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 Economic Undertow

…Largely left out of the peak oil- and energy discussions is the consumer side of the process. Generally, petroleum analysis focuses on how much we have left; extraction and the rate of extraction. We love talking about how much we have left, it makes our private parts seem that much larger, it reinforces our sense of how clever we are, it also distracts us from how much treasure we’ve already squandered along with what little we have to show for it. As with other critical areas of our society, we set out to get rich first so that we could afford to solve wealth-related problems later. To pursue the highest level of growth we put hundreds of millions of drivers onto the roads circling between gas stations like flying Dutchmen 

This is where the self-driving cars enter the picture, billions of them can motor aimlessly around the clock whether they carry passengers or not and make more growth all by themselves = singularity.

It’s a great pretty stupid plan, I didn’t come up with it.

Recently, there is a little bit more discussion about fuel industry costs as drillers confront the near-certain prospect of bankruptcy as their only product runs out. Customers cannot earn by driving in circles so the fuel industry is funded by the same customers reaching for the plastic…

Read more here.

 Our Finite World

 At the Age of Limits Conference, I gave a talk called Converging Crises (PDF), talking about the crises facing us as we reach energy limits. In this post, I discuss some highlights from a fairly long talk.

A related topic is how our current situation is different from past collapses. John Michael Greer talked about prior collapses, but because both of our talks were late in the conference and because I was leaving to catch a plane, we never had a chance to discuss how “this time is different.” To fill this gap, I have included some comments on this subject at the end of this post.

The first three crises are the basic ones: population growth, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. The other crises are not as basic, but still may act to bring the system down.

Humans have found a series of ways to keep deaths down, each adding more control of external energy.

As humans’ control of energy improved, human population grew and the population of other species fell. . .

Humans are not doing anything “wrong.” Humans are reacting to the same instinct that all species have, namely to make use of available energy to allow more of the species to live to maturity.

 

Read more here.

 The Archdruid Report

Myths, according to the philosopher Sallust, are things that never happened but always are. With a few modifications, the same rule applies to the enduring narratives of every culture, the stories that find a new audience in every generation as long as their parent cultures last. Stories of that stature don’t need to chronicle events that actually took place to have something profoundly relevant to say, and the heroic quest I used last week to frame a satire on the embarrassingly unheroic behavior of many of industrial civilization’s more privileged inmates is no exception to that rule.

That’s true of hero tales generally, of course. The thegns and ceorls who sat spellbound in an Anglo-Saxon meadhall while a scop chanted the deeds of Beowulf to the sound of a six-stringed lyre didn’t have to face the prospect of wrestling with cannibalistic ogres or battling fire-breathing dragons, and were doubtless well aware of that fact. If they believed that terrible creatures of a kind no longer found once existed in the legendary past, why, so do we—the difference in our case is merely that we call our monsters “dinosaurs,” and insist that our paleontologist-storytellers be prepared to show us the bones.

Read more here.
 Kunstler

This is a society in deep danger that doesn’t want to know it. The nostrum of an expanding GDP is just statistical legerdemain performed to satisfy stupid news editors, gull loose money into reckless positions, and bamboozle the voters. If we knew how to act we would bend every effort to prepare for the end of mass motoring, but instead we indulge in fairy tales about the “shale oil miracle” because it offers the comforting false promise that we can drive to WalMart forever (in self-driving cars!). Has it occurred to anyone that we no longer have the capital to repair the vast network of roads, streets, highways, and bridges that all these cars are supposed to run on? Or that the capital will not be there for the installment loans Americans are accustomed to buy their cars with?

The global economy is withering quickly because it was just a manifestation of late-stage cheap oil. Now we’re in early-stage of expensive oil and a lot of things that seemed to work wonderfully well before, don’t work so well now. The conveyer belt of cheap manufactured goods from China to the WalMarts and Target stores doesn’t work so well when the American customers lose their incomes, and have to spend their government stipends on gasoline because they were born into a world where driving everywhere for everything is mandatory, and because central bank meddling adds to the horrendous inflation of food prices.

Read more here.

 Nature Bats Last

Recently, I’ve noticed some longtime activist voices verbalizing a new perspective and one that some would label as “defeatist.” Writing in his “How To Save The World Blog,” Dave Pollard recently offered a piece entitled “In Defense Of Inaction,” in which he states:

“No one is in control. The enemy, if there is one, is not a cabal of elites, but a set of co-dependent collapsing systems that every one of us has a vested interest in trying (insanely) to perpetuate. Systems we have all helped co-create and are almost all dependent on…The question we must each ask ourselves, I think, is this: If we acknowledge that our systems and hence our civilization cannot be reformed or ‘saved’, what can we do now that will make a real difference, for the future, in our communities and for those we love?…The insanely rational answer to this question, I think, is (a) probably nothing, and (b) it’s too early to know.”

Isn’t this just giving up, or giving in? The pathetic whining of defeatists? How can any respectable activist utter these words?

Read more here.

The Anti-Empire Report #129

I have great admiration for the young Mr. Snowden, for what he did and for how he expresses himself. He may not be a radical, but he is a hero. His moral courage, nerve, composure, and technical genius are magnificent. I’m sure the NBC interview won him great respect and a large number of new supporters. I, in Edward’s place, would be even more hated by Americans than he is, even if I furthered the radicalization of more of them than he has. However, I of course would never have been invited onto mainstream American television for a long interview in prime time. (Not counting my solitary 15 minutes of fame in 2006 courtesy of Osama bin Laden; a gigantic fluke happening.)

Apropos Snowden’s courage and integrity, it appears that something very important has not been emphasized in media reports: In the interview, he took the Russian government to task for a new law requiring bloggers to register – the same government which holds his very fate in their hands.

Read more here

This Week In Doom June 8, 2014

by Surly 1
Freda-Right-to-Live-copy-600x637‘Twas a week in which a US President made a deal to bring a hostage home and got nothing but criticism for his trouble. The world celebrated the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Obama and Putin spoke privately. Poroshenko, the Willy Wonka of Ukraine, was sworn in as president. Open Carry Tarrant County continued to “educate the public” by dropping in fully armed at restaurants; a Ukrainian jet killed eight in Luhansk; Verizon had a big sad because Netflix told the truth about its bandwidth-throttling; GM recalled another 106,000 vehicles; a Vermont gun store laid off 41 and blamed Obama, who may also be responsible for the resurgence of polio, decreased sunspot activity, an outbreak of genital herpes and a US plague lab in Kazakhstan. Kenyan police seized hundreds of elephant tusks, the Thai military swept the country for weapons, and Brazil’s “love hotels” were refurbished for the World Cup. But we won’t be talking about any of that. Because this is That Was The Week in Doom, where we look for themes, context, and any good excuse for a rant. We’ll look at capitalism’s assault on our food supply, on the very notion of national self-determination, and at the elite’s favored tool for control, “privatization.”

 

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" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D

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Knarf's Knewz Archives

3/27/2015

The Poor Get Prison: The Alarming Spread of the Criminalization of Poverty


Anti-LGBT Bills Introduced in 28 States



A Rare Victory for Black Voting Rights in the South



A Dangerous Escalation in Iraq



68 Elephants Massacred in Democratic Republic of Congo in Past 60 Days; Is Extinction Only Decades Away?



100,000 Irish March Through Dublin to Protest Against Water Charges



Walmart, Lowe's, Safeway, and Nordstrom Are Bankrolling a Nationwide Campaign to Gut Workers' Comp



Body Count Report Reveals At Least 1.3 Million Lives Lost to US-Led War on Terror



Facebook’s Laser Drones Could Bring Internet To 5 Billion People



The Real Cost of Fracking

3/26/2015

Saudi Arabia launches Yemen air strikes as alliance builds against Houthi rebels


House passes Boehner-Pelosi Medicare deal in resounding vote



North Dakota may challenge federal fracking rules



France Mandates New Roofs Must Be Covered in Solar Panels or Plants



9 Climate-Denying Republicans Who Might Run for President



Welcome to the New Terror Heartland



Video Games Can and Should Talk More About Real Issues - Including Reproductive Rights



Tesla Sued in U.K. in Fight Over Charging Stations Rollout



‘False Witnesses’ Publish Deeply Flawed Study on Abortion Mortality in Mexico



World’s Richest One Percent Undermine Fight Against Economic Inequalities

3/25/2015

AP Investigation: Slavery Taints Global Supply of Seafood


Study Links Widely Used Pesticides to Antibiotic Resistance



If Republicans Did Get Intel From Israeli Spies, They Could Be Charged Under Espionage Act



Parks and Wreck: The Feds Need $11.5 Billion to Fix Our Public Lands



House Expected To Pass Major Boehner-Pelosi Deal To Reshape Medicare



The Obama-Netanyahu Tiff Worsens: The US Won’t Rule Out Using UN to Create Palestine



Gulf Stream Is Slowing Down Faster Than Ever, Scientists Say



Don’t Frack With Denton: A Community’s Fight to Defend Home Rule



Georgia "Patriot" Reportedly Planted Pipe Bombs in Park to Sow Fear of Muslims



Cutting Through the Fog of Ted Cruz to Find His Deep Connections to the Christian Dominionist Right

3/24/2015

Republican Sen. Coats to Retire, Won't Run in 2016


Here Are the First Lawsuits to Challenge the FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules



Indiana Gov. Pence Poised to Sign Yet Another Controversial Anti-Gay Bill



"Crack Cocaine for the Pentagon": Meet the Secret Slush Fund That’s Getting Hawks High



Resolving the Remaining Issues in Iran Talks



David Swanson | A Liberal Lawyer Gives Up on Preventing Murder



US Accuses Israel of Spying on Iran Nuclear Talks



Toronto’s Plan to Push Out the Homeless



Is Israel Democratic? Not So Clear



Philadelphia Cops Shoot and Kill People at Six Times the Rate of the NYPD

3/23/2015

Soaring antibiotic use in animals fuels 'super bug' fears


His Chemical Romance: Tom Udall Teams Up With the Chemical Industry, With Explosive Results



European power grids keep lights on through solar eclipse



Lead prosecutor apologizes for role in sending man to death row



Rooibos Preserves Wine Naturally Without the Use of Synthetic Chemicals



Behind the White House’s Sanctions Against Venezuela



Korea is pulling out all the stops to popularize its cuisine



L.A. County supervisors debate whether to lock up at-risk foster youth



Florida no longer safe haven for war criminals as US prosecutors take action



For-profit breast milk? It's her body, and it must be her choice

3/22/2015

How a Traveling Consultant Helps the US Hide the Homeless


Barack Obama: Netanyahu comments make Palestinian negotiations harder



Judge Orders US Government to Stop Suppressing Evidence of Torture and Abuse



The NSA's plan: improve cybersecurity by hacking everyone else



GOP’s new moral monstrosity: Trickle-down lies enrich the 1%, as wing-nuts assert control



You Shouldn't Be Scared of Homeless People, Homeless People Should Be Scared of You



Tens of Thousands Flood Dublin Demanding Abolition of Austerity Tax on Water



Twelve Years After Invading, the US Still Has Its Back Turned on Iraqi Refugees



The Claim That Democracy Is Tied to Capitalism Is a Lie



Protesters block traffic, highlight violence against transgender people

3/21/2015

UN Commission: Israeli Occupation Imposes 'Grave Situation' on Palestinian Women


Glenn Greenwald: US Threatened Germany Over Snowden Asylum



The Apocalypse Will Be Like High School



The Growing Degradation of Work and Life, and What We Might Do to End it



A Family Business of Perpetual War



Obama’s Drone Policy Crashes and Burns



Groundbreaking Permaculture Film Offers Bold New Solution in Regenerative Agriculture



Here We Go Again: Koch Cronies ‘Cook the Books’



The People's Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System



Roundup a 'probable carcinogen,' WHO report says

3/20/2015

Federal Probe Launched After Black Mississippi Man Found Hanging From Tree


Up Next on the GOP's To-Do List: Selling US National Forests



More US Troops Seen Staying in Afghanistan



Secrets Revealed of How Israel Manipulates US Public Opinion



Florida and the Science Who Must Not Be Named



At Least 137 Dead After Suicide Blasts Hit Mosques In Yemeni Capital



The 1% Rigged Everything: Why No One Can End Ronald Reagan’s "Dead Wrong" Voodoo Economics



Students Occupy Swarthmore College Demanding Fossil Fuel Divestment



Paul Krugman | Trillion Dollar Fraudsters



Senate Panel Approves GOP Budget With Huge Pentagon Funding Boost

3/19/2015

The Unbearable Cruelty of the GOP Budget


UN Panel to Consider US "Failure" to Clear Up Racial Murders of Civil Rights Era



Charles P. Pierce | There Is No Republican Middle



We're Pumping So Much Groundwater That It's Causing the Oceans to Rise



The People's Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System



Super PAC Men: How Political Consultants Took a Texas Oilman on a Wild Ride



These Urban Farmers Want to Feed the Whole Neighborhood - for Free



Republicans’ Private Terror: Why They Despise the Modern American State - and Embrace Fanaticism



US Threatens to Back UN Against Israel



Fukushima R Us

3/18/2015


Obama Just Officially Decided White House Emails Aren't Subject to the Freedom of Information Act



GOP’s "Screw the Poor" Budget: Republicans Plan Some Serious Pain for Low-Income Americans



The Future of Pax Americana



San Diego Sues Monsanto Over PCB Pollution



Why It Might Not Be a Bad Thing if the Senate’s Human Trafficking Bill Dies



How a Confused Mom Drove the Wrong Way and Died in a Hail of Bullets



Netanyahu Soundly Defeats Chief Rival



US Loses Track of Weapons, Aid Given to Yemen



Major Solar Storm Hits Earth, May Pull Northern Lights South



GOP Congressman Schock to Resign After Questions Over Spending

3/17/2015


The Melting of Antarctica Was Already Really Bad. It Just Got Worse



The CIA's Torturers and the Leaders Who Approved Their Actions Must Face the Law



Fukushima Radiation Found in Sample of Green Tea from Japan



The Most Dangerous Woman in the US



Drought-Stricken California Only Has One Year of Water Left, NASA Scientist Warns



"Radicals of a Different Sort": How the Reactionary Right Is Plotting to Steal the White House



Christian Charities Preach Helping the Less Fortunate, Unless You're Gay



Salvation Army Failed to Protect Boys From Abuse for Decades, Report Says



Obama: It's "Disturbing" That a Climate Change Denier Chairs Senate Environmental Committee



Iraqi Offensive for Tikrit Stalls as Casualties Mount

3/16/2015

New Mexico Senate Committee Blocks Two Anti-Choice Bills


Undercover Investigation Confirms California Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie to Women



Kerry Says US May Negotiate With Assad



Legendary Coal Miner Says We Must Stop the Practice of Mountaintop Removal



The Sickening Child Porn Crisis Infecting US Government Agencies



Climate change is baking Alaska



'Progress' or bias? A deeper dive into city pot enforcement numbers



How does climate activism differ in the US and Germany?



ACLU files new lawsuit over Obama administration drone 'kill list'



The Volatility / Quantitative Easing Dance of Doom

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