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Forecast 2011 – Gird Your Loins for Lower Living Standards

Introduction
 
     Sheesh. Was I ever wrong last year about those stock market indexes. I called for Dow 4000 and look where the darn thing ended up: 11,577.50.  Some of those fabled “green shoots” must have grown clean through my brain-pan while I slept off 2010’s New Year’s Eve festivities.The damage was so severe, apparently, that I missed the takeover of Wall Street by front-running high frequency computer programs battling for supremacy of the algo-space which, along with massive insider trading, daily tweaks stage-managed by the Federal Reserve via their trusted allies in large banks, and relentless propagandistic cheerleading on the theme of if-you-wish-it-so-it-will-be, kept the Dow Jones and Standard & Poors indexes in a frothy state of perma-levitation through the year.
     The outstanding question from the get-go of 2011 is just this: can a political economy be kept floating along like a Winnie-the-Pooh balloon on gusts of sheer fakery? To me, the simple answer is no. The people running things in the USA have tried everything from pervasive accounting fraud to complete opacity in trading procedures to looting the republic’s future. The consensus trance of “recovery” makes itself manifest through every conduit of public utterance – cable TV news, The New York Times, the pronouncements of every last elected official – even though the Consumer Price Index omits items such as food, gasoline, and heating oil in its calibrations, while heaping on fictional “hedonic” adjustments.
     What’s left of the American economy is a web of financial rackets divorced from the production of real wealth, dependent on an elaborate computerized three-card-monte edifice of swindling. Those groans and creakings you hear are the agonies of this ediface swaying under its burden of lies, while underneath it the ground of history shifts.
     A secondary outstanding question – I get it all the time – is whether the people running things know how fake this picture is, and how horrifying the view behind-the-curtain is. Does President Obama understand the relation of our energy predicament to the workings of our economy? How could he not? Certainly he has had a conversation or two with Energy Secretary (and eminent physicist) Steven Chu over the past two years. Mr. Chu should have explained to the president that a decline in the primary energy resource used by an industrial society portends a decline in living standards, which can be expressed in an economy, for instance, by people having less money, or  by people having lots of money that is increasingly worthless. This concept may lie outside the strict purview of physics, but surely somebody like Paul Volker was at hand in the White House to connect the dots – and perhaps explain further that anything in the picture beyond that equation amounts to a looting operation by people positioned to systematically cream off the dwindling equity base of a roughly 200-year-old venture.
     By the way, to aver to “people running things” is not evidence of a persecution complex. Lots of people are in positions to make decisions. The president may be a hero, a con man, a victim of history, a bungler, a hostage to events – but you can be sure that he makes real decisions that affect people’s lives every day. Where I depart from darker views is the idea that there is some shadow gang of hidden puppeteers behind the visible leadership – the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers – bent on a quasi-religious crusade to impose “one-world government,” or some kind of totalistic domination scheme out of comic book politics. I denounce such views as childish, deranged distractions from a reality that is challenging enough without the intrusion of paranoid fantasies. 
     If there are “bad guys” or string-pullers on the scene, then they are figures in plain sight, like Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein at the big banks, or John Paulson in his hedge fund, or the many figures who have moved back and forth between Wall Street and government in recent years, and their machinations are pretty well understood, and explicated daily by diligent observers on the scene – from William Black to Yves Smith, to Simon Johnson, to Janet Tavakoli, and many many others. The legerdemain of  the Federal Reserve in shoveling money to dominant banks has fooled only those who exhaust their attention on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lady Gaga, and the National Basketball Association.
    The larger riddle of life-in-our-time surrounds the absence of the rule of law in money matters. To say that people are actually running things out there doesn’t mean that are running them effectively or optimally. The US Department of Justice, for example, appears to be led by a zombie, Attorney-General Eric Holder, somebody of this world but no longer quite in it, who is pioneering a new method of Zen law enforcement based on a maximum of doing and saying of nothing. Of course, my ongoing theory since the national election of 2008 is that Barack Obama has been warned repeatedly by many credible figures that any move to disturb the operations of banking would bring down such a wrathful ruin on this nation that he had no choice but to keep his hands off the levers of enforcement. In fact, it’s the only theory that explains adequately the yawning gap between reality and the representation of it by those assumed to hold authority.
     Whether we can overcome these obstacles to action and move this crippled society to a re-set of daily life consistent with what the planet provides is a whole other question. My guess is that we will eventually be dragged kicking and screaming to this re-set, which I have described in my book The Long Emergency and my novels World made By Hand and The Witch of Hebron. That outcome is rather severe, basically a “time-out” of unlimited duration from the orgy of techno-comforts that have defined existence in “developed” societies for many decades. It implies a massive loss of things that people will not let go of, and so the political games around money matters really all amount to one thing: a campaign to sustain the unsustainable at all costs. It obviously requires monumental levels of mass self-deception, of pretending, of fakery, of lying, of denial. The psychology of all this is another thing that is thoroughly understood, but such is the collective anxiety about our situation that knowing how-and-why we behave a particular way does not alter our behavior.
     These have been my preoccupations in recent months, and they mostly revolve around what happens in the USA, but there is a wider world out there and I sense that the more clarifying actions will arise out there in the year ahead. Perhaps the most striking thing about the scene last year (and several preceding it) is the eerie absence of major disruptive events on the world stage. This suggests a dangerous build-up of tensions that are bound to release – and releases of this kind are often destructive, like the energy stored along tectonic fault lines. In fact, I’m describing many points of tension, which have the potential of setting each other off in chains of destruction. And in this fractal disposition of energy flows anything can happen.
 
The Forecast
 
     The paradigm we’ve called Globalism is falling apart now. Followers of Tom Friedman (The Earth Is Flat) tried to put across the story that Globalism would become a permanent feature of the human condition, an idea I regarded all along as utter nonsense. Rather, Globalism was a set of transient economic relations characterized by particular conditions of a certain era (the post-WW2 cheap energy era), and that when history moved on, Globalism would dissolve. A
s is the case now, first in the unraveling of global financial arrangements – a terrifying matrix of irresolvable mutual obligations that are destined to be repudiated in an ugly way. Everybody owes too much money to everybody else. A worldwide game of financial musical chairs is currently eliminating various nation-players too weak to plant their asses in the diminishing chair-space. Iceland dropped out first, then Greece, then Ireland, and so it goes. Entering 2011, the trouble is that the world is out of runt countries to shove to the sidelines. There are Portugal and Belgium to go, and from these on all you’ve got are nations too big to fail and too broke to keep going, the most conspicuous being Spain.
     The Euro took center stage in the global financial fiasco in 2010. I don’t really see how that medium-of-exchange endures when so many of the exchangees are economic basket-cases beating a path back to pre-1850 modes of existence (if they’re lucky). The serial bail-outs engineered by the European Central Bank have been shams based on an imaginary “fund” that really only amounts to more promises of back-stops by bankrupt countries to other bankrupt countries. In the grand gesture last fall, around the collapse of Ireland, promises were made by the ECB to give the appearance that the usual suspects (the PIIGS) would cover their quarterly debt service obligations to March of this year. No real money was involved, only assurances, which will soon be revealed as empty. Bottom-line: another graver round of debt crisis in Euro-land in the first quarter if 2011.
     It can only be resolved two ways: by 1.) countries defaulting, dropping out of the Euro monetary system, returning to a currency of their own and activities that reality will admit; and 2.) Germany, France, and Holland taking the others in like poor relatives and paying their living expenses. I really don’t see Number 2 working out. The voters in the bigger three economies will revolt. Of course, the Number 1 route implies the destruction of a whole bunch of European banks, perhaps all of them, and their shareholders positions, and big trouble for the wealthier Euro member countries – ultimately leading to the same place: a lower standard of living, even in Germany, for all its frugality and efficiency.
     The United Kingdom is in a strange class of its own. It uses the pound sterling, not the Euro, yet the City of London (their equivalent of Wall Street) is the banking capital of Europe (and the Middle East and Africa). For a while now, the City has been the UK’s sole economic generator, lately specializing in swindles and Ponzi schemes, just like America. There’s not much else left in “Old Blighty,” not much coal mining, or shipbuilding, or making those fabulous tin soldiers we got for Christmas in 1956. If the City goes up the spout, the UK has no economy left at all. On paper, the UK is epically insolvent and, unlike Spain with its Euros, the UK can’t even hold the rest of Europe hostage. It just sinks. Living standards crater, people freeze to death and go hungry, and the interesting politics commence in all their multicultural splendor. Prince Charles will not get out much in 2011, but he has a lot of nice estates to hole up in.
     In any case, the Euro banking mess surely will infect American banks, which secretly paid to bail out European banks through TARP in the 2008 crash and has been shoveling money into them ever since. Global banking operations are hopelessly intertwined and hopelessly damaged now, and any problem on the Euro bank scene could easily be the tipping point for a global retreat by all countries to defend their own barricades of money, in whatever form money shakes out as, not to mention whatever’s left of real productive activity, meaning the end of free trade as we’ve known it. This might temporarily favor the US dollar as a refuge for the desperate, but the holistic equation of money factored into trade in vital resources like oil, metals, and grains suggests, once again, just a different route to reduced living standards anyway you slice it.
     There’s been chatter all year about Russia surreptitiously laying in stores of gold in order to base the ruble on it and make that the go-to currency for soundness and safety. I don’t have any information that this is factually occurring. At this point in history, sound, gold-based money would be a wise thing for any nation that wanted to function above the barter level. Russia is a big place with, historically, pretty sturdy gold resources of its own, not to mention oil and gas reserves (which, for now, they seem content to piss away for other people’s paper). These fossil fuel reserves of theirs promise to leave them in an advantageous position vis-à-vis Germany and the rest of Europe for some time to come, but they could also become the object of a dangerous envy and for military mischief in a part of the world that likes to imagine that war is a barbaric relic.
     I’m still not among those who view China as the onrushing new hegemonic world power. Their banks are more reckless than the western banks because they really don’t have to account to anyone for lending (or getting paid back). The government IS the banks. Some jaboney in Guangzhou wants to start a company that manufactures licorice dildos and borrows sixty million yuan through a guy he knows at the regional office of the PBOC (for a piece of the action). The business doesn’t work out, say, because the Australian wheat harvest failed and the first guy couldn’t get enough wheat paste to make the darn licorice. Oh, and that sixty million yuan on the books? The dog ate the books (then we had the dog for lunch). Meanwhile, that sixty million is circulating, driving up prices. It doesn’t sound all that different from the western banks, but they don’t even have casual watchdogs in their government-run news media, let alone an FDIC.
     The result for the moment in China is pretty serious price inflation. Officials are jacking up some wages more than 25 percent at a crack. Their building bubble (whole new empty cities!) makes the state of Arizona look like the doll house section of Toys R Us. The massive lending failure it represents has not yet thundered through the Chinese banking system, such as it is, and may never in the western sense of a true clearing (though you could argue that the clearing process is a world-wide anachronism). But it will be expressed in other ways: possibly hyperinflation, crashing living standards (all roads lead there now), and ultimately political trouble in a nation with an unelected government that can really only change via popular uprising of some kind or another.
     Among the consequences of all this mischief would be to the sort of interbank lending that makes letters-of-credit possible (promises to transfer large sums of money for large shipments of goods), and without letters of credit global trade withers. The last time this happened, in 2008, the Baltic Dry Index, which measures shipping tonnage, slipped down off the charts. When this occurs, the resource countries can’t move any of their stuff. Australia, for instance, which I visited recently, jokes to itself about being “China’s mining operation.” Without letters of credit they won’t move any of their coal and copper – or wheat (and ten years of drought plus one season of Biblical flooding has put the schnitz on their grain exports to principal clients, the Middle East and China) – all of which adds up to trouble Down Under. In the bigger picture nothing moves anywhere, not plastic salad shooters from China to the Altoona WalMart or buckwheat from Russia to Senegal or even oil from Abu Dhabi to Westville, New Jersey. People go hungry and get cold.
     What lubricates free trade is the reasonable expectation of getting paid, and that’s heading out the window. Maybe nations will make “special” arrangeme
nts with each other for this or that commodity outside the banking system but that’s desperation-level trade, not something that will lead to more cell phone customers and burgeoning middle classes. In fact, I’d call 2011 as the turning point in the global growth of the middle class. We’ve maxed out, passed the high point. The entry gates are closing and the eviction squads are prepping for action. The cracks in the floor are widening and lots more people will fall through while the ladders for climbing up will be withdrawn over the parapets. There just isn’t enough stuff left in the world, even while the movement of remaining stuff gets stuck in political bottlenecks.
    One place I’d look for trouble on this is India. They have no energy resources of their own. They face climate change associated grain harvest failures. They may have to shut down a lot of call centers. Tata motors might take it on the chin as the growth of mass motoring recedes to the elephant’s graveyard of dashed hopes. As India’s prospects dim in 2011, look for political animus to focus on their perennial adversary next door, Pakistan. In its fury at losing economic momentum, India might turn the next “insult” from Pakistan into a real smackdown. Pakistan is renowned for having the world’s most unstable nuclear arsenal – something around a hundred warheads or bombs – but who knows whether they can actually deliver one to a target? India, on the other hand, probably can. If Pakistan really does something to piss off India – another hotel massacre type stunt, say – look for India to turn Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi into incense burners. Islam elsewhere around the world then goes absolutely apeshit, of course.
     I don’t know what the hell Japan is going to do in 2011 (and I doubt anybody else does). It has no energy resources either, and if global banking seizes up, well…. It has stoically gone broke by slow degrees for twenty years. It may opt out of modernity altogether – it tried to before once and got suckered back in. Letting go is not the worst outcome. The rest of the world can slug it out in the boardrooms and bunkers. Let the bond vigilantes eat Norway and Illinois. Fuck the car-making industry – that ole sun sure ain’t rising anymore. Japan will quietly bury their old folks and turn back to Shogun where you can still get a nice hot bath and eat some raw clam sushi and hack around with interesting swords. Pray that the Chinese don’t roll in with an army of occupation. Raise silkworms. Make nice things out of clay and rice paper. What’s not to like?
     I’ve heard people say that North Korea is China’s stalking horse in some kind of world domination scenario out of the James Bond script locker. That doesn’t really add up to me. North Korea is like a nineteen-year-old autistic nephew jacked up on vodka, LSD, and crystal meth, with seventeen pounds of Semtex taped to his chest and grenade in each paw. You wouldn’t give such a creature the run of the neighborhood, would you? Of course not. You’d whack it in the head with a shovel, drag it down the coal chute, and starve it to death. My forecast for 2011 includes such a schooling by China to that reckless rogue state. South Korea becomes a vassal of China’s eventually, but not in 2011. They just gaze at the world scene in wonder and nausea and try to puzzle out what happened to that global economy they depended on.
 
The Middle East
 
     This sorry-ass corner of the world, a neighborhood of camel-herders turned lottery-winners, has the most potential for blowing up than any other region except Korea. One way or another, they’re all on the downside of oil production, even poor beat-up Iraq, with its El Dorado of presumed reserves. They’re all wildly overpopulated, given their unfortunate geography, scarce water resources, and blast furnace climates. They’re all chronically enraged over some sectarian hermeneutic or old tribal grudge, or swindle in the souk.
    And then there’s Israel, settlement of my people since 1945 (traditionally, for millennia), but a very troubled polity in which a cult of religious fanatics every bit as extreme as their counterparts in surrounding nations are taking over by sheer population explosion. This suggests something less than a happy ending. The inversions of history can be very cruel. A people of great learning and philosophical liberalism comes to shelter there after an earthshaking genocide, and then commits suicide in a fugue of ideological nuttery. I don’t have a religious bone in my body and I pray for Israel’s survival under the circumstances. Or maybe the dwindling sane among them can come to Nebraska now. I’m not joking. I know it’s not the exact spot on the planet assigned by Yahweh, but it is reasonably buffered against Israel’s modern political enemies and increasingly available from a real estate point-of-view as the descendents of the original sodbusters pack up and leave to become film-makers in LA.
      Which of what numerous booby traps and flashpoints might blow in the Middle East in 2011? An obvious one is Hezbollah in Lebanon, next door to Israel. They’ve been collecting Iranian rockets by the truck-load since their last active jihad against Israel in 2006. That’s a lot of rockets in a lot of years. Their fingers might be getting itchy. That leads to some questions about Iran itself but also some strange corollary politics of the region, namely the curious mood of Shia Islam where that sect is concentrated on the rim of the Arabian Peninsula along the Persian Gulf and down into Yemen, comprising nearly half the population of that country. Consider that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is going on 87 years old. Sure, he has access to pretty good medical care, but he’s been sick and immortality just isn’t in the cards. His official successor Crown Prince Sultan is pushing 83. What I’m driving at is the possibility of turmoil in Saudi Arabia aggravated by Shia provocations emanating from Yemen against the Wahhabist-inflected Al Saud dynasty. Anyway you look at it there is going to be a fight for control of the Arabian Peninsula and its oil riches, and the family that has been in charge since the oil first began to flow in the 20th century could easily get kicked out. It might not get replaced by anything nearly as stable, or as friendly to western interests. It might not get replaced at all. The region could remain fragmented indefinitely, and that would not bode well for the oil trade. If there is a breakdown in order in Arabia, a lot of hardware could get smashed up in the process, too. Oil terminals, pipelines, drilling rigs. 
    I’ve also heard the idea expressed – though it did not originate from me – that such a Shia instigation on the Arabian side of the Gulf could stimulate instability throughout the Persian Gulf region, even extending into the capital of Shi’ism, Iran. I mention it because I thought it was an interesting out-of-the-box idea and will leave it to you to chew over. Bottom line for the Middle East: all kinds of world-inflaming mischief possible there in 2011.
     Over 2010, the anxiety over Iran’s nuclear ambitions was allayed somewhat by the appearance of the Stuxnet computer worm, a piece of “malware” allegedly of Israeli origin that went in and gummed up the computers at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility before it even officially opened for business. It’s not altogether great news because it suggests the opening round of world-wide computer hacking wars, which could shut down whole societies and economies in the years ahead – a subject that will no doubt preoccupy the blogosphere until the moment it is brought down by a computer worm. But, at least, Iran’s nuclear program might be neutralized – and kept gummed up through the foreseeable future.
     Actually, while we’re on the subject of matters Islamic, lets just get straight to the issue of America’s
wars. The Afghanistan project is hopeless and therefore stupid. There are two main objectives in Afghanistan: to control the terrain and to control the population. We can’t do either. We have no chance of ever accomplishing either. Apart from that there are some other undeclared strategic purposes. One is to make a baloney sandwich out of Iran, so to speak, with American troops garrisoned on both the east and west sides of that nation with its nuclear ambitions and its hostility to us and our friends. Another is to keep an eye on the train wreck called Pakistan. Actually, it’s way more up close and personal than that. We launch drone aircraft attacks on supposed “bad guys” there from our positions in Afghanistan. By the way, the targets may indeed be bad guys. The trouble is there is an inexhaustible supply of them, so whacking a couple of dozen a year is not exactly a victory.
     There’s idle chatter about Afghanistan containing nice reserves of lithium and other vital resources that would allow the US to run WalMart on batteries, but the geography of the remote, landlocked country rules out any orderly exploitation of these materials. It’s said to cost over $400-a-gallon just to supply our troops there with gasoline to run their Humvees. We’re not going to get any ores out of there at those rates, so strategically the idea is absurd. Our official policy is to get our troops out of Afghanistan in 2011. I have no idea whether we actually will, or will find some way to fudge it. But it’s certain that we can’t finance these adventures indefinitely.
     Iraq has all but faded from the American news-scape. They’ve quit fighting amongst themselves for a while, but the government is a thing constructed out of baling wire, spit, duct tape, and old Mars bars wrappers. US troops are not getting killed there lately, but it must cost a lot to keep them there. I imagine we will keep somebody there for quite a while into the future, even if we whittle down the numbers. After all, the original purpose of the venture – contrary to conventional thinking about democracy, or even Iraq’s oil – was to establish a police precinct in the Middle East right between the two baddest boyz in that hood Saudi Arabia and Iran. If monkey business does break out on the Arabian Peninsula, or along the shores of the Persian Gulf, then Iraq could easily turn back into a hot battleground again. For the USA, it’s just another sizable vein among many oozing our lifeblood. Situation uncertain for 2011.
 
Back on the Home Front
 
     News flash: That extension of the Bush tax cuts? It’s already been gobbled up at the gas pumps, at least for those citizens of the USA who have to pay attention to stuff like the price of gasoline and groceries. Oil closed over $91-a-barrel on New Years Eve. That means it’s well into the price zone where it crushes economic activity of the type were used to: everything from the sales of Dunkin’ Donuts to the subscriber base of cable TV to hotel stays in Disney theme parks.The shaggy beast people call “recovery” is Bigfoot, a creature often reported and never actually captured. I began this long forecast by implying that we were quite out of our gourds collectively. Since one of my cardinal beliefs is the idea that delusional thinking rises in exact proportion to economic hardship, I can only conclude that the national state of mind will deteriorate further.
     We’re already looking like a nation of ax murderers and cannibals with our tattoo fetish, strange costumes (baby clothes for young men; hooker get-ups for the ladies, which should tell you that adulthood is the new final frontier of the American Dream), and our retarded patois of like-like-like and go-go-go speech – all set in a porn-saturated total immersion huckster hologram (thanks Joe Bageant) of visually incoherent, civically-impoverished, and economically spavined suburbia. I’m sorry, but we just look like a nation of goners. Surely the levels of clinical depression are high out there, and a lot of our fellow citizens are suffering profoundly inside – but is acting like killer-clowns the only option?
     In 2011 everything just gets harder for the masses of Americans not on the payrolls of banks or hedge funds. The middle class is a state-of-being that recedes deeper into the mists of history while resentment builds ominously. Something could convert it into anger in a flash – I still think the announcement of the annual banker bonuses could bring it out (but I thought that last year, too) – or maybe it will just keep simmering. We’ll get an idea by summertime.
     In the absence of productive activity we have Federal Reserve money injected everywhere in the economy like botox in a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, and to about as much effect. QE-1 didn’t do anything because existing notional wealth disappeared at a much greater rate than computer bits the Fed could hope to replace it with. (Money is loaned into existence and defaulted out of existence.) Officially sanctioned (by the FASB) accounting tricks that permit the concealment or suppression of real asset prices, along with a complete failure of regulation and law enforcement in lending procedures allowed the nation to just barely stay open for business through 2010. QE-2 is slated to run in monthly installments of US bond purchases (through “primary dealer” banks, at a premium) for the first half of the year. But housing prices continue to fall, meaning the collateral behind the “toxic” securities that the Fed stuffed its vaults with keeps losing value, meaning the Fed is functionally bankrupt, meaning actually that its member banks are toast – because the Fed is not an actual bank itself but a consortium. How long can an institution pretend it exists?
     We can look forward to an entire year of trouble with foreclosures and everything they entail legally, from robo-signing lawsuits to title quarrels, even as defaults mount to a climax. The courts are losing legitimacy like everything else in America. In Florida, according to Matt Taibbi, there isn’t even anything resembling perfunctory legal protocol, as it is known in societies where people eat with forks and spoons. In 2011 we’ll see the introduction of new instruments in the foreclosure courts: firearms. It will be a bad sign.
     Sooner or later all this dishonesty will terminate in collapsing living standards, loss of public services, growing civil disorder, and political crisis. You can get there via deflation (no money) or via inflation (plenty of worthless money) but the destination is the same. I don’t see how America fails to begin arriving at that destination before Halloween 2011. Europe may get there by springtime, anyway, dragging the rest of the developed world into a vortex.
     The reality of Peak Oil glowers in the background all the time. These epic disturbances in money and banking are expressions of it, but they will also feed back into the oil industry imposing a generalized shortage of capital that will make the decline of oil production ever worse – since new fields will not go into production and exploration will stop – and will also impede the movement of inventory around the world. These dynamics will feed back into economies and hurt every kind of business, probably destroying demand for oil which will lead to further shortages of capital in the industry and lead to even lower oil supplies. Finally, economies may be so devastated that oil could sink to something like $25-a-barrel – the catch being that no one will have any money to pay for it. More likely through 2011, we’ll see rising prices joined by regional scarcities. The US is a prime candidate for scarcities since we import more than two thirds of our oil and a lot of that comes from countries that have an ax to grind with us. The aforementioned potential for disarray in the Middle East would only
make matters much worse.
     The fate of the stock market is actually trivial in the context of constricted energy supplies and chaotic behavior in currencies. Anyway, the stock market is the primary object of the Fed’s pumping because in the past its symbolic value has been crucial to the project of self-deception, of presenting to ourselves the appearance of an economy that is okay – because, in a therapeutic culture, feeling okay about something is the same as being okay. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that a pumped and gamed stock market has no relation to economic well-being. It may go up forever now, and if so then it will just be another thing that needs to be swept away in the re-set to a reality-based economic system.
     As usual, though – annually for several years, in fact – my target number for the DJIA is 4000, which coincidentally may be exactly where gold is going, too. In a true correction process, historically, the stock market’s indexed value meets the equivalent value of an ounce of gold. Gold floats up on sheer uncertainty as much as fear of inflation. While it is certainly true that you can’t eat gold or heat your house with it, it’s not likely to lose its meaning as an ultimate repository of wealth. Humans will continue to regard it as an alternative kind of money, maybe more real than paper money. There isn’t much of it in the world to begin with and the newer deposits get lower in grade every year.
     My personal belief is that things could get desperate enough in the USA that we begin to circulate silver coins again to pay for stuff. That’s the World Made By Hand outcome anyway, though it is admittedly a “made-up” story, a novel set in the not-distant future. Part of the reason silver (and some gold) circulates in that fictional world is because modern industry as we know it has ceased to function, so silver is not being gobbled up by the electronics-makers and a thousand other manufacturing activities. I don’t see that happening as soon as 2011, but owning silver in the form of pre-1965 coins is a good idea (if you can get them, which is increasingly difficult as the recognition of our predicament grows), or any other form of bullion you can get your mitts on.
     A lot of people dread the political scene for 2011. Both major parties are blameworthy for the horrible condition of the nation, and both will be blamed, good and hard. Mr. Obama is thought to have made a grand finish of 2010 with his tax compromise and the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell bill. But the tax issue had already lost meaning in sheer purchasing power terms, and even sympathetic voter blocs may grow impatient with the looming gay marriage pleading while practical issues of economic survival loom even larger. I think the glow of the lame duck congressional victories will wear off quickly in 2011. The only thing left to Mr. Obama now is to start telling the truth, to stop cheerleading for phony recovery to a consumer utopia that’s gone for good, and prepare the public for reality-based living. I don’t know whether he has it in him. We’ll find out. Sometimes I wish he’d just come out and declare he won’t run again to give himself some freedom of action. Four years is enough for a lot of things. Abraham Lincoln didn’t get a full four – and he didn’t try to pretend that the Union wasn’t coming apart, either.
     The Republicans want to be seen as riding to the rescue, naturally, but they will have the misfortune of coming on just in time to preside over renewed financial fiasco. In the face of it, they’ll militate for deals and gimmicks every bit as raw as the TARP scam that Hank Paulson shoved through a quivering congress in 2008 – and the party’s remaining credibility will slide down the drain, Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and all. I’ll peg 2011 as the year that other political factions beyond the Tea Party start coalescing in the vacuum of legitimacy. Some new parties may actually be made up of non-morons with something besides holy retribution on their minds.
     Everybody is worried now about the fate of states, counties, and municipalities. Just about all of them are broke one way or another. A state and muni bond bail-out would only send interest rates to the moon, meaning the absolute end to lending and servicing of existing debt and, well, really all business as usual. I don’t think it can happen. It will be interesting to see what does happen to states and localities if left to dangle slowly slowly in the wind. If they can be induced into some kind of real bankruptcies they’ll get rid of a lot of dead weight – which will, very unfortunately, also mean lost jobs, incomes, and homes, since so many people are on a government payroll of one kind or another – but how else do you get out from under unendurable promises to pay for people to play golf?
     This would be a scenario not unlike the collapse of the Soviet system, in which virtually everybody got fired at once. We may not survive it as well as they did – after all, the collapse of the Soviet Union was historically extraordinary in the sense that it generated almost no bloodshed. Imagine that! (Read your Dmitry Orlov.) Americans are too undisciplined, too heavily armed, and too deeply programmed in melodramatic vengeance-seeking to pull something like that off.  We’ll be all over each other like cheap suits. That might be the point where you have to send the army in, and if a president won’t do it because the constitution frowns upon it, the army might send itself into the White House in the form of a coup d’état. It’s not something I’d like to see but let’s face it: shit happens. This republic has had a long run compared with all the others that have ever existed and nothing lasts forever, even if your flag lapel pin came from Tiffany and was blessed by the restless ghost of Abe Lincoln.
     Good luck in 2011 everybody!  And keep your hats on!
_______________________________
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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.

483 Responses to “Forecast 2011 – Gird Your Loins for Lower Living Standards” Subscribe

  1. myrtlemay January 3, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    First! (?)

  2. Solar Guy January 3, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    I watched Mad Max last night.
    Followed by Mad Max The Road Warrior.
    Then had Mad Max style Dreams.
    Let us hope it isn’t like that in our future.
    MAX: ” I’m just here for the gasoline. “

  3. GAbert January 3, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Great predictions James!
    Might I suggest that henceforth you blend in some decidedly seditious themes?
    Cheers!
    http://www.gwabert.com/

  4. observer January 3, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Maybe we DON’T have to resign ourselves to lower living standards.

    I finished reading Ellen Brown’s book, “The Web of Debt,” and it is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It includes 300 years of the money history of the USA, including the colonial period, much detail about the recent and ongoing meltdown that has not been covered by the mass media, and suggestions for ways to fix the problems that would not be hard to implement. It is very clear, easy to read—in fact it’s a page turner.

    The book will educate its readers (it did me) on subjects they never learned about in school, and pave the way for a dialog between left-wing and right-wing patriots who want to see their country (and the world) get back on track. Maybe the S does NOT have to H the F after all! Fixing the money system will not prevent Peak Oil, but it will make funding other energy and transport alternatives possible.

    Peace and prosperity might be greatly furthered by replacing debt-based money (now created by private banks by means of computer entries) with debt-free money. Lincoln showed it was possible when he created millions in Greenbacks to pay for the Civil War.

    If enough people read this book and demanded that Congress exercise its Constitutional mandate to “coin money and regulate its value” instead of allowing private banks to play that role, a genuine change we could believe in would occur.

    Brown demonstrates that the 300-year Ponzi scheme that has made our money supply identical with the national debt has reached its mathematical limit. A few more years without a fix and the USA will be bankrupt. But the fix is spelled out in plausible detail.

    A good way to start the New Year! Buy it, read it, and tell your friends—or at least read the Amazon reviews.

  5. Leibowitz Society January 3, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Mr. Kunstler might’ve had it wrong about the stock forecast, but let’s face it — civilizations bounce a few times when they hit bottom, before everyone realizes that the game’s over. I get the feeling that even when the market becomes utterly and completely worthless, when people are burning old tires in the streets of Manhattan to stay warm, the Dow will still be around 11,000 as a few half-crazed brokers try to sucker someone into buying stocks in long-dead companies.
    When you’re done here, head over to http://leibowitzsociety.blogspot.com for discussions on perserving knowledge through the coming collapse.

  6. nothing January 3, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Jimbo! Entertaining as always, but it’s sad to see you suffering for our sins. Take heart. You’re art is the better for it, and your angst makes for our pleasure.
    For those of us not so artistic and dyspeptic, we see the coming year as filled with opportunity to make money on both the triumphs and the follies of humanity. We at The Nothing Store apologize for having so much fun.

  7. Truckee January 3, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Early On! Calling in From California.
    So is this the year we get to DOW 4000? I am waiting. Got my Money stored in a warm dry place ready to set sail into the perfect storm.
    Darn Tea party congressmen talking about controlling Government spending, Now how we going to have the collapse if they stop spending. I am getting tired of waiting. All those juicy inverse ETF’s just sitting there.
    The Perfect Storm, on the radar!

  8. RobertaWa January 3, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Can I go back to bed now?
    It is a horrifying look at the future. How can one even make plans anymore without the thought of what is to come hanging over our heads like a giant stone.

  9. ElleBeMe January 3, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    @SolarGuy…
    ME TOO! Watched MadMax Beyond thunderdome…. could almost relate to it in the fact that who controlled the energy controlled bartertown….civilization was nothing more than a consuming orgy of consumption and any disruption to that society was dealt with harshly. If it not for the dust and fallout, you could say it is a metaphor for now….
    ……………..
    Aside from speculating and forecasting, I would say that 2011 will be the year when people finally realize that the life as they once knew it is really GONE/Over. Once people begin to accept that the old system may be over, the old system is already dead and a new system has taken place (Heinberg). I think 2011 is the year people finally awaken….albeit begrudgingly. Oil prices will determine everything, and the core of me does not see them dipping by much at all.
    Funny, in my madmax dreams of last night, I dreamt I was running with a group of people through deserted streets in an industrial section of a city. The army was after us, our own army finally targeting its own people. I remember a few bomb blasts and was told to steer clear from certain buildings because once the foundation was hit and cracked the whole structure would fall.
    I would guestimate that 2011 is the year people wake up. By 2012, we will be at a crisis and have to choose which direction mankind will travel. Just a guess….

  10. Lynn Shwadchuck January 3, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    “The cracks in the floor are widening and lots more people will fall through”. I think this is the aspect of Jim’s forecast we can all see first-hand. I like the idea of having more basic food on hand than I need myself, because more and more people will be skint. More dinners with friends and neighbors will gear us up for practicing generosity on a scale we haven’t been used to.
    Lynn
    http://www.10in10diet.com/
    For a small footprint and a small grocery bill

  11. Dave Eriqat January 3, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    My predictions of imminent collapse have long been stymied by the mythological ability of the powers-that-be to keep things afloat. Logic assures me that the laws of physics will eventually reassert themselves, but when that will be, who knows. Part of the problem today is that everything, including every financial market is a fraud, a Potemkin chimera. In all likelihood, the stock market, in particular, has been propped up by the government or its agents, covertly, of course, for nothing anymore is done transparently. As long as the government or its agents can continue to print funny money, and as long as unknown actors around the world continue to treat that funny money as if it has value and continue to ship us real goods, I guess they can keep the game going. I expect that one day, however, the people currently propping up the charade will realize that it’s no longer in their best interests to keep doing so, and once that happens, watch out!
    Dave – Erstwhile Urban Wanderer

  12. dale January 3, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    However much you may subscribe to Jimbo’s vision of the future and how much he may be compressing time, in terms of his “forecasts”, (if that’s what you can call his fever ridden excursions into apocalypeland) you really have to wonder at times what his own lifestyle much look like.
    I mean…..does he have a football field sized man cave buried 40 feet under his barbwire surrounded compound? A Gatling gun on his roof? Does he wear bullet proof Kevlar underwear to bed? Is his soulmate some real life version of Linda Hamilton in the “Terminator”?
    Stay loose, 2011 will most likely not look that different from 2010, much to the disappointment of some. I know…..boring huh?

  13. Rupert S. Lander January 3, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    Glad you’ve given up predicting where the Dow is going to be – it lost all meaning a long time ago. It’s pretty much impossible for a stock market index to “crash” so long as the central bank is willing spend an unlimited amount of money to prevent precisely that.
    The DJIA is based on dollar denominated stocks. If it closes the year at a million points and the dollar is worthless, the stocks ain’t gonna be worth shit.

  14. observer January 3, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    I am almost finished reading Greg Mortenson’s “Stones Into Schools,” about the building of schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan by a small American non-governmental organization (the funding arm) aided by numerous Afghans and Pakistanis (the action arm).

    Mortenson, the author of “Three Cups of Tea,” raises money from ordinary Americans all over the USA, who want to help their TRULY poor counterparts in these war-torn and earthquake-ravaged countries fulfill their enormous hunger for education, particularly for girls.

    There has even been cooperation between the US military and Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute, with the military learning from Mortenson and helping to get locally run schools established.

    Understanding and respecting the local cultures is the starting point.

    The desire of ordinary Americans to hear about and help with the schools project was as inspiring as the stories of the Afghans and Pakistanis who work so hard to see the schools built.

  15. piltdownman January 3, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Jim –
    Glad we (sorta) agree on Israel. Years ago I semi-jokingly suggested that we hand over North Dakota to the Israel’s and, once and for all, eliminate the perma-war state that exists, hot and cold, in the Middle East. It wouldn’t solve everything, but it would be a start. In addition, it would force the Arabs to prove that they have something more to offer to the modern world other than a centuries-old grudge match against the Jews — though I’m not convinced they do.
    Interesting that, as I was writing this, I heard a fellow employee (woman of about 26) wondering aloud how people who are unemployed or underemployed were going to deal with the rising gas prices. I was at least pleased to see some stirring of human empathy and some understanding that all ain’t right with the world. Of course, what I’d like to ask her is why she drives a Ford SUV to work every day…
    Thanks for a ripping yarn as we launch, lumber and limp into 2011.
    Pilt

  16. Smokyjoe January 3, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    “In 2011 we’ll see the introduction of new instruments in the foreclosure courts: firearms.”
    I keep wondering when some aggrieved widower, whose spouse died after being denied treatment when their insurance lapsed, will drive a truck-bomb into an insurer’s skyscraper.
    Of all of Jim’s predictions, I think that violent rage from the dispossessed middle class is a likely and frightening outcome. I would not want to be the guys who serve the eviction notices in this climate.

  17. Smokyjoe January 3, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    MAX: ” I’m just here for the gasoline. “
    All I can say in reply is:
    Lord Humungus: you plan to take your gasoline out of the Wasteland. … A rig big enough to haul that fat tank of gas. What a puny plan!

  18. Puzzler January 3, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    The Dow is a mental construct, used to entertain and distract, much like a magician’s scarf. The fact that we discuss the Dow is proof that the money people have won — we’re watching the scarf, not the hand that’s moving wealth into their pockets.
    Many of you are disappointed in Jim’s inability to predict specifics or get the timing right. You’re missing the core point: it’s already happened and continues to happen.

  19. Buck Stud January 3, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I was nodding my head in agreement until I entered the coup d’éta paragraph; at which point, my eyes began a rolling. But why stop there, surely an apocalyptic asteroid is heading for hell?

  20. judetennessee January 3, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Everyone needs to read Overshoot by William Cattron, then this whole terrifying mess makes perfect sense. Happy New Year!

  21. Peter of Lone Tree January 3, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Ex-Treasury chief Paulson loses $1 million on DC home
    Somebody send him a “join the crowd” card.

  22. Schwerpunkt January 3, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    As an “owner” of a Main Street building upstate New York, I was talking to the guy who used to shovel my sidewalk – a local fellow with no health care and two heart attacks under his belt. discussing the new year, a group of “thug life” kids were passing by – one said, “Don’t matter what you think this year, next year it all ends.” I inquired as to why. “December 21, 2012… we all done” to which my elderly friend added, “I’m on the way to going anyway, so nice to know I’ll have company.”
    While there have been end of the world forcasts as long as there has been… world… it is a strange time when so many people are sure that “this is it” whether because of stone age icals re-booting or new crops of money locust plagues on the fields.
    The forcast is made with little knowledge of what the future can actually bring, but the spirit of worry is starting to bring on the crazy – which itself may help bring about “The Change.”
    http://schwerpunkter.wordpress.com/

  23. Prairie Schooner January 3, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    While your analysis of the large economic and political forces in process today are largely correct, and by the way, beautifully put, I suggest that the momentum of social behavior, an inertia may moderate the behavior of the majority of people in every part of the world. I expect that banks will lose customers, as will Comcast and Twitter, as people begin to pay attention to matters closer to home. Lights may be turned off earlier and earlier in the evening, and the electronic power draw of always on stereos and stoves will be turned off at night.
    Already, people are using their cars less, and more wisely, and more and more people are turning to walking, bicycles and scooters. I know that this is not enough in the longer run, but I suspect that regional cataclysms in the Middle East or South Asia will not necessarily lead to the same in Europe or the Americas. The areas of the Roman Empire experienced a slow devolution of the culture and economy of Rome more often than the invasions and dislocations of the invasions of the steppes tribes. Admittedly, the energy budget will be leaner by a large margin, but most of what we waste now is on frivolity and exercises in avoidance and denial. While the least observant of us will continue on that path, a larger number will make adjustments, large and small to accommodate the new reality. Even while the majority ignores the cause and effect of the large energy and political and financial events we experience, the effects of those are felt at personal and local levels that people are attuned to.
    As banks fail, so will the attendant bank driven activities such as foreclosure, so debt will disappear informally, as more and more people just stay where they are without paying their mortgages, and banks let it ride for lack of resources to pay the lawyers and eviction people. As credit continues to disappear, credit cards will become increasingly unpaid, and the cards will become useless as more and more merchants will refuse them because of the costs assessed by the banks as they seek to maintain profits. As states go broke, there will be no money to pay clerks, bailiffs and judges and the MERS fraud will make it too expensive to enforce the notes. At this point I think that many of the national and international forces you so eloquently describe will mediate a general withdrawal of nations from international engagement. South Korea will, with the blessing of China, the UN and most of the North Korean population, govern North Korea, first as a UN protectorate, then as a unified nation.
    While India and Pakistan may end up blowing each other up, it is as likely that the US will take and sequester Pakistan’s nukes, especially as the government of Pakistan continues on its path to complete dissolution.
    In short, while I agree with much, and maybe most of what you say, I sense that the devolution is likely to be slower and more multi pathed than what I hear from you. Straycat

  24. asoka January 3, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    JHK said: “Where I depart from darker views is the idea that there is some shadow gang of hidden puppeteers behind the visible leadership…”
    Then JHK said: “…my ongoing theory since the national election of 2008 is that Barack Obama has been warned repeatedly by many credible figures…”
    Are these “credible figures” invisible, hidden, or simply unnamed puppeteers?
    It is conspiracy theory by any other name to suppose there is a “shadow gang” of entities behind the scenes (credible figures, or not) who are “warning” Obama.

  25. jonabark January 3, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    I have an increasingly hard time with Jim’s misanthropic view of humans which looks a lot like racism when touching on the non-Jewish middle east. In his world the greed of the imperial powers is reduced to cultural distaste for fat burger-bingeing Nascar fans; and the regular interventions of the armies of the west have no role as a primary agent of intervention against democratic parliaments who want to nationalize resources or on behalf of Mujahadeen Armies, Wahabbi Princes and Cruel dictators we favor. He also consistently approves of mass murder on the part of the US or Israel( supported Iraq invasion and massacre in Gaza) as long as it is directed at the subhumans of Iraq, Palestinians etc. as though their religious intolerance or some kind of inherent backwardness is the only cause of 9/11 or the wars in Lebanon, against Iran by Iraq, against the Shah etc.
    This robs his moral critiques of crony capitalism and Bankster fraud of their full strength since these things he so roundly critiques are profoundly tied to the project of imperial full spectrum dominance. The cost of cheap oil has always been buckets of blood.
    I still appreciate his outsider perspective and his biting prose, but I don’t buy the superior humanity of any national or ethnic group . Greed , sloth, violence etc. are distributed quite evenly accross the human spectrum as are generosity, wisdom, poetic insight, and musical brilliance. In short , Zenophobia is adding nothing to these otherwise brilliant articles.

  26. mow January 3, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Does this mean Howard Stern is moving to Omaha ?

  27. observer January 3, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    In “The Web of Debt,” Ellen Brown gives many examples of how the gold standard and the silver standard were used to purposely create severe, long-lasting depressions. These depressions served as opportunities for the banksters to scarf up homes and farms, a scenario we are witnessing again right now. A money that would serve as a genuine standard of value could be pegged instead to a “basket of commodities,” which would have real “use” value. The money would fluctuate not as a result of banksters speculating in the currency market, as happens now (often ruining the economies of whole nations) but as commodities like wheat, corn, rice, pork, copper, and even oil fluctuated in the national and/or international market.

    Her arguments and her history lessons persuaded me.

  28. Vlad Krandz January 3, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    No Globalist Agenda? When some new possibility comes into existence, organizations come in to existence to exploit it. Electricity – Westinghouse. India – British East India Company. The movement of goods and services all over the World – the Bilderbergers, Trilateralists, CFR, etc. Why? Because there are alot of obstacles to the free movement of goods and services – like Nations and Religions for example. Or the desire of oppressed ethnic groups for freedom. The Kurds never have achieved their own State and under globalism never will.
    Obviously for this scheme to work, Western Civilization has to go – thus the massive movement of Third Worlders into the Frist World despite double digit unemployment. And this massive process of leveling is called diversity. It is the ultimate in Orwellian Doublespeak. And if people can believe that, I guess they can believe that nobody is advocating for Globalization – that is “just happens”. But does shit just happen? Not in my bathroom it doesn’t.

  29. FriendlyAquaponics January 3, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Stark and realistic forecast, almost entirely about events that are completely out of our hands.
    I believe the single most powerful thing we can do is learn to feed ourselves. No matter what happens on the world’s stage, that is a good thing.
    Please see http://www.friendlyaquaponics.com for the most productive, sustainable method possible. It’s also about 80% less labor for he food producer!

  30. Vlad Krandz January 3, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    What is a King without his Counselor? Or a President without his? It’s called the Cabinet, Asoka. Beyond that, he has appointed dozens of “Czars” – more than any other President I believe. They also counsel him. You are starting the New Year off at your usual level of complete confusion.

  31. walt January 3, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    If you can imagine something bad happening, predict it. That seems to be Kunstler’s default style, which is unfortunate because he really gets the hallucinatory aspects of financial wheel-dealing. Sure, you want to ask the question because things appear to be coming unglued. But the world is too big and complicated for any pithy summation that isn’t also so much crackpottery.
    2011: bad things will happen. People will notice themselves becoming poorer. Climate change will become more obvious. Energy will get costlier. Arguments will rage. And in his first post of 2012 Kunstler will predict the same things all over again.

  32. Vlad Krandz January 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    How do we know Apples really fall? Just because it happens occasionally – to Issac Newton who then created a theory of gravity to explain it. But it’s only a theory. For all we know, apples could just as easily “fall” up and zoom right into outer space. Believing apples fall is like believing in Conspiracies – complete nonsense. Just cuz we sense or see it – so what? We could be wrong and the apple in our hands and in our mouths might just be an illusion. So how do we know anything is real? Now you’re getting it grasshoppa – we don’t. We should just shut up and pick our imaginary noses.

  33. budizwiser January 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    JK,
    My girds have been “loined” for a long time now… or whatever…..
    The world is a big place, and our slice has been a fairy tale for nearly 60 years now.
    And the singular, most sentient aspect of this fairy tale – which need I remind readers – not all tales were pleasant – is the unbridled love making by the American public to the personal passenger vehicle.
    It is this non-stop obsession with all things “automotive” that has brought about the premature ejaculatory-end of the oil-age.
    To post visions about 2011 without including the continuing – albeit – slow demise of all things automotive is at best a slight excuse me; and at worst a show of ignorance of the obvious.
    So if there is anything to “watch for” during 2011 – let’s keep our eyes peeled for slow growth of weeds around all the industries that interact with automobile production.
    Yes, 2011 will also be the year that the rich design new government constructs to pay for their gasoline and roads. While no one currently seems to mind the two or three wars or conflicts we bankroll to preserve a stream of mid-eastern oil, similarly – local and state governments will design revenue schemes to fund their energy expenses that unfairly burden the working class.
    Along with the continuous increases in utilities rates, these new schemes will begin to seriously detract from current levels of disposable petroleum consumption.
    Summer 2011, may be the very first year America’s love affair with the automobile finally collides with the reality of this Clusterfucked Nation.
    Happy New Year to you, thanks for providing a web space for this purblind reader to post his rantings.

  34. asoka January 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    JHK said: “Let the bond vigilantes eat Norway and Illinois. Fuck the car-making industry – that ole sun sure ain’t rising anymore.”
    Funny you should mention Norway and car-making in the same paragraph.
    Norway will be selling their electric cars in the USA, assembled in Indiana, giving jobs to Hoosiers, manufacturing jobs resulting from green shoots. Car-making is alive in the heartland.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20025859-54.html

  35. Speeding Pullet January 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Dale wrote: “Is his soulmate some real life version of Linda Hamilton in the ‘Terminator’?”
    Actually there’s at least one doomer chickie out there who thinks nice things about JHK. They haven’t met yet. She’s taller & skinnier than Linda Hamilton though, and a brunette.
    Don’t ask how I know this.
    Dale, your broken-clock prediction always seems to be the same – that tomorrow will be basically the same as today – so it seems worth asking if you’ve been surprised at anything funky that’s happened in the last 20 years.

  36. lbendet January 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Thanks JHK for the long and thorough prediction for 2011 today covering many aspects of the world wide debacle we continue to find ourselves in.
    You might not have heard yesterday but Iran claimed it shot down 2 spy drones in the straits of Hormuz. It was covered on CNN a couple of times. They said the US has said nothing. This could be a deliberate racheting up of tensions in the region.
    As I have mentioned before, we have boots on the ground in Pakistan, allowed for by the leadership there, ‘cuz you know we need to get the bad guys.
    Erin Burnett discussed our troops protecting Chinese mine operations in Afghanistan and Asia Times online has many stories by Pepe Escobar and M K Bhadrakumar discussing the various pipelines in central and south Asia into Western Europe. They claim Nato will be the enforcer in protecting the building and operating of these lines.
    There’s a .5 Billion Barrel Oil Discovery in Israel, which most likely is exaggerated, but may also explain why Israel is dragging its feet about the two-state solution, depending on where that find is. I read a while back that natural gas was found in the eastern portion of the Mediterranean which could spark tensions around the countries who want a piece of the action. (could be the same find)
    If you read “Griftopia” by Matt Taibbi, and Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, you would have to concede that there is a philosophical context to the turn-around of the Keynsianism model adopted by Roosevelt through Johnson that built the middle class. The theories of globalism, free trade and trickle down has led in the past 30 years to the destruction of wealth by the adherents of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. Their the mechanisms and propaganda are well described. Taibbi points out that the American middle class is being ripped off with each passing day by this system of kleptocracy.
    Thanks to the Clintonistas Obama assigned to advise on our economy, he is seen to be just one more nail in the coffin for the middle class. Don’t forget that our stimulus package produced 1.4 million jobs in China to our 1 million jobs here is the US.
    I call the practice of these economic theories as game set and match, since regardless of party affiliation, these practices have been followed by all presidents starting with Nixon, with deregulation to the lowering of taxes for the most wealthy among us and making money to the enth degree.
    Last night 60 Minutes had a very scary story on the way Glaxo Smith Kline allowed a plant in Puerto Rico to continue after the whistle was blown that there was bacteria, and mix-ups of drugs being released and consumed. We are the only country paying top dollar for our drugs and this is what they offer! We should just call this form of capitalism “Little Murders”.
    This morning on C-span they discussed that the Republicans philosophy is that you have to pay as you go when it comes to government spending, but when it comes to tax cuts there doesn’t have to be anything corresponding to that amount. So obviously their fight is not for the future generations who will suffer from the deficits. They sound good in sound bites but they sure don’t care about deficits.
    With all the accommodations Obama has made to the Republicans, they will be investigating all his legislation since getting in office. Nothing personal, you know. So Eric Holder did nothing to investigate the former administration or the banksters, but the Republicans say that Obama is the most corrupt president we ever had!
    The Republican party will be reading the constitution on the floor of the house as sessions begin again. They claim they will use every new law on spending or any other matter against the original intent of the framers of the constitution. A new form of fundamentalism like Mao’s little red book was used in the place of sound engineering to build the dam on the Yangtze River.
    Wait until Ron Paul oversees the Federal Reserve!
    Rumpelstiltskin will be dead in the water. There goes our advantage as the fiat currency.
    Oh, don’t get me started!

  37. James January 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Here’s my forecast for 2011. I’m selling a lot, and I do mean a LOT of machinery into the Chinese market. They have an insatiable appetite for industrial equipment with which to take over our few remaining domestic productive industries. I’m talking $40M-$50M in sales this year. 2011 is going to be HUGE for me. I have my eye on a nice, lightly used Gallardo (they are under $100k now) and an addition to the house. So in short, things are looking way, WAY up for yours truly! I am predicting a mid-8-figure year for my company.
    Sorry I couldn’t post earlier as I was too busy celebrating what a great 2010 we had over here in the Bay Area. 2010 was actually my best year ever, and I celebrated with multiple lavish dinner parties — we’re talking Champagne (we went through a whole case of Tattinger this year), caviar (sustainably farmed American caviar, that is, a steal at only $90/OUNCE at Whole Foods), raw oysters on the half shell (Hog Island, my fave) and of course all the usual side dishes like prime rib and juicy racks of lamb cut up into convenient little pieces with a bone on one end. I have excellent caterers and can point you guys in the right direction if you need someone to help out with your parties in 2011.
    I even booked my early-summer vacation to Europe just the other day. First-Class flights for the whole family, of course ($22k R/T), and we are only staying at the very finest hotels for our three weeks in Italy. Check out a hotel chain called “Relais & Chateaux”. Its on the internet.
    Cheers and Happy New Year!
    — The Bay Aryaan

  38. Martin Gugino January 3, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Regarding Lincoln not getting four years, here is a quote from the second inaugural:
    With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

  39. noel bodie January 3, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    good luck with the Israeli’s moving to Nebraska, rumor has it the Mormons and Ted Turner are buying up the State to have ownership of the water. I salut Jim for trying to make sense of this complexity. for me he is right on the big points of entering the LONG EMERGENCY and fundamentally changing my perception of these times. all best for the new year.

  40. observer January 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    In “Stones Into Schools,” I learned that before the Afghan tribes began a battle against each other, they sat down together for a meeting of the elders to decide how many losses each side could absorb, because the “enemy” was required to care for the widows and orphans they had created. It’s for reasons like this that Greg Mortenson says we have more to learn from them than they do from us.

  41. MarlinFive54 January 3, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Ever the contrarian, Jim! Everything beautifully put, but according to The Wall Street Journal today, in which they make their predictions, the situation looks pretty rosy. As a matter of fact, according to the Journal, the only thing we have to worry about right now is the economy growing too fast, and ‘overheating’. And the commentators at CNBC seem to agree. Inexplicably, in a column about oil, the Journal also states that there is currently 6 million barrels in daily spare capacity.
    Has the Wall Street Journal ever been wrong about anything?

  42. Al Klein January 3, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    The reason JHK’s prognostication regarding the Dow have been repeatedly incorrect is simple: JHK underestimated the extent of perfidy and capacity for scamming that our “leaders” have! Amazing! Jim gets it wrong because he is looking through rose-colored glasses! Whooda thought!

  43. ragtop January 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Mr. K, you left out birds falling dead from the skies in rural Arkansas and thousands of fish being found dead in an Arkansas river. If you’re going to predict all this gloom & doom, at least add some of the paranormal.
    I am with Friendly Aquaponics in that we do need to learn to feed ourselves. This is the most beneficial and tangible benefit we can derive from any of our efforts. In many parte of the US, this can be done, for a family of four, with one or two 4ft x 16ft raised beds. I didn’t believe it, but based on this guy’s plan, it seems very plausible. gardeningrevolution.com
    Once that is accomplished, I will only have to burn the siding from my house to keep the wife and kids warm. Happy New Year!

  44. The Mook January 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Jim, It is ok to say Jeez without insulting me (a half-assed Christian). That is, if you can be a Christian and not believe in Jesus. What a coincidence, I was in the Altoona Wal-Mart on the way home from Florida yesterday. My wife needed Cheese Doodles (sun lotion). There will be plenty of Americans sucking up that $25 dollar-a-barrel oil. They are also known as assholes. Saw plenty of them in Florida the past week. They drive mostly Hummers, Denalis, and expensive imports. Speaking of assholes, I saw that the police do not assist with cars that are broken down in horrendously dangerous freeway situations. I saw one car on the inside shoulder of a five-laner with kids in the car. The state trooper, and sheriff, who were both right ahead of me, just drove on by.

  45. bailey January 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Globalized, globalization, either or. It’s good for the globe but not so for the nation state.
    You do focus on the USA, beautifully, but you’ve only light generalizations re the rest of the world and the rest of the world is quietly dismissing the USA and this matters, because we’re all so completely interdependent. The conversation has ‘changed’.
    And yeah, the conspiracy theories get old, but at least Alex Jones tries to figure it out, problem is, he’s a paranoid Christianist prepping for 2012.
    Obama. Obama is so softly cautious, so naturally conservative, he couldn’t have become prez any other way…he reminds me of reading Gore Vidal reading Baum’s OZ books. (G. V. American’s biographer has documented our denouement better than anyone ever will)
    “A curious thing about Ugu the Shoemaker was that he didn’t suspect, in the least, that he was wicked. He wanted to be powerful and great and he hoped to make himself master of all the Land of Oz, that he might compel everyone in that fairy country to obey him. His ambition blinded him to the rights of others and he imagined anyone else would act just as he did if anyone else happened to be as clever as himself.”
    That just about says it all. Sarko, Blair, Obama, Cameron and the rest of the purely political second raters….
    Berlusconi. Well, laugh away, he’s our modern Machiavelli.

  46. Grouchy Old Girl January 3, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    It was worth the wait to read JHK’s forecast today. It’s clear a lot of thought went into it, and it required some thought from me to read and understand what he said and why.
    Takes guts to put it all out there on paper where cranks and serious readers alike can take potshots at whatever specific prediction doesn’t work out as the year passes. In my opinion it’s all a crapshoot, this prediction business. Like it or not, chaos and disaster can strike from totally unexpected corners, some human made, some by Nature herself. Surely religion is nothing more than fantasy insurance against calamity.
    One thing is for sure; we’re all on this ride together and nobody can just climb off and walk away unscathed.

  47. GAZ January 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    ….slow crash, death by a thousnd cuts, kicking the can down the road, call it what you will but “The Long Emergency” is going to be excruciatingly boring and LONG. The only thing that TPTB have most control over and are expert at now is delaying the inevitable, so thats what we are going to get in 2011. The vast majority of people in this country are too deluded, stupid and lazy to do anything enmasse until their abilty to eat, drink and entertain themselves starts to get cut off and I don’t see that happening for a few more years. “Move along folks, nothing to see here, show’s over!”

  48. utopianrobot January 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    what about latin america? it seems as if there is nothing ever mentioned about central and south america. venezuela is one of the largest oil producers. what about the rest of those southern nations? how are they weathering the long emergency?

  49. Chris January 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Why don’t we just use up all the oil in the world as fast as we can and be done with it? Oh I forgot, we’re already doing that.

  50. Al Klein January 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Now here is an observation that ought to provoke a bit of careful reflection: AP declared bankruptcy earlier last month. From my understanding, AP has quite a few other supermarket chains in its family, such as Superfresh and Pathmark. Ponder on that one folks. I just hope this isn’t some kind of early rumblings of something much more ominous.

  51. Al Klein January 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Chris, I hope you’re doing your part. Do you drive a Hummer or a Danali or a Suburban? No? Shame in you!

  52. hugho January 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Thanks Jim for a nice year end summary . It appears you have lost some of your enthusiasm of detailed predictions with time lines. You are doping well to stick with the abysmal trends you cited. There certainly is nothing positive from an economic, political, cultural perspective. The sheer level of debt dooms all possible painless solutions. This dismal state of affairs as the country lurches toward a deindustrial future could be more boring and less perilous than you think. The situation in 18th century France lasted a long time with concentrated wealth and a poor underclass but things got out of control when tummies turned empty. There was a lot of rage against the ruling oligarchy. We’re not at that point here yet. I think we will have a lot of stranded folks in stranded subdivisions and factors like that will make storming of the Bastille or the Goldman Sachs tower not a practical or feasible course of action.

  53. asoka January 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Vlad said: “You are starting the New Year off at your usual level of complete confusion.”
    No, Vlad, I am continuing with my evidence-based optimism.
    I am not at all confused by SEVENTEEN STRAIGHT MONTHS OF USA MANUFACTURING GROWTH.
    And I am not relying on the government or Wall Street for my data. Just look at the supply orders, or employment in manufacturing, or production figures. All are increasing. The data is based on actual performance, not opinions or “analysis” … in other words, dependable data that does not lie, and has not been confabulated by thousands of companies and government agencies.
    According to the Institute of Supply Management’s Report On Business, which tracks economic activity in the manufacturing sector, manufacturing added new orders, employment and production in December.
    The Report on Business (which surveys 350 companies around the country) is a benchmark for looking at the manufacturing sector of the U.S.
    Index levels above 50 signal an expansion of the economy, below 50, a contraction. December’s index level is 57; For contrast: in December 2008, the index bottomed out at 32.5. This report signals the 17th straight month of growth.
    Anybody who continues to think manufacturing is dead in the USA is refusing to look at the data.
    The government data, the industry data, the finance sector data, etc. are all based on objective real-world expenditures in manufacturing … not on wishful thinking or opinions of talking heads or conspiracy blogs.
    Bush had us losing 700,000 jobs a month before he left office. Obama has given us seventeen straight months of growth as an indication of Obama’s success. Undeniable change we can believe in… positive change. An economic recovery. Still don’t believe it? See it for yourself.
    Here is the economic recovery visually presented:
    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/10/08/5257833-bikini-graph-of-jobs-goes-thoroughbred
    Now, if you want to say the government data is manipulated, explain why Bush manipulated the data in such a way as to show the Bush administration to be a glaring failure. Wouldn’t Bush have manipulated it to make him look good? Or is Obama just a better manipulator? Yeah, right.
    Conspiracy theorists don’t have any objective data to point to to explain or counter the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. All they do is whine about “fiat money” and dream of gold and silver based currencies as a panacea. Get real. Fiat is real.

  54. Speeding Pullet January 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    The Mook wrote: “Speaking of assholes, I saw that the police do not assist with cars that are broken down in horrendously dangerous freeway situations. I saw one car on the inside shoulder of a five-laner with kids in the car. The state trooper, and sheriff, who were both right ahead of me, just drove on by.”
    Is this the demise of Happy Motoring, or just nature’s way of telling you to take the train instead?

  55. Mr. Purple January 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    “is acting like killer-clowns the only option?”
    I am reminded of my favorite quote from Hunter S. Thompson:
    “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
    Urban farmers, Renaissance Faire blacksmiths and people who hunt for food (not trophies) are going to be good neighbors to have. Stay on their good side if you can.

  56. asia January 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Andy Williams | December 31, 2010 7:03 PM
    ‘We read over here in the UK that your President went to visit a friend in Hawaiii and it necessitated 10 car loads of people.’
    Please tell me that’s not true. 10 car loads? Jesus. Was that his ego?
    UH…it cost us 200 million to send him to India,
    his night on the town in the big apple cost 80? K.

  57. asia January 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    i once read in the news a story from a woman who
    had been stuck on the san diego freeway for 24 hours, she almost had a nervous breakdown.
    C.h.p. told her over and over ‘help was on the way’
    and she didnt have the nerve to walk/run from the car.

  58. bproman January 3, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Anybody want to buy a used car ?

  59. asia January 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    with chindia bringing cars onto the market at 2K
    per, nica and shiny new………………
    i say ‘ forget US manufacturing’
    asoka so many of us wish yd go away!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. asia January 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    ‘venezuela’…does it now have Nukes pointed at the USA?

  61. 2_Happy_Town January 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Glad to have you back, James! Don’t know who has been posting for you the last few weeks but it sure is refreshing to have the real deal again…..Dmitry mentioned a three to six month period during the soviet collapse that things got a ‘bit ugly’ (russian for murder and mayhem) but luckily the russian mafia re-established order fairly quickly (if you know what I mean). It seems everyone skips past the part where we spend years subjugated by feudal warlords and human life essentially becomes valueless to whatever powers that be. But, hey, why spoil the grand illusion of slow, sometimes difficult descent from this lofty perch with some wet blanket bs about hard rain going to fall. Soon we may begin to understand the true meaning of ‘wreak havoc’. Just sayin’

  62. Newfie January 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Living standards are already going lower due to higher levels of unemployment. Living standards are thus being lowered asymmetrically. Those with a job maintain their standard of living and those without a job see their standard of living plummet. Inflation will also lower the standard of living. But those with plenty of money will have a cushion against inflation. So the decline in the standard of living is not going to be “fair”. How high would unemployment have to go to trigger serious unrest ? I think at least 30%. Maybe more. The citizenry have been very well brainwashed by the media and the culture of consumption and materialism. Most people have no idea about peak oil or what it means.

  63. Dave January 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Great Read Jim. The best case for the Mayan prophecy I’ve read yet.

  64. asoka January 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    asia, it was not my intention to hurt you by telling the truth… using factual information… and citing my sources. It is just a habit I have. Please forgive me.
    Happy New Year, asia!

  65. Workdove January 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    Can’t we have at least one positive prediction for 2011? Maybe a scientific or medical breakthrough on the way to economic doom. This would be a good year for aliens to come down and give us the blueprint details for fusion reactors and warp drives! Something positive happens every year, its not all bad.
    After years of living paycheque to paycheque I am finally, personally, able to save again. I will be avoiding financial assets and will be buying precious metals, bullion, instead as a security for the future. A return to silver and gold as money might be a good thing for everyone. (Save all those who bought into the gold plated tungsten scandal).

  66. asoka January 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    So much talk this week about “lowered standard of living” as if that is a bad thing!
    I have spent the last 15 years associated with the voluntary simplicity movement and tiny house movement to intentionally reduce my standard of living.
    It will not be pleasant (at first) for those for whom the decision was not voluntary, but they will immediately see the advantages.
    I am reminded of Aldous Huxley standing before his burning house, watching all his possessions go up in smoke, and feeling a serene light-heartedness, feeling joyful, like a burden had been lifted from his shoulders.
    When people are forced to have less stuff, to own fewer possessions, to use less energy, etc., only then will they discover the joys of a “reduced standard of living”

  67. asoka January 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    Workdove said: “Can’t we have at least one positive prediction for 2011?”
    Yes, here is a breakthrough just announced. On any day energy supplies can jump from 70 years to 3,000 years with a breakthrough like this one the Chinese have achieved:

    Wang Junfeng, project director for the state-run China National Nuclear Corporation, told CCTV the Chinese scientists employed a chemical process that was effective and safe. “In this last experiment, we made a preparation of standard quality uranium products and standard quality plutonium products, so we can say we were successful,” Wang said. CCTV said the country has enough fuel now to last up to 70 years and the breakthrough could yield enough to last 3,000 years.

    Bummer for those predicting China would run up against the energy conundrum and fall on its face. Note this is CLEAN ENERGY so no need for more coal burning to contaminate China’s air. Who says communism doesn’t work?

  68. SqueekyFromm January 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    The oil prices will probably just make things worse. What will probably tip the scale to meltdown is “cash flow”, when there is inadequate revenue off the over-valued assets on the books of the Big Banks.
    Like Karl Denniger says, you can play games with the values, but not the cash coming in. It will eventually catch up to you.
    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  69. Pepper Spray January 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Irrational situations can go on for an irrationally long time…
    JHK, though your projections are logical, reality may have other plans. You have to admit; the Ass-Hats have been able to levitate this dead economy for much longer than any of us guessed possible.
    I’m no longer betting against the financial system but preparing for a ‘Black Swan’ or a sudden tectonic crack in the global Ponzi scheme. A fuck-up by the fat boys at this point seems more likely and none of us may see it coming before it gets here.

  70. observer January 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    A return to gold- and silver-backed money would result in a worse contraction of the money supply than the one we are already experiencing–increasing unemployment, foreclosures, and other forms of financial suffering.
    Read all about it in “The Web of Debt.” Then tell us what you learned.

  71. Iona Laundramat January 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Yes, we can.

  72. dale January 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    SP Says:
    “Actually there’s at least one doomer chickie out there who thinks nice things about JHK. They haven’t met yet. She’s taller & skinnier than Linda Hamilton though, and a brunette.
    Don’t ask how I know this.
    =======================================
    I think I do know, you’ve seen his name with a big heart around it carved in picnic tables. Done, of course with a large Bowie knife. A match made in heaven, I’m sure!
    Love the handle BTW!

  73. endofworld January 3, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    again,as always,great,great piece by Jim-personally i love the neutron bomb-a giant microwave…and on the dmz of the koreas are huge noise generators 180 deicbels-and they also have giant lasers to fry all the howziters aimed at the south-they are hidden in the ground and the north knows it but being insane it wont stop them from starting a major “party”.it will be fun, unless we dont get to see it on Fox….bring it on(buy american silver eagles)

  74. Draupnir January 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Robertawa – Here is the advice of an unknown poet to the priest, Neferhotep, immortalized on the walls of his tomb:
    “Spend the day merrily, oh priest,
    Put unguent and fine oils together to thy nostrils And lotus flowers on the body of your beloved,
    whom thou favourest as she sitteth beside thee.
    Set singing and music before thy face.
    Cast all evil behind thee and bethink thee of joy,
    Until that day cometh when one reacheth port in the land that loveth silence.”

  75. dale January 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    SP says:
    “Dale, your broken-clock prediction always seems to be the same – that tomorrow will be basically the same as today – so it seems worth asking if you’ve been surprised at anything funky that’s happened in the last 20 years.”
    =========================================
    It only LOOKS like a “broken clock” compared to the predictions which come to you in the absence of any appreciation for how slowly history typically unfolds. Anything can happen, or course. Just don’t bet your kids future on anything sudden.

  76. mfs2 January 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    “I denounce such views as childish, deranged distractions from a reality that is challenging enough without the intrusion of paranoid fantasies.”
    Perfect.

  77. endofworld January 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    hey james-last year was my best year ever too!killing it~all is good-though we do have a bunker ready on one the ranches and the turboprop ready to fly out the relations in socal but what the heck…..

  78. Colorado Greg January 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Oh Ragtop, get real.
    Feed “…family of four, with one or two 4ft x 16ft raised beds…”??? This much space, if carefully managed, would keep you in salad, braising greens, and maybe some herbs. But it sure ain’t enough space to grow the tomatos we go through just to put up our annual supply of salsa, spaghetti sauce and ketchup.
    And what about potatos, beets, parsnips, carrots and other storable root/calorie crops? Cabbage, broccoli and other brassicas for fermenting and freezing; peas, green beans, dry beans, peppers, onions, garlic, cucumbers, squash, FRUIT…
    My wife and I produce and store most of our own food. I plant 15 beds 4 ft. x 100 ft. managed bio-intensively (John Jeavons style, mostly). This goes a long way, but still doesn’t give us the wheat, barley, rye and oats for a year’s supply of bread and porridge. Let alone enough grain to keep a few chickens clucking through the winter. Think ACRES for that. We fill hundreds of canning jars, three freezers and a root cellar, but still have to hit the grocery store for incidentals.
    Furthermore, “Got Milk?” Cheese? Cream? Hamburger? Sausage? Fat for cooking in since olive trees don’t grow well in most of the USofA? Try keeping a log of exactly what you eat for the next week, then multiply that by 52 to get an idea of what it takes to feed a family of ONE for a year. Not a trivial undertaking.
    Watch out for hucksters who try to sell you ideas that don’t work.
    p.s. Did I miss it, or did JHK not specifically mention that 2011 will be the year the rest of the world abandons the dollar as the reserve currency?

  79. The Mook January 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    James, Your mom called and said dinner will be late. She saw your dad at Christmas and he wants to know if you got a job yet. Also, clean your room and shave your palms before she gets home.

  80. k-dog January 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men,
    they create for themselves,
    in the course of time,
    a legal system that authorizes it,
    and a moral code that glorifies it.

    – Political economist Frederic Bastiat, The Law [1850]
    PLUNDER
    Watched the DVD a day or so ago. K-dog gives it 4 stars.
    I dreamed I kidnapped Obama last night and made him watch it Clockwork Orange style. Then I woke up.

  81. Maynard January 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    I hate to break it to folks, but I don’t think the American people will ever rise up in rebellion against the banks and their servile political class. The American people have just become too dumb, and too accustomed to the idea that each of us is on our own, at war with everyone else in some grand “competition” that is supposedly the basis of a “free” society. This translates into the idea that whatever hardships befall you economically are your own fault, and social Darwinism should do its business and get rid of you. Americans will keep hoping that they as individuals will be lucky, that they’ll manage to find the right job and stab the right people in the back to keep their standard of living, even as all their neighbors are hauled off to FEMA camps so Exxon can “frack” their towns for natural gas. The hope that there will some day be a “rebellion” is a relic of the ’60s that still floats around the minds of Baby Boomer former radicals. But it will never happen here – except in orchestrated events like the “Tea Party” that really serve the interests of the powerful.
    What is more likely to happen, IMHO, is that Americans will be at first be herded into camps for those who fail, and then those will become too expensive, so we’ll have expanding areas of lawlessness and collapse, surrounding shrinking protected zones where natural gas has kept the lights on for the elite. In the end, the elite will buy large areas in northern New England and other areas with a good chance of riding out the apocalypse, and bring goons with them to impose their rule on the local populace. Vermonters should start stocking up serious fire-power capable of repelling former Russian and Israeli commandos that the rich are likely to bring as their “security details” when they arrive. That’s my outlook.

  82. Pucker January 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    “Where I depart from darker views is the idea that there is some shadow gang of hidden puppeteers behind the visible leadership….”
    It appears that JHK still hasn’t read Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”.
    Basically, what’s going on is that the investment bankers are doing what the investment bankers know best—Leverage Finance, or, in effect, a massive Management Buyout (“MBO”) of the U.S. economy. The investment bankers are simply repeating what they’ve done repeatedly to other countries in the past. Now, it’s the U.S.’s turn. The chickens have come home to roost.
    The Chinese gangster capitalists did the same type of MBO of the Chinese economy in the 1990s, except in a much cruder form in their privatization process. Basically, what “management” does is to drive the state company that they management into the ground and then use funds embezzled from the same company to later buy it up very cheaply.
    This is what is happening in the U.S.: the investment bankers first drive the U.S. economy into bankruptcy, and then they will use money extorted from the U.S. Treasury and horded to later buy up the U.S. economy on the cheap.
    It’s a massive, financial coup d’etat….

  83. ozone January 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Woo-hooo! Awright, James!
    Had a fine year m’self; collected names and addresses of over 2700 caviar-suckin’, champagne-swillin’, money-to-burn, resource-wastin’, useless asswipes for future reference! 2011 promises to reveal many, many more! Gonna be some big fun ahead, I can tell. (If you’d like to be added to that list of swells, be my guest; love to have ya “on board” as it were!) Let’s go boating sometime, eh?

  84. lbendet January 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Yep, Pucker you’re so right about that. I’ve mentioned “Shock Doctrine” numerous times, myself.
    You’ve got to read Taibbi’s “Griftopia” too. Greenspan was a real Ayn Rand follower and brought her ideas into government finanacial practice.
    Facinating that under Greenspan and Reagan the ss taxes went up, but were systematically raided so all that’s left are IOUs.
    When the new congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling all sorts of Sh.. is gonna fly.
    Can’t wait to see how China reacts…
    can’t wait to see the interest rates.
    I think these guys are going to push this baby right over the edge.

  85. ozone January 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Speaking of a legal system constructed by and for the ultimate theives…
    “The US Department of Justice, for example, appears to be led by a zombie, Attorney-General Eric Holder, somebody of this world but no longer quite in it, who is pioneering a new method of Zen law enforcement based on a maximum of doing and saying of nothing. Of course, my ongoing theory since the national election of 2008 is that Barack Obama has been warned repeatedly by many credible figures that any move to disturb the operations of banking would bring down such a wrathful ruin on this nation that he had no choice but to keep his hands off the levers of enforcement. In fact, it’s the only theory that explains adequately the yawning gap between reality and the representation of it by those assumed to hold authority.” -JHK
    ‘Bout ‘splains it to Loot-sey, now don’t it?
    I was always highly suspicious about a distinct lack of enforcement/punishment for huge financial criminality. Calling “General” Holder; Yooo-hooo…….. (punk-ass pawn)

  86. asia January 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    JHK:
    ‘What’s left of the American economy is a web of financial rackets divorced from the production of real wealth,…’
    divorce [not tammy wynette style] but wedded to red china, sweat shops, spectacular debt [world record, all time] and 1.5 [?] trillion ‘bail out’
    HEY FOLKS WELCOME TO SUCK SESS..asoka style

  87. asia January 3, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    ‘ability of the powers-that-be to keep things afloat’
    well if ya have the weapons AND the printing press for 7 BILLION peeps..but how long can ‘they’
    continue to run them thar printing presses????
    that is the trillion dollar question!

  88. asia January 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    yes i know theres some hope..i went to a talk by the guy who brought [non GMO] soy to afghanistan and its been accepted by the populace.
    but in a place where the gals are married off at 13 or so and have 7 kids…how much hope can there be?

  89. James Crow January 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    The blog guy writ:
    “Lots of people are in positions to make decisions. The president may be a hero, a con man, a victim of history, a bungler, a hostage to events – but you can be sure that he makes real decisions that affect people’s lives every day. Where I depart from darker views is the idea that there is some shadow gang of hidden puppeteers behind the visible leadership – the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderbergers – bent on a quasi-religious crusade to impose “one-world government,” or some kind of totalistic domination scheme out of comic book politics. I denounce such views as childish, deranged distractions from a reality that is challenging enough without the intrusion of paranoid fantasies.”
    Hmm, so ignorance, or in Jim’s case purposeful ignorance is the same as bliss. Must be nice. Obama is told what to do. He doesn’t make any decisions of his own other than to not make any decisions. Obama probably has real trouble excusing himself from a meeting to go pee. He is a complete total failure as a so-called president. He’s done absolutely nothing he “promised” to do. Change? My Ass. Obama is no more than an apparatchik. A big name cog in a giant fedgov wheel rotating in place going absolutely nowhere fast.
    and:
    “Anyway you look at it there is going to be a fight for control of the Arabian Peninsula and its oil riches, and the family that has been in charge since the oil first began to flow in the 20th century could easily get kicked out. It might not get replaced by anything nearly as stable, or as friendly to western interests. It might not get replaced at all. The region could remain fragmented indefinitely, and that would not bode well for the oil trade.”
    I haven’t even finished with Maestro Kunstler’s post and there is so much blissful ignorance within. Do you truly think the banksters in charge of Saudi Arabia are gonna let the country go down? Or get “fragmented”? Of course they aren’t. They’ve got replacement officials waiting in the wings, as they always do. And a “fight for control”? Are you that lame? Who controls the Arabian peninsula now? The U.S.A. does. There is a huge occupation Kunstler might have heard about, based in Iraq, covering the whole of the Arabian Peninsula. I don’t believe Jim is even serious anymore. He just regurgitates his “how shall we be doomed?” scenario ad nauseum none of which points he makes have come true. Or even begun to start to become reality. No one else notices Jim is just like the boy who cried wolf?
    Except in Jim’s case there is no wolf. So weird that he just keeps on spewing his own brand of it, and people just keep lapping it up.

  90. MarlinFive54 January 3, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I’m writing a country and Western song.
    “Everything I own is made in China …”
    That’s all I got so far.

  91. James Crow January 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    Ah Puzzler:
    “Many of you are disappointed in Jim’s inability to predict specifics or get the timing right. You’re missing the core point: it’s already happened and continues to happen.”
    It’s just that no one can see that it “happened” and that no one notices that it continues to “happen” without affecting anyone to the point of having to give up their ugly SUV, their worthless branded clothes, or their ability to go to Safeway and buy any number of packaged convenience foods. Or fill up the SUV’s tank. Or watch and listen to the worst empty BS the media have to offer. Or anyone being prosecuted for the destruction of the entire Gulf of Mexico, or anyone besides Bernie Madoff getting legal blame for the numerous Ponzi schemes yet to be written about in the MSM. On and on. And all the while Ol’ Jimbo jets off to a different foreign country every couple of weeks to “speak” or do a “signing”. I mean how much money does one guy make for a couple-three books not even on the best seller list? He never even mentioned the patdowns at the airports either. Guess he’s pretty open minded…

  92. Speeding Pullet January 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Dale wrote: “Anything can happen, or course. Just don’t bet your kids future on anything sudden.”
    Correct!
    You might like this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-ridley/down-with-doom-how-the-wo_b_630792.html
    Thx on the handle :)

  93. jackieblue2u January 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    YAY FOR MMAY ! SHE GOT TO BE FIRST !
    I was going to try and be last on New Years’ Eve but couldn’t stay up, I was ill.
    Looks like JHK had LOT to say this week and it might take me all week just to get thru that. A
    ‘book’ for Free. Thanks JHK !
    Love it ! It’s my week long project, this site that is.
    Okay. I be working on it.

  94. Maynard January 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    One other reason why Americans aren’t going to rebel – too much of the American population is now old. Old people simply don’t rebel – they hope that the world will keep going in its current form until they can transition peacefully to the loving arms of Baby Jesus, and then those who come later can clean up the mess.
    The Baby Boomers who once marched so they wouldn’t get sent to Viet Nam are now part of the reason why no one is marching so children can get enough to eat in the supposedly “richest” nation on earth.
    Of course, the brain-addled, impulse-control-challenged permanent adolescents in the “Millennial” generation are hardly up to the challenge, even if the Boomers weren’t around. And forget about Generation X – this was the generation that, upon entering the workforce, was told that the pensions and benefits their parents took for granted were no longer available…and they responded by taking out $300,000 mortgages and buying Hummers on credit just to keep up appearances. Expect nothing from those solipsistic losers.
    I’m afraid we’re just going to have to wait until we somehow breed a new generation who can actually pay attention for more than 5 seconds and can formulate something resembling a plan. Maybe the young captain in Afghanistan that Kunstler suspects may be lurking in the wings can help us out with this.

  95. Eleuthero January 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Bravo, JHK, for saying that our demons
    are IN PLAIN SIGHT. And you’re right:
    It isn’t the Trilateral Commission or
    other group of “men in black” bogeymen.
    It’s our government and its endless
    “bank put” that guarantees that ONLY
    bankers can buy risk assets … without
    incurring any risk at all … while
    putting depositors and homeowners at
    risk with a clear conscience.
    This “recovery” talk is just bewildering.
    What is making this a recovery? The fact
    that multi-nationals are selling well in
    overseas markets?? I sure don’t see even
    a gnat’s eye of recovery on the ground.
    E.

  96. Eleuthero January 3, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    You’re right, Maynard, maybe we will have
    to “wait it out” until we can create a
    generation that has the attention span of
    a fruit fly so that they can actually LEARN
    TO DO SOMETHING OR BE ABLE TO SPELL AT A FIFTH
    GRADE LEVEL??
    It’s been all downhill since the Boomers and
    the Boomers and their LACK OF MENTORING OF
    THEIR YOUNG started the process in motion.
    I also enjoyed your characterization of
    Gen-X … a bunch of shallow wheeler-dealers
    who like to live in style without having the
    MEANS to live in style … champaign tastes
    with beer wallets and BEER BRAINS AS WELL.
    Realistic hope can only be engendered by
    looking at the young and witnessing a sea
    change from the narcissistic, weak-charactered
    asswipes of Gen-X, Y, and the Millenials.
    I don’t even see a scintilla of character
    strengthening. Indeed, even in the Boomers,
    I’ve see their own values and modus operandi
    erode. In other words, they’ve gotten WORSE
    with age, not better.
    E.

  97. kori January 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Another good book is John Perkins “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” and is more recent “Secret History of the American Empire”. Perkins is himself a former “economic hitman”. In his book he says this:
    “Some would blame our current problems on a organized conspiracy. I wish it were so simple. Members of a conspiracy can be rooted out and brought to justice. This system, however is fueled by something far more dangerous than conspiracy. It is driven not by a small band of men but by a concept that has become accepted as gospel; the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. This believe also has a corollary: that those people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation. In the drive to advance the global empire, corporations, banks and governments use their financial and political muscle to ensure that our schools, businesses, and media support both the fallacious concept and its corollary. They have brought us to a point where our global culture is a monstrous machine that requires exponentially increasing amounts of fuel and maintenance, so much so that in the end it will have consumed everything in sight and will be left with no choice but to devour itself. The corporatocracy is not a conspiracy, but its members do endorse common values and goals..”

  98. The Mook January 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Line 2 : I’m in love with a tattooed girl who has a pierced vagina.

  99. Eleuthero January 3, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Thanks for the fantastic quote from
    Perkins, Kori. I believe that it’s
    deadly accurate. I also believe its
    central thesis … which is similar
    to JHK’s thesis … that there is no
    single bogeyman, group of bogeymen,
    or a “conspiracy” which has created
    the calamity known as the global
    economy.
    The problem is that everyone from
    homeless bums to titans of industry
    have bought into the idea of INFINITE
    GROWTH. I call this belief, which
    most Americans buy into, “Cornucopeianism”
    … the idea that the earth just cannot
    run out of metals, oil, natgas, food,
    or money.
    And guess what, the people who have
    REALLY bought into this growth mindset
    are ASIANS. I expect we’ll be ripping
    them in the press for “hogging resources”
    soon just because they bought into a belief
    system that we’ve lionized and nourished
    since WWII. Payback is a BITCH.
    E.

  100. asoka January 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    Pepper Spray said:

    You have to admit; the Ass-Hats have been able to levitate this dead economy for much longer than any of us guessed possible.

    You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. They can keep this thing going for decades. (about 46 years, to be exact)

  101. asoka January 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Maynard said:

    even as all their neighbors are hauled off to FEMA camps so Exxon can “frack” their towns for natural gas. The hope that there will some day be a “rebellion” is a relic of the ’60s that still floats around the minds of Baby Boomer former radicals.

    [sarcasm on] The rebellion will happen in the FEMA camps. No use getting all worked up beforehand. The guards will be overwhelmed easily since we will be millions in the FEMA camps… and we will not be happy campers.[sarcasm off]
    Really, before Obama was elected people were talking about the FEMA camps. Two years after Obama was elected now, and no one has been sent to a FEMA camp. There are no FEMA camps. Geesh!

  102. asoka January 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Maynard said:

    we’ll have expanding areas of lawlessness and collapse, surrounding shrinking protected zones where natural gas has kept the lights on for the elite. In the end, the elite will buy large areas in northern New England and other areas with a good chance of riding out the apocalypse, and bring goons with them to impose their rule on the local populace. Vermonters should start stocking up serious fire-power capable of repelling former Russian and Israeli commandos that the rich are likely to bring

    This is incredible! (as in not believable)
    We have a state of lawlessness and collapse, but the rich, who have Russian and Israeli goon armies, are going to buy large areas.
    Maynard, rich people with goons don’t “buy” … they take, and keep as long as they can afford to pay their goons. Then the rich die.

  103. Jeff Gerritsen January 3, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Your watching way too much mad max!

  104. BeantownBill January 3, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Oh, Asoka, you are so wrong! I have a nice pair of Orion astronomical binoculars which I use for tracking the comings and goings of UFOs. And do you know what I saw? All these UFOs that people see in the sky are landing on government facilities, loading up left-wing rabble-rousers, and flying them off to FEMA camps on the Moon! Yep, the government with the help of aliens are stashing people so far from Earth they can’t be a threat to good, god-fearing American patriots.
    And you know what else? That Muslim Commie, Obama, is in on it, too. He knows all about them camps, but he won’t tell no one about them.

  105. asoka January 3, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    E., I know you are only months from retiring, but to say: “I sure don’t see even a gnat’s eye of recovery on the ground” you have to be blind.
    Here is a gnat’s eye of recovery in California, if you can see it:

    Twenty-two women at Los Angeles Trade Technical College were recognized for successfully completing 600 hours of training funded by Recovery Act grants through the Clean Energy Workforce Training Program. With the help of Recovery Act Funds, the Los Angeles Trade-Tech College was able to offer a course free of charge for women only. Governor Schwarzenegger announced the beginning of this program at Los Angeles Trade Technical College in 2009.

    Drop in the bucket? Not for those 22 women and their families.

  106. asoka January 3, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    E said: “even in the Boomers,
    I’ve see their own values and modus operandi
    erode. In other words, they’ve gotten WORSE
    with age, not better.”
    Not from my perspective. I see volunteer projects, food co-operatives, lots of cooperative projects like co-housing and community gardens, etc. The bulk of the labor is from Boomers living out their dreams of peace and love… enduring values they have never abandoned. I guess it depends on where you live… or how blind your cynicism makes you.

  107. messianicdruid January 3, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    Ned Ludd is vindicated. “Thompson cites the many historical accounts of Luddite raids on workshops where some frames were smashed whilst others (whose owners were obeying the old economic practice and not trying to cut prices) were left untouched. This would clearly distinguish the Luddites from someone who was today called a luddite; whereas today a luddite would reject new technology because it is new, the Luddites were acting from a sense of self-preservation rather than merely fear of change.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite

  108. tb January 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    I have a feeling that this year you will be more right than wrong. I got a kick out of your remarks about Japan. They reminded me of the final paragraph of John Toland’s “The Rising Sun,” which I will share here:
    “Several months after the war an aged woodman, his face deeply creased by the years, stopped in front of the Dai Ichi Building, [General Douglas] MacArthur’s new headquarters. Strapped to his back was a towering bundle of kindling. First he bowed low to MacArthur’s standard, then he turned and bowed just as low to the Imperial Palace on the other side of the plaza. American bystanders watched with perplexed amusement as if he were a living paradox of the inscrutable Orient. But the Japanese who saw him understood. He was acknowledging without reservations the temporal power of today’s shogun while revering what was eternal across the avenue.”
    Good luck and G-d bless (and please don’t go on some astrology trip like another “doomer” I used to read).
    tb
    Big Spring, TX

  109. BeantownBill January 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Seriously, though, as the I Ching says, everything changes except change itself. The primary difference between change in the past, and present change is the rate of change: Things are changing faster and faster.
    This acceleration of change causes many people to feel uneasy, a kind of free-form anxiety. In order to cope with this unease, people need to put a face on it. So, many persons look for things to worry about, like the world running out of oil, limited resources, the environment, the economy, etc.
    No doubt these are issues, but in their rush to put a name to their nervousness, people magnify the issues out of all proportion until they are focusing on the problems, not on the solutions – like a child in their bed in the dark night, swearing to themselves they just heard a footstep in their room….

  110. jackieblue2u January 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Did you see WaterWorld ? I saw enough and it stuck in my head when I think of Our Future.
    Haven’t seen MadMax, but will try.

  111. BeantownBill January 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Jim’ I just have to be a surrogate Q:
    I believe the correct spelling of ediface is edifice.

  112. jackieblue2u January 3, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Well isn’t that SPECIAL ? You must know Asoka, god even he isn’t as bad as this.
    You pushed my buttons, and I been on here way longer than you, I wish you GONE from this page.

  113. jackieblue2u January 3, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Interesting, I live in West Coast Ca, Earthquake area. And I never forgot and remember the 89 quake nitely.
    You know how you are supposed to have all your papers and important things ready to take and run ?
    I kinda do and I kinda don’t.
    We really aren’t things. I worry more about the papers that proove who the hell I am. And that is weird to me.
    I mean all this stuff, b cert. ssi cards etc.
    why are they so important ? and hard to replace.?
    they aren’t who we ARE.
    My CAT, that’s important.
    Don’t sleep naked anymore. Ready to run.
    I want the simpler life back.
    Nice post Asoka for once haha.
    Voluntary Simplicity Rocks ! Whether rich or poor or whatever.

  114. jackieblue2u January 3, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    What about the ‘new’ guy calls himself Jim, read his post. WORSE than Asoka IMHO.
    That’s it THEY NEED TO BE HUMBLED, IMHO.
    But who am I to say

  115. jackieblue2u January 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    oops, mean JAMES. not Jim. big dif. really.

  116. k-dog January 3, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    “names and addresses of over 2700 caviar-suckin’, champagne-swillin’, money-to-burn, resource-wastin’, useless asswipes for future reference!”
    Creating a website with mugshots, and google-earth photos of Caribbean expat getaways would be an nice goal for 2011. Any on Isla de Roatan (Honduras) out of to curiosity?
    Translating J. D. Salinger’s “Catcher In the Rye” into pocket sized copies in all known languages might also help.
    I’m all for letting people know the salesmen of the American Dream won’t be hanging around when the shit hits the fan and the going gets tough. People can take a lot when they think they are included in the team but when they find out they’ve been lied too left out and played, watch out.

  117. icurhuman2 January 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    A good appraisal from Jim on the state of affairs at the moment, however, as usual I’m not in complete agreement with all of his predictions, though I think his DOW at 4000 prediction from last year is closer to the true value of that market than he knows. If you factor in the value of the U.S. dollar and the return on investment (a lot less than 25 to one I might add) and the DOW at 4000 is extremely generous.
    Maybe not surprisingly, the one area where Jim doesn’t dwell for long is on Israel, a country now so close to a fascist state that any fair comparison must declare that nation as such. The Middle East is the most obvious place where the first of the dominos will likely fall, although there are so many wildcards about to enter the hand that predictions are extremely difficult to make.
    With a population of about 7.5 million, six million jews and a million and a half arabs, Israel is far too powerful for its own nuclear-armed good; it fears a nuclear-armed Iran only because it fears an oil-rich Iran more. Any military moves against Iran, by Israel or its American proxy, will shut down the Persian Gulf and send the world into a demand-destroying collapse that much more quickly, and, is a very likely scenario as the only way to fend off a serious oil-spike induced crunch is with a demand-destroying war-induced oil crunch. This, of course, enables the pointing of fingers at Iran as the cause rather than the oil-abusers and dodgy financial industries.
    The main wildcard not mentioned in Jim’s predictions would be the WikiLeaks cablegate affair that has already changed the international political landscape and reduced America’s ability to both hide its real agendas and reduced its ability to contain outside threats through diplomatic means. Future revelations and the side -effects are yet to be determined.
    The main motivation for poltical turmoil will be the same as lat year, only moreso; commodity shifts upwards will cause huge changes in third-world nations and developing economies as well as in OECD nations. Failing wheat crops in the northern and southern hemispheres will have dire consequences and food inflation will certainly end in disaster. When exactly this occurs and in tandem with what other “black swan” events is as yet unclear, however, my guess is that by April, when reviewed Q3 and Q4 2010 numbers come in, will be a prime time to consider enabling any emergency contingency plans you may have. Open trade wars are likely to become typical, trade agreements will be scrapped, or come to mean little.
    2011 will be the year that asymmetric warfare will become accepted as the modern way of doing war, where no single entity or grouping has control of the battlefield but where any single player can win a major battle with minimal effort. Anarchy is still a ways off but swift movements to the right will give governments more power to control the peoples, many of whom will revolt.
    There’s a very good chance that the Macondo field will collapse completely and the slow death of the Gulf of Mexico will accelerate rapidly, recent warnings of the increasing leakage from the “capped” well-head and the surrounding area has fallen on deaf ears and has seen no front page headlines anywhere. Who knows? It make take years before the entire thing caves in, either way the gulf circulatory stream has failed and this has already effected the Atlantic gulf stream (notice the extremely cold winter weather in America and Europe). Another year of heavy rain in the south and another disastrously hot summer in Russia and starvation for a vaster number of humans is certain, the great die-off may already have begun.
    My hope for 2011 is that peak-oil hits the front pages of every newspaper around the world. The sooner the masses confront the truth the sooner we can settle all the superficial issues that divide us. Divided we are lost, united we may still be lost but at least we might have a fighting chance.

  118. jackieblue2u January 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Never hear of those. Means you live far away from me. But yeah, it probably IS a sign.
    Not a good one. I don’t see alot of this in West Coast CA YET. Not grocery stores anyway. Yet. Did I say Yet ?
    What’s Your Sign ?
    I luv Redneck Comedy. We gotta laugh, Comedy is very important. for doomers like us.

  119. Eleuthero January 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    As usual, you inflate your own ego by
    grandstanding by “refuting” my large
    scale arguments with a tiny, tiny
    anecdote of counter-evidence.
    Why don’t you inflate your zeppelin-
    sized ego at someone else’s expense?
    I volunteer at a freaking FOOD CLOSET
    for homeless people. Should I use my
    own self as “proof” that, * IN GENERAL *,
    things are great??
    The whole thing about your modus operandi
    that chaps my hide is that it’s all about
    SELF AGGRANDIZEMENT. You’re all about
    showing all us CFN’ers how “cynical” we
    are.
    Just do good deeds and please, shut the
    fuck up.
    E.

  120. asoka January 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    “WORSE than Asoka IMHO.”
    You have hurt my feelings

  121. asoka January 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    A gnat … that was your word … so I provided a gnat sized example.

  122. Coastal January 3, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Peak Oil…perhaps peak biosphere is a more apt “descriptor” regarding economic limitations. We do not really “live” on a planet. In reality the planet is a platform or stage that supports a comparatively miniscule biosphere. It is this little wrapper of life around this immense rock of the earth that economies depend on. Economies have nowhere to go but down as the sustaining richness of this finite living organism declines through exponentially increasing human impact. Peak oil is attending to tent poles. Throw down any bucket of economic theory into the well as you like… the day of hearing not even a splash is what many really fear right now.

  123. k-dog January 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    I volunteer at a freaking FOOD CLOSET
    for homeless people.
    K-dog gives that 4 stars. I envy you.

  124. asoka January 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    You got a problem with ego and your pop psychologizing is irrelevant … There is no need to condemn ego or generalize about recovery based on what you can’ even see when it’s pointed out

  125. Godozo January 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Here’s a thought:
    At some point the taxing ability of the states and cities (gutted thanks to NAFTA and the Chinese/American agreement, hidden by bloated housing prices, exposed by the busting of the housing bubble) is going to get to the point where some hard choices will be made. More to the point, there’s only going to be so much to cut before there’s no police, fire or ambulance service, and there’s only so much you can do with stop signs at important intersections – even with potholes the size of Rhode Island to slow down traffic with and the local housing stock stripped of anything of worth and thus made uninhabitable.
    And when the states, counties and cities get to that point, the question will arise: Stop paying the muni bonds, or stiff the retirees?
    – – – – – – – – – –
    As anyone who keeps a long eye on the Supreme Court knows, government entities must come through fully on their promises of retirement monies to their employees. “Private” (read: non-governmental) corporations are allowed to gut retirement funds, then turn around and offer 401Ks (which gut Social Security); whereas government employees who stick around long enough are given a retirement complete with COLA.
    This, of course, leads to heavy envy and hatred of Government employees by Fox News watchers and other envious types. But also consider that this means that government is on the hook for this stuff ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE.
    But, and you should see the contrast, government is also expected ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE to pay off its loans and bonds.
    So we get a conundrum: Which is TRULY number one?
    – – – – – – – – – –
    It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that this has been going up the courts right now, that some canny right wing “pro-investment rights” group is going against a “pro-labor-facade” group to make it to the Supreme Court. Just like some “pro-free-speech” group took the case that translated one-man-one-vote to one-buck-one-vote to the Supreme Court (don’t know the name, we all know the case). And with Roberts as head, don’t be surprised if the government is forced to oppress its own employees for the sake of “the grandmas who invested in the munis.”
    And watch Blackwater suddenly become active with its new branches – the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard.

  126. dubiousfacts January 3, 2011 at 11:48 pm #

    Forecasts are like opinions, everyones got em. Mine is that we see the end of the US dollar as the global reserve currency, which is what has allowed us to write IOUs to the rest of the world for their oil, coffee (2nd place commodity) and minerals. This results in massive inflation and huge impoverishment, something we thought could never happen here due to the “bias of normalacy” and American exceptionalism (now thought of as a right, not a hard earned kudo). Note that this is not really a forecast – its already happening. Even if we taxed all income at 100% we still couldn’t balance the budget, we’d have to continue to borrow just to stay even. Can you say COLLAPSE?

  127. asoka January 4, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    The sky is falling
    Birds are falling from the sky
    Fish are dying
    Apocalypse is upon us (repent!)
    Collapse will probably happen in ten days
    Enjoy what little time remains
    The end is near!

  128. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    A campaign to sustain the unsustainable at all costs. It obviously requires monumental levels of mass self-deception, of pretending, of fakery, of lying, of denial. The psychology of all this is another thing that is thoroughly understood, but such is the collective anxiety about our situation that knowing how-and-why we behave a particular way does not alter our behavior.

    Sad but so unfortunately true. The finger pointing won’t stop as long as there is a finger alive to point. Self-Deception is well under way, full steam ahead. While voices cry in the wilderness none are heard.
    Reality ain’t what it used to be, that’s for sure.

  129. Pucker January 4, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    E. wrote: “The problem is that everyone from
    homeless bums to titans of industry
    have bought into the idea of INFINITE
    GROWTH. I call this belief, which
    most Americans buy into, “Cornucopeianism”….”
    Yeah…people can’t seem to think for themselves anymore….
    I believe that it was Hannah Arendt who defined “Evil” as “…the inability to think.”

  130. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 1:14 am #

    Cornucopianism is a highly irrational belief. Cornucopian’s believe human ingenuity, technology and skill can solve all problems. That sufficient resources exist to support a population much larger than the earth currently has, plenty of room for more. To be a cornucopian requires suspension of reason and denial of information and facts which challenge the cornucopian mime.
    For Example: the fact that most of the world continues to live under grinding poverty is denied by cornucopians. A cornucopian would discredit an article such as this as fantasy.
    Genocide of Indian Farmers

  131. asoka January 4, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    Cornucopian’s believe human ingenuity, technology and skill can solve all problems.
    ————-
    No, not ALL problems…
    Just all human-created problems.

  132. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    Thats all problems.

  133. Eleuthero January 4, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    I loved Hannah Arendt’s book “The Banality
    of Evil”. The title says it all. Evil,
    contrary to the myths about it, is usually
    NOT a flashy set of phenomena. It’s just
    a set of unexamined ideas acted upon by a
    huge group of people who rationalize it by
    saying that “everyone does it”.
    E.

  134. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    The perpetrators participate with the view that their actions are normal, like now.

  135. MARVINO January 4, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    Afghanistan has more than minerals. Heroin is a 200 Billion Dollar a year market. Narco dollars are used to buy up ligitimate industries. Gold may be one form of currency. In the early days of America, whiskey and rum were also forms of currency. I support our troops in their noble effort to control the poppy business.

  136. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 2:29 am #

    E, you have to see this it you don’t know of it already”
    The Banality of Evil++
    This runs with and develops the idea wonderfully.

  137. Patrizia January 4, 2011 at 3:44 am #

    Since some time I was asking myself what would the new American bubble be and now I have the answer: gold.
    While it is beyond any doubt that the gold resources are limited and this gives the value to gold, it is also clear that the value of something depends on the demand and the offer.
    To a cave man one pound of pure gold was certainly worth much less than a chicken, and for a chicken is worth less than a wheat seed.
    The big request of gold as safe saving is based on a society where there is actually somebody who has a surplus and has to save something for the future.
    But when the last ounce of available gold will be sold to the last lucky man who has a surplus on his bank account, also gold, as precious as it can be, will reach its peak.
    When there is nobody who wants or can afford to buy gold at that price, if you will need to sell it, you will need to do so at a lower price you bought it.
    And when its price begins to lower, you can bet ALL will want to sell, making the price even lower.
    The Americans have one big advantage compared to Europe.
    They are a real “Nation”.
    But sometimes this could also be a big disadvantage.
    When you need a lot of buyers it is not difficult to find them
    Good marketing, suggesting, not imposing, convincing, presenting the product as what they need, that will make you trillionair in one day.
    It is enough to find one and the others will follow.
    That is what you need to create a “bubble”.

  138. techi January 4, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    Sheesh. Was I ever wrong last year about those stock market indexes. I called for Dow 4000 and look where the darn thing ended up: 11,577.50.
    For such a smart guy and great writer I am amazed that you get this wrong year in and year out. I guess that you are just so USA dollar centric that you don’t understand money. If you measured the DOW in something like bushels of wheat – you would realize that you were correct. Hell, even in the biggest collapse of the past decade, Argentina, the major stock indexes there nearly broke even. What you could buy with your break even paper – that’s a different story. Dollars can and will be manufactured in whatever quantities are required to maintain the major indexes visible to the public. They may be some lags, but even so, clumsy bureaucrats will make it so within a year or two. Hunt around and you’ll find plenty of charts that measure the DOW in gold, oil, wheat, corn. In these terms you turn out to be not so far off. Dollars are just computer entries, a useful medium of exchange. They can be created and destroyed at will. They have no inherent value, they are not a store of value. Collecting them is a fools errand. Measuring things in them is just plain self deception.

  139. techi January 4, 2011 at 4:00 am #

    Forgot to point out that the DOW started the decade near 10k and ended a bit above that. Looks like you broke even or possible even made a bit of money. NOT!! Oil went up 10x so in reality you lost 90% of your wealth. It is a safe prediction that over the next decade the DOW will mostly go up in dollar terms and get sliced to single digit percentages in energy, gold and food terms.

  140. Bill Simpson January 4, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    All these problems are manageable, until peak oil starts to really bite around 2015.

  141. Patrizia January 4, 2011 at 4:04 am #

    If there was still somebody ignoring the future of the Dollar and the Euro, this morning, reading what is going on in the world scene, can have a clear view of their future.
    Chinese are buying the State Bonds of Spain (as they already did with Portugal and Greece) in EURO.
    America is NOT a good customer anymore (the customer without money is NOT a good customer) while Europe is relatively a good market, at least for the near future.
    The big problem of the Chinese regarding the dollar (what made them lenders beyond any rational behavior)was the fear of losing a big market where to sell their over production.
    How could they lose their bigger customer?
    But Europe is even a bigger market, with its 450.000.000 people (the Americans are 307,006,550).
    The procedure is the same; I buy your bonds with my merchandise.
    They will have a triple result: they can dump the dollar, they can go on producing, they can win any competition that could arise if a weak dollar means better priced american goods.
    The European WILL HAVE to buy from China, MUTUAL agreements…
    We won’t be slave of the Rockellfellers anymore, but it will be just the same.
    Names change, but the reality doesn’t.
    That is the price you pay when you exchange freedom for “comfort”.

  142. techi January 4, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    BTW – your Euro forecast, same problem. The Euro like the dollar is just computer entries. They’ll figure out how to create enough of them to keep things bumbling along. After all it’s just a few key strokes.

  143. techi January 4, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    People have this crazy idea that governments collect taxes and make up for the shortfall by floating bonds. That is just plain nuts. What really happens is that congress authorizes spending, the money is spent into existence. The bonds are floated after the fact to balance the books. How do you think that magically fed auctions are always 3-4x over subscribed? Who the hell can lend the USA 2 trillion dollars a year? If we started a war with China, would we have to wait for a bond auction to start spending. If you think so, I have a bridge for sale at great price.
    Stop think and measuring in terms of a transient medium of exchange and start thinking in terms of wealth and you’ll get a whole lot better and understanding events and forecasting the future.

  144. Patrizia January 4, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    “After all it’s just a few key strokes.”
    But who regulates those key strokes?
    The value, as for anything else is given by the demand and the offer.
    If you offer more than the demand the price goes down, if you offer less the price (value) goes up.
    What happens if the oil, weath, gas, is paid in Euros?
    What happens if nobody wants dollars, or euros or whatever?
    And what happens if with those key strokes you make something nobody wants?
    Any prediction is going to be casual, because you cannot predict a future based on premises you do not know.
    And in the same way you cannot regulate a market when you cannot regulate all variables.
    There is only one way to do it: playing honestly, no tricks, no false money, no richness created with key strokes.
    But that is hard and people do not want to be told sad stories.
    They like to believe in miracles, they welcome the ones who promise all with little.
    But arithmetics is a science, based on solid equations.
    2+2 makes 4, but 2-4 makes -2.
    Unless you make new rules (may be with a war), that -2 will always be -2.

  145. sergei nechaev January 4, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    rather a long-winded read this time. Frankly I prefer my weekly Kunstler dose a bit shorter & pithier. I got as far as relocating Israel to Nebraska (which is actually a great idea). Didn’t see any mention of the Naxalite challenge to Shining India’s raw-material-greed-rampage in the tribal belt, but by then I was just skimming. And afraid that I don’t have the time to study the comments very thoroughly, but hope everyone had the chance to see the 16 photographs of devastated Detroit in yesterday’s Guardian. Moved me to tears. Clearly the shape of things to come
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2011/jan/02/photography-detroit#/?picture=370173054&index=0

  146. MarlinFive54 January 4, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    Everything I own is made in China
    I’m in love with a girl with a pierced vagina,
    My Winchester rifle is made from Walnut & milled steel
    The plant where it was made is abandoned, crumbling & surreal.
    I,m still working on it, this poem of mine.

  147. Sean Strange January 4, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    2011 will be the year the stars come right again and great Cthulhu rises from his dead slumber at R’lyeh. This will herald a new age when men become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones will teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth will flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.

  148. ffkling January 4, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    “Jonabark” you make a sound point. How many people know, for example, that Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed and Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al Thani are two of the worlds most financially generous supporters of species conservation-damn few I predict? These two gentlemen are expending significant resources to mitigate the wave of flora and fauna extinctions now occurring. More life is being driven extinct now than at any other time in the last 67 million years thanks to mankind. We are living in the midst of what scientists term as a, “Sixth Mass Extinction Event.” How many more broken links in the chain of life can Mother Nature endure before the planetary ecosystem implodes? At the present rate we will soon find out.

  149. MarlinFive54 January 4, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Everything I own is made in China,
    I’m in love with a tattooed girl with a pierced vagina.
    My Winchester Rifle is fashioned with Walnut & Milled Steel,
    The plant where it was made, 20,000 strong, is now abandoned, crumbling & surreal.
    I’ll have to think up some more C&W lyrics. And Thanx for the help, Mook!

  150. antimatter January 4, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Over the holidays, and actually a week before Christmas, I turned off the news channels on TV and stopped listening to alternative radio on the net, and I stopped reading the NY Times.

    Monday, I turned some of it back on. I suggest you try this too–turn it all off for three weeks, but pay attention to YOUR life—how’s it going? Then after three weeks, turn all the media back on again.

    I noticed that the media has stepped right over the economic issues and is into:

    • Terror overseas
    • How great the stock market is doing
    • How the GOP is really going to kick butt in 2011
    • The 2012 election
    • Entertainment news—e.g., Lindsay Lohan got out to attend holiday parties, but will be going back
    • Sports
    • International banking and foreign policy

    The domestic unemployment problem? Gone.

    The continued outsourcing of jobs? Gone.

    ANY major domestic economic issues? None.

    And local news? The same. Here where I have local TV, the major channel did one of those ‘we help people who get ripped off’ segments about a young woman who paid $25,000 to an interior decorator and felt she didn’t get her money’s worth. This worthy of several minutes on the dinner time news on the highest rated channel in the area. On that same day, I happen to know that 60 people stood outside at 630am, waiting until 720am, in a line in 15 degree temperatures to ask for help with their heat, electric bills and other matters from the local social services office, but of course, that is not news.

    My view is what it has been: the economy can do without approximately 20% of the previous workforce (2002-2009), and there is more money in outsourcing than in domestic employment, and the government knows it, and has known it for a good while, not just ‘yesterday.’

    So, let’s make it more real. You are living say in upstate New York, and your area’s major employer moves away, and everyone is laid off, and thus, all those who made money from that employer’s employees are effectively laid off. The employer says he’s not coming back. NY State says ‘there is hope,’ but employment is dead. What do all those people do? They cannot move, no money, and lets say because they are from upstate NY, the word is out not to hire those people. Finish this game — what does that population do? Because this is where the entire country is headed, lead today by the 20%+ who are unemployed and starving, not able to stay warm. The government won’t listen or care.

    What is the next move for these people in the game I’ve proposed above? Their cell phones are cut off–they can’t afford them. They can’t get on the ‘net—they can’t afford to keep their connections. And they stand in line to get their heat back on, the electric working again, maybe riding the bus to do so—taking 3 hours a day. How do these people step up to do anything to truly help themselves?

    Meanwhile, in this game, the media, in bold color on TV flat panels, tells the nation how great everything is and implies that to criticize the government might be considered a DHS issue.

    Theoretically, suppose that two college men, at say, Cornell, both with Arabic names, were found to have been the cause of that strange stock market crash moment last May, or suppose they had caused a huge crash, the capture of trillions of transaction dollars which resulted in a major banking crisis. Would they have been charged under the Patriot Act? Or would they have been dope slapped on CNBC with a smile, and congratulated for ‘testing’ the viability of the markets as a ‘boys will be boys’ gesture?

    I rest my case.

  151. lbendet January 4, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    “Gird your loins for lower living standards” JHK Indeed, but not for all.
    Today on Morning Joe, you know the show I love to hate, many discussions were had ranging from the issue of taxing the rich between repentant former neoliberal Jeffrey Sachs and the unabashed proponent of no taxing the rich the former NYS Gov. George Pataki.
    Fait accompli–and speaking of NYS Govs. Andrew Cuomo has just made a statement that state employee pensions are going to be greatly reduced. Well of course tax-payers can’t possible pay for the Keynsian system after 30 years of neoliberalism, so it will take a Democrat to kill the pensions. The world we came from is slipping away and both parties have come to realize the new conditions that some have brought upon us.
    After that discussion came a great segment with Chrystia Freeland who is writing a book about the world wide elite.
    The Atlantic has just put in a 7-page segment entitled “The Rise of the New Global Elite.”
    [Jeff Faux wrote a book a few years back called “The Global Class War” similar theme with a different emphasis and conclusion, but this is truly worth reading.]
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/the-rise-of-the-new-global-elite/8343/1/
    “In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.”
    Enjoy the article.

  152. Cash January 4, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Patrizia
    I’m curious about your background. IMO your few posts have more wisdom condensed into them than the rest of us put together.
    For instance you say:
    “And in the same way you cannot regulate a market when you cannot regulate all variables.”
    That’s an interesting take on things. I was inclined to disagree to some extent. I think that govt micromanagement can’t work for the reason you just stated. But on the other hand you might try to deal with the bigger issues like separating investment banking from deposit taking banks as in Glass Steagall.
    But then you say:
    “There is only one way to do it: playing honestly…”
    And that’s the key: playing honestly, no tricks. That little appleseed of an idea sounds trite but it’s not. Because playing honestly is a fools game on Wall Street and business in general where varying shades of dishonesty and deception are the norm you have whole orchards of corruption. People say buyer beware but that doesn’t always work. There are multitudes of instances where the playing field isn’t level and can never be unless as you say people play honestly.
    And my favourite: “no false money.”
    They should use this little phrase in university economics courses. I could tap this keyboard for fifty years and I couldn’t come up with that.
    And this is brilliant:
    “But that is hard and people do not want to be told sad stories.”
    You bet they don’t.
    And then:
    “They like to believe in miracles, they welcome the ones who promise all with little.”
    Damn right they do.

  153. dale January 4, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Yes, Ridley sums it up very well, I’m about the same age as he, and have seen the same outcomes.
    There is no end of reasons for why we are “doomed”, even I can see them and shudder sometimes. Over the years the reasons always change but the precipice just stays constantly on the dim horizon. I’m sure a clever monk in the middle ages could have written similar predictions as JHK and the clan…oh, that’s right, there was one…Nostradamus! or how about the Mayans….or whatever. Why would anyone believe they are any better at predicting the future than we are? It’s just so ridiculous, you have to laugh.
    Let’s have a New Years toast in the hope we continue our 2,000 year history of laughably incorrect predictions of “doom” just outside our field of view.

  154. CynicalOne January 4, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    antimatter,
    You are exactly right about the local media. For quite some time they’ve been more fluff than substance but lately it seems to be even more so.
    For instance, a couple of nights ago (Christmas was OVER) a story was done on an elder couple who decorate their Christmas tree with 900 ornaments. No, I’m serious. That WAS the story. Even the “reporter” seemed to struggle to find an interesting angle.
    What an absolute joke.
    I think, just for kicks, I’ll start logging how many actual minutes of airtime are spent covering NEWS and how much is more akin to advertising, community “events”, public relations and the obligatory “warm and fuzzy” story of virtually every newscast these days.
    Then I think I’ll email these “stats” of mine to the station(s) and see if I get any response whatsoever from them. Maybe they can explain how it is they still call it a “newscast”.
    It’s really all about keeping the sheeple calm and consuming. So far it’s working brilliantly.
    I wonder if all media got orders from on high to play along or else.

  155. J Lee January 4, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    Visit Puerto Rico see the future now.

  156. Buck Stud January 4, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    You know, taking a break from the media cuts in different directions. For instance, one could eschew the internet and “doom sites” in particular, and perhaps have a refreshed perspective, devoid of a disproportionate pessimism if you will. It might even feel like 1991 or 1983 again. One might even consciously choose to, echoing the lyrics of Jackson Browne, “become a happy idiot and struggle for the legal tender.”
    And doesn’t that choice, informed by various other alternative considerations, posses a certain potency beyond ignorance and denial? Especially when the alternative is the impotency of gnashing one’s teeth in internet weeping rooms?
    And that’s why I laugh when various internet personalities pose the question ‘ How Long Before the Rebellion? ’ or other such intellectually disingenuous nonsense.
    You first buddy, what’s holding YOU back from acting, leading by example as they say. You posed the question; you be the proud nail.
    Of course that will never happen and that is why internet sites are in many ways indistinguishable from the MSM fluff that doom site readers sanctimoniously castigate.

  157. observer January 4, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    “The Dow is a dead banana republic dictator in full military uniform propped up in the castle window with a mechanical lever moving the cadaver’s arm, waving to the Wall Street crowd.”

    –Michael Bolser, MIDAS (April 2004) quoted by Ellen Hodgson Brown in “The Web of Debt.”

    Brown tells about the Plunge Protection Team, created in 1989, and the Counterparty Risk Management Policy Group. These entites, as well as the big banks engaging in programmed trades with their billions of bucks and their superfast computers have made “investing” an impossibility.

    With CDs paying less than 1 per cent, the bond bubble popped, and the stock game rigged, what’s a retiree to do? Sometimes I look at the KIVA.org website for business ideas. There you can see what the truly poor use their micro loans for–fishing, pigs, a little store in their homes, seeds.

  158. The Mook January 4, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Would that be the one south of Miami or Reading, Pennsylvania?

  159. The Mook January 4, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Wow! That’s some major ass kissing.

  160. Tancred January 4, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    “…and the National Basketball Association.”
    Just what is it with JHK’s virulent antipathy to athletics? I can understand hating NASCAR (check out South Park’s episode poking fun at the same), but it seems that watching any kind of sports performance, let’s say, an NBA game, is cast aside as some useless pastime of Cheeze-Doodling ciphers. This speaks volumes about JHK’s obvious insecurities. It seems that every week he has to find several examples of American behavior that he deems to be “low brow,” regardless of the many types of people that might enjoy them. I know plenty of sophisticated, well-educated people that enjoy watching a good game. I don’t think JHK ever really liked sports because he was that kid that got chosen last for the dodgeball game teams. His whole attitude on this blog sounds just like some resentful little man-sissy that has to denigrate all sports and the people that enjoy the same just to make himself feel better. I think any American citizen should have experience in, and knowledge of, our sports traditions. Hell, I was man enough to strike out in Little League. Rather than say “It’s just a bunch of guys running around smashing into each other” I actually understand tactics and strategies of football. Rules. Out-of-bounds. mutual effort to win. It builds character. And I can talk to my father about Nabokov or the Red Sox any time. Why such hating on all sports?

  161. The Mook January 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    I think it’s a black thing. Since it is politically incorrect to profile a certain race the writer uses “tools” to make his point. If the reader agrees, nothing is said. If he is confronted about it, he denies it. This is the main reason I don’t take literary types so seriously. Edgar Allen Poe described the house as blue beacause it was. Not because he was in a blue mood. English teachers suck! Now I am going to eat my grits and pork rinds.

  162. San Jose Mom 51 January 4, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I’m proud that California’s new governor had a modest inauguration yesterday. Whereas Arnold had a celebrity-studded gala that cost millions, Jerry Brown served hotdogs on the capitol grounds. Total cost was around $60,000.
    When Brown was governor back in the 1960’s he scoffed at living at the new governor’s mansion built by Nancy and Ronald Reagan. He got an apartment near the capitol and laid a mattress on the floor of the bedroom. (Living life simply probably came from his training to become a Jesuit priest.)
    On another positive note, my sister (yes, the same Annie Oakley) has a habit of collecting all her change during the year in a jar and then finding a worthy cause for donation near Christmas. They have a neighbor woman who works two jobs (one at Walmart) to support her family of four (two kids and an unemployed alcoholic husband). She anonymously gave the woman the money from the jar ($150) and told my mom about it. My mom got 17 people from around the country to anonymously send this woman $10 each along with a Christmas card. (Hopefully her husband doesn’t open the mail.)
    Happy new year. Jen

  163. Cash January 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Re James’ post Jan 3 12:39
    Congratulations to James assuming of course that he’s as good as he says. Maybe in reality he’s a total goof, living in his parents’ basement without two cents to rub together.
    But I’m with Jackie on this.
    Sometimes you have to use some common sense and consideration ie do not rub people’s noses in it. It is really tacky.
    If you have some big scores enjoy the fruits of your success, buy the best vintages etc. You earned it. Enjoy it. And shut the fuck up. These are not good times. There’s a lot of people hurting.
    James refuses to understand something, that pride goeth before the fall. He is tempting fate. He sounds like a young fellow and apparently doesn’t know any better. But I’ve seen people like him brought low, some by bad luck, some by their own ego and their own mistakes, some by the malice of others.
    Others have warned James to not be too cocky. I have too so, adios, my work is done and I’m scrolling past him from now on.

  164. barbarena January 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Didn’t see any mention of this in Jim’s tea-leaves: Shouldn’t the student loan market start to tank in 2011, with defaults increasing and the multi-billion dollar market in securitized student loan debt starting to shudder like a dying snake (the “new” subprime crisis)?
    High unemployment plus aggressive internet marketing of student loans will show a new wave of suboptimal borrowers, Junior/Community College students mouthing the standard takeout order: Two $500 textbooks, a Student Loan tax deduction with Cheese, and a Small I.Q. on the side.

  165. The Mook January 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Has there been a mass exodus from this blog?

  166. lbendet January 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Tancred,
    Taking a lunch break and struck by your comment.
    Don’t think JHK is anathema to all sports. First of all he’s talking about being a spectator not an athlete.
    I’m not one to put words in anyone’s mouth or to speak up for someone else, but I think the point JHK is making is that while the rug is being taken out from under us we are focusing on diversions of the familiar as we are entering unfamiliar territory.
    I might be wrong, but that’s how I read it.

  167. Patrizia January 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    There are many things I cannot stand, but the one I can stand less is that everybody knows perfectly WHO created the actual crisis, they write about them, they post videos on youtube.
    And everybody KNOWS that the same ones where the ones to profit while the people on the road lost their job, their home and their future.
    BUT NOBODY DOES ANYTHING.
    Very often it is much better to be blind and dumb.
    Who lives better than the ones who are happy to sit in front of their TV looking at the last soap (and enjoying it)?

  168. jerry January 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    The Obamadier has totally F***ed us!! Whether he was part of the ‘con-us’ team of ‘Neoconclastic’ elite oligarchs , or he was conscripted into their war camp upon taking the Presidential soft shoe stage, the fact is that he is piloting the air ship filled with the enemy dropping the austerity-f**k-you bombs upon the Great Unwashed working stiff.
    The dollar may continue to remain a refuge for the frightened global elite, which would allow Bernanke to continue to monetize these deposits into free money for the continued non-productive war machine and banksta elites to gamble on the market hoping to gather enough wealth to stash away prior to their stock prices tumbling to the ground.
    There is really no real hope for a recovery of the real economy and the jobs that would comprise it. We will see standards of living falling globally, while the Neoconclastic Elite continue to gamble on the Wall Streets of the world until the helium drains out of their growth balloons.
    Great piece, James. Well done.
    http://eye-on-washington.blogspot.com

  169. Cash January 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I agree with your assessment of our present situation.
    WRT Asoka, do what I do. Scroll past. You are raising your blood pressure for nothing. I just got sick of his refutations of arguments I didn’t make, his reading of meanings into my posts that I didn’t remotely intend and my having to burn time clearing the record as to what I actually wrote and/or meant.
    But what finally ended it for me was, as you say, self aggrandizement, at the expense of Wage, Lewis and Bean (I think) over the issue of the difficulty of making a living in the book trade. In comes Asoka, triumphant, with a statistic about the national increase in sales or some such as if it makes a pinch of difference to someone whose store is in an economically depressed town. Pissed me off no end. It was really inconsiderate and nasty.
    Asoka has presented himself as a sexagenarian but I would bet, as others have said, he’s not a day over 30, if that. I remember how good things were in the 1950s/60s/70s for men like my dad who came to this country with no education, no money, no skills besides subsistence farming, but was able to get good paying jobs that easily supported a family of four with a car and a decent house. Such men as my Dad would have NO CHANCE nowadays. Nowadays they’d be scratching in shit jobs with shit wages with no ability to support a family.
    But Asoka, apparently has no knowledge of things past, has NO IDEA how far this continent has slid economically, has NO CLUE how limited opportunities are for ordinary people compared to 1945-1975. That’s because IMO he’s too young. He didn’t see it. Accounts of those times from old farts like me and maybe you cut no ice with him.
    Having said that I don’t hold that against him. When I was young my parents told me stories about hard times in the old country and about living in terror as kids on the front lines as armies passed through their village. Cut no ice with me either at the time.
    You can also hold against him his blind, strident partisanship in defiance of common sense and what his lyin’ eyes are tellin’ ‘im. Personally I don’t. Lot’s of people like him. Asoka pulls “facts” out of the ether. Well, maybe they’re facts, maybe they aren’t. Maybe they’re a mash of distorted, fucked with statistics and accounts. You don’t know who’s on whose payroll, who has what ideological or political axe to grind.
    What I prefer is reading what plain, ordinary folks see with their own eyes, what they hear from their friends, families and associates and what they think about things. The old fashioned, common sense of the common people in other words. Common sense in capital letters.
    Maybe this post is giving Asoka more time than it’s worth. But there you have it. That’s my take. Save your health, scroll past.

  170. LewisLucanBooks January 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    “Hubris enters before Nemesis.” Saw that somewhere, recently. I think it applies to James. Poetic justice, karma, whatever….

  171. fairguy January 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    Prairie Schooner, I tend to agree that the breakdown process is likely to be slower than described in Jim’s post. But in addition to Rome, history also offers scarier scenarios like Germany between the wars culminating in Hitler. So I’d make room for a high probability that the process will occur with a bang and be more immediate and violent than we can imagine.

  172. LewisLucanBooks January 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Thank you.
    What I’ve noticed “out here” over the past couple of weeks is lots of young folk with big nap sacks. Travelers on foot. Maybe it’s the holidays. Trying to get home. Not by bus or train but on foot.
    Another recent development in our little county. Meth is being replaced by black tar heroin. About six months ago, I noticed in the “Sirens” section of the newspaper, busts for heroin, which in this part of the world was a new development. “Odd,” I thought. Now there’s been an article about it.
    Apparently, Meth is more expensive and it’s a price thing.

  173. asia January 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    The plant where it was made,
    20,000 strong, is now abandoned,
    thanks to bill clinton nafta and gatt
    what ya think of that
    asoka and rush limbo
    point for where we should go
    saying move in a hurry
    but what dont worry
    we print currency and bonds
    build prisssonnnns
    creat sanctuary cities for the MS13
    a bum is singing
    its hard to be green
    [that last line really ahppened last nite at sawtelle in west la]

  174. Belisarius January 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    “Failing wheat crops in the northern and southern hemispheres will have dire consequences and food inflation will certainly end in disaster. When exactly this occurs and in tandem with what other “black swan” events is as yet unclear, however, my guess is that by April, when reviewed Q3 and Q4 2010 numbers come in, will be a prime time to consider enabling any emergency contingency plans you may have. Open trade wars are likely to become typical, trade agreements will be scrapped, or come to mean little”
    If those contingency plans include moving, i suggest implementing them NOW, if possible. It takes quite awhile (years, not months) to get a farm sustainable on local imputs, and it can take years, once producing, to integrate into a rural neighborhood. It is difficult to stash enough supplies to last so long, and easy to overlook needed items. For example, it might be diffuclt to get a decent greenhouse constructed soon, and a portable might not last. Items like a biodiesel rototiller might not be obtainable at any price.
    Weather is increasingly unpredictable each year and this trend is intensifying. Arguing over causes, (CO2, deforestation, solar cycles, “weather wars” etc.) is interesting, but misses the point. There is simply not going to be enough food to go around, and soon. Many will realise the need to produce their own food this year, so waiting for lower prices to buy land might not work out. Keeping track of what you consume for a month is a good idea. Multiply x24 to get an idea of what a year of no harvest will require you to have stored, if commerce craters.
    I have taken my own advice, and will not have much time to comment for awhile.

  175. Beplastered Psyche January 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Nice —” Israel, settlement of my people since 1945 (traditionally, for millennia)”,unquote.
    Throwing softballs at “your people” while inserting abhorrent lies makes your masterpiece look like a twisted Picasso devoid of any real facts.
    Juxtapose that with an Englishman attempting to claim a piece of land in Switzerland just because his ancestors moved from there a millenary or so back in time.






  176. asia January 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    ‘Erin Burnett discussed our troops protecting Chinese mine operations’
    previously we were at satrap for korea and japan…now its red china. yikes!

  177. Maynard January 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    You’re probably right that the current corporate elite will simply “take” northern New England and the Great Lakes region rather than buying it legally….but it will probably be done through some sort of robo-signing, pseudo-legal transaction rather than the use of Blackwater security forces…at least at first.
    But in regards to FEMA camps…that’s exactly where Katrina refugees were sent. I’m not making a paranoid assertion about the FEMA camps like Alex Jones. But when people are displaced, FEMA is the agency that sets up their immediate lodging, and no other word besides “camp” seems accurate. Like I said, even these bunk accommodations won’t last long before the rule of law collapses completely and most of us are living in dead zones out of some Zombie Apocalypse movie.

  178. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    I happen to know that 60 people stood outside at 630am, waiting until 720am, in a line in 15 degree temperatures to ask for help with their heat, electric bills and other matters from the local social services office, but of course, that is not news.

    No, its ‘Let them eat cake’ and they need to get a job time on the 5 o’clock news.
    Can someone else comment on how individuals could get get photos with news story posted for all to see. ‘Alternet’ looks interesting but I’m not sure? The social network part puts me off.
    The next time I see something like what you saw maybe I could get a picture and a story posted somewhere.
    I suspect I won’t have to wait long. Budgets for state services in WA State have been slashed by 4 billion dollars. An income tax on the richest 1% to keep essential services operating was voted down in our last election. A propaganda campaign by opponents to defeat the legislation made enough people irrationally believe their head was next on the chopping block. The income tax was only for incomes $250,000 and up and I believe there was some wording restricting how it could be changed in the future.
    The pan on the stove sizzles with it’s eggs and the voice says: This is your brain on ignorance, any questions?

  179. ladelfina January 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Tancred, I share Kunstler’s antipathy. I can’t speak for him, but I can (as can anyone) attest to the absolutely ridiculous amounts of resources thrown down the shitter for the sake of sports: the tax breaks, the obscene salaries, the construction of stadii and highways for 10(?) games a year on the public dime (Bob Kraft, I’m lookin’ at YOU!).
    There’s a GROTESQUE level of public subsidy to the private sports monopolies. So it’s something pretty easy to resent on the part of those who couldn’t give two shits about sports, like me.
    Music and other arts are facing funding cuts, but a “normal” high school has a track, an olympic pool, a football stadium, a gym. Who gets cuts? The librarians, not the coaches, god forbid!
    I live in Italy, where soccer outstrips the Catholic church in terms of fidelity and adherence.
    A mind-blowing ad last year (*promoting* soccer!) showed famous players being carried around piggyback by average folks, getting on the bus, walking to work, etc. The song playing in the background? “E non ci lasceremo maaaiiii” (“And we will never leave each other…”). Either the director was sardonically telegraphing this unhealthy parasitic relationship or? (I prefer not to contemplate the alternative).
    http://video.giovani.it/sky-calcio-cm-non-ci-lasceremo-mai.html
    Sky is our Murdoch/FOX satellite monopoly, present elsewhere in Europe, too, but I’m not sure if there are competitors outside of Italy.

  180. progressorconserve January 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Happy New Year to JHK and CFN!
    What a great set of gloom and doom predictions for us, JHK! Some of them have a near 100% chance of occurring. For example, Peak Oil is gaining more and more attention – and it is going to become more and more of a factor for the Globe – regardless.
    Other predictions make for an interesting *pure fantasy* mental exercise – with low chance of occurrence. For example, a popular rebellion of the residents of the US has a probability of near 0%.
    We are too narcotized by the media and the whispy remnants of the American Dream. We are too well fed. Those of us who understand that the country has gone off the rails are too old and too invested in the dream – even if we lack the money to make it come true.
    And those who are young enough to rebel may be even more narcotized than average. Or else they are young and new to the US – and consider our degraded situation to be “normal,” and better than wherever they immigrated from – and it may BE better –
    The question, of course, is “better” for how long-
    Those who

  181. Speeding Pullet January 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Dale, here’s a toast to 2011 .. /clink/
    We human types are not good at predicting the future – and that’s about all that can be said about it. However, it won’t be surprising if 2011 sees gasoline getting more expensive (along with food and other forms of energy), if the wars in the Middle East continue, if China continues to ramp up its automobile use, or if the Euro does or doesn’t do better, and so on. None of these things are worth betting the farm on. Can bad things happen? Certainly, but the likelihood of Mad Max style cannibalism breaking out is pretty small compared to other possible scenarios, like the USA enduring for many more years, or gasoline prices rising no more than 20% during the year, or Fox Noise continuing to have a smaller audience share than Spongebob Squarepants (hint: they’d catch more flies with honey than with poop) .. and it behooves us to plan for what’s more likely to happen than what’s less likely to happen.
    Love that use of “field of view”. What most of us fail to grasp is that we see only the most minuscule slices of the big picture, and that interpreting the whole from those scattered bits is worse than reading tea leaves or entrails. We may as well call ourselves government economists at that point ;)

  182. ozone January 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    “Creating a website with mugshots, and google-earth photos of Caribbean expat getaways would be an nice goal for 2011. Any on Isla de Roatan (Honduras) out of to curiosity?” k-dog
    Sorry, no serious looks at Roatan yet, but as someone who’s been there (as I’m sure you have; noting your curiosity) I’d have to say that would be a pretty bad bet as a hideout. Too easy for “divers” (get it?) to waltz in for things other than the magnificent diving. And re-supply? Sheeeeit, you’ve probably seen how that could be a LARGE problem for folks who’ve never known a day of privation in their lives.
    ‘Twere I, I’d hie myself far into the highlands and start farming [and getting off the grid], quickly. The ecology hasn’t yet been ruined (as it has been raped and destroyed in neighboring Guatemala). It’s a good place as long as you stay well clear of military and police; kinda Wild-Westy, if you like that sort of thing. (Fairly sound advice anywhere, eh?)
    Regarding your solid point of “we’re all in this together in a time of trouble”: ABSOLUTELY! Nothing like the common goal of survival of your children to get folks together on a coherent plan.
    Example: If I won a lottery [bigtime], I’d invest it all in wind turbines to power my community and establish an R&D center for alternative power sources as an extension of MIT. Getting permits from the town to do so would be a freakin’ snap! (I mean, really, what’s it gonna cost ‘em if I was the guy throwing all the $ at it?) Buy toys??? What the hell good will they do me; I don’t need more shit to look after; I got a furnace to feed!

  183. LewisLucanBooks January 4, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    A big shout out to K-Dog! Also a resident of Washington State.
    Just before that election, NPR was interviewing a “small business owner” who was against the tax on the rich. How he could, someday, maybe hire another employee if this tax wasn’t passed. As the interview was winding down, the moderator asked if he was in the group making over $250,000.
    After lots of hemming, hawing and waffling he finally fessed up and admitted he did not make anywhere near that much. But, you know, he might, someday…. Smelled like a plant. Or, just as deluded as a lot of other Americans.
    Someday I’m going to hit that lottery or Ed McMahon will visit my house with that big check. Or, I’ll inherit a pile of money from some unknown relative. Or, as Dave Ramsey says, “Ed McMahon is NOT going to visit your house. Playing the lottery is NOT a retirement plan.

  184. mattg January 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Wow, that was pretty over the top bs fear mongering even for this site. Sure the system is phoney and super inefficient; people are obsessed with their next car or lame nick nack. The solution is contained in the complaint people.
    We’re not running out of oil anytime soon and 10-20 years is a long time in the human time scale. Plus it’s not like there’s a real theat of MIRV ICBMs raining down on our heads like when I was a kid. The sun will shine, people will continue to laught. I’m not a poly anna but fuck off.

  185. ozone January 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    “I’ll have to think up some more C&W lyrics. And Thanx for the help, Mook!”
    Whoa, whoa, holt up thar Marlin.
    Them ain’t “lyrics” (songwise); they don’t rhythm out or “sing” fer dog-doo.
    Gots to be a bunch more compact (or “pithy”, if you will) if you’re thinking “song”.
    Poem? Mmmmmm, sure, why not? No “measuring” problems there.
    (Just some friendly “directionals”; I like your premise.)

  186. asoka January 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    LewisLucanBooks, I agree with Dave Ramsey that “playing the lottery is not a retirement plan”
    But purchasing one lottery ticket a month ($12 a year) is also not destructive of a retirement plan.
    If you don’t buy the ticket, you have no chance of winning. It only takes one ticket to win. If you buy the ticket once a month, you lose $12 a year. No biggie.
    I think both things can happen in a person’s life: you can have a retirement plan, and you can buy lottery tickets. It’s not an either/or proposition.

  187. asoka January 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Cash said: “Maybe this post is giving Asoka more time than it’s worth.”
    Maybe?
    You wasted a lot of my precious time talking about Asoka, who, as E. pointed out, nobody knows who or what he or she or it is. Ad hominem is a complete waste of CFN bandwidth. Stick to the issues, or better yet, scroll past Asoka and don’t spend anymore time on him. He is not worth it.

  188. ozone January 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Sounds like projection (as well as naked baiting).

  189. ozone January 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    That’s what came through to me [as subtext] as well.

  190. BeantownBill January 4, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    There’s a foolproof way to win the jackpot in the lottery – really. Take Massachusetts, my state. We have a Mega Millions game jackpot that currently stands at $330,000,000, so the prizes can be huge.
    The odds of winning the jackpot are 175,000,000 to 1. There are 2 drawings per week, or about 100 per year. If you buy 1 ticket per game, you almost certainly will have won after playing for about 2 million years (unless you have very bad luck and it takes 10 million years). So all you have to do is discover the secret of immortality and keep on playing. Unless you beat incredibly long odds and win within the present normal human lifespan.
    Someone once told me that all I ever had to do is buy 1 ticket, and if God wants me to win, that’s all it would take.

  191. fairguy January 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    “And then there’s Israel, settlement of my people since 1945 (traditionally, for millennia), but a very troubled polity in which a cult of religious fanatics every bit as extreme as their counterparts in surrounding nations are taking over by sheer population explosion.”
    One Factual correction and a few notes:
    Fact: Israel was established in 1948. Jews have lived in Israel as a minority through the millenia.
    Notes:
    1. The takeover of the country by religious fanatics is indeed happening but not at the rate one would think from reading the post. At current, the religious parties in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) occupy 23 of 120 seats. They exert inordinate power to their numbers due to the nature of parliamentary democracy and coalition agreements.
    2. The more dangerous group in my mind are the right wing nationalists – a mix of religious and secular. They occupy 65 seats and are a majority. They are the reason Israel makes severe mistakes like the flotilla attack earlier in the year.
    3. Secular nationalists like the PM Netanyahu may get fed up and join forces with the left and left-center secular groups to stem the ultra-religious tide. for example by stopping handouts for this unproductive population segment. That is unlikely to happen.
    4. The most immediate danger to Israel is none of the above, but rather (as Jim later points out) the Hezbollah rockets and a nuclear Iran.

  192. slack1 January 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    Jim, I have read your column faithfully for a couple of years now and greatly enjoy your literary bent. However, after processing your doom and gloom for a long period, I actually find the the technical part of my mindset rallying to greater optimism. Yes, like you, I have long been concerned about the limitations of growth on our crowded planet, but at the same time, I am struck by how history does not always repeat itself. We are in a confounding economic period. I am convinced that even the brightest of the bright do not have a clear understanding of where we’re headed. Currently we have a deflation in the economy (i.e. housing prices)paralleling the potentially inflationary costs from a shortage of energy. We have a disconnect in employment. On the one hand, 10 to 20% of Americans are struggling to find work, while the remaining 80% are doing well and in some cases fabulously. My thought is the true dynamicism of what is going on is that we are in the early stages of a form of population control, which frankly is welcome in a burdened world. I don’t think many jobs which have been lost in this recession are ever coming back. But that does not mean the economy will tank. Au contraire. Sadly, the permanently unemployed will have severely shortened lives. I am struck by the anecdotal evidence of increased suicides, murders, arsons, cancers, and mental illness, and so forth in the newspaper every day. I am convinced the statistics on all of these events and more are under-reported. Even though the media says the murder rate has dropped, I am not convinced. Perhaps this is preferable to having a sudden overwhelming incident in which millions of people die all at once! Marginalization of some of the American population will relieve some of the pressure buildup you’re concerned about. Before this recession started my house had never been robbed. One year into the recession, I was broken into and all my electronics were stolen. Fortunately nothing sentimental was damaged or taken. In a way, I made a contribution to entertaining the unemployed! At the same time I contributed to the growth of the security industry by upgrading my alarm system and buying newer electronics with more features for less money than what I’d lost. My first prediction therefore is this recession is already over for the 80 to 85% of the employed population which is employed but will never be over for those who are not currently employed. My guess is that marijuana may be legalized sooner or later in order to pacify those whose lives are diminished (Obama needs to make this a priority). Life is not fair, and yet the Darwinist rules continue to apply. Sadly many people’s lives around the world will be destroyed by this recession. But brighter days lie ahead. As a scientist, I know that technological breakthroughs can occur when you least expect them. There are many examples in history when at the bleakest moment (i.e. the decline in whale population threatened the supply of whale oil heretofor used for lamps was replaced by kerosine) and I am sure such surprises are in store for the future. The biggest concern we have in the short run is not to let our government increase the duration of the recession by pandering to the citizens with a socialist agenda. Every citizen must rise to the challenge to be resourceful. Frankly, I have greater faith in philantropic billionaires spending money more wisely than I do the government. True, we probably need to start a new works program similar to the CCC that what one of our greatest Presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt started during the Great Depression. Over Christmas I was fortunate to spend a week in NYC. Much as I love that city, I always feel for example that the subways are less than clean. Perhaps we should keep people busy cleaning them in exchange for some food and dignity. The rough and tumble of America still makes us a great country and the heartbreak has given us great writers, musicians, and artists.

  193. Jeremy_H January 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Well, I think I’ve discovered why the author’s predictions about last year were so far off. As it turns out, he has absolutely not a clue what he’s talking about.
    I haven’t read such ill-informed drivel in ages.
    Thanks for a good laugh and a Happy New year to you all.
    Try not to be too miserable as the world’s economies recover and new and interesting solutions are rolled out to address formerly vexing problems.

  194. Donny-Don January 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    At least Kunstler admits that he was wrong — once again — about the Dow Jones falling to 4,000 by the end of 2010. As he was wrong in 2009. And 2008. And 2007. And 2006.
    But, hey: everyone is allowed a few mistakes, eh? Even if they are god-awful, out-of-touch-with-reality, freakin’ living-on-drugs mistakes. Dow 11,577! Well, at least he was close!
    Snicker.
    And now — get this — KUNTSLER’S MAKING THE SAME PREDICTION AGAIN FOR 2011! This is like watching Lucy tell Charlie Brown that she’s really, REALLY not going to yank the football away this year just at the moment he’s getting ready to kick it. No, really. She MEANS it this time!!
    What a schmuck.
    James Howard Kunstler, if you are reading this post, I HEREBY CHALLENGE YOU TO A BET.
    Making your wacky predictions is easy — it costs you nothing — if you don’t count a few keystrokes and the expense of a few more electrons purchased from your local power company. But, well, actually putting your MONEY where your mouth is would require the gumption to stand behind your ludicrous stock market forecasts. And something tells me that you’re not. going. to. take. my bet.
    Wanker.
    Here’s your opportunity to redeem yourself, JHK! I happen to believe the DJIA will finish 2011 north of 8,000. (Probably well north.) I WILL GLADLY BET YOU $1,000 THAT THE DJIA WILL BE ABOVE 8,000 AT COB DEC 31, 2012:
    If it finishes at 8,000.00 or above, you’d owe me $1,000.
    If it finishes at 4,500.00 or below (I’ll cut you a little slack), I’d owe you $1,000.
    If it finishes between 4,500 and 8,000, we’ll call it a draw.
    Whaddya say, Mr. Kunstler? Or, for that matter, any of your other readers?
    I’m tired of reading your reckless forecasts. Anybody can make outrageous forecasts; it takes a serious believer to put real money behind their outrageous forecasts. And I don’t believe Kunstler is a serious believer.
    Please fulfill my $1,000 fantasies and take me up on the offer. You can get my e-mail from this posting.
    And you can’t squirm out of this by arguing that $1,000 will be “worthless currency”. I’m willing to provide my side of the bet in the equivalent value of silver as of January 4, 2010.
    As for the rest of you posting on this site — are any of YOU willing to step up and take me up on this bet??? Something tells me you’re not.
    What a bunch of wankers.

  195. BeantownBill January 4, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Speaking of wankers – what kind of person would waste their time over four years reading what they consider drivel? Could it be… yes! A wanker.

  196. sevenmmm January 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    The article should have ended:
    Good Luck! Cause you’re all gonna need it!

  197. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    “10-20 years is a long time in the human time scale.”
    Oh that’s good to know, nothing to worry about at all.

  198. Belisarius January 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Bernie and the Inkjets can make Dow damn near anything they want. They don’t even have to tell us what our “print and prop” bill is. This works till it doesn’t, or till Ron Paul or whoever manages to take away their printing authority. Meanwhile, i’m not betting against Bernie. It’s a sure loss ’till they take away his toys, and, if they do, doubt i’ll be first to know, as i’m leaving the computer off most days.

  199. ctemple January 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    In the old Twilight Zone show, they had an episode called Death Ship, where a crew of astronauts land on a planet and discover a ship just like their own that has crashed, with three dead guys inside who look just like them. Two of the astronauts, Ross Martin was one of them, I don’t remember the other guy, come to believe that they are in effect, dead. The captain, Jack Klugman refuses to accept it and tells them that it is just some sort of illusion, and spends the whole episode trying to prove it. As it turns out, they are dead and keep doing and saying the same things over and over again, and apparently have done so thousands of times, and will keep on doing it forever.
    The country reminds me of this, very few people seem to able to get any kind of a grip, they want to go on and on spending money they don’t have, denying climate change because they don’t want to go off the Era of Happy Motoring, they want to get a housing market going again even though there are millions of foreclosed houses, and many cities look like malignant tumors already they are so big. The war mongers want wars to go indefinitely, even though we’re borrowing money to pay for them.
    Most people seem to be stuck in some kind of a time warp, and it seemingly is between about 1956 and 1985.

  200. Iona Laundramat January 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    Except that those odds of 175,000,000 to one are the odds EVERY time you play. The odds don’t improve with repeat attempts. So indeed, you’re better off playing once to see if you’re fated to win.
    I.L.

  201. LewisLucanBooks January 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Well, there WAS that $50,000 scratch ticket my Dad (89 years old) hit, two months ago ….. :D .

  202. LewisLucanBooks January 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    A couple of interesting things about real estate I found out recently.
    There’s a house listed for $69,500. What it is and where it is, that is an incredibly good deal. In fact, I thought maybe they’d dropped a diggit, like a 1 in front of that. But, it was listed as that for two weeks. So I did a little digging around. It assessed in the $140,000s and the last time it sold, it sold for around $160,000. Come to find out, it’s an auction and $69,500 is the opening bid. There is also a secret reserve price. Also, it looks to be part of a bundled mortgage deal. I found the current owner of record and Googled them.
    Another interesting thing. OK. Our county is in trouble, financially. Who’s isn’t? An elderly gent came into my store and told an interesting tale. His property taxes were just assessed up. While houses all around him were selling for less money. He called the assessors office to argue the point. He discovered that when doing assessments, they do not take into consideration foreclosures or short sales. He argued with them for about an hour and then gave up.
    Another interesting development is that if you challenge your assessment they may lower the valuation of your house … but up the valuation of your land, leaving you in the same place (or worse) then where you began.

  203. Donny-Don January 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    So you ready to place your bet, BeanTownBill? To show what you’re really made of?

  204. k-dog January 4, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Here I go again thinking I have something to contribute in my delusion. I try and reign myself in but I can’t resist.
    JFK’s annual predictions are customary and no doubt he gives it his best shot but I really doubt he takes his predictions as seriously as many readers here.
    Years ago I first encountered JFK when on The End of Suburbia DVD when it first came out. According to The End of Suburbia we should be out of natural gas by now but here we are warm and toasty in Januarry 2011. What happened to save the day?
    Fracking happened, that’s what. A technological breakthrough by which the complexity of society became greater and the thread holding the sword over Damocles head got a little tighter. Earthquakes which happen on a regular basis are never as strong as ones which geology only lets happen ever hundred years. No lifestyles changed before Fracking saved the day. We are still going to run out of Natural Gas, but it will take longer and when we do run out the fall is going to be harder.
    Plenty of smart people figured out what was going on wall street before the housing bubble got popped. Some made bank, but none of them could say exactly when the bubble was going to burst.
    The smarter amongst us generally know what is going to happen before it does. True black swans are rare.
    In the late 1930’s well informed people knew German Jews were in big trouble, a few years later everyone would know.
    The truth was out there then just as it is know but it takes effort to find it. Once found it takes even more effort to think about and deal with. There is always the fear that personal action and change may be required.
    It is far easier to deny an uncomfortable truth than to admit the reality of it. Humans are wired this way and most of the time it helps out. This is not one of those times.
    I don’t know it the Dow will be down to 4000 this time next year or not. I’d need a damn crystal ball for that. But will America be more fucked this time next year than we are now.
    Count on it and gird those loins.

  205. Mason January 5, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    James, I’ve read your stuff for a long time and it sounds like you’ve lost your shit. Pull it together. How about a life change? Move! Feeling alone? Tied to the typewritter inside too much? Preying on fear and ever-elegant prose to push book sales? Get out there and live life more, buddy. Become part of the productive economy. Overcome whatever trauma you’ve endured and be a positive force. No time like the present!
    And I don’t even drink the Kool-Aid…

  206. asoka January 5, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    Bill said: “Someone once told me that all I ever had to do is buy 1 ticket, and if God wants me to win, that’s all it would take.”
    =============
    Yes, that is my thinking.
    But since God is almighty: all powerful, all good, all knowing, and SHE has the right to change HER mind, I give HER a chance once a month by buying a monthly ticket.

  207. BeantownBill January 5, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    You are right, the odds are 175,000,000 to 1 every time you bet $1, but after 175,000,000 tries I believe the mathematical expectation of having gotten a win over that time period approaches 1.00 – I’d have to check the math.

  208. BeantownBill January 5, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    He’s very lucky. Congratulations to him.

  209. Mike Moskos January 5, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Here’s a practical way to assess the situation in your town: what percentage of the empty lots are now growing food?
    PS: The economic situation could drastically change at any time. It’s a good idea to secure that non-productive land NOW (typically with a deal made with the owner for a percentage of the harvest) before others beat you to it (unless of course you already own enough land to feed everyone you know). In the ‘hood areas of Miami some of the government-supported people have figured out the best way to supplement their gov. incomes is to grow produce (good produce I might add) for cash–no checks accepted.

  210. BeantownBill January 5, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    I think you missed my point. I never said you were wrong, I just didn’t like the way you said it. Life is tough enough without having to read scorn heaped on people stating their opinions.
    My opinion happens to be that I doubt it’s likely to see a Dow 4,000 or under by year’s end, although the market possibly will be very volatile. I’d put the probability of the Dow staying at 4,000 very low, around 10%. That’s why I wouldn’t take your bet. I always try to put money at risk such that my expectation of a reward is at least 1. In this particular case, the only way I’d consider betting against you would be me betting $100 against your $1,000, given the 1 in 10 odds.
    Next time you disagree, how about treating people with respect?

  211. BeantownBill January 5, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    Maybe that’s why I’ve never won the lottery jackpot – I don’t believe in God.

  212. Pucker January 5, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    Slack1 wrote: “Frankly, I have greater faith in philantropic billionaires spending money more wisely than I do the government.”
    I recall that Bill Gates once remarked that he prefers to spend his philanthropic dollars in third world countries (particularly in Africa) because he gets more value for his money.
    What do readers think that this comment says about Gates’ way-of-thinking?

  213. Celsius 233 January 5, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    One would have to be the insider’s insider, to really know the possibilities for the future.
    The depth of corruption and despotism is such that the “machine” we call the U.S. will be injected with any and everything necessary to keep the illusion of a living, functioning society. After all, North Koreans think their country is the greatest; thanks in large part to denial and relentless propaganda.
    Become an expert in both and seeing becomes a whole new experience; albeit, a potentially frightening one.

  214. k-dog January 5, 2011 at 2:36 am #

    His father Bill Gates Sr. was in favor of the income tax on people earning over $250,000 to balance the WA state budget deficit defeated last November he wasn’t.
    Charity begins at home or he’s a special flower who doesn’t consider this place his home.
    Just sayin…

  215. MarlinFive54 January 5, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    Point well taken, Ozone. Thanks!
    Peak oil being discussed on CNBC this morning 5AM segment.
    In Connecticut we’re ignaugurating a new (Democratic) governor today. The Sate is in debt 4 billion but a big party is being thrown, plus a “cocktail party” at $2500 per ticket. The new Governors first 4 appointments for his staff are homosexual activists, men married to other men. Unemployment at 10%. there are no jobs here. Also we just found out that the State is on the hook for 40 billion in unfunded pensions for govt. workers and teachers.
    I dont know what the opinion of Connecticut is out there in CFN land, if there is an opinion, but were tanking. Once the industrial center of the nation, with everything from guns to clocks to silver plate to furniture being manufactured, its all gone. Theres nothing left. The only discernible economic activity,
    if you call it that, is people driving around in cars.
    Hartford, our Capitol, once described by Mark Twain as the loveliest and and wealthiest city in North America, has devolved into a filthy, shabby welfare colony. Gangs rule the streets. 2011 is only 6 days old & already 4 people have been shot to death. And New Haven, Waterbury, New Britain and Bridgeport are worse.
    Much of our beautiful countryside, our forests, meadows and farms have been marred and destroyed by road building
    and strip malls. And above all by housing developments. Huge 6,000 square ft houses have been built everywhere. I mean everywhere. Nobody can afford to buy them or heat them anymore. Sometime I look at photographs of 19th century Connecticut and it brings a tear to my eye. Jim covers this stuff pretty good in his earlier books. Jim has a good insight into what has happened and I compare him somewhat in depth & scope to Lewis Mumford.
    Thats the state of affairs here in Connecticut as I see it. We have been here for 10 generation but we are thinking of clearing out. I do have the money to go, but where?

  216. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    I read that book, and it was very interesting.
    I believe that she pointed to an island in Great Britain (Guernsey?) as an example of how a broke population unable to repair their infrastructure simply issued money to pay their people to do it. This money then circulated and made it possible for other forms of commerce.
    However. This is the USA. As you point out, Lincoln issued greenbacks for war, not infrastructure building.
    The money we now borrow goes mostly to war and homeland repression, not making the lives of American citizens better.
    It probably doesn’t matter if money is spent into existence, or borrowed into existence, in the US.
    It is spent on death and destruction, either way.

  217. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Although I am a conspiracy theorist about specific events, I don’t believe that there is a evil group of people conspiring to bring the world’s economy down, even if they could buy real estate cheaply.
    They are doing their damnedest to keep it going!
    I, like many on this blog, am amazed at how we manage to stagger along, from crisis to crisis, with mostly people in other countries dying in large numbers, not Americans. (So it doesn’t count).
    I predicted the entire thing would fall decades ago.

  218. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    You are exactly right!!
    Living standards are being lowered asymmetrically!
    There are already people living under bridges, in the woods, doubled up with friends and relatives.
    There are already people hungry and cold.
    But as long as it isn’t us, we continue to talk about the coming depression!
    Apparently, that means when we lose our jobs!

  219. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    You are right, Asoka.
    If the living standards were lowered in a symmetric way, we would all be better off.
    Modest houses, built in energy efficient ways, clustered together so that people could walk to work, schools and stores, supplied by local farms and industry – yep, it would be a better, more sustainable way of living, and people would be happier.
    What are the odds that this will be our response?

  220. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a system.
    The rich are as powerless individually to change it as are the poor. Witness Bill Gates, Sr, and Warren Buffett, pointing out that tax rates are unfair!
    I saw a movie by Lewis Lapham called The American Ruling Class. In it, these aspiring kids talk to Walter Cronkite about how to enter its service. He says “They’ll come to you”.
    That’s how it happened with John Perkins, and you can bet (with great odds) that that’s how a member of the state senate in Illinois ended up President of the United States in 6 years!
    It’s a system of rich and poor, of raping the Earth for profit, of thinking only of money values and not human values.
    Immoral people can plug into it and make fortunes. Others just manage to use it to scrape by. Millions are killed by it.
    No one person can stop it.

  221. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    Three years ago, we had a cold January, a warm February and everything bloomed.
    In April, we had a hard freeze.
    There was no fruit that year, and also, no wheat.
    This is just a small area, and cheap oil made it easy to make up, but look what’s happening in Russia, where they had vast shortfalls of wheat last year.
    Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but we sure need to eat something!

  222. lbendet January 5, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    eaNature Doesn’t Lie
    2011 greets us with a little blow-back from the past year. Canaries in a coal mine, so to speak.
    A few days ago we heard that 3,000 blackbirds died in Arkansas as well as thousands of fish—-. Today 500 in the state of Louisiana. Fish are dying as well both here and in South America.
    Well the explanations ranged wanly from electrical power lines, booms from fireworks to the 2012 Mayan predictions come to roost a year early. Don’t you just love mysticism?
    Anything but the transgressions of transnationals ie BP’s use of Corexit in the gulf of Mexico. How soon we all forget what’s not being covered exhaustively on the news. Out of sight out of mind. Obviously there’s some pollutant out there that’s effecting life itself out there and yet no one wants to offer a meaningful explanation. And what it means for us.
    Well round up the usual scientists paid for by BP and they’ll come up with anything but…It will sound like climate change deniers pretty soon.
    Here’s some of the good guys though:
    I went back to find an interesting video by a young scientist this summer:

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

    Just found an interesting site about weather in GB and the Gulf, call it karma:
    http://blogs.alternet.org/refugee/tag/corexit/
    Other areas around the world are seeing massive fish kills, but I do think a revisit to the Gulf and Corexit is in order.

  223. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Those who excoriate JHK for failed forecasting may take a look at this link-
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/4623525/Failure-to-save-East-Europe-will-lead-to-worldwide-meltdown.html

  224. Cash January 5, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Mookie baby, I have no idea who Patrizia really is so why would I kiss his/her ass? But I get to call it as I see it. I think P’s posts are really great. He/she raises the quality of discourse.

  225. dale January 5, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    SP says:
    “What most of us fail to grasp is that we see only the most minuscule slices of the big picture, and that interpreting the whole from those scattered bits is worse than reading tea leaves or entrails.”
    ================================
    Actually, it’s EXACTLY like reading entrails, in that it says more about the reader than the entrails. The problem is simply too complex for any meaningful analysis by human effort. Perhaps in the future a super computer will be able to handle the number of variables needed to make forecasts on such complicated issues as PO and its consequences, but for now we are ‘doomed’ to just live it as it comes and analyze it after the fact.

  226. Cash January 5, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Those are two interesting/scary developments. I hadn’t noticed people hoofing it but I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. When was the last time we saw that on a large scale, the 1930’s?
    I had never heard of black tar heroin until you brought it up. I just googled it. Sounds like nasty stuff. I wonder if it’s a lesser evil than meth though.
    I saw what I think was a meth addict (a young woman) a couple weeks ago in a line up at my bank at the service counter. The woman was waiting with her father just ahead of me. She was a real mess. She was twitchy, really skinny, her front teeth were black stubs, she had one eye missing, her jeans were partway down so half her butt was hanging out, she was pleading with her father to get her a new eye patch which she promised to not lose this time. Her father, who looked like a well off middle aged man, said her would get her one I think just to shut her up. Then she started up about her coming court date. She was talking way too loud and everyone was looking at her. Turns out she wanted to open an account. The receptionist set her up with a customer service rep. The addict said “bless you, bless you” again way to loud. A real disaster.

  227. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Wow! You talk about wankers. You make a betting proposition similar to a third grade Penn St. fan. If Jim shorts the DJIA for $1000 at the Jan. 1st, 2011 value his winnings would be approximately $3500 at the 8000 Dow level and $7000 at the 4500 Dow level. You are proposing a bet similar to the NFL Steelers beating the nuns of St. Mary’s.

  228. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    The odds do improve if the games have not been drawn yet. For example, if you play $1 a day your odds of winning the 3 digit number are 1 in 1000. If you purchase a $1 ticket for the next year your odds of winning are 365/1000. Therefore, if you play $1 per month on the 175,000,000 to 1 game your chances of winning are 175,000,000 to 12 or 14,583,333 to 1.

  229. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Potter county, PA. is very nice. Seriously.

  230. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    I was actually joking, like mouthing “brown noser” to someone in the bosses’ office. I read the post and found nothing I would disagree with. No offense intended.

  231. progressorconserve January 5, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    On statistics and lotteries:
    I keep being reminded of the part of the movie “Bruce Almighty” where Jim Carrey, playing God (god?) automates His prayer requests using a computer. EVERYONE who prays or plays hits a winning lottery number combination. Of course they all logically have to hit the same numbers – so their winnings are about $4.00 each, or thereabouts.
    On sports mania:
    I don’t get it either. I played plenty of organized sports through high school. I continued to play as an adult until knee surgery seemed to be looming on the health horizon for me – at which point I finally stopped – well mostly stopped. ;-)
    But I got enough of sports while I was a kid and young adult. Now, except for keeping up with my college alma mater in football – I’m bored with sports.
    I have NO IDEA why the US is so gaga over pro sports – part of the explanation is gambling on outcomes – but lot’s of people don’t bet who are still nuts over teams and sports beyond all logic.
    I suspect that sports worship is one of those things that prosperity and cheap energy have made possible – and that this mania will ratchet down in the future.
    Then we may miss pro sports – and a lot of other things we dislike or take for granted now.

  232. Cash January 5, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    No prob.

  233. BeantownBill January 5, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Re sports fanaticism – I think it’s an ego/self esteem issue. When one feels powerless or unsuccessful or unremarkable in life, one may identify with athletes or teams which are successful. Thus an individual can feel successful and empowered. That’s why there’s so many squabbles between fans of 2 different teams playing each other: insults about your team is a personal insult to your self-esteem. Of course, sports gambling has a lot to do with it, too.
    I should talk; I love my Patriots and Red Sox. But I’m not over the top with it.

  234. Cash January 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I agree. I would add tribalism especially among young men who have a need to belong. I’ve read that in the UK footie loyalties divide up along sectarian lines: in Glasgow Celtic fans are Catholic, Rangers fans are Protestant, Liverpool fans are Catholic, their local rivals at Everton are Protestant. In other countries, like Turkey, fan support is divided by economic class, in Italy they divide along left/right.
    And their hoolies really go at it. The Brits got control over theirs but other countries haven’t. At least in the US no such thing exists except in the NHL where the hoolies are on ice. No team is complete without their cementheads and no game is complete without one good fistfight.

  235. ozone January 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Donny-don’d’don don-DOOOOOOON!
    I ain’t a bettin’ man, but I would encourage you to sell everything of value that you can lay your hands on, and invest the entirety of the proceeds in the “free-and-fair” [stock] market!
    Hurry, time is running short to get in on the bonanza!

  236. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Sports are for playing. Watching sports is simply another reason for young adults to get drunk. As bonds are formed with other fans, the tradition continues until death. Can you possibly explain how someone could watch football on a beautiful autumn day? I’d rather be cutting and splitting wood. Now that it is the dead of winter, I sit in the garage, by the woodstove, and enjoy watching a football game or two, because I can drink beer and only pay slight attention to the game. Meanwhile, the Sirius radio plays uninterupted tunes for $12.95 a month. The tunes are definitely the better of the two entertainments.

  237. MarlinFive54 January 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Mook says: “Sirius Radio plays uninterrupted tunes for $12.95 per month”. Couldn’t agree more, Mook. I love radio to begin with and Satellite Radio makes it even better. How about Outlaw Country, channel 12? Its called “Americana”. I cant get enough of it. And you,re right; you can’t beat the price.

  238. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown January 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    re Sports, trust Noam:
    “Now there are other media too whose basic social role is quite different: it’s diversion. There’s the real mass media-the kinds that are aimed at, you know, Joe Six Pack — that kind. The purpose of those media is just to dull people’s brains.
    This is an oversimplification, but for the eighty percent or whatever they are, the main thing is to divert them. To get them to watch National Football League. And to worry about “Mother With Child With Six Heads,” or whatever you pick up on the supermarket stands and so on. Or look at astrology. Or get involved in fundamentalist stuff or something or other. Just get them away. Get them away from things that matter. And for that it’s important to reduce their capacity to think.
    Take, say, sports — that’s another crucial example of the indoctrination system, in my view. For one thing because it — you know, it offers people something to pay attention to that’s of no importance. [audience laughs] That keeps them from worrying about — [applause] keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about. And in fact it’s striking to see the intelligence that’s used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports [as opposed to political and social issues]. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in — they have the most exotic information [more laughter] and understanding about all kind of arcane issues. And the press undoubtedly does a lot with this.
    You know, I remember in high school, already I was pretty old. I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? [laugbter] I mean, I don’t know anybody on the team, you know? [audience roars] I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn’t mean any — it doesn’t make sense. But the point is, it does make sense: it’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements — in fact, it’s training in irrational jingoism. That’s also a feature of competitive sports. I think if you look closely at these things, I think, typically, they do have functions, and that’s why energy is devoted to supporting them and creating a basis for them and advertisers are willing to pay for them and so on.”
    – Noam Chomsky in the documentary “Manufacturing Consent”

  239. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I listen to Outlaw Country a lot. Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver, Junior Brown, Steve Earle, James McMurtry, etc., are the greatest musicians that most Yankees have never heard of.

  240. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    I think that the sports mania is media-hyped, ruling class distraction from more important things.
    And tribalism-
    http://wagelaborer.blogspot.com/2010/11/tribal-passions.html

  241. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown January 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    re Satellite Radio
    I pay my $12.95 every month too, East TN is radio hell, but I ain’t happy about it. It seems like not that long ago the radio stations were more diverse and interesting, now it is all RW talk or Clear Channel pre-programmed crap. So I guess even radio is something that used to be free that “they” (insert your own values of “they” there) in their wicked ways have figured out to make you pay for.

  242. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    I just want to know one thing: who the hell ever decided that people want to listen to “morning shows”? From the lame jokes, to the mandatory cackling hen in the background,it is indeed radio hell for someone who listens to the radio for relaxation. And then there’s the commercials.

  243. ozone January 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    “Thats the state of affairs here in Connecticut as I see it. We have been here for 10 generation but we are thinking of clearing out. I do have the money to go, but where?” -Marlin
    Hmmmm, you’ve gotten an idea from Mook already; I might add, the borderlands of NY/MA (depending on CURRENT tax rates). As someone had said here a while back, it’s important to be within a reasonable traveling distance of your peeps [as a consideration] as well. (In case you’ve got to get to them, or vice versa.)
    Another thing, if the Gulf Stream stops “rollin’ along”, there could be a serious problem with frozen wildernesses ’round hyar.
    HOWEVER, as a present-time consideration, land in these parts (especially NY and PA) is getting cheaper by the day, and has yet to come down quite a bit more. Check out the listings in February (optimum price time: sellers time), then again in the beginning of June (buyers time: start of panic selling). You can [sort of] tell the direction of pricing by that.
    Bottom line? Get good land with good water [and at least 10 acres of timber, if possible], away from areas of chemical or mineral exploitation/inputs, that’s not a world away from your people. If you can find such a thing near a rural community, it’s double good.
    ….Hey, think I found a listing in……..lessee….um, strange name: ‘Salem’s Lot. Ever heard of that? Sounds nice tho’, eh? ;o)

  244. Puzzler January 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Go to Pandora.com and create your own free radio station(s). Put in a favorite artist or song and it will play it, then keep on playing other similar songs, and you can vote for or against each one. Based on your choices it keeps sending songs it thinks you’ll like.
    You can set up many stations in different flavors.
    It’s free (but they do throw in an occasional ad).

  245. ozone January 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    “The last official act of any government is to loot the treasury.”
    Oopsie, I think I’m hearing the splash of rat bodies as they plunge into the sea.
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27189.htm
    Sssssssseeya!

  246. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    You Have Feelings ?

  247. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    Pennsylvania taxes are less than New York’s. Although, if your an old hippie, New York’s penalty for growing marijuana is basically a fine.

  248. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Are you a Boomer A ?
    I am on the younger age Boomer Side.
    Peace & Love. I’ve always been frugal, and have worked with elderly from Other Countries, Austria, Poland, etc. Where times were always really hard and those people did not waste things. Food, water, etc. I’ve always been more like that for sure than others. Most others.
    Also grew up poor. But never starved.
    More of US need to be more frugal, and I cannot believe so many STILL don’t get it.
    But it’s not really possible here on West Coast Ca.
    Too many gangters takin’ over. Robbing little old ladies in parking lots, and stabbings and not just ‘each other.’
    Trouble in Paradise.
    anyway….just checking in.

  249. LewisLucanBooks January 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    I thought I was the only person in the world that watched that movie. I’ve always been a Lapham fan. How easily most people are corrupted.

  250. San Jose Mom 51 January 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    I watch sports once in a while. I was definately glued to the TV during the World Series (GO Giants!) I watched the 49’s early in the season and liked it when they beat New Orleans, but after that they started losing, so I didn’t watch the unpleasantness. I’ll watch the Superbowl.
    A couple of years ago, a neighbor gave us two tickets to the 49’s vs. Raiders game. My husband and son went. They were unnerved by the rowdiness/drunkedness and crude behavior of the crowd so they came home a bit early. I’d never dream of buying tickets to a sporting event.
    SJmom

  251. Vlad Krandz January 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    And tell the boys and girls which race of people is tormenting Connecticut. Are they Germans?
    The best site that I know is John Wesley Rawl’s site: http://survivalblog.com/
    In one section he disects which parts of the Country are good and why. Even gives a state by state breakdown in terms of climate, taxes, population, etc. I ordered his books to get an even more detailed summary.
    You’re in no man’s land right now. His first commandmant is to get west of the Missisippi – looked at from outer space the East is a blaze of connected lights and the West is much dimmer with far more gaps. Of course not the West Coast for the most part…
    And of course you’ll want to get away from those Germans. Read Lovecraft’s odes to the vanished glory of New York City for more information. In Ankgor Wat, the Founder’s are no more. A different race of people perform different rites in the ruins. So it shall be here.

  252. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Apparently eightm got a job in the Obama administration.
    http://www.theonion.com/video/obama-replaces-costly-highspeed-rail-plan-with-hig,18473/

  253. wagelaborer January 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    It was a great movie.
    But I wouldn’t say that most people are corrupted.
    Most people are happy just making a living.
    And watching sports on TV.
    Only the immoral sell their souls to capitalism.
    Or work in prisons-
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8451.htm

  254. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I can ‘see’ this myself as the road we are on.
    Well put, hope it isn’t true tho.
    Think it is.

  255. asia January 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    CIRCUSES and BREAD! The media is there to
    ‘entertain and disinform’….Re:
    news media….is into:
    ‘Terror overseas
    How great the stock market is doing
    How the GOP is really going to kick butt in 2011
    The 2012 election
    Entertainment news—e.g., Lindsay Lohan got out to attend holiday parties, but will be going back
    Sports
    International banking and foreign policy
    The domestic unemployment problem? Gone’
    repeat…entertain and disinform..yahoo news is particularly disgusting.

  256. asia January 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Is there a website thatll tell me the truth about the ANC and Mandela?

  257. asia January 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    ‘employee pensions are going to be reduced’
    …….my attitude is that greenbacks may soon be worth not less but worthless.
    maybe ill be proved wrong.

  258. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    SCROLLING PAST HIM, ME TOO.
    This was the first time I read something from him.
    Yes he sounds Young and knows it all, and doesn’t know any better.
    Tempting Fate for Sure.
    I need to stop reacting and posting, I DO that alot, but someTIMES you / I hit that button SUBMIT.
    Me working on that.
    HNY to You

  259. asia January 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

    why? is it primitive? crowded? nice?

  260. asia January 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    is it 200 leftist czars and a SF pedophile?

  261. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown January 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Pandora is ok, I listen when I am on the computer some, but as a sat radio replacement, I’d need it in the car. Around here cell phone coverage is pretty spotty, assuming I wasn’t too cheap to pay for a data plan.

  262. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Sad but true, what you say.
    Some old timers, but not enough WOULD put up a fight. Even if they could, and weren’t too feeble etc. physically I mean.
    anyway, just saying, I think your observations are correct and well put.

  263. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Okay I am going to be reading this one, it is long and will take time, but worth it !
    Thanks for posting.
    There are No Borders if you are one of These Elite.
    Yes they ARE a world unto themselves, (I think that’s how the article stated it.)
    ATTN: OVERLOAD OVERLOAD ATTENTION WILL ROGERS’!
    SO MUCH INFO.
    AND BEING AS I AM A BOOMER, A YOUNGER ONE, WELL I HAVE ADD AND CAN NOT FOCUS FOR LONG, being how we all have ADD and I agree with Maynard ! mostly.
    But I am trying to learn.

  264. lbendet January 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    I too am a boomer. What I do, (esp. with long articles) is to copy and paste them into simple text documents.
    I have a library I’ve built over the past five years that I can refer to anytime I need to with lots of folders and categories. It’s the best way to keep track of all the issues.
    LB

  265. ozone January 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    “Pennsylvania taxes are less than New York’s. Although, if your an old hippie, New York’s penalty for growing marijuana is basically a fine.” -Mook
    Yep, here in Mass[holes-r-us] it’s a $100 ticket (and no record) for possessing anything under an ounce. Of course, there’s a large bunch of right-wing dunderheads who most strenuously want this repealed because it DEGRADES SOCIETY! Fuck ‘em and their fake morality; may they rot in their righteous hypocrisy. pissants

  266. Vlad Krandz January 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    The Tribal Passions are there arlready. The Sports Crap is a way to manage them and distort them – get people used to rooting for fake tribes – or grand faloons as Vonnegut put it. The Hoosiers!
    The Sports mentality has definitely infected our political process: people think America is “number one” just like they think their team is. Why? Oh no reason, just because it’s their’s. Some degree of this is natural, but again it has been distorted and trivialized. Obviously killing someone who roots for a different team is the ultimate in stupidity.
    Even the highbrow level it’s there. Witness George Will and Co. on Face the Nation debating who is going to win and how they are going to do it – it’s sports talk just like guys who know every player in the Major League Baseball. Will and Co. know every Senator and Member of the House. Of course such knowledge could be good if people used it wisely. As for knowing every Major Leaguer – what good could possibly come of it?
    Or how about people not wanting “to waste their vote” but instead vote for a winner? It’s sports betting. Such people are unworthy to vote at all.

  267. LewisLucanBooks January 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    (With a tip of the hat to JackieBlue)
    “Scrollin’ Scrollin’ Scrollin’
    Keep movin’ movin’ movin’
    Though they’re disapprovin’,
    Keep them doggies movin’ Rawhide! ”

  268. LewisLucanBooks January 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Bad news from Joe Bageant.
    http://www.joebageant.com/
    He’s got cancer. Could probably use a few prayers to whatever deity winds your clock. If any. Personally, I’m slaughtering a white goat in the dark of the moon (or, is it a black goat in the full of the moon? I get soooo confused!)
    If you’ve never read Mr. Bageant, he’s worth a gander. He has a lot to say about (that elephant in the living room) class in America. Among other things.

  269. lbendet January 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Vlad, Sometimes I find myself in agreement with you. [Surprise surprise]

  270. The Mook January 5, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Will Robinson?

  271. ozone January 5, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    With a tip of the hat to all that care: ;o)
    Keep rollin, rollin, rollin;
    Though the streams are swollen;
    Keep rollin, rollin, rollin, Rawhide…
    Through wind and rain and weather,
    We’re hell-bent for leather;
    Wishin’ my gal was by side.
    All the things I’m missin’,
    Good vittles, love and kissin’,
    are waiting at the end of my ride.
    Head ‘em up, move ‘em on; move ‘em on, head ‘em up (etc.)
    Movin’, movin’, movin’
    Though they’re disapprovin’,
    Keep those dogies movin’, Rawhide…
    Don’t try and understand ‘em,
    Just rope, throw and brand ‘em;
    Soon we’ll be livin’ high and wide.
    There’ll be no hesitatin’,
    My true love will be waitin’,
    Waiting at the end of my ride.
    Head ‘em up (etc.)
    Whew! That’s pretty scary for off the top o’ me mushy noggin! I’ll look it up later to see how close I got…… mmmmmmm, nah, probably not. ;o)

  272. ozone January 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    (I like the “scrollin’, scrollin’, scrollin’ ;o)

  273. ozone January 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Damn!
    Don’t go yet, Joe; much spleen yet to be vented!
    I’ll tip one to ‘im, and pour another for the voodoo PTB; hope it’s a help.

  274. Vlad Krandz January 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    The repeal of DADT seems destined to assume a truly tragic dimension. The ADL has petitioned to be the enforcer and ferreter out of unrepentant straights in the military. And since rural boys from the South and the Midwest are still the bulk of the army – there are bounds to be lots. As a White Nationalist, I welcome the weakening of course, but as an “individual” I feel sorrow for the incredible suffering that may well commence in the near future.
    I’ll find you a good South African site.

  275. budizwiser January 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    I got nothing. But in reading about the “deals” BofA reached with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac I wanted to be the first to add new terms to the wayward ranting of web spaces like this.
    Several weeks back I noted that we are in deed our worst enemy. In other words – we are victims of our “Status Grow.”
    Now as our government schedules ever more indecent affairs with banksters – we might as well realize the true state of our governing processes.
    Clearly the US has become a -Bank-corrupt-cracy. Sure, hard to pronounce, even harder to stomach.

  276. Buck Stud January 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    I have grown to detest sports, both at the youth and professional levels. Youth sports is nothing but a codified and formulaic profit machine which inflames the vicarious projections of deluded parents, and, in many instances, turns participants away from all physical activity in their future years. As for professional sports, that’s nothing but a corporate sponsored stud-farm with battery powered talking mannequins providing the commentary.
    Once upon a time,however, when I was a kid, I had the opportunity to see Julius Erving fly through the air after signing a very friendly autograph. So, jaded as I am, I still acknowledge that the visceral thread underneath the vapidity of modern pro sports connects all the way back to the seminal matrix of Ancient Greece… and beyond.

  277. asoka January 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    “…ferreter out of unrepentant straights in the military. And since rural boys from the South and the Midwest are still the bulk of the army…”
    The bulk of the military is pro-gay. The Pentagon study proved that. The unrepentant 6% is a problem for the military to continue.
    Anti-gay is anti-American.
    The unrepentant straights need to be dishonorably thrown out of the military because their racism, homophobia, and prejudice will disrupt unit cohesion, weaken the fighting force, and endanger their fellow soldiers, gay and straight alike.

  278. Vlad Krandz January 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    As a rabid pro-gay advocate you should love sports. You are conflicted like all Liberals and believers in false philosophies. The good part of you wars agasint the bad; your spirit against the flesh – not the body but your fallen nature.
    In kinder moments I think of you as Buck, Jack London’s loyal sled dog. This may be partially because you posted an obscene ancient Greek vase with a DOG in it. Dude, just cuz it’s old doesn’t make it Ok.

  279. neckflames January 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

    When you watch the Super Bowl this year realize that during the 3+ hours there are only about 11 minutes of actual playing time. Commercials, huddles, time outs, some old burned out band from the 60’s playing during half time. Lots of that stuff. On the rare occassion that I actually watch some of the Super Bowl I can’t help but think, ‘Why are they doing this again? Didn’t they just do this last year?’
    My advice? Fear the Beard! Go Giants!
    Better yet, go float that there Green River in Utah.
    N.

  280. neckflames January 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    I’m impressed! How about Marty Robbin’s “El Paso”?

  281. Donny-Don January 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    Interesting article headlining theoildrum.com today (basically, a Peak Oil site):
    “Both the IEA and OPEC came out with new monthly reports recently. And both report that oil production in November 2010 exceeded the previous high month of July 2008 (back when oil was over $140).”
    So we’re not at Peak Oil yet. As I’ve speculated repeatedly on this web site.
    Of course we’re rapidly headed toward Peak. I predict we’ll be there within 5-7 years. But in the meantime, JHK’s perennial insistent that we’re “already past peak” flies in the face of reason and makes the Peak Oil Cassandras (including me) look like a bunch of Chicken Little clowns. It undercuts the credibility of those of us who see the Peak looming, but aren’t forecasting the End of The World As We Know It in 2011 or 2012.
    It’s hard to have a measured perspective and response to the various crises the world faces and be heard among the fracas. Crying wolf, I suspect, is a much better way to be heard, and to sell one’s books. Unfortunately, it does not make one correct.

  282. Kiwi Nick January 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    There is one thing to remember about this economy (any economy): people are available to work, and companies have stuff they want to sell.
    If we go back to a barter economy, people would supply their work effort in exchange for the stuff they want. Given there are the unemployed ready to work and stuff they want to buy, it seems we’re ready to go.
    But of course a direct barter economy has difficulties of mismatch: the company that could sell me a house does not want my computer programming skills. And I need thousands of different things and I can’t be at a thousand different places.
    So we invented money, to get rid of the mismatch problem.
    We also invented credit and government to take into account that some things are just too big for individuals to do on their own (such as railways – even Hong Kong understands this).
    Under-employment is OK if people can still get all they need (who wouldn’t want a 3-day working week?), but it’s painfully obvious that millions of under-employed (unemployed) people cannot get their necessities.
    which brings me to my point: the economy is broken. We have the people willing to work, we have the stuff people want to buy, but the economy isn’t letting the barter happen.
    I don’t have a complete solution, but perhaps companies should manufacture locally; tell the WTO to get stuffed; and given that brokers/investment bankers/speculators/Lloyd Blankfein weren’t mentioned above, they should be got rid of.
    Nick.

  283. Kiwi Nick January 5, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    I should flesh out my post (9:58pm) above to clarify that even in a perfect economy, living standards will still fall dramatically.
    First reason: oil running out. An example (barter/DIY model) … instead of using a lawn mower for 20 minutes, I will need to use a hand mower for one hour to cut my grass. And I can only cut 7 of my neighbour’s lawns per day, rather than 15 or 20, an obvious drop of income.
    The system-wide implication is that even if we work the same, we’ll get less goods.
    Second reason: excessive debt. After 4 decades of “Borrow baby borrow”, we need to pay it back. While we are paying it back, we’ll have less for ourselves. Hopefully this will be temporary, but that’s not guaranteed.
    A drop in living standards is inevitable. How much unemployment and other pain that means will be a function of how badly the government stuffs this up.

  284. JonathanSS January 5, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    “I watched the 49’s early in the season and liked it when they beat New Orleans”.
    Sorry, but they lost that one 22-25 & are now in search of a new coach.

  285. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown January 5, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    JHK did a good job on that “Prophets of Doom” show, but the History Channel popup advertising their car show Top Gear as he was discussing peak oil and the future of the American Way of Life™ was too perfect. Will the douche in the Ferrari outrun the Cheeze Doodle-eating fool in the plane?

  286. ElleBeMe January 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    Thanks for recommending Griftopia….read it and WOW….my eyes are peeled to that of Clockwork Orange Treatment….
    Also read Collapse….another good read, but since I already knew much of what he was saying from having read it before…was not surprising in the least.
    Maybe when the doom *REALLY* hits the fan I won’t be so sensitive to it???

  287. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Well right off the top I’d say he’s doing it for himself more than anything. And for what he can get in return, in some way.

  288. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    Thank ! I can take the credit for that one.
    I started it last week.
    The tune from Rawhide. keep them posters’ scrolling.
    Happy New Year !

  289. Vlad Krandz January 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Kali accepts Black Goats for sacrafice. ZOG wants White Sheep.

  290. jackieblue2u January 5, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    Thank You for the info. It’s useful to me.

  291. San Jose Mom 51 January 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Jonathan,
    Your right–New Orleans won. I just remembered it being an exciting game down to the last minutes.
    SJmom

  292. Buck Stud January 5, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    Good God (David Duke to you Vlad)…do you really fear a homosexual lurking behind every tree or a black man in every shadow? You remind me of those albino characters in the movie The Eiger Santion and The Natural; you can’t take the light of day, especially your paranoia.
    I am tempted to ask you if you have kids, but I know you would answer honestly; and I don’t believe in self-incrimination. Which is why I will not tout the number of kids I have brought into the world–why rile the ire of the population control crowd. There is simply not a lot of room to philosophically maneuver on this particular forum–that’s why they call it Clusterfuck.
    Honestly Vlad, you’re a pretty weird dude. I haven’t thought about a gay person all day until reading your posts, which are chock full of the homosexual references. But from one weird dude to another, enjoy the below clip–I sure got a laugh out of it.






  293. Pucker January 5, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    I wrote: “I recall that Bill Gates once remarked that he prefers to spend his philanthropic dollars in third world countries (particularly in Africa) because he gets more value for his money.
    What do readers think that this comment says about Gates’ way-of-thinking?”
    Comment: I’m still trying to get-my-head-around (as the the Australians say) the above comment by Bill Gates.
    Bill Gates’ comment seems to suggest a way-of-thinking of a society GONE MAD. It’s almost as if in our economic system value becomes inverted: that which is cheapest is the most valuable. Like Oscar Schindler remarks in the movie “Schindler’s List” while sipping a glass of expensive champagne: “Why should I hire Poles when Jews are cheaper?”
    Workers are more valuable in India because they’re cheaper. Peasants in Africa are more worth saving than Americans because they’re cheaper. That which is worth most is that which can be purchased most cheaply. That which is most worth making is that which can be made the most cheaply, etc., etc.
    In the end, the world becomes cheap, because that which is most valuable is that which is most worthless. MAD…..

  294. LewisLucanBooks January 6, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Yup. JackieBlue started the whole thing :D . Just a couple of years ago, I worked with a young fellow who had never heard of the “Golden Age of TV Westerns.” First I waxed lyrical…then I started singing the theme songs. Amazing (and kind of frightening) how many I could remember.
    A partial list, I’m sure… The Rebel, Bonanza, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke (did they or didn’t they? The Marshall and Miss Kitty?). Big Valley (with Miss Stanwyck at her butchest), The Rifleman, Have Gun Will Travel, etc. etc.

  295. Richard January 6, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Great post! By the way, what do you think of the Facebook thing? facebook worth $50 billion…hardly! It is a fine example of what you stated in your blog. I’ve been watching the markets for years and at some point viewed them as ponzi schemes, which you or someone on the History Channel show mentioned. That was a very interesting show and I am actually here on your website because of it. To continue, I just couldn’t figure out where the money goes once you buy a stock. I put in $5,000 on a stock and lose $4,000…where did it go? I asked a number of people who are 20+ years my senior and have been investing for decades and all they could say is the stocks value went down, so I lost my money. I still asked, “Where is the $4,000 I lost?” It seemed a mutual lack of grasping something. So I figured, someone had to sell their shares and my $4,000 went in their pocket and ultimately, the stock dropped, which makes me a loser in the deal. A few years ago, I watched a penny stock go from 25 cents to $3 in weeks and back to 10 cents recently. I put money in because it was a photovoltaic film manufacturing company that I thought had a product that was going to revolutionize the solar energy industry. I don’t think they have sold anything and it has been close to 3 years now. I then realized that most if not all stocks are not realistically priced and there is little to no true worth to a stock…they are ponzi schemes and there will be winners and losers. If you don’t have insider information, you will most likely be the loser.
    I look forward to your future posts.

  296. Patrizia January 6, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    Workers are more valuable in India because they’re cheaper…
    It’s almost as if in our economic system value becomes inverted…
    I do not think that anything changed.
    The mistake is viewing the economy as ruled by moral and ideological principles.
    Economy is first arithmetic and second arithmetic applied to profit.
    Why would anybody work or invest if not for making a profit and a bigger profit if possible?
    The ones who invest for philanthropic reasons are few and they have other reasons to do so.
    Not last the satisfaction of feeling “good”.
    I see Gates as a ruthless entrepreneur (he wouldn’t be there if it was not so) and his “doing good” looks to me the easy effort (what he gives compared to what he earns is peanuts) of feeling “better” and his personal excuse is “besides I save on taxes”.
    With these premises it is clear that people invest where it is easier to have a good ROI.
    They produce where it is cheap and sell where it is expensive and cash the difference.
    At least as long as it lasts.
    Economy is arithmetic, but it is also arithmetic applied to reality.
    You cannot expect infinite growth in a world that is finite in number of consumers and in quantity of raw materials.
    A good economist is the one who is able to make that growth last as long as possible and more than anything, is able to make the downhill as less painful as possible.
    Do you want a stable and good economy?
    No restrains, no regulations, the least possible taxes.
    If people invest, they create jobs, if people have jobs they spend.
    And when you come out with the fact that deregulation means people who take advantage I invite you to look at a world which is regulated:
    Aren’t there crooks, does the law forbid to find ways to elude regulations and take advantage, and most of all isn’t the law made by the ones that the same law should regulate?
    Do you really think that in a world ruled by lions there will ever be a law that forbids eating gazelle’s meat?

  297. Pucker January 6, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Yeah…M/a r.x’s “Surplus Value” is the rule-of-thumb (since the Rul ing C l/ass has the largest “Thumb”).
    But now we have the absurd phenomenon of “C/u/rren cy W..ar.s”), which which countries are now competing to devalue their cur..ren/cies driven by the implicit logic that the curr ency that is the most devalued, or the cheapest is the most valuable as it supports exports. The international political economy becomes a MAD, cannibalistic race to the bottom.

  298. k-dog January 6, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    you say: “A good economist is the one who is able to make that growth last as long as possible and more than anything, is able to make the downhill as less painful as possible.”
    Can you reply to the possibility that any economic manipulation which makes growth last as long as possible could be incompatible with manipulations making a downhill as painless as possible?
    By saying “more than anything” Do you say you would discard any economic policies incompatible with a downhill as painless as possible?

  299. Patrizia January 6, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    Mr. Kunstler, you say „Where I depart from darker views is the idea that there is some shadow gang of hidden puppeteers behind the visible leadership…” but then you say Was I ever wrong last year about those stock market indexes. I called for Dow 4000 and look where the darn thing ended up: 11,577.50.
    Well your forecast was right , it should be 4000.
    Because you see that it cannot be 11,577.50.
    The worst lie is the one the intelligent people believe, it is a lie mixed with truth.
    Intelligent people understand the truth, they know that a society based on selling to one another things produced by a third cannot go on.
    Intelligent people know that something like that will end sooner or later.
    What they do not know is when and how.
    That is where the lie comes in, where the shadow gang enters the scene.
    It took years to arrive at this point, and I believe it SHOULD take years or may be a little bit less to reverse the situation.
    I do not believe that an economy can crash suddenly, globally, in the same precise moment.
    There must be somebody who decides when to begin and when to end.
    There must be somebody who manipulates the markets, the economy to arrive to this point.
    Why would an intelligent and wise banker, lend money to somebody with the knowledge he won’t be able to repay?
    Why would any banker risk sure bankruptcy?
    Why ignoring that the Mafia is ruling your country?
    The legalized mafia of a few who behave in and only their favor?
    If you do not like to call it conspiracy, call it however you like it.
    Names can be different, reality cannot.

  300. Eleuthero January 6, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Cash,
    Thanks for your concern about my blood
    pressure re Asoka. :-) :-)
    I think “scroll past” is going to become
    a PERMANENT modus operandi when it comes
    to his posts. Sometimes, however, I just
    like giving him shit because he’s such an
    easy target given his Buddhistic puffery,
    his “expertise” on every topic under the
    sun, his overposting and overtalking, his
    fake magnanimity and fake self-deprecation
    (when it occurs), and his superciliousness
    about his own optimism.
    He’s truly a kind of stereotype of the Internet
    Age because you can have ten personalities on
    one site and make claims about the facts of
    your life that have no correlation to reality.
    He manifests all of that and more. If he’s
    in his sixties then I’m the Pope of Palo Alto
    and Emperor of the Universe, too!! :-) :-)
    I think I’ll heed your sage advice. If ever
    there was a guy to “scroll past”, it’s that
    dude.
    E.

  301. bigview January 6, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    Middle east? Sorry ass corner of the world?? You must be joking, Mr. K.
    Some people might say Middle East is THE CENTER OF THE WORLD and that might be the reason they wasted trillions and sacrificed thousands of lives for it trying to dominate it.
    Anyway, it ain’t sorry by far – it’s rich and its young.

  302. Patrizia January 6, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    What I wanted to say is that the best economist is no economist at all.
    As the best government is as little government as possible.
    Once you create a government elected or no, due to human nature being as it is, you give the right weapon in the hands of the ones who want to take advantage of it.
    Look at the Communist countries, what failed was not actually the idea (that could eventually have worked)but the use a bunch of people did of that idea.
    Capitalism doesn´t protect you much more.
    Look at Russia.
    The poor people were bad off in both situtions.
    They starved with Communism, but they still starve with the actual “capitalism”.
    Every society would work if it followed the ideaology it was created for.
    But none does.
    So, is it better having somebody ruling the way HE WANTS, or the people deciding?
    Would Wall Street work better if it was not manipulated, if you could bid on the stock of a company because that company has a future?
    You can always make mistakes, but your predictions would be based on something real.
    Where is the fun in doing something when you know that your intelligence cannot help you?

  303. Big Medicine January 6, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    As a government worker who likes to play golf, I feel compelled to comment on the state of state, county and local (school districts too) budgets.
    It don’t look good. The politically expeditious choice is to dip into cash reserves and other semi-fraudulent schemes. City of Philadelphia schools are $430 million short of a $3.2 billion budget for next fiscal year. WTF? Salaries, services, pensions all will have to be renegotiated. So far no one seems to have the stones to deal with the bad news long-term.
    Personally, I think retirement is going to change drastically for everyone. We should also need to make sure that the government services we keep are relevant and effective.

  304. Pucker January 6, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    Continuing on…
    And, of course, in the race to the cheapest and to the bottom, perhaps, the biggest casualty is Truth.
    Telling the Truth is very expensive and seldom provides any return. Thus, Truth is not valued. In contrast, Bullshit and Mendacity entails little or no cost and often reaps huge short-term rewards. Thus, again, that which is cheapest, i.e., Bullshit, Lies and Mendacity, is valued over that which is expensive, the Truth.
    Thus, our World turns to crap, and we end up with crappy leaders like Bush, Jr. and Obama.

  305. progressorconserve January 6, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    LewisLB, JackieBlue, O3 and others; regarding:
    “…Golden Age of TV Westerns.” First I waxed lyrical…then I started singing the theme songs. Amazing (and kind of frightening) how many I could remember.”
    ================
    Yeah, for real! Also, think about how many advertising slogans you can remember from those years.
    “Let Hertz Put You in the Driver’s Seat.”
    “I’d Walk a Mile for a Camel.”
    ETC, ETC – the list goes on and on.
    At least these messages were overt, not subliminal.
    Wonder what’s in the heads of today’s young TV watchers?
    “Cut Corporate Taxes for the Best.”
    “Destroy Social Security and Kill Old People.”
    “Buy Cheeze Doodles!”
    I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist.
    But this one might have potential.

  306. daofirry2 January 6, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    hey, if anyone is on right now… the Bloomberg Channel is doing a live interview with Ian Bremmer. He is talking about how, in the future, instead of a G20, a G8, or whatever, there will be a G ZERO, characterized by a total absence of global leadership. Geopolitics getting more localized, scarier, etc… sound familiar?!?

  307. daofirry2 January 6, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    ok, that interview is over. That was quick. If you are interested, you could search Google News for “Ian Bremmer.” There are several signif links.

  308. Cash January 6, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Richard, the day you bought your stock for 5 grand you’re out of pocket 5 grand. THAT $5,000 is what went into someone else’s pocket.
    The $4,000 you think you lost did not go into someone else’s pocket. Let me ask you a question: if the price of your stock had increased so that you think you had MADE $4,000 would YOUR bank account have an extra $4,000 in it?
    This is where the bullshit artists in the investment industry worked their magic. They say you “made” or “lost” based on the prices that other people sell their stock for. You didn’t.
    The key to the game is cash, to get your cash back in your bank account and make a profit. There’s two ways. One is via dividends and the other is to sell your stock.
    The big swinging dicks in the investment industry will piss all over me for saying this but IMO company stocks have zero value if they aren’t paying a dividend. But what about capital gains? If the company is “reinvesting” company profits shouldn’t the value of the stock go up?
    Nope. Not unless there’s going to be an increase in dividends.
    But you’re the owner of the company right?
    Wrong. You didn’t buy the company (another brilliant bit of investment industry nonsense). You bought the STOCK.
    To me, “ownership” means the right of use and possession. The stockholder has no right to use and possess anything the company owns. You own the stock and that confers certain rights like the right to your fractional share of a dividend, the right to vote for the board etc. But that is all. So who owns the company? Nobody. No more than anyone owns you. It’s a meaningless concept.
    Of course the big swinging dicks will laugh their asses off if I were to say that Apple stock is worth shit. Why would I say this? Because I would ask what dividends do they pay? Zero? Well then the stock is worth shit.
    But the big swinging dicks would say look at their great product line up, look at the great profits the company is making. There’s “value” there right?
    Wrong. Not for the stock holder. Did the company pay the stockholder dividends? Did the company give the stockholder any of those profits? No? Then screw off. Money talks, bullshit walks. This is all about MONEY!
    Sorry about the long post. I’ve ranted about this before. Can’t help it.

  309. ozone January 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    “El Paso”, eh?
    Ha! I got nuthin’! Maria? Big Mexican dude out-draws him? Mortally wounded? Modulation in the middle? Deconstruction and rubato portion at the end?
    Damnit, that file’s nearly wiped; only a ghost remains…. west texas town of el paso, I fell in love with a mexican girl

  310. ozone January 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Thanks.
    Ian Bremmer; double “m”. Got it.

  311. ozone January 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    “Sorry about the long post. I’ve ranted about this before. Can’t help it.” -Cash
    No apology necessary; always worth a careful read (and a couple re-reads for an extry-thick brainpan like mine).

  312. Cash January 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Pucker (good name),
    Great post. I’ve ranted about the same sort of thing. I lived in the corporate world all my life mostly in the employ of publicly traded multinationals so I know what you mean.
    In dealing with employees the reflex is to neither tell the honest truth nor to tell a baldfaced lie but rather to spin, mold, sculpt and wordsmith bits of fact mixed with a swirl of irrelevancies and sunny sky verbiage. After the spew you’re no further ahead than before.
    If you work in the corporate world listen to the grapevine. Rumours are usually true. If you want the unvarnished facts you need to cultivate a relationship with the admin assistant of either the CFO or CEO or other highly placed exec. But this is tough. They are usually highly experienced, highly knowledgeable, highly suspicious, highly competent, very powerful battle axes so you have to do a lot of tiptoeing. It’s hard to even get them to spit at you. NEVER cross them, NEVER betray them, NEVER underestimate them or your life will be not worth living.
    And do not ignore the receptionist. She’s (and it’s usually a she because guys are as useless as tits on a bull when it comes to twirling fifteen plates on sticks) usually in tight with the CEO/CFO admin assistants plus she sees the comings and goings.
    Maybe I’m a pink cheeked optimist but I think that corporate bottom lines might be better and the corporate world a less toxic place if they cultivated a culture of personal honour and truth telling. But realistically I think that the culture of corporate bullshit is too deeply ingrained.

  313. Bustin J January 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Dick said something derisive of Facebook’s market valuation. Said it wasn’t worth $50 billion.
    Ridiculous as it sounds, Facebook is the cement of young people’s lives. It surrounds, consumes, and informs them to an extremely personal degree. Sure, its a narcissistic cesspool. But most people log in every day and spend hours and many page views.
    On those views one can sell advertising space.
    FIFTY BILYON DOLLARRS

  314. Lunazen January 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    I’ve been a follower of yours since I saw you give a TED Talk. However, coming to the end of your predictions, I was once again struck by something that I now have to mention: your irrational and unfounded impression of people with tattoos. It actually made me laugh out loud.. and amidst such grim stuff, that’s certainly saying something.
    Seriously, I don’t understand your view of people with ink as murderous savages and cannibals. Yes, our country is filled with murderous savages, and gun-totin’ which makes it all the more convenient, but not all of us with ink file our teeth to points. Some of us (I’d dare say a lot of us) are rather more of the intellectual, liberal, eco-friendly types, especially today. I’d venture to guess that you are looking at them through someone outdated lenses. People get ink today for different reasons than they did twenty or thirty years ago.

  315. Lunazen January 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    *ahem*
    “somewhat” outdated glasses, that should have read. Went to click a word, accidentally clicked submit instead. My apologies.
    What I was going to say before my post was whisked off into Cyberland was that I’ve been boggling over this issue a few years and finally just wanted to say something about it. Otherwise, thank you once again for your insights and perspective. it’s a welcome counterpoint to the overwhelming apathy and fairy tales we are subjected to daily

  316. Cash January 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    You’re right in everything that you said. But the bottom line is the bottom line.
    How much revenue does Facebook crank up, how much profit does it earn, what is its cashflow, how much does it pay its stockholders, what are its future prospects, who are the competitors, what are the risks?
    But especially how much cash does it pay its stockholders and if it doesn’t then when realistically can stockholders expect it to start cranking out dividends? It’s all about the money. If I am to be a stockholder that is all I’m interested in. And do not try to talk to me about capital gains. I’m not that dumb.
    Don’t give me stories, give me cash. Don’t give me glossy year end reports, don’t give me upbeat telecons with the CFO, don’t give me skillfully worded MD&As.
    I want cash. If the whole think doesn’t end with a long series of big whacking dividend cheques in my bank account then you are wasting my time and insiders at the company and people at Goldman are trying to rob me blind. I don’t know about you but I get very, very angry if I suspect someone is trying to steal from me.
    I’m not interested in bullshit. I’m interested in cash. Filthy lucre. Inky, dirty paper. Money talks, bullshit walks. At least that’s how I look at it.
    And when they tell me how much cash they will pay me I’ll tell them how much I’m willing to pay for the stock.

  317. jackieblue2u January 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm #


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

    Road Runner- The Episode We Waited 20 years to see.
    you can google also it’s on youtube
    “Wylie kills the Road Runner”
    To lighten us Doomers up.
    P.S. NOT for the Religious.
    I don’t want to offend anyone.

  318. jackieblue2u January 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Yeah and when someone wins they think it is because God Blessed Them. You know what I mean.
    I would LOVE to win. I’d kick my friends down a few bucks for sure. Well some of the special ones who would do same for me. Few and far between, I am learning the $$$ is Everything to some people I know.

  319. jackieblue2u January 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Yes I mean to read this, thanks for the reminder.
    I’ve heard of this book ‘before’ and now again.

  320. Cash January 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Observer,
    That’s an important point. Money exists because we are unshakeably convinced that it exists. But money is just a concept that resides in our heads.
    But when we’re less unshakeabley convinced that it exists (and it has happened, fiat money does crash and burn, it only works if it’s managed properly) then what really has value? Like you say: commodities like, wheat, corn, pork, oil etc. Things you can use though many would also say gold and silver.
    Your other point about speculation is a good one. Right now speculators are having a field day with the US dollar and the Canuck buck. The USD goes down, the Loonie goes up and our Canuck exports get creamed.
    Speculators make a killing but the real economy ie productive industries and hundreds of thousands of jobs go down the shitter. Why is a banker’s bonus more important than the livelihoods of millions of people?

  321. Vlad Krandz January 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Do you know any site that lists stocks that still pay dividends?

  322. jackieblue2u January 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    Yep can relate.
    “We” “bought” a house. $300k.
    Put 80K down. In “04. Central CA.
    In 05 and 06 it Skyrocketed to 470K.
    Could have sold, I wanted to and pay C. Gains.
    Husband did not want to pay C. Gains. Would have been 30K. We pocket 200K plus.
    No he would have invested in something higher than what we sold for. To avoid gains. And then we would have owed THAT much. Lost that much.
    But say we had sold, and he won’t and now it is underwater now and we cannot live in it.
    anyway, say we sold and made all that money ?
    Isn’t there something wrong with that ?
    The fact that my husband is seriously fucking up our finances as in GONE. that is another story.
    There has to be something wrong with taking the money and running. Someone else takes a big hit.
    Now we are taking the hit. (can’t win with this guy.) learned maybe too late in the marriage.
    But also not cutting your losses when it comes to this point is STUPID. And he pays and pays and we are broke.
    But yes Stocks are a Ponzi scheme. And houses are not homes but a business, for far too many IMHO.
    Makes me sick. I missed the boat.

  323. Vlad Krandz January 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    DADT is a timely issue in the news. Like all Conservatives, I’m against the growth of gay power in our Society. There is nothing weird or unusual in this. If you think that after they have built this incredible political machine, they are just going to dismantle it because they have gained “equal rights” – well you are the naif of naifs. The possible entrance of the ADL into the fray is a perfect storm; an utterly sinister development.
    You are guilty of “accusatory inversion” – you viciously defend gay empowerment at the drop of a pin and then accuse me of being obsessed. And you did send me a gay picture with a dog in it. Sorry for telling it straight.
    The video was a race mixing metaphor it seems. Unfortunately, race is far deeper than skin tone but includes many genetic factors such as hormone levels and shape and size of the brain. Such deep differences lead to differences of character and ability. You are 0 for 2 here.

  324. progressorconserve January 6, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Regarding:
    “A money that would serve as a genuine standard of value could be pegged instead to a “basket of commodities,” which would have real “use” value.”
    Great idea, in theory, but when you mention agricultural commodities as part of of the “basket” understand that there are huge fluctuations in prices in markets that are unregulated. Consider how corn and wheat prices fluctuate based on seasons, droughts, and harvests. And you’ve still got those d*mn speculators – working to get an *undeserved?* piece of the action.
    Now a regulated market generates more stable prices. Consider the “peanut allotment” price support program in the US.
    http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA107377
    This program has magically survived since 1938. If your family was growing peanuts, then, you have a valuable “allotment.” Without an allotment, which must be inherited, rented, or purchased, you can not sell peanuts. (you can grow them if you want to – not sell them)
    So peanut production is controlled by a guild, of sorts, which is enforced by the US Department of Agriculture.
    Marijuana also enjoys a stable and high price. Production of this commodity is also controlled by a guild, of sorts, which is enforced by the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
    There’s some real irony in all this, somewhere!

  325. asia January 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    i once heard british steel pays one of highest

  326. asia January 6, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y
    How to spell definitely

  327. asia January 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Fascinating, the ‘charity’ of jewish billionaires
    [yes i wrote that].
    for a startling read….WIKI: george soros.
    his charity work is diabolic!
    its no surprise melissa gates went to africa and is trying to save it, as soros buys it up!
    that being said jews usually do charity to other jews or to blacks.
    perhaps worse are the jehovah witnesses, building churches but never hospitals! tax free of course.

  328. asia January 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    brilliant.
    around 1991 i saw a bumpersticker on a truck in OC
    ‘slaughter them camel jockeys’ is what it said.

  329. progressorconserve January 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    http://www.dividenddetective.com/big_dividend_list4.htm
    Here’s 800 dividend stocks for y’all to play with!
    I’d be very cautious with any yielding over 8% or so – that usually indicates something flaky is going on with the company or the stock price.
    Cash – your post regarding value of stocks and dividends was very well stated.
    Growth stocks, IPO’s, etc have been responsible for most of the *FROTH* that has caused most of the stock market troubles.
    But that’s not to say that investing in small companies that do not pay dividends can not pay off very well.
    Consider the early investors in Wal-Mart (before 1974) and/or Microsoft (before 2003) did pretty well just with stock splits and growth.

  330. asia January 6, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    I need go no further than pico blvd in santa monica…smc.edu.
    classes in logisitics [how to move goods from china], requirements to graduate that include ‘global citizenship’, 1000+ wetbacks getting help from the latino center, an ombudsPERSON ETCETCETC.
    its a microcosm of the mess were in.
    smc is a 2 year school that use to teach how to build things, nows it reduced to crap classes like ‘food and cultures’, ‘teaching in a diverse society’ etc.
    i met someone last nite [ 22 years old] who said ‘ most of the other students in my classes are asian’..i asked..’ are you taking science classes’?

  331. asia January 6, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

    gawd..i did look at it!
    ‘Section 359(b) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended, provides that anyone growing and marketing more than 1 acre of peanuts in the United States without a peanut allotment and quota is subject to a substantial penalty. Allotments have been assigned to individual farms. A person without an original allotment must either inherit, purchase, or rent the farm, or lease the peanut allotment from the farm’s owner. Each allotment holder receives, as a farm poundage marketing quota, a proportionate share of the national poundage quota established by the Secretary of Agriculture.

  332. k-dog January 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    The Senate has confirmed Michelle Leonhart to head the DEA. Ms. Leonhart has been interim director since November 2007. President Obama had nominated Leonhart last February to serve permanent director. Numerous drug policy reform organizations had opposed Leonhart’s confirmation saying her actions as interim administrator were contrary to the Obama administration’s pledge to allow science, rather than rhetoric and ideology, guide public policy

    Does President Obama understand the relation of our energy predicament to the workings of our economy? How could he not? Certainly he has had a conversation or two with Energy Secretary (and eminent physicist) Steven Chu over the past two years.

    I’m sure he has, maybe they discussed golf. I find the assumption that a cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light expert would know about global oil reserves a bit of a reach myself.
    Anyway someone could ask Obama if they discussed it but sometimes he forgets things, like who Snookie is (for those of you who enjoy Jon Stewart).
    Who can get close enough to ask?
    I wish I could.

  333. k-dog January 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Michelle Leonhart is a Bush holdover, I left that out.

  334. Bustin J January 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Cash rules everything around him: “Don’t give me stories, give me cash.”
    Who carries cash? Customers.
    The question for all business has been, where is this great white buffalo, customers? Where do they gather, what is their habits? In facebook we have the answer.
    All the customers, gathering together in one place, lining up to be targeted. Has it EVER been easier to reach all the people?
    People, for their part, are mostly blind to the business side. For them, the facebook is a figurative water-hole in an expanding desert (where habitat has shrivelled because these buffalo make the habitat).
    Facebook buffalo have already invested the other valuable commodities time and energy. All this sustains the other commodities, the social self and network.
    We are talking about something with great size and inertia. These are more valuable than dividends. Any shite company on the exchange can offer a dividend. But returns are made on potentials. And all the potential is in facebook.
    Already, facebook’s social currency is pervasive. Not on facebook? You are alone in the wilderness.
    Early investors are galloping to huge profits now and into the future.
    Has the train left already? Maybe not, maybe so.
    I’d be willing to bet Jen’s Holiday donation pool to a single mom and her alcoholic was generated via social networks. After the whiskey bottle is empty and the children freshly beaten, I’m sure they’ll all get together and commiserate on each other’s facebooks.
    A company like facebook that has opportunity to make money up, down, left, and sideways, at the only watering hole in town, while addicting their user base more and more is a Goose that will eventually lay Golden dividends, or just major returns.

  335. The Mook January 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    You are pissed off that JHK hates tattoes but then immediately rip people who carry guns. If I ever stumble across someone with a tatto, being attacked by a white guy, in a golf shirt, on a cell phone, I will use my gun to put an end to it.

  336. The Mook January 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Facebook is a fad. Besides, it is a privately held company. There is no profit to be had for anyone that is not in the Jewish kid’s inner circle.

  337. Bustin J January 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Vlad, what do you think of the proof that neanderthals and devisonians interbred with homo sapien, resulting the “rainbow of fruit flavors” that comprise global pops.?
    I knew in 1994 that neanderthals had interbred with sapiens. I just didn’t have the bones in hand at the time. It followed from biological maxim that traits in a population arise from that population. It was obvious to me that I was part neanderthal.
    White skin? Less melanocytes? Red hair, light eye combinations? All wrong for Africa, all right for Northern Europe. The only way (we) homo sapiens have white skin or light eyes is from those neanderthal genes.
    The latest findings indicate the Papua New Guineans are from a long-diminished race of homo sapiens that sprung from a Devisonan interbreeding.
    The Asians wash out as a neanderthal-sapien mix, too. How much Devisonian is in there or in white people I do not know yet.
    Anyway, the first generation had mix of 1/2 the genes. The second and third added another 1/2 and 1/2 again. As you can see, eventually there are eventually less and less neanderthal genes. After just 10 generations there are only 0.09% of the original genes.
    Here’s how I think it went down: genes are conserved because they are useful or don’t hurt anything. “Survivors” are just people who have a set that works.
    So, form my perspective there is no reason to think there will never be white genes expressed in the race of homo sapiens. The only way for that to happen would be for every homo sapien alive today with those genes must die en masse and disappear.
    “Dust to Dust” -Speaker Boehner (is nothing sacred- that gavel looks like it belongs to Mickey Mouse)
    By the way, there is a lot of junk DNA in our system, and I have a theory about that, too. Its other creatures’ DNA. Not just for the obvious ones like bacteria or virues. Plants. Animals.
    You ever see a dog try and hump a cat?
    Thats us.
    Anyway, I wonder how many Quant servers are spidering this page? Jim should call up his ISP and see the logs. I’ll bet facebook’s buy ranking gets a boost every time the word “facebook” is used. We could start a “Spike Facebook” campaign very much in the vein of the JPMorgan Silver Buyback. Except when people figure out it’s Jim’s blog we’ll double-short the market.
    facebook! facebook! facebook!

  338. Vlad Krandz January 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Here’s a couple of good articles and the video and translation of Mandella singing about killing Whites. If you go to the side bar and click Africa, you can find an article about Mandella the Terrorist. But start with the basic ones at the bottom of this article. I didn’t give you a blood and gore site here. If you want the nitty gritty horror show – there are plenty of sites showing Whites burned alive. The author makes his point well: Why is the World Ignoring this Genocide?
    http://www.davidbenariel.org/africa/genocide-south-african-whites.htm

  339. Bustin J January 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Louannz sed, “I’ve been a follower of yours since I saw you give a TED Talk. However, coming to the end of your predictions, I was once again struck by something that I now have to mention: your irrational and unfounded impression of people with tattoos.”
    The thing about a tattoo is this: it’s not so much “eww, you have a tattoo”, but “why would anyone want THAT on their body- forever”?
    Aside from the very few fetishists who are into permanence in itself, you must conclude on the quality and subject matter of the tattoos themselves that most of their “owners” are or were incapacitated in some way to want or allow this to happen to themselves, probably because of a condition known as
    “Mentally deficient”
    Ergo, the tattoo makes the moron. Similarly it makes the unwise, the uncool, and the uncouth.
    Since I do believe the mating choices of young adult/teen girls can be as shallow as selecting on the basis of tattoos alone, I have to conclude that the race of mankind is having tattoo-lovers’ DNA diluted in it to some extent.
    The silent generation is silent on the issue because it knows all the life cycles of a “fad”.
    Tattooed people today will be wearing a 70s-era hairdo equivalent in 2030. Will it be in?
    The virtual temporary tattoo set by Hasbro will drive global Tats growth exponentially beginning in 2016.
    Imagine- your daughter with Justin Beiber’s face across both ass cheeks/lower back. Surprise! It will wash-away in 2-3 weeks.
    I imagine teams of college graduates airbrushing the daughters of the upper classes in strip-store franchises. A new Ray Croc style success story!
    facebook! facebook! facebook!

  340. Bustin J January 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    So mook said, “Facebook is a fad. Besides, it is a privately held company. There is no profit to be had for anyone that is not in the Jewish kid’s inner circle.”
    facebook! is not a fad like tattoos.
    facebook! is into everybody’s literal and figurative business now. It is a fucking freight train. It touches everyone’s life whether you know it or not.
    Now, I’m not going to compare apples and motes of dust.
    Lets compare googles and facebooks.
    Many don’t realize apples and oranges are pretty much the same thing compared to most other things.
    Name one other company with the size of this one’s coming market cap that didn’t go public.
    It is only a question of when.
    Its just starting to cave into its base market. As google ruled search and all its wealth sprang from it, facebook rules the social.
    At heart, its a tech stock- therefore it will have to compete. It looks like it could outmaneuver the other players in its segment. And smaller players are not much threat; globally the social profile will blob up.
    facebook! is already the future you’re experiencing. Its digital DNA is diluting the a social environment’s analog DNA. And I’m mixing metaphors.

  341. Vlad Krandz January 6, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    I think the whole thing may be far more complicated than we once thought. Many believe that Homo Erectus left alot of genes in China and Australia for example. Modern Man may have done alot of interbreeding. In the case China, some unique dentition. And Aboriginees have the heavy eye ridges. Either that or Carlton Coons’s theory that Modern Man arose in many places may still be in the running. Homo Erectus was extraordinary: the first man out of Africa, he spread throughout much of the old world. He got up into Central China and even northern Europe I believe. So he must have had fire. But he didn’t have the tool kit to take on the ice ages – that was for later models of Erectus or for totally new breeds coming up out of Africa. Coon’s ideas still have proponents apparently.
    Ever read the antropologist Loren Eisley? He had a beautiful style and he wrote a haunting essay about a village girl in France who he called the last of the Neanderthals. She had the heavy muscles, the bun on the back of her head – everything. Neanderthal Man was extraordinary too – by far the strongest man who ever lived, he also had a huge brain. People have been trashing him since the begining, but he braved some of the harshest conditions ever. Everyone seemed to assume that his huge brain was just an accident or appendage – but maybe he was really very bright. You might enjoy Texas Arcane. Like you, he thinks he may have alot of Neanderthal Genes. And he also believes modern man is a come down from Neanderthal – a rather sorry hybrid between Neanderthal and lesser breeds. Go back to the posts a few months ago for alot of Neanderthal posts.
    http://vault-co.blogspot.com/
    High IQ is common in the East so the World will not lose that even if the White Race dies. But we have a certain Promethean quality and a creativity that the East Asians seem to lack. Even if many of our genes survive in the hybrids – these qualities will be lost in the flood. Emergent traits are delicate – thus I believe that the White Race is irreplaceable and it survival is emminently worth fighting for. Beyond that – it’s my Race! We have the right to Live without having to justify ourselves!
    Of course if the Neanderthal heritage is true, where does that put Cro-Magnon? He was a magnificient specimen too with a larger brain than is common now. And he seems to have been Caucasian in feature altho perhaps not fair skinned. Perhaps in the process of exterminating the Neanderthals, some cross breeding took place and these fair skinned genes proved their worth in the dark forests of cloudy Europe.

  342. k-dog January 6, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Funny thing about science, its true.
    The Human Family Tree
    Spencer Wells is who you want to google. National Graphic sponsored the DVD.
    Sorry to send the last five or so posts to hell, really I am.
    NOT

  343. The Mook January 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Johnny Weir is queer! No way!

  344. asia January 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    WIKI/ GEORGE SOROS
    According to National Review[42] the Open Society Institute gave $20,000 in September 2002 to the Defense Committee of Lynne Stewart, the lawyer who has defended alleged terrorists in court and was sentenced to 2? years in prison for “providing material support for a terrorist conspiracy” via a press conference for a client. An OSI spokeswoman said “it appeared to us at that time that there was a right-to-counsel issue worthy of our support.” [alleged?}
    Quote:
    ‘I’m also very concerned about my own role because the new anti-Semitism holds that the Jews rule the world… As an unintended consequence of my actions… I also contribute to that image’]
    “Today China has not only a more vigorous economy, but actually a better functioning government than the United States”.[73]
    And this ‘gem’ …[OPPOSED BY EVERY D.A. IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA]:
    Soros donated $1.4 million to publicity efforts to support California’s Proposition 5 in 2008, a failed ballot measure that would have expanded drug rehabilitation programs as alternatives to prison for persons convicted of non-violent drug-related offenses. [2]

  345. asia January 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    SING TO THE TUNE OF 1970 HIT ‘Neanderthal man’
    [10cc?]
    youre a Neanderthal man
    shes a neanderthal gal
    she can be yr pal
    the future of the aryan race
    yr kids can have a monkey face

  346. JonathanSS January 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    You wrote: “Thus, our World turns to crap, and we end up with crappy leaders like Bush, Jr. and Obama.”
    If Obama went all “worst case” on the USA, he would probably be impeached. Politicians have to put a positive spin on things, otherwise creating a self fulfilling prophecy, since much of economics is emotionally based.
    Look what happened to Jimmy “wear a sweater” Carter.

  347. Pucker January 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm #

    Cash: Great post regarding the reality of cultivating relationships in the corporate environment! I would only add that if one can get in the-good-books with the CEO/Managing Partner, etc.’s wife, then you’ve got it made. I know one incompetent, alcoholic whore many years ago in a former job who rose to the top by flogging other people’s work and baking cookies with the boss’s wife on the weekends.
    The lunches with these people were unbearable. Conversations centered upon reality TV shows and restaurants. What one ate and where one ate was a status symbol.
    [Incompetent alcoholic whore to Pucker]: “And Pucker what do you think about that?”
    Pucker: “Well, I think that one problem is the creeping institutionalization of people and the effect that forms of organization have on the thinking and behavior of people.”
    [Everyone at the table looks confused and dazed.]

  348. lbendet January 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    The destruction of regulation and the creation of kleptocracy.
    Listen to Michael Hudson, just a 5 minute interview, but so telling…. its the Chicago School of business (Milton Friedman) once again and Obama is firmly in that camp. Ever wonder why Glass Steagall didn’t get reinstated?






  349. Pucker January 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    JONATHANSS wrote: “Politicians have to put a positive spin on things, otherwise creating a self fulfilling prophecy, since much of economics is emotionally based.”
    Comment: We’ve somehow bought into this popular notion that politicians (and everyone else) have to Lie in order to manipulate people and reality.
    This misconception is false and dangerous.
    “Now that we know reality can be manipulated, it is much more difficult to make a commitment to the pursuit of truth than it was at the time of the Enlightenment. For one thing, it is more difficult to establish what the truth is. The Enlightenment regarded reality as something independently given and therefore knowable, but when the course of events is contingent on the biased beliefs and misconceptions of the participants, reality turns into a moving target. For another, it is not at all self-evident why the pursuit of truth should take precedence over the pursuit of power. [Reflexivity] teaches us that the pursuit of power is important exactly because misconceptions are liable to lead to unintended adverse consequences.” (George Soros, “The Crash of 2008 and What It Means”, pp. 39-40.)

  350. wagelaborer January 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    You almost had it, Jackie.
    The money “lost” is imaginary money.
    For instance, we are told that $6 trillion in housing “value” was lost after the 08 housing bubble.
    Did I really lose any money in the bubble?
    I bought my house in 1993. Conceivably, it’s value skyrocketed by 2008, (although I had no interest in calculating it).
    Now, my house is worth much less. Have I lost any money?
    No, I haven’t. I bought the house to live in, and it’s almost paid off.
    It never was a piggybank to me. When I went to the bank and saw the pretty posters urging me to take out a second mortgage to go to the Carribean, or add on another story, I was never tempted.
    What? Take a chance on losing my house to go to the Cayman Islands? Are you people nuts?
    Same with my 401K. Like Cash says, all it is is something that I put money into. I have never gotten a dividend.
    But I “lost” thousands of dollars in 2008.
    Because in theory I could have sold it for much more. (Notwithstanding the US government’s heavy-handed method of keeping worker’s money in Wall Street – heavy taxation for withdrawing money, unlike the 15% that the rich pay for capital gains).
    But, of course, that’s part of what makes bubbles grow. Not everyone can sell at the same time, or it pops.
    And why do bankers lend money that they know can’t be repaid?
    Because when everyone else is doing it, they have to, or get left behind.
    Plus, they get to keep the immediate fees.
    Sheesh. If you people are going to believe in conspiracy theories, shouldn’t you pick actual conspiracies?
    The bankers aren’t conspiring to destroy the world. They are doing their best to make lots of money.

  351. Lara's Dad January 6, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    thanx for a real mouth-open belly laugh !

  352. jackieblue2u January 6, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    Glad you liked it.
    The guys’ voice is perfect I thought. The ‘tone’ of the skit, anyway I hope more people see it.
    Nothin’ like a good laugh.

  353. Donny-Don January 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    How interesting:
    (1) Kunstler hasn’t taken me up on my proposed “Dow 4,000″ bet; and
    (2) No one on this blog has commented on the fact that we’re not at Peak Oil yet, based on the latest info posted at theoildrum.org.
    As much as I hate to be the guy that comes and farts at the party, somebody has to do it. I get a little nervous about the cult-like behavior of Kunstler followers.
    No matter how outrageous the predictions (Dow at 4,000 by December!!) and how tiresome the excuses (I just jumped the gun. THIS year it’s really gonna happen), it starts to feel more and more like those apocalyptic cults that always have an excuse as to why the UFOs didn’t come and the world didn’t end at 11:23 p.m. on Oct 19th as was earlier predicted by their leader … (it was an error in our calculation! We re-ran the numbers! The end is actually coming on March 2nd!).
    Well good luck with that. Meanwhile my offer for a bet on Kunstler’s prediction remains open. A great opportunity to rake in $1,000 in silver coin if you’re a True Believer.

  354. JonathanSS January 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Good reply. I agree with you and Soros. I’m not one to want things sugar coated.
    I was implying that many people think a good leader is positive and tells them what they want to hear.

  355. JonathanSS January 6, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    I think I remember JHK saying that we’ll only truly know when we’ve passed peak oil when looking from our rear view mirrors.
    Because of the law of supply and demand, higher barrel prices create incentive to find more oil, which previously might not have been economically viable to drill for. So, we should see continued pricing volatility and variable production rates well into this decade. It might take a few years after that to determine a decline from maximum production.

  356. BeantownBill January 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Questions:
    Does anyone know how peak oil is determined?
    Do different people or organizations make different assumptions to determine this, and do these groups have differing agendas?
    Does anyone really know the world’s “proven” reserves? Do you trust all the stated reserve figures? If they are off, by how much? Who determines the amount of reserves?
    Are there peer-reviewed studies on oil reserves that state figures that are accepted by the majority of geologists and/or petrochemical engineers as fairly accurate?
    Has the entire Earth been explored with regard to oil content? Are there still areas where oil content is undetermined?
    If these questions can’t be reasonably answered, then all this talk about peak oil is a waste of time.
    Could anyone point me to a good source to answer all the questions?

  357. rocco January 7, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    Happy New Year James and all posters:
    What do you want evidenced based peer review studies? Are you trying to push logiaal rational facts on us? Did those crazy critical thinkers based in Buffalo,NY send you here to spoil our fears and worries with facts? I think JHK said the peak is not just oil, but water,wood,metals, based on our current level of consumption vs what is left in the natural world. A new end of the world date, May 21, 2011 it will start but accoding to the Bible study by the Conservative Christian group October 2011 it will be over. Check out live science.com When Charles Schultz of Snoopy fame asked if he believed the world will end today or some day, his replied was NO because it was already tomorrow in Australia! I miss LATOC and the daily worries and alerts it provided me.

  358. k-dog January 7, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    1)Does anyone know how peak oil is determined?
    The moment of Maximum extraction.
    2)Do different people or organizations make different assumptions to determine this, and do these groups have differing agendas?
    Some detractors claim it is when oil is half used up but that is meant to confuse and discredit. The fundamental changes in economic conditions after peak is of critical importance.
    3)Does anyone really know the world’s “proven” reserves? Do you trust all the stated reserve figures? If they are off, by how much? Who determines the amount of reserves?
    How much bad news do you want? The fact is that world distribution was never balanced in terms of field size. Most oil was concentrated in large easily found deposits to start with. Fifty years of global exploration with dwindling results is pretty good evidence we are not going to hit the lotto as far as new oil finds go.
    4)Are there peer-reviewed studies on oil reserves that state figures that are accepted by the majority of geologists and/or petrochemical engineers as fairly accurate?
    An informed expert should answer this question but basically reserves are state secrets which in general are overestimated for obvious reasons.
    5)Has the entire Earth been explored with regard to oil content? Are there still areas where oil content is undetermined?
    Yes, this is already answered, there are no areas which may hide undetermined deposits of significant size.
    5)Could anyone point me to a good source to answer all the questions?
    Blind Spot Documentary
    A Crude Awakening
    There are several others. Besides poking my nose in here I’m working on a web site where they will all be listed and reviewed.

  359. Patrizia January 7, 2011 at 2:04 am #

    I am not good in making predictions, but after seeing the video somebody suggested about US debt and Michael Hudson I think I have a good idea.
    Us debt is fictitious, in principle what debt?
    US is not borrowing, it is just printing new money.
    And No nation ever paid its debt…and it would not be a catastrophe, just a bubble gum under your shoe.
    Well, we have a recent example: Argentina.
    They didn’t repay their debts.
    The problem was they couldn’t print money, they had to borrow.
    What struck me is the fact that the average American can believe that his country is so powerful to live consuming and paying with paper, where the rest of the world should work, produce, save and feed America in exchange of paper.
    The secret of making paper is known all over the globe and it is not far the moment in which the “others” will be pissed off of a similar behavior and decide they too can print debts.
    The consequence won’t be just a bubble gum under your shoe.
    This speech is just like the one of the people who talk about “no Hyperinflation in the near future”.
    But the hyperinflation is already here!
    When the price of a Web site is 50 billions dollars, one can have an idea of the value of the US dollar….

  360. debt January 7, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I recently found a recipe that had been cut out of a S.F. Chronicle newspaper from 1976. On the back was a supermarket ad. A one and a half pound loaf of cracked wheat bread was advertised for 49 cents.
    Yikes!

  361. Patrizia January 7, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    Forgive my naïveté, but I really do not understand : “You almost had it, Jackie.
    The money “lost” is imaginary money.”
    I always thought that when they said ” this stock today is worth this and that or this house today is worth this and that…” they meant that that stock or that house that day was sold for this or that.
    The market value in my belief was the price paid that day for that stuff.
    If I had bought that same thing some time before and I had sold that thing that day I would have made a profit or a loss, if I didn’t sell I would have had an imaginary loss or profit.
    But I guess that when somebody bought the houses in 2006 paid the price he was asked for.
    And if he had to sell now he would get less.
    But SOMEBODY cashed the money in 2006 and that somebody in theory could today buy what he sold for less.
    I guess that the one who bought in 2006 and sells now wouldn’t agree that that was imaginary loss.
    There is nothing imaginary in economy.
    In Arithmetic if you buy for 4 and sell for 2 you make -2 and the one who sold still has 4…

  362. MarlinFive54 January 7, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    Obama appoints Bill Daley as his new chief of staff.
    “Won’t you come home Bill Daley, won’t you come home”?
    I missed you all night long …”
    He is an executive at JPMorgan Chase.
    Can anybody explain this symbiotic relationship between The Democrats and Wall Street? They seem joined at the hip.
    Our Senator Chris Dodd left office yesterday. He has been essentially the U.S. finance minister for the past 4 years as head of the Senate finance committee. He has accumulated six houses on a salary of $175,000 per year, including a 5 million dollar manse on the gold coast of Ireland. He was a specially designated “Friend of Angelo”. Here is just one of the scams: Dodd ran for President in 2008. His support ran about 1% of the electorate, but he was the biggest recipient of donations from Greenwich HedgeFunds, Wall Street Banks and Wall Street Brokerage Houses. Of course he couldn’t keep all that money, he had no chance of winning, but his entire campaign staff in Iowa consisted of his own family, whom he paid handsomely. Now I’m wondering if some of that Wall Street Swag could have made its way back into Dodd’s own pocket.
    Just wondering thats all.

  363. Hancock1863 January 7, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    You’d think I wouldn’t be surprised anymore at the near-universal scientific illiteracy that pervades every level of American society.
    But after reading your last post Donny-Don, I suppose your inability to read a simple article and draw conclusions may have simply come from your ego shrieking, “Gotcha! Gotcha! Gotcha, doomers!” rather than actual inability to understand the significance of the numbers and the author’s overall thesis.
    Powerful thing, the ego. You probably didn’t even read the article, you were so excited to come back here and tell us dumb old CFNers what’s real.
    Knowing modern Americans and our deep internalization of marketing, PR and the rest of the science of lying (to ourselves, to others, to whoever), you probably skimmed it quickly, taking in nothing but making you able to pass a polygraph if someone asked you if you read it.
    Now here comes the part where you’re going to have to rush back and actually read the thing. Sorry for making you take on the extra effort.
    Because I actually READ the article, and had to stifle a laugh at the way you have internalized the Beck/O’Reilly/Hannity method of arguing, which is Binary Thinking for Idiots. Which is the American Way, at least since 1980.
    See, a scientist studying long term trends might look at a years- or decades-long graph and actually might be moved to look at and analyze the whole body of data, rather than just take the very last data point and scream “Gotcha! Gotcha! Gotcha!”
    If you actually read the article (which you almost certainly didn’t) Staniford’s article is NOT a repudiation of Peak Oil, as you would sell it to us (“Gotcha!” “Gotcha!” “Gotcha!”) but a warning against premature prognostication discrediting the valid Peak Oil movement by giving you Glenn Becks and Sean Hannitites ammunition for your scientifically illiterate and juvenile “refudiations”.
    A person with scientific literacy actually reading this may run the numbers and say, “Hmm. Donny-Don seems to be getting excited over what the author himself referred to as a stististical tie. That even if the author’s projections for the more recent monthly data turn out to be true, we’re talking about an increase of well less than 5% over previous peak.”
    Finally, a skeptic who has been watching the recent American descent into shameless third-world lying and corruption at the highest levels, might question the veracity of the numbers coming from one of the most corrupt sectors of the most corrupt sector of our society, the Oil Industry.
    Considering that the American Empire now runs almost exclusively on fraud, lies, and marketing (and cheap easy access to unlimited Internet Porn, 100 channel Cable TV, and psychoactive prescription drugs) and considering the massive amount of shameless demonstrably false lies that have been easily and successfully sold to gullible Americans, this should be a key cornerstone of any discussion.
    In fact, the first comment on the article was a question pondering whether this spike wasn’t artifically generated by releasing those full tankers that TPTB have been sitting on since they looted the globe of 50 or 60 trillion dollars of “Little People’s Money” in 2008-9, and oil prices plummeted.
    Institutional lies are fairly easy to see through if you’re looking. One of the main Institutional Lies that has now been baked into the Peak Oil discussion is the shifting of all accountable data from “total oil production” to “total liquid fuels production”.
    In other words, the ethanol being produced as part of the Phony Biofuels Boondoggle (good for a few hundred billion dollars of upward wealth and food transfer) in the homeland of our Empire is being counted in that chart.
    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2010/03/22/global-ethanol-production-expected-to-increase-16-2-percent-in-2010-to-22-7-billion-gallons/
    If we do the math on that, it’s roughly 1.4 Mbbls/day of liquids added to that graph. Hmm, so far that would account for the the higher “new peak”, without a single drop of increased oil production.
    And even if none of what I am saying is true, what about the term “bumpy plateau” do you find so confusing. Are you actually this obtuse, or just pretending to be so in order to make a fallacious point?
    I know, I know, Donny-Don, why am I pointing all this out? Why am I bringing up all these facts when I should be simply content to bask in your “Glenn Beckian ‘Gotcha!'” and your own obvious brilliance.
    I’m stupid, that’s why. Anyone with eyes can see by now that truth, facts and scientific thinking do not drive our American Empire. Lies, fraud, gullibility, money, power and weak-minded binary thinking (the TPTB LOVE the fact that so few Americans understand science or scientific thinking – people like that are so much easier to deceive) are what drives our Inverted Totalitarianism here in America.
    So I expect you to do what Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and any American who has been marinating in the greatest propaganda machine in human history (which is to say: all of us) would do.
    Ignore the facts. Ignore the nuances, ignore the rest of the article, the author’s thesis and anything else that disrupts your message. As Goebbels put it so many years ago, be incessantly repetetive and ignore “the complaints of the intellectuals.”
    Stay on message, Donny-Don. Stay shameless and full of contempt for “your enemies” (facts, nuance and deeper understanding of issues) at the same time.
    It’s a winning marketing strategy. You’ve got it down already, the question is are you shameless enough to stick with it?
    Time will tell.
    P.S. before you protest that you aren’t an idiot Teabagger, let me state now that RW Authoritarianism is dominant in America, you can no more dissociate yourself from Teabagger Mind than a fish swimming in polluted water every day 24/7 can pretend they are unaffected by it. You can’t. To swim in it is to be affected by it, for you, me or anyone. In essence we all are idiot Teabaggers now. The only difference between any of us is how much we embrace it or attempt to reject or fight it (mostly unsuccessfully, since propaganda is aimed at the subconscious, which flanks our conscious defenses) within ourselves and others. But we are all idiot Teabaggers now.

  364. Lisa V January 7, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    In 2000 the price of oil was about $27,
    the price of gold was about $316
    DOW was about the same as today.
    Today price of oil is $89 and price of gold is $1405. If you can make the simplest calculations you can see that the real value of DOW is even much lower than JHK predicted.

  365. lbendet January 7, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    The numbers are designed to confuse you.
    This morning they spoke of the paltry employment figures and it’s really almost not worth mentioning as they don’t reflect reality. The figures tipped toward 9.4 unemployment, but does this reflect seasonal hiring for Christmas? Does this reflect how many people are actually unemployed? We are told by some that its more like 19% unemployment.
    Tarp: how much did we really give globally to bolster up the banks $800 billion or $22 Trillion as some suggest? Is it $1.4 Quadrillion in toxic assets? or $66 Trillion? Do the deficit numbers include our two wars? Do the banks have tankers filled with oil waiting price increases?
    When is the last time US gold holdings were audited? What’s in the Social Security chest? What the hell is this system anyway? I know one thing for sure: This isn’t capitalism anymore and not based on any real value. It was suggested by someone on Max Keiser’s site yesterday that the first country that goes back to the gold standard may replace the fiat currency. It might just by China.
    In an email I wrote to JHK yesterday I said:
    [In lieu of your discussion on hyperinflation and deflation, I think one other manipulated condition was not mentioned and
    it’s something that we’ve been living with for a long time, now reaching critical mass.Rising costs
    of goods and services that feel an awful lot like inflation due to a combination of lower value of the dollar combined with artificially low interest rates, to boost lending for housing.
    There was a time when companies gave out cost of living raises annually, but that began to change in the ’80’s. In those days even medical insurance and doctor fees looked feasible.
    Now the costs are like a run away train.
    This has been going on for the past 30 years, in reaction to the high interest rates of Carter’s Presidency.You cannot make money on your money and live off the interest anymore.
    The net result has been that people have been forced into the casino stock market with no protection of their capital and they have bought into the paradigm of housing as their own personal ATM. As Jamie Dimon told congress, he tells his daughter that bubbles happen every 5-7 years. Anyone keeping their money in that has got to be crazy.
    But for appearances sake to make it seem as if there’s a functioning economy the stock market looks strong. That was the Faustian deal with the banksters.]
    We are living in a black box where the reality can only be seen as shadows suggesting that the numbers are so mind-boggling we just can’t face the truth. And speaking of truth the Republican party just doesn’t seem to care. They live in a world of should-be’s instead of what is. Its just the world according to them and that’s all that matter. The Democrats aren’t much better since they are a toy of Wall Street, just the same as the GOP.
    How do you keep this system creeping along without putting the blinders on? The whole world seems to be going along with this nonsense since they can’t find their way out. As I’ve mentioned before (French Finance Minister) Christine Lagard answered Farred Zacharia’s question about creating new bubbles and she said they had nothing else to work with—-Wow! That my friends is the global economy she’s talking about!
    About Peak Oil: T. Boone Pickens said we passed it around Nov. 2005. He may have a vested interest, since he is pushing the natural gas option to ween the US off foreign oil, but I think he sees a country that can’t move in any direction but the status quo. We just can’t get out of the influence of big oil.–even if we are slamming into a new draconian reality.
    Hancock 1863 you said it right! Glad to see your post today.

  366. Raindogs January 7, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Ever’thing I own is made in Chin-er
    I’m in love with a girl with one-a-them pierced Vag-I-ners…
    My Winchester’s made of walnut and milled steel
    Went to the local grease pit for one-a-them Fatboy meals…
    This danged Peak Oil’s really got me down
    Guess I’ll have to take the F-250 on into town…
    On Main Street alls I see is Yeast Folks breeding more rubes
    I want to yell at these clowns “Hey, why can’t ya just tie them tubes?”…
    I’m going to listen to Springsteen’s Nebraska for some more inspiration now.

  367. progressorconserve January 7, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    We talk a lot on here about being locavores and growing our own food. But, I can make reference to a time when I watched my grandparent’s generation do this because it was then ONLY life they knew.
    The author of this piece was an *American teenage* child of Hmong refugees – who gardened local and organic out of necessity.
    ===========
    Here’s an excerpt:
    “Now, as an adult, I don’t have a garden. Years after I finished college and was well into the working world, long after credit cards made checks obsolete at the grocery store, I still insisted on writing checks to pay for my brand-name groceries. The defiant child food stamp user in me still needs the validation that comes from putting pen to paper and declaring, in writing, that I earned the right to take this food home.”
    ============
    http://www.salon.com/food/feature/2011/01/06/hmong_urban_farmers_ext2011/index.html
    This is a partial explanation of why my parent’s generation left the working farms of their parents and never wanted to go back.
    And a partial example of how my generation and my children’s generation looks back wistfully at a idealized version of this farming lifestyle that had privation and brutal grunt labor as an integral part of the mixture.

  368. Cash January 7, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Patrizia,
    You are absolutely correct, that there is nothing imaginary in actual transactions to buy or sell something.
    I would add this:
    there is nothing imaginary to the people actually involved in the transaction ie the one forking over the cash and the one receiving the cash
    Everyone else that is not a party to the transaction are just bystanders and all they have are a bunch of coulda, woulda, shouldas. Coulda bought (or sold), shoulda bought (or sold) etc. If you didn’t actually buy or sell it’s all in the realm of the hypothetical.
    IMO the price of a stock or house on any given day comes as a result of the interaction on that particular day between fear and greed.
    If you aren’t the one buying or selling the selling price of a stock or a house has nothing to do with you even if you own that stock or a reasonably similar house in a similar neighbourhood. The only price that is relevant to you is the price that you get when you actually sell (or buy).
    At least that’s how I look at it.

  369. Cash January 7, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Wage,
    I would add to this that the money wasn’t really “lost”. It just changed hands. It’s a zero sum game. Someone gets left holding the bag and that guy loses. The guy that gets out before the music stops comes out ahead. But in agggregate nothing is gained or lost. Like in a Ponzi scheme.

  370. progressorconserve January 7, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    This is a thought provoking article from an investment and strategic analysis firm that I have come to trust.
    There is no mention of Peak Oil, but the inevitability of American Empire going forward is a central thesis of this analysis.
    Skim it or read it – if you want your own thoughts provoked.
    =========
    Here’s an excerpt:
    “Geopolitics describes what happens to nations, but it says little about the kinds of regimes nations will have. I am convinced that unless we understand the nature of power, and master the art of ruling, we may not be able to choose the direction of our regime. Therefore, there is nothing contradictory in saying that the United States will dominate the next century yet may still lose the soul of its republic. I hope not, as I have children and now grandchildren—and I am not convinced that empire is worth the price of the republic. I am also certain that history does not care what I, or others, think.”
    http://www.investorsinsight.com/blogs/john_mauldins_outside_the_box/archive/2011/01/06/the-next-decade-where-we-ve-been-and-where-we-re-going.aspx

  371. progressorconserve January 7, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    The things made in China are not worth a shit,
    My partner in lust had to pierce her own clit.
    Our leaders sell out and they make us their whore,
    This once great Nation makes a hole in the floor.
    Some few see Peak Oil but they quibble the date,
    Seven billion new souls make solutions too late.
    But do what you can in the time that you’re lent,
    And fix things that rhyme with the en-vir-on-ment!
    ===========
    I’m not sure who started this poetry fest.
    I’m now going to quit, but I gave it my best!

  372. Cash January 7, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Bustin
    No disrespect here, you’re entitled to see things the way you want. So you can settle for stories like the ones you told me about water buffalo if you want. But I want money.
    The way I look at it, in business there are risks. Big ones. So if a company wants to use my money it has to pay me. A lot. Nothing is free especially if it’s my money. If you want it you pay for it.
    Corporate bond holders get paid according contracts specifying interest and principal. So they have security and they take precedence over stock holders.
    So as a stockholder, because there’s no contract specifying how and when I get paid I bear more risk. So I want to get paid more than a bond holder. A lot more. The dividend yield I get has to be a lot more than the yield a bond holder gets.
    It’s like I told a banker a few weeks ago when he was trying to set me up for the kill: my name is Tucker not Sucker.
    But it’s your money so you get to spend it as you please.

  373. Cash January 7, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    Pro,
    You make a good point about small companies that don’t pay dividends.
    But, to me, if a company can’t actually cut cheques to pay its stockholders then it’s not making money.
    There’s always the conflict between the way I think the stock market ought to work and the way it actually does work which is why I buy no stocks or mutual funds. To me the small companies you cite are just Ponzi schemes.
    IMO most of the investment industry pushes Ponzi crap. I just stay away from it.
    To me there are “returns” ie cash the company sends to stockholders via dividend cheques. Those are returns in a very real sense of the word.
    And there are gains in the price of the stock which, to my way of thinking, should be based on nothing more than an expectation of increased dividends. To me these gains are not returns ie the company is not literally returning my money to me but rather it’s coming from other investors.

  374. anglo January 7, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Don’t know if anyone here reads Joe Bageant (Well worth a read if you are a JHK fan) but I just read his latest note on his blog. Sadly he has a bad case of cancer, hope he gets through it successfully. America needs more people like him.

  375. lbendet January 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Some media to check out:
    Finally we will see Top Secret America on frontline on 1/18/11 in a segment called “Are We Safer?”
    FRONTLINE premieres its new monthly magazine program with three investigative reports on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings). In the first story, Are We Safer?, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest investigates the terrorism-industrial complex that grew up in the wake of 9/11 and explores the growing reach of homeland security, fusion centers, battlefield technologies and data collecting into the lives of ordinary Americans.
    One more video JHK is in I just discovered in a series of “The Nation” with Thom Hartmann as narrator:
    http://www.thenation.com/video/157441/peak-oil-and-changing-climate
    The scientific community has long agreed that our dependence on fossil fuels inflicts massive damage on the environment and our health, while warming the globe in the process. But beyond the damage these fuels cause to us now, what will happen when the world’s supply of oil runs out?
    In a new video series from The Nation and On The Earth Productions, Bill McKibben, Noam Chomsky, Nicole Foss, Richard Heinberg, James Howard Kunstler, and other scientists, researchers and writers explain.
    Go here to learn more about “Peak Oil and a Changing Climate,” and to see the other videos in the series.

  376. jackieblue2u January 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Well tubes rhymes with boobs. but don’t got there.
    True enough words. Good poem. If you could get Bruce to sing it ! U B sittin’ pretty.

  377. wagelaborer January 7, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    When I said that that $6 trillion was “lost”, I was quoting the corporate media.
    The imaginary wealth could never be realized because not every house could be sold at the same time. Not only do most people stay in their houses, but if all the houses were for sale at the same time, the prices would drop anyway!
    But they counted it as if they could sell every house in the US for the bubble price. And then they said that that money was “lost”.
    Of course if a house actually sells, there is real money created, and some of it actually gets handed out immediately.
    About your stock market theory. I totally agree. If there are no dividends, there is no benefit to owning stock.
    This is something that Americans can’t understand, because we are constantly being propagandized to buy into the stock market.
    I have a co-worker who actually studies the stock reports. He is always telling me how much money he’s making on stocks.
    I ask “Did you get a dividend?”
    And he gets furious!
    We were sitting there one day, and he got all excited. “Wow, look at this stock. It was worth way more 2 years ago. That means it’s undervalued and will go up again! It’s called Lehman Brothers”
    I could not believe that someone who spends so much time playing the stock market would not know that Lehman Brothers went bankrupt!
    Every year we have to go to a 401K meeting, where chipper ex-cheerleaders (I’m guessing) explain to us how much money we’ll make if we just give them 20% (recommended!) of our paychecks.
    No wonder the stock market kept going up. It had actual money from workers passed over to them.
    But they never say how all this money will translate into retirement income.
    They tell us that we will have a million dollars when we retire.
    OK. Then what? Do we live off the dividends? Do we sell it and try to live off that the rest of our lives?
    This is NEVER stated. And never asked.
    You can blame people for being stupid.
    But it’s trumpeted by the media, officially supported by the government, and heavily pushed by the corporate bosses.
    It takes a very stubborn person to resist. As Hancock says, we are all swimming in propaganda, and you don’t even realize all of it, no matter how skeptical you are.

  378. BeantownBill January 7, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    Cash, I do believe what you say about the market -up until fairly recently. What drives stock prices now is large-scale computer arbitrage programs, where mega purchases of securities occur in a millisecond; Where a fraction of a penny change in the price means a huge gain.
    The average small investor sees a large volume increase in a stock, with the price up a fraction and believes now is the time to buy. The investment fund sells off the large purchase it just made to them, then goes short. Other small stockowners see the large volume on the downside, sell off, the price goes down and the large fund makes another killing on the downside -all the volatility caused by the computer program.
    True value has little to do with the stock price, and people like you and me get screwed. I used to play the market, and did well, but I’m out now that the game is fixed.
    Investing in stocks with dividends is probably one of the smartest investment strategies, but if you need to sell when the stock is down….

  379. BeantownBill January 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    You know I’m a techno-optimist, but the content of my last post is a good example of how technology is misused. But it isn’t the fault of the technology, it’s having that technology in the hands of the wrong people – greedy persons, without regulation.

  380. Cash January 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    It takes a very stubborn person to resist. – Wage
    Don’t I know it. I’ve been laughed at most of my life because I resisted.
    And I’m cheering wildly (in my mind) at your thought:
    “The imaginary wealth could never be realized because not every house could be sold at the same time. Not only do most people stay in their houses, but if all the houses were for sale at the same time, the prices would drop anyway!”
    You should teach economics. So what do you say about the illusory “market cap” of stocks? Same thing right? More Wall Street bullshit. I’m sure you would say that, just as with houses, the price of a stock only applies to the stock being bought and sold at that time and that’s all folks.
    And Bean: you say: but if you need to sell when the stock is down….
    Let me finish the thought… you get screwed.
    Which is why I stay out of stocks and mutual funds and stay far, far away from the investment industry and its charlatans and mountebanks.

  381. budizwiser January 7, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    I want “Linda Green.”
    I want Linda Green so much, in so many ways.
    I want Linda Green with all my heart and soul, I want to touch her, caress her, and most of all –
    err, umm – well you get the idea – I WANT LINDA GREEN!
    Would some one tell me how I can get a date with Linda Green?

  382. BeantownBill January 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    And it’s all a scam because when things get worse, the government will take your retirement funds for their own use, in some manner. Notice how Social Security is changing slightly every year, it seems, so that much of the money put into the fund will never get to the younger generations whose money it was originally.
    Once an idea takes hold with the masses, then it’s probably not a good idea. For example, in the 1980’s I purchased investment real estate properties. I noticed that once a property publicly came on the market, it never was a good deal because someone would inevitably overpayfor it. I never bought a property that way; I bought when I found an owner considering selling, but that property wasn’t “on the market”.
    Once the government created 401(k)s, I felt that ultimately it wouldn’t be a good thing. Now many people have lost significant percentages of their retirement money.

  383. BeantownBill January 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I learned a long time ago to keep my mouth shut about the things I think (except here). It got tiresome to always be looked at strangely or to try to explain my reasoning.
    Concerning market cap, it comes down to how much someone is willing to pay for each dollar of income – kind of related to the cap rate. Would any fairly bright person be willing to go along with the schlemiel down the street and pay the same amount for each dollar of income that he did – which is what you’d have to do to purchase the stock? And that amount is based on the company’s income, not the income to YOU (dividends), which is why you only buy stocks of companies which pay dividents. Otherwise the cap rate to you is really 0%.

  384. jackieblue2u January 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I did the same thing. Bought before it came to market. Was on the lookout.
    You Intelligent, I get lucky sometimes !

  385. budizwiser January 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    If Linda Green OKs it – it MUST be so!
    Your stocks, your laws are worthless. Linda Green is the authority for “signing” any of
    your contracts.
    http://www.credit.com/blog/2011/01/florida-ag-details-forgery-and-deceit-in-mortgage-process/

  386. ozone January 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    Wow!
    …And speaking of deceit; who’s bullshitting whom in regard to “home” values/pricing? (And lest we forget: the ‘Murkan peephole paid to maintain these high-class thieves’ continuing machinations.)
    How’d you like to settle your debt for a penny on the dollar? Sweeeeeeet.
    In the form of a horrifying little dialogue.
    http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/01/january-4-2011-you-got-me-whos-got-you.html

  387. ozone January 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    …And while we’re at it, I’d hereby like to emphatically state that I’ve been tired of being deceived for so long that it’s become a kind of cold rage.
    Just yesterday, we were looking at an air fare to Europe, listed at around $500 (RT). That was the stated fare, but after checking all the various fees, taxes, surtaxes, transfer fees, etc., the REAL fare was $750 (and that’s before the BAGGAGE charge)! Now why not just tell me that in the first place? We know the answer. It’s to deceive us into saying “yes” before we say “no”. It’s just SO embarrassing to change ones’ mind, is it not?
    Well, fuck ‘em; I’m done. If I can’t get honesty from the get-go, I will take my business elsewhere in each and every case, or do without. I will no longer participate in my own fleecing whenever I can possibly avoid it. Tell me up front; no more soft soap shittery (tm MM) thanks.

  388. ozone January 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    k-dog,
    Got a link for watching “Blind Spot” online.
    http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/blind_spot/
    They have 1800 documentaries listed. Hilariously enough, you’ve got to sit through an ad from one of our craporate masters before viewing. Good. We’ll make the connection of who might be responsible for some of our predicament (besides our own submission, that is). ;o)

  389. ozone January 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    I’d like to thank all those participating in the “market” discussions. Very illuminating in an area I know damn close to nothing about!
    Thanks again.

  390. Casual Observer January 7, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    LOL ! I love to see a little bit of humor amidst all the doom and gloom.

  391. Donny-Don January 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    Exactly.

  392. Pucker January 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    O.K. Pogressorconserve, Let’s ROCK!
    “Men want sleaze…
    Girls prestige…
    Whatever happened to noblesse oblige?
    The World chases that which is cheap…
    Production to China…
    A whirlwind to reap…
    Peak Oil means energy…
    Too dear to use…
    War on the horizon…
    We’re all totally SCREWED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  393. Donny-Don January 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Ouch. Looks like I really hit a raw nerve.
    Hancock, you make a good point: one month of data on oil production does not a trend make. These data may be a fluke, or a short-lived spike.
    On the other hand, it is possible that, as the world begins a slow climb out of the Great Recession, the data denote a trend toward a slow continuing increase in oil production globally for the next several years (barring another major worldwide economic implosion).
    I happen to believe it’s the latter. Of course I could be wrong. but my instincts tend to be pretty good and I think I’m right.
    Whatever the case, I at least hope that readers on this blog will be willing to acknowledge that at some point such numbers need to be ascribed some meaning if they continue the upward trend for — what? Three more months? Six more months? Twelve? Check back in a year, and we’ll see where we are.
    That’s one thing I like about TheOilDrum.com … there is a lot of intelligent, fact-based discussion on that site by obviously well-informed people. When the data suggest a possible new high in global petroleum production, they don’t ignore or dismiss it out of hand just because it doesn’t fit their worldview. (And THAT, together with having a healthy skepticism of any preconceived paradigm, is the mark of a truly pure scientific perspective). They discuss the possible interpretations. Mine being one possibility.
    EIA’s World Oil Spreadsheet (at http://www.eia.doe.gov — whoops, sorry, more hard data!) tends to also support this interpretation. “Total World Oil Supply” in the first two quarters of 2010 averaged 85.96 MBD, which is a higher number than the average annual supply in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Not by a lot, I’ll agree (85.51 in 2008). But again, at some point, you need to begin viewing data like these as confirming that we’re not yet at Peak. Unless you devise some convoluted definition for “Peak”.
    In any case, I will venture a guess that EIA’s numbers for the final two quarters of 2010 will be even higher. We will know for sure in six months. If I am correct, that may not “prove” anything yet, but it would be consistent with my speculation that we’re still about 5-7 years away from the global peak in production.
    Which to some extent is irrelevant: What really bugs me, and what’s making me insert these posts, is that every time someone cries “Peak Oil” and then gets disproved by data that suggest otherwise, that undermines the credibility of the rest of us in the Peak Oil community.
    It undermines one of my pet causes, in other words: trying to get society to recognize and react to the Big Crunch that’s on its way. If I’m lumped in with “The End is Here” types, I’ll just be laughed off as people point to data proving the 2008 “peak” predictions were wrong. Again.
    But, then, you may be right. The data may be a fluke. In many ways, I hope it is, as maybe our “leaders” would stop ignoring reality and start doing something to prepare for the aftermath.

  394. Donny-Don January 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    You may be right. But that wasn’t JHK’s argument.
    His argument was that the Dow would end 2010 at 4,000, and he was wrong.
    To his credit, he admits that, rather than concoct some convoluted re-interpretation of what “4000” really means.

  395. Pucker January 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    I suspect that if aliens landed on Earth today that their initial reaction would be like the reaction of the City Slickers who first arrived in the redneck mountain village in the movie “Deliverance”.
    Bobby: “My God Drew! Look at all the junk!”

  396. messianicdruid January 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    “A great opportunity to rake in $1,000 in silver coin if you’re a True Believer.”
    Are you willing to value the Dow in ounces of silver and make your bet?
    1-7-11 Dow 11,674.76 / $28.69 silver = 406.92
    1-7-12 Dow 12,000 / $29 silver = 413.79
    1-7-12 Dow 8,000 / $29 silver = 275.86
    1-7-12 Dow 4,000 / $29 silver = 137.93
    1-7-12 Dow 12,000 / $50 silver = 240
    1-7-12 Dow 8,000 / $50 silver = 160
    1-7-12 Dow 4,000 / $50 silver = 80
    1-7-12 Dow 12,000 / $100 silver = 120
    1-7-12 Dow 8,000 / $100 silver = 80
    1-7-12 Dow 4,000 / $100 silver = 40
    $1,000 / 28.69 per = 34.85 ounces
    JHK predicts the Dow will be one-third of what it is now in a year. 406.92 / 3 = 135.64
    Will you wager 35 ounces of silver that the Dow can be bought for less than 135 ounces of silver on 1-7-12?

  397. Donny-Don January 8, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Fair enough. I guess I was a little cranky, a little over-the-top, a little more insulting than necessary. Sorry about that.
    That said, my betting offer still stands, if JHK wants to take it. Of course he won’t. He’s more showman than shaman.

  398. Bustin J January 8, 2011 at 2:18 am #

    Jim’s prediction was for Dow 4000 LAST YEAR.
    This year, who wouldn’t expect better terms?
    We aren’t coming out of the 14 months post-crash.

  399. Bustin J January 8, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    Vlad impaled, “Carlton Coons’s theory that Modern Man arose in many places may still be in the running. ”
    I don’t hold any opinion of the man since I never heard of him. However, as to the theory, its a non-starter ever since the genome was mapped.
    Makes sense, as Coons died in 1982, well before molecular techniques even existed to analyse DNA.
    Antedating, the consensus theory is that the homogeneity in homo sapiens is quite high, suggesting selective pressure has ceased. In other words, nobody’s DNA is so special the human race couldn’t live without it. What genes say we are is an amazingly complex bundle of instructions executing within physical reality, optimized for a particular environment.
    Epigenetics is non-genetic change that can be inherited and these are fascinating because it proves that behaviors can turn on and off genes and pass on these traits to survivors.
    Consider one species of mollusk: it can grow from an undifferentiated mass of cells (which we all do) into a complete ‘higher’ organism… and then it can grow backwards, all the way back to a mass of undifferentiated cells.
    It can go back and forth like this
    forever.
    The thing about race is that you can go to 23andme.com or a few others and actually get a map of your genes and a trace of your ancestry. Mostly what it shows is a remarkably consistent result: miscegenation. As I alluded to earlier in an “auto-erotic rant”, everything points to a built-in tendency to seek variety. In other words promiscuity. If so, racial purity is secondary.
    I think the frontier of race and maybe even gender is coming in the form of genetic enhancement. Ultimately nearly all medicine could become genetic therapies- in a primary sense.
    As it is, our DNA is a mess. There is nothing about it that screams “Made by God”. And if so, he’s more Jackson Pollack than Caravaggio. We are such ad-hoc creatures. It makes sense because we evolved out of creatures that look like what you scrub out under the toilet rim.

  400. rippedthunder January 8, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    As products from China absorbed all my dough,
    My tattooed,pierced girlfriend turned into a ‘Ho.
    I kicked her ass out, on to the curb,
    then went to see Myrtle, to pick up some herb.
    I twisted a bomber and took a big toke,
    Then turned to Asoka, and said “Your a joke”
    The smoke started workin’,Things started to mellow
    So Aim-low and I ate a big bowl of jello.
    The world is a tankin’,on that we agreed,
    But Tripp gives us hope, by plantin’ the seed.