Happy new year… or something

Yes, it’s 2013. We’ve survived December 21st, when various perversely optimistic hucksters were telling us we would all be “saved” from our humdrum, unsatisfying existences by the ultimately grand cosmic gesture of an Apocaplypse as predicted by some incorrectly deciphered Mayan calendar. Most of us survived “Superstorm” Hurricane Sandy, which, as predicted by so many for so long, demonstrated what the effect of raising the world’s sea-levels and ocean temperatures by willy-nilly burning everything that would burn as fast as possible in the name of… what, again?… would do to storm intensity and resulting damage, when a storm finally hit the nation’s most populous city (and financial center) once “perfect storm” conditions arose. Right before Sandy, I personally survived turning 50 (big deal).
And now it would appear that we’ve even survived “the fiscal cliff,” with a House vote overwhelmingly (or underwhelmingly… or perhaps just whelmingly) passing a Senate brokered deal raising taxes on incomes over $400K, and of course, on all incomes over $600 by re-setting social security/payroll taxes back to 6.2% from the 4.2% they were irresponsibly set at two years ago in the original Obama sell-out that created “the fiscal cliff” in the first place. Military waste, fraud and abuse spending remains sacrosanct, though “sequester” is kicked down the road for a few years weeks.
Significance? Let’s face it: this “deal” was preordained for some time… the faux-drama (which had it been allowed to play out further would have presumably resulted in a faux-stock-market-crash. .. and then another, until Congress got the message, just as the 2008 bank bailout played out)… has played out. But when there is a real constituency in Washington (that would be, “what money wants”)… well, stuff just happens.
And so, let’s review. Money wants genetically modified organisms in the food supply (and the various chemical insecticides, fertilizers, etc. to keep them coming), and not anything healthy coursing through your bodies… this keeps you sick, and in need of the health care and pharmaceutical “industries,” which in turn, keeps you in need of the government to keep paying for them (even though governmental involvement drives those costs up further.. which is good… for Money!). Money wants big defense contracts, and hence, we’re in a military occupation of over 140 countries or thereabouts (including more and more this one) and in hot-shooting wars in at least seven by my count (AFG, PAK, YEM, LBYA, SMLIA, SYR and ETH), though that’s just by my count… drones will continue their rampant slaughter, prisoners will continue to be held and abused at GTMO, Bagram and God knows where else, etc., etc. We will not have meaningful sustainable energy policy and 250 million cars on the road will be deemed essential to our way of life, damn the cost… because money wants all this.
Not sure if you want it, however. All I can say is that while neither you nor I probably have the power to effect meaningful macro changes, we can do what people once did before we were all hopelessly infantilized and handed I-Phones: put their own money where their own mouth is, and make personal choices on how to live your own life. Grow, cook and can your own food (this alone may be huge). Take the bus or train instead of driving. Or better yet walk. Try to pay for things with cash rather than on credit. Try to do business with community banks or credit unions rather than with “Too Big to Fails.” Turn down the thermostat– just 1 or two degrees will make a difference, no matter how small you think. Turn off your t.v. Or better yet, unplug it. Best still, take it outside to the curb. Eventually, enough people (a smaller number than you think) living sensible lives self-liberated from the corporate mindset thrall in which we find ourselves will eventually convince others that a life of boredom, sickness and clamoring-for-the-next-big-toy, the lot of most Americans (and many in the so-called First World) is not only suicidal on a global scale, it is downright boring and unsatisfying and soul-destroying on an individual scale, and there is a better way. A much better way.
These are life-long projects, boys and girls. I started growing my own food (still a hobby… no more than a few pounds of vegetables has resulted… but that’s not what matters), then cooking, and this year, canning and fermenting (o.k… I’ve made some sauerkraut… but beer is next!) I’d like to have gotten going bicycling more, though at least I rode a bicycle last year… lots of other things (the banking changes!, more home repair myself and so forth) remain to be done… but as I said… life long project… start now. Free yourself.
A certain guy (actually, my college classmate, the President of the United States) suggested, on the day he clinched the Democratic nomination in ’08, that “this is the day that…” and then he listed a bunch of things, like “the oceans stop rising.” None of it proved true, as he quite literally sold out to Goldman, Sachs and Finance and Money before he even took office… but that’s not to say this can’t be the year that you begin to liberate yourself from the corporate matrix… just baby steps… go to a farmer’s market instead of the supermarket… pack your lunch instead of going to the Golden Arches (they are golden for a reason folks, and it ain’t the French Fries)… you get the idea. If it’s going to be it’s up to me, etc. Here’s the thing. As the great Dmitry Orlov would say, things like cooking and growing your own food, even if they don’t result in a successful global transformation, are just good things to do in their own right. In some sense I wish I had better news. But maybe there is no better news: you can take control of your own lives… Actually, that’s really good news… Every day is a new opportunity…
Alrightie then. Happy new year.