The War on Cash 1

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on February 4, 2016

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What are the benefits to TPTB for getting rid of cash? They are many, but let me read from a recent Op-Ed featured on Bloomberg Newz, home base for tentative 3rd Party POTUS candidate Michael Bloomberg:

Much depends on the details, of course. But this is a welcome trend. In theory, digital legal tender could combine the inventiveness of private virtual currencies with the stability of a government mint.

Most obviously, such a system would make moving money easier. Properly designed, a digital fiat currency could move seamlessly across otherwise incompatible payment networks, making transactions faster and cheaper. It would be of particular use to the poor, who could pay bills or accept payments online without need of a bank account, or make remittances without getting gouged.

For governments and their taxpayers, potential advantages abound. Issuing digital currency would be cheaper than printing bills and minting coins. It could improve statistical indicators, such as inflation and gross domestic product. Traceable […] Continue Reading…

What Did You Expect?

From the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on February 3, 2016

"LaVoy Finicum was not ambushed. LaVoy Finicum was not murdered. LaVoy Finicum intentionally disobeyed lawful orders from uniformed law enforcement officers and reached for a weapon. This is commonly known as “suicide by cop.”

 ― Bob Owens, Editor, Bearing Arms.com

What did you expect?  You dress up in camouflage, head to the woods with your buds who share wildly eccentric theories about the legality of the current government. And then you are surprised when someone is shot?

During the month that a small group of right-wing militia seized the Malheur reserve, law enforcement at all levels was a picture of restraint. Power, lights, access, travel all remained as usual as an armed seizure of Federal property could allow. For many who were shot or tased or groped or beaten by New York/Oakland/Chicago/Dallas/Norfolk/Los Angeles/Washington DC's finest during Occupy, it seemed that Leviathan was spending January in the Florida Keys. Those with a sense of history who recall the last armed seizure of Federal property (Fort Sumter in 1861)  kept waiting for the next shoe to drop.

And drop it did. We wondered why no roadblocks, no termination of power/heat/water/electricity. Or we assumed that that the law […] Continue Reading…

What is Driving Climate Change?

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 31, 2016

WHAT IS DRIVING CLIMATE CHANGE?

   OR IS IT    

OR IS IT BOTH?

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A few weeks ago I got taken to task by a long time Diner (JD) for my position on the underlying cause for Climate Change, which resurfaced again with the launch of our new series on Diner YouTube, Weather Gone Wild ™.  The dispute is over what the primary driver for Climate Change is, whether it comes from Anthropogenic Causation driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions, or whether there are Geotectonic Forces at work that are driving the climate change?

That Climate Change is not in fact underway is only denied by the most recalcitrant of Denialists, although there are still a significant number of them.  However, currently most Amerikans do accept that climate change is underway.

According to a Study by Yale University:

There has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe global warming is not happening (23%, up 7 percentage points since April 2013).

But about two in three Americans (63%) believe global […] Continue Reading…

Collapse Cafe 1/24/2016

Off the keyboards & microphones of Gail Tverberg, Steve Ludlum, TDOS &RE

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 18, 2016

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In this episode of the Collapse Cafe, we discuss Weather Gone Wild in the form of SuperSnowStorm Jonas, followed by a discussion of which way the wind is blowing with Oil Prices and the Stock Market.

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Featuring the Collapse Cafe Vidcasts, Live Feeds, Collapse Tutorials, Documentaries & Music Videos

Finding True North

 

Off the keyboard of tdOs

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Published on Pray for Calamity on December 22, 2014

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One of the great dangers of the life indoors, is the anesthetizing effect it has on a person. When we aren’t out in the world, we aren’t present to watch the dying. Attempting to talk about this via an electronic medium, even via the written word at all, is near futile because it requires the symbolic recreation of the tragedy unfolding around us, and the recreation will never carry the weight or the pain of the real thing.

So it comes down to data points. In essays past and in daily editorials available across the electronic press, we are fed the data points. Topsoil loss, species die off, the toxicity of the oceans, the acceleration of climate change; I can rattle off the data, but who cares?  We are inside.  Climate controlled.  Masters of hundreds of energy slaves all whipped up to provide us with on demand entertainment, comfort, and snack food.  We think we are safe inside our house, but the house is an illusion.  There is no indoor, outdoor dichotomy.  There is […] Continue Reading…

Iran- the New China?

Off the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Chinese President Xi Jinping | Photo: AFP

Originally published in TeleSur on January 29, 2016

If Iran successfully engages in a Chinese-style economic development program it would further enhance its geopolitical status and significance.

It’s currently quite a toss-up when it comes to naming the hardest working man in geopolitical business: Chinese President Xi Jinping or Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Their paths cross last week in Tehran in spectacular fashion as Xi and Rouhani clinched a crucial strategic partnership. The two nations agreed to increase bilateral trade to $600 billion over the next decade. Geostrategically, as I pointed out, that was a master class.

Beijing regards Iran, not only in Southwest Asia but across Eurasia, as the essential hub for countering Washington’s much-advertised “pivot to Asia,” centered on U.S. naval hegemony. No wonder Xi made it clear that Iran is to be accepted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as early as this year.

A strategic partnership implies Beijing’s full support for the Iranian economic/political/diplomatic renaissance across the arc spanning the Persian Gulf to the Caspian – and beyond. The arc […] Continue Reading…

Ground Control to Captain Zhou Xiaochuan

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation February 1, 2016

Why would anybody suppose that the Peoples Bank of China might want to tell the truth about anything that was within their power to lie about? Especially the soundness of any loan portfolio vested unto the grasp of its tentacles? Of course, most of what China has done in speeding toward the wall of financial crack-up, it learned from watching US bankers slime their way into Too Big To Fail nirvana — most particularly the array of swindles, dodges, and frauds constructed in the half-light of shadow banking to hedge the sudden, catastrophic appearance of reality-based price discovery.

When so many loans end up networked as collateral in some kind of bet against previous bets against other previous bets, you can be sure that cascading contagion will follow. And so that is exactly what’s happening as China’s rocket ride into Modernity falls back to earth. Like most historical fiascos, it seemed like a good idea at the time: take a nation of about a billion people living in the equivalent of the Twelfth Century, introduce the magic of money printing, spend a gazillion of […] Continue Reading…

President Trump

 

Off the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Published on Peak Surfer on January 31, 2016

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"From here this presidency sure looks like an unqualified success."

 

  It has been more than a year now since The Donald moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and he continues to be thwarted at every turn by that do-nothing Congress and the Democrat Party.

We all had expected that by now the Asian countries that have dumped their goods here and almost bankrupted our country by causing our trade deficit would have felt the bite of tough new rules, but the Trans Pacific Partnership tied Donald's hands on that one.

Mexico still won’t keep its illegals — the source for Americans’ drugs — on their side of the border. NAFTA prevented the border closing there. It wouldn't even take those Mexican tractor-trailers off our roads, and who knows how many of them are filled with illegals being dropped off in Ohio and Pennsylvania? Still, we are pouring concrete for a bigger wall all the time, whether Mexico pays for it or not. They should because they created this problem, but so far Donald has not gotten […] Continue Reading…

A Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) for Ireland

Off the keyboard of Graham Barnes

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Published on FEASTA on January 27, 2016

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Around 40 Irish civil society groups and NGOs (including Feasta) have expressed their support for RobinHoodTax.ie, an initiative led by Claiming Our Future aimed at introducing an FTT in Ireland. The launch event yesterday at the Mansion House in Dublin featured speakers from Stamp Out Poverty and the Nevin Economics Research Institute plus, inevitably, a large number of Lincoln Green hats with red feathers for the apres match photo-opportunity.

A Financial Transaction Tax levies a (small to miniscule) percentage tax on financial transactions such as share and bond purchases and derivatives. The idea is as old as the hills (well 1930s) but it has recently reappeared on the political horizon, as ten EU countries work together to flesh out a European implementation under a so-called ‘enhanced co-operation‘ [1] regime – an occasionally used device for facilitating agreement of a subset of EU members when full consensus is not possible in the short-term. David Hillman of Stamp Out Poverty gave a rundown of progress on this front, ending with a ‘you are not alone’ message.

The Irish […] Continue Reading…

The Diner Lens 12

Edited by Golden Oxen

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 30, 2016

Ansel Adams

Over the next few weeks in the Diner Lens Header Photo, we will honor some of the best photographers to produce images since the invention of photography.  I begin here with one of my favorites, Ansel Adams.  Click the link for a Google sample of AA's photos. -RE

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          A girl pushes a boy on a bicycle past damaged buildings in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, Saturday. /Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

   

              
       Mohamed Ahmed, an asylum seeker from Sudan, stands inside the bunker he has dug at his home in Yida, South Sudan. When he arrived, Ahmend dug a bunker due to the fear of the bombing he had fled from.Picture: AFP

         
        A sperm whale lies on the sand after being washed ashore at Skegness beach in Skegness, Britain January 25, 2016. Three dead sperm whales washed up in Skegness on the weekend, local media reported. (REUTERS/Andrew Yates)

       
     […] Continue Reading…

Mini Wood Stoves

Off the keyboard of Geoffrey Chia

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 29, 2016

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It's not Rocket Surgery: choosing an indoor mini wood stove

Geoffrey Chia, Jan/Feb 2016

 

As of 25 January 2016 at the time of commencement of writing this article, the cold spell affecting East Asia killed more than 65 people in the subtropical island of Taiwan. The temperature in Beijing dropped as low as minus 40 degrees C, however Northern China is used to dealing with heavy snow dumps and subzero temperatures in winter and hence coped better compared with Taiwan. The last time snow was seen in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, was more than a century ago. The fact that Taiwan is a relatively small subtropical island, which we would expect to be dominated by the moderating effect of the South China Sea, makes this rare event seemingly even more bizarre. That is, until you understand the physics of how coastal and island provinces on the leeward (downwind) side of continents can often be dominated by continental rather than maritime weather, which I mentioned in my previous article "Location, location, location", where I […] Continue Reading…

The Waning of the Modern Ages

From the keyboard of Morris Berman
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Published on Counterpunch on September 20, 2012

La longue durée —the long run—was an expression made popular by the Annales School of French historians led by Fernand Braudel, who coined the phrase in 1958. The basic argument of this school is that the proper concern of historians should be the analysis of structures that lie at the base of contemporary events. Underneath short-term events such as individual cycles of economic boom and bust, said Braudel, we can discern the persistence of “old attitudes of thought and action, resistant frameworks dying hard, at times against all logic.” An important derivative of the Annales research is the work of the World Systems Analysis school, including Immanuel Wallerstein and Christopher Chase-Dunn, which similarly focuses on long-term structures: capitalism, in particular.

The “arc” of capitalism, according to this school, is about 600 years long, from 1500 to 2100. It is our particular (mis)fortune to be living through the beginning of the end, the disintegration of capitalism as a world system. It was mostly commercial capital in the sixteenth century, evolving into industrial capital in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and then moving on to financial capital—money created by […] Continue Reading…

Putting moral philosophy back into economics

Off the keyboard of Brian Davey

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Published on FEASTA on January 22,2016

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In his Encyclical about the environment and climate change Pope Francis writes of the need to find other ways “to understand the economy and progress”. A worthy aim indeed – but to do this properly will require a challenge to the more powerful religion of the contemporary world – fundamentalist economics. This is a belief system that equates technological achievement with progress and it is a faith that is set to fail now that the economic system is crashing against ecological limits. Unfortunately the many crises that this is likely to produce will be seen as new opportunities for those sociopathic types of “rational economic man” who inhabit many senior positions in corporations (and government) who are quick to exploit the vulnerabilities of others.

In my recently published book Credo: Economics Beliefs in a World in Crisis I show that it is possible to go back hundreds of years and trace the rise of this quasi religion of economics as the world view of a particular kind of person – the business man with money to […] Continue Reading…

What’s Next for Oil: Whiplash

Off the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

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This is the closest we could come to a chart showing what is next for ojl and gas prices, and how it’s going to feel. (Photo by Patrick McGarvey)

Published on The Daily Impact on January 18, 2015

A savvy investor once told me that if you read something in the news, it is no longer true, if it ever was. I keep this in mind as I read over and over that the world is awash in 3 billion barrels of surplus oil. This glut — always and everywhere specified as 3 billion barrels — is present, the conventional wisdom (oxymoron alert) goes, because the crafty Saudis refused to cut production when the price of oil tanked (metaphor alert). They did this, it is said, to run the pesky American oil frackers out of business before they took over the world. This reminds me of the engraved plaque found in many Irish bars: “The Lord invented whiskey to keep the Irish from ruling the world.” An endearing sentiment, but probably not true.

[“The Saudis have won,” somebody said to me the other night. Really? They’re burning cash so fast that, despite having one […] Continue Reading…

Rumble in the Ruble, Fire in the Markets

Off the keyboard of Pepe Escobar
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Originally published in Sputnik on January 25, 2016

 

A case can be made that for Moscow it would be a tremendous waste of hard-earned foreign exchange – to try to counter a rig against their currency they simply cannot beat, as the entire fiat financial power of the US is against them. Russia’s Central Bank by now should be all-out selling rubles for gold, and building Russia’s gold reserves.

Well, it is happening, somewhat. Last week, Russia’s Central Bank estimated gold reserves to have reached 1,415 metric tons in 2015 – over 17 percent more than 2014, valued at almost $48.6 billion. The share of monetary gold in Russia’s foreign currency reserves rose from 11.96 percent to 13.18 percent.

That’s still not good enough. Why? A harsh answer would be that the Russian Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance, as some analysts argue, are in effect run by saboteurs and vassals of the US financial elite, a.k.a. the Masters of the Universe.

Still, the Russian Central Bank did not intervene to prop up the ruble. And they should not. The best course of action would be to let the ruble go, ending almost […] Continue Reading…

The Paris Gravity Well 2: Trillionization

Off the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Published on Peak Surfer on January 24, 2016

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"We will not suddenly convert steel mills, cement kilns and road surfacing machines to operate on sunbeams."
 

Charlie said, "That's the trouble. You see it the way the banking industry sees it and they make money by manipulating money irrespective of effects in the real world. You've spent a trillion dollars of American taxpayers' money over the lifetime of the bank and there's nothing to show for it. You go into poor countries and force them to sell their assets to foreign investors and to switch from subsistence agriculture to cash crops. Then, when the prices of those crops collapse, you call this "nicely competitive" on the world market. The local populations starve and you then insist on austerity measures even though your actions have shattered their economy….

"You were intended to be the Marshall Plan, and instead you've been carpetbaggers."

— Kim Stanley Robinson, Sixty Days and Counting: Science in the Capitol (2007).

“With fundamentals changing slowly and risk appetite falling rapidly, the stage is set for a longer period of risk asset underperformance,” Jabaz […] Continue Reading…

The Agonies of Sensible People

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation January 25, 2016

 

 

Much as many people-who-ought-to-know-better have been enjoying the disruptive antics of Donald Trump, surely other cohorts and coteries have endured dark nights of the soul as they witness the 2016 election spin into a perfect storm of rebellion, corruption, and idiocy. Imagine the scenes in Michael Bloomberg’s drawing room the past eight months, the agonies of sensible people! And so after the close of business Friday comes news that the former three-time mayor of New York City is laying concrete plans to run for president on a third-party ticket. Extreme times call for extreme moves by non-extremists.

The Trump phenomenon is pretty well-understood: a politically paralyzed nation hostage to malign forces, mired in racketeering, captive to PC witch-hunters, and pitching into bankruptcy, turns to a TV clown with no filter on his angry brain and he acts out all the discontents of our time. Does anybody doubt that the perfidies of the day beg to be opposed? But those shadowy figures in Bloomberg’s drawing room must be saying, “is this the best we can do?” And so an honorable man steps forward. Someone […] Continue Reading…

Partisan Hostility: Climate Change Consequences

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on Cassandra's Legacy on January 18, 2016

A curious vehicle carrying a mock-up of the Soviet Sputnik satellite. It was used for political propaganda in the 1950s by the Italian Communist Party (PCI). Up to the 1980s and even later, Italy was a deeply divided country where two opposed and incompatible factions squaring off against each other: the "Reds" (the communists) and the "Whites" (the Christian Democrats). Something similar seems to be taking place in the US with the Republican and the Democratic parties. 

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Partisan hostility in society and the consequences on climate change policy

Seen from Europe, the current Republican debate in the US looks completely incomprehensible. The presidential candidates, the debate, the press reports, everything seems to be taking place on an alien planet, somewhere in another galaxy. One would be tempted to define the situation, paraphrasing Darwin, as the "survival of the nastiest".

Yet, there seems to be some method even in this madness. A recent paper  by Iyengar and Westwood (commented in Deric Bownds's blog) generated as small satori in my mind. There is indeed a (perverse) logic in the […] Continue Reading…

SuperSnowStorm Jonas: Snowmageddon

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Malheur Militia Machinations

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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 18, 2016

“There is no character, howsoever good and fine, but it can be destroyed by ridicule, howsoever poor and witless. Observe the ass, for instance: his character is about perfect, he is the choicest spirit among all the humbler animals, yet see what ridicule has brought him to. Instead of feeling complimented when we are called an ass, we are left in doubt.”

 ― Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson   

During the first weekend of the year, a remote bird watching facility known as the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was seized by a group of armed insurrectionists associated with a variety of "patriot" and right-wing causes.  These militants, led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy (sons of noted millionaire rancher and scofflaw Cliven Bundy) and a veritable sideshow of lesser-known cosplayers and heavily armed professional victims, showed up ostensibly to demonstrate support for a pair of Oregon ranchers. Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven had been previously convicted under federal law of arson for setting fires on their own property, which subsequently spread to federal land, earning a verdict which rankled and seemed excessive to some.

The story of the Hammonds is more complicated than a brief […] Continue Reading…

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Quote from: Eddie on Today at 12:01:21 PMAnd if they can't pay, then they'll just have to give their land to the government.Maybe they'll start a GoFundMe or Indigogo crowd funding campaign.  RE

And if they can't pay, then they'll just have to give their land to the government.

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Welcome to the Hotel California Mushroom Farm

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Climate changes imposed differential impacts on Bangladesh in the form of sea level rise, extreme ev [...]

Variation in quantities such as precipitation and temperature is often assessed by detecting and cha [...]

In this study, past (1970-2005) as well as future long term (2011-2099) trends in various extreme ev [...]