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If Wishes Were Loaves and Fishes

J anet Yellen and her Federal Reserve board of augurers might as well have spilled a bucket of goat entrails down the steps of the mysterious Eccles Building as they parsed, sliced, and diced the ramifications in altering their prior declaration of “a considerable period” (that is, before raising interest rates), vis-à-vis the simpler new imperative, “patience,” with its moral overburden of public censure aimed at those too eager for clarity — that is to say, the assurance that the Fed will not pull the plug on their life-support drip of funny money for the racketeering operation that banking has become.

The vapid pronouncement of “patience” provoked delirium in the markets, with record advances to new oxygen-thin heights. Behind all this ceremonial hugger-mugger lurks the dark suspicion that the Federal Reserve has no idea what’s actually going on, and no idea what it’s doing. And in the absence of any such ideas, Ms. Yellen and her collegial eminences have engineered a very elaborate rationale for doing nothing.

The truth is, they have already done enough. They have succeeded via their dial-tweaking interventions in destroying the agency of markets so that nobody can tell the difference anymore between prices and wishes. Coincidentally, it is that most wishful time of the year, especially among the professional money managers polishing their clients’ portfolios as the carols are sung and the champagne corks pop. Ms. Yellen should have put on a Santa Claus suit when she ventured out to meet the media last week.

Not even very far in the background, there is wreckage everywhere as events spin out of the pretense of control. Surely something is up in the Mordor of derivatives, that unregulated shadowland of counterparty subterfuge where promises are made with no possibility or intention of ever being kept. You can’t have currencies crashing in more than a handful of significant countries, and interest rates ululating, without a lot of slippage among the swaps. My guess is that a lot of things have busted wide open there, and we just don’t know about it yet, like fissures working deep below the surface around a caldera.

This Federal Reserve is running on the final fumes of its credibility. Counsel “patience” as it might, other institutions and the people running them may run out of patience with it and start running for cover. When currencies catch fire, even a run on the bank becomes an exercise in futility. The rot is spreading from the margins to the center. In a world of oxidizing paper obligations, the paper dollar is hardly a fortress but more like a stack of empty foil-wrapped boxes displayed in the concourse of a shopping mall scheduled for closure as soon as the holiday is concluded. Maybe some wise-ass kid will just torch it. The security guard is still awaiting his previous paycheck and is out drinking by the dumpster.

It will be at least a couple of months before the Fed dares to start “printing” again and a lot can happen before it does. If and when it does resume QE — and it will be sorely tempted — all its credibility will finally be lost. What an opportunity for another country, say a country with an already foundering currency, to dare introduce money partially backed by gold. Could happen. That hypothetical nation may be one with, say, substantial oil reserves, something that even an economically depressed global industrial economy desperately needs. That hypothetical nation may be one that is very weary of being jerked around by the USA, with our augerers and vizeers, and haircuts-in-search-of-brains.

Merry Christmas everyone and, this dwindling year, be especially careful what you wish for.

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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.

280 Responses to “If Wishes Were Loaves and Fishes” Subscribe

  1. Karah December 22, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    “In a world of oxidizing paper obligations, the paper dollar is hardly a fortress but more like a stack of empty foil-wrapped boxes displayed in the concourse of a shopping mall scheduled for closure as soon as the holiday is concluded.” JHK

    The paper currency of our country is starting to look more and more COLORFUL in its effort to be incorruptible.

    • CancelMyCard December 22, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Pay very close attention to what is happening in Belarus, starting yesterday:

      Capital controls
      FX trading clampdown
      Huge taxes on FX purchases
      Lineups for withdrawals at banks
      Emptied store shelves
      News website shutdowns
      Online shopping shutdowns
      etc.
      etc.

      In other words, the hyperinflation panic has begun “at the margins”

      It’s 11:00, Do you know where your money is???

    • sprezzatura December 24, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      What a vivid image! That was my favourite too, followed by ” The security guard is still awaiting his previous paycheck and is out drinking by the dumpster”. Mordant.

  2. K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    We may be running on financial fumes of credibility but nobody cares. We live in a land where to expect everything for nothing is a normal way to be. It is not a new normal but a normal that goes back to our nations roots. Melville wrote about it for those of you who think ‘Moby Dick‘ was only about whales.

    Americans are content to think that everything they need comes from the bottom of a long black tube. That the world runs on laws of nature and not magic is something only a few people who managed to stay awake in freshman college physics classes know. That is a small minority in a vast majority who have no clue.

    • Neon Vincent December 22, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      “That the world runs on laws of nature and not magic is something only a few people who managed to stay awake in freshman college physics classes know.”

      Don’t say that too loud around Greer, as he considers magic to be part of the laws of nature, just not a part that scientists recognize. However, his idea of magic is not the same as the juvenile wishful thinking that you are invoking and our host refers to when he calls faith in technology and progress “Too Much Magic.”

      Speaking of Greer, he wrote last week that the current trouble in the tight oil patch and its anticipated spread in finance looks like what happened in Oklahoma in the early 1980s. He’s right as far as what the effect will be on the drillers and their bankers. However, I don’t agree with him about what the short-term effect will be in the wider economy. When I analyzed the current situation in PBS NewsHour on lower oil prices, I used a different analogy, that of the 1998 fall in oil prices that resulted from a global recession at the same time the U.S. experienced the heated final two years of an economic expansion fueled in part by low oil prices. That was followed by an increase in oil prices of more than 50% in less than twelve months, which led to the recession of 2001. I expect that’s what’s going to happen here. Prices will stay low for the next year or two until the current tight oil wells run dry, then rise as supply drops and U.S. demand increases. By late 2016 or early 2017, we’ll be back in recession. The analogy may not extend too far, as the 2001 recession ended when the American people heard “go shopping or the terrorists win,” even if President Bush didn’t actually say such a thing. I have my doubts that either the American people will have enough unused credit or the U.S. government will be able to provide enough of a stimulus to make history repeat that closely!

      The drop in oil prices is already causing trouble with conventional oil production. In a WOOD-TV video I embedded in falling gas prices make news in Michigan, again, the oil producers in west Michigan are starting to suffer and at least one is shutting down operations. The price feedback of supply and demand at work!

      • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

        Maybe I’m just a Romantic, but I think there’s Magic and then there’s mumbo jumbo and hocus pocus – sleight of hand. Which only SEEMS to overcome the laws of nature.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Spot on about Melville. One of the best at depicting early American industrialism. If I could only remember titles from reading 40 years ago. Usually shorter works.

      Also I generally only claim an eighth-grade science class understanding of most things, but I do agree, to put it slightly differently, that attempting to violate the laws of physics seems rather futile.

      Even when “it’s only money”!

  3. Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    In addition to oil, said “hypothetical nation” also happens to have a huge land mass, a wealth of non-petroleum natural resources, a manageable, stable population, a modern technological infrastructure and a functional political system.

    If I were the leader of such a nation, I would perhaps want to turn inward – turn toward greater national self-sufficiency in all matters…or risk being dragged down with the rest of the so-called developed world.

    • K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      In addition to oil, said “hypothetical nation” also happens to have a huge land mass, a wealth of non-petroleum natural resources, a manageable, stable population, a modern technological infrastructure and a functional political system.

      Excuse me while I barf up a hairball.

      Huge land mass – True

      A wealth of non-petroleum natural resources. – Hmmmmm ah all of those natural resources require oil for extraction processing and refinement. Did you ever hear of the ‘thousand mile Ceasar salad. Restaurants don’t grow their veggies in their back yard.

      A manageable, stable population. To this I’ll just say, please don’t make me laugh.

      A modern technological infrastructure. – Which is in decay and can’t possibly be maintained in our emerging economic conditions.

      A functional political system. – Which functions to keep a failed system on it’s last legs. A republic of two political parties that has forsaken democracy and has evolved into fascism lite.

      • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 10:22 am #

        K-dog, you disappoint. The hypothetical nation to which I refer is certainly NOT the United States.

        • K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am #

          Yes, sorry to disappoint. You are right, the hypothetical nation is certainly not the United States. You clarified you were writing of Russia a bit further down. With your comment that:

          If I were the leader of such a nation, I would perhaps want to turn inward – turn toward greater national self-sufficiency in all matters…or risk being dragged down with the rest of the so-called developed world.

          I cannot but agree and as unintentional foreign aid our economic sanctions will only help any self-sufficiency efforts their leader may envision.

          • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

            True, the more we sanction, the greater their incentive for self-sufficiency. They will gain strength in the long run. This seems evident.

            I’m no expert, but I can’t think of anything about U.S. foreign policy that makes much sense.

      • Neon Vincent December 22, 2014 at 10:27 am #

        K-Dog, are you talking about the U.S. or Russia? I thought Greg was talking about Russia. You looked like you were, too, right up until you talked about “two political parties.” Then I realized that you might be talking about us!

        • the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:36 am #

          It is all one political party. It is all one administration. Has been for decades. There isn’t even on horror or the other horror to choose from. It is all one horror.

          • Beryl of Oyl December 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

            I think maybe that’s why the Republicans were attacking not only abortion but also contraceptives last time around. To give voters the illusion of “choice”.

          • Majella December 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

            Yeah – who’d have thought the US would end up as a One Party State?

        • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 10:53 am #

          It’s Russia!

      • WW December 22, 2014 at 11:04 am #

        Even were Kdog referring to Russia he would be pretty much spot on. Russia has an awful lot of natural resources but most are still there because the infrastructure, despite their plentiful oil, simply does not exist and much of what did has been allowed to crumble since the end of the Cold War.
        A managable stable population. Russia birthrate slumped after the end of the cold war and now has 87 pensioners for every 100 workers. To compound matters since 2012 Putin has removed $80 billion from the state pension fund!
        A functional political system, well all you can answer that with is ROFPMSL.
        Even Russian around Moscow, which is closing hospitals in record numbers people grow food on the little scraps of land around their Dachas, those of course lucky enough to own one!

        • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am #

          Good lord, someone needs to think this shit thru!

          K-dog was referring to the U.S. I am talking about Russia. If Jim is NOT talking about Russia then I wish he would clarify. In any event, I’m not talking about Russian self-sufficiency in the near term, rather as a mid-to-long term goal.

          Russia has plenty of gold to facilitate a transition to a more independent economy. Ultimately their smaller population (vis-a-vie land mass and resource base) will prove beneficial. Additionally, climate change might easily open up more farm land for longer growing seasons.

          In light of an increasingly hostile and disordered West, I think a move toward greater self-sufficiency would be the way to go for Russia.

          It would be doable for them…to late for us.

          • WW December 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

            You’ve evidently never been there. You could have gold stacked to the ceiling but for the vast bulk of Russians outside the main cities gold, unless they move , won’t mean squat.
            The poverty, alcoholism, drug use and crime rate make most of Africa look civilised.
            Russia is waaay ahead of the US in its decline. Despite all those resources, despite its population being 3 times that of the UK its economy barely scatches equal and that was before the drop in oil prices.
            The infrastructure is broken. Huge swathes of the country now have unpaved roads that resemble something out if JHKs novels. Moving east to west even by train is a precarious business, many bridges haven’t been maintained in decades and the track is collapsing in places.
            Putin is all for expanding his military but he cannot even move troops east to west or vice versa without playing musical chairs.
            It has a massive proportion of pensioners. At current rates its population is set to shrink by nearly a third in the next thirty years.
            It has a huge skills gap with the educational standards of many children from the 90s virtually unschooled at all. When the fall of the USSR hit many regions could no longer afford to run schools even at primary level.(alcohol and drug use is the highest amongst this age group)
            Its engineering and technology industries are struggling with many still churning out products little changed since the 80s. These are unsellable on international markets and the companies remain moribund.
            Despite the vast forests, coal, iron reserves in 20 years no or little progress has been made. Ikea cleans up because there is no domestic competition. The materials to produce those goods cannot be extracted efficiently and even if they were the factories and technology is not there nor the infrastructure to move them around, then again neither is the workforce.
            About the only real inward investment exists in the arms industry, a key source of their income. But then it always has been.
            Russia is buying gold because it knows the weakness of the rouble makes it vulnerable on the international markets so they shed those roubles as fast as possible.

          • mdhaller December 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

            I thought you were both talking about Canada…eh.

          • malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

            This is for ‘WW’.

            ‘The poverty, alcoholism, drug use and crime rate make most of Africa look civilized.’

            Clearly you have been to neither X USSR or Africa.

          • WW December 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

            Malthus, been to the RF and many of the former satellite nations as well as three Africans nations. We Europeans love to travel you know. We even own passports…..
            A little link for you for Russias financial state,

            telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11305146/The-week-the-dam-broke-in-Russia-and-ended-Putins-dreams.….
            Of course its a UK paper and a broadsheet at that. I’m sure no way in comparable to your vast experience and resources………….

          • WW December 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

            Malthus, something you will notice once outside Russias main met areas is the apathy and hopelessness.

          • Q. Shtik December 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

            [to] late for us.

            =======

            too

          • Subvert December 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

            WW said “Despite all those resources, despite its population being 3 times that of the UK its economy barely scatches equal and that was before the drop in oil prices.”

            This is because the UK’s “economy” is basically “the city” AKA; the British Wall Street and therefore it’s level of economic activity is just as fake, false and fiat as ours is. Don’t mistake financial chicanery for real economic activity that produces real value in the world.

            Another huge factor in Russia’s economic stability is that around 70% of their fresh food comes from small farms and Dachas. This gives them a ginormous advantage on all the other countries eating those 1000 mile Caesar salads. When the food trucks stop rolling, the Russians will still have food to eat, unlike the petroleum dependent food systems of other countries. They also have an efficient black market which people are comfortable with getting their supplies from. Sure, there are issues with it but at the end of the day, if you need something, you can probably get it there. How is dealing with self proclaimed organized criminals any different from dealing with covert crime families posing as “democratically elected officials”? At least the crime families there are out in the open and everyone knows the deal. “Honest criminality” sounds like an oxymoron, and yet it isn’t. They don’t pretend to be beneficent and to care about the people, and that is quite refreshing.

            The skills gap you mention is also not much of a factor in the longer term. Why? because there won’t be an “international marketplace” for them to compete in. In a “World Made by Hand” the lack of academic training is actually a positive as the students would not have been indoctrinated into the limiting in-the-box thinking that institutional education produces, nor will they have the entitlement and expectation of having a hot shot career. Plus, they will have been surviving in conditions of poverty for their entire lives and will thus be better adapted to living in a world with decreased luxury and economic activity as we know it. Dmitry Orlov has many articles and essays covering the full gamut of theses scenarios and I recommend them highly.

            Will there be suffering and death in Russia? Absolutely, but their long term prospects are way better than anywhere else I can think of. I would trade all of our floundering western numbskulls for Putin any day…and I’m an anarchist. I have the strange notion that I am the most qualified to determine what my life should be like. Color me insane…

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

      If – and I could be wrong – you mean the US, we do NOT have a “modern technological infrastructure.”

      Just visit the “Silicon Valley” – if you think I’m kidding.

      • Greg Knepp December 25, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

        No, I was not writing about what we do or do not have here in the U.S.. I was pointing out that, should Russia be forced into a corner economically, it would be in a better position than most nations to move toward greater self-sufficiency. Historically, the Russians have some experience with this. As a people, they have also been tuff nuts to crack! Just ask Charles XII of Sweden, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolph Hitler.

        Russia’s technical and fixed infrastructure (planes, trains, cars, roads, water, grid, etc…) seems sufficient to the task. It may not be as super-duper advanced as ours, but this may prove a blessing in the mid-to-long term.

        Subvert has some good information on this topic in his comment just above your’s.

  4. shotho December 22, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    I agree with KDog that the ultimate problem for our nation is not financial and economic, but social. The character of the people has been ruined with sloth and irresponsibility and cannot possibly sustain a concerted effort to maintain a viable society. “Patience” is not its strong suit.
    Mr. K, I agree with John Mauldin’s comment concerning Japan: Russia is a bug in search of a windshield. Its people suffer from the same malady as ours – sloth and irresponsibly. I would bet on a leaner and meaner group. Oh, I don’t know – something more oriental.

    • K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Exactly right !

    • the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      “Is it too much to ask for a roof over one’s head, three square meals a day, the best education possible, a job?” I am paraphrasing one of the Christmas Angels.

      Apparently the Russians think so. Most Russians receive government supplied housing which is theirs for life, food ration cards, free public transportation (Even when the Soviet Union fell the lights stayed on, the street cars kept running.), a modicum of free health care, pretty good public and university education.

      Here in the United States of America “you will work or you will starve” (Now, that’s Freedom.), which is bad enough when there are jobs, but when there are no jobs, life in the land of the free becomes an invisible death camp; invisible because the homeless just keep disappearing, after a while. (Don’t worry. They are being continually replaced with new homeless people.)

      No body asks to be born (especially on this beautiful planet), only to lead lives that are nasty, brutal, and short — where 50-percent of the population live lives that are nothing if not very open deaths. And with poverty now globalized, all you people who did not eat your vegetables like you should have, are going to live to regret that decision.

      “Are there no Work Houses? Are there no prisons?” — Scrooge.

      • FincaInTheMountains December 22, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        “Most Russians receive government supplied housing which is theirs for life, food ration cards, free public transportation, a modicum of free health care, pretty good public and university education.”

        Food ration cards? Were the hell you’re getting all that BS? Russia is by far more capitalist than any western “free democracy”. It does have a pretty decent social medical system, but most of Europeans have it too, its just US is back in dark ages and let its people die for money.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

      I’ll rewrite part of that:

      “The character of the people has been ruined with sloth and irresponsibility” of its leaders.

      There.

  5. the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    As much as the FED counsels “patience” in the looking glass world of interest rate arousal, those of us on the other side are being counseled patience once again, with in pretty the same effect that reading JHK’s entertaining missives has upon his many readers.

    It is bad enough that there is one 800 LB elephant the FED’s room of this house of cards — but two?

    Yet. And still. Once again we find ourselves stacked up against another year of anticipation for the coming proselytizings of the snake oil salesmen of the secular apocalypse, the prestidigitations by the vicars of the Church of Systemic Collapse.

    Meanwhile, ye of so little faith have missed out on the biggest bull market in history just so you can hear how 2007 (No), 2008 (No), 2009 (For sure this time. We swear.), 2010, all the way to now.

    “2115 will be the year! Patience! Have Faith. Send money!”

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Sure, it is all rigged, manipulated, and controlled. We get that. But who is to say that the whole raw deal hasn’t been from the very beginning.

    Just look in the mirror. And don’t forget to buy the book.

    • BackRowHeckler December 22, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Probably no ‘system collapse’, but this might be a good time to get out of NYC, while you still can, and before it goes any further in the direction of a Detroit Style Meltdown.

      Because that’s where its headed.

      brh

      • the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        Where and when have we not heard “. . . time to get our of [INSERT ANY AMERICAN CITY HERE]” before?

        • BackRowHeckler December 22, 2014 at 11:06 am #

          And the predictions proved correct, ‘specially Detroit, Newark, St Louis, Birmingham, New Orleans (just to name a few of the garden spots)

          Of course Billionaires can stay, living in fortified towers, surrounded by armed security details, driven around in armored limousines.

          For the rest of you however, non billionaires, the future remains uncertain … You might want to start packing your bags, if events of the past 3 weeks are any indication what the future might look like.

          brh

          • dannyboy December 22, 2014 at 11:28 am #

            brh Where are you writing from? I love it here in NYC. Is your place a lot, lot better? What does your hometown offer that I am missing here? Please write soon, because I am very interested.

          • malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

            You forgot Camden and many others. Many others. USA in 45 years has really turned into a mess.

    • outsider December 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

      Why the seemingly unending Bull Market since Obama became POTUS? Every time it seems to be petering out we see another surge. I see it as having nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with the FED’s ZIRP. As a retiree, I’d be happy to get out of this too volatile market and put everything into CD’s and savings accounts if they were paying enough interest to at least keep up with inflation. I think millions of seniors feel the same way. But how can Wall Street permit the FED to raise interest rates to normal historical levels when it would cause the market to tank? It’s a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

  6. Paulo December 22, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    For a minute I thought this writing was for Japan. It is full of ‘wouldacouldashouldas’ and a May.

    I am still waiting for the Dow to hit 6,000 (not that I don’t agree with you). It just seems that someone knows something everyone else doesn’t, me included.

    Have a good Christmas.

  7. pkrugman December 22, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    “Prices will stay low for the next year or two until the current tight oil wells run dry, then rise as supply drops and U.S. demand increases.” –NeonVincent

    On CFN for the last decade I have been reading that the easy pickings are gone, the low hanging fruit has been picked, tight oil is all that remains. Yet oil prices fell anyway these last few months, contrary to all CFN wisdom.

    Predicting the prices will go back up is a sure bet, but not for the reasons you are citing, NeonVincent. After the prices go up, they will go down again. Then they will go up again. Then they will go down again. Wash, rinse, repeat, until petroleum is no longer needed because we have developed an array of renewable and sustainable energy sources to replace petroleum and the curtain will finally fall on all this eye-on-the-prize drama.

    • Florida Power December 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      No we haven’t developed an array of renewables (yet) to replace petroleum. That’s just silly if you are talking about bulk electrical power. Petroleum is embedded in the energy infrastructure, including the renewable infrastructure. The intermediate-term belongs to natural gas-fired generation — assuming you want ac power 24/7 in a neat sine wave that allows you to type blog posts on the internet. Not even Germany could run their system today solely on domestic solar and imported wind from Denmark. Maybe hydro storage in Norway will complete the circle of renewables but you cannot power cities (and recharge batteries) if there are system disruptions.

      The nuclear lobby — suddenly green — is concerned that newly cheap gas will impact their renaissance.
      thebulletin.org/global-natural-gas-boom-alone-wont-slow-climate-change7853

    • Subvert December 22, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

      Pkrugman, the oil prices are down due to market manipulation, not a new abundance of low hanging sweet crude. It’s all smoke n mirrors.

      If you want to look into sustainable energy do some research on the “Trompe”. It is tech that has been around for thousands of years, since before the Romans, and was initially used in Merca – before the big oil, coal and auto makers bought up all the companies making compressed air driven cars and other infrastructure and closed them all down. The same way they bought out all the electric streetcar companies, shut them down and burned all of the beautiful wood paneled street cars. Look for a video by Bill Mollison (the creator of Permaculture) talking about free energy forever. Nature already has all the solutions we need. We just have to rediscover these sources and start building them OURSELVES. If we wait for some corporation or state to do it…well, forget about it. There’s too much money to be made by keeping the status quo going, even if it results in living on a fucking cinder ball. The rEvolution is in the hands of the people, never states or corporations.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      Why you can’t mean that the price of oil has nothing to do with supply and demand – can you?

      This is a basic precept of the “Free Market” ideology.

      Are US business schools revising their courses even as the next wash/rinse cycle begins?

  8. RocketDoc December 22, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Personally I am tired of the doomer life. No one wants to abandon the sinking cruise ship until the music stops and the buffet closes. I have a job, new car, friendly neighbors, and a Christmas wish that all us fortunates merely act in the spirit of including the other 99% that have none of these things. The seven deadly rackets:agribusiness,big box commerce, medical hostage system,higher ed swindle,happy motoring, suburban sprawl, and government self interest bureaucracy can use whatever mitigation you can provide until they turn out the lights and we go to the lifeboats.

    • malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      The first is ‘Credit’ or ‘Credit Cards’. Living beyond ones means.
      The last is ‘Pay day Loans’. =9

  9. George December 22, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    “What an opportunity for another country, say a country with an already foundering currency, to dare introduce money partially backed by gold.”

    At first the Russians were concerned when their currency lost value. But then it dawned upon them that they shouldn’t be too concerned. For one, they’ve started to disengage from the European economies as they shifted their focus to India and East Asia where the growth is. As for their currency, they just buy it all back sometime next year at a pittance with dollars, an action that will likely devalue the dollar. Secondly, what about the Fed selling gold short to prop up the dollar’s value? Maybe they’ll just buy some of those futures and ask for the gold? Ha, wouldn’t that be a hoot? And a year from now they could decide to stop selling natural gas to NATO countries. What would happen to NATO then? Ha! Next year could be a year of radical change as long as somebody’s got the nerve to set off the fireworks.

    • MisterDarling December 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      George,

      You seem to think slightly outside-the-box abut these matters, and I must admit I rather like that.

      Cheers!

    • ozone December 23, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      That’s just how I see this unfolding as well.
      Points to the fact that the various shenanigans and dodges being used by the State Dept. and Financial Finaglers at “The Fed” are relatively short-term in their punishment of those who dare to resist their edicts. They’re not only shooting themselves in the foot, they’ve decided that a lingering death from a bullet to the gut would be fun too.

  10. charlesbasak December 22, 2014 at 11:47 am #

    Don’t know if any leaders will be showing up any time soon, but I must say:

    True leaders don’t sit atop hierarchies, they destroy them to be level with their peers

    subversesjournal.wordpress.com/

  11. pkrugman December 22, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    “And a year from now they could decide to stop selling natural gas to NATO countries. What would happen to NATO then? Ha! Next year could be a year of radical change as long as somebody’s got the nerve to set off the fireworks.” — George

    Look back to last summer’s posts. Russia was going to make Europe freeze to death in 2014 by cutting off gas. Didn’t happen.

    2014 was going to be the year of collapse. Didn’t happen. It is always “next year could be the year” on CFN.

    Like RocketDoc says, as more and more people get jobs, new cars, and friendly neighbors, it will harder and harder to sustain the doom drama.

    • outsider December 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      Due to existing contracts, it may have been impossible for Russia to cut off its natural gas to the EU this winter. But that’s not to say it won’t happen next year. If the US/NATO keep up with their insane provocations, Russia is not going to just stand there and take it. They’ve already made that big natural gas deal with China. And I’ve read they’re also talking to India.

    • Subvert December 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither did it collapse in one. “Patience” PK, “Patience!” LOL.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      “It’s morning again in America!”

      The Grand Delusion.

  12. Georges1202 December 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Jim,

    How impolite of you not to mention the very touching gift Congress gave our banking casino operators by putting the forlorn ‘taxpayers’ on the hook officially for upcoming derivative malfeasance.

    • MisterDarling December 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      re | “…the very touching gift Congress gave our banking casino operators by putting the forlorn ‘taxpayers’ on the hook officially for upcoming derivative malfeasance.”-g*1202.

      You mean the ‘Bail-In’ provisions approved by the BIS meeting of December 2012, that the FSB got signed into actionable policy at the last meeting of the G20? The documentation made in preparation for the next derivative-market collapse (currently @ $280T globally)? Basis for the national laws needed to liquidate deposits and pensions, et al.? Were you referring to **that**?

      Yes, I also noticed how conspicuous that was in its absence.

      😉

      • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

        Don’t understand a bit of that, but it makes me feel I should pull up the drawbridge.

    • Subvert December 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      How can taxpayers be on the hook if they have no pot to piss in? You can’t get blood from a stone. Take your money out of the banks, investments, etc (there’s no ROI there anyway) and put it into assets with “Survival Value.” Quit feeding the Trolls. Find your tribe, learn about permaculture and sustainable technology and let the morons die off. There’s nothing you can do for them anyway. This is the best possible Life Boat you could build to escape the Titanic of civilization.

      • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

        If they can produce Billion$ where once there were none, I suspect they can do whatever the hell they want.

        And so what if there’s no pot? There’s still the piss!

  13. Jeremy December 22, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Now that’s the the brilliance of Jim we know and love!
    Thanks for the wonderful commentary during the year Jim.

  14. pequiste December 22, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    What a confusing mixed metaphor intro for today’s holiday (Christmas by the way) missive. A title which reverberates with the true (as I understand it) Christian philosophy of “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself.” And then you throw it into a seething cauldron sanguinary imagery of pagan priests and priestesses with their heirophantic antics – goat guts and all. I see the Bankster’s (all Devil worshippers to be sure) front-woman Janet Yellen as the antithesis of a witch (Sarah Palin showing some decolletage, in slit dress and stiletto heels is a much more enticing and satisfying reminder of the seasons temptations.) She (Janet Y.) would rather be seen making ” latkes” (fried in some of that wonderfully engineered cash-crash ,and now global-glut, petroleum ) out of recycled Federal Reserve Notes (with maybe some nose-diving Euro thrown in for some extra texture, like onions) for the starving lumpenprolelariat.)
    Yet as seen from Florida’s Gold Coast; everything in the strip malls is looking grim for the holidays but the “Action” around the moated fortress-precincts of venues as Boca Raton, Bal Harbor and Manalapan, tell me that things are shining brightly as friends of Janet couldn’t be more merry.
    For example the price to fuel a snazzy 80ft. Posillipo and such has made yachters downright joyous.
    In any case the magicians and warlocks in the Money biz , and their religious authorities who oversee orthodox practice will get their gift, maybe not in time for New Years Eve, but somehow maybe real soon, via something that has to do with the fallibilty of technotronic systems (can you say SONY pictures?)
    Finally, thank you Jim! For your year-round gift of a timely, mordant and witty analysis, of the mess-we-are-in, every Monday.
    Merry Christmas to the whole CFN.

    • malthuss December 23, 2014 at 1:10 am #

      youtube.com/user/EconCat 88

      • pequiste December 23, 2014 at 10:32 am #

        Thank you for your brief guided tour of a small slice of Toledo’s hyper-capitalist wasteproducts . Actually the abandoned houses look quite large and 60 years ago would have certainly been fine upper-middle class dwellings. Pity about those kids toys. Sic transit gloria opera hominis.

  15. barbisbest December 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Reply to BackRowHeckler
    December 22, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    And the predictions proved correct, ‘specially Detroit, Newark, St Louis, Birmingham, New Orleans (just to name a few of the garden spots)

    Of course Billionaires can stay, living in fortified towers, surrounded by armed security details, driven around in armored limousines.

    For the rest of you however, non billionaires, the future remains uncertain … You might want to start packing your bags, if events of the past 3 weeks are any indication what the future might look like.

    Right you are BRH – a few weeks blogs ago, JHK titles his, WE’LL BECOME ISIS. With the police officers shot near NYC recently, looks like we already are, does it not??!?!? Thanks JHK for the privilege of commenting on your site. i aye was here

  16. Beryl of Oyl December 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m afraid I don’t have much to contribute to the discussion because this topic is something I don’t understand too well. I do have a couple of things that relate that maybe someone could help me out with. One is Andrew Cuomo finally coming out against fracking, for the children or something if I read it right. Does it look to anyone else like he’s just taking credit for being all environmentally conscious but it’s because the price of oil has dropped, in other words, it’s really about money?
    Another stupid question: where did all those Russian billionaires come from?
    I liked that foil-wrapped boxes comparison. It made me think of a local mall on the way out, where the new owner didn’t pay the bill and almost let the power get shut off for “Black Friday”.

    • malthuss December 23, 2014 at 1:03 am #

      When a huge system goes from Gov hands to private hands some get very riche.

      ‘where did all those Russian billionaires come from?’
      Oil, Land, whatever was passed into private hands.
      Bush privatized the water in the Everglades.
      Harry wanted that ranch in Nevada to turn it over to our Chinese overlords, etc.

  17. Buck Stud December 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    “The rot is spreading from the margins to the center. In a world of oxidizing paper obligations, the paper dollar is hardly a fortress but more like a stack of empty foil-wrapped boxes displayed in the concourse of a shopping mall scheduled for closure as soon as the holiday is concluded. Maybe some wise-ass kid will just torch it. The security guard is still awaiting his previous paycheck and is out drinking by the dumpster.”–JHK

    By the time my eyes reached “drinking by the dumpster” I was already laughing out loud…brilliant funny stuff!

  18. Smoky Joe December 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Good call on Russia. Putin will ride this out and make us pay. He’s not the forgiving sort.

  19. pkrugman December 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    “brh Where are you writing from?” –dannyboy to brh

    Dannyboy, BRH is in Connecticut (probably in a gated community) and BRH regularly makes drive-by shootings at Hartford and NYC. Just take his posts for entertainment value and laugh at them.

    BRH and I have an agreement to mutually provide this laughter distraction for each other on CFN.

    Of course, unless we address climate change, some say New York City will be underwater by 2018.

    nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/11/nyc-skyline-2018.html

  20. malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Ms Yellen has said ‘Inflation is just noise’. What more do I need to know about her and The Fed?

    • Q. Shtik December 22, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      Ms Yellen has said ‘Inflation is just noise’.

      ===================

      For those interested, here is a bio on Janet Yellen. She has quite a resume.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janet_Yellen

      She’s a Jew (what else, right?) from Brooklyn.

      I listened with fascination this past Wednesday to her post-FOMC meeting speech and Q&A session. She has what can only be described as a verrrry unique Brooklyn accent. An American ‘enery ‘iggins could probably zero in to within blocks of the street she grew up on. Even other Brooklynites (Maria Barteromo?) don’t sound quite like her. When asked a question, more often than not, her answer will begin with the word “so.” I’ve been noticing more and more that people will begin a sentence with so. I don’t know why but it makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

      Ms Yellen, her husband and her son are all top flight economists. I can only imagine what the chit chat at the dinner table must sound like. Phrases such as “central tendency” must regularly find there way into the discussion.

      Yellen’s economic philosophy as described in the link above is to favor policies which will support employment even at the risk of higher inflation. The Fed actually has a target of INCREASING inflation to 2%. Think about that…the Fed wants to rob 2% per year off every dollar in existence, whether currency or mere computer bits and bytes…off every dollar in your pocket or your 401K and everyone else’s in the whole wide world. Think about the vastness of the total sum of theft.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      GHW Bush didn’t know what a grocery store scanner was. Ms. Yellen doesn’t know the cost of a gallon of milk.

  21. malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    Heckler, do you live in a gated community?

    ‘Dannyboy, BRH is in Connecticut (probably in a gated community) ‘.

    • BackRowHeckler December 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

      Nah, its not gated here.

      Still pretty rural. Just yesterday a good size black bear cut thru our property, most likely looking for something to eat before hibernating for the winter.

      My point about NYC stemmed from what I’ve been reading about the PDs disputes with Mayor Di Blassio, magnified by the 2 murdered police officers last weekend. The police are threatening to stand down and not enforce the law. Imagine what that place would be like without a robust and professional police department?

      brh

      • dannyboy December 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

        OK

        I’m moving to Connecticut, since it is a much better place for me to live. brh – can I impose just a little on your good nature? Can you please take some of the responsibility for my flight out of NYC. Maybe tell everyone that I needed to live with bears. That’s a plausible story.

      • Buck Stud December 22, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

        Speaking of hierarchy, the police should remind themselves that they work for the people and the people elected the mayor. If they can’t abide, they should turn in their badges and move on and let somebody else take the job.

        Yes it’s a dangerous job but at times like this one is tempted to disband the entire unionized police force and let them deal with the same type of employment atmosphere and economic realities as the the citizens who fund their salaries and whom they are hired to serve. In other words, privatize the force and evaporate an out-of-proportion sense of entitlement and power.

        • BackRowHeckler December 22, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

          You know Buck, this town I’m in is going on 400 years old, and I learned recently it didn’t have a full time police officer until the late 1920s. I’m not sure how they handles crime before that.

          Police forces, outside the big cities, seem to be a relatively recent development.

          brh

          • mantis December 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

            I grew up in a rural area in PA. Our township had a police officer for a while, but that didn’t work out. When I was in jr. High civics class my teacher who also lived in my township, said that we lived by the law of the west. 40 years later, they still don’t have a police force, so I guess that worked out for them.

          • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 12:17 am #

            Oh yes, back in the days of Joe Fortes and Sir Lord Baltimore, otherwise known as “who are those guys?”.

            “Hang Em High” was another one featuring the tough lawman; I think Rowdy Yates played that role 🙂

      • malthuss December 23, 2014 at 1:06 am #

        In one of Jim Rogers [Soro ex] books he points to Greenspans stupidity and incompetence and he has the facts to prove it.

        I doubt Yellen is ethical or even smart. Particularly if our House Of cards falls on her watch.

        Anyone who says ‘inflation is noise’ is a fool, a liar or both.

  22. MisterDarling December 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Regarding the weekly ‘circular’ from the desk of J H K;

    “My guess is that a lot of things have busted wide open there, and we just don’t know about it yet, like fissures working deep below the surface around a caldera.”-jhk.

    Based on the amount of planning and preparation taken by the BIS, constituents and satellite organizations, the “fissures” are far closer to the surface than the hoi-polloi are being led to believe.

    “It will be at least a couple of months before the Fed dares to start “printing” again and a lot can happen before it does. If and when it does resume QE — and it will be sorely tempted — all its credibility will finally be lost.”-jhk.

    According to Paul Craig Roberts, the Fed’ never turned the spigot off, and that’s why a “bull market” still exists:

    “In other words, in America today there are no free financial markets. The markets are rigged by the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing, by gold price manipulation, by the Treasury’s Plunge Protection Team and Exchange Stabilization Fund, and by the big private banks.

    Allegedly, QE is over, but it is not. The Fed intends to roll over the interest and principle from its bloated $4.5 trillion bond portfolio into purchases of more bonds, and the banks intend to fill in the gaps by using the $2.6 trillion in their cash on deposit with the Fed to purchase bonds. QE has morphed, not ended. The money the Fed paid the banks for bonds will now be used by the banks to support the bond price by purchasing bonds.”-pcr.

    paulcraigroberts.org/2014/12/17/financial-market-manipulation-new-trend-can-continue/

    And I’m inclined to agree with PCR on this.

    Again, I am truly amused by people who chide the gen-pop about ‘missing out’ on this greatest bull-market ever. They’re trying to achieve economic ‘escape velocity’ aboard a spacecraft with a lot more than faulty O-rings in critical areas. Good luck with that. Everybody needs some sort of hobby, I suppose…

    😉

  23. MisterDarling December 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    WW,

    re | “Russia is waaay ahead of the US in its decline.”-ww.

    I’ll agree with you on this point… Up to a point. Mr. Orlov had it right about Russia: it collapsed Financially and their systemic equivalent of Commercially, but the they arrested their collapse at Stage Three – Politically.

    The political framework regrouped and consolidated as a hybrid KGB+OC dominated system.

    Your snap-assessment of Russia’s logistical problems is functionally accurate, but that only goes to show what can still be accomplished when the leadership isn’t being pulled in five or six different directions at once.

    What we have in the UK/US axis is something that is en route to what the Russians have already been through – and the same level of denial that this is what is happening…

    On the bright side, the denial is not total (it wasn’t for our counterparts in the erstwhile CCCP either). There are pockets of pragmatism secreted here and there.

    😉

  24. pkrugman December 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    “QE has morphed, not ended. The money the Fed paid the banks for bonds will now be used by the banks to support the bond price by purchasing bonds.”-pcr — Mister Darling

    Until now I have always heard QE defined as an endless “printing” of money, which was supposedly going to create hyperinflation.

    There was no hyperinflation and now QE has ended.

    So what do people like PCR do? They redefine QE.

    This is intellectually dishonest.

  25. pkrugman December 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    Nah, its not gated here. Still pretty rural.

    If you don’t have a gate at the end of your driveway, at least you should put up fences to keep the bears out. 🙂

  26. Cold N. Holefield December 22, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    If you don’t have a gate at the end of your driveway, at least you should put up fences to keep the bears out.

    The bears — and the super scary North Koreans.

    Say Goodnight To The Bad Guy

    • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 9:43 am #

      Cold,

      Another outstanding essay. And one of the tings I personally took away from it was that the lawmakers never quit. No matter how many times they are rebuked they keep on repackaging previously rejected legislation until they finally sneak something through in a moment of citizen unaware.

  27. Pucker December 22, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    The Human Condition:

    According to Reiterman’s book, ” Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones”, It seems that Reverend Jones’ relationship to his followers was sadomasochistic, dominant-submissive. Jones proclaimed that he was “the only true heterosexual.” Jones would bugger white male Temple members to prove to them that they were homosexuals. The Temple cadre were young white female radical feminists who Jones would bone as a means of control. Jones allegedly had a big dick. The women would engage in fierce rivalries for Jones attention. Jones would only have sex with white people. Black Temple members felt that the white female Temple cadres wanted to castrate black male Temple members. Jones would perform fake faith healings. Most people came to church, Jones believed, for the faith healings.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

      So they “drank the Kool-Aid” long before they drank the Kool-Aid.

      As with so many things I have to ask, Where were the adults?

  28. pkrugman December 22, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    “Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither did it collapse in one. “Patience” PK, “Patience!” LOL.” — Subvert

    The Roman Empire may have collapsed, but Rome is still there, a bustling cosmopolitan city. Collapse does not equal death.

    Still I have been waiting for collapse since the Club of Rome report (The Limits to growth: A report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind) which came out in 1974.

    That is 40 years of waiting as predictions of doom come and go. 15 of those years have been JHK’s predictions, starting with Y2K. Cry wolf so loudly so often and nobody will believe in collapse at all, ever.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

      Maybe a different metaphor?

      Like “very slow chord progressions” ?

    • seawolf77 December 26, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      It too 5oo years for Rome to collapse. At its peak no one believed such a thing possible. Ditto for every empire before or since. Had you told the Romans that little Great Britain or the Arabs and their Ottoman Empire would be the next great empires they would have laughed in your face. So what does that say about the timing of America’s collapse? We have no idea when it will happen.

  29. Pucker December 22, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    Many of the white radical feminists in the People’s Temple had black male castration fantasies. I wonder how common it is for white female feminists to have black male castration fantasies? This may explain in part the intense hostility to Cosby?

  30. Pucker December 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Freud said that women have “Penis Envy”.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Interesting, though, that Freud invented the concept.

  31. progress4what December 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

    “That hypothetical nation may be one that is very weary of being jerked around by the USA, with our augerers and vizeers, and haircuts-in-search-of-brains.
    Merry Christmas everyone and, this dwindling year, be especially careful what you wish for.” – jhk –

    Thanks for the Christmas wishes, JHK. And a Happy Hanukkah to you as well!

    My wish would be that the entire US government would get on the same page, a page that would bring a little more prosperity for average folks and a little less strife to the earth. Yeah, if wishes were loaves and fishes, as you say.

    I do believe that powerful factions are tearing at each other, right about now. It’s true on the global stage; is it true in the US? This oil price drop simply HAS to be orchestrated – it’s fallen too far and too fast for it to be purely market driven, IMO. But then, what does a real market look like anymore, anyway – with the Fed and central banks the world over creating “money” at the speed of electrons?

    Doubtless, many in US government absolutely KNOW that they are the smartest guys ever, in the history of ever. That could be OK, if someone else in the US government tempered this hubris with a little tiny bit of humility. That really does seem to be a wish too far, especially at the top level of “leadership,” where arrogance abounds.

    I really think far too many in government, who should have known better, were surprised when Russia reclaimed Crimea. Some genuine shock could be seen around the edges. Oops. And lacking humility, we in the US seem to be pissing off or insulting every government on the planet. I’d watch the Russians really closely, and the Chinese as well. Did anyone here at CFN notice the story about that freight train that made it from China, through Russia, and into Spain. It happened, just in the last couple of weeks, and the trip took less time than a cargo ship would have taken.

    The world’s a big place. And nothing lasts forever.

    Speaking of which, I’m surprised you didn’t mention events in New York City. New York is a bellwether for American and the world, for good or ill. If “Pax Giuliani” was responsible for NYC’s resurgence, and if that peace is being brought to an end – then what? Maybe you’ll tell us next week, hey?

    Thanks for the week’s work, JHK. And thank you for this comment space. Merry Christmas, all you Clusterfuckers!

  32. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    What did Pythagorus say about the “Angle of the Dangle”?

  33. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    What do think about Karen Horny’s work?

    “Karen Horney, a psychoanalyst who broke away from Freudian theory, criticized his work, particularly his theory of penis envy. Freud never directly responded to Horney’s criticisms, though he called her “able but malicious,” and wrote of female psychoanalysts, “We shall not be very greatly surprised if a woman analyst, who has not been sufficiently convinced of the intensity of her own wish for a penis, also fails to attach the proper importance to that factor in her patients” (Schultz & Schultz, 2009).

  34. FincaInTheMountains December 23, 2014 at 2:54 am #

    China declares opening of lend-lease line to Russia

    Not unlike FDR in 1941, China is not going to stand idle while its main political and military ally in the war against the new Evil Empire is bearing the grant of economical and military blows.

    Bilateral agreements between Moscow and Beijing on currency swaps will not be corrected, despite the devaluation of the ruble, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

    “Bilateral swap agreements usually include provisions for exchange course correction. Swap agreements between the ruble and the yuan are in line with international traditions. At the moment, these agreements remain unchanged” – Qin Gang said, commenting on the possibility of making adjustments on the part of China.

    According to the media, not only foreign exchange brokers are speculating on the devaluation of the ruble, but also the foreign press. In particular, a Chinese edition of “Tsaytszin” (“Finance”) is trying to insert a wedge in relations between Russia and China by alleging that swap agreements signed between China and Russia in mid-October in local currencies in the amount of 150 billion yuan for three years was extremely unfavorable to Beijing.

    According to the publication, the agreement between China and Russia on the swap involves an exchange of 150 billion yuan to 851 billion rubles at the fixed rate – 5.67 rubles per yuan. However, the market pays now 10 rubles to yuan, which is almost twice as much. And the collapse of the ruble occurred almost immediately after this major transaction, says the Chinese edition. “In the current situation of rapid peak of the ruble exchange rate it’s the same thing as giving the money away.”

    vz.ru/news/2014/12/18/721006.html

  35. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    The Griner Brothers from the movie “Deliverance” wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

  36. FincaInTheMountains December 23, 2014 at 3:55 am #

    Derivatives exposure of largest US Banks:

    JPMorgan Chase

    Total Assets: $ 2,520,336,000,000 (about 2.5 trillion dollars)

    The total exposure to derivatives: $ 68,326,075,000,000 (more than 68 trillion dollars)

    Citibank

    Total Assets: $ 1,909,715,000,000 (just over 1.9 trillion dollars)

    The total exposure to derivatives: $ 61,753,462,000,000 (more than 61 trillion dollars)

    Goldman Sachs

    Total Assets: $ 860,008,000 (less than a trillion dollars)

    The total exposure to derivatives: $ 57,695,156,000,000 (more than 57 trillion dollars)

    Bank Of America

    Total Assets: $ 2,172,001,000,000 (a little ‘more than 2.1 trillion dollars)

    The total exposure to derivatives: $ 55,472,434,000,000 (more than 55 trillion dollars)

    Morgan Stanley

    Total Assets: $ 826.568 billion (less than a trillion dollars)

    The total exposure to derivatives: $ 44,134,518,000,000 (more than 44 trillion dollars)

    A useful comparison to fully realize what numbers we’re talking about: the US public debt amounts to 18 trillion dollars. The derivatives markets, only of the six largest banks in America, amounts to almost 16 times the US debt!

    Merry Christmas everybody!

    • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 9:47 am #

      We can’t, according to Republicans, have “Obamacare” in this country because that would be, gasp, “socialized medicine”.

      But bailing out the too-big-to-fail banks to the tune of trillions with guaranteed taxpayer money, no fucking problem.

      It truly is the Season of Rot.

      • malthuss December 23, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

        Only the Republicans are putting us in debt or trying to save the Union from collapse from such debt?

        Obama got 3 or 4 tiems as much gravy from Wall Street during his first presidential campaign and his loyalty to his handlers shows thru and thru.

        Bush2 wanted TARP but at 200? billion. How much TARP QE can the dollar withstand?

        • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

          “Only the Republicans are putting us in debt or trying to save the Union from collapse from such debt?”

          Not at all; I was just highlighting their greater hypocrisy on the issue(MO) since they champion themselves as the party of ‘fiscal responsibility’ and never miss an opportunity to make punitive cuts to school lunch programs etc.

          As far as your last question I have no idea. Since 2008 I have been reading the likes of Denninger, AE, JHK and others and it seems Wily Coyote has learned to fly a little longer that most initially predicted.

          • malthuss December 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

            ‘wily coyote has flown a bit longer’.
            Aint that the truth. I know a wise old man who has studied
            ‘real economics’ since the 1970s and he is speechless as to how the dollar stays ‘strong’ and gold weak.

        • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

          Except for a few, the Democratic response to this is no different from the past.

          Change?

  37. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    Speaking of the Chinese, if your Chinese in laws ask you what you believe in, just tell ’em that you believe in “absolute and amoral pragmatism.” And then add that you want to build a strong political power base for your own ego needs.

    • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      Absolute and amoral pragmatism –that’s the Thrasymachus “unjust” argument from Plato’s Republic; an argument that seems to still be in full swing these days.

      You can change the diaper of a human being but he’s still going to shit over and over again…on himself and everybody else.

  38. BackRowHeckler December 23, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    Geesh, the Saudi Oil Minister is talking about $20 per barrel oil now, “and it may stay that way forever”.

    If that’s the case, I’ll have to agree with PKrugman and Blame/e that predictions of systemic economic collapse on this site, due to shortages of NatGas and petroleum, are overstated and inaccurate, altho fun to speculate about on these winter days when there’s not much else to do. When you work nights like I do you feel out of sync with the world.

    Right now it seems like there’s enough oil to run everything. At 92 million bpd consumption there still is a surplus of 2 million bpd, as I heard Daniel Yergin say on Charlie Rose last week. No doubt there will be problems with energy in the future, but as far as I’m concerned let the future take care of itself.

    A belated Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, to all you CFNers out there!

    brh

    • ozone December 23, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      BRH,
      “A belated Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, to all you CFNers out there!”

      I echo these particular sentiments, and right backatcha! 🙂

      (As far as your other ruminations as to our FF future, agreeing with shills of the status quo makes you appear as thoughtful as the yellings of Yellin. 😉 But, yes, the future is going to have to proceed without our pitiful interventions.)

      A final wondering: Are contracts originated in fraud truly enforceable? We’ll see….

      • Janos Skorenzy December 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

        Thanks buddy. Happy Honky to you too.

    • Janos Skorenzy December 23, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      You think the two Religious Holidays are comparable? One is about the incarnation of God and the other about patriotism, not ours by the way.

      • BackRowHeckler December 24, 2014 at 8:12 am #

        I know what Hanukah is Vlad. But the guy who hosts this site is Jewish, as are some of the posters in this comments section.

        Why that kind of attitude this time of year? Why not some magnanimity on your part.

        brh

  39. Deblonay December 23, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    Re Russia
    __________
    I am told by well-nformed friends that tihe Russians may take the offensive and declare a default until the Rouble’s value recovers

    This would mean an end to paying debts to the Euro banks

    Even the suggestion of such.,will freak out the Euro markets and send the stocks of Euro banks…heavily involved in massive loans to Russia…into free fall…and the US financial markets too

    a clever counter-attack from Putin which would do the Euro economies great harm..many being in crisis now like Greece and Spain

    The Euros are most unhappy at the loss of Russian markets,with the fall in the rouble limiting \buying byRussians of German cars and luxury items from Italy and France like clothing and footware
    and furniture

    Watch for the Russian counter-attack

    • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Anyway, Peyton Manning made 900,000 bucks for four pitiful quarters of football play but he still looks happy in any one of his TV commercials. Life is good.

      • BackRowHeckler December 23, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        Buck, Jay Cutler of the Bears is pulling down $20 million this year, and he’s currently riding the bench.

        Best gig tho: President of the NFL, salary, $1 million per week.

        brh

        • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

          That’s true BRH…and it’s over the entire year and not just the football season.

          There must be some outrageous parties in NYC frequented by the multi-millionaires plus. As Fitzgerald wrote, they really are different.

    • MisterDarling December 23, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

      re | “I am told by well-nformed friends that tihe Russians may take the offensive and declare a default until the Rouble’s value recovers”-debl.

      Default is a real threat that __Germany__ is most exposed to. That’s not lost on the smarter set in Germany, and getting pretty p-o’d at being put in this position. . . That spells ‘job opportunity’ for the right kind of contractor who’s tired of working for the dumb*ss*s on this side of the water.

  40. progress4what December 23, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    “Geesh, the Saudi Oil Minister is talking about $20 per barrel oil now, “and it may stay that way forever”.” – brh –

    Somebody needs to the the Saudi Oil Minister that “forever” is a very long time. Maybe he’s been doing shift work himself, and his sense of time is more screwed up than yours is, backrow. hah!
    And wouldn’t it have been nice to have some of that $20 oil, back in ’08 when high oil prices crushed the economy?

    I’d say that the SOM is bluffing. Or, to put that another way, the SOM is playing his part in a global play designed to destroy the Russians, and to do whatever else our global masters desire. Of course, some of the unintended consequences may be things that our global masters do not desire.

    I’ve always been an America first type of guy. (Got that NSA, CIA, Homeland Security, TSA, FBI, IRS, ETC, etc?) And I’ve never been pro-evil-empire. (TM Ronald Reagan) But I’m beginning to believe that our global masters are driving the United States to a very bad place, in terms of overpopulation and concomitant overuse and abuse of global resources. This may be unstoppable. If so, it may end with the extinction of humanity – or worse.

    It’s going to be funny if the Russians are the salvation of humanity.
    Would we still call them the Evil Empire, even after that?
    We probably would. National character changes very slowly.

  41. ozone December 23, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Ps.
    Have fun where you find it, JHK and All!
    (The lengthening daylight is worth a good celebration or three, eh?)

  42. Cold N. Holefield December 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    Cold,

    Another outstanding essay. And one of the tings I personally took away from it was that the lawmakers never quit. No matter how many times they are rebuked they keep on repackaging previously rejected legislation until they finally sneak something through in a moment of citizen unaware. — Buck

    Thanks, Buck. Another ting I liked and needs to be underscored is the following:

    “Everything is P.R.,” my Moscow peers would tell me. This cynicism is useful to the state: When people stopped trusting any institutions or having any values, they could easily be spun into a conspiratorial vision of the world. Thus the paradox: the gullible cynic.

    It’s not just Moscow and Russia — this strategy is employed everywhere like savoir-faire, most especially at blogs and the accompanying comment sections.

  43. progress4what December 23, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    “this strategy is employed everywhere like savoir-faire, most especially at blogs and the accompanying comment sections”
    – cold, on the gullible cynic –

    Nice term, the gullible cynic, I like it. Have you heard that Disquis comments are being manipulated, here and there? Somebody mentioned Al Jazerra, in particular. I’d never commented there, and likely never will. Especially since I just took a look at one of their threads last week. I’d never done that before. What a mess – ad hominems and short posts in an unusually tight looking circle jerk.

    You have a really strong anti-Russian bias, Cold.
    Where does that come from?
    Did you, like me, hide under too many of those school desks as a kid – waiting for nuclear death?

  44. FincaInTheMountains December 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    “a clever counter-attack from Putin which would do the Euro economies great harm..many being in crisis now like Greece and Spain”

    What’s so clever in being a deadbeat? Again, I doubt very much that there is ANYTHING in Putin’s plan to cause next Depression, or even remotely being blamed for that – that is American privilege, let them do it.

    Of course, Putin wants to prepare his house for possible turmoil, like wanting to be paid for gas delivery to Ukraine, what’s wrong with that?

    What’s wrong in trading with its closest neighbors, like China, by bypassing dysfunctional American markets, using stable long term contracts on mutual benefit basis?

    Putin is just an ultimate prepper.

  45. FincaInTheMountains December 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    “The Euros are most unhappy at the loss of Russian markets”

    Good thing that Americans are. Since the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions, the Russian export to US went up by 3%, import from US went up by 7%.

    European are suckers!!!

  46. barbisbest December 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    The season of hope calls for some, and so Growing Power.com, Food Not Bombs.com, Happy Christmas to CFN readers and founders. If you want some interesting reading to do, check out Twin Souls, A message of Hope for the New Millenium by Elizabeth and Catherine. Hill. James Howard Kunstler is mentioned in it. Fascinating subject Twin Souls. Fascinating book.

  47. FincaInTheMountains December 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Russia’s Investigative Committee is investigating a Russian newspaper report alleging that a Ukrainian military jet shot down Malaysian Airlines passenger plane MH17 over the rebel-held eastern part of the country last summer.

    “Investigators have talked to the editor-in-chief and journalists of the ‘Komsomolskaya Pravda’ newspaper and have taken the contact details of the Ukrainian citizen [cited in the report],” spokesman for the committee Vladimir Markin said.

    He added that the witness would be interviewed as part of the Russian investigation into the use of banned weapons and methods of warfare in Ukraine. The information he shares will be cross-checked, he added.

    The witness, who chose to remain anonymous, told Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP) daily that a pilot of a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet was behind the MH17 flight downing on July 17. He claimed that the pilot used air-to-air missiles to shoot down the Malaysian Boeing, which he concludes was probably mistaken for a military plane.

    “About an hour before the catastrophe, three fighter jets took off [from Dnepropetrovsk]. One of the planes was an Su-25, which was equipped with these kind of [air-to-air] missiles,” the witness told KP in an interview, adding that he was on the airport grounds at the time.

    rt.com/news/216871-ukraine-military-mh17-report/

  48. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

    Try to make a good impression this holiday season. And, if you can’t, then fake it.

    The End Justifies the Means….

    And put a heaping tablespoon of ground nutmeg in your in-law’s cup of eggnog and see what happens.

  49. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

    I was thinking of doing one of those expensive ayuhuasca tours to Peru this year. According to the ads, they’ll take you down to Peru and hook you up with a shaman. But, unfortunately, it seems that one side effect of ayuhuasca is that it makes the subject extremely suscepitable to external suggestion, and some unscrupulous “shamans” have been sexually assaulting the tourists, Bill Cosby-style. One wouldn’t want to end up getting cornholed by a Peruvian shaman. I suppose that this is basically a metaphor the fate of Progressivism in the U.S.?

  50. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Wasn’t Trevor Martin’s girlfriend, Rachel Jeantel, Haitian? It seems that Obama will now allow Rachel Jeantel to bring all of her relatives to the U.S.

    HFRP Program: On October 17, 2014, USCIS announced that it would begin preparatory work to implement a HFRP Program in early 2015. The purpose of the HFRP Program is to expedite family reunification for certain Haitian family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs). By expanding existing legal means for Haitians to immigrate, the HFRP Program serves a significant public benefit by promoting safe, legal and orderly migration from Haiti to the United States. In addition, it supports U.S. goals for Haiti’s long-term reconstruction and development.

    • BackRowHeckler December 24, 2014 at 8:20 am #

      I understand most of the Haitian population will eventually be relocated here.

      • Janos Skorenzy December 25, 2014 at 12:10 am #

        They should bring all the Haitians here and give Haiti to Whites. We’d turn it in into a paradise in a few short years.

        Do you have a link on that btw? Also have you heard anything about how many Cubans are going to come here?

  51. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

    If a bloke does Tai Chi exercises with a group of hot young girls in tights, then all of the Qi energy goes to one’s dick and one gets a huge boner.

    • Buck Stud December 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

      You’ve been genitalia obsessed in your last posts. Maybe time to grab an early lollipop from the Christmas tree ?

      • Pucker December 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

        To be honest, I could go for some BBQ Ribs!

        “McKee, now 65, said Cosby asked her to get some ribs from local hotspot Checker Bar-B-Q and then pick him up at his hotel.

        “I remember I walked in the door, and he had a robe and cap on. He took the ribs from my hands and just grabbed me,” McKee said of Cosby.

        “He spun me around, pulled my panties down, and just took it. We were still standing at the door when he attacked me,” she told The News. “It was so fast and so shocking and so unbelievable,” she said.”

  52. nsa December 23, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

    Local discount regular at $2.29/gallon. 65 to 70 cranes dominating the downtown Seattle skyline. Freeways packed. Mall parking lots full. Record sales at Barrier Motors (Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Audi). RE prices exceed 2007. Capitol Hill rents have doubled so the gays are being forced out of their neighborhood by the am-holes (amazon employees). 200 sq ft “micro-apartments” are renting for over a thousand a month. The Boom is on again in Pugetropolis…that vast urban mecca spanning Vancouver BC down to Olympia WA and soon Portland OR. Who you gonna believe….the doomers or your own eyes?

    • Q. Shtik December 23, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

      And yet my 51 year old next door neighbor sits idle in year 5 of his unemployment.

  53. Pucker December 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    Reverend Jim Jones read widely on the subject of Mind Control, and he had a cult of around 1,000 followers to practice on. Jones liked to use Guilt to manipulate people. He used accusations of “Sexism” and “Racism” to divide and conquer people.

    • seawolf77 December 26, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      Jim Jones was a creep. Any one who would follow him was creepy. Any one who would die for him is creepiest.

  54. Pucker December 24, 2014 at 12:11 am #

    I suspect that if one pumps ’em up with a Guilt such that the subject becomes emotionally conflicted then the subject’s mental defenses are weakened and the subject experiences a loss of will. One could then shame the subject into submission.
    Cosby was manipulating the subject’s conflicting need for Daddy’s love and the need for an Alpha Male boner.

  55. Pucker December 24, 2014 at 1:04 am #

    Our Minds are probably just dominated as the Minds of Reverend Jones’ followers were. We just can’t see it from inside the bubble? We all just mindlessly do what we’re told to do.

  56. FincaInTheMountains December 24, 2014 at 2:33 am #

    IMF policies blamed for spread of Ebola

    Links between the IMF and the rapid spread of the disease were examined by researchers from Cambridge University’s sociology department, with colleagues from Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

    They found IMF programmes held back the development of effective health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries at the epicentre of an outbreak that has killed more than 7,370 people.

    telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/ebola/11307252/IMF-policies-blamed-for-weak-Ebola-response.html

    IMF = Washington Consensus (“Do as we say, not as we do”)

  57. FincaInTheMountains December 24, 2014 at 3:22 am #

    Hypersonic superweapon to the rescue of Wall Street and embattled US Dollar

    The real race is happening not on the oil and currency markets, but in the labs of US, China and Russia in developing new, super-fast, super-precise hypersonic weapon systems capable of striking any target on Earth within less than an hour after making political decision.

    Such system would consist of low-orbit carrier (sort of unmanned “Shuttle”), patrolling the space for long periods of time, capable of “diving” into high-altitude atmosphere to unleash several hypersonic (speeds higher than 1 mile per second) warheads that will zoom-in at any specified target on Earth.

    In 1986 the American Space Shuttle performed such dive above Moscow, descending from its orbit down to just 80 km high above the capital of the Soviet Union.

    There are several advantages to hypersonic weapons: extremely high speed in the atmosphere, high maneuverability using aerodynamic flight controls and plasma cloud that forms around the missile, shielding it completely from radars.

    Such weapon systems, if developed and deployed, would render obsolete the inter-continental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

    United States are developing such program under Prompt Global Strike (PGS) concept.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prompt_Global_Strike

    Would they win the contest? USSR has launched several hypersonic missiles back in the 80s. However the program was scrapped during liberal destruction of the heritage of Soviet Economy in the 90s.

    But the development of hypersonic weapons has worried China and Russia, who have begun looking into similar programmes to avoid being left behind. China tested a similar weapon in January, while Russia warned it will start doing the same.

    theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/aug/26/hypersonic-weapons-global-arms-race-us-tested-prototype

    • Buck Stud December 24, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      If you scroll down to the comments in the above link you posted, you will read the general consensus on Russia, and why, according to these commentators, the U.S. needs to fire up a new arms race. And BTW, I read this general consensus on conservative and liberal blogs alike, from Red State to Daily Kos. In other words, Russia has already lost the PR battle.

  58. FincaInTheMountains December 24, 2014 at 3:47 am #

    Russian press published the photo of Captain Vladislav Voloshin, 30 year-old, of Ukrainian Air force who, according to eyewitness working at the airfield servicing Mr.Voloshin’s Mig25, shot down the Malaysian Boeing MH17, killing almost 300 innocent people.

    s1.stc.all.kpcdn.net/f/4/image/75/94/889475.jpg

    Will Ukraine make Mr.Voloshin available to testify in some sort of international hearings?

    • FincaInTheMountains December 24, 2014 at 4:04 am #

      Unlike the 911 event that killed almost 3000 Americans and was justified to American people and the world by extremely dubious story of 19 Muslim hijackers capable of cutting through sophisticated and expensive system of American civil air defenses and bringing down 3 high-rise buildings (including Building 4 that was not hit by any aircraft) in NY City and hitting the Pentagon, Russians are going to cut to the chase of what really happened on 17 July 2014.

  59. BackRowHeckler December 24, 2014 at 8:17 am #

    The good news today is that top govt. state officials appointed by Gov. Dan Malloy, D, about 2000 of them, get a 12% pay raise starting immediately. An early Christmas gift, if you will.

    Last month we learned the State is roughly $1 billion in debt so far this fiscal year, but no matter.

    brh

    • Buck Stud December 24, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Stunts like these are exactly how the GOP manages to keep the lower classes nipping at the heels of each other. Meanwhile the truly spectacular thieves are so far economically removed from most Americans that they might as well not exist at all.

      What I find perplexing, is why people who should know better voluntarily slip a Rings of Cyges on the thieving fingers of the Elite and turn a blind eye to their looting as if they truly are invisible and focus instead on the micro-looting of Main Street?

      I guess it’s far easier to loathe the greed you can still touch and see and so we end up eating our own. Anger tastes so much better when it’s visceral. After all, why should the self-employed entrepreneur lift a finger for pampered union /govt workers who are guaranteed lavish retirement plans that the sole entrepreneur will never receive? And yet the self-employed are forced via taxation to finance these out-of -proportion govt retirement plans.

      I do wonder, though, if the elite fail to realize that their Ring of Gyges invisibility renders them blind to their own demise? While the lower classes squabble between themselves like termites eating each other, they hallow out the root and branches of the greater societal tree on which the privileged golden leaves of elitism reside. And when the season of deception moves into the season of perceptive reality, the weight of gold will make for a mighty hard fall.

      • BackRowHeckler December 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

        very eloquent, Buck.

        I guess the swindles go on at all levels, and you’re correct, the really spectacular swindles, involving billions of dollars, at the highest levels, we never even hear about.

  60. volodya December 24, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

  61. FincaInTheMountains December 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    “Russia has already lost the PR battle.” — Buck Stud

    I wouldn’t be so pessimistic. I think we’re just warming up. 2014 have seen a dramatic acceleration of historic events that are dawning upon us, but nothing compare to what awaits us next year.

    What Hillary Clinton called USSR-2 – the Eurasian Union – is officially coming to existence in January 1, just heard the press-conference of heads of 5 initial founder-states: Russia, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. There was some last-minute bickering by Belorussian President, but apparently all was settled. Putin is good at it.

    Armenia is extremely interesting state – a tiny country with a population just over 3 million people, no common border with Russia, no oil reserves or important industries and extremely influential diaspora everywhere in the world, including US. Armenian diaspora fully supported joining with Eurasian Union.

    For some reasons, Armenians are considered to be “The Jews in Reserve”, its a long story deserving a separate discussion.

  62. FincaInTheMountains December 24, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Vladimir Putin has finally managed to convince Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande, that US policy in Ukraine is directed primarily against European interests.

    Despite pressure by interested in continuing the war corporations, Barack Obama, albeit very cautiously and reluctantly, joined this “party of piece.”

    A notable result of this new understanding was the decision to withdraw from the Ukraine the first contingent of American mercenaries of 2,000 people; the rest is planned to withdraw later.
    The first group of these two thousand, in the amount of more than a hundred, in civilian clothes, but with arms and ammunition was sent out of Kiev on three buses in the direction of the checkpoint “Luzhanka – Beregshuran” on the Ukrainian-Hungarian border.

    Apparently, it didn’t go very smoothly.

    The column was stopped at a checkpoint on the border and some weapons and equipment that belongs to Ukrainian Armed Forces were found. After a brief argument between the checkpoint commander and his deputy and the accompanying column senior officer of the Ministry of Defense, the latter shot both checkpoint officers and directed the buses across the border on the Hungarian side, into Beregshuran.

  63. FincaInTheMountains December 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    I would strongly recommend reading (or re-reading it again) the “Foundation Trilogy” by Asic Asimov, the Russian Jew and famous American Science Fiction writer.

    A lot of what is happening in today’s world is explained in that book.

    • Janos Skorenzy December 25, 2014 at 12:43 am #

      Mule, you are undone.

  64. Pucker December 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    Merry Christmas! (Even though it’s the Saturnalia and that Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of the Baby Jesus.)

    Speaking of PR, as Reverend Jones always stressed: “Looks are everything.”

    Reverend Jones cancelled the karate lessons of his Temple paramilitary force at the Temple Ukiah, California compound out of concern that the constant loud karate shouts would alarm the neighbors.

  65. Pucker December 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Speaking of Isaac Asimov, what’s this I hear about Superman being Jewish? Isn’t Loise Lane “Goy”?

    • capt spaulding December 25, 2014 at 8:48 am #

      Superman can’t be Jewish, He never went to a bris.

  66. Pucker December 24, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    How ‘come no women are coming forward after 40 years to complain that they were sexually assaulted by Rodney Dangerfield? Poor Rodney Dangerfield “don’t get no respect!”

  67. FincaInTheMountains December 25, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    Top stories that broke in 2014 but haven’t been fixed

    Former Proteus Airlines boss Marc Dugain claims MH370 may have been shot down by US military near Diego Garcia

    A SECOND senior airline industry source has revealed his belief that there is some sort of conspiracy behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

    Emirates president and CEO Sir Tim Clark made world headlines in October when he revealed his doubts about the fate of the missing plane, which disappeared early in the morning of March 8 this year.
    In an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel, Sir Tim voiced his scepticism about the complete lack of wreckage from the incident, and the electronic satellite “handshakes” which positioned the plane in the southern Indian Ocean.

    Now a second senior airline industry source has voiced his doubts about the fate of the plane, with the even wilder claim that the Boeing 777 may have been shot down by US military personnel who were fearing a September 11-style attack on the US Navy base on Diego Garcia.

    news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/former-proteus-airlines-boss-marc-dugain-claims-mh370-may-have-bee…

    So, Buck Stud, “Russia has already lost the PR battle.”, but America is just bathing in world’s adoration. Note that this is coming from “friendly” English media.

    • Buck Stud December 25, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      I never said the U.S. wasn’t reviled in many quarters and on many issues. But if you read the MSM it’s very apparent that an anti-Putin narrative has taken hold and is being parroted far and wide on progressive and conservative blogs alike. Recall the May 8, 2014 Time Magazine edition in which Putin graced the cover and opened with the below:

      “Russia’s president has seized Crimea and destabilized Ukraine. What drives him?”

      So your point reads like a tit-for-tat –your daddy is more evil than my daddy–type of response as opposed to considered response to the Russia has lost the PR battle assertion.

      Most people still get their news from the MSM in the U.S. (and from the sounds of the comments in your linked article and elsewhere, Europe too) thus the inevitability of certain narratives taken hold among the majority. That’s not a value/moral judgment but an observational conclusion from my end. Personally I still have no idea in regard to the intrigue and nuances of the conflict other than I believe the U.S. shouldn’t be throwing rocks at broken down, aging bears who still think their young and powerful.

      • Q. Shtik December 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

        who still think [their] young – Buck

        ============

        they’re

  68. FincaInTheMountains December 25, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    For those who are slightly confused about derivatives, they are mostly a “insurance contracts, with no legitimate insurable interest”.

    For instance, if I am a corn farmer, I may choose a strategy to sell some future contracts on corn delivery in the amount of expected harvest – that would be a legitimate insurable interest, I may use the proceeds to invest into new farm machinery or seed purchases.

    However, if I were to buy a half-million dollar fire insurance on my neighbor’s house, if things would go sour on me in financial terms I may be tempted to hire some hoodlums for say, 25,000 to set the poor schmuck house on fire to collect the half-million dollar payout. That would NOT be a legitimate insurable interest.

    How the aforementioned example is better than infamous Credit Default Swaps when large banks buy insurance on Foreign sovereign debt WITHOUT having the bonds in their possession?

    Wouldn’t the banks be tempted to hire some “Muslim Extremists”. like ISIS, to make a little head-chopping show?

  69. FincaInTheMountains December 25, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    General Frost rushes to the Russian side(as always)

    Kiev’s temperature forecasts for beginning of January: -13 Fahrenheit

    Just talked to a friend in Kiev on Skype: they all rushed to buy electric space heaters. The slight problem – Kiev is already experiencing 5 – 8 hours a day electrical blackouts.

    I was sharing with him my experience on the Island in installing and running electrical backup systems – from power inverter to gas/diesel generator.

    Lucky for us we do not need heat on the Island – but they DO, BIG TIME.

    Come the spring time, Kiev will no doubt miss quite a few thousand old people succumbed to cold exposure.

  70. Cold N. Holefield December 25, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    other than I believe the U.S. shouldn’t be throwing rocks at broken down, aging bears who still think their young and powerful.

    That’s a common narrative employed by the MSM as well, so you’ve appeared to have fallen for the propaganda without even realizing it.

    FYI, I’m not anti-Russian. I’m anti-Tyranny in all its manifest forms. Putin’s Russia is one such form, but there are many others that get much more condemnation at blogs like CFN so some balance is in order. Tyranny isn’t fought with tyranny, but rather it is exposed and criticized wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.

    Buck, the mainstream conservative narrative, for now at least while Obama is in office, is exactly your stance — not throwing stones at aging bears because they can be dangerous.

    • Buck Stud December 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      Cold I agree with what you write but perhaps I’m missing something: I thought the narrative, and recent legislation, is actually more in line with throwing rocks?

      At any rate and beyond media propaganda, there is no doubt that Russia is a very dangerous adversary and certainly not worth provoking militarily, IMO.

  71. FincaInTheMountains December 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    “I believe the U.S. shouldn’t be throwing rocks at broken down, aging bears who still think their young and powerful.” — Buck Stud.

    On the Island there are 3 Russian TV Channels, as well as usual American (and a few local) cable suspects.

    Buck, I wish you were able to watch and understand those Russian channels before uttering opinions based on nitwit discussion on American news channels or heavily moderated political blogs.

    Apparently, the political discussions is the most viewed programs on Russian channels, and they invite a wide variety of participants, from American journalists speaking decent Russian, American Talking Heads working for various think tanks in Washington, Ukrainian nationalists, members of Ukrainian parliament down to far-left Russian Nationalists (Russian version of skin-heads, but with hair) and of course wide variety of Russian scientists, economists, political leaders.

    I was deeply impressed. It is a young and vibrant democracy – after all Russian Federation is just twentysomething, while still the presence of thousand-year old history is strongly felt.

    Nothing like you-gona-be-bored-out-of-your-fucking-mind repetitious bull crap you hear on CNN, FOX, HuffPost and alike.

    The contrast is overwhelming. Make me wish I never left Russia.

    • Buck Stud December 25, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      Fincal,

      I suppose I should have clarified that Western media has defined public relation for their own public. Likewise, the same for Russian.

      Anyway, countries have their own public relation agenda which often results in conflict. Your man Asimov put it as succinctly as anyone IMO:

      ““The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own “national security” to be paramount above all other consideration.

      I am all for cultural diversity and would be willing to see each recognizable group value its cultural heritage. I am a New York patriot, for instance, and if I lived in Los Angeles, I would love to get together with other New York expatriates and sing “Give My Regards to Broadway.”

      This sort of thing, however, should remain cultural and benign. I’m against it if it means that each group despises others and lusts to wipe them out. I’m against arming each little self-defined group with weapons with which to enforce its own prides and prejudices.

      The Earth faces environmental problems right now that threaten the imminent destruction of civilization and the end of the planet as a livable world. Humanity cannot afford to waste its financial and emotional resources on endless, meaningless quarrels between each group and all others. there must be a sense of globalism in which the world unites to solve the real problems that face all groups alike.

      Can that be done? The question is equivalent to: Can humanity survive?

      I am not a Zionist, then, because I don’t believe in nations, and because Zionism merely sets up one more nation to trouble the world. It sets up one more nation to have “rights” and “demands” and “national security” and to feel it must guard itself against its neighbors.

      There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don’t come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.” –Isaac Asimov

      • FincaInTheMountains December 25, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

        I am sorry, Buck, but you could afford to speak like that because you live in a Metropoly and at least two thirds of you consumption comes from the stolen baby food in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

        Grow the f. up.

        • Buck Stud December 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

          I believe I am witnessing a complete and total cyber meltdown or perhaps too much vodka on Christmas day…’stolen baby food in Africa, Latin America and Asia–WTF LOL!

          Just a reminder Ivan, it wasn’t I who was speaking but a quote from Asimov; you know, the dude you referenced/recommended the other day. Apparently his quote rubbed you the wrong way (and I bet I know which part 😉

  72. FincaInTheMountains December 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    The West Has Already Lost.

    West has already lost that war, and it didn’t loose economically or militarily – that is still coming, but it lost it conceptually and historically.

    Probably West had to wait with those transhuman reforms like pushing a gender-independent policies and gay-marriages.

    Or may be West should have toned down its individualistic approach to society and at least partially upheld Kennedy’s “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You, But What You Can Do For Your Country”.

    Or may be West should have reconsidered its “Money makes Money” concept (Power Makes Power).

    I do not know the answer. But I feel it in my gut.

    The West Has Already Lost.

    • Greg Knepp December 25, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

      Even by my liberal blowhard standards this entry constitutes a pretty broad statement. But I think it’s accurate – very hard to deny. The premise upon which the West has functioned is both obsolete and immovable.

      I like your work, Fincaln.

    • Q. Shtik December 25, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

      and it didn’t [loose] economically or militarily

      ==============

      Once again Finca

      if lose rhymes with booze

      and if

      loose rhymes with moose

      which is the correct word in your sentence?

  73. barbisbest December 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Mathmetician Sir Isaac Newton, the gravity guy, studied the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation at great length in order to discern the time of Armageddon. His conclusion – 2060. That would correspond to the end of oil. Sir Isaac Newton was born December 25, 1642. Twin Souls, Hope for the New Millenium reads those gone aren’t all that gone-Happy Birthday Sir Isaac Newton.

    • FincaInTheMountains December 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Good. I glad he did. Because that’s how you know it aint gona happen.
      Last guy I’d trust is that English kook, Newton. I know classic mechanic well enough to know that he did zero contribution to it, just plagiarized some work of Kepler and Leibniz.

  74. Pucker December 25, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    As the US economy deteriorates, the logic of communism and to,,tal,,itar,,ianism for poor Americans will become evident.

    “The attractions [of communal living] for people on fixed incomes was obvious. A social security check did not go far toward paying for necessities. But pooling resources meant all could live better communally, with companionship and brotherhood and people to care for them in their final years. Likewise, single parents were attracted to a lifestyle with religion, political activism, companionship and child care. For all, the standard of living, while perhaps not comparable to white middle-class, neighborhoods, was far superior to that of many urban ghettos. The diet was healthy, the shelter safe and adequate, the supervision of students and children good. And the environment was interracial.”

    (“Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones”)

  75. Pucker December 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

    During the Ferguson riots, I recall a reporter who interviewed a black person who said: “We don’t feel equal to white people.”

    “Philosophically, Jones favored communal life because it was a leveling and unifying influence. In a commune, all theoretically would have the same housing, use of communal transporation, equal sharing of food and even clothing. No one would own anything. No one would feel inferior.”

    “In the mid-1970s, as the Temple shifted to cities, communes became important as a means of tightening controls and of improving church finances.”

    (“Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones”)

  76. FincaInTheMountains December 26, 2014 at 4:57 am #

    “I believe I am witnessing a complete and total cyber meltdown or perhaps too much vodka” – Buck Stud

    Yes, granted, have to apologize for a melodrama. But let me put it in other way:

    1. United States economy could no longer on its own provide necessary level of consumption within the US in order to support political stability and governability of the country

    2. US have to loot the World in order to sustain minimal level of consumption

    3. The looting is performed using controlled financial markets, indirect military interventions – organizing “color revolutions” and civil wars (Ukraine, Syria, Egypt) or direct military intervention by conducting targeted colonial-style punitive expeditions(Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya)

    4. United States could no longer support minimal level of consumption by simply turning on the printing press, so they need to turn on the “dollar vacuum cleaner” in order to suck in liquidity, human and natural resources from all over the world. In order to do it, the “Beggar your neighbor” policy is employed, depriving other Nations of necessary means of development. That creates major rifts between the American elites and elites of other countries, who could no longer count on their share of dollar emission. (Say in the form of high oil prices).

    5. “Beggar your neighbor” policy also involves overt and covert destabilization of the political regimes of other Nations, thus making United Stated look the only Island Of Stability.

    6. Russia faces a tough choice – lacking necessary credit resource within the dollar system for development, it could go into major depression next year and, potentially, disintegrate. The only solution for Russia is to use newly organized Euro Asian Union for creating mechanisms of its own credit creation(emission center) – which in turn will mean taking substantial part of world economy out of dollar-denominated system, thus collapsing dollar system even more. It would also create a “bad example” for other colonies to follow.

    7. Current contradictions between Russian Federation and United States are of significant, principal and none-negotiable nature.

    • BackRowHeckler December 26, 2014 at 8:08 am #

      I don’t know what your 20 is, Fincain

      But for now, in my corner of the USA, there are construction cranes everywhere you look, shiny new car clogging the roads, malls packed with shoppers, supermarkets full of every delicacy known to man, McMansions being built likes its 1999, huge raises for government employees, cheap gas, easy credit once again … it was warm here yesterday and one of my relatives showed up with a new Harley Super Glide he paid cash for with his Christmas bonus. Goddam thing even has a Satellite Radio on it.

      None of its for me … the malls, the packed and dangerous freeways, the McMansions … but its here, right before us, there’s no denying any of it. How much longer it will last is another question. The Dow is at 18000, not 4000 as predicted by some.

      brh

      • FincaInTheMountains December 26, 2014 at 11:45 am #

        I didn’t say that the imperial looting stopped, did I? I just say it is going to…, or we will see disintegration of Russian Federation and then you good to go for another xxx years.

      • MisterDarling December 26, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

        Season’s Greetings, BRH…

        re | “The Dow is at 18000, not 4000 as predicted by some.”-brh.

        It’s helpful to remember that the stock-market was peaking right up until it crashed – in 2000 and again, in 2008.

        Regarding the ‘everybody’s flush again’ hoo-haw, this is the number one job-description in the USA:

        businessinsider.com/most-popular-jobs-in-america-2014-4

        That’s right, ‘retail salespersons’… And most of those jobs are going to be even more seasonal this year, when the Year-over-Year sales totals roll in.

        I have no doubt that there are all kinds of folks sportin’ new rides this holiday season, because zero-down ‘special finance’ loans are back with a vengeance.

        Meanwhile aggregate demand is down (nationwide and globally) and food-stamp usage continues to spread. These are only the facts, which the even the BLS has to admit to. Whatever all these people are doing, they’re not using fuel or electricity at ‘boomtown’ levels, and they don’t produce enough discretionary income to float the debt they’re piling up.

        BRH, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t believe what you see with your own eyes, but in your case – just because you seem like a decent kind of fellow – I *am* going to say that you avoid believing that what see means what you’d __like__ it to mean. I’m saying this as a man who has *a certain amount* of experience uncovering major-league ‘discrepancies’.

        The easiest thing to fake in these creative-credit United States is the appearance of prosperity, and I do not envy any fool living in a fool’s paradise. Good luck to them with that. Personally, I hope they all stay one step ahead of the repo-man.

        Cheers!

        • BackRowHeckler December 27, 2014 at 8:53 am #

          Oh, I’m aware MD that things may not be exactly how they seem on the surface of things, when it comes to this US economy …

          But go over to the CNBC site, watch the Nightly Business Report on PBS, read the WSJ or IBD, and they’re all pretty positive about everything, and have all these statistics to back it up.

          I know there is another set of statistics, too, the ones you mention, which they ignore.

          brh

          • malthuss December 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

            There is a book called ‘The Biggest Con’ which 40? years ago
            showed us what was really going on,

            What is really going on
            Is the biggest con
            get my riff
            read Irv Schiff!!

            The whole thing is a debt bubble, as you know my friend.

          • MisterDarling December 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

            Hi BRH,

            Yeah, you didn’t seem like the naturally gullible type anyway.

            I’m not always sure when people are making sarcastic/’tongue-in-cheek’ remarks, or are being ironic. Conversely, I don’t like people to take me the wrong way. That’s why throw in emoticons and markers like: “/s”…

            But that may just be me. I’ve heard a lot of vociferous denials of the deadly-serious truth – especially in the last 8 years – and I’ve had to grin and bear a lot of bald-faced, condescending b-s for the ‘good of the mission’…

            Picture this: you’re in the Silicon Valley dealing with know-it-all nitwits who treat you like *you’re* some kind of throwback everyday because you don’t have a latest-generation smartphone, and that any security concerns are unfounded – “because of the very nature of the technology” (direct quote ;)… When you know __for a fact__ that every smartphone in sight comes with an embedded rootkit – courtesy of ClearIQ – and that beneath that there’s the NSA’s deep-level data-tap…

            And you can’t say a thing about it… For… *Years*…

            Needless to say, under these circumstances you would develop a very thick skin, and very high crazy-talk tolerance.

            What I don’t get is this: WHY, after all of the MSM’s lying, obfuscation and covering-up [*] has been exposed, are they being utilized as a reliable reference AT ALL?

            [*] re: torture, mass warrantless wire-tapping, fraud, etc, etc, ad nauseum…

        • malthuss December 27, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

          What the 1% will be using are RoBotS.

          6 or 7 useless eaters are not needed.
          Even JHK in his book wondered about Gov killing off citizens.

  77. seawolf77 December 26, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Changing water into wine was an ancient parlor trick, sort of like pulling a rabbit out of a hat today. You needed a trick jug which had been designed by Hero of Alexandria.
    ancient-origins.net/ancient-technology/hero-alexandria-and-his-magical-jugs-001852
    This is just one of the many clues that the New Testament is propaganda. If my holy book had someone pulling a rabbit out of a hat and claiming this was supernatural, would you believe anything that followed?

  78. pkrugman December 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    “….in my corner of the USA, there are construction cranes everywhere you look, shiny new car clogging the roads, malls packed with shoppers, supermarkets full of every delicacy known to man, McMansions being built likes its 1999, huge raises for government employees, cheap gas, easy credit once again …” — BRH

    BRH, I have traveled all across the country in 2014, from New York to the Midwest, to the Northwest, Southwest, California, Hawaii, etc.

    I am seeing the same thing you are describing: cranes building, new cars everywhere, cheap gas, people going back to work with good paying jobs, etc.

    I don’t know how JHK can continue to maintain there is no recovery. JHK says there will never be a recovery (remember “peak oil”?).

    We are supposedly in a downward death spiral… but I’m not seeing evidence for that scenario.

  79. Q. Shtik December 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    For those of you not of the Happy Holidays persuasion, how do you pronounce Merry Christmas:

    . Mary Christmas
    . Murray Christmas or
    . Meery Christmas?

    • Janos Skorenzy December 27, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

      Bostonians don’t like r’s. So I think I say it Mery Christmas, trying to deemphasize the hated r as much as possible without totally mispronouncing it. And when I say “try”, I don’t mean consciously.

  80. Pucker December 27, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Jim Norman in his book “The Oil Card” says that the purpose of the second Iraq War was to keep Iraqi oil out of Chinese hands. Apparently, Saddam had reached a deal with the Chinese to defend Iraqi oilfields.

    • malthuss December 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      Is USA in Chinese hands? Which madman is in charge of earth asylum?

  81. FincaInTheMountains December 27, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    The Putin generation – How West has lost its war for hearts and minds of Russian millennials

    In 2005 and 2007, we probed the views and aspirations of young men and women in their late teens and 20s–the Russian millennials. In Russian, they are best described as pokolenie Putina: “the Putin generation.” My colleagues and I wanted to know whether the trappings of Putin-era prosperity–cell phones, easy access to the Internet, foreign travel–had inspired these people to adopt more liberal values and a more international outlook than their parents held. The answer was no. Russian millennials wished to see their country restored as a hypersovereign power that would stand outside the Euro-Atlantic community and resist international legal norms. Most of them believed that Putin had set the country on the right path. They enthusiastically consumed the Kremlin’s steady diet of Soviet nostalgia, xenophobia, homophobia, and anti-Americanism. And the more educated they were, the more likely they were to hold anti-American views.

    foreignaffairs.com/articles/142488/sarah-e-mendelson/generation-putin

    • Janos Skorenzy December 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

      Yes Communism almost destroyed Russia, but now it seems to be recovering. How did your Father deal with his guilt of being part of something caused so much suffering and that lead to the deaths of tens of millions of White Russian Christians?

      Or did he feel no guilt at all?

  82. FincaInTheMountains December 27, 2014 at 5:09 am #

    Washington Post: Our mistake was not to humiliate Russia but not to destroy it while we could

    Looking back over the past quarter-century, it isn’t easy to name a Western policy that can truly be described as a success. The impact of Western development aid is debatable. Western interventions in the Middle East have been disastrous.

    But one Western policy stands out as a phenomenal success, particularly when measured against the low expectations with which it began: the integration of Central Europe and the Baltic States into the European Union and NATO. Thanks to this double project, more than 90 million people have enjoyed relative safety and relative prosperity for more than two decades in a region whose historic instability helped launch two world wars.

    But times change, and the miraculous transformation of a historically unstable region became a humdrum reality. Instead of celebrating this achievement on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is now fashionable to opine that this expansion, and of NATO in particular, was mistaken.

    Our mistake was not to humiliate Russia but to underrate Russia’s revanchist, revisionist, disruptive potential. If the only real Western achievement of the past quarter-century is now under threat, that’s because we have failed to ensure that NATO continues to do in Europe what it was always meant to do: deter.

    Deterrence is not an aggressive policy; it is a defensive policy. But in order to work, deterrence has to be real. It requires investment, consolidation and support from all of the West, and especially the United States. I’m happy to blame American triumphalism for many things, but in Europe I wish there had been more of it.

    washingtonpost.com/opinions/anne-applebaum-nato-pays-a-heavy-price-for-giving-russia-too-much-credit…

    • Janos Skorenzy December 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Quite right: NATO plans to start bringing in Black Africans and Muslims to “integrate” Eastern Europe. Those nations best get out while the getting is good. Meanwhile, the Duginites want to integrate Russia and Eastern Europe with the Mongolian and Muslim Asians. A classic squeeze play. Whites have no friend anywhere in high places.

      • FincaInTheMountains December 28, 2014 at 7:09 am #

        “Meanwhile, the Duginites want to integrate Russia and Eastern Europe with the Mongolian and Muslim Asians. ”

        We are already integrated – that happened few centuries ago.


        Millions are you – and hosts, yea hosts, are we,
        And we shall fight if war you want, take heed.
        Yes, we are Scythians – leafs of the Asian tree,
        Our slanted eyes are bright aglow with greed.

        A.Blok “The Scythians”, 1918

  83. FincaInTheMountains December 27, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    No matter what, Russia will not let Ukrainian people freeze to death

    Russian coal shipments to Ukraine may increase to 1 million tons per month.

    If Moscow and Kiev sign an additional agreement, Russia is ready to increase coal shipments to Ukraine from 500 thousand tons to up to 1 million tons per month, said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak.

    vz.ru/news/2014/12/27/722515.html

    • FincaInTheMountains December 27, 2014 at 5:36 am #

      The coal + electricity shipments are going to Ukraine WITHOUT prepayment.

  84. FincaInTheMountains December 27, 2014 at 5:59 am #

    Another slap in the face of US anti-ISIS policy: Syrian rebel Yarmouk Brigades ditch US and Israel allies, defect to ISIS

    The Syrian rebel militia Al Yarmouk Shuhada Brigades, backed and trained for two years by US officers, mostly CIA experts, in Jordan, and supported by the Israeli army, has abruptly dumped these sponsors and joined up with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military and counter-terrorism sources reveal.

    The sudden defection of this 2,000-strong anti-Assad force leaves IDF defense formations on the Golan, US and Jordanian deployments in the northern part of the kingdom, and pro-Western rebel conquests in southern Syria in danger of collapse.

    debka.com/article/24301/Syrian-rebel-Yarmouk-Brigades-ditch-US-and-Israel-allies-defect-to-ISIS

    General vector of ISIS attacks can move to the south in the direction of the oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf, picking up on the way millions of disenchanted Arab youth.

    The “Arab Spring” is slipping away from US control and now could reach Jordan and the Gulf countries.

    Oil price, anybody?

  85. FincaInTheMountains December 27, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Next week launching a new blast-furnace to generate hot air at 400F to dry palm nuts. Furnace works on pyrolysis bases – it has two air-tight cameras, upper – where the process of pyrolysis occurs, and lower camera – were generated gas mixes up with air and burns in continues torch. Temperature at the lower camera supposed to be at over 2000F – so the steel has to be protected with fire-proof bricks.

    This is supposed to be at least 3 times more efficient wood-burning stove than anything else. It consumes around 0.5 KWH to run forced air and calculated to produce 50 – 60 KWH of heat.

    It is Ukrainian design. In Europe, they are going for $10,000 – $15,000 Euros, industrially made. My cost is around $1,500 worthless green fiat. (Not so worthless, after all).

    Wish me luck.

  86. Asoka December 27, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    The economy roared ahead at a 5 percent annual growth rate in the July through September quarter, the fastest quarterly growth since 2003. … The biggest revision that boosted G.D.P. was in personal consumption spending, the biggest engine of overall economic activity, which rose at a 3.2 percent annual rate, not the 2.2 percent rate earlier estimated.” NYTimes

    That is just how things roll… over a decade into JHK’s Long Emergency.

    10 million people who were uninsured and at risk of medical bankruptcy now have medical insurance, with more to enroll this year. With Obama’s government policies things are better on Wall Street and getting better on Main Street, too. With Obama the federal government got smaller, there has been positive private sector job growth, and the deficit has been reduced.

    That is just how things roll… over a decade into JHK’s Long Emergency.

  87. pkrugman December 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Asoka, things are not as rosy as you think. The consumer spent more on Obamacare and that is why the annual growth rate went up. Don’t forget about labor participation rates which are at their lowest since 1978. Your simplistic commentary is why you have earned the label resident impediment, Asoka.

    On another topic, this week’s “If wishes were loaves and fishes” reminded me of the new Angelina Jolie movie about Louie Zamperini. His wish was to survive being a POW and the way he did it was to have an urgently positive attitude about being released one day.

    Zamperini was hoping and wishing for a change in his situation. Hope and change is what he used to gain his own survival.

    Positive thinking got him through many an ordeal. So wishes may not be loaves and fishes, but there is a place for wishing and a place for hope, even in the most dire situations, and a place for a positive mindset. In this respect, Contrahend and Asoka are absolved.

    • Buck Stud December 27, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      “Asoka, things are not as rosy as you think.”

      Apparently Asoka missed the news that the Roberts court is going to take one more swipe at Obamacare. If he would have been reading the very best analysis–the SCOTUS blog– his enthusiasm for the ACA would be far more tempered; he would realize that this may be the last year that people in many states will be able to benefit from subsidies on the federal exchange.

      scotusblog.com/2014/11/symposium-the-court-will-hear-king-thats-bad-news-for-the-aca/

  88. malthuss December 27, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    PKrugmans latest canard, ‘people going back to work with good paying jobs’.

    With 100? million discouraged workers. WTF?

    • MisterDarling December 27, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      Hey Malthuss,

      re | “With 100? million discouraged workers. WTF?”

      “WTF?” is the letter-grade that I give every rugman posting I bother to read… Happy Holidays & ‘hang in there’ buddy… 😉

  89. FincaInTheMountains December 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    The Bretton Woods killer?

    China Steps In as World’s New Bank

    Thanks to China, Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank and Takehiko Nakao of the Asian Development Bank may no longer have much meaningful work to do.

    Beijing’s move to bail out Russia, on top of its recent aid for Venezuela and Argentina, signals the death of the post-war Bretton Woods world. It’s also marks the beginning of the end for America’s linchpin role in the global economy and Japan’s influence in Asia.

    What is China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank if not an ADB killer? If Japan, ADB’s main benefactor, won’t share the presidency with Asian peers, Beijing will just use its deep pockets to overpower it. Lagarde’s and Kim’s shops also are looking at a future in which crisis-wracked governments call Beijing before Washington.

    bloombergview.com/articles/2014-12-25/china-steps-in-as-worlds-new-bank

  90. progress4what December 27, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    themonicaperezshow.com/podcasts-2/

    I happened to be riding around this afternoon, and heard the Monica Perez show on WSB. She was discussing the top psychological operations of 2014 and taking calls on a live show. It was good enough that I turned on the old radio in the corner and turned down the South Carolina game to listen. Fascinating stuff! This Saturday’s show isn’t available on podcast yet, but should be soon.

    JHK, I don’t know if you’re still monitoring your comment thread for the week, but if you’re looking for a couple of ideas to round out Monday’s post and then your predictions for 2015, you ought to check her out. She sounds brilliant and looks hot – which is a very good combination, IMO.

    Here’s another one worth a listen, for those of you who like podcasts: themonicaperezshow.com/letting-go-of-the-two-party-psy-op-podcast-of-february-22-show/

  91. malthuss December 27, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    Over the past 50 years, Egypt’s population has more than tripled to 82 million, representing more than a quarter of the Arab world’s population today. By 2050, Egypt’s population is expected to reach 160 million people.

    I was over at ‘White Locust’ site.

  92. pkrugman December 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

    ““WTF?” is the letter-grade that I give every rugman posting I bother to read” — Mister Darling

    What arrogance! I do not write to be graded.

    Please do not read my posts if your most intelligent response is “WTF?”

    • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 12:43 am #

      Just leave out the W and the T to see your real grade.

  93. Pucker December 27, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

    I read somewhere of a proposal to pay black people $60,000 per person “as reparations.”

    Do you think that black people would accept the $60,000 payment in the form of lottery tickets?

  94. Pucker December 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    “The End Justifies the Means.”

  95. BackRowHeckler December 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

    How long before the Taliban returns to power in Afghanistan? My bet it will take about 1 year before things go back to the way they were before 2003, except this time around it’ll be even more virulent and brutal.

    Looking at the events in the past 6 months or so inside the US, especially in NY, St Louis and Oakland, we’re starting to get an outline of what the US is going to be like as whites head toward minority status and any semblance of a real economy erodes into dust; constant racial strife and grievance politics, lawlessness, violence, constant turmoil; all played out in the streets and on cable TV. What a future, huh?

    brh

    • Buck Stud December 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

      “How long before the Taliban returns to power in Afghanistan? My bet it will take about 1 year before things go back to the way they were before 2003, except this time around it’ll be even more virulent and brutal.”

      I don’t disagree but what’s the alternative, another thirteen years U.S. military involvement?

      I have read it said don’t initiate a war unless there is an end game. In the case of war, that would be kicking the shit out of the other country into a compliant state of resignation. But you’re chasing the wind and sparring with shadows in Afghanistan while simultaneously installing “democracy”.

      It’s “Crazytown” again, and once upon a time before he became Mayor, G.W. Bush, criticized and campaigned against the Bill Clinton legacy of “nation building”.

      • BackRowHeckler December 27, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

        There really isn’t any alternative beside getting out, you’re right on that Buck.

        The success of the Philippine War (1899-1916), in Germany and Japan (1945) and Korea in 1953 is evidently a relic of the past and cannot be recreated in Iraq and Afghanistan in this current age.

        I suppose that’s the lesson we have learned.

        brh

        • Buck Stud December 28, 2014 at 9:34 am #

          BRH,

          But “we” never learn apparently. As I’ve mentioned before, if a fighter keeps on entering the ring they are eventually carried out, especially if they don’t choose opponents carefully. They’re very few Marciano’s in the world of conflict; that rare individual/nation who has the sense to see an end result before it actually arrives.No doubt conquest is a addiction that very few can resist.

          On the other hand, the U.S. has a tremendous amount of experience when it comes to war, especially that of the recent variety.

          You wrote::

          ” …of what the US is going to be like as whites head toward minority status and any semblance of a real economy erodes into dust…”

          I’m not sure what you mean by a “real economy” ? The other day you posted that things were bustling in your neck of the woods?

          Anyway I’m not sure what a real economy is anymore either. In past days an architect or designer would simply look someone up and ask them to bid on a project. That still happens, especially with established clients, but it’s definitely a fading occurrence. Now an artisan/craftsmen/ is forced to maintain a presence on internet sites which to be frank, look like a mumbo-jumbo of post modern advertising kitsch. In other words, infinite needles gasping for recognition in endless stacks of hay. Mind you, a person can get a ton of likes, hundreds and hundreds of followers or “admirers”, but the actually sale where a client lays some money up on the bar and initiates a project is very rare indeed.

          I liked the old economy much better. Back when potential clients actually came by the workshop or when an artisan would actually walk into an architects office with their portfolio in hand.

          Interestingly, I have been getting commissions from China recently. Apparently, American artisans/craftspeople are somewhat of a trendy fad among the upper crest over there at the moment. I’m currently working on a fairly elaborate and large mirror frame carved out of cherry wood that is going to a residence in Shanghai.

          I was a little leery of communication at first as a lot of things can go wrong. But beyond the initial drawing I have also done model in clay and sent photos so they can envision the ultimate 3d outcome

          But even that is dodgy and uncertain. In carving, and during the process, the material itself whispers suggestions to those who ‘listen with their eyes’. Thus, the spontaneous alteration is often a more compelling choice pre-plans be damned. I’m certainly not going to avoid what I believe is a better choice to satisfy a clients up front expectations.

          Ah the perils of glyphtic (direct reductive carving) exploration. Guztom Borglum, the Mt Rushmore sculptor, is a good example to follow in terms of the big ball spirit. Chased out of Georgia by state troopers on a project gone awry only to open an eager hand and accept a huge down payment for an uncertain outcome in South Dakota where geological circumstance could have well spelled disaster. He also publicly corrected Woodrow Wilson lol.

          • BackRowHeckler December 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

            An artist as well as a craftsman, and altho you might be loathe to admit it, a businessman too. To top it off, a man with a way with words!

            Buck, my hat goes off to you, it truly does.

            brh

          • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

            The Indians hate these sculptures in the sacred Black Hills, and are incensed by the idea of one of Crazy Horse.

            Are you perhaps beginning to “Conserve” in your old age? Check this out: Traditional Catholics take on Bohemian Nihilists for the future of France’s visual culture. Some great stuff here. One rich American, Paul McCarthy was installing a giant green butt plug in lieu of a Christmas Tree. A passerby slapped him in the face. A few days later, Catholic Activists created a distraction while others destroyed it. Countless Parisians had written in about their disgust about this, but the Billionaires who support the Nihilists held firm. How does it feel to part of the Establishment now? Is the Left even capable of ruling? Not with art like this they aren’t….

            Activists also destroyed a “Piss Christ” and disrupted a vile performance piece where excrement is dumped over a huge traditional image of Christ. I assume you are on the side of the Nihilists. But you have been showing more commonsense lately. Is it possible that you would denounce these visual and moral atrocities? Many French Agnostics and Atheists have – showing that the idea of a Christian Agnostic/Atheist has validity, at least in Europe.

            counter-currents.com/2014/12/how-traditional-catholics-are-taking-back-the-visual-culture-of-france-…

  96. Pucker December 27, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    I wonder what percentage of “Privileged White Males” feel guilty enough to castrate themselves?

    What was the name of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult leader who used guilt to manipulate some male cult members into voluntarily cutting their balls off?

    • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 12:32 am #

      The leaders were a couple known by several names such as “the Two” or “Bo and Peep”. They were apparently very compassionate to cult members who couldn’t abide by the rules. The guy was also castrated so at least he wasn’t a hypocrite like Jones. Think his name was Applebaum or something like that. A Jew like Da Free John, whose real name was Franklin Jones – any relation to Jim?

      Da Free John also liked his male devotees to dress up as women so he could feel like the Man.

      • BackRowHeckler December 28, 2014 at 12:52 am #

        Are you talking about the dudes waiting for the flying saucers? Who committed mass suicide? I remember getting a good belly laugh out of that at the time, as you probably did too.Turns out a few of them were from CT, wealthy families down on the Gold Coast. The elite, if you will.

        brh

        • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

          I got to hear some of them who passed through Cambridge, not the Leader though. They seemed to be bright, good looking people. They supported themselves thru IT work and were organized as a company apparently. Everything was communal and their clothing and haircuts were unisex, obviously trying to deemphasize that whole aspect of life. But they were still attractive, likeable people.

          All in all, an interesting cult that operated off of his charisma and some real insecurities of some otherwise fine people. Because of those factors, they accepted some really confused teachings, a mishmash of Christianity, Hinduism, and the modern mythology of UFOs. A very sad ending for a lot of young people who deserved better. But again, he went with them. He was never a vicious abuser like some of these others. No allegations of beatings or sexual misconduct. His partner, who had apparently been more charismatic than him, had died some years earlier. Maybe all of this was an attempt on his part to reunite with her.

          • Buck Stud December 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

            ” The Indians hate these sculptures in the sacred Black Hills, and are incensed by the idea of one of Crazy Horse.”

            I think we have discussed that sculpture before. I never liked the Crazy Horse sculpture and it’s nowhere near the level of Borglum IMO.

            I don’y know why you think I would defend artistic decadence and publicity seeking antics. What’s ironic about so much of that stuff is the pretense of originality and novelty when in fact, it’s become a cliche. As I mentioned before Duchamp’s “Urinal” was a joke but a joke that only needed to be told once.

            Having said that where do people draw the line between ‘disrupting’ and out and out censorship? After all, there are Christian groups here in the states who virulently oppose any type of nude art and would destroy it if not for legal/criminal repercussions.

            BTW, there are some interesting,nuanced articles on that site…I never realized that some on the right also share a concern for issues such as social safety net/labor concerns etc.

            As far as conserve and common sense, I’m simply resigned to another cyclical political shift. The Dems blew it as far as I’m concerned by abandoning economic issues for Main Street in favor of gay/women’s right to choose issues along with the over-hyped belief that the Latino vote would ride to the rescue at the end of the day. To top it off, most in the party didn’t even have the spine to defend the more noble aspects of the ACA.

      • malthuss December 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

        Franklin Jones -Adi Da was an Episcopal minister. Not Jewish.

  97. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 1:54 am #

    “The success of … Korea in 1953” –BRH

    How was Korea a success? They called it a draw, divided the country so the communists got their part. Not a success.

    Tally up the costs of maintaining USA troops in Korea for the 60 years since 1953. What a waste! Not a success.

    And today we have North Korea threatening us with nuclear retaliation. Not a success.

  98. FincaInTheMountains December 28, 2014 at 5:28 am #

    The Colonial Tax

    The topic of collecting the “Colonial Tax” remains a strict taboo in Western media, mainstream and alternative alike. So, what is it and how exactly it is being collected?

    Regime of Colonial Central Banks “Currency Boards”

    Every unit of currency of a Colony must be backed up by securities denominated in one of the world’s reserved currencies – mostly US Dollar. US Dollar, by far (over 80%) prevails in the Colonial reserves. However, United States are forced to give a small cut to their Vassal-States – mostly Europe, Great Britain and Japan. Obviously, the reserved currency is backed up by nothing and its printing is limited only by ability of Metropoly to create a demand for new Metropolian paper.

    The biggest demand for new Metropoly paper happens when a new Nation is being included into the System as a “Developing Nation” (e.g. Colony). The bigger the Nation in terms of population and natural resources, the better. Thus the last biggest expansion of American and European economy happeneds in the 90s of last century – The Golden Ages, when the Bretton Wood system swallowed the huge population and resources of the former Soviet Bloc countries, Russia being the biggest by far.

    The Dollar Rent

    Modern economy to grow and develop needs “reasonable” credit. What is reasonable? It is simple: it should be substantially less than the projected return on investment of the industry in need of development. So the seasoned entrepreneur could borrow the money, invest it into building up some enterprise and pay back the bank principal and interest while keeping profit for himself.

    The reasonable expected return on most modern enterprises does not exceed 8 – 10 % a year, so the necessary credit MUST be obtained at no more than 3 – 5%. On certain long-term investments, like building a new power stations and power distribution lines, it is even less.

    So the Bretton Wood System through its Institutions (IMF, World Bank) makes sure that the Colonial Central Banks have extremely high base rate – exceeding 10%, translating into even higher interest rates offered by Local Banks of the Colony. At the same time, it allows the Metropoly to have its base rate close to zero.

    Essentially, the Central Bank of the Colony is forced to buy low-interest paying securities of Metropoly in order to expand its local monetary supply to keep the economy growing, while at the same time the local companies of the Colony are forced to seek loans at the Metropolian banks at high, but still considerably less interest than local banks of the Colony have to offer.

    The “Dollar Rent” is the difference between those two rates. For instance, it is estimated that just the “Dollar Rent” cost Russian economy around 70 – 80 billion dollars a year. That money goes mostly into US banking system.

  99. FincaInTheMountains December 28, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    Peculiarities of Modern English

    If you go to Merriam-Webster Dictionary Web Site to see the definition of the word “Metropoly”, that is what you get:

    “This word doesn’t usually appear in our free dictionary, but the definition from our premium Unabridged Dictionary is offered here on a limited basis. Note that some information is displayed differently in the Unabridged.
    To access the complete Unabridged Dictionary, with an additional 300,000 words that aren’t in our free dictionary, start a free trial.”

    merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metropoly

  100. FincaInTheMountains December 28, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Peculiarities of Modern English (2)

    Where is Q. Shtik when you need him? I challenge you to find antonyms of the word “colony”.

  101. FincaInTheMountains December 28, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    “Meanwhile, the Duginites want to integrate Russia and Eastern Europe with the Mongolian and Muslim Asians. ” — Janos

    We are already integrated – that happened few centuries ago.


    Millions are you – and hosts, yea hosts, are we,
    And we shall fight if war you want, take heed.
    Yes, we are Scythians – leafs of the Asian tree,
    Our slanted eyes are bright aglow with greed.

    Ages for you, for us the briefest space,
    We raised the shield up as your humble lieges
    To shelter you, the European race
    From the Mongolians’ savage raid and sieges.

    Ages, yea ages, did your forges’ thunder
    Drown even avalanches’ roar.
    Quakes rent Messina and Lisbon asunder –
    To you this was a distant tale – no more.

    Eastwards you cast your eyes for many hundred years,
    Greedy for our precious stones and ore,
    And longing for the time when with a leer
    You’d yell an order and the guns would roar.

    This time is now. Woe beats its wings
    And every adds more humiliation
    Until the day arrives which brings
    An end to placid life in utter spoliation.

    You, the old world, now rushing to perdition,
    Yet strolling languidly to lethal brinks,
    Yours is the ancient Oedipean mission
    To seek to solve the riddles of a sphinx.

    A.Blok “The Scythians”, 1918

    • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      What about your Father? Did he repent of his involvement in the genocidal Bolshevik movement that brought such suffering to the Russian people, and many others besides?

  102. progress4what December 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    Buck –
    That was a very interesting post back to backrow. I appreciate all of your posts (lately! haha) and that one was a gem for the insights it provided into an artist’s world, today. Fascinating.

    To free associate a little – I do think the Chinese are fascinated with “Americans.” I have a couple of family members who interact with native-born Chinese, as corroboration of your ideas. This is also anecdotal, of course, but anecdotal evidence often points to truth. Does that mean that the Chinese aren’t looking for advantage? No, of course not. Would they take it all away from us if they could? I don’t know – that goes to their national character. Presently, the developing Chinese character seems to be following the winner-take-all US model. This is not reassuring.

    As to what the US is destined to become, to go to backrow’s original question?

    Think Brazil. Think Mexico. Except cold, in almost all ways.
    This isn’t reassuring, either. But it’s the future, unless something miraculous happens to stop it.

    • progress4what December 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

      since Q’s lurking –

      I should say that my family members would “provide corroboration.”

      To offer my family members “as corroboration,” is to accidentally invoke a vestige of indentured servitude, arranged marriage, or something else unintended and probably un-American.

    • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

      They seem to be fascinated with all things Western. They built an imitation Swiss Village for example. Such things are a sign of profound decay. They may be beating us at our own game, but they have lost their soul, an authentic Chinese Culture.

    • Buck Stud December 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Prog,

      I still find art fascinating and I hope I always will. I can’t imagine living without it in fact. Here are a few examples of some in -process carving images although you may not see them since it’s fairly late on a Sunday night:

      s1256.photobucket.com/user/jaddis3/media/carvedtransition002_zps48bc671e.jpg.html?sort=3&o=4

  103. Q. Shtik December 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    a trendy fad among the upper [crest] over there – Buck

    ==============

    crust

    • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

      When are you going to make a distinction between a chronic error and a typo? Buck obviously knows it’s crust. You are too much like an old school marm, perhaps Hepzibah from the House of the Seven Gables.

      • Q. Shtik December 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

        If the e in crest were near the u in crust on the qwerty keyboard I would have assumed typo, otherwise I assume Buck has been mis-hearing crust as crest all his life. What say you, Buck?

        • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

          You’re right: it wasn’t a typo, but a mistake in the mechanical or keyboard part of the mind – not one of understanding. Will you please differentiate? Accept that man is a hierarchy – and that society should be too? And that businessmen are on the lower end of things, fit only to be ruled by better man than themselves even as they rule manual laborers?

          Remember the Bank Examiner in It’s a Wonderful Life? George told him about Harry receiving a Medal of Honor and all he could say was, “Yes, I guess they do those kind of things.”

        • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

          Qwerty? What a queer sounding word. Who came up with that? Some kind of Qweer or Odd Fellow? Have you ever known anyone who belonged to the Odd Fellows? Apparently they are an offshoot of Masonry. I’ve asked Prog if he was a Mason but he deigned not to answer – proving that he is perhaps. Are you?

          • Q. Shtik December 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

            Qwerty? What a queer sounding word. – Janos

            ===============

            Please.

            Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of a “qwerty” keyboard.

          • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

            Yeah, no I’ve never heard of Qwerty. Is that his name? Is he then then Thomas Crapper of Keyboards?

        • Buck Stud December 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm #

          Since I was typing about carving I probably associated “crest” with architecture and ornament by mistake as opposed to the end section of a piece of bread 🙂

  104. progress4what December 28, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    “Just leave out the W and the T to see your real grade.”
    – janos, to pkrugman et al –

    Yeah. I don’t much care for pkrugs either. But we’re lucky to have him here at CFN, to some extent. (Except, of course, for the lying. That and the racist name-calling. Oh, and the obfuscation. But we are lucky to have him, truly. 🙂 And here follows, part of why.)The internet has radically bifurcated, over the last couple of years. Counterpunch blames FaceBook, which may be part of the reason:

    counterpunch.org/2014/12/24/how-facebook-killed-the-internet/

    But there’s more too it than that. Huffington Post has gone to Facebook-only login for their comment section. And they seem to have a policy that requires their moderators to disallow most/all dissenting viewpoints. It’s made Huff Post so boring that no one seems to go there but the true believers, anymore.

    Check out “RawStory” if you want to see an open and nearly unmoderated comment section – one that is absolutely filled with young and vulgar pkrugsoakers and their ilk. It’s weird that they all found each other – yet there they are, seemingly by the 1000’s, to the point that any mildly dissenting view disappears under a mob of “your a stupid, retarded, poopy-head racist” style of insult.

    It makes CFN one of the last of the great, more or less, unmoderated and unregulated open internet discussion forums where people of divergent political views can still meet for something that, occasionally, looks slightly like rational discussion.

    I have really valued this space, over the past several years. And, to those of you who have made some of the long ride with me, I want to express sincere appreciation. (And of course to JHK, ya’ big thread lurker, you!)

    Maybe, later on, I’ll do a synopsis of the ways the internet has changed over the years – using CFN as a referent. Or, maybe not, seems like it could be a lot of work. haha hoho hehe (Seriously, nobody else but me gets that reference?)

    • MisterDarling December 28, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      I’m in full agreement with your salient point(s) prog’.

      I may not like what some people are contributing to the discussion but I’ve never tried to stop or stalk them, or issue idiotic threats, nor am I interested in ever doing so. After all, it’s good to be reminded of what people on the other side of the line are saying.

      By the way, in my face-to-face existence, I’m very comfortable working with people who I’m in disagreement with on almost every issue. I’m even friendly with some of them.

      At one point my wife asked my why I even bothered to talk to a certain close associate, when I knew for a fact that they were untrustworthy.

      “Because I’d probably talk to a rattlesnake, if a rattlesnake could talk” was my answer…

      It pays to understand.

      • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

        How passing strange then that you refused to talk about the inheritance tax and how it was one of the planks of the Communist Program as put forth in the Communist Manifesto.

        You’ll talk to a rattle snake but not a Fascist. You are right to fear and loathe us. We mean to destroy your world. A chick has to destroy the egg in order to be born. Just so humanity. You mean to keep the egg intact and keep humanity a prisoner.

  105. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

    “Presently, the developing Chinese character seems to be following the winner-take-all US model. This is not reassuring. … But it’s the future, unless something miraculous happens to stop it.” –P4W

    Yes, the Chinese have manifest destiny now. There is nothing that can stop it. Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it? (whether you believe in karma or not)

    We should open the borders wider, invite more immigrants in, make friends with immigrants, and accept our destiny. The fact that some of your family is interacting with native-born Chinese is an encouraging sign. Progress for peaceful coexistence.

    • progress4what December 28, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

      My family members are interacting with native born Chinese in China. I must not have made that clear. In China, the native Chinese seem to be quite personable and welcoming. And, of course, permanent immigration into China is nonexistent, or nearly so.

      Lower class Chinese populations in the US tend more towards xenophobia and racism, in my experience. And that’s the way most populations inside the US seem to be trending, as available resources slowly contract under present immigration, economic, and social policy. Generic middle and upper class white populations will, likely, be the last groups to give into this inevitable awareness of the other population group”s class and race consciousness.

      Again, picture Mexico, and that’s where the US will be, if present trends continue unchecked into the future. Except we’ll have 100’s of insular and xenophobic populations instead of just a few. And we’ll all be much colder, both socially and climatologically Therefore, we in the US will be much harder on each other, and on the planet’s ecosystems that keep us all alive and “happy.”
      Too bad and so sad, right?

      And thanks for making my point about you, pk.

      • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

        And since we are fairly sure who Krugman is, can you be so casually dismissive of my contention that the US wants the worst for Whites?

        Yes, North America is a very harsh place in terms of climate. We’re going to be way worse off than the tropical multi-cultural societies.

        One of the most interesting statements of all is “You mileage my vary.” It’s certainly not one that I naturally take to since I love deduction from Eternal Principles. When I’ve gone to Huff Po lately, I’ve found it full of people calling Blacks to account, some even calling them animals. There are a some old fashioned bleeding heart Liberals and some of the new snarky Leftist haters, but Conservatives seem to dominate – at least on stories about Garner and Brown. Maybe the really hard core Right Wing stuff is taken down later. One of mine was, about the Libtard who got hit in the head with a hammer.

  106. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    P4W, why is some of your family is a communist country? Something smells fishy.

    “And thanks for making my point about you, pk.” — P4W

    I was quoting your own words, and reaffirming them. Nice try.

    • progress4what December 28, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

      Business? Government? Teaching? Vacations?

      There are lots of reasons for a US citizen to be in China.
      And I’ve got a big family.

      =======================

      Changing the subject, and since you’re our resident uberliberal, or whatever – – Why don’t the agitators of the “Black Lives Matter” contingent pick up some of the REAL stories of police misapplication of force, like this unfortunate man reason.com/blog/2014/12/11/georgia-man-killed-in-drug-raid-was-face and try to unite for a common good that anyone should favor? Slogan? “All lives matter!”

      Because where we’re being led right now is, ultimately, going to be very bad for lower class black communities – and is going to do noting to stop needless police violence against innocent citizens of any race.

  107. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    Obama was elected in 2008 with the promise to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now Obama has formally kept that promise. The news headlines are no longer full of news about US soldiers dying there.

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The war in Afghanistan, fought for 13 bloody years and still raging, came to a formal end Sunday with a quiet flag-lowering ceremony in Kabul that marked the transition of the fighting from U.S.-led combat troops to the country’s own security forces.

  108. FincaInTheMountains December 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    Breaking: Ukrainian troops attacked Donetsk, Gorlovka, Dokuchaevsk.

    Late in the evening of December 28 Ukrainian invaders began massive shelling of cities and towns of Donbass.

    Under fire Donetsk, Gorlovka, half Telmanovskiy district., Dokuchaevsk.

    Army of Novorossia is preparing to repel the attacks.

    23:59 battle on the northern direction of Donetsk – mine Butovka – shelling began, and later began a rifle battle.

  109. progress4what December 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    “Because I’d probably talk to a rattlesnake, if a rattlesnake could talk” was my answer…

    It pays to understand.” – md –

    Nice post, md; I’m in full agreement. And I’ve dealt with my share of rattlesnakes, even a few of the reptile variety. They can be lots of fun to deal with – just remember to control the head. haha.

    My distaste for pk is visceral. He was here at CFN long before I arrived, under the ID of “the poster who must not be named.” (tm, Q) And, ’till yet, I’m still not sure whether he really believes some of the points he argues or whether he just likes to make extreme arguments for argument’s sake. (The other possibility is that he is some sort of government agent, on or off the clock. This idea was raised, with some evidence, by K-Dog, back about the time he was running the KDog for President campaign on CFN.

    All harmless fun, right? So why the visceral dislike? Well, I spent a sizable portion of my working life as a white man in public service, and a lot of that in the south. The word “racist” is such a loaded and career-ending piece of invective for a professional in that situation, that I still object to having it used against me – even by an anonymous poster on the open internet.

    So that’s the nucleus of the dislike. Add to that the obfuscations and lies that I’ve seen that poster employ against myself and others here – combine it with the fact that it only *works* against the CFN community because the lies and obfuscations run unexpectedly counter to JHK’s basic narrative – and there you have it.

    I don’t know about “stalking,” you’ll have to elaborate. As far as threats go, though – – – PK said something about how he and I would probably be friends in real life. I doubt it. I think I’ve seen too much of his basic character.

    But, if we were to have to work together in real life, I’m sure I could talk to him quite well – maybe in a more friendly manner than you do with your own “rattlesnakes.” But – in real life, the first time he called me a racist, I would explain my objections plainly. If it happened a second time, I would explain with emphasis why it must never happen again. And if it happened a third time (which it likely would, knowing how pk behaves @ CFN) then I would initiate a job complaint, or file a lawsuit, or punch him in the face – depending on specific circumstances.

    In my world, it’s not a threat if you’re willing to back it up.
    Something tells me it’s that way in your world also, md.

    But, since we’re not in my world, or your world, or even in the real world – I guess I’ll just have to bitch about it and call PK out on his habits occasionally, eh?

    =================

  110. progress4what December 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    “And since we are fairly sure who Krugman is, can you be so casually dismissive of my contention that the US wants the worst for Whites?”
    – janos –

    Are you saying “Krugman is a government agent?”
    Please elaborate, janos.

    And whether pk is a Chamber of Commerce agent provocateur, or a government agent, or just an over-the-top pro-immigration “liberal” he goes seem to “speak” for the direction the US is forcing its native-born population towards.

    I believe overpopulation is leading us to the gaping maw of Hell.
    The CoC, and the US govt. believe all growth is good.

    The US government does not seem to like dissent, these days.

    And here we are.

    • progress4what December 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

      delete “towards.”

    • Janos Skorenzy December 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

      I take Kdog’s Revelation are authoritative. I thought we all did and it was one of the bases of our common culture here. I’m shocked that you don’t hold it as such. Shocked and Dismayed.

      Remember, in the new system we are on the bottom, eligible for no Government handout program per our skin color and rate. We’re hardly going to be equal with anyone if all this keeps up. The Hispanics are the apple in the Elite’s eye now. And we are on the bottom in terms of privilege and rights.

  111. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    “My family members are interacting with native born Chinese in China.” — P4W

    What are your family members doing in a communist country? Looking to exploit for a profit, much like you slave-holding ancestors did?

  112. progress4what December 28, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    You wanna’ respond to this post, pk? kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/if-wishes-were-loaves-and-fishes/#comment-224287

    Or would you prefer to continue to spread heat without light?

  113. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    “see what I mean, pk” — P4W

    My friend, P4W, you call me a rattlesnake, liar, and someone who must not be named, whatever that means.

    But you won’t answer a simple question to clarify, after providing two versions of your family interacting with native-born Chinese. What are you afraid of or what are you hiding? You do know China is ruled by the Communist Party, right?

    So, why is your family visiting a communist country?

    By not answering you leave it open to imagination… and you don’t seem to like the speculation, which you could easily end, my friend.

    • progress4what December 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

      You did not read my response concerning my family’s government, business, education, or vacation travels to mainland China.

      Therefore, you must also be a quick-tempered moron – in addition to those other things which you seem to think you deserve being called.

      =====================

      And Janos – do you really think govt. agent would act like THIS?

      Surely to God, not while on the clock. We are beyond doomed.

  114. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

    “You wanna’ respond to this post, pk?” — P4W

    No. This week I don’t want to discuss race.

    • progress4what December 28, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      Spreading heat without light on CFN. That’s our PK.

      Didn’t they call you The Resident Impediment for a while?

      I can certainly see how you could earn that particular name.

  115. Q. Shtik December 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Yeah, no I’ve never heard of Qwerty. Is that his name? Is he then [then] Thomas Crapper of Keyboards? – Janos

    ================

    [the]

    Yes, he WOULD be the Thomas Crapper of Keyboards except that, unlike Mr crapper, he’s not a person.

    In the upper left region of your keyboard read the first 6 characters, excluding tab, left to right, on the row just below the numbers ……seee…..that is why a standard keyboard is called a qwerty.

  116. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    “You wanna’ respond to this post, pk?” — P4W

    “No. This week I don’t want to discuss race.” — P4W

    “Spreading heat without light on CFN. That’s our PK.” — P4W

    We already agreed “All Lives Matter.” Then you heatedly said you were willing to kill some of them. You believe in violence, you pack heat, unlike those who want conciliation, like Rev. Sharpton.

  117. progress4what December 28, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

    “I take Kdog’s Revelation as authoritative. I thought we all did and it was one of the bases of our common culture here. I’m shocked that you don’t hold it as such. Shocked and Dismayed.”
    – janos, on pkrugman as government agent –

    That’s pretty good, janos. You’ve gotten better at humor over the years.

  118. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    WTF? — P4W

    Now you are just obfuscating. During the last two weeks discussion on race we came to an agreement. We agreed “All Lives Matter.” Then you heatedly said you were willing to kill some lives because they matter more than others. (WTF?) In other words, you believe in violence, you pack heat. You are not nonviolent, unlike those who want conciliation, like Rev. Sharpton. Capiche?

  119. pkrugman December 28, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    “I take Kdog’s Revelation as authoritative.” — Janos

    What are we talking about? How could anyone know anything about government agents, unless they come out and say it, like nsa at Ft. Meade did? Is this normal Sunday night irrelevancy born of boredom?

  120. progress4what December 29, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    I normally try to give you the last word, pk, to assuage your OCD tendencies, just a little. But this is so over the top it’s funny:

    ” you pack heat. You are not nonviolent, unlike those who want conciliation, like Rev. Sharpton. Capiche?” – pk –

    Sorry, dude, but WTF is this even supposed to mean?

    Here’s an example of the “Reverend’s” work:
    “1995: When the United House of Prayer, a large black landlord in Harlem, raises the rent on Freddy’s Fashion Mart, Freddy’s white Jewish owner is forced to raise the rent on his subtenant, a black-owned music store. A landlord-tenant dispute ensues; Sharpton uses it to incite racial hatred. “We will not stand by,” he warns malignantly, “and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” Sharpton’s National Action Network sets up picket lines; customers going into Freddy’s are spat on and cursed as “traitors” and “Uncle Toms.” Some protesters shout, “Burn down the Jew store!” and simulate striking a match. “We’re going to see that this cracker suffers,” says Sharpton’s colleague Morris Powell. On Dec. 8, one of the protesters bursts into Freddy’s, shoots four employees point-blank, then sets the store on fire. Seven employees die in the inferno.”

    Sharpton never apologized for this wonderful attempt at “conciliation,” as he never did for his part in the Tawana Brawley fiasco, as well as other racially charged melees for which Sharpton has dodged responsibility over these past years, up to and including the Sharpton-inspired, angry and violent confrontations with NYC police in the days leading up to the deaths of those two NYC cops.

    So, no I do not capiche, at all. Although, capische is apparently a fine Italian restaurant on Maui. capische.com/ Come to think about it, Italian dining on Maui doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, either. ha ha.

  121. pkrugman December 29, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    P4W, Sharpton is a Baptist and a man of peace. He has never incited violence. That is the interpretation of his critics who are bringing up things that happened in the past, like the Brawley case.

    “I disagreed with the grand jury on Brawley. I believed there was enough evidence to go to trial. Grand jury said there wasn’t. Okay, fine. Do I have a right to disagree with the grand jury? Many Americans believe O.J. Simpson was guilty. A jury said he wasn’t. So I have as much right to question a jury as they do. Does it make somebody a racist? No! They just disagreed with the jury. So did I.” –Al Sharpton

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Karah December 22, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    “In a world of oxidizing paper obligations, the paper dollar is hardly a fortress but more like a stack of empty foil-wrapped boxes displayed in the concourse of a shopping mall scheduled for closure as soon as the holiday is concluded.” JHK

    The paper currency of our country is starting to look more and more COLORFUL in its effort to be incorruptible.

    • CancelMyCard December 22, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Pay very close attention to what is happening in Belarus, starting yesterday:

      Capital controls
      FX trading clampdown
      Huge taxes on FX purchases
      Lineups for withdrawals at banks
      Emptied store shelves
      News website shutdowns
      Online shopping shutdowns
      etc.
      etc.

      In other words, the hyperinflation panic has begun “at the margins”

      It’s 11:00, Do you know where your money is???

    • sprezzatura December 24, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      What a vivid image! That was my favourite too, followed by ” The security guard is still awaiting his previous paycheck and is out drinking by the dumpster”. Mordant.

  2. K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    We may be running on financial fumes of credibility but nobody cares. We live in a land where to expect everything for nothing is a normal way to be. It is not a new normal but a normal that goes back to our nations roots. Melville wrote about it for those of you who think ‘Moby Dick‘ was only about whales.

    Americans are content to think that everything they need comes from the bottom of a long black tube. That the world runs on laws of nature and not magic is something only a few people who managed to stay awake in freshman college physics classes know. That is a small minority in a vast majority who have no clue.

    • Neon Vincent December 22, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      “That the world runs on laws of nature and not magic is something only a few people who managed to stay awake in freshman college physics classes know.”

      Don’t say that too loud around Greer, as he considers magic to be part of the laws of nature, just not a part that scientists recognize. However, his idea of magic is not the same as the juvenile wishful thinking that you are invoking and our host refers to when he calls faith in technology and progress “Too Much Magic.”

      Speaking of Greer, he wrote last week that the current trouble in the tight oil patch and its anticipated spread in finance looks like what happened in Oklahoma in the early 1980s. He’s right as far as what the effect will be on the drillers and their bankers. However, I don’t agree with him about what the short-term effect will be in the wider economy. When I analyzed the current situation in PBS NewsHour on lower oil prices, I used a different analogy, that of the 1998 fall in oil prices that resulted from a global recession at the same time the U.S. experienced the heated final two years of an economic expansion fueled in part by low oil prices. That was followed by an increase in oil prices of more than 50% in less than twelve months, which led to the recession of 2001. I expect that’s what’s going to happen here. Prices will stay low for the next year or two until the current tight oil wells run dry, then rise as supply drops and U.S. demand increases. By late 2016 or early 2017, we’ll be back in recession. The analogy may not extend too far, as the 2001 recession ended when the American people heard “go shopping or the terrorists win,” even if President Bush didn’t actually say such a thing. I have my doubts that either the American people will have enough unused credit or the U.S. government will be able to provide enough of a stimulus to make history repeat that closely!

      The drop in oil prices is already causing trouble with conventional oil production. In a WOOD-TV video I embedded in falling gas prices make news in Michigan, again, the oil producers in west Michigan are starting to suffer and at least one is shutting down operations. The price feedback of supply and demand at work!

      • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

        Maybe I’m just a Romantic, but I think there’s Magic and then there’s mumbo jumbo and hocus pocus – sleight of hand. Which only SEEMS to overcome the laws of nature.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Spot on about Melville. One of the best at depicting early American industrialism. If I could only remember titles from reading 40 years ago. Usually shorter works.

      Also I generally only claim an eighth-grade science class understanding of most things, but I do agree, to put it slightly differently, that attempting to violate the laws of physics seems rather futile.

      Even when “it’s only money”!

  3. Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    In addition to oil, said “hypothetical nation” also happens to have a huge land mass, a wealth of non-petroleum natural resources, a manageable, stable population, a modern technological infrastructure and a functional political system.

    If I were the leader of such a nation, I would perhaps want to turn inward – turn toward greater national self-sufficiency in all matters…or risk being dragged down with the rest of the so-called developed world.

    • K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 10:08 am #

      In addition to oil, said “hypothetical nation” also happens to have a huge land mass, a wealth of non-petroleum natural resources, a manageable, stable population, a modern technological infrastructure and a functional political system.

      Excuse me while I barf up a hairball.

      Huge land mass – True

      A wealth of non-petroleum natural resources. – Hmmmmm ah all of those natural resources require oil for extraction processing and refinement. Did you ever hear of the ‘thousand mile Ceasar salad. Restaurants don’t grow their veggies in their back yard.

      A manageable, stable population. To this I’ll just say, please don’t make me laugh.

      A modern technological infrastructure. – Which is in decay and can’t possibly be maintained in our emerging economic conditions.

      A functional political system. – Which functions to keep a failed system on it’s last legs. A republic of two political parties that has forsaken democracy and has evolved into fascism lite.

      • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 10:22 am #

        K-dog, you disappoint. The hypothetical nation to which I refer is certainly NOT the United States.

        • K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am #

          Yes, sorry to disappoint. You are right, the hypothetical nation is certainly not the United States. You clarified you were writing of Russia a bit further down. With your comment that:

          If I were the leader of such a nation, I would perhaps want to turn inward – turn toward greater national self-sufficiency in all matters…or risk being dragged down with the rest of the so-called developed world.

          I cannot but agree and as unintentional foreign aid our economic sanctions will only help any self-sufficiency efforts their leader may envision.

          • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

            True, the more we sanction, the greater their incentive for self-sufficiency. They will gain strength in the long run. This seems evident.

            I’m no expert, but I can’t think of anything about U.S. foreign policy that makes much sense.

      • Neon Vincent December 22, 2014 at 10:27 am #

        K-Dog, are you talking about the U.S. or Russia? I thought Greg was talking about Russia. You looked like you were, too, right up until you talked about “two political parties.” Then I realized that you might be talking about us!

        • the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:36 am #

          It is all one political party. It is all one administration. Has been for decades. There isn’t even on horror or the other horror to choose from. It is all one horror.

          • Beryl of Oyl December 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

            I think maybe that’s why the Republicans were attacking not only abortion but also contraceptives last time around. To give voters the illusion of “choice”.

          • Majella December 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

            Yeah – who’d have thought the US would end up as a One Party State?

        • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 10:53 am #

          It’s Russia!

      • WW December 22, 2014 at 11:04 am #

        Even were Kdog referring to Russia he would be pretty much spot on. Russia has an awful lot of natural resources but most are still there because the infrastructure, despite their plentiful oil, simply does not exist and much of what did has been allowed to crumble since the end of the Cold War.
        A managable stable population. Russia birthrate slumped after the end of the cold war and now has 87 pensioners for every 100 workers. To compound matters since 2012 Putin has removed $80 billion from the state pension fund!
        A functional political system, well all you can answer that with is ROFPMSL.
        Even Russian around Moscow, which is closing hospitals in record numbers people grow food on the little scraps of land around their Dachas, those of course lucky enough to own one!

        • Greg Knepp December 22, 2014 at 11:25 am #

          Good lord, someone needs to think this shit thru!

          K-dog was referring to the U.S. I am talking about Russia. If Jim is NOT talking about Russia then I wish he would clarify. In any event, I’m not talking about Russian self-sufficiency in the near term, rather as a mid-to-long term goal.

          Russia has plenty of gold to facilitate a transition to a more independent economy. Ultimately their smaller population (vis-a-vie land mass and resource base) will prove beneficial. Additionally, climate change might easily open up more farm land for longer growing seasons.

          In light of an increasingly hostile and disordered West, I think a move toward greater self-sufficiency would be the way to go for Russia.

          It would be doable for them…to late for us.

          • WW December 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

            You’ve evidently never been there. You could have gold stacked to the ceiling but for the vast bulk of Russians outside the main cities gold, unless they move , won’t mean squat.
            The poverty, alcoholism, drug use and crime rate make most of Africa look civilised.
            Russia is waaay ahead of the US in its decline. Despite all those resources, despite its population being 3 times that of the UK its economy barely scatches equal and that was before the drop in oil prices.
            The infrastructure is broken. Huge swathes of the country now have unpaved roads that resemble something out if JHKs novels. Moving east to west even by train is a precarious business, many bridges haven’t been maintained in decades and the track is collapsing in places.
            Putin is all for expanding his military but he cannot even move troops east to west or vice versa without playing musical chairs.
            It has a massive proportion of pensioners. At current rates its population is set to shrink by nearly a third in the next thirty years.
            It has a huge skills gap with the educational standards of many children from the 90s virtually unschooled at all. When the fall of the USSR hit many regions could no longer afford to run schools even at primary level.(alcohol and drug use is the highest amongst this age group)
            Its engineering and technology industries are struggling with many still churning out products little changed since the 80s. These are unsellable on international markets and the companies remain moribund.
            Despite the vast forests, coal, iron reserves in 20 years no or little progress has been made. Ikea cleans up because there is no domestic competition. The materials to produce those goods cannot be extracted efficiently and even if they were the factories and technology is not there nor the infrastructure to move them around, then again neither is the workforce.
            About the only real inward investment exists in the arms industry, a key source of their income. But then it always has been.
            Russia is buying gold because it knows the weakness of the rouble makes it vulnerable on the international markets so they shed those roubles as fast as possible.

          • mdhaller December 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

            I thought you were both talking about Canada…eh.

          • malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

            This is for ‘WW’.

            ‘The poverty, alcoholism, drug use and crime rate make most of Africa look civilized.’

            Clearly you have been to neither X USSR or Africa.

          • WW December 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

            Malthus, been to the RF and many of the former satellite nations as well as three Africans nations. We Europeans love to travel you know. We even own passports…..
            A little link for you for Russias financial state,

            telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11305146/The-week-the-dam-broke-in-Russia-and-ended-Putins-dreams.….
            Of course its a UK paper and a broadsheet at that. I’m sure no way in comparable to your vast experience and resources………….

          • WW December 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

            Malthus, something you will notice once outside Russias main met areas is the apathy and hopelessness.

          • Q. Shtik December 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

            [to] late for us.

            =======

            too

          • Subvert December 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

            WW said “Despite all those resources, despite its population being 3 times that of the UK its economy barely scatches equal and that was before the drop in oil prices.”

            This is because the UK’s “economy” is basically “the city” AKA; the British Wall Street and therefore it’s level of economic activity is just as fake, false and fiat as ours is. Don’t mistake financial chicanery for real economic activity that produces real value in the world.

            Another huge factor in Russia’s economic stability is that around 70% of their fresh food comes from small farms and Dachas. This gives them a ginormous advantage on all the other countries eating those 1000 mile Caesar salads. When the food trucks stop rolling, the Russians will still have food to eat, unlike the petroleum dependent food systems of other countries. They also have an efficient black market which people are comfortable with getting their supplies from. Sure, there are issues with it but at the end of the day, if you need something, you can probably get it there. How is dealing with self proclaimed organized criminals any different from dealing with covert crime families posing as “democratically elected officials”? At least the crime families there are out in the open and everyone knows the deal. “Honest criminality” sounds like an oxymoron, and yet it isn’t. They don’t pretend to be beneficent and to care about the people, and that is quite refreshing.

            The skills gap you mention is also not much of a factor in the longer term. Why? because there won’t be an “international marketplace” for them to compete in. In a “World Made by Hand” the lack of academic training is actually a positive as the students would not have been indoctrinated into the limiting in-the-box thinking that institutional education produces, nor will they have the entitlement and expectation of having a hot shot career. Plus, they will have been surviving in conditions of poverty for their entire lives and will thus be better adapted to living in a world with decreased luxury and economic activity as we know it. Dmitry Orlov has many articles and essays covering the full gamut of theses scenarios and I recommend them highly.

            Will there be suffering and death in Russia? Absolutely, but their long term prospects are way better than anywhere else I can think of. I would trade all of our floundering western numbskulls for Putin any day…and I’m an anarchist. I have the strange notion that I am the most qualified to determine what my life should be like. Color me insane…

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

      If – and I could be wrong – you mean the US, we do NOT have a “modern technological infrastructure.”

      Just visit the “Silicon Valley” – if you think I’m kidding.

      • Greg Knepp December 25, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

        No, I was not writing about what we do or do not have here in the U.S.. I was pointing out that, should Russia be forced into a corner economically, it would be in a better position than most nations to move toward greater self-sufficiency. Historically, the Russians have some experience with this. As a people, they have also been tuff nuts to crack! Just ask Charles XII of Sweden, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolph Hitler.

        Russia’s technical and fixed infrastructure (planes, trains, cars, roads, water, grid, etc…) seems sufficient to the task. It may not be as super-duper advanced as ours, but this may prove a blessing in the mid-to-long term.

        Subvert has some good information on this topic in his comment just above your’s.

  4. shotho December 22, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    I agree with KDog that the ultimate problem for our nation is not financial and economic, but social. The character of the people has been ruined with sloth and irresponsibility and cannot possibly sustain a concerted effort to maintain a viable society. “Patience” is not its strong suit.
    Mr. K, I agree with John Mauldin’s comment concerning Japan: Russia is a bug in search of a windshield. Its people suffer from the same malady as ours – sloth and irresponsibly. I would bet on a leaner and meaner group. Oh, I don’t know – something more oriental.

    • K-Dog December 22, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Exactly right !

    • the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      “Is it too much to ask for a roof over one’s head, three square meals a day, the best education possible, a job?” I am paraphrasing one of the Christmas Angels.

      Apparently the Russians think so. Most Russians receive government supplied housing which is theirs for life, food ration cards, free public transportation (Even when the Soviet Union fell the lights stayed on, the street cars kept running.), a modicum of free health care, pretty good public and university education.

      Here in the United States of America “you will work or you will starve” (Now, that’s Freedom.), which is bad enough when there are jobs, but when there are no jobs, life in the land of the free becomes an invisible death camp; invisible because the homeless just keep disappearing, after a while. (Don’t worry. They are being continually replaced with new homeless people.)

      No body asks to be born (especially on this beautiful planet), only to lead lives that are nasty, brutal, and short — where 50-percent of the population live lives that are nothing if not very open deaths. And with poverty now globalized, all you people who did not eat your vegetables like you should have, are going to live to regret that decision.

      “Are there no Work Houses? Are there no prisons?” — Scrooge.

      • FincaInTheMountains December 22, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        “Most Russians receive government supplied housing which is theirs for life, food ration cards, free public transportation, a modicum of free health care, pretty good public and university education.”

        Food ration cards? Were the hell you’re getting all that BS? Russia is by far more capitalist than any western “free democracy”. It does have a pretty decent social medical system, but most of Europeans have it too, its just US is back in dark ages and let its people die for money.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

      I’ll rewrite part of that:

      “The character of the people has been ruined with sloth and irresponsibility” of its leaders.

      There.

  5. the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    As much as the FED counsels “patience” in the looking glass world of interest rate arousal, those of us on the other side are being counseled patience once again, with in pretty the same effect that reading JHK’s entertaining missives has upon his many readers.

    It is bad enough that there is one 800 LB elephant the FED’s room of this house of cards — but two?

    Yet. And still. Once again we find ourselves stacked up against another year of anticipation for the coming proselytizings of the snake oil salesmen of the secular apocalypse, the prestidigitations by the vicars of the Church of Systemic Collapse.

    Meanwhile, ye of so little faith have missed out on the biggest bull market in history just so you can hear how 2007 (No), 2008 (No), 2009 (For sure this time. We swear.), 2010, all the way to now.

    “2115 will be the year! Patience! Have Faith. Send money!”

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Sure, it is all rigged, manipulated, and controlled. We get that. But who is to say that the whole raw deal hasn’t been from the very beginning.

    Just look in the mirror. And don’t forget to buy the book.

    • BackRowHeckler December 22, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Probably no ‘system collapse’, but this might be a good time to get out of NYC, while you still can, and before it goes any further in the direction of a Detroit Style Meltdown.

      Because that’s where its headed.

      brh

      • the blame/e December 22, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        Where and when have we not heard “. . . time to get our of [INSERT ANY AMERICAN CITY HERE]” before?

        • BackRowHeckler December 22, 2014 at 11:06 am #

          And the predictions proved correct, ‘specially Detroit, Newark, St Louis, Birmingham, New Orleans (just to name a few of the garden spots)

          Of course Billionaires can stay, living in fortified towers, surrounded by armed security details, driven around in armored limousines.

          For the rest of you however, non billionaires, the future remains uncertain … You might want to start packing your bags, if events of the past 3 weeks are any indication what the future might look like.

          brh

          • dannyboy December 22, 2014 at 11:28 am #

            brh Where are you writing from? I love it here in NYC. Is your place a lot, lot better? What does your hometown offer that I am missing here? Please write soon, because I am very interested.

          • malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

            You forgot Camden and many others. Many others. USA in 45 years has really turned into a mess.

    • outsider December 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

      Why the seemingly unending Bull Market since Obama became POTUS? Every time it seems to be petering out we see another surge. I see it as having nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with the FED’s ZIRP. As a retiree, I’d be happy to get out of this too volatile market and put everything into CD’s and savings accounts if they were paying enough interest to at least keep up with inflation. I think millions of seniors feel the same way. But how can Wall Street permit the FED to raise interest rates to normal historical levels when it would cause the market to tank? It’s a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

  6. Paulo December 22, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    For a minute I thought this writing was for Japan. It is full of ‘wouldacouldashouldas’ and a May.

    I am still waiting for the Dow to hit 6,000 (not that I don’t agree with you). It just seems that someone knows something everyone else doesn’t, me included.

    Have a good Christmas.

  7. pkrugman December 22, 2014 at 10:54 am #

    “Prices will stay low for the next year or two until the current tight oil wells run dry, then rise as supply drops and U.S. demand increases.” –NeonVincent

    On CFN for the last decade I have been reading that the easy pickings are gone, the low hanging fruit has been picked, tight oil is all that remains. Yet oil prices fell anyway these last few months, contrary to all CFN wisdom.

    Predicting the prices will go back up is a sure bet, but not for the reasons you are citing, NeonVincent. After the prices go up, they will go down again. Then they will go up again. Then they will go down again. Wash, rinse, repeat, until petroleum is no longer needed because we have developed an array of renewable and sustainable energy sources to replace petroleum and the curtain will finally fall on all this eye-on-the-prize drama.

    • Florida Power December 22, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      No we haven’t developed an array of renewables (yet) to replace petroleum. That’s just silly if you are talking about bulk electrical power. Petroleum is embedded in the energy infrastructure, including the renewable infrastructure. The intermediate-term belongs to natural gas-fired generation — assuming you want ac power 24/7 in a neat sine wave that allows you to type blog posts on the internet. Not even Germany could run their system today solely on domestic solar and imported wind from Denmark. Maybe hydro storage in Norway will complete the circle of renewables but you cannot power cities (and recharge batteries) if there are system disruptions.

      The nuclear lobby — suddenly green — is concerned that newly cheap gas will impact their renaissance.
      thebulletin.org/global-natural-gas-boom-alone-wont-slow-climate-change7853

    • Subvert December 22, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

      Pkrugman, the oil prices are down due to market manipulation, not a new abundance of low hanging sweet crude. It’s all smoke n mirrors.

      If you want to look into sustainable energy do some research on the “Trompe”. It is tech that has been around for thousands of years, since before the Romans, and was initially used in Merca – before the big oil, coal and auto makers bought up all the companies making compressed air driven cars and other infrastructure and closed them all down. The same way they bought out all the electric streetcar companies, shut them down and burned all of the beautiful wood paneled street cars. Look for a video by Bill Mollison (the creator of Permaculture) talking about free energy forever. Nature already has all the solutions we need. We just have to rediscover these sources and start building them OURSELVES. If we wait for some corporation or state to do it…well, forget about it. There’s too much money to be made by keeping the status quo going, even if it results in living on a fucking cinder ball. The rEvolution is in the hands of the people, never states or corporations.

    • GutenbergGuy December 25, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      Why you can’t mean that the price of oil has nothing to do with supply and demand – can you?

      This is a basic precept of the “Free Market” ideology.

      Are US business schools revising their courses even as the next wash/rinse cycle begins?

  8. RocketDoc December 22, 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Personally I am tired of the doomer life. No one wants to abandon the sinking cruise ship until the music stops and the buffet closes. I have a job, new car, friendly neighbors, and a Christmas wish that all us fortunates merely act in the spirit of including the other 99% that have none of these things. The seven deadly rackets:agribusiness,big box commerce, medical hostage system,higher ed swindle,happy motoring, suburban sprawl, and government self interest bureaucracy can use whatever mitigation you can provide until they turn out the lights and we go to the lifeboats.

    • malthuss December 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      The first is ‘Credit’ or ‘Credit Cards’. Living beyond ones means.
      The last is ‘Pay day Loans’. =9

  9. George December 22, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    “What an opportunity for another country, say a country with an already foundering currency, to dare introduce money partially backed by gold.”

    At first the Russians were concerned when their currency lost value. But then it dawned upon them that they shouldn’t be too concerned. For one, they’ve started to disengage from the European economies as they shifted their focus to India and East Asia where the growth is. As for their currency, they just buy it all back sometime next year at a pittance with dollars, an action that will likely devalue the dollar. Secondly, what about the Fed selling gold short to prop up the dollar’s value? Maybe they’ll just buy some of those futures and ask for the gold? Ha, wouldn’t that be a hoot? And a year from now they could decide to stop selling natural gas to NATO countries. What would happen to NATO then? Ha! Next year could be a year of radical change as long as somebody’s got the nerve to set off the fireworks.

    • MisterDarling December 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      George,

      You seem to think slightly outside-the-box abut these matters, and I must admit I rather like that.

      Cheers!

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