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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 16, 2018, 09:47:49 pm »

  March 15, 2018

Economic Benefits of Tax Cuts Should Have Arrived - Where Are They? 

Businesses have had plenty of time to take Trump's corporate tax cuts into account for their investment plans. However, as CEPR's Dean Baker reports, this has not happened. Instead, they 😈 spent their tax windfall on stock buybacks


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 16, 2018, 09:36:23 pm »

March 15, 2018

Senate 😈 Expands 'Lobbyist Bill' 👹 to Deregulate Real Estate

New measures added to the financial deregulation bill include the deregulation of commercial real estate, which threatens to re-create the conditions that led to the 2008 financial crisis, says Bill Black

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 16, 2018, 05:27:07 pm »

Economic Update: Capitalism   Breeds Inequality

Friday, March 16, 2018

By Richard D. Wolff, Truthout | 📢 Audio Segment

This week's episode discusses how globalization has worsened inequality and injustice, how Quebec's doctors are rejecting pay increases, the significance of the YMCA workers' strike in Chicago, and the growing Japanese co-op movement. This episode also includes an interview with single-payer activist Tim Faust on medical care and insurance in the US today.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 15, 2018, 12:40:28 pm »

March 15, 2018

Trump's 🦀 Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US

Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs will only make it more difficult for US producers that depend on these resources, while also initiating trade retaliation from trade partners says Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson is a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the author of many books, including The Bubble and Beyond, and Finance Capitalism and its Discontents, Killing the Host- How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy, and most recently J is for Junk Economics: A Survivor's Guide to Economic Vocabulary in an Age of Deception.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 12, 2018, 05:58:16 pm »

You can understand why William is not a favorite of the MSM and is considered on the fringe. If these kinds of thoughts and opinions are not ones you can even ponder, then reading further would be a waste of your valuable time.                                                         

Gold Oil Dollars Russia and China
By F. William Engdahl

http://www.williamengdahl.com/englishNEO13Sep2017.php  :icon_study: :icon_study: :icon_study:

I do believe that I have posted up articles by FWE before, and if RE says he has, I believe him. I know his name is known in this pissoir.

As you might imagine, I am real light on the Larouche nonsense and disagree as regards AGW. On the other hand, if his premise in the quote you posted is that the elites will use any crisis, including environmental, to enrich themselves and immiserate others, then I agree. Naomi Klein calls this, "disaster capitalism," as most recently seen in Puerto Rico.

IN terms of the subject of this article, the premise FWE lays out is a familiar one, and in this regard he sounds much like Pepe Escobar and his "New Silk Road" articles. RE disagrees, and thinks the Chinese are "toast," as seen in his recurrent meme. I think that China v. the West is the old story of the hare and the turtle. We measure results by the month and quarter; the Chinese are playing a long game, and making a series of smart moves from trade deals to construction to the above-mentioned oil bourse.

Meaning TPTB in the FSA will get their hats handed to them. That's the good news; the bad news is that you and I will be the ones to pay the bills via a reduced standard of living. If you consider that inevitable, then the logic of gold becomes a lot more apparent.

Unless you believe that the USG could declare gold ownership illegal, and come and take it. Naw, that couldn't happen here.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 11, 2018, 03:59:36 pm »

Somewhat unintuitively, American corporations   today enjoy many of the same rights as American citizens. Both, for instance, are entitled to the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. How exac…
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 11, 2018, 03:51:41 pm »

Even as Congress drops the ball on crucial issues like gun control and DACA, lawmakers 🐉🦕😈🦖🦀 plan to move forward this week with something virtually no one is demanding: bank deregulation. Republicans are …

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 09, 2018, 10:42:38 pm »

Economic Update: Winds 💨 of Economic Change

Friday, March 09, 2018

By Richard D. Wolff, Truthout | Audio 🔊 Segment

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 09, 2018, 09:38:27 pm »

Predatory Payday Lenders 👹 Are Loans You'll Never Be Able To Pay Back (Guest Mike Papantonio)

We all have times when we could use a loan but deregulation means that you could be paying it off for the rest of your life

Thom Hartmann Mar. 8, 2018 3:00 pm

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 09, 2018, 09:27:00 pm »

Income Inequality 🚩and Neoliberalism 🏴‍☠️  are Destroying 💣 Our Economy Richard Wolff

Income Inequality could be so dangerous it destroys the American Economy

Thom Hartmann Mar. 8, 2018 2:30 pm

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 09, 2018, 08:08:18 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: More evidence that the world economy is in a boom phase, far from even a hint of a collapse. 🕵️

World’s Largest Tandem-Lift Container Cranes Arrive at MedPort Tangier Terminal

March 5, 2018 by Mike Schuler

APM Terminals’ MedPort Tangier terminal in Morrocco is set to open in 2019. Photo: APM Terminals

APM Terminals’ MedPort Tangier terminal, located on the Strait of Gibraltar, has seen the arrival of three new giant container cranes capable of handling the largest vessels now plying the Asia/Europe trade lane.

The three cranes, weighing 2,500 tons apiece, represent the largest double trolley ship-to-shore (STS) cranes ever built, and are designed specifically to handle vessels carrying 22,000 twenty-foot containers or more. When boomed up, each crane has a height of 144m and an outreach of 72m with twin-lift/tandem capability. They are also cranes remotely-operated, making for fast, safe and efficient loading and unloading services particularly suited for larger ships, according to APM Terminals.

The MedPort Tangier terminal, which is set to open in 2019m is strategically located on the Strait of Gibraltar, one of the world’s busiest and most important shipping lanes with more than 60,000 vessels passing through it each year.

Photo: APM Terminals

According to APM Terminals, the terminal operating unit of Danish conglomerate Maersk, the high-tech terminal will serve as a trans-shipment hub for Maersk Line vessels and its alliance partners and help improve global supply chain performance by attracting more vessel calls and creating more routing options.

Keith Svendsen, Chief Operating Officer of APM Terminals said, “Maersk Line commissioned APM Terminals to build and operate APM Terminals MedPort Tangier so we are designing it around the customer by integrating operational excellence, the most modern cargo handling equipment and an ideal location for connecting global supply chains. This creates the necessary port capacity for the future. Equally important, this port creates another wave of future investment momentum in Morocco as a business and trade center.”

“These cranes use digital technology to ensure the most efficiency during their movements. This will help us to deliver increased productivity throughout the process from lifting a container box off the ship, until it is delivered to its stack in the yard, and vice-versa,” added Dennis Olesen, Managing Director, APM Terminals MedPort Tangier.

A video of the cranes’ arrival at Medport Tangier is below:


How does Tandemlift work? Machineroom + Cabin view how these Massive cranes lift up to 130TON!

Container World

Published on Sep 17, 2017

Look how Belgium, England and South Africa do their tandem lifts! We received great footage of a working machineroom of a STS Tandem crane in the Port of Antwerp on the PSA terminal. I made this compilation to give you a better view inside and outside the Tandem STS Cranes! The maximum lifting capacity of the cranes in Belgium is 130ton in the cables and up to 100ton under the spreader.
Please give it a like and comment to help this channel up!

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 07, 2018, 11:26:36 pm »

Former Congressman David Stockman Warns 🚩 Of Unimaginable Economic Catastrophe😱

Former Congressman David Stockman warns that there will be an economic disaster.

Thom Hartmann Mar. 6, 2018 3:00 pm
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 07, 2018, 10:29:44 pm »

March 6, 2018

Financial Deregulation 😈 💵 🎩 Bill 'Guts' Dodd-Frank

Republican Senators - with 12 Democratic co-sponsors - are pushing through a financial deregulation bill that with dismantle the post-financial crisis Dodd-Frank regulations, in the name of helping community banks. But this is just a pretext, says former financial regulator 🕵️ Bill Black

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 07, 2018, 10:03:04 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: This is more evidence of a boom in world economic activity. In the light of this evidence, it is ridiculous to claim a collapse is anywhere on the horizon.

🔊  Expanded Panama Canal Marks 3,000 Vessel Crossings

March 6, 2018 by gCaptain

The MSC Caterina becomes the 3,000th vessel to transit through the Expanded Panama Canal, March 2, 2018. Photo: Panama Canal Authority

More than 3,000 vessels have now transited the Expanded Panama Canal less than two years since the new locks opened for business, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced.

The containership MSC Caterina marked the 3,000 vessel milestone during a northbound passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean last Friday. The Panamanian-flagged vessel measures 300 feet in length, 48 meters in beam, and has a total capacity of 9,000 twenty-foot containers (TEU). It was one of nine so-called Neopanamax vessels to transit through the new locks that day.

Since its opening on June 26, 2016, the Expanded Panama Canal has exceeded initial traffic expectations impacting global trade from container shipping to LNG to tankers. According to the ACP, of those first 3,000 vessels, roughly 53 percent have been from the container segment. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessels constitute another 28 percent, and liquified natural gas (LNG) carriers 💣, an entirely new segment for the Panama Canal, count for 10 percent of traffic.

Dry and liquid bulk carriers, car carriers and cruise ships make up the remaining transits.

Today’s milestone, achieved in less than two years of operation, serves as a proud reminder of the confidence that our customers and the broader maritime industry have placed in our route,” said Canal Administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano.

Previously, the MSC Anzu became the 1000th transit on March 19, 2017, and the COSCO Yantian registered the 2,000th transit on September 26, 2017. Other notable transits can seen an our earlier post, 1,000 Vessels Throuh the Expanded Panama Canal.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 02, 2018, 08:05:17 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Notice the interesting group of Fossil Fuel Fascists 🐉🦕🦖 in the above list. Yeah, I know. They just DO what they DO.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 02, 2018, 05:36:54 pm »

SNIPPET from article by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog:

Meanwhile, back in the real-world economy, wage earners' share of the economy continues stair-stepping down as every risk-asset bubble eventually pops: (Chart at article link)

Back in the good old days, corporate profits were the foundation of rising stock valuations. But corporate profits have stagnated while stocks have soared. (Chart at article link)

Gordon and I discuss the inconvenient reality that risk cannot be destroyed, it can only be transferred to others. So who's holding the hot potato of systemic risk now? the short answer: every participant holding risk assets, which now includes virtually every asset class.

Suppressing volatility does not mean risk has vanished; rather, it means that risk is increasing as accurate information on systemic risk is being suppressed. The global financial system is becoming increasingly fragile and thus more prone to collapse, and an artificially low measure of volatility doesn't change this reality.

Full article:


Agelbert NOTE: IOW, Da Fed 🐊 AIN'T gonna save da stock mahket, PERIOD.

Charles Hugh Smith is RIGHT!
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 01, 2018, 05:35:14 pm »

Eddie said:

Stockman is a late life convert to reality. He's decided in his old age to try to make money by being a pundit. He isn't saying anything other people weren't saying years before he jumped on the bandwagon. He's gotten some traction off Zero Hedge and his one-time political connections. He's right in a general sense, sure, but he hasn't told me (or you) anything we didn't know already.

I am in agreement with Stockman on his long term macro view. But I have learned that macro forces have nothing to do with short term market conditions, other than how they affect investor sentiment. Sentiment trumps macro every time. We have nearly ten years of proof.
Powell is bankster scum. I hate the Federal Reserve. But I try to stay reality based. I really don't care at all what happens to the S&P, other than I hope my life insurance company doesn't go broke over it. I have minuscule exposure and no axe to grind whatsoever.

I'm at work. Later I'll post some charts that clearly show that crash is not a word to use yet. It's no doubt coming at some point, but not now unless we have a real Black Swan (i.e.a war). BTW, my tiny pot stock portfolio has been up yesterday and today. In a real crash I doubt that'd be the case, honestly.

Sorry Eddie, but all the charts you wish to post are not applicable when it comes to the numerous charts and hard realities Stockman pointed out (that you are too stubborn to accept).

Stockman is no dummy. And you are no top notch finance expert. Here's another top notch finance expert (Paul Tudor Jones) that basically has the same picture of the TRUMP SLUMP CRASH of 2018 as Stockman does. Go ahead and pretend Paul Tudor Jones 'doesn't know what he is talking about' if you wish, but that 'attack the messenger' thing only further undermines your credibility.

An Apocalyptic Paul Tudor Jones Warns The Fed Is About To Lose Control


... the most notable part of the interview, and where PTJ's most apocalyptic sentiment shines through, is his description of where he sees Fed Chair Powell right now: as General Custer before the Battle of Little Big Horn, a battle which - at least in the history books - was lost.

Let me describe to you where I think Jerome Powell is right now as he takes the reins at the Fed. I would liken Powell to General George Custer before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, looking down at an array of menacing warriors. On the left side of the battlefield are the Stocks—the S&P 500s, the Russells, and the NASDAQs—which have grown, relative to the economy, to their largest point not just in US history, but in world history. They have generally been held at bay and well-behaved, but they are just spoiling to show their true color: two-way volatility. They gave you a taste of that in early February. Look to the middle and there waits the army of Corporate Credit, which is also larger than ever relative to the economy, as ultra-low rates have encouraged it to gain in size, stature, and strength. This army is a little more docile right now, but we know its history, and it can be deadly when stressed. And then on the right are the Foreign Currency Fighters, along with the Crypto Tribe, an alternative store of value that only exists because of the games central banks are playing; the opportunity cost of Crypto is so low, why not own some? The Foreign Currency Fighters have strengthened by 10% over the past year. Compounding the problem, they have a powerful, ascending leader, the renminbi, to challenge the US dollar’s hegemony as the reserve currency. All of these forces have been drawn to the battlefield because of our policy experiment with sustained negative real rates.

So Powell looks behind him to retreat. But standing there is none other than Inflation Nation, led by the fiercest warmongers of them all: the Commodities. He might take comfort that he is not alone on the battlefield. But then he looks over at the Washington, DC, fiscal battalion 🦀 and realizes they  are drunk on 5% deficit beer. That’s what Powell is facing, whether he recognizes it or not. And how he navigates this is going to be fascinating to watch.

Full article:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 01, 2018, 03:04:02 pm »

2% down day? Crash? Dude, the S&P has not even touched the 50 day MA on a pull back since June of 2016.

As much as some people want to have a crash, this ain't a crash. NOT EVEN CLOSE. What this really is...is a 2nd ripple from the last little rock Powell threw into the pond. It'll most likely be a smaller ripple, followed by more irrational exuberance.

And it wasn't an accident. Powell caused it to happen to cool the overheated markets...and it worked, a little bit, because you're not the only one who calls a 2% dip a crash. Maybe that makes him the Great and Mighty Oz, for the moment. Sustainable? Of course not.

But the ten year yield is FALLING. Making lower highs and lower lows, at the moment. The most likely thing is a big up day tomorrow.

Anything can happen. But the ingredients for a crash aren't here yet. jmho

Uh huh.  I do believe you have been singing that 'Powel will save us' song for quite a while. You are wrong, Eddie, David Stockman is right, Eddie. His opinion is based on reality based data. But, of course, you are always entitled to your opinion (see below).


Eddie, don't forget to add the DJIA 300 and the 380 DOWN points in the last two days to your TODAY's 'no crash here' down percentage calculations.  ;)

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: March 01, 2018, 02:08:50 pm »


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 28, 2018, 04:50:01 pm »

Dow Jones 🌠 hit by worst fall since 2008

Fedruary 5, 2018 17 minutes ago

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has plunged by nearly MORE THAN ;D a 1,000 points in the biggest one day falls since the financial crisis.

The leading US stock market index is down 4% at 24,484.15.

It is the worst drop in points since September 2008 when a plan to rescue the US banking industry was rejected.

The decline extends losses on Friday, when strong wage growth data raised the prospect of accelerated interest rate rises.

Monday's sell-off surpasses a 777.68 points drop on the Dow Jones on 29 September 2008 when Congress rebuffed a $700bn bank bailout plan following the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers earlier that month.

The decline in the Dow was closely followed by the wider S&P 500 stock index, down 2.93% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq, down 3.2%.

London's main share index, the FTSE 100, closed down 1.46% while earlier, the biggest markets in Asia fell between 1% and 2.5%.

The decline followed months of market increases, which had fuelled concerns that share prices were over valued.

The Dow's dramatic fall marks a turnaround from January, when it raced past the 25,000 and 26,000 point milestones in less than a month.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: "Equity traders were enjoying a bullish run recently, and the jolt from the major decline in the US last Friday has triggered a worldwide round of profit taking."

US shares suffer sharpest drop since 2016

The Dow Jones rose more than 25% in 2017 - a year which was also unusual for its lack of sharp moves.

"There is going to be more volatility this year, " Andrew Wilson chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, told the BBC.

"We are in a cycle where central banks are reducing the amount of bonds they are buying and some central banks putting up interest rates," he said.

Strong wage gains reported on Friday provided a catalyst for the most recent losses, as investors saw it as a sign that inflation and interest rates might move faster than previously anticipated.

On Friday there was a hefty 4% loss for shares in Apple, which had been one of the markets' star performers in recent years.

That selling came despite a solid trading update from the company.


Credit where credit is due.

Call it the TRUMP SLUMP.

Surly: You were, and still are, SPOT ON about the TRUMP 🦀 SLUMP!


David Stockman: "This Time Is Completely Different...But Not In A Good Way"

by Tyler Durden 

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 15:00

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog


In other words, we are now at nearly the same cycle duration as in March 2000 (month #104 vs. #109) and at the almost the same insane PE multiple (26.9X  vs. 29.4X), but these current unsustainable valuations are coming off a dramatically weaker performance trend. In fact, the current 10-year earnings growth rate of 2.3% is just one-fourth of that recorded during the tech boom of the 1990s.

So it would be fair to say that the Trump Trade is already way over its skis, and that's before we consider the "Trump"🦀 element of the equation. That is to say, the self-proclaimed King of Debt has now panicked Imperial Washington into an utterly lunatic fiscal binge at the very tail end of the business cycle, which will result in a 6% of GDP or higher borrowing rate.

That represents the exact opposite of the relatively benign conditions which prevailed when the market was last at these valuation extremes exactly 18 years ago.


In other words, Washington had used the great (but unsustainable) tech boom to get its fiscal house in a semblance of order. By contrast, the most polite way to characterize policy during the so-called expansion of the Bernanke-Yellen era is that Washington looked a gift horse in the mouth and then blew its head off.🌪

Full article with reality based charts: ;D


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 22, 2018, 05:47:28 pm »

David Stockman: "This Time Is Completely Different...But Not In A Good Way"

by Tyler Durden 

Thu, 02/22/2018 - 15:00

Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog


In other words, we are now at nearly the same cycle duration as in March 2000 (month #104 vs. #109) and at the almost the same insane PE multiple (26.9X  vs. 29.4X), but these current unsustainable valuations are coming off a dramatically weaker performance trend. In fact, the current 10-year earnings growth rate of 2.3% is just one-fourth of that recorded during the tech boom of the 1990s.

So it would be fair to say that the Trump Trade is already way over its skis, and that's before we consider the "Trump"🦀 element of the equation. That is to say, the self-proclaimed King of Debt has now panicked Imperial Washington into an utterly lunatic fiscal binge at the very tail end of the business cycle, which will result in a 6% of GDP or higher borrowing rate.

That represents the exact opposite of the relatively benign conditions which prevailed when the market was last at these valuation extremes exactly 18 years ago.


In other words, Washington had used the great (but unsustainable) tech boom to get its fiscal house in a semblance of order. By contrast, the most polite way to characterize policy during the so-called expansion of the Bernanke-Yellen era is that Washington looked a gift horse in the mouth and then blew its head off.🌪

Full article with reality based charts: ;D

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 17, 2018, 07:55:28 pm »

February 16, 2018

The Free Market  🐉🦕🦖🦀 Threat🌪 to Democracy 🕊🌈🦋

Democratic institutions are not under stress--they're under aggressive attack, as unconstrained financial greed overrides democratic decisions, says economist John Weeks


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 16, 2018, 10:56:23 pm »

We ARE in a Slow Motion Depression!

Economist and President of the Institute for the Study of Long Term Economic Trends, Michael Hudson joins the program today to warn us that the stock market isn't the economy, the economy is in much worse shape than the Stock Market!

Thom Hartmann Feb. 15, 2018 3:30 pm
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 13, 2018, 06:06:59 pm »


It is the nature of organized investment markets, under the influence of purchasers largely ignorant of what they are buying and speculators who are more concerned with forecasting the next shift of market sentiment than with a reasonable estimate of future yield of capital - assets, that, when disillusion falls upon an over-optimistic and over-bought market, it should fall with sudden and catastrophic force. -  JM Keynes

James Montier : This Is A "Greater Fool Bubble" And I'm Getting Out

by Tyler Durden 

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 16:53


How does one explain the existence of this particular "greedy bear"? To Montier 🦋 the cognitive dissonance noted above is a function of the Fed-reflated bubble the US finds itself in: the near rational - or cynical - bubble, also known as the greater fool bubble. Here's Montier:

I am not a great fan of this nomenclature as it suggests a veneer of respectability that I find undeserved. To me  these are really better described as greater fool markets. They are cynical bubbles in that those 🦖 buying the asset in question don’t really believe they are buying at fair price (or intrinsic value), but rather are buying because they 🦖 want to sell to someone else 🐵 at an even higher price before the bubble bursts. Chuck Prince 🦀, the former CEO of Citibank, aptly demonstrated the typical cynical bubble mentality when in July of 2007 he uttered those fateful words, “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We are still dancing.”

Full article:

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 12, 2018, 09:20:44 pm »

February 9, 2018

Unregulated 🦖 Financial Markets Created a Stock Bubble

The current average price-to-earnings ratio of stocks is still far above the historic average, so we should not be surprised that there is a stock bubble and that it burst, explains PERI economist Robert Pollin.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 12, 2018, 09:06:19 pm »

February 12, 2018

Trump 🦀 Privatizes 🦖 America

Trump's infrastructure privatization plan is a hat trick that optimistically turns $200 billion into $1.5 trillion, is designed to eliminate the public sector and to bankrupt cities and states, says economist Michael Hudson.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 12, 2018, 08:35:48 pm »

Book Reading: "Free Trade Doesn't Work' by Ian Fletcher

Thom reads from 'Free Trade Does Not Work' by author Ian Fletcher.

Thom Hartmann Feb. 10, 2018 8:31 am

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 10, 2018, 05:23:08 pm »

Agelbert NOTE: Published over a year ago, this article accurately predicted what Trump 🦀 and his wrecking crew would do 🌪 to this country. But more importantly, it explains why 'greed is good' true believers 🦖 in general, and Capitalism 🦀 in particular, doom human civilization to collapse.

Extinction is the End Game

Saturday Dec 2016

Posted  by xraymike79 in Capitalism, Climate Change, Consumerism, Corporate State, Ecological Overshoot, Environmental Degradation, Peak Oil, Pollution, Wall Street Fraud   

Civilizations are living organisms striving to survive and develop through predictable stages of birth, growth, maturation, decline and death. An often overlooked factor in the success or failure of civilizations are cultural memes—the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors passed down from generation to generation. Cultural memes are a much more significant driver of human evolution than genetic evolution. Entire civilizations have been weeded out when their belief system proved maladaptive to a changing environment. One such cultural meme holding sway over today’s governments, institutions, and society is our economic system of capitalism. The pillars of capitalism represent a belief system so ingrained in today’s culture that they form a sort of cargo cult amongst its adherents. Cargo cults are any of the various Melanesian religious groups which focused on obtaining material wealth(manufactured Western goods that came on cargo ships) through magical thinking, religious rituals and practices. Today the term “cargo cult” is used to describe a wide variety of phenomena that involve superficial imitation of a process or system in order to fabricate a successful outcome without even the basic understanding of its mechanism.

The tenets of capitalism are ritually followed in the proclaimed belief that “a rising tide lifts all boats”, i.e. so-called improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy. Centuries of unbridled capitalism have demonstrated beyond any doubt that it does not lift all boats. A new study finds that half of Americans are “shut off from economic growth”. The rules of the game are so stacked against the masses that this week a professor said “only all-out thermonuclear war might fundamentally reset the existing distribution of resources.” Capitalism’s imperative for expansion, growing profit levels, and efficiency has ultimately dehumanized our culture.

Not even when our basic life support systems are being torn asunder do the vast majority question the path we are on. We are all a captive audience to the system and those few dissident voices are snuffed out under the wheels of “progress”.

Truth be told, the corporate elite    have long written off all those people living hand to mouth. Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary said, unlike workers, machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” Massive global unemployment resulting from the automation revolution has not yet been addressed by governments. Roughly half of all jobs in the U.S. are at risk of automation and two-thirds in the developing countries. This is all coming at a time when humans are fast destroying the ecosystems underpinning the very foundation upon which human civilization has developed over thousands of years. Mass migration of climate refugees will only further destabilize governments, stoke ethnic and cultural tensions, and give rise to fascist political movements. No conspiracy is needed to exterminate the “useless eaters”, just allow mother nature to take its course and climate change will be killing billions by mid century.

Those in military planning know this and periodically express their fear of what is coming, but business-as-usual rolls on.

Capitalism’s constant impetus to shift costs, risks, and burdens off industry and onto the environment and society carries on under the guise of “being more competitive”. It’s a way of externalizing costs to maximize profit and if these costs were truly taken into account, none of the world’s top industries would be profitable (Interestingly, the link to this study has been scrubbed from the internet).

It’s the height of magical thinking to put so much faith in some mystical “invisible hand of the free market” to solve existential threats such as an ever-widening wealth gap and the wholesale destruction of planetary life-support systems. There is no benevolent “invisible hand” turning individual self-interest into the common good. The primary mandate of capitalism is to protect and grow capital. The “invisible hand” is just a bunch of people 🦀 scrambling to make as much money as possible, not caring or oblivious to those they hurt in the process. F u c k the invisible hand of the market. The invisible hand of mother nature will punish those who squander Earth’s rich but finite resources.

It’s been clear for some time that we have past the point of no return, triggering multiple tipping points in Earth’s living systems. New findings are continually confirming scientists’ worst nightmares. A key glacier in the Antarctic that holds back 10 feet of sea level rise was just described as breaking apart from the inside out. In other grim news, the long feared carbon bomb has now been quantified and is projected to release the emissions equivalent of an industrial country like the U.S. in the next few decades, prompting researchers to say that “climate change may be considerably more rapid than we thought it was.” Biodiversity loss is another critical threshold we have breeched: “New research shows that local extinctions have already occurred in 47% of the 976 plant and animal species studied.” A new study also reveals that the planet’s tallest animal is facing extinction after its numbers have plummeted in recent years, with the ominous warning that “many species are slipping away before we can even describe them.” Forests are being wiped out by armies of invasive insects. Because of a rapidly changing climate and the vast scale of the problem, the idea that reforestation will somehow save us is a pipe dream. Those forests won’t stay healthy enough to serve as carbon sinks and besides, seven times Earth’s land area would need to be in cultivation in order to reduce the planet’s atmospheric CO2 level down to 350ppm.

Biodiversity hot spots of 80% of biosphere's species endangered by Global Warming Pollution

Note that the Permian Mass extinction is estimated to have happened anywhere over the course of 200,000 years to 15 million years. The current 6th mass extinction is happening orders of magnitude faster due to a multitude of factors including deforestation, habitat fragmentation, chemical pollution, poaching, etc., making this current disaster very unique in Earth’s history:

The team of geologists and biologists say that our current extinction crisis is unique in Earth’s history due to four characteristics: the spread of non-native species around the world; a single species (us) taking over a significant percentage of the world’s primary production; human actions increasingly directing evolution; and the rise of something called the technosphere. – Link

Perhaps the fate of humans was written in stone once we stood upright and developed tools. To a large degree, modern technology has been an expression of the energy-dense hydrocarbon fuels we discovered and are not willingly giving up anytime soon. Once fossil fuels ignited the Industrial Revolution and the Haber–Bosch process unleashed the human population bomb, nothing could stop the deadly carbon consumption feedback loop, not even decades of scientific warnings.

From a throwback to our primate ancestors, modern humans have been hard-wired to ignore threats that are not immediate or local; global ecological overshoot(of which climate is just one aspect) is imperceptible to the real-time cognitive processing of humans and represents the ultimate under-the-radar threat able to undermine our reasoning and response:

Psychological concepts of how we view the world around us, including ‘creeping normalcy’ or ‘landscape amnesia’, block day-to-day comprehension of what accelerating human activities represent—whether it is human population, the number of dammed rivers, forest destruction, or the impact of motor car emissions in a timespan that is geologically brief. Creeping normalcy refers to slow trends concealed in noisy fluctuations that people get used to without comment, while landscape amnesia describes forgetting how different the landscape looked 20–50 years ago (Diamond 2005: 425).

In his study of how societies fail, biogeographer Jared Diamond calls global warming a pre-eminent example of a ‘slow trend concealed by wide up and down fluctuations’ (2005: 425). He likens the denial of climate change impacts by leading politicians, including former US president George W. Bush (and his contemporary John Howard in Australia), in the late 1990s and early 2000s to the elite of ‘the medieval Greenlanders [who] had similar difficulties recognizing that their climate was gradually becoming colder, and the Maya and Anasazi (in Central and North America) [who] had trouble discerning that theirs was becoming drier’ (2005: 425). – link

We evolved to react to imminent dangers, not slow-rolling and seemingly invisible catastrophes as an unintended consequence of our cushy lifestyle. From lofty corporate boardrooms to the filthy streets of skid row, the mass of humanity is following the same biological script of overshoot and collapse seen in every organism from bacteria to reindeer herds. Fossil fuels only enabled the destruction to multiply a million-fold, culminating in one final and spectacular explosion of human activity that will leave the planet nearly barren for eons.

Open-ended growth appears to be inherent in nature, all the way from the DNA to the arthropods to mammals, including humans. Open-ended growth is the psychology of a cancer cell. I am not sure I know of a species which has learnt how to limit its own growth. Unfortunately species which transcend their environmental resources can hardly survive – the final arbiter of the climate impasse will be nature itself. ~ Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleo-climate scientist, Australian National University

The beauty and wonder of this planet is being trashed by a naked ape whose cleverness in tool-building has far outstripped his ability to handle it in any restrained or judicious manner. Nature’s rich book of life is being pancaked into a cheap, crumpled comic book.

Add in the development of mass consumerism, planned obsolescence, and the hypnosis of corporate-sponsored TV and you have a passive, malleable population happily marching towards the slaughterhouse. It’s fitting, then, that the masses would be swindled by a megalomaniac bankruptcy artist who dabbled in Reality TV.

Every one of Trump’s cabinet picks is a big middle finger in the faces    of those who fell for his pseudo-populist rhetoric: billionaires, Wall Street sharks , Goldman Sachs alumni , and hard core laissez-faire capitalists chomping at the bit to deregulate, monetize, and privatize every last bit of what remains.

The allure of capitalism has always been that you’re just one lucky break away from becoming one of those fat cats, if only someone would give you a chance. A prescient observation by Ugo Bardi from earlier this year:

Trump is a symptom of the ongoing breakdown of the social pact…capitalizing on this breakdown by…playing on the attempt of the white (former) middle class to maintain at least some of its previous prosperity and privileges. Trump is…an unavoidable consequence of resource depletion. – Link

The bottom line is that a swing towards authoritarianism happens when resources become scarce.

Climate change is simply a symptom of humans overshooting the planet’s carrying capacity. Free market ideologues 🦀 🦕 🦖 🐉are nearly always climate ‘skeptics’ ;) because acknowledging the reality of human-induced climate change would be an admission that industry must be curtailed or controlled. Left-leaning people nearly always accept the science because it goes along with their criticisms of capitalism which externalizes social and environmental costs for the benefit of just a few at the top of the economic hierarchy. Thus we see parasitic Trump 🦀 surrounding himself with right-wing, climate denying, fossil fuel corporatists and insiders who will be doing everything in their power to dismantle health and environmental regulations including privatizing social services which are barriers to capitalist expansion.

To be blunt, our chance of developing a sustainable culture passed us by a long time ago. People will try to adapt until they cannot, and myths will be created to explain away harsh realities. A dystopic future in all its horrific glory has arrived: baked-in biospheric collapse, the inherent and irreconcilable contradictions of techno-capitalism, a dysfunctional political system unable to come to terms with root causes, and the cognitive dissonance of the masses blind to the bigger picture.

Our numbers are not a safeguard from extinction.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 09, 2018, 02:04:35 pm »

Has Oil’s 🦖 Downfall 🌠 Started?

By Robert Scott  | Feb 9, 2018   1:20 pm EST

US crude oil


On February 8, 2018, US crude oil’s March 2018 futures fell 1% and closed at $61.15 per barrel. ETFs that replicate US crude oil futures’ returns like the United States Oil ETF (USO) and the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (UCO) fell 2.3% and 4.4% on the same day.

Read more:


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: February 08, 2018, 06:58:17 pm »

We Have to Stop Pretending Our Economy is Working (w/Guest Richard Wolff)

Dr. Richard Wolff joins us today to talk about what happens if we don't stop pretending that our economy is working for anyone but the super rich, as we may be starting on the long road of endless recessions, depressions amid a long term downward spiral.

Thom Hartmann Feb. 7, 2018 2:30 pm

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