The Neo-“Con” Version of Food and Fuel Rationing?

Welcome to 2008 .. the neocon version of food and fuel rationing?
by Nudge

      To anyone who remembers the 1970s, the current absence of any calls for food and fuel price stabilization measures is quite astounding. Back during the era of the first oil shock of that decade, we saw even/odd distribution rules at the fuel pumps. Ration cards were printed but were ultimately never distributed. By all measures, the prices of gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and crude oil have exceeded the inflation-adjusted levels at which we rolled out price control measures in past years.

      The passage of time since then has softened, though not obscured, the fact that our nation’s administrators have gotten more hawkish in general over the intervening years. (I’d call it “progressively more hawkish” but there’s nothing progressive about it, any more than Hitler was a progressive.) The New Deal, if you tried enacting such a thing now, would be tossed out as being “too socialist” or “not friendly enough to private business interests”.

      Perhaps it was only during a kinder, more liberal era (now long gone, sadly) when we would have considered such a thing as the rationing of food and fuel. After all, these are basic measures to control prices and to ensure that all citizens, regardless of age or economic standing, have access to the resources necessary to continue living and working.

      Does any of that ring a bell for anyone? The people being hardest hit by the rising prices of food and fuel (poor families with more children, anyone living on a fixed income, etc) are the ones we can least afford to ignore. It is not necessary, in what we consider to be an era of prosperity through technology or through better organization, for the disparity between rich and poor to be increasing instead of decreasing. Their problems, if not addressed, will spill over into other kinds of problems of the type we really don’t want to have on our hands.

      So why haven’t we got any calls for price controls and for rationing of essentials? For starters, the “.. but think of the children!” meme has been replaced with “.. but is it fair to Exxon and Haliburton?” or something disturbingly like it. We are already taught not to countenance the prospect of a free public healthcare system here in the US because, gosh, it wouldn’t be fair to those HMO administrators wanting to make millions in bonuses every year for denying needed care to the plan subscribers. The idea of the health of specific business interests has effectively replaced the idea of the health of the general community in which we live. This is a form of fascism, which is better known as the merger of corporate and political interests. (The jackboots, the bold and gaudy colors displayed in the capitol, the political persecution of the naysayers, and the propensity for military adventure are but side effects of fascism; the primary move is to enrich certain corporate interests.)

      We are already halfway into the implementation of a rationing system here in the US, only it’s based on money and affluence rather than on one’s simple humanity and the fact of one’s citizenship.

      For all the single mothers out there who can’t afford to drive anymore, well, it’s their fault for not having higher-paid jobs, right? Or it’s their fault for having children in the first place, right? Or for not going twenty-something thousand dollars into debt to get a Prius? And for all the senior citizens living on fixed incomes, it’s their fault for being unable to afford food and heating fuel and medication now, right?

      The business interests that control (or outright own) this nation’s administrators know well that they make the most money when the people are fragmented, unable to cooperate, and placed in individual hamster wheels and made to spin the wheel in order to get another food pellet. Community is powerful, and these same corporate interests seem intent on erasing the very cultural memory of things ever having been different.

      Welcome to our brave new world .. if you’re not rich, you’re out of luck. But that’s not the half of it.

      One quarter of the world’s people in jail are jailed in the US. Our incarceration rate is the highest in the world, exceeding even that of the former Soviet Union during the cold war era. We have more people in prison than China does, despite having only one-quarter the population that China does. It costs more than I make in a year to keep one person behind bars for a year. Some of them even have lifetime sentences for the commission of non-violent crimes. Were we to include the incarcerated people as officially unemployed, as other nations do, our official unemployment numbers would look more true.

      What we will most likely see here next will be nothing less than the Lebanonization of America. The same military talking heads who thought up Baghdad’s “green zone” concept are doing the same thing in Washington, DC. Don’t think this is a one-shot thing. There will be a lot of returning Crusaders with fresh military experience suppressing the locals in an urban setting.

      Want to undo the evil-doers currently in charge of the asylum? Get to know your neighbors and work out a barter scheme for everything from food to firewood to babysitting to gardening to sharing rides to house-watching to making do with what you’ve got. If you absolutely need durable goods, buy used instead of new, or repair an older model and keep it running if you can, or make it yourself if you can.

      Community is powerful.

22 Replies to “The Neo-“Con” Version of Food and Fuel Rationing?”

  1. In the end game, overpopulation and the inevitable culling, what does liberalism or “neo-con” have to do with it – besides who gets culled first? Or is that the ultimate point of “sides” here – to be in the right “tribe” when TSHTF?

    How many liberal apparatchik will find a way to exclude and inure themselves from the rationing, rules and rousting? How many latent nazis or future camp capos live on your block?

    Of course it’s us vs. them. It has been that way since since there were more than three adult humans and will be that way until there are less than four. The only thing that changes is who makes up the “us” and “them”.

    We really never stopped being tribal.


  2. @MOU

    Please, don’t ever do that. Do not ever mention Bunn Bunn and Holmes in the same post.

    It is worse than mentionionaing Brittany Spears and Sabboth in the same year.

    Just don’t ever ever ever ever ever ever do it.
    Please, MOU. That rabbit is sacred.

    This post will magically dissappear when we know MOU has read it.

  3. Holy Fuck! This shit keeps happening to me.

    Nudge, after I read your finest article/rant to date on ZK, I immediately thought of George Carlin. And now, I just saw UR reporting on CFN that MSNBC is reporting Carlin’s death. I gotta go…

  4. Uncle Remus, I can’t and won’t defend the Dems .. I’ve never voted for them. Likewise I’ve never voted for the Repugs either. If you want to call George & Dick a pair of miscreants who hijacked and subverted their own party from within, be my guest. Just commenting on what they did, what they didn’t succeed at, and where they seem to be going with the set of changes they wrought.

    Sorry, the future is coming for all of us (not just SUV drivers and folks who voted Repug) except maybe the Haliburton execs living in fortified underground bunkers.

  5. so anyhoo, i keep telling the asshole next door to include more protien in his chicken’s feed. but does he listen, what do you think?

    so, now, every time i go through the trouble of stealing a half dozen eggs to make myself a fucking omlett in the morning, the shells are all crumbly and fall into the egg stuff as i’m cracking them. so now i have to either try to fish fucking shell bits out of the egg stuff, or eat a crunchy omlett. all cause that asshole is to cheap or lazy to get some protien for his fucking chickens.

    i’m tellin’ you, this really burns my ass.

  6. JR,

    Is that why my late night comment with the 25 points didn’t show? It’s in limbo?

  7. Nudge, the difference (so far) is that there haven’t been any out-and-out shortages in the US. Yet. Odd/even and other rationing methods were implemented partly to make sure everybody got *some* fuel and partly to alleviate pump lines & traffic jams from the lines overflowing into the street.

    I think when the SUV drivers can’t fill their tanks, at *any* price, things will really start to change. Or come apart.

  8. “seeing Doom and Holmes and Bif go at it was all I could take. In fact I have never read those posts.”

    Yeah, you’re a sensitive guy. Listen, we’re still friends, I mean Bif and Holmes AND FAR (I think, FAR may still be a bit pissed at me). Of course, JR you are mio amigo, con mucho gusto.

    It was tough talk, and I’m glad we had a chance to air it out. You are especially commended for organizing and permitting us to discuss that “flammable” topic here.

    Good grief, I need to find some time to read Nudge’s post. Later today.

  9. @Devil,

    I love you Devil. I have worshiped you for years. God was insane when he threw you out of heaven, like a child having a temper tantrum. God will remain insane until he embraces you and becomes whole again. So will we. This is deep theology/psychology shrouded in a joke. Meanwhile, I am your supplicant in all matters. I do love that rabbit, tho. But I do not want him to be furrious as me.

    I expect this evidence of our unholy alliance to be “disappeared” like a White House email from Dick Chenney. He loves you too. Don’t tell Dave. He is so jealous of his special jerk off buddy. What is burning Dave’s ass may not be chicken egg shells, eh Devil?

  10. JR, thank you again for hosting my rants. I was looking for that “moderation” section so as to be able to view those comments. Err, could we call it the “holding tank” or the “Dubya memorial waterboarding room” or the “penalty box”?

    Holmes, you’re far too kind with compliments like that. But I see I forgot to include enough disclaimers during or afterward to avoid offending the Cheney administration fans. Let me try to correct that error here:

    * Should they take the throne, will the Dems roll back all those evil things done in the name of neoCON ‘good’ (aka the Owellian kind) during the Cheney years? (By this I mean the Presidential Enabling Act, aka the so-called Patriot Acts I and II. Hitler would be proud of what was done here in his memory.) Very doubtful. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, regardless of what color one’s undies are. And if there’s ever an inquiry into it, I’m sure the nooz will be flooded with stories of Britney’s latest escape from rehab and subsequent car crash on Rodeo drive. Nothing like distracting the easily-distracted.

    * Did Cheney & Bush hijack the conservative cause? Absolutely. It was only after their second presidential election that they made clear their disdain for the right-wing fundie whack jobs whose votes were essential to secure the election. However, since they let the cat out of the bag too early, sentiment ran against them by the 2006 election and they lost the Congress.

    * Would another kind of administration have done things any differently had they been in power during the same time span, with the same traumatic 9/11 events to contend with? That’s a thought experiment to which we’ll never know the correct answer.

    So regardless of whether you feel the Bush/Cheney team represented the true intents & interests of the folks who voted for them, and regardless of any thoughts about how you feel the other team may have done things differently, the fact remains that these two (or whoever they’ve represented through their actions) have done quite a lot to harm the interests of our nation, to waste whatever goodwill we may have had among other nations by starting two wars illegally under false pretenses, to prolong a stupidly wasteful way of life (the so-called home moanership society, tax credits for giant SUVs, exhortations to consume, the world’s largest credit bubble to date, etc) in an era of fossil energy depletion, and to make it far too easy for a corrupt chief executive to manipulate the levers of power in ways definitely harmful to the health of the republic.

    So go ahead, all ye who voted for Cheney & Bush: wear a scarlet ‘W’ occasionally as a sign of the shame of having had any part in this fiasco. Heckuva job.

  11. FAR, when BFT owners can’t fill their tanks, there’s a chance they’ll be able to snag a lift from some other motorist with a less-thirsty vehicle.

    Schadenfreude opportunities abound. (Hint: do you think I would pass up the chance to give a stranded Hummer driver a lift to the gas station and back to his conked-out dinosaur with a gallon to prime the thing? Heck no. It would be a great chance to cover those CFN topics we never hear being discussed in public.)

    It just seems it will be a whole new kind of ugly when more people get disenfranchised from the driving experience. Right now the people being pushed out of driving are the minor players: poor teenagers, the less well-off elderly living on fixed incomes, the poor single moms with long commutes and/or aged vehicles, etc. For the most part these are not the tattooed overfed clowns in military drag, of which JHK frequently writes. No, these are the quieter kind who are already accustomed to making other arrangements just to get by.

    It’s the other kind that worry me ~ the ones that have hitherto enjoyed some type of middle-class existence, a certain level of material comforts, a certain level of expectations for the future and opportunities in the present, etc. In short, the ones who are not at all accustomed to making other arrangements. Judging from the level of anger these people display toward others on the road (the really bad, dangerous kind directed at people who have nothing to do with their personal predicament) it doesn’t take much imagination to see what they’ll be like if the heat gets cranked up a few more degrees.

  12. Nudge, this post is absolutely awesome. Congratulations. It makes this week’s JHK post look pretty trivial, in comparison. I want to think on this topic some before making a longer comment. The slope we have been on started in earnest with Reagan in 1980, and has been accelerating, especially since GWB stole the election from Gore in 2000, then from Kerry in 2004.

    Absolutely right on analysis. We are no longer living in the country of our parents and grandparents, yet we are facing trials far more severe. It don’t look too good for most of us.

  13. @ Nudge

    What I read in your original post is frustration and anger. And rightly so.

    We criticize the Arabs for squandering the windfalls of oil, but yet we are guilty of squandering an abundance of riches beyond imagining. Minerals, soil, water, flora and fauna – literally Eden. And we squandered it all on the furthering of a variety of ill-conceived ideologies and schemes ostensibly for our improvement and as a metric of our compassion. We have failed miserably on all counts.

    Liberalism, socialism, facism, communism, neo-conservatism or whateverism – each of them man-made constructs to achieve a given end and each of them built with false assumptions about human behavior and the over-simplification of the same.

    We are cursed in our self-awareness, our mortality and our compassion. And we are blessed by it.

    “[T]he future is coming for all of us”, but an ism is not the answer. You are correct – community is the answer. But let that community form as the need arises. You’ll know – by God if anybody will know, it will be you.

  14. It’s that “compassion thing” for GWB, like that “vision thing” for his father. That’s one level of it. The other level is that to which Uncle Remus is alluding. We built our global modern empire on ever moron abundant, easily available and therefore cheap energy, the one and true currency (there’s another, but I’ll let you guess that one, for now). Once that energy fades away, it’s only a matter of how well we decide to conduct ourselves as we all head for that big exit sign in the sky.

    I was at a Europa Ocean workshop back in the mid-1990s, just after the Galileo Probe discoveries. A colleague, whom I will not identify, who was a big-time “player” in my field at the time, had the job of introducing my oral presentation. My talk’s title (and published abstract) reflected an all-encompassing approach to exploration of the putative Europan Ocean, to search for life and hydrothermal mineral deposits on its seafloor, based upon present-day oceanographic research efforts. So, the big man makes his brief introduction, and has to add a snide comment about how moi has thought of everything, the origin of life, minerals, space exploration for fun and profit, etc. So, he leaves the makeshift stage with the retorical question: “what else is there that’s important?”

    I’m very nervous, since this is the first time I have ever given this talk to such an esteemed group of planetary scientists, but I know this guy is trying to belittle and poke fun at me, so I shot back quickly: “Love, love is important.” There was a brief silence and then laughter. I had them all in the palm of my hand afterward, and Prof. X just sulked away, never said a word to me afterward. My talk was very well received, BTW.

  15. I am curious about ” […] price controls and for rationing of essentials”.

    Who absorbs the difference the controlled price and the generally higher acquisition price?

    What constitutes an “essential”?

  16. “The focus here is the truth about PEAK OIL.”

    Peak Oil has a lot of facets.

    Gotta call it a night.

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