Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Gov. David Patterson says, WE'RE CROSSING THE RUBICON

March 8, 2010 -- “What I came here to tell you today is that we are crossing that Rubicon between recession and something else far worse, if my colleagues in the legislature and I can't close a $9.2 billion deficit.” -- NY Gov. David Patterson... today. http://www.businessinsider.com/paterson-if-ny-cant-figure-out-a-way-to-close-its-82-billion-budget-were-looking-at-a-depression-2010-3

They've all read the book. I know that because from 2004 through 2006 I sold more than 12,000 copies of Crossing the Rubicon from the FTW store. We saw who was buying them and where. (The first day they went on sale we had an order for three copies from Graham Nash.) Throughout almost all of 2008 "Rubicon" was ranked in the Top 5 in two Amazon categories: Politics - Reference, and Public Affairs. Last January, CNN's Fareed Zackaria asked viewers to tell him what the most significant international event was in 2008. I wrote a compelling letter which said that the Russian occupation of two provinces in Georgia (without blinking an eye) was confirmation that the US was a dying tiger and that the Empire's borders had stopped expanding and begun to contract. I sent it to Zakaria and a few other people. -- Although Zackaria didn't read the letter on the air, the next host gave me a clue that somebody at CNN had.

The very next show that Sunday was hosted by Dona Brazile. And her first words were, "Hey there all you (I forget)... come in from the wilderness!" -- Jenna saw it too. Messages are delivered this way. I know, I have given many speeches in many countries, from universities to California's Commonwealth Club. Some of them had similar messages. There are decent and honorable men and women out there and they see what the problem is. I think Dave Patterson is one of them. He's being run out of the mansion to pave the way for Andrew Cuomo, who as HUD secretary under Bill Clinton, fathered the whole sub prime rampage. We wrote about that at FTW. Just recently, Ron Paul gave a compelling speech about the need to abolish the CIA. In that speech he endorsed (in detail) every piece of work I and Gary Webb had done on CIA drug smuggling and laundering of drug money into Wall Street. He didn't need to say my name. -- I heard him.

All the majors and the pols and the business giants read us. They read FTW when it was there. This has only increased since the movie. But what's happening is a signal that we're not pornography anymore; to be hidden under the covers with a flashlight at night . Give due credit to the "Collapse" and "Confronting Collapse". But the main reason for this is that my/our predictions have come true so precisely that they cannot be hidden. The map we have all made is right and it is now the elephant in the living room of the Old Paradigm. -- We have been like Galileo, locked away under house arrest. Even though Galileo's achievements had proved that Catholic orthodoxy about the universe was nonsense, they were what made it possible for Catholic ships to navigate to, discover, and occupy the "New World"; and then return home with plunder that made Europe, and especially Catholic Spain, rich beyond belief.

Now this is not about my ego, although it does feel great. In band talk I am the front man for a huge, dedicated movement of professionals, scientists, writers and just great, aware and courageous people. These messages are clear. We were right, They are giving us encouragement. And I think we all need to start getting ready for a trickle, then a torrent of hungry minds not just seeking to survive, but to have us tell them what is happening and what to expect. The truth is that we know very little about what to expect. But in the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king. We see it much more clearly than they do and they're getting justifiably scared. The Peak Oil/Sustainability movement is being released from house arrest and we need to push harder because the door is unlocked and open. We need to push on maisntream media. They are going broke. They have lost their credibility and they are being deserted in droves. Disney (which owns ABC) is in a battle with cable giants over revenue. Some of the zombies are coming out of it. If we can break into mainstream we will reach many more. -- It's coming. Trust it and be ready.

Today I received a request from a major cable channel, inquiring of my interest in participating in a two-hour special with two of the best-known futurists in the world. No details yet. I know the names but can't say. They're not going to put me on a show with any of the clowns I fought so hard not be tainted by. This is why I fought so hard to keep my life's work uncontaminated by poison pills.

Everything I'm trying to do as we set up Collapsenet is intended to speed up the sharing of information, the lifeboat building -- and the teaching of the map. The more map readers we have, the better. The more map makers we have... the better still. Messages like this give us all encouragement and I just wanted to share that. For better or for worse, our time has come. Surely the flower takes great joy in the fulfillment of its blossom. -- And the people who have grown soft on bread and circus are starting to rouse. This is going to be a hell of a year.

From Jenna Orkin

Japan fears a debt crisis
Many believe nation's heralded budget apocalypse has arrived.
Three Major Oil Companies Cut Ties with Iran

Gartman: Here Are The Two Reasons Small Businesses Are So Sick
The Radar: 10 Brewing Stories You Need To Be Watching Right Now
`On the Edge' Banks Facing Writedowns After FDIC Auctions of Seized Loans
FDIC May Invite Pension Funds to Buy Stakes in U.S. Banks Facing Seizure
States Will Cut More Workers to Offset Declining Revenue: Chart of the Day
University of California Campus Erupts In Riots; Student Loan Scam Drives Up Cost Of Education; Expect More Riots
All dogs to be chipped in crackdown
Government to clamp down on dangerous dogs by introducing compulsory microchips and insurance
Stimulus, Jewish-style
Jewish Americans fed up with dead ends at home are going to Israel to get paid, pad their resumes and wait for the U.S. tide to turn.

Porter Stansberry's Lawsuit Against the SEC (and theirs against him)

"I claim a former unit of the Department of Energy - a unit that was sold to investors in 1996 and is now known as USEC - was withholding material information from the public. I believe it did so in order to reward certain investors, including its bankers, its corporate insiders, and members of the Department of Energy.

By revealing information about a major and long-pending agreement with USEC's Russian supplier of uranium, I disrupted the opportunity insiders had to accumulate shares at lower prices. In short, I ruined the party by telling investors the agreement had been reached and would be announced in a few days...

Based on what I'd learned from a company insider (the director of investor relations), I wrote the agreement would be announced at a major nuclear summit featuring presidents Bush and Putin on May 22, 2002...

In the discovery process of our lawsuit, we found a notebook from USEC's investment bank - Bank of America - where its analysts clearly indicated May 22 was the expected announcement date.But instead of pursuing the possibility USEC's managers and bankers were withholding this material information, the SEC decided to attack me."

Now That Greece Is Finished, Suddenly France Becomes The Next Shock Sovereign Worry Maybe that's why...Greek Bonds Rise, Bunds at Week Low After Sarkozy Greece Pledge
Portugal follows Greece austerity path
Europe plans its own answer to the IMF
Russia rapidly accumulating gold, as dollar's era comes to a close
It's Time to Invite Russia to Join NATO
True scale of violent crime rise revealed
Violent attacks estimated to be 44 per cent higher than 1998 after research allowed comparisons for the first time.
Eurozone needs its IMF
German suggests Europe needs its IMF-style institution.

China to Nullify Local Governments' Loan Guarantees as Credit Risk Grows
China leading gas race
India: Industrial sector reeling from power shortage
India and Saudi Arabia Embrace

Drought in Southeast Asia impacting millions, costing billions
Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination, study finds (from Vantage Point)
Gardeners urged to stop using peat-based compost
Extraction releases huge amounts of CO2 into atmosphere
Earthquake Shakes East Turkey; 57 Killed, Houses Damaged in Three Villages


Hef Lee said...

thank you as always mike.

Tantive said...

So, with the collapse coming, what would this mean for people renting houses?

toner deeski said...

"This is going to be a hell of a year."

Hopefully we will start see some of the greatest advancements in human thinking.

Unrepentantcowboy said...

Calling all rebels.

by Chris Hedges.

robmac58 said...

"Blogger Tantive said...

So, with the collapse coming, what would this mean for people renting houses?"

I rent on a month to month basis, a house that enjoys both significant negative equity and negative cash flow for it's owner.
This means that I continue to tend my veggie garden in the back yard and give humble thanks that my landlord has made yet another mortgage payment.

Barry said...

Mike wrote:

"The Peak Oil/Sustainability movement is being released from house arrest and we need to push harder because the door is unlocked and open."

We need to keep challenging people on the use of the word "sustainability". We need a new term for the movement that Mike is speaking about, because the standard definition of sustainability is about maintaining an equilibrium. In most people's minds, it is about "Business As Usual." It is Old Paradigm and it's dangerous, as Mike has pointed out. It's hydrogen, and large-scale wind turbines, and clean coal.

In the same way that "until we change the way money works, we change nothing," we have to change our expectations of what it means to be "sustainable" in The Long Emergency.

Barry said...

Mike wrote:

"The Peak Oil/Sustainability movement is being released from house arrest and we need to push harder because the door is unlocked and open."

We need to keep challenging people on the use of the word "sustainability". We need a new term for the movement that Mike is speaking about, because the most people's definition of sustainability is about maintaining an equilibrium. it's about "Business As Usual." It is Old Paradigm and it's dangerous, as Mike has pointed out. It's things like hydrogen, and large-scale wind turbines, and clean coal.

In the same way that "until we change the way money works, we change nothing," we have to change our expectations of what it means to be "sustainable" in The Long Emergency.

businessman said...

If you're renting a home and you know your owner is upside down with their loan being an amount that's more than the home is worth, check the public records for the home periodically to see if the owner is now also in default on their loan.

Owners are sometimes defaulting on their loans and not telling their tenants about it. Then they're taking your rent, keeping it, and not making payments on the loan anymore, which makes it all more profitable for them until you receive the notice from the lender telling you that you have to get out of the home NOW!

businessman said...

MCR on the main page gets the quote of the day..."Now this is not about my ego, although it does feel great."

Ah, the dance we're constantly doing with our own egos...:)

Iconoclast421 said...

The oil paradigm is not the same as "a herd of caribou living on an arctic island with no predators and abundant sustenance". Our sustenance is abundant, but the exhaustion of our energy source can not lead to collapse. It is simply NOT possible to exhaust oil in an easter island scenario because only so much can be pumped every year. Keeping that in mind, it is highly unlikely we will see a die-off or anything that resembles a collapse in the traditional sense of the word. What I see is a long slow decline, with some dying and much adaptation.

Tantive said...

@robmac I was hoping for more detail :p

Weaseldog said...

Iconoclast421, I think your argument would be valid if we were a rational and responsible species.

But I'll posit that if this were the case, we would never be here, now, looking at this crisis as we are.

The problem with the slow gradual decline scenario is that it will require a complete lack of serious crisis. We have to avoid fighting wars over resources. We have to be equitable in the allocation of resources. We must sanely and rationally reduce our population and consumption patterns.

And our leaders need to be on board with the idea that growth is over. Our bankers need to be proponents and salesmen of sound fiscal policies that accept contraction as the rule.

If we don't do these things, then we are likely to do the wrong things, until something breaks.

I think it more likely that we'll experience a series of crashes that will devastate the world. I think that it's likely that war will break out in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. I think that rather than a slow decline of oil, we're likely to see nations end their output abruptly and not come back online for years.

The slow collapse is the scenario that Colin Campbell and Jean Laherre first proposed. In an email exchange with them many years ago, they both told me that this was what they understood. they were sticking to their comfort zone when publishing. They both said that geopolitical factors can of course, change everything.

Look at how we're coping now. We're now running the printing presses at high speed, all over the world, to power growth, while energy production declines.

The financial sectors are growing at the expense of everyone else. After all, if the pie is shrinking and someone keeps eating an increasing share, at some point they'll be eating it all. There will be no pie for anyone else, and even their share will shrink.

But of course the world economy can't survive having the bankers take everything. Something will break first.

We will soon have another wave of financial disasters in the banking system. It will trigger an increased rate of job loss.

Soon, the pro-growth politicians will need a new plan. What will they do? They can't rebuild industry. There's nothing to power it. They may try, but it will fail.

Eventually, (not too long from now), we'll have a leader that will solve the problem with scapegoating and war. And that will at least find young people something to do.

Michael Sloan said...

@Iconoclast421 Would you agree that an abrupt stop to globalization would incur a die off? I see it as a domino effect, not solely about the oil in the ground, but as Mike's book talk about, the Siamese relationship of Money and Oil.

It is a holistic ecosystem we got here, you remove something like ethanol production, and that is directly going to affect the GDP, the value of currency, the cost of alternatives, the migration of jobs, and that in turn is going to have an affect on how these so many billions of people are going to live.

The oil crunch would not make for a long drawn out affair if the price of that ever-reducing commodity continued to rise, at some point the the economic and governmental components of our societies will break due to this.

robmac58 said...

To Businessman,
Good advice and a correction.
Tenants are advised to educate themselves as best they can on the financial viability of their landlords. They are further advised to know what laws are in place in their location that protect them.
The amount paid for a property and the amount of the first mortgage are public record (At least in California). A friendly realtor or Title Insurance Co. rep can provide you with this information. Or the official recording office.
With this information you can extrapolate what your landlords mortgage costs are per month. Add to this the property tax, insurance and maintenance costs. Compare that amount to your monthly rent. It may be enlightening!
The present market value of your residence can be estimated for you by a neighborhood realtor. Compare that to the price paid.
Good news for tenants is found below.

On May 20, 2009 President Obama signed into law the passage of SB 896. (Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009) This law effects everyone in the United States, unless your state offers something better. This Federal law does not preempt state and local laws, if their laws are better for the tenant.

Google "sb 896" for more information. Protections vary based upon what kind of lease you have. As a month to month tenant, I enjoy the requirement of 90 days notice to vacate in the event of a foreclosure.

To Tantive,
The purpose of my message was to illustrate the fact that renters are not necessarily worse off than owners. My landlord is in a much worse off position than I am.
I simply may have to find another place to live at any time plus 90 days.
I am at peace with that fact.

RanD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Mineau said...

do you agree that the population scales with the food supply? In our current model, in the United States, doesn't food production scale with oil production?

How do you propose to scale food production when the energy used to create it is decreasing? I know how to build a solar powered electric tractor and some farming tricks but even with the most expert knowledge I'm not going to be able to do any where near what I could do with Oil and Natural gas fertilizer feedstock.

There are going to be some great innovations and adaptations though, I agree. I'm proud of my hydro and aeroponic skills, I can grow a lot of food with little water, nutrients, and space. Helping poor farmers in the 3rd world grow alot of food in harsh conditions with little energy is effort well spent, we need all that innovation. (e.g. getting rid of spider mites) We will have to farm under the same conditions.

I *might* agree with you, but need to understand your position. I personally think that the infinite growth paradigm combined with peak energy (and peak everything) will bring consumption to a nearly complete halt.

But it might be like a bad heart attack, where the patient gets revived, goes back to eating poorly (infinite consumption, spoiling the nest)... until the second one. After the first heart attack do we go back into infinite consumption mode?

I think that the global anti-infinite growth movement is picking up, enough where there will be pockets of hope.

An alcoholic will only get help and change if they realize their life is at stake. If enough people become ready to change, with all the fervor which the drowning cling to life preservers, and whole communities change, they'll survive. Some alcoholics and addicts recover, some die.

For every other community that goes back to the old infinite consumption paradigm, there will be a die off.

And Zombies.

I don't want anyone to die. When I see old ladies it tears me apart inside knowing what's coming. So lets do our best to spread the message, and create new systems, make it easy to create and use local currency, live without oil, and whatever Mike and the sustainability tells us. If we get critical mass someone will be taking care of those old ladies when the SHTF. we're running out of time....

eyeballs said...


Fine reading, the Chris Hedges article. Deeply considered, and beautifully stated. And yet ... and yet...

Is there no other item on the menu, besides collaboration, and overt rebellion against corporate industrialism? I see the corporate monster as I saw my uncle, a family tyrant, who decayed by stages, soaked in alcohol and raging and lying and forcing his ugly domination on eveyone in his big house as he slowly died. If I could go back in time and muster the necessary courage, I would tell everyone around him -- including my aunt, who died in the proccess -- to get out of his way, to go do something else, to abandon him completely, rather than hovering around and being damaged.

This personal anecdote may not mean to you what it means to me, but what I'm trying to say is that the Old Paradigm, apparently as strong as it ever was, is dying. It may die slowly, but I suspect we will not have to wait long. Take care! The Old Beast is brandishing powerful weapons and is paranoid of his present situation and even more of his inevitable doom. Do we really want to waste energy (and lives?) poking at the Beast, as he writhes on his throne and orders his increasingly skeptical minions to grab what they still can?

Would we not be better off steering clear of the crapulous machine as it totters and sputters, and insulate ourselves from it by taking care of ourselves and our friends and family, huddling out of its shadow to whatever extent that is possible?

I do not mean that, when an ethical question presents -- one has a chance to prevent some horror, perhaps endangering oneself -- one should chicken out and spare one's own comfort. Each of us will be presented with numerous opportunities to stand up and do the right thing, or allow the injustice to occur. We all have to make a call, time after time, whether to jump in or cringe as it goes down.

Go to India or maybe Haiti. The poor will come up to you, begging with moist eyes and skinny children. You give, and more come. You give. The problem remains. Soon, you realize that however much you give, the problem will only be solved -- if it can be solved at all -- by other means. Your intervention makes some small joy in a bitter sea, but the sea is just as bitter when you're tapped out. Protesting against the machine is much like this: no matter what you do, the juggernaut staggers around with its crudgel, bashing here and bashing there.

We have to choose our battles, if we will actually have any real influence at all. The Camus quote about throwing ourselves against the gears and wheels and refusing to allow the machine to work, unless it treats us with respect ... that may or may not have been possible in his day. I suspect the Luddites tried and failed at a much more likely time, and that since then the momentum of industrialism has been unstoppable. But today it's absurd to think that by the effort of any one, one hundred or one million of us, capitalist industrialism will stop persecuting its victims and give way to a kinder, gentler new day. It will die horribly, and die soon, and we need not throw away our own power trying to slap it as it dies.

We are going over a huge waterfall, most of us with no barrel at all. Wall Street is going over the falls. Obama is going over, the Chinese generals and the Swiss bankers and the Bilderburgers and the College of Cardinals are going over the falls. Like it or not, we are going over the same falls, more or less together.

While I deeply respect Camus, Victor Havel and Chris Hedges, really, I wish to suggest that the anarchist (not the collaborator!!) is best advised to choose THE MOST EFFECTIVE ACTION, not some symbolic but useless resistance, which will offer only an empty emotional satisfaction and no substantial value.

Simon said...

One factor that mitigates against any effective response to crisis by our leaders and govt instrumentalities is the ongoing rape of language as a means of communication. Think "weapons of mass destruction".
My local electricity supplier tells me safety is their first priority. Why then do they leave lines across my road and fences for 5 days, telling me to treat them as live because they may become live at any time? Either they are lying to me or they are complete idiots. Perhaps both. Once that level of incoherence takes hold chaos must surely follow. Our social structures will fail, in large part because we have lost the ability as a society to "speak the name of the beast" as it were.
Absent clearly understood language, messages will be misunderstood, signals confused and conflict joined.
That is why relative isolation is a vital step in any survival plan. The less people you have to communicate with, the better you chance of not being misunderstood, with bad consequences.

eyeballs said...

Paul Mineau,

You are obviously a sincere and very capable person, and I feel you concerns.

"do you agree that the population scales with the food supply? In our current model, in the United States, doesn't food production scale with oil production?"

More complex than that. If "food supply" is taken to mean "all the human nutrition that can be produced, with all the inputs that can be obtained", then there is a great deal of slack in the system.

Animal feed and biofuel together account for a great deal of the "food" produced. And as Cuba showed, food can be produced in cities, on rooftops, in windowboxes, in back yards and front yards. Given the political will, suburbs could be reformatted to feed the people who live there. Human waste can be used as fertilizer, instead of feeding algae blooms in rivers and estuaries. Of course, all of this requires conscious regulation and organization, not a chaos of desperate, conflicting refugee groups.

Food production scale with oil? Well, yes and no. First of all, smaller, hand-worked mini-farms can produce as much or more than petro-agriculture, though only if a significant portion of the population makes their living at farm labor, and hand tools can replace complex farm machinery. This is distasteful to most people, who see it as a shameful descent to a peasant past. But it makes good sense and we need not sacrifice education and human dignity.

Also, eating locally produced food eliminates another tier of petroleum expenditure. Etc.

And we are not "running out of oil". The descent, to a time when it takes more energy to get the oil than it produces, will be quite a challenging ride. As we transition to small organic, human and animal powered agriculture - the key is to appropriate more of the available gas for fertilizer and more of the available oil for tractors, etc. If we don't over-proccess, or over-transport food, and if we don't waste oil on war, useless plastic, jet vacations, there could be enough oil to descend rationally while feeding everyone.

This and other challenges will require organization. In a crisis time, authoritarianism tends to assert over the less efficient egalitarian mode. The mode can change back, but there may be little use in fighting this trend during the crisis. It may even be prudent to deal with authoritarian regimes (such as Castro's Cuba) in order to do some real good.

I do not suggest that we become peasants or serfs or collaborators with the catastrophic destruction of the biosphere or with the persecution of our fellow beings. I am only proposing a positive political strategy - one that involves doing good works - rather than a negative strategy of fighting The System. Everything is going to be different, anyway, so revolution is unnecessary. What we can do is contribute to the decency of the outcome.

Sebastian Ernst Ronin said...

Re "We have been like Galileo, locked away under house arrest."

This is the pop version of history. In fact, Galileo was a slut and a thief. It was Copernicus, from whom he stole unabashedly (never mind the theft of the telescope) who was the true genius. It was only Galileo's blind vanity that put him into the cross-hairs of Mother Church. He was truly the the first, modern man.

Sebastian Ernst Ronin said...

Re "Some alcoholics and addicts recover, some die."

Who gives a shit about junkies (not to be mistaken for drunks)? They are useless eaters par excellence.

Sebastian Ernst Ronin said...

Correction, my brain fart, re Galileo and Copernicus. The timid monk laid out the hypothesis. It was Kepler, partnered with the genius of Tycho Brahe, who did the grunt work and identified the planets' revolutions. It was Galileo who came along and, through manipulative PR maneuvers (and some work), grabbed credit.

Dean said...

need volunteers at collapsenet?