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Monday, June 29, 2020

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Charles Hugh Smith... a very wise person.

The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States

We Could Be Heroes...

Just For One Day

I foresee a time soon when a great many people get their martyred hero death wish. Nothing greater than to be a hero, but the shelf-life of herodom is generally brief. Maybe better to be a rich rock star singing about it, but I don't think so.

I've seen heroism in something we call 'real life' (an expression that points out how we have countless forms of unreal life that we consume in increasingly larger and more varied content to the point where some people consume far more virtual reality than the real thing.

'Tell 'em a magic elf named Leroy sent you.'

James Kunstler Is a Very Smart Man

When the Birdies Sing Like the Fat Lady
"And so here we are at a fraught moment in the convergent crises of corona virus and the foundering economic system that it infected, with all its frightful pre-existing conditions. Of course, it isn’t capitalism, so-called, that is failing, but the perversions of capitalism, starting with the appendage of the troublesome term: ism. It isn’t a religion, or even a pseudo-religion like Zoroastrianism or communism. It’s simply the management system for surplus wealth. In a hyper-complex society, the management of wealth naturally grows hyper-complex, too, with lavish opportunities and temptations for chicanery, cheating, fraud, and swindling (the perversions of capital). It’s in the interest of the managers to cloak all that hyper-complex perversity in opaque language, to make it seem okay.

"How many ordinary Americans have a clue what all the Municipal Liquidity Facilities, Primary Dealer Credit Facilities, Primary and Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facilities, Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facilities, Main Street New Loan Facilities and Expanded Loan Facilities, Commercial Paper Funding Facilities, currency swap lines, the TALFs TARPs, PPPs, SPVs represent ­— besides the movement, by keystrokes, of “money” from one netherworld to another (both conveniently located on Wall Street), usually to the loss of non-elite citizens generally and to their offspring’s offspring’s offspring?

"Real capital is grounded in the production of real things of real value, of course, and when it’s detached from all that, it’s no longer real capital. Money represents capital, and when the capital isn’t real, the money represents…nothing! And ceases to be real money. Just now, America is producing almost nothing except money, money in quantities that stupefy the imagination — trillions here, there, and everywhere. The trouble is that money is vanishing as fast as it’s being created. That’s because it’s based on promises to be paid back into existence that will never be kept, on top of prior promises to pay back money that were broken or are in the process of breaking. The net result is that money is actually disappearing faster than it can be created, even in vast quantities.

"All this sounds like metaphysical bullshit, I suppose, but we are obviously watching money disappear. Your paycheck is gone. That activity you started — a brew-pub, a gym, an ad agency — no longer produces revenue. The HR department at the giant company you work for told you: don’t bother coming into the office tomorrow, or possibly ever again. Your bills are piling up. The numbers in your bank account run to zero. That sure smells like money disappearing. Wait until the pension checks and the SNAP cards mysteriously stop landing in the mailbox."

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Pandemic is a Global and Universal Problem...

A global problem is one that has a global reach. A universal problem is one that affects and is affected by everyone involved in a system. When you have a globally universal problem, like a pandemic, you have a problem that requires everyone on the planet to be on the same page following the same protocol.

It is like driving. In the "globe" of traffic, EVERYONE needs to follow the same basic driving protocols and obey the same traffic rules/signs. Otherwise, many many accidents. See:

The Early Wild Days of Urban Automotive Traffic

With a highly contagious virus traveling globally via cars, public transit, trains, planes, and sailing ships, we have a very global manifestation of a very universal problem. We also have a nearly unanimous lack of agreement between nations, states, corporations, their employees, small businesses, their employees, state, municipal and county governments, religions, sports clubs, bridge clubs, billy clubs...


People need to eat: 

"South Africa has started to gradually loosen its strict coronavirus lockdown, allowing some industries to reopen after five weeks of restrictions that plunged its struggling economy deeper into turmoil.The economy of Africa's most industrialised nation was already teetering when the lockdown kicked in on March 27 to contain the spread of infections."


On what is practical:

Backwards into the Future

"Lockdowns can’t last forever, people are social animals. Also, lockdowns don’t solve the problem, that’s not their goal; they merely buy you time. Would you say we have used that time wisely? Would you say it’s safe now to put less distance between people, who are for all intents and purposes potential hosts for a lethal virus?" 
Raul Ilargi of The Automatic Earth 


Also: Why apex predators should be an elite minority not a 7-billion-plus-and-growing planetary hive colony:

March of the Locusts: Individuals Start Moving to Avoid Cannibalism

Will we achieve the miracle of globally universal cooperation along careful guidelines? Nuh-uh. 

Have we used wisely what we hopefully have learned from our  confused, inconsistent, and generally too little too late lockdowns? Nuh-uh.

Are we immune to cannibalism? I'm not gonna answer that question. I'll let this guy do that:

The above picture is from an article titled: Should I Wear A Mask In Public? ... whose headline says it all: complete lack of consolidated response aka solidarity, cooperation, unity...

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

President Trump Readies Bailout for Nations Food
"In another round of comments, President Trump has ordered meatpacking plants to remain open during the pandemic. While plants can remain open, workers, who don't want to contract the deadly virus, don't necessarily have to show up to work. We discussed that over the weekend in a piece titled "American Farms Cull Millions Of Chickens Amid Virus-Related Staff Shortages At Processing Plants."

The animals are always the first to get the worst. The worst is yet to come, however.

Meanwhile, in our human world, our prisons are becoming massively infected by COVID-19. Guards are also getting sick, of course. Less oversight over a distressed prison population.

Imagine you're sick, trapped in cages with other prisoners also getting sick or losing what's left of their prison-addled minds, many of which were already in bad shape before incarceration.

You don't necessarily like prison guards, but they literally hold the keys.

Spend a minute imagining this. We had 2.3 million prisoners in the USA as of 2016. That number may have dropped since then. Still, close enough. 2 million humans in the dungeon, feeling trapped in a new way on top of the already plain fact of being trapped by a jail sentence.

Now you know how the animals feel. Some statistics:

"The meat and poultry industry is the largest segment of U.S. agriculture.
U.S. meat production totaled 52 billion pounds in 2017.
U.S. poultry production totaled 48 billion pounds in 2017.
In 2017, the meat and poultry industry processed:
9 billion chickens
32.2 million cattle and calves
241.7 million turkeys2.2 million sheep and lambs
121 million hogs"

Ironically, the kindest thing you can do now is buy all the meat you can use. Better to be slaughtered by a soulless industrial assembly-line death camp system than to slowly starve to death because the system has collapsed and no one is showing up to work or can afford feed for the animals.

After all, they're "only animals", right?

"Insomuch as ye do it to the least of ye, ye do it unto Me." (some jerk named Jesus. Yeah, fuck Him too. Trouble maker. Nail Him up!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

And You Thought TRUMP...

...was an unrepentant addle-pated asshole. Meet his worthy successor, the King of Cloacas Himself, MIchael Richard Pence.


"Pence, who leads President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, later suggested to reporters that he did not need to wear a mask because he is tested regularly for the virus, and does not have it.

"The Mayo Clinic, which is located in Rochester, Minnesota, is requiring all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face covering or mask to slow the spread of Covid-19. The facility said that the mask requirement is part of its protocol “for ensuring your safety.”

"The clinic said in a Twitter post that it had informed Pence of its policy mandating masks before he toured the facility."

This is how you set an example for the USA populace, yessirreebob.

This is the man who, I remind us, felt it was pertinent that he stand on a South Korean rooftop staring ruggedly at North Korea so that they could see his determination. I can't find the original article, from a few years ago, where Pence said this, but it exists, along with a nifty picture of Pence looking very rugged and determined like some man who stares at goats, maybe.

These are the clowns we've allowed to take thelm of  a major geopolitical superpower )albeit one unfortunately taken to drinking gin'n'kryptonie cocktails... wait! I found it!

Mike Pence thinks mean-mugging at North Korea might deter nuclear aggression In lieu of an armed armada, the VP deployed a withering glare.

The actual quote: “I thought it was important that we went outside,” Pence said, according to the Post. “I thought it was important that people on the other side of the DMZ see our resolve in my face.”

Meanwhile, Uncle Joe Biden runs for the office of Chief White House (off his) Rocker Man:

That's Uncle Joe!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Sad Song/Former Glories

Carla Bley's composition Utviklingssang

Simple but Detailed Info for Preventing/Healing a Case of COVID-19

hopelessness and homelessness

James Kunstler is perhaps the single best USA writer making sense of this mess:

Turning and Churning
"The old system is permanently broken now. We’re having a hard time recognizing that, plague or no plague. Many activities have flunked the scale challenge and will not come back to running the way they used to, generally anything organized at the giant scale: global supply chains, global corporations that depend on them, fracking for shale oil, big institutions like colleges and even public school systems, commercial aviation and tourism, the auto industry, show business (including the Disney empire and things like it), suburbia as a general proposition, skyscrapers and megastructures, shopping malls, pension funds, insurance companies, mega-banks, and, of course, medical conglomerates. We’re deceived by, which appears to be successful at the moment because it is filling a vacuum that Amazon will also eventually fall into. Amazon’s business model is a joke. The model is: every item purchased makes a separate journey by truck to the customer. That’s a “sell” signal to me.

"The lockdown is making people crazy. It’s one thing to be stuck in the house with spouses and relatives you can barely stand under normal circumstances. But to see all your financial support systems melt down at the same time, along with the implications for your hopes-and-dreams, is a pretty big shock. Naturally so many want to bust out of the waking nightmare and get going, to return to action, to at least see whether what they were doing before all this happened might restart.

"I dunno about that. They might flock back to restaurants to spend some of that fresh-minted $1200, and then what? Where will the next $1200 come from? Modern Monetary Theory? A new Guaranteed Basic Income? From what? From taxes paid by which businesses generating what profits from people too broke to buy goods and services? I don’t think so. Times have changed and we’re going to have to get some new good ideas that fit the new times. But, the craziness out there is very likely to start expressing itself differently as we discover the urge to action does not produce the desired result of returning-to-normal. Instead, it produces more disorder in the foundering system, and then the question is: how much disorder do we have to slog through to get to those new ideas suited to the new times?

"I’ve got one of my own. The mule business! Seriously."

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Shabbat 4-25-20

Kindness comes from the most unexpected corners, and yet, reliably, in its curious way.

Seems you have to ask for help. Tell people you're lonely. Some jewels can't be bought, only given and received.

Sell Me a Diamond

The infamous Hope diamond

Lonely People

Doing these kind things for us, kind people not only help us and happify us (is 2 a woid!), they teach us things, especially about ourselves. Things they may well not have a clue about themselves. It's like handing out lottery tickets randomly. Some, it's just a nice fey gesture. Occasionally, jackpot.

Every dog has its day. Pet your local stray even if you can't take it in or even feed it.

It being that holiest of days, Saturday, Day of Hangovers after Unholy Nights, I as always present our moment with the Dark Side for it too needs our love and respect: it is us, after all:

Down in the Hole

Lord help me, amen. Can someone give me a light sabre or even a cheap blaster? Hallelujah!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Financial Contagion

The rates of debt growth remind me of rising growth curves in pandemics:

U.S. Fed balance sheet increases to record $6.62 trillion

"(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet increased to a record $6.62 trillion this week as the central bank used its nearly unlimited buying power to soak up assets to keep markets functioning amid an abrupt economic free fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Since early March, the Fed has slashed interest rates to zero, restarted bond purchases and rolled out an unprecedented range of programs to keep credit flowing and shore up business and household confidence.

"The central bank’s balance sheet as of Wednesday rose about $200 billion from $6.42 trillion a week earlier. That is up from just $4.29 trillion in the first week of March.

"It is now the equivalent of roughly 30% of the size of the U.S. economy before the crisis struck, and will certainly grow larger in the weeks ahead as the Fed keeps piling on assets and the economy shrinks."


followed by


Up Up and Away!

Experiential Time...

... is different from absolute time.

Absolute time is the thing that physics measures.

Experiential time is how we experience reality, bit by bit at a... time. Words kinda fall short when trying to explain time to ourselves.

The clock will click at the same rate as always. Experiential time will slow up or down, even seem to almost hold still depending on our experiential state.

Generally, if you want time to speed up, slow down. Try it. It works.

Between Dynasties

Lord have mercy. Human history is a horror.

On Joseph Rock in Yunnan, China

The Case of the Invisible Asymptote
click ^here

Regarding Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19...

...something resembling objectivity and holistic analysis would be nice. This, for example is kinda nice:

What We Do and Don't "Know" About Hydroxychloroquine...

...very little indeed, using the word 'know' as in 'experts agree despite who's signing their paychecks'.

There's no TIME nor sufficient resources to do truly double-blind rigorous scientific research when you're trying to save lives anyway anyhow:

"Clinical trials of various Covid-19 treatments are, of course, ongoing — and the FDA has ramped up its capacity to approve new studies. But researchers are grappling with an overarching concern that with so much off-label, ad hoc, and informal experimentation underway in the battle to contain the pandemic, the baseline conditions needed for decisive studies of Covid-19 interventions are becoming more challenging to achieve. They also worry that if the public comes to believe that the evidence on hydroxychloroquine is settled, few patients will want to participate in clinical trials at all. They’ll just want the hydroxychloroquine — and there is already evidence that this is happening.

"Alvarez says he gets it. “If the [French] study can be interpreted in a good light and it’s the only one that can, then individual physicians all around the world are hanging onto that because we want to help,” he said. “We’re scared of what we’re seeing. I think any physician would tell you that this is scary and we’re grasping at straws to help people.”

"And yet, he and other scientists say, all that grasping might actually be inhibiting the country’s ability to figure out the most effective ways to treat Covid-19."

Red Wire or Green Wire?

Yes, We Need Nuclear Power...

...and yes, it can be done quite safely. And movement to reform/revitalize USA nuclear power technology is itself good.

But probably not by these clowns, and I don't mean Trump who is not a nuclear scientist. I mean the usual jackass lobbyists for the usual rich assholes or wannabe rich assholes.

Still, the move is inevitable and has to start somewhere:


A nukular tune:

Blinded by the Future

Yeah, we really believed this bullshit back then. I was raised on it.

On Learning to Use Rather Than Abuse Nature....

Stupid Headline; Cool Story

"After finishing their work for the day, the two turned their attention to the canoe project. They first built a wooden skeleton and a hammock-like structure to suspend the boat-shaped form in the air.

"They next sandwiched the boat’s skeleton with mushroom spawn and let nature take over.

"For two weeks, the fledgling canoe hung inside a special growing room in Gordon’s facility, where temperatures ranged between 80 and 90 degrees and the humidity hovered between 90 to 100 percent. The last step in the process was to let the 100-pound boat dry in the Nebraska sun."

Music To Paddle and Pray By

Elton John 
Tumbleweed Connection (1970) 

I took myself a blue canoe 
And I floated like a leaf. 
Dazzling dancing, half enchanted 
In my merlin sleep. 
Crazy was the feeling, 
Restless were my eyes. 
Insane, they took the paddles. 
My arms, they paralyzed. 

So where to now St. Peter, 
If it's true I'm in your hands? 
I may not be a Christian, 
But I've done all one man can.
 I understand I'm on the road 
Where all that was is gone. 
So where to now St. Peter? 
Show me which road I'm on; 
Which road I'm on. 

I took a sweet young foreign gun. 
This lazy life is short. 
Something for nothing always ended 
With a bad report. 
Dirty was the day break, 
Sudden was the change, 
In such a silent place is this 
Beyond the rifle range. 

So where to now St. Peter, 
If it's true I'm in your hands? 
I may not be a Christian, 
But I've done all one man can. 
I understand I'm on the road 
Where all that was is gone. 
So where to now St. Peter? 
Show me which road I'm on; 
Which road I'm on.

("blue canoe" was Civil War slang for a Union army rifle round, or so research indicates)

Sting's Fame As a Celebrity Exceeds...

...his power as an advanced composer of rare poignance:

Seven Days

from Ten Summoner's Tales released in 1993.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A Note for Ye and We Doom'nGloomers...

...  I for one have found it very difficult to grasp until recently why this house of cards has not fallen sooner. People much smarter and more informed than me expected it to crash around 2006. When the economy crashed in 2008, we were amazed at how willing the Powers That Be (in this case primarily the Fed) were to do terrible things, like print money at a hyper-inflationary rate, or -- in order to forestall that hyper-inflation while guaranteeing it would eventually appear and be that much worse for being postponed -- bomb any nation that wouldn't accept that increasingly debased currency called the US (petro)dollar, in order to avoid taking genuine responsibility for their actions much less help us fix our problems.

It has taken me awhile to realize that balance applies here like everywhere else. In this case, the balance is that the Powers That Be have to do something with that energy they don't put into making things better, and since they won't work to make things better, they have to -- consciously or unconsciously, by design or by incompetence -- work to make things worse.

We try to explain this phenomenon by the histories/ideologies of this or that political faction but it's really that simple. Just as resignedly voting for the lesser evil usually lowers the general good, so does always taking the Easy Way Out necessarily result in Making Things Harder.

Line of Least Resistance

A Repeat of the World's Finest Face Mask:

Doctor approved!

A Most Excellent Sock Face Mask

("And it's a babe magnet!')
(I am known in certain online circles as 'boscohorowitz').

Maybe we can't be heroes? Who knows? But we can be sock puppets!

How Not to Get Sick From Your INEVITABLE Exposure to COVID-19

Oil/nose/moisture/virus: my weird HHT that makes me so vulnerable to chronic, spontaneous, and too often severe nosebleeds, is most consistently allayed by humidity. This is why we abandoned a home in Spokane for a crappy neo-Stalinist prisoner cell apartment in the Portland metro’s myriad prison quarters aka ‘affordable housing/apartment complex’.

I squirt saline spray up my nose like rock stars do cocaine: frequently and in large amounts.

But also, and in some ways maybe even more importantly, I put virgin coconut oil up there like a porn star uses lube. This helps seal the moisture in and promotes the formation of a dense kind of meta-mucus that helps keep in place the scabs inside my nose, in some places all that keeps it from bleeding from hopelessly vulnerable telangiectasias: 

Why should you care? A few reasons:

I almost never get head colds. COVID-19 almost always enters the body through the sinus regions (this includes virus rubbed into the eyes). 

An interesting relevant fact: one reason that flu season is a colder-months syndrome is because that’s when everyone is indoors breathing artificially dry air circulated by duct systems. The drier the sinus tissue, the easier it is for a virus to land atop an unprotected cell and have its spiky wicked way with it. 

Another relevant fact: airliners have notoriously dry air circulating the pathogens of an (often cosmopolitan) population the size of a small jungle tribe. William Gibson, author, hates doing his global book promo tours despite a love of travel itself because he invariably gets a sinus infection from hell because of the dry air in passenger, uh, air craft. 

Another relevant fact: my understanding is that the kinds of pathogens that love salt-water tissues do not like lipids. Lipids form a layer too dense for most microbes to swim through as it suffocates them. This is why covering just-cooked meat with fat is an old-fashioned preservative method. 

Not to mention that saline spray moistens the tissues which makes it easier for them to move anti-bodies and such to the infection site while creating that much more moisture barrier between the virus and its would-be host cell victims.

I rarely get head colds even when my wife’s snot is draining constantly and she sneezes aerosol contagions right into my face. (If a bug gets into my bad-habits-weakened lungs, lord help me. But I almost never get head colds.)

I’m ‘pretty sure’ my wife and I have contracted the virus. She got sick in a way that fits the bill, is now better, but I still badger her into slamming large doses of helpful vitamins, chugalugging Airborne, electrolyte solutions, fresh fruit and veggies galore, indulging a bit of modest exercise including what the young kids call “sex”, and thinking happy thoughts while neither avoiding nor obsessing on virus-news. I do this because the thing seems fond of relapses.

Me, I felt myself fighting something but am highly resistant, I believe, because I have been revving my 64-year old health at high Ferrari cycles. (Now that I have iron again, I am otherwise an uncommonly vigorous Old Dude.) Last night, I felt for fifteen minutes at day’s end the tell-tale symptoms of an encroaching head cold. It feels like no other sinusoidal inflammation, and brother, am I ever a connoisseur of sinusoidal inflammations since HHT gives me chronic de facto sinusitis even without microbial pathogenic ‘help’. I was already feeling low and blue for most of the day: the Ferrari’s timing was off and RPMs were dropping fast.

I chugalugged some Airborne (the effervescent kind which has that hefty placebo kick from the seltzer water effect*), sucked a Zicam lozenge, had yet another of my many daily cups of this or that cold-relevant herbal teas (Gypsy Cold Care/Breathe Easy/Throat Coat/peppermint/jasmine green tea), made it known to my wife that I needed serious baby-ing, and the head cold vanished within another fifteen minutes.

My Ferrari is running strong again this morning. 

Also, if you can buy legal weed, buy some edibles and stay high more often than not. Low doses probably will do. Why? Well, reduced stress and elevated endorphins are good, and the plethora of literature on cannabis indicates that it elevates immune system health, whether just by the elevated endorphins/reduced stress aspect or by more direct means.

If you’re stuck with black market weed: buy a bunch of lower grade herb, boil it down, add some olive oil, boil off the water, keep the olive oil. You now have edible cannabis. It doesn’t taste nearly as bad as cod liver oil does. Orange oil helps. Also, take it with food, Weed needs food to properly metabolize: better, smoother, longer high, better therapeutic effects, more economical via efficiency. 

I mentioned exercise. Yes. But nothing severe. Nothing that causes lows, however brief, in your body’s core health. 

*my own invention, thank you 

I hope this information is helpful.

The Wise Words of a Man Called (D Benton) SMith

I stole these words from an online persona I call my friend:

This old world seems to be having an existentialism crisis. Sure hope it’s the mid-life sort of crisis, and not the, you know, ‘bucket list’ kind.

In either case, I trust that you will keep on doing the best you can with what you’ve got. I sure intend to. That’s all any of us can do, right ? All 7.5 billion of us, just doin’ the best we can with whatever we got at the time. Trouble is, every single one of us billions has got a slightly different opinion about what constitutes “best”. Is that best for me or best for thee? Whatever, and no matter. We are still going to do it.

A very strong argument could be made for the statement that the world we now inhabit (precisely as it truly is right this minute) is merely the sum total of a very long history of everybody doing the best they could with what they had. Talk about democracy! That’s PURE democracy. Every single living thing on the rock. Free to wade in and get our hands bloody any bloody time we want.

The intricately intertwined crises we are currently experiencing ( take your pick) are simply the underlying problem made manifest.

We have been lying to each other (for justifiable personal advantage) just a wee bit too much, and this is what we got. ( I do hope you’re not blaming this mess on some other species or spook) We must tip the balance just a smidgen back the other way now.

Now is the time to talk, people. Now is the time to BARGAIN. Now is a time for putting as much out there on the table as humanly possible, so that we can be as aware as humanly possible, of what actually IS and what the hell is going on around us.

It’s a gambling contest, and your own awareness is the only chip you’ve got.

I didn't ask. He can sue me if he wants.;) I refer us all to this blog's masthead motto:

"Coppula eam, se non posit jocularum." Alfred E. Newman

...One That Won't Make Me Sick...

Yes, the info the article presents regarding black market vs. legal coca sales is confusing but that's Reuters for you. Note that it is confusing in a sensationalistic manner. See: "drug gangs" in the first sentence.

"Prices for coca leaves sold to drug gangs have slumped 70% since Peru went on lockdown last month, according to Julián Pérez Mallqui, the head of a local growers’ organization. He said his members cater to Peru’s tightly regulated legal coca market, but acknowledged some growers sell on the black market. Peruvian officials say more than 90% of the country’s coca crop goes to traffickers who are now struggling to move product.

"With the sector in turmoil, Pérez’s group is crafting a plan to ask the government to buy up excess coca inventory.

"Peru “has to design clear intervention strategies for coca,” Pérez said. “We’re screwed, just like everyone else in the world.”
"The coronavirus outbreak has upended industries across the globe. The international narcotics trade has not been spared. From the cartel badlands along the U.S.-Mexico border and verdant coca fields of the Andes, to street dealers in London and Paris, traffickers are grappling with many of the same woes as legitimate businesses, Reuters has found.

"On three continents, Reuters spoke with more than two dozen law enforcement officials, narcotics experts, diplomats and people involved in the illicit trade. They described a business experiencing busted supply chains, delivery delays, disgruntled workers and millions of customers on lockdown. They also gave a window into the innovation - and opportunism - that are hallmarks of the underworld."


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

What If Trump Were a Genius?


Bear with me now. If it helps, consider him an idiot savant-ic genius, or a genius marred by severe mental illness, or if you prefer, just plain genius born with a MAGA tattoo on his butt. 's all good.

Anyway, consider that he just might know what he's doing part of the time, and that he might even excel in certain understandings even if (like most of us) he doesn't understand what he understands or why.

Just consider that sometimes he might be right if only because if a stopped clock is right at least twice a day, how often right might be a clock that shifts position minute-by-minute, going backward and forward at whim, like how Trump frequently contradicts himself between his first and third statement of a given day?

Imagine that Trump knows what he's doing calling for bailout money for the domestic oil industry even though it is a) the victim of its own rock-headed folly and b) bailing it out will only hasten its decline by subsidizing more of the same folly, by which folly it must surely fail because it simply cannot compete with cheaper Saudi/Russian/OPEC/et al oil. 

It simply can't. 

It's gone this far with the phony 'shale oil' miracle only because of super-cheap loans from the central banks (let's just say 'The Fed'). There is no other reason. 

This domestic shale/tar sands oil is far too expensive to produce for it to compete with the global oil market, a market which itself is already desperately pumping oil wastefully in attempts to make enough money to pay the huge unwise loans taken by countries once swimming in oil much cheaper to produce during a time of record high oil prices but now struggling to make a buck pumping twice as much oil as before but at much thinner profit margins.

But if Trump keeps the USA domestic oil zombies alive awhile longer, they'll continue to add to the global oil glut which in turn will make oil much less expensive to obtain... and we DO need oil. We live on oil. It is the basis of our entire industrial civilization.

Some context by a certified Smart Guy in the oil industry wrote last January:

“Today approximately 90% of the supply chain of all industrially manufactured products depend on the availability of oil derived products, or oil derived services. As the source material for various types of fuels, oil is a basic prerequisite for the transportation of large quantities of goods over long distances. Oil, alongside information technology, container ships, trucks and aircraft form the backbone of globalization and our current industrial ecosystem.

“Approximately 70% of our daily oil supply comes from oil fields discovered prior to 1970. Most of global oil supply still comes from 10 to 20 huge oil fields. In 2006, 10 oil fields accounted for 29.9% of the global proved reserves. Since 2006, comparatively very small oil fields have been discovered. 74% of the current global oil reserves is geographically concentrated in what is termed the Strategic Ellipse, which is the Middle East and Central Asia. Peak oil discovery was in 1962, since then rates of resource discovery has been declining persistently. New discoveries are limited: the exploration success rate in 2017 was a record low of 5%, and the average discovery size was 24mbbls. A projected range for average decline rate on post-peak production is 5-7%, equivalent to around 3-4.5mb/d of lost production every year.

“Currently the market is oversupplied. When the market returns to demand taking up all global supply, effective spare capacity could only shrink by just 1% of global supply/demand of 96mb/d, leaving the market very susceptible to disruptions. Oil demand is still growing by ~1mbd every year, and no central scenarios that have been recently assessed see oil demand peaking before 2040” (emphases mine)

from a January 2019 report by Simon Michaux Geologian tutkimuskeskus | Geologiska forskningscentralen | Geological Survey of Finland  Puh/Tel +358 29 503 0000  Y-tunnus / FO-nummer / Business ID: 0244680-7:

It would appear that we have, at least temporarily, a 'central scenario that... (doesn't) see oil demand peaking before 2040'. Whether this scenario lasts or we revert to something like our former rates of oil consupmption is unknown. A reversion to former consumption rates is what most people want, that is, if they want their homes to continue staying warm/cool as needed, their stores to be stocked with lots of good food, their cars still able to see the USA in their Chevrolet, etc.

We're not very likely to succeed but I suppose we'll try to revert to normal. What's more likely is that we'll continue trying to restart the moribund economy in the same old way: consume, consume, consume, because The Man makes money by selling the world to you at a profit. The less we consume, the less money He makes and the less power He has over us.

So, along the short run, the sooner we entice our domestic oil producers to drill, baby, drill and pump, daddy, pump, the sooner oil prices will push them out of the global market for good.

This will leave the oil in the ground, which is where it belongs for now. Later, when we've learned to live using much less energy, we will still want oil: for example, for making plastics, for the incredible increase of work that fuel-driven machines can deliver, for the natural gas that usually accompanies underground oil (which natural gas we use to make the fertilizer our farms run on: we literally eat fossil fuels in our culture).

We won't mind -- at that point -- that it only has an EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) of 2-10:1 (2-10 units of energy for every 1 unit invested into exploration and production).

We'll just be be very happy to have the oil, period.

I don't know if we have enough oil/natural gas left under USA soil to withstand another (brief) glut of shale oil production without running the wells entirely dry. I only know there already isn't much left in them, period, and we'd be wise to save what there is.

It seems counter-intuitive to propose saving oil by subsidizing the oil industry to pump more. The idea here is that if we let our oil barons shut down now, and sell their inventories, equipment, and infrastructure at fire-sale prices, two things will happen: 1) the loss of USA oil on the global market will be a factor to drive oil prices up when the economies start turning again in whatever fashion they're able to resume turning, and 2) this will allow another generation of numb-nuts wannabe oil barons to start pumping and selling our oil abroad profitably since they won't have nearly as much overhead because they were able to buy that inventory, equipment, and infrastructure so cheaply.

So maybe Trump knows what he's doing here even if he doesn't know what he's doing here.

His left hand may not know what his right hand is doing, judging by his daily self-contradictions. But at least he knows his left hand from his right hand unlike Old Uncle Joe Biden.

Let us be grateful for these small blessings. Small blessings are all we're liable to receive for awhile.

Burning Beds