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Unwinding

Tue, Nov 3, 2009

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Nine more banks failed last weekend, bringing the year’s total to 115. Along with the banks, one of the largest companies in the country declared bankruptcy, further evidence every large entity in the world will go down with energy availability. Small businesses are joining the fiesta, declaring bankruptcy like Zimbabweans, and the mother of all carry trades is headed for a collapse the size of hell and half of Montana.


If Ben Bernanke and the fools at the Fed actually thought the industrial economy was recovering, they’d jack up interest rates. When the prime rate is up around 5%, you’ll know the industrial economy is back on track. Alternatively, you can monitor the extinction rate of non-human species.
The Keynesian approach favored by the Obummer administration is working about as well as pissing in an inferno. Those 640,329 new jobs created by the stimulus package came at a cost of $323,739.83 per job. We’ll never pay that tab, of course, because most of us aren’t working any more. Hell, half the kids in the country are on food stamps. Furthermore, the latest insult is a drop in the bucket compared to the 2009 deficit, which exceeds $450,000 per U.S. citizen.
We’ve long used our homes as ATMs, but those days are behind us. Housing prices are expected to continue their decline, dropping a staggering 90%. Suddenly that $6,900 house in Detroit isn’t looking so sweet, or so unusual. And commercial real estate is on the leading edge of a huge crash, as you’ve known for a while if you’ve been reading this blog. Or, for that matter, any other source of economic news beyond the mainstream media.
The housing mess isn’t the only offal stinking up the industrial economy, either. The markets look like the big bubble you blew with an entire pack of Hubba Bubba. And here’s a surprise: The recent rise in GDP is a mirage, just like Dow 10,000. As if the stock markets have any relation to reality, now or at any point in the past.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any more entertaining, the feds would like to make the big bank bailouts a permanent scar on your grandchild’s checkbook. There’s nothing new about this turn of events: It’s a classic example of socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor (record-setting bonuses at the end of 2009 will add to the ever-growing list of examples). And if you think Obama is your friend, and will assuage your wounds, you’re still drinking the “progressive” Kool-Aid of wishful thinking and ignoring his drive for unlimited power, here and abroad. When questioned, he undoubtedly will perform the infamous act of amnesia we’ve come to expect from our “leaders” in Washington. Alas, Edward Abbey was correct: “Government should be weak, amateurish and ridiculous. At present, it fulfills only a third of the role.” At this juncture, the U.S. cannot even maintain hegemony in Afghanistan because the Taliban will not agree to a backroom power-sharing deal.
The current administration is hardly the first to lie, cheat, and steal from the citizens they claim to serve. Over time, the extent of the immorality has become unbearable. Consider this minor, personal example: I asked for a testimonial regarding my skill as a public speaker from a dear friend and former graduate student who currently works the National Parks Service (which is part of the executive branch, for those of you who missed school that day). After speaking with her supervisor in Washington, she declined. I’m reminded of a line from E.M. Forster: “If I were forced to choose between my country and my friend, I hope I would be brave enough to choose my friend.” Here’s another relevant line from Edward Abbey: “I would never betray a friend to serve a cause. Never reject a friend to help an institution. Great nations may fall in ruin before I would sell a friend to save them.” Sadly, damned few among us are as principled as Forster and Abbey.
The “solutions” to our energy predicament are clogging the airwaves. As if algae will save our dreams of happy motoring. As if building nuclear power plants will provide free electricity. As if algae, plutonium, and uranium come problem-free. As if Transition Towns will allow an orderly, peaceful transition to a trouble-free future. As if maintaining industrial culture in smaller form will magically stop destroying the living planet.
Industrial civilization is hardly the first civilization to outstrip resources critical to human life, thereby committing cultural suicide. But it’s the first to make a serious run at murdering the entire living planet, and American Empire is coming to a close far sooner than most people thought possible. Soon, the lights go out, which brings down every aspect of western civilization.
_________________
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34 Responses to “Unwinding”

  1. matt Says:

    news from the other side of the pacific
    ‘The budget deficit for this financial year is expected to be broadly unchanged from the May estimate ($57.6 billion, or 4.7% of GDP, versus $57.7 billion in May), but the deficit is now expected to decline rapidly to $15.9 billion, or 1.1% of GDP, by 2012-13.
    By comparison, the average deficit of the G7 countries is forecast to be 9% of GDP this year and 5.6% in 2012-13. Net government debt is currently 3.7% of GDP in Australia compared to 78% among the G7 countries, rising to 90% in 2012.’ eureka report
    Guy, what are you suggesting? That someone has been in her ear?
    Not likely, no one reads your blog, except for me, Stanley, Double D, Greg, Court, Michael and ‘latherman’, I may have forgotten a couple. You havn’t really offended anyone here except the government, your former university, the growth economy and the status quo.

  2. Guy McPherson Says:

    Matt, I’m suggesting the U.S. federal government has its employees so buffaloed they won’t take a stand on any issue, regardless of the (in)significance. This culture is oppressive.
    The quadrillion dollars in derivatives represent what factor of global GDP? It must be up to 30 or 40 times by now. When do we pay those?

  3. matt Says:

    ‘buffaloed’ (nice term by the way)
    - its only a reference WTF! Tell her she has no ‘balls’.
    Perhaps she could write the reference without the letter head.
    Perhaps it not deliberate, just as you suggested its a
    non committal culture of ‘beige’. As she works
    in a government position she cant have an opinion!
    Governmental departments are inherently conservative,
    bit of shame since they are at the coal face when it comes
    to making decisions and fostering change.

  4. 'latherman' Says:

    The other day a friend told me that basically we are at a theater watching a zombie movie. Either we temporarily suspend disbelief and act like a monster wants to bite us, or else our reality is going to be way worse for at least the next hour and a half.
    vampire blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY4DnVohrCY

  5. Stan Moore Says:

    Driving on Santa Rosa Avenue, I noticed that several of those RV vendors have gone out of business. Their vast parking lots are empty and their buildings shuttered. The age of motor camping, except by the homeless, is just about up. It might be fun in the next year or two to maybe get a motorcycle or even a bicycle and visit Yellowstone, Yosemite or Gettsburgh before the entire system collapses into itself.
    Ron Paul said yesterday that the entire financial bailout itself did nothing but create yet another bubble that must burst, with resulting pain for the taxpayers on whose back the economy rests (or dies).
    Maybe the mmost painless, sensible approach is to play possum, hide your head in the sand like an ostrich, and play dead like an armadillo.
    Ultimately, if Obama continues to avert panic, it will be too late to panic anyways. I think that is his scheme. Obama’s message will be: Don’t panic. Don’t think. Don’t feel. Don’t expect. Don’t, just Don’t.
    Of course, corruption in Afghanistan is a major concern for Obama, because it is a distraction from REAL corruption. I wonder what the payoff was by Obama/Clinton to get Abdullah (squared) out of the race in Afghanistan. How heartwearming for Obama to phone in his congrats to karzai along with a bonus check for his brother from the CIA and funds for Abdullah to build a new armored home in Kabul guarded by Blackwater and funded by the American taxpayer. But watch that corruption, Hamid! We can’t be having none of that!
    It truly is unfortunate that Hunter
    Thompson checked out a few years too soon. I suspect that if he had only known what was going to happen, he would have removed his .45 pistol from his mouth and just taken another bottle of whiskey laced with morphine and toughed it out.
    Stan Moore

  6. Stan Moore Says:

    A Fresh View –
    I was just thinking — The youth of America and Iceland and Britain don’t seem to know it (yet), but their futures and the futures of their own children and children’s children have already been massively discounted and sold for a big profit on Wall Street. They had no say in the matter, and their parents were too distracted to notice.
    One of the most honest economists of all, Michael Hudson has explained it and brought wearily to mind two scary words: indentured servitude. The next generation of Americans will not be consuming much in terms of luxuries, because their futures will be owned by the Chinese, who will prove to be amazingly non-sympathetic to their plight. The Chinese will say to their vassels: “You think you got struggles! We been there, done that; now your turn, sucker. Now git down and work!”
    Manuel Labor is not going to be an immigrant from Guatemala. He is going to be a landscaper from Macon taking care of the home of his master and landlord from Shanghai. “Does my hard labor please you, kind sir?” will be all he is allowed to say before he is handed a bread and bologna sandwich and a glass of rice water and sent back to trimming the hedges by hand clipper.
    I don’t think we will see hip hop in its current form much longe, and we won’t see Jayzee and Sean Puffy Combs riding in limousines and drinking imported water and weaaring Cartier watches. They will be driving limousines and bowing and scraping to steely men with squinty eyes who might give them a quarter for shining their shoes while receiving blow jobs in the back of their limos.
    I guess I could sum it up by saying the future is not all that rosy. It started with Reagan assuring us through his media manipulators that it was morning in America. But it was an illusian and the dawn of a hellish nightmare to come. According to Dick Cheney, Reagan taught us that “deficits don’t matter”, but even they didn’t really believe it. If deficits didn’t matter, why didn’t they just pay them off for the hell of it and try something different for variety’s sake? One day, Reagan will be a national hero in China, probably disinterred and reburied with Mao as the man who made the Chinese economic miracle possible through American myopia and greed. Gordon Gecko said “Greed is Good” and Reagan said “Greed is God” and Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell said, “Amen, brother!”
    So, here comes our nasty future barreling in on us like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on steroids. They are coming, and they are not going to be denied. We have sown and we shall reap and the new mantra will have changed from “Live Free or Die!” to “Debt slavery for all: get used to it”
    On the bright note: The (musical version of the) blues are going to get a lot more profound and inspirational.
    I wish I was exagerrating, but I don’t think I am…
    Stan Moore

  7. Frank Mezek Says:

    Our Stan: Speaking of Shanghai,a friend just came back from there,and said “Shanghai makes New York City look like a cow town”.
    I said yes of course,anyone who has been to Shanghai can see that.The ultimate in capitalistic elegance,luxury,and sophistication(read:hedonistic excess)is found on the Bund.
    The scary thing is that the young speak perfect,unaccented,American English.They are very intelligent and clever.One of the most amazing
    sights in the `world is the view from the roof garden of the Peace Hotel overlooking the river.
    Frank

  8. Greg Breneman Says:

    I believe china will never reach its potential which may be just as well for everyone and everything. The resources to allow the chinese to reach our american level of affluence for the majority of their population do not exist on this planet anymore. They are simply to late to the party. They are locking themselves into the same path we have been on except their resource requirements will be much larger and that available to use much less. The chinese government must have many sleepless nights wondering how they are going to compete for oil against all the other major nations. I believe that china not only values the U.S. market but understands with total clarity that america for all practical purposes controls the worlds energy markets outside of russia. The U.S. is still a country that produces significant oil,has the canadian tar sands at an estimated 250 billion barrels just to the north and a military solidly planted in the worlds biggest oil patch in the middle east as well as control of the worlds shipping lanes and seas. The U.S. can cut anyones oil imports anytime it wants too. All china can do is nibble around the edges and try to make deals with a justifiably paranoid russia that sees china as an increasing threat as time goes by. China has feet of clay when it comes to energy and they know it. The U.S. is the gatekeeper a fact that anyone outside this country knows full well.

  9. Guy McPherson Says:

    The United States has all the characteristics of a failed state, even though nobody knows how bad the economic mess really is. Even the Washington Post is brooking the notion of America defaulting, MSNBC realizes the Clunkers for Cash debacle was, well, a debacle and a ripoff, and the next big financial crisis is lurking even before we’re out of the woods on the last one. The Obama administration continues to make up numbers because the real unemployment numbers are too dire to reveal to the sheeple.
    Stick a fork in it: America’s done.

  10. matt Says:

    Stan
    With regards to your health concerns and your future survival -
    get yourself a mountain bike so
    when you out ‘raptoring’ you could go for
    a spin. I guarantee that if you did 50km
    per week, within 4-6 weeks you will lose
    5kg. I know from speaking to a mate of mine who
    has borderline diabetes, the more exercise he does,
    the more the blood sugar stuff improves – almost reversing the
    condition. Bike riding will add to your longivity/health
    and well being much more than what gun ownership ever will.
    (not withstanding the peak oil zombies)
    So, trade in one of your ‘howitzers’ for a MB with front
    suspension and get a cushy seat while you are at it.
    This goes to everyone, the future is uncertain, time to get fit, we all gonna have to cut our own grass, so to speak.

  11. Stan Moore Says:

    Matt –
    I have no doubt that mountain biking can be great excercise, but I hate bicyclists with a passion. The winding roads around here are potential death traps and I am surprised there are not more cycling fatalities. Perhaps there are many unreported fatalities and other motorists do like I do — bury the evidence as quickly and inconspicuously as possible every time we run over one of the bastards.
    But, you will also be happy to know that I have added a new excercise regimen to my daily routine, and it makes a real difference in blood glucose according to my regular measurements. I simply go outside my back door in the evening and walk the local asphalt road, which leads up a steep hill, down the peak to the highway about 1/2 mile distant, and then back up the steep grade from the opposite direction to the same peak and back down to my residence. It takes me half an hour to 45 minutes to make the walk and it gets my heart really pumping and breaking a sweat. My blood glucose has been brought down very beautifully by this routine and the road has almost no vehicular traffic, which is rare in my area. It is a perfect excercise solution for me.
    I could never carry all my traps, raptor bands, measuring equipment, scope, binoculars, camera etc on a bicycle anyways. And did I mention that I hate all bicyclists with a passion and wish them all dead? They come along at the worst possible times when I am trapping hawks, they are disgustingly friendly and wanting attention and conversation at the worst possible times, they ride in packs and do not share the road, they break traffic laws with impunity, they wear disgusting clothing in unnatural bright colors with hideous, clanging shoes, and they pollute the very earth with their presence (even the girls, though I do love the form fitting garb on their buns).
    But don’t take it personally as long as you stay out of northern California with your bike. I was actually struck from the rear by a bicyclist once last year as I drove down a windy road and had to use my brakes. The cyclist was following right on my bumper and could not match my braking and he went down. I stopped and called to him from my vehicle to ask if he was okay. He said nothing and I watched for a signal as I drove away, but none appeared from him. Later that day I got a telephone call from law enforcement saying I had left the scene of an accident without getting out to make sure the cyclist was okay. I told the officer on the phone that I had called to him and asked if he needed help and the cyclist ignored my call, so I left. The officer wanted me to admit a crime, and I did not and finally I just asked the officer if he was through, if he was going to file charges against me, or what. I told him that if it ever happened again I would get out and talk to the cyclist before leaving and that seemed to satisfy the officer and the conversation was ended. I gather that the cyclist was uninjured but his wheel was bent. I think that technically he was in violation of the law by driving too close to me for safety, but I declined to press charges against him. But if I ever hear of a cyclist that does get hurt in one of those dumb maneuvers, I don’t think I will exactly weep and mourn or lament his loss.
    I hate them, one and all, and that is pretty rare for me to hate people. Every single bicycist, in my view, is part of human overpopulation, and I hope Guy doesn’t come now and say he has taken up the sport, because I will have to hate him, too, and especially if he cycles out to California to ever visit me.
    Rant now completed.
    Have a nice day!
    Stan Moore

  12. matt Says:

    gee wiz Stan,
    when you are out raptoring you could always put the MB in the back of your ‘pick up’. I was suggesting you ride the trails, not
    on the road.
    You should travel to the Netherlands…
    one day you may learn to love lycra, you never know
    you may look good in it.
    I have never read so much passion…you need to ride,
    so you can see things from the other side, in interests
    of having a ‘balanced view’.

  13. bubbleboy Says:

    Not like I’m an expert, but I am not sure shooting zombies kills them.
    Apparently you have to destroy the brain and burn the body to prevent them from resurrecting.
    (I had to google to be sure. -You learn something new every day.)
    I think I prefer garlic.
    For the record, I am a proud bicyclist. Sort of hard to ask for a date when you ride a bike, but way better than a car in all other respects. Solves the whole procreation problem, but the views are great and you have time to watch the world going by.

  14. Michael Irving Says:

    Stan,
    Un-freaking-believable!!
    Michael

  15. Stan Moore Says:

    Matt –
    The fact is that I have spent many, many hours on bicycles, including mountain bikes. And gradually, over time, I grew to hate them with a passion. Yes, it is a passion and a bicycle-free world would be just fine with me.
    I live in an area full of avid bicyclists. They ride around in packs, polluting the very earth with their presence, clogging the roads, making motor vehicle use dangerous for themselves and others. They chat and chat and chat endlessly and can be heard for long distances. I can be sitting silenty on the edge of a remote road, listening to the sounds of nature and observing the beauty of wild landscapes. The next thing you know a pack of cyclists in the latest fashions (often matching competition outfits from some race or event) will come plugging along, waving in a friendly manner as I sit there hoping that a big truck will come along and send them all to hell.
    They gather in huge groups at country delicatessans, clogging the sidewalks and making loud noises with their freaking hard soled shoes and gabbing nonstop. They stop to fix their flat tires right on the edge of the pavement, often daring motorists to apply brakes and avoid hitting them because they consider themselves to be the rightful rulers of the public roads, even though they pay no taxes and would howl in protest if required to pay registration fees to help pay for their bicycle use of public roads. You hear their conversations as they talk, and it is never about nature, never about what is really wrong with this world, but about their jobs, their investments, their friends, and sometimes their illusions that Obama is the greatest thing since the tubeless tire.
    And they are part of consumer society at its worst. They have to have the latest titanium frames and other paraphanelia and accouterments according to the fashions/engineering of the day. They convince themselves that their form of conspicous consumption is more important than non-consumption, just like people who think that buying a new Prius and the economic activity involved in such consumerism is what environmentalism is all about.
    No, I don’t like those people at all. They may be physically fit, but the world, in my view, is a worse place because of them and I do hate them, I really do.
    The only people I can think of right now that I hate more are the folks in the NASCAR crowd. Those buffoons are the common enemies of me AND the bicyclists and I wish somehow they would cancel each other out, but unfortunately, the don’t seem to encounter each other enough to accomplish anything good. Oh, yes, I also hate the Motoguzzi racing motorcyle numbskulls…
    I would not have made this an issue on this forum, but Matt raised the issue and was mindless enough to repeat his assertion as if he did not hear my answer the first time. Care to try again, Matt?

  16. greg Breneman Says:

    What do you all think of the concept of a triggering event.
    Since it appears to me that the prospects of “victory” in Afghanistan are rapidly receding or never existed in the first place depending on your point of view and that the taliban is already turning its attention to the overthrow of the government of Pakistan what do you thing will be the end result? When I look at certain web sites that have crosstalk between Indians and Pakistan the depth of hatred between them is quite astounding. In 1998 they both started to haul out their nuclear weapons as the kashmir border war escalated and if I remember correctly the bombing of the Indian parliament took place then too. The Clinton administration convinced them to not push the button that time but I suspect a Pakistan armed with 50-100 nukes that is a fundamentalist state cannot be tolerated by India. Most war game simulations by the pentagon between these two countries go nuclear very quickly. Regional nuclear war as a world wide triggering event causing economic collapse. What do you think?

  17. Michael Irving Says:

    Stan,
    I was thinking you were speaking tongue in cheek about bike riders. In fact you must have been. How else am I to greet your idea that bike riders don’t pay taxes or that as taxpayers they shouldn’t be allowed to use the infrastructure they purchase with those taxes? You must have been kidding. I get in trouble saying over-the-top things too sometimes. Yours are really good though—“Perhaps there are many unreported fatalities and other motorists do like I do—bury the evidence as quickly and inconspicuously as possible every time we run over one of the bastards.” Ha, Ha! Very good! I particularly like how you pretend to be the curmudgeon in your story about the bike accident. The whole thing falls apart when you start talking about butts though.
    Good job though. You had me going for a while.
    Michael

  18. Michael Irving Says:

    Matt,
    Kudos for extending a helping hand to Stan.
    Michael

  19. matt Says:

    ah…
    I try to give him some friendly healthy living advice and
    we wants to run me down!
    I will make one more mindless point about the benefits of
    high heart rate exercise (cycling). As one gets older,
    it is good for ones ‘mojo’, so my diabetic friend told me.
    Perhaps I was bit premature in calling you a wanker some time ago. :)
    Bubbleboy, I laughed out loud with that zombie comment.
    Michael, thanks, I am just trying to be affable here.
    Given all our peak oil awareness, I would of thought increasing
    our mobility without fossil fuels would be pretty high on all of
    our agenda/things to do, not withstanding the health and social
    benefits.
    I still pay my road taxes, as a cycle 150 miles per week,
    the tax burden I have on the health care system going forward will
    be much less than the average lazy overweight F250 driving redneck.
    Stats – Denmark and the Netherlands have the highest cycling
    participation rates in the world and as a consequence they have
    the lowest obesity and diabetes stats. Their use of fossil fuels
    is half what the average US citizen uses. Their health care spending is half what the US spends – although there are various reasons for this.
    Bubbleboy,
    I often wonder if I found myself single, whether the ladies would
    be impressed if I rocked up to a date on my fixie. Perhaps if I told her that I built it myself, I might get a leg over. :)

  20. Stan Moore Says:

    It is hard to imagine that Matt would think I am uninformed about basic human issues such as health benefits of cardiovascular excercise. In fact, it is insulting to think he has something to offer that would be uniquely informative in that regard.
    I have stated pretty clearly (I think) why I hate bicyclists, and I mean it with all sincerity. I have seen no attempt at refutation of my reasons based on my own experiences and values, so it boils down to a difference in opinions, and everyone has a right to theirs, as far as I am concerned.
    Further, I suspect that ultimately, down the metaphorical road, Peak Oil will bring our high-tech industrial civilization to an end and with it the demise of the bicycling world as we know it, along with our surplus population. Thus, I think it is a stretch to say that bicycles are a solution to Peak Oil — I believe it is a false logic.
    It sort of reminds me of a logic used very recently by a Scottish raptor breeder who claimed that captive breeding of raptors takes pressure off wild populations by making birds available to falconers despite wild endangerment. That logic is comfortable to breeders of raptors, as it justifies their existence and tends to enhance their business models and profitability. But the alternate reality is that enforced laws, such as the banning of falconer harvest of endangered wild raptors is what REALLY takes the impact away, and all captive breeding for falconry does is make those birds available to law abiding falconers. If falconers are willing to break the law (and some certainly have been shown to do so in the past), then captive breeding does not alter the situation.
    The same false logic is used time and time again in the US to argue against homosexual marriage. I am not gay and have no use for gay marriage, and, in fact, I happen to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman. But those who argue that gay marriage harms heterosexual marriage are straining logic beyond the point of recognition. If they were serious about protecting heterosexual marriage, they would ban divorce and perhaps imprison divorcees, forcing married couples to stay together come hell or high water, which is what the typical marriage vows require. I think gay couples have every right to equivalent protections for their unions under law, but marriage ought not to be part of the process, any more than white Europeans in the US should qualify to possess eagle feathers for religious purposes or obtain government land on Indian reservations. They just do not meet the required definitions.
    All these are examples of what I view as flawed logic, and the tendency of people in general is to affix convenient logic to their own value systems in order to justify their own aims and goals.
    Of course, there is a logic in avoiding controversy by hiding honesty. I understand that logic, but choose to court controversy and endure the resulting abuse. Not that I enjoy it, but that I think that honest, but controversial discussion is worth the cost in important ways, but the cost can be very real.

  21. matt Says:

    ‘It is hard to imagine that Matt would think I am uninformed about basic human issues such as health benefits of cardiovascular excercise. In fact, it is insulting to think he has something to offer that would be uniquely informative in that regard.’
    oh contraire, you are diabetic – no?
    Given my experiences, and that of my friends, sporting and otherwise I have quite a lot to offer.
    I did not suggest that bicycling was a solution to peak oil,
    all I said was ‘increasing our mobility without fossil fuels’
    was probably are good thing to do. I cant see the flawed logic in that.
    on ya bike young man!

  22. Stan Moore Says:

    With Matt’s form of logic (based entirely on correlation) I would have to say that bicycling is detrimental, harmful to human brain cells, and thus inadvisable in that it puts one in denial of reality, as Matt has evidenced on a serial basis in this discussion group.
    Since there are multiple other forms of cardio vascular excercise not shown to be correlated with mental weakness, I suggest that maybe Matt should get off his bike, find another form of excercise, and possibly some brain cells will heal, grow, or evolve.
    But I doubt it. Some forms of excercise are addictive physically and psychologically, and their adherents remain trapped in them until they die (often prematurely).
    Believe it or not, excercise can kill just like diabetes can. Since human death is natural and desperately needed for the sake of our planet, if Matt excercises himself to death, I hope he does so efficiently, painlessly, and as rapidly as possible.

  23. Brutus Says:

    There are a couple websites I go to for my daily dose of despair. This is one. Screaming from the hilltops about the Great Unwinding now taking place might not be very convincing to those not already converted, but I’m suspicious that it’s really the elephant in the room no one really, truly wants to acknowledge although almost any sane person can see it by now. Another way to put it is, do we really want to see that brick wall we’re approaching at high speed as it looms before us or do we prefer to look away? I’m looking straight ahead, but not out of any particular courage. I just want to see. Most are looking away, I surmise. La, la, la, I can’t see it …. But the wall is casting an ever-growing shadow over us.
    As to bicyclists, tell us what you really think, Stan. I don’t think I’ve gotten it yet. Could you pile on a little higher, please?
    As to China, it’s no more invulnerable to collapse than we are in the U.S. But for now, it’s got its own bubble going. Big deal. The ecological deficits being incurred in China are extraordinary, as one would expect with an industrial economy. Topsoil, air, surface water, ground water, everything there is wrecked, much worse than here, since we exported our industry there. So what if Shanghai (or Abu Dhabi) makes NYC look shabby by comparison? They’re engorged, but only temporarily. NYC won’t last, either.

  24. Frank Mezek Says:

    Our Stan: Your remarks to matt were entirely uncalled for.I know that upon furthur contemplation you’ll realize your intemperance
    was more harmful to you than to him.
    Please apologize to matt now.
    Double D

  25. Guy McPherson Says:

    “Men argue; nature acts.” (Voltaire)

  26. Frank Mezek Says:

    Our Stan:
    Please look up the word “temperamental” and read the definition fully and carefully.
    Frank

  27. matt Says:

    no arguments here…
    you would be happy to know I crashed this morn,
    my whole right side is grazed – first time!
    the seat pin broke and seat fell off,
    I had to ride home 30km out of the saddle.
    Logic based on correlation? As with all things its not my data, check out John Pucher at Rutgers Uni – cycling legend
    http://www.policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/BikeSummit2007COMP_Mar25.pdf
    Very interesting stuff young Stanley, but dont take my word for it.
    ‘denial of what reality?’ educate me – highlight my obvious flaws.
    I can only give you an opinion, that is all, what more can I give?
    With all things here, anyone that questions you or disagrees with
    you slightly you think they are a ‘few palings short of a fence’
    or there ‘is a kangaroo lose in the top paddock’.
    What is the point of any blog other than to thrash things about.
    Anyways, saw some footage of John Voigt at a republican rally decrying the health care reforms. The guy is a comic genuis or a stooge for the health care industry. The ideological baggage of your history has done a real number on your national psyche.
    From over here, the US reads like a another planet.

  28. Greg Breneman Says:

    Matt as to your footage of John Voigt. We do have some special interests here who have reason to be concerned about health care.
    1 People over 65 who are covered already by medicare probably see no personal benefit of being tossed into the same pool with everyone else especially since most health dollars are spent on the old and they would thus be the first targets for “cost containment”. My next door neighbors who are in their 80s with one of them in poor health would stand to gain nothing from Obumers plan. They would simply lose.
    2 There are people in this country who have excellent private employer insurance and this also includes most Government workers. Needless to say these folks might also be unenthusiastic about joining.
    3 The number of uninsured is estimated at 46 million out of 310 million people and since the number of doctors and medical people is unlikely to increase you can guess that wait times for service must increase especially since people think it would be “free care” so why not go more often.
    4 The drug companies really stay in business because they hire bright people in chemistry and other assorted professions who command good money for their work. They are not running a charity operation and the people who create these drugs and other medical gear never will be either.
    Last but not least I think this so called debate over health care at this point in time with our other very serious troubles makes a terrific distraction that the government makes use of to keep everyone from focusing on the fact that we collectively have been and are being ripped off for trillions of dollars by the washington/wall street lowlifes and other important issues get very little attention. Our news media is pretty worthless.

  29. greg Breneman Says:

    Oh matt I almost forgot. Our U.S. congress has no intention of joining the health plan they are cooking up for the masses. There plan for themselves is far superior.

  30. Greg Breneman Says:

    Anyway Guy would say none of the above matters anyways.

  31. Stan Moore Says:

    reference link to my new essay:
    http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/68097
    which explores why Ft. Hood killings are not simply brushed off as “collatoral damage” from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars.
    Stan Moore

  32. matt Says:

    Greg
    Our health care costs/medicare levy is 1.5% pa of our taxable income. Regardless of how much you earn.
    If you have private health insurance there is a rebate.
    If you are over the age of 65 or a child all medical
    expenses are free.
    Your health care costs are double what they are here.
    Surely the government could go on a ‘fact finding mission’
    to Taiwan, Austria, England, Germany, Australia and perhaps
    create a health care system that is an amalgum of these examples.
    This is what Taiwan did some time ago, and consequently they have probably have one of the best systems in the world.
    More cycling ‘propaganda’ check out the cycling infratructure planning system that Groningen has created for itself.
    60% of all transport trips are by bike, it is hard to believe
    but I witnessed it myself.
    http://www.globalideasbank.org/site/bank/idea.php?ideaId=378
    When I was there last year I witnessed no carbon fibre, lycra or the bane of purists everywhere the dreaded derailleur.
    Double D, no apology necessary, if I had a condition where I was
    at risk of blindness, amputation and impotence I would be
    a bit cranky too.
    Best wishes to your Stanley, good luck with the daily prick
    test, I am sure you will do just fine.

  33. greg Breneman Says:

    Matt I believe we could put together a useful health care system by putting together the best of all the systems out there but this administration and congress appear not to be interested in finding any facts or selling a well thought out proposal to the public. I think they prefer controversy instead to appease their own special interests which means we have little chance of getting anything useful.

  34. matt Says:

    Greg
    You are probably right, I thought as much as
    I was writing the above. A republican was being
    interviewed on our public broadcaster here.
    The interviewer had smirk on his face and looking
    a little dumb founded (clearly he thought the republican
    was deranged) as he suggested that the American
    economy could not afford a socialist type health care system.
    The interviewer said we (Aus) have a socialistic health care system
    and we are the only OECD country not to be in a recession.
    Lowest debt to GDP ratio, unemployment at around 5.6% etc etc.
    This did not register with the interviewee, these facts
    are outside the US, obviously of little relevance to his rhetoric.
    Still cant get over Voigt ‘lampooning’ republican rhetoric – very ‘clever’ man.