“In almost everything we now hear about economic disadvantage, there is the same belief, embodied in such government schemes as the Work Programme, that 40-plus years of deindustrialisation matters not, and to be one of the economy’s losers isn’t about being a victim of forces beyond your control, but character failings.”

John Harris, The Guardian, 7th January 2013

Photographs from Blisner, Ill © Daniel Shea.

Fury Builds Over Blackouts Caused By De-Industrialization Of America

Fury Builds Over Blackouts Caused By De-Industrialization Of America

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
February 4, 2011

Fury is building over rolling nationwide blackouts triggered by the Obama administration’s deliberate agenda to block the construction of new coal-fired plants, as local energy companies struggle to meet Americans’ power demands amidst some of the coldest weather seen in decades.

- As we reported yesterday, four hospitals in Texas reacted furiously after they were hit with planned outages despite being promised they would be spared even as power to Super Bowl venues remains uninterrupted.

- Thousands in New Mexico have been left without natural gas as Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday declared a state of emergency. “Due to statewide natural gas shortages, I have ordered all government agencies that do not provide essential services to shut down and all nonessential employees to stay home” on Friday, Martinez said after meeting with public safety personnel in Albuquerque,” reports the Associated Press.

- Borderland residents have been asked to limit their use of natural gas as the Texas Gas Service asks that larger commercial facilities voluntarily close their doors to save supplies.

- People in Tucson have been asked to limit their use of hot water and moderate their thermostat levels to save on energy.

- Shortages of natural gas in San Diego County has forced utility companies to “cut or reduce the gas supplied to some of their largest commercial and industrial customers,” reports North County Times.

- In El Paso, “Hundreds of thousands of electricity customers continue to face periodic blackouts, and nearly 900 gas customers still have no heat,” reports the El Paso Times, with El Paso Electric resorting to using generators in a struggle to meet demand while still having to implement forced outages.

Coal-fired power plants are used to convert coal to synthetic natural gas. The Obama administration’s efforts to block the construction of new clean-burning coal plants has massively exacerbated this week’s outages.

Mexico has now announced that it will suspend supplying power to southern US states, underscoring how America has been left completely dependent and desperate as a result of the Obama administration’s war on the coal industry.

Cold weather is not the primary culprit behind the power outages that have hit many areas of the country this week. The real blame lies with the Obama administration’s deliberate war against the efforts of local power companies to meet America’s energy needs by building new plants, the vast majority of which have been blocked by judges, governors and the EPA over the last four years at the behest of the Obama administration in the name of preventing global warming.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

State authorities in Texas have been engaged in a long-running battle with the EPA as the feds attempt to block the construction of new plants by enforcing adherence to new clean air permit regulations that cripple smaller companies’ ability to afford desperately needed new energy centers and plants. Twelve states are mounting a legal challenge against EPA restrictions that threaten to bankrupt the entire industry.

But it’s not just in Texas where the federal government has embarked on an all out siege against energy independence.

- Back in July 2008, a Superior Court judge in Fulton County blocked the construction of a coal plant in Georgia, citing global warming concerns and the need to limit CO2 emissions.

- In January 2009, the Obama EPA blocked approval for a coal-fired power plant in South Dakota, claiming the state, “didn’t meet requirements under the Clean Air Act in part of its proposed permit for the plant.”

- As Governor of Kansas, Obama’s current Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius slapped a de facto ban on the construction of all new coal-fired plants across the state.

- Last month, Senators in Obama’s home state of Illinois blocked the construction of a clean-burning coal gasification and power generating plant.

- As a result of the EPA’s recent remand of air permits, Shell Oil announced yesterday that it has “dropped plans to drill in the Arctic waters of the Beaufort Sea this year,” ensuring more shortages and higher energy prices for Americans already laboring under soaring food costs.

The federal government’s siege against independent power companies’ efforts to build coal-fired plants is part of the unfolding agenda to de-industrialize the United States even as China and Mexico build new power plants at ever accelerating speeds.

Global warming alarmists have consistently gone on record to openly voice their agenda to de-industrialize the United States in the name of saving the planet.

In his new book, author and environmentalist Keith Farnish called for acts of sabotage and environmental terrorism in blowing up dams and demolishing cities in order to return the planet to pre-industrial society. Prominent NASA global warming alarmist and Al Gore ally Dr. James Hansen endorsed Farnish’s book.

The global elite resolved to exploit contrived fears about climate change to de-industrialize the United States back in 1991 when the Club of Rome, a powerful globalist NGO committed to limiting growth and ushering in a post-industrial society, said in their report, The First Global Revolution, “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. All these dangers are caused by human intervention… The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

In 1969, Dr. Richard Day, the National Medical Director of the Rockefeller-sponsored “Planned Parenthood,” asserted that a move towards a “unified global system” would necessitate the sabotage of American industry.

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“Each part of the world will have a specialty and thus become inter-dependent, he said. The US will remain a center for agriculture, high tech, communications, and education but heavy industry would be “transported out,” Day stated.

In 2008 Obama openly stated his plan to bankrupt the coal industry.

The large currents of the past generation – deindustrialisation, the flattening of average wages, the financialisation of the economy, income inequality, the growth of information technology, the flood of money into Washington, the rise of the political right – all had their origins in the late 70s. The US became more entrepreneurial and less bureaucratic, more individualistic and less communitarian, more free and less equal, more tolerant and less fair.
—  George Packer, ‘The Unwinding’
Watch on

Gil Scott HeronWe Almost Lost Detroit (1977)

“The forces that produced Detroit—the combination of bitter racism and single-industry failure—are anomalous, but the general recipe of deindustrialization, depopulation, and resource depletion will likely touch almost all the regions of the global north in the next century or two. Dresden was rebuilt, and so was Hiroshima, and so were the cities destroyed by natural forces—San Francisco and Mexico City and Tangshan—but Detroit will never be rebuilt as it was. It will be the first of many cities forced to become altogether something else.” —Rebecca Solnit, “Detroit Arcadia" in Harper’s magazine, 2004 


Capitalising on Decay

Moving on from last week we developed the complexity of the twinning system to consider the route of decay. So many cities today are undergoing a transformation through deindustrialisation and a changing economy. The hives of industry from one century are the scars on the urban landscape the next. How can a decayed city be gentrified but retain its (if any) nostalgic links to the past.

Antoine Picone’s Anxious Landscapes: From Ruin to Rust highlights the city landscape as saturated by man’s technological endeavours. He identifies between technological and natural landscapes and how they are justified physically and psychologically.  The modern city shares no links with nature, only its variable skies, and imprisons its inhabitants through the need of development. Architecture, designed by man and like any other constructed physical object wears itself out to a point of obsolescence, constricting man in the middle of his productions.

Picone discusses the work of Auguste Perret who expresses the importance of character and style. Whilst the two words seem synonymous they articulate two different meanings, ‘Character is the manner in which the work responds to its destination… the relationship between the object and its end. Style is the art of using materials…’ The locomotive and the Parthenon are used to explain this; the locomotive is undeniably attentive to character whilst the Parthenon has character and style. In a few years the most advance locomotive will become scrap metal whilst the grandeur of the Parthenon will be preserved. One rusts whilst the other ruins. The ruin returns man to nature whilst rust confines him to the city landscape.

This concept can be applied to heritage or perhaps heritage is just another name for ‘ruin’. Structures relating to their context and crafted from materials reflecting their purpose resemble items that should be preserved. Structures lacking in style are left to become obsolete, leaving a blemish on the urban fabric where they once stood, and ultimately being consumed by the city to make way for yet another urban fix. 

I can conclude that ruins have both character and style enabling them to develop into areas or spaces of heritage whereas rust becomes redundant, leaving brownfield sites and derelict buildings.

Tim Edensor writes in The ghosts of industrial ruins: ordering and disordering memory in excessive space about the importance of ruins within memory. Through the political and social process of memory, a realm of contestation and controversy, decayed or decaying buildings reveal the story of their history. As memory adapts to the changing context, shifting histories of structures peel away revealing layers of years gone by. These realms of ruins are often located on marginal site and are littered throughout an increasing amount of post industrialised cities. These layers, however they are revealed, reiterate the importance of character to a structure allowing for a metamorphosis to heritage. Without a historic background a structure can evoke no memories of a by gone era, have no ties to the past, and provide no sense of nostalgic value to a site; something essential for forming heritage. 

The texts within ‘Shrinking Cities’ investigate cities around the world that are deemed to be shrinking and the effects this implies. The texts identify Manchester, Liverpool and Detroit as exemplar shrinking cities. Through the process of deindustrialisation these urban environments have started to decay; in the case of Manchester, this was with the removal of the cotton industries at the end of ‘Cottonopolis’ in the 1950’s.  With shrinkage comes wastage and derelict buildings and empty spaces emerge, providing the raw materials for renaissance. It is clear that brown field sites and disused buildings will play an important part in a city’s rise from decay, which should be incorporated into the new twinning system to allow waste to be capitalised. 

The research has indicated the importance of decay and the twinning model has been updated to reflect this. Shrinking cities may become future heritage cities and it is recommended that brownfield sites of obsolete objects be used for future city growth. During the textile industry Stockport was at its peak. It has since declined, along with the textile industry and has failed to re-establish itself despite numerous efforts from the local authorities. Stockport is positioned within a state of further decay and needs to act appropriately to rejuvenate and capitalise on its past. 

Picone, Antoine. Anxious Landscapes: From Ruin to Rust. Translated by Karen Bates. Unknown: Unknown, 2000.

Edensor, Tim. Industrial Ruins: spaces, aesthetics and materiality. Oxford: Berg, 2005.

Edensort, Tim. The Ghosts of industrial ruins: ordering and disordering memory in excessive space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 23(6) 829-849

Thanks boomers

Express your appreciation today:

' The promise of each generation enjoying higher living standards than its parents' generation is at risk in Australia, partly due to ballooning spending on older people funded by deficit budgets, according to a new Grattan Institute report.'

The deindustrialisation of the labour market has progressed apace since boomers were young and looking for work. Thanks to less jobs, youngsters now have the chance to do a worthless degree before becoming unemployed.

' The report, The Wealth of Generations, shows how older Australians are capturing a growing share of the nation's wealth, while the wealth of younger Australians has stagnated.

"The generational bargain, under which each generation of working Australians supports retirees while still improving its own standard of living, is at risk," Grattan Institute CEO John Daley said.’

Great, if you’re a boomer in need of a Barista.

' To restore the balance, governments should tighten eligibility for the age pension, reduce superannuation tax concessions and increase taxes on assets, for example by eliminating negative gearing.

"These reforms would fall most on those who have benefited most from windfalls and government largesse, and have paid lower taxes while deficits accumulated," Mr Daley said.

"We shouldn’t delay, or a younger generation may be even worse off, as they miss out on benefits their parents enjoyed."

They will miss out anyway, as the ability of governments to service debt via the bond market screeches to a halt. Meanwhile, a self congratulatory baby boomer offers tips on how to emulate their privileged lifestyle:

‘As a baby boomer we worked hard and saved .We paid the house off and bought investment properties. Most of the young want it all now and complain when they don’t get it. That’s the handout mentality….’

Whilst helpfully demonstrating a complete lack of empathy, the writer overlooks how difficult it would be to duplicate their efforts. The typical millenial must now have a degree to even hope of being competitive for a job, which mum and dad did not. Plus with increased casualisation and contract work dominating available jobs, buying a house at eight times income is out of the question without a massive deposit. And slightly unfeasible when income can’t be guaranteed.

In such circumstances the millenial strategies make sense. Live for now because there is no assurance of affording tomorrow. Meanwhile, the photos and emails from their holidaying parents - whether retired yet or not - are becoming increasingly galling to those who realise their fate will be much less kind. Just that many young adults are either too polite, or too deluded about their own situation, to note the bitter irony.

The millenials are screwed. No amount of rejigging will change that. The boomers are a large and powerful electoral lobby that pollies will appease with as much cash and bribes as it takes. Don’t expect that to change.