Off the Keyboard of RE
Discuss this article around the Kitchen Sink of the Diner
Today I am 55 Years Old.
There will be no Birthday Party for me, no Presents anymore. Only my Mom still sent me Birthday Cards in these last years, but she passed into the Great Beyond last year. I don’t have any children to remember my Birthday. Now each year just is marked by the August 31st Date which comes and goes, and I reflect on my Life in the Age of Oil during these days.
55 seems more Significant than most of the recent ones since the Big 5-0. Mostly because of that Numerical Duplication of Numbers I suppose, a little like 666. Also though because it pretty much represents 1/2 Century of Sentience here where I really was aware of the world around me. I’ll write another one of these articles if I make it to 66 years, 6 Months, 6 weeks, 6 days, 6 Hours, 6 Minutes and 6 seconds old, if the Internet is still up and running and I am still walking the earth at that time and not entombed at GITMO being Waterboarded. LOL.
I do remember a few snippets of things from when I was 3-4 years old, I remember crashing my Tricycle into the back wall of the below ground Garage in our Brownstone in Hell’s Kitchen, riding down the ramp with No Brakes on a Tricycle. I remember getting locked in to my Parent’s Bedroom when I tried to “fix” the door lock putting hardware in to an open slot not connected to anything. I remember being enamored of Bozo the Clown in Cartoons on TV, but when mom got tickets to the Bozo the Clown TV Show and I met the Human Bozo greeting kids on the line to get into the Studio, I was scared to death of him and started crying and Mom hadda take me home. $15 Tickets in 1960s money, 6 month Advance Ticket Purchase, pretty big deal there.
I don’t remember how I learned to read during this time, though I know I did because I was reading before my first day in Kindergarten. I think it was from Picture Books my mom bought and my sister read to me at first, not sure though. Still I was not reading anything of greater import than “Run, Spot, Run” at the time. LOL.
The real WAKE UP CALL in Sentience though came for me on November 22, 1963. Recognize the date? That was of course the day JFK was Gunned down in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald and who knows who else. The WORLD STOPPED that day, they brough a Radio into the classroom, and everyone was Mourning. When I got home from school, the Images were all over the B&W TV Set we had, with poor little John-John Kennedy standing bravely by Widow-Garbed Jacqueline Bouvier aka “Jackie” Kennedy later Jackie Onassis. I identified with John-John, he was just about precisely my age at the time of course. I was actually 6 by then not 5, so the 55 identification of my Wake Up Call to reality exactly 1/2 Century later isn’t precise here. Close enough though.
We were by then living in Brasil of course, not the FSofA, as I covered in Pump Up the Volume a little while back. Brasil was essentially a Paradise for me, I learned Portuguese quickly because that is the age your linguistic brain is most flexible, and I quickly was translating for my Mom who never really learned it. We lived a block off of Ipanema Beach, and I loved to body surf and became a very strong swimmer. We had memberships to Private Clubs that the Banking, Military and State Department class ran and had access to; my best friend Timmy was son of the Ambassador to Brasil. One of the Clubs had a full set of Diving Boards and Platforms right up to a full 10 meter platform I decided I hadda jump off of, I guess I was 7 by then. My Mom let me do it, but ONLY if I would wear a Life Preserver Vest before jumping. About the stupidest thing you can do really. Why?
Well, soon as you hit the water, the bouyancy of the life preserver is pushing UP, whicle Gravity and Acceleration are taking you DOWN. If you make the sad mistake of having your Tongue between your teeth when this happens, BLAM you chomp down on your tongue and in my case pratically bite it off. BLOOD EVERYWHERE! Think a scene from Jaws. Tongue hanging by a thread (fortunately I had a pretty large Gap between my two Front Teeth at the time), gotta get it sewed back in. I remember that one pretty well. LOL. On the good side, mom never made me wear a Life Preserver again after that, and I got pretty good at diving off the Platform before we left Brasil.
Anyhow, I messed around with a lot of sports during this time, Futbol (soccer) with the Favela Boys as well as the Swimming and Diving, great fun all around there. I was however already an incipient Nerd and Voracious Reader. I consumed the entire Hardy Boys, Tom Swift and Nancy Drew Series of books during these years, along with reading my Dad’s Subscription Magazines of Popular Mechanics, Pop Science and Scientific American. My sister was 7 years older than me, and I started looking at her Math Textbooks and doing the problems in them. I got very good at Science and Math concepts during this period. All seemed quite entertaining to me at the time. It had some unfortunate consequences though after we returned to the FSofA.
Shortly after enrolling in the 4th Grade and enrolling in a Public Skule in the NY Shity Schools system, I took my first Standardized IOWA Test. OOPS I got EVERYTHING right on the test. LOL. This is not supposed to happen, the tests are designed so that the typical student of the Grade Level being tested should only get half the questions correct, and if you get more than around 70% of them correct, the test isn’t valid really. According to the test, I was reading at College Level and the Math was off the scale of the test. So they let me have a go at the SAT in the 4th Grade. As I recall I scored an 1100, pretty good for HS students. So, I was IDENTIFIED. Then began the NIGHTMARE of 3 years of Lab Rat experiments and endless Testing with the Shrinks as an ”Intellectually Gifted Child” aka IGC. Every Saturday for 3 years. It did not end until I finally said NO MORE when I was around 13 or so. I had it by then.
Anyhow, this still got me into Stuyvesant HS, the magnet school for Science and Math prodigies being run by the NY Shity school system of the era. There I hung out with other first class nerds like Eric Lander and Francis Barany, while at the SAME time doing the Pirate Radio thing with my friend Randy from Brasil, and twice a year flying to Oz to hang with Dad the Pigman as part of the Divorce agreement. It was needless to say a very confusing time for me overall.
Applying to College when I was 15, I had very poor advice all around, I should have followed a close friend of mine and gone for the 6 year Bio-Med program being run by the City University of NY at that time. Cheap subsidized education and you came out with an M.D. at the end of it. I was advised though to make all my Aps to Ivy League Skules. Nobody was taking into account my Dad wasn’t going to finance the Education. I got a 1600 on my SATs this go round and was pretty much a shoe in everywhere. Of the 5 College Aps I filled out, the only one which was not Ivy league was to the Air Force Academy. I thought being a Jet Pilot or Astronaut would be REALLY COOL. Plus, a Freeby Education there on the taxpayer dime. The other 4 apps were to Harvard, Yale, Columbia and MIT. (MIT isn’t precisely Ivy League, but it is in the same Elite University clique).
The only REJECTION I got was from the Air Force Academy, and it wasn’t because I wasn’t academically or physically qualified, I was a couple of standard deviations above the mean in both areas at the time. The reason was because at the time of enrollment for my first class, I would still have been 16, and 17 was the Minimum to enroll in the Military Academies at that time.
This pissed me off, so I wrote a letter to the admissions commitee after receiving my rejection letter lambasting them for taking less qualified applicants just because they were going to be at least 17 and I wasn’t (only by a MONTH or so also!). It was some pretty good Napalm. LOL.
About a week later I got a phone call from the PENTAGON! LOL. The letter had somehow made its way from the Air Force Academy admissions commitee over to Headquarters, and some General had been given the task of making a decision on whether to Wave the 17 Rule or not. What I got from him in this Phone Call was that he had gone over it with the Military Lawyers, and there just was no way they could do this short of an Act of Congress, so he suggested I take the year off and reapply the following year. I probably should have taken that suggestion also for some other reasons I will discuss in another RE History post, but it will make this article even more rambling then it already is.
After that followed my years at Columbia, one of those Ivory Tower Ivy league institutions where the various members of the Ruling Class get “educated”. Columbia was the cheapest for me to go to since I could live at home and Commute via Subway, which I did for the first year until I was earning enough in Work Study to afford the Dorms, and after that a shared Apartment over Barney Cannon’s Bar on 108th Street with two other Wild & Crazy dudes. I went with what I was good at, Science and Math and floated around between the Physics, Chem, Bio and Math departments, settling mostly into the Basement of Havermeyer Hall in my Freshman Year as an “Elf”, my first Work-Study job. See, by this time my Dad the Pigman and I were no longer on Speaking Terms, and even though relatively speaking an Ivy League education was not as expensive as it is now, I still was pretty short of cash to pay for it. I had a couple of Scholarships, National Merit Scholarship from the PSAT, a Spelling Bee Scholarship I won early on as a 6th Grader and a Scholarship from the National Branch of the Unitarian Church, which I was dedicated into as an Infant. I was the top Graduating Unitarian Student of that class in the FSofA. All together though, these Scholarships only covered about 1/2 of the Tuition, then there was still the Room & Board and Books. I took out some Federally Insured College Loans to make up the difference, and Columbia guaranteed me some kind of Work-Study job. They did not issue Academic Scholarships themselves.
The Basement of Havermeyer Hall was a fun place for Nerds, we all hung out there together and had Blackboard contests and messed around with every chemical known to man, you could order up anything really as an Elf. The Elf “Job” was to mix up Standard Solutions of various reagents used to teach Freshman Chem and Organic Chem, but nobody ever checked what you put on the Order List. By my second year once I got into Orgo (my best subject), I got into synthesizing LSD not from Ergot as is the most common sysnthesis but from Psylocibin I was growing over in the Bio Lab. I also blew up my lab station and nearly got fired for that one. I was nitrating Toluene in what I thought was a “safe” manner, but it wasn’t quite like I pieced it out on paper. Even a small amount of Tri-Nitro Toluene (TNT) is pretty damaging when it goes off unfortunately. Fortunately on the other hand, the Head of the Lab Elfs at the time Miles was pretty sympathetic and he just gave me a stern warning at that time. I escaped with only a few minor lacerations from the flying glassware. LOL. I did not get my job there renewed the following year though. I got moved over to doing research on Radioimmunoassays at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, as I guess they figured I would be LESS dangerous working with Radioactive material than Organic Explosives. LOL. On the plus side, this paid better than Elf Work.
Thus went the Early Years of RE’s Life in the Age of Oil, A Certified Brainiac by the Shrinks getting Educated along the way pretty well in Math and the Sciences, but only marginally well in History and the Social Science,s though at Columbia we were forced at the time to take a 2-year long course of Liberal Arts Core Curriculum called “Contemporary Civilizations” and “Humanities”. In CC, you got to read all the Great Philosophers, starting out with Plato and his Wall Shadows and moving forward in History basically from there, with the focus mainly on 16th-19th Century Western philosophers like Machiavelli, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Karl Marx etc. In said course you did not get anything of Eastern Philosophy, if you were interested in that stuff you had to take elective courses in the Asian Studies department. You weren’t FORCED to take it, and if like me your courseload was maxed out with all the basic science courses and math courses, you just didn’t have time for that. You DEFINITELY got no education in ANY department about Native American culture, Polynesian Culture or Oz Aboriginal Culture, although I at least got some grasp of Paleolithic life since I took a couple of Anthropology courses in my Junior and Senior years. Even so, these courses never really addressed the Philosophy of such cultures, just their means of survival. As I recall now, my Freshman Year courseload looked like this:
Contemporary Civilizations I&II- 4 Credits
Calculus III-IV (I did AP Calc in HS so skipped Calc I-II in Freshman year) – 3 credits
Inorganic Chem I & II – 3 Credits
Chem Lab- 1 Credit (for an ungodly number of hours spent in the lab)
Physics with Calculus version-3 Credits
Biology 1&2- 3 Credits
Spanish 1&2 (foreign language requirement)-3 Credits
20 Credits! Normal courseload is around 15-18 Credits for full time Semester based University education. Sophomore year was basically the same, with Hum subbing for CC, Differential and Partial Differential Equations subbing for Calc, Orgo for Chem, Biochem and Cell Biology for Bio and Comp Sci (FORTRAN and BASIC programming) for Physics.So I really didn’t have time to study much else, at least in terms of “official” study anyhow. My Illuminati Spawn Girlfriend of the time was a Polyglot Languages major who read Greek and Latin, so I got some post-coital information from her. Notwithstanding that additional education, I left college with a brain chock full of science and math knowledge, but really only a smattering of knowledge or understanding about the progress of human history. Certainly gained no understanding of the role of Money in society or how it is created either. Although I didn’t take Economics in College, I know also the students in that department learned nothing of this either. In fact, it was a source of great Entertainment for the Geeks in the Basement of Havermeyer Hall to make fun of the Economics department students and mess with their Bogus Math. In an Economics math argument, anytime something doesn’t work right you add a Fudge Factor. LOL. So we would smoke some dope, drink some 95% Ethanol diluted with OJ or Jolt-Cola (all the Sugar and TWICE the Caffeine!), and then hit the blackboard creating new Economics “proofs” loaded with a variety of Fudge Factors like MsubR (Mistake Rate) and NsubC (Nonsense Constant). LOL. This is HILARIOUS stuff to do for a math nerd when you are smoking dope and shit-faced drunk! Sadly I think some of those weed inspired drunken “proofs” actually made it BACK to the Economics department and got used years later on Wall Street. LOL.
It wasn’t until after college when I went out to work on Wall Street as a Risk Analyst that I began to get some grasp of this stuff, but not even much there really because I was basically being used as a Human Computer to crunch a lot of numbers on a few dozen companies at any given time and make some projections for their MsubR and NsubC. LOL. Which I think I did pretty well, considering at the time we didn’t even have basic Spreadsheet Programs like Lotus (the predecessor to Excel which the Big Gorilla ripped off) to work with, I hadda do it all on reams of Graph Paper using an early Scientific Calculator from Hewlett-Packard. The IT departments of the time were filled with Mainframe Computers from IBM and NCR programmed with Punch Cards, and they were basically just big data storage mediums and tallying systems for the bazillion Transactions done each day by the TBTF Banks. The Market itself was still running old fashioned Tickers and most of the trading was done physically on the floor of the NYSE. HFT Trading Algorithms were still years away at this time.
Regardless of what sort of numbers I came up with though, it was about 50-50 as to whether what I suggested was a “Good Risk” would be invested in and what I saw as a “Bad Risk” was not invested in. I discovered the whole game was POLITICAL, and that the Pump & Dump scheme was pursued on a regular basis. There was HUGE amounts of Collusion here, at any Lunch in one of the local Wall Street area overpriced restaurants the upper level managers of 3 or 4 different Investment Banks would all be at the same table passing around information all the time. Over a half dozen or so Martinis or 50 year old Glenfidditch Single Malt Scotch Whisky, everyone would leave the table and then all together proceed to drop $Millions$ in afternoon trading while still Six Sheets to the Wind on some of the dumbest and most risky ivestments you could dream possible. Anyone who believes there has been a “Free Market” EVER is completely NUTS, Deluded, or someone who has benefitted from perpetuating this MYTH. It did not exist in the late 70s early 80s when I was on Wall Street, and I can assure you it did not exist in the 50s and 60s when my Dad the Pigman was making Bad Loans to South American countries either. You can be quite sure it did not exist when Thomas Edison and Henry Ford set up their Electric Grid and Carz Production Lines, and it sure as HELL did not exist when the Robber Barrons were laying Railroad track across the FSofA in the 1800s on the backs of Slave Laborers from China and Ireland. All of this has been manipulated over time to the benefit of the folks at the top running the show here. “Free Market Capitalism” is complete MYTHOLOGY, it never existed at any time in any place.
Anyhow, I got sick of all this shit after a couple of years and dropped out of it, thus the reason I lived the rest of my life as a generally Middle Class Working Man sorta guy instead of becoming one of the Masters of the Universe. I just wasn’t cut out for that; I particularly hated wearing a Suit and Tie also. LOL.
At the same time, even though I learned quickly enough how CORRUPT the whole game was, I still did not reflect on how the money came to be CREATED in the first place, or the collusion between Goobermint and the TBTF banks in directing how the money in society flowed out and who had access to it. This understanding did not come until many years later, when in the aftermath of the failure of Bear Stearns I started reading up on all the information I had missed out on getting a typical “good education” in the Age of Oil.
In fact, if you go back to that time period, unless you absolutely LIVED at the New York Public Library Main Branch or haunted the Stacks of Low Library at Columbia, it was probably pretty close to impossible to find out about any of this stuff. The advent of the Internet is what has made it possible for MANY people now to have caught up on it, and there are more all the time of course. The fact the system is collapsing on itself motivates ever more people to understand the whys and wherefores, so now in 2012 it is not uncommon at all to run into MANY websites where the Commentariat all discusses the “Empire” and where Da Fed is roundly criticized as a vehicle for the Rich to stay Rich (and in fact get richer) while the Poor get Poorer. EVERYBODY KNOWS!
Here on my 55th Birthday, EVERYBODY KNOWS. Well, not really, only the “Everybodies” who haunt all these Blogs and Forums where such things are discussed on a Daily Basis, which represents a remarkably SMALL percentage of the population even in developed countries where practically everybody now has an Apple I-Phone with a 24/7 connection to the internet. MOST of the people in these countries spend their Internet Time either Tweeting each other moaning about their impending Divorce or Shopping on Ebay or Surfing the Net for Pornography, they do NOT participate on Websites analysing the collapse of Industrial Civilization. In 3rd world countries where most people have a hard time just working up $2/day to feed themselves and their kids, they definitely have little understanding of how all this came to pass, they just know they are Hurting and they gotta get RID of whoever the Local Leader is that they perceive as being at Fault for the problems they have.
My great HOPE for the Internet was that it could be a place where the Everybodies who DO know what is going on here could get together and begin to reach a consensus and DO something about it. In my early years of participation on the PeakOil.com Forum I was very hyped on this idea, until sadly of course I got BANNED from Peak Oil for not following the general Group Think of that website. Undeterred, I jumped around through several other Collapse based Forums, most notably Market Ticker run by Karl Denninger and then The Burning Platform run by Jim Quinn. Again after a while I got BANNED from both those Forums.
Still unflagging in my HOPES, I holed up on the Yahoo Groups in my Reverse Engineering Yahoo Group, where I collected a few other Misfits from a few other websites, and we pleasantly for the most part analyzed Industrial Civilization Collapse. Wasn’t reaching many people of course, since I kept the Group PRIVATE/Members ONLY. Still, we sorta reached a consensus there, and then eventually due to some CENSORSHIP issues Incoming from Yahoo Bots, my good friend Peter the Tech Wizard who set up the Diner here suggested we get ourselves off of Yahoo and head back out into the great wide Internet World of Collapse Blogging to present our ideas on how to cope with these problems, and hopefully, Save As Many As You Can.
Has this Adventure brought Consensus though? Not at all, in fact even on the fairly straightforward idea of trying to mend some fences with The Burning Platform I could not get consensus here on the Diner, where I am the Chief Admin AND “Owner” of the site! So here I am after leading a pretty eclectic Life in the Age of Oil; after 4 years of writing pretty much non-stop about the issues of collapse; after getting up Online close to the most PERFECT Blog/Forum you could have in its technical set-up; STILL unable to generate consensus and still unable to really get the MESSAGE out to all but a very tiny subset of the population as a whole. So here on my 55th Birthday, I am not a Happy Puppy at all, in fact I am a very DISAPPOINTED Puppy. So much time spent on this, now seems to me all like time spent Pissing in the Wind.
I always thought I had Endless Energy to keep pursuing this, no matter the obstacles, no matter the Trolls, no matter the Napalm. I’ve seen them all, the Goobermint Trolls, the Industry Shills, the Nazis and the Kapitalista Ideologues and the Napalm Artists also. I can deal with all of them, NO PROBLEMO there! LOL. Anybody who thinks they can Troll with me or out Napalm me is in for a rude awakening. I keyboard very fast, endless cultural metaphors jumbled into my head to wield in a War of Words, plenty-o-education and the Google Search Engine available, IQ 3 standard deviations off the mean on the UPSIDE and I don’t have a wife or kids to worry about my time spent in internet battles. That is a LOT of Firepower in an Internet Debate, and you gotta be pretty good to stand up to it. I’ve met a few who could over the years also, and I do enjoy those battles the most. I’m a FIGHTER, not a PEACENIK. It is a Binary for me. If you are With Me, let us find Consensus and Work Together. If you are Against Me, I will do my best to squash your ideas like a BUG. I do not tolerate Nazis, I won’t make Compromises with them, but I will always confront them and face them down. Met MANY on the pages of Peak Oil, Market Ticker and TBP. I’ll go the full 9 yards and pull out ALL the stops when confronted with such scumbag ideas. I’ll rev up the rhetoric and rev up the keyboard fingers and go Thermonuclear if need be. Done it MANY times already, and can do it again. Good vs. Evil in the Battle for All the Marbles. That is How I See It.
What I cannot deal with though is watching as others I felt were COMMITTED to the same idea I am drop off the map and who do not stay with me in this fight. Each and every person I brought into Reverse Engineering is a person of great value to me, who I spent many hours with discussing things, and when they leave, a Piece of Me goes with them. I can only lose so many Pieces of Me before there is NO MORE of Me left to give here. They leave for their own reasons, mostly I do not know what they are precisely, though I often blame myself for it when they do. Regardless of the reason or whether it is my responsibility though, they still do leave sometimes, and it pains me every time it happens. It sucks some of the life out of me.
Like the world which surrounds us, I am about OUTTA GAS now. Outta ENERGY for this stuff. If the Cold Fusion Cavalry or Renewable Energy for Bloggers doesn’t come riding in over the Hill here pretty soon, RE is DONE. 55 years old, 4 years of non-stop writing on collapse, Peripheral Artery Disease taking my legs out from under me, my Final Trip to the Great Beyond now well within sight, I just don’t have anything left now. If I cannot build the Doomstead Diner and bring more people together to develop a good coherent means to at least handle what appears to be an oncoming extreme Die Off event for Homo Sapiens, then I am just Pissing in the Wind. Writing to no purpose other than to exorcise my own demons, which I really can never do until I cross the Great Divide.
That’s how It Goes. Everybody Knows.
Off the Keyboard of RE
Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner
Along with most of the rest of the Financial Bloggers out there, I make it a daily practice to scan the articles being posted on Zero Hedge. the Tyler Durdens have a plethora of contacts in the World of Wall Street, so they are often the Blog that Breaks Big Newz first.
I no longer read the commentary there, and to be honest most of the time don’t even read the articles either, because mostly they fall into the category of Helicopter Ben/Super Mario Draghi bashing or Gold Bitchez! articles. You pretty much know the spin that will come off the pages of any Tyler Durden article.
In the case of a recent article, Tyler quoted from Diapason’s Sean Corrigan and the whole excerpt was on the Home Page of Zero Hedge to read under the title of The Circular Logic And Prayer Tactics Of Draghi Queens, Sinomaniacs, And Other Orwellians
“Companies in the steel sector should be prepared for a long-term depression,” Zhang Changfu, secretary-general of the CISA, told media earlier.
Strange then, that the official data for July suggest that Chinese steel outout hit a new, all-time high of 61.7M tonnes during the month, the YoY increase making up no less than 99% of the entire global increment over the year. Why on earth would this be?
Chalk it up to moral hazard – specifically, the same zombifying belief shared by the whole motley crew of Sinomaniacs, Draghi queens, and QEasers everywhere; that bad news equals good; that, in true Orwellian fashion, ‘Weakness Is Strength’ – that any shortfall in voluntary demand will elicit a large enough crank of the printing press handle that the glut will soon be removed from the market and so obviate the need to undertake any painful restructuring, or to quit the business and release scarce resources for use by those with a genuinely viable business plan.
Back in metal-bashing business, Wang Lei, the head of a Shandong ore trading company, bemoaned the current adversity, telling Caixin:
“If you had iron ore [last year], you could hold it for a couple months and then sell it and earn $20 to $30 per ton easily. We bought ore for about $135 per ton, but no one will take it, even if we try to sell it at a loss.”
Wang and his friends apprear to have drawn a deangerous lesson from the events of 2008-9 though. As he told the magazine, Wang remembers watching the value of his company’s inventories decline rapidly in 2008 until the price bottomed at US$60 per ton the following year.
When the ore prices fell, he reminisced, he and his fellow trades were not pessimistic because they correctly assumed that the Chinese government would step in with an economic stimulus to offset the crisis and so revive demand. Sure enough, as the boom progressed, prices soared, reaching close to $200 a tonne in 2010, a level they revisited some 18 months ago, before policy began to tighten and the long slide to sub-$100 began.
So, once bailed out, always bailed out seems to be the guiding inference. Meantime, close your eyes and pray.
Why do I find this particular snippet interesting? The reason is that embedded in this is how the whole Industrial paradigm got funded in the first place, and why the same old tricks aren’t working now.
The whole Industrial Revolution got funded by a few people who hold the power to issue essentially Infinite Credit. Ever wonder where Henry Ford got the money to build his first Model T plants with his novel Production Line method? Henry had gone BANKRUPT not once, but at least TWICE before he got Ford Motor Company off the ground making Affordable Carz. Some websites put his Bankruptcies as high as 5 before getting Rolling.
In 1893, Henry Ford was the chief engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company. Within nine years, Ford had built his first automobile, named the Quadricycle, and started the Detroit Automobile Company. A gifted engineer, Ford focused heavily on the mechanics of his auto, and completely ignored the idea of marketing his invention. Ford’s first product failed to capture the public’s attention, and Ford was forced to leave his company and file bankruptcy. One year later, Ford started the Ford Motor Company and designed a car that broke the land-speed record. In 1908, Ford released the Model-T to an eagerly awaiting public, and changed the face of American industry.
Filed Bankruptcy when his first automotive company failed. His second automotive company failed also. In June 1903, at the age of 40, he created a third company, the Ford Motor Company, with a cash investment of $28,000.00
He also apparently was nearly outta cash AGAIN before he started selling some Model Ts. One suspects though had he gone BK again, he would have drummed up some more money AGAIN from “Investors”.
WTF was investing in this guy and why, after failing before? Notice who Hank worked for as Chief Engineer? The Edison Illuminating Company. Basically the same folks who backed Edison were backing Henry Ford. Who backed Edison?
Edison General Electric
Edison’s businesses in Schenectady grew quickly. He moved his underground tube company to Schenectady. But Edison’s businesses were struggling financially. His decision to stick to direct current hindered the success of his electrical and lighting companies. Electric lighting was still expensive, affordable only by the wealthy. Despite widespread interest, it was not available to the average person.
In 1889, Edison’s chief financial backer, J.P. Morgan, had concerns about the operation of Edison’s businesses. He worked with some of Edison’s financial associates, including Samuel Insull, and created the Edison General Electric Company, a merger of Edison’s lighting and electric companies, which included the Edison Electric Light Company, Edison Lamp Works, and Edison Machine Works.
Unsurprisingly, J.P. Morgan was the primary backer, but all the Big Money names of the era were involved, the Vanderbilts, Astors, and of course the Rockefellers as well. these are the folks who had the Open Tap to Unlimited Credit, which really was coming from over in Europe at the time.
Notice also that just like Henry Ford, Edison’s Electric Bizness ALSO had financial problems early on, yet he never went completely Outta Biz either. Electricity remained available only for the Wealthy, it was not an every J6P sorta thing in those days powering Refrigerators and Plasma TVs.
Our Industrialist friends however were enamored of the Progress involved here, and with the spigot of Unlimited Credit available to them, BY GOLLY they were gonna MAKE IT WORK!
How to make it work though? If J6P doesn’t have the MONEY to buy the Expensive Electricity, you can’t sell it to him. So you first gotta make the Electricity CHEAP enough to buy, and that takes CHEAP ENERGY. Fortunately for said Industrialists of the era, they HAD a source of Cheap Energy, the Oil coming a bubblin’ up from Jed Clampett’s farm, which Standard Oil’s John D. Rockefeller handed Jed enough money to move to Beverly Hills while he pumped Jed’s old farm dry for its Oil.
Still though, even pricing out this Oil dirt cheap, unless J6P had money to buy it with he wasn’t going to be buying the Thomas’ Electricity OR Hank’s Carz! So now you gotta get Money to the Customers, but of course you don’t GIVE it away, you LOAN it out. Who do you loan this money to, and where do you get it from?
First and foremost, you loan the money to Goobermints to build roads and build an electric grid. You create the money on a Balance Sheet the moment Da Goobermint signs up to Build these Improvements for J6P. The Money begins to Trickle out to J6P as he gets employed building the new roads and wiring up all the McMansions for Electric Lights.
You also loan out the money to other Brainy Entrepreneurs who come up with novel ways to use the Electricity, like Wireless Radios and TVs; and also novel ways to use the Carz, like Fast Food Drive Ins and Shopping Malls. Everybody LOVES this stuff! They are also Happy because there are new Jobs in the Industrial Economy and if they are smart guys like Henry Ford they can get an Engineering Degree and hop on the High Paid Gravy Train also!
Reminder here, Henry Ford is ALSO the guy who said this with respect to our Monetary system:
It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning. Henry Ford
Interesting of course that someone who was the most direct benficiary of this corrupt system of Cronyism would make such a statement. Essentially Hank had a line of virtually unlimited credit, and by virtue of the Limited Liability Corporation the losses taken on his first two Bankruptcies were not borne by Investors like JP Morgan, who did the old Pump and Dump with the stock and were out from under the loss well before his first companies tanked. Your more average dummy financial speculator of the time took the losses, and of course with them came the various Financial Panics of the era.
The KEY to getting this all matched up and Rolling Along was to marry the Cheap Energy to a Centrally Controlled money distribution system, and this of course was the genesis of the Federal Reserve Bank, which most everyone knows now isn’t Federal or goverment at all, but rather a Privately Owned consortium by the TBTF Banks, the same ones JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Mellon founded, all with direct connections to European Banks run by the Rothschilds and Warburgs.
Thus began the real ramping up of the Debt of the Industrial Revolution, and speculative Money flew out the door, unfortunately a whole lot faster than the whole system could absorb all the new production and faster than jobs could be created for people to them have money to buy the products. That whole specualtive bubble came crashing down a little over 16 years after the founding of the Federal Reserve with the Great Depression.
Again here, the Bath is not taken by the Industrialists who made the Loans and undewrote the Stock issues in the first place for these Boondoggles, the bath is taken by Goobermints that put up Power systems they could not pay for, which then got repoed and Privatized. Edison Electric was NEVER a money making Bizness, it always got subsidized in some way on the backs of the Taxpayers to keep it running. Since the Taxpayers never could really afford it, Goobermints kept on taking on more and more debt to keep the system running. They have been rolling over and refinancing this debt for over a Century now.
The story of the Automobile is not a whole lot different than that, although in this case rather than many local municipalities putting up small Electric Grids they could not pay for, in the aftermath of WWII the Eisenhower Interstate Project was undertaken, the single Largest Public Works Project ever undertaken inthe History of Mankind. Bigger than the Colossus of Rhodes, bigger than the Pyramids of Egypt, Bigger than even the Great Wall(s) of China built over Centuries of time. Where do you suppose the Money for that came from? Taxes? No Sirree Bob, the Interstate was Financed on Debt through a new Goobermint Special Purpose Vehicle, the Highway Trust Fund.
The United States Highway Trust Fund is a transportation fund which receives money from a federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel and related excise taxes. It currently has three accounts, the Highway Account which funds road construction, a smaller ‘Mass Transit Account’ which supports mass transit and also a ‘Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund’. It was established 1956 to finance the United States Interstate Highway System and certain other roads. The Mass Transit Fund was created in 1982. The federal tax on motor fuels yielded $28.2 billion in 2006. In 2008 the fund required an additional $8 billion from general taxation due to reduced receipts from fuel tax in order to meet its obligations.
So here, on the expectations of the Revenue it would generate from Gas and Diesel burning in taxes over these new Roads, billions of new dollars are created out of thin air to establish this “Trust Fund”, which sorta remained solvent up until 2008, when reduced Tax income and rising maintenance costs finally crossed over and the Fund could not service its own debt.
Who did the Interstate Highway REALLY benefit? The Industrial Monopolists who built the Carz and owned the Oil production and refining facilities of course. The more people you got to consume the Oil faster, the Richer you got, and boy did they EVER get Rich! J6P of course is completely clueless about how this all got financed up, as Henry Ford said if he actually DID have a clue there would have been a Revolution quite some time back here.
The Debt Financing of Industrialization was not of course just limited to the Electric Grid and the Interstate Highways, just about as big a Boondoggle was undertaken to finance the Biggest War Machine ever built, which I refer to as the BAM or Big Ass Military. Billions upon Billions of Dollars of Debt Money created to finance corporations like General Electric, Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas to build ever more powerful and expensive War machines of all sorts. Concurrent with that expenditure was the expense of Large Public Works Projects like the NASA Space Program, which did a lot of the basic research into Rocket & Jet engines that power Supersonic Fighter Jets and Electronics systems that run the Fly-by-Wire systems necessary to control such aircraft. Still more debt money went into the Super Conducting Super Colliders in the effort to develop the Holy Grail of the industrialist, unlimited Cheap Energy from Fusion Power. With Fusion, the Jetson’s Futre was ASSURED, and they gambled very BIG MONEY on that idea. Those SCSCs don’t come cheap. Sadly of course, 40 years after reading my first articles about the Promise of Fusion Power on the Pages of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics we aren’t really any closer to it now than we were then.
Industrialists have always held out the Jetsons future for general consumption as Inevitable Progress. It’s everywhere in Pop Culture and Media, from Star Trek and Star Wars right back to the early Scifi of Jules Verne. Probably 90% of people inside the Industrial World really do believe this stuff is inevitable and we are just going through a temporary Economic Glitch here. The Mars Landings, the “Discovery” of new Exo-Planets, all the Science Newz you read every day is designed to reinforce that belief in the inevitability of Progress and the Techno-Future.
Industrialists close to the Credit Spigot like Richard Branson even try to Live Out these dreams, with their own Private Spaceships, financed of course on Debt on the idea they will get tons of people involved in Space Tourism on Virgin Milky Way Spaceships. or they will be Mining Asteroids for Mineral or Jupiter for Methane or other such Pie in the Sky nonsense.
What all these folks remain Willfully Blind to is the fact that not only do we not have sufficient Energy to Conquer the Final Frontier, we really do not even have enough just to maintain all the systems build over the last century on gobs of debt money. The Debt is coming due, and it can’t be Rolled Over anymore because the Growth has STOPPED, regardless of what massaged GDP statistics say. Money creation right from the Get–Go in the time of John D. Rockefeller has been tied to Energy production, and as long as Energy production (or rather extraction is the better term) kept increasing, the Debt Money kept on flowing outward. Long as you had the Inside Track on any new technology, you could always invest and Pump & Dump it for a profit. This of course was what the whole Dot Com Bubble was all about, and you see the last gasp of this type of action with the Facepalm and PoopOn IPOs.
Really though, those in charge of Credit Creation now are less concerned with Investing in any New Biznesses than they are in trying to figure out where and how to sequester their money in “safe” inestments like USTs and Gold, either of which are very productive enterprises which create any Jobs of course. The same priniciples of vast expansion of Debt which came in the runnup to and aftermath of WWII can’t work this time, because the cheap energy that Debt was issued to buy does not exist anymore. All the cheap stuff has been converted to CO2 molecules floating around willy nilly in the atmosphere doing nobody any good at all, and quite possibly doing a lot of harm as well. Only EXPENSIVE energy remains, and a world of increasingly impoverished people cannot afford it, and they aren’t “credit worthy” either.
Few in the Industrialized world want to see the Gravy Train end here, certainly not the Elite running the show so they keep trying the same old straategies that worked before, but they aren’t WORKING. Well, at least not to fix the general problem they aren’t working; they are working pretty good to transfer the last of the reamining wealth into their grubby little hands though. For the most part though, that wealth is ephemeral, and there really are not any “safe havens” to sequester this stuff anymore. In the Bye and Bye, it will all collapse, possibly quite suddenly given how fast HFT programs run these days.
Industrialization was the equvalent of a Harvard Keg Party, run pretty much by the same Harvard Frat Boys that ran the Keg Parties themselves in Hahvahd Yahd. The problem here is they are Outta Beer to sell at a price 90% of the population can afford to buy, and you just cannot scale down this type of infrastructure too much before it all collapses. Even if you are a Pigman with enough Bonus Money to buy a Lamborghini, its not gonna last too long driving on pothole ridden streets. Hell, they don;t last long on well paved streets! LOL.
Until the population as a whole grasps how they were taken for a ride here though, and as long as this population itself continues to hold onto the dreams of a techno future that will never come, those in control of the credit creation Biz will continue pulling rabbits out of the hat here to keep it going one week, one day, one hour longer, until at last it can go no more.
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You.
Off the Keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci
Published originally on Land Destroyer on August 29th, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
August 29, 2012 – Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region.
Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”
AQIM, like their Libyan counterparts, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) are both listed by the US State Department as “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Likewise, both the UK Home Office (.pdf, listed as GSPC) and the UN recognize both organizations as terrorists.
Despite this, military intervention in Libya was pursued by the West and condoned by the UN with full knowledge that the militants leading so-called “pro-democracy uprisings” were in fact merely the continuation of decades of violent terrorism carried out by Al Qaeda affiliates. The West had full knowledge of this, primarily because it was Western intelligence agencies arming and supporting these militants for the last 30 years, in Libya’s case, while coddling their leaders in Washington and London.
Additionally, the US Army itself meticulously documentedforeign terrorists fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, noting that the highest percentage per capita emanated from Libya’s cities of Benghazi and Darnah, the so-called “cradle” of 2011′s “pro-democracy uprisings” in Libya.
What unfolded was a premeditated lie – where placard waving “activists” overnight turned into battle-hardened heavily armed, tank driving, jet flying militants waging a nationwide battle against Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi. In reality, it was the fruition of 30 years of covert support the West has poured into militant groups across the region – support that would not end with the fall of Qaddafi.
LIFG terrorists promptly turned both east to Syria and west to Mali beyond their borders – a logistical matter they had perfected during their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. LIFG commander Abdul Hakim Belhaj, as early as November 2011, arrived on the Turkish-Syrian border to provide cash, weapons, and LIFG terrorist fighters, overseen by Western intelligence along with US funding and arms laundered through Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) members such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Since then Libyan militants have been confirmed to be leading entire brigades of foreign fighters inside Syria.
And as Bruce Riedel of Brookings concedes, these weapons went west to Mali as well. Algeria had feared just such a scenario unfolding with NATO’s intervention in Libya – a fear now fully realized. Ironically, Riedel, in August 2011, had tried to make a case for Algeria being “next to fall” in an article titled literally, “Algeria Will Be Next to Fall.”
A year ago, Riedel attempted to argue that it would be the so-called “Arab Spring” that would spread into Algeria after having taken root in neighboring Libya. He had eluded to, and it has now become abundantly clear, that by “Arab Spring,” Riedel meant, US-backed subversion, and more specifically NATO-armed Al Qaeda-brand militancy and terrorism.
With the US now openly arming, supporting, and literally “cheering” Al Qaeda in Syria, it is clear that the “War on Terror” is an unprecedented geopolitical fraud perpetuated at the cost of millions of lives destroyed and an incalculable social and economic toll. NATO, with full knowledge of the consequences is literally carving out of North Africa and the Middle East, the so-called “Caliphate” Western leaders had held over their impressionable people’s heads as the impetus to perpetually wage global war. Torn from the pages of Orwell’s 1984, an artificial war has been created to carry forward corporate-financier machinations both abroad and domestically. The so-called threat to Western civilization is in fact a foreign legion of Western corporate-financier interests, executing Wall Street and London’s foreign policy on a global scale where and in a manner traditional Western forces cannot.
NATO’s terrorist blitzkrieg across the Arab World will not end in Syria. It will continue, if allowed, into Iran, through the Caucasus Mountains and into Russia, across China’s western borders, and even across Southeast Asia. The price for ignorance, apathy, and complicity in supporting the West’s so-called “War on Terror” will ironically reap all the horrors and then some in reality, that were promised to us if we didn’t fight this “Long War.”
Our support of both the political gambits of our politicians, as well as our daily patronage of the corporate-financier interests driving this agenda have already reaped an unprecedented and still growing regional safe haven for terrorists – and as moderate secular governments continue to be undermined and toppled, we can only imagine the blowback, retaliation, and other consequences as this destructive foreign policy unfolds. To imagine that such meddling will not end up being visited back upon us, even if in the form of a false flag attack dwarfing 9/11, would be folly.
Already, we are suffering economic devastation and an increasingly stifling security apparatus at home, and as long as we capitulate to this current agenda instead of asserting a more rational one of our own, it will only get worse.
Off the Keyboard of RE
Discuss this article at the Geological and Cosmological Events Table inside the Diner
As Isaac bears down on NOLA on the 7th Anniversary of the landfall of Katrina, I though it would be a good idea to make a comparison of these two Hurricanes. Above you see one of the last of the radar images taken before the Outer bands of Katrina made landfall, one of the most perfectly organized Cyclonic Storms of all time. Well, at least what we have Satellite Imagery of anyhow. Below is the most recent Satellite Image of Isaac I can pull up with a permalink:
As is obvious, at this stage of the game, Katrina was a much more Organized Cyclonic Storm, and packing much higher wind speeds as well. Katrina was at this stage between Cat 3-4, and the Doomsday scenario was that she would continue to strengthen to a Cat 5 before landfall. That did not happen, she in fact weakenned to around a Cat 2 at landfall.
Isaac by comparison is just barely making Cat 1 wind speeds now, and may strengthen to a Cat 2 before landfall. In the end the wind speed differential between the two storms on landfall probably will not be more than 20-30MPH. What should be remembered however is that the damage and loss of life Katrina caused was not a result of high wind velocities, it was a Flooding Event caused by failure of the levee system in a neighborhood that has much of its land below Sea Level. What is above Sea Level is only barely so.
The main question here is whether with the improvements made since 2005 by the Army Corps of Bozos the levee system will hold its integrity this time? One suspects the ACoB has positioned more Troops and more Heavy Equipment along the levee system to plug any levee breaches as soon as they occur. Imagine a few hundred Little Dutch Boys equipped with Caterpillar Back Hoes and Daiwoo Front End Loaders here ready to Spring into ACTION to stick a Finger in the Dyke hole.
This is a Water Level and Pressure problem overall, which can’t really be predicted by any model since you don’t know precisely how much water vapor the system holds, and how much it will drop how fast at any given spot once the system is over land. That in turn depends on Ground Level Temperatures and Upper Air temperatures above the system itself. If it is getting overlaid by cooler and drier air above as it rolls ashore, that is what will spawn Tornadoes, and if any one of those Touch Down on a Levee or Lock along the Mighty Mississippi, you definitely get a breach.
To get some idea of what the comparative Water situation might be like, let’s look at the respective Storm Tracks of Isaac and Katrina roughly One Day before Landfall. First, Isaac:
Now the Storm Track for Katrina:
As you can see, both storms are making landfall at just about precisely the same location, but the Angle of Attack is different. These models 48 hours out are quite accurate, so we can pretty much assume this is how it will go.
Because of the Attack Angle, the Storm Surge which could hit Lake Ponchartrain from Isaac could be bigger than that of Katrina, it depends there on the precise timing of landfall and High Tide. Also depends on the absolute Speed the storm center is moving, and if you look at the chart, Isaac is not moving as fast as Katrina was at the same relative time. This means a longer time period with high wind speeds over the water, which translates to more water piling up in higher waves. The current strom surge is predicted to be about 12 feet, but IMHO there is a significant Error Margin there, probably +-6 feet depending on the time of day Isaac actually hits.
Now, overall as opposed to last time with Katrina, IMHO the Army Corps of Bozos is probably prepared to go the full 9 yards to keep the levee system intact, insofar as their equipment will allow them to do that anyhow. They also have had 7 YEARS to plan for such a scenario, so if they haven’t figured out how to keep it from occuring again here, they are going to look like, well, BOZOS. If NOLA Floods AGAIN here, that Big Shity is about Done, Outta Biz.
Next main issue here is the Oil Patch, the LOOP and Refineries and Pipelines streaming out from southern LA. If you remember back to 2008, the damage caused by Gustav and Ike made a mess of this system, and Gas prices spiked up about $.75/Gallon. That was when Gas was running around $2/Gallon. If Isaac causes anywhere near the amount of ancillary damage to the whole Oil Production system that Gustav and Ike did, given we also have all the Shit Going Down with Iran and the rest of MENA and total global production capacity is MORE compromised now than in 2008, a hit to this portion of Global Oil Supply now probably drives up the GasDiesel Price $1/Gallon. That moves it from near the $4 range in the FSoA to around the $5 mark. The Automobile Industry is already in Collapse now, the “New” GM is on the verge of ANOTHER Bankruptcy. $5/Gallon Gas puts the Final Nail in the Coffin for Happy Motoring here in the FSofA, and guarantees full blown Recession again, no matter how much Funny Money Helicopter Ben dishes out to the TBTF banks.
Beyond those Physical Problems is the Debt Problem, which overall now is an Order of Magnitude or perhaps two greater than it was in 2008. In the interim time, big Insurers like AIG and Lloyds of London have basically gone BK and are on Goobermint Life Support. Goobermints that themselves are in deep Debt Problems even without another “Natural Disaster” induced Oil supply problem. Any projections at all made for the various Industrial Economies to work their way out of the Debt Problem all depend on GROWTH, which is pretty hard to accomplish if Mother Nature keeps taking out your Industrial infrastructure every few years. Mortagages for instance are issued out on 30 year cycles, and these days you have some Goobermints issuing out Bonds of 50 year durations! If what you bought with a 30 year Mortgage gets DESTROYED in 7 year increments, the DEBT remains, the COLLATERAL does not. No McMansion to Repo if it got washed down the Mighty Mississippi and out to sea of course. Similarly, repairing a damaged Refinery every 7 years is a very pricy deal overall.
So, what is the DANGER as far as Isaac is concerned? Is it the likelihood of another Flooding Event of the Magnitude of Katrina in NOLA? Not really, though that would cause not only Economic Havoc but Political Havoc as well here in the FSofA. If NOLA Floods, you can GUARANTEE Obama-sama loses the Election. He’ll look like as big a BUFFOON as Dubya did during Katrina. Romney will be all over that one. If it does NOT Flood, Obama-sama will crow about how well HE prepared for this as opposed to the poor job done by Dubya, so that enhances his re-election possibilities.
Where the real DANGER though lies is in another “Black Swan” hitting an already very fragile Economic system and Energy Delivery system on the verge of collapse from many other directions not present in 2008 when Gustav & Ike hit the Oil Patch of the GOM. Greece wasn’t on the verge of being ejected from the Eurozone in 2008. Spain wasn’t coughing up 7% on its Bond Issues in 2008. Helicopter Ben wasn’t Doing the Twist and Super Mario Dragon wasn’t creating Schrodinger Money from Nothing in 2008 either. A perturbation in the House of Cards created here now has a much more powerful Knock-On effect than it did in 2008. The system is simply less resilient to SHOCK.
Can you really call this a Black Swan though? It is not, because Black Swans are not predictable, whereas this one was completely predictable, within a timespan of a decade anyhow. Another Hurricane hitting this stretch of the GOM is completely predictable now over such timespans. If the Oceans churn them up at a given rate, you will get a given number hitting the GOM and at least one of them each decade will hit on NOLA and the LOOP or the Houston Ship Channel. It is GUARANTEED. How many times can you rebuild this stuff, issuing out still MORE debt to do so?
If Isaac turns out to be a Big One for damage to the Oil Infrastructure of the GOM and Lousiana, this may be the last time.
To finish this 7th Anniversary of Katrina and the oncoming Marriage betwen Isaac and NOLA, let us review an Independent Documentary of Katrina’s effects and consequences from one competely INSANE Storm Tracker. That this dude’s SUV held up long enough for him to make his ESCAPE is nothing short of MIRACULOUS.
Off the Keyboard of Steve Lendman
Published the week of August 20th, 2012 on the Steve Lendman Blog
Discuss this Column at the Epicurean Delights Smorgaspord inside the Diner
Off the Keyboard of Anthony Cartalucci
Published originally on Landdestroyer on August 25th, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
August 25, 2012 -A vote for Obama will bring war with Syria, Iran, and eventually Russia and China. The economy will continue to suffer in order to bolster the interests of off-shore corporate-financier interests, while the collective prospects of Americans continue to whither and blow away. A vote for Romney, however, will also bring war with Syria, Iran, and eventually Russia and China. The economy will also continue to suffer in order to bolster the interests of off-shore corporate-financier interests, while the collective prospects of Americans continue to whither and blow away. Why?
Because the White House is but a public relations front for the corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London. A change of residence at the White House is no different than say, British Petroleum replacing its spokesman to superficially placate public opinion when in reality the exact same board of directors, overall agenda, and objectives remain firmly in place. Public perception then is managed by, not the primary motivation of, corporate-financier interests.
It is the absolute folly to believe that multi-billion dollar corporate-financier interests would subject their collective fate to the whims of the ignorant, uninformed, and essentially powerless voting masses every four years. Instead, what plays out every four years is theater designed to give the general public the illusion that they have some means of addressing their grievances without actually ever changing the prevailing balance of power in any meaningful way.
The foreign policy of both Obama and Romney is written by the exact same corporate-financier funded think-tanks that have written the script for America’s destiny for the last several decades.
Bush = Obama = Romney
As was previously reported, while the corporate media focuses on non-issues, and political pundits accentuate petty political rivalries between the “left” and the “right,” a look deeper into presidential cabinets and the authors of domestic and foreign policy reveals just how accurate the equation of “Bush = Obama = Romney” is.
Image: Professional spokesmen, representative not of the American people but of Fortune 500 multinational corporations and banks. Since the time of JP Morgan 100 years ago, the corporate-financier elite saw themselves as being above government, and national sovereignty as merely a regulatory obstacle they could lobby, bribe, and manipulate out of existence. In the past 100 years, the monied elite have gone from manipulating the presidency to now reducing the office to a public relations functionary of their collective interests.
George Bush’s cabinet consisted of representatives from FedEx, Boeing, the Council on Foreign Relations, big-oil’s Belfer Center at Harvard, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Circuit City, Verizon, Cerberus Capital Management, Goldman Sachs, and the RAND Corporation, among many others.
Image: The Henry Jackson Society is just one of many Neo-Conservative think-tanks, featuring many of the same people and of course, the same corporate sponsors. Each think-tank puts on a different public face and focuses on different areas of specialty despite harboring the same “experts” and corporate sponsors.
His foreign policy was overtly dictated by “Neo-Conservatives” including Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, Richard Armitage, Zalmay Khalilzad, Elliot Abrams, Frank Gaffney, Eliot Cohen, John Bolton, Robert Kagan, Francis Fukuyama, William Kristol, and Max Boot – all of whom hold memberships within a myriad of Fortune 500-funded think-tanks that to this day still direct US foreign policy – even under a “liberal” president. These include the Brookings Institution, the International Crisis Group, the Foreign Policy Initiative, the Henry Jackson Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many more.
Obama’s cabinet likewise features representatives from JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, the Council on Foreign Relations, Fortune 500 representatives Covington and Burling, Citi Group, Freedie Mac, and defense contractor Honeywell. Like Bush’s cabinet, foreign policy is not penned by Obama sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office, but rather by the very same think-tanks that directed Bush’s presidency including the Council on Foreign Relations, RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, the International Crisis Group, and the Chatham House. There are also a myriad of smaller groups consisting of many of the same members and corporate sponsors, but who specialize in certain areas of interest.
Image: Obama, not a Marxist. A visual representation of current US President Barack Obama’s cabinet’s corporate-financier ties past and present. As can be plainly seen, many of the same corporate-financier interests represented in Obama’s administration were also represented in Bush’s administration.
And with Mitt Romney, “running for president” against Obama in 2012, we see already his foreign policy advisers, Michael Chertoff, Eliot Cohen, Paula Dobrainsky, Eric Edelman, and Robert Kagan, represent the exact same people and corporate-funded think-tanks devising strategy under both President Bush and President Obama.
While Presidents Bush and Obama attempted to portray the West’s global military expansion as a series of spontaneous crises, in reality, since at least as early as 1991, the nations of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and many others that previously fell under the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence, were slated either for political destabilization and overthrow, or overt military intervention. While the public was fed various narratives explaining why Bush conducted two wars within the greater global “War on Terror,” and why Obama eagerly expanded these wars while starting new ones in Libya and now Syria, in reality we are seeing “continuity of agenda,” dictated by corporate-financier elite, rubber stamped by our elected representatives, and peddled to us by our “leaders,” who in reality are nothing more than spokesmen for the collective interests of the Fortune 500.
Image: The International Crisis Group’s corporate sponsors reveal a pattern of mega-multinationals intertwined with not only creating and directing US, and even European foreign policy, but in carrying it out. ICG trustee Kofi Annan is in Syria now carrying out a ploy to buy time for NATO-backed terrorists so they can be rearmed, reorganized, and redeployed against the Syrian government for another Western-backed attempt at regime change – all done under the guise of promoting “peace.”
No matter who you vote for in 2012 – until we change the balance of power currently tipped in favor of the Fortune 500, fed daily by our money, time, energy, and attention, nothing will change but the rhetoric with which this singular agenda is sold to the public. Romney would continue exactly where Obama left off, just as Obama continued exactly where Bush left off. And even during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Bush Sr., it was the same agenda meted out by the same corporate-financier interests that have been driving American, and increasingly Western destiny, since US Marine General Smedley Butler wrote “War is a Racket” in 1935.
What Should We Do About It?
1. Boycott the Presidential Election: The first immediate course of action when faced with a fraudulent system is to entirely disassociate ourselves from it, lest we grant it unwarranted legitimacy. Boycotting the farcical US elections would not impede the corporate-financier “selection” process and the theatrical absurdity that accompanies it, but dismal voter turnout would highlight the illegitimacy of the system. This in many ways has already happened, with voter turnout in 2008 a mere 63%, meaning that only 32% of America’s eligible voters actually voted for Obama, with even fewer voting for runner-up John McCain.
Ensuring that this mandate is even lower in 2012 – regardless of which PR man gets selected, and then highlighting the illegitimacy of both the elections and the system itself is the first step toward finding a tenable solution. People must divest from dead-ends. Presidential elections are just one such dead-end.
Focusing on local elections and governance first, not only emphasizes the primacy of local self-determination, but affords us a grassroots-up approach to transforming our communities, and collectively our nation back into something truly representative of the people.
2. Boycott and Replace the Corporate Oligarchy: The corporate-financier interests that dominate Western civilization did not spring up overnight. It is through generations of patronage that we the people have granted these corporate-financier interests the unwarranted influence they now enjoy. And today, each day, we collectively turn in our paychecks to the global “company store,” providing the summation of our toil as fuel for this oligarchy’s perpetuation.
By boycotting the goods, services, and institutions of this oligarchy, we steal the fire out from under the proverbial cauldron – the very source of the current paradigm’s power. While it is impractical to commit overnight to a full-spectrum boycott, we can begin immediately by entirely boycotting corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Kraft, Unilever and others by simply supporting local businesses and our local farmers market. This “voting with one’s wallet” is a form of democracy that unlike elections, will undoubtedly shift the balance of power toward a system more representative of the people’s interests.
By creating self-reliant communities independent of the machinations of corporate-financier interests, we provide ourselves with the greatest form of insurance against instability and uncertainty – an insurance policy placed solely in our own hands.
3. Get Educated, Get Organized: Leveraging technology is a necessary step in eliminating dependency on other corporate-financier interests – such as big oil, big defense, big-agri, big-pharma, and the telecom monopolies. To leverage technology, people at a grassroots level must get organized, educate themselves, and collaborate to create local business models and solutions to systematically replace large multinational holdings.
A recent interview by geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser with Seth Rutledge, featured on Stop Imperialism, explored the possibilities of developing local broadband networks. Community spaces dedicated to technological education, collaboration, and resource pooling are also an emerging phenomenon. Called “maker spaces” or sometimes “hacker spaces,” these grassroots initiatives serve as incubators for innovative, local small businesses.
Technology will eventually provide solutions to problems generally “solved” by government subsidies. Medicare, for instance, is a government subsidy to address the expenses and subsequent inaccessibility of medical care. Medical care, in turn, is expensive because the means to provide it are scarce. The supply of doctors, hospitals, treatments, biomedical technology, and many other aspects of modern health infrastructure are vastly outnumbered by demand.
Until technology can better balance this equation, people must organize to either defend as temporary stopgap measures, national programs that provide care to those who can’t afford it, or create local alternatives. To cut programs people depend on for the sake of saving an economy plundered by special interests, to specifically preserve these same special interests is unconscionable.
An organized political front that demands the preservation/reformation of these programs as well as investment in the development of permanent technological solutions, needs not pass the hat around to the working or even productive entrepreneurial classes of society, but rather level taxes on parasitic financial speculation and market manipulation – thus solving two problems in a single stroke. Geopolitical analyst and historian Dr. Webster Tarpley has already enumerated such an approach in his 5 point plan for international economic recovery (.pdf) by specifically calling for resistance to austerity and a 1% Wall Street tax.
Undoubtedly people realize something is wrong, and that something needs to be done. To ensure that the corporate-financier elite remain in perpetual power, a myriad of false solutions have been contrived or created out of co-opted movements, to indefinitely steer people away from influencing the current balance of power and achieving true self-determination.
By recognizing this and seizing the reins of our own destiny, we can and must change the current balance of power. In the process of doing so, we must recognize and resist attempts to derail and distract us by way of the incessant political minutia now on full display during the 2012 US Presidential Election. For every problem faced by society, there is a permanent, technological solution. For hunger there was agriculture, for lack of shelter, there was architecture, and no matter how daunting today’s problems may seem, there lies similar solutions.
We must realize that by endeavoring to solve these problems, we jeopardize monopolies as insidious as they are monolithic, constructed to exploit such problems. If we fail to recognize and undermine these interests through pragmatic activism, we will be resigned to whatever fate these special interests determine for us, no matter how cleverly they sell us this fate as one of our own choosing.
Off the Keyboard of Steve from Virginia
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
Industry and its necessary expansion is dependent upon a constant increase of available fossil fuel. Factories, houses, offices and stores burn fuel in their furnaces. Mechanized agriculture, which feeds most of us, requires fuel for its machinery as well as chemicals and fertilizers using- or derived from petroleum. Fuel- or fuel products are part of every aspect of daily life. Every form of industry from mining to packaging of finished goods is dependent upon liquid fuels as are automobiles, trains, trucks, aircraft and ocean-going goods-transport vessels. Our buildings are made from steel, composites, concrete, chemicals, all are goods made from- or with petroleum, natural gas or coal feedstocks. Our roads and our roofs are made of asphalt. Nuclear, solar, wind and hydropower are petroleum-fuel dependencies. Industrialization runs on fossil fuel energy, without fuel in continually increasing quantities there is no ‘economic growth’.
The ongoing failure of the world’s economies is the matter of insufficient increase in the amount of available fuel: this failure feeds back into various economic sub-systems, mainly those that generate and resolve credit.
Credit is a proxy for goods to be gained- or offered in the future. If there is less fuel in the future, credit is undermined as there is no point to it: goods or customers will be unavailable. We all live in- and make use of a physical, dimension-constrained world that ‘has or has not’. Managers can pretend otherwise but markets price reality: right now markets are pricing fuel scarcity.
Figure 1: The economic dilemma in one chart, by TFC Charts (click on for big): new fuel to replace the trillion barrels already wasted is increasingly costly. At the same time the economy cannot borrow enough to afford this more expensive fuel.
The economy needs to grow to meet high fuel prices, it cannot because of high fuel prices.
Analysts insist cost is unrelated to the ability to meet the cost: this is wishful thinking. The higher cost of credit effects the ability of buyers to bid for fuel because they must calculate the combined cost of fuel and the necessary credit.
High-priced fuel is no more productive than low-priced variety: $20 fuel buys same output of goods and services as does $120 fuel. The pricey fuel isn’t better, it simply costs more … as does the credit needed to meet the higher fuel cost. Firms are clobbered by the combined costs and so are their customers.
Managers seek to adjust by reducing administrative interest rates but the deflationary impact of high fuel prices represent another double whammy. Money itself is too cheap: represented by too-high prices for fuel. At the same time, money is too pricey: represented by the proxy relationship between fuel and money reinforced millions of times per day at gasoline stations around the world. Pricey money is fuel, some monies are more fuel-like than others. Money-fuel is hoarded, credit evaporates: the outcome is worldwide currency shortages, dollar preference and job shedding.
‘Inflationary’ paper promises are worth more than human labor because promises can be converted to fossil fuel labor. Little imagination is needed to see how this fossil fuel endgame plays out: extremely scarce currency, no credit, scarce fuel and little remunerative work. The machines will unfairly compete with humans … as long as there is some fossil fuel production somewhere, industrial jobs will shrink- then vanish.
Meanwhile, borrowing is becoming unaffordable: debt is expensive in nominal terms (in the euro-zone) and in real terms (in Japan). Debts are taken on to buy fuel and fuel wasting machines, more debts are taken on to buy the second rounds of fuel and machines and to retire the first rounds of loans. The process is repeated and loans pyramid. When the costs become breaking both lenders and borrowers fail. The outcome is diminished availability of credit, less ability to pay.
At some point this ability to pay falls below the level needed to bring new fuels to the users, there are shortages.
If all else remains the same, the ‘too-costly fuel period’ will occur within five years: it is not likely that all else will remain the same. A breakdown in finance such as banking collapse in the Eurozone will accelerate the process. Right now the cost to produce new petroleum at the well head or at the bitumen pit is very close to the low prices that the market is willing/able to offer. As credit vanishes and prices decline, these expensive-to-produce fuels are shut-in as unaffordable.
After high-cost fuel is off the market what remains is the dregs of the low-cost fuels. The price regime does not work backwards. If $60- or $50 per barrel oil is unavailable there is little- or no $40 or $30 oil to lift. The ‘easy oil’ has already been squandered, ditto with ‘easy’ natural gas, coal, gold and uranium (water). Many analysts believe that oil prices are ‘fixed’ to the current high level by speculators: that prices will decline to historic levels once speculators are cleared from the markets. This is incorrect, when expensive fuels become unaffordable what remains will be hoarded.
Credit diminishes as consumption becomes useless as collateral. Shortage of good collateral is a reason the economy cannot borrow enough now. The worth of fuel-waste enterprises diminishes with time. Not only does industrialization destroy its own supply of capital, it is necessary for industry to take on more debt in order for it to do so. What matters is not the location of capital destruction or the details of the process rather it is the fact of it.
– Petroleum fuel waste is uniformly automobile use which does not provide any economic return: driving the car does not pay for either the car or the fuel burned in it. The beneficiary of car use is the car maker and seller, the road builder, the house-builder/developer who creates the car habitat, and the fuel supplier. The car is simply the instrument by which these enterprises borrow their returns: this is at the expense of the rest of the economy and future generations who must retire the associated debts. Hundreds of trillions of obligations have been taken on already, meanwhile future generations are presumed to waste their ‘own’ fuels while taking their ‘own’ immense debts. How this is supposed to work out is never explained.
– Geology versus policy: fuel price increases reflect increasing difficulty to recover fuel rather than increase of ‘money’ which is the increase of (scarcely- serviceable) debt.
– Efficiency Relativism: system efficiency gains are overcome by demand growth: automobiles are easier to manufacture than oil deposits are to find then exploit.
Fuel prices are expected to increase as a market response to supply constraints and have done so since 1999. Those with insufficient credit are excluded from the market, fuel is rationed indirectly. Conventional analysis extrapolates increased credit in wholesale markets leading to galloping prices without limit: $200 – $500 per barrel of oil. This sort of price activity cannot take place:
– Price rationing either works or it doesn’t. Price rationing works when prices are seen to decline.
– Within market trends both the highest- and the lowest prices decline over time. Since 2008 the highest price has declined from $147 per barrel to $128. The highest price in the upcoming year is likely to be less than $120. This has little to do with fuel availability rather the ability of finance to produce credit and customers to afford it.
– The price that constrains consumption tends to be much lower than economists assume.
– As institutions/firms fail, credit diminishes.
– ‘Artificial failure’ as debtors refuse to borrow as to do so means certain ruin. This diminution of credit in retail markets cannot support high wholesale prices. Believe it or not, some already conserve energy voluntarily!
– Crude prices are caught in a contest between asset price in wholesale market versus the ‘street price’: what a refiner can earn by the sale of his products in excess of what he pays in the wholesale market. When demand declines the price to be paid also declines. Debtor bargaining power increases so that sector demand is moderated. Markets are not one-way: sellers are not price setters at all times or places. If buyers cannot pay or refuse to do so, the seller loses his money. The seller cannot do so continually without his own failure.
Prices periodically rise to unaffordable levels then decline. The high prices set during these intervals themselves diminish over time. These declines occur as the ability or willingness of fuel users to borrow diminishes. In real terms the cost of fuel increases relative to other costs, nominal prices decline.
At some point the real costs are too high to allow at-scale industrial use. Demand diminishes for petroleum because there are fewer industries to make use of it. Entire ‘waste-based’ economies fail. Industrial workers are cast into general unemployment, the industrial wealth of the world is extinguished by deleveraging: little remains of industry in the ‘modern’ sense for wealth to be a claim against.
This endgame is underway right now in parts of Europe. The process cannot be undone, outmaneuvered or negotiated with. Given time, the leaky bucket becomes the empty one: conservation by other means (to paraphrase Clausewitz).
Figure 1 above illustrates the industrial world’s cognitive dissonance. We pretend the world’s non-renewable resource base is inexhaustible when increased production cost is evidence to the contrary. We drain resources faster while insisting the exhaustion process has no ongoing effects, that waste has no consequences, that what sets the price of a good is independent of what enables the customer to meet that price.
Industry insists there are two separate economies that exist in parallel: one economy functions perfectly while the resources available to its twin are unavailable.
In this real world, when one economic factor is constrained the effects are felt everywhere albeit unequally. China becomes the beneficiary of Europe’s economic destruction: the Chinese consume what the Europeans cannot.
The Europeans cannot consume because their credit-worthiness is shifted to the Chinese. The same is true of the Americans. (from Stuart Staniford, Early Warning)
Figure 2: The increase in crude price has brought new supply to market: at what cost and for how long?
As the supply of credit diminishes, the financial support for development of new reserves will also falter. Diminishing credit effects the willingness of customers to bid and their ability to take deliveries. Credit has been the support for all industrial activities, nothing lasts forever.
… with production already declining sharply at most of the world’s major existing oil fields, more and more of the oil will come from harder-to-get-at sources—ultradeep-water deposits, Arctic reserves, the oil sands of Canada’s Alberta province, and the extraheavy crude of Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt. If exploited to the fullest potential, Venezuela’s reserves alone could satisfy world demand for another generation. But that oil will not be brought to the surface with the oil rigs we saw in the film There Will Be Blood (2007), notes Klare. The new technology will be more sophisticated, more resource demanding, more environmentally threatening, and of course, much more expensive.
None of this matters when we cannot afford it.
Off the Keyboard of RE
Discuss this Articlcle at the Geological and Cosmological Events Table inside the Diner
What causes a person to become a DOOMER? When did you receive your Wake Up Call that Industrial Civilization was on a Runaway Train headed for Derailment over the Olduvai Gorge?
Inside the Diner, I generally identify my Wake Up Call as coming with the Failure of Bear Stearns in 2007. It was in the aftermath of that I began researching the Economic issues, which then led me to the Energy issues and then the Population issues. It was during this period I joine the PeakOil.com Forum and became acquainted with concepts like EROEI, and various theories of collapse from people like Joseph Tainter, Richard Duncan and Dmitry Orlov.
Recent activity inside the Diner along with the fact Tropical Storm Isaac is now bearing down on Florida and after that into the GOM has caused me to go back to a Yahoo Group I was running when Katrina made Landfall in NOLA in 2005. I had numerous friends at or near Ground Zero when Katrina hit, and the discussions that we pursued before, dering and int he aftermath of that catastrophe ran into the hundreds if not thousands of posts. I now realize it was not Bear Stearns that took me down the Doomer Highway to begin with, it was KATRINA.
In the interest of maintaining the anonymity of all involved in that posting, I cannot open up that Group for general reading. I can however go back in there and Copy/Paste what was written and strip out any identifying material regarding the posters. I believe much of what was written in that series of discussions is instructive on the nature of collapse, not just as it applied to one Big Shity at Ground Zero in 2005, but to the catastrophe now facing ALL of us who depend on the Conduits of Industrial Life around the globe.
Inside the Diner, I will publish over the next few months as much of this material as I can in the Katrina Chronicles thread. Here below are the very FIRST posts made as Katrina was bearing down on NOLA. Follow the rest inside the Doomstead Diner.
Off the Keyboard of Dirdy Birdy
Discuss this article at the Dirdy Birdy Table of the Diner
Note from RE: In no particular order, for no particular reason, on no particular schedule and with no particular agenda I will Publish on the Diner Blog some of the works of Diner Dirdy Birdy. Another Trip Down the Rabbit Hole here on the Doomstead Diner.
Proof I Am Dirdy Birdy…V7
And Now For Something Completely Different!
Conservative & Liberal Roots at a bar!
Note: I am 60% Liberal + 40% conservative and I have NO problem laughing at my Liberal TraitsJ
Jeff gave this to me; he is totally Conservative. Also neither of us knows who wrote this…
Humans existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunter/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer & would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in winter.
The 2 most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into 2 distinct subgroups: Liberals & Conservatives.
Once beer was discovered it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early ancestors were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That’s how villages were formed.
Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as “the Conservative Movement.”
Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the Conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q’s and doing the sewing, fetching and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men evolved into women.
The rest became known as ‘girliemen.’ Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy and group hugs and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.
Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on Earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.
Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French foods are standard liberal fare.
Another interesting revolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn’t “fair” to make the pitcher also bat.
Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, Marines, and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.
Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to “govern” the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America.
They crept in after the Wild West was tame and created a business of trying to get MORE for nothing.
Here ends today’s lesson in world history:
It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other “true believers.”
HA! HA! You are missing part of your sense of humor if you can’t laugh at yourselfJ
I’ve developed a scale of levels of immortality.
- 1. Any method to increase lifespans of Humans to the 80 to 120 year range vs. primitives have a 30 to 50 year range. By this I mean average potential age; ignoring genetic freaks that are lucky enough to live decades longer than average.
- 2. Life extension beyond the current genetic limit of 120 years; maxing out at 1,000 years.
- 3. Lifespans from 1,000 to 100,000 years.
- 4. 100K to 10 million years.
- 5. 10 million to 1 billion years.
- 6. Unlimited age possible, but less than infinity.
- 7. Only the Supreme Deity is infinite…
IF your body lives for a million years, but your personality is unrecognizable…you have “Died” because to ME immortality requires the mind to REMAIN recognizably similar for the duration of the immortality.
Types of Immortality
- 1. Slowing aging
- 2. Stopping aging
- 3. Rejuvenation as needed
- 4. Mind transfer to Robot OR clone bodies OR to Virtual Realities
- 5. The Afterlife
- 6. Resurrection: paranormal resurrection that includes the soul IS preferable to technological resurrection that CANNOT affect the soul. An example of technological resurrection is the Pandora Star series.
- 7. Immortality of Demigods & normal gods…many versions seem likely because a god by definition CONTROLS its local reality.
- 8. Only for Supreme Deity
Immortality of 2 or above on my scale would increase the probability that Humanity’s descendant 250 million years from now could breed with a Human that was put into Stasis today. Longer generations lead to slower genetic drift.
The Pandora Star series had people repeatedly rejuvenated for 1000 years; their personality was preserved with the assistance of cybernetic memory systems. Vacuum Diagrams had Humanity acquire an obsession with retaining genetic purity; no changes for 5 million years. Vacuum Diagrams did not imply unusually long lifespans because that would violate the genetic purity mandate…so it was species immortality, NOT for individuals.
I would like to provide immortality to ALL of Humanity
- 1. First I would need to learn psionic/magical healing & rejuvenation.
- 2. Develop permanent immortality spell. Powering this would likely require special transformers that turn standard electrical power into magical power…and I would make the ENTIRE Solar System MagicalJ Note: the novel Tinker describes these transformers…I would initially cast the spell only on hot tubs for free; for decades after that owning one of those hot tubs would probably be a cash cow for those that charged to use them.
- 3. A concurrent priority is finding a Universe similar to the Pandora Star series…I’ve decided that I would pay Peter F. Hamilton 2.5 billion and the same to his publisher IF I find a Universe like his books. I would pay bioengineers from that Universe to come to this one and instruct Scientists here on how to provide technological immortality. I would do this because I would prefer that I would NOT be the ONLY provider of immortality; competition and variety would be betterJ
- 4. Build at least 8 Mini Dyson Spheres for Humanity to Colonize; I would not want to aggravate the population problems by providing immortality to ALL Humanity in this Solar System before there is room to expand.
- 5. I would cast the Immortality Spell on the Entire Solar System AND on a total of approximately 100 billion Humans…and stop there because part of BEING Human is being mortal. So there would BE many MORE Humans that would BE mortal than immortal. 100 billion a big number? Not really IF I can manage to do the Diaspora ProjectJ The spell would NOT be cast on Colonies outside of this Solar System…
- 6. I would also provide genetic engineers with unlimited genetic samples from a clone of an Elf as described in the Tinker novel; they started Human and upgraded 10s of thousands of years before the time of the book…and they did not ageJ SO if you combined the immortality from the Pandora Star series with an Elf’s immortality you would get synergy because they are VERY different. I would pay the author $1 billion and the same to the publisher of Tinker. Also as a LOW priority I would terraform worlds as a gift to the three species described in the bookJ
A substantial percentage of the “Question Everything” website is devoted to analyzing Humanities unfortunately intractably low sapience and wisdom. The primary factor limiting these traits from becoming better is that Human’s average productive lifespan is low. I have a very low discount rate of the future and this means I have above average Sapience. With immortality being common Human’s discount rate of the future would BE lowered substantially; the beneficial effect of this would be an increase in average Sapience and Wisdom possessed by Humans.
Trivia: I have read the definition of Sapience a dozen times, and each time I think that I have an above average amount of that trait…and each time I have shortly thereafter forgotten the definitionJ LOL
The Studio would do the following
- 1. A show based upon the Callahan Bar novels. Duplicate and expand upon the stories in the novels. Cheers was a very good show…this show would BE set in a bar, but it could have stories from ANY film genre AS flashbacks OF bar patronsJ I’ll call my desired Show Callahan Chronicles. Budget: $5 million per one hour show X 22 episodes per year. Indefinite durationJ Humor + Puns + Flashbacks + Intimacy and socializing like on the Cheers show = awesome!
- 2. Fantasy Parody/Comedy: $5 million budget/episode, and 22 episodes per year.
- 3. SciFi Parody/Comedy: $5 million budget/episode, and 22 episodes per year.
- 4. Tie inns and crossovers between ANY Insight Studio Production would be encouraged if they fit within the plots.
- 5. XXX in shows and movies. XXX would NOT be the focus + each show would BE a full hour (42 minutes without commercials) after the XXX scenes are removed for regular broadcast. The XXX versions would air with a one month delay on channels that CAN air XXX productions. With a budget OF $5 million/episode this would BE the BEST porn around for people that want a PLOT in addition to sex. That is not a certainty; the money would be there…but creativity is not just about money.
- 6. Parody/Comedy not required; some episodes would be serious.
- 7. Sex would NOT be in all episodes; sex would BE a logical part of the plots.
- 8. SciFi primarily filmed in the US.
- 9. Fantasy primarily filmed in Europe.
- 10. Films also
- 11. Would sponsor film students both within the Studio and independent operations.
Ground Floor: 50’ long X 60’ deep loading dock; big enough for two Semis + Dumpster. Each Game Club would cover an entire city block. Large Elevator on side with a Loading Dock…two regular elevators on the opposite side of the building. One 7-11 near one of the two elevators. Ramps up to and down from the next level for cars. Any remaining square footage would be designated for storage + building maintenance.
Parking Garage: parking spaces would be 6” wider than normal. 7 floors of parking; more than enough = no searching for a long time for a space.
Dining Level: Global Cuisine would be main tenant. Also would have a Starbucks, Bentos Place, Baskin Robbins, lounge, bathrooms, fish-tanks that are 6’ deep X 8’ high X unknown width.
Game Level 1: video games, at least four separate LANS with 8 computers in each one; and each computer would be preloaded with popular games + have internet access, pool and the English game like pool.
Three Game levels: strategy and board games…relatively quiet. Note: for areas that have low population there would not be a NEED for three levels initially, but each would BE the same so it could be expanded later.
The Game Club would be a 24 hour/day operation.
Trivia: I came up with a MUCH more modest Game Club business plan that would only have two employees and limited hours…I would be tempted to do that IF I won a Lottery worth at least $100 million. SO…the ambitious design would obviously be only something to DO if I was a multibillionaire.
100’ of Buffet tables; one table precisely duplicates the restaurant Changs Mongolian Grill. Buffet would be only $5/person. Also coffee, tea, soda, soft serve icecream, pizza, gourmet ramen, salad bar, items that match the days’ theme…and generally fill the tables.
Kitchen would be 3 times larger than normal so customers could have gourmet food with relatively fast service.
Global Cuisine Daily Food Themes
- 1. Chef’s Surprise! Menu Items would have a number and a price ONLY.
- 2. American and Mexican
- 3. European
- 4. Asian including food from India
- 5. Middle Eastern
- 6. American and Mexican
- 7. Asian
- 8. Start again in the new week with Chef’s Surprise!
Bentos Place would be based upon a local restaurant called the Chicken Bar…but would also serve beef and fish bentos. Would ALSO serve REAL Chai Tea like it is made in India…NOT like Americans are used toJ
I would want two locations in Oregon, three in Hawaii (one is a maybe), and one in all US States. After expanding throughout the US the next step would be worldwide expansion.
Strategy Game Tournaments
- 1. Chess AND Siamese Chess
- 2. Magic the Gathering
- 3. Go
- 4. Heroes of Might and Magic
- 5. Cribbage
- 6. A DIFFERENT board game tournament each week; there are MANY of themJ
- 7. I would consider others as suggested by customers.
Tournaments would be FREE to enter AND pay $1000 to winner.
This would BE very expensive; I dream big and settle for something that is still coolJ
I might have an average desire for good sex.
Alternately I might be like a celibate monk that is a horny bastard at heart; I have BEEN mostly celibate because MY few sexual experiences have been upsetting and dissatisfying. I believe that I have a below average degree of sexual responsiveness; this means that I consider any conventional EFFORT to ENJOY sex to BE futileL
My BEST orgasm has disappointed meL
Even though I have been Celibate I still WANTED good sex…so over the years I have come up with concepts of Aphrodisiacs that are MY ideasJ
Aphrodisiac List…and I am proud of my listJ
- 1. Boner: 15 minute erection with pleasure for both partners.
- 2. Hardon: 5 minute erection with pleasure for the guy ONLY; this would BE so that an experience is more satisfying psychologically because the guy would KNOW that he is the FOCUS and getting MOST of the pleasure…the woman would still respond normally physically and emotionally.
- 3. MellonJolly: Nipple and breast sensitivity, would work on guys. I have heard of some rare women that have BETTER orgasms from manipulation of the nipples than from intercourse = more nerves than average in the nipples.
- 4. Aqua: skin contact water flow causes arousal and pleasure.
- 5. Heat: arousal and pleasure with sweating and warmth.
- 6. ShiverTingle: Pleasurable tingling, shivering, and goose-bumps…this would BE a turn on FOR the partner ALSO because of seeing the goose-bumps.
- 7. Anal Delight: I have NOT come up with ideas for this…I just have a name, so IF and after I develop the others I would ask others for ideas on this one.
- 8. I came up with one that would BE popular, but I will not describe it because it would cause a HARMFULL addiction. Also I would NOT invent this one.
- 9. I came up with one that is a secret…only FOR meJ
- 10. Supertickle: not an aphrodisiac BUT being tickled is fun and stress relieving= relaxes you FOR easier sexual arousal.
- 11. Empathy: not an aphrodisiac BUT used by both partners during sex would LEAD to a state of Reciprocal Empathy that would SYNERGESTICALLY increase the arousal of both partners. Used by one partner it would still be cool. Obviously this would BE useful to politicians, police interrogating suspects, psychologists, any actor in plays that are CLOSE to a live audience, and general socializing not already specified.
- 12. I came up with 11 ideas BUT if I could invent aphrodisiacs I would want input from others; Humanity is fascinated by sex + there are 7 billion people that all could potentially give me MORE ideas = how many MORE ideas are there?
My aphrodisiacs would collectively BE called Affrodesia.
Vials would have a nice picture of a 70s Black Pimp with a large Affro.
Combine the name and the image; Affro/desia + a horny Black Guy with an Affro= amusingJ
I would like to someday try a comprehensive selection of conventional Aphrodisiacs; for example if I had an erection that lasted for an hour instead of 15 minutes it would BE cool psychologically EVEN if it did NOT increase my physical pleasure. Also I am curiousJ
Each dose would BE one drop of a spell activated water droplet. Dilution would work, but my employees would NOT dilute my affrodesia products; not for me to risk having the spell fail due to dilution. I would LEARN to cast the spells on 5 Gallon containers; imagine how MANY drops of water would BE in 5 gallons! I would have employees dilute the products until failure for my curiosity. Another experiment would BE to test the duration of the spell with full strength and various dilutions. Employees would BE very amused by my ORDER that they have experimental SEX regularly with Aphrodisiacs that WORK! Imagine THAT as your job?
Vials would be Bach Flower eyedropper bottles = at least 100 doses I’d say.
Zixen Inc. would sell 12 vials for $100 in a plastic box. Alternately customers could spend an extra $50 dollars per 12 vials to have a NICE Wood Box. I did a calculation of materials and labor and figured that these boxes could BE sold at cost AND made within the US instead of going with cheap labor in another Country. Since they would only be about 9 inches square a sheet of plywood would make ? boxes and be effectively under $5 per box for materials; the hinges would be the most expensive part of that $5 so that leaves $45 per box for laborJ Shipping and handling per box would be trivial since I would order them in the thousands.
The Paranormal.com discussion board was very cool; thousands of well thought out posts disappeared when it got sold to someone that ONLY uses that address for advertisingL On that site I was a BIT too controversial; I am proud to BE too controversial for a site like paranormal.com AND the website for philosophers that gave ME the Silent Treatment…this means that MY opinions are OUTSIDE of consensus realityJ One person that was the MOST impressive poster there called himself Startraveler8 so I figured he was an Astronomer with LOTS of free time because in his profile it said he was at over 4000 comments! He was the ONLY skeptic with the fortitude and PATIENCE to TALK with people curious about the paranormal on that site. I respected him for that…so I asked him what he thought of my Moon Colony Design Specs; he gave ME the Silent Treatment after that = HA! HA! HA! I guess MY Moon Colony Idea was TOO ambitious for Startraveler8 to take seriouslyJ
The longest discussion I have EVER seen online was at Paranormal.com The title was “The Bible Is A Joke! I’ll Prove It To You All!” I read ALL posts (my Guess is about 450) BEFORE I posted my first comment in that discussion. It was STILL going strong and getting BIGGER at over 1200 comments when the moderators shut it down by disabling further comments. Anyway, it was cool; arguments from BOTH sides were WELL thought out and generally politeJ Dozens of comments were both disappointing and irrelevant; flame rants by Christians that ONLY replied to the title instead of READING the discussion first like I did. I would hope that my discussion board would become cooler than paranormal.com was; I have MORE interests so my list of discussion topics is larger. I would duplicate all topics I remember except for conspiracy theories; those could be discussed in general discussion, and equally important is that there are websites devoted specifically to conspiracies.
I will list discussion topics I’ve thought of; each one would be a separate discussion board as part of my overall website. Major categories would be grouped together.
- 1. Employees Area
- A. Zixen Companies: company announcements and promotions.
- B. Moderator Announcements: would include rules for discussion board usage.
- C. Suggestions: feedback from users about board policies.
- 2. Special Categories: relevant to ME in some way…
- A. MemeVector Discussion: discussions about me OR with me.
- B. MemeVector Comments: this would ONLY have ALL of my comments in sequence AND out of context. This would have a link at the bottom of my comments that would go to whatever discussion my comment was a part of.
- C. Avatar Project
- D. Diaspora Project
- E. Immortality for Humanity
- 3. Cultural
- A. Politics
- B. Cultures
- C. Sports
- D. Gaming; not sports
- E. Tourism
- F. Sexuality
- G. Morality
- H. Working
- I. Charities
- J. Education
- K. Financial
- L. Anarchist Philosophy
- 4. Knowledge: This would be separated into two areas; mainstream and offbeatJ I don’t feel like redoing my list because I just want to get my typing done…and besides WHAT are the odds I will be successful? The discussion board would only be after I’m rich…
- A. Psionics
- B. Metaphysics
- C. Biology
- D. Electronics
- E. Physics
- F. Math
- G. Philosophy
- H. Reading Material: book and magazine discussions
- I. Psychology
- J. Engineering
- K. History
- L. Information Theory…includes Software Discussion
- M. Cosmology + Multiverse Theories
- N. Futurism
- O. Afterlife
- P. Telepathy
- Q. Energy Sources (would have a PROMINENT link to the oildrum.com siteJ)
- 5. Religions
- A. Christianity
- B. Judaism
- C. Islam
- D. Buddhism
- E. Wicca
- F. Other Religions
As part of suggestions users could request more discussion categories except for conspiracies.
Rules of Discussion Board
- 1. Would have a spell checker feature that CAN be turned off.
- 2. “Incoherent” comments tolerated; from personal experience I would feel sympathy and empathy in relation to people that are misunderstood or ignored
- 3. EXCESSIVE repeats of the SAME comment deleted…replies remain
- 4. Medium rudeness tolerated: in arguments people SHOULD be capable of handling HARSH criticism that is NOT vulgar.
- 5. Excessive Vulgarity and EXTREME hostility deleted.
- 6. Members Only: free registration
- 7. Members can choose any word(s) and numbers for their names…up to 22 characters.
- 8. Members can choose any short sentence to be under their name, and a thumbnail image.
- 9. Members can choose to have a four line signature on the top and a separate signature up to six lines on the bottom of their posts…most sites only have the bottom signature.
- 10. Main Page would have a very pale blue background + turquoise lettering.
- 11. Members can CHOOSE the background color AND the lettering color scheme for their comments; set a default once OR do it for ONE post as needed…I’ve never heard of a discussion board doing this = MY ideaJ This probably would not take up much bandwidth. Same thing on their profile page.
- 12. Private Chat option
- 13. Standard sized thumbnail image can be part of bottom signature. ALSO this could be a thumbnail video clip on continuous replayJ ALL thumbnail images and videos would be on MY servers and BE part of the member profile to simplify programing. Doing this saves bandwidth and would be less complex than linking to other sites.
- 14. 24 image photo album on profile page; alternately 12 or 6 larger photos.
- 15. Still porn and porn videos allowed on ALL areas of discussion board. No child porn. No minors allowed. Extremes like bestiality and WEIRD fetishes deleted.
- 16. Automatic links so you would not NEED to type a LONG internet address in most cases. Also if you typed…http.www.cowabduction.com it would become cowabduction = prettierJ
- 17. Profile page could have 12 pages of typing: photo album would not be immediately apparent because it would be a simple link TO the photo album to save bandwidth.
- 18. Email system that is only on my servers BETWEEN registered users = whoever is FIRST could come up with email addresses that would BE taken on Aol.com + yahoo.com etc. Would include a phone book and other standard features of email systems.
- 19. Automatic smiley faces AND ultra mini videos that are ONLY 1/2” square could be within text areas; all of these would be ON my server to save bandwidth. I have never heard of videos that small = my ideaJ
- 20. Above discussion board would be links to things my companies sell or provide AND links to ANY websites that I like for whatever reasonJ
Off the Keyboard of Brandon Smith
Published originally on Alt-Market on August 22, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
Almost three years ago I wrote an analytical piece on the concept of deliberately engineered wars, big and small, by elitists to distract the masses away from particular global developments that work to the benefit of the establishment power structure. That article was entitled ‘Will The Globalists Trigger Yet Another World War?’:
In that analysis, I concluded that since at least 2008, the power’s that be (whether posing as Republicans or Democrats) had set in a motion a series of events that revolved around Iran, and most disturbingly, Syria, which could be used to trigger a vast global war scenario. Today, unfortunately, it seems my concerns were more than valid, and circumstances evolving in that particular region are dire indeed.
Now, some may argue that circumstances in the Middle East have always been “dire” and that it does not take much to predict a renewal of chaos. Admittedly, for the past six years alone the American public has been treated to one propaganda campaign after the other testing the social waters to see if a sizable majority of the citizenry could be convinced to support strikes against Iran. The U.S. and Israeli governments have come very close on several occasions in rhetoric and in the build up of arms, to just such an event. However, I would submit that the previous threats of war that came and went are absolutely nothing in comparison to the danger today.
Syria’s civil war has developed into something quite frightening, well beyond the blind insurrections of the so-called “Arab Spring”. So many outside interests (especially U.S. interests) are involved in the conflict it is impossible to tell whether there are actually any real revolutionaries in Syria anymore. This unsettling of the country’s foundation has taken a turn which I warned about recently, namely, the removal of UN monitors from the area, which was announced only days ago: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/16/syria-crisis-idINL6E8JGDXH20120816
The removal of UN monitors is a sign that some kind of strike is near the horizon.
Accusations of potential “chemical weapons stores” in Syria are being floated by the Department of Defense as a clear cut rationale for invasion, and Israel has essentially admitted that an attack on Iran is not only on the table but beyond planning stages into near implementation. Even Israeli citizens are openly worried that their government is “serious” this time in its calls for preemptive attack, stockpiling gas masks and even protesting against the policy:
The tension of the atmosphere surrounding this crisis is unlike anything the Middle East has seen in decades, and that includes the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
But before we can understand the true gravity of this situation, we must first confront some misconceptions…
Firstly, I realize that there are many people out there who have natural and conditioned inclinations towards the hatred of Muslim nations. There are also just as many people out there who are inclined to distrust the intentions of the government of Israel. Both sides make good points on occasion, and both sides also have a tendency to get lazy, painting with a ridiculously broad brush and blaming all the woes of the world on one side or the other so that they don’t have to think through the complexities of globalism and the one world technocratic club, or accept that “Al-Qaeda” is not the biggest threat to peace and stability. It’s much easier to convict an entire race, or an entire religion, than it is to comprehend the mechanizations of an elite minority that plays both sides off each other.
Whatever side you may favor, simply know that in the end the sides are irrelevant. We could argue for months about who is just, who is right, who was there first, etc. Again, it’s irrelevant. What does matter, though, are the potential consequences of an exponential conflict in the region, which no one can afford.
Sadly, there are still plenty of Americans out there that believe the U.S. is the “richest nation on the globe” and has finances beyond reckoning with which to wage endless wars.
Here are the facts. Here is exactly what will happen if the U.S., NATO, or Israel, enter into a hot war with either Iran or Syria, and the results are not optimistic:
1) Syria And Iran Will Join Forces
In 2006, Iran and Syria signed a mutual defense treaty in response to the growing possibility of conflict with the West. Both countries are highly inclined to fulfill this treaty, and it would seem that Iran is already doing so, at least financially, as Syria spirals into civil war. In fact, the U.S. supported insurgency in Syria was likely developed in order to strain or test the mutual aid treaty. Given that the CFR is now applauding Al-Qaeda for its efforts in destabilizing the country, I hardly find it outlandish to suggest that the entire rebellion is being at least loosely organized by NATO interests to either draw Iran into open military support of Assad and a weakening proxy war, or to remove Syria from the equation in preparation for a strike on Iran itself (take notice that whenever the mainstream media shows images of Syrian rebels, they are always smiling or looking valiant with guns held high; a typical subliminal tactic used to paint them as “the good guys”):
2) Iran Will Shut Down The Strait Of Hormuz
With all the grandstanding at the Department of Defense, you would think that the Hormuz is a non-issue. This is a mistake. The strait is around 21 miles wide at its narrowest point which lays right off the coast of Iran, however, of that 21 miles only two safe shipping lanes are available, each measuring a miniscule 2 miles across. Hormuz is one of two of the most vital oil transit checkpoints in the world, and approximately 20% of all oil produced passes through it. The logistics for blocking the two working shipping lanes on the strait are simple given the existence of the new Ghader Missile System, which Iran tested successfully this year. The weapon is specifically designed as a “ship-killer” with the ability to travel at Mach 3, and evade most known radar methods:
In the tightly boxed in waterways of the Hormuz, a large scale and difficult to track missile attack would be devastating to any Navy present, and would turn the sea lanes into a junk yard impossible to navigate for oil tankers. Result? A catastrophic inflationary event in oil around the world, making gasoline unaffordable for most people and most uses. The EU’s recent move to stockpile oil in preparation for an Iran strike reveals the seriousness of the situation: http://www.euractiv.com/energy/europe-starts-piling-oil-iran-wa-news-514340 3) Israeli Action Will Draw In The U.S.
Forget what the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey says; the U.S. will absolutely involve itself militarily in Iran or Syria following an Israeli strike. To begin with, there is no way around a supporting or primary role, especially when Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz. With 20% of the world’s oil supply on hiatus, at least half of the American populace will be crying out for U.S. military involvement. Guaranteed. Dempsey’s claim that Israel may not get American support is simply a charade meant to infer that the subversion of Syria and Iran is not necessarily a joint venture, which it absolutely is. There is zero chance that an Israeli strike will not be met with frantic calls by the Pentagon and the White House to open the floodgates of U.S. military might and protect one of our few “democratic allies” in the Middle East.
4) Syria Will Receive Support From Russia And China
The Russian government has clearly stated on numerous occasions that they will not step back during a strike against Syria, and has even begun positioning naval ships and extra troops at is permanent base off the coast of Tartus, a development which I have been warning about for years:
Tartus is Russia’s only naval base outside the periphery of its borders, and is strategically imperative to the nation. Action by the U.S. or Israel against Syria would invariably elicit, at the very least, economic retaliation, and at the most, Russian military involvement and possible widespread war.
China, on the other hand, will likely respond with full scale financial retaliation, up to and including a dump of U.S. Treasury Bonds (a move which they have been preparing for since 2005 anyway). With oil prices skyrocketing due to increased Middle Eastern distress, multiple countries including the BRIC trading bloc nations and most of the ASEAN trading bloc will have the perfect excuse to dump the dollar, allowing for the introduction of the IMF’s newly revamped SDR (Special Drawing Rights) global currency mechanism to take hold.
Syria is the key to what I believe will be an attempt on the part of globalists within our government to actually coax a volatile conflict into being, a conflict that will create ample cover for the final push towards global currency, and eventually, global governance.
5) Economic Implosion Will Become “Secondary”…To The Banksters’ Benefit
In the minds of the general public, the economic distress that we will soon face regardless of whether or not there is ever a war with Iran and Syria will be an afterthought, at least for a time, if the threat of global combat becomes reality. The fog of war is a fantastic cover for all kind of crime, most especially the economic kind. Sizable wars naturally inhibit markets and cause erratic flux in capital flows. Anything, and I mean anything, can be blamed on a war, even the destruction of the U.S. economy and the dollar. Of course, the real culprits (international and central banks) which have been corrupting and dismantling the American fiscal structure for decades will benefit most from the distraction.
Syria and Iran are, in a way, the first dominos in a long chain of terrible events. This chain, as chaotic as it seems, leads to only one end result: Third world status for almost every country on the planet, including the U.S., leaving the financial institutions, like monetary grim reapers, to swoop in and gather up the pieces that remain to be fashioned into a kind of Frankenstein economy. A fiscal golem. A global monstrosity that removes all sovereignty whether real or imagined and centralizes the decision making processes of humanity into the hands of a morally bankrupt few.
For those on the side of Israel, the U.S., and NATO, and for those on the side of the Middle East, Russia China, etc., the bottom line is, there will be no winners. There is no “best case scenario”. There will be no victory parade, for anyone. There will be no great reformation or peace in the cradle of civilization. The only people celebrating at the end of the calamitous hostilities will be the hyper-moneyed power addicted .01%, who will celebrate their global coup in private, laughing as the rest of the world burns itself out, and comes begging them for help.
Off the Keyboard of Steve Lendman
Originally published on the SJLendman Blog
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
Note from RE: Steve has joined the Diner as a Cross Posting Blogger. His regular articles from the SJLendman Blog will appear here on a regular basis. Some may appear individually titled by Article, others as Compilations in the Steve Lendman Column. All the articles can also be found on Steve’s Blog. In addition to his Blog, Steve also Hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour where you can listen to Podcasts with many notable Talking Heads on Geopolitical, Economic and Social Issues.
Lawless National Security Letters
Off the Keyboard of RE
Discuss this Article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner
In his article The Orkin Man: Which Side Are You On, my fellow Admin here on the Diner Surly detailed his POV on how the Battle Lines shape up, along with all the excesses that result when Humanity resorts to violence as a means to resolve its problems, which basically amount to the inability we have shown over the last few millenia to share the resources of Mother Earth in some equitable fashion. At least inside Western and Asian Ag societies through this period anyhow that has been the case. My rebuttal to that article came in Unforgiven.
Which Side are You On? is a Miner’s Folk song which comes from the early years of Coal Mining in the FSofA, and in his post Surly details the Battle of Blair Mountain, in which Striking Miners were violently squashed down by the FSofA Military. Same Military which later would squash down the Bonus Army during the Great Depression on the shores of the Potomac River around Washington.
Of course we are now set up for very much the same type of Confrontations again, and in those Mass Battles between J6P armed with Hunting Rifles and the Military armed to the TEETH with everything from LRAD to AR-15s to Apache Helicopter Gunships, getting into this sort of melee with TPTB is pretty much a LOSING PROPOSITION, on this topic Surly and I are in Full Agreement.
Now, there are numerous suggestions/ideas/philosophies discussed every day inside the Diner regarding how best to proceed given the vast Force Differential between TPTB and J6P. Among them are Peaceful Protest and Withdrawal of Consent as Alternatives to Massed Violent Confrontation, but something of a Middle Ground does exist here in the form of the Assymetric Warfare of Anonymous. Diner A.G. Gelbert and I recently had an exchange on this topic inside the Diner which I will include here below.
Besides this tangent though, another very important Moral Question was broached, which is the CHOICE we all have to make in one sense or another as to which side of this Battle we will line up on, besides HOW we might fight it. By ENLISTING in the Military rather than waiting to be Conscripted, you can have a better choice of Jobs which have higher survival percentage, and possibly lower Suicide Rates also, though that is not clear at the moment.
The choices that existed during the Vietnam Era are less possible these days. Likelihood would be now if you managed to cross the Hoser Border to the Great White North they would Conscript you up into THEIR Division of the Big Ass Military. Swimming the Rio Grande in a Reverse Wetbacking Escape Attempt doesn’t seem like a bright idea either, you would be Dodging Bullets in the ongoing “Drug War”, and as Peter has mentioned inside the diner, Gringos are likely to be Targets for this stuff pretty soon down there.
So the questions are many here. HOW to negotiate this Shitstorm, HOW best to make a fight if you choose to do so, WHICH side to Line Up with in the Battle for All the Marbles? Or perhaps you still do try to run away, RUN AWAY FAR, RUN AWAY FAST? To WHERE do you RUN then? If you have a Sailboat, do you point it towards Pitcairn Island and join the Inbred Descendants of Fletcher Christian and the rest of the Bounty Mutineers and improve their Genetic Diversity? This does not seem a fabulous alternatie either, even if you can pull it off.
If you decide to hit the Streets in Massed Peaceful Protest, linking Arms and singing “We Shall Overcome”, how long do you last out there when the Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets and LRAD come out? If you go the route of the Miners from Blair Mountain and show up with your Hunting Rifles, how long do you last when the Apache Helicopter Gunships arrive to bring Death From Above? If you try to make the Fight Anon, how LONG can you stay Anon, and WHAT can you actually accomplish in such an Asymmetric battle?
If you decide SURVIVAL is your Imperative and you VOLUNTARILY join the Army of Darkness, HOW do you LIVE with yourself after that?
Morton’s Forks abound here, many CHOICES to be made, NONE of them very good, but perhaps some a bit better than others.
The discussion from inside the Diner looks at these questions in some detail, so let us review it here:
RE” Become Anonymous”
Impossible RE. It cannot be done anymore.
I tried to make an anonymous contribution with my pay pal account last month and it cannot be done.
Definitely know the Pay Pal problem. When we did that BRAZOS Fundraiser for WHD, I tried to make an Anon Contribution by purchasing a Visa Gift Card for Cash at Safeway and using that to make the online contribution. No go, Pay Pal would not take that card number. In the end I snail mailed the card to WHD. Not anonymous to him, but at least Da Goobermint doesn’t have a record of my donation.
Cash FRNs remain pretty much the last Anon form of Money. If you have Gold for instance, if you sell it to a Gold dealer for some Cash, anything over I think $600 has to be individually reported to Da Goobermint.
Remaining truly Anon on the net can only be done by very accomplished Hackers using proxy servers, and they have to be at least as good as the Spooks who try to track them down.
Far as Travel goes, you can’t do Anon in a Car of course, they have to be registered. You can still get around Anon on a Bicycle and even some of the lower end Mopeds.
Obviously Air travel can’t be done Anon, and even though I haven’t done it I am pretty sure you have to show Identification to buy an Intercity Bus Ticket nowadays. I recently took a ride on the Alaska Railroad and you get your Ticket with your Name printed on it, not Transferrable. However, I didn’t have to show any ID for it, we bought the tickets in bulk and just provided a Manifest to the Railroad ticket office. Any names could have been on it. No idea what the situation is on Amtrak down in the Lower 48.
With all the gobs of Security Cameras in stores and on City streets now wired into the Net, and Gobs of storage space along with facial recognition software, in theory at least you probably could be watched 24/7 as long as you are outside your McMansion.
Inside, the Cameras are still sorta “voluntary” on your Computer or Tablet, but these probably can be hacked into and turned on without your knowledge anytime you have the computer switched on. Malware stored in the computer could do that even if you are not Online, then upload the recorded video whenever you sign on. Probably advisable if there is a camera front and back on the Laptop to tape a piece of cardboard over it.
To escape all of this, really you have to drop out of the industrial economy altogether and go rewilding in remote areas. The situation promises to get ever worse until the Grid and the Net Collapse.
There are a few things you can still do proactively. One is to do your own Data Encryption of your emails and so forth. 256 bit data encryption is very powerful, and as long as the software is clean without back doors it can’t be broken even by Supercomputers. You can check the software for backdoors also, at least a decent programmer can because it is not that complex, its just a mathematical algorithm based on Public and Private Keys and prime Numbers.
It would be interesting to see what would happen if I created a Forum on the Diner which was all Encrypted, and only Diners with the Keys could unencrypt it? Likely I suppose it would get the Diner shut down in no time.
Anyhow, I do agree with you, remaining TRULY Anon with respect to Da Goobermint is about impossible nowadays. However, you can still try to avoid becoming “Famous” like Julian Assange. Wikileaks got too Big releasing lots of embarrassing Documents, and Julian was the Face of Wiki. Julian hadda be taken out. Now he is a Battle for his LIFE, he has already lost the battle for his FREEDOM. He is already under a form of House Arrest in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
We Diners are small fry, a bunch of mostly Old Guys and some UE young ones who complain to each other daily about the loss of Freedom and the destruction of our Planet. We pose no Threat to TPTB at this point, and none of us are Famous. So we are allowed at this point to chat as we will, with probably some Spook checking us out every so often for a good laugh while checking the Site Stats. The Black Escalades don’t show up until you get Big like Wiki and Famous like Julian.
We got a long way to go before that happens, and the Grid and Net will likely fail before we do. Until then, Hard Harry here will WRITE HARD and…wait for it…
PUMP UP THE VOLUME ON THE DOOMSTEAD DINER!
*Disclaimer: Like Christian Slater I haven’t aged well and don’t look too much like that anymore. However, here on the net or on Radio for that matter nobody can see what you look like, so you look like what the Mind’s Eye Pictures. That’s the Picture I hold in my head when I am not looking in the Mirror to get hammerred with the real picture of the Toll life has taken on me in the Age of Oil.
Air Force Intelligence The nature of our job is so secret that we do not know what we are doing
I kid you not!
RE, Back when I joined the nasty guard to avoid a bullet in Nam I was an Intelligence Operations Specialist.
That is a remarkable Coinkidink AB. In many prior discussions (with Ross in particular), I have mentioned that one of the better Survival Techniques in a time of Fascism is to JOIN the Fascist Army VOLUNTARILY, and among the safest positions if you are good with Numbers is to get into the Intelligence Department. Logistics also is not too bad.
At least until the Full On War with the Chinese gets rolling and Carrier Groups start heading for Davey Jones Locker En Masse, the Navy is better than the Army. The LAST thing you want to get stuck with is as Grunt Infantry in the Army or the Marines.
A 4 year College Degree is a great help also, you go in as an Officer right off the bat. At least you used to, maybe not anymore though.
Of course, the problem with any of this is in the “Which Side are You On?” area. No matter what you do or how safe your paticular job is, once in there you are fighting as a Soldier of the Illuminati. That is a tough Moral Quandary Pill to swallow for most of us nowadays who grasp what is going on now.
Even us Old Fogeys may end up forced to make this choice. As the Young Grunts are sent off to the Killing Fields, Retired Auto Workers will be called in to man up to the Production Line for Tanks and APCs. Old Bloggers will be asked to Write Propaganda to help the War Effort. Write it and you get a Paycheck from Da Goobermint. Don’t write it, at best you Starve. Write AGAINST it, you get a One Way Ticket to the Human Waste Reprocessing Facility in San Antonio to be reformulated into MREs for the Troops as soon as they break your Anon and Track You Down.
In the end, just about all of us are likely to have to decide Which Side We Are On and whther to try to Fight it from the Outside or Survive it from the Inside. The Avoidance Tactic is likely to be quite difficult to undertake.
The other day Surly1 posted that DARPA plan to make a pack of humanoid robots. I made some gallows humor out of it but I subsequently read that suicides last month broke all the records in the US military. People just don’t want to do the empire thing at the grunt level any more. It’s getting to them so the reptiles on top are thinking of outsourcing humans to machines. As WHD said, it won’t work; robots are devilishly complex, break down easily in battle dusty situations and, last but not least, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander (see Iran and the super duper secret drone they got their dibs on). It seems the people on top fear us more every day. That fear is driving them nuts. Buying all that ammo? WTF!!?
CFS has left the building of the Gooberment.
I’ll dig up the military suicides article if you want to read it.
There are no single solutions that will work for every person in every place. Circumstances are different for different people, priorities differ, moral and ethical philosphies differ. All we really can do here is to identify the CHOICES that lay before us all as this spin down proceeds, and in fact gathers speed now. In terms of PREPARATION though, nothing is more IMPORTANT than preparing your MIND for what is to come here. More important than #10 Cans of Mountain House Food, more important than Solar PV Cells and Batteries, more important even than Guns & Ammo. Because if you have not considered it carefully, if you have not played it through in your head, chances are very good no matter how good your Physical Preps are, you will PANIC, and you will not Stay the Course you have thought through here
For this REASON, the Doomstead Diner is here on the Net. Psychological PREPARATION for the Greatest CHALLENGE to face Homo Sapiens since Toba went Ballistic 75,000 years ago. No time for DENIAL anymore. NOW is the time to GET READY, and GET TOUGH. Because when the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.
Off the Keyboard of Brandon Smith
Published originally on Alt-Market on August 16, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
It is inevitable. There comes a point in the development of every crisis, every catastrophe, every impending disaster, every act of methodical dictatorship, in which the generations selected by fate or destiny to endure the trial must attempt to look beyond the intellectual and the psychological, to deeply consider the greater philosophical or spiritual questions of their epoch. Certain moments in history demand that truly free individuals relinquish their cynicism, and embrace that inherent world of form and conscience that exists in each of us but remains largely unexplained. Without this act of “faith”, or intuitive knowing, good cannot exist, inspire, or prevail.
To understand what we face in our age of encroaching technocracy draped like glistening silicon across the face of a third world American cesspool, we must accept certain realities; the first and foremost being the existence of “evil”. Not the evil of ignorance, that is easy to recognize. Not the evil of apathy and moral relativism, though the stench of both sharply permeates the sour underside of our culture. No, I am talking about pure, unbiased, unflinching, perfectly conscious and fully absorbed evil. The kind that they tell stories about. The kind that history books speak of almost in awe, as if it is miraculous in nature. A dark tide. A prehistoric leviathan. An unbelievable and seemingly inhuman myth made manifest by astonishingly vile despots.
This evil is so overwhelming that many people today scarcely imagine it possible. It is our society’s greatest weakness; the denial of ultimate malice.
Our current governmental system has adopted a policy of open theater, in which the two sides of the false paradigm now barely hide their farcical opposition to each other. Their rhetoric no longer obscures their acts of political collusion in the destruction of our founding principles and Constitutional protections. In the past several years they have acted in the best interests of corporate minorities and moneyed elites without hiding their intentions towards globalism and the destruction of sovereignty, fearlessly spitting on the redresses of the public. All of this while they arm themselves to the teeth with billion-plus round stockpiles of ammunition and Orwellian surveillance technologies. Yet, foolish subsections of our populace still argue that the government is a “product of elections”, and is “made up of Americans for Americans”. Even if we do not see them as an enemy, they certainly see us as such.
Our financial system is a stampeding procession of nightmare fueled blood-drenched circus freaks dancing in an ether driven haze of pungent absurdity. It is as if our economy has become a morbid parody of itself, like a queasy piece of horror/comedy cinema. We are so far along in the collapse of our markets that the banksters no longer see the need to hide the fraud. With the advent of the Libor Scandal, governments, central banks, corporate financiers, all flaunt their criminality with pride. Yet, some Americans still clasp their naïve hopes to a chance of fiscal recovery.
To fight against an evil of this magnitude takes more than anger, or physical preparation, or organization. It takes personal exploration, a steeling of one’s heart, and a conquering of one’s shortcomings.
Tyranny, true tyranny, thrives on our selective awareness, and our ability to bend our minds and our vision to avoid seeing that which is really there. In the end, victory over tyranny is less about guns, bombs, mass dissent, and civil fury; it instead requires an acceptance of the dark side of the world, and the unwavering will of honorable men ready to face it. That is to say, the defeat of tyranny begins and ends in the mind.
In America today, many minds are not ready to handle the trials ahead. Maybe it’s the ease of several generations of uninterrupted prosperity. Maybe it’s the Babyboomers. Maybe it’s Generation X. Maybe it’s the public education system. Maybe it’s the water. Maybe it’s all of the above and more. At this point, we have little time to debate symptomatic culprits. It is time to go to the root of the problem, and cut it out.
What we need is a foundation, a set of “personal rules for combat” when engaging a tyrannical establishment. This “code” should above all else provide a way of mentally and spiritually confronting one’s own weaknesses and presumptions. Dictators and oligarchs are not our primary concern. Our inner state is.
Rule #1: Stop Waiting For Others To Fight The Battle For You
If you want to put an end to totalitarianism, you can’t sit around waiting for other people to solve the problem for you. The greatest downfall of any political campaign (even when led by a liberty minded candidate) is the centralization of popular focus on a single man. There is no knight in shining armor coming to lead the Liberty Movement to the promised land. These unrealistic expectations will only end in disappointment and nihilism. The solution starts not with others, but with YOU. Where do you contribute to freedom? What actions have you taken? Who have you inspired? What ideas have you offered? What project have you organized, struggled for, sweat for? Take the reigns of your own destiny and finally join the fight instead of perusing the internet longing for a guru to hand you a mission.
Rule #2: Believe In Something Greater Than Yourself – Abandon Childish Cynicism
This is where we get all “spiritualized”, which for the typical cynic is a rather gooey and uncomfortable affair. If accepting a higher purpose to the universe and your own existence is too much for you, then at least consider deeply the future of humanity in general. Think not of what mankind is today, but what mankind could be tomorrow if you make it so. Know that there is an indelible good within us, though it may be difficult to see at times. Cradle that spark, and champion its return. It is not enough to oppose tyranny. One must know exactly what he is fighting for in order to triumph.
Cynics do not make history, or change a country for the better. They are the forgotten dust wafting about in the wayward attics of time.
Rule #3: Deal With Your Fear, Or It Will Be Used Against You
A subjugating government’s size, military might, technological superiority, and overall gravitas are irrelevant. The fight will come whether we want it or not. Accept the fact that the fight is coming to YOU; your fear of it does not change the eventuality of it. Wars, especially those waged for freedom, are won by the will, not by arms or technology. Not by laser guided missiles and predator drones. Tyrants always have the advantage. They always have the upper hand. They win when they are able to convince the masses that this advantage makes them invincible and that resistance is a futile exercise. They lose when the people could care less about the size of the guns pointed at them.
All men are afraid to take risks, especially mortal risks. However, great men understand the necessity of risk in the pursuit of that which is right. Fear should play no part in your life, ever.
Rule #4: Understand The Nature Of Tyrants
Overcoming fear is one thing. Being overconfident is another. Understand that the evil you face is capable of absolutely any depravity in its lust for absolute control. Understand that the crimes you will one day witness in your battle to dethrone the autocrats are designed to rattle your will and eradicate your resolve. Know that to attain a free country you must struggle through social, economic, and physical carnage you never thought possible before. Be ready, psychologically and emotionally, for anything…
Rule #5: Dump Nihilists And Obstructionists By The Wayside
You can’t save everybody, and you certainly can’t impart a sense of greater purpose on cowards, weaklings, and nihilists. These people are inherently self centered, and seek only to prolong the ease and length of their own existences regardless of the cost to others. Nihilists in particular are so inwardly and subconsciously ashamed of their own weaknesses that they go out of their way, often obsessively, to project those weaknesses on the whole of the movement. They have to believe that if they are not capable of fighting back, no one else can be either, and they will shriek to the rafters about the impending doom of us all.
Nihilists and Obstructionists are dead weight on any dissenting activist movement, even though they pretend to support the cause, and should be tossed to the curb immediately. A revolution for liberty requires foresight, and courage. If a person does not meet both these criteria, they will eventually bring you down with them.
Rule #6: Find A Love For Humanity Once Again
I know as well as anyone how hard it is today to care about most people given the amount of utter stupidity so many display on a daily basis and the costs this behavior has accrued in our society over time. Get over it. Recognize that when you fight for freedom, you fight for EVERBODY, even people who have not earned your efforts. If you fight only for yourself, or your immediate circle, you will lose. Look at the bigger picture, and know the real breadth and consequence of this undertaking. Fight for all, or you might as well crawl into a shallow hole and pull the dirt over your head now.
Rule #7: Remain Adaptable To The Circumstances Of The Environment
Absorb what works, and cast off what doesn’t. Be stubborn in your principles and your resolve, but not in your strategies. Vulnerability comes with predictability. Blaze trails the tyrants don’t expect. Show them something they’ve never seen before. Be bold, or go home.
Rule #8: Retain Your Principles Or You Will Fail
The philosophical doctrine being peddled by elites in our military today states that “in order to defeat a monster you must be willing to act like a monster”. This is insanity. Forgoing one’s principles and adopting dishonorable and vicious methods is not the way of a warrior; it is the way of the tyrant. Remember what you are fighting for. This is not just about our personal survival, but the survival of a worthy ideal. Abandoning that ideal may give us the illusion of short term success, but in the long run, the cost will bankrupt our movement, demolish our moral high ground, and make hollow any victories we do achieve.
The Real Fight Is Within
Some may have stumbled upon this essay with the expectation that it would outline a kind of step-by-step instructional guide to crippling the globalists. Sorry to dissatisfy if that was the case, but it is better that we all comprehend now that there will never be such guide. As much as globalists and collectivists with aspirations of world dominance and total financial centralization are a threat to our way of life, the real fight, the fight that matters most, is not without, but within. We will overcome them only when we overcome our own failings.
I imagine many wish, as I surely wish, that simple days and comfortable times could continue on forever. The difficult truth is that history tests man, and sets the extraordinary apart from the mundane. Sometimes these tests are so epic in their scale that one wonders if anyone will step forward to weather the storm. Someone always does, and we owe those brave souls a debt of gratitude which can only be paid with our own stand in our own era. At the end of all things, we will either open the door to a better world, or we will cut our own throats. Tyranny is nothing but an opportunity for the best in all of us to rise.
Off the Keyboard of John Ward
Published originally on The Slog on August 18, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord of the Diner
For information only, I copied a Sloglink to a senior contact in Goldman Sachs two weeks ago. He emailed back to say that Goldman wouldn’t allow him access to the site.
In China, you can’t receive The Slog. All EU addresses in Brussels and Washington Government offices ban it. It is banned from commenting at The Guardian, and Huffington Post. If you leave a Sloglink at Huffpost, it will be automatically erased. The Financial Times will not allow anyone to say ‘bollocks’, even though virtually nobody today would be offended by the word in a well-argued context. No Newscorp title allows any leaving of live links to other sites (The Times itself is, like the FT, behind a paywall).
If, using my own pc with its clear relationship to The Slog’s identity, I Google even well-known political sites in Germany, I get redirected to an Austrian site for gays. While this suggests that even spooks have a sense of humour, it does make the flesh creep to discover that using someone else’s pc allows me to get through straight away.
No member of UNITE the Union can follow Slog links in the office. Nor can anyone working for at least two big UK banks – which (if nothing else) shows that my detractors are econo-politically eclectic.
I could go on and on with the list of those who refuse to allow access to the site. I find it flattering, but above all worrying, that a site this small in the greater scheme of things is worth their attention – whoever ‘they’ are. Commercially, cyber-banning (and deliberate blocking) is now an industry in its own right. The Russians, Chinese and Americans lead the way in this area, as they do in the area of cyberblagging crime. Talk to any senior UK policeman off the record, however, and he or she will tell you that Merrie Olde Britannia is pretty clueless in this area.
Blacking out what The Other Side says has become one of those activities where the unthinking no longer even discuss the right of every individual to receive news of no real threat no national security. Instead, they do presentations to equally morally dead clients about ‘incoming traffic purity’ and other such Orwellian tosh. I think this reflects the growing trend over the last decade away from debate among equals, towards the trashing of those designated ‘the enemy’. In economics, climatology, nuclear generation, social ideology, finance, and of course politics, it is a slanging match between two sets of tiny, extreme minorities, during which the rest of us remain unrepresented.
Think for a minute or two about that deadly combo of adjectives: censorious and unrepresentative. They are two of the prime requirements – along with dictatorial elite megalomania, and a distracted electorate – required for the easy creation of a totalitarian State. With the arrival of casual cyber-blocking, Britain has the full set. We’re not the only ones – but we are worse than most.
This oddly mechanical approach to denying access to objective analysis produces insane combinations of policy and ‘correctness’. Observations about them are waved away in a blasé manner by everyone from Dan Hannan to Harriet Harman, but they are no less real for all that. Hannan himself is an interesting case in point, in that he is both wronged and wrong. Those self-same Leftists who claim to be pacifist – and emit affected shock at the use of words like housewife or immigrant – are quite happy to call Dan ‘Tory scum’ and carry placards saying ‘Smash the Government’. Whereas while Mr Hannan gleefully retweets everything these knuckle-heads tweet at him, he is very careful never to retweet a reasoned deconstruction of his viewpoint.
Of late, the chorus of those Slog threaders trying to put me into the cyber-banner sin-bin has become inordinately loud – dare I say, suspiciously so. Their chief inabilities are the wilful refusal to accept that first, breaking the site’s comment rules with personally offensive resentment of myself and others is, um, breaking the rules. So they get banned from commenting. As I’ve said before, this is culling, not censoring. And second, that The Slog is genuinely unaligned with either mainstream political philosophy in the West.
At best, such is seen as indecisiveness on my part, and at worst as a lie. Put simply, if they’re Left wing I’m really a closet Nazi; and if they’re Right Wing, I’m just a fluffy old Leftie pretending I’ve changed but I’m still the same Commie bastard really. Now any even cursory perusal of the site content would tell a balanced reader that it is oligarchic, privileged and unacountable Establishments that I am against; and that what I’m for is the removal of all monied and other power influences upon the political process. But the charges continue anyway. In these cases, my tendency to ban such threaders is more often than not based on a sort of informal Mental Health Act.
Now and again, however, evidence rears its extremely ugly head (evidence is near-universally ugly, because it tends to confirm the existence of things we wish weren’t there) and in the case of Troll-swarms at The Slog, there’ve been one or two odd patterns of late. The one that has me most worried is a correlation between comments to the effect that “You’ve sold out, I used to like this site but now it’s obvious you’re really working for Them” and the cloning of some of my now largely redundant Microsoft Outlook email addresses. (They’re redundant, by the way, because Microsoft blocked my send capability after a few probing pieces about Bill Gates, anti-Trust bribes and so forth. It’s all part of the same syndrome.)
My assumption is that these are all the same sender, but one is still left asking why anyone could hate a blogger so much, he would keep on going to the trouble of inventing aliases all designed to persuade regulars that (a) my facts are wrong or (b) I’m some kind of Fifth Columnist. In short, my suspicion is that the person is a professional troll – ie, he works for someone with a broader agenda. One must watch and see: at the moment, I have an open mind. But a female Blogista remarked to me recently that she suspects the same concerted attempt to spin against her.
It simply won’t do to dismiss this as paranoia. The recent Bell Pottinger revelations showed how perniciously history itself was being written by some of the Bell-ends. It became obvious that Lord Bell’s ‘pr’ company was corrupting Wikipedia entries about an Asian country whose completely illiberal and torturous regime were paying him fat fees. It has always, I’m sad to observe, been obvious that Tim not so much lacks a moral compass, as refuses one on the grounds of them being surplus to his ethical requirements. But there are legions of folks around far, far worse than Tim Bell.
Every major comms service provider on the Net now cooperates with (indeed, gives 100% unfettered access to) the security services in every country where it has a business base. Over the past seven years to my certain knowledge, we have been told so many blatant lies about the cybernation of surveillance, it is no longer valuable to point them out: people either don’t care, or already know. It’s roughly on the same level as saying “the EU hates democracy”. For anyone even half-awake with an IQ over 80, it’s obvious.
In my days as a Student (when I was a liberal, but miles to the Right of most of my peers in the Politics Department) the standard response to any rebuttal of Soviet or Maoist or Trotskyist claims was either (1) to yell “Fascist!” or (2) to describe in an intolerably patronising manner how and why one was the sadly misguided victim of Western propaganda. I remember one particular chap at the time telling me, “There are no facts. Facts are a myth. All truth is relative”. He retired recently, having spent most of his working life as a foreign currency buyer for the Bank of England. So it’s highly likely he still thinks this to be true.
Two things have made the reality (and potential effect) of ‘propaganda’ more real fifty years on…even though, ironically, the word used these days is ‘virtual’. The first is 24/7 news stations, preferring as they do speed and quantity over considered analysis. The outcome of this is the vastly increased ability to tell a dramatic lie and remain undetected…in other words, for ridiculous shibboleths to become received truth. The second – less well understood, but even more Stasi-like in its ability to keep like-minded people apart and dismiss the truth – is proactive cyber truth-bending, blocking and fact invention. This is now the big growth area.
I realise I have blogged this point many times before, but please allow me to say again that, if we care more about our liberties and personal dignity than we do for political affiliation, the internet remains the home of the Real Opposition. However, if we want to have an effect on the culture and constitution of our various societies, there are in turn two realities to face.
The first is that the pressure will be more valuable if it is applied to those who fund (by which I mean bribe) the Establishment. The second is that we all need to raise our awareness of when dirty tricks are in play…and how to combat them.
Anyone in good mental health is rightly suspicious of conspiracy theories. But over the last five years, senior civil servants, MPs, globalist media owners, bankers and governments have shown themselves to be pretty adept at conspiring. And the real inequality in Western society – that placed before the law – has shown how profoundly unwilling Estalishments are to prosecute wrongdoers.
Twas ever thus, but twas never as well armed as it is today. Think on it.
Off the Keyboard of RE
Discuss this article at the Economics Table of the Diner
On a recent slow night inside the Diner and in the Collapse Blogosphere in general, I yanked out this report to sit down and read it in detail. I admit to skimming it the first go round.
Anyhooooo, what occurred to me as I reached around page 40 or so and got to the analysis of Peak Oil implications was how thoroughly the paper DEMOLISHES Stoneleigh’s arguments that the Oil/Energy crisis and the Debt Deflation/Monetary System crisis are not related pheonomenon.
Did Stoneleigh, Ilargi or Ashvin ever address this report on TAE at ALL? Not so far as I am aware, though I also admit to not checking in much at TAE anymore. Has any of the Commentariat brought this paper up over there? This is the kind of “Respected” analysis that Stoneleigh cannot Weasel out from under.
The ties between GDP Growth, Credit Expansion and Cheap Oil are very clear. Once the Cheap Oil stops flowing, ROI in the financial sector goes negative and Debt Deflation begins. With debt deflation comes decreasing GDP in a self-reinforcing cycle, aka positive feedback loop.
The other thing that struck me in reading the report was how convincing a case it makes for the Fast Crash vs. the Long Emergency. Particularly in my favorite area of Trucking, the report from the American Trucking Association, “When theTrucks Stop, Amerika Stops”on page 17 is particularly sobering:
When Trucks Stop, America Stops A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage The first 24 hours • Delivery of medical supplies to affected areas will cease. • Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable. • Service stations will begin to run out of fuel. • Manufacturers using JIT manufacturing will develop component shortages. • US mail and other package delivery will cease. Within one day • Food shortages will begin to develop. • Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to sky-rocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps. • Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery, assembly lines will shut down putting thousands out of work. Within two to three days • Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic. • Supplies of essentials such as bottled water, powdered milk, and canned meat at major retailers will disappear. • ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process transactions. • Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks. • Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas. • Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted eventually coming to a standstill. Within a week • Automobile travel will cease due to lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care. • Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies. Within two weeks • The nation’s clean water will begin to run dry. Within 4 weeks • The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illness will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system. Holcomb, R When Trucks Stop, America Stops American Trucking Association
When, not If TSHTF in the Banking system this series of Cascade Failures is pretty much Unstoppable. Unless there are some VERY good contingency plans in place for Goobermint Takeover of the whole system, the trucks stop moving as soon as the Credit System fails. The Truckers ComData cards they use to fuel with won’t work. Fuel will stop moving from Refinery to Truckstops because that also is all done on Credit. Etc, etc, etc.
Given the Track Record of FEMA and DHS, I doubt first that they have a Comprehensive Plan that will work ready, and second even if they DO have such a plan, it can’t work more than but a year at best. The same Credit issues will stop international Oil Shipments on the VLCC Tankers and the only Crude making it to the Refineries will be the stuff in the SPR and what gets produced locally. Rationing will have to begin IMMEDIATELY, and that will make it difficult/impossible for many people to get to work at all.
The deal is here, this Sword of Damocles hangs over our heads now EVERY DAY. As Dan’s Paper indicates, once a systemic Bank Run begins over in Eurotrashland, Contagion can and probably will be RAPID, no more than Days, could be Hours or even MILLISECONDS.
With some Luck and a Fast Response, Da Goobermint might be able to get the Food Distribution system operating at some level within a few weeks. So, at MINIMUM in your Preps you should have enough to make it through this initial period of Dislocation. Obviously though ALSO, not everybody in your Suburban Subdivision of McMansions will be as well Prepped, and a few days after they run out of Food in the Fridge, the first of the ZOMBIES will appear at your doorstep BEGGING for FOOD.
At first they will be Peaceful Zombies, and at first also you will hand out an Extra Can of Beans to the pitiful starving Little Neighbor Girl also. By week 2 though, if all you have is 1 Month of Preps for yourself and Family, you will say “Sorry, we don’t have enough for ouselves”, and the Little Match Girl will walk away from your door Hungry and Disappointed. By Week 3 at the LATEST,the Little Match Girl’s Dad, Brother and Friends will show up at your door with AR-15s and Shotguns.
IOW, if you don’t GTFO of Dodge when this goes down IMMEDIATELY and head as far away as you can from this, you will be in a WORLD OF SHIT.
At the very LEAST, besides the 1 Month of Preps, have a PLAN to BUGOUT somewhere as far as you can from large concentrations of people and avoid the early CHAOS until HOPEFULLY Da Goobermint gets its shit together, even if that means Martial Law. Take a Shortwave Radio with you and monitor the Newz Reports. With some luck, perhaps after a Month you can return to your McMansion and deal with the Soldiers patrolling the Streets and the Food Lines at the local Walmart where you pass across your SNAP Card in return for a few Cans of Beans and a Bag of Rice. If you are not ready to try the Full Primitive for the Long Haul, that is all you got left.
The PANIC that will result in the early days of a Fast Crash is to be avoided at all costs if you can. Plan for it. It just takes a Loaded Bugout Machine (minimum your SUV), a Full Tank of Gas and a chosen Bugout Location off the Beaten Path. You may have friends who live in a rural farming community, that is a good choice. You can help them Protect and Defend the farm. Long as you BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) and Guns, they won’t turn you away. Otherwise, National and State Parks may be your best choices or the periphery of undeveloped but privately owned land. In either case, go Off Trail and stay SMALL. Don’t make any fires and don’t make any noise. There are likely to be a few others out there trying the same thing, and they may all NOT be nice people. Avoid contact if you can. If you cannot, keep your RADAR on HIGH ALERT, DEFCON 1, and your Guns Ready. Shoot First, Ask Questions Later. You know the drill.
Will the Sword of Damocles drop tomorrow? Probably not. To be sure though, it is….wait for it….
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You
Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan
First published @ Off The Grid In Minneapolis
Discuss this at the Geological & Cosmological Events Table inside the Diner
No new news to make for Job Search Part 3 yet, so I though I might delve into the meaning of it ALL, if you will. A new hypothesis has me thinking about that – it’s called Geotectonic Ocean Heat Transfer, put forth by RE, the main Admin at the website Doomstead Diner.
The last twenty years, earthquake and volcanic activity has been on the rise, markedly. If you know anything about the exponential function and how that relates to the currency, to population, to resource extraction and use, well, if you look at a graph of aggregate, global earthquake activity the last 40 years, you see a similar growth curve.
That’s strange, don’t you think? It’s one thing to point to carbon emissions, or oil use, or water extraction, and say we have caused that. But when you realize one sizable earthquake might contain the energy equivalent of a few dozen or hundred nuclear bombs, and there are thousands upon thousands of quakes every year, it is beyond absurd to say humans have caused that (unless you are willing to attribute sentience to Gaia, the earth, in which case she might be supremely pissed off, at the aggregate behavior of her arrogant offspring, and has decided to shake things up a bit?)
What is so striking about this hypothesis, is that most earthquake and volcanic activity takes place below the sea, which, as it turns out, is warming faster than the atmosphere. The ocean is one giant heat sink, and it is simply wrong to suggest heating thin air would in turn heat dense water faster than the air is being heated. It does not appear there is any increase in solar output, that might be a contributing factor to the warming oceans. Instead, the hypothesis goes, it is increased tectonic activity below the sea, that is contributing not just to the warming oceans, but consequently, to climate change.
Notice in these graphs, how the early nineties saw a radical increase in earthquake strength overall, and heat content in the oceans. That would seem to contradict the standard model of climate change, which is called Anthropogenic. To date, about 98% of climate scientists are certain humans are to blame, with our burning of fossil fuels in the rampant way that we do. The other 2% are generally fundamentalist Christians who cannot believe, and paid-for corporate shills who won’t. The problem of course is, anytime 98% of any group believe the same thing, when that thing is of great import, that’s called orthodoxy; getting the orthodox to accept or even entertain anything, however factual, that might suggest a flaw in the core belief, is damn near impossible (see aforementioned Christians.)
The Geotectonic Ocean Heat Transfer hypothesis does not in fact contradict ACC (Anthropocentric Climate Change). Whatever is happening to the climate, we are certainly exacerbating that. There is nothing particularly healthy for the biosphere, polluting it the way we do, and what isn’t healthy for the biosphere isn’t healthy for the biological entity known as people, whatever the propaganda says about this glorious Age. Civilization as we know it is economically beneficial to a small number of humans, disastrous for the majority, and catastrophic for life generally. There isn’t any question at all, approaching the 400 ppb number, of carbon molecules in the atmosphere, we are helping to heat up the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. But there is clearly something else going on.
RE suggests, as our solar system is passing through the plane of the ecliptic of the Milky Way, from above the plane to below the plane, the nearer we are to the plane, the more we are bombarded with neutrinos flowing from the center of the galaxy, which is putting a strain on all the interstellar bodies – the other planets and the sun.
Whatever the cause, every celestial body in the solar system has been in upheaval the last several decades, as evidenced by this video from David Wilcock. I consider David a charlatan extraordinaire, but he is an excellent compiler of curious data. I don’t support what he is saying in the beginning of this piece, or necessarily his judgement about what ALL of it means, but these two links he alludes to (and a third I added), and the other evidence in the video of the changes ongoing throughout the solar system, do lend credence to RE’s hypothesis:
Whatever the cause, it is certainly a paradigmatic shift to say that climate change is being caused by changes within the earth, particularly when you are suggesting the driver of that is something coming from outside the heliosphere. Because if that is the case, well, it would seem to suggest we are fucked, if the increase in tectonic activity continues. We’ve grown accustomed to the idea of continuity. Not just here in America the last seventy years, with the ever growing economy, but over all, the last 10,000 years. We are told, that when the ice from the last ice age finally melted, the climate settled into a nice calm groove, we started planting seeds, and it’s been all progress on this (climatically) stable planet ever since. RE suggests the heating of the oceans will mean more moisture in the air, ever more rains, and ever more cloud cover, until the earth is shrouded and things cool down. That of course would lead to another ice age, and very great difficulties unknown in recent memory, for a higher mammal called Homo sapien. As in, population bottleneck. That likely has happened before, when the Toba volcano in the south pacific blew it’s top, 70,000 years ago, shrouding the skies with particulate, blocking the sun and reducing the population of Homo sapien to an estimated 1000 breeding pairs. So it’s not like that is without precedent.
But that could never happen to us, right? Because we have conquered nature, right? If there’s a more orthodox belief than that, it’s hard to imagine.
The Geotectonic Ocean Heat Transfer hypothesis may seem like just another doom and gloom scenario, to add to the bucket full bearing down on us at this point. But I don’t think so. I think it’s the best news I’ve heard in awhile. How can that be? Well, I’ve never made much of a secret that I think this universe is divine, which is to say, imbued with energy and conscious intent, throughout. Hearing that the earth is acting up tectonically, that the whole solar system is in upheaval, at the same time the human exponential growth curve has reached it’s peak, at the same time our financial markets seem on the cusp of collapse, at the same time we seem to be on the verge of global war for the last of the oil, at the same time the Mayan’s cyclical 5,126 long count calendar comes to an end/beginning (5000 years ago we gathered in cities and started writing, 10,000 years ago we started planting seeds) well, it’s just another profound layer of mysteriousness. Radical changes are afoot, clearly, on every level. And in light of that, the industrial age begins too look less like a terrible mistake leading inevitably to the extinction of life on planet earth, and more like the necessary growing pains, that we might become aware of the changes that are happening to the entire solar system, and so, prepare ourselves for what is coming. How we do that, I don’t know, other than to look at it and be honest. To train our consciousness there. To face it. That we might choose to live more humbly, more harmoniously, on this beautiful planet.
We aren’t really doing that of course. More, we are doing whatever we can not to face the radical changes all around us, like this video posted on my Facebook news feed, described by the poster as THIS IS WHAT THE INTERNET WAS MADE FOR.
Gut the resources of the earth to make a washing machine designed with forced obsolescence to break down in less than ten years, but to be destroyed instead for pleasure by some idiot bright enough to heft a rock.
Perhaps it’s best to give up on any meaning, in the way of conspicuous affluence and “disposable” income? Or, find this the most propitious of times, to be AWAKE and ALIVE, to BE in a way that is MEANINGFUL, as if we are at the cusp of a transformation unlike anything humanity has ever known?
BTW – I keep forgetting to mention, one of my readers sent me a great documentary Once Upon A Time In Knoxville I highly recommend. A great story of the waste based culture of our time, and what some are doing about it.
Off the Keyboard of Gail Tverberg
Published originally on Our Finite World on August 14, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord of the Diner
The issue of nuclear electricity is a complex one. In this post, I offer a few insights into the nuclear electric situation based on recent reports and statistical data.
Nuclear Electric Production Is Already Declining
According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, the highest year of nuclear electric production was 2006.
There are really two trends taking place, however.
1. The countries that adopted nuclear first, that is the United States, Europe, Japan, and Russia, have been experiencing flat to declining nuclear electricity production. The countries with actual declines in generation are Japan and some of the countries in Europe outside of France.
2. The countries that began adopting nuclear later, particularly the developing countries, are continuing to show growth. China and India in particular are adding nuclear production.
The long-term trend depends on how these two opposite trends balance out. There may also be new facilities built, and some “uprates” of old facilities, among existing large users of nuclear. Russia, in particular, has been mentioned as being interested in adding more nuclear.
Role of Nuclear in World Electricity
Nuclear provides a significant share of world electricity production, far more than any new alternative, making a change from nuclear to wind or solar PV difficult. If nuclear electricity use is reduced, the most likely outcome would seem to be a reduction in overall electricity supply or an increase in fossil fuel usage.
Nuclear is the largest source of world electricity after fossil fuels and hydroelectric, comprising about 12% of total world electricity. Wind amounts to about 2% of world electric supply, and solar (which is not visible on Figure 2) amounts to one-quarter of one percent (0.25%). “Other renewable” includes electricity from a variety of sources, including geothermal and wood burned to produce electricity. These can’t be scaled up very far, either.
Note that even with the growth of renewables, there is still very substantial growth in fossil fuel use in recent years. If nuclear electricity use is reduced, fossil fuel use may grow by even a greater amount.
Role of Nuclear in Countries that Use Nuclear
The world situation shown in Figure 1 includes many countries that do not use nuclear at all, so the countries that do use nuclear tend to generate more than 12% of their electricity from nuclear. This means that if a decision is made to move away from nuclear, an even larger share of electricity must be replaced (or “be done without”).
For example, in the Untied States (Figure 3), nuclear now amounts to about 19% of US electricity production, and is second only to fossil fuels as an electricity source. US nuclear production tends to be concentrated in the Eastern part of the US, so that nuclear amounts to 30% to 35% of electric production along the US East Coast. This would be very difficult to replace by generation from another source, other than possibly fossil fuels.
For countries that are planning to reduce their nuclear generation, nuclear electricity as a percentage of total electric production in 2010 are as follows:
- Germany, 22%;
- Switzerland, 37%;
- Belgium, 52%; and
- Japan 25%.
Unless these countries can count on imports from elsewhere, it will be difficult to make up the entire amount of electricity lost through demand reduction, or through a shift to renewables.
Nuclear Electric Plants that are “Paid for” Generate Electricity Very Cheaply
Nuclear power plants for which the capital costs are already “sunk” are very inexpensive to operate, with operating costs estimated at 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Any kind of change away from nuclear is likely to require the substitution of more expensive generation of some other type.
The electrical rates in place today in Europe and the United States today take into account the favorable cost structure for nuclear, and thus help keep electrical rates low, especially for commercial users (since they usually get the best rates).
If new generation is added to substitute for the paid off nuclear, it almost certainly will raise electricity rates. These higher rates will be considered by businesses in their decisions regarding where to locate new facilities, and perhaps result in more of a shift in manufacturing to developing nations.
Germany’s Experience in Leaving Nuclear
It is too early to know exactly what Germany’s experience will be in leaving nuclear, but its early experiences provide some insights.
One cost is decommissioning. According to Reuters, German nuclear companies have made a total of $30 billion euros ($36.7 billion) in provision for costs related to the cost of dismantling the plants and disposing of radioactive materials. According to the same article, Greenpeace expects the cost may exceed 44 billion euros ($53.8 billion). If the amount of installed nuclear capacity in Germany is 20.48 million kilowatts (kW), the direct cost of dismantling the nuclear reactors and handling the spent fuel ranges from $1,792 to $2,627 per kW. This cost is greater than the Chinese and Indian cost of building a comparable amount of new reactor capacity (discussed later in this article).
David Buchanan of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies did an analysis of some of the issues Germany is facing in making the change. Germany was in an unusually favorable situation because it had a cushion of spare capacity when it decided to close its reactors. When Germany closed its oldest eight reactors, one issue it discovered was lack of transmission capacity to transfer wind energy from the North to areas in the South and Southwest of Germany, where the closed reactors were located. In addition, the system needs additional balancing capability, either through more natural gas generation (because gas generators can ramp up and down quickly), or more electric storage, or both.
In Germany, natural gas is an expensive imported source of energy. The economics of the situation are not such that private companies are willing to build natural gas generation facilities, because the economics don’t work: (a) renewables get first priority in electricity purchases and (b) electricity from locally produced coal also gets priority over electricity from gas, because it is cheaper. If new gas generation is to be built, it appears that these plants may need to be subsidized as well.
Increased efficiency and demand response programs are also expected to play a role in balancing demand with supply.
Not All Countries Have the Same High Nuclear Electricity Costs
We don’t really know the cost of new nuclear electricity plants in the United States, because it has been so long since a new plants were built. The new reactors which are now under construction in the state of Georgia will provide a total of 2,200 MW of generation capacity at a cost estimated at $14.9 billion, which means an average cost of $6,773/kW.
In China and India, costs are lower, and may drop even lower in the future, as the Chinese apply their techniques and low-cost labor to bring costs down. The World Nuclear Association (WNA) in its section on China makes the statement,
Standard construction time is 52 months, and the claimed unit cost is under CNY 10,000 (US$ 1500) per kilowatt (kW), though other estimates put it at about $2000/kW.
In the section on nuclear power for India, the WNA quotes construction costs ranging from $1,200/kW to $1,700/kW, using its own technology.
If we compare the cost of US planned plants in Georgia to the Chinese and Indian plants, the cost seems to be three or four times as high.
These cost differences also appear in comparisons on a “Levelized Cost” basis. The EIA in its 2012 Annual Energy Outlook quotes an US expected levelized cost of nuclear of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), anticipated for facilities being constructed now. The section on the Economics of Nuclear Power of the WNA quotes levelized costs in the 3 to 5 cents per kWh range for China, depending on the interest rate assumed. A cost in the 3 to 5 cents range is very good, competitive with coal and with natural gas, when they are inexpensive, as they are now in the United States.
Some of China’s nuclear reactors were purchased from the United States, and thus will be higher in cost because of the purchased components. But knowing that China has a reputation for “reverse engineering” products it buys, and figuring out how to make cheap imitations, I expect that it will be able to figure out ways to create low-cost reactors in the near future, whether or not it can do so today. So the expectation is that China and India will be able to make cheap reactors (probably without all the safety devices that some other countries currently require) for itself, and quite likely, eventually for sale to others. Sales of such reactors may eventually undercut sales by American and French companies.
Interest in Purchasing Reactors
The interest in purchasing electricity generation of all kinds is likely to be greater in developing countries where the economy is growing and the need for electricity generation is growing, than in the stagnant economies of the United States, Europe, and Japan. If we look at a graph of electricity production of Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, we see a very rapid growth in electricity use.
Figure 4. Asia-Pacific Excluding Japan Electricity by Source, based on BP’s 2012 Statistical Review.
The Middle East (Figure 5, below) is another area with an interest in nuclear. It too has shown rapid growth in electricity use, and a historical base of mostly fossil use for electricity generation.
Figure 5. Middle East Electricity by Source, based on data of the BP’s 2012 Statistical Review of World Energy.
Use of Thorium Instead of Uranium Would Seem to be a Better Choice, if It Can be Made to Work
I have not tried to research this subject, except to note that research in this area is currently being done that may eventually lead to its use.
Uranium Production is a Problem
World uranium production fell a bit in 2011, relative to 2010, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Production from Kazakhstan is becoming an increasingly large share of the total. Production in both the US and Canada declined in 2011. Spot prices have tended to stay low, in spite of the fact that an agreement that allowed the US to buy recycled Russian bomb material reaches an end in 2013. There are no doubt some stockpiles, but the WNA estimates 2011 production to equal to only 85% of current demand (including military demand).
Figure 7. World Uranium Production and Demand, in an image prepared by the World Nuclear Association.
A person would think that prices would rise higher, to incentivize increased production, but this doesn’t seem to be happening yet, at least. The uranium consulting firm Ux Consulting offers the following comment on its website:
The market that we now find ourselves in is like no other in the history of uranium. Production is far below requirements, which are growing. HEU [highly enriched uranium] supplies and the enrichment of tails material make up a large portion of supply, but the fate of these supply sources is uncertain. Supply has become more concentrated, making the market more vulnerable to disruptions if there are any problems with a particular supply source. Another source of market vulnerability is the relatively low level of inventory held by buyers and sellers alike.
The consulting firm ends the section with a pitch for its $5,000 report on the situation.
A person would like to think that additional production will be ramped up quickly, or that the US military would find some inventory. Markets don’t always work well at incentivizing a need for future production, especially when more or less adequate current supplies are available when Russian recycled bomb material is included. The discontinuity comes when those extra supplies disappear.
Off the Keyboard of William Hunter Duncan
Published Originally on Off the Grid in Minneapolis
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
My apologies to my dear readers, that I have not written a post in the past two weeks. I’ve been looking for a job. I haven’t done that in quite some time. It is exhausting. I’ve been applying for anything that pays $12/hr or more, everything from light industrial/warehouse, to corporate copywriting. Ten to fifteen applications a day, online. A few highlights:
The first response came from an ad I responded to, for office work. It was an innocuous ad, nothing special. The response came by email, asking if I wanted to be Eugene’s personal assistant. A representative for Baume de Mercier watches, he was in Switzerland temporarily, and needed someone to handle money transfers from clients. All I would have to do is receive the transfers in my account, and then transfer the money to another account. That’s it. $2000/month, plus 10% of every transfer. Maybe 3-4 hours a day, he said. I just needed to send him all the relevant information. I looked up Baume de Mercier watches online. I emailed him back, innocent like, saying it sounded like a great deal – but if I can buy a Baume de Mercier watch online with a credit card or paypal transfer, why does money need to be transferred through my account? I didn’t ask what he was really trafficking in. He did not respond.
The second response came from an ad about entry-level management. I’m not sure why I applied to that one, except they talked about integrity, and it being a family friendly environment. The gal who called was Asian, with a thick accent. We set up an appointment – I figured at the time, I haven’t been to an interview in a while, it would be good practice – and she told me to look sharp. Then she told me where the meeting would take place, in an office building on the second floor across the street from the UofM campus, and then I knew it was a shitty call center job with a ridiculously high turnover rate because poor college kids couldn’t stand it. I skipped that one.
The next one involved the selling of insurance. I have no interest in selling insurance, but I went to that interview because their niche market is unions, credit unions and associations, and the meeting was in Eden Prairie, one of the ritzier suburbs of Minneapolis, so I figured it was legit. I was also under the impression it would involve more the reviewing of documents, than selling insurance. And I figured, even if there’s some selling, at least I’ll be talking to union guys. I can do that.
I walked into the office and was surprised to discover everyone working there seemed younger than me. And there was contemporary yuppie music blaring from the front desk, out of two cheap computer speakers. The pretty girl at the front desk was wearing so much makeup I couldn’t really see her face, and she averted her eyes as soon as I made eye contact. I interviewed with another young woman, when it became clear that it was all about sales. I didn’t exactly hide the fact that I wasn’t all that interested, but when she asked if I wanted to stay for the informative “second interview,” I was like, ok, sure.
I sat down in a circle of, well, losers – from a success perspective. Not all of them. There was one recent college graduate, who hadn’t been totally kicked around by the job market the past four years, though she likely had more debt than anyone in the room. Most of the guys were working class themselves. There was an army wife from Missouri who, when it came time to introduce herself, went on and on like she forgot she was talking. There was a mortgage guy who got out of the business because it had become so “distasteful.” Everyone, including myself, talked about how much they wanted to make the world a better place – except the mortgage guy. After introductions, there was a canned speech by the maybe thirty year old Brian leading the meeting, while some dirt bag sat in the corner silently without introducing himself, and took notes about each of us. Then the Brian introduced the introductory video.
I thought it was a farce at first, like they were making fun of fat cat rich guys. Then I realized it was a compilation of the company yearly meeting, set to rock and roll. The leadership looked union, and talked union, except when they got to talking about how much money they made. There were profiles of this twenty something worth two million, and that twenty-something making $435,000/yr, etc. The last guy was the CFO, I think, congratulating his people for their honor and integrity, before he ended the video by saying something about how cool it was to be among so many rich people. I remember thinking, if these guys showed this video to any of the union guys they were trying to sell to, they’d never sell another policy. It might be the end of the business, which has been around for awhile – which wouldn’t be good for existing policies of course. Maybe the insurance is good, I don’t know. It must pay out, or word would get around. It should probably be cheaper than it is, though. The Brian wouldn’t look me in the eye after that, and I didn’t even say anything. The rest of the spiel was about how much money you could make. Quite the gravy train, to retire in ten years. Hard to get people to sell insurance, I guess.
I sat down with the girl from the initial interview, after, for the “third interview.” She couldn’t get rid of me fast enough. I didn’t get a call back for the “fourth interview.”
The job search got considerably better after that. I’ll get to that in part two
I’ve been holding onto this piece for awhile, not sure how to write it. While I’m not really paranoid – I don’t lie awake at night worrying about suits with guns and unmarked black SUV’s – I’m no dummy, and it’s clear to anyone who cares at this point, the surveillance, police state is ratcheting up. It’s not like I’m anything like a threat to my government – who’s gonna rally behind that Goddess guy, in any kind of number? – but I have said many a thing in this blog that could be triggers to some digital sweeper, leading to God knows what. All in all, I think my message is about peace. But then, when you think about it, the last thing the leadership of this empire, any empire wants, is peace. A compliant, apathetic, cynical consumer citizenry, passively in support of global military expansion and universal debt bondage, maybe, but certainly not peace. So if you will permit me to be a bit coy, I think it best perhaps not to advertise precisely where I might be working.
That said, after my brief tour through the rotten underbelly of the job market, I received a call about an interview downtown. They weren’t very clear about the job, and I wasn’t at first inclined to go to the interview. But it was downtown, there is a high concentration of attractive women and curious characters downtown, I can take the train, and as I’d skipped one interview already, it seemed like fulfilling a kind of commitment, if not to the interview as much to the idea of finding a job.
So I took the train downtown on a beautiful, sunny day, and rode the elevator to a very high floor in a prominent tower, and presented myself in my everycorporateman grey shirt, black pants and black shoes.
First thing was the assessment test. I was led to a back computer in a small room of ten computers lining two walls, I was asked to take a seat, given brief directions, before I was left alone in the room. Right off, first question on the screen, what is 10×12? No problem. Next, what is 314-76? Ok, thank the Goddess I brought a pen, and there’s a pad of paper. Next, what is 765.1936-345.789. Oh shit. By this time, I am feeling somewhat clammy, not being conditioned to air conditioning, or lists of random math questions. I’m ok with basic math. No problem. Except I’m applying for a job, and there are 76 more questions on this first of four assessments. Breath. Relax. You can do this.
The math questions, um, mercifully ended after question 36 – after they had gotten progressively more complex. Then it was on to, “of these four sentences, which is grammatically incorrect?” And I’m looking at them, the sentences, and I’m like, they’re all kind of stilted, kind of sloppy. I wouldn’t write a sentence like that. What’s the rule again about apostrophes? Oh shit, relax, breathe, think, intuit. Then it was about punctuation (except they’re kind of the same thing), and then it was spelling, and sometimes, in a way, it was really about all three in the same word, except they weren’t that specific. I was looking at some of those spelling words, and I was remembering Hemingway’s A Movable Feast, and his assertion that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a terrible speller, and then I was thinking about how spell-check has made me a lazy speller (until recently, as my Linux Ubuntu spell check is a worse speller than I am), and then I was like, I don’t think there’s an extra g in Armageddon, but I’m pretty sure there’s a second l in millennium.
The second assessment was the 10-key. Tap. Tap tap. Tap. The third assessment was Typing Speed and Accuracy. You’ld think after a million and a half words…peck, peck peck, backspace, peck. After that, was the Customer Service assessment. “If a customer is rude to you, is it ok to be rude back? A:Never, B:Almost Never, C:Sometimes, D:Yes.” Etcetera, eighty times over. As a former manager of a retail establishment, I can assure you, whatever is said, the customer is not always right. The customer is at times delusional, occasionally sociopathic verging on the psychopathic, and potentially violent. As far as I’m concerned, I scored 100% on that test.
Back in the lobby, I was standing at the front desk filling out some paperwork, when I heard a voice next to me: “Hunter Duncan. William Hunter Duncan.” I looked over, and there was Lorenzo M. who I haven’t seen in maybe eight years. We had a little love fest, and in that moment, the entire mood in the room changed, and I went from random guy applying for a job, to part of the in-crowd, just like that.
In the official interview with Jackie, I was informed that I scored in the 96th percentile on the math/grammar/punctuation/spelling test; only the 90th percentile in accuracy on the 10-key and typing tests, but, um, slightly below average on speed. But not so slow as to disqualify me…whew. On the customer service assessment, I got a dozen questions wrong. Wrong? I told Jackie I didn’t think it was possible to get a “wrong” answer unless you were a fool. She laughed and said the 83% percentile probably meant I was telling the truth. I told her I answered as a manager, and not a robot. She giggled.
Afterward I went to lunch with Lorenzo. He claims, that very morning he was looking at a database of potential hires, that he hasn’t looked at in three months, and my name was second on the list.
The next day I was talking with a friend, one of the Halloween partners (of the retail store I managed), and he says, you’re a prolific writer, go to this website and type in “writer.” I did, and the first thing that popped up was my DREAM job. Not just my DREAM job, but the thing I was MADE TO DO. Except, I was in the middle of shooting off resume after resume, and I didn’t realize it was my DREAM job that I was MADE TO DO. I filled out the necessary info, hopped up on coffee, sweating, and went to send it, and my Internet went down. That’s weird. Restart. No Internet. Restart, Restart, freak out for no good reason, Restart. Internet! Yeah! Go to send, Internet goes down, Shit, WTF! Restart, Freak out for no reason. Restart. Restart.
It wasn’t until I went back later and I really looked at the job description, and then even later as I was in bed, trying to get to sleep, that it hit me, that’s my DREAM job! That’s not just my DREAM job, that’s MY JOB! That’s what I’ve been working toward, without knowing that’s what I’ve been working toward! And Oh MY GOD, I fucked it up, didn’t I? Those weren’t the writing samples I should have sent! That wasn’t the cover letter. Idiot! And then I realized, or remembered, I sent that application thinking that I couldn’t get that job, and I was only applying because I couldn’t not. And then I rolled around in bed for another hour berating myself. Why didn’t I just take the hint – the first or the second – and stop, and think about it?
Less than 48 hours later, I was rejected by HR. As expected. So I started calling everyone I knew who might have any connection to anyone who might be inside the office of my DREAM job. Call after call, and nothing, and then I called one of my childhood playmates, who used to come out to the lake and go swimming and paddle around in the paddle boat, and she was like, I know everybody in that office. And I was like WHOO-HOO, and dancing. And she dropped my name with half a dozen people, and I made contact by email, and spent five days re-writing everything, Resume, Cover Letter and Samples, recruiting some good advice from an HR friend. I reapplied, and that is still pending.
Yesterday, I got the call. I got that other job. Not the DREAM job, but the never-in-a-million-years-imagined-I-would-do job, the back into the belly of the behemoth job, doing something egregious (maybe*) for less money/hr than I make landscaping with my friend Organic Bob, less-than-half/hr I was making at that other behemoth doing something a hell of a lot easier, back in 2008 before the market collapsed, or was collapsed. (*I say egregious, but I don’t really know for sure, and I may even like it and be good at it, and it might be a great opportunity, and eventually pay for all sorts of necessities. Stay tuned.)
That job doesn’t start for three weeks. Meanwhile, there’s still the possibility of the DREAM job. Except I have to get past HR, and they are humorless, and I don’t necessarily have the credentials. If I’d gone and got that Masters and that Doctorate like my professors all wanted me to, instead of wandering in the wilderness, and learning how to build a house, and gardening and writing radical blogs and books, I’d be a shoo-in (and about $150,000 in debt.) Still, nobody in this city can do a better job at that job than I can.
I keep calling out, I am in service. My Goddess, my Goddess, my Goddess, my name is William Hunter Duncan, and I am in service to you. The path seems obvious to me, but that’s not now in my control.
Posted originally on Alt-Market on August 7, 2012
Off the Keyboard of Brandon Smith
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
The idea of “collapse”, social and financial, comes with an incredible array of hypothetical consequences ranging from public dissent and martial law, to the complete disintegration of infrastructure and the devolution of mankind into a swarm of mindless arm chewing cannibals. In an age of television nirvana and cinema overload, I have found that the collective unconscious of our culture has now defined what collapse is based only on the most narrow of extremes. If they aren’t being hunted down by machete wielding looters or swastika wearing jackboots, then the average American dupe figures that the country is not in much danger. Hollywood fantasy has blinded us to the tangible crises at our doorstep.
The reality is that collapse is not a singular event, but a process. It is a symphony of doom, composed of a series of exponentially more powerful crescendos. If the past four years since the implosion of the derivatives bubble have proven anything, it is that catastrophe has the ability to drown a nation slowly like a river of molasses, rather than sweep it away like a flash flood. That said, almost every recorded collapse of modern societies in the past century has been preceded by a primary trigger event; a moment in which the mathematical certainty of failure becomes clear, even if the psychological certainty is muddled.
In 2012, we still await that trigger event, which I believe will be the announcement of QE3 (or any unlimited stimulus program regardless of title), and the final debasement of the dollar. At the beginning of this year, I pointed out that we were likely to see such an announcement before 2012 was out, and it would seem that the private Federal Reserve is right on track.
Last month, the Fed announced that it was formulating a plan to “expand its tool kit”. This includes an openly admitted possibility of a third round of quantitative easing starting as early as September:
This timeline appears to coincide perfectly with the breakdown of the EU, which may also see a climax event in September. In that month, EU policymakers will return from summer holiday. German courts will make a ruling which could put an end to any chance that the country will support a eurozone rescue fund. The Dutch, which are anti-bailout, will vote in elections. Greece will be attempting to renegotiate its financial lifeline. And, the ECB will have to assess the impending chaos in Spain and Italy:
As far as the Fed’s ability to remedy the fiscal situation goes, let’s clear something up right here; the Fed has NO TOOLKIT. Sorry, but central banks have only two options when attempting to shift the tide of the economy: They can lower interest rates to zero, and, they can print-print-print. That is it. We’ve had TARP, numerous bailouts, QE1 and QE2, Operation Twist, and interests rates have been kept near zero for years! These so called solutions have been strapped like millstones around our necks and absolutely nothing has been accomplished since 2008.
Real unemployment still stands at over 20%. The housing crisis remains an unstoppable juggernaut. Europe is on the verge of meltdown (despite the trillions in American taxpayer dollars handed to EU banks). The national debt continues to grow at a pace far beyond what the Obama Administration and mainstream economists (who should have been fired long ago) predicted in 2010. There are no secret magic tricks up the sleeve of Ben Bernanke. Even if the Fed actually wanted to save our financial system, and our currency (which they don’t), there is nothing they can do except make the situation worse. Central banks are perhaps the most useless institutions ever devised, unless, of course, their true purpose is to diminish the financial health of a country and siphon away its economic sovereignty…
Enter the death of the dollar.
The IMF has been consistently calling for the end of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and for its replacement by the SDR (Special Drawing Rights):
The new president of France, Francois Hollande, has recommended the expulsion of the dollar as the go-to reserve, a deeper relationship between France and the BRIC nations:
China has been demanding an end to dollar primacy for years:
And so has Russia…
And so has the UN…
It’s not as if it’s a big secret that the dollar is on everyone’s hit list. Until recently, alternative economists could only point out circumstantial evidence that this sentiment was a product of collusion between the world’s central banks and elements of various governments. Suggesting that China, Russia, the UN, the IMF, and the Federal Reserve were working in tandem to devalue the dollar and replace it with a global currency has always elicited at least a few jeers and the ever present standby catch-all accusation of “conspiracy theory”. However, the times they are a’ changen’…
With the exposure of the Libor Scandal, we now have definitive proof and even open confessions from international banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury, admitting that the true debt problems of major institutions have been hidden, deliberately, in tandem with multiple agencies in multiple countries, from the general public, with the full knowledge of numerous governments. The most vital and shocking element of the Libor Scandal is that it shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is indeed a conspiracy which has melded the corporate world and the political world into a single ominous creature.
The collusion has become so brazen, central banks around the globe now institute policy initiatives within the same hour of each other: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/05/us-centralbanks-action-idUSBRE8640RN20120705
Years back, I wrote an article about the most important signs to watch for when facing a heightened state of collapse. One of those signs was the advent of openly admitted corruption on the part of the banks. When criminals become absolutely transparent and nonchalant about their criminality, it is usually because they no longer fear the threat of justice or reprisal. This is exactly the atmosphere we have in 2012. But, what could possibly have made the banksters so confident that they are willing to flaunt their racket to the world? I can only surmise that an event is on the horizon. One so distracting that the hucksters believe we will forget all about them.
Looking at it from another perspective; if I was a globalist hell bent on undercutting the dollar as the world reserve and replacing it with a centralized standard while turning the U.S. into a third world pit in the process, I would probably pull the plug soon. Here are some reasons why:
Drought Crisis Provides Inflationary Cover
The drought which has struck half of the U.S. agricultural centers and which has also hit Russian production is the perfect cover event for dollar devaluation. The full view of crop production and yields will be revealed this autumn, and according to the mainstream, the numbers will be dismal. Maybe they will be, maybe they won’t, but the likelihood of inflation in food prices all over the planet is high. If the Fed announces QE3 and sets an implosion of the dollar in motion, the price spikes this will cause in commodities, especially grains and other foodstuffs, can be easily blamed on drought, rather than the destruction of the greenback. At least for a time. Syria And Iran Theater
If the UN pulls observers from Syria, expect an attack by either the U.S., Israel, or both is on the way. Expect Russia to be quite unhappy. Expect China to respond with financial warfare. Expect Iran to fulfill its mutual defense pact with Syria and come to their aid. Expect hard core catastrophe. I have been warning about Syria as a catalyst for global crisis for quite some time. Long before anyone ever heard the name “Assad”:
Every time I catch a glimpse of the MSM, whether it be MSNBC, CNN, or FOX, they are all spewing the same rhetoric: The U.S. should have invaded Syria months ago. It would seem that the American people are being psychologically prepped for a new war, but in reality, they are being prepped to be distracted from the banking sector’s primacy in the economic calamity that is about to unfold.
European Seesaw Of Destruction
With the EU in shambles, and only getting worse, the ECB has been attempting to work around the rules of its own charter which forbid the infusion of capital directly into governments. The latest weapon in the fight against the financial stupidity of EU member countries? European stimulus! That’s right folks, the U.S. is not the only country that will be raping its own currency this year! Be sure to catch the euro-sized version of QE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/03/maybe-draghis-speech-wasnt-a-disaster-after-all/
I believe, in keeping with the collusion central banks have already shown, that the Federal Reserve and the ECB will announce new stimulus measures very close to each other, if not in tandem. The continued devaluation of the Euro will help to hide the effect of the falling dollar as the two currencies seesaw back and forth, allowing for a delayed reaction from the public as well as investment markets. Investors looking for a safe haven currency will be scrambling in confusion.
Stocks Ready To Bust
Finally, it is very likely that the Fed will wait for markets to dive in the wake of faltering demand for goods and raw materials in all major economies, as well as declines in manufacturing. As I have said in the past, the Fed wants us to beg for QE3. The only reason this decline has not occurred yet is because investors that are still participating are salivating for new stimulus and expect it shower them with riches soon. So, to put this in perspective, the Dow is above 13,000 right now because investors have already priced in a QE package not just in the U.S., but in the EU as well. If they do not get it fast, they will pull out, and stocks will plummet. The market addiction to fiat injection is so pervasive now, I cannot imagine how they would react if the pipeline was cut off. It would probably induce a fiscal bloodbath.
What Will Collapse Really Be Like?
I expect the event will be spectacular in some ways, but subdued and subversive in many other ways. Triggers may be swift and startling, but the reactions of the populace slow, uncertain, and presumptive. There will be fissures in our foundation, but the complete extent of the danger may take a few more years to become evident. While the public continues to maintain its fixation on some Mad Max nightmare scenario, the real collapse will be taking place right under their noses in the form of 25%-50% increases in food and fuel, tightened job availability with pensions swallowed by austerity, food lines hidden by food stamps until the government finally defaults and pulls the rug out from under entitlement programs, etc. For a time, it will look and feel like a slightly darker version of today, and not the cinematic melodrama that we have come to envision. The worst of times that we often find extolled in the pages of history books come at the cost of years of almost equal disparity, and usually, the lead up is far more difficult to handle than the finale…
Off the Keyboard of A.G. Gelbert
Why the 1% is responsible for more than 80% of humanity’s carbon footprint and why Homo sapiens is doomed unless the 1% lead the way in a sustainable life style.
Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink of the Diner
Today humanity faces the fact that the parasitic relationship of Homo sapiens with the biosphere is depleting the resources hitherto relied on to maintain a standard of living somewhere above that of other earthly hominids like the chimps or gorillas that are, unlike us, engaged in a symbiotic relationship with the biosphere. The chimps engage in rather brutal wars with other chimp tribes where the victors set about to kill and eat very young chimps of the vanquished tribe. This is clearly a strategy to gain some evolutionary advantage by killing off the offspring of the competition. It cannot be, in and of itself, considered morally wrong or evil behavior. Dominance behavior and territoriality between same sex and opposite sexes also can be filed under the category of “successful behavior characteristics” from an evolutionary standpoint.
Behavior that appears on the surface to have no evolutionary purpose (like male chimps humping less dominant males or sexually mature adolescent seals, locked out of mating by bulls with huge harems, violently thrashing, and often killing, small seal pups that stray into their area) are a function of hormone biochemistry, not good or evil. Scientists might say this is just Darwinian behavior to winnow out the less flexible, less intelligent or weaker members of a species. I don’t agree. I believe it is a downside of hormones that distracts species from more productive behavior but unfortunately cannot be avoided if you are going to guarantee the survival of a species by having strong sex drives. I repeat, excessive aggression or same sex sexual activity as a dominance display is a downside to the “strong sex drive” successful evolutionary characteristic.
This “downside”, when combined with a large brain capable of advanced tool making, can cause the destruction of other species through rampant predation and poisoning of life form resources in the biosphere. The Darwinian mindset accepts competition among species in the biosphere, where species routinely engage in fighting and killing each other for a piece of the resource pie, as a requirement for the survival of the fittest. Based on this assumption, all species alive today are the pinnacle of evolution. Really? How does a meteor impact fit into this “survival of the fittest” meme? It doesn’t. Why? Because any multicellular organism can easily be wiped out by random, brute force, natural catastrophes like a meteor impact or extensive volcanism. Darwinists are quite willing to accept the random nature of the initial creation of single celled life on earth but refuse to accept that the present multispecies survival is just as random. It’s more like “survival of the luckiest” than “survival of the fittest”.
From a strictly Darwinian perspective, the extremophiles are the real pinnacle of evolution because of their ability to survive just about anything that is thrown at them. There is a type of Archaebacteria that can live in an almost 32% salt concentration called halophiles. Halophiles can be found anywhere with a concentration of salt five times greater than the salt concentration of the ocean, such as the Great Salt Lake in Utah, Owens Lake in California, the Dead Sea, and in evaporation ponds.
If you want to talk about survival of the fittest, look at this humble organism: Halococcus is able to survive in its high-saline habitat by preventing the dehydration of its cytoplasm. To do this they use a solute which is either found in their cell structure or is drawn from the external environment. Special chlorine pumps allow the organisms to retain chloride to maintain osmotic balance with the salinity of their habitat. The cells are cocci, 0.6-1.5 micrometres long with sulfated polysaccharide walls. Carbon assimilation by Halococcus salifodinae, an archaebacterial The cells are organtrophic, using amino acids, organic acids, or carbohydrates for energy. In some cases they are also able to photosynthesize.
This primitive life form is organtrophic AND, not or, in some cases, photosynthetic!Now that’s what I call a life form able to handle just about any catastrophe thrown at it. The more complex a life form becomes, the less flexible, adaptable and the more fragile it becomes. That is why I think the Darwinian approach to species interaction in the biosphere severely understates the fragility of “higher” organisms. Just as a type of fungus can infect the brain of an ant species to climb before it dies and thereby aid in fungal sporulation, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the symbiotic bacteria that constitute a high percentage of the human genes (we cannot metabolize our food without them so they are an inseparable part of being a human) actually drove our evolution to simply to aid in the spread of the bacteria.
Laugh if you want, but which is a higher organism, the fungus or the ant? A recent article in “The Scientist” explored the possibility that human evolution (evolution, in my view, includes advanced tool making for war, transportation and food resource exploitation) can be explained as bacteria driven. We may be a mobile expression of symbiotic bacteria trying to spread all over the biosphere by ensuring their human hosts do whatever it takes to blanket the planet for God and bacteria (not necessarily in that order )!
It is estimated that there are 100 times as many microbial genes as human genes associated with our bodies. Taken together, these microbial communities are known as the human microbiome.
These findings have the potential to change the landscape of medicine. And they also have important philosophical and ethical implications. A key premise of some microbiome researchers is that the human genome coevolved with the genomes of countless microbial species. If this is the case, it raises deep questions about our understanding of what it really means to be human.
If the microbiome, on a species level, coevolved with the human genome and, on an individual level, is a unique and enduring component of biological identity, then the microbiome may need to be thought of more as “a part of us” than as a part of the environment.
More important in the context of ethical considerations is the possibility that if the adult microbiome is indeed relatively stable, then such early childhood manipulations of the microbiome may be used to engineer permanent changes that will be with the child throughout life. There is thus the potential that an infant’s microbiome may be “programmable” for optimal health and other traits.2
The article assumes WE are the ones that could engage in the “programming”. It doesn’t mention WHO EXACTLY was doing all that “programming” during evolution. There is a greater quantity of microbial genes than what are considered “human” genes but it’s really just one package. Genes drive genetics and evolutionary traits, do they not? I made a big joke about it in the comments:
Perhaps the scientific nomenclature for “us versus them” organism energy transfer relationships need to be expanded upon; terms such as parasitic, commensal, symbiotic, etc. don’t address the fact that the ‘them’ is really a part of “us”. Pregnant women don’t think of their future children as parasites (which is what they technically are – even the beefed up immune system the future moms get is a function of that short lived organism, the placenta). Perhaps we are just some giant “pre-frontal cortex” type of ambulatory appendage which exists for the purpose of spreading bacterial colonies. Oh, the irony of self-awareness and tool making intelligence being an evolutionary device in the service of getting that bacterial colony to vault over the edge of the giant petri dish called Earth. Can you picture the scientific community awarding Escherichia coli a PhD? Dr. E Coli, you are the best part of us! :>)
We must now bow and scrape to the pinnacle of evolution, the reigning king of Darwinian evolutionary competition, that fine fecal fellow, Dr. Escherichia coli. Now some folks out there on Wall Street might take offense to being outcompeted by Dr. E. coli. They might even say it’s a shitty deal! Others will have no problem relegating Wall Streeters and the rest of the 1% to the category of “lower life forms” in comparison to gut bacteria even if the other 99% of Homo sap are included. A commenter named, Lee Davis was not amused by the implications of research in the direction the article was pointing:
Absolutely. “Manage” the Earth’s biodiversity at your own peril. Destroy the rainforests at your own peril. Acidify the ocean with CO2 at your own peril. I read “Science and Survival” by Barry Commoner in 1964. Since then, human “management” of the planet has continued apace, with little regard for long term consequences. The only thing he called attention to that was actually changed was the halt in atmospheric nuclear testing, but we’ve managed to replace that pollution with the exhaust from nuclear power plant meltdowns. Half-assed demigods we certainly are, not playing with a full deck and with little understanding of how the game is played. Of course, we Think we know it All now…and if we don’t, our computing machines certainly do.
Leaving bacterial driven evolution, which stands the concept of the purpose of intelligence and toolmaking on its head for a moment, consider human society and sexual dimorphism. Female and male pheasant Male Orgyia recens moth is bigger Female Argiope appensa spider is bigger Mallard ducks – The male has the green colored head
Dimorphism just means that, when there are two sexes in a species, they are different in some way. The difference can be size, color, etc. In humans, as we well know, “mars” and “venus” differences are not just about physical characteristics like body strength and pelvic size. Those hormones affect behavior far removed from mating rituals. Freud thought EVERYTHING was about sex but most would agree today that we aren’t that mindless. Is the aggressive, testosterone driven male human responsible for the mess we have made of things or are both sexes equally culpable? I think both sexes share the blame equally.Are women superior to men? Would women have, whether driven by their microbial genes or not, somehow avoided pushing the biosphere to the point that doomed themselves and many other species had they been “in charge” instead of men? Of course not! Who, exactly, raised human male children since we’ve been around? Who trained them in most activities prior to reaching adolescence? The roles women had in primitive societies were many and varied including some where they ran the show. Women have been just as capable of mass slaughter when leading armies as men, though this has never been the norm. The relationship of mankind to the biosphere has been parasitic but the relationship of the two sexes to each other has been, although certainly asymmetrical in regard to power, strength and dominance, unquestioningly symbiotic. There are those who equate historical female submission to a form of slavery. This is not now, or ever was, true.
Consider that Homo sapiens would have died out long ago if both sexes had equal strength. A female bodybuilder injects testosterone into her body to build up muscle. Nature has selected women to be, on the average, physically weaker. And mind you, for most of our existence, it has been ALL ABOUT who is bigger and stronger. Why hasn’t that changed now that, with industrialization and modern weapons, women have the physical ability to assume leadership roles in society that would, theoretically, save us from ourselves due to women’s less aggressive nature? Because they aren’t “cursed” with testosterone! Women are every bit as smart as men. The default setting of a human embryo is female. That is the basic template. It’s the hormonal changes triggered by the male chromosome that modifies the default female setting. All males are initially females that receive a hormone bath and become males. The fetus itself, regardless of the fact that it starts out as a female, is a “take no prisoners” parasitic invader. The placenta fools the mother’s immune system into not rejecting the foreign body (sometimes that doesn’t work and the fetus dies – RH factor problems) even as it strengthens the mother’s immune system to protect the fetus and the mother during gestation. Through the placenta, the fetus sends waste into the mother’s bloodstream and takes oxygen and nutrients that it needs, regardless of whether the mother does or doesn’t have enough of them. Pregnant women can become anemic or lose too much calcium and be in danger of breaking bones because when the fetus needs something, it just TAKES IT. If the fetus is male, aggression and territoriality come with the testosterone during and after he grows to manhood. So, the idea that if we could just put all the women in charge and we would have peace and harmony is never going to fly because, as long as testosterone is around, men will prevent it.
The enemy is not “HE”. The enemy is failure by BOTH sexes in the human power structure to envision environmental collapse from rampant resource extraction. So, are we doing all this because our microbial DNA just wants to spread and spread and we are really just gut bacteria robots? I don’t think so. Mankind got into trouble with the biosphere when he got carried away with his tool making. We’ve discussed this here at length. To a degree, we appear to be an evolutionary dead end because we quite literally cannot stop (industrially, not physically speaking) “shitting” where we “eat”. The biomass of humans is smaller than that of all the ant species on the Earth yet they don’t have a carbon footprint problem. We have a serious carbon footprint problem coupled with a lot of biosphere poisoning. The media love to remind us of this. But here is where the “shit where you eat” metaphor breaks down. Carbon footprint is about poison, not feces. Seven billion humans could quite conceivably make excellent use of their humanure to eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and much of the wasted water used in sewage treatment. It ‘s a very convenient dodge to claim the solution to our problem is to reduce the population. The false claim is made that then all those cars and trucks wouldn’t ruin the planet and the biosphere could have a chance. That is a “solution” that only solves about 20% of the pollution problem and leaves the real heavyweights (about 80% of the pollution), industry and military operated of, by and for the 1% elite, out. That is where the major carbon footprint is.
For those who are shaking their heads, go look at those U.N. stats on how many people out there are living on 2 dollars a day and tell me THEY are the problem. They aren’t, no matter what Bill Gates says. The combined feces of all the ants and every other life form out there, far, far exceeds how much we defecate. As RE, myself and many others here have correctly pointed out, the people at the top refuse to accept responsibility for their horrendous attack on the biosphere and are trying to shift the blame on the rest of us. Those of us little piggies in the USA and Europe are the favorite whipping BOYS of those who say we 55k or less (median income in the USA at present) share almost as much as the 1% in the pollution blame. They hasten to add that depopulation, especially in the piggy countries like ours, is rational. I would support it if it was rational but it is irrational because it fails to deal with, and make an example of, the worst offenders FIRST. People will not give up their pickup trucks until Warren Buffett gives up his jets and multiple houses. The fact that a few of us have reduced our carbon footprint voluntarily as an act of conscience does not mean that most aren’t still Bernays brainwashed. What we need is a detailed map like this one of UK for the USA:
Experian have found a direct link between wealth and willingness to embrace a green agenda; those most concerned about climate change tend to live in the wealthiest parts of the country.
Poorer and greener But here’s the rub. The company has also found that the richest constituencies… are also the most polluting.2
And that’s just the homes. Try adding the carbon footprint piggery these rich have added to their homes with stock portfolios, ownership of retail space, factories, ships, office buildings, jets, etc.The 55K or less crowd have none of these things. At any rate wages don’t even begin to tell the real carbon footprint piggery story; the real story is in who owns what. More on this later. Here’s a breakdown of carbon footprint by income decile in Sweden, a country with far less extremes in wealth dstribution than the USA. Notice that the top decile have nearly 6 times the carbon footprint of the lower decile. 3
The figure illustrates three types of emissions presented by adult equivalents. The direct emissions come from the household’s consumption (the private consumption) of fuel and heating. The indirect emissions come from the production of goods and services in the Swedish private consumption. International indirect emissions come from the production of goods and services consumed in Swedish households, before being imported. All three types of emissions above sum up to the total emissions from private consumption in Sweden.3
In the USA, the per capita CO2emissions of about 21 metric tonnes is VERY misleading. (This data is about 5 years ol and. as of 2012, is much lower) This paper studies the differences in emissions from state to state without addressing income levels.
If U.S. per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were equal to those of its most populous state, California, global CO2 emissions would fall by 8 percent. If, instead, U.S. per capita emissions equaled those of Texas, the state with the second-largest population, global emissions would increase by 7 percent.
What makes Californians’ emissions so different from those of Texans, and from U.S. average emissions? And are the factors that explain these differences amenable to replication as policy solutions?4
If you live in any one of the following states (or D.C), your per capita CO2 emissions are less than 10 metric tonnes:NY, DC, OR, CA, RI, WA, VT, NH, AZ, CT. In Vermont, direct residential of about 3 tons is an average. Just one mansion here can equal 4 or five 2,000 sq. ft. houses and the small homes like mine with less than 1,000 sq. ft. are much lower. People like myself, and there are lots of them here, are probably not running a carbon footprint above 3 metric tons due, in addition to having less house to heat, to driving less than 2,000 miles a year. But what is published is the national 21 metric tons. NY’s per capita footprint appears the lowest in the nation at around 7. That’s obviously not taking into account the Wall Street Banks and investors in NY that own stock in retail space and just about every other high carbon footprint venture in the USA including weapons contractors. I’ll wager NY’s would be double AK’s 34, the state with maximum per capita footprint, if the real estate throughout the country that the banks owned (Bernie Sanders said it was 60% of the country’s wealth) was figured in. Since the study just looks at homes and not the money the rich spend to “green up” their homes with geothermal (remember Bush’s ranch?) or PV while they own stock in and support weapons contractors and dirty industries elsewhere, it is expected that the study would come up with this gem:
The lack of correlation between income per capita and transportation and electricity emission per capita demonstrates that, at least among states of the U.S., there is no rigid relationship between affluence and emissions.10 Similar incomes can be associated with very different levels of emissions. It is possible — as evidenced by the contrast between California and Texas — to enjoy the typical American lifestyle with per capita emissions that are widely divergent from the U.S. mean.4
The above statement is an excellent example of scientific blinders in the service of raw wealth. The hypermobility alone of these rich would skew their footprint up (lots of vehicles of all sizes) if those engaged in this study had bothered to count boats, cars, airplanes, etc. They do, however, provide a sensible explanation of why states like Vermont keep their carbon footprint relatively low:
Information about policies that have succeeded in reducing emissions in some states should be circulated to the rest of the country. How have some states managed to reduce their emissions well below the national average? In broad strokes, states with low per capita emissions: ” Drive less per person and have, on average, better fuel economy; ” Use less electricity per person in their homes; ” Have higher gasoline and electricity prices; ” Rely more on public transportation; and ” Use less oil for heating and less coal for electricity generation. What does our analysis say about the difference between per capita emissions in California and Texas? Transportation emissions are almost one and a half times as great in Texas asin California.4
WHY don’t these carbon footprint researchers look at this kind of data?
FAA statistics show the number of U.S. business jet flights grew 11 percent in 2010, after plunging 20 percent in 2009. And providers of private jet services are expanding: In March 2011, NetJets (owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway) placed a $2.8 billion order for 50 new Global business jets from Bombardier, with options for 70 more; last fall, it ordered up to 125 Phenom 300s from Embraer—and it bought Marquis Jet, a marketer of private jet cards. Also in March, CitationAir by Cessna added six 604-mph Citation Xs—which it calls the fastest business jet in the sky—to its fleet of 81 jets, targeting “busy executives and business travelers who often need to be in multiple cities within a compressed timeframe,” a spokesman says. XOJET has added to its fleet as well and has hired 45 new pilots.5
Does anybody want to take a stab at what umpteen executive jets used EXCLUSIVELY by the 1% do to the USA carbon footprint? I know a little something about airplanes. I never flew a jet for hire but I flew Piper Navajos for a year or so. Each engine used 18 gallons per HOUR. Now when people start talking about all those J6P pickup trucks out there while ignoring executive jets, I sigh. The carbon footprint of those jets is massive.
How much greater are the emissions from executive jets? I am indebted to HalogenGuides Jets, “the insider’s guide to private aviation”, for doing the stats. They reviewed 10 popular private jets using emissions stats provided by TerraPass, the offset company used by Chief Executive Air. The planes ranged from the Gulfstream 400, which burns up 32l of fuel a minute and can carry up to 19 passengers, to the Learjet 40XR, which burns more than 13l a minute to carry a maximum of five passengers. HeliumReport converts this fuel burn into carbon dioxide emissions per hour. If we assume the plane is fully loaded with passengers, they mostly come in at between 200-300kg of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere per passenger per hour. But of course, the purpose of having your own jet is that you are not stuck with silly cost-cutting exercises like filling every seat on the plane. I know of no analysis of how full private jets normally fly, but let’s assume they are mostly half full. That gives emissions per passenger-hour of 400-600kg of carbon dioxide. That’s about half a tonne. How does that compare with a regular commercial flight? For one from London to Paris, which is roughly an hour, TerraPass reckons 59kg per passenger per hour, or little more more than a 10th as much as flying your own, half full, Learjet. If you are interested in carbon emissions, these numbers are scary. An hour’s flight on a private jet will emit more carbon dioxide than most African do in a whole year.6
The African CO2footprint referred to is about one metric ton but let’s compare it with our “rich” Americans making anywhere from 55k a year on down that only see executive jets in movies. In 20 hours of of flying, an afterthought for the jet set 1% of the USA, they use up one yearly quota of J6P’s “greedy irresponsible pig” footprint. Now count the executive jets and count the total hours they fly each year and you will absolutely gasp at the carbon footprint the 1% is happily spewing into our biosphere. There are over 10,000 private jets in the USA as of 2008.
How private jet travel is straining the system, warming the planet, and costing you money.7
And this is JUST THE EXECUTIVE JETS part of their piggery! And Buffett thinks it’s A-FUCKING-OKAY to add more.
China’s per capita carbon footprint, in the meantime, has become greater than that of several U.S. states, including Vermont.
The latest report shows that in 2011 China’s per capita emissions increased 9%, rising to 7.2 metric tons per person. 8
I am certain, as is the case in the USA, that the Chinese 1%’s carbon footprint is orders of magnitude above the Chinese version of our “J6P”. Those who love to point at J6P piggery in the USA should drop that broad brush and start looking at per capita carbon footprint and, when available, decile breakdown of that per capita carbon footprint. Please observe in this table that the per capita carbon footprint in the USA has been going steadily down over the last decade (as of 2012, it is down to 17.3 metric tons 9) and that there are 11 countries with a higher per capita carbon footprint than the USA.
9 USA highlighted in yellow. Click here for a closeup: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita
J6P makes a real convenient whipping boy but that does not reflect the facts on the ground even before you account for 1% piggery. What matters is not data points like how much retail space there is in the USA (a huge amount is now empty anyway since 2008) but who OWNS that retail space and all the other large carbon footprint piggery. The wealth breakdown in the USA (as of 2007 – it’s even more concentrated at the top now according to senator Bernie Sanders) shows that 1% own 42.7%, the next 19% own 53.7% and the BOTTOM 80% own 7%.10
I am using the financial wealth stats rather than the “net” worth stats because that reflects the sad reality that the 15% attributed to the bottom 80% is now about 7% and the “net” worth of the top 20% matches 2007 financial wealth percentages (The top 20%, but mostly the top 0.5%, have exponentially increased their ownership of everything in the USA since the Greater Depression began in 2007). The last time I checked, when you OWN something, you are responsible for it’s carbon footprint. The fact that the predatory capitalist “drug pushers” are out there pushing the consumerist “drug” does not justify blaming the addicts. The addicts must be treated but the priority is to get the pushers off the street. Every addict can go cold turkey and the pushers will adjust by giving the “drug” away really cheap until they hook a new set of addicts. Focusing on the addicts while giving lip service to the evils of the 1% to the point that the addicts are given a 40/60% (99% carbon footprint vs 1% carbon footprint) responsibility ratio in biosphere degradation when it is more like a 20/80% ratio is just plain wrong and doomed to failure. Of course the 1% love this kind of “blame the victim” illogic. We need a REAL deciles breakdown like they did in Sweden of the CO2 footprint of our population. Here is a look at carbon footprint in cities across the USA. Most of the heavy polluters are east of the Mississippi.11.
That’s a start but we still need to zero in on stock, high tech toys and real estate ownership as a function of carbon footprint. Maybe then people would get a clearer picture of who the responsible parties for the biosphere degradation are. It is little wonder that no data of this nature is published in the USA. This is the reality that side issues like blaming gender or psychopathy for humanity’s biosphere degradation fail to address. It’s really an Occam’s razor type problem (a principle urging one to select from among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions). The 1% aren’t just pigs, they are leaders. Evolution, regardless of whether Homo sapiens is an evolutionary dead end due to parasitic behavior and excessive tool making, allowed these members of the human family to be our leaders. The issue is not about gender or the criminal insanity endemic to psychopaths in the 1%; psychopaths are unfortunately represented at all income levels even if they are concentrated at the top.
Whether this super aggressive behavior destroying the biosphere is caused by microbes willing us to spread, testosterone in the male of the species or the inability of our big, but still brutish, brains to react to threats on a multigenerational time horizon, the fact remains that the main authors of the rampant biosphere damage are these humans in the 1%. It’s not the 99%’s biomass (e.g. ants have more than humans) that is destroying the biosphere; it’s the 1%’s carbon footprint by a huge margin despite their tiny biomass. A detailed study of per capita footprint which includes resource ownership by wealth would conclusively prove that. And as to males of the species being the culprit, the statement, “We have met the enemy, an he is us, and he is “HE”, is barking up the wrong tree! Perhaps a world where humans were all females and reproduction was by cloning would be less parasitic and become symbiotic with the biosphere but most women on Earth, not to mention G. I. Joe Testosterone and friends, would take offense to that notion (to put it mildly ).
Putting women in charge, as long as there are men around, will not change our suicidal trajectory. Because the 1% are our leaders, the masses of humanity always attempt to imitate what the 1% do, period. When the 1% stop their massive piggery, the small scale piggery of the masses will stop as well. Claiming that the 1% only “do what they do” because the 99% are a bunch of sheep is a half truth. The 1% ARE mostly PARASITIC. But this is “blame the victim” illogic. What, exactly, do you expect from sheep? The 1% pushed, connived, lied and killed anything in their way to BE the 1%. They’ve got RE’s “Will To Power” on steroids. If all of us had the aggressiveness of the 1%, Homo sapiens would have self destructed long ago.
Sexual dimorphism and hormones dictate different levels of strength, aggressivity and dominance in human beings for real and valid evolutionary purposes. Nature cares not about egalitarian relationships among opposite sexes or societies (see the moths, ants, spiders, bees, ducks, lions, chimps, etc.); it “cares” about what works to promote the reproduction of a species. Asymmetric power relationships in societies and among the sexes in species aren’t democratic but they have more evolutionary staying power than horizontal relationships. That’s just the way it is. If you want to “improve” on that model, you’d better but your “God” outfit on and pack a lot of sandwiches because you are bucking up against millions of years of evolution. The ones who hold the power are ALWAYS in the driver’s seat. If they don’t adequately react to a threat to the species, it’s curtains. The 1% enjoy their RHIP which provide them many privileges but they cannot evade their responsibility. This is not “Murder on the Orient Express”; this is the train engineer driving the train off a cliff. The 1% don’t have to lose their “better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” attitude for mankind to survive; they just have stop believing their own PR. If they bite the reality bullet and lead the way into sustainable living, we might make it. Otherwise, the fungi, extremophiles and the humble descendants of human microbial bacterial colonies will inherit the Earth. The planet will become hot as hell and only the simplest and toughest life forms will live here. Send this to someone in the 1% if you know any. Who knows? They might even read it and think about it.
1. http://the-scientist.com/2012/03/01/who-are-we-really/#comment-464838811 2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8393081.stm
3. http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____104319.aspx 4. http://www.e3network.org/papers/Why_do_state_emissions_differ_so_widely.pdf 5. http://www.executivetravelmagazine.com/articles/flying-on-private-jets 6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/oct/29/private-jets-green 7. http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/high_flyers 8. http://www.greendrinkschina.org/news/chinas-per-capita-carbon-emissions-solidly-reach-developed-nation-levels/ 9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions_per_capita 10. http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html 11. http://green.wikia.com/wiki/Carbon_Footprint_of_American_Cities