The Election Today …



The 2008 election took place before there was an Economic Undertow. Little was said about the 2012 election, except to note a winner. There is an election later today; the end of a mad theater of mendacity and worse; it is possible the entire mess will be done with by this time tomorrow but do not count on it.

One word that describes our precious country is incompetence. We have gone from being the ‘we-can-do-it’ nation that put a man on the Moon to the ‘hire a Mexican to do it’ nation that cannot find its ass with both hands. The fact of our dysfunction and the country’s reliance migrant labor are what gives form to the efforts of Donald Trump. Yet he acts against himself: he is the lazy-man of American politics who requires others to do his heavy lifting. This does not mean physical labor but instead the struggle to become clear in the mind, to craft out of disparate- and contradictory elements a policy outline or philosophy of governing. This is never attempted, it is too difficult, instead there is the recycling of old, bankrupt memes. The candidate’s absence of effort leaves a residue of personality: Trump is a blank page upon which others paint in the sketch, an actor who aims to meet (diminished) public expectations and nothing more, sound and fury significant of nothing in particular.

But, so is Clinton, who is distinguished as the most corrupt prospective leader in American history. Clinton’s missteps include the sale of her office to the bosses of other countries, using her position to promote of wars for personal gain as well as selling herself to the bankers and other finance criminals. Corruption is not limited to the one particular candidate: both are known to consort with convicted criminals, with criminals, with criminals, with more criminals.

The winner will wind up being irrelevant. We are caught in the grip of forces we refuse to understand, outcomes are being driven by events. A very real danger is the winner will seek relevance the ‘old fashioned way’, by tyranny, intrigues and cruelty, by craft and viciousness.

Both candidates are the products of big business, it is revealing this is the best leadership that big business money can buy. Neither one can escape the defects of their characters. That they are expected to be taken seriously is evidence of how far we have fallen and how little in the way of institutional resources we have remaining to us.

I cannot bring myself to endorse anyone. You are on your own, and good luck.

71 thoughts on “The Election Today …

  1. Mister Roboto

    The first paragraph of a comment I made of the most recent “Archdruid Report” post:

    “Okay, so I did vote…straight-ticket Libertarian. I might not be a libertarian as such, far from it in fact, but they offered a full slate of candidates on the Federal level for which to vote where I live, and I also respect their consistent stance against hegemonic militarism and the encroaching police-state. The Green Party couldn’t be more irrelevant if it tried, and sometimes I wonder if it is indeed trying! The one state-level office up for grabs here, state representative, I left blank because the only choice was a safely-ensconced Scott Walker Republican versus a Democratic old union-boss challenger at whom I’m sure sixty percent of the voters will flip the finger when they vote for the incumbent.”

  2. Ken Barrows

    I think competence has been redefined, i.e. Trump is competent because he has the ability to convince millions of people he is competent despite multiple corporate bankruptcies and Clinton is competent because she convinces millions of people that an “honest mistake” does not reflect on her lack of competence. We Americans will be the world’s best marketers until the bitter end.

  3. Tagio

    I’m not sure you’re right about the incompetence thing, Steve. You may be assuming that, because it is called “government,”, it is actually supposed to “govern,” for which competence would be a sine qua non, one would suppose. But it is rare that governments actually “govern.” Calling government government is just more misleading BS PR to buy legitimacy, because the populace believes that government is something greatly to be desired. Our “government” calls to mind what Gandhi said about Western Civilization. Judging by what they actually do, throughout history, governments don’t govern, that is not what they are about; it’s just the cover story.

    There are now articles out there pointing out that whoever gets elected, he/she may not be able to govern because the country is so divided blah blah blah, as if this is some kind of real concern of our candidates. Give me an effing break! This paralysis would bother someone who wanted to really enact reform, but I am sure it doesn’t bother anyone who is just out to milk the position for its grifting opportunities in the least. The fact that he/she won’t be able to convince Congress to enact a legislative agenda won’t slow him/her down in the least.

  4. steve from virginia Post author

    The sad part is the only entity that CAN govern is government, if it doesn’t there is nothing else.

    Pretending to govern hasn’t worked, now that times are becoming desperate and we cannot keep the burglars out of the kitchen … this is a kind of national suicide.

    I’m not sure the current state of affairs is entirely the politicians’ fault; the citizens are willing to sleepwalk through their lives, they ignore the ruckus in the kitchen as the burglars empty out the silverware drawer. Something has to wake them up … right?

    Then again, maybe not.

    1. encouragement

      the only entity that CANNOT govern is government.

      everybody i know who voted for trump, which is most people around here, are trying to save the country from collapse and WW3. trump is a friend of alex jones, for chrissake. they have ‘correctly’ identified the burglars and warmongers, and incorrectly sorta-hopefully believe that they have voted them out. this wakefulness, if not fully awake, is a far more capable state than the somnambulant mainstream and alt-left’s. during a catabolic collapse, which is the best the elite can hope for (unrealistic), the elite need a wakeful populace that can buck the fuck up and get shit done. by definition this is the working class, that actually perform the slavish work around here. as with brexit, i believe the untermenshcen that beat themselves to shit everyday and wreck themselves further on pain pills, sacrificing everything for the hustle, mostly voted against the effete urban desk jockeys. they see more than anything that gentrification is hollow and despicable, and they have to foot the bill for it, both physically and economically.

      this is not a national suicide it’s a nationalist awakening. in light of russia’s red line, nationalism is the adaptive route, since a return bilateralism is the best-case future. putin has neutralized the international hubris, and the elites are not so stupid as to stay the course, and more to the point, are physically incapable of it, especially seeing as how their rear-guard actions at gun control are backfiring as spectacularly as their would-be expansionary frontal attacks, with the gun and ammunition markets breaking new records month after month, year after year.

      today it is national capitalism. tomorrrow, when all the blood has been wrung from the stone, it will be national socialism, assumedly with a centrist political look to it. at this rate, you and michael hudson may well end up voting for it.

      1. LJR

        I’d like to offer you assistance in your typing. There is a shift key on both sides of the keyboard and one of their main purposes is to make reading MUCH easier to read by allowing capitalization of the first word in each sentence.

        I suggest you use these keys. Or possibly you don’t want to be read. In that case please continue in your present manner.

        It comes across to me as a sophmoric e.e. cummings affectation.

      2. steve from virginia Post author

        What do you think ‘the workers’ in America are going to do? They have ‘voted’ (an empty gesture) for a tycoon of all people to improve their standing in life … this is simply belief in Santa Clause. But, what have these workers themselves done for the past fifty years to improve themselves and their own standings? What is the difference between now and then … when these workers’ parents gave themselves over to mass-market paranoia and the balm of consumer products. The workers’ lament has nothing to do with being ignored or given second-class status but that they cannot access the same level of consumer products available to workers in the past (the notion is entirely false, by the way).

        It is the entire consumer idea that is kaput; it is industrialization that has bankrupted itself, that there is no industrial future but more thorough ruin. That is the point of this entire blog in case you haven’t been paying attention. No nazi no matter how ruthless or fetishistic can change physics, he can only lie and hope nobody notices when the bottom falls out … that he can get out of town with his loot intact.

        If you think America ‘has woken up’ because of Alex Jones you are wrong and your ‘wrong-ness’ makes you look stupid; America has no choice to deal with the consequences of what they have done; instead of actually taking actions that might give themselves a chance they are desperate to go back to sleep, desperate for more easy answers, desperate for scapegoats, desperate for some ‘others’ with enough portable wealth to justify stealing from them. ‘White America’ is just as eager to find Mexicans to do their heavy lifting as the Mexicans are to lift: thus land of privilege has succumbed to corrosion and (the costs of) too much prosperity.

        As far as it goes, force and violence directed against others has failed. Where have you been for the past 50 years? Did not Vietnam make an impression? The two Iraq wars? The American wars in Central America and Afghanistan? America’s overseas proxies have failed without exception. Finance violence by way of the giant banks has also failed in that the successes have done little to stave off their own insolvency and liquidation. Banks and armies are the instruments of unprincipled men to ‘create’ prosperity for themselves and no one else; if they can’t succeed what can?

        The autocrats’ promise is always easy gains: it does not take ruthlessness and blood to restrain oneself, to forswear luxuries and easy living, for this humility will do a very good job. What sells is the ‘hope’ for the free lunch … but the lunches are no longer free, they have been eaten already. We’ve shat out the gains: we hove nothing to show for a hundred million years of eating but poison, circling over our heads with darkening menace, all of it aiming to kill off our children.

        Tattered nazis w/ their shopworn ‘glamor’ leading their deluded followers to the graveyard. Welcome to Syria, dude.

    2. ellenanderson

      Just unbelievable. All of these people should be in rest homes. It’s like the Night of the Living Dead. I am dreaming, right?

  5. dolph

    Although I didn’t vote, let me say congratulations to President Donald Trump. Though he won’t fix anything, at the very least maybe some semblance of law and order and border control can be implemented.

    To you liberals who are reading this, eat it. You cannot understand how much you are despised for siding with criminals and foreigners. Which you do, don’t deny it.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      Nobody is despised, everyone is desperate, looking for a way out.

      Looking for a way out they can navigate with their SUV …

  6. Eeyores enigma

    If you vote you have no right to complain because you believe that voting properly is the answer.
    or
    The only thing you get for voting is the right to complain.

    Not sure maybe they are both right.

  7. LJR

    Well, here we are, folks. Voldemort (to hear the Democrats) will soon have the nuclear codes – though it seems unlikely he will use them.

    Or, in another metaphor, Sauron just ripped the ring off Hildabeast Baggins hand.

    One thing for sure is that a Trump presidency is going to be a lot more interesting to watch than a Clinton presidency. He doesn’t appear to be a war mongerer so our chances of dying of radiation sickness have decreased.

    So is he or is he not an uncontrollable BushII on steroids? He’s like a fly buzzing around the room. You aim for a zig and you get a zag.

    There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues. Or should I say reds? Did the US just get a red pill jammed down its statist, collectivist craw? I wouldn’t want to be a lobbyist right now. Or Nate Silver.

  8. encouragement

    Thanks for the reply, Steve. We’re talking past each other. I’m perfectly aware of the nature of the industrial situation, thanks in large part to you.

  9. Reverse Engineer

    In the words of JHKs coda in every email I ever got from him, “It’s All Good”.

    Never made a damn bit of difference whether Killary or The Donald got elected. Industrial Civilization will collapse regardless of this Dog & Pony Show.

    This show is OVAH, time to get back to detailing the mechanics.

    RE

    1. encouragement

      hey RE,

      you can’t separate-out the ‘mechanics’ from the politics. they are aspects of the same control system. to real (domesticated) people in real (domesticated) life, here at peak gentrification, the trumping of a shill may well signal that the civil war option (government focused on rural containment) has been discarded and the martial law option (government focused on urban containment) has been chosen. real people not in ivory towers of doom need to stay focused. what we see now, which is based on how clearly we are seeing, may be the difference between success and failure down the road. the reason i encourage people to rewild is because the best vantage point is always high ground. war maneuvers are preceded by mobilization. mobilization is preceded by political calculus. politics is the adaptive art of the maximization of hierarchical power.

  10. Tagio

    encouragement,

    My 31-yr old son is of the view that the current policy is to let rural areas become “sacrifice zones” (in Hedges words) in order to drive ppl into the cities, where they will be more easily (fed, pacified and) controlled when TSHTF/industrialization collapses. He formed this view after having lived and worked for a year in Ithaca, home of Cornell, which despite the influx of all that $$ from the University, now has a little publicized tent city on the outskirts of town which houses a significant number of meth addicts. When even rich college towns are collapsing, you know things ain’t good out there.
    It raises a difficult personal question of how long one tries to ride things out inside the “bubble” before relocating to the hinterlands becomes the better – or necessary – option.

    1. encouragement

      Tagio,

      i encourage you to relocate now. consumer culture is always the worse option, co-creative culture is always the better. i am ten times the man i was when i was in the city and knowing i needed to be in the country, and my family now has a serviceable refuge available to them, whether or not they ever come to recognize it as such.

      it takes years to put down the roots necessary to get oneself into a good position in any locale.

      i’m glad to hear you have another man in the family to work with on the project.

  11. Creedon

    Trump becomes president, the yield on the 10 year bond is skyrocketing, oil is dropping and the stock market is euphoric. How does any of this make any sense. Are the powers that be giving us a head fake before they take every thing.
    To encouragement: we will probably all know what we will need to do when the time comes.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      The powers can’t take everything. If they could they would have already.

      Bonds are in a massive bubble that is certain to deflate, so there is that. Oil prices recently hit $55/barrel which is probably too great a burden for the economy to shoulder. It is too early to tell whether the change in bond prices is noise or whether it is something more serious like a run.

      Trump (and Brexit and China dollar flight) triggering a run out of bonds? It’s too soon to tell but not out of the question.

  12. Eeyores enigma

    IMHO people voted for Trump because they see him as someone who will reset the system in such a way as to allow them to get rich.

    People see the current system and the corrupt oligarchs controlling it as tilted against them, making it difficult or impossible for them get rich.

  13. Oilcrashing

    Hello everyone,

    Steve, I found the following part of this article ( http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-11/surging-bond-yields-signalling-pain-not-growth-ahead-us-economy ) to be very interesting:

    ” Back in August this year Trump gave a short interview with CNBC, discussing some of the problems in the US and how he was going to fix them.

    In the video below he specifically discusses increasing spending on the military as well contributing over $500 billion to the ailing infrastructure in the US.

    How Will It Be Paid For?

    When asked by the CNBC host how will he pay for all the new additional spending he planned for the US economy. Trump said that he was willing to increase Government debt to fund it as one of the possible strategies. He further added that since interest rates are so low it would be wise to take advantage of the current low rate environment and borrow.

    Bond Yields Reacting To Trump Plan

    Now Trump will be the new US president I believe Government bond yields are surging not because growth will skyrocket in the US, but because they know that US debt under Trump will rise even faster than under Obama.Back in August this year Trump gave a short interview with CNBC, discussing some of the problems in the US and how he was going to fix them.

    AND (Specially this part)

    “If Trump does plan to massively increase Government debt to pay for military and infrastructure spending, he is going to find out quickly that interest rates will not stay low for long.

    Bond yields will continue to rise simply because bond investors will reprice US Government debt and the subsequent yield they will demand, to reflect the anticipated surge in debt coming over the next few years. The repricing of US Government bonds will occur to reflect the higher perceived risk of a potential default from considerably higher debt levels.”

    So my question is: Is Mr. Trump in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation? I mean, one of his main proposals was to spend in millions of dollars to rebuild ports, airports, highways, rail stations… to kickstart the US economy and achieve a 4% GDP growth YoY. This is probably one of the promises that got him elected, and now he finds himself between a rock and a hard place. The very moment he starts borrowing money (because interest rates are low, he says that we should take advantage of it) to fund these massive civil construction projects, interest rates start going up, as the economy cannot take on more debt. This same debt repricing will deem its project unrealizable.

    What’s your opinion about this issue?

    BR

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      Three things:

      One: the Trump regime will do whatever is necessary to keep the status quo afloat; this is why he was installed as our new president. Status quo means the fossil fuel industry; automobiles, real estate, finance, speculation, the military and government, all carrying on as before. Think of Trumpism as Obama on steroids, with a different, more vicious style. Whatever is necessary means the government will borrow to bail out oil and gas, bail out autos, bail out the banks — and theoretically bail out Trump supporters — to keep the industrial waste game going.

      The best case is the US will become like Japan with zombie industries and grinding deflation. The reality is that bonds are in a bubble plus a giant bubble in foreign exchange that the bond bubble has inflated. Bubbles burst … and it is possible that is what is happening in bonds right now.

      Japan has been able to run government deficits of 350% of GDP yet bond yields are negative, it can do so because the entire country is uniformly Japanese, has little in the way of military overhead, minuscule foreign influence and the workforce has enough protections so that the citizens feel secure. The Japanese also don’t spend! The stimulus from the government and central bank are perverse incentives to hold money rather than dribble it away … presumably on cheap, imported junk. No spending => less demand for goods particularly imports => excess credit chasing fewer ‘investments’ -> low yields which keeps the whole credit jalopy creaking forward.

      The US is of course NOT Japan, our workforce is alienated with vanishing security; if the US citizens were not slaves to marketing and TV the incentives would be for them to also not spend. This suggests a worst case where a severe recession ‘appears out of nowhere’. The US can mimic Japan only as long as the political demons let loose by Trump are kept under control. Trump himself probably does not understand this, so we shall see. A diversion into neo-Nazi reactionary bullshit will bring on the bond vigilantes who will stick pins into the Trump regime before it gains traction: political uncertainty is the enemy of markets and bonds are vulnerable if only because they are ‘priced for perfection’.

      Reaction to neo-Nazis is what happened in Greece to the Golden Dawn with the ECB and Frankfurt banks acting as the bond vigilantes.

      300 basis point rise in interest rates will bankrupt finance, disable the Fed, raise the cost of borrowing dramatically while demand for more loans skyrockets (counter-cyclicals). 3% is not much of an increase and the room for managers to maneuver under such a modest rise is almost nil. Near-zero rates have been in style for a reason; we cannot afford to borrow otherwise.

      Ironically, all else being equal, credit demand will stimulate (over-)supply which is the reason for zero- and below zero rates; a market phenomenon as lenders seek to make up their interest losses w/ volume. However all things are not equal and credit demand can also start bidding war for available credit when it is in short supply … something that tends to feed on itself. The issue then becomes the creditworthiness of the borrower AND the lender (because both are different hands on the same body to a large degree). This is the undoing of monetization (central bank lending directly to the government) as the lender does add purchasing power and the collateral exchanged for it is deemed to be worthless. Ultimately, the endeavor is recognized as a shell game. The bank is then seen to be making unsecured loans (where the bond collateral represent empty promises which are worth nothing). When the central bank makes unsecured loans it is instantly insolvent; it is nothing more than another commercial bank that has failed by making bad loans => there is no lender of last resort and no guarantor for deposits => bank runs.

      Evidence of unsecured central bank lending are the ongoing runs out of currencies and banks around the world. Assets (like bonds) are usually the last to get the insolvency message so the real volatility lies in the future.

      Specific ideology is not needed to lose money, nor is rock-solid conservatism needed to cut one’s losses. The bond ‘bulge’ is too large for the Fed to digest, if it comes to Fed being the line of defense, it will be the last line of defense and will certainly fail. Keep in mind, the Fed was able to bail out the banks in ’09 because most of the problem was in repo- and overnight lending; problems now would be in longer dated maturities that have been held in private hands if only b/c they were issued w/ higher coupons, back when yields were 5%. It would take more than a few basis points to get these guys to dump their bonds but this is exactly the maturity tranche that is now under stress.

      The forex stress is also becoming massive: see Wolf Richter’s article: Financial “Hurricane” Trump Is Approaching Mexico There are forex crises in China, Mexico, EU, UK, India, Turkey, Russia: forex losses have to be added to the interest cost of money, the effect is a compounding cost spiral that cannot be easily addressed because the impulses are in non-domestic currencies.

      Two; the government HAS to borrow as it is the only ‘firm’ that can run perpetual deficits. Without the government borrowing the private sector would be required to service its own (massive) debts out of cash flow. The private sector cannot run perpetual deficits: over time the cost of money and (self) compounding defaults would bankrupt the entire private sector.

      Some of these costs look to be emerging in bonds right now. Notice, I haven’t mentioned inflation, that’s because there isn’t any, at least right now. What is emerging is RISK; pricing the possibility of non-payment or diminished returns — nominal repayments that are worth less than the original loans.

      So far the response at the short end’ (Libor, Shibor, Euribor) has been modest, but the trend is up and a finance liquidity crisis is lurking just over the horizon. At this instant, the biggest risks are in foreign exchange and in the solvency of banks. If Deutsche Bank fails Trump will be irrelevant.

      THREE: the demand for dollars and ‘dollar preference’ is starting to leak into bonds. I’ve written about this before (regarding low oil prices):

      When priced in crude, money — particularly dollars — has real worth (money cannot have value, otherwise it would never be spent). It turns out a very modest (oil flow) constraint has an out-sized effect on money-worth. Right now, dollars are exchanged on demand for a valuable physical good millions of times every single at gas stations around the world. Because of this exchange, the dollar can be considered a (quasi-) hard currency … similar to the way exchanging dollars for gold rendered the buck a hard currency during the early 1930s. What keeps the dollar somewhat ‘soft’ despite exchangeability has been the flood of fuel into the gas stations. There is also no obvious reason to prefer dollars or make an effort to gain them vs. gaining some other currency … for the time being.

      Given the appearance of a fuel supply constraint and the scarcity rent, the perceived character of money shifts: dollars cease to be near-worthless proxies for commerce, becoming instead proxies for scarce and valuable fuel. They are then hoarded out of circulation … as is starting to take place around the world right this minute!

      Commerce withers as the economic activity is reduced to currency arbitrage; trading different forms of money back and forth (bonds or other currencies) so es to gain the fuel ‘bargain’ dollars represent … This is what ‘dollar preference’ means: the buck is preferred to all other kinds of money because of its relationship to fuel.

      The only way to escape the depression that results from this preference is to break the bond between dollars and petroleum the same way the Roosevelt administration severed the connection between dollars and gold in 1933. The US must ‘go off oil’ the same way it- and the rest of the world went off gold in the middle-1930s.

      1. Volvo740...

        “Right now, dollars are exchanged on demand for a valuable physical good millions of times every single at gas stations around the world. Because of this exchange, the dollar can be considered a (quasi-) hard currency … similar to the way exchanging dollars for gold rendered the buck a hard currency during the early 1930s.”

        Hi Steve, could you elaborate more on this? It seems like what’s holding the price down now is the collapse of the lower class? Also, is there anything special about gas? The fact that it’s a global commodity? Couldn’t that be said for wheat and bread also?

        Thanks!

        Average Cost – Gallon Of Gas.
        1930 10 cents , 1940 11 cents , 1950 18 cents , 1960 25 cents, 1970 36 cents , 1980 $1.19 , 1990 $1.34 , 2009 $2.051 , 2013 $3.80 ,

        Average Cost – Loaf of Bread
        1930 9 cents , 1940 10 cents , 1950 12 cents , 1960 22 cents, 1970 25 cents , 1980 50 cents , 1990 70 cents , 2008 $2.79 , 2013 $1.98

  14. ellenanderson

    I have always thought that the only way to make a lasting impact on the system would be to organize a general strike. Of course it would be General Strike 2.0. In addition to workers it would include consumers and most importantly it would include debtors. If everyone just stayed home and bought very little and refused to continue paying their odious debts (except taxes for which they would toss you in jail) the attention of the elites would turn to the 99% very quickly. Such a movement could be organized online but I don’t think people would support it because they are just too hooked on mainstream marketing.
    The people who went to the polls and voted for the two candidates must generally agree with Trump and the Clintons that we should keep driving to the bitter end. Status quo as you say, Steve. Both candidates are expressing the will of the vast majority of the people. I can’t believe the whining that is going on. Have you read the New Yorker? Amazing. What did anyone expect?
    So eventually the very situation that would result from general strike 2.0 will be forced upon is – if we are lucky. My personal opinion is that Trump will go for war once he realizes that all other options are out of the question. I hope I am wrong. He appears to love his children.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      The general strike will work but hard to do in the US because of its diverse economy.

      A general strike by lenders will also work and may be underway.

      I see the Trump coup d’etat as evidence the US is trapped already by energy deflation: where fuel shortages result in price decline and stranding of the fuel industry.

      I do know anyone desirous of a life free from tyranny is going to have to fight for it.

    2. Creedon

      I think that the great wars were fought when available energy was increasing. Available energy is now decreasing. I would say that the world will end with a whimper not a bang. Steve, commented years ago that that we will be studying what is happening in the world today, thousands of years from now. It is really very fascinating. When energy depletion becomes great enough we will all be on strike. We will have no choice. We, also, won’t be talking about it on the computer web. I’m watching the price of oil and bonds. Very fascinating. Trumps not going to be of much consequence. More like a huge joke. Steve, when in recorded history have seven billion industrialized humans faced energy depletion over a decade or two. The question is a statement.

  15. Tagio

    The “system” has had 10,000 years to get it right, and it hasn’t because it can’t. The “system” is the civilization system and it has, and is structured such that it can perform, only one purpose: to create surplus that is funneled upward via the concept of property, “laws” and other enclosure methods to support a non-productive “ruling” class. “Justice” is every cog in its place performing its role in this system and the religious beliefs, myths (aka “mind-fucking”) and other means of enforcing this caste system {hasn’t changed since Plato first elucidated this in The Republic}

    The system can’t be changed; the “solution” is to begin living differently. The “solution” will eventually be forced upon us through via the famed Ludlum “conservation by other means” TM, as our ability to produce a surplus is destroyed via destruction of resources and the planet. We will then discover whether humans really are “adaptable” and can reform their consciousness to abandon the “plunder, consume everything and move on” way of life that humans have had from day 1.

  16. Tagio

    Encouragement,
    Just noticed your advice above, thank you I appreciate your perspective. If the Hill’s Group’s ETP model is correct, and I have no grounds for arguing it is wrong, it would be very prudent to make the move within the next two years, 3 years max, in order to still have some time to get settled in and set up

  17. encouragement

    Tagio,

    anytime. it was predictable advice i’m sure. 🙂

    you are either a less risk-averse person than myself, or feel like you just do not have the resources yet to swing it. it may take fewer resources than you think, especially if you move somewhere where you know someone who is doing the same thing, but still may well take fewer resources even if you don’t know anyone at first, if you are adaptable and show by your actions that you are honest, hard working people. country folk are super friendly.

  18. encouragement

    one thing i will say about buying land is that the best deals are likely not on the market, and only found after you have relocated. if this is common knowledge, it wasn’t to me. after i had bought 13 acres of fine, buildable timberland here in farm-forest zoning, i found 25 acres of forestland in a farm-forest zoning district for $2875/acre. southern aspect with two forks of a small, year-round creek running through it. i sold the timber and bought the additional acreage and enough fencing for it. it was not buildable at that price, but i can ‘camp’ there for 30 consecutive days, and do that again after taking a night off. i can have ag buidings, etc. the forest is about 50/50 doug fir and maple, about 30 years old but i will have the fir logged by a friend in the spring. no one in their right mind would log it now, of course. 🙂 i am currently fencing it-in so that i can run the 22 and counting hogs through it winter and spring and summer, to break up the fungal dominance in the soil in preparation for seeding pasture in the fall. i don’t know what it will net me (no taxes to pay on the timber sale with a good accountant), steep ground and difficult access, but with the money i hope to buy 5 or so more contiguous acres from the same landowner, and fencing for it. it’s a good ruse if you can find it, and best of all forestland is relatively free of chemicals, unlike farmland and clear-cuts, unless you buy the clear-cut right away.

    one might even start out renting in an area one thinks highly of, and taking up to a year to find such a deal before buying nearby land and possibly contining with the rental.

  19. encouragement

    when i was a regular at the doomstead diner and involved in the sun project, we reached the point where we started looking for land, and the ozarks of north-central arkansas came recommended to us, and sure enough the area seemed like a great first option to check out together. in general i was hot to trot, everybody was, i believe, but one person explicity, and another implicitly, northerners both and, it has to be said, both wielding more influence (with the assistance of organizational stupidity) than it seemed to me they deserved, considering the early stage of the group’s development, got cold feet at the idea of actually living in such a scary place as one they’d never actually been to.

    i recount the above as a useful example, because i encourage any white and non-white folks alike, who have yet to become hillpeople to not get caught up in the cultural hysteria. fear not. although i am white i can tell you from the inverse experience (white kid in rough non-white junior high school), as well as the current experience (urban relocator), that if you are adaptable you will be accepted and respected in redneck country if you… go country, which would be, obviously, the defining adaptive trait in this context. it takes a while, of course, but if you are conscious about it it will happen, and in fact you will like it very much because of course ‘gone country’ culture is in many ways the superior result of more open spaces. you will find after a awhile that the long silences that used to feel interminable, in long conversations across the fence, are the best part, and should under no circumstances be seen as opportunities to end the conversation; be willing to be lead in all ways. this doesn’t mean affirm things you don’t believe.

    and while you behavioral acculturation is slower to develop, know that actions speak louder than words. if you out-country country folk in an earnest way, you will be respected for it. don’t forget that country folk have been industrialized, too, though much more recently, and their agrarian past is most certainly still in living memory, and their industrial ways a guilty pleasure down deep. if a neighbor tells you you need a tractor, that you can’t do it without one, and you can borrow his anytime (borrow it once even if you don’t want to), it means that he is complimenting you on your hard work. my cattle are dairy, but running beef cattle is a sure fire way to get respect, especially if you have a bull to breed back with.

    focus on recognizing feedback, and consciously accepting it, whether or not it affects any given decision it might relate to.

  20. dolph

    Steve, you are one of the best bloggers out there, but we know next to nothing about you. Honestly. What is your background, what do, or did you do for a living?

  21. ellenanderson

    People of ze wurl relax! (‘Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates.’ for you non-novel readers.)
    But for you TeeVee fans this looks like a dark rerun of that silly old sitcom ‘One Foot in the Grave.’ The superannuated discredited old right wingers (nothing new or hip about the alt.right) versus the unbelievably ancient George Soros. Well the end is certainly nigh for this crowd, RE. Me too.
    RIP Leonard Cohen for sure. I did love his farewell note to Marianne.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      No problem, everyone is a little freaked out right now.

      The best thing for everyone is to not panic, there are many things that are unclear that will reveal themselves in good time.

  22. Ken Barrows

    Bakken production down 16.7% year over year (Sept 2016 to Sept 2015) with 651 additional wells pumping. Barrels per day per well down to 85:
    https://www.dmr.nd.gov/oilgas/stats/statisticsvw.asp
    It’s okay, though, because 20 billion barrels in the Permian are there for the taking:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/vast-field-of-recoverable-oil-natural-gas-found-in-texas/
    “Could” be 20 billion barrels of oil, etc. What is the probability of “could?”

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      The 20 billion barrels account is unclear as to what’s actually in the ground, also what has been counted already a parts of other plays.

      Of course, it’s a fracking project so likely any extraction would cost more than what would be returned in dollars.

      Ron Patterson’s blog has some more info about the Bakken projections. If the play is not peaked it will be at that point quite soon. There is a lot of wishful thinking right now even as currency depreciation worldwide is cutting consumption by a significant percentage.

  23. Tagio

    Steve, I wonder what your thoughts are on the cash illegalization in India, and what if any lessons are being learned from it here among the likes of Rogoff and his ilk. This is pretty heartbreaking stuff, and seems like one of the fastest, most direct ways to deligtimize the government the government can take.

    http://www.acting-man.com/blog/media/2016/11/old-woman.jpeg
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-16/stunning-scenes-panic-gold-price-skyrockets-india-after-currency-ban

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      The tendency of governments these days is to punish, to rain blows on those least likely to resist. As far as I can tell, the burden of this ‘demonetization’ falls on rural poor and small tradesmen who rely on cash for almost all of their business.

      To get new cash (the old currency can be converted within limits) a farmer must make a trip to a town with banks. Of course, the banks are jammed or they run out of money leaving the people have no access to funds. It seems there is a calculation that a percentage of currency holdings will be abandoned because of the difficulty of changing the funds = a pretty cynical strategy.

      As to why, (Hindustan Times):

      “In the last decade, undocumented sources like cash donations accounted for around 75 percent of the funding for India’s political parties. Given this, the sudden clampdown on black money may also be seen as Modi’s clever electioneering for the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.”

      Keep in mind: 1,000 rupee = US$12. The rich simply switch to dollars or other foreign currencies, the poor are stuck with worthless Indian paper. The managers needed to produce large amounts of smaller denomination notes which would have taken months … the info would have leaked and the ban would have failed. Modi is stuck: India will either grind to a halt due to a money shortage or Modi will rescind the ban. Grinding will result in fighting. Rescinding would reveal Modi as an incompetent. In any event, he damaged his political career for trivial gains.

      The zero-cash idea in the West is two-sided: one is to allow sharply negative government bond rates as in Europe, the second is to reduce the cash-handling burden for retail businesses and banks. When interest rates are negative, the cost of holding currency declines to actual storage costs, balances leak out of the finance system and mattresses become banks. By getting rid of cash, the system’s liabilities (your deposits) are trapped inside the banks.

      Meanwhile, sales can be done cheaply with electronic cards = non-trivial savings for retailers. There are also benefits to forms of money that cannot be (easily) stolen, such as Bitcoins. A government sanctioned system that would allow citizens to ‘be their own banks’ would provide benefites that would outweigh the anonymity afforded by paper cash, yet with similar autonomy. Of course, electronic systems are vulnerable to hacking or power interruptions. But these need to be measured on their own merits rather than politicized.

      What are the costs of current proposals? In the end there is the loss of trust. The action is punitive and presumes citizens using the government own money are criminals without offering any evidence or a shred of proof … a violation of due process and an unconstitutional taking without compensation.

      The rise in interest rates renders the zero-cash proposal moot. As bond prices crash yields turn positive. There is no macroeconomic argument to justify the inconvenience except to punish others while facilitating banker theft.

      Let’s say the government wants to get rid of cash anyway? In this country, where policies are debated publicly to allow politicians a chance to posture/to escape accountability, any serious discussion of a zero-cash regime would lead to runs out of banks. After all, finance is a Ponzi scheme. First out has the best chance of getting out intact. Even a small run would seriously damage the banks; it might take on a life of its own (contagion) and become unstoppable. A run on the banks is what is taking place in India, for instance. It could wind up taking down the entire rupee system and the government as well.

      As for the enabling of crime by the use of cash: the real criminals are the bankers. Hang them and the world becomes a better place.

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/india/interest-rate

  24. Creedon

    I see the 10 year bond is at 2.32 today and gravity keeps dragging down the price of oil. Short on oil has a comment over at Peak oil news that oil is dying on the vine. Saudi Arabia is apparently burning though Sovereign Wealth Funds.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      Every time a country depreciates its currency, a whole mass of oil customers become instantly a bit poorer. This feeds back to the drillers who become cash flow constrained; face reduced top line revenue => industry becomes less solvent along with the lenders => credit constraints mean customers are poorer still. Turkey, Russia, UK, EU, China … demonetized India amplifies the trend as a large percentage of India’s funds has gone ‘poof’. How the billions in that country will find the money to buy gas is a mystery. Depreciation/demonetization = Conservation by Other Means™.

      ‘IT’ the Peak Oil decline … It’s indeed happening right now, right under everyone’s noses.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      More fake news from NY Times.

      Failure of the so-called ‘free press’. Too bad, it was nice while it lasted.

      1. encouragement

        when did the nyt fail steve? before or after it was owned and edited by cotton merchants and believers in the old testament? was it before or after it’s formal integration with the CIA (Operation Mockingbird)?

      2. steve from virginia Post author

        Internet and ‘social media’ reduced the press. Electronic media took away classified ads, such a small thing but it was the end of newspapers. The heyday of television was probably when the programs were seen in black and white. Edward R Murrow, Bill Downs, Eric Sevareid, Chet Huntley & David Brinkley … Walter Cronkite. There were standards, quality control, good writing and editing, the press whispered truth to the bosses. Now there is noise, more and more lies and fakes, the endless suck toward authority.

        Looking up material for the Syria series it is easy to see how media, Facebook and Twitter were to a very large degree responsible for Islamic State. Its soldiers did what they did but the group’s identity was ‘a show’, distilled (denatured) ‘in front of a live studio audience’.

        I’ve hated television for a long time because it degrades everyone who watches it. The Internet is becoming more like TV, it’s a zoo. Maybe it’s time to cut the cord …

  25. ellenanderson

    Hi Steve – I have been having similar thoughts about the internet. I think that the trolls (who may increasingly be bots rather than humans) are so pervasive and annoying that discussions between reasonable humans are going to become more difficult. When I used to talk to people in bars I would often run into crackpot evolutionary psychologists with their tautologies, hidden agendas and mental illnesses. I never argued with them but just picked up my martini and moved on. Maybe, as you say, it is time. It has been a real pleasure talking to you, Steve. Thank you so much.

  26. Usman

    Steve,

    Seems a lot of people are talking about the dollar shortage right now. Given the ongoing collapse in forex, some central banks have proposed raising rates to stem ‘capital flight’, in an effort to bolster their currencies (Banxico for example). You had written previously that devaluation was a strategy to gain dollars, which now seems to be underway. How would raising rates affect this dollar preference dynamic?

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      Not raising rates enough will do little. Raising more will slow the flood. Raising too much and what is gained by the dollar trade is lost in stifled commerce. None of the above will overturn the fundamentals.

      If a rate rise actually accomplished what is intended the country’s currency would disappear from circulation = ‘competitive deflation’.

      Parallel w/ your question, interest rate increases would have a long term effect only if all the other non-dollar rates increased at the same time and the same amount. Otherwise outside countries would be the conduit for fleeing dollars. My sense is holding the dollar as fuel is stronger than holding a currency to gain dollars except at the highest level of interest.

      Yours a good question and important to think through as the binding dollar-fuel relationship offers such dire outcomes.

      This is also interesting @ Automatic Earth …

      https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/obstacles-to-trumps-growth-plans/

  27. encouragement

    you seem to be suggesting that the media hologram was more sophisticated back in the day. if so, this can could have only bee that people were less dumbed-down. but judging from the Beats’ material, i suspect not. bosses don’t listen like leaders do. if they were in fact honest journalists it was probably more like muttering to themselves, after the first few lame attempts at whispering above their pay grade, and subsequently just attaching themselves to power instead of pissing off with their integrity. it is paradoxical to expect a corporate journalist to speak truth to power. he can only speak truth in service of a greater, adaptive evil, as a useful idiot, which is the basic mechanism of ‘progress’ in the corporate media microphonic hologram.

    bars and the internet are double-edged swords, ellen. live with it or don’t. if i’m a crackpot, at least i am able to convince myself that the crack is somewhere in near the top, and the vessel still appears to hold love and water IRL. perhaps it’s a stress fracture, from embracing the struggle. nothing that can’t be mended.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      The problem is the time demand which increases with every increment of babble.

      I sit here trying to wrestle one word into place on top of another; for each one there are thousands more which must be read. Necessary because there is no point to my making fool of myself, I can stand in the corner and be a fool without trying. Half-formed politics have invaded every discourse — as if people have discovered the currency of the political economy is words and are hell-bent on covering their losses with volume. Reading between the lines is hard when the lines are clogged with the mental equivalent of goo.

      I can outwit the hostility but the spam and mendacity; good grief. Nobody expects a church but really?

  28. dolph

    This is how the media works in the United States.
    It is completely controlled by the big corporate interests. And their goal of course is to make money off both sides.
    So they convince the right wing that blacks are criminals, and everything will become better if we deport nonwhite immigrants and bring back christian belief.
    And they convince the left wing that blacks are oppressed, and everything will become better if we become multicultural and gay loving.

    Meanwhile, the only goal is just to keep ratings, profit increasing to infinity. Do you think Americans will catch on? They haven’t done so for 40 years. I won’t hold my breath.

  29. Tagio

    “The problem is the time demand which increases with every increment of babble. ”

    The people who “run things” in this country have learned this lesson well. Say ANYTHING, no matter how outlandish (“Putin is trying to interfere in our elections.”), and you impose a major time and effort burden on the opposition to disprove the lie, correct the misinterpretation, set forth the proper perspective, etc. This burden is potentially INFINITE, because of the well-known problem that it is IMPOSSIBLE to prove non-existence (“God does not exist; Putin is not interfering with our elections”). By talking absolute rot, they control the public discourse and have free reign to pursue their agendas.

    The public / “common good” cannot prevail in an era when the “leaders” are utterly without personal integrity, for whom positions of power are just opportunities for grifting and self-aggrandizement. Yesterday we learned that Trump will not pursue a criminal investigation of Hillary, once again confirming that there is no accountability for those at the top of the system. So now “justice” for Hillary’s pay to play / government for sale scheme can be added to the already lengthy list of all the things that have to be “fixed,” and tacked onto the end of the Obama-era list, which presumably still includes closing Guantanamo and universal health care. Hey, good luck, suckers! As I mentioned earlier in this comment section, “governments” do not actually “govern,” that is not what they are for or do. Treating it as such is to be played for a fool, to waste your life.

    The only real option for the “people,” is to completely turn away from the system, stop petitioning (begging), stop demanding, stop emoting on social media, stop trying to win an impossible coordination game (electing the “right” people, who will “take action” by writing an instruction manual (“laws”), whose realization further depends upon still others to “make it happen”), and instead take responsibility for their families, friends and communities and start, immediately, pursuing their own agendas – i.e., actually acting on them, not expecting the political class to do it for them. At this point, imo, action should be taken at the local level and through local government, among towns and villages, and possibly certain SMALL cities, where there is some chance of actually achieving results. If you aren’t in such a locale where you can achieve results, figure out where to go, how to get there and stay there, and go there.

  30. Bill Sodomsky

    “I won’t let the children grow up in
    a world with no National Socialism.”

    “Debt-O-Nomics, The Untergang”

    In February of 2012 Steve you were referring to the state of the European Union, now we are witnessing the final act right here in the good old US of A. At the end of the Second World War the Nazis formed alliances with pro-German sympathizers of the American financial and corporate elite, a power structure in which they recognized their own Fascist ideology. The objective was to create a “Third Way” which would be neither the finance capitalism of the West, nor the state socialism of the East, but the finance “cartel” capitalism and state socialism that became the hallmark of Imperial Germany.

    El Duce/Fuhrer Trump and his comrade Pense are assembling quite an array of henchmen to carry out the policies of what may otherwise be termed National Socialism. The pedigrees of his close associates and nominees are enough to send chills down the spines of anyone who has studied history in depth. Here are a few names of which we will all soon be quite familiar with if we’re not already;

    Pense, Giulianni, Bannon, Wilbur Ross, Pompeo, Eric Trump, The Donald himself, “Fightin Joe Dunford (already in place), Comey (already in place), and there will be more of the same lineage and affiliations as time goes on. Check them out and note the nexus. The takeover of the US occurred many years ago, well before JFK, but he tried to unyoke himself and the country from the tyranny of the banking and industrial cartel. We all know the end result of that. I fear what comes next as we continue on with our rendezvous to the hard limits of resource depletion. The jackboots will be firmly in place and the desperate Americans will welcome them with open arms just as they did with El Duce and the Fuhrer.

  31. Creedon

    As what you call dollar preference unfolds, I would appreciate your comments as to whether you view this as inflationary. All of this can be stated in different language. My current language is that the global credit bubble created to a great extent here in the U.S. is beginning to unwind. It will likely take a while.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      It depends where and what currency.

      The dollar is strongly deflationary but the other currencies that are arbitraged against the dollar; their holders face inflation or hyperinflation. Venezuela now, Turkey to come, perhaps Russia and the other petro-states. States in the grip of inflation are those most desperate to ‘improve’ leaving their populations to dance on the edge of panic. The intent to improve has the governments pushing banks to take impossible risks, to push losses into economies that cannot accept them, against disappearing collateral. The result is system insolvency with no security for depositors. Inflation is a slow motion bank run where the banks aren’t allowed to run out of money => the banks’ clients take the money they have and trade it for the money they want at whatever price. The time cost of money accelerates … well you know.

      As things stand now it is hard to see how there would be any more inflation in the US than there is now in Japan. Some new element would have to be introduced to shift the balance away from the fuel-dollar relationship. It’s hard to predict what sort of nonsense the establishment might try: remonetization or introduction of a hard rationing system (which would offer a quasi-currency that would be traded against the dollar). But, the impulse of the incoming regime is to punish, instead of distributing losses, the intent is to distribute pain and violence … to produce growth from the barrel of a gun! They are more likely to produce thrift instead: this has been the outcome in both Europe and Japan. With the vast debts both private and public, with little in the way of earning power in the hands of anyone but bankers and gamblers, with little in the way of repayment capacity in any form other than new, unproductive loans on top of the loans already in place, there appears to little room for inflation.

      More on this later …

  32. encouragement

    hey Bill,

    from the very first, ‘nazi’ was an elitist, internationalist word-play that conjoined the german word for idiot with NSDAP. it was an insult amplified by the internationalist media in weimar. it was a fearful response to, for better or worse (neither), a sea change, much as you, in admitting your fears, implicitly admit yourself that it is for you.

    if you want to refrain from subhumanizing people you’ve never met, it would be constructive if you didn’t use the term nazi to describe nationalists, as does the proliferation of internationalist spoiled brats protesting in the streets who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, along with the ‘public’ broadcasting denizens at home, all of whom are simultaneously practicing and decrying what they perceive to be the ‘divisiveness’ and ‘hate’ of the right. when the fake world turns upside-down, the internationalist might take care not to become a total asshole just because he didn’t want it to.

    all that separates your economic internationalism from bannon’s economic nationalism is resource availability. your brand of trickle-down politics recognizes the unassailable logic of the multi-lateral trading of people on the people farm in times of plenty, and bannon’s recognizes the unassailable logic of the bilateral trading of people on the people farm in times of scarcity.

    otherwise you are pretty much in realpolitic lockstep with bannon; both paradigms are neo-feudal. the jackboots never went away whenever it is you thought that they did, it’s only spectacular resource growth and your compliance that’s shielded you from them thus far.

    hitler was not a fascist. hitler was an autarkic, nationalist socialist in practice, considering the war context (not all that dissimilar in effect to the us gubmint’s war politics at the time) but, ideologically, not without a good deal of appreciation for decentralized modes of production a la ivan illich, dare i say it. see his writings.

    fascism is corporatism. obama and hillary are fascists in support of multinational corporations. mussolini was a fascist in support of nationalistic business syndicates. which do you prefer now, and why? trump, it appears for now, is a transitional (inter-)nationalist fascist, for now some sort of half-inverted gorbachev, with some decentralizing characteristics looming, by virtue of their cost-cutting potential. for example, with the proosed disbanding of the department of education and further cost-cutting in education via the voucher program, my home-schooling mom friend at thanksgiving said that initially it might make home-schooling families eligible for 12K per year per child. maybe that’s hot air, i don’t know. that’s socialism, i said to her. 🙂 she lit up and said, ‘that is socialism, by god! and there’d be strings attached.’ then a few seconds later, ‘but you probably wouldn’t have to take it.’ correct.

    during the statist attempt to manage collapse, there can be no other way but towards national socialism since capitalism has to grow, even if dubiously so, to remain, and efficiencies of scale are only made manifest during periods of ecological intensification, including with regard to government. government will have to shrink along with everything else. anyway, it’s not like it’s out of the realm of possibility that there’ll be enough time that in the next general election, national socialism will switch over to the agenda 21- type degrowth party variety that some might find leaves more fashionable boot prints on the face.

    generally speaking, NSDAP, and the german people in particular, were fighting for the nationalist survival of a variously-romanticized identity in an emergent, decidedly unromantic, internationalist, industrial order. it had to take on the fossil-fueled, expansionary anglo-american empire to the west, and the fossil fueled, expansionary soviet empire to the east, and the internationalist and anarchist internal populations. it was war, what do you expect?

    america and the rest of the interationalist countries, today, are ‘voluntarily’ transitioning to nationalism due to the failure of internationalism. this is very different situation from that in which the third reich existed, and trump, in fact (who couldn’t carry farage’s jockstrap if he tried let alone hitler’s) was the anti-ww3 candidate, and imperialist hillary was for telling russia that if she was president she would shoot down russian planes over syria.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      “NSDAP, and the German people in particular, were fighting for the nationalist survival of a variously-romanticized identity in an emergent, decidedly unromantic, internationalist, industrial order.”

      This is completely false. Hitler & Company emerged as sock puppets of Hans von Seeckt and the ex-Kaiser high-command including Erich Ludendorf. Hitler received support because he promised to revive German arms and destroy the Soviet Union. This promise was first made before 1923, it is why Hitler was backed by Anglo-American banks and other bits of ‘the internationalist, industrial order’ that made up the entirety of German big business.

      You may be a provocateur or just a plain fool but keep in mind one thing: Dear Ol’ Dad and millions of other Americans fought to destroy the ‘variously-romanticized identity’ as you call it, and they did a decent, if imperfect job. Unlike the Nazis they overthrew, they did not massacre their prisoners or unarmed civilians, nor did they make slaves of those under their control they did not kill. 200,000+ Americans lost their lives in the effort. Let me also point out the ‘variously-romanticized identity’ was guilty of all the crimes its participants and collaborators were accused of and many, many more. The ‘variously-romanticized identity’ was the greatest catastrophe that ever befell the German people in its entire history, millions died for nothing but the vanity of a madman, the greed of his cronies and the cynicism of a handful of careerist dupes. Millions more in Eastern Europe wound up under the shadow of Stalin and the Communists because of Hitlerism; both its so-called ‘success’ and its failure. Keep in mind, if the ‘variously-romanticized identity’ had managed to keep control over some rump of the German state into the summer of 1945, the first atomic bomb would have fallen on Berlin and the second on Munich. There was no hope for Hitler: Los Alamos had seven more plutonium cores made and ready to convert into functioning nuclear weapons.

      NSDAP was an extension of the personality cult of Hitler; even the ghostly power it pretends to offer to the deluded jackasses who seek it out is fake. Take your nonsense somewhere else.

  33. ellenanderson

    @Steve – “It’s hard to predict what sort of nonsense the establishment might try: remonetization or introduction of a hard rationing system (which would offer a quasi-currency that would be traded against the dollar).”
    I had a holiday meal with someone who is an east-coast, well-educated and well-off retiree from a large financial organization where he was at the top of the heap once upon a time. He was an early Trump supporter to the horror of some of his friends and family. It is his opinion that the US Treasury should (and will) float 100-year bonds! He was very dismissive of the possibility of rationing. But if rationing were somehow confined to the activities of the lower classes while the US common was pledged as collateral for the new long bonds he would be perfectly content.
    Of course all of the foregoing is coupled with total faith in Saudi America and disbelief in ecological destruction. People like this have been in charge since the 1980’s. Trump’s appointees seem to be falling into this general type. Not a lot of pick-up driving beer-swilling deplorables in this lot. Treasury guy has a house in the Hamptons? You are right, Steve, they will try to keep this going at all costs. Look out below!

  34. Ken Barrows

    If OPEC is not going to cut production unless non-OPEC countries do so, I think it is safe to say that OPEC is dead. Long live OPEC! 1961-2016. So young.

    1. steve from virginia Post author

      They all keep saying one or the other is going to cut production. Even though it would be smart it is unlikely, because all oilcos including the national companies need every penny they can get.

      OPEC members have cheated before, they will cheat again until the credit runs out then they will pray.

      OPEC members have prayed before, they will pray again …

  35. UnhingedBecauseLucid

    [“One word that describes our precious country is incompetence. We have gone from being the ‘we-can-do-it’ nation that put a man on the Moon to the ‘hire a Mexican to do it’ nation that cannot find its ass with both hands. The fact of our dysfunction and the country’s reliance migrant labor are what gives form to the efforts of Donald Trump. Yet he acts against himself: he is the lazy-man of American politics who requires others to do his heavy lifting. This does not mean physical labor but instead the struggle to become clear in the mind, to craft out of disparate- and contradictory elements a policy outline or philosophy of governing. This is never attempted, it is too difficult, instead there is the recycling of old, bankrupt memes. The candidate’s absence of effort leaves a residue of personality: Trump is a blank page upon which others paint in the sketch, an actor who aims to meet (diminished) public expectations and nothing more, sound and fury significant of nothing in particular.”]

    Damn fine paragraph…

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