Zimmerman

Dense Fog Turns into Toxic Smog

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Burning Platform on December 31, 2013

Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

 

In mid-January of this year I wrote my annual prediction article for 2013 – Apparitions in the Fog. It is again time to assess my inability to predict the future any better than a dart throwing monkey. As usual, sticking to facts was a mistake in a world fueled by misinformation, propaganda, delusion and wishful thinking. I was far too pessimistic about the near term implications of debt, civic decay and global disorder. Those in power have successfully held off the unavoidable collapse which will be brought about by their ravenous unbridled greed, and blatant disregard for the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution and rights and liberties of the American people. The day to day minutia, pointless drivel of our techno-narcissistic selfie showbiz society, and artificially created issues (gay marriage, Zimmerman-Martin, Baby North West, Duck Dynasty) designed to distract the public from thinking, are worthless trivialities in the broad landscape of human history.

The course of human history is determined by recurring cyclical themes based upon human frailties that have been perpetual through centuries of antiquity. The immense day to day noise of an inter-connected techno-world awash in inconsequentialities and manipulated by men of evil intent is designed to divert the attention of the masses from the criminal activities of those in power. It has always been so. There have always been arrogant, ambitious, greedy, power hungry, deceitful men, willing to take advantage of a fearful, lazy, ignorant, selfish, easily manipulated populace. The rhythms of history are unaffected by predictions of “experts” who are paid to spin yarns in order to sustain the status quo. There is no avoiding the consequences of actions taken and not taken over the last eighty years. We are in the midst of a twenty year period of Crisis that was launched in September 2008 with the worldwide financial collapse, created by the Federal Reserve, their Wall Street owners, their bought off Washington politicians, and their media and academic propaganda machines.

I still stand by the final paragraph of my 2013 missive, and despite the fact the establishment has been able to fend off the final collapse of their man made credit boom for longer than I anticipated, they have only insured a far worse outcome when the bubble bursts:

“So now I’m on the record for 2013 and I can be scorned and ridiculed for being such a pessimist when December rolls around and our Ponzi scheme economy hasn’t collapsed. There is no disputing the facts. The economic situation is deteriorating for the average American, the mood of the country is darkening, and the world is awash in debt and turmoil. Every country is attempting to print their way to renewed prosperity. No one wins a race to the bottom. The oligarchs have chosen a path of currency debasement, propping up insolvent banks, propaganda and impoverishing the masses as their preferred course. They attempt to keep the masses distracted with political theater, gun control vitriol, reality TV and iGadgets. What can be said about a society where 10% of the population follows Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga on Twitter and where 50% think the National Debt is a monument in Washington D.C. The country is controlled by evil sycophants, intellectually dishonest toadies and blood sucking leeches. Their lies and deception have held sway for the last four years, but they have only delayed the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. They will not reverse course and believe their intellectual superiority will allow them to retain their control after the collapse.”

The core elements of this Crisis have been visible since Strauss & Howe wrote The Fourth Turning in 1997. All the major events that transpire during this Crisis will be driven by one or more of these core elements – Debt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder.

“In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

My 2013 predictions were framed by these core elements. After re-reading my article for the first time in eleven months I’ve concluded it is lucky I don’t charge for investment predictions. Many of my prognostications were in the ballpark, but I have continually underestimated the ability of central bankers and their Wall Street co-conspirators to use the $2.8 billion per day of QE to artificially elevate the stock market to bubble level proportions once again. If I wasn’t such a trusting soul, I might conclude the .1% financial elite, who run this country, created QEternity to benefit themselves, their .1% corporate CEO accomplices and the corrupt government apparatchiks who shield their flagrant criminality from the righteous hand of justice.

Even a highly educated Ivy League economist might grasp the fact that Ben Bernanke’s QEternity and ZIRP, sold to the unsuspecting masses as desperate measures during a crisis that could have brought the system down, have been kept in place for five years as a means to drive stock prices and home prices higher. The emergency was over by 2010, according to government reported data. The current monetary policy of the Federal Reserve would have been viewed as outrageous, reckless, and incomprehensible in 2007. It is truly a credit to the ruling elite and their media propaganda arm that they have been able to convince a majority of Americans their brazen felonious disregard for the wellbeing of the 99% is necessary to sustain the .1% way of life. Those palaces in the Hamptons aren’t going to pay for themselves without those $100 billion of annual bonuses.

Do you think the 170% increase in the S&P 500 has been accidently correlated with the quadrupling of the Federal Reserve balance sheet or has Bernanke just done the bidding of his puppet masters? Considering the .1% billionaire clique owns the vast majority of stock in this corporate fascist paradise, is it really a surprise the trickle down canard would be the solution of choice from these sociopathic scoundrels? Of course QE and ZIRP have impacted the 80% who own virtually no stocks in a slightly different manner. Do you think the 100% increase in gasoline prices since 2009 was caused by Bernanke’s QEternity?

Do you think the 8% decline in real median household income since 2008 was caused by Bernanke’s QE and ZIRP policies?

Click to View

Do you think the $10.8 trillion stolen from grandmothers and risk adverse savers was caused by Bernanke’s ZIRP?

Was the $860 billion increase in real GDP (5.8% over five years) worth the $8 trillion increase in the National Debt and $3 trillion increase in the Federal Reserve balance sheet? Was it moral, courageous and honorable of the Wall Street plantation owners to syphon the remaining wealth of the dying middle class peasants and leaving the millennial generation and future generations bound in chains of unfunded debt to the tune of $200 trillion?

My assessment regarding unpredictable events lurking in the fog was borne out by what happened that NO ONE predicted, including: the first resignation of a pope in six hundred years, the military coup of a democratically elected president of Egypt – supported by the democratically elected U.S. president, the rise of an alternative currency – bitcoin, the bankruptcy of one of the largest cities in the U.S. – Detroit, a minor terrorist attack in Boston that freaked out the entire country and revealed the Nazi-like un-Constitutional tactics that will be used by the police state as this Crisis deepens, and revelations by a brilliant young patriot named Edward Snowden proving that the U.S. has been turned into an Orwellian surveillance state as every electronic communication of every American is being monitored and recorded. The Democrats and Republicans played their parts in this theater of the absurd. They proved to be two faces of the same Party as neither faction questions the droning of innocent people around the globe, mass spying on citizens, Wall Street criminality, trillion dollar deficits, a rogue Federal Reserve, or out of control unsustainable government spending.

My predictions for 2013 were divided into the three categories driving this Fourth Turning CrisisDebt, Civic Decay, and Global Disorder. Let’s assess my inaccuracy.

Debt

  • The debt ceiling will be raised as the toothless Republican Party vows to cut spending next time. The political hacks will create a 3,000 page document of triggers and create a committee to study the issue, with actual measures that slow the growth of annual spending by .000005% starting in 2017.

The government shutdown reality TV show proved to be the usual Washington D.C. kabuki theater. They gave a shutdown and no one noticed. It had zero impact on the economy. More people came to the realization that government does nothing except spend our money and push us around. The debt ceiling was raised, the sequester faux “cuts” were reversed and $20 billion of spending will be cut sometime in the distant future. Washington snakes are entirely predictable. I nailed this prediction.

  • The National Debt will increase by $1.25 trillion and debt to GDP will reach 106% by the end of the fiscal year.

The National Debt increased by ONLY $964 billion in the last fiscal year, even though the government stopped counting in May. The temporary sequester cuts, the expiration of the 2% payroll tax cut, the fake Fannie & Freddie paybacks to the U.S. Treasury based upon mark to fantasy accounting, and the automatic expiration of stimulus spending combined to keep the real deficit from reaching $1 trillion for the fifth straight year. Debt to GDP was 104%, before our beloved government drones decided to “adjust” GDP upwards by $500 billion based upon a new and improved formula, like Tide detergent. I missed this prediction by a smidgeon.

  • The Federal Reserve balance sheet will reach $4 trillion by the end of the year.

The Federal Reserve balance sheet stands at $4.075 trillion today. Ben is very predictable, and of course “transparent”. This was an easy one.

  • Consumer debt will reach $2.9 trillion as the Feds accelerate student loans and Ally Financial, along with the other Too Big To Control Wall Street banks, keep pumping out subprime auto loans. By mid-year reported losses on student loans will soar and auto loan delinquencies will show an upturn. This will force a slowdown in consumer debt issuance, exacerbating the recession that started in 2012.

Consumer debt outstanding currently stands at $3.076 trillion despite the fact that credit card debt has been virtually flat. The Federal government has continued to dole out billions in loans to University of Phoenix wannabes and to the subprime urban entitlement armies who deserve to drive an Escalade despite having no job, no assets and a sub 650 credit score, through government owned Ally Financial. It helps drive business when you don’t care about being repaid. Student loan delinquency rates are at an all-time high, as there are no jobs for graduates with tens of thousands in debt. Auto loan delinquencies have begun to rise despite the fact we are supposedly in a strongly recovering economy. The slowdown in debt issuance has not happened, as the Federal government is in complete control of the non-revolving loan segment. My prediction has proven to be accurate.

  • The Bakken oil miracle will prove to be nothing more than Wall Street shysters selling a storyline. Daily output will stall at 750,000 barrels per day and the dreams of imminent energy independence will be annihilated by reality, again. The price of oil will average $105 per barrel, as global tensions restrict supply.

Bakken production has reached 867,000 barrels per day as more and more wells have been drilled to offset the steep depletion rates of the existing wells. The average price per barrel has been $104, despite the frantic propaganda campaign about imminent American energy independence. Tell that to the average Joe filling their tank and paying the highest December gas price in history. My prediction was too pessimistic, but the Bakken miracle will be revealed as an over-hyped Wall Street scam in 2014.

  • The home price increases generated through inventory manipulation in 2012 will peter out as 2013 progresses. The market has been flooded by investors. There is very little real demand for new homes. Young households with heavy student loan debt and low paying jobs will continue to rent, since the oligarchs refused to let prices fall to a level that would spur real demand. Mortgage delinquencies will rise as job growth remains stagnant, leading to an increase in foreclosures. Rent prices will flatten as apartment construction and investors flood the market with supply.

Existing home sales peaked in the middle of 2013 and have been in decline as mortgage rates have jumped from 3.25% to 4.5% since February. New home sales remain stagnant, near record low levels. The median sales price for existing home sales peaked at $214,000 in June and has fallen for five consecutive months by a total of 8%. First time home buyers account for a record low of 28% of purchases, while investors account for a record high level of purchasers. Mortgage delinquencies fell for most of the year, but the chickens are beginning to come home to roost as delinquent mortgage loans rose from 6.28% in October to 6.45% in November. Rent increases slowed to below 3% as Blackrock and the other Wall Street shysters flood the market with their foreclosure rental properties. My housing prediction was accurate.

 

  • The disconnect between the stock market and the housing and employment markets will be rectified when the MSM can no longer deny the recession that began in 2012 and will deepen in the first part of 2013. While housing prices languish 30% below their peak levels of 2006, the stock market has prematurely ejaculated back to pre-crisis levels. Declining corporate profits, stagnant consumer spending, and increasing debt defaults will finally result in a 20% decline in the stock market, with a chance for losses greater than 30% if Japan or the EU begin to crumble.

And now we get to the prediction that makes me happy I don’t charge people for investment advice. Facts don’t matter in world of QE for the psychopathic titans of Wall Street and misery for the indebted peasants of Main Street. The government data drones, Ivy League educated Wall Street economists, and the obedient corporate media propaganda apparatus declare that GDP has grown by 2% over the last four quarters and we are not in a recession. If you believe their bogus inflation calculation then just ignore the collapsing retail sales, stagnant real wages, and rising gap between the uber-rich and the rest of us. Using a true measure of inflation reveals an economy in recession since 2004. Whose version matches the reality on the ground?

 

Corporate profits have leveled off at record highs as mark to fantasy accounting fraud, condoned and encouraged by the Federal Reserve, along with loan loss reserve depletion and $5 billion of risk free profits from parking deposits at the Fed have created a one-time peak. The record level of negative earnings warnings is the proverbial bell ringing at the top.

negative earnings

I only missed my stock market prediction by 50%, as the 30% rise was somewhat better than my 20% decline prediction. Bernanke’s QEternity, Wall Street’s high frequency trading supercomputers, record levels of margin debt, a dash of delusion, and a helping of clueless dupes have taken the stock market to another bubble high. My prediction makes me look like an idiot today. I’m OK with that, since I know facts and reality always prevail in the long-run. As John Hussman sagely points out, today’s idiot will be tomorrow’s beacon of truth:

“The problem with bubbles is that they force one to decide whether to look like an idiot before the peak, or an idiot after the peak. There’s no calling the top, and most of the signals that have been most historically useful for that purpose have been blazing red since late-2011. My impression remains that the downside risks for the market have been deferred, not eliminated, and that they will be worse for the wait.”

  • Japan is still a bug in search of a windshield. With a debt to GDP ratio of 230%, a population dying off, energy dependence escalating, trade surplus decreasing, an already failed Prime Minister vowing to increase inflation, and rising tensions with China, Japan is a primary candidate to be the first domino to fall in the game of debt chicken. A 2% increase in interest rates would destroy the Japanese economic system.

Abenomics has done nothing for the average Japanese citizen, but it has done wonders for the ruling class who own all the stocks. Abe has implemented monetary policies that make Bernanke get a hard on. Japanese economic growth remains mired at 1.1%, wages remain stagnant, and their debt to GDP ratio remains above 230%, but at least he has driven their currency down 20% versus the USD and crushed the common person with 9% energy inflation. None of this matters, because the .1% have benefitted from a 56% increase in the Japanese stock market. My prediction was wrong. The windshield is further down the road, but it is approaching at 100 mph.

  • The EU has temporarily delayed the endgame for their failed experiment. Economic conditions in Greece, Spain and Italy worsen by the day with unemployment reaching dangerous revolutionary levels. Pretending countries will pay each other with newly created debt will not solve a debt crisis. They don’t have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. The only people who have been saved by the actions taken so far are bankers and politicians. I believe the crisis will reignite, with interest rates spiking in Spain, Italy and France. The Germans will get fed up with the rest of Europe and the EU will begin to disintegrate.

This was another complete miss on my part. Economic conditions have not improved in Europe. Unemployment remains at record levels. EU GDP is barely above 0%. Debt levels continue to rise. Central bank bond buying has propped up this teetering edifice of ineptitude and interest rates in Spain, Italy and France have fallen to ridiculously low levels of 4%, considering they are completely insolvent with no possibility for escape. The disintegration of the EU will have to wait for another day.

Civic Decay

  • Progressive’s attempt to distract the masses from our worsening economic situation with their assault on the 2nd Amendment will fail. Congress will pass no new restrictions on gun ownership and 2013 will see the highest level of gun sales in history.

Obama and his gun grabbing sycophants attempted to use the Newtown massacre as the lever to overturn the 2nd Amendment. The liberal media went into full shriek mode, but the citizens again prevailed and no Federal legislation restricting the 2nd Amendment passed. Gun sales in 2013 will set an all-time record. With the Orwellian surveillance state growing by the day, arming yourself is the rational thing to do. I nailed this prediction.

  • The deepening recession, higher taxes on small businesses and middle class, along with Obamacare mandates will lead to rising unemployment and rising anger with the failed economic policies of the last four years. Protests and rallies will begin to burgeon.

The little people are experiencing a recession. The little people bore the brunt of the 2% payroll tax increase. The little people are bearing the burden of the Obamacare insurance premium increases. The number of employed Americans has increased by 1 million in the last year, a whole .4% of the working age population. The number of Americans who have willingly left the labor force in the last year because their lives are so fulfilled totaled 2.5 million, leaving the labor participation rate at a 35 year low. The anger among the former middle class is simmering below the surface, as Bernanke’s policies further impoverish the multitudes. Mass protests have not materialized but the Washington Navy yard shooting, dental hygenist murdered by DC police for ramming a White House barrier, and self- immolation of veteran John Constantino on the National Mall were all individual acts of desperation against the establishment.

  • The number of people on food stamps will reach 50 million and the number of people on SSDI will reach 11 million. Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Jeff Immelt will compensate themselves to the tune of $100 million. CNBC will proclaim an economic recovery based on these facts.

The number of people on food stamps appears to have peaked just below 48 million, as the expiration of stimulus spending will probably keep the program from reaching 50 million. As of November there were 10.98 million people in the SSDI program. The top eight Wall Street banks have set aside a modest $91 billion for 2013 bonuses. The cost of providing food stamps for 48 million Americans totaled $76 billion. CNBC is thrilled with the record level of bonuses for the noble Wall Street capitalists, while scorning the lazy laid-off middle class workers whose jobs were shipped to China by the corporations whose profits are at all-time highs and stock price soars. Isn’t crony capitalism grand?

  • The drought will continue in 2013 resulting in higher food prices, ethanol prices, and shipping costs, as transporting goods on the Mississippi River will become further restricted. The misery index for the average American family will reach new highs.

The drought conditions in the U.S. Midwest have been relieved. Ethanol prices have been flat. Beef prices have risen by 10% since May due to the drought impact from 2012, but overall food price increases have been moderate. The misery index (unemployment rate + inflation rate) has supposedly fallen, based on government manipulated data. I whiffed on this prediction.

  • There will be assassination attempts on political and business leaders as retribution for their actions during and after the financial crisis.

There have been no assassination attempts on those responsible for our downward financial spiral. The anger has been turned inward as suicides have increased by 30% due to the unbearable economic circumstances brought on by the illegal financial machinations of the Wall Street criminal banks. Obama and Dick Cheney must be thrilled that more military personnel died by suicide in 2013 than on the battlefield. Mission Accomplished. The retribution dealt to bankers and politicians will come after the next collapse. For now, my prediction was premature.

  • The revelation of more fraud in the financial sector will result in an outcry from the public for justice. Prosecutions will be pursued by State’s attorney generals, as Holder has been captured by Wall Street.

Holder and the U.S. government remain fully captured by Wall Street. The states have proven to be toothless in their efforts to enforce the law against Wall Street. The continuing revelations of Wall Street fraud and billions in fines paid by JP Morgan and the other Too Big To Trust banks have been glossed over by the captured mainstream media. As long as EBT cards, Visas and Mastercards continue to function, there will be no outrage from the techno-narcissistic, debt addicted, math challenged, wilfully ignorant masses. Another wishful thinking wrong prediction on my part.

  • The deepening pension crisis in the states will lead to more state worker layoffs and more confrontation between governors attempting to balance budgets and government worker unions. There will be more municipal bankruptcies.

Using a still optimistic discount rate of 5%, the unfunded pension liability of states and municipalities totals $3 trillion. The taxpayers don’t have enough cheese left for the government rats to steal. The crisis deepens by the second. State and municipal budgets require larger pension payments every year. The tax base is stagnant or declining. States must balance their budgets. They will continue to cut existing workers to pay the legacy costs until they all experience their Detroit moment. With the Detroit bankruptcy, I’ll take credit for getting this prediction right.

  • The gun issue will further enflame talk of state secession. The red state/blue state divide will grow ever wider. The MSM will aggravate the divisions with vitriolic propaganda.

With the revelations of Federal government spying, military training exercises in cities across the country, the blatant disregard for the 4th Amendment during the shutdown of Boston, and un-Constitutional mandates of Obamacare, there has been a tremendous increase in chatter about secession. A google search gets over 200,000 hits in the last year. The divide between red states and blue states has never been wider.

  • The government will accelerate their surveillance efforts and renew their attempt to monitor, control, and censor the internet. This will result in increased cyber-attacks on government and corporate computer networks in retaliation.

If anything I dramatically underestimated the lengths to which the United States government would go in their illegal surveillance of the American people and foreign leaders. Edward Snowden exposed the grandest government criminal conspiracy in history as the world found out the NSA, with the full knowledge of the president and Congress, has been conspiring with major communications and internet companies to monitor and record every electronic communication on earth, in clear violation of the 4th Amendment. Government apparatchiks like James Clapper have blatantly lied to Congress about their spying activities. The lawlessness with which the government is now operating has led to anarchist computer hackers conducting cyber-attacks on government and corporate networks. The recent hacking of the Target credit card system will have devastating implications to their already waning business. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

Global Disorder 

  • With new leadership in Japan and China, neither will want to lose face, so early in their new terms. Neither side will back down in their ongoing conflict over islands in the East China Sea. China will shoot down a Japanese aircraft and trade between the countries will halt, leading to further downturns in both of their economies.

The Japanese/Chinese dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands has blown hot and cold throughout the year. In the past month the vitriol has grown intense. China has scrambled fighter jets over the disputed islands. The recent visit of Abe to a World War II shrine honoring war criminals has enraged the Chinese. Trade between the countries has declined. An aircraft has not been shot down, but an American warship almost collided with a Chinese warship near the islands, since our empire must stick their nose into every worldwide dispute. We are one miscalculation away from a shooting war. It hasn’t happened yet, so my prediction was wrong.

  • Worker protests over slave labor conditions in Chinese factories will increase as food price increases hit home on peasants that spend 70% of their pay for food. The new regime will crackdown with brutal measures, but the protests will grow increasingly violent. The economic data showing growth will be discredited by what is happening on the ground. China will come in for a real hard landing. Maybe they can hide the billions of bad debt in some of their vacant cities.

The number of worker protests over low pay and working conditions in China doubled over the previous year, but censorship of reporting has kept these facts under wraps. In a dictatorship, the crackdown on these protests goes unreported. The fraudulent economic data issued by the government has been proven false by independent analysts. The Chinese stock market has fallen 14%, reflecting the true economic situation. The Chinese property bubble is in the process of popping. China will never officially report a hard landing. China is the most corrupt nation on earth and is rotting from the inside, like their vacant malls and cities. China’s economy is like an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 coming in for a landing at SF International.

  • Violence and turmoil in Greece will spread to Spain during the early part of the year, with protests and anger spreading to Italy and France later in the year. The EU public relations campaign, built on sandcastles of debt in the sky and false promises of corrupt politicians, will falter by mid-year. Interest rates will begin to spike and the endgame will commence. Greece will depart the EU, with Spain not far behind. The unraveling of debt will plunge all of Europe into depression.

Violent protests flared in Greece and Spain throughout the year. They did not spread to Italy and France. The central bankers and the puppet politicians have been able to contain the EU’s debt insolvency through the issuance of more debt. What a great plan. The grand finale has been delayed into 2014. Greece remains on life support and still in the EU. The EU remains in recession, but the depression has been postponed for the time being. This prediction was a dud.

  • Iran will grow increasingly desperate as hyperinflation caused by U.S. economic sanctions provokes the leadership to lash out at its neighbors and unleash cyber-attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities and U.S. corporations. Israel will use the rising tensions as the impetus to finally attack Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. will support the attack and Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel in retaliation. The price of oil will spike above $125 per barrel, further deepening the worldwide recession.

Iran was experiencing hyperinflationary conditions early in the year, but since the election of the new president the economy has stabilized. Iran has conducted cyber-attacks against Saudi Arabian gas companies and the U.S. Navy during 2013. Israel and Saudi Arabia have failed in their efforts to lure Iran into a shooting war. Obama has opened dialogue with the new president to the chagrin of Israel. War has been put off and the negative economic impacts of surging oil prices have been forestalled. I missed on this prediction.

  • Syrian President Assad will be ousted and executed by rebels. Syria will fall under the control of Islamic rebels, who will not be friendly to the United States or Israel. Russia will stir up discontent in retaliation for the ouster of their ally.

Assad has proven to be much tougher than anyone expected. The trumped up charges of gassing rebel forces, created by the Saudis who want a gas pipeline through Syria, was not enough to convince the American people to allow our president to invade another sovereign country. Putin and Russia won this battle. America’s stature in the eyes of the world was reduced further. America continues to support Al Qaeda rebels in Syria, while fighting them in Afghanistan. The hypocrisy is palpable. Another miss.

  • Egypt and Libya will increasingly become Islamic states and will further descend into civil war.

The first democratically elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown in a military coup as the country has descended into a civil war between the military forces and Islamic forces. It should be noted that the U.S. supported the overthrow of a democratically elected leader. Libya is a failed state with Islamic factions vying for power and on the verge of a 2nd civil war. Oil production has collapsed. I’ll take credit for an accurate prediction on this one.

  • The further depletion of the Cantarell oil field will destroy the Mexican economy as it becomes a net energy importer. The drug violence will increase and more illegal immigrants will pour into the U.S. The U.S. will station military troops along the border.

Mexican oil production fell for the ninth consecutive year in 2013. It has fallen 25% since 2004 to the lowest level since 1995. Energy exports still slightly outweigh imports, but the trend is irreversible. Mexico is under siege by the drug cartels. The violence increases by the day. After declining from 2007 through 2009, illegal immigration from Mexico has been on the rise. Troops have not been stationed on the border as Obama and his liberal army encourages illegal immigration in their desire for an increase in Democratic voters. This prediction was mostly correct.

  • Cyber-attacks by China and Iran on government and corporate computer networks will grow increasingly frequent. One or more of these attacks will threaten nuclear power plants, our electrical grid, or the Pentagon.

China and Iran have been utilizing cyber-attacks on the U.S. military and government agencies as a response to NSA spying and U.S. sabotaging of Iranian nuclear facilities. Experts are issuing warnings regarding the susceptibility of U.S. nuclear facilities to cyber-attack. If a serious breach has occurred, the U.S. government wouldn’t be publicizing it. Again, this prediction was accurate.

I achieved about a 50% accuracy rate on my 2013 predictions. These minor distractions are meaningless in the broad spectrum of history and the inevitability of the current Fourth Turning sweeping away the existing social order in a whirlwind of chaos, violence, financial collapse and ultimately a decisive war. The exact timing and exact events which will precipitate the demise of the establishment are unknowable with any precision, but there is no escape from the inexorable march of history. While most people get lost in the minutia of day to day existence and supposed Ivy League thought leaders are consumed with their own reputations and wealth, apparent stability will morph into terrifying volatility in an instant. The normalcy bias being practiced by an entire country will be shattered in a reality storm of consequences. The Crisis will continue to be driven by the ever growing debt levels, civic decay caused by government overreach, and global disorder driven by resource shortages and religious zealotry. The ultimate outcome is unpredictable, but the choices we make will matter. History is about to fling us towards a vast chaos.

“The seasons of time offer no guarantees. For modern societies, no less than for all forms of life, transformative change is discontinuous. For what seems an eternity, history goes nowhere – and then it suddenly flings us forward across some vast chaos that defies any mortal effort to plan our way there. The Fourth Turning will try our souls – and the saecular rhythm tells us that much will depend on how we face up to that trial. The saeculum does not reveal whether the story will have a happy ending, but it does tell us how and when our choices will make a difference.”  – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

American Anxiety

Off the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler

Published on Clusterfuck Nation on July 15, 2013

anxiety

Discuss this article at the Martin-Zimmerman Case File inside the Diner

“The whole world was watching this case to see if everybody can get equal justice, no just certain people,” Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Mr. Martin’s family, said on Sunday.                            —The New York Times

     I’m not so sure the whole world was watching. The rest of the world is quite preoccupied with countless other events careening toward criticality — civil war in the Middle East, bankruptcy all over Europe, riots in Brazil, the global bond market, a mystery epidemic in India, etc — and if they are watching, they must be mystified by what they see.

     What the Zimmerman trial showed me was a nation stuck in tired narratives about its racial predicament, and confusion about what the predicament even is. It doesn’t help that we stopped even pretending that something called common culture matters or even exists. By common culture I mean shared values and behavioral norms. The “multiculturalism” offered in place of it — at least among so-called progressives — hasn’t worked out too well either. On one side of the street you have Slate podcasters foolishly wringing their hands over “the N-word” while over on the other side Kanye West is making millions shouting “nigga, nigga, nigga.” We pretend to want to have a national conversation about race, but the truth is that it makes us too uncomfortable, so we retreat into platitudes and sentimentality.

      CNN covered the trial and its aftermath relentlessly — I saw a lot of it recovering from a Friday surgery — and the narrative there was a largely sentimental one about “a child” gunned down. Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon repeatedly omitted to mention that the six-foot-tall child was beating the smaller gunman’s head into the pavement in the minutes before he shot. Apparently the jury did notice this part of the story.

     The most uncomfortable part of the botched conversation is about behavior in general and the behavior of young black men in particular. The visible social failure is too gross and its implications are too scary, namely that we have more and more an oppositional culture saturated in violence that will never accommodate itself to any kind of a common culture. At this point that culture of young black men is oppositional to virtually every other group in America, white, Asian, Hispanic, et cetera, and the only response to it from the jittery “others” is a set of excuses for black opposition and failure.

     One excuse is that America’s drug laws have turned young black men into “political prisoners” in the world’s largest prison gulag. I’m sure that our drug laws are stupid and counter-productive, but I’m also sure that most of the young men caught in its web were doing something anti-social besides just holding, using, and selling.

     There are ways of understanding historically how we got to the current situation but they may not offer much consolation. The Civil Rights victories of 1964 and 1965 — the public accommodations act and voting rights act — created tremendous anxiety among African Americans about how they would fit into a desegregated society, so the rise of black separatism at exactly that moment of legislative triumph was not an accident. It offered a segment of the black population the choice of opting out of the new disposition of things. Opting out had consequences, and over several generations since then, the cohort of poorer black Americans has grown only more oppositional, antagonistic, and economically dysfunctional — with the sanction of America’s non-black “diversity” cheerleaders, who remain adamant in their own opposition to the idea of common culture.

     The economic challenges of the long emergency, with its desperate competition for the common resources of daily life — money, food, fuel — are liable to provoke new layers of desperate behavior, and new layers of opposition, antagonism, misunderstanding, tragedy, and failure. Do you argue that there are no “jobs” for young black men and nothing to absorb their energies? Increasingly there will be no “jobs” for anybody, except perhaps in local small scale farming. And these days that probably lacks the appeal of becoming a hip-hop star shouting “nigga, nigga, nigga.”

     What we “learned” from the Trayvon Martin case, so far, is exactly nothing.

This Was The Week In Doom July 14, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on July 14, 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.

“The first change that takes place is in your mind.You have to change your mind before you change the way you live and the way you move. So when we said that ‘the revolution would not be televised,’ we were saying that the thing that’s going to change people is something that nobody will ever be able to capture on film.

It’ll just be something that you see, and then all of a sudden you realize ‘I’m on the wrong page.'”

  ~Gil Scott Heron

 

There comes a time in nearly everyone’s life when, either as the result of the catharsis or of a life-changing event, the idols you have erected for yourself fall: you realize that much that you have done, seen or own no longer serves you.  Suddenly you realize, “I’m on the wrong page.” Those of us old enough to remember a government that appeared, at least to advocate for the rights of ordinary people  in balance with those of corporate persons, that attempted to protect the public health and promote some level of general welfare, that even became an advocate for civil rights for the oppressed, who remember a republic that was at least functional,  able to enact policy via political compromise as opposed being captive to the economic terrorism of an entrenched and implacable minority, will know what I mean.  Much of the discussion in the pages of the Diner Forum centers around “fast collapse” versus “slow collapse.” Our current world of escalating cruelty and absurdity, in which the thoughtful are mocked while the basest and most ludicrous are elevated to celebrity status, shocks the senses. This week’s summary provides a luxury box with a panoramic view of what collapse looks like, with each detailed writ large– but when considered from a view high enough and far enough away, the pattern resolves a pointillist image of impending doom.

 

Zimmerman Acquitted

______________________________________________


Late Saturday evening, the Florida jury deliberating on the charges against George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin
acquitted  Zimmerman of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter  in a case that alternately fascinated and appalled large segments of a spellbound nation. As the judge confirmed the verdict with jurors, one of the six women in the jury sat with a face flushed with emotion.

It did not take long for reaction to coalesce. as waiting demonstrators in Sanford Florida learned of the verdict, a chant arose that, “the system has failed!” As of this writing, it appears that people are even yet catching up with this verdict, and is difficult to know what will happen next. Needless to say, there is plenty of outrage to go around.

On July 10, Charlie Pierce uttered the stuff of prophecy:

‘A general consensus seems to be forming around the fact that George Zimmerman, who shot down an unarmed teenager for the crime of being in a place where Zimmerman thought the teenager did not belong, may well skate in his trial down in Florida. This will happen, it is said, for a variety of reasons. The state overcharged him. The jury will buy the notion that he was having a near-death experience. Florida’s preposterous stand-your-ground law was badly drawn and gave Zimmerman a loophole through which he was able to dive.  (An acquittal in this case is a virtual hunting license for every gun-totin’ wannabe in the state. The cops must be thrilled.)

But the simple fact underlying all of these explanation is that, if the races of the shooter and his victim were reversed, Trayvon Martin already would be on his way to Raiford. (We would like this other case marked as Exhibit A in support of our argument.) This has more than dawned on many people in Florida, and local law enforcement is already nervous.’

Anyone with any sense hopes this doesn’t happen. Which leaves out the nest of otherwise unemployables working at Breitbart’s Mausoleum, who are fairly slavering for a race war to break out after the verdict. Whatever you do, stay the hell out of the comments section. It will make you despair of being a human being. Said it before, will say it again. Nothing good will come of this case. Nothing.’

 

dexterrrrr

The lessons of history are pretty unmistakable about what happens when people are systematically denied justice.

Whatever the merits or faults of the prosecutions case against Zimmerman, the feeling on the street is that justice has been denied.  Even those who hung on every word of the proceedings, the thousands of de facto volunteer jurors in the case,  come to different conclusions based on what they heard.

And for those convinced that justice has been served, there is the story of how a Black woman fired a warning shot and gets 20 Years , whereas a white man shoots his wife’s lover and walks free.

Zimmerman’s adoptive godfather, Sean Hannity, was not available for comment.

______________________________________________

Radioactive Tritium At Record High Levels In Fukushima Ground- And Sea-Water

With the Western (and Japanese) media focused almost entirely on the actions of their central-planners-in-chief and how effective they are, it seems human’s omnipotence over complex systems is being greatly challenged by the ongoing Fukushima disaster.  Earlier this week, The Japan Times reported that TEPCO said that 600,000 becquerels per liter of tritium has been detected in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant – 18% higher than levels a week earlier.

In a story Joe P. posted last night, a report by William Boardman pointed out even more grim news:

As with all nuclear reporting, precise and reliable details are hard to come by, but the current picture as of July 10 seems to be something like this: 

”   On July 5, radiation levels at Fukushima were what passes for “normal,” which means elevated and dangerous, but stable, according to measurements by the owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). 

”   On July 8, radiation levels had jumped about 90 times higher, as typically reported.  TEPCO had no explanation for the increase. 

”   On July 9, radiation levels were up again from the previous day, but at a slower rate, about 22 per cent.  TEPCO still had no explanation. 

”   On July 10, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) issued a statement saying that the NRA strongly suspects the radioactive water is coming from Fukushima’s Reactor #1 and is going into the Pacific. 

Furthermore, the utility also said it had measured a seawater tritium level of 2,300 becquerels per liter – the highest so far – near the water intakes of reactors 1 to 4. So it is that in a nation already suffering from a dreadfully declining demographic dilemma, the citizens are being exposed to highly cancerous substances still.

Let’s put this in perspective.  Here is a list of the purportedly “safe”  levels  of radiation in water.

”   10 becquerels per liter — The officially “safe” level for radioactivity in drinking water, as set by the NRA. 

A becquerel is a standard scientific measure of radioactivity, similar in some ways to a rad or a rem or a roentgen, but not equivalent to any of them.  But one need not understand the nuances of nuclear physics to get a layman’s idea of what’s going on in Fukushima.  Just keep the measure of that safe drinking water in mind, that liter of water, less than a quart, with 10 becquerels of radioactivity.

”  60 becquerels per liter — For nuclear power plants, the safety limit for drinking water is 60 becquerels, as set by the NRA, with less concern for nuclear plant workers than ordinary civilians. 

”   60-90 becquerels per liter — For waste water at nuclear power plants, the NRA sets a maximum standard of 90 becquerels per liter for Cesium-137 and 60 becquerels per liter of Cesium-134.

 so here is the current status what’s going on at Fukushima:

At some of Fukushima’s monitoring wells, radiation levels were in fractions of a becquerel on July 8 and 9. At the well (or wells) that are proving problematical, TEPCO has provided no baseline readings. 

”  9,000 becquerels per liter — On July 8, according to TEPCO, the company measured radioactive Cesium-134 at 9,000 becquerels per liter.  Since TEPCO characterized this as 90 times higher than on July 5, the implication is that the earlier reading (about 100) was less than twice as toxic as the allowable limit and only 10 times more toxic than drinking water for civilians. 

”   11,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO’s measurement of Cesium-134 on July 9.    

”    18,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO measurement of  Cesium-137 on July 8.

”    22,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO’s measurement of Cesium-137 on July 9. 

”    900,000 becquerels per liter — TEPCO’s measurement of the total radioactivity in the water leaking from Reactor #1.  This radiation load includes both Cesium isotopes, as well as Tritium, Strontium and other beta emitters.  There are more that 60 radioactive substances that have been identified at the Fukushima site. 

This may well be too much statistical argle-bargle (geez, I actually quoted Nino Scalia) for most readers,  but suffice it to say that a situation that was already bad is getting much, much worse. And nobody can or will say why.  Water continues to flow through the Fukushima  accident site, both from groundwater and water pumped in from the ocean to contain other potential meltdowns. It is unclear what can be done, which is troubling. Even more troubling is the fact that radiation, like the weather, moves from West to East.

______________________________________________

 Add Hastings: LAPD Gag Order on Hastings Death Indicates Murder Cover-Up?

We typically disregard stories published on this site as the work of rightist conspiracy types with a Bircher bent.  Yet evidence persists that the death of Michael Hastings was most unusual, and witnesses continue to emerge with stories that a reasonable person might think would warrant further investigation. That is, if one were really interested in finding out exactly what happened, which is to say, more reasonable than the LAPD. So forgive us if we smell a cover up.

Michael Hastings

 

The Michael Hastings Car Crash: No Skids Marks, a Flying Engine and “Boston Brakes”

In cases such as the highly suspicious and tragic car crash/explosion that killed celebrated investigative journalist Michael Hastings, I try to reserve commentary for a little bit to let facts emerge following the initial speculative flurry. Particularly when it involves a journalist with whom I am only slightly familiar.  I think we can all agree at this point that based on what has come forward in the past several weeks it is more than likely Mr. Hastings was murdered. The following report from San Diego News 6 provides an excellent summary of what we know, and what we don’t know.  The LAPD doesn’t seem to care much about the latter.  From San Diego 6:

An eyewitness at the scene, Jose, employed at nearby business ALSCO Inc said, the car was traveling very fast and he heard a couple explosions shortly before the car crashed. In fact, the explosion was so intense that it took the LA County assistant corner, Ed Winter, two days to identify the burned-beyond recognition body of Hastings.

As news of the journalist’s death reached family and work colleagues another story emerged, one that would seemingly contradict the LAPD’s verdict. It quickly surfaced that Hastings reached out to Wikileaks attorney Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before his death claiming the FBI was investigating him.

One particular passage in Hastings book, “The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan,” revealed that a former McChrystal staff member made a death threat. “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write,” the unnamed staffer said. Hastings coolly retorted: “Well, I get death threats like that about once a year, so no worries.”

He later wrote; “I wasn’t disturbed by the claim. Whenever I’d been reporting around groups of dudes whose job it was to kill people, one of them would usually mention that they were going to kill me.”

But the most significant missing evidence was the absence of any skid marks—even though the car made a 60-degree turn into a palm tree.

Research of this topic reveals a new angle to this story, namely —Boston Brakes.

This theory was explained by a former Marine Gordon Duff who refers to the “Boston Brakes” technique, in which “drive by wire” cars, specifically a Mercedes Benz, can be manipulated remotely to simulate an out-of-control accident, according to his Veterans Today story (The 2010 story is a must read). The story details are eerily similar to Hastings fiery accident scene as there were no skid marks.

Adding credence to the possible car-hacking scenario is former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke. After news broke on the Hastings car accident, he confirmed the “drive by wire” concept.

Clarke told The Huffington Post that a single-vehicle crash is “consistent with a car cyber attack. There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.”

Another significant detail pointed out by some members of law enforcement, is the intensity of the fire inside the car. It’s highly unusual since gasoline generally doesn’t burn that hot. Reviewing video footage from the scene, the intensity of the fire resembles a “thermite” burn.

Despite the LAPD’s categorization of the Hasting fatal accident as a “no (evidence of) foul play” accident, LAPD refuses to release the accident and toxicology reports, or make the Mercedes available for inspection which only fuels speculation.

Until such time as that vehicle and the reports are available for public inspection, the speculation is likely to continue.

______________________________________________

Wisconsin Paramilitaries

Once upon a time this might have been made the “unbelieveable” file,  but comes to us from Wisconsin, that living laboratory for what the Koch brothers have in mind for the rest of us once they get to fill statehouses with governors of their choice. Their hand-picked suzerain in Madison, Scott Walker, who Pierce describes as “the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage its midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin,”  is in the process of selling off the state piece by piece. This latest datum represents what is happening as Walker transfers public land to a massive iron ore mining operation.

In response to the protestations of some who actually find this transfer objectionable and have demonstrated that point in public, the money concerned has now mounted a private army to patrol said public land to protect their purported interests.

Imagine walking through the Wisconsin woods with your children only to suddenly encounter the fellow pictured above? We’re talking here about land that is actually *open to the public*, and the Private Sector militarized mercenaries do not even have the legal right in Wisconsin to actually  employ the weaponry that they are openly carrying around for the purpose of protecting property.

A company proposing a $1.5 billion open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin is drawing fire for hiring heavily armed security guards to protect the project site. State Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and State Rep. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) Monday called on Gogebic Taconite to immediately remove the “masked commando security unit” hired to protect the company’s property in the Penokee Hills in Ashland and Iron counties. Gogebic Taconite spokesman Bob Seitz told the Duluth News Tribune on Monday that the company hired the Arizona-based Bulletproof Securities Force after teams of mining opponents “dressed in black and wearing masks violently attacked our drill site” in June.

More scathing commentary here, along with a VIDEO from a local NEWS station:

“MASKED, HEAVILY-ARMED PARAMILITARY RENT-A-COPS ARE FREAKING OUT WISCONSIN”
A brief taste:

But now Wisconsinites are getting a bite from a brand new flavor of shit sandwich that results from having a Republican-controlled legislature: Masked mercenaries with semi-automatic weapons are guarding the site of a controversial mining project that is being established near Lake Superior and understandably, people are freaking out about it.

Although there were serious environmental concerns about the mine, in March the GOP legislature pushed it through anyway. Since then there have been steady events protesting the mine, which will be owned and operated by a company called Gogebic Taconite. Over the July 4th weekend, however, masked security guards wearing camouflaged uniforms and carrying multiple semi-automatic weapons started patrolling the future mine’s site. Forget about the firepower for a moment, why do these dudes require masks to do their jobs???

Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall did a little digging into the background of Bulletproof Securities the rent-a-cop on steroids firm—or as they put it, the “No Compromise Security Force”—that is minding the mine:

Here’s the Bulletproof website which lists all sorts of security/paramilitary type services. They even have their own ‘border security force’, which is something I thought the federal government took care of. But apparently not without occasional help from Bulletproof.

Indeed, as the site notes, “BPS has at its disposal the latest cache of specialized equipment for border security operations, not typically found in the private sector. As example, BPS owns heavily armored Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV’s), Tactical All Terrain Vehicles (T-ATV’s), FLIR (mobile thermal systems), mast equipment (eye in the sky), and many other state-of-the-art assets … The presence of BPS will prevent criminal organizations from posing a threat to your personnel or your mission.”

If your needs are different, Bulletproof can also provide “a QRF (quick reaction force) tactical unit to secure a manufacturing plant during a heated worker strike.”

It turns out that the company providing the paramilitaries is an Arizona company, owned by a real estate developer. Said developer clearly is in the business of providing armed assurance to the 1% who clearly don’t feel that the federal government is doing a good enough job of protecting the AZ border. Also interesting to note is that in the rush to convey this public land to the iron mining concern, the Republicans who votes pushes through promised that they would be creating local jobs. The first thing the iron mine did was import their paramilitaries from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that the land is actually open to the public, and that Bulletproof’s armed mercenaries do not even have the legal right in Wisconsin to actually use the weaponry that they are carrying for the purposes of “protecting property.” And yeah, why the masks, anyhow?

The question answers itself. It’s not about “protection,” it’s about intimidation. If this doesn’t look like a symptom of “fast collapse” to you, I would submit you are not paying attention.

______________________________________________

Poison-proof mosquitoes might trigger a deadly crisis for thousands

And just when you thought it was safe to go outside comes this news from the World Health Organization.

 

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited insecticide resistance as a growing threat to malaria control campaigns in Africa, saying “urgent action” is needed to stem the spread. Globally, malaria kills an estimated 650,000 people every year, most of whom are young children. In Africa alone, pesticide failure could result in an additional 259,000 child deaths every year, according to the WHO’s projections.

In its report, the WHO called upon governments to implement tighter monitoring policies and to report cases of insecticide resistance with more diligence, underscoring a critical problem: data remains sparse, inconsistent, and, until recently, scattered across disparate sources.

A DEADLY CRISIS MAY LOOM ON THE HORIZON

Globally, malaria kills an estimated 650,000 people every year, most ly young children. In Africa alone, pesticide failure could result in an additional 259,000 child deaths every year, according to the WHO’s projections.In response, they’re developing a tool called IR Mapper. The website, which launched in April, collects data on confirmed and possible insecticide resistance from more than 50 countries  and displays them on an interactive map. Users can filter the data by type of pesticide and mosquito species, and can trace the spread of resistance from 1950 to the present.Ir_mapper_2

IR Mapper collects data on insecticide resistance and displays them in a single map interface.

The idea is to bring country-level data from various studies and publications into a single platform, allowing policy makers and experts to see where pesticide resistance is most prevalent, and act accordingly.

 ______________________________________________

Virginia Follies

Grifters delight…
Virginia is self-described as the “cradle of presidents,” as a disproportionate number of US chief Executives have come from the Old Dominion. Not to be outdone in the news cycles by the newly-insane  state of North Carolina, Virginia has its own home grown crop o’ craziness coming in full. The first issue is the trail of slime left by the revelations of financial impropriety by our esteemed Governor,  who had previously made certain choices and bleatings  about wanting to be the NEXT President from Virginia, a prospect receding further with each passing day.

For a while, the revelations of Gov. Transvaginal Ultrasound’s financial non-disclosures were like the constant drip of a leaking faucet. That spigot was opened full bore with the revelation of the $6,500 Rolex watch and a paid for Final Four trip. This past week’s bombshell Washington Post report, carried in both The Virginian-Pilot and The Richmond Times-Dispatch, blew the spigot completely up, along with the glass house occupied by the Guv and his family,  who, incidentally, stand revealed as a set of grifters rivaling Alaska’s Palin family. The trickle of revelations has become a flood, and buried somewhere in the mud are the tatters of  Gov. T.U.’s reputation and future political ambitions. On the other hand, they resuscitated Nixon….

A prominent political donor gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his sister last year, and the governor did not disclose the money as a gift or loan, according to people with knowledge of the payments.

The donor, wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., also gave a previously unknown $50,000 check to the governor’s wife, Maureen, in 2011, the people said.

The money to the corporation and Maureen McDonnell brings to $145,000 the amount Williams gave to assist the McDonnell family in 2011 and 2012.

 

This interview of McDonnell was broadcast earlier in the week, before the Post article broke. One wonders what he knew in advance about it when one is not busy feeding his secret hunchback. Schaudenfreude, indeed.

McDonnell has asserted that he has complied with Virginia’s loose campaign disclosure laws. It appears now that  statement may be, in the famous words of one Patrick Buchanan, “inoperable.” Also, my hunchback wonders what other shoes are left to drop?  Our Guv has garnered the attention of the Feds, and if it were only Virginia laws in question, one wonders why?

This reflects poorly on Virginia,  But then so has the entirety of the  McDonnell administration. This is a governor who, one will recall, who ran neck and neck with Scotty Walker to transfer public assets into private hands at breakneck speed, and with scant regard for existing law.  And his execrable war on women, led by his personal Iago, Ken Cucinelli, leaves an enduring stain on the reputation of the Commonwealth.

 And speaking of that current blight upon the body politic in Virginia,  otherwise known as the current attorney general and Republican gubernatorial candidate, there is this.

WASHINGTON — Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the GOP’s 2013 gubernatorial candidate, filed a petition Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to uphold Virginia’s anti-sodomy law.

Cuccinelli wants the court to reconsider a March 2013 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit striking down the state’s “crimes against nature” statute. The 4th Circuit ruled that the law did not pass muster in light of the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which struck down the latter state’s anti-sodomy law as an unconstitutional criminalization of Americans’ sexual conduct. The Virginia law, however, remained on the books.

in Virginia, the hits just keep on coming.  And nothing this week from EW Jackson, Virginia’s firebrand Republican Lieut. Gov. candidate. Rumors that the Cucinelli campaign had trussed Jackson securely in a straitjacket, gagged and secured him in the basement of the governor’s mansion in Richmond could not be confirmed at publication time.

______________________________________________

TV Is Americans’ Main Source of News

This next item will come as no surprise to anybody who said, transfixed or no, while CNN provided 24–7 coverage of the Zimmerman trial. Had Martians landed in Washington, or nuclear war broke out in the Middle East, you can be sure that CNN would’ve remained all trade bond all the time.

 

The ubiquity of the idiot box makes the result of this Gallup poll somewhat dispurposeful. But if you’re the sort of evidence-based literalist who likes to actually see the data before making wide, sweeping generalizations about it to prove a point (for example, the way we do things here at TWTWID), then here you are.

 

Preferred news source varies by age, education, and politics, among other factors

PRINCETON, NJ — Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55%), leading the Internet, at 21%. Nine percent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6%..

____________________________________________

Don’t Drink The Water

FrackMapUS

A tip o’ the Surly crown of thorns to haniel for this next item: On this map you can retrieve two types of information:  US rivers in blue and the fracking areas superimposed in red, from the documentary Gasland.

There is just one thing to be said regarding this sobering and terrifying map: Be careful if you live in a red area, your tap water may be contaminated and poisoned by the chemicals and other toxic substances used for fracking and described in the following report: Chemicals Used In Hydraulic Fracturing.

An important point of clarification: NOT ALL OF THESE RED AREAS ARE CONTAMINATED, but they have a higher risk of contamination due to a substantial concentration of fracking activity. The impact that fracking has on water is already firmly established.

I remember, as a child, how the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire and burned, in those days before the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. After nearly 40 years of class war and industry capture of regulatory agencies (remember Anne Burford Gorsuch?) we have largely returned to those unregulated times.  By no means will all people who live in a red area on this map  jeopardize their health if they drink their tap water, but if I did, I would be concerned.  Test your water yourself.

  ______________________________________________

Which will do it for this week’s edition of TWTWID.  This space will be vacant next week due to previous travel commitments and,  judging from the near complete absence of comments in the Forum. will not be much missed. Rest assured that while the reportage may be absent, that doom, in its various factors, will keep marching on. Because doom, like rust, never sleeps.

Let’s close with our brand new franchise, “You’re Shitting Me, Right?”

______________________________________________

You’re Shitting Me, right?

Sometimes there are just no words.  Times like this.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson came to the conclusion on Sunday that low student loan rates were to blame for long-term joblessness.

In an interview on Sunday, conservative economics professor Peter Morici explained that President Barack Obama’s health care reform law had caused a “disaster” because only 47 percent of the population was employed.

“So here’s the part I can’t get past, 47 percent of the population works full time,” Carlson said. “That means the other 53 percent is being supported by that 47 percent. That’s not a good ratio.”

“Absolutely not,” Morici replied. “Look what’s happening with young people, my students, many of them are getting into these part-time jobs, some of them not very meaningful. You know, you got a guy with a masters degree working at Starbucks so he lives with his parents.”

“What’s going to happen to these young people and all their big student loans? The answer is very bad things,” he added. “The president has been buying lower unemployment rates by essentially providing very cheap student loans and keeping people out of the labor market.”

“Exactly,” Carlson agreed. “So, cheap student loans keep people out of the labor market. This is a dangerous spiral.”

 ______________________________________________

#NoNeedToSatirize: Gohmert repeatedly shouts ‘Objection!’ to silence critics 

Gohmert repeatedly shouts ‘Objection!’ to silence claims food stamp cuts hurt hungry families

By David Edwards

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday objected over and over again in order to keep statements out of the congressional record that accused Republicans of hurting working families by taking food stamps out of the farm bill.

Before a vote could be taken on the Republican farm bill that drops the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — or food stamps — Democrats attempted to voice their unhappiness by inserting statements into the record.

“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it will increase hunger in America,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said.

Although requests to “revise and extend” remarks are routine, Gohmert immediate shouted, “Objection!”

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-IL) next asked permission to “revise and extend” his remarks in opposition to the farm bill “because it takes food nutrition away from working families.”

“Objection!” Gohmert yelled.

“What he is doing is he is not even giving members on our side the courtesy inserting their statement in the record?” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) asked.

As several more Democratic representatives attempted to insert remarks that the bill “hurts the working poor” and “increases hunger and poverty,” Gohmert repeatedly objected.

“I think it is extremely unfortunate that that members on the other side of the aisle would deny members on this side of the aisle the ability to insert written materials in the record,” McGovern noted. “In all my years here, I’ve never seen such uncourteous gesture.”

 ______________________________________________

When you make a promise to your god, your late father, and your wife to quit smoking, you should actually quit this time.

Turkish man Ibrahim Yucel wanted to keep his promise so badly that he crafted a medieval-style cage to wear on his head so he couldn’t smoke. Every morning, he locks his head in the cage and gives the key to his wife so he won’t give in to his addiction at work.

 ______________________________________________

The sinkhole, discovered Aug. 3, resulted from a collapsed underground salt dome cavern about 40 miles south of Baton Rouge. After oil and natural gas came oozing up and acres of the swampland liquefied into muck, the community’s 350 residents were advised to evacuate.

Texas Brine Co., the operator of the salt dome, is negotiating buyouts of residents who have not joined lawsuits filed against the company. Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch said 92 buyout offers have been made, with 44 accepted so far.

______________________________________________
  And here is an article custom made for”You’re Shitting Me, Right?”I came across an article this week in which the Atlantic, God love them, investigated whether it is really possible to meet your maker by peeing on the 3rd rail.

Last night a man reportedly was killed while peeing on the third rail of the G train in Brooklyn, leading to a renewed debate over the myth that one can actually kill oneself by taking a leak on the super electrified subway track. The report from the New York Post suggests that the man indeed died because his pee came in contact with the deadly rail. “A drunken man was electrocuted and killed relieving himself on the third rail in Brooklyn this morning, sources said,” reads the report. But, both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and law enforcement officials have denied a “whiz-3rd rail connection” to the Wall Street Journal’s transportation reporter Tedd Man. So, it sounds more like the man fell while peeing onto the third rail and then got electrocuted and died. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to die in such a manner. We investigate.

The idea behind the myth makes scientific sense: an electrical current could travel up the stream of urine through one’s penis, thus causing a jolt. Or, as a couple of New York City kids put it to a homeless man on the verge of peeing to his death: “Your dick will get blasted, bro.” A Yahoo answers commenter also insists the risk is serious, real, and terrifying: “Electricity can arc across gaps in your pee and zap you right in the nuts. Penile electrocution is very painful. And if the electrical current is sustained, your testicles will explode.”

 And it week of consummate weirdness, you can read the rest of the article here.
______________________________________________

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

Quote from: Surly1 on Today at 08:06:04 AM[html]

I just recently came across this debate over the gender pronoun issues. It's great, but you could even skip to the Q&A section at the end. Because, IMO, JP is absolutely brilliant in responding to the questions and illuminating the underlying issues. ...

Quote from: Ashvin on Today at 06:18:12 AMQuote from: K-Dog on August 14, 2018, 09:46:24 PMI find the expropriation of 'dark web' to try and pin on a nebulous political orientation to be ...

Quote from: K-Dog on August 14, 2018, 09:46:24 PMI find the expropriation of 'dark web' to try and pin on a nebulous political orientation to be a case of an emperor wearing no clothes in a linguistic sense.  Smoke and f...

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

Diner Newz Feeds

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

Quote from: EddieThe Craig Unger money laundering [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on Today at 08:06:04 AM[html] [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily August 15The Dine... [...]

Quote from: Eddie on March 13, 2018, 05:21:10 PMAl [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:33:01 PMAU [...]

Quote from: knarf on March 13, 2018, 03:25:04 PM [...]

A new study found that the Great Recession correla [...]

From 2003 to 2005, Gina Haspel was a senior offici [...]

     FBI agent Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump [...]

Dear Readers, it is my current opinion that this c [...]

Quote from: Eddie on August 11, 2018, 10:10:24 AMA [...]

As Greg Hurwitz mentioned, the best lever for Demo [...]

 Have been doing a bit of soul searching about my [...]

The ten day forecast shows it letting up, but I [...]

More rain yesterday, more today  Since our one wee [...]

Quote from: RE on August 05, 2018, 06:11:44 AMSo I [...]

After over 20 years with ATT as my cell phone serv [...]

Whatever weather Mother Nature gives us, it'l [...]

Alternate Perspectives

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

Impotence and Denial: The Desperate Virtue Signaling Voices By Cognitive Dissonance     Regardless o [...]

A Near Death Experience: Back from the Brink By Cognitive Dissonance   In an odd sort of way I am fa [...]

Bob By Cognitive Dissonance     Mrs. Cog has an ironclad rule honed and confirmed by decades of expe [...]

Some Thoughts from the Front Lines By Casey Stengel Editor - One of the ways we avoid catastrophe fa [...]

It Takes a Village… By Cognitive Dissonance     Mrs. Cog and I live at the end of a dead end private [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-13http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-12http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-11http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-10http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

Event Update For 2018-08-09http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

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 [...]

You know things have taken a turn for the desperate when women have started to drive. Or rather, whe [...]

From Filmers to Farmers is re-launched on the astounding open source blogging platform Ghost! [...]

The blogging scene is admittedly atrocious. Is there really no option for a collapse blogger to turn [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

My Plastic Fantastic Love Affair"Composers and decomposers co-evolved in an endless dance."Her neon mouth with a bleeding [...]

Readying the mind"We are not going to reprogram a neocortex that took millions of years to program as if it were [...]

Addicts and Gangsters"The rial is now at an all-time low, with an inflation rate of 147 percent. Addicts are droppin [...]

You Can't Stop A Wave But You Can Surf-3"The struggle with any addict is to produce permanent change."Part ThreeJust when things s [...]

You Can't Stop A Wave But You Can Surf-2"A more prosperous way down would be to work at community scale"Part TwoAccording to both [...]

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 [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Bingo--- Homo Sapiens have had a historical population of 1-10 million, with a near extinction 70,00 [...]

i have exactly the same feelings but the problem maybe is that we look back in history and think we [...]

This is a WSJ article about what a police state Xinjiang has become: Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How Ch [...]

Yes, better to send robots to murde.r childre.n than our own children. [...]

I expect the rising cost of coal extraction is part of the problem as well. Also, the need to import [...]

Modern nation survive through debt. Credit issuers that issue credit backed by oil seem to do the be [...]

Why fetishize debt/GDP? Because it is a trend that never ends. It is chronic, not some temporary flu [...]

Charles Hugh Smith is saying that since 2008 the central banks of the world have been buying up zill [...]

Steve, have you read this author? http://michael-hudson.com/2007/08/why-the-miracle-of-compound-inte [...]

Absolutely true. I am waiting for someone to say that debt can increase faster than income forever. [...]

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

International aid for climate change adaptation in West Africa is increasing exponentially, but our [...]

This study analyzes the temporal variation of different rainfall features in the central region of A [...]

Widespread poverty is the most serious threat and social problem that Bangladesh faces. Regional vul [...]

The main features of the instrumental global mean surface temperature (GMST) are reasonably well des [...]

It is still a challenge to provide spatially explicit predictions of climate parameters in African r [...]