he shot are white, many people saw racism at the heart of Kenosha — an armed white teen, welcomed by police to a city where activists were rallying against a white officer’s shooting of a Black man, and allowed to walk past a police line immediately after shooting three people — In Kyle Rittenhouse case, Americans see what they want to see.

Did you catch that? The dead people are white. If you don’t think that makes a difference then you’re delusional. I’m not saying it’s right, in fact, I think it’s utterly and completely wrong. But that is the reality of our racist nation. The defense needs to mention the race of the victims again and again and again.

Here’s what I’ve learned about white supremacists over the years, at the end of the day, they don’t care if the dead people are white or black. They don’t care if they are innocent or if they are rioters. They don’t care if they are police officers or private citizens.

White supremacists just want to see Americans dead. They want to pick up their military grade weapons they got at the local sporting goods store and slaughter as many people as possible because they get off on it. They get off on the fantasy, and when the fantasy stops getting them off, they do it in real life.

Why doesn’t the political left use that argument to terrify cowardly suburban housewives to vote the way they want them to? It’s actually something to be afraid of! Why doesn’t anyone hammer home the real threat of these white supremacist psychopaths that have such an influence on our society?

If something is going to kill you in America, it’s going to be them!

How about if we try to make our streets safe?

There’s just a blatant disregard for human life in the United States of America. The important questions don’t even enter the conversation. The lawyers and the media pick and choose the parts of the Constitution they care about, and completely disregard the segments that give us the right to life and liberty.

When people end up dead, we need to do something about it. The tradition of having enraged private citizens pick up their guns and take to the streets to engage in violence and death does not have a positive historical precedent. Oh, make no mistake, it’s happened before. It’s part of the history the right doesn’t want taught.

Ultimately, we determine the direction our society takes in the voting booth and in court. We should not tolerate the idea that people can pick up their guns and walk around killing each other. That concept is offensive. The people who think that’s acceptable are despicable human beings. This isn’t the Middle Ages. The people out there who vote because of fear, are voting the wrong way. They’re voting to make the world more dangerous. They’re voting to put the lives of their children at risk.

If you kill people, there have to be consequences, otherwise more people will die. Why isn’t anyone pushing that message? If you don’t make an example when a life is lost, the armed psychopaths in our society will become emboldened. Right now their fear is the only thing keeping them at home. Bit by bit, our courts and the political right are wiping that fear away.

Every day, it gets more likely that you’ll be shot by a lunatic in the United States. That should bother you. That should bother everyone. But the people who live in gated communities with their own private police forces just don’t take it seriously. They’re too dumb to recognize, sooner or later the white supremacists will come for them too.

This is the problem that should be keeping you up at night. White supremacists want to kill you, and a large number of your fellow Americans are urging them to take to the street with military grade weapons.


The Fat Lady Has Just Sung


In October, ahead of the useless and infuriating spectacle that is the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow, quietly, with little fanfare, and it seems almost reluctantly, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report titled:

“Climate Change and International Responses Increasing Challenges to US National Security Through 2040”

Taken together with articles and studies coming fast and furious regarding the state of the climate since the U.N. declaration of “Code Red for Humanity” last month, the report is both a sobering read and a final and unequivocal rebuke of climate denial as far as the U.S. government is concerned.

One notable omission from the report is the usual recap of the science behind climate change, designed to convince pea-brained, snowball-toting, mega-skeptics like Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.

The first sentence states:

“Risks to US national security through 2040 will increase as countries respond to physical effects of climate change. Global temperatures most likely will surpass the Paris agreement goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius by around 2030, and the physical effects are projected to continue intensifying.” (emphasis mine)

Notice, they allowed no room for fudging. No “might be”, or “could be”, no “optimism” a-la CNN that “there is still hope!” or “ but we are not TOO late…”

The US military is planning on a greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures and chaos, by 2030, even if Senator Inhofe thinks snowballs are proof of his scientific discovery that it is all a hoax.

Right below that declaration, is a deceptively bland-looking graphic, with full or half-full orbs denoting the likelihood and the severity of adverse events. The events below are considered “high risk to US national security” by the U.S. intelligence community by 2040, and by extension a risk to your security. That is less than 19 years from now. A newborn today will still be not old enough to buy a Bud in the U.S. but will be able enroll in the military and will have to deal with the risks of…

  • Cross border water tension and conflict,
  • Developing country financial and technology assistance,
  • Petro-states resisting clean energy transition from fossil fuels,
  • Competition with China over key minerals and clean energy technologies,
  • Cross border migration due to climate impacts,
  • The strain on energy and food systems,

to name a few.

In the key findings section we encounter:

“Key Judgment 1Geopolitical tensions are likely to grow as countries increasingly argue about how to accelerate the reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions that will be needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals. The debate will center on who bears more responsibility to act and to pay — and how quickly — and countries will compete to control resources and dominate new technologies needed for the clean energy transition.”

This, after admitting that the world is not likely (at all) to meet the pledges made at Paris.


It remains a fact the industrial north is responsible for at least 62% of the CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere since 1751. It is also fact, that even after externalizing carbon emission to other countries and relying on shoddy carbon accounting, the North American per capita emissions is 3.5 times the world average, while the average European’s is 1.8. If you compare it to an average African citizen, a person living in North America is responsible for a staggering 13.7 times more carbon emitted annually.

“Countries most likely will wield contentious financial and economic tools to advance climate policies and defend their national economies”

Page 7

Many countries, devoid of the resources to meet the looming crisis, need help but the greedy, be it the feudal, colonial, or the capitalist kind, are loath to admit their undeniable responsibility to humanity, stop polluting, and pay up.

According to the External Affairs Minister of India, by the time of Indian Independence, the British had extracted $45 trillion of wealth from the subcontinent.

Even for allowing the moral escape clause of limiting the counting to start at a time when “international awareness of climate issues” grew, research estimates the environmental liability of the OECD 20 countries at $15 trillion!

However, the countries most responsible for this destruction are yet to make good on their pledge of the paltry $100 billion promised at the Copenhagen climate conference of 2009. Only $10.3 billion has been delivered so far.

The U.N. reports that in 2019, 118 million people in India “suffered the indignity of defecating in fields, forests, bodies of water, or other public spaces due to lack of access to toilets” — after making significant progress since 2015, when the number was over 560 million!

The Queen of England, on the other hand, having been handed sovereignty over the seabed around the British Isles in a breathtaking (pun intended) display of appropriating the commons by the consent of a handful of English gentlemen (The Continental Shelf Act of 1964), is now adding to her considerable ill-gotten gains by leasing the wind that blows over that seabed to the tune of millions of dollars. Apparently, looting of the sub-continent, and most of the planet for that matter, for 200 years wasn’t enough.


What would your demands be, if you were a leader of a country where 118 million people were desperately looking for a place to defecate twice a day while the country and the people that impoverished your country kept getting richer off air?

How would you plan for what would surely be “geopolitical tension” between nuclear-armed, economically challenged countries if you were a Pentagon analyst?

“Key Judgment 2: The increasing physical effects of climate change are likely to exacerbate cross-border geopolitical flashpoints as states take steps to secure their interests.”

Through its occupation of the Tibetan plateau, China controls the headwaters of not only the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers essential to feeding its ever-growing, coal-dependent population, but it also controls the headwaters of the Yarlung/Brahmaputra, Indus, Lakong, and Nu rivers, estimated to be home to 46% of the world’s population in several countries. Two of those counties are nuclear powers and so is China.

Turkey sits on top of the Euphrates and Tigris, Ethiopia controls the Nile, Israel (also a nation that possesses nukes) has a death grip on the Jordan River, and Bolsinaro is burning the Amazon.

Flashpoints indeed!

The chart on page 2 of the report makes the point extremely clear even to the snowball-toting skeptics in the US Congress. Just look at the numbers.

Already over 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger according to the UN. Given the enthusiasm for cutbacks on the part of industrialized countries, when the global average temperature reaches 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, that number will explode.

“All societies are three meals away from anarchy.”

Vladimir Lenin

Key Judgment 3Scientific forecasts indicate that intensifying physical effects of climate change out to 2040 and beyond will be most acutely felt in developing countries, which we assess are also the least able to adapt to such changes. These physical effects will increase the potential for instability and possibly internal conflict in these countries, in some cases creating additional demands on US diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, and military resources.

After decades of hegemonic oppression and capitalist exploitation, the weakened states of Central America are finding it impossible to deal with the effects of an increasingly destructive and hostile climate. Caught between hurricanes, droughts, and inept or outright corrupt governments while faced with starvation or becoming collateral damage to criminal elements, they flee, mostly northward.

The U.S., having found itself unable to deal with this mass of humanity to begin with, will soon find itself dealing with large internal population displacements due to the same dynamics, as well as more climate refugees massing its Southern border.

This northward movement of humanity in its hundreds of millions will leave no country unaffected. Along with the human misery of the so-called “caravans”, a flood of humanity, like Napoleon’s Grande Armee marching through Prussia, will devour everything in its path.

Donald Trump will not be the last leader to call for a wall, misguided as that approach is. India already has a wall along 76% of its border with Bangladesh, potentially in a futile attempt to cut off over 100 million future refugees. Backed against a rising sea, starvation, and no way out, they will also swarm that border. What would you do, if you had a child and that was the only way out?


What would you do, if you were a leader of a nuclear-armed country where 118 million people are lacking basic sanitation, let alone have access to air-conditioning needed to cool down in now-common 50 degrees C+ days, or have the electricity needed to run the pumps to drain your aquifers even further because China has reduced your water-flow and your crops are failing?

In a way, attempting to predict the future is futile. Humans are fickle, leaders may change their minds. We have discovered that even quantum particles can’t be counted on to stay put. That’s one reason the reporters and courtesans tell us “but there is hope”, I suppose.

The U.S. Intelligence agencies do not deal in hope. They deal in analysis and risk assessment, although even they can’t help but indulge in magical thinking sometimes. Under “Events that would change their assessment”, they include:

“A successful geoengineering deployment at the scale that results in global cooling without negatively disrupting weather patterns.” Insert miracle here ___

It is a sad day for humanity when even the most clear-eyed assessment of our “predicament” hopes for technological magic to save us, while ignoring one of the most obvious solutions.

Cut the military’s budget that uses the threat of ongoing conflict to bloat its spending, and funnel the money into realistic, fossil-fuel-cutting, emission-reducing solutions. Now. Repeat worldwide.

Sir David Attenborough said it best during his speech at COP 26:

“If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilize our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it!”

Sir David Attenborough

I share his passion, but sadly, not his optimism.


The Right Wants to Cancel the Truth

When conservatives attack Critical Race Theory — or any meaningful discussion of systemic racism in American history — they insist they do so only because such material ignores the progress made since the nation’s founding and leads students to think badly about America.

But actually, the right wants to paper over historical injustices — to cancel the truth — so as to keep students from asking difficult questions about inequality in the present.

But actually, the right wants to paper over historical injustices — l to cancel the truth — so as to keep students from asking difficult questions about inequality in the present.

They fear that if students realize how central racism has been to the country’s development, they may connect the dots between that historical injustice and ongoing disparities in the present.

And if they do that, they may seek to challenge the existing political and social order — as many millions did last summer after the murder of George Floyd.

Ultimately, the right wants students to be uncritical thinkers who accept the racial inequities they can see in contemporary America as naturally occurring or even the fault of Black people themselves.

It might sound like a hyperbolic claim. But it’s not hard to prove.

Conservatives fear the truth because it might inspire more activism

Although conservatives insist they merely want to stress the progress made since the nation’s founding — and they fear CRT and other anti-racist approaches don’t do enough of that — the right doesn’t actually want to discuss racism historically, even if only to point out how far we’ve come since the days of enslavement or segregation.

How do we know they have no interest in honestly presenting that history — even in its “look at all the progress we’ve made” version?

Simple.

First, we can watch what they’re doing and the material they’re attacking in their current crusade.

Across the country, groups like Moms for Liberty have been seeking to ban the teaching of children’s books about MLK, Rosa Parks, or Ruby Bridges, who was the first Black student at a previously all-white elementary school in New Orleans.

These books don’t teach that whites are “inherently oppressive” or evil — the claim made by some in their attack on Critical Race Theory. Instead, they simply tell the truth of the fight for civil rights and against segregation.

There is nothing in the books that is historically inaccurate, and indeed even the critics have pointed to nothing factually wrong in them.

But they wish to ban them anyway because the material might make white children “feel bad,” or make kids dislike police (because cops were often the ones brutalizing civil rights protesters), and because the stories “don’t offer white people redemption.”

There is nothing in the books that is historically inaccurate, and indeed even the critics have pointed to nothing factually wrong in them.

But they wish to ban them anyway because the material might make white children “feel bad,” or make kids dislike police (because cops were often the ones brutalizing civil rights protesters), and because the stories “don’t offer white people redemption.”

In other words, these are attacks on the truth, on actual history, by people who would prefer we lie to children, to pretty-up the past, to ignore the fact that most white people either supported segregation and institutional white supremacy or stood by and acquiesced to it, for generations.

For final confirmation that this is what the right seeks — the utter whitewashing of history — one need only listen to what one Republican activist and “concerned parent” in Virginia recently said, quite openly, to an interviewer for a segment on Showtime.

So there you have it — the whole gamut of right-wing racism denial and rationalization:

  1. Racism is only a problem because we talk about it.
  2. Teaching about what Andrew Jackson actually did to Indigenous people amounts to “putting down” whites “for the color of their skin.”
  3. Rather than discussing that genocide, Indigenous folks need to “forgive” and move on.
  4. Teaching accurate history about oppression leads to “giving people of color an advantage” over white people because it keeps us “feeling sorry for them.”
  5. When Black males are pulled over by police and treated differently, it’s not because of racism but because of their behavior and how they interact with cops.
  6. It should be up to parents whether or not to teach their children about racism, either in history or today.

It is nearly impossible to add much to this, other than to say what it obviously suggests: if it were up to the right, American history would be stripped of the history part.

All we would be left with would be the fictional narratives of George Washington and the cherry tree (which was a fake story, by the way) and other meaningless tales of uncomplicated greatness.

In their version, the founders were extraordinary men whose ownership of human beings is irrelevant to understanding who they were.

In their version, “mistakes were made” along the way, but by and large, America has been a place of freedom and liberty except for — as one Moms for Liberty activist puts it — “these small slivers” of injustice.

And to the extent this anti-historical narrative is blended with white fear about “preferential treatment” for Black people and rationalizations for current inequities — in the case of policing, as noted in the above segment — we can see the real fear here.

It’s not that kids might feel bad about being white. After all, as I’ve explained before, we could always teach students the history of white anti-racist allyship and give them strong white anti-racist role models so as to short-circuit guilt. But conservatives never want to do that.

Because it isn’t guilt that concerns them.

What they fear is that students taught the truth might put two and two together and realize that there is a connection between the history some would rather us not teach and the reality today, which they would rather us not confront.

These parents fear that young people, once apprised of the truth, might decide that America should right the wrongs of our history.

And that would challenge the very system upon which those white and conservative parents have come to depend and have long accepted.

They know children have an innate sense of justice — that is what scares them.

We know how the right would prefer history be taught — we did it that way for generations

If you want a sense of how conservatives would prefer history to be taught, especially regarding matters of racial injustice, you need only look at how it was taught for generations.

Only in the last 25 years or so have schools in most parts of the country begun to introduce multiple perspectives and voices to the history and literature curriculum, and even then in a spotty and inconsistent way.

Too often, literature classes throw a few Black or brown authors in the mix or focus on Black historical figures for February before pivoting back to the standard material with which the teachers themselves were typically raised.

It’s not necessarily because those teachers or schools were overtly or deliberately racist that voices of color were missing, but simply that “you can’t teach what you don’t know.”

I cannot recall being taught even one piece of literature by a Black author in school. Not one.

We did read Black Like Me, but that doesn’t count because the author was a white guy who only darkened his skin as an experiment to discover what segregation felt like to Black people — which apparently was easier than just listening to Black people or reading their books.

I cannot remember a single conversation in school about race or racism, historically or in the present.

And this was in Nashville — one of the most central locations of the civil rights struggle.

We took field trips to all kinds of places in town: to the state capitol, the Parthenon (yes, we have one, don’t ask), even some stupid tea house downtown for reasons I still can’t understand.

This was where warriors for justice like John Lewis and Diane Nash and Bernard Lafayette confronted the city’s white power structure, as others did in cities across the South that year.

And yet, we never went there, even to discuss what had happened on that spot.

We learned nothing about the Nashville freedom movement.

We had no speakers come in to talk about that movement.

Nothing. At all.

We went to the Hermitage — the home of Andrew Jackson — where we uncritically imbibed the history of one of the nation’s most depraved and racist Indian killers and enslavers. But we could not spend even a day learning about real heroism.

Why not?

There is only one reason: because to discuss their struggle would have confronted us with the reality of what this nation was for most of its history — a formal, official, and legally accepted system of white supremacy.

Even more, it might have led us to ask: “Where were our parents and grandparents when all this was happening?”

And because we know the answer to that for most white students, it was thought best to leave it alone.

To the parents storming school board meetings, screaming about CRT, and demanding the removal of books from school libraries, it still is.

They would have their children remain ignorant. They would lie to them. All because to tell the truth might encourage them to do something to make the country more fair and equitable.

And conservatives quite like things the way they are.

They always have.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

My mom and I

Today, is the birthday of a genuinely amazing woman who has inspired me on a daily basis to be a better version of myself.I have thought long and hard as I wrote and re-wrote this close to what I think is about a thousand times.

So this is an open letter about how fortunate I am to have you in my life these past 31 years. I am honored to have such an amazing mom, best friend, and role model.

I don’t need to say this just on your birthday because you deserve to hear every day, but I just can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for me and the entire family.

Your love and support means everything to all of us and I would not be the strong confident and beautiful woman I am today if it weren’t for you.

Thank you for being my inspiration in more ways than one. You never fail to amaze me. Your heart is bigger than the world and watching you show your love and support to my father, my siblings and I is truly inspiring. You are a truly beautiful person inside and out.

You have raised me to become who I am today and there are no words to describe how thankful I am to call you my mother. Thank you for going out of your way to make sure everyone is happy.

You are definitely the coolest mom out there. You’re also a ton of fun to be around, and I’m honored to consider you one of my best friends, not just my mother.

You always light up a room when you walk in, putting a smile on everybody’s face.Your jokes and cheerful demeanor is much appreciated by all.

Plus I love the way you are so confident when presenting your products with work, seeing how passionate and proud of what you’re selling, you really know your stuff. You always extend a helping hand and go out of your way to make sure everyone is happy. You are honestly a real super woman!

Thank you for being my number one inspiration and role model. You were a hard-working mother from the day I was born you always took care of us when we were sick, it’s not easy to manage two girls and a boy.

You successfully managed work, three crazy kids, Lots of meetings for me, and making sure we were fed and taken care of, without any complaints. That truly deserves a gold medal.

I will always love and appreciate and admire the selfless way in which you do things for others, prioritizing everyone else above your self and are always willing to step aside when the need arose.

Growing up I never understood what you went through, but now as a young adults I am truly thankful for all of those countless sleepless nights you worried about me and who I’d be someday, the only thing I hope for is to be half the amazing woman you are, and someday half the loving amazing and supportive mother you are.

Thank you for all of your sacrifices that you’ve given up to raise me and my siblings into the amazing adults we are today.

I know I haven’t always been easy going and I know that raising me wasn’t always a walk in the park but watching you stand up for me and look out for me has truly inspired me.

So, let me take this occasion to apologize to you for times I unintentionally caused you pain, please forgive me.

Also, I’m thankful for all you did for me and rest of the family members. You are simply great and I respect you and how you have lived your life unapologetically!

I love the open and honest relationship that you share with all your children.

You and dad have been phenomenal parents in accepting our choices without any bias and developing your own healthy equations with our extended families.

I am a lucky woman and I have become who I am for all the effort and dedication you had in my upbringing. My life has been very blessed because you have always been with me, giving me your love and support.

I have learned everything from you because I value what you have followed me down the right path, but all the best teaching you have gave me through your example.

Freyja gave me the blessing of being your daughter and you have managed to exercise your role as a mother in an excellent manner.

Having you with me makes me feel an enormous happiness and even more because I know that as the years go by your love for me only grows.

On this special day I want you to remember how important you are to me.

From my experience with you, mom, being a year older doesn’t not only mean addition of age but accumulation of more prosperities as well as abundant achievements.

I also learned this great lesson from you that I should never relent from making progress. Age is not waiting for anyone.

Each day brings about fresh opportunity to make new impact in life but it’s very easier to misuse it.

While it’s cumbersome to make proper use of the opportunity to make a brilliant impact.

Thanks to you my strong mother as you have taught and trained me in the best way to be positive in utilizing every opportunity that comes to my way.

“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”— Dorothy on The Golden Girls

Irish Queen

Manchin is demanding progressive lawmakers give in.

Virtually everything that the left has predicted would happen to the reconciliation bill has happened or is in the process of unfolding. No matter how much of it we might have seen coming, that hasn’t made watching it occur in real time any less infuriating or, frankly, painful. Among those who has earned the left’s ire is none other than West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, who has happily served as an active barrier to virtually any progress the left might like to see under the Biden administration.

Of course, he never ceases to kick it up a notch.

From the moment the bipartisan infrastructure bill and reconciliation bill route were decided upon, it was obvious to anyone who follows politics that lawmakers like Manchin were going to do everything they could to torpedo the reconciliation bill if they were able to. One of the key pieces of leverage that the left has in the slim majority in congress was securing the agreement that the reconciliation bill would be voted upon first or at the same time as the bipartisan infrastructure bill to ensure that didn’t happen.

Originally, the bill was supposed to be $6 trillion, then was whittled down to $3.5 as the compromise that was originally agreed upon, and now, thanks largely to Joe Biden’s weakness and unwillingness to fight, stands at Joe Manchin’s preferred figure of around $1.75. Not only that, but Manchin and Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema have succeeded in gutting the bill of paid family leave, negotiations for drug prices, key climate provisions, and tuition free community college. Virtually all that is left is universal pre-k for the simple reason that the donor class wants parents back to work, some scaled back climate policies, and a means tested daycare program.

Still, even with all the concessions, lawmakers like Manchin and Sinema have not committed to voting for the reconciliation bill.

Last week, Nancy Pelosi met with the progressive caucus to urge them to, as predicted, vote for the bipartisan bill so that it could pass before the President went overseas. Of course, that meant that it would be before the reconciliation bill was voted upon, and she was quite literally kicked out of the meeting in response.

Of course, the only guarantee they had was Biden’s confidence that Manchin and Sinema would back the bill. After everything that has occurred, they’re simply expected to take his word for it. Well, as expected, Manchin himself decided to come out and publicly refuse to commit.

Not only that, he decided to take to the press to demand progressives give in.

At the press conference, Manchin said:

“I’ve worked in good faith for months with all of my colleagues to find a middle ground on a fiscally responsible piece of legislation that fixes the flaws of the 2017 Trump tax bill that I thought was weighted far, far to the high end earners, and the needs of the American families and children. However, as more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games. Budget gimmicks that makes the real cost of the so called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount if the full time is run out. If you extended it permanently, and that we haven’t spoken about. This is a recipe for economic crisis…well I’ve worked hard to find a path to compromise but it’s obvious, compromise is not good enough for a lot of my colleagues in congress. It’s all or nothing, and their position doesn’t seem to change unless we agree to everything. Enough is enough.”

Sen. Joseph Manchin– W. Virginia

The sheer gaslighting. The unmitigated gall. The nerve of this multi-millionaire to get up in front of the cameras and outright lie to the American people the way he did is enough to make you sick. This bill is a shell of what it once was. A shell. And yet he pretends as though it is the progressives who aren’t compromising, who are saying ‘all or nothing’? We are in this position because in spite of the concessions that have been made to him, he is still unwilling to commit to voting for this bill. He succeeded in getting the bill so scaled back it has reached the point where many of us on the left are urging the progressive lawmakers to abandon it altogether, and Manchin has the audacity to go on camera, finger wag, and say “enough is enough”.

As I have said now countless times before, if Manchin succeeds with this behavior then democrats absolutely deserve the political bloodbath they have coming to them in upcoming elections. If this is the man that democrats have decided will act as the de facto president, then I want no part of it. Manchin’s right, I suppose. Enough really is enough. These are not minor disagreements over a spending bill. This is open political warfare over the future of the democratic party, and Manchin is working as hard as he can to alienate the left as much as humanly possible.

Is this what people voted for in 2020? Is this the type of leadership that organizers moved mountains for? Is this what Arizona and Georgia flipped blue for? I’m not sure what else there is to say about Manchin that hasn’t already said, but we should be thoroughly embarrassed by the fact that this was the path chosen by a democratic party that was handed the house, the senate, and the white house.

They’re really going to demand we move mountains again, aren’t they?

I don’t have the time or the energy to dwell on the anger. At this point if he succeeds, then good luck in 2022. The American people certainly don’t deserve what’s coming, but nothing would give me more pleasure than to see a party as weak, feckless, and corrupt as the democratic party get what it deserves.