218 Replies to “Why Do You Come Here?”

  1. so, i thought that this was a pretty good interview with the archdruid. as usuall though, i think he either misses or glosses over a couple of points.

    the biggest beening that these various callapses always involve depopulation. even if there is a sustainable base(whatever that is) such as in china, which he loves to referance, the society must always fall back to within the capabities of that base.

    he seems unaware of just how fast these depopulation events can occur. one winter without oil, a not completely unimaginable event, and the entire northern half of the us freezes and starves. what would be the mortality rate? don’t know.


  2. i agree with him completely that people should fullfil thier life’s wishes while they can. i’m always just happy that my grandest shcemes all involve brown n serve sausages for breakfast and anal sex for lunch. i think i’v covered all the bases.

  3. Good stuff on China, dave. Greer is a stupid, ignorant asshole that loves to write (and I guess, speak) on topics that are way beyond his comprehension. Have you ever noticed how the dumbest people you know think they are really smart? He gets it wrong all the time, because of the above mentioned flaws and, I suspect, a lot of wishful thinking mixed in. Bet he’s a religious believer, also.

    Greer reminds me of the priest preaching to his flock on the tilted Titanic (Cameron’s version of the film) hanging on tightly as it raises itself to near vertical before plunging beneath the dark waters of the abyss.

  4. Here’s a good one from that long interview: Greer thinks the collapse will take a couple of centuries to complete, in a series of steps. What a bunch of hoo ha. I mean, just look around at the complexity we have now to support all these people. In the USA, we have all this agricultural potential, but we waste most of it making corn syrup products and cereals to feed the third world. Now the third world gets screwed because we’re making moron liquid fuel with the stuff. Besides that, it’s a ticking time bomb because of climate change (drought) and the loss of the top soil and groundwater, which are in a race to the bottom, so to speak. Now drop on a fuels price and availability crisis, sprinkle in a little loss of phosphate to high prices and lack of availability.

    And that’s the longer term stuff, but it won’t last 200 years. Meanwhile, we have a US-lead global financial crisis brewing that will likely freeze credit worldwide. That is and will continue to affect liquid fuels availability. Actual fuel shortages should just about ice the cake, with the end of industrial agriculture, JIT and perhaps Mad Max out on the crumbling interstate highways. Think that’s all gonna last for 200 years?

    Greer is a moron, and the poor Czech interviewer is an even bigger one.

  5. Interesting. Short on free time these days, will have to circle back around later.

    Spot checked his 200 year quote. He didn’t exactly say this would last 200 years. He said 200 years from now its ruins in a forest, so I take that as his implying the crash and burn phase occurs well before 200 years. But I haven’t read the rest of it yet so could be I’m out of context.

    Boy am I glad its Friday. I need a drink.

  6. yeah, like a lot of other authors, ya gotta know how to read greer, i think. he likes the grand sweep of history, and kind of disregards the details. for example, and i’m kind of making this up, but it was something like 400 years from the from the first dictatorship to sack of rome by the visigoths. so someone like greer might say, well it took 400 years for rome to fall apart. and in some ways he’s correct; but he forgets about, or seems to minimize maybe, all things like food riots, the splitting of the empire, various desperate attempts to hold the empire to together, all types of invasions and retreats by various tribes and such that happened during those 400 years. rome, per se was a very differnt place after each and every various event, but it was still called rome; in greer’s mind, that’s all that matters, i think, or something like that. however, in my mind, by the time of the visgoths rome had not been rome for a long time. or, had been rome in name only for a long time.

    it’s not impossible for me to imagine some politic calling itself the united states, 200 years from now. it might even be centered in dc. dc might have a population of 30,000. the politic may control a 500 mile radius by horses and sail boats. the point is, by grere’s way of thinking, i guess, is that the us empire will still exist, in name and lineage anyway. by my, and i guess our way of thinking, the us empire will expire….when? i don’t know.

  7. this is why he keeps holding up the chinese as some sort of sucess story. there is a 4000 year historical, tracable lineage. in greer’s mind, the fact fact this this was achieved by a constant starvation of excess population is immaterial. at least that’s the way it seems to me.

  8. ” in greer’s mind, the fact this was achieved by a constant starvation of excess population is immaterial. at least that’s the way it seems to me.”

    in my mind, this is the definition of a simple-minded person [greer, not you].

    my bias, hypothesis, idea, whatever, is we are in for a major, steep decline and collapse. it will all be over in a few years. all the signs are there. it’s not just the usa, it’s just about all nations that have adapted their excess populations to fossil fuel and especially the ways we obtain and use them. it’s not even the amount left, it’s the supply rate that is critical now. once that rate falls a few percent, a lot of people will be impacted. it’s a house of cards. a few years might even be a long time.

    now, as you point out, it’s how you define the terms. maybe greer is thinking they’re still going to be organized and just awaiting for the next step down, sitting in tee pees out near the forest, riding their bicycles from one tee pee village to the next, of course, and then one day they’ll be gone, because the buffalo don’t come no moron and they hunted all the deer to extinction, ala clovis people. then, finally, in 200 years time, it will just be ruins in the forest.

    like i said, the man’s a math-moron. next to no cognitive ability. he simply can’t see the forest for the trees, etc.

  9. above should read: “it’s just about all nations that have adapted their excessively large populations to fossil fuel”.

  10. yeah, i’m not exactly sure how the global depopulation will play out. but i am sure that it will play out one way or another.

    if the first half of the 20’th century is any indicator, the competition for resources will be fast and furious in a couple of years. this competition, war, economic, and otherwise, could leave the industrial infrastructure in ruins, with no way to rebuild.

    the survivors may fight over salvage rights to the ruins. this would be greer’s catabolic collapse theory in action.

    don’t know.

  11. Stoneleigh (Nicole Foss) of The Automatic Earth was recently interviewed at ASPO-USA meeting in Washington, DC (by the same Czech moron that interviewed Greer). Here in her answers to the first three questions you can clearly see she succinctly states the position I attempted to state above. She’s being polite about the consequences, at least more so than I’ve been. (BTW, Mr. Foss is a lucky man, IMHO.)

    Q1) Here at the ASPO-USA conference in Washington everybody seems to understand implications of energy scarcity. What would be your message to a lay person? What are the main implications of peak oil for the daily life?

    Stoneleigh: We are going to have to get used to a much lower energy lifestyle. Energy has been cheap for a very long time, so we have developed a structural dependency on it. Energy is not going to be cheap for much longer though, and that means many of the things we take for granted will no longer be affordable. A much larger proportion of our income will have to go to energy costs, and that will leave very much less for everything else. Our material standard of living will fall, and we will have to go back to performing many functions with human energy rather than fossil fuel energy.

    The wealthy may still have access to fossil fuels, but if most people do not, then they will not be able to live a modern life. A life fuelled by human energy alone is one where people have to spend an enormous amount of time performing everyday tasks, and will not have time to undertake much of a role in the wider economy. Some family members will have to stay at home and devote all their time to household tasks that will take far longer than we are used to.

    Q2) When did you first see the term “peak oil” and when did you realize it might be a problem?

    Stoneleigh: I used to work at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, which is primarily an oil and gas institute, back in the 1990s. I worked on electricity, but most of my colleagues were involved in fossil fuels. There were many discussions about the upstream, meaning where oil is coming from, and that fact that it is finite. It was clear that supply would be a problem at some point, although when I was there, oil prices were very low ($10/barrel), so no one thought it would be an imminent problem. I began to look into energy returned on energy invested (net energy) and realized the problem would be much closer at hand in net energy terms, and that we would see major declines in my lifetime.

    Q3) Why is that most economists do not recognize the role of energy in the economy?

    Stoneleigh: Energy is invisible, and therefore taken for granted. Most economists do not recognize resource limits at all, partly because they do not understand the laws of thermodynamics. They live in a world of substitutions when something becomes scarce, and do not understand that energy is the master resource for which there are no substitutes.

    Economists typically say that there are no limits, only price. If something is scarce, it will cost more, but we will never run out. I think this misses the tremendous impact on a society dependent not only on energy, but on cheap energy. All our modern infrastructure requires a steady supply of affordable energy to maintain it.

    Rest of the interview here: http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/

  12. whatever, she dances around dieoff in much the same way that ee dances around the methods of securing resources. none of this matters when you go to bed hungry.

  13. dave, you are right, because dieoff is just so non-politically correct, she avoids going there at all. but the underlying message is if you follow her advice, you can improve your chances at survival of at least the coming financial crisis.

    nate hagens of TOD is disagreeing with stoneleigh’s advice to get out of debt. he thinks one should use any available cash for other things than paying down debt, and let the debt (say, a mortgage) ride, as there will likely be a debt forgiveness at the same time as pensions and bank savings are wiped out. a win-lose proposition.

  14. yeah, conflicting advice is all around us, all the time. personally, i’ve just always, basically my entire life, been alegic to debt. debt has always felt like to trap to me; so i always stayed out of debt, or retired it as soon as i could.

    debt forgiveness? maybe some sort of defacto forgiveness, in that the collection agencies and such are overwhelmed. but they’re gonna want to to keep thier options open for getting thier pound of flesh, for as long as they can anyway.

    financially, kind of knowing what you know, i’d have to say just go with your gut. if going into debt can put you into some better position, whatever that might mean to you, then go for it. if not, then why go into debt? or, if you’re in a position that you’re relatively comfortable with, recognizeing that there is no perfect position, and you can pay off debt, then do it, i guess. unless you need to to go fuck the very excellent prostitutes in manila or bangcock, then you should go do that, i’d say.

  15. i used to think energy was a sure bet, as far as making money goes. i don’t think that anymore. i still think that’s it’s the best bet out there; but i’m not nearly as sure about it as i used to be.

    dieoff is the one and only thing that we can absolutely, without a doubt, count on. thank god for that.

  16. everything is too tightly coupled at this point. financial planning is just another farce. just a fer instance: china has a couple of bad rice harvets. well, my guess is that, under the present system, they’d bid grain prices, worldwide, to the fucking moon if they had to. in which case you’d be very happy that you didn’t use your cash to pay down debt, cause now you got cash to buy food. in order to stay happy and well fed, you’d stop serviceing your debt. which would work fine until the sheriff and his deputies came to kick you out of your house. then you’d have nothing to lose so you could happily join the food rioters and smash some windows and shit while you get your fair share(tm) of what’s left to get. i guess.

    of course, after dieoff gets going for a while, you’ll be able to move back into your house and no one will give a fuck one way or the other. then you just need to get food. but, by the this time the stray pet population may be, if you’re lucky, adequate to supply fats and protien. carbohydrates are easy. which is why all these assholes wanting to plant gardens and such always seem kinda silly to me(no offense gb). there, the beauty of the dieoff solution, in fact, it’s the only solution.

  17. I’m of a mixed opinion on debt as well. I feel you have to consider the type of debt (primary residence mortgage, credit card, student loan and so on) against cash flow, realistic expectations of it continuing and the buffer (if any) in your budget. Weight that against what you consider preparedness, liquid assets and so on.

    Old school debt morality is a double-edged sword. Furthermore, we are likely headed into a reality in America that the poor, working poor and gangs are more familiar with; one the bread & circuses can’t/won’t prepare you for.

  18. “whatever, she dances around dieoff in much the same way that ee dances around the methods of securing resources. none of this matters when you go to bed hungry.”

    dave, I wish I knew what you meant by this… seriously.

    If you’re talking about my aversion to violence and anger and my thinking that there are alternative ways of providing for basic human needs other than war, competition, hatred, etc., then, yes, I’m dancing around.

    We are all going to die one day. It’s the way things seem to be unfolding, at least so far in my life, despite Ray Kurzweil’s search (along with multitudes before him) for the fountain of eternal life.

  19. Greer doesn’t exactly reflect my views either but he brings up a few points.

    True that old China repeatedly could fall back to its “base” and bounce back.

    His saying that if you have that base you’ll be “fine” when you get there, but decades of wars, civil strife, famine, disease, pestilence and a cruel culling of population comprised the gauntlet for those peoples until things were again “fine”. Doing fine, like coming out of the ICU, as the lone survivor of a car crash.

    Here’s my views. None of it new. Nothing you haven’t heard before:

    He mentions the base as being a resource base. But equally as important would be a knowledge and skill-set base that applies to bringing those available resources to bear. A keen understanding of one’s physical environment (natural processes, systems, limitations etc.), tools, techniques, MacGyver-like problem solving, the ability to organize social contracts and cooperation between individuals and groups. The resource base would have to involve lots of water, and opportunities for renewed biological productivity, such as along fertile floodplains and in the deltas, and a favorable and stable climate and seasons. Knowledge and skills would have to include experience with obtaining and storing food, subsistence agriculture including rice or grains, providing shelter and protection, making and fixing things of practical value, establishing cooperation, new rules, leadership, and enforcing codes of conduct.

    So, if you have a group of people whose knowledge and understanding of their world is “based” on fossil fuels in every respect, and you remove their fossil fuels, then you leave them with practically nothing but a nervous breakdown. So much of what they know is suddenly irrelevant. Food was grown with implements built and operated by fossil fuels, water brought to the fields by fossil fuels, fertilizer made and applied by fossil fuels, and pests managed by fossil fuels. Food is brought to market and distributed by fossil fuels. All problem solving, technology and other improvements in this regard are based or derived from and require fossil fuels. In the meantime all materials and services of modern life are made from and/or with fossil fuels and distributed and used with fossil fuels. Here again all problem solving, technology and improvements involve fossil fuels. Even efforts to get off fossil fuels involve fossil fuels. It seems that nearly all modern understanding, knowledge and skills are from a mindset and view of the world seen through the chemistry of fossil fuels.

    As long as fossil fuels and other resources are cheap and abundant, knowledge and skills regarding a world without cheap and abundant fossil fuels are not useful and a waste of time. Therefore thousands of years of observation and experience with a non fossil fuel living arrangement have largely been lost. Consequently, remove the fossil fuels and you should go to a “zero base” very quickly, as knowledge and skills for any other arrangement are not quickly replaced.

    So he describes the downward progression, or slope, being typically a series of steps, like a staircase. At least initially, what is a plunge? And what comprises the step that halts the plunge? Probably some combination of disorder and depopulation followed by a re-ordering and advancement of knowledge and skills. Perhaps the first few steps are small and heavily rely on fossil fuels as a backstop (freed up through waves of demand destruction?). But then each plunge becomes more cliff-like with steep die-off curves followed by civil re-ordering, and a balancing of what fossil fuel resources remain accessible with the beginnings of knowledge and skills for post-industrial existence taking hold. As population drops and knowledge and skills rise in balance with resource limitations the steps again begin to consist of smaller downward plunges and with longer periods/steps of relative stability.

    All of this plays out somewhat differently regionally and among the continents so that when you average them there are no “steps”, just a slope, and it probably just so happens to correspond to Hubbert’s curve. Probably steeper/quicker on the descent, just like the production graph for modern oil fields with EOR, and steep because so much of it that’s left is just too hard to get. Invert the curve (upside down) and it represents the loss and recovery of knowledge and skills for living off the land.

    Authors like JHK and Greer don’t push the dieoff possibilities too hard because it doesn’t sell books, IMO.

  20. “If you’re talking about my aversion to violence and anger and my thinking that there are alternative ways of providing for basic human needs other than war, competition, hatred, etc., then, yes, I’m dancing around.”

    Submission. You’re talking about submission.

    “We are all going to die one day.” And there is a long list of past and present SOB’s that missed that train.

  21. EE, you’re doing great. too bad MOU isn’t posting, as you two could tag team on old dave.

    hey, anybody get fall weather yet? out here, it’s always the same boring sunny skies, partly cloudy, highs in the mid-80s, lows in the mid-70s, ho hum.

    Remus, how about sharing some details of those alleged memories of Bangcock?

  22. if we choose to stay in the present location, for being in a city, it has some positives and some negatives.

    positives: 500 feet up on a ridge, with an approach that could be guarded. few venture up here just for kicks, too steep. neighbors are cool, at least most of them. almost all except us have guard dogs. we have a cat. if you like to eat rats and mice, just lose the cat, although she “shares” her kills with you. eating them is our option, so far i just compost them.

    we have a fence and high walls in back. just about everyone has some combination. our pool could be used as a source of flush water/laundry water or made into a fish pond. we garden only a small portion of our backyard, so that could be expanded, but as dave says, you need protein and fat, just just carbs. could easily add some chickens and fish/frog ponds, converting insects into eatable food.

    negatives: steep hill and climate make climbing up a chore. add some load, and it’s even moron difficult. if water mains shut, hard to use facilities and gardening would suffer. low rainfall, getting worse. wrong roof for catchment. bus line is distant, but not too far away. if city stops collecting, we would have to compost everything. need to buy a chipper and find source of biodiesel.
    place has a hefty mortgage.

  23. You mean the stewardess bars, bus races, bad Credence cover bands, the best the golden triangle has to offer, “Super Bahts”, working mids, and highway construction crews living under overpasses memories? All the while watching for Sappers on a flight line? Good times, I think.

  24. Positive: nobody in their right mind really wants to live here.

    Negative: Fewer people in their right mind.

    “right” in this case is NOT a political perspective, but rather the old-fashioned way of implying some sense of sanity, or lack thereof.

  25. Today I am slow-cooking a large venison roast with potatoes, onions and carrots; grilling two nice venison fillets; and baking some uncommonly huge acorn squash. Wife is tackling the mustard greens, and bread, and a banana cream pie with home made pie crust. For 12 people. BYOB.

  26. I am giving a local grown grass-fed beef brisket the potato, onion & carrot treatment in the oven. Green beans, no bread, no dessert. For 2 people and leftover lunches.

    Maybe have a cup of cocoa later, but it is much warmer today than yesterday, plus we have the oven going.

  27. ” just just carbs.” = not just carbs.

    Bif, great summary of JMG interview points above. If we take the temporal end points of NOW (fossil-fueled society) and THEN (two centuries later, nothing but ruins in the forest), the argument is: exactly how does it all devolve? Greer sees it like some 200-year long staircase, with lots of little steps down, followed by short periods of stasis. Some others, like dave and myself, see a big drop coming soon. Afterward, there may be many little steps down or it could be flat for some time. Such predictions of the future for human society also have a geographical component that is not resolved by aangel’s (not Greer’s) stair-step models. So, one needs to also define exactly whose society is doing the devolving. For example, I’ve always said the highland tribes of Papua New Guinea could really give a shit about Peak Oil. For them, that’s a white man’s problem, but it could encroach on them as it once sorta did during WWII.

    So, referring to your nice summary of the UPL-Western world predicament above, it is those people that will likely drop the farthest and fastest, and due to the loss of complexity and knowledge (most of it worthless anyway, in the new paradigm) plus being next to totally unprepared mentally or otherwise for adapting to the new conditions. They (and us) must pray for a gentle decline in energy resources, but the present “all liquids” plateau we are on looks like production rug pushing to me, to be followed by a very steep decline.

    In the Eastern world, we have the example of Russia and the FSU countries and societies that will probably fare well, at least initially, unless some in the Western world decide to “toss the Monopoly board” using nuclear weapons. A radioactive “dust up” over resources in the ME or between the UPL and China comes to mind. Result: rapid collapse for just about everyone.

    Nobody knows for sure, but I think a lot of JMG’s thinking is too broad brush and full of wishful thinking. Dieoff doesn’t sell books, as you relate.

  28. The difficulty is not conceptualizing the consequences of no FF, but the idea of no FF itself. Blasphemy.

  29. GB, something tells me you’ll do fine. Fish and rice, used to eat it daily from the local vendor carts – aka “Howard Johnsons”.

  30. If you’re talking about my aversion to violence and anger and my thinking that there are alternative ways of providing for basic human needs other than war, competition, hatred, etc., then, yes, I’m dancing around.

    yeah, well the anger and hatred parts arne’t absolutely necissary, i guess. but they do serve a purpose at times, i guess. as far as competition and violence, they are absolutes, no way around them. to eat, you kill. no way around it. killing is violent, no way around it. people always have been, and always will be in competion for resourses with others creatures and other peoples. so they kill them. this is particularly true, and this should be emphasized, for agriculturalists. who of are the protoindustrialists, and the industrialists have taken over the world.

    why might agriculturalists be particulary prone to violence, particularly the organised form, often called war? one might ask. well, the simple answer is that thier resource base is fixed, so they have no choice but to protect it. also, as thier resource base is depleted, and thier population grows, they must take other’s, both human and otherwise, resource base in order to survive. or they die. i can fill in a lot of blanks, but it’s pretty much that simple.

    sometimes advantages are gained, or tripped over, in various ways. the advantage must be preserved, or someone else has the advantage.

    what did you have in mind?

  31. The difficulty is not conceptualizing the consequences of no FF, but the idea of no FF itself. Blasphemy.

    yeah, we need to find someone to hate for this, and quick. i’d say. it’s gotta be someone’s fault. just point me in the right direction. acctually, just about any direction will do. just so long as i get’s to kill some motherfucker.

  32. “people always have been, and always will be in competion for resourses with others creatures and other peoples. so they kill them.”

    “just so long as i get’s to kill some motherfucker.”

    Tick tock dave. Tick tock.

  33. the biggest problem that i have with greer is that he sets up some type of straw man argument.

    according to him there are three, and only 3, narratives wich might describe the fate of industrialism; utopia, apocolypse, and his. he then equates the first 2 with various mythologies from around the world. then, after hand picking and massageing the historical records to his liking, and casting various voodoo spells of his own, he concludes that only his can be the correct narative.

    which is all kind of silly in my mind.

  34. the paradox being of course that a true apocolypse, something that wiped out all life on earth, would result in a true utopia. there’d be nothing around to enjoy it, but ya cain’t have your cake and eat too. i always say.

  35. ““ya cain’t have your cake and eat too”

    “DC musta not got that memo…”

    No, DC got the other memo: You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.

  36. “people always have been, and always will be in competion for resourses with others creatures and other peoples. so they kill them.”

    There’s that old definition of insanity, again: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome.

  37. There’s that old definition of insanity, again: Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome.

    why expect something different? that would just be stupid.

    expecting the world to fit some artificial, even personal, set of expectations is delusional, just another type of insanity, i guess.

  38. “No, DC got the other memo: You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.”

    They must not have read it yet.

  39. for you to live, something else must die.

    even buddhist monks brush their teeth now and then, thereby killing millions, if not billions, of bacteria in their mouths, both the good and the bad.

    we’re all mass murderers.

  40. The other night I was reading from a history of the Vikings. We know they were raiders and fierce warriors, but little is known of their pre-christian heathen culture. They wrote in runes but little of it survived. About a hundred years ago someone found and dug up a 60-foot long boat in Norway. The boat was burried around 800 AD. It had been used as part of a burial container for a noble woman. In the boat were found the two earliest examples of Viking written material. On a wooden pail there were runes that said “this bucket belongs to Sigrid”. There was also an oar upon which someone had carved, “man is not wise”.

  41. I read somewhere that the Viking raiders were usually younger, bored farmers/herders looking for some adventure and loot. Apparently, the nordic countries were going into overshoot at that time/technology horizon, so raiding was a way to supplement their meager incomes in the homeland. Viking long boats were the space shuttles of that day.

  42. When Rome collapsed in the 5th century, the affect was to plunge western Europe in to the dark ages. Collapse was swift and a period of more than 500 years followed where life in western Europe was extraordinarily bleak and cruel. Civilization died and the people lived like moles.

    from wiki:

    “Everywhere, the gradual break-down of economic and social linkages and infrastructure resulted in increasingly localized outlooks. This breakdown was often fast and dramatic as it became unsafe to travel or carry goods over any distance; there was a consequent collapse in trade and manufacture for export. Major industries that depended on trade, such as large-scale pottery manufacture, vanished almost overnight in places like Britain. Tintagel in Cornwall, as well as several other centres, managed to obtain supplies of Mediterranean luxury goods well into the 6th century, but then lost their trading links. Administrative, educational and military infrastructure quickly vanished, and the loss of the established cursus honorum led to the collapse of the schools and to a rise of illiteracy even among the leadership.”


  43. As far as books, I’m into quite a stack covering Roman Empire through 1400s. Perhaps will start a book post. Might as well… being as how I’m left here alone to maintain ZK’s life support. Nudge is the new left flank.

  44. The Dark Ages. We’re already there, but nobody will notice until the lights literally go out.

    “[…] collapse of the schools and to a rise of illiteracy even among the leadership.” Yep, we’re there.

    But hey, in important news, Charlie Sheen was apparently hospitalized after trying to re-enact his fathers opening hotel scene from “Apocalypse Now”.

    Quick, over there, it’s a blue beam.


    I don’t normally celebrate, much less decorate, for Christmas, not being of that persuasion; but this season I am seriously considering a decorated pitchfork on the front lawn. With an electric light inside the fake flame of a torch. Maybe cross them, like an “X”. Hmmmm.

  45. So Bif, how’d that venison turn out? I was less than enthusiastic on my brisket, but thems the risks you take when you try something new.

  46. From the transcription of the G-man following said person of interest…

    “Scottie you prick. Fine, you got your 10% COLA and bonus. Now get me off this fucking rock.”

  47. If you stop and pause the video up to just before the fade-in, the person is walking along and turns their head towards the camera in such a way very familiar in our current obsessively connected society. It could well mean a communication device of some kind, maybe a Farnsworth.

  48. UR. The venison was very good. Cooked it in a crock pot with low-salt beef broth and a little port wine. The fillets (on the grill) had been marinated for two days and were reasonably tender. These were from a doe I shot. I am using the leftover meat for steak and eggs.

    The mustard greens were a little bitter though. My wife says next time we will add a pinch of sugar. We use sugar to tame the bitterness of collard greens if a frost doesn’t do it. GB may have a recommendation for adjusting flavor of greens. I myself don’t mind the bitterness, but others do.

  49. Hmmm, an earlier comment seems to be lost in limbo. Bif, I’d recommend growing kale, cabbage, chard, broccoli, and brussel sprouts for fine-flavored greens, especially after frost. Mustard greens are best as young sprouts in spring, IMO.

  50. This fall in the Northeast, with the mild temps, seems to me to be an uncommonly good season for edible mushrooms, both wild and cultured. We are seeing in my area Laetiporus sulphureus and Lyophyllum decastes and there must be many more I can’t ID yet. Shitake on oak is doing well also. Anyone else hunting edible fungi and finding stuff? There has been no real seriously cold (killing frost) weather here.

  51. yeah, haven’t been out looking for fungi much this year, but i haven’t had to. i had some good blooms of honey mushrooms, puffballs, and earlier in year there were a bunch of oysters, all growing right in my yard. i should get out there and see what i can find.

  52. had a great harvest of sweet potatoes. musta got 50 lbs out of a little, maybe 4×12 plot. now that’s something worth growing in my mind.

    unbelievably, my raspberries are still producing. i’ve never seen anything like it before.

    my nieghbor gave me a cuople canadian geese that he shot. so i plucked them, fucking sucks, and they’re in the freezer right now. i guess there’s an overpopulation issue with those things at the moment. from what i understand, the bag limit is 20/day, or something crazy like that. so there’s a lot of people giving them away right now.

  53. on my way to get some cider and start brewing up a batch of hard cider right now. maybe i’ll stop by with a bottle, if i get ambicious enough.

  54. When it comes to prepping a bird for roasting, plucking is always better than skinning, I think, since the skin helps keep the moisture in. At least with turkeys, it does.

  55. A Serbian buddy of mine comes from a long line of mushroom hunters and foragers. We haven’t had a chance to get out yet to Roosevelt Island (Nat. Park Service memorial to Teddy) in the Potomac River between DC and VA. Last year we got some puffballs and a few shelf mushrooms.

    About a month ago, we took a stroll along the C&O Canal where it runs parallel to the Potomac in an area called the Palisades. Two years ago, I had seen an incredibly huge and fruitful fig tree and wanted to go back to check it out.

    We never found it, but what we did find was a small grove of pawpaw trees at the precise perfect moment to harvest about six of the fruits. Pawpaws are like mangoes on steroids (or perhaps LSD). I kept all my seeds and we’re going to see if we can cultivate some closer to home.

  56. “had a great harvest of sweet potatoes…. now that’s something worth growing in my mind.”

    OMG, dave–something you and I can completely agree on!

    If you haven’t tried Japanese Mountain Yams (not to be confused with Japanese Sweet Potatoes), http://www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t–38531/japanese-sweet-potato.asp, they are equally–if not more–delicious. About two years ago, I picked a couple up by mistake at a local food co-op thinking they were jewel yams, and I have been totally addicted since.

    My forager buddy and I were going to try to grow some up in a corner of the ‘hood bordering on Rock Creek (it flows into the Potomac right between Foggy Bottom and Georgetown), but life intervened. We’re definitely going to do it this season along with the pawpaws.

  57. One more thing and then I’ll sit back down…


    The Ogallala Aquifer’s ability to continue supplying water to America’s
    “bread basket” is in jeopardy, warns hydrogeologist David Hyndman of
    Michigan State University.

    For the past 80 years, withdrawals for irrigation have far exceeded the
    aquifer’s ability to replenish itself, and this vast underground
    system–storing nearly as much water as lakes Erie and Huron combined–
    is shrinking.

    Hyndman is now leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers to
    analyze the dynamics among hydrological, atmospheric, agricultural,
    regulatory, and socioeconomic systems to generate predictions and
    impact assessments of various solutions for protecting the Ogallala’s
    future–and that of its users.

    “Navigating a patchwork of state laws, regulations, and economics means
    any change will require complex solutions. And since scientific
    solutions don’t exist in a vacuum, our plan will also address social
    and economic variables,” says Hyndman.

    SOURCE: Michigan State University http://news.msu.edu/story/8467/

  58. I will gladly trade you a hybrid white oak tree or two for jug of hard cider.

    yeah, believe it or not, i’ve got more than enough oak trees at the moment. as far as the cider goes, of course i’ll bring some by, if i can talk myself into a 3 hour drive.

    also, just so you know, i experiment with differnt recipes every year, so you never know how it might turn out. i’m always trying to up the sugar content, screw with different yeasts and various other components, to maximize alcohol content. this year i’m real simple. i’m going with 1lbhoney/gal of cider, a little yeast nutrient, and some champage yeast.

    my best effort, a couple of years back, i added a lb of brown sugar/gal of cider and chopped a couple of lbs. of ginger root into the mix. fucking unstoppable.

    When it comes to prepping a bird for roasting, plucking is always better than skinning, I think, since the skin helps keep the moisture in. At least with turkeys, it does.

    yeah, skinning takes away that layer of subcutanious fat, all the difference in the world, as far as i’m concerned.

  59. OMG, dave–something you and I can completely agree on!

    huh, i can’t remember even a single instance when i didn’t completely agree with you on all matters.

  60. whole squirel, skin on, take out the guts if you’re squimish, wrapped in some wet leaves, under some coals for an hour or so. that’s fucking good eatin’.

  61. EE, yes, I know, it’s one of my active projects.

    GB, say, don’t those oak trees take awhile to mature enough to make acorns? I think dave’s getting the better deal.

  62. so i was sick or something, maybe just sick of the system, workin’ for the man (i.e., see latest guest post over on ClubOrlov), so i’m home watchin’ TV and there’s this cooking show on. (the wife’s hooked on cooking shows.) so the cook has a chicken thigh he’s preparing and he skins it. then he says, removing the skin is half the calories. so i’m thinking then why not toss the meat, and cook the skin, since that’s where all the favor is, anyway. maybe give the meat to the hogs. then eat their skin.

  63. so this guy is going to organize some posse to “save the ogallala”. he’s gonna study it. sure, like that’s gonna save it. some scientist. maybe he should get greer on his panel, so they can predict how it’s all gonna play out, nice and slow, decades to centuries.

  64. “Pawpaws are like mangoes on steroids (or perhaps LSD). ”

    Haha, exactly. I finally got some large fruit this year from one of my trees for the first time. They were worth waiting about 12 years for.

  65. Kewl, GB. I didn’t think pawpaws could grow that far north. 12 years? Eek…I don’t know if I can live that long. Forgive me if you’ve posted on this over the years but I’m curious if you do much canning to get you through the winter.

    And speaking of oaks, in a contrast to two years ago, every oak tree in DC seems to be blowing off Milk-Dud-sized acorns at a minimum this year. Peak acorn! My squirrel buddies, who are considerably fewer but all fat and sassy this year, are beside themselves with the glut.

    Doom–when I saw the mention of “hostile environments” I figured you might be involved.

  66. so this guy is going to organize some posse to “save the ogallala”. he’s gonna study it. sure, like that’s gonna save it.

    well, he might figure out the last best places to drill so’s it can be drained faster and better and before we run low on oil to drain it with. that would be good.

  67. unlike anal sex, a tight formation is rarely the best formation. i’ve learned this emperically from drilling in all sorts of formations. the theory behind it is beyond both me and darcy.

  68. My squirrel buddies, who are considerably fewer but all fat and sassy this year, are beside themselves with the glut.

    yumyum, fat squirrels. i remem ber the very time i had anal sex. it smelled just like freshly gutted squirrel. bettern’ viagra any old day.

  69. ….says, removing the skin is half the calories. so i’m thinking then why not toss the meat, and cook the skin, since that’s where all the favor is, anyway….

    yeah, the fucking beef industry spent billions of dollars and tons of grain to perfect marbeling in steak, and and now all these assholes want grass fed beef and shit. what is this fucking world coming to? is the question i always ask myself.

    the other day i was watching one of these “survival” shows that are popular lately. anyways, the host cuaght some fucking squirel or marmot, or some such thing. so then he skins it, pokes a green stick through and starts roasting it over an open flame. i’m sitting there watching all the fat that may be left in the thing drip into the fire. i had to shut it off and turn on the jersy shore. that show a lot makes more sense.

  70. i saw that show. that guy gives up at the end and calls for help on his cell phone. i think the roasted squirrel or chipmunk didn’t agree with him. he was indeed a pussy, and if he wasn’t filming and had to do that “fo real”, he would have died out there. some survivalist.

  71. “yumyum, fat squirrels.”

    If I get any vibes that you and your blunderbuss are headed this way, I’ll be sure to let them know so they can send out a welcoming committee.

  72. Fuck marbling in my beef. I want beef I can afford – just beef – no additives, no GM grain.

    dude, everybody needs antiboitics and bovine growth hormone in thier diet, proven fucking fact.

  73. I’ll be sure to let them know so they can send out a welcoming committee.

    er, ok. that’s they’ll be easier to kill in some way or another?

  74. well, that marbled beef in the Kobe steak-on-a-stick they serve in japanese restaurants sure is tasty. gotta run. some guest scientist from NCAR is going to give us a lecture on climate doom.

  75. “but I’m curious if you do much canning to get you through the winter.”

    I do some freezing, drying, and a little canning: paw paw jam and raspberry-gooseberry-currant jam (thanks to a gracious Canadian friend for the recipe). I find it easier to eat, trade, or just give away stuff while its fresh. I didn’t get around to the plum jam and salsa, this year. However, I did make a wicked good white/pink grape juice using Swenson red grapes, but I drank it.

  76. Yeah, dave, when you come up this way bring the hard cider. I’ll have something you’ll definitely like. You can choose from the following:

    a. a jar of jam

    b. a quart of butternut custard

    c. a photo of yours truly holding the first tom turkey I ever shot, suitable for framing

    d. a used recording of the 20 world’s greatest Xmas carols sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks or some such thing.

  77. “dude, everybody needs antiboitics and bovine growth hormone in thier diet, proven fucking fact.”


  78. yeah remus, i’m no purist, but i do like to eat as much wild caught or harvested, food as i can. it just tastes the best. my second choice, is stuff that’s home or locally grown and processed. you know, stuff that i have some pretty good idea of how it was produced. my third choice, and where i actually end up getting the bulk of my calories from, is the industrial marketplace. i include all sorts of “organic” and “free range” commercial products in this catagory; mostly because i don’t trust labels, or something like that.

  79. “i don’t trust labels” – I read them and have no idea really WTF is actually being put into the enclosed food item alleging to be edible and safe.

    No, I like it simple and uncomplicated. Not knowing makes it complicated, to me anyway.

  80. No, I like it simple and uncomplicated. Not knowing makes it complicated, to me anyway.

    yeah, well, if i knew even a little about half the things that i put in my mouth…

  81. so i went out looking for some fungi this afternoon. only thing that i found worth picking was some cinnamon boletes; i think those are good to eat.

    anyhoo, i drapped one of those geese with bacon and it’s in the oven. i’ll fry up the boletes in the greese. i still got beet greens in the garden to throw in there too. don’t know much about any of it, but that ain’t gonna stop me from eatin’ the hell out of it.

  82. did i ever tell you guys about the time we decided to roast a duck in our mini-weber and nearly burned the house down? read carefully, as there is a lesson here. we had good experience cooking chickens the same exact way. only thing is, a duck is not a chicken, even a dead one. so, we put the duck in a pan in the weber, which is sitting on the back porch landing on the upstairs of a duplex we were renting in honolulu at the time. after an hours or so, the duck is ready to take off the fire. only one small problem: the duck’s fat is now rendered and it is nearly to the top of the pan. i get the mitts on, and i try to very carefully lift the duck up off the grill.

    you can probably guess what happened next. the pan tilts slightly, the hot grease hits the charcoal, und voila! flames are licking the rafters of the house. the wife screams, i nearly panic with a duck flambe in the pan, trying to get it in the house. i think i put the whole burning thing down on the porch, as taking a flaming duck inside the house didn’t seem to be a good idea, at least at the time, with the wife all hysterical and about to call 911.

    there was black soot on the eaves, but nothing else caught fire, thankfully. ruined the damn duck dinner, though. last time we did that.

  83. yup, and they’re free if you want to catch one. ours above was a frozen store bought. just don’t get caught chasing a nene, which is a flightless canadian goose, not as big, but otherwise about the same.

  84. mosey on over to dmitry’s place at club orlov, his “Peak Oil is History” post is up there, i think slightly revised and updated. there’s lots to learn there, like how dire things are about to get in our neck of the woods, in the land o’ de free, home of de brave….

  85. i’m always ready for anything that comes my way. i was born that way. well, first i had to learn to walk and talk and some other stuff. but i’ve been fine after that.

  86. looks like it’s the dave n’ doom show right now.

    well, i’m gonna miss steak bbq dinners, flying all over in big airplanes, and watchin some tv shows, the internet too, i guess. moron time for the garden.

    wonder when my colleagues might fess up to their students that it’s looking like maybe the world won’t need too many moron oceanographers and environmental science experts.

    my guess is cell phones will be the last high-tech devices to go. that means a lot of folks will go hungry not knowing anything is amiss.

  87. it’s you n’ me doom. right down the the old fushereeneeio. we still have some time though, both of us. i bet we both wake up tomorrow and pretty much do more of the same old stupid shit that we did today. don’t get much bettern’ that, i’d say.

  88. yup, dave, gotta love that status quo. comfort of a warm laptop PC sitting in the living room with the youngest one watching his beloved sponge bob on the wide screen.

    i wuz reading this article on china buying a copper mountain in peru and all the usual ensuing civic problems, reads like a screenplay of avatar II. here’s the link, if you have some time to kill: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-01/china-becomes-boss-in-peru-on-50-billion-mountain-bought-for-810-million.html

    anyway, i wuz getting all jealous of the chinks doing what us americans used to do, then i remembered that they might as well use all those petrodollars they got before they become completely worthless. only logical. they say all this activity is for the benefit of about 350 million chinese they want to convert to middle class consumers asap. might work for awhile.

    the dirty secret (pun intended) is burning coal like there’s no tomorrow is what’s enabling all this activity. and it assures that, in fact, there will be no tomorrow.

  89. Love AMD and the post-silicon prospects. Making that stuff is hard on the environment though. Some serious toxic stuff in a fab operation.

  90. “there’s no dieoff party candidates on the ballot.”

    Well, I am thinking the argument could be made they are all dieoff party candidates, they just don’t realize it.

  91. From Camp Remus deep in the heart of Redstatistan, it is time to power down, climb into the rack and fall asleep counting redecorated Wall Street lamp posts.

  92. Oh yeah, one quick question. How the fuck did Barney Frank get re-elected? The man is a clear and present danger.

  93. yeah, we can all count on the dieoff party to sort out all this bullshit in the end. it just needs to be more agressive in enacting its’ platform, i’d say.

  94. does anybody know if JR won his race? a new rep from Boston?

    i just learned that Ponzi of pyramid fame was from Boston.

  95. watchin ol’ smoothie doing his post-election press conference. so why doesn’t one of the press corps ask obama this simple question: “when is your justice department going to prosecute the wall street fraudsters and seize their banks?” It’s a simple question.

  96. Either…

    He knows/believes its a house of cards with vaults filled with useless paper, and the prosecution road leads to an even bigger mess, where we all fight over the last can of tuna…


    He’s part of, or hostage to, an insidious corporate agenda/plot


    He’s a clueless commie who hates Amurica


    He’s a genius and has us covered, soon be revealed, and they all lived happily everafter, with peace in the middle east.

  97. i vote for either a or b, or a&b, above.

    it’d going down no matter what he does/doesn’t do. why not try a little dignity, in route?

    probably afraid for his family. those guys play for keeps.

  98. other than things like like run of the mill fraud, forged signatures, false statements on applications and such, which the lendees were just as guilty of as the lenders, i don’t think there was much that was technically illegal that the “banks”, did. they did create investment vehicles that were sure to fall apart as soon as the housing and other consumer junk bubble that they helped to create fell apart. but that’s not so much illegal as an excuse to print money. look at the what the fed is doing now, actually what it has been doing for the last 97 years; it’s printing money. so they should be arrested?

  99. bho knowing or not knowing, or whatever, seems immaterial to me. what else is he supposed to do except go along for the ride, just like the rest of us? even if he arrested every banker and siezed all thier assets, what would that accomplish? who would be in charge, so to speak, of the results, other than maybe the boys at the fed or the treasury? that would do everybody a lot of good, i guess.

  100. this isn’t to say that various scapegoats won’t be found, when the timeing is right, but i don’t think that the scapgoats will be bankers. i could be wrong.

  101. i think it’s similar to watergate, you just follow the money. the banks, well, the greedy “bad banks”, messed with the titles. imho, that will be their downfall, ironically, not the greed. greed was the motivator, but in their rush to catch the bubble, they got sloppy, like those watergate burglars, and then got caught. the big question is “what now?” with watergate, the stakes were comparatively low, just a stupid president’s job. now, the stakes are a bit higher, because there is a true fear that if sorting this out isn’t handled properly, the whole banking system could fail.

    shades of 1933 all over again. we need fdr, but we got bho. he’d prefer to just keep playing his flute or harp or whatever instrument old nero played while rome burned. meanwhile, the fed prints moron money, as you mentioned, but it’s only a stopgap, because of the liquidy trap of deflation.

  102. shades of 1933 all over again. we need fdr, but we got bho. he’d prefer to just keep playing his flute or harp or whatever instrument old nero played while rome burned. meanwhile, the fed prints moron money, as you mentioned, but it’s only a stopgap, because of the liquidy trap of deflation.

    eh, raising demand in the face of a rising e, any fucking dummy can do that. in fact it hapens all by itself, one way or another. raising demand in the face of shrinking e, impossible. demand will shrink along with e, all by itself, one way or another.

  103. all i know is if things don’t shape up pretty soon, it’s gonna push me into making another “business trip” to korea.

  104. …it’s gonna push me into making another “business trip” to korea.

    sooner, and more often, is bettern’ later, i’d say.

  105. “other than things like like run of the mill fraud, forged signatures, false statements on applications and such, which the lendees were just as guilty of as the lenders, i don’t think there was much that was technically illegal that the “banks”, did.”

    It is all illegal, technical or otherwise. Fraud, forgery, false statements – it’s illegal, period. It’s all well and good up front, J6P lawn service boy gets his .5 Million $ crib on an interest only loan, the banks and servicers get their fees and fresh meat for the MBS scams, at the same time cutting costs and every corner in the book on the property paper trail.

    Now it’s all Tango Uniform, the meat is rancid as hell and banks get intergalactic wedgies because they can’t rocket docket property theft with the ease they can create virtual debt. The rule of law with regard to property rights is a cornerstone to this country and willfully ignoring it for the sake of economic expediency is Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.

    I say the fuck the whole lot, from the vacuous J6P to the avarice of the financial class and their WMD. Hanging or firing squads would be entirely too merciful, but death is the penalty for the treason.

  106. “we need fdr, but we got bho.”

    That’s like saying we need a socialist but we got a fascist.

    We need private sector jobs and that requires a stable political and economic environment, which, being a banana republic, we do not have.

    We have a clusterfuck – plain and simple.

    I can’t help but think we need to jettison DC and form regional governments, shedding the baggage, waste and unfunded mandates of a wholly-unworkable system.

  107. Plug nickels are on their way to having more value that the wad of paper in your wallet.

    Ben, you ignorant slut.

  108. Remus, I think there is a good chance that California may lead the charge in just that (go independent). Right now they may feel like they need the feds, but if the currency goes bad, CA is still sitting on a whole lot of natural resources. They could partner with Mexico; Oregon and Washington state with BC.

  109. Doom, you might be right. But they have got a whole shitload of mouth breathers and dead weight sucking the life out of it – rendering all the positive aspects of the left coast moot. Now they have gov. fucking moonbeam and they will try to tax themselves businessless – not that they haven’t given it a good shot too date mind you.

    Nonetheless, the area you mention would seem to be viable stand-alone and in that context might be the catalyst for takers to become net contributors. Amazing WTF happens to the mindset when you have a real stake in the outcome. People need to be free to fail again to understand what success really looks and feels like.

    Bottom line, in CA and the nation as a whole, is we simply cannot afford the wars, the entitlements, the bailouts – none of it. We can’t afford tax loopholes, tax credits, subsidies or corporate welfare.

    I was talking to Ms Remus today specifically about healthcare costs – having just recently written an outrageous check to pay for a routine blood test that fell under my considerable deductable, but covered by my FSA. I asked her how much she thought that test would cost if it was a value transaction unadulterated by government meddling and insurance companies. What if doctors, drug companies and home health providers knew the only source of revenue was what an individual could actually pay for out of pocket – not the government or some pseudo risk insurance fund?

    There is a pretty wide swath of fly-over country from Canada to the gulf that, for now, is rich in energy, water, what passes for fertile soil in a cheap energy world, and significant agriculture.

  110. People need to be free to fail again to understand what success really looks and feels like.

    yeah, i think that lot’s and lot’s of people are getting a chance to taste failure. the success part, i’m not so sure about. i guess it’s all relative.

  111. Bottom line, in CA and the nation as a whole, is we simply cannot afford the wars, the entitlements, the bailouts – none of it. We can’t afford tax loopholes, tax credits, subsidies or corporate welfare.

    no worries remus; all this shit is on it’s way out.

  112. California is also physically isolated from the rest of the USA, especially so if cheap car and air transport ceases. Those western states of Nevada and Arizona will make a lifeless desert barrier in the not-too-distant future. I’m sure there will be efforts made to keep the major interstates operational for trucks, probably running on marine algae biodiesel. Maybe some buses for the lucky ones.

    “But they have got a whole shitload of mouth breathers and dead weight sucking the life out of it – rendering all the positive aspects of the left coast moot.”

    Well, once the currency goes, all they’ll have left is anything physical the government can provide. Things could go bad very fast. I don’t think they’ll have too much choice but immigration or starvation. Many are in de facto camps already, like the big one near Ontario, CA.

  113. Well, as state and local governments across the US run out of money, look for barriers to come up to prevent interstate immigration, unless you have something to offer, like a profitable business or being independently wealthy.

    I expect volunteer citizen militias, those with a stake in their community, to become more visible as things deteriorate. And quite possibly volunteer posses as well as sheriffs step up to fill in for bankrupt towns without a PD.

    On Nevada & Arizona – look for Lawrence of America as the darkness deepens.

  114. Apologies for the Length (via John Mauldin’s site–the one I’ve been reading since I was knee-high to a grasshopper–where you have to join to read); Thought you guys might be interested in this… it addresses some of the items you’ve mentioned recently.

    Keynesian Confusion
    by Michael E. Lewitt

    “At the present moment people are unusually expectant of a more fundamental diagnosis; more particularly eager to receive it; eager to try it out, if it should be even plausible. But apart from this contemporary mood, the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the word is ruled by little else. ractical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slave of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

    John Maynard Keynes (1936)

    Ironically, John Maynard Keynes himself remains by far the most influential of the defunct economists from whom the madmen in authority are distilling their frenzy today. Economists occupy a world in which their theoretical musings have enormous real world consequences. Unlike their colleagues in the hard sciences, however, economists do not have the luxury of testing out their theories before inflicting them on the rest of us. The Keynesian experiment being run by governments and central banks over the past two years is a case in point.

    Keynesian policies are inflicting untold damage on the U.S. and global economies today. Things did not have to be this way; Keynes did not have to be misread. His antidote for slow economic growth and high unemployment – massive doses of government spending – was appropriate in midst of the 2007-8 financial crisis, just as it was sensible during the 1930s global depression that Keynes was experiencing while he was writing The General Theory. In end of world scenarios, government spending is the last resort. But once the economy stabilizes – even at a diminished rate of growth – Keynesian medicine will cripple the patient if it is not withdrawn and replaced with a healthy fiscal regimen. Unfortunately, policymakers – in particular the current and past Chairmen of the Federal Reserve – have shown themselves to be either unwilling or incapable of making the transition from crisis management to post -crisis management of monetary policy. As a result, today’s Federal Reserve is missing the second great lesson of Keynes’ work, the “paradox of thrift.”

    The most extended discussion of the paradox of thrift occurs in Chapter 23 of The General Theory, which is actually part of a series of chapters contained in Book IV entitled “Short Notes Suggested by the General Theory.” The discussion of the paradox of thrift in this chapter is primarily devoted to a historical survey of the idea and is relatively disjointed. Keynes’ clearest description of the concept comes much earlier in The General Theory when he writes the following:

    “The reconciliation of the identity between saving and investment with the apparent ‘free-will’ of the individual to save what he chooses irrespective of what he or others may be investing, essentially depends on saving being, like spending, a two-sided affair. For although the amount of his own saving is unlikely to have any significant influence on his own income, the reactions of the amount of his consumption on the incomes of others makes it impossible for all individuals simultaneously to save any given sums. Every such attempt to save more by reducing consumption will so affect incomes that the attempt necessarily defeats itself. It is, of course, just as impossible for the community as a whole to save less than the amount of current investment, since the attempt to do so will necessarily raise incomes to a level at which the sums which individuals choose to save add up to a figure exactly equal to the amount of investment.”

    In order for the fallacy of thrift to slow economic growth, the capital that consumers and businesses are saving would normally have to be available to recirculate in the economy through loans or investments. This recirculation is precisely what is not happening today, or at least not nearly at the rate necessary to lift growth to a level that would create significant job growth. And this is the Keynesian lesson that fiscal and monetary policymakers appear to have forgotten as they have forged their post-crisis strategy – rather than indiscriminately easing monetary conditions, it is necessary to create an environment in which savings-conscious consumers and corporations are willing to allow their funds to recirculate.

    The reason that the current recovery is below par is that the economy is experiencing a massive paradox of thrift. A combination of factors has led individual economic actors – both consumers and corporations – to believe that it is in their best individual interest to save rather to spend, to repay debt rather than borrow. The result has been an increase in the personal savings rate from slightly negative to approximately 6-7 percent, and a significant improvement in corporate balance sheets (corporations are now sitting on approximately $1 trillion of cash). This has improved the financial condition of these individual economic actors, but deprived the broader economy of consumption and investment spending.

    Unwise economic policy choices have led to the current situation. Consumers are saving instead of spending because the value of their homes has declined significantly, which is a result of the pro-cyclical monetary policy and lack of regulation that contributed to the housing debacle. Businesses are limiting their hiring and expansion plans due to the increasing regulatory burden being placed on them by the government, by fears of impending tax increases, and by the general anti-business tone coming out of Washington D.C. Investors are fleeing the stock market because regulators don’t have the guts to stand up to Wall Street and address dangerous practices such as the repeal of the uptick rule, naked CDS on systemically important institutions (which allows speculators to mount bear raids on companies such as BP plc), and flash and algorithmic trading. The combination of all of these policy failures has led to a massive crisis of confidence in the American model of capitalism, which has become as badly corrupted as the Japanese model that is responsible for Japan’s decades of deflation and economic paralysis. And our current politics offers little prospect for change.

    This is the landscape investors are facing as we enter one of the most important weeks in American politics and markets in a long time. HCM is devoting so much time to a discussion of policy and politics because these are the forces that are driving financial markets today. The performance of individual companies is far less important than macroeconomic factors in determining investment performance. The United States is on the verge of two important events that will affect not only its own immediate future but the future of the global economy: the November 2 mid-term elections, and the November 3 meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee. The mid-term elections are expected to produce a significant shift in power in the U.S. Congress, with Republicans expected to regain control of the House of Representatives, move into an unassailable blocking position in the Senate, and make major gains at the state level as well. The financial markets have been treati ng these two early November dates as early Christmas presents, but the post-holiday hangover may be brutal. Financial markets should be careful what they wish for on November 2 and 3. Despite likely short-term market gains, they may ultimately be staring at coal in their stockings.

    The Mid-Term Elections

    The mid-term elections promise a big victory for the Republicans, a party whose brand was so severely devalued a mere two years ago that the media was already writing about President Obama’s second term agenda. But a Republican resurrection is hardly likely to improve economic or social conditions; the Republicans’ rigid anti-tax, anti-regulatory agenda has inflicted great damage on this country.

    ###The repudiation of Congress that will occur on November 3 should be considered bi-partisan – both parties have been abject failures. The political process has become deeply corrupted and dysfunctional.###

    Returning the party to power that presided over 8 years of budget profligacy and regulatory malpractice between 2000 and 2008 is hardly a great accomplishment; it merely promises to temper the worst anti-business and anti-growth policies of the Obama administration and its Congressional minions. Many believe that political gridlock will ensue, although we would not be surprised to see progress made on several policy fronts such as a compromise on taxes and perhaps some marginal budget cuts (not entitlement reform unfortunately). Those promoting a Republican victory argue that at least things won’t get worse for the economy if the Obama agenda is stopped in its tracks, but the economy will get worse if America’s ill-advised fiscal and tax policies remain in place.

    After the election, HCM expects a dangerous outbreak of populism that will most likely take the form of protectionist economic measures primarily aimed at China. If this occurs, it will not be good for the financial markets. There are already rising pressures in Congress to take action against China, and we will have to see if these sentiments will fade after the election. Our expectation is that they will not. The demagogic danger is a real one and it is growing. With more than one in eight Americans on food stamps, new revelations about mortgage foreclosure abuses, and the appearance on the scene of politicians of the ilk of New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell, and Ohio Congressional candidate Rich Lott, who used to spend his spare time engaging in Nazi reenactments (with his son!) and was actually endorsed by future House Speaker John Boehner, it is a small leap to protectionist legislation aimed at Chi na and other countries that can be scapegoated for America’s own failures. The way to combat China’s currency policy is not through punitive measures but through policies that improve America’s competitive economic position, a concept that is unlikely to gain currency in today’s devalued marketplace of ideas. Instead, bad ideas are likely to gain ascendancy and provide political cover for American politicians trying to avoid making the tough choices needed to right the American economy. We may not need our politicians to be nuclear scientists, but this country isn’t going to served by electing outright idiots either.


    One day after the mid-term elections, the Open Market Committee is expected to announce the details of its plan to engage in a second round of quantitative easing (QE2) pursuant to which the central bank will intervene directly in the financial markets to purchase as much as US$1 trillion of Treasury securities. The stated purpose of QE2 is to prevent inflation from dropping below the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent, which is somehow supposed to stimulate economic growth. This ignores the fact that record low interest rates over the past two years have failed to do precisely that. Nonetheless, all of the Fed’s jawboning about its plans has had a significant impact on the financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up about 12% since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke began hinting that further quantitative easing was coming two months ago. Inflation expectations have shifted sharply upward, with a recent 5-year TIPs auction resulting in a negative real yield of -0.55 percent (see Graph 1 below). On the other hand, the yield on 10-year and 30-year Treasuries has increased by about 30 and 40 basis points, respectively, since the Fed announced its intentions. Markets are heeding the history lesson that monetary policy plays a key role in shaping post-crisis economies; the problem thus far is that the markets aren’t doing what the Fed wants them to do. If the Fed does not play small ball with QE2, however, we would expect rates to drop back down in the near term. We doubt, however, that reducing already low rates is going to stimulate much of anything other than more frustration on the part of savers.

    HCM has a hard time making a case that inflation is either a serious or imminent threat despite the signals coming from the market. Hedge fund star John Paulson recently told investors that he believes that inflation will rise to the double-digits by 2012, a forecast we find excessive in degree and timing although not ultimately in direction (calling for higher inflation in the future is an easy call; the tough call is deciding when inflation will hit). There is still too much excess capacity in too many areas of the economy – finance, real estate, housing – to create significant near-term inflationary pressures. The type of inflation Mr. Paulson is predicting really speaks to a different type of scenario that would involve a collapse of the U.S. dollar and with it the U.S. economy, which would be consistent with reports that Mr. Paulson holds 80 percent of his considerable personal assets in gold. HCM is a strong believer in gold and even a stronger believer i n a dollar collapse and continuing U.S. economic weakness barring a 180 degree change in policy, but we don’t see it happening as quickly as Mr. Paulson.

    Opinion among the Fed governors concerning the wisdom and prospects for quantitative easing is hardly uniform. For example, during an October 19 speech before the New York Association for Business Economics, Richard W. Fisher, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas admitted that “[i]n my darkest moments, I have begun to wonder if the monetary accommodation we have already engineered might even be working in the wrong places.” St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Hoenig has been a consistent dissenter from recent Fed decisions and in HCM’s opinion is the lone voice of reason in a sea of Keynesian insanity. Despite these doubts, the central bank is intent on mounting another feckless attack on the powerful deleveraging trends at work in the post-crisis world.

    In a twist that must have amused the Fed’s harshest critics, it was reported that the Fed surveyed government bond dealers and investors about their expectations of the initial size of any new program of debt purchases and the time period over which it would be completed. It also asked firms how often they expected the program to be reevaluated by the Fed and to estimate its ultimate size. Coming less than a week before the Open Market Committee, this request is consistent with the tradition of the Fed cow-towing to the financial markets. Former Chairman Alan Greenspan used to rely on the wisdom of the stock market, and declared to the world that it was a “conundrum” when interest rates did not respond to Fed policy moves in accordance with his ideology. Ben Bernanke’s Fed doesn’t even wait for the markets to opine – it asks the markets in advance about their expectations, presumably so the central bank will not disappoint them and see t hem drop (God forbid!). That’s one way to avoid conundrums, but it is no way to manage monetary policy. The markets are counting on a $1 trillion program of quantitative easing over a reasonably short period of time; anything less could cause a sell-off in equities. The markets, as usual, are only focusing on the short-term and ignoring the long-term risks created by ill-advised monetary policies. QE2 may sustain the markets for a brief period of time, but sooner rather than later the markets are going to have to pay the piper for the mountains of debt and extended period of artificially low interest rates that this policy has promulgated.

    As I have written in El Mundo and spoken about at the recent Value Investing Congress in New York, QE2 is not only unlikely to work but is certain to contribute to future financial instability. The financial system is already sitting on US$1 trillion of excess reserves. The reason that these reserves are not being used to grow the economy through capital spending or to create jobs is not that interest rates are too high. Rather, reserves are going unutilized because of a profound lack of confidence on the part of economic actors bred by anti-growth policies promoted by the Obama administration (particularly healthcare reform) and the threat of significantly higher taxes (as much as US$6 trillion over the next 10 years if current plans aren’t altered. ) QE2 will do nothing to address these factors suppressing demand for funds. QE2 is a monetary policy tool being used to address a problem that has nothing to do with monetary policy. As such, it is misguided and is unli kely to work. What it will do, however, is further swell the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet and lower the value of the dollar, neither of which will contribute to the long-term strength of the American or global economy.

    But QE2 doesn’t only fail to aim at the right target (employment); it doesn’t really aim at anything at all. Instead, QE2 basically sprays money indiscriminately into the economy instead of targeting money at productive activities. Current fiscal and tax policy promotes peculation at the expense of productive growth; examples include the lax rules governing derivatives trading and leveraged buyouts, activities that add nothing to the productive capacity of the economy. Without fiscal and tax policy changes designed to promote productive growth, the excess reserves created by QE2 will end up in the hands of speculators in the financial industry. This will increase systemic leverage and exacerbate existing overcapacity in unproductive areas such as finance and real estate. QE2 without fiscal and tax policy changes is simply a continuation of the boom-and-bust regime that has dominated global financial markets for the past three decades.

    The Stock of the Fed is Dropping Quickly

    The once Teflon reputation of the Federal Reserve has taken a beating since the financial crisis, but its management of the post-crisis environment has lifted criticism of the central bank to a new and perhaps unprecedented level. Previously, the most strident attacks came from the likes of Congressman Ron Paul and other libertarians; today they are coming from respected market figures such as Morgan Stanley economist Stephen Roach, PIMCO’s Bill Gross, and Jeremy Grantham.

    Readers of this publication are well aware that HCM has long admired the work of Morgan Stanley’s Stephen Roach. Mr. Roach is one of the more intellectually honest and outspoken central bank critics on the scene today. On October 12, he addressed the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea and delivered one of the harshest public critiques of the Federal Reserve that has been made in many years. The primary thesis of the speech was that policy makers have failed to learn from the policy errors made by Japan. He writes that “it is now debatable as to whether there was ever a clear understanding of the true Lessons of Japan and what they might imply for macro policy management in the modern world.” This is important because “[i]n the aftermath of the Crisis of 2009-09 – and the Great Recession it spawned – a legacy of post-crisis debt and deleveraging is now increasingly global in scope.” The correct lesson of what has happened to Japa n over the past two decades is not that Japanese authorities moved with insufficient speed and aggression to deal with credit and asset bubbles. The correct lesson is that such bubbles must be identified earlier and avoided in the first place.

    Mr. Roach rightly criticized the Federal Reserve for failing to spot obvious bubbles in advance (the Internet Bubble, Housing Bubble, and Corporate Bond Bubble are three obvious examples). But even worse, he said, is that the Federal Reserve Chairman was leading the intellectual charge supporting the case that these were not bubbles.

    “One of the most disturbing features about each of these episodes is that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve – steeped in his ideological convictions that markets always know best – led the charge in denying that they were bubbles. He argued that the NASDAQ bubble was well supported by the productivity renaissance of the New Economy. Housing bubbles could only be local – never national. And the unprecedented tightening of credit spreads was an outgrowth of stunning advances in financial innovation.”

    As someone who was fortunate enough to warn in this publication (and elsewhere) of each of these bubbles in advance, HCM welcomes Mr. Roach’s willingness to speak out about the failure of so-called leading economists to miss such obvious imbalances. These imbalances are what cause the types of market crashes that wipe out years of investment performance in the blink of an eye, or create the opportunity to profit from selling short. Moreover, these bubbles are not that difficult to identify if one is willing to look at the facts with an objective eye and not be corrupted by the madness of crowds. As I wrote in The Death of Capital:

    “there are clear indicia of when asset prices are rising at unsustainable levels….Any significant departure from long-term valuation trends should capture the concern and attention of central bankers and trigger a response. But the types of deviations from the norm that occurred in the decade preceding the crisis of 2008 were far more than mere departures from long-term trends; they were obvious bubbles that required no special economic knowledge to identify. Stock prices traded at a multiple of 351x earnings on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange at their peak on March 10, 2000; the average price/earnings multiple at previous market peaks had been no higher than 20 before that. The risk premium (known as spread) on Credit Suisse’s High Yield Index reached 271 basis points over Treasuries on May 31, 2007, a record level that exceeded the historical average of 570 to 580 basis points by over 50 percent.”

    Unfortunately, we are again heading into dangerous territory as a result of the Federal Reserve’s ill-advised zero interest rate policy, which is being exacerbated by an irrational fear of disinflation that is leading to its truly hare-brained scheme to engage in QE2. You can be sure we will do our best (as we have in the past) to sound the warning when markets get out of hand again. It is only a matter of when, not if, this occurs.

    Mr. Roach also criticizes the Federal Reserve for failing to take into account the fact that financial bubbles have a devastating effect on the real economy. “A key lesson from Japan,” he said, “is for the authorities to be especially mindful of the lethal interplay between asset and credit bubbles and related distortions in the real economy. That lesson was totally lost on the Federal Reserve over the past decade.” In the post-crisis environment, monetary policy is being guided by deflation fears fed by Japan’s experience that lead to policies that are likely to exacerbate those very same deflationary risks. Mr. Roach warns: “[t]hat could very well be the single greatest flaw of a narrow and mechanistic inflation-targeting policy rule – a framework that does not allow for the unintended consequences of low nominal interest rates in spurring a steady string of asset and credit bubbles that could well compound deflationary risks ove r time.” In other words, the Fed’s narrow mandate (or its narrow interpretation of its mandate) is leading it to adopt policies that are exacerbating the very risks it is seeking to mitigate.

    Mr. Roach’s solution is to add to the central bank’s mandate a requirement to maintain “financial stability.” Such a requirement would provide monetary authorities “with the political cover to attack asset and credit bubbles before they had dangerously destabilizing impacts on markets and wealth- and credit-dependent economies.” He believes such a change is necessary because we have had “a Federal Reserve that was swayed more by ideology than discipline, and debased by politically-motivated fiscal authorities who have become fixated on short-term stimulus while ignoring longer-term considerations. In this environment, we can no longer count on the promises of policy makers to act in accordance with the lessons they have learned from Japan or from the Great Crisis of 2008-09.” HCM would slightly modify Mr. Roach’s last statement. Policymakers have simply failed to learn the right lessons from the 2008-09 crisis. As we ar gued above, rather than learning from Keynes that a debt crisis should be solved with more debt, the authorities should have better understood how the paradox of thrift would operate in a post-crisis environment and developed policies to deal with that phenomenon.

    Bill Gross was also harshly critical of Federal Reserve policy in his most recent Investment Outlook. In so many words, he accused the U.S. government of running a massive Ponzi scheme, although he softened this comment by noting that public debt always has Ponzilike characteristics. But the Ponzi scheme currently being run by the U.S. government is unprecedented in size and scope. Mr. Gross argued that:

    “with growth in doubt, it seems that the Fed has taken Charles Ponzi one step further. Instead of simply paying for maturing debt with receipts from financial sector creditors – banks, insurance companies, surplus reserve nations and investment managers, to name the most significant – the Fed has joined the party itself. Rather than orchestrating the game from on high, it has jumped into the pond with the other swimmers. One and one-half trillion in checks were written in 2009, and trillions more lie ahead. The Fed, in effect, is telling the markets not to worry about our fiscal deficits, it will be the buyer of first and perhaps last resort. There is no need – as with Charles Ponzi – to find an increasing amount of future gullible, they will just write the checks themselves. I ask you: Has there ever been a Ponzi scheme so brazen?”

    PIMCO is a huge holder of Treasury and other types of securities that are likely to benefit in the short run from QE2, but Mr. Gross correctly frets about the inevitable inflationary consequences of this policy. Inflation, of course, could decimate PIMCO’s long bond positions when it begins to rear its ugly head (although we assume he is hedged), so Mr. Gross is not only making a principled argument but also to some degree talking his book (which is his right).

    Jeremy Grantham, in a Quarterly Letter entitled “Night of the Living Fed,” makes the compelling argument that debt doesn’t correlate with long-term growth rates. Debt, he writes, “is the paper world. It is, in an important sense, not the real world.” He continues:

    “In the real world, growth depends on real factors: the quality and quantity of education, worth ethic, population profile, the quality and quantity of existing plant and equipment, business organization, the quality of public leadership (especially from the Fed in the U.S.), and the quality (not quantity) of existing regulations and the degree of enforcement. If you really want to worry about growth, you should be concerned about sliding education standards and an aging population. All of the real power of debt is negative: it can gum up the works in a liquidity/solvency crisis and freeze the economy for quite a while.”

    Mr. Grantham has long been a critic of Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve, but he could hardly contain himself in his last quarterly letter. He provides a great deal of fodder for the growing intellectual case against the pro-cyclical path that monetary policy has taken under its two most recent Chairmen.

    Market Recommendations

    We still expect the stock and bond markets to maintain their strength through the end of the year, particularly in the aftermath of a Republican victory in the mid-term elections and the announcement of QE2. Our short-term oriented readers should act accordingly. The corporate credit markets are paying absolutely no attention to company quality; anything with a decent coupon is trading up. The risk trade is clearly on.

    Readers with a long-term focus should continue to accumulate gold and limit their investments in the credit area to bank loans (through mutual funds), BB/BBB corporate bonds, and stocks that have lower-than-market p/e ratios and pay dividends. We would avoid Treasuries at all costs. Lending to our government at 2.6 percent for 10 years is a great way to become a millionaire – if you’re already a billionaire. Sooner or later, everything being earned on the upside of this liquidity-induced rally will be given back in spades – the only question is when.

    Michael E. Lewitt

  115. “… its truly hare-brained scheme to engage in QE2”

    That’s for sure. Ben, this is no time to be thinking about taking a cruise.

    Moonbeam says he’s looking for a place to sleep in Sacramento (as he can’t afford to sell his house in the bay area).

    Like I’ve been saying all week… Californians would rather be entertained than governed.

    Additional gasps of life remain to be choked out of the California working fools, err… I mean California working class. No, actually, I did mean fools. The majority of voting monkeys just aren’t suffering enough (yet). It’s the best straightforward explanation that I can offer.

  116. so i kinda like that glenn campbell guy. looks like he stopped posting around the beginning of september. hope he’s ok.

  117. Jeremy Grantham, in a Quarterly Letter entitled “Night of the Living Fed,” makes the compelling argument that debt doesn’t correlate with long-term growth rates. Debt, he writes, “is the paper world. It is, in an important sense, not the real world.” He continues:

    “In the real world, growth depends on real factors: the quality and quantity of education, worth ethic, population profile, the quality and quantity of existing plant and equipment, business organization, the quality of public leadership (especially from the Fed in the U.S.), and the quality (not quantity) of existing regulations and the degree of enforcement. If you really want to worry about growth, you should be concerned about sliding education standards and an aging population. All of the real power of debt is negative: it can gum up the works in a liquidity/solvency crisis and freeze the economy for quite a while.”

    haha, even the smart ones are fucking stupid. growth depends, 100%, on sufficient resources.

  118. listen to gandolf. it may be necassary to make some dollas within capitalised industrialism, but i’s not sufficient.

  119. On behalf of gods everywhere, I can attest to the pervasive lack of sanity characteristic of the breed.

    Dr. Doom, thanks. Check your e-mail bro.

  120. dave, where do you find this stuff? now i know where i want to go on my next vacation, that’s for damn sure.

  121. “haha, even the smart ones are fucking stupid. growth depends, 100%, on sufficient resources.”

    birth, growth, maturation, peak, decline, death, release of constituent elements to begin cycle over again….

  122. birth, growth, maturation, peak, decline, death, release of constituent elements to begin cycle over again….

    yeah, pretty fucking depressing, isn’t it?

  123. yeah, this painting reminds me of a guy that i used hang out with, a long time ago. anyway, it was some sort of sport to him to fuck prostitutes, and then find ways to steal his money back. he said that they would be very cavilere about just throwing the money in thier purse. so often times he would just kind of wait for them to be distracted, reach in, and take thier money. often times he would make a profit, i think. this is the one and only person in my life who, to this day, i believe every word he tells me.


  124. now i know where i want to go on my next vacation, that’s for damn sure.

    yeah, those guys lok like they’d be fun to hang out with, for a little while anyway. until they got hungry and wanted some old white boy soup, or something like that.

  125. “yeah, pretty fucking depressing, isn’t it?”

    When I was somewhat younger, I used to think so. Now I kind of kind of internally laugh at all the energy I wasted worrying about the inevitable.

  126. When I was somewhat younger, I used to think so. Now I kind of kind of internally laugh at all the energy I wasted worrying about the inevitable.

    yeah, worry is a big waste of energy. i just find it kind of depressing to know that as some brand of stupid shit fades away, another brand comes along to take its’ place. take buddism, ferinstance, there is no more depressing belief system on earth. the idea that you have to come back as say a fucking goat, unless you find enlightenment as a human, which of course is impossible, is depressing. but you’re right, there’s point in worrying about it.

  127. interesting comment dave, my mother aways thought my father and i were goats in a previous life. maybe so. i never thought of my mother as a buddhist, but then she could do amazing stuff like catch bass in an oxbow with my old beginner rod and reel, and with “no bait”, just a shiny bare hook. my father and i would have starved if not for store-bought hamburger, and mom’s fish.

  128. UR, I made much the same map based upon Jimbo’s “Long Emergency” book. FYI, it’s posted in one of my old PO talks on the web. I missed the Mormonia cluster, and linked California from SF down to SD with Old Mexico, Arizona and New Mexico. He’s probably right about “Greater Texas” as a stand alone province from Dixieland, as well as a small Mormonia cluster. Otherwise, only some of the names are different.

    I called JHK’s Old Union “Yankeeland”, which sorta annoyed him. Tee hee hee.

    Using the past as a rough guide, once these little nation-states form, it’s only a matter of time before a stronger hegemonic power invades some or all, looking to repress the locals and tap any remaining resources, e.g., Western, then Eastern Roman Empires.

  129. yeah goat to human human to goat, not much of a stretch really. the buddists just might be on to something.

  130. “once these little nation-states form, it’s only a matter of time before a stronger hegemonic power invades some or all, looking to repress the locals and tap any remaining resources”

    That’s a pretty big leap from Facebook data, BUT, it (Facebook map) does appear to reinforce certain dividing lines derived from other data and criteria.

    Living in “Greater Texas” in a double-edged sword for me, fraught with more than a little risk.

  131. yeah, but if i had to move leaves, for some unimaginable reason, i’d rather use a blower than a rake, i guess. i’ve never moved leaves, so i don’t really know. it’s the intentional moving of leaves that starts the stupid circle, in my mind anyway.

  132. Breakfast today at GB’s old folk’s home: omelet made with local eggs, capicola, onions, potatoes along with homegrown shitake mushrooms, ancho peppers, celery, and chard…fried in olive oil (imported) and served with browned, locally made pork sausage and hot herbal tea (imported) with honey.

  133. GB, the price of SPAM has really shot up out here. It’s often over $3 a can, which is what you folks pay for it on the mainland. Fortunately, the local Portuguese sausage is still pretty cheap.

  134. Regarding certain blogger math-morons whose initials are JMG and who thinks their some kinda historical expert, so “the past is key to the present and future”, as if:

    He uses the example of fall of the Western Roman empire as a process taking centuries, which, of course, it total bullshit and doesn’t stand up to the facts.

    Here are some of the facts: the Western empire’s troubles began shortly after 400 AD. Alaric and the Goths were kicking butt in Italy and eventually sacked Rome in 410, exactly 1600 years ago, Hawaii Standard Time. This sacking was more psychologically devastating than physically, as the Romans were acutely aware that the city had not been sacked previously for over 800 years, when in about 378 BC it was attacked by the Gauls (proto-frogs) but the central city was saved by some alert geese, not their damn sleeping-on-the-job dogs, which they later crucified for their lazy disloyalty, but I digress.

    Things got better for awhile, mostly because the invaders were easily bored and left Italy on a road trip, but then moron barbarians attacked in about 420 (word gets around, eh?) and by 440, with not only unstopped invaders but civil uprisings (over taxes and shit, no jobs, fucking food stamps, bread and circuses BS getting old, etc.–sounds familiar, no?). So, officially, the Western empire ended in like 476 AD, but it was all over but the shouting by about 440, which if my math serves me, was only 30-40 years, and this was in a time of horse and elephant travel, sail and row boats, with no high-speed wireless internet providers.


  135. his wisdom and good works will be the stuff of legend through the ages. he’s even setting up his own little green wizard preisthood thingy.

  136. so dave, does that mean you are buying chinese solars or…

    ?not sure what you mean? anyway, the only thing that i’m looking to buy at the moment is farm land.

  137. Dave, I’m looking around for some land too. Maybe 60 to 100 acres. I’ve been looking for about a year, watching trends, looking for deals.

    Years ago I had a piece of dirt, and on it there was a creek where I made a wood-fired hot tub wedged up against the stream bank, with a couple small weirs to regulate temps. There was beaver too. And beer. Pretty nice.

  138. Doom: “…it was all over but the shouting”

    I love that expression. Shit never changes, just the decorations, I swear.

  139. Personally, I’d like a nice woodlot of mixed hardwood, with a stand or two of hemlock. I always liked a little hemlock by the creek in my woods. Not too much though, the stuff is shitty for any purpose other than looks.

  140. Going down like Socrates, that would be rough. Yeah, or maybe before things get that rough, invite the neighbors over for “tea”, but plan to have them for dinner. Like a Martha Stewart zombie hostess.

  141. Dave, I’m looking around for some land too. Maybe 60 to 100 acres.

    yeah, that upstate part of ny is kinda nice. the winters keep me away though.

    right now, i’m trying to sell my house(good luck to me). luckily, it’s been paid off for years. so i’ll just keep dropping the price every 3 or 4 months untill it sells, i guess. that’s my plan anyway.

  142. 2 Hemlocks:

    Conium maculatum – a poisonous old world herbaceous biennial plant naturalized in US.

    Tsuga canadensis – conifer tree native to North America. Not especially poisonous. Not very tasty either.

  143. Bif, I’m only half way through, but I really like the book. My only negative is the paperback that Amazon sold me is small, so the print is fine and the illustrations, although clear, are too small, as well. I might buy the hard cover if larger and still available.

    GB, thanks for the education.

    dave, good luck with the house. you might have waited too long, boss.

  144. you might have waited too long, boss.

    yeah, i wanted to sell years ago, but i had my dad living with me. it just wouldn’t have worked.

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