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State of the Union

IMG Auteur
Published : February 12th, 2013
733 words - Reading time : 1 - 2 minutes
( 16 votes, 3.9/5 ) , 8 commentaries
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Category : Editorials

 

 

 

 

The fog of chatter about Federal Reserve money-printing shenanigans, currency wars, fiscal intransigence, exchange rates, and alphabetized rescue operations conceals the central reality of the historical moment: that all industrial economies now face epic contraction, even rip-roaring China in its absurd and spectacular bid to become the latest drive-in utopia. The so-called advanced nations of the world are all sliding toward something less than they wish to be, and the so-called developing nations will backslide further into poverty and anarchy where development will never happen.


The implacable contraction underway is the simple result of growing scarcity of cheap oil, the master resource. Thus, in a world where fantasy has replaced analysis, the propaganda channels brim with false news of America's coming "energy independence" and the rebirth of domestic manufacturing, the coming electric car fleet, and space tourism. There is also chatter among the paranoid that an imagined elite has deliberately engineered American collapse for fun and profit, with sideshows about the Department of Homeland Security promoting social upheaval in order to make a show of putting it down. This is all bullshit concealing the futile machinations of people so unfortunate as to hold political office in an unraveling they can't control. Where control is no longer possible, paranoid fantasies fill the vacuum of wishing for control.


One thing you can be sure of: the current sociopolitical weather will change. A front will blow through and sweep the fog away. So many circles of hazard are spinning around events that some fast-turning object will come off its axis and start smashing all the fantasies. When that happens, it will be every community for itself, and where there are no real communities -- for instance, the vast matrix of suburban noplaces that America emergently composed itself out of in a tragic quest to become its own televised fantasy -- we'll discover the dark side of the "liberty" that so-called conservatives endlessly invoke, in all its screaming eagle iconography.


Not since the Civil War (1861 - 65) has anything bad of this scale happened within the United States itself and the public is unprepared despite our total immersion in the on-screen ersatz heroics of avatars such as Dwayne Johnson. The terrible convulsion of the 1860s was preceded by a political time much like ours is now, with figures (calling them leaders is inaccurate) of no conviction backpedaling furiously toward strife.


Remember these things if you tune in to watch President Obama move his lips on Tuesday amid the incessant applause in the House chamber. He'll speak the words "climate change" and the hall will rock with thunderous handclapping -- but it won't mean anything because both the president and the people have no intention of changing the way we live. Mr. Obama will cheerlead for economic growth and he will be talking out of his ass. It's the nature of this contraction that economic growth is absent. You can have plenty of economic activity -- especially if you re-form (literally) the systems we depend on, such as farming, commerce, medicine, and transportation -- but it won't be expressed favorably in the GDP stats or the balance sheets of CitiGroup and Morgan Stanley.


At the core of this contraction is the disappearing act of real capital -- that is, accumulated wealth -- for the excellent reason that we are squandering what remains of it in the futile effort to keep living the way we do. But it will be vanishing fast, contrary to the view of such fantasists as David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief of The New York Times -- catch him on the current Slate Political Gabfest -- who thinks that the Growth Fairy is about to land on the south lawn of the White House.


The State of the Union Address is happening in a peculiar quiet moment when all the financial brushfires of the time have been reduced temporarily to a smolder that conceals the full involvement of the roots under the surface. Our economic system is burning down. Nobody wants to talk about the system that will have to replace it, which I call a world made by hand.


The fortunate few will be those who have already established themselves in an authentic community of helping hands, who have some tools -- and I don't mean Adobe Photoshop or the latest iPhone app -- and laid in some bits of silver and gold.


 

 

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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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Latest comment posted for this article
That’s a ridiculous statement to make. Just because something is listed on a creationist web site does not render the science useless. If you were open minded as you would have us believe you would look at the sources and the science on its own to determ  Read more
Hart - 2/13/2013 at 8:50 PM GMT
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I checked this link from a poster - http://creation.com/how-fast-can-oil-form
It's a creationism website. Sorry, I'm open-minded and I know science is corrupted by TPTB, but creationism is LOL nonsense.
Lots of fun, but I'm certainly not going to give scientific credibility to creationism. It's ridiculous.
Rate :   2  6Rating :   -4
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That’s a ridiculous statement to make. Just because something is listed on a creationist web site does not render the science useless. If you were open minded as you would have us believe you would look at the sources and the science on its own to determine its worth. If you would do a little more looking you would find the sites information is adequately backed up by secular web sites:

http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf124/sf124p10.htm
http://www.livescience.com/9404-mysterious-origin-supply-oil.html
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread132734/pg1
http://abiogenicpetroleum.com/
http://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-8123.2008.00226.x/full

As for creationism being nonsense, I’m open to you presenting information that would prove it is. The caveat is that any proof must be scientific, no opinions, theory’s, circular reasoning, or conjecture which is normally used as ‘evidence’ that creationism is nothing more than a theory.

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I understand that facts confuse many on this site causing spasms to tiny brains. Here they are nonetheless:

The myth of peak oil:

1) http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2012/11/12/energy-independence-and-the-myth-of-peak-oil/

2) http://seekingalpha.com/article/841401-peak-oil-myth-debunking-the-peak-oil-theory

3) http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/29/the-myth-of-peak-oil/

4) http://www.resilience.org/stories/2012-05-04/seven-myths-used-debunk-peak-oil-debunked

I could have listed a dozen more independent sources but I don't want to cause any more brain trauma than necessary.
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On the contrary, most people here thrive on facts. What causes brain trauma is repeatedly viewing posts containing inaccuracies about the civil war or drivel about what an author may have once, many decades ago, had to say. More hate from you - "I understand that facts confuse many on this site causing spasms to tiny brains" will only add speed to the process.

It is possible to post rebuttals without sarcasm or contempt. Give it a try some time.

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"... we'll discover the dark side of the "liberty" that so-called conservatives endlessly invoke, in all its screaming eagle iconography. ..."

Yep. And there will be opportunities the likes this nation hasn't seen since 1913 if gov't will just get out of the way.

Everyone, republicans/democrats and all others, will get the chance to become productive. It just might be your last chance before this old dog of an economy shakes off all the fleas.

Peak cheap oil is long gone. And don't count on shale oil to live up to its billing. Now factor in the fuel cost of transporting food, fuel and fools. Can you spell bicycle or hand-cart?
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The fallacy of peak oil has been exposed by the legitimate scientific community - those whose brains haven't been fogged by the nonsense of Mother Gaia seeking revenge on humanity for daring to create mankind's greatest civilization. Kunstler would have us gather up our rakes and hoes and head for the hills; build mudhuts and perhaps even offer up a child or two so as to placate the weather gods.

In the meantime as long as civilization still exists I guess Kunstler will have to condescend to modern medical treatment, with state of the art digital equipment, should the need arise -- probably wearing a mask so as not to be recognized.
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"The fallacy of peak oil has been exposed by the legitimate scientific community"
Really? Anything to support that statement? Never mind that for a minute...If you are talking about how much oil EXISTS, then yes, there is alot, and there will be more if you can wait a few million years...but obviousley you do not understand Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI) Historicaly, Saudi Oil costs from $1-$2 per barrel to produce light, sweet crude, the most desireable and least costly oil to process, whereas Shale Oil comes in at about $100 per barrel including capital costs for heavy sour crude, which is very expensive to process.
(there are plenty of sources from the "legitimate scientific community" to support this*) And don't forget the 1-5 barrels of fresh water needed for each barrel produced, but that is a topic for another day.

You don't think a 5,000% to 10,000% increase in the cost of production will result in some negative consequences? When you factor in fertalizer, processing and transportation (most food ingredients in the US travel 1000+ miles between production and consumption) it takes on average of 10 calories of Fossil Fuel to produce 1 calorie of food for human consumption.
It's math. Math does not give a shit if you are a conservative or a liberal. It doesn't give a shit if you are American or Iranian. It doesn't care if you spend your time online or in the library trying to learn something new, or if you do it just to reinforce what your emotions tell you must be the truth. Math just... "is".


* http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/07/28/oil-cost-factbox-idUSLS12407420090728 )

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As you appear to be new here a short intro to Jimmy C world is prerequisite. Jim can’t decide which side of the fence to stand on most days. He tells us that he is prepared for the worst, gold and silver tucked away. He has food a meds ready to go and all the other trimmings of a preppers cupboard yet he keeps promoting technology. Wishy washy describes this individual. He keeps telling us that there will be power to keep all of this technology running while getting ready to move back into the berry patch. What’s really hard to grasp is a complete lack to reference to his hero, Lincoln, in this rant.

On the other side and most certainly not in defence of Jim, it does not take millions of years to squeeze oil out of biomass. I would suggest looking at http://creation.com/how-fast-can-oil-form and doing more research, check the references listed on that site. There is much material out there that contradicts the common fallacy of millions of years being required to produce oil. This is not to argue against the math comment. Certainly we are not in a position today where economics allow us to use the methods described for the production of crude in the quantity the world chews up but rather the point is that making crude out of garbage is something that will be on the radar when crude prices go high enough. The race will be on and the con artists on Wall Street will be placing their bets. The question is whether or not humans will still be walking the planet when common oil actually runs out. If the morons in Washington get twitchy a lack of oil will be far removed from the concerns of daily survival.

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