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The Free and the Dead

       I was out on a big Adirondack lake in a canoe this weekend while the American economy was dying — but you wouldn’t have known it for the fleets of giant power boats dragging children back and forth across the water on rubber tubes, and the giant camping vehicles crammed into every bare spot. How do people pay for these things, I wondered. For not a few, installment loans, no doubt — though that still begs the question. The sheer programming of American life runs wide and deep. We are, apparently, a people born to drag children behind hundred-and-fifty horsepower two-stroke engines, so that’s what we do, no matter what is really going on in the world. Alas, mindless programming is the sort of thing that kills societies.
     Watching the summer panorama on an Adirondack lake is like reading a history of the post World War Two decades, because almost nothing on view there now existed before 1945 and we’ll be stunned to see how swiftly it all terminates. The fantastic prosperity of these postwar decades killed the wildness of these once-remote lakes.  Fortunes were made — like everywhere else in the USA — carving up the landscape and deploying graceless houses made of cheap, fabricated materials.  All the diabolical genius brought to engineering the New Jersey and Long Island suburbs was eventually turned loose on the Adirondack wilderness, with predictable results. The lakes themselves, stuffed with all those sleek plastic power boats, are like the Long Island Expressway minus the painted lanes.
       The American victory over manifest evil in World War Two was so total that there was no one else left on earth to compete with in making and selling useful articles, at least for a while. And it produced a middle class so well-paid that it could express itself in a vast spewage of plastic and leisure across the land.  The human race will look back on this society with wonder and nausea for whatever remains of its time on Earth.  For at least twenty years, though, this way of life has been running on fumes, inertia, and promissory notes.  The amazing thing is that these life-extension strategies worked, especially the past ten years when there was really nothing left besides a Ponzi structure of interlocked swindles and rackets.
     When the time comes when we do look back to understand what went wrong, I think we’ll see that the Woodstock generation went off the rails in 1980, with the election of the actor, Ronald Reagan, who really established the idea that a society could benefit hugely just by lying to itself, or simply pretending.  It wasn’t “morning in America,” of course.  It was more like eleven-thirty at night, and the rest of the world had eaten our breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we decided that inflating our national self-esteem was more important than paying attention to reality. That was when we became a something-for-nothing society — and, incidentally, it was also the take-off point for legalized gambling all over America (an “industry” based on the worship of unearned riches). And that was, coincidentally, the moment when we became a nation of dupes, grifters, marks, and suckers.
     Now, when I look around that Adirondack lake, I can easily imagine the time — not far off — when the motors cease to ring, and the big, white plastic ridiculous power boats vanish from the scene, and the houses along the shore de-laminate, or are plundered for their materials, and the sites they occupy return to nature, and the aroma of roasting hot dogs no longer wafts on the summer air, and the pastures and orchards run back from the shoreline up the slopes, with people laboring earnestly in them — rather than dragging children on plastic tubes around the water behind a boat that gets four miles to the gallon of gasoline.
     For those still capable of paying attention to our national predicament, the questions are: what happens from here… and how does it happen?
     Over the last ten days, somebody shot the “Green Shoots” narrative in the head. There is no way the American economy can re-expand. This is a debt deflation like unto nothing the world has ever seen before. We’ve entered the really painful zone of the “work-out” where insolvency can no longer be denied.  Things will be heard crashing every day — enterprises, households, assets, institutions, prospects, deals.  No amount of stimulus, first, second, or beyond, will avail to stop this process.
       President Obama had better turn his efforts from pretending to re-start the revolving credit rackets to overseeing the comprehensive re-simplifying of American life. I think he has a few weeks to turn his rhetoric around before the political mischief begins for real, and the aggrieved classes start shooting things up and burning things down.  These classes really do need something to hope for, and something to work at, and something to occupy their attention besides their grief over the massive losses in their lives. But none of that energy will be focused beneficially unless they hear the truth… that there really is no going back to what was before.
    It’s also vitally important to commence public hearings and official investigations of those who committed real crimes and malfeasances.  Bernie Madoff has been salted away for two and a half lifetimes, but Henry Paulson is still at large after overseeing the creation of the biggest heap of fraudulent securities the world has ever known — and then betting against them in the swaps market, in effect shorting his own swindle — not to mention his misdeeds at the US Department of the Treasury. Why are those other Wall Street smoothies still enjoying their Hamptons villas while the foreclosed set up tents in the Sacramento Delta?  Why are the government officials who failed so miserably at regulation still enjoying their salaries, perqs, and pensions while those not employed by a bloated government struggle to stay alive another week.  And how many more weeks will go by before Michael Jackson is buried in the ground? 

     
  

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

307 Responses to “The Free and the Dead” Subscribe

  1. Stan Moore July 6, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Barack Obama, instead of offering the needed change we can believe in, is offering new and improved versions of the same old lies. His real role is to avert panic for as long as possible by repeating the false mantra that indefinite economic growth is not only possible, but desirable as well. The truth is ultimately unavoidable, but the Obama strategy is to hide the truth until it cannot be hidden any longer, and then it will be every man for himself. Of course, the poor and downtrodden will be fending for themselves in a situation where Obama could have helped them, but went the opposite direction instead. If people come to grips with reality, Obama’s name will be cursed by his current supporters, but even that is in doubt because of the power of myth and mystique.
    Stan Moore
    San Geronimo, CA

  2. draffen July 6, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    It is indeed odd how most of society – with the notable exception of those who have recently lost their jobs – is going on as if there is no tomorrow: Living high, guzzling gasoline in unnecessary road trips, boats and RV’s and “crusing” and buying all the latest gadgets -mostly from China.
    The news media was recently talking of “green shoots” while simultaneously displaying monthly job less numbers well north of 400,000. Big highway projects are underway in the area. A strange time indeed.

  3. Simon Trock July 6, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    James,
    I think you are the next Nostradamus. Your predictions seem very possible. Is it possible for you to create a rough timeline for when certain events will take place in the future? I enjoy reading you column and have read many of your books. Keep up the good work!
    Simon

  4. Moondog July 6, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    “How do people pay for these things?”
    They don’t. Living beyond one’s means has become the norm. The old values of hard work, thrift and austerity will necessarily return [with a vengeance]as a matter of survival. Meanwhile, there are still those who can and do pony up as much as $10,000.00 on eBay for just one lousy free ticket to the Michael Jackson memorial service.
    But apart fom all that, Mr. Kunstler, did you enjoy the canoe ride?

  5. mobiaxis July 6, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    damn! I was really hoping for something about Caribou Barbie! also.

  6. scott July 6, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    “For those still capable of paying attention to our national predicament, the questions are: what happens from here… and how does it happen?”
    First we have to come to grips with our unsustainable reliance upon economic growth. Our nation has since 1970 when U.S. oil production peaked been like a growth company that operates on debt. Globalization was the vehicle that created the growth potential that lured investors into the American way. Now that global capacity for growth has been reached, our company, or nation rather is trying to still operate on debt. Companies that do not show profits and have financed debt with growth prospects do not fare well in negative growth environments because they are simply financing debt with more debt.
    The theme going forward will be our creditors trying to figure out how to unwind their investments in what is clearly a failed business. The concept of infinite growth can’t even come close to standing up to the light of billions of new American like consumers that the worlds new manufacturers in Asia represent and they know it.
    This guy sums it up pretty good:
    “NO, the major theme of 2009 on the Psychology Billboard is REVOLT AGAINST THE USDOLLAR AT THE MARGIN, NOT THE CORE. The foreign creditors and suppliers to the Untied States are in a coordinated global revolt position, being fortified with each passing month. That is the major theme of 2009. Notice the shutdown in Chinese purchase of USTreasury Bonds, down to a mere trickle since October. In fact, the objective of those in revolt is to play down their revolt, to talk nice to the USGovt (which controls an aggressive military), to utter empty words about support for the USDollar, but to work behind the scenes to undermine it AT THE MARGIN. Their exercise is akin to soothing and singing to a large wounded beast, as it is being surrounded, tied up, and muzzled. Their objective includes a pace of undermine intended to be gradual.”
    http://news.goldseek.com/GoldenJackass/1246500000.php

  7. piltdownman July 6, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Jim –
    I well remember paddling a canoe up the Beaver River Flow more than two decades ago. Quietly doing some trout fishing, and seeing bears swim across the narrow waterway and catching sight of the occasional coydog running along the shore.
    That was before acid rain essentially ruined every lake in the Adirondacks.
    And it was about that time that noise and the craziness you describe began to be the predominant activity in those once wild woods. The people who came reminded me of the New York City folk who would go “upstate” in the summer…only to complain that there was “nothing to do.” So instead, they mostly decided to bring The City with them and just reinvent it in my back yard!
    On the road to Roanoke, Virginia this past weekend, I saw a huge number of people driving massive, dual-wheel diesel pickups, hauling house-sized trailers. And I had the same reaction you did; who are these people and how are they paying for this? Even more amazing are the giant dealerships for these dinosaurs. Who in their right mind would buy something like that?
    Oh wait, I think I just answered my own question.
    Ron

  8. harryflashman July 6, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    First comment and second place!!!!!James,I think that your correct about what will happen in the peak oil future,but I wouldnt keep putting a date on it mate.
    Be a bit more conservative (with a small C) with your timings Jim,and the sceptics will have less ammo!

  9. Andrew July 6, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    Planning on a shorter, local vacation – and maybe use the time to start getting the house in order. I think come October, particularly as a result of tight credit, and a mega-drought on the Canadian Prairies, there will be a spike in food prices (again).
    So I will whine and whimper for a bit. Then take a few actions to make some changes to my family’s lifestyle to soften the crash. It all feels futile, but at least its engaging.

  10. Consultant July 6, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Jim,
    Great post. Reagan was the true start of the national collapse of some sense of ethical standards in our culture. Right/wrong, adulthood/childhood, etc. It all got thrown out the window with a guy who thought every American should strive to become a millionaire. What if you don’t WANT to be a millionaire? Does that make you lazy or UNAmerican? For Reagans crew, it meant you were a loser. And the beat went on. From there, everything was about material culture and faking it. Fake material we are.
    We have become a gangster nation. When we lived in Chicago-1978 to 1988 (grad school days), a good friend of mine once famously said, in Chicago, edge permeates all levels of society. Translation: criminal, immoral behavior is widely evident among all classes of people in the city. And he was so right! I said, I just hope the ‘Chicago style’ doesn’t become a national thing.
    It did. It took 30 years, but it did.
    What we are now experiencing is a complete breakdown in the cultural framework of a working society. The fact that Sarah Palin is even mentioned by so called legitimate media companies as a Presidential contender shows just how far off the deep end we’ve gone as a country.
    As a rapper once said, “you can’t stop reality from being real”.
    As a nation, we don’t want to face reality anymore. We are so screwed!

  11. Steve M. July 6, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    When Ronald Reagan was elected President with help from the Woodstock generation, it was remarked that Rolling Stone cofounder Ralph Gleason, who died in 1975, died a second time. He died a third time when, in 1985, Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner boasted to advertisers that a majority of his readership voted to give Reagan another term.

  12. Uncle Al July 6, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    America mightily prospered through the service economy – selling options and levying credit on imported beads sold to the natives. The next giant Eden is all youth enslaved to provide healthcare to wretched adult-diapered Baby Boomer elderly whose life savings will be confiscated to Federal custody for safekeeping. Ouroboros grew huge and fat simply by eating his own tail.
    The lead domino might be erected with California Welfare IOUs and tipped by a million-strong angry mob demanding to load their reliquaries with Michael Jackson fragments on Tuesday 07 July 2009.

  13. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    When I was a kid, we used to rent a camper or RV for our yearly summer escape — seems like a smart move to me; you only pay for it when you actually use the damn thing. OTOH, people with RVs in their back yard should worry about losing their houses… just get your stuff down to what will fit comfortably in the RV & park it where the work is. I touched on that in FAR Future back in the early episodes.
    As for the power boats, I give ‘em a few more years. There might be fewer of them out next year, but the wealthy will still have them and still be able to fuel them. Everyone else will dream about having them, except for those of us who would have bought a sailboat had we the time to actually get it in the water.
    In the FAR Future, dreams are also the topic of this week’s episode.

  14. Mark Ancona July 6, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    With the election of Obama, we were promised “change we can believe in” and “hope” for the future of America. We were told that universal health care would be provided, compliments of the top 1% of earners in the country. Obama said that the “pie” was unequally distributed, and the middle class, poor and elderly should have a bigger slice. At the time of his election, we were facing down an unprecedented banking crisis, precipitated by the mortgage crisis. At that time, assurances were given that the “bailout” was a one time thing, the economy would get immediately back on track and Americans should do their patriotic duty by going and buying another car they don’t need. We are two trillion dollars down the bail-out road and counting. Our primary mortgage guarantors Freddie and Fannie are now the property of the American People, along with the associated losses which are estimated in the hundreds of billions. Same for AIG, with their massive multi-trillion dollar exposure to credit default swaps. Our newest socialized industries, Chrysler and GM are in similar straits, with untenable debt and obligations to 450,000 retirees that cannot be met, even after bankruptcy.
    We are eight months down the road from the election, and the promised change has not come. The highly vaunted “hope” is fading fast, as Americans lose their jobs, and get furloughed at the greatest pace since the Great Depression. Our government is turning to Keynes for the solution. Rather than backing away from new expenditures, they are spending at an ever expanding pace in what will turn out to be a failed effort to re-inflate the economy.
    Our dollar is under attack from within. Our own Treasury is working at a furious pace, printing up Treasury bonds to be sold to the likes of China and Japan. The problem is, there are too many bonds and not enough investors. Even if they wanted to, China could not absorb even a quarter of our monetary needs over the next two years. Our fiscal deficit has eclipsed the carrying capacity of the world, and our government refuses to believe it. Rather than trim down expenditures to match income, we are monetizing our deficits to pay for [clearly] bloated programs and an overextended military. To illustrate the dollars woes even further, Bill Gross of PIMCO fame recently advised his clients to “get out of the dollar”. Not quite the vote of confidence we need right now.
    While Obama is incapable of turning the economy, we can change our own micro economies ourselves, and should be doing so right now. Knowing that the Fed cannot hold the curtain closed for long, we can protect what we have by diversifying out of Federal Reserve Notes [AKA “cash”] and into physical assets. These can be anything you will need or consume for the next 18 months or so. Silver and gold are traditional hard assets and should do well to help your portfolio hold its value, but consider some of the other assets we consume throughout the year for potential inclusion. Food is an obvious choice, as we have seen recent volatility in commodity markets cause prices to whipsaw. Storing food for periods of uncertainty used to be a ubiquitous practice, right up through the seventies, but as the Depression generations died off, the practice fell out of favor. Back in the day, those who stored food were considered practical; today we’re called “doomers’. Either way, I prefer the idea of a nutritious and varied diet, to waiting in line for rationed provisions of meager selection. Anyone who thinks the just-in-time system will not break down during fiscal crisis need only look to Argentina for proof. When letters of credit cease to carry the weight and backing of real money, the system stops dead.
    We are in a unique position today which permits us to calmly and patiently store up what we need at reasonable prices. These include gold and silver, which are artificially suppressed in price, though not for much longer.
    Take this gift of time and prepare yourself for the future. You don’t have to wait for it in dread and anticipation, just be ready.

  15. zsazsa July 6, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    “I think he has a few weeks to turn his rhetoric around before the political mischief begins for real, and the aggrieved classes start shooting things up and burning things down.”
    Shooting and burning? Shooting and fucking burning? Should this not happen, will you be disappointed that your prediction did not come to pass?

  16. seb July 6, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Okie from Muskogee — Merle Haggard
    ———————————–
    ———————————–
    We dont smoke marijuana in Muskogee
    We dont take our trips on LSD
    http://sbillinghurst.wordpress.com
    HOW TO MAKE METHAMPHETAMINE

  17. Steve Sr. July 6, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Jim, it’s really time to give up the ghost on Obama. I know it’s hard for you to do, like most of us , expected something very different than what we got. You encourage reality, so get real my friend. Obama is just another version of “W”, SOBDD –Same Old Bullshit Different Day!

  18. utopianrobot July 6, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    is another world war the best way to resolve the debts created in the globalized economy? imagine, african nations fighting u.n. soldiers enforcing loan pay backs to the IMF & world bank. China enacts a trade embargo leaving America empty handed and a u.s. backed taiwanese retaliation against the mainland. Russia turning off the tap for Western Europe and a British invasion to turn it back on. and so on.

  19. TerminusEst July 6, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Here’s an article you’ll appreciate, Jim, from the StarTribune here in Minneapolis:
    Cities confront “ghostbox” buildings when big-box retailers leave:
    http://tinyurl.com/l26nkm
    I love this line: “In Minnesota, one became a Spam Museum.”
    Well that’s appropriate – these giant, ugly boxes are a kind of architectural spam, after all. Is there anything uglier than a giant orange Home Depot, covering the square footage of 12 football fields? Well yes there is – an empty giant Home Depot falling into decay and covered with graffiti. Lol, we are so screwed.

  20. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    Lots of good points today.
    I agree that Reagan was the real beginning of our current decline; however, it should be noted that the Carter administration, with Jimmy’s call for conservation and humility (much of that faith based) really foretold what was to happen thereafter. It is particularly ironic that the post-1980 brand of religious consevativism bore no resemblance whatsover to Carter’s kinder-gentler, grassroots brand of Southern gospel. I think its fair to say that the same mindset still holds today. No politician of any stripe who also embraces religion (and they ALL must do so now, thanks to the GOP’s successful efforts to meld the two since then) would dare frame it as anything other than triumphalist;i.e., GOD is on OUR SIDE, and, although we continue to mouth the politically correct words of “inclusion” and “tolerance,” anyone with a clue knows that it’s an inside joke, meant only to signify to the other true believers that the joke’s on everyone else.
    Likewise, how will the powerboaters pay for their power toys? Come on now, by now the ponzi mentality has filtered all the way down to the working classes, as well it should. Having witnessed the US Government, Wall St, and local governments and businesses perfect the strategy, its only fitting and just that those at the bottom of the economic ladder (who can also benefit the most) follow suit. How will they pay their bills? THEY WON’T! What’s the worst that can happen? They’ll either die before the accounts are settled, or they lose it all (which they were never entitled to anyway) in bankruptcy, divorce, etc. Hey, its the new American Casino Capitalist way. Live large for today, cause tomorrow’s not guaranteed either way.

  21. IntegralResearchSociety July 6, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    “These classes really do need something to hope for…”
    I just finished reading Ronald Wright’s A Short History of Progress (written in 2004) and the following caught my eye:
    “In her recent dystopia, Oryz and Crake, which concentrates on biotechnology, Margaret Atwood also portrays the collapse of civilization in the near future. One of her characters asks, ‘As a species we’re doomed by hope, then?’ By hope? Well, yes. Hope drives us to invent new fixes for old messes, which in turn create ever more dangerous messes. Hope elects the politician with the biggest empty promise [again, written in 2004]; and as any stockbroker or lottery seller knows, most of us will take a slim hope over prudent and predictable frugality. Hope, like greed, fuels the engine of capitalism.”
    Matt Holbert
    Spokane, Washington

  22. highrpm July 6, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    1.
    “All the diabolical MONEY GRUBBING brought to engineering the New Jersey and Long Island suburbs”
    I thought we elected city administrators to write the rules ensuring building of gracious neighborhoods and business districts.
    E.g., “…every thoroughfare that carries X amount of traffic must be a divided boulevard with a lawn and treed landscaped center strip of minimum width Y. houses/buildings must be set back from the streets a miniumum distance of Z, their adjoining yards landscaped with lawn and trees and schrubs…”
    But, no, our elected administrators sign off to the money grubbing developers of cheap neighborhoods and strip malls. (How many of these administrators are, themselves, developers?)
    Do not forget: subdivisions for the masses started en mass in the 1950’s; today, they look dated and many dilapidated.
    2.
    “These classes really do need something to hope for, and something to work at, and something to occupy their attention besides their grief over the massive losses in their lives.”
    How can a capitalist government, which gets its miniscule revenue–relative to GDP–from taxes provide “hope” all its needy citizens? Poppy cock. Folks who look to the government to bail them out deserve what they get.

  23. budizwiser July 6, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    One important point about this Independence Day weekend is that it represents one of the few times in history that self-interested parties continue to successfully rule in the face of an ever downward spiral for most Americans.
    Although we haven’t sunk to the level of austerity endured at the time of the Great Depression – give this mess a little more time.
    As JK, so correctly pointed out two weeks ago – we can’t even get any national level “patriotic talk” about fraud and corruption on the radar screen. To listen to our President speak, you’d think we’ve reached a new kind of “business as usual” plateau.
    And again, as JK pointed out last week, with the turn of a calendar page, two-dozen States become bankrupt over night.
    I guess we’ll make it through July and August, and maybe September, but by October, the idiots on the idiot-box ought to start noticing something’s wrong. You think?
    What’s next? India’s agrees with Russia with regard to “bailing” on dollar-holdings, when do we go to the IOU currency standard?

  24. taylormade July 6, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    While I agree with everything you’ve written, what is most disheartening is the thick headed populace that for the most part refuses to even comprehend our problems. Attempts to broach these subjects with supposedly educated co-workers results in stares of disbelief that I could utter such negativity. I’m not sure if its the “ignorance is bliss” phenomenon or the “head in the sand” trick. Regardless, until the population wakes up and realizes the depth of our problems we have little chance of surmounting them. We’ve had too many generations now that think if they bend over and grunt hard enough they’ll magically shit gold coins and pay off their debts. Its a lonely world when few share your reality.

  25. utopianrobot July 6, 2009 at 11:31 am #

    hey taylormade,
    you’re dead right. any mention of peak oil or economic collapse is met with blank stares, hostility, or mocking statements. of course people are so invested in the system it’s sacrilege to suggest the winds may change direction, to put it lightly.

  26. lockjaw July 6, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    tuesday is soylent green day

  27. Dave Eriqat July 6, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    I like to call Reagan’s era “Mourning in America.” I’ve long believe the U.S. economy and affluence peaked in the 1970s. (Is it merely a coincidence that U.S. oil production also peaked in the early 1970s? Is it a coincidence that the global economy seems to have peaked right now, shortly after global oil production peaked?). Where does one go from a peak? Down. But to forestall that downward trend, the 1980s gave rise to the denialist something-for-nothing economy, financed by plundering our accumulated wealth (merger mania of the 1980s), and then when all that wealth was extracted, by debt (from the 1990s onward).
    There is no place to go from here except down. We’ve exhausted all of our tricks – except one: good, old fashioned military conquest for resources, which is clearly on display in Iraq. But considering that our military is totally dependent on debt, which is provided by some of the very countries we’re vanquishing in places such as the middle east, I think even the military option has a limited life expectancy.
    Dave – Erstwhile Urban Wanderer

  28. wardoc July 6, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Here in the suburban southeast, I saw the same phenomenon this WE as JK did in the Adirondaks; multitudes of people on the lake pulling kids on floaty toys while getting 4 mpg in their huge plastic boats. I had the same question: how can these people possibly pay for this? Same answer: further maxing out of credit cards. The ultimate question, however, is: what’s wrong with these people?; don’t they know what’s going on around them?; Are they clinically psychotic? Do they think credit card “money” will continue indefinately? What’s going ON?
    I think we’re seeing the last hypomanic hooray of the Amerikan experience. The good ole boys in their boats on the lake are desperately diving into mindless distraction activity, football or some other silly mind numbing sport (btw-“football season in Tennessee” is just around the corner) and fantasies of being part of the elite (with their boats, trophy hags (I mean wives) and poorly made mcmansions that aren’t even close to being paid for), all as part of an unconscious attempt to avoid facing the reality that we/they are now at the end of the world as they knew and wanted it. The end of the world that our parents told us to expect and feel entitled to. The end of the world where people did’nt have to worry about where the next meal comes from or how to avoid being killed for a meal (or, possibly, being a meal).
    The people on the lake are in every section of the country and, from my experience, are the same everywhere–different only in their accents and specific focus of their silly distractions (e.g. nascar vs jetskis,etc). When they truly and fully realize their lives are over, they will either committ suicide in droves (40-50 something males who lose their status are the highest risk group for suicide) or target whoever they think is the most reasonable scapegoat. The latter will surely involve the use of violence the likes of which our generation has not seen.
    Regardless, we’re about to stand witness to the most interesting social psychology experiment in the history of the post industrial western world.
    My predictions: 1) mass suicides and 2) food as currency. And, yes, pockets of cannibalism (ted turner was right).
    Wardoc
    (think Sarajevo and see the future of Amerika)

  29. Ed Nauseum July 6, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    @mobiaxis,
    Yes, I too was hoping JHK would find a way to make Bible Spice this week’s metaphor for America. Instead we get the usual prediction of blood in the streets, just a few weeks away. As always.

  30. piltdownman July 6, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Taylor and Urobot –
    Indeed. No one wants to hear it. They’ll watch endless coverage of Sarah Palin or Michael Jackson, but will point their remotes and mut me should I even mention anything “serious.”
    Part of this is related to sheer, utter stupidity, which is rampant. The other part is, I fear, related to the fact that most people feel completely unable to have any effect at all on the world around them…. They stand there with their fingers in their ears like 7 year old brat children, screaming; “I can’t hear you!”
    Ron

  31. capt chill July 6, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    Funny, I was on a lake in a kayak outside of Raleigh NC this weekend and the same people in their huge power boats were doing the same thing . Pulling their fat kids behind a big boat on a big tube, while hoisting large cans of canned beer.
    The next thing I noticed this Saturday night the 4th of July is that these same people out of work still living on credit bought 199s of dollars of fireworks in South Carolina and brought them back to NC and blew them up well past midnight all the while drinking more canned beer.
    It really is a culture that has fallen off the rails.

  32. Danm July 6, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    and fantasies of being part of the elite (with their boats, trophy hags (I mean wives) and poorly made mcmansions that aren’t even close to being paid for),
    ——————
    I couldn’t agree more.
    My career has been with the big boys. Managing their portfolios that is. And I can’t but feel very sad for all these wannabes who are ready to go in debt just to convince themselves that they’ve made it.
    The reality is that the rich know who’s where in the pecking order. And they’ve got these McMansion buyers exactly where they want them to be.

  33. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    President Obama can level with the people. The real question is, are “the people” ready to be leveled with?
    The hard-core CONned-servatives make up maybe a fourth of the population total, but there is some serious money and Foxaganda behind their continued programming. Reality has thinned their ranks some in the last year or so, but the remnant can be expected to reliably sit up and bark on command.
    And bark they will. Or howl, growl, and snap at the hands trying to feed them and heal their wounds.
    President Obama may have dim childhood memories of President Carter’s attempt to level with the people, and the result it had, and he certainly knows his history. With the money behind them, CONservatives have a disproportionately large voice and no end of dim-witted but telegenic front men/women to start serving up the “morning in America” crap cupcakes. Politics sucks that way; no matter what Bush-league tried to do, you can’t just do as you please. Actually, you probably have a better chance of getting away with enriching yourself, as people expect that from politicians, than they would of actually improving the country.
    There’s a fine line to be walked, and the other side plays dirty because it’s more fun rather than more effective. That right-wing 1/4 of the country is a small minority, but is capable of making a lot of trouble for the rest of us. If President Obama wanted to realize their worst fears, he could forcibly shut them up and make some serious, positive changes… but at what price to the national psyche?

  34. Danm July 6, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    And by the way, kayaking might be less polluting than motor boats but don’t go thinking that by doing it you are god’s gift to the world.
    Moving kayaks from one lake to another has been proven to create huge problems as the boats carry species and diseases from one place to the other.

  35. helen highwater July 6, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Speaking of Ronald Reagan, remember the song that Joan Baez sang at Woodstock – Drugstore Truck Drivin’ Man? It was supposed to be about him. It might have been the “Woodstock generation” that elected Reagan but I doubt if any of the people who were actually at Woodstock voted for him.

  36. AngryBrokerdotcom July 6, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Yes, Jim, life goes on.
    I made the mistake of turning on the radio this weekend, and came across a couple of those weekend so-called “financial advisor” programs.
    Even while the scams and scandals are being swept under the rug or pushed out behind the propane tank, these radio financial advisors are now touting “alternative investments” like life settlements (which is buying a portion of an in-force insurance contract owned by an elderly person and hoping their life expectancy is less than the seller thinks it is) or “guaranteed returns of 32% the first year” (oh, I forgot to tell you – you can’t access or spend that 32% for at least 10 years, and then you can only take it out as income over your life expectancy). And these are just a couple of the hard-to-understand, high-commissioned potholes being placed in front of retirees during the unravelling of America. Desperate times call for desperate sales tactics.
    May God have mercy on their souls – the advisors and the retirees.

  37. tribecka July 6, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Out on a big lake in the Adirondacks? A Place in the Sun to reflect on our country’s future status . . . or lack of it if now be our Shelley Winters of discontent. Time to accidentally rock this zombie economy out of the canoe . . . or throw its perpetrators over the Montgomery Clift.
    It’s all for the best. The gorgeous Liz awaits!

  38. asoka July 6, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Jim,
    I am glad you enjoyed your canoe ride on the Adirondack lake. Thank big government intervention for saving the lake.
    The ecosystems of the Adirondacks have been saved by the implementation of air pollution laws. The burden on the Adirondack lakes has been lightened by the Acid Deposition Reduction Program (tip of the hat to Governor Pataki), which began in 2004 and has reduced emissions from fossil-fuel power plants.
    The federal government has further raised its own standards. The Clean Air Interstate Rule (tip of the hat to the EPA) was adopted in 2005 and applies to all states east of the Rocky Mountains.
    Thanks to government regulation you were able to enjoy your canoe ride. The positive changes to the Adirondack lakes have been due to government intervention.
    We need higher tax rates in place to pay for even more government programs to make even more improvements.
    But Obama has been too restrained and centrist. He has LOWERED taxes on 95% of Americans. Obama’s requests for funds have been too little, and he seems to be stuck on a “pay as you go” philosophy that does not want to grow the government at all.
    I thought with Obama we were getting the “most liberal” Senator who would grow government. But all we are getting is fiscal conservatism based on “pay as you go” and greater efficiencies; spending smarter instead of spending more.
    Oh well, maybe we can elect someone to the left of Obama next time. Meanwhile those good government programs we do have in place are making your pleasant canoe rides on the Adirondack possible.

  39. StephenH July 6, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    I don’t think Power Boats will disappear overnight. In fact, according to another peak oil expert, Matthew Simmons, boats get far more miles to the gallon than cars or railways do.

  40. tstreet July 6, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but perhaps you should have stayed home. Fortunately, around here, the river is too low for power boats as the only craft using the river are kayaks. Makes for a very pleasant experience. Anyway, the prediction of the demise of oil fueled recreation activities may be premature.
    I know a lot of people who express concern about recreation that requires excessive oil consumption while they drive or fly thousands of miles to engage in low energy based activities. Maybe it would have been better if they had stayed at home and rented a power boat for the weekend.
    Perhaps the Adirondacks are just a short jaunt. I hope so.

  41. Scott July 6, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    The construction of the first post-oil villages, the first expressions of the “world made by hand,” are the “Transition Towns” sprouting up in Europe, as well as a handful in America. These folks are really doing it, putting together sustainable, post-oil communities.
    If James Lovelock (Gaia)is right, only 500 million will see the 22nd century, and they will most likely be descendents of the folks found here:
    Energy Descent Action Plans :
    http://www.energybulletin.net/print/16859
    http://www.postcarbon.org/

  42. gadfly July 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    JK has well documented the vast economically and environmentally destructive dimensions of the post WW II suburban sprawl development mode. Parallel was the sprawl of US military bases around the globe in an attempt at a global military empire now totaling more than 1,000 bases in 132 countries and costing more than a cool borrowed trillion bucks annually. The whole post WW2 US military project has cost more than an unimaginable $40 trillion. Not surprisingly, the Pentagon is the largest single user of liquid fuels in the world considering all those high mileage ships, planes, tanks, etc. The Bush gang produced the largest embassy in the world in Bhagdad fortified green zone for around a billion bucks, and a reported staff of 5,000. Now big O plans a similar one for Islamabad, Pakistan. What is the future for these far flung outposts of “suburbia” when the costs and enormous fuel inputs required to service them grow thin? An empire filled with notions of its own exceptionalism and entitlement is about to experience the sorrows of empire at home and in its extensions around the world.

  43. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    *chuckle* Bible Spice. I like that. The perfect description of an attractive, vapid, Pharisee. In other words, the perfect front woman for the CONservative handlers.
    Bailing out of Alaska politics was politically either a shrewd move or a major blunder, but it’s far too early to call it either way. I suspect that in a couple years, the only people who will care (and be given the briefest amount of media exposure to express same) will be Alaskans trying to clean up the mess she left behind. Now she’s free to hit the rubber chicken circuit, making beaucoup bucks and dispensing favors to be called in when needed.
    Under the wrong circumstances, she could end up warming the Oval Office chair between 2012 & 2016, inclusive (the “in-between” part could be something like the 2014 coup described in FAR Future).
    Also.

  44. Sackerson July 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm #

    Another age shall see the golden ear
    Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre,
    Deep harvests bury all his pride has planned,
    And laughing Ceres reassume the land.
    Alexander Pope – from An Epistle to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington

  45. Sackerson July 6, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    Another age shall see the golden ear
    Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre,
    Deep harvests bury all his pride has planned,
    And laughing Ceres reassume the land.
    Alexander Pope – from An Epistle to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington

  46. Sackerson July 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    Another age shall see the golden ear
    Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre,
    Deep harvests bury all his pride has planned,
    And laughing Ceres reassume the land.
    Alexander Pope – from An Epistle to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington

  47. Sackerson July 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    Sorry for the repetition, I got messages saying it didn’t get through! Please delete as appropriate.

  48. mapmanic July 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

    I’m a believer in muscle-powered sports (or wind-powered)–hiking, backpacking, kayaking, sailing, bike riding–and the internal combustion engine is such an assault on the senses. The cretins who tool around in their powerboats or wreck the vegetation in our parks and forests with their 4-wheeled vehicles not only destroy the wilderness experience for others but seem to be involved in a big thumbing-your-nose-at-nature exercise. They’re not out to appreciate nature. I think most of them are actually disgusted with nature. In their pea brains nature is something to be conquered. These assholes are so annoying on many different levels. They’re usually the first people to subscribe to the notion that the United States is axiomatically deserving of praise–maybe they are at least smart enough to know they’re recursively praising themselves. Satisfying to see how they fair in Kunstler’s World Made by Hand; they are the ones who end up with the matching tattoos living in the squalor out by the dump/salvage pit.

  49. mapmanic July 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    I’m a believer in muscle-powered sports (or wind-powered)–hiking, backpacking, kayaking, sailing, bike riding–and the internal combustion engine is such an assault on the senses. The cretins who tool around in their powerboats or wreck the vegetation in our parks and forests with their 4-wheeled vehicles not only destroy the wilderness experience for others but seem to be involved in a big thumbing-your-nose-at-nature exercise. They’re not out to appreciate nature. I think most of them are actually disgusted with nature. In their pea brains nature is something to be conquered. These assholes are so annoying on many different levels. They’re usually the first people to subscribe to the notion that the United States is axiomatically deserving of praise–maybe they are at least smart enough to know they’re recursively praising themselves. Satisfying to see how they fair in Kunstler’s World Made by Hand; they are the ones who end up with the matching tattoos living in the squalor out by the dump/salvage pit.

  50. mapmanic July 6, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    I’m a believer in muscle-powered sports (or wind-powered)–hiking, backpacking, kayaking, sailing, bike riding–and the internal combustion engine is such an assault on the senses. The cretins who tool around in their powerboats or wreck the vegetation in our parks and forests with their 4-wheeled vehicles not only destroy the wilderness experience for others but seem to be involved in a big thumbing-your-nose-at-nature exercise. They’re not out to appreciate nature. I think most of them are actually disgusted with nature. In their pea brains nature is something to be conquered. These assholes are so annoying on many different levels. They’re usually the first people to subscribe to the notion that the United States is axiomatically deserving of praise–maybe they are at least smart enough to know they’re recursively praising themselves. Satisfying to see how they fair in Kunstler’s World Made by Hand; they are the ones who end up with the matching tattoos living in the squalor out by the dump/salvage pit.

  51. Liber8tor July 6, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    The ugly white plastic boats will vanish..wildlife will return. Just as the pheasants and deer are returning to the vacant urban-decayed fields in Detroit.
    The Obama honeymoon is going to come to a screeching halt… as soon as the masses meet the new boss… same as the old boss, we won’t get fooled again. (late August..early September?)
    The final stake in the heart of the U.S. is going to be the Cap and Trade Law, which will legally allow the Wall-Streeters to trade carbon credits ala Enron in the Credit Default Swap Market. This will be like giving an alcoholic a free credit card to the corner liquor store.
    They will secret through this Cap and Trade Law at midnight on a Friday.. just before a holiday weekend.. with no debate and no media coverage. I’m thinking Labor Day weekend?
    SO get ready…BOHICA (bend over.. here it comes again)

  52. Bambini July 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    I was sitting at a table with a group of mega fatties…discussing the possible impact of a giant asteroid…I mentioned running out of oil is a bigger threat …the fat heads sitting on the tripple chins went ballistic….Apparantly I was highly negative and a fucking downer.. no chance of that happening, if it did happen why solar power, wind turbines and battery powered cars are going to save us…funny I didn’t see any solar panels, wind turbines or battery operated cars on the way to their house.. I quess the reason we are in Iraq is for its pretzels…

  53. ShelleyB July 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    Dear Mr. Kunstler,
    I was out on the lake in a motor boat this weekend . . . dragging my kid around in a tube, no less. The experience felt surreal to me because, like you in your canoe, I couldn’t help thinking about what was going to happen when the Long Emergency starts. I imagined everyone paddling these big, white, plastic watercrafts around the lake and desperately trying to catch bass and pickerel . . . not for sport, but for protein.
    Why do we continue to do these things? I suspect it is an “enjoy it while you can” mentality. A denial mentality. And probably 95% of the people on this lake haven’t even heard of peak oil and really do believe that the economy will straighten itself out. Why was I out there? My husband loves his boat and my daughter loves her tube. I’m just the weird and paranoid mom who reads strange books about the end of the world . . . and believes them.

  54. Tom July 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    Big fan of yours Jim… found it interesting your description of the # of boaters on the lake, where I’m from recreational river traffic has all but vanished on the detroit river…. the marinas are packed with boats docked and going nowhere though.

  55. Tom July 6, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Big fan of yours Jim… found it interesting your description of the # of boaters on the lake, where I’m from recreational river traffic has all but vanished on the detroit river…. the marinas are packed with boats docked and going nowhere though.

  56. Dilligas July 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    Looks like we are “Up the proverbial river with no apparent means of locomotion”

  57. k gleason July 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    THE RIVERS OF BABYLON
    Thers a site worth looking at called SOLARI.COM
    Heres what i found there:
    you think the housing and credit bubble diminished your financial security and your community, or the bailouts, or the rising gas prices did as well, hold on to your hat. The worst may be yet to come. Carbon trading is gearing up to make the housing and derivatives bubbles look like target practice.
    Here are some comments on H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009:
    “economic colonization of the heartland”
    -Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Kentucky)
    “a scam”
    -Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California)
    “massive transfer of wealth”
    -Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin)
    “Carbon markets can and will be manipulated using the same Wall Street sleights of hand that brought us the financial crisis.”
    -Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)
    And from Elizabeth Kolbert’s New Yorker interview with James Hansen, NASA’s climate expert:”Hansen pointed out that the bill explicity allows for the construction of new coal plants and predicted that it would, if passed, prove close to meaningless. He said that he thought it would probably be best if the bill failed…”
    ITS NOT FOR NOTHING AS THIS BILLS PASSED THE MEDIA ‘PUSHES ‘ MIKE JACKSON ON ‘ THE HERD’

  58. scott July 6, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    “Ronald Reagan ran up big deficits in part because he believed that his tax cuts would produce economic growth, and ultimately pay for themselves. He may well have been excessively optimistic about the merits of tax cuts, but at least he had a story.
    Obama has no story. Nobody believes that his unprecedented expansion of the welfare state will lead to enough economic growth. Nobody believes that it will pay for itself. Everyone understands that higher spending today begets higher spending tomorrow. That means that his economic strategy simply doesn’t add up.”
    Character Deficit
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aTKrn1jUJwdE

  59. spencer July 6, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    I despise the jetskis, tubers, et al, as much as anyone, but blaming Reagan for our current mess is silly, shortsighted and just knee-jerk leftist thinking. The problem started with Wilson, and even before that in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve. Unbridled money printing has allowed financing of unnecessary foreign wars and counterproductive social programs.
    Capitalism without failure is like religion without hell, and if left alone, capitalism quickly punishes the foolish. When government gets involved, the foolishness gets carved in stone.
    Remember, you can impose all sorts of economic systems, but you can’t impose capitalism. It results when people are given freedom. That’s why a free people are a wealthy people, and tyranny always leads to poverty.
    Jim bemoans the current “creative destruction”, but if we just got the government out of the way, we may get a painful “correction” and then government could step in with some limited, helpful guiding hands.

  60. Johnny Rico July 6, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    “I was out on a big Adirondack lake in a canoe this weekend while the American economy was dying — but you wouldn’t have known it for the fleets of giant power boats dragging children back and forth across the water on rubber tubes, and the giant camping vehicles crammed into every bare spot.”
    Jim. I’m just curious. How did you and that canoe get to the lake?
    And what was the purpose of you being on that lake in a canoe?
    Do you live there? Did you build that canoe? Were you fishing for something to eat?
    I don’t get it.

  61. farmboy July 6, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    Today’s American crisis reminds me of the most famous line Reagan spoke in a movie:
    “Where’s the rest of me?”

  62. LAGTime July 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm #

    “That was when [Reagan’s election] we became a something-for-nothing society — and, incidentally, it was also the take-off point for legalized gambling all over America (an “industry” based on the worship of unearned riches). And that was, coincidentally, the moment when we became a nation of dupes, grifters, marks, and suckers….”
    Actually, the human race has always been about getting something for nothing. (How old is compound interest? It’s something anyone who saves even a little has benefited from at one point or another.)
    Has the US perfected “something for nothing”? Fossil fuels have made possible the apparent invisibility of various connections, whether an oil supply line or the knowledge of what an eggplant looks like from seed to plant to fruit. They’ve also made it possible for us to live isolated (seemingly insulated) from our wastes.
    Until we take more of an interest in making these connections and internalizing what currently gets externalized, we’ll probably just go on as before…until we just can’t. I think that’s why so many of us can continue on, pretending to see the twilight. And, frankly, guilt only gets you so far.
    What was it Palin said the other day…something about how being right is worth more than being popular? Hmmm. If those of us who believe that we’ve hit the limits of most of the resources that sustain us are to get anywhere with most people, we’re going to have to be right AND popular, not judgmental and sanctimonious.
    I like your writing, Mr. Kunstler, but my sense of humor tends to be dark anyway…and that’s not how most people are.
    Think of your favorite comedian — that may be what the peak fossil fuel movement needs (kind of like Carlin meets Hee Haw meets Stewart meets Murphy meets Bruce), ’cause we can harp on this stuff all day long, but unless it grabs the majority, then we are just spinning our oars!

  63. david mathews July 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    Remember, you can impose all sorts of economic systems, but you can’t impose capitalism. It results when people are given freedom. That’s why a free people are a wealthy people, and tyranny always leads to poverty.

    This is pure BS. Capitalism and freedom are incompatible, capitalism and wealth are compatible only to the degree to which a minority can exploit everyone and everything else on the planet.
    Capitalism works so well for Americans because of the widespread desperation, impoverishment and oppression of billions of people. These people upon which the capitalists trample in order to gain their resources and enslave for mass production at the lowest income possible are invisible to the Western consumers.
    They are beyond invisible. If you happen to actually mention the suffering of the oppressed to the average capitalists they will do everything within their power to avoid thinking about such people.
    The easiest demonstration of this principle is found in Nigeria. If the Nigerians weren’t impoverished they would consume their own oil so there wouldn’t be any left over for America’s consumers to burn so wastefully in their SUVs.
    There is also another example. It involves the resources which are consumed today which are therefore not available for future generations to consume. Again, the average capitalists simply doesn’t care about the future.
    Capitalism is a lie, a delusion, a ponzi scheme … and capitalism is also dead.
    Let the dead bury their own dead.
    http://www.flickr.com/dmathew1

  64. dan July 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm #

    My old horse Dan (about 27 years old) died on the evening of the 4th of July. Dan was always a bit of a prophet. Maybe take it as a sign.

  65. Mr. Mike's Mondo Worldview July 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    All that stuff about Obama reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s observation that the president is a bit like a little kid who’s sitting in a car seat with a pretend steering wheel on it [remember those?]. Someone else is really doing the driving, but he gets to pretend to drive.

  66. den111 July 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    I know I’m a broken record on this, but, Obama hasn’t picked his bankster staff, the banksters picked him.
    As for defeating manifest evil, I think it exist on both sides, and won.
    Nothing changes.
    TruthOut
    Kill the Indian. Save the Man
    http://www.truthout.org/070209A
    PS. Thank you Jim for taking the considerable amount of time it must take to answer so many of our emails.
    Peace

  67. bruciejo July 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    Thanks Jim – for your years of telling the public what it doesn’t want to hear!! Your canoe bravery on a 4th of July is more than I would dare!! I live in a small town in Minnesota within a county that contains 1,000 lakes. The locals no longer call the weekenders tourists– but rather tourorists!! They go by, within 20 feet of your boat, with 6 lard-ass kids in the back, leaving a 5 foot wake, smile and wave – while you hang on, hoping you won’t capsize!! Hopefully, but not likely, they run their life better than their boat!!!

  68. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    «My old horse Dan (about 27 years old) died on the evening of the 4th of July.»
    Bummer. On the other hand, my sister-in-law’s horses keep getting loose and coming up to my place to eat Mrs. Fetched’s flowers. And the World’s Most Obnoxious Dog (Mrs. Fetched’s shriekbox Austrian Shepherd) gave birth on the morning of the 4th.
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_iEDSQpStZog/Sk_6r88SNuI/AAAAAAAABN4/U25K1KpO1j4/s320/IMG_9930.JPG
    I hope the future doesn’t belong to loudmouth energetic egotists like the mom-dog.

  69. scott July 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    “You may have green shoots, whatever you want to call them,” said market sage and author of The Black Swan Nassim Taleb. “You may have temporary relief, but you are still in a world that’s breaking. We’re in the middle of a crash. So if I’m going to forecast something, it is that it’s going to get worse, not better.”
    http://dailyreckoning.com/the-debt-monkey-on-our-backs/

  70. tester July 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    I have tested the comment feature on this blog on several different browsers.
    On _certain_ web browsers, the comment confirmation page is not displaying, although the comment was successfully posted.
    Do not double post your comment if you receive a blank page.

  71. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Tester, I think the problems become more pronounced as the week goes on, and the comment count climbs into multiple hundreds.
    Simply paginating the comments, as TypoPad and even Blogger can do, would get this under control.

  72. Gordon July 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    Having come from a lower middle class background and one who has supposedly lived the “American Dream,” I think I understand the motivation for the middle class living as they do. I have an MBA – paid for myself through student loans and work – and was a CPA working as a Controller in the high tech industry, but was forced to “retire” early because my job was “outsourced,” probably to China, so the American people could have ever cheaper toys to play with. I think most middle class Americans do not understand or care what happens as long as their lifestyles are not affected. Many are deeply in debt and concerned with simply maintaining a decent lifestyle for themselves and their families, not with the global implications of what they are doing. I think they know it is far beyond their ability to change anything, so it is better not to question lest it be taken away. Freedom of choice for most (where to work, live, go to school, etc.) is an illusion, one that is best not examined too closely when your background is middle class. The only ones who have control of all these things are the wealthy. Having worked with the truly wealthy for many years as a CPA, I have had an almost unique opportunity to observe how much of society is really run by them for their benefit (mostly behind closed doors). Therein lies the problem. To paraphrase a former campaign slogan “It’s The Wealthy, Stupid!” While I agree with your observations of a society out of control, your article castigates the wrong people. Most middle class people are simply struggling to survive and, while their egregious habits are the most visible to an oberserver, none of what they are doing would be possible without it benefiting the wealthy in some way. It is also to the benefit of the wealthy to keep the general populace as poorly educated as possible (ever wonder why our education system is to poor, but never seems to make progress in correcting the problems?) for obvious reasons. The “consumer” society is a construct of the wealthy who need cheap labor to produce a product and someone to buy it, all the while reaping obscene rewards by manipulating the system. Few articles, yours included, actually put the blame where it belongs. Most, simply rant about how the materialistic Western society should be forced into a lower living standard by “driving down demand.” When they actually blame anything or anyone at all, they typically refer to something nebulous like Capitalism or Free Trade or the greed of the wealthy American consumer. The fact is that most people in the US are not wealthy (unless they are compared with the 3rd world, but then nearly everyone is compared to them). If you think they are, then you very likely come from a wealthy background, someone who has never really had to constantly worry about money and do without the things the wealthy take for granted. I supect a large number of “environmentalists” are from this class and have some kind of idealistic view of the world that is only true if you are from wealth and privilege. If you are wealthy, you are part of the problem, not the solution. There is a very serious disconnect between the wealthy and the poor (or working poor) in this country. If people ever stop believing the empty screed and propaganda the media (who are controlled by the wealhty) feeds them constantly and realize that it is the wealthy who are the problem, we might have a chance to deal with our problems, but I think it is part of our nature as a species to follow leaders without questioning their motives, so we are doomed to failure, as is the planet.

  73. turkle July 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    Rico,
    Taking your canoe to the lake to enjoy some quiet paddling is a bit different than hauling a gigantic speedboat around with a pickup truck, which itself burns up a lot of gas, and then burning even more pulling around the kids on inflatable tubes.
    Yes, we know JHK is a hypocrite for using his auto to get places. You’re so incredibly brilliant for pointing it out. Would it make you happy if he lived in a log cabin without running water or electricity, lived off the land, got around with a horse and buggy, and hand wrote his books by candle light?
    Then you’d allow him to bitch about speed boats on his website without snide remarks about what a hypocrite he is for using his car occasionally. Oh, wait, he shouldn’t be using the internet. The power plants that run it probably use coal or natural gas. Maybe he could hand deliver his next anti-speedboat broadside to your front door by Pony Express.
    The only completely consistent people are the dead.

  74. turkle July 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Gordon,
    Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt buying flat screen tvs, jet skis, motorcycles, and vacations to Hawaii? Did Donald Trump force anyone to buy a $500k home on a $50k salary? Does the upper class mandate that every adult male with a baseball cap and a goatee must drive a $30k SUV or sports car to work? Is anyone forcing middle class families to have children that they cannot afford who simply must attend university for $25k or more per year? Is it mandated in the Bill of Rights that every household must have internet and cable tv? Must every person have a cell phone? Did anyone force people to get 2nd or 3rd refinances to build a new $40k kitchen with granite counter tops?
    Giving the American middle class a big “pass” is absolutely laughable.

  75. wolfcall July 6, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    Ah, the Fourth of July holiday. The weekend for people to expose their private compulsion for arson and worse, to mix that arson tendency with alcohol. And so few of these firebugs could even explain why the holiday exists and the significance of the history, much less know any of the actual history.
    And the media itself is completely neglectful of the history as well. I would think that our nation would be so proud of our origins that on this day our TV stations would have readings of the Declaration of Independence. But I would be wrong. Nothing of the sort could be seen on our mass media. Probably because commercials couldn’t be sold to bracket the reading. Or it would be viewed as too boring, thus not ratings worthy.
    But this isn’t surprising for a nation in decline, particularly such a partying country such as ours.
    It’s too bad we don’t hear the Declaration on TV, maybe it would get some people thinking more about a subject such as revolution.

  76. powerdown July 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    That comment was a bit dull IMHO.
    For sure, every activity has its own impact. It’s just a matter of amplitude of the impact. So even if Jim’s canoeing had its own energy cost, it’s nothing comparable to the power boating frenzy he noticed. That’s the all point of the discussion. Not about all being inert and dead.
    It’s time to go back to simpler activities, to decelerate, power down, go back to enjoyable activities that don’t require insanely high energy input, or insanely high level of capital, etc…
    Power boats are overrated anyway, go kiteboarding!

  77. amy July 6, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

    NOthing, and i mean NOTHING will change until we are threantned with hunger and starvation. And the elites know this! they will keep us fed, barely, lest we riot. Sheep we are, indeed.

  78. george July 6, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    I understand JHK’s befuddlement at seeing so many yuppies enjoying themselves in their huge speedboats while the American economy is tanking, but I’d bet dollars to donuts that the hard-pressed denizens of Detroit, Cleveland or Gary are not spending much time up in the Adirondacks. The sheer scope of the economic devastation in the American Midwest defies logic. The real unemployment rate here in Metro Detroit is close to one in four. Nearly everyone around here can tell you from personal experience what it’s like to find yourself raising a family of four on minimum wage or, worse, collecting welfare after working ten or twenty years in the automotive industry. Even more puzzling to me is how cities like Chicago continue to thrive while Gary, Hammond and Peoria die a slow death.

  79. tester July 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    In response to some comments above — driving a car to go canoeing doesn’t make JHK a hypocrite. If we had a passenger rail system, then people could take the train up to the lake and go canoeing without driving. Not long ago, the Adirondacks were very well serviced by trains — Utica had a train that went all the way up to Saranac Lake. Right now, we don’t have that option. So people drive. We’re all somewhat hostages to the car — even those of us who don’t like what the car has done to our world.

  80. killingkingabacus July 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    “the rest of the world had eaten our breakfast, lunch, and dinner”
    No. You, United States of America, ate the breakfast, lunch, dinner AND the fucking desert of the rest of the world.

  81. asoka July 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Obama got Dmitry Medvedev to commit to a year-end deal to slash nuclear stockpiles by about a third.
    If Obama doesn’t stop doing things right, we could end up with a world free of threat of nuclear holocaust. Bummer for the doomers.

  82. bahmi July 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    I detest the Obama clan, but I think the Kingfish has told us he is trying to prepare us for harder times in several areas,notably energy. I think he’s also told us the good ol’ days are over. Once we start paying x, y, z taxes, trust me, we won’t have much filthy capitalistic lucre to spend on frills. In other words, David Mathews, probably not his real name, will finally be happy. When Dave can see starving masses, he’ll probably jump for joy because he knows, for sure, that the highest life form on the planet is green algae. See, he told us so.

  83. 3-D July 6, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    I still respectfully disagree with anyone that thinks current economic policy starting with the 70s was the main culprit here. Our system of fiat currency, valued against quite literally *nothing*, is the root of all our problems. The vast majority of our “money” is created out of thin air as debt in our system, but only the PRINCIPAL is created; the INTEREST is not created. The interest must be taken from the next year’s principal, so the next year must ALWAYS be larger. This system requires unbounded growth in order to operate in a healthy fashion, and even when operating properly, some poor sucker will be caught unable to make his payments.
    However, this system that requires unbounded growth is operating within a bounded system, namely our planet. This means that it will ALWAYS break down in this fashion; it was DESIGNED to do this. Fiat currency valued largely against DEBT, or the promise that the future will always be BIGGER than the past, is unsustainable. The demand for unbounded growth within a bounded system is unsustainable.
    No, I’m not going to necessarily advocate the gold standard, but I’m advocating valuing our money supply against something of real value and eliminating the current system of usury. I expect the solution will be difficult, and would require the scaling back of expectations that Jim advocates, but I have no idea if it will ever be heard even by a group like the folks that read this blog. Never mind the main stream, where concepts like growth being limited and not making money off simply parking large piles money somewhere would NEVER be accepted.
    Nevertheless, I truly believe that inflationary debt-driven money is the root cause of all our issues, and the credit bubbles, financial swindles, and general consumer spending lunacy of our time are only symptoms of the underlying problem.

  84. bahmi July 6, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Jimmah Carter was a blithering idiot. He screwed up the Iran deal bigtime. Replaced the Pshaw with Khomeini, great trade. Yet, we allow that doofus to prance around with secret service protection to all points of the globe spewing his crap. And, I bet that phoney baloney southern Baptist holy roller is a miserable cuss in real life, although I don’t find him real. Personally, I’d like to see an Algore-Jimmah tag team wrasslin’ match some day. Two idiots goin’ after it….what is wrong with 300 million idiots that won’t get angry and throw these term limit haters out of office? It is TIME to enact a new amendment, the 2 term limit, for senators and other elected individuals. These 90 year old buffoons are ridiculous. Put ‘em to pasture.

  85. zsazsa July 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    asoka the producers sez:
    “I thought with Obama we were getting the “most liberal” Senator who would grow government.”
    Hey mush-brain, he has nationalized the automotive business, the banks, and is giving the nationalizing of health-care a run for the money. The cap and trade tax, which big O supports is said to be the largest tax in history. What is left? Your cock, dumb ass. He wants your cock to feed to his dog, “Bo.” I have no doubt you will gladly provide it.

  86. bahmi July 6, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    Level with people, my ass. Remember the neurosurgeon at the AMA meeting asking the Kingfish a question and the Kingfish basically gave him zilch for an answer? Transparent presidency? Clean your eyeglasses or get a cornea transplant. Obama and his village idiot, Robert Gibbs, are there expressly to give Americans NO answers, just circular file crappola. Don’t blame Americans for being idiotic, because our Beloved Ruler rarely, if ever, levels with us. He’s a presumptious braggart constantly doing “historic things”. He makes Bubba Klinton actually sound legit.

  87. bahmi July 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Level with people, my ass. Remember the neurosurgeon at the AMA meeting asking the Kingfish a question and the Kingfish basically gave him zilch for an answer? Transparent presidency? Clean your eyeglasses or get a cornea transplant. Obama and his village idiot, Robert Gibbs, are there expressly to give Americans NO answers, just circular file crappola. Don’t blame Americans for being idiotic, because our Beloved Ruler rarely, if ever, levels with us. He’s a presumptious braggart constantly doing “historic things”. He makes Bubba Klinton actually sound legit.

  88. sfnate July 6, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    Spencer said:
    The problem started with Wilson, and even before that in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve.

    I’ve always maintained that the problem really began when Eve tempted Adam with the apple, or peach, or whatever it was, maybe a fig.

    You see, it’s a very simple acrobatic move to leap frog the last guy’s mistake in search of the one committed just before–that’s a child’s game and it never ends, does it?

    It’s probably better to give up these childish things, as the Good Book wisely counsels.

    After all, our current predicament has many fathers, all of them gone missing, “deadbeat” as they like to say on daytime television.

    We will not get much further down the path of wisdom and maturity if we continue to harass the past with our present grievances–the mess is already too well made, and surely there’s no surplus of energy to waste shouting down our brothers and sisters.

    It’s not much use waiting for Obama, or Godot for that matter. The earth at your feet will only turn green again when you take the time to kneel in humility and turn the soil yourself. Then we may finally see the green shoots of optimism and hope.

  89. Denman July 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    Jim,
    Was it Lake George?

  90. patrick July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    3-D: You haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. Gold and/or silver convertibility is a terrible idea. Apart from a few tin-foil hat wearing Austrian school nuts you’d be hard pressed to find any serious economists on the left or the right who would agree that the gold standard was a good thing or that we should return to it.

  91. anthropoid July 6, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    great stuff…michael jackson will never be buried…like elvis he will dog us to the grave

  92. anthropoid July 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    great stuff…michael jackson will never be buried…like elvis he will dog us to the grave

  93. anthropoid July 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    great stuff…michael jackson will never be buried…like elvis he will dog us to the grave

  94. marie July 6, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    I’ve been lurking for a year or so and have finally decided to sign up and comment. I’ve read The Long Emergency and World Made by Hand; I find myself in agreement with a lot of what you say, Mr. Kunstler. Some points (both general points and ones specific to today’s column) I’d like to make:
    1. DH and I have been expecting things to end like Mr. K has described ever since that dope Reagan was elected president. That was the beginning of the end — when the thoughtful and intelligent President Carter was treated like shit. Remember how the powers that be howled with laughter and mocked his wearing a sweater when he talked about the energy crisis? And how Reagan cut a deal with the Iranians to keep the hostages until after the election? Ask any 100 Americans, and only one will know that fact. Once the journalists (and their bosses) were more interested in money/keeping their jobs than doing their duty, the only direction was down. Add to that the 24-hour news cycle, the dumbed-down educational system (colleges included–you should see the illiterates being graduated now), and the various “systems” we are forced to deal with (big agriculture, big pharma, big finance, big food, etc.) and you do indeed have a total system that is not sustainable for very long. Like many of you, we’re surprised it has stumbled along for as long as it has.
    2. Although I think that most Americans are oblivious to the looming emergency, they have always been that way AS LONG AS their leaders act oblivious themselves. And our leaders (I include idiots like Limbaugh, Palin, O’Reilly, etc., as “leaders” because they command so much airtime) are blithely acting like there’s nothing wrong, or nothing so bad that it can’t be fixed by whichever nostrum is au courant at the moment. Thus the rise and fall of ethanol, the 5-minute dalliance with bullet trains, etc.
    3. The big guys know that the shit has hit the fan, and they are rapidly positioning themselves and their families to continue their rule. While we may think that middle-class Americans are stupid to continue their profligate ways, what are their choices? Does anyone really believe that if we, the middle class, tighten our belts til it hurts that anything will change? All that will happen is that there will be more for the big guys to snap up, and we will be left with less. Until the big guys all start drawing long jail sentences and their stolen riches are confiscated, no other Americans will feel obliged to sacrifice anything, much less a boating or camping weekend, especially if they feel that in the near future such pleasures will be unaffordable.
    4. The replacement of human culture by commercial culture should take more of the blame than anything else. If you raise successive generations in a culture that screams “buy, buy, buy, eat, eat, eat, treat yourself, treat yourself, treat yourself,” then by God that’s the kind of person you will get. If you believe that we should all be able to resist the culture that surrounds us, ask yourselves whether most people in any culture have been able to do that. The answer is “no.” That’s why you have to be very careful about what kind of culture you craft for a society. There was no noble thought or charitable impulse behind the creation of the culture we have been raised in — it was created solely to separate us from our money by any means possible. If we got fat from too much food or the wrong food, got lazy from riding in cars, got dumb from too much TV, well, we should have known better than to partake in any of it, so it’s all our own fault. This is how they whipsaw everyone back and forth! It IS a plot! Bought too much of the food we wave in your face? We’ll sell you diets and cholesterol meds! Can’t walk or bike anywhere cuz the car culture has taken over? We’ll sell you a car, and a gym membership! Am I the only one who finds this schizoid?

  95. 3-D July 6, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    That’s why I said I’m not necessarily advocating a return to gold or silver for that matter, yet apparently you ignored that fact and set it up as a straw man to attack. Bravo. Associating me with tinfoil hats and nutjobs of the like is appreciated as well; your ad hominem argument tactics are in perfect form. I expect that that’s how most of the closed-minded world will receive my suggestions, however: with pejorative terms and kindergarten ridicule. Knowing that our current system will blow up in our face every single time (as it’s predictably doing right now) you’d rather continue that route in to eternity while blowing a raspberry at me.
    What was it that was said about trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
    And some how people that think like me are tinfoil hat-wearing nutjobs? Riiiiight.
    I never pretended to have all the answers to how it should work. I just know that looking critically at our current system, it will continue this cycle of failure repeatedly. I’m searching for a real and permanent solution instead of trying to patch the current system that operates like a bipolar manic depressive alternating between speed and H. Why does that search have to be met with attacks and jeers? Why can’t you suggest something other than retooling the current broken system?

  96. asoka July 6, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    “he has nationalized the automotive business, the banks, and is giving the nationalizing of health-care a run for the money.”
    Obama has not nationalized anything. He has helped out the capitalist institutions and capitalist industries. We don’t have just one national car producer run by the government. We don’t have just one national bank.
    Health care does have a nationalized sector for the military, one for former military, called the Veterans Administration, one for seniors called Medicare, one for Congressional representatives, but it doesn’t replace the private health care industry. Obama is not “nationalizing health care”. He only wants to expand the public option with strictly voluntary participation. It’s a long, long, long, long way from socialism.
    Your words are just repeating right-wing talking points and do not reflect reality.
    Socialism is when the government controls the means of national production and makes decisions about what is produced. The USA government has shares, temporarily, in one private company and is not “running” the car industry.
    The Obama government has no interest in socialism. Get your facts straight.

  97. 3-D July 6, 2009 at 6:49 pm #

    Until the big guys all start drawing long jail sentences and their stolen riches are confiscated, no other Americans will feel obliged to sacrifice anything, much less a boating or camping weekend, especially if they feel that in the near future such pleasures will be unaffordable.
    I doubt that will EVER happen. Americans are way too complacent, and by the time things are bad enough to motivate them to action, the folks you think should be doing jail time will be well out of arm’s reach. Madoff was just sacrificed because he swindled other rich people, and the TV coverage would look like the government is “doing something”
    I wish the people that architected this whole mess would face jail time. Unfortunately, they never will.

  98. SNAFU July 6, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    Turkle, Gordon did not specifically say that the wealthy coerce those in the lower economic echelons to buy buy buy; but I do. The methodology is via the use of the most odious device ever invented by humankind. Marketing, Advertisement, Commercials, Selling …. pick your poison. They do it by targeting the most susceptible and least able to comprehend; “Children”. Many years ago (1973) I came to this realization when watching TV with my step daughters (4, 6, 9 YO) and I observed that during the actual program presentations they would talk to each other and me but when a commercial was being presented their attention was riveted on the TV. Take a look, take a good look at all of the marketing ploys being foisted upon the children, TV, radio, print and billboard; if it does not piss you off I don’t know what it will require. Yes the wealthy use coercion and they target the very easiest humans to do it to, the very young.

  99. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 7:46 pm #

    bahmi,
    Points on Jimmy Carter noted. My only point was that he was the last president to call for conservation and humility in our dealings with the world, and as your points attest so well, look where it got him. He was undoubtedly a smart man, but it would seem, obviously not suited to be president.

  100. HR FEHR July 6, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    Great article and same with most f/u posts.
    Good to hear there is still some sanity in the world.
    In my town, I can start to see more and more unraveling. The tipping point is coming more into view.
    This is a very interesting time. I expect my job will be gone in a year max, as will many others.
    For many of the crisis’s that exist today, the only workable solution seems to be a complete collapse of the infrastructure and then a rebuild from ground zero.
    Hopefully this will occur after we have regained a modicum of collective sense.

  101. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    “Ronald Reagan ran up big deficits in part because he believed that his tax cuts would produce economic growth, and ultimately pay for themselves.”
    Scott,
    Correct, but he surely didn’t believe that for long. His OMB director David Stockman resigned in protest over the mounting federal deficits/debt during his first term (the subject of an excellent William Greider 1981 Atlantic Monthly article, The Education of David Stockman). Even so, an obviously (in retrospect at least) mentally failing Reagan was still smart enough (you have to wonder what Bush II’s excuse was) to raise taxes several times in his final term in the face of mountings deficit numbers. Even Bush I was smart enough to do the same, even though it cost him the ’92 (and post Gulf War I) election. His stupid campaign pledge to “read my lips…(wonder if Bush II, who was working for the campaign, had anything to do with that?)” might have had something to do with that.

  102. donjo July 6, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

    Reagan dreamed of an America that was “too big to fail”, and here we are.
    As an actor, even a lousy one, Ronnie gave us some wonderful dress rehearsals:
    …like getting the marines blown out of Lebanon and invading Grenada to save face, deregulating big business so it could be self-policing, ramping up the drug war which has curiously urged on our thug culture, removing the solar panels from the White House, playing to the angry white male by making racism fashionable…
    Still, and this image won’t go away, I remember seeing a news spot of Reagan flying in a helicopter above the Indy 500 waving into a camera driving the crowd wild with delight. Some thing died inside of me that day.

  103. piltdownman July 6, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

    Asoka –
    So the nukes get cut by a third? Wow! Now we can only kill each other 50 times over…
    What a fucking worthless gesture. GoBama! This will seriously change the world!
    Pilt

  104. Danm July 6, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    If you believe that we should all be able to resist the culture that surrounds us, ask yourselves whether most people in any culture have been able to do that. The answer is “no.” That’s why you have to be very careful about what kind of culture you craft for a society
    —————–
    That’s when the debate about free will comes in.
    But what % of the population can actually get it?

  105. DavidinLosAngeles July 6, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    This coming weekend I’m going to read “The Man Who Sold the World: Ronald Reagan and the Betrayal of Main Street America”. It looks like a good read. I agree with what’s been said here, Reagan was the beginning of the end. I’m sure the book will make me hate him even more. Bye for now, it’s time to go pick zucchini and tomatoes.

  106. scott July 6, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    Jimini– Was watching Fox news today and they were arguing amongst themselves about whether there should be more stimulus as Krugman has been advocating. I find it interesting because the Right is split between keynesians{neo conservatives} and Libertarian paleo conservative types. Of course the keynesians think that economic stimulus works as long as government spending and debt creation does not crowd out private sectors access to debt, which is not likely in a recessionary environment. The problem with this line of thinking is that it assumes there will always be more tomorrow to pay for the debt created today. What if we have reached capacity for growth such as what is implied by PO?
    Hell, you don’t even have to have PO to have less tomorrow. With the billions of new consumers in China, Brazil and India coming on the scene and the size of the numbers for daily sustainable distribution rates it is logistically impossible to grow at anything like what our expectations are implying. The spending numbers are implying probably something greater than 2-3% yoy global growth rates. If we extrapolate our expectations out a mere decade the daily sustainable energy distribution numbers need to be astronomical. I think someone calculated seven new Ghawar’s would need to come online to sustain the status quo for just the next decade.
    I think reasonable estimates would at best case scenario be looking at only marginally increasing net energy. Resource hungry emerging manufacturing nations in Asia will continue to get a larger slice of what is and will be at best only a marginally larger pie. For all intents and purposes, peak everything is here for the U.S. and the west in general.
    Chasing all of our bad debts with even more debt will only exacerbate our problems–problems our government refuses exist.

  107. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    “If you believe that we should all be able to resist the culture that surrounds us, ask yourselves whether most people in any culture have been able to do that.”
    Why should we be able to resist the culture that surrounds us, since it represents us. All behavior gravitates toward the norm, humans aren’t special in that regard.

  108. scott July 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    “I still respectfully disagree with anyone that thinks current economic policy starting with the 70s was the main culprit here.”
    I don’t believe economic policy beginning in the 70’s is the culprit either and pretty much agree with your summary. I use 1970 as a point on a time line that our economic model first failed and coincides with lower 48 oil production peak. Our economic model was extrapolated globally with the push for globalization and has now failed globally. Nixon closed the gold window in 1971 because foreigners holding U.S. debt were scrambling to redeem it for gold. Nixon reneged on Bretton woods agreement that established the dollar as world reserve currency that was redeemable at $38 ounce gold. There was a run on the dollar and we couldn’t pay the debts. Nixon cut a deal with Saudi to price oil in dollars thus maintaining dollar hegemony because everybody needs oil and saudi along with the rest of OPEC represented infinite growth potential.
    I think all of the central bankers around the world are aware of the current and likely oil future and it does not represent infinite growth potential by a long shot. Like I said before, businesses that operate on debt with growth potential as collateral make bankers nervous when you take away the growth potential.

  109. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    “The problem with this line of thinking is that it assumes there will always be more tomorrow to pay for the debt created today.”
    Scott,
    I think you’ve nailed it. Congrats!
    Jimini

  110. Danm July 6, 2009 at 9:49 pm #

    Why should we be able to resist the culture that surrounds us, since it represents us.
    ————–
    We can’t.
    I refused to follow my friends into debt serfdom and it’s like I had the scarlet letter stamped on my forehead. I had to rebuild a whole new network. Marginalization is tough.

  111. Socrates July 6, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    The election (really?) of a total, flaming, BOZO like Al Franken is far greater evidence, IMHO, of societal, cultural and political rot than anything the Gipper or Mrs. Palin have allegedly done.
    At least Reagan ended the friggin’ Cold War on favorable terms to the United States. What has Al Franken and the idiots who voted for him ever done that comes even remotely close to that achievement?
    ANSWER: Not a damn thing.
    Is this a partisan post? Yeah….guess so….but it has been prompted by a lot of gratuitous Reagan bashing that has damn little to do with the present economic situation, which was largely the fault of jackasses like Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Tim Geitner, the bankers who control the FED, Barney Frank, and many others who were hardly “movement conservatives.”
    The blog, and it’s comments section, are far more useful when they address the chronic problems of corruption in public life (regardless of political party) instead of being a forum for bitching by former Jimmy Carter voters who’ve apparently never managed to get over their trouncing at the hands of Reagan in 1980 and his subsequent 49-state shellacking of “Jimmuh’s” V.P. in 1984.
    Sheesh! You’d think that after the passage of nearly three decades the taste of sour grapes would have left certain palates, but apparently this is not the case! Good Grief!

  112. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    “I think all of the central bankers around the world are aware of the current and likely oil future and it does not represent infinite growth potential by a long shot. Like I said before, businesses that operate on debt with growth potential as collateral make bankers nervous when you take away the growth potential.”
    And then you go and say that. I think you’ve overestimated the amount of denial in world financial markets by a fair share, but that’s just me.

  113. Mike Hicks July 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Jim,
    I have followed your rants for 3 years, since I read “The Long Emergency”, and you have been right on target about the unraveling of our economy, Peak Oil, etc.
    I too see everyone going about they’re daily routines as if nothing is happening. At our daily workplaces, for us still working, the planning goes on for future expansion, business, capital money, etc. without even a thought that the future is going to be nothing like the past.
    I too am becoming disappointed with Obama’s approach to change. We know change doesn’t happen overnight, but we seem to continue marching down the same old road. It’s time to find a new road to the truth.
    As a society we will not change until forced to, and as gasoline continues to be cheap, food is on the shelves, electric and gas to our house’s still works, then it’s business as usual.
    We need crisis event to shake us out of our sleepwalk. And the sooner the better. I think running short of gasoline supplies with station closures, as in 1974, might be just the ticket.
    Mike

  114. FromasmallislandoffthecoastofJapan July 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    Jim,
    Having now been expatriotic for more than 20 yeats and while watching the demise of America from afar, it amazes me still that so few people over there “get it.” I know – the delusion is pervasive. Nevertheless, how can we make your blog required reading for every US citizen? This piece is utterly brilliant! I will send links to many and I can only hope that everyone else follows suit. Keep up the intense focus on reality… cheers,
    Dougas

  115. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 10:16 pm #

    «Level with people, my ass.»
    I’m not going to attempt to reason with you, as your pitch-perfect regurgitation of FoxSpew-approved talking points show that you’re not ready for reason. But I will point out that, in your zeal to bash anyone to the left of yourself, you completely missed the central point of my comment: “the people” aren’t ready to be leveled with. Do you disagree with that? If so, do you have any evidence to show that I’m wrong? If you don’t disagree, what was the point of your comment?
    If President Obama were to get on the tube tomorrow (which would probably make you mad because he cut into your favorite reality show) and tell us in effect “the American Dream is over, time to wake up,” it would be utter chaos making October 1929 look like a temporary blip. Is that what you want?

  116. painter July 6, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

    Howard: Please, Please.. how about “an aillied victory over evil”. A great deal of other fighting nations lost more than the USA. Otherwise, I agree with you and keep it up.

  117. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 10:39 pm #

    BTW, if you get the blank screen, hit the Back button. If you don’t see your comment, copy it (just in case) and Refresh. It should show up. If not, wait a few minutes & refresh again. Things start getting worse as the comment count starts climbing.

  118. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Socrates,
    Might be. On the other hand, could we POSSIBLY be any worse off without NORM COLEMAN?
    I wonder…

  119. Stephen Lark July 6, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    A few years ago I wrote about a similar experience to that which JHK recounted:
    Sunday morning in Memorial Park

  120. tester July 6, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    Farfetched,
    I’ll find out in one second, but I think the confirmation page has been disabled.
    If that’s the case, then people should not be getting the white page anymore.
    But the blog takes a moment to “think” before it posts a comment. Some people might be clicking submit more than once while the blog is registering the comment.
    Lemme see what happens with this comment.

  121. tester July 6, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    OK. I just tested it. There is no more white page.
    But it took about 15 seconds for the blog to connect to the server while it was registering my comment.
    From now on, I’m pretty sure the duplicate posts are the result of people pressing the submit button multiple times while the blog is connecting to the server.

  122. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Socrates,
    Apparently you’re an idiot and can’t read. Let’s play that back one more time: Apparently you’re an idiot and can’t read.
    Hint: Pseudonyms are meant to be at least partially descriptive. “Socrates” ain’t. Change it.

  123. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    Hm. I got the blank screen on my 10:16 post and it came straight back here on my 10:39 post.
    I really think the problem gets more pronounced as more comments come in. Things ran quite smoothly this morning, after a 10+ minute delay last night. Maybe there’s some behind the scenes tinkering going on… I can imagine that CFN would stress a lot of blog software. OTOH, the Mini-Microsoft blog (on Blogger) has over 1400 comments on the current post — Blogger just paginates every 200 comments and it works just fine.

  124. FARfetched July 6, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    Oops, got the blank page that time too. Back & Refresh fixed it though.

  125. Vladmir Krappeshack July 6, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Simulus – great typo, better than the original word.

  126. Vladmir Krappeshack July 6, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    How about you tip your brain into gear. How useful is all that ‘clean-air’ legislation if 2-strokes are still allowed on the lake??

  127. Vladmir Krappeshack July 6, 2009 at 11:13 pm #

    Yeah, Obama can just pass the “House bill to go back in time and un-invent stuff”.
    Hope Bo is hungry.

  128. Jimini July 6, 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    I’m STILL not sure?
    “Socrates,” ARE YOU AN IDIOT?
    I’m guessing YES! In absense of evidence to the contrary, I’m concluding that YES, YOU ARE INDEED A FUCKING IDIOT!

  129. rocco July 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm #

    Greetings:
    Another good observation JHK. This weekend while we do the usualy bbq(mostly veggie burgers) the idea that we are headed towards some kind of crash was violently opposed even by my hippe environmental friends,Obama needs time to clean up GWB mess, even my Conservative friends say we will be up and running next year. I discuss disaster prep,seed storage, hunting skills, and guns, and even the Conservatives freak out about guns to defend yourself. No wants to admit it, so I had 2 whole days off, I read,: “One second after” by William Forstchen. Thats how I see the response to our future. If you are looking for 3 books to really scare you this summer, Read,The Long Emergency, Disaster Capitalism, and One second after. I need an eleven blade.

  130. k gleason July 6, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    TO JHK
    Will you comment on Cap n Trade ??
    also to those who think theres a ‘ china miracle’
    I read china will soon have 450? million senior citizens

  131. asoka July 6, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    Pilt said: “So the nukes get cut by a third? Wow! Now we can only kill each other 50 times over…
    What a fucking worthless gesture. GoBama! This will seriously change the world!”
    Pilt,
    1/3 plus 1/3 plus 1/3 equals no nukes left.
    This was a 1/3 reduction. That is positive CHANGE in the right direction, not a worthless gesture.
    Would you prefer a 1/3 increase in nuclear weapons on the part of Russia and the USA?
    Are you some kind of arms dealer?

  132. k gleason July 6, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

    Actually / factually chinas birth rate is less then replacement level..and i/3 ? of its population is at or near 60 yrs or older…
    I very much agree with JHk that the china ‘ miracle’ is a bunch of corporate hot air…according to someone i know who traveled there the soil is ‘ like sand or chalk’
    and JHk has pointed out they are runningout of water…INDUSTRIALIZATION DOES HAVE ITS… ER SHORTCOMINGS

  133. Qshtik July 7, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    Soooo …… we’re pretty much all agreed. Every empire that ever was has failed and the American empire/culture is currently circling the bowl. So why all the suggestions about how to save ourselves? It’s never been done. We’re going down. I have to admit though, I get a real kick out of the mean-spirited posts that begin with “hey shit-for-brains” or something similar. Reading Kunstler and all the comments every Monday makes for great entertainment. My thanks to all.

  134. k gleason July 7, 2009 at 12:48 am #

    First bit of advice…since mexico/ central america has dumped 1/3 ? of its people on us would be to have a border !
    THE POPULATION OF MEXICO OVER THE NEXT 80? YEARS IS EXPECTED TO TRIPLE
    if yr in a ‘ sanctuary city’ maybe see if theres an anti sanctuary group
    after J Napolitano made her outragous comments i websearched her
    one person claimed she vetoed 60 bills to secure the border and ended it saying
    ‘ THATS OUR JANET’
    In L.A. most housholds speak a language other than english at home
    the x mayor of LA said its a third world city
    but didnt complete the thought
    DUE TO THE 3RD WORLD DUMPING ITS CRIMINALS ON LA

  135. Ang July 7, 2009 at 12:57 am #

    RE: but I’d bet dollars to donuts that the hard-pressed denizens of Detroit, Cleveland or Gary are not spending much time up in the Adirondacks.
    ——
    Um yeah, that’s what I was thinking.
    Here in Columbus, OH, even though we haven’t been hit nearly as hard as Cleveland or Cincinnati, generally people aren’t spending money on luxury items.
    How do I know? I’m in sales for what could be construed as a luxury item, and nobody’s spending. (And yes, I am looking for a new job, thanks for asking.)
    Last week, one house on my way to work had their big-ass boat in the yard with a For Sale sign.
    This week it was accompanied by their motorcycle, also for sale.
    Maybe it just hasn’t hit the moneyed souls who frequent the Adirondacks yet.
    But it sure is happening here in the Midwest.

  136. patrick July 7, 2009 at 1:13 am #

    ” … ad hominem … ”
    Well if the tin foil hat fits …

  137. cuddletuffy July 7, 2009 at 1:30 am #

    Well said Turkle.

  138. cuddletuffy July 7, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    Well said Turkle.

  139. asoka July 7, 2009 at 1:53 am #

    Criminals? Mexicans are not all criminals. We need immigrants. Our economy especially needs Mexican immigrants. And they have a right to return to the land that was taken from them by force.
    Here is what would happen if 13 million Mexicans disappeared from the United States:






  140. patrick July 7, 2009 at 1:53 am #

    More seriously 3-D, you don’t understand what you are talking about and I don’t mean that as an attack. I suspect we don’t really disagree all that much.
    The problem is not with the monetary regime. The problem in my view is the utter failure of finance.
    Remember: a functional finance system is supposed to move money from those who have it to those who can deploy it productively at minimal cost. The current system does the exact opposite. Not only did it fail in its basic function, but it actually allocated trillions of dollars to the single least productive use imaginable at the highest possible cost. This should give us pause. Finance is the mechanism by which ‘we’ decide what undertakings are productive and which are not, and that mechanism is broken, and has been for a long time. Given that we are running low on capital and the desperate need to invest in some key systems to maintain the project of civilization (basic rail, reactivativing small urban centers, local agriculture, simplification of complex system in general), this failure should scare the poop out of you.

  141. asoka July 7, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    MEXICO BUILDS BORDER WALL TO KEEP OUT AMERICAN ASSHOLES (VIDEO)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/06/mexico-builds-border-wall_n_226669.html

  142. cuddletuffy July 7, 2009 at 3:33 am #

    Asoka,
    You seem to be an, “at any cost”, Obama supporter. First a reply to your reply to my post last week. Most of the programs you mentioned passed by the Congress we simply cannot afford. Some of them are just symbolic moves. The Credit Card responsibility act? Responsibility means that if someone racks up a debt they cannot repay, they must take responsibility for the consequences – not impose their liability on some other party. That bill, means that the losses are no longer between the lender and the borrower, but are now underwritten by all of society. A society, we must note, that is financially insolvent.
    All of those acts are meaningless political gestures that scored political points with people who have no idea how economics work. They only further increase our debt making our primary problem, namely our debt, worse.
    Here is to my mind the worst aspects of the Bush/Cheney regime:
    1. They expanded the public debt at an historic pace.
    2. They embarked on the, “War On Terror”, and made open pre-emptive war all over the middle east in a thinly veiled imperial operation to secure the worlds remaining cheap oil supplies with the U. S. taxpayer funded military.
    3. They supported an unprecedented attack on our civil liberties including our right to privacy with the Patriot Act and the use of domestic spying.
    4. They effectively ruled by decree via signing statements and made extensive use of invoking state-secrets as
    5. They rushed to bail out insolvent institutions with taxpayer money that should have failed in bankruptcy so that entrepreneurs could re-invigorate the enterprises risking their own capital and reaping their own rewards.
    To spare words, Obama has borrowed even more money at an even faster rate than Bush/Cheney, supports the War On Terror, the Patriot Act, and domestic spying, expanded our military budget and has been bombing a nuclear armed Muslim nation with unmanned drones. His new bombing campaign has caused massive migrations and displacement in yet another Muslim nation. He has also kept in place and expanded the bailout programs. Maybe Obama is more handsome and less belligerent than Bush/Cheney. Big deal! If the policy is the same, what makes an Obama supporter different than a Bush/Cheney supporter? Effectively, nothing because they support the same policys but expect different results. That is the definition of ____________.
    Obama certainly won the popular vote, and the DLC got its wish to control Congress. However, the fundamental policies of our government have not changed one bit, and in some cases, they’ve gotten worse.
    What Mr. Kunstler has been saying is that Obama is acting like Wall St.’s and the Post WWII imperial energy economy’s stooge, pretending that things can turn around, and supporting legislation that effectively amounts to an imperial dog and pony show. What Mr. Kunstler wants Obama to do, is to tell people like you,
    “Hey! We are fucked on our present course. There is no use pretending that this meaningless legislation will work. It effectively amounts to doing more of what caused this problem – denial by assuming ever greater amounts of un-serviceable debt. It is time that we face up to the fact that life as it has been cannot go on. We must admit that an economic system that says that just because more zeros are added to aggregate numbers like GDP is a patent lie. We are poorer than ever. The evidence is that we are the greatest debtor nation in the history of the world. We can never pay back our debts. We must accept that we are poorer, and must live that way.
    Every person in debt is responsible for deciding to go into debt. They and their lenders must pay the consequences of settling their debts and honoring their contracts amongst themselves and using the bankruptcy proceedings and laws. Every person who saved and truly sacrificed by deferring personal consumption in order to be self-sufficient must be rewarded. We must encourage more of that kind of behavior. The surest way to do so is to reward those savers. For the past 95 years we have made interest rates artificially low – punishing savers and prudent investors, while rewarding debtors and speculators. This, along with emerging energy and resource constraints, has led to this disaster we are only now just entering into.
    This inflationary financial system has also enabled a vast imperial military apparatus that is wholly unnecessary to our physical safety and economic well-being. That military machine has sucked our national treasury dry. I and my big-money donors would love to continue our wars of imperial conquest, but the fact is that it requires stealing money from you the general citizenry via debt and inflation and the fact is that you do not have any more money that we can steal for the purposes of subsidizing our neo-colonial thievery. So, we will close our bases and bring our troops home – at least until we can afford to expand again and you are willing to be duped once more by fear or arrogant notions of rebuilding nations with occupying soldiers and military bases.
    In addition, there are institutions that knowingly sought to profit from the debt pyramid. They are all backed by our government. The primary culprit is the Federal Reserve and its member banks. There are criminal acts here that must be prosecuted.
    The prospect of Peak Oil also means that globalization is no longer a viable economic model. Our nation has a huge surplus population – many of them new immigrants coming here seeking opportunity largely as a result of neo-colonial trade agreements like NAFTA. We must find an orderly and non-violent means to discovering population levels our energy and food capacity can support along with a real sustainable productive economy. Our population must shrink. Our standard of living as measured in gross aggregates will shrink. We must be brave and re-organize ourselves in an orderly and humane manner. The best case scenario is that cross-border and rural to urban migration patterns reverse in an orderly and humane manner.
    We will do it as fairly as possible via the rule of law. We will do it by allowing people to be truly responsible and own up to and face the consequences of their debts and financial failures. We will do it by preserving the capital of the prudent and encourage them to fairly finance the restructuring of our nation. We will lead the way by prosecuting the criminals in our own government and our largest corporations and our military.
    Sadly, my recent invocations of state-secrets designed to protect members of my political party who knowingly supported war crimes, has made me complicit and therefore guilty of these crimes. My support for retroactive immunity in the case of unwarranted domestic surveillance of Americans violated my oath to uphold the Constitution. It is time for me to be the leader my vast PR machine and my throngs of blind supporters do not hold me to account to be.
    I do care about my legacy. I cannot in good conscience continue on my present course of clinging to power for the sake of power while that course enables a disillusioned society to invite disaster. The only way to reform a democracy is to ensure you are self-governed. I urge you to re-invigorate your sense of self and purpose. As a former Senator, I can assure you that nearly every member of Congress is a war-monger and profiteer and has had a hand in subsidizing the massive frauds that have bankrupted our former republic and erected this fascist imperial dictatorship we pretend is still a participatory democracy.
    I hereby resign. You have the facts and deep down you know the truth. I can’t force you to retake control of your lives and your states and country. I humbly encourage you to dismantle this imperial government and seek a more localized and realistic way of living and self-governance. I humbly suggest the first step is to begin citizen led investigations and prosecutions of our imperial government. Be merciless to the criminals and kind to your neighbors – you are going to be relying on each other for support, survival and a new definition of your standard-of-living sooner than you think.
    Above all, take care not to permit any leader with too much centralized power to seize control. Take care to remember that hope is as much a response to fear as anger is. Do not invest your hopes or desire for protection into any leader. Invest in yourself, your family and your community.”
    Now that would be change we could not only believe in, but witness and effect. The rest would be up to us. The point is, Obama will never do this, not as long as he has throngs of idolizing supporters and excuse-makers. The path to change on the political front is to cast out those whose votes perpetuate failed policies. Sadly, Obama and the
    Congress should at this point be cast out or threatened with it in order to change their behavior.
    As for the nuclear deal with Russia. I would venture a guess that that deal was made because Russia, via their oil supplies and our debt servicing needs struck some mutually beneficial deal on paper. Our media spun it like Obama went over there and cracked skulls and is the humanitarian. However, the realities of our debt-servicing and energy needs likely made Russia the dictator of terms. Don’t expect the U.S to ever give up all of its nuclear arms. If for no other reason, sadly, than they don’t have a lot left at the negotiating table these days.

  143. WhoWho July 7, 2009 at 4:57 am #

    Mr. Kunstler, your smug superiority is thick enough to cut with a knife. Aren’t you just special, sitting in a canoe in the Adirondacks, pitying the unwashed in their power boats.
    Hey genius, how’d you get to that lake? Star Trek teleporter, by chance? And when everyone is reduced to picking apples on hillsides and living in hovels, where will you be? On your country estate?

  144. ffkling July 7, 2009 at 6:06 am #

    As pointed out in J. K.’s book, “The Long Emergency”, Jimmy Carter is the only president to have fashioned a coherent energy poilcy and as a result of Carter’s work, America reduced its import of foreign oil by 1/3 although Reagan reaped the benefits. Furthermore, Carter is the only president to have negotiated a true and lasting Middle East peace agreement (The Camp David Peace Accord) between Israel and her most formidable enemy, Egypt. Reagan’s (remember when Reagan famously defended his executive order to begin logging the national forests by stating “trees cause pollution”) first official act as president was to authorize the removal of solar panels that were installed by Carter and stated that “conservation” is a moral personal virtue, but consumption is what drives the United States. Reagan = The beginning of the end.

  145. eightm July 7, 2009 at 6:08 am #

    Welcome to complexity: the number of systems that have gone outside of equilibrium is staggering. Fisrt technology has had a huge effect on work, labor, factories, etc. Many jobs have been automated out of existence by computers. It is funny how so many people can’t see this very important effect right in front of their eyes. Second, transportation, communications, autos, planes have created a huge network of cross production across the globe. Every country is your backyard, anything can be produced almost anywhere on earth, in a small village in India or Brazil or Africa or Indonesia and it is almost as if it were in your backyard. With the advantage of costing anywhere from one half to one tenth of the average USA, EU or JAPAN wage: aka it costs labor 1,000 dollars a month in USA-EU-JAPAN but only 100 dollars a month in Indonesia. By the way Indonesia has a population of more than 150 million people, and you were worried about India and China…
    The net result of all these effects that have acumulated in the last 30 years, from when the microprocessor revolution started in the 70s and created many jobs, through the PC and Computer and Software and at last the Internet revolution along whith all the jobs that they created and ultimately automated and optimized out of existence is the present day crisis of EXCESS CAPACITY from cheap labor and technology combined, increased population, (remember the USA had ony 170 million people in its peak of wealth from the 1960s to the 1980s) and simple chaos from the fact that a simple 3 body problem in physics has no solution. How many independent agents, and free wills, and random decisions are influencing the global economy ? I would say more than 3 bodies as in the impossible to solve three body problem.

  146. george July 7, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Maybe the real problem with the American economy is that in the name of efficiency we have eliminated every law or regulation that might have put a brake on Wall Street’s plans to maximize profitability by any means necessary.

  147. JHC_1 July 7, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    My goodness…What tripe.
    I’ve never seen such self-righteousness coupled with a simultaneous cynicism about humans ability to innovate it’s way out of messes. Such blind negativity is reminiscent of the same ethos that would have had us close the US patent office a hundred years ago.
    Take heart folks, there are a lot of very smart people in the world. Betting against science, technology, innovation and humankind is and always has been a fool’s errand.
    I respect your opinion, Mr Kunstler. And I also realize that you’ve got to sell books. I would respectfully remind your followers here that history has proven, time and time again, that neither extreme Cassandras nor extreme PollyAnnas are ever proven correct.
    Sincerest best wishes to all of you.

  148. JHC_1 July 7, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    My goodness…What tripe.
    I’ve never seen such self-righteousness coupled with a simultaneous cynicism about humans ability to innovate it’s way out of messes. Such blind negativity is reminiscent of the same ethos that would have had us close the US patent office a hundred years ago.
    Take heart folks, there are a lot of very smart people in the world. Betting against science, technology, innovation and humankind is and always has been a fool’s errand.
    I respect your opinion, Mr Kunstler. And I also realize that you’ve got to sell books. I would respectfully remind your followers here that history has proven, time and time again, that neither extreme Cassandras nor extreme PollyAnnas are ever proven correct.
    Sincerest best wishes to all of you.

  149. JHC_1 July 7, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    My goodness…What tripe.
    I’ve never seen such self-righteousness coupled with a simultaneous cynicism about humans ability to innovate it’s way out of messes. Such blind negativity is reminiscent of the same ethos that would have had us close the US patent office a hundred years ago.
    Take heart folks, there are a lot of very smart people in the world. Betting against science, technology, innovation and humankind is and always has been a fool’s errand.
    I respect your opinion, Mr Kunstler. And I also realize that you’ve got to sell books. I would respectfully remind your followers here that history has proven, time and time again, that neither extreme Cassandras nor extreme PollyAnnas are ever proven correct.
    Sincerest best wishes to all of you.

  150. Cthulhu July 7, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    CTHULU suggests you read this letter fron Jimmy Carter from 2008.
    http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/i_got_what_america_needs_right

  151. JHC_1 July 7, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    My goodness…What tripe.
    I’ve never seen such self-righteousness coupled with a simultaneous cynicism about humans ability to innovate it’s way out of messes. Such blind negativity is reminiscent of the same ethos that would have had us close the US patent office a hundred years ago.
    Take heart folks, there are a lot of very smart people in the world. Betting against science, technology, innovation and humankind is and always has been a fool’s errand.
    I respect your opinion, Mr Kunstler. And I also realize that you’ve got to sell books. I would respectfully remind your followers here that history has proven, time and time again, that neither extreme Cassandras nor extreme PollyAnnas are ever proven correct.
    Sincerest best wishes to all of you.

  152. JHC_1 July 7, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    My goodness…What tripe.
    I’ve never seen such self-righteousness coupled with a simultaneous cynicism about humans ability to innovate it’s way out of messes. Such blind negativity is reminiscent of the same ethos that would have had us close the US patent office a hundred years ago.
    Take heart folks, there are a lot of very smart people in the world. Betting against science, technology, innovation and humankind is and always has been a fool’s errand.
    I respect your opinion, Mr Kunstler. And I also realize that you’ve got to sell books. I would respectfully remind your followers here that history has proven, time and time again, that neither extreme Cassandras nor extreme PollyAnnas are ever proven correct.
    Sincerest best wishes to all of you.

  153. Stone July 7, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    I think I got the idea after one post. I don’t need three of the same.

  154. Stone July 7, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    It was worth reading that post, Jim, just for that last hilarious sentence.

  155. asoka July 7, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Cuddletuffy,
    Thank you for your thorough response. I am going to have to think about it and re-evaluate my position, though I tend to want to give Obama at least six months more before passing judgement.
    I fully expect we will have eight years of Obama, so perhaps it would be best to work with him to see what kind of change is possible rather than withdraw support.
    I am willing to be patient and wait another six months. Major parts of the economic stimulus package will not even begin for another two or three months. It is an 18 month initiative. It is unfair to judge it before it has started.

  156. Laura Louzader July 7, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    Steve, in reply to your comment quoting Matthew Simmons as saying that boats get more mileage than cars or trains….. he must surely be referring to big barges used to haul grain and such, and pushed by diesel tugs.
    The typical speedboat gets ONE mile to gallon, and with the big yacht-like cabin cruisers, you are talking gallons per mile. I know, because I know several boat owners whose boats mostly sit in the harbors here in Chicago because they are so god-awful expensive to run. My significant other, a seasoned boat owner who has given up boats, says that one mpg is pretty usual for jetskis and speedboats.Don’t even talk about the real yachts, the 500-footers some uber-rich have in the Miami Harbor or someplace.
    The only worse fuel-guzzler is a small private jetplane.

  157. Dickmobile Mojocar Corp. July 7, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Our motto at DMC is EROI for ever….. The EROI of pulling your kid behind a power boat in terms of survival is ZERO. Exactly the same EROI of hedge fund programmed trading at Goldman Sachs. Brilliant writing and imagery, kudos, JHK.

  158. Dickmobile Mojocar Corp. July 7, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    Our motto at DMC is EROI for ever….. The EROI of pulling your kid behind a power boat in terms of survival is ZERO. Exactly the same EROI of hedge fund programmed trading at Goldman Sachs. Brilliant writing and imagery, kudos, JHK.

  159. Ray1130 July 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    Jim – I look forward to Mondays and your brilliant blogs. One suggestion for easier reading…a space between paragraphs.
    Ray

  160. FARfetched July 7, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

    «I am going to have to think about it and re-evaluate my position, though I tend to want to give Obama at least six months more before passing judgement.»
    Six months, a/k/a “one Friedman Unit” (FU). Named for Tom Friedman, who told us “in six months, you’ll start to see Bush’s Iraq plans working.” Six months later, he asked for another six months. And so on.
    Why not? It’s not like we have anything better to do.

  161. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …” Actually, yes, by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy, that is exactly what they have been doing (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children). The middle class are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the wealthy for their own gain.

  162. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …” Actually, yes, by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy, that is exactly what they have been doing (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children). The middle class are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the wealthy for their own gain.

  163. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …?” Actually, yes, by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy, that is exactly what they have been doing (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children). The middle class are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the wealthy for their own gain.

  164. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …?” Actually, yes, by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy, that is exactly what they have been doing (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children). The middle class are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the wealthy for their own gain.

  165. turkle July 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Geez, JHC, a quadruple post…too much coffee this morning?

  166. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …?” Actually, yes, by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy, that is exactly what they have been doing (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children). The middle class are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the wealthy for their own gain.

  167. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 12:59 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …?” Actually, yes, by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy, that is exactly what they have been doing (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children). The middle class are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the wealthy for their own gain.

  168. turkle July 7, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    “by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy”
    Bollocks. Turn off the tv. There, I solved that advertising problem for you.

  169. wagelaborer July 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    I was surprised to see only two references to the coming financial bubble – cap and trade.
    The bill was passed not to save our ecosystem, it was passed to save the financial system.
    Socialism is not the government owning the means of production. It is the workers themselves owning AND controlling the means of production. ESOP doesn’t make it.
    I grew up hearing tales of horrendous poverty and deprivation from my parents about the 30s. I thought that everyone was poor then. But my husband’s mother, a staunch Republican, grew up quite comfortably. Her father was a fireman. In other words, he lived off the public purse, but she, of course, doesn’t see it that way. That’s why she’s a Republican. She thinks that everyone could have gotten a job.
    What I’m saying is that there may be some people who can continue to afford destructive pastimes. Oil consumption has already dropped, due to the recession. As more people become too poor to drive, the others can use the oil for their motorboats and jetskis.
    And, finally, I know a lot of right-wingers who are collecting guns and ammunition. Contrary to JHK’s beliefs, they will not go after the rich who are responsible for their plight. They are planning on shooting the poor. Like the Americans who support the killing of Iraqis, because they believe that the Iraqis were planning to kill them someday, these right-wingers are quite sure that the poor are planning to come steal their stuff, and they want to kill them.

  170. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …?” Well, actually, yes they did (and do).
    How? Simply by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy (i.e. the greatest level of profit), mainly by manipulating the culture through very pervasive, sophisticated and unrelenting marketing and reward systems. (I can remember when you got a “free” toaster when you opened a bank account, or a “free” glass when you bought gas at a certain gas station. Obviously, the marketing and reward system has come a long way since then.)
    All this is done to artificially stimulate demand and create as much profit as possible, regardless of the economic or environmental impact (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children).
    Basically, people are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the greedy wealthy for their own gain.

  171. Gordon July 7, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    Turkle,
    Your reply states: “Did the wealthy force Joe Sixpack to run up thousands of dollars in credit card debt …?” Well, actually, yes they did (and do).
    How? Simply by limiting the range of choices for Joe Sixpack to those that have the greatest financial reward for the wealthy (i.e. the greatest level of profit), mainly by manipulating the culture through very pervasive, sophisticated and unrelenting marketing and reward systems. (I can remember when you got a “free” toaster when you opened a bank account, or a “free” glass when you bought gas at a certain gas station. Obviously, the marketing and reward system has come a long way since then.)
    All this is done to artificially stimulate demand and create as much profit as possible, regardless of the economic or environmental impact (see Ken’s reply in reference to TV advertising and its effect on children).
    Basically, people are nothing more than the human equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs, responding to stimuli. Attacking Joe Sixpack for his egregious lifestyle and habits is a pointless distraction from the real problem, which is complete control of our society by the greedy wealthy for their own gain.

  172. turkle July 7, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    Gordon,
    I see the problem as many in the middle class wanting to live a wealthy lifestyle that they cannot afford.
    This often includes:
    -A big house with expensive heating/electricity bills and an unaffordable (often “nontraditional”) mortgage
    -Two or three large, pricey cars
    -Cell phones for everyone in the family
    -Frequent, expensive vacations
    -Expensive home electronics systems including
    items like $1000 flat screen televisions
    -Eating out frequently
    -Eating expensive products frequently like red meat
    -Having as many children as they want without considering the financial implications
    -expensive cable tv and internet plans
    -recreational vehicles such as motorcycles, boats, ATVs, and snowmobiles
    -refinancing of said funky mortgage to remodel or cover other expenses
    All of the above are 100% OPTIONAL, and if you cannot afford them, you should not go into debt to pay for them.
    You want to close off the discussion by saying people have no control over their actions. But I’m saying that many of the middle class’s financial problems are self-created and blaming it all on rich people is foolish. If people have zero control over their actions, why even discuss it at all?
    The number one cause of bankruptcy is medical bills, and I have a lot of sympathy for people in this situation. Our for profit health system is a perverse sometimes, and anyone who loses their home to pay for a family member’s medical costs is in a sorry situation and should be helped out (IMHO).
    Also, a lot of middle class work has disappeared over the last few decades, so people have found themselves out on a limb financially when their jobs disappeared and have trouble adjusting to a lower standard of living.
    But saying that a middle class person is not personally responsible for signing onto a mortgage for 10x their yearly income whilst they have two expensive cars in the driveway and have just finished remodeling their kitchen is completely inane. People are not dogs and blaming advertising for the middle class living beyond its means is a cop out.

  173. Laura Louzader July 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    Turkle, you are on target in your criticisms of the debt-financed extravagance of the middle and upper middle classes in this country. The same criticism could be leveled at those rather below, but who are not quite poor, but with a difference.
    Gordon is correct when he states that many of the choices made by people out here in favor of wasteful lifestyles are driven by forces much larger than they are, and often, if not mostly, determined by public policy.
    Our extensive suburbanization is one of those things. Back in the 80s, long before reading Kunstler’s JOURNEY TO NOWHERE, I called the suburban setup “the most wasteful mode of living ever invented”. My ideal lifestyle was a condo in a dense city, right on a train or bus line, with no car ownership, and I chose to live that lifestyle.
    Well, and it has cost me. For example, two-thirds of the jobs in my city area (Chicago)are in the suburbs, and mostly in places utterly inaccessible without an auto. Now, I’ve had the luxury of choosing to make less just to stay close to home, figuring that the higher salary to be had in the exurbs would be more than offset by the expense of buying and running an auto. But I might not always have such a choice. I might at some point have to a)buy a car and b) move out to some stinking exurb I hate just to keep my fuel expense under control. But at least I could do it.
    What about the minimum wage worker who must sweat out car payments and double up with someone else in a slum apt just TO HAVE A JOB, ANY JOB? That’s where we are- most of the working poor are forced to spend beyond their means and own an auto just to work. They get jobs in areas where the houses average $700K each, and have to endure long commutes to and from “affordable” neighborhoods.
    You are so correct that the choice to live outrageously beyond your means, like the people you describe, is just that, completely optional. But our working classes, which are the numerical majority in our population, are driven by necessity into making choices that cost more than they can afford ,such as affordable apt. vs decent schools and safe neighborhood, get a car vs doing without a job-choices that would not be necessary if public policy for the past 60 years had not been created to drive the creation of the most wasteful lifestyle ever devised.

  174. FARfetched July 7, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    Hey, look: No Obamamania in Russia.
    Those of you who despise the guy in the Oval Office will find kindred spirits in Moscow.

  175. Danm July 7, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    All of the above are 100% OPTIONAL, and if you cannot afford them, you should not go into debt to pay for them.
    You want to close off the discussion by saying people have no control over their actions. But I’m saying that many of the middle class’s financial problems are self-created and blaming it all on rich people is foolish. If people have zero control over their actions, why even discuss it at all?
    ———-
    That’s where you are wrong. Most people were convinced they were doing the right thing! They’ve been conditioned to believe that frugality is for the non-ambitious losers and suckers. Most people doing the things on your list were convinced that frugality was a loser’s game.
    Our system has been rewarding overspending for the last few decades and that is what we got. People were buying bigger houses because these were offering better capital gains.
    People believed this because of their lack of formal education in philosophy, sciences and financial markets.
    When you merge the reward system that was created with human nature, there was now way you could expect a different outcome.
    Look. I was frugal but by listening to the spendthrift around me, I am now convinced that they could not be any different. They were really duped and felt sorry for me!

  176. asoka July 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

    “Socialism is not the government owning the means of production. It is the workers themselves owning AND controlling the means of production.”
    Socialism and communism are very different animals.
    “Socialism is the stage between Capitalism and Communism. It builds upon the previous system (Capitalism) by nationalizing the “means of production” (i.e. corporations, resources, banks, etc.), but not by making everyone equal. In other words, people will be paid wages based on several factors (social need, difficulty, amount of schooling required, etc.), so not everyone will make the same wage — as is often a misinterpretation of Socialism.
    Communism is the point where the state “withers away.” This will be quite a few years in the future. If I had to guess, I’d say at least 10 generations of established Socialism has to occur before people evolve enough to realize that hurting others or the system ends up hurting themselves.”
    http://www.geocities.com/commiett/difference.html

  177. Danm July 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    If I had to guess, I’d say at least 10 generations of established Socialism has to occur before people evolve enough to realize that hurting others or the system ends up hurting themselves.
    ————
    You pluck numbers out of a hat?
    Communism is what we got when we lived in caves in groups.

  178. Danm July 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    I’d say at least 10 generations of established Socialism has to occur before people evolve enough t
    ———
    Do you pull numbers out of a hat?
    Communism is what we had when as cavemen we lived in small groups.

  179. Andy Williams July 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    Greetings for this week from Wales in the UK. And I apologise for being a day late!!!
    We have two major concerns over here – one is the continuing collapse of the eastern european members of the EU and the assosciated exposure to the more wealthy members. This is a fairly accurate write-up:- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/5760816/Bulgarian-stress-test-for-the-Balkans.html
    Our other major worry is….falling oil and gas prices!!! We have decided that this is because of several devastating factors – continued falling manufacturing caused by continued falling consumer demand, people being more ‘careful’ about their money and paying down mortgages and credit card bills faster. The price is we believe, going to fall to a level where huge swathes of the production, refining and assosciated platform and refinery construction industries will shut down and cancel more plans because it will no longer be economically viable to continue with them. The net result we believe is that in a couple of years time this will lead to a huge immediate shortage of oil and a very sharp price surge with devastating consequences for any recovery. How bizarre. Oil too cheap !!

  180. Andy Williams July 7, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    Greetings for this week from Wales in the UK. And I apologise for being a day late!!!
    We have two major concerns over here – one is the continuing collapse of the eastern european members of the EU and the assosciated exposure to the more wealthy members. This is a fairly accurate write-up:- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/5760816/Bulgarian-stress-test-for-the-Balkans.html
    Our other major worry is….falling oil and gas prices!!! We have decided that this is because of several devastating factors – continued falling manufacturing caused by continued falling consumer demand, people being more ‘careful’ about their money and paying down mortgages and credit card bills faster. The price is we believe, going to fall to a level where huge swathes of the production, refining and assosciated platform and refinery construction industries will shut down and cancel more plans because it will no longer be economically viable to continue with them. The net result we believe is that in a couple of years time this will lead to a huge immediate shortage of oil and a very sharp price surge with devastating consequences for any recovery. How bizarre. Oil too cheap !!

  181. James Gonolek July 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    A late May morning in 1979 and I was undertaking an ecological survey in Hungary.
    Our host came into the bedroom in an apartment in Budapest announcing:
    “Terrible News my friends – The Iron Lady she is In!”
    She was just ahead of Reagan in ushering the New Dark Age – of Global Collapse.

  182. patrick July 7, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    It’s tempting (and very American) to make everything into a morality play (e.g. the economy is crashing because of all those immoral debtors living extravagant lives). Unfortunately, the data simply doesn’t support that story. Here’s Elizabeth Warren to set you straight”






    The middle class spends less today on eating out, clothes, electronics, car maintenance, appliances, etc, etc, than it did 30 years ago. So where does all the money go?
    0) The median working age male earns $800 less than his dad did a generation ago.
    1) Houses. Why? Because people are buying the best schools they can for their kids.
    2) Health care, ’cause the US is the only advanced economy without universal care.
    3) Child care, because mom and dad both have to work to afford 1 and 2
    4) An additional car because of 3.
    It ain’t a morality play folks. It’s about growing income inequality. Want to improve the lot of the middle class? Then do these three things:
    1) Drop the crazy ‘no child left behind nonsense’ and simply provide the same per-student funding for every student in every school across the country. It’ll level the playing field and will cure the problem of people bankrupting themselves to get into the best neighbourhoods to buy the best schools.
    2) Universal health care. Forcing people into bankruptcy when they get sick is not only terrible economics, it’s terrible morality. Something like the Dutch system (which is entirely private delivery) would probably be the most attractive to Americans.
    How to pay for all this? Unwind the American Empire! The US spends more on defense that the entirety of the rest of the world COMBINED! Over $1 trillion PER ANNUM! Take the savings, and use it to put an end to the destruction of the middle class.

  183. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    Instead just imagine what you could do with that empty box (no spam museum please). Here in my neon red town I almost had a double wide historical building except our money partner fucked up the whole deal thinking it was too good to share and fucked himself up along with it.
    So take my idea and put it into the big box. We were going to put a discount grocery/merchandise store in there. Truckers are hawking huge flats of stuff expired from the big drugstores/and or places going out of business. I mean you can buy a truckload for a few thousand. So my other partner was doing this and I was selling the cherries on ebay and am making all the money back from that particular flat of a pile of banana boxes.
    I also have thousands of used books that I have been buying for nothing over the past 15 years or so and slowly selling on the internet. small cubicles were going to be for small businesses that wanted to start up (can’t afford rent, utilities, phone,internet,etc all at once) so we were going to provide the space with all of that thrown in on the rent. Call it a business incubator. There really is nothing you can’t imagine incorporating into it. I was going to put in a math tutoring space for the kids perishing in the local schools that teach obedience and little else.I was also going to place people in other jobs that they could do within a radius of how far they were willing to go. And on and on. Now no space so our coffee house cum everything is just an empty building that they started to gut and quit.
    Start one up and I will come.

  184. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Denial. Never underestimate the power of denial.-Ricky Fitz in American Beauty
    I had the misfortune to read Toynbee about two years ago. The 2 volume author approved condensed rather than the 10 volume one I hope to read.
    He so minutely dissects the disintegration of empires that there is no wiggling out from under his logic. And day after day reading it is a lesson in how to form a long lasting depression which I am still in. Add Bernard-Henri Levy’s War, Evil and the End of History and all of Houellebecq plus Lovecraft and the depression will be permanent.
    The people you speak of have no inner lives. They probably wouldn’t be able to read the first page of Toynbee but they could read Houellebecq and Levy’s Vertigo (his trip thru America 100 years after Toqueville) but to internalize them I don’t know about that.
    It might be enlightening to view and/or read On the Beach as it follows Toybee’s reasoning only the world is really ending from atomic radioactivity and everyone knows it but still there are deniers.
    All empires fall from within no matter what the outside specifics are or what they look like. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and really, what can you do about it except to try to save yourself and your loved ones, and then you are going to have to protect what you save which you might not be able to do.
    (Oh and what a said above about a multi use building in my community would include free telephone and wi-fi.)
    Nyarlathotep, creeping chaos is coming. Cthulhu is tossing in his dream state, getting ready to awaken. Oppenheimer said why worry when we are doomed anyway. Lovecraft is coming clearly enough to be seen by those not in denial. It will be awful. J.G. Ballard has possibilities of our future. And so does Ursula LeGuin, as well as JHK.

  185. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    The Roman Legions in the British Isles left to defend the empire proper and failed. Britain entered the dark ages for 800 years after enjoying a couple of hundred years of developing civilization.
    Probably history will repeat.

  186. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    Well Rico Wendell Berry the poet and farmer has done just that all his life. And he’s a far better writer. He lives what he believes. As did Vivian and Scott Nearing.
    I have lived in an old wood cabin, no electric and no running water and candles with lots of mirrors is lovely.
    Also something does slow in your mind and I was able to read books that I could never get into before. Solzhenitsyn in Philly just didn’t have the same impact as wearing layers of clothes to keep warm in Missouri.
    The great destroyer of totalitarian communism also lived as he said and wrote.

  187. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    It’s not the car it’s corn that has caused far more damage. http://www.landinstitute.org Wes Jackson who was Rodale’s inspiration to start his publishing empire heads the landinstitute. It is not about change in agriculture but about revolution in agriculture. Maybe I’ll see some of you at the fall prsirie festival. Barbara Kingsolver was the featured person last year, Wendell Berry the year before. Quietly and successfully they are going about their revolution back to long horn cattle and prairie grass for perenniel fodder and grains.
    Fukuoka thought it was all too late. Jackson was in FDR’s New Deal for Agriculture and in his book Roots of Agriculture he explains why and the reasons are the same as now. Money crops to service the debt of raising them.

  188. asoka July 7, 2009 at 8:06 pm #

    danm said: “You pluck numbers out of a hat?”
    First, those aren’t my numbers. They come from an estimate made by an actual communist.
    Second, where do you get your numbers from?
    danm said: “Communism is what we got when we lived in caves in groups.”
    Communism is living together in community and sharing. People all over the world are doing it and always have.
    Communism was working long before Jesus came on the scene and made it a religious thing.
    http://www.csulb.edu/~eruyle/ecumen/with%20marx%20&%20jesus.htm
    WITH MARX AND JESUS, TOWARD AN ECUMENICAL COMMUNISM

  189. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 8:06 pm #

    I feel the same about Carter as you do. So few people see him with all his warts and I do wish he would shut up and not talk with Hamas.
    The whole Iran thing casn be traced to his allowing the Shah to escape here to live. Didn’t he wonder why no European countries would take him? That butcher and then they just got a worse butcher and all from our meddling.

  190. asoka July 7, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    abbeysbooks said: “The whole Iran thing can be traced to his allowing the Shah to escape here to live.”
    Might the “whole Iran thing” have roots further back with the CIA’s violent overthrow of a democratically elected government in 1953, engineered by Eisenhower and Dulles, that put the Shah in power?
    Jimmy Carter is blameless. I’m glad he is talking to Hamas.

  191. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

    Senior citizens in China direct traffic, do Tai Chi at dawn in the morning and are generally useful citizens.
    Ours chow down at MacDonald’s if poor and go on cruises to do it if they have some money.

  192. abbeysbooks July 7, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    Many people would have accepted responsibility for their credit card debt if the banks that manufactured them had accepted theirs. But who wants to feel like a chump paying them back with their userer interest rates, their outrageous late fees etc. Fuck ‘em if they can’t ake a joke.
    Don’t pay your credit card debt. do not pay your credit card debt. The last thing they will do before they turn it over to the wolves is to offer you 50% off if you pay a lump sum. If you talk to them I suspect you can do even better. The telephone people are now authorized to make a deal.
    More than the foreclosure bankers do. No they would rather go to auction and get less than make a deal.

  193. richardbelldc July 7, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    I want to correct some confusion in Abbybrooks description of The Land Institute’s Wes Jackson above. I’m a great fan of Jackson, and he has done wonderful work. But he was born in 1936, so he could not have played any role in FDR’s New Deal on Agriculture. And Jackson did not inspire the Rodale publishing empire: J.I. Rodale started the Rodale Press in 1930, 6 years before Jackson was born.

  194. Jaego Scorzne July 8, 2009 at 12:28 am #

    Don’t be ashamed of being a Doomer. Being
    laughed at is a small price to pay for being pre-
    pared. And when the time comes, be ready to throw
    your tools down and flee, just like the Ancient
    Maya did. Don’t be like Piggy looking for his specs. Remember the stick sharpened at both ends
    awaits the tardy. By all means get out of the
    cities and away from minorities. They will go sa-
    vage immediately. People know these things down
    deep. That’s why Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” has
    been a bestseller for months what to speak of all
    the Apocalypse movies coming out.
    Future historians, probably Chinese, will
    talk about the downfall of the dog eyes-their name
    for us. A brilliant race that went to the moon but
    wasn’t able to love itself so they gave their
    country away to primitives just so some few could
    profit and the rest revel in masochistic joy.
    Abby: tell them what Toynbee says about Africa. And Albert Schweitzer, the Mother Teresa
    of his day, about Blacks.

  195. Johnny Rico July 8, 2009 at 12:34 am #

    “The only completely consistent people are the dead.” – turkle
    Not so. McNamara with haunt us with his schizophrenic radiation for centuries…Oh, wait, I can’t predict.
    The Magic Soundgarden Eight-Ball sez:
    Shower in the dark day
    Clean sparks driving down
    Cool in the waterway
    Where the baptized drown
    Naked in the cold sun
    Breathing life like fire
    Thought I was the only one
    But that was just a lie
    Cause I heard it in the wind
    And I saw it in the sky
    And I thought it was the end
    And I thought it was the 4th of July
    Pale in the flare light
    The scared light cracks & disappears
    And leads the scorched ones here
    And everywhere no one cares
    The fire is spreading
    And no one wants to speak about it
    Down in the hole
    Jesus tries to crack a smile
    Beneath another shovel load
    And I heard it in the wind
    And I saw it in the sky
    And I thought it was the end
    And I thought it was the 4th of July
    Now I’m in control
    Now I’m in the fall out
    Once asleep but now I stand
    And I still remember
    Your sweet everything
    Light a Roman candle
    And hold it in your hand
    Cause I heard it in the wind
    And I saw it in the sky
    And I thought it was the end
    And I thought it was the 4th of July
    ***
    And yes. I have pointed out how Jim is a hypocrite several times. I can only thank him for taking me off his “banned” list. But his lack of responding to me only strengthens my case.
    Dude, I really hope you are not a lawyer, cuz your arguments suck. If you want me to care you gotta have cred like asoka, or Far, or Doom, or OEO. I’m way too busy to be chillin with the hoi polloi. Me and Sarah are mounting a bid.
    Peace, Love, I’m jus saying.
    Johnny Rico over and out.

  196. asoka July 8, 2009 at 1:10 am #

    Not sure how much longer we will have internet, or electricity, or banking online services, or anything else dependent upon computacion because the capability of massive cyber attack is increasing.
    The attackers have already started their probes and testing of security measures. Over July 4th weekend they managed to shut down some government websites. If our enemies manage to shut down government agencies like IRS, and government spending is halted, that should make many of you happy… until TSHTF.
    “WASHINGTON (AP) — A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime, The Associated Press has learned.”

  197. Johnny Rico July 8, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    So 12:28 Scorzne, the racist is cool.

  198. k gleason July 8, 2009 at 1:12 am #

    THE LONG EMERGENCY
    described desperate people many with college/advanced degrees working as field workers
    WELL THE FUTURE IS HERE
    Acoording to a radio report folks with advanced degrees are asking for farm work
    and thats not what i post here:
    Around the Nation
    Monday, November 24, 2008;
    40,000 Swarm Farm To Gather Free Food
    PLATTEVILLE, Colo. — A farm couple got a huge surprise when they opened their fields to anyone who wanted to pick up free vegetables left over after the harvest — 40,000 people showed up.
    Joe and Chris Miller’s fields were picked so clean Saturday that a second day of gleaning — the ancient practice of picking up leftover food in farm fields — was canceled Sunday. ” ‘Overwhelmed’ is putting it mildly,” Chris Miller said. “People obviously need food.”
    She said she expected 5,000 to 10,000 people to show up Saturday to collect free potatoes, carrots and leeks. Instead, an estimated 11,000 vehicles snaked around cornfields and backed up more than two miles. About 30 acres of the 600-acre farm 37 miles north of Denver became a parking lot.
    Miller said they opened the farm to the free public harvest after hearing reports of food being stolen from churches. It was meant as a thank-you for customers.
    Open April thru November 24, from 9am to 6pm daily.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    We had an overwhelming response to our free pick your own weekend on Saturday. At one point, we did have to turn people away in part because we weren’t sure that there would be anything left in the fields and in part because we were so overwhelmed. We enjoyed having each and every one of you out to visit and were thrilled with all the wonderful and positive things that folks had to say. We saw many, many new faces and we hope that we will see those new faces in the seasons to come.
    At this time, the pickings in the field are extremely thin. If you do choose to make the trip out to see us on Sunday, November 23, please be aware of this. We do have pre-bagged potatoes available for sale at the market and a handful of acorn and hubbard squash left, as well.
    And again thank you!
    Our farm is a real working family farm in operation since 1949 and is located just 8 miles east of Longmont on Highway 66.
    We offer a wide variety of affordable family fun and activities, including picking your own vegetables

  199. Kurt Cagle July 8, 2009 at 5:26 am #

    Concerning the comments problems – best course of action short term would be to increase the amount of memory for PHP in the global PHP.ini file – Word Press, like a lot of PHP apps, tends to be too conservative in their initial assumptions. Additionally, putting a pager on the comments would be worthwhile, as it cuts down on how many comment blocks are displayed.
    On the 1970s thread, US oil production peaked in 1970, and by 1973 we had become net importers of oil. Prior to then, the energy surplus expanded the real economy, and standards of living generally rose uniformly. After that, increasing amounts of money was being applied towards oil expenditures, leaving less real money for investment, but because the economic models had been built around the assumption of implicit growth due to that oil, the overhang resulted in a series of Fed engineered bubbles and burstings that hid the real magnitude of the problem.
    It’s worth noting that US population growth peaked in the early 1970s at around a replacement rate of 2.4 children, and has been declining ever since. It is now down to 0.8 children, and would be below zero (shrinking population) if not for continued immigration, primarily in the Southwest. In industrialized countries, for the middle and upper classes, kids cost significant money to raise, so you tend to have more of them when you’re reasonably well off and fewer when money’s tight (to a point – at some stage when you become too poor you simply stop caring any more and have children because you don’t plan on caring for them, but at least in the US this is the exception, not the rule).
    Significantly, the UN recently concluded that the world will also be hitting a reproduction peak next year or 2011, timed within a few years of global Peak Oil. I suspect this is a signal that we’ve just passed peak oil, and population is going to start to fall off even in productive areas such as Africa.

  200. Johnny Rico July 8, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    I just wanna make sure nobody fuck with my boy OEO. Better yet. Beter yet.
    I wanna make sure OEO don’t listen to nun of you cunts. Doom, tell, him.
    OEO. Don’t listen to these fuckers. They know NOTHING.
    Doom. Tell HIM.
    Don’t listen to them. NO matter what they say. Don’t listem to them, Bro.






    Don’t listen to them. Freebird is cool.

  201. Johnny Rico July 8, 2009 at 9:25 am #

    Asoka. You have no idea. After what Bunn just told me , I don’t care. OEO was always the coolest.

  202. Xervix Zhangsun July 8, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    I am American and recently became naturalised as an EC national. When I attended Cambridge University in 1997 I remember seeing all the old-fashioned ways of doing things, that pretty much have not changed to this day. At the time Bill Gates came over and donated large sums of money to start the “Gates Scholars” to compete against the Rhodes Scholars of Oxford. Anyway, at the time he promised “change” that Cambridge would be the first paperless university, hmmmmm….. I was always into Apple/Macs so I knew with Windows track-record we were in for at least a 200 year wait:)
    After living in Europe for 17 years, and speaking to my US parents often, I see almost nothing that would bring me back to the USA. I saw in 17 years much of Europe becoming Americanised, but luckily this never happened to such a degree that it is not reversible over here. Do not get me wrong, Europe has its own problems as well, but nothing like the USA.
    In the late 1990’s as a fresh Cambridge law graduate I thought I would return to the USA. After applying for jobs around the country I soon realised that no one had heard of Cambridge University. Some people asked me if there was a dictionary, and I would say no its the Oxford Dictionary. When I applied for a job at a university in the South, I was told that Cambridge University was not SACS accredited, SACS I think stands for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or something. I said well Cambridge is about 7-800 years older than this accreditation system, so of course it would not be accredited. I think my experience was extreme ignorance about anything not American. No wonder America is so isolated!
    If most Americans, I am still American myself, have not heard of Cambridge and it has been around since 1209, then what are the chances that they will understand Peak Oil? Or the fact that their lifestyle is coming to an end?
    I had studied law and now in my late 30’s I have given up on the career. I have recently purchased a farm in Bulgaria (this makes me laugh when you are interviewed that you describe the American rail system as an embarrassment even to the Bulgarians). The people in Bulgaria are very relaxed, and there is a great commercialised beach called Sunny Beach. This is if you want a small taste of Florida in Bulgaria?. But in Bulgaria you can buy a 1,000 square metre farm for around 5,000-8,000 dollars. Less than one of these speedboats on the lake.
    It will take me many years to transform my legal skills to farming skills, but its better than buying a speed boat on the lake!

  203. farmerswife July 8, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    “But in Bulgaria you can buy a 1,000 square metre farm for around 5,000-8,000 dollars.”
    I don’t get it. Even if they do have a better train system than the United States, WHY would you want to spend that much money for such a tiny plot of land in Bulgaria? Realistically, what do you think you can do with 1/4 acre?

  204. asoka July 8, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    JHK,
    Let me be the first to congratulate you on the new comments visual index… way cool!

  205. St. Roy July 8, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    After reading everything from Jim K. and Rich H., I moved to a small seaside village in Mexico where life is simple, easy and cheap. With only a computer connecting me to the world up north, I keep wondering when life is going to implode there. Crude oil prices are now descending again but I think that is only temporary because the peak oil is really a sawtooth before the long decline in production and then the steep upward clime in prices. Mexicans are mostly oblivious to all this and probably wouldn’t get too alarmed if they understood. The lifestyle here uses about one tenth the energy that the typical American uses yet the quality of living is much higher. Being here I keep asking myself why people in the US live like they do? Peak oil is going to be good for the planet albeit there will be some nasty times as the human population returns to pre fossil fuel levels. Just some some thoughts for the day as sit here with my computer looking out over the Pacific. Jim, I enjoy hour BLOG.

  206. djcrow22 July 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    AbbeyBooks, it is Helen Nearing, not to nit pick or anything…

  207. asoka July 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN…
    Health care reform is coming to provide relief to millions of American families and lift a burden from small businesses. BREAKING NEWS…
    “WASHINGTON — The nation’s hospitals will give up $155 billion in future Medicare and Medicaid payments to help defray the cost of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, a concession the White House hopes will boost an overhaul effort that’s hit a roadblock in Congress.”
    HEALTH CARE REFORM IS GOING TO HAPPEN!

  208. zsazsa July 8, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    turkle sez:
    “The only completely consistent people are the dead.”
    Wrongo. You offer consistently moronic postings. Now shut up and leave Rico alone or I’ll kick your ass.

  209. zsazsa July 8, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    asoka-the-producers sez:
    “Obama has not nationalized anything. He has helped out the capitalist institutions and capitalist industries. We don’t have just one national car producer run by the government. We don’t have just one national bank.”
    He has not helped “capitalist institutions”. You don’t bail out failed businesses in a capitalist system. You let capital flow to where it will have productive results. You let the duds DIE. And the sooner the better. What Dear Leader did was FUCK lenders that purchased bonds. Bonds, unlike stocks are loans. These loans are to be honored in the future with an agreed upon repayment date and a predetermined rate of interest. Big-O told bondholders, We’ll give you 20 cents on the dollar. Period. In effect, he terminated legal contracts. Why? It enabled him to to eliminate the remaining equity of stockholders and hand the fucking company over to the UAW. (aka Obama supporters).
    Furthermore, he forced Chrysler into a deal with Fiat (there’s a deal made in heaven). Same tactics, different company. So now, the only remaining U.S. manufacturer is going to compete against two government run car companies? No fucking way. In effect, O’bummer has nationalized the U.S auto industry. You can try and hem and haw your way around it but its a fact.
    Ditto the banks. Next is healthcare. You say he is merely trying to add another choice (government) into the mix. The private sector can’t compete against a government plan because the government makes the rules and can hide the true cost of their program by utilizing the same fucking accounting scams they have been practicing in every other department of our government.
    Cap and Trade. The largest scam ever perpetrated on the U.S. citizenry. It will not clean a single particle of air. It is a tax collecting nightmare that the Congress would have us believe will be magically paid for by “business”. Like they won’t pass along the cost?
    I love it asoka-the-producers, how you always (and quite brilliantly I must say) resort to the pat phase of those of your ilk (parasites). You accuse me of listing “talking points” of this or that group. Well, I am not claiming total originality in my posts. I read deep, punk. I read right, left and down the middle. I’m currently reading Posner’s “A Failure of Capitalism” and Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”. I’m a mother fucking turbo charged syphon of political rants. I read it all. But at the end of the day, I know a scam when I see a scam. I know that none of what has come upon us could have taken place had the old dictum, “Let the buyer beware.” been adhered to. I also know that you are a simplistic moron. One who has stayed at the punch bowl a bit too long…not noticing the turd floating in the flotsam of “I’m- from- the- government- and- I’m- here- to- help” punch that you so willingly sup.

  210. zsazsa July 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    Hey asoka-the-producers,
    Your last posting began with “CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN…”
    Would this be a talking point? I’m not certain but it seems to have a familiar ring to it. Kinda catchy.

  211. asoka July 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN was a talking point during the campaign. Now it is what is happening in health reform, with AHA’s statement today.
    Now, since nobody is running for office, CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN is simply a description of campaign promises becoming reality…
    Congratulations on your reading habits… Saul Alinsky? Wasn’t that one of Obama’s mentors? Community organizer, and all…
    Good choice, Alinsky. He promoted economic justice and empowering the near powerless — two of Alinksy’s core principles.
    Thanks also for the compliments. Between you and JR I am really flattered this week.

  212. Qshtik July 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    Xervix, I sense your dismay that many Americans “have not heard of Cambridge.” Well let me go you one better: Many American high school students are not aware that the US fought against Germany and Japan in WWII. In fact, they were horrified to hear it and even inquired as to who won. In their defense however, and so you shouldn’t think they are COMPLETE idiots, all of them can tell you every detail of Jennifer Aniston’s love life.

  213. zsazsa July 8, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    “Don’t pay your credit card debt. do not pay your credit card debt.”
    Don’t honor your word. Do not honor your word.
    Don’t ever grow up. Do not ever grow up.
    Don’t get a clue. DO NOT get a clue. (fucking moron.)

  214. zsazsa July 8, 2009 at 6:00 pm #

    “Thanks also for the compliments. ”
    Conclusive and definitive proof of your moronic immersion in all things stupid. Congrats!

  215. zsazsa July 8, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    “In the late 1990’s as a fresh Cambridge law graduate I thought I would return to the USA. After applying for jobs around the country I soon realised that no one had heard of Cambridge University”
    Really? This is my read: You, a “fresh Cambridge law graduate” thought the doors would fly open. This is not unlike the impression of many graduates of U.S. ivy league schools. Some employers on the East coast who are hip-deep in the ivy ethos may raise an eyebrow and offer a second interview. In other locales it fails to impress. Tough titty. Wanna be an ex-pat whiner? Be my guest. But why not whine on a European blog? Chances are they’d be more sympathetic.

  216. zsazsa July 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    “Good choice Alinsky.”
    Only good in that it confirms my misgivings about Obama. Alinsky is a bit of a shallow dope. If one chooses to worship at his knee he does so at the risk of becoming a shallow dope. The mantra was supposed to be “Hope” not “Dope”.

  217. thiatt July 8, 2009 at 7:54 pm #

    I am well aware that the shit and the Fan are about to start their dance. But I don’t think it is a soon as you believe. you may very well need to make it seem more immediate to maintain your readerships attention but I see several years of plodding along. At least I hope so. Question – Is global warming (now called Climate change since it is getting cooler) really an issue? Or is it just a cloaking device for peak Oil? You know the problem…”TRUTH? You want the TRUTH? You can’t handle the TRUTH”

  218. thiatt July 8, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    Just testing the comment concept, see where it ends up. First timer! But a polite first timer.

  219. Dr Doom July 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    Good grief, what is going on with the commentary section of this blog? It keeps getting weirder, to match the times, I guess.
    Giant font size in narrow windows? I know, let’s make a guillotine! As one selects a page (pick a number, any number) the guillotine blade falls to the bottom of the page with a whoosh!, a small cry and a thump (head rolls in basket).

  220. SNAFU July 8, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    “Is global warming (now called Climate change since it is getting cooler) really an issue?”
    And your evidence for climatic cooling is?

  221. Dr Doom July 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    ATTENTION: to whom Jim K. pays money for “upgrading” his blog site. Hey moron, get a clue! Like, have Jim pay you to surf the internet and look at other blog sites that are nice. Then go ahead and copy their style. I won’t rat on you, as most monkeys steal ideas (and stuff) from all the other monkeys.
    You could start by dropping the font size to about 12 point, and keep this awful Arial or Helvetica font style if you wish. Palatino is nice–hint hint. Then widen the columns a bit. You’re not trying to limit the size of the comments posted are you? This is an unruly bunch, if you try to use psychology on them, chances are it will backfire. Zsa zsa will attempt to publish the latest Who’s Who in the Axis Powers here.
    BTW, did you know the official Nazi Party colors were black and brown? Just sayin.

  222. Jaego Scorzne July 9, 2009 at 1:13 am #

    Many Americans aren’t Americans-just Afri-
    cans, Mexicans, Indians, or Chinese here as col-
    onists. Why do they care for the History or Trad-
    itions of a dying Country? Why would they care to
    assimilate if we don’t care enough to maintain our
    own borders and jobs? White kids got the message
    decades ago, and stopped caring too. It’s all
    about rebellion and being cool and Black. All that
    freedom of speech crap is just for old dead White
    Men. Redistribution is cool. Reparations: cool.
    Attorney General Eric Holder is caught on tape
    saying that the new Hate Crime Bill will protect
    Homosexuals, Blacks, Jews, all paraphillias (per-
    versions), but not Whites. It’s so Cool!
    Again, why would any Non-White want to learn
    the Traditions of such a weak, sick people who
    just let themselves be dispossesed? Such sick people naturally look to a Non-White Messiah to
    save them. So the White Ass Klowns voted for him
    because he was Black and cool. So what if he’s a
    racist, communist, and liar-the brother is cool.
    Seriously, if liberals were sane, they would have
    opened their eyes when Obama rejected public fin-
    anicing. But they aren’t and they didn’t. So we
    have a President put in by the usual suspects:
    Goldman Sachs, Sasoon, Soros-the same Jewish money
    men and War Mongers who were behind W.

  223. asoka July 9, 2009 at 1:54 am #

    Civil rights activist Dick Gregory said he has mixed feelings about Obama because of all the Blacks in the United States they went and found one without any slave genes.

  224. ranX July 9, 2009 at 6:09 am #

    Uhhh.. “The NYSE has announced the end of Daily Program Trading Report (DPTR).”
    Um, it is a truly odd thing that this announcement didn’t make the major papers.
    Just what kind of a racket are you folks down there running anyways? And is it legal? Lot’s of rubes I guess…

  225. Danm July 9, 2009 at 8:22 am #

    You could start by dropping the font size to about 12 point,
    ————
    Maybe he figures a large % of his readership is over 50.

  226. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 9:56 am #

    “And your evidence for climatic cooling is?”
    Well, NYC is experiencing the coldest Summer on record. Other regions are as well. But I digress. One Summer does not a trend make. But in geologic measures, the entire history of recorded weather trends is almost as insignificant as a single Summer. And yet?
    And yet, we have some MORONS in Congress about to enact the largest single tax increase in the history of the world because they think they are wise enough to impact global weather (via taxation, no less). Maybe they should try building a few Chevys first and see how that works out.

  227. Qshtik July 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    Jaego, I can see you’ve had a rant building up inside that just had to come out but I don’t see much connection to what I wrote. Let’s forget about race, color, creed and national origin for a moment and keep this simple. Our kids, and in fact our whole society, waste an incredible amount of time with their noses inside celebrity magazines and know little about more important stuff like history and finance. Someone once said “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.” How many people understand what this means and why it is so relevant in today’s world? I’ve tried explaining it to my own kids and their eyes glaze over … too BOOORRING!!

  228. k gleason July 9, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    RE:KURT CAGLE:Peak oil
    ‘and population is going to start to fall off even in productive areas such as Africa’
    AFTER DARFUR /CONGO/ETC…..7? million killed and the most of the world didnt give a collective yawn
    God knows what will happen in Africa or anywhere else in the future

  229. SNAFU July 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    “One Summer does not a trend make. But in geologic measures, the entire history of recorded weather trends is almost as insignificant as a single Summer.”
    Me thinks you hit the nail on the head with your observations in respect to the cooler than expected NYC weather this Summer. Perhaps you might wish to share your extensive knowledge of climatic modification with the “morons” at the G8 summit, now in effect in Italy, whom seem to be mightily concerned with global warming. I would be impressed to see you debate the “moron” James Hansen (PHD Physics, Head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NYC, adjunct professor Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in NYC at Columbia University), whom was a main adviser to that other “moron” VP Al Gore. My guess is that your “Rovian” intellect would tear Dr. Hansen a new asshole within seconds; what thinks you? Interestingly Dr. Hansen and I agree with you when it comes to the “Cap and Trade” bill wending it’s way through the congress, albeit for differing reasons, as “Cap and Trade is simply the latest mechanism by which big money intends to continue the fleecing of amerika and the world sans any value added.
    Have “they” stopped building Chevys? It is simply amazing how my knowledge base is expanded through the expediency of reading this blog.

  230. zwick July 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    Well, better comment late than never, I reckon.Does it seem to anyone else that we in Amerika are living in the big waiting room for disaster? Each of us holding our little red ticket that we plucked from the dispenser waiting for our number to be called? And after a while you just want it to be over with, already. I do. The fact that this is not going to end well is obvious….but the timing! There’s the rub. But the timing will be a moot point if you don’t own a farm in the very near future (I don’t, BTW). Or have many years of food stored somewhere, right? We used to buy plastic pumpkins, now WE are the “plastic pumpkins”. Not needed anymore as we are redundant and too costly to maintain, so just go ahead and die already! The rich folk have big plans for THEIR world. At least have the graciousness to go quietly. Call it evolution in action. The strong survive and weak will die. The End.

  231. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    “Have “they” stopped building Chevys? ”
    They have stopped building private market Chevys. Government Chevys are just ramping up.
    Al Gore is a moron. Hansen and his camp have just as many credentialed, serious scientists in opposing camps that claim it is the height of folly to suggest that we know enough about the true causes of climate warming to change it one way or the other. Furthermore, what is this ideal temperature that we will all be aiming towards? This old ball of blue has had numerous, significant climate shifts for aeons prior to mans arrival. Who is to say that had the earth not gone thorough these variations that the earth would have ever become habitable for man?
    This climate legislation is nothing more but a government grab for the

  232. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    …grab for the redistribution of wealth. Nothing more, nothing less.

  233. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    “The strong survive and weak will die.”
    This is a revelation to you? This has been true since the Flintstones.

  234. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Just found this lovely nugget:
    “For the first time, America and the other seven richest economies agreed to the goal of keeping the world’s average temperature from rising more than 2C (3.6F).”
    Then this:
    “Climate change experts say that the 2C threshold would not eliminate the risk of runaway climate change, but would reduce it. Even a slight increase in average temperatures could wreak havoc on farmers around the globe.”
    Sounds like they really have their shit together. Where do I send my fucking check?
    Story here:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6670327.ece

  235. asoka July 9, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    zsazsa said: They have stopped building private market Chevys. Government Chevys are just ramping up.”
    So, GM employees are now Federal employees with Federal pension plans? GM employees are now government employees, not private market employees?
    Are you sure?

  236. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 3:05 pm #

    “So, GM employees are now Federal employees…”
    The worker bees matter not one whit. The U.S. government canned those in control and inserted their choice. They currently are in control. Their claim is they will cede control when G.M. returns to profitability. For the foreseeable future G.M. will stand for Government Motors.
    My hunch is that G.M. will always remain in government control as profitability is not likely.

  237. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    This is too fucking much. I found an article where the “brilliant” all knowing James Hansen claims that a global increase of 3C presents about a 50% likelihood of human extinction. He attributed a 1C increase to a 10% chance of human extinction. So what do the G8 leaders do? Split the fucking difference. Bwahahahahahhahahhahahahhahaahhahahhahahhahahhahahahhahahahhahaahhahah.
    Thank god. I feel so much safer now.

  238. Dystopic July 9, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Tin Hat Dejour:
    There is talk that Goldman Sachs’s stolen program was something that could “sniff” NYSE data streams, know what trades were coming in, and based on knowing that could make profitable trades miliseconds in advance of other people’s orders landing. The bottom line? They were ripping people off who thought they were trading in a fair market. If this is true, GS has pulled off the hugest scam known to mankind. It would be the biggest news event maybe ever.
    I hope this story does not disappear like those 134 billion in bonds did.
    http://market-ticker.org/archives/1192-FLASH-Goldman-Code-Theft-BOMBSHELL.html

  239. Dystopic July 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    Bwahahahah off the screen?
    Happy mistake?
    Sklz?
    Cool.
    Dr. Doom, AKA Docktor of Doom, D3PO,
    The lovely ZsaZsa has just proved that their are no margins or boundaries here in the Clusterfuck Nation. Post accordingly.

  240. asoka July 9, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    zsazsa said: “The worker bees matter not one whit.”
    Thank you for so concisely encapsulating your attitude toward fellow human beings.
    The people who work and build and defend this country (and GM is a defense contractor) “matter not one whit”.
    I hope you continue with that attitude; it guarantees continued Democratic victories!
    http://www.governmentcontractswon.com/department/defense/general_motors_military_vehicl_151262136.asp?yr=07

  241. Funzel July 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    while we are on financial subject matters,I wonder if there is some sort of way to find out what the Dow numbers would look like right now before about 10 of the losers were replaced by smaller losers.

  242. zsazsa July 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    asoka-the-producers sez:
    “zsazsa said: “The worker bees matter not one whit.”
    Thank you for so concisely encapsulating your attitude toward fellow human beings.”
    You are a moron. When I said they matter not a whit that was regarding who “controls” GM. The government does. Of course the workers matter. Why do you think Obama stole the company out from under the bond and stockholders and gave 17.5% ownership to the UAW? Because the UAW matters (to the Democratic Party). You are such a big sillly, asoka-the-producers.

  243. Dystopic July 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm #

    Asoka, ZsaZsa,
    Get a bedroom already you two.

  244. k gleason July 9, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    I read…dunno if its true that someone did a balance sheet on the stocks that make up the dow …calculating what the sum was…net loss or profit and CLAIMED that overall the companies that are calculated for the dow are losing BILLIONS…or was it trillions
    try and see if you can calculate or get the CORRECT INFO…if you can…post here
    Remember JHK called a chapter in his book LIVING ON FUMES ..i take that to mean
    life in the ‘ exhaust’ era…less oil…more detritus

  245. k gleason July 9, 2009 at 10:45 pm #

    long ago I read in JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY WRITINGS
    that Rockefeller tried to get the usa to STOP teaching american history and teach world history
    at santa monica college there are 1000+ ? illegals going to school…CHUI TSANG the glib lib who runs the place pushes for ‘ globalization’
    AND INDEED THERE ARE REQUIREMENTS FOR GLOBAL CITIZEN SHIP TO GRADUATE
    I KID YOU NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    where are the requirements
    1….to be a citizen to go to school or at least be in usa legally
    2…to take an american history class
    and tax dollars at work….at the mike jackson tribute…to pay and feed the cops
    AND THE LATINO CENTER AT SMC GIVES FINANCIAL AID TO THE CRIMINALS
    SO CONNECT THE DOTS FROM ROCKEFELLERS AGENDA TO THE REMAVAL OF BORDERS AND LAW
    OR ASK THE BOLOGNA FAMILY OF ‘ SANCTAURY CITY’ SAN FRANCISCO

  246. k gleason July 9, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    Actually what I read…dunno where…is that JC started the DEPT OF ENERGY to ‘ lessen our dependence’ on foreign oil
    well billions or trillions of dollars and 20,000 / employees later
    we are much more dependent on foreign oil!!!
    so much for government ‘ efficiency’ hahahahaha
    What JC did not or could not do is THE SIMPLE MATH….with immigration to USA from 1980 to 2009
    about 30 years…well the populations skyrocketed so of course we need more foriegn oil….for us and the foriegners floodin in

  247. k gleason July 9, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    today an ‘old timer’ saw the sign for gas and said
    i can remeber when it was 16 cents a gallon
    so i said when
    he said…summer of 62 at my dads fillin station in minnesota
    the good old days
    so INFLATION IS RAMPANT..and opec isnt the only source

  248. SNAFU July 9, 2009 at 10:58 pm #

    “They have stopped building private market Chevys. Government Chevys are just ramping up.”
    Would that I had been given my druthers GM and Chrysler would be in the midst of going out of business fire sales right alongside AIG, GS and the whole cry baby Wall Street bunch. Ah; but, the owners of amerika had/have no intention of playing by the rules they created for the rest of us to live by. They prefer the if they fuck up we are fucked and if we fuck up we are fucked rules. Providing train car loads of money to bail out corporate amerika is not my concept of a gommerment take over.
    I am consistently amused by the nonscience musings of amerikans who would sooner place their faith in astrological signs than in the scientific community; yet, at the same time revel in the cornucopia of technological marvels these self same scientists and engineers devise. How then is it that these scientists and engineers are incapable of comprehending the physics of the of the Earth? Rather than contending by fiat, as do you, that far more scientists contend that humans are the primary cause of the current shift away from stasis of the COO in the atmosphere than not, I urge you to peruse the following article which is a compilation of scientifically collected polling data. http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html The yes it is no it is not character of the global warming dispute reminds me of another rather well known dispute. Does smoking, chewing or snuffing tobacco products increase the likelihood that one may contract cancer? My guess is that the amerikan public has firmly come down on the side of the vast majority of health scientists who contend/ed that it has/had been scientifically demonstrated, adnauseum, that it did; yet, one could probably hire a scientifically credentialed critter, even today, who would be willing to generate plenty much blather concerning the uncertainty of said science, were one of a mind.

  249. Shane July 10, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    wardoc posted:
    “think Sarajevo and see the future of Amerika”
    I’ve been saying that for a long time. First will come the continental Katrina, then the continental Bosnia. The modern US is an empire, NOT a nation-state, and empires always collapse into tribal warfare in the end. Multiculti societies can survive, even thrive, as long as times are good but when hard times return, they have no organic cohesion to fall back on. And so the inevitable happens, the ancient struggle of the tribes begins again….
    The peculiar circumstances of the Collapse will put one major limitation on how bad inter-communal violence in North America will get. There simply won’t be sufficient resources for large successor states to emerge. So no new Confederacy (dang!) and no Aztlan, Ecotopia, or New Afrika either. There may however be any number of smaller versions of all of these. Deserat, the Navajo Nation, and the Republic of Texas might just make the cut…
    If there were to be sufficient resources for a large state to exist post-Collapse, then the old empire would just re-assert itself in some new, nakedly fascist form and beat down any upstart rivals. The long career of the Romans offer two perfect examples of this process. The corrupt Roman Republic collapsed into civil wars and reformed as the (even more) fascist Roman Empire. The decadent, bankrupt Late Empire collapsed and then reformed as the Byzantine Empire, speaking a completely different language but still clearly a continuation of the original Latin state.
    “And, yes, pockets of cannibalism (ted turner was right)”
    You are an optimist. In the next-to-last phase of the Collapse, the large cities of the old US will become places of nightmare. I take it you know what happened in Leningrad during the Siege, right? And that was a homogeneous population used to obedience and conformity. If Soviet Russians could descend to that depth after only 1-2 months, what will the utterly criminal underclass of US cities be capable of? I think the only thing that will slow the onset of mass cannibalism is that so few of these idiots even know where meat comes from. But once they do know, once they understand that those wonderful middle-class people they’ve been robbing and murdering for years, can also be cooked and eaten, then the Gates to the Abyss will truly open.

  250. jerry July 10, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    “President Obama had better turn his efforts from pretending to re-start the revolving credit rackets to overseeing the comprehensive re-simplifying of American life.” You are soooooo right!!
    Obama is in a fog. He has deluded his reality and many Americans are riding the same power boat he is driving. Bernanke is his first mate on this ride. He has manipulated the market so the financial banksta thieves in the financial crime syndicate could make a bunch of cash over the last few months to help them ride out the storm. But, the real economy is falling fast and the market cannot keep ignoring this reality.
    Many Americans, especially those still making boat payments, have ignored the hard facts about the economy because of the illusionists in our government.
    http://eye-on-washington.blogspot.com

  251. Jaego Scorzne July 10, 2009 at 2:25 am #

    Yeah, not only that, but when the power
    fails, they and you and everyone else wont be able
    to access the ATM machines!
    Forget about teaching them about compound
    interest. That’s the past. Teach them about the
    wonders of the compound bow. You want them to
    read? Get them reading “Lord of the Flies”. They
    don’t have to become like Ralph, but don’t let
    them become like Piggy.
    Our ancestors grew stong in the Ice and Snow
    and so shall we. As Edmund Burke said, a people
    who doesn’t look back to its ancestors will not
    look forward for its children.

  252. eightm July 10, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    The G8 or 14 or whatever talking about climate change, and trying to reduce emissions, etc. Are these people INSANE ? Are all those PHDs, scientists, researchers total IDIOTS ? Are they so incredibly STUPID ? I CAN?T BELIEVE IT!
    THE ONLY REAL THING THAT WILL DECREASE EMISSIONS IS PUBLIC TRANSPORATION. MASS TRANSIT. MASS TRANSIT WORLDWIDE IN ALL COUNTRIES STARTING FROM THE USA TO CHINA.
    Now is that so hard to understand ? Is that to complicated ? All those trillions thrown down the toilet for banks and rich crappy people wasting time could have been invsted in BUSES, SIMPLE BUSES, with internet calling, network optimizations. Is that so hard ? Is Obama reading this ?
    They want to continue with all the fake declarations against global warming while promoting private autos all over the world, china and india now must have millions more private autos. WHAT TOTAL IDIOTS, MORONS, THEY SHOULD BE SLAPPED IN THE FACE.
    http://digg.com/environment/Public_Transportation_Could_Save_the_World

  253. eightm July 10, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    Aside from the fact that a powerful mass transit program worldwide would be the only real system to measure progress in global warming improvement: every year the more trips and the more buses and trains supplied, the less emissions. Say just 5% a year . Just 5% more BUSES and trains and routes all across the globe every year. also hike the prices of gasoline up 5% each year, to pay for BUSES.
    It can be measured, it is cheap to implement, it decreases emissions and improves global warming, it saves energy, etc. Why don’t they propose this at the g8-14-20 etc. ? BECASUE THEY ALL SUCK, THEY ARE ALL TOTAL IDIOTS.

  254. dale July 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    Of course Global Warming is a fact, anyone who doesn’t accept that might just as well start talking about Creationism, because they have already abandoned actual science as a means of determining what to believe and what not to believe. What “percentage of the problem” mankind is responsible for is still not determined, and probably never will be, given the complexity of the issues involved, but that doesn’t abrogate the central conclusion or the most likely largest contributor.
    GW or no, it still makes sense for the US to reduce carbon and other emissions. Not just because of the GW issue, but due to a whole host of other issues tangentially related such as; Peak Oil, health problems related to pollution, national security etc. So lets not waste our time trying to turn back the clock talking about that issue, that’s just a waste of time. It needs to happen and it will, either by plan or by circumstance.
    Hello; $6 gasoline, Goodbye; SUV’s, ski boats, RV’s etc. You don’t like it? Fine, cry all you want, it’s coming soon.
    All that being said, my guess is that over the course of the next few decades progress in carbon emissions will be made, but mostly offset by increases in developing world population and rising standards of living for that same group. Our day of reckoning with worldwide population growth is coming. Maybe it will take 100 years or maybe 10 years, but a decline in population, perhaps precipitous initially, seems inevitable. There is your solution to virtually every portent of doom on this website, and NO, mankind will not become extinct. There is absolutely no reason to imagine that.

  255. k gleason July 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Why do they care for the History or Trad-
    itions of a dying Country? Why would they care to
    assimilate if we don’t care enough to maintain our
    own borders and jobs? White kids got the message
    INDEED
    WERE TRUER OR MORE APT WORDS SPOKEN HERE LATELY???
    L.A. PASSED THE TIPPING POINT SOME TIME AGO…
    most families here speak a foriegn/ third world tounge at home !!!
    and the mayor described l.a. as a ‘ third world city’

  256. k gleason July 10, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    comment to JHK
    jim yr a bit too luddite…having grown up in yr neck of the woods…
    ‘Watching the summer panorama on an Adirondack lake is like reading a history of the post World War Two decades, because almost nothing on view there now existed before 1945 and we’ll be stunned to see how swiftly it all terminates. The fantastic prosperity of these postwar decades killed the wildness of these once-remote lakes. Fortunes were made — like everywhere else in the USA — carving up the landscape and deploying graceless ‘
    LAKE SAGANDAGA DIDNT EXIST MUCH BEFORE THAT…IT WAS A CIRCA 1939 PWP……its the biggest man made lake in NYS

  257. turkle July 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    dale,
    Nice post!
    The problem with $6 per gallon gasoline is not its affect on recreational vehicles. These are 100% optional activities, anyways.
    As gasoline rises, there will be real and drastic societal dislocations. For instance, the economics of commuting will start to change. It may no longer make sense for people to commute to low paying jobs far away from home when all their money would be going to pay for gasoline. The price of food will rise along with gas, because oil is present at every stage in the agriculture system.
    Much of the current economic activity in the United States, especially the service sector, is based around cheap gasoline. This includes on-demand home delivery of consumer goods by gas-powered truck all the way to cruising for burgers. As gasoline prices increase, this car-based economy is going to contract, perhaps drastically.
    Add to this that many regions in the United States do not have any alternative means of transportation than cars, and you have the makings of a gigantic problem.
    Maybe you and I can be smug about it. I know that I have sometimes fallen into this trap. But increasing gas costs are absolutely going to wreck people’s lives from the cost of commuting, increased food prices, and just being able to get around and participate in the consumer economy. The American lifestyle is based around cheap gasoline, and as it disappears, we’re going to see many people affected in far more negative ways than not being able to run the power boat on the weekends.

  258. turkle July 10, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    dale,
    Nice post!
    The problem with $6 per gallon gasoline is not its affect on recreational vehicles. These are 100% optional activities, anyways.
    As gasoline rises, there will be real and drastic societal dislocations. For instance, the economics of commuting will start to change. It may no longer make sense for people to commute to low paying jobs far away from home when all their money would be going to pay for gasoline. The price of food will rise along with gas, because oil is present at every stage in the agriculture system.
    Much of the current economic activity in the United States, especially the service sector, is based around cheap gasoline. This includes on-demand home delivery of consumer goods by gas-powered truck all the way to cruising for burgers. As gasoline prices increase, this car-based economy is going to contract, perhaps drastically.
    Add to this that many regions in the United States do not have any alternative means of transportation than cars, and you have the makings of a gigantic problem.
    Maybe you and I can be smug about it. I know that I have sometimes fallen into this trap. But increasing gas costs are absolutely going to wreck people’s lives from the cost of commuting, increased food prices, and just being able to get around and participate in the consumer economy. The American lifestyle is based around cheap gasoline, and as it disappears, we’re going to see many people affected in far more negative ways than not being able to run the power boat on the weekends.

  259. turkle July 10, 2009 at 3:45 pm #

    Oh boy, sorry for the multiple posts. This blogging software is downright wacky sometimes.
    dale,
    I wanted to add that humanity certainly does have the capability to wipe itself out. The US alone has enough nuclear weapons stored to wipe out the entire planet many times over. It is hubris to believe that humankind destroying itself entirely is outside the realm of possibility. I’ve read that 99% of the species that ever existed are currently extinct. And none of them had the hydrogen bomb to help them along.
    Now whether or not that’s a probably outcome, let’s hope not!

  260. Werner Patels July 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    Just off-topic. I liked the design and font on your old Typepad blog better. The verdana font is so lame!!!

  261. Will July 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm #

    Mr. Kunstler–
    Own up to the fact that Mr.Obama has double-crossed your worthy support–At no time in the next few weeks is he going into the telephone booth only to emerge decked out in a cape with a big Super L on his chest– His Presidency is in hock to those who contributed the most money beyond all the ‘little’ contributers put together in the last five US elections combined–the Wall Street Securities Industry–
    His shoot from the mouth vice president said last weekend roughly that ‘Yes, we did misread the economy when we entered office and we may need to have more stimulus’– They have no clue and if they had one could they recognize it?– Once a voter falls in love with a candidate facts no longer matter– No mere reason will allow the voter to conclude he erred in his support but the vain hope is always sustained that yes he’s just playing chess with the Bad Boys because shortly he’s going to pull off the old liberal switcheroo and become the Real Change we want to believe in–
    Dream on

  262. turkle July 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Will,
    The entire US government, or at the Treasury Department, seems beholden to Wall Street interests. The Treasury has so many Goldman Sachs employees that it could be considered an adjunct to that firm.
    There have been some motions towards stricter control, namely the new financial products agency that was floated. But the kind of dismantling and reassembly that we really need would be incredibly painful and possibly destructive. I think they are moving slowly to avoid unintended consequences. In other words, if you start dismantling huge banking firms like Citi, etc., what are the repercussions to the economy at large? We’ve seen that the failure of only a few large financial firms can have destructive effects across the entire economy.
    The shenanigans pulled by Wall Street just boggle the mind. Goldman Sachs actually shorts their own positions. They make loans to their own shell companies. It is one big con game, but I think the Obama administration is afraid that if they start pulling things apart, the whole thing will collapse like a house of cards.

  263. Johnny Rico July 10, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    OMFG –
    Jim? Jim!
    I think you need to rename the blog Vagina Nation.
    Can somebody help me? Doom? OEO? Are there anymore men here. I used to know some but they don’t seem to post here aymore.
    How do I negotiate this calendar/post minefield.
    Hilarious. Don’t think I won’t tell Sarkozy and Berlusconi about this.

  264. Cthulhu July 10, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    CTHULHU approves cannibalism. Just watch out for the Creutzfeld Jacob disease, or kuru.

  265. Johnny Rico July 10, 2009 at 11:51 pm #

    Shelter from the storm.

    The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

  266. Johnny Rico July 11, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    “My hunch is that G.M. will always remain in government control as profitability is not likely.”
    I tend to agree. Asoka, the reality is that there are several longtime runners here. You have a mixed to bad record. Zsazsa has a pretty good one as he tends not to make predictions but analyses and gives guidance.
    Me. I just look at the cars and the racing. I’m all about F1. The US just cannot compete.
    NASCAR. JHK doesn’t even follow. He can’t even spell it. It’s NASCAR, Not Nascar. Jeff Bridges. “The Last American Hero.” 1973. Gary Busey and some other notables.
    Anyway. Toyota is in the game. I’m not exactly sure why. These are heavy, outdated pieces of shit. they still run carburators (spelling). Maybe for the day when there will be no oil and less fuel-injection. Who knows?
    ZsaZsa? Why do you waste your time with these fuckheads?

  267. jim e July 11, 2009 at 12:37 am #

    @Johnny Rico “Me. I just look at the cars and the racing. I’m all about F1. The US just cannot compete.”
    Speaking of real racing… did you see Contador tody!!!!

  268. jim e July 11, 2009 at 1:07 am #

    Lance did “Play Pretty” when his teammate launched it on the mountain finish. Some say not to script but I thought it au naturel.

  269. Jaego Scorzne July 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    Your tentacles will twich a different tune
    when it’s you boinling merrily in the pot. Seri-
    oursly, get some of the descriptions of the Cath-
    olic Martyrs to get some idea. How would you like
    to have your testicles cut off and then shown to
    you? To have your stomach cut open and then watch
    (and feel!) your entrails burned? Yes, you are
    still alive at this point. As far as the straight
    cannibal angle, watch the classic “Quest for the
    Fire”. If cannibals are just a little hungry,
    they’ll just cut off a wing, I mean an arm, and
    munch on that. You’ll just be hanging there, alive, but “fresh” as the orc put it. The stick
    sharpened at both ends is coming. Ask not at whom
    the stick points, it points at thee.

  270. Cthulhu July 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    CTHULHU is a multi-dimensional, hyper-spatial, chrono-synclastic infundibulum inhabiting entity, and is not afraid of any meat-space fate.
    CTHULHU has seen cannibalism thru out the eons, and classifies three types:
    1. Protein. “The people want meat! This algae crap sucks!” Aztecs, soy-lent green, etc.
    2. Ritual. “This is my body, and this is my blood.” Eat the flesh. You are what you eat. Assume the characteristics of the consumed.
    3. Domination. See Jeffrey Dahmer.
    Many species practice cannibalism, some under normal conditions, ie lobsters; others only while under stress. Humans suffer from species-centric exceptionalism- they’ve been consuming the Earth, soon it will be their turn to enter the nitrogen cycle. Big time.

  271. Scotty Books July 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    Your “awfullizing,” as my wife calls it, rings true, dire, prophetic, the best sociopolitical black clouds I ponder weekly. Eloquent, passionate, untrammeled.
    I’d like to see you expand your “airline industry to die shortly” thread, or solicit suggestions, with a 10-industries-we-don’t-need-and-the-world can’t-afford list (bottled water, florists, casinos, travel agents, cosmetic surgeons, armaments makers…?) Consumer boycotts can be omnipotent.
    We need solutions, too. What are your coping/reacting/empowering/Gaia-enhancing, sustainable, strategies?
    I start with one woman/one child, right now. We can pare this planet down to a billion people in a century, save it from a sere fate.

  272. Cthulhu July 11, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    CTHULHU reads comments that suggest that “if only we do X, everything will be ok”.
    Of course there are solutions to most of the world’s problems. Not many are saying there are no solutions. It is just that these solutions aren’t gonna happen. And that’s why its a CLUSTERFUCK.
    Those with power and wealth would need to lose their power and wealth. When was the last time that happened?

  273. Dr Doom July 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

    “Our day of reckoning with worldwide population growth is coming. Maybe it will take 100 years or maybe 10 years, but a decline in population, perhaps precipitous initially, seems inevitable. There is your solution to virtually every portent of doom on this website, and NO, mankind will not become extinct. There is absolutely no reason to imagine that.”–dale
    dale averts doom with solution of massive dieoff. congratulations, dale, you once again win “fucktard of the month” for your inspiring logic and awesome insight.
    why can’t you imagine an extinction? it happens all the time in nature, and it’s happening now to other species at “event boundary” rates, if not higher. ponder it over a visit to the local museum.

  274. Qshtik July 12, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    Jaego … not to be pedantic … the name of that movie was “Quest For Fire” not Quest for THE Fire.

  275. Jaego Scorzne July 12, 2009 at 12:30 am #

    The most advance species on Earth, the White
    Race, transcended cannibalism long ago. The Blacks
    are reverting back to it in Africa and will so
    revert here as well. We will be prey. I have a
    vision of Whites being chased through frozen, trash strewn streets. As the Dragon said, it has
    already happened-in the future. But it need not
    have been. If we had listened to your beloved
    prophet, HPL, we would have been spared this hid-
    eous fate. If we had closed the door by 1900, our
    population would have stabilized at 200 million or
    so. We would be sitting pretty, well able to adapt
    to changing conditions. We would have been a united, homogenous Nation. As the Prophet explains:
    “But Success and Happiness were not to be.
    Garish daylight shewed only squalor and alienage
    and the noxious elephantiasis of climbing, spread-
    ing stone where the moon had hinted of elder magic; and the throngs of people that seethed
    through the flume like streets were squat, swarthy
    strangers with hardened faces and narrow eyes,
    shrewd strangers without dreams and without kin-
    ship to the scenes about them, who could never
    mean aught to a blue-eyed man of the old folk, with the love of fair green lanes and white New
    England village steeples in his heart.” From “He”
    So there you have it. We have only ourselves to blame for ignoring the true patriots
    and lovers of our Race-a Nation only being a cer-
    tain stage of development of a People. A universal
    nation is a contradiction of terms. As for envir-
    onmentalism, it’s a White Invention like most ev-
    erything else. With one or two exceptions, no one
    else cares about it or will care about it. Will
    Civilization rise again? Perhaps. When the Stars
    are right. But it wont be America and probably wont be anything recognizably Western at all. And
    whether they can advance on a depleted planet is
    another question entirely.

  276. Jaego Scorzne July 12, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    Touche old chap. You got me but good.
    We’re even now I guess. Have you given any
    thought to my post? The compound bow? The
    new reading program for your kids? Also take
    them to see, “The Road” when it comes out as
    a movie. Viggo Mortenson is playing the dad.
    It should be a real tear jerker and will show
    them what’s coming. They need to get plenty
    scared, as do we all. Little kids are natur-
    ally scared until we dull their sensibilities.
    That we mustn’t do anymore. Little kids are all
    naturally afraid of bogey men and monsters.
    These fears areg grounded in reality. The
    bogey men are cannibals or molesters. The
    monsters are carniverous animals. Once our
    civilization falls, the animals will know
    our weakness and start coming after us as
    they did before. And the boogers will be
    coming like gangbusters.

  277. Johnny Rico July 12, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    “Speaking of real racing… did you see Contador today!!”
    Ehh? When you wrote that was Friday. You need to tell me what I missed.
    Sunday is race day.
    WTF is Contador?

  278. asoka July 12, 2009 at 2:42 am #

    JR said: “Asoka, the reality is that there are several longtime runners here. You have a mixed to bad record. Zsazsa has a pretty good one as he tends not to make predictions but analyses and gives guidance.”
    First of all, thank you for keeping score in such an impartial manner. It is SO important to know if you are winning or losing. NOT!
    Second, OEO is the one who is confused. First he says Obama is coddling the UAW and it is the UAW that influenced the government takeover of GM. Then OEO says the workers matter not one whit.
    Hello? UAW workers are workers and they do make decisions through the union and what the UAW workers do does matter, because what the union does does matter, according to OEO.
    But then OEO turns around and says the workers matter not one whit. Yet the UAW has several hundreds of thousands of workers. OEO is confused.

  279. dale July 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    Doom,
    You might check with your Zoological counterparts but I believe that in cases where population declines are associated with “excess success” in prior times, such as the studies of African elephants and the finches of Galapagos Islands, the usual result are swings in population from excess to lows and back again. Extinction events are usually related to some major change in the environment or the interference of other species. Left on there own, populations of many species normally swing dramatically. Of course, extinction events get a lot more publicity and are a lot more fun to speculate about, but in fact they occur far less frequently.

  280. dale July 12, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    Turkle,
    I take a slightly more optimistic view of a decline in oil usage. While it is certainly true that many people will be “off the reservation” in terms of their existing living/commuting circumstances at $6 gasoline, I don’t think most will find the adjustment catastrophic. Part of my sanguine view might be a result of having lived through the era where many of the modes of behavior now so popular. where not part of our lifestyles. As a friend of mine once mentioned; “I can remember when I was the only guy in my subdivision who owned a boat, now ever other house has one”. So, reverting to an era of mobility and choice of playthings more resembling the 1940’s, instead of the current situation, would not be as drastic as it sounds. Combine that with a little political will to encourage such change and the effect could be dramatic.
    I’m on record here from a couple of years back stating that a decline in gasoline consumption on the order of 20-25% is possible without a drastic change in US human behavior. Of course, that all depends on how you define “drastic”, but in my view having people remigrate closer to cities, use much more public transport, much less jet travel, many fewer cars, less availability of non-seasonable items etc., combined with more reasonable versions of our current private vehicular transportation, would likely be enough at that price level to do the trick. After a few years people would find more local and energy efficient means of entertaining themselves and wouldn’t even consider the change a decline in lifestyle.
    People are capable of much more drastic behavioral modification than most here think possible, and will wind up doing so in a willing manner, if given a little real leadership.

  281. Nudge July 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Doom, I’m sorry, I cannot remain silent after your comment about Dale. Seriously, busting on him is like finding the stupidest person in your hometown, some drooling sub-80IQ dolt, and following him around nonstop calling him stupid. It’s not only unfair but in bad taste.
    In all the time that Dale has appeared in this space, he has never once successfully pretended to be any smarter than whatever measly, obscenely-low IQ he’s got .. at least, not without the rest of us laughing ourselves silly over it and wondering if he isn’t his wife’s pet Rhesus monkey. Ook, ook. Look, she trained it to use a computer.
    Dale is one of those people (no offense of those of you with intelligence; this is just a matter of ‘people’ being walking on two legs in his case) whose brain never quite got far enough to deal with outside-context issues. Take for instance his asinine assumption that humanity won’t/can’t go extinct. In this case, the “outside context” involves thinking of us humans as just another species coughed up by Nature’s long-running biodiversity roulette game, and not something like “well, we’re special JUST BECAUSE, so there.”
    Had Dale bothered to do even the simplest fact-checking, he would know that a) time has not stopped here for us, and, furthermore, b) approximately 99.9% of all species that have ever lived on earth are now extinct. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction
    So Doom, I implore you to stop making Dale feel any more shame than he already feels at being the stupidest member of his community. We’re better than that here .. right?

  282. Dr Doom July 12, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    Nudge, you’re right. It was a cheap shot. It’s just that this “turkle” poster commented that dale was so insightful and spot on, so after I cleaned the remains of dinner off my keyboard, I took the easy, cheap shot. I’ll try in future not to be so inhumane, and I do mean that broadly, including bears that sometimes walk on two legs, certain well-trained dogs and cats, and most of the bird kingdom.

  283. Nudge July 12, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    Doom, my screen & keyboard were saved from a similar fate only by the fact that I was neither eating nor drinking when I chanced across Turkle’s post. For a moment I thought he was being facetious, but no, he meant it. If it had happened earlier in the day, however, jets of coffee and/or orange juice would have surely spouted from my nose due to uncontrollable laughter. This would have been unpleasant.
    Glad to know you have re-discovered your better self. If you should repeat the process any number of times, you’ll eventually get to where you no longer feel the need to remind Dale that, say, you’ve had cats/dogs smarter than him, or that a few members of those 99.9% now-extinct species may also have thought, prior to their extinction, that they too were “special”. For all his faults, though, Dale is at least well-prepared for the future into which we seem to be headed .. for instance, he’ll never be accused of having committed a thought crime.

  284. Qshtik July 13, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    Jaego, your post didn’t require a whole lot of thought. I’m not into all that racist ranting and I’m not into weapons of any sort … guns, knives or compound bows. My kids and I have all read Lord of the Flies. I think it was required reading in school. The premise is interesting … a bunch of kids wind up as survivors on an island, they split up into warring groups and the worst sides of human nature come to the fore (much like what we see happening in places around the world today as a result of racism and absurd religious beliefs. However, I don’t see a complete breakdown of civilization happening on a global scale anytime soon. Certainly not in the lifetime of any currently living being (including sea turtles and redwoods). I don’t know who you’re quoting with all that racist BS but it leaves me unimpressed. I come to this site to read Kunstler because he’s such a talented writer and has a great vocabulary. Every essay has at least a half dozen words I have to look up. I also am greatly entertained by his dystopian view of what’s in store for America and the world. He is, of course, as full of shit as a christmas turkey. Though his dire view may come to pass it will take much longer than he paints it … for example the idea that the airlines are toast in 5 years is ridiculous. We humans tend to have epiphanies about the future that prove correct but rarely in the short time frame we envision. As our visions play out over time we adjust and those awful predictions don’t seem so dire.
    Now … on to an administrative detail that’s been bugging me about your posts. When you type and the sentence is approaching the right side of the box, just keep typing and the words will automatically “wrap around.” I think what you’re doing is hitting the Enter key when you get close to the right edge. Look at your posts … haven’t you noticed that nobody else’s posts look like that?

  285. Eleuthero July 13, 2009 at 5:16 am #

    All my adult life I’ve felt like
    something from a past life because
    I only drive 6000 miles a year,
    70% of which is to and from work.
    It’s odd to me that we’re not willing
    to go 30 feet to knock on our neighbor’s
    door but we’re willing to drive 200 miles
    to “be in nature”. Yes, let’s burn 10
    gallons of gasoline to arrive at a wilderness
    even though there’s likely to be one ten
    minutes bike ride from home.
    Well, I guess I’ll fit right in when the
    wayback machine pulls us back to 1920
    before 2020 arrives.
    Eleuthero

  286. Berd July 14, 2009 at 2:53 am #

    It’s sad to think of all the biological and ecological richness that has been lost to senseless economic practices.
    It’s time to put the interests of life before profits, once and for all.

  287. k gleason July 15, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    MAYBE JIM KUNSTLER CAN TALK CAP N ROB OR WHATEVER IT IS
    ‘I was surprised to see only two references to the coming financial bubble – cap and trade.’
    ALSO JIM WHATS THIS WHERE THE ROBBER BARONS ‘TRADE’ STOCKS AT THE SAME PRICE AND…YIKES…MAKE $$$$
    SHADES OF THE 80S AND PASSIN THE MORTGAGE ROUND THE TABLE ‘ SELLING’ IT WITH EACH PASSING PLAYER

  288. Jaego Scorzne July 15, 2009 at 12:54 am #

    What’s the longest river in the World? Denial and you’re livin in it. A lotus eater who doesn’t know what people in general are like and obviously has no direct experience with Blacks. Just TV. Your chances for survival aren’t very good. Weapons are bad! Wake up guy, you have chil-
    dren to defend and I presume a wife too. Or are you a “pacifist” who will just let them be raped and muredered?
    Thanks for the tip about my posts. I was wondering what I was doing wrong. Hopefully this one is better. You liberals have your uses.

  289. Qshtik July 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    Jaego, it must be a terrible life for you living in constant fear of attack by blacks. And it must be very uncomfortable sleeping at night with a compound bow under your pillow. Where do you live anyway … Somalia?
    I’ve lived in NJ pretty much all my life and NJ has its fair share of black folks. I’m 68 yrs old, my wife is nearing 60 and my kids are 33, 31 and 29. None of us have ever had a hair on our heads harmed by a black … or, for that matter, by a white or any other ethnicity. Based on the tone of your posts it must be constant mahem wherever it is you live.
    What you need to do is relax, smile at the next person you pass on the street, and enjoy the rest of your life. Chances are you’re closer to the end than the beginning so why be miserable with the short time that’s left?

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