Muddling Toward Victory Gardens


From JOHN MICHAEL GREER
The Archdruid Report

The uncontrolled simplification of a complex system is rarely a welcome event for those people whose lives depend on the system in question. That’s one way to summarize the impact of the waves of trouble rolling up against the sand castles we are pleased to call the world’s modern industrial nations. Exactly how the interaction between sand and tide will work out is anyone’s guess at this point; the forces that undergird that collision have filled the pages of this blog for a year and a half now; here, and for the next few posts, I want to talk a bit about what can be done to deal with the consequences.

That requires, first of all, recognizing what can’t be done. Plenty of people have argued that the only valid response to the rising spiral of crisis faced by industrial civilization is to build a completely new civilization from the ground up on more idealistic lines. Even if that latter phrase wasn’t a guarantee of disaster – if there’s one lesson history teaches, it’s that human societies are organic growths, and trying to invent one to fit some abstract idea of goodness is as foredoomed as trying to make an ecosystem do what human beings want – we no longer have time for grand schemes of that sort. To shift metaphors, when your ship has already hit the iceberg and the water’s coming in, it’s a bit too late to suggest that it should be rebuilt from the keel up according to some new scheme of naval engineering.

An even larger number of people have argued with equal zeal that the only valid response to the predicament of our time is to save the existing order of things, with whatever modest improvements the person in question happens to fancy, because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. They might be right, too, if saving the existing order of things was possible, but it’s not. A global civilization that is utterly dependent for its survival on ever-expanding supplies of cheap abundant energy and a stable planetary biosphere is simply not going to make it in a world of ever-contracting supplies of scarce and expensive energy and a planetary biosphere that the civilization’s own activities are pushing into radical instability. Again, when your ship has already hit the iceberg and the water’s coming in, it’s not helpful to insist that the only option is to keep steaming toward a distant port.

Mendocino Perspectives – What Should Be The Future of Mendocino County?


From MENDOCINO PERSPECTIVES

Conversations today for a healthier community tomorrow

Welcome to Mendo Perspectives Blog, a place where concerned community members can discuss, suggest and weigh-in on what the future holds for our county. Where you can give your feedback based on articles and surveys as a means to gather and provide useful data geared towards finding compromise and common ground for a prosperous community in the not to distant future.

Please take a few minutes to complete our survey:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HKWJMTN

Mendocino County is at a crossroads

Many residents of Mendocino County wish to see the development of new industries, planned growth, and to create a sustainable economy that, they believe, will lead to a more prosperous place to live. There are others that claim by doing this will create overcrowding and sprawl and that County is fine the way it is considering future development and growth to be harmful to both the ecology and economy.

Mendocino County has always been a place of forward thinking individuals who are passionate about their beliefs and band together to influence public opinion. If we are to prosper as well as maintain our County’s natural beauty, we must be willing to achieve common ground on fundamental issues, to serve as the foundation for our as well as future generations.

The need to bring citizens together to engage in a positive and useful dialog, with the goal to achieve balance and build consensus within our community, is paramount.

This blogsite is an opportunity for community members to open and exchange ideas, opinions and perspectives in a productive way to build a stronger healthier community.

Consider the possibility that change is inevitable….. What is your biggest concern for Mendocino County’s future? What kind of change could you see as positive?

New posts will be added and results from surveys posted for your enjoyment. Survey results may be presented to local governments for consideration.

Your comments and feedback are also invited in “Comment” below.

“About us” is here
~~

Don Sanderson: Climate Change Modeling Defended


From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

I generally find Alexander Cockburn’s prejudices agree with mine. Several of his columns recently [in the AVA] essentially hawking the fossil fuel corporations’ line on global warming, however, deserve an answer.

Mathematical modeling seems to be his pet peeve: “These quack science models are … skewed by the modelers’ doctrinaire anti-carbon passion…” driven by “dependence of their salaries on the expectations of the funding agencies.” Wow, we have a new religion, it seems.

El Niño has recently dampened the Southwest and the present sunspot cycle has cooled solar radiation, but these are temporary though may be expected to periodically and unpredictably recur. As astrophysicists have explained in detail, on the average the sun is surely warming, has been for the entire life of our planet, and the Earth will surely eventually burn up. It has been conjectured that the ice ages are the Gaia’s, that is the living Earth’s, way to stay cool. Those who have studied the periods between ice ages have noted they typically have both rapidly began and ended, but why so isn’t understood. Given the durations of earlier ones, this one likely should be ending – the so-called little ice age beginning in the fifteenth century may have portended this. But, the fossil-fueled industrial age appears to have interrupted it. Atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements have been made by various methods trailing back to the beginning of the industrial age and before; the growth of fossil fuel usage, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and the rise of global temperatures over this period positively correlate, which of course doesn’t prove relationships, but ….Also, in spite of determined searching, no one has found any driver for the rapidity at which global warming is occurring other than human-generated greenhouse gasses. Two and two make four in my book, yet even the best correlations only suggest causal relationships. We need to dig deeper.

But, wait. Many thousands of pages of research articles have been published reporting what many scientists are finding by collecting data on the melting ice caps, about mostly retreating glaciers, about the warming, increasingly acidic, and expanding ocean and the effects these are having, about the melting tundra, about expanding deserts and declining forests, rain and otherwise, and so on.

Jim Mastin: Do Not Privitize Our Garbage!


From JIM MASTIN
Mendocino County

To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

Dear Chair Brown,

Due to a series of meetings I must attend in Sacramento on Tuesday I am unable to personally address the Board regarding agenda item #5D (Review and Possible Adoption of Solid Wastes of Willits, Inc. Proposed Contract…). Please distribute my comments to the Board for their consideration.

As a resident of Mendocino County, former member of the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority and as a candidate for supervisor I strongly oppose the proposed contract and urge a no vote by the Board of Supervisors.

Many areas of the proposal should be of immediate concern (i.e., eliminating bi-lingual educational materials, lack of diversion performance requirements, elimination of wood and yard waste recycling at the Albion Transfer Station, failure of many performance compliance issues, reported overcharging of over half its customers including all of its South Coast customers, and more).

I understand that the County cannot afford to subsidize transfer station operations and that privatizing the operation is one option.

Another way would be for the County to raise gate fees and cut expenses sufficiently to allow the transfer stations to break even. That’s what’s being offered by Solid Waste of Willits, but does not give away control of our county’s waste stream.

In choosing between these courses of action, I hope that you will keep the following points in mind:

1.  Giving long-term extensions to Solid Wastes of Willits for its franchise collection contracts is a major benefit to them. Would the County — and the public — get fair value, or any value, from this concession?

2.  Fifteen years is a long term for an exclusive solid waste contract, especially if it has automatic rate adjustments that could substantially boost the gate fee every year. Can anyone predict if the gate fee will fairly reflect the actual costs of operation five years or ten years into the contract?

Is There Rehab For This Oil Overdose?


From CAROLYN BAKER
Speaking Truth To Power Blog

[...] Before the addict experiences a fatal overdose and ravages everyone and everything around him, there is always the choice to end the addiction and enter treatment. Treatment involves withdrawal from the substance, then taking a long, exhaustive, meticulous look inside oneself to confront the demon of the addiction. Much support is necessary; the addict cannot make the journey alone.

The Transition Handbook frames our dependence on hydrocarbon energy in terms of an addiction. We can blame, rationalize, project, deny-we can employ whatever defense mechanism we choose from humanity’s vast repertoire of them, but like the hard core addict, the human race is committing suicide. It is willing to kill every form of life in the oceans, cause the extinction of every species on earth, pollute every cubic inch of breathable air, poison every drop of water on the planet, and yes, enable an unfathomable cataclysm such as we are witnessing in the Gulf of Mexico at this moment, in order to perpetuate the lifestyle to which it feels entitled. Like all addictions, this one is both irrational and insane.

Every person who has chosen to research Peak Oil, climate change, global economic meltdown, species extinction, and population overshoot is not unlike an addict who has some moment of clarity in which he can actually choose to walk to the nearest rehab facility and fall on his face screaming for help. None of us can do that investigative work without the massive support of other “cheap energy addicts in recovery”. None of us can do it without a spiritual as well as a logistical recovery program which all authentic recovery absolutely requires.

Like the recovering addict there will be moments of terror about what the future holds,

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain


From BOOKREPORTER.COM

“…a warm hug of a story.”

In Garth Stein’s touching story, the appealing narrator is a dog named Enzo, who (of course) cannot communicate as he’d like to, by talking with his family. Instead, he pours his considerable heart and spirit into this book, sharing his experiences and reflections with readers. Although Enzo is frustrated with his limitations as a canine, he comforts himself with the fact that, according to a documentary he watched about Mongolia (Enzo is a dedicated television viewer), he will be reincarnated as a human. And he knows a lot about being a human after watching his master Denny Swift, who is a hero to him.

At the beginning of the book, Enzo is just barely clinging to life, so he spends time reflecting upon his past. As Denny, who is a race car driver, has told him, drivers cannot contemplate their moves while they make them. Racing is like living; you can only do it and then remember it at a later date. For Enzo, in these last days he immerses himself in memories.

His reminiscences begin with the day Denny chose him out of a heap of puppies, taking him from a country farm to an apartment in Seattle. Although Enzo doesn’t enjoy living there, he adores Denny and thus looks on this as a good life. He later develops a fondness for Eve, “the interloper,” who Denny falls in love with and marries. He stands in literally for Denny on the day that his daughter, Zoë, is born. Denny is off racing in Daytona, Florida while Enzo is at the new mother’s side.

For Denny, the joyous day of Zoë’s birth is overshadowed as his racing career takes a beating. After a year of obtaining sponsorships in order to enter the race, he loses this hard-won opportunity to shine when a driver on his team has an accident… More here
~~

PG&E Proposition 16 Update


From BILL McEWEN
The Fresno Bee

The mail the other day brought the usual offers for debt relief and loan modifications, along with something new: a slick flier declaring that Proposition 16 would stick up for people sick of government debt. I had a hard time deciding who peddled the biggest scam — the mortgage and credit card debt hustlers, or Pacific Gas & Electric, which is spending $35 million backing Proposition 16.

The utility monopoly is trying to rejigger the state constitution and protect its bottom line against start-up municipal power companies. And it’s using a deceptive advertising campaign for a law that would require two-thirds voter approval before local governments go into the power business or existing PG&E competitors expand their territories.

PG&E says Proposition 16, which is on the June ballot, is about choice, voice and transparency. But the so-called Taxpayers Right to Vote Act is more about limiting consumer choice, preserving monopolies and keeping utility rates high.

In the time since I last wrote about Proposition 16, opponents have been working to overcome PG&E’s deep pockets and cut through the baloney served by company shills. For example, John Geesman, a renewable energy advocate and former member of the California Energy Commission, uncovered the truth behind PG&E’s initiative by wading through the transcript of a company shareholders meeting. Geesman blogged thatPG&E  chief executive officer Peter Darbee told shareholders that the goal was to defeat local power choice once and for all instead of having to continually fend off the specter of customer defection. Darbee also speculated that voters would be receptive to Proposition 16 because of anti-government anger.

Regulating the disaster


From SHARON ASTYK
Casaubon’s Book Blog

As long as we desperately need oil to run our economy – and we have done virtually nothing to meaningfully transition off oil – we can clamor for regulation that will keep us safe, but cannot actually propose the measures that would work. We are too deeply invested in the cause.

We still don’t have the faintest idea how much oil is spewing out of the well in the Gulf. Nor do we have the faintest idea what the full environmental consequence of what may well be the biggest single-event human-caused. ecological disaster of all time (the very fact that I have to add the word “single-event” to that statement should tell you something). We know that it is almost certainly more than all the low estimates to date, and we know that the ecological consequences will be huge, lasting and we do not understand them.

That is, we know some of the potential effects, we know they will be horrible and devastating to oceans, wildlife, people, communities and the nation, that they will play out in ecologies both human and wild, in politics, economics, in day to day life in thousands and thousands of ways, all of them horrible. We know that the costs will be unendurable and we know that they will play out not over weeks, but over years and decades. And we also know that we don’t know what many of them will be. Consider this AP report:

The loop current could carry oil from the spill east and spread it about 450 miles to the Florida Keys, while the Louisiana coastal current could move the oil as far west as central Texas... More here
~~

A Plutocratic Universe


From GLENN W. SMITH
FireDogLake.com

It’s not lost on the elite that the world is fast approaching the inevitable global Resource Wars. And that means that in America, the real struggle is between democracy and plutocracy, as the plutocrats place as many barriers as possible (voter i.d., secrecy, assaults on privacy, great income disparity and enforced poverty) between the government and the governed. They may not affect a science-fiction escape to another planet, but they might escape to Dubai.

Autocrats, plutocrats, authoritarian ideologues and elitists of all stripes speak often of the people’s inability to govern themselves in a complex world that requires expertise – namely, the self-justifying expertise of the elite themselves. With surprising frankness, federal appeals court Judge Richard A. Posner summed up the elite’s paternalistic rationale:

Few citizens have the formidable intellectual and moral capacities (let alone the time) required for the role that [popular democracy] assigns to the citizenry…

The anti-democratic sentiment is hard enough to stomach. But what really galls is the blindness to an indisputable fact of history:  it’s the autocrats, plutocrats, dictators, duci, fuhrers, imperial presidents and corporate barons who have lacked the necessary “intellectual and moral capacities” to cope.

More at FireDogLake
~~

There’s a Reason We Need to Keep Reminding People About George W. Bush


From CROOKS AND LIARS

The other day, Rep. Ed Markey made the following mundane but true observation:

For years, the Bush administration’s oil strategy placed the granting of drilling leases ahead of safety review.

This irked Neil Cavuto no end:

Ipso-facto — Bush to blame for the big leak-o.

Just like he’s apparently behind that big thousand-point swing-o.

Just like he’s to blame for the unemployment rate that’s higher than when he left office, and the deficits that are much higher than any year he was in office.

All problems, all Bush, all the time — probably until the end of time.

Cavuto wants a “statute of limitations” on blaming Bush. “Just give it a break,” he pleaded.

Nuh-uh.

It’s true that the miseries we’re currently enduring are not merely the fault of the sole personage of George W. Bush, the man now widely viewed by conservatives as The Man Who Betrayed Conservative Values. He had lots and lots of help. In fact, he had millions of little helpers — all those movement conservatives who now want to pretend that he wasn’t a real conservative.

This is because, in reality, Bush is The Man Who Nearly Destroyed the American Economy. It wasn’t Bush’s “betrayal” of the “conservative values” they believe are so time-honored and proven that caused his abysmal failure — it was those values themselves, and Bush’s steady adherence to them throughout his tenure.

Plummeting Marijuana Prices Create A Panic In The Emerald Triangle


From KQED

For decades, illegal marijuana cultivation has been an economic lifeblood for three counties in northern California known as the Emerald Triangle.

The war on drugs and frequent raids by federal drug agents have helped support the local economy — keeping prices for street sales of pot high and keeping profits rich.

But high times are changing. Legal pot, under the guise of the California’s medical marijuana laws, has spurred a rush of new competition. As a result, the wholesale price of pot grown in these areas is plunging.

Demand Not Meeting Supply

In 1983, the Reagan administration launched a massive air and ground campaign to eradicate pot and lock up growers in northern California. Charley Custer, a writer and community activist, had just arrived to Humboldt County from Chicago. With the Reagan crackdown, Custer recalls, wholesale prices shot up — to as high as $5,000 a pound. That sudden and ironic windfall for those growers willing to risk prison time transformed the community.

“A lot of people were living on welfare and peanut butter and banana sandwiches for a long time before pot made it possible to be part of the middle class,” Custer says.

Nearly 30 years later, Custer says that boom may be over.

“Outdoor growers are having a hard time unloading their fall harvest,” Custer says. “And this is six months later and when some people do move it, they don’t get nearly the price they were hoping for.”

This Is What Happens Sometimes When You Play God


From ROBERT C. KOEHLER
Energy Bulletin

Dark Green

This is what happens sometimes when you play God:

“Birds dropped from the air. The sky rained mud. And, as men from the rig struggled to save themselves from the aftermath of (the) explosion . . . the Gulf of Mexico itself caught on fire.”

The Washington Post, covering a federal inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, summarized the scene, described by witnesses on a nearby supply ship, as “almost Biblical” – which is sort of a comic-book expression these days, but conjures up a moment of superstitious awe that, God knows, seems appropriate. This is love of nature stood on its head: nature as (wow!) spectacle. What a symbol for the profound alienation of our times.

And we’re all caught up in this crisis of faith, no matter where we position ourselves on the political spectrum. No matter how comfortable we are, no matter how securely gated our community, we live with profound insecurity, at the event horizon, you might say, of awareness: Civilization cannot go on this way. Our way of life is unsustainable. If we don’t destroy ourselves with our own nuclear-armed self-hatred, “nature” (as though this were a force separate from us) will do the job for us.

All of which brings me to the Dark Mountain Project, a growing movement out of the U.K. that challenges mainstream environmentalism, which it sees as hopelessly compromised, collusive with global capitalism and the myth of material progress, and tied to technical (rather than spiritual) solutions for the profound structural contradictions of Western civilization.

Investigations You Need To Read


From RYAN KNUTSON
ProPublica

A dose of accountability news:

  • Bloomberg tracked dollars around the world to show how companies avoid paying [1] billions in taxes through a method known as “transfer pricing.”
  • The New York Times reports that federal regulators skirted permit requirements [2] when allowing BP and other companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • In Texas, a stimulus program to weatherize homes has been executed so poorly [3]that 60 percent of the projects need to be redone, according to the Texas Watchdog.
  • More people in the military are being hospitalized [4] for mental disorders than for injuries, according to the USA Today. Last month was the first time that has occurred in the 15 years since tracking such data began.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is eyeing another part of Wall Street, reports The Wall Street Journal. This time, it’s looking at banks that sold municipal bonds yet set themselves up to profit from their failure [5] ($).

These stories are part of our ongoing roundup of investigations from other news outlets. For more, visit our Investigations Elsewhere page.
~~

My Bad


From TODD WALTON
Anderson Valley

(This article originally appeared in the Anderson Valley Advertiser May 2010)

I first heard the expression My Bad used on a basketball court circa 1975. The expression most likely came into being among jazz musicians, for many of the most popular expressions emanating from black America were first used by musicians and then quickly adapted to the basketball court. By the time these expressions were in common usage among white people, their original meanings were frequently distorted and even reversed. The most famous example of such reversal is the expression Up Tight. Originally an expression of praise for excellent playing by an improvising musician, and used with that original meaning by Little Stevie Wonder singing, “Up tight outta sight,” white folk eventually deformed the phrase to mean tense, as in “I am so uptight.” Fascinating, no?

My immediate inspiration for writing this piece is the catastrophic oil flood ongoing in the Gulf of Mexico and the grief my friends and I are feeling about the catastrophe. I refuse to call this horror a leak or a spill, for it is a flood that will likely render the Gulf of Mexico a dead sea for the rest of our mortal lives. So what does the ruination of the Gulf of Mexico have to do with the expression My Bad? I will tell you.

Nowadays the expression My Bad is generally used to mean My Mistake. Someone spills a cup of coffee and says, “Oops. My bad.” Or someone forgets to bring the beer and apologizes with, “Sorry. My bad.” But the original meaning of the expression was more profound than a simple apology. To illustrate: I am playing a game of basketball. My teammate makes a poor pass and despite my best effort I am barely able to touch the ball before it goes out of bounds.

Drug Stores vs. Natural Food Stores


Click To Enlarge
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Book Review: Women Food and God

From RAISE HEALTHY EATERS

Today on her show Oprah will announce that she will never diet again. Many of us who embrace a non-diet approach to healthy living are doing the happy dance. We’ve seen Oprah struggle and have been waiting for the day she would learn to eat more intuitively – and use her platform to get the message out.

The person responsible for Oprah’s “aha” moment is Geneen Roth, the author of the new bestseller, Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. Roth has gained and lost 1000 pounds in her lifetime bouncing between anorexia and obesity. When I heard of this book I rushed to the store and devoured it.

And, of course, I had to tell you all about it.

The premise
“No matter how developed you are in any other areas of your life, no matter what you say you believe, no matter how sophisticated or enlightened you think you are, how you eat says it all”

This is the crux of Roth’s message. After years of many highs and lows in both her weight and emotional state, she decided to give up the struggle with food and her body. She not only naturally fell to the right weight for her, she found her true self in the process.

Roth is not new to writing books or helping women conquer their issues with food. But for the first time the mainstream might be ready for what she has to say. Having Oprah’s endorsement is a major plus, but it helps that many women are tiring of the endless quest for the perfect weight, body and diet.

More here
~~

Michael Pollan Immortalized as Heirloom Tomato


From THE FOOD SECTION

Author and food luminary Michael Pollan has been widely praised for his thoughtful inquiries into how our food is produced and what it means for our health and environment. For his work and impact, he was recently named to Time‘s annual Time 100 list of noted figures.

So, it is not surprising that the next logical step in his apotheosis, would, of course, be his immortalization as an heirloom tomato.

According to anniesannuals.com:

‘Michael Pollan’ is an odd shaped mutant! (The tomato that is.) Egg shaped fruits are yellow with green stripes & some have little “nubbins” on the ends. Related to ‘Green Zebra’ but with a milder taste & a good amount of sweetness. Very popular in taste tests. Plus the bloom on this variety is reported to be quite showy. Nice! Named after the amazing author & teacher -whose books we highly recommend.

As esteemed as Pollan — the writer — may be, his tomato self is not immune from the vagaries of agriculture: “‘Michael Pollan’ is possibly susceptible to Blossom End Rot so make sure & water him evenly to prevent this from occurring. The tomato that is!”
~~

Dave Pollard: Integrating Six Models of a Better Way to Live


From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World Blog

Since I’ve retired I’ve been spending more time meeting with people in, and learning more about, six movements that are proposing, and working to implement, models of a better way to live. My motivation for this is simple: I believe our industrial civilization is going to collapse (in cascading spasms) in this century, and I want my grandchildren to have the tools and knowledge to deal with the crash and, if they survive it, to create a more sustainable society in its aftermath.

The six movements are:

  1. The Transition Movement: Originally developed to allow communities to prepare for the End of Oil and make the transition to a low-energy, renewable-energy future, this movement has now expanded its scope to encompass preparations to adapt to the effects of inevitable dramatic climate change in the coming decades.
  2. The Permaculture / Cradle-to-Cradle Sustainability Movements: Although the term “permaculture” is being generalized to include anything and everything related to economic and ecological sustainability, at its core it is about natural, sustainable food production and local food self-sufficiency. The Cradle-to-Cradle movement is the analogous (to permaculture) approach for production of other goods, with everything reused and restorable so there is no waste, no loss of value, ever.
  3. The Intentional Communities Movement: This movement is principally about encouraging cooperative and collective housing, though it extends to helping people find others with common values and helping them build on these values, and deal with the challenges of communal living, such as achieving consensus and resolving conflicts… More here
    ~~

How Do Christians Become Conservative?


From MIKE LUX
Progressive Strategies

Apparently since “the poor will always be with us”, we can go ahead and screw them. But Jesus making a prediction that there will always be oppressive societies doesn’t mean he wanted us to join the oppressors. By clinging desperately to that one verse in the Bible, and ignoring all the others about the poor and the rich, Christian conservatives show themselves to be hypocrites, plain and simple.

When you are in the political world, you have decisions to make every single day about who you will try to help and who you won’t. In spite of the earnest quest of good technocrats everywhere, the simple fact is that there are only a few win-win solutions. Who you tax, who you give a tax break to, what programs you cut or add to, who you tighten regulations on, and who you loosen them on, what kind of contractors are eligible for government work, which school districts and non-profit groups get federal money, etc: these political decisions are generally not win-win. Instead, they mean that one group of people win, and one group of people loses. It is the nature of politics, and you can’t take the politics out of politics.

The most fundamental difference between progressives and conservatives is that question of which side you are on. Conservatives believe that the rich and powerful got that way because they deserve to be, that society owes its prosperity to the prosperous, and that government’s job when they have to make choices is to side with those businesspeople who are doing well, because all good things trickle down from them. Progressives, on the other hand, believe it is the poor and those who are ill-treated who need the most help from their government, and that prosperity comes from all of us — the worker as well as the employer, the consumer as well as the seller, the struggling entrepreneur trying to make it as well as the wealthy who already have.

The Second Leg of the Great Depression Was Caused by European Defaults


From WASHINGTON’S BLOG

Many Americans know that the Great Depression was started by the bursting of the giant Wall Street bubble of the 1920’s (fueled by the use of bank deposits on speculative gambling, which is why Glass-Steagall was passed) , which in turn caused a run on American banks.

But most Americans don’t know that the second leg of the Depression was caused by European defaults.

As Yves Smith reminds us:

Recall that the Great Depression nadir was the sovereign debt default phase.

The second leg down of the Depression was larger than the first, as shown by this chart of the Dow:

The second leg down was primarily initiated by the failure of the Creditanstalt bank in Austria. Creditanstalt (also spelled Kreditanstalt) declared bankruptcy in May 1931.

As Time Magazine noted on November 2, 1931:

May 14 [1931]: First thunderclap of the present crisis: collapse in Vienna of Kreditanstalt, colossal Rothschild bank, which is taken over by the Austrian Government, shaking confidence in related German banks.

Underwater Oil Volcano: Worst Case Scenario (Updated)


From NATURAL NEWS

Reports about the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill have been largely underestimated, according to commentators, including Paul Noel, a Software Engineer for the U.S. Army at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. He believes that the pocket of oil that’s been hit is so powerful and under so much pressure that it may be virtually impossible to contain it. And Noel is not the only person questioning the scope of this disaster.

A recent story from the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reports that many independent scientists believe the leak is spewing far more than the 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, per day being reported by most media sources. They believe the leak could be discharging up to 25,000 barrels (more than one million gallons) of crude oil a day right now.

The riser pipe that was bent and crimped after the oil rig sank is restricting some of the flow from the tapped oil pocket, but as the leaking oil rushes into the well’s riser, it is forcing sand with it at very high speeds and “sand blasting” the pipe (which is quickly eroding its structural integrity).

According to a leaked National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration memo obtained by an Alabama newspaper, if the riser erodes any further and creates more leaks, up to 50,000 barrels, or 2.1 million gallons, per day of crude oil could begin flooding Gulf waters every day.

Real Systemic Risk


From THE AUTOMATIC EARTH

[...] The real, the main, the major systemic risk is not in the banking or even the economic system. It’s in the political system. And neither of them can or will eventually be saved.

The real systemic risk lies in the fact that politicians the world around operate on the premise that if they don’t rock the cradle of the banking herd too hard, they’ll survive to receive another round of hand outs and serve another term. And another. That and most of them are absolutely clueless when it comes to the field they’re supposed to oversee and regulate. And the only people who can tell them how and what are the lobbyists who work for the very parties they’re there to regulate.

That is real systemic risk. The kind that would affect you yourself. The political system versus the economic system. And they have become hard to tell apart, because they serve the same purpose.

The link to the oil disaster? Halliburton poured cement into “the hole” based on depth information they received from BP. Turned out, the problem was way deeper, and the pressure, therefore, was way stronger. And then it all blew.

What better metaphor for all of you to understand what’s going on in the marketplace today? The EU pours $1 trillion down the hole, but the hole is far deeper than anyone seems to realize. Perfect metaphor.

The markets in the days to come? Volatility rules. While all the stock exchanges had their lofty gains, the euro was at $1.2752 Friday afternoon, and it’s at $1.2757 right now. Does this require any further explanation? We’re counting down the days, weeks, maybe months.

Volatility, chaos, what’s next? Mayhem?!
~~

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