Monday, March 30, 2015

Kunstler: The Way Out

Kunstler: The Way Out.

It’s not what most people think: a return to some hypothetical “normality,” with the ghost of Ronnie Reagan beaming down like a sun-god under his lopsided pompadour, and all the happy self-driving GM cars toodling back and forth from WalMart-to-home loaded to the scuppers with new electric pop-tart warmers and 3-D underwear printers. (Or drone deliveries of same from

I mean, surely the thinking folk out there must be asking themselves: what is the way out of this Federal Reserve three-card-monte, one-percenter-stuffing, so-called “economy,” and what is the destination of this society when that mendacious model for living fails?

I digress for a moment: there was a chap named Richard Duncan on the pod-waves this weekend (FSN Network) putting out the charming idea that quantitative easing (QE — governments “printing” money to buy their own bonds) had the effect of “cancelling debt” and that it could continue for decades to come. I don’t doubt that there are Federal Reserve officers who believe this. The part they leave out — and Mr. Duncan also left it out until pressed — is that there are consequences. Consult the operating manual of the universe, and you will find that there really is no free lunch or get-out-of-jail card.

The truth is, when you rig a money system with price interventions, distortions, and perversions, they will eventually express themselves in ways destructive to the system. In the present case of world-wide QE and central bank monkey business, these rackets are expressing themselves, finally, in wobbling currencies. In many nations, people are deeply unsure of what their money is worth, and how much it might be worth a month from now. This includes the USA, except for the moment our money is said to be magically appreciating in value compared to everyone else’s. Aren’t we special?

Get this: nothing is more hazardous than undermining people’s trust in their money.
All of this financial perfidy conceals the basic fact that the human race has reached the limits of techno-industrialism. There are too many people and not enough basic resources to grow more of them — oil, fishes, soil, ores, fertilizers — and there is no steady-state “solution” to keep that economy going. In other words, it must either grow or contract, and it can’t really grow anymore (despite the exertions of government statisticians), so the authorities are trying to provide a monetary illusion of growth, when instead we’re in contraction.

Yes, contraction. The way out is to get with the program, shed the dead-weight and go where reality wants to take you. In the USA that means do everything possible to quit supporting giant failing systems — Big Box shopping, mass motoring, GMO agribiz, TBTF banks — and get behind local Main Street integrated economies, walkable towns, regular railroads, smaller and more numerous farms, local medical clinic health care, artistry in public works, and community caretaking of the unfit. All this surely implies a reduced role for the national government, and maybe the states, too. You could call it a lower standard of living, or just a different way to live.

I don’t think we’ll go there via rational political discourse. The current instabilities around the world are so sinister that they are liable to lead to even more strenuous efforts at the top to pretend that everything’s working, and even war is one way to pretend you’re okay (and the “other guy” isn’t). Of course, war has already broken out, in the MidEast and Ukraine, and it has everything to do with the sequential failure of nations, in one way or another, to overcome the limits of techno-industrialism. America will be dragged kicking and screaming to the realization of what it needs to do. The 2016 election will be the convulsion point.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Armond's White's
review of Get Hard and While We're Young.

Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Liberals working with TEA Partiers against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Discussing Racism in the SBC

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Librarians to Follow on Twitter

Various Tweets on Archiving and Radio

I think of the many radio broadcasts in Hawaii alone that are probably lost forever.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A better question: Why did you think that tie would go with that jacket?

Spreading the Word 2

Spreading the Word

Monday, March 23, 2015

Various Tweets from @archivesnext


Armond White Acknowledging Madonna

Kunstler: Kicked to the Curb.

Kunstler: Kicked to the Curb.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pierre Omidyar, Again

There's probably something to occasion this teeth-gnashing about Pierre Omidyar. I'd say Richard Smart had a lot more charm and personality.

This October: The Second Annual Global Food Security Conference

The Second Annual Global Food Security Conference.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Dublin Review of Books

Sometime I'll have to clean up my list of links, but I added a link to its Book Review section.

Dublin Review of Books

Richard Heinberg: "Only Less Will Do"

Who knew violin manufacturing at a mass scale had such an impact as what he describes?

This Blog's Ninth Anniversary

Nine years ago today I began Poppa Zao. So much has changed since then, and so much has stayed the same.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Health Care Costs

A subject I'll be considering more here.

Seedy Rahm and "The Red Light Rip-Off"

Max Blumenthal's New Book: Due This Summer

However, Goliath was delayed a few times as he put more material in. Don't be surprised if his new book might be published a little later for the same reason.

Monday, March 09, 2015

(Link below contained in the Pando story)

Kunstler: Truthinesslessness

(Any links therein added by me.--P.Z.)

Kunstler: Truthinesslessness

Nothing is stable, nothing is straightforward, everything is fixed, and nothing is fixed. O nation of busboys and WalMart greeters, awake and sing!

Can an empire founder on sheer credulousness? After last Friday’s jobs report, I think so. For a culture that luxuriates in statistical analysis (and the false idea that if you measure enough things, you can control them), it is rather amazing that we absolutely don’t care whether the measurements are truthful or not. Hence, an economist (sic) such as Paul Krugman of The New York Times might ask himself how it is that Zero Interest Rate Policy only trickles down to places where hamburgers are sold. PK was at it again in his Monday column, yammering about “rapid job growth,” “partying like it was 1995.” Wise men like him are pounding this country down a rat hole faster than you can say Romulus Augustulus.

Apparently the US Bureau of Labor Statistics missed the job bloodbath in the oil industry, especially over in Frackville where the latest western phenomenon is the ghost man-camp (along with ghost pole dancing parlors). It’s a veritable hemorrhagic fever of job layoff announcements: 9,000 here, 7,000, there, thousands of thousands everywhere — Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes — like an Ebola ward in the oil services sector. Not to mention the cliff-drop of capital expenditure, meaning even steeper job losses ahead, Casey Jones. But nobody notices, I guess because they’re out at Ruby Tuesdays eating things bigger than their heads. Are the portions getting smaller, or are their heads shrinking?

Finance is complicated, but not as complex as the wizards employed in it would have you believe. They would have you think it is an order of magnitude more abstruse and recondite than particle physics, when, in fact, it is often not much more than a Three Card Monte switcheroo. The whole ZIRP and QE game, for instance, can be boiled down to a basic wish to get something for nothing, that is, prosperity where nothing of value created. Now, that’s not so hard to understand, is it? Until the economics wardrobe team comes in and dresses it up in martingales and bumrolls of metaphysics and you end up in a contango of mystification.

More galling and worrisome, though, is the failure of anyone even remotely in authority to stand up and publically object to the tidal wave of lies washing over this dying polity, actually killing it softly with truthinesslessness. The code of anything goes and nothing matters is turning lethal and the more it is kept swaddled in lies, the more perverse, surprising, and destructive the damage will be. The more our leaders lie about misbehavior in banking — including especially the actions of the Federal Reserve — the worse will be the instability in currencies. The more central bankers intervene in price discovery mechanisms, the more unable to reflect reality all markets will become. The more that the US BLS lies about the employment picture in America, the worse will be the eventual wrath of citizens who can’t get paid enough to heat their houses and feed their children.

An economist (sic) named Richard Duncan last week proposed the interesting theory that Quantitative Easing can go on virtually forever in an endless chain of self-canceling debt. Government spends money it doesn’t have and cannot raise, issues bonds to “investors,” buys its own bonds and stashes them in a storage vault so deep that the sun will not shine on them until it becomes a blue dwarf — long after the cockroaches have taken charge of Earthly affairs. Duncan forgets one detail: consequences. The consequence of this behavior will not be eternal virtual prosperity, but rather a wrecked accounting system for the operations of civilized human life. We’ve stepped across the event horizon of that consequence, but we just don’t know it yet. My bet is that we start feeling the effects sooner rather than later and when it is finally felt, all the Kardashian videos in this universe and a trillion universes like it will not avail to distract us from the flow of our own blood.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Omidyar on Kauai

Interesting. But what do Joan Conrow ("Kauai Eclectic") and Andy Parx ("Got Windmills?") have to say?

Friday, March 06, 2015

Seedy Rahm

Monday, March 02, 2015

Ethel Stansfield Peck: Zero-Waste Pioneer; Kunstler: Heroes and Villains

Kunstler discusses heroes and villains. I maintain a list of scoundrels on this blog; they range from the ordinarily cloddish to the truly malicious. And though I don't have a list of them, I occasionally mention people who do commendable things. On that note, may I present the late Ethel Stansfield Peck. Although she died in 2000 at age 91, Mrs. Peck is and should be remembered for her zero-waste way of life, which she led just because she believed in it.

Kunstler: Heroes and Villains.