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Chris
9th October 2018, 12:50
This thread is a gathering place for all collapse-related matters. Signs that the planet is headed towards trouble as is our industrialised civilisation. This is an ongoing phenomenon linked to our energy predicament and the gathering forces of climate change and possibly other earth changes, that few of us are prepared for.

I'll start us off with my favourite Collapsitarian, Russian-American Author, Physicist, Engineer, Linguist, Social commentator and Sailor Dmitry Orlov. The transcript below is from a bad quality audio interview, so it's worth reading instead. It mostly concerns the US, but the rest of the world gets a mention as well.


http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2018/10/dmitry-orlov-gives-interview.html#more

Sam: Have your views become somewhat darker since you published The Five Stages of Collapse a few years ago?

Dmitry: Yes, they have. My premise in that book was that financial, commercial and political collapse are inevitable in many of the severely overextended countries around the world, the US especially (what can’t be sustained won’t be), but that social and cultural collapse can be prevented, as they were in Russia after the collapse of the USSR. My goal, therefore, was to provide some ideas on how to survive the inevitable but also to save that which can still be saved. Since then, I have come to the realization that in these same severely overextended countries social and cultural collapse have largely run their course, and that this is being masked, for the time being, by the fact that financial, commercial and political systems there are still functioning on some level, or at least pretending to function using money injected ex nihilo, severe trade imbalances, forged statistics, gerrymandered electoral systems, etc. But once this all fails, it will suddenly become apparent that there are no time-tested social institutions or a cohesive common culture to fall back on. The bad thinking that has led to the overextendedness that results in collapse has also killed off the social and cultural cohesion of previous generations. In fact, it was its first victim.

Sam: Are you saying that social and cultural collapse can’t get any worse?

Dmitry: No, things can always get worse. For example: suppose your woodshed burns down. Is that as bad as it gets? No, it could then get hit by a tornado! Then you’d have burned timbers and ash scattered all over your patch of land, which is even worse.

Sam: But first people have to admit that there is even something wrong. Is that even working? Mike Sliva called it “the echo chamber of the doomersphere.” It’s turned into just a few of us on the planet talking to each other. Do you agree that the vast tide of humanity is nowhere near having this conversation?

Dmitry: Oh, the vast tide of humanity will certainly never have this conversation, and that’s a good thing, because we can waste all sorts of time talking about generalities and never get to discussing simple, plane, basic things that actually figure in people’s lives. It isn’t possible to process ideas as generalities; it is only possible to process them as specifics. That’s why I don’t really contribute to this doomerish discussion. It’s not interesting.

Sam: So, at what point will more people start having this conversation?

Dmitry: Well, I really have no idea. I do have a faithful readership. I wouldn’t call them “followers,” but enough people read my stuff on a regular basis. It helps them process reality. How it helps them is up to them. It’s very much a DIY experiment—what they do with whatever insights they gain. I just try to present the widest possible perspective and to kill a lot of falsehoods that are being circulated. As far as the various stages of collapse, the nitty-gritty of it, I am very interested in that too. I am a scholar of collapse. My job is to study it. It’s not my job to do anything else with it.

Sam: What are the lies that need to be killed? I assume that the lie of the possibility of infinite growth on a finite planet is one of them.

Dmitry: No. You shouldn’t eat anything bigger than your head, and you shouldn’t think anything bigger than your head either. “Infinite” is a difficult term for most people; there are several different kinds of infinity in mathematics. And what on Earth is an infinitely large economy? And it’s a finite planet, but it’s a lot bigger than any of us. It’s a huge place, especially on foot, on horseback, or under sail. Most people are completely unfamiliar with 99.99999% of it. And then they try to apply a difficult mathematical concept to something they aren’t familiar with. How useful is that?

On the other hand, you can wonder about certain things far more usefully. For example, what makes you think that you will still get medical care when you are old if you are, say, in the United States? What are the chances that you will be able to collected a retirement that is a meaningful sum of money? What are the chances of you ending up on the street? (A lot of people are ending up on the street already.) And if the answers are negative, then what are you going to do about it? Is it reasonable to go to a university and run up student debt in hopes of having a prosperous career? How do you avoid becoming lonely and of no use to anyone? Will your children still like you and take care of you if it turns out that everything you’ve taught them about the world is either useless, wrong or both? Those are the sorts of questions that people should think about, not the infinite sizes of economies or the finite sizes of planets.

Sam: Before we get to the United States, you are Russian, aren’t you? You have no accent whatsoever. What’s up with that?

Dmitry: I am a trained linguist with expertise in phonetics and phonology, so accents aren’t a big issue for me. I can put on an accent for the occasion. I’ve been going back and forth between the US and Russia for much of my life, and I am very familiar with both. But I am quite happily and unrepentantly Russian and have become an expert on the United States through no fault of my own.

Sam: But you are living in Russia now. Is that a permanent decision? Are you done with the United States?

Dmitry: Probably not. I don’t make permanent decisions. The planet we are on is currently not a good place for making permanent decisions. Things are changing too fast for that. We have to keep things flexible and keep our options open. Right now I am in Russia, and I am really enjoying it, but I don’t know what the future holds.

Sam: But what is your vision for life in the United States moving forward?

Dmitry: I’ve traveled around and have lived in a few different places in the US and in Europe, and it’s absolutely shocking how backward and substandard and really run down the US has become, how many things there are really outdated, sometimes in a dangerous way—like the way the bridges and the highways are, and other infrastructure, such as water and sewer mains, the electric grid, the railways, etc. It is also stunning how absolutely ridiculously stupidly everything is organized, from the tax code to the permitting and licensing systems. The banking system in the US is the most retarded banking system I have ever seen. Who has ever heard of paper checks? That’s just not done any more. And why do wire transfers cost so much and take days instead of seconds? There are endless circles of ridiculousness that we could spend days talking about—the way the government operates, various other things. Overall, there is the feeling that it’s a land that time forgot. Dinosaurs roam the United States. The rest of the planet has moved on.

Sam: At what point is all of this going to bite us in the ass? Do you attach a timeline to any of this?

Dmitry: I look at timelines when looking backwards in time. Looking forward—it’s a bit too unpredictable, especially where chaotic phenomena are involved. But in terms of what the US has already achieved…

…look at political collapse. The country has completely lost any faith it may have once had in its leadership class. That’s why Barack Obama got elected—a complete outsider. Of course, he turned out to be a complete traitor as well, and produced eight years of nothing. And then it got even worse when Trump got elected. He is even more of an outsider. Not only does he talk like an outsider, but he acts like one! He has threatened to kick over the feeding trough for all the little piggies in Washington. And if you look at what’s happening in Washington right now, it’s a country in the midst of a nervous breakdown.

Or look at defense: the US spends more on defense than any other country on Earth by far, and gets less for it than a lot of other countries—such as Russia or China. Just in terms of procurement, the spending parity between the US and Russia is 10 to 1: it takes $10 of US defense spending to match $1 of Russian defense spending. The Russians don’t waste money; they actually get results. Then end result of that is that the US is now militarily enfeebled. The entire aircraft carrier fleet is now redundant; it cannot be deployed in any conflict involving any reasonably well-armed nation. That’s just one example. There are also boondoggles galore: the F-35, the Zumwalt ships, Patriot missiles that still can’t shoot down Soviet-era SCUDs.

Or look at finance. The US is busy sawing through the financial branch that it’s been perched on ever since World War II, which is the US dollar. It is forcing other countries to use the US dollar to their own economic disadvantage, and they are all conspiring to end their dependence on the US dollar and executing plans to do just that. Once that happens, the US becomes a much poorer country overnight. Nobody knows exactly when, but it’s going to happen.

So these are just some examples of the ways in which the United States has already decisively blown it. … It is on a collision course with reality. Pretty soon the interest paid on the national debt will exceed the defense budget; that’s an interesting inflection point. Right now the US is running record deficits, and it’s not even considered to be in a recession… although you never know what that means any more because the US has been cooking its books for quite a while now. We really don’t know what the real unemployment figure is, we don’t know what inflation really is. But you can look at other numbers, that are harder to forge—drug overdose and liver disease statistics, suicides in the military, childhood poverty, mental illness—and from them you can tell that this is a country in severe distress.

Sam: I want to ask about fracking and the whole Peak Oil debate. What about Donald Trump’s claims that the US is going to be the number one producer of oil on the planet? Are you still staying on the Peak Oil bandwagon?

Dmitry: If Donald Trump is a petroleum geologist, then I am from Mars. You have to pay attention to who you pay attention to. Donald Trump is not one to enlighten anyone on this topic. Yes, the raw volumes of oil that the fracking phenomenon is currently producing in the US are huge, but the effect is temporary. Overall production is around 11 million barrels per day, but the decline rate of existing wells hit 500,000 barrels per day per month this summer, and it’s going up. And most of the wells being drilled to compensate for this decline rate produce less than the old ones because all the sweet spots have been tapped already. Add to that the fact that fracking is extremely energy intensive, lowering the EROI of fracked wells. Add to that the fact that the fracking industry hasn’t made any money and is only being kept afloat by a debt bubble kept inflated by low interest rates—which are trending up. Yes, the country is being turned into toxic Swiss cheese; no, this is not going to produce lots of oil long term.

Sam: Then there is the Bill McKibben camp, claiming that Global Warming will kill us off before we get a chance to burn up all the oil.

Dmitry: The effects of Global Warming will vary country by country. We already have extreme, life-threatening heat waves in Southern Europe and in the South and Southwest of the US. There was a lot of crop damage in Europe this summer as a result. The US can no longer compete with Russia in wheat exports. Russian grain exports have surpassed weapons in terms of export revenue and are now in second place after oil and gas. Russia is becoming the breadbasket of the planet. Of course, it has more land than any other country on Earth, but it used to be pretty cold. Now it’s warming up and things are growing really well. The tomatoes that we grew in Russia this summer did really well. We were just buried in tomatoes! And so there will be winners and losers. Bangladesh and the Netherlands will end up underwater. An entire belt through the south of the US will not be survivable in the summer without air conditioning…

Sam: It’s 97ºF [36ºC] here in Atlanta in October. I can’t run the AC because it ruins sound quality, so I am sitting here with sweat running down my face… But how much has Global Warming affected your view of the future?

Dmitry: It has affected my view of the present. The world has been reconfigured by Global Warming. The fact that it is now possible to ship goods year-round through the Arctic Ocean, along the north of Russia and Canada, is a game changer. Goods no longer have to pass through the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. There is a more direct route now. That is a sudden, drastic change that has happened thanks to Global Warming—thanks to the fact that the Arctic is now relatively ice-free, to a point where Russia’s atomic icebreaker fleet can keep the sea lanes clear year-round. There will be winners and losers. Sorry to have to state the obvious, but Russia is looking like a Global Warming winner and the US is looking like a Global Warming loser. This is not just my opinion: lots of authoritative voices are making that point and recent economic results back it up.

Dreamtimer
9th October 2018, 13:31
Dinosaurs roam the United States. The rest of the planet has moved on. :lol:


But how much has Global Warming affected your view of the future?

Dmitry: It has affected my view of the present. The world has been reconfigured by Global Warming. The fact that it is now possible to ship goods year-round through the Arctic Ocean, along the north of Russia and Canada, is a game changer. Goods no longer have to pass through the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. There is a more direct route now. That is a sudden, drastic change that has happened thanks to Global Warming—thanks to the fact that the Arctic is now relatively ice-free, to a point where Russia’s atomic icebreaker fleet can keep the sea lanes clear year-round. There will be winners and losers. Sorry to have to state the obvious, but Russia is looking like a Global Warming winner and the US is looking like a Global Warming loser. This is not just my opinion: lots of authoritative voices are making that point and recent economic results back it up.

Well, he's not in denial.

He says he ended up knowing the US very well,"through no fault of his own". And Russia is now the breadbasket of the world.

Interesting that Trump's tariffs have hit US farmers so hard. You'd think he wants Russia to become the new breadbasket.

Chris
9th October 2018, 14:37
:lol:



Well, he's not in denial.

He says he ended up knowing the US very well,"through no fault of his own". And Russia is now the breadbasket of the world.

Interesting that Trump's tariffs have hit US farmers so hard. You'd think he wants Russia to become the new breadbasket.

I think his point about the negative effects of climate change being strongest in the USA is valid, there was a scientific article confirming this, not so long ago. On the other hand, Northern Eurasia will benefit hugely from it, perhaps Canada and Alaska as well. These regions could feed and house billions of people as they heat up (and climate change has been most noticeable in the arctic regions), whereas much of the Southern and Western United States, China, The Middle East, North Africa and India might become uninhabitable, with heatwaves that will kill you if you're caught outside. These regions will probably start to substantially resemble Mars, in that during most of the year, humans simply won't be able to survive on the surface.


This is often ridiculed by conservatives, but I'm convinced that the migrant crisis is just a precursor of the massive wave of South to North migration that will inevitably have to occur. I don't think there is any practical wave of stopping this, walls will only provide a temporary relief from the pressure of the mass migratory movement.

Dreamtimer
9th October 2018, 15:00
The one looming problem for Europe and Eurasia is the screwing up of the ocean pumps. It may be getting warmer but if the ocean currents bringing the warmth to Europe cease, it'll take a helluva lot of global warming to counteract that.

And ultimately we will snowball into an ice age again, it's just a matter of when.

Wind
9th October 2018, 15:13
And ultimately we will snowball into an ice age again, it's just a matter of when.

Possibly sooner than we might even realize and this will become a major problem.

Chris
9th October 2018, 15:26
The one looming problem for Europe and Eurasia is the screwing up of the ocean pumps. It may be getting warmer but if the ocean currents bringing the warmth to Europe cease, it'll take a helluva lot of global warming to counteract that.

And ultimately we will snowball into an ice age again, it's just a matter of when.

We'll see how that plays out. This was the consensus scientific view around the time Day After Tomorrow came out. As far as I know, there are no signs of this scenario coming true currently. I take a more long-term view and the fact is we are barely out of the last ice age, with current Co2 levels I really doubt we'll fall back into another one. During most of earth's history, the planet was a lot hotter than today and there was basically a uniform tropical climate over much of the planet's surface. I think we're returning to those days, which means much higher sea levels and major earth changes, but also a much longer growing season in those parts of the planet that will benefit from global warming, chiefly Russia.

At the moment, Siberia is populated by an alcoholic 80-year old and his two pet bears, yet it is bigger than the United States and Mexico put together. Completely new cities will be built and this region will probably house most of the planet's population in the future. For one, it has half-a dozen Mississippi-sized rivers that are currently completely unitilised and just flow uselessly into the Arctic sea. A single Siberian lake, Lake Baikal, houses most of the Earth's fresh water supplies. There is similar potential in Canada, Alaska and Greenland. I think we will see major changes ahead for how the Earth's population is distributed.

Dreamtimer
9th October 2018, 15:47
The Sun's activity also has a lot to do with it. And even the increase in Cosmic Rays which won't be diminishing any time soon.

I might start posting in my "our Sun" thread again. I got tired of seeing the same patterns on the sun over weeks when the images were supposed to be from the most recent 48 hours. They clearly were not.

Chris
9th October 2018, 15:55
The Sun's activity also has a lot to do with it. And even the increase in Cosmic Rays which won't be diminishing any time soon.

I might start posting in my "our Sun" thread again. I got tired of seeing the same patterns on the sun over weeks when the images were supposed to be from the most recent 48 hours. They clearly were not.

Indeed, that is why I think warming is going to be the general trend, rather than a new Ice Age. There is actually Solar Warming going on in the Solar System right now, all of the planets are heating up due to increased sun-spot activity, not just Earth. CO2 is only one factor in this warming trend, the Sun of course is just as important.

Wind
9th October 2018, 18:18
Indeed, that is why I think warming is going to be the general trend, rather than a new Ice Age. There is actually Solar Warming going on in the Solar System right now, all of the planets are heating up due to increased sun-spot activity, not just Earth.

No, actually the solar irradiance has been decreasing, our Sun is going to take a nap. Way less heat coming.

I hope the data to be wrong in this case, I'd much rather prefer global warming. It's effects wouldn't be as bad. There's of course no man-made climate change whatsoever, but I bet that no one would like the freezing times. Unfortunately it seems that it is exactly what's coming in just a matter of few years.


http://youtu.be/1H7uSCA_ZSE

Dreamtimer
9th October 2018, 21:47
The sun has had very few spots recently and is likely in a minimum. There's nothing going on other than coronal holes.

https://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/assets/img/latest/latest_256_0193.jpg

https://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_recent2.gif

These data show that sunspots do not appear at random over the surface of the sun but are concentrated in two latitude bands on either side of the equator.
https://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/bfly_recent.png


From Suspicious Observers:
http://solen.info/solar/images/comparison_recent_cycles.png

Dreamtimer
9th October 2018, 21:57
One other thing, human impact really isn't known one way or the other. We've put massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and we really don't know what effect it will have. We don't have a natural comparison.

Aragorn
10th October 2018, 04:28
One other thing, human impact really isn't known one way or the other. We've put massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and we really don't know what effect it will have. We don't have a natural comparison.

But the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere only makes up for 0.04% of the atmosphere, and plants need CO2 for their survival. As a byproduct of their metabolism, they give us pure oxygen in return.

There are far more dangerous greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than CO2, such as methane and even water vapor. And apparently nobody's thought of stopping the cutting down of the Brazilian rainforest — the lung of our planet — yet either. :rolleyes:

modwiz
10th October 2018, 04:50
But the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere only makes up for 0.04% of the atmosphere, and plants need CO2 for their survival. As a byproduct of their metabolism, they give us pure oxygen in return.

There are far more dangerous greenhouse gases in the atmosphere than CO2, such as methane and even water vapor. And apparently nobody's thought of stopping the cutting down of the Brazilian rainforest — the lung of our planet — yet either. :rolleyes:

Thank you for your sanity here. Was like oxygen.:D I addressed this issue in my stream last night by calling BS on the CO2 alarmism by those who would benefit from the taxes while the same ones are behind the global disrespect for Nature and the oxygen providing large forests of the Earth. If CO2 was truly an environmental issue, cutting down forests would be illegal. Science is not a strength with too many people and that is routinely exploited by those who live to do just that.

Chris
10th October 2018, 07:21
Personally, I haven't a clue whether the sun is currently undergoing a warming or cooling phase, I've seen studies supporting both sides, though admittedly, the solar warming studies are a bit older, so perhaps already out of date.

One thing I've noticed since my childhood is that the sun used to be yellow, now it's white. That would indicate it is heating up, but that is a subjective observation of course.


What is not in dispute in my opinion, is that the Earth is warming up, especially in arctic areas. The data on that is indisputable. If the Gulf stream was slowing down, the North of Europe would be much colder already, but instead it is much warmer than usual. In Hungary, the climate has turned decidedly subtropical, instead of the usual continental pattern (more like Georgia than Iowa). Winter has essentially disappeared and the warm season is at least two months longer than it used to be. The warming trend is far more noticeable, the further north you go.


If the Sun is indeed cooling down, that would make greenhouse gases the main culprit in global warming, just like most scientists have always maintained. That means we are in even bigger trouble than commonly thought as it means we already have runaway global warming despite a solar cooling effect helping out.

Dreamtimer
10th October 2018, 08:13
Dumpster Diver would agree with you about the sun heating up, Chris.

Thanks for the point about CO2, Aragorn. The methane being released will dwarf the CO2.

And there are the boreal forests as well. I don't know how much they are being cut but they are just as important, as far as I know.

Chris
10th October 2018, 11:10
Another one from Dmitry Orlov, this time about Germany, the ongoing migrant crisis and the ensuing political repression there. The actual piece about Germany was written by a German at the height of the migrant crisis. I think it was born out of panic at the time and is perhaps overstating the seriousness of the situation, but I still thought this is worth a read. If even half of this is true, it would certainly indicate that Germany is heading towards a political collapse or major upheaval of sorts.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2018/10/the-reichstag-is-ready-to-burn-again.html#more

The Reichstag is Ready to Burn Again



Exactly three years ago I ran an article sent to me by Alex S. from Germany, reproduced in its entirety below along with several translations. It has turned out to be remarkably prescient; in the intervening three years, events in Germany have unfolded entirely in accordance with his predictions. Germany's political system is coming apart. In response, Merkel and those who stand behind her appear to be reactivating the script followed by the National Socialists after the event of February 23, 1933: a fire at the Reichstag was used as an excuse for a political clampdown on the opposition. Similarly, immediately after the demonstrations in Chemnitz the German press rushed to label the demonstrators as fascists and extremists.

Perish the thought that they might be representative of quite a huge number of Germans who have now fully realized where Merkel, with her decision to let in a million and a half Moslem migrants, is taking their country: to Hell. Their opinion is not a secret: most recently, AfD (Alternative for Germany) garnered 17-18% at the polls, becoming the second most popular political force in the country. It achieved this electoral success while doing nothing and in spite of having little media access and of being opposed by an implacably hostile press. In its panic, the ruling coalition, which has held a monopoly on power for 14 years, but now runs a risk of being dethroned by the upstart AfD (which was only formed in 2013, as a euroskeptic party and a brainchild of economics professors) has sounded the alarm: there is a conspiracy afoot to overthrow Germany's democracy! A handful of “conspirators” has been arrested and charged with pogroms against Syrian refugees, using Theresa May's “highly likely” standard of non-proof, and officials who dared challenge this story have been sacked. They can’t even extradite the radical imams of North Rhine-Westphalia, with their boxes of AK-47s, but here they found an entire revolutionary conspiracy in a teacup!

It is really quite remarkable how abysmal the quality of the leadership has become in all of the leading Western nations. Be it Theresa May, with her non-Brexit Brexit, her robotic dance moves and her “highly likely” Novichok ruse, be it Macron’s pitiful photo ops with bird-flipping gangsters, and let’s not even mention the unmentionable Mr. Trump... Add to the list Frau Merkel, determined to serve out her fourth term even if this involves setting the country on fire, even if she has to be carried out feet first. In the case of the United States, this is part of a long-term trend: there was a two-term philanderer who then tried to push his wife into office Eva Peron-style; there was then a two-term near-imbecile chip off the old block; there was then a two-term impostor who cleverly used his skin color to blend in with the upholstery. All of this made the pathetic dénouement that is Trump almost inevitable. But Germany has had a reputation as a well-run place, low on drama, high on efficacy and achievement. Well, not any more!

What is happening now in Germany is quite disgusting, but you ain’t seen nothing yet! The wave of political repression, as the political monopoly attempts to delay the inevitable, will run its course and do its damage. But then, if we are to see an outright AfD victory, the most disgusting part of the drama will unfold, as those recently dethroned scamper over to lick the AfD leadership’s boots and beg to serve them, pretending to have had a sudden conversion on the road to Damascus and to be glad to finally be on the right side of history.

Three years ago, when Alex sent me this article, my reaction was “Dammit, you are right!” and so I translated it into a bunch of languages and disseminated it as widely as I could, to warn people that this time is coming. And now I am running this article again, to warn people that this time has come.



An Exit Strategy for Traitors
[Ein Fluchtplan für Verräter]
[Une strategie de sortie pour les traîtres]
[Предательская стратегия ухода]
[Una strategia di uscita per Traditori]


[Germany—the country at the center of the European Union and its economic powerhouse—is something of a black hole. 70 years after the fall of Nazism, it is still an occupied country, under military and political domination of the US. The national press, popularly referred to as Lügenpresse (the lying press) faithfully echoes the party line set in Washington. Germany's spineless politicians, popularly renamed from Volksvertreter (people's representatives) to Volksverräter (traitors to the people) are no better. And so we are unable to see what is actually happening there, as the European Union is, in the words of Russia's FM Sergei Lavrov, “committing suicide” by letting in the invading hordes from the Middle East. And so this short report by Alex, who tells us what he sees, is most welcome.]

Do you remember the last time you saw a man with wild eyes, strange clothes and a giant sign around his neck saying “The End Is Nigh”? “How ridiculous and pathetic!” you might have thought. Now, imagine the reality of your country changing within weeks to a point where you come to the same conclusion as him, suddenly feeling that his approach might be ever so reasonable. When a large part of your fellow-humans catch a strange sort of illness, one which leads to complete insanity faster than in the worst zombie outbreak, you might find yourself out of more viable strategies.

This exactly is happening to me, as well as most people I know, right now, right here in our export-champion, model-democracy Germany. Sane people are finding themselves isolated and helpless amid insane politicians, an antagonistic press, paralyzed communities and a large inert populace unable to even fathom what’s happening. I am of course talking about the so-called “refugee crisis,” but because even this name is working against us, I will call it what it really is—a war against Europe by means of invasion. It is now vitally important to call things by their right name, because this distinguishes friend from foe.

But it is even more important is to understand why this is a war rather than a crisis caused by refugees. Everything about this development bears the hallmarks of a military/intelligence operation.

First of all, look at the timing and the scale. It really took off around September, and within less then two month it is already threatening the stability of Europe as a whole, to a point where even the European “Leaders” are talking about the end of the European Union. Credible numbers are not available, but the German government estimates the number of “refugees” that have already arrived somewhere between one and two million, so the real number is probably much larger. Almost all the camps are crammed with far more people than is claimed. Some towns are being forced to cope with more “refugees” than they have citizens, some double as many. The estimates for next year amount to something between two and five million more “refugees.”

Ask yourself, why would millions of men (the overwhelming majority are young men) suddenly and collectively decide to leave their families behind, leave their country, travel thousands of miles and head for either Germany, Austria or Sweden, ignoring all the other safe countries on the way? Who told them that this would be worth it? Where did they all get the money to pay for it? Why was there absolutely no effort at any border to stop them? Why did this not start earlier? After all, the middle east has been a war zone for years—ever since the USA exploited 9/11 to start “spreading democracy.” How could this happen within days, weeks at most. Did the first hundred thousand send a message to the rest that it was OK for them to come too? If so, how?

Secondly, look at the character of the average “refugee.” Why are they all well-fed, well-clothed, self-confident young men showing no signs of stress or hardship? Why are they leaving their families behind? Do they know their wives and children can follow them later? If so, how? Why do these men not want to stay behind and try to rescue their countries? Why do they all own high-quality mobile phones charged with seemingly endless minutes? It is clear that the “refugees” have been briefed on exactly what kinds of social benefits they can demand, and how to go about doing it, and so they are audacious and become violent if met with resistance. They even demand expensive medical treatments, which are granted and taken for granted. Why? There are no background checks for any of these people—naturally, because there is no time to do ten thousand-plus background checks every day. For all we know, these people could be criminals, mercenaries and terrorists. An unknown number have serious diseases, such as hepatitis, TB and even the plague. No one keeps track of that, no one registered them, no one limits their freedom of movement. Those who register do so mostly with forged Syrian passports, which Turkey hands out like candy, even to black Africans who look nothing like the Syrians. Tens of thousands of “refugees” have “disappeared” from their camps, some even stopped the special trains midway to their destinations by pulling the emergency brake and ran off into the wilderness. Where to and why—no one knows. No one asks questions, but what is clear is that we have completely lost control over European territory.

Thirdly, there is the little matter of collaboration and treason. Even if this is a genuine refugee crisis, why is that none of the policies of the German/European government make any sense? And why is the press acting continuously and uniformly in favor of their policies, and is downright hostile toward the European populace? If millions of people have to flee immediate peril, there are a lot of different ways to care for them without endangering the integrity of Europe and ruining several national budgets. But instead of discussing what to do, how to do it and how to pay for it, the plan seemed to be predetermined, decided and fixed long ago.

The political “solution” is to soak every city and town in Germany, Austria and Sweden with people of unknown origin and intention. Flanked by a press hailing the process, underestimating their numbers and suppressing reports of crimes committed by the “refugees,” damning and demonizing every form of opposition. Every branch of government, all authorities and parties, in concert with the press, stand should to shoulder in pushing this agenda against the overwhelming indignation of their citizens and closing their eyes to the fact that this is against the law. Censorship, propaganda, hate speech, defamation and open rejection of basic democratic rights against any opposition, are simply exploding right now. A prime example of this is Germany's vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who called an undefined but large part of the German populace who dare to oppose this insanity “Pack” (vermin).

Everyone who takes a stand in Germany now, opposing any refugee-related policy by the government, is subjected to insults is labelled as a right-wing extremist, a hateful criminal and a danger to society. Some get singled out and persecuted in public using extensive defamation campaigns. The author Akif Pirinçci became the latest victim after giving a speech at the PEGIDA demo, the accusation against him based on a shameless misrepresentation of the facts.

Even the most peaceful protest is immediately threatened with a ban (but most are still granted permission anyway). Every speech or publication mentioning treason or comparable accusations is instantly subject to investigations under the charge of demagoguery or threat of violence. Current examples can be found daily in the major mainstream outlets such as Der Spiegel, Die Welt, Bild and the like. If this situation came about by chance, such a spontaneous consensus would have been extremely unlikely. But from day one this has been an obvious propaganda/defamation campaign against the truth and against the interests of the European populace.

The German press even earned itself a new name that sticks: “Lügenpresse” (the lying press) is a word that can be heard on every corner. In private, the politicians are being called traitors all the time.

The national railroad company is ordered to offer special trains free of charge for the “refugees,” bringing them into every corner of Germany the fastest way possible while delaying regular trains.
Vacant houses and apartments are confiscated by force and given over to the “refugees” free of charge. Every “refugee” given rental housing is paid for by the communities, as much as 500 Euros per person per month. This is a big opportunity for some scumbags to make money really fast, by making, ill and elderly Germans homeless.

The police and the press have been ordered to suppress reports of any crimes the “refugees” commit, and so you will not find any in the press, nor even in police reports. But if you ask around, you will hear plenty of stories about rampant assaults and rapes in every city and many towns in Germany. Some “refugee” camps burned down, but most were burned down by their inhabitants, mostly in protest or because of minor disagreements. Police sirens are heard in every city every hour now.

When the “refugees” started shoplifting, then raiding supermarkets, the government told the retailers to keep quiet about this, and has been paying for everything that was damaged or stolen ever since. The only exceptions are alcohol and cigarettes—all other retail goods are free, no questions asked.

The small business sector has declared the “refugees” unemployable, due to zero qualifications, unwillingness to work and lack of language skills. However, the experts in the press somehow see a “big opportunity” to grow the economy. There is no critical discussion and no plan for the future. The only advice Chancellor Merkel gave to Germany was “Wir schaffen das” (We will do it), not elaborating exactly what we will do, nor how. But anyone brave enough to think for themselves can easily guess.

To keep it short, any political common sense and human instinct would prohibit such reckless, potentially irreversible, not to mention illegal behavior. Its end result is clearly visible: it is either the ruin of Europe—mainly the countries targeted by the “refugees,” which are Germany, Austria and Sweden—or war. Since I don’t believe that either coincidences or stupidity of this magnitude is possible, this is either treason or high treason. At least two charges have been filed against the current government, one for organized immigration crimes, and just recently for high treason. About 400 people became party to this action afterward. They are unlikely to succeed, because the judiciary is complicit. But if it isn’t obviously high treason now, it will become so within weeks—called out by everyone, because there is no end in sight.

The rest of organized society is equally treasonous. The press has openly declared itself an enemy of democracy and the general public, and at best a collaborators. The church, even while immediately threatened by violent Islam, prays for more immigrants, damning people who dare to utter doubts. The intelligentsia is either silent or applauds our altruism. The treason is complete. Police and the military are completely overwhelmed. The military was reduced in size long ago to the point of utter ineffectiveness and has been stressed out by international missions. The police is simply not equipped to handle millions of potential enemies fanned out all over Europe, awaiting the order to attack.

For foreign observers, this may sound far fetched and exaggerated. But consider this: in some areas of Germany, when you call the police now, no one will answer the phone. When they do, they are unable to do anything. A friend of mine called the police hotline (not the regular local emergency number) and was advised to form some sort of militia to solve the problem. A town of 600 has a dozen policemen at most, but often around a thousand “refugees” to handle. No one will come to their help if these “refugees” decide to take what they seem to believe is theirs already—because someone told them so, I guess. We are adrift in a sea of enemies, and the front-line in this war will run along the welcome mats at our front doors.

I find myself in a nightmare unable to wake up. Most people feel helpless and unwilling to accept the sad truth: we have been betrayed by everyone (except perhaps the police and the military) we entrusted with our safety and our hopes for the future. Even though the end of the global economy in its current form seemed a given to me, this kind of treason and ill intent to bring it all down took me by surprise. Among the twenty or so people I talked to about this in confidence, absolutely everyone is convinced that this is heading toward civil war—and fast! The only question remaining is whether the Germans start it, or the “refugees,” or some other party. We are one mayor terror attack away from sheer chaos. I have heard from several people connected to European security circles that the illegal weapons market is completely sold out, with many dealers holding on to their weapons for their own personal use. This is a rumour, but since we have been forced to depend on hearsay for any real information right now, I tend to believe it.

There is a small protest movement making headlines in Germany and even internationally. The PEGIDA movement has been gathering every Monday in Dresden to protest European immigration policy for a whole year now. They have had plenty of support since bad immigration policy has given rise to this manufactured “Völkerwanderung” (mass migration). On the October 19—the one-year anniversary gathering—around 35-40 thousand people came to protest peacefully, only to be attacked by several thousand violent “protesters” from the Antifa movement. An allegedly anti-fascist group, so violent and fascist in their behavior they would make for excellent recruiting material for the actual fascists of the SA or the NSDAP. One of the PEGIDA followers was beaten and severely wounded with a metal pole even before the gathering started. Several hundred policemen had to fight for their lives for hours. The Antifa, which is known to many as the second executive of the government, is nothing but an effective mobile force to quell resistance, exactly like the SA, only without the nice uniforms. Wherever demonstrations are announced, the Antifa members will travel there to express their opinion with “hard-hitting” arguments.

Unsurprisingly, PEGIDA is a prime target for hatred and defamation right now. As small as it is, the establishment seems to consider it as real danger, since their complete press gag order against it during the last year did not choke it off. But as important as they might be locally, the outcome seems to be irreversible. The invasion has succeeded already. With each passing day the numbers turn more and more against us. By now the best outcome is a civil war within months, reversing this development. The worst outcome is complete disintegration of European nations within the next few years, rendering large parts of the continent ungovernable. The divorce between the government and the people is almost complete by now. No sane person believes the press or the politicians. The ones who do retreat into fantasies of hate and self hatred. Never before was it more visible to me that this society is completely broken, with every key element, acting against both individual and collective interests, seemingly following orders while digging their own graves.

Once again, unquestioning obedience has taken over German society, but this time without the consent by the masses, because this time the final solution concerns them. The chaos that will follow will by no means be an accident: it is engineered and ordered.

Once again, yet another generation will have to answer to their grandchildren: How could you let this happen?

Alex S.

Aragorn
10th October 2018, 12:20
Thank you for your sanity here. Was like oxygen.:D I addressed this issue in my stream last night by calling BS on the CO2 alarmism by those who would benefit from the taxes while the same ones are behind the global disrespect for Nature and the oxygen providing large forests of the Earth. If CO2 was truly an environmental issue, cutting down forests would be illegal.

Exactly. So why isn't it? :eyebrows:


Science is not a strength with too many people and that is routinely exploited by those who live to do just that.

The problem is that scientists who go in against the (main)stream quickly find themselves without a grant. And somebody's got to pay the bill, you know? :eyebrows:





[...] One thing I've noticed since my childhood is that the sun used to be yellow, now it's white. That would indicate it is heating up, but that is a subjective observation of course.

You are not the first person to observe this. Many others have reported observing the same difference in the sun's hue between their childhood days and present time. And I would agree, but at the same time, I do also have to put a few things into perspective. The color of the sun as we see it here on Earth is in part determined by the atmosphere, and with it, the time of day. In the evening, the sun will appear more yellow, orange or red than at noon or in the morning.

Now, the scientific consensus is that our sun is currently smack in the middle of its lifetime as a star. But the thing is that a dying sun would be leaning toward orange and red, while new stars tend to lean toward a more bluish hue. So I'm guessing that our local star wasn't quite at the middle of its lifetime yet, and is now about to reach that stage, thereby becoming hotter and whiter in hue.

The curious thing however is that we're seeing this change in hue within our own lifetime, while the sun's life expectancy would normally be somewhere in the vicinity of ten billion years. :hmm:


What is not in dispute in my opinion, is that the Earth is warming up, especially in arctic areas. The data on that is indisputable.

No, the data on that are actually quite disputable. Only a few days ago, I saw a YouTube video about the problem with climate change predictions, but for the life of me, I can't find it again. It's not in my browsing history — which means that I may have been watching it in an anonymous browser window, which doesn't store any cookies or browsing history — and several searches for the terms on YouTube don't yield the same video anymore.

The video was very informative in that it addressed the facts that...


Climate change predictions have all failed to come true as the scientists said they would.


Earth was actually cooling down between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. I can personally attest to that, because I stood outside waiting for the bus to work at -25 °C in the winter of 1984-1985. And in the winter of 2011-2012, we actually had daytime temperatures here of -18 °C, while in the years before that, daytime winter temperatures here would sit between -5 °C and 5 °C, and then most of the time, it would never freeze for more than three days in a row without temperatures climbing back above 0 °C during the day. Any snow that had fallen during the night would normally be melting away again during the day.


While there is a correlation between the carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and the climate change phenomenon, correlation does not imply causality, and for most part, the rise in carbon dioxide levels follows the warming trend, not the other way around.


The data regarding temperature curves and carbon dioxide levels has already been falsified on several occasions in order to get the matter politically supported and accepted.


There are climatological changes happening all throughout the solar system. For instance, Jupiter's giant red spot — a mega storm that has already been observed since the middle ages — is shrinking and has almost completely disappeared, while a smaller but similar storm on Jupiter is now becoming clearer and clearer.



If the Gulf stream was slowing down, the North of Europe would be much colder already, but instead it is much warmer than usual. In Hungary, the climate has turned decidedly subtropical, instead of the usual continental pattern (more like Georgia than Iowa). Winter has essentially disappeared and the warm season is at least two months longer than it used to be. The warming trend is far more noticeable, the further north you go.

Exactly. The data doesn't add up, the predictions have failed, and they've been falsifying the data on more than one occasion.


If the Sun is indeed cooling down, that would make greenhouse gases the main culprit in global warming, just like most scientists have always maintained. That means we are in even bigger trouble than commonly thought as it means we already have runaway global warming despite a solar cooling effect helping out.

But that's not the case here. That's merely the alarmist narrative. The truth of what's happening to our climate is far more convoluted.





Thanks for the point about CO2, Aragorn. The methane being released will dwarf the CO2.

It already is. Methane is released by, among other things, the decomposition of plastics. And the oceans are already saturated with methane. They won't be able to take much more.

Chris
12th October 2018, 10:44
An oldie, but goodie from James Howard Kunstler about what ails the American Republic. In my own experience, much of this analysis applies to the rest of the industrialised world as well, the UK in particular, which is a mirror image of "Middle America", similarly distressed and in the process of tearing itself apart politically over Brexit. As Michael Moore famously said, the middle of England IS Middle America and the Brexit and Trump votes paralleled each other to a significant degree. In terms of political and generational distress, Germany, France, Japan, etc... are not that far behind.


https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/beyond-cynicism-america-fumbles-towards-kafkas-castle/

Beyond Cynicism: America Fumbles Towards Kafka’s Castle
On America's 'long emergency' of recession, globalization, and identity politics.


Nobody knows, from sea to shining sea, why we are having all this trouble with our republic. — Tom McGuane

Can a people recover from an excursion into unreality? The USA’s sojourn into an alternative universe of the mind accelerated sharply after Wall Street nearly detonated the global financial system in 2008. That debacle was only one manifestation of an array of accumulating threats to the postmodern order, which include the burdens of empire, onerous debt, population overshoot, fracturing globalism, worries about energy, disruptive technologies, ecological havoc, and the specter of climate change.

A sense of gathering crisis, which I call the long emergency, persists. It is systemic and existential. It calls into question our ability to carry on “normal” life much farther into this century, and all the anxiety that attends it is hard for the public to process. It manifested itself first in finance because that was the most abstract and fragile of all the major activities we depend on for daily life, and therefore the one most easily tampered with and shoved into criticality by a cadre of irresponsible opportunists on Wall Street. Indeed, a lot of households were permanently wrecked after the so-called Great Financial Crisis of 2008, despite official trumpet blasts heralding “recovery” and the dishonestly engineered pump-up of capital markets since then.

With the election of 2016, symptoms of the long emergency seeped into the political system. Disinformation rules. There is no coherent consensus about what is happening and no coherent proposals to do anything about it. The two parties are mired in paralysis and dysfunction and the public’s trust in them is at epic lows. Donald Trump is viewed as a sort of pirate president, a freebooting freak elected by accident, “a disrupter” of the status quo at best and at worst a dangerous incompetent playing with nuclear fire. A state of war exists between the White House, the permanent D.C. bureaucracy, and the traditional news media. Authentic leadership is otherwise AWOL. Institutions falter. The FBI and the CIA behave like enemies of the people.

Bad ideas flourish in this nutrient medium of unresolved crisis. Lately, they actually dominate the scene on every side. A species of wishful thinking that resembles a primitive cargo cult grips the technocratic class, awaiting magical rescue remedies that promise to extend the regime of Happy Motoring, consumerism, and suburbia that makes up the armature of “normal” life in the USA. They chatter about electric driverless car fleets, home delivery drone services, and as-yet-undeveloped modes of energy production to replace problematic fossil fuels, while ignoring the self-evident resource and capital constraints now upon us and even the laws of physics—especially entropy, the second law of thermodynamics. Their main mental block is their belief in infinite industrial growth on a finite planet, an idea so powerfully foolish that it obviates their standing as technocrats.

The non-technocratic cohort of the thinking class squanders its waking hours on a quixotic campaign to destroy the remnant of an American common culture and, by extension, a reviled Western civilization they blame for the failure in our time to establish a utopia on earth. By the logic of the day, “inclusion” and “diversity” are achieved by forbidding the transmission of ideas, shutting down debate, and creating new racially segregated college dorms. Sexuality is declared to not be biologically determined, yet so-called cis-gendered persons (whose gender identity corresponds with their sex as detected at birth) are vilified by dint of not being “other-gendered”—thereby thwarting the pursuit of happiness of persons self-identified as other-gendered. Casuistry anyone?

The universities beget a class of what Nassim Taleb prankishly called “intellectuals-yet-idiots,” hierophants trafficking in fads and falsehoods, conveyed in esoteric jargon larded with psychobabble in support of a therapeutic crypto-gnostic crusade bent on transforming human nature to fit the wished-for utopian template of a world where anything goes. In fact, they have only produced a new intellectual despotism worthy of Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.

In case you haven’t been paying attention to the hijinks on campus—the attacks on reason, fairness, and common decency, the kangaroo courts, diversity tribunals, assaults on public speech and speakers themselves—here is the key take-away: it’s not about ideas or ideologies anymore; it’s purely about the pleasures of coercion, of pushing other people around. Coercion is fun and exciting! In fact, it’s intoxicating, and rewarded with brownie points and career advancement. It’s rather perverse that this passion for tyranny is suddenly so popular on the liberal left.

Until fairly recently, the Democratic Party did not roll that way. It was right-wing Republicans who tried to ban books, censor pop music, and stifle free expression. If anything, Democrats strenuously defended the First Amendment, including the principle that unpopular and discomforting ideas had to be tolerated in order to protect all speech. Back in in 1977 the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march for their cause (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43).

The new and false idea that something labeled “hate speech”—labeled by whom?—is equivalent to violence floated out of the graduate schools on a toxic cloud of intellectual hysteria concocted in the laboratory of so-called “post-structuralist” philosophy, where sundry body parts of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, and Gilles Deleuze were sewn onto a brain comprised of one-third each Thomas Hobbes, Saul Alinsky, and Tupac Shakur to create a perfect Frankenstein monster of thought. It all boiled down to the proposition that the will to power negated all other human drives and values, in particular the search for truth. Under this scheme, all human relations were reduced to a dramatis personae of the oppressed and their oppressors, the former generally “people of color” and women, all subjugated by whites, mostly males. Tactical moves in politics among these self-described “oppressed” and “marginalized” are based on the credo that the ends justify the means (the Alinsky model).

This is the recipe for what we call identity politics, the main thrust of which these days, the quest for “social justice,” is to present a suit against white male privilege and, shall we say, the horse it rode in on: western civ. A peculiar feature of the social justice agenda is the wish to erect strict boundaries around racial identities while erasing behavioral boundaries, sexual boundaries, and ethical boundaries. Since so much of this thought-monster is actually promulgated by white college professors and administrators, and white political activists, against people like themselves, the motives in this concerted campaign might appear puzzling to the casual observer.

I would account for it as the psychological displacement among this political cohort of their shame, disappointment, and despair over the outcome of the civil rights campaign that started in the 1960s and formed the core of progressive ideology. It did not bring about the hoped-for utopia. The racial divide in America is starker now than ever, even after two terms of a black president. Today, there is more grievance and resentment, and less hope for a better future, than when Martin Luther King made the case for progress on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. The recent flash points of racial conflict—Ferguson, the Dallas police ambush, the Charleston church massacre, et cetera—don’t have to be rehearsed in detail here to make the point that there is a great deal of ill feeling throughout the land, and quite a bit of acting out on both sides.

The black underclass is larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated than it was in the 1960s. My theory, for what it’s worth, is that the civil rights legislation of 1964 and ’65, which removed legal barriers to full participation in national life, induced considerable anxiety among black citizens over the new disposition of things, for one reason or another. And that is exactly why a black separatism movement arose as an alternative at the time, led initially by such charismatic figures as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. Some of that was arguably a product of the same youthful energy that drove the rest of the Sixties counterculture: adolescent rebellion. But the residue of the “Black Power” movement is still present in the widespread ambivalence about making covenant with a common culture, and it has only been exacerbated by a now long-running “multiculturalism and diversity” crusade that effectively nullifies the concept of a national common culture.

What follows from these dynamics is the deflection of all ideas that don’t feed a narrative of power relations between oppressors and victims, with the self-identified victims ever more eager to exercise their power to coerce, punish, and humiliate their self-identified oppressors, the “privileged,” who condescend to be abused to a shockingly masochistic degree. Nobody stands up to this organized ceremonial nonsense. The punishments are too severe, including the loss of livelihood, status, and reputation, especially in the university. Once branded a “racist,” you’re done. And venturing to join the oft-called-for “honest conversation about race” is certain to invite that fate.

Globalization has acted, meanwhile, as a great leveler. It destroyed what was left of the working class—the lower-middle class—which included a great many white Americans who used to be able to support a family with simple labor. Hung out to dry economically, this class of whites fell into many of the same behaviors as the poor blacks before them: absent fathers, out-of-wedlock births, drug abuse. Then the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 wiped up the floor with the middle-middle class above them, foreclosing on their homes and futures, and in their desperation many of these people became Trump voters—though I doubt that Trump himself truly understood how this all worked exactly. However, he did see that the white middle class had come to identify as yet another victim group, allowing him to pose as their champion.

The evolving matrix of rackets that prompted the 2008 debacle has only grown more elaborate and craven as the old economy of stuff dies and is replaced by a financialized economy of swindles and frauds. Almost nothing in America’s financial life is on the level anymore, from the mendacious “guidance” statements of the Federal Reserve, to the official economic statistics of the federal agencies, to the manipulation of all markets, to the shenanigans on the fiscal side, to the pervasive accounting fraud that underlies it all. Ironically, the systematic chiseling of the foundering middle class is most visible in the rackets that medicine and education have become—two activities that were formerly dedicated to doing no harm and seeking the truth!

Life in this milieu of immersive dishonesty drives citizens beyond cynicism to an even more desperate state of mind. The suffering public ends up having no idea what is really going on, what is actually happening. The toolkit of the Enlightenment—reason, empiricism—doesn’t work very well in this socioeconomic hall of mirrors, so all that baggage is discarded for the idea that reality is just a social construct, just whatever story you feel like telling about it. On the right, Karl Rove expressed this point of view some years ago when he bragged, of the Bush II White House, that “we make our own reality.” The left says nearly the same thing in the post-structuralist malarkey of academia: “you make your own reality.” In the end, both sides are left with a lot of bad feelings and the belief that only raw power has meaning.

Erasing psychological boundaries is a dangerous thing. When the rackets finally come to grief—as they must because their operations don’t add up—and the reckoning with true price discovery commences at the macro scale, the American people will find themselves in even more distress than they’ve endured so far. This will be the moment when either nobody has any money, or there is plenty of worthless money for everyone. Either way, the functional bankruptcy of the nation will be complete, and nothing will work anymore, including getting enough to eat. That is exactly the moment when Americans on all sides will beg someone to step up and push them around to get their world working again. And even that may not avail.


James Howard Kunstler’s many books include The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation, and the World Made by Hand novel series. He blogs on Mondays and Fridays at Kunstler.com.

Dreamtimer
12th October 2018, 14:30
Just a couple of points here: I have a son who graduated from college in the North West and the students were nothing like what's being stereotyped about US Universities.

They were smart, caring, professionally oriented, non-reactionary, I could go on. It's easy to cherry pick examples and then portray them as the way, but in reality, just like the climate, things are much more complex.

I find most young adults I come across to be sane, thoughtful, hard working, and quite far from the programmed types being talked about.


The author says 'both sides' when there are many. Even as he himself is writing about many sides.

I'm very weary of the 'both sides' trope being used as an excuse for misdirection and misunderstanding.


Yesterday evening I found myself in Baltimore listening to live music in a venue of mostly black people. My husband and I went to see a particular musician and this ended up being the case. There was a wide age group and some great artistry. I might have just seen a rising star, a young woman with a voice that would blow you out of the room.

At no point, even when someone was rapping, was there any anger or hatred or despair. There was strong community, great talent, creativity and intelligence. No divisions. No sides. The fact that we were white was of no consequence.

I doubt Mr. Kunzler has had these types of first-hand experiences, or hears anything about them.


He miswrote at the end. What he meant to say was this:

That is exactly the moment when Americans on all sides will begin to step up and get their world working again. As they are.


He really needs to get out of the ivory tower and down with the people.

Chris
12th October 2018, 14:56
Just a couple of points here: I have a son who graduated from college in the North West and the students were nothing like what's being stereotyped about US Universities.

They were smart, caring, professionally oriented, non-reactionary, I could go on. It's easy to cherry pick examples and then portray them as the way, but in reality, just like the climate, things are much more complex.

I find most young adults I come across to be sane, thoughtful, hard working, and quite far from the programmed types being talked about.


The author says 'both sides' when there are many. Even as he himself is writing about many sides.

I'm very weary of the 'both sides' trope being used as an excuse for misdirection and misunderstanding.


Yesterday evening I found myself in Baltimore listening to live music in a venue of mostly black people. My husband and I went to see a particular musician and this ended up being the case. There was a wide age group and some great artistry. I might have just seen a rising star, a young woman with a voice that would blow you out of the room.

At no point, even when someone was rapping, was there any anger or hatred or despair. There was strong community, great talent, creativity and intelligence. No divisions. No sides. The fact that we were white was of no consequence.

I doubt Mr. Kunzler has had these types of first-hand experiences, or hears anything about them.


He miswrote at the end. What he meant to say was this:

That is exactly the moment when Americans on all sides will begin to step up and get their world working again. As they are.


He really needs to get out of the ivory tower and down with the people.

Well, doomers will be doomers, I suppose. If you are a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. I'm not necessarily endorsing collapsitarian viewpoints, I just think we should be aware of them, if for nothing else, mental preparation. However, I do find that Industrial Civilisation is in trouble and it will come to an end one way or the other. There are numerous convulsions that accompany the winding down of Industrial Civilisation and the utter uselessness of Universities and the activities that go on in them these days would be near the top of my list.

I don't know what American University students and young people are like, I haven't met that many in person. The young university students I have met in Europe were mostly utterly clueless and beyond saving or hope. Just completely brainwashed automatons, even morons. The ones in Asia were far smarter and ten times more hard-working, but there is a certain amount of groupthink and utilitarianism in Asian cultures that can get tiresome after a while.

NotAPretender
13th October 2018, 10:51
We'll see how that plays out. This was the consensus scientific view around the time Day After Tomorrow came out. As far as I know, there are no signs of this scenario coming true currently. I take a more long-term view and the fact is we are barely out of the last ice age, with current Co2 levels I really doubt we'll fall back into another one. During most of earth's history, the planet was a lot hotter than today and there was basically a uniform tropical climate over much of the planet's surface. I think we're returning to those days, which means much higher sea levels and major earth changes, but also a much longer growing season in those parts of the planet that will benefit from global warming, chiefly Russia.

At the moment, Siberia is populated by an alcoholic 80-year old and his two pet bears, yet it is bigger than the United States and Mexico put together. Completely new cities will be built and this region will probably house most of the planet's population in the future. For one, it has half-a dozen Mississippi-sized rivers that are currently completely unitilised and just flow uselessly into the Arctic sea. A single Siberian lake, Lake Baikal, houses most of the Earth's fresh water supplies. There is similar potential in Canada, Alaska and Greenland. I think we will see major changes ahead for how the Earth's population is distributed.

I think science 'might' be willing to acknowledge that warming to oven temperatures as on Venus or cooling to a snowball are both within the realm of possibility. And it would be determined in a fashion similar to the 'butterfly effect'. From an economic perspective the paradigm of continuous growth seems akin to a pyramid scam to me. Some economists would argue that innovation is the key to continued growth but there is limited space for all that proposed expansion, something would have to give.

I see one solution which has always been my 'vision' for humanity without even considering the additional pressure of perpetual growth. Colonization of the Universe. I see that occurring as a by-product of the nature of man and things. The Earth is approaching late middle-age prematurely thanks to its best tenants proclivities, over-peponess (my inadequate attribution to Aiainawa).

It's the only way out, whether we philosophically agree or not.

Aragorn
13th October 2018, 14:01
From an economic perspective the paradigm of continuous growth seems akin to a pyramid scam to me. Some economists would argue that innovation is the key to continued growth but there is limited space for all that proposed expansion, something would have to give.

You hit the nail on the head, right there. It is a pyramid scam, because the resources are finite and thus one cannot have an economic growth in one place without causing an economic recession in another place, and it is those sitting at the top of the pyramid who dictate where the growth will occur, and where the recession will be. The game has never been about how much money or wealth one can amass. The game is about who has it and who doesn't.

It's all about power. And that is why I hate capitalism — whether regulated or not. ;)

palooka's revenge
13th October 2018, 17:25
You hit the nail on the head, right there. It is a pyramid scam, because the resources are finite and thus one cannot have an economic growth in one place without causing an economic recession in another place, and it is those sitting at the top of the pyramid who dictate where the growth will occur, and where the recession will be. The game has never been about how much money or wealth one can amass. The game is about who has it and who doesn't.

It's all about power. And that is why I hate capitalism — whether regulated or not. ;)

bingo. and to be more precise, power over. there is another form of power i find far more comforting. that is, i could kick your ass! but i choose not to. instead, i choose to not play your game...

Chris
15th October 2018, 08:59
You hit the nail on the head, right there. It is a pyramid scam, because the resources are finite and thus one cannot have an economic growth in one place without causing an economic recession in another place, and it is those sitting at the top of the pyramid who dictate where the growth will occur, and where the recession will be. The game has never been about how much money or wealth one can amass. The game is about who has it and who doesn't.

It's all about power. And that is why I hate capitalism — whether regulated or not. ;)

That is not how economics works. The Global Economy really is a fragile ecosystem of sorts, on a global scale. As soon as there is dislocation in one part, everyone else is affected. The Great Recession and now Brexit is proving this comprehensively. In order to have global growth, you need most of the world to have some growth, otherwise the system collapses like a house of cards. We have global, just-in-time delivery supply chains, a single wrench thrown into this delicate machine collapses the whole thing. So it is actually far worse than what you say, because there cannot really be a recession in one place and growth in the rest of the world, except for small isolated cases, such as Venezuela or North Korea, that are not really part of the Global Economy.

That is why Brexit is such a huge threat to the global economy. I work as an import manager and I'm acutely aware how even a small delay in just-in-time deliveries can create and entire chain of events, that create a negative feedback loop. Even a small disruption in global trade would be catastrophic to the developed world as we only have a few hours' worth of stuff warehoused or stocked away at any one time. The tiniest disruption leads to shortages in a few hours or days at most. You can see this during hurricanes or other natural disasters, when hoarding empties shelves and gas pumps almost instantly.


Dmitry Orlov writes about this extensively, but one of the unintended benefits of the huge inefficiencies in the Soviet economy were that is was ironically made a lot more resilient and collapse-proof as a result. People managed to survive its collapse more or less intact, because there was just so much stuff lying around with nobody to claim it, and due to the inadequacies of collectivised agriculture, most people were already growing a good amount of their own food. If our fragile global economy collapses today, people in major cities start going hungry by the end of the week and there will be civil unrest by monday, probably mass cannibalism by Christmas.

Chris
16th October 2018, 12:58
JHK on cultural collapse manifesting in the deliberate fudging of gender roles and boundaries. Note that he used to be a columnist for the NYT, so he probably knows that increasingly Maoist culture in these publications better than most.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/9733/

Lost in Space

Speaking as a black woman… wait second! Can I do that? Well, why not. We’re now a nation consumed by make-believe, in which you can declare anything you want about yourself and insist that everyone else agree that it is so. If I identify this way, you must believe me! (Or else I will come after you with my cos-play mob and destroy you.)

The avatars out on the cutting edge of culture want to dissolve all the boundaries between all categories of everything — except us and them: their allies and their enemies. Everything else is slated to become — by force, if necessary — a big, turbid, zero-gravity soup of intersectional relativity. The reasons for this sanctioned insanity are not exactly what you think they are.

Case in point: The Sunday New York Times Magazine profile of one Jill Soloway, Hollywood producer / director and now memoirist of the book She Wants It: Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy (“out this week,” note that little detail.) Mx. Soloway (Mx. being the newest engineered intersectional salutation) runs a movie production company named Topple, best known for putting out the TV show Transparent, about an older man who decides he’d be happier pretending to be a woman, and all the good family feeling that such a decision might engender, so to speak.

Gender was complicated for Mx. Soloway, for whom puberty arrived late, but with the sudden appearance of large breasts. “Do other people’s memories of their teenage years include things like soccer competitions or blue ribbons?” they write. “All I have is the memory of being suddenly overwhelmed by becoming sex to others.”

Aha, the curse of large breasts. What a life-annihilating affliction.
And yes, you read that right. Mx. Soloway now insists on being addressed as “they” (The Times obliges), invoking a linguistic hall-of-mirrors in which there are always two of you: the one located in space and the one in the mirror — shall we surmise? — or perhaps there is another explanation. One might goof on the narcissistic buffoonery of this stuff all the livelong day, but that would be tiresome and cruel, so I will just come to the point and tell you what is going on here, what it is all about.

It is about fashion, status, and prestige as has been the case in human social relations since earliest (hu)man put a banana leaf on its head, to the awe and wonder of others gathered ‘round. All three of those conditions depend on a person being special, a figure apart from the boring, moiling, deplorable mob of morons who agree to be hostage to their own biology. Biology is a disease to be overcome, and you can do that by asserting your will. For instance, in the case at hand of Mx. Soloway, you can get breast reduction surgery, cut off your hair, and wear baggy clothes. This does not make you a man, but it allows you to affect to renounce your “sexual assignment.” Anyway, who wants to be a man? (The enemy!)

Rather, you pretend to exist in a make-believe liminal realm in between, relieved of all the pain-in-the-ass tensions of being one or the other, and therefore, to some degree, the tensions of being a mature mammal. Is not the game of “pretend” the chief occupation of childhood, either a happy one or otherwise? And is not Hollywood all about the game of pretend? And so, in Hollywood, the most zealous pretenders acquire the highest prestige. The trick is to get other people to agree that your pretenses are bona fide (the Emperors New Clothes gambit). One way to accomplish that is to elaborate a fantasy that has already been set in motion as a fashion statement. With good old-fashioned American Puritanism coming back into fashion under the guise of Maoist authoritarianism emanating from the campuses, nothing carries higher status than anathemizing human sexuality, working every angle to abolish it, to banish it from the world, and to punish those who object.

There are a few little problems with this. One is, you’re still stuck with your actual biological sexuality, whether you like it or not. Every cell in the body is imprinted — except in rare instances of what used to be called “birth defects.” There’s no “returns” policy at the sexual assignment bureau. Accordingly, people who stop short of completely screwing up their bodies with genital amputation and radical hormone treatments are still subject to sexual promptings of the type associated with their cellular DNA. Mx. Soloway has demonstrated this in her own work, as The Times explains:

After the author [Mx S.] falls in love with a lesbian while still married, the two enthusiastically make a short comedy about female ejaculation. The Topple crew pitched in, building a giant vagina and helping with costumes. Mx. Soloway calls the film, inevitably, “If You Build It, She Will Come.”


One of The New York Times’s chief roles in our society has been to confer prestige on the people they chose to write about. The Times is a mighty churning engine of status-granting, locked in a feedback loop with the readership it is working to flatter so as to place them in the social hierarchy du jour. Unfortunately, what they have to work with du jour is cultural collapse, which is exactly what converts degeneracy into prestige. It’s an unappetizing process, and its products — supposedly “gender-fluid” adult mammals — have exactly such an unappetizing presentation. What is most fashionable these days is obviously unreal, and to become a fashion-victim of that can’t have a happy ending.

starry night
16th October 2018, 22:01
howdy! I thought I'd chime in here, cause I find myself stirred up by this thread, and also because I have been following this general topic, on and off, for maybe a decade? and so have read some of the points of view being brought forward here, and might have something salient to add to the conversation.

My sense is, that bottom line, we are trying to understand these huge, complex, dynamic systems: solar, climate, economics, population movement, in order to suss out causes and effects. How do we make sense of all of this? what do we do about it? where are the leverage points? what can we expect, moving forward? how do we make the best of it, how do we deal with this mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually; how do we survive it?

I entered into this "discourse" (yes, I am a Foucault fan) coming from a decidedly "outsider" point of view. I had my 15 minutes of fame as an early (maybe the first?) female blogger talking about Peak Oil, around the time The Long Emergency came out, when the Transition Towns movement was just getting started, before they joined forces with - dangit, can't think of the name - the institute in Canada. I got involved in local politics, bringing Richard Heinberg to speak to the state legislators, was on the committee to organize a 350 rally (and then Obama scheduled HIS rally the same day, so that was a bummer!), that sort of thing.

I got deep into the doomer mentality, concluded (in part, because of Kunstler) that the solution had to be addressed on the community level, as nothing was working on any other level. My interest in intentional communities shifted to "eco" intentional communities. I ran myself ragged. Eventually I burnt out.

One of the first things I noticed, was all of the advice about the "post-collapse skills" that I would need to develop, were in the realm of either food or energy production. This triggered deep fear in me, that I would not survive, because not only are neither of these my skill set, but all of the voices seemed to be saying that the arena that I felt was important--the human, social aspect--was not valued. Was not even noticed as important.

Not to mention the emotional aspect of confronting this whole thing! Which, given my background in "persuasion" (from both a personal and academic perspective) I knew was absolutely key to the messaging, if nothing else. People shut down when they are overwhelmed, etc. etc.

Well, eventually a few women, and some of the facilitators who were involved in Transition Towns, helped me clarify that yes, the social, community-building aspect is typically overlooked--to put it bluntly, this has historically been "women's work," the assumed, unpaid labor, that is not compensated, so would not be "valued" as "currency" to trade in the post-whatever world.

This (further) "radicalized" me, and I found myself parting ways with those that analyzed the systems, but were NOT taking the "deeper layers of the cake" into account.

The emotional-spiritual axis. gotta take a call

Chris
16th October 2018, 22:22
howdy! I thought I'd chime in here, cause I find myself stirred up by this thread, and also because I have been following this general topic, on and off, for maybe a decade? and so have read some of the points of view being brought forward here, and might have something salient to add to the conversation.

My sense is, that bottom line, we are trying to understand these huge, complex, dynamic systems: solar, climate, economics, population movement, in order to suss out causes and effects. How do we make sense of all of this? what do we do about it? where are the leverage points? what can we expect, moving forward? how do we make the best of it, how do we deal with this mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually; how do we survive it?

I entered into this "discourse" (yes, I am a Foucault fan) coming from a decidedly "outsider" point of view. I had my 15 minutes of fame as an early (maybe the first?) female blogger talking about Peak Oil, around the time The Long Emergency came out, when the Transition Towns movement was just getting started, before they joined forces with - dangit, can't think of the name - the institute in Canada. I got involved in local politics, bringing Richard Heinberg to speak to the state legislators, was on the committee to organize a 350 rally (and then Obama scheduled HIS rally the same day, so that was a bummer!), that sort of thing.

I got deep into the doomer mentality, concluded (in part, because of Kunstler) that the solution had to be addressed on the community level, as nothing was working on any other level. My interest in intentional communities shifted to "eco" intentional communities. I ran myself ragged. Eventually I burnt out.

One of the first things I noticed, was all of the advice about the "post-collapse skills" that I would need to develop, were in the realm of either food or energy production. This triggered deep fear in me, that I would not survive, because not only are neither of these my skill set, but all of the voices seemed to be saying that the arena that I felt was important--the human, social aspect--was not valued. Was not even noticed as important.

Not to mention the emotional aspect of confronting this whole thing! Which, given my background in "persuasion" (from both a personal and academic perspective) I knew was absolutely key to the messaging, if nothing else. People shut down when they are overwhelmed, etc. etc.

Well, eventually a few women, and some of the facilitators who were involved in Transition Towns, helped me clarify that yes, the social, community-building aspect is typically overlooked--to put it bluntly, this has historically been "women's work," the assumed, unpaid labor, that is not compensated, so would not be "valued" as "currency" to trade in the post-whatever world.

This (further) "radicalized" me, and I found myself parting ways with those that analyzed the systems, but were NOT taking the "deeper layers of the cake" into account.

The emotional-spiritual axis. gotta take a call

That is really useful info, thank you!

I know how easy it is to fall into the doomer mentality. I still value Kunstler mostly because of his continued advocacy of better communities and especially urban environments. This is especially important in the US, where most cities are way too car-centric and too dependent on fossil fuels to function. I'm not a doomer and I do think that better transportation and energy technologies are already coming in to help us transition to a more sustainable future. JHK would disagree with me on that one, but I do think the evidence is pretty strong that we will transition eventually to a significantly better living arrangement and New Urbanism (of which Kunstler is considered an unofficial spokesman) will help us get there. The point where I agree with both JHK and Dmitry Orlov is that cultural and social collapse has already run its course in large parts of the Western World, but I do think that proper social and cultural structures can be rebuilt, along with liveable and sustainable communities. This won't happen everywhere, as we also have climate change to contend with, but I am optimistic that it will eventually happen in enough places to make a difference.

starry night
16th October 2018, 23:52
That is really useful info, thank you!

I know how easy it is to fall into the doomer mentality. I still value Kunstler mostly because of his continued advocacy of better communities and especially urban environments. This is especially important in the US, where most cities are way too car-centric and too dependent on fossil fuels to function. I'm not a doomer and I do think that better transportation and energy technologies are already coming in to help us transition to a more sustainable future. JHK would disagree with me on that one, but I do think the evidence is pretty strong that we will transition eventually to a significantly better living arrangement and New Urbanism (of which Kunstler is considered an unofficial spokesman) will help us get there. The point where I agree with both JHK and Dmitry Orlov is that cultural and social collapse has already run its course in large parts of the Western World, but I do think that proper social and cultural structures can be rebuilt, along with liveable and sustainable communities. This won't happen everywhere, as we also have climate change to contend with, but I am optimistic that it will eventually happen in enough places to make a difference.

Me too. (Orlov scared the bejeezus out of me, but I am grateful for the wake up call!)

I am also very grateful for Kunstlers wake up call, and his advocacy for New Urbanism. I live in one of the most car-centric locals in the US, I believe--I gave up on my political advocacy career when I discovered that the biggest lobby in the state was the road builders! And, not coincidentally, we also have very high pedestrian and bicycle mortality rates. :(

Continuing my backstory: Even before I became aware of the collapse, I was drawn to community living. Palooka and I met in a mutual search for an intentional community, and we first lived together in a tiny tiny tiny community that we founded. I had an MA in Communication, focusing on Organizational, Group, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication, and had crashed and burned at the end of my coursework so did not pursue a PhD at that time.

When I was able to study again, I wanted to learn more about intentional communities, and how to facilitate meetings in them. There was no academic route for this, so I built my own program, training with the experts in the intentional communities movement who, after 20-30 years in the field, were ready to pass on what they had learned to the next generation of facilitators. It was an amazing opportunity, and I am very grateful for it.

I also got the chance to visit a lot of intentional communities in the US, mostly based on the co-housing model, mostly dealing with (white) middle-class problems. (back when there was one, LOL.) Still, people are people, and my trainers had a much broader background, so it gave me first hand experience with the kinds of things that seem to be common to at least this subgroup of humanity, and also *solutions* on the process level. Or rather, what are the best processes, the best practices, when it comes to finding solutions to the problems that inevitably come up when living intentionally, in community?

Cause if anything is going to get done, it is going to get done by people, who are coming together from their own histories, positions, etc. have their own interests, points of view, triggers, deeply held beliefs, y'all know the drill!

I learned a lot.

Then came the realization of the end of the world as we know it: TEOTWAWKI (remember that acronym?)

I became drawn to the question of okay, so how DO we rebuild, incorporating the social-emotional axis? And at the time I started the next phase of my journey, I was still pretty freaked out, so the question was, what if we have to do it on the fly? In a state of emergency, while we are on the move from one climate zone to another?

That's when I got interested in "self-organizing" communities--as it was presented in the doomer/prepper discourse.

So started to get training in Open Space facilitation, and also, in drawing on the deeper traditional/tribal models (we've been around for a long time!) which started to line up with my Spiritual process/development... and this is what I am working on, still. But that is for another thread.

Back to Kunstler. So I am trying to sort out the point he is making. And I think it is important to tease out the role of the media, in all of this. And the messages. Which is, obviously, a whole lot of the work we are doing here at TOT. Sorting it all out!

I want to understand what he is saying, and I also want to understand where he is coming from, as a person with his own "stuff," so to speak, to help me make sense of it. Methinks he is triggered. :o I know I was certainly triggered by some of what he said, and I had to go emote until I could come back and write something that wasn't just coming from my upsettedness, so to speak.

Because I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, in terms of rejecting other points of view just because something somebody said pissed me off. I mean, I do that all the time momentarily, but my goal is to work through my stuff so I can "hear" again.

Anywho, palooka is home, so I need to get off his laptop (the keyboard to my iPad is kaput) and come back to this later.

Amanda
17th October 2018, 00:33
What a breath of fresh air this thread is - not - for its content but for the conversation and thought provoking intent. The collapse of consumerism has to be close. I have had people mention the constant rise of financial sectors and how the ascent cannot be prolonged. Here in Australia real estate is starting to decline.

My thoughts can sometimes turn to consumerism and how the constant purchase of 'things' cannot be infinite. Eventually people will have to stop making purchases due to 'things' ending up in landfill. This line of thinking then leads me to Neuro Linguistic Programming. Is the inevitable collapse just another Heligian Dialect moment?

All I can see - and - you don't have to be psychic or have a Chronovisor to see it, is this: Eventually all the food will be contaminated with pesticides and GMOs et cetera and all anyone will be able to do is to make the best possible choices of what is available - yes/no/maybe?

Factor in the Geo-Engineering in the sky and the chemicals in processed food and the negative impact of living in a constant soup of 'invisible' wi-fi and the list goes on. How will it all end? Will it end? Will it morph into another paradigm? Will that paradigm be an improvement or will it be worse?

I read today these words: Researchers have created a theory that, we are all living a nightmare here on Earth and the only escape is Death. Certainly makes for an excellent thinking exercise. As for Politics and control - they - just in my opinion (doesn't make me right and everyone else wrong) are what need to be changed. Politics needs to be addressed and the People need to govern themselves and all the control mechanisms (like licences for just about everything, what you can grow or do or not do) need to be removed. A fresh start is the only way - yes/no/maybe?

I have often thought that between everyone - if we listened to everyone - we could amass all knowledge and build a solid 'new' base on which to live.

2271

Much Peace & Much Respect - As we learn about our World - Amanda

starry night
17th October 2018, 05:09
I read today these words: Researchers have created a theory that, we are all living a nightmare here on Earth and the only escape is Death.

yes, I think this is the experience of a lot of loving essence on the planet right now. I know I have had to come face to face with this, as it was one of my core beliefs. And I have taken that way "out," in many lifetimes past. In fact, the knowing of this had kept me alive in my own nightmare. There was no out. I always come back.

As I have become committed to healing, and as I have been willing to go into the pain, and discover more healing through that, I finally got a trigger that took me all the way down to my own "ground zero," so to speak. I had enough consciousness to call a friend who understood my process, and she simply told me "you know what you have to do." I did not want to hear it, but I needed to hear it. I needed to release that judgment--that the only escape was death. That I could not survive the pain.

And so, I did.

What happened next astonished me. It was in the context of hours/days/weeks of emotional movement--part of my own kundalini awakening, if you will--in which I felt that judgment precipitate out of my etheric body, into my crown, and all the way down to my toes! I had fever and chills and vomited five times over the course of about 36 hours.

And there are always "more layers of the onion," but so far, knock wood, I have been free of this impulse in the five years since. I now know, from that experiential place, that I can survive the feelings.

My deepest hope is that we will be able to finally clear enough individually to be able to heal the gaps between us, and find the balance points that have never been found in the loss of power and overpowering that has gone on.

And Amanda, on a personal note, as a survivor of MC/RA, I am so very grateful for your work. I have just been reading your whistleblower thread, and will go post a bit there (unless I lose access to the laptop--I think palooka might want it back).

Chris
17th October 2018, 08:58
Me too. (Orlov scared the bejeezus out of me, but I am grateful for the wake up call!)

I am also very grateful for Kunstlers wake up call, and his advocacy for New Urbanism. I live in one of the most car-centric locals in the US, I believe--I gave up on my political advocacy career when I discovered that the biggest lobby in the state was the road builders! And, not coincidentally, we also have very high pedestrian and bicycle mortality rates. :(

Continuing my backstory: Even before I became aware of the collapse, I was drawn to community living. Palooka and I met in a mutual search for an intentional community, and we first lived together in a tiny tiny tiny community that we founded. I had an MA in Communication, focusing on Organizational, Group, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication, and had crashed and burned at the end of my coursework so did not pursue a PhD at that time.

When I was able to study again, I wanted to learn more about intentional communities, and how to facilitate meetings in them. There was no academic route for this, so I built my own program, training with the experts in the intentional communities movement who, after 20-30 years in the field, were ready to pass on what they had learned to the next generation of facilitators. It was an amazing opportunity, and I am very grateful for it.

I also got the chance to visit a lot of intentional communities in the US, mostly based on the co-housing model, mostly dealing with (white) middle-class problems. (back when there was one, LOL.) Still, people are people, and my trainers had a much broader background, so it gave me first hand experience with the kinds of things that seem to be common to at least this subgroup of humanity, and also *solutions* on the process level. Or rather, what are the best processes, the best practices, when it comes to finding solutions to the problems that inevitably come up when living intentionally, in community?

Cause if anything is going to get done, it is going to get done by people, who are coming together from their own histories, positions, etc. have their own interests, points of view, triggers, deeply held beliefs, y'all know the drill!

I learned a lot.

Then came the realization of the end of the world as we know it: TEOTWAWKI (remember that acronym?)

I became drawn to the question of okay, so how DO we rebuild, incorporating the social-emotional axis? And at the time I started the next phase of my journey, I was still pretty freaked out, so the question was, what if we have to do it on the fly? In a state of emergency, while we are on the move from one climate zone to another?

That's when I got interested in "self-organizing" communities--as it was presented in the doomer/prepper discourse.

So started to get training in Open Space facilitation, and also, in drawing on the deeper traditional/tribal models (we've been around for a long time!) which started to line up with my Spiritual process/development... and this is what I am working on, still. But that is for another thread.

Back to Kunstler. So I am trying to sort out the point he is making. And I think it is important to tease out the role of the media, in all of this. And the messages. Which is, obviously, a whole lot of the work we are doing here at TOT. Sorting it all out!

I want to understand what he is saying, and I also want to understand where he is coming from, as a person with his own "stuff," so to speak, to help me make sense of it. Methinks he is triggered. :o I know I was certainly triggered by some of what he said, and I had to go emote until I could come back and write something that wasn't just coming from my upsettedness, so to speak.

Because I don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, in terms of rejecting other points of view just because something somebody said pissed me off. I mean, I do that all the time momentarily, but my goal is to work through my stuff so I can "hear" again.

Anywho, palooka is home, so I need to get off his laptop (the keyboard to my iPad is kaput) and come back to this later.

That is a very interesting backstory indeed :)

I am quite fascinated by collapse, since I grew up during one in the nineties, when the Soviet Empire imploded. Experiencing it first hand, as a child, gives you an entirely different perspective. It is not the end of the world, but it is the end of the world for some, mostly those that are inflexible and set in their ways. In my own country, the economic collapse of the nineties, played out pretty much like the Great Depression in the US, perhaps with less dire consequences.

Still, there was mass unemployment, homelessness (which was unheard of during communist times), pensioners and formerly middle class people dumpster diving, an explosion in prostitution (you gotta feed your children somehow and that's one of the only ways during an economic collapse), a boom in organised crime (which again, was unheard of before), a lot of looting of state assets, Russian tanks beings sold for bottles of Vodka by the departing Red Army, juicy things like that.

I often wonder if some people still have a rusting Mig-29s or maybe even a nuclear missile somewhere in their backyards. The death rate went through the roof (suicide, alcoholism, depression and stress-related ailments), whereas birth rates plummeted, not least due to a spike in abortion rates.


Dmitry Orlov wrote about this extensively, which is why I really appreciate his perspective. I also see a lot of parallels with what is happening in the US and the UK currently, with Trump and Brexit. I have a feeling that both Brits and Americans might experience something akin to the Soviet Collapse, in the near future. The important thing to keep in mind is that mental preparation and flexibility is the key to survival.

The people with the most to lose are usually the ones that take it the worst, especially middle-aged men in positions of power. That is why it is important not to cling to possessions, especially paper assets as they tend to weigh you down and pull you down with them. When you're swimming away from the sinking titanic, it is best not to hold on tight to your chest of gold, stocks and bonds. Better just let it go and find a lifeboat, that will take you to safety.

Chris
18th October 2018, 15:11
Another economic collapse prediction from Dmitry Orlov. Note that these are roughly the same ones Peter Schiff made back in 2007, in His book Crash Proof. It Almost came true exactly as he predicted (and I remember it very vividly as I was living in Singapore at the time and the Lehman collapse affected a lot of people there. Many lost all of their life savings). however Hank Paulson's intervention brought the whole system back from the brink and for some reason it (the global financial system) still hasn't imploded. Nevertheless, Orlov's analysis is excellent as usual and well worth a read.


http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2018/10/humpty-dumptys-fateful-choice.html

Humpty-Dumpty’s Fateful Choice


According to the English nursery rhyme, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again.” It is often presented as a riddle, and children are prompted to guess that Humpty was an egg. This is, of course, the wrong answer: the right answer, as all up-to-date children should know, is that Dumpty is the US dollar.

But back to the nursery rhyme: why would all of king’s men attempt to put together a broken egg, and why would horses be sent in to help? In fact, Dumpty was not an egg but a large cannon that accidentally fell from a castle wall during the English Civil War of 1642-49 and smashed into pieces. Another nursery rhyme, “Ring a ring o’ roses,” is about the Great Plague of 1665. Nursery rhymes aren’t about childish things; they are about serious things, like civil wars, pandemics… and currency collapses.

One of the most impactful events of the early 21st century is its undoing as the world’s main reserve currency. Since many people will immediately demand to know when exactly this will happen, let me rush to supply them with the correct answer: this will happen early in the 21st century. As to how exactly it will happen—well, that’s the interesting part.

How is the US dollar like Humpty Dumpty? It’s all in the nursery rhyme: it’s fragile, it’s going to fall and crack, and no amount of energy (“king’s horses”) or military power (“king’s men”) will be able to make it whole again. There is an additional dimension to this falling-off-the-wall business. Wall-sitting is not so common, but the term “fence-sitting” is often used to indicate indecision.

This brings forth one important aspect of falling off a wall that we ignore at our peril: there are two ways to fall off a wall, and the decision as to which one is rarely without consequence. Walls and fences share a fundamental feature: they serve to separate the inside from the outside. Had Humpty fallen to the outside, the king’s men would have had to muster a sortie and sally forth, braving great dangers, to retrieve its mighty wreckage.

What are the two sides of the wall from which the US dollar shall fall, and how are they different. We’ll get to that question in due course, but first we have to spell out some basics. In order for a currency to serve as a global reserve currency there has to be lots of it available. There are three basic ways that a country can proliferate its currency: by lending it into existence; by borrowing it into existence; and by printing it and just handing it out no strings attached.

Lending it into existence is, of course, preferable: other countries then pay you interest, which you can reinvest in the project of making other countries pay you interest on your own money. But this only works if other countries absolutely must buy your currency in order to then use it to buy something they absolutely need, such as Saudi Arabian oil (which for a long time could only be purchased with US dollars, based on a deal between Saudi Arabia and the US). It also only works until lots of countries that you’ve bled dry start defaulting on their loans, leaving you with giant gaping holes in your banking system that can only be fixed by just printing money and stuffing it into those holes.

The trick of making others pay you to use your money is nice, but it doesn’t always work, and then the alternative—to pay others to use your money—comes into play. This is most easily accomplished by running trade and budget deficits and papering them over by issuing government debt. The reason it doesn’t always work is simple: what were the Saudis supposed to do with all those dollars they were getting for their oil (other than squandering them on useless American weapons which they promptly buried in the sand)? Why, lend them back to the Americans, of course! For a while, this scheme, called “petrodollar recycling,” worked like a charm: Americans lent out dollars at a higher rate, then borrowed them back from the Saudis at a lower rate.

But like all good things, this something-for-nothing scheme eventually stopped working. Trade and budget deficits grew into a truly gigantic pile of debt that had to keep growing all the time, and there just weren’t enough borrowers in the world who could be relied on to recycle all that money. Instead, the US has relied more and more on paying people to use its money—borrowing it into existence and paying others to use the US dollar, that is. The problem with doing this is that it eventually becomes impossible to keep the economy going because the capital it needs keeps getting eaten up by the ever-growing debt monster in the form of interest payments.

The solution to this problem—since it’s your own currency and you do whatever you want—is to drop interest rates to zero and start lending money at zero percent interest. Now, suddenly, there are plenty of takers! This is not exactly the same as just printing money and handing it out, since there are strings attached: when the loans come due, they have to be either paid off (fat chance!) or rolled over into new loans, still at 0% interest, one would hope. But since the only ones who can belly up to the 0% feeding trough are major corporations and financial institutions, the free money doesn’t filter out to consumers and stimulate demand, making it a bad idea to invest it in anything productive.

Instead, it is used to fuel speculative investments: companies inflate their share prices by buying up their own shares; financial institutions inflate real estate prices and other asset prices. This keeps federal dollars flowing and the financial system from collapsing. It also makes the rich feel even richer, but it is hardly a virtuous cycle for the economy as a whole: inflated asset prices for necessities such as housing depress consumer spending and shrink rather than grow the real economy of consumer goods and services. Nevertheless, you may currently be hearing lots of nonsensical statements such as the following: “…asset inflation has been the prime driver of growth in the developed world since the global financial crisis 10 years ago…” Look what a huge, beautiful economic tumor we grew by eating nothing but financial high-fructose corn syrup!

But we didn’t need to wait for speculative investors to get nosebleeds from stratospherically inflated asset prices or for the consumer economy to crater from asset inflation-imposed austerity, because soon enough foreign debt buyers started politely asking about getting a bit more than 0% for their troubles. Interest rates on federal debt rates then had to move up in order for the market to absorb the new debt without hurting the value of US debt. The rates on US government borrowing are now above the magic 3% level at which things are thought to start unraveling.

Beyond a certain point higher interest rates will trigger a recession/depression. But even if they don’t, foreign borrowers will eventually begin to realize that high interest rates are as bad as 0% interest rates if your creditor happens to be a deadbeat. We’ve been led down this garden path once before: prior to the Russian government’s default in 1998, interest rates on Russian government debt shot up to 100%. It was at that point that international investors decided that this wasn’t funny any more and walked away. Thus, there is no “right” level of interest rates to pick from while spiraling down into a debt hole.

Are there any alternatives to spiraling down into a debt hole? Some possibilities were opened up in this regard with the election of Donald Trump. He has all of the macroeconomic intellectual acumen of a casino and hotel magnate cross-bred with a beauty pageant organizer and a reality show host—none at all—but his megalomaniacal character makes him incapable of sensing his intellectual limitations. Add to this the fact that he has been deprived of all avenues of action except for just a few: giving tax breaks to corporations and the ultra-rich; increasing defense spending; and imposing unilateral sanctions on anyone he doesn’t happen to like. The latter is turning out to be quite lethal with regard to the US dollar’s status as an international reserve currency. If one’s ability to use the US dollar in foreign exchange reserves or in international settlements can be impaired without warning based on presidential whim, then this makes the US dollar rather unattractive. This development has turbocharged the effort, already underway, to shift away from the US dollar in international trade.

There are two effects to expect from this development. One is that the global demand for US dollars will drop as other countries find ways to trade with each other in their own currencies or using barter, bypassing the US dollar. The other that the supply of US dollars will increase, as foreign holders of US dollars unload their holdings. As a result, the US will not be able to continue borrowing internationally to continue to finance its gigantic trade and budget deficits. On the other hand, the US will be awash in dollars pouring in from abroad, and the US still has lots of assets to sell. We should expect much of the US to end up under new, foreign ownership. We should also expect anything that isn’t nailed down to be crated up and exported, much of it to China.

What can we make of Humpty’s fateful choice? Should Dumpty topple head over heels or heels over head? By tipping forward, toward higher interest rates, Dumpty would keep free money rolling in, for the time being, while bankrupting the numerous corporations that are being kept out of bankruptcy by ultra-low interest rates, triggering a severe recession/depression and a full-blown financial collapse. By tipping backward and keeping interest rates low the dollar would fall in value, driving up inflation and making it difficult for the US to continue financing its deficits. Unable to either lend or borrow money into existence, it would be forced to resort to Plan C: just print dollars and hand them out, no strings attached. But this leads to hyperinflation and a full-blown financial collapse too.

Perhaps Dumpty’s choice is just a matter of style, because the eventual result will be the same. Nor will it be a rational choice: the policymakers in the US have long given up on any realistic measures of such thing as unemployment rate, inflation or GDP growth. Their models might as well be based on tea leaves or goat entrails. But we should still be able to determine which way Dumpty got dumped by what we will observe first. If we see a deflationary collapse, Dumpty aimed high and fell backward; if we see an inflationary collapse, Dumpty aimed low and went head over heels.

Aragorn
18th October 2018, 17:33
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again.” It is often presented as a riddle, and children are prompted to guess that Humpty was an egg.

Humpty Dumpty... Wasn't he a member here a while ago? :scrhd: No, wait... :hmm:



:onthequite:

Chris
18th October 2018, 17:46
Humpty Dumpty... Wasn't he a member here a while ago? :scrhd: No, wait... :hmm:



:onthequite:

Bhagwan Dumpy has ascended to a higher plane... He's selling Kool Aid at Dart Hatman's Blue Chicken stand... Not! :p

Dreamtimer
19th October 2018, 13:03
My brother might as well have forgotten the economic collapse. By the 11th month of Obama's presidency he was already blaming the situation on Obama even though it happened under Bush's watch.

Cognitive dissonance is strong when people don't want to take responsibility.

:batman:batman:batman

Aragorn
19th October 2018, 13:40
My brother might as well have forgotten the economic collapse. By the 11th month of Obama's presidency he was already blaming the situation on Obama even though it happened under Bush's watch.

Cognitive dissonance is strong when people don't want to take responsibility.

:batman:batman:batman

Or when they are being partisan bigots whose primary objective in life is to continue waging war on what they loathe. :fpalm:

The US Republican vantage has always been "It's my way or the highway", and so they loathe everything that isn't "their way". From the Republican vantage, everything — and I do mean everything — is always the fault of "the libtards" [sic]. :rolleyes:

It must be extremely blissful to have such a narrow mind. Life is so simple when there's only one thing you have to think about. :fpalm:

Chris
19th October 2018, 15:36
Or when they are being partisan bigots whose primary objective in life is to continue waging war on what they loathe. :fpalm:

The US Republican vantage has always been "It's my way or the highway", and so they loathe everything that isn't "their way". From the Republican vantage, everything — and I do mean everything — is always the fault of "the libtards" [sic]. :rolleyes:

It must be extremely blissful to have such a narrow mind. Life is so simple when there's only one thing you have to think about. :fpalm:

I'm afraid this simplistic narrow-mindedness is a worldwide phenomenon. Witness the thick skulls of Brexiteers (including cabinet ministers) who are incapable of grasping even the simplest truths about what Brexit actually means, let alone the complexities and fine minutiae that will define it. All they can do is shout shallow nationalistic slogans about "taking our country back". Orwell wrote about this very descriptively, but he probably didn't anticipate that the intellectual rot will spread to the very top of British government.

I really have to write about this phenomenon of "blaming the other" in my own country, because it seems to be a harbinger of things to come elsewhere.

We've had a problem with toxic Hungarian nationalism since at least the 1860s, when Austria came to a compromise (Ausgleich) with Hungary, allowing it Total control over one half of the Austro-Hungarian empire. At the time, Austria-Hungary was the second biggest country in Europe, after Russia, so it was a significant achievement.

However, this was also the start of a very toxic form of Nationalism, not just in Austria-Hungary, but later in neighbouring countries, such as Germany and Italy. Modern Anti-Semitism and Zionism were both born in this Toxic environment, for different reasons, obviously. Anti-Semitism became so widespread that blaming Jews for any numbers of problems became a verb in itself.

It is "Zsidózni" in Hungarian, the English Equivalent of which would be "to Jew", that is to blame Jews collectively for any number of problems that might occur either in your country's or your own personal life.

This has now been largely replaced in Hungarian politics by the verb "Sorosozni" or "to Soros", which again means blaming George Soros (Soros György to us, after all, he is one of our own) for all manner of problems afflicting the country. I couldn't help but notice that blaming George Soros for absolutely everything has now spread to the US right and even the President started doing it.


This is rather a contentious issue, but a case could be made that Soros has really just become code for Jews in general and anti-Sorosism is just a coded, covert form of anti-semitism.

palooka's revenge
19th October 2018, 18:01
It must be extremely blissful to have such a narrow mind. Life is so simple when there's only one thing you have to think about. :fpalm:

actually, many of them strike me more as miserable than anything else...

Dreamtimer
22nd October 2018, 11:59
You're right about Soros. And it's a good explanation of why the same folks are so silent about all the other billionaire behind-the-scenes controllers.

Look! Look over here! Rich Jew Billionaire! (Ignore those others behind the curtain!)

Fred Steeves
22nd October 2018, 13:37
This is true, Soros does seem to be the preferred billionaire whipping boy. Of course by no means does that get him off the hook for the shit he pulls, though it does make me wonder why there seems to be very little research done on Right leaning billionaires like the Koch brothers, or Sheldon Aldelson for instance.

As an aside however, and I can only speak for myself here, when I think of George Soros I don't think "that Jew George Soros". I seldom hear people make that distinction either, but then I also have no clue what they may be thinking.

NotAPretender
23rd October 2018, 05:42
This is true, Soros does seem to be the preferred billionaire whipping boy. Of course by no means does that get him off the hook for the shit he pulls, though it does make me wonder why there seems to be very little research done on Right leaning billionaires like the Koch brothers, or Sheldon Aldelson for instance.

As an aside however, and I can only speak for myself here, when I think of George Soros I don't think "that Jew George Soros". I seldom hear people make that distinction either, but then I also have no clue what they may be thinking.

there is no research done on Soros either...it's just propaganda...any research would reveal that he's just another human being...and very likely an anti-fascist.

The Koch brothers on the hand have been well-documented as sick puppies...very much like the uberman Trump.

Dreamtimer
23rd October 2018, 07:18
It's a dog-whistle. People don't have to utter "jew", it's implied.

Fred Steeves
23rd October 2018, 11:17
It's a dog-whistle. People don't have to utter "jew", it's implied.

Huh. So any time over the years I've mentioned Soros involvement in say, a color revolution, there have been people on the sidelines pointing at me and saying "look, Jew hater"?

That reminds me of the same with Obama, where it was implied that for the white folk who really despised him it wasn't really about his past, who he was, what he was doing or the people around him, it was about the fact that they secretly despised seeing a black man in power.

It seems to me this can be a subtle way of limiting criticism of certain people, or be dubbed a racist.

Am I missing something here?

.

Chris
23rd October 2018, 11:27
Huh. So any time over the years I've mentioned Soros involvement in say, a color revolution, there have been people on the sidelines pointing at me and saying "look, Jew hater"?

That reminds me of the same with Obama, where it was implied that for the white folk who really despised him it wasn't really about his past, who he was, what he was doing or the people around him, it was about the fact that they really despised seeing a black man in power.

It seems to me this can be a subtle way of limiting criticism of certain people, or be dubbed a racist.

Am I missing something here?

.

I think the Litmus test here is whether Jewish people themselves feel that anti-Soros propaganda (which is absolutely ubiquitous here in Hungary) is directed at them? Not all of them do, but quite a few feel unease about it and do wonder whether this is coded antisemitism. It is a difficult consideration to make, because the current leadership of Israel is also anti-Soros and good buddies with the likes of Orbán. So, when asked, anti-Soros propagandists automatically point to Netanyahu and his ilk to point out the Israelis are doing it too, therefore it can't be anti-semitic. That is certainly a very clever argument, but disingenuous at the same time. I think that parallels with classic anti-semitic propaganda are unmistakable and if it makes a large proportion of Jews uncomfortable, then it must have at least some hidden anti-semitic element to it.

I am less familiar with social relations in the US, but to me, as an outsider, it seems that the vile hatred directed at Obama from the right, even though he was a decent human being and president, just reeks of racism. You never saw that sort of hatred towards Bill Clinton, even though he was a genuine scumbag.

Fred Steeves
23rd October 2018, 11:45
I am less familiar with social relations in the US, but to me, as an outsider, it seems that the vile hatred directed at Obama from the right, even though he was a decent human being and president, just reeks of racism. You never saw that sort of hatred towards Bill Clinton, even though he was a genuine scumbag.

Well bear in mind Clinton's tenure was either pre internet, or very early internet. I doubt the whole world was watching then way they were by the time 2008 and beyond rolled around, so that's something to bear in mind. I was here, and trust me right wing talk radio for instance was every bit as seething at Clinton, as it was at Obama.

Nobody was calling Obama a coke dealing rapist. :p

Dreamtimer
23rd October 2018, 12:13
I didn't say you were using dog-whistles, Fred. I said it's used as one. You could be making perfectly legit statements each time.

That doesn't change the fact that it's a dog-whistle for a whole lot of folks.

Just like the word liberal, which Gingrich said was his mission to turn into a disparaging term. It's all in the ears of the 'dogs'.


The imbalance is a big fat giveaway. If people were simply concerned about the undue influence of billionaires they'd point the finger at all of them.

The need for a figure to hate is the most disturbing part. It doesn't make America Great in any way.

Dreamtimer
23rd October 2018, 12:43
See here (https://jandeane81.com/showthread.php/11510-Chaos-and-the-Anti-Thread?p=842002367&viewfull=1#post842002367).

Fred Steeves
23rd October 2018, 12:55
I didn't say you were using dog-whistles, Fred. I said it's used as one. You could be making perfectly legit statements each time.

That doesn't change the fact that it's a dog-whistle for a whole lot of folks.

Oh I never thought that was aimed at me, just that I've never really considered the nationality of Soros as part of his overall package. Beyond the fact that he aided the Nazis to keep himself alive as a kid anyway.

It hit me that if just mentioning ole Georgey boy can be considered code for Jew bastard by some, then certain people may well have looked at me with those suspicious eyes over the years.

I knew it was like that with Obama and just didn't give a shit because I found the charge utterly ludicrous. I mean sure there's plenty of whites who DID despise him just for that, just as there are blacks who despise whites for the same reason, but that wasn't to stop me from criticizing him. Now I'm aware it's the same if the person in question happens to be Jewish.

Dreamtimer
23rd October 2018, 16:27
One of the reasons it helps to learn which terms are loaded is that a person can avoid them and have a more constructive conversation/debate.

Fred Steeves
23rd October 2018, 17:02
One of the reasons it helps to learn which terms are loaded is that a person can avoid them and have a more constructive conversation/debate.

Ya just lost me there, what types of terms should one think about avoiding these days? The only possible example I can think of from this conversation is George Soros.

Oh, I forgot liberal.

Dreamtimer
23rd October 2018, 19:21
It was just a general comment. As with Soros' name or any other triggering name/term. That's what dog-whistles are.

Fred Steeves
23rd October 2018, 23:30
Okay, I've finally found a few minutes here and there to do some cursory research into this "dog whistle" thing. I see more where you're coming from now DT, and certainly there is something to it. To say it ain't there would be ridiculous, but from the skimming of many different sites talking about it, it also looks to me like you can point at just about anything and make this claim.

It's most certainly a Left aimed at the Right thing. IMO it is dichotomous (like other such things) in that there is value in having a certain eye for this sort of thing, however from what I saw it's nearly ubiquitous in being used for scoring hard core political points.

Now as an aside I found nowhere that any particular person/name (Soros in this case) can be construed as being one of the code word no no's to ever say, but I did find numerous references such as terms like "international bankers" being code for Jew. Apparently phrases like "east coast poiltics" is also code for Jewish politics. No more talk about the bankers. :p

I've just begun looking into this, but already I see a whole lot of what we can and cannot say. Again where there's smoke there's fire, but there's also some thought policing going on here IMO.

My 2 cents. :)

NotAPretender
24th October 2018, 01:12
Or when they are being partisan bigots whose primary objective in life is to continue waging war on what they loathe. :fpalm:

The US Republican vantage has always been "It's my way or the highway", and so they loathe everything that isn't "their way". From the Republican vantage, everything — and I do mean everything — is always the fault of "the libtards" [sic]. :rolleyes:

It must be extremely blissful to have such a narrow mind. Life is so simple when there's only one thing you have to think about. :fpalm:

Well, it is the converse of the udder thang. I've always been of the mind that the libtard pejorative was the product of raging projection, but then that's just me (and most of the rest of the world). It's not about blame...as I expressed my belief before, they really and truly can't help themselves. All we can do here in the U.S. is wait until it is over. I have experience with it having lived through Saint Reagan's time. I explained to my daughter how it would play out to reassure her... and anybody else that needed to hear it. I was worried that some people wouldn't be able to deal..my daughter has a mind and will of steel, though...but one never knows.

Dreamtimer
24th October 2018, 12:11
Hillary is another trigger. The name may or may not qualify as a dog-whistle, but the purpose is the same.

I'm surprised to see you characterize it as a Left or Right thing, Fred. It's a social and political tool that's been used across the spectrum throughout history.

Fred Steeves
24th October 2018, 13:44
It's not my characterization DT, like I said that's just simply going off of what I found bouncing around various sites. Probably 10-12 of them. They were all pretty much singing off the same song sheet, and it was all aimed at Republicans. All I could find is that apparently it's only Republicans that engage in this. If you can show me something otherwise, as always I'll be more than willing to take another look at it.

Now this thing with names: First off both examples you've given me (Hillary and George Soros) are people on the Left, which so far dove tails nicely into what I found yesterday that people on the Left, minorities, Jews, etc. are almost always the victims of this. And second, how is it not word policing political correctness, if I can't even say someone's name for fear of it possibly being construed as code that I'm actually a secret Jew hater, woman hater, or that perhaps I'm some Right wing zealot on the attack yet again?

Dreamtimer
24th October 2018, 18:26
The English language has an immense vocabulary. It's not really hard to find words that work. We invent new words all the time.

People have recognized the value of protocol, politesse, manners, norms, social standards, time and place, I could go on. We moderate our speech all the time. It's part of good communication.

You do your best and you don't let people guilt trip you. If someone calls out something I say as racist, I remain calm, correct them and explain what I mean. If their arguments are bogus, I'll push back. If they make a good point, I'll likely try to find a better way to express what I say.

Intolerance has been around for a long time. We have a plethora of tools to use in order to counteract that and the smarts to do it.

Southerners use charm and politeness as a matter of course. That takes effort. People are raised to know the 'right words' to say. That's not censorship.

Language use always changes. They have since the inception of the country and probably civilization.


I could have offered up the names Bush and Cheney instead. It doesn't make any difference.

Fred Steeves
24th October 2018, 23:21
Come on DT, now Bush and Cheney are dog whistles as well? I think you're just pulling names out of a hat by this point. Southern politeness and choosing one's words carefully is one thing, but now there is no doubt in my mind that what you are so strongly advocating is indeed modern day, PC word pinching culture.

And I'm having nothing of it.

Aragorn
25th October 2018, 01:31
And here we have yet another thread that was assimilated by the United States of Borg. :fpalm:

You guys are making it very difficult for me to still find a thread on this forum that I can actually look at without feeling like an alien. :getcoat:

Fred Steeves
25th October 2018, 02:54
You guys are making it very difficult for me to still find a thread on this forum that I can actually look at without feeling like an alien. :getcoat:

I hear ya, but this may not be so simple as it seems. Like the sucking down whirlpool that develops when a large ocean going vessel goes under, what happens when a "large ocean going vessel" like the United States goes under?


This thread is a gathering place for all collapse-related matters. Signs that the planet is headed towards trouble as is our industrialised civilisation.

Wind
25th October 2018, 03:50
what happens when a "large ocean going vessel" like the United States goes under?

It pulls down all the other smaller ships with it.

Chris
25th October 2018, 08:28
I hear ya, but this may not be so simple as it seems. Like the sucking down whirlpool that develops when a large ocean going vessel goes under, what happens when a "large ocean going vessel" like the United States goes under?

That is a pretty interesting question. Both JHK and Dmitry Orlov gave considerable though to this, both in books and essays, as have I. One school of thought is that collapse tends to happen in isolation. When one part of the world, as in an empire, collapses, it benefits its rivals, who move in and suck up the remaining resources, including human intellectual capital. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, Byzantium actually benefited, as it absorbed some of the Leftover territories and a massive wave of well-educated refugees who headed east caused a veritable cultural and scientific Renaissance.


Speaking of the Renaissance, that flowering of Western thought was caused by the collapse of Byzantium, as it was overrun by the Turks. The massive influx of refugees, especially artists and scholars to Venice, Genoa, Florence and other Italian city states, was the main impetus behind it and arguably our modern Western Civilisation.

We also benefit from the collapse of Syria and Lebanon in this way, just think about Steve Jobs, who was the children of Lebanese immigrants.

Then there was the collapse of the Soviet Union, from which arguably the rest of the world benefited, especially with a huge influx of highly trained Russian scientists and engineers, again, to the West and to a lesser extent China, India and Iran.

However, these isolated collapses seem kind of quaint and outdated in our globally connected just-in-time planetary economy. A small disruption, like Brexit, or Trump's trade wars, can cause serious disruption. Another Financial crisis, where letters of credit (which Global Trade depends on) and various financial insurance schemes (such as Collateralised Debt Obligations) become worthless and are no longer honoured, can end the Global economy in a blink of an eye. We came very close with Lehman Brothers, but the underlying issues weren't solved and another round of Financial collapse would probably end the global economy as we know it. It would reorganise spontaneously on a regional and local level, but the global economy would come to an end.

Wind
28th October 2018, 18:05
Why the rise of tribalization is a bad sign:
https://euobserver.com/news/142856

NotAPretender
28th October 2018, 18:29
This guy is no fool, that's for sure...

Also, Europe found peace but it started to backslide with Putin...he is more the centerpoint of current history than anyone. Trump, of course, is accelerating the process.

Amanda
29th October 2018, 00:10
Collapse - implies that something or someone will tumble, fall, lose their standing in society. When I think about the paradigm in which we live I think of it (sometimes) as a purely fiscal paradigm. Then I think of the money and follow the trail. The only people who gain from the rise of a fiscal paradigm - are - those who will gain money. The rest of us do the best we can with what we have or don't have ....

Then my thinking goes Lateral and Critical and Divergent. When the collapse comes, is it we who have lived with modest finances who will survive and rise out of the ashes???? The collapse will come and it is only a matter of time. The politics being discussed within this fabulous thread are but one aspect of the 'whole' and when the politics can no longer be maintained it will start to crumble.

Much Peace - As we all keep looking for answers to our questions - Amanda

Chris
29th October 2018, 12:02
This guy is no fool, that's for sure...

Also, Europe found peace but it started to backslide with Putin...he is more the centerpoint of current history than anyone. Trump, of course, is accelerating the process.

Putin is weaker than you think. Russia is not the Soviet Union, or the Russian Empire, which spanned half the globe from the Canadian border to the Borders of Germany, Austria and Sweden. It is currently a much weaker country with an economy considerably smaller than Italy's. Its real existential threat comes from China, despite the apparently cordial relations between the two. Russia used to own Manchuria, which is now part of China. The Chinese clearly have their eyes on Siberia and have already managed to take control of most of Central Asia, at Russia's expense. During Soviet Times, the SU had more divisions stationed at the Chinese Border than in Europe and border clashes were constant. Siberia is emptying out of Russians, but close to a million Chinese are moving there every year. Vladivostok is a stone's Throw away from the Chinese border, but half a world away from Moscow, connected to it by a single railway line, with the Journey taking over a week.


The sanctions are also hurting the Russian economy, despite the brave face Putin's putting on (sorry for the pun). More and more Russians are unhappy with the way he's running the economy and for the first time during his tenure, there were protests against him, due to austerity measures. The Russian economy should be riding high right now, but his foreign policy adventures are isolating the country and making it less prosperous and increasingly an international Pariah. That is probably something that will also happen with Trump, eventually, but it may take some time.

Chris
29th October 2018, 12:22
Collapse - implies that something or someone will tumble, fall, lose their standing in society. When I think about the paradigm in which we live I think of it (sometimes) as a purely fiscal paradigm. Then I think of the money and follow the trail. The only people who gain from the rise of a fiscal paradigm - are - those who will gain money. The rest of us do the best we can with what we have or don't have ....

Then my thinking goes Lateral and Critical and Divergent. When the collapse comes, is it we who have lived with modest finances who will survive and rise out of the ashes???? The collapse will come and it is only a matter of time. The politics being discussed within this fabulous thread are but one aspect of the 'whole' and when the politics can no longer be maintained it will start to crumble.

Much Peace - As we all keep looking for answers to our questions - Amanda

That is certainly an interesting question. I did grow up during the collapse of Communism and saw first hand what that meant. I don't think that people who are already struggling and are in poverty will do particularly well in a collapse. In fact, I think they will be one of the first ones to go. If it's a geographically isolated collapse, those that are light on their feet, have the skills and connections to emigrate, will survive best. There is a reason we see so many migrants these days. It is because most third world countries are already collapsing and the ones with a bit of gumption, get-go and funds are already on the move to find a better life for themselves.

Of those that stay behind, again, those with the right connections and access to resources are the ones most likely to do well. A post-collapse economy is a haven for smugglers, criminals, pimps, prostitutes and all sort of "entrepreneurs" who are handy with a gun and a baseball bat. Death rates are astronomical in any case, not least due to alcoholism and suicide. Women do best in a collapse, middle-aged men with established careers the worst. They are the most likely to drink themselves to death or flung themselves off a Wall Street Skyscraper when their world and their ephemeral success turns to dust. Youth and the flexibility that comes with it is a huge advantage.


Dmitry Orlov wrote about this Topic very extensively, if I can dig up some of his old essays I will post them here.

Dreamtimer
29th October 2018, 12:39
Trump is pointing the finger a lot at China. Perhaps you have pointed to some of the reasons, Chris. Trump's buddy is in trouble with China so he's raising the alarm.

Wind
29th October 2018, 22:20
He's doing more than just pointing fingers.


http://youtu.be/wOu4o9T8YIA

Chris
29th October 2018, 23:21
I'll let fellow Hungarian George Friedman explain why Russia is so vulnerable from the other side as well, in European Russia. It faces similar problems in the Far East, but the real issue Russia has right now is that it has lost its usual Western buffer states that used to protect it from European Invasion (whether the invading power was Germany, France, the UK or Poland, it always came from the same direction.) That is why Putin is so desperate to regain control of the Ukraine and the Baltics.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARfhrejl8d0

NotAPretender
30th October 2018, 01:45
Putin is weaker than you think. Russia is not the Soviet Union, or the Russian Empire, which spanned half the globe from the Canadian border to the Borders of Germany, Austria and Sweden. It is currently a much weaker country with an economy considerably smaller than Italy's. Its real existential threat comes from China, despite the apparently cordial relations between the two. Russia used to own Manchuria, which is now part of China. The Chinese clearly have their eyes on Siberia and have already managed to take control of most of Central Asia, at Russia's expense. During Soviet Times, the SU had more divisions stationed at the Chinese Border than in Europe and border clashes were constant. Siberia is emptying out of Russians, but close to a million Chinese are moving there every year. Vladivostok is a stone's Throw away from the Chinese border, but half a world away from Moscow, connected to it by a single railway line, with the Journey taking over a week.


The sanctions are also hurting the Russian economy, despite the brave face Putin's putting on (sorry for the pun). More and more Russians are unhappy with the way he's running the economy and for the first time during his tenure, there were protests against him, due to austerity measures. The Russian economy should be riding high right now, but his foreign policy adventures are isolating the country and making it less prosperous and increasingly an international Pariah. That is probably something that will also happen with Trump, eventually, but it may take some time.

all true, I suppose...it isn't about strength, it's about persona, propaganda, and the willingness to run roughshod over any sovereign nation that he perceives as weaker than him. He started in his own territory and has continued to undermine (to the best of his ability) anything that runs contrary to his vision of renewed empire.

The best thing that could happen to the world is to recognize that he is a scumbag, like all the other scumbags that aspire to the same goal.

Chris
30th October 2018, 09:33
all true, I suppose...it isn't about strength, it's about persona, propaganda, and the willingness to run roughshod over any sovereign nation that he perceives as weaker than him. He started in his own territory and has continued to undermine (to the best of his ability) anything that runs contrary to his vision of renewed empire.

The best thing that could happen to the world is to recognize that he is a scumbag, like all the other scumbags that aspire to the same goal.

I think most people already know that. He is a ruthless Mafia Don and a an ex-KGB agent at the same time, not exactly a heart-warming combination. A lot of people like him because of his overt religiosity, but that's nothing new, all Tsars that went before him fancied themselves as "defenders of the faith", that is defenders of Christians from Islamic harassment and conquest. The alt-right really like him because he talks and looks tough and is an unabashed white christian supremacist. I guess he is the ideal a lot of these people aspire to.

Wind
30th October 2018, 09:40
I think many people, especially certain kind of men like these authoritarian male leaders because they seem to be the macho types with charisma. People would like to be seemingly powerful like that for some reason. I can't see why there would be anything admirable about people like that yet that is how human psychology works with the masses. The opposite of that is seen as weak, dishonest and unadmirable. Strong figures and leaders are wanted, even if they have fundamentally flawed personalities. Charisma lures people.

Chris
30th October 2018, 09:56
http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-monster-mash/

Another essay from JHK, about the collapsing political landscape in the US. As an outsider, it seems to me that the Left is imploding, just as it has in Hungary over the last decade, albeit for different reasons. I agree with Kunstler that the political Left has been far too obsessed with blaming white people as a whole for all manner of problems and white men in particular. That is not to say that there isn't some truth to that, after all, almost all of the people running the world are white men, yet most white men aren't running the world and that is an important distinction to make. I feel that the left keeps losing elections all over the western world, because of their self-hatred. This self-hatred is rather bizarre considering the towering achievements of said civilisation, despite all its admitted failings.


The Monster Mash


The sad reality is that last week’s Pittsburgh synagogue massacre is only the latest float in the long-running parade of ghastly homicidal spectacles rolling across this land and will be just as forgotten in one week as was last year’s Las Vegas Mandalay Bay slaughter of 58 concert-goers plus over 800 wounded and injured, a US record for non-military acts of violence. The Pittsburgh shootings elbowed the mass pipe bomber, Cesar Sayoc, out of the news cycle — but then Sayoc didn’t manage to actually hurt any of the high-profile figures he targeted with his mailings. What I wonder — and what the news media has so far failed to report — is just how incompetent a bomb-maker Sayoc was. Fake news meets fake bombs.

One of the strange side effects of an epic American political hysteria is this strange ADD-like inability of the public to focus on anything for more than a few moments, even the most arresting atrocities. The hysteria itself is too compelling, like the actions of a human limbic system driving the collective public psyche from fight to flight on the wild horses of pure emotion. Reason has been discarded by the wayside just as a super-drunk person will shed his clothing even on a freezing night. Total culture war now beats a path toward all-out civil war, with the looming mid-term election as a fulcrum of history.

The country is not “divided,” it’s sliced-and diced like a victim in one of the Halloween bloodbath movies now so beloved by movie audiences that they must be regularly updated. It’s hardly a stretch to say that the US public sees its collective self as a throng of zombies lurching across the ruined landscape in search of a dwindling supply of brains, and they even seem to take a certain comfort in that endeavor, as though the zombies were performing a meritorious public service ridding the nation of as many brains as possible.

The Democratic Party could not be more in tune with this monster mash of collapse politics. The party has been living in a haunted house of its own construction for much of this century, and methodically adding to its roster of resident blood beasts month by month in an orgy of monster creation. They remind me of the chanting and stomping “natives” in any of the long line of King Kong movies, summoning the giant ape to the gate of their Great Wall so as to scare off the party of feckless white adventurers from faraway Hollywood. Only in this edition of the story, King Kong is the Golden Golem of Greatness at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and it annoys him greatly to be summoned by these tiny savages beating their drums. Of course, America-the Horror-Movie doesn’t add up as a coherent narrative. And so the nation sinks into bloody incoherence.

The Democratic Party war on white people and their dastardly privilege has been the theme all year long, with its flanking movement against white men especially and super-especially the hetero-normative white male villains who rape and oppress everybody else. Anyway, that’s the strategy du jour. I’m not persuaded that it’s going to work so well in the coming election. The party could not have issued a clearer message than “white men not welcome here.” Very well, then, they’ll vote somewhere else for somebody else. And if it happens that the Dems don’t prevail, and don’t manage to get their hands on the machinery of congress — then what?

For one thing, a lot of people get indicted, especially former top officers from various glades of the Intel swamp. It shouldn’t be a surprise, given the numbers of them already called before grand juries and fingered by inspectors general. But it may be shocking how high up the indictments go, and how serious the charges may be: sedition… treason…?

These midterm election may bring the moment when the Democratic Party finally blows up, at least enough to sweep away the current coterie of desperate idiots running it. It’s time to shove the crybabies offstage and allow a few clear-eyed adults to take the room, including men, yes even white men. And let all the shrieking, clamoring, marginal freaks return to the margins, where they belong.


I think many people, especially certain kind of men like these authoritarian male leaders because they seem to be the macho types with charisma. People would like to be seemingly powerful like that for some reason. I can't see why there would be anything admirable about people like that yet that is how human psychology works with the masses. The opposite of that is seen as weak, dishonest and unadmirable. Strong figures and leaders are wanted, even if they have fundamentally flawed personalities. Charisma lures people.

It's biological. Chimpanzees in particular, but most mammals as well are like that. They want to be led by a strong man, literally.

Fred Steeves
30th October 2018, 11:22
One of the strange side effects of an epic American political hysteria is this strange ADD-like inability of the public to focus on anything for more than a few moments, even the most arresting atrocities. The hysteria itself is too compelling, like the actions of a human limbic system driving the collective public psyche from fight to flight on the wild horses of pure emotion.

Pretty good description. Although in my opinion it's not a side effect, it's a direct effect, and it has a name: Trauma based mind control.

The subject is still in the process of being shattered and broken down, yet it lurches to and fro as one.

Chris
30th October 2018, 11:29
Pretty good description. Although in my opinion it's not a side effect, it's a direct effect, and it has a name: Trauma based mind control.

The subject is still in the process of being shattered and broken down, yet it lurches to and fro as one.

Not sure if this is the result of a deliberate process. It could very well be the natural result of entropy. All complex systems seem to get into trouble and break down after a while, without any outside help. There is also a periodic breakdown or convulsion in all societies, I guess this is the fourth turning concept. I feel that some societies, the US and UK in particular are going through just such a process, but others as well, such as Italy and Brazil.

Wind
30th October 2018, 12:14
It's biological. Chimpanzees in particular, but most mammals as well are like that. They want to be led by a strong man, literally.

Both biological and psychological, I'm sure.

Dreamtimer
30th October 2018, 12:48
Take a look at Bonobos. There are many animals that don't require the 'strong male'.

Elephants have a strong female. The males do not lead the herds.

Are you saying Fred, that Americans in general are all victims of said trauma based mind control?

Fred Steeves
30th October 2018, 14:27
Are you saying Fred, that Americans in general are all victims of said trauma based mind control?

Certainly not all.

Dreamtimer
30th October 2018, 15:28
Thanks, wanted to be sure.

Amanda
2nd November 2018, 23:38
Chris et al - When you reacted to one of my posts, you mentioned an actual collapse. Your focus was financial. Got me thinking Laterally and Critically. The next collapse will not just be about the fiscal structure - what about all the electronic devices?

Imagine a collapse like no other. Almost everyone has some type of device connected to the grid. People may have a desktop computer or a mobile hand held device but the point I want to make is that should a collapse be imminent - imagine the reaction of everyone. Imagine the withdrawal from electronic devices.

The only positive aspect is this: People may actually start speaking to one another again. On a more serious note - the fact that people have their banking and health records and all matter of their day to day living activities and expenses connected to the 'grid' means that life would change dramatically.

To get the Cognitive Dissonance kick started, I like to utilise a very strong example. It always gets a good reaction when I mention it during face to face discussions on life. One day the government will make an announcement. The announcement will run something like this (remember it is a strong example for the purposes of an intellectual thinking exercise): Okay we have discovered that we are overpopulated and everyone is going to have to kill their first born.

What will you do? Just say; "No." The switch will be flicked for those who fail to participate. No access to banking records, no access to health records. What will you do?

Personally - When the collapse comes this time around, it will be a very different type of collapse. Those who have been lulled into a false sense of security will suffer the most. There are people who now have almost all their day to day living stored on the 'computer' and do not pay bills in person or attend to anything away from their electronic devices. How will they cope?

Loving this thread. Thank you.

Much Peace - Amanda

Dreamtimer
3rd November 2018, 00:45
It's terrorism and blackmail. The only answer is no. Once people give in to that, they have to keep giving in. Like with extortion.

Aragorn
3rd November 2018, 01:12
It's terrorism and blackmail. The only answer is no. Once people give in to that, they have to keep giving in. Like with extortion.

And that's exactly what has gotten us into the mess this world is today. People acquiesced.

And now we can't get out of the system anymore. You'd be considered a criminal for even trying.

Chris
3rd November 2018, 10:49
Chris et al - When you reacted to one of my posts, you mentioned an actual collapse. Your focus was financial. Got me thinking Laterally and Critically. The next collapse will not just be about the fiscal structure - what about all the electronic devices?

Imagine a collapse like no other. Almost everyone has some type of device connected to the grid. People may have a desktop computer or a mobile hand held device but the point I want to make is that should a collapse be imminent - imagine the reaction of everyone. Imagine the withdrawal from electronic devices.

The only positive aspect is this: People may actually start speaking to one another again. On a more serious note - the fact that people have their banking and health records and all matter of their day to day living activities and expenses connected to the 'grid' means that life would change dramatically.

To get the Cognitive Dissonance kick started, I like to utilise a very strong example. It always gets a good reaction when I mention it during face to face discussions on life. One day the government will make an announcement. The announcement will run something like this (remember it is a strong example for the purposes of an intellectual thinking exercise): Okay we have discovered that we are overpopulated and everyone is going to have to kill their first born.

What will you do? Just say; "No." The switch will be flicked for those who fail to participate. No access to banking records, no access to health records. What will you do?

Personally - When the collapse comes this time around, it will be a very different type of collapse. Those who have been lulled into a false sense of security will suffer the most. There are people who now have almost all their day to day living stored on the 'computer' and do not pay bills in person or attend to anything away from their electronic devices. How will they cope?

Loving this thread. Thank you.

Much Peace - Amanda

It's not difficult to imagine how a collapsing modern society would cope with these new circumstances, we have plenty of current examples already. A shortlist of countries that have recently collapsed from a relatively high technological society to something a lot more basic can be quite instructive. Syria, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Venezuela are all pretty good examples.

My own assessment of the situation is that technology doesn't go away, at least not initially and not completely. Various machines and devices that are in good working order will continue to be used and shoot up in value to a considerable extent. The issue then becomes whether those machines can be maintained for any length of time. It does requires some sort of functioning industrial economy, at least on a more basic level, to keep these things running. With the right skills, they can be maintained and run for decades, if they are of the older, more durable type. Older automobiles, planes, phones, bicycles, etc... can be kept running for decades, even a century in some cases, if they were made before planned obsolescence became fashionable. I have a friend who makes regular trips to the Ukraine, a neighbouring country, to buy Russian-made white goods, such as fridges. They come with a 20-year warranty and are expected to last for at least a century. That is actually the potential that all industrial products have, if they were made with durability in mind, they would last several generations. Imagine if in a hundred years your family buys only one fridge, instead of, say 10, the savings in material, energy and labour costs are immense. I am sure that in terms of technology, that is what we are going back to, much more durable products that last several lifetimes and can easily be mended by hand with simple tools.

Dmitry Orlov goes further than that and talks about Shrinking the Technosphere and implementing nature-like technologies instead. His series on the topic is worth reading, if you haven't already.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/10/shrinking-technosphere-part-i.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/10/shrinking-technosphere-part-ii.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/10/shrinking-technosphere-part-iii.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/10/shrinking-technosphere-part-iv.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/11/shrinking-technosphere-part-v.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/11/shrinking-technosphere-part-vi.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/11/shrinking-technosphere-part-vii.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2015/12/shrinking-technosphere-part-viii.html

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-technospheratu-hypothesis.html

Amanda
4th November 2018, 00:21
Chris - I recall a conversation with a Computer Technician some years ago. An eventual collapse of society was mentioned and at one point in the conversation the Computer Technician stated to me:

"If the government turned off the computer grid I could get an intranet up and running. When I got our town connected we then connect to the next town and so on and so forth."

Locally I have been reliably informed of a Scientist/Engineer who made a working car that ran on water. Sadly the government shut him down. So when you speak of technology that should last considerably longer than it currently does - I hear you. I know that in any given society there would be plenty of talented and gifted People who would/could help rebuild.

And while we all tend to rely on electronic devices in this day and age I have come to learn that the Ancients had their own methods of long distance communication. Whether any type of collapse or even a total collapse comes tomorrow or in the future - surely it will be an opportunity for the People to manage their own affairs.

We certainly live in an interesting era.

Much Respect - Amanda

Aragorn
4th November 2018, 03:17
Chris - I recall a conversation with a Computer Technician some years ago. An eventual collapse of society was mentioned and at one point in the conversation the Computer Technician stated to me:

"If the government turned off the computer grid I could get an intranet up and running. When I got our town connected we then connect to the next town and so on and so forth."

Several local communities in the USA are already doing that right now as we speak, in response to the repeal of the Net Neutrality law in the US by the Federal Communications Commission, which once again allows ISPs and other companies to throttle traffic in function of corporate interests.


Locally I have been reliably informed of a Scientist/Engineer who made a working car that ran on water. [...]

Yes, there was a British engineer who had managed to convert his normal petrol/gasoline-powered Ford Escort to running on water. However, the process did involve recombining the water molecules from the common H2O structure — which naturally forms as H-O-H — into H-H-O, which makes it into a combustible fuel.

As I understand it, he was shut down because of not having complied with the bureaucracy regarding the storage and transport of highly inflammable substances. Considering that this is a matter of paperwork, a good barrister should be able to have him comply with the law. Or at least, in theory, because we all know how protective the fossil fuel industry is of its dominance. :hmm:

Chris
4th November 2018, 09:07
Chris - I recall a conversation with a Computer Technician some years ago. An eventual collapse of society was mentioned and at one point in the conversation the Computer Technician stated to me:

"If the government turned off the computer grid I could get an intranet up and running. When I got our town connected we then connect to the next town and so on and so forth."

Well, yes, but where would they get the reliable and constant electricity from to run the damn thing? The internet is the least of it, the electric grid is the key here and the question is whether it could be maintained for any length of time during a collapse. Maybe in some locales, that rely on locally produced coal, but I don't think that nationwide or even statewide grids could be kept running for very long.


Locally I have been reliably informed of a Scientist/Engineer who made a working car that ran on water. Sadly the government shut him down. So when you speak of technology that should last considerably longer than it currently does - I hear you. I know that in any given society there would be plenty of talented and gifted People who would/could help rebuild.


I am rather sceptical of this. Supposed free energy devices are legion, yet I have not seen a single one that can be scaled up and mass-produced to work on an industrial scale. I do think that waiting for some sort of magical technology to save us is going to lead to disappointment. It is what JHK calls techno-narcissism.


And while we all tend to rely on electronic devices in this day and age I have come to learn that the Ancients had their own methods of long distance communication. Whether any type of collapse or even a total collapse comes tomorrow or in the future - surely it will be an opportunity for the People to manage their own affairs.

We certainly live in an interesting era.

Much Respect - Amanda


That is a very good point. If there is a planetary civilisational collapse at some point, and with the state of our biosphere that looks increasingly likely, a lot of our current distractions will go away and we will have to learn to live closer to nature and grow much of our own food, no ifs and buts. Places like Phoenix and Dubai, will shrivel away and die. Canada and Russia will probably benefit, although in the latter case, not necessarily as a continuation of the current European colonial project that rules over North Asia. I think that part will be taken over by China and Japan as their populations flee north. Who knows what will happen in Europe and the USA, but I suspect they will be overwhelmed with climate refugees and will have to flee North themselves.

As for the long distance communications of the ancients, these are telepathy and astral projection. We will have to learn to use these methods again and they are very effective indeed.

Chris
5th November 2018, 16:07
Another essay from JHK on how collapse is progressing in the US and what it's symptoms are. Although Kunstler publishes two essays a week on his blog, I only post the ones here that are relevant to the topic of ongoing collapse and aren't just discussions about current US politics. Also, a fair warning, Kunstler uses a racial slur in the essay below to illustrate a point about Political Correctness. I don't agree with the use of this coined expression, but I have included it to maintain the comprehensibility of the essay. Mods, if you feel this should be bleeped out, feel free to do so.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/social-justice/

Social Justice


It may be as simple as this: voters look at the two parties and decide that they don’t want the nation to turn into a gigantic seminar on race and gender studies. The Democratic Party doesn’t have a platform, it has a curriculum. The party wants to instruct everybody how to think and act. You will be tested regularly on the correctness of your thought. And if you fail or object, say goodbye to your livelihood.

That’s the main reason that the Golden Golem of Greatness plays so well in the forsaken flyover precincts of this troubled land. They are weary of being scolded for their “privilege” by the privileged undergraduates of the most elite campuses. And from there, of course, the astounding hypocrisy informs and infects Democratic politics up to the highest level — e.g. the mendacious sex hysteria engineered by Diane Feinstein and a corps of DC swamp lawyers in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.

This year’s main gambit by the Democrats has been the niggerization of white people. Oh, did I say the wrong word? It happens to describe exactly what has gone on: the effort to make white people the object of contempt and loathing. You don’t have to look further than The New York Times and its hiring of Sarah Jeong as an editorial writer — after she was discovered to be the author of Twitter tweets that declared, “Cancel white people,” and “Oh man, It’s sick how much joy I get from being cruel to old white men,” and “dumbass fucking white people….” I’m wondering: is there any ambiguity there? By the way, a search of The Times website for “by Sarah Jeong” comes up absolutely empty, suggesting that they’ve published nothing written by her since she got hired. There’s a show of confidence in their integrity!

Unless the financial markets blow up conveniently by the end of business Monday morning, Mr. Trump will continue to bellow out his triumphs of economic management. Personally, I’m not persuaded this vaunted miracle boom is anything but the result of piling onto the national debt, one way or another — tax cuts, fiscal profligacy, “defense” spending. And nobody should trust the numbers coming out of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, since they don’t count the many people who have simply dropped out of job-seeking.

The nation is still slowly choking to death on the fatal combination of its suburban sprawl living arrangement, the tyranny of multinational corporations, the profitless Ponzi scheme of shale oil fracking, and the immersive dishonesty that has turned even medicine and education into deadly moneygrubbing rackets. That armature of grift has to collapse, and the collapse has already begun on the margins and is steadily working its way to the core, where even the hedge fund cowboys and masters-of-the-universe will end up gasping like stranded whales on the shoals of insolvency.

In the meantime, and even so, it is imperative to keep the Democratic Party from the levers of power. If elected, they will convert a necessary and inescapable Fourth Turning into a game show replay of the French Revolution, with overtones of the Spanish Inquisition. We have not nearly seen the end of how insane a society can become under duress. And the duress of living in a collapsing industrial economy is something that the world has hardly seen before. Why do you think so many people are opiating themselves into an early grave?
This country certainly deserves leadership that can inspire it to carry on, to find a way to live even within the austere terms presented by the collapse of old arrangements. It won’t be the end of the world, and finding new, workable arrangements for daily life will open new doors as the old ones close. None of the political figures onstage these days inspires much confidence in that proposition, or even appears to see what’s on the horizon. So the Democrats seek solace in their race and gender antics and the Republicans gaze longingly back at the year 1957, and the fate of the nation goes where it will.

Dreamtimer
6th November 2018, 15:13
As we have not yet collapsed, Americans are voting today.

Trump gets massive credit for mobilizing people.

Aragorn recently expressed his dissatisfaction with voting, which is required in his country.

Here, people are very excited. Usually about 30% of the US population actually votes. Which means that Trump got elected by a very small portion of US citizens.

Midterms have even lower turnouts. In normal times.

But we're not in normal times. We're in the Trump era. And people are coming out in droves to vote and have been very excited about voting. Certain voting demographics are up by numbers like 700%.

Health care, economy, immigration and Trump are among the things people are 'voting on'.

Chris
6th November 2018, 15:38
As we have not yet collapsed, Americans are voting today.

Trump gets massive credit for mobilizing people.

Aragorn recently expressed his dissatisfaction with voting, which is required in his country.

Here, people are very excited. Usually about 30% of the US population actually votes. Which means that Trump got elected by a very small portion of US citizens.

Midterms have even lower turnouts. In normal times.

But we're not in normal times. We're in the Trump era. And people are coming out in droves to vote and have been very excited about voting. Certain voting demographics are up by numbers like 700%.

Health care, economy, immigration and Trump are among the things people are 'voting on'.

Usually I couldn't give a toss about US midterms, but this one is important, not just for Americans, but the whole planet. An America sliding further towards fascism would be a disaster for all of us. Some people complain about how much attention US politics gets on this forum and sometimes I'm among them, but this one really is crucial for the rest of the world as well.

It's not like I'm a fan of the democrats, I pretty much echo Kunstler's dissatisfaction with them, which i quoted in my previous post. My own issue with them is actually their lack of true progressivism, they seem to be fixated on irrelevant, marginal issues that don't make much of a difference to people's lives and continue the same corporatist agenda that the Republicans propagate. I would have a lot more sympathy for them if they campaigned for single-payer universal healthcare, free college, proper maternity leave (12 months at least), mandatory paid holidays, universal dental care, that sort of thing.

Note that these things are self-understood in much poorer countries than the US, it is an absolute scandal that Americans have to go without such basic social services. You may not believe this, but my Polish colleague, a guy, just informed me that he will be out of office for 6 months to take his paid paternity leave. Yep, Polish fathers get 6 months paid paternity leave, whereas mothers can take up to 2 YEARS. That is normal in Europe. Unless democrats start campaigning for stuff like that, I can't take them seriously or put my trust in them.

Dreamtimer
6th November 2018, 19:06
An American study came out showing that women do take a hit in terms of pay once they take maternity leave. Interestingly, men take an even worse hit if they take paternity leave. (can't recall study at moment, will try to find it).

I've heard corporate types quoted as describing salary as part of a market. As in, "Show me where the market is for paying you that much". Apparently market value of people goes down when they reproduce.

As an interesting correlation, there's a good bit of scandal involving the church of scientology strongly encouraging abortion, especially in the Sea Org.

Gotta keep working all the time!

Chris
6th November 2018, 20:48
Dmitry Orlov does some typical "Russian Election Meddling" from his hometown of St Petersburg (the one in Russia, not the one in Florida...), with his usual brand of sharp observation and acerbic humour. The audio is pretty bad, but he makes some excellent points.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6t87I8xkYM

Dreamtimer
6th November 2018, 23:52
Observations from down under:


Watching the US elections from the bottom of the world in New Zealand, I'm struck by how ramshackle and decrepit the system is. The tales of broken or even missing voting machines and long queues to vote bring to mind people queuing for food in the old USSR: a symbol of fundamental social failure. This is the sort of shit you expect to see in a failed state, not in one of the world's richest countries. After all, if a democracy can't run elections properly, surely its not worthy of the name.

I know, the US is 50 different election administrations, not just one. But still: this is not something other modern democracies fail at. Its not something voters in other countries tolerate.

We don't have to vote. Parties control voting, therefore it's politicized. Even the FEC is politicized. Republicans have been the ones mostly in control, especially after the census, and they have no desire to help everyone vote. Thus the gerrymandering and voter suppression.

The dynamic here is totally different from other democracies.

Chris
8th November 2018, 11:23
Observations from down under:



We don't have to vote. Parties control voting, therefore it's politicized. Even the FEC is politicized. Republicans have been the ones mostly in control, especially after the census, and they have no desire to help everyone vote. Thus the gerrymandering and voter suppression.

The dynamic here is totally different from other democracies.

Yes the US clearly qualifies as a flawed Democracy, sliding towards a fascist dictatorship. What a sad state of affairs!

Of course things could be improved significantly if it got rid of its antiquated electoral system, but I don't see that happening any time soon, due to entrenched interests.

I don't wish to be unkind, but I am reminded of something Gore Vidal once said in one of his last interviews, which was with Bill Maher. When asked about what he thought about US civilisation, he said it had a chance to build an enduring civilisation that would have rivalled Rome in its grandeur and impact on history, but had squandered that opportunity.

He thought the US would eventually take its natural place somewhere between Brazil and Argentina. Looking at the Banana-republic level of discourse and political machinations in the US currently, I have to agree.

This sentiment is also echoed by Kunstler, who remarked a few years ago that post-WW2 the US squandered a unique opportunity to build a real civilisation and instead put its resources into building up suburbia and all its accoutrements, a living arrangement that has no future and is in real trouble as we speak. I really don't think suburbia will survive much beyond the 2020s and young people are showing the way by abandoning it and flocking into proper cities with all the amenities that they so cherish. Some people go the other way and move into proper rural areas, for similar reasons.

Both type of people can see that suburbia has all the disadvantages of both city and country, without any of the advantages. I think the separation between these two living arrangements will grow more pronounced in the future.

Dreamtimer
8th November 2018, 13:03
333 Republican state legislators lost their seats in the election.

Three hundred and thirty three.

Chris
8th November 2018, 13:12
333 Republican state legislators lost their seats in the election.

Three hundred and thirty three.

That's synchronicity for ya. Also the time stamp on your post is 13:03 !

I have long learnt that such things are rarely coincidental. God(dess) works in mysterious ways. That's her number, BTW, at least 33 is, but 333 works just as well. Also if you look closely at these numbers, they have rather ahem… feminine features…

Another synchronicity, just as I was writing this, my work calendar was open at the following entry:

"November 13., kedd
13:00 – 13:30"


13 is another one of those numbers associated with the divine feminine (particularly as a moon goddess), which is why it has been so comprehensively demonised in our culture.

Also, I didn't plan this, but my own stamp for this post is 13:13

Crazy...

Dreamtimer
8th November 2018, 14:15
Where's Aianawa? He loves the numbers.

Chris
8th November 2018, 14:30
Where's Aianawa? He loves the numbers.

It's the middle of the night down under in the shire. Kiwi Hobbits are sound asleep right now...

Dreamtimer
8th November 2018, 20:42
I'm seeing now it is 323, not 333. Still a good number. ;)

Dreamtimer
9th November 2018, 02:20
Gone up to 350 now. And people are marching all over the place to preserve Mueller's investigation. Americans are galvanized in a way I can't recall because I was just a bambino.

Chris
9th November 2018, 08:47
Gone up to 250 now. And people are marching all over the place to preserve Mueller's investigation. Americans are galvanized in a way I can't recall because I was just a bambino.

That Idiot president of yours is certainly galvanising the general population. At least those with more than two braincells to put together.


Bush was bad, but more in the sense of being incompetent, quite often he actually meant well, but bungled things up.


No such comforts are to be found with the moron in chief. He's incompetent and sinister at the same time. Firing Sessions may have been the last straw. Or not. He's capable of anything at this point and he does hold most of the power in the country right now and by extension, the world.


America may yet mend itself. Or, it could collapse and splinter into competing and even warring parts. I can certainly see many of the Southern Red states wanting to go it alone. Even Vermont has an independence movement, as does California. The splintering of the US is not a zero probability event any more.

Dreamtimer
9th November 2018, 13:35
I've always thought breaking up would be stupid. The rest of the world would pounce on us divided. And those who haven't dropped the Civil War would try to continue it. Our economy is a national one, and our families are too.

I, for one, have family in southern states, the midwest, the northwest, the southwest, New England, basically everywhere. I'm not alone in that. And I very much doubt the young people want to support any kind of Secession.

Chris
9th November 2018, 14:10
I've always thought breaking up would be stupid. The rest of the world would pounce on us divided. And those who haven't dropped the Civil War would try to continue it. Our economy is a national one, and our families are too.

I, for one, have family in southern states, the midwest, the northwest, the southwest, New England, basically everywhere. I'm not alone in that. And I very much doubt the young people want to support any kind of Secession.

I don't actually live there, so I might be reading too much into current events. Yet, I feel that there has never been so much antagonism between what we can broadly describe as Red and Blue states, since the Civil War at least. I get the impression that a rematch remains a distinct possibility. I'm also wary of looking at the US as a single nation, I don't think it is, any more than the Soviet Union was one, or China for that matter.

The Southern states are in the Union against their will, a fact they have not forgotten or forgiven. A number of others seem to be unhappy with the federal government. I obviously can't predict what is going to happen, but I can spot a trend when I see one and it is certainly ominous for the continues survival of said Union. I see a similar trend driving the constituent parts of the UK ever further apart, especially with Brexit highlighting the vastly different interests of each of the four nations of the Union.


One of the surprising things about Brexit and Trump is how everyone predicted that these would lead to the eventual disintegration of another Union, the EU, but in fact the opposite seems to be happening. Despite the constant right-wing propaganda about how it is falling apart, it seems to be more united than ever and is actually outmanouvering the transatlantic alliance (if such a thing still exists) to a significant degree.

The UK in particular is going from one humiliation and climbdown to another during these Brexit negotiations and is entirely consumed by this process, leaving it completely removed from international affairs and diplomacy at such a crucial time. Meanwhile the EU is forging an ever closer union and there is serious talk now about a common army and foreign policy. Even supposed euroskeptics, such as Hungary's Orbán support these efforts.

Dreamtimer
9th November 2018, 15:08
It's become and urban/rural thing. But it's changing. Texas is becoming more blue as are other states. Trump played only to his base instead of building and expanding the party. That's part of why he 'lost'.

It's important to remember that barely half of us vote. Most people really don't play into the division. Because, like me, they have family and friends all over. That's in part because of our economy.

People moved to the cities originally for jobs. In addition, many communities were almost entirely supported by local industry. When it moved, many towns became ghosts of themselves.

Corporations don't have responsibility to communities anymore. Once upon a time they did. Now they only answer to the .01%

Chris
11th November 2018, 17:40
The Brexit Clusterfuck is a clear example of how even essentially well-meaning people can cause the collapse of a well-functioning society. What we are witnessing is a slow-motion train wreck. We might want to look away, but we can't, in anticipation of the almighty crash that is bound to happen and could still be stopped, but everyone has already committed to derailing the train and will not budge out of sheer stubbornness and idiocy. Leave it to the Irish to provide a perfect description of the political collapse currently unfolding on the shores of their erstwhile colonial masters, whilst they can do nothing, but look on in horror at what's happening on the other side of the Irish Sea.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/brexit-shows-that-idiots-and-incompetents-are-in-charge-in-the-uk-1.3693980

Brexit shows that idiots and incompetents are in charge in the UK

The lesson of the first World War is that terrible things happen to ordinary countries

Recent history provides two extreme examples of government incompetence. Decisions made by people who had no idea what they were doing. Elected politicians incapable of paying attention to details.

The blanket guarantee provided by the Irish government to banks and the British guarantee of “no hard Border” have eerie similarities: poor decisions made by people who were operating way out of their league. Making stuff up as you go along. Taking decisions based on mental tosses of a coin, saying stuff before engaging the brain: all this is the currency of modern policy-making. The advent of artificial intelligence is welcome: any form of intelligence would be an improvement.

Politics requires never admitting to anything. Never own up to mistakes, never ever say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’. Say anything you like – anything at all, any old rubbish will do – but never show weakness. As John Wayne said, never explain, never apologise.

Was anyone shocked this week when UK Brexit secretary Dominic Raab inadvertently acknowledged that he is an idiot? Talking about Brexit’s impact on the availability of stuff in shops, he was quoted as saying that he hadn’t realised that Dover was important to British trade.

“I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this....but if you look at the UK, at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing....”

Logistical difficulties

He also told us that Britain is, apparently, an island, and would, therefore, experience one or two logistical difficulties with imports and exports once it leaves the world’s largest free-trade area.

Almost simultaneously the health secretary issued an appeal to people not to stockpile drugs.

Participating in an outbreak of honesty, the UK’s culture secretary revealed that he does not read very much. If he did he would have noticed the leaking of the deal that will be necessary if there is a no-deal Brexit. And the new backstop to the Border backstop. And the leaked draft deal that everyone hates.

Boris Johnson’s brother Jo surprised everyone with a principled resignation: either a deal or no deal raises serious questions for the ex-transport minister who expects either economic chaos or a deal that nobody wants. According to Johnson, Britain is in its worst political crisis since Suez. All this from a man at the heart of Brexit planning.

The message from the brothers Johnson is actually very important: politicians on both sides of the Brexit divide hate everything about the government’s Brexit plans. Jo Johnson said that the proposed deal “unites [Leavers and Remainers] in fraternal dismay”.

That spells trouble ahead even if Theresa May brings back a deal from Brussels. She may not have the votes to get the deal through parliament. If that happens anything is possible. For the first time ever pro- and anti-Brexiteers are uniting in a common cause.

Familiar script

The previous Brexit secretary David Davis kept to a more familiar script when he (quite correctly) complained that Britain has adopted rubbish negotiating tactics ever since the referendum. It matters not one jot that he was until very recently in charge of those negotiations. Davis said that Brexit would be progressing smoothly if only he had been in charge. You couldn’t make it up.

A no-deal Brexit means drug and food shortages. It will also be terrible for the Irish economy, but at least there will be the irony of a self-induced British famine.

Those shortages may have only just become obvious to the UK cabinet but they are the single most important reason why a deal must be done. That doesn’t necessarily mean a deal will be done. Idiots and incompetents are in charge. The game now is to shift the blame to somebody else – there is plenty more of this to come.

Ordinary punters in financial markets said as soon as our bank guarantee was announced that “the Irish taxpayer is on the hook for everything”. It really was that obvious, that simple.

Similarly, as soon as the British government signed up to the Border guarantee on each of the three times it committed to it, it was told it had created a conundrum that cannot be resolved. One with profound consequences.

Both Johnson brothers were told repeatedly about the consequences of the Border deal they signed up to. They have both been told repeatedly what Brexit implies. The resignation could not have been sparked by any new information.

New deadline

Any conceivable “deal”, even if it gets past Westminster, will just put the big decisions off until 2020. July of that year is apparently the new deadline in the latest draft deal. We may all die of boredom between now and then. Amidst all of the sound and fury of the next few days there will be the usual absence of any thinking about what will actually happen over the longer term.

Businesses that are poorly managed usually wither and die. Countries that are poorly governed rarely expire (although it has been known) but rather just fade away.

History teaches us that bad things happen to well-meaning, essentially decent people. The lesson of the 100th anniversary of the first World War is that terrible things happen to ordinary countries who neither desired nor deserved what happened next.

Chris
12th November 2018, 22:14
JHK on how political collapse in the US is becoming ever more obvious as what he has dubbed the Long Emergency, a slow-motion disintegration of what we might call the modern world, drags on.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/rock-the-vote/

Rock the Vote

It warmed my heart to read in The Wall Street Journal that Hillary Clinton is preparing to re-enter the Washington DC swamp from her deluxe exile in the woods of Chappaqua, New York, and make another run for the White House — though it’s hard to calculate how many porters in sandals and loincloths will be required to lug all her baggage around the campaign trail. Will hubbie hit the hustings with her? That would be rich. I can just imagine the pussy-hatted legions shrieking #MeToo at every stop. Surely there is no better way to put the Democratic Party out of its misery.

The post-election melodramas in Georgia and Florida grind on, despite the various rules and laws about deadlines for certifying ballots and accounting for their origin. What is a ballot after all but a mere scrap of paper, easily reproducible, and interchangeable. Sometimes, they make strange journeys out of election headquarters in trucks and SUVs, seeking fun and excitement, and they have been known to mysteriously turn up by the hundredweight in broom closets where they retreat to caucus. Only one thing is certain: the ballot fiasco is a billable hours bonanza for DC lawyers arriving on the scene to sort things out — which they may not manage anyway.

If the vote count somehow remains in favor of the provisional winners — Republicans Rick Scott, Ron DeSantis (Fla), and Brian Kemp (Ga) — you can be sure we’ll be in a frenzy of sore loserdom that will make the Medieval ergot outbreaks of yore look like episodes of Peewee’s Playhouse. If the provisional votes get overturned, the attorneys billable hours will quickly exceed the national debt, and we’ll find ourselves in a new era where the free citizens of this republic can‘t be trusted to the simple task of counting ballots, or even holding elections in the first place.

This epic confusion is of a piece with a prediction I made about what happens to government in The Long Emergency: it becomes impotent and ineffectual, and can no longer be depended on to carry out the simplest tasks. The process goes from the top down. At each step, the public loses faith that government can accomplish anything. The Trust Horizon shrinks away from distant authorities… the DC Swamp, the state capitals, and soon the people don’t believe anything or anyone they can’t reach by throwing a rock.

And so we enter a new stage of collapse. It will be made very much more emphatically worse as the money issues underlying this American malaise unravel in the months ahead. The reason that nothing will be done is that nothing can be done about the country’s intractable technical bankruptcy. The wealth we assumed was there is a fiction and will be expressed in plunging asset values, especially stocks and real estate. And any attempt to “fix” that by the Federal Reserve and its TBTF handmaidens moving to stop losses will only redirect the destruction to the currency itself. When citizens trust neither government nor their money, really bad things happen.

This polity is too far gone in lying to itself for official corrections to avail. Sometimes the only corrective is sheer failure. At least it presents the option of starting over. Of course, Mr. Trump made the fatal mistake of claiming ownership of a “miracle” economy that is about to get stranded on the beach like a dying grunion. His inclination, I’m sure, will be to pretend loudly that nothing is wrong — even as the new model pickup trucks gather dust unsold on the car lots, and the “for sale” signs multiply on lawns everywhere, and the pink slips land at the cubicle work-stations, and the skeleton crews of waiters stand around the empty Olive Gardens and Chipoltles playing liar’s poker with their depreciating dollars.

Meanwhile, the new Democratic majority congress prepares to ramp up its longed-for multi-committee inquisition against Trump and Trumpism, and the Republican Senate will counter-punch with binders of criminal referrals against the superstars of the Resistance. C-Span will be livelier and more colorful than the WWE Wrestlemania round-robin, midget division.

Chris
16th November 2018, 16:42
One of the signs of a collapsing society is a dismantling of the social safety net and increasing poverty at the bottom, with all wealth increasingly going to the top. The UK, under Tory leadership, has been a prime example of that. Ever since the Global Financial crisis catapulted them into power, the Tories have been dismantling the welfare state piece by piece, justifying it with the catchphrase "austerity".

If you wonder who the Tories are, they're basically like Republicans in the US, with posh accents and aristocratic-sounding names, except, on the evidence of what's going on with Brexit right now, much stupider. On the plus side, they have smashed the myth once and for all that upper-class gits with posh accents and private educations are in any way smarter than the general population. Clearly, all that in-breeding has made them much stupider. On the negative side, the UK, once a wealthy, respected and powerful country, is collapsing before our eyes. Political and Social collapse seems to be leading the way, but I'm sure that financial, commercial and eventually cultural collapse aren't far behind.

I won't bore you with the details of the Brexit clusterfuck, all the papers and news outlets are plastered full with the sorry show anyways, but the below article provides a cautionary tale on how so-called conservatives can dismantle an entire welfare state and social safety net in just a few short years, blaming it on austerity, whilst their pals spirit away their earnings to the Cayman Islands, not paying a penny of tax in the process.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/un-report-uk-poverty-austerity-government-cuts-special-rapporteur-benefits-callous-a8636901.html

UN condemns UK government's 'mean-spirited and callous approach' to poorest, in damning report

'I have spoken with people who depend on food banks and charities for their next meal, who have sold sex for money or shelter, children who are growing up in poverty unsure of their future,' says UN special rapporteur

The United Nations has condemned the British government's "punitive, mean-spirited and often callous" treatment of the country's poorest and most vulnerable, in a damning report.

The UN's special rapporteur said policies and drastic cuts to social support were entrenching high levels of poverty and inflicting unnecessary misery in one of the richest countries in the world, adding that Brexit was exacerbating the problem.

“The United Kingdom’s impending exit from the European Union poses particular risks for people in poverty, but the government appears to be treating this as an afterthought,” said the UN's expert on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, at the end of a 12-day visit to the country.

The report goes on to document a series of findings which combine to present a withering assessment of Britain's approach to its poorest citizens, detailing a predicted 7 per cent rise in child poverty, a 60 per cent increase in homelessness since 2010 and exponential growth in the number of food banks.

“During my visit I have spoken with people who depend on food banks and charities for their next meal, who are sleeping on friends’ couches because they are homeless and don’t have a safe place for their children to sleep, who have sold sex for money or shelter, children who are growing up in poverty unsure of their future,” Mr Alston said.

“I’ve also met young people who feel gangs are the only way out of destitution, and people with disabilities who are being told they need to go back to work or lose benefits, against their doctor’s orders."

He said successive governments had overseen a systematic dismantling of the social safety net, suggesting the introduction of universal credit and significant reductions to support had undermined the capacity of benefits to relieve poverty.

“British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach,” he said.

“As a ‘digital by default’ benefit, universal credit has created an online barrier between people with poor digital literacy and their legal entitlements. And the ‘test and learn’ approach to the rollout treats claimants like guinea pigs and can wreak havoc in real peoples’ lives.”

Delivering the report in London on Friday, Mr Alston said “not nearly enough” was being done to address the challenges and described a “state of denial by ministers” regarding the state of poverty in the UK.

He added: “[Ministers] have an overriding set of objectives to cut the welfare system, cut what they see as dependences. I cannot believe that they are as happy with the system as they told me they were.”

Referencing reforms to the benefit system, the UN rapporteur said universal credit was a "sudden tonne of bricks approach" that is "utterly inconsistent with the essential underpinnings of not just human rights, but the whole British sense of community and the values of justice and fairness".

He added: "The system epitomised by universal credit, but not limited to that, is in fact driven by the desire to get across a simple set of messages: the state does not have your back any longer. You are on your own.

“The government’s place is not to be assisting people who think they can’t make it on their own. The government’s place is an absolute last emergency order, and what goes along with that is a sense that we should make the system as unwelcoming as possible.

“The command and control approach reflected in universal credit is that sanctions should be harsh, immediate and painful – and yet all of the evidence that I’ve seen indicate that sanctions are usually counter-productive, that they create fear and loathing among claimants and they impose immense hardship."

When asked about the kind of future the UK faces, Mr Alston said: “Britain is heading towards an alienated society where you have pretty dramatic differences between the upper classes and the lower classes.

“The era of connectivity, social media and so on make it much less sustainable to have these two dramatically different societies - of people living the high life but people on the other hand not able to afford a tin of banked beans.”

Describing the state of affairs for poor groups on a local level, he said local authorities, which he said performed a "vital role" in providing a social safety net, had been "gutted" by a series of government policies.

Mr Alston added: “The public land that is being sold off, the libraries that are being closed down, the youth services that are being sized down. Soon, there will be nowhere for them to go.

“They will find themselves living in an increasingly hostile society because community roots are being broken. There is real reason for concern.”

When asked by The Independent to what extent the government's immigration policies contributed to poverty, Mr Alston condemned the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK and urged ministers to consider giving people seeking asylum the right to work.

“Expecting asylum seekers to survive without any access to government services on £37 a week is unrealistic and very punitive. Enabling those people to seek work is a minor concession that should be contemplated,” he said.

Responding to the findings, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood urged the government to listen to the people being pushed into poverty by its policies.

“Universal credit is failing miserably, leaving families in debt, rent arrears and at risk of becoming homeless. Three million children are growing up in poverty despite living in a working household," she added.

“Labour will stop the roll out of universal credit, end the benefit freeze and transform the social security system so that it supports people instead of punishing them.”

In a series of recommendations, Mr Alston said the government should ensure local governments have the funds needed to tackle poverty at the community level, conduct an independent review of the effectiveness of reforms to sanctions introduced since 2012, and immediately explore less punitive approaches to encouraging compliance.

He said the five week delay in receiving benefits under universal credit should be eliminated, separate payments should be made to different household members, and weekly or fortnightly payments should be facilitated.

His final recommendation states that, as the country moves toward Brexit, the government should adopt policies designed to ensure that the brunt of the resulting economic burden is "not borne by its most vulnerable citizens".

Dreamtimer
17th November 2018, 13:16
...how so-called conservatives can dismantle an entire welfare state and social safety net in just a few short years, blaming it on austerity, whilst their pals spirit away their earnings to the Cayman Islands, not paying a penny of tax in the process.


Gee, that sounds familiar. 50% of our wealth is now in the hands of three people I believe. And our Prez got his money through tax evasion while he himself has been evading taxes for...ever?

Right after the '07 collapse the remedy was austerity. We had to bail out the "too big to fail" banks with TARP and then suffer austerity on top of that.

Because...

Many people in America still extoll the trickle-down nonsense. In spite of a century's worth of evidence that it doesn't happen.

We have buses that travel around giving people free health care. And it's not just the homeless.

NotAPretender
17th November 2018, 14:01
Hey Chris,

What's up with this European political sh*t anyway...just kidding... :) I find it interesting to see the parallels that obviously exist. Traditionally, it was watch Europe (Britain) to see what would be happening in the U.S. a few years down the road...now, it almost seems reversed. Probably the damn internet's fault (it's a conspiracy to control the world).

It might seem like the West has seen its day...let's hope not...Supremacy/Primacy is an outmoded concept in modern society. The stresses are very real...it's make or break time. It's time for social consciousness to start keeping pace with the other foundational legs of humanity...science and spirituality. Science it could be argued convincingly is the source of the dysfunctional money flow. Money sucks...Hubbert suggested that humanity be paid by its level of energy expenditure, not rank, not prestige, not inherited hierarchy. Those guys sitting in their boardrooms smoking cigars, drinking champagne, trading wives, cadillacs, and diamonds would not be worth much. :)

Chris
17th November 2018, 14:32
Hey Chris,

What's up with this European political sh*t anyway...just kidding... :) I find it interesting to see the parallels that obviously exist. Traditionally, it was watch Europe (Britain) to see what would be happening in the U.S. a few years down the road...now, it almost seems reversed. Probably the damn internet's fault (it's a conspiracy to control the world).

It might seem like the West has seen its day...let's hope not...Supremacy/Primacy is an outmoded concept in modern society. The stresses are very real...it's make or break time. It's time for social consciousness to start keeping pace with the other foundational legs of humanity...science and spirituality. Science it could be argued convincingly is the source of the dysfunctional money flow. Money sucks...Hubbert suggested that humanity be paid by its level of energy expenditure, not rank, not prestige, not inherited hierarchy. Those guys sitting in their boardrooms smoking cigars, drinking champagne, trading wives, cadillacs, and diamonds would not be worth much. :)

Hey NAP,

Well, the sad truth is that signs of collapse are everywhere, it really isn't just the US. Some countries and regions are doing better than others obviously, but there is a general sign of decay and decline, at least in the West. I still maintain that this is largely due to our energy predicament and financial and political shenanigans are just a symptom of our inability to grow the economy with cheap energy. Since conventional oil production peaked globally in 2005, it probably wasn't a coincidence that the whole financial system, or house of cards as our leaders at the time so memorably put it, almost went belly up just a couple of years later. There is still plenty of oil to be found in the ground, but what remains is the difficult to extract and thus expensive stuff. Shale oil in particular looks like a ponzi scheme.

Asia seems to be growing still, but much of that growth is predicated on Chinese and Indian coal, supplemented with Middle Eastern and Russian oil. Australian coal is also significant. They have built thousands of coal-fired power plants since the 1980s and this has kept their economies growing at the expense of the environment of course, which has become unliveable, much like England's was in Victorian times. They are paying a very high price for all that "development" and it makes me wonder whether civilisation can actually survive in large parts of Asia.

As for money, I'm sort of neutral towards it, I'm not aware of any workable alternative to a monetary system, though it should be controlled by elected representatives, rather than private banks, there is an obvious conflict of interest going on there. I also wonder whether there is something to Tracy Twyman's Babylonian Money Magic theory, maybe that's what's the root of our problems.

Chris
17th November 2018, 14:42
Gee, that sounds familiar. 50% of our wealth is now in the hands of three people I believe. And our Prez got his money through tax evasion while he himself has been evading taxes for...ever?

Right after the '07 collapse the remedy was austerity. We had to bail out the "too big to fail" banks with TARP and then suffer austerity on top of that.

Because...

Many people in America still extoll the trickle-down nonsense. In spite of a century's worth of evidence that it doesn't happen.

We have buses that travel around giving people free health care. And it's not just the homeless.

The interesting thing is, that there is no evidence whatsoever that trickle down works. My own country is sometimes brought up as an example of a place where slashing taxes has actually increased tax revenues and grown the economy, but Hungary is a special case. We had the second highest tax rates in the world, where the average person payed more than half his (official) income in taxes, which was clearly choking the economy. Slashing tax rates and instituting a flat tax did actually help grow the economy and increase tax revenues, however this was because people and businesses alike where avoiding paying taxes altogether and with a lower-tax simplified regime, the incentive to do so was considerably lessened. The situation in the US is different, overall tax rates are already at historic lows, they were much-much higher during the fifties for instance. I really don't know what would work for the US, but it is worth studying other examples from around the world. The fact Remains though, that the super-rich and the biggest global corporations in the world pay little or no tax at all and that is probably a primary reason for austerity all over the world.

NotAPretender
17th November 2018, 15:32
My take on taxes.

The big money has the wherewithal to move the economy. If they are taxed at a sufficient rate and subsequently feel that their 2nd yacht is jeopardized by a lack of funds...they will move the economy. This is really what I think. Need is a perception and their perceived needs are astronomical. Without that characteristic considered the fiscal calculations don't seem to add up. That alone is one of the BIG ways that we are having the wool pulled over our heads.

Chris
22nd November 2018, 23:28
Interview with Dmitry Orlov on the five stages of collapse.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=8oHtd7An4MI

The original essay is worth reading, I have found this concept to be groundbreaking and extremely useful when studying various ongoing collapses:

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2008/02/five-stages-of-collapse.html

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross defined the five stages of coming to terms with grief and tragedy as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and applied it quite successfully to various forms of catastrophic personal loss, such as death of a loved one, sudden end to one's career, and so forth. Several thinkers, notably James Howard Kunstler and, more recently John Michael Greer, have pointed out that the Kübler-Ross model is also quite terrifyingly accurate in reflecting the process by which society as a whole (or at least the informed and thinking parts of it) is reconciling itself to the inevitability of a discontinuous future, with our institutions and life support systems undermined by a combination of resource depletion, catastrophic climate change, and political impotence. But so far, little has been said specifically about the finer structure of these discontinuities. Instead, there is to be found a continuum of subjective judgments, ranging from "a severe and prolonged recession" (the prediction we most often read in the financial press), to Kunstler's "Long Emergency," to the ever-popular "Collapse of Western Civilization," painted with an ever-wider brush-stroke.

For those of us who have already gone through all of the emotional stages of reconciling ourselves to the prospect of social and economic upheaval, it might be helpful to have a more precise terminology that goes beyond such emotionally charged phrases. Defining a taxonomy of collapses might prove to be more than just an intellectual exercise: based on our abilities and circumstances, some of us may be able to specifically plan for a certain stage of collapse as a temporary, or even permanent, stopping point. Even if society at the current stage of socioeconomic complexity will no longer be possible, and even if, as Tainter points in his "Collapse of Complex Societies," there are circumstances in which collapse happens to be the correct adaptive response, it need not automatically cause a population crash, with the survivors disbanding into solitary, feral humans dispersed in the wilderness and subsisting miserably. Collapse can be conceived of as an orderly, organized retreat rather than a rout.

For instance, the collapse of the Soviet Union - our most recent and my personal favorite example of an imperial collapse - did not reach the point of political disintegration of the republics that made it up, although some of them (Georgia, Moldova) did lose some territory to separatist movements. And although most of the economy shut down for a time, many institutions, including the military, public utilities, and public transportation, continued to function throughout. And although there was much social dislocation and suffering, society as a whole did not collapse, because most of the population did not lose access to food, housing, medicine, or any of the other survival necessities. The command-and-control structure of the Soviet economy largely decoupled the necessities of daily life from any element of market psychology, associating them instead with physical flows of energy and physical access to resources. This situation, as I argue in my forthcoming book, Reinventing Collapse, allowed the Soviet population to inadvertently achieve a greater level of collapse-preparedness than is currently possible in the United States.

Having given a lot of thought to both the differences and the similarities between the two superpowers - the one that has collapsed already, and the one that is collapsing as I write this - I feel ready to attempt a bold conjecture, and define five stages of collapse, to serve as mental milestones as we gauge our own collapse-preparedness and see what can be done to improve it. Rather than tying each phase to a particular emotion, as in the Kübler-Ross model, the proposed taxonomy ties each of the five collapse stages to the breaching of a specific level of trust, or faith, in the status quo. Although each stage causes physical, observable changes in the environment, these can be gradual, while the mental flip is generally quite swift. It is something of a cultural universal that nobody (but a real fool) wants to be the last fool to believe in a lie.

Stages of Collapse

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in "business as usual" is lost. The future is no longer assumed resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings are wiped out, and access to capital is lost.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that "the market shall provide" is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down, and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.

Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that "the government will take care of you" is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.

Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that "your people will take care of you" is lost, as local social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush in to fill the power vacuum run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.

Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in the goodness of humanity is lost. People lose their capacity for "kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity" (Turnbull, The Mountain People). Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources. The new motto becomes "May you die today so that I die tomorrow" (Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago). There may even be some cannibalism.

Although many people imagine collapse to be a sort of elevator that goes to the sub-basement (our Stage 5) no matter which button you push, no such automatic mechanism can be discerned. Rather, driving us all to Stage 5 will require that a concerted effort be made at each of the intervening stages. That all the players seem poised to make just such an effort may give this collapse the form a classical tragedy - a conscious but inexorable march to perdition - rather than a farce ("Oops! Ah, here we are, Stage 5." - "So, whom do we eat first?" - "Me! I am delicious!") Let us sketch out this process.

Financial collapse, as we are are currently observing it, consists of two parts. One is that a part of the general population is forced to move, no longer able to afford the house they bought based on inflated assessments, forged income numbers, and foolish expectations of endless asset inflation. Since, technically, they should never have been allowed to buy these houses, and were only able to do so because of financial and political malfeasance, this is actually a healthy development. The second part consists of men in expensive suits tossing bundles of suddenly worthless paper up in the air, ripping out their remaining hair, and (some of us might uncharitably hope) setting themselves on fire on the steps of the Federal Reserve. They, to express it in their own vernacular, "fucked up," and so this is also just as it should be.

The government response to this could be to offer some helpful homilies about "the wages of sin" and to open a few soup kitchens and flop houses in a variety of locations including Wall Street. The message would be: "You former debt addicts and gamblers, as you say, 'fucked up,' and so this will really hurt for a long time. We will never let you anywhere near big money again. Get yourselves over to the soup kitchen, and bring your own bowl, because we don't do dishes." This would result in a stable Stage 1 collapse - the Second Great Depression.

However, this is unlikely, because in the US the government happens to be debt addict and gambler number one. As individuals, we may have been as virtuous as we wished, but the government will have still run up exorbitant debts on our behalf. Every level of government, from local municipalities and authorities, which need the financial markets to finance their public works and public services, to the federal government, which relies on foreign investment to finance its endless wars, is addicted to public debt. They know they cannot stop borrowing, and so they will do anything they can to keep the game going for as long as possible.

About the only thing the government currently seems it fit to do is extend further credit to those in trouble, by setting interest rates at far below inflation, by accepting worthless bits of paper as collateral and by pumping money into insolvent financial institutions. This has the effect of diluting the dollar, further undermining its value, and will, in due course, lead to hyperinflation, which is bad enough in any economy, but is especially serious for one dominated by imports. As imports dry up and the associated parts of the economy shut down, we pass Stage 2: Commercial Collapse.

As businesses shut down, storefronts are boarded up and the population is left largely penniless and dependent on FEMA and charity for survival, the government may consider what to do next. It could, for example, repatriate all foreign troops and set them to work on public works projects designed to directly help the population. It could promote local economic self-sufficiency, by establishing community-supported agriculture programs, erecting renewable energy systems, and organizing and training local self-defence forces to maintain law and order. The Army Corps of Engineers could be ordered to bulldoze buildings erected on former farmland around city centers, return the land to cultivation, and to construct high-density solar-heated housing in urban centers to resettle those who are displaced. In the interim, it could reduce homelessness by imposing a steep tax on vacant residential properties and funneling the proceeds into rent subsidies for the indigent. With plenty of luck, such measures may be able to reverse the trend, eventually providing for a restoration of pre-Stage 2 conditions.

This may or may not be a good plan, but in any case it is rather unrealistic, because the United States, being so deeply in debt, will be forced to accede to the wishes of its foreign creditors, who own a lot of national assets (land, buildings, and businesses) and who would rather see a dependent American population slaving away working off their debt than a self-sufficient one, conveniently forgetting that they have mortgaged their children's futures to pay for military fiascos, big houses, big cars, and flat-screen television sets. Thus, a much more likely scenario is that the federal government (knowing who butters their bread) will remain subservient to foreign financial interests. It will impose austerity conditions, maintain law and order through draconian means, and aide in the construction of foreign-owned factory towns and plantations. As people start to think that having a government may not be such a good idea, conditions become ripe for Stage 3.

If Stage 1 collapse can be observed by watching television, observing Stage 2 might require a hike or a bicycle ride to the nearest population center, while Stage 3 collapse is more than likely to be visible directly through one's own living-room window, which may or may not still have glass in it. After a significant amount of bloodletting, much of the country becomes a no-go zone for the remaining authorities. Foreign creditors decide that their debts might not be repaid after all, cut their losses and depart in haste. The rest of the world decides to act as if there is no such place as The United States - because "nobody goes there any more." So as not to lose out on the entertainment value, the foreign press still prints sporadic fables about Americans who eat their young, much as they did about Russia following the Soviet collapse. A few brave American expatriates who still come back to visit bring back amazing stories of a different kind, but everyone considers them eccentric and perhaps a little bit crazy.

Stage 3 collapse can sometimes be avoided by the timely introduction of international peacekeepers and through the efforts of international humanitarian NGOs. In the aftermath of a Stage 2 collapse, domestic authorities are highly unlikely to have either the resources or the legitimacy, or even the will, to arrest the collapse dynamic and reconstitute themselves in a way that the population would accept.

As stage 3 collapse runs its course, the power vacuum left by the now defunct federal, state and local government is filled by a variety of new power structures. Remnants of former law enforcement and military, urban gangs, ethnic mafias, religious cults and wealthy property owners all attempt to build their little empires on the ruins of the big one, fighting each other over territory and access to resources. This is the age of Big Men: charismatic leaders, rabble-rousers, ruthless Macchiavelian princes and war lords. In the luckier places, they find it to their common advantage to pool their resources and amalgamate into some sort of legitimate local government, while in the rest their jostling for power leads to a spiral of conflict and open war.

Stage 4 collapse occurs when society becomes so disordered and impoverished that it can no longer support the Big Men, who become smaller and smaller, and eventually fade from view. Society fragments into extended families and small tribes of a dozen or so families, who find it advantageous to band together for mutual support and defense. This is the form of society that has existed over some 98.5% of humanity's existence as a biological species, and can be said to be the bedrock of human existence. Humans can exist at this level of organization for thousands, perhaps millions of years. Most mammalian species go extinct after just a few million years, but, for all we know, Homo Sapiens still have a million or two left.

If pre-collapse society is too atomized, alienated and individualistic to form cohesive extended families and tribes, or if its physical environment becomes so disordered and impoverished that hunger and starvation become widespread, then Stage 5 collapse becomes likely. At this stage, a simpler biological imperative takes over, to preserve the life of the breeding couples. Families disband, the old are abandoned to their own devices, and children are only cared for up to age 3. All social unity is destroyed, and even the couples may disband for a time, preferring to forage on their own and refusing to share food. This is the state of society described by the anthropologist Colin Turnbull in his book The Mountain People. If society prior to Stage 5 collapse can be said to be the historical norm for humans, Stage 5 collapse brings humanity to the verge of physical extinction.

As we can easily imagine, the default is cascaded failure: each stage of collapse can easily lead to the next, perhaps even overlapping it. In Russia, the process was arrested just past Stage 3: there was considerable trouble with ethnic mafias and even some warlordism, but government authority won out in the end. In my other writings, I go into a lot of detail in describing the exact conditions that inadvertently made Russian society relatively collapse-proof. Here, I will simply say that these ingredients are not currently present in the United States.

While attempting to arrest collapse at Stage 1 and Stage 2 would probably be a dangerous waste of energy, it is probably worth everyone's while to dig in their heels at Stage 3, definitely at Stage 4, and it is quite simply a matter of physical survival to avoid Stage 5. In certain localities - those with high population densities, as well as those that contain dangerous nuclear and industrial installations - avoiding Stage 3 collapse is rather important, to the point of inviting foreign troops and governments in to maintain order and avoid disasters. Other localities may be able to prosper indefinitely at Stage 3, and even the most impoverished environments may be able to support a sparse population subsisting indefinitely at Stage 4.

Although it is possible to prepare directly for surviving Stage 5, this seems like an altogether demoralizing thing to attempt. Preparing to survive Stages 3 and 4 may seem somewhat more reasonable, while explicitly aiming for Stage 3 may be reasonable if you plan to become one of the Big Men. Be that as it may, I must leave such preparations as an exercise for the reader. My hope is that these definitions of specific stages of collapse will enable a more specific and fruitful discussion than the one currently dominated by such vague and ultimately nonsensical terms as "the collapse of Western civilization."

Dreamtimer
24th November 2018, 17:38
From the Guardian:


Steve Bannon’s political operation to help rightwing populists triumph in next year’s European parliamentary elections is in disarray after he conceded that his campaign efforts could be illegal in most of the countries in which he planned to intervene.

Chris
24th November 2018, 18:01
From the Guardian:

Yes, I read that article. He actually plans to help my PM, Orban win more seats in the EP elections. Trouble is, that would very clearly be foreign interference, which is supposedly illegal. Apparently when the other side does it, it's ok.

NotAPretender
24th November 2018, 19:02
actually Chris, it's not the other side...it's the same side...

Chris
24th November 2018, 20:24
actually Chris, it's not the other side...it's the same side...

What I meant to say is that Soros gets lambasted for supporting the Left in Hungary (despite the fact that he is in fact Hungarian and has never rescinded his citizenship, so he would be within his rights to participate in Hungarian politics), but when Bannon announces that he will do the same with Orbán in Hungary (which is clearly illegal, since he is a foreigner with no ties whatsoever to Hungary), he gets a free pass. I have not seen a single article here in the MM in Hungary that criticises Steve Bannon for his open support of Orban and pledging to help him win an election. I think that points to double standards.

Chris
26th November 2018, 16:05
James Howard Kunstler's latest take on current events. As always, another small piece in the overall collapse puzzle. Once you put the pieces together, it will add up to one almighty tumble.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/murphys-law-to-the-rescue/

Murphy’s Law to the Rescue!

What can go wrong will go wrong. It’s so fundamental to the operation of the universe that Sir Isaac Newton should have installed it between his 2nd and 3rd Laws of Motion — but he had his hands full losing a fortune in Britain’s South Sea Bubble circa 1721, after muttering to a colleague that he “could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people.” Note to all you hedge fund cowboys out there: Old Isaac was probably smarter than you (and all the algos you rode in on.)

Was it a fretful Thanksgiving this year, a family feud of political recrimination with a lot teeth gnashing through mouthfuls of candied sweets? Well, yes, coming after the extraordinary fiasco of the Kavanaugh hearings and the disputed midterm elections, but the glide path to Yuletide looks kind of bumpy, too, so here’s a short bill or particulars of things tending to go wrong:

Ukraine verges on martial law after a naval incident with Russian ships in the waters off Crimea. Say what? Martial Law? They might as well declare a Chinese Fire Drill. Details of the actual incident in the Straits of Kerch between the Black Sea and the lesser Sea of Azof remain murky besides the fact that two Ukrainian gunships and a tug disobeyed orders from Russian ships to stand down in Russian maritime waters and shots were fired. Who knew that Ukraine even had a navy, and how can they possibly pay for it? But now NATO is trying to get into the act, meaning the USA will get dragged into just the sort unnecessary and idiotic dispute that kicks off world wars. Note to the Golden Golem of Greatness (aka Mr. Trump): this dog-fight is none of our goddam business. Russia, meanwhile, asked the UN Security Council to convene over this, which is the correct response. What could go wrong?

Yesterday, about five hundred Central American migrants rushed the border at Tijuana. The US Border Patrol tear-gassed them and they backed off. Bad optics for those trying to make the case for open borders. Naturally, The New York Times portrayed this as an assault on families, defaulting to their stock sob story, though the mob assembling down there is overwhelmingly composed of young men. Complicating matters, a new Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes over next Saturday, a Left-wing populist and enemy of Trumpismo. Tijuana is now choking on the thousands of wanderers who were induced to march north to test America’s broken immigration policies. What could go wrong?

Congressional Democrats are said to be “loading the cannons” with subpoenas for Trumpsters to get raked over-the-coals in a circus of committee hearings when they take over the majority in January. They’ll be matched by Senators firing back in hearings controlled by Republicans, setting up the worst political pissing match since the Civil War. In a fair universe, enough dirt would come out on either side to disable the most sinister forces of the Deep State — especially the seditious “intelligence community.” But life is unfair, as Jimmy Carter once observed and the exercise will only fan the flames of already-extreme antipathy. What could go wrong?

The engine pulling that choo-choo train of grievance is Robert Mueller’s Russian Collusion investigation. I expect him to produce mighty rafts of charges against Mr. Trump, his family and associates, and anyone who ever received so much as a souvenir mug from his 2016 campaign. But I doubt that any of it will have a bearing on Russian election “meddling.” And in that case, the charges will be met by counter-charges of an illegitimate investigation, meaning welcome to that constitutional crisis we’ve been hearing about for two years. That’s a mild way of describing anything from a disorderly impeachment to troops in the American streets. What could go wrong there?

Finally, there’s the elephant in the room with the 800-pound-gorilla riding on its back: the economy and its diabolical engine the financial markets. Anyone notice on the lead-up to Thanksgiving and Black Friday that the markets have been going south (and not on holiday to Cozumel)? Stocks are roaring back up again as I write. The TBTF banks and their ringleader, the Federal Reserve, have had a few days to engineer a rally, and the sharper it goes up, the more remaining “greater fools” will get roped in for eventual slaughter. Bond rates are charging back up too, meaning the price is skidding down. Bad combo. The poison cherry-on-top is Bitcoin, which has plunged about 40 percent in ten measly days to a 3000-handle and is headed to zero. So sad, as The Golden Golem might put it. It seemed like such a sure thing less than a year ago. What could have gone wrong?

Chris
27th November 2018, 15:48
Dmitry Orlov's latest take on political collapse and Headless Chickens. Fair warning regarding the usual pro-Russia bias, but it is rather mild in this particular article and I appreciate his take on the Ukraine Martial Law situation, I have not read this from anyone else so far and it seems genuine.

read:http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-flight-of-headless-chicken.html

The Flight of the Headless Chicken

When I was five and spending the summer in a small village a couple of time zones east of Moscow I witnessed the execution of a rooster. My brother and I walked over to a neighbor’s house to pick up some eggs. Just as we arrived the neighbor finally caught the rooster and chopped his head of. The now headless rooster then put on quite an aerobatic performance that was quite amazing. After doing an unlimited takeoff he repeatedly soared and plummeted, executed several touch-and-gos (more like crash-and-goes, actually) and was undeterred by what previously would have been head-on collisions. I was by then quite familiar with the poor aerodynamic qualities of barnyard fowl and was duly impressed with the energetic and breathtakingly erratic behavior of a bird liberated from the mental straitjacket of its brain. Unfortunately, the performance only lasted for a minute or so. A word to the wise: I later learned that it is possible to prolong the show, should the need ever arise, by heating up the hatchet so as to cauterize the severed neck. More recently, I have learned that such sans-tête aerobatics are not restricted to chickens.

Figurative birds, of the mechanical variety, can exhibit something similar. A prime example is the greatest boondoggle in the history of military aviation, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It too is liable to losing its head, in the sense of the pilot blacking out. In addition to being ridiculously expensive (over $1.5 trillion in projected project costs) and plagued with problems (only half of the built planes are considered ready for any sort of mission and there are over a thousand known defects that haven’t been fixed, including ones that make it useless for air-to-air combat or ground support) F-35 pilots often report feeling sick and there have been many incidents where they lost consciousness, probably due to oxygen starvation and circulation problems.

In response, the fatally flawed jet’s maker Lockheed Martin, whose motto seems to be “One boondoggle deserves another,” has decided to add a subsystem. Called Auto-GCAS (for Ground Collision Avoidance System), it takes over automatically if it detects the danger of ground collision and the pilot fails to respond to the alarm and take corrective action. Auto-GCAS then throttles up and directs the plane upward, pulling a maximum of five g’s. What does that do to a pilot who is already feeling sick or is unconscious? Once a safe altitude is reached, the plane levels out and Auto-GCAS shuts off. If the pilot happens to be offline for good, the process repeats until the plane runs out of fuel and crashes. I hope that you are impressed with the sheer brilliance of the plan. A show designed to impress was recently staged at an airfield in Utah, where 35 F-35s took off, one right after the other. It has not been independently verified how many of them landed. Auto-GCAS is slated to be ready for use by 2024, but Pentagon’s planners are hoping to accelerate the process.

All of this made me wonder about the general behavior to be expected of hierarchically organized, centrally controlled systems once they are deprived of their control module. Auto-GCAS is by no means the worst case. For instance, there is the Russian Perimetr system, a.k.a. Dead Hand. If it detects that the Russian military leadership has been incapacitated by a nuclear strike, it will launch an all-out nuclear attack, obliterating the aggressor. This may seem like a really bad plan, but then attacking Russia is a really bad plan too, and one bad plan deserves another. What makes this plan bad is that it doesn’t elicit the right response. The right response is: “Oh, we see, attacking Russia is sheer suicide, so let’s not do that.” But where’s the money in not planning to attack Russia? And so instead the “One boondoggle deserves another” crew sets forth to build anti-ballistic missile systems (which don’t work) and deep underground bomb shelters stocked with years’ worth of supplies (which is gold-plating; a large shallow grave to jump into when the time comes would work just as well).

And yet as far as planning for decapitation goes, Dead Hand is state of the art. Most other large-scale centrally controlled systems are woefully unprepared for the loss of their command modules. For instance, look at finance. After the financial collapse of 2008 it quickly became obvious that nobody competent or responsible was in charge. The “solution” was for central banks to start blowing financial bubbles by zeroing out interest rates and flooding the world with new debt. Debt that expands much faster than the economy is garbage debt, and it gave rise to various other kinds of garbage: garbage energy from shale and tar sands, garbage money in the form of cryptocurrencies, garbage real estate investment schemes, garbage corporate balance sheets bloated with debt used up in stock buybacks, a large crop of garbage oligarchs gorging themselves on all of this garbage “wealth” and much else. Things look good while all this garbage is packaged up in financial bubbles, but once they pop (and as all children know all bubbles pop eventually) everyone will end up wearing the garbage.

There are plenty of examples of political auto-decapitation as well. In the US, Trump realized that he can become president simply by insulting all of his competitors (who richly deserved such treatment) and so he did. But now the hive mind of Washington is deeply at odds with the bumblebee-mind of Trump, and neither qualifies as any sort of a head, except perhaps in a strictly symbolic sense. Things are no better in Europe. In the UK, an anti-Brexit team is in charge of negotiating Brexit, struggling to make it as anti-Brexit a Brexit as possible. That doesn’t seem like any sort of “headedness.” In Germany, Merkel is on her way out, and her replacement has the unenviable task of hammering together a governing coalition out of parties that are too busy knocking heads with each other. The multi-headed bureaucratic hydra in Brussels is not exactly popular with anyone. What is the recourse? Emperor Macron of France, perhaps? Is Europe ready to be headed by a diacritical character? (A macron is a horizontal line you place over vowel letters to represent a long vowel: Mācron.)

There are systems that are properly headless: flocks of birds, schools of fish, communes of anarchists, etc. They are anarchically structured and individuals within them take on temporary, task-based leadership roles as the situation demands and can only expect to be obeyed in accordance with their competence in executing the tasks. But most of the human systems we have are hierarchically structured and require to be headed by someone. Democratic elections are but a recent innovation, and a most uncertain one. For instance, during the 2016 election in the US, the establishment trotted out an entire array of craven, feckless, corrupt opportunists, and Trump knocked them all out with a feather, not because he is any sort of proper leader, but because it was so easy.

For an even more amazing example of democratic failure, look at today’s Ukraine—the most recent experiment in Western democracy. There, a constitutionally elected, though remarkably corrupt and indecisive president was violently overthrown in 2014 in a US-managed coup and replaced with an American puppet so unpopular that yesterday he was forced to introduce martial law—just in order to be able to cancel the elections scheduled in three months and to remain in office de facto. To produce a rationale for declaring martial law he sent some small boats on a truly idiotic mission. The boats sailed into a Russian-controlled high traffic zone in the Black Sea, refused to respond when hailed and then pointed weapons at Russian border patrol. For this they were duly arrested and hauled off to jail, and their boats confiscated. Previously, an ongoing civil war instigated by this same president resulted in some fifty thousand casualties, but no martial law was ever deemed necessary. What’s different now? Oh, the elections, of course!

If these are the fruits of democracy, perhaps the Ukrainians should consider going back to a monarchy. Dynastic succession has worked much better and for much longer periods of time. For instance, at the time of its annexation by Russia in 1783, Crimea was ruled by Shahin Girei, a descendant of Genghis Khan who was born around 1155. That one dynasty, spanning 628 years, ruled the largest empire that ever was. At one point it included all of China, most of Russia, Korea, Persia and India, plus many lands in between. Genghis had decreed that no part of the Mongol Empire could be ruled by anyone who wasn’t a direct descendant of his, and so it was. The Mongol Empire ended peacefully, with Shahin Girei abdicating his throne and accepting protection from Catherine the Great. Maybe that’s the plan, then: install a Ukrainian Emperor and immediately have him abdicate his throne and accept protection from Putin the Great. Then Putin will turn the heat and the hot water back on, the armed thugs will be marched off to someplace safe for disarming and de-thugging, and the nuke plants will stop breaking down.

Since we seem to be headed (no pun intended) for unstable and disrupted times, it bears pointing out that while democracy may be very nice when everything is going along according to plan, it is not particularly resilient in the face of severe disruption. And what is the plan now—in the US, or in the EU (or what will be left of it)? We have some truly ghastly examples of the fruits of democracy in the form of the Weimar Republic in Germany or the Interim Government between February and October of 2017 in Russia. If you don’t fancy being ruled by headless chickens, consider picking a leader using whatever ad hoc procedure that works. The idea is to avoid any more Robespierrian Reigns of Terror, Reichstag fires or October Revolutions—because we already know what those are like.

Chris
30th November 2018, 12:14
A sobering assessment of the complacency entrenched in the people of Britain by seven decades of prosperity. Few people are as Ill-prepared for the collapse of their current political, commercial and financial arrangements as the British. I think this will come as a huge shock to them come next March and if you live in the UK, I would urge you to start preparations now, as no-deal Brexit is currently looking like the most likely outcome.

Using Dmitry Orlov's Five stages of Collapse as a template, I expect the Brexit crisis will start with a commercial collapse as trade between the UK and the EU
come to an almost complete halt. This will result in a financial collapse down the road, which in turn will collapse the political system of the entire UK. As a political entity, I don't expect the UK to survive very long, it is already bursting apart at the seams and in danger of splintering, even before the Brexit crisis has happened.

This is just a likely outcome, not a certainty. Yet. But time is running out and the political will to solve this situation does not seem to be there.

read:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/30/brexit-britain-crisis-uk

Brace yourself, Britain. Brexit is about to teach you what a crisis actually is

Seven decades of prosperity have lulled the UK into thinking we’re special – that disasters only happen to other people

Keeping calm in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire: ‘The idea that we’re protected, we’re exceptional, is not articulated … but it’s there.’

Most British people don’t have the first inkling of what a crisis is. They think it’s a political thing. “Government in crisis”, and so on. Whatever happens at the top, life will go on as ever. There will be food in the shops, medical supplies in the hospitals, water in the taps and order on the streets (as much as there usually is). Anyone who warns you otherwise is a catastrophist, a drama queen, a scaremonger, a Cassandra.

That’s what a seven-decade period of general peace and collective prosperity does for you. It makes you think it’s normal, rather than a hard-won, fragile rarity in history. It makes most people complacent, and turns a small but unfortunately influential number into the kind of adolescent romantics who think you can smash up everything in the house and stick two fingers up to Mummy and Daddy because, no matter what you do, they will always be there to make it right in the end. Mummy and Daddy won’t let anything too bad happen to us.

The idea that we’re protected, we’re exceptional, is not articulated or usually even conscious. But it’s there. That this is who we are. Disaster – mass, national disaster – happens to other people, in other places.

But there is no such rule. No such guarantee. Mummy and Daddy won’t always come to bail us out. And if you’ve ever lived in one of those other places, chances are you will have seen how quickly what you thought was an orderly society can disintegrate under pressure. If you’ve never known gunfire and mobs on the streets, or empty taps and empty shelves, or power that’s off more than it’s on, or morgues full of the victims of racial, political or tribal violence, you don’t have a clue how easily that can happen.

I experienced all these things when I was growing up in Kenya. Some were routine; the more severe, mercifully less so. Branded on my memory from an attempted coup d’état in 1982 is the sound of automatic rifle fire along the road; the crowds surging like waves; confusion and misinformation crackling from the radio; most of all, hearing the account of my late father, a doctor, of the aftermath of what I can best describe as a pogrom, unleashed by the breakdown of order, against the Asian people of Nairobi, his hospital full of the dead and grievously wounded people, many of them children no older than I was.

Britain is not Kenya. It is, in the ordinary run of things, much better protected against such convulsions than a country such as Kenya. But do away with the ordinary run of things, and any place in the world can suffer as Kenya did then. You don’t have to look too far back at European history to see it, nor do you have to look away from home. The British people I know who most swiftly grasped and vividly understood the implications of present events as they began to unfold are Northern Irish. There’s a reason for that.

Democratic institutions, the rule of law, civic infrastructure, a culture of local and national governance in which corruption, while ever present, is exceptional rather than institutional: these things, flawed as they may be and ever improvable as they are, take generations, even centuries to build. But once they topple, they can topple at terrifying speed and with terrifying effect. Britain has forgotten what that’s like.

All the talk about the “Blitz spirit” comes from people who have never known what it is to truly fear everything crashing down around you. In liberal democracies enthusiasm for a revolution usually comes from people who have known nothing but the safety and freedom of the “system” – which is to say the imperfect protective structure – that they abhor. Talk to anyone who has experienced the glories of such upheaval and they are generally not quite so keen on it.

To be, politically speaking, a grownup is something to be sneered at these days. It means you’re lacking in imagination, in boldness of vision, in belief in a better country or a better world. That’s a view held invariably by people who would, without grownups running things, have been lucky to survive long enough to articulate it. Similarly, a contempt for expertise is inevitably expressed by those who, without experts contributing to society as they do, would be lucky to have a voice to speak with, let alone a platform on which to use it. Expertise, like democracy, is far from infallible; each, however, is always preferable to the alternative.

When the grownups fail, as they periodically do, and badly, what you need is better grownups. Awful things have happened, and do happen, in this country, chiefly as a result of bad policy and worse enactment. We don’t need to have homelessness, dependency on food banks or deprived areas ruled by criminals and bullies. We can afford to act against these evils, but we let them happen all the same. That shames us. Hand the keys and the controls over to eternal teenagers – populists of either stripe – and what you’ll get is a situation where that choice is gone.

We’re not special. If, in a deluded fit of national self-harm that ever more resembles the drift into war in 1914, we allow ourselves to wreck the complicated machinery that underpins our everyday lives without us ever having to think much about it, nobody will be coming to rescue us. Cassandra, as Cassandras are always ready to remind you, was right.

• David Bennun is the author of Tick Bite Fever, and of British as a Second Language

Dreamtimer
3rd December 2018, 09:20
The gap has been getting wider...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2gO4DKVpa8

And the swamp has gotten swampier...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTO_ugxCEHU

NotAPretender
3rd December 2018, 18:12
Been to Cozumel...beautiful water there...

NotAPretender
3rd December 2018, 18:32
The unfortunate thing is that so many with so much lack so much...humanity, brainpower, foresight, hindsight, honesty, generosity, decency, morality...in short, liberal genetics...they lack character and personality.

Chris
3rd December 2018, 19:17
JHK is a bit all over the place in his latest essay, but I still think this is worth a read. I particularly like the comparison between how the French and Americans react to worsening living standards and being robbed blind by the elite. It is certainly an interesting contrast right now. My theory is that it has a lot to do with medication, perhaps even fluoride in the water, which supposedly makes people more docile and accepting of their fate.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-ghost-of-christmas-present/

The Ghost of Christmas Present

Apparently one additional world leader turned up in Buenos Aires without fanfare this weekend. The General Secretary of the North Pole, known popularly as Santa Claus, took his latest-model hypersonic sleigh to the G-20 Meeting, and made sure that the global financial elite would find their Christmas stockings stuffed with sugarplums one last time before the great reflation bull market dies of incredulity.

Something drastic was required as so many enterprises were skidding into a ditch last month, especially FAANGs, cars, house sales, and oil, while the Grand Old Man of the Dow Jones, General Electric, was singing its death song like an old Arikara chief in the prairie twilight. The US threat of 25 percent tariffs on Chinese exports was shunted ahead 90 days, giving the almighty algos and their human errand boys one last shot at looting the future.

How exactly will this change the basic equation of China sending its industrial output to WalMart in exchange for American IOUs, while the trade deficit mounts ever-higher and the last holdouts of the US middle class sink into debt, addiction, and hopelessness? It won’t, of course, because Americans have to find another reason to get up in the morning besides reporting to the national demolition derby. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t warm my heart to hear about x-hundred thousand “housing starts” every month, knowing that it represents the destruction of x-thousand acres of meadow, field, and forest, and that what’s being laid down on the landscape out there is soul-crushing infrastructure with no future.

It’s not hard to see why US life expectancy is going down, driven by the two new leading causes of death: opiate drugs and suicide — the former often in the service of the latter. The citizens of this land have exchanged just about everything that makes life worth living for the paltry rewards of “bargain shopping” and happy motoring. But the worst sacrifice is the loss of any sense of community, of face-to-face human transactions with people you know, people who have duties and obligations to one another that can be successfully enacted and fulfilled. Instead, you get to do all your business with robots, even including the robots fronting for companies that seek to ruin you. “Your call is important to us,” says the telephone robot at the hospital billing office dunning you to fork over $7,000 for the three stitches Little Skippy got when his best friend flew the drone into his forehead. “Please hold for the next available representative.” Who wouldn’t want to shoot themselves?

Interestingly, it’s the people of France who are going apeshit at this moment in history and not the much more beaten-down Americans. For all the deformities of the EU, France still maintains a general quality-of-life so far above what is found in the US these days that we look like some left-behind evolutionary dead end here in this wilderness of strip-malls and muffler shops. They live in towns and cities that are designed to bring people together in public. They support small business in spite of the diktats of Brussels. They maintain an interest in doing things well for its own sake. The French are rioting these days not simply over the cost of diesel fuel but because they’ve had enough impingements on their traditional ways of life and seek to arrest the losses.

Americans, by contrast, seem to passively accept their new status as world-class losers. You can deprive them of whatever is meaningful, whatever makes life worth living, and sell them depressing simulacra to replace those things, and they never notice. Even the revolts ongoing in this land only seek to make relations between us worse, for instance the new super-Puritanism that wants to criminalize the most elementary mating ceremonies, like asking for date, or even paying attention to someone of the opposite sex. This is what the Democratic Party, formerly the party of the working people, has dedicated itself to all year. That’s your “Resistance.” They’ve managed to ruin one of the few consolations for being on this planet.

Maybe you’all have had enough of that foolishness. Maybe when Christmas is over something will turn in that old proverbial widening gyre, and the anarchy loosened by that turn will not be “mere.”

Dreamtimer
4th December 2018, 01:14
That last part is a joke. Democrats stopping people from getting together? Ridiculous. Pence is the one who can't get in an elevator with a woman he doesn't know.

There's plenty of mating and flirting and hooking up going on. I don't know where JHK's living, but I still think he needs to get out more.

Dreamtimer
4th December 2018, 01:34
These are not my words and they're a much better representation of what 'Resist' means to those using the term:


This past election showed that the majority of voting Americans are waking up to the danger we face. Most Americans still have their heads in the sand, and many others aren’t just deplorable, they’re down right fascists. But as we fight back against this Trump/Putin/GOP attack on our democracy, more and more will join us until we win.

RESIST!

NotAPretender
4th December 2018, 02:29
I'm on board a 1000% - Some people very clearly are lacking something very necessary to qualify as human much less decent. Fred is rightfully affronted by my way of discussing 'conservatives'. The people I refer to are not conservatives though truthfully they are somethig much lower than members of a political party...Friedrich Hayek is given credit for the modern conservative party. If one reads his work it will become quickly apparent that most 'conservative' noise maker rabble rousers are in no way, shape, or form conservatives (I feel like I should be honest and stop pulling Fred's and other reasonable qualifying human beings chains...wouldn't want to give the wrong impression) :)

Chris
4th December 2018, 10:01
That last part is a joke. Democrats stopping people from getting together? Ridiculous. Pence is the one who can't get in an elevator with a woman he doesn't know.

There's plenty of mating and flirting and hooking up going on. I don't know where JHK's living, but I still think he needs to get out more.

He went to college in the sixties, during the height of the sexual revolution. It was a time when neither STDs nor unwanted pregnancies were a major concern. AIDS changed all that in the eighties.

I do think that there is a new sexual puritanism in colleges and universities all over the developed world, which only seems to apply to heterosexual relationships. It is interesting to ponder what's behind it, I think it might well be a deep-rooted conspiracy involving the Rockefeller foundation and the elite's obsession with reducing the planet's population. They want far fewer people and admittedly, the pre-industrial population and thus natural carrying capacity of earth is less than one billion. With climate and earth changes, that may be reduced further.


I fear Japan is a harbinger of the future, where young people of the opposite sex simply aren't connecting and interacting with each other any more. Sex is going extinct as are relationships, marriage and children. Friendships too, unless you count online buddies. This rot is spreading all over the industrial world and is deeply saddening. It could also be a natural biological reaction to overpopulation, this has been observed in Island populations where natural resources and thus the carrying capacity of that Island is extremely limited.

Dreamtimer
4th December 2018, 15:23
I'll point out the 'Christian' part.

Young folks take purity pledges. They won't have intercourse until marriage.

And so they engage in anal sex and oral sex, rationalizing that they're not really having sex. And they get STDs just like always.

A family member of mine is quite concerned over apps that young folks use to hook up such as Tinder. She's really worried about rampant STDs, and she has good reason.

There's also the fuel of alcohol. Get drunk, hook up, and then try to forget about it the next day.

I've heard young adults talk about how they've never had sex sober.

Sad.


My son has not gone down that road. He has a natural tendency towards monogamy and a profound respect for girls and women. So, no unwanted STDs, no unwanted pregnancies, and no nasty baggage. His current girlfriend of five years will likely be his wife. They're forging their future together, currently shaping their careers.

Chris
7th December 2018, 16:15
Kunstler's latest essay on the slow-moving political collapse unfolding in DC. I try to avoid discussing US politics on this thread, but when it comes to a collapsing political landscape, the UK and US are hard to avoid as both are undergoing considerable distress right now, along with France. A harbinger of uglier things to come, I'm sure.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/capture-the-flag/

Capture the Flag


A titanic battle between Mr. Trump and his antagonists looms in the political gloaming of the new year. It may not be resolvable by conventional means since the Intel and Justice agencies have been leading a two-year coup-by-subterfuge against the president, with Robert Mueller as the spearhead, leaving a slime-trail of sedition and prosecutorial misconduct that they are now desperately trying to cover up. How then can the corrupted Department of Justice and its stepchild, the FBI, be relied on to adjudicate these unprecedented crimes against themselves?
The answer may be coming next week when the lame duck session of House Oversight Committee calls John Huber to appear. Huber is the federal prosecutor out of the Salt Lake City district office who was assigned by the erstwhile Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into the manifold irregularities of the RussiaGate matter. It’s not clear how much Mr. Huber can tell the committee about an ongoing case, but he hasn’t made a peep all year, and if his testimony suggests that he’s twiddling his thumbs in the sagebrush, it will inform you that we are headed into real civil war. Too much incriminating information is already loose in the public domain about Hillary Clinton and the DNC colluding with Russia, and something has to be done about it.

It’s obvious that the Obama White House, along with CIA director John Brennan, and Director of National intel James Clapper, used the FBI and the DOJ (with support from the nation’s two leading newspapers), and help from Britain’s MI6 intel shop, to run illegal operations against Mr. Trump during the 2016 election, and then persisted in acts to delegitimize him after Jan 20, 2017. All this, of course, is apart from whether you like Mr. Trump or approve of his policies.
It’s well documented elsewhere that Robert Mueller’s mission to detect election “collusion” between Russia and Mr. Trump was a bust, and that all he has to show for it is a roll of contrived convictions for lying to federal prosecutors and the FBI. The case of General Flynn lies at the center because he served as Mr. Obama’s Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and he knew too much about US shenanigans around the notorious Iran nuclear deal and other shady doings. They were alarmed when he went over to Mr. Trump’s campaign, and determined to disable him. Once Mr. Trump appointed Gen. Flynn Director of National Security, Mr. Obama engineered an “incident” in late December of 2016 (confiscating Russian properties in Maryland over alleged election meddling and laying down new sanctions), that prompted Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to phone Gen. Flynn, the incoming DNS. US Intel was prepared for that set-up and recorded the call, which required the illegal “unmasking” of Flynn, a nicety of spycraft. Thus, the FBI had a transcript of the phone call and were easily able to entrap Flynn in mis-remembering the particulars of the call. Where is that transcript?

The predicate for this operation was completely dishonest: that incoming senior government officials are forbidden to speak to foreign ambassadors. In fact it is their duty to consult with foreign officials, especially in Mr. Flynn’s job, and a long-established tradition of every presidential transition. The coup cadres of the Deep State used The New York Times and The Washington Post to persuade the public that Gen. Flynn had done something treasonous, when it was nothing more than routine transition business.

Gen. Flynn’s sentencing paperwork was released a few days ago. The question is: will he be free to speak about the process he was put through? If there was any contingency against him speaking freely in his sentencing guidelines, it hasn’t been publicized. In any case, he deserves to be pardoned, and I believe that Mr. Trump will do exactly that after Mr. Mueller releases his long-awaited report.
Others have made the point that the Mueller Report will be a handbook for the impeachment of Mr. Trump by the House. The house can run hearings on that until the cows come home, but they’re unlikely to get a conviction in the Senate. The larger question is whether Mr. Mueller himself should be subject to prosecution and there’s plenty of evidence that he has been involved in misconduct himself going back to the shady Uranium One deal when he was the FBI Director. It’s obvious that he was brought onto the RussiaGate case in the Spring of 2017 not to find the truth about “collusion” but to attempt to save the reputation of the FBI and the DOJ using all the considerable power of a special prosecutor to cover the trail of official misdeeds.

There is enough ill-feeling and bad faith about all that activity to suggest that President Trump will have to set in motion some kind of extraordinary adjudication process. There have been rumblings for more than a year that he might accomplish that by declaring an emergency and bringing on military tribunals to sort this mess out. Until now, that has seemed farfetched to me. Not anymore. If, over the weeks turning the corner to 2019, Mr. Huber or Mr. Mueller or any of the House and Senate Committees don’t show any progress in airing out the official criminality among government employees, then we are headed into a titanic conflict between two camps in government. The financial markets may already be signaling the distress coming down the road as these two camps prepare to play capture the flag.

Chris
10th December 2018, 16:38
Kunstler's latest take on the Mueller investigation and Russiagate.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/not-so-fast/

Not So Fast


The media branch of “the Resistance” wet its pantsuits last Friday when Robert Mueller released sentencing memos on Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, the human keys to the dungeon they would like to toss Mr. Trump into. Over in the House of Representatives, incoming Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler spooged himself into a rapture as visions of impeachment lap-danced in his head. Their victory orgasms may prove premature.

The memos themselves were not all they were cracked up to be. Despite Mr. Mueller turning the screws of federal prosecution on them for months on end, neither Manafort or Cohen has composed the narrative the Special Counsel wants, so the memos were, in effect, an attempt to run some high voltage through the screws, to goose out a last-minute change-of-heart in the two patsies. Manafort has been stuffed into solitary confinement and Cohen threatened with forty years of jail time, Their stoicism so far suggests this is not the triumphal climax that the spinners of RussiaGate seek.

Mr. Trump’s response to all this has seemed, at best, retiring and ineffectual. He’s actually done next to nothing to fight back, besides some juvenile tweets, issued perhaps to alert his antagonists that he’s paying attention. Given the lack of evidence for the basic predicate of RussiaGate — that the Trump election campaign “colluded” with Russia — and the abundant evidence of crimes against Mr. Trump by his adversaries in prosecuting this fraud, and the legal machinery silently in motion backstage of RussiaGate — there’s a lot of room for the story to flip upside down.

For instance: the matter of General Flynn, the sacked National Security Advisor, who got his charging memo the week before last. The terms were surprisingly lenient: no jail time. The public, egged-on by the Resistance media, is led to believe that Gen. Flynn handed Mr. Mueller a wooden stake to drive through the Golden Golem’s wicked heart and was aptly rewarded. Gen. Flynn has said almost nothing for more than year and the impression of him in the media is of a completely beaten-down, broken man. I’m sure the ordeal has been grotesque for this once-powerful warrior. But his breakers forget that Gen. Flynn himself was an experienced spook who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, an outfit possibly more secretive and potent than the CIA and the FBI. We might assume that he still has friends and supporters there, and that Gen. Flynn may be sitting on interesting intel of his own on his inquisitors, ranging from the election misdeeds of the FBI and DOJ in 2016 all the way back to the Chief Inquisitor’s (RM’s) actions in the Uranium One scheme that funneled over $150 million into the Clinton Foundation, and also to manifold irregularities in the Obama White House around these matters.

Gen. Flynn may actually have the goods on the fraud behind his own prosecution — namely, proof of exactly how he was set up by Mr. Obama, in particular his own tapes of conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that would show something different than the transcripts Mr. Mueller used to entrap him on Lying-to-Federal-Prosecutors rap. That theory raises the question: why did he not use it in his own defense. The answer may simply be that he didn’t want to rack up $2.5 million in billable hours for defense attorneys and chose instead to tough it out for nearly two years until he could use the information he has. And that means he must wait until final sentencing when his case is complete.

That appears in the offing, perhaps even before Mr. Mueller releases his much panted-over final report. Of course, Mr. Mueller may have absolutely no idea what Gen. Flynn has got on him — hence the speculation about why the charging memo was so lenient. But that line of reasoning suggests that Gen. Flynn will just forget about the disgrace Mr. Mueller put him through and let bygones be bygones. That’s not how warriors roll. More likely, Gen. Flynn has something more severe in mind. For all of his horse-faced gravitas in the photos of his fleeting sightings, Mr. Mueller does not look to me like a man in a comfortable situation.

Mr. Comey will be making a return visit to the House committee where, last week, he weaseled his way through seven hours of forgetfulness, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch will make her long-overdue first appearance to do some ‘splainin’ about the fishy confab she held with Bill Clinton on the Tarmac in Phoenix around the time that Mr. Comey was preparing to drop the “matter” involving Mrs. Clinton in July of 2016.

Backstage for the moment, there are two other vectors in motion: whatever Mr. Huber is up to in his mission to examine all those FBI / DOJ ? CIA operations against Mr. Trump, and the parallel inquiry of Mr. Horowitz, the DOJ Inspector general. Mr. Huber will be heard from for the first time this week, and Mr. Horowitz’s report is expected soon, too. Finally, there is the Trump card, so to speak: the president’s power to declassify reams of documents that will shed light in all of the dark chambers of this fairy-tale castle. Wait for it….

Chris
10th December 2018, 19:18
Not sure where to post this, but since this video is about the stifling of free speech and the West increasingly becoming like Communist East Germany or Romania in terms of people constantly telling on and trying to silence each other, this is as good a place as any. If you thought the US was bad, spare a thought for Germany or the UK, where you really can go to jail for voicing a Politically Incorrect opinion. At least in the US, you'll only lose your job or your gig, for now.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMMv-npQ3pE

Aragorn
10th December 2018, 19:53
If you thought the US was bad, spare a thought for Germany or the UK, where you really can go to jail for voicing a Politically Incorrect opinion.

True, and you may include Belgium on that list.

Chris
11th December 2018, 20:46
Dmitry Orlov discusses his seminal book, "Shrinking the Technosphere" in this podcast. Just to recap, the Technosphere is Dmitry's original idea about a self-emergent artificially intelligent, but also immensely stupid organism that acts on the biosphere much like a virus would on a host, sucking it dry until it kills both the original host and subsequently, itself. Pretty much our entire technological sphere is there to feed this emergent organism and the only way to beat it is to replace Technosphere technologies with nature-like technologies that are too simple to become part of the Technosphere's AI matrix.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=SDExCWHA0lo

Dreamtimer
12th December 2018, 16:48
Sounds very interesting, Chris. I've been listening to some TED talks about AI.

Chris
12th December 2018, 21:46
Perhaps this news isn't entirely collapse-related (though arguably it is a sign of some sort of cultural-societal collapse), but it still seems to fit nicely with some of the themes discussed here.

All I can say is: "Lock Him Up! Lock Him Up" and "Trump for Prison, 2019!"

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/12/michael-cohen-sentence-latest-news-trump-hush-money-payments-lying-charges

Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison

Cohen guilty of hush money payments and lying to Congress
Cohen admitted covering up Trump’s ‘dirty deeds’

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal fixer, was sentenced to 36 months in prison in New York on Wednesday for crimes including lying to Congress and facilitating illegal payments to silence two women who alleged affairs with Trump.

The sentencing by the US district judge William Pauley in Manhattan capped a stunning about-face for a lawyer who once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump but has now directly implicated the president in criminal conduct.

In an emotional court scene in which he described his disillusionment with Trump, Cohen said he had committed the crimes out of “blind loyalty” to the president.

“I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired,” Cohen said. “I know now, in fact, there is little to be admired.”

“I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to,” Cohen told the judge. “The personal ones to me and those involving the president of the United States of America …

“It was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”

As the sentence was imposed, Cohen stood to face the judge and shook his head repeatedly. Afterwards, he sat at the table and put his head in his hands, then exchanged hugs with family members in the room.

Cohen, 52, admitted in August that on the eve of the 2016 presidential election he made a $130,000 payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels and arranged for a $150,000 payment to the former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Cohen’s lawyers agreed with prosecutors that those payments violated campaign finance laws, which require disclosure and allow maximum individual donations of $2,700.

Trump directed Cohen to make the illegal payments, prosecutors in the southern district of New York said in a court filing last week.

Trump has denied the affairs with Daniels and McDougal and dismissed the six-figure hush payments to them as a “simple private transaction”, having previously denied knowledge of them.

The prominent supreme court lawyer Neal Katyal called the sentence “bad news for Trump”. “In most jurisdictions, subordinates who carry out felonies at the direction of their boss get lower criminal sentences than the boss,” Katyal tweeted.

Concurrent to his three-year prison term for crimes prosecuted in New York, Cohen will serve two months for lying to Congress, the judge ruled, and he will be on three years of supervised release following his prison term. Cohen also was hit with nearly $2m in fines and restitution requirements.

Pauley ordered Cohen to surrender himself to authorities by 6 March. His lawyers requested that Cohen be allowed to serve his term at a facility in Orange county about two hours north of Cohen’s homes in New York City.

Guy Petrillo, a lawyer for Cohen, argued in court for leniency, saying that Cohen offered evidence “against the most powerful person in our country … knowing that he’d face a barrage of attack by the president.”

“He knew that the president might shut down the investigation,” Petrillo said.

Cohen indicated that attacks on him by Trump in recent months had personally stung. “For months now, the president of the United States publicly mocks me,” Cohen said, “calling me a rat and a liar and insisting that the court sentence me to the maximum time in prison”.

The prosecutor Nicolas Roos hit back, saying that Cohen had engaged in “a pattern of deception, of brazenness and of greed” that had “eroded faith in the electoral process and the rule of law”.

Pauley, the judge, said Cohen had “lost his moral compass” and committed a “veritable smorgasbord” of crimes.

“The need for general deterrents is amplified in this case,” Pauley said, adding, “as a lawyer, Mr Cohen should have known better”.

Cohen also faced sentencing on a separate charge of lying to Congress when he said that a Trump Organization effort to build a tower in Moscow was terminated in January 2016, as presidential primary voting got under way. In fact, the Moscow project was still in the works after Trump clinched the Republican nomination for the presidency in the summer of 2016, Cohen admitted last month.

Cohen was also sentenced for tax and bank fraud crimes to which he pleaded guilty in August.

Sentencing guidelines had called for a prison term of four or five years. Last week Trump tweeted that Cohen “should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence”.

Lawyers for Cohen argued for leniency based on his cooperation with prosecutors in a filing last month. But prosecutors in the southern district asked that Cohen be given a “substantial term of imprisonment”, noting that he had not entered a full cooperation agreement with them, which would have required him to testify fully about any and all criminal activity he might know about from his decade inside the Trump Organization or before or after.

In a parallel filing, however, the special counsel Robert Mueller asked the judge to give consideration to Cohen’s work with Mueller’s team, the details of which have not fully emerged but which Mueller indicated went to the heart of his investigation of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia and possible obstruction of justice by the president.

Jeannie S Rhee, a prosecutor from Mueller’s office, told the judge that Cohen had provided “credible” and “valuable information” about “core Russia issues”.

Rhee did not elaborate. “There’s only so much we can say about the particulars at this time,” she said.

Trump has denied any coordination with Russian operatives during the election and called the Mueller investigation a “witch-hunt”.

Petrillo argued that Cohen’s high profile had set him up for an aggressive prosecution. “Mr Cohen had the misfortune,” Petrillo said, “to be counsel to the president.”

Chris
15th December 2018, 15:17
Sleepwalkers Awoke!

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/sleepwalkers-awoke/

Andrew Sullivan called it “the Great Awokening” in a shrewd New York Magazine column this week. He refers, off course, to earlier episodes of American religious hysteria, namely the Great Awakening of the 1730s that featured the Rev. Jonathan Edwards raining sulfur and brimstone down on guilt-wracked New Englanders, and then the Second Awakening of the the early 1800s that spun off innumerable Protestant sects, cults, and utopian experiments. I like the term “Wokesterism” because the “ism” part acknowledges that the current hysteria makes a religion out of politics.

Sullivan’s theory is that Wokesterism is an improvised replacement for sclerotic American Christianity, to fill the vacuum of entropic meaninglessness that pervades life in the republic these days. He says:

And so we’re mistaken if we believe that the collapse of Christianity in America has led to a decline in religion. It has merely led to religious impulses being expressed by political cults. Like almost all new cultish impulses, they see no boundary between politics and their religion.

Wokesterism eerily mirrors many of the harsher practices of the most severe American Protestantism. It offers its own original sin, “white privilege,” from which there is neither redemption nor hope of redemption — like the old Presbyterian hell for babies who have come into this world drenched in sin. No amount of abject apology will avail for heretics to Wokesterism. The principal aims of Wokesterism are coercion of others, persecution, and punishment of the guilty (the un-Woke). Most importantly, it requires the suspension of individual conscience in order to promote unthinking, robotic obedience and mob justice. That helps explain the disgraceful blindness of the Wokester Left, especially the educated elites who work in the news media, the computer tech sector, and other “creative class” vocations.

One thing that Sullivan leaves out is the necessity for the Devil. That role is filled by Mr. Trump. His sinister cargo of belief, countering the Wokefullness of unicorns and rainbows, is the dark theology of MAGA, and Mr. Trump’s followers are the imps, demons, incubi and succubi of deplorable fly-over land. Wokesters will spare no effort to vanquish all this wickedness, and even lying and cheating in the service of that end is considered fair play. Hence the arrant and epic dishonesty of The New York Times.

Interesting case in point: Yesterday’s developments in the General Flynn court case are not even present in this morning’s Times. I speak of the action on the bench of Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan. It’s been brought to his attention that the scurrilous entrapment of Gen. Flynn by Woke FBI managers entailed departures from normal, lawful procedure. Gen. Flynn was interrogated in January of 2017, and the FBI account of the interview was not written (supposedly) until August of that year. Reports and memoranda must be written ASAP after an interview for the obvious reason that much important fact may be forgotten or misremembered if not documented right away. There is actually reason to believe that earlier versions of the report exist (or did exist), and they were trashed or buried when the main interrogator-of-Flynn, Peter Strzok, was cashiered from Robert Mueller’s team in July 2017. Judge Sullivan has demanded that the FBI produce those earlier docs by today (Friday) at 3:00 pm. It will be interesting to see if the FBI complies… or not. There is also a fair chance that Judge Sullivan will throw out Gen. Flynn’s conviction based on prosecutorial misconduct.

In the event, we could see the awesome downfall of the Archangel Mueller, and the unravelling of Wokester dreams of defeating the Devil via the Mueller inquisition. It will certainly be an embarrassment to the ardent Wokesters of the news media, who have shilled for this campaign for over two years. The General Flynn business is not the only thread unwinding in the giant tapestry of Wokester narrative. As in other epic persecutions, like the Jacobin Reign of Terror in 1790s France, and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, the tables are turning. The inquisitors, prosecutors, and executioners are going to face charges themselves, and harsh punishment is not out of the question.

The defeat of Wokesterism would be a very salutary outcome for a nation that has so badly lost its bearings to the worst of human instincts: religious persecution. It could be a fatal blow to the Democratic Party, which will have to find an alternative reason for its existence than Devil-and-Demon hunting. The Devil hunters themselves could be in the dock in 2019, answering for their actual crimes against American citizens and the public interest. Even the sainted Holy Mother of Wokesterism, the Archangel Hillary, may find herself wingless in a witness chair, answering how all that schwag from Russian banksters happened to end up in her foundation’s cookie jar.

NotAPretender
15th December 2018, 15:44
Religion should be nothing more than a reference for morality...in politics. That is the perspective for those that aren't hamstrung by their authoritarian natures. White privilege...my perspective as one who wasn't born with that 'original sin' is this.

White privilege isn't a sin, it is merely a fact of life for those that benefit from it and for those that don't. It shouldn't be equated with the social concept that being an 'other' renders one by birthright 'less than' the white privileged. In my view when confronted by the reality of white privilege it is only another factor to be considered and generally the last one. It is last in the line of rationalizations that I use to justify failure. I personally think that most people don't purposefully lead with their privilege...only the jacked up do that. Unfortunately, there are many jackoffs. This 'thing' that suggests in a sophistic fashion that 'white privilege' is BAD is just another disenguous way of denying it. I ain't buying it.

In a tangential way this is the nature of the arguments that the 'Canadian' dude uses to propagandize 'social justice warriors' and 'personal responsibility'. Honestly, this is just my opinion, of course, but it is all bullsh*t.

NotAPretender
15th December 2018, 16:02
On a political note, one thing about the Flynn situation is that the news I heard said this regarding his lying about Russian contacts, paraphrasing "It has been verified that he lied to several Trump insiders about his dealings with the Russians". It wasn't reported in bombshell way but it hit me like a bombshell. That statement gives Trump all the plausible deniability he needs to eliminate Flynn as a threat to him. "He lied to several Trump insiders!"

Chris
15th December 2018, 16:09
Religion should be nothing more than a reference for morality...in politics. That is the perspective for those that aren't hamstrung by their authoritarian natures. White privilege...my perspective as one who wasn't born with that 'original sin' is this.

White privilege isn't a sin, it is merely a fact of life for those that benefit from it and for those that don't. It shouldn't be equated with the social concept that being an 'other' renders one by birthright 'less than' the white privileged. In my view when confronted by the reality of white privilege it is only another factor to be considered and generally the last one. It is last in the line of rationalizations that I use to justify failure. I personally think that most people don't purposefully lead with their privilege...only the jacked up do that. Unfortunately, there are many jackoffs. This 'thing' that suggests in a sophistic fashion that 'white privilege' is BAD is just another disenguous way of denying it. I ain't buying it.

In a tangential way this is the nature of the arguments that the 'Canadian' dude uses to propagandize 'social justice warriors' and 'personal responsibility'. Honestly, this is just my opinion, of course, but it is all bullsh*t.

I've been thinking about white privilege a lot lately. Of course it is difficult to appreciate its nuances living in a country that's almost entirely "white". We do have a large South Asian population (the Romani people or Gypsies as they're better known) and they are heavily discriminated against. It is hard to say whether they actually constitute a separate race or the difference between them and white Hungarians is merely a question of culture. I suspect it is a bit of both.

But, I did spend quite a lot of time in countries where I was the minority race. In fact, we once lived in a neighbourhood of Singapore, where me and my flatmate were the only white people for miles. We never saw any other Europeans apart from ourselves. Did that make us uncomfortable? Would we have been better off and safer living in a neighbourhood where there were more people like us? And does a Hungarian (and a Pole, in case of my flatmate) have more in common with say, a white Briton, than with a Singaporean Chinese, Malay or Indian person? Those are fascinating questions to ponder and my conclusion is that it all depends on the individual.

I personally feel very comfortable living among Asians. I feel that we are very similar and that they are my people in that I, as an individual, have probably more in common with them than with Europeans. Or is that just conceit on my part? I honestly don't know.

Which brings me to white privilege. The only time I have really experienced White Privilege in an overt way, was travelling in Asia. There really is a sort of deference and special treatment afforded to white people, in some places at least, that people with a different racial background don't get (and that includes other Asians). I remember an Asian-American friend complaining to me that it was almost impossible for him to get a teaching position in Thailand. Even though he was a trained teacher and a Native English speaker, teaching jobs were often given to Europeans who could barely speak English and had no formal training, because they looked the part. That is a very clear example of white privilege, which is, ironically perpetuated and maintained by non-whites.

Does a similar sort of discrimination exist in North America and Europe? Probably, but I think it is more subtle and covert.

NotAPretender
15th December 2018, 16:24
All true...which is why in the end as I always say, "We are our own worst enemies" ... I think that in the arena of longstanding social extants (meaning things that just are what they are) most 'reasoning' occurs at the meta-cognitive level. Which in other words says that there is no reasoning occurring. Behaviors are driven by not the subconscious of necessity but certainly by the dictates of our personal autopilots. It isn't 'bad' just easy and has a great deal of inertia attached to it. But, on the other hand, all the uproar about immigration is driven by autopilot. For the white cultures, it is white privilege and the very strong human instinct to retain it.

There are so many contradictions inherent in the immigration argument that in a moment of thoughtful clarity it would hopefully occur that it shouldn't be 'fought' it should be dealt with in a realistic, honest, and moral way. At the forefront of awareness, it should be acknowledged that 'perfection' is not goal because it simply cannot happen, we are, after all, hopelessly human and for the most part obviously not 'higher beings'.

Dreamtimer
16th December 2018, 23:43
White-ness in people is valued in many ways across the world. In the castes of India the whitest are on the top.

I worked with many arabs over a few years and many of the elite were very light-skinned, and paleness was admired.

I heard a hypothesis once about how paleness and blondness are instinctively favored by humans because they're associated with youth. Children are often more fair and darken as they age.


This video has nothing to do with whiteness, and lots to do with Collapse. In fact the term is used.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6EXFpnjXNc

NotAPretender
17th December 2018, 01:34
Hi DT,

Time for a little crudity, not to mention impolitical correctness. Sigmund Freud speculated that 'blacks' are subject to mistreatment because they are the color of poopoo. So we have two ends of the 'coolness' spectrum. I'm going with socio-cultural indoctrination.

NotAPretender
17th December 2018, 01:41
White-ness in people is valued in many ways across the world. In the castes of India the whitest are on the top.

I worked with many arabs over a few years and many of the elite were very light-skinned, and paleness was admired.

I heard a hypothesis once about how paleness and blondness are instinctively favored by humans because they're associated with youth. Children are often more fair and darken as they age.


This video has nothing to do with whiteness, and lots to do with Collapse. In fact the term is used.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6EXFpnjXNc

what a downer...I think homo sapiens is reaching the point where they can fight back. As this is the anti-thread, let me add that AI will never reach consciousness beyond that which metals are capable of. AI can certainly cipher better than Jethro Bodine but consciousness...Human like consciousness is endowed by way of animate matter. Rather consciousness is 'focused' within animate matter.

Compliments of Giovonni's 'The End of Upside Down Thinking' - :)

oops, this is 'Collapse' ... well, Since Singularity is considered to hold the potential for the downfall of Man which could be construed as a pretty serious collapse...I posit a counterview.

Chris
17th December 2018, 17:56
http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/fatal-over-reach/

CLUSTERFUCK NATION – BLOG December 17, 2018

Fatal Over-reach

Last Friday morning, we adjourned the blog in anticipation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller handing over certain FBI documents in the General Flynn matter demanded by DC District Federal Judge Emmett G. Sullivan no later than 3:00 p.m. that day. Guess what. Mr. Mueller’s errand boys did not hand over the required documents — original FBI 302 interrogation reports. Instead, they proffered a half-assed “interview” with one of the two agents who conducted the Flynn interrogation, Peter Strzok, attempting to recollect the 302 half a year after it was written. Of course, Mr. Strzok was notoriously fired from the Bureau in August for bouts of wild political fury on-the-job as FBI counter-intel chief during and after the 2016 election. (This was the second time he was fired; the first was when Robert Mueller discarded him from the SC team in 2017 as a legal liability.)

So, 3:00 p.m. Friday has come and gone. It appears that the FBI 302 docs have come and gone, too. Actually, we have reason to believe that nothing ever created on a computer connected to the internet can actually disappear entirely. Rather, the data gets sucked into the bottomless well of the NSA server-farm out in Utah. Most likely, the original 302s exist and Mr. Mueller is pretending he can’t find them. In effect, it appears that Mr. Mueller has responded by gently whispering “fuck you” to Judge Sullivan.

Interestingly, The New York Times didn’t even report the story (nor The WashPo, nor CNN, nor MSNBC). Since their “Russia Collusion” narrative is foundering, they can’t tolerate any suggestion that their Avenging Angel of Impeachment, Mr. Mueller, is less than the sanctified plain dealer he affects to be. Judge Sullivan kept his own counsel all weekend. The next scheduled chapter in the story is Gen. Flynn’s sentencing this Tuesday. It would be a surprise if the Judge does not observe that Mr. Mueller has acted in contempt of court. Ditto if the charge against Gen. Flynn is not thrown out. After all, the main articles of evidence against him apparently don’t exist.

And if it turns out that Mr. Mueller and his team are disgraced by their apparent bad faith behavior in the Flynn case, what then of all the other cases connected to Mueller one way or another: Manafort, Cohen, Papadopoulos? And the other matters still in question, such as the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian “Magnitsky” lawyer and Golden Golem Junior, the porn star payoffs… really everything he has touched. What if it all falls apart?

In theory, this punch-drunk country could take a turn back to the genuine rule-of-law instead of the medieval-cum-Bolshevik practices of Deep State style justice. This would entail the prosecution of the prosecutors themselves. Far from an historical aberration, this is often the outcome when authorities overstep the boundaries of common decency. Which is what has happened in the setting-up of General Flynn.

Readers may wonder: why am I so concerned with these shenanigans among the FBI, the DOJ and Intel Community when there is that other elephant in the room, viz: Mr. Trump, the Golden Golem of Greatness, the awkward, embarrassing, childish fellow dishonoring the Oval Office? Because the actions of his antagonists are much more dangerous to the public interest than the oafish president. Elected officials come and go, but when America chucks the rule of law on the old garbage barge, this will cease to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. It will be a land of cringing cravens waiting in terror for the iron fist to smack them down like bugs.

Tomorrow, Tuesday Dec 18, some of the questions raised here will be answered, and I’ll add an addendum afterward. But there are many other forces in play right now on a world scene that is each day becoming more fraught with intimations of upsetting the current order of things. The West is enduring paroxysms of political uproar and disenchantment. China is more opaque politically, but its financial disorder is plain to see. And finally, there is the question of markets and banking, with their entwined fates heading in a bad direction. Of his many blunders, the worst for his own political survival was Mr. Trump taking ownership of the “greatest economy ever.” Stocks, bonds, and commodities are all wobbling at once, and approaching the event horizon where there is no floor under the price of anything. That will not make America great in the Trumpian sense, but it will be another opening for the long-awaited return of reality to a society where, for a long time, now, anything goes and nothing matters.

Chris
17th December 2018, 18:22
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-future-of-energy-is-bright-part-i.html#more

MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2018

By Dmitry Orlov

The Future of Energy is Bright, Part I

There are numerous disagreements on the topic of energy with substantial, and well substantiated differences of opinion between knowledgeable people. People tend to be blindsided by these, because this topic is at once visceral (you very well know when you are too cold or too hot, and in the dark), political (you very well know when utility bills leave you broke) and technical (you don’t necessary know the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt-hour, or that a terawatt is a million megawatts). But it is very important not to be blindsided by these disagreements, because if you end up on the wrong side of this argument, your lack of access to affordable energy is guaranteed to seriously crimp your style.

But there does seem to be one point of near-universal agreement: concentrated forms of energy, and especially electricity, are an essential ingredient of modern civilization. Fuel shortages and price increases are a major cause of social upheaval and mayhem. Power cuts are disruptive, especially to industrial production facilities that require steady state conditions. In hospitals and medical centers they can be lethal. Extended power outages often result in riots and looting. Without refrigeration food stockpiles go to waste; without heat or air conditioning urban centers become unlivable. Commerce, increasingly reliant on distributed information networks for payment processing and inventory control, grinds to a halt. Without elevators high-rise buildings become inaccessible.

If frequent though temporary power cuts are a major nuisance, stable, stable but high electricity prices are even worse because they make entire economic sectors—any that involve running electrically powered industrial machinery—globally noncompetitive. Sometimes all it takes is one bad decision. A case in point: some time ago Lithuania decided to shut down its only nuclear reactor, because it was an old Soviet design—RBMK, the same type as had blown up in Chernobyl, although with numerous safety upgrades, and so dumb politics rather than safety were the real issue. Now the Lithuanians have some of the highest electricity rates in Europe, there is no more industry in Lithuania, and instead they have to look for work in Germany.

A lot of people seem to think that energy is all about fossil fuels, which are bad because burning fossil fuels causes global warming. True, much of our energy, and virtually all transportation energy, comes from fossil fuels. But they are also not as plentiful as we would like, and the world as a whole is depleting the resource base of fossil fuels much faster than it is finding new resources. It is also generally conceded that there are enough of these resources left in the ground to completely wreck the climate—if they are ever going to be produced. Thus, fossil fuel resource depletion, and the fact that most of the remaining resources may turn out to be too difficult and expensive to produce, is actually a sort of blessing in disguise.

Furthermore, most of the fossil fuel resources, as far as quantities of usable products, are past their peaks. China has powered its transformation into an industrial powerhouse using cheap and abundant coal (causing much environmental devastation) but now China’s coal production is declining. Gasoline production, worldwide, peaked around 2006. Heavy oil, and diesel production with it, appears to have peaked in 2018. Natural gas production is still growing, but mostly thanks to new Russian liquefied natural gas production, and to shale gas production in the US, but the latter suffers from very high depletion rates and an overall lack profitability. Though everyone involved in the fossil fuel industry is compelled to paint a rosy picture (lest the investment money dry up) and we are being constantly barraged with optimistic projections, these often turn out to be exaggerated when reexamined in the rear view mirror. In short, we may be more blessed than we know.

But the blessing is also a curse, since a lack of stable, reliable, affordable energy pretty much spells the end of the world as we know it. Perhaps it will make you feel better knowing that you are no longer destroying our home planet as you wander up and down a stretch of abandoned highway collecting dry tree branches for your campfire, on which to cook some rodents you caught with a forked stick, but wouldn’t it make you feel even better if there were a way to keep the lights on without destroying the planet?

It is at this point that many people go off the rails, shoot off into the green energy weeds, and get stuck there. The most heavily hyped forms of green energy are wind, solar and biomass, followed by tidal energy, run-of-the-river micro-hydro and other exotics. I am certainly no enemy to any of these, having spent months living off-grid using various such devices. I have installed and maintained wind generators and solar panels, and will probably do so again if the situation calls for them. I am particularly fond of biomass and have an entire woodshed stacked with seasoned split alder logs to prove it. Stoking a wood fire is pure joy. I am less fond of the chores of going through battery banks, topping off electrolyte and looking for shorted cells to bypass, climbing masts to service wind generators or going over solar panels with a spray bottle and a squeegee.

But I have also looked at the economics of it, and have discovered that there is only one situation where wind generators and solar panels make sense: where the need for power is very modest and there is no electric grid to connect to. They are also pointless as far as replacing fossil fuel energy, because they cannot be manufactured, transported and maintained using anything other than energy and materials from petrochemical sources. Add up all the numbers, and what you end up is this: wind and solar provide reasonably good ways of storing and transporting small amounts of fossil fuel energy using wind and sunlight as an assist.

Wind and solar alone cannot be used to power the electric grid because the power they produce is intermittent and is either too much or too little. And since the electric grid has no way of storing energy (supply and demand must remain in balance at all times) both surpluses and shortfalls are bad. Therefore, other, stable generating capacity (based on fossil fuels, of course) must also be provided. How much additional generating capacity is needed? Rather unsurprisingly, pretty much all of it. That is, you have to build and maintain the same generating capacity as you would have to otherwise, except that you will now also have to pay for wind generators and solar panels. You will save some on fossil fuels, but then you will squander most of these savings on efficiency losses because, you see, rapidly throttling down your generating capacity to compensate for wind storms and sunny spells will waste a lot of energy (in the form of precious compressed steam loudly, stupidly vented to the atmosphere).

As a side note, one point about wind and solar that seems to confuse everyone is the difference between rated power and actual power. I installed a 400W wind generator on two separate boats. It generated, on average, around 30W. A large part of the time it generated 0W and a smaller part of the time it was too windy for it and it screamed like a banshee, then went into self-braking mode and also generated 0W. I also installed 200W of solar panels. These generated somewhere near 150W around mid-day when the sky was cloudless and their angle to the sun was close to perfect and much less—again, averaging out to around 30W—the rest of the time. If there was tree pollen in the air and I hadn’t bothered to squeegee off the dust and the pollen, they produced significantly less.

Now let’s do the math. A 1.5kW (that’s 1500 Watts) gasoline-powered generator on Alibaba is $250 US (and you know you’ll need one for those windless, sunless days). A 200W solar panel kit is also around $250. And a 400W wind generator is $300. Suppose you need to be able to count on having 1kW of power, generated “renewably” to the greatest extent possible, if you please. Well then, based on my numbers, you will need 33 wind generators and 33 solar panels, for a total outlay of $15,000 US. Batteries, cables, masts, solar panel frames, battery racks, charge controllers, inverters, etc., are not included, but they will add up to almost as much. Labor for installation and maintenance is also not included, and it is likely to be again as much. You are then looking at an outlay of $45,000 for 1kW. If you are in California, with its outrageous electricity rates ($0.1523/kWh), this will pay for itself in about 300000 hours, or 33 years.

Or you could just spend $250 on a 1.5kW gasoline-powered generator and be done with it. The $45,000 you save would buy you more than 10,000 gallons of gasoline (in California, which has the highest gas prices in the US). The generator consumes somewhere around gallon every 4 hours, giving you around 45,000 hours (or 5 years) of continuous operation at full power. You will need to replace the generator sooner than that, cutting into your savings somewhat, but on the other hand you are unlikely to have to run the generator flat out 24/7.

I am quite sure that you could scale up this calculation to any size and the results would be similar, and the economic results bear this out: nobody has ever managed to keep electricity rates internationally competitive by going this route. And if you make yourself noncompetitive, then you will no longer have to solve this problem because your companies and your workers will either relocate to a place that has competitive electricity rates, or they will just sit around and get drunk all the time like many of the Lithuanians are currently doing, consuming very little electricity in the process. All of this seems rather straightforward to me, but I am sure that I will fail to convince certain people, probably because they think that wind generators and solar panels are ecological and can save the planet, generators are noisy and redneck, and doing the math is for nerds.

Be that as it may. If you are not convinced, then please do some research on your own and convince yourself. I understand that for many people “green tech” is a matter of faith, and I do not wish to hurt the feelings of the faithful. I submit to you that there are major problems with fossil fuels in terms of their above-ground availability and affordability, rosy pictures drawn by certain petroleum geologists and energy information agencies notwithstanding (they have to feign optimism in order to continue to get paid). I also submit to you that wind, solar, biomass and other such “green” technologies do not offer a solution (but do offer a way to squander even more natural resources and to waste people’s money while making them feel green and virtuous). Add to this the fact that the burning of fossil fuels is causing major environmental problems. To top it off, take on board the fact that affordable, reliable electricity is the sine qua non of civilized existence.

Does this problem have a solution. Well, yes it does, which is why I believe that the future of energy is in fact so bright that you’ll need specialized protective gear just to look at it. It is also very complicated, full of scientific, technical and political challenges, and fraught with great dangers. I will explain how that can be next.

NotAPretender
18th December 2018, 02:18
bwaaahaaahaaaaa....Impressive credentials but a not very robust sense of reality. What one would expect from an 'artiste'. Very fanciful, unfortunately negative, though. Trump is applying the venom coming out of his arse to weaken the foundations of America. What this Kunstler says flies in the face of every bit of info floating around in the humanasphere. Flynn, is not a threat...


Article dated 12/14/2018:

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team on Friday released key documents relating to the FBI’s questioning of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, confirming agents did not believe at the time Flynn intentionally lied to them -- though he was later charged with making false statements in that interview.

The documents also reveal that the decision to interview Flynn in early 2017 about contacts with the Russian ambassador was controversial within the Justice Department. One FBI document said then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates “was not happy” when then-FBI Director James Comey informed her that the FBI planned to talk to Flynn. The report also said several unnamed people back at FBI headquarters “later argued about the FBI’s decision to interview Flynn.”


The documents – some of which are heavily redacted – were released in response to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordering prosecutors to hand over the government's files related to the FBI’s questioning of Flynn by Friday afternoon. The order came after Flynn's legal team said in a filing that the FBI discouraged Flynn from bringing a lawyer to the interview and agents never advised him false statements in that setting could constitute a crime. The newly released documents confirm those claims."

I should add the caveat that Flynn is no threat unless the 'lying to insiders' doesn't extend to Trump himself.

Here's another factoid of interest:

Sally Caroline Yates is an American lawyer. She served as a United States Attorney and later United States Deputy Attorney General, having been appointed to both positions by President Barack Obama.

Bottom line if anybody is questionable in this entire scenario it is Comey...He won the election for Trump.

Another thought: Comey compromised his principles to stop Clinton (Democrat) from becoming President. Comey, a dedicated Republican, to great surpise had pangs of guilt after he recognized what he had wrought and tried to undo it by undoing the Trump election. He failed and has lived to regret it.

Chris
18th December 2018, 13:41
An excellent article about the collapse of Venezuela. There are many lessons to be learnt from studying the collapse of advanced societies into something barely above stone age subsistence.

http://https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/dec/18/the-fallen-metropolis-the-collapse-of-caracas-the-jewel-of-latin-america

NotAPretender
18th December 2018, 17:48
My next door neighbor is Venezuelan...his sister is an M.D. making 10 dollars a month. He blames the Cubanos more than anybody. He says they control by political infiltration the social line of dominance.

Chris
18th December 2018, 18:36
My next door neighbor is Venezuelan...his sister is an M.D. making 10 dollars a month. He blames the Cubanos more than anybody. He says they control by political infiltration the social line of dominance.

It's rather interesting how Venezuela and Colombia went in radically different directions in the last decade or so. Colombia used to be a bloody mess. Now it's booming and the standard of living is improving every year. Venezuela was much richer even 5 years ago. Look at it now.

I personally think that Venezuela's main problem is resource curse. Russia suffers from the same affliction, though it is managed much better there. Once oil goes out of fashion, the likes of Saudi Arabia will follow Venezuela down the drain.

It is still a very complex situation in Venezuela, I doubt that many outsiders can truly understand it. I personally think their big mistake was turning their back on the US and trying to ally themselves with Russia and Cuba instead. Russia has just moved Heavy Nuclear Bombers there, in a replay of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Say what you want about Americans, but if you want to make money and keep your population prosperous, it pays to remain on their good side.

The revolutionary fervour coming out of Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador is economically suicidal, given that they ARE on the American continent and their biggest and most obvious business partner is always going to be the USA. Russia is far away with an economy significantly smaller than California. Cuba and Ecuador don't even register as significant economies. This whole idiocy of making an enemy out of your biggest potential customer and ally reminds me of Brexit actually.

NotAPretender
19th December 2018, 02:03
yeah, I think so...

Chris
19th December 2018, 04:05
An interesting report on the uncertain fate awaiting a million Britons currently living in EU countries. Notice the typical British sleight of hand, where Britons living abroad are referred to as expatriates, but Europeans living in the UK are called immigrants. That in itself explains a lot about British delusions vis-a-vis Brexit. Don't worry though, I'm sure if things don't go swimmingly for British expatriates in Europe, all it takes to persuade those nasty sausage-eating Krauts and frog-eating Pierres to treat British citizens with more respect is redirecting a gunboat from the port of Bombay in British India. As we all know, Britannia rules the waves and Britons never shall be slaves...

https://www.channel4.com/news/post-brexit-future-uncertain-for-britons-living-in-germany

Chris
19th December 2018, 12:00
Hi DT,

Time for a little crudity, not to mention impolitical correctness. Sigmund Freud speculated that 'blacks' are subject to mistreatment because they are the color of poopoo. So we have two ends of the 'coolness' spectrum. I'm going with socio-cultural indoctrination.

I've been thinking a lot about racism lately. It is sort of inevitable, as I live in a society that is notoriously racist even to this day. I've been bought up with a casually racist world view that has its roots in late 19th century imperialism. Although it is rarely stated explicitly, everybody shares certain assumptions about race that sets up a hierarchy of sorts between different racial and ethnic groups. Africans are at the bottom, seen as barely human and Germans and Scandinavians at the top, seen as demi-gods basically. The Nazi assumption that blonde hair and blue eyes signify divine origin lives on subconsciously. I was surprised to see the very same unconscious bias in an Israeli friend, who I thought should know better. He had a habit of referring to gentile Europeans as Aryans, which I found really disturbing. There are of course no Aryans and Jews aren't a race, though the Ashkenazim by themselves are a separate ethnic group (related to the Hungarians, btw) that do share some specific ethnic characteristics not shared by other groups. However, that has very little to do with Jewishness in and of itself.

I also had a good look at Racism in Asia, particularly India and Southeast Asia. There is a phenomenon there (and in a more subtle form, in Europe too) of what I call skin-colour discrimination. Within the same ethnic group (say Thais, Filipinos or Japanese) people with darker skin are looked down upon. They are considered ugly and less intelligent. I've dated very hot dark-skinned girls in these countries (that is my personal preference, I just find dark or brown skin more attractive than pale white), who were basically shunned by the local guys for their skin tone, even though otherwise they were very pretty and intelligent. It is a rather bizarre phenomenon and I'm told it pre-dates European colonialism. I believe it has to do with the persistent belief that rich, high-status people stay out of the sun and have therefore lighter skin-tones. In 19th century Europe, and in the colonies, great care was taken by Europeans to stay out of the sun for this reason. Asian ladies still walk around with umbrellas when they go outside. If you ever wondered why, that is the reason.

But, I do think there is something deeper going on here. I really think the Nazis were on to something when they associated blonde hair, blue eyes, pale skin and a tall stature with the gods. The oldest pantheon that we're aware of, the Sumerian Gods, most probably would fit that description. Many believe that they made us "in their image", therefore these characteristic would be a crude genetic marker of closeness to the gods. In the Enuma Elish, the gods refer to humans of Earth as the "black-headed ones", a subtle, but important indication that they did not have black or brown hair like indigenous Earth Humans. The Nazis were aware of this and went to great lengths to find references to these ancient gods and to find entrances to their underground bases, mostly in places like Tibet and Antarctica. There are rumours (who knows if they are true) that some Nazis met with such underground "gods" and shaped their whole Aryan supremacy policy with this in mind. I think that this is at least a plausible factor in the madness that then ensued with the whole racial purity drive.

NotAPretender
19th December 2018, 18:54
It is universal. The Nazis spent time in the Iranian mountains (I think) looking for the 'Gods'. In the 'Urantia' book one of the most striking things to encounter is the implicit sense that in the Galactic hierarchy (coincidentally, I suppose) the lighter the racial skin the more elevated the spiritual attainment. White, tan, brown, red, green, blue, and black.

A few years ago (I forget his name now) there was a very bright black guy on PA and apparently he was here for awhile that commented when he was exposed to the Galactic Hierarchy how he was gobsmacked that racism extended throughout the universe.

Social stresses bring out the worst in most humans and the problem with that is it takes 'mindfullness' to overcome the urges of the R-Complex wiring of the brain and most aren't willing to rise to the occasion.

It's all crazy...If one 'really' believes in consciousness as an attribute of creation then it is not so unreasonable to give true credibility to the 'Archons'. And they do fit with most mythical/historical accounts of 'weirdness'.

So my questions is, "Is it the Archons?"

Aragorn
19th December 2018, 22:34
I've been thinking a lot about racism lately. It is sort of inevitable, as I live in a society that is notoriously racist even to this day. I've been bought up with a casually racist world view that has its roots in late 19th century imperialism. [...]

I think that both the Roman Catholic Church and the media have been largely responsible in propagating the racist view that black people would somehow be inferior to white people. At least, that is my experience. Cultural isolation will also have contributed to that. One always tends to develop some wariness of what is culturally unfamiliar.

I grew up in a small and somewhat backwater village — which, ironically, had been an actual city with a twelve-tower castle during the middle ages — with a very strong Catholic indoctrination. Several of the villagers had become missionaries, and the way Africans were depicted to us at school — and this was further emphasized by the photos in the newspapers and the footage on television — was that they were savages or semi-savages who ran around naked, or barely clad at best. And some of them were allegedly cannibals, too! And of course, our missionaries and nuns had to go over there and "bring civilization to them". :rolleyes:

The whole thing seemed confusing to me when I discovered that a niece of my dad's had been married to an African, and they had a little girl, who is black. I've personally only ever seen her in photographs. I've never actually met her — my parents did, however — because her branch of the family lived a reasonable distance away from us. Her mother died of cancer at a young age and her father abandoned her, so she was raised by her mother's sister, who already had two or three children of her own.

Either way, none of the kids my age were accustomed to actually seeing black people in the flesh, because it was a village of white people only. And then the immigrants started coming in, from Morocco and Turkey. And they had kids of roughly our own age. Turks look quite Caucasian, even though they generally do have Eurasian racial traits. Moroccans look somewhat South European, and they generally have a tan. So as a kid — and especially given my autism, through which I notice details to a much greater extent than so-called neurotypical people — I did notice the racial differences, but they didn't bother me. The language barrier was more significant, I'd say.

The cultural differences did however surface, for instance when talking of religion. We had been indoctrinated with the concepts of God the Father, the Holy Ghost, Jesus, Mary, and whatever else there is, and they had in turn been indoctrinated with the concept of Allah and Mohamed. And they had strange names compared to us — especially the Turkish kids. But those kids lived only one street away from me, and they would walk the way home with me after school every day. As such, they became very good friends, and that friendship and respect has remained ever since.

Now, in high school, one of the guys in my class — one of the few guys who has never bullied me and with whom I never had any problems whatsoever — had been adopted when he was still a very little boy, and he was originally from Rwanda, I believe. He was as intelligent and "western" as everyone else, and there was certainly no racism toward him, neither from the (Catholic) school itself, nor from his classmates — which was somewhat surprising, given that those classmates were the very same guys who were bullying the hell out of me for all three years of my high school period.

Anyway, the guy went on to become a historian, and his brother — who is not his biological brother but who was also adopted as a young African boy — went on to become a local politician, and even made it to first schepen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schepen) in the city where he lives. As such, he was also the official substitute for the mayor whenever the mayor was unavailable, and at one point, he had to marry a couple, but when he then extended his hand to congratulate the newly-wed couple, the groom refused to shake hands with him because of his skin color. It caused quite a stir in the media. The inverse is also true, by the way — Orthodox Jews also refuse to shake hands with non-Jews, and likewise for certain Muslim women.

Xenophobia — which is actually a euphemism, because a phobia denotes fear, whereas in most cases it is a matter of intolerance and/or hatred, rather than fear — is so stupid. We're all the same species. And what if ET lands tomorrow and looks very different from us? Well, that topic has also already been addressed in movies, such as in "Alien Nation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_Nation_%28film%29)" (where the (humanoid) aliens are referred to as "melonheads") and in "District 9 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_9)" (where the (insectoid) aliens are referred to as "prawns" — in South Africa, the word "prawn" denotes a land-dwelling beetle, not a crustacean).

NotAPretender
20th December 2018, 01:58
crazy....

palooka's revenge
20th December 2018, 21:01
I think that both the Roman Catholic Church and the media have been largely responsible in propagating the racist view that black people would somehow be inferior to white people. At least, that is my experience. Cultural isolation will also have contributed to that. One always tends to develop some wariness of what is culturally unfamiliar.


Yup, its the ole slippery slope dynamic. There is privilege and then there’s privilege on steroids! Money buys privilege. Having exclusive claim to god buys privilege on steroids. Rome teaches that if your catholic, you’re saved. If not, your toast. Literally. When put in that position it follows that you are set up to look down upon anyone and everyone who is not ‘ in the fold’. 70 years ago I excommunicated myself from the catholic church over this very claim. But there was no way I was going to tell anyone. What’s a 5 year old to do?

Dreamtimer
21st December 2018, 13:38
70 years ago I excommunicated myself from the catholic church over this very claim. But there was no way I was going to tell anyone. What’s a 5 year old to do?

That's awesome. I would have done the same. I was raised in the Episcopal church so there was not the threat of damnation hung over my head all the time. Or excommunication.

When I was little, my parents explained to me that I could believe what I want and think for myself. I was soooo relieved, I was afraid they'd be mad at me because that's what I'd been doing all along.

NotAPretender
24th December 2018, 20:19
Catholicism runs too deeply in my blood to 'excommunicate' myself. But, trust me, my family HAS been threatened by excommunication at the parish level (no such thing really but the process starts somewhere). It's not the church that reached me, it was Jesus...Jesus represents the best of humanity and that's all there is to it. :)

Chris
25th December 2018, 00:37
Catholicism runs too deeply in my blood to 'excommunicate' myself. But, trust me, my family HAS been threatened by excommunication at the parish level (no such thing really but the process starts somewhere). It's not the church that reached me, it was Jesus...Jesus represents the best of humanity and that's all there is to it. :)

Well, I'm not a Christian (name notwithstanding) so I guess it's not my place to comment on this, but there's actually very little evidence, apart from the Bible itself, that Jesus was a real person who actually existed in the time period commonly specified. The Romans kept very meticulous records and he was supposedly fairly famous at the time, yet there is not one mention of him in any of the extensive historical records. I think it is very likely that he was simply made up by the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus for reasons of political expediency. There is a similar problem with Mohammed, btw, but his existence is less contentious. Jesus may be an excellent role model for some (though I would certainly argue with that), but only in the same way Harry Potter or Aragorn are. He is a character in a book and should be treated as such. Just my opinion, no offence meant to anyone or their religious beliefs.

NotAPretender
25th December 2018, 01:36
hmm, ok...I don't know why Josephus would create a character he despised but I still believe that Jesus was very real as was his family and brothers...Plenty of documentation for that.

NotAPretender
25th December 2018, 02:20
Christ myth theory
Main article: Christ myth theory

The Christ myth theory is "the view that the person known as Jesus of Nazareth had no historical existence."[108]

In modern scholarship, the Christ myth theory is a fringe theory and finds virtually no support from scholars.[109][110][111][112][52]

- The One Source -

Don't pee on my Jesus... :)

Aragorn
25th December 2018, 03:33
Well, I'm not a Christian (name notwithstanding) so I guess it's not my place to comment on this, but there's actually very little evidence, apart from the Bible itself, that Jesus was a real person who actually existed in the time period commonly specified. The Romans kept very meticulous records and he was supposedly fairly famous at the time, yet there is not one mention of him in any of the extensive historical records. I think it is very likely that he was simply made up by the Jewish-Roman historian Josephus for reasons of political expediency.

Actually, historical research — nebulous as it may be — suggests that there were at least two people eligible for having been the Biblical Yeshua, and possibly even four. One of them was allegedly crucified, but another one is said to have traveled to India.


There is a similar problem with Mohammed, btw, but his existence is less contentious.

Now that I did not know. Interesting. ;)


Jesus may be an excellent role model for some (though I would certainly argue with that), but only in the same way Harry Potter or Aragorn are. He is a character in a book and should be treated as such. Just my opinion, no offence meant to anyone or their religious beliefs.

Well, I am flattered that you think of me as a role model, but at the same time, I'm offended that you regard me as merely a character in a book. Who do you think has been running this forum for the last three-and-a-half years? :mad:


:onthequite:

All jest aside, J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Christian, and there is a whole lot of Christian mythology woven into the universe described in Tolkien's books. If you look at the Christian myth of Creation and the fall of Lucifer, then you can see this reflected in Tolkien's own narrative of Creation, and more precisely, through the rebellion of Melkor, who was the most powerful of the Ainur — the highest order of angels in Tolkien's universe, who would take on physical form as the Valar — but then after his descent into the physical realm became known as Morgoth Bauglir.

Sauron was initially a Maia — a "lesser" order of angels, who would take on physical form as (among other things) wizards — but he was corrupted by Melkor/Morgoth. Nevertheless, Sauron was a Maia of a more powerful order than Gandalf, Radagast and Saruman, the latter of whom was initially righteous but was then corrupted by Sauron, just as Saruman himself would then capture, torture and corrupt Elves and turn them into Orcs.

So, to recapture, Melkor became Morgoth and corrupted Sauron, who then corrupted Saruman, who then in turn corrupted Elves and converted them into Orcs. In Biblical analogy, Melkor would have been Lucifer, who then became the Dragon (Morgoth) who was cast down on Earth by Michael and who then gave his power to the Beast (Sauron), which in turn then created the Antichrist (Saruman) and the False Prophets (Grima Wormtongue).

Furthermore, Tolkien's Aragorn II is said to, after his crowning as the rightful King of Gondor and Arnor, have been the representation of the Biblical promise of Jesus as the King of Heaven and Earth. The name given to Aragorn II by his mother Gilraen when he was a young boy — to protect his true identity as the rightful heir to the throne of Isildur — was Estel, which is Elvish for "Hope". Aragorn II also physically resembled Aragorn I, and this could thus be interpreted as if Tolkien meant for Aragorn II to represent the Biblically prophesized second coming of Jesus — as in the Anglo-Saxon expression "from now until kingdom come."

Hmm... And all of that on the morning of Christmas day. :)



https://media1.tenor.com/images/9eb61b768f81060f3e3813eb4429540a/tenor.gif

Cearna
25th December 2018, 04:19
I read a tiny book by the sleeping prophet, which I felt very at ease with, as being the truth.

It was about the time of ancient Egypt, virtually also when also Atlantis was close to its end time , when they were mariners and frequently visited Egypt.

The story was about a priest (no mention of his own spiritual leanings, but his name was Ra ta). This story fits into my own memories as an atlantean, myself, which was that we were not born, we arrived as a spirit, and put a form around us, which bore no resemblance to a human form, so could have an antennae or many arms or legs. This story suggests that Ra ta and this wife were such as this. I know some of us used laser knives for cutting, and he used his for cutting off his and his wives extra appendages, until when he was completed they both, were blond haired, blue eyed two eyes, two legs two arms. Throughout the period which has to have been the Age of Aries, he seems to have decapitated all the extra limbs of the atlanteans till all of them had this white skin, blonde hair, blue eyes and are the beginnings of the Aryan race of legend which the Germans were besotted with as that of a pure race, which is what the300 female priestesses, tended to be. The males of Atlantis were more of an outer fringe sect, who tended to have their pride and ego considerably upset by this female authoritarian hierarchy, who actually set up and ruled the land of Atlantis, males and others from elsewhere, had only minimum rights and it was these who led to the eventual downfall of Atlantis due to their lack of the exceedingly occult abilities of the women, angst being the result, same as today.

Chris
25th December 2018, 18:37
Actually, historical research — nebulous as it may be — suggests that there were at least two people eligible for having been the Biblical Yeshua, and possibly even four. One of them was allegedly crucified, but another one is said to have traveled to India.

Well, yes, that is the point, those supposed candidates for Jesus lived well before the time he was supposed to live and none match the description provided by the Bible to any significant degree. Joseph Atwill wrote a book about it, called Caesar's Messiah. I attended one of his talks in London years ago and there was a fascinating discussion afterwards about the topic. I think he's definitely on to something. Here's a recent TV programme exploring the topic:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmEScIUcvz0



Now that I did not know. Interesting. ;)

There was a WSJ article about it years ago, but now it's behind a paywall. It is a contentious issues, and I'm not sure who is right either. You can read all about it here (with the pros and cons for each theory):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Muhammad



Hmm... And all of that on the morning of Christmas day. :)

What better time to discuss this, honestly? :p

But seriously, we just went through a Christmas celebration with my family and Christianity or Jesus did not come up once.

It is not a Christian holiday, but a much older pagan one, that was incorporated into Roman Liturgy because of its popularity in pre-Christian Europe. Same thing with Easter.

NotAPretender
25th December 2018, 19:04
Why would it be anyway else. The past, present, or future doesn't occur in a vacuum.

Does anyone really believe (if one believes) that Jesus was born on December 25?

Just for the edification of those unknowing...Jesus was born in early March - 6 b.c.

palooka's revenge
25th December 2018, 19:48
All the Christian high jacking of antiquity aside, the one move that pisses me off more than anything was the move to throw sex outside of love from the get go. merry christmas everyone...

NotAPretender
25th December 2018, 20:12
All the Christian high jacking of antiquity aside, the one move that pisses me off more than anything was the move to throw sex outside of love from the get go. merry christmas everyone...

It's all about the sanctity of life and love...One as a founder of moral principle wouldn't want to throw this out...Celebrate it within love. If there is no love, then there is no sex. or vice versa for that matter. (where the two intersect that is)


Well, yes, that is the point, those supposed candidates for Jesus lived well before the time he was supposed to live and none match the description provided by the Bible to any significant degree. Joseph Atwill wrote a book about it, called Caesar's Messiah. I attended one of his talks in London years ago and there was a fascinating discussion afterwards about the topic. I think he's definitely on to something. Here's a recent TV programme exploring the topic:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmEScIUcvz0




There was a WSJ article about it years ago, but now it's behind a paywall. It is a contentious issues, and I'm not sure who is right either. You can read all about it here (with the pros and cons for each theory):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Muhammad




What better time to discuss this, honestly? :p

But seriously, we just went through a Christmas celebration with my family and Christianity or Jesus did not come up once.

It is not a Christian holiday, but a much older pagan one, that was incorporated into Roman Liturgy because of its popularity in pre-Christian Europe. Same thing with Easter.

That video starts out demonstrating much ignorance...should I go on with it? Don't blame the messenger or the message of Christianity...at the bottom are those that have no spiritual being and vie for only power, and "To control and manipulate the populace". Very much like the sources behind this video. There were no political motivations for Christianity. The purpose of Christianity was brought by Christ. It ain't that complicated.

Chris
25th December 2018, 20:14
All the Christian high jacking of antiquity aside, the one move that pisses me off more than anything was the move to throw sex outside of love from the get go. merry christmas everyone...

Merry Christmas Indeed.

Yes, that was a deliberate move to kill spirituality.

Raising the Kundalini is a central part of spirituality and has been since the beginning in all cultures, all over the planet. What blocks the serpent power from rising are blocks created in the second chakra, which is responsible for regulating the energetic aspect of sexuality. Demonising this aspect of our existence stops the natural process of Kundalini Awakening from occurring. Christians, Muslims and Jews in particular have a lot of sexual hangups (though it varies from culture to culture), which are implanted into children from an early age. It is a form of mind control, but the aim is to keep the serpent power dormant and thus deprive the majority of the Earth's population from evolving spiritually. A person with a Risen Serpent (that's what druids were in ancient Britain btw, they were known as Serpents for this reason) is a serious threat to organised religion, as they can interact freely with the world of the Spirit and get direct knowledge from The Source, no intermediaries or revealed scripture needed.

NotAPretender
25th December 2018, 21:47
I think it would be more realistic to view it as a dichotomy between the east and the west.

The East as 'self' is central to spiritual enlightenment, as opposed to the West with 'creation' as central. Probable validity in both approaches.

palooka's revenge
26th December 2018, 03:22
Yes, that was a deliberate move to kill spirituality.


More precisely, kill the Will and you kill spirituality!


…the aim is to keep the serpent power dormant and thus deprive the majority of the Earth's population from evolving spiritually.

Agree. True evolution is inconceivable (hint hint) with only half the recipe present.

palooka's revenge
26th December 2018, 03:31
I think it would be more realistic to view it as a dichotomy between the east and the west.


That dichotomy is a reenactment of the gap between the north and the south.


The East as 'self' is central to spiritual enlightenment, as opposed to the West with 'creation' as central. Probable validity in both approaches.

Indeed. But I wouldn't short the east on creationism nor condemn self acknowledgment as anathema to divine heritage.

There were some who tried otherwise but were erased from the narrative…


If those who lead you say to you: ‘Look, the kingdom is in the sky!’ then the birds of the sky will precede you.
If they say to you: ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fishes will precede you.
Rather, the kingdom is inside of you and outside of you.
When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will realize that you are the children of the living Father.
But if you do not come to know yourselves, then you exist in poverty, and you are poverty.

Didymos Judas Thomas

NotAPretender
26th December 2018, 14:33
Sure, and the condemnation of any other is the starting point for spiritual failure.

NotAPretender
26th December 2018, 15:13
I took the Thomas name at my confirmation...several motivations for that.

But Jesus emphasized the very same thing...this was part of his message.

Dreamtimer
27th December 2018, 17:51
Jaysus, people! ;)

The Romans inventing Jesus goes along with their re-invention of history, removing Tartaria. Possibly.

NotAPretender
28th December 2018, 00:00
Jaysus, people! ;)

The Romans inventing Jesus goes along with their re-invention of history, removing Tartaria. Possibly.

I can hear the wailing of the suffering in the cosmic winds...But what are they crying?

Chris
9th January 2019, 10:07
Dmitry Orlov at his sarcastic best. I love this piece.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/01/national-bankruptcy-as-board-game.html#more

Most people are familiar with the game Monopoly. Its goal is to teach capitalist kiddies a valuable lesson about capitalism; namely, that in running a business it isn’t useful to shoot for some happy modicum of accommodation with your competitors or to strive for a sustainable steady state. Instead, what you need to do to survive (never mind win) is to grow as quickly as possible and eat up your competitors alive, or you’ll get eaten up yourself. That’s not just a game; that’s exactly how capitalism actually works, and if that doesn’t work for you (it doesn’t for most people) then that’s exactly how capitalism doesn’t work.

And so the Waltons couldn’t just run Walmart as a mart; they had to make it into a global empire—just in order to survive. Now, most governments in the world realize that this sort of unbridled capitalism is harmful and seek to regulate it. For instance, Russia has a Federal Antimonopoly Service. The US Justice Department has an Antitrust Division, which is aptly named if its mission is to destroy Americans’ trust in their government’s ability to regulate business. It also has a website which currently says: “Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated.” Perhaps that’s all right for a country that seeks to monopolize everything—international finance and law, defense procurement and, of course, the dispensation of “freedom and democracy” and “universal values.”

Most people are also familiar with the concept of national debt. The federal debt of the US government currently equals… never mind; it’s going up much faster than you can write it down. If you want to watch it go up real time, you can look it up here. The exact number is useless: if you take a snapshot of it—say, $21,921,420,945,123.00—that will no longer be the payoff amount by the time you write out the check, and if you write out the check, no matter who you are, it will bounce. But it won’t even get that far: if you mail that check to the US Treasury Department, they wouldn’t be able to deposit it because “Due to the lapse in appropriations...” (You get the picture.)

The debt goes up all the time, and the rate at which it goes up is accelerating. The concept of acceleration may not be intuitive for some of you, so let me explain. Debt goes up with some speed. Acceleration is the amount by which that speed increases, measured in, for example, dollars per minute per minute. Calculating it is a fun little arithmetic exercise. During Barak Obama’s reign it went up by $8.6 trillion, starting from $11.6 trillion and gong up to $20.2 trillion. Trump plans to add $4.8 trillion during his first three years. (Relevant numbers can be looked up here).

Thus, Obama’s velocity was $8.6 trillion over 8 years—roughly $1 trillion per year or $2 million per minute while Trump’s velocity is roughly $1.6 trillion per year or a little over $3 million per minute. Therefore, the acceleration is only a few cents per minute per minute—but it sure adds up! Acceleration tends to sneak up on you. For instance, if you want to gain some intuitive appreciation for acceleration due to gravity (9.81m or 32 feet per second per second) then try jumping off a chair while keeping your knees straight. You can also ponder the fact that satellites that fall out of Earth’s orbit tend to burn up on reentry as they decelerate due to friction with the atmosphere.

Any sane, numerate person can tell you that increases in debt are fine provided your revenues are increasing significantly faster, but if that’s not the case then the eventual result is bankruptcy. And that is most definitely not the case. Hence the name of this board game is National Bankruptcy. But I am not sure what the objective of the game should be. Is it to go bankrupt as quickly and efficiently as possible, or is to go bankrupt as slowly and painfully as possible?

I am quite sure that players who aren’t on a path to national bankruptcy would prefer to keep it that way, and would furthermore prefer to be rid of all sovereign debt issued by whoever is going to go bankrupt before that happens. (Russia seems to have that problem solved already while China is far behind.) In any case, I am a very serious person who doesn’t like jokes and doesn’t have time to play games, board games included, so I’ll leave it to others to ponder such questions. Still, the board game metaphor seems useful for discussing this topic.

One problem with playing this game is the problem of scale. People have a problem appreciating such huge numbers. They are familiar with what a dollar is, but what’s a trillion? Here it is, represented as double-stacked pallets of $100 bills.

That seems a bit cumbersome for our board game. Reasonable values for the chips in our National Bankruptcy game would be $100 billion, $500 billion and $1 trillion. We could use a few $5 trillion and $10 trillion chips too, though not too many because I doubt that the game would go on long enough to make them useful.

I propose that for the sake of this game we introduce a handy new unit called a “piffle” which is equal to $100 billion. A trillion is 10 piffles, 10 trillion is 100 piffles. Then our chips can be 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 piffles. Piffles allow us to express various huge quantities without going through any arithmetic contortions. US federal debt is currently 220 piffles. US trade deficit for 2018 was 6 piffles while the US defense budget was 7 piffles. For 2019 the federal budget deficit (covered by increased borrowing) is 10 piffles and rising while tax revenues are just 3 piffles and falling. The interest payment on federal debt is 3 piffles but with rising interest rates it’s going to 5 piffles within a few years.

Speaking of rising interest rates… just today Trump wished for 0% interest rates again, like Obama had while he was running up his 80 piffles’ worth of debt. But now it’s hovering around 3% and is unlikely to go down no matter what Trump wishes. Why? Well, here’s the reason. The US imports much more than it exports because it can’t afford to or lacks the ability to make all the stuff it needs; that’s why there are 6 piffles’ worth of trade deficit. When other nations sell to the US more than they buy, they end up holding lots of piffles, and since the US needs lots of piffles (remember, the budget deficit is 10 piffles) it makes plenty of sense to borrow that money right back. A little while back it was possible to borrow it back at 0% interest because the US was powerful enough to threaten those who refused to play this game with military annihilation (cue pictures of bombed-out Libya and Iraq). But times have changed, and unless the US bribes its debt-holders with 3% interest rate or better—no deal.

How have times changed? There are two effects worth mentioning. First, the military annihilation threat isn’t working any more. Yes, the US still spends a stunning, record-shattering sum of 7 piffles on defense, but none of that is working. Call it the free money effect. When people spend their own hard-earned money, they tend to be careful with it, but if it’s somebody else’s money that they got for free never intending to pay it back, then they tend to throw caution to the wind. And so US military spending has become less and less effective over time, in one of two ways: procurement costs have gone through the roof, and the resulting products have become useless.

In terms of procurement costs, the purchasing parity between the US and (just as an example) Russia seems to be at least ten to one: to get the same result, the US has to spend at least ten times more than Russia. And so although Russia spends well less than 1 piffle on defense, its military is far more effective. In terms of product uselessness, the Pentagon now resembles a woman who has a closet jam-packed with expensive designer labels but has absolutely nothing to wear because her entire wardrobe is no longer fashionable. There is the entire set of aircraft carriers none of which can operate close enough to enemy shores to be of any use at all because they can be readily sunk using hypersonic rockets launched from very far away. There are the stockpiles of Tomahawk cruise missiles which can’t make it past Soviet-era air defense systems (with a few electronics and software upgrades). There are the Patriot air defense systems which are useless even for stopping Soviet-era SCUD missiles, never mind anything more modern.

Add to this Russia’s (and soon China’s) new hypersonic weapons with conventional payloads and new air and space defense systems such as the S-400: these provide what’s known as “escalation dominance.” Suppose the US does something unspeakably nasty and Russia and/or China decide to teach it a lesson. They now have the ability to blow up any target within the US without getting anywhere near it and without placing any of their military assets at risk.

They could, for instance, take out the US electric grid in a way that will take many months to get it back on line. They can then reliably intercept anything that the US tries to retaliate with. Of course, the US can become suicidal—that’s always a risk—and launch a full-on nuclear first strike, then sit back and wait to be completely obliterated along with much of the rest of the planet. But that’s not a military strategy, that’s pure suicide, and the officers in charge of military strategy tend to be emotionally stable family men who look forward to playing with their grandchildren upon retirement.

So, why then should the US continue to spend 7 piffles on defense? The sad answer is that it will go bankrupt whether it zeroes out the defense budget or not. If the defense budget goes to 0, then there is still 3 piffles’ worth of budget deficit left, plus those 6 piffles of trade deficit aren’t going anywhere but up. But what about MAGA?—you might ask—What about firing up US manufacturing, bringing the jobs back and exporting our way out of this? After all, if we turn those 6 piffles of trade deficit into 6 piffles of trade surplus, suddenly it all works out and bankruptcy becomes avoidable.

No, sorry, that just not realistic. You see, in order to get an industrial economy going again the US needs several things. It needs cheap energy, cheap labor, low cost of doing business and readily available markets, both domestic and export. And the US doesn’t have any of these. In terms of energy—and oil is by far the most important form of energy—in 2019 the US will import exactly as much oil as it did in 1998—around 8 million barrels a day. Yes, the shale oil industry has sprung up in the meantime, and the US is currently producing 11.5 million barrels per day. But also in the meantime US oil consumption has gone up a lot—to 20 million barrels a day, which is a stunning 20% of the world’s consumption for 4.4% of the world’s population.

And so the oil deficit is still very much there. Plus the shale oil patch has never made any money but has accumulated over 2 piffles’ worth of debt and has spent over a piffle’s worth more than it made. With interest rates going up they are unlikely to be able to borrow enough to keep up the same hectic drilling rate, and with declines from existing wells at over half a million barrels per day per month it won’t take many months to whittle down that 11.5 million barrels per day, forcing the US to either boost imports or cut consumption.

But the oil price has gone down a lot lately, so there shouldn’t be a problem in any case, right? Again, sorry, no. Peak Oil for most countries has come and gone. There is now only a handful of countries left that are able to meaningfully boost oil production: Russia, Canada (mostly tar sands), Iran, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Brazil. Russia has recently announced that it isn’t planning to boost production. Saudi Arabia is a huge oil producer but does not seem to have any spare capacity left. Canada’s tar sands patch is a money-losing environmental disaster. Iran and Iraq (call them Iranq, since they are both Shia Moslem, are politically aligned and neither loves America too much) aren’t exactly going to gallop to the rescue. That leaves UAE, Kuwait and Brazil, and if you add them all up together that’s nowhere near enough. So, get ready for oil price spikes, followed by a wave of demand destruction, followed by oil price collapses, followed by supply destruction—you know, the usual.

Moving on to labor. In order to stay competitive, the US will need to lower its median wage a lot. It has to be lower than what the Chinese and the Southeast Asians earn because the US needs to outcompete them to steal their export market share. Without various other major changes this will cause US workers to either rebel or starve to death in short order. The changes involve nationalizing medicine and education to drive down their costs by a factor of 1000 or so, converting to public transportation and pretty much banning the use of private cars to make transportation affordable, putting up high-rises right next to factories for affordable worker housing and so on. That’s a lot of piffles’ worth of effort!

The cost of doing business is a tough one too. The US spends way more on courts and lawyers, insurance and regulatory compliance than most other countries, and the regulatory maze that entrepreneurs have to run in order to run even a small and simple business is very costly and absolutely confounding. How does one take a machete to that whole ridiculous, corrupt scheme? I have no idea. It’s an imponderable. The Chinese would probably just call it a “cultural revolution,” round up all the lawyers and the bureaucrats, make them wear dunce caps and sandwich boards that say “I am what is wrong with this country” and march them in procession while pelting them with rocks and beating them with sticks. Something like that…

Finally, there is the question of export markets. What exactly is the US going to export more effectively than other countries are exporting already? China out-manufactures just about anybody on the planet and isn’t about to give up its spot. Russia exports grain and other foodstuffs (all non-GMO, unlike the US), nuclear and space technology, defense technology (that actually works) and much else. Pakistan and India, and various other countries, export textiles. The world is full up with product. It’s consumers to bankrupt that are in short supply. And if the US cuts its labor rates to make itself competitive, then its consumer base will shrink rather dramatically.

So it looks like bankruptcy is it, no use fighting it. But what should the US do in the meantime? I suggest that it should put up some really huge walls—just for the sake of leaving behind some spectacular ruins for future generations to marvel at. The one along the southern border seems to be going up already, but there should be at least two more. There needs to be a wall along the Mason-Dixon line, because given the heated state of US politics there needs to be a way to prevent people from trying to reenact the Civil War (a misnomer, that!) with actual real weapons and live ammo. And there also needs to be a wall along the northern border, to keep various groups of armed troglodytes from escaping to Canada and ransacking it (it’s the least we can do for our peaceful northern neighbors). How much will these three walls cost? Glad you asked! They will cost roughly 0.005 piffles apiece, 0.015 piffles total—a truly piffling amount. That’s my 0.000000002 piffle’s worth. But, you know, it’s the thought that counts.

Oh, and if you want to actually design this National Bankruptcy board game, please resist the temptation to contact me about it. Seriously, I don’t like games, board games especially. I am a very serious person who doesn’t have time for such piffles.

Dreamtimer
9th January 2019, 16:50
The piffles make it fun.

I never liked Monopoly. It was not fun to lose and it was not fun to win. I didn't like doing to others what I didn't like having done to me. (I prefer the real Golden Rule)

We play cooperative games quite often. It's nice to work together to accomplish victory.

Chris
15th January 2019, 21:41
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-five-stages-of-collapse-2019-update.html#more

The Five Stages of Collapse, 2019 Update

Collapse, at each stage, is a historical process that takes time to run its course as the system adapts to changing circumstances, compensates for its weaknesses and finds ways to continue functioning at some level. But what changes rather suddenly is faith or, to put it in more businesslike terms, sentiment. A large segment of the population or an entire political class within a country or the entire world can function based on a certain set of assumptions for much longer than the situation warrants but then over a very short period of time switch to a different set of assumptions. All that sustains the status quo beyond that point is institutional inertia. It imposes limits on how fast systems can change without collapsing entirely. Beyond that point, people will tolerate the older practices only until replacements for them can be found.

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.

Internationally, the major change in sentiment in the world has to do with the role of the US dollar (and, to a lesser extent, the Euro and the Yen—the other two reserve currencies of the three-legged globalist central banker stool). The world is transitioning to the use of local currencies, currency swaps and commodities markets backed by gold. The catalyst for this change of sentiment was provided by the US administration itself which sawed through its own perch by its use of unilateral sanctions. By using its control over dollar-based transactions to block international transactions it doesn’t happen to like it forced other countries to start looking for alternatives. Now a growing list of countries sees throwing off the shackles of the US dollar as a strategic goal. Russia and China use the ruble and the yuan for their expanding trade; Iran sells oil to India for rupees. Saudi Arabia has started to accept the yuan for its oil.

This change has many knock-on effects. If the dollar is no longer needed to conduct international trade, other nations no longer have hold large quantities of it in reserve. Consequently, there is no longer a need to buy up large quantities of US Treasury notes. Therefore, it becomes unnecessary to run large trade surpluses with the US, essentially conducting trade at a loss. Further, the attractiveness of the US as an export market drops and the cost of imports to the US rises, thereby driving up cost inflation. A vicious spiral ensues in which the ability of the US government to borrow internationally to finance the gaping chasm of its various deficits becomes impaired. Sovereign default of the US government and national bankruptcy then follow.

The US may still look mighty, but its dire fiscal predicament coupled with its denial of the inevitability of bankruptcy, makes it into something of a Blanche DuBois from the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She was “always dependent on the kindness of strangers” but was tragically unable to tell the difference between kindness and desire. In this case, the desire is for national advantage and security, and to minimize risk by getting rid of an unreliable trading partner.

How quickly or slowly this comes to pass is difficult to guess at and impossible to calculate. It is possible to think of the financial system in terms of a physical analogue, with masses of funds traveling at some velocity having a certain inertia (p = mv) and with forces acting on that mass to accelerate it along a different trajectory (F = ma). It is also possible to think of it in terms of hordes of stampeding animals who can change course abruptly when panicked. The recent abrupt moves in the financial markets, where trillions of dollars of notional, purely speculative value have been wiped out within weeks, are more in line with the latter model.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.

Within the US there is really no other alternative than the market. There are a few rustic enclaves, mostly religious communities, that can feed themselves, but that’s a rarity. For everyone else there is no choice but to be a consumer. Consumers who are broke are called “bums,” but they are still consumers. To the extent that the US has a culture, it is a commercial culture in which the goodness of a person is based on the goodly sums of money in their possession. Such a culture can die by becoming irrelevant (when everyone is dead broke) but by then most of the carriers of this culture are likely to be dead too. Alternatively, it can be replaced by a more humane culture that isn’t entirely based on the cult of Mammon—perhaps, dare I think, through a return to a pre-Protestant, pre-Catholic Christian ethic that values people’s souls above objects of value?

Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.

All is very murky at the moment, but I would venture to guess that most people in the US are too distracted, too stressed and too preoccupied with their own vices and obsessions to pay much attention to the political realm. Of the ones they do pay attention, a fair number of them seem clued in to the fact that the US is not a democracy at all but an elites-only sandbox in which transnational corporate and oligarchic interests build and knock down each others’ sandcastles.

The extreme political polarization, where two virtually identical pro-capitalist, pro-war parties pretend to wage battle by virtue-signaling may be a symptom of the extremely decrepit state of the entire political arrangement: people are made to watch the billowing smoke and to listen to the deafening noise in the hopes that they won’t notice that the wheels are no longer turning.

The fact that what amounts to palace intrigue—the fracas between the White House, the two houses of Congress and a ghoulish grand inquisitor named Mueller—has taken center stage is uncannily reminiscent of various earlier political collapses, such as the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire or of the fall and the consequent beheading of Louis XVI. The fact that Trump, like the Ottoman worthies, stocks his harem with East European women, lends an eerie touch. That said, most people in the US seem blind to the nature of their overlords in a way that the French, with their Gilets Jaunes movement (just as an example) are definitely not.

Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.

I have been saying for some years now that within the US social collapse has largely run its course, although whether people actually believe that is an entire matter entirely. Defining “your people” is rather difficult. The symbols are still there—the flag, the Statue of Liberty and a predilection for iced drinks and heaping plates of greasy fried foods—but the melting pot seems to have suffered a meltdown and melted all the way to China. At present half the households within the US speak a language other than English at home, and a fair share of the rest speak dialects of English that are not mutually intelligible with the standard North American English dialect of broadcast television and university lecturers.

Throughout its history as a British colony and as a nation the US has been dominated by the Anglo ethnos. The designation “ethnos” is not an ethnic label. It is not strictly based on genealogy, language, culture, habitat, form of government or any other single factor or group of factors. These may all be important to one extent or another, but the viability of an ethnos is based solely on its cohesion and the mutual inclusivity and common purpose of its members. The Anglo ethnos reached its zenith in the wake of World War II, during which many social groups were intermixed in the military and their more intelligent members were allowed to become educated and to advance socially by the GI Bill.

Fantastic potential was unleashed when privilege—the curse of the Anglo ethnos since its inception—was temporarily replaced with merit and the more talented demobilized men, of whatever extraction, were given a chance at education and social advancement by the GI Bill. Speaking a new sort of American English based on the Ohio dialect as a Lingua Franca, these Yanks—male, racist, sexist and chauvinistic and, at least in their own minds, victorious—were ready to remake the entire world in their own image.

They proceeded to flood the entire world with oil (US oil production was in full flush then) and with machines that burned it. Such passionate acts of ethnogenesis are rare but not unusual: the Romans who conquered the entire Mediterranean basin, the barbarians who then sacked Rome, the Mongols who later conquered most of Eurasia and the Germans who for a very brief moment possessed an outsized Lebensraum are other examples.

And now it is time to ask: what remains of this proud conquering Anglo ethnos today? We hear shrill feminist cries about “toxic masculinity” and minorities of every stripe railing against “whitesplaining” and in response we hear a few whimpers but mostly silence. Those proud, conquering, virile Yanks who met and fraternized with the Red Army at the River Elbe on April 25, 1945—where are they? Haven’t they devolved into a sad little subethnos of effeminate, porn-addicted overgrown boys who shave their pubic hair and need written permission to have sex without fear of being charged with rape?

Will the Anglo ethnos persist as a relict, similar to how the English have managed to hold onto their royals (who are technically no longer even aristocrats since they now practice exogamy with commoners)? Or will it get wiped out in a wave of depression, mental illness and opiate abuse, its glorious history of rapine, plunder and genocide erased and the statues of its war heroes/criminals knocked down? Only time will tell.

Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

The term “culture” means many things to many people, but it is more productive to observe cultures than to argue about them. Cultures are expressed through people’s stereotypical behaviors that are readily observable in public. These are not the negative stereotypes often used to identify and reject outsiders but the positive stereotypes—cultural standards of behavior, really—that serve as requirements for social adequacy and inclusion. We can readily assess the viability of a culture by observing the stereotypical behaviors of its members.

• Do people exist as a single continuous, inclusive sovereign realm or as a set of exclusive, potentially warring enclaves segregated by income, ethnicity, education level, political affiliation and so on? Do you see a lot of walls, gates, checkpoints, security cameras and “no trespassing” signs? Is the law of the land enforced uniformly or are there good neighborhoods, bad neighborhoods and no-go zones where even the police fear to tread?

• Do random people thrown together in public spontaneously enter into conversation with each other and are comfortable with being crowded together, or are they aloof and fearful, and prefer to hide their face in the little glowing rectangle of their smartphone, jealously guarding their personal space and ready to regard any encroachment on it as an assault?

• Do people remain good-natured and tolerant toward each other even when hard-pressed or do they hide behind a façade of tense, superficial politeness and fly into a rage at the slightest provocation? Is conversation soft in tone, gracious and respectful or is it loud, shrill, rude and polluted with foul language? Do people dress well out of respect for each other, or to show off, or are they all just déclassé slobs—even the ones with money?

• Observe how their children behave: are they fearful of strangers and trapped in a tiny world of their own or are they open to the world and ready to treat any stranger as a surrogate brother or sister, aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather without requiring any special introduction? Do the adults studiously ignore each others’ children or do they spontaneously act as a single family?

• If there is a wreck on the road, do they spontaneously rush to each others’ rescue and pull people out before the wreck explodes, or do they, in the immortal words of Frank Zappa, “get on the phone and call up some flakes” who “rush on over and wreck it some more”?

• If there is a flood or a fire, do the neighbors take in the people who are rendered homeless, or do they allow them to wait for the authorities to show up and bus them to some makeshift government shelter?

It is possible to quote statistics or to provide anecdotal evidence to assess the state and the viability of a culture, but your own eyes and other senses can provide all the evidence you need to make that determination for yourself and to decide how much faith to put in “the goodness of humanity” that is evident in the people around you.

Amanda
17th January 2019, 02:47
Here in Australia the Real Estate/Housing market is starting to decline. I do not watch much television at all but lately I have been glancing at the mainstream television news and newspapers. I also have a friend who worked in the real Estate business for many many many years.

Here's what I see; Those in the know have predicted that the Real Estate market will decline and that much seems to be true - a slow decline is now evident if you know where to look. The mainstream news is however not reporting the decline. Not that I watch the television news at length but it seems that any Real Estate decline here in Australia is not being reported on in a public manner.

Sometimes my thoughts of the collapse of this paradigm centre on the consumerism - upon which this fiscal paradigm is based. I wonder when People will stop buying 'things' that they use a few times and then throw out to be included in 'landfill' - consumerism is not infinite it will eventually collapse. I just wonder whether it will be sooner rather than later. I wonder whether it will be in my lifetime.

Much Peace - As we keep looking for answers to our questions - Amanda

Chris
17th January 2019, 07:08
Here in Australia the Real Estate/Housing market is starting to decline. I do not watch much television at all but lately I have been glancing at the mainstream television news and newspapers. I also have a friend who worked in the real Estate business for many many many years.

Here's what I see; Those in the know have predicted that the Real Estate market will decline and that much seems to be true - a slow decline is now evident if you know where to look. The mainstream news is however not reporting the decline. Not that I watch the television news at length but it seems that any Real Estate decline here in Australia is not being reported on in a public manner.

Sometimes my thoughts of the collapse of this paradigm centre on the consumerism - upon which this fiscal paradigm is based. I wonder when People will stop buying 'things' that they use a few times and then throw out to be included in 'landfill' - consumerism is not infinite it will eventually collapse. I just wonder whether it will be sooner rather than later. I wonder whether it will be in my lifetime.

Much Peace - As we keep looking for answers to our questions - Amanda

The planet has limits, that much we know. We have bumped against those limits since around 2005 and we're finding more and more of them. Big changes are coming and for most people they won't be good. Climate and Earth changes are already on the way. I think this year we will have some big events in that field and I think they will dwarf anything that might happen financially or economically. Cheap electronics and other consumer goods are going to be the least of people's problems, I think.

Chris
18th January 2019, 10:12
Fintan O'Toole on the political collapse of the UK unfolding before our eyes:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/18/europe-brexit-britain-state-politics-fit-for-purpose


It was never about Europe. Brexit is Britain’s reckoning with itself

www.theguardian.com

Brexit is just the vehicle by which a fractured state has come to realise that its politics are no longer fit for purpose


At least the Sun thrives on chaos. The savage parliamentary mauling of Britain’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union allowed Rupert Murdoch’s pet tabloid to unveil on Wednesday morning a front page of grandly gleeful malevolence. Under the headline Brextinct, it conjured a creepy chimera of Theresa May’s head pasted on to the body of a dodo. But the thing about such surreal pictures is that it is not easy to control their interpretation. From the outside, this one seemed to suggest much more than the immediately intended message that both May and her deal are politically dead. When, it prompted one to ask, did Brextinction really happen? Was this strange creature ever really alive or was it not always a grotesquely photoshopped image of something else, a crisis of belonging that has attached itself to the wrong union? Do the events of this week point us, not towards the EU, but to the travails of a radically disunited kingdom?
The dodo, after all, may be proverbially dead but it has a vivid afterlife in that great trawl of the English unconscious, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is the Dodo, when various characters have fallen into a pool of tears, who suggests how they might dry themselves – the Caucus-race. “There was no ‘One, two, three, and away’, but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out, ‘The race is over!’ and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, ‘But who has won?’”

This seems, this week more than ever, a perfect description of the state to which British politics has been reduced – a lot of frantically anarchic running overseen by a defunct creature, the Brextinct dodo. And who has won? Carroll’s Dodo, of course, decrees: “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.” Having emptied Alice’s pockets to provide rewards for everyone else, the Dodo solemnly presents her with the only thing that’s left: her own thimble. “We beg your acceptance of this elegant thimble.”

The Brexit game is patently not worth the thimble to be presented at the end of it. Yet in Theresa May’s humiliation on Tuesday, there were prizes for almost everybody else: a glimpse of opportunity for her rivals in cabinet; a revival of their sadomasochistic no-deal fantasies for the zealots; the hope of a second referendum for remainers; proof of the near-collapse of the Westminster order for nationalists; the hope of a general election for Jeremy Corbyn. But in truth nobody has won anything – it is a losing game all round.

For all of this is the afterlife of dead things. One of them is Brexit itself. When did Brextinction occur? On 24 June 2016. The project was driven by decades of camped-up mendacity about the tyranny of the EU, and sold in the referendum as a fantasy of national liberation. It simply could not survive contact with reality. It died the moment it became real. You cannot free yourself from imaginary oppression. Even if May were a political genius – and let us concede that she is not – Brexit was always going to come down to a choice between two evils: the heroic but catastrophic failure of crashing out; or the unheroic but less damaging failure of swapping first-class for second-class EU membership. These are the real afterlives of a departed reverie.

If the choice between shooting oneself in the head or in the foot is the answer to Britain’s long-term problems, surely the wrong question is being asked. It is becoming ever clearer that Brexit is not about its ostensible subject: Britain’s relationship with the EU. The very word Brexit contains a literally unspoken truth. It does not include or even allude to Europe. It is British exit that is the point, not what it is exiting from. The tautologous slogan Leave Means Leave is similarly (if unintentionally) honest: the meaning is in the leaving, not in what is being left or how.

Paradoxically, this drama of departure has really served only to displace a crisis of belonging. Brexit plays out a conflict between Them and Us, but it is surely obvious after this week that the problem is not with Them on the continent. It’s with the British Us, the unravelling of an imagined community. The visible collapse of the Westminster polity this week may be a result of Brexit, but Brexit itself is the result of the invisible subsidence of the political order over recent decades.


It may seem strange to call this slow collapse invisible since so much of it is obvious: the deep uncertainties about the union after the Good Friday agreement of 1998 and the establishment of the Scottish parliament the following year; the consequent rise of English nationalism; the profound regional inequalities within England itself; the generational divergence of values and aspirations; the undermining of the welfare state and its promise of shared citizenship; the contempt for the poor and vulnerable expressed through austerity; the rise of a sensationally self-indulgent and clownish ruling class. But the collective effects of these interrelated developments do seem to have been barely visible within the political mainstream until David Cameron accidentally took the lid off by calling a referendum and asking people to endorse the status quo.

What we see with the lid off and the fog of fantasies at last beginning to dissipate is the truth that Brexit is much less about Britain’s relationship with the EU than it is about Britain’s relationship with itself. It is the projection outwards of an inner turmoil. An archaic political system had carried on even while its foundations in a collective sense of belonging were crumbling. Brexit in one way alone has done a real service: it has forced the old system to play out its death throes in public. The spectacle is ugly, but at least it shows that a fissiparous four-nation state cannot be governed without radical social and constitutional change.

European leaders have continually expressed exasperation that the British have really been negotiating not with them, but with each other. But perhaps it is time to recognise that there is a useful truth in this: Brexit is really just the vehicle that has delivered a fraught state to a place where it can no longer pretend to be a settled and functioning democracy. Brexit’s work is done – everyone can now see that the Westminster dodo is dead. It is time to move on from the pretence that the problem with British democracy is the EU and to recognise that it is with itself. After Brextinction there must be a whole new political ecosystem. Drop the dead dodo, end the mad race for a meaningless prize, and start talking about who you want to be.

• Fintan O’Toole is a columnist at the Irish Times and author of Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain

Chris
29th January 2019, 19:27
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/01/why-must-venezuela-be-destroyed.html#more

Why must Venezuela be destroyed?

Last week Trump, his VP Mike Pence, US State Dept. director Mike Pompeo and Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, plus a bunch of Central American countries that are pretty much US colonies and don’t have foreign policies of their own, synchronously announced that Venezuela has a new president: a virtual non-entity named Juan Guaidó, who was never even a candidate for that office, but who was sorta-kinda trained for this job in the US. Guaidó appeared at a rally in Caracas, flanked by a tiny claque of highly compensated sycophants. He looked very frightened as he self-appointed himself president of Venezuela and set about discharging his presidential duties by immediately going into hiding.

His whereabouts remained unknown until much later, when he surfaced at a press conference, at which he gave a wishy-washy non-answer to the question of whether he had been pressured to declare himself president or had done so of his own volition. There is much to this story that is at once tragic and comic, so let’s take it apart piece by piece. Then we’ll move on to answering the question of Why Venezuela must be destroyed (from the US establishment’s perspective).

What stands out immediately is the combination of incompetence and desperation exhibited by all of the above-mentioned public and not-so-public figures. Pompeo, in voicing his recognition of Guaidó, called him “guido,” which is an ethnic slur against Italians, while Bolton did one better and called him “guiado” which could be Spanish for “remote-controlled.” (Was that a Freudian slip or just another one of Bolton’s senior moments?) Not to be outdone, Pence gave an entire little speech on Venezuela—a sort of address to the Venezuelan people—which was laced with some truly atrocious pseudo-Spanish gibberish and ended with an utterly incongruous “¡Vaya con Dios!” straight out of a hammy 1950s Western.

Some more entertainment was provided at the UN Security Council, where the ever-redoubtable Russian representative Vasily Nebenzya pointed out that the situation in Venezuela did not pose a threat to international security and was therefore not within the purview of the Security Council. He then proceeded to ask Pompeo, who was present at the meeting, a pointed question: “Is the US planning to yet again violate the UN Charter?”

Pompeo failed to give an answer. He sat there looking like a cat that’s pretending that it isn’t chewing on a canary, then quickly fled the scene. But then most recently Bolton, as he was presumably exiting a national security meeting and walking to a White House press briefing, accidentally flashed his notepad before reporters’ cameras. On it were written the words “5000 troops to Colombia” (that’s a US military base/narco-colony on Venezuela’s northern border). Was this another one of Bolton’s senior moments? In any case, it does seem to answer Nebenzya’s question in the affirmative. The appointment as special envoy to Venezuela of Elliott Abrams, a convicted criminal who was complicit in the previous, failed Venezuelan coup attempt against Hugo Chávez, automatically making him persona non grata in Venezuela, is also indicative of hostile intent.

It would be quite forgivable for you to mistake this regime change operation for some sort of absurdist performance art. It is certainly a bit too abstract for the real-world complexities of the international order. Some poor frightened minion is thrust in front of a camera and declares himself President of Narnia, and then three stooges (Pence, Pompeo and Bolton) plus Bozo the Trump all jump up and yell “Yes-yes-yes, that’s surely him!” And a pensioned-off failure is pulled off the bench, dusted off and dispatched on a mission to a country that won’t have him.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Venezuelan army and the Venezuelan courts remains squarely behind the elected president Nicolas Maduro and a list of countries that comprise the vast majority of the world’s population, including China, Russia, India, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and quite a few others speak out in Maduro’s support. Even the people in the remote-controlled Central American countries know full well what a dangerous precedent such a regime change operation would set if it were to succeed, and are thinking: “¡Hoy Venezuela, mañana nosotros!”

To be thorough, let’s look at the arguments being used to advance this regime change operation. There is the contention that Nicolas Maduro is not a legitimate president because last year’s elections, where he was supported by 68% of those who turned out, lacked transparency and were boycotted by certain opposition parties, whereas Juan Guaidó is 100% legit in spite of him and his inconsequential National Assembly being opposed by 70% of Venezuelans according to the opposition’s own polling numbers. There were also some unfounded allegations of “ballot-box stuffing”—except that the Venezuelans do not use paper ballots, while according to international election-watcher and former US president Jimmy Carter, “the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

There is the contention that Maduro has badly mismanaged Venezuela’s economy, leading to hyperinflation, high unemployment, shortages of basic goods (medicines especially) and a refugee crisis. There is some merit to this contention, but we must also note that some of Venezuela’s neighbors are doing even worse in many respects in spite of Maduro not being their president. Also, many of Venezuela’s economic difficulties have been caused by US sanctions against it. For instance, right now around 8 billion dollars of Venezuela’s money is being held hostage and is intended to be used to finance a mercenary army which would invade and attempt to destroy Venezuela just as was done with Syria.

Finally, a lot of Venezuela’s predicament has to do with the oil curse. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, but its oil is very viscous and therefore expensive to produce. During a period of high oil prices Venezuelans became addicted to the oil largess, which the government used to lift millions of people out of abject poverty and to move them out of slums and into government housing. And now low oil prices have caused a crisis. If Venezuela manages to survive this period, it will be able to recover once oil prices recover (which they will once the fracking Ponzi scheme in the US has run its course). We will return to the topic of Venezuelan oil later.

As a side comment, a lot of people have been voicing the opinion that Venezuela’s woes are due to socialism. According to them, it’s fine if lots of people are suffering as long as their government is capitalist, but if it is socialist then that’s the wrong kind of suffering and their government deserves to be overthrown even if they all voted for it. For example, the site ZeroHedge, which often publishes useful information and analysis, has been pushing this line of thinking ad nauseam. It is unfortunate that some people imagine that they are being principled and right-thinking whereas they are just being dumb jerks at best and somebody’s useful idiots at worst. The politics of other nations are not for them to decide and they should stop wasting our time with their nonsense.

This naked attempt at regime change would set a very dangerous precedent for the US itself. The doctrine of legal precedent is by no means universal. It comes to us from the dim dark ages of tribal English common law and is only followed in former British colonies. To the rest of the world it is a barbaric form of injustice because it grants arbitrary power to judges and lawyers. The courts must not be allowed to write or alter laws, only to follow them. If your case can be decided on the basis of some other case that has nothing to do with you—well then, why not let somebody else pay your legal fees and your fines and serve out your sentence for you? But there is an overarching principle of international law, which is that sovereign nations have a right to keep to their own laws and legal traditions. Therefore, the US will be bound by the precedents which it establishes. Let’s see how that would work.

The precedent established by the US government’s recognition of Juan Guaidó allows Nicolas Maduro to declare Donald Trump’s presidency as illegitimate for virtually all of the same reasons. Trump failed to win the popular vote but only gained the presidency because of a corrupt, gerrymandered electoral system. Also, certain opposition candidates were unfairly treated within the electoral process. Trump is also a disgrace and a failure: 43 million people are on food stamps; close to 100 million are among the long-term unemployed (circularly referred to as “not in labor force”); homelessness is rampant and there are entire tent cities springing up in various US cities; numerous US companies are on the verge of bankruptcy; and Trump can’t even seem to be able to keep the federal government open! He is a disaster for his country! Maduro therefore recognizes Bernie Sanders as the legitimate president of the United States.

Vladimir Putin could then build on these two precedents by also recognizing Bernie Sanders as the rightful US president. In a public speech, he could say the following: “I freely admit that we installed Donald Trump as US president as was our right based on the numerous precedents established by the US itself. Unfortunately, Trump didn’t work out as planned. Mueller can retire, because this flash drive contains everything that’s necessary to nullify Trump’s inauguration. Donny, sorry it didn’t work out! Your Russian passport is ready for pick-up at our embassy, as are your keys to a one-bedroom in Rostov, right next door to the Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovich who was violently regime-changed by your predecessor Obama.”

Why the unseemly haste to blow up Venezuela? The explanation is a simple one: it has to do with oil. “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” said John Bolton on Fox News. You see, Venezuelan oil cannot be produced profitably without high oil prices—so high that many oil consumers would go bankrupt—but it can certainly be produced in much higher quantities at a huge financial loss.

Huge financial losses certainly wouldn’t stop American oil companies who have so far generated a $300 billion loss through fracking—financed by looting retirement savings, saddling future generations with onerous debt and other nefarious schemes. Also keep in mind that the single largest oil consumer in the world is the US Dept. of Defense, and if it has to pay a little more for oil in order to go on blowing up countries—so it will. Or, rather, you will. It’s all the same to them. The US is already well beyond broke, but its leaders will do anything to keep the party going for just a while longer.

Here’s the real problem: the fracking bonanza is ending. Most of the sweet spots have already been tapped; newer wells are depleting faster and producing less while costing more; the next waves of fracking, were they to happen, would squander $500 billion, then $1 trillion, then $2 trillion… The drilling rate is already slowing, and started slowing even while oil prices were still high. Meanwhile, peak conventional (non-fracked) oil happened back in 2005-6, only a few countries haven’t peaked yet, Russia has announced that it will start reducing production in just a couple years and Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any spare capacity left.

A rather large oil shortage is coming, and it will rather specifically affect the US, which burns 20% of the world’s oil (with just 5% of the world’s population). Once fracking crashes, the US will go from having to import 2.5 million barrels per day to importing at least 10—and that oil won’t exist. Previously, the US was able to solve this problem by blowing up countries and stealing their oil: the destruction of Iraq and Libya made American oil companies whole for a while and kept the financial house of cards from collapsing. But the effort to blow up Syria has failed, and the attempt to blow up Venezuela is likely to fail too because, keep in mind, Venezuela has between 7 and 9 million Chavistas imbued with the Bolivarian revolutionary spirit, a large and well-armed military and is generally a very tough neighborhood.

Previously, the US resorted to various dirty tricks to legitimize its aggression against oil-rich countries and its subsequent theft of their natural resources. There was that vial of highly toxic talcum powder Colin Powell shook at the UN to get it to vote in favor of destroying Iraq and stealing its oil. There was the made-up story of humanitarian atrocities in Libya to get the votes for a no-fly zone there (which turned out to be a bombing campaign followed by a government overthrow). But with Venezuela there isn’t any such fig leaf. All we have is open threats of naked aggression and blatant lies which nobody believes, delivered incompetently by clowns, stooges and old fogies.

If Plan A (steal Venezuela’s oil) fails, then Plan B is to take all of your US dollar-denominated paper waste—cash, stocks, bonds, deeds, insurance policies, promissory notes, etc.—and burn it in trash barrels in an effort to stay warm. There is a definite whiff of desperation to the whole affair. The global hegemon is broken; it fell down and it can’t get up.

Dreamtimer
30th January 2019, 14:18
...once the fracking Ponzi scheme in the US has run its course. So depressing.

As is the rest. Black Goo for real. It's been right in our faces the whole time.

Chris
31st January 2019, 09:33
So depressing.

As is the rest. Black Goo for real. It's been right in our faces the whole time.

It's always about the oil, isn't it?

You can pretty much explain all of the major events of the 20th and 21st centuries by looking at oil flows, supply, demand, prices and the wars that were fought to control it. This includes both world wars, the cold war, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's resurgence and subsequent weakening, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela and the list just goes on.

Personally, I think oil is on the way out and the geopolitics of the future will be very different as a result. Conventional oil production has peaked in 2006 anyway, leading to the oil price spike and the 2008 financial crisis. That in turn has lead to lower oil prices today, and of course fracking and other unconventional oil is papering over the cracks for now. The remaining oil reserves are vast, but uneconomical to take out of the ground. Hopefully, we will learn to continue on as a civilisation without it.

Wind
31st January 2019, 22:53
The oil companies are responsible for so many things... And that's why we still don't have free energy.

Chris
7th February 2019, 21:13
Don't know what to think about this piece, Dmitry's pro-Russia bias does grate on me sometimes, but he does make some good points I must admit.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/02/rip-inf-treaty-russias-victory-americas.html

RIP INF Treaty: Russia’s Victory, America’s Waterloo

On March 1, 2018 the world learned of Russia’s new weapons systems, said to be based on new physical principles. Addressing the Federal Assembly, Putin explained how they came to be: in 2002 the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. At the time, the Russians declared that they will be forced to respond, and were basically told “Do whatever you want.”

And so they did, developing new weapons that no anti-ballistic missile system can ever hope to stop. The new Russian weapons include one that is already on combat duty (Kinzhal), one that is being readied for mass production (Avangard) and several that are currently being tested (Poseidon, Burevestnik, Peresvet, Sarmat). Their characteristics, briefly, are as follows:

• Kinzhal: a hypersonic air-launched cruise missile that flies at Mach 10 (7700 miles per hour) and can destroy both ground installations and ships.

• Avangard: a maneuverable hypersonic payload delivery system for intercontinental ballistic missiles that flies at better than Mach 20 (15300 miles per hour). It has a 740-mile range and can carry a nuclear charge of up to 300 kilotons.

• Poseidon: an autonomous nuclear-powered torpedo with unlimited range that can travel at a 3000-foot depth maintaining a little over 100 knots.

• Burevestnik: a nuclear-powered cruise missile that flies at around 270 miles per hour and can stay in the air for 24 hours, giving it a 6000-mile range.

• Peresvet: a mobile laser complex that can blind drones and satellites, knocking out space and aerial reconnaissance systems.

• Sarmat: a new heavy intercontinental missile that can fly arbitrary suborbital courses (such as over the South Pole) and strike arbitrary points anywhere on the planet. Because it does not follow a predictable ballistic trajectory it is impossible to intercept.

The initial Western reaction to this announcement was an eerie silence. A few people tried to convince anyone who would listen that this was all bluff and computer animation, and that these weapons systems did not really exist. (The animation was of rather low quality, one might add, probably because Russian military types couldn’t possibly imagine that slick graphics, such as what the Americans waste their money on, would make Russia any safer.) But eventually the new weapons systems were demonstrated to work and US intelligence services confirmed their existence.

Forced to react, the Americans, with the EU in tow, tried to cause public relations scandals over some unrelated matter. Such attempts are repeated with some frequency. For instance, after the putsch in the Ukraine caused Crimea to go back to Russia there was the avalanche of hysterical bad press about Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which the Americans had shot down over Ukrainian territory with the help of Ukrainian military.

Similarly, after Putin’s announcement of new weapons systems, there was an eruption of equally breathless hysterics over the alleged “Novichok” poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. A couple of Russian tourists, if you recall, were accused of poisoning Skripal by smearing some toxic gas on the doorknob of his house some time after he left it never to return. Perhaps such antics made some people feel better, but opposing new, breakthrough weapons systems by generating fake news does not an adequate response make.

Say what you will about the Russian response to the US pulling out of the ABM treaty, but it was adequate. It was made necessary by two well-known facts. First, the US is known for dropping nuclear bombs on other countries (Hiroshima, Nagasaki). It did so not in self-defense but just to send a message to the USSR that resistance would be futile (a dumb move if there ever was one). Second, the US is known to have repeatedly planned to destroy the USSR using a nuclear first strike. It was prevented from carrying it out time and again, first by a shortage of nuclear weapons, then by the development of Soviet nuclear weapons, then by the development of Soviet ICBMs.

Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” was an attempt to develop a system that would shoot down enough Soviet ICBMs to make a nuclear first strike on the USSR winnable. This work was terminated when Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in December, 1987. But then when Bush Jr. pulled out of the ABM treaty in 2002 it was off to the races again. Last year Putin declared that Russia has won: the Americans can now rest assured that if they ever attack Russia the result will be their complete, guaranteed annihilation, and the Russians can rest secure in the knowledge that the US will never dare to attack them.

But that was just the prelude. The real victory happened on February 2, 2019. This day will be remembered as the day when the Russian Federation decisively defeated the United States in the battle for Eurasia—from Lisbon to Vladivostok and from Murmansk to Mumbai.

So, what did the Americans want, and what did they get instead? They wanted to renegotiate the INF treaty, revise some of the terms and expand it to include China. Announcing that the US is suspending the INF treaty, Trump said: “I hope we're able to get everybody in a big, beautiful room and do a new treaty that would be much better…” By “everybody” Trump probably meant the US, China and Russia.

Why the sudden need to include China? Because China has an entire arsenal of intermediate-range weapons with a range of 500-5500 (the ones outlawed by the INF treaty) pointed at American military bases throughout the region—in South Korea, Japan and Guam. The INF treaty made it impossible for the US to develop anything that could be deployed at these bases to point back at China.

Perhaps it was Trump’s attempt to practice his New York real-estate mogul’s “art of the deal” among nuclear superpowers, or perhaps it’s because imperial hubris has rotted the brains of just about everyone in the US establishment, but the plan for renegotiating the INF treaty was about as stupid as can be imagined:

1. Accuse Russia of violating the INF treaty based on no evidence. Ignore Russia’s efforts to demonstrate that the accusation is false.

2. Announce pull-out of the INF treaty.

3. Wait a while, then announce that the INF treaty is important and essential. Condescendingly forgive Russia and offer to sign a new treaty, but demand that it include China.

4. Wait while Russia convinces China that it should do so.

5. Sign the new treaty in Trump’s “big, beautiful room.”

So, how did it actually go? Russia instantly announced that it is also pulling out of the INF treaty. Putin ordered foreign minister Lavrov to abstain from all negotiations with the Americans in this matter. He then ordered defense minister Shoigu to build land-based platforms for Russia’s new air and ship-based missile systems—without increasing the defense budget. Putin added that these new land-based systems will only be deployed in response to the deployment of US-made intermediate-range weapons. Oh, and China announced that it is not interested in any such negotiations. Now Trump can have his “big, beautiful room” all to himself.

Why did this happen? Because of the INF treaty, for a long time Russia has had a giant gaping hole in its arsenal, specifically in the 500-5500 km range. It had air-launched X-101/102s, and eventually developed the Kalibr cruise missile, but it had rather few aircraft and ships—enough for defense, but not enough to guarantee that it could reliably destroy all of NATO. As a matter of Russia’s national security, given the permanently belligerent stance of the US, it was necessary for NATO to know that in case of a military conflict with Russia it will be completely annihilated, and that no air defense system will ever help them avoid that fate.

If you look at a map, you will find that having weapons in the 500-5500 km range fixes this problem rather nicely. Draw a circle with a 5500 km radius around the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad; note that it encompasses every single NATO country, North Africa and Middle East. The IMF treaty was not necessarily a good deal for Russia even when it was first signed (remember, Gorbachev, who signed it, was a traitor) but it became a stupendously bad deal as NATO started to expand east. But Russia couldn’t pull out of it without triggering a confrontation, and it needed time to recover and rearm.

Already in 2004 Putin announced that “Russia needs a breakthrough in order to have a new generation of weapons and technology.” At the time, Americans ignored him, thinking that Russia could fall apart at any moment and that they will be able to enjoy Russian oil, gas, nuclear fuel and other strategic commodities for free forever even as the Russians themselves go extinct. They thought that even if Russia tried to resist, it would be enough to bribe some traitors—like Gorbachev or Yeltsin—and all would be well again.

Fast-forward 15 years, and is that what we have? Russia has rebuilt and rearmed. Its export industries provide for a positive trade balance even in absence of oil and gas exports. It is building three major export pipelines at the same time—to Germany, Turkey and China. It is building nuclear generating capacity around the world and owns a lion’s share of the world’s nuclear industry. The US can no longer keep the lights on without Russian nuclear fuel imports. The US has no new weapons systems with which to counter Russia’s rearmament. Yes, it talks about developing some, but all it has at this point are infinite money sinks and lots of PowerPoint presentations. It no longer has the brains to do the work, or the time, or the money.

Part of Putin’s orders upon pulling out of the INF treaty was to build land-based medium-range hypersonic missiles. That’s a new twist: not only will it be impossible to intercept them, but they will reduce NATO’s remaining time to live, should it ever attack Russia, from minutes to seconds. The new Poseidon nuclear-powered torpedo was mentioned too: even if an attack on Russia succeeds, it will be a Pyrrhic one, since subsequent 100-foot nuclear-triggered tsunamis will wipe clean both coasts of the United States for hundreds of miles inland, effectively reducing the entire country to slightly radioactive wasteland.

Not only has the US lost its ability to attack, it has also lost its ability to threaten. Its main means of projecting force around the world is its navy, and Poseidon reduces it to a useless, slow-moving pile of scrap steel. It would take just a handful of Poseidons quietly shadowing each US aircraft carrier group to zero out the strategic value of the US Navy no matter where in the world it is deployed.

Without the shackles of the INF treaty, Russia will be able to fully neutralize the already obsolete and useless NATO and to absorb all of Europe into its security sphere. European politicians are quite malleable and will soon learn to appreciate the fact that good relations with Russia and China are an asset while any dependence on the US, moving forward, is a huge liability. Many of them already understand which way the wind is blowing.

It won’t be a difficult decision for Europe’s leaders to make. On the one pan of the scale there is the prospect of a peaceful and prosperous Greater Eurasia, from Lisbon to Vladivostok and from Murmansk to Mumbai, safe under Russia’s nuclear umbrella and tied together with China’s One Belt One Road.

On the other pan of the scale there is a certain obscure former colony lost in the wilds of North America, imbued with an unshakeable faith in its own exceptionalism even as it grows ever weaker, more internally conflicted and more chaotic, but still dangerous, though mostly to itself, and run by a bloviating buffoon who can’t tell the difference between a nuclear arms treaty and a real estate deal. It needs to be quietly and peacefully relegated to the outskirts of civilization, and then to the margins of history.

Trump should keep his own company in his “big, beautiful room,” and avoid doing anything anything even more tragically stupid, while saner minds quietly negotiate the terms for an honorable capitulation. The only acceptable exit strategy for the US is to quietly and peacefully surrender its positions around the world, withdraw into its own geographic footprint and refrain from meddling in the affairs of Greater Eurasia.

Amanda
9th February 2019, 01:46
It seems to me that the consuming paradigm in which we live, is reaching a critical juncture. How long can we keep consuming? How long can the multinationals keep taking resources from the Planet. I think of oil as the blood of the planet. When we drain a Human of their blood they die and I view our Earth as the same.

How long can we keep buying items - only to run out and buy the newest device when the one in our hand is still viable? I see many many many People ready to jump into the 5G devices - their naivety and ignorance is stunning. I say that with respect because so many are yet to rouse from their slumber.

Great to visit here and know that soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many are well awake and well aware.

Much Respect - Amanda

palooka's revenge
10th February 2019, 21:21
It seems to me that the consuming paradigm in which we live, is reaching a critical juncture. How long can we keep consuming? How long can the multinationals keep taking resources from the Planet. I think of oil as the blood of the planet. When we drain a Human of their blood they die and I view our Earth as the same.

How long can we keep buying items - only to run out and buy the newest device when the one in our hand is still viable? I see many many many People ready to jump into the 5G devices - their naivety and ignorance is stunning. I say that with respect because so many are yet to rouse from their slumber.

Great to visit here and know that soooooooooooooooooooooooooo many are well awake and well aware.

Much Respect - Amanda

some of us will go to extreme way over on the far end of the other side of the balance point in an effort to re-balance the scale. ie, i had a pair of readers i bought at dollar tree (where EVERYTHING really IS a dollar). after 2 months of repetitive on/off one of the temples broke at the hinge point which i was able to fix with super glue and a shade tree clamping device invented to hold in place while the glue dried. a few weeks later same-o happened to the other temple. then the frame broke while i was cleaning them. fixed that too. 3 extra lives squeezed out until one day i accidentally knocked them off the top of my head where i keep them when not in use so's to know exactly where they are when i need them. they fell to the ground and in the same motion that knocked 'em off, i stepped on 'em... a fate that spelled ultimate demise. but somewhere in universe, things feel better as a result...

Chris
11th February 2019, 19:03
http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/mistaken-futures/

Mistaken Futures

And so the Democratic Party has gone and hoisted the flag of “socialism” on the mizzenmast of its foundering hulk as it sets sail for the edge of the world. Bad call by a ship without a captain, and I’ll tell you why. Socialism was the response to a particular set of circumstances in time that drove the rise of industrial societies. Those circumstances are going, going, gone.

The suspicion of industry’s dreadful effects on the human condition first sparked in the public imagination with William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” in 1804 and its reference to England’s newly-built “dark satanic mills.” Industry at the grand scale overturned everyday life in the Euro-American “West” by the mid-19th century, and introduced a new kind of squalor for the masses, arguably worse than their former status as peasants.

And thus it was to be, through Karl Marx, Vlad Lenin, and the rest of the gang, ever-strategizing to somehow mitigate all that suffering. Their Big Idea was that if government owned the industry (the means of production), then the riches would be distributed equally among the laboring masses and the squalor eliminated. You can’t blame them for trying, though you can blame them for killing scores of millions of people who somehow got in the way of their plans.

Nobody had ever seen anything like this industry before, or had to figure out some way to deal with it, and it was such an enormous force in everyday life thereafter that it shattered human relationships with nature and the planet nature rode in on. Of course, the history of everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and we’re closer to the end of the industrial story than we are to the middle.

Which opens the door to a great quandary. If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place? Many suppose that it is a robotic utopia powered by some as-yet-unharnessed cosmic juice, a nirvana of algorithms, culminating in orgasm-without-end (Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanism). Personally, I would check the “no” box on that outcome as a likely scenario.

The self-proclaimed socialists are actually seeing the world through a rear-view mirror. What they are really talking about is divvying up the previously-accumulated wealth, soon to be bygone. Entropy is having its wicked way with that wealth, first by transmogrifying it into ever more abstract forms, and then by dissipating it as waste all over the planet. In short, the next time socialism is enlisted as a tool for redistributing wealth, we will make the unhappy discovery that most of that wealth is gone.

The process will be uncomfortably sharp and disorientating. The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism. We have a new kind of mass squalor in America: a great many people who have nothing to do, no means of support, and the flimsiest notions of purpose in life. The socialists have no answers for them. They will not be “retrained” in some imagined federal crusade to turn meth freaks into code-writers for Google.

Something the analysts are calling “recession” is ploughing across the landscape like one of those darkly majestic dust-storms of the 1930s, only this time we won’t be able to re-fight anything like World War Two to get all the machines running again in the aftermath. Nor, of course, will the Make America Great Again fantasy work out for those waiting in the squalid ruins of the post-industrial rust-belt or the strip-mall wastelands of the Sunbelt.

Most of the beliefs and attitudes of the present day will be overturned with the demise of the industrial orgy, like the idea that humanity follows an unerring arc of progress, that men and women are interchangeable and can do exactly the same work, that society should not be hierarchical, that technology will rescue us, and that we can organize some political work-arounds to avoid the pain of universal contraction.

There are no coherent ideas in the political arena just now. Our prospects are really too alarming. So, jump on-board the socialism ship and see if it makes you feel better to sail to the end of the earth. But mind the gap at the very edge. It’s a doozie.

Dreamtimer
12th February 2019, 13:34
The party as a whole isn't exactly embracing socialism. Many of the new and younger crop are calling themselves Democratic Socialists, and as people like Ana Kasparian say, they're capitalists. They believe in capitalism. They just don't want to trash all of our social programs and they understand that privatization doesn't substitute for government.

Many Democrats who got elected are actually from conservative areas and are not socialists and don't call themselves such.

For those who don't know.

giovonni
16th February 2019, 15:27
Will share this here ...

Some interesting insight into an ongoing hot potato of a topic ...

Taiwan FM in interview: 'Reunification with China is not an option' | DW News


Published on Feb 16, 2019
In an exclusive interview with DW, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu made clear that reunification with China is not an option. This comes in response to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who declared that reunification with the island was "inevitable," and that China reserves the right to use force if necessary. It was a blunt reminder for Taiwan that China has the second largest defense budget in the world and may be prepared to use it. But Taiwan, which functions de-facto as an independent country, is responding by upgrading its own military. Can Taiwan be a model for democracy in China?

5:21 minutes


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CbiAUfzxKw

palooka's revenge
16th February 2019, 23:22
http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/mistaken-futures/

Mistaken Futures

And so the Democratic Party has gone and hoisted the flag of “socialism” on the mizzenmast of its foundering hulk as it sets sail for the edge of the world. Bad call by a ship without a captain, and I’ll tell you why. Socialism was the response to a particular set of circumstances in time that drove the rise of industrial societies. Those circumstances are going, going, gone.

The suspicion of industry’s dreadful effects on the human condition first sparked in the public imagination with William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” in 1804 and its reference to England’s newly-built “dark satanic mills.” Industry at the grand scale overturned everyday life in the Euro-American “West” by the mid-19th century, and introduced a new kind of squalor for the masses, arguably worse than their former status as peasants.

And thus it was to be, through Karl Marx, Vlad Lenin, and the rest of the gang, ever-strategizing to somehow mitigate all that suffering. Their Big Idea was that if government owned the industry (the means of production), then the riches would be distributed equally among the laboring masses and the squalor eliminated. You can’t blame them for trying, though you can blame them for killing scores of millions of people who somehow got in the way of their plans.

Nobody had ever seen anything like this industry before, or had to figure out some way to deal with it, and it was such an enormous force in everyday life thereafter that it shattered human relationships with nature and the planet nature rode in on. Of course, the history of everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and we’re closer to the end of the industrial story than we are to the middle.

Which opens the door to a great quandary. If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place? Many suppose that it is a robotic utopia powered by some as-yet-unharnessed cosmic juice, a nirvana of algorithms, culminating in orgasm-without-end (Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanism). Personally, I would check the “no” box on that outcome as a likely scenario.

The self-proclaimed socialists are actually seeing the world through a rear-view mirror. What they are really talking about is divvying up the previously-accumulated wealth, soon to be bygone. Entropy is having its wicked way with that wealth, first by transmogrifying it into ever more abstract forms, and then by dissipating it as waste all over the planet. In short, the next time socialism is enlisted as a tool for redistributing wealth, we will make the unhappy discovery that most of that wealth is gone.

The process will be uncomfortably sharp and disorientating. The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism. We have a new kind of mass squalor in America: a great many people who have nothing to do, no means of support, and the flimsiest notions of purpose in life. The socialists have no answers for them. They will not be “retrained” in some imagined federal crusade to turn meth freaks into code-writers for Google.

Something the analysts are calling “recession” is ploughing across the landscape like one of those darkly majestic dust-storms of the 1930s, only this time we won’t be able to re-fight anything like World War Two to get all the machines running again in the aftermath. Nor, of course, will the Make America Great Again fantasy work out for those waiting in the squalid ruins of the post-industrial rust-belt or the strip-mall wastelands of the Sunbelt.

Most of the beliefs and attitudes of the present day will be overturned with the demise of the industrial orgy, like the idea that humanity follows an unerring arc of progress, that men and women are interchangeable and can do exactly the same work, that society should not be hierarchical, that technology will rescue us, and that we can organize some political work-arounds to avoid the pain of universal contraction.

There are no coherent ideas in the political arena just now. Our prospects are really too alarming. So, jump on-board the socialism ship and see if it makes you feel better to sail to the end of the earth. But mind the gap at the very edge. It’s a doozie.

a little birdie keeps whisperin' to my middle eye...


collapse will prevail before socialism if we don't get somethin' turned around here

Chris
19th February 2019, 17:43
Death of Free Speech leads to Fascism

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/02/death-of-free-speech-leads-to-fascism.html#more

Freedom of speech is rather important. If people do not feel free to express their thoughts, then all they can do is endlessly repeat what has been said before, creating an echo chamber which no new understandings can ever penetrate. What they repeat may have been a tissue of lies from the outset, or it may have been true or relevant once, but will become outdated and, essentially, as good as a lie.

Lies beget ignorance. Ignorance begets fear. Fear begets hatred. And hatred begets violence. The ability to speak our minds and to listen to others—even those who are said to be our enemies—is what separates us from wild beasts. Deprive us of this right, and sure as rain we degenerate into subhumans who claw at the ground, howl at the moon and gnaw on raw human flesh… or something like that.

The practice of free speech is quite a demanding art. Just being able to make intelligible sounds with your mouth or to poke at a keyboard in a way that pleases the spell-checker makes you no more an expert practitioner of free speech than does the ability to get up from your chair and walk to the bathroom make you a ballet dancer. Free speech encompasses the expression of fact and opinion. Facts cannot be fake, or you can stand accused of libel or of spreading disinformation. Opinion cannot be incendiary, or you can stand accused of undermining public order.

To be on the safe side, free speech should not contain performatives—speech acts that seek to alter the state of the world. Calls to action, unsolicited advice, coercion, intimidation, threats, personal categorizations and the like can all reasonably be banned without hurting the exercise of free speech at all. Demagoguery—attempts to manipulate public sentiment by exploiting popular desires, fears and prejudices—is rather unhelpful, although to some extent unavoidable. Some forms of free speech should be rightfully privileged over the rest: the literary arts (both fiction and nonfiction), cinematography, music, visual and performance arts are at the top; political slogans shouted over swine-toned music at an audience of sloppy drunks are definitely near the bottom.

The quality of society is directly proportional to the quality of its exercise of free speech, and to assure high quality some form of quality control is usually called for. Governments often have to backstop this need by legislating against certain forms of speech. The older standard against incendiary speech or speech that may cause a panic—shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater—is justified as a matter of public safety. Newer standards against hate speech and discrimination are on shakier ground. They are essentially gag orders that drive the exercise of certain forms of speech underground, thereby making it harder to regulate and more dangerous. The expectation that banning “hate speech” will prevent hatred is unrealistic; nor is the expectation that haters can be compelled to do their hating in silence. Likewise, banning discriminatory speech can only suppress overt expressions of discrimination but not the behavior itself, making it more intractable, since nothing short of a lobotomy can prevent people from discriminating against those they find disagreeable.

Aside from government-provided backstops (which are blunt, inaccurate instruments) most of what provides for high-quality free speech is self-control and, to the extent that it is needed, self-censorship. Essentially, every negative form of free speech—disinformation, libel, demagoguery, manipulation, incendiary rhetoric, etc.—reduce the level of respect and trust between the speaker and the audience. Taken to an extreme, the concept of free speech itself becomes superfluous as everybody manifests their ignorance while spouting their worthless opinions without bothering to listen to anyone else—because everyone else is equally ignorant and their opinions are equally worthless and meaningless. The only thing that can prevent this backslide into worthlessness and meaninglessness is high standards of social adequacy.

But how can such high standards persist in a world of trolls and bots, of concocted false narratives endlessly blasted out at full volume, where a thought that is significantly longer than a tweet simply cannot be expressed? How can they be enforced if the modern value system requires tolerance, nondiscrimination and inclusiveness toward all—including the most miserable miscreants—lowering the price of admission to public discourse to zero? Surprisingly, it can, and it does persist: some writers find their readers and some performers find their audiences—somehow. Their numbers aren’t huge, but then, since quality is almost always inversely proportional to quantity, their small numbers don’t matter that much.

In fact, these numbers are so small that to ascribe any sort of significant agency to those who pay attention, or to those to whom they pay attention. The proper and essential function of free speech is not to somehow remake the world in one’s own image (you should consider yourself lucky if you can bring about a change in yourself, never mind make a difference in your own family or neighborhood). Its function is to keep you sane and grounded and to prevent you from cascading down through lies, ignorance, fear, hatred and violence, eventually degenerating into wild beasts who claw at the ground, howl at the moon and chew on each other…

The concocted false narratives endlessly blasted out at full volume make such work difficult. The narratives that are designed to generate a misplaced sense of agency are perhaps the most difficult veil to shred. No matter how many times I try to explain that the US is not a democracy and that it doesn’t matter who is president, these facts seem to just bounce off people’s heads. When I try to explain certain facts about technology—for instance, that wind and solar power unfortunately just don’t work and that the countries that pursue them are setting themselves up for economic disaster, but that for all of its dangers nuclear power does seem to have a very important future (although only in certain countries)—in response people demand to know whether or not I am “in favor” of nuclear power.

What a ridiculous question! That’s like you asking your flush toilet what it thinks of sewage treatment or your office chair whether it is in favor of a sedentary lifestyle. Just like the office chair and the toilet you and I, with respect to nuclear power, are not subjects but objects. If you are reading this, then you are willy-nilly in favor of nuclear power, because if the nuclear reactors were off your screen would be blank and you’d be sitting in the dark with the heat or the air conditioning not working. But that’s a false choice—simply because it isn’t on offer—any more than an office chair or a toilet can decide whether it wishes to be sat on or not.

And now there is another development that is making the exercise of free speech even more difficult: the phenomenon of “deplatforming.” Various companies, including Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, Patreon and various others, have taken it upon themselves to become arbiters of free speech and interpreters of the First Amendment. Their conceit is that their user base forms a “community” upon which they are entitled to impose “community standards.” In fact, they are privately owned for-profit companies and their clients are individuals or other companies, not communities. They may try to argue that they are publishers of some sort, and publishers are entitled to maintaining an editorial policy, but there is an unbridgeable gap between the editorial process and just typing some text and clicking “publish.” In fact, what they are attempting to do is perhaps best described as vigilante censorship. The most that they are entitled to do is refer their users for prosecution if there is reason to believe that their users have violated specific laws.

I became aware of this new “deplatforming” menace a couple of months ago, when some of my readers started abandoning Patreon after it deplatformed certain people. Prior to that my readership on Patreon had been growing nicely, but then the growth stalled. I’ll never know—and don’t really care—what was behind these decisions, since I don’t see them as legitimate. Typical parting comments from my readers were:

“You crossed the line with censorship and I cannot support this company.”

“I believe in freedom of speech. Censorship is not a virtue. Shame on you.”

“Patreon should not be a moral arbiter. You are supposed to be a payment platform.”

“This site cannot be trusted to support free speech.”

In short, Patreon’s censorship, which it disingenuously called “community standards,” was costing me money, and so I complained:

“Your editorial policy is costing me money. Since Patreon is just a paywalled blogging platform I don't understand why you should have an editorial policy at all. If you find that your clients are violating state or federal laws you should refer them for prosecution; if not, I honestly do not understand what gives you the reason or the right, or the legal competence, to act as interpreters of the First Amendment.”

The answer I got back was rather terse: “…we do not disclose any details surrounding creator page removals…” First, that isn’t an answer to my question. Second, it shows a remarkable degree of contempt for any sort of fairness. Secret tribunals that result in “removals,” that are based on vague, private, arbitrary rules, that refuse to disclose the basis of their decisions, that cause financial losses but refuse acknowledge them or to compensate for them… doesn’t that sound just a tiny bit fascist?

And so I set up a SubscribeStar account where I publish all the same materials as on Patreon, and to which my readers have been gradually migrating. SubscribeStar is not quite as feature-rich as Patreon (yet) and it has been banned by PayPal (not a big loss; my readers seem to hate PayPal) but it does have the advantage of being honest: it is simply a blogging platform integrated with a paywall.

Meanwhile, the “deplatforming” has only grown worse. Most recently, CNN aired a public denunciation of RT (which it accused of being Russian), and based on this denunciation Facebook saw it fit to ban RT from Soapbox, Waste-Ed, Backthen as well shut down a personal project “In The Now” by the American journalist Anissa Naouai (because she works for RT). These were projects with millions of subscribers and billions of views. CNN’s denunciation was phrased as follows: these projects influence America’s young people! The bloody Russians are at it again, contaminating “our precious bodily fluids”!

None of this has anything at all to do with Russia, or the Russian government, or Putin personally. RT is government-financed, but so is BBC (which, it has now been admitted, lied about the fake chemical attacks in Syria’s Douma, causing Trump to unleash a volley of cruise missiles on Syria, most of which, luckily, the Syrians managed to shoot down). But while the British may lie as they wish (and provoke war crimes as a result) the Russians aren’t allowed to say anything at all—because they are Russian.

To understand the rationale behind this bout of Russophobia, it is important to understand that it has nothing to do with “containing Russia” or anything of the sort (that project has already failed). Instead, Russophobia neatly serves the internal political needs of the US and other Western countries. Two trends—the gradual suppression of free speech and the gradual dehumanization of Russians—go hand in hand. Free speech can be suppressed because of “Russian trolls” and election results can be manually rearranged as needed because of “Russian meddling.”

What makes such measures necessary? The West is experiencing an entire series of crises that is beginning to form the classical pattern defined by Lenin as the revolutionary situation: the elites can no longer rule as before while their subjects can no longer live as before. Western establishment (primarily its Deep State component) is forced to confront this problem. How can it preserve its power and maintain control, all without changing course or even swapping out it deeply unpopular public-facing figureheads? It has decided to deal with this crisis by suppressing the public will. Since such suppression is incompatible with maintaining the fiction of democratic governance, democracy has got to go. That’s where the Russians come in handy: if the voters don’t vote as programmed, then an entire election can be annulled because of “Russian meddling.” “Russian trolls” and Russian “fake news” are helpful too: they offer an excuse for suppressing free speech.

Having a phantom enemy is very helpful. First, there is nothing like the fear of an external enemy to force people to rally around their ruling elites. Second, since the enemy is a phantom, there is no danger of defeat in an actual war. But there is another danger: in the process of vilifying this phantom enemy, Russians as an ethnos are being progressively dehumanized. And the problem is that dehumanizing the enemy always results in degeneracy—not of the enemy, but of the dehumanizers themselves. Inevitably, it is the dehumanizers who end up running around on all fours, howling at the moon and having each other for dinner. Lies engender ignorance; ignorance engenders fear; fear engenders hatred; hatred engenders violence. At some point a horrific crime against Russians will take place, which will baptize both the Western elites and their Untermenschen in Russian blood, tying them together with bonds of criminal complicity. (This scenario has already been tested out in Eastern Ukraine.)

Before our eyes the most reactionary and the most chauvinistic and homicidal parts of Western financial elites are transforming Western “democracy” into a model terrorist dictatorship. But it is very hard to see what they could possibly hope to achieve other than the physical destruction of their own populations—if that can be considered an achievement. Perhaps their actual achievement will be in being able to carry out this destruction without having their own populations even notice that it is happening, lost as they are in a world of delusions fashioned out of false narratives endlessly blasted at them at high volume. We should feel lucky that a few voices are still able to pierce through the Bedlam, although we don’t know for how much longer. In the meantime, take a look around. This is what fascism looks like.

Aragorn
20th February 2019, 06:42
Death of Free Speech leads to Fascism

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/02/death-of-free-speech-leads-to-fascism.html#more

[...]

This is what fascism looks like.

Although it's a good article, the author does misuse the word "fascism" everywhere in the article that the word appears, including in the article's title. The correct word the author should have been using is "totalitarianism". Fascism is a nationalistic, militaristic and usually totalitarian regime where the powers of government actually rest in the hands of private corporations. As such, fascism is a form of totalitarianism, but all totalitarianism isn't necessarily fascism.

China is a totalitarian state, but it is not a fascist regime ─ it is pseudo-socialist. The USA is a de facto fascist regime, but it is not (entirely) totalitarian, although the US constitution does leave the door open to totalitarianism by allowing the president to declare a state of emergency without the approval of Congress, thereby completely overruling any and all democratic mechanisms toward governing the country.

NotAPretender
22nd February 2019, 00:03
yeeouch...U.S. current power base is new fascist..but I'm not... :) well maybe...in the early days of my divorce.

Chris
25th March 2019, 16:24
http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/buyers-remorse/

Buyer’s Remorse


The Narrative is dead! Long live The Narrative!

That’s what played on CNN, NBC, and The New York Times yesterday as they struggled to digest the parting meal Robert Mueller served to the RussiaGate lynch mob: a nothingburger with a side of crow-flavored fries. Mr. Mueller was careful, though, to leave a nice red poison cherry on top with his statement that “…while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Mr. Mueller, who ought to know better, could not be more in error on that too-fine-a-point. The official finding that no crime was committed is, ipso facto, an exoneration, and to impute otherwise is a serious breach of his role in this legal melodrama. Prosecutors are expressly forbidden to traffic in defamation, aspersion, and innuendo in the absence of formal charges. So, it will be interesting to hear what Mr. Mueller has to say when Jerrold Nadler reels him into the House Judiciary Committee, as inevitably he will, to do to some ‘splainin.’

What actually happened with RussiaGate? A cabal of government officials colluded with the Hillary Clinton campaign to interfere in the 2016 election and, failing to achieve their desired outcome, engineered a two-years-plus formal inquisition to deflect attention from their own misconduct and attempt to overthrow the election result.

The Cable News characters, quite a few of them lawyers, were litigating the living shit out of the story on Sunday night in their usual spirit of obdurate rank dishonesty. For instance, Jeffrey Toobin, who plays Attorney General on CNN, went off on the infamous 2016 Trump Tower Meeting in which the president’s son, Donald, Jr., met with Russian lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya. Toobin omitted to mention that Ms. Veselnitskaya was, at that very time, on the payroll of Fusion GPS, Hillary Clinton’s “oppo” research contractor. In other words, Trump Junior was set up.

That was characteristic of the collusion that actually occurred between the Hillary campaign, the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, the NSA, the UK’s MI6 intel agency, and the Obama White House, striving to prevent the election of a TV reality show star, and to disable him afterwards — also of the news media’s role in the whole interminable scam of RussiaGate. Their fury and despair were as vivid the night of March 24, 2019, as on November 8, 2016. And now they will attempt to spark off a sequel.

Rachel Maddow, for instance, struggling to maintain her dignity after two years playing Madame DeFarge on MSNBC, tried to console her fans with the prospect of Mr. Trump getting raked over the coals by the DOJ’s Southern District of NY prosecutors for crimes as yet unpredicted — really, whatever they might find if they turn over enough rocks in Manhattan. Perhaps she doesn’t know how the justice system actually works in this country: we prosecute crimes not persons. In places like Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany, you first choose a person to eliminate and then fit them to a crime. If no crime can be found, one is easily manufactured. In the USA, a predicate crime is required before you can launch a prosecution. Perhaps the actual Attorney General, Mr. Barr, will advise the avid staff of the Southern District of NY how this works.

There remains also, the rather sweeping panorama of misconduct and probable crime among the government (and former government) players in the agencies mentioned above. Does the full Mueller Report mention, for instance, that the animating document claiming that Trump colluded with Russia was manufactured by Mrs. Clinton’s employees? And that this document was used time and again improperly and illegally to prolong the inquisition? How could Mr. Mueller not acknowledge that? And if not, what sort of investigation was this?

You are forced to ask: did Mr. Mueller play an honorable role in this epic, multilayered scandal? And is Mr. Mueller himself an honorable character, or something less than that? I believe we’ll find out. The other team is coming to bat now — and just in time for MLB’s opening day, too. The Mueller report has been a shocking disappointment to the so-called “resistance,” but what about the as-yet-unreleased DOJ Inspector General’s report on these very matters? Or the parallel investigation of federal prosecutor John Huber, who is charged specifically with looking into the malfeasance of the RussiaGate investigators? Or whatever action the Attorney General himself launches in the wake of all this? Or whether Mr. Trump finally declassifies the mountains of documents behind the simple failure to find him guilty of any crime?

My favorite college professor and mentor, David Hamilton, once put a curious question to us when we were vexing him for some reason now forgotten: “Why,” he asked, “Did Achilles drag Hector around the city of Troy three times?”
We twiddled our cigarettes and pulled our chins.
“Because he was just that pissed,” he said.

NotAPretender
25th March 2019, 21:36
This is a ridiculous response by Kunstler...he must be much dumber than his station in life would normally require...just kidding but really it's a true statement

I should point out that Mueller DOES know better...he could not in clear conscience walk away from this without a guarded caveat stating, in effect, that Trump is quite the dubious character.

Dreamtimer
26th March 2019, 12:13
It's weird watching the media play out the drama. It's almost like I can see the script.

It's disturbing watching so many people blatantly lie to the American peoples' face. It used to be they couched stuff.

It's disturbing to see how many people ignore the actual facts which are actually available and have been all along.

People want to pretend opinions and beliefs are facts.

There are very few who stand out as both seeing and saying the truth for what it is.

Aragorn
26th March 2019, 12:45
People want to pretend opinions and beliefs are facts.

As well as the opposite. It has been my experience that many US Americans consider proven facts to merely be somebody's belief system. The cognitive dissonance is great. :hmm:

NotAPretender
26th March 2019, 13:57
Trump himself is the liar in chief. It has been said that when one lies they are demonstrating contempt for the recipient. In this case, Trump is showing contempt for the American public.

Aragorn
26th March 2019, 14:26
Trump himself is the liar in chief. It has been said that when one lies they are demonstrating contempt for the recipient. In this case, Trump is showing contempt for the American public.

What else would you expect from a clinical narcissist? ;)

NotAPretender
26th March 2019, 15:05
Honest to God, they get no lower than that animal. Now he wants to turn over the Affordable Care Act. What creature would be capable of that.

Dreamtimer
26th March 2019, 15:38
Around 45 million are now enrolled. We have 350 million people. That's a big chunk. That's a nutso thing to propose. Trump has no alternate plan.

As a matter of fact, Obamacare was based on Romneycare which was originally created and promoted by the conservative Heritage Foundation.

See how weirdly things come full circle sometimes?

NotAPretender
26th March 2019, 15:51
it isn't political for Trump...it is something deeper in his black heart and soul

Dreamtimer
26th March 2019, 23:39
That's the scary part. He doesn't care if he wrecks what he plans on leaving behind. Even America. As long as he's rich. And maybe also a dictator. He clearly cares little about the Constitution.

Chris
28th March 2019, 11:57
A hilarious assessment of the current state of the Brexit Omnishambles / Clusterfuck / National disaster (choose your own metaphor, none of them are adequate in any case):

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/theresa-may-boris-johnson-brexit-article-50-take-back-control-meaningful-vote-a8843091.html

Theresa May is reduced to begging someone - anyone - to take back control from her, but nobody will

The briefest flash of the ankle of power, and Boris Johnson's principles left him as fast as one of his families

Where can you even start? What can you possibly say? Farce doesn’t do it justice. It has too many layers, too many faces for that. In the House of Commons on Wednesday morning, afternoon and late into the night, Inception crashed into Fawlty Towers at such high speed they carried the nation into a new dimension of the ridiculous.

If the guy who wrote House of Cards had been there, he’d have laughed at the sheer preposterousness of it all. Which, naturally, he was. As Theresa May wandered into a grand committee room in the bowels of the Palace of Westminster, to offer her own party her own political suicide as a way of keeping her political dignity on life support for another twenty four hours, there was Michael, or more accurately, Lord, Dobbs, joking that he was “auditioning for his next series,” to anyone who’d listen.

What he saw was not so much a House of Cards as a great Tower of Bullshit, falling suddenly away under the gentlest of nudges and smothering everyone inside under its deathly weight.

“You’re tired. You want this to end.” They were the words with which the Prime Minister tried to hypno-bully the country and the nation into supporting her, just a week ago. Well it turns out, no. They don’t want it to end. On this “day of history”, the day that “parliament took back control” of Brexit, parliament found out just as quick as everybody else who’s ever been anywhere near it, that they don’t actually want control of it at all.

That, at the end, of six hours debate and two hours of voting, Westminster’s 650 MPs rejected every single one of the eight ways out of Brexit that had been put before them, is the climax to which we will return later.

Before then, came Theresa May’s last roll of the dice, which was to fire the gun on the Tory leadership contest, mainly in the hope that it might prove enough of a distraction that her MPs might pass her deal, almost by accident.

It was in its way, a Sixth Sense style plot twist. With Theresa May’s conditional offer of resignation, nothing actually changed, other than to show in startling clarity what had been there all along. Brexit was never about Brexit. It was, is, now and ever shall be, the 10,000 mile an hour clown car vehicle for the latest Tory party power struggle. And this was the moment a naive nation looked suddenly into Bruce Willis’s eyes. I see shit people.

You do indeed, and none more so than Boris Johnson, who confronted with only the briefest flash of the ankle of power, found his principles yet again walking out on him as fast as one of his families.

For anyone even a fraction less shameful, which is to say the rest of the human race in its entirety, it might be just a tiny bit awkward if all you’ve been doing for the last year is writing the same newspaper column over and over again, finding new, exciting and ideally Latin ways to say how terrible Theresa May’s deal is. And then, when it looks like backing it might steal you a couple of inches in the march to 10 Downing Street, you don’t even hesitate for so much as a nanosecond.

Quite bizarrely, when, at around, 6pm, he told a meeting of the European Research Group that, you know, that’s me done lads, thanks for the research eh, some of them seemed surprised. Jacob Rees-Mogg had already backed the deal by this point, deciding via a column in the morning’s Daily Mail that a UK reduced to what he had recently called a “slave state” was where he wanted to live after all.

Mark Francois slammed a door. Steve Baker told them all he was “so angry he could bulldoze the whole place into the river”. Poor mites. For the bigger boys, it had always been a little game. But no one told the little ones. They really believed.
As Boris Johnson emerged, his friends, his beliefs but never himself sold out yet again, and a journalist shouted at him: “Boris, have you just put the UK in a suicide vest and handed Michel Barnier the trigger?”

This, you see, is one of around a hundred such hilarious descriptions of the deal he now supports, written by one Boris Johnson in the Daily Telegraph, when having resigned as foreign secretary (over the deal he now backs, obviously) he found himself with nothing better to do than return to life of a columnist, with a carefully honed specialism in castigating the achievements of an astonishingly bad government of which he had been by some margin the worst member.

Not that any of it is going to matter. For the early signs are that Theresa May, in a rare synergy of both her invincibility and performance art levels of incompetence, may very well have tried to end her political career, but failed.

“Back my deal and I’ll stand down.” They were the clear instructions. Not so much a “back me or sack me” plea as a back me then sack me. But they’ve refused to sack her. At around 9pm, the Democratic Unionist Party decided they couldn’t back the deal. The numbers she needed were never going to be there. And, in any case, in the House of Commons, Speaker Bercow had already made abundantly clear that he’s got no intention of allowing a third vote on her withdrawal deal, and unless that changes, even her own self-inflicted end appears to be off limits.
I have written many times that Theresa May has ascended to the superhero level. She is immortal. She cannot be defeated. She always finds a way to survive. But rare, perhaps non-existent are the comic book characters invincible even to their own powers. Here was Theresa the Terminator, descending into the open flames and still not melting.

In the meantime, as Tories marched in and out of committee rooms, another six hours of Brexit debate rattled around the Commons. The “historic” indicative votes took place and every single option was rejected. No to a second referendum, no to a customs union, no to revoking Article 50, no to no deal, no to unicorns, no to everything.

The only way out of the mess, now is to vote for Theresa May’s deal in a vote the speaker won’t let her hold. Nothing, in its own terrifying way, has changed. Nothing ever will. Nothing ever can. A nation buried alive by Brexit.

Chris
30th March 2019, 19:28
Bill Maher makes an excellent point about why people living in European-style social democracies with Universal Healthcare, Free College, A proper Social Safety net, etc... are so much happier than those that live in countries with unfettered capitalism, all about corporate greed. The USA is certainly one, but most third-world countries, such as India, and Ironically, China, are in this latter category. I personally think that social solidarity of this kind makes societies much more collapse-proof and survivable if the Shit Really Hits the Fan.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3vsGlAvr04

Dreamtimer
31st March 2019, 13:12
Thanks for posting this, Chris. I saw it, but hadn't watched yet.

NotAPretender
31st March 2019, 16:03
enforced social solidarity? Isn't that something other than unfettered Capitalism.

We are looking at a social structure as it exists in the here and now. Anything that is functional today will not be in a hundred years. We can be flexible and go with the flow for a time, but eventually, a new and improved paradigm will have to manifest or we will find ourselves in the equatorial jungles and forests sitting and chanting to Quetzalcoatl for daily sustenance. Not exactly the fruition of higher man.

Chris
1st April 2019, 17:02
Kunstler trying to scare the Bejesus out of everyone, but North Americans in particular. I personally feel that 2019-2020 is going to see some major catastrophic events, even earth changes, so he may yet be proven right. I still remember reading the Long Emergency back in 2007-2008, just after the Lehman Brothers collapse (which hit Singapore, the country I was living in at the time, particularly hard) and I was amazed at how many things Kunstler's gotten right with his predictions of doom. He even predicted the rise of piracy and the rise of pirate states, such as Somalia, which wasn't yet a thing at the time.

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/biblical-anxieties/

Biblical Anxieties

The sore beset people of this land may be good and goddam sick of politics, RussiaGate, and Trump-inspired social strife, but they may soon have something more down-to-earth to worry about: Biblical floods and plagues.

Media hysteria around the Mueller Report has nearly eclipsed news of historic flooding in the midwest that has already caused $3 billion in damage to farms, homes, livestock, and infrastructure. With spring rainfall already at 200 percent of normal levels, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a statement in late March saying, “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities.”

More to the point, two major western dams show disturbing signs of potential failure that may bring on unprecedented disasters. The Oroville Dam on the Feather River north of Sacramento — the highest earthen dam in the US — nearly blew out in February 2017 when record rains damaged the main spillway, threatening to send a 30-foot wall of water downstream towards California’s capital and towns along the way. When that spillway was closed to assess the damage, which was significant, the secondary emergency spillway was opened for the first time since the dam was built in 1968. It too started disintegrating and before long Lake Oroville began flowing over the top of the dam itself. The state had to order evacuation of 188,000 people in three counties. Frantic efforts to drop sandbags from helicopters stabilized the damage and, luckily, the rain stopped.

Subsequent lawsuits against the state’s Department of Water Resources revealed shoddy maintenance, theft of equipment, and poor record keeping. Now, two years later, new cracks have appeared in the repaired Oroville Dam main spillway. The Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at 153 percent above average, and the National Weather Service predicts that weak El Nino conditions with above-average Pacific Ocean temperatures are likely to produce above-average rainfall this spring along with the snowpack melt.

The Fort Peck Dam on the upper Missouri River in Montana is likewise troubling experts watching a record snowpack in the Rocky Mountains. It too is an earthen dam — the world’s largest by volume — filled with hydraulic slurry. Because it is located on the flat high plains, the dam is extremely long, running 21,000 feet — about four miles — from end to end. Behind it is a reservoir that is the fifth-largest man-made lake in the nation.

Concern is rising because the coming snow melt coincides with unusually active seismic activity around the Yellowstone Caldera, one of the world’s super-volcanos. The slurry construction of the dam inclines it to liquification when the ground shakes. Failure of the Fort Peck dam would send the equivalent of a whole year’s flow of the Missouri River downstream in one release that could potentially wash away the other five downstream dams in the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System, along with every bridge from Montana to St. Louis, an unimaginable amount of farm and town infrastructure, and several nuclear power installations. It would be the greatest national disaster in US history. Just sayin’.

A shy, science-nerd correspondent writes: “Epidemiologists speculate that a flooding event in Central Asia steppes triggered the 1347 Eurasian plague outbreak. Rumors of a mass human die-off in India reached Europe in the mid-1340’s. The Mongols besieging the coastal city of Trebizond on the shore of the Black Sea catapulted plague infested corpses over the city walls and Italian merchant ships fleeing Trebizond carried the infestation to Genoa which foolishly permitted the dying crew to land…. Rodents hosting plague spreading fleas typically inhabit arid grassland regions such as the Great Plains of America and the semi deserts of California and New Mexico. The current flooding of the American Mid-West and the mass dumping of flood tainted wheat, corn and soybeans will likely spark a rodent population explosion in the region, which in the context of rat-swarming homeless encampments may yield a 1347 repeat event in North America during the 2020s. What happened before can happen again.”

The homeless camps around Los Angeles have turned up cases of other medieval-type diseases typical of human settlements before public sanitation became a standard feature of civilized life: Many are spread through feces (as well as drug use): Hepatitis A, Typhus, shigellosis (or trench fever, spread through body lice), and tuberculosis. Gawd knows what is coming across the border into America’s proudly leading “sanctuary state.” Wait for it. Just sayin’.

NotAPretender
1st April 2019, 17:11
I be doing pirating for quite some time... :)

The midwest floods hit the area where my newly found families mostly live...Nebraska. California is the maternal side.

Not to make light of your post. I wouldn't be surprised by anything at this point, almost literally. I'm pulling for the Aliens to land on the White House lawn...again.

Dreamtimer
3rd April 2019, 13:28
Floods and plagues. Sounds Biblical.

Chris
18th April 2019, 11:24
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-five-stages-of-collapse-of-western.html


The Five Stages of Collapse of The [Western] Roman Empire

This is a guest post by Hugo Bardi. He has applied my collapse taxonomy to the collapse of Western Roman Empire, and his analysis shows that the canonical collapse cascade of financial–commercial–political–social–cult ural collapse did operate as expected in yet another, particularly famous case. But it does raise a question that has great significance for our time. Hugo’s analysis is accurate when it comes specifically to Old Rome and its collapse except for a crucial detail. Old Rome didn’t just collapse; it was abandoned; then, two centuries later, it disappeared. I’ll include some comments about this at the end of Hugo’s article.

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Dmitry Orlov wrote "The Five Stages of Collapse" as an article in 2008 and as a book in 2013. It was an original idea for that time that of comparing the fall of the Soviet Union with that of the United States. Being an American citizen born in Russia, Orlov could compare the two Empires in detail and note the many similarities that led both to follow the same trajectory, even though the cycle of the American Empire is not over, yet.

To strengthen Orlov's analysis I thought I could apply the same five stages to an older Empire, the Roman one. And, yes, the five stages apply well also to that ancient case. So, here is my take on this subject.

To start, a list of the five Stages of Collapse according to Orlov.

Stage 1: Financial collapse.
Stage 2: Commercial collapse.
Stage 3: Political collapse.
Stage 4: Social collapse.
Stage 5: Cultural collapse.

Now, let's see how these five stages played out during the fall of the Roman Empire.

Stage 1 – Financial Collapse (3rd century AD). The Roman Empire’s financial system was not as sophisticated as ours, but, just like our civilization, the Empire was based on money. Money was the tool that kept together the state: it was used to pay the legions and the bureaucrats and to make the commercial system supply the cities with food. The Roman money was a physical commodity: it was based on silver and gold, and these metals needed to be mined. It was the Roman control over the rich gold mines of Northern Spain that had created the Empire, but these mines couldn’t last forever. Starting with the 1st century, the cost of mining from depleted veins became an increasingly heavy burden. By the 3rd century, the burden was too heavy for the Empire to carry. It was the financial collapse from which the Empire never could fully recover.

Stage 2 – Commercial Collapse (5th century AD). The Roman Empire had never really been a commercial empire nor a manufacturing society. It was specialized in military conquest and it preferred to import luxury items from abroad, some, such as silk, all the way from the other side of Eurasia, from China. In addition to legions, the Empire produced only two commodities in large amounts: grain and gold. Of these, only gold could be exported to long distances and it soon disappeared to China to pay for the expensive imports the Romans were used to buy. The other product, grain, couldn’t be exported and continued to be traded within the Empire’s border for some time – the supply of grain from the African and Near Eastern granaries was what kept the Roman cities alive, Rome in particular. After the financial collapse, the supply lines remained open because the grain producers had no other market than the Roman cities. But, by mid-5th-century, things got so bad that Rome was sacked first by the Visigoths in 410, and then by the Vandals in 450, It recovered from the 1st sack, but the second was terminal. The Romans had no more money left to pay for the grain they needed, the commercial sea lanes broke down completely, and the Romans starved. It was the end of the Roman commercial system.

Stage 3 – Political Collapse (late 5th century AD). The political collapse went in parallel with the commercial collapse. Already in the late 4th century, the Emperors had become unable to defend Rome from the Barbarian armies marching across the empire and they had retired to the safety of the fortified city of Ravenna. When Rome was sacked, the Emperors didn’t even try to do something to help. The last emperors disappeared by the late 5th century but, already decades before, most people in Europe had stopped caring about whether or not there was some pompous person in Ravenna who wore purple clothes and claimed to be a divine Emperor.

Stage 4 – Social Collapse (5th century AD). The social collapse of the Western Empire went in parallel with the disgregation of the political and commercial structures. Already during the early 5th century, we have evidence that the Roman Elites had gone in “escape mode" – it was not just the emperor who had fled Rome to take refuge in Ravenna, patricians and warlords were on the move with troops, money, and followers to establish feudal domains for themselves where they could. And they were leaving the commoners to fend off by themselves. By the 6th century, the Roman State was gone and most of Europe was in the hands of Germanic warlords.

Stage 5 - Cultural collapse (starting in the 6th century AD). It was very slow. The advent of Christianity, during the 3rd century, had not weakened the Empire's cultural structure, it had been an evolution rather than a break with the past. The collapse of the Empire as a political and military entity didn't change things so much and for centuries people in Europe still considered themselves as Romans, not unlike the Japanese soldiers stranded in remote islands after the end of the second world war .(in Greece, people would still define themselves as "Romans" well into the 19th century). Latin, the imperial language, disappeared as a vernacular language but it was kept alive by the Catholic clergy and it became an indispensable tool that kept Europe culturally united. Latin kept a certain cultural continuity with the ancient empire that was only very gradually lost. It was only with the 18th - 19th centuries that Latin disappeared as the language of the cultural elite, to be replaced by English nowadays.

As you see, Orlov’s list has a certain logic although it needs to be adapted a little to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The 5 stages didn’t come one after the other, There was more than a century lapse between the 3rd-century financial collapse (stage 1) and the three subsequent stages arriving together: commercial, political, and social collapse. The 5th stage, the cultural collapse, was a drawn-out story that came later and that lasted for centuries.

How about our civilization? The 1st stage, financial collapse is clearly ongoing, although it is masked by various accounting tricks. The 2nd stage, commercial collapse, instead, hasn't started yet, nor the political collapse: the Empire still maintains a giant and threatening military force, even though its actual efficiency may be doubted. Maybe we are already seeing signs of the 3rd stage, social collapse but, if the Roman case is a guide, these three stages will arrive together.

Then, how about the last stage, cultural collapse? That's a question for a relatively far future. For a while, English will surely remain the universal language, just as Latin used to be after the fall of Rome, while people may keep thinking they still live in a globalized world (maybe it is already an illusion). With English fading, anything may happen and when (and if) a new Empire will rise on the ashes of the American Empire it will be something completely different. We can only say that the universe goes in cycles and that's, evidently, the way things have to be.

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A rather significant event occurred on May 11, 330 AD. On that day, Old Rome (the one in Italy) stopped being the capital of the Roman Empire. On that day, Emperor Constantine I moved the capital to New Rome (Νέα Ῥώμη), previously known as Byzantium and informally called Constantinople until 1930, when it was officially renamed İstanbul. It was the largest and most prosperous city in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and remains the largest city in Europe today (the second-largest is Moscow, which is sometimes called the Third Rome). From 330 AD to April 13, 1204 AD—a span of 974 years—it was the capital of the Roman Empire, which split into Eastern and Western in 395 AD. Then, just 81 years later, in 476 AD, the Western Roman Empire winked out of existence, making the appellation “Eastern” rather superfluous. Indeed, the inhabitants of New Rome always referred to themselves simply as Romans. In 1204 AD it was ransacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade (a barbarian onslaught, you might call it) and it is a very interesting question why the Romans offered no resistance to them. We will save it for another time. Constantine didn’t just move the capital to an existing city; he substantially rebuilt ancient Byzantium (a Greek colony from 657 BC).

There were many reasons for Constantine’s decision to move the capital. The new location was simply better: easier to defend, surrounded by economically developed provinces, closer to the centers of learning and culture and strategically located at an intersection of various trade routes. Constantine moved a great deal of wealth out of Old Rome in order to found his New Rome, then left Old Rome to languish in a substantially weakened state, and it never recovered. But there was another reason for the move: Constantine was riding a wave of newfound passion that had to do with the spread of Christianity, and it took him to Eastern Mediterranean where Christianity first took root. It was a conscious decision to leave the old pagan Rome behind and to construct a new, Christian Rome. Although both Christian and pagan ceremonies were performed there at first, the pagan ones were soon abandoned.

New Rome became the center of Christian learning, where the Bible and other Christian writings were translated into many languages, including Slavonic, this being an essential step in the spread of Christianity throughout Eurasia—except for Western Europe, which lapsed into a Dark Age. There, Latin-based learning was kept barely alive by monks who toiled in scriptoria, who were barely alive themselves from cold, hunger and ennui. The Catholic priesthood, which coalesced into an authoritarian structure—the Papacy—was eager to keep the population ignorant because this made it easier to control and exploit. Instead of translating the Bible into the vernaculars and teaching parishioners to read, they resorted to teaching Christian doctrine by means of idolatrous sentimentalist dioramas. The reaction to this repression of learning, when it came, was the Protestant Reformation. It resulted in a great deal of mindless slaughter and led to the development of yet another abomination: literalist interpretations of the Bible by Protestant sects and apocalyptic cults. Thus, Constantine’s decision to leave Old Rome to languish turned out to be a very positive one, giving us a millennium of cultural development in the east, and a very negative one, giving us the Dark Age and the Thirty Years’ War which caused devastation and population loss throughout Western Europe.

What does this have to do with the Five Stages of Collapse? It shows that collapses are local phenomena. Elsewhere, life goes on, sometimes better than before. Collapses can have internal causes (resources run out) or they can be externally triggered (the world moves on). But the collapse sequence remains the same: those in control are loath to admit what is happening, and pretend that it isn’t happening. Next, they get defunded (financial collapse). Next, they lose the ability to import stuff (commercial collapse). Next, their public institutions stop functioning (political collapse). Then society breaks down. And only then, after all that, do people finally realize that the problem was inside their heads all along (cultural collapse). Quickly adopting a better, more right-thinking culture is, of course, a good idea. An alternative is to go through a Dark Age followed by an extended period of mindless slaughter.

What does this have to do with today’s world? Well, if you notice, there is a particular country in the world that has a major problem: it consumes a lot more than it produces. Also, it consumes a lot of products but most of what it produces are services—for itself, which tend to be overpriced and are of very little use to anyone else, but it proudly counts this expensive mutual back-scratching as part of its Gross Domestic Product. It papers over the giant gap between its (real, physical) production and its (real, physical) consumption using accounting tricks, and it thinks that it can go on doing this forever. The rest of the world disagrees, and makes its displeasure known by gradually defunding this country. It could abandon its culture of mindless overconsumption and of spreading "freedom and democracy" by military means before circumstances force it to, but it refuses to do so, running the risk of being abandoned just like Old Rome was.

Chris
23rd April 2019, 10:42
https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/ominous-tendings-in-the-nervous-here-and-now/

Ominous Tendings in the Nervous Here and Now

Unfortunately for the nation, the RussiaGate fiasco is only half over. There is just too much documented official turpitude on the public record for the authorities to answer for and the institutional damage runs too deep. Act One, the Mueller investigation, was a 22-month circle-jerk of prosecutorial misconduct and media malfeasance. Act Two will be the circular firing squad of former officials assassinating each other’s character to desperately avoid prosecution.
In the meantime, there is the nation’s business which has been hopelessly burdened by an hallucinatory overlay of Wokester idiocy emanating from the campuses, so that even in the absence of the Mueller distraction every organized endeavor in this land from-sea-to-shining-sea is paralyzed by race-and-gender hustles. Next up: a national debate over reparations for slavery in the never-ending quest to monetize moral posturing. Won’t that be a mighty string of knots to untangle? Who qualifies, exactly? What about the indigenous people whose lands were overrun? And what about the Japanese interned in 1941? And what about women prevented from earning salaries all those lost decades of housewifery? And what about the brown people from many lands whose families did not come here until slavery was a long time gone? Do Silicon Valley engineers from India, and thoracic surgeons from the Philippines have to pay up for the sins of Whitey?

That circus won’t stop until America gets whapped upside the head by economic reality and, really, who is paying attention to that? The shale oil “miracle” has put even the superstars of economic commentary to sleep, though the quandary in plain sight is that the mighty flow of shale oil doesn’t pencil out as a money-making enterprise, and the whole project is destined to fall part even more rapidly than in the decade since it was ramped up. When the private oil companies finally sink into bankruptcy, the obvious “solution” will be to nationalize the industry — a giant step toward destroying the dollar and whatever residual value the industry might have had.

After a month-long case of influenza around Christmas time, the financial markets recovered and are once again demonstrating that they only go up — in defiance of the laws of physics, which actually do apply to markets and economies. It’s a fantastic stunt of computer algo math and misplaced faith in magic, and when it all blows up, as it must, it will make all the other delusions spinning in American life look like mere passing impure thoughts. The notional wealth involved — which is to say, the wealth of nations — has two ways to evaporate: either the stocks, bonds, and other derivatives lose their value, or the money that they represent loses its value. In either case the wealth will be gone and America will be left with the sad recognition that it is broke both privately and publicly.

In the background lay the ticking time bombs of health care, college loan debt, and pension funds. These are rackets and Ponzi schemes. Before we get to Medicare-for-all, I’d like to see congress pass one simple law requiring all medical service “providers” in the land to publicly post the price of all their services, from the cost of heart transplants down to those $90 Tylenols they dispense. Let’s see how that affects the lawless hocus-pocus of insurance companies “negotiating” their payments with the medical corporatocracy before we go whole-hog for a nationalized health service. The colleges have already destroyed themselves intellectually, and thereby the value of their overpriced credentialing services. The smaller colleges are already folding, and many more will follow now until higher education becomes a boutique industry.

The pension funds are truly big, ominous bombs, because when they fail, they will set up unresolvable fiscal problems that will turn ugly and political. Even if the federal government attempts some kind of “one-time” bail-out, it will not solve the embedded Ponzi problem of a system that has to pay off an ever-expanding pool of claims with an ever-diminishing stream of revenue. It will only be another swipe of the blade cutting off the legs of the US dollar so that it in the end every pensioner will receive his-or-her promised payout in dollars that are increasingly worthless. We may even discover that the opioid epidemic has been the only thing keeping the immiserated denizens of Flyover-land from resorting to violent insurrection.
These internal problems of the USA point in the direction of states and whole regions stealthily seceding from a federal system that can’t run itself competently at scale anymore. The process has already begun in such acts of defiance as “sanctuary states” and the burgeoning marijuana industry. Unlike the calamity of 1861, though, there may be no way to even attempt to hold the old Union together, even by force. Instead, as is the case with all foundering empires, the end will be a sickening slide into a new and strange disposition of things. One of the last successful acts of the American empire may be to send the RussiaGate instigators to jail.

NotAPretender
23rd April 2019, 13:00
This guy is a real optimist, huh. Wow! Yeah, things suck but perhaps what is considered fantasy today could be reality tomorrow...like a moneyless society...a different metric for determining value? Humans as sad as they may be at least try to survive.

Speaking to the incapability of Federal Government to govern; that is a highly partisan perspective but an analogy can be drawn, nonetheless....There is autonomy in 'sanctuary city-states' functioning under the umbrella of the overlord called Federal Government. Well, there you have it...according to the author the Feds can't handle it...so why would the concept and behavior of a global society end in totalitarianism. It, by logical comparison could not handle it, resulting in autonomy for the more granular entities. The benefit would be that the global overlords would ostensibly be a unit working together to the benefit of the little ones.

Chris
23rd April 2019, 13:12
This guy is a real optimist, huh. Wow! Yeah, things suck but perhaps what is considered fantasy today could be reality tomorrow...like a moneyless society...a different metric for determining value? Humans as sad as they may be at least try to survive.

Speaking to the incapability of Federal Government to govern; that is a highly partisan perspective but an analogy can be drawn, nonetheless....There is autonomy in 'sanctuary city-states' functioning under the umbrella of the overlord called Federal Government. Well, there you have it...according to the author the Feds can't handle it...so why would the concept and behavior of a global society end in totalitarianism. It, by logical comparison could not handle it, resulting in autonomy for the more granular entities. The benefit would be that the global overlords would ostensibly be a unit working together to the benefit of the little ones.

Kunstler is a materialist, so he takes the concept of entropy to its logical conclusion, which is that all complex systems break down and die in the end. Of course the part that materialists miss is that life itself would be impossible if entropy really were the overriding and overarching principle of the universe. What we see is actually the opposite, wherever there is life (a spark of the divine), complex systems become ever more intricate and refined with the passage of time, through a process known as evolution. I am an optimist, in that I see the current travails of humanity as growing pains, a necessary side-effect of evolution. We are becoming a higher species, whether we know it or not. Of course, this can only be acknowledged if we allow for a spiritual or divine component in life. Once you remove the divine spark, entropy does indeed take over.

NotAPretender
23rd April 2019, 13:32
makes sense to me...and there is the concept of 'locality'. In an open system events happen constantly that are 'negentropic'. Planets form from chaos, cyclic redundancy which is built into the fabric of the cosmos corrects entropic errors. It goes on and it does seem to end in infinity (source) as the final answer to which wins out. Energy is never lost according to Isaac Newton.

Chris
15th July 2019, 08:05
I love this satirical take on the outright racism that is now out in the open at the highest levels of US government. Clearly, we are witnessing a regression to the Darkest era of US history. I wonder if it is a sign of impending Political Collapse?

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/15/donald-trump-immigrant-failed-integrate

If there is an immigrant who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

Richard Wolffe

The likes of Trump hate our freedoms so much that they want to turn us into some kind of European dictatorship like they used to have back home

Why does Donald Trump hate America so much? What is it about this German-American that makes him think he can tell native-born citizens what to say and how to behave?

“So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” Trump tweeted.

Trump sounded like he just noticed some new phenomenon of Congress telling the executive branch how to behave. Let’s hope he doesn’t know about the Tea Party.

Now it is true that one of the “Progressive” women he’s referring to is an American citizen who was born in Somalia. Tucker Carlson of Fox News has noticed this same tell-tale sign about the member of Congress who has dared to be critical of the administration.

But the other three were born in this country, where sadly the government is indeed “a complete and total catastrophe.”
Trump is unfortunately correct when he says their government is “the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all).”

Because it’s his own government and it barely functions. Everyone in Washington – especially the poor British ambassador – has said as much.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done,” Trump tweeted on Sunday, apparently talking about a group of American members of Congress, including those who were born in the Bronx, Detroit and Cincinnati.
That’s the problem with immigrant families like the Trumps. They have no respect for our traditions and our elected representatives.

They hate our freedoms so much that they want to turn us into some kind of European dictatorship like they used to have back home. When they talk about our God-given Constitution, they sound like they haven’t even bothered to read the Cliff’s Notes version.

On Friday Trump insisted that he was immune from all that Russia-related stuff because his own attorney general said he didn’t break the law. Which must be how these immigrants think the law works where they come from.

“Take a look at one other thing,” Trump told reporters, explaining how there was no way he could be charged with obstruction of justice. “It’s a thing called Article Two. Nobody ever mentions Article Two. It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before. We don’t even talk about Article Two.”

Article Two of the Constitution has been around for a while – as long as the Constitution, in fact. If nobody has ever seen it before, that nobody must be an immigrant from a country without a Constitution.

It’s true that Article Two establishes the office and powers of the presidency. It also talks about a pesky thing called impeachment.

But what can you expect from these newcomers, fresh off the boat with immigrant wives called Melania and children with foreign names like Ivanka? All they want to do is hobnob with foreign leaders, instead of hanging out with real American members of Congress.

Give them an inch and they’ll take away our all-American first amendment rights.
“To me, free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad,” Trump said to a group of rightwing nutjob social media hacks at the White House last week. “To me, that’s very dangerous speech and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.”

Trump purposely talk bad, like immigrants do. He also thinks free speech is happy speech and bad speech is angry speech.

Which pretty much sums up his attitude to the four Democratic members of Congress who just happen to be women of color, exercising their first amendment rights as citizens and their Article One powers as members of the legislative branch. He happy, they angry.

Some people say that Trump’s racism is becoming more obvious and obnoxious as we near the 2020 election.

Those people have clearly forgotten how Trump built his 2016 campaign on racism against President Obama, Mexicans and immigrants in general.

Those people have also forgotten Trump’s incompetence and indifference in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. And they have ignored his policy of punishing families and especially small children at the southern border for the last two years.

They can’t remember his complimentary comments about the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville who wanted to rid the country of Jews, or his less complimentary comments about immigrants from what he called “shithole countries” that just happen to be majority black and brown.

The only part of Trump that is becoming more obvious is his oblivious disregard of his own sorry state.

Sunday’s tweetstorm was of course intended to troll the Democrats and drive a wedge between House speaker Nancy Pelosi and the four progressive members of Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who suggested that Pelosi was disrespectful about singling them out for criticism.

But instead of splitting apart the Democrats, Trump has done what only Trump can do: unite the opposition in sheer disgust.

Now all Democrats stand together in mutual respect and in condemnation of the cack-handed man who claims to be commander-in-chief.

There was a time, before January 2017, when presidents and prime ministers celebrated immigrants and diversity as one of the defining strengths of their countries. Now our leaders pretend their own families have nothing to do with immigrants.

Soon we’re going to have to watch a German-American president playing footsie with a British prime minister who was born in New York, with Turkish and Russian roots, who is actually named Boris.

With all these immigrants around, it makes you wonder why we can’t find any real white nationalists to play the racism card any more. All these foreigners are taking the jobs away from our pure-bred bigots. They ought to go back to where they came from.

Dreamtimer
15th July 2019, 14:33
That's a really good piece.

Republican's were chomping at the bit to have a foreigner in the office of President. Namely, Schwarzenegger.

You have to be born in the States to be President.

They care when they want to care. And then they don't.

Wind
15th July 2019, 15:10
They care when they want to care.

Mostly care about themselves.

Chris
15th July 2019, 16:00
That's a really good piece.

Republican's were chomping at the bit to have a foreigner in the office of President. Namely, Schwarzenegger.

You have to be born in the States to be President.

They care when they want to care. And then they don't.

It's white nationalist thinking. The idea is that the Historic American Nation was made up of European immigrants (plus Africans who were brought there against their will, so they don't really "count", but are tacitly acknowledged as being part of the Historic American Nation) and pretty much anyone that came after the 1968 Immigration act (mostly brown people) isn't part of the Historic American Nation, unless of course they're white. I believe their idea is a sort of recreation of Apartheid South Africa, with most of the nation given over to whites, but some areas, where blacks are in the majority, would be allowed self-governance under the "Bantustan" model.

In the white nationalist model, only Europeans are model immigrants, with perhaps a grudging acceptance of East Asians as having some value to a "Whiteistan".

Of course, Schwarzenegger, as an Austrian is acceptable to them as an American, but Obama, who was actually born in the States, isn't.

There is a lot of talk about rescinding birthright citizenship retroactively and making pretty much anyone who came to the US illegally or was born to illegal immigrants, stateless. There is precedent for this in several countries from recent history (Dominican Republic, the Baltic States), so it is not an idle threat.

Chris
16th July 2019, 07:17
Kunstler on the looming collapse of the Shale Oil "miracle" and its likely consequences.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/what-looms-behind/

What Looms Behind

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a coherent pre-election debate about the mother-of-all-issues facing this republic, namely, that we can’t afford the living arrangements Americans think of as “normal” anymore. This quandary has stalked us since the millennium turned. It thunders through all the activities of daily life, and the tensions emanating from it are so agonizing and difficult to face that our politics have deflected off into the kind of hysteria spawned by bad dreams.
As the great Wendell Berry pointed out years ago, this is about the nation’s home economics: energy and resources in, production out, surplus wealth saved. America had a brush with reality in 2008 when all the distortions of our home economics came together and whapped the country between the eyes with a two-by-four. Our energy-in was faltering. US oil production had fallen to a new low of under 4 million barrels a day and we were importing around 15 million. We papered over the problem with borrowed money in ever-larger amounts. This dynamic prompted ever riskier work-arounds on Wall Street, especially “innovations” in securitized debt, which invited criminal shenanigans. It blew up badly. Wealth vaporized. Industries collapsed. Homes and jobs were lost. Lives ruined.

The fairy-tale narrative since then is that technology rode to the rescue. The shale oil miracle “solved” the energy-in problem. Sure seems like it. But lots of things aren’t what they seem to be. Shale oil was a neat stunt. Turns out you can produce a helluva lot of it by paying more to pull it out the ground than you get from selling it. You can goose the process nicely by paying for it with borrowed money. And so it has gone. America now produces a new record of over 12 million barrels a day, and most of the companies doing it can’t make a red cent. And since it is increasingly obvious that they won’t ever pay back the money they borrowed before, they are unlikely to get new loans to continue their profitless operations.

Notice how rapidly shale oil production shot up after 2008. It’s worth a peek at analyst Steve St. Angelo’s latest essay on shale oil company debt (Finance Costs Are Killing the Shale Industry) to understand just how this stunt worked. As blogger Tim Morgan at Surplus Energy Economics points out, the dis-economics of energy production — and shale oil in particular — are stealthily damaging everyday life: “…the world economy is already suffering from these effects, and these have prompted the adoption of successively riskier forms of financial manipulation in a failed effort to sustain economic ‘normality.’”

That tells you exactly why the stock markets are at record highs now, along with US oil production. What the nation doesn’t get is that the shale oil industry is sure to collapse, and at least as rapidly as it shot up. So, expect the stock markets to collapse with it, along with tremendous collateral damage to all the other instruments that represent “money” — bonds, currencies, and their derivatives. It will make the 2008 episode look like a mere overturned poker table when it happens. In the meantime, many of the activities enabled by the oil industry are wrecking the planet, not just CO2 emissions, but the plastics and chemical industries especially. So, the oil quandary bites at both ends: damned if it quits on us and damned if it keeps going.

That’s the main issue of our time. We’re faced with the imminent and rather drastic re-organization of everyday life in America without oil. It should be reasonable to assume that the process will be disorderly, and the longer we ignore it, the more disorderly it will be. Granted, it is a tall order for politicians to talk about things this scary. The hard truth is that intelligent responses to this quandary would require heroic effort and painful change — and would probably be emotionally unacceptable to voters. It would entail the dismantling of suburbia and all of the activities associated with it, a severe shrinking of government at every level, the abandonment of most of our military playthings and overseas commitments, a wholesale overturning of Agri-Biz as currently practiced (along with a transition to smaller scale farming with a much higher percentage of the population working at it), and a stupefying aggregate loss of perceived wealth.

I’m describing events that go far beyond the common understanding of political revolution — though these discontinuities will surely produce political and social strife of a high order. This mega-issue and its spinoffs are what looms behind all the pitiful political comedy of the moment, especially the incendiary buffooneries of race and “gender.” Ponder this as you read the latest New York Times sponsored melodramas about “white supremacy” and the unfair pay in women’s soccer tournaments.

NotAPretender
17th July 2019, 01:41
Collapse depends directly on which side is ready to bring down everything that stands to stop change and progress... Chomsky, I think would assert that we indeed are on the precipice of national collapse. "National" ... what a stupid and useless word.

On a different note, I heard a white nationalist speak awhile back. I think he had a perfectly legit goal. To have a white country. I say, all white folks that want that be given part of 'some' plot of dirt to live their lives as they wish. The rest of us will be fine. I'm betting that new country would start 'slipping over the border' at night to do their business.

Aragorn
17th July 2019, 02:23
On a different note, I heard a white nationalist speak awhile back. I think he had a perfectly legit goal. To have a white country.

Well, there already is one. It's called Antarctica. Doesn't get any whiter than that. :ha:

Chris
17th July 2019, 07:25
Collapse depends directly on which side is ready to bring down everything that stands to stop change and progress... Chomsky, I think would assert that we indeed are on the precipice of national collapse. "National" ... what a stupid and useless word.

On a different note, I heard a white nationalist speak awhile back. I think he had a perfectly legit goal. To have a white country. I say, all white folks that want that be given part of 'some' plot of dirt to live their lives as they wish. The rest of us will be fine. I'm betting that new country would start 'slipping over the border' at night to do their business.

They tried that in South Africa, but found out pretty quickly that there was no one to do the actual work. You see, white people don't do well in the tropical sun, doing physical labour. I doubt that is ever going to change. This is also the main reason that even in the new world, white people settled in the temperate zone or high up in the mountains. We really weren't made for tropical weather.

I remember reading about the history of European settlement in Brazil, particularly that of Germans and Italians. It was concentrated mostly in the Southernmost provinces, which have a temperate climate. When freshly arrived Germans expressed disappointment, that there were no bananas in what they expected to be a tropical country, they were told words to the effect of:

"Where bananas grow, Germans don't. "

NotAPretender
17th July 2019, 23:05
Well Amen, my brother Chris...

Dreamtimer
18th July 2019, 16:14
I think you mean :amen: ;)


I'm currently focusing on the fact that order does come out of chaos and neither I nor the rest of us has to sit back and wait for that order.

I am busy doing things, creating things, spreading calm rather than conflict. I'm not a pacifist, I will fight back without hesitation. (and I have been) But I'm not an aggressor and I seem to have a natural talent for diffusing anger and tension. It's not something I tried to learn, but it is something my Dad was good at. He used humor to break tension and was very good at it.

Funny thing is, he had quite a temper and could get very angry and go off.

We have an economy which has been driven for most of my adult life by immigrants. Even if white people wanted to and could handle the hot, backbreaking work, they won't be able to fill the gap. There ain't enough of them.

And they can't make enough to live in this economy. They won't live like the immigrants do.

In other words, they don't have a plan. They are reactionary. They will be their own undoing, as they have been all along.

They have made their bed. And now they don't want to lie on it.

And they want to ship all the mattress makers "back to where they came from".

Ridiculous. (I'm imagining them in their Grandma's clothing)

Chris
19th July 2019, 20:47
Now, just to provide a counterpoint to my previous post, courtesy of Kunstler...

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/final-voyage/

Final Voyage

And so the four horsepeople-of-color arise, at once the glorious avatars of Wokesterdom in all their incendiary wrath, and the butt of ridicule among a pretty big chunk of everybody else in this land. I speak of congresswomen Omar, Tlaib, Pressley, and AOC, a.k.a. “the Squad,” riding a reconn mission to the precipice of that great cliff of electoral catastrophe — in advance of the political party that is apt to follow them over the edge in 2020, like so many suicidal lemmings.

Charges of “racism” have been twanging around the Federal District all week as if a throng of medieval re-enactors had taken over the place and were putting on a colorful pageant about ergot poisoning, with the townspeople afflicted by creeping incubi, crawling succubi, winged demons, murderous furies, and other agents of Satan. I have often noted that our president is the genuine article of a supernatural figure himself, being both a Golden Golem of Greatness and a Twitter troll of the highest degree. Last week, the four Squad gals pointed their fingers and ululated at him — “racist! racist! —expecting perhaps that a bolt from on-high might strike him dead, but it only prompted him to more keyboard villainy, challenging them to fly back to whatever infernal hellhole they came out of. For three of them it was the good ol’ USA, parts of which are, let’s face it, rather hellhole-ish these days.

The American race hustle is getting kind of old and it’s a sure loser for the Democratic Party. Why they can’t move beyond it and engage with the many other mighty matters of our time is one of those abiding mysteries of life, like why the birdies sing, or why the Mets can’t get decent relief pitching. I daresay that in my lifetime this country has bent over backwards to assist, accommodate, and uplift the demographic that styles itself nowadays as people-of-color. None of that has managed to abolish significant economic inequality. But, really, what else can be done? Spend trillions more promoting fatherless households? (The Wokesters might like that, seeing as how much they detest people of the male persuasion.)

The main “ask” these days is to allow Mexicans and Central Americans to cross the border as they please and receive a menu of benefits provided gratis by the US government, and thus from US taxpayers. The arguments for that from Wokesterdom range from bad faith to completely insane, yet they are now being retailed at the highest level of presidential election politics. Every candidate in the first Democratic “debate” raised a hand in favor of providing free medical care to illegal border-jumpers. I wonder how that sits with the Americans who now pay $12,000 a year for health insurance with a $5,000 deductible.

Of course, this policy of unfettered illegal immigration does not economically favor the sizable demographic of poor Americans, many of whom are people-of-color. In theory, the border-jumpers are taking away an awful lot of jobs. But I think the argument there is that 300 years of slavery gives bonafide US citizens-of-color a pass on manual labor — so it is not against their interests to ally with the open border advocates — while both groups have an interest in getting any free stuff the government may offer.

The white liberal masochists allied with this crusade, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, may have reached their own red-line for pain and suffering under the reigning twisted thought-regime. Last week, AOC attempted to tar Madame Pelosi as a “racist.” The day will come — if it has not already — when Madame P will have to usher the Squad into the House cloakroom and tune-up each member with thirty inches of re-bar, good and hard.

The Squad, meanwhile, is giving aid and comfort to the shock troops of Wokesterdom, the AntiFas, a devoted member of which last week attempted to shoot up and firebomb an Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Tacoma. The perp, one Willem Van Spronsen, 69, was gunned down for his trouble, but left a “manifesto” detailing his allegiance to the Wokester party line. Another Wokester gang in Aurora, Colorado, marched on an ICE building, took down the US flag, and raised the flag of Mexico. Bad optics, I’d say. Imagine how the video footage of that will play in Michigan and Pennsylvania when election season rolls around.

Also meanwhile, the party’s pathetic attempt to revive the walking dead narrative of RussiaGate is not working too well down on Jerold Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee. The chairman apparently discovered that his star witness, Robert Mueller, might have to answer some embarrassing questions about the conduct of his investigation — like, why did it go on for two years when his chief deputy, Mr. Weissmann, was informed from the get-go that the main predicate document was a fraud? So, Mr. Mueller’s turn in the witness chair keeps getting postponed clear into the August recess. I doubt the former Special Counsel will ever sit in that hot-seat. If I was him, I sure wouldn’t do it voluntarily. Oh, did anyone notice the House staged an impeachment vote on Wednesday? It flopped too.

Finally, there is the walking time-bomb known as Jeffrey Epstein, Democratic Party poohbah and impresario of an underage sex racket featuring the “Lolita Express” airplane service to his private “Orgy Island” in the Caribbean, with auxiliary party shacks in New York City and the New Mexico Desert. Rogue reports have been styling Epstein’s doings as an international blackmailing operation associated with the CIA and other Intel outfits, including the UK’s MI6 and Israel’s Mossad, for the purpose of keeping international bigshots on a short leash. Who knows? At the center of it all is former President Bill Clinton, listed twenty-six times on the Lolita Express’s flight manifest — though the ex-Prez said last week in a statement that it was only four times. (Consider the source.) A raft of unsealed documents in the matter has been court-ordered to drop any day, and power-players all over the world — especially in our nation’s capital and on Wall Street — are rumored to be chewing their fingernails down to the nubbins as they wait for it.

What a cargo of wickedness is borne by the garbage barge called the Democratic Party as it chugs out to sea toward a sickening, slightly radioactive orange sunset for what is looking like its final voyage.

NotAPretender
19th July 2019, 23:28
Racism AND whose side are we on...the corporatist or the pack of n-people? N-Squad are a joke in my estimation...young, idealistic, and as yet, untrampled by the POWERS. The right, as always, is enabling power all they can...it is the bottom line as to why we are here and now.