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Kunstler: Forecast 2018 — What Could Go Wrong?

Public Policy

Markets

If you take your cues from Consensus Trance Central — the cable news networks, The New York Times, WashPost, and HuffPo — Trump is all that ails this foundering empire. Well, Trump and Russia, since the Golden Golem of Greatness is in league with Vladimir Putin to loot the world, or something like that.

Since I believe that the financial system is at the heart of today’s meta-question (What Could Go Wrong?), it would be perhaps more to the point to ask: what has held this matrix of rackets together so long? After all, rackets are characterized by pervasive lying and fraud, meaning their operations don’t add up. Things that don’t comport with reality are generally prone to failure so sooner or later they have to implode.

Financial markets have been surging supernaturally on “liquidity” since 2009 — and by “liquidity” I mean “money” (digital credit from thin air) supplied by the Federal Reserve, in rotation with the other sovereign central banks, BOE, ECB, BOJ, PBOC, from whence it pings ‘round the world, wherever the lure of the main chance sparkles. Trillions wafted into the stock and bond markets, levitating them as a sort of stage-managed misdirection from the sickening spectacle of wobbling real stuff economies. In 2017, The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded an astounding 5,000 point year-on-year upzoom, with 12 months of gains and no loser months, and a string of 71 record highs.

America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, acted as if pumping up the stock markets was the only thing that mattered. The result was a Potemkin economy, a glittering Wall Street false-front with a landscape of “flyover” squalor and desolation behind. The Fed now works at cross-purposes with itself by raising the Fed Funds rate a quarter-point every few months, and supposedly “shrinking” (ha!) their balance sheet — dumping bonds onto the market plus “retiring” termed out bonds, which allows the Fed to disappear the principal paid by the borrowers, namely the US Treasury, or the quasi-governmental werewolf called Freddie Mac (The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), which bundles all kinds of janky mortgages into giant bonds the Fed buys in order to artificially pump up the real estate market. Did your eyes glaze over yet? That’s the great thing about finance: it’s bewildering, so that when shit goes wrong, nobody notices until its way too late.

What could go wrong with that program? Well, if you dump billions of bonds on the market, you will change the supply-and-demand equation in the direction of too much supply, and interest rates will have to rise when there isn’t enough bid from the demand side — especially if the US Treasury is creating ever more new bonds to make up for ever-greater deficit spending at the same time the Fed dumps bonds into the market. And if, for instance, the interest rate on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond goes up past 3.00 percent, well that may be all she wrote for the US government’s ability to service its monstrous debt. And it may be tits up for the real estate sector, too, because mortgage rates will rise, and fewer people will buy houses. The Fed’s latest actions boil down to a lame attempt to have some maneuvering room to once again lower interest rates and refill their balance sheet via a QE-4 orgy when the economy heads south in a way that even the US Bureau of Labor Statistics can’t obfuscate.

The ECB and the BOJ have already made noises about curtailing their vacuuming up of securities, so the liquidity rotation may end altogether. The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has at its centerpiece the lowering of corporate income tax from 35 to 21 percent. The hidden agenda may be to hope this can act as a substitute for the dwindling central bank liquidity injections. The tax cuts and other new gimmicks would increase the federal debt by at least $1 trillion over a ten year period (and, by unofficial estimates, probably much more) paving the road to national bankruptcy with good intentions. But, of course, quite a few wise men in this culture have declared that deficits don’t matter. My own view is that they don’t matter until they do, and then you’re pretty screwed.

In the background of all this is an array of perilous real world events playing out that include especially potential conflict around North Korea and the Middle East. China’s banking system is a fun-house of scams and dodges that don’t add up anymore than ours do. The whole wicked pottage of EU / Brexit issues simmers away, along with the EU’s fatal flaw of lacking any fiscal discipline among member nations, so government spending has no relation to sovereign borrowing. NATO’s aggressive military posturing on Russia’s borders is pointless, stupid, dishonest, and provocative. Nobody knows what kind of gambit Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia will try next. Iran demands to be recognized as the regional hegemon. And our dear exceptional nation, with its restless Deep State black box “assets,” is capable of all sorts of mischief at home and abroad.

Any of these things could shove American markets into criticality, as if they don’t have enough built-in fragility already. Manipulation of the markets by the Fed and its water-carrying Too Big To Fail partners have deprived the markets of their chief function: price discovery, the ability to discern what things are really worth. Markets are therefore functionally useless and their uselessness is a giant hazard. No society that depends on money can work for long if nobody knows the true value of things, including the value of money itself. The price of attempting to live in a culture of pervasive dishonesty is that a re-set is inevitable. When it happens, it will be hugely destabilizing.

I expect the DJIA to move down sharply before the third quarter, rebound a little, and eventually bottom at 14,000 or lower by this time next year. I’ll call the S & P to settle in under 1,000. The NASDAQ may be the weakest, since its FAANG members — Facebook , Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google (aka Alphabet)— are among the most mis-valued stocks, and the most based on vaporous products and services. Call NASDAQ to land at 2,700. Calling for a US dollar index (DXY) of 79 by December. Calling for gold $2,500 and silver $60 twelve months from now. There it is, like so much meat on the table.

Bitcoin and other cryptos have a superficial appeal as a wealth safe haven supposedly out-of-reach of avaricious governments — if you don’t consider everything else that’s wrong with it. (Yesterday, Dec 31, Australia’s biggest banks froze the accounts of Bitcoin investors.) I think the safe haven idea will prove fallacious. Governments are already finding ways to interfere, using taxation schemes and shutting down exchanges. Bitcoin’s other claims on “moneyness” look bogus as well. It’s too unstable to be a medium of exchange, and too difficult to even access when need to sell, and you certainly can’t price anything in it as it shoots up and crashes every day. Bitcoin went way up because people — or maybe just algorithms — saw it going way up, so they hitched a ride. The rush to the exits will be brutal. Its final resting place will be zero, but perhaps not without a trip or two to nosebleed levels in 2018, especially as other markets wobble in the first half of the year. Bitcoin $50-K wouldn’t surprise me. But I’m not among the buyers. Enjoy the show.

2018 is the year that fragilities in the shale oil industry challenge the narrative of the “miracle.” The industry hasn’t made a net red-cent since it ramped up ten years ago. It’s been running on debt, a lot of it junk financing (high-yield, high-risk, covenant-lite). The producers have been fracking and pumping all-out for several years to maximize their cash flow to service their loans. But these shale wells deplete by 80 percent on average after the first three years, and have to be replaced by expensive new wells, which require ever more debt financing. The truth is that shale oil and other “unconventional” oils just don’t pencil out economically. Their success in recent years was part-and-parcel with the central bank credit flood. As that credit flow gets choked down in 2018, oil companies will go out of business at an impressive rate. If the price of oil goes up to $80-a-barrel, as a result, it will be very damaging to what remains of the US economy of real stuff.

US Politics

 Donald Trump survived in office a whole year. Imagine that! After the 2016 election, I figured that the top military brass would give him the bum’s rush inside of three months, in short a coup d’état. Their action actually has been much more subtle: they just ring-fenced him with generals. Since he seems to regard them as his generals (“my generals”), then he’s apparently okay with that, like a boy in the nursery with his toy soldiers. And apart from the fact that the constitution calls for civilian control of the military and not vice-versa, I’m okay with that… for now. He’s got chaperones, at least. This is admittedly not the ideal disposition of American political power.

I did not vote for the Golden Golem, and I don’t esteem his abilities, but the incessant and rather hysterical attacks on his legitimacy, especially by members of Consensus Trance Central, display a mendacity out of George Orwell’s direst dreams. I never believed in the ludicrous Russian collusion fantasy, and find it difficult to believe that the editors of The New York Times do. So far, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted two high-profile grifters (Manafort and Gates) on financial shenanigans involving business dealings in Russia dating from years before the 2016 election, plus one National Security Advisor (Michael Flynn) for speaking with the Russian Ambassador (who, exactly, are foreign ambassadors supposed to speak to if not government officials? And otherwise what are they here for?), and one entry-level foreign policy wonk (George Papadopoulos) who never even met Trump. I believe the grave and solemn Mueller is on a fishing expedition. Aficionados of DOJ tactics know that prosecutors can always fetch up the proverbial ham sandwich to indict, if there’s nothing else at hand.

Then there is the very troubling behavior of FBI employees (Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe), plus some members of Obama’s inner circle (Susan Rice, Samantha powers) in the twilight months of his term. And remember, Robert Mueller has been the erstwhile James Comey’s mentor and true-blue friend going way back. It just looks flat-out like a bunch of Deep State lifers are out to get the Golden Golem. The so-called “optics” are terrible.

Since crashing stock markets are liable to turn Trump into a mad bull, at the same time that Mueller will have to put up or shut up, I predict that long about the vernal equinox Mueller will come up with some Mickey Mouse charges against Trump, or his people, and be promptly fired by the president. General Flynn and the baby foreign policy wonk will be pardoned, and perhaps others. Probably not Manafort and his chum (though their prosecution might fail.) Democrats will go apeshit and batshit both, with talk of impeachment and constitutional crisis, but I don’t think any of that will stick. Congress may have more to worry about with tanking markets and other symptoms of an incipient economic train wreck. The effort to dump Trump would aggravate the tanking markets.

It is also plausible after the disclosures of recent months that the Russian meddling investigation could blow back on Hillary, the Clinton Foundation, Clinton allies, and possibly even some of Obama’s people (maybe even the former president himself). The evidence for Obama-era FBI involvement in the Christopher Steele file is already out there. There is yet to be a satisfactory elucidation of the Loretta Lynch / Bill Clinton Phoenix tarmac meet-up, nor to the circumstances around HRC’s lost emails and private server, nor the Anthony Weiner laptop, nor to the Uranium One matter. The casual observer sees much more circumstantial criminality in these matters so far than any Trump collusion-with-Russia hypothesis provides.

I venture to predict that ex-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz resigns her House seat in disgrace as the case of her Pakistani grifter IT aide, Imran Awan, moves into the courts.

Trump firing Mueller will drive his Dem-Prog adversaries to new heights of hysteria but their wrath may be so ineffectual that they will fall back on their stock-in-trade, ginning up more sexual panic. This calls into question the pathetic state of the Democratic Party leadership. It’s so sclerotic these days that it makes the Whigs of 1856 look dynamic. They have no program for the compound emergencies the nation faces. The party machinery is in the hands of bought-and-paid-for errand boys, gender crybabies, and race hustlers. Their allies at The New York Times and CNN look ever more ridiculous peddling daily paranoid fantasies and styling themselves as advocates for “the Resistance.” Their cadres in the Ivy League outposts have turned into the most shamelessly illiberal gang of intellectual despots since Mao’s Red Guard roamed the earth.

I’m not persuaded that the Dems will necessarily stomp Trump’s Republicans in the 2018 congressional and state races, as seems to be widely assumed for the moment. I’ll predict, rather, that in 2018 we get the first stirrings of a new party forming to battle both tired old clubs. Trump now “owns” the fate of the stock market and the economy it wags, having bragged on it all year. He and the Republicans will be blamed if it falls out of bed. But my gut feeling is that the voters are even more sick of the Democrats and their victim-mongering. Their coffers are empty, despite jumping through every hoop that Wall Street held out for them. (Did all the money disappear into the maw of the Clinton Foundation?) Finally, on a personal note, I blame them for driving a stake through Garrison’s Keillor’s heart with their reckless sexual witch-hunting, and I don’t forgive them for that, no matter how many tits he may have tried to touch backstage.

Elsewhere on This Planet

Economic savant and international man-of-mystery James Rickards says that Trump and his generals are going to whap North Korea upside its big chunky head soon after the winter Olympics are concluded in South Korea on February 25. But as Trump averred in the election campaign, he is not inclined to state in advance exactly what we might do in a military situation. Maybe the rumor is true that we have interesting new weapons capable of turning Little Rocket Man into a Post Toastie without harming the mass of innocent North Koreans. I’d have to give 50 percent odds that whatever we do in Korea turns out to be an epic illustration of Murphy’s Law, since our track record in foreign military adventures since VJ day in 1945 is pretty scant in the “win” column. The Balkan War, maybe… Bush One’s Gulf War sort of… Grenada (for Godsake)… what else…?

Kim Jung-un may not be able yet to deliver an atomic blast to Rodeo Drive, but he can likely lob one into Tokyo on a five minute flight path. Look at the map. The Japanese must be nervous about it. They were once a world-class military power, in case you don’t remember the banzai era. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution — engineered by US advisors during the post-war occupation — to allow for a robust military. I wouldn’t be surprised if something lethal jumps out of a lacquered black bento box in the direction of Pyongyang around the same time the US goes for that whap upside NK’s head.

And there’s Seoul, of course, less than 20 miles from the DMZ and within range of a supposedly huge array of North Korean heavy artillery. The theory is we have a slim window of opportunity to deal with this rascal before he equips himself to do some major mischief in the world. I don’t believe this is just a bunch of shuck-and-jive cooked up by the arms merchants and their friends. It’s real and existential and very messy. Something is going to happen there.

China has a pretty firm mutual defense treaty with North Korea, and perhaps reason to want to keep the regime up-and-running as a buffer zone. But do they really want to jump feet first into World War Three defending Kim? I guess we’ll find out. In the meantime, China’s president Xi Jinping has got enough on his plate trying to safely land the high-flying, but wobbling, debt-saturated Chinese economy. Odds are that it’s going to be a rough landing. In which case, maybe war is the answer, as a way of distracting the Chinese public’s attention. But what sort of war? Cyber-sabotage? EMP blackouts? Good old-fashioned mutual nuclear destruction? Grinding old-school land campaigns? Naval battles? It’s a dangerous game and Xi does not look like a risk junkie — more like prudent ole Uncle Xi. So I’ll predict that whatever blows on the Korean Peninsula, China will try to stay out of it, even if it makes faces and jumps up and down a bit.

Russia can only benefit from steering clear of war, though its recent offer to act as an intermediary between Kim and Trump was a smart move. (Maybe they remember how Teddy Roosevelt negotiated a peace settlement in the Russo-Japanese War of 1907.) They have little to lose and prestige to gain. Despite what you hear about the unholy thuggery of Vladimir Putin, it seems to me that what he wants most of all for his country is to attain the condition of a politically and economically normal nation — after the 75-year-long misadventure with communism. I suspect Putin and others in Russia would have liked the country to become more fully Europeanized in tone and style than it has been allowed to be, with NATO playing war games on Russia’s border, and US monkeyshines in Ukraine, and sanctions against it for really no good reason. So, Russia has been shoved back into its cubbyhole as a nation not quite of Europe, with sinister Byzantine overtones and ancient exotic Mongol influences.

This quasi-isolation has some benefits for Russia, for one, the imperative to develop businesses and industries for import-replacement, that is, for becoming more self-sufficient. Russia has a lot to work worth, with the world’s highest oil production, lots of ores and minerals, untold hydropower, and endless timber. It can make its own stuff, and Russian citizens are free to try starting businesses. The country may even benefit from climate change with expanded croplands. Russia is already approaching food self-sufficiency after the long catastrophe of soviet farm collectivization.

Meanwhile, Europe desperately needs Russia’s oil and natural gas, so they must know that using NATO troops and armor to make threats is a hollow gesture. Notice that Russia is stockpiling gold reserves, where the USA is just selling the stuff off. (China is stockpiling, too. Like mad.) When other currencies implode, there is reason to believe the world will be introduced to a gold-backed Ruble and Yuan, “money” backed by money. They’ll be able to buy stuff they need. Will we? Will a gold-backed currency shove aside the US dollar as world reserve currency? The precursor to that will be China’s effort to establish oil trade in its Yuan.

Europe has stumbled along economically for several years on Mario Draghi’s promise to “do whatever it takes” to keep the EU’s member nations from falling into the black hole of debt deflation, namely, buying every bond that the sovereign governments and corporations issue. That kept the game going, but the structural imbalances in EU banking are now so extreme that it is hard to see a way out besides an EU crackup. The Merkel-led immigration-and-refugee policy looked like a bad bet from the get-go and is liable to get worse when the whatever-it-takes liquidity dries up and the EU member countries fall into recession (or depression) and there’s no more money to pay for all those refugee settlement centers and the social services that have been provided. There won’t be enough gainful employment for Germans, Belgians, Frenchmen, and Swedes, let alone for immigrants and refugees.

I’ll predict that starting in 2018 we’ll see efforts to ramp up deportations of these newcomers. Racist? That will be the knee-jerk hue-and-cry. But the epithet is losing its punch as the effects of Merkel’s open door policy are felt on-the-ground in the obvious hostility, xenophobia, and aggression, displayed by Islamic settlers. The defeat of ISIS on the Middle East battlefields in 2017 suggests that they will be ramping up terror operations to Europe. European nationalism movements will grow in 2018 and gain intellectual respectability as the defense of European culture is taken seriously. Middle European states such as Hungary and Poland have not given in on the EU’s demand to accept immigrants and refugees from Islamic lands. Their example will be followed. Politicians in the rest of Europe will consider the “Just Say No” option.

The United Kingdom enters 2018 especially vulnerable to economic travail. The estimated cost of Brexit at tens of billions of pounds sterling, and the potential loss of business, especially banking, is one mighty headwind. The other, less talked about, is the dwindling of the UK’s oil and gas reserves. The equation is simple: fewer energy inputs equals lower economic activity. The only way around that is the popular central bank strategy of recent years: money-printing and accounting fraud. You can’t base an economy on that, and the truth will become painfully self-evident this new year in Great Britain.

Suddenly this last week of 2017, anti-regime demonstrations are busting out all over Iran. They are said to be protests over poor economic performance and the regime’s squandering of resources sponsoring mischief in other lands (Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, etc). Folks are getting killed in the streets. The Revolutionary Guard — the zealots who took our diplomatic personnel hostage in 1979 — have promised to squash the protest. Many Iranians must be good and goddam sick of mullahs and ayatollahs running the joint.

Otherwise, it’s beginning to look like Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) of Saudi Arabia (KSA) would like to rumble with Iran to beat back their influence outside their borders in the region. Iran has had plenty of opportunity to play with its military hardware in recent decades: in the Iran-Iraq War, arming Hezbollah to battle Israel, in support of Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, and lately in Yemen’s civil war. KSA, on the other hand, has been buying jet planes and bombs from the US for decades, with nary a chance to put them to use. MBS seems eager to test-drive this schwag.

A real dust-up between the principals would put a lot of the world’s oil supply at risk if oil tanker shipping in the Persian Gulf were interrupted. China and Japan would bear the brunt, but the whole world would feel it. Kicking the clerics out of government in Iran might tone down the unnecessary religious hostilities between Sunni and Shiites that has played such a big part in the creation of failed states throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Iran has plenty of economic problems inside its own borders.

The disarray in other areas of the vast MENA region will continue in 2018, whether regime change in Iran happens or not. Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan are permanently failed states, with Egypt ever on the verge. Syria will stabilize as a much smaller economy, propped up by payments from Russia for hosting naval and air bases there. This part of the world has suffered ruinous population overshoot in the industrial age, especially the states that produced oil. The desert ecology can’t support all these people as the industry falters and shrinks. Even as the situation worsens, the swollen populations will generate more children. When they can no longer decant themselves into Europe, the real misery starts.

You may have forgotten there is a place called South America. Its many nations have been in a pleasant political coma for a decade or so, except Venezuela, which is in cardiac arrest, organ failure, and brain death. There will be a bloody revolution there this year, and Venezuela’s oil industry will be crippled, adding to the world’s oil supply problems.

The Closing of the American Mind

2017 was a spectacular year for intellectual collapse among the political Left, but especially for its subsidiaries on campus. The trauma of Donald Trump’s election victory put this faction into a fugue state in which no opportunity for coercion and persecution of imagined enemies could be missed. The victim-oppressor politics spawned by the critical-theory-for-lunch-bunch has produced an ideology in which “inclusion” means segregated dorms, racially separate graduation ceremonies, and (at Harvard) closing down age-old men’s and women’s voluntary social associations. And “diversity” means as long as you express the exactly same ideas we do. The presidents, deans, and faculty of colleges around the country have turned into the most obdurate enemies of free thought since the Spanish Inquisition, a gang of cowards and villains who disgrace the meaning and purpose of higher Ed.

Highlights of the year in Social Justice Warrior Land include the violence around Charles Murray’s lecture at Middlebury, the Antifa riots at UC Berkeley, the “Day of Absence” ritual at Evergreen U in Washington State where white people were banished from campus, and the Lindsey Shepherd star chamber tribunal at Laurier University in Toronto (I know, that’s outside the USA). In all of these cases, college presidents, deans, and faculty acted contemptibly, supporting coercion, persecution, antipathy to due process of law, the willful betrayal of common decency, and a folio of shockingly stupid ideas — such as the proposition from the chair of the Purdue University Engineering Department (one Donna Riley) that academic rigor is a symptom of “white male heterosexual privilege.”

As it happens, higher education is approaching its own state of implosion, since college has become, most of all, a money-grubbing racket tuned to the flow of exorbitant student loans for exorbitant college costs. Higher Ed’s fate is tied to the financial sector, especially the bond market, since college loans are lately being bundled into janky bonds just like the NINJA mortgages of 2007 were. The entire US college industry has been in a hypertrophic blow-off for decades, and the gross expansion of facilities, programs, and costs has developedan inverse relationship to the value of a college education. I predict that a shocking number of small four-year colleges will go out of business this year. Students who had not completed their degree requirements will just be shit out of luck.

Concluding Thoughts

2018 will be a tumultuous year of shake-outs and loss. The watchword for the year should be “lean.” Individuals will be shoved into leaner modes of living. Companies will suffer despite the new lower tax. Financial rewards will be lean. Nations will have to seriously start planning to get by on less, to downscale, and jettison programs that don’t jibe with the mandates of reality. 2018 is the year that the world comes un-stuck from the past ten years of pretending that it’s possible to get something for nothing. For 2018, it’s full speed ahead into the long emergency.

Kunstler



76 Comments on "Kunstler: Forecast 2018 — What Could Go Wrong?"

  1. Makati1 on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 12:59 am 

    “The overall total population of the world is approximately 7.47 billion, as of July 2017…

    Its overall population density is 50 people per km² (129.28 per sq. mile),…

    The world’s largest ethnic group is Han Chinese … Han Chinese represent about 18% of the global population…

    Tokyo is the largest urban conglomeration in the world….(~30,000,000)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_world#Ethnicity

    “In 1950 whites and blacks were respectively 27.98% and 8.97% of world
    population. By 2060 these figures will almost reverse as blacks surge
    to 25.38% and whites shrink to 9.76%…

    …countries like Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia can expect to be pressured to accept collectively hundreds of millions of refugees from India, and sub-Sahara Africa.”

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/uk.sci.med.nursing/C1ocvXi4iFw

    Just some facts for the uneducated.

  2. Cloggie on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 1:02 am 

    “…countries like Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia can expect to be pressured to accept collectively hundreds of millions of refugees from India, and sub-Sahara Africa.””

    Sure. Fortress Europe is next after we have brought down the US overlord and teamed up with Russia. The US can commit demographic suicide all by itself, in a political correct responsible manner.

  3. DerHundistlos on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 2:50 am 

    Kunt has morphed into a bitter and cranky little bitch. The guy desperately needs a girlfriend.

  4. Makati1 on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 5:45 am 

    Food for thought: “Who Stole Our Culture?” (US)

    “Sometime during the last half-century, someone stole our culture. Just 50 years ago, in the 1950s, America was a great place. It was safe. It was decent. Children got good educations in the public schools. Even blue-collar fathers brought home middle-class incomes, so moms could stay home with the kids. Television shows reflected sound, traditional values.

    Where did it all go? How did that America become the sleazy, decadent place we live in today – so different that those who grew up prior to the ’60s feel like it’s a foreign country? Did it just “happen”?

    It didn’t just “happen.” In fact, a deliberate agenda was followed to steal our culture and leave a new and very different one in its place. The story of how and why is one of the most important parts of our nation’s history – and it is a story almost no one knows. The people behind it wanted it that way. …

    Today, when Hollywood’s cultural Marxists want to “normalize” something like homosexuality they put on television show after television show where the only normal-seeming white male is a homosexual. That is how psychological conditioning works; people absorb the lessons the cultural Marxists want them to learn without even knowing they are being taught. It is no accident that the entertainment industry is now cultural Marxism’s most powerful weapon….

    The Frankfurt School wrote about American public education. It said it did not matter if school children learned any skills or any facts. All that mattered was that they graduate from the schools with the right “attitudes” on certain questions….

    Most of America’s traditional culture lies in ruins.”

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2018/01/02/who-stole-our-culture/#more-167257

    The Great Leveling continues…

  5. Davy on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 6:44 am 

    Euroland has been range bound for almost a decade and unclear if alternatives can ever provide a majority of primary energy. This paper explains the difficulties reaching a high percentage of integration Germany is facing currently being an export power. https://tinyurl.com/yc53wdqk . It is possible Euros can scale up to maybe 40% primary energy. Does anyone know that number because the challenges are huge and it is more than the technology that must be employed. Until now it has been mostly a techno change. Techno changes are exciting. Mild techno changes are not difficult in today’s world with surplus energy and capital. It is the dramatic systematic changes and behavioral changes that will be much more difficult. Behavioral changes require education and acceptance. The technological changes beyond a certain point are much more expensive. System changes may be beyond our civilizations systematic parameters. IOW our modern civilization may not be able to change.

    This means economics of it all are now important too. The total system costs are set to go up dramatically despite all the hype of panel and wind tower cost decline. Energy payback in not economic payback. This difference is similar to the difference with ROI and EROI. An economic downturn likely will derail the Euro renewable energy transformation. Euroland is the only place a real transformation is taking shape. Who knows what will happen with the economy but everything I see is it is a broken system on all levels but still functioning. It may function for more years slowly decaying with wealth transfer, economic abandonment, dysfunctional networks, and irrational policy.

    Notice I did not say energy transition. Transformation in this case is a hybrid fossil fuel and alternative world. It is unlikely from everything I have seen an energy transition to 100% renewables is possible with the current civilization we live in and in the overshoot on every level we are already in. Once storage issues are included and the distribution needed for transport then the equation becomes much more difficult. The alteration of the grid will be huge. What about the resources needed for all that technology then there is the replacement. This all the while we are supporting a fossil fuel complex in infrastructural decline.

    I am an academic and a practical doomer. I have become much less extreme over the last few years but no less worried. The date may be pushed out some if we are lucky. I say lucky because at any time it can all fall apart. We are so far over extended systematically and in overshoot with population and consumption that a cascading failure from anything is possible. A biggish war like NK and its possibly over within a year or less as an example.

    My point of support for alternative energy is it may buy us time to allow a demand destruction process with our foundational energy. It is possible our economic situation will not decline at a pace too dangerous allowing a freeing up of supply of many of all those vital civilizational resources we need to buy a few more years of our systematic unsustainability. Frankly our civilization has a shelf life by definition being linear and growth based. The key to what I just said is a few more years. We are a linear civilization on a finite planet that operates within a cyclical ecosystem and planetary cycles. Our civilization will be force back to where it belongs within these constraints. It will have less population and be more in tune to the natural cycles that govern all life on this planet. It may also end completely.

    The difficulties of demand destruction are huge. Our system is growth based so a macro and extended period of declining economic activity is very dangerous. Populations will be affected and aspirations of affluence will be impacted. This points to difficult sociopolitical realities. These difficulties point to social conflict and war. War and conflict will likely end our chances of salvaging a few more years. We are now close to a civilization inflection point. It is a systematic break point. We are already in abrupt change with climate and ecosystem. There is no way to know how all these planetary and social macros will unfold. The trend is clear but the details are not. Time frame is not predictable because there are too many forces at play both converging and with their own internal dynamics. This means we are adrift in a fog of unknowns with a social narrative of techno optimism and human exceptionalism. IOW civilizational denial and the exhibiting of dysfunctional behavior at the species level.

  6. Davy on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 6:48 am 

    “But… the share in Europe is the highest and is millimind would be right about peak oil induced collapse (he isn’t) it would simply mean that the Europeans have the most renewable reserves (currently about 20% primary energy and rapidly increasing) and best chances to survive.”

    The Nederlander is not accurate with these point because it messes with his Gaullism. The neder is all about hype. He is an extremist flag waiving delusional Gaullist. He is more worried about the new PBM empire then energy independence. For him Europe must be energy independent to have this new Gaullist Empire nonsense.

  7. Davy on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 6:54 am 

    “countries like Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia can expect to be pressured to accept collectively hundreds of millions of refugees from India, and sub-Sahara Africa.”
    Who says, Mad kat the magnificent?

    “By 2060 these figures will almost reverse as blacks surge to 25.38% and whites shrink to 9.76%…”
    Stupid linear extrapolations based on nonsensical assumptions of unending growth. Who knows where population is going. In just a few years it may go into reverse especially in overpopulated Asia. Africa likely will never expand like it is forecast.

    “Just some facts for the uneducated.”
    From the uneducated delusional narcissist believing he is the most educated.

  8. Davy on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 7:02 am 

    “Most of America’s traditional culture lies in ruins.”

    Nonsense, it is in no way worse than in other places as a whole. All major locations are not what they were decades ago. It is a complicated picture of development and decline that binary simpletons like mad kat want to exploit when they peddle their agenda. Mad kat is one of these types that is uneducated and only cherry picks criticism. Mad kat is a google brat. He regurgitates the same information over and over in an insanity of repetition. Has mad kat “EVER” said anything positive about the US? This fact totally disqualifies him in the discussion of what is happening in the US. He no longer lives in the US. He has been 10 years away. His little 2 week trips back in the past do not count because of his blind hatred. He is carrying a personal grudge that is a characteristic of a personality disorder. Thus anything he says should be discounted and diminished in importance.

  9. Aspera on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 11:23 am 

    Over a decade’s worth of credible reports on energy descent:

    Date Source
    —- ——
    2005 US Department of Energy (DOE – Hirsch Report)
    2007 Brookings Institution
    2009 Australian Government
    2010 US Military (Joint Forces Command)
    2010 UK Industry Taskforce
    2010 German Military
    2010 New Zealand Parliament
    2010 International Energy Agency (IEA)
    2011 Science (AAAS)
    2011 French Prime Minister
    2011 Canadian Military
    2012 Nature
    2013 UK Ministry of Defense (MoD)
    2014 International Energy Agency (IEA) – World Energy Investment Outlook
    2014 International Energy Agency (IEA) – Medium Term Oil Market Report
    2014 NASA and NSF/National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
    2016 UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG report on Limits-to-Growth)
    2017 Chinese government and China University of Petroleum

  10. MASTERMIND on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 11:55 am 

    Derhund

    Yes Kunt has changed. And he has become a conspricy loon ranting about the deep state and Hillary’s uranium one scandals. And he is obsessed with transgender identity politics issues. Which I’ll bet is the least of any of his readers worries.

  11. Aspera on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 12:03 pm 

    I might be wrong. But I’ve been reading him for years now. I don’t think Kunstler is obsessed with gender identity politics (or body piercings, or tattoos). I think he’s using that as an example of how society is obsessively focusing on the wrong issues.

    Society’s at a biophysical tipping point. It is worrying about self-acceptance, self-identity, etc. when it should be worrying about where the food is going to come from.

  12. Cloggie on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 12:13 pm 

    I see Kunstler as a canary in the coal mine. He doesn’t think that the left will carry away the victory in the coming standoff between left and right and is quietly switching sides.

    Peakoil.com hero Kunstler thinks that the country will fall apart:

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2016/07/jim-quinn/world-made-hand/

    In the foreseeable future, Kunstler’s less than apocalyptic vision is entirely probable, with rural communities much more likely to survive a catastrophic collapse of our high tech, oil dependent, head in the sand society of delusional willfully ignorant consumers. Kunstler focuses his stories on the characters inhabiting Unionville, but he provides glimpses into the regional breakup of the country, with the United States becoming a fragmented shell of itself, with little or no central authority. With Washington D.C. and Los Angeles uninhabitable, various other cities served as the capital after the collapse. The south broke apart into three new countries – The Republic of Texas, Firefox Republic, and New Africa – which went to war with each other and the remnants of the original U.S. With the current state of party politics and racial divide, this type of regional break-up is not farfetched.

    I think that too. And it is the explicit goal of the rising alt-right.

  13. Antius on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 12:37 pm 

    Cloggie wrote: “Millimind never presents an accurate link; it is more likely to be 2% of primary energy. But… the share in Europe is the highest and is millimind would be right about peak oil induced collapse (he isn’t) it would simply mean that the Europeans have the most renewable reserves (currently about 20% primary energy and rapidly increasing) and best chances to survive.”

    20% of all energy? That is true if averaged across the entire EU. Take a look at this graph.
    https://c1cleantechnicacom-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/files/2017/03/Eurostat-2.png

    The devil is in the detail. Notice that most of the EU’s renewable energy (80%) comes from a mix of hydropower and various biofuels – especially in the Nordic countries. Hydropower is the most important renewable electricity source, as it is dispatchable, but cannot be extended much further in Europe due to a shortage of untapped large rivers. Extending the use of biofuels is possible, but would involve environmental damage and would conflict with food supply. More biofuels means more land devoted to biofuels and either less food for the hungry or more natural habitats displaced for biofuels.

    Only about 4% of total energy consumed comes from wind and solar power – about 3% wind and 1% solar. To supply even 20% of EU energy from these sources would require their utilisation to increase about 3 times. This will be difficult to integrate into the European grid system and it would require demand side management to balance electricity loads with intermittent supply. This is possible for applications such as heating and cooling, but is challenging to accomplish, as these applications then require substantially more thermal inertia and must be activated on a smart metering system.

    It is much more difficult and expensive to displace other loads such as transport, industrial and domestic energy requirements using intermittent wind/solar energy, even if these applications can switch to all electric modes. You would find that fossil fuel consumption remains stubbornly high as you need to build back-up power plants to maintain a reliable electricity supply.

  14. MASTERMIND on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 1:00 pm 

    Cloggie

    Kunt is wrong about the small communities are all going to make a comeback and we will all go back to living off the land…Sorry jim, human progress and evolution don’t go backwards. One the economy collapses. that is ball game and end of story. What I think Jim and many others discount or don’t quite understand is what a limits to growth economic collapse really means. It means every corporation, social program, banks, currencies, governments, going bankrupt at once. And what do you think will happen afterwards…? Kunt just wants to believe that his small town he lives in will boom again and be the silver lining to the whole thing.

  15. fmr-paultard on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 1:01 pm 

    guys, i only spent only a brief time on this site and the world was passing me by. I should’d visited my mom instead. When you’re older time really flies…except for ((eurotard)) and SENTAPBs. The basement is a source of youth.

    I’ve learned adn explored a lot and it’s time to move on. I did basic research and reported teh results.

    I changed my mind about president trump even though I’m a liberal who only changed to blue republican to vote for president paul. I pray god will bless and keep the defender of the bumpski safe. I only liked that he gave Jerusalem to Israel.
    I almost found a religion for the worshiping of supertards
    I started out advocating for women in combat in hope to give them more economic opportunities. I’ve always been about economic

    I discovered the alliance of ((eurotarded)) SENTAPBs atheistic and islam all have to do with supremacy. I’m no longer an atheist because they’re the first jihadists put on chop-chop. Even though I’ve have lost my faith completely due to knowledge of Constantine, I’m back reclaiming my old catholic association

    I was a paultard, i dislike victim groups because I encountered the most resistance opening up their skulls for the purpose of pouring paultardism on the brain. ((Eurotards)) and SENTAPBs are the biggest victims and so are muslims. They will take maximum vengeance and that’s why it’s important to rediscover Luke 22:36 because there’s a lot of danger out there.

    i wish everyone a happy new year

  16. MASTERMIND on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 1:05 pm 

    Anti

    I referenced the most current volume from the IEA the global energy authority as proof. And clogg wants to deny it. Jesus he created his own blog and “Sources” so he could convince himself…Dude is missing a few. I mean anyone who praises Hitler and denies the Holocaust is a basket case. Just imagine if one of your friends or co workers or someone you met stated their support for Hitler and arguing holocaust denial stories. I doubt you would feel very comfortable around that person. I know I would instantly think they were fucking nuts.

  17. fmr-paultard on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 1:11 pm 

    One more point even though I may have a couple more.

    The religion of ((eurotarded)) is fake.
    fake supremacy (Islam is supreme and Allah is greater), fake ZH, fake renewables, fake revisionism, fake victimhood, fake flying electric jets, fake romulan like invasion forced loaded onto passenger transport jets. fake Nukes

    using civilian infrastructure for military purpose only ensures targeting of civilian infrastructures and modern warfare rules don’t allow that. But extreme victimhood don’t care

    meanwhile christians continue to be slaughtered

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/attacks/christian-attacks.aspx

  18. Hello on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 1:29 pm 

    >>>>> It means every corporation, social program, banks, currencies, governments, going bankrupt at once

    well said.
    Ideally governments, corporations and all should SHRINK gracefully to match available resources. But they won’t, but they will implode with one big bang, once time is ripe.

    How much time do we have left? 1 year? 10 years? 100 years? 1000 years?

  19. Cloggie on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 3:18 pm 

    New 2017 record renewable energy in Germany:

    https://www.cleanenergy-project.de/stromverbrauch-im-jahr-2017-erneuerbare-energien-rekord/

    36% electricity is now renewable, mostly wind.

    Early 2016 it was 31.6%

    Composition renewable energy:

    Wind 40%
    Biomass 24%
    Solar-PV 18%

    It is time for some Google “engineers” to go back to high school.

  20. Dooma on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 10:03 pm 

    MM, yeah I know his’ roots. I was specifically having a dig at him because of that fact. Maybe I should have been a little clearer.

  21. MASTERMIND on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 10:22 pm 

    Clogg

    Sorry but your source is not credible. Once again you cherry pick fake news and don’t vet your sources. I bet if you went to bible.com you could find some “Good News” stories as well.

  22. MASTERMIND on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 10:25 pm 

    Clogg here are two peer reviewed scientific studies that disprove your imaginary future run by renewable s. And data from the IEA the global energy authority..

    UC Davis Study: It Will Take 131 Years to Replace Oil with Alternatives (Malyshkina, 2010)
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es100730q

    University of Chicago Study: predicts world economy unlikely to stop relying on fossil fuels (Covert, 2016)
    https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.30.1.117

    Solar and Wind produced less than one percent of total world energy in 2016 – IEA WEO 2017
    https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/KeyWorld2017.pdf

    Sorry Clogg but facts matter and your sources are not scholarly or even credible.

  23. Makati1 on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 10:29 pm 

    Hello, I would say between the 1 and 10 year mark, but I would suspect closer to the 1 than the 10. Way closer. I hope you are prepared.

  24. Makati1 on Wed, 3rd Jan 2018 10:32 pm 

    Cloggie, you cannot win against Davy or MM. They are too closed minded to ever agree unless you drop to their sewer level. They shoot every messenger that brings negative news. This may be the year that that 4×4 drops them to their knees. We can only hope.

  25. Cloggie on Thu, 4th Jan 2018 12:47 am 

    Sorry Clogg but facts matter and your sources are not scholarly or even credible.

    Really? So what are your pear-reviewed renewable energy figures for Germany at the end of 2017?

    None, eh?

    36% renewable electricity it is and nothing else, which nullifies your doomer rubbish.

    Doesn’t fit in his collapse world view. Our resident egalitarian antifa clown millimind can’t imagine that there is a difference between Europe and “the world”. Europe as we all remember is for centuries the center of the universe when it comes to science and technology, with America as a good second.

    https://documents1940.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/origin-scientific-accomplishments/

    Europe is going to achieve its renewable energy goals in 2050 at the latest. America in the end will get the transition done as well, with a little help from their older brothers in Europe.

    http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2017-07/21/content_30196726.htm

  26. Davy on Thu, 4th Jan 2018 5:37 am 

    First, you are an extremist techno optimist peddling an agenda of a new European empire based on Gaullism. I am describing you so people get a perspective of why you are pushing Euro renewables so hard. This pushing you are doing is sensationalizing the accomplishments. You are disregarding the challenges and the costs. You are making claims as if they have been achieved and will be without a doubt. What matters to you is not the earth C02 problem or even global civilization maintenance. What matters to you is a new pan European Nazi empire based on Gaullism. This is the worst of France and Germany instead of looking at the best.

    Now, to the subject, convert 35% to primary energy. Then what is wind and solar in this new view of energy contribution? The reason I say this is wind and solar are really the only source that have a chance at all to scale up. When you show these number then also relate how long it has taken with a strong economy and government support for Euroland to realize these admirable achievements. We then need to discuss how difficult the next steps are going to be when storage and redundant wind and solar sources that must be produced for each incremental increase beyond what is practical with a hybrid fossil fuel and renewable type system. This is what you have now a hybrid of fossil fuels and renewables. You don’t have a pure renewable system anywhere. Please don’t tell me about Denmark which has 5MIL people. They are not pure renewables anyway living among a relatively speaking very fossil fuel dirty Europe. Denmark is not pure renewable with primary energy either.

    It is a wonderful effort for the world what Europe is doing but that does not include the Nazi nederwhiner reasons for cheerleading Europe’s effort. You want a renewable Europe because in your mind that means Europe will survive and the rest of the world will die on depletion of fossil fuels. Your future Euroland you preach is a Nazi land. I am all for Europe closing their borders to mass immigration. I want the US to do the same. Yet, you want a final solution that likely would be taken to its extreme, you are an extremist, this means ethnic cleansing (whatever is necessary). You like how Hitler handled a 20th century ethnic problem. You apologize for what he did downplaying its horribleness.

    You see you really don’t care about energy it is energy that will help realize your empire. It all comes down to an all-white European empire. This is why you are so deceitful with your description of the energy transformation in Europe. We need rational discussions not marketing. We need honest analysis not political promotions. You are a fraud nedernazi.

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