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MAY 4th–28th mAY 2012
Praying for a Pony Riding the Rails on The Last Great Frontier Making Wine and Beer doomsteaddiner.org
Civilization – really?
Doomstead Diner February 2012 edition
Message from the team — monsta666
I am glad to announce the publication of the fourth edition of the Doomstead Diner webzine and am sorry for the long wait in releasing this issue. I do hope you will find the contents of the webzine enjoyable and you will continue to reading further editions of the Doomstead Diner webzine. I do plan on returning to my regular schedule of article releases and webzine Moderator of Doomstead publications and this delay was mainly because I Diner and founder of took a brief hiatus to work on a mini-money and Doomstead Diner webzine wealth series that I have written on the Diner blog. As that series is more or less completed I will focus on converting Diner articles into pdf format. To readers this means you should expect to see the Doomstead Diner webzine released in something faster than a monthly basis. If you should see me stalling then don’t hesitate to send me a pm to kick me into action. ;) In any case though there is an abundance of good articles in the Diner archives so I hope you will enjoy the articles I do dig up in the future. Since the content and archives is quite substantial I encourage other people and Diners to help me in my quest to catch up. I am willing to offer guidance to anyone who is unsure about how to go about this. I am also willing to fulfil requests to convert individual articles to pdf or flash format; just give me a shout by either emailing me on email@example.com or by pm via the Diner forums. This issue of Doomestead Diner webzine deals with a wide assortment of articles and so there should be something for everyone in this edition of the webzine. We kick off this edition with a thoughtful piece from admin Peter who raises the rarely asked question of whether civilization is really superior to un-civilised social environments. His main arguments that all civilizations are inherently unsustainable due to their basic fundamental property of a civilized society adapting its environment to suit its individual needs. It is an article I would definitely recommend readers to follow. After this piece RE discusses the local train network in one of the last frontiers of society that is Alaska, giving his take on how sustainable those rail tracks are and how the existing communities in this region will cope in a post-industrial environment. Long-term readers will be happy to know that our local OWS participant: Surly offers further updates on the OWS movement describing their basic ethos and goals. Also not to be missed is Surly’s message for Memorial Day about a long forgotten hero named Smedley Darlington Butler who left a message that was most profound. If those topics are bit too heavy then there are also more lighted hearted articles, namely RE’s views on the blogosphere; its shortcomings and the various spins plus censorship issues not to mention general hypocrisy that prevails with some of the criticism made on mainstream society. All these issues will be further elaborated in the June edition of the webzine with the classic Gureilla Warfare article (be sure to see that one!) Last but certainly not least we have a new writer; Jb who talks about what is quite honestly the most important matter in Doom blogosphere; that is the creation of beer! You can’t prep properly if you haven’t made your alcohol provisions! monsta666 Editor
May 2012 - Issue 04 www.doomsteaddiner.org
Writers: Peter, RE, Surly, Jb, monsta666 Editors: monsta666 Graphical design: monsta666 Pictures: Surly, RE, monsta666 Affiliates: Doomstead Diner Facebook, Foxstead operation and SUN project
Doomstead Diner is a non-profit webzine that is published on a monthly basis. The Doomstead Diner is a fully independent webzine publication, and although affiliated with the Foxstead operation are under no influence from them. The views expressed in this webzine are entirely those of the authors and these authors do not currently trade stock or bonds in the respective markets. We are not investors and this magazine does not offer investment advice! We strive to provide impartial reviews and analysis but should you find any errors please contact us by visiting the Doomstead Diner forums! All characters and pictures shown in this magazine remain the copyright and property of their respective owners. All images in this publication are used solely to promote the article in question and are used under fair use policy.
PAGE PAGE 05 57 FEATURES
CIVILIZATION — REALLY? Peter challenges one of the fundamental assumptions that a civilized society is superior to un-civilized society. page 05 RIDING THE RAILS ON THE LAST GREAT FRONTIER RE gives the low-down in how the rail system is likely to fair in Alaska; one of the last great frontiers. page 17
Other articles in this edition of the Doomstead Diner
PRAYING FOR A PONY pages 23 MONEY ARTICLES
Surly gives the latest lowdown on the OWS movement explaining the basic goals and ethos of this group.
MAKING WINE AND BEER Jb explains what is needed to make wine and beer while emphasising how useful this skill will be in a post-industrial society! page 61 NOSTALGIA FOR A PAST THAT NEVER WAS A short piece that highlights the basic fallacy of looking at the past with rosetinted glasses page 51
In this three part series RE explains how the bankers have gone all in; the implications of this in terms of hyperinflation, deflation and then goes on to explain the theory of cascade failure.
page 31,35 and 39
In this two part series RE gives his view about the typical attitudes held by various boards and bloggers.
PINKY AND THE BRAIN TAKE OVER THE WORLD
Surly writes about long forgotten hero, Smedley Darlington and how modern society is paying the price for not heeding his advice. page 49
page 41 and 45 MEMORIAL DAY
RE explains how the northern European states came to power utilising the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels and debt as the two main conduits of control.
Civilization – really?
Published May 4, 2012 | By Peter
Un-civilized behavior is entities living by adapting their own [internal] characteristics ‘individually’ in order to survive within the natural environment.
Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner A Civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society or culture group characterized by dependence upon agriculture, long-distance trade, state form of government, occupational specialization, population, and class stratification. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization The above definition is a common one for civilizations. The use of the term is restricted to referring to humans. This limitation suggests a lower level description of “civilization” which raises some fundamental questions about the state of human consciousness. Civilization: A group of living entities cooperating to survive by adapting the [external] environment to conform with their needs on a large scale as a group.
There can be large colonies of similar sentiences that are not civilizations because they do not re-organize their environment to suit themselves [cooperatively on a large scale].
First… An individual human can be either civilized…
Secondly… are the following to be considered “un-civilized” but sentient?
The common definition assumes that “civilized” is a superior way of life but the lower level one allows us to consider the viability of each way of life. (civilized or not) As with anything else there are subtle nuances between these two extremes of lifestyle but simplifying the situation to black and white makes a comparison easier to understand. There is also a deeper philosophical question embedded in such a comparison which should be considered. Is a “civilized” sentience superior to [of greater value than] a non-civilized one? There are 2 levels to consider.
CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/personal/reading/civilization.html By Sigmund Freud. Translated from the German by James Stranchey. 92 pages. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1961. ISBN # 0-393-30158. Comments of Bob Corbett April 2001 After about 30 years of time lapsed, I have returned to re-read Sigmund Freud’s 1930 classic Civilization and Its Discontents. I found it much more intriguing and persuasive than I did before. Perhaps I was simply too young in my own intellectual development to appreciate some of the negativity concerning human existence which Freud forces us to face. Whatever the cause of my less than memorable first read, I am delighted that I spent last week with this work and hope to return to a few other Freud classics to see if they challenge me as strongly as this one did. I have been delving into his much earlier work, The Interpretation of Dreams, but haven’t yet sat down to read it systematically cover to cover with copious note taking as I did with the Civilization work. The two works actually make a great pair to examine together. The Interpretation focuses on the inner life and development of the individual while Civilization turns away from the individual to the development of the various cultures of the world and eventually points toward the universal world which we seem today to be moving more and more toward. After a segue in which Freud examines (and rejects) the possibility of some “oceanic” sensibility, and in which he declares strongly that human existence has no objective and independent meaning other than what humans choose to give it, Freud turns to the main question of the book: Is civilization a benefit or harm to human beings? Following a long and intensive inquiry into fascinating aspects of this question Freud will not come to a conclusion. He simply leaves us with greater clarity about the question and a clear insight into his over-arching theory of psycho-analysis. The origins of civilization are in the individual. Each of us is born into a threatening world and we seek to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Thus, on Freud’s view, the birth of civilization is rooted in egoism — each of us striving in an often hostile world, to create the greatest amount of personal happiness and avoid pain as best we can. In order to do this we ban together with other humans to form civilization, which is much more what most of us today would regard as cultures — ways of living in close connection to other people. Thomas Hobbes certainly makes such an argument in his LEVIATHAN, and social contract theorists to this day take up the same theme. However, their argument is to say that this union with others is in our rational interest, thus is some sort of moral duty. Freud’s perspective is psychological, not philosophical and moral. He is less interested in what we should do than what we do in fact do, though he framed the questions as to whether or not we should regard civilization as a benefit or harm.
This “should” however, is less a moral should than an investigation to see if this course of action is likely to lead to more or less happiness. Freud seems not to believe that his choice of happiness — the avoidance of pain and the achievement of pleasure — is a value. Rather, this need is implanted in us by nature in the deepest instincts with which we have evolved. As Freud sees the evolutionary development of human beings, early people strove to survive in a difficult and harsh world where there were three distinct sources of danger: * danger that the external world posed and in which we had to carve our survival. This would include not only such things as floods, storms and earthquakes, but many other factors such as extreme cold, extreme heat, the danger of other non-living creatures, diseases, and such items. * danger that came from our weak bodies that allowed us to get sick and always, eventually, to die. * danger that came from other human beings. This book is devoted to this third category alone. Freud picks up human being at a much later time in evolutionary development when in fact the first two problems have been faced and incredible progress has been made precisely because human being has entered into civilization. Civilization is a relationship among individuals in which individuals give up certain aspects of their own ego interests to join with other people in creating social institutions which address the first two dangers, and to some extent the third as well. However, this dependence-creating union carries new dangers of its own, since the social structures of civilization demand many limits on the individual which clash with fundamental and very deep evolutionary instincts. Thus the question of the book arises: After all, and despite all the gains civilization has made in protecting us from the dangers of the world and the weakness of our own bodies, do the demands of civilization result in a net loss of happiness for the individual? Does what the individual gives up to civilization in order to get its benefits outweigh the benefits themselves? Freud investigates this question since it is being asserted by contemporary thinkers that civilization has this negative feature and Freud believes his psycho-analytic method can offer different and newer insights into assessing the positive and negative aspects of civilization. Freud introduces what he calls a “digression” in section IV (4th of 8 sections). Actually this digression is the ground of his entire analysis of civilization and its failures and possibilities. The digression is on the nature of love and happiness and what makes it fail. Humans are fundamentally seeking happiness, following a profound, deep, ancient and irresistible instinct. Happiness is first and foremost survival and the avoidance of pain and then the pursuit of pleasure. However, two central instincts are active in humans above all others — the desire to be loved (quite different from the desire to love) and a strong tendency toward aggression in pursuit of these ends. Back from this digression he argues that our first strong instinct is to join with one single other of the opposite sex in a relationship that is many faceted, providing some security, the possibility of being loved, and the possibility of having children (both to contribute to the economy of the family and the possibility of extending the human race). This two-person unit quite naturally becomes a family, and finally, in an act of aggression, bands of brothers join together to resist the tyranny of the father and the larger community is on its way.
Thus the community grows and each of us becomes deeply dependant upon it at many levels. However, in order to live together in community each of us is forced to deny some of the basic and fundamental instincts of being loved, having security and being able to act upon our aggressive desires. What happens is that in order to make this change we unconsciously shift the nature of these desires, essentially lying to ourselves at some very deep level. This is done by a process of sublimation, or convincing ourselves that our desires are other than they are: Instead of wanting to be loved, we come to believe we want to love. First the beloved, and then the family and eventually all of human kind. In this love of the other we may also sublimate our aggression as a threat to the community and as acts which are inconsistent with our civilized love. And thus, in the safety for all that comes with civilization the social form of organization allows various gains to be made against the major enemies of happiness: * against the power and harshness of the external world. We do this by creating housing, agriculture, dams, clothing and so on. * against the weakness of our bodies — at least as a delaying tactic and in order to live in health. We do this, of course, by our practices of healing. * against the dangers from one another by the codes of civilization. But it is in this latter move that the danger comes. How much can human being bear to give up of these fundamental instincts? What happens if the sublimation process becomes too oppressive to these inner forces of instinct? Then we run into serious person problems and problems with civilization. The very question of the book is: is civilization demanding too much of us? Are we getting relief from some of the dangers faced by human beings only to expose ourselves to even greater dangers? Where do these dangers come from? Ironically, the very worst (most aggressive) form for most of us is not the punishing power of civilization — which certainly is extremely strong, but rather, from our own super-ego, a powerful censor who is ourselves at some level. Freud argues that a strong piece of evidence that our alliance to the power of the culture (civilization) is only minimally deep is the wide spread tendency of people to be able to violate cultural rules if they are quite sure they will not in any way be caught or punished. This shows that at least in regard to those particular rules, the belief in the need of them is not very deep and not one’s own. However, the super-ego is in a privileged position. It is us, thus we cannot hide our actions from it in the same way. Since the super-ego internalizes most of society’s rules it can punish us with one of the strongest punishments possible: GUILT. Guilt is the super-ego’s calling our attention to our own failure to live up to what we have come to know (under the pressure and bombarding propaganda of the culture) as objective good. We then are evil or sinful. This super-ego is the harshest (and for Freud) most aggressive player in this whole story, and it is the self. Freud is quite vague and puzzled, even contradictory about what this all means. He is convinced that civilization asks much too much, demands rules it does not need for any reasonable sense of security. He doesn’t give many concrete examples but he does cite the typical cultural demands of: * heterosexuality* monogamy* sanctioned unions
He generally asserts that clearly civilization demands too much and this excess is likely to constitute a great deal of unhappiness in many people living in it. But, when all is said and done — would it be better for humans to leave civilization and return to some pre-social state of nature. Probably not suspects Freud. However, neither is it at all likely that we will find a perfect balance and create a society where all will live in perfect harmony. No. This conflict between the individual’s deepest instincts and the structures of any social system of civilization that we are likely to encounter will never be fully resolved. Civilization will attempt to oppress the individual into its needs and the individual will never have full happiness because of this. Some will have much more unhappiness than others, but civilization is by its fundamental nature incompatible at some levels with the individuals needs. This is the basic argument. The book has much much more in it. Many of the side arguments are simply fascinating. To deal with each of them would make this set of comments many times the size of the exposition of the main line of argument. I won’t do this here. I do, however, want to call attention to one constant theme since it is of special interest to me and in radical conflict with much of contemporary ethics. Freud believes that one of the worst pieces of advice that society gives is to love all: Love your brother as you love yourself. Freud argues that this is not only contrary to our deepest instinct of aggression, but that it is bad practical advice. This instinct is so strong, he argues, that humans are quite limited in just how much they can control it without doing significant personal damage to their own psyches and having this fact express itself in neuroses. In an argument which would shock and repel many today in the face of all the many ethnic conflicts in the world, Freud argues that the hostility that smaller cultures have against those closest to them geographically are basically good things. They allow an outlet for some of our aggression making us more able to practice more of the benefits of civilization within our own culture. And, he argues, the harm done by these wars and hostilities are actually quite small in the larger scale of this evolutionary battle for the nature of the human being. I would imagine he would include that the economic warfare of the capitalist classes against each other and the workers (as well as the planet’s ecosphere itself) would well fit into this sort of relatively useful aggression. While I cannot champion the full burden of this view, I am extremely attracted to his notion that the attempt to act with any serious sense of love or concern for all humans is not a tenable view. Freud bitterly attacks “higher principle” ethics (I can’t imagine why he allows it this seeming honorific of “higher,” since he argues it is misguided in the extreme) for being utopian and paying little attention to the psychological reality of human being. It is one thing to argue for the “ought” that stretches the human into civilization and creates some of these tensions which he discusses and which I analyzed above. It is quite another to push the utopian ought far beyond this in areas where there is virtually no hope at all of achieving the end, but puts the individual into the quite unhealthy and undesirable position of having the super-ego attempting to enforce a psychologically unenforceable rule. I tried to address this problem in the paper I wrote in 1995 on MORAL OBLIGATIONS TO DISTANT OTHERS. I had this distinction in mind when I argued that the moral principle that the is does not imply the ought was intended only in a logical sense by the philosophers, but that it needed some notion of a psychological or existential sense as well. I’ve been trying to figure out how to make that case better than I did at that time and I think Freud’s views will be useful in working on that in the future. Sigmund Freud produced a phenomenal book in his look at the relationship between the individual and the society. I wouldn’t presume to attack him here. Since his time even the strongest proponents of his work have modified a few of the principles of psycho-analysis which he here embraces and those may have some impact on what a modern version of this thesis would look like. On the other hand, the pressures toward conformity and especially the pressures toward globalization and universality have intensified a great deal the pressures on the individual from the demon of civilization, exacerbating the difficulties of the individual to carve out enough space for him or herself. I think Freud’s reflection in the 1930s would serve us quite well at this beginning of the 21st century.
This raises the questions… Can there be sentience without “civilization”? Our EGO suggests to us that our ‘civilized’ sentience is of higher value than their ‘un-civilized’ sentience but is that true? Carroll Quigley’s “Tragedy and Hope” clearly demonstrates the unsustainable nature of “human civilization” . Within the history he documents every complex large scale human civilization has collapsed because of similar self destructive tendencies. These include… Destruction of required environment through unsustainable expansion.
Decadence from overindulgence.
All the above civilized destructive tendencies relate to the external manipulation of the environment in order to make their environment compatible with the desires of ‘civilized’ humans. Some un-civilized humans…
Conflicts over allocation of resources.
and most non-human sentiences…
Have learned to adapt themselves to their environment rather than to adapt their environment to themselves i.e birds grew wings, fish grew fins, cactus learned to conserve water, and bushmen learned to forage. Most un-civilized sentiences (including the bushmen) have lasted far longer than any complex large scale “civilized” human society.
Is it time for ‘civilized’ humans to consider other options? www.doomsteaddiner.org 16
Published May 22, 2012 | By RE
Riding the Rails on The Last Great Frontier
Discuss this article at the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner As we come to the close of the Age of Oil and the automobile, the Older Technology of the Railroads is often held up as a possible solution, at least in the medium term. Jimmy Kuntsler in particular is a fan of this idea. In this article, I’m going to look at the many variables involved with a conversion back to Rail technology as an intermediate level solution to the more general collapse of other Transport Technologies more recently evolved, namely Air and Truck. Today I took a trip with my students on the Alaska Railroad which runs a right of way from Seward all the way up to Fairbanks. We just did a small part of the trip, from Wasilla to Talkeetna. This right of way was carved out beginning in 1903, and has gone through a succession of Bankruptcies, and currently is Goobermint Owned by the State of Alaska, which bought it from Da Federal Goobermint in 1985, which bought it out of Private ownership in 1967, after the 1964 Earthquake basically trashed the Anchorage Hub.
From Wikipedia History
An Alaska Railroad steam locomotive crossing the Tanana River on the ice at Nenana just prior to completion of the railroad in 1923. An Alaska Railroad passenger train rolling between Anchorage, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. An Alaska Railroad EMD SD70MAC locomotive of Fairbanks. President Taft authorized a commission to survey a route in 1912.The line would be more than 470 miles long and provide an all-weather route to the interior. In 1914, the government bought the Alaska Northern Railroad and moved its headquarters to “Ship Creek,” later called Anchorage. The government began to extend the rail line northward. A 1915 photograph of the railroad under construction. In 1917, the TananaValley Railroad in Fairbanks was heading into bankruptcy. It owned a small 45-mile (72 km) 3 ft (914 mm) (narrow-gauge) line that serviced the towns of Fairbanks and the mining communities in the area as well as the boat docks on the Tanana River near Fairbanks.The government bought the Tanana Valley Railroad, principally for its terminal facilities.The government extended the south portion of the track to Nenana and later converted the extension to standard gauge. In 1923 they built the 700-foot (213 m) Mears Memorial Bridge across the Tanana River at Nenana.This was the final link in the Alaska Railroad and at the time, was the second longest single-span steel railroad bridge in the country. U. S. PresidentWarren G. Harding drove the golden spike that completed the railroad on July 15, 1923, on the north side of the bridge.The railroad was part of the US Department of the Interior. The railroad was greatly affected by the Good Friday Earthquake which struck southern Alaska in 1964.The yard and trackage around Seward buckled and the trackage along Turnagain Arm was damaged by floodwaters and landslides. It took several months to restore full service along the line. In 1967, the railroad was transferred to the Federal Railroad Administration, an agency within the newly created US Department of Transportation. In 1985, the state of Alaska bought the railroad from the U.S. government for $22.3 million, based on a valuation determined by the US Railway Association.The state immediately invested over $70 million on improvements and repairs that made up for years of deferred maintenance.The purchase agreement prohibits the Alaska Railroad from paying dividends or otherwise returning capital to the state of Alaska (unlike the other Alaska quasientities: Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA).
pulling into Denali Station.
In 1903 a company called the Alaska Central Railroad began to build a rail line beginning at Seward, near the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, northward.The company built 51 miles (82 km) of track by 1909 and went into receivership.This route carried passengers, freight and mail to the upper Turnagain Arm. From there, goods were taken by boat at high tide, and by dog team or pack train to Eklutna and the Matanuska-SusitnaValley. In 1909, another company, the Alaska Northern Railroad Company, bought the rail line and extended it another 21 miles (34 km) northward. From the new end, goods were floated down the Turnagain Arm in small boats.The Alaska Northern Railroad went into receivership in 1914. About this time, the United States government was planning a railroad route from Seward to the interior town
If you look at the Map of the AK Railroad and what part of the State it actually covers, it is quite small really. It just goes around 470 miles in a REALLY big patch of land. Despite the great WEALTH of minerals in Alaska which even this short track of rail can transport, it STILL is not a really profitable venture overall, and less profitable all the time as the Energy to run it becomes ever more expensive. Maintenance costs each year are horrendous, because the freeze-thaw cycle plays havoc with the tracks, and really the whole railroad track itself can only be used for maybe 6 months of the year. Nevertheless, despite the fact it isn’t really Profitable and never has been, it is still LESS energy and materials consumptive than the road system is, as limited ALSO as this is up here in Alaska. Laying right of way for even a 2 Lane road is
quadruple what a Rail Track takes, and then it all has to be graded and paved over. A Rail Track only takes Gravel, some wood ties, thin metal rails and spikes to hold them in place. It is way simpler to build and less energy consumptive than Roadways are to build. On the trip up, the conductor who has been riding this Railway for some 40 years pitched out stories along the way over the Intercom. He throws out Newspapers along the way to people who have cabins and even McMansions along the route that are pretty much inaccessible by roads. A bit of an anachronism now since just about for the whole route I was able to access 4G Wireless Internet so all those cabins also can access the net this way. Anyhow, for the most part even in the fairly populated stretch between Wasilla and Talkeetna, this railroad line is the ONLY tie to “civilization” these folks have on a daily basis, and only for about half the year. Rest of the
time, they are pretty much cut off, and most of them will bring in their Supplies during the summer months by a variety of Oil powered means, 4 wheelers and Float Planes mostly since there are lakes all over the place to land a float plane on. Once the fuel is no longer available for that transport, it seems unlikely to me that just the Railroad can supply these folks, though maybe it can with some adjustments. What the railroad is mainly operating on now is the Tourist Trade, of which we were a small local part. For each of us, it cost $70 to take the railroad all of about 50 miles of its total route, a 1.5 hour trip overall roughly. Basically not a whole lot different length of travel than you would take on the LIRR Commuter Train if you live middle of Long Island. That was for a ONE WAY trip, we took a Schoolbus back.
Obviously, without the Tourist Trade and people paying these exorbitant prices for the chance to look out the windows at the great beauty of the Last Great Frontier, making this Railroad run at a profit is probably impossible, at least under current Global monetary parameters anyhow. I do suspect the Alaska Railroad will last longer than the Road system will though. It can still be powered by Coal and Steam, in fact there is a plan in the works I believe to bring a Steam Powered Engine back on the tracks to pull a Tourist Train on this line. Right now though, all the Trains both for Tourists and for Coal from the Healy Mine are pulled by Diesel-Electric Locomotives. Impressive Machines they are also. It may be possible to keep these behemoths running for a while since there still is some Oil left on the Slope and perhaps some more also in ANWR, though without a huge infrastructure project to build pipelines into ANWR, even if the Oil is there getting it OUT will be close to impossible. If the Oil can be retrieved, there is also a small Refinery around Fairbanks which can supply the railroad with Diesel. But of course also, there are all the Maintenance issues with these Locomotives, and I am not sure the local Foundries and metal shops are capable of doing a lot more than superficial repairs right now. The issues with the climate and so forth are not as extreme with the rail system down in the Lower 48, but the system is of course also much larger. Trying to maintain all this track and all the cars to pull MOSTLY bulk commodities will be extremely difficult, and getting either Diesel or Coal even to these trains will also become increasingly more expensive and difficult. It may last longer than the Carz and Trucks, but it still always is and was a system that was subsidized by Cheap Energy, and in fact NEVER made a REAL Profit at anytime in its existence, even right at the beginning. Building this system created a HUGE overhang of Debt, and Railroad Companies have been going Bust perpetually since the first Transcontinental Railroad was built. In the end, the remaining Railroad system that exists on a Passenger Level is Goobermint Owned pretty much exclusively now. Private Entrepreneurs don’t buy passenger railroads. Even buying Commodity Shipping Railroads is a dicey proposition, ask Warren Buffet about that one with Burlington-Northern. Regardless of ABSOLUTE profitability in Railroads though, on a Societal level with so many people in so many places we still do need some means to move goods to them, and Railroads can do this way better than Trucks and Planes can, to be sure. Fact is, that like large Ships, Locomotives can be designed to run on Bunker Fuel, which is basically Unrefined Oil. Cars and Trucks and Planes can never run on Bunker Fuel. Because of the SCALE of a Locomotive, it can burn virtually anything, and in fact could even be Nuke Powered. Not that I support that idea, I am just saying it is way more flexible in it’s energy sourcing than the later transport schemes are. As I walked around Talkeetna, it was very pleasant. Even had its own Brewery! For the exceedingly small population that lives in Talkeetna (even less than where I live in the lower Mat-Su Valley), I think they probably can be self sufficient in most things and need little from the outside world to be delivered to them by train, even if the train only came
through once a month or so during the summer months. There IS plenty of energy to run trains along this 470 mile track for a long time to come, if you use Bunker fuel and the Coal in the Healy Mines to run Steam driven turbines instead of Diesel-Electric. It won’t last FOREVER, but it can provide a transitional mechanism for moving the commodities and trade goods as necessary between communities. NOT a People Mover. Like the Carz, trains are a big waste of energy to move Peoples around, and peoples do not NEED to move around so much over such great distances. Perhaps it should be as it once was, a Once in Lifetime thing to make a Great Journey out beyond your Little Town, and that which only a few Adventurous Souls would undertake at all to begin with. WHY do you really need to leave the Little Town of Talkeetna anyhow? Or the Little Town of Anatevka for that matter either? Unfortunately of course, the Little Town of Talkeetna will suffer here quite soon as the Tourist Trade drops off the Map, and while overall I think it could be Self-Sufficient, MOST of the people currently living there are not READY for such a life yet. So what is most likely to occur is that Talkeetna will in fact DEPOPULATE,and the Railroad if it manages to continue onward will stop there No More. Many Cabins are going Empty now as the economics spin downward. Talkeetna and places like it though, while they will not be comfortable or all that pleasant once this spin down really gets rolling are WAY better places to be than the Big Shities. Truly, this is the LAST GREAT FRONTIER. In my heart, I believe that anyone who will make it through the Zero Point will be living in places like this, at the far edge of industrial civilization bordering on the full primitive. I am GLAD I am here now, I am GLAD the course of my life brought me to this wonderful place where there remains some semblance of the purity that once existed on this Planet. So much is GONE now, and it will not be repaired in even the lifetimes of our Grandchildren in the places Industrialization and Capitalism have already destroyed it. Not gone here though, not completely, not YET on the LAST GREAT FRONTIER. RE
Originally published May 17, 2012 | By Surly Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner This essay is going to seem like I’m going around my ass to get to my elbow. I probably am. Bear with me. A friend of mine, a remarkable musician and a local pastor, tells the story of a friend’s wife who has been recently diagnosed with ALS. His friend’s initial instinct was to pray for peace and that God’s will be done… However, after a few weeks, he decided that it seemed reasonable that he reach further and that he should “pray for a pony.” When he was a boy, this friend never prayed for what he really wanted (a pony) and instead always asked God to provide him with a lesser gift. Why in the world would he not pray for his wife’s complete healing? So I will join my friend, as he “prays for a pony” (for complete healing). My pastor friend goes on to encourage us to pray for ponies in your own lives. So why not a pony? This weekend people from across Virginia will converge on Roanoke for a statewide General Assembly. I will be attending along with some sizeable number of local Occupiers. An ambitious agenda is planned. I read the article RE crossposted from The Independent, with some interest, as it seems to herald the end or fatal fracturing of Occupy, and its failure to enact an electoral agenda quick enough for some. Perhaps disappointment with Occupy is inevitable, since no one body or movement can be all things to all people. In our little corner of the world, though, we have gone at this issue a little differently. Like Many Occupy movements, we too have had our share of Occudrama, bitter infighting, factionalism, political divisions, and recently, reconstitution. Here’s a brief description of where we have been.
Praying for a Pony
Since its inception in late September, 2011, Occupy Norfolk has gone through many changes. After an initial start at Harbor Park, where the local minor league baseball team plays, our group obtained a permit to camp in Commercial Park in downtown Norfolk, in the very shadow of the financial buildings that dominate Norfolk’s skyline. For the brief period of time in which the camp was in operation, it was a glorious thing–a practical example of how the workers themselves could build a functional community. It was the gathering place for workgroup meetings, nightly GA’s, communal meals, and maintained the presence of 35 to 40 fulltime Occupiers. A groundswell of support drove the first iteration of our Facebook page to attract over 4000 adherents. The encampment was broken up by local police in November of 2011, at the same time when encampments were being rousted all around the country, presumably at the direction the Department of Homeland Security. At that point, the previously peaceful and collegial relationships with the local police took a sinister turn. Our group has spent a great deal of time preparing for and successfully fighting charges ranging from obstruction of justice, to trespassing to defacing a monument. The fact that our legal team has had most of these charges dismissed or reduced testifies to the fact that the charges were overdrawn and frivolous. In the period after the encampment we faced challenges. Many of the original people drawn to this movement found themselves disaffected after the camp was broken up. Meeting places changed. communication was uneven. Personality conflicts ensued. Certain people disrupted meetings, or even sabotaged local events. We too have had issues with those who urged more disruptive and confrontational direct action. During the winter months, in the midst of standing up some demonstrations, we went through a period of planning and soul-searching. We held several brainstorming meetings and determined priorities. The group determined that the number one priority was organization. Toward that end, an organizational task force developed and made a proposal for a Spokes Council, based on models already in use in different occupations. (This, in fact, was one of the projects I spent a significant amount of time and effort on during the winter and spring.) This was consented and approved by our general assembly and has very recently been put into place. Looking forward: As Occupy Norfolk looks forward, we plan to cooperate and share to the fullest extent possible with other local occupations, including Occupy Portsmouth, Occupy Virginia Beach, and the newly formed Occupy the Peninsula. It should also be noted that a local chapter of “Occupy the Hood” is also active in the Norfolk area, and also enjoys our support. We recently held a regional GA at the home of one of our members to plan a Mayday event. Even though we only had about four days to plan it, that event went well. We plan to continue to meet in this fashion one weekend a month to facilitate inter-occupy cooperation and planning for targeted events. In his new book, Noam Chomsky observes that “Occupy is the first major public response to thirty years of class war.” I would suggest that rumors of the death of Occupy are wishful thinking on the part of the servants of the one per cent crowd. It’s not about campsites, so much as education, inspiration direct action to occupying the conscience of a nation.
As Sinclair Lewis once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his living depends upon him not understanding it.” Probably the greatest single obstacle that Occupy Norfolk faces is to get our views heard in an area where so many people are either active duty military or directly employed by defense contractors and support industries. We also face a media environment in which, as regards Occupy, the story is already written and the reporters go out to gather the details to complete the latest instalment of the prevailing narrative. Nobody ever said it would be easy. Our core group remains active and committed to the cause of making sure that our children and grandchildren will come of age in an America that is recognizable and lawful. *** In Occupy, Chomsky points out that one of the movement’s greatest successes has been simply to put the inequalities of everyday life on the national agenda, influencing reporting, public perception and language itself. Citing a recent Pew Research Center report on public perceptions of class conflict within the United States, Chomsky notes that inequalities in the country “have risen to historically unprecedented heights.” The Pew study finds that about two-thirds of the U.S. population now believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor — an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009. The language, if not the story, is changing.
“People seem to know about May Day everywhere, except where it began, here in the United States of America,” Chomsky says “That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning... Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution.”
One of the things we have learned throughout this process is that, even though Occupy is “leaderless” group, it is the doers of group where the natural leaders emerge. Unfortunately there is a temptation for these people to take on too much, and burnout as a result. Part of the reason for our adoption of the spokes council model was to avoid burnout. Occupy Norfolk’s primary issues on a National, Statewide and Local Level: • Move to Amend (workgroup). • Privatization and Tolls between Norfolk and Portsmouth. • War on Women in Virginia. • Fight against the move to lift bans on uranium mining in Virginia. • Community gardening/creating sustainable environments. • Resisting offshore drilling off Virginia shorelines. • Working together with other activist groups to create “critical mass.”
Banner from Occupy Norfolk action, May day 2012
Occupy in NYC
None of this should be surprising. As Robert Parry notes the accession of right wing media in a recent article in Consortium News, posted by me somewhere in the bowels of the DD Forum. Parry observes that in the wake of Nixon’s resignation in disgrace, the watchdog press had demonstrated that it could do its job, and that the resilient American republic could still correct itself. Yet “after Nixon’s resignation, his embittered allies didn’t simply run up the white flag. They got to work ensuring that they would never experience “another Watergate.” And it wasn’t just a struggle that pitted the press against the polls. “You could say that much of the U.S. Establishment had been unnerved by the surge of democracy that had arisen to challenge long-standing traditions and injustices — the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the environmental movement, the anti-war movement. There also were cultural upheavals, with the hippies and the drug culture. It was an unsettling time for the rich white men who held most of the levers of power. “These folks were not about to cede power easily. They made adjustments, yes; they gave some ground. But many were determined to fight back and some had experience in defusing and dismantling social movements around the world. Indeed, the CIA’s decades of political and media manipulation in the Third World and even Europe gave Nixon’s allies a playbook for how to neutralize opponents and steer a population here at home. . .
“And what we saw in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States was something like the behavior of an embattled oligarchy. Nixon’s embittered allies and the Right behaved as if they were following a CIA script. They built fronts; they took over and opened new media outlets; they spread propaganda; they discredited people who got in the way; ultimately, they consolidated power; they changed laws in their favor; and – over the course of several decades – they made themselves even richer, indeed a lot richer, and that, in turn, has translated into even more power.” A turn of events which has led members of four generations into the streets in protest to the injustice and inequality of three decades of class war. It is in this context that we travel to meet with our peers across the state, and that we also turn our gaze to matters closer to home. Howard Zinn wrote, “Where progress has been made, wherever any kind of injustice has been overturned, it’s been because people acted as citizens, and not as politicians. They didn’t just moan. They worked, they acted, they organized, they rioted if necessary to bring their situation to the attention of people in power. And that’s what we have to do today. Some people might say, ‘Well, what do you expect?’ “And the answer is that we expect a lot. People say, ‘What, are you a dreamer? And the answer is yes, we’re dreamers. We want it all.” *** I am reminded of Thom Hartmann’s “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, ” which is one of passionate, rigorously argued and thoroughly researched books I’ve ever read. Hartmann argues that the only lasting solution to the various self-created environmental crises we face is to relearn the lessons of our ancient ancestors — who lived sustainably for thousands of generations. This would summon us to behold the world in a way both ancient and new, at least to us. We lack the ears to hear the voice of all life, the eyes to see the obvious, the simplicity to strip away the complications, the denials, the excuses. At some moment we discover that we, personally, hold the power of personal and planetary transformation. Hartmann also argues that we “need new stories,” a new narrative, to replace those that inform our “wetiko,” or cannibal culture in which we eat everything in sight, and waste the rest. Some are living that dream right now. When I began with Occupy, I thought that what would make a difference was masses of people on the streets, a la the collapse of the Berlin Wall or Moscow in 1991. Others provide the example that there is a different way. When Occupiers chant,”We are unstoppable/another world is possible,” that can also mean that the power to change can extend beyond the streets and into once-abandoned urban lots. If nothing but changing our way of seeing and understanding the world can produce real, meaningful, and lasting change, which will lead us to begin to control our populations, save our forests, recreate community, and reduce our wasteful consumption, then Deb Lassiter is one such person. Deb has created the 41st St. Guerilla Peace Garden near her home in Norfolk. This is from her invitation to the dedication event: “My neighborhood, Highland Park near ODU, has suffered from much violence, neglect & apathy including the
tragic death of ODU student Christopher Cummings less than a block away on 6/11/11. The next day in frustration I began the peace sign near the sidewalk that was the genesis of the 41st St. guerilla peace garden. Built on neglected property beside my house (a former neighborhood crack house) the land has gone from a trash dump to a garden producing strawberries, vegetables, flowers and friendship, as well as inspiring peace and cooperation among neighborhood residents. With the addition of a brick pizza/bread oven built entirely with donated, reclaimed materials, we hope to be able to share bread with those that need it. On May 5th we plan to dedicate the garden and oven, make pizzas and herb breads, eat together in fellowship, and enjoy live music and poetry together. We will also have some special guests & out of town occupiers I know you will enjoy hearing from. Please bring tents & camp out in the garden if you wish. (We will have two communal tents available). We also have a guerilla garden action planned to help beautify a neglected area nearby that ODU students walk through everyday & will also be beneficial for the wildlife. We’ll also be shooting a video that will be seen by many in our effort to inspire them to help us in this struggle for positive change. I hope you will come and lend your energy & friendship in the work for Peace, Beauty and renewal in Highland Park.” Ultimately, gardening is an act of hope. It is a statement of renewal. One small thing we can do to unplug from the Matrix. The party was a resounding success, gathering some 70 or 80 people all told, through an evening of feasting, dancing, drumming, poetry, fire dancing and conviviality. It brought together many people who had not seen one another since the earliest, heady days of the movement when all things were possible. This sort of gathering changes things. This place, the oven, the grounds, the garden, the event were shaped by many hands working together. Working together builds community. And now the flame of this candle has spurred the creation of other community gardens which are springing up on the west side of Norfolk.
Deb Lassiter at May Day action
We can’t fight the state. As I have averred from the first days of Occupy, “Anyone who urges you to violence against a system that owns a complete monopoly on the tools of force might as well be on the payroll of Homeland Security.” We can’t change the world; but we might be able to change our own minds about the small differences we can make in our own yards, our own habits, our own neighborhoods, and in the process we might be able to bring one other person along for the ride. And in so doing we can plant seeds of sustainability. As Thom Hartmann says, we need new stories. So we need to create them. As for me, I’m gonna pray for a pony. We want it all. Surly
The Banksters go ALL IN
Published May 9, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner What follows this introduction is one of the many articles I wrote on TBP in the aftermath of the Fuk-U-Shima Quake and Tsunami. Some of them are too dated to repost, but this one has particular significance because of a similar Quake and Tsunami building now in Eurotrashland, just on more of a financial level than a geological one. The Euro markets are crashing now in much the same way the Nikkei did after Fuk-U-Shima. The CB interventions already look similar to what occurred then. The important aspect insofar as recent discussions going on inside the Diner are concerned relate to how Hyperinflationary events might transpire in the aftermath of such Quakes. In the first paragraph, just substitute “Euro” for Yen and “ECB” for BoJ and you should see the whole game is pretty interchangeable here as far as how the CBs are handling it. Will this lead to Hyperinflation, and in which currencies and when? Read on for some more thoughts on these subjects. RE
OWNERSHIP of those stocks has been steadily changing hands. The Insiders are selling out their shares, the CBs are buying them up through their Proxies of the trading desks of the TBTF Banks. All this really worthless paper is going onto the Books of Banks which ALL will eventually go BK, the liabilities then transferred to the Nation States they are chartered under. Insiders are currently exchanging the stocks for currency they can still use to buy hard goods and secure themselves. They need the currency to remain working as long as possible to be as complete as possible buying up what remains of wealth in the world. Every means possible to forestall currency collapse is being taken here, because once it does occur, all bets are off and it becomes a Power Game which all the Big Players are positioning themselves to play here, but which none of them know the outcome of. By maintaining the relative value BETWEEN international currencies, none of them will Hyperinflate until there is a local collapse of confidence in one of the currencies, most likely to be the Yen first now. Local Japanese are going to start spending what Yen they have as fast as possible as soon as there are any hard goods to buy with that Yen. Internal commerce in Japan is so slow now (for all intents and purposes it is at a complete halt) that this Hyperinflation will take a while to develop. Might not be for a few weeks or even months when they get some control over the ongoing Nuke disaster and Humanitarian crisis of around half a million people displaced from their homes and in emergency shelters, and try to begin “rebuilding”. Could begin sooner though once the currency traders wake up and smell the coffee. (Note: over a year now still no HI of the Yen. It clearly takes a lot longer for such a loss of confidence and complete evacuation of a currency such as the Yen to occur. So for the Euro, same probably is true, and it probably will take longer than seems logical right now for a complete Euro Collapse to play itself out) Right NOW, the Yen has appreciated in value because it is NEEDED in Japan, but once it becomes evident that it is hyperinflating, everybody will try to get rid of what Yen they hold outside of Japan. The currency is fundamentally worthless now, the industrial infrastructure on which its value was based is pretty much in ruins. Short term though, it is highly VALUABLE, because everybody in Japan needs Yen right now, it’s the currency THEY use to buy stuff. Anyhow, if the BoJ continues printing at this rate, currency traders who hold Yen should see the Writing on the Wall unless they are stupefyingly dense. The Unknown Variable here is just how fast this will Dawn on the currency traders, and how fast they react by trying to dump their holdings of Yen. If they start dumping, the BoJ has to stop printing, elsewise you get a synergistic effect and the currency completely blows up. (So WHY don’t they dump the Yen as I wrote here? My current take on this is that Da Fed and BoJ prevent this from occurring through Swaps and currency manipulation. The Carry Trade here is enormous, and these folks cannot unwind these trades without getting HAMMERRED, so the CBs prevent runs on the currency juicing the market either way if it looks like a run is underway. I suspect the same will be true if a major run begins on the Euro. Not so sure Da Fed can move enough CASH through the Back Door in the even of a run on Spanish Banks though.) If you think about it, this explains why the Dollar, despite constant printing by Helicopter Ben over the last few years has not Hyperinflated. Yes, there IS price increase in commodities and some services resulting from Hot Money flow into speculation in the commodities market and indexes which track that are perceived by many as “inflation”. However, for the most part the money printed here by HB is being HOARDED, not spent rapidly out into the market by end consumers. End consumers for the most part have no access to this money. Smart folks who are still in Surplus aren’t spending their dollars, they are paying down debt and some are Speculating with them buying PMs and driving the price of them up. Relatively
After a couple of days watching the Nikkei sink like a stone and the Yen rapidly appreciate in value against the Dollar, the Central Banksters of the world Pulled together here, and now have gone ALL IN. The Geeks from MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Trinity College of Cambridge University have loaded up on Jolt Cola and they are working in overdrive now pulling All Nighters every night. The BoJ will print as much Yen as necessary to keep the Nikkei floating and the other CBs will print in tandem to swap out as much currency as necessary to keep the relative exchange values even. This should keep the Supercomputers doing Teraflops here until the circuits burn out. What are the Intangibles, what is going on BEHIND the curtain here? Its not all that different than what has been going on with the NYSE, which is that although the nominal value of the stocks are being kept relatively even, the
small segment of the population in the category of current surplus to be doing either of these two things though. However, there is not YET a crisis in confidence over the Dollar which would lead to across the board Dollar Dumping by people who still have a large surplus of dollars. To achieve Hyperinflation, there must be a crisis in confidence in the currency, which has not happened yet with the Dollar. It will happen eventually as long as the current path is pursued, but the crisis of confidence will come in smaller currencies FIRST, the Yen being the most likely right now. As it becomes ever more clear just how dire the situation is in Japan, there will be a crisis in confidence over the value of the Yen. Belief is a very strong thing, so is Denial. The belief still exists in many that Japan will shrug this off, rebuild and continue to produce Toyotas and Sony Plasma TVs to sell to worldwide Consumers. Reality will eventually undermine this belief, denial will become impossible as long as things there continue to be out of control, this will happen sooner rather than later. Of course, the ongoing Nipponese Armageddon is only a part of the total Collapse Picture. Just about as big as this is what is happening over in the M.E., and with the sheer MAGNITUDE of the problems in Japan I haven’t spent much time in the last few Daily Rants keeping tabs on that Shitstorm. Fast as I can keyboard, its just not possible to keep up with all this shit. Besides, I have to keep the OP under 5000 words each day anyhow. LOL. Partially because I promised I would do this, but more for personal reasons which is that if I let myself go longer, it would take more time than the hour or so I will devote each night to writing while I make dinner before I hit the sack. I spend a LOT more time than this composing, but I do it during the day while I am at work in my head. It’s multitasking. So at night, all I have to do is keyboard it out which does not take that much time, not actually compose it which is more time consuming. That is how I write so much every day, in case you were interested, which you probably are not. LOL. The Quality varies from day to day obviously. A few Gems, plenty of Rocks. If you are Panning for Gold here in what I write, you have to sift through a lot of dirt to find some grains of Gold. I’m just ranting on what I think about with respect to the ongoing Collapse, that is all. Since I last updated on the M.E., there has been quite a bit of action in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but the big Newz of the day is the UN resolution to implement a No-Fly Zone over Libya, AKA a License to NATO to Bomb el-Kabong back to the Stone Age. The “Arab League” quickly capitulated on the idea that Arabs could solve Arab problems here. The “Arab League” is of course not representative of the Arab PEOPLE, it’s the Stooges the Illuminati prop up as Goobermints in these countries, all part of the Oil Conduit. Why are they doing this? It is NOT to bring Democracy to Libya obviously, its because there is so much fucking CHAOS there right now that probably ZERO Oil is floating on tankers out of Libya, even though the MSM claims that production is only down by 2/3rds or so. Italian Auto plants are dependent on Libyan Oil, and if they don’t keep producing Fiat Cars, Silvio Berlusconi will not have any Fiat Money to buy Underage Hookers with. So the ANSWER they have come up with here is to as quickly as possible bomb the living shit out of all the military hardware THEY sold to el-Kabong, so that then HOPIUMFULLY they can send in a small force of Boots on the Ground to ally with Rebels and get those damn Oil Fields BACK online ASAP! They are likely to be as successful with this concept as they were with Bombing Baghdad back to the Stone Age to take control of Iraqi Oil Fields after Saddam got outta control. This is of course a UN operation of “Peacekeeping”, not an FSofA Imperialist War, and dutifully all the NATO countries are contributing here, even the Hosers in the Great White North are sending over some Jets piloted by Bob & Doug Mackenzie
to bomb the Living Shit out of the Libyans. What about the freaking ITALIANS? They get most of the Libyan Oil, who are THEY sending over there? OK, they are probably providing Air bases in Sicily to fly out of. El-Kabong has been singularly uncooperative here, unlike the Hoser Mubarak in Egypt he did not dutifully Exit Stage Left with a few Billion in Gold Bars. No, El-Kabong is going to fight to the DEATH to keep control over his patch of depleted land. If he wasn’t such a complete SCUMBAG with bad taste in his wardrobe, his refusal to capitulate to the Illuminati could almost be viewed as heroic. LOL. However, like all the rest of the propped up Dictators, he IS a scumbag, and in the process of trying to hold onto “his” property, a whole heck of a lot of disenfranchised Libyans are going to get a near term ticket to the Great Beyond. The Intangible Question in the case of El-Kabong is just exactly what Options he has here once NATO brings to bear their Air and Naval assets on that patch of land? How Well Prepped IS he? Does he have enough Anti-Aircraft weaponry to fill the skies full of Lead and shoot down some NATO hardware? Can he send Missiles aimed at Italy from Libyan shores? Can he send out teams of Special Ops forces to do some Assassinations? How LONG can he hold out under Carpet Bombing? (Question has been answered. Not too long. El-Kabong clearly did not Bunker himself up well enough here.) El-Kabong is isolated and his days are numbered here, but he has made it VERY clear he is not going down without a fight. Also clear is he is not going to make a distinction between Civilians and Military, either among his own people or anybody else. ALSO clear is that he is not going to hand over the Oil Fields intact no matter what. His personal Pretorian Guard knows they are all Dead Men once his regime is overrun, so they are likely to be just as INSANE as he is. Even if its ONLY 10,000 troops he has as part of this force, if they have access to good military hardware and enough MREs to keep going for a few months, this will be a rough bunch to take out. They are ALL suicidal now, they all know they are dead men walking, so they have NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE. That makes them dangerous indeed. I did have the intention tonight of addressing the question Flash asked, which is once all this SHTF stuff coalesces, where does that put us a year or so down the line after an across the board monetary system collapse? That is a very good question to ponder on, but too much to drop in this rant unfortunately even though on a word level this one is short at around 2000 words. I am about out of time here regardless, and I have a Salmon Fillet simmering in Garlic, Lemon Rinds, Dill, Cayenne Pepper and Kerri-Gold Irish Butter just about ready for consumption. I’m a little slow on the keyboard tonight because I have to keep a close watch on the fillet, overcooked it falls apart and doesn’t have the right texture, undercooked the flavors don’t blend properly. So that question will have to wait for tomorrow’s Daily Rant, unless of course I wake up tomorrow and still MORE SHTF I have to address. No shortage these days of Doomer Topics to write on. We have not reached Peak Doom here by any measure, it is the Gift that keeps on Giving to the Doomer. I am of course a major Doomer. (A year later now, we are still mired in what appears to be a “Long Emergency” of the Kuntsler variety rather than a Fast Crash. Indications are that the “Long Emergency” will remain the dominant paradigm for a while longer. However, the system remains so unstable that it could FLIP at any time. You have to pay attention to it all the time to not get caught with your pants down. If /when it flips to a Fast Crash, you will not have much time to make the Last Bugout.) Long Emergency or Fast Crash in terms of the Human Life-span is concerned notwithstanding, either way I STILL See Dead People. RE
Hyperinflation vs Deflation: Rebutting FOFOA
Published May 23, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner One of the first Economic/Monetary threads begun when we opened the Doomstead Diner for Bizness a few months ago was a Hyperinflation vs Deflation thread. As often as this debate has been engaged in all across the internet, it still remains one of the most vehemently argued topics from both sides, and no clear “Winner” in this has emerged as of yet. The arguments surrounding HI & DF crossover into arguments about the worth of Precious Metals and their possible value in resolving the monetary crisis we have confronting us now. Particularly lively arguments come off the keyboard of a Blogger who goes by the Nom de Plume of FOFOA, or “Friend of a Friend of Another”. Apparently, all Austrian School Gold Bugs are very Friendly people, at least with each other. LOL. Anyhow, I got into discussing the HI vs DF questions with Ashvin Pandurangi of The Automatic Earth a while after trolling and plugging the new DD Blog and Forum on TAE. Ashvin has now decided to resurrect his analysis of FOFOA’s “Freegold” Theory, and is also soliciting other critiques, so I’ll pitch in my 2 Gold Eagles on this subject now. I’ve been over the fallacies in the thought process of what conventional economists of both the Austrian and Keynesian variety come up with many times already, but I haven’t really addressed specifically the work of FOFOA. So I will do that here and now. Like Ashvin, I will also make my disclaimer. I don’t profess a complete knowledge of WTF the Freegold advocates are talking about, and frankly I have a whole lot of issues as far as wading through the stilted prose style FOFOA writes. I am just going to look at some underlying assumptions made in this most recent justification for Freegold and for a likely Hyperinflation of the Dollar in the near term, though FOFOA refuses to make any real timeline predictions. Let us begin here first with a major fallacy underpinning FOFOA’s entire Worldview as far as Money is concerned:
large culture of First Nations people who used a Potlatch or “Gift” Economy. FOFOA sweeps all that stuff under the rug, because it doesn’t fit the construct he wants to make regarding Money, and then more specifically Gold as Money. Here you get into a real problem with the “Primeval” argument, since metal working, even in Gold and Silver which is a bit easier than Iron working is a VERY late coming technology here overall, and again doesn’t fit the description of “Primeval”. Now, FOFOA does get some of the early history right in the use of PMs in barter, but he never does cover the Coinage issue here. Metals in early tech worked very well to form difficult to counterfeit Tokens to represent stored wealth in a Warehouse. Because of their scarcity, a token could be made with an ascribed VALUE to it representing a certain amount of grain held in a warehouse. The Coin doesn’t have INTRINSIC value, the value gets Stamped on the coin by Da Goobermint. Using Gold and Silver worked OK for a while, but suffered problems all along the way. First off, Hoarding is a problem, Savers will hoard the metals and take them out of circulation. This runs you into Money Supply problems for commerce purposes. Worse still, in periods of famine either nature caused or induced by Human Greed, the actual amount of Food or other necessities can decrease, and then when saved Gold comes back out to buy now scarce items, there isn’t enough of the stuff to go round to redeem with the Gold. So the Gold value isn’t really Steady, its only relatively steady during periods of surplus. The next problem is Increasing Population size. If the amount of Gold is relatively fixed, but the Population is growing rapidly, in each generation there is less Gold to go round per capita than the last generation. Today, with 7B people on the Earth, there is less than 1 ounce of the stuff for each person walking the Earth at any given time. If Gold is the ONLY money around, then as the population grows larger the Gold becomes increasingly more scarce and valuable, so its value is NOT steady. It’s ALWAYS going to increase in value in this situation. Increased productivity can keep prices more or less stable, but at the point at which real productivity does not match the population increase, a fixed quantity money supply will skyrocket upward in value. It doesn’t work the same way as fiat, but it is still not truly a stable form of currency when you have a fixed supply working against a population that is growing rapidly. We still have not worked our way into the biggest problem with PMs though, which is that of consolidation over millennia. FOFOA himself describes the “Big Players”, long term consolidators of the Gold resource who have sequestered away MOST of the Gold ever mined up here.
The answer is the concept of money.This is the ability, unique to humans, to use numbers, mental constructs, to relatively value the goods and services of barter in a way that enables economic activity and commerce. It is the enabler of economic activity and commerce. It is a primeval instinct.”
Emphasis there is mine of course. Primeval? It seems FOFOA believes that Homo Sapiens dropped down out of the trees with the innate ability to create and use money, and the subtext is that it goes back in ALL cultures into the great myst of Prehistory. He is cock sure that money in some form is an essential ingredient to the primeval Homo Sapiens mindset, but this is so untrue as to be completely laughable. It’s pretty clear that money only evolved around the time Agriculture did, and that is only around maybe 10,000 years old. This does not qualify as “Primeval” by any stretch of the imagination. There is a good 60,000 years here between the time Toba erupted and the beginnings of Ag and Money, and Homo Sapiens appears to have been quite successful through that whole period. Moreover, it’s not some mythical Xanadu or Utopia in which large cultures flourished without the use of money, really only once the Europeans arrived on the West Coast of the Amerikas was any Money introduced to a very
Modern bullion banking is a carryover from this past.When Nixon abruptly took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, the billions of ounces in private ownership didn’t just disappear.They weren’t cast into the streets in disgust. And these giants with 100,000 ounces or more didn’t take those tonnes home to the basement. No, they stayed right there in the bank vaults and literally JUMPED in value.
FOFOA goes on to register his complaints with the Gold ETF market (“Paper Gold”), and the fact that there is fractional lending of this through the Bullion banks just as there is Fractional Lending of Fiat (and no doubt a good deal of Rehypothecation going on with that asset as well!) MANY claimants to this Gold now, but who REALLY gets to claim it in the end? Generally speaking it is whoever owns the Keys to the Bank Vault. The LAST person in the line responsible for making exchanges keeps the Asset, like MF Global
whisking away depositors accounts into their own account, which then gets shifted to JP Morgan accounts. How does Gold as a currency backer stop this from happening? It doesn’t, and in fact probably makes it easier to accomplish. Anyhow, with so much of what is admittedly already a pretty limited supply of Gold for 7B people on the Earth already sequestered, its pretty clear that only a very small subset of that population has sufficiently high claim and control to actually take possession of it at some point. The amount leftover from this for people to actually do some commerce with is exceedingly small, far less than the sub 1 oz in theory available to each person based on what has been mined throughout history. How do you De-consolidate Gold already Owned and Sequestered away by powerful people and families and then use it once again as a currency medium? You can’t do it, and so you are left with the creation of Notes or Digibits created to represent Gold, but not Gold which ever is really available for most people to redeem. In reality, the best arguments for how money works come from the world of Thermodynamics and Heat Flow across gradients. In order for any Work to be done Heat has to flow from a Hot reserve to a Cold one.
In his version of Capital destruction it takes an Earthquake or Volcano to destroy this “Capital”, but he doesn’t address the fact that Capital of this kind can become worthless even if it is still standing. The McMansions and the Carz are losing Value because the Energy is no longer there to use them. The “Capital” that was expended to build said infrastructure was the Oil burned, which now exists only as molecules of CO2 in the atmosphere. What “Capital Destruction” has been going on for the Age of Oil came in the form of the burning of that Oil. The OIL was the Capital here, not the stuff that was built with it. Finally, WRT arguments about Hyperinflation and the relative worth of Gold in a monetary system collapse such as the one we are undergoing now is concerned, most of the perceived value of the Industrial Era has been “accounted” for by using the Dollar as a measure of the relative worth of goods and services through the era. In order to try and keep nominal values from collapsing even though the real value of assets is decreasing, more dollar liquidity is being pushed into the center of the system at the TBTF Bank level. However, said liquidity is not escaping into the real economy as of yet, and until there are some significant Policy shifts, it is not likely to escape either, except into the pockets of a few well connected thieves. Shifting onto Gold at this point in the Game would be outrageously Deflationary, which I think the Austrians overall view as a Good Thing as the Credit Cycle gets a Reboot that way, but in practical terms it would pretty much halt all trade since most of the Gold in the world is sequestered in the vaults of only a few people and Sovereign holdings, to which there is also likely Private Claim on. Such a shift to Gold WOULD of course be Hyperinflationary for the Dollar, so for Gold Bugs that is a selffulfilling prophesy. In essence, the constant propaganda being written by Gold Bug websites for people to take their Dollars and convert to Gold is meant to increase the perceived value of Gold and in turn force a hyperinflation of the Dollar. This is proving a bit harder to accomplish IRL than in the mind of the Gold Bug. Because the Fiat structure is so large and complex, the value system of all assets including the PMs are being subjected to tidal forces as it implodes on itself, resultant from the fact the Capital underpinning of Oil is becoming more scarce. Oil however isn’t disappearing overnight, and the overall game is being balanced out some by Demand Destruction. The Dollar’s preeminence as World Reserve Currency isn’t yet being challenged effectively, despite Chinese claims that Renminby will soon be the World Reserve Currency, or Gold Bugs claims that it will soon be Gold. This is not to say the Dollar will not eventually collapse in its value, it most certainly will. However, many more parts of the peripheral economies and other currencies will get hit on here first, and during that period the Dollar is likely to remain perceived as the Safest Haven in a War Zone. In the deleveraging that must occur by any economic argument, all asset classes are going to come under pressure, that includes Gold and it includes Oil too. The CBs may work in concert to try and maintain nominal values, but this will simply turn their own balance sheets into TOAST as well. The Market in turn will react to that, and eventually you do get your currency collapse of the Dollar as well. Whether Gold is turned to as an alternate Currency Medium in this phase remains an Open Question. I do not think so based on my thermodynamic arguments or in sheer practicality terms, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Far as FOFOA, FOA and A are concerned, they are all just shills for a very old concept of money, and who all also likely have skin in the game for making their prophesies come true. Anyone who does hold a lot of Gold in the Basement safe clearly would be ecstatic if it rocketed up in value to $10K/oz or more. I will be very surprised if that occurs, I think the whole trading system would collapse if PMs took on those kind of valuations, but only time will tell on that one. In the medium term here though, an HI of the Dollar seems unlikely to begin inside the next couple of years anyhow. The Euro definitely has to collapse first, and that will take some time yet to play out.
PMs in their Consolidation phase measured the amount of work being done as the PMs were mined and collected up. The energy was used to reverse the Entropy process of dispersal and consolidate the piles of metal. During this time, the metals flowed through the economy and could be used as money. They represented the work being done. However, all along the way there was a lot of waste Heat expended, and you are not going to get the same amount of work done by taking the piles of Gold and sending them back the other way. This brings us to FOFOA’s arguments regarding what “Capital” is.
I’m not going to go into great detail on the concept of capital, other than to give you a mental exercise. Because the term “capital” can be quite confusing in our modern paper/electronic world, I want you to imagine a much simpler human civilization. Imagine an ancient Greek city. All the buildings made of stone and mud, the horse carts and agricultural tools, the linens and skins worn as clothing, the knowledge base passed down through generations; all these creations of man’s intellect were the capital of the time. Now imagine the destruction of capital. Imagine an earthquake or volcano that destroys the fruits of many generations. Or a plague or war, perhaps, that destroys the knowledge base.That’s the loss of real wealth you are imagining. And it is this cycle of capital creation and destruction that tells the story of mankind throughout many civilizations.
The modern analogy to FOFOA’s Stone and Mud Huts and Horse Carts in the Ancient World are today’s McMansions and Carz.
Avalanche Theory of Debt Cascade Failure
Published May 27, 2012 | By RE More from the The Concepts of Money and Capital thread on TAE.
purpose periodically when you see the instability growing. So in fact it is likely that many of the prior depressions which followed events like the bursting of the Tulip Bubble or the failure of Credit Anstaaldt were to an extent “controlled explosions” which briefly brought down the snow and then collection began again. This iteration is somewhat different, because in each of the prior iterations after the avalanche there was still surplus ENERGY to access, first by the theft of the New World from its original inhabitants, and then progressively moreso first through the Age of Coal which took us from around 1750 through to around 1900, then the Age of Oil which took us from 1900 through to present day. The monetary pyramid here through this entire time has used as its Capital the ENERGY accessible from the thermodynamic application of fossil fuels, through a whole variety of neat inventions during the time period. So every time a new invention like say Edison’s Light Bulb appeared on the scene, vast amounts of new Credit was issued to build such things as a nationwide electric grid. In reality of course, none of these things could ever pay off, they always only existed through constant credit subsidization. It was possible to do this by seriously underpricing the cost of energy, putting off the Day of Reckoning hopefully long enough to come up with the Holy Grail of something like Fusion Power, with the “promise” of limitless and clean Energy. However, despite all the years of experiments with Superconducting Supercolliders and the like, Fusion Power remains basically a drawing board type idea to this day, though all the time we get reports it is “just around the corner”. Anyhow, without such a last minute rescue by the Fusion Power Cavalry here, the Credit Mountain of Money built around accessing ever more amounts of energy per capita will come down, and the AVALANCHE is just beginning here. As I wrote in prior posts in this thread, there is little worth buying here anymore, because just about EVERYTHING is based on continuing sources of energy to power it. Even Farms are based on this in the current model. Much of the production off the Great Plains “Breadbasket” of the world depends on irrigation water pumped up from the Ogalala Aquifer. That pumping is mostly done with diesel pumps, and while you might substitute some with Windmills, the depth now that has to be pumped from is probably too great for a Windmill to handle except in a Tornado, in which case the Windmill is destroyed anyhow. What you have here as a result is a Cascade Failure of IMMENSE PROPORTIONS, a Credit Collapse Avalanche such as the world has never seen in all of recorded history. IMHO, our Iluminati Masters of the Universe are running around now like Chickens with their Heads Cut Off trying to figure out how best to protect their own “Wealth”, when in fact that wealth is ALREADY GONE. It’s floating around up there in the atmosphere as molecules of CO2. THAT is where all the “Capital” is now, and it’s not terrifically useful Capital in this form. I suspect the various CBs will continue to print in concert here for a while longer, and the Funny Money will slosh around in Bank Reserves keeping the TBTF from going under immediately. In the end though, they will CAPITULATE to reality, and the reality is that a MOUNTAIN of Snow collected up here since 1692 is ALL going to come down the Mountain at the SAME TIME. You cannot stop this avalanche from coming down, all you can do is to RUN AWAY. RUN AWAY FAST! Run away NOW. Get just as far away as you reasonably can from the center of this collapse, the Big Shities all over the world built upon Credit and the Thermodynamic energy of Fossil Fuels. They are DEATH TRAPS. RE
‘‘ Quote from Skipbreakfast ‘‘
I don’t think the Fed has any illusion it can truly replace all the credit currently in existence, should credit actually start evaporating exponentially. In truth, the Fed doesn’t believe it will need to do that–it naively believed it could reverse the tide before such catastrophe. Maybe even the Fed is starting to wonder if things are now out of hand, however.
The deflationists have persuaded me that the trickle of credit destruction soon becomes a torrent and the CBs are simply overwhelmed.They will have to change tact and embrace deflation at some point, by shoring up their own assets, once it suits them to do so.
One thing I think is not grasped well is the concept of Cascade Failure, best exemplified by an Avalanche or Toppling Dominoes. What we have here is a MOUNTAIN of debt, which although it has been exponentially increasing at an obvious pace over the last decade, has in truth been growing exponentially right from the beginning of this supercycle, best pegged IMHO to the chartering of the Bank of England in 1692. All through the ensuing years, one economy after another has been subsumed into this ever expanding Ponzi scheme. The whole Bizness isn’t REALLY managed by Da Fed, its managed by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Switzerland. Da Fed is simply the most powerful among many client Central Banks in this schema. The snow falls over many years on a Mountain, and in fact you can to extent control Avalanches by setting them off on
Cacophany of Pundits and Commentariat
Published May 16, 2012 | By RE
When I first became engaged on the PeakOil.com Forum, it was an EYE OPENER for me. I became engaged in conversation and debate with many people more knowledgeable than me on Collapse issues at the time. At the time, the Peak Oil forum was VERY active, on any given night when I returned home from work there were a Dozen new threads started, with sometimes hundreds of comments in them each. Just to comment on those threads and then respond to other comments made to what I wrote took ALL my writing time. Participating in the commentariat of any other Forum or Blog at that time was impossible for me. In my Fantasy Understanding of the Collapse Blogosphere of the time, it seemed to me that Peak Oil had THOUSANDS of readers, and just participating on that board would be a good way to get the Message Out I wanted to send to enough people, who would then bring still MORE people onto the Peak Oil Board, and we could expand coverage this way. Sadly of course, I eventually got my ass booted off Peak Oil after getting into innumerable Conflicts with the Mods of that board, and then Sequentially moved my way through a few other boards and blogs, notably during this period Ticker Forum where I met Peter; Raging Debate/TBP where I met Surly, and eventually Economic Undertow as well where I met Ross and Jb among others who are now also Diners. My involvement with TBP was by far the most time consuming for me, besides getting into innumerable Napalm Contests with the rest of the commentariat there, I also wrote the Frosbite Falls Daily Rant during the time Jimbo Quinn gave me Author Privileges on his Blog. No way during that period did I have ANY excess writing time to get involved in the commentariat of other Blogs and Forums. I did still READ other ones of course, Zero Hedge of course is a daily read for me still, and TAE as well during this period though I never commented there during that time. When I finally got my ass booted off TBP, I decided the whole Bizness of Commenting on OPBs was just a big waste of my time, even though very occasionally I would find a Peter or a Surly to chat with on those boards. So, I retreated then to the Yahoo Group I created of Reverse Engineering as a place to continue to write my thoughts, and get some feedback from the friends I had found during my travels around the Commentariat of a few different Collapse Blogs and Forums. After about a year or so over on Reverse Engineering, due to some Censorship Issues embedded in the yahoo software running the groups, Peter convinced me it was time to set up the DD Blog, and foolishly volunteered his skills and abilities to put up the platform. He said he could create a good platform, so I said sure, let’s GO FOR IT! So, we Launch the Diner here, with a good group in the Mod Squad, a fabulous Platform for Blog Authors and the Commentariat also, and of course my own ability to write enough each day to keep the Blog fresh with new material
Discuss this article at the Frosbite Falls Insider inside the Diner (Edit: Preface this with an apology to the Slogger. He did in fact cross post the Theory of Everything Part II on The Slog. I just missed it in the vast volume of stuff he writes himself every day. Otherwise, most of the observations made here about the difficulty of getting cross communication between blogs still remain true. IMHO.) One of the biggest complaints I have with the Collapse Blogosphere is the vast number of Redundant Blogs out there with NUMEROUS pundits spinning the collapse, but for the most part interacting very little with each OTHER. Besides the fact the Blogger/Admins of these various sites do not much chat with each other, neither does the Commentariat who follows a particular Blog and becomes an Active Participant. Many reasons for this from the POV of the Commentariat, NUMERO UNO is one of TIME. Since I spent MOST of my early years as a member of the Commentariat rather than Blogging myself, I can speak from Experience here on this problem.
all the time. A good initial Recipe IMHO for a successful Blog and Forum, which has overall proved so far to be pretty true. Spiders notwithstanding as the likely primary reason page hits have increased exponentially, the Diner is clearly growing and operating pretty well these days. At the same time though, I never wanted the Diner to be “All RE all the Time”, I always have seen this project as a place for Bloggers and Commenters to congregate and hash out issues of Collapse. With that philosophy in mind, I reached out to a few of my favorite Bloggers to come Dine here, repost their articles and discuss them here in the Diner as well as on their OWN Blogs. A few of the Bloggers I have invited in here in such a manner would be Steve from Economic Undertow, Gail from Our Finite World, Brandon from Alt-net and most recently John Ward from The Slog. I did NOT invite Ashvin or Ilargi and Stoneleigh from TAE in this manner, it was actually Ashvin who suggested Cross Posting between TAE and DD, and Ashvin also who has joined in the commentariat here, as I comment regularly on TAE as well now. This IMHO is a very good and healthy relationship for both Blogs which can benefit both. With the EXCEPTION of Ashvin who I did not myself invite in, so far my entreaties to the other Bloggers to join in Diner discussions have been a Magnificent FAILURE. Far as Steve, Gail and Brandon are concerned, all were quite OK with reposting their articles on DD as long as I attribute Authorship correctly and provide Linkbacks to their blogs, which I always do when I post up material others wrote. None of these fine authors though participate in Diner discussions, and I am not even sure if they read the Diner either. Probably not in most cases. The most recent attempt at Collaboration with The Slog is what is causing me to write this post though. In this case, rather than simply asking John Ward for Permission to repost his articles in the Diner Blog, I suggested to him we Cross Post articles from both Blogs, so that both readerships would have the chance to see and read the articles from both places regardless of which one they originate on. I gave him Authorship privileges on the Diner, and he posted up his “A world terrified by impotent ghosts from the past” article, which is just marvellous. Sadly however, he WELSHED on his end of the bargain, and never posted up anything from DD on The Slog! I attribute this mainly in all likelihood to the fact I am so Over-the-Top in much of what I write plus the fact the Diners here engage in so much “Tinfoil” speculation he doesn’t want his Slog to be contaminated by such nonsense. LOL. Just a WAG on my part though on the reasons for his renege on the agreement. The deeper problem here is this FAILURE demonstrates that bringing together Bloggers and Commentariat from many websites all discussing the same issues is pretty close to impossible. Each of the individual Authors/Admins of these websites all have their own Spins, and both EGO and MONEY get in the way of collaboration. Nobody wants to Join with somebody ELSE’s Website and make it Bigger and Better, they want others to join THEIR website and make it Bigger and Better. You have a few “Compilation” sites like Seeking Alpha and Financial Sense and Zero Hedge which attract some Bloggers, but mainly they post there as a means to hopefully generate traffic for their OWN Blogs/Newsletters etc. You NEVER, ANYWHERE get say Karl Denninger, Stoneleigh, Chris Martenson et al together on one website not just Posting their Articles, but actually DEBATING the issues with each other on a regular basis.
The deeper problem here is this FAILURE demonstrates that bringing together Bloggers and Commentariat from many websites all discussing the same issues is pretty close to impossible.
OCCASIONALLY, you get your “Battle of the Titans” debates, such as the famed Stoneleigh vs “Speedy” Gonzalo Lira debate of Hyperinflation vs. Deflation, but overall the “Famous” bloggers do not confront each other regularly anywhere, they all just write their own perspectives independently on their own Blogs, with their own Commentariat who for the most part tend to agree with their spin, that is why those folks are Members and Commenters on those Blogs. IMHO, overall this is just a LOSING Game, a very poor way to communicate and analyze the problems we have before us. It is too diffuse, and all these Bloggers are making their arguments in ISOLATION, confronted only by their OWN Commentariat that basically engages in Group Think and agrees with them. I don’t know how to solve this problem, I only will say here that I hand a HUGE THUMBS UP to Ashvin Pandurangi of TAE as being the ONLY Blogger so far I have had contact with who will both do cross posting AND respond/comment on other boards. OK, Steve does it some also, just not here on DD where he seems to think it is too much like having Dinner at Ted Nugent’s house. LOL. Anyhow, if all this Net discussion of collapse variables is ever to have anything MEANINGFUL result from it, all the people who think on these subjects and postulate solutions cannot keep writing in isolation. It is just spinning wheels and gets us nowhere. Selfishly, I would like the diner to become a place where everyone can come to hash out these issues, but really I don’t care where it is or who runs it either. We JUST bring it all TOGETHER though, a bazillion websites all discussing the same shit a bazillion times over just does not WORK, it does not Cut the Mustard. RE
Hypocrisy and Weathermen
Published May 18, 2012 | By RE Originally Published in the TBP on March, 2011
My sometimes Friend and sometimes Enemy here on TBP StuckInNJ has an Ace in the Hole he periodically likes to pull on me, the Hypocrisy Card. Stuck is also a pretty funny guy and a good writer, and recently in one of LLPOH’s threads I was Trolling to make a nuisance of myself he wrote a pretty hilarious critique of the Hypocrisy he sees in my writing when you juxtapose it against my real life actions as a participant in the Industrial/Capitalist economy. This came about after I sarcastically recommended to Jmarz that he go back and read every goddamn post I ever wrote because he is “confused” by how I can be such a vehement enemy of Capitalism while at the same time being a beneficiary of this system. I replied to Jmarz that he probably MISSED the CRITICAL PARAGRAPH I wrote somewhere in the 10s of thousands of words I drop down here on a weekly basis that would tie it all together for him. At the rate I write, its not entirely impossible that I have already dropped a HALF MILLION words on these pages. I have no idea really though. In any event, looking for such a paragraph would be an exercise in utter & complete futility. LOL. Of course there really IS no single paragraph in there that could do this, in reality you have to understand many different things I have written here over the last couple of years, going back to TBP1 and Raging Debate. Even more, you would have to be familiar with everything I wrote on the Peak Oil board during my time there. However, Stuck BRILLIANTLY took this as a jumping off point to write this paragraph for me as a Parody of my stuff:
“The one thing you all fail to realize is that I don’t believe half the shit I write. I mean for Christ sakes I was Pigman Semi-truck owner! And now I teach dumb fucking Alaskan Eskimoo kids … for MONEY! Are you fucking kidding me? I have a stash of money for a BugOut machine, gold buried near my cabin, guns, seeds, and case of blowup dolls. Guess what? That takes ….. MONEY!! I blow smoke up your asses day and night and you turd-fuckers fall for it everytime. Looks like my Ivy League education paid off. And yeah, that cost a shitload of money too. See you all in the Great Beyond …. and I’ll have a shitload of loot there too –RE!”
Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner A recent thread inside the Diner brought up a very old problem many of us, including myself, have to deal with on just about a daily basis. The problem is one of HYPOCRISY. Bloggers and Commenters alike, most of us who have access to the internet LIVE inside Industrial Cultures, and while we decry the consequences of Carz or Iphones, we still “Live the Life”. Just about a year ago on TBP while I was writing on that Blog as a Guest Author, I got taken to task for MY Hypocrisy. Following below is my response to being tagged as a Hypocrite who enjoys the Benefits of the Age of Oil and living inside the FSofA, while at the same time decrying it all as unsustainable and immoral. I am no less the Hypocrite today I was when I wrote this post last year. The parameters haven’t changed that much... YET. However, you do not need to be a Weatherman to know which way the Wind Blows. RE
What makes this paragraph so funny is that so much of it is TRUE! LOL. The best parodies always have a layer of truth that underlies the parody, and this one most certainly does. I was an independent contractor with my Freightliner, I did make decent money doing that. I did go to an Ivy League school and spent a decent amount of money to do that also, though not nearly what it costs these days. When I attended Columbia, my Tuition was around $3500. Imagine that. Total costs including Books and Dorm and Food was less than $10K/year. Nowadays, I DO have a Stash of Cash I saved up by virtue of being a penurious sort of fellow for the last 20 years, and I even have some GOLD as well I panned up over the last few years since moving up here. I have my Bugout Machine, which I purchased for $5K on the used market. I rent a lovely Cabin on the Last Great Frontier and have a nice middle class salary coming in running a Private Education paradigm with a friend of mine, essentially sieving a living off the children of Big Oil and the FSofA Military. LOL. Since I sure live a whole lot better than the poor folks getting bombed back to the stone age in MENA, just how is it that I can go ahead and “bite the hand that feeds me” and lambaste the whole fucking Capitalist system as being utterly immoral and beneath my contempt as a way to organize up human society?
Rather than writing a whole PARAGRAPH on it, back in the thread where Stuck wrote his parody, I dropped down a single SENTENCE to tie it all together for the Confused among you. It’s not original, but it explains this very well: It doesn’t take a Weatherman to know which way the Wind Blows. Imagine yourself for moment as a young boy in a Native American community overrun by the Manifest Destiny of the FSofA. You get dropped into a School run by the Missionaries. You don’t really like this, but this is what happened to your community and your father sent you to the school. You want to RUN AWAY, but you cannot. You are trapped in this paradigm by powers much greater than yourself. Turns out you are a pretty smart little Native Boy and you rocket your way through the system and get sent to an Ivy League College. You become a Doctor, you are held up as an EXAMPLE of success, but you watch as your people are decimated by the culture that overran them. YOU succeeded, but most others of your community did not succeed. That is not MY story, not exactly anyhow. It’s the story of Charles Eastman, a Lakota who became a Doctor in the years of the Robber Barons and the Railroads. He was absorbed into the culture that became dominant, and he succeeded in it because he was a pretty smart little Indian. But he became VERY unhappy seeing the results of the conquest of his community, and for what remained of his life he did what he could to help them. You can watch a movie made of his life if you like, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”.
I have been immersed in the Capitalist Nightmare from birth. I am the Son of a Bankster. Circumstances of Divorce in my family life took me out of the Class for my formative years through my teens. That was the time of the Cultural Rebellion in the late 60s and early 70s. I identified with the disenfranchised because of that. But of course, I still was a smart little Indian. Smart enough to still get educated in the Ivy League, on scholarships and by working as a research assistant in developing Radioimmunoassays. I still had contacts from the Bankster world from Dad the Pigman, so on Graduation I was able to use my math gifts to go to work on Wall Street and make Big Bucks. But of course, I was a Fish Out of Water, and the whole thing just made me sick. So I quit on one cool September day, stopped playing numbers games in my head and went to WORK, for most of the next decade in various roles in Hospitals, Clinical Chemistry, Respiratory Therapy, Radiation Safety etc. Union Work mostly. For most of you, this is probably what makes you think I am”Crazier than a Junkyard Dog” as Muckabout puts it. What kind of psycho quits a 6 figure job barely out of his teens because he finds it morally repulsive? Only somebody who is thoroughly off the scale as an iconoclast would do such a thing. That is who I am, who I have been for these 30 years since. Anyhow, I am not going to review every choice I made here along the way, most of them were not conscious choices anyhow. I most certainly HAVE benefited from my position in society, where I was born and when I was born and to whom I was born. But all along the way, ever so gradually I felt the Wind Blowing, and the direction it is blowing is NOT toward a continuation of the Industrial/Capitalist paradigm. It will not perpetuate itself, it is not sustainable. So here I am today, and most certainly I still depend on Money, and I still make Money. Hopefully I will continue to do so as long as money still works to buy anything. I still consume Oil and drive a 1989 Mazda MPV also to get to work most of the time. This is the culture, and it will be what it will be until it is NOT. For me to try to reject it would be plain stupid, you cannot reject the dominant culture of your society. This is what the Whole Earth Catalogue, back to the Land Hippies of the 60s tried to do, and they failed at it miserably. Not even the few remaining Communes like The Farm in TN succeeded as independent self sustaining communities, really they became a Tourist Destination. At this stage of my life, particularly considering Health issues I have, there is no WAY I can take myself out into the Yukon Territory and try to escape all this stuff. I do know however which way the Wind Blows, even though I am not a Weatherman. The Model here of industrial society is on its Deathbed. So I take the pennies I have saved here and I attempt to secure myself as best I can. I am NOT a rich man, though of course compared to the impoverished even here in the FSofA I still do pretty well, and compared to Egyptians living on $2/day, I am George Fucking Soros. Is it truly ACCURATE then when Stuck writes the Parody of RE, a HYPOCRITE who lives well under the Capitalist System but reviles it at the same time? No, it is not accurate, although it certainly is funny and certainly serves to undermine what I’m trying to communicate as well. I am TRAPPED, as all of you are also TRAPPED. You have to live within your society as it is constructed, until such time as it falls apart. So if you were a Hebrew Slave in Ancient Egypt, you lived and accepted your circumstance as a Slave until that society fell apart, with the Plagues and all the rest that hit upon them. Only THEN do you go running off with Moses into the Desert seeking Freedom. If you SEE IT COMING though, you can PREPARE yourself for when the society falls apart. I try to pass on some of the ways I am preparing for this, because I GUARANTEE IT, it is Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You. You don’t have to be a Weatherman to KNOW which way the Wind Blows. RE
A Memorial Day meditation on Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler
Published May 28, 2012 | By Surly Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner Memorial day is a fitting day to reflect upon the exploits and heroism of a long gone and all but forgetten American hero, Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940). Butler was a Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, an outspoken critic of U.S. military adventurism, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. After his retirement from the Marine Corps, Gen. Butler made a nationwide tour in the early 1930s speaking on the theme, “War is a Racket”. The speech was so well received that he wrote a longer version as a small book with the same title that was published in 1935. In it, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s. From Wikipedia:
Then as now. The forces of fascism approached Butler when they were plotting a coup against FDR and American democracy in 1934. They had the wrong man. Butler reported the controversy known as the Business Plot to a congressional committee when he told that a group of wealthy industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt. The purported plot would have had Butler leading a mass of armed veterans in a march on Washington. The individuals identified denied the existence of a plot, and the media ridiculed the allegations. The final report of the committee stated that there was evidence that such a plot existed, but no charges were ever filed. The opinion of most historians is that while planning for a coup was not very advanced, wild schemes were discussed. Clearly, “deniability” has had a long and ignoble history, was not hatched by the operatives of Richard M. Nixon in the Watergate days. At the end of his book, Butler makes three recommendations, which fell on deaf ears then as now, and the disregardment of which have led us to the economic and moral bankruptcy that is now our inheritance: 1. Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be “conscripted” before other citizens are: “It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get” 2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited plebiscite to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines. 3. Limitation of militaries to self-defence. For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression. On this Memorial Day, I can think of no greater tribute to the men and women in uniform than to recall the memory of Smedley Darlington Butler. Support the troops: bring them home. Surly
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, forWall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit ofWall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints.The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents. “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
Nostalgia for a Past that Never Was
Published May 28, 2012 | By RE Discuss this article at the Spirituality & Mysticism Table inside the Diner As we watch our society spin down into ever more obvious degradation and corruption every day, there is a certain Nostalgia for the past. A time when people RESPECTED each other, when children played outside with Bat and Ball in the Playground burning calories instead of sitting eating Doritos in front of the Wii or X-Box turning the corn chips into lard. Even I look back in Nostalgia at the Wonder Years of my youth, when although “out there” Bobby Kennedy and MLK had both succumbed to the Assassins’ Bullets I still played and went to schools that sorta did teach something. Mainly though because those schools and programs were tiered up and sieved for academic ability at the time, the vast majority of them were already just Warehouses even back then. What has CHANGED here today? Has anything REALLY changed at all? At the superficial level, what it is possible to OBSERVE, yes it most certainly has changed now. The Oligarchy in charge no longer hides the theft, it is brazen and in your face all the time now. From Bernie Madoff to John Corzine, from Lloyd Blankfein to Jamie Dimon, from Obama-sama to Catcher’s Mitt Romney, they are ALL on the TAKE, and really only few like poor Bernie get the Perp Walk these days. The thing is of course, this corruption is systemic and has been present for just about all recorded history, it’s visible in Greek and Roman texts going back at least around 3000 years or so. Through periods of History it seems to Wax and Wane, and mainly I think the “Pax Amerikana” we have experienced since the end of WWII was all financed by the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels. For those of us who lived inside the societies that were the beneficiary of this resource rape of the Earth, our lives as Slaves was overall pretty pleasant, at least if you managed to hop on the bandwagon in some way and didn’t get left at the station with probably 20% of the population from the get-go, mostly the black population of former explicit slaves. For decades here since the end of WWII, the low end of the population on the economic scale has been bought off into relative silence, living in Section 8 housing and collecting a subsistence dole payment, which if creatively used could actually buy you a Smart Phone and a Big Screen TV also. The SURPLUS on this end of the trade line was so enormous that even poor folks got all these toys of the Age of Oil to one extent or another here. So what now is so DIFFERENT here, why does it all now seem so much more corrupt than it ever was? Probably because now as we spin down, the rug is getting pulled from under those who can LEAST afford it FIRST. The preponderance of the PAIN that is necessary in a Cold Turkey exit off the Jones of Oil is being dropped down on
the poorest of the poor first, and now moving its way up the economic ladder created from PVC Tubing in the Age of Oil. The Carz are still being produced, and the “New GM” Executives are still pulling in a pretty nice Paycheck, but fewer J6Ps all the time can BUY those Carz, or fill them with GAS. The corruption we witness about us each day is the result of generally very “typical” people who think they are doing what is “right”, who think they DESERVE the big paychecks they get for being an Executive or a Doctor or Lawyer, but in the end whose big paychecks can only be supported by ever increasing THEFT from J6P. Every single scheme here created, from Obama-sama’s Health Care Plan to HAMP Mortgage refis is not meant to Save J6P or improve his Health Care, its meant to SAVE the BANKSTERS, to keep the game running just a bit longer here so they can continue to eat Canapes in the Hamptons and stuff the orifices of Ford Models with Cocaine and Tube Steak. Up there at the top, it’s Sodom & Gomorrah all over again, to be sure. An orgy of decadence played out daily here before our eyes, still glorified on the pages of People Magazine and the Tabloid “Newspapers” of Jolly Old England pandered to the public by Rupert Murdoch. Talk about Servants of Satan, if he is not Satan himself, that man surely has a special place in HELL reserved for him when he finally buys his ticket to the Great Beyond. Were the “Old Days” really any better than this though? You can go back easy to Andy Jackson and his complaints with the Banksters, and to Thomas Jefferson before that as well. When was there ever NOT corruption in Goobermint? When was there ever real EQUITY for the working man? It sure never came for the Irish or the Chinese who worked for Pennies a Day to build the Transcontinental Railroad. It sure never came for the immigrant workers in Saudi Arabia who pumped the Oil while Saudi Sheiks lived High on the Hog. It sure never came for 1B Chinese who slaved in factories making toys for Amerikan Konsumers for lo these last 30 years or so. Nevertheless, there is in your mind the IMAGE of Walton’s Mountain, of John-Boy and Grandpa plucking their way through the Great Depression in the Mountains of West Virginia. The IMAGE of Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie living a meagre but fulfilling life on a Farm on the Great Plains of the FSofA. I do Hope/Believe that in the end Good will Triumph over Evil and Homo Sapiens will survive this great trial, at least a few hopefully anyhow. However, I do not think we will find that Better Tomorrow by looking Nostalgically at the recent past, which generally is a bunch of fictitious propaganda. There has not been a moment in recorded history where J6P hasn’t been REAMED here, and the only difference with our current collapse situation is that many Chickens are coming home to roost here at the SAME time. Those at the Top are making desperate last ditch efforts to Cover and Save their own Asses here, and for the most part the Meek of the Earth are still letting it happen. Not in perpetuity though, no sirree Bob. Because it is WRITTEN, “The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth”. Right AFTER the Meek get very, VERY Angry. See You on the Other Side. RE
Pinky and The Brain Take Over the World
Published May 13, 2012 | By RE In discussion recently inside the Diner and on TAE regarding the possibility that the takedown of the Native Population of the Americas might have been purposeful, an Epiphany came to me which explains much of the migration patterns since the colonial era, as well as the current dire circumstances of the PIIGS Nations. This is a complex set of arguments I have never tried to detail before, and how this article will come out is something of a mystery to me. I have been mulling it over for a few days here since the original epiphany hit, but because it is such a complex set of arguments I have been avoiding writing on it so far, in favor of doing DD site Promotion and trolling other websites. However, I do have to try to flesh this one out some, so here goes. Far as the Modern Era is concerned including the Monetary System we are using, for the most part you can put its beginnings with the Medici Banking House in the 1300s or so. More than that, it really became solidified with the charter of the bank of England in 1692, when Sir Isaac Newton was Master of the Mint in Jolly Old England. During this whole period, numerous Wars were being fought in Europe itself for domination over the continent, and for a while there the Spanish looked to be doing quite well. Same Spanish folks that just a few generations later now are real Hurting Turkeys in the game as it played out. Still, around 1650 or so, the Spaniards were just hauling TONS (literally) of GOLD from South and Central America into the Basement Safe of the Spanish Aristocracy of the day. Somehow though, this huge Haul of Gold never did give the Spics a huge monetary advantage over a couple of other incipient Nation-States, namely England and Germany (which was still in the process of forming up at the time). Collecting a lot of Gold from SA did not do wonders for the Spanish Economy, in fact what it did was to devalue Gold inside that economy. They suffered from “inflation” in Gold because so much Gold hit the economy at the same time. Like any Gold Mining Town in the Old West, a Steak could cost you a whole day’s worth of panning to buy the steak.
During same period though, somehow the Brits, the Dutch and then a bit later the Germans, WITHOUT getting a huge new source of Gold Input such as the Spanish had soon overtook them economically and politically in power. The migrations of Spanish to the New World in SA basically STOPPED after around 1700 or so, whereas the migrations of Northern Europeans to the NA Continent continued in Wave after Wave right through to the 20th Century. So what WAS it that the Northern Europeans hit on that the Southern ones did not, and why were they the ones to gain hegemony over the monetary system and world resources through this period? There is some difference in Ag productivity between the Southern European Nations and Northern ones, but not so much so that either one was much better or worse off than the other. The difference of course is that beginning in the 1600s when the Dutch were stripping their Peat Bogs bare to make Glass, and moving forward to when the Brits began using the Steam Engine to pump out Coal Mines, the Northern Europeans leapfrogged the Southern ones rapidly and developed into an Industrial and Military Powerhouse as a result. Once the Northern Europeans accessed stored thermodynamic energy, they began to vastly outpace all other societies, including the other ones on their own continent. The Gold the Spanish stole from the Aztecs was quickly spent out buying Stuff that Dutch Traders were selling. Why did the Spanish not keep Migrating to South Amerika the way the Northern Europeans were migrating to North Amerika in Wave after Wave? Likely because the Southern European societies were not Multiplying as fast in Numbers as the Northern ones were. See, once they accessed stored thermodynamic energy, the populations began to multiply faster than their local Ag could support. The reason they could multiply like that is because what they were producing using GOBS of Energy they could trade with other places to bring in more foodstuffs. At the same time though, without new land to drop farmer/peasants onto and with Tradesman work being replaced by Industrial Looms, Northern Europe began to experience the Unemployment problem, beggars and all the rest of the nasty stuff Charles Dickens wrote about describing the Workhouses and Orphanages in Jolly Old England. Hans Christian Andersen wrote about the same stuff occurring over in Amsterdam in those years. Starving children freezing on the streets, that sort of thing.
The Little Match Girl Hans Christian Andersenl
the poor little thing! The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was NewYear’s Eve; yes, of that she thought. In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags. Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out.“Rischt!” how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top.The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully.The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but–the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand. She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when–the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left
behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant’s house. Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when–the match went out.The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire. “Someone is just dead!” said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God. She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love. “Grandmother!” cried the little one.“Oh, take me with you!You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!” And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God. But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall–frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt.“She wanted to warm herself,” people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.
and sell them to EVERYBODY, Vendor Financing the whole thing just as the Krauts Vendor financed their BMWs and Volkswagens to the PIIGS. This CONTROL over thermodynamics which began in earnest with the development of the Steam Engine has for the most part put in thrall everyone else who did not get there first in this game. The Chinese? Well, through application of Slave Labor the Chinese attracted Big Capital to build factories there, but sadly for the Chinese they came into the game a Day late and a Yuan short here. The REAL profiteers from Late Game Chinese Industrialization are not the Chinese citizens, its an Elite few both in China and offshore from there who own Apple, and Foxconn and all the other Slave Camps there which produce toys for Amerikans to buy at Walmart. Can we EVER get out from under this sick and twisted system under which we live? Of COURSE we can, in fact it is inevitable now that we will. The whole ball of wax is propped up by control over stored fossil fuel energy which is rapidly depleting here. Still quite a bit left, but thing is that the STRUGGLE to control what is left will burn it up all that much faster and make it generally unavailable for “productive” purposes. Once the BIG WAR in MENA breaks out, abut the very FIRST thing the Iranians will aim their Chinese Cruise Missiles at are the Oil Fields of the House of Saud in Ghanwar. The MINUTE that NATO decides to Bomb Tehran Back to the Stone Age is the MINUTE that those Cruise Missiles come out of Bunkers and Garages sprinkled all over Iran, and no the CIA does not know where they ALL are, nor are there enough planes on ALL the Aircraft Carriers in the region to blow every Bunker on the first Day, and I doubt even in the “3 Weeks” the Military Dimwits pitch out as a number in the MSM. It will not JUST be Ghanwar of course, though that certainly is a Big One. Just about every Oil Platform out in the GOM and off the coast of Nigeria is a fucking SITTING DUCK. I mean really, a Cigarette Boat loaded with TNT and a Suicidal Towel Head could take one of those babies out in a Heartbeat. How many Terroristas do you think it would take to blow your average Refinery or Pipeline? 20, 30 Maybe? How hard would it be to take a VLCC Supertanker going through the Straights of Hormuz to the Bottom of Davey Jones Locker with a few Shoulder fired Missiles at the water line? Man, once this war gets going in earnest, the flow of Energy to the Center is going to break down so fast Illuminati Heads will be spinning 360 degrees in no time. So the end of this type of Global Civilization will come to a close in one great BIG last Bonfire here as the last of the fossil fuels are burned up in one last futile attempt to Conquer the World. Sadly, the entire history of Human Civilization can be wrapped up in one Pinky & the Brain cartoon, with J6P playing the part of Pinky, and the Illuminati doing the “Let’s take over the WORLD today!” part of the Brain. RE
Most terribly cold it was; it snowed, and was nearly quite dark, and evening– the last evening of the year. In this cold and darkness there went along the street a poor little girl, bareheaded, and with naked feet.When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but what was the good of that? They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn; so large were they; and the poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street, because of two carriages that rolled by dreadfully fast. One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing. She crept along trembling with cold and hunger–a very picture of sorrow,
OK, now that Hans has you all teary-eyed and depressed regarding the endless stream of starving and neglected children wrought by the Industrial Revolution, let us progress a few more years down the line here. The Starving Children never went away of course, they just were moved offshore along with the rest of the liabilities of industrialization, like Polluting the living shit out of the land you live on. The Chindians happily took on that problem to try and join up with the High Life offered by Industrial society, at least for the Elite running the society anyhow. Slavery never went away either, that also was sent offshore in its most egregious forms, but even continued to exist in Developed countries as well through Wage & Debt Slavery. Even quite well paid people in the 1st World countries really are slaves, you
see this the minute their Highly Paid job as an IT developer gets Off shored to Chindia. POW! You go from a 6 Figure Income to DESTITUTE in no time at all here really. McMansion goes into Foreclosure, before you know it you are living in your Bugout Machine. So right up until Present Day here, as we speak, the Industrialized Countries, primarily the FSofA, Germany and China now hold the rest of the world Debt Hostage. Why do I include the FSofA there? Because despite all the talk about car factories and toy factories moving offshore, one form of manufacturing is still done on-shore here in the FSofA in SPADES. Munitions Manufacturing buddy-boy. We make the BEST Weapons
Making Wine and Beer
Published May 8, 2012 | By Jb Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner Back in September of 2010 when work was really slow, I asked my neighbor – a prominent local vintner, if he was hiring. 2010 was a great year for the local vineyards. The dry summer produced a beautiful harvest and all the local vineyards rushed to get their harvest in at the same time before wet weather arrived. He knew the vintner at Virginia Wineworks, a local ‘custom crush’ operation and they were hiring. One phone call and I started the next day. I worked for 9 weeks making wine from other peoples grapes. It was absolutely back breaking work, constantly wet, climbing up and down racks of barrels or stainless steel tanks, fruit flies in your ears, mouth and nose... It was quite a challenge for a guy in his 40′s with a bad back and the pay was meagre ($12/ hr). Most of the employees were half my age, working whatever jobs they could get to pay off their college loans. Because of the hectic schedule they sometimes worked through the night and slept in their cars. Anyway, it was a great experience. I took the job for a second reason. John Michael Greer, who writes the Archdruid Report http://thearchdruidreport. blogspot.com/ has said several times over the years that knowing how to brew beer or make wine is a great skill for the next economy. This was too good an opportunity for me to turn down. (The employee discount on the wine wasn’t too bad either!) What I learned is that Virginia is a suitable location for growing grapes, but not the best. A late frost can kill the budding fruit and wipe out your season. To combat this, the big wineries use propane heaters, helicopters and small wind turbines to create heat and stir up the air. They rely on very cheap labor throughout the spring and summer to prune and harvest. Fertilizers and pesticides are required. The grapes are hauled in on trucks or rented box vans. The de-stemming and bottling machines are critical. The giant spinning press is from Germany. They had to rent semi-trucks with refrigerated units to keep the grapes cold until they were ready to be pressed. Fuel was stored on a pickup truck and pumped by hand into the diesel truck tanks.
Glass bottles came from Mexico, oak barrels from France, yeast from France and Germany, sterilizing chemicals, sulfur, huge stainless steel tanks and hoses, portable pumps (which often stopped working), and lots and lots of potable water.
Anyway, you see where I’m going with this. To take this to the next level, I took two courses through the local community college on home brewing beer. The first was a one day course taught at Wild Wolf Brewery in Nellysford, VA. The second was on four Monday nights at Star Hill Brewery in Crozet. Again, I learned that brewing at the commercial scale is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. The bulk of the malted grains come in by train, hops and yeast from Europe, temperature and sanitation are absolutely critical, and the bottling machine practically requires a PhD to maintain it. Water comes from the local reservoir and is pretreated by the local plant but they still filter and test it at the brewery. Both courses were taught by the respected brewers and I learned quite a lot. I also made some good contacts. In fact, I learned of another job opportunity similar to the one I had at Wineworks. Anyway, I felt like I needed more practical information before getting started. So the next step was to watch several videos on YouTube and check out a book from the library. My neighbor, who brewed beer in his dorm room in college, also promised to help. Feeling more confident, I went out last Friday and bought a Brewer’s Best ‘Deluxe Equipment Kit’ #1002, two cases of brown bottles, some extra Star San sanitizer, and a Brewer’s Best ‘American Amber Ale’ extract kit. I brewed my first batch of beer on Sunday and now it’s sitting behind me quietly bubbling away as the yeast converts the sugars from the grains into alcohol. My goal is to brew several batches of extract through the summer. Later this fall I hope to get into the ‘all grain’ full mash brewing which will require additional equipment. My neighbor got all excited and went out and bought a couple of brew buckets for himself so we can tag team. I’ll post an update when I move the beer to a secondary fermenter (called ‘racking’) and again on bottling day in a couple weeks. Cheers!