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Off the keyboard of RE Published originally on The Burning Platform on December 24, 2010 Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant table inside the Diner Note from RE: This article was originally titled Christmas Musings on Money, since I published it on Christmas Eve of 2010. Since we are well past Christmas of 2012 and even further from Christmas 2013, I retitled the article for this publication. I’m having a debate over on REV...
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| Economic Undertow
Should the US default, risk-free must be redefined, (Feliz Salmon/Reuters):
“If Treasury payments can’t be trusted entirely, then not only do all risk instruments need to be repriced, but so does the most basic counterparty risk of all. The US government, in one form or another, is a counterparty to every single financial player in the world. Its payments have to be certain, or else the whole house of cards risks collapsing — starting with the multi-trillion-dollar interest-rate derivatives market, and moving rapidly from there.”
There you have it, the Freudian slip that reveals our greatest human endeavor to date is entertainment for bored children. There is something to be said — and gained — from letting the entire mess collapse, if only to end its pointless and destructive wastefulness. At the same time, the card collapse would render much of the world citizens into paupers over a short time, this would be equally wasteful — and over the longer term, extremely dangerous. There are too many of us, we are too angry and fearful.
Read more here.
| Our Finite World
As the US heads toward debt default and continues with government shutdown, the underlying reason for the predicament is generally not clear to the American people or the world. The story that the press has generally been feeding us places the problem as basically a temporary one, caused by conflicts between the Democrats and Republicans.
It seems to me that the problem is much deeper. In this post, I summarize the two views, and provide reasons why the Predominant View is very far off the mark. We may be headed for a financial collapse that the Predominant View misses completely.
Predominant View of our Current Economic and Energy Predicament
The world economy under “normal” circumstances grows. Economic growth can sometimes slow a little, and then a little Keynesian stimulus is needed. Such stimulus would typically include deficit spending and low-interest rates. Perhaps it would include “Quantitative Easing” as well, since it tends to stimulate interest in buying assets of all kinds.
Read more here.
| The Archdruid Report
The recent round of gridlock in Washington DC may seem worlds away from the mythological visions and spiritual perspectives that have been central to this blog over the last few months. Still, there’s a direct connection. The forces that have driven American politicians into their current collection of blind alleys are also the forces that will make religious institutions very nearly the only structures capable of getting anything done in the difficult years to come, as industrial civilization accelerates along the time-honored trajectory of decline and fall.
To make sense of the connection, it’s necessary to start with certain facts, rarely mentioned in current media coverage, that put the last few weeks of government shutdown and potential Federal default in their proper context. These days the US government spends about twice as much each year as it takes in from taxes, user fees, and all other revenue sources, and makes up the difference by borrowing money. Despite a great deal of handwaving, that’s a recipe for disaster. If you, dear reader, earned US$50,000 a year and spent US$100,000 a year, and made up the difference by taking out loans and running up your credit cards, you could count on a few years of very comfortable living, followed by bankruptcy and a sharply reduced standard of living; the same rule applies on the level of nations.
Read more here.
Things that can’t go on, the prophet Herb Stein once observed, go on until they can’t. Criticality eventually bushwhacks credulity. The aggregation of rackets that American life has become is rolling over like a great groaning wounded leviathan and the rest of the world is starting to freak out at the spectacle. Instead of a revolution, we’re having a suicide party.
But don’t worry, a revolution would not be far behind. My guess is that it would kick off as generational rather than regional or factional, but it would eventually incorporate all three. A generation already swindled by the college loan racket must be chafing at the bureaucratic nightmare that ObamaCare instantly turned into at its roll-out, with a website that wouldn’t let anyone log in. Isn’t technology wonderful? I wonder when the “magic moment” will come when all those unemployed millennials join a Twitter injunction to just stop paying back their loans. If that particular message went out during this month’s government food fight, it would do more than just get the attention of a few politicians. It would crash the banks and snap the links in every chain of obligation holding the fiasco of globalism together.
Read more here.
| Nature Bats Last
American actress Lily Tomlin is credited with the expression, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” With respect to climate science, my own efforts to stay abreast are blown away every week by new data, models, and assessments. It seems no matter how dire the situation becomes, it only gets worse when I check the latest reports.
The response of politicians, heads of non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders remains the same. They’re mired in the dank Swamp of Nothingness. As Hallor Thorgeirsson, a senior director with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said on 17 September 2013: “We are failing as an international community. We are not on track.” These are the people who know about, and presumably could do something about, our ongoing race to disaster (if only to sound the alarm). Tomlin’s line is never more germane than when thinking about their pursuit of a buck at the expense of life on Earth.
Worse than the aforementioned trolls are the media. Fully captured by corporations and the corporate states, the media continue to dance around the issue of climate change. Occasionally a forthright piece is published, but it generally points in the wrong direction, such as suggesting climate scientists and activists be killed…
Read more here.
|What Collapse Feels Like, Part 3 of 5: Resilience Begins With The Heart: All Roads Lead To Grief
By Carolyn Baker:
Overwhelmingly, civilized people have congested hearts. Whether speaking physiologically or metaphorically, this ailment is rampant in industrial societies where conscious, intentional, unrestrained grieving is virtually unheard of and where “bereavement leave” and other arbitrary parameters around loss dictate that we are only allowed a ridiculously brief time for grieving, if any time is allowed at all.
I have written much about grief over the past few years, but as I develop this series of articles on “What Collapse Feels Like,” I am newly-inspired and incisively aware of the urgency with which our predicament has foisted itself on the human heart. It is asking, no make that demanding, that we evacuate the “cereb-esphere” and descend, both literally and symbolically, into the region of the heart because our profound rejection of its territory has brought us to exactly where we are in this moment.
Read more here
by Surly 1
Virginia Freak Show
It has been a while since this weekly exercise in pedantry has considered Virginia politics. Virginia is one of two states (New Jersey the other) who elect governors in odd years outside of the four-year presidential election cycle. We have alluded in the past to the antics of some campaigners; time now to take the gloves off and let folks see the shiny and glistening underbelly of Virginia politics,shimmering like that of a reptile.
Investigation for this summary uncovered such a rich treasure trove that it is necessary to break it into two parts. This week we’ll consider the governor’s race. Next week we’ll take on the LG race featuring E. W. Jackson, an ideologue’s ideologue whose excesses have attracted national attention. Suffice it to say that when even the extremists find you extreme and the Tea Party candidates run away from you, you have staked out exotic new ground. And that’s Virginia.
Diner TV & Feature Videos
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Guy McPherson shares valuable information about self sustaining food producing.http://guymcpherson.com/2010/03/what-works-food/
NSA Spying Did Not Result In a SINGLE Foiled Terrorist Plothttp://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/10/nsa-spying-did-not-result-in-one-stopped-terrorist-plot-and-the-government-actually-did-spy-on-the-bad-guys-before-911.html
“The fact that we are reaching diminishing returns with oil is a major reason why world economic growth is slowing. It is also a major reason that many of the heavy oil consuming nations have been struggling with recession-like symptoms. These symptoms are mostly being covered up with deficit spending, ultra low-interest rates and Quantitative Easing. If this stimulus ever stops, there are likely to be huge problems.” Two Views of our Current Economic and Energy Crisis By Gail Tverberg on the Diner blog.http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2013/10/17/two-views-of-our-current-economic-and-energy-crisis/
“The Fifth Estate:” go see it before it disappears.http://variety.com/2013/film/news/wikileaks-drama-getting-hacked-at-the-box-office-with-less-than-3-million-1200739368/
What about intentional communities? We discuss Intentional Communities, Transitional Towns and Sustainability ideas with Albert Bates, one of the original members of The Farm in Tennessee, one of the successful Back to the Land Communities which developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A Diner Podcast.http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2013/10/12/podcast-albert-bates-sustainable-communities-and-systems/
How America’s ‘Culture of Hustling’ Is Dark and Empty- Interview with Morris Berman Results-obsessed perspectives overlook meaning — and leave little room for creativity, pleasure, or accepting the importance of sadness.http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/08/how-americas-culture-of-hustling-is-dark-and-empty/278601/
Check out 11 of the world’s coolest tree houses, here ➞ http://bit.ly/QGK4we
“Anyone who didn’t sleep thru history/civics classes and educated in pre-Reagan days surely has seen this nation sliding into fascism just by merely referencing the characteristics of classic fascist philosophy and the socio/cultural changes which have been occurring in this country. “What we euphemistically call free market capitalism is merely fascism in civilian garb. Corporate oligarchs and government are one and the same, thus the ever prevalent “revolving door” between the ruling and business elite and the progressive exclusion of the average citizen from meaningful civic involvement. “Also, the proliferation of propaganda and fear mongering designed to foster the bigotry, hatred, and insecurity of the more ignorant and insular segments of society serves to keep the people focused on collective negative traits of their cohorts rather than those who systematically work to drain the wealth of the economy for their own purposes.” –Bernard Martin
Electrical Grid Is Called Vulnerable to Power Shutdown (h/t Joe P.)http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/electrical-grid-called-vulnerable-to-power-shutdown/?_r=0
More and more studies are coming out about the dangers of pesticides, and the push for organic is stronger than ever before! Article: New UN report calls for switch back to organic agriculture “before it’s too late:” http://bit.ly/17ZF1kp
Greenwald on Snowden Leaks: The Worst Is Yet to Come (h/t Golden Oxen) “The archives are so complex and so deep and so shocking, that I think the most shocking and significant stories are the ones we are still working on, and have yet to publish.”http://world.time.com/2013/10/14/greenwald-on-snowden-leaks-the-worst-is-yet-to-come/
FUKUSHIMA WATER CRISIS: Declining worker morale at Fukushima plant may be behind recent mishaps (h/t Joe P.)http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ20
Protests Sweep Canada Following Paramilitary Assault on Indigenous Fracking Blockade ‘Indigenous communities like the Elsipogtog First Nation are on the frontlines of defending water and the land for everyone’http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/18-3
“Here in the UK we are RULED BY GOONS! Most people these days might think that a goon is a kind of thug – but the definition I had in mind comes from the old radio comedy classic The Goon Show. So, according to the Urban Dictionary a goon can be a ‘stupid or oafish person’. . . You might think there are stupid and oafish people in Washington right now, but they are mere amateurs alongside our group of unintentional comedians.” Ruled by Goons by Jason Heppenstall on the Diner Blog.http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/2013/10/18/ruled-by-goons/
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