Ed's thoughts

"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards." - Ed Abby

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Until it happened to me, I was fairly cavalier about breaking a leg rope. When it happened earlier this week, I began to take it seriously...after the fact. I was riding a beautiful right-hander that began to close out. As I came up over the lip, my body launched skyward as planned, but the board was caught in the breaking wave. I felt the familiar tug on my right ankle, and then...nothing.

My first reaction was to save the board. I did not want it to get damaged by washing violently up on the beach. My second reaction was, 'Shit, paddling without a board is really hard.' (A lovely Betty told me later that this is called 'swimming.') My third reaction was, 'Oh cool. Another wave. I'll just body surf in.' And my final reaction was, '%$&*! That did not work. Get me the @#$% out of here!'

The good news is that I reached the board before it reached the beach. The bad news is that the global financial system has come unleashed (again), and seems to have followed my four step process described above. The worst news is that this unfolding story won't have a happy ending like mine.

I hardly have to mention the cavalier attitude that governments and financial institutions have had about spending and debt and regulation and 'moral hazard' and the like. So let's get to the latest incarnation of the breaking of the leash. The leash, in this case, I will describe as an assumed level of security that, no matter how high debts become, will tether the debtor to a bailout. The belief in a safety line, or leg rope, emboldens financiers and governments to take higher and higher risks, surfing bigger and bigger economic bubbles as they roll in with the swell of so-called 'growth.' In other words, faith in the leash allows the belief in infinite growth without consequences. (Of course this is insane. In nature, only cancer and viruses grow exponentially, but each eventually kills the host.)

You are probably tired of hearing about Greece, but it does provide a suitable parallel to my recent aquatic episode. Predictably, Europe's first reaction to Greece was to save it before it hit the rocks. Next, like paddling without a board, Europe said, 'Shit, this is really hard.' So then Europe tried to do some body surfing on a wave of IMF money. And finally, we hear the cry of surrender: '%$&*! That did not work. Get me the @#$% out of here!'

The great unleashing is not confined to continental Europe. UK voters unleashed their frustration with the Labour government earlier this month, while American voters did so against almost all incumbents in primaries this Tuesday. The bears have unleashed on Wall Street in this so-called 'market correction' (By definition, doesn't that mean the market has been incorrect for the past year?), and it appears that the long anticipated landfall of oil in the Gulf will unleash a new wave of finger-pointing. And finally, Michael Ruppert (you know him if you know him) has unleashed himself to a wonderfully courageous level of blunt: http://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/author-and-peak-oil-activist-michael-ruppert

I do not know where this is all going, but I do believe there is no leg rope strong enough to hold it all together. As Michael suggests, maybe I should trade in my surfboard for a lifeboat. But then again, my surfboard is my lifeboat.

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