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march 3rd–27th March 2012
Theory of everything SERIES LARGE PUBLIC WORK PROJECT SERIES HIERARCHY OF BUGOUT PLANS doomsteaddiner.org
OWS in Norfolk
Doomstead Diner February 2012 edition
Message from the team — Surly
In this 2nd edition of the Diner webzine, I’m grateful to have been asked to provide a few words of context. Given that so much of my writing has been about Occupy and Occupyrelated issues, and that Monsta666 has chosen to include some of these, I thought appropriate to look back on Occupy. I have documented my involvement with the local version of the Occupy movement at length, if not sufficient care. Occupy is an idea. Inspired by Zuccotti Park, Occupy groups sprang up all over the country like dandelion seedlings, sprouting in fertile ground from Maine to California. People often gathered under American flags in revulsion at political and economic outrages:
Administrator of Doomstead Diner and founder of Doomstead Diner Facebook
• Inversion of our national priorities, from preserving the welfare of the populace to one of Imperial War-- an eternal war against the idea of a war on terrorism; • Radically repressive legislation siphoning away the traditional rights of the American people; • Disproportionate and immoral spending on a rapacious war machine that enriches a Nuclear Mafia at the expense of working people and ordinary taxpayers; • Outrage at bailouts for “too big to fail” banks, while working people had their wealth siphoned away though upside down, non-negotiable mortgages, and subsequent illegal foreclosures, often abetted by a criminally complicit judiciary; • Failure to prosecute financial crimes; • Fury at a non-responsive legislature, wholly captive to multinational corporations and their armies of paid lobbyists, and utterly unresponsive to the will of the people who elected them. Contrary to popular belief, and as revealed by subsequent journalism, the majority of Occupiers were ordinary working people exercising their right to freedom of assembly. The movement encompassed the full range of opinion on the political spectrum, but most who came were employed at least one job, and many held college degrees. The prevailing press coverage attempted to portray Occupy as a gaggle of wild-eyed black-bloc anarchists, but that was not the truth of the matter. There were early successes: the “Move Your Money” campaign to get individuals to move accounts from TBTF banks to local banks or credit unions, gained the notice of financiers. The movement to repeal the “Citizens United” decision via a law or amendment gained traction. Outrage came easy; doing something concrete about it was harder. The initial press coverage of the Occupy movement was to ignore it. While thousands of people gathered in Zuccotti Park, the mainstream media remained silent as a tomb. Eventually the word got out thanks to alternative media, and the MSM were obliged to cover the Occupy phenomenon, although the coverage was often predetermined. In our local case, a wholly negative story was already affixed to the news peg before reporters were assigned. Alt media continued to tell the story, (with the eventual result of pernicious legislation designed to lock down and cripple the Internet, the better to thus control it.) At the beginning, Occupy was studiously non-partisan. We coalesced around issues, not faction. Nevertheless, fault
lines soon appeared. Many shared a paranoia about being co-opted by political factions—by the Ron Paul of Information and Discussion found is Inside the Diner, on the pages of the Simple Machines Forum software. The presidential campaign, by Move On, by trade unions. This fear proved to be a practical impediment to those who debate is often raucous, no posting is ever Censored, and no Diner is ever Banned. That doesn’t mean there isn’t desired to form coalitions with other groups who shared some of the same goals. Editorial Control though, there most certainly is. Like any other Internet Forum, the Diner is subject to Trolling and Monopolization of discussion by people who have their own agendas, or work for Goobermint or Industry and troll to On the ground at Occupy camps, the very nature of governance (or non-governance) for a leaderless movement promote those agendas. As Manager of the Diner, I move around the posting, pushing some things to the bottom of was also a challenge, The business of Occupy was transacted at a General Assembly, which had specific rules to the inside pages, promoting other things to the Front Page. The Diner therefore most certainly has a specific Spin and insure that everybody had the opportunity to participate, with particular care to include members of traditionally Agenda, but opposing ideas can always be expressed, even if they don’t make the Front Page. underrepresented groups. Meetings were led by a member of the “facilitation team,” which prepared an agenda, as well. The actual work of Occupy was to be carried out through various workgroups, who were supposed to report as One of the things about all regular Diners realize is that eventually access to the Internet will be limited for any part of the General Assembly proceedings. number of reasons. One is of course that we live in an increasingly controlled Police State, where Freedom of Speech presents the greatest threat to control by The Powers That Be. The ability of Websites like the Diner to exist at all Work groups were where the rubber hit the road. The Community Outreach work group led a food and voter without running afoul of DHS or NDAA Rules becomes more limited by the day, and really its mainly how Popular you registration drives, the Technology workgroup stood up live streaming, wi-fi, solar panels for power, the Sanitation are and how much Readership you get which determines when TPTB will set loose the Dogs of the Gestapo on you. group for keeping the camp clean, the Kitchen work group solicited food donations from area businesses and Small, marginal Blogs and Message Boards get little attention from TPTB, they don’t reach enough people to present individuals, the Security group kept watch at night and provided wake up calls, Direct Action planned events and any threat to the Status Quo. On the other hand though, once you achieve the Notoriety of a Julian Assange or an carried out specific actions, an Arts Workgroup made signs, T shirts, music drum circles and the like. Aaron Swartz, the FULL FORCE AND POWER of the State will be dropped upon you. Fortunately or Unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the Doomstead Diner has nowhere near THAT level of Notoriety yet, and so we still Proposals for action could be entertained either from the floor or via a workgroup. An admittedly imperfect system, are allowed to operate fairly free of interference, at least insofar as I can tell anyhow. it was easily susceptible to being hijacked by people with strong or difficult personalities. People accused the facilitation team of being a “secret oligarchy.” Others were frustrated by the consensus process and the amount of The danger of becoming a Target of the Gestapo is only one of the reasons why the Digital Publication of the time it took to get to a decision. And then there were marginal personalities. In hindsight, it stands to reason that Doomstead Diner will not persist in perpetuity. The resource constraints in Energy and the failing Economic system are any movement opposed to the status quo would attract those with an odd and singular take on reality. The fates at least as likely to take the Diner down as the Gestapo are. The Internet is highly consumptive of Energy to run, I have blessed our local group with a few folks whose grasp on reality was tenuous at best. read estimates that it takes as much as 10% of the Electrical Power Generation of the Fascist States of America to run all the Routers and move around all the Digibits every day. Then there is your OWN ability to access electricity to run Nevertheless, during the period of time that Occupy Norfolk had its camp in Commercial Park; good work was done your Laptop or Tablet to read what is published, and/or replace your Laptop with a new Chinese manufactured one day and night. General Assemblies occurred nightly. Direct actions were planned and executed. One occupier’s when the Motherboard or Hard Drive or LCD screen gives up the ghost. These things don’t last forever you know. father rented and had installed porta-potties for the camp. A Facebook page for Occupy Norfolk quickly grew to over 4400 supporters. Many young people, and older people, stayed in tents on-site. The Occupiers took in—and With all these Issues in mind, here on our 1 Year Anniversary of the Doomstead Diner, we are beginning the process of fed-- homeless people as well. (I never stayed in the camp, but attended as many general assemblies as my schedule converting many of the Articles written on the Diner Blog into Adobe Acrobat PDF Document form, which you can store would allow, often with my daughter in tow.) Almost hourly people would show up with donations of food or needed on digital media, and/or Print Out onto Acid Free Paper, as a Record of the Collapse as witnessed by the Diner Bloggers. supplies. And the camp grew and thrived, the occupants exhilarated with a sense of purpose. It certainly does not Capture all written on the Diner, you would have to be able to D/L the database from the SMF to do that, and as of yet we have no way to do that. Until we do, the best way to keep up to date on all issues related to the What we didn’t know in those heady days was that the FBI and other domestic law enforcement agencies considered Collapse of Industrial Civilization and catch the perspectives of a few of the Self-Styled Pundits who write regularly inside the Occupy movement “domestic terrorists”, and had sent agents out as infiltrators. In December of 2012, Naomi the Diner is to visit our Blog and Forum each day. Wolf provided U.S. Government documents which revealed that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security had monitored Occupy Wall Street through its joint terrorism task force despite labelling it ‘a peaceful movement.’ When the Internet finally does Go Dark however, the Doomstead Diner Webzine cataloguing our Monthly Articles We knew infiltrators by their actions. They were usually the ones exhorting others to acts of violence or anarchy. In beginning with the Inaugural Issue of February 2012 will provide some written record of a Civilization Collapse in Progress. our local movement, one young man showed up virtually overnight, and insinuated himself into our live stream and My gratitude to Diner Moderator Monsta666 for his work and effort in creating this Diner Webzine for the Information technical operations, which subsequently failed at critical times. Others were disruptors of almost professional skill Collectors, in the HOPE some of what went down here at the End of the Age of Oil can be passed on, not just one and training. And to help prevent any future breakout of the Citizens’ Will, we got the reauthorization of the Patriot Generation down the line, but many. So that when finally there is a Rebirth, the same Mistakes are not made again. Act and NDAA for our trouble. RE And they call me paranoid.
Protesters were forced out of Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011. After several unsuccessful attempts to reoccupy the original location, protesters turned their focus to occupying banks, corporate headquarters, board meetings, college and university campuses. In November of 2011, a series of raids rousted many other Occupy camps, apparently at the direction of DHS. We read about conference calls involving mayors of large cities to deploy their forces accordingly. It was thus in Norfolk. Previously cordial relations with the local police and city authorities had evaporated overnight, as our camp was to be raided, pre-dawn on November 6. Notice was provided to news stations, but none to the Occupiers. SWAT attired cops and city trash trucks descended upon the peaceful camp. A handful of occupiers were arrested on the sidewalk for “obstructing justice”, my daughter among them. All charged were subsequently cleared, but the fact remained that the accused had to actually be processed through the legal system like so much ground meat. I don’t know how it went for other groups, but in the aftermath of the breakup of the camp, the local movement coalesced around different efforts. Several people tried to reboot Occupy Norfolk, and reconstitute it in some way, but those efforts proved vain. Too many personalities, too many people with no respect for the processes of General Assembly and consensus. At the end of the day, it turns out that we all drink from the same poisoned cup of toxic individualism that inhabits the institutions we oppose. Personality differences also played a huge part. I remember one local thought and opinion leader, who openly campaigned to be the regional representative to something called the “99% Declaration,” which was to have a convention of delegates in Philadelphia on July 4th, 2012. She actively sought votes, received them, and was duly elected. When the time came to represent us, rather than discharge her obligation, she decided to go to the annual gathering of Rainbow People in Tennessee, along with a few other souls. Now, I have no quarrel with Rainbow people, but that’s not Occupy as I understood it. But then, I am well known as a hypercritical crank. While some of us were trying to organize and execute direct actions, there were those who announced, in a voice charged with self-righteousness, that they were going to “take it to the next level.” A subset of people then withdrew from the main group, dropped their work group activities, and took it to the next level with chanting, prayer circles, Mayan horoscopes, crystal worship, and other New Age pursuits in what they called a “Peace Garden.” Make no mistake, gardening is a wonderful thing; establishing and maintaining some sort of food independence from the Matrix remains a remarkable form of nonviolent protest. I admire it. Nevertheless, scratch a “peace worker” and find another hypocrite talking smack about other people behind their backs. The immaturity was breathtaking. And it continues. And then there are the Facebook slackivists. As noted above, the local Occupy page had over 4400 followers. Within the last 2 weeks, I have been accused of being a “liberal–conservative–fascist–communist–statist” by an angry and confused young man whose sole contributions to Occupy included noisily announcing his bisexuality, calling attention to himself, proposing ideas for direct actions that failed consensus, and then loudly quitting in a huff when he failed to get his way. He currently spends his time posting daily the reasons for the failure of Occupy, all in spite of his own Herculean efforts. Likewise, some of us have learned through him that we are the ones responsible for the “failure” of Occupy, for the crime of being “aging liberal hippies.” (I have little defence against the charge, except to say that in the 60s and 70s I’m not sure I was cool enough to have been a hippie.) Facebook is a pernicious time sink, which allows people to engage in the very worst aspects of human nature in the guise of a quasi-anonymity. This is one of the reasons that I had given the gun-control controversy a wide berth on the Diner Facebook page. We no longer
have any reasonable way to discuss these issues in our society. of Information and Discussion found is Inside the Diner, on the pages of the Simple Machines Forum software. The debate is often raucous, no posting is ever Censored, and no Diner is ever Banned. That doesn’t mean there isn’t Locally, Occupy may be regrouping, but nationally there have been successes. Many of us aligned with the Editorial Control though, there most certainly is. Like any other Internet Forum, the Diner is subject to Trolling and movement to “Keep The Ban” on Uranium mining in Virginia, and were successful in getting the sponsor to pull his Monopolization of discussion by people who have their own agendas, or work for Goobermint or Industry and troll to bill when it became apparent it would fail. The above mentioned campaign to “Move your Money” resulted in the promote those agendas. As Manager of the Diner, I move around the posting, pushing some things to the bottom of movement of four billion dollars from TBTF banks. A $4B number will make even the most sated oligarch sit up and the inside pages, promoting other things to the Front Page. The Diner therefore most certainly has a specific Spin and take notice. The “Move To Amend” effort to repeal the hated “Citizens United” decision has led to the introduction Agenda, but opposing ideas can always be expressed, even if they don’t make the Front Page. of legislation to change the direct purchase of elections by dark money groups. Even though Karl Rove was not successful in purchasing the Presidency for Mitt Romney, the threat remains. Occupy groups have helped via different One of the things about all regular Diners realize is that eventually access to the Internet will be limited for any tactics to delay or stop the illegal foreclosure of homes. And perhaps the greatest success was Occupy Sandy, where number of reasons. One is of course that we live in an increasingly controlled Police State, where Freedom of Speech Occupiers became the true first responders, bringing water, food, blankets, medicines and other supplies. One of presents the greatest threat to control by The Powers That Be. The ability of Websites like the Diner to exist at all Contrary’s favorite photos is of Occupiers feeding FEMA workers. without running afoul of DHS or NDAA Rules becomes more limited by the day, and really its mainly how Popular you are and how much Readership you get which determines when TPTB will set loose the Dogs of the Gestapo on you. The grievances remain. The legal noose becomes tighter and the consequences for speaking out become more dear. Small, marginal Blogs and Message Boards get little attention from TPTB, they don’t reach enough people to present As the means of redress of grievances becomes more narrow, the idea of Occupy remains ever more dangerous to any threat to the Status Quo. On the other hand though, once you achieve the Notoriety of a Julian Assange or an the powers that be. Expect us. Aaron Swartz, the FULL FORCE AND POWER of the State will be dropped upon you. Fortunately or Unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the Doomstead Diner has nowhere near THAT level of Notoriety yet, and so we still are allowed to operate fairly free of interference, at least insofar as I can tell anyhow. The danger of becoming a Target of the Gestapo is only one of the reasons why the Digital Publication of the Doomstead Diner will not persist in perpetuity. The resource constraints in Energy and the failing Economic system are at least as likely to take the Diner down as the Gestapo are. The Internet is highly consumptive of Energy to run, I have read estimates that it takes as much as 10% of the Electrical Power Generation of the Fascist States of America to run all the Routers and move around all the Digibits every day. Then there is your OWN ability to access electricity to run your Laptop or Tablet to read what is published, and/or replace your Laptop with a new Chinese manufactured one when the Motherboard or Hard Drive or LCD screen gives up the ghost. These things don’t last forever you know. With all these Issues in mind, here on our 1 Year Anniversary of the Doomstead Diner, we are beginning the process of converting many of the Articles written on the Diner Blog into Adobe Acrobat PDF Document form, which you can store on digital media, and/or Print Out onto Acid Free Paper, as a Record of the Collapse as witnessed by the Diner Bloggers. It certainly does not Capture all written on the Diner, you would have to be able to D/L the database from the SMF to do that, and as of yet we have no way to do that. Until we do, the best way to keep up to date on all issues related to the Collapse of Industrial Civilization and catch the perspectives of a few of the Self-Styled Pundits who write regularly inside the Diner is to visit our Blog and Forum each day. When the Internet finally does Go Dark however, the Doomstead Diner Webzine cataloguing our Monthly Articles beginning with the Inaugural Issue of February 2012 will provide some written record of a Civilization Collapse in Progress. My gratitude to Diner Moderator Monsta666 for his work and effort in creating this Diner Webzine for the Information Collectors, in the HOPE some of what went down here at the End of the Age of Oil can be passed on, not just one Generation down the line, but many. So that when finally there is a Rebirth, the same Mistakes are not made again. RE
PAGE PAGE 07 57 FEATURES
OCCUPY WALL STREET IN NORFOLK Surly describes the series of struggles in Norfolk and the questionable tactics of the police to “maintain the peace”. page 07 Other articles in this edition of the Doomstead Diner
THEORY OF EVERYTHING RE connects the value of the monetary system to the greater economy and looks at the wider picture of how our monetary, economic and social systems are interacted and how their interactions will effect the collapse that is to come. page 23
HIERARCHY OF BUGOUT PLANS A ordered list of priorities is given one what you will need for your final bugout. page 57
LARGE PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS Large Public Work Projects (LPWs) are a sign that a society is in extreme surplus. The lack of LPWs shows society lacks surplus and decline is imminent. page 41
Burlesque in Norfolk and the TRUTH about Violence at Occupy
Originally published March 8, 2012 | By Surly Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner
Lets start with the Wind The case of three of the Norfolk Occupiers for “obstruction of justice” by the police of the city of Norfolk went to trial today in General District Court. The three, Angela, Tess, and Carmen, had charges dismissed by the judge. The judge found the charges overdrawn and that the behavior in question failed to rise to the standards required of obstruction in the statute, which was it itself clarified in a 1925 Virginia state decision cited by the defense.The charges were dismissed even before the defense attorneys mounted their defense of their clients. As the judge said, “Had the City pursued tresspass or even resisting arrest charges, they might have made a case. But they didn’t bring it to court.” The issues were several: 1) there was no evidence that a lawful order to clear the park had ever been given; discovery produced no order; 2) there was no clear indication why the three women were even arrested, where it was clear that people that were in the park at the same time were not arrested; 3) the arresting officers failed to bring those arrested before a magistrate, violating procedures. From the cheap seats, it was pretty clear that the City might have made a trespassing charge stick, but the requirements of obstruction were too high a judicial hurdle to clear. The defendants’ behavior didn’t even belong in the same zip code as obstruction: the accused were at all times peaceable, linking arms and engaged in chanting and prayer. At no time did they so much his raise their voices. They simply linked arms. Given the events of this morning, one has to wonder why the district attorney even brought these charges, knowing that she had such a weak case with so many holes? If doing this was an attempt to send a message to the burgeoning Occupy movement, I have to think the message was marked as “not received.” That doesn’t mean that civil disobedience does not and will not have its costs. On this day, justice was served. There will be other causes, other days, and we must remain ready. UPDATE March 9: Yesterday, three Norfolk Occupiers, Anna, Tess, and Aliaka had a court date in room #6 in the General District Court Building downtown. They faced the heinous charges of “desecration of a monument” for having written in CHALK messages of peace, love and hope on the base of the Confederate monument opposite Commercial park (where the encampment had been.)Yes, you read that right: the messages were in chalk. Their cases were dismissed. Nothing in their actions, as in the case of Carmen, Tess and Angela, rose to the level required by the definition required by the city statute.
In the scheme of things, the politics of Occupation occur on bigger stages than Norfolk, VA. Better known and noisier Occupations on Wall Street or Oakland, even Richmond, make the news and earn the headlines. Yet the fact that several groups of Occupiers maintain a presence and effect actions here in the heart of East Coast military might, and continue to bear witness to the abuses of the combination of state and economic power even here, has seemingly rattled the judgement of the stewards of that power here in southeastern Virginia. Later she told me, “Right before it happened, I had a moment of clarity: that this was going down, and I could choose to go through with it, and if I did there could be repercussions. And I decided then to do it. And while they were arresting me, I felt pity for them.” The pretrial thoughts ofCarmen, my 20-year old daughter, the “littlest Occupier.”
YSo what you see at work is the same phenomenon at work in other places, that of the local police being enlisted to “crack down” on Occupy using trumped up charges. In Norfolk, the authorities are 0 for 4; the first set of cases for obstruction (Anita, Angela and Geoffrey) when the park was shut down were nolle prosequi’ed; Joelle’s arrest for trespassing, for simply sitting in the park, was dismissed; and both my daughter and colleagues’ case and the case described above were both dismissed. One more court date remains, for a separate action on December 17. Ought to be interesting. *** Update: The Truth About Violence at Occupy I get a lot of crap from right wingers about supposed violence at Occupy gatherings. from first hand experience, I can say that I have never met such a fine and peaceable group of individuals. There are those, the younger, less patient “black bloc” crowd who want more confrontational direct action and to mask themselves, etc. For my part I want them to know who I am, for better or for worse: I own a home, have raised a daughter, pay taxes and have had a career and a public life of sorts in this community, and I withhold consent from the entire rotten edifice of fixers and thugs. In any event, it comes to this: a definitive look at the record of Occupy’s supposed record of lawlessness in the face of multiple police riots, by Rebecca Solnit, one of the most inteligent observers we have. Surly From Salon.com When you fall in love, it’s all about what you have in common, and you can hardly imagine that there are differences, let alone that you will quarrel over them, or weep about them, or be torn apart by them — or if all goes well, struggle, learn, and bond more strongly because of, rather than despite, them. The Occupy movement had its glorious honeymoon when old and young, liberal and radical, comfortable and desperate, homeless and tenured all found that what they had in common was so compelling the differences hardly seemed to matter. Until they did. Revolutions are always like this: at first all men are brothers and anything is possible, and then, if you’re lucky, the romance of that heady moment ripens into a relationship, instead of a breakup, an abusive marriage, or a murder-
suicide. Occupy had its golden age, when those who never before imagined living side-by-side with homeless people found themselves in adjoining tents in public squares. All sorts of other equalizing forces were present, not least the police brutality that battered the privileged the way that inner-city kids are used to being battered all the time. Part of what we had in common was what we were against: the current economy and the principle of insatiable greed that made it run, as well as the emotional and economic privatization that accompanied it. This is a system that damages people, and its devastation was on display as never before in the early months of Occupy and related phenomena like the “We are the 99%” website. When it was people facing foreclosure, or who’d lost their jobs, or were thrashing around under avalanches of college or medical debt, they weren’t hard to accept as us, and not them. And then came the people who’d been damaged far more, the psychologically fragile, the marginal, and the homeless — some of them endlessly needy and with a huge capacity for disruption. People who had come to fight the power found themselves staying on to figure out available mental-health resources, while others who had wanted to experience a democratic society on a grand scale found themselves trying to solve sanitation problems. And then there was the violence. The Faces of Violence The most important direct violence Occupy faced was, of course, from the state, in the form of the police using maximum sub-lethal force on sleepers in tents, mothers with children, unarmed pedestrians, young women already penned up, unresisting seated students, poets, professors, pregnant women, wheelchair-bound occupiers and octogenarians. It has been a sustained campaign of police brutality from Wall Street to Washington State the likes of which we haven’t seen in 40 years. On the part of activists, there were also a few notable incidents of violence in the hundreds of camps, especially violence against women. The mainstream media seemed to think this damned the Occupy movement, though it made the camps, at worst, a whole lot like the rest of the planet, which, in case you hadn’t noticed, seethes with violence against women. But these were isolated incidents. That old line of songster Woody Guthrie is always handy in situations like this: “Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.” The police have been going after occupiers with projectile weapons, clubs and tear gas, sending some of them to the hospital and leaving more than a few others traumatized and fearful. That’s the six-gun here. But it all began with the fountain pens, slashing through peoples’ lives, through national and international economies, through the global markets. These were wielded by the banksters, the “vampire squid,” the deregulators in D.C., the men — and with the rarest of exceptions they were men — who stole the world.
That’s what Occupy came together to oppose, the grandest violence by scale, the least obvious by impact. No one on Wall Street ever had to get his suit besmirched by carrying out a foreclosure eviction himself. Cities provided that service for free to the banks (thereby further impoverishing themselves as they created new paupers out of old taxpayers). And the police clubbed their opponents for them, over and over, everywhere across the United States. The grand thieves invented ever more ingenious methods, including those sliced and diced derivatives, to crush the hopes and livelihoods of the many. This is the terrible violence that Occupy was formed to oppose. Don’t ever lose sight of that. Oakland’s Beautiful Nonviolence Now that we’re done remembering the major violence, let’s talk about Occupy Oakland. A great deal of fuss has been made about two incidents in which mostly young people affiliated with Occupy Oakland damaged some property and raised some hell. The mainstream media and some faraway pundits weighed in on those Bay Area incidents as though they determined the meaning and future of the transnational Occupy phenomenon. Perhaps some of them even hoped, consciously or otherwise, that harped on enough these might divide or destroy the movement. So it’s important to recall that the initial impact of Occupy Oakland was the very opposite of violent, stunningly so, in ways that were intentionally suppressed. Occupy Oakland began in early October as a vibrant, multiracial gathering. A camp was built at Oscar Grant/ Frank Ogawa Plaza, and thousands received much-needed meals and healthcare for free from well-organized volunteers. Sometimes called the Oakland Commune, it was consciously descended from some of the finer aspects of an earlier movement born in Oakland, the Black Panthers, whose free breakfast programs should perhaps be as well-remembered and more admired than their macho posturing. A compelling and generous-spirited General Assembly took place nightly and then biweekly in which the most important things on Earth were discussed by wildly different participants. Once, for instance, I was in a breakout discussion group that included Native American, white, Latino, and able-bodied and disabled Occupiers, and in which I was likely the eldest participant; another time, a bunch of peacenik grandmothers dominated my group. This country is segregated in so many terrible ways — and then it wasn’t for those glorious weeks when civil society awoke and fell in love with itself. Everyone showed up; everyone talked to everyone else; and in little tastes, in fleeting moments, the old divides no longer divided us and we felt like we could imagine ourselves as one society. This was the dream of the promised land — this land, that is, without its bitter divides. Honey never tasted sweeter, and power never felt better. Now here’s something astonishing. While the camp was in existence, crime went down 19 percent in Oakland, a statistic the city was careful to conceal. “It may be counter to our statement that the Occupy movement is
negatively impacting crime in Oakland,” the police chief wrote to the mayor in an email that local news station KTVU later obtained and released to little fanfare. Pay attention: Occupy was so powerful a force for nonviolence that it was already solving Oakland’s chronic crime and violence problems just by giving people hope and meals and solidarity and conversation. The police attacking the camp knew what the rest of us didn’t: Occupy was abating crime, including violent crime, in this gritty, crime-ridden city. “You gotta give them hope, “ said an elected official across the bay once upon a time — a city supervisor named Harvey Milk. Occupy was hope we gave ourselves, the dream come true. The city did its best to take the hope away violently at 5 a.m. on October 25th. The sleepers were assaulted; their belongings confiscated and trashed. Then, Occupy Oakland rose again. Many thousands of nonviolent marchers shut down the Port of Oakland in a stunning display of popular power on November 2nd. That night, some kids did the smashy-smashy stuff that everyone gets really excited about. (They even spraypainted “smashy” on a Rite Aid drugstore in giant letters.) When we talk about people who spray-paint and break windows and start bonfires in the street and shove people and scream and run around, making a demonstration into something way too much like the punk rock shows of my youth, let’s keep one thing in mind: they didn’t send anyone to the hospital, drive any seniors from their homes, spread despair and debt among the young, snatch food and medicine from the desperate, or destroy the global economy. That said, they are still a problem. They are the bait the police take and the media go to town with. They create a situation a whole lot of us don’t like and that drives away many who might otherwise participate or sympathize. They are, that is, incredibly bad for a movement, and represent a form of segregation by intimidation. But don’t confuse the pro-vandalism Occupiers with the vampire squid or the up-armored robocops who have gone after us almost everywhere. Though their means are deeply flawed, their ends are not so different than yours. There’s no question that they should improve their tactics or maybe just act tactically, let alone strategically, and there’s no question that a lot of other people should stop being so apocalyptic about it. Those who advocate for nonviolenceat Occupy should remember that nonviolence is at best a great spirit of love and generosity, not a prissy enforcement squad. After all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who gets invoked all the time when such issues come up, didn’t go around saying grumpy things about Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Violence Against the Truth Of course, a lot of people responding to these incidents in Oakland are actually responding to fictional versions of them. In such cases, you could even say that some journalists were doing violence against the truth of what happened in Oakland on November 2nd and January 28th. The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, reported on the day’s events this way: “Among the most violent incidents that occurred Saturday night was in front of the YMCA at 23rd Street and Broadway. Police corralled protesters in front of the building and several dozen protesters stormed into the Y,
apparently to escape from the police, city officials and protesters said. Protesters damaged a door and a few fixtures, and frightened those inside the gym working out, said Robert Wilkins, president of the YMCA of the East Bay.” Wilkins was apparently not in the building, and first-person testimony recounts that a YMCA staff member welcomed the surrounded and battered protesters, and once inside, some were so terrified they pretended to work out on exercise machines to blend in. I wrote this to the journalists who described the incident so peculiarly: “What was violent about [activists] fleeing police engaging in wholesale arrests and aggressive behavior? Even the YMCA official who complains about it adds, ‘The damage appears pretty minimal.’ And you call it violence? That’s sloppy.” The reporter who responded apologized for what she called her “poor word choice” and said the piece was meant to convey police violence as well. When the police are violent against activists, journalists tend to frame it as though there were violence in some vaguely unascribable sense that implicates the clobbered as well as the clobberers. In, for example, the buildup to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the mainstream media kept portraying the right of the people peaceably to assemble as tantamount to terrorism and describing all the terrible things that the government or the media themselves speculated we might want to do (but never did). Some of this was based on the fiction of tremendous activist violence in Seattle in 1999 that the New York Times in particular devoted itself to promulgating. That the police smashed up nonviolent demonstrators and constitutional rights pretty badly in both Seattle and New York didn’t excite them nearly as much. Don’t forget that before the obsession with violence arose, the smearing of Occupy was focused on the idea that people weren’t washing very much, and before that the framework for marginalization was that Occupy had “no demands.” There’s always something. Keep in mind as well that Oakland’s police department is on the brink of federal receivership for not having made real amends for old and well-documented problems of violence, corruption and mismanagement, and that it was the police department, not the Occupy Oakland demonstrators, which used tear gas, clubs, smoke grenades and rubber bullets on January 28th. It’s true that a small group vandalized City Hall after the considerable police violence, but that’s hardly what the plans were at the outset of the day. The action on January 28th that resulted in 400 arrests and a media conflagration was called Move-In Day. There was a handmade patchwork banner that proclaimed “Another Oakland Is Possible” and a children’s contingent with pennants, balloons and strollers. Occupy Oakland was seeking to take over an abandoned building so that it could reestablish the community, the food programs and the medical clinic it had set up last fall. It may not have been well planned or well executed, but it was idealistic. Despite this, many people who had no firsthand contact with Occupy Oakland inveighed against it or even against the whole Occupy movement. If only that intensity of fury were to be directed at the root cause of it all,
the colossal economic violence that surrounds us. All of which is to say, for anyone who hadn’t noticed, that the honeymoon is over. Now for the Real Work The honeymoon is, of course, the period when you’re so in love you don’t notice differences that will eventually have to be worked out one way or another. Most relationships begin as though you were coasting downhill. Then come the flatlands, followed by the hills where you’re going to have to pedal hard, if you don’t just abandon the bike. Occupy might just be the name we’ve put on a great groundswell of popular outrage and a rebirth of civil society too deep, too broad, to be a movement. A movement is an ocean wave: this is the whole tide turning from Cairo to Moscow to Athens to Santiago to Chicago. Nevertheless, the American swell in this tide involves a delicate alliance between liberals and radicals, people who want to reform the government and campaign for particular gains, and people who wish the government didn’t exist and mostly want to work outside the system. If the radicals should frighten the liberals as little as possible, surely the liberals have an equal obligation to get fiercer and more willing to confront — and to remember that nonviolence, even in its purest form, is not the same as being nice. Surely the only possible answer to the tired question of where Occupy should go from here (as though a few public figures got to decide) is: everywhere. I keep being asked what Occupy should do next, but it’s already doing it. It is everywhere. In many cities, outside the limelight, people are still occupying public space in tents and holding General Assemblies. February 20th, for instance, was a national day of Occupy solidarity with prisoners; Occupiers are organizing on many fronts and planning for May Day, and a great many foreclosure defenses from Nashville to San Francisco have kept people in their homes and made banks renegotiate. Campus activism is reinvigorated, and creative and fierce discussions about college costs and student debt are underway, as is a deeper conversation about economics and ethics that rejects conventional wisdom about what is fair and possible. Occupy is one catalyst or facet of the populist will you can see in a host of recent victories. The campaign against corporate personhood seems to be gaining momentum. A popular environmental campaign made President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada, despite immense Republican and corporate pressure. In response to widespread outrage, the Susan B. Komen Foundation reversed its decision to defund cancer detection at Planned Parenthood. Online campaigns have forced Apple to address its hideous labor issues, and the ever-heroic Coalition of Immokalee Workers at last brought Trader Joes into line with its fair wages for farmworkers campaign. These genuine gains come thanks to relatively modest exercises of popular power. They should act as reminders that we do have power and that its exercise can be popular. Some of last fall’s exhilarating conversations have faltered, but the great conversation that is civil society awake and arisen hasn’t stopped. What happens now depends on vigorous participation, including yours, in thinking aloud together about who we are, what we want and how we get there, and then acting upon it. Go occupy the possibilities and don’t stop pedaling. And remember, it started with mad, passionate love.
Police riot at Zuccotti; the “American Spring” begins in Norfolk
Originally published March 19, 2012 | By Surly Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” ~JFK Which, unfortunately, may be the point. By now you will have seen some of the news about the police riot at OWS on Saturday night. Why on earth would police feel the need to clear people from the Wall Street area at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night? The streets are empty down there at that hour. The answer will be apparent with a little inference . . . The NYT article below is pretty good, with one singular exception: I really wish the Times and other journos would stop hiding behind the word “clashed” to describe what occurs between the police and protesters, in what might be more accurately described as a police riot. Being led away in handcuffs is not “clashing” with the police. Having your head smashed into a plate glass window so hard it shatters the window is not “clashing” with police. A police state is in place, at the beck and call of King Bloomberg, and paid for in large measure by an extra generous JPM donation to the Police Benevolent fund. And the wholesale repression evidenced by Bloomberg’s thugs, obviously designed to crush the movement, should only serve to invigorate it. The Constitution is clear: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It does not say you need a permit to march. It does not say you have to confine your march to the sidewalk. It does not say you must have a permit to use a sound system or bullhorn.
These are all abridgments of our Constitutional rights, invented by the New York Police Department, and others like them around the country who mirror their example. Bloomberg’s private army is issuing illegal and unconstitutional orders, making illegal arrests and committing scores of unlawful acts. This weekend’s demonstrations and police riot come on the heels of Greg Smith’s indictment of Goldman Sachs. The same week, we are told, that Bloomberg went to GS to lend his support to the robber barons he worked for. This mayor has lost all credibility when it comes to class differences and the plight of the working class and the poor. I suspect OWS and the many groups throughout the country that it has spawned will warm up their activities along with the weather. A weekend protest in Norfolk against the NDAA and EEA was pretty well attended, and even some Tea Party people joined in protesting the endless incursion of what used to be rights. A couple of police cruisers attended these modest efforts, although it was reassuring to see our old friends parked along our gathering. In other news, the final trial for Occupyrelated defendants in Norfolk General Court is scheduled for Friday. Thus far, Norfolk Occupiers are 4-0 against the city’s law enforcement and judicial system. Which is much better than my NCAA bracket. Surly
Read more at http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/occupy-wall-street-protest From the NYT: Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it. Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The protesters chanted “we are not afraid” as the police began pulling people from the crowd, one by one, and leading them out of the park in handcuffs. The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago. Earlier, protesters had embarked upon a winding march, after which police officers made initial arrests of about a dozen people near the park. By 11:30 p.m., as police officers massed on Broadway, a commander announced that the park was closed. Those inside shouted back that the park was obliged through an agreement with the city to remain open. The commander then announced that anyone who remained inside would be arrested and charged with trespassing. After clearing the park, police officers and private security guards began placing a ring of metal barricades on the park’s perimeter, as those who had been arrested were placed inside a city bus. At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside. By 12:20 a.m., a line of officers pushed against some of the remaining protesters, forcing them south on Broadway, at times swinging batons and shoving people to the ground. Kobi Skolnick, 30, said that officers pushed him in several directions and that as he tried to walk away, he was struck from behind in the neck. “One of the police ran and hit me with a baton,” he said. Earlier that afternoon, as protesters gathered under blue skies while carrying banners and signs, the day was in some ways reminiscent of the first time the Occupy protesters gathered in mid-September. Just after 1 p.m., brandishing placards with messages like “Take back government from corporations,” the crowd left Zuccotti Park headed south on Broadway, chanting the now familiar slogan “We are the 99 percent.” When the first protesters set foot in the financial district six months ago, few people imagined what would follow, including a two-month encampment in Lower Manhattan, similar camps in cities across the country and critiques of corporate greed becoming part of the national dialogue. The movement was mainly quiet during the winter, but organizers said they were aiming for a springtime resurgence. “It’s just a reminder that we’re here,” Brendan Burke said, as the crowd marched past the New York Stock Exchange. “It’s an opportunity to remind Wall Street that we aren’t going anywhere.”
In several respects, Saturday’s march was similar to the inaugural one. The crowd was small but spirited and marched past the bronze sculpture of a bull at Bowling Green, which had served as a mustering spot for the first march. Marchers were accompanied by police officers on foot and on scooters who at one point blocked access to Wall Street, just as they did on Sept. 17. And, as they did that day, the marchers made sudden turns that appeared to surprise the police and walked along Wall Street for at least a brief time. At one point, several demonstrators stood on the steep steps of Federal Hall and chanted “1-2-3-4, I declare class war.” Later, members of the group ignored orders from the police to remain on sidewalks and flowed onto parts of Exchange Place and Beaver Street. Later, on Broad Street, a deputy inspector turned to a sergeant and said, “We got to start collaring some.” For the next 30 minutes or so, things remained calm as marchers stuck to the sidewalks and entered Zuccotti Park.But then, just after 2 p.m., police officers began telling a large group of protesters that they could not stand on the sidewalk on a stretch of Liberty Street. Officers pushed the crowd until more than 100 protesters on the sidewalk were pressed against a wall that borders the park. Then the police began grabbing and arresting people, taking into custody at least half a dozen. Officers surged into the crowd, dragging protesters toward the street, as people yelled objections. “They were grabbing people randomly,” Zachary Kamel said, adding that his girlfriend, Lauren DiGoia, had been arrested while dancing on the sidewalk. One sergeant grabbed a woman wearing a green shirt by the bottom of her throat and shoved her head against the hood of a car. A moment later, another officer approached and forcefully pressed her head against the car before placing her into the back of a police truck. Over the next few hours, protesters conducted meetings inside Zuccotti Park and held a dance party fueled by a saxophone and a battery of drums. Sporadic moments of tension also arose. At one point, the police arrested a handful of protesters on Cedar Street near Trinity Place. A few moments later, near Cedar Street and Broadway, a police captain pushed a man by the shoulders for almost a block, then released him when a crowd loudly demanded to know whether the man was under arrest. The man, Charlie Gonzalez, 31, said that the captain had told him he was not permitted to stand on the sidewalk. About an hour later, the same captain pushed another man several hundred feet east down Cedar Street, about a block from Zuccotti Park, and briefly detained him. That man, Yoni Miller, 19, said he was counting officers standing in rows near Broadway when the captain forced him to walk around a corner onto Cedar Street, then asked him if he was a terrorist or was planning any crimes. Paul Moore, 25, said that he was videotaping the encounter when the captain asked him for identification and began pushing him away, telling him he was not permitted to document what was happening. After nightfall, the number of people inside the park swelled to more than 500. About 10 p.m., some of those in the park began a regimen of running and dancing that they called “spring training,” which they said was meant to prepare for coming demonstrations. At 10:30, protesters sprung up a green tarp, folded over a piece of rope suspended from two trees near the center of Zuccotti Park. Security and police officers looked on from the perimeter.
Unbeaten streak ends in court for Occupy Norfolk
Originally published March 27, 2012 | By Surly Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner Three Occupy Norfolk protestors were finally brought to trial in the case of a December 14 action protesting the NDAA at a local building that housed Senator Mark Warner’s office. The three, Anita Cafiero, Angela Barnes, and Maria Hotson, were arrested outside the World Trade Center, a large office building in Norfolk that is home to a number or corporate and legal offices and the Norfolk office of Senator Mark Warner. Warner’s office was chosen because he voted in favor of NDAA. One protestor reached a separate plea agreement. The others were defended by Patrick Bales. I watched the proceedings and made notes. The local prosecutor, Andy Fox, prosecuted this case with a vigor not seen in earlier cases. Fox spent a lot of time on Police Lt. Shaun Squyres, a short, grey-headed man who earlier had told protestors, “the gloves are off.” At one point, under questioning from Fox, Squyres re-interpreted and expanded upon what the the property manager in the World Trade center actually said. Why Bales did not object to this recharacterization and spin is beyond me. It appeared to be a soft spot in an otherwise spirited defense. The heart of Bales’ defense seemed to be that the protestors believed that they had the right to enter the building, having been invited by staffers working for the senator. Contradictory messages were sent from within: in the first, the staffers invited a small group inside; in the second, the staffers said they would entertain a group of no more than six, and on a different day. Testimony from the staffers was entered into the record via a deposition, they having been interviewed by phone for this purpose (after the Senate had to pass a resolution permitting them to testify, a little bit of arcana with which I was not familiar.) Interesting takeaways from this case are that the city police force can be used as security guards for private property whether or not, in fact, a written agreement between the city and the property owner had been executed; an interesting bit of trivia that seemed significant to the defense, but which the judge brushed aside. Plus, the city deployed ten sheriff’s deputies and a supervisor to watch over the majesty of the courtroom. Generally two are provided, even for capital murder trials. Wonder why the local Occupy group receives such a level of attention? In both cases, if each individual manages to avoid arrest or demonstrates “good behavior” over the next 90 days, the charge will be dismissed. Meanwhile, on Saturday March 24, a local “Occupy the Hood” group stood up a vigil and fundraiser for Trayvon Martin and his legal defense team, in cooperation with Universal Zulu Nation Chapter 30, local Occupies and other community groups. Several hundred people braved rains to march. The police presence was minimal (two vehicles), and respectful. Quite a difference in police behavior when you show up in significant numbers.
Interesting times. Occupy Norfolk protesters found guilty of trespassing http://hamptonroads.com/2012/03/occupy-norfolk-protesters-found-guilty-trespassing Occupy protesters were arrested Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011, at the World Trade Center in downtown Norfolk. From left they are Angela Barnes, Geoffrey Hughes, Anita Cafiero and Maria Hotson. Barnes, Cafiero and Hotson appeared in court on Friday, March 23, 2012, as did Lt. Shaun Squyres, who is shown in the photo warning them to go back on the sidewalk. (Courtesy of Jeremy McLean) 4 arrested at Norfolk ‘Occupy’ protest over military detention – Dec. 15, 2011 Occupy Norfolk protesters found not guilty in court – Feb. 1 By Patrick Wilson The Virginian-Pilot © March 24, 2012 NORFOLK Three members of Occupy Norfolk who were arrested during a protest at the World Trade Center downtown were convicted of misdemeanor trespassing on Friday. The charges will be dropped, however, if they remain on good behavior for 90 days, a judge ruled. Angela J. Barnes, Kiesha M. Hotson and Anita M. Cafiero were arrested Dec. 14 after they sat down in the grass outside the World Trade Center on Main Street during a protest over federal legislation to authorize military detention of suspected terrorists. Judge Bruce A. Wilcox heard the cases in General District Court. Patrick Bales, an attorney for Barnes and Hotson, argued that they were told that a staffer for U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who has an office in the World Trade Center, said six members of Occupy Norfolk could come into the building to share their position.
But Deputy City Attorney Andy Fox argued that the protesters were told repeatedly by Norfolk police that they would be arrested if they did not move from the lawn back to the public sidewalk. Lt. Shaun Squyres, who oversees the police downtown Green Sector patrol, testified that the defendants wore prisoner costumes as they sat on the grass following about an hour and a half of a peaceful protest. He said he told them to go back on the sidewalk at the request of building management or they would be arrested. One of them decided to go back, he said. “I gave them several opportunities,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that these young people were given the absolute benefit of understanding the consequences of their decision.” Occupy Norfolk, similar to a protest that started in New York City, camped at the Commercial Place fountain park downtown for a month last fall before city officials decided to force them out. The city is planning to approve a ban on camping on public property. Group members have said they worked closely with police and were on friendly terms with most of them. The group has been investigated by the department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, a specialized unit that reports directly to the police chief and investigates suspected terrorists, hate crimes and threats to the community. Other investigations by the unit included neo Nazi hate activity in Norfolk. Ten deputy sheriffs were present in the courtroom for Friday’s hearing. Generally, district courtrooms are staffed with two deputies for security, said Paula Miller, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. “We were anticipating a large presence in the courtroom,” she said. “PD had said that they posted on their web site that they wanted a large crowd at the hearing.” About 20 Occupy Norfolk supporters attended the hearing. One of them, James McPherson, said afterward that the heavy law enforcement presence was unwarranted but typical.
Theory of Everything: Part I
Published March 20, 2012 | By RE Originally Published in TBP on April 25, 2011 in economy Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner Tonight’s topic is a tough one. The bickering regarding precisely how the monetary system will collapse framed around Inflation and Deflation is getting us precisely NOWHERE. The reason for this I think is because it is mostly ex-post facto analysis of the money supply and asset values, and this bogs you down in conflicting numbers, many of which are not even certain to be valid given how the data is manipulated these days. So what I am going to try to do in this post is look at precisely how fiat money accrues value and how that attaches to physical resources, energy and labor to create an economic system. It’s a Theory of Everything kind of post, and I have no idea how its going to come out here as I begin. My objective in developing a TOE here is to try to get a better idea of how the folks in current control over the monetary system will behave as the system disintegrates. I am trying to figure this out, and I do not have an absolute answer, but writing about it helps me to frame the questions, and responses I get help me refine it. I am just “thinking out loud” as I go, and no besides everything I remember I haven’t done ANY research for this post. Its a thought experiment.
Now, I am using “disintegrates” with respect to the economic system not in the colloquial meaning of being hit by a Phaser blast and vanishing, but in a more pure concept of dis-Integration, where to be integrated means to be connected. The problem we are faced with at the moment is that Money is becoming less and less connected to Real Value. This is not simply because a lot of it is being “printed” by the various CBs around the world, but rather because it is becoming further disconnected from the value creation mechanism of the money itself. Lots of freely floating money in the market certainly should devalue it, but competing against that is what causes fiat to have any value at all, which is Interest. If you create more money but at the same time make that money more expensive in terms of interest, the money will retain value with respect to whatever it is buying. So the freshly printed money the Greeks need right now is still actually worth something because the interest rates they have to pay for it are skyrocketing upwards. In the Fiat system as it has been pursued since around 1692, CBs have had a virtually unlimited ability to create money. Money is a great Lubricant for trade, it allows you to rise above a pure barter exchange mechanism utilizing a portable store of value. Whatever that store of value is has to be recognized as such all across the trading markets, which these days are global and interconnected via computers. It wasn’t always that way though, certainly not in 1692, at that time it was all Paper that had to hold value across the world. How do you go about making a piece of paper a valuable instrument of monetary transaction across societies? To do it, you need to have Banking Houses established in different societies which all recognize the paper as holding value. A note written by the House of Medici in Venice has to be recognized in the Mongol Empire as “Good as Gold”, so that when the Note arrives by Camel train with Marco Polo, the Credits it represents actually buy real goods for Ghenghis Khan, so he can buy more Saddles for the Mongol Horde and expand his Raping and Pillaging Empire a bit further. Needless to say, if you actually have control over the trade routes and have warehouses stocked with real goods those credits can buy, the Paper has very real value.
It is of course very important for anyone running such a monetary system based on Notes they create that they in fact do maintain real value to buy goods and services. It is not generally in the interest of a Bankster to create worthless notes, because once those notes stop functioning to buy goods and services, the Bankster is outta biz. It should be noted here that the TBTF banking houses which grew out of this era have NEVER allowed their notes to go completely worthless, although any number of small countries have been in some way shut out of the system and seen this occur. Argentina, Weimar Germany, and Zimbabwe are all examples of small countries who got shut out of the credit system periodically and saw their currencies completely lose value. All paper currencies amount to is a Note of Zero Duration with no coupon attached issued by the Central Bank of a local Goobermint. Long as it is respected internationally, it holds value to buy goods and services. When it is not, Hyperinflation results. As Jesse points out on Café Americain, Deflation, Hyperinflation and Stagflation are all possible outcomes for a collapsing monetary system, your main problem is to figure out how the politics will evolve to force a given choice.
As the Global system of trade grew in size and complexity, a mechanism needed to be created to both perpetually increase the Money Supply to match the growing population AND to insure that the notes they created would retain their value. How do you do that? You do it through the Bond Market, which essentially attaches all the Value a given society can create through its Labor and Natural resources to a Bond of the perceived value of those assets. So if a given country has a lot of Coal in the ground and Laborers to dig up the coal, you issue out a Loan in the form of a Bond to start money circulating to pay the laborers to dig up the coal, and attach an interest rate to that loan to in theory compensate for the risk involved in getting the project going. As long as you have new projects and new ways to use labor and natural resources to keep expanding, you can keep expanding the money supply and keep sieving back interest on the money you create, and of course if you have a monopoly on this money creation you get fabulously wealthy in the process. The primary Debtors to attach here in this process are the Sovereigns, since they have the power to Tax the entire population on some portion of their productive enterprise. So for the most part, Sovereign nations have always been the biggest debtors. (This begs the question of why Sovereigns that can issue their own money have to go in debt to get it. That question is a whole other rant. Part II coming soon to a Theatre Near You.) However, through the Capitalist era, its also been possible to Loan large sums of money to individual Entrepreneurs and Corporations to build large scale projects, and then in addition to that the advent of “Home Ownership” in the post WWII years allowed large scale loaning of money in aggregate on the retail level to individuals. All 3 of these classes of Debtors accumulated a very large Debt through the post WWII years to finance further expansion of this system. It is this debt overhang now that is causing so much worldwide havoc with the monetary system, and it is not just in the FSofA. Every last country connected up to this banking system is in precisely the same pickle, even what appear to be net creditors like China. This because the savings they accumulated is mostly irredeemable debt. It is irredeemable debt that cannot be serviced anymore, because the growth necessary to service it simply is not happening. The lowest level debtors, J6P Home “Owners” are the ones being hit first here, because J6P is not getting ANY kind of Bailout. Stuff like HAMP is just smoke and mirrors to bail out the TBTF Banks, not J6P. The Sovereigns are being Bailed out, but the peripheral ones are seeing their Interest Rates rise to compensate for the risk that they won’t pay off and to maintain the value in the money they are being issued through the loans. The least affected so far are the TBTF Banks, which are being issued money at near ZIRP to speculate in the markets which they are not accountable for, it’s other Low Hanging Fruit who will eventually lose their shirts. Long as that speculation continues, regardless of whether these companies actually turn a profit the managers and executives can pay themselves quite well and the wheels keep turning on the bus.
The thing to remember here is that the CBs cannot keep issuing money in perpetuity, because if they do so the money will go worthless and no longer measure the value of what it is supposed to be buying. As the Sovereigns become increasingly unable to Tax enough money to pay their bonds, they will fail and I do not see it as likely that anything bigger than about Portugal you will see the CBs bailing out Sovereigns. To do so, they would have to create valueless money, and that is not in their interest to do so. Now, it is unclear as to whether Sir Isaac Newton as Master of the Mint back in 1692 really understood all the implications of a velocity based money supply of perpetual growth, but IMHO by the 1970s when Local Peak Oil was reached here in the FSofA and when all the bad Loans to South America made by my Dad and other apparatchiks of the system in the name of Chase Manhattan, JP Morgan et al went South, the folks running this system were quite aware of the flaws and that it had a limited lifespan. The last 40 years have been spent manipulating the system to consolidate ownership and further capture the political process, quite successfully. However, the whole ball of wax is now up between a Rock and a Hard Place GLOBALLY, which is why the idea Capital will take off and run for cover outside our own borders is IMHO ridiculous. There just isn’t anywhere to run now, all the sovereigns are in the deep doo doo, so the idea you can pull value from any of them through taxation is ludicrous. People are going to rapidly be moving to subsistence level almost everywhere, there is not going to be surplus to sieve anywhere. If the surplus does not EXIST, no financial instrument can make it exist. Of course, people can be starved out of existence to reduce demand, but they do not go quietly into that Good Night either. So this requires military action which draws down your own surplus, such as it might still exist. See the Roman Empire to understand this problem. This still does not answer the question of how our Goobermint and Da Fed will behave as the debt default moves up the chain to the Too Big to Bail. This besides nation-states like Spain includes our own States like CA, IL, NJ, TX et al. They cannot issue high interest bonds to rollover the debt they already cannot afford to service, but with low interest there is no incentive for anyone to buy this debt. No incentive for anyone except Da Goobermint, which wishes to perpetuate itself. So the TBTF Banks will offload sovereign bonds on Da Fed, which serves as the “Bad Bank” upon which to dump all your losing bets. The large Banking Houses will consolidate down to just holding and trading about anything perceived as an asset holding real value, commodities for the most part. Regardless of the numerical denomination, with respect to each other these commodities will more or less move in tandem in perceive value, though it is likely in this scenario that PMs will crash with margin calls across other commodities Put it this way, if you are a Sovereign Nation holding a few tons of Gold and you need to buy Rice to feed the population, you are going to put that Gold up for sale at whatever the market will bear, elsewise your people are likely to Riot and string you up by the Gonads. At this point, you have major banking houses owning large quantities of “stuff” everybody needs at a relatively high dollar denominated value. There are two roads possible, one is to issue money on the retail level to J6P to be able to buy the stuff at these high prices. In a country where most of the population is employed through Goobermint Trade Unions, you could just start indexing and raising the salaries to meet the rising costs of the commodities, but that isn’t the model the FSofA is working under. Rather what you see at the moment here is wage depression, more unemployment and further loss of purchasing power amongst the people who would buy the commodities for end use.
The most sensitive commodity here in the FSofA would be refined gasoline for private automobiles. As the price continues to rise here, it has to force people to start conserving and cutting back on usage. This would force inventories to rise as long as the supply chain is still producing the same amounts, but it may not be doing that. Libya for instance is not contributing its share to the supply chain at the moment. However, what is produced will move in the direction where the most people still have money to pay for it, and that would be toward the western nations with some percentage of the population still solvent. Less wealthy countries will begin to see shortages. It is unclear how high a price the remaining solvent people in the FSofA can tolerate for gas before it forces too many people out of the market to maintain the distribution chain. I’m going to make a WAG it could go to $10/ gallon at some stage before there is a complete collapse of distribution, but even a perpetuated period at the $5 range will have a devastating effect on commerce and GDP. Similar effect here with Food, which as a percentage of the budget of even the lowest paid of the still employed here is relatively low, compared to countries where people subsist on $2/day. I think most Amerikans could withstand a doubling of food prices as long as they are still employed, simply by buying cheaper foods. As long as the SNAP card program keeps the unemployed fed, again we can see a steady rise in these prices that is compensated for by a forced economic rationing. The problem is much larger and more immediate in the poorer countries of the world, and this is the most destabilizing aspect of the spin down. Again unclear is exactly how many places we can try to police to keep the Oil moving out of the M.E., so this can force a breaking point to occur much faster than just the economics.
In no scenario I can imagine would it behoove our Goobermint or Da Fed to keep issuing essentially free money to the States and Municipal Goobermints. So like Meredith Whitney, I see a period coming of Defaults through these entities, with less and less money circulating through their economies, which means ever falling tax receipts to fund their local Goobermints. This doesn’t mean an overnight failure of the monetary system, but it will put many places in a grinding down phase of increasing poverty which will be very difficult, complete with the kind of social dislocation you see now in places like Greece and Portugal, getting worse as time goes by. Is this Inflation or Deflation? You could look at it either way, since core commodities will be increasing in price but real wages and purchasing power will be decreasing. Far as Hyperinflation goes, that is another phenomenon altogether, more Political in nature than economic. A given currency has to be more or less abandoned by the BIS and the country cut off from the international trade system to get a hyperinflation rolling. It does not seem likely that the BIS will abandon the Dollar as a currency unless and until there is a workable alternative to it, and there isn’t one on the Horizon at the moment. There will thus be political pressure both internally here and internationally to withdraw credit issuance by Da Fed, which Da Fed is looking for ways to do ever so gently so as not to rock the boat too much, but at this point it is a very unstable boat and very sensitive to perturbation of any kind. The effect remains possible of a virtually instant Lock Up in the financial markets if too much liquidity is withdrawn from the market, because without that liquidity a few margin calls can cause a cascade selling event on the markets with no bottom in sight. The Doomer in me waits impatiently for that day, because it would be a sight to behold indeed. It would make the Flash Crashes we have seen as Coming Attractions look like Chump Change. Credit where credit is due however, Helicopter Ben and the other Geniuses running the Super Computers for the PPT have demonstrated they have the ability to freeze, re-capitalize and manipulate these markets at will, so such an instantaneous crash may never happen. I have been regularly wrong in looking at the collapse at the gross market level because I underestimated just how smart these folks really are and how much control they actually do have over the markets. They cannot stop the eventual recognition though that the system is globally bankrupt, several times over actually. To conclude this portion of the argument, I don’t think that examining the prices ex-post facto is the best way to understand how the collapse will proceed. In essence what we are looking at is a failure of the Credit-Debit model of the Bond Market at the Sovereign level. Because of the simultaneous geometric growth in population size and the tandem consumption of resources upon which to build those large populations, the ability of Sovereigns to tax out their populations to pay off on Bonds predicated on growth has for all intents and purposes disappeared. Without that ability, what gives money any value at all? Fiat money is a debt instrument, a Note of Zero Duration based on future production that isn’t coming down the pipe. So the fiat system will collapse as a result, though it can be a long grinding collapse because all production does not cease instantly everywhere. Far as utilizing PMs as money, they do not represent Debt on future production but rather are the result of past production, the effort to dig up and smelt the relatively rare metal and then coin it. What value they actually hold depends upon exactly what there is available to buy with them, and whether it is in surplus or not. Anything still in surplus you will be able to buy with very little Gold; anything not in surplus you may not be able to buy with all the Gold in your basement safe. What you are dependent on here is the overall ability of your society to produce a surplus of food to feed the population, at its most basic level. Here in the FSofA, as long as some portion of the Oil Conduit keeps moving and we can as a society produce a surplus of food, the PMs will hold some value, but trading with them will likely become difficult and dangerous, and the Goobermint confiscation of such things becomes ever
more likely if they gain any traction as a trading mechanism. I do not think they will gain such traction in most places, so I think the value of these metals will fall with respect to more necessary items. In the medium term as a result, I see fewer Dollars being available to J6P to buy STUFF, which thus will continue to keep the Dollar valuable to J6P through its scarcity. I just do not see it likely that Helicopter Ben and TPTB will start sprinkling down higher wages and free money to J6P. In this environment, prices can rise as commodities become more scarce and Profit margins disappear on production, but as long as the Dollars are scarce to the consumer of the end products, you cannot support a Hyperinflationary event. The abandonment of the Dollar on the international level of trade by the BIS would cause a Hyperinflation, but there isn’t a readily available alternative to it right now so such an abandonment does not seem immediately likely. However it does play itself out on the monetary level, inflation or deflation, the primary problem you are going to have is decreasing availability of the products of industrialized society. No matter how much Gold you have, if you want to buy a Plasma TV you won’t be able to do so, because the Plasma TV factories will shut down. Not ENOUGH people will have Gold to buy Plasma TVs to make running such a factory model profitable. You probably won’t miss a Plasma TV all that much, but when the profit margins in producing food along the industrial model disappear, this you will miss VERY much. It is as we approach that stage of the Spin Down that how you position yourself will become very important, because no group of people anywhere ever goes Quietly into the Good Night of Starvation. The industrial model of food production will be replaced on the local level in areas that can produce food for their populations. Farmland that is dependent on water pumped up from deep aquifers utilizing the thermodynamic energy of Oil will no longer produce, so these are not good long term areas for survival. You cannot know how the climate might change in the future, but where you settle yourself must most certainly right NOW have enough Water dropping down as rainfall or sluicing down from mountains during the spring thaw. Water is NUMERO UNO in picking your hole. After the water, the condition of the local soil for supporting agriculture is the next bet you make, unless you are near a Coast where there is still good fisherie not contaminated by Radioactive Cesium and Iodine effluent from Fuk-U-Shima Nukes or Spilled Oil from BP’s Macondo Well in the GOM. After the water and food are covered, the next one to consider is Energy resources. The best places have all of these things, but of course in the future they will be popular places every last Zombie out there wants to migrate to. No guarantees you or your progeny will be able to keep or “own” the land you live on because you bought it with 10 pieces of Silver from the last Goobermint to run the show in that neighborhood. Your only Property Rights are what you can Protect and Defend, and nobody can do that effectively alone. So pick a place somewhere on the face of the earth with the Water and the Food resources and Good People you affiliate with well, and make yourself ready to defend that little patch of land. Because when this monetary system crashes and when the industrial model goes the way of the Dinosaur which they both inevitably MUST, that is all you will have left. If it is not enough to support you and your Tribe, you too will go the way of the Dinosaur. See You on the Other Side. RE
Theory of Everything: Part II
Published March 22, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner
I will start here with a hypothetical country completely disconnected from the rest of the world. Call it Hawaii before Cook arrived. As the first Polynesian Navigator to guide my Catamaran rigged Canoes to the Big Island, I get great Respect from my People who trusted me to Guide them on the Voyage from the Marquesa Islands, and I am unanimously accepted as King on arrival. All those years studying the Stars and memorizing the Constellations and watching Wave patterns really paid off for me. All of Hawaii is MINE! I am SOVEREIGN! My first act after being declared King by Acclimation is to take on Anna Paquin and Natalie Portman as Concubines, but AFTER that I have to figure out how to administer my new country and distribute out all the assets BESIDES Anna and Natalie.
Originally Published in the TBP on April 27, 2011 in Economy Why is it that Sovereign Nations don’t issue their own nonDebt based money, instead of becoming a part of the massive International Banking system based on debt? This is another one of those very tough questions to answer which I believe has its roots back at the very beginning of International banking in the Medici Era (at least for a Modern Era analysis). The goal here in Part II of this series is to make a plausible hypothesis for why this has not ben a viable solution over these centuries, if not all the millenia of the Money Game. So next thing I do is to hand off portions of the land to my best buddies to administer, and then after that I have to create some currency for people to use to trade with. There isn’t much Gold or Silver around, but there are a limited number of Macadamia Nuts. They are a good currency because they are small and portable and store well, and unlike Gold you CAN actually eat Macadamia Nuts. However their value is not in the Calorie Content, but rather in their scarcity relative to everything else being produced in Hawaii. They aren’t a debt based instrument, they are based on production already done. If at some point somebody found a way to grow a shitload of Macadamia Nuts the currency would be debased, but as long as the supply remains relatively limited they are a good currency. Macadamia Nuts function as a great Currency for us in Hawaii until Cook arrives. At this point our Macadamia Nuts only will buy as much of the cool new Metal Knives the Traders on the Tall Ships will take for them. If we want all the STUFF being produced elsewhere, we have to fork over all our Macadamia Nuts for that stuff. Polynesians of the era actually called all the Stuff the traders brought “Cargo”, for obvious reasons. (read Jared Diamond’s Germs, Guns and Steel) You could substitute Gold for the Macadamia Nuts, it does not matter what the commodity is here, the point is that in order to get access to the production of a more advanced society producing such things as Metal Knives, you have to give up your resources to do so. We actually are pretty fortunate to be using Macadamia Nuts which do have some intrinsic value and not be using Cowrie Shells, because the Traders could pick tons of them up off beaches elsewhere.
As we progress along here, in return for our Macadamia Nuts, Pineaapples and anything else we produce in Hawaii, the traders give us in return their Notes, which we can then use to buy Cargo from them. Since we are now exporting all our Macadamia Nuts we don’t have enough of them to use as currency anymore, so now our Goobermint creates its own Notes which are worth some fraction of the value of the Notes the traders give us in return for our produce. We have now become intrinsically CONNECTED to the Global banking system using Notes as our Currency rather than any other abstract item. Now, if your country happens to be well gifted with Natural Resources to trade for Cargo, the tendency is to basically live off those resources and not Industrialize. A few people at the top of the Pyramid in Hawaii (my Heirs from Anna and Natalie) do very well, but the rest of the population mainly just gets a few Trinkets like Satellite Dishes to put up on their Grass Huts and otherwise lives dirt poor. Read this virtually every Oil Producing nation in the M.E. Now, if you want to start Industrializing yourself so you can make your own trinkets and start exporting them, you need LOTS of the Notes the traders use to buy the big machines that make trinkets, and they generally cost so much that even years of Macadamia Nut sales are not enough to buy them. However, if you have a large population of people willing to work for peanuts, Banksters with lots of Notes will loan them to you so you can build Trinket Factories. They will disassemble complete factories running in Amerika and ship them over to you so you now are the Trinket builder. You of course have to pay lots of Interest on those factories, so actually getting ahead in this game is pretty difficult, although it is accomplished briefly in some places. Of course Hawaii never had a big enough population to make this kind of thing worthwhile, but places like Japan, Korea and China did. This is why large population centers with few resources have evolved into manufacturing centers. Amazingly simple isn’t it? What seems to be a very complicated problem of trade laws and tariffs is not so complicated once you grasp the underlying forces of labor, resource and capital movement. Its not a lot different or more complicated than Water running Downhill actually. I only came to this epiphany very recently though, but to be sure it explains the general movement of Capital through the Capitalist era. If I had figured this out when I was in my teens instead of chasing pussy, smoking dope and doing blackboard contests in the basement of Havermeyer Hall, I’d probably be richer than Soros by now. Water under the bridge though of course, and I ended up rich enough anyhow here from Grandpa the High Steel Walker turned Bootlegger, for as long as the flotsam and jetsam he accumulated retains some value anyhow. LOL. To return to the topic at hand, over time here the entire world got captured up into this system of Notes run centrally from a few big Banking Houses and Trading companies like the British East India Company, House of Rothschild, JP Morgan et al. Any Sovereign Nation wishing to participate in the Free Trade of Goods and Services had to have their Money tied into the system, valued at some relatively fixed rate against the major currencies the
traders used, which after Bretton Woods was the Dollar. Your money can float some on a day to day basis, but it has to hang within a fairly restricted range to remain functional. At this point it becomes impossible for you to issue Non-Debt based money and use it for international trade, because as soon as you issue it without debt attached, it devalues. So you also now start issuing Bonds at some rate of Interest in order to increase your currency supply, and if you offer a high enough Interest rate on those Bonds then you get George Soros, Jim Rogers, Bill Gross and the rest of the gang flocking to your doorstep to buy them with their Notes. Of course, you better be damn industrious little Beavers to be able to pay off on the interest on those Bonds. Over time this Web of Debt in Ellen Brown’s terminology has grown ever larger, like a massive Cancer spreading across the face of the earth. In order to be part of the great global game of trading around the Trinkets and Raw Materials to make the Trinkets, you have to be using a Debt based currency the Illuminati can Invest in through your Bonds. You go into Indentured Servitude to the Bond Holders, which is of course why they are called Bonds to begin with. The Bond Holders of all worldwide debt are the Top of the Ponzi, and in any crash these are the folks that expect to be paid off FIRST. If you have to sell off your Parks and Bridges, lay off all your Sanitation workers and Teachers whatever, you MUST pay the Bond Holders! If you don’t pay off the Bond Holders, its ARMAGEDDON!!!! The Fabulously Wealthy will be impoverished along with all the Pensioners invested with PIMPCO! So everything possible is done to try to keep paying off on the Bonds, or rolling them over into new Bonds, whatever just do not ADMIT that the production is not there to ever pay off on those Bonds! Now the question is, WTF did the top of the Ponzi Bondholders actually GET the money to loan to you? At some point, it had to be Borrowed into existence with the Central Bank creating the currency. So if you are close enough connected to the center of this, you can Borrow money at very low interest directly from Da Fed to then go and loan at higher interest to somebody else and collect on the spread between those rates. This is bad enough, but the evolution of Derivatives made it even worse, because lots of Banking Houses could create financial instruments like CDS and CDO without ever actually borrowing money from Da Fed to do it. These instruments represent Trillions if not Quadrillions of Dollars of debt obligations that cannot be paid off unless Da Fed goes ahead on a Printing Spree that would make the current one look like a Sunday Picnic.
Needless to say, I don’t think the Political Will is there to do that kind of printing, it would totally destroy the currency and that is not in the interest of the people who hold all the Bonds. The trick here is to keep the House of Cards standing so these instruments do not trip. However, as the debt problem moves up the line to bigger and bigger Sovereigns (next up, Spain and CA), just the amounts necessary to make them nominally solvent is probably beyond the political will of the Banks, and most certainly against the political will of the populations that are forced into Austerity. So at some point here the Ponzi will collapse. Jesse over on Café Americain makes the Hypothesis that Da Fed is sufficiently in control of all of this that they can manage a controlled Stagflation, but to me this begs the question of what is going on all around the World all tied to the Dollar as World Reserve Currency. While here in the FSofA we might be able to withstand a Slow Boiled Frog effect of say a 10% yearly Inflation of Prices while Wages Deflate at 10% and not run up into a Rock/Hard Place situation for 5 years, that is not the case for all the impoverished countries around the world where people live on $2/day and 90% of their income goes to just buying enough Rice to make it to tomorrow. As long as Da Fed is “managing” a steady inflation, these folks are going to be quickly (if they are not already there) in a position where they simply cannot afford to buy enough food to eat. If they are in a location where there is no Oil, it’s a Humanitarian Crisis but we don’t send in the Marines. If it is a location where there IS Oil, we clearly DO send in the Marines to try to secure the Oil Fields. We also have to send Food Aid to the faction that will line up with us for the moment, and arm them with AR-15s and RPGs at the very least to try to take back control. The Financial House of Cards is clearly in a very delicate balance at the moment, and Da Fed has very little maneuvering room between the Hyperinflation/Deflation outcomes. Even small changes in the Interest rate or Money Supply can tip the balance now. That problem is difficult enough by itself to manage, but on top of that you have all these Wars breaking out in marginal countries, and you also have your Natural Disasters like Tsunamis messing up Production out of Japan and Cyclones turning part of Australia into an Inland Sea and now apparently non-stop Tornadoes taking out Airports like Lambert in St Louis.
How many of you noted the story in the Newz that Shillary Clinton was in Japan promoting a “Private/ Public” Partnership to help the Japanese rebuild? She was joined by Chamber of Commerce Big Wigs from Nippon and the FSofA, basically BEGGING people not to Abandon Japan. You have to KNOW they are doing this because companies are EVACUATING Tokyo in droves. WTF is going to stay in Tokyo with an Office when they can move it over to Taiwan or Shanghai or Hong Kong or Singapore? The Nip Goobermint is now talking about a “6-9 Month” period to get some control over the reactors. No actual plan here for doing so, but this is the spin. Even if it was only 6-9 months, who would stay there while they figure it out? How long would it take to replace the electrical power generation of those nuke plants? Even a Coal fired plant takes years to build. The issues Da Fed has to deal with in managing the currency are only a part of the Global issues here, and no matter what they do with the money supply, Da Fed cannot get more Oil flowing out of the M.E., nor can they repair Japanese Reactors and get BAU running in Japan either. They do not seem predisposed to handing out much Free Money to J6P, just enough to feed him and keep him from rioting, and that does not an economy make, at least not the kind of economy we were used to.
The real question is not IF we will slide down Richard Duncan’s curve of per capita available energy, but how fast it will actually occur. Because we are such profligate users of energy here in the FSofA, there is a lot of WASTE in the system that can be cut out before we completely power down, so I am at least hopeful that he is wrong and 2012 will not be the year the Lights Go Out. However I did watch another video of his where he made a good point about Mexico, which is pretty much already a failed state. Their electrical power grid is a joke, held together by duck tape and bailing wire. With their own Oil supply now dwindling, they are not going to be keeping that grid up and functional too much longer. He makes the point that when the lights go out in Mexico Shity, 20M people will start streaming across the border in a Tsunami of refugees. Exactly how we will try to stop that remains to be seen.
To get back to our monetary system, it is far past repair at this point and will have to be replaced by an entirely new one. Our New World Order Globalist Illuminati Masters of course want to run this show, but by no means is it clear they will be able to do so. Over in Finland the True Finn Party has taken power with a No Bailout Policy, and the Euro consortium which is the CENTER of the Globalist movement is coming apart at the seams. If they cannot hold Europe together, how could they hold the whole WORLD together under a single currency regime? What is much more likely is a breakup Regionally here in the FSofA with first a Command Economy of Rationing and eventually some sort of Local Currencies evolving. Both Food and Fuel will be very scarce, forcing nearly every able bodied person into some aspect of food production and distribution. Regions will probably be governed by former units of the National Guard, the warehouses and silos will be put under guard and a replacement transportation system will develop. I could see six guys all on Bicycles hitched to a Wagon pulling grain to silos from the fields, and small Steam Powered Locomotives built from old Boilers utilizing whatever they have available to burn to move the grain around the region on the rail lines. At the other end of the line, more Teamsters on Bicycles pulling the grain into local communities. This until we breed up enough draft animals to pull the wagons. Is this Extinction Level? No it is not, but it most certainly is Civilization Ending. It doesn’t even take a Thermonuclear War to occur either, all it really takes is for the energy we accessed through the industrial era to become less and less available. Which pretty much everyone here agrees is already occurring. The likelihood of being able to substitute for this lost energy either with Nukes or Renewables in the next 50 years is pretty small. The Energy necessary to build those things is going to disappear faster than we can build enough of them. Its not even clear after Fuk-U-Shima that anyone is going to WANT to build a Nuke, although in some areas I am sure some will be built. Not nearly enough though to substitute for the lost fossil fuel energy we have been accessing. Accessing Nat Gas reserves and Conservation can and probably will draw this whole thing out some, so I don’t necessarily agree with Richard Duncan that by 2020 we will be Lights Out everywhere. I do think though by 2020 that Poor Nations like Mexico will be Lights Out by that time. It really is remarkable just how FAST almost all the world got Wired up for Electricity, even towns in Afghanistan have it, although likely it is pretty intermittent there. Problem being of course by wiring up EVERYWHERE, we used up the available energy to drive the system that much
faster. When we ran out of enough of it here on our own shores to drive our power systems, we had to start importing it from elsewhere, and this should have clued everyone in at the time that the writing was on the wall, but it did not generally do that. Why? Because everyone was sold on the idea that coming down the pipe at some time in the future was a replacement for it created by Human Ingenuity. Fusion Power being the Holy Grail there, and BILLIONS were spent in pursuit of that technology, with the greatest Physicists and Engineers of the last 60 years all engaged in the project in one way or another. We built Super Conducting Super Colliders, and individuals in labs messed with their ideas for Cold Fusion. 60 solid years of research in Nuclear Physics since the Manhattan Project, and NOBODY has been able to make this idea work at positive EROEI. You have to wrap your mind around the concept that the energy we accessed to run the Civilization of Homo Industrialis is going Extinct, even if some of the people manage to survive that extinction. We had a Century Long Party burning the candle very brightly in the Industrialized Nations, but now that Candle is running out of Wax. We are halfway down the candle, but in the intervening time we bred up six times as many people as when the game started, so Per Capita energy available is much less than at the beginning of the game. The fact it is skewed in distribution keeps the FSofA burning brightly right now, but once we cannot maintain sufficient military force to keep the Oil moving in this direction, we will quickly be in the same boat everyone else is in. Our standard of living will approach that of the current 3rd World. This is inevitable now, its just a question of how long it will take to slide down and how the society will adjust to the new reality. To look at this whole post from a Fourth Turning perspective, how does this Turning differ from the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression? In each of those prior Turnings our Society was accessing Greater Wealth and Power. After the American Revolution, we were accessing the vast Wealth of the North American Continent and all its Resources. After the Civil War, we were accessing the thermodynamic energy of Coal and beginning the Industrial Revolution. After the Great Depression and WWII, we were accessing the thermodynamic energy of Oil and growing into the Information Age. What is there left for us now to grow into after THIS Fourth Turning? I put to you that we have nothing left to grow into now, and so we must as a species go into a period of shrinkage that we have not experienced since the Dark Ages and the Black Plague. Like the original Dark Ages, I think this period will last near a Millenia, and who we are and how we come out of this at the end is anybody’s guess. We may never come out of it and go the way of the Dinosaur, that remains a possibility, but one I hope does not come to pass. For those of us who lived through the Age of Oil in the Industrialized Nations, even if you were relatively Poor you got quite a ride. It was however a One Time ride that only a select portion of Humanity got to really enjoy, and it is now passing into History. Those who follow us will curse us for our profligacy, at least for so long as they can remember it, which probably won’t be more than a couple of generations. After that, there will only be the Ruins of what once was, and a Planet gradually healing itself of the scars left by Industrialization. One can only hope that somewhere, somehow, some Tribe will make it through the Zero Point to rebuild a better society with better principles of existence. We did it after Toba went Ballistic 70,000 years ago, we can do it again. It will be a very long time from now before that comes to pass however. See You on the Other Side RE
Large Public Works Projects: Part I
Originally published March 3, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner
What does a Huge Public works Project do for an Economy? Basically, it takes all the surplus you have and then provides Work for individual Laborers of the society, giving people a “purpose” for living and a means to distribute out the surplus to them, at least enough so they can survive. Of course, during the period such Public Works projects are undertaken, the surplus is Soooo great that the folks running the show are living very high on the hog, whether it was Pharaohs in Egypt or the Robber Barons of the Railroad Era. The lack of or disappearance of a LPWP seems to me to be a good leading indicator that a civilization is going into a collapse phase. In the absence of a good LPWP, the society runs out of enough Work to keep the people Busy, and without Work to do there never has been found yet a good way to fairly distribute the production of a society. These last few years of development of the Social Welfare state demonstrate all the problems you get when you simply Dole Out enough money for people to survive without Working. It takes away the incentive to work, and the number of people not working grows faster than the number working. The people working become resentful of the people not working. Thus you get the Knee Jerk comments made by Pols like Lizard Gingrich about OWSers “Go get a Job, right after you get a Shower”. Once the ability to fund an LPWP diminishes sufficiently, the society devolves to the next means of Job Creation for the Masses, which is to go to War and employ the Poor in the Bizness of killing each other off and sufficiently destroying the infrastructure that upon the conclusion of the war there are few enough people left and now you once again have a Big Public Works Project to keep them busy, which is Rebuilding all they just finished destroying. The last 2 World Wars, WWI and WWII were undertaken after the first major LPWP of Railroad Construction was more or less completed, and really
In the first part of this series, I took a Big Picture view of how money When you look back at the Successful Periods of Civilizations Past, what they all seem to have in common are very Large Public Works Projects (LPWP) which kept many people in the Civilization Busy and served to keep an Economy moving along. Whether it was the Tower of Babel; the Pyramids of Egypt; the Roman Aqueducts; the Great Wall(s) of China; or the Railroads and then the Interstate Highway system of the FSofA, during their Heyday all these civilizations produced some large Public works project which had some form of Utility associated with it. Even the Pyramids weren’t strictly just big Burial Tombs for the Pharaohs, they were used as reference points for astronomical observation, which helped in the development of Mathematics, which in turn helped Agriculture and Commerce to develop. The Last Big Public Works project of this sort was the Space Race, engaged in by the two major Power Centers of the USSR and the FSofA until the two of them simply became too overburdened with the costs to continue on with them in any great degree. Arguably however, the Space Race led to many Innovations in communications and computing which held benefits for the population for a period of time. In order to take on these huge Public Works projects, the society has to be in tremendous Surplus, they are very costly on all levels to build. For the ancient ones, the cost came in the form of the vast amount of slave labor necessary and the food to keep all those Slaves fed while not themselves directly engaged in the production of food. In the recent incarnations, the cost came in the form of huge fossil fuel energy consumption to build these projects, and then to pay the Wage Slaves engaged in the task of building said project.
WWII was just an extension of WWI, a brief hiatus during which the transition was made from mostly Coal Power to Oil Power. The denouement of WWII provided 2 LPWPs one for Europe and another for the FSoA. In Europe, it was the Marshall Plan to Rebuild the infrastructure of Eurotrashland. Here in the FSofA it was the building of the Interstate Highway system and the development of the Carz Economy of Ring Roads, Suburbs, Fast Food and Malls. This was a MASSIVE LPWP which totally transformed the landscape of the FSofA. “Pave Paradise, put up a Parking Lot”, as Joni Mitchell wrote & sang in “Big Yellow Taxi”. Thing is of course, at the conclusion of WWII, globally we were still a world AWASH in vast surplus of Oil. It didn’t really demand that big a Die Off before a new LPWP could be created leveraging up the thermodynamic energy of all the Cheap Energy still in the ground at that time. As the last of our LPWPs, the Space Race now comes to a close here and WWIII is on the Horizon, how and when do we exit from THAT with sufficient surplus to once again create a new LPWP to give “productive” work to J6P? Without the presence of a large quantity of cheap energy, the die Off from WWIII will have to be on a much greater scale than from WWII. Without the cheap energy, we won’t be in surplus again until the population is much smaller
There is of course the slim and unlikely chance for perhaps one more LPWP that could be leveraged up here after just a moderate die off in WWIII, if it is accomplished without thoroughly destroying the current infrastructure and sucking up too much of the remaining positive EROEI Oil, which would be to take the remaining Population and remaining Oil and use it all to create as many Renewable Energy systems as possible to leverage up from that remaining wealth. If we had set about such a task in 1950 instead of building the Interstate, one can only imagine how different the world might have turned out, but alas that did not happen. Even if we DO manage at some point here to Arrest the Die Off and successfully build such an LPWP, at that time we will still need ANOTHER LPWP to keep the population Busy as Beavers. More than anything, it is the lack of a PURPOSE in life that weighs so heavily on our society, and is the cause of its social problems. Even most of the people who HAVE jobs now only do them because its the only real means for them to survive in this society. Relatively few people “love” their jobs. Even people who make gobs of money often do not like their jobs. This is not to say Slaves employed moving around big rocks to build the Pyramids enjoyed their jobs, but there was a definitive purpose to it, and I suspect during the Period that Egypt was in enough Surplus to keep such an LPWP running, the Slaves did not Revolt. Only once the Pharaohs ran outta Money to keep building those Pyramids and they weren’t being Fed enough by the Pharaoh did Moses DEMAND, “Let My People GO!” And the Pharaoh COMPLIED, because why keep the Slaves if you cannot feed them and you cannot afford to use them to build a Pyramid? So too will our Slavery to the Illuminati end here in this iteration, and like the followers of Moses, all us former Slaves will be forced to walk the tough road to True Freedom out in the Desert. You will only FIND true freedom if you can MAKE IT out there in the Desert also, you will NEVER find it in the Belly of the Beast. Long as you have a choice of Destinations to head for though, I would suggest not heading for the Desert, but rather head for the Mountains. Head for a place with really BIG Mountains. The Great Wall that GOD Built to protect the Independent Souls of the World. RE
than it is now, and with no surplus, you get no LPWP. Population drops low enough, you can’t do LPWP because it takes a decent size population to organize up such things, especially in the absence of Oil Energy. A project like the Interstate which used the force multiplier of Oil to get it built would take Centuries of Slave Labor to complete, just as it took centuries to build the Great Wall of China. In reality you could not even do it with Slave Labor, since just to produce the Steel necessary takes vast amounts of heat energy that Human labor cannot replace. The world ahead of us is one without LPWPs, at least for a while to come anyhow. What will be necessary for a reinvention of Homo Sapiens are small community size Public Works projects. Once the population dips low enough, such a New Beginning might begin to take shape.
Large Publics Works Projects: Part II
Originally published March 5, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner
to transport it back to a manufacturing center. The prospectors need tools, which come to the local hardware store via the railroad. A local Blacksmith is necessary to fix broken tools, and Saloons open up in town for the local miners to frequent each night after backbreaking work digging rocks up out of the ground. Dentists are necessary to fix the teeth they break, doctors to set their broken bones, POOF you have a thriving economy! No Railroad comes to your Town, you get none of that, thus of course every small town across Amerika wanted to be Chosen as a Station on the Railroad. Having your town Bypassed by the Railroad meant being Left Behind by that period of Economic Development of the Age of Coal. So Railroads were given Rights of Way, Tax Breaks and all the rest to entice them into passing through your territory and then stopping at the town in that Ag Community, which turns it from a Subsistence Level Town into a Food Supplier of the Big Shities. A good thing for the Large Land Holders in such an area; not necessarily so good for the smaller land holders of course. The building of the Interstate has even more examples of how this works. The highways were built not because large numbers of people had cars they wanted to move around in, but rather large numebrs of cars were built because the Interstate was built. The Interstate was built because the Young Lieutenenant Dwight D. Eisenhower had to move a Mechanized Military Convoy across the FSofA inthe 1920s along the old Lincoln Highway, which really was just a hodgepodge of Dirt Roads quite sufficient for Horse and Buggy, but not all that amenable to Gas Powered Trucks and Personnel Carriers which were much bigger and got bogged down in the mud. It became rapidly apparent to the Military that they could not control a large area as vast as the FSofA with a Mechanized Army without good Roads upon which to move that Army. The Consumer level Automotive Biz arose from the need to find some way to gain utility out of the LPWP of the Interstate and so help to pay for it. This vastly expanded the size of the Automotive construction biz, which in addition to the laboring jobs building the roads provided a generation of Union Workers a good living. The Taxes they then paid on the gas they used to drive around on the Interstate is what paid for its construction. Long as the Oil came up virtually free from the ground, the more people you got burning the stuff and running around willy nilly doing commerce, the more money you could push through the system. Not only the Quantity of Money increased through this period, but its Velocity increased greatly as well.
One common theme you find these days amongst OWSers and Libertarians alike is the despair over Big Bizness taking over, with all the TBTF Corporations being supported, while Small Biz Mom & Pop shops go Belly Up. The Great Myth here in the FSofA has been that “Small Biz is the Backbone of Amerika”, particularly with respect to the archetypal hero of such a paradigm, the Entrepreneur who starts a biz in his Garage and goes on to grow it into a Big Biz down the line. Even before I came up with the idea that LPWPs were the driver for economics in a large society, I held the opinion not that Small Biz was the foundation of Capitalism, but rather that Small Biz has always functioned as a parasite, or at best in symbiosis with Big Biz, which comes first. If you take any town, it doesn’t start developing lots of Restaraunts and Hardware Stores and Starbucks until there is some Big Biz in town employing people who then in turn use their disposable income to begin a secondary economy going in all those retail biznesses. On the occassions the Big Biz in town shuts its doors, the whole town goes into a tailspin of closed up smaller biznesses. Thus you have all those depressing Rust Belt towns in the Midwest, which died economically when Manufacturing was moved over to the cheaper labor markets of the 3rd World. Both the Railroad Era and the Interstate Era provide prime examples of how Big Biz begins building an LPWP which gets lots of Money flowing through the economy, which then can support ancillary Small Biz off that. In the case of Railroads, now smaller Prospectors can go out in an area, locate something worth mining up and then have a means
Whereas in the agrarian economy of the Old West a person might have got by with just a few Silver Coins to spend each year and most of his needs covered by subsistence farming and barter, once the Automotive economy got rolling (sic), money became absolutely essential for all living. Primary here: The Money is necessary to buy the Fuel. There is no Coinkidink here that the very same person, John D. Rockefeller who was intrumental inthe rise of Standard Oil ALSO became such a large scale Bankster, or that Railroad Tycoons like JP Morgan also were in the Banking Biz. The connection between Money and Energy has been well known by the Illuminati at least since the time of the Enlightenment when the ability to do Work with Heat was developed through the Steam Engine. The Big Money piles of the Illuminati sifted out through the ages was put to Work by building the LPWPs of the Railroads and the Interstate and the Automotive Biz. These LPWPs enabled them to Create out of Thin air much MORE money, which first gets distributed out the Big Biznesses and well connected next tier down the line of folks like Morgan and Rockefeller, although who knows there might be another layer between them and true Illuminati. The Nation State and the Taxation System provides the means to Lever Up through Bond Issues to build these LPWPs. As long as you are insinuated into the system CREATING the money used to fund all these projects, each time one is undertaken you get ever richer. Of course, necessary here is that there is enough SURPLUS that as a whole the society can afford to undertake such an LPWP. The reason there was likely such a long period during the Dark Ages of so little money flowing around was the lack of any great LPWP to be undertaken. Note that from the period of around 500AD until pretty much the 1800s when the Railroads were built there were no LPWPs going on in the Western World, at this time they were occurring over in Asia when the Great Wall of China was built. This could make a good case for the idea that the Illuminati were at the time holed up in the Himalayas and were levering up their wealth on the backs of the Chinese. The levering up of Wealth takes either a large population or a large source of Energy, or preferably both to really work. In both cases, in order to accomplish this task, during the time of Surplus you vastly increase the money supply and the velocity of money increases as well. Building goes into “overdrive”. Work is created at the most basic level of Physical Labor for a large number of people, either directly int he building of the LPWP itself, or in the Small Biz Ancillary economy that grows around the LPWP. During the Post WWII era, this was the period where wealth distribution, at least on the “obvious” level seemed most Equitable, with Biz Managers paid only perhaps 40X what the average laborer made, as opposed to today where the managers make 400X what J6P makes. This would be the late stage of an Expansion period, where as it decays the wealth gets consolidated down in layers, with in the end all being impoverished except of course our old friends the Illuminati, historically speaking of course. Its this last layer of course that we often run into conflict over here, insofar as their ability goes to maintain the wealth and control after THIS collapse, which really is the first truly GLOBAL one since the whole bizness began with the Dawn of Agriculture some 6 Millenia ago or so. In all prior collapses, it was always possible for “Capital” to run somewhere else and hide, or even not necessarily hide but lever itself up on new territory and new populations. Particularly Efficient in this process was the general acceptance of Gold as THE Indestructible source of Capital. If you could run away with all the gold in the Bank and leave J6P all just holding the bag on a bumch of Irredeemable Debt, after they finish fighting over this, you just drop back in with your Pile of Gold to begin the process all over again.
The problems with repeating this process in the case of a Global Collapse are many. First off, there is no real “Safe Haven” for wealth anywhere in the world anymore. You certainly cannot go over to China and hole up in the Himalayas now to preserve Wealth, and I would say South America is pretty dicey also, though better than China is. SA has many reasons why it did not become the Powerhouse NA did through the Age of Oil. climate and Topography work against it. Mowing down the Rainforest is overall counterproductive, but unless you do mow it down you cannot support the building of an LPWP. Much of what is not Rainforest is Mountainous in the Andes. Again, Mountainous areas prevent much Commerce from developing in them and Armies of any era have an almost impossible task in trying to control the people who live in the Mountains. Be it the Pashtuns of Afghanistans or the Swiss in the Alps, Mountain peoples always have a decent amount of independence compared to the flatlanders, though of course with the exception of the Swiss they generally lead a relatively deprived existence. There are some signs that perhaps Cheeelay, home of Speedy Gonzalo Lira is becoming the New Switzerland for the Illuminati. However, I just do not see that overall SA has enough good flatland that is not Rainforest upon which to do another LPWP like the Mayans worked up back in the day. The second problem is it remains unclear to me that PMs will maintain the status of being Cross Border Money that can be used to transfer Wealth from one place to another. I am of the opinion that until a large scale Die Off is completed AND the Earth has had decent time on a Geological Scale to recover from 6000 years of Agricultural Rape and 300 years of Thermodynamic Rape of fossil fuels that even if you Possess Gold, there just isn’t enough Resource Wealth left to lever up using the Gold.
Third issue is maintaing Ownership rights over vast areas of the Global Surface once you do not have sufficient energy to maintain Mechanized Armies. You may still be able to maintain hegemony over smaller portions of the earth surface with armies of Troops armed with Atlatls, but again you would need sufficient Ag production to feed said armies, and the logistics of moving them around are much more difficult without the mechanization. At the very least, it will take a generation or two to breed up enough Horses to run a decent size Cavalry again. So essentially, the Great Pyramid that is Wealth Extraction from Labor and from the Resources of the Earth was pretty much completed through the process of developing LPWPs that provided the basis for a Surplus Economy to build its Population and distribute Resources to that population, if not fairly and equitably at least in such amounts that during the period of Expansion the Slaves of the society were kept complacent enough to keep on a-building. The Last of these was the attempt to Lever Up off the Surface of the Earth and into the Final Frontier of Space, and it is this attempt that upon failing left nowhere really left to GO anymore. It also why we likely are getting so many Science Propaganda Newz Stories now of new “exoplanets” and “Earth twins” being “discovered by the Kepler Telescope in far away Star Systems. Even if true, all these discoveries tell us is that there is a hunk of rock circling around a star many light years away which is in the “Sweet Spot” where the Temps would be in theory correct for the presence of Liquid Water. They may in fact even HAVE Liquid Water on them, they may in fact even have just the right amount of Mass so the Gravity is not too great or small for Homo Sapiens to wander about the surface. IF Homo Sapiens could GET there, but crap man, we can hardly get to MARS after 40 years here of throwing big ass Rockets up into Space. We are going to traverse LIGHT YEARS of Interstellar Travel with as yet undeveloped MatterAnti Matter Engines that will propel us even at Sub-Light speeds to these Planets? EVER? Gimmee a break here. Even IF such travel is in theory possible, it would take Centuries if not Millenia before we could manage such a thing, and long before that comes to pass we have to deal with the depleting resources of THIS planet. We are not going to escape into the Final Frontier here IN TIME, so there just is not that much left now for the Illuminati to lever up anymore. All the Gold in the WORLD will not get you to Betelgeuse, though Lord Only Knows, plenty was spent on super Conducting Super Colliders and all the rest to TRY to resolve the problem of living on one small Rock circling the Sun in one small corner of the Milky Way Galaxy. All that is left now is for Homo Sapiens to REVERSE ENGINEER our way back to a simpler way of living and to invest the great GIFT that is Sentience in trying to figure out how to go BEYOND the Physical Limitations of Energy, Matter and Gravity. That process does not take Super Conducting Super Colliders Or Oil OR Gold. What it takes is applying the Human Mind to thinking outside the BOX of all these things. They are a TRAP, which we have been caught in for 6000 years hear now at least. The time has come now to leave this Box, and find our future elsewhere, not in the world of the Physical, but in the world of the Spirit. This time will come, as Energy drops to Zero, the Spirit will RISE TO INFINITY. The tough part of course is making it through the Zero Point. RE
Large Public Works Projects III- SPWPs and the Flintstone Project
Originally published March 6, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner
Lets start with the Wind Power. We’ll build Windmills near the tops of the hills where they can grab the most wind. Here is you will also build your sawmills, grain grinders and so forth that need mechanical power to drive them. However, unless you have means of storing the power, its only available when its windy. To resolve this problem, You build noext to the Windmill another Tower which has a say 1 Ton Rock that you can crank up on windy days. When its not windy, you let the rock slowly drop, and this turns geared up pulley systems to run your mechanical machines. You can also have this hooked up to a scavenged Truck Alternator to produce electricity on days its not windy as well. Everything can be built from renewable materials (wood, rope, cloth, rock mostly) except the alternator and associated wiring, but we will cover that later. Simlarly, you run Aqueducts/Pipes from Upstream on the river through the community where they exit say 200′ in vertical height maybe a mile or so downriver. Each of these pipes can be used to drive microhydro turbines, which can be used either directly for mechanical power or again could each drive a smaller car alternator. Solar Power is collected via reflectors and a storage tank of water that the solar reflectors heat up to boiling temperatures on hot sunny days, which then is used to power a Stirling Engine. Other reflectors can be focused on Ovens that will reach 1000s of degrees on a sunny day, providing heat to smelt metal out of rock, or just soften up some scavenged metal so you can reform it into new shapes. Now, in the Winter you have to turn off the valves on your Hydro system, since the mostly above ground piping would freeze up. Also your solar collection system does not work much in the winter. However, if you have numerous of the Suspended Rock Towers in your community (say one for each Dwelling) , going into the winter this gets cranked all the way up, and then also has a smaller windmill attached so that on Windy days the Rock can be cranked back up some. Your Refrigeration Issues are solved through having a Community Ice House, or better still a Cave either natural or dug out. In the Winter, a major activity is freezing up blocks of water into large Ice Cubes say 1′x1′x2′. These are carried into the Cave, which is left Open as long as temps are below freezing, and closed up whenever not. This makes a large Refrigerator with a relatively constant 30-35 degree temp through most of the year. Depending on overall temps and how much Ice you stack up, it might all melt by the end of the summer, but you should have refrigeration naturally this way most of the year.
I was thinking about LPWPs again today and how this concept might be scaled down to a Community level to build Low Tech Energy Harvesting and Storage devices. I’ve got an idea here germinating I am going to call the “Flinstone Project”, after the old Flintstones Cartoon. In the cartoon there were all sorts of impossible machines using Animal Power, Water Power or Wind Power to perform the same functions we currently use Fossil fuel driven machines to do. You know, Dinosaurs in place of Cranes and Back Hoes at the Rock Quarry mining up Rocks for building the McMansions of Bedrock and so forth. What I’m going to do here is mostly dispense with Animal Power except for the purposes of Transportation on a Local Level. All the rest of the Energy to do Work will come from Wind, Hydro, Solar, and Thermal Gradients. Lets start with the Location of the hypothetical Bedrock Community of the future. Lets put it in a fairly idealized location that has 4 seasons weather, a decent size River flowing through the community, good Sunshine during the Summer and some surrounding Mountaoins or at least prety hilly terrain with rises up to say 1000′ above the lowest river level, which itself is say 300′ above sea level. Wheeling, WV or Chatanooga, TN strike me off the top of my head as good such locations.
You can supplement this though by using mechanical power to run Refrigeration Pumps, long as you can still scavenge them up and have some coolant you can pressurize then expand to drop its temperature. Long term though, such refrigeration pumps would be hard to maintain with these basic types of systems. Electrical energy you do produce in excess can also be used to hydrolyze water forming Hydrogen Gas, which you can then use your mechanically driven pumping systems to store in pressurized containers, again things like scavenger like Scuba Tanks or Helium Tanks etc. Now, we have covered most of the important mechanical uses of energy, refrigeration, etc but we still haven’t covered Transportation or Home Heating and Lighting. Heating shouldn’t be much of a problem, since you resolve most of these issues through Personal Insulation of clothing as well as Passive Solar arrangements, supplemented as necessary by burning small amounts of wood on your coldest subzero days. Such days however would mainly be Hibernation Days, where the most you might do is sit up in your sleeping bag and do some Knitting or Carving or chewing some hides to soften them up. For lighting, as long as you still have available some diode lights, you’ll have enough electricity to run a few of these, but mostly eventually you’ll have to make do with stuff like Candles and Lanterns which burn perhaps Vegetable Oils, Pine Tar or Animal Fat you collect up. Again though, in all seasons you’ll basically be sleeping during the Dark Hours and getting up at the Crack of Dawn to use the Lit portion of the day for activities that need light and seeing.
For Transportation, on the local scale its mostly Foot, perhaps you’ll be able to keep Bicycles working for a decent period of time. The Polymer Tires will eventually wear out though, so not sure what you might substitute for that. Perhaps some thick strips of tough animal hide might work. Horses, Buggies and Wagons are used mainly for taking whatever food you grow or hunt and harvest up, throwing it in the back of the wagon to bring back in from say a 5 mile radius around Bedrock. Canoes, Kayaks and low draft Sailboats can be used for longer distance travel and trade with other communities along the river, all the way down to wherever it finally meets the ocean, if its Navigable all along the way. In places where it is not, stretches of Rail track can be laid, since you haven’t lost the ability to take all the junck metal around and reform it into rail tracks. To more stuff along these rail tracks, you use a combination of all the Power systems previously described to operate Chain systems the rail cars attach to which slowly but constantly pull the cars along the rail. Of course, if you are generating up enough electricity, you also can run a Third Rail carrying power and have on board electric motors as well moving the cars along. Large Sailboats do the job of moving stuff up and down the coasts and between continents, as they did back in the colonial era. If well organized, perhaps also you have some very Large Hydro Plants and Wind Farms producing a LOT of power, where you can maintain complex industries producing even stuff like Computers, if you can get the necessary Ingredients to them. In this case, you might still even have Big Screen TVs to stay entertained in your Bedrock McMansion, lol.
Now, while this certainly is way more Primitive as a lifestyle goes than what we currently live, neither is it complete Stone Age either. It also to me seems completely sustainable on a Pay as You Go Energy basis. Your permaculture farming/food collection should not require high energy fertilizers, you just conserve and mulch and don’t take more out of the land then you put back each year. Seaweed, Fish bones etc pulled from the ocean can be brought back upstream each year as a source of fertilizer materials. The Ocean is of course an inexhaustible supply of all the minerals you need, and the various life forms that grow in the ocean concentrate them up for you. Even just harvesting up Algae Blooms would provide plenty of fertilizer. What would it take to Reverse Engineer up the Flintstone Paradigm? Well, first off obviously a fairly large Die Off since such a paradigm won’t support the Big Shities. Also, its doubtful you could move that many of the current residents of such Big Shities out to enough good Locations that could support them all, even well distributed. A big problem you have with this is of course the Waste aspect of any community, in the case of a River for instance too many communities with too dense a population living along the river will generally produce too much waste which flows into the river, thus poisoning the water downstream. However, good waste management in each community carefully taking all the waste produced, mulching it properly and exposing it to sunlight to kill bacteria can keep that problem to a minimum. Although Gaia probably cannot support 7B, if carefully built up on a sustainable level over centuries, I’d bet on 3B being possible globally. That won’t happen here though, we’ll have to undergo a vast undershoot before such a Better Tomorrow might be Reverse Engineered into existence. This is however a ROADMAP for what might be possible after TSHTF, and after the Wars and the Fascism are over and done with, and a few Lucky survivors in various locations around the world begin to work TOGETHER again to build a Better Tomorrow. Over time, I suspect most of the really good stuff we have can be in some sense reinvented or salvaged without it really being necessary to have huge amounts of fossil fuel enrgy to waste. The basic priciples are all there, the material is all there and always will be, at least until your location is covered in a 2 meter thick blanket of Ash when La Garita Caldera once again throws 5000 Cubic Kilometers of Ejecta up into the atmoshpere.
In the absence of those kind of ELEs though, its just a matter of Homo Sapiens becoming REALISTIC about Planetary Resources, how fast they are replenished and how to cooperate and work together to use them efficiently and conservatively. This IS possible in the long term, its just not very likely in the short term. For each of us Revos though, my best suggestion is to pick out a spot with the right set of resources, right climate conditions and currently small enough population that on a community level, you might beign to develop a SPWP of this sort for your community after TSHTF and as a community if you don’t do this, you’ll collapse to Stone Knives and Bear Skins. You cannot convince people to do this NOW of course, they won’t buy into it until all the systems they currently do depend on really do fail in their entirety. AFTER the Zero Point though, you’ll have a more receptive audience to the ideas, and then in your small comunity, it is up to YOU to make it so. You KNOW what is coming down the pipe. You KNOW what possible Solutions there are that are realistic and can be done on a Pay As You Go energy Basis. It is your RESPONSIBILITY if you survivie the Zero Point to bring these ideas in front of your community and inspire them to not GIVE UP. A Better Tomorrow IS out there, but we will have to work very hard to make it so. TOGETHER. RE
Hierarchy of Bugout Plans
Published March 25, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner
Originally Published in the The Burning Platform on February 19, 2011
A Guide to Prepping Up
There are a few writers out there like Simon Black and Doug Casey who pass out advice to the well-to-do on how to prep for the collapse, buying foreign Doomsteads, loading them with possessible Gold in the Basement Safe, etc. Most of us are not in the wealth bracket to be able to realistically engage in this form of self protection, but even if you are middle class in a Big Shitty, you still can plan here. I am going to go over a few of the things I have done to try to be ready that middle class people with some savings here in the FSofA can do, long as they still have some income or some savings. At least to one extent or another anyhow, if you have very limited resources, you might not be able to afford some of the more expensive items on the list, and/or have to pare down the amount of food supply you have stored up. The first thing to remember is that NO PLACE is a guaranteed safe zone, so you should always have a Bug Out Package ready. Your basic Bugout package is just what you can Carry With You. Say you live in Australia and a Cyclone is bearing down on your town. Or you live in a well equipped Doomstead in Idaho, but Wildfires are raging and threatening your Doomstead. You have a Car, but once you leave your house and head for somewhere to find shelter, once you get to the school/mall/county courthouse or whatever is set up for shelter, you will have to leave your car in the parking lot and just carry with you personal possessions into said shelter.
You may have loaded up the car with lots of stuff, but you are not going to be able to bring most of it into the shelter with you. As the Cyclone passes through, a Flash Flood hits the town, and your car with lots of good preps gets washed away to parts unknown. No matter how well prepped you are, you can always be divested of all your preps by natural causes like this or theft. Only the stuff you personally hold with you that you can you defend do you “own”, and then you always will have the possibility that you may have to give that up just to save your LIFE. Or try to keep the stuff, getting in a gun battle with Zombies or trying to hold onto your backpack and swim at the same time in a Flash Flood or Tsunami. However, before you run into such extreme problems, lets just look at what you bring with you into the Shelter if you are well prepped.
RE’s Top 10 Basic Needs Bugout Package:
set and extra socks and underwear. Second set of shoes/boots is good, but not essential. What you need varies with the climate you live in.
Clothing: The set you are wearing, a second
Pad. Sleeping on cement/wood floors is very uncomfortable without a pad. There are self inflators and closed cell foam options. I have both, but I think the closed cell foam is the better choice, I think it is
Sleeping Gear: A Sleeping Bag and a Sleeping
more robust. A pillow is somewhat optional. You can use extra clothing as a pillow. An inflatable pillow is a good helper, you wrap your clothes around the pillow and it is a big step up. A sleeping bag liner is good to have if you are stuck with extended time living this kind of existence. Silk ones are good because they are super comfortable and can be quickly washed and dried in a sink. Keeps your sleeping bag from getting too stinky.
anytime, anywhere which keeps a long time with no refrigeration. Beef or Salmon Jerky, Hard Salami, vacuum sealed Package Tuna (cans are a bit heavy and bulky) for protein and Nuts for calories. You can make very good calorie/protein bars yourself crushing up nuts and raisins and dried apples with shredded dry meat and binding it all together with a little bit of lard or shortening. Season to taste with McCormick Monterrey seasoning for Beef, Lemon Pepper for Dried Fish. I have about 50 of those, around 1000 cal each. 2 a day last me about a month. A Bottle of Multi-Vitamins. Peanuts are cheap, I have lots of other nuts though that are more expensive like shelled walnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts. Very calorie dense stuff, a couple of handfulls is enough energy for the day. Add the Protein and Vitamins, your nutrition is pretty good for the month. Long term, too much fat in the diet though, and insufficient roughage to cleanse the bowels.
No Cook Food: This is stuff you can eat
Saw, Fishing Pole, Line and Hooks, Rope, Swiss Army Knife, Multi-Tool Pliers, adjustable wrench, “Hobo” Eating Tool, Compass, GPS, Sextant, Local Maps, Personal Water Bottle and 5 Gallon foldable Water Bag, cooking pot, folding cooking grate, nesting airtight containers. Fire Starters, Magnesium is good. Hunting Tools, Traps and Compound Bow and Crossbow. The last 2 can work as Personal Protection (#7 on this list) also. They make no noise, and can knock down a Zombie at quite some distance, depending on how much you practice.
Tools & Utensils: Large Knife, Hand Axe, Bow
you are in a Family Unit seeking shelter Even inside a community shelter like a Mall if you have one of these if you set it up it affords you some additional privacy and security while sleeping. Dome tents which self support with no need for staking work great for this. About $50-200 at Walmart depending on Tent size.
Shelter: Personal Tent, a Tarp, Family Tent also if
vacuum sealed bags of rice and dry legumes if you are going longer than a couple of months. Between the No Cook and EZ Cook stuff, you can carry about one month’s worth. Add in the rice and beans in another bag, you can carry about 3-4 months worth of food long as you have a wheeled bag to put it in. If you are a real Food Prepper, also buy Heirloom Seeds to plant wherever you finally end up. No Monsanto GMO Hybrid seeds. I buy Carrot Seeds and Red Potato seeds every year from a local farmer up here who does real well with his produce at the Alaska State Fair. Heirloom seeds are available on the internet as well. Minimal cost, $50 will get you started and then you just have to collect seeds each year after you get the stuff growing.
EZ Cook Food: Mostly Freeze Dried Camping Foods all you have to do is add water to and boil. Also a few
Shotgun are good also, but minimum is the handgun. Night Vision Scope if you got extra cash. At the moment, you probably would have some problems bringing a whole lot of arms into a public shelter, but eventually it might be common. If you can afford them, I would add them to the list. You can always leave them in the trunk of the car and hope it doesn’t get washed away in a Flash Flood or stolen by Zombies. Main problem here is the Ammo, which weighs a LOT. The more different weapons you hold, the more different ammo you need, and this can quickly exceed your ability to carry with you. Minimum carry would be the handgun, two magazines if automatic and 100 extra rounds.
Personal Protection: A hand gun and ammo. An Assault Rifle, Sniper/Hunting Rifle and Scope and a
bank accounts in other currency for the average person. Even IF the Euro held value after a dollar collapse (EXTREMELY unlikely), the chances you would be able to access those accounts are slim and none. Minimum 3 month’s worth local currency at the current prices in your neighborhood if you can sequester that much. That is just Food Prices, not your Rent and other Bills. You won’t be paying those Be VERY sensitive to when you
Money: Local Currency in several denominations. Unlike Simon Black, I do NOT recommend holding foreign
think the paper will go entirely WORTHLESS, and at that time divest of all of it as fast as you can to buy whatever hard goods are available. Some Gold if you can afford it, personal Jewelry like Diamond Wedding Rings, etc. Some good barterable items like pint bottles of vodka, cigarettes, condoms, tampons and diapers also are worth carrying. I also recommend some REALLY classy Single Malt Scotch, like Glenlivet. A bottle of this stuff will trade well with whoever is IN POWER. It could buy you passage on a freighter outta town, even more than a Gold coin would, combinations are the best. “I’ll give you a bottle of Glenlivet, an Ounce of Gold dust I panned up, and a Carton of Marlboro for a spot on the boat OUT of this hell hole!” Now, even though an Ounce of Gold might be going for say $2K by then, its NOT going to buy Glenlivet, since none will be available anywhere in the neighborhood. So I will do better with this trade than somebody who offers 2 ounces of Gold, even at old values being worth more. Diversify your assets, trade smart. A liter bottle of Glenlivet goes around $100 around here right now. I have 10 of them. I’ll put up 1 bottle of Glenlivet against 1 Kruggerand in my neighborhood when TSHTF as being worth more in Barter.
For the most part, the entire Basic Needs Bugout Package can be carried in 3 bags, a large suitcase wheely bag, a large backpack and an Airline Overhead size wheely bag. Big Tents and tarps must be carried separately. The full Food Package requires a 4th Bag. Mine is a 30” Wheely Duffel. Price for the basic security package, about $5000 starting from NOTHING. However, this excludes the cost of the Laptop, the Guns & Ammo, the expensive stuff. Probably looking at $10K if you include all of that. You can supplement this basic package with other stuff. A small cooking stove run on propane Coleman Cannisters and a few fuel canisters is a good idea. A small 2000 Watt Generator (gas or propane powered) can be carried separately. However, these items add more weight and bulk to your “carry” package. IMHO, there is NO EXCUSE for someone who has this much money in the bank right now not to put together such a Bug Out Package for each member of his family. Obviously, every member does not need a Laptop or a Gun or Generator or their own personal Tent if they are children. You can probably load up each kid with enough personal stuff for maybe $1000 extra. The Wife should have her own Gun for sure. If you do not have a basic personal Bugout Package and you have this much money available right now for each member of your family, you are NEGLIGENT IMHO. The Basic Bugout Package is for the WORST CASE SCENARIO. It’s the one you need when there is a major event that forces you out of your home and on the Road, with no expectation you will be able to return to your home or job, or if you do it is no longer there. It could happen resulting from Natural causes like Earthquakes and Hurricanes, OR it could happen resulting from War (Civil or International) OR it could happen simply from Economic disturbance making it impossible to stay where you currently ARE. There are so many possibilities nowadays on the horizon for such a dislocation to occur that you have to view it as within reasonable likelihood and prepare for such an eventuality. It has happened to many people in history, and it is happening RIGHT NOW to many people also around the Globe. Do YOU want to be the Aussie who left his home with NOTHING when Yazi hit and came back to find it ALL GONE? The next installment of this series will go the next level up, prepping for mobile movement with some types of vehicles that can carry more than just what you can physically carry. This is the level most people currently living in Big Shitties can reasonably Prep for at moderate prices. It allows you to stay in the Big Shitty, keep your Job but still be prepared for the Fast Collapse scenario. For the most part, this level parallels the “Golden Corral” paradigm I wrote about a while back, more or less the life of an OTR trucker when pursued on land. Also possible to pursue this life on the water as a “Sea Gypsie” with a sailboat. I will write the next installment the next time the newz is thin to write on. Further suggestions on Basic Preps I might have overlooked in Final Stage Bugout Preps are welcome. Stay Safe out there folks, and prep up. The Big Show is Coming to a Theatre Near You. RE
CB Walkie Talkie with SSB channels. Rechargeable batteries in all. Your crank up light should also connect to charge your cell phone. Depending on the type of situation, the cell network may crash or be taken offline purposefully, but until then your communications probably will help. Rmember though, they also serve as GPS tracking units for TPTB.
Communications: Your Cell Phone, your Laptop, a Crank Up Emergency Radio, FRS Walkie Talkies,
a Plug In Charger. Power may come on intermittently, you can recharge batteries whenever it is on. One small Solar Panel (I have a 5 Watt one about the size of my Laptop, I can recharge the laptop battery slowly from it on sunny days. It doesn’t produce enough power to run the laptop in real time, but it can recharge the battery) My crank up light can also recharge my cell phone, about 1 min of talking for 5 min of cranking. 12V Power Inverter, minimum 70Watts, max 250 Watts. Good for getting A/C out of any functioning car. 25’ electric extension cord and power strip. A few long burning Candles.
Light Sources and Small Portable Energy: Crank Up Diode Lights, Rechargeble batteries and