King Ben

The authority of the U.S. federal government has eroded to the vanishing point. No longer do the three branches of government possess significant authority. Their collective ability to right the listing ship of empire has been negated by forces large and small.

Whereas the president used to have considerable power, primarily through his position as commander-in-chief of the most lethal killing force in the history of the world, that power has slipped away. Oppression abroad is a primary tenet of American Empire, but our ability to oppress is diminishing rapidly, and the role of the military in a world heavily influenced by non-state actors is marginal at best. The president’s ability to negotiate with other nations is sliding away as the world’s largest economy is widely recognized as a banana republic. The U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency, for now, but the president does not control the strength of a once-strong currency that is rapidly circling the drain. Finally, the president’s ability to enforce obedience at home, another primary tenant of American Empire, has taken some serious body blows. The president’s approval rating is low and sinking. Now that his own party has lost control of Congress, you can expect the president’s ability to accomplish to plummet even faster than the value of the U.S. dollar.

If the executive branch is wounded, the congressional branch is dead on arrival. Congress hasn’t displayed even a passing interest in the lives of “ordinary” Americans for decades. Now that the latest version of gridlock has arrived on Capitol Hill, few people expect Congress to accomplish anything of significance. Because Congress has been intent upon transferring financial wealth from the masses to the wealthiest Americans, we should be cheering congressional impotence. The less the fools accomplish, the better.

Finally, there is the judicial branch. From the Supreme Court to the local courts, the judiciary has abandoned any appearance of fairness. They’ve become part and parcel of the ruling corporatocracy (i.e,. fascism). And without fairness as a guiding doctrine, the courts are worse than worthless. Although we incarcerate a greater proportion of our citizens than any country in the history of the world, our crime rate is stunningly high. Economic status and race are predictive of incarceration rates, making a mockery of the judicial branch. Although most people in this country fear the courts, few respect the courts or the judges. As with the other two branches of government, the masses have largely lost their confidence in the judicial branch.

When the citizens no longer respect the government, who is in charge? What prevents chaos from carrying the day? All the time, I mean, instead of periodically.

So far, I suspect chaos has been forestalled only by confidence in fiat currency. The Federal Reserve controls the printing presses. By buying U.S. Treasury bonds with Federal Reserve Notes (i.e., dollar bills), the Fed is able to flood the industrial economy with an increasingly worthless currency. As David Stockman, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, says, “the Fed is injecting high grade monetary heroin into the financial system of the world, and one of these days it is going to kill the patient.” Each dollar entering the money supply represents a dollar of debt owed to the Federal Reserve by the U.S. government (i.e., taxpayers). For example, the recent $600 billion infusion cost everybody in the U.S. about $2,000. But you already owed more than you’ll ever be able to pay, so what’s a few more dollars, especially if they’re worth less and less, and then nothing at all?

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, is effectively king of the United States. His tenure as chair ends in 2014, and his appointment to the Federal Reserve board expires in 2020. In other words, we’re stuck with King Ben until the ongoing economic collapses reaches completion.

In theory, the Fed is accountable to Congress. But in practice, nobody is Congress is particularly interested in exposing the Fed as a sham, so Congress whistles by the graveyard and looks the other way as the Fed conducts its business on behalf its owners. The Fed has been the de facto operator of the U.S. money system since it was established by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Who are those owners? The Federal Reserve is privately owned, but ownership is a closely guarded secret. As a result, conspiracy theories are rampant. MSNBC has concluded the Fed owns itself, whereas many pundits raise the specter of ownership by the Bank of England or financial elites such as the Bilderberg group, the Rockefellers, or the Rothchilds. I doubt we’ll ever know for certain, in large part because the owners do not want to be known and Congress is not interested in the truth. So we will continue to cede authority to King Ben — and whom or whatever underlies his power — as long as the empire stays afloat.

The Fed, working collaboratively with the executive branch, has created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world. King Ben keeps pumping air into the bubble because he believes his mandate is to destroy downside risk in the stock markets, regardless of the damage to the dollar or the resulting cost of commodities (note the rising prices of oil, gold, and silver as Benny Bucks look for a place to land). There is little doubt $200 oil will kill a crippled industrial economy regardless how we get there, so Bernanke and the Fed are simply rushing us to the point of collapse with every bankster bailout. The latest dash of $600 billion cash is widely recognized as yet another bank bailout, but collateral damage includes increased prices of everything based on the U.S. dollar. There is no question this bubble will pop: the only questions are when and how loud. But this example of fraud is one many examples of a worldwide racket that is large and growing by the day.

It’s time to kick back with some popcorn and enjoy the show. Even the New York Times has figured out, finally, we’re headed for an economic apocalypse. The exciting parts are on the way. First up, if all goes well: the banksters’ last meal.

Comments 61

  • Your right about all the above but the world is going to find out that american control of the global commons at least prevented world war three as I now watch an ever more aggressive china confront Japan,India and smaller nations in age old territorial disputes. Without us blocking these conflicts the human race has a short life expectancy.

  • If the ordinary person prints money, it is 20 years all expenses paid at the Crossbar Motel. This does not apply to the Bankster-in-Chief.

  • Greg, Jack Kennedy and Kruschev averted WWIII. TPTB in America seem hell bent on having it anyway. It seems far more likely that the US or Israel will create WWIII over oil and Iran than that China and India will go nuke to nuke.

  • I do not think the TPTB have any interest in world war 3 they have too much to lose. All countries like oil not just us or Israel and would like to control it as well. China like all the other nations that share borders with each other over there sees things as a zero sum game. All others must lose in order for them to win. Geography is king on this world and China cannot stand the thought of being closed in by Islands and seas controlled by others any more than Japan or India can tolerate China in a position to cut off their seaborne resources and trade. To stay up to date on this growing friction go to asia times online on the web and get a globe its all easy to see what is happening. This is where the real trouble is going to come from.

  • who is capable of or foolish enough to pick a fight with a mean-tempered 800lb. gorilla? u.s. foreign policy, backed by the most powerful military money can buy, is all about seeing to it that ‘american interests’ predominate globally. greg, if u consider this situation to be virtuous or praiseworthy, as your comment seems to indicate or at least imply, i couldn’t disagree more. in fact, if u want to play the game of international politics, the u.s., which once possessed (and perhaps still does) the greatest concentration of capital in the world, has used it for the most part in very myopically selfish and grossly foolish ways, like spending close to as much as the rest of the world combined does on military. one may argue about the need for self defense, but one can’t argue that militaries are about preparing and executing wars. in vietnam alone, the u.s. is responsible for millions of civilian deaths. some may argue persuasively the same applies to the current situation with iraq, especially taking into account deaths attributable to u.s.-led economic sanctions between it’s 2 wars there. think, for a moment, how the money spent to terrorize foreigners who don’t kowtow to the nasty 800lb. gorilla and give it what it wants without a fight… think what the trillions of dollars the u.s. has spent on militarism could have done if used for global welfare, education, and promotion of peaceful cooperation? with it’s wealth, the u.s. could have created immense good will. instead it has created immense suffering, grievance, and anger.

    yes, robin, guy, et al, it’s surreal the crimes the powerful commit and get away with.

    i wish to bring up a few different things now.

    the first is spiritual darkness, tragedy, ignorance, insanity, and despair. we blythely(sic?) discuss ‘die-off’ almost like talking about the weather, but of course, in surreality it’s the greatest tragedy and suffering in our species history. guy says he hopes collapse comes soon enough to save the natural world/other species from devastation/extinction, and others including me concur. again, if one transcends anthrocentricity, one recognizes ecological collapse to be an almost infinitely greater tragedy than mere human extinction. we live in the midst of anthropogenic tragedy, foolishness, and destruction.

    i don’t think there are very many people in this whole wide over-populated world who are interested in confronting this darkness, or at least trying a little. mostly because the vast majority are unaware that such tragedy lurks. there’s overwhelming ignorance and delusion/insanity among both the public and our so-called leaders. this surreal fact discourages the small minority who are aware from greater activism. which brings me to my second issue:

    alienation. i’ll bet some of u can relate to my experience of trying to educate some of my relatives, friends, and acquaintances. trying to have a serious discussion, with an appropriately agitated emotional affect when calm rationality fails, with people who just don’t/maybe can’t ‘get it’, is a mutually alienating experience. this, of course, is toxic to my third issue:

    relationships.

    since becoming ‘aware’ (a process, rather than an event), alienation from others has increased, in some cases dramatically, in my personal life.

    since at least adolescence, a powerful, mysterious alienation has been with me. this led to loneliness, introspection, and ‘enlightenment’, as i increasingly turned to books for companionship. with enlightenment, alienation no longer is so mysterious. it may be an appropriate response to this surreal world, or at least those locked in the grip of dogmatic ignorance and delusion.

    i just read about loneliness, and how people appear to have a psychological need for feeling connected to others. this blog is currently the best thing going for me in this regard, and i thank u all for it, especially guy.

  • Thats right virgin terry hardly anyone understands or wants to understand what having 7 billion humans and adding 200,000 more per day means on a world that has only so much it can give you. So forget about it and live your life. You are only lonely if you want to be and have no interests. None of us get out of this life alive anyways so you might as well enjoy it while you can.

  • Yes V Terry, knowing that there are other sane people and being able to communictate with them are important components of maintaining one’s own sanity on the ‘Planet of the Apes’.

    Guy: it’s good to see you write ‘It’s time to kick back with some popcorn and enjoy the show’ so prominently.

    Ron R, an American ‘refugee’ who fled ‘the empire’ decades ago (and who died in NZ a few weeks ago) was the first person I know of to say so, and that was around 5 years ago. Some of us are slow learners, but we get there eventually!

    Coincidentally, I was discussing the futility of attempting to wake up ‘the-walking-dead-who-don’t-want-to-know’ with another truth=teller just a couple of hours before reading the blog, having given it one last try. It has taken me a while, but I have finally learned to KEEP MY EYES OPEN all the time, but KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT most of the time.

    Presumably, it will be the first phase of die-off (or shall we call it transition?) that looks to be especially gruesome. In discussion a couple of hours ago, I did suggest that the fewer people there are around, the easier it will get. So should we enjoy die-off? (Presumably, below ten persons per square kilometre might not be much fun, though).

    I can’t say I’m enjoying it much at the moment, but since collapse of the industrial economy is the most constructive event [for long term survival] that can possibly occur, I have to overcome my reservations and learn to ‘enjoy the show’.

    One thing is for sure: ‘elephants with giraffe legs’ cannot continue to gorge themselves for much longer without something snapping.

  • OH, SHIT!: FED, money mechanics, real economy, environmental collapse, wars for resources, climate change, peak oil, gas supplies, electricity demand, wealth distribution, consumption habits, wrong mentality… etc. etc. etc.

    Every time I think about how complex is the death of a civilization, I feel pity for the historians of the future: they will spend their whole lifes thinking about the motive why our civilization collapsed.

    So, my idea is writing on a giant stone (so that archaeologists can see it): “THIS IS COLLAPSING BECAUSE WE WERE GREEDY AND STUPID”.

    🙁

  • Greg you wrote “I do not think the TPTB have any interest in world war 3 they have too much to lose. ” They had too much to lose back when JFK and Khruschev held the boxes that would set off the nukes. I have just read “JFK and the Unspeakable” by James Douglass – if you are non-religious you have to fast forward through some sections. It has far more material on the nuke standoff than I had ever read before – there were PTB on both sides that wanted WWIII and their failure to get it was no doubt one of the reasons they killed Jack and Khrushchev was ousted from power. Through the Pope they carried on a private diplomacy which may well be why any of us are alive to blog today.

    If you look at this as what do leaders rationally want to accomplish and how do they intend to do this you get one set of answers. But our military ranks are increasingly filled with people who think we are on the cusp of the Christian Apocalypse which requires that the Jewish Temple be rebuilt on the site where the Muslim Dome of the Rock stands. 30% Fundamentalist Christians in our military by one count http://newhumanist.org.uk/1681/backward-christian-soldiers

    Needless to say even more Jewish leaders want that for their own purposes. Gads there are people in Israel hunting up a red heifer without blemish to slaughter on the altar of the rebuilt temple. http://www.templeinstitute.org/red_heifer/original_ashes.htm

    Ahmajinidad I understand is also awaiting the return of the Mahadi and the beginning of the Muslim end times. http://www.meforum.org/1985/ahmadinejad-and-the-mahdi

    As far as I can tell the leaders in Russia and China are far more sane than the leaders of the US and Israel. I would wager that the leaders of Pakistan and India are more sane, but that is the second most likely place to start off a nuke war IMO but it might not spread wider. We or Israel nuke Iran and IMO the whole thing blows.

    Would you say that the erection of ever more statues on Easter Island and the denuding of the forests needed for boats to fish was the act of sane people? You cannot pull out a map to figure out what insane people are going to do.

    Karl Rove is feeling his oats and say “climate is gone” now that the Republicans have the house. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gregory-unruh/the-climate-is-gone_b_779665.html Well ignoring climate change is slower than the nukes but just as insane a policy for those who care about their own skins. What matters to the likes of him? Being on top. We have in our congress a bunch of sociopaths who vote the will of those with the money regardless of what deadly road they lead the world down.

  • If found the following chart to be eye opening. The misery that QE2 is going to unleash on those the in the lowest 40% income levels is going to be incredible.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/how-ben-bernanke-sentenced-poorest-20-population-cold-hungry-winter

    Kind of a bummer here today. Reemay works for cold but it doesn’t work with snow. Mother Nature is declaring that another season is over for the winter.

    Best Hopes,

    Ed

    http://luckydogfarm.wordpress.com/

  • With regard to geopolitics there is an excellent essay on Charles Hugh Smith blog called “The great game: geopolitics and oil” (Oct 19th) He gives a really excellent overview of the implications of the situation and resources of the superpowers. Well worth a read.

  • Ed thanks for the link. Food prices may soar due to shortages as well as financial manipulations. Remember the heat and fires in Russia among other unusual weather events this growing season.

    “We are of the opinion that not only US corn yields will be further downgraded, but in coming months South American crop yields will also be downgraded (IFA – September Report).
    It is likely that estimates of China corn / wheat imports in 2010 / 11 will be revised upwards. The world is likely to face export deficit (estimated at -25% – FAO) because of the Russian export ban and Pakistan will be an importer of grains (October 14, 2010 announcement to cancel wheat exports). A combination of increase in demand with a decline in supply will tighten corn market more than market expectations.”

    See http://seekingalpha.com/article/230492-corn-price-momentum-may-keep-going

  • Why is the fed so obcessed with artifically supporting the stock market? In my opinion, it’s because so many folks were hoodwinked into mutual funds as a tool back in the Reagan years. Back then the ‘markets’ had largely run outta new dough. The bankers came up with another ploy, this time it was to secure a steady flow of funds into the carnival by offering folks the time honored flim-flam of a free lunch. “Step right up, there’s a winner everytime” the carnival barker shouts. while the carny’s owners know that, as P.T. Barnum, one of the original actual carny owners said, “There’s another sucker born every minute.”

    Now there’s millions of little guys who were counting on their mutual funds as their retirement security, instead have seen them drop during the ’08 warmup to the big drop that will happen when the debt crisis turns into massive austerity programs and ‘consumers’ will be forced to stop consuming most everything other than food. That’ll be the popping of the last big bubble-the commidity bubble. Look out cause from what i read the ‘smart’ money, the carny owners, are selling commodity stocks slowly to mutual fund managers and either hoarding the cash or turning to real assets like gold, or in China’s case oil and potash. The big boys know the second [much larger] dip is coming soon to a carnival near you.

  • Guy,

    Thanks for another really terrific post and to everyone for the many excellent comments thus far.

    I for one still have some faith in the Judicial Branch. It sounds like there are a few judges out there requiring proper paperwork. No doubt the hungry lawyers smell blood in the water and seek their own sustenance. For the corrupt in power we have a state motto: Sic semper tyrannis.

    The idea that “chaos has been forestalled only by confidence in fiat currency” is likely true. However, I’d like to add that the ‘lack of knowledge’ by the general public regarding our monetary system plays a significant role as well. This was certainly the case for me not too long ago and remains as such for my friends and family.

    Here I would like to sympathize with Kevin Moore’s description of ‘the walking dead’ and Virgin Terry’s ‘relationship’ topic. I haven’t learned to keep my mouth shut yet, but I’m trying! I too feel extremely isolated to the point of self doubt in my purpose.

    That said, my prep for the week: I purchased a 3 Dog Stove after watching a video by Yankeeprepper on YouTube. This portable, secondary heat source was the perfect solution for my situation. A little hat tip to Chris Martenson as well for discussing this important issue.

    And finally the notion of ‘die off.’ This is a topic I can’t delve into without agonizing pain. Instead I focus on ‘keeping my eyes open,’ making what preparations I can and diversifying my assets.

    My best to all; time to caulk a window.

  • The president and the branches of the US government are helpless at doing real, serious good in the country and in the world. But they are practiced and highly experienced in wreaking havoc and doing harm to everything from ecosystems to international relations.

    The President is intentionally deceptive to the public, as in his slight of hand switching from healh care for all to insurance for all by for-profit corporations. The Congress cannot bring itself to obey its constitutional requirement to declare war before waging war, but can authorize spending for military operations ad infinitum. The Courts cannot distinguish between corporations and humans, except to guarantee full rights for corporations as they fleece humans mercilessly.

    This is all done by design, and Howard Zinn long ago showed that the US was built on a firm founcation of wealth worship and top-down control of society by those of means.

    Bernanke prints money but does not distribute it directly to those in greatest need, but to those with greatest greed.

    And the liquidation of wealth from the small accounts of the masses to the huge accounts of the elite proceeds until the masses find themselves in debt bondage, which whill eventually make it a crime to be poor.

    And the Tea Party rallies the middle class to advance the process with myopea that would be hysterically funny if not so hysterically tragic.

    Stan Moore

  • Re. the isolation – I’m like you too Virgin Terry.

    We are living in a culture where just about everything goes against the grain of our beliefs. At every social gathering, in every conversation, the illness of our current culture is re-affirmed to us. We are constantly reminded that we are living in a dying culture and that there is nothing we can do about it (except slowly disassociate ourselves from it)

    My middle-school-aged children recently finished reading, “The Hunger Games.” They convinced me I’d love the story – and I did. If you read it, I’m sure you will recognize “The Capital” and self-absorbed, superficial pig-people that inhabit it, as well as the “districts” that are enslaved by the Capital.

    Best of luck to you and others like us. I know it is easier said than done, but try not to let the toxic culture get to you. The toxic culture will die a slow death, but it will die none the less.

  • Stan, great comments. I would venture that every civilization has done pretty much the same things. Its just that we had more energy available to us in order to do it on a much grander scale – so we are facing global collapse rather than local collapse.

    navid, yep this culture is toxic. It will die, we all will die in the end. Which is why I advocate preparations that bring the joy of relating to the natural world around us.

  • Kathy, this one quote has always bothered me a little. I think your situation is similar to ours in that you are sustainable and off the beaten track. I wonder what your response is to:

    “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps his perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Self-Reliance Emerson

    We decided 6 years ago that we would create a place where our immediate families can be comfortable in a post peak world. We also decided that everything we learned we would share, free, to anyone that wants it. That quote, makes me wonder if that’s enough. Emerson what a pretty smart guy.

    Also I found a company called wildweeds that has incredible descriptions on their website about the healing powers of herbs. You might want to check it out.

    Navid, please take this in a good way. You might want to change your social circle. We have friends that are so in tune to what is happening. Took a while to find them. A get together leaves us energized, instead of angry.

    Best Hopes,

    Ed

  • @ Navid: My 11 year old son and I are both reading the ‘Hunger Games’ series; we love it too. We also read ‘Kaimira: Sky Village’ which is set in a post-apocalyptic world. I read to him every night and I often use that opportunity to discuss these important topics with him.

  • Ed, re. changing social circle – I take that as good advice, and something I am and have been working on. But as you say, it does take a while (and you can’t always choose your relatives 😉

    JB, I’ll have to check into Sky Village, thanks for the suggestion. Books like these do make for good discussions with children.

    Kathy, we all die in the end, but I agree with your sentiment of focusing on nature and trying to leave something better.

    —-
    Also, an interesting thread from TheOilDrum on “How We Got What We Have”
    http://campfire.theoildrum.com/node/7058#more

  • Ed, we have in the past tried various herbal treatments. Only a very few have done anything near what they promised. For my husband’s arthritis, no well touted cure, herbal or Dr. prescribed has done any good. The drug industry has to test against a placebo because of the curative properties of believing that what you are taking will effect a cure. In fact apparently placebos are getting better making it harder for drug companies to improve over placebos http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/17-09/ff_placebo_effect?currentPage=all

    I am quite sure that most herbal treatments are placebos. Unfortunately for my husband and myself we are skeptical and thus apparently not good candidates for a placebo effect from a placebo or a “medicine” or an herbal treatment.

    Lucky those who believe enough to garner the placebo effect. But one can’t manufacture belief on demand.

  • Kathy you may take a look at http://www.earthclinic.com/

    Strangely enough the 3 remedies that the show for arthritis I take every day. It’s pretty simple stuff, so it may be worth a try. Started all this in February of this year, along with oil pulling (don’t laugh folks). I’m 55 and just got back from a 45 minute run, and after some reading I’ll get my farm work done and then work on the house for a couple of hours. Late in the afternoon I’ll do some other exercise. That’s not chest pounding but I have to believe some of those remedies are helping. They are cheap, and I don’t suppose there could be any side effects. We have had some other success: for example Jen was running a pretty high fever. The egg whites sponged up in paper towels and then placing the mess on the bottom of her feet, took her temperature down 1.5 degrees in about a half hour.
    Just my 2 cents.

    Ed

  • Ed my husband did the apple cider vinegar plus locally grown honey for over a year. Not one bit of difference. Like I said lots of people respond to placebos. Unless an herbal remedy is tried against a placebo in a double blind study you cannot know if you have a cure or a placebo. I once saw a over the counter med for hair loss. Passing time waiting for an RX I read that 20% responded to the placebo. Apparently believing you are getting a hair rejuvenator can make your hair grow again.

    If you will read the placebo article I linked to you will see that different color placebos work differently in different countries and work differently for different aliments. Apparently our belief in placebos is linked to color and culture. No doubt the more you spend for an herb or medicine the more likely you are to invoke the placebo affect. I am told by a Dr. that warts are particularly susceptible to the placebo affect – you can rub a toad or rub potato on your wart, whatever you believe in (enhanced by testimonies of those who have had it work)- the cure rate is not linked to the cure but to the measure of belief in the cure. Don’t know if they ran a study on that but I cured a wart by scraping it daily. Who knows if the scraping helped or the belief that I was removing it bit by bit did.

  • Virgin Terry and others, a couple of thoughts:

    If we can imagine for a few minutes that we are scientists millions of years into the future looking back on this period of time, I suspect that we wouldn’t be too upset by the destruction of the environment or mass extinction caused by the human species, any more than we today are too upset about the previous mass extinction 70 million years ago. How can we be so cavalier about such tragedy? Fortunately, it’s a built-in protective mechanism of our species. If we couldn’t divorce ourselves from such negative emotions, we would be so consumed with constant grief that we would simply cease to function.

    However, when we can’t be the scientists and instead are forced to experience tragedy first hand the situation changes a bit. Like it or not, we also have built-in grief emotions that kick-in and go to work. The anesthesia of distance evaporates and we suffer, we agonize, we cry, and we get angry. We can’t make this bundle of emotions go away, but we can control them somewhat. And that’s a good thing – that’s what allows us to “soldier on” in spite of hardship and tribulations.

    I, for one, am infuriated daily when I see the destruction our species has visited on this planet. But, by the same token, I’m horrified and devastated when I contemplate the incredible loss of life, pain, and suffering that is soon to come our way. Karma, as they say, is a bitch.

    So, while I certainly intend to survive the coming catastrophe (I doubt I could choose to do otherwise), I don’t think I’ll be able to welcome it or watch it happen for entertainment sake. Maybe in time, but for now I’m too connected to this world I love – human or otherwise – to feel anything other than pain when it begins to die. As I suspect Guy was referring to in his essay, I must admit that I have a certain morbid fascination with the coming collapse of the industrial/financial world. If we could just rid ourselves of that monster without having to lose so much of the good at the same time, then maybe I’d actually work to secure its end.

    For now, I choose to make my best efforts to be prepared, while at the same time hoping for a miracle, or Harry Potter’s magic wand, or alien invaders. Or something.

    Terry, I definitely can relate to your comments about loneliness and spiritual darkness. Since I became “aware”, I too have tried to discuss this topic with friends and relatives. As Guy has mentioned in some of his other posts, more than a few of my professional colleagues think that I have snapped or lost my marbles. So, I just keep it to myself for the most part – for now – with an occasional reference to the topic here and there. I must admit, however, that it’s constantly on my mind. When a patient comes to me with a particular problem, in the back of my mind I’m wondering how I will deal with that issue after peak oil. Will that problem even exist then? Will that person be one of the survivors?

    So, to help myself cope, and hopefully do right by my patients, when it’s appropriate, I encourage them to grow and eat their own food. To exercise. To get outside more. To connect with their neighbors. To live life to its fullest. Good advice in any event, I figure.

    I’m still relatively new to all this so I’ll be glad when the emotional roller coaster slows down a bit. I don’t want to get off the ride, per se, but I could use a break now and then.

  • Thanks Kathy: Had a horrible run this morning, after waking up with a stuffy nose and a cough. Kidding. I’m thinking with my remedies. Sorry that the ACV didn’t work for your husband.

    Here’s a site you and others in the south might enjoy: http://houstonwildedibles.blogspot.com/

    If someone has already recommended it, sorry for the repitition. About this time every year we stack stones, masonary bricks, and cinder blocks on and all around our woodstove. The increase in thermal mass does wonders for the efficiency of the stove. I read some folks claim that this can cut your wood usage by 50%. Be a bit careful if you have a wood floor, the whole thing could end up in the basement.

    Best Ed.

  • Thanks Ed, the site on wild edibles looks good. I have identified many edibles (watching chickweed sprout right now and eager for it to get plentiful enough for a salad) but I am always eager to find more. Lambsquarters are a standby for us. My husband makes are really good omelet with them.

    I like the tip on the thermal mass in conjunction with a wood stove. Will try it within bounds (don’t want my wood floor to collapse).

    Wouldn’t it be nice if scientists, instead of making double blind studies comparing drugs to placebos, had studied the placebo effect instead so that we could have a better idea of how to tap into our body’s own ability to heal itself? But no money in that eh?

  • PS Ed see the entry on maypops http://houstonwildedibles.blogspot.com/2006/08/passion-vinemaypop.html

    We have several plants in our garden. Absolutely love the fruit – they are right up there with blueberries as my favorit. They say to let it go yellow but we eat them when green but squishy instead of firm. I wait until they drop off the plant then let them set in the house for a few days. We like the flavor at that stage better. They look a bit unappetizing until you taste them. Like my neighbor said, they look like snot but taste wonderful! Tried some leaves, edible but not exciting.

    While not doing quite as well this year as last, they weathered the drought much better than our domestic plants. Only problem is that they tend to come up in slightly different spots each year which makes running them up a fence more difficult – but getting them on a fence makes finding the dropped fruit much easier.

  • In pre-scientific times the shamans and mystics of every culture believed in the power of the mind to shape the world. What you believe, visualize and pray for literally becomes your reality. By so vividly imagining a dystopian future, I truly believe that “doomers” are participating in a kind of collective black magic — they are literally willing negative outcomes into the world. Rational materialists will laugh this off as magical thinking, but rational materialism is exactly what has created our rather alienated, disenchanted modern world.

    My own conclusion of late is that modern people must somehow rediscover a magical worldview — stop viewing the world as a place of meaningless matter or a gauntlet to be run on en route to Heaven, and start seeing it as a place of enchantment again. This means there must be an overthrow of dogmatic materialism and fundamentalist religion alike. It may take some kind of prophet to appear on the scene and start performing miracles before this happens, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I think folks like John Michael Greer are half right with their “Green Wizards” approach, but where I disagree with them is their insistence that magic and modern civilization are incompatible. There is no reason why we can’t have both a more enchanted worldview and computers, the internet, space programs, etc. We do not need to return to pre-Christian European or Paleolithic American lifestyles to reincorporate a shamanic element into our culture. I think Terence McKenna has come as close as anyone to realizing the ideal of the “techno-shaman” so far, so if we must have a prophet to inspire people to make this shift, Terence gets my vote.

  • jean, i object slightly to the assertion that ‘we’ have been/are stupid and greedy. i think that power, like wealth, is highly concentrated in many places today. ‘elites’ have indeed been stupid and greedy, judging by the politics/economics which apparently predominate in the wealthy ‘free’ ‘first world’. no doubt, their stupidity and greed, like their wealth has trickled down to ‘commoners’, infecting perhaps a vast majority to varying degrees. perhaps we’re all guilty of it too, sometimes, probably a lot more often than we’d like to admit. but ‘elites’, imo possess a greatly disproportionate share of it, judging by extreme concentrations of wealth and the ignorance/delusion that dominates ‘elite’ political discourse in the u.s. and elsewhere.

    kathy, now that u mention it, the placebo effect is quite surreal. apparently faith (in anything, even a pill)for many people boosts immunity and overall health. i think it would be interesting to do a study of how the effect varies between those inclined to dogma versus free thinkers. i suspect the dogmatists, having already demonstrated their faithfulness, would score higher. could this explain perhaps, the predominance of dogma? has darwinian selection been working in favor of those inclined to gullibility, and delusion (thinking ‘positive’!)?

    thanks real dr. house for the thoughtful, informative comments.

    ed and kathy, i admire/envy your practicality, and appreciate your sharing of helpful tips in preparing for collapse by becoming more efficient, frugal, and self sufficient. smart and sensible.

  • Hello Guy,

    Your closing lines: “It’s time to kick back with some popcorn and enjoy the show. Even the New York Times has figured out, finally, we’re headed for an economic apocalypse. The exciting parts are on the way. First up, if all goes well: the banksters’ last meal.”

    reminded me of the scene at “the Restaurant at the End of the Universe” in Douglas Adams “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. The heroes travel there in time and space to watch the end of the Universe in a five stars restaurant. I always find reading Adams a great solace.

    On herbal remedies,

    Many, many synthetic drugs are just spinoff of substances first isolated in plants: morphine, salicylic acid, coumarin, digitalin etc…One needs only to look at all the inspiration big pharma got from Papaver sativum to know that there is much more to herbal remedies than placebo effects. But, of course, often, the drugs which are truly effective can be also truly dangerous. For arthritis, one of the good option is cannabis.
    As an interesting sideline, many animals self-medicate by eating plants. Fred Provenza, a professor of range management at Utah university wrote a lot of interesting stuff about this topic.

  • Sean, you wrote: ‘There is no reason why we can’t have both a more enchanted worldview and computers, the internet, space programs, etc.’

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but there is a very good reason we cannot have computers, the internet, space programs etc. They all require huge inputs of energy and materials derived from oil – energy and materials which simply will not be available for much longer.

    We could debate whether declining oil extraction will terminate industrial civilisation within 30 years or within 10 years, but there is absolutely no question that declining oil extraction (coupled with looming constraints on most other resources) will at some stage terminate this ‘civilisation’, which is predicated on the unsustainable use of oil.

    And may I remind you that if we persist in using fossil fuels and continue to generate waste at even a fraction of the current rate we will almost certainly render the Earth unihabitable for most mammalian species before the end of this century -probably by causing such severe acifification of the oceans they become toxic to all life forms other than bacteria. Largely dead oceans equals a largely dead planet.

    And by the way, ‘doomer’ is just a word people use to describe those who actually know the relevant facts [of chemistry, physics, geology etc.].

  • Dear Terry:

    When I wrote “we” I mean “our civilization”. Consider that elites have designed an economic system that maximizes their utilities, does not matter who pays for it with his life and dignity, and the rest of the population in rich countries are the last piece of the chain: any single person who enjoyed overconsumtion is responsable for this, and that includes us all (white westerners), not just elites: they just sold us what we wanted, (commiting endless crimes by the way).

    Ruthless? Indeed. But it’s the truth. We were greedy and stupid. That’s why we fcked it up. 🙁

  • Kathy, from Buhner’s Sacred Plant Medicine. “Commercial ginger has also been found extremely useful in arthritic joint inflammation,” He goes on to list dosages if you are interested.

    Marie, I was reading about Sepp Holzer last night, and he never clears out the poisonous plants from where his animals graze. He also doesn’t worm his animals either. The animals can put two and two together it seems. Provenza is now on the book list.

    For any of you who don’t know Holzer he’s a pretty amazing story. One of our main projects for next year is a root cellar. Attached is information about Holzer’s root cellar design and a ton of other stuff about his way of doing things. The guy who wrote all this stuff up with pictures deserves a gold star. Everything from voles to ponds, and on and on.

    http://www.richsoil.com/sepp-holzer/sepp-holzer-permaculture.jsp

    Best Hopes,

    Ed

    http://luckydogfarm.wordpress.com/

  • Well, The Show just keeps getting more interesting by the day. Oil is past $87/barrel again. Gold passed $1400. The silver price has almost doubled over the past year.

    We got my younger brother married off over the weekend. It was quite a production. They must have dropped several grand on the ceremony and the attendant displays of wealth and indulgence. The wife and I were seated with another couple and two groomsmen at the rehearsal dinner, and the talk turned to money and investments. The others, all about 6-7 years younger than us, were laughing at one another’s losses in the stock market over the last year, and were discussing where next to put their money, one of the options being GM stock.

    I listened with mild incredulity. When they asked me my opinion, I stated that I believe the stock market to be basically a huge casino, and advised them instead to invest in a farm, and maybe precious metals, agricultural stocks, or railroad stocks.

    The silence was deafening. My wife looked embarrassed.

    “Precious metals?” the other husband asked. “You mean, like gold stocks?”

    I laughed a little and said No, I meant physical delivery of gold, and especially silver.

    He actually looked dumbfounded.

    Then a groomsman, a single parent and airline pilot, said, “Well, the part about owning land is good. When the real estate market picks back up, it’ll really pay off.”

    I leaned forward and asked intently, “How will it ‘pick back up?'”

    He, too got the dumbfounded look. “What?”

    “I mean, what do you think will help the real estate market ‘pick back up,’ as you put it?” I tried to sound innocent.

    He shrugged. “I don’t know. It always does, though. Something will come along.”

    I couldn’t help but smile, and let it go. I mean, how do you talk to people who think about the future in terms of “When You Wish Upon a Star” (as Dave at Decline of the Empire describes it), when they should be thinking in terms of soil and water quality, compost piles, canning, and learning to survive on little to no fossil fuels? The “collapse gap” for these people is huge… their adjustment will be hard, very hard, and they are apparently 90-95% of the population, if not more.

    Those of us trying to prepare, to adjust ahead of time physically, emotionally, and spiritually, are going to have a huge burden managing the descent of the rest of the population. At the very least, it will be next to impossible to resist the urge to shout “I told you so!”

    Best wishes to everyone here.

    C.

  • Marie, I am well aware that pharma researches plants for new drugs. I have know since jr high biology that aspirin originally came from willows and penicillin from bread mold. I never said that all herbals didn’t work. But, while not as big as big pharma, there is now big herbal. Much of the herbal sales are now from big corporations. No doubt that drives big pharma crazy because they are not subjected to doing big double blind studies of efficacy and comparison to placebos. They don’t make claims usually on their packaging about what they can do, but there are plenty of claims out there so they don’t really need to. The claims for any one herbal often include 10 or 20 things they are good for, often totally unrelated.

    I use tea tree oil on under the toenail fungus. It seems to help at about the same rate as the over-the-counter stuff I used to use. Neither cured but both resulted in reduction. I prefer the tea oil just because it is more natural. However perhaps any oil would work. I haven’t tried that yet. It might not be the properties of tea oil but rather the action of oil itself. Whenever I start treating I also aggressively cut back the nail which might be what gives me release. My husband who also uses it is sure it is the tea tree oil…proving I am a better skeptic than him 🙂

    Aspirin has never even reduced a headache for me or or calmed any joint or other bodily pain. (tylenol 2 however works great for headaches for me while plain tylenol works no better than asprin – but not available over the counter in the US – I am well aware the added codeine comes from a plant) It has worked as a fever reducer. My youngest son had seizures with fever until he was 8 and I can attest to the ability of aspirin to reduce fever. Of course cold baths work too, but not much fun to administer to a child every two hours. However in most cases it seems better to let the fever run its course unless it gets dangerously high. Fever is our body’s reaction to infection and apparently by heating up the body it makes it less livable for viruses and bacteria. One Dr. even proposed heating your body with hot bath’s the first sign of a cold (carefully in order to not overheat). He ran a 1 person study on himself and claimed success. Sometimes perhaps we defeat our own body’s mechanisms for self care.

    Re cannabis, you are aware that property can be seized in the case of finding such things on your property. No health benefits are worth losing our property.

    But here is a “natural” suggestion for health – squat when you poop. Its the natural way and results in more complete evacuation of the bowels. Straining on a toilet seat may even result in heart attacks for some.
    http://www.toilet-related-ailments.com/squatting.html

    Probably our years sitting a school desks and wearing shoes are at the base of many problems. Have you notice that even most “flat” shoes have a raised heel. Someone studies runners who run barefoot and found that they had a different running style and less injuries. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127134241.htm
    Some shoe companies are now trying to cash in on this info and make shoes that either simulate barefoot running or are so minimal that they are like barefoot – I suppose a good pair of all leather moccasins would do as well and be cheaper.

    Going barefoot now might toughen us up for post peak oil.

  • Christopher, thanks. I read your comments aloud to my husband and we had a good laugh!!! Luckily I have a spouse with whom agreement on this most important of issues is total. Unfortunately the unpreparedness of the vast majority may serve to bring the prepared down with them.

    Re physical gold, I heard Dmitry Orlov in a talk say – why would I want to have gold just so someone can take it from me. Well if anyone wants physical gold I suggest burying it, not wearing in on a finger. Thieves in a hurry have cut off fingers to get at hard to remove rings.

  • “Their adjustment will be hard, very hard, and they are apparently 90-95% of the population, if not more.”

    They’re dead flesh, my friend. Accept it and go on.

  • Well I guess you’re all going to be disappointed when doomsday doesn’t arrive, peak oil proves to be a non-issue and climate change turns out to be overblown. There are massive efforts underway globally to transition to greener energy, and despite the continued resistance of reactionaries in America and elsewhere, it’s a trend that can only accelerate.

    We are not living on Easter Island folks; comparing Stone Age tribesmen on a small island to a globally connected, scientifically advanced civilization is a bit of a stretch. If you talk to informed scientists and engineers about these problems most will tell you that we have the knowledge and the technology to solve them, so if we can keep the reactionary and irrational elements of society from taking over there’s no reason why they won’t be solved. So instead of preparing for “die-off” and the End Times, I would recommend that people here take another look at the data and consider doing something more constructive with their time.

  • Sean,

    Any details? Or are you going to keep it a secret, so we will be surprised?

  • Curtis, do you really expect any “details” from Sean? I mean, look at the simplistic bait he uses.

    Honestly, does he say anything in his post that suggests he has any understanding of peak oil, climate change, or collapse?

    Sean needs to start at sites like The Oil Drum, RealClimate, etc where he can get up to speed on these topics before he trys trolling in the deep end of pool.

  • This is a slight tangent to the topic of King Ben…

    Dysfunctional Markets pose huge risks to any national or international collapse-mitigation strategies. Yet here is sober economist with an optimistic point of view of our Transition. I offer it up because it is very funny and spot on in many ways (e.g. the financial disaster).

    —–

    Jeff Rubin: Oil and the End of Globalization – ASPO-USA

    “One of the keynote speakers at the recent ASPO-USA conference was Jeff Rubin, former Chief Economist with CIBC World Market.

    Rubin talked about why he believes high oil prices caused the recent recession. He also talked about how high oil prices are likely to vastly reduce globalization. He views this as a positive situation, because he expects this will change supply curves in such a way as to make American-made products more competitive.

    He believes that we will find our new smaller world much more livable and sustainable.”

    Link to transcript of Rubin’s excellent presentation, and comments.
    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7095

  • Thanks Sean: I feel better. You and the IEA 2010 forecasts that came out today make me feel almost euphoric. “Will peak oil be the guest or the spectre at the feast?” The folks at IEA want to know. BTW green energy has slowed in the first two years of the OBAMA administration to a rate less than was seen during the Bush admin. I don’t care for either of them, but we are slowing down not speeding up.
    In simple terms the recently retired chief scientist of the British government said that world reserves are overstated by 30% which means we have around 800 billion barrels left. At our current burn rate that’s 24 years. The Hirsch report (funded by the US Government)said that we will need 20 years to prepare for peak oil. What do we do when it is all gone in 20 years? I spent 6 years in KSA (Dhahran and Riyadh) in the late 70’s working for Saleh and Abdulaziz Abahsain, the second largest supplier to ARAMCO after the Al Gosaibi Group and if you believe anything KSA is telling you about their reserves then you are mistaken.
    One of the wonderful things about this blog that I have found in the short time I have been here is the lack of people being snarky. People are really just trying to be helpful. You are a waste of energy. Please just go away, or maybe I should just ignore you like everyone else has.

    Ed

  • Sean, if we make preparations in ways that enhance our life, getting goats, planting gardens, moving rural, etc. we are better off than if we never heard about peak oil, even if we miraculously transition from fossil fuels to solar and wind with industrial civilization still intact. If on the other hand we deny any potential problem and do nothing, and turn out to be wrong we are sht out of luck.

    I suppose I am one of the doomiest of the doomers except like Guy I don’t think a collapse of industrial civilization is a bad thing given the alternative, which is that we burn dirtier and dirtier fossil fuels and do less and less to control CO2 and therefore fry the planet.

    I suggest you get yourself on over to The Oil Drum where there is a mix of views, including some like you who think there is no problem (more of those appeared during the oil spill as they were there to talk about the spill not peak oil). You can join in with some of the personnel who don’t want to talk about climate change (I have had deleted comments to a post that mentioned climate change in a disparaging way). You can listen to how safe and wonderful gas fracking is. http://www.theoildrum.com/ You can even find commenters who decry the terrible way BP has been treated. Really sounds like a much better fit.

  • navid,

    Just exhibiting my wry humor; trying to draw him out, similar to what Christopher did. I was looking for some comic relief, but now I am afraid he won’t play.

    On another note, I first heard about the Hubbert curve as regarding oil in I think it was 1987. It took me all of about 15 seconds to realize the implications. I figured 20 years later, before we would see the beginning of the end. This is the show I have been expecting all along, deniers and all.
    No goofball will be able to counter Guy’s well reasoned and documented treatise.
    Once the deniers have their asses in the wringer, they will be whining about how no one told them.
    This is turning out to be a truly epic time.

  • Kathy, you are fortunate to have as a partner someone who is on the same page as you regarding collapse. My wife is getting there, I think, but it is slow going, and she walks her own path, not the one I would set out for her.

    I have to laugh, sometimes, in the face of the bizarre logic and behavior of my fellow Americans. Just today, I witnessed a young man, on one of those zero-turn radius commercial lawn mowers, cutting an island of grass not quite as wide as a bus, and half as long. I should have taken a picture. I have to laugh, but it is in the face of tragi-comedy. I don’t know what else to do in those situations, besides rail against such obvious stupidity, or wring my hands in hopelessness and grief.

    As far as precious metals, I believe that we will return to them as a means of exchange at some point. Gold and silver are money; currency is not. But accumulating too much makes one a target. I believe some store of precious metals, in coin form, may ease the transition to a post-collapse society. Anything more, and… I am reminded of the scene in McCarthy’s ‘The Road,’ where the father finds a jar of gold Krugerrands in a forgotten shelter, and doesn’t bat an eye as he moves on to the canned food — the real treasure.

    Jean, I honestly thought you wrote “They’re dead fish, my friend,” and went almost an hour thinking about that, before I went back and reread it. 🙂 Unfortunately you are correct, but the dead flesh you refer to includes many whom I love and cherish, and many others who have not had the (mis)fortune of having their eyes opened, as we have, by Guy and others. I have not yet reconciled myself to the fact that few if any of them can or will be saved. The suffering and wretchedness of the coming years is beyond my imagining. It is a stretch of will that most of us here will face at some point. I fear what I may have to become, or what I am becoming. But I cannot abandon all hope that some of my fellow human beings may yet be awakened, before it is too late. (By “fellow human beings,” I of course do not include politicians, economists, what passes for the media, and any self-styled capitalist.)

    Sean, I must like Curtis ask you to elaborate, if you are serious; but, like Navid, I suspect you are not. I could even hear the melody to “When You Wish Upon a Star” as I read your post. I’m serious. I’m that far gone. At any rate, the first paragraph of Kathy’s last post sums it up pretty good, I think, for most of us here.

    Curtis, you said “This is turning out to be a truly epic time.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s more viscerally fascinating and exciting and terrifying than anything I’ve experienced, and I feel more alive and pursposeful now than I ever have before. I want to survive this, and tell my grandchildren about it, and pass on lessons learned. The latter may be the best gift we so-called “doomers” can give to later generations.

    Then again, they probably won’t listen…

  • Christopher,

    I long ago, (40 years or more, I am now 67) gave up trying to convince anyone of anything. Like you at the wedding, when I am stuck somewhere for a few hours with new people, I just keep my mouth shut and listen or just dream off. If I smell a goofball and the possibility of some amusement then I just try to innocently (seemingly) draw them out. If they have some new bizzare twist, then I may learn something new about the delusional world.
    Most often they are only dull and stupid, but occasionally I add to my collection.

  • LOL!!! Dead fish!!! 🙂

    Unfortunately, most people have a family, children, etc. We would not be humans if we forgot about feelings. And as you said, the wide majority of mankind still lives in ignorance, and will continue to live in denial until the last minute.

    (I feel lucky… at least I have no family).

  • Christopher, like in the Road when things become chaotic food, tools and weapons become the most valuable items. Gold is not a very useful metal, steel is. However when things are stable a value can be assigned to it or to paper money or to any item one agrees to use to facilitate trade. Trust in the value comes with a stable economic system. Trust in fact is a treasure beyond measure, but involves stable relationships. In the movie Alive, which may or may not be accurate the the events, the people stranded in the Andes at one point burn all the money in their pockets – what value is a $100 bill or a $1 bill? The same if you are burning them for light or heat. And trust – this is probably the main reason why eating human flesh is so hard. For these folks the frozen bodies of their dead companions should be an easy choice to make if they wanted to survive long enough to be rescued. But no doubt at the back of their minds is the worry – what happens when the dead bodies run out, will my friend now turn on me? Perhaps humans have the extensive burial rites they do just to assure each other that they will not ever look on other humans as food. With that trust elaborately established they can function together without that worry hanging over their heads.

    I am reading Farmers of 40 Centuries right now. An amazing book written in about 1910 about the agriculture the Chinese had sustained for 4,000 years. But all those good practices created a huge population burden and took more and more land out of nature for agriculture. And it required protection and coordination which means the heavy hand of government.

    When our government falls, things will become chaotic and even the best plans may not work. One cannot use a hoe and hold a gun at the same time.
    The Road, though hard to watch, is a movie that hopefully doesn’t, but may well predict our future. IMO survival is not worth any cost, both to self and others, and since our human mortality limits it anyway, I am not pushing for a whole lot of extra years. I think I would rather starve sharing my food than starve a bit later alone…but who knows what those pesky survival brain programs will make this mortal body do?

  • One day I trust that a discussion of human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth happens in many places. Sooner or later discussions of this kind have to occur, I suppose, despite the fact that free and open speech of what looks to me like the very last of the last taboos is forbidden by the self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us, the ones who value money, power and position before all else and exclaim their dishonest and duplicitous ‘work’ is, of all things, “God’s work”.

    My concern for children everywhere is this. If children in our time are
    “sold” the aberrant idea that economic success is what really matters, that arrogance and avarice actually rule this world, then from now here I expect those who are still young will follow a clearly marked and soon to become patently unsustainable primrose path to perdition, a path that has been adamantly advocated and religiously pursued by the masters of the universe.

    Let us not allow the ‘economic success’ that is derived from insider
    trading, hedging, dark pools of capital, CDOs and other financial
    instruments, market and currency manipulations, Ponzi schemes and economic globalization by the masters of the universe to be confused with the works of God, as given to us in the Creation and science.

    Despite all the efforts to foment confusion and uncertainty by economic theologians and other minions of the wealthy and powerful, I trust we can agree that the Creation and science itself are utterly different from the artificially designed, ideologically flawed, manmade global economy that is organized and managed by the masters of the universe for their benefit primarily. Regarding this single thing, can there be even so much as a shadow of doubt?

  • Hi Curtis,

    I figured you were just playing cat-and-mouse with Sean. I just thought Sean’s post sounded like something a freshmen would spout in a senior-level class. Like Kathy, I think Sean needs to start his conversation at sites like oildrum, where they expect naive questions and enjoy those kinds of discussions.

    The Oildrum is ideal for people still in the denial or bargaining stages.

    About the link I posted above to Jeff Rubin’s talk – THAT seems worthy of discussion on this board. Rubin is not a naive, yet he seems to be mostly optimistic about our future.

    I like Jeff Rubin but I think he grossly underestimates the technical and geopolitical problems we face.

  • navid, I agree Jeff Rubin’s talk is worthy of discussion. He’s obviously energy literate, and yet he is amazingly optimistic about civilization (and clearly unaware of its consequences). To think terminating globalization will make the U.S. more sustainable is stunningly naive, in my opinion. When have we ever tried to rely on local materials for our “needs”? When have we ever settled for a steady-state industrial economy, much less a declining industrial economy? When have we ever skipped an opportunity to wage war in the name of economic growth?

    I understand Rubin was pandering to his audience — all audiences in this country believe Americans are special and that the industrial economy does no harm — but his talk verges on the absurd. If a person in his position is unwilling to present likely outcomes of energy decline, what does that say about speaking the truth in today’s world?

    Orwell comes to mind, as is often the case: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

  • Guy, I agree completely with all of your points – except that I think Rubin might not just be playing to his audience. I think he might really believe what he says.

    That seems to be a hazard among the fat-and-happy economists and tech-topians in general – they tend to live a sheltered life (similar to our fellow Ivory Tower types).

    And like CERA and others, they tend to build simple models of “a perfectly rational world” that simply does not exist and never has. Their models fail miserably in the Real World (e.g. CERA’s track record of silly and consistently wrong projections for oil production the past decade).

    Jeff Rubin’s model might be *somewhat* accurate for a “recovery period” that follows our on-going collapse. But first we have to see who and what gets through the eye-of-the-needle of collapse.

  • navid says: “Rubin might not just be playing to his audience. I think he might really believe what he says.”

    Shudder. I fear you’re correct.

  • navid,

    I agree. He seems to be a well adjusted, happy person. Not the kind that has any experience running a difficult project, getting the troops organized, approving the details, anticipating and troubling shooting the disasters, etc. Too many decades experience as an IT programmer, analyst, and consultant, gave me shuddering real world experience.
    People in the U.S. have little coping experience with harsh conditions.
    They can not do anything for themselves. Every problem is solved by handing over a credit card.
    Over the long haul, I think we will continue the downward slope globally, with small pockets of stabilizing and manageable conditions. The subsistence poor, in those few areas that the U.S. has not devastated, may remain intact until global warming (and I mean just that), threatens even them.
    As I said, I have foreseen this for 20 years, and it is right on schedule.

  • Enjoying a 12 degree higher than normal temp day (per Weather.com). Axed three roos this morning and fixing to strip the meat from the bones as soon as it cools a bit. One of the pleasures of preparing for a life with less is the pleasure of providing your own food. Every time I set down a meal that is all food we have grown ourselves I feel a deep satisfaction even tho it is much hard work. Well, back to work.

  • While Obama says that his administration prevented a depression and Bernanke/Geithner et al. say similar stuff — the fact is that all they have done is to delay the inevitable, and guarantee that the damage done will be worse than if reality was dealt with sooner. And they have completed more of the transfer of wealth to the elite from the former middle class by shuffling paper and buying time for the elite to transact paper wealth into real wealth (buying gold, real estate, etc.)

    Stan Moore

  • Regarding arthritis, I find that strictly avoiding all nightshade plant products, ie potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, ground cherries, etc. is very helpful. Prevention magazine published an article on the subject many years ago, and I ran my own one-woman experiment to see if nightshades were why my fingers and knees were so stiff (in my 30s at the time). We had a bumper crop of tomatoes and peppers that year of which I had eaten a lot. Alas, nightshades are my enemy. I avoid them, and my body is fine. Watch out for packaged shredded cheese, also. Some of it is dusted with potato starch to prevent clumping.