Oct 032022
 
 October 3, 2022  Posted by at 2:12 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  No Responses »


Jessie Willcox Smith From The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald 1920

 

 

We need to renew the discussion about climate (change) because one side of that discussion claims that the science is settled. And yes, that is the same thing that happened with Covid, and you can even say the same thing that has happened with Ukraine, and with Donald Trump.

In all these cases, one side of the talking controls politics, media and intelligence agencies. But that doesn’t mean they’re right, even though they may seem to be, in everything you read and hear. And if you’ve followed the Covid discussion, and how could you not have, you know how dangerous this can be, how much open discussion is needed.

There are voices who say that the whole Covid thing was just a dress rehearsal meant to gauge how compliant people can be made, with the ultimate target being make them bend over and take it for the climate. For me, the cultural culmination of this is the move from “sustainable energy” to “green energy” to now “clean energy”. All three are absurdly nonsensical terms, but people use them without a second thought.

What strikes me about this discussion, if you can still call it that, is that the people alarmed about the climate never come with actual solutions. Wind and solar cannot ever replace oil and gas, but that is how they advertized. They only so-called solutions I see all lead to economic collapse (see Europe today), and that inevitable results in the use of dirtier, not cleaner energy. Just wait till people start burning plastic to keep warm.

I’ve long said that the only answer is using less energy, and that, given our wasteful ways, this is absolutely possible, we can cut our energy use by 90% is se put our minds to it with very little discomfort, but using less energy is not on the agenda. Of course I’ve also long said that we are -biologically- programmed to use as much surplus energy as we can (as all organisms are), so there are plenty dilemmas and contradictions involved.

Why did the age of fossil fuels make us multiply to now have a population of 8 billion, when we started with half a billion? To burn the stuff faster, of course. As much as our transport modes are incredibly energy inefficient, we can still only drive one car at a time.

I’ll start off this new discussion with our commentariat. Long time commenter TAE Summary provides a …summary of points for and against in the climate discussion, while sometime commenter Bishko lets his light shine from his own chemistry background: “I run a business measuring air pollution.” Here we go.

 

 

TAE Summary:

A Tale of Two Narratives, Climate Change Edition

Disclaimer: These narratives are based on multiple sources and neither may represent any particular person’s beliefs

• The Mainstream Narrative

– Greenhouse gasses absorb dark radiation and re-emit it. With more such gasses in the atmosphere, radiation and its attendant heat stays in the earth’s atmosphere instead of escaping into outer space and so the atmosphere and earth itself warm up.
– CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas inducing warming. It has increased from about 280 ppm to 420 ppm, an increase of 50% in the last 200 years and is higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years. The effect of greenhouse gasses is non-linear and a significant tipping point will be at around 450 ppm.
– There is a proven correlation between CO2 levels and global warming both long and short term. Increases in CO2 have caused mass extinction in the past. It takes a long time for life forms to adjust to big changes in CO2 levels.
– One of the effects of global warming is a disruption of the jet stream which causes extreme temperatures both higher and lower than normally seen.
– Another effect of increased CO2 is the acidification of the oceans as CO2 combines with water to form carbonic acid. If left unchecked this will terminate much of the life in the oceans.
– That the earth is getting warmer is obvious to anyone over the age of 50.
– CO2 emission and therefore global warming is primarily due to humans burning coal, oil and natural gas.
– Nothing is being done to actually combat climate change because of the immense profits to be made from selling fossil fuels. Climate change is a consequence of our continued financial ponzi scheme. None of the so-called climate change initiatives are sincere or effective.
– Expect mass extinction on earth including humans by 2050.
– People who deny climate change ignore the facts and are victims of propaganda. Their beliefs are similar to religious hopium.

 

• The Counter Narrative

– While it is true that greenhouse gasses absorb and re-emit dark radiation, it has not been proven that this action increases global temperatures. Energy absorption by CO2 levels off as concentrations increase after which there just isn’t much more energy to absorb. The models used to predict the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere are too simplistic.
– The CO2 increase in the last 200 years is only from 0.028% to 0.04% or 0.016%, an insignificant amount. Such a small increase in concentration has little effect. Water vapor is much more prevalent in the atmosphere and more involved in warming than CO2.
– CO2 is necessary and beneficial for plant life and higher concentrations will increase crop yields and be a net benefit for mankind. Epochs with higher levels of CO2 had more abundant life compared to now. Plants today could use more CO2.
– There is no proven correlation between CO2 levels and global warming. The earth has had both dramatically hotter and cooler temperatures with the same level of CO2 we have now. The earth has not gotten any warmer in the last 20 years. We are just experiencing normal, erratic weather. We have recently seen a lot of extremely cold weather which contradicts global warming.
– Increased CO2 will not acidify the oceans. As CO2 is absorbed by the oceans it will form insoluble carbonates and act as a carbon sink. Even with ocean acidification fish will survive like they did in other epochs with high CO2.
– The idea that humans can affect the climate is hubris. The climate changes naturally, always has and always will. Solar radiation is the biggest contributor to warming of the planet and especially the oceans and is outside human control. Human activity is insignificant to the climate.
– The global war on climate change is a way to grab power, reduce the population and save resources for the elites. It is a political tool. The people preaching climate change are themselves big CO2 emitters and huge hypocrites.
– Humans are very adaptable. Even with the natural shifts in climate that we are experiencing mankind will continue to thrive for a good long time.
– People who believe in climate change ignore the facts and are victims of propaganda. Their beliefs are similar to religious paranoia.

 

 

Bishko:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”
– HL Mencken

The Great Lie. One of the Hobgoblins.

If you want to better understand the Anthropomorphic Climate Change Hoax read on.

I am a chemist. I run a business measuring air pollution. In chemistry there is a scientific tool known as spectroscopy. The principle of spectroscopy is measuring the absorption or transmission of “light” through matter.

“Light” is in quotes because for true scientists the electromagnetic spectrum is a continuum of frequencies that begins with the very very low frequencies, say below one cycle per second, (alpha brain waves are 8 cps btw) all the way up to ultra high frequencies of X-rays and Gamma rays and beyond.

Different forms and compositions of matter absorb or transmit different frequencies of “light”. For example, a 0.1 mm thickness of aluminum can stop visible light that would easily transit one hundred miles through air. However, in spectroscopy, we vary the frequency of the light that we use to “study” the material so that we end up with a “Spectra” of the material as we vary the frequency. In chemistry, these Spectra are used to tease out compositions of materials as well as their concentrations.

In chemistry, we immediately run into the phenomenon known as “Extinction” or the “Extinction Coefficient” where our sample, suspended in the “light” beam blocks the light so completely that there is no useful data coming through the sample like the aluminum above. The Spectra is at complete absorption or 0% transmission. Not useful. When this happens, you dilute the sample or make it thinner so there is greater penetration of the “light” so you can obtain a Spectra.

In the other extreme, your sample may be too transparent in the spectrum that interests you to obtain a Spectra. The Spectra is a complete transmission or 0% absorption or near enough. Also not useful. In this case you make the sample more concentrated or increase the path length of the cell making the sample “thicker”.

As this relates to our atmosphere. The “cell length” of absorption of solar radiation is a somewhat abstract concept. If you assume that the atmosphere “ends” at 50 or 100 miles above us, you can make calculations. However, at any one time there is only one point in the atmosphere where the sun is coming down at exactly 90 degrees.

This changes moment by moment as the earth rotates and seasons change. Everywhere else the sun is coming down at an angle which increases it’s path length. At the poles much of the sun goes straight through the atmosphere and never touches the earth and exits out the other side. The perfect tangent. This is what causes the “ozone holes” not the fluorocarbons. A separate hoax and separate discussion.

 

So, with all these varying path lengths, and variable densities (absorption also changes with pressure) and changes of state (clouds are liquids suspended in gas) you get a complex absorption process.

However, you can easily measure the solar spectrum at the earth’s surface (or at any altitude) to obtain the measurements that show you which frequencies are absorbed partially or totally or not at all. This spectrum shows thousand of “holes” where thousands of frequencies of light zip through the atmosphere, carrying their entrained “photonic energy”.

The “Hard UV” radiation that hits our upper atmosphere is absorbed by the oxygen molecules when they are still quite dilute at 20 to 25 miles up where the atmospheric pressure is almost a vacuum. These UV frequencies are at “extinction” because they never penetrate very far into our atmosphere. The UV frequencies that are “softer” the so-called UVA and UVB are of a lower frequency and exist at what is considered the Ultra Violet Cutoff for our atmosphere.

Hard Ultra Violet frequencies cannot penetrate down to the surface since they are absorbed to “extinction” at much higher altitude. Our atmosphere at sea level would need to be near these vacuum conditions for these “Hard UV” photons to reach the surface, or there would need to be no oxygen in the atmosphere. Neither would allow life to exist here.

Any and all light the reaches the earth’s surface is either absorbed, reflected or refracted. Some of the absorbed light enters into chemical reactions where it is “trapped” as chemical energy. Photosynthesis comes to mind but there are others. This is a very small fraction of the total received. Some is reflected. The fact that you can “see” is a confirmation that a great deal of the light that reaches the earth is reflected. Since all of this light that reached the surface has already been “filtered” through the atmosphere, these reflected photons have a great propensity to “exit” the atmosphere as well since their frequencies have not been shifted very much.

 

The multi spectral sunlight that hits a green leaf is partially absorbed and partially reflected. The reflected light is green because the “useful” frequencies have been deducted from the spectrum by the chlorophyll to operate the plant’s chemical factory. The remaining non-useful light is reflected away as waste. That color green was always “inside” that sunlight that came down and is reflected away to your eye, camera, bird wing or to space. This is why you can see green forests from the space station, that green frequency is not absorbed by the components of the atmosphere.

All these processes occur on femtosecond time scales. The light travels from the sun in about 8 minutes transits our atmosphere in about 5/10,000 of a second, hits the leaf and is reflected back out to space in another 5/10,000 of a second and continues it’s journey throughout the universe to an unknown end.

Light that is absorbed by material at the earth’s surface has a different journey. The energy is absorbed by the electronic configuration of the molecules that it hits. This forms an electronic “excited state” where the electrons of the material move to a “higher” orbit. This excited state can be used by plants to run their chemical processes, or, in inanimate matter, can exist for a period of time (usually only femtoseconds) until it is re-emitted as a lower frequency photon or photons.

Thermodynamics forbid the new photon from being re-emitted at the same or a higher frequency (higher energy) although there are modern high tech exceptions to this (thermal imaging scopes &c where additional energy is added to the matrix).

So this new lower frequency photon is once again either absorbed, reflected or transmitted out into space.

 

If the new lower frequency photon is absorbed onto something, it means that it’s frequency was just right to enter into the electron cloud of this new molecule forming a new “excited state”. This is once again re-emitted as a new-new lower frequency photon which follows the same process of reflection, transmission or absorption. All matter is constantly emitting photons that are being absorbed by the matter around them.

The higher energy (from hotter atoms) photons relatively quickly reach equilibrium with its surroundings. Hotter things emit faster and more energetic photons. Think of a hot skillet taken off the stove. Doesn’t take but a few minutes to “cool” to room temperature. Some convection, some radiation of photons. All the convected heat also gets emitted as photons from the atoms that did the convecting.

Once again, all these things occur at very short time scales.

The photon that get’s absorbed and re-emitted at infrared frequencies follows this cascade in nanoseconds depending on the time it takes the photon to travel to the next absorption site, either microns away to kilometers. If the photon’s frequency is of a wavelength where it cannot exit the atmosphere since there are many molecules of say CO2 there to absorb it, it gets absorbed and then re-emitted at a lower frequency. Eventually, the photon is emitted at a frequency that has no “absorbers” around. All it sees is open sky and is gone. Nanoseconds. The atmosphere has many “frequency holes”.

CO2 has a Spectra, look at it if you can find one wide enough, see the thousands of holes in it. The fact that it can absorb in some infrared frequencies does not mean that it absorbs all infrared frequencies. The infrared spectrum is much much broader than the visible spectrum.

Clouds are a complicating issue in all this since they are composed of small droplets of liquid. The Spectra of liquids is usually different from the gas phase. However, that said, clouds are quite transparent to some frequencies of infrared light. Infrared imaging cuts right through fog and clouds thus no absorption at those frequencies.

 

So, overall, the sun’s energy that enters earth’s system does not stay here long. The heat that builds up during the day in the soil, rocks, water and air spends the next few hours emitting and re-emitting lower and lower frequency photons to each other and to the sky as they approach the new dawn. Cloudy nights can offer a reflecting surface to slow their exit from the atmosphere of certain frequencies but even a cloudy night gets quite cold by morning since those lower frequency infrared photons pass right through the clouds.

If you ever spent a sunset in a desert you realize how quickly the air loses it’s heat to infrared photons and the desert’s surface does not reheat the air above it much. The radiation pressure of a clear night sky is very weak and these infrared photons coming off the land are exiting en-mass.

The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has also reached “extinction” in that the frequencies that CO2 absorbs, almost none of those photons escape back out of the atmosphere to space. They are, however, re-emitted at lower frequencies almost as soon as they are absorbed. This is the point of the person who wrote about the “sunglasses” analogy where more CO2 is just adding more sunglasses.

I like to use the ink in the pool analogy. If you are underwater in your pool and looking across to the light under the diving board you are getting near 100% transmission (of the visible not IR). If someone throws an ink well into the pool and stirs it around, your ability to see the light drops. Adding additional ink makes it drop more. At some point you have complete absorption and cannot see any light. Adding more ink to the pool does not make you see less. You have reached “extinction”.

You could of course swim towards the light until you could see it again. Then more ink would make it opaque again. CO2 in our atmosphere has reached “extinction” a very long time ago, long before life arrived. This CO2 Hobgoblin has been so effective since almost none of the people, and unfortunately almost none of the scientists understand, or they refuse to understand these principles.

This dissertation is a slightly simplified version of reality. I tried to keep the concepts intact without going into too many sidelines. A nit picker, including myself can find many nits to pick, but I think that I’m getting the main points across.

These concepts are not difficult to understand. It is all founded in base level physics and chemistry. Applying your intellect to the understanding of how all this works clears away the “fog of agenda”.

Plant potatoes.

 

 

A hobgoblin is a spirit of the hearth, typically appearing in folklore, once considered helpful but since the spread of Christianity has often been considered mischievous. Shakespeare identifies the character of Puck in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a hobgoblin.

 

 

 

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Aug 292022
 
 August 29, 2022  Posted by at 8:38 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  72 Responses »


Samuel Peploe Beach scene 1907

 

Wave Of European Ammonia Plant Closures To Exacerbate Food Crisis (ZH)
Russia Can Afford Complete Halt In Gas Supplies To Europe – Bloomberg (RT)
Hungary Says It ‘Won’t Even Negotiate’ Energy Sanctions On Russia (RT)
The Real World Consequences Of Europe’s Coming Energy Crisis (ZH)
You Have No Idea How Bad Europe’s Energy Crisis Is (FP)
Germany Vows To Support Ukraine ‘For Years’ (RT)
Britain’s Financial Support For Ukraine To Run Out By New Year – Times (RT)
50,000 Ukrainian Refugees Face Homelessness In UK (RT)
Putin Is Trapped And Desperate. Will His Friends In The West Rescue Him? (G.)
IAEA Assembles Team For Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant (RT)
Ukraine Relying On US-developed Blueprint To Fight Russia – CNN (RT)
EU To Suspend Visa Deal With Russia – FT (RT)
New York Times Calls For Merrick Garland To Indict Donald Trump (PM)
Mar-a-Lago Affidavit Reveals The Government Has No Case Against Trump (Brock)
The Truth About Lockdown (Lord Sumption)
Latest Covid Booster Shots To Be Released Without Human Testing (NYP)

 

 

 

 

Covid theater

 

 

 

 

Dark Brandon

 

 


Situation under control

 

 

Ages of companies:

Twitter: 16 years
Facebook: 18 years
Tesla: 19 years
Google: 24 years
Netflix: 25 years
Amazon: 28 years
Apple: 46 years
Microsoft: 47 years
Sony: 76 years
Samsung: 84 years
Boeing: 106 years
IBM: 111 years
Nintendo: 133 years
Nokia: 157 years

 

 

 

 

If you were doubting they are creating a “you have nothing” society that needs to be built back better, then ask yourself why Europe doesn’t support its fertilizer industry. The consequences are clear enough. And sure, there’s the nitrogen narrative. But closing down both farmers and ammonia plants will lead to a civil war of sorts. Your leaders think they can win that. I’m not so sure.

Wave Of European Ammonia Plant Closures To Exacerbate Food Crisis (ZH)

A wave of European ammonia-plant shutdowns due to soaring natural gas prices has resulted in a devastating fertilizer crunch, worsening by the week, with as much as 70% of production offline. “Ammonia prices, though volatile, rose 15% in 3Q and could climb higher as Europe’s record gas prices curtail output and send ammonia producers to the global market in search of replacement supplies to run upgrade facilities — with winter still around the corner,” Bloomberg Intelligence’s Alexis Maxwell wrote in a note. As of Friday, 70% of capacity is offline across the continent, according to Fertilizers Europe, representing top regional producers.

“The current crisis begs for a swift and decisive action from EU and national policymakers for both energy and fertilizer market,” Jacob Hansen, director general of Fertilizers Europe, said in a statement.” Producers from Norway’s Yara International ASA to CF Industries to Borealis AG recently reduced or halted production because European NatGas prices hit a record high of 343 euros per megawatt hour, making it uneconomical to operate. “We confirm we are reducing and stopping production of some fertilizer plants in the different EU sites and this for economic reasons,” a spokesperson for Borealis AG said.”

Europe’s benchmark NatGas price soared nearly a third this week as Russian supplies to Europe via Nord Stream 1 pipeline have been reduced to 20% over the summer and face a temporary halt on Aug. 31 for three days. The region’s fertilizer industry association warned the energy crisis is rippling across many industries and could heavily impact the food industry. “We are extremely concerned that as prices of natural gas keep increasing, more plants in Europe will be forced to close. “This will switch the EU from being a key exporter to an importer, putting more pressure on fertilizer prices and consequently affecting the next planting season,” said Maximo Torero, chief economist at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Read more …

Stop the sanctions, negotiate for peace, and you can have all the oil you want. Blaming this on Russia is just a stupid story.

Russia Can Afford Complete Halt In Gas Supplies To Europe – Bloomberg (RT)

Russia can shut down its natural gas exports to Europe entirely for more than a year, without inflicting significant damage on the national economy, Bloomberg has reported, citing strategists at Capital Economics. In light of the current price situation, Russia’s “balance of payments is in such a strong position that, if oil prices and oil exports remain at current levels, Russia could keep gas exports to Europe at 20% of normal levels for at least three years,” analysts at the consultancy said in a note seen by the agency. A year-long supply cut-off by Russia could happen “without adverse consequences for its economy,” Liam Peach, one of the economists at Capital Economic said. sAccording to Peach, despite reduced volumes, Russia’s quarterly earnings generated by gas exports could amount to $20 billion.


“Whether or not Russia turns off the taps completely will be a political decision and the length of any cut-off would depend on the size of offsetting oil revenues,” Peach said. Several European leaders have repeatedly accused Moscow of using gas as a weapon of political pressure, with the Kremlin rejecting the allegation. The latest technical problems with Nord Stream 1 pipeline, a key gas route from Russia to Europe, prompted Gazprom to slash deliveries, sending prices skyrocketing. Another major test for the market is expected to arise next week, when the energy giant halts gas flows through Nord Stream 1 for three days due for maintenance work, starting on August 31.

Chomsky Unprovoked

Read more …

Waiting for the next country to “fall out of line”. Not much time left.

Hungary Says It ‘Won’t Even Negotiate’ Energy Sanctions On Russia (RT)

Budapest refuses to negotiate any further EU restrictions targeting Russian energy because there is no current alternative to supplies from Moscow, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Saturday. The EU has slapped several rounds of sanctions on Moscow in response to the conflict in Ukraine, and is pushing for a complete phasing-out of energy supplies from Russia. “We’re not even willing to negotiate any sanctions on energy, be it oil or gas,” Szijjarto said at an economic forum in Tihany, adding that “the courage of the Hungarian government” has helped Budapest to withstand pressure from Brussels.


“There is no security of energy supply to Europe without using Russian sources,” Szijjarto stated, arguing that Russian gas cannot be replaced in the foreseeable future. The foreign minister added that the “largely misguided sanctions response” to Russia’s military campaign is one of the factors driving up inflation and contributing to a global recession.Hungary, whose economy is heavily dependent on oil and gas from Russia, was exempted from an EU-wide ban on Russian crude in May. The bloc banned the import of oil by sea, but Hungary continues to receive the commodity via a pipeline. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last month that Europe has “shot itself in the lungs”with its ill-considered sanctions against Russia.

Read more …

“..the European people are being positioned to face the consequences while being told there will be no consequences..”

The Real World Consequences Of Europe’s Coming Energy Crisis (ZH)

The IEA is an institution that is hostile to carbon based energy and industries and calls for the end of all carbon emissions by 2050. This is why none of their bullet points from March that have been attempted have worked; because they aren’t designed to work, only promote further carbon controls while harming global power generation in the process. There are currently no practical replacements for oil, coal and natural gas; none. Especially not in a reasonable time frame that would spare Europeans from a full blown disaster. The only way green technology would be able to provide enough energy for the world’s populations would be if the human population was greatly reduced. Europe’s energy crisis actually helps the IEA agenda, just as it helps the UN and WEF climate agendas. But what about all the people that will suffer in the meantime?

Expect to see extensive energy rationing this winter in the EU. Around 80% of all EU natural gas is imported and Russia’s natural gas exports make up around 40% of Europe’s heating and electricity. With Russia now reducing exports down to 20% of their original levels, there is zero chance that the EU will be able to maintain their normal energy usage. Supply-side shortages will mean a price explosion going into winter as demand increases. Prices have the potential to double (or more) by the beginning of 2023. European governments will likely prioritize heating for public homes over energy for industry; they will do this to prevent civil unrest, as some government officials are already warning about. There is a chance that EU industry will be hobbled as energy supplies are rerouted for public consumption. We have seen something similar to this in China this year as their drought conditions worsen.

Civil unrest will probably happen anyway. Climate restrictions, green energy rules on carbon emissions and other ludicrous measures are making it impossible for Europeans to adapt to crisis events. Prices will be high, and price caps won’t help with supply shortages. When people start to freeze, there will be anger and desperation. The only legitimate short term solution to prevent a historic energy calamity in the EU this winter would be to remove sanctions on Russia. But, NATO has made it clear that this will not happen. So, the European people are being positioned to face the consequences while being told there will be no consequences. And, when the pain starts to hit, they will be told that it’s all for the “greater good.”

Read more …

Actually, we do.

You Have No Idea How Bad Europe’s Energy Crisis Is (FP)

Normally, Europe can refill its gas storage during the summer and coast in the winter, when usage is higher. Now, with colder months looming and Russia’s tightening chokehold on natural gas flows, Europe has been locked in a race against time to fill its tanks, which leaders have stocked by paying eye-watering prices. So far, experts said, European nations have been largely on track with their plans—but that doesn’t mean that they will be out of the woods come winter. In the winter, Europe typically “uses a lot of what it has in storage while, at the same time, importing lots of gas from other sources,” Munton said. “It needs both. But as we think about this winter, there is a very real threat that there won’t be any Russian gas at all.” In normal times, Russian gas supplies about 40 percent of European imports.

Without Russia’s supply in the winter, Munton added, European nations will be forced to rely on imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) even more from suppliers such as the United States. The problem is that Asia—a larger LNG market—is also vying for the same supplies, which means prices are always going to be higher than old piped gas from the East. “That’s really the crisis that Europe and the world confronts,” he added. As Europe abandons Moscow’s energy supply, many leaders have rushed to secure alternative deals and supplies with other countries. Italy has secured more gas from Algeria while other nations have turned to Azerbaijan, Norway, and Qatar.

Germany has also expressed its hopes for a new LNG deal with Canada, which in turn has been considerably less optimistic. Others have invested considerably more into LNG infrastructure, with Germany racing to build five floating LNG terminals and the Netherlands, Finland, and Italy all preparing for more floating units to import gas. But in the immediate future, energy experts said there is only so much that countries can do to shore up their supplies. “There’s a limit to what you can do in the near term to bring additional supplies into Europe because there’s only so much LNG in the world,” said Jason Bordoff, founding director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and a former special assistant to former U.S. President Barack Obama.

Read more …

The 10-year war scenario. Question: will Putin tolerate that? I don’t see it.

Germany Vows To Support Ukraine ‘For Years’ (RT)

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia could “could go on for years”, but Berlin will keep supporting Kiev all the way, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said. “Unfortunately, we have to assume that Ukraine will still need new heavy weapons from its friends next summer,” Baerbock told the Bild tabloid on Sunday. “Ukraine is also defending our freedom, our peace,” the minister said, adding that Berlin will support Kiev “financially and militarily — and for as long as it is necessary, full stop!” Baerbock’s pledge comes despite her admission earlier this week that Germany’s military is facing an “absolute deficit” of hardware, due to arms shipments to Ukraine. Berlin has so far supplied artillery pieces, shoulder-fired rockets and anti-aircraft self-propelled guns to Ukraine.


Nevertheless, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has faced criticism throughout the six months of the conflict, for his apparent reluctance to send more sophisticated weaponry to Kiev. Baerbock said on Wednesday that Germany’s Iris-T anti-aircraft missile system will be sent to Ukraine in the coming weeks, and that more deliveries should be expected by the end of the year. In her interview with Bild, the diplomat pledged to “cushion the social imbalances resulting from high energy prices” in Germany, caused by a drop in deliveries of Russian gas to Europe, amid sanctions against Moscow. Baerbock also defended Ukraine’s claim to Crimea, which overwhelmingly voted to reunite with Russia in a referendum in 2014. “Crimea also belongs to Ukraine. The world has never recognized the annexation of 2014, which was against international law,” the Green party politician claimed.

Lord Dannatt

Read more …

Oh-oh.

Britain’s Financial Support For Ukraine To Run Out By New Year – Times (RT)

The UK’s financial support for Ukraine’s military will run dry by the end of the year, a Defense Ministry source has told the Sunday Times. London has already given Kiev more than £2.3 billion ($2.7 billion) in military aid, but whoever leads the country next will have to deal with strained public finances and declining public enthusiasm for a protracted conflict. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev last week, where he announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth £54 million ($63 million), on top of the £2.3 billion committed by the UK since Russia’s military operation began in February. Johnson promised to support Kiev’s military for “however long it takes,” and his likely successor, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, is known for her even more hawkish stance toward Russia.


“The reality, as one Ministry of Defence source acknowledged, is that the UK’s financial contribution to the war effort will have dried up by the end of the year,” the Sunday Times article noted. “This means that the new prime minister will very soon face the question of whether to commit billions of pounds of additional support at a time when the public finances are under intense strain.” Britain is currently grappling with soaring inflation – predicted to hit 18% in early 2023 – and record fuel prices. Driven by market forces, supply disruption due to the conflict in Ukraine, and Britain’s decision to cut off its energy imports from Russia, much of this price hike is being passed on to consumers, with energy regulator Ofgem raising the energy price cap on Friday by 80%. This move will see the average household pay more than £3,500 per year in energy bills.

Read more …

Victims of failed western policies.

50,000 Ukrainian Refugees Face Homelessness In UK (RT)

Some 50,000 Ukrainians could be homeless in the UK next year, as the government’s scheme to match refugees with British families breaks down, The Guardian reported on Sunday. With the cost of living spiraling, the opposition wants the government to boost payments to host families. Analysis by the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats and children’s charity Barnardos found that, based on feedback from British hosts, between 15,000 and 21,000 Ukrainians could be homeless by the winter, rising to more than 50,000 by mid-2023, the newspaper reported. To date, 83,900 refugees have arrived in the UK since March under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, under which British households are paid £350 ($411) per month to house refugees for six months.

However, as of earlier this month, 1,330 Ukrainian households in England – 385 single refugees and 945 families with children – have left the scheme and are now homeless. It is unclear why these matches did not work out, but campaigners told The Guardian that some hosts signed up enthusiastically without understanding “the implications and consequences of this sort of responsibility,”while others are finding that due to the rising cost of living in the UK, £350 per month is no longer sufficient to support new additions to the household. A further wave of homelessness is expected from September onwards, when most of the six-month sponsorship agreements expire.

Minister of State for Refugees Lord Harrington has lobbied the Treasury to double monthly payments for those who can host refugees for more than six months, but the government has given no indication that it will act on his recommendations, and Harrington has taken to pleading with British households to join the scheme. However, while some of the activists who spoke to The Guardian said the impending crisis could be averted with more financial support from the government, a majority of sponsors aren’t motivated by money. According to a recent government survey, only a quarter of those quitting the scheme after six months said they were doing so because they could no longer afford to take part, and just four in ten said that more money would encourage them to extend their participation. A majority (58%) said they only ever intended to provide short-term accommodation. sYet Ukrainian refugees arriving in Britain under the scheme have been given visas for three years.

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Simon Tisdall in the Guardian. Does he really see things this way?

Putin Is Trapped And Desperate. Will His Friends In The West Rescue Him? (G.)

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” So wrote American author Henry David Thoreau in 1854. It’s a fate that is rapidly overtaking Vladimir Putin as he struggles to escape the disastrous trap he set for himself in Ukraine. Russia’s president keeps understandably schtum about his “special military operation”. But indefinite stalemate is not what he expected. He didn’t expect car bombs in Moscow and humiliating attacks on fortress Crimea, either. Least of all did Putin anticipate 80,000 Russian soldiers dead or wounded. Dying with them is his Peter the Great pipe dream of a “greater Russia”. Extinct already is his reputation as anything other than a killer and a crook. An endless military quagmire is not a scenario Putin can afford as slow-burn western sanctions corrode his economy and his military’s manpower and materiel are steadily depleted.

So what are his options? He could declare a specious victory, claim the Nato “threat” is neutralised and propose a settlement recognising Russia’s annexation of occupied areas. But he surely knows Kyiv will never willingly accept such terms. He could gamble on a huge battlefield escalation, for example, using Belarus to open a second front north of Kyiv – the region he failed to overrun in February. But it’s uncertain his generals have the capability or the stomach. He certainly dare not retreat. So as pressure on him grows to produce a breakthrough, Putin may well decide his best option is to raise the cost of the war to Ukraine’s backers – and undermine Kyiv’s resistance that way. In fact, he has already begun. It’s telling that British, French and German leaders all proclaimed long-term support for Ukraine last week. They know Putin is betting they will buckle.

The context is rising anxiety over Europe’s energy and cost of living crises, largely caused by the invasion and Kremlin cuts to gas supplies. The winter fallout from this coldest of cold wars could prove paralysing. Yet Putin may just be getting started. He has many means by which to undermine western unity and staying power. Europe is littered with easily exploited potential flashpoints and geopolitical faultlines bequeathed from Soviet times. Likewise, Russia has surprising numbers of allies and sympathisers scattered across a politically fractured European landscape. So will Putin’s friends in the west help rescue the beast from the east? Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko is already in Putin’s pocket. Moscow ensured the dictator survived after his theft of the 2020 presidential election provoked nationwide protests. Lukashenko will do as he’s told.

Inside the EU, Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, is seen as Putin’s Trojan horse. Like many on Europe’s far right, Orbán admires his intolerant nationalist ideology and shares his racist, homophobic outlook. He has repeatedly obstructed EU sanctions. Last month he cut a unilateral gas deal with the Kremlin. Orbán plainly cannot be trusted.

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Imagine the pressure on these people.

IAEA Assembles Team For Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant (RT)

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has cobbled together a team of independent experts to visit Ukraine’s Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which is now under Russia’s control, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The plant and the nearby city of Energodar have been repeatedly shelled by Kiev’s forces in recent weeks. According to the outlet, the members of the delegation include Rafael Mariano Grossi, the IAEA chief, and 13 other experts from “mostly neutral countries.” The report also reveals that neither the US nor Britain have any representatives on the team, given that Russia had dismissed those countries as “unfairly biased” over their support for the government in Kiev.

The NYT report says the IAEA mission includes experts from Poland and Lithuania, countries that support Ukraine, but also others from Serbia and China, which have much warmer relations with Russia. A number of delegation members also come from Albania, France, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, and North Macedonia. The goal of the mission, according to Grossi, is to see what exactly is happening at the plant, inspect its integrity, speak to both Russian and Ukrainian staff there, and establish a permanent presence on the ground. The move follows a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron last week, during which the two leaders agreed on dispatching an international mission to the area “as soon as possible.”

The team will apparently travel on terms arranged by Ukraine and the United Nations, which means the experts will arrive at Zaporozhye via territory currently controlled by Kiev’s forces. Moscow had previously insisted that such a mission should arrive only via Russian-controlled territory. Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of attacking the nuclear plant, while warning that the shelling could trigger a disaster that would eclipse the 1986 Chernobyl incident. At the same time, Kiev insists that it is Russian forces who are shelling the site while stationing military hardware there.

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When will Russia take out the offices of Ukraine intelligence?

Ukraine Relying On US-developed Blueprint To Fight Russia – CNN (RT)

During its conflict with Russia, Ukraine has been relying on a US-developed doctrine that involves both the military and civilians taking part in defensive activities, CNN reported on Saturday. The Resistance Operating Concept (ROC), which is said to provide a blueprint for smaller states to counter larger powers, was developed in 2013 in response to Russia’s conflict with Georgia in 2008. It was further enhanced after Crimea’s “nearly bloodless” reunification with Moscow in 2014, which “stunned Ukraine and the West,” CNN said. The ROC represents “an innovative and unconventional approach to warfare and total defense,” and guides the actions not only of the Ukrainian military, but also the civilian population.

“It’s all hands on deck in terms of the comprehensive defense for the government of Ukraine,” explained retired Lt. Gen. Mark Schwartz, who was in charge of Special Operations Command Europe during the development of the concept. “They’re using every resource and they’re also using some highly unconventional means by which to disrupt the Russian Federation military.” Schwartz said it was “just incredible to watch… despite the unbelievable loss of life and sacrifice, what the will to resist and the resolve to resist can do.” Explosions at Russia’s military facilities in Crimea – far from the front line in Donbass – earlier in August were signs that the ROC had been in play, claimed Kevin D. Stringer, a retired army colonel who led the development team for the concept.

Kiev never officially confirmed its involvement in the incidents, but CNN said it saw a Ukrainian government report confirming that it was behind them. Russia said the blasts at its Saki airfield in western Crimea were the result of an accident, while an ammunition depot in the north of the peninsula had been targeted in an “act of sabotage.” “Since you can’t do it conventionally, you would use special operations forces, and those [forces] would need resistance support – intelligence, resources, logistics – in order to access these regions,” Stringer said, explaining the alleged actions by Kiev. Civilian resistance under the ROC includes nonviolent actions such as boycotting public events, labor strikes, and even using satire and jokes as means of resistance. Violent actions, like using Molotov cocktails, arson and putting chemicals in gas tanks to sabotage enemy vehicles, are also part of the concept.

Generally, the doctrine calls for a major PR campaign to control the narrative of the conflict, preventing the dissemination of the other side’s message, and keeping the population united. Video footage showing destroyed Russian hardware and edited to catchy tunes forms part of the strategy, along with clips of Ukrainian troops rescuing stray animals, and daily addresses by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky – “whether intentional or not,” CNN claimed. At least 15 countries have taken part in some form of training on the Pentagon’s resistance doctrine over the past decade, Nicole Kirschmann, a spokeswoman for Special Operations Command Europe, revealed. The program isn’t universal. It’s being tailored in accordance with each country’s population, resources and terrain. CNN’s report mentioned Estonia, Lithuania and Poland as nations that have expressed enthusiasm for the ROC.

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“The Kremlin also expressed hope at the time that “common sense” would eventually prevail.”

EU To Suspend Visa Deal With Russia – FT (RT)

EU foreign ministers plan to back a suspension of the 2007 EU-Russia visa facilitation deal at a two-day meeting in Prague, next week, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing three officials familiar with the matter. In response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, several member states have actively been lobbying for either a ban or heavy restrictions on the number of Russian citizens entering the bloc. “It is inappropriate for Russian tourists to stroll in our cities, on our marinas,” a senior EU official told the newspaper. “We have to send a signal to the Russian population that this war is not OK, it is not acceptable.” The suspension of the agreement would make the process of applying for all EU visas more complicated and expensive, as well as increasing waiting times.


“We are in an exceptional situation and it requires exceptional steps. We want to go beyond suspending the visa facilitation,” an EU official was quoted as saying. The official stated that additional restrictions could be adopted by the end of the year, according to the FT. Countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia have already stopped issuing visas to Russian citizens. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said this week that Russian tourists pose a security threat to the country, and that a travel ban could incentivize some Russians to “pressure” the Kremlin. Others, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell, spoke out against a full ban on Russian travelers. They argued that the bloc should not punish ordinary Russians for the actions of their government. Moscow blasted the proposed measures as “flagrant nationalism” and xenophobia. The Kremlin also expressed hope at the time that “common sense” would eventually prevail.

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“..January 6 Committee, which hauled witnesses before the cameras to give hearsay testimony.”

New York Times Calls For Merrick Garland To Indict Donald Trump (PM)

The New York Times Editorial Board has called for the Biden administration’s Department of Justice to prosecute former President Donald Trump. The crimes of which he’s accused have not yet been fully elucidated, due to a heavily redacted affidavit, provided under duress by the DOJ to explain why a search warrant was approved for an FBI raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. The Times asserts that the “nation has been transfixed” by the overly produced, prime time hearings of the essentially partisan, Democrat-run January 6 Committee, which hauled witnesses before the cameras to give hearsay testimony.

The DOJ’s seeking of a search warrant to raid Trump’s home was not connected to any charges that may be brought by that Committee. The DOJ is seeking criminal charges against the former president for how he handled documents, while the January 6 Committee is searching for evidence that Trump was involved in planning the riot at the Capitol that occurred on that day in 2021 The Times asserts that there is no question as whether or not Trump spurred on an angry mob to enter the Capitol, saying that “When all else failed,” in his political redress to seek potential election improprieties, “he roused an armed mob that stormed the Capitol and threatened lawmakers.”

The results of the January 6 Committee, they say, is that “Mr. Trump must have known he was at the center of a frantic, sprawling and knowingly fraudulent effort that led directly to the Capitol siege. For hours, Mr. Trump refused to call off the mob.” They further encourage Attorney General Merrick Garland to seek an indictment against Trump, saying “If Attorney General Merrick Garland and his staff conclude that there is sufficient evidence to establish Mr. Trump’s guilt on a serious charge in a court of law, then they must seek an indictment too.” What the Times asserts is that “If Mr. Garland decides to pursue prosecution, a message that the Justice Department must send early and often is that even if Mr. Trump genuinely believed, as he claimed, that the election had been marred by fraud, his schemes to interfere in the certification of the vote would still be crimes.

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Kevin R. Brock is a former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

Mar-a-Lago Affidavit Reveals The Government Has No Case Against Trump (Brock)

When two dozen or more FBI agents searched former President Trump’s residence three weeks ago, most Americans initially were left wondering what in the world must Trump have done. After all, a prodigious FBI search logically indicates an equally prodigious violation of some federal statute; therefore, it must be really serious. One former Department of Justice (DOJ) official told Politico that the evidence sought “was likely so pulverizing in its force” that it would “eviscerate” the possibility of the optics for such an invasive law enforcement action not being good. Well, it’s now pretty official: The optics aren’t good. Everyone in America, from plumber to president, is constitutionally protected from a government search that lacks adequate cause.

We now know why the DOJ wanted the affidavit — which is supposed to articulate the probable cause needed for a legitimate search — to be kept under seal. After the magistrate who authorized the search forced the DOJ to unseal a redacted version, two realities came into better focus. First, the affidavit confirmed that the FBI’s investigation was triggered in January 2022 at the request of the National Archives, which wanted certain documents, especially classified documents, that it considered to be presidential records to be turned over to it by Trump. Second, from what I have seen, I don’t believe the affidavit articulates how a federal law was or is being broken. For those who hold out hope that the affidavit’s redacted sections fill that gap, there is almost no chance that they do.

As to the first point, this matter is, as suspected, nothing more than a document dispute that was chugging along, appropriately, as a negotiation behind the scenes and apparently making some progress. I don’t see anything in the affidavit asserting a refusal by Trump to cooperate. Any clinging hope — in certain quarters — that the affidavit possessed “pulverizing” cause to believe Trump was engaged in a truly serious federal violation can — I think — be considered dashed. The pipe dream that Trump was engaged in espionage, actively providing secrets to an enemy I think is as fanciful as the Steele dossier’s Moscow hotel bed reverie. And, no, I don’t believe a smoking gun of espionage or something equally shocking will be in the redacted sections. If the FBI had that, it would have fronted that in the unredacted portions.

But that’s not all that’s needed — in this case in particular. A criminal violation of those statutes only exists if it can be established that the person being investigated was not authorized to possess, store, transfer or copy those documents. This is an easy element to establish against anyone in America. Except one person. The unredacted parts of the affidavit make no attempt to articulate cause that Trump was not authorized to have these documents in his home. The reason is that, as president, he had broad, legally intimidating authority, established by law and court determinations, to declassify any and all documents and to determine what is and is not a presidential record. Trump and his legal team have asserted that this authority was exercised while he was still president. Therefore, a violation of these fairly low-level and seldom-prosecuted document-oriented statutes cannot be proven.

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“..our children and grandchildren will be paying for it for decades to come..”

The Truth About Lockdown (Lord Sumption)

It was always obvious that you could not close down a country for months on end without serious consequences. The shocking thing that emerges from Sunak’s interview is that the government refused to take them into account. There was no assessment of the likely collateral costs of lockdown. There was no cost-benefit analysis. There was no planning. In government the issues were not even discussed. Sunak’s own attempts to raise them hit a brick wall. Ministers took refuge in evasive buck-passing, claiming to be “following the science”. Yet the critical question was never a scientific one. It was a political question, in which the likely hospital admissions and deaths from Covid were just one element.

The scientists said it was not their job to think about the social or economic implications of their advice. They were right about that. The problem was it turned out to be no one else’s job. We are still paying for this negligence, and our children and grandchildren will be paying for it for decades to come. In 2020, U.K. GDP fell by nearly a tenth, the biggest hit to the economy for at least a century. According to Treasury estimates, 460,000 people left the workforce never to return. The policy took a wrecking ball to the public finances. The IMF estimates that government spending rose by more than £400 billion, or about £6,000 for every man, woman and child. Most of this was unproductive spending. It went on paying people for not working and supporting businesses forced to cease operations.

At one point, in the spring of 2020, the government was spending about twice as much on compensating for the lockdown as it was on the NHS. Borrowing rose to £330 billion, a peacetime record. Then there are the non-financial costs. Other mortal conditions went undiagnosed and untreated. In October 2020, after four months of lockdown, the Office for National Statistics reported more than 25,000 excess deaths at home from conditions such as cancer, heart disease and dementia. A year after the last lockdown ended, the NHS still has a vast backlog. Excess deaths, 95% of them due to conditions other than Covid, are running at about 1,000 a week. There has been a huge impact on mental health, with children and the poor worst affected.

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Tell them to fuck off.

Latest Covid Booster Shots To Be Released Without Human Testing (NYP)

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve new COVID-19 booster shots this week — before the vaccines are tested on humans, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. The new boosters are similar to the COVID vaccines currently available in the US with minor modifications that protect recipients from the latest version of the Omicron variant. Instead of waiting on data from testing in humans, the agency will use data from trials in mice — as well as the real world evidence of the safety of currently available COVID vaccines and test results from earlier iterations of boosters targeting older strains to evaluate the newest boosters, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said.

“Real world evidence from the current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, which have been administered to millions of individuals, show us that the vaccines are safe,” Califf said on Twitter. “As we know from prior experience, strain changes can be made without affecting safety.” He added that modifying existing vaccines to include protection against different viral strains doesn’t require a change in ingredient and is a common practice the FDA does with flu vaccines. “FDA has extensive experience with reviewing strain changes in vaccines, as is done with the annual flu vaccine,” Califf said. Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have submitted new COVID vaccine boosters to the agency for approval and the FDA hopes to roll out a booster campaign this fall.

However, some health experts are wary of the decision to release the shots without completed human trials. In June, two experts penned an op-ed demanding that the FDA not rush through the roll-out of the newest shots. “I’m uncomfortable that we would move forward — that we would give millions or tens of millions of doses to people — based on mouse data,” one of the authors, Paul Offit, told the Journal. Offit, an FDA adviser and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, believes the comparison between flu shots and COVID-19 shots is not well grounded due to the differences in mutations and protection levels.

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Walker Wheeler

 

 

McDonalds 1953

 

 

KFC 1970s

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 242022
 


Eugène Delacroix Liberty Leading the People 1830 (French Revolution of 1830)

 

 

As I read through the multitude of daily news articles about Russia, Ukraine, NATO and EU, it’s getting ever harder to escape the idea that there is a controlled demolition of the continent happening. And that neither its “leaders”, and certainly not its people, have any say in this. All we get from those “leaders” are NATO or World Economic Forum talking points. The only independent voice is Victor Orban. Who is either silenced in western media or painted as fully insane.

But Orban’s Hungarians won’t freeze this coming winter. He just signed a new gas deal with Russia. The main reason that is provided for all the others not doing that is of course Russia’s Special Military Operation in Ukraine. Which is as insane as Orban is, and “totally unprovoked”, say the western media. Noam Chomsky summarized that best: “Of course it was provoked. Otherwise they wouldn’t refer to it all the time as an unprovoked invasion.”

And no, it wasn’t just Russia/Ukraine, way before that Europe had already screwed up its economies beyond recognition -if you cared to look under the hood. But why make it worse? I get a very strong feeling that those EU “leaders” have alienated themselves far too much from the people they purport to serve, and they’ll regret it. For now it’s obvious among farmers, for instance, but when people start freezing, they will want to know why. And if no answer is forthcoming that is both honest and satisfactory, many “leaders” will have it coming for them.

The entire energy and food crisis is being sold as “inevitable”, but it is nothing of the kind. They are the result of choices being made in Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam etc., about which nobody has asked your opinion. Something I jotted down a few days ago:

 

Is the west using Ukraine as an excuse to commit mass economic suicide? And, you know, fulfill some WEF-related goals? Why else would they cut off all economic ties to Moscow, at a time when it’s obvious they have no alternative sources for much of what they import from Russia? Moreover, why does a country like Holland aim to close 10,000 of its farms when it’s crystal clear that that will exacerbate the coming global food crises?

If you don’t like Putin, that’s fine, but why should your own people suffer from what you like or not? And of course you can ask whether it’s a good idea that a country the size of a postage stamp is the world’s no. 2 food exporter. But it is. And if you try to change that by doing a 180º, also on a postage stamp, it is very obvious that is not going to go well. And all the so-called leaders know this. But they still do it.

Prices for heating, petrol, as well as food, are set to go much higher than they have already, mitigated only -perhaps- by the fact that ever fewer people will be able to afford the ever higher prices. But now it’s starting to look like this was all scripted. Because “we” could have kept communication channels with Russia open, “we” could have negotiated for peace for the past 6 months. Not doing that was a deliberate choice. A choice that you and me, another “we”- had no voice in whatsoever.

The Dutch could have negotiated with their farmers, and slowly addressed their perceived problems with nitrogen oxides, while keeping food production going. And we could have found a way to keep Russian and Ukrainian crops available on world markets too. But it doesn’t feel at all like “we” wanted that.

Someone made a list of what EU won’t get anymore with the Russia boycott.: “nat-gas, rare earths, inert gases, potash, sulfur, uranium, palladium, vanadium, cobalt, coke, titanium, nickel, lithium, plastics, glass, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, ships, inks, airplanes, polymers, medical and industrial gases, sealing rings & membranes, power transmission, transformer and lube oils, neon gas for microchip etching, etc., etc.”

And that’s not all. Fertilizer!! Why they do it, I don’t know. Do they WANT to kill their own economies? It makes no sense. And this will not be over soon.

 

Reuters of course seeks to blame Putin. But he’s not the one who introduced the sanctions. He’s offered to let the gas and oil exports continue.

 

Putin Bets Winter Gas Chokehold Will Yield Ukraine Peace – On His Terms

Cold winters helped Moscow defeat Napoleon and Hitler. President Vladimir Putin is now betting that sky-rocketing energy prices and possible shortages this winter will persuade Europe to strong arm Ukraine into a truce — on Russia’s terms. That, say two Russian sources familiar with Kremlin thinking, is the only path to peace that Moscow sees, given Kyiv says it will not negotiate until Russia leaves all of Ukraine


“We have time, we can wait,” said one source close to the Russian authorities, who declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media. “It’s going to be a difficult winter for Europeans. We could see protests, unrest. Some European leaders might think twice about continuing to support Ukraine and think it’s time for a deal.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wants Europeans to be obedient little critters, and take the punishment for the policies he and his ilk have carved out. Because “we” are destined to win. Mr. Borrell is planing to do just fine this winter, mind you. With the best steak your money can buy, real fine wine, to be consumed in comfortably heated homes, restaurants and offices. A picture of Marie Antoinette pops up in my brain.

 

‘Weary’ Europeans Must ‘Bear Consequences’ Of Ukraine War As Putin Will Eventually Blink: EU’s Borrell

EU high representative and foreign policy chief Josep Borrell gave a surprisingly blunt assessment of the Ukraine war and Europe’s precarious position in an AFP interview published Tuesday, admitting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting on fracturing a united EU response amid the current crisis situation of soaring prices and energy extreme uncertainty headed into a long winter. Borrell’s words seemed to come close to admitting that Putin’s tactic is working on some level, or at least will indeed chip away at European resolve in the short and long run, given he chose words like EU populations having to “endure” the deep economic pain and severe energy crunch. He cited the “weariness” of Europeans while calling on leadership as well as the common people to “bear the consequences” with continued resolve.

Borrell explained to AFP that Putin sees “the weariness of the Europeans and the reluctance of their citizens to bear the consequences of support for Ukraine.” But Borrell suggested that Europe will not back down no matter the leverage Moscow might have, particularly when it comes to ‘weaponization of energy’ – and called on citizens to continue to shoulder the cost. Who will blink first? …appears to be the subtext here. He urged: “We will have to endure, spread the costs within the EU,” Borrell told AFP, warning that keeping the 27 member states together was a task to be carried out “day by day.”

And yet, as some like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have consistently argued since near the start of the Feb.24 invasion, it is inevitable that some will be forced to bear the “costs” much more than others. Already this is being seen with initiatives out of Brussels like rationing gas consumption, which has further led to scenarios like German towns and even residences being mandated to switch off lights or resources for designated periods at night. “More cold showers” – many are also being told. As we round the corner of fall and enter the more frigid months, we are likely to only see more headlines like this: “German cities impose cold showers and turn off lights amid Russian gas crisis.”

Talking of Marie Antoinette. Emmanuel Macron is the little man of grand vision. He foresees the ‘End Of Abundance’, a veritable “tipping point” in history. And he’s just the man to lead you through it. I’ll give him this: he’s got good speech writers. But speech writers don’t keep the people warm and fed.

 

Macron Warns Of ‘End Of Abundance’

France is headed toward the “end of abundance” and “sacrifices” have to be made during what is a time of great upheaval, President Emmanuel Macron told his cabinet on Wednesday upon returning from summer break. The country has faced multiple challenges lately, ranging from the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine to the unprecedented drought that has battered the whole European continent this summer. Yet, Macron believes that the crisis is actually of a much bigger scale and that structural changes are imminent.“

Some could see our destiny as being to constantly manage crises or emergencies. I believe that we are living through a tipping point or great upheaval. Firstly, because we are living through… what could seem like the end of abundance,” he said. The country and its citizens must be ready to make “sacrifices” to meet and overcome the challenges they are facing, he continued. “Our system based on freedom in which we have become used to living, when we need to defend it sometimes that can entail making sacrifices,”Macron added.

“Faced with this, we have duties, the first of which is to speak frankly and very clearly without doom-mongering,” Macron stressed. The president called upon his cabinet to show unity, be “serious” and “credible” and urged ministers to avoid “demagogy.” “It’s easy to promise anything and everything, sometimes to say anything and everything. Do not give in to these temptations, it is demagoguery,” the president said, adding that such an approach “flourishes” today “in all democracies in a complex and frightening world.”

There is a pattern in the messages of today’s Marie Antoinettes. Borrell wants you to take it lying down, Macron wants you to do that for a long time (like the rest of your lives), and the Belgian PM makes it more concrete: you’ll be freezing for the next 10 years. After which, supposedly, renewables will have been built to keep your kids warm. Spoiler: they won’t be.

 

Belgian PM: “Next 5-10 Winters Will Be Difficult” As Energy Crisis Worsens

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo might have spilled the beans about the duration of Europe’s energy crisis. He told reporters Monday, “the next 5 to 10 winters will be difficult.” “The development of the situation is very difficult throughout Europe,” De Croo told Belgium broadcaster VRT. “In a number of sectors, it is really difficult to deal with those high energy prices. We are monitoring this closely, but we must be transparent: the coming months will be difficult, the coming winters will be difficult,” he said. The prime minister’s comments suggest replacing Russian natural gas imports could take years, exerting further economic doom on the region’s economy in the form of energy hyperinflation.

From Greece, even more concrete: energy subsidies. €1.9 billion in one month. To keep the hordes out of the streets. Wait, that Belgian guy said this will last 5-10 years. How is the country going to pay for that? One thing that comes to mind is Greeks will vote for anyone in the next election who vows to talk to Putin ASAP, restore the countries’ good relationships and sign a gas deal.

 

The Electricity Subsidy Shock

A significant rise in the price of electricity announced by state-controlled Public Power Corporation (PPC) for September forced the government to raise its electricity subsidy for September to 1.9 billion euros, from €1.1 billion in August. The subsidy level inevitably follows the PPC’s pricing policy, since it is the dominant player in the market, with 63% of consumers choosing it. While PPC had the lowest price of all electricity providers in August (€0.48 per kilowatt-hour) it raised its September price to €0.788 for those consuming up to 500kWh per month and €0.80 for heavier consumers. In order to stick to its commitment for an actual charge to consumers between €0.14-0.17 per kWh the government had to adjust its subsidy level accordingly, raising it by over 72%.

How long will this last, you said? Well, according to AP, “Washington expects Ukrainian forces “to fight for years to come.” “Included in the package are advanced weapons that are still in the development phase..”

 

‘Months Or Years’ Before US Arms Reach Ukraine – Media

Years could pass before some of the weapons in the upcoming “largest ever” package of US military assistance to Kiev actually reach Ukraine, according to Western media reports. On Tuesday, a number of mainstream media outlets cited anonymous US officials as describing the impending announcement of a $3 billion package of military aid to Ukraine. If confirmed, it would be the largest of its kind so far. Washington is by far the biggest supplier of military hardware to Ukraine as it fights against Russia. However, some of the promised equipment “will not be in the hands of Ukrainian fighters for months or years,” according to NBC News, one of the outlets that reported the upcoming package. Included in the package are advanced weapons that are still in the development phase, it explained.


The same caveat was cited by the Associated Press, which said that it may take “a year or two” for the arms to reach the battlefield, according to its sources. Washington expects Ukrainian forces “to fight for years to come,” US officials told the AP. The AeroVironment Switchblade 600 drone is an example of a weapon system that was promised to Ukraine months ago but has yet to be delivered. Defense News said this week that the Pentagon plans to sign the contract necessary for sending 10 of the so-called “kamikaze drones” within a month. Last month, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov called on foreign suppliers of arms to use his country as a testing ground for new weapons. He pledged to provide detailed reports about the experiences of Ukrainian soldiers with the prototypes provided to them.

This is not going to go well. Not for the European “leaders”, not for the EU, not for Ukraine, and not for Europeans. We could start a little bet as to how many leaders will still be in place by spring, and I bet you Zelensky won’t be one of them. Putin will. As for the rest, Rutte, Macron, we’ll see. But don’t underestimate the wrath of people with hungry and cold children. It feels like almost an alien image for 99% of Europeans, but it no longer will be.

And there is no logical reason for this, there is only the ideology of a few handfuls of little men with grand visions. Hate of everything Russia has kept the west going for 100 years or more. And these little men feed off of that. They can only do that by refusing to talk. Because that’s exactly what Russia does not refuse. Only, they want to talk as equals.

 

 

 

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Mar 062022
 


Marcel Duchamp The chess game 1910

 

Why Putin Invaded Ukraine – And What’s Really Going On (Maajid Nawaz)
War, Conflict & Enemies of Truth (Brenner)
Not Exactly Chernobyl (Dmitry Orlov)
How Russia Will Counterpunch the U.S./EU Declaration of War (Escobar)
US/NATO Is in the Grip of a Demonic Death-Wish (Edward Curtin)
Zelensky And The Fascists (MoA)
Putin Will Declare War On Any Country Creating A Ukraine No-Fly Zone (ZH)
When Ukraine Was Mightier Than China (Bivens)
Germany Warns Against Ban On Energy Imports From Russia (DW)
‘Key To White Survival’: How Putin Has Morphed Into A Far-right Savior (G.)
Most Already Had Robust Immunity (Girardot)
License to Kill (Steve Kirsch)
CDC Admits They Lied, And Granny Died (Denninger)
On the Cusp of an Economic Singularity (Doomberg)

 

 

 

 

Why RT got banned?!
https://twitter.com/i/status/1500057418235006979

 

 

 

 

Bryce Mitchell
https://twitter.com/i/status/1499995755515465730

 

 

 

 

Mandela

 

 

“Ukraine had a long history of cultural and political ties with Russia, dating to Kievan Rus of the 10th century that was founded by the Rurikid dynasty from Swedish vikings..”

Why Putin Invaded Ukraine – And What’s Really Going On (Maajid Nawaz)

To emphasise, this article serves to analyse how to prevent the danger of World War III. Its purpose is not to defend Putin’s actions. To understand the conflict requires understanding the recent history, and what Russia’s national interests are in the region. Ukraine had a long history of cultural and political ties with Russia, dating to Kievan Rus of the 10th century that was founded by the Rurikid dynasty from Swedish vikings. It had been formally a part of the Russian Empire since the 18th century and remained in its sphere of influence. In 2010 Ukraine elected the pro-Russia Yanukovych as their president. Leaning towards Russia as he did, the new president Yanukovych was however not the US establishment’s preferred candidate. In 2013, Yanukovych cancelled an association deal between Ukraine and the EU.

In short, such an action required a response. With the second largest oil reserves in the world, and by controlling most of Europe’s gas supplies (which pass through Ukraine) Russia was perilously close to creating a Eurasian superpower to rival the US and end the hegemony of the US petrodollar. This is something that was recognised by Trump, despite the now proven hoax that he was captured by Putin. The US response came in 2014 as a Western backed bloody Maidan uprising (Putin would call this a coup) led to a change of regime. This uprising was backed and funded by the US establishment and her allies. Most worrying of all, it was perpetrated by the Neo-Nazi group Svoboda, founded by Andriy Parubiy.

Despite corporatist media denials, the neo-Nazi nature of Ukraine’s new pro-American regime is by now well established. With western backing, Svoboda swiftly began raising the armed neo-Nazi Azov battalion, which now serves as the Ukrainian National Guard. The US was arming the Nazi Azov battalion for three years, until it finally ended the open part of this cooperation in 2018. “House-passed spending bills for the past three years have included a ban on U.S. aid to Ukraine from going to the Azov Battalion, but the provision was stripped out before final passage each year…The Azov Battalion was founded in 2014, and its first commander was Andriy Biletsky, who previously headed the neo-Nazi group Patriot of Ukraine.

Several members of the militia, which has been integrated into the Ukrainian National Guard, are self-avowed neo-Nazis..Last year, online posts by the militia’s news service showed members testing U.S.-made grenade launchers at a firing range. The posts have since been deleted”. Canada, surprise surprise, was also involved in this arming and funding of Ukrainian Nazis. Replete with Western funds, the group promptly appears to have begun organising Nazi summer camps for children. As well as organising street patrols for Nazi blackshirts in order to maintain their grip on power. And mass Nazi rallies, glorifying Nazi collaborators. Russia responded to this regime change by helping Crimea secede, and by recognising Luhansk’s and Donetsk’s independence. The above is the background to the eight year war that had been waging in Donbas, which you would be forgiven for not knowing about due to a corporatist media blackout.

Maajid

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“Two-way mendacity between the chief executive and the so-called Fourth Estate. Cozy.”

War, Conflict & Enemies of Truth (Brenner)

Here’s a stark example. On March 2 Biden was asked whether Russian forces are deliberately targeting civilian areas in Ukraine, the president says, “It’s clear they are.” An outright lie – picked up and transmitted without comment. The wrinkle in this instance is that this is the same lie that the MSM had been disseminating for days. Two-way mendacity between the chief executive and the so-called Fourth Estate. Cozy. Those who know better will be kept at bay – non-persons. So, we read in the august New York Times that Russia launches missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, while civilian casualties mount and the Russian offensive on Kharkiv stalls. All nonsense, all lies. Never corrected. They are just sub-heads in a fictional story designed to mythologize, to entertain, and to control thought. Straight out of 1984; who needs censorship?


A body politique incapable of enunciating and observing reasonable ethical standards of behavior should still find it within itself to engage in an honest discussion and debate on matters of supposed national consequence. Ukraine has shown, once again, that the U.S. is not so capable. Why does a president so casually lie in public? Well, for one thing, long experience tells him that he could get away with it. After all, most Americans still take at face value whatever they are told about the international scene despite their being lied to and deceived by their leaders. They lied about WMD in Iraq; they lied about the reception to be expected from the Iraq people, they lied repeatedly about the insurrection, they lied repeatedly about torture, they lied about General David Petraeus’ magnificent Iraqi national army that fled before Mosul.

Douglas MacGregor

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“..the rest of the world, which will still have to listen to fake news of Europe’s largest nuclear plant being blown up by evil Russians.”

Not Exactly Chernobyl (Dmitry Orlov)

I guess I’ll have to keep publishing some short notes on the situation in the Ukraine, since it’s all over the news and most of that is fake news. Overnight there was a ridiculous amount of noise about Zaporozhskaya AES, which is the largest nuke plant in Europe. President Zelensky proclaimed that it is the new Chernobyl and that all of Europe will need to be evacuated. He was obviously drunk at the time. What actually happened was: At 11:11 AM Moscow time (about an hour ago) the authorities of Zaporozhye Region announced that Zaporozhskaya AES is under control of the Russian forces. At 6:20 AM Moscow time the fire at the administrative building at Zaporozhskaya AES was extinguished with no casualties. It was probably set on purpose to create the media picture of “Europe’s largest nuke plant on fire!”

At 5:36 AM Moscow time the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that the fire in the area of Zaporozhskaya AES did not affect any of the main equipment at the plant. At 4:47 AM Moscow time president Zelensky goes live to announce that the Russians are trying to create a new Chernobyl. A likely story, that. Between 3:51 AM and 3:59 AM Moscow time fire crews were on site putting out the fire. Apparently, there wasn’t a lot for them to do. Between 2:00 AM and 3:30 AM Moscow time there was a shootout at the power plant’s administrative building. Somehow it resulted in a fire at the administrative building. So much for a new Chernobyl.

In other news, this morning the Ukrainian army launched a rocket attack on the headquarters of the Ukrainian Nazi “Azov” battalion. Ten Nazis were killed in the attack. This was punishment for their refusal to follow orders. In other news from this morning, Russia’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, is tightening up control by shutting down sources of disinformation and enemy propaganda, including: • Facebook • Meduza • BBC • Deutsche Welle • Radio Free Europe. Previously, “Echo of Moscow” and “Dozhd” were shut down. What this means is that fighting fake news in Russia is going to get a lot easier. Of course, it doesn’t mean anything for the rest of the world, which will still have to listen to fake news of Europe’s largest nuclear plant being blown up by evil Russians.

Yesterday’s negotiations between the Ukraine (the regime) and Russia resulted in an agreement on humanitarian corridors so that civilians can get out of cities where there is fighting going on. The problem with that is that the remaining Nazi battalions don’t particularly obey orders from the regime and like to use civilians as hostages and human shields. In all, the Russian demilitariazation campaign is going according to schedule. Ukraine’s nuclear installations are passing under Russian control undamaged. Infrastructure damage is quite limited (unless it is military infrastructure, in which case it gets blown up).

As far as denazification—the other goal of the Russian campaign—people are scratching their heads trying to figure out what that means and how it might happen. On the one hand, the Russians know them by name, face, voice print and perhaps even fingerprints, so it’s just a matter of hunting them down. On the other hand, the high-ranking Ukrainian Nazis and their families are currently fleeing the Ukraine and filtering out to the surrounding countries while simultaneously trying to organize terrorist attacks within Russia (unsuccessfully so far). To add spice, Ramzan Kadyrov, the intrepid Chechen chieftain, promised to track them down and kill them wherever they are. “We are everywhere in the world,” he said.

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“Russia will be showing the way: only self-sufficiency affords total independence.”

How Russia Will Counterpunch the U.S./EU Declaration of War (Escobar)

Michael Hudson told me, “the U.S. and Western Europe expected a Froelicher Krieg (“happy war”). Germany and other countries haven’t begun to feel the pain of gas and mineral and food deprivation. THAT’S going to be the real game. The aim would be to break Europe away from U.S. control via NATO. This will involve “meddling” by creating a New World Order political movement and party, like Communism was a century ago. You could call it a new Great Awakening.” A possible Great Awakening certainly will not involve the NATOstan sphere anytime soon. The collective West is rather in serious Great Decoupling mode, its entire economy weaponized with the aim, expressed in the open, of destroying Russia and even – the perennial wet dream – provoking regime change.

Sergey Naryshkin, the head of the SVR, succinctly described it: “Masks have dropped. The West is not just trying to enclose Russia with a new ‘Iron Curtain’. We are talking about attempts to destroy our state – its ‘abolition’, as it is now customary to say in the ‘tolerant’ liberal-fascist environment. Since the United States and its allies have neither the opportunity nor the spirit to try to do this in an open and honest military-political confrontation, sneaky attempts are being made to establish an economic, informational and humanitarian “blockade”’. Arguably the apex of Western hysteria is the onset of a 2022 Neo-Nazi Jihad: a 20,000-strong mercenary army being assembled in Poland under CIA supervision. The bulk comes from private military companies such as Blackwater/Academi and DynCorp.

Their cover: “return of Ukrainians from the French Foreign Legion.” This Afghan remix comes straight from the only playbook the CIA knows. Back in reality, facts on the ground will eventually lead entire economies in the West to become roadkill – with chaos in the commodities sphere leading to skyrocketing energy and food costs. As an example, up to 60% of German and 70% of Italian manufacturing industries may be forced to shut down for good – with catastrophic social consequences. The unelected, uber-Kafkaesque EU machine in Brussels has chosen to commit a triple hara-kiri by grandstanding as abject vassals of the Empire, destroying any remaining French and German sovereignty impulses and imposing alienation from Russia-China.

Meanwhile, Russia will be showing the way: only self-sufficiency affords total independence. And the Big Picture has also been keenly understood by the Global South: one day someone had to stand up and say, “That’s Enough”. With maximum raw power to back it up.

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“If Russia had such missiles encircling the United States from Cuba, Mexico, and Canada, what American would find it tolerable?”

US/NATO Is in the Grip of a Demonic Death-Wish (Edward Curtin)

Not wanting to sound hyperbolic, but I am starting to conclude that the nuclear madmen running the U.S./NATO New Cold War they started decades ago are itching to start a nuclear war with Russia. Their hypocrisy and nihilistic thirst for death and destruction are so extreme that it boggles my mind. They accuse Russia of starting a New Cold War when they did so decades ago and have been pushing the envelope ever since. Now they act shocked that Russia, after many years of patience, has struck back in Ukraine. In 2017, Oliver Stone released his four part interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Putin Interviews were conducted between 2015, the year after the US engineered the coup d’état in Ukraine installing Nazis to power in that country bordering Russia, and 2017.

Stone was of course bashed for daring to respectfully ask questions and receive answers from the Russian leader who the American media has always cast, like all the mythic bogeymen, as the new Hitler intent on conquering the world, when it is the United States, not Russia, that has over 750 military bases throughout the world and has attacked Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria – the list is endless. In his Putin interviews, Oliver Stone, a man of truth and honor, lets viewers catch a glimpse of the real Vladimir Putin and the matters that concern him as the leader of Russia. In 2018, I wrote of those interviews: . . . he [Putin] makes factual points that should ring loud and clear to anyone conversant with facts. One: that the US needs an external enemy (“I know that, I feel that.”).

Two: the U.S.A. engineered the coup d’état in the Ukraine on Russia’s border. Three: the US has surrounded Russia with US/NATO troops and bases armed with anti-ballistic missiles that can, as Putin rightly says to Stone, be converted in hours to regular offensive nuclear missile aimed at Russia. This is a factual and true statement that should make any fair-minded person stand up in horror. If Russia had such missiles encircling the United States from Cuba, Mexico, and Canada, what American would find it tolerable? What would CNN and The New York Times have to say? Yet these same people readily find it impossible to see the legitimacy in Russia’s position, resorting to name calling and illogical rhetoric. Russia is surrounded with US/NATO troops and missiles and yet Russia is the aggressor.

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“The fascists in Ukraine are relatively few. But they have the guns and they will kill anyone who opposes them and their aims.”

Zelensky And The Fascists (MoA)

On February 19, at the hight of the fire, Zelensky gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference. He prominently mentioned the Budapest Memorandum under which the Ukraine had given up the nuclear weapons it had inherited from the USSR*: “Since 2014, Ukraine has tried three times to convene consultations with the guarantor states of the Budapest Memorandum. Three times without success. Today Ukraine will do it for the fourth time. I, as President, will do this for the first time. But both Ukraine and I are doing this for the last time. I am initiating consultations in the framework of the Budapest Memorandum. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was commissioned to convene them. If they do not happen again or their results do not guarantee security for our country, Ukraine will have every right to believe that the Budapest Memorandum is not working and all the package decisions of 1994 are in doubt.”

One of the package decision Ukraine took in 1994 was the entering of Ukraine into the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Russia understood Zelensky’s remark in Munich as a threat by Ukraine to acquire nuclear weapons. It already has the expertise, materials and means to do that. A fascist controlled government with nukes on Russia’s border? This is not about Putin at all. No Russian government of any kind could ever condone that. I believe that this credible threat, together with the artillery preparations for a new war on Donbas, was what convinced Russia’s government to intervene by force. On February 22 Russia recognized the Donbas republics as independent states. On February 24 Russian troops crossed the borders into the Ukraine.

The aim set for the Russian military is to de-militarize the Ukraine and to de-nazify it. The first is easy to understand. The Russian military will simple destroy or disable all heavy weapons the Ukraine has. The second aim requires more explanation than the above interview with Dmytro Yarosh. As the Grayzone notes: “In November 2021, one of Ukraine’s most prominent ultra-nationalist militiamen, Dmytro Yarosh, announced that he had been appointed as an advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Yarosh is an avowed follower of the Nazi collaborator Bandera who led Right Sector from 2013 to 2015, vowing to lead the “de-Russification” of Ukraine.” The threats from the fascists make it impossible for any Ukrainian politician to implement a sane policy that would lead to peace in the country. The fascists in Ukraine are relatively few. But they have the guns and they will kill anyone who opposes them and their aims.

They have been put into important state positions. (Besides that oligarchs like Kolomoyskyy pay and use them for their own purposes.) The problem is that such ideological groups, once firmly established, tend to grow. The Right Sector is holding ‘patriotic’ summer camps for young Ukrainians and the Ukrainian state is financing those. They are successful and Ukrainian youths is looking up to them. These developments are what Russia is afraid off. As Patrick Armstrong wrote at the start of the current intervention: “What [Putin] is talking about is what the Soviet Union tried to do from 1933 onwards: namely to stop Hitler before he got started. This time Russia is able to do it by itself. In other words, Putin feels that he is making a pre-emptive attack to stop June 1941. This is very serious indeed and indicates that the Russians are going to keep going until they feel that they can safely stop.”

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“That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are..”

Putin Will Declare War On Any Country Creating A Ukraine No-Fly Zone (ZH)

Ukraine’s President Zelensky and his top officials have over the past days been very openly urging a US and NATO imposed no-fly zone over the country, which would effectively bring American forces into a direct shooting war with Russia. On Saturday Russian President Putin issued a stern threat to any external power thinking about intervening by sending direct military forces. Putin made clear a no-fly zone would result in the Kremlin’s immediate declaration of war on any country intervening in such a way. The AP reported and translated his fresh comments made before civilian aviation industry members and pilots as follows: A no-fly-zone would spell war for any third party who tries to enforce one over Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has said. Speaking at a meeting with female pilots on Saturday, Putin said Russia would view “any move in this direction” as an intervention that “will pose a threat to our service members.”


“That very second, we will view them as participants of the military conflict, and it would not matter what members they are,” the Russian president said. Further he addressed the ratcheted up sanctions on Russia from the West, which are now serving to isolate Russia almost on levels akin to the US sanctions regimen on Iran – with of course the important exception that the US has not yet directly targeted Russian oil and gas exports. “Sanctions against us are like declaring war on Russia,” Putin said additionally in the meeting with military members. He further painted a positive picture of Russia’s strategy and military operations on the ground, at a moment many Western officials and pundits in the media have pointed out major problems for the invaders as Ukraine mounts a fierce ground resistance…

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“The average annual income for an entire household in recent years hovered around $2,000. (Or about $38 a week — how’s that for a paycheck?)”

When Ukraine Was Mightier Than China (Bivens)

When the Soviet Union collapsed, Ukraine’s nuclear inheritance was second only to Russia’s. It included more than 2,600 (!) tactical weapons (for battlefield use), more than 1,200 on ICBMs, and a nuclear-armed bomber force. It was an arsenal larger than the arsenals of China, the U.K. and France combined. Ukraine gave it all away. That was a more hopeful time; the Chernobyl power plant disaster in the 1980s had turned many there against all-things nuclear, and the weapons seemed like an expensive headache. They were handed over to Russia to decommission and dismantle. It seemed logical since Russia already held all of the command and control infrastructure, as well as all facilities to design and manufacture warheads, enrich uranium, and dismantle decommissioned weapons.

In exchange, Ukraine got the Budapest Memorandum, a 1994 document in which the United States and Russia pledged to respect Ukraine’s borders; to never use military force against Ukraine; and to initiate UN Security Council actions and other consultations if those pledges were ever breached. The memo fell short of a full treaty, was filed away and essentially never heard from again. Isn’t it funny how a formal document like this is now meaningless “because it’s not a treaty.” It was signed, in public ceremony, by top government leaders, as part of an incredibly solemn matter — Ukraine handing over all nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees. But it’s not a ratified treaty. So, oh well. Next time you sign something Ukraine, get a lawyer!

Contrast that with official attitudes toward a mere public assertion in 2008 — in paragraph 23 of what was basically a press release — that Ukraine will someday join NATO. That is not a treaty either, but somehow it’s worshipped like holy writ. It’s a press release summary of a meeting we Americans never voted on. Yet Washington’s more rabid foreign policy circles have long insisted upon it as a point of honor, and the White House refused to renounce it even unto the last days before the Russian invasion. In the years after Ukraine handed over its nuclear weapons, that poor nation became ever more dysfunctional, corrupt, chaotic. The average annual income for an entire household in recent years hovered around $2,000. (Or about $38 a week — how’s that for a paycheck?)

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“If you want to hurt Putin a little, then save energy..”

Germany Warns Against Ban On Energy Imports From Russia (DW)

Germany is currently still dependent on Russian fossil fuels, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Thursday. He spoke out against a ban on energy imports from Russia in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. “I would not advocate an embargo on Russian imports of fossil fuels. I would even oppose it,” he said after meeting German business leaders. “We need these energy supplies to maintain the price stability and energy security in Germany,” Habeck added. A shortage in supply could threaten social cohesion in Germany, he warned. Habeck stressed Germany “must free ourselves” from imports of Russia’s gas, coal, and oil. In February, Germany stopped the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. It has since joined other European nations in introducing a raft of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.


Berlin even overturned its longstanding practice of blocking weapons exports to conflict zones. Habeck, however, said Germany has already begun to feel the effects of those decisions. “The impact of the sanctions and of the war on all sectors of the economy is so strong that we can fear a big impact,” Habeck said. The minister said any hopes that Europe’s largest economy would return to post-pandemic levels later this year were dashed. “We had hoped that we will experience an upswing this spring, a recovery phase. But now we have the consequences of the war,” he warned. Habeck urged consumers do their bit by reducing consumption. “If you want to hurt Putin a little, then save energy,” he said.

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For the MSM, the narrative demands that Putin is an evil white supremacist. Never mind that it’s exactly what he’s fighting.

‘Key To White Survival’: How Putin Has Morphed Into A Far-right Savior (G.)

“Can we get a round of applause for Russia?” asked Nick Fuentes, on stage last week at a white nationalist event. Amid a roar of applause for the Russian president, just days after he invaded Ukraine, many attendees responded by shouting: “Putin! Putin!” It would be easy to dismiss the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) in Orlando, Florida, as a radical fringe. But speeches by two Republican members of Congress – one in person, the other via video – guaranteed national attention and controversy. The backlash showed how the war in Ukraine has exposed the American far right’s affinity with Putin. That affinity is complicated by the tortured relationship between Russia and former president Donald Trump, whose rise Moscow supported with a covert operation to undermine US democracy.

Fuentes, a notorious antisemite, created AFPAC to coincide with the more mainstream Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where Trump was the headline speaker last Saturday. At AFPAC, Fuentes introduced the Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who would this week interrupt the State of the Union address, rising to yell “Build the wall!” as an objection to Joe Biden’s immigration policy. But here she did not interrupt to object to the chanting of the Russian president’s name. “I don’t believe anyone should be canceled,” Taylor Greene told the attendees of the white nationalist conference. She lashed out at a wide range of topics from Marxism to cancel culture but avoided the invasion of Ukraine, saying even less on the topic than Russian state media.

Devin Burghart, executive director of Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, said: “In the world of the white nationalists, you are seeing a lot of support for Putin, as expressed by the cheerleading at AFPAC over the weekend.” Others agree, pointing to a shared socially and culturally conservative ideology, disdain for democratic systems and appreciation for a “strong man” form of government. There was also the fact that it was the current Ukrainian government whom Trump attempted – and failed – to bribe to investigate his political rival Biden: actions which led to his first impeachment.

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But do they still?

Most Already Had Robust Immunity (Girardot)

Collectively, research and the pharmaceutical industry has been making the same mistake on Covid-19 as these well-intended smart American airforce engineers did nearly 80 years ago. They have essentially focused on the wrong information, the non universal part of the genetic material of the virus, which has been found to mutate the most. In January 2020, SARS-Cov2 was rapidly sequenced (see illustration), and immediately the research community started investigating its novelty (the red dot areas). How was Covid-19 unique? and different from SARS-Cov1? What was its mode of action?… Naturally, research started focusing on the now infamous Spike protein, the foundation for these upcoming mRNA and viral vector vaccines.But everyone was oblivious of the elephant in the room: Covid-19 shares 65-82% genome with other Coronaviruses!

Why is this so critical? Roughly 21,000 nucleotides are shared between SARS-Cov2 and other HCovs. And mild forms of coronaviruses, common colds, are permanently circulating the planet and have been infecting people for centuries: Billions of people have had to gain immunity against the most immunogenic parts of this long string of common RNA. Past infections have had to act as “vaccination campaigns”, only with a universal stable material: immunising against COVID-19 even before it ever existed. The concept is well known: it’s a phenomenon called “Cross-immunity”.Working in biotech, I am a big believer in biotechnology and the future of mRNA/DNA vaccines, notably in the fight against cancer. And if one believes in mRNA vaccines for Covid; one necessarily needs to believe that past coronaviruses have already immunised a big part of the population. They are based on the same underlying immunological processes.

As I have already described in several articles, beyond the breadth of antigen targets (larger from natural immunity), the main difference currently between current vaccines and natural immunity is the fact that natural immunity provides not only systemic immunity – like vaccines – but also sterilising mucosal immunity for a limited period (<2yrs) – which the vaccines do not provide unfortunately. The most prominent and visible clinical evidence of that sterilising immunity was the wide pervasiveness of the asymptomatic population witnessed throughout the globe, notably in very dense regions like Asia and Africa. Indeed, density-induced incidence levels are so high that a form of permanent immunity seems to exist in these countries through the form of a mucosal sterilising immunity

Makary masks kids

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“Is there a viable cause of action to stop any of this? I haven’t found it.”

License to Kill (Steve Kirsch)

The most frustrating thing about this pandemic is that there is no doubt that the drug companies have killed over 150,000 Americans, yet nobody with authority to stop these vaccines wants to talk about the evidence. The vaccine program is done under the pretext of saving 10,000 lives (the Pfizer Phase 3 trial showed the drug saved approximately one COVID life for every 22,000 people fully vaccinated for the COVID variants existing over 1 year ago), but nobody really wants to look at the excess all-cause mortality caused by the vaccines (aka “the collateral damage”). Is there a viable cause of action to stop any of this? I haven’t found it. The law shields the drug companies, and everyone associated with the vaccination process from all liability. They basically have a license to kill.

The CDC should be criminally negligent for not recognizing the obvious safety signals. However, because they are an authority in the minds of the court, they can do no wrong. There is a “reasonable minds may differ” defense here and our courts believe that the CDC has reasonable minds. So how can there be negligence when reasonable minds don’t find a safety signal? It’s the perfect crime. You can literally get away with murder. People are being killed but nobody is being charged with a crime, AFAIK. Are there any district attorneys or state or federal prosecutors that can find a viable cause of action? The evidence of harm has been hiding in plain sight including:

  1. An estimated reportable adverse event rate of 20% of those fully vaccinated (there are over 200M vaccinated, 1M VAERS reports and VAERS is at least 41X underreported)
  2. An estimated death due to vaccine of over 150K Americans
  3. Embalmers reporting up to 93% of cases have telltale blood clots associated with the vaccine
  4. Blood before/after vaccination is visually very different
  5. Rates of myocarditis as high as 2% (Monte Vista Christian School and a private conversation with a DoD doctor)
  6. Rates of neurological damage as high as 4.5% (Israeli MOH survey).
  7. A minimum of 30% (Peter Schirmacher’s study) to 93% (Bhakdi’s study) of deaths post vaccine attributed to the vaccine
  8. A post-marketing survey disclosed by Pfizer consistent with the VAERS data reports
  9. An estimate of deaths and URF by Joel Smalley using death data in Massachusetts that confirms earlier numbers (Joel calculated a URF of 41, matching mine exactly as well as a deaths per million doses (dpmd) of 945 which is even higher than the 411 dpmd calculated by Mathew Crawford).
  10. The Skidmore paper, “How Many People Died from the Covid-19 Inoculations? An Estimate Based on a Survey of the United States Population,”
  11. German insurance company data estimate done by Mathew Crawford yielding an estimate of 120,000 deaths in the US caused by the vaccines


Blood clots

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“..the odds that bad things will happen goes up exponentially..”

CDC Admits They Lied, And Granny Died (Denninger)

In fact we now have a very high level of evidence that the manufacturers, including specifically Pfizer and Moderna, gamed the trials by at least deliberate refusal to look. We know this because the trial in young people showed that protection goes negative within just a couple of months, that is, it makes you more likely rather than less to get infected. But the trials were designed only against symptomatic disease, they deliberately did not do surveillance testing on a regular (e.g. weekly) basis in the trial subjects to see if the shots were sterilizing and if they made infection more-likely in the first few weeks, they deliberately ignored or hid adverse events including deaths that were not reported where the public could see them and the doses were set inexplicably high which produced an antibody titer that, coincidentally, lasted the required three months to get the EUAs but were basically worthless or even enhanced infection by six months and the trial was….. coincidentally….. three months.

It was claimed this was not “gene therapy” yet the head pharmacy person from Bayer just said in public that it is, which of course we all knew if you had any sort of competence in reading anything because the jabs all were designed to be taken up into your cells and hijack their genetic machinery to make spike proteins. That’s gene therapy by definition yet if you say that on Twitter it gets your post restricted and if you say it on a Google ad-supported site or on Youtube it draws either a black ball ban on advertising or a strike on your channel — or even a ban. Yet it is absolutely true — and has always been true. The media won’t allow this to be discussed because they know damn well that the public perception is that gene therapy is a last resort sort of thing (e.g. if you have cancer) because it is dangerous and thus the public would refuse to take them.

Drug companies run trials for every single drug they produce. They are THE subject-matter experts in doing so because they have done it dozens or hundreds of times. This means they are in a perfect position to design trials to fit the test and if, in that environment, you give them a liability shield so they can’t be sued if they designed to the test and bad things happen the odds that bad things will happen goes up exponentially. I warned people repeatedly that I saw discontinuities in the public trial data — that is, intentional omissions that, were I trying to design an honest trial to prove that a given therapy was sterilizing and thus would increase public safety, not just personal safety, I would have included. I also pointed out that surveillance for adverse events, specifically full blood work before and after injections, would have almost-certainly detected the most-severe adverse events before the EUAs were issued and that work was intentionally not done because the “test” that the FDA set forth did not require it.

Chip Roy

Read more …

“If $20-30 trillion or more of global GDP spurns the preexisting reserve currency, is it still the reserve currency?”

On the Cusp of an Economic Singularity (Doomberg)

The simple truth of a singularity applies whether it occurred in the past or will in the future: what transpires on the other side is unknowable from here. Given the horrific and still-unfolding events of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the West’s collective response to it, one can’t help but wonder whether we are on the cusp of an economic singularity in which the laws and bedrock beliefs that formed the foundation of international economic order for decades break down. The consequences are similarly unknowable, but we suspect a great reset may indeed be upon us. Even if a ceasefire is announced moments after we publish this piece, shocking damage to the global economic system has undoubtedly already been done and certain genies won’t easily be put back into their bottles.

Before proceeding, we should state clearly that what follows is not a critique of the Western response to the invasion but rather an assessment of the potential first- and second-order consequences of these historic moves, as well as speculation on where some of the harshest economic crises might manifest in the near future. While we join in the hope that these measures achieve their desired direct effect, there’s no denying these are truly unprecedented times. The most stunning move by the US and its allies was cutting off the Russian central bank’s access to most of its $630 billion of foreign reserves. Without access, one wonders if these funds are really “its” reserves at all? What is ownership without access? No matter how justified that move might seem today, there’s no escaping that this action will reverberate for years to come. In a blunt opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “If Russian Currency Reserves Aren’t Really Money, the World Is in for a Shock,” reporter Jon Sindreu had this to say about how central banks everywhere must now view their reserves:

“Many economists have long equated this money to savings in a piggy bank, which in turn correspond to investments made abroad in the real economy. Recent events highlight the error in this thinking: Barring gold, these assets are someone else’s liability—someone who can just decide they are worth nothing. Last year, the IMF suspended Taliban-controlled Afghanistan’s access to funds and SDR. Sanctions on Iran have confirmed that holding reserves offshore doesn’t stop the U.S. Treasury from taking action. As New England Law Professor Christine Abely points out, the 2017 settlement with Singapore’s CSE TransTel shows that the mere use of the dollar abroad can violate sanctions on the premise that some payment clearing ultimately happens on U.S. soil.” In for a shock, indeed.

In essence, Sindreu’s piece argues that this move substantially increases the risk that the US dollar loses its privileged status as the global reserve currency and, at a minimum, likely ensures a polarization of the global economy into at least two camps – the West in one and Russia/China/Iran/Saudi Arabia plus other targeted or aligned countries in the other. If $20-30 trillion or more of global GDP spurns the preexisting reserve currency, is it still the reserve currency? If reserves can be negated overnight, are they even reserves? How many other countries must hedge against the possibility of similar sanctions? Should we add India to the list?

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

And you thought you were rid of him…

 

 

Convoy

 

 

Celente

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Feb 152021
 
 February 15, 2021  Posted by at 3:05 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  25 Responses »


Giorgione The Tempest 1508

 

 

“Mankind’s only chance to not destroy its planet lies in diverging from all other species in that not all energy available to it, is used up as fast as possible. But that’s a big challenge. It would, speaking from a purely philosophical angle, truly separate us from nature for the first time ever, and we must wonder if that’s desirable.”

 

I wrote that 4 years and 2 months ago today, and I’m still thinking about it. It came to mind again, along with the article it comes from, see below, when I saw a few recent references to climate change, and to how any policy to halt it should be financed. It’s all painfully obvious.

Bill Gates, while on a virtual book tour, says governments should pay. In particular for the innovation needed. We’re going to solve it all with things we haven’t invented yet. That kind of thinking never fails to greatly boost my confidence in people and their ideas.

Overall, Gates’ words feel like a stale same old same old been there done that tone. But one thing is changing. Since Joe Biden became the most popular US president ever, according to his vote count, there is now a climate czar at the US Treasury, and a climate change team at the US Fed. Progress! At least for those seeking to use your money to solve their problems.

 

Bill Gates: Solving Covid Easy Compared With Climate

Mr Gates’s new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, is a guide to tackling global warming. [..] Net zero is where we need to get to. This means cutting emissions to a level where any remaining greenhouse gas releases are balanced out by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. One way to do this is by planting trees, which soak up CO2 through their leaves. Mr Gates’ focus is on how technology can help us make that journey. Renewable sources like wind and solar can help us decarbonise electricity but, as Mr Gates points out, that’s less than 30% of total emissions.

We are also going to have to decarbonise the other 70% of the world economy – steel, cement, transport systems, fertiliser production and much, much more. We simply don’t have ways of doing that at the moment for many of these sectors. The answer, says Mr Gates, will be an innovation effort on a scale the world has never seen before. This has to start with governments, he argues. At the moment, the economic system doesn’t price in the real cost of using fossil fuels. Most users don’t pay anything for the damage to the environment done by pollution from the petrol in their car or the coal or gas that created the electricity in their home.

“Right now, you don’t see the pain you’re causing as you emit carbon dioxide,” is how Mr Gates puts it. That’s why he says governments have to intervene. “We need to have price signals to tell the private sector that we want green products,” he says. That is going to require a huge investment by governments in research and development, Mr Gates argues, as well as support to allow the market for new products and technologies to grow, thereby helping drive down prices.

 

Yes, a climate change team at the US Fed. Which has been handed yet another mandate. Because the Treasury can only do so much, after all. What you want and need is something unlimited to pay for all those yet-to-be-invented tools that Bill Gates and his ilk will be happy to research with your money. Jim Rickards has this:

 

Green New Deal Is Underway

The overall Green New Deal calls for ending the use of oil and natural gas, moving to electric vehicles, solar, wind and geothermal power, imposing carbon taxes to reduce C02 emissions and providing government subsidies to non-carbon-based energy technologies. The U.S. would also seek to embed these policies and priorities in new trade treaties and multilateral agreements. President Biden has already begun this process by rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, which actually doesn’t mean much; it’s mostly for show. The Paris Accord is also a platform for pursuing the Green New Deal.

[..] With the job creation mandate in its portfolio, the Fed was empowered to interfere with almost every aspect of the real economy, including jobs, inflation, interest rates, liquidity and financial regulation. As if that weren’t enough, economist Barry Eichengreen now calls on central banks, especially the Fed, to use their regulatory powers to control climate change! Part of the agenda would address racial inequality, income inequality and credit access for underprivileged groups. These may be laudable goals, but it’s a long way from the Fed’s role as lender of last resort.

What’s frightening about this push to expand the Fed’s mandate is not that it can’t work, but that it could. A central bank could require commercial banks to lend money to solar and wind generating companies and deny credit to oil companies. A central bank could require more loans to disadvantaged neighborhoods and require that no credit be made available to gun manufacturers or gun dealers. There is no aspect of the economy and business activity that could not be affected positively by mandatory credit or destroyed by the lack of credit and access to the payments system.

This is already being done to some extent by cabals of commercial banks. It would be even more powerful if required by central banks. This is exactly the outcome that has been warned about for centuries by philosophers and political scientists. It is exactly the reason Americans abolished two U.S. central banks in the 19th century.

 

This is precisely what I was warning about in December 2016, when the protagonists were Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg, who wrote “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change”. If you are serious about saving your planet, you’re not going to listen to the ideas of billionaires and central bankers. Because they are the people behind the original problem, and the only tools they know of are the ones who created that problem.

You can’t solve a problem with the same tools that created it. And you’re not going to solve the climate problem by seeking to make a profit from it. Here’s from 2016. Oh wait, do remember that our societies and economies don’t run on using energy, but on wasting it. If you haven’t internalized that one, take a few steps back and try again.

 

 

Heal the Planet for Profit (December 16, 2016)

 


Parisians duck down to evade German sniper fire following Nazi surrender of Paris, 1945

 

 

If you ever wondered what the odds are of mankind surviving, let alone ‘defeating’, climate change, look no further than the essay the Guardian published this week, written by Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney. It proves beyond a moonlight shadow of a doubt that the odds are infinitesimally close to absolute zero (Kelvin, no Hobbes).

Yes, Bloomberg is the media tycoon and former mayor of New York (which he famously turned into a 100% clean and recyclable city). And since central bankers are as we all know without exception experts on climate change, as much as they are on full-contact crochet, it makes perfect sense that Bank of England governor Carney adds his two -trillion- cents.

Conveniently, you don’t even have to read the piece, the headline tells you all you need and then some: “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change” really nails it. The entire mindset on display in just a few words. If that’s what they went for, kudo’s are due.

These fine gents probably actually believe that this is perfectly in line with our knowledge of, say, human history, of evolution, of the laws of physics, and of -mass- psychology. All of which undoubtedly indicate to them that we can and will defeat the problems we have created -and still are-, literally with the same tools and ideas -money and profit- that we use to create them with. Nothing ever made more sense.

That these problems originated in the same relentless quest for profit that they now claim will help us get rid of them, is likely a step too far for them; must have been a class they missed. “We destroyed it for profit” apparently does not in their eyes contradict “we’ll fix it for profit too”. Not one bit. It does, though. It’s indeed the very core of what is going wrong.

Profit, or money in general, is all these people live for, it’s their altar. That’s why they are successful in this world. It’s also why the world is doomed. Is there any chance I could persuade you to dwell on that for a few seconds? That, say, Bloomberg and Carney, and all they represent, are the problem dressed up as the solution? That our definition of success is what dooms us?

Philosophers, religious people, or you and me, may struggle with the question “what’s the purpose of life?”. These guys do not. The purpose of life is to make a profit. The earth and all the life it harbors exist to kill, drill, excavate and burn down, if that means you can make a profit. And after that you repair it all for a profit. In their view, the earth doesn’t turn of its own accord after all, it’s money that makes it go round.

 

The worrisome thing is that Mark and Michael will be listened to, that they are allowed a seat at the table in the first place, whereas you and I are not. A table that will be filled with plenty more of their ilk, as the announcement of Bill Gates’ billionaire philantropist energy fund says loud and clear:

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and a group of high-profile executives are investing $1 billion in a fund to spur clean energy technology and address global climate change a year after the Paris climate agreement. Gates launched the Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund on Monday along with billionaire entrepreneurs such as Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg, Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma and Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos. The fund seeks to increase financing of emerging energy research and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to help meet goals set in Paris, according to a statement by the investor group known as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Yes, many of the same folk and/or their minions were sitting at the table with Trump on Dec 14. To see if there are any profits to be made. When a profit is involved they have no trouble sitting down with the same guy they insulted and warned against day after grueling day mere weeks ago. They have no trouble doing it because they insulted him for a potential profit too. It’s business, it’s not personal.

Billionaires will save us from ourselves, and make us -and themselves- rich while doing it. What is not to like? Well, for one thing, has anybody lately checked the energy footprint of Messrs. Bloomberg, Gates, Ma, Zuckerberg, Bezos et al? Is it possible that perhaps they’re trying to pull our collective wool over our eyes by pretending to care about those footprints? That maybe these ‘clean energy’ initiatives are merely a veil behind which they intend to extend -and expand- said footprints?

The ones in that sphere who wind up being most successful are those who are most convincing in making us believe that all we need to do to avert a climate disaster is to use some different form of energy. That all the talk about zero emissions and clean energy is indeed reflecting our one and only possible reality.

That all we need to do is to switch to solar and wind and electric cars to save ourselves (and they’ll build them for a subsidy). That that will end the threat and we can keep on doing what we always did, and keep on growing it all and as the cherry on the cake, make a profit off the endeavor.

 

None of it flies even a little. First of all, as I said last week in Mass Extinction and Mass Insanity, there are many more problems with our present lifestyles than ‘only’ climate change, or the use of carbon. Like the extinction of two-thirds of all vertebrate life in just 50 years leading up to 2020. There’s -close to- nothing wind and solar will do to alleviate that.

Because it’s not oil itself, or carbon in general, that kills; our use of it does. And the rush to build an entire new global infrastructure that is needed to use new energy forms, which will depend on using huge amounts of carbon, is more likely to kill off that globe than to save it. “Carbon got us in this, let’s use lots more of it to get us out”.

The trillions in -public- investment that would be needed will make us all dirt poor too, except for the gentlemen mentioned above and a handful of others who invent stuff that they manage to make us believe will save us. Still convinced?

 

The lifestyles of the last 10 generations of us, especially westerners, are characterized more than anything else by the huge increase in the use of energy, of calories and joules. As we went from wood to peat to coal to oil and gas, the energy return on energy investment kept going higher. But that stopped with oil and gas. And from now on in it will keep going down.

“Free carbon excess” was a one-off ‘gift’ from nature. It will not continue and it will not return. Different forms of carbon have offered us a one-time source of free energy that we will not have again. The idea that we can replace it with ‘clean energy’ is ludicrous. The energy return on energy investment doesn’t even come close. And you can’t run a society with our present levels of complexity on a much lower ‘net energy’. We must dress down. No profit in that, sorry.

We built what we have now with oil at an EROEI of 100:1. There are no forms of energy left that come remotely close, including new, unconventional, forms of oil itself. Peak oil has been a much maligned and misunderstood concept, but its essence stands: when it takes more energy to ‘produce’ energy than it delivers, there will be no production.

This graph is a few years old, and wind and solar may have gained a few percentage points in yield, but it’s still largely correct. And it will continue to be.

 

 

We have done with all that free energy what all other life forms do when ‘gifted’ with an excess of available energy: spend it as fast as possible, proliferate to speed up the process (we went from less than 1 billion people to 7 billion in under 200 years, 2 billion to 7 billion in 100 years) and, most of all, waste it.

Ever wonder why everybody drives a car that is ten times heavier then her/himself and has a 10% efficiency rate in its energy use? Why there’s an infrastructure everywhere that necessitates for every individual to use 1000 times more energy than it would take herself to get from A to B on foot? Sounds a lot like deliberately wasteful behavior, doesn’t it?

The essence here is that while we were building this entire wasteful world of us, we engaged in the denying and lying behavior that typifies us as a species more than anything: we disregarded externalities. And there is no reason to believe we would not continue to do just that when we make the illusionary switch to ‘clean’ energy.

To begin with, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says there’s no such thing as clean energy. So stop using the term. Second, that we call wind and solar ‘clean energy’ means we’re already ignoring externalities again. We pretend that producing windmills and solar panels does not produce pollution (or we wouldn’t call it ‘clean’). While enormous amounts of carbon are used in the production process, and it involves pollution, loss of land, loss of life, loss of resources (once you burn it it’s gone).

 

An example: If we want to ‘save’ the earth, we would do good to start by overthrowing the way we produce food. It presently easily takes more than 10 calories of energy -mostly carbon- for every calorie of food we make. Then we wrap it all in (oil-based) plastic and transport it sometimes 1000s of miles before it’s on our plates. And at the end of this process, we will have thrown away half of it. It’s hard to think of a more wasteful process.

It’s a process obviously devised and executed by idiots. But it’s profitable. There is a profit to be made in wasting precious resources. And there is a key lesson in that. There is no profit in producing food in a more efficient way. At least not for the industries that produce it. And perhaps not even for you, if you produce most of your food – it takes ‘precious’ time.

It would still be hugely beneficial, though. And there’s the key. There is no direct link between what is good for us, and the planet, on the one side, and profit, money, on the other. What follows from that is that it’s not the people whose entire lives are centered around money who are the most obvious choices to ‘save the planet’. If anything, they are the least obvious.

But in an economic and political system that is itself as focused on money as ours is, they are still the ones who are allowed to assume this role. It’s a circle jerk around, and then into, a drain.

 

Mankind’s only chance to not destroy its planet lies in diverging from all other species in that not all energy available to it, is used up as fast as possible. But that’s a big challenge. It would, speaking from a purely philosophical angle, truly separate us from nature for the first time ever, and we must wonder if that’s desirable.

We would need to gain much more knowledge of who we are and what makes us do what we do, and why. But that is not going to happen if we focus on making a profit. Using less energy means less waste means less profit.

Yes, there may be energy sources that produce a bit less waste, a bit less pollution, than those that are carbon based. But first, our whole infrastructure has been built by carbon, and second, even if another energy source would become available, we would push to grow its use ever more, and end up initially in the same mess, and then a worse one.

 

 

I stumbled upon an excellent example of the effects of all this today:

The Shattering Effect Of Roads On Nature

Rampant road building has shattered the Earth’s land into 600,000 fragments, most of which are too tiny to support significant wildlife, a new study has revealed. The researchers warn roadless areas are disappearing and that urgent action is needed to protect these last wildernesses, which help provide vital natural services to humanity such as clean water and air. The impact of roads extends far beyond the roads themselves, the scientists said, by enabling forest destruction, pollution, the splintering of animal populations and the introduction of deadly pests.

An international team of researchers analysed open-access maps of 36m km of road and found that over half of the 600,000 fragments of land in between roads are very small – less than 1km2. A mere 7% are bigger than 100km2, equivalent to a square area just 10km by 10km (6mi by 6 mi). Furthermore, only a third of the roadless areas were truly wild, with the rest affected by farming or people.

The last remaining large roadless areas are rainforests in the Amazon and Indonesia and the tundra and forests in the north of Russia and Canada. Virtually all of western Europe, the eastern US and Japan have no areas at all that are unaffected by roads.

 

 

It’s a good example because it raises the question: how much of this particular issue do you think will be solved by the promotion of electric cars, or windmills? How much of it do you think can be solved for a profit? Because if there’s no profit in it, it will not happen.

One more for the philosophy class: I know many people will be inclined to suggest options like nuclear fusion. Or zero point energy. And I would suggest that not only do these things exist in theory only, which is always a bad thing if you have an immediate problem. But more than that: imagine providing the human race with a source of endless energy, and then look at what it’s done with the free energy available to it over the past 10 generations.

Give man more energy and he’ll just destroy his world faster. It’s not about carbon, it’s about energy and about what you yourself do with it. And no, money and profit will not reverse climate change, or any other detrimental effects they have on our lives. They will only make them worse.

 

 

 

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Sep 202020
 


René Magritte The song of the storm 1937

 

 

I was going to make this the shortest essay I’ve ever written. “Trump Will Win Because of Energy. Period.” But wouldn’t you know, things start popping up on exactly the topic it was going to be about… The difference in energy between Donald Trump and Joe Biden should be obvious to everyone, including Biden supporters, though they will try to ignore it, as well as the role energy plays in a campaign, as it does in life in general -not just human life either-.

People recognize energy, they feel it. it’s a primal thing, directly linked to survival. It doesn’t get recognized at a rational level, but somewhere much deeper. And it’s not even so much that Trump’s energy levels are above average, for a 74-year old (though they appear to be), but that Biden’s are so far below average – or perhaps exactly what you would expect for a 77-year old, which is why so few of them are running for president of the United States, a job that I think we would all agree requires a lot of energy.

When you take out of the equation which person you like or not, when you disregard their policy proposals, and you only look at energy levels, the difference is vast. And people will catch on to this. The first debate is in 9 days, September 29, and how do you prepare Biden for that? Trump last night suggested his handlers do it by applying ‘big, fat shots in the ass’, but even that wouldn’t do it.

Trump doesn’t need to hammer this point home too hard, it will be obvious no matter what. It may even be better for him to show compassion for Biden. One of the main instructions from his team will undoubtedly be to NOT go after Joe Biden so hard it will make him stutter. Because that would make Trump look like a bully, and give Biden points on compassion from the audience.

But I doubt Trump will be able to help himself. And perhaps, at least from his point of view, he should just be and remain who he is. Because that worked four years ago. Will these be the best-watched debates in history? Quite possibly. Meanwhile, as Trump yesterday worked all day -if we are to believe the reports- and then campaigned all night in Fayetteville NC, Biden was MIA.

That by now is a pattern. As is the mysterious lack of door-to-door campaigning by the Biden team. It may not be impossible to win that way, but it certainly would be a first. And it makes the team look like they have a similar energy level to Biden himself (In another mystery, we see people talk about finding it hard to get yard signs for the Biden campaign).

That leaves you with the impression that the Biden team really has just one message: Orange Man Bad. Not: vote *for* me, but vote *against* the other guy. the racist/rapist who killed 200,000 Americans and offends “our” troops”. That in turn appears to signal that what energy there is, is negative energy. Doesn’t look like a winning formula.

But if the media, including social media, keep on pumping out that same message 24/7, who knows how many people will buy into it? After all, Twitter and Facebook et al are even more important influencers today than they were in 2016. Then again, the Trump people seemed to be much stronger on social media back then, and why would they have squandered that advantage? But then again, again, they weren’t constantly censored and banned then.

Trump last night in Fayetteville:

‘Big, Fat Shots In The Ass’: Trump Again Suggests Biden Is On Energizing Drugs

Donald Trump has mercilessly taunted Joe Biden, telling supporters that his Democratic nemesis must be taking performance-enhancing substances and should undergo a drug test. Trump reiterated previous casual accusations that Biden is too senile to be a good fit for the US president’s office while talking to a crowd of supporters in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Using his nickname for his Democratic opponent, Trump said that “Sleepy Joe” is appearing conspicuously efficient during debates and public events.

“Don’t underestimate [him], he’s been doing this for 47 years. And I got a debate coming up with this guy,” Trump said as he grinned, before suggesting that performance-enhancing substances were behind Biden’s efficiency. “You never know, they gave him a big, fat shot in the ass and he comes out,” Trump claimed as his audience laughed. “And for two hours he’s better than ever before. The problem is, what happens after that,” the Republican president added. Adding insult to the injury, Trump said offering a drug test to Biden is an option.

Remarkably, this is not the first time the 74-year-old president has accused his 77-year-old rival of being on drugs. Over a week ago, he fanned the claim while speaking to Fox. “I think there’s probably, possibly, drugs involved,” Trump told host Jeanine Pirro. “I don’t know how you can go from being so bad where you can’t even get out a sentence…” he speculated without finishing the sentence.

Trump and Biden are expected to face each other during debates in Cleveland on September 29, in Miami on October 15, and in Nashville on October 22. Their vice-presidential nominees Mike Pence and Kamala Harris will have a one-on-one in Salt Lake City on October 7.

 

 

In that same vein, there was also this from Irishman Graham Dockery on August 27:

Trump Has Called On Biden To Take A Drug Test. Why Don’t Both Old Guys Take This Idea Seriously?

Trump is 74 years old and Biden 77. If elected, Biden would be the oldest president in history, and would assume office at the same age Ronald Reagan left the White House – himself exhibiting the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s disease. If Trump wins, he’ll beat Reagan’s record by one year. Ten percent of white Americans over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s and related dementias. After 65, the risk of dementia doubles every five years. Even if Biden was speaking coherently, he would have a one-third chance of developing dementia by the end of his first term. Likewise, while Trump may appear sharp, he’s twice as likely to be losing his marbles now than he was in 2016.

Modern drugs can mask the symptoms of cognitive decline fairly well. Donepezil, Galantamine, Memantine and Rivastigmine are all used to boost memory, attention and the ability to perform simple tasks – like using a phone. Aside from these prescription medications, a candidate looking for a quick pre-debate fix could swallow some Adderall, a legal amphetamine that boosts cognition, short term memory and attention span, not to mention whatever experimental cocktails these two might have access to.

I’m not suggesting that either candidate is a chattering speed-freak. Trump’s opponents have beaten that drum before, accusing the president of railing Adderall every time he sniffs in a speech. Biden, on the other hand, looks like a man who could use an infusion from Doctor Feelgood. But it would be nice to know for sure. Most Americans would likely balk at the idea of sending a medicated husk to negotiate with allies and outwit adversaries. Let the two men competing for this position lay their cards on the table, and let the American public use this information to inform their decision.

After all, this is the leader of the free world we’re talking about, the man who, with a flick of his finger, could doom the planet to nuclear holocaust. It’s probably best if this leader remembers where he left the tapioca pudding.

 

Note that by now Trump’s advantage on energy says little about how the 2020 election will eventually be decided. It’s no longer possible for the US to NOT to sink into a deep quagmire because of mail-in ballots and the many days it may take to count them, the hundreds of lawyers that will be involved in various stages of that process -including many lawsuits-, and the Supreme Court, which will be a major election issue before November 3, and a possible/probable deciding factor sometime after that date.

Add to this that having the most votes, or even the highest numbers in the Electoral College system, no longer guarantees you a victory -because: lawyers and because: states may try to tamper with that system- and you end up with the most godawful mess ever. You would think everyone in Washington has an interest in not letting the city devolve into a circus tent where the clowns end up fighting the lions and tigers, but apparently they all have “more important” things to consider.

And all the time I’m thinking, guys, take care of your country, at least someone take care of it, you’re going to have to live in it together next year and the year after that etc.

 

 

 

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Nov 072019
 


Ivan Shishkin Midday. Near Moscow 1869

 

 

“In theory they were sound on Expectation
Had there been situations to be in;
Unluckily they were their situation”
– W.H. Auden

 

 

And drawn back again into energy… I did a little interview on the topic this week, and that was a little too little. Can’t cover it all in 5 or 10 minutes, even though that is mostly because people understand so precious little. We fool ourselves non-stop 24/7 on the topic, just the way industry and politics like it.

A wee step back: “The only clean energy is the one that isn’t used.” I’ve seen that attributed to Nicole, and that’s fine. But at the same time, I see terms like “clean energy”, “zero-emissions” and “zero-carbon” fly by all the time, used to depict things that are not clean at all. Perhaps less polluting, but that’s only perhaps; we’re experts at discounting externalities.

Still, we do still realize that without oil and gas there would be no wind turbines and solar panels, don’t we? How much carbon waste is generated in the production process of the two may be up for grabs, if only because that’s nobody’s favorite topic, but it’s a whole lot more than zero. More for solar, I would guess, because mining of rare earth metals is a pretty dirty process.

 

But in the end, the only aspect that I find really interesting, and that everybody appears to ignore, is why we produce so much waste. If you were hell-bent on designing a contraption aimed at wasting as much energy, and generating as much waste, as possible, you would have a hard time competing with the automobile.

Your run of the mill internal combustion engine uses maybe 10% of the energy you put in at the gas station, and you use it to transport yourself in a contraption that is 20x heavier than you are. That leaves you with just 0.5% of the energy embedded in the gasoline that is effectively used.

And that’s not all: before the gas reached the station, there was an entire process of extraction, refining, multiple transport steps. And before the car reached the store, it had already generated over a third of all the waste it will in its ‘lifetime’. If ever you need a way to demonstrate that people are not very smart, look no further.

Angela Merkel this week said she wants 1 million car charging points in Germany by 2030 (the country is way behind). And she may mean well, but for a physicist it’s still disappointing. If anyone could understand that replacing petrol powered cars with electric ones is a very poor deal, it should be her.

 

But sure, Germany has some very large carmakers, and she needs to appease them. Cars run the economy, after all. Or, rather, that’s not quite right, it’s in fact generating waste that runs the economy. Which is the only sensible conclusion we can draw after seeing that way less than 0.5% of energy is efficiently used in and by a car.

And for people like Merkel, practical politicians with ties to industry, that means you have to keep them running. And help the media and industry in convincing people that electric cars, produced by BMW, Merc and VW, is a great way to save the planet. Still, making those things requires enormous amounts of oil and gas.

If a car that runs on an internal combustion engine generates a third of the waste produced in its ‘lifetime’ before it hits the store, I bet you the ratio is worse for electric cars, because again of mining of rare earth metals and other components. And then they run on electricity generated by coal or gas or oil plants, or wind that we saw is not clean, or even nuclear, which produces the ultimate lethal form of waste, which we can still not safely store.

 

We need an entirely different approach, and I find it both very hard to understand and very disappointing that I don’t see this reflected as their no. 1 item by the climate rebellion and the various Green New Deals. That is, we must reduce our consumption of all forms of energy, not just oil and gas, and we must do it in a drastic fashion.

Luckily, we can start with the automobile, that contraption [seemingly] aimed at consuming as much energy, and generating as much waste, as possible. But even if we would achieve a 50% increase in efficiency there, we would still hover around that same 0.5%. Still crazy after all these years.

That won’t work. But there are other options. We presently live in cities and towns that are designed exclusively around those cars with their abysmal efficiency rates. In many if not most places, over half of what once was, and could be again, public space, has been turned into car space. There are no kids playing in the streets anywhere anymore.

If you talk about waste or pollution, that too could be labeled as such. In only 100 years, or even just 50, not only have most city populations exploded, both through birth rates and migration, all those extra people and the ‘original’ population now demand space for their vehicles that are 20x their weight and size.

And the car makers keep on advertizing ‘lifestyle’ ads with wide open roads and smily happy people. If I can repeat myself “If ever you need a way to demonstrate that people are not very smart, look no further.”

 

Now, mind you, if and when I say something that sounds like: we can do this, I am a lot more skeptical than most of you. This is because as I wrote three weeks ago in Energy vs DNA, we are driven by nature, by our DNA, it doesn’t matter how you define it, to maximize our energy consumption. Not on an individual level, but on a group level.

There’s still the trifle little matter of how all systems, all organisms, deal with energy (sources). Now, according to Alfred J. Lotka and Howard T. Odum, in what they and others have labeled the 4th law of Thermodynamics, all systems and organisms of necessity (DNA/RNA driven) seek to maximize their use of energy, for pure survival reasons: the one that’s most efficient in its ability to exploit and utilize -external- energy sources will survive. (another word for this is: Life)

In that article I also quoted Jay Hanson:

Why can’t we save ourselves? To answer that question we only need to integrate three of the key influences on our behavior: 1) biological evolution, 2) overshoot, and 3) a proposed fourth law of thermodynamics called the “Maximum Power Principle” (MPP). The MPP states that biological systems will organize to increase power generation, by degrading more energy, whenever systemic constraints allow it.

But then that takes me right to a quote I’ve used a few times before, from Herman Daly and Kenneth Townsend:

“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment—that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”

 

Note that the Maximum Power Principle is quite mute on efficiency. It talks about being efficient in grabbing the resource, not in using it. That only matters if you MUST be efficient. The oil extravaganza we discovered in Pennsylvania and Baku in the 1850s has left us without any reason to be efficient. And there is precious little reason to believe we will suddenly change that behavior BEFORE we hit a wall (or, rather, THE wall).

And also note that Daly and Townsend talk about waste in general, waste as in what is left over once we have “consumed energy”, when we have used a low entropy “source” and turned it into a high entropy one, i.e. one that is useless to us (though trees live off of CO2, we have no use for it). In that regard, replacing one form of energy with another, as electric cars seek to do, is a very dubious undertaking.

The only approach that makes any sense, is to use and consume vastly less ‘energy’. From a rational point of view, that would seem an easy thing to do: it should be possible to transport yourself at a higher efficiency rate than 0.5%. But at the same time, that’s not at all what we are doing.

We, like all organisms, are obeying the Maximum Power Principle: we grab all the energy we can, and we use it in whatever way we can. Got to be a bit careful with the term “we” perhaps, if only because if by some miracle we might drastically reduce our energy consumption, which physics says should be no problem -though biology might disagree-, we would leave a lot of oil, or other energy forms, available to for instance the Chinese, who could use it against us.

Very much a part of the Maximum Power Principle: competition between species leads to maximum ‘power grabs’ (for survival), but also competition within species (same reason). What you have in your possession, they do not.

 

I very much welcome any and all thoughts and contributions and disagreements on this topic. But do note I’ve been on it for many years.

 

 

I will return to Jerusalem, my holy city, and live there. It will be known as the faithful city… Once again old men and women, so old that they use a stick when they walk, will be sitting in the city squares. And the streets will again be full of boys and girls playing.
– Zechariah 8:3-5

 

 

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Oct 192019
 
 October 19, 2019  Posted by at 7:48 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn Landscape With the Rest on the Flight into Egypt 1647

 

Hmm, energy. Is it a good idea I be drawn back into the subject? We used to do so much on the topic, Nicole Foss and I, in the first years of The Automatic Earth, and before that at the brilliant Oil Drum, where we had all those equally brilliant oil professionals to guide us on. So why revisit it? Well, for one thing, because a friend asked.

And for another because things -may have – changed over the past 15 years or so. Not that I think the peak oil idea, which is that we reached the peak in 2005 or so, changed. Yeah, unconventional oil, shale, fracking etc., came about, but that has nothing to do with peak oil. Just look at the EROEI (energy return) you get from shale. You go from 100:1 to, if you’re lucky, 5:1. You can’t build a complex society on that.

It’s not an accident that shale oil firms are going broke all over; even ultra low interest rates can’t save them. But all that still doesn’t come close to scratching the surface of our energy -or oil, for that matter.- conundrum.

 

I’ve never understood what the idea behind the Extinction Rebellion is. Or, you know, that they know what they’re talking about. Do they know the physics?

The general idea, yeah, but not how they aim to reach their goals. Far as I can tell, it’s about less CO2 -and methane, supposedly- emissions, but I don’t get how they want to achieve that. I’ve read some but not all of their theories, and it’s not obvious. It feels like they want less of various things, only to replace them with something else. Like they think once oil is gone, you can put wind and solar in its staid, and off we go. Tell me how wrong I am. Please do.

I have the same with the various Green New Deals. What do they want? How do they aim to achieve their lofty goals? I looked at the Wikipedia page for a Green New Deal, and it tells me it’s an American thing, “invented” recently by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and some other people. But I know that’s not true, because other people had the same idea with the same name in the UK 10-12 years ago.

And then Yanis Varoufakis also has a thing he labels “Green New Deal”, a global one no less, but in a recent article, I didn’t get many specifics of that either.

Let’s go with AOC and friends’ points as Wikipedia lists them:

“Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.”

What’s not to love?

“Providing all people of the United States with (i) high-quality health care; (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing; (iii) economic security; and (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.”

I’m in.

“Providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States.”

Sure, Why only the US though?

“Meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.”

Now, wait, there are no zero-emission sources. And none that are fully renewable.

“Repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as technologically feasible.”

Okay, yeah. But what does “The Infrastructure” mean? Is that just power lines, or does it include all roads, highways etc.?

“Building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and smart power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity.”

Right. Great. Sounds good. Where would the electricity come from, though? From so-called zero-emission sources., which don’t exist?

“Upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification.”

Not sure I like the term “Electrification” in there, but yeah, bring it on. The term “Upgrading” is not what we use, however, we say “Retrofitting”.

“Overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in (i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; (ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation; and (iii) high-speed rail.”

Now you’re getting serious. But what does this mean? We already covered the zero-emission thing, that’s obvious nonsense, but how about public transportation? Do you envision closing down cities to cars? Or do you actually think electric cars are zero emission? Alternatively, do you know they’re not but you use the word regardless?

“Spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible.”

Sure, if you want to clean up your environment, “Spurring Massive Growth” is just what you want to hear. Good lord.

“Working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible.”

Call me nuts, and I have no reason to believe you haven’t already, but the no.1 thing that has to vanish from US Ag is not pollution or emissions but the chemicals used to kill all other life so that your lettuce can grow. And don’t get me started on antibiotics or the creatures they are used on.

 

That, Green New Deal, may be your biggest fault line. But you know, overall, you give me the idea that you don’t understand the territory you’re operating in. You’re just saying stuff that you think people will believe in and follow. Like Trump or Hillary or any politicians do.

 

Best rest assured, we haven’t even started yet. There’s still the trifle little matter of how all systems, all organisms, deal with energy (sources). Now, according to Alfred J. Lotka and Howard T. Odum, in what they and others have labeled the 4th law of Thermodynamics, all systems and organisms of necessity (DNA/RNA driven) seek to maximize their use of energy, for pure survival reasons: the one that’s most efficient in its ability to exploit and utilize -external- energy sources will survive. (another word for this is: Life)

And then you say you must use less energy? Or you want to shift from oil to energy sources with less density, like solar or wind? Be careful, because this says you’re putting your odds of survival at risk.

This is what my teacher Jay Hanson, who tragically died earlier this year before I ever had the chance to meet him, said about this in 2013:

Today, when one observes the many severe environmental and social problems, it appears that we are rushing towards extinction and are powerless to stop it. Why can’t we save ourselves? To answer that question we only need to integrate three of the key influences on our behavior: 1) biological evolution, 2) overshoot, and 3) a proposed fourth law of thermodynamics called the “Maximum Power Principle” (MPP). The MPP states that biological systems will organize to increase power generation, by degrading more energy, whenever systemic constraints allow it.

Biological evolution is a change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. Individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic (DNA/RNA, etc.) material from one generation to the next.

“Natural selection” is one of the basic mechanisms of evolution, along with mutation, migration, and drift. Natural selection explains the appearance of design in the living world, and “inclusive fitness theory” explains what this design is for. Specifically, natural selection leads organisms to become adapted as if to maximize their inclusive fitness. The “fittest” individuals are those who succeed in generating more power and reproducing more copies of their genes than their competitors.

You’re in tricky territory, guys. Reversing the history of (wo)mankind or the system that gave birth to her/him is not easy. Perhaps not impossible, but certainly very hard. You’d have to go against the DNA/RNA embedded in you, and then rephrase it at a molecular level. Like you all, I have certain -perhaps illogical- hopes that it can be done, but my hopes are not high. How do you beat nature? And would you really want to if you could?

There’s so much more to say on the topic of energy, but if you’ll excuse me, I’ll leave it at this for now. I’ll get back to it soon. Of course I understand that the jump from Greta and AOC to “Maximum Power Principle” is a big one, but for some people perhaps that’s just what they need. And for others it’s not, I get that. But it’s still what it is.

 

Note: nowhere in the Green New Deal et al do I see that we should do less, use less, move less, but shouldn’t that be the no.1 priority? Build gadgets, cars, homes, cities, that use much less energy? Retrofit everything to use 90% less energy?

The thing about that is, however, that it appears to violate the Maximum Power Principle. See what I’m getting at?

 

 

 

 

May 112019
 


Pierre-Auguste Renoir Riding in the Bois de Boulogne (Madame Henriette Darras or The Ride) 1873

 

Labour Without Energy Is A Corpse; Capital Without Energy Is A Sculpture (Keen)
Traditional Economics Has Absolutely Screwed Us (Tyee)
House Dems To Bundle Numerous Contempt Citations For Trump Advisers (R.)
House Democrat Subpoenas Six Years Of Trump Tax Returns (AP)
FISA Applications Were Illegally Obtained – DiGenova (PJ)
William Barr vs. Eric Holder: A Tale of Two Attorneys General (McConnell)
Fugees Founder, Banker Charged In 1MDB, Obama Campaign Scandal (RT)
Crisis? What Crisis? (Jim Kunstler)
Manning Could Delay US Superseding Indictment Against Assange (Sp.)
Dutch Court Blocks Extradition Of Man To ‘Inhumane’ UK Prisons (G.)
Varoufakis On Eurozone: ‘We Created A Monster’ (Exp.)
70 Migrants Dead After Boat Capsizes Trying To Reach Europe From Libya (G.)
Nearly All Countries Agree To Stem Flow Of Plastic Waste Into Poor Nations (G.)

 

 

First saw this a few days ago, and it slipped from my radar. Now, Steve Keen announced that he got a grant for his work with Tim Garrett and Matheus Grasselli on “developing models of production in which energy plays [a role] in production (and, necessarily, in climate degradation)”. Yes, you read that right: in 2019, economists need to begin the study the role of energy in an economic system, because it’s always been ignored. What a crazy field that is.

Labour Without Energy Is A Corpse; Capital Without Energy Is A Sculpture (Keen)

With the simple insight that “labour without energy is a corpse, and capital without energy is a sculpture”, I realised why economists have failed to properly incorporate the role of energy in production for so long. All previous attempts had treated energy as a third “factor of production”, on an equal footing with Labour and Capital. But that treatment is simply unrealistic. Adding energy on its own to a production process is like letting off a bomb in a factory: it will produce mayhem, not output. Equally, both Labour and Capital are “sterile”, to use the old Physiocratic term: without energy, they can’t produce anything.


Figure 1: The incorrect way to show energy as a factor of production

The correct way to incorporate energy into economic models of production, therefore, is to see energy as an input to both Labour and Capital (in vastly different forms, of course), which enable them to perform useful work. By the Second Law of Thermodynamics, this useful work necessarily results in disorder (waste energy, mainly in the form of waste matter, including CO2). Also by the Second Law, entropy increases globally, even though it can be reduced locally by the application of energy; so the increase in disorder in the waste from production necessarily exceeds the reduction in disorder manifest in output itself (raw materials turned into finished products).


Figure 2: The correct way: Energy as an input to labour and capital, output as necessarily generating waste

This useful work is what we call GDP, though we currently erroneously measure this as the inflation-adjusted sum of all monetary output—which means we add the cost of traffic accidents to GDP. Instead, the true measure of GDP is the sum of all the useful things we produce and consume: in transportation, that is moving a mass from one location to another in a given time, and traffic accidents (and congestion) subtract from it.

Read more …

Palm oil or orangutans? For economists, an easy choice.

Traditional Economics Has Absolutely Screwed Us (Tyee)

Capitalism is killing the planet. That is the gist of an exhaustive United Nations report on the bleak state of the world’s biodiversity. One million species face extinction in what has been aptly called a global murder-suicide, driven by a race to commodify ecosystems and externalize the costs of their destruction. If you were looking for a perky read to start your week, this report was not it. However, the collective efforts of 350 leading experts from 51 countries have resulted in the definitive wake-up call for those still doubting the dire consequences of business-as-usual on our one and only planet. A Noah’s ark of iconic species seems bound for oblivion due to our growing collective consumption and population.

Will your children be able to enjoy a world with wild elephants, orcas, or blue whales? Sixty per cent of primate species are threatened with extinction. The taste of a tuna sandwich may soon be consigned to lore. All of this has been happening in plain view but only recently has this become economically relevant by cutting into the bottom line. Up to $577 billion in global crop production is at risk due to collapsing populations of pollinating insects. One-third of commercial fish stocks are in steep decline with another 60 per cent being fully exploited, leaving only seven per cent of the world’s fisheries under safe management. This is exacerbated by regulatory failure where landings may be 50 per cent higher than reported, and illegal fishing accounts for up to one-third of the global catch.

Expanding agriculture is one of the main drivers of exploding extinction rates. Between 1980 and 2000, about 100 million hectares of tropical forests — roughly the area of France and Germany combined — were converted for grazing, monoculture plantations like palm oil, or short-term subsistence farming. Desperate humans and multinational companies both encroach on remaining rainforests, seeing only as far as the next growing season or financial quarter. Why does economics prioritize palm oil over orangutans? Because palm plantations are profitable, producing almost five times the oil yield per hectare of sunflowers, coconut or soybeans. Consumers too unintentionally contribute to this destruction, driving a market for a ubiquitous ingredient found in everything from lipstick to ice cream.

Read more …

McGahn, Barr, Mueller, Mnuchin, are these all the same?

House Dems To Bundle Numerous Contempt Citations For Trump Advisers (R.)

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said lawmakers may bundle numerous contempt citations from different committees into a single resolution that the full House of Representatives could then vote on. “There obviously are going to have to be, perhaps from our committee and certainly from other committees, other contempt citations to enforce subpoenas,” Nadler told reporters. Asked about bundling citations together, the New York Democrat replied: “It’s a great idea. In fact, I suggested it … It just makes sense, to spend as little floor time as possible, to group them together.”


A consolidated contempt vote is among options Democrats are considering in response to Trump’s stonewalling of congressional investigations into his presidency and business investments. Another option is reviving Congress’s “inherent” contempt authority. Some Democrats say that would allow lawmakers to fine uncooperative officials up to $25,000 per day. Some Democrats are also calling for impeachment proceedings against recalcitrant Trump Cabinet members. Nadler said Congress faces “the unprecedented situation in which the administration is essentially stonewalling all subpoenas – we’ve never had this before in American history, so far as I know.”

Read more …

They lost two years on the Russia collusion story. Doesn’t look so smart now, does it?

House Democrat Subpoenas Six Years Of Trump Tax Returns (AP)

A top House Democrat on Friday issued subpoenas for six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, giving the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and the IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, a deadline of next Friday to deliver them. Richard Neal, the chairman of the House ways and means committee, issued the subpoenas days after Mnuchin refused to comply with demands to turn over Trump’s returns. Mnuchin told the panel he wouldn’t provide Trump’s tax records because the panel’s request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose”, as supreme court precedent requires.

Neal reminded the two Trump appointees in a Friday letter that federal law states that the IRS “shall furnish” the tax returns of any individual upon the request of the chairmen of Congress’s tax-writing committees, and that ways and means “has never been denied” a request. The White House and the Democratic-controlled House are waging a multi-front battle over investigations into Trump, with the administration refusing to comply with subpoenas for the unredacted Mueller report and documents related to testimony by the former White House counsel Donald McGahn. If Mnuchin and Rettig refuse to comply with the subpoenas, Neal is likely to file a lawsuit in federal court.

He indicated earlier this week that he was leaning toward filing a court case immediately but changed course after meeting with lawyers for the House. Neal originally demanded access to Trump’s tax returns in early April. He maintains that the committee is looking into the effectiveness of mandatory IRS audits of tax returns of all sitting presidents, a way to justify his claim that the panel has a potential legislative purpose. Democrats are confident in their legal justification and say Trump is stalling in an attempt to punt the issue past the 2020 election. In rejecting Neal’s request earlier this week, Mnuchin said he relied on the advice of the justice department. He concluded that the treasury department was “not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information”. Mnuchin has also said that Neal’s request would potentially weaponize private tax returns for political purposes.

Read more …

I don’t think John Solomon is done yet.

As for the Papadopoulos $10,000 story, how is that an “explosive revelation”? Have known that for a long time.

FISA Applications Were Illegally Obtained – DiGenova (PJ)

Washington attorney Joe diGenova claimed in an interview last night that the Department of Justice inspector general has determined that “the final three FISA extensions were illegally obtained,” and the first one is still being investigated. For the past year, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz has been investigating the FBI’s 2016 surveillance activities and his report is expected later this month or in early June. Washington power couple Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing appeared on Lou Dobbs’ Fox Business Network show Thursday night to talk about the latest turns in the “SpyGate” saga. “The only question now is whether or not the first FISA was illegally obtained,” diGenova said.

He told Dobbs that the latest revelations in investigative reporter John Solomon’s piece at The Hill, have prompted further investigation from Horowitz’s team. On Thursday, Solomon reported that newly unearthed memos show that a high-ranking government official from the Obama State Department met with former British spy Christopher Steele in October of 2016, and figured out pretty quickly that his dossier was a political hit job intended to slime Donald Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. [..] DiGenova said the inspector general was unaware of the memos, which were obtained last week through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United. “The Bureau hid those memos from Horowitz. As a result of that, they are doing some additional work on the first FISA,” diGenova explained, adding: “It may be that all four FISAs will have been obtained illegally.”

[..] DiGenova and Toensing shared another explosive revelation on Sebastian Gorka’s Salem Radio talk show “America First” on Thursday. According to Toensing, the FBI tried to frame former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos by having an informant give him $10,000 in cash during a trip to Israel in the summer of 2017. An individual allegedly talked the then-29-year-old into traveling to Israel to make a deal, and invited him to his hotel room. “And there on the bed is $10,000 in cash in a suitcase,” she continued. Papadopoulos took the money and gave it to his lawyer, who has it still. Toensing said when Papadopoulos returned to the United States, he was greeted by FBI agents at Dulles Airport and they started searching through everything that he had “the second he landed.”

She added, “in fact, they already had his baggage from the plane. He couldn’t believe they had his baggage.” “It was a set up!” exclaimed Gorka. “It was a complete set up,” agreed Toensing. DiGenova explained that the Feds already knew that he hadn’t declared that he had $10,000 and were expecting to find the undeclared cash so they could arrest him and “put the thumbscrews on and make him squeal,” as Gorka put it. Worst of all, according to Toensing, “one of the FBI agents said to him, ‘this is what happens when you work for Donald Trump.’”

Read more …

Good read. To a large extent, the Democrats made their own bed. Very far from a black and white story.

William Barr vs. Eric Holder: A Tale of Two Attorneys General (McConnell)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has declared it a “constitutional crisis” that Attorney General William Barr refuses to divulge the small parts of the Mueller report that contain grand-jury material. By a straight party-line vote, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress. What did Pelosi think when Barr’s predecessor, Eric Holder, refused to divulge documents to a congressional committee and was held in contempt? “Ridiculous!” she said. What did Holder and Obama say? That the House subpoena was a violation of “separation of powers.” To partisans, the difference between the cases is obvious. Barr is defending Trump; Holder was Obama’s self-proclaimed “wing man.”

That is enough for many journalists and most politicians. The rest of us might want to know: What is the legal or constitutional difference between Holder’s refusal to provide documents and Barr’s? Here is the background of the Holder contempt. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), a unit of Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ), conducted an operation called “Fast & Furious,” intended to track illegal gun sales. In fact it put hundreds of weapons in the hands of Mexican criminal gangs, leading to the death of an American officer. On February 2, 2011, after news of the operation emerged, Holder’s assistant attorney general sent a letter to Congress declaring that the Obama administration had no knowledge of the operation. This letter was false, as Holder later admitted.

A congressional committee wanted to know why it had been misled. BATFE employees leaked to Congress that the department was still suppressing the truth about the operation and retaliating against whistleblowers. The committee wanted to dig into that. It demanded DOJ documents “relating to actions the Department took to silence or retaliate against Fast and Furious whistleblowers,” so that it could determine “what the Department knew about Fast and Furious, including when and how it discovered its February 4 letter was false, and the Department’s efforts to conceal that information from Congress and the public.”

Read more …

“..funnelled [over $21 million] personally and through straw donors to President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, then lied about it to the Federal Elections Commission in 2015.”

Fugees Founder, Banker Charged In 1MDB, Obama Campaign Scandal (RT)

A founding member of the Fugees is accused of conspiracy to funnel illegal campaign contributions to Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign and lying about it, in a spinoff of the 1MDB corruption scandal. The indictment against Prakazrel “Pras” Michel, 46, was unsealed on Friday, the government says he received over $21 million from Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho (also known as “Jho Low”) and funnelled it personally and through straw donors to President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, then lied about it to the Federal Elections Commission in 2015. Michel was charged with conspiracy to defraud US government, falsifying records, and making a false statement. He appeared before a federal judge in Washington, DC on Friday and pleaded not guilty.


Mr. Michel is extremely disappointed that so many years after the fact the government would bring charges related to 2012 campaign contributions,” said his attorney Barry Pollack. “Mr. Michel is innocent of these charges and looks forward to having the case heard by a jury.” Michel is best known as one of the founding members of the Fugees, an award-winning group that set music charts on fire with ‘Killing me softly’ in 1996 and launched the solo careers of Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill. Low, 37, was also charged in the case, adding to the existing indictments against the Malaysian businessman already wanted for conspiring to launder billions of dollars and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Read more …

“..he rode on the back of that fraud for two years, as if touring a political landfill on a donkey, leaving the public to stew in anxious hallucinations.”

Crisis? What Crisis? (Jim Kunstler)

Information emerged over the weeks since the Mueller Report’s release that Mr. Mueller and his team knew unequivocally that the Special Counsel’s mission and the FBI operations that preceded it were based on concocted political bullshit supplied by Mrs. Clinton and her network of flunkies and fixers, ranging throughout the permanent DC bureacuracy (a.k.a. the Swamp), to outposts in foreign intel services and the political kitty-litter box known as Ukraine. Mr. Mueller must have suspected this from the outset, but knew for sure by the summer of 2017, and omitted to advise the American public that he had uncovered a fraud. Rather, he rode on the back of that fraud for two years, as if touring a political landfill on a donkey, leaving the public to stew in anxious hallucinations.


What else did Mr. Mueller do, or omit to do? He never engaged US government forensic computer analysts to examine the DNC servers at the heart of RussiaGate story. Rather, he allowed the conclusions to stand of a company called CrowdStrike, hired by the DNC itself to supposedly investigate the theft of emails, especially those of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Mr. Mueller never bothered to interview the one person who might have known exactly who supplied the purloined emails to Wikileaks, namely Julian Assange. Mr. Mueller also did not bother to interview several dozen retired Intel Community computer experts, led by William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, who determined that the hack was accomplished by direct download by an insider onto a flash drive.

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This is about what the US wants to add to the Assange charge once he’s been extradited.

Manning Could Delay US Superseding Indictment Against Assange (Sp.)

According to Manning’s legal team, her release was triggered by the expiration of the term of the grand jury that had demanded her testimony. She will be back in court on May 16, trying to convince a new grand jury of what she failed to prove to the last one: that she cannot be forced to cooperate, as she fundamentally disagrees with the concept of a grand jury, which she says use activists’ testimonies against them. “This will go on until they get what they want or she continues to stay in jail,” Joe Lauria, editor-in-chief of Consortium News, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Friday. “She’s in a position where she could delay or slow down what the Justice Department wants to do in terms of a superseding indictment against Assange.

Nobody believes that they are going to want to just put him in jail for five years… this initial indictment is a placeholder, and they have a deadline of June 12 to give to British court the charges; the decision has to be made in the UK,” Lauria said. However, there is a way around that, Lauria told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, called the Doctrine of Specialty, which, according to reference website USLegal.com, is “a principle of international law that is included in most extradition treaties, whereby a person who is extradited to a country to stand trial for certain criminal offenses may be tried only for those offenses and not for any other pre-extradition offenses.” “Once the asylum state extradites an individual to the requesting state under the terms of an extradition treaty, that person can be prosecuted only for crimes specified in the extradition request,” the website notes.

“This doctrine allows a nation to require the requesting nation to limit prosecution to declared offenses.” “In other words, Assange could come to the US based on this very silly charge that he tried to help Chelsea Manning hack into a computer — when she had top secret clearance and total access anyway — clearly he was trying to just help her hide her identity. But, he could come to the US and they could start adding charges there. I suspect that might happen if she doesn’t testify — which she will not do, obviously; she’s made that abundantly clear.” “They clearly need something from her, or they wouldn’t be throwing her back in jail, effectively, because she refuses to testify,” Lauria said. “But she’s not going to say a damn thing; she’s not going to cooperate, at incredible personal expense to herself, and that just goes to show what a person of principle she is.”

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Curious but still..

Dutch Court Blocks Extradition Of Man To ‘Inhumane’ UK Prisons (G.)

Judges in the Netherlands have refused to send a suspected drug smuggler back to the UK because of concerns that conditions in British jails are inhumane. An initial application to extradite the unnamed man, who had been on the run for two years, was refused this week due to the reported state of HMP Liverpool where he would probably be sent.The court of Amsterdam heard how inspectors had found “some of the most disturbing prison conditions we have ever seen” and “conditions which have no place in an advanced nation in the 21st century”, in reference to report on the state of prisons in the UK published last July.


A surprise inspection of HMP Liverpool in September 2017 found it was infested with rats and that inmates lived in squalid conditions, afraid of being attacked because of increasing violence. Similar conditions were found in HMP Birmingham and HMP Bedford. The Dutch judges said on Wednesday they were concerned the man, who was wanted in relation to cocaine and heroin smuggling on Merseyside, was at “real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment” if returned. The man had been made the subject of a European arrest warrant at Liverpool magistrates court in July 2017. His lawyer argued that the extradition should be refused based on the prison inspectors’ reports.

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“.. If you start with a monetary union, you make sure there will not be a democratic political union.”

Varoufakis On Eurozone: ‘We Created A Monster’ (Exp.)

Former Greek financial minister Yanis Varoufakis branded the eurozone “a monster” for allegedly taking away financial oversight from European Union member states. Mr Varoufakis, an outspoken opponent of the European monetary union, claimed the creation of the common currency led to an “undemocratic political union”. Recounting his first meeting with other eurozone Finance Ministers in 2015, Mr Varoufakis said: “When I was in the Eurogroup, Wolfgang Schauble was very clear. The first time he spoke, in my presence, he said –spectacularly and very honestly – ’democracy cannot be allowed to change economic policies.’


Mr Varoufakis continued: “We’ve created a monster. We’ve created a monetary union that has a central bank without a state behind it because the European Central Bank (ECB) doesn’t have a corresponding state. Before the euro, you had the Treasury, the ministry of finance and you had the central banks – correspondence. “The ECB is a gigantic central bank with no state behind it and you’ve got 19 states without a central bank. This is not the way to create a monetary union which is consistent with the political union.” He added: “The fallacy in 1992 with Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand, is that they believed you start with a monetary union and then you move towards a democratic political union. “No. If you start with a monetary union, you make sure there will not be a democratic political union.”

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Not sure the biggest EU monster is a finance one.

70 Migrants Dead After Boat Capsizes Trying To Reach Europe From Libya (G.)

As many as 70 people trying to reach Europe from Libya have drowned after their vessel capsized in the deadliest such incident in the Mediterranean since January. According to survivors, at least 16 of whom were rescued, the boat left Zuwara in Libya, where renewed warfare between rival factions has gripped the capital, Tripoli, in the past five weeks. The vessel capsized 40 miles off the coast of Sfax, south of Tunis, as it headed towards Italy. The survivors reported that a Tunisian fishing boat came to their rescue and transferred them to a Tunisian coastguard vessel.


The incident came as overall number of people reaching Europe has decreased, whilethe journey has become increasingly dangerous. So far this year, 17,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe via the sea, about 30% fewer than in the same period last year, according to the International Organization for Migration. The IOM said 443 people have reportedly died on Mediterranean crossings since 1 January, compared with 620 in the same period in 2018. The Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) thinktank said that one person died for every eight people who left Libya from January to April, based on analysis of figures from the Italian interior ministry.

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There’ll always be a dictator somewhere who invites a few million dollars. There’s only one solution: stop producing the stuff. 2 trillion drinks containers were sold in 2018. Cut it out.

Nearly All Countries Agree To Stem Flow Of Plastic Waste Into Poor Nations (G.)

Almost all the world’s countries have agreed on a deal aimed at restricting shipments of hard-to-recycle plastic waste to poorer countries, the United Nations announced on Friday. Exporting countries – including the US – now will have to obtain consent from countries receiving contaminated, mixed or unrecyclable plastic waste. Currently, the US and other countries can send lower-quality plastic waste to private entities in developing countries without getting approval from their governments. Since China stopped accepting recycling from the US, activists say they have observed plastic waste piling up in developing countries. The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (Gaia), a backer of the deal, says it found villages in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia that had “turned into dumpsites over the course of a year”.


“We were finding that there was waste from the US that was just piled up in villages throughout these countries that had once been primarily agricultural communities,” said Claire Arkin, a spokeswoman for Gaia. The legally binding framework emerged at the end of a two-week meeting of UN-backed conventions on plastic waste and toxic, hazardous chemicals that threaten the planet’s seas and creatures. The pact comes in an amendment to the Basel convention. The US is not a party to that convention so it did not have a vote, but attendees at the meeting said the country argued against the change, saying officials didn’t understand the repercussions it would have on the plastic waste trade.

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May 062019
 


Gustave Courbet The man made mad by fear 1844

 

If I’ve said once that those among us who tout renewable energy should pay more attention to the 2nd law of Thermodynamics, I must have said it a hundred times. But I hardly ever get the impression that people understand why. And it seems so obvious. A quote I often use from Herman Daly and Ken Townsend, when I talk about energy, really says it all:

“Erwin Schrodinger (1945) has described life as a system in steady-state thermodynamic disequilibrium that maintains its constant distance from equilibrium (death) by feeding on low entropy from its environment – that is, by exchanging high-entropy outputs for low-entropy inputs. The same statement would hold verbatium as a physical description of our economic process. A corollary of this statement is that an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.”

Using energy produces waste. Using more energy produces more waste. It doesn’t matter -much- what kind of energy is used, or what kind of waste is produced. The energy WE use produces waste, in a medium of which WE cannot survive. The only way to escape this is to use less energy. And because we have used such an enormous amount of energy the past 100 years, we must use a whole lot less in the next 100.

We use about 100 times more energy per person, and a whole lot more in the west, than our own labor can produce. We use the equivalent of what 500 billion people can produce without the aid of fossil fuel-powered machines. We won’t solve this problem with wind turbines or solar panels. There really is one way only: cut down on energy use.

Because it’s exceedingly rare to see this discussed, even among physicists, who should know better since they know thermodynamics, it’s good to hear it from someone else. An article in Forbes today discusses a May 3 article in German magazine Der Spiegel on the problems with the Energiewende, the country’s drastic turn towards renewables.

The Forbes article is written by Michael Shellenberger, President of Environmental Progress and Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.” (sigh..) Let’s take a walk through it:

The Reason Renewables Can’t Power Modern Civilization Is Because They Were Never Meant To

Over the last decade, journalists have held up Germany’s renewables energy transition, the Energiewende, as an environmental model for the world. “Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset,” thanks to the Energiewende, wrote a New York Times reporter in 2014. With Germany as inspiration, the United Nations and World Bank poured billions into renewables like wind, solar, and hydro in developing nations like Kenya.

Oh well, perhaps we shouldn’t expect journalists and politicians to understand the world they live in. They’re mostly into feel-good items, that’s a job requirement.

But then, last year, Germany was forced to acknowledge that it had to delay its phase-out of coal, and would not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction commitments. It announced plans to bulldoze an ancient church and forest in order to get at the coal underneath it. After renewables investors and advocates, including Al Gore and Greenpeace, criticized Germany, journalists came to the country’s defense.


“Germany has fallen short of its emission targets in part because its targets were so ambitious,” one of them argued last summer. “If the rest of the world made just half Germany’s effort, the future for our planet would look less bleak,” she wrote. “So Germany, don’t give up. And also: Thank you.” But Germany didn’t just fall short of its climate targets. Its emissions have flat-lined since 2009.

The stage is set: everybody’s favorite renewables producer has fallen flat on its face. And don’t forget, Angela Merkel, the Mutti behind the Energiewende, is a physicist by training. Thermodynamics must have been a class she missed.

Now comes a major article in the country’s largest newsweekly magazine, Der Spiegel, titled, “A Botched Job in Germany” (“Murks in Germany”). The magazine’s cover shows broken wind turbines and incomplete electrical transmission towers against a dark silhouette of Berlin. “The Energiewende — the biggest political project since reunification — threatens to fail,” write Der Spiegel’s Frank Dohmen, Alexander Jung, Stefan Schultz, Gerald Traufetter in their a 5,700-word investigative story (the article can be read in English here).

Germany has already spent $180 billion on its switch to renewables, only to find it doesn’t work. And much much more will be needed. But for what exactly?

Over the past five years alone, the Energiewende has cost Germany €32 billion ($36 billion) annually, and opposition to renewables is growing in the German countryside. “The politicians fear citizen resistance” Der Spiegel reports. “There is hardly a wind energy project that is not fought.” In response, politicians sometimes order “electrical lines be buried underground but that is many times more expensive and takes years longer.”

 

 

As a result, the deployment of renewables and related transmission lines is slowing rapidly. Less than half as many wind turbines (743) were installed in 2018 as were installed in 2017, and just 30 kilometers of new transmission were added in 2017. Solar and wind advocates say cheaper solar panels and wind turbines will make the future growth in renewables cheaper than past growth but there are reasons to believe the opposite will be the case. Der Spiegel cites a recent estimate that it would cost Germany “€3.4 trillion ($3.8 trillion),” or seven times more than it spent from 2000 to 2025, to increase solar and wind three to five-hold by 2050.

A total expenditure of some $150 billion per year, every year from 2025 to 2050. On a rapidly failing project. Note: the numbers are “flexible”: just above, it says “Over the past five years alone, the Energiewende has cost Germany €32 billion ($36 billion)” , and seven times that is much more than $150 billion annually. Later in the article, the author says “Germans, who will have spent $580 billion on renewables by 2025 ..” General rule of thumb: it will cost much more than any estimate will tell you.

Between 2000 and 2018, Germany grew renewables from 7% to 39% of its electricity. And as much of Germany’s renewable electricity comes from biomass, which scientists view as polluting and environmentally degrading, as from solar.

Of the 7,700 new kilometers of transmission lines needed, only 8% has been built, while large-scale electricity storage remains inefficient and expensive. “A large part of the energy used is lost,” the reporters note of a much-hyped hydrogen gas project, “and the efficiency is below 40%… No viable business model can be developed from this.”

Meanwhile, the 20-year subsidies granted to wind, solar, and biogas since 2000 will start coming to an end next year. “The wind power boom is over,” Der Spiegel concludes.

Think Mutti Merkel has read this?

.The earliest and most sophisticated 20th Century case for renewables came from a German who is widely considered the most influential philosopher of the 20th Century, Martin Heidegger. In his 1954 essay, “The Question Concerning Technology,” Heidegger condemned the view of nature as a mere resource for human consumption. The use of “modern technology,” he wrote, “puts to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy which can be extracted and stored as such..

But then starting around the year 2000, renewables started to gain a high-tech luster. Governments and private investors poured $2 trillion into solar and wind and related infrastructure, creating the impression that renewables were profitable aside from subsidies. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk proclaimed that a rich, high-energy civilization could be powered by cheap solar panels and electric cars.

Journalists reported breathlessly on the cost declines in batteries, imagining a tipping point at which conventional electricity utilities would be “disrupted.” But no amount of marketing could change the poor physics of resource-intensive and land-intensive renewables. Solar farms take 450 times more land than nuclear plants, and wind farms take 700 times more land than natural gas wells, to produce the same amount of energy.

Note: these issues only arise when you talk about large-scale projects, but then those are the only ones even considered.

Efforts to export the Energiewende to developing nations may prove even more devastating. The new wind farm in Kenya, inspired and financed by Germany and other well-meaning Western nations, is located on a major flight path of migratory birds. Scientists say it will kill hundreds of endangered eagles. “It’s one of the three worst sites for a wind farm that I’ve seen in Africa in terms of its potential to kill threatened birds,” a biologist explained.

We are incapable of seeing an ecosystem as a whole and functioning entity, because we have never learned to look at things that way. So we see a landscape as containing an X-amount of animals and plant life, and can’t figure out why we must be careful with its balance. Landscapes to us look, first, empty, unless there’s -lots of- human activity.

Heidegger, like much of the conservation movement, would have hated what the Energiewende has become: an excuse for the destruction of natural landscapes and local communities. Opposition to renewables comes from the country peoples that Heidegger idolized as more authentic and “grounded” than urbane cosmopolitan elites who fetishize their solar roofs and Teslas as signs of virtue.


Germans, who will have spent $580 billion on renewables by 2025, express great pride in the Energiewende. “It’s our gift to the world,” a renewables advocate told The Times. Tragically, many Germans appear to have believed that the billions they spent on renewables would redeem them. “Germans would then at last feel that they have gone from being world-destroyers in the 20th century to world-saviors in the 21st,” noted a reporter.

Germany to save the world. Yeah, they would love that. Better find another project for that, though. Germany has an enormous car industry, and electric cars, as this article should by now have shown, won’t save the environment. They can’t. Only not driving a car can.

Shellenberger then finishes with a nice, almost philosophical conclusion, which is also his headline:

Many Germans will, like Der Spiegel, claim the renewables transition was merely “botched,” but it wasn’t. The transition to renewables was doomed because modern industrial people, no matter how Romantic they are, do not want to return to pre-modern life. The reason renewables can’t power modern civilization is because they were never meant to. One interesting question is why anybody ever thought they could.

The reason why anyone ever thought renewables could power modern civilization is the same that Angela Merkel thought that: we all learn from failing education systems and have a very poor understanding of even the most basic principles of physics, including by physicists. We want to feel good more than we want reality.

Schools, universities, media and politics are all geared towards believing in growth and progress, in unlimited quantities. Because we all want to believe that there will be energy in unlimited quantities, it’s in our genes.

But look at it this way: in Nate Hagens’ presentation Earth vs. The Amoeba, which I posted a few days ago, there’s a slide that says fossil fuels provide us with a labor subsidy of the equivalent of some 500 billion people, 100 people (energy slaves) for each of us in the global workforce, and many more in the west. Is there anyone amongst you who thinks wind and solar could ever do the same, even in the most ideal conditions imaginable?

If not, it would seem to be time to reconsider a few things. First of all: stop advocating renewables, start advocating the use of less energy. I’m not saying it will be much use, I have this deep-seated fear that we, as a species, won’t be able to stop until nature itself stops us. What you don’t use, someone else can and will. But renewables are now dead. So there. Thanks for making that clear, Mutti, even if you didn’t mean to.