Spain

EuroSoap

Off the keyboard of John Ward

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Slog on March 20, 2015

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

https://hat4uk.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/eusplits.png

TSIPRAS/MERKEL SUMMIT: You thought Greek politics complicated? Wait until you tot up the seismic splits in the EU

Take a close look at the timeline since Thursday night’s mini-summit marathon between Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel.

After a 3am Friday finish, German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the meeting as “good and constructive,” but warned that the Greek government will have to meet commitments before it can access EU money. She gave Syriza exactly seven days to offer fully detailed “reform” proposals to Troika2, and then left clutching several haunches of Venison and 683 sausages for her beloved fridge.

A few hours later, however, Jean-Claude Juncker – the President of the European Commission (EC) – announced a completely unconditional 2 billion euro contribution immediately available to Greece to boost growth, tackle youth unemployment and help with the “humanitarian crisis”. Juncker said the cash for this would come from “unused EU development funds”.

When I called the EC press office this afternoon and asked how this circle might be squared, there was much scurrying about and promises of getting back to me…none of which materialised.

Those EU schisms in full

This is what’s really going on here: pissed off by the degree to which Germany and the Troikanauts are increasingly adopting the Führerprinzip in relation to EU affairs, the EC as led by J-CJ is doing everything in its power to be good-cop to Greece in general, and Tsipras in particular. This is a good old-fashioned Nazi Party power struggle, and there is every opportunity for Athens to exploit it.

But equally, we must remember that on another level entirely, Francois Hollande of France got away almost scot-free last week on deficit failures that far outweigh those of Greece….but was forced to bring in Troika-demanded laws about tax evasion…and ECB diktats about bank liquidity. This has not gone down well in his Party.

The Parti Socialiste de France doesn’t like this crap because (like many of us) they foresee the wholesale handing over of millions of votes to Marine Le Pen’s Front Nationale.

So then: we have the EC at war with Berlin and Troika2, plus France at war with Frankfurt. But just when you thought you had it sussed, more fractures appear.

For Wolfgang Schäuble is at war with Merkel over his single-minded obsession to become Supreme Leader of the as yet unformed Fiskalunion…and fighting a second front against Mario Draghi’s ECB, which in turn is fighting on another front entirely with Jens Weidemann and the German Central Bank…who rightly think that Draghula is working not for the euro, but a planned eurodollar spookily approaching parity with, um, the euro. And Merkel too distrusts the ECB boss’s motives….preferring as she does to keep her options open on the subject of which way to jump in the Dollar v Rublenimbi chasm.

Confused? You will be after this latest episode of Eurosoap. But there are far more plot lines and faultlines to develop before your confusion is comprehensively constructed.

There is the coming UK election, and the increasing likelihood of the ‘biggest’ Party needing to do a deal with EU-secessionists. There is the growing secessionist and europhobic tendency in Italy. There is Podemos support in Spain growing with every act of defiance from Greece. There is the Austro-German bank collapse epidemiology threatening everyone from Santander to Deutsche. And there remains the implacable unwillingness of Viktor Orban in Hungary to have anything to do with globalism in general, or the euro in particular.

Face facts: the EU is imploding.

 

Eurosummit Breakdown

Off the keyboard of John Ward

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Slog on February 17, 2015

Euro_collapse

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

Who did what and why?

As one Troika dies, another is born

Practically every Western press title and news bulletin this morning uses the word ‘defiant’ in relation to Greece’s rejection of the New Troika’s terms, and it isn’t a compliment.

The Greek contingent rejected the ‘deal’ because it wasn’t a deal, it was just the same old same old. But up until 90 minutes before closure, it had been something else. Allegedly drafted and then pushed hard by French finance minister Pierre Muscovici, the first draft (a copy of which Varoufakis still has) offered Greece more time, few targets, and then an attempt at economic growth.

It was taken off the table by yet another Troika – in most cases, remotely: Mariano Rajoy, Wolfgang Schäuble, and of course (no drum roll required) Mario Draghi. During the final day, Spanish PM Rajoy (for purely selfish political reasons, it would appear) scrambled around desperately trying to get the hawks to play more of a vulture role. His ginger-group plus the EC/ECB/Berlin/Frankfurt axis canned the original draft, and insisted on a return to all the original demands.

Then some of them briefed the press pack with pernicious spin about Greece messing them about, moving goalposts etc and being (this week’s insult of choice) “anti-European and irresponsible”. The truth is that, some time around 10.45 am CET, Varoufakis was lining himself up to sign the draft. Getting back to the realities:

– Greece cannot be allowed concessions, because Podemos would immediately demand the same (Rajoy)

– Greece’s load cannot be reduced, because then they might pay it back (Draghi)

– Greece’s flagrantly spendthrift behaviour must not be rewarded, and more austerity is the only answer (Schäuble).

So then – as many of us always suspected – the deal was scuppered by a hardline, corrupt, anti-libertarian Spaniard, a banker whose career is followed by clouds, and who retains his loyalty to Wall Street, and the residue of a tragically failed assassination attempt upon Germany’s top spook.

The only vaguely satisfying things to emerge from this charade are first, that once again the quintessence of controlling fascism that lies at the EU’s heart has been revealed; and second, the Western MSM really do not have a clue about how to handle the Greek attitude.

Four days ago, I wrote in reply to Merkel’s assertion that “Europe’s success is that it will always find a compromise”:

‘The small issue I have with this bollocks is that the movement by either side so far is tiny – in fact, barely above homoaeopathic…. In just 36 hours we have gone from “Drop Dead” to “Let’s compromise”. But where can it go from here? In my view, nowhere: the two sides are incompatible unless one or the other radically invents itself. Neither of them will do that.”

Sure enough, the Brussels Brigade reverted to type with black arts and making up new rules as they went along. And as they promised, Syriza refused to renege on its election commitments.

Watch those markets crash as the bond yields spike. The euro is dead, the EU dream has become a nightmare, and the fundamental attitude split between Berlin and Paris  is once again there for all to see.

Stay tuned.

Greek Debt Chicken Game

logopodcastOff the microphone of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Aired on the Doomstead Diner on February 6. 2015

playing-chicken1

Discuss this Rant at the Podcast Table inside the Diner

Diner Special Lunch Menu

Souvlaki                  or                    Strudle

http://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1422542/greece-yanis-varoufakis-says-ecb-talks-fruitful.jpghttp://i57.tinypic.com/2z57qtl.jpg

Snippet:

…Once again, the Greeks have taken the Center Stage in the Collapse Kabuki theater, with the newly elected Syriza Goobermint under the leadership of Alex Tspiras attempting to follow through on their many promises to throw off the Debt Choke Hold held on them by the Brussel Sprouts.

The new “Rock Star” player in the game here is the new Greek FinMin, Yanis “Souvlakis” Varoufakis. Yanis is making a lot of headlines in the Econ blogosphere since Syriza took power, first with the threat to outright default and lately with some more creative phrasing of concotions like “perpetual bonds” in some kind of new game of debt musical chairs.

On the other side of this nonsense is Yanis’ Evil Twin, the Kraut FinMin Wolfgang “Strudle” Schauble. Wolfy won’t take any shit from Yanis, and has made it clear he thinks the Greeks are responsible for every penny of the debt that the ECB and by extension the Kraut population extended to the Greeks, despite of course the reality that the Krauts never had the money before the last Greek Goobermint of Bankster Sock Puppets signed for it…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

Who CHICKENS OUT first?

Rotisserie_Chicken

Prior Rants on the Greek Debt Kabuki Theater you may have missed:

Club Med Bank Failures

Off the keyboard of John Ward

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Slog on July 11, 2014

euro

Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

More on the Way & we’re going to Pay

The growing reality of banking collapse and bailin strategies

Following the difficulties of Banco Espiritu Santos in Portugal yesterday, it was notable that in Spain, the Spanish government issued a retroactive tax on bank deposits there “as an aid to stimulating economic growth”. Taking away aka stealing the spending power of consumers is not, I would contend, the method of choice for kick-starting a dead economy (which was anyway supposed to be doing so well)…..but I wonder if the Government in Madrid gave much thought to the illegality under the Lisbon Treaty of retroactive legislation?

Probably not.

Last week, German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann gave yet another speech directly firing a salvo at Mario Draghi’s “loose monetary policies”, and their risible attempt to keep the cost of ClubMed borrowing artificially low. Herr Weidmann quite rightly pointed out, “If expectations are not fulfilled, there will be a severe downside risk”. Being a polite, well-bred and educated German, what Jens is saying here is “we all know the Italian rapscallion is fiddling the yields, and when the solids hit the fan, the markets will have their revenge”. I happen to agree with him. And with Portugal so joined at the hip fiscally and economically to Spain, this may yet turn out to be the start of Something Big.

Over the seas to Italy, another approach to misappropriation has surfaced. Pier Caldo Paduan is the country’s relatively new finance minister, and he has pointed out that the time has come for Italy’s pension providers to invest “spontaneously” in the future of the Italian economy…..an interesting investment concept in that, under current empirical conditions, it doesn’t have a future. Paduan is rather too quick (in my estimation) to add that there must be “full respect for the autonomy of investors”. If you have the same mindset as me, you will surely be asking how a demand for such investment gives the investors (and their hapless clients) any autonomy whatsoever.

At the conference where Paduan made this thinly-veiled demand, it seems there was ‘concern that dictating to pension funds what they should invest in was equivalent to privatising them’. I’d imagine there would be, really.

Meanwhile, beyond the eurozone of exclusion, the UK’s equally flakey “recovery” is in the middle stage of being found out. Based on Britain’s office of national statistics data, a formal TSC review has issued a commentary on the UK’s trade imbalance, pointing up words like ‘challenging’, ‘unsatisfactory’, ‘not rigorous’, ‘clearly work to do’ and so forth. As with German politesse, this is English politesse for “it strikes us as a load of old cobblers”.

The UK’s trade deficit increased from £2.1bn to £2.4bn from April to May, which in percentage terms is a whopping 14.3% deterioration. Clearly then, our “recovery” is not of an export nature, as such. The real story here (sorry to boff on about this again) is that we underwent a frightening £9.2bn trade deficit in goods – ie, real things not virtual banking paper. Britain is, in reality, the ultimate sick man of Europe….and the degree of Osborne’s attempts to twist this truth into unfounded lying optimism is the sickest part about it.

Just how wafer-thin ‘confidence’ in ClubMed really is has been demonstrated by the spike in Greek and Portuguese debt borrowing costs since the BES suspension. It supports fully the Weidmann view that Goldmanism is no replacement for gold when it comes to the value of a currency….and fiscal fantasy can’t be put off forever by the use of fiat printers. The Fed, ECB and BoJ can drown the world in inflationary liquidity from now until kingdom come: the reckoning is upon us.

I use the pronoun ‘us’ advisedly there, because as every sly little poke of the élite shovel into our savings shows, we are going to be the ones asked to make up the difference. Such a spade-wielding vulture might fly in Greece, Portugal and even the UK. But it will drop like a stone in Italy, France and – eventually – Spain. That’s when the trouble will start.

Stay tuned: this story is gaining traction.

 

Slogger Trifecta

Off the keyboard of John Ward

Published on The Slog on August 19, 2013

trifecta

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

August 19, 2013 · 9:25 pm

At the End of the Day

Over the last few days, cheated preferentes depositors in the Novagalicia Bank  have been demonstrating in Spain. At this morning’s demo they rightly proclaimed themselves to be hard working, thrifty savers who had simply kept their savings there. They can no longer withdraw their life savings, because some hastily manufactured legality has told them they are creditors, not customers.

When, after twenty years hard graft, I finally in 1988 received a large cheque at 3am one morning for my shares in an ad agency I’d helped found, seven hours later I dashed down to the local Building Society and whacked the cheque in. When it cleared three days later – and only then – did I phone my first wife to say “The money’s safely banked”.

Safely. What a rare word that is these days in financial services.

Exactly who do these language-manipulating sociopaths think they are? They are bankers who took money in at minimal sight rates, making eternal profits from their customer base – and then had the gall to introduce service charges. They are blank-faced, goggle-eyed  bureaucrats in Whitehall, Brussels and Washington who approved this weasel terminology as if they might be rubber-stamping the train times to Auschwitz. And they are the multi-faced politicians who perpetually apologise for the indefensible behaviour of those whose money they so desperately need…having failed, year in year out, to keep within budgets.

Feeling safe is about having trust. The EC finally lost the trust of the lenders after the 37th dithering lie about the problem being solved. The ECB lost the trust of the bond markets when it illegally subordinated holders of Greek debt, and then went on to rape Cypriot investors for no good reason at all. Bernanke lost the trust of the American people when he carried on chucking their dollars at an intractable problem intrinsic to neoliberal economics. Parliament lost the last vestige of my trust when it said nothing against the theft of money from Cooperative Bank depositors to save its own neck. David Cameron lost the trust of millions of Britons when he continued to insist there had been nothing improper in his personal relationships with senior Newscorp officials. Congress lost the trust of the entire world when it bickered about the biggest deficit in US history. And last but not least, the Church of England lost any last vestige of trust when it began trying to profit from fracking.

Everything from love to money is based on trust and mutual respect. I no longer love my country, because it is a whore. There isn’t a single institution there I would trust. I can’t even feel that banked money is safe.

But still the apologists for this insane f**ked up fiat currency version of globalist ‘free market’ capitalism witter on, failing as ever to acknowledge that not a single investment market anywhere on the planet is free from artificial (and usually illegal) interference.

Please Britain, don’t put off your protest or jump off the cliff because they tell you to. Switch off the telly, get off the sofa, and tell the bastards where to get off.

· 7:11 am

CRASH2: China plans new gold standard for dominant Yuan

Uncle Sam goes foot-shooting, gets felled by snipers

bondbuy

Last week I posted about how Bernanke has run out of road in his attempt to keep everyone happy. As so often in such circumstances, he’s pleased nobody in the end: not the brokers, not the Asian creditors, and most definitely not the US consumer.

I also posted last week about the huge percentage of US bond-offloading accounted for by Chinese and Japanese dumping. And I’ve posted ad nauseam about the inability to generate spending from people who’s wages one just spent a decade eroding by 30%.

But as America shoots itself in the foot, snipers are busy targeting its head. What follows will explain how.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

From Day One of QE, Ben Bernanke insisted he was showering American consumers with money. Along with millions of other sites, The Slog always maintained he did it to get dividends up, keep the Dow high, and create liquidity/solvency/new business at the banks. Some neat new charts now show us precisely why we were right and he was telling porkies.

In this one, we can see how the supply (aka printing) of money went stratospheric during and after Greenspangling and Bernankenomics, and then upcurved further after 2010:

Fredcrop1There are today almost exactly twice as many dollars in circulation than there were…..but middle America’s share of it went down 30%. So they had less money with less spending capacity. So they spent less, took out more credit – and bought cheap Asian imports. Bang! There go the toes in your right foot.

Now let’s look at what happened as that Nixonian shift off the Gold Standard inevitably turned into Uncle Ben’s buck-showering bonanza:

Fred3cropWhile the supply of Fiat paper rocketed, consumer purchasing velocity fell even faster under QE than it had been doing during the previous pauperisation of the populace. And as blue-collars are now working fewer hours for less money with little chance of further credit, most of the money never reached them….and if it did, they paid off debt rather than indulging in retail therapy. Bang! There goes your right instep. Try to keep your balance now…

There is a growing feeling around the globe (if my contacts are even remotely typical) that after all this mess has finally covered every Westerner in excrement, there will be pressure to end the era of fiat paper. Not only would this be a disaster for the US, it would be a major coup for Beijing: there is every chance that a Yuan set against a new gold standard would make it the dominant reserve currency in short order….especially as the Dollar even now is predictably drifting down in value. China, it seems, has the aim of de-linking the Yuan from the US dollar. And Asian media are increasingly of the view that they will, when the time is right, fix it to gold instead.

China continues to amass gold. In June alone, it imported 104.6 tonnes from Hong Kong. That would bring China’s gold imports from Hong Kong to 1,160 tonnes since the beginning of this year. Officially, China hat around 1,000 tonnes of the stuff. But past experience has shown the Beijing suddenly pops up one day far more of shiny metal than you thought. The real figure is estimated to be around 8,000 tonnes….and likely to pass the US total, audited at 8,113 tonnes.

Yao Yudong, major money-man on the China Bank MPC, has of late been talking about fiat paper being a disaster, and his admiration for Bretton Woods. Further, China has been doing currency swap contracts big time with other countries to bypass the Buck. It has currency swap agreements with Brazil, Russia, Iran, Australia and the UK, to name a few. This aim here is clearly to get Westerners accustomed to the idea of dealing with the Yuan, and seeing it as a new ‘Central Currency’.

Bang! That first assassin’s bullet went straight through your neck. Breathing is getting difficult.

And of course, as I posted in recent days, those interest rates that were never going to rise are, um, rising. Very fast. The American cost of borrowing just doubled. And the Chinese are far and away the biggest sellers of those T-Bonds….which must now offer higher yields.

Oh look America, you just fell over, and your lungs are filling with blood….just as the traders, brokers, and big banking dicks get back to their desks next week, only to see a topping Dow, a falling T-Bond, and a backfiring, stuttering economy. And even though you’re manipulating the gold downwards to repair those bank balance sheets, it becomes even easier for Beijing to fill its boots with that gold.

Bang! That was the rear of your cerebrum coming off. It’s over.

August 18, 2013 · 9:02 pm

At the End of the Day

Lines on the nature of being united in idiocy

I think top marks tonight must surely go to Spain, for its unique ability to get Tom Watson agreeing with David Cameron. Yes, there can be no doubt about it, as long as Spain wants Gibraltar “back”, then the Iberian peoples have the capacity to unite Britain…a set of Islands not so much great any more as disintegrating.

It’s a useful distraction for both sides of course, but none of the fuss from Senor Rajoy holds any water at all. Britain has actually ‘owned’ Gibraltar for far longer and more continuously than the Spanish ever did and – as in the case of the Falklands with Argentina – its inhabitants have no desire at all to be Spanish. But if things get very nasty, I can’t wait to see how Operation Barbarossa van Pumpy in Brussels “handles” it.

At the same time, however, one must recognise the ability of almost any event in the Middle East to have Brit and US pols united in myopia, their respective leaders drivelling on about a Special Relationship that deserves the adjective only in the context of kids who require special needs education. After the demonisation of Assad in Syria comes the glorification of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. I came across some Brits down here on holiday this morning, and they clearly didn’t have the remotest notion which way was up about Egypt’s tragedy….or indeed, who was for what, and why David Cameron wants to galvanise the EU into condemning the wicked military “coup”.

A simple analysis of the Egyptian dilemma doesn’t require that many brain cells. Early in July this year, I posted to say that “What [the US] State [Department] has done is bestow respectability upon the Muslim Brotherhood without in any way changing its truly ghastly attitudes and barbaric behaviour.” Tracing the lineage of this dynasty of deranged thinking, as long ago as November 2011, The Slog suggested that “the [Egyptian] military is playing upon a real fear: Egyptian liberals are sympathetic to the military’s attempt to dominate the constitution-writing process, being rightly fearful of Muslim Brotherhood dominance”.

Now we have MB fanatics desperate to present themselves as martyrs – and the usual figures of dead demonstrators growing with every report by Western news agencies. I can only repeat what I’ve been saying for nearly three years about the ‘Arab Spring’: it is based on Anglo-Saxon ignorance about the fundamental nature of Arab liberalism and Islamist fascism.

Very few international situations are as cut and dried as our mamipulative politicians would suggest: in the end – despite the EU nonsense and the Levitt myth of globalism – every nation is out for itself most of the time. The “deposed” President Mohamed Morsi had, from Day One of his term, worked overtime to marginalise a pro-secular Military in favour of his rabidly fundamentalist associates. There is no discernible difference between what Morsi was up to, and what Recep Erdogan has been up to in Turkey – viz, purging all those elements in the political and military class who support the secular aims of the hero Kemal Ataturk, in favour of his own closet Islamist agenda.

From the very start of this dire history of needless death in the name of a religious leader who is a myth, David Cameron and the US State department have placed themselves cynically on the side of authoritarianism: Cameron because he wants trade deals with Turkey, and the US because they want the oil. Yet  again, it is all about munneeeee. And that root of many evils has placed allegedly liberal democracies on the side of a neo-Nazi, misogynist bunch of religious maniacs.

And in other dramatic news developments today, the BBC’s Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman has a beard. I realise that in gay circles this means he has a girlfriend to hide an aberrant sexuality, but there haven’t really ever been any doubts about Paxo when it comes to which way he swings: basically, he would I suspect like to see 95% of politicians swinging from a lamppost. So it is especially sad to see that by far the biggest brain and toughest interviewer at the BBC needs to grow facial hair to catch the fickle gnat’s-length attention of the British public for longer than a tweet.

When the David Kelly affair began the sad descent of the BBC into Government lapdog, Paxman was a steady influence in favour of telling all politicians TGF themselves. After the McApine scam, he once again urged the Governors to face this unpleasant opportunist down. When the Jimmy Savile drivel about him “grooming a whole nation” went full-on tabloid, yet again our Jeremy tried to find some evidence of a spine in the Beeb’s management tier. Having discovered that his employer is, effectively, a mollusc, it is little wonder that he now carries a care-worn, slightly bored air around with him.

To relegate Jeremy Paxman to the margins of our national broadcaster is rather like taking Robin Day’s knighthood away because he gave Thatcher what-for. I’m afraid it symptomatically defines what is wrong with Britain.

The Week That Was In Doom, May 26, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on May 26, 2013

http://991.com/newGallery/That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964.jpg

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

It was a week in which we found ourselves awakened, much like Rip van Winkle after a 40 years sleep, to relive the worst excesses of the Nixon administration.  A week in which, 175 years ago Friday, the Trail of Tears began and the United States once again led world opinion in affirmation of human rights and the treatment of indigenous peoples. A week in which part of an interstate fell into the Skagit River, sex workers are having to call it quits for lack of customers with sufficient disposable income, A couple of senators from Oklahoma demand disaster funding for their state while insisting that the hardships of the people of Oklahoma be visited upon unnamed someones elsewhere,  and thousands of people in hundred cities marched against Monsanto.  Plus plenty of other goodies. So let’s go to the highlight reel.

_____________________________________________________________________

AOL2013

Truth be told, the biggest news in the world of doom this week is the Age of Limits Conference currently being held in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our redoubtable correspondent haniel is there and is filing reports. He also promises to bring back audio, video and images, all of which he is having great difficulty uploading due to the lack of bandwidth in his rural location. But suffice it to say there is no other single activity this week in the world of doom that is as significant or as newsworthy as this ongoing conference.  Follow haniel's reports here.

_____________________________________________________________________

bridge skagit

In one of the most remarkable and egregious examples of infrastructure collapse as a result of maintenance deferred, the I–5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington collapsed when struck by a truck.

The Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Skagit River in Washington state collapsed Thursday evening, dumping two cars into the water. Three people were injured.

Authorities initially weren't sure how many people were involved or if there'd been any injuries or deaths. Shortly after the collapse, Washington State Trooper Mark Francis told CNN that he didn't expect a high casualty rate, in part because the bridge is located in a rural area and is rarely crowded.

CBS is reporting that the collapse was caused by an oversized semi-trailer truck, which hit a beam across the top of the bridge.

 

Great was the mewling and puking over this affair, and may stood ready to extrapolate from the specific to the general. Rising Hegemon probably had it best:

Infrastructure, schminfranstructure

Good thing we can keep affording to give tax breaks to oil companies to avoid those nasty public safety measures that also provide actual jobs!

The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed Thursday evening, dropping two vehicles into the water and injuring three people.

Both the northbound and southbound portions of the bridge collapsed into the river sometime before 7 p.m., according to Washington State Patrol trooper Mark Francis.

Xavier Grospe, 62, who lives near the river, said he could see three cars with what appeared to be one person per vehicle.

Obviously the only thing that can keep a bridge from collapsing is another bridge with a gun.

 

 

 

And Equire's Charlie Pierce observed thusly:

First, the BridgeHunter people declared the bridge in question to be functionally obsolete three years ago. Second, the local inspectors declared it to be safe and sound back in 2008. America's bridges heve been in sorry, dangerous shape for years, and practically everybody agrees with that. Time for some lifesaving Keynesian stimulus spending, no?

Of course, not.

I mean, does a bridge have to fall on their heads?

Forget I asked that.

_____________________________________________________________________

Slevery for everyone

 Robert Reich asks, “who needs Republicans when Wall Street has the Democrats?” In his blog, Reich details how congressional Democrats are helping Wall Street rollback the financial reforms enacted after the near meltdown. With Citigroup and chase writing legislation, eager Democrats are rolling as many logs they can to undo Dodd-Frank and otherwise carry water for the plutocrats.  Not to be outdone, members of the troglodyte party decided to raise student loan rates, plus approved a variable-rate that will really stick it to prospective students. Your democracy at work.  Meanwhile, in the small fishing village in the south of France, The US Department of Education “has generated nearly $120 billion in profit off student borrowers”, more profit than reported by Exxon and Apple. No word on whether that includes Apple's Irish offshore accounts.

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Speaking of offshore accounts and other tax dodges,  this week AlterNet  filed a superb report on how corporations are stealing billions in tax breaks, why we confused and misdirected Muppets turn on one another, to their continued enjoyment and enrichment.  this again by Mr. Reich, who had a busy week.

 

 

… global corporations have no allegiance to any country; their only objective is to make as much money as possible — and play off one country against another to keep their taxes down and subsidies up, thereby shifting more of the tax burden to ordinary people whose wages are already shrinking because companies are playing workers off against each other.

. . . Meanwhile, At a time when you’d expect nations to band together to gain bargaining power against global capital, the opposite is occurring: Xenophobia is breaking out all over.

Here in Britain, the UK Independence Party — which wants to get out of the European Union — is rapidly gaining ground, becoming the third most popular party in the country, according to a new poll for The Independent on Sunday. Almost one in five people plan to vote for it in the next general election. Ukip’s overall ratings have risen four points to 19 per cent in the past month, despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts to wrest back control of the crucial debate over Britain’s relationship with the European Union.

Right-wing nationalist parties are gaining ground elsewhere in Europe as well. In the U.S., not only are Republicans sounding more nationalistic of late (anti-immigrant, anti-trade), but they continue to push “states rights” — as states increasingly battle against one another to give global companies ever larger tax breaks and subsidies.

Nothing could strengthen the hand of global capital more than such breakups.

This sounds very much like a movie we've seen before. And none of us like the ending. Betting here we're not going to like the ending of this one either.

_____________________________________________________________________

Artwork: Anthony Freda

 

And while were on the subject of money, anyone who actually has to buy anything in this economy realizes that the price of goods keeps creeping up at the same time that there seems to be less and less money in the economy. Small business owners are really hurting. We have friends, Nick and Vicky, who run a beauty shop and spa, who  had had to close the spa part of their business due to lack of traffic. Many women who used to be regular once a month visitors have vanished, and with it their income.  At the same time, the landlord raises the rent on their building, meaning they have to shrink the business to survive.  Thus is it in the real world.

 

Meanwhile, this on the widening gap between Wall Street and Main Street.

While asset prices are inflated by continued interventions of monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, boosting Wall Street profits and widening the wealth gap between the top 20% of Americans and the rest, "Main Street" continues to suffer a from a rising cost of living and falling wage growth.  Just recently Gallup released the following survey:

"The federal poverty threshold for a family of four is just under $24,000; however, Americans believe such a family unit living in their community needs more than double that — $58,000, on average — just to 'get by.' That estimate reflects 29% of Americans saying these families need up to $50,000 in annual income, 47% saying they need between $50,000 and $99,999, and 10% saying they need $100,000 or more."

Gallup-Consumer-LivingNeeds-051713

And then, in a fking nutshell:

This is why the gap between corporate profits and the number of working employees is the highest level on record.  Fewer workers, higher productivity and longer hours for the same pay, or less, equals higher corporate profits.  This is great for executives, primarily the top 10% of wage of earners, who are compensated from rising share prices, bonuses and other performance related compensation.  However, for the "working stiff," there is little reward for their labor.

At $58,000, Americans' perceptions of the amount it takes just to get by in their community is substantially higher that the national median household income.  This level is also well out of reach for a bulk of the lower 30% of American households.

However, this gap between incomes and living standards goes a long way to explaining the "welfaring" of America.  As incomes have waned against a rising cost of living – it is not surprising to see more individuals receiving income supplements in the mail either from "food stamps", social security benefits or disability claims.  All of which are currently at record levels.  The chart below shows the level of social security benefits as a percentage of disposable personal incomes which is currently near the highest level on record.

Social-Benefits-DPI-051713

 

"How long can the disconnect last between Wall Street and Main Street? "

There is no clear answer for that as consumers have shown a willingness to draw down savings rates to historically low levels while quickly returning to cheap credit forgetting the disaster that it caused them not so long ago.  However, in reality, when you have a family to feed, clothe and house – it really doesn't matter what is logical, but what is necessary, regardless of the consequences down the road.  Of course, for many American's today, the only real difference between now and the "bread lines" of the 30's is that the "bread" is delivered in the mail rather than at the "soup kitchen" on the corner.

A splendid article that offers a precise description of what is happening. I mentioned above the effect of this “recovering economy” on my friends with the beauty shop and spot. Newshound Joe dug up this article earlier in the week that illustrates how even sex workers are feeling the pinch.

It is one of the oldest professions in the world.

Yet, just like many other businesses up and down the UK, even prostitution is now struggling with Britain's struggling economy.

Many sex workers are now saying its almost impossible to make a full time living out of prostitution with rising rents and energy costs and a reduced demand for services.

They also complain of a saturated market in which students and those recently sacked turn to  prostitution to make money.

Like many other workers across Britain, sex workers even complain that immigrants are providing tough competition.

All of this has resulted in many massage parlours and private flats heavily reducing their prices or even closing.

Prostitutes also say men are increasingly unable to pay for sex, with pressures on household spending increasing.

30 years ago, Richard Pryor joked about pimps having to drive Volkswagens. And now this. Clearly,  yet another sign of the breaking of the Seventh Seal.

_________________________________________________________

And perhaps none of this makes any difference because we are all screwed in the fullness of time, As we seem to be unwilling or unable to manage our energy footprint, consumption, and behavior in a responsible manner that would benefit the great bulk of humanity. This is of course a subject which has been discussed many times in many different ways within the Diner Forum.

Climate change: human disaster looms, claims new research

 

A human shadow is seen on a dried out field after drought in Germany. Photograph: Patrick Pleul/EPA

 

Forecast global temperature rise of 4C a calamity for large swaths of planet even if predicted extremes are not reached the world is still likely to be in for a temperature rise of double that regarded as safe.

The researchers said warming was most likely to reach about 4C above pre-industrial levels if the past decade's readings were taken into account.

That would still lead to catastrophe across large swaths of the Earth, causing droughts, storms, floods and heatwaves, and drastic effects on agricultural productivity leading to secondary effects such as mass migration.

Some climate change sceptics have suggested that because the highest global average temperature yet recorded was in 1998 climate change has stalled. The new study, which is published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows a much longer "pause" would be needed to suggest that the world was not warming rapidly.

Alexander Otto, at the University of Oxford, lead author of the research, told the Guardian that there was much that climate scientists could still not fully factor into their models. He said most of the recent warming had been absorbed by the oceans but this would change as the seas heat up. The thermal expansion of the oceans is one of the main factors behind current and projected sea level rises.

_____________________________________________________________________

Authorities never have “issues with authority.”

It’s simple. Authorities invented the idea that other people have issues with authority.

Psychiatrists rank right up there among the elitists setting the standards. They, for example, have concocted a little fictional doodad called Oppositional Defiance Disorder. And magically, they never accuse their professional colleagues of having it. No.

Why should they? They amuse themselves by deciding when civilians are overly defiant and need pacification (drugs).

 

_____________________________________________________________________

More from the Department of Your Tax Dollars at Work.

Got PTSD? No problem. Here: take this. At a time when government funding for veterans hospitals and healthcare is being diverted by the military and replaced with private donations comes this news of the Pentagon development of memory adjustment pills. Perhaps the combination of so-called “medication” coupled with the use of targets featuring children and pregnant mothers waving guns will usher in a new generation of conscience-free troops for the next round of "nation-building" and empire extension.

The Pentagon this week announced an $11 million grant for three research institutions, all of them long-time hubs for the military’s ongoing PTSD investigations. Experts at Emory University, the University of Southern California and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center will study the effectiveness of D-Cycloserine (DCS). DCS is a pharmaceutical thought to help extinguish fearful memories. It’s usually taken right before exposure therapy, a process that involves recalling traumatic experiences in an effort to nullify the menacing associations that accompany them.

Your tax dollars at work. This is a clue that we will continue to be in a perpetual state of war.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/12/fear-erasing-drugs

_____________________________________________________

photo by Jenna Pope

 

 

 

Everyone's favorite fixer and leg breaker Rahm Emanuel has come a cropper in his plan to close 54 public schools in low income neighborhoods.Three days of  protests have been going on in Chicago to fight back against the biggest public school closing action in the history of the U.S.
 
Teachers, students, and parents marching through the West Side of Chicago today for the 3-day March for Education Justice. "The mayor and Board of Education want to destroy 54 school communities. This will be the largest destruction of schools in U.S. history. We need our neighborhood schools and we should all fight together to save them."

 

_____________________________________________________________________

artwork by mario piperni

In the holy city of Washington DC, otherwise known as Jerusalem-on-the-Potomac, we were treated to the spectacle of two Oklahoma solons rightfully demanding disaster aid for their tornado-stricken state, but only at the cost of insuring that the suffering visited on the people of Oklahoma was transmitted by the miracle of the appropriations process up its on innocent and unsuspecting others located God knows where, but presumably not Oklahoma. "Budget offsets"so the Blessed Messrs. Cobern and Imhofe solemnly intone. In response, we need to visit with the Master, Charlie Pierce.

This is a guy who, one day after a devastating natural disaster killed his own constitutents, said he will not vote to allevate their suffering unless he can inflict some pain on someone somewhere else in the country. And his spokesman defends this as a matter of principle, and uses the worst act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States as a salutary example. (And the link demonstrates that Coburn's aversion to tossing money down various ratholes is not universal.)  Does Senator Coburn really believe you can budget for the unthinkable? That tornadoes are zero-sum events? That you can horse-trade on human suffering as though it were a line-item on a transportation rider? I no longer am willing to try to understand how people like this think. They are monsters and they operate on their own monstrous imperatives.

The attack on the natural instincts of a self-governing political commonwealth has been a long one, a powerful one, and (alas) a very effective one. It has made the politically unthinkable a viable alternative in the face of the literally unimaginable. It is a return to the days where people died alone on the prairies during blizzards, or they drowned in floods along the plains, or they were lost in hurricanes that struck without warning. It's not a great distance removed from staving off severe weather by judging the flights of birds or reading the entrails of a disembowelled goat on a rock. The idea that there is even a "debate" worthy of mentioning over this money shows how far we've fallen.

By the way, here is the City Of Moore's official FAQ page about storm shelters and the like. I may be wrong, but this fairly reeks of defensiveness. The explanation for the lack of storm shelters seems economically prissy and more than a tad lame—people won't use them because they won't leave their pets behind? So, therefore, we don't build one? Really?—and the cruel irony of this tornado is that people were warned specifically not to "shelter in place" but, rather, to get in their cars and drive like hell. There is considerable real-time audio from local radio and TV to that effect. And this is a masterpiece of You're On Your Own, Jack:

"What if I live in a mobile home?
This means that you have additional responsibility for your safety, and that begins much earlier! Mobile homes typically do not offer good shelter from thunderstorm winds, and that means you should find shelter elsewhere—perhaps the house of family or friends. You need to plan your actions long before thunderstorms arrive, and leave early…don't wait until warnings are issued or the sirens are blowing to leave."

Oh, OK.

_____________________________________________________________________

http://mariopiperni.com/

In a week where the Obama administration has managed to resuscitate the cadaver of the Nixon administration through various scandals, and right-wing pols are making hay out of Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!!,  Comes this little noticed and curious aspect to the Benghazi story from one of my favorite cranks, Jon Rappaport.

Just a coincidence. Nothing to see. Move along.

Remember the Benghazi attacks? Remember how the White House rewrote their talking points to scrub out mention of a terrorist attack?

Well, here are some new talking points.

Point one: Star CBS investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, has been discussing leaving CBS since April. She can’t get some of her Benghazi stories on the air. Attkisson was hot on the trail of figuring out who, at the White House, rewrote the Benghazi talking points.

Point two: One sure candidate at the White House? Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser and “mind-melding” speechwriter.

Point three: Who is Ben Rhodes’ brother? He is David Rhodes, who happens to be Sharyl Attkisson’s boss, the president of CBS News.

Point four: Read point three again.

Point five: Those White House Benghazi rewrites scrubbed prior mention of “terror attacks.”

Point six: Again, reporter Attkisson was hot on the trail of the White House fiction writers—which could have led to her boss’s brother.

Point seven: Again, Attkisson got into hot water at CBS for her Benghazi coverage.

Point eight: Again, the president of CBS News, her boss, is the brother of the man who helped organize the White House fiction writing on Benghazi.

The Daily Caller broke this story.

Point nine: Somebody has been fiddling with reporter Attkisson’s computers. Attkisson has been assembling evidence on the what and the who for several months.

As loath as I am to repeat anything uttered in the pages of The Daily Caller–even its very name makes me twitch–even a stopped clock is right twice a day,  Much in the same way that Crazy Uncle Liberty and his son, Sen. Aqua Buddha are often right twice a day. Remains interesting to watch to see if this aspect of the story goes anywhere. Politico's Dylan Byers has a take on this. Little surprise that Attkisson has trouble getting anyone inside the Obama administration to talk to her since most of her stories have often been extremely critical of the administration and often seem to bespeak a partisan political agenda. No duh.

The only thing certain in this murky affair is that House Republicans will do everything possible to keep these flames alive well into the midterm election season. Meanwhile, in at least one poll I saw this morning, House Republicans are writing a 59% disapproval rating. Double down on crazy, boys.

_____________________________________________________________________

IMG_1261

 

Many protesters gathered in Virginia Beach yesterday as part of a March against Monsanto,  one of dozens of such marches organized across the globe in protest of CGI and months and tell and its genetically modified, potentially toxic food.

 

Organizers  were reported to have said the protests were held in 52 countries and 436 cities. Locally, the demonstrators were out in force by the hundreds on a clear, brisk day at the oceanfront that also heralded the beginning of the vacation season.

 

You have to love the creativity of the people who brought signs and banners. Enjoy the examples below. It was a pleasure to reconnect with local occupiers and many other activists, including many people who would not otherwise even dream of being part of a protester a demonstration, yet who are well enough informed to take a keen and abiding interest in real food. One woman held aloft a sign that said, “our children are not eating the same Cheerios we did.”

 

True dat.

IMG_1263 - Version 2

 

IMG_1241

IMG_1244

 

 

IMG_1246IMG_1248

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1249IMG_1251

 

 

 

IMG_1253


Many of the volunteers passed out information flyers explaining what GM owes are. Salient facts included  that most major US food companies managed to keep GM oh ingredients secret from the public. That agribusinesses have spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat Geo labeling laws. Products may contain genetically or all-natural modified foods and still be labeled natural. The most common genetically engineered crops are soy, corn, papaya, rice, cotton, tomatoes, dairy products, potatoes and peas.IMG_1255IMG_1257

 

And herewith a roundup of other news, the bones of which  I have not had the opportunity to chew, and some links that may reward the follower.

Murder is our national sport. We murder tens of thousands with our industrial killing machines in Afghanistan and Iraq. We murder thousands more from the skies over Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with our pilotless drones. We murder each other with reckless abandon. And, as if we were not drenched in enough human blood, we murder prisoners—most of them poor people of color who have been locked up for more than a decade. The United States believes in regeneration through violence. We have carried out blood baths on foreign soil and on our own land for generations in the vain quest of a better world. And the worse it gets, the deeper our empire sinks under the weight of its own decay and depravity, the more we kill. 

–Chris Hedges.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34929.htm

Petrodollar collapse

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-20/guest-post-coming-collapse-petrodollar-system

 
Virginia Republicans take a Great Leap Backward:
 
Add I-5 bridge:
 
NC and renewables
h/t AG
 
See it yourself
 

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." – Frederic Bastiat

 

 

 

 
 
Add Detroit
 
Monsanto and stock rally
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Adios to Orange Blossom and Stranded Assets

Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on April 29, 2013


Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner

I have just returned from Spain, where we had to go at short notice to give a farewell kiss to our stranded asset. Yes, our farmhouse, which had been the focus of all my dreams and efforts a few years back, was finally released from legal limbo land and the keys handed over to the happy new owners. We got back around half of what it cost us to buy it and do it up, but speaking with other people in the same situation we know that we are among the lucky ones.

What a strange place Spain is! This truly is a country where dreams go to die. To the casual visitor it looks like an earthly paradise. The entire region was bursting forth with a trillion wildflowers on our visit, the air was scented with jasmine and orange blossom and the boughs of the lemon trees still hung heavy with fruit. A bumper wet winter had left the Sierra Nevada mountains with a deep snow pack – meaning happy times for farmers in the year ahead – and the local people were just as courteous, graceful, witty and family-oriented as they ever were.

These were among the reasons why, almost ten years ago, we had chosen to go and live there. The ruined house on the side of a fertile hillside had been converted into a small organic farm. Our kids were happy to sit in the shade of an almond tree with a rock and bash open almonds while I either worked on the land or went into the office where I was running a small ecologically-conscious newspaper that I had set up. Life was good.

Or at least it would have been if we hadn’t taken out a loan to renovate the property. In time that loan became an unbearable burden and our dreams slowly dissolved before our eyes as we found ourselves forced to return to work in Copenhagen and live in a government subsidised flat for five whole years. That wasn’t part of the plan.

And we were the lucky ones. Those who steadfastly refused to leave are now stranded. Most foreigners have left the area. Those who stubbornly refuse to lower the asking price of their houses are hit the worst because they can’t cut their losses and move on. Instead they exist in a shadowy half-world of penury, trying desperately to earn a euro here or there and doing anything they can to keep the wolf – or in this case the bank – from the door. The last thing they need is escapees like me parachuting in and pointing out how lovely the smell of orange blossom is in the spring air.

Those with families to support face an unpleasant decision. With all work having dried up many are finding that the only way to feed their families is by doing illegal things. ‘Such as?’ I asked my friend, who is still desperately clinging on in a legal way. ‘All sorts,’ she replied. Dope grows remarkably well in Andalucia.

Only those who can draw money from the currently still-functioning pension systems of northern Europe are faring better. Yet even that may not be a shortcut to safety as healthcare costs are climbing just as they themselves go into decline. The Spanish have a word for foreigners like that. They call them ‘soloistas’ or some such word – loners. People without family who rely on their money from other countries, their healthcare from far away and a cheap and functional system of airlines to take them wherever they need to access these services. Many of them sit in their jerry-built concrete shells by their swimming pools, drink in hand, and convince themselves that they are still living the good life – even though sterling has depreciated, food costs have rocketed and all of their friends have either been evicted or hot-tailed it back to the country they had said they despised before things started to go wrong. Just one more glass of sangria and everything will be okay again …

Spain is a strange place. It has been in a state of free fall collapse for several centuries. One of my favourite writers, Jan Morris, described the country’s fortunes as (paraphrased) ‘like a rock bouncing, bouncing, bouncing down a steep mountain, its descent every now and again arrested by a small outcrop.’ Here was a country that had a vast empire that was able to liquidate – quite literally – the wealth of an entire continent and bring it home. Five centuries later it was one of the most backward regions of the western world and an embarrassment to the EU. And then the money began to pour in.

The money was used to modernise the country in a kind of Spanish Great Leap Forward. It was all about catching up. Building. Building roads and airports and millions and millions homes that nobody really wanted. You want ten thousand euros? – I’ll lend you fifty! Peasant farmers who owned dry and dusty parcels of land in Almeria – land that would have been literally worthless, almost a curse on the family – suddenly found they could borrow thousands from the bank to buy boring equipment, pumps, plastic greenhouses and fertiliser. All of a sudden they were rich on selling tomatoes and lettuces – and all kinds of other tasteless pseudo foods – to the moneyed northern Europeans, and could afford to employ migrant Africans in bonded slave-like conditions. New pickup trucks and a house by a golf course were suddenly the order of the day. It was a boom alright.

I’m happy that the place where we had chosen to live – La Alpujarra –  was considered too backward even for this kind of boom. The roads were too bendy. The people were too simple. The land was too steep and the streets of the local town were full of the dirtiest and most bedraggled kind of New Agers. Sophisticated people from Granada would come and visit in their thousands every weekend and bring with them loud music, iPhones and shiny fast cars. The locals secretly called them ‘aliens’ and kept their mouths shut as they were serving them in their restaurants and guest houses. I’m happy to say I was never called an alien. At least, not to my face.

But what of these urban sophisticates now? They are among the ones we see on the news reports, living on food handouts and protesting against the government. With their safety blanket pulled out, unemployment rocketing (said to have reached 6 million last week) and the country’s political (and royal) classes being steadily exposed as crooks and liars, things suddenly don’t look so rosy. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Not so for my erstwhile neighbours who, by and large, are getting along just fine with their fields and their small houses and appropriately sized vehicles. Fertlizer and pesticides had always been too expensive, so not that many people had got into the habit of using much of them. These folks had always said things were terrible even at the best of times. The country people of Andalucia haven’t forgotten that the region is prone to famines, genocide and an unstable climate. Listen to some proper flamenco and ask yourself if this comes from a land of happy upbeat people.

Driving back down the coastal highway on the way back to the airport it was impossible not to notice how empty it was. This was a Saturday mid-morning and a few years ago one would have expected it to be moderately busy. Now, we saw a car only every few minutes. It felt like the whole road was ours – and this was the widely ballyhooed mega motorway that was supposed to be a ‘ring of tarmac’ encircling the whole of Spain. Sadly uncompleted, like a broken necklace.

In the news today I read that a Spanish woman dowsed herself in petrol and walked into a bank. The bank had taken her house and her savings and everything else she owned. ‘You have taken everything from me!’ were the words she shouted before igniting the fuel. Such stories are increasingly common.

What next for such a country? There is a growing chorus calling for the debt to be abandoned – for the country to walk away from its obligations to the monolithic banks and finance organisations and to set themselves free again. There is, if the truth be told, no other option. Whether it goes smoothly or is done with explosives is the only question worth asking. Alas, Spain’s history, if it can be used as a guide, doesn’t bode well. I’d love for someone to tell me that I’m wrong on this, but I’m not sure I’d believe them.

But I hope that in this case the past is going to prove to be no guide to the future. Spain held out for so long against the Anglo model of capitalism. Petty local corruption, ironically, kept development at bay and ensured the system as a whole remained resilient. It was only the surging tidal wave of EU reforms that swept away the small scale municipal corruption and replaced it with respectable-looking TBTF corruption.

Bounce, bounce down that mountain.

EUROBLOWN: Killing time is an oxymoron

Off the keyboard of John Ward

Published on The Slog on November 15, 2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Table inside the Diner

 

While Greece dangles on a piece of string, Spain is let off the leash.

Olli Rein in Spain normally involves acute pain, but not on this occasion. Last night, the EU’s economy prefect announced that Spain will need no further austerity measures until the end of next year. This despite the fact that the country will miss its deficit targets- in much the same way that the Moon has so far managed to miss the Earth during its daily round-trips over the last 400 billion years.

This is, opined the London FT last night, ‘the clearest sign yet Brussels is backing away from an austerity-focused crisis response’. Rein’s approval is in truth based on nothing more than blind faith in the structural reforms proposed by Spain two months ago…none of which have as yet been enacted or even drafted.

Applying the same criteria to Greece, Athens could justifiably press for a total debt write-off, $600bn in Frankfurt gold, and the head of Herman van Rompuy. But times have changed in the eurozone. The eurozone plan now, in fact, is to kill time completely, by staying in an eternal present. The ideas of Eckhart Tolle have been adopted in toto: the future does not exist, there is only an Eternal Now.

Five days spent down among the unpleasant lowlife of British culture have not taken my eye off the eurozone ball, because the euroball never moves. It is involved in a game of Zen football in which the players are unreal: they dummy, they feint, and they swivel but – having no physical form – they do not affect the stationary nature of the ball. In Zen eurofootball, the ball lands where you want it to, in your head. On the ground, it moveth not.

This is increasingly referred to as Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt ‘killing time’, and I have no doubt the eunatics love that thought, because it suggests they can, rather like Italian scientists after a little too much Campari, transcend the rules of e=mc2.

But you can’t kill time: Einstein knew that, and old Albrecht was never wrong. In the 3D world, killing time is an oxymoron.

Talking of morons, real-life footballers are often referred to as ‘playing for time’, or ‘wasting time’, when they’re 1-0 up with a minute to go. But the difference here is that, at the referee’s whistle, the game is over. In the eurozone, the idea is that the game should never be over, because the problem can never be solved.

In one sense, ever since late 2009 the eurozone has been wasting time. Forgiveness of debt at that stage, with a small bondholder haircut subsidised by the long-suffering taxpayer, would’ve come out at $450bn all up. Anyone who thinks we’re within three noughts of that today is disturbingly unclear about the direction in which Time travels.

The Greek economy contracted by 7.2% in the third quarter just gone, according to data published by ELSTAT two days ago. This might suggest that time is running out, as at this rate, Greece will have no economy at all beyond guns and petrol-bombs by August 2017. I have it on good authority that in that month, things will start to pick up, but that authority has a history of mental illness and is called Christine Lagarde, so don’t bank on it coming to pass.

Mario Draghi’s shtick with Time is to try and make it appear to stand still by reducing all progress on every issue to 0%. Being an intelligent man who obviously understands relativity theory, his is only a slightly sprained form of sanity. Thus last week he relaxed the collateral conditions for the Bank of Greece, but then on August 2, he’d already reduced the amount of repo-able T-Bills the BoG can get from the ECB by €3.5 billion – or roughly 50%. So now Athens has half the money but twice as well collateralised.

It’s what we bankers call ‘a trade off’. Or ‘killing time’. We’ve had Zirp, now comes Zip – Zero Infinite Progress. It’s an ultimate expression of limitless lack of potential from the same stable that brought you friendly fire and negative forward movement going forward.

Liberal Austrian newspaper Der Kurier wrote yesterday that ‘The help from the donor countries is half-hearted and ultimately will only postpone Greece’s bankruptcy rather than averting it’, a timeless observation that should’ve been put into action a long time ago. But the concept of anything from the eurozone being half-hearted is seen by some as a massive increase on cold-hearted.

Unfortunately, back here in real life again, half a heart doesn’t work. The thing with your heart is that you need all of it, or you die in very short order. Another favourite Einstein observation was that if you halve the distance between the mouse and the hole for infinity, the mouse never gets there. But mainly, the mouse never gets there because the cat isn’t working on this principle of movement, and thus eats him. There is a very good parallel for the EU in this one.

Another thing about time is you can’t fool all the people during all of it. David Cameron has his own personal Collider working flat out to try and disprove the famous Abe Lincoln remark, but it looks doomed to failure. After Olli Rehn’s complete capitulation last night, the eurozone’s mantra about treating Greece and Spain equally is finally consigned to the pit. Only the ever-lowering pendulum is left, dropping inexorably until it slices right through the eurozone’s bollocks.

I wonder what my many Greek friends, sources and readers will make of this. Most Spaniards (probably including Mariano Rajoy) will draw the lesson that standing firm coupled with going on strike is an excellent way to get bullies out of one’s face. It’s the standing and firm parts of the strategy that seem to be lacking in the Greek political class. That and, well, honesty, decency, consistency, calm, courage, and a calorie-controlled diet.

Coming of Age in the Age of Oil

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

In what seems to me at times like another life entirely, I reflect back on my years growing up in the Age of Oil.  I wrote some about this in Pump Up the Volume and more about a later period in my life as an Over the Road Trucker.  Still to come at some future date the Pigman Years on Wall Street, the School Teaching Years and so forth, and I still have more Chapters to write on the Over the Road years.

For today though, I am going to review experiences I had travelling around Europe in the summer after my HS Graduation.  I graduated HS at the age of 16, On the Edge of 17.  Skipped a couple of years through the period, moving back from Brazil I was placed up a year enrolling in the NY Shity Public School system, then in Junior High I went into the 2 Year “Special Progress” program they had which allowed you to do the normal 3 Years of JHS in 2 years.

Besides being chronologically pretty young on HS graduation, I also was physiologically pretty young.  I looked probably about age 13-14 when I was travelling around Europe with a Backpack on the Interrail system.  I shaved about once a week at the time to give you a clue as to where my morphology was at the time.

Anyhow, in the 2 years prior to HS graduation I took on summer jobs to save money for my Journey and also for the Hewlett Packard HP-35 Scientific Calculator I coveted to replace my Trusty Slide Rule.  Actually ended up with an HP-45, which came out JIT for my Freshman Year of College at Columbia.  Cost about half my Summer Earnings, and really I would have done fine with just a Slide Rule, but just HAD to have that cool piece of technology.

In the Summer after my Sophomore Year I worked in a Shower Curtain Factory in the Garment District of NYC, before all this shit was moved over to China.   I was actually an Illegal Child Laborer that summer, because I was not old enough for Working Papers until the end of the summer on my Birthday.  Nice Irony that the Son of a Chase Manhattan Pigman Bankster would be a Sweatshop Worker, at least for one summer, eh?  LOL.

Anyhow, this was a Mom & Pop “Factory” which really just took up one floor of an old Warehouse, employed about 4 Hispanic and Chinese ladies Sewing the Curtains and ME putting the Grommet Holes and Grommets into the top of the Shower curtain.  I worked at an entirely mechanical station where I would depress a floor pedal with my foot to cut the holes, then put Grommets into them and use another mechanical machine to squish the grommet halves together, the final completion of the Shower Curtain before Shipment out.

Needless to say, this was EXCEEDINGLY boring work, and by the end of the second week I was about ready to blow my brains out, except at the time I did not own a Gun. LOL.  HTF anyone works these sort of Factory Assembly Line Job for a LIFETIME is beyond me.  Over in China today, Foxconn Workers commit Seppuku on a Daily Basis, and I am not surprised in  the least by that one.

Fortunately I had a friend from HS who had not been able to land a Summer Job, and I handed this job off to him and became the Shipping Clerk.  This was WAY more interesting, I got to not only Fold the Shower Curtains Neatly, but also Tape the Package Closed, Label and Address it and Stamp it with the appropriate postage for its weight.  Numerous tasks of a High Level of RESPONSIBILITY!  LOL.  Joking of course, but compared to stomping your foot over and over again making holes in the top of a Shower Curtain, this was positively INTERESTING stuff.  LOL.  Plus I was earning like $3/hr Minimum Wage and tucking it away in my savings account for my Journey and the Cool Calculator I wanted.

Despite the excruciating BOREDOM of this Summer of Work (my first experience in the “working” world), I somehow made it through without committing Seppuku and at the end had a few hundred DOLLARS in my Bank Account.  My OWN MONEY!

The next Summer, I got my first Job on Wall Street, age 15. 🙂  Courtesy of Dad the Pigman and his friend who was CEO of Merrill Lynch at the time.  I was dropped into the Accounts Receivable Department at a Desk with an Adding Machine, and each morning a Pile of Checks would be dropped on my desk, and my Job was to punch them all into the Adding Machine and run a Tape to tally them up.  You had to do this at least Twice and come up with the same result both times; if the results were different you had to go back through the tape to find the error, even if it was just 1 Penny.  Then you had to run a new tape and get it all RIGHT.  If you made a mistake on this one, Rinse and Repeat.  Before you could turn in your work you had to have 2 perfectly clean tapes with exactly the same result on them.

Well, this also is Mind-Numbingly BORING stuff, and at the time I wasn’t all that great on a 10-Key Pad.  So first off I was SLOW compared all the pro clerks whose fingers just FLEW over the 10-Key.  Second, I generally sucked at this and made mistakes, and the typical Clerk in that sea of desks (no Cubicles at that time) could run 10 Tapes in the time it took me to run 1.  However, I was put there by the CEO, so nobody complained how bad I was, and they were paying me just slightly over the minimum wage by $1.  This however was better than Shower Curtain salary, and I found it marginally COOL at this time to put on a Collar Shirt and Tie each morning for something other than Church or a Wedding.

So in two summers of real “Work”, I managed to save somewhere in the negihborhood of $1500-2000 or so, including Birthday Money and Christmas Money and so forth.  $350 1970s dollars of this went to buy my HP-45 Calculator, the rest I earmarked for my Big Trip to Europe!  A similar Calculator to that HP can now be purchased for around $50 2012 dollars at Walmart.

First deal was to get over there as CHEAP as possible, and at the time a Brit by the name of Freddie Laker started Laker Airlines, run on the same principles of Greyhound Bus Lines, no Reservations you bought your Ticket at the Door and hopped on the Plane.  The price of this ticket I recall was around $150 at the time.

Second Big Expense was the Railpass.  I could have bought a 2nd Class Eurail Pass similar to the Interrail Pass the Eurotrash had access to, but I was advised to buy the 1st Class one, because you generally got several seats empty and could stretch out to sleep lifting up the armrests.  This was a good Investment and worth the extra $200 or so I paid for a 6-week Railpass.  Total cost I recall was $350 or so.

So all in all, the travel cost to get there and the cost of the railpass knocked off about $500 from the Savings, leaving me slightly over $1000 for 8 weeks in Europe.  My Plan was to spend the First and Last Weeks in Jolly Old England around London so I didn’t need the Railpass for that.  So Weekly Budget was around $125, about $18/day.  If I spent $10 on a Hostel bed for the night, that left $8 to Eat with.  However, while the Railpass was Active, I took mainly Night Trains and slept aboard the trains, saving money on Hostels this way.  Also, when in the South of France and in Spain, I slept on the Beaches periodically with other wandering Eurotrash Teens and some Amerikan ones also.  So actual Budget was probably closer to $25/day on days I did not buy a Hostel bed.

By the standards of the Eurotrash Teens Interrailing, I was positively LOADED with money, many of them had NO MONEY with them and just played their Guitars on the Streets to get Daily Change to eat with.  Many of the girls would sleep with you just for a meal and a few bottles of beer.

The first girl I got involved with I did NOT get to sleep with, she was an “Older Woman” Brit Girl around 25.  I met her on a London Bus 2 days after I got to London and she invited me to stay at her “Flat”.  She was kind of Motherly and was surprised to see what looked to her like a 13 year old boy travelling around with a Backpack.  She heard my “Amerikan Accent” talking to the Fare Collector on the Bus and started a conversation with me.  Anyhow, she saved me several days of Hostels even though she refused my overtures for Nookie. LOL.

From there at the end of the Week I Activated my Railpass and got on a Hovercraft over to France, also covered with the First Class Eurail Pass.  It also covered Ferries to Greece and Ireland, it was an incredible Bargain.

Arriving in Paris I walked around for a while navigating with a Map I picked up at the train station and a little Book I had which listed all the Hostels, restaurants etc that Students could go to on the cheap.  However, the first two Hostels I hit were DUMPS, plus the Desk people in both places were RUDE beyond belief, and that is coming from a New York Shity boy quite used to Rude People.  LOL.  I  stayed one night in Paris and headed for the Train Station in the morning, Destination SCANDINAVIA!

Like most 16 year old boys, the Numero Uno thing on my mind was SEX!  I wasn’t travelling around Europe to absorb the Culture or eat Foreign Cuisine, I wanted to GET LAID!  LOL.  A few years before I headed to Europe the film “I am Curious, Yellow” had been released in the FSoA, it was a Swedish Produced X-Rated Film, the first such film I ever saw.  Produced in 1967, but I don’t think it made it to the FSoA until the early 70s.  At least I didn’t see it until the 70s, I am sure I was at least 13 or 14 when I saw it.  The film convinced me Swedish Girls would jump into the sack at the drop of a hat.  LOL.

Anyhow, arriving in Stockholm with a Roll of Quarters in my Pants (LOL), I was disappointed to find out that there weren’t too many Swedish girls running around Naked and besides that Stockholm was ridiculously EXPENSIVE.  Even the Hostel was expensive and the restaurants were ridiculous.  So once again I spent one night in Stockholm, then headed back to take the train to…AMSTERDAM!

Amsterdam was (and still is I think) famous for its Red Light District, where State Sanctioned Prostitution is Legal.   Also plenty of DRUGS floating around Amsterdam at that time, it was the Hashish Capital of Northern Europe I think.  There was also VERY cheap Hostelling available in Amsterdam, I stayed on a Barge in a Canal that charged $5/night.  It was so cheap and entertaining I stayed in Amsterdam a whole Week, going to Dance Clubs, Smoking Hash at night on the Barge with the Eurotrash and even wandering the Red Light District to Buy some SEX.  I never did though because first off the $50 the Pros were charging was Outta Budget, and second they just did not seem very appealing to me sitting in their Windows in Garter Belts and so forth.

I DID finally get laid in Amsterdam though, but NOT by Eurotrash, Dutch Prostitutes or Swedish Girls, but by another Amerikan!  Met her in a Club, invited her back to my dive on the Barge and did the horizontal bop after Bonging several bowls of Hash with her!  However, she ditched me after 2 days for somebody else.  She was in Europe to do the same thing I was, collect Notches on her Gunbelt, without having her “reputation” sullied at home.

I did learn in Amsterdam though that the best ACTION was down in the South in Spain, Italy and Greece and that’s where all the Hot Topless Girls were to be found  on the beaches also!  So after getting Ditched by the Yank Slut it was off for the long Train Ride down south, and I elected to go to Greece first since I was nearing Midway in the Adventure.  This was the furthest to get to and required a Ferry Ride from Brindisi in Italy over to Igoumenitsa in Greece as I recall.

Greece was really cool from the traditional Tourista viewpoint, checking out the Acropolis and Parthenon and so forth, the Food was cheap and great also but I didn’t meet any GIRLS there.  Also, apparently the best places to Vacation in Greece were on the Greek Islands, and to get to them you had to have a Yacht for the most part.  I went down to one of the Yacht Clubs to see about hooking on as Crew since I know how to Sail, and a Kraut dude with a really NICE 50′ Beneteau Yacht was agreeable to my crewing for him.  Just when he made a pass at me after a few drinks I got the picture on that one and elected not to go for that cruise.  Turned out to be a good choice since had I taken that cruise I would have missed meeting Ingrid later in Nice.

So I did not see much of Greece on this trip, it wasn’t until a cupla  years later when I leased a Yacht with some friends that I got to Cruise the Greek Islands, which really were marvelous in those days and might still even be.  The Plumbing was Crude to non-existent and many of the Tavernas cooked over open flame BBQs, but all the fish, feta cheese, olives, lamb chops and produce were Local so in theory they could still be OK.  35 years later though much has changed, so probably not.

So, it was back to the Port at Igoumenitsa to catch the Ferry back to Brindisi, where I met a Finnish couple, a Guy & Girl travelling together, quite common also of course.    I’ll change some names here to maintain Anon some, call them Jensen and Janna.  I met Jensen first, I was playing Chess against myself waiting for the Ferry and he asked me if I would like to Play some with him.  This before the days you had laptop computers or I-Pads to play against of course.  I had a little Pocket Magnetic Set  I played on with me, and it was a pretty good conversation starter on all the Plane Rides and Train Rides I took.  Almost always found a Chess Player in Europe.

Jensen was pretty good too, and he was funny in a Dour sort of way as well.  We were playing for about an hour when Janna showed up, and OMFG she was STUNNING.  I was IN LOVE with her the minute I saw her.  Jesse’s Girl though.  I was DETERMINED though I would get into Janna’s Pants, and after three days travelling with them I did.  Unfortunately by day 5 Jensen figured this out, we got in a Fistfight, Janna was crying and pleading with Jensen telling him she was SORRY and I felt like a complete ASSHOLE, which of course I WAS!  So I split off from Janna and Jensen in Italy after about 5 days of the Adventure of trying to STEAL another guy’s Girlfriend.

In Italy the first city I hit to check out after the split was Rome, and I did the Tourist thing checking out the Vatican and Michaelangelo’s artwork and so forth.  I wasn’t looking for Nookie for a couple of days there, the experience with Janna and Jensen had made me feel very GUILTY and STUPID.  But of course, being On the Edge of Seventeen and all by day 3 I was once again HUNTING for BABES!  That is how it GOES when you are a Male On the Edge of Seventeen.  Everybody Knows.

Nothing real good turned up in Rome, so it was back on the Interrail to head for Nice in the South of France this time, where I had been told the Beaches were PACKED with Topless Girls, which in fact was TRUE!  On one of those Beaches I AT LAST met my Swedish Girl, again for anonymity purposes I will change the name here to Ingrid.  I invited her to come with me to Venice, where I promised a Swell Hotel Room and she AGREED to come!  She was with her Sister Ilsa though who had promised Parents back in Sweden to watch out for her, so she hadda come also.  I was playing the part of Filthy Rich Amerikan Boy and really had done pretty well conserving my money for the first few weeks in Europe, so I felt I could AFFORD to buy a Swell Hotel Room for a few days.

On the train to Venice is where we met Torsten, the Danish Dude I spoke about in Jason Happenstall’s thread about Denmark.  I visited with Torsten a few years later on another trip and got to see the Immaculate City of Copenhagen. Torsten and Ilsa Hit it Off, so now we were nicely Coupled Up by the time we arrived in Venice.

Upon arrival in Venice, we went  a-walking around to find a Hotel Room, and came upon a Bed & Breakfast down an Alley that was pretty non-descript from the front, with an Old Italian Lady who managed it.  She gave us a big bright SMILE when we came in, and asked how long we would like to stay.  I said a Week, and her Smile got even BIGGER.  LOL.  It was $50/night, but $300 for the Week.  She took us upstairs to the second floor and showed us the room.  It was all OLD furniture, I mean REALLY OLD.  The Bed where all the Banging went on was a four poster that probably was 100 years old at least.  Lord Only Knows how many people Banged on that Bed over the Decades/Centuries.  LOL. Despite the Age,  it was all IMMACULATE.  It had one Window which was Floor to Ceiling, and openning it it was right over a Main Canal  with a FABULOUS view of this part of Venice.  Had a tiny Balcony as well, though not really big enough to do anything but stand on.

Anyhow, I sure wish I could have stayed in that Bed & Breakfast FOREVER with Ingrid, but sadly I did not have an endless Deep Pocket plus I also had to start working my way back to Jolly Old England because my Railpass only had 6 weeks on it, and I already had used up about 4-5 of them.  So sadly with tears in my eyes, I bid adieu to my Swedish Amour and began my journey back to England, with my Stash of Cash now seriously Depleted.  In fact, I had barely more than the cost of the $150 Ticket on Freddie Laker’s Air Bus necessary to make it back to the FSofA after this adventure.  I spent FREELY buying us great dinners in Venice and plenty of nice bottles of Italian Wine as well, so there was just about nothing left for me to eat on for the trip back.  Weeks of work in the Shower Curtain Factory and pounding the 10-Key at Merrill Lynch were spent in that one wonderful week.   I bought Baguettes and Cheese at Grocery Stores, slept on the trains and in the train stations for the 3-4 days it took me to get back to London.  I lived on the approximately $2/day the typical 3rd Worlder lives on now, except in 1970s Dollars which bought substantially more then.  I also had the Pre-Paid Railpass as well of course.

I had hoped to be able to crash again with the Brit Mommy type who befriended me when I arrived in London, but she apparently was not in town or busy when I got back.  I called her twice the first day and never got an answer, this in the days before Answering Machines and Voicemail.  She probably was on Vacation or just not home.

The REASON I called her was this:

All the Students and other Cheap Travellers who had come over to Eurotrashland through the Summer all converged on London at the end of the summer in the last week before the Colleges reopenned for the Fall Semester here in the FSoA.  Freddie was only running a few planes, and they could not handle so many passengers all at once.  The rest of the Airline Tickets were double or triple his price.  So THE BIG QUEUE formed along the Thames river, hundreds if not thousands of young Amerikans seeking to get BACK to the FSoA all at once on the cheap flights of Freddie Laker.  It took DAYS of waiting in this Queue, which was very informal really, Freddy did not organize it, we did.

Along the Thames River, hundreds of Shanty shacks were set up by Students with No Tents with them.  They were constructed from Plastic, Pallets, Scrap Wood, old newspapers and Boxes from Grocery stores.  The average wait was 2-3 days in the queue.  I  have Googled to find Pictures of this time, but apparently either nobody ever put them up or else Google won’t find them.  The Entrepreneurs walked the line Hawking T-shirts which read “Better Laker than Never” and “‘Sooner or Laker“.  Not a lot different than an OWS encampment, just not as nice with commercially produced Tents and Tarps.

Unlike my less well prepped neighbors, I DID have a Tent, and an Air Matress too!  This made me a VERY popular guy amongst the Ladies, even more Popular than the guys who had some Hash to smoke. 🙂  So the 3 Days I spent on the Big Queue on the Thames River were actually a lot of FUN and I would have stayed longer except I was 100% OUT OF CASH even for Food so I hadda get home.  Besides, Freshman Orientation at Columbia was starting in around 2 or 3 days.

Now, in a conversation a while back with Diner Karpatok, I mentioned that I was “Serially Monogamous” and did not Indiscriminately Bang a lot of Coeds in College.  This story of course belies that claim, but the Eurail Adventure was an anomaly and only represents 8 weeks out of my whole life.  In total during that 2 months I think I banged 5 different girls, which was more than in all my years of College.  That was what all the Teens and 20s  Interrailing were DOING!  It was the whole reason for making these Journeys.  It represented a form of Coming of Age in the Age of Oil over in Europe.

Is there anything else which makes this Article “Peak Oil” and “Collapse” related?  Not on the surface of course, it’s just more Autobio off my keyboard  so the readers get a better Picture of the guy who writes all the DOOM on the pages of the Doomstead Diner.  But in subtext there is much related to these themes.

First off, the Cheap Airfare which got me over to Europe in the first place is among the first thing that is going to dissappear here, and horny HS Graduates here who want to go traipsing around Europe looking for I Am Curious Yellow Swedish Girls will not be doing this much longer.  The Swedish Girls themselves won’t be travelling around doing this either in Spain and Greece, where they are likely to get caught up in a Riot.  Many people all travelling around willy-nilly being “Tourists” is going the way of the Dinosaur here, and will not return anytime too soon.

The next relationship is the Eurail system itself, probably the most comprehensive Inter-City Mass Transit system anywhere in the entire world.  Because of it, if any neighborhood can survive to maintain an Industrialized lifestyle for a while WITHOUT Carz, it is in Europe.  Only though for as long as they can keep those Trains running, and the Rail system in Eurotrashland has ALWAYS been Goobermint Subsidized, never paid for itself in any way.  It’s pretty hard to imagine how the Greek and Spanish Goobermints are going to be able to afford to subsidize their portions of the Network here pretty soon.  Not to mention the Tres Gran Vitesse.

Beyond the Financial problem of running that rail system is the Energy problem.  Even though they mostly do not use Oil or Gas like Carz do for their energy input, its going to become harder and harder for all these countries to get enough Coal and/or Nat Gas to provide enough Electricity to keep them running.  Its unlikely anyone will build anymore Nukes there for Electricity Generation, and you can’t push Big Trains around with Windmills.  So even though the Rail System might run a few more years than the Carz/Trucks system, its longer term sustainability likelihood is equally small.  Besides, without Touristas zipping around on these Trains to Gawk at Old Buildings, eat in 5-Star Restaurants or Bang Swedish Girls, such Inter-City transport does not have a whole lot of Utility.  The main thing the rail system might be used for as long as it can be maintained would be to move FOOD around Europe and keep the population somewhat fed..  Except probem there would be that each Country doesn’t really have much Surplus Food to ship to any other country, particularly not once the Tractors run Outta Gas.

The Europeans were the first to Industrialize with the Steam Engine used at first mainly to pump water out of Coal Mines so more Coal could be Mined to provide Energy for said Steam Engines, in a “Virtuous Economic Cycle” for so long as there was Plenty-o-Cheap Coal to mine anyhow.  In Fitting Irony here, it also appears the Europeans are going to be the First of the major Industrialized societies to fall off this Energy and Economic Cliff, and we can continue here to watch them as the Canary in the Coal Mine for what will eventually Cross the Pond and come down here as well.

How LONG will it take for this to Cross the Pond?  This remains an unanswered question, but it doesn’t seem to me like it will be all that long here.  It seems to me that this Journey, the Journey to the End of the Age of Oil is…wait for it…

…Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You.

 

RE

 

Disintegration

Off the keyboard of Steve from Virginia

Posted on Economic Undertow on September 22,2012

Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner



The economic crisis in Europe and elsewhere deepens, political systems are unable to respond, conditions are rapidly spiraling out of control.

 

 

In English, this remark from the Chinese social networking site, Weibo:

 

beijingwanbao: We can adapt as times change. If the foreign devils haven’t said the U.S. army won’t get involved, what are we doing tying up our own hands and feet? If we don’t even have this measure of resolve, we’ll just be blackmailed. //@tracelesstraveler: China affirms it would not use nuclear weapons first. //@beijingwanbao: “Starting a Sino-Japanese War: Comparing Weaponry in Pictures” http://t.cn/zWsiGrC (via @milnews) Why waste energy? Skip to the main course and drop an atomic bomb. Simple.Reposts: 2082 Comments: 974

 

Beijing Wanbao is a Chinese capital city news broadcaster. The frenzy is about the purchase of the Senkaku Islands, a couple of uninhabitable islands by the Japanese government from their private owners last week. These islands are located near Formosa.

 

Around 1900, Japanese entrepreneur Koga Tatsushirō constructed a bonito processing plant on the islands with 200 workers. The business failed in 1940 and the islands have remained deserted ever since.

 

Back then, nobody cared …

 

The islands came under US government occupation in 1945 after the surrender of Japan ended World War II. In 1969, the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) identified potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands.

 

The xenophobic, paranoid hyper-nationalism of the Chinese is never far from the surface, the smallest scratch brings it to the surface:

More Weibo: the sign says, “Even if China becomes nothing but tombstones, we must exterminate the Japanese; even if we have to destroy our own country, we must take back the Diaoyu Islands.”

Kill humans so that there might be cars!

It’s not just about the oil, it’s about the denial about the oil: the banner is posted in front of an Audi automobile dealership by employees. Without the presumed gusher of fuel from Diaoyu-Senkaku Islands, cars are a hard-sell. The Chinese fanatics defend both their pocketbook interests and their new-found adoration of the sports sedan. The Chinese are late to the party and they know it: the furious desperation with which they grasp their last, best chance is indicative. They will have their wasteful moment in the sun and they will blow up anything and everything that stands in their way.

Like Americans, the Chinese have bet the rent money on endless supremacy of the automobile over all other things into the far distant future. Cognitive dissonance: what the banner holders don’t grasp is their cars devour the fuel supply that they themselves are willing to kill and die for. Each Chinese dies twice, once to gain oil concessions then again when their pet cars burn up the fuel supply. At the end of the day, the Chinese have nothing to show for their human sacrifices other than some used cars … and massive debts that cannot be repaid.

All of this and violent anti-Japanese riots on top of threats by the Chinese establishment to bankrupt Japan by dumping its collection of Japanese IOU’s on the market at once.

Clearly the American Way loses something in the translation to Chinese. Cars cease being ‘fun’ when they become instrumental to mass destruction.

China’s fury is misdirected: the Japanese are flat broke, depending upon the Bank of Japan to keep the debt collectors at bay for one more day (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard):

 

The Bank of Japan is to buy a further 10 trillion yen (US$130bn) of bonds, bringing the total accumulated so far in its battle against deflation to 80 trillion yen, or 20pc of Japanese GDP.Jun Azumi, Japan’s finance minister, praised the bank’s “bold” efforts to hold down the yen, lending credence to suspicions that the real motive is to counter “beggar-thy-neighbour” currency devaluations by other powers and prevent the strong yen choking Japan’s export industry.Yunosuke Ikeda, from Nomura, said the Bank of Japan had yielded to “immense political pressure” after months of criticism.

 

Japan seeks to protect its own precious automobile industry, the central bank jumps on the quantitative easing bandwagon in an attempt to keep the status quo intact. The fact of mass, coordinated QE speaks for itself. Meanwhile, the crisis in Europe takes a political turn (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard):

 

Spain risks break-up as Mariano Rajoy stirs Catalan fury.

The ruling parties of Catalonia have sought guidance from Brussels on the legality of secession from Spain, requesting a “route map” for membership of the European Union and the euro as an independent state.

Jose-Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the (Spanish) foreign minister, threw down the gauntlet, calling Catalan secession “illegal and lethal”. He warned that Spain would use its veto to stop the region of Catalonia becoming an EU member “indefinitely”.

Catalan leader Artur Mas held high-stakes talks with Mr Rajoy in Madrid on Thursday, armed with a mandate from the Catalan parliament and with charged emotions left from an unprecedented protest by 1.5m people in Barcelona 10 days ago.

He demanded an independent treasury for the rich Catalan region, with control over its own tax base akin to the model already enjoyed by Basques. The 9m Catalans have an economy the size of Austria’s.

[ … ]

A serving army officer, Colonel Francisco Alaman, has fueled the flames by comparing the crisis with 1936 – when Gen Francisco Franco seized power – and by vowing to crush Catalan nationalists, described as “vultures”.

“Independence for Catalunya? Over my dead body. Spain is not Yugoslavia or Belgium. Even if the lion is sleeping, don’t provoke the lion, because he will show the ferocity proven over centuries,” he said.

Retired Lt-Gen Pedro Pitarch, a former army chief, said the words reflect “deeply-rooted thinking in large parts of the armed forces”. He also accused Madrid of bungling the Catalan drama disastrously.

“Are we looking at a failed state?” he asked. Investors holding Spanish debt are listening carefully.

 

There are disputes, violence and disturbances relating to oil and other resources in the Arctic, in northern, eastern, southern and western Africa, out and out war in the Middle East, in the Eastern Mediterranean littoral, the Persian Gulf in both Iran and Bahrain, in South Asia, as well as political gridlock in Europe, Japan and the United States. Every day the world steps closer to the precipice. As the economic tools prove to be useless to stem decline what remains are military tools, the means to simply steal from others. The imperial West has resorted to these tools already, to kill all of us so that (presumably) all of us might drive.

All of the above is more Peak Oil denial, like the ‘Central Bank Printing Money’ meme. The gist of the militarist argument is that stealing resources is a permanent solution to resource constraints, that the resources are available to steal, that they will be better employed by the thief.

China, Japan, Spain and the rest are bankrupted by their unaffordable automobiles. None of these countries can pay for their past consumption of non-renewable resources. They have borrowed in the past and seek to borrow now, to pay for the resources and to retire older debts.

Meanwhile, the same countries have nothing worthwhile to offer as payment for the resources they need tomorrow … or for the generations to come. They consume the means with which to pay. They offer up comic-book drek … of a careless future the outlines of which are becoming more clear. In the place of a fanciful futurama of robot kitchens and flying cars, there is a continual unraveling accompanied by denial of the same unraveling, a collective inability to respond appropriately leading to system breakdown: more cognitive dissonance.

 

Reality about energy supplies begins to emerge and it’s as ugly for ‘Autoworld’ as Thanksgiving is for turkeys. Peak Oil has blitzed the Greek economy into the dumpster with stunning dispatch, so much so it seems beyond the ability of sensible Greeks to understand what happened to them. Greece isn’t a hedge fund or an over-leveraged investment bank peddling fubar MBS out of a back room but a modern, middle-class nation with a (semi)functioning government and a four-thousand year history: all that except for the history is gone … in a heartbeat. Fall asleep in Greece, wake up in Angola.

— from ‘God, Peak Oil and Turkeys’ (March, 2012)

Nobody will admit that Greece was undone by peak oil, nobody will even discuss it or entertain the possibility! This isn’t economists in 2004 missing a prediction about what might happen in 2008. This is an entire army of exceptionally well-paid, over-educated analysts, policy makers, business leaders, economists, educators, pundits, energy bloggers, fiction writers, poets and bass fishermen not seeing what is taking place right under their noses!

Now it is Spain’s turn to be swept off the table by its automobile waste. The only issue is how long will the process take. Using Greece as a model, once the establishment is admittedly insolvent, the spasm of national ruin and follow-on decline is almost instantaneous.

Like Greeks, the Spanish bet the rent on the American Way waste-based consumer economy, not realizing it was a scam. Now that they ‘know’ (or are dimly aware) there is nothing they can do about it, there is nothing the Spanish want to do about it. Like the Greeks the Spanish want the euro, they want the cars they want the modernity and will continue to do so even when the Spanish economy completely collapses. The Spanish have spent centuries living off the soil in small villages and they have no desire to return.

Same with the Chinese and Japanese.
“There’s a lot of momentum embedded in the passion of Chinese here to adopt higher-standard of living … they want their apartment, they want their cars, they want their air conditioning.

— Bloomberg
These countries’ chances to turn aside from faddish consumerism came and went decades ago. They caught themselves in the self-reinforcing web of fashion … that requires chic Spaniards/Greeks/Japanese/Chinese to have a shiny new cars, luxury jobs, designer ‘accessories’, new houses in the suburbs and ‘resorts’. Add the predatory lenders and ruthless manufacturers, shills and gamblers and the moderns were doomed. They had no idea what it was they were signing their futures away for, they believed the salesmen rather than following common sense.

All of this overhead structure is precariously balanced upon slender resources. The amounts of oil near the Senkaku Islands look to be very small. Information from the International Energy Agency (IEA, 2008)

Field Estimated Oil Reserves (Mbbl)
Canxue 5
Baoyunting 4.5
Chunxiao 3.8<
Cuanqaio 2.2
Wuyunting 1.9
Tianwaitin .5
Total: 17.9

Twenty million barrels is an insignificant amount of oil to go to war over. Presumably there is more than the 20 million … that can be retrieved by improved drilling. Yet, even 2 billion- or 20 billion barrels of proven reserves would do little to address the 10 million barrel per day consumption habits of the Japanese and Chinese. A decade and more of extraction enterprise is required to bring any oil to the markets. In the meantime, the world’s other oil wells relentlessly decline. Bloated demand outruns all possible sources of new supply. The only question is how long will it be until this demand is bankrupted?

 

Next goes Europe, itself. The Greek default closes the book on Europe in its current form, which is a lost cause. It is the end of the beginning: there is not going to be any ‘recovery’ or way back from the abyss that is now engulfing the continent. Some fragments here and there might save themselves for a little while, then like sparks from a bonfire be swept away by the wind. The crisis must now burn itself out: Europeans, look to yourselves and may your turkey-God have mercy on your souls.

 

Not much longer, children ….

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Off the keyboard of RE

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

The Anniversary date of Occupy Wall Street has passed, barely a Blip on the Radar in the pantheon of major Newz Events unfolding around the world these days.  Die hard OWSers showed up on Wall Street, vastly outnumbered by the Massed Force of the World’s 7th Largest Army, the NYPD of Billionaire Mayor Micheal Bloombug.

With the exception of a few Striking Teachers in Chicago who Capitulated after a mere 6 Days of Striking, Amerika mostly proceeds onward here in gradual deterioration of Opportunity for most people, while a few at the top have access to the now ENDLESS supply of ZIRP Funny Money being produced by Da Fed.

Over in Asia, disgruntled Chinese are taking their Anger out on the Japanese, who didn’t manage to succeed in dominating China though WWII, but as the Chief Agent for Anglo-Illuminati Bizness Interests have done a pretty good job dominating China in the post-War years, accessing their Cheap Labor  and sieving profit out of that land mass for their Illuminati Masters.

Now the Nipponese are in their own World of Shit as Fuk-u-shima inexorably poisons their water supply, agricultural produce and fisherie, and so they covet some disputed Islands that they say they “own”, while the Chinese say they “own” them.  Mixed into that Ballgame, NATO is working on setting up more Oz Military fortresses and the Chinese are Talking a Bond War on the Nips, while their Hackers mess around with a few dozen websites to show they are SERIOUS.

Over in MENA, Syria remains a sewer, the Israelis keep Trash Talking the Iranians and Putin occasionally flexes Ruskie Muscle.  So the Flashpoints for International War between major Global Nation States are all in place here in many places, A False flag or even a REAL Flag might at some point get any of these rolling onward here.  But is INTERNATIONAL WAR, aka Global WWIII the most likely outcome here?  It may happen, but IMHO is subsidiary to the CIVIL WARS which are going to Sprout like Mushrooms as time goes by here.

Ambrose Evans Pritchard of the UK Telegraph  had this to say about the recent shenanigans going on over in Spain:

Tens of thousands marched in Madrid at the weekend to protest against drastic cuts, including a 7pc cut in public wages. A man set fire to himself in Portugal, where clashes turned violent.

The protests followed a traumatic week in Catalonia, where 1.5m took to the streets amid a wave of secessionist demands. Catalan leader Artur Mas has been swept by events into open confrontation with Madrid. Mr de Guindos pleaded for time, insisting that the reforms would lay the foundations for recovery. “These sacrifices are absolutely unavoidable.”

His claims were badly undercut by Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz, who told a Spanish forum that German austerity medicine is “utterly misguided” and will push Spain deeper into a downward spiral. It would be “suicidal” for Spain to accept a rescue if it involved more fiscal tightening, he said.

You know what the word secession means of course.  Same thing it meant here in the FSoA in the 1860s.  Southerners will often refer to the Civil War as the War of Secession or the War of Northern Aggression.

In another of the remakes of 1930s Cinema, Spain is on the brink of Civil War.

Like the Civil War here, the Spanish Civil War was really about the transition from the Agricultural Economy to the Industrial one.

From Wiki:

At the end of the 19th century, the owners of large estates, called latifundia, held most of the power in a land-based oligarchy. The landowners’ power was unsuccessfully challenged by the industrial and merchant sectors.[9] In 1868 popular uprisings led to the overthrow of Queen Isabella II of the House of Bourbon. In 1873 Isabella’s replacement, King Amadeo I of the House of Savoy, abdicated due to increasing political pressure, and the short-lived First Spanish Republic was proclaimed.[10][11] After the restoration of the Bourbons in December 1874,[12] Carlists and anarchists emerged in opposition to the monarchy.[13][14] Alejandro Lerroux helped bring republicanism to the fore in Catalonia, where poverty was particularly acute.[15] Growing resentment of conscription and of the military culminated in the Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909.[16] After the First World War, the working class, the industrial class, and the military united in hopes of removing the corrupt central government, but were unsuccessful.[17] Fears of communism grew.[18] A military coup brought Miguel Primo de Rivera to power in 1923, and he ran Spain as a military dictatorship.[19] Support for his regime gradually faded, and he resigned in January 1930.[20] There was little support for the monarchy in the major cities, and King Alfonso XIII abdicated;[21] the Second Spanish Republic was formed, whose power would remain until the culmination of the Spanish Civil War.[22]

In Spain between WWI and WWII, it was finally the Industrialists time to take control over this country, which they had not been successful with in the 19th Centruy as they had with Britain, Germany and the FSoA.  A Military Coup d’Etat was organized up with Generallisimo Francisco Franco as the Strongman, backed by the other Fascist States of Europe at the time, the Italians led by Il Duce Benito Mussolini and the Krauts led by Der Fuehrer Adolf Hitler.  The Ruskies were funding the Loyalists, which ironically represented the traditional Landowners of the Feudal system but had a large Grassroots component which represented the Peasant class of Spain at the time.

The Spanish Civil War was particularly violent (though all such conflicts really are pretty nasty), and is best known to Amerikans through the writings of Ernest Hemingway in his Novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls“, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and made also into a film starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.  At the end of the story, Hemingway’s Protagonist Robert Jordan is wounded  and makes his Last Stand to take out as many Fascists as he can while his Guerilla Fighter friends and True Love Maria make their escape.

The theme of Self-Sacrifice in Civil War and the conflicts to come in this Go Round are ones often explored around the Tables inside the Diner, as each person attempts to work out for themselves how they will react when confronted with such situations.

For those of us currently living inside the FSofA, these choices still seem Far Off, far enough off that most folks do not even want to consider them.  More often the discussions are about how you might try to AVOID becoming Cannon Fodder in such a war and how to achieve basic survival with enough Food and Fresh Water and Shelter once the current systems holding our society together begin to break down.

It is however unlikely that most of us will be able to avoid the consequences of the breakdown of Industrial Society, already well in progress across much of the world as we speak.  The ongoing Wars both Civil and International all throughout MENA now are the direct consequence of diminishing Available Energy from Fossil Fuels, and the diminishing ability to bring the “benefits” of Industrial Civilization to more societies, or even to maintain them in the societies that took them on in the aftermath of WWI and WWII.

This diminishing capacity to maintain the Industrial Society is already most apparent in the Western societies in Greece and now Spain as well.  Greece is a relatively small economy though, and in order to keep the banking system from suffering a Cascade Failure numerous Kludges have been undertaken to prevent an outright Officially recognized Default from occurring there.  The Greeks themselves are not doing any better with the perpetual Bailouts of their banking system, but their political organization is in complete dissarray and Greece is well on its way to becoming a Failed State on the model of Somalia or Zimbabwe.  Critical difference there in terms of general perceptions is that this is in EUROPE, not in AFRICA.

While the problem inside Greece can be masked somewhat, it is not so easy to mask the SAME problems occurring on a larger scale in Spain.  The much larger scale of the problem along with long standing animosity between the Castillians and Catalonians have now created a clear division in Spain, not dissimilar in many respects to the division in the Muslim world between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.  Like that situation where all are Muslims, in Spain they are all Roman Catholics.  The division here is more along traditional Tribal Lines rather than all that much disagreement on Religious principles.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard contributed a bit more to this yesterday in another article about the possibilities for Secession by the Catalonians:

 

Catalonian independence graffiti

It is the latest move in a fast-escalating clash between Catalan nationalists and Spanish nationalists, the latter backed by King Juan Carlos and the Spanish military.

Jose-Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the foreign minister, threw down the gauntlet, calling Catalan secession “illegal and lethal”. He warned that Spain would use its veto to stop the region of Catalonia becoming an EU member “indefinitely”.

The constitutional crisis has eclipsed the parallel drama of a Spanish bail-out request from the European Stability Mechanism. It is no longer clear whether premier Mariano Rajoy can deliver on any austerity deal with Brussels.

Catalan leader Artur Mas held high-stakes talks with Mr Rajoy in Madrid on Thursday, armed with a mandate from the Catalan parliament and with charged emotions left from an unprecedented protest by 1.5m people in Barcelona 10 days ago.

He demanded an independent treasury for the rich Catalan region, with control over its own tax base akin to the model already enjoyed by Basques. The 9m Catalans have an economy the size of Austria’s.

“It did not go well,” he said. The Rajoy government said Spain’s constitution allows no margin for compromise. Mr Mas refused to meet the press in the prime minister’s offices, retreating to the Catalan delegation, where he spoke before the Catalan and EU flags. “Constitutions may or may not be modified, but they do not subjugate the will of the people,” he said.

Catalonia’s parliament will meet next week to “think deeply” about its next fateful step. “Catalonia will follow its path. We have no enemies but we will build our own project as a country,” said Mr Mas.

The newspaper Confidencial reported that his Convergència i Unió (CiU) party and coalition partners have asked the European Commission whether Spain can prevent Catalans exercising democratic self-determination, and whether a sovereign Catalonia could remain part of the EU’s single market and the euro.

The speed of events has caught almost everybody by surprise, including Mr Mas himself. His CiU has, until now, pursued a policy of calculated ambiguity over secession. Mr Mas has pivoted quickly, embracing what he calls the “popular outcry” as his own.

The antagonisms date back to the Franco era and, above all, to 1714 when Philip V abolished all Catalan institutions, and imposed Castilian laws and absolutism by right of conquest.

Diplomats say Mr Rajoy’s Partido Popular has provoked the latest eruption of fury by exploiting the economic crisis to break the power of the regions. This came to a head over the summer when Catalonia was forced to request a €5bn rescue from Madrid, though it is a net contributor to the Spanish state.

Spain’s economic slump has frayed nerves across the country, much as it did before the Civil War in the 1930s. Unemployment has risen to 25.1pc and may go higher as the delayed effects of austerity bite deeper.

Citigroup expects the economy to contract by 3.2pc next year and 0.8pc in 2014, pushing public debt to 100pc of GDP.

Chief economist Willem Buiter said the mix of austerity and reform will not restore Spain to “fiscal sustainability”, even if EU loans keep Spain going for another couple of years. He expects “debt restructuring” in the end. The warm glow of the European Central Bank’s bond plan helped Spain sell 10-year debt at 5.66pc on Thursday, the lowest since February.

Mr Rajoy appears to determined to play for time, hoping that he can muddle through without a rescue.

Traders say such gamesmanship is unlikely to succeed for long. Mr Rajoy also hopes to siphon off part of the €100bn in EU rescue package for Spanish banks, but this is certain to infuriate Germany’s Bundestag.

Spanish politics are now intruding, in any case. An EU bail-out memorandum would have to include fiscal restraint for the regions, further inflaming Catalonia.

The risks of a misjudgement are growing. The king caused irritation in Catalonia this week by warning against the seduction of “chimeras” – his first such crisis intervention since 1981.

A serving army officer, Colonel Francisco Alaman, has fuelled the flames by comparing the crisis with 1936 – when Gen Francisco Franco seized power – and by vowing to crush Catalan nationalists, described as “vultures”.

“Independence for Catalunya? Over my dead body. Spain is not Yugoslavia or Belgium. Even if the lion is sleeping, don’t provoke the lion, because he will show the ferocity proven over centuries,” he said.

Retired Lt-Gen Pedro Pitarch, a former army chief, said the words reflect “deeply-rooted thinking in large parts of the armed forces”. He also accused Madrid of bungling the Catalan drama disastrously.

“Are we looking at a failed state?” he asked. Investors holding Spanish debt are listening carefully.

Catalonians unhappy with the general distribution of Wealth and Taxation throughout Spain now wish to form their OWN seperate Country recognized by the European Union in general.  Though why anyone would care or want to be recognized by that bunch of scumbags I have no clue whatsoever.

What this represents is much the same as the breakup of the Soviet Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is One-to-the-Many dissolution; as opposed to Many-to-the-One Consolidation which has been underway since the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 10 Millenia ago or so.  This Many-to-One consolidation accelerated tremendously of course in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, as the War machine of the Military-Industrial Complex moved around the world basically beginning with the War of Northern Aggression and the forcible openning of Japan by Matthew Perry’s Gunboats.  WWI and WWII were the final steps in Consolidation of Power by the Industrialist Illuminati, and Bretton-Woods brought the entire World under the domination of the BIS, utilizing the Dollar as World Reserve Currency.

The Dissolution of the Soviet Union along with the progressive dissolution of many smaller Nation States into their separate components is the Beginning of the End for Globalization.  The opposite side to the Secessionists in Catlaonia are of course the Krauts and their Client states in Northern Europe who all wish to perpetuate the European Union under THEIR control, forcing all the PIIGS nations to accept a loss of Soveregnty and Fiscal Watchdogs from the IMF dictating to them how they spend their money, which of course is not their money at all but money created out of thin air by the Bankster Cabal of the Illuminati.

To me, the obvious loss of control here throughout the system with evermore Nation-States devolving into this type of internal bickering spells the Death Knell for Globalism, and with that the withering of the Power of the Illuminati.  Not that they will go Quietly into this Good Night of course, but without the Cheap Oil to power the War Machine and maintain the vast connections of the Electric Grids and the World Wide Web, this kind of Global Power simply cannot continue to function.

As it decays, certainly you see the International Wars being fought here for Oil in MENA, but really the more important and critical wars are the Civil ones already underway, and those still to come.  Anyone who believes that the FSoA will hold together as a Unit once the spin down works its way inward from the Peripheral Economies into the Central Ringfenced ones is positively nuts.  CBs can print Money in perpetuity, but they CANNOT Print Oil or Print Food.  You CANNOT MAKE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING!

It is just a matter of time before the Spanish problems migrate to Italy also, from there to France and then finally work their way inward past the Ruhr Valley into Krautland.  In fact it may not even take that long, since it remains unclear that the Krauts can split themselves off from the collapsing economies of the PIIGS either.  Europe is bound to fracture, and then after that the FSofA and China and Russia and Japan will all fracture also.  Countless and endless Civil Wars everywhere is the outcome of that, not really International Wars fought by integrated Nation States.

In such a time, with so much strife coming to your neighborhood in due time, for anyone to believe they will be able to manage a Peaceful Doomstead is mostly a pretty unreasonable hope.  Similarly unreasonable are hopes that having a large stash of Possessible Gold and Junk Silver Coins will help you all that much either.

Like the Spaniards in Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, you have to come to grips with the fact inside your own country, nay inside your own COMMUNITY there will be Competing Interests at work, those with a stake in the Game of Globalism who wish it to continue onward, and the vast majority of the disenfranchised with little stake in this other than their dependence on the Systems it uses for control.  In every community in one way or the other you will be forced to line up on one side or the other as the society fractures along the lines of Haves and Have Nots.

When it does, it behooves all to remember the words of John Donne

 from
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions
MEDITATION XVII.
N
UNC LENTO SONITU DICUNT, MORIERIS.
Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.

PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill as that he knows not it tolls for him.  And perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.  The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member.  And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.

There was a contention as far as a suit (in which, piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest.  If we understand aright the dignity of this bell, that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is.  The bell doth toll for him, that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute, that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God.  Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises?  But who takes off his eye from a comet, when that breaks out? who bends not his ear to any bell, which upon any occasion rings?  But who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island,  entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;  any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbors.  Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did; for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.  No man hath afflicion enough, that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.  If a man carry treasure in bullion or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current moneys, his treasure will not defray him as he travels.  Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell that tells me of his affliction, digs out, and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another’s danger, I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

Remember the Words of John Donne when the Big Show Comes to a Theatre Near You, for it most surely is coming now to about ALL Homo Sapiens who Walk the Earth at the End of the Age of Oil.  Go With God my Friends, and…

SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

RE

Of Mad Men …

Off the keyboard of Steve from Virginia

 

Not many people would recognize the name Edvard Beneš, some might identify him as a Hungarian. Others would suggest an obscure novelist or a symphony conductor … obviously intelligent and well-mannered individual, an economist or law professor. He would have a hotel or a library named after him somewhere: take a little time to look up the name Edvard Beneš:

 

Edvard Beneš was born into a peasant family in the small town of Kožlany, Bohemia, ca. 60 km west of Prague.  …  He spent much of his youth in Vinohrady district of Prague, where he attended a grammar school from 1896 to 1904. During this time he played football for Slavia Prague. After studies at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Charles University in Prague, he left for Paris and continued his studies at the Sorbonne and at the Independent School of Political and Social Studies (École Libre des Sciences Politiques). He completed his first degree in Dijon, where he received his Doctorate of Laws in 1908. Then he taught for three years at the Prague Academy of Commerce, and after his habilitation in the field of philosophy in 1912, he became a lecturer in sociology at Charles University.

[…]

During World War I, Beneš was one of the leading organizers of an independent Czechoslovakia abroad. He organized a Czech pro-independence anti-Austrian secret resistance movement called “Maffia”. In September, 1915, he went into exile where in Paris he made intricate diplomatic efforts to gain recognition from France and the United Kingdom for the Czechoslovak independence movement, as he was from 1916–1918 a Secretary of the Czechoslovak National Council in Paris and Minister of the Interior and of Foreign Affairs within the Provisional Czechoslovak government.

[…]

From 1918–1935, Beneš was first and the longest serving Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia, and from 1920–1925 and 1929–1935 a member of the Parliament. He represented Czechoslovakia in talks of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1921 he was a professor and also from 1921–1922 Prime Minister. Between 1923–1927 he was a member of the League of Nations Council (serving as president of its committee from 1927–1928). He was a renowned and influential figure at international conferences, such as Genoa 1922, Locarno 1925, The Hague 1930, and Lausanne in 1932.

Beneš was a member of the Czechoslovak National Socialist Party (until 1925 called Czechoslovak Socialist Party) and a strong Czechoslovakist – he did not consider Slovaks and Czechs to be separate ethnicities.

In 1935, Beneš succeeded Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as President. He opposed Nazi Germany’s claim to the German-speaking so-called Sudetenland in 1938. In October, the Sudeten Crisis brought Europe on the brink of war, which was averted only as France and Great Britain signed the Munich Agreement, which allowed for the immediate annexation and military occupation of the Sudetenland by Germany.

 

Neither Beneš nor any member of the Czecho-slovak government was permitted to attend the conference where the little country was sacrificed to Hitler and his mad men.  The Euro-powers England and France were unprepared for war, they overestimated Hitler’s readiness and demurred. Czecho-slovakia was sacrificed to buy goods that could not be had: peace or greater preparedness. Out of recession and deleveraging of the 1930s, no country had anything but a transient material advantage over the others.

What emerged instead was a contest of institutional restraints, or between restraints on one part versus their absence on the other. There was the high-minded rationalization on the part of the powers versus the total absence of same on the part of the Germans. The German strategic advantage was set in high relief in Munich by Germany’s reasonable and well-intended adversaries. To outmaneuver whatever obstacles Germany might encounter on its path to geographic empire it had only to react to restraint as if it was acknowledgement of fatal weakness. The Germans would demand everything, to threaten annihilation otherwise, to exceed all limits, to put its army on wheels so that it might be turned loose in all directions, to massacre without conscience … to be unorthodox in all things or appear to be so. To be modern, in other words: restraint was prissy and old-fashioned, bourgeois and incompetent. According to German doctrine, there was to be no place in the modern world for anachronistic little duchies and principalities … Negotiations and conferences existed only to produce surrender documents.

After Munich, restraint was synonymous with cowardice and appeasement along with the word ‘Munich’ itself. Hitler was outraged that the appeasement had cost him a war that he was sure Germany would win.

Neville Chamberlain, British ambassador Neville Henderson, German foreign minister Ribbentrop and Hitler at Munich. By 1946 all of these men were dead, all of the European countries and their economies were destroyed.

Sudetenland was handed over immediately after the Munich Accord, announced with fanfare, the rest of the country was annexed by Germany and Hungary within six months. The accord offering ‘Peace in our time’ was not worth the paper it was written on, like so much else within modernity, it was a another false ‘tomorrow promise’.

After Munich, Beneš fled into exile in Britain, after the war he was part of a brief independent Czech government that was eventually undermined by the Soviets in 1948.

Right now ‘Munich 2.0′ spools out right under everyone’s noses: the Spanish public is sold into the abyss by the feckless government seeking to buy a little time. Like the Czechs and Slovaks in 1938, the people have nothing to say about their own fate … which is determined in the shadows by unrestrained and unaccountable mad men (Telegraph):

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy explains the surrender of Spain to the Anglo-American banking cabal in front of the Spanish Parliament, admits draconian terms demanded by EU financiers. Photo: AFP

 

Debt crisis: Spain bows to EU ultimatum with drastic cuts

Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy has raised VAT sharply in a humiliating volte-face and pushed through €65bn (£51bn) of drastic austerity measures to comply with a European Union ultimatum, risking a downward spiral into full depression.

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

In Churchillian tones of blood and toil – even as Asturian miners and their wives clashed violently with police after a three-week march on Madrid – Mr Rajoy called for yet another round of cuts, admitting that Spain was obliged to take “urgent” action under the terms of the latest EU summit deal.

“We Spanish no longer have the choice whether or not to make sacrifices. We no longer have such liberty,” he said.

Hours before, the daily newspaper El Pais had stunned the nation by publishing the leaked “Memorandum” imposed by the eurozone’s creditor bloc as the condition for Spain’s €100bn bank rescue.

The draconian terms include an EU takeover of the Spanish financial system, with calls for haircuts on €67bn of junior and hybrid bank debt, a bad bank to wind down crippled lenders, “on-site” raids by inspectors, and intrusive demands across the gamut of fiscal policy.

 

The Washington Consensus succeeded brilliantly in Greece, the obvious reason to apply it with more vigor in Spain.

Chamberlain and Daladier ‘understood’ that Germans would not annex anything more than a small part of Czecho-slovakia. Rajoy understood that Spain would not be subject to severe austerity by the finance sector in return for what amounts to a trifling borrowed sum. Unlike the aggressive, militaristic Hitler, today’s mad men are well mannered and abstract. The outcome for the victims is identical, bondage and pillage. Because no one else will lend to Spain, with no great power England or France — or United States — to rescue her, there is no choice for the unimaginative Rajoy but to sell his country down the river.

Like the hapless Beneš there is certain to be a place in the Spanish rump for the elder statesman Rajoy long after the country is a smoking ruin. Like Beneš, he looks good in a suit.

The Spanish establishment does not understand symmetry. There is nothing to compel Spain to borrow under duress, or to prevent Spain from repudiating the odious- and ill considered debts it has already taken on. If the country had a real government instead of a cowardly fake it would behave the same as the mad men, to stand up to them, to beat the bullies and put them in their place. The establishment fails to understand the economic dynamic that is underway. The cost of submission is no different from the cost of non-submission. Putting the costs of unrestricted capital back upon capital is where it belongs. Spain would abandon its costly ‘prosperity’ but would maintain its sovereignty and the freedom if its citizens to act for themselves. By surrendering, the prosperity is gone and so is the sovereignty. The citizens are free to be paupers or emigres. Spain becomes a colony of Wall Street.

The current tragedy in Europe is unfolding with the same sense of dishonor and inevitability as during 1938. History may rhyme as Mark Twain once said, but it clearly is repeating itself, now. The establishments around the world insist on sacrificing others to the mad men. This strategy fails, appeasement makes these men bolder, they cannot be satiated or even evaded. Their ambition and reach has become universal, they are monsters. They must be destroyed, annihilated and all memories of them done away with. Their tools of destruction which they promote as ‘efficiency’ must be hammered flat and repudiated. The steps leading to Munich failed to bring peace but led instead to a great war, the steps leading to Brussels follow the exact same path. It is the cowardice of the good people, the moral relativism of the disinterested who refuse to see it.

The Europeans and their economic ministers and economics do not understand what it underway. Europe is subject to an Anglo-American credit embargo similar to those implemented in Latin America in the 1980s and in S. Asia in the 1990s. The US gains more from Europe’s bankruptcy than it can gain as return on new credit.

Because the establishment does recognize the energy component to their economic troubles they cannot see the potential gains to others … from Europe’s collapse.

Europe consumes 15 million barrels of petroleum per day: by bankrupting the EU 10 millions of those barrels can be exported to the US instead. This is the equivalent to the production of Saudi Arabia, without all the drilling.

The 5% reduction in fuel availability in the West in 1973 resulted in what was the world’s deepest post- WWII recession, excluding the current recession. At issue is a reduction of 70%.

Analysts blame the European problems on corrupt Greeks and others but these countries did not make the loans to themselves: it takes two corrupts to tango. The Eurozone was a pit of predatory lending under false pretenses (for fake, USA-style ‘prosperity’). The euro was — and is — a defective credit instrument similar to a sub-prime mortgage.

No sovereign can repay finance-level debts, such a thing is impossible. Greece cannot repay, Spain cannot hope to begin to repay.

Not only cannot Greece repay, Germany in full flower of industrial output cannot repay Greek debts. The demand for repayment is a charade and anyone bothering to look for more than five minutes can see that this is true.

The rate of change in GDP year over year is the surplus carried forward over the previous year’s expenses. It is this margin from which a country’s debts might be serviced — not retired — the annual increase in German GDP might be sufficient to partially service Greek debts for that year. Anyone who believes that Germany could repay Greek debts believes in unicorns and fairies.

Keep in mind that GDP growth must also meet other expenses besides service of loans outstanding. Almost all debt service is financed along with principal roll-over.

The Germans object to the obligation to repay Greek debts, it is because such a thing is impossible regardless of intentions.

Greece is dependent upon external sources of (borrowed) capital: Germany genuflects in the direction of capital because Germany itself is just as dependent on external capital flows as is Greece.

If Germany cannot repay Greek debts how can Greece be expected to do so, in the face of a credit embargo?

The embargo is effective because there is no European lender of last resort: what passes for one appears to offer unsecured loans to banking clients which themselves are insolvent. A lender of last resort cannot at the same time be insolvent: the one concept excludes the other. When the central bank takes on the impaired loans of its clients it becomes insolvent, it loses credibility.

Because of system insolvency there are fatal bank runs. These are taking place this minute.

Debts are intractable: they must either be replaced/refinanced with more debts or they must be repudiated, there is no other way. When debts are repudiated, the country is de-industrialized as it cannot import fuel, its money is unacceptable.

The fantasy of industrialization and so-called ‘progress’ is what various ‘leaderships’ including Rajoy’s are loathe to abandon. This is even as industrialization destroys the countries’ economies and the countries themselves. Managements cling to the false promises that have been offered for 400 years, that have brought wealth to a handful of thieves in exchange for Napoleon, revolutions. Communism, Hitler, world wars and great depressions. This, then … is the dividend of concentration and economies of scale, leaving out the complete destruction of the very air, land and water upon which we as living creatures absolutely depend … for a few pieces of colored paper.

If the country does not repudiate its debts, its money is unacceptable anyway as the money is proxy for nothing but unserviceable debts.

This non-acceptance is the end of the road … the end of all the roads.

By repudiating the debts all of the associated wealth is annihilated: wealth = debt. The problem is the foolish Europeans  want to get rid of the debt and keep the wealth. They do not accept that, a) this cannot be done, and b) there is really no such thing as money-wealth.

What comes this way is the contest between the few, the mad men with their machines and their blandishments, their constant readiness to do the world ill for their immediate gain. On the other side of the contest is the void, a bloated dependent (over)population: here is the reason for overpopulation in the first place! Dependents dare not agitate without risking starvation, homelessness or withholding of institutional ‘benefits’. There is the loss of place, a generalized self-contempt, selfishness and institutionalized laziness. Not the stuff of revolutions or reform.

The mad men inch closer to self-immolation, to take the rest of the world with it. This is the end-game of industrialization, the promise of Valhalla the reality of a wasteland.

Keynes was wrong, in the short run we are all dead.

GREECE & SPAIN: The real story

Published originally on The Slog on July 12th, 2012

In Clubmed, the guilty are protected and the innocent turn to violence. The Olympic Games are a sideshow.

Weapons of mass distraction are at work, but they will not work

The Daily Telegraph website’s ‘Hot Topics’ this morning read as follows:

Olympics: great moments Olympics: torch relay Olympics: Team GB Olympics: schedule Olympics: graphics

All fine and dandy if you like that sort of thing – despite the growing signs that its organisation is all over the place. But three things of late have conspired to ensure that Britain has its head firmly inserted up its backside at the moment: weather damage, the ‘Barclays scandal’,  and the Olympics.

The Government has awarded us the taxpayers the job of paying for the bad weather via our insurance premiums (another hidden bailout), the Libor scandal represents the glowing testicles of the global banking hyena (another scam to make us poorer), and the Olympics look set to be both the wettest in history – and a massive drain on our resources for no return (yet another legacy of Tony Blair).

But it would do no harm to remember where the Olympics started – and what its founder is still going through at the hands of Berlin am Brussels hypocrisy. And if we have an interest in sport (and for the vast majority, that doesn’t stretch to an Olympics covered in logos and sprinkled with puerile hype) then let us take our minds back to Spain, whose national football team is the envy of the world, and whose club side Barcelona just keeps on winning the Champions’ League – because it is the best and most stylish team of players ever assembled.

Yesterday, Senor Rajoy the Spanish Prime Minister raised VAT and cut social expenditure in a country already on its knees, and not surprisingly violence ensued. Despite the Troika’s Page One error of reducing demand, cutting output and demanding slavery in preference to debt forgiveness – and the EU’s continuing determination to deny that the euro has been a boon for some but a disaster for others – no amount of hard empirical evidence demonstrating the socio-economic disaster unfolding in the ClubMeds has made the slightest dent in the tin hats of Merkel, Schäuble, or Lagarde. The equally doubly-endowed standards of Nicolas Sarkozy have now been replaced by a dull Leftwing Establishment dweeb called Francois Hollande, but for all his greyness and lack of reforming instincts within France, the new President has at least put his hand up to say, “This is madness, and it must stop”.

Less remarked by the MSM yesterday, however, was this piece of news from Greece, published by respected title Kathimerini: (my emphasis)

‘In the shadow of another report on tax evasion – this one using
bank records – that shows tax cheats are robbing Greece blind of
critical revenues, seven retired and active tax officers, including four
high-ranking administrators, were sentenced to more than 70 years in
jail for embezzlement of up to 28 million euros  – then
promptly released on bail.’

This band of merry men first came under suspicion in 2001 after a retired inspector, Aliki Kyriakaki, made claims that she had come under pressure from certain members of the group to reduce tax fines against a large company she’d been auditing – and found to have arrears of 36 million euros, or $44.2million. She said they offered to write off the debts if they were paid bribes.
She said their tactics to keep her silent included having her disciplined numerous times on specious charges, for which she was
cleared completely by an administrative court. She had refused to work with her colleagues and become a whistle-blower to
reveal the corruption.

But her courage was all for nought, because the convicted felons were granted ‘conditional release’…although the authorities would not release their names. This despite the huge sums they had blackmailed and embezzled from taxpayers over the years. These low-lifers are thus now free to do the bidding of the gargoyles in Brussels and the IMF: and lest we forget, they will also be doing the work of the banks, speculators and pro-EU elites who caused all this mess in the first place. That is, they will continue to rob from the poor in order to ingratiate themselves with the rich.

The Greek legal system also allows convicted felons to buy themselves out of prison sentences for tax evasion. Naturally this usually means that the poor, minor dodgers rot in prison…and the troughers walk away. Most of the €70bn lost last year to the Hellenic Exchequer involves the latter: some 200 alleged tax cheats have been rounded up in recent months, but not one high-level business figure has been prosecuted….and as we’ve seen, by far the biggest heist in Greek tax history has resulted in the guilty being….let off.

As southern Gallic relaxez-vous stretches down to meet Mediterranean manana, the attitude held by the majority of taxpayers is thus very simple: “the government cheats me and hires blackmailers to rip me off, so I cheat them at every opportunity”. As my own woodman here in the Lot said to me six years ago, “I don’t pay tax m’sieur, it only encourages them”.

I have reached the stage with the Fiscal Union/Troika juggernaut where I no longer accept the thesis that Berlin am Brussels is simply inflexibly dumb. I think that particular axis of evil knows exactly what the problem is, and how it happened, viz: the EMU beyond northern Europe was always going to doom those who took it up, because it was of less than no use to them given the nature of their economies. And the fiscal rules would never suit Europe south of Bordeaux because the entire relationship between the citizen and the taxpayer is different.

This deserves some further elucidation.

Before they blagued their way into the eurozone on the back of EU hubris and graft, Greece and Spain were doing just fine thank you very much. Having at various times kicked out fascist colonels and a sclerotic Caudillo, both countries saw enormous growth through the liberalisation of capitalist mechanisms alongside generous welfare systems. Tax evasion was and remains endemic, because the elites are corrupt, and the tax collectors a bunch of blackmailers. But none of that mattered too much, because their primary ‘export’ was the country itself – the weather, the food, the culture, the olive oil, the glistening oceans and stunning offshore islands.

Above all, what Greece and Spain had going for them (when it came to attracting Nordeuropa holidaymakers) were high temperatures and low costs: meals, wine, beer, flights and hotels tended to be cheap. When I first went to Greece in 1970, you could bum around the islands on not much more than twenty quid a week. My first fortnight in Spain cost £50 – flights and apartment included. The sun shone, the ferries were sporadic, the people were gentle: it would be done manana, but in the meantime enjoy your yoghurt and honey, have some tapas with your La Ina, sleep it off on the beach, and then eat late with the locals and their children at the Taverna. With these two venues and Portugal, Europeans would never want for cheap, relaxing holidays.

But then along came the eurozone, and soon afterwards the plot was completely lost. Spain took advantage of cheap ECB and US bank money to invest in a second-home property bubble that could never sustain itself; and probably more than any other ezone founder, the Greeks swapped their wonderfully good value ‘drachs’ for an immediately inflationary euro…and its elites really began to dive fully-clothed into the money-trough. In this of course, the pols and bureaucrats were aided and abetted by Germany in general, and Siemens in particular. As vacation destinations, their problem was exacerbated by the growing realisation that other parts of south-eastern Europe, and intercontinental long-haul, were where one could now find excellent value and something a little more esoteric – be that Croatia or Thailand.

The foregoing is obviously a gross simplification of how we got to here, but it’s more or less fair. Given cheap loans by Trichet, an expensive currency made even more uncompetitive for exports by a successful Germany, and a spendaholic France, the ClubMeds saw their boom slowing down in real terms by 2004. But like everyone else in the world, they chose to borrow their way out of a changing balance of power between Europe and Asia.

Probably, sanity is at hand. As I predicted against the tide last month, the Karlsruhe Court isn’t rolling over, and Gauck is sticking to his guns. Schäuble-licken is bellowing that the sky will fall in if Germany ‘dithers’ further (it probably will) but both Bankfurt and the Opposition Parties can smell blood: they are starting to push a coordinated line – that Germany will be ruined by Merkel’s ego – and Fritz in the street is beginning to catch on. The longer things drag on, the more obviously inevitable the euro’s demise in its current form will become – which is, let’s face it, what Wolfgang Schäuble is really upset about. His dream of being Ubersturmbannfuhrerfinanz for the eurozone is fading rapidly.

As long as bonds spike and austerity rules, the euro will move even more rapidly towards its implosion. There are three options left today:

1. A Nordeuro is formed, led by Germany (and perhaps a Sudeuro by France)

2. Germany quits the euro completely

3. Insolvency events overtake the Sprouts, and the entire eurobanking system falls apart, immemdiately infecting the US.

If you can choose between them right now, than you’re a better man than I. Stay tuned.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner

Search the Diner

Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" 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

Archives

Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

The vast majority of world leaders and members of parliaments — the same politicians who are shuffling their feet when it comes to taking action on clim...

These images of youth climate activists on strike around the world are simply inspiring.Friday may be remembered as the largest global demonstration ever in the fight against climate change. Inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, ...

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will deploy U.S. forces to the Middle East on the heels of the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Friday.“The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces wh...

Its quantum computer can solve tasks that are otherwise unsolvable, a report says.Google has reportedly built a quantum computer more powerful than the world's top supercomputers. A Google research paper was temporarily posted online this week,...

We are in an undeclared global warming extinction emergency. In a state of emergency, usually one has little time left to fi...

Knarf’s Knewz

The vast majority of world leaders and members of [...]

These images of youth climate activists on strike [...]

Its quantum computer can solve tasks that are othe [...]

Diner Newz Feeds

  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

[img]https://scontent.forf1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0 [...]

Trump whistleblower: Why involving Ukraine is omin [...]

[img]https://scontent.forf1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0 [...]

Perhaps best read after the other article Posted a [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on September 19, 2019, 09:06:10 [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

The vast majority of world leaders and members of [...]

These images of youth climate activists on strike [...]

Its quantum computer can solve tasks that are othe [...]

Scientists have unlocked the power of gold atoms b [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM [...]

Wisconsin Bill Would Remove Barrier to Using Gold, [...]

Under extreme conditions, gold rearranges its atom [...]

The cost of gold futures on the Comex exchange inc [...]

Quote from: K-Dog on September 15, 2019, 08:08:32 [...]

Good interview.  You sounded smart. [...]

A little Political Bickering is a small price to p [...]

Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Shaking the August Stick By Cognitive Dissonance     Sometime towards the end of the third or fourth [...]

Empire in Decline - Propaganda and the American Myth By Cognitive Dissonance     “Oh, what a tangled [...]

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

A Window Into Our World By Cognitive Dissonance   Every year during the early spring awakening I qui [...]

Event Update For 2019-09-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-09-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-09-16http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-09-15http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2019-09-14http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

The Trickster's Tale"Everyone has some wisdom, but no one has all of it." Come gather 'round my children [...]

Nothing Again - Naomi Klein Renews Her Climate Prescription"By now we should all be well aware by now of the havoc being caused by climate change." I [...]

Leaves of Seagrass"Seawater is the circulatory system of Gaia"In 1855, Walt Whitman penned the free verse, “ [...]

Treeplanting Olympics"Withdrawing 700 gigatons of carbon from the atmosphere could be accomplished by as early as mi [...]

The Dark Cloud"Skynet needs to send a terminator back to 1984 and take out Mark Zuckerberg’s mom before he ca [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

it is planned to continue through October 10... https://news.yahoo.com/ny-fed-pump-75-bn-money-marke [...]

She reminds me of the coached ambassador's daughter who testified abou all the babies being pul [...]

I don't think that there is an upper age for blood donation in the US. I know that I was surpri [...]

When I look at these embankment dams, the part I see in the photos is still concrete and steel. It l [...]

Therefore, most people believe any kind of nonsense they hear about science and technology solving a [...]

Hi Steve. I recently found what I believe is a little gem, and I'm quite confident you'd a [...]

The Federal Reserve is thinking about capping yields? I don't know how long TPTB can keep this [...]

As some one who has spent years trying to figure out what the limits to growth are. let me say that [...]

Peak oil definitely happened for gods sake. Just because it isn't mad max right now is no indic [...]

@Volvo - KMO says he made some life choices he regrets. Not sure what they were. And I don't th [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

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

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

Barocaloric is a solid-state not-in-kind technology, for cooling and heat pumping, rising as an alte [...]

Terrestrial ecosystems and their vegetation are linked to climate. With the potential of accelerated [...]

The Antarctic Centennial Oscillation (ACO) is a paleoclimate temperature cycle that originates in th [...]