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We Wish

       Wishful thinking now runs so thick and deep across the USA that our hopes for a credible future are being drowned in a tidal wave of yellow smiley-face stories recklessly issued by institutions that ought to know better. A case in point is the Charles C. Mann’s tragically dumb cover story in the current Atlantic magazine — “We Will Never Run Out of Oil” * — setting out in great detail the entire panoply of techno-narcissistic “solutions” to our energy predicament. Another case in point was senior financial writer Joe Nocera’s moronic op-ed in last week’s New York Times beating the drum for American “energy independence.”
       You could call these two examples mendacious if it weren’t so predictable that a desperate society would do everything possible to defend its sunk costs, including the making up of fairy tales to justify its wishes. Instead, they’re merely tragic because the zeitgeist now requires once-honorable forums of a free press to indulge in self-esteem building rather than truth-telling. It also represents a culmination of the political correctness disease that has terminally disabled the professional thinking class for the last three decades, since this feel-good propaganda comes from the supposedly progressive organs of the media — and, of course, the cornucopian view has been a staple of the idiot right wing media forever. We have become a nation incapable of thinking, or at least of constructing a consensus that jibes with reality. In not a very few years, the American public will be so disappointed and demoralized by broken promises like these that they will turn the nation upside down and inside out, probably with violence and bloodshed.
Charles Mann’s Atlantic article begins by cheerleading for the mining of methane hydrates from the ocean floor. These are natural gas molecules trapped in ice formations in the muck around the continental shelves. Mann spotlights the efforts of a Japanese research ship conducting tests. Guess what: the Japanese are engaging in this because they have absolutely no fossil fuels of their own, and a failing consensus about nuclear power, and they are on a course to become the first advanced industrial nation to be forced to return to a medieval economy. That is, they are the most desperate among the desperate. You could say they’ve got nothing to lose (but a few billion of their rapidly depreciating Yen).
Methane hydrates are stable only at extreme pressures or very low temperatures. They also exist in the arctic permafrost, for instance, Siberia, where conventional natural gas drilling operations have been carried out for decades, with no contributions from methane hydrates. Undersea methane hydrate exploration projects have gone on for decades in the US, Canada, India, Russia, China, and Japan. The hope is that this so-called “hot ice” would turn out to be the gas equivalent of tar sands, which would mean at best a very expensive way to get more fossil fuels as the conventional sources dry up. That hope has dimmed in nations other than extremely desperate Japan. Like a lot of techno-wonders, the recovery of methane hydrates can be demonstrated on the “science project” scale. For now, no viable technique exists for getting commercially-scaled streams of natural gas out of methane hydrates. The Japanese themselves state that it would take at least ten years, if ever, to commercially mine methane hydrates. Japan doesn’t have ten years. It’s banking system is imploding, and without capital even the science projects will come to an end.
Charles Mann is equally rapturous about shale oil and gas. He writes:
“Today, though, fracking is unleashing torrents of oil in North Dakota and Texas–it may create a second boom in the San Joaquin Valley–and floods of natural gas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. So bright are the fracking prospects that the U.S. may become, if only briefly, the world’s top petroleum producer. (“Saudi America,” crowed The Wall Street Journal. But the parallel is inexact, because the U.S. is likely to consume most of its bonanza at home, rather than exporting it.)”
    This is very misleading. The US consumes roughly 19 million barrels a day. The Bakken and Eagle Ford shale formations produce about a million barrels a day combined now, and guaranteed to get a whole lot lower within the next five years. Today’s near-peak production is based on furious drilling and fracking of extremely expensive wells — known as “the Red Queen syndrome” because they are running as fast as they can to keep production up. Meanwhile, the depletion curve on shale oil is a reverse “hockey stick.” 
Bakken decline graph.jpg
      The situation is similar for shale gas, the difference being that the temporary glut of 2005 – 2012 happened because we didn’t have the means to export surplus gas from the initial burst of development and it briefly flooded the domestic market. The price of shale gas is still below the level that makes it economic to produce and when it eventually rises to that level, and beyond, it will be too expensive for its customers to buy. Shale gas is also subject to the Red Queen Syndrome.
      These arguments have been well-rehearsed many times in this blog and elsewhere. But the key to understanding our energy predicament is ignored in cornucopian cases like Charles Mann’s Atlantic piece, which is the role of capital. Non-cheap oil has already worked its hoodoo on advanced industrial economies: it has already destroyed the process of capital formation. These economies were not designed to run on non-cheap oil and they can’t, and the capital is no longer there for even the research-and-development to change out the infrastructure, let alone carry out any as-yet-undesigned changes. Furthermore, there is no prospect that we can rescue the process of capital formation at the scale required to continue financing things like shale oil. The absence of real growth in the USA, Europe, and Japan has already destroyed the operations of interest and repayment of debt, and any new debt issued will never be repaid, meaning it is functionally worthless (we just don’t know it yet). These impairments of capital formation have left the major commercial banks insolvent and central banks have worked tirelessly to rescue them by issuing more “money” in the form of credit that can never be paid back.
       What all this means is that the capital does not exist to run non-cheap oil economies, or to continue indefinitely the production of non-cheap oil and gas, not to mention methane hydrates and other fantasy fuels.
     Joe Nocera’s op-ed in last week’s New York Times was shorter and even dumber (and lazier) than Charles Mann’s foolish Atlan
article. It was based on remarks made by Canada’s Energy Minister, Joe Oliver, who said (among other patently false and idiotic things) that Canada “has the resources to meet all of America’s future needs for oil.” Oliver was pimping for the Keystone pipeline project to transport tar sands byproducts from Alberta down to the US. Nocera swallowed everything Oliver said whole, such as “oil mined from the sands is simply not as environmentally disastrous as opponents like to claim.”  Is that so, Joe? And what’s your source for that assertion? Canada’s Energy Minister? The slug at the bottom of Nocera’s column said he was invited onto the op-ed page because regular columnists Gail Collins and Nicholas Kristoff were off (or on book leave). Nocera’s column was disgracefully ignorant. The editors should send him back to the Times business section where unreality is the order-of-the-day.
      Now, many people may draw the conclusion that some conspiracy is underway when the major mainstream media report the news so disingenuously, but that is just not so. The reason we, in effect, lie to ourselves incessantly is because of the master wish behind all the subsidiary wishes: we want to keep driving to WalMart forever and we can’t imagine any other way of life, let alone the way of life that the contraction of industrial economies is tending toward — which is to say a way, way downscaled and re-localized economic life centered on farming and artisanal manufacture. Yes, we are going medieval too, eventually, just like the Japanese, who will get there a little sooner than we will. It’s hard to swallow, I’m sure. That’s why we prefer the more digestible propaganda gummi bear treats like Charles Mann’s Atlantic article and Joe Nocera’s stupid op ed.
* This was the title on The Atlantic’s cover. Charle’s C. Mann’s article inside was titled “Why We Will Never Run Out of Oil.” Shame on the editors of The Atlantic.
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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 the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

101 Responses to “We Wish”

  1. UnstoppableFarceImmovableAbject April 29, 2013 at 9:41 am #


  2. jim e April 29, 2013 at 9:42 am #


  3. Goat1080 April 29, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Going after the high hanging fruit. After that, the sky’s the limit – the hard limit!

  4. RyeBeachBum April 29, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Jim I have been a subscriber to the Atlantic for thirty years, no more, when the current issue was dropped off the front cover was as you said a smiley face made out of an oil slick, the article is preposterous and dangerous, the concept that we will in the future be powered by methane crystals hyper wishful thinking,
    As for it being a Conservative issue, hate to tell you Jim but the Atlantic is a Liberal if not a Progressively slanted publication, so it is not just the right that is delusional on this issue.

  5. James Howard Kunstler April 29, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    You mis-read that paragraph. I stated that the Atlantic and the NY Times represent the Progressive side of the political spectrum.

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  6. highrpm April 29, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    bubbles for bubble heads.
    get the hell out of foreign lands.

  7. Neon Vincent April 29, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    “We will never run out of oil” That was BS when in 1971, when I was 12 and U.S. production peaked and it’s equally BS now. All we’re doing with fracking is buying time until we figure out something new or circumstances for something else on us. I tell my students this when I lecture on energy, which I do every semester to at least two of my classes. Besides, if there is an endless supply of oil, then we’ll be content to burn us until we reach Jurassic level of carbon dioxide and global warm temperatures. As I also tell my students, that was a great world for dinosaurs, but there weren’t any people in it.
    Speaking of my students, I have to run off and give them a final exam. Before I do, I’ll mention that I’ve written about the effects of the voters in suburbia on local transit policy, the weather and my health cooperating with my efforts to reduce driving by walking, news from space, Ted Nugent shooting his mouth off, fuel-efficient cars, and my own health crisis, which happened just before Jim’s. Speaking of which, I hope your recovery is going well. If nothing else, your spirits are staying up, as you are as ornery as ever! 🙂
    Happy Motoring–for now–from Detroit!

  8. BeingThere April 29, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    There are no real discussions in country that doesn’t listen to all sides of an argument. If the press is merely a mouthpiece for corporatists, you can expect nothing better than this.
    The fourth estate doesn’t function any better than any other part of the governance.
    I’m at work listening to WNYC and they were saying that the prices of energy are so low, that it’s just as easy for the drillers to put a cap on the wells as it is to get the shale oil out, so there ya go.
    That in the face of the pie in the sky–no limits to oil….

  9. orbit7er April 29, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    What better illustration of the denial of reality than the absurdity last week of billionaire Elon Musk whining that he was unable to drive his beloved Tesla electic car due to the congestion on Highway 405 in California!


    How’s your electric car doing Mr Musk? I suppose there is a lot more to the huge costs of Auto Addiction than just the price of gas huh?

  10. marcusII April 29, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    “since this feel-good propaganda comes from the supposedly progressive organs of the media”
    The New York Times progressive? Weren’t they one of the Rags that got us into the Iraq war?
    Wasn’t our author one of the promoters for the Iraqi adventure?
    Entertaining writer, but when you want serious analysis look elsewhere.

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  11. Al Klein April 29, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Reading JHK’s latest essay brings to mind the oft-mentioned “Big Lie”. That’s where small lies are readily recognized whereas the “Big Lie” is accepted as truth because nobody can believe that anybody would try to make such a preposterous claim – hence the “Big Lie” must not be a lie. As I recall, this dynamic is has been used from time to time by propagandists. It seems, though, that the Atlantic, and the New York Times (as well as other news outlets) have gone the next step with the “Big Lie”. That is, they themselves come to believe the “Big Lie”. JHK would probably say they they (e.g. the writers for Atlantic and the NYT)figure that if they repeat the same nonsense enough times, by some magical aegis it becomes reality. JHK has called the “wishing upon a star” in prior essays. Well, if this be so, then may G-d help us all.

  12. coyoteyogi April 29, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Too bad you didn’t mention that methane clathrates are up to 100x more powerful a green house gas than CO2. The Arctic Ocean last summer was bubbling up methane in mile long plumes like a gin fizz. Methane is also bubbling up and away in sub-arctic ponds and bogs. It is a positive feedback loop on steroids.
    Scientist, blogger and speaker Guy McPherson was recently on the c-realm podcast and he listed ten different positive feedback loops/cycles that have been initiated and are proceeding at ever greater rates. The warming genie is out of the lamp and he ain’t going back in.
    Here’s a link to the episode. As Guy notes, the journals “Science” and “Nature” are the most prestigious peer reviewed publications in the established science culture.
    It took me several days to absorb and accept the information. You have been warned.

  13. piltdownman April 29, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Jim, you are spot on about Nocera. (though he is a regular columnist at this point) He has opined recently and repeatedly on the mendacity of the NCAA — a subject which doesn’t take a brain surgeon to eviscerate! I miss Bob Herbert and Frank Rich. They both had their own blind spots, too, but they were far better thinkers and writers than the current crop at the “paper of record.”
    Along with all the other magical thinking going on, one other more mundane metric drives opinion pieces these days; the amount to which they are “liked.”

  14. pedal pusher April 29, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    When I was a little boy, the Eisenhoweresque view of our energy future was that ‘atomic’ power would solve all of our energy needs – electricity would be so cheap that it wouldn’t pay to meter it. That didn’t quite pan out; I imagine that energy solutions rooted in methane, fracking, shale and tar sands will reap similarly disappointing results. The Jetsonian future of yesteryear looks quaint now. What we are really living is the worst aspects of the 50s on steroids.
    Baltimore Bill Bonner has an excellent post on Dailyreckoning.something (look it up)and Archdruid is a terrific read as well. Check em out!

  15. mjc1959 April 29, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    Price at the Pump falling. People are happy for now. They’ll believe anything.

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  16. orbit7er April 29, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Unfortunately the plutocrats have believed their own rationalizations and lies for some time. This is nothing new. Somehow the plutocrats continue to believe that with enough money behind their gated walls in their mansions with their legions of paid security that when the Earth goes belly up from both resource depletion and Climate Change that they will be immune from hurricanes, tornados, etc.
    Just as they have also convinced themselves that grabbing all the money and resources for themselves in “austerity” induced privatization schemes will revive the economy.

    They need to believe in endless growth to “grow the pie” to insure that they get more and more and more of it. If the pie cannot grow anymore then they might have to SHARE some!

    But their limitless greed is sociopathic: how many yachts, mansions, corporate jets etc can you have and actually enjoy?

    A great illustration of sociopathology was the corrupt Tunisian politician who had a whole fleet of literally hundreds of specialty cars which of course he never had time to drive which were seized by the people and turned out to be mostly worthless rusty piles of junk as they could not be maintained. Cars have to be driven once in a while to keep the engine from seizing up…

  17. mjc1959 April 29, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Remember that Atomic powered bomber? Insane!

  18. Lindy1933 April 29, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I have been following the resource situation for a number of years. It can be summed up in a few words. ‘We live on a fixed planet.’

  19. Lmayeux April 29, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    James: a correction: Joe Nocera is a regular Times op-Ed columnist. He has steadily beaten the pipeline drum as well as promoting tracking.
    A question: you say capital is not being created, yet companies have and are sitting on loads of cash. What do you mean by this?

  20. RickT April 29, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Let’s not bash the title(s) of the article, as they are literally true — we won’t “run out” of oil in the sense of exhausting our supplies. It will just become economically unfeasible to get our remaining oil out of the ground.

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  21. lsjogren April 29, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    You have to have some sympathy for those who think mankind can run on fossil fumes forever, because they probably realize in the back of their mind that the earth will support only a small fraction of the current human population on a sustainable basis.
    Also, the temporary blip up in fossil fuels is bigger than Kunstler is willing to accept. It will prop up our economy for 2-3 decades.
    Yes unconventional wells see their production drop off drastically after the first year. However, there enough drilling sites to keep going for many years.
    And you don’t need high producing wells to keep the thing going in the medium term. These wells produce a lot less after their initial spurt, but they continue to produce a modest amount of natural gas over a lifespan of 40 years or so.
    A whole bunch of these wells, each with a modest output, adds up to a goodly amount of gas or oil.
    The crash is coming but it will not happen in my lifetime, and I believe Kunstler is a bit older than I am so he won’t be around to see his predictions validated.

  22. James Howard Kunstler April 29, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I mean we are not generating new wealth.
    Whatever’s sloshing around now represents prior wealth — some of it just notional.

  23. Barter4Booze April 29, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    ” . . . the zeitgeist now requires once-honorable forums of a free press to indulge in self-esteem building rather than truth-telling.”
    The zeitgeist also comes wrapped in a flag and carrying a gun — so it seems to me.

  24. UnstoppableFarceImmovableAbject April 29, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    Thanks for offering a link like this. There are fewer and fewer offerings for research being presented on CFN lately. Listening now.

  25. Carol Newquist April 29, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I think an equally impressive title for this essay would be:
    We Is All Jonestown Now: The Oil Will Run Out, But The Kool-Aid Will Keep On A Flowin Til We Is No More.

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  26. lsjogren April 29, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    I should add, however, the path to oblivion will be greatly accelerated if so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform is signed into law.
    Numbersusa estimated the Senate bill would grant 33 million lifetime work permits to foreign nationals in its FIRST DECADE, and roughly 20 million each decade thereafter.
    Now, I do not believe the US population would reach the level of let us say India because if CIR were to pass, the public will be horrified by the dystopian impact it has on our society and it will lead to the destruction of the Democratic Party and hopefully also the Republican Party.

  27. James19 April 29, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Yep, any minute now….the oil is just going to run out! Oh wait, it will just get more EXPENSIVE! Hahaha.

  28. John T Anderson April 29, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Jim, that stupid Atlantic cover deserved your response, and your Monday column is one of your best.

  29. UnstoppableFarceImmovableAbject April 29, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Hey, uncle Jim!
    You seem to be feeling quite active and energetic today. Great to to see! Hope the recovery is proceeding well and that you and the lady fair are enjoying Spring.

  30. Carol Newquist April 29, 2013 at 10:25 am #

    Most of us who read JHK are intelligent enough to know “running out of oil” means running out of cheap oil that allowed industrial civilization to flourish. I’m curious, and perhaps someone can answer this for me because I’m not going to read either link JHK referred to in his article because I’ve heard it all before a thousand times or more, but did either article mention EROI? I’m betting they didn’t. Close to zero or negative EROI is the height of insanity for a culture that has always been, in the least, psychologically fragile.

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  31. shorty April 29, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Surprise, surprise……Scatlantic rag and the JYT run disinfo innoculation campaigns for the awesome welfare-warfare state. Who reads either of them? Exactly…. they are going bankrupt and will simply disappear like the rest of the print media…..

  32. Carol Newquist April 29, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Companies may be sitting on record amounts of cash, but they are also sitting on record amounts of debt. So, they’re not using the cash to pay down the debt? Gee, I wonder why? Maybe they can use all that extra cash they’re not paying down their debt with to give their underpaid employees pay day loans at exorbitant interest rates. Don’t laugh, it can and will happen on our way down. Watch.

  33. Smokyjoe April 29, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Thanks to JHK for returning to energy matters this week.
    @Carol, The Atlantic did discuss EROEI in some detail. It was a well written piece, incidentally, though the cover was very misleading. It had an omission I’ll get to, but the biggest disappointment was the title.
    The editors call it “Why We Will Never Run Out of Oil” when it should have been “Why Methane Hydrates May Provide a New and Potentially Dangerous Source of Energy.”
    That second title would not sell at newsstands, however (they do still exist). It was a bait-and-switch.
    The signature error in the piece was not about mining the methane, which may or may not pan out as utopians hope. The author did not include the decline rate on tight oil and gas being extracted in the US now. I suspect these sources will help us limp along another decade, then crash fast, so I’m not as pessimistic as JHK.
    That said, The Atlantic‘s cover story focused on something very Kunstlerian: the problems that nations relying upon oil exports will have if we have a new cheap-energy boom. No oil revenues for Saudi? Nigeria? Sounds like what the author calls “an arc of instability” from Venezuela to the Persian Gulf.
    Nocera’s piece was crap unworthy of the long and storied history of The New York Times. He can write but in this piece he came across as a know-nothing tasked to serve up something positive for the NYT’s energy-sector advertisers.

  34. GAZ April 29, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    OFF Topic……and on a personal note about how fucked up it is for people who still have a job.
    My wife works in Human Resources, as a jobs recruiter for a not for profit org. that owns several hospitals and medical clinics in Oregon.
    Her dept. of 12 was reduced to nine in 2009, with the remaining workers taking on the extra work. Now, 3 workers at the “assistant level” are being let go. Since the remaning workers now have to spend time doing the work of people that were making less money, they will have their wages REDUCED! This comes from a place that has “…providing a great place to work! ” as part of it’s “Mission Statement”.
    Why can’t a Solar Flare or a flu Pandemic or WWIII just end all this shit?

  35. swmnguy April 29, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    The Atlantic article did discuss EROEI, but concluded in a cornucopian vein that many of the technologies in favor today were once considered economically unfeasible but are now just fine. The assumption was that we will always have new technologies that will come on line just as we need them.

    The article gave very short shrift to the depletion rates from fracking, but implied that the wondrous new technologies will appear just in time to fix that, too.

    The article also pooh-poohed the water consumption issues with oil sands extraction.

    Overall, it was a good example of “Serious, Realistic” liberal crap. The underlying issues are acknowledged superficially, but dismissed blithely so we can get on to congratulating ourselves on our own cleverness, and reassuring ourselves that we don’t have to change a thing that matters about our lifestyles. Since we mentioned the names of the real problems, we can consider those things fixed, and get on to investing in Apple and condominiums and buying $5 decaf soy lattes at will.

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  36. Smokyjoe April 29, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    “Liberal”? If anything, The Atlantic has moved steadily to the right in recent years. I see the piece as plugging into Right-Wing “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” crap.
    Both extremes meet, it seems, when they fear the lights going out. Both extremes will probably be disappointed in how matters turn out.

  37. dale April 29, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I suggest anyone who is really interested in being open minded on the topic of energy use and PO, actually read the Atlantic article rather than accepting JHK’s closed minded and myopic interpretation.
    It’s actually quite interesting, and is not primarily concerned with “conventional” oil, a little detail that JHK seems unable to grasp, with his strident style of mind and resultant bomb throwing rhetoric.

  38. PRD April 29, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I groaned with dismay and disgust when this issue of The Atlantic arrived. Jeezus H. Krist. For every person who reads this BS inside, another 1,000 will simply see the cover, and walk away feeling reassured and even more convinced everything will be alright.

  39. WSHancock1864 April 29, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    What is both comic and tragic at the same time, is that the massive decrease in living standards, will be and is already being sold as a Triumph of the Green, so to speak.
    Leaving aside for the moment all issues of Peak Oil and whether or not declining living standards are our destiny as a species or are a good thing overall (which they probably are, but that’s another conversation), and just looking at the sociopolitical Comedy of Laughably Transparent Lies.
    Lies so laughably transparent that few, probably fewer than 2% EVEN NOW with things so cimcally far along, of the population, can’t see through them, for they are part and parcel of The Electronic Mind, so to speak, that disconnects people from reality (including me and all of us who partake of it – there’s no rising above it without withdrawing from it).
    Connected through gadgets, gewgaws and gimcracks to the Most Sophisticated Marketing Program in Human History.
    All the drops in consumption created by the ongoing Final Looting of America is and will continue to be sold as Green Improvement.
    Which continues to show that both Left and Right fists are required to beat the American Subject Populace into total aubmission.
    Will it work on 99%+ of said populace, connected to their gadgets gewgaws and gimcracks? Of course it will It always works and the TV can tell any lie it wants to the American Subject Populace and they will believe it in impenetrable majorities.
    Impenetrable to anyone without a Trillion-Dollar Marketing Machine, that is.
    People are just so much more desperate to believe the lies, because if they stop believing the lies, they lose the vaklue of their currency and their already diluted to the point of worthlessness 401ks and IRAs.
    The only hope to save any of it is to keep doubling down and believing the lies, inlcuding all the Green Lies yet to come about how energy thrifty we are and how green and how we should pat ourselves on the back.
    When the truth is that the process is about 3% Gren and 97# National Impoverishment.
    But only a crazy person would dare to say such things in public. Only a crazy person would dare whisper an opposing thought to the cacophonous eardrum exploding cranival of lies.

  40. WSHancock1864 April 29, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I typed:

    Lies so laughably transparent that few, probably fewer than 2% EVEN NOW with things so comically far along, of the population, can’t see through them, for they are part and parcel of The Electronic Mind…

    I meant to say that less than 2%, even, now, CAN see through the lies.

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  41. pedal pusher April 29, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Yes, I remember the Atomic bomber. But none of them ever got off the ground – thank god! However, the Atomic freighter did get launched and actually had several productive years. The NS Savannah is now mothballed in Baltimore, I believe, and is awaiting investors to convert it into a maratime museum of some sort. I imagine the Savannah will meet the same fate as that of the other mid-century nautical white elephant, the liner SS United States, now rotting at harbor in Philly. The United States is not a nuclear vessel, but nonetheless represents an exercise in grandiosity equivelent to the Savannah and her few sister ships – mostly Soviet as I recall. This ‘edifice complex at sea’ seems to be characteristic of peaking civilizations; consider the British Navy –
    its apex paralleling that of the British Empire.

  42. swmnguy April 29, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    “SMOKYJOE”: I agree entirely. I was using “Liberal” not in the sense typically used in American conversation, which is inaccurate. Strictly speaking, every visible US politician with the possible exceptions of Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders is “Liberal.”

    To describe The Atlantic as “Leftist” would be absurd on its face. The Atlantic is a solidly pro-corporate, pro status-quo Panglossian digest of self-congratulation.

    Perhaps “Neo-Liberal” would have been a more intelligible term for me to have used. Pro-corporate, pro-finance, pro-warfare, pro-global assimilation, pro-consolidation of corporate and government power and finance. “Fascist” is more accurate, but a loaded enough term to make it less than useful in mixed company.

  43. PRD April 29, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    True. After I slammed the magazine down on the table, I said “Well, that’s true. We’ll never run out, per se, but certainly run out of high-quality oil we can get at affordably.” The masses will not pause to understand that distinction, the meaning of EROEI nor Hubbert’s Peak.

  44. felloffthepeak April 29, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    All one need do is peruse the msm and notice what passes for “news” to make one realize that we are living in a delusional society. Toward the end of WW2 as the Third Reich was literally running out of fuel Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler had SS scientists experiment with pouring water over coal to produce gasoline quickly.We all know the results were not as planned. Many in the upper Nazi hierarchy believed that Hitler was holding back some “wonder weapon” that would change the course of the war at the last minute. One notable exception was Albert Speer who as the man responsible for keeping industry producing under extreme circumstances was slapped in the face on a daily basis with “resource depletion” though for different reasons than we face today. Obviously, delusional clusterfucking is not limited as to time, place, ideology, or techno prowess!

  45. Moondog April 29, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    If you enjoyed this latest depressing dose of reality from Jim, then be sure to read Taibbi’s perfect complementary piece in Rolling Stone on the financial sector, “Everything Is Rigged.” http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425

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  46. WSHancock1864 April 29, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Oh, WWIII is coming. Make book on it. It is now a sociopolitical imperative for the Aristocratic SocioPathocrats that rule us. They have to push the ol’ Reset Button since they have overheated the system (in more ways than one, metaphorical and literal) and now it’s “Game Over, Put In Another Quarter to Start Again.”
    It worked over and over for all of human history until now. Will it work this time, or will we tip over into keyhole and/or extinction?
    With the overshoot and climatic factors figured in, my money’s on keyhole and extinction with about 50-1 odds against by now.
    But in either case, pine not for 9/11 #2 (Chicago, most likely) and WWIII which we will start just like the Nazis started WWII by dressing up their own soldiers like Poles and attacking their own radio station. Just like 9/11 was almost certainly a joint Mossad-CIA-Saudi Op, using the usual patsies to feed to the masses.
    It’s coming. You don’t have much longer to wait. No sooner than 2017, no later than 2027, almost certainly.
    The recent Boston Marathon PsyOp and False Flag shows everything is right on target.
    Lockdown achieved with ZERO resistance and ZERO substantive protest from anywhere.
    The American Subject populace is now 100% divided and conquered. Our sociopathic aristocratic rulers, getting more crazed by the day with the hubris of the unchallenged and unopposed, can tell any lie, no matter how absurd, and a massive overwhelming majority will believe whatever they are told, publicly even if they don’t believe it in their hearts.
    Don’t you worry. WWIII is coming because now it HAS to come, lest the Global Pathoxracy endanger it’s 8000 year unbroken rule over the benighted and deserving-of-extinction human species.

  47. Steve M. April 29, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    It’s amazing how, every time we find enough additional energy sources to buy ourselves some time to make the transition to a more sustainable living pattern, we don’t do it. We only waste time AND energy.

  48. ozone April 29, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    You write:
    ” We have become a nation incapable of thinking, or at least of constructing a consensus that jibes with reality. In not a very few years, the American public will be so disappointed and demoralized by broken promises like these that they will turn the nation upside down and inside out, probably with violence and bloodshed.”
    …Either that, or go meekly to their slow-death bare subsistence “jobs” in the fields of Big-Ag, hopeless of any improved existence and hopeful of just one more day of life.
    But that’s an argument for another day. I think you’ve brought up something extremely important in these couple sentences. “Broken promises” point straight to an atmosphere of DISTRUST, which makes a cohesive society impossible. (I know, I’ve beaten this pitiable dead horse many times before.)
    Where would a pervasive miasma of distrust come from? Well, just from personal experience, trust is hard work that requires face-to-face communications and a sincere give and take. Depending on your level of introversion/extroversion, this can be moderately hard to painfully difficult. (It’s quite possible that those of us who have to make “public presentations” from time to time are more sensitive to these concerns, because some trust between audience and presenter is absolutely required… otherwise “work” in this area would evaporate quickly. Example: If I were to show up an hour later than agreed upon for every gig, I would soon not be asked to show up a’tall. ;o)
    So, what do ‘Merkins want anymore? Perhaps they just want to vegetate on their comfy couches, endlessly entertained by the flickering blue lights and not have to INTERACT WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS, because interaction/trust is hard. …And to have a meaningful interaction, TRUST has to be established; and once established, quite a bit more fragile than most would like to admit.
    Journals and dailies are [first and foremost] TRUSTED, otherwise they’ll soon have no readership. Now, why they’d piss away this trust in a transparent subservience to foolishly short-term corporate interests should be an area of study for those of experience and direct insight in the medium. I would imagine that you’d have more insights into this than any visitor to this site, having written for actual print periodicals, rather than vanity bloggage.
    I’d be most intrigued to see this issue explored more deeply on everyone’s part, as I believe it to be the “currency of the future”.
    Got trust? No? Then, sorry, it’s violence and swirling chaos for all, and “civilization” just another tattered and discarded unrealized dream.

  49. kulturcritic* April 29, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    The CONSPIRACY, dear James, is that THEY want us and need us to keep driving to Walmart, and Mobil, and KFC, Cinabon, Abecrombie and Fitch, etc. It is no secret; we just like being led blind into the abbatoir. kulturCritic.

  50. GAZ April 29, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Bring it on.
    My wife and I realized our mortality and made peace with our higher power and have tried to live accordingly years ago. We don’t have kids and we are tired and disgusted with a world that frankly, deserves everything that is going to happen to it and is not worth saving. We do not want to die but we are not afraid. Good Luck to all of us.

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  51. ComradeDystopia April 29, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Articles appear every day in the WSJ, IBD and Financial Times saying the same thing; suddenly, there is a plenty of oil now, and far into the future. You’ve identified two that appear in Lib publications, perhaps making them more egregious.
    I heard on a local news report 2 days ago about a ‘breakthrough’ in cold fusion, solving the energy dilemma forever. Should I believe it?

  52. Piper Michael April 29, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Perfect, excellent, and thank you.
    You have helped convince me of the EROEI curve and the coming disasters to haunt our land. But, there will be plenty of oil James… its just, a simple matter… all they have to do is reduce DEMAND… then there will be plenty of SUPPLY to meet THEIR needs ad infinitum…
    The reduction in demand can come easily James… either though increase in price beyond what the ‘little people’ can pay, or, population reduction…
    Which do we think they will choose James?
    This is all part of Something wicked this way comes, as the normalcy bias strengthens into cognitive dissonance, which now morphs and spreads into my thesis of Systemic Irrationality…
    The parsing of madness is the occupation of fools. Are we the mad, or the fool?

  53. mark April 29, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Yes, of course… except that credit(money)is not yet the limit it may be some day.
    When you say James, that we don’t have the money, well, we haven’t had the money for decades, yet we still spend credit as if it were money. Those who say that nothing backs the dollar since Nixon took us off the gold exchange standard have failed to reckon with our military. As long as we wield that big stick, it will back up our money(credit). Because, if you don’t accept it, we’ll come blow you up(Gaddafi, Iran in the cross hairs, Saddam).
    So while I agree with your statements of facts, money will only constrain us when our military is no longer a threat to the world.

  54. Carol Newquist April 29, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I have a confession to make. I like Cinnabon. It’s true, it’s my dirty little secret. If there’s one thing I’d like to see salvaged from the industrial age in the soon-to-arrive world made by hand, I hope it’s Cinnabon. I think we could make those by hand if we had to do it. I know I could. In fact, I do. We make our own version, and it’s actually better than Cinnabon, so imagine what they’d be like in a wood-burning oven?

  55. lucky 13 April 29, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    I am not sure how JHK defines ‘progressive’.
    A website called ‘Crimes of the Times’ shows
    NYT to be anything but wanting progress.
    Muslims in The White House
    Obama’s inner circle! No surprise here.
    This is scary and they didn’t even mention John Brennan who was sworn in (without a Bible). He converted to Islam a couple of years ago.
    Obama’s White House Staff
    Arif Alikhan – Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
    Mohammed Elibiary – Homeland Security Adviser.
    Rashad Hussain – Special Envoy to the (OIC) Organization of the Islamic Conference.
    Salam al-Marayati – Obama Adviser – founder Muslim Public Affairs Council and its current Executive Director.
    Imam Mohamed Magid – Obama’s Sharia Czar – Islamic Society of North America.
    Eboo Patel – Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.
    And of course, Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett who many say is the real president.

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  56. lucky 13 April 29, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    You say ‘false flag’ as in?

  57. Carol Newquist April 29, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Wow, this is the mentality of corporate recruiters. I knew I didn’t like them for a reason. This is it. Sorry if I don’t feel sad corporate recruiters are losing their jobs. What a joke of a job.

  58. Benr April 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    I know this will be an unpopular fact but OIL is a renewing resource…it just doesn’t renew at the rate we are using it.
    Can America create enough bio-fuel using plant matter and diesel hybrids?
    the added bonus of being huge Carbon dioxide sinks would make Algae ponds very attractive.
    Yummy it’s so tasty too.
    The global warming oh excuse me climate change religion crowd should focus on replanting more carbon dioxide sinks in places like Afghanistan and protesting the destruction of rainforests.
    Events of deforestation and the mighty sun are what is destabilizing the weather patterns
    Was Boston a FF event?
    After looking at all the disinformation conspiracy nuts are beginning to look more and more sane.
    What about the DEPORTED Saudi?
    I stumbled across Glenn Beck going on and on about this Saudi guy.
    Greetings From the belly of the beast keep up the good posts now if we could all shed the false left right paradigm.

  59. swmnguy April 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Now that money = credit = debt = capital, and it’s all completely abstract, a lack of capital is a purely semantic matter. There are no physical constraints on capital any more. The financial cornucopian elites think they’ve finally conquered death, but in reality the risk has not been removed; it’s just been changed. It’s no longer a matter of going and finding more gold, as the Kingdom of Spain did in the 1500s. It’s now a matter of maintaining faith and trust in the abstract system. Once that fails, it’s not so easily replaced by invading somewhere and stealing their gold.

    I for one refuse to believe we in America are “out of money.” We’re able to create and spend $85 billion per month, or $1.02 Trillion per year, to rig the bond market and buy up worthless mortgage-backed securities in the manner of pumping IV fluids through a corpse. We can spend another $1 trillion per year on a military machine (remember, it’s not all “Department of Defense;” the nukes are Energy, the drones are CIA, State pays many of the mercenaries, etc.). But was can’t afford far less than that for Health Care, Education, Transportation, Infrastructure, transforming energy, or making the obviously necessary changes to our society and way of living? Even now that we have unlimited imaginary money?

    The system isn’t just collapsing on its own. It’s being crashed by those who think they have discovered a sort of perpetual motion machine that will keep them safe while everyone else deals with the collapse, making them the one-eyed Kings in the Kingdom of the Blind. Whether they turn out to be wrong or right is no personal concern of mine. I have to support a family in the world as it really develops.

  60. Smokyjoe April 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    I’d rather talk about Cinnabons than the tin-foil-hat conspiracies of a Muslim White House.
    JHK, you get all kinds here.
    By the way, regular ‘bon or the Minibon? Both have their merits. Might as well enjoy the cheap-sugar utopia of the Sprawlways of Amurika while it lasts!

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  61. John D. Wheeler April 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    There is definitely an argument to be made that we will never “run out” of oil — if by that you mean the last car will be repossessed before the last oil well is shut down. It is quite likely that economic collapse will destroy demand for oil faster than geology will limit supply.

  62. ozone April 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    “You have to have some sympathy for those who think mankind can run on fossil fumes forever, because they probably realize in the back of their mind that the earth will support only a small fraction of the current human population on a sustainable basis.” -LSJ
    Please tell me why I must have sympathy for idiots engaging in the most dangerous ignorance, stupidity, and self-delusion possible.
    My supply of sympathy for these lumpen fools is nearing exhaustion. (I’ve got to watch the asses of me and mine; those with “wide load” pasted across theirs can start looking after their own by putting down the Big Gulp of corporate Kool-aid and the Big Mac of easy and convenient every-fucking-thing.)

  63. pedal pusher April 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    There is nothing conspiratorial about the phenomena you describe, KC. Our cultural manifestations are the results of a multitude of collective decisions(or lack thereof) both momentous and trivial, made over the decades. Call it the collective unconscious (or is it ‘subconscious’ – I forget?) but conspiracy has little to do with it. In fact, I would be happy if there were grand conspiracies afoot…It would mean that at least someone or some group knows what the hell it’s trying to accomplish. As it is, there’s nobody at the wheel. As JHK says, events are in control.

  64. adequatio. April 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    64th, bitches!!!!

  65. hillwalker April 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    We’re looking at an ice free summer arctic much sooner than predicted, it’s no longer a set of questions about decades, but rather a question of months now.
    For folks who don’t understand much of anything, it’s pretty difficult to describe. I liken it to grandpa’s old farm truck, when you had to go hitch up the old stock trailer, and could never get a good ground, and you never knew what was going to happen with the lights. Turn on the left blinker, and the clearance lights and one headlight start to dim in rhythm to the clicking under the dash.
    Our weather is like that, the arctic ice is like the ground reference. No ground reference, no predictability.
    It’s very unlikely so-called ‘higher order’ life forms are gonna come through this epoch, so, try to be decent to one another, and enjoy the things that actually matter. There is fuck-all that can be done, even if the will to do something existed, which it doesn’t. 20, 30 years ago, yeah, maybe, but still unlikely. game over.
    So long,
    and thanks for all the fish.

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  66. UnstoppableFarceImmovableAbject April 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Well said, Zone. Your earlier comment about the importance of trust as the breakdown continues was provocative as well. I sense the frustration in your tone. A bit uncharacteristic, so I hope things are well in your immediate sphere. I currently am feeling a sense of ease which I trace to the season of greenness. Winter was quite miserable though. The journey continues.
    Take it easy, Zone.

  67. harrykrebs April 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Way back in 1974, I wrote a undergraduate paper on “Hydrogen Fuel Derived from Water”. Of course, if this process could be economically mastered, then the “cheap energy” cycle would be renewed and at a frightening pace. Who knows, perhaps the technology exists today….

  68. ian807 April 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I’ll have to disagree with you on the motivations behind the spate of intentionally misleading peak oil articles. Given that so many are appearing in oddball sites which don’t allow user feedback which would show how misinformed and innumerate they are, it looks very much to me like a stealth campaign to influence Google search results, and probably part of a larger campaign to soothe not just the populace, but some of the more gullible institutional investors and banks.
    The only entities that benefit from this propaganda are the oil majors. Admitting the problem hurts the stock price, and asset prices (Hey kid, want to buy a used drilling platform?), and their continuing efforts to finance new wells. Bonuses might decline too. Just a guess.
    So, they’re pretty well motivated to make the web full of happy-talk. Pretty cheap too. I’d be surprised if it *wasn’t* happening.

  69. harrykrebs April 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Make that “an” undergraduate paper.

  70. adequatio. April 29, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Peak Oil just represents the point in time when roughly half of the ultimate available oil has already been used. Even if we are there, or soon will be, don’t we have decades on the down side of the curve when we can voluntarily leave oil before oil leaves us?
    When do you expect the following to happen due to fossil fuel depletion? Feel free to provide dates.
    END OF INTERNET (no electricity for servers)
    END OF COMBUSTION ENGINES (no fuel for jets, cars, etc.)
    END OF USA MILITARY (no fuel for logistics, training, fighting, etc.)
    I make this an open challenge to anyone on CFN. Provide a date (year, decade, century) and a rationale for the date, for each of the above.
    I don’t think any of you really, deep down in your heart of hearts, believes in peak oil. You cannot imagine really living without the above things.
    If you believe it, then you must have a rationale, AND A DATE. Otherwise you are just propagating fear and doomster mythology.
    If there will not always be oil, then when, what date, will oil not be available. If no such date can be given, the peak oil problem is revealed to not really be a problem, anymore than a certain rogue planet crashing into the Earth is a problem.
    This CFN blog is much more interesting when I take the time to post here because I post on a variety of subjects, usually with correct grammar, usually concise posts, and always with intelligent content. Always provocative, it seems, though not intentionally so.
    Times have never been better for human beings, though you would never know it if all you read was the doomster “we are so fucked” moaning and bitching on CFN.

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  71. Liquid Lennny April 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Yea Jim, I read Mann’s Atlantic article this weekend and came away with the conclusion that if we’re looking this closely at hydrates then we must be a lot further on the downside of Hubbert’s curve than we care to acknowledge.
    For another reality check I suggest reading David Stockman’s ‘The Great Deformation’. I’m about 200 pages into it and it reads like some kind of alternative history. However, what I suspect is the world we’re accustomed to and been living in the past oh,(fill in your age here) has effectively been a sham.
    So as we all head down the path to 21st century feudalism it is my only hope we can keep some semblance of our humanity and don’t turn the planet into toast, but then that is asking for a lot these days…
    Other than this it’s a good Monday!

  72. WSHancock1864 April 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    I share your feelings on mortality and doubly share them on the deservedness of the human species to get it gone from the face of the Earth.
    (it is still sad that, during the horrors to come, those who deserve to suffer most will suffer the least and vice versa, but that is simply the way of the benighted human species overall)
    My point was, it will 95%+ certainly be here soon enough, as it’s all over but the 9/11-ing and the slamdunk towards whatever the hell is the final destination here in the Former USA (FUSA also f&cked USA, per ozone or is it turk?) since the American People are capable now of only two modes as we approach the Event Horizon: Nazi-like obedience or internecine warfare chaos-style (Yugoslavia-style?)
    It’s coming, and the only question is how many Phony Bush-Clinton/Bush-Obama Script Cycles are left between now and 9/11 #2 leading to WWIII or it’s cyber-equivalent (the casualties will be real, from privation etc.) and how many Boston Marathon Ops are in between so as to further soften the melons of the already-soft-melons of the American Subject Populace to get them ready to be the Nazis (kinder and gentler) of WWIII.
    We shall not have long to wait and see. Starting in 2017, I think.
    Will Obama get to finish the job on Syria before cometh Jeb the Destroyer or another Royal Equivalent? Will there be another Imperial Placeholder or two between now and the Royal Arisal of the Ultimate Corpzi Ruler?
    Again, we don’t have long to wait. These next three years, if not the last are near the last of anything that can be remotely considered The Good Old Days. We few that realize this should act every day as such, as often as possible.

  73. WSHancock1864 April 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    You say ‘false flag’ as in?

    Star here for the many holes in the official story and there have been half a dozen more plus the curious way the younger patsy was taken across town – far away from his capture and with MGH much closer – to a Mossad hospital to be operated on by Mossad Doctors, where he spent several days before his recent transfer – move along nothing to see here:
    Lot of black backpacks around the area just before she blew, eh? The “Shgell Game” sems to be a common theme and reason why drills mirroring the actual Op are always scheduled for the day of the Op (9/11, 7/7, now Boston, and more all had “drills” scheduled the same day as the event)
    The Big Picture:

  74. Rolf April 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    If I had to live my life over again,
    reflected Louis Pasteur, I would try to
    remember that admirable precept of Bossuet:
    ‘The greatest disorder of the
    mind is to believe that things
    are so because we wish them to be so.’

  75. mdl17576 April 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    It was a beautiful spring weekend in the upper Hudson valley. I recently moved out of a living situation with a textbook cornucopian and into a much smaller cottage. The building itself has some issues – poor insulation, some old windows, low water pressure. I will be remedying some of these by drawing on some of the material John Michael Greer presented in the Archdruid report awhile back (Thanks for having him on your podcast, I enjoy both of your books and blogs). The place is a rental so this isn’t my final stop as living spaces go, but I’m using it as an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t as I try to design a better lifestyle for myself. One that uses much less energy yet retains at least some of the comforts I’ve grown up with – don’t worry, driving to Walmart isn’t on that list. The place also affords me the opportunity to practicing my gardening skills so hey, at least one less hungry mouth to your south. Hopefully I can find some other mouths that want to learn how to feed themselves as well.

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  76. WSHancock1864 April 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    I heard on a local news report 2 days ago about a ‘breakthrough’ in cold fusion, solving the energy dilemma forever. Should I believe it?

    Are you joking or are you still this clueless this late in the game?
    Still got the image of that murdered 8 year old kid in your head?
    Good, because that’s what your rulers desire you to think of to the exclusion of reason. Don’t connect any dots or anything, no matter how tightly grouped and infantile the puzzle becomes, TV says it’s still a mystery.
    You really are going to be shocked by 9/11 #2 (The Dirty Bombing of Chicago -probably or something like that) and you will howl bloody murder for us to retaliate by starting WWIII, won’t you?
    Some things never change. Did not the God Edward Bernays tell us so?
    And is it not so, as you continue to prove here daily?
    Child of Bernays, go make sacrifice at your local Wal-Mart at the altar of cheap Chinese goods, then genulflect at the altar of Corpzi Cable Media and bask in it’s comforting glow.
    All is well, except what needs to be fixed by shopping. Did not the God Edward Bernays tell us so?
    And is it not so?
    Good boy. Watch the flickering TV glow now, let it lull you off to dreamland where all things unexplained are performed by Lone Patsies and Cold Fusion will make energy too cheap to meter.

  77. mdl17576 April 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Speaking of hungry mouths, on Sunday I went fishing in the Albany Pine Bush with a friend. My friend caught a nice catfish. Everyone else we spoke to hadn’t caught a thing. I must have asked 20 people. And seen another 30 at various places along the mile or so of shoreline. It scares me to think what this place will be like if one day the trucks stop running and all those people are out there actually need to catch a fish to stay fed. I wonder how many people will be out there then, even on days that aren’t sunny and warm.

  78. mow April 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    during the last 50 years this nations colleges and universities have evolved into nothing more than occupational therapy for morons.
    and so they will believe it.

  79. sotolvision April 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Brutal, Jim! And, yes, one of your better recent posts largely because you treat aspects of “peak oil”, a topic with which you are well acquainted. I subscribe to the (progressive) “Atlantic Monthly” whose pitch this month to “thought leaders” re: “energy independence” did not resonate well with even a cursory look-see at the subject matter. Also I read daily the New York Times and while Joe Nocera’s business columns generally hold my attention, I concede you are quite right in this instance: Nocera served wittingly or unwittingly in his recent op-ed as a shill for the much-in-the-news Keystone pipeline project. Very sad, yes? Pls keep-up your steady drumbeat of mockery. All you can do is to show over & over again that the Emperor wears no clothes and His feet are made of clay.

  80. Zev Paiss April 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    I truly believe there is a third path forward that does not require total societal collapse or sticking to the fantasy of business as usual. See more at http://abrahampaiss.com/fromheretothere/archives/468

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  81. azgog April 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    Really – Not running out of oil or capital when it is transparently obvious that we are running out of both? We are becoming the Masters of Delusion.
    And the icing on the cake is that we are also running out of a stable, predictable enough climate for agriculture, ie food production. Calories returned on investment is sharply reduced by drought, disease, falling water tables and heat stress. You lose not only the harvest itself but all the seed, fertilizer and chemical inputs and energy used to till and plant. Diminishing returns as more gambles are lost, until there is no will or means to continue.
    Meanwhile the multibillionaires are mostly hoarding their money in tax free accounts, depriving civilization of the investments needed to maintain an infrastructure and develop alternatives to Peak Oil/Global Climatic Suicide.
    Read http://www.nobillionaires.com, it will make your blood boil but also suggests a solution. Call it a Civilization Tax.

  82. WSHancock1864 April 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Damn, ozone, you are on fire, sir! With that first post and capping it with this little gem I’m responding to.

    Please tell me why I must have sympathy for idiots engaging in the most dangerous ignorance, stupidity, and self-delusion possible.
    My supply of sympathy for these lumpen fools is nearing exhaustion. (I’ve got to watch the asses of me and mine; those with “wide load” pasted across theirs can start looking after their own by putting down the Big Gulp of corporate Kool-aid and the Big Mac of easy and convenient every-fucking-thing.)

    Fucking eh, Bubba!
    Amen, hallelujah and go tell it on the mountaintop, brother!
    It’s all so far along on so many front and STILL 98% (and that is probably generous) are completely clueless as to how far it has sunk.
    Just like every other nation in every other tuime frame, only with a bigger energy budget fueling all it’s supposed moral advances.
    It’s sad on an individual level, but this species, to paraphrase the Founding Dads, is and of a right ought be extinct.

  83. Metzengerstein April 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    It is a real stretch to call the Atlantic progressive or liberal or even “leaning” it that direction. 30 years ago, yes, it was still an excellent magazine. Now it is more neoliberal, and it also fills its pages with work from neocon hacks like Andrew Sullivan and Megan McArdle. Pretty much of a corporate rag, and the same goes for the New York Times.

  84. Carol Newquist April 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    I disagree. Progressive and Liberal have moved right (pun intended) along with it, so the Atlantic and other such formerly Left-leaning publications have reflected the slide to conservatism that we’ve seen with people who consider themselves Liberal or Progressive. Which came first in this chicken and egg scenario, I’m not sure, but everything’s tilting like the deck of the Titanic did before it went under for good.
    Same thing with public television and radio. I can hardly watch or listen to it anymore.

  85. adequatio April 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    JHK writes:

    they are on a course to become the first advanced industrial nation to be forced to return to a medieval economy. That is, they are the most desperate among the desperate

    The most common date given for the beginning of the Middle Ages is 476 CE. In Europe this period is not known for its ease of life and learning among peasants. But in other parts of the world the time of the European Middle Ages was a time of comfort, ease, and learning.
    The use of the Middle Ages the way JHK uses it is as a threat, as a “going back to” a time of disease, suffering, and death. This is a very Eurocentric view. Things were very different in other parts of the world during that time and even before. A poem will illustrate this:
    The Master Who Was Devoted to the Way,—”
    Placidly and calmly he dwelt in idleness,-
    He nourished his essence and soul,
    And breathed in the pure emptiness,
    He lifted high his aims beyond the clouds,
    But dragged his form in a lowly cottage,
    He let hang the curtains to hide the small table,
    And covered it with white silk so he could read,
    Rising and falling, a muddle of noise,
    Sometimes hasty, sometimes slow,
    This refined roaming, so free and easy,
    Rolling them up, again spreading them out,
    He recites “Juan er” and loyal officials are pleased,’
    He chants “Lu e” and filial children are saddened,
    He praises “Big Rat” and greedy people flee,
    He sings “White Colt” and worthy scholars return.
    It is for this reason that
    Shun chanted the Poems to the end of his span;
    Confucius read the Changes in the middle of his life;
    Yuan Xian set his mind to chanting and forgot his humbleness;
    Yan Hui focused on study and made light of poverty.
    Ni Kuan read out loud while weeding and hoeing,
    Zhu Maichen went chanting as he carried firewood.
    If worthies and sages were so diligent in study.
    How much more those middling talents and petty men?”

    “Rhapsody on Reading” (“Dushu fu”) by Shu Xi (ca. 264-304)

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  86. Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Yes, by doing it on Patriot’s Day they have thrown down the gauntlet. And it will be answered in time. But first more of the Comrade Dystopia types have to awaken.

  87. malthus April 29, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Well the Dow is up another hundred point today and all commodities are up. The Wall Street and Corporate crooks are dancing in the street thinking all the lumpen out here don’t notice the greatest heist in history, thanks to big Ben and the other criminal banker types and the business school education of greed and “individualism” crap they spew.

  88. danadel April 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Thank you so very much for writing about the Atlantic issue this week. Charles Mann really ought to know better, and maybe he does, but wanted that lead story enough to tweak it for the Aspen Ideas set. The cover was insane. “Good for America,” but “scary for the planet.” How is that possible?–except for people (the majority at Atlantic, I think), who believe deep down that America really isn’t part of the planet. America is just too special!
    Your post is a candle in the darkness, as always.

  89. Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    A tad self righteous aren’t you? You who always refuse to anwer any questions about your real beliefs and what policies you would approve? You are a shadowy figure as well. An Anarchist as best as I can figure. And Anarchists have an atrocious record of mayhem in Communist Revolutions are they try to gain steet cred. It never works – the Communists purge them.
    Anarchists should be marching with Libertarians if they only weren’t so adolescent. A few do apparently – it is not a monolithic system. But most do lean way to the Left – and it is bizarre.

  90. Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Sure and the water will just part itself like the Red Sea when you intone the name, the awe inspiring name, HARRY KREBS.
    You gotta get yourself a Golem like the Rabbi of Prague, Rabbi Loew did. Now he has a Movie Chain…

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  91. Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    The founder of Tai Chi, Chang San Feng used to relax in snow drifts after drinking too much wine. Drunks often do this – and freeze to death. It’s easy to imagine oneself to be an Adept when drinking and falling asleep in a snow drift. An easy warm way to go.

  92. Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Big Belly Sage Rush just said, Gay is Ok if done for Jihad or repented of by Jihad.
    Muslims often go to Las Vegas to sin greatly and feel uttter disgust at America for making them do it. Then they “purify” with Bombs and self immolation.

  93. shorty April 29, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Even the ombudsman employee hired by the JYT to whitewash their neocon zionist agenda described the paper as a disgrace, and was “released”. In particular, he pointed out the state apparatus planted stories with foreign agents passing as reporters (Judith Miller), and then politicians and media useful idiots cited the stories as proof 1 million arabs needed to be murdered. So someone explain the difference between the JYT and say….Tass…. Pravda? The modern welfare-warfare state is just awesome….almost occult in its total reach and control over every aspect of modern existence. Just awesome……

  94. Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    You need fusion to get fusion. Separating Dihydoxide (which people signed a petition to ban) takes great energy. Perhaps Harry knows a secret incantation.
    I run my car on regular water, but this Golem isn’t telling. I rubbed the sign off my forehead and am Free.

  95. ceojr1963 April 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    There are only a few of the american people even listening to the hue and cry that the oil is running toward the hard to get dregs of the cup, those are the ones that post on this and other forums, at most 1% of the american people, likely a lot less than we hope there are knowledegable about all this.
    Most people haven’t a clue beyond what the TV mainstream tells them, be they worried about what they are going to get for dinner at the new place in town, or where they are going to get the money to pay for the rent, or their meds.
    We have a movement in the places that shouldn’t be the worried about tomorrow, toward a future that is uncertain, Like people pictured in the reality show Doomsday preppers, which gets a nod toward the extreme side of the USA they are the fringe as far as most people are concerned. Even though they have a following on the youtube channels of thousands of people showing their small stashs of guns, food, gardens and metals hoping that the crooks aren’t lining them up to get stolen from when things go south if they ever do.
    I don’t own a gun I tell people, they wonder if I don’t want others to own guns almost, but that is the freedom of the land, or used to be. If it got bad enough that I would need a gun to protect myself, having a gun won’t help me. It is not the old west, where the fastest draw kills the bad guy, or good guy, we’d have to go to that times to be safe, and they weren’t any safer than we are, just in a different time. Most people didn’t have need to have a gun strapped on, while farming, or while mining, or while sleeping. But hear it told, you do now, which is odd.
    We will run out of the oil we need, and then we will have a die off and then as things settle into a set normalacy in 120 years, we might or might not even remember we had this talk.
    BioWebScape Designer

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  96. Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    But most people in the Soviet Union knew that Pravda didn’t mean Truth. The Enemy has greatly improved his methods since then. Pleasure is great than Pain in conditioning because the subject cooperates fully. Da!
    The North Wind and the Sun make a wager on who could make a man take off his coat. The North Wind blew with all his strength but the man just clung to his coat all the harder. The Sun then tried and had the coat off in no time.
    The World or Babylon System is literally made out of Lies. Satan is Rex Mundi, King of this World and He was a Liar from the begining.

  97. Bustin Jay April 29, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Adequatio sprayeth “(If you believe): END OF INTERNET… END OF COMBUSTION ENGINES… END OF USA MILITARY… …then you must have a rationale, AND A DATE.”
    Lets break it down:
    I. The end of (cheap) oil
    II. The end of the effects of (cheap) oil.
    I. The end of (cheap) oil occurred around the middle of the last decade. Since then we’re on the plateau where high prices drive exploration and development toward new sources. The problem is that demand continues to go up. Therefore the price will remain the same until demand peaks or production peaks. Then production will go down, down, and down. Artificially, (smart) global governance may begin taxing the stuff to reduce consumption.
    II. The end of the effects of (cheap) oil are necessarily farther out into the future and as such are harder to predict. But lets play along. I will call the end of the effects of (cheap) oil date X. The end of the military we will call date J. The end of the internet, date I. The end of the effects, date E, and the end of the combustion engine date V.
    Working backwards: J > I > V > E
    The End of the military > The End of the internet > The end of the combustion engine > the end of cheap oil.
    E: The end of cheap motoring: 2016, without a doubt. Fuel will be costly.
    V: The combustion engine is on its way out. By 2020 every vehicle on the road today will be obsolete, a “junker”. We will still need vehicles to get around, but, existing inefficiencies at future prices are going to make operation prohibitive. Whether this is a consequence of sober political policy (carbon neutralization strategies in the face of global warming) or high prices (due to the rapid decline in production unable to adjust to increases in demand) is irrelevant. Combustion is just too wasteful and inefficient a technology. It will be out-competed by electric technology. And governments will move to kill it.
    I: The end of the internet is an absurd concept. After all, the internet is just a computer network.
    J: The end of the military will be the end of the world, for all real intents and purposes. It will come after the end of the internet and not before.
    So theres your answers, at least to the oil question: 2020.
    In between, we’re going in for 7 years of some very unpredictable events. But I have high confidence that the major effect that everyone is going to know about and live through are the 3 summers where there are record-shattering droughts. I would also place a bet on a black swan kind of geophysical event occurring directly because of warming and arctic ice sheet disappearance, most likely, the alteration of thermal deep-ocean currents that will result in paradoxically severe winters, along with scaling increases in the power of weather events: more torrential rains increasing erosion, higher winds causing damage, hurricanes and tornadoes on power-boosters.
    Moreover, because of the stress our overpopulated societies are putting on the ecosystem, we’ll see significant bounce in infectious diseases of all kinds, the spread of multiple-drug resistant fungal and bacterial pathogens.
    Overall, more people will starve and die this decade than previous decades. The third world will continue to struggle mightily under the sheer mass of bodies and religious dogmas, as people attempt to requite the perilous and unsustainable nature of their situation and their imperatives for survival.
    Under our largely clueless administration, the planet will continue to lose forest cover, in its densest, most diverse areas. This will accelerate the invasion of new species causing permanent changes in the balance of life and physical chemistries of the ecosystem. The world’s forests are now being destroyed at a rate of about 50,000 square miles a year, by 2020, humans will have converted an area of the state of Alaska from cool, wet forestland to dry, barren cropland. Thats pretty conservative estimate.
    The arid parts of the world will expand, and the malarial species of insects will expand from the equator and adapt to new host plants.
    Overall, species diversity will decline in every category, with extinctions keeping the brisk pace set over the last century or so.
    This is all out of the scope of the original question, though.

  98. adequatio April 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Janos, you missed (or ignored) my point about JHK’s threats to a “forced return” to “medieval” days, as if living without oil is tantamount to a death sentence. The truth is people lived thousands of years without petroleum, without the internal combustion engine, and in some NON-WESTERN cultures they lived without slavery, without exploitation. They lived with grace and ease, fully enjoying times of idleness, and reading, much as we do here on CFN.

  99. Benr April 29, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Water water everyone but none to drink.

  100. UnstoppableFarceImmovableAbject April 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Holy shit, Bustin!
    Every time you weigh in I can hear the crack of a bat and can envision a baseball sailing out of a park and right through the windshield of your verbal opponent.
    The more I pay attention to the smarter voices on these subjects the more I realize what exactly JHK’s concept of a long emergency means. Somehow, I find a particular refuge of calm in how you frame and present these notions. Fewer and fewer attachments to this shitty clusterfuck nation for me remain, I suppose. Good riddance.
    Later, man.

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  101. Carol Newquist April 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    He could have been more to the point and just said NumbersUSA without all the hand-waving he did. What a waste of words when he justin could have said John Tanton and NumbersUSA.