Sunday, December 28, 2008

My New Year's Resolution - Stop Being a Chuckle Head


Ah…2009! A new year! A new round of potential pitfalls, atrocities, threats, and disasters to anticipate and rail against. In view of all the catastrophes forecast on some of the sites that we frequent, I’m just glad that we are all still here.

Perhaps a review of 2008’s predicted calamities or fortuitous events (depending on how you look at them) that did not come to pass is in order.

First, of course, is the perennial favorite: the Second Coming of Christ. It didn’t happen again. Hasn’t happened any year since he died, but that does not stop the annual anticipation of The Rapture. Actually, the Essenes were looking forward to the Apocalypse even before Christ appeared in the first place, but, then, who’s keeping track? The concept continues to sell a lot of books, packs ‘em into the pews, and brings mucho money into the collection plates, so it will not end anytime soon.

Then there is the New Age updated version, Maitreya, the messiah that Benjamin Creme has been prophesying to the world since the 70’s and 80’s. I attended an enthusiastic presentation by Mr. Creme in Portland, Oregon back in the day, and was impressed with his sweet old Englishman affect and his twinkling blue eyes. But, despite his charm – no modern messiah has strolled up the street so far. Rats.

And, all the dire symptoms not withstanding, the presidential election was pulled off without Bush and Chaney declaring martial law and suspending the election.

Oh, and those secret Ninjas that Benjamin Fulford disclosed did not jump out of the woodwork and assassinate any miscreant government, corporate or financial leaders of the world, either.

It also seems that President-elect Obama is neither a Muslim, a Jew, a communist, nor the anti-Christ. Hell, he’s not even a Jehovah’s Witness! He may be a corporate toady, but that has yet to be determined. The only sure exotic thing about him is that he was raised in Hawaii, which I consider a plus. He still seems to be a viable human being to me, despite the company that he keeps. We will have to stay tuned, I guess.

Despite supposed messages from the Pleiades, black ops whistle blowers, psychic intuitives, planetary and galactic alignments, or even web bot analysts, we did not experience major earthquakes, a tsunami in the Northwest, Bird Flu, war with Iran, a major false flag event, or transformative cosmic rays. I am still keeping a watchful eye out for those, though.

And, that two-mile long Mother Ship that was supposed to show up over Alabama in October did not appear, either. Damnit!

Yeah, and on top of that, all those claims (“as appearing on Oprah”) that drinking green tea will make you lose a bunch of weight didn’t work as promised. And, I’m out forty bucks.

Now, I know that an earthquake could hit tomorrow or I could be diagnosed with Mad Cow any day, and I would just look like even more of a moron. But, for now, I am just pausing to take a breath, calm down, and vow to be less of a chucklehead next year.

I’m sick of sending stuff to my sister-in-law, who then informs me that Snopes just discredited my information.

This is not to say that there are no real threats. “Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean that no one is out to get you,” as has been said. There are real threats. The global financial construct is tanking, and I no longer think that it is a coincidence that it dovetails with the Baby Boomers reaching the age to retire. People are being thrown out of their homes and losing their jobs, and it is going to get even tougher next year. The electrical grid is very vulnerable and a lot of people could get very cold and die this winter if there is a widespread disruption of heating their homes. A lot of pensions and 401Ks may be lost next year and dreams of a comfortable retirement for a lot of people will be gone. Criminals in high places abound. So, many of the agencies and departments and companies that we rely on for our health and safety betray the people they are supposed to protect, and so we sicken and die. That’s a flat fact. Resource depletion is real. Climate change is real (whether it’s because of CO2 or the influence of the Sun). The oceans are dying. Monsanto is taking over the food supply with genetically altered Franken Food. Famine and food shortages are realities now. Israel has become some sort of Old Testament horror story. Warfare is escalating all over the globe, and may even go nuclear.

We seem to have invented a system that insures that we pay incredible sums of money to elect representatives to our government who become corrupt, self-absorbed, greedy, perverse criminals. Or, they are lazy, spoiled, self-indulgent dullards; or, privileged, insulated, power mad elitists; or good, hard-working idealists who are marginalized and ineffectual… or, combinations of the above.

Anyway, for the most part, we are on our own, and we do need to prepare and take care of ourselves and each other. Actually, I am looking forward to turning my energy away from the Wall Street hucksters and the Beltway numb nuts and Their Contrived Bullshit (TCB) to more and more localized endeavors: like seed catalogs, gardening, preserving, and simplifying, joining the Grange, organizing a farmer’s market and trading post. I plan to reach out to more and more neighbors and sharing practical responses to actual problems in real time.

I don’t pretend to know what will happen next year. All kinds of dramatic disaster movie scenarios come to mind – War of the Worlds, Grapes of Wrath, Red Dawn, Andromeda Strain, Soylent Green, The Postman, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Children of Men. But, on the other hand, my experience has been much more benign. I have found most of my neighbors to be interesting and cooperative, helpful, intelligent, and fun to be around. The weird stuff out there that captures my attention, raises my blood pressure and my fear levels, is mostly far away and speculative. They have to come up with things that are entertaining and provocative, or they are out of business.

I wonder what outfits like “” are going to do once Bush is out of office? Since many of their plans to influence the powers that be include sending them a check, I doubt that they will disband. Oh, and thank you so much, moveon, common cause, etc. I’m so impressed with the results you got with all those petitions. Come to think of it, did ANY of the petitions I signed and forwarded, do any good? NO? Does that mean I should sign even more petitions? See what I mean with the “chuckle head” thing?

But, I am grateful to those who have really given us a heads up warning as to what is really going on and what to prepare for. I am happy that we have taken tangible steps to creating a better future for ourselves because it has also enabled us to create a life that is more enjoyable in the here-and-now as well. And, without them, the Trout Clan would not have come to be. So, I am grateful to all those linked on our blog.

Anyway, I hope that all that should end, does end in 2009. I pray for the relief of suffering and some happy surprises. With some luck, it will be both the Beginning of the End, and the Beginning of the Beginning. So, have a Happy New Year and remember that…



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holy Days or "winter of our discontent"?


From ras…

“Deep in the dark of the darkest night/We keep our vigil by candlelight/Waiting to sing to the newborn sun/The universe will birth when the night is done
Happy Solstice all!"
December 20, 2008 4:46 AM

and from Rockpicker...

“Blessings to all who attend this sacred fire. We have made it, collectively, to this longest night.
Snuggle in and dream deeply the future you wish to see. Know, you are powerful beyond your dreams….”

These have been the latest sentiments from the campfire…and so, in keeping with the Winter Solstice, why not let ourselves dream of what may be.

I recently finished James Howard Kunstler’s book, “The Long Emergency.” He is a compelling writer, and paints a vivid picture of the consequences of our collective decisions that have been made on the basis of resources that we thought were infinite – but, are not. He leads the reader through history, as civilizations rise and fall and transform themselves based most often on the resources available. He shows how the huge spike in population was due to petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides allowing the increase of the food supply/market. And, how the world now looks to endless growth to enrich them and fulfill their dreams of stuff and more stuff…so many people with so many dreams.

Since we had a seemingly endless supply of oil, corporations were able to outsource production of goods and then services to the cheapest sources of labor. The goods could easily be shipped to those designated as “consumers” to complete the production/marketing/supply loop. He relentlessly illustrates the devastating deterioration that has resulted to our farmland, the infrastructure of our cities and towns, and the redundancy and inanity of the populace.

It’s hard to argue with his vision of the future. After all, he wrote the book in 2006 and several of the events that he predicts, like reaching the peak of oil production, continuing resource wars, financial collapse, famine, and so forth are happening all around us now.

“The Long Emergency” explores the alternatives to oil, like wind and solar and hydrogen power, and leaves little with which to comfort ourselves. Perhaps if we had started earlier, before we were so close to peak everything and before the infrastructure of our cities and towns was so destroyed by urban sprawl and paved over by highways, and water and soil so depleted… and, before the population grew to over six billion, going on nine billion soon.

So, now we need to make “other arrangements.” Not just trading in that Taurus for a Prius, or changing to a goofy looking lightbulb. This is not new to us at the campfire. We’ve been thinking on these things for years now. We know at least enough to know that we don’t have all the answers. We know we have a lot of problems. One problem, it seems to me, is that the corporations and banks seem to be more powerful than governments and nation states. Just who is running who here? Will Obama, et al, we able to rein in the high and mighty Rich and Powerful bankers and fraudsters and their minions? After all, they have the money. We have to have our own American currency LENT to us with compound interest, just for openers! And, the last President who was attempting to change that situation was John Kennedy, and look what happened to him… And, now we just doubled our national debt in the last three months! Doesn’t that put us into debt servitude to the so-called “Federal” Reserve, which is just a consortium of un-identified global banks and not part of the federal government at all? Well, I think so! And, that’s just for starters.

We’ve got tundra that is melting and releasing methane into the air. We’ve got oceans that have already lost 90 percent of their largest fish and is becoming so acidic that the coral and the phytoplankton is dying. Mutant seeds, Franken Food, commercial lockdown of food supply, global economic collapse, and resource wars.
As our lately silent, but still dear Elder has lamented on more than one occasion, “What’s a motherf**ker to do?”

It sure looks to me like we need to localize food production and manufacturing and radically conserve how much of everything we use. It sure looks to me like we have to create economies that are not based on relentless “growth” of capital and goods. I’d say we need to kick those to the curb who want to live by using their money to just make more money, whether it supports producing anything useful or not. I think we are going to have to deal with serious challenges that will most probably involve more deaths than is even thinkable right now. Whether it’s due to wars, famine, sickness, freezing, insurrection, lack of medicine and services to care for the elderly and infirm, or a combination of all of the above. Times are probably going to be really tough until we reach a sustainable level of people that our societies and our planet can support.

But, maybe not - or maybe that, but maybe more. Like the fabled valley of Shangra La that sheltered an enlightened tribe of people kept distant from the rest of the world, maybe there will be surprising exceptions to this dismal scenario of loss and lack. Maybe adversity really does bring out the best in us.
Perhaps thought really does create form, and what we imagine eventually becomes real for us. Perhaps we simply need to come to terms with new and expanded paradigms for Who We Are and What is Possible.

What if there is nothing to fear? What if death is just an illusion, and if we need more time to finish a project, we can have it in another life and another body? What if there are those OUT THERE who are looking out for us? What if we are surrounded by unlimited power that we could use to lighten the load of so many people who need it? What if there are wonders yet to be confirmed that seem so much better than we can accept that they seem like magic and miracles?

What do you think? Since this is a time for dreaming. We are starting with a “new” sun for the year. . . what are some of the scenarios that are in our collective imaginations?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


by Murph

I have written multiple times in the past concerning our constitution. One of the things I have emphasized is that it is a flawed document from several perspectives but nevertheless, was a contract between the citizens and the government concerning how the government was to conduct itself, particularly, in regards to its citizenry. As far as I know, every elected official in this country is required to take an oath to uphold the constitution. Many non elected positions are required to do the same; military and law enforcement come to mind. Despite the fights over the interpretations of what the document says, it should be rather obvious that the document has little teeth and ability to sustain even the most basic concepts that it contains concerning the well being and freedoms of its citizens. For all practical purposes, we no longer have a constitution that is enforceable, at any practical level. What parts are enforced are for show alone, to convince the sheeple that we are truly a nation with laws and principles.

Take a look at the two amendments below. Think they are being adhered to?

Article 9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article 10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

As I again read through the constitution, it appears to me that most of it has been violated, at least as I read it. Of course, I am not a constitutional lawyer with a couple of degrees to back up that statement. At least we now have a president (hopefully, maybe) that is a constitutional lawyer. It will be interesting to see how he handles a lot of these issues.

So, in effect we have, as a practical matter, a rogue government, with no limits concerning what it can do. Notice how our rights to redress have been ignored, right to assemble, right to protest, rights of free speech have all been seriously eroded, or the gun rights issue, or freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and confiscation of property, and of course the contentious abortion issue, and holding government officials responsible for murder and illegal wars. Keep in mind that violations of the constitution have been committed almost from the beginning. In comparison, they were minor to what has transpired in the last 20 years, and most distinctly in the last 8 years. If we had a government truly adhering to the constitution our situation would be considerably different than it currently is. Good god, since when does the supreme court have the constitutional right to determine an election?

The ideology around the new administration compared to Bush and crew doesn’t appear on the surface to be significantly different to me. There will be some differences of course, but I expect a further repudiation of our social contract with the government. I hope to be pleasantly surprised but I’ll not hold my breath in anticipation. Just too many of the old guard being appointed to positions of power and influence, that is, those with contempt and disdain for the populace. I doubt that keeping the old guard in positions of power that have created the problems, will solve the problems. They are stuck in a paradigm that is not going to be changed.

Quite a number of the financial people that write on the web are saying that we are now in a depression. George Ure is one of my favorites. I like his style of writing and how he analyzes current events. Even if we technically cannot substantiate that we are in an economic depression, it sure appears we are headed for one at break neck speed. This is going to put tremendous pressure on the incoming administration to “do something”, anything, to keep us afloat and progressing down the road to capitalistic paradise. So far, in the last 8 years, that has consisted in advancing toward a capitalistic dictatorship by the executive branch. I honestly do not expect that to change significantly. I know that Obama has stated that he wants to get rid of all the excessive oppressive bureaucracy that Bush has put in place. Consider how many more unemployed that will create. Currently, the federal government is the single largest employer in this country, and that doesn’t include state government employment. Currently, state, municipalities and county governments are shedding personal at a terrific rate. If the feds start shedding personnel, then unemployment figures will go up dramatically. I simply cannot believe this is going to happen, politically unacceptable. Consider poor Obama’s position. No matter how benign he intends to be, no matter what decisions he makes, he is going to be hated. If he starts pissing on the powerful moneyed people, he is going to be in real danger of being assassinated at its worst, and opposed by very powerful interests at best. If he pisses any more on the populace, he faces rebellion. I really think this is going to be his choices. We are sure going to get to see just what he is made of in a very few months now. In any case, further abridgment of civilian rights and freedoms are ahead of us. For all practical purposes, we will not be operating under any type of final arbitration in the form of a constitution. Undoubtedly, there will be a flurry of court show cases over these issues but the real hard issues will not be addressed because it sure appears to me that the moneyed and influential top of the heap would not benefit. The minute there is talk about limiting severely the elite’s privilege and benefits; there will be hell to pay. The minute Obama starts to talk about a more egalitarian distribution he will have vast and very powerful forces opposing him. Historically, the only means that have been effective has been open rebellion and revolution by the masses, and that has always resulted in more and different bums governing the population.

If we truly want something different, we have got to get away from elitist hierarchy control. I figure that one is going to be a tough one to implement.

Considering how fractionated and divisive our population is, no matter what is done or proposed, it will be opposed. How much divisiveness can be tolerated in a society until it falls apart? It is possible, even in this country, to have a strong push toward race wars of various magnitudes. We already have had two of them; the first was the whites against the Indians, and later the whites against the blacks. Wonder who is going to align against the Spanish speaking people, and/or the Muslims.

For those that still advocate a strong central government with some kind of constitution, just what would you put on paper that would stop cold the abrogation of that constitution? Bush was correct, “It’s just a damned piece of paper”. Only the people can stop that abrogation. We sure can see how well that works in today’s world. I have no idea to the extent or how long it will last, but we are surely heading toward some kind of very oppressive government in this country, hah! More than we have now for sure. Would you believe that just recently an Oregon court classified a car as a 'public place'? How nuts is that? I figure as the TPTB become more scared and desperate to retain control you will see more of this kind of insanity. You can also figure that as federal, state and municipal budgets are slashed that enforcement of these kinds of laws will become a bunch more difficult. Just another method of keeping the population in a state of fear whilst our enslavement and impoverishment continues. Oh well, as long as the population goes along with it all, it will continue.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


by Murph

AAAARG, No Don’t ask me to give up ANYTHING. What are you some damned communist? GOOD MORNING AMERICA!!
Geez!, Ok, got that off my chest.
Again I have the quandary about what to talk about today. I read a vast amount of information every week on the web and in books and publications and find it interesting and sometimes instructive in the analysis of what is happening to all of us. I don’t have the specialized economic information to offer more than generalized assessments and wonder just how much I really understand of what I do read. However, I can drag out one bit of conclusion about it all; we are now going to pay the price for our extravagances. Nothing new about that statement, we have all been saying the same thing in different ways for a long time now. We have been warned over and over again since the 1970’s that a time of reckoning was coming. The Old Testament was full of warnings about excessive living. Interestingly, few of the warnings seemed to apply to the elites of the time, but we may now be coming into the time where even they will have to pay a penalty for their excesses. Whether the very top of the heap end up paying a significant price remains yet to be seen.

That our government has been lying to us about what it was doing, the state of the country economically and other assorted pieces of information, is now blatantly obvious. But don’t just blame our favorite scapegoat, the Bush administration. This has been going on since before the civil war. It has just been raised to a fine art by the Rove/Cheney partnership. Never underestimate the gullibility of the general population (that’s all of us) to lies and broken promises.

At this time, the nation appears to be in the grip of Obamaism, the great hope for making things ‘right’ again, of course let’s not get too specific about just what is ‘right’ anyway. So far, the statements about economic strategy for the next administration appear cloudy and do not seem to address the basics of our rather dire economic problems, namely, what to do about a society that has been run on excessive credit and the manipulation to transfer more wealth into fewer hands and impoverishing greater and greater numbers of people at an accelerating rate. At least Obama has the guts to say that things are going to get worse before they get better. But just what is the strategy to take us back to some shadow of affluence and ‘good living’? Considering the energy levels needed to do this, it sure appears unlikely to me. Obama is proposing a giant government works project, reminiscent of the CCC of the depression years of the 30’s. To what end? If we don’t have the cheap energy to run our society available any longer, just what is the advantage to repairing roads and bridges and tunnels? That massive a project alone will mean that the government will have to go even deeper in debt. To just pay the interest for that amount of borrowing, taxes will have to go up dramatically, and guess who will be hit the hardest by that. It all has to be paid for somewhere down the line and I doubt that Obama’s charm is going to convince the mega wealthy to pony up for it. Already the screaming has started about the tax and spend liberal administration coming to town.

Presently, the news about the overseas shipping being virtually shut down because of lack of lines of credit bodes very badly for us peons. Packing of food for sale to the public appears to be heavily threatened. Where are all the cans made for food packing made anyway? It appears from some articles it is overseas. Where will the financing come from to go to alternative food packing? So, unless that problem is solved, that means that grocery stores aren’t going to have much in canned food. Although considering the quality of canned food, maybe a good thing.

Due to the economic globalization, every single system for sustaining a population everywhere is entwined with every other country. That makes the whole system very sensitive to disruptions in just about any commodity anywhere. Add in the “just in time delivery of money and commodities” and we have a recipe for economic and food disaster. If Obama and his crew have any real solution for all of this will be interesting to see. I doubt it though. I think we have now come to more unsolvable problems than can be adjusted for at any level on a global or even national scale. Obama is at least openly admitting that the problem is far greater and with far greater impact than anything the Bush administration has come out with. I would however fault him for also hinting that some miraculous policy will pull us out and be back to our posh lifestyles sometime in the future. The population needs to be told that going back to our extravagant lifestyle is not physically possible, the resources are simply not there. We are going to have to change the way we live big time.

Where we live, there is a pretty substantial proportion of retirees. I haven’t heard much talk about an optimistic near future. And yet, few are downsizing, getting rid of the gas guzzlers and lowering their comfort levels and preparing to furnish much of their basic necessities themselves. A few are. Every person and family is going to have to take a serious look at what seems to be going on around them and decide on just how much preparation they are willing to make based on the information they can find. In our area, just providing a basic diet is a challenge, and takes time to learn. If you ain't doing it now, it may be too damned late. Success and failure are determined by persistence and a learning curve that takes time. Considering that the depression era of soup lines is substituted today by food stamps, (nearly 10% of the American population now) a strong push for victory gardens may be an absolute necessity for a very large amount of our population. Of course, with 2/3 of our population living in coastal cities, this is going to be a stretch for most people. Hah! Who says we’re not in a depression right now? Geez! They finally came out and admitted that we have been in a recession for a year now. In another year maybe they can admit we are in a depression.

Our involvement in the local politics and our fight with the county has elevated considerably my observation that the cards are stacked very high against citizens. We are constantly trying to decipher and understand the stacks of legal documents pertaining to just one issue. I know damned well that is primarily to cloud the issue and not make it easily understood. It is only that we are not working a steady job that we can even attempt to understand the documents and their ramifications. The multiple layers of bureaucracy, laws, legal opinions and general bull shit is phenomenal. It also takes considerable amount of money to fight unjust laws. So, in our case, we have to engage in constant fund raising for attorney fees. It took us a full year for 3 of us trying to understand a 2 inch thick USGS study to understand how much wool the county pulled over our collective eyes and the consequent lies that they came out with. During the last election cycle, we at least got rid of one of the county commissioners running for reelection. What the new one will be like is open for observation. At least one more to go. A real arrogant bastard is next and Freeacre declares she will spend the rest of her life getting him out of office.

Oh yes, a price must be paid on so many fronts. I would imagine that the people reading this in their many scattered communities would be amazed at the roadblocks put up by officialdom to citizen participation in the government. I have come to the conclusion that the only thing they really understand is the same tactics they use against us, brute force. Well, when their bill comes due, it may be a whole bunch more violent than they planned on.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Financial Warfare, Famine & Meltdown?


The news of the dramatic attacks in Mumbai was disturbing last week. Seeming like an action movie, the story of ten armed men breaking up into teams and terrorizing Mumbai in several locations at once was shocking. The Taj Mahal hotel up in flames for days. Tourists and Jewish people executed in a city that avoids killing cows!

But that, it seems, is not the half of it. It might have been a sucker punch to the gut of financial globalism itself. I think, as usual, Mike Ruppert nailed it. He wrote on Thanksgiving evening,

I do not know how many other corporations are affected; but they will be many, if not most of the Dow 30 and the Fortune 500. And I can tell you that on Friday morning, any customer or client of Citigroup, Symantec or Hewlett-Packard will be unable to get customer assistance over the phone. Warranty service for these corporations will stop. I know that because I have been through that horrible grind with all of them in the last year or so. All of their calls are taken in Mumbai, by Indians. Nothing is working in Mumbai and there can be no certainty when anything will be working. Because the attacks included the premier hotels in the financial district, no multi-national will ever trust the city again. The risk is too great. I can almost bet that the multinationals are all well prepared for attacks on their own facilities, but were totally unprepared for an attack that pulled the city out from under them.

I think many corporations also have data processing and IT centers there as well.

The Achilles tendon of globalization has just been severed

Since then, Matt Savinar on Life After the Oil Crash continues the analysis this week:

“…This is why, as Mike Ruppert wrote last week, every world leader with an IQ over 70 is shaking in their boots right now. Reason being the effects of the attacks on the Fortune 500 and Dow 30 will be, at the very least, as follows:

A) the cost of insuring their outsourced operations goes through the ceiling

B) the cost of providing security goes through the ceiling

C) the cost of capital (interest rate) for any projects outsourced to India and elsewhere just went through the ceiling

With so many companies as highly leveraged as they are, it doesn't take much to push them over the edge. Jack up their interest rates, jack up their insurance premiums while drastically escalating the amount of money they need to spend on security and a whole bunch of them will be plunged right into insolvency.

Point #2: "But won't they just move their operations back U.S. soil, thereby creating more jobs for us Americans?"

Again, this would only serve to raise their operating costs and therefore raise their interest rates. In a different era, where things weren't so mind-bogglingly leveraged, a company might be able to absorb these increased costs. But modern Fortune 500 companies rely on "Just in Time" (JIT) financing the same way Safeway and Shell rely on JIT delivery food and fuel. As you already know, it only takes a brief (2-5 day) or small (1-3%) disruption in the JIT delivery of food and fuel to totally shoot the whole system to hell. It's the same with the JIT delivery of money. The companies most affected by these attacks have structured their operations for maximum financial "efficiency".* Maximum efficiency is great for a company's bottom line when times are good and the flow of capital is reliable. But when things get dicey, maximum efficiency means just a small increase in costs, be it in labor, in capital, in insurance rates, in the cost of security, etc. can blow your entire balance sheet to hell.

Key point: the big banks have loaned money to the Fortune 500 under the assumption that the project of globalization will continue, more or less, unfettered. An attack like this therefore detonates one of the basic assumptions under girding the finances of pretty much every multinational corporation on the planet.

So the answer to the question of "will they be moving their operations back to U.S. soil" is "no, they won't be as the loans they've been getting from the Big Banks are based on the assumption of ultra-cheap outsourced labor. Without these artificially cheap loans, many of them will simply go out of business as their entire business model was predicated on low-cost loans, the issuance of which was predicated on unfettered access to ultra-cheap outsourced labor."


You wonder why the stock market plunged on Monday? Naturally, there will be dead cat bounces and fluctuations. But, the one-two punches of resource depletion and increased costs of production and insurance, just may have knocked out this globalization beast!

What?? Give me another cigarette… I think I need to smoke two at once while this is sinking in… humm…

Somehow the global financial brain trust has managed to set everything up so that it could not be more vulnerable to the slightest vagary. Running so close to the bone in terms of relying on “just in time” deliveries of both goods and monies, the very cheapest labor costs, cheap oil for production as well as distribution, and low rates of insurance, the geniuses of greed have orchestrated their own demise. Plaxico Burress seems not to have been the only one who shot himself in the foot last week.

Meanwhile, as though oblivious to the Dead Men Walking scenario that is the corporate reality in Asia, Washington DC continues to play charades with the bailout. Everybody knows that Detroit was red-lined years ago. If the automakers have their way, they’ll take the money and expand their factories in Brazil and China. Maybe we ought to think of a better way to stimulate our economy as well as the company – let’s have the government buy us all a brand new car! Tax free. It would only be a temporary fix, but at least we’d have our last new car and no payments! Some of us could live in them.

Then, we would be liberated to make other arrangements as the world as we know it deteriorates beyond recognition.

We really can not afford to be this stupid. Because in addition to the corporate meltdown, we are facing a disaster with our food production next year as well. In the last post, ras directed our attention to a Daily Koz article (11/27). Here’s an excerpt:

“ … I wrote earlier about the famine potential we face due to the under fertilization of the wheat crop. Wheat that gets enough ammonia is 14% protein, if it is unfertilized closer to 8%, and that 43% reduction in total plant protein is going to cause unimaginable suffering in places like Egypt, where half of the population gets subsidized bread. Global end of season per capita wheat stocks have been about seventy pounds my entire life, except the last three years where they've dropped to only forty pounds. One mistake in this area and one of the four horsemen gets loose, certainly dragging his brothers along behind. That mistake may already have been made in the lack of wheat fertilization this fall.

The fall nitrogen fertilizer application has been 10% of the norm. A typical year would see 50% put on in the fall and 50% in the spring. During fertilizer application season the 3,100 mile national ammonia pipeline network runs flat out and the far points on the network experience low flow both fall and spring. If they try to jam 90% of the fertilization into a period of time when the system can only flow a little more than half of the need much of our cropland will go without in the spring of 2009.

Finances as much as weather are the issue with regards to fertilization this fall. Crop prices have fallen to half of what they were, ammonia prices have dropped but ammonia suppliers here, receiving 75% of their supply from overseas, still have product in their storage tanks purchase at the historical highs last spring and summer.

When farmers plant they record the acreage and they purchase crop insurance - $20 to $40 an acre depending on the crop. If they have a failure they file a claim, an adjustor contacts them, and they get a check to cover the deficit. Some of this runs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and some of it is through private insurers.

My conversations with farmers earlier this week lead me to believe that the largest private insurer, Des Moines Iowa's Rain and Hail Agricultural Insurance may be insolvent. Flooding claims from this spring were filed and payments would have typically been received by the end of June or beginning of July. It's now the end of November and payments are not being dispersed. “

Additionally, there is a propane shortage in the Dakotas that is not allowing the proper storage of corn in their silos. This will decrease the crops dramatically next year. Farming, anymore, requires vast amounts of loans in order to plant, fertilize, harvest, and store the food. With the FUBAR in financial circles, this crucial aspect of food production is dramatically challenged.

So… the banks are blowing up, the jobs are disappearing, the homes are being lost, the commercial loans are still frozen, the government is giving away all our money, and now to top it off, we are looking at severe food production failure.

Is it raining frogs yet?

In spite of all this bad news, I think the most horrifying thing to me last week was that a 34 year old employee of a Long Island Wal-mart got trampled to death in the rush to shop the day after Thanksgiving. That this monstrous culture that spawned this collective atrocity is going down, can only be interpreted on the whole, as a blessing.

Good by and good riddance to all of it.