Media alert

I spent much of my afternoon participating in an exercise in mental masturbation at the local offices of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. We discussed the latest projections for build-out of the suburban area around Tucson within 100 years, with significant construction activity to begin in 20 years. Fortunately, we’ll be well into the post-industrial stone age by that time. But it’s a little disappointing when even a majority of the “environmentalists” in the room think we’re stealing a huge victory from developers by limiting paved surfaces to merely half the Tucson basin. We just keep trying to sustain the unsustainable suburbanization of the desert southwest, long after it’s clearly failed as a viable living arrangement for the entire industrialized world.
I managed to tolerate the demoralizing intellectual clusterfuck only because I’d received a bit of good news immediately before the meeting began. The local morning daily declined to run my latest op-ed, but the local counter-culture weekly rag will be running it within the next few weeks. When they do, I’ll post a link to the piece at my “News” page. You get to see the latest draft before the masses. For regular visitors to this blog, there’s nothing new here. I’m just writing for one of the primary reasons Orwell wrote: sheer egoism. Hey, if it was good enough for him ….

According to a recent headline in the Wall Street Journal, “There’s No Pill for This Kind of Depression.” The New York Times adds, “Has ‘Katrina Moment’ Arrived?” The Globe and Mail admits 10 of the 11 recessions since 1941 have been preceded by a spike in the price of oil, and Moneyweek is forecasting Dow 2000 even as the cover of Newsweek screams, “We Are All Socialists Now.”
What do these headlines have in common? They all describe the economic predicament arising from passing the world oil peak four years ago and they merely hint at what’s to come. The world has experienced a 0.5 per cent decline in crude oil supply since passing the peak in May 2005, whereas the International Energy Agency (IEA) — which had never previously admitted oil would reach a peak in production — forecasts a 9.1 per cent decline, year after economically punishing year from 2009 forward.
By the end of President Obama’s first term, if the IEA is correct, we will be extracting about the same amount of oil we extracted in 1970, when the planet had roughly half as many people as it does today and we were far less industrialized. Meanwhile, China and India are not going away.
In other words, the Greatest Depression is just getting started. The industrial economy is slipping through our fingers like mercury from a broken thermometer. Facing a rapid terminal decline in crude oil — the lifeblood of western civilization — there is nothing you, me, or President Obama can do to save the industrial economy. But as we near the end of the industrial economy, complete with the collapse of our fuel-, food- and water-delivery systems, individuals can make arrangements to thrive in the post-carbon era.
My own set of arrangements includes a rural property with moderate elevation, shallow water, deep soils and a close-to-the-land community of neighbors. I’m moving full time to my two-acre rural property when the spring semester ends. I’ve got gardens to plant, a root cellar to dig, and considerable catching up to do with my new neighbors.
In short, I need to find out how to continue my life of service, albeit in a vastly different setting. I need to demonstrate my worth to members of my community while preparing for better days ahead. Better, that is, for non-industrial cultures and non-human species.
Soon enough, the fiat currency of paper money will have little or no value. Water, food, shelter and community, on the other hand, will become vital currency as we re-engage with the natural world and our neighbors.
University of Arizona administrators have benefited me by continually discouraging my pursuit of timely and important topics, and then disparaging me when I pursued them anyway. My work on energy decline and its economic consequences represents the best and most important scholarship of my twenty-year career. Ditto for my outreach with Poetry Inside/Out¸ a unique program focused on giving voice to historically silenced people and on connecting incarcerated people with the rest of us. And although I’m no longer allowed to teach courses in my home department, the teaching I’m allowed to do, in the classroom and out, is the broadest and most relevant of my life. Last week, the university Honors College named me faculty of the year.
Although university administrators made it easy to flee the university’s sinking ship, they did not force my departure. They tried unsuccessfully for a while, before giving in to my tenured status. I’m leaving on my own terms to live a life close to Earth and close to my neighbors. Retaining emeritus status at the university will allow me to voluntarily satisfy commitments to the many students I advise, but my days teaching in university classrooms and detention facilities are behind me.
Soon enough, we’ll all be living close to our neighbors and close to the land that sustains us. I remain hopeful we will power down with the tranquility of Buddhist monks. But I’ve studied enough anthropology to know the odds are not in our favor. So my post-carbon community is small, rural, and isolated, a far cry from the shabby rental house near campus I inhabit during the week. Nearly everybody in my new community is aware of the looming threats of peak oil and runaway climate change, and most have been making other arrangements for years. Many have adopted off-the-grid living, and have cashed out of the American monetary system. They grow their food cooperatively, hunt and gather other sources of nutrition, barter for other goods, and work to build durable structures and a durable community.
I’m not romantic enough to believe this transition will be easy, for me or my community. Indeed, as I leave the cruise ship of empire for a lifeboat, all I see are dark, choppy seas. But if our species it to survive in the years ahead — and even thrive — we must embrace a reality different from the suburbanized, globalized system that landed us squarely into the massive dilemmas of energy decline and runaway greenhouse.
The alternative is literally unthinkable. So let’s put our hearts and minds together to think of something else.
Update, two weeks later: The article is out, and the permalink is here. For the best entertainment value, check the comments section.

Comments 17

  • Dear Guy —
    My late mentor, Fran Hamerstrom of wisconsin, was the only female graduate student of Aldo Leopold’s (and her husband one of only three to receive doctorates under Leopold). Fran told me her philosophy was to live a life of adventure and of public service. In many ways, you bring back fond reminiscences of Fran.
    Fran came from a wealthy background in Brahmin Boston, where her maternal grandfather had made an early fortune in trading jute for industrial purposes. She was raised in Europe and in Boston and because a High Society debutantte with her parents’ expectation that she would some day be the wife of an ambassador. But, early on she developed a love for wild nature, perhaps catalyzed by her father’s desire to hunt, her brothers’ dislike of hunting, and her desire to hunt despite the disapproval of her dad.
    Fran’s opportunity to take her wildlife fascination seriously came when she met a Harvard sophomore named Frederick Hamerstrom, who was an English major. Frederick just happened to be the nephew of the famed criminal attorney Clarence Darrow, and Uncle Clarence and his wife, Aunt Ruby, went on to be lifelong supporters of the Hamerstroms and left Frederick and Fran a substantial inheritance,
    Fran and Frederick went on to distinguished wildlife careers with great professors, who included the renowed Paul Errington of Iowa State University and Aldo Leopold at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Leopold sent the Hamerstroms to central Wisconsin to study the biology and natural history of Greater Prairie Chickens with a goal to preventing their extirpation in the state, and the prime career of the Hamerstroms in that venue resulted in their devising land management strategies to maintain population viability for the chickens and notoriety of the Hamerstroms in the field of wildlife ecology and management. By the time it was all said and done, the Prairie Grouse Technical Council named their lifetime achievement award after the Hamerstroms and the Raptor Research Foundation named its lifetime achievement award for contributions to the study of natural history of raptors after the Hamerstroms also. Fran got interested in harriers and other raptors while doing field work on prairie chickens and she also became a falconer and a raptor bander.
    One of the most interesting facets of the lives of the Hamerstroms also reminds me of your pathway. They bought an old farmhouse on 250 acres in Wisconsin that was started as a stagecoach stop, but never completed. They raised two kids in a house with no running water — the family bathed in a single tub of handpumped water, which was intially heated in part on the woodstove or electric kitchen stove. Fran told me that they “had all of the luxuries (such as a fantastic research library and a nice winecellar) but none of the necessities” in their house. (I lived there for four months around 1996) and experienced the rustic life, as the house still did not have running water and I had to use the outhouse, pump drinking water by hand, and bathe from a bucket along the shores of the family pond).
    The Hamerstroms epitomized love of the land. They believed in Leopold’s Land Ethic. They lived lives of adventure and public service and mentored many students and assistants. They intermingled with great academics and received visits to their home from three different Nobel Prize winning wildlifers, including Konrad Lorenz of Vienna, whose children spent a summer at the Hamerstrom home one summer and the Hamerstrom children spent another summer at the Lorenz home in Austria.
    In thinking about people I know of have met including the Hamerstroms and yourself (through correspondence), I have to believe that there is some sort of very important mental clarification that comes from an ecological education and a love of nature.
    There is something special that allows such a person to not only conceive of, but to succeed in thriving even in conditions that many others would view as subobtimal or even dangerous.
    I love to hear you speaking of thriving and halping others to thrive in the changed times ahead. I distinguish between doom and gloom in the sense that what is bad for a civilization is not necessarily capable of destroying joy in life for individuals with the right mindset and the right training, even if it is self-taught.
    You have a lot to offer all of us moving forward, and I look forward to watching the evolution of your life and ours as we pass through a great challenge and a great change.
    You can thrive and many of us can — yes we can, yes we can.
    Stan Moore

  • “My days teaching in university classrooms and detention facilities are behind me.”
    Brother, you have more confidence in your ability to stay out of jail or a detention center than I do. Of course, you always were better at avoiding physical confrontations–if not verbal/intellectual ones–than I was. :-)

  • Dear Guy —
    Here is another commentary I think you will appreciate:
    In this case, it shows that an economist can sense right and wrong, can distinguish between ethical and unethical behavior and can assess blame where corruption exists.
    On the other hand, Galbraith appears to have no awareness of the relationship of economics to energy and the role that dynamic plays in “economic recovery” over the long term.
    Happy mudhutting!
    Stan Moore

  • Dear Guy —
    I was just thinking about something you said weeks ago with regard to some of your scientific presentations in the past year or so. You said that you chose to introduce Peak Oil / energy considerations in talks not specifically themed on Peak Oil by symposium organizers because “Peak Oil informs every aspect of life in today’s world”, or something similar to that wording.
    I found it very interesting in your latest piece how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remains ignorant of that very issue in their long-term planning, as do government agencies in all different jurisidictions, including local, state, national and international I have yet to notice a United Nations – based working group on equitable use of remaining resources in the aftermath of Hubbert’s Peak. The Post Carbon Institute is a great example of an NGO making recommendations and educating listeners to the issue, but the agencies with actual authority over how our world is managed seem oblivious. Can this be anything other than deliberate?
    I live in a rural area and my rental is fueled by propane with a definite limit to my storage. If I had no wood stove for cooking or heating water, etc., and my propane distributer went out of business, and all I had left was one tankful of propane, I would manage that usage differently than if propane was plentiful and cheap. And I would understand ultimately that when the fuel pressure decreased and my maximum flame got smaller and smaller on my stove burners, I would not be able to enjoy the type of cooking or water heating I was used to in the past, and ultimately that energy source would be of no use to me at all.
    The world has its fuel supply that was endowed by nature, and men developed an international fuel conveyance system to exploit and distribute that fuel. It is finite and it is decreasing, with no substitute for the portability, versatility, transportability, energy efficiency, and relative inexpensiveness of what we have enjoyed in the Age of Petroleum. It will take a long time for the tank to empty, but the demand will soon outstrip the supply and forever be unable to compensate. There is no harvestable Black Swan of energy out there; even the latest talk of fourth generation atomic energy is a pipe dream because the wealth required to create the worldwide system of production and distribution has already been spent and we are working in negative economic terms now, which cannot go on very much longer. It would be nice if you could take a five dollar bill and fold it (like a magician) and rotate it in the palm of your hands a few times and then unfold it to find a fifty dollar bill.
    That is magical thinking, the stuff of Black Swans. Mr. Taleb would recommend against borrowing money against the prospects of success of such a financial operation as that.
    So, we are back to where you pointed us months ago. The world is in trouble, but not acting on its self-induced dilemma. It is incumbent on individuals to make their own survival arrangements, preferably in some sort of community/family/tribal structure. I think the Taliban are such a tribal structure that will outlast a lot of others, even if they do make their women dress modestly and kill people like me who like to live with individuality, including “obscene” rock music and maybe a little skin in my entertainment (I just checked out a DVD from the public library called “The Libertine” with Johnny Dep and it had quite a lot of overt sexuality, and thus my rapt attention throughout).
    One thing I like about Obama and Michelle is their promotion of home gardening. Somehow I can’t picture W. Bush putting a spade in the soil, other than maybe to bury some of his dog’s poop. And I don’t think W. could distinguish between a radish, a turnip and a pineapple. But if the Obama’s talk of gardening promotes interest by minorities and urban folks, they have already done a service for the country in this context greater than any other recent president or government official. And I would love to see Joe Biden doing a little gardening, though he would probably do it in a business suit and with rubber gloves on. Not pretty!
    And so on we go on our trip down the far side of the Peak…
    Stan Moore

  • Big Brother James:
    Since we’re letting it all hang out,is it really true that you used to change Professor Guy’s diapers ?

  • No, Frank, we’re too close in age for that. I doubt I ever did much for him other than serve as a good example of things to avoid.

  • Dear Guy —
    I was just thinking about how on the first day of the swine flu “pandemic” the president got on the airwaves and announced a national health emergency, but advised the public “not to panic”. This “pandemic” has affected hundreds of people made ill and a few dead here and there. Far more people have been killed by automobiles collisions worldwide during the course of the “pandemic” than by this virus (including that bizarre attack against Dutch royalty (did you see that?).
    With that as context, one continues to wonder, why has the President from the first day of his administration not gotten on the airwaves to educate the public on the biggest change in world history with prospects of civilizational collapse and mass human mortality? Why has Obama not spoken openly and honestly about Peak Oil and its ramifications for economic health, agriculture and food production, international resource competition, etc. Instead, Obama has tried to justify more warring for resources, chosen and implemented ongoing unfair distribution of wealth througout the economy, and “solutions” that are destined to fail, etc.
    And one has to wonder if Obama is mentally ready to subvert the good of the community until the last moment, when he will announce an unsolvable emergency, jump into a helicopter to a survival shelter that is prepared for his survival, and then announce to the American public: “Okay, you can panic all you want now.”
    Michel Chossudovsky had an interesting take on misinformation by government and media on the swine flu matter on his site yesterday.
    Stan Moore

  • Professor Guy:
    My deepest apologies.Once again we learn the lesson that a romour is just that.

  • Dear Guy —
    Another interesting revelation for me —
    I posted an essay to some raptor groups asking a rhetorical question: is peer review itself a problem in science?
    I sent a copy of the essay to a renowned retired wildlife professor who was rated as one of the top wildlifers in the past half century and who is an Aldo Leopold lifetime achievement award winner from The Wildlife Society. I asked the good doctor if he had any serious disagreements with my analysis. Yesterday I heard back from him and he said that he wished he could disagree with me, but the reality is that peer review in the wildlife sciences is “in meltdown” (his words).
    LOTS OF THINGS are in meltdown as our society has grown too large and too complex for its own good. The financial system is in meltdown. The automobile manufacturers are in meltdown. The national infrastructure is in meltdown. And the good professor told me that his personal view was that no one seems to care or be doing anything about the peer review problem. Ditto throughout society.
    In my view, I can track the beginning of the end to Ronald Reagan. I was astonished at the time that Americans would nominate, much elect that man, who essentially promised something for nothing and a “feel good” presidency based on image and not substance. If there had been no Reagan, there would have been no George H.W. Bush or no George W. Bush and there would have been no Obama. Obama is so much like Reagan it is scary — huge deficits, feel good imagery and acting like he knows what he is doing.
    It is like watching a great unraveling in slow motion, except the pace is increasing. It takes a while for a big, complex society to unravel, but it is discernable now on almost a daily basis. It is like watching one of those multi-strand nylon ropes with strands within strands that you cut and forgot to seal and now the little bundles of strands are opening themselves. A little here, a little there, and soon the whole bundle is frayed and separated.
    In the case of the wildlife profession, I find it amazing that there seems to be a strong correlation between technical complexity and sophistication and simultaneous collapse of quality. We have “conservation genetics” now, which uses very sophisticated laboratory and statistical analysis techniques. But the practicioners seem to be unable in many cases to wield their sophisticated training properly to achieve the full worth of the tools. And the conservation side of genetics is largely an oxymoron because by the time an organism has genetic bottlenecks and problems in necessary genetic variation, that taxa is already at risk of extinction because of extraneous issues that should have been dealt with long before the genetic reality is recognized. Genes are compressions of time and space in the bodies of living organisms, which rely on quality habitat for survival. If we cannot manage the habitats according to the needs of the organisms, whose natural histories have been known for hundreds of years in most cases, the application of genetics is like taking an MRI of a sprained ankle from playing basketball. You know how the injury occurred and why and how to heal it, so why spend your time making sophisticated images of the injury? (Having said the above, there are good uses for conservation genetics in “emergency” management settings, so I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater; and a local need for genetics research in raptors is to study the genetics of Arizona bald eagles in order to determine if they are (genetically) a separate management population under the Endangered Species Act and to try to understand the gene flow history that put them where they are as they are).
    Who knows what form the unraveling/meltdown will take this week? There are so many pressure points building around the nation and around the world that something will surely blow within hours :) Maybe Hillary Clinton will have a stroke over the idea of Iran sending a large trade mission to Brazil. The nations of the world are learning to maneuver around The Empire, which will ultimately serve to further the unraveling of U.S. industry, commerce, and hegemony in our own backyard and everywhere.
    Stan Moore

  • Dear Guy —
    James Howard Kunstler is sharpening his analysis of reality versus Obama and today’s posting at under “Clusterfuck Nation: The Bottom” is among his best, in my opinion. “Reality intervenes” is a favorite phrase of mine, and Kunstler nails it in this piece.
    For those who want to understand “doomerism” (or reality bites) from a hard core analyst, go to htt:// and look at all the recent “Flash vidoes” prepared by Jay Hanson. They tell the story in pictures and text (I did not listen to the sound) in ways that ordinary people can understand if you look at them and think about them every day for about ten days, with a day or two between screenings for contemplation.
    All of this stuff is so different from what you get from Fox News, or even CNN or Natioal Public Radio that there really is a learning curve required for everyone, and my advantage (and yours I would suggest) are largely because we got exposed to this stuff some time ago and have had plenty of time to digest and watch and compare as events continue to unravel.
    Also, on in the “Breaking News” section there is a book review of a new book of great interest. The review is by historian Carolyn Baker and the book is by Michael Ruppert and it is an informed reality check prepared for Barack Obama as to how the president should understand and act on energy realities. I have not seen the book and skimmed the review and am saving it for digestion later, but I can already tell it is serious and worthwhild brain fodder.
    And so the ball keeps rolling towards the inevitable…
    Stan Moore

  • Part the way through Jensens Endgame Vol 2.
    Anyways, the book is disturbing, intense and uncomfortable,
    not because it is poorly written or disagreeable,
    he presents quite a well reasoned and powerful message.
    Where to from here? I am a wimp. Sustainable retreat!
    My idea/idyll of ‘activism’ in response to such enviro woe is to disengage
    and withdraw to a rural/bush community and take
    physical/mental sanctuary in what is left of the wild places.
    Jensen often takes pauses in the book
    and often says ‘He hates this culture’. Having said that he is no
    misanthrope. The book is very heavy, it is a burden to
    read it. The book is a burden on ones psyche or ecosophy.
    My ‘radical simplicity’ (soft activism) is meaningless in the scheme of things.
    Consuming less allows me to trade money for time. Sure it gives me time to dwell, think, garden, ride, compost, fix, cook and read. I am convinced that material consumption of any sort actually creates less in the natural world. The more I have, less and more waste the environment has. The economy should be the subsidiary of the environment, not the other way round. Everything you purchase creates waste, its all linear, however in a non linear system ie an intact habitat, waste does not exist. I know, hardly a revelation.
    You know, we take 300ml of nutrient and create a gallon of what was potable water into waste water every time you flush the toilet, which needs expense treatment and conveyance. Social scientists here are now doing complex perception surveys to figure out whether we want to drink recycled water. The system is stupid.
    You know, one person creates enough nitrogen in their urine per year to fertilize
    an acre of land!
    I said to the mother and father in law (both Italian) that I actually want
    materially less not more. (this does not go down to well).
    Their belief is that you should be always be trying to
    materially improve yourself. She knows her daughter thinks differently as well.
    (she just came back from India covered in henna for gods sake!).
    She is no second gen migrant stereotype.
    As far as I am concerned if water comes out of the taps I am already rich. Jim Merkel (Radical Simplicity) reckons his $5000pa puts him in the top 17% of global income earners.
    Our combined part time salaries are $80,000! I think I should now ask my workplace if I can work 2 days per week! I have convinced the wife that frugality is a virtue, perhaps I can also convince her that sloth is as well.
    I will have to reframe sloth as ‘spiritual’ contemplation and of course the preparation
    of tastier meals!
    What is wrong with industrial man? Where did we go wrong?
    How did we become ‘separated’ from the natural world? Indigenous
    cultures were/are aware of bio physical limits. They didn’t read Catton
    to know this. What happened to wisdom? Does it exist?
    I reckons it’s those early agriculturalists and their surpluses.
    Surplus = leverage, control and a tradable commodity,
    greed and power soon followed.
    always thinking of a better world,
    I will plant several more fruit trees this winter.
    Guy, thanks for the confessional :),
    I think I will have a lie down now.

  • Matt — I’m glad to see somebody is reading Jensen’s Endgame, which I reviewed about 18 months ago on this post

  • Dear Guy —
    A couple of postings in today’s edition of provide additional confirmation that Hubbert’s Peak is behind us now. We have slipped past the peak on a shallow, plateu-like trajectory, but the view to the distance is that we are destined to go down, down, down.
    The most interesting aspect of our situation is that petroleum prices have dropped from their all-time peak, but now we know that they have essentially nowhere to go in the future but up, up, up.
    But the larger issue moving forward is inability to regrow the economy and to build an economy on credit with the assumption that future growth will provide return on investment. That realization will hit the investment market like a ton of bricks when reality bites. And recent lack of investment in energy production will enhance the forthcoming negative ratio of supply to demand as depletion increases and demand continues in a society with an insatiable thirst for petroleum. It is a zero sum game now and when nations such as China lock up sales contracts for future delivery from Africa and possibly even Iran or Venezuela, those barrels of oil will not drive a future American economy. This is the stuff of warfare — either hot or cold war, but economic war is warfare just the same.
    America is not growing, but American oil consumption is still very high and this year could be the first year when agriculture will be significantly affected by energy. It will be interesting to see if crops planted numbers are “normal” and then how the harvest turns out. We could see a reduction in planting and then a reduction of harvest this fall, even in percentage terms of harvestable crops, if we have supply problems at harvest time.
    Peak Oil never went away, it just got drowned out by its own reverberations. Mike Ruppert blames the economic crisis solely on the impacts of high fuel prices months ago. His new book on presidential energy policy (a guide for Barack Obama) can be previewed at by searching under Michael Ruppert in the books section of the website. You can read editorial and customer reviews, all 5 of which I saw today were positive.
    It feels right now like the calm before the storm, although here in Northern California we have been enjoying several days of beautiful rain, and a downpour is going on outside right now. On the sheep ranch where I live, the grass is tall and green and the hillsides all around are verdant and beautiful. It is somewhat comforting to me personally to live in an area that is well-watered and rural, though several million people live within 75 miles of here and who knows how many may pass through when the urban areas start to become inhospitable to life as we have known it. Petaluma is great, but sometimes I wonder if Redding or Ashland would be better. If I had some savings to fall back on, I would think strongly of moving to the Butte Valley, on the north side of sacred Mt. Shasta, where I worked on Swainson’s hawks several years ago.
    There is a very special feeling I get every time I see Mt. Shasta in person, and even photographs of me and my late Great Horned Owl, Francis, in front of that beautiful mountain bring me soothing comfort.
    One thing I noticed about today’s J.H. Kunstler posting is that it offers hope of coming out of the crisis intact and with the ability to thrive. It seems amazing, but true, that while our evolution pointed us towards self-induced disaster, it also equips us to survive and to thrive in its aftermath. That is what we have done individually for thousands of years all over the planet, and unless our luck is awfully bad, some of us will live on to restart our project once again.
    I wish I were a bit younger, but fifty-three is the new forty-five (if I keep saying it, maybe even I will believe it) :)
    Stan Moore

  • Stan, you sound like a young man when you write,
    I mean no disrepect, to me you sound lively
    and enthusiastic, where as at 40 I sound
    somewhat ‘jaded and stuffed’.
    My mood depends a little on the content
    of the weekly blogs and the gloomy non fiction
    on my bedside table. I should alternate
    between McKibben or Lovins and Jensen, just to mix
    things up a bit.
    Kunstler did sound a little optimistic today,
    which is a change from his rants about cheez doodles
    and corn syrup. Maybe he is getting a ‘shag’.
    There is no aphrodisiac like lonliness.
    On a more positive note check out the interviews
    at ‘global public media’. Jason Bradford is doing
    a great job.
    chins up lads, michelle is planting vegie garden!

  • correction, you write like someone half your age,

  • Dear Guy —
    I can’t help but notice that as the economy keeps getting weaker and weaker and the institutions aurvive only because of transfusions of paper assets, the government keeps insisting that things are getting better and better. I heard comments by Sec. of Treasury Geithner yesterday that sounded as if they were saying that the poor old banking system is a victim to a weak economy, which is exactly the opposite of reality.
    I continue to believe that things are considerably worse than we are told by official sources and each time a high government official speaks out to reassure the American people, they are blatantly and deliberately disguising the truth so as to avoid panic for as long as possible.
    The economy as I see it is not only sinking now, but starting to spiral, to create a destructive vortex that is becoming increasingly irresistable to management. Even some mainstream news outlets are beginning to run articles contemplating a permanent change in American lifestyles, which would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago.
    One seldom discussed aspect of this that ought to be of great concern, in my view, is the possible splintering of our civil society due to all sorts of grievances, including multi-generational issues. Young people from twelve to twenty-five years of age who were brought up in affluence and with naaive “irrational exhuberance” that life would be forever great and getting greater, may become rationally bitter that their inheritance from prior generation is a big fat deficit in a substantive way. How will they react to their parents and grandparents when they get their reality check?
    How will all the retirees on pensions feel when one big industry after another fails and rewards executives with golden parachutes while clipping the strings to the utility parachutes of the working class who earned theirs over long careers?
    The American people,including the poor, bore the Great Depression with stoic strength and resilience and with knowledge that they would and could rebuild. Now we are at “Peak Everything” as Richard Heinberg showed and with no place to go longterm but down, down, down. This is a situation utterly unprecedented in American history and the greatest challenges for all will be mental rather than physical, social rather than financial.
    I wonder if Doomerism (reality checks) have begun to reach the Twittering crowd. When that begins to happen in a big way, and when the euphoria of Obama begins to face its own reality check, then things will REALLY begin to get ugly, I believe.
    I happen to be on the advisory board of an environmental organization called the Western Watersheds Project ( and I was talking by phone to one of our directors from Utah yesterday about the fight to save sage grouse and to protect Federal lands from destructive exploitation, and this one individual, who is a PhD ecologist, shared his personal disappointment at what he has seen from the Obama administration so far, including the choice for Secretary of the Interior, the Agriculture Secretary, etc. If Obama puts his mark on environmental issues that he has begun to put on international issues, then those who expected dramatic improvement over the dismal Bush regime will again be sorely disappointed.
    I think a lot of people better get used to being disappointed, disallusioned and disinherited from what they expected in life. Obama is not the problem, but (also) he is not the solution they thought they were voting for.
    But all is not lost, just most of it…
    Stan Moore

  • Hi, Guy, saw Ur article in the Weekly today . . . I remembered Ur name from somewhere before . . . maybe related to bats under bridges? Anyway . . . I wish I had the $$$ to escape with. My older sister is paranoid like us about Peak Oil and wants a hideout too. I was thinking western New Mexico, near Reserve.
    Here’s a link to a video of a German economist who wrote many books saying “even Jesus-Christ could not put America’s economy back on track.” He predicts 10-years of economic hell here. He’s being interviewed on some European TV station, maybe BBC.
    William Engdahl on Ten Years of Economic Hell for America! Prepare for the worst economic disaster to hit America, even worse than the Great Depression.
    Best Wishes,