Sunday, May 31, 2009



Michael C. Ruppert

May 28, 2009 7:30 PM, PDT -- Here's the first headline: "Russia Fears Korea Conflict Could Go Nuclear".

There were three humongous stories in the news today about Russia. All are connected. What this one says clearly is that this is serious. Russians are not ones to raise alarm and when they do... everybody listens. Russia has a border with North Korea. Russia is preparing militarily in case the conflict goes hot. That would include containment, possible evacuations, medical treatment, and protection of critical oil and gas infrastructure in the region. With Putin condemning North Korea and Medvedev urging caution against hasty action in the UN, it's clear that Russia is doing some serious back-channeling with Pyongyang and stalling for time. It has alerted the whole world that a nuclear war might be imminent. Russia holds a permanent seat on the UN Security Council with veto power. So does China.

Here's the second headline: “Arctic Natural Gas is Mostly Russian”. This is an absolute min-blower. First, almost all the energy in the Arctic is natural gas and not oil. The USGS survey, just released, says that only 2%-3% of all the oil yet-to-be-discovered is there. That’s nothing and I doubt it’s worth the cost to develop… unless Uncle Sam is hiding something, which I doubt. (Bad for the economy) It’s almost all natural gas and most of that is Russian. But wait a minute… Russia already has the largest natural gas deposits in the world. It’s playing power politics all the way to London with the heat it provides now. Almost all of what’s in the Arctic is in Russian territory. And some 39% of all that natural gas is in the South Kara Sea above Siberia in uncontestable Russian waters.

Catch this quote: “Arctic oil reserves are much smaller than those of natural gas and are unlikely to lead to any shift in world oil balance”.

Russia is holding an amazingly strong energy hand. Whatever the Sarah Palin crowd is thinking there might be in the Arctic just ain’t there and Russia has the best energy future of any country in the world… for as long as that lasts.

Now the last headline:”Iraq deal to revive gas pipeline to Europe”. There’s a great map linked to this story. Here’s the short version: Western Europe, NATO and the U.S. want gas pipeline that will bypass Russia. It’s called Nabucco. It will run from northwestern Iraq through Turkey and end in Vienna. It is competing against a Russian pipeline called South Stream. That pipeline will also serve Rumania and Austria but will add Greece and Italy. I do not think both can be built given the lack of financing and the collapsing economies of Eastern Europe. I suspect that both cannot be funded. The Russians offer a better deal for Europe. Now couple that with the above.

I keep coming back to geography as the ruling power in collapse. Like others on this list I see eventual Russian hegemony over Europe. I don’t take it personally and, in fact it is logical. We should focus on our neighborhoods first and think less about contesting no-win situations at long range. The United States and Russia are partners of necessity in stabilizing the world. Russia knows and respects – I believe – the power of geography. They wouldn’t waste the energy to try and rule North America. The great increase in energy reserves from the second story says that Russia must be respected.

And as for Korea, I don’t know who or what is pushing Pyongyang’s buttons but I’m certain someone is. I see only three possible candidates: Russia, China, and the United States. I don’t know. But if Russia is concerned then I am concerned and I can guarantee that Russia will be quick to pounce on any opportunities that arise. It has huge investments in oil and gas along its Pacific coast.

There’s kind of a rule in nuclear confrontations. If one country draws its weapon, everybody who has one draws theirs too. That would include Pakistan and India.

From Jenna Orkin:

US Deploys Jets as North Korean Tensions Rise
Japan Panel Wants First Strike Ability (from Rice Farmer)
Extra US Troops in Afghanistan by Mid July
Obama Asks Australia to Take Detainees
The island does have a track record in that department after all, as well as a formidable moat.
DHS Losing Lead Cyber Role
Homeland Security Taps SciFi Writers (from Rice Farmer)
About 12% of US Homeowners Late Paying or Foreclosed
The US Housing Market's Very Sobering News
Our Crumbling Foundation (from Rice Farmer)
Smart Grid Can't Outwit Recession (from Rice Farmer)
Once Considered Unthinkable, Sales Taxes Get Fresh Look (from Rice Farmer)

Why the Wheels Fell Off Germany's Economic Model
MoD Admits Use of Controversial "Enhanced Blas" Weapons in Afghanistan

Russia/Middle East/Asia
Russia: Oil Field Reserve Proposed
Rosneft Posts 20% Fall in Q1 Profit
Belarus Loan Shelved on Solvency Fears
Iraq Redux? Obama Seeks Funds for Pakistan "Super Embassy" (from Rice Farmer)
North Korea Could Opt for Devastating Land Assault (from Rice Farmer)
China: Experts [Say] Huge Holding of US Bonds Risky

Environment/Climate Change
Aerosols Drive Much Arctic Warming, Scientists Find
55 Whales Die After Beaching in South Africa
Wild Donkeys Overrun Cyprus Villages
American Academy of Environmental Medicine Calls for Immediate Moratorium on Genetically Modified Food (from Rice Farmer)
Organic Dairies Watch the Good Times Turn Bad
Terra Madre
Slow food project

Scientists Develop Virus that Wipes Out Cancer Cells
World's First Battery Fueled By Air
Technology Seen Slashing Battery Recharge Time, Weight
Tiny Invisibility Cloak is Like a Magic Carpet
Slashproof Clothing
Lab Comes Up With Technology to Determine Where Food Was Grown
Or "Protectionism and Xenophobia Hit Shelves at a Supermarket Near You"
Human Speech Traced to Talking Fish
Language Gene Alters Mouse Squeaks

Generation Gap
UK: Record Numbers Want Assisted Death
1 in 500 Babies Now Born Drug Dependent
UK: Government Fights For Numbers Secrecy on Abortions
Autism: Study Finds 12-Fold Rise in Cases
Child Porn Goes Uninvestigated Amid Cash Crisis
British Firms Join School Gardens Campaign

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

From Jenna Orkin

The Sinking Titanic: Interview with Michael C. Ruppert
Unraveling Markets Bode Ill for US Economic Might
Duh. But it's noteworthy that they're daring to say so aloud.
G8 Hears Oil Prices Could Soar When Crisis Eases
IEA Repeats Warning of Possible New Oil Price Spike
Looming Oil Shock Means Globalization's End
Rubin Blames Recession on Oil
Warning About an Oil Supply Crunch
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Naimi Says Oil to Reach 75$ a Barrel
Alberta In Tie-Up with OPEC
The Lithium Boom Is Coming: The New Bubble?
Could pop real fast.
Job Losses Push Safer Mortgages to Foreclosure
Energy Plans Often Run Out of Gas
California Crisis Imperils Obama's Agenda
Regulators Seize and Sell Florida's Largest Regional Bank
After Major Florida Bank Fails, Carlyle Swoops In As Buyer
Governor Plans to Completely Eliminate Welfare for Families
Many Summer Internships Are Going Organic
"Master of Fantasy" Bernanke Says Economy to Heal
Bernanke recalled how he spoke a year earlier to a graduating class to which Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling also delivered an address. The student who introduced Bernanke jokingly described the two speakers as "two of the great masters of children's fantasy fiction," he said.

Comment: Ha?

Bernanke offered wisdom from references to Bank of England Governor Mervyn King (the object of central banks should be to make monetary policy as boring as possible),

Comment: Why? So the public will be lulled into complacency?
Americans Save
In March, the average person saved 4.2% of disposable income, compared with just 0.2% a year earlier.
British Banks Revolt Against Obama Tax Plan
Value of Mexico's Crude Exports Down 60%
Olduvai Theory: 2009 Article Genes of New Flu Virus Not So New
So far sampling of the new H1N1 virus shows very little genetic mutation -- a sample from a patient in Mexico is virtually identical to samples from various U.S. states and other countries.This "indicates that this virus may have been introduced into humans in sort of a single event," Cox said. Or if more than one person was infected directly from an animal or other source, they were infected with genetically identical viruses.
IEA Forecasts First Electricity Use Decline Since 1945
China Grows More Picky About Debt
This is in the US section of the blog because guess whose debt they're talking about.
US Is Said To Be Weighing Financial Consumer Agency
Another deck chair for the final rearrangement.
GDP Down 6.1%
Seven from Rice Farmer:
TARP Warrants Show Banks May Reap Ruthless Bargains
Under 20% College Graduates in 2009 Found Jobs
Is the US Dollar Heading for a Mighty Crash?
The Myth of Efficiency
Skyscrapers Across the US Being Sold at Firesale Prices
Unemployment Up in 44 States
Trade Based Money Laundering is Flourishing - UPI

UK Falls Out of Premier League of Economies
Expenses Row "Unbearable;" Suicide Feared
How MI5 Blackmails British Muslims
Senior Muslim Officer Charged Over Restaurant Scuffle
Online and Undercover
Award-winning NightJack blog on policing in the UK, by an insider.
Wildcat Strikes Over Foreign Workers
Car Production Slumps by 55%
House Building Hits 50 Year Low
British Airways Makes Worst Ever Loss
BA plummets Into Record Losses
Bee Rustlers Cash In On Honey Shortage
Young People To Be Hit Hardest By Recession, Warns Prince's Trust
Police See Huge Rise in White Collar Crime
Professor Shiller Warns Britain May Suffer a Double Recession
Gold Bugs At Last Have Their Perfect Trinity
From Cigarettes to Gold: French Tobacconists Boost Falling Income

Zubkov Proposes Mini-Grain Cartel
Drive for Domestic Chicken
Russia, its appetite for cheap poultry meat growing, is spending billions of dollars developing its poultry farms to slash its dependence on imports and squeeze U.S. suppliers from their biggest export market.
Gazprom Output May Fall 18%
Riot Police Officer Caught Trying to Sell Arms
New Wave of Defaults Looms
Production Stopped at Ford Plant
The factory... employs about 200,000 people.

Middle East/Asia
Iran Completes Gas Pipeline Deal with Pakistan; Could Include India
Wind Turbine Noise Suspected of Killing 400 Goats
Japan: Crude Steel Output Plunges 44%
Japan's Big Guns Prepare to Rejoin Arms Trade
Younger Farmers Blogging Their Way to Success
...some of them even gracing other people's blogs. - (JO)
Bank of Thailand GDP Down 5-6%
PetroChina Becomes World's Biggest Firm
Chinese Oil: Google Images Show Growing Crude Storage (from Rice Farmer)
NRO To Be Revamped
Drones Hardly Ever Kill Bad Guys
This article, provided by Rice Farmer, is especially interesting for its source: The Department of Defense.
Nomination of US Afghan Commander Revives Questions in Tillman Case

Sunday, May 24, 2009

BOOK REVIEW – “SACRED DEMISE: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse” by Carolyn Baker, Ph.D.


Michael C. Ruppert

[Author: “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil” and “A Presidential Energy Policy: Twenty-five points Addressing the Siamese Twins of Energy and Money”]

In the rare instances where I come across a book that is a feast for the mind and soul I wrestle with it as with a lover. Pages get dog-eared, the pen comes out and notes appear all over. Great passages are underlined. There are coffee and wine stains. This marks my affair with a great book. “Sacred Demise” is the first such book I have read in many years. In spite of the profoundly disturbing topic: the collapse of industrial civilization and possible extinction of the human race; it is a book which has left me feeling joyful, hopeful, humorous and deeply comforted. It has made me love more completely and – in that process – has allowed me to be more alive in this present moment.

This isn’t a mass-consumption book nor should it be. My life and experience have taught me that few humans have evolved or are aware enough to even grasp its significance. The book is like a great sacred text from antiquity that makes us love our forbears and take comfort in our connectedness to them. If intelligent life is able to find “Sacred Demise” in two or three millennia I can see it being revered as a great testament to what our potential as a species might have been… or might yet become.

“Sacred Demise” is an incredible how-to, first-aid, healing map and manual of how one can navigate an aware psyche through the emotional and spiritual challenges of collapse – to find and to give love, comfort and even great joy in the midst of pain, despair and death. It teaches and reminds us that death is not a bad word but a “parenthesis in eternity” as Joel Goldsmith wrote. I know of no one who has had the courage to address these crying needs in detail and Baker is uniquely qualified to do it. Every ounce of her heart, mind and soul were committed to this book’s writing and that is clearly evident throughout. This book is an act of love. I am no different than any human in that I respond instantly and involuntarily when I see that someone has the courage to place a naked heart in front of my eyes. It reminds me that we are never stronger than when we are most vulnerable.

The book’s genesis comes from Baker’s clear statement that, “while many individuals will be able to physically navigate collapse, some will not be able to do so emotionally”. I consider the book to be profoundly spiritual, although others may approach it as a psychological or cultural text that finally and beautifully addresses what I have seen as a crying need to deal with the emotions that collapse surfaces. Emotions ignored always return to bite us on the behind. They sap rather than enhance our strength. “Sacred Demise” is an emotional and spiritual guide for the treatment of those of us who understand what collapse means and by which we can give comfort, aid, assistance and great strength to ourselves and to those we love.

As Baker points out consistently – while fearlessly acknowledging that civilization and the species may become extinct soon – here is a pathway to choose not only which physical parts or our lives may endure, but what core values survive the transition and die-off. She reminds us that to be truly effective, “we must come to grips with our own mortality.”

I have known Baker for many years. We have worked closely together and shared many painful “initiations”. I am not at all surprised that she cites many spiritual books that I have long treasured and also delves deeply into Native-American spirituality for its close connection to a planet that “civilization” has cut us off from. Nor am I surprised that we have both arrived at exactly the same conclusions. What I am surprised at is Baker’s Herculean research, her incredible depth and her broad, multi-discipline and multi-cultural approach. She does not confuse the reader, she refreshingly reminds us that truth and knowledge based upon harmony and balance with all life are universal truths once liberated from artificial labels and knee-jerk induced intellectual door slamming..

The book’s greatest use will be in guiding and comforting those of us who are “hospice” workers for industrial civilization. Having written on the subject of collapse for almost a decade I have longed for something that would comfort me and the great many who have labored to awaken mass consciousness to the gravity of the current crisis. As on a battlefield one inevitably asks, who or what will care for the caregivers? This is that book.
Jenna Orkin adds:

MCR and I are on the same wave length only going in opposite directions at the moment. As he was writing his review of Carolyn's book, I was writing the dyspeptic article below on the same subject.

It would appear we have different points of view on the matter of spirituality but I suspect that a glance beneath the surface would reveal a deeper convergence and harmony.

Let me also say straight out that I haven't read Carolyn's book yet. Plan to, as I greatly admire her work at FTW and on her website. From all that I know about Carolyn, she's solidly grounded in reality and is a bona fide shrink to boot so none of the comments below refer to anything like the work she does.

That said, I gotta tell you that spirituality makes me gag. Not the thing, which I wouldn't know if it fell on me, but the word. It is amorphous, vague, indulgent, meaningless and vapid. It gets us nowhere unless uttered in the company of a joint which gets some people somewhere - high, they tell me - but that's another thing that doesn't work for me although I will grant it's very real for some people.

As a word, it reeks of the West Coast.

I love the West Coast. Malibu's beautiful. Venice is a carnival. And the West Coast can't be beat for movies.

But. But. When they start waxing spiritual on you, well... climate change can't swallow up that Venice fast enough.

What is this 'spirituality' that the spiritual bandy about in their more-spiritual-than-thou tone? Is it like wealth? If you have to ask how much the yacht costs, you ain't got it?

No I ain't. I live in the real, dog-eat-dog world (a misnomer of course since dogs - faithful, good-natured creatures that they are except when nasty humans mistreat them - intuitively understand spirituality.) People do things for reasons, whether they're conscious of those reasons or not. The reasons may be telic which is to say, purposeful. Or they may be aetiological, driven by prior events. In other words reasons can lie in the past or the future or there can be a combination of both. But there are reasons and uncovering them can be helpful, if you need help.

But spirituality is a cop-out. It introduces a deus ex machina that has nothing to do with the plot. And that's cheating. Doesn't work. You can't get there from here.

Herein lies the true continental divide between LA and NY. We New Yorkers are lifelong analysands. Even when we leave therapy, it doesn't leave us. We think like pseudo-shrinks. We talk like pseudo-shrinks. This is our particular way of driving each other crazy (in addition to standing in the doorway of the subway car so no one else can get on) and getting each other out of the craziness that the other pseudo-shrinks have driven us into.

It is our local national pastime. When the emphasis is on 'pseudo' you get psychobabble which is as nauseating as any other quack remedy. But when the analysand has absorbed at least some of the lessons of therapy, you get something real.

Not Enlightenment. You don't become a Spiritual Person, one who's simply risen above the pettiness and moral squalor of this fucked up world. You get insight so that instead of levitating to the next plane, you can walk there (or at least out of your quagmire,) step by step. (It sounds as though Carolyn's book can actually help with that process.)

This rant is probably going to invite a slew of outraged, pseudo-calm 'reflections' in defense of spirituality along with patient explanations and kindly guidance. Some will be published because some of you enjoy this sort of thing. Then I'll gag and that'll be that.

I know. I asked for it. Take a deep breath and count to ten. One... two.... Oh fuck it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rock and Hard Place Closing In

Jenna Orkin

There's a weird phenomenon afoot which I observe on the personal level and suspect readers of this blog do as well: Much as we intuit how screwed up our economic paradigm is and where it will all lead, it nonetheless gets the blood charged up whenever the details are spelled out. We, the jaded gloomer-doomers, can still be overcome with moral outrage.

People never get tired, in other words, of horror. All happy families (or car outings or civilizations on the upswing) are alike but each unhappy family (or car wreck or collapse of civilization) is unhappy in its own way. (Actually that's false, as many an unhappy family has noted. And civilizations tend to go under shortly after some version of an 'economic stimulus package' otherwise known as printing money.) But just as there are only 36 basic plots in literature yet we keep reading books or at least, going to the movies, we'll continue to gawk until our own personal car wreck or collapse swallows us up.

Meanwhile, anyone in need of a reminder of exactly how the wizards pull the strings in the economic horror show should check out Ellen Hodgson Brown's latest, Another Look at the Weimar Hyperinflation. The inimitable Brown continues her campaign to educate an economically clueless public about how we got into this mess and, unbelievably but crucially, how we could get out.

Deficit to Exceed Four Times Last Year's Record
Brazil and China Eye Plan to Ax Dollar
Obama Considering Preventive Detention
FBI Use of Patriot Act Authority Increased Dramatically in 2008 (from Rice Farmer)
World Oil Production Forecast
Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller
By Jeff Rubin, chief economist and chief strategist at CIBC World Markets.
US Housing Starts and World Markets Permits Plumb Record Lows
US Pension Agency Sees Record Deficit
US Energy Secretary Says Oil Prices Rising on Economy
The Great Ethanol Scam (from Rice Farmer)
Farms Start to Feel Credit Pinch (from Rice Farmer and fulfilling Kunstler's warning.)
Swine Flu May Be Human Error: WHO
Dengue Fever Epidemic Hits South America (from Rice Farmer)
In Chile the Birds are Dying and No One Knows Why (from Rice Farmer)
Venzuela's Hope of More Sway Dims as Riches Dip

Lloyd's Warns Government May Rejig Toxic Insurance Scheme
Demand for Gold Soars
Bank Considered Bringing Extra 75 Billion Pounds
Stephen Lewis, economist at Monument Securities, said: "I think it points in the direction of doing more quantitative easing, the fact that the £75 billion option was discussed suggests that when they have their next meeting they will be discussing whether to do another £25 billion."
UK Poorly Placed to Recover From Recession Rise of Europe's Extreme Politics (from Rice Farmer)

Pirates Won't Be Tried
Russia will hand over a number of suspected Somali pirates to an unspecified third country, First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Kolmakov said Tuesday.
Banks May Need $16 Billion in Capital
Could Kabardino-Balkaria Become the Kosovo of the Caucasus?
Transneft in Biggest Bond Issue

China Plans to Build Petrol Reserves
Anti-Terrorism Trade Fair: A Gun that Can Shoot Around Corners
Japan's Economy Suffers Record Plunge
Perhaps this explains the thousand school closings ostensibly because of swine flu.
Japan's Economy Shrinks Record 4%
Banks See Fertile Ground in Farms
"if use of farmland is deregulated."
GDP Plunged 15.2% Last Quarter
Taliban Using Ammunition from Afghan Army
From the Department of Defensive Hypotheses: "Lt Col Christian Kubik said ammunition could also have been seized by insurgents from overrun police stations or captured on the battlefield.

'We have not had any reports of ammunition being recovered that can be directly linked to us,' he said."
Pakistan May Only Have Six Months
Warning two months ago from David Kilcullen.

Two Archives Relevant Once More
Pakistan Problem, Washington's Perspective
The Empire's New Middle East Map

Sri Lanka on Brink of Catastrophe as UN Aid Blocked

40% of Coma Patients in "Vegetative State" May Be Misdiagnosed, Report Says

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trifecta of Crises

From Jenna Orkin:

Climate Change/Water
Emerging Economies Face Acute Disaster Risks: UN
All Disasters are Local
Localization cometh, one way or 't other.
China Running Out of Water
Pay Farmers to Halt Irrigation to Help Water Crisis
Stemming the Water Wars - Jeffrey Sachs
Australia's Largest River Close to Running Dry
"Adelaide, Australia's fifth biggest city, could run out of water in next two years."
Australia's Wine Growers Face Ruin Without Rain
Can Save the World?

Oil and Gas Cos. Projects' Costs Up 30% Due to Rig Shortage
Gas: 12% Surge in Three Weeks Plateau Theory Drives Total to Oil Sands
Total honors Peak Oil in the breach, by acknowledging its plateau aspect.
If Oil Demand is Falling, Why Are Prices Going Up? (from Rice Farmer)
Gas Shortage Forces Kuwait to Shut Shuaiba Fertiliser Plant
Credit Card Defaults Rise to Record Highs
US Derivatives Regs Pose Risk for Commods Markets
Central Derivative Clearing May Concentrate Risks
How to Follow the Fossil Fuel Money on Capital Hill
Some databases referenced in above article:
Open Secrets
Source Watch

NY Sunday Times Magazine: The Debt Issue
Includes a false-bravado interview with Myron Scholes, formerly of Long Term Capital Management, more recently of credit default swap fame.
Even to Save Cash, Don't Try This Stuff at Home
Dr. Doom: Capitalism Could Fail Like Communism (from Rice Farmer)
American Express to Cut 4000 Jobs
Audit the Fed, Then End It - Ron Paul
Biden Reveals Veep's Secret Bunker
US Health Officials Worried About Flu Pattern
But it's great for demand destruction: Four schools are closed in Queens, a hundred in the US and four thousand in Japan.
First Ocean Acidification Lawsuit Filed Against EPA
"Ocean acidification is global warming's evil twin," said Miyoko Sakashita, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity's oceans program.

Does that make global warming the good twin?

As one of twelve original plaintiffs in "the residents' lawsuit" against the EPA following 9/11, I'm particularly interested to see where this lawsuit on ocean acidification goes. Ours ended with a Court of Appeals decision that said, in legalese, "We know they lied and did everything wrong and that people are sick and dying as a result, but suck it up."
China, US, Held Secret Talks on Climate Change Deal
World Trade Center Cheat Sheet
Planned at 79 floors and 71 floors, to be done by 2011 and then 2014, these towers [Towers 2 and 3] may never exist.

I warned Lower Manhattan electeds and activists of that particular local manifestation of the economic crisis years ago, only to be met with deer-in-headlights stares. That's a step up from the mocking dismissals of warnings about the envirodisaster of 9/11 eight years ago.
The Future of California Farming (from Rice Farmer)

UK: Caroline Lucas: "We've got to get better at painting a positive vision of a post-carbon world. This is not about sitting around a candle in a cave."
Of course not. How absurd.
UK Defies Argentina By Claiming Seabed Rich in Oil and Minerals
British, French Nuclear Subs Crash in Atlantic
...and reported in the Chinese press.
Car Scrappage Scheme Has Difficult Start
Courts Rule British Soldiers Have Right to Life
Woman Beaten Up Over Asparagus Price
Gas Pipeline Fight Escalates Sharply
Rally Running Out of Steam
Are the writers aware of how poignant their metaphors seem these days? How literally the rally is running out of steam?

Middle East
Obama to Push Israel for Two-State Pledge
Likud Rejects Peace Plan

Russia/Central Asia
JP Morgan Banker Resigns to Advise Russia on Foreign Mergers
Euro's Stake in Reserves Overtakes Dollar
Gazprom Slashes Dividend by 86%
The Kremlin Takes Aim at Mongolia's Uranium Reserves
Nicaragua Gets Free GAZ Buses After Helping South Ossetia
Kazakhstan: Manufacture of Gasoline Decreased 10% in April
...and kerosene, including jet fuel, decreased 24%.
Kyrgyz PM: Energy Losses Should Come to 25% in 2009
Kilcullen Believes Drone War Should End While Supporting Troops in Faraway Places

China Aviation Oil Net Profit Drops 54% in Q1
Iron Ore Imports Hit Record High
China's Fiscal Revenue Down 13% in April
Fraud Uncovered in Stimulus Spending
Suicide Epidemic Has City Reeling

Will Second Wave of Price Destruction Finally Spur Change?
Banks See Fertile Ground in Farms
Swine Flu Cases Surge; Most Are Teenagers

In One Minute, India Best Stock Market in World with 48% Gain in '09

Like African Americans, women gain power just in time to be left holding the bag when civilization crumbles. The black belt of Dalia Grybauskaite, the first female president of Lithuania, should set us straight on whether or not this microtrend is truly an endorsement of the 'feminine' side of mankind, whatever that may mean.
Vote in India Reshapes Landscape
First Women Win Seats in Kuwait Parliament
Woman is Elected to Lead Lithuania

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Take Your Pick: "Plummet" or "Plunge"

From Jenna Orkin:

Eurozone Economy Suffers Dramatic Plunge
Europe in Deepest Recession Since War as Germany Suffers
Witnesses Say Police Posed as G-20 Protesters (from Rice Farmer)
Switzerland: Foreign Worker Numbers May be Cut (from Rice Farmer)

Five Economic Storms Raging Now! (from Rice Farmer)
480 Trucking Companies Go Out of Business in First Quarter
An indication of the depth of the recession. If the trucks ain't rolling, the goods ain't being bought.
Freddie Mac Loses $9.9 Billion (from Rice Farmer)
GM, Chrysler, to Cut Up to 3000 Dealers
Crude Defies Bearish Report
Carlyle Group Pays $20 Million to End Cuomo Inquiry
A little more than 1% (one seventy-fifth) of the amount ($1.5 billion) they manage for pensions.
Go-Between Tied Funds to Carlyle
SEC Lawyers Probed for Insider Trading
New York City Official is Obama Pick for CDC
Any New Yorkers who are cheering about this have short memories. Commissioner of the City's Department of Health since January, 2002, Frieden led its efforts to support the lies and bogus cleanup of the EPA following 9/11.
Swine Flu Not an Accident from a Lab, WHO Says
Doth they protest too much?
Mexican Data Say Migration to US Has Plummeted
A Leader of Veterans Exposed as a Fraud
A casual reader scanning the headlines might be excused for believing that this guy actually was a veteran. But no. He was posing as one and in the process of achieving some real goals for veterans, (the guy had some altruistic impulses along with narcissistic ones) ultimately smeared them.

However, the terms of the headline do their share to undermine the reputation of veterans and further the cause of whittling away their scant benefits.
For First Time, More Americans Now "Pro-Life" than "Pro-Choice"
GOP's Jon Huntsman To Be Ambassador to China
Dr. Rand Paul (Son of Guess Whom) to Run for Senate
Buffett Scoops Up Bank, Railroad Stocks (from Rice Farmer)

New Iraq Prison Abuse Photographs
Warning: this slideshow contains graphic and disturbing images.
CIA Rebuffs Cheney Over Interrogation Documents
Cheney Suggested Waterboarding Iraqi Prisoner
US House Approves Iraq/Afghanistan Funding
House appropriations chairman, Democrat David Obey reiterated his concern about the possibility of achieving real success in Afghanistan. "I have a profound doubt that he can succeed. Not because of any problem with his policy, but because I am dubious that there are the tools available in that region for us to succeed using any policy," he said.

KUCINICH: This supplemental [bill] keeps us involved in Iraq and it sets up an un-ending occupation of Afghanistan."

Russia Unveils New National Security Strategy (from Rice Farmer)
Russia to Charge NASA $51 Million Per Space Flight

Middle East/Asia
Saudi Must Rein in Soaring Power Consumption
India Sends Foreign Workers Back Home (from Rice Farmer)
Japan, Canada, Ink Deal on Air Force Refueling
Blurring the Boundaries: Genders Merging
First step, vegetarianism. Next thing you know, he's worrying about his nail polish.

Climate Change
Climate Change Could Speed Up as Pollution Decreases
From the Ronald Reagan "Trees pollute" and the G.W. Bush "Bring 'em on" school of environmental science.
A Market in Forests?
"Each year a forest the size of Bavaria disappears."

Folk Songs of the Far Right Wing

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Morning After

From Jenna Orkin:

US Public Health Community Begins Discussing Peak Oil
Coal Supply May Be Vastly Overestimated
Edison's 230 Mile "Extension Cord" Fuels Fight
The Man From Plains With Lessons from the 70's
Congress calls on the man to whom Mike's "Presidential Energy Policy" is dedicated. (Actually, one of the two men. The other, M. King Hubbert, was unavailable.)
Recession Drains Social Security and Medicare
US Deficit Now at Four Times Last Year's Record
GM Shares Plummet to Lowest Level Since Great Depression
GM Sinks to Fresh Low as Chapter 11 Looms
Chrysler's Sorry State Revealed
Car Dealers Fight Rapid Closures; 180,000 Workers Could Lose Jobs
One Out of Every Four Homeowners Under Water
Foreclosure Filings Surge 32%
Records Show Billions Withdrawn Before Madoff Arrest
Goldman Pays to End State Enquiry Into Loan
Humanure: The End of Sewage As We Know It?
Crude Oil Rises as US Reports Unexpected Inventory Decline
Unexpected by the same people who unexpected the financial crisis.
Guatemalan President Under Pressure After Video Reveals He Ordered Murders
UK Defies Argentina By Claiming Atlantic Seabed Rich in Oil and Minerals

UK Press/Europe
BoE Recovery "Longer and Harder"
UK: Even the Bank Has No Idea What Will Happen
Record Prices for Wholesale Cocaine
Brown's Boom Was a Mirage but Bust Is Only Too Real
Armageddon Averted (For Now)
Progress is Doomed If Obama Is Just a Cleverer Version of Bush
An article that focusses on Israel but the sentiment expressed in the title is elastic.
Fears of Rat Plague in UK Grow
The rats have grown resistant to pesticides. How come they can't get cancer like everyone else?
EU Plans Stress Tests for Banks in Europe
Ghent Goes Veggie to Lose Weight and Save Planet

China Urges New Money Supply to Replace Dollar! (sic: Exclamation Point, theirs)
China's Exports Plummet
Bailout Plan for Pig Farmers as Prices Plummet

Energy Conflicts Could Bring Military Clashes, Russian Security Strategy Warns
"Kremlin names Arctic as potential flashpoint• Moscow fears widening weapons gap with US"
Medvedev Hints of New Georgia War
Ruble Reserve Currency May Not Be So Crazy (Moscow Times)
Putin Signals Return as President

Global Energy
Qatari Gas Reduces Russian Dominance (LNG Comes of Age)
Libya: Fabricator of Iraq-Qaeda Link Dies, Newspaper Says
Oil Prices: Norwegian Supply Falls; Is 100$ Oil Far Behind?
Gas Deal Between Turkey and European Union Breaks Russian Stranglehold

Climate Change
Climate Change Displacement Has Begun But Hardly Anyone Has Noticed
Climate Change is Biggest Threat to Health, Doctors Say

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Noose Tightens

From Jenna Orkin

Global Crisis/US

Oil Rises to Highest Since November as US Job Losses Slow
The noose tightens.
North Sea Ekofisk Crude Oil Shipments to Decline 11% Next Month
Next Challenge for Banks: Credit Card Losses
When you see the word "challenge," you know you're in trouble.
Obama Proposes Expanding FDIC Borrowing Power
330%. The trick is to keep building the house of cards higher at the same time as it's collapsing.
White House Foresees Higher Budget Deficit
Obama to Hold Town Hall Meeting on Credit Cards
Dead Souls: Denationalization of the American Elite
Article offering further specifics regarding Eyeballs' comment on the neocons vs. a global plutocracy.
GM's CEO Fritz Henderson Ready to "Resort to Bankruptcy"
US Water Infrastructure Needs Seen as Urgent (from Rice Farmer)
US Seen "Squandering" Infrastructure Funds
The CIA and Declassification: The Role of the Historical Review Panel

Troops Seize Oil Firms' Property After Cash Flow Worries Threaten to Derail Chavez' Revolution
PDVSA Debt Increases 146% in 2008
PDVSA Insolvency Threatens Cash Flow of Mixed Companies
Venezuela Oil Takeovers May Leave 22,000 Jobless

Unemployment Soars to 2.2 Million
The Recession Index

Middle East/Asia/Arctic
1600 KM of Tokyo Sewage Piping In Need Of Renovation (from Rice Farmer)
Ship Owners Forced to Pay to Carry Middle East Oil
Japan Seeks Role in Arctic Council (from Rice Farmer)
ENI StatoilHydro Get Go Ahead in Arctic Development
Pentagon Replacing Top Afghanistan Commander

Brave New World
Robot Teacher Takes First Class in Tokyo
Transgenic, Cloned, Glow-in-the-Dark Puppies
Nuclear Bomb Tests Help Identify Fake Whiskey

Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Jenna Orkin:

Economy Contracts Faster Than In the 1930s
Employment Figures from the Bureau of Spurious Statistics (from Rice Farmer)
"Fed Dread" by Eliot Spitzer (from Rice Farmer)
Las Vegas Running Out of Water Means Dimming Los Angeles Lights
The New Homeless

Bank of England Braced for Third Wave of Financial Crisis
Britain Cannot Afford Any Further Fiscal Stimulus, King Warns
Thousands Join Army to Escape Recession
Deforestation Plan for Britain Which Has Split Green Groups

Swine Flu/Environment
British Scientists Crack Swine Flu Code
Safety Measures in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories
Swine Flu
Reuters page including map revealing emphasis on the Americas, Europe, Australia, South Africa and along the Pacific Rim.
WHO: Up to 2 Billion May Get H1N1
NTEU's Kelley Calls for Guidance Allowing Employees to Wear Protective Masks
Ancient Forests Which Gave Us the Apple Are in Danger of Extinction
Death of the Garden of Eden in the most unsubtle terms.

Twin Articles from opposite shores:
How Gardening Becomes Fashionable Again
The Manure Chronicles

US Missile Data Found on Ebay Hard Drive (from Rice Farmer)
US Threatens "Military Force" Against Hackers
They Know What You're Thinking: Brain Scanning Makes Progress

From Secrecy News:
3 Rounds, 3 Dead Bodies
A copy of the U.S. Army Special Forces Sniper Training and Employment manual (FM 3-05.222) was obtained by Secrecy News. Although the document is unclassified, it is subject to restricted distribution in order "to protect technical or operational information."

For once, such restrictions appear to make sense and the 474-page manual will not be posted on the Federation of American Scientists website. But as always, views on the question of disclosure differ. A 2003 discussion on the "Shooter's Forum" website presented contrasting opinions on the desirability of publishing this Manual.

Central Bank Plans to Switch from Copper to Steel Coins
US Brothers Found Guilty of Espionage
Spying on Gazprom
Terrorist Threat on Rise in Ferghana Valley (Kyrgyzstan)
From the Soros Foundation.
Amid Central Asian Dysfunction, Astana (Kazakhstan) Becomes Island of Sound Water-Management Policy

"Secret" Defense Ministry Database Reveals Full Settlement Construction

Toyota Expects Biggest Losses Ever
Satellite to Detect Missiles Under Study
China to Issue 15 Billion Yuan T-Bonds Next Week
Karzai in Move to Share Power With Warlord Wanted by US
Half a Million Flee Swat Valley

Thursday, May 07, 2009


There has been some confusion from people trying to buy the book on Amazon. There is a sales page up that says that the book is unavailable, which will be taken down shortly. Please use this link to access the correct sales page, and be sure to add your review comments here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Book Update Etc.

Jenna Orkin

Mike has asked me to convey to you what's going on.

MCR is taking a much needed week off from writing. Because of the glitches which many of you have experienced first hand, it's been a little slow to get sales pages up around the world especially when, in true FTW tradition, Amazon and Rubiconworks have been breaking so many molds. But MCR says he has never seen so many commited mf's working so hard to make something happen. He has every confidence the book will not only make the NY Times list but top it.

He asks you to have faith in it. He does.

Pentagon Plans 20,000 New Jobs to Manage Arms Buys

Bank of America to Need $34 Billion in Capital

BofA Mulls $8 Billion China Bank Stake

Citibank Eyes New Ways to Pay Employees
Obama's Tax Plan Could Push Up Costs of Outsourcing 50% (Times of India)
US Stocks Tumble; Dow Down 46 Points
And on the same day, in the same newspaper: US Stocks Surge

Should the need ever arise, ie in the event of a genuine pandemic, this website offering protective gear comes with the highest recommendation.

Mexico Security Update

Europe/Central Asia

Georgia Accuses Russia Over Foiled Rebellion

May Day Demonstrators Riot in Germany and Turkey

China: Navy Chief Outlines Objectives

US Says Chinese Fishing Vessel Confronts US Navy Ship
Flu Likely to Hasten Launch of Hog Futures Trading

Hospitals in Tokyo Refusing Flu Patients

How about measles? Pneumonia? TB?

Seed Monopolies Lead to Harvest of Suicides

Japan: Ignorance of Sustainability Is Not an Option

South Africa: Third Wave of HIV/AIDS Deaths Will Be Tsunami


Debunking Abiotic Oil

Abiotic Oil claims: the Peak Oil "snooze button"
It seems that while there's no free lunch or inexhaustible source of energy, the myth of one is indeed immortal.
Chocolate Powered Racing Car
Waste of another valuable resource.

Hardwired for War
Tit for Tat: Birds Found to Keep Track of Wartime Help

Rock-Throwing Chimp Stocked Ammo in Advance

"Extreme" Rain Follows Global Warming

PS from NYC:

Today I officially move from the home in which I've lived longer than any other in my life. Have been talking to MCR from my closet and to you all from Burger King to whose interim e-hospitality I pay grateful homage.

Not willing to go into detail in this forum, but this feels like Step One in the process of disengaging from life-as-we-have-known-it. Had a farewell party a few nights ago with some hefty pieces of furniture including the diningroom table I bought, at MCR's request, from the Salvation Army as well as the walls which contained all the frantic research of the early days (which turned into years) following 9/11.

It is an ironic fluke, rather than solace, to have moved to an apartment which is within shouting distance of where I was born. I don't like to think about what that might mean. (ie closing the circle, tying up loose ends before the absolute end and all that bs.)

In this context, the blog is an oasis of stability. Eventually, I'll get to all your comments. Please don't think anything dire meanwhile. The reason you're not seeing prompt, liberal posting is far more mundane.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

"A Presidential Energy Policy" Rockets To Life

May 1, 2009 9:30 Am PDT -- A full day before it was scheduled to go on sale at, the buy page for "A Presidential Energy Policy" went live. Although we have just been advised that what we recorded yesterday may not have been completely accurate as the tracking systems come online, it's pretty clear that we have a huge hit. Here's what we saw: Out of the 400,000-plus books that ranks, we first caught it at 11:00 AM (PDT) and the book was already in the 13,000s -- A day before it was actually on sale!. Within an hour the book had climbed more than 6,000 places. By mid-afternoon the book was climbing at a rate of 100 spots per minute. These numbers were almost certainly from our dedicated fans in Australia, Japan, Russia, Germany, France... and especially the UK. We levelled off in the low to mid 2,000s overnight. Let's make our American, Canadian and Latin American voices be heard now! We can push to the Amazon top ten within two days if we do it now. A #1 rank at Amazon virtually guarantees the NY Times list! We can do this!

This morning, as copy was added to the sales page a listing appeared showing that the book was "Out of Print." Please disregard this page and rest assured that the book is available right now and now is the time to buy it. The momentum demonstrates that our movement is strong and powerful. The push to break the NY Times list is eminently doable and much easier if we don't dampen the incredible (and possibly historic) momentum shown yesterday.
Here's a direct link to the sales page.

PLEASE GET REVIEWS UP AT AMAZON -- For those who have received review copies and read them, it is vitally important that we get good reviews up at Amazon as soon as we can. These also help to boost sales rankings quickly.

We are in great shape and I think we have a true blockbuster; a blockbuster that can save lives and change the world. All of the minor problems should be resolved shortly. Please continue to report any issues with sales to and we'll be on them right away.

I am both humbled and gratified by this overwhelming show of support. Thank you all!

Jenna Orkin adds:

US Health Data Czar Sees Role for Government Hand
The word "czar" in these contexts used to be ironic. But it's morphing into accuracy.
Obama's Aide Catches Swine Flu
No Case of Swine Flu in India; Surveillance Stepped Up
Egyptian Christians Riot After Pig Cull
New Virus May Be a Real Mongrel
Tamiflu? Money Can't But It But Gags Are 10 a Penny
China's Anti Flu Aids Arrive in Mexico

Global Economic Crisis
Queen Attacker Was "In Despair" About Economy
British Airline Wipes Israel Off Map
US Senate Rejects Easing Mortgages in Bankruptcy
Bankruptcies Rise to Record High
Small Businesses Dig In Heels as Recession Bites
Buyout Firms Put Up For Sale Signs as Crisis Hurts
Dow Chemical Shares Surge on Surprise Profit
Surprise to whom?
Goldman Arm Shuns Ratings With New Credit Strategy
Ghanaians Vulnerable to Food Insecurity

Unrest/Gov't Control
US Lawmakers Discuss More Gov't Power Over Grid
Kenya: Women Go On Sex Strike
Gunman Kills Twelve in Azerbaijan State Oil Academy

FEMA's 9/11 Coloring Book
Download audio file
Feds Knew Flyover Would Cause Panic