Triage

by Kathy Cumbee

1 a: the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors
b: the sorting of patients (as in an emergency room) according to the urgency of their need for care
2: the assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success

Recently I listened to a program on NPR about the shooting of Rep. Gifford and 17 others. It interviewed one of the medical workers who discussed how triage was used that day to determine who to treat first. Since situations like this happen more often in battle than ordinary life, we civilians are spared for the most part thinking about medical personnel having to make such decisions. We are used to events where one person is injured and regardless of their condition all efforts are made to save their life.

I also watched recently a movie called Triage. Based in Kurdistan, it shows a more severe but necessary triage. In the movie those injured who are determined unlikely to be saved are shot in the head to end their suffering and to save scarce pain killers for those deemed able to be saved.

In our Western Industrial Civilization we have come to believe that almost everything is limitless. The idea of a situation in which one would have to decide to save one victim over another is not part of our everyday thoughts. We have believed not only that oil, the life blood of our civilization is limitless, but the services it provides are also limitless. Thus we cannot face the possibility that treatment could be withheld from some victims of an accident. Surely we can treat them all (never mind that in fact the nature of our private health insurance system is already doing triage that negatively affects the poor but that has not been part of middle class thinking).

With the end of cheap oil, the end of growth, and the shrinking of our civilization, triage will face us in multiple ways. We will have to perform triage regarding pets — at some point will we realize that we cannot feed domestic animals that have no useful purpose once it becomes hard to feed just ourselves. We will have to perform triage on our gardens. Flowers with no herbal benefit will be sacrificed for the space, care and water they use up that will be better used for food crops. Fussy plants that take extra water and care will be sacrificed, no matter how good they taste, for those plants that more easily provide needed calories and nutrition. Last summer, drought and heat and low levels in our well forced me to triage my garden and only water the plants that were still doing fairly well. The rest I let dry up.

Triage will certainly be performed on life style –- daily baths and excessive washing of clothes will vanish when all the water is pumped by hand. Housing will hold more people than we have been accustomed to living with in close quarters. Children will be expected to provide useful work at an early age. Lighting will be used only when most necessary. Heating will depend on how large the wood pile is.

As has been done in the past, many of the elderly and the sick will be neglected when they become a drain rather than a benefit, many will in fact perform self triage. “The Eskimo, for instance, are reported to have practiced socially encouraged or enforced suicide in old age ‘not merely to be rid of a life that is no longer a pleasure, but also to relieve their nearest relations of the trouble they give them.'” At times, parents will have to choose which child to let live and which to let die. Even today in areas where people are starving, some parents are forced to make that decision.

It is perhaps an important mental step to take to move the word triage into active conscious thought. The age of “limitless” is over, we humans must make the mental leap back into a world where everything is NOT possible, a world where the limits of time, energy and food make themselves felt. A world where the limit is not the sky. The ability of the earth to provide will be the limit.

____________________

Kathy Cumbee is a retired bookkeeper living in central Alabama with her husband, a rat terrier, and 100 chickens. The chickens range and interbreed freely, the outcomes of which provide joy for their human companions. Kathy and her husband use the Ruth Stout continual mulch method of gardening, and their garden increasingly includes a component of edible native plants that obligingly self seed. The garden supplies food for the humans and daily greens for the chickens, who in turn provide eggs and manure for the garden. Preparations for the world after oil include a well with hand pump, wood-fired cooking stove, candles, bow saws, and other hand tools. As we face an uncertain future, Kathy and her husband increasingly turn their attention to the simple joys of each day, including the pleasures of a simply life in tune with at least some parts of the natural world.

Comments 63

  • Excellent essay, Kathy. Triage will become an important, indeed essential, part of daily life in the future – as it is now in reality – but more personal in the future. I am happy that I will not likely have to deal with such decisions. Our children will learn to become strong very quickly….

  • Thank you, it was thought provoking. It does seem to me that you have jumped right to the end-set of triage decisions, when there are many intermediate decision points along the way that will hit people unexpectedly.

    I’m talking about deciding between saving for retirement or children’s education, for example. I realize you are saying it all boils down to the end-set, but these points will be wrenching for upper and middle class Americans. If, as I think we are, we are living through a protracted contraction, there may be a great many people who do not live to the end-set decisions; but rather just live through hard times.

  • kathy thanks! i am reminded of a series of Ford commercials, from a few years back when i watched tv; something to the effect of ” no limits, no boundaries FORD”.

    re pets; we are dog people. the most recent rescues were all chosen with an informed guess, they were puppies & mostly mixes, for utility.

    going back almost 20 years we adopted from our pound; about 600 dogs per mo. were then being ‘euthanized’ in our metro area that summer. i was shocked this many were being killed. our daughter adopted at the pound a couple of years ago, & the no. was about the same. BTW i had to seek this info. triage, though behind the curtain, indeed.

  • Thank you, Kathy, for a vrry much needed and most insightful post on addressing with human thought and understanding a process that continues in nature all the time. 

    The natural process of the culling of the less fit is a part of evolution, while triage is directed towards rationally attempting to minimize the damage in theforced “culling” whenever resources are overwhelmed by demands. At the national level we have managed to put a stay on that culling by taking on debt – which will only exacerbate the situation. Even worse is the lack of gumption of the “leaders” to recognize, acknowledge, and act upon the dire need for a Grand Triage. 

    The sacrificing of selected family members – in this case the elderly – was poignantly portrayed in the movie

    Savage Innocents

  • The “Principles for Society” I wrote is a triage system of values. People who don’t understand and respect these principles fast enough, eliminate themselves. They continue making bad decisions using flawed value systems, with fatal results. The “principles” are like a razor sharp sickle that cuts through people’s flawed beliefs at their base like the sickle cuts stalks of grain and weeds. They are like a threshing rod that pounds at the results, and a winnowing basket that throws the grain and chaff up in the air. People who are like chaff, with lightweight abilities to follow and respect reason, blow away on the breezes of opinion. People with a “heavy enough” ability to reason are like the heavier grain, not moved far by opinions, and are separated out.
    With most people today, the opinions fly up like clouds of chaff, just in the cutting…
    Or one could say the principles are like a fence, and the goats and sheep are driven towards it, and humans who do not respect these principles are like goats who do not generally respect fences. They jump over with grand philosophical proclamations that nothing can be proved, or they squeeze through in spite of the barbs and shocks, saying that these hurts are minor compared to their great attraction to what lies beyond. Or they squeeze under, saying they are too small and insignificant for these rules to apply to them. The sheep, which generally respect fences more, are stopped, separated out. The goats do ok- until they meet the wolves on the other side…
    This metaphor has nothing to do with the value of realgoats or sheep or wolves or real fences. I like real goats, and have about as much respect for real fences as they do… But I very much respect the “fence”, given by the principles.

    People are interdependent. We live by teamwork or we don’t live. *The* measure of value is food EROEI and the sustainability of that measure. Money market measures are badly flawed. Money market values put independence of individuals to a high level of value, destroying teamwork. Market values force unsustainable behavior, if you conserve you are undersold by those who don’t conserve. How much reproduction is a team decision, not a decision solely for couples or individuals, currently done based on how much money they have- and sometimes not even based on that.

    Simple, obvious stuff, but most people are like chaff, lightweight thinkers, as driven by their instincts to bypass these rational principals as goats instinctively look for a way around a fence. They cannot think rationally. Their emotions overwhelm rational thought on these issues. Hit them with such simple observations and the opinions, the denial, erupts like clouds of chaff. They *will not* respect simple observations. They are mental midgets in critical ways, intent on killing themselves. They have no choice about what they are. But it does not matter, if a creature acts in self destructive ways, it does not live.

    Chronic weakness can sometimes go on for relatively significant amounts of time, but when strong stresses come, weak individuals or weak social organizations are likely to swiftly collapse.

  • Excellent Kathy.

    The problem is you are speaking to the converted. 99 out of a 100 still seem oblivious to the fact that present socio-economic arangemnts have no future, and those in control of western socieites block discussion of the kind of reality you have written about, ensuring that the culture of make-believe continues and everything that matters gets worse by the day.

    It all rather suggests that ignorance and denial will persist until people are literally dropping in the streets in western nations.

    Unfortunately the Dow is up and ‘the markets’ have stabilised, so it is only in places like Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya etc. that reality erupting through the facade. Even in such places denial reigns supreme in that ‘skeletons’ are brought back from death’s door to maintain a population beyond the carrying capacity of the land.

  • Thanks Kathy for a good essay. Insightful, as usual.

    As to the dogs, I’m not sure that triaging the family dog will be so simple. I just finished reading “One Second After”. There is a scene in which the emergency town council is discussing killing and eating the 10,000+ dogs in the city as the people are starving and the dogs are eating valuable meat. Several of the characters refuse to sacrifice their dogs and state that they would rather die first. As I’m sure you know, there are many people in the south -and certainly other areas as well – who consider their dogs to be part of the family. I suspect that many will starve right along with their humans. As you suggest, I suspect that hunting dogs, shepherding dogs, guard dogs, etc., will be much more common than the less useful dogs like chihuahua’s, shitzus, etc., even though the later eat far less.

  • Thought-provoking, and yet, I think there’s a move afoot to set up a post-crash feudal society, where the peasants are the only ones who must triage, and the landed gentry carry on pretty much as landed gentry always have, only with no Netflix nor cars and similar stuff. Instead, the peasants will draw carriages and perform skits for the entertainment of the gentry.

    Yea, sure, everyone will suffer. But some will suffer by giving up their house at the beach, and others will suffer by giving up their life.

  • Robin, I have put Savage Innocents on my Netflix list. Your statement “The natural process of the culling of the less fit is a part of evolution, while triage is directed towards rationally attempting to minimize the damage in the forced “culling” whenever resources are overwhelmed by demands.” pretty much covers it. I could have done a much shorter essay 🙂

    Sam and Dr. House, I would probably do a lot of starving to avoid killing our somewhat useful and dear dog. But if the grandkids came I would not short them food for the sake of the dog, but would rather serve up the meat for their nourishment. The chickens all go in the soup pot no matter how dear they are expect for a few that can survive without much care and give us a few eggs.

    Kevin, yep I am speaking largely to the choir here, but I few haven’t quite realized how bad it is going to get. At least I can say these thoughts here without causing anyone to have apoplexy. But it perhaps is helpful to think through what plants, animals and behaviors need to be jettisoned so you can do so early rather than when forced.

    Victor, I hope you are right that some of the older among us will not have to face these things, but OTOH I hope you are wrong because the sooner collapse comes the more of planet earth as we know it will be preserved. None the less I find this a good time to be old vs. young. So much less of living to loose.

  • Kathy,

    As an elder, (68 next week), but still going pretty good, I value life at least as much now as earlier. Yes, we are running out of time, but we don’t know how much is left. I will not go quietly. I am very interested to see as much of this event as I can. I realize it can get pretty difficult, but there are quite a number of people I sure want to out live.

    Whether we realize it or not, given the several decades long contraction to this point, most of us have to some degree already been practicing triage, in that our life choices have been getting more restricted. The pace is now accelerating, and the rate of acceleration is accelerating.

  • To Kathy:

    A clarification on a comment made by me in the previous post:

    The indigenous peoples of the Andes and Tibet have larger lungs and higher blood levels of hemoglobin (which carries the oxygsn in the blood). These adaptations took five thousand years. If atmospheric oxygen levels decline significantly this time, they will be the most likely to survive (if they move to lower altitudes).

    They do not have the different hemoglobins adapted to hypoxic conditions found in deep-sea fishes, but then those fish have had a millions of years to adapt.

  • Curtis you have 5 years on me. But it is true that we have less time to loose regardless of our attitude about that time. If we take 100 as a close to top number of years to live you have 32 potential years to loose. I have 37. A 20 year old has 80 years to loose. Being a woman I cannot loose the opportunity to have children, I have done that and can no longer do that. You could still father children but I bet starting another family is not tops in your “want to do” list. I am retired. I have no career that I want to pursue, no fortunes to gain, etc. My future thoughts are mostly limited to thinking about next years crosses of chickens and new varieties to try in the garden. Young people have bigger dreams for their future than “watching this event play out”. Been blogging Peak Oil for 10 years. It is usually the young who have the most resistance to accepting the coming collapse as they have many dreams that do not fit that scenario.

    I too am curious to watch this play out, but I don’t care about outliving anyone. If I had cancer and my neighbor had cancer would it matter which one of us died first? At any rate dying we all have to do. At what point is avoiding dying worthwhile. Is it one second, one minute, one hour, one year? My husbands father had mouth cancer. They cut out his tongue. He lived the last year of his life unable to speak, unable to eat solid food, and with a lot of pain. After he died, my husband told the Dr. he wasn’t sure it was worth it. The Dr. insulted said “well I gave him one year”. Not all extra years are worth it and at some point into the collapse I expect quite a few elders will self triage for their own or their families sake.

  • Kathy,

    All good points. I have always appreciated,respected,and even marveled at what you have to say. Thank you for this essay and your reply.

    I too am retired. All I what to do is be left along to pursue my personal interests, including tending my garden.

    Most of those people are in the “Dear Leader” category.

  • Jan, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what TPTB plan post collapse. How things collapse I think may surprise even them. But in feudal times I suspect that families themselves made the decision which child to feed and which to not feed if they they didn’t have enough food for both. The lack of food might be the feudal lord’s fault, but the choice of children would likely be theirs. Likewise they would decide whether or not to smother a new born. We don’t like to think about these things but they happen in the world now. Children are sometimes sold instead of being deprived of food so the family can feed some and get a bit of cash. Since I might get trounced by Virgin Terry for mentioning what they are sold for I will leave that to imagination. In China girl babies die more often than boy babies eh? In feudal times an elder might stop eating and the family not try to make them eat but that decision would be more likely to be the families than the lords. So many to lord over, so little time to intrude in every hour of their day….

    But again we need to note that historically farming led to civilization which led to stratification. Thus one can hope for a return to hunter-gathering if one doesn’t like the idea of feudal living.

  • Robin, on the link you posted about O2 it says “The work by Glasspool and Scott exploits the correlation between atmospheric oxygen concentration and flammability to make predictions about the past based on the abundance of charcoal. At low levels (around 15%) fires are unlikely ever to have propagated, no matter how dry the plants; ” I don’t know if this means you can’t start a fire but it would seem that it means it is much harder to start and keep going. So our mountain men would be adapted to the o2 level but might have to eat food raw. Of course the Inuit do that. But of course in the end Permian before they got to 15% + or – they had 6 degrees centigrade of warming. As we see climate chaos already getting far worse than what was expected by the doomiest I suspect anoxia will never be a condition humans face. They will be extinct by then. Thus as I said I picked a very poor example for making my case to Steve.

  • Kathy:

    An excellent concept for this forum, one that provides a pivot-point for future discussions. It strikes me that effective triage requires an awareness of context [access to medical care, an understanding of lethal wounds as opposed to merely bloody ones, the likely future of the person under consideration, and so on]. So those in any kind of denial cannot make the correct decisions in a triage situation.

    In light of Romney’s recent remark that corporations are people, I think it’s useful to look at triage among corporations, tribes, nations, and even H-G bands. At its extreme, we call it genocide, and it seems to scale up from the individual without much trouble.

    Of course, if you scale the concept up to a species/ecological level, its clear that one species in particular is consuming the resources that would allow many more to live.

    The level of awareness and capacity for grief of the triage-decider seems to make all the difference. Let’s hope that whoever they will be, they reach a level higher and more humane than that of our more recent deciders.

  • Printing Money

    Rick Perry is ranting about this,accusing the hapless Fed chairman of this sin.The truth is that virtually all central banks do this, on an
    ongoing basis.All currencies today are fiat currencies backed by nothing,and whose value represents nothing more than what Forex traders
    say it’s worth.

    If an economy is growing at 3% as an example,the central bank must grow(print) money at a 3% rate.Every business day the Fed’s Open Market operations creates about 5 so 6 billion dollars in new money,simply by
    crediting their primary dealers accounts for that amount.Where does that
    money come from? As I’ve stated before it is created out of thin air.The
    Fed has the unique ability to create money at will,and it does so all the time.

    Is this inflationary? It is if the money supply is growing.The following
    will help to explain this. http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/money-supply-charts

    Double D

  • Karl Marx Was Correct About Capitalism

    Isn’t this what we all have been saying?

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/44147922/

    Double D

  • Almost completely off topic but very relevant to the way we are constantly lied to, and how the truth starts to leak out after a while.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-explosive-truth-behind-fukushimas-meltdown-2338819.html

  • All currencies today are fiat currencies backed by nothing

    Actually they are backed by the threat of the initiation of force by the state: that is what makes “fiat currencies” “fiat“.

  • There are four categories of triage in the military, in order of the need for intervention.

    1. MINIMAL: Those needing only minor care.

    2. IMMEDIATE: Those with injuries where available prompt intervention can avert death or permanent disability.

    3. DELAYED: Injuries which will need extensive intervention, but it does not have to be immediate.

    4. EXPECTANT: Those injuries where there is little likelihood of survival, regardless of what interventions are undertaken.

    The last category would receive “comfort care”.

    In the larger context of societal collapse, the category to be shed should be the fourth. The category to receive prompt attention should be the second. What resources remain have to be prioritised between the third and the first, based on importance and the expected “return on investment”.

    That second category would include nutrition, hydration and homeothermy.

  • i speak not to trounce but to praise kathy for once again bestowing upon us the gift of her inspired wisdom with this fine essay. i do have one nitpicking correction for her, however. the word is spelled lose, as in lose one’s life. ‘loose’ is an adjective meaning untethered.

  • Kevin

    Thanks for that story on Fukushima. It seems to be a confirmation of the old principle that evil enjoys darkness and avoids the light of truth like a disease. Nuclear plants are not unsafe because of their nature: they are unsafe because of the human factor – people and corporations that want to hide bad news and minimise costs – a government that wants to hide its incompetence and its negligence in co-operating so closely with the industry it regulates. These are factors in many areas of modern life that point to an eventual collapse of the system. Just about any industry you can think of falls into this category – nuclear, agriculture, chemical, petroleum, manufacturing, etc. Money and power is at stake, and where money and power are concerned, the health of the environment and the population be damned.

  • I forgot to mention – they are unsafe for the waste they produce as well. Perhaps much of what ails the industry might be solved with a conversion to thorium-based power?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8393984/Safe-nuclear-does-exist-and-China-is-leading-the-way-with-thorium.html

    As always, the issue is controversial, but I think many are beginning to see that the traditional uranium-based power generators will eventually need to be shut down for the sake of us all.

  • Victor.

    I’m afraid you are right. It’s not just the nuclear industry, it’s everything and everywhere.

    On two occasions when I was involved with industrial chemistry I witnessed the most senior manager on site instruct that chemical spills be washed into the nearest creek and diluted as quickly as possible before anyone noticed a spill had occured. And was asked when I did environmental monitoring why it was necessary to take hourly samples during disccharges when it would be more ‘convenient’ if samples were taken during periods when discharges were low and pollution levels were low.

    Industry will try to get away with whatever it thinks it can get away with. That’s the main reason why oil refineries blow up, pipelines leak, ships sink and planes fall out of the sky. For the past 200 years or so humanity has been able to stagger from one industrial disaster to the next without severe consequences (except for people in the immediate vicinity) because there was always cheap energy to facilitate some feeble attempt at a clean-up or for a replacement. As we all know, we are rapidly approaching the end of the line. In many locations there are insufficinet resources to replace crumbling infrastructure.

    Sadly, the drop in oil prices associated with demand destruction will allow the system to stagger on a bit longer.

  • The discussion of waste, nuclear and non actually does fit the triage topic. One only has to look at the pictures of children born after Chernobyl to know that in a post collapse world, instead of being cared for they will be triaged. Likewise the DU babies. A collapsing world will see less enforcement of safety regulations and more nuclear failures and polluted streams and thus more children born with birth defects. They will call it efficiency.

  • Terry,
    so much less of living to “lose” as in forfeit
    so much less of living to “loose” as in become untethered

    Perhaps they both work eh? But of course I meant lose and damn spell checker didn’t compare my spelling to my meaning. 🙂 Thanks for the correction. I will repay the favor sometime if possible

  • Excellent essay and topic.

    I guess many of us are doing Triage on relationships we have with our family, friends and neighbors.

    A friend’s newborn just spent the week in a hospital for a strep-infection… so the whole week I’ve had it in the back of my mind how that child would have likely died a hundred years ago under the same circumstances, and how that child would likely have died if she had been born in many other parts of the world now, and how that child might not necessarily pass future “triage” tests in most future locales.

    OT – from the other end of the spectrum, related to a discussion on a previous thread, and actually, slightly on-topic from the point of view of molecules of life in the early earth (“it’s triage all over the place, all of the time, from something’s point of view?)

    ————–
    First life: The search for the first replicator

    15 August 2011 by Michael Marshall
    Magazine issue 2825. Subscribe and save
    Life must have begun with a simple molecule that could reproduce itself – and now we think we know how to make one

    4 BILLION years before present: the surface of a newly formed planet around a medium-sized star is beginning to cool down. It’s a violent place, bombarded by meteorites and riven by volcanic eruptions, with an atmosphere full of toxic gases. But almost as soon as water begins to form pools and oceans on its surface, something extraordinary happens. A molecule, or perhaps a set of molecules, capable of replicating itself arises.

    This was the dawn of evolution…

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128251.300-first-life-the-search-for-the-first-replicator.html?full=true

  • navid

    A friend’s newborn just spent the week in a hospital for a strep-infection… so the whole week I’ve had it in the back of my mind how that child would have likely died a hundred years ago under the same circumstances.

    And a hundred years from now everyone will die from strep and every other ailment now treated with drugs.The bugs are winning.Over medication and other abuses of drugs has produced disease resistant germs in everything from Malaria to bed bugs.Fortunately industrial civilization is going to end well before then,so the problem is moot.

    Double D

  • The Trade of the Decade

    Rick Santelli noted on CNBC that the stock and bond markets are near record highs,and one market has to be wrong.A strong bond market(low
    interest rates) signals recession–a strong stock market just the opposite.

    There is a maxim on Wall Street that bond investors are smarter and more
    savvy than stock market investors.The bond market is several times larger than the stock market.Santelli sugggested that this is a hint for “the trade of the decade” i.e. short the stock market.The US economy is about to get a whole lot worse.

    Double D

  • I am in the midst of reading The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis. It would seem that only a very few unusual individuals have a clue what it going on in the world of finance….

  • Frank, roger that. Maybe we “intelligent” creatures are really nothing more than specialized niches that developed to serve the microbes – our bodies contain more microbial cells than human cells.

    Maybe we are little more than a more highly organized, specialized “soil.”

  • Two things.

    I think I might join this crazy indian.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14564727

    —-

    At my son’s 10 birthday, the boys tried to sneak away to the city park a couple blocks away (they asked twice and were told, “no park” three times, ans then took matters into their own hands). We watched them slowly work their way down the alley, away from the chattering, distracted adults and other children.

    Then “Paul” sat down in the middle of the alley. The other boys kept slowly walking, turning occasionally to say something to Paul, but Paul just kept sitting there in the alley. Then one of the other boys turned around and walked back to sit by Paul… then another and another. Then they all returned to the yard.

    Good for Paul.

    The parents and other children never noticed what happened. Today I plan on telling Paul’s mother about that little incident from years ago. If I had a pair, I would resign this afternoon and just go sit down.

  • Navid, thanks for the link to the article about the dawn of evolution. Ever since it has been competition for space and food, although we humans work hard at trying to layer meaning onto the struggle.

    Really liked the story of Paul – thanks

  • Kathy thank you for the kind words. Paul is (sometimes) a good influence on my son… : )

    I went for a drive in Amish country this afternoon (I could not concentrate on “work” or daily socializing). Their corn is easy to identify – it has grass growing in the field, in general is shorter, and the fields have occasional empty patches. I was wondering what kind of corn they plant (I would hope they are not beholden to the Corporate Ag system but I really am afraid to even ask…).

    I saw one Amish man (judging by beard, home-made denim overhauls, awkward smile and wave) driving a Bobcat loaded with dung. At the little Amish store they had large commercial plastic sky lights, as well as gas light fixtures – hooked up to two giant propane tanks outside. They had three solar panels and what amounted to a “toy-sized” small wind turbine.

    Many of the shelves looked a lot like the local goodwill/walmart – mass produced plastic kitchen utensils, mass produced cookware, commercial grain/coffee etc grinders (one said “AS SEEN ON TV”… lots of puzzles (all commercial/mass produced).

    Their shelves contained quite a bit of what appeared to be self-packaged flours, grains etc… but honestly, I now wonder if they did not buy in bulk from Aldi’s or Sam’s Club and just repackaged with a computer-generated printer in the little side office ( I heard it printing as the Amish man on the phone talked).

    I am NOT judging them. Honestly. It’s there lives and they can do as they please. I’m just saying that it appears as though they, like my native american neighbors and friends, are getting/have been sucked up into the industrial pigsty.

    Maybe they have no choice – maybe they would have disappeared if they did not compromise – just like the formerly honest real estate agents who compromised on mortgage filing laws or they would have gone out of business to their criminal competition), or like the previously honest bankers who had to process (launder) Fannie/Freddie Criminal Mortgage Products or face losing their business to the criminal bankers across the street who specialized in Fannie/Freddie Crime Products (like W. Buffett – who ranted about weapons of financial mass destruction for 5 years and then goes and buys Wells/Fargo, which was neck-deep in the weapons of financial mass destruction – Warren figured if you can’t beat the criminals – AND if no one is prosecuting the criminals – you might as well join them).

    Oh, and I just showed my wife an article about the SEC destroying documents (link below). She looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “That’s just an accusation, you don’t know that it is true.”

    I don’t blame her really, she is not paying any attention, she doesn’t know any better.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sec-may-have-destroyed-documents-senator-says-2011-08-17?siteid=rss&rss=1

  • navid

    Show her this one – it is the original breaking story from Rolling Stone Mag – she will really think you are barking mad…. 😉

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/is-the-sec-covering-up-wall-street-crimes-20110817

    You can take this article and apply it to virtually any regulated industry in America, and its truths will be the same – revolving doors, deep, deep corruption at high levels between the industry, the lobbyists and Congressional oversight committees, and the Federal regulatory agencies that are supposed to keep the industry in line. Corruption in America (and indeed all over our highly connected world) has reached such cancerous pervasiveness that to remove it would require killing the patient first. There exists now a highly symbiotic link between the criminal world and the politico-economic world. It can no longer be reformed.

  • E.P.A bashing – popular target for GOP hopefuls

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/us/politics/18epa.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

    These folks are accepting industry campaign funds AND playing on the ignorance of the voting population to get elected.

  • Indeed, climate change in general is a target of most GOP hopefuls:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/rick-perry-climate-scientists-cooking-the-books_n_929876.html

    The Democrats generally acknowledge it, but when action is needed, they turn to the Federal and State regulatory agencies….oops, see above Rolling Stones article for an explanation of what happens there…. 😉

  • Excellent analysis of the US-China trade situation and the possible dumping of US Treasuries as is feared by so many these days:

    Don’t Believe The Hype, China Won’t Be Dumping US Treasuries

    http://www.businessinsider.com/dont-believe-the-hype-china-wont-be-dumping-us-treasuries-2011-8

  • The bond market is several times larger than the stock market.

    There is a reason for that. Stocks are symbols of actulal things, such as factories, warehouses, buildings, trucks, railroads, etc. Bonds are symbols of symbols – symbols of pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents, “fiat currency” – and moreover the pieces of paper that the bonds promise are to be made available at some future time. Promises can be inflated at will, and the tertiary economy with it. Not so the stocks and real things in the secondary economy that they represent.

  • On topic -triage

    Triage on global scale has been performed – for how long? Centuries?
    The present wars are the same, triage on global scale.

    Off? topic: Volker Pispers one of Germany’s best people in cabaret, don’t you ever dare 😉 to call those people comedians, talks about “history of USA and terrorism”

    Subtitles in English.

  • Wall Street Down 4%; Stocks Slammed Amid Global Growth Concerns, Euro Zone Woes, Disappointing Data- AP
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Stocks-fall-on-worries-about-apf-515292663.html;_ylt=Allci1M7BlWLzw5yBflAIrm7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3Y2hhbHZ1BHBvcwMxBHNlYwNicmVha2luZ05ld3MEc2xrA3dhbGxzdHJlZXRkbw–?x=0
    Worse in Europe – DAX down 6.75%

    Is this the beginning of the end????

  • If the pols keep trying to help, it could be.

    The Automatic Earth and Paul Craig Roberts certainly think it is Fing about time. Just too many balls in the air for our Dear Leaders to manage, if they ever could.

  • Kathy it has to be, its the first day of the fifth week of the Mayan calender. Lasts until 9/4. Then there is supposed to be one more and then poof its all over. 🙂 It has to be true, I read it on GLP. Comex broken, Russian market shut down, and Obama making all sorts of noise about Syria, before he goes on vacation for 10 days. The swamped servers at ZH are probably the worst sign.

  • Local Shell stations hit with gas shortage

    Shell Canada’s local refinery is working at full capacity to end an unexpected gas shortage that is impacting both southern and northern Ontario.

    The shortfall in product has even hit Shell retailers in Sarnia who operate just a few kilometres from the plant.

    “This hardly ever happens,” said Don Holden of Don Holden Shell at the corner of Christina and Exmouth streets.

    His station ran out of regular fuel on Friday and began selling high-test gasoline at regular prices to compensate.
    News Source Link
    http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3260607

  • that was good bernhard, thanks…even w/o know any german.

  • Ed thanks, I sometimes forget to check my Mayan calendar 🙂

  • Bonds

    Furthur to my previous posting;

    “It may sound ridiculously simplistic, but strength in bonds is a sign of skepticism in riskier assets such as stocks”—this from CNBC today.

    Double D

  • Five charts that show the world’s markets are about to nosedive

    RBS chartists have gazed into their crystal ball and seen signs that UK, US, Japan and European equities may be about to shed more of their value, in some cases up to 10%.
    Frazzled traders have barely had time to recover from a tumultuous fortnight that saw more than $1 trillion wiped off the value of global stocks. But chartists at RBS Securities are warning investors should enjoy the momentary respite, as technicals are hinting fresh storm clouds are gathering. Markets around the globe, from America’s S&P to Japan’s Nikkei, could see additional falls of up to 11% if their indicators prove Prophetic.
    rest at
    http://www.citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/five-charts-that-show-the-worlds-market\
    s-are-about-to-nosedive/a516676?ref=wealth-manager-latest-news-list

  • Is this the beginning of the end????

    Depends upon where you start. I believe it was the period 2005-6 when global oil production peaked – the future was set at that point.

    But regardless of the financial difficulties being experienced by the world today as a result of that trigger event, we still won’t see things actually begin unravelling until we leave the global oil production plateau we are currently on. This is likely to happen in the 2012-2015 period. So keep your Mayan calendars handy – they are not that far off, methinks…. 😉

    The basic message is to begin preparations if you have not already done so. And enjoy life as you know it now whilst you can, for it is surely about to change radically.

  • PHOENIX (AP) — For the third time this summer, a giant wall of dust swept over Phoenix and parts of central Arizona, turning the sky brown, delaying flights, and knocking out power to thousands.

    National Weather Service meteorologists said a thunderstorm packing winds of up to 60 mph pushed the dust storm toward the Phoenix area about 6

    http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Dust-storm-envelops-Phoenix-downs-power-lines-2122799.php

  • Victor:

    Agreed. I keep my personal plans to a 3 month plan and a 6 month plan. Anything beyond that is just a waste of effort.

  • Regarding the markets, the BBC today has articles with titles like “The End of the World As We Know It”, “Europe’s Wile E. Coyote Moment”, and “Is the euro crumbling?”

    Michael Irving

  • Kathy

    Your link doesn’t work.It says :”page not found”.

    Double D

  • Frank I made it a tiny url – maybe this will work

    http://tinyurl.com/3nvudm3

  • Ed

    Singapore comes to mind.There used to be large signs in their airport that said,”The Penalty For The Possesion of Illegal Drugs is Death”.Now
    they put the same thing in big red letters on their entry permit forms.
    I know of no other government that is so adamant about enforcicg it’s laws in the interest of public safety.

    Double D

  • Victor, thanks for the link to the RS article (john stewart and rolling stone magazine… the last sources of investigative journalism, while my guitar gently weeps ;).

    I just listened to Jared Diamond’s TED talk (from 2003).

    http://www.ted.com/talks/jared_diamond_on_why_societies_collapse.html

    What concerns me is the later half of the presentation, what seems to me to be extreme complacency by this man (in 2003 – I wonder what he thinks currently).

    I get the impression he can describe, but not recognize(at least not in the mirror), an elite, who – as he describes – sips bottled water behind well-guarded gates, and as a result, doesn’t notice the true state of decay of his soon-to-be-dead civilization (sorry for the extreme run-on sentence, I’ve got only a minute)

    There are just too many of these former shadows of great thinkers still parading around like skeletons the morning after halloween.

  • ‘Singapore comes to mind.There used to be large signs in their airport that said,”The Penalty For The Possesion of Illegal Drugs is Death”.Now
    they put the same thing in big red letters on their entry permit forms.
    I know of no other government that is so adamant about enforcicg it’s laws in the interest of public safety.’ -double d responding to ed’s posted link titled ‘where in the world is safe?’

    as a ‘chronic’ (pun intended) illegal drug possessor, places like singapore are about the last place i wish to be, dd. if u think u’ll be safer living in a place intent upon terrorizing sheople like me out of existence, imo u’re a dangerously deluded intolerant ignoramus. if police states fond of killing victimless ‘criminals’ is your thing, singapore is an ideal place for u. if u can afford it perhaps u should move there. one less ignoramus in america, not that it will make any difference in a land super-saturated with ignoramuses, about to join the long list of collapsed empires done in by ignoramuses (and, in our special case, the ultimate collapse of global civilization.)

  • With thanks to Kathy, I’ve posted a new essay here. Abandon hope, all ye who enter.

  • Terry,

    I am always happy to see comments from your unique perspective.