Nov 242019
 November 24, 2019  Posted by at 9:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Pablo Picasso Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) 1943


Does Trump Have Bunch Of ‘Losers’ To Thank For Growing Economy? (Charlie Hall)
Phase 2 of the Great American Shale Oil & Gas Bust (WS)
Britain’s Carmakers Fear The Wheels Are Coming Off (G.)
Brick & Mortar Melts Down as Ecommerce Jumps by Most Ever (WS)
Ukraine, Trump, & Biden – The Real Story Behind “Ukrainegate” (Zuesse)
Yes, Ukraine Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election (Levine)
Internal OPCW E-Mail (WikiLeaks)
New Sexed-Up Dossier Furore: The Leaked Email In Full (DM)
How The Firm Lost Its Grip (O.)
Met Faces New Questions Over ‘Trafficked’ Teen In Epstein Case (G.)
Pilger Blasts ‘Cruel’ Media Coverage Of Julian Assange (RT)



Good friend Charlie Hall on America’s reality. Shale losses keep on coming.

Does Trump Have Bunch Of ‘Losers’ To Thank For Growing Economy? (Charlie Hall)

U.S. oil production originally peaked in 1970, and gas in 1973, but declined through 2007, when production was revitalized by the process of lateral drilling and “fracking.” This technological miracle allowed us to exploit deposits formerly considered low-grade. Now the United States produces more oil than it ever has, and is, with Saudi Arabia and Russia, one of the top three oil producers in the world. Fracking has also reversed the long decline of U.S. natural gas production, allowing the substitution of gas for coal and a proliferation of cheap plastics. But, curiously, this renaissance of petroleum in the United States has not led to a resurgence of profits in the oil and gas industry.

Quite the opposite, because almost none of the companies that have invested in fracking are turning a profit. Investors in this industry are losing a lot of money, some $83 billion since 2008, according to oil analyst Arthur Berman. This situation means that relatively cheap oil and gas are keeping the U.S. economy strong. But this cheap oil and gas is being partially subsidized by investors who are either losing money or receiving a poor return on investment. In this respect, President Trump has these financial “losers” to thank for a large part of the current health of the U.S. economy. This relation among oil supplies, prices and the political winds is not new and works both ways.

Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were in office during the economically disastrous increase in the price of oil from less than $4 a barrel in 1972 to more than $35 in 1979. Both lost in their reelection bids. In 1980 and 1984, Ronald Reagan ran on a platform of “Let’s make America Great again” and “It’s morning again in America,” which coincided with the decline in oil prices during the 1980s. In the U.K., Margaret Thatcher was floundering in popularity in 1980, but then received most of the credit for the remarkable recovery of the U.K. economy. Was it her conservative management style, or the development of the North Sea oil, which occurred on her watch? Now that the North Sea oil boom is over, the U.K. economy is struggling again.

Read more …

And there’s more. Chesapeake is but one example.

Phase 2 of the Great American Shale Oil & Gas Bust (WS)

In 2019 through third quarter, 32 oil and gas drillers have filed for bankruptcy, according to Haynes and Boone. Since the end of September, a gaggle of other oil and gas drillers have filed for bankruptcy, including last Monday, natural gas producer Approach Resources. This pushed the total number of bankruptcy filings of oil and gas drillers since the beginning of 2015 to over 200. Other drillers, such as Chesapeake Energy, are jostling for position at the filing counter. Chesapeake has been burning cash ever since it started fracking. To feed its cash-burn machine, it has borrowed large amounts and has been buckling under its debt for years, selling assets to raise cash and keep drilling for another day.

But its debt is still nearly $10 billion. Its shares [CHK] closed on Friday at 59 cents. On November 5, in an SEC filing, it warned of its own demise unless oil and gas prices surge into the sky asap: “If continued depressed prices persist, combined with the scheduled reductions in the leverage ratio covenant, our ability to comply with the leverage ratio covenant during the next 12 months will be adversely affected which raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.” In early 2016, during Phase 1 of the oil bust — which had started in mid-2014 — Chesapeake had already used the threat of bankruptcy to push its creditors into accepting a debt restructuring. At the time, it was the second largest natural gas producer in the US.

The debt restructuring reduced its debt burden somewhat and pushed maturities out, which then allowed it to borrow new money from new investors with a series of bond sales. This coincided with the Wall Street floodgates reopening to the oil and gas sector, when PE firms, hedge funds, and distressed-debt funds piled billions of dollars into the sector, and many of the oil and gas drillers were able to raise more cash to burn. Chesapeake’s series of bond sales that it then undertook included, in January 2018, $1.25 billion of senior unsecured convertible notes with a coupon of 5.5%, due in September 2026. It issued those bonds at a discount, but by July 2018, a few months before Phase 2 of the oil bust set in, the bonds were trading at 103 cents on the dollar. On Friday, the last trade was at 45 cents on the dollar, giving these bonds a yield of over 21%:

Read more …

But still fascinated with Musk. Why?

Britain’s Carmakers Fear The Wheels Are Coming Off (G.)

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is due to release numbers this week on car, commercial vehicle and engine manufacturing – figures that so far this year have been in reverse. At its last outing, the SMMT said that UK car production had fallen by a “bitterly disappointing” 3.8% during September, adding to a turbulent year-to-date in which political and economic turmoil, softness in key markets and operational changes have been blamed for a 15.6% slump. Unsurprisingly, the SMMT’s boss, Mike Hawes, warned that the industry was most worried about “the continued threat of a no-deal Brexit”, which is said to have caused “international investment to stall” and cost hundreds of millions of pounds, “money that would have better been spent in meeting the technological challenges facing the global industry”.

Hawes’s comments dovetail with a different announcement from earlier this month, when Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, said that the electric carmaker would be building its first major European factory on the outskirts of Berlin. “Brexit made it too risky to put a Gigafactory in the UK,” the entrepreneur said, to the delight of Remain campaigners. “[Boris] Johnson’s super-hard Brexit plan would see new trade barriers with our European partners,” wrote Lib Dem deputy leader Ed Davey in the Financial Times. “This will drive down already stagnant business investment … We must take seriously Mr Musk’s announcement.”

If he could be persuaded to comment on Tesla, Johnson would surely say the uncertainty will disappear as soon as we Get Brexit Done™. But Musk’s decision still seems like a missed opportunity, as he’s previously expressed an admiration for UK manufacturing – and F1 nous in particular. “We have a lot of respect for the British automotive engineering talent,” the billionaire told the Daily Telegraph in 2016. “Just look at Formula One – it amazes me how much British talent there is in that. We are likely to establish a Tesla engineering group in Britain at some point in the future.”

Read more …

So where will the kids meet now? Online only?

Brick & Mortar Melts Down as Ecommerce Jumps by Most Ever (WS)

Ecommerce sales in the third quarter 2019 spiked 17.3% from a year ago to $145.7 billion, not seasonally adjusted, according to the Commerce Department. On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales hit $154.5 billion. Ecommerce sales will exceed $600 billion in 2019, double the amount five years ago. In dollar terms, ecommerce sales jumped by $20.4 billion in Q3 compared to a year ago, the biggest dollar-jump in the history of ecommerce:

[..] Ecommerce is wiping out department stores one by one. The long-cherished destination for American shoppers is doomed. Sears is just the latest example of a long list of examples. Others will follow. Sales at brick-and-mortar department stores in Q3 fell 5.7% year-over-year to a new multi-decade low of $33.8 billion (seasonally adjusted). They’ve collapsed by 41% from the peak in Q4 2000 and by 20% from the beginning of the data series in 1992. People who still think that this trend is somehow going to turn around are fooling themselves. This is the brick-and-mortar business Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Sears are in:

Read more …

An enormous effort by Eric Zuesse. This is just a small sample. Impossible to choose from all the material.

Ukraine, Trump, & Biden – The Real Story Behind “Ukrainegate” (Zuesse)

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with neoconservatives. There’s not much distance between his policies toward Ukraine versus Barack Obama’s and Joe Biden’s. However, after Trump becomes impeached in the House (if that happens) and the impeachment trial starts in the Republican U.S. Senate, there will then be a perfect opportunity for Trump to embarrass the Democratic Party profoundly by exposing not only Joe Biden but Biden’s boss Obama as having caused the war in Ukraine. In order for him to do that, however, he’d also need to expose the rot of neoconservatism. Nobody in Washington does that, except, perhaps the rebelling Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard, and she’s rejected in the national polls now by the public within her own Party.

Neoconservatism is the uniform foreign-policy ideology of America’s billionaires, both Republican and Democratic, and this is why Washington is virtually 100% neocon. In America, wealth certainly doesn’t trickle down, but ideology apparently does — and that’s not merely neoliberalism but also its international-affairs extension: neoconservatism. Nonetheless, if a Trump re-election ticket were Trump for President, and Gabbard for Vice President, it might be able to beat anything that the Democrats could put up against it, because Trump would then head a ticket which would remain attractive to Republicans and yet draw many independents and even the perhaps 5% of Democrats who like her.

Only Sanders, if he becomes the Democratic nominee (and who is the least-neoconservative member of the U.S. Senate), would attract some of Gabbard’s supporters, but he wouldn’t be getting any money from the 607 people who mainly fund American politics. The 2020 U.S. Presidential contest could just go hog-wild. However, America’s billionaires probably won’t let that happen. Though there are only 607 of therm, they have enormous powers over the Government, far more than do all other Americans put together. The U.S. Supreme Court made it this way, such as by the 1976 Buckley decision, and the 2010 Citizens United decision.

Read more …

“Back in 2016, no one thought that Trump would win the presidency. So why bother hiding it?”

Yes, Ukraine Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election (Levine)

Let’s start with a fact: Meddling in the 2016 election by Ukrainian politicians and government agencies happened. The above is true and no amount of denial is going to change that. What’s more: Ukrainian nationals didn’t just meddle on their own, they also worked with Americans — including Ukrainian-American political operatives on the payroll of the Democratic Party. Not only did all this happen, it was written up as fact by establishment papers and outlets as varied as Yahoo, Politico, and the Financial Times in 2016 on the eve of the election. The involvement of Ukrainian pols and officials in all of this has never been secret. It was acknowledged at the time. The principle actors openly talked and bragged about their exploits in the press. And why not? Back in 2016, no one thought that Trump would win the presidency. So why bother hiding it?

One of the best examples of this is the plot to take down Paul Manafort — the sleazy Republican political consultant who had long worked in Ukraine and who headed Donald’s Trump campaign. In 2016, Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian member of parliament and an anti-corruption activist (who got embroiled in his own corruption scandal), coordinated the release of a handwritten ledger. The document purported to show off-the-book payments made to Manafort from the Party of the Regions — the political arm of the Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukrainian President who had been overthrown in a coup-type revolt by a much more western-friendly political faction. The ledger itself was released by NABU, a Ukrainian government anti-corruption organization set up as result of prodding by the Obama Administration and which was run with the backing and financial support of the FBI.

(As an aside: NABU — which also got embroiled into its own political corruption scandal — also happens to be at the heart of an internal Ukrainian political fight that sucked in ex-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. But that’s a different and complicated story. And then there’s the weird angle of the FBI being so closely involved with NABU at a time when this Ukrainian anti-corruption agency decided to involve itself in an American election.) Anyway, Leshchenko — a foreign politician — made clear that his objective at the time was to kill off Trump’s candidacy. That’s a direct admission of meddling. As Oleksiy Kuzmenko has documented so well, Leshchenko repeated this statement in various ways in both English and Ukrainian over and over again.

Read more …

We’ve known this for a while. The OPCW is a cesspool.

Internal OPCW E-Mail (WikiLeaks)

Wikileaks today publishes an e-mail, sent by a member of an OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria to his superiors, in which he expresses his gravest concern over intentional bias introduced to a redacted version of the report he co-authored. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent a team of experts to investigate allegations that a chemical attack took place in the Syrian city of Douma on the 7th of April 2018. The author of the e-mail was a member of that team and claims the redacted preliminary version of the report, misrepresents the facts he and his colleagues discovered on the ground. The e-mail is dated 22nd of June. It is addressed to Robert Fairweather, Chief of Cabinet, and forwarded to his deputy Aamir Shouket and members of the fact-finding mission to Douma.

He says this misrepresentation was achieved by selective omission, introducing a bias which undermines the credibility of the report. Further it is claimed that crucial facts, that have remained in the redacted version: “…have morphed into something quite different to what was originally drafted.” This is said to have been done at the behest of the Office of the Director General (a post that was held by Turkish diplomat Ahmet Üzümcü at the time, he has since been replaced by Spaniard Fernando Arias). The attack in question was widely attributed to the Syrian Army, based on reports by rebel forces that were present in Douma at the time, and this assertion was backed up by the United States, British and French governments. These three countries carried out air strikes against Syrian government targets in response, on the 14th of April 2018.

This was before the fact-finding team had gained access to the site in Douma, the mission there was delayed for nearly two weeks by entrenched rebel fighters and subsequent clashes between the rebels and government forces that moved into the area. Upon arrival the team found much of the physical evidence, including the bodies of the deceased, was no longer available. It was alleged that 49 had died and up to 650 had been seriously affected by a weaponized chemical gas released in a specific area of rebel-held Douma on that day in April. Rebels claimed the gas came from cylinders dropped from aircraft, clearly implicating Syrian government forces who had complete air superiority.

Read more …

The actual email, part of a long article by Peter Hitchens for the Daily Mail of all places.

New Sexed-Up Dossier Furore: The Leaked Email In Full (DM)

Dear ******,

I wish to express, as a member of the FFM (Fact Finding Mission) team that conducted the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April, my gravest concern at the redacted version of the FFM report, which I understand was at the behest of the ODG. (Office of the Director General). After reading this modified report, which incidentally no other team member who deployed into Douma has had the opportunity to do, I was struck by how much it misrepresents the facts. Many of the facts and observations outlined in the full version are inextricably interconnected and, by selectively omitting certain ones, an unintended bias has been introduced into the report, undermining its credibility. In other cases, some crucial facts that have remained in the redacted version have morphed into something quite different to what was initially drafted. If I may, I will outline some specific aspects to the redacted report that are particularly worrisome.

The statement in paragraph 8.3 of the final conclusions ‘The team has sufficient evidence at this time to determine that chlorine, or another reactive chlorine-containing chemical, was likely released from cylinders’, is highly misleading and not supported by the facts. The only evidence available at this moment is that some samples collected at Locations 2 and 4 were in contact with one or more chemicals that contain a reactive chlorine atom. Such chemicals could include molecular chlorine, phosgene, cyanogen chloride, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen chloride or sodium hypochlorite (the major ingredient of household chlorine-based bleach). Purposely singling out chlorine gas as one of the possibilities is disingenuous. It is also worth noting that the term ‘reactive chlorine-containing chemical’ used in the redacted report is, in fact, inaccurate. It actually describes a reactive chemical that contains chlorine which itself (the chlorine) is not necessarily reactive e.g. chlorophenol. The original report uses the more accurate term ‘a chemical containing reactive chlorine’.

Read more …

Pedophilia will do that. Time to get rid of the lot.

How The Firm Lost Its Grip (O.)

Future historians may conclude that Prince Andrew’s defining achievement was to gift the nation a new verb. Following a tumultuous week when his car-crash interview shook the House of Windsor so vigorously it seemed its palaces were in danger of losing their crenellations, the Duke of York now finds himself banished from duties. His fate is the 21st-century equivalent of that which befell the difficult minor royals of previous eras who were locked up in asylums, away from the public gaze. “Prince Andrew has been de-royaled, if there is such a word,” said the historian and biographer Robert Lacey, an adviser to the acclaimed Netflix series The Crown.

Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I really would compare it to 1936 and the abdication of Edward VIII. What we are talking about is effectively the removal of a member of the royal family as a result of public opinion.” The duke can take some comfort from the knowledge that if he had been around a few hundred years ago, things could have been worse. “One can even compare it to 1649, when Charles I was executed,” Lacey said. “This is a reminder that what was an institution of absolute power now depends ultimately on the consent and approval of the communities it seeks to represent, and Prince Andrew failed in this respect.”

Princess Diana’s bombshell Panorama confession did huge damage to the royal family. Prince Charles’s decision to admit to adultery via a television interview greatly reduced his standing in the eyes of the public. “Andrew is a bit of a plonker, everybody knows that,” said one source close to the palace. “There’s no way he should have been allowed to do that interview. They should have just sent him off to Australia. That would have been a bloody good idea. Out of sight, out of mind.”

Read more …

They knew about Andrew and kept quiet. Time to get rid of the lot.

Met Faces New Questions Over ‘Trafficked’ Teen In Epstein Case (G.)

The Victims’ Commissioner is demanding that the Metropolitan Police explain its decision not to pursue a full investigation into claims a teenager was trafficked to the UK to have sex with Prince Andrew. The Observer understands that Dame Vera Baird QC, a former solicitor general and chair of the Board of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, has taken a close interest in the allegations, first examined by Scotland Yard in 2015. Baird, who has focused on protecting victims of sexual and domestic abuse throughout her career, is currently observing election purdah and cannot speak to the media. However, prior to the election she made her views known to a victims’ rights campaigner, telling him that she would be requesting a meeting with the Met once purdah was over.

“Before the election was called I spoke at length with the Victims’ Commissioner and we both find it extraordinary that this matter was not proceeded with,” Harry Fletcher said. The Met has said that its investigators reviewed all “available evidence” after receiving a complaint relating to claims that were made in court documents. It was alleged that in 2001 a 17-year-old, now known to be Virginia Roberts, was “forced to have sex with Prince Andrew”, purportedly at the London home of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the one-time girlfriend of the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. His victims are now bringing claims for damages against his estate. It is understood that lawyers for Roberts also independently contacted the force in 2016. But the Met chose not to pursue a full investigation.

Read more …

“..the right to suck up to power..”

Pilger Blasts ‘Cruel’ Media Coverage Of Julian Assange (RT)

In a wide-ranging dismantling of mainstream media reporting on Julian Assange, award-winning journalist John Pilger has blasted the Guardian for its coverage of the WikiLeaks founder. Pilger took aim at a Guardian editorial published this week, which made the case for not extraditing the Australian to the US, where he could face 175 years behind bars for possession and dissemination of classified information. The BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker has offered his interpretation of what the editorial actually meant “What the Guardian was really saying was this: ‘We are the fourth estate, the bearers of true liberal principles, the guardians of sacred rights. Such as the right to suck up to power. The right to invade countries and the right to smear those who expose our double standards and, if necessary, the right to destroy them,’” he said.

If Julian were to succumb to the cruelty he has endured, week after week, month after month, newspapers like the Guardian would share the responsibility. Pilger is one of the contributors to a new book titled ‘In Defense of Julian Assange,’ and he made the comments at the book’s launch in London on Saturday. Writer and activist Tariq Ali, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, actress Pamela Anderson, and former diplomat Craig Murray are among the other high-profile names who contributed to the book, which is an essay compilation on the prosecution of Assange and freedom of speech.

Read more …




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Home Forums Debt Rattle November 24 2019

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #51655

    Pablo Picasso Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) 1943   • Does Trump Have Bunch Of ‘Losers’ To Thank For Growing Economy? (Charlie Hall) • Phase 2 of
    [See the full post at: Debt Rattle November 24 2019]

    V. Arnold

    Pablo Picasso Portrait de femme (Dora Maar) 1943
    The Picasso is lovely; as is the subject…

    The view from the Hermitage is constantly evolving; the present view seems to validate the pov that no human institution is free of corruption; the government (all), the church (all), and the social, in which we all participate, to greater or lessor degrees…
    Individual integrity is constantly under attack.
    The question then becomes; is it still possible to be a social animal in this atmosphere and still maintain one’s personal integrity?
    As a quasi hermit, I have my doubts…

    Dr. D

    Does Trump Have Bunch Of ‘Losers’ To Thank For Growing Economy? (Charlie Hall)”

    He’s missing the point: they KNOW that. What they’ve done is turn money printing into oil. That is quite literally turning straw into gold, or in this case, hot air into gold. It was never meant to turn a profit. The Gov’t, the Oil Insiders, and the Fed, all work together and have since 1974. So if they want to expend four pawns to buy time, they can and have. The taxpayer will foot the bailout or in this case won’t even notice since the debt is so high, the addition on these companies is a rounding error: they, the banks, and the currency will all fail together anyway.

    Anyway, no mystery, no intent, and no problem.

    “the industry was most worried about “the continued threat of a no-deal Brexit”

    He’s full of crap, there’s a European or world recession, sales are down everywhere. No sales: no money, no jobs. Simple. No-Brexit or Brexit-accompli wouldn’t fix that.

    “Brick & Mortar Melts Down as Ecommerce Jumps by Most Ever (WS)”

    Similarly, and bad journalism, yes, but online is wildly smaller than retail, so a huge jump in it doesn’t offset the malls. That is, we’re in recession, overall sales are way down because the people don’t have money. So what little money they have is doing discounts online and saving gas by not driving and eating out.

    “An enormous effort by Eric Zuesse.”

    We really need and appreciate it, like the “18 Points” by Solomon. If you think the 607-people thing is a joke, Bloomberg just spend $34M in anti-Trump ads. That’s more than anyone, more than Obama’s top blitz. More than some candidates have every raised. Spent in one WEEK.

    Still, they’re following conventional wisdom, DJT was outspent 10:1 and still won because people hate the NeoCon/NeoLib candidates just that much.

    “We’ve known this for a while. The OPCW is a cesspool.”

    He whole U.N. is a cesspool just like it, approving or not standing down all kinds of war crimes, and protecting rape and trafficking of their members and soldiers. How dare we not fund it?

    “How The Firm Lost Its Grip (O.)”

    Endless bad behavior, every generation. Edward was a prime example, not only ignoring duties, sleeping around at national intel risk, but a Fascist that supported Europe’s worst. And their close friend, Lord Acton, then said what in watching them? “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Everyone needs a check on their actions, it is a good thing and a benefit, a love to them to do so. They did not love Andrew, because they did not discipline him.

    Even now, they do not love him, or the people: they “un-royaled him?” Puh-lease. Serve 2-5 and that’s a gift, and we’ll be serious. Otherwise we know you love importing East European 14-year-olds and raping them, and Meghan too, who sits next house over, watching. And it IS tough, but you must do something.

    Speaking out is only the FIRST thing, not the last thing. But when you’ll be jailed for doing even that, it’s a place to start.


    To Kosmos, from yesterday’s Debt Rattle thread:

    It’s not the idea here that everyone agrees with one another. That’s too boring. So no need to apologize or anything.


    I got the time, I got the ideas, I got no money
    I found the right answers (many times)
    I forgot my point then I remembered then I forgot it again
    My answers were not always wrong
    Even with my ignorance I survived another day
    I prefer to be ignored than to be hated
    If I spend my time in the I-pad then I can’t spend my time in the garden
    If you thought like me then we could not have a conversation
    I prefer to have nobody living in my mind
    I don’t know where my mind went when I slept
    I won’t know if you don’t come to my funeral


    • Yes, Ukraine Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election (Levine)
    With the creation of the WEB, and social media, sowing discord is a busy undertaking.
    Zerohedge has their special kind of comments. Reading the opinions and comments from other bloggers like TAE or other blogs( ) can be intellectually revealing and entertaining.

    John Day

    I’ve got nothing new, but I spent yesterday really studying Professor Nate Hagans’ essay, from the tail end of Friday’s excellent Debt Rattle. You might consider that, too. Nate was at The Oil Drum, and later The Monkey Trap, but in the past few years he has been teaching ecological economics, has students, has a book ou (I just ordered) and another soon.
    This is superbly well organized, immediately actionable analysis, for the non-avoidant.
    ​A bunch of mildly clever, highly social apes broke into a cookie jar of fossil energy and have been throwing a party for the past 150 years. The conditions at the party are incompatible with the biophysical realities of the planet. The party is about over and when morning comes, radical changes to our way of living will be imposed. Some of the apes must sober up (before morning) and create a plan that the rest of the party-goers will agree to. But mildly clever, highly social apes neither easily nor voluntarily make radical changes to their ways of living. And so coffee and stimulants (credit, etc.) will be consumed during another lavish breakfast, but with the shades drawn. It’s morning already.
    ​ ​It is likely that, in the not-too-distant future, the size, complexity, and (literal) `burn rate’ of our civilization will be much reduced by forces other than human volition. This paper suggests that we will not plan for this outcome.


    John Day,

    Good on you that you took the time to read Nate’s latest. He sent me this saying: if you have an hour to spare, and I’m always like: I read so much online already, any hour I have to spare I’ll sit outside here in Athens with a coffee or a beer.

    Nate and I have kept in touch through the past decade or so, and we both have the same teacher, the unfortunately deceased Jay Hanson, and our notions and ideas are very close. The main difference perhaps is that Nate keeps on looking for the solution, and I’m thinking there’s no such thing, let nature have its way.

    Maybe that’s why TAE is not more successful than it is: I should be offering ways out of the misery. But all I can do is to give you what I see, be it politics, Trump and all that, or a much grander scheme,

    Still, what Nate talks about is to a large extent what I do in recent essays like Energy vs DNAand Energy vs Waste

    It’s all the same thing, except he’s more optimistic. But what do you have left if you can’t be optimistic? Good question. See, that optimism is about the future, not today. Maybe that’s where the optimists should focus their focus. Today. Not the -at 20 you start paying into your pensions plan- and at 65 you will reap the rewards-. That model is dead.


    “But still fascinated with Musk. Why?”

    My only guess is that Musk has become the most reliable snakeishly oiled pork barrel creator around. He has a gift for selling ideas to the public which in turn gives Congress to grant subsidies and tax breaks that attract investors into stuff Congress can reliably drain their 10% off.

    He’s like advertisement for an expansion of the milindustry complex via private investment inspired/sanctioned by government largesse.

    It’s all I got.


    “…yes, but online is wildly smaller than retail, so a huge jump in it doesn’t offset the malls. That is, we’re in recession, overall sales are way down because the people don’t have money. So what little money they have is doing discounts online and saving gas by not driving and eating out.”

    Also, a minor but symbolically giant factor, is that so many people work in lousy retail/service jobs of the brick’n’mortar variety that going to the store to shop is the last way many people want to spend their money.

    Go back to the salt mines to buy lingerie when a smiling robot will leave it at your friend door with a beep, a wink, and a friendly wave?

    ur-brick’n’mortar retail


    @John Day
    Interesting point of view of our social/economic structures
    “Economics for the future – Beyond the superorganism” by N.J.Hagens


    “Jay Hanson”

    Sort of an insider joke. I joined what was the last, I think, of Jay’s Brain Food fora, one discussing what might be pragmatically practical (that’s so close to a tautology I might have it p[rinted on my too-too tutu).

    He moderated with some sternness on that forum. Kicked several people out. Some of them deserved it. Some of them just ran afoul of what I assumed were Jay’s volatile mood swings from dealing so long with such a dire set of issues.

    Anyway, we named him The Claw, after The Claw in the first Toy Story:

    The Claw! The Claw!

    I leave it as his unflinchingly Darwinian epitaph.


    Brick’n’Mortar replaced by robo-drones

    Well, banking is traditionally a brick’n’mortar retail biz, jah?

    I see homeless people.

    It’s what bricks’n’mortar are made of


    Curious little trouble-maker observation from the wiki on America First:

    “Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has praised America First and used its name as a slogan. “The achievements of that organization are monumental,” writes Buchanan. “By keeping America out of World War II until Hitler attacked Stalin in June 1941, Soviet Russia, not America, bore the brunt of the fighting, bleeding and dying to defeat Nazi Germany.”

    Cold hard logic there. Pat Buchanan is a very odd duck, but on certain issues of realist geopolitics, he is almost always spot on when few others are. He may not be right any more often than a stopped clock, but like a stopped clock, when he is right he is spot-on.

    And then there’s that oh-so-earnest hound dog squint of his, an expression on his face like he suffers severe chronic gas, or maybe an undescended testicle.

    I’d like to see him alone, holding a baseball bat, in a room with Bill O’Reilly.


    Thank you Raül!

    Have to recommend Vice’s special on Ukraine where they follow the conflict from the maidan on the ground. They dont get into much background but follow the events as they happen both political and the battles. You get to see the whole Crimea thing from the perspective of ordinary people and soldiers. I think there are around 110 short episodes on youtube. Really good to combine with articles like the one from Zuesse and the one from Stockman yesterday. Highly recommend it.

    Dr. D

    From yesterday, DNC group demand to know, What were Guliani talking about???

    Here ya go:

    State Dept releases 100 pages of document implicating Biden and Burisma, that Guliani was looking at.

    Rumor has it “America First” was the name of a group of Generals who were trying to bend the U.S. back to the Constitution back in the 90s. They all died in a mysterious plane crash, you know, ‘cause for security Generals fly on the same plane all the time. Kind of like Navy Seals. Anyhoo, weird how Trumpster, put in by the Marine Generals, used the phrase about 100 times in his inauguration. But hey, you know that phrase ain’t gonna kill itself. Buchanan is right: Russia won the war, we were a rounding error. But that’s okay: the Anglos backed Hitler (see Bushie and Chamberlain) and set up the war TO attack Russia, and also divide Eurasia, under MacKinder’s “World Island” concept, so although it went sideways midstream, overall it worked pretty well: Germany is still occupied and subject to the Anglos today. …Except for the 60 Million dead, but they were all peasants so who cares? Daddy Warbucks made his, amirite?

    Yes, Kosmo, please disagree. We don’t learn anything if we’re the same. It would be shocking indeed if I, an American, were to the LEFT of you, a Swede. But that’s the demands and characters of our nations.

    Is it too late for me to be known as The Claw?


    How do you like to be addressed? Illagi or Raul or either?

    Anyway you say: “any hour I have to spare I’ll sit outside here in Athens with a coffee or a beer. ”
    So you are in Greece, what is your thinking on China buying the port of Piraeus? I know the EU thru them under the bus, and the conservative govt. is selling off all it can, but… belt and road? An entry to the EU market. But selling an important money source to China? How can that benefit Greece? Or is this all a short term solution to bankruptcy?

    Also I too have had old friends go ballistic on me when I wanted to see “facts” about Russia-gate. It seems today all that is needed is a Loud Accusation and presumed guilt. Whatever happened to due process? Now people seem to have forgotten “innocent until proven guilty”. While Trump is obviously guilty of many sleezy business crimes, but Russia? War is bad for business, so I guess Trump is anit-war for that.

    Today accusations seem to carry more weight than in the past. Now if I even associate with some one accused of bigotry, then I am tainted too, unless I un-friend them as in FB. Can no one have friends or associates without being 100% in agreement with them? This seems to go both ways – I’ve gotten slammed from both sides of a discussion, if I don’t join a “side”. It’s all “be for me or against me” with no gray zone, no middle. This kind of divisiveness is killing off associations of diverse paths, too much contention. Too much anger floating around. Everything is getting polarized.

    I too enjoy reading your blog over my coffee, along with other alt news sources. Thanks for hanging in there. There are too few people who even want to think for themselves.


    “Is it too late for me to be known as The Claw?”

    Only if you don’t ‘splain, or point to where you’ve already explained why it is that yiou claim the military, Marine Generals in particular, who got Trump elected.

    I don’t wanna go from RussiaRussiaRussia to gen’rlsgen’rlsgen’rls, jah? I have this severe allergy to unsubstantiated dogma, even the sole-sourced unique variety.

    Gimme that and I’ll not only call you The Claw, I’ll call you The Claw of Dr. D.

    Don’t give me that, I just might call you The Crab. And then send someone’s kids to track dirt all over your nice clean kitchen floor. cuz that’s how I roll. 😉


    P.S. Since you quote your share of Calvin & Hobbes, I would welcome high-quality HD images of the finer color Calvin & Hobbes, especially his Spiff the Spaceman work. I’d love to suffocate Andy Warhol with a rolled up Calvin & Hobbes illustration-size paperback.

    We could discus it as art. Zappa would smile in his grave, and the Might Hobbes Himself would beam upon us from His Heavens.

    Major High Art



    Historical forebear:

    Krazy Kat


    Dr. D: A Swede who grew up in a communist workingclass home at that. Went to commie camp and when the adults talked revolution we kids got to throw darts at a picture of Ronald Reagan. As far away from the American culture as can be I guess. Now I have friends who ask me if I would have been a gun toking republican if I lived in the states.


    And by the way a far right conservative party is leading the polls here now, the social democrats are loosing hegemony and the conservative block is by far the biggest if thay choose to cooperate with the far right (think a cleaner version of Svoboda) and it seems they will. Wonder what Sweden will look like ten years from now.

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