Today’s Energy Predicament – A Look at Some Charts

Today’s energy predicament is a strange situation that most modelers have never really considered. Let me explain some of the issues I see, using some charts.

[1] It is probably not possible to reduce current energy consumption by 80% or more without dramatically reducing population.

A glance at energy consumption per capita for a few countries suggests that cold countries tend to use a lot more energy per person than warm, wet countries.

Figure 1. Energy consumption per capita in 2019 in selected countries based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

This shouldn’t be a big surprise: Our predecessors in Africa didn’t need much energy. But as humans moved to colder areas, they needed extra warmth, and this required extra energy. The extra energy today is used to build sturdier homes and vehicles, to heat and operate those homes and vehicles, and to build the factories, roads and other structures needed to keep the whole operation going.

Saudi Arabia (not shown on Figure 1) is an example of a hot, dry country that uses a lot of energy. Its energy consumption per capita in 2019 (322 GJ per capita) was very close to that of Norway. It needs to keep its population cool, besides running its large oil operation.

If the entire world population could adopt the lifestyle of Bangladesh or India, we could indeed get our energy consumption down to a very low level. But this is difficult to do when the climate doesn’t cooperate. This means that if energy usage needs to fall dramatically, population will probably need to fall in areas where heating or air conditioning are essential for living.

[2] Many people think that “running out” of oil supplies should be our big worry. I believe that lack of the “demand” needed to keep oil and other energy prices up should be at least as big a worry.

The events of 2020 have shown us that a reduction in energy demand can occur very quickly, in ways we would not expect.

Oil demand can fall from less international trade, from fewer international air flights, and from fewer trips by commuters. Demand for electricity (made mostly with coal or natural gas) is likely to fall if fewer buildings are occupied. This will happen if universities offer courses only online, if nursing homes close for lack of residents who want to live there, or if young people move back with their parents for lack of jobs.

In some ways, the word “appetite” might be a better word than “demand.” Either high or low appetite can be a problem for people. People with excessive appetite tend to get fat; people with low appetite (perhaps as a side-effect of depression or of cancer treatments) can become frail.

Similarly, either high or low energy appetite can also be a problem for an economy. High appetite leads to high oil prices, as occurred back in 2008. These are distressing to oil consumers. Low appetite tends to lead to low energy prices. These are distressing to energy producers. They may cut back on production, as OPEC nations have done in the recent past, in an attempt to get prices back up. Some energy producers may file for bankruptcy.

Figure 2. Weekly average spot oil prices for Brent, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Just as people can die from indirect effects of too little appetite, an economy can fail if it cannot keep its energy prices (appetite) up. In fact, an economy will probably collapse quite quickly if it cannot keep oil and other energy prices up. The cost of mining or otherwise extracting energy supplies tends to increase over time because the cheapest, easiest-to-extract supplies are taken first. The selling price of energy products needs to keep rising as well, in order for producers to be able to make a profit and, therefore, be able to continue production.

We know that historically, many economies have collapsed. Revelation 18:11-13 tells us that in the case of the collapse of ancient Babylon, the problem at the time of collapse was inadequate demand for the goods produced. There was not even demand for slaves, which was the type of energy available for purchase at that time. This lack of demand (or low appetite) is similar to the low oil price problem we are encountering today.

[3] The big reduction in energy appetite since mid-2008 has particularly affected the US, EU, and Japan. 

We would expect lower energy prices to eventually lead to a decline in energy production because producers will find production unprofitable. On a world basis, however, we don’t see this pattern occurring except during the Great Recession itself (Figure 3).

Figure 3. World per capita energy consumption, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. On a worldwide basis, energy production and consumption are virtually identical because storage is small compared to production and consumption.

Note that in Figure 3, energy consumption is on a “per capita” basis. This is because energy is required for making goods and services; the higher the population, the greater the quantity of goods and services required to maintain a given standard of living. If energy consumption per capita is rising, there is a good chance that living standards are rising.

The countries of the US, EU, and Japan have not been very successful in keeping their energy consumption per capita level since the big drop in oil prices in mid-2008.

Figure 4. Per capita energy consumption for the US, EU, and Japan, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

The falling per capita energy consumption for the US, EU, and Japan is what one would expect if economic conditions were getting worse in these countries. For example, this pattern might be expected if young people are having difficulty finding jobs that pay well. It might also happen if repayment of debt starts interfering with young people being able to buy homes and cars. When fewer goods of these types are purchased, less energy consumption per capita is required.

The pattern of falling energy consumption per capita cannot continue for long without reaching a breaking point because people with low wages (or no jobs at all) will become more and more distressed. In fact, we started seeing an increasing number of demonstrations related to low wage levels, low pension levels, and lack of government services starting in 2019. This problem has only gotten worse with layoffs related to the pandemic in 2020. These layoffs corresponded to substantial further reduction in energy consumption per capita.

[4] China, India, and Vietnam are examples of countries whose energy consumption per capita has risen in recent years.

Not all countries have done as poorly as the major economies in recent years:

Figure 5. Some examples of countries with rising energy consumption per capita, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

These Asian countries could outcompete the US, EU, and Japan in several ways:

  • Big undeveloped coal reserves. These resources could be used as an inexpensive fuel to compete with countries that had depleted their own coal resources. Coal tends to be less expensive than other types of energy, especially if pollution problems are ignored.
  • Warmer climate, so these countries did not need much fuel for heating. Even Southern China does not heat its buildings in winter.
  • Pollution was generally ignored.
  • New, more efficient factories could be built.
  • Lower wages because of
    • Milder climate
    • Inexpensive fuel supply
    • Lower medical costs
    • Lower standard of living

The developed economies were concerned about reducing their own CO2 emissions. Moving heavy industry to these Asian nations meant that the developed economies could benefit in three ways:

  1. Their own CO2 emissions would fall, whether or not world emissions fell.
  2. Pollution problems would be moved offshore.
  3. The cost of finished goods for consumers would be lower.

Moving heavy industry to these and other Asian countries meant the loss of jobs that had paid fairly well in the US, Europe, and Japan. While new jobs replaced the old jobs, they generally did not pay as well, leading to the falling energy consumption per capita pattern seen in Figure 4.

[5] The growing Asian economies in Figure 5 are now reaching coal limits.

While these economies were built on coal reserves, these reserves are becoming depleted. All three of the countries shown in Figure 5 have become net coal importers.

Figure 6. Coal production versus consumption in 2019 for China, India and Vietnam based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

[6] World coal production has remained on a bumpy plateau since 2011, suggesting that its extraction is reaching limits. (Figure 7)

Figure 7. World energy consumption by type, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. “Renewables” represents renewables other than hydroelectricity. Total world consumption is approximately equal to total world production, since stored amounts are small.

Figure 8, below, shows that growth in China’s coal production was the major reason for the big rise in world coal consumption between 2002 and 2011. In fact, this rise in production started immediately after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Figure 8. World coal production by country based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

China’s rapid growth in coal production stopped in 2011. The problem was that extraction from an increasing share of coal mines became unprofitable: The cost of extraction rose but coal prices did not rise to match these higher costs. China could build new mines in locations more distant from where the coal was to be used, but transportation costs would tend to make this coal higher-cost as well. China could increase its coal consumption by importing coal, but that would also be more expensive.

Figure 9. Coal production for selected areas based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In Figure 9, above, we see how dramatically higher China’s coal production has been, in comparison to coal production in other areas of the world. After China’s coal production stalled about 2011, it bounced back in 2018 and 2019 as the country opened mines in the north of the country, farther from industrial use.

Figure 9 indicates that the US’s coal production was on a long plateau between 1990 and 2008; more recently, the US’s production has fallen. Coal production for Europe was falling even before 1981, but the data available for this chart only goes back to 1981. Declining production again results from the cost of production rising above the prices producers could obtain from selling the coal.

Whether or not world coal production will increase in the future remains to be seen. Normally, a person would expect a long bumpy plateau in coal production, such as the world has experienced since 2011, to precede a fall in production. This would be similar to the pattern observed in the US’s coal production. This pattern would also be similar to the shape modeled by geophysicist M. King Hubbert for many types of resource production.

Figure 10. M. King Hubbert symmetric curve from Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels.

[7] World oil production through 2019 has continued upward in an amazingly steady pattern, despite low prices. Its major problem has been unprofitability for producers. 

Figure 7 above shows the total amount of oil produced has continued upward in almost a straight line, except for a dip at the time of the Great Recession.

In fact, every person needs goods and services made with energy products. Rising energy consumption per capita will mean that, on average, every person is getting the benefit of more energy supplies. Figure 11 shows information similar to that on Figure 7, except on a per-capita basis.

Figure 11. World per capita energy consumption by type based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Total world consumption is approximately equal to total world production, since stored amounts are small.

Figure 11 indicates that on a per capita basis, oil supply has been approximately flat. In a way, this should not be surprising. Oil is absolutely essential in many ways. It is used for agriculture, transportation and construction. Oil is also used for its chemical properties in medicines, herbicides, pesticides, lubricants, and many other products. Oil is very energy dense and can be easily stored.

Because of its special properties, many people have assumed that oil prices will always rise. We saw in Figure 2 that this doesn’t actually happen. Low prices have continued for long enough now that they are becoming a serious problem for producers. Many companies are seeking bankruptcy. One analysis shows that 230 oil and gas producers and 214 oilfield services companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2015.

Oil exporters find their countries in financial difficulty, because at low prices, the taxes that they can collect are not sufficient to maintain the programs needed for their people. If the programs cannot be maintained, citizens may become unhappy and revolt.

At this point, oil production during 2020 is down. Figure 12 shows OPEC’s estimate of oil production through July 2020. World oil production is reported to be down about 12%. The highest month of supply was about November 2018.

Figure 12. OPEC and world oil production, in a chart made by OPEC, from the August 2020 OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report.

Figure 13 shows oil production for selected areas of the world through 2019.

Figure 13. Oil production for selected areas of the world based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Europe includes Norway. Russia+ is the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Middle East production tends to bounce up and down. If prices are low, the tendency is to reduce production, as occurred in 2019.

US production rose rapidly between 2008 and 2019, but dipped in 2016, as prices dropped way too low.

Europe’s oil production (including Norway) reached its highest point in the year 2000. It has been declining since then, causing concern for governments.

The production of what I call Russia+ dropped with the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union in 1991. Oil prices had been very low between 1981 and 1991. It appears to me that these low prices were instrumental in the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union. Production was able to rise again in the early 2000s when prices rose. My concern now is that a similar collapse will happen for some oil exporters in the next few years, due to low prices, and it will lead to a major decline of world oil production.

[8] Natural gas is the fuel that seems to be available in abundant supply, if only the price could be made to rise to a high enough level for producers. 

Natural gas production can be seen to be rising on both Figures 7 and 11. The fact that natural gas consumption is rising on a per capita basis in Figure 11 indicates that production is rising robustly–enough to offset weakness in coal production and perhaps help increase the world standard of living, to some extent.

We can see from Figure 14 below that the increase in natural gas production is coming from quite a number of different areas, including the US, Russia and its affiliates, the Middle East, and Australia. Again, Europe (including Norway) seems to be in decline.

Figure 14. Natural gas production for selected areas of the world based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Europe includes Norway. Russia+ is the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The problem for natural gas is again a price problem. It is difficult to get the price up to a high enough level to cover the cost of both the extraction of natural gas and the infrastructure and fuel needed to transport the natural gas to its destination.

We used to talk about “stranded natural gas,” that is, natural gas that can be extracted, but whose cost of transportation is simply too high to make the overall transaction economic. In fact, historically, a lot of natural gas has simply been burned off as a waste product (flared) or re-injected into oil wells, to keep up pressure, because there was no hope of selling it profitably at a distance. It is this formerly stranded natural gas that is now being produced.

Figure 15. Historical natural gas prices based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. LNG is liquefied natural gas transported by ship. German imported natural gas is mostly by pipeline. US Henry Hub gas is natural gas without overseas transport costs included.

The increase in investment in natural gas production in recent years has been based on the hope that prices would rise high enough to cover both the cost of extraction and transportation. In fact, prices have tended to fall with crude oil prices, making the overall price far too low for most natural gas producers. Prices in 2020 have been even lower. For example, recent Japan LNG prices have been about $4 per million Btu. Thus, natural gas seems to have exactly the same problem as coal and oil: Prices are far too low for producers.

[9] The world economy is a self-organizing system, powered by energy. It can be expected to behave in a very strange way when diminishing returns become too much of a problem. 

In the language of physics, the world economy is a dissipative structure. This has been known at least since 1996. The economy is a self-organizing system powered by energy; it is not possible to significantly reduce energy consumption without a major collapse.

The economy has many parts to it. I have illustrated the situation in the following way:

The fact that consumers are also employees means that if wages fall too low (for a significant share of the population), then consumption will also tend to fall too low.

Prices are set by the market. Contrary to the popular view, prices are not based primarily on scarcity. Instead, they are based on the quantity of finished goods and services that consumers in the aggregate can afford. If wage disparity gets to be too great a problem, commodity prices of all types will tend to fall too low.

[10] Economists and modelers of all kinds have completely misunderstood how the economy actually operates.

Our academic communities each seem to exist in separate ivory towers. Economists don’t talk to physicists. Physicists know that dissipative structures cannot last indefinitely. Humans are dissipative structures; they each have limited lifetimes. Hurricanes are also dissipative structures that last only a limited time.

Most economists and modelers have never considered the possibility that today’s economy, like that of ancient Babylon, could be reaching collapse because of low demand, and thus, low prices.

Economists don’t realize that once energy resources become too depleted, energy prices are not likely to rise high enough for producers to make a profit; instead, the overall system will tend to collapse. Central banks have been trying, without success, to get commodity prices up to the point where they can be profitable for producers, but they have not been successful to date. I am doubtful that even more new tricks, such as Universal Basic Income, will work, either.

The erroneous belief systems of most economists and modelers leads to all kinds of strange results. The economy is modeled as if it will grow indefinitely. Most modelers assume that if we have oil, coal, or natural gas in the ground, plus the technical capability to pull these resources out, we will eventually pull them out. Perhaps a later civilization, built on the remains of our current civilization, can do this, but our current civilization cannot.

Climate change models are applied to fossil fuel assumptions that are absurdly high, given the problems with low energy prices that we are currently encountering. No one stops to model what will happen to the climate if fossil fuel consumption is decreased very quickly, which seems to be a real possibility in 2020. The loss of aerosol emissions (smog, for example) from fossil fuels will tend to spike world temperatures, even with reduced CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

We are led to believe that an economy similar to today’s economy can operate solely on renewables. This is simply absurd. Figures 7 and 11 show that there are nowhere near enough renewables to support today’s population, even if substitution were possible for fossil fuels. In fact, we need fossil fuels to make and maintain solar panels, wind turbines, electric transmission lines, hydroelectric plants, and nuclear power plants.

If we cannot keep fossil fuels operating because of continued low prices, today’s economy can expect a disturbing change for the worse.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,368 Responses to Today’s Energy Predicament – A Look at Some Charts

  1. Oh dear says:

    Sad, many Brits are hitting the bottle hard during c19.

    England now has 8.5 million problem drinkers, 20% of the population, up from 10% before c19.

    Others are stopping drinking.

    I immediately decided to abstain from all intoxicants for the duration of c19, a very wise decision.

    Drink is not a healthy coping mechanism for stress, it only tends to multiply problems. Drunken, rowdy behaviour helps no one, including the drunkards.

    So, now might be the time to put the bottle down, get a clear head and to sort out personal behaviour and habits.

    > Call for funding boost after problem drinking almost doubles since start of lockdown

    The number of problem drinkers has almost doubled since just before the start of lock down, figures analysed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists show.

    Public Health England data showed the prevalence at almost a fifth (19 per cent) in June, up from 10.8 per cent in February. Using Office for National Statistics population estimates, the college said June’s figure equated to more than 8.4 million people, a rise from around 4.8 million four months earlier.

    The Government must commit to “substantial” investment in public health to prevent more lives being “needlessly lost” to addiction, said Dr Adrian James, the college’s president.

  2. What the Europeans are taught in the schools emphasize patriotism, while peoples who had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with that are flooding these countries.

    My grasp on European history is clearer than many of the natives because I am not biased to a country. I am more biased towards Western Civilization in general, since it is now being beleaguered by peoples who will never be compatible with it.

    That aside, it can’t be denied that the billions of people who do not belong to WC use more of the energy than the first worlders, because quite a lot of the energy spent in FW is to make goods to sell to the third world, or other auxiliary stuff.

  3. Oh dear says:

    Stocks plunge as UK is set for a second lock down.

    Sad, Britain was so optimistic and looking toward new post-Brexit trade deals, an expansion of the economy and of the domestic workforce, and then along comes c19 and trashes the economy, and EU and USA refuse trade deals to boot.

    The only result of Brexit may be the break up of UK and an isolated Britain with a trashed economy and a mountain of public debt to be repaid for decades.

    Man proposes, history disposes? History has ‘black swanned’ all over Brexit and its optimism.

    > FTSE 100 suffers worst plunge since June amid C19 lockdown fears – business live

  4. Oh dear says:

    UK banks are to stop the access of ex-pats in EU to their bank accounts. ONS stats show that hardly any ex-pats return to Britain voluntarily. Presumably they will shift their money into local banks and continue to enjoy the continent. People come to UK to get money, they leave to spend it.

    > Brits in EU face closure of UK bank accounts over lack of post-Brexit rules: report

    Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts have started warning EU-based customers they will stop serving them at the end of the year.

    A number of large British banks are set to stop serving U.K. citizens resident in the EU as the government has not yet negotiated post-Brexit rules, the Sunday Times reported today.

    Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts have started warning EU-based customers they will stop serving them at the end of the year, according to the newspaper.

    If pan-European banking rules no longer apply to the U.K. once the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, it would become illegal for U.K. banks to provide services for British customers in the EU without applying for new banking licences. So far, no new arrangement has been agreed.

    • Somehow, the closure of banks accounts reminds me of India calling in its physical currency about a certain denomination. Anything that disturbs the financial system is a clear step downward step. This will add more negative pressure to the world economy.

  5. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Chicago postal workers threaten to stop delivering mail after multiple employees shot on the job
    A 24-year-old mail carrier was critically injured after getting shot on her route earlier this month
    United States Postal workers who deliver mail in some of Chicago’s more violent neighborhoods are threatening to halt their services after a mail carrier was shot in the city’s South Side earlier this month.
    The carrier, a 24-year-old woman, was left critically and injured after being shot multiple times at 91st Street and Ellis Avenue while delivering mail on September 10. Police said the worker did not appear to be the target and had been caught in the crossfire during a drive-by.
    Chicago’s WSL-TV reported that she was the second mail carrier wounded by gunfire on that route. Another mail carrier, also caught in the middle of gunfire, was shot in March while on the job but survived
    A day after the second worker was shot, another USPS employee was hit with a paintball in Chicago’s South Side.
    Chicago postal workers rallied on Friday to demand that city officials address the threat to mail carriers’ safety, The Blaze reported. Mack Julion, president of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers, advised workers to stop delivering in areas where they feel unsafe.
    Rule #1….Always be SAFE!….
    Collapse phases unfolding everyday..Gail is right we are in the process of TSHF…no way out…

    • When I lived in Chicago years ago, the South Side was viewed as unsafe. Its population was mostly Black.

      The city has (or had) many areas that were settled by different ethnic groups years ago. There is a China Town. I remember one area where I lived having shops where German was spoken, and German cards were available. There was a Greek area of town, and an Italian area of town. And so on. Having everyone divided up neatly into areas worked well when the city was settled, years ago. But it leads to reduced opportunity for mixing of different groups.

      The Atlanta area, where I live, was settled relatively more recently. It is more car centered than public transportation centered. Businesses are everywhere, not particularly in the center of the metropolitan area, which is the only part that is within the boundaries of city of Atlanta. Each area is more separate. There are apartment complexes, each with their own recreational facilities, scattered all over. Homes are often in subdivisions, each with their own recreational complexes. In recent years, there has a big increase in “55+ subdivisions,” with recreational activities aimed at older citizens. Some of these apartment complexes and subdivisions have locked gates that you need to get past, to get in. There is still segregation, but it is segregation by income within housing complexes. Also, some segregation by age group.

  6. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Shares in HSBC dropped to their lowest level in more than 25 years after the bank was named in media reports alleging international lenders had flagged trillions of dollars in transfers to US anti-money laundering authorities…”

    “The ICIJ allegations were based largely on leaked documents covering more than 2,100 suspicious transactions worth more than $2tn…”

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Lebanese seeking safety and jobs have joined the thousands risking their lives by setting sail in flimsy rafts and small boats with the aim of reaching peaceful and employment-rich shores…

    “The exodus from Lebanon, caused by that country’s economic collapse, has accelerated since the August 4th explosion of nearly 300,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut’s port.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Cuba, a police state with a strong public health care system, was able to quickly control the coronavirus, even as the pandemic threw wealthier nations into crisis. But its economy, already hurting from crippling U.S. sanctions and mismanagement, was particularly vulnerable to the economic devastation that followed.

      “As nations closed airports and locked down borders to combat the spread of the virus, tourist travel to Cuba plummeted and the island lost an important source of hard currency, plunging it into one of the worst food shortages in nearly 25 years.”

      • Xabier says:

        If only Cuba were not under sanctions, we would have a clearer idea as to the strengths and deficiencies of their arrangements.

        Economically, that is: the suppression of free speech and civil liberties are obviously to be deplored.

        The attitude of the dictators in Cuba is ‘the single greatest human right is to eat’ (direct quote by the way) , so no need for elections thanks very much.

        • The big strength in the way Cuba is governed is that it has kept population down. Haiti is a close neighbor; we can see what happened when population explodes. It has helped, too, that anyone who escaped to the US has been granted citizenship. This has also provided an outlet on population.

    • Malcopian says:

      The bigger the~id -iots and the greater the corruption, the bigger the accident. Do we want such people in our countries? NO!!!!

    • The big issue is trying to find somewhere else that will accept more population.

  8. Harry McGibbs says:

    “New Zealand’s great sensitivity to zigs and zags in the global economy makes it the canary in the coal mine of Asian trade. And at the moment, globalization’s early warning system is on life support as COVID-19 kills demand everywhere…

    “With the U.S. slumping amid nearly 7 million COVID-19 infections, Japan and Europe stumbling, and China recovering only modestly, New Zealand export prospects are darkening by the day… Nor does the central bank have much ammunition left.”

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “ECB to review flagship bond-buying tool in fighting Covid crisis:

    “…Until the new PEPP programme’s introduction, the ECB’s sovereign bond purchases were bound by self-imposed rules, designed to avoid it being accused of using monetary policy to directly finance governments, which is illegal under EU law…

    “Any move to increase the flexibility of the ECB’s overall bond-buying programme is likely to prove controversial, particularly among its critics in Germany who are gearing up to launch another legal challenge at the country’s constitutional court.”

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “US Treasury market’s brush with disaster must never be repeated:

    “…the coronavirus crisis caused trading conditions in the normally well-behaved US government bond market to deteriorate dramatically in March.

    “The dislocations were so bad that the Federal Reserve was forced to intervene even more aggressively than it did in the financial crisis of 2008.

    “This kind of chaos should not be allowed to happen in such a vital part of the financial system.”

  11. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…the effects of greater uncertainty will include higher precautionary savings by households and lower business investment, particularly by companies with high debt.

    “Structural changes in sectoral output caused or accelerated by the pandemic will trigger bankruptcies and job losses… There is huge uncertainty, acknowledged by policymakers, about the scale of these scarring effects…

    “Bond yields and policy interest rates, which would normally fall to cushion the decline in risk assets in such circumstances, are already close to rock bottom, so they would not provide much of a safety net as the equity risk premium increases.

    “Markets have been very optimistic since the global economy reached its trough in the spring. The harder part is now just starting.”

    • It is not just “higher precautionary savings,” we are facing. It is a lot of the kind of travel people are used to (visiting grandchildren, for example) not being available, because of state restrictions. And international travel is still is still mostly out of the question, because of international restrictions (and the possibility of future international restrictions).

      It is also a perception by a lot of older people and people who are quite overweight that catching COVID-19 is likely a death sentence. It is fear by a lot of people of visiting establishments viewed as unsafe, without a lot of paraphernalia (N-95 masks, for example).

      I am amazed at the people I talk to (on the phone, or over Zoom) who say, “I don’t mind being at home and having all of my groceries delivered. I don’t want to go out, except to visit outside with my nearby neighbors (or not at all), until there is a vaccine in widespread use.” These people’s spending is way down because their only expenditures are on television, perhaps a few online movies, and a few puzzles. Even getting a hair cut seems to be out.

  12. Herbie Ficklestein says:

    ‘Free money’ for banks as investors pile into fractured gold market
    With supply routes now reopened and the price premium outweighing the cost of making and shipping bars, which bankers say has ranged between $0.50 and $10 an ounce this year, more than 700 tonnes of gold worth some $45 billion at current prices has moved to New York since March, CME data show.
    Before that influx, vaults registered with the exchange held less than 300 tonnes.
    Flows of gold to the United States have begun to ebb, but another money making opportunity also opened in a transaction known as a roll, in which, every few months, investors in futures must swap expiring contracts for later-dated ones.
    To swap the February 2020 contract for the April one cost around $6 per ounce of gold, CME and Refinitiv data show — or around $240 million in total for the roughly 400,000 100-ounce contracts trading.
    When the London-futures connection broke and banks became reluctant to sell in unlimited quantities, the price rose. To roll from June to August cost around $15 an ounce on average. The longer, four-month roll from August to December cost $25 an ounce — or $1 billion in total for 400,000 contracts.
    A boon for the seller, the market is costly for futures buyers.
    “There is no free lunch,” said a source at a large U.S. bank. “Somebody has to lose money along the way … those people (with long positions) are every time paying money to those willing to take the other side.”
    The scope for big profits has attracted more sellers into the market, from smaller banks to hedge funds and asset managers.
    A further uptick in futures supply could eventually temper profits, particularly if it’s accompanied by a drop in demand, but in the meantime, banks are coining it, both by managing their own trading books and facilitating trades by new entrants.
    “The amount of business we’ve done with hedge funds around this is unprecedented,” said one banker, adding that his desk’s profits from gold were already double last year’s total.
    “It’s a glaringly obvious cash and carry opportunity.”
    (Reporting by Peter Hobson; Editing by Veronica Brown and Carmel Crimmins)

    Yes, moving around paper provides immense profits!
    If you don’t hold it in your greedy little hands, you don’t own it!

  13. avocado says:

    The pandemic eliminated cognitive dissonance. La La Land is gone

    It changes the tune somewhat. I was rather to be found among the most doomers of my entourage, not so much nowadays, rather in the middle

    Vaccines have become the new version of wind turbines. We got global warming, now this s–t. What’s next?

    Last big crisis was 12 years ago. New normalcy until 2032? Looks like a long shot, they can throw a new little monster every now and then in case hoi polloi are rumbling too much (but I’d rather prefer novelties)

    • You are right. The people have to have the image of a savior at hand. They like to believe authorities. I am always shocked when I talk to people, regarding their great respect for/belief in what they hear from their personal sub-specialist doctor or from the television. Anything a person hears often enough must be right.

      • that was Hitler’s main theme

        the Don seems to have copied it, except that he seems to change his mind several times a day

        • “Changing his mind several times a day” can be a useful strategy. No one is quite certain what he is saying. He has time to listen to alternatives. The outcome is a little more flexible than if someone from “on high” tried to dictate a path to follow.

          We are dealing with a self-organizing system. The path to follow is not obvious. The many changes of mind can be viewed as simply a reflection of the way the world is today.

  14. Duncan Idaho says:

    U.S. adult obesity rate tops 40 percent, highest ever recorded – Obesity is single highest risk factor in COVID-19 mortality – “That’s extremely alarming in terms of its medical implications”

    Obviously higher in the South, with more educated and progressive States having lower rates.

    • A higher Black population as well.

    • I got to thinking: There was a big step down in health, as the world went from hunter-gathering to farming. The same thing happens, when the world goes to the Green Revolution and industrial food production. The people who feel the worst impacts of this are the poor people in the US. Many of these poor people are black, but they can be of any color. Their caloric needs are met, long before their need for fiber and for nutrients of many kinds. Their bodies keep telling them that they are hungry, because they have been badly fed.

  15. Oh dear says:

    There is a big ‘he said, she said, I just said’ going on today about an SNP article about the impact of demographic shift in Scotland on support for Yes.

    Both a Tory and an SNP writer happened on the same day to write about it, and now the Unionists have all queued up to jump on the SNP writer, ‘what an awful thing to say in a pandemic, you are such a callous, awful person, it just shows what SNP is really like &.’

    Such is the silliness that British politics can descend to. I mean, politics is supposed to be a serious business, not about whether it is ‘appropriate’ to point out the pertinent facts or about opportunities to fake outrage.

    What a food fight, a right farce. These people make me laugh.

    I recently pointed out the same thing, facts are facts and people like to understand trends and what is going on behind the surface of polls.

    > A PROMINENT ally of Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of “a new low for the SNP” after saying the death of old people was delivering a “gain” for independence.

    Angus Robertson, a former SNP Westminster deputy leader who is trying to become an MSP, said “55,000 predominantly No supporting voters [were] passing away every year”.

    Combined with more Yes-supporting young people reaching voting age, that had produced a “gain of over 100,000 for independence” since the referendum of 2014.

    Critics said the comments were “disgraceful” given the recent loss of thousands of old people from coronavirus and the emergence of a potentially lethal winter surge.

    In response, Mr Robertson called the criticism “politically motivated” and “manufactured outrage”…………..

    • Dennis L. says:


      It is demographics, fighting reality is a losing position. His comments are not disgraceful, they are reality, disgraceful is a value judgment, reality is independent of judgment. His comments are probably insensitive and they will convince no one with an opposing view, but demographics marches on. The “manufactured outrage” is real, unfortunately there is not good solution.

      You are our resident philosopher: Came across Hegel and his dialectic which appears to be basically a reasoning process, have a thesis and then try and disprove it. He lived at the end of the 18th century; modern thought is have a hypothesis, test it against observation(recall, hit you thumb with a hammer and the pain is the effect of reality on one’s senses), if it seems to work in general, it becomes theory until further observations cause it to be modified.

      The old philosophers were limited in their ability to observe the world and they had no statistically way to observe the actions of humans or collect data about civilizations, we are a along way from that. Elegant circular arguments going nowhere.

      Modern society now sees the results of various social experiments and doesn’t like the results so it goes to denial and elegant arguments – Kubler Ross.

      My thesis is this is we are living through, the end of the high energy age and denial that it is happening, add various conflicting social theories and it is chaos. Gale’s observation of the world substituting cheap, Chinese coal for declining Western energy is convincing. If that fix is over, there will be considerable social discomfort.

      Dennis L.

      • Oh dear says:

        Thanks for that. Science is basically the natural philosophy department that has come into its own, and its methods, foundations and implications remain matters of the philosophy of science. Science is an application of philosophy not its antithesis.

        Thanks for your accolades (blush) but I suspect that your intention is to mock and to deter. I am a mere student and I have never suggested otherwise.

        Yes, that is not really what Hegel said, the antithesis and synthesis logically, naturally, historically and psychologically present themselves as implicit in the thesis. It is a particular theory of development.

        I would be happy to discuss philosophy with you but you should probably pursue your own interest in it first.

        Thanks for your support and I wish you well with your own studies.

      • Xabier says:

        The conflicting theories mostly originate in the 19th and early 20th centuries, which is really no help to us.

        Politicians are like priests repeating the litany of a religion that has died.

        Modern archaeology has opened fantastic vistas on the theme of the decline of civilisations – even down to how well-nourished people were from analysis of their skeletons.

        We can dump the old philosophers, like the old, out-moded political ideologies – but not perhaps the real sages (the Tao is evergreen) – and keep our eyes peeled.

        And duck when needed.

      • Xabier says:

        Some politicians love the idea of elderly voters; others, of clueless, indoctrinated, 16-y old voters.

        If all the conservative elderly were to be wiped out, they would find the resource and energy crisis would be unchanged: the jaws of the vice would still close on mankind.

      • Oh dear says:

        “It is demographics, fighting reality is a losing position. His comments are not disgraceful, they are reality, disgraceful is a value judgment, reality is independent of judgment.”

        I totally agree. We have much common ground there.

        “My thesis is this is we are living through, the end of the high energy age and denial that it is happening, add various conflicting social theories and it is chaos. Gale’s observation of the world substituting cheap, Chinese coal for declining Western energy is convincing. If that fix is over, there will be considerable social discomfort.”

        Interesting, thanks for that. It will be interesting to see how it all develops from there.

      • Malcopian says:

        ‘You are our resident philosopher’

        He isn’t. The people he mentions are philosophers. At best, he is a student of philosophy – if he is even that.

        • Xabier says:

          We need the return of FE, our genuine drunken, raving, Nihilist……

          I haven’t seen him on other sites for ages: I do hope there wasn’t a fatal accident with that shotgun and whisky in the early hours.

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            FE can get rather stuck on a single issue and worry away at it endlessly and with manic energy, plus he can be a little abrupt with other commenters, but he has some interesting things to say and he does have a sense of humour, which counts for a lot IMO.

            I hope, wherever he is his, his shotgun remains in its cabinet and his brain in its cranium.

          • not the common error of putting the whisky back in the gun cabinet and putting the shotgun in the mouth?

            That never ends well

  16. MG says:

    The Czech professor of ecology and evolutionary biologist Jaroslav Flegr, forecasts, that the Czech healthcare system will collapse next week due to the actual exponential spread of the coronavirus in the Czech republic:

    “Scientist Jaroslav Flegr on the resurgence of Covid-19
    A lot more should have been done to prepare for what we’re seeing now

    Well-known evolutionary biologist and parasitologist Jaroslav Flegr, who teaches at CU’s Faculty of Science, anticipated in August that things weren’t going to go the way we hoped regarding the coronavirus. As of last week, cases jumped to record levels in the Czech Republic – a marked turnaround from the situation just a few months ago.”

    He predicts worse mutations of coronavirus to come. That is what he predicted in the beginning of September:

    Jaroslav Flegr: It is time to close schools and ban mass events

  17. Tim Groves says:

    JHK has a hot tip:

    You heard it here first: Joe Biden will call in “sick” to the presidential candidates’ debate on Tuesday, September 29, and within days the Democratic Party will be obliged to replace him. Enough said for now. Wait for it….

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Global light vehicles sales are expected to fall by 20 per cent this year compared with 2019 following sales and production disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, S&P Global Ratings in a report published on Friday.

    “”This new forecast follows a first-half 2020 sales slump of 25 per cent, an unprecedented shock for the global industry,” said S&P Global Ratings analyst Vittoria Ferraris.”

    • We will have to see whether the second half sales are good enough to bring auto sales up to “only” a 20% slump. Will the last quarter of the year be better than earlier, or worse?

  19. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Soaring prices of agricultural products are stoking food-security jitters in China. According to the China’s National Bureau of Statistics, food prices went up by 13 percent in July, compared to the previous July; the price of pork rose about 85 percent. On a year-on-year basis, food prices have increased by 10 percent in 2020 — the price of corn is 20 percent higher and the price of soybeans, 30 percent.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “HSBC Holdings Plc slumped below its financial crisis closing low set more than a decade ago as pressures mount on several fronts, including political tension in Hong Kong, the fallout of the pandemic and renewed Brexit turmoil in the UK…

      “Europe’s largest bank has been caught in a maelstrom of trouble over the past year amid unrest in its biggest market, Hong Kong. It also faces difficulties in navigating low interest rates and surging loan losses sparked by the global pandemic.”

      • How does a country deal with a truly international bank? The bank is very large, and its main market is Chinese (through Hong King), I believe. Yet it has a large presence in Europe. Which country bails it out? Or can parts of it be bailed out separately? It is really HSBC “group”. This is a wikipedia article about it.

        • Interesting, perhaps the decision level above HSBC group (aka shareholders of other top global fin groups and CBs) selected this one specifically as the failed entity to unload risk and bad assets.. Just live and enjoy spoils for few more decades, give me another decade..

        • dilettante says:

          When Lehman went down, there were insolvency regimes in each country, the biggest in the US and UK. In the US, the broker dealer had a SIPC administration as well as the holding company chpt 11. There were insolvencies in Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and more.

          • dilettante says:

            Also, recall during the financial crisis, AIG had to be bailed out in order to indirectly bailout goldman and other U.S. financial institutions, but even bigger indirect bailouts for french (and other) banks, SG, BNP etc. So it’s a question of who will it hurt and whether those who’ll be hurt will have “pull”.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Very interesting question. Bail out only the accounts relevant to the bailor and let the bailee deal with the rest?

          Dennis L.

    • Rodster says:

      Many experts are warning and predicting food shortages and the double whammy will be inflation which can also be lumped into food insecurity. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea by those pulling the levers to blowup the eCONomy over this Covid 19 hoax. Unless they planned and hope for the manufactured chaos.

    • The price of pork tanked in Europe (and likely elsewhere) so here the global link evidently unconnected to the Chinese actual shortage (price spike).

    • China’s local supplies are bad, even though world supplies seem to be quite adequate.

  20. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Fitch Solutions has revised downward its forecast for fuel demand contraction in India to 11.5 per cent in 2020 in line with further deterioration in the country”s economic outlook. In the first quarter of 2020-21, the GDP shrank by 23.9 per cent, the steepest contraction on record.

    “The domestic COVID-19 outbreak shows no signs of abating, with daily cases continuing to accelerate.”

  21. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The UK’s largest nightclub operator, Deltic Group, has enough cash to last another two months. Its chief executive, Peter Marks, has doubts the company can survive much longer…

    “While retailers, restaurants and other UK businesses were given permission to reopen weeks ago, nightclubs — with their sweaty dance floors and loud music — remain out of bounds.”

  22. Harry McGibbs says:

    “US Investors are gearing up for the year’s record-breaking pace of corporate bond issuance to continue in the coming week…

    “The breakneck pace of fresh issuance illustrates how the Fed’s late March pledge to backstop credit markets and its policy of holding interest rates near zero have spurred borrowing by corporations this year.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Wall Street’s foray back into lending to homeowners with spotty credit isn’t looking great during the coronavirus pandemic.

      “…delinquencies on residential mortgages bundled into private bond deals, or without government backing, have shot up to about 18% as of July from a low of about 4% in January, according to Goldman Sachs.”

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “The problem with the U.S. economy is there are too many poor people… Until employment and wages increase, the U.S. economy will remain at best bogged down and at worst digging a deeper hole for all of us, our children and grandchildren.”

      • Robert Firth says:

        Harry, I agree withy you about the “Wall Street foray”, but do not be too hard on them. At one time, mortgage lenders were prudent, and lent wisely. Then it was discovered that rather fewer “disadvantaged” people were getting mortgages. This was not attributed to the fact that there was very little chance they would ever pay them back, but rather to (what else) “systemic racism”. And it was downhill from there. Virtue signalling is so much easier when it is done with other people’s money.

    • More debt sort of looks like it can solve all problems! If it is not possible to pass legislation to give individuals more money, sometimes it is possible to allow more debt into the system (individual, business, and government), and hope that all of the debt will solve the problems.

  23. Harry McGibbs says:

    “In a recent report, the Bank for International Settlements, the bank of the world’s central banks, issued an ominous warning. It drew attention to the growing gap between buoyant world asset and credit market prices and the weak post COVID-19 world economy.

    “It warned that such disconnects should not be expected to continue indefinitely and that when they do end, they generally unsettle [I’m thinking that a stronger word than “unsettle” may be warranted here] the world’s financial markets.”

  24. I read Robert Firth’s comment on Marathon and Waterloo, but I disagree with his arguments.

    One of the greatest fuckups, possibly the greatest fuckup in 20th century, occurred at Gheluvalt, Flanders, on Oct 28, 1914.

    Long story short, Brigadier Charles Fitzclarence and his 200 Worcestershire men stopped a critical German advance there, which would probably have cost Britain the Channel Ports.

    John French, the British commander at that time, praised Fitzclarence (who died 7 days later in a battle, along with most of his 200 men) as ‘saving the Empire”.

    Well, past forward 4 years, with Britain bankrupt and ten million Europeans killed, no one mentioned Chuck’s name anymore. Nobody. He is only somewhat remembered in Worcestershire, and that’s it.

    His fuckup would eventually cost Britain its empire, lead to the loss of all of the colonies of Europe (except for some useless spots and remote islands too small to be viable on their own), lead to all these unpleasant events of 20th century and added six billion people in continents which are not exactly leading world civilization.

    Despite of that, the English were undaunted and pulled this trick at Korea in 1951. However, the Chinese didn’t have a stomach for this English trick and simply decimated the Glocestershires who mostly spent the rest of the war in North Korean prison camps.

    All of Britain’s history is causing trouble in Europe, and it led to the mess we have now. In retrospect, without Chuck Fitzclarence’s fuckup ,Europe will still be ruling the world now and there might have been more petroleum available for future use without the explosion of population in the Third World.

    • I think energy supplies are behind the ability (or lack of ability) of countries to succeed in war. A particular British commender will do well or badly, depending upon the military tools at his disposal. Britain lost its empire because of peak coal in Britain right about 1914. It was becoming too expensive to extract the coal, because with deep thin, seams, too many miners needed to be paid. The price of coal could not be raised enough to cover the higher costs. It was the same problem we are having now, worldwide, with many fuels.

      • Norman Pagett says:

        the purpose of war has always been to grab someone else’s resources.

        all other reasons are just window dressing

        if you lose, then someone grabs your resources

        • I think adding debt is important as well, and adding jobs for the many unemployed. War distracts from local problems, as well.

        • Xabier says:

          You would disagree then with the over-enthusiastic French lady in 1914 who, when an English officer -clad in sensible khaki pointed out that the French uniform of bright blue coats and red trousers was a gift to German riflemen and machine gunners, exclaimed:

          ‘And Monsieur, what about La Gloire?!’

          Many smaller wars were fought for sheer fun, I suspect. Certainly in the Middle Ages knights didn’t have much on apart from hunting, and that was a winter sport. Spring must have been very exciting.

          • certainly not

            that was the opinion of a silly individual.

            War seemed to break out across Europe once every generation. It kickstarts industrial production and diverts resources into the hands of arrowsmiths or cannon makers—just a matter of scale.

            Cannon fodder needs motivation

            Maybe we are intended to cull each other like that. Who knows?

            There has to be some kind of percieved benefit—how else could Napoloen create enough hysteria to march into the Russian disaster, then 3 years later do the same thing at Waterloo.
            Then Hitler repeat it.

            Medievai. war was about loot, pure and simple

            • Tim Groves says:

              You don’t think imposing the metric system from Brest to Brest or building a continental network of autobahns were worthy goals then?

            • the French introduced the metric system before Hitler was born (compulsory by 1837)

              The Autobahns were built on borrowed money and slave labour ultimately to facilitate war movements


              ‘contentious points’ so childlike as to be unworthy of serious debate

            • Tim Groves says:

              the French introduced the metric system before Hitler was born (compulsory by 1837)

              Sometime in the mid-1790s, actually. Before Bonaparte came to power. The revolutionaries were not called revolutionaries for nothing!

              As the BBC describes it:
              The Paris authorities were so exasperated at the public’s refusal to give up their old measure that they even sent police inspectors to marketplaces to enforce the new system. Eventually, in 1812, Napoleon abandoned the metric system; although it was still taught in school, he largely let people use whichever measures they liked until it was reinstated in 1840.


              The Autobahns were built on borrowed money and slave labour ultimately to facilitate war movements

              You can say that about a lot of government construction projects in any time and place.

              ‘contentious points’ so childlike as to be unworthy of serious debate

              My comments were not meant to be serious; only to puncture the bubble of pomposity and know-it-allisim that you habitually inflict on the rest of us.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Thank you for your comments, but I confess I could not find from your narrative exactly where you “disagreed” with my arguments. After all, I never even touched the 20th century. I also rather disapprove of your derogatory language towards a man who, after all, only did his duty, and gave his life in that endeavour. My grandfather fought in that war, and you insult him at your peril.

      • Xabier says:

        He’s Asian, and simply doesn’t understand how we feel about WW1. I don’t think he intends any insult.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Perhaps because the Asians, apart from the Turks and Arabs, never really got a look in on that war.

          • Robert Firth says:

            On the contrary, Tim, Japan declared war on the Central Powers on 23 August 1914, and was a valiant and useful ally throughout. This was in conformance with her alliance with Britain, signed in 1902, to which she had strictly adhered. I do not know what kind of “asian” kulmthestatusquo might be, but the Japanese at least understand the concept of honour. Banzai!

            • Tim Groves says:

              I know this well, Robert. There are Japanese military graveyards where German soldiers who died in the First World War fighting were buried alongside the Japanese who fought them.

              But the scale of that conflict was minimal. The Japanese Navy seized the German island territories in the North Pacific with minimal effort and, with some aid from the British, grabbed Tsingtao on the Chinese coast after a two-month naval blockade and a one-week siege. This was the single biggest battle of WWI in East Asia, where the war really was all over by Christmas.

              I read the Wikipedia entry on the Siege of Tsingtao and it told me:

              On the night of 6 November, waves of Japanese infantry attacked the third line of defence and overwhelmed the defenders. The next morning, the German forces, along with their Austro-Hungarian allies, asked for terms. The Allies took formal possession of the colony on 16 November 1914.

              As the German garrison was able to hold out for nearly two months despite the naval blockade with sustained artillery bombardment and being outnumbered 6 to 1, the defeat nevertheless temporarily served as a morale booster. The German defenders watched the Japanese with curiosity as they marched into Tsingtao but turned their backs on the British when they entered into town. So deep was their anger that some German officers spat in the faces of their British counterparts.

              Japanese casualties numbered 733 killed and 1,282 wounded; the British had 12 killed and 53 wounded. The German defenders lost 199 dead and 504 wounded. The German dead were buried at Tsingtao, while the remaining soldiers were transported to prisoner of war camps in Japan. The 4,700 German prisoners were treated well and with respect in Japan, such as in Bandō prisoner-of-war camp. The German troops were interned in Japan until the formal signature of the Versailles peace treaty in 1919, but due to technical questions, the troops were not repatriated before 1920. 170 prisoners chose to remain in Japan after the end of the war.

            • I consider Yi Sunsin, who is considered as Korea’s greatest hero because he defeated the Japanese invasion on 1592 and 1597, as Asia’s greatest scoundrel. It would have been much better for Asia if Korea disappeared at that point and Japan conquered it and continued its interaction with the West. Yi’s stupid actions delivered a decisive blow against Asia from which it never recovered, and Korea, for the next 420 odd years, just existed without contributing anything to the world other than some silly songs.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Yes, what IS even S/N Korea? I can’t fathom it being something else than a construct of the west. Just the same as CCP.

              I can wrap my head around the Chinese and Japs and the rest of South/East Asia, but Korea is unreal, just like their StarCraft players.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Xabier, I’m not sure kulm… is Asian. In a later post he seems to think Japan was “interacting with the West” in the 1590s. I find it hard to believe as Asian would be so totally ignorant of the history of Japan. He also seems to think the Koreans defeated Japan: they didn’t; they held on thanks to a lot of help from Ming China, but Japan was still in control of the South when Toyotomi Hideyoshi died and the Council of Five Elders that took over simply decided the war was stupid and so abandoned it.

      • WW1 was the first war fought by the common soldier who was at the business end of a factory production line, and the last war commanded by generals schooled by the glory of the cavalry charge.

        Millions of men queuing up for the honour of being shot by the other side.

        the vickers machine gun demonstrated the foolishness on all sides

        ‘All quiet on the Western Front’ was probably the best movie to show the insanity of it all—where millions died to avenge the affront of one man being assassinated.

        Oh–and Blackadder of course.

        • Tim Groves says:

          WW1 was the first war fought by the common soldier who was at the business end of a factory production line

          Much to disagree with about the above generalization, Norman.

          Industrial warfare, also known as total warfare, goes back a good deal further than WWI. According to World History of Warfare, edited by Christon I. Archer, it encompassed a period in the history of warfare ranging roughly from the early 19th century to the beginning of the Atomic Age, which saw the rise of nation-states, capable of creating and equipping large armies, navies, and air forces, through the process of industrialization.

          Between 620,000 and 750,000 soldiers died in the American Civil War. A lot of these people were common soldiers and both sides were supplied with lots of weapons and other equipment produced in factories. This war is considered to be the first of the “total” wars in which each side attempts to “total” the other.

          The integrated use of techniques in production lines in factories dates back to the early Industrial Revolution, so it could be argued that the Napoleonic Wars were the first of the factory production line wars—if one wanted to quibble.

          Now, if you’d said “assembly line”, you might have been correct. Assembly lines came onto the scene in 1913, just in time for WW1.

          Don’t mind me. I’m just trying to play Bernard Woolley to your Jim Hacker.

      • In retrospect, reinstalling all these benighted crowned head to Europe back in 1815 proved to be not a very bright idea.

        My derogatory term over the person who was responsible for most of the woes in the 20th century is well deserved. It would have been much,much better for the Western civilization if he failed to do his duty and ran, since what he did significantly contributed to the decline of the West and made the world safer for people from the Subcontinent and Africa, whose contribution to the world civilization has been quite limited.

        a fast German victory in 1914 would have led to a greater stranglehold of the colonies by Britain, France, etc and there would have been no independence of most of the colonies whose population would have remained much lower, since there would have been very little incentive to increase the number of the ruled.

    • Oh dear says:

      That is certainly a different take on history to that pushed by the state controlled propaganda media in UK, in which the British state is the ‘heroes of history’ and responsible for all ‘good’ things in the world.

      Most citizens are fanboys of the ‘national’ bourgeois state and they refuse to see how other people see it, its history and its impact on the present. It is like ‘personal blame’ for them and they are completely indisposed to any such analysis.

      The state propaganda version of history is all about ‘morale’ and ultimately about controlling and exploiting the domestic population, instilling a ‘herd mentality’ that is ordered to the interests of organised capital – everyone a compliant fanboy.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        What you say is certainly true re some UK media outlets but there are large swathes of the populace, especially the sub-40’s, who certainly do not view the British state as “the hero of history”, and the diametrically opposed view is now de rigueur within the UK school system.

        My 14-year-old is currently studying slavery in History and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in English Lit, and there is plenty of handwringing over our sinful, imperial past, I can assure you!

        • tell him that if it wasn’t for our industrial heritage and empire building past, he would be half his current size and apprenticed to a chimney sweep

        • Xabier says:


          An truly international, comparative, history of slavery would surely be much better and more balanced: say, Ancient Greece and Rome; Islam, including the African kingdoms; Turkey and Iran; pre-Conquest South America.

          I’m delighted to look back on an education which was totally unpoliticised -halcyon days!

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            Yes, I’m afraid the focus is solely on the (undeniably horrendous) cross-Atlantic slave trade and there is no wider context, so the implicit lesson is that enslaving people is exclusively a white, European vice. Involvement by Africans was a cultural aberration brought about by the corrupting influence of Europeans.

            Norman, that is stirling advice, lol.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Harry, the African “contribution” to the slave trade was certainly immense: most of the coastal states gained a lot of wealth by raiding the interior and selling the proceeds. But they learned it first from the Arabs and Moors, who, of course, were still enslaving Europeans into the nineteenth century; they were finally suppressed only after the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

      • Xabier says:

        Where, ‘Oh dearwhatabore’, did you acquire this ridiculous term ‘ British state fanboy’ ?

        We have, by now, after numerous repetitions, got that you are not one, so there will be no need to impart that precious jewel of information to us ever again.

        Now I’ve got that off my chest, I’m going to drink a toast to her Majesty, and, I think and what the hell, to the memory of Churchill in a rather nice old brandy.

        • Oh dear says:

          Thanks as ever for your input Xab, your devout attachment to the British state means a lot to me – actually it means nothing to me.

          Perhaps you and I should just agree not to address each other henceforth. OK?

        • Robert Firth says:

          Xabier, in my time zone it is now 2200, and I shall soon join you in drinking a toast to Winston Churchill. I think all nations have events they are ashamed of; top of my list would be the partition of India in 1947, which erased two hundred tears of nation building and cost three million lives, all in order that Jawaharlal Nehru could “wade through slaughter to a throne”. But we are the descendants of our ancestors, and should remember the good things, and be proud; remember the bad things, and be contrite; but above all remember that we are who we are because they were who they were, and be compassionate.

          “Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.”
          (Ecclesiasticus xliv:1)

      • In short, without Britain waging wars all over Europe in the last 400 years, Europe would have become much more dominant than now without the killings

        • Lidia17 says:

          kulm, by “Europe”, whom do you mean? Germany? France? Italy? I assume Germany… “Without the killings” would the population be double, triple, quadruple, or what..?

          It seems as though (harkening to Gail’s dissipation theme) wars get waged in the same fashion as wildfires get started: they serve to periodically cull the “dry tinder” of excess population. Our recent Pinkeresque suppression of war has built up quite a lot of combustibles.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Lidia, I have given p on this person, and perhaps you might consider doing the same. His knowledge of European history seems close to zero, and his opinions seem mostly crafted to insult people who cannot answer back: one of the hallmarks of the scoundrel.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Great fortune that the brits kept the European lunacy at bay, the Eurasian dream need to crash and burn. I find that sect like mentality of the hunter gatherer genetics reprehensible.

  25. Oh dear says:

    Gail, to pick up on earlier threads: it is notable that agriculture severely damaged human health; it introduced vectors of disease in an enlarged, concentrated population and malnutrition through seasonal food shortages and dependence on nutritionally inadequate crops; it stunted and weakened the human physical constitution.

    It took another 10,000 years for industrial food production to somewhat mitigate that affect of agriculture on human health. So, what has human culture actually ‘been for’ if it has been stunting us and making us weak and ill all this time?

    I have finished my first reading through of Nietzsche’s BGE and 259 seems to be the key passage. The will to power is identical to the will to life as organic function, ‘a process of appropriating, injuring, overpowering, oppressing, harshness, imposing one’s own form, incorporating and exploiting, to grow, spread, grab, win dominance.’

    It seems that is what humans have been doing all this time, simply because we are alive and that is what living things do, dominate, exploit, incorporate, grow and spread (eat and reproduce).

    But it also seems that the shift from hunter-gathering to agriculture, and then to industry, were steps toward the ever more concentrated utilisation and thus dissipation of energy. Agriculture did not make us healthier, or perhaps happier. Culture made us sick, multiplied our ‘needs’ and made them ever more complicated and difficult to satisfy.

    Then, the actual telos of human culture is not human well-being but the spread of humans and the intensification of our domination over, and exploitation of the planet. All this time, we have been constructing societies, dissipative structures, to consume and to dissipate energy. Thus the will to power has another side.

    The spread of agriculture was inevitable, because the healthier, and perhaps happier, hunter-gatherers simply did not have the numbers, or the technology, to repel the incursion of organised farmers into their territories. Their days were numbered as soon as agriculture took off. The number of farmers would increase to its limit within an area and they would then be forced to expand their territories. Scarcity leads to conflict.

    The ‘maximum power principle’ (MPP) of energetics applied, whereby those energy systems (individuals, species, societies) compete, succeed and survive that are best able to maximise their energy intake and to order it to their own maintenance and expansion. Agricultural societies had the energetic advantage over H-Gs, so they replaced them according to the MPP. Industrial societies, that maximised energy use further, then replaced agricultural societies according to the same dynamic.

    So, it seems possible to read human history in terms of the outworking of organic function that is ordered to the optimum dissipation of energy through the operation of the MPP. In that sense too it seems possible to say that the ‘will to power’ is the ‘essence of reality’ and the driving force of history, human and cosmic.

    The TP new incomer policy that is aimed at the introduction of 600,000 students to UK per year with an eye to work routes to permanent settlement is basically the same organic function and MPP in action, here as the bourgeois state and its unsuppressable drive to grow GDP and to maintain the profit-, debt- and growth-based capitalist economic system and without regard to any other consideration, even democratic mandate.

    Another 3.5 million homes built on the English countryside over the next decade is an effect of the same underlying dynamic of organic function, MPP and the maximum dissipation of energy. The bourgeois state is simply a particular kind of dissipative structure that has developed according to MPP and its policies are its dissipative outworkings.

    • Humans are dissipative structures. In some sense, their “function” is to dissipate energy, and over time, create greater complexity. This seems to be the way the universe works. Lots and lots of dissipative structures, all operating on a temporary basis, dissipating energy. The Maximum Power Principle seems to say that there are as many of these dissipative structures in a given area as energy and other resources, such as water, permit.

      It is probably more uplifting to think of humans’ function in some other terms. For example, to praise God. But it is hard to determine that from the physics of the situation. We do know, however, that there is too much change in the direction of complexity for the changes to be determined solely by randomness. For example, life on earth began too soon after the planet was formed to be the result of random changes alone. We don’t know: Could creation be a continuous process?

      • Oh dear says:

        Yes, I am assuming that cosmic evolution occurs and organic life emerged and evolved through the working of principles, likely energetic perhaps among others, rather than randomly. Who really knows whether it has any ‘meaning’ or ‘intention’ behind it? People also listen to their heart and that is fine with me.

        Perhaps I could offer a track off Armin van Buuren’s new album, the Dutch euphoric trance icon, for some uplifting consolation, the remix of his In and Out of Love that he uses in his live shows. I have this in FLAC and the sound quality is gorgeous. I do love life, however materialistic some of my posts may seem (although I have definitely ‘fallen out of love’ with the bourgeois state lol).

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “Yes, I am assuming that cosmic evolution occurs and organic life emerged and evolved through the working of principles, likely energetic perhaps among others, rather than randomly.”

          gravity organizes the universe.

          our solar system has a second generation star. The matter from the original (exploded) star was collected and sorted by gravity. Though this process is irregular and uneven, it is not random.

          that is why most of the (theoretical) iron is in the core of the Earth but some is at the surface. Gravity pulled the heavier elements to the core, though imperfectly.

          same for the early organic molecules. Whenever organic molecules formed, they didn’t just move away from each other randomly. Gravity kept them together since the density of the molecules was equal, thus gravity had equal pull on the molecules.

          it’s easy to see the basic force that creates complexity.


        • Oh dear says:

          Wiki has an article on ‘life’ that suggests that the chemical reactions that led to life may have started shortly after the big bang, that the early earth favoured the right chemical reactions to form life, and that prebiotic compounds may actually have come from space. NASA has formed the DNA and RNA organic compounds on which life is based in outer space-like conditions. Panspermia postulates that life may exist throughout the universe, distributed by asteroids. Perhaps we are all descended from ‘aliens’. ET. Or maybe we are Earthlings, if ultimately ‘star dust’.

          Presumably that would give ‘ample’ time for life to form, however that is ‘estimated’. That seems to be the scientific consensus. The Wiki article does not acknowledge any such ‘controversy’ as far as I have seen.

          > Life

          …. The age of the Earth is about 4.54 billion years.[94][95][96] Evidence suggests that life on Earth has existed for at least 3.5 billion years,[97][98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105] with the oldest physical traces of life dating back 3.7 billion years;[106][107][108] however, some theories, such as the Late Heavy Bombardment theory, suggest that life on Earth may have started even earlier, as early as 4.1–4.4 billion years ago,[97][98][99][100][101] and the chemistry leading to life may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during an epoch when the universe was only 10–17 million years old.[109][110][111]

          …. There is no current scientific consensus as to how life originated. However, most accepted scientific models build on the Miller–Urey experiment and the work of Sidney Fox, which show that conditions on the primitive Earth favored chemical reactions that synthesize amino acids and other organic compounds from inorganic precursors,[123] and phospholipids spontaneously form lipid bilayers, the basic structure of a cell membrane.

          …. Geological findings in 2013 showed that reactive phosphorus species (like phosphite) were in abundance in the ocean before 3.5 Ga, and that Schreibersite easily reacts with aqueous glycerol to generate phosphite and glycerol 3-phosphate.[133] It is hypothesized that Schreibersite-containing meteorites from the Late Heavy Bombardment could have provided early reduced phosphorus, which could react with prebiotic organic molecules to form phosphorylated biomolecules, like RNA.[133]

          In 2009, experiments demonstrated Darwinian evolution of a two-component system of RNA enzymes (ribozymes) in vitro.[134] The work was performed in the laboratory of Gerald Joyce, who stated “This is the first example, outside of biology, of evolutionary adaptation in a molecular genetic system.”[135]

          Prebiotic compounds may have originated extraterrestrially. NASA findings in 2011, based on studies with meteorites found on Earth, suggest DNA and RNA components (adenine, guanine and related organic molecules) may be formed in outer space.[136][137][138][139]

          In March 2015, NASA scientists reported that, for the first time, complex DNA and RNA organic compounds of life, including uracil, cytosine and thymine, have been formed in the laboratory under outer space conditions, using starting chemicals, such as pyrimidine, found in meteorites. Pyrimidine, like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the most carbon-rich chemical found in the universe, may have been formed in red giants or in interstellar dust and gas clouds, according to the scientists.[140]

          According to the panspermia hypothesis, microscopic life — distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and other small Solar System bodies — may exist throughout the universe.[141][142]

        • Oh dear says:

          Our bodies are formed from the debris of multiple stars and the elements that they formed in galactic chemical evolution.

          Are we really made of stardust?

          Stars that go supernova are responsible for creating many of the elements of the periodic table, including those that make up the human body.

          Planetary scientist and stardust expert Dr Ashley King explains.

          ‘It is totally 100% true: nearly all the elements in the human body were made in a star and many have come through several supernovas.’

          …. The first generation of stars formed as lumps of gas drew together and eventually began to combust. This would cause a nuclear reaction in the centre of a star.

          The first stars that formed after the Big Bang were greater than 50 times the size of our Sun.

          ‘Inside stars a process takes place called nucleosynthesis, which is basically the making of elements,’ Ashley says. ‘The bigger the star, the faster they burn their fuel.’

          The first stars burned their fuel quickly and were able to make only a few elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. When those stars went supernova and expelled the elements they had produced, they seeded the next generation of stars.

          …. The next generation of seeded stars were then able to produce other, heavier kinds of elements such as carbon, magnesium and nearly every element in the periodic table. Any element in your body that is heavier than iron has travelled through at least one supernova.

          ‘So it’s very likely that there are a whole bunch of different stars that have contributed the elements we see in our own solar system, our planet and those found within you.’

          …. When stars die and lose their mass, all the elements that had been generated inside are swept out into space. Then the next generation of stars form from those elements, burn and are again swept out.

          ‘This constant reprocessing of everything is called galactic chemical evolution,’ Ashley says. ‘Every element was made in a star and if you combine those elements in different ways you can make species of gas, minerals, and bigger things like asteroids, and from asteroids you can start making planets and then you start to make water and other ingredients required for life and then, eventually, us.’

          ‘This process has been going on for something like 13 billion years and our solar system is thought to have formed only 4.5 billion years ago.’

          …. So are we really made of stardust?

          Most of the elements of our bodies were formed in stars over the course of billions of years and multiple star lifetimes.

          However, it’s also possible that some of our hydrogen (which makes up roughly 9.5% of our bodies) and lithium, which our body contains in very tiny trace amounts, originated from the Big Bang.

    • Artleads says:

      Maybe culture and religion can help to restrain dissipation. Unusual insight too maybe. Why are the South African San still hunting and gathering throughout the entire span of the modern human existence? Finding a way to live where most people don’t want to go might have been due to some brilliant insight, or just dumb luck. So even today, similar strategies can be devised. A critical (keep us alive) ag can be done indoors…if we can keep the lights on. At least twice as many residents as now can inhabit the existing built footprint. We can discourage any new construction on virgin land. None of these things are physically hard to do. What is VERY hard indeed is to change mindsets such as to enable them being done.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        it is impossible to change the mindsets of most people.

        most don’t know enough, and if they did, most wouldn’t care enough.

        it’s about herd mentality (human nature), not individual mentality.

        my intention is to keep on consuming at about the same high rate until I die.

        almost everyone else will be trying to do the same.

        bad news?

        bAU tonight, baby!

        • Artleads says:

          The San are still hunting and gathering–a tribe (or an ethnicity), not an individual. It’s a very general point. How the average among us here live probably doesn’t relate to how existing hunter gatherers live?

          • Xabier says:

            ‘Nisa’, by Marjorie Shostak is a very good anthropological work on the real life of a !San woman, and their community life in general.

            Sex, violence (a lot of those two), lazy teenagers, erring husbands and nagging wives. One can easily relate to so much of it in social and emotional terms.

            Many, though, have by now been absorbed into the more complex, hierarchical, world of the herding pastoral tribes, generally at a low status.

            A good read, with no silly ideology imposed by the author.

            • Artleads says:

              I imagine the butchering of the culture came about through IC? If so, no surprise.

            • Xabier says:

              No, not at all: their culture was disrupted by pastoral herders moving in on their traditional lands. Their herds also fouled water sources leading to hitherto unknown disease, and they only allowed the !San a low social status and menial work. Sad tale.

      • Xabier says:

        I agree Artleads.

        The first step would be to regard land as SACRED.

        But we insist on regarding it as mere ‘dirt’ and ‘undeveloped’, when it is in fact part of the most elaborate and complex life-system, which has been billions of years in developing.

        The tragedy is that our civilization is now sophisticated enough to actually model parts of this system, but acts as if it were still 1750.

        And if we were to accept the evident truth that human beings possess souls, and are ennobled by beauty -man-made and natural – and made great only by practising humility, that would also be helpful in avoiding hideous and destructive developments.

        But I see no hope of either happening on a large scale, leaving us trapped inside the suicide machine we have been constructing for the last three centuries.

      • Oh dear says:

        “Maybe culture and religion can help to restrain dissipation.”

        Maybe, but the dominant ideas reflect the structure of the society in which people live and its stage of economic development, the status quo and modus operandi (the herd mentality). Likely the San were just ‘ill-placed’ for development – which is not a value judgement against their lifestyle.

        Certainly no conventional religious ‘revival’ is going to make any difference to the behaviour of our societies.

        My guess is that a broad shift in economic conditions, likely linked to unprofitable energy, is the only thing that will reign in economic development. Humanity is ‘on a mission’ to push development as far as it can go. It is just what living things do.

        It is material development itself, and its limits, that will bring material development to an end. BAU will ultimately end BAU. Material turns will then bring about new cultures and even religions.

        So, ‘BAU tonight, baby!’ it is!

      • Slow Paul says:

        Yes, there will always be someone going in the opposite direction. Like counter-culture. Maybe the San want to do something different. Maybe doomers want to do something different. There will always be a dynamic where people differ in opinions and choices, find their own niche, their own homestead, their own blog, their own style.

        This could also be another aspect of the MPP. If I do the same as everybody else then how can I increase my share of “the power”? Be that material or mental wellness.

  26. Jan Smelik shines a light on the dark side of ‘green’ technologies in this video. In fact, Jan uses a slide of mine in this short YouTube video.

    • Maximus says:

      Interesting . . . And what is Smelik’s claim to fame?

      • He is a reader of my site. He (or she) is from Netherlands. He sent me an earlier link about wind turbines, which seemed to be reasonable. I would have to ask him about his background.

      • Jarle says:

        “And what is Smelik’s claim to fame?”

        Does it matter?

      • Luke says:

        Good question, Maximus. I’m always interested in knowing the background of YouTube content creators, especially since a huge number of them have absolutely nothing to recommend them except their egos!

        I’m curious now because Smelik just started on August 21, 2020, and already has 146 subscribers and thousands of views with just a couple of original videos.

        • His wind video seems to be quite good. I didn’t check his numbers, but they certainly seemed reasonable.

          The recent one is more wide-ranging. It doesn’t have things that are as easy to check.

  27. Azure Kingfisher says:

    From An “Open letter from medical doctors and health professionals to all belgian authorities and all belgian media:”

    “A highly contagious virus with millions of deaths without any treatment?

    Mortality turned out to be many times lower than expected and close to that of a normal seasonal flu (0.2%).
    The number of registered corona deaths therefore still seems to be overestimated.
    There is a difference between death by corona and death with corona. Humans are often carriers of multiple viruses and potentially pathogenic bacteria at the same time. Taking into account the fact that most people who developed serious symptoms suffered from additional pathology, one cannot simply conclude that the corona-infection was the cause of death. This was mostly not taken into account in the statistics.

    The most vulnerable groups can be clearly identified. The vast majority of deceased patients were 80 years of age or older. The majority (70%) of the deceased, younger than 70 years, had an underlying disorder, such as cardiovascular suffering, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease or obesity. The vast majority of infected persons (>98%) did not or hardly became ill or recovered spontaneously.

    Meanwhile, there is an affordable, safe and efficient therapy available for those who do show severe symptoms of disease in the form of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine), zinc and AZT (azithromycin). Rapidly applied this therapy leads to recovery and often prevents hospitalisation. Hardly anyone has to die now.

    This effective therapy has been confirmed by the clinical experience of colleagues in the field with impressive results. This contrasts sharply with the theoretical criticism (insufficient substantiation by double-blind studies) which in some countries (e.g. the Netherlands) has even led to a ban on this therapy. A meta-analysis in The Lancet, which could not demonstrate an effect of HCQ, was withdrawn. The primary data sources used proved to be unreliable and 2 out of 3 authors were in conflict of interest. However, most of the guidelines based on this study remained unchanged …
    We have serious questions about this state of affairs.
    In the US, a group of doctors in the field, who see patients on a daily basis, united in “America’s Frontline Doctors” and gave a press conference which has been watched millions of times.
    French Prof Didier Raoult of the Institut d’Infectiologie de Marseille (IHU) also presented this promising combination therapy as early as April. Dutch GP Rob Elens, who cured many patients in his practice with HCQ and zinc, called on colleagues in a petition for freedom of therapy.
    The definitive evidence comes from the epidemiological follow-up in Switzerland: mortality rates compared with and without this therapy.

    From the distressing media images of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) where people were suffocating and given artificial respiration in agony, we now know that this was caused by an exaggerated immune response with intravascular coagulation in the pulmonary blood vessels. The administration of blood thinners and dexamethasone and the avoidance of artificial ventilation, which was found to cause additional damage to lung tissue, means that this dreaded complication, too, is virtually not fatal anymore.

    It is therefore not a killer virus, but a well-treatable condition.“

    • Azure Kingfisher says:


      “Survey studies on influenza vaccinations show that in 10 years we have only succeeded three times in developing a vaccine with an efficiency rate of more than 50%. Vaccinating our elderly appears to be inefficient. Over 75 years of age, the efficacy is almost non-existent.
      Due to the continuous natural mutation of viruses, as we also see every year in the case of the influenza virus, a vaccine is at most a temporary solution, which requires new vaccines each time afterwards. An untested vaccine, which is implemented by emergency procedure and for which the manufacturers have already obtained legal immunity from possible harm, raises serious questions. We do not wish to use our patients as guinea pigs.
      On a global scale, 700 000 cases of damage or death are expected as a result of the vaccine.
      If 95% of people experience Covid-19 virtually symptom-free, the risk of exposure to an untested vaccine is irresponsible.“

      • Is this a quote from somewhere?

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        influenza vaccinations
        We are lucky we got 50% (that is with infection, not disease, which we get to 80% protection almost every year).
        Even with oral polio vaccine , everyone is still infected (in their gut), but they don’t get the disease.
        With Covid? The 4 human covid viruses, they infect every 6 months to a year. With Sars cv 2, we don’t know yet.
        Don’t think his will be eliminated, like Sars 1.
        But we shall see—-

    • Bad effects can also be greatly reduced by having citizens in general take vitamin D supplements.

      • Azure Kingfisher says:

        I’ve been taking vitamin C, D, E and fish oil for years. I haven’t had a cold or flu for years either. Now it isn’t just supplementation that explains my godlike health, of course. I’m in my thirties, eat as organically as possible, exercise three times per week, stay hydrated, and limit alcohol, sweets and processed food items. Nutritional supplementation should be a way of life for most people, especially those that don’t have access to organic foods.
        I see this whole scamdemic – referred to by someone I’m forgetting as “The Great Panic of 2020” – as an opportunity for people to wake up and claim sovereignty over their own bodies. Given the way the entire medical establishment is fumble-fu#$*&^ around with what they claim is a new virus, attempting to rush a new vaccine to market and working with governments who are, at best, inept and ignorant of the health damage they’re causing from the lockdowns and, at worst, deliberately trying to destroy public health through the lockdowns, I find it’s high time that people get their shit together when it comes to personal health and nutrition.
        I have coworkers who keep saying, “Nothing’s going to get better until we get a vaccine.” Bullshit. That is the absolute worst mentality in this situation. Once you go down that path, you’re out looking for the snake oil salesman to solve a problem he told you you had.
        Forget the vaccine, get in touch with your body, own it, treat it as respectfully as you would a temple, do not trash it. Build your immune system and work to get yourself as healthy as you can be and maintain that approach as a way of life.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:


          the penalty for being unhealthy is a greater risk of being in the 0.2% who will die from it.

        • Dennis L. says:


          Good while it lasts, we all age even with vitamins.

          Dennis L.

          • We mere mortals perhaps age somewhat fast, the .001% class (“Mr. Burns” like) not so much, be it mostly due to healthy-lite starving diet, quality sleep (despite their deeds), natural habitat (country side chateaux and or high degree water/air purification for their city apartments); not to mention frequent blood and liver, .. , cleaning/infusion medical procedures etc..

        • Artleads says:

          I tend to think this way too. And if it doesn’t stifle you, masks in public places (where there can be an extremely large and unpredictable variety of “infectious elements”) seem a reasonable bet. So does staying at home a lot.

          I try to ride the wave of confusion and disjointedness by TPTB. There’s enough lockdown to shake up the public mind (and the economic system). There’s enough BAU (NOW) to keep most critical food supplies in stock.

          We need local food supplies. Few and frail though we might be, we need to take a battering ram to the temple of denial. But a degree of denial is usable, and that’s helpful, given how very hard it is to stand against denial.

    • Eolfbay says:

      I wish Trump never mentioned HCQ. Because he touted it the response was to discredit it In any way possible .This included a bogus study published in Lancet that concluded that HCQ increased the death rate. The beginning of this shameful paper even mentioned that Trump recommended HCQ. This statement has no place in a scientific paper and the Lancet Is the latest example of “fake news”.The FDA has not approved it’s use so most MDs won’t prescribe it in the US so it won’t be available to my family if we become infected.

      • Azure Kingfisher says:

        That’s one of Trump’s most interesting public functions: blackwashing the truth. Given his negative reputation, especially among the Left, he could share an absolute truth with the world and most people would reject it without a thought. Kill the boorish messenger, right?

        Consider this hypothetical example: imagine if Trump had heavily pushed mask wearing from the start of the scamdemic, before Fauci, the CDC or the WHO pushed it. Then, Trump supporters agreed and proudly displayed their masks in public at every opportunity. In that situation, how many Leftists would feel comfortable wearing their masks?

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          There are very few people on the left in he US.
          Both Repugs and Dems are capitalists, and embrace that very limited system..
          The US doesn’t even have labor party, like all other western democracies.
          Politically, we are extreme right, and center/right.

          • Exactly.
            However, lets be real, this also changed profoundly in the W. Europe as they switched to new econ model of surfing on the surplus from newly acquired millions of “slave labor” of CEE/Balkans and Asia.

            That’s why yellow vest in France can’t grow enough to threshold of say 1960/70s potential, basically there is not big enough true-ish proletariat class anymore, only various stages of precariat classes who think of themselves as temporarily inconvenienced bourgeois class, so they hope to strike it big any time like by winning a lotto, inheritance etc.

            Actually, the above is pretty similar dynamique to later stage collapse of former historical innings anyway..

          • Wolfbay says:

            At this point there are probably even more war mongers on the democrat side than republican. The military industrial complex owns then all. Both democrats and republicans were falling all over themselves to pass the defense budget increase.

          • Kowalainen says:

            The Left is dead, long live the Left.

            It sucks because a legitimate left can offer some healthy critique of the smoke and mirrors of bonkers capitalism.

        • Tim Groves says:

          That’s one of Trump’s most interesting public functions: blackwashing the truth.

          It could be that he’s playing 6D chess, by giving out good info such as on HQL to his base, who lap it up, while simultaneously alienating his opponents and their supporters from the miracle cure. Net result: six Democrat deaths for each Deplorable one.

          That’s what I call thinking!

      • polarbear says:

        Well it could go deeper than that. MSM agenda may not want a inexpensive easy solution for covid. The total all trump bad blitz does however reveal a controlled media that was only hinted at previously. More concerning is the degree that people swallow it whole. Its omost like gang behavior. No matter where you sit on this political fence its disturbing that a agenda can take people from their community by polarizing them.

        • Wolfbay says:

          Part of the narrative also comes from scientists. The FDA board approved Remdesivir even though it has marginal effectiveness.A number of them have financial ties to Gilead. They also blocked HCQ. So let’s see, Remdesivir 3400$ a treatment, HCQ 10$ a treatment. Upton Sinclair’s famous quote applies here.

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “Mortality turned out to be many times lower than expected and close to that of a normal seasonal flu (0.2%).”

      the data I’ve seen is that the average flu is about 0.05% so covid-19 is about 4x higher.

      that being true, then covid-19 deserves a higher level of scientific and medical attention and solutions.

      and guess what? We now see the results of that: excellent treatments as shown in this Belgian report (is The World paying attention?) AND the science that shows us how to do better health/prevention in advance of getting infected.

      vitamin D!!! etc.

      so then, USA 330 million times 0.2% = 660,000 deaths if everyone gets infected.

      let’s say everyone does get it over the next 10 years.

      hypothetically 66,000 deaths per year.

      that’s about equal to sooissides plus auto accidents.

      the virus will always be circulating around the world, but…

      the pandemic is winding down.

      • Dennis L. says:

        FWIW, I am in contact with someone in clinical medicine at a large institution. The secondary effects are very difficult, recovery is very difficult. The secondary effects and their cause don’t seem well understood and at least in popular literature.

        Dennis L.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “The secondary effects are very difficult, recovery is very difficult. The secondary effects and their cause don’t seem well understood and at least in popular literature.”


          but it seems more understood that the poor earlier treatments were actually causing many of these “secondary effects” on the health of survivors.

          even the Belgian article above references how some of those poor treatments have been eliminated.

          • Dennis L. says:

            Please note, this is someone(me) reporting a primary source and details get lost.

            My understanding is even with primary recovery not involving ventilators, the secondary effects lead to a prolonged and difficult secondary recovery if that is even possible. Summary: we don’t yet understand the secondary effects and their causes, we don’t understand the recovery period from those effects.

            This is more a opinion on my part from a respected source that still practices isolation other than work, groceries,etc.

            The social isolation is going to be worse for all of us including one would guess babies from the facial expressions of their mothers although one would guess masks are not worn in these quarters. Gail mentioned this earlier.

            Dennis L.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        the pandemic is winding down

        Here on Earth, it is increasing, and will continue to do so until a vaccine or herd immunity happen.
        Let’s hope we have a vaccine in less than a year, it will save many lives.

        • The ratio of deaths to illnesses is falling, however. It is way down from the first cases in China, where many people seemed to drop dead in the streets.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          “Here on Earth, it is increasing, and…”

          name one place in the USA where it is still a pandemic.

          dare you.

          actually, cases and deaths are barely in the news anymore, so I am losing track of the “pandemic” data.

          where is this “pandemic” again?

          • Thierry38 says:

            In France and in Spain, perhaps.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            United States

            Coronavirus Cases:

            CLOSED CASES
            Cases which had an outcome:
            4,225,932 (95%)
            Recovered / Discharged
            203,925 (5%) Deaths

            So, we are at 4 times the fatality rate of the Vietnam War in 8 months– but that took 5 years.

            • I don’t think this is a useful comparison. Those who died in the Viet Nam war were young men. The people who died now are disproportionately older and had major health conditions before the illness hit. We have told ourselves that this is a disease we can conquer, but it remains to be seen whether this is really the case.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Here in the objective reality of Gaia; Taiwan proved that neither a vaccine nor a heart immunity is needed. It’s all smoke and mirrors to keep the racket going.

          Anybody disagreeing with me simply have to accept being wrong.

          • I am not convinced that we know enough about the Taiwan situation to say it can apply everywhere. Islands, in general, behave differently, because there is less mixing with other populations. China seems to have had (mostly) a more virulent strain that spread less well than the version of COVID that is going around now. Taiwan received the benefit of China’s draconian lockdown by China.

            Islands find it easier to keep new cases out because they can see precisely who is coming and going. But once cases take hold, there can be spikes later on. In fact, without any herd immunity, they can have a bigger problem later on. It is too soon to know the long range impact in Taiwan.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Better source of secondary effects, consistent with my post of 9/19, this from the CDC.

        I don’t think there is much effort to misinformation, it is early in the game, separating out predisposing factors will take time.

        Dennis L.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Kim wrote this back in March.

      “As to the effect of the lockdown, yes, that is going to be disastrous. But this flu, well, it’s just the flu and not even as bad as other flus that we have experienced before, like the Hong Kong flu.”

      I think he deserves a gold star.

  28. Oh dear says:

    Unbelievable, Boris has managed to chuck a 26 point lead in the polls in just 5 months since March. He has matched T. May’s ability to chuck a lead in the 2017 GE campaign. Likely this will weaken his hand in parliament to rope in backbenchers to his IMB and Brexit agenda.

    I suppose that the lesson now is that no matter how commanding the TP position seems to be, it is always entirely capable of chucking it.

    We may foresee the rise of Farage’s Brexit/ Reform Party if TP fails to secure a proper Brexit – which would weaken TP support further. It could also lead to electoral reform (PR) which Farage prioritises. How suddenly things can change. TP and the status quo seemed secure but now not so much.

    > YouGov poll shows Tory lead wipe out and finds Keir Starmer is ‘PM in waiting’

    YouGov polling has shown the Tory lead to have been wiped out for the first time since Boris Johnson became prime minister, as the public continues to take to Labour leader Keir Starmer.

    In a boost for Keir Starmer ahead of Labour’s virtual” party conference, a YouGov poll for The Times found both of the Westminster parties were on 40% of the vote as Tory support fell.

    It is the first time since Boris Johnson became prime minister last July that the Tories have not had a lead with the polling company.

    Labour had increased its popularity by three points since the last survey to 40%, compared to a drop for the Tories by two points.

    There were signs Keir Starmer’s messaging was cutting through with the public when asked if he was a ‘prime minister in waiting’.

    More of the public (38%) believe that he looks like a leader ready to take office, compared to 31% who do not agree. A further 31% are undecided.

    He is seen as the best candidate for the job, with 34% of support, compared to 31% for Boris Johnson. A further 31% still remain undecided….

  29. Ed says:

    Maybe it is time for walled towns for the healthy. No mass, bars, restaurants, etc….

    • Dennis L. says:

      If the population is healthy, why no mass, no bars, no restaurants?

      Dennis L.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      What would be their policy on masques?

    • Ed> you are onto something, most people don’t realize that “eating out and socializing” is a big charade and scam, one can just look at studies how disgruntled employees deliberately put feces tainted finger tip marks on plates, glassware in restaurants etc. to even out it with the unpleasant boss and high horse attitude clients..

      Simply put, we don’t need these places.. eat at home and visit only your core family and friends occasionally. Obviously, such restrain in going out gets against one of the pillars how cities emerged and structured around, but this could be altered at least in terms of this topic.

      Besides, the cities will be trimmed down, abandoned eventually, so what. He who had the smarts, luck, opportunity left already yrs ago.

  30. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Gardaí are increasingly concerned by the presence of far-right extremists at anti-mask rallies in Dublin and the possibility of serious violence breaking out at future events.”

  31. Blaise says:

    Eric Holthaus, environmental journalist, father of two young boys [oh, the irony, but he is on the autistic spectrum] :


    It’s 2020, the world is on fire, and rich people are taking 7-hr long “joy flights” to see the Great Barrier Reef they are helping to destroy.

    I’ve dialed way back on intentionally shaming people for flying, but these people deserve to be shamed.

    • By this logic, eating food helps destroy the Great Barrier Reef; having children helps destroy the Great Barrier Reef.

      • Norman Pagett says:

        the barrier reef was fine till millions of (hungry) us showed up

        • Tim Groves says:

          The reefs—there are 2,900 of ’em— that form the Reef have died and been reborn dozens of times.

          The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) considers the earliest evidence of complete reef structures to have been 600,000 years ago. According to the GBRMPA, the current, living reef structure is believed to have begun growing on the older platform about 20,000 years ago. However, The CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) Reef Research Centre estimates the age of the present, living reef structure at 6,000 to 8,000 years old.

          I wish these Aussie government organizations would get their stories straight.

  32. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Officers requested a “heat ray” weapon for possible use against protesters in a park next to the White House in June, a National Guard major has said.”

    • I guess the big question is, “Is this statement true?”

      The heat ray weapon uses a microwave beam to make human skin feel like it is burning. Authorities say it causes no permanent damage.

      • Malcopian says:

        2012. Electromagnetic beam: a new non-lethal weapon for US military.

        See also DEW – Directed Energy Weapon. Dr Judy Wood thinks DEW was implicated in nine eleven, if you watch her videos.

        • not 9 /11 again please

          I’m incurring too much expense already by being sued for walls damaged by my head.

          Whoever Wood is, she destroys any shred of logic by 9’11 idiocy

          I hope OFW isn’t going down that black hole again

          • Malcopian says:

            Not Norman Pagett again, please.

            “Whoever Wood is, she destroys any shred of logic by nine eleven idiocy.”

            Dr Judy Wood is a former professor of mechanical engineering. She looks at the compelling forensic evidence that the story told by the Bush government of the day does not hold up in many respects. But you have a closed mind and will never look at any of her excellent videos, as evidenced by your not knowing who she is.

            But no, I do not wish to reopen that case. But we should know that there are many hi-tech weapons out there, and that some will still be so secret that they have not been revealed to the public. Have you never heard of the military-industrial complex? We are into the Fourth Industrial Revolution now. Think about that. But no – you are as complacent as the Japanese were before the atomic bomb hit then. 75 years on, weapons technology has moved on massively since the atom bomb, but don’t expect the powers to give you a guided tour of it.

            • Norman Pagett says:

              as i’ve pointed out before

              logic and intellect are not fruits of the same tree

              In deference to our hostess, I won’t restart the 9/11 rubbish, I thought that was consigned to the dustbin of history, (in here at least) along with FE

            • Tim Groves says:

              What a shame, Norman! I was hoping you would post a photo of the hole at Shanksville and point out the wreckage of the downed plane lying in it for us skeptics.

    • Robert Firth says:

      I think it’s been done:

  33. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Debt Jubilee….as Gail just doesn’t work!😳
    While largely sympathetic to renters, who make up 73% of Ithaca’s residents, several members of the council worried about the well-being of small landlords as well. What happens to the landlords who still have mortgages to pay? What happens to contractors who are employed by those landlords? What happens to the city’s budget, which relies on those landlords paying their property taxes? “I don’t understand why we would want to take the pain and economic hardship of one group of our citizens and put it on another group of our citizens,” Ithaca Alderman George McGonigal said at the meeting. “We may create a bunch of problems for everybody in the community, including ourselves.”
    Myrick saw the flaws, too. He too worried about Ithaca’s smaller landlords, in addition to the city’s already meager budget. “If you just cancel rent, there will be some landlords that lose money, there’ll be some landlords that lose so much money they can’t make their mortgage or tax payments, which could lead to defaults, and tax foreclosures would lead to less revenue for the city, which would mean we could support fewer social services,” he says. “This kind of thing can trigger [an economic] depression.”
    Myrick says his preferred policy would have been “a robust universal basic income of $2,000 a month to every American.” Under such a plan, “people have all their basic needs, not just rent, and it would make it easier for people to make choices in the interest of public health, staying home if they can, et cetera.” (Though the idea would provide greater flexibility to cash-strapped Americans, it too would come with major challenges: It would cost trillions of dollars if provided nationwide, and the chances of such a proposal getting past a GOP-led Senate are nonexistent.)
    Ultimately, after 30-plus minutes of contentious debate on June 3, the rent cancellation measure passed, on a 6 to 4 vote. The Ithaca Tenants Union, which coordinated with a couple city council members and Myrick to conceptualize the order, celebrated. “When your business is in providing people housing, that’s a certain responsibility you take on if it goes under to not put people on the street,” says Ary Stewart, a 24-year-old member of the renters coalition. If this results in landlords falling behind on their own debts, Stewart says they should “take it up with the bank.”
    Myrick, despite his misgivings, helped lead the charge. And in the months since the measure’s passage, the mayor says his office has been calling New York’s Department of Health approximately once a week for an update on the proposal. As the federal relief benefits have dried up, the Ithaca Tenants Union has also taken action into its own hands, orchestrating “phone zaps” where members clog up the New York Department of Health’s phone lines for days on
    .,…..Whether, or how, such an untested measure might have worked remains to be seen. In the meantime, Myrick insists the unprecedented plan was worth a shot—even if it wasn’t perfect. “The truth is, it is a bad policy,” he says. “But it’s better than doing nothing.”
    Free money….it’s working up👍to this point…until it doesnt

    • Someone has to get shorted. People who own properties that they rent out tend to be “rich,” in some sense, since they likely have their own home as well. Also, they can short the bank or other lender with respect to the mortgage payment. Let the mortgage holder try to get the money from the renter, or try to sell it on the open market. I am sure laws vary. I am doubtful that the laws would allow the person owning the rental property to be thrown out of his own home, if a renter could no longer pay. But perhaps this could happen some places, if the owner has, for example, a three-flat, and is renting out two of the units and living in one.

      Ultimately, these properties are no longer worth much. The lack of payment is simply reflection of this fact.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Herbie, I’m no Bible scholar, but I think the idea of a “debt jubilee” is that all debts are cancelled. So renters don’t pay landlords; landlords don’t pay apartment owners; they don’t pay mortgage companies, … and so on. The only ones left carrying the can are the moneylenders, and I do remember the Bible has a rather low opinion of them.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      That’s right, that person is putting the person in the wheelchair at risk. All people in public should be wearing masks to protect themselves and others (and it should have been mandated nationally by the president back in Jan. 2020 but never was), because it’s primarily an airborne transmitted virus, from an infected person to another person’s lungs.

      Yes, many people are overweight/obese (although I’m not one of them) that are more vulnerable to the Corona Virus, but does that mean we shouldn’t wear masks?

      • Tim Groves says:

        With all due respect, people are carrying around all sorts of viruses and bacteria that can be spread by contact or in the air that we all share, and many of these bugs are more dangerous to the old, infirm and obese than the one the authorities are obsessed with this week.

        The infections you can look forward to picking up include norovirus, influenza, meningitis, HFMD (Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease), pertussis (whooping cough), MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), and TB (Tuberculosis).

        And if you can remember that far back, until Covid-19 appeared on the scene, the media in the US were salivating over the dangers of measles, which—they were at great pains to inform us—is highly contagious and deadly in some cases.

        If were to follow your logic to its logical conclusion, we would all need to wear masks in public permanently, forever, in perpetuity and never get on a train, boat, bus or plane or attend a live concert, theater play, movie or sporting or cultural event ever again.

        As I noted at the beginning, I say this with all due respect for you and your opinion. I am not trying to ridicule or troll you—far from it. I merely see where your suggestion that people in public should be wearing masks to protect themselves and others.

        And I haven’t even mentioned the potential downsides to health of wearing masks, which won’t go into here but which can also be deadly.

        On the subject of POTUS mandating the wearing of masks, does he have the power to do that? Would Congress, the Courts, the Dems, the State Governors and City Mayors have stood for it? Wouldn’t the media have ridiculed and condemned him for being Hit-ler, Stalin and Genghis Khan rolled into one? When he imposed a ban on flights from China, he was attacked from all sides.

        When Nancy Pelosi went to Chinatown SF in late-February to encourage people to visit the place and reassure people that shoppers were safe there, neither she nor anyone else in Chinatown was social distancing or mask wearing. If Nancy didn’t know or care that masks were necessary in late February to deal with this virus, how was Trump supposed to have known in January?

        Let’s look at a news video of that event. It was only seven months ago but it seems like a different era.

        • Tim Groves says:

          ….I merely see where your suggestion that people in public should be wearing masks to protect themselves and others is leading.

          I see it leading to a total and permanent loss of personal liberty for almost everybody. It may not be a problem for the many people who are souless, conformist, or devoid of all intellectual curiosity or imagination, but sensitive souls like Van Morrison and me will suffer endless tortures.

          • Malcopian says:

            “Watch out. There’s a GERM about!”

            But I can’t SEE it! OOH, I’m SCARED!

            The partial lifting of the lockdown here in England allows us to eat in cafes and restaurants again. Thankfully, you can’t eat while wearing a mask. But perhaps Boris will orders special masks to be made with mouth-holes in them.

            Here in England the effect of the lockdown has tanked the economy and meant that lots of people have lost their jobs and been made homeless as a result of having little or no money coming in to pay the bills. To paraphrase Churchill, ‘Never before in the history of human peacetime have so many sacrificed so much to save so few’. And that is a result of Churchill’s fan Boris indulging in short-termism and having no understanding of strategy: that you can take more hits now in order to suffer fewer deaths later. It’s just as well we Brits didn’t have a pandemic and a lockdown in 1939. The other fellow certainly wouldn’t have had one, and we’d never have won the Battle of Britain.

            • Malcopian says:

              The virus is hungry for humans, and so far it hasn’t even finished breakfast. Every time we lift the lockdowns and the masks, it will be back for the next course. Wouldn’t it have been better to get it over quicker, without lockdowns? Herd immunity, anybody? Then we would have had a quicker return to normality.

            • How about telling everyone to start taking vitamin D? Or at least, spend much more time out in the sunshine. Then, at least, they will have a decent chance of fighting it off easily. Herd immunity won’t stick, even if we get it, I am afraid.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Winston Churchill is considered to have had a hand in the deaths from starvation of around four million people in Bengal in 1943. Sources for this claim include The Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food by Lizzie Collingham, and Churchill’s Secret War by Madhusree Mukerjee.

              Perhaps, given enough time, Boris will outshine his idol in this respect.


            • Kowalainen says:

              How about simply copying the strategy and tactics of Taiwan and call it a day?

              Too easy perhaps? A perpetual pandemic is so much sexier than the mundane affairs of BAU.

          • I wonder about babies and small children growing up in this strange world with masks. How do they understand the emotions of others, especially if care givers wear masks.

          • Jarle says:

            “I see it leading to a total and permanent loss of personal liberty for almost everybody. It may not be a problem for the many people who are souless, conformist, or devoid of all intellectual curiosity or imagination, but sensitive souls like Van Morrison and me will suffer endless tortures.”

            And me!

          • Bei Dawei says:

            Oh well, at least torturing you sensitive souls ought to produce some good art.

        • Xabier says:

          Probably 25% or so of illegal immigrants to the UK have TB, for instance.

          Given their habit of beaching and scampering off without any contact with the authorities whenever possible it’s rather more alarming than COVID.

      • JesseJames says:

        By your logic, when you cough you put someone else’s health at risk. That is utterly stupid. The obese, unhealthy person has chosen their own poison. They will die of it.

        • Actually, the obese, unhealthy person has simply chosen to follow what television and the popular media says is the “right way to eat” and the “right amount of exercise.” It is perfectly OK to spend most of the day in front of a computer screen or television. And eating a whole lot of fast food, plus excessively processed other foods, is what everyone else does. These folks have a hard time imagining any other way of doing things. They may not have the budget for it either. If they live in the inner city, food choices may be very constrained.

          • JesseJames says:

            Gayle, even the poor can eat nutritionally if they desire to. I used to make a lunch for work when I was poor at one time in my life. It consists of a raw carrot or two, a raw stick of celery, a simple sandwich, a pear or apple and a piece of cheddar cheese. No cookies. Water to wash it down. The carrot was filling, plus it required chewing which helped satiate my appetite. All in all, a quite healthy lunch for very little money. It was cold and not tasty with fat, sugar or salt, but good for me.

            They have to want to eat healthy and they don’t.

            • ElbowWilham says:

              I think a lot of obesity could be curbed if people just stopped drinking flavored
              sugar water. Just drink water, or coffee or tea. And no Starbucks milkshakes either.

              Drinking sugar is so bad for your liver and pancreas.

            • There are a lot of inner city food deserts in the US. There are no grocery stores for miles; public transport is difficult for getting to them. People live on food from convenience stores and fast food places. These don’t sell celery or carrots. With a lot of luck, you might find an apple.

              If you are poor, and you file the right paper work, you can get food stamps (or whatever the program is called now). But not everyone does this. It is helpful to have a phone or transportation for filing, I believe.

              If a person is living on donated food, they often don’t have much choice of what they get.

          • Finch says:

            Even the states considered the “best” have around a quarter of the population or more living with obesity . . . and that’s not counting the simply overweight.

            The ten states with the lowest obesity rates are:

            Colorado (23%)
            District of Columbia (24.7%)
            Hawaii (24.9%)
            New Jersey (25.7%)
            Massachusetts (25.7%)
            California (25.8%)
            Montana (26.9%)
            Connecticut (27.4%)
            Vermont (27.5%)
            New York (27.6%)


            • Luke says:

              From Finch’s site:

              “Obesity is the result of several factors such as overeating, lack of physical activity, poor diet choices, genetics, metabolism, and culture.”

              That’s a lot of fat people. The verboten topic of the quality of GMO foods was conveniently left out, I noticed.

            • I would think antibiotic use should be added to the list. Roundup is sort of a generalization of antibiotics.

      • Another approach would be to have the person in the wheelchair wear a mask plus a face shield. The combination would protect him fairly well, even if others aren’t wearing masks, I would think. Then the person in the wheelchair should also be taking vitamin D, so that the disease is far less something to be afraid of. The combination of these things would allow the person in the wheelchair to be in charge of his own protection. He no longer has to depend on upsetting a huge share of the economy to provide protection for himself. Isn’t this latter approach pretty likely to fail?

      • Robert Firth says:

        Chrome Mags, to answer your question: Yes, I believe it means we shouldn’t wear masks. We have a clear moral duty, a categorical imperative if you will, to care for those who cannot care for themselves. But do we have a similar duty to care for those who could care for themselves, but choose not to? I do not believe so.

        • Kowalainen says:

          The double edged sword of responsibility swings both ways. If you don’t care about yourself, you’re not entitled to the care from others.

          However, one should not ignore the social engineering programming of the people not quite intellectually fit to see past the smoke and mirrors of BAU. The cold hard truth is a bitter pill to swallow when the hallucinations of the brain and society is that convincing.

          This is the great divide as I see it. It is intractable to be compassionate about morons, however, that is the conditioning they have been subject to become useful consumers and deliver offspring as cannon fodder.

          I hate the situation.

  34. Tim Groves says:

    Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, God bless her atheistic soul, has died of cancer at the age of 87, it has just been officially reported.

    She had wanted to hang on long enough for President Trump not to be the guy to pick her successor, and with less than two months until the election, her wish may be granted. It’s too late in the term for Trump to put forward a successor, although I wouldn’t put it past him to try.

    There was a time when the issue of who’s going to pick the next Supreme would have galvanized the voters, but with the mess that politicians, activists and the media have made of the entire election process, this is likely to get lost in the noise. Nevertheless, who gets to pick the nation’s top judges has an enormous effect on the longterm state of the nation.

    • Country Joe says:

      Trump will nominate and Mitch will have a vote by end of next week.

      • Tim Groves says:

        That would certainly rile Nancy up.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          Trump in the past week just put out a list of names who he would consider (he dared Slow Joe to do the same).

          so Trump will be ready within a day or two to nominate someone.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Love him or hate him, Trump seems always to be onestep ahead in the game. I am reminded of chess master Charles Jaffe, who after he had beaten the supposedly invincible Capablanca in 1946, was asked by a reporter how many moves ahead he looked, replied, “Just one, but the best one”.

            But Trump is also a master of the gambit. By challenging Biden to issue his own list of candidates, he put the latter into a classic Zugzwang, where either move was destructive to his position.

            • Xabier says:

              A careful study of the great military campaigns also conforms that truth: whatever the staff planners have devised, the effective response of just one unit at the right time can alter the whole course of a battle, and even a war.

              As unpalatable as he can be, I sincerely hope that Trump wins clearly, as the Democrats at present are the greatest threat to the US Constitution and civilized life.

            • Robert Firth says:

              For Xabier: a most telling and informative comment; thank you.

              One unit won the battle of marathon, and it was not the Athenians, it was the one thousand Plataeans. The former were intimidated by the Persian army, and vacillating over whether to attack or retreat. The arrival of the entire Plataean strength gave them the heart to chance a battle, decided on by just one vote, and Greece was saved, at a cost of just 203 men.

              Xerxes’ invasion was similarly defeated, and we all know the story of Thermopylae. They died to the last man, but they bought Themistocles enough time to prepare the navy and position them in the Gulf of Salamis.

              “A king sate on the rocky brow
              Which looks o’er sea-born Salamis; 20
              And ships, by thousands, lay below,
              And men in nations:—all were his!
              He counted them at break of day—
              And when the sun set, where were they?”

              Byron, of course, “The Isles of Greece”.

              Moving on a couple of Millennia, Wellington himself called the Battle of Waterloo “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life”. And it hinged on two events: the moment Wellington was saved from defeat, and the moment the French broke. The former was achieved by not a unit, but by two men: the men who closed the gates of Hougoumont Castle. Had they failed, the French could have rolled the allied right up like a carpet, and even a Prussian arrival would not have helped, because they would have arrived behind the allied line rather than on the French right flank.

              The second event was the famous “up guards and at ’em”, when the British 1st Foot Guards rose up from behind the hill and opened fire at point blank range on the French “Old Guard”, believed by all in their army to be invincible. They broke, and at the cry of “La garde recule” most of the others turned and fled. At such great cost, and by such small chances, Europe was saved.

            • Tim Groves says:

              A couple of month’s ago I re-read the novel Vanity Fair, a fair chunk of which takes place at the time of Waterloo.

              Becky Sharp, her friend Amelia, and Amelia’s elder brother Josh are in Brussels while the two women’s husbands are fighting in the British Army.

              Becky’s husband gets a mention in dispatches for bravery and later a promotion, Amelia’s husband is killed in the battle. Becky sells her two horses to Jos at an exorbitant price as he decides to flee from Belgium thinking the battle lost.

              Vanity Fair is undoubtedly racist, sexist, lookist and ablist by today’s standards. I cannot think why the woke mob have not called on it to be banned from our bookshelves and burned in the streets yet. Perhaps because their attention spans are too short for them to make it as far as the juiciest bits? Nonetheless, it has been rated by some literati as the best novel in the English language, and although I think its ridiculous to attempt to rate works of literature so precisely, I found it a very entertaining story.

              The Battle of Waterloo is not depicted in Vanity Fair, but the protagonists in Brussels do receive reports of it from retreating, retiring and injured soldiers and they hear the sound of cannon getting ominously close; and the account they form accords well with what Robert has described.

              Did Waterloo save Europe? Certainly it saved the place from Napoleon, who had become a tyrant, corrupted by his power. On the other hand, for decades after, the Europeans had to put up with cocky English lords and ladies making extended visits to towns and cities all over the continent and even taking the Grand Tour—another activity that is woven into the narrative of Vanity Fair. A good read and a nice study of what the Book of Ecclesiastes describes as Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas—Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Whenever the plumes and fires of war is on the horizon, run, yes, run for your life. Let the genetic trash sort out their differences in an evolutionary quite “effective” way.

              Gaia looks upon the lunacy with a planetary sized smile on her immense behest.

    • Xabier says:

      How can these Antediluvian judges be considered fit for their office? Sweep them all out at 65.

  35. Dennis L. says:

    Huge political news for US, Ginsberg passes. Love her or hate her, she was a hell of a woman and an incredible human being.

    Should be an interesting time between now and inauguration.

    Dennis L.

    • Yes! Who should be the new Supreme Court justice is the big question. Ginsberg was known for being liberal. Trump would no doubt pick a conservative, if his pick could be approved.

      • Dan says:

        There should be no pick based on what McConnell said when the black man was president,”. Gail i’ve been following you for so long but I’m so disappointed in your political bias. These days I only follow people who are only a political that’s only where the truth is. If you were getting money or financial backing to manipulate your site; you need to disclose that to the rest of us it is only fair.I guess I’m more disappointed in myself for following you when you have become nothing more than a charlatan for one side or the other you don’t speak the truth.

        • I quite frankly have no idea regarding what you are talking about. I certainly did not say, “There should be no pick based on what McConnell said when the black man was president.” I don’t follow politics enough to know what McConnell said, when. At the time I made my one comment on the issue, I hadn’t even looked up any article regarding what the procedure for replacing a Supreme Court justice might be. This is not something I follow closely. I was getting ready to turn off my computer for the evening, when I saw the comment about Ginsberg’s death.

          What possibly makes you think I am taking money from anyone? I don’t even sell ads on my site!

        • Dennis L. says:


          These are the only quotes I found,

          “Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for saying former President Barack Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” and not criticized President Donald Trump.

          “I’m sure Mitch is aware that a grown ass black man who happens to be a former president has agency to speak his mind on how his successor is managing this crisis,” Steele said Tuesday on Twitter. “Especially since his successor has yet to ‘keep his mouth shut’ about him.”

          I find “grown ass black man” when referring to a former president disrespectful to the man and the office, but do not comment on the person who stated those words.

          This opinion in the “courier journal” does not mention McConnell saying that.

          Again, an opinion in “Miami Herald” by Leonard Pitts, Jr. a journalist for the “Miami Herald” does not mention your quote.

          Could you source “There should be no pick based on what McConnell said when the black man was president,’? ” Your punctuation, not mine.

          In general, most of us have benefited greatly from this site as a place to freely express ideas and have others comment on those ideas. We refrain from ad hominem attacks and generally welcome learning from each other. Remain here long enough and a certain humility arises as many self predictions turn out not to happen. Reality trumps philosophy, and that was not meant to be a pun.

          There will be no further comments from me on this subject.

          Dennis L.

          • polarbear says:

            Very well layed out dennis! that Gail is assailed on some ridiculous bs claiming political bias just shows how intolerant people are. As soon as the PERCEIVED message is attributed to a “side” it is attacked. The attacker pats themselves on the back for their astuteness and doesn’t have enough self awareness to realize they have become a tool of conditioned response.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          People can’t see their superstitions and delusions.
          I’m with you on this, but lets just let Darwin sort this out.
          The virus could care less (not being alive).
          But the ignorance is an eye opener.
          Until a vaccine is available, or millions die from herd immunity, this is a wait and see event.

        • Lidia17 says:

          JoeBiden in 2016: “I would go forward with a confirmation process as chairman, even a few months before a presidential election, if the nominee were chosen with the advice, and not merely the consent, of the Senate, just as the Constitution requires.”

          My screen at first didn’t show to whom Gail was responding, but I knew it was Dan! I think Gail does an excellent job of being very even-handed on this site.

    • By the way, I gave my daughter a Ginsberg t-shirt for Christmas because I knew my daughter was a big fan of hers.

  36. Dennis L. says:

    Some of you have noted the value of gold, I offer the following off a MS web page along with a reference link.

    “On a steep cliff along the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria are the ruins of a medieval fortress once ruled by the Despot Dobrotitsa. For those who love a good buried treasure story, Kaliakra Fortress recently delivered. Nearly a thousand 14th-century gold, silver, and bronze artifacts were unearthed here in 2018. The relics, found in a large pot, range from belt buckles, buttons, and earrings to heaps of Byzantine, Venetian, and Tartar coins. The moody Kaliakra Cape offers more than a cache of worldly riches—the area is a nature reserve where dolphins ply the waters just offshore and rare birds gather during stops on their long migratory flights”

    The gold held its value, but six hundred years is a long time.

    Dennis L.

  37. Ed says:

    This is not energy related but it is funny. The president of Princeton University has been telling everyone Princeton is racist. The department of Education has just written to the president saying you have certified for the last several that the university complies with Title VI no discrimination. As you have stated Princeton is racist we have reason be to believe you are lying to us. We are opening an investigation. You have 21 calendar days to comply. LMAO

    • Ed says:

      giving credit this from Kunstler today.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        more JHK today:

        “You heard it here first: Joe Biden will call in “sick” to the presidential candidates’ debate on Tuesday, September 29, and within days the Democratic Party will be obliged to replace him. Enough said for now. Wait for it….”

        that would be something.


    • Oh dear says:

      Yes, spiked has an article about today.

      By their own confessions of ‘racism’, Princeton stand to lose millions in government funding. Maybe they will also have to pay plenty back.

      It is about time that this moral posturing and virtue-signalling had some negative consequences. Sanctity has a price, who knew?

      > …. If the Department of Education concludes – in line with Princeton’s own admission – that it has been discriminating against black students, Princeton could lose millions in federal funding. ‘Based on its admitted racism, the US Department of Education is concerned Princeton’s non-discrimination and equal-opportunity assurances… may have been false’, said the department.

      The department’s logic makes perfect sense. Presumably, if a university caught a student committing acts of racism, he or she would be expelled. A company would be quick to fire an employee overheard making racist remarks. So when a university leader ‘admits’ to a culture of racism, why should there not be consequences? In so freely admitting racism, woke institutions have made a rod for their own backs.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        yes, they have given themselves two bad options.


        “Either they have to come up with proof that Mr. Eisgruber’s asseverations are true — that Princeton is indeed, and has been for a long time, a racist school — or that Mr. Eisgruber and his administrative colleagues have constructed a false narrative to please and mollify the “social justice” mob among its own faculty and student body. In the first case, they are strictly evil; in the second, they are lying cowards. In either case, Mr. Eisgruber must resign, and several vice-presidents and deans along with him. Notify the Princeton board of trustees.”

        Princeton will be trying desperately to wiggle themselves out of this straightjacket into which they have willingly placed themselves.


  38. Malcopian says:

    With reference to the earlier jokey comments about eating people, I remember reading that Edgar Allen Poe wrote a short story in which two sailors and a teenage cabin boy were shipwrecked at sea. Eventually the two men killed the poor lad and ate him, in order to avoid starvation. Not many years later, an actual event ensued that was very similar in the details to Poe’s fictional story. Once more, this makes me wonder where intuition comes from.

    I mentioned elsewhere that I thought Poe had written a science fiction story, some of whose facts came true. Our commenter Robert told me I was wrong. I was probably thinking of this sea story instead.

    • Bei Dawei says:

      I remember reading about a woman who was shipwrecked on a desert island with 30 men. After a couple of weeks, she was ashamed of what she was doing, that she killed herself.

      A couple of weeks after that, the men were so ashamed of what they were doing, that they buried her.


      • Malcopian says:

        Well, I had to think about that. At first I thought ‘rimshot’ was the dirty bit until I looked that word up. (‘Ta-da!’ would’ve been better.)

        Now I’m just wondering if the police have looked under your floorboards lately. 🙁

    • Robert Firth says:

      Malcopian, you were indeed thinking of the sea story: “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket”, published in 1838. The act of cannibalism occurs near the middle of the book, and almost the same scenario unfolded in real life in 1884, on a ship called the Mignonette.

      The later chapters of the novel contain several occult themes, based in part on the “hollow earth” theory of John Cleves Symmes, which had previously been proposed by Edmond Halley, no less. Pym also encounters a series of caves shaped like “Egyptian hieroglyphs”, which of course looked nothing like Egyptian hieroglyphs. Perhaps this was suggested by Joseph Smith’s absurd “Book of Abraham”. The novel ends abruptly as Pym tries to navigate a passage to the South Pole.

      Several authors wrote “sequels” to the novel, with their own take on the South Pole. First was Jules Verne’s “An Antarctic Mystery, or, The Sphinx of the Ice Fields”, from 1897, which was entirely scientific. It was dramatised in an episode of the cartoon series “The Extraordinary Adventures of Jules Verne”, 24 episodes plus pilot, and highly recommended. Each episode links to a Verne novel, Episode 15 to this one.

      Next was John Taine’s “The Greatest Adventure”, of 1929, which had dinosaurs living in caves under Antarctica and is almost unreadable. Finally we have H P Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” (1931), where a now extinct race of intelligent beings built a civilisation there, but their genetically engineered servants survive them and cause mayhem.

      Antarctica perhaps indeed holds the last true mysteries to be found on our planet; and, as you might have guessed, it fascinates me.

      • Malcopian says:

        Thank you, Robert. I did read in one of Graham Hancock’s books about the precession (lunisolar precession), a new concept for me. This means (correct me if I’m wrong) that the Earth’s poles shift about over thousands of years, and therefore Antarctica was at times in the deep past exceedingly verdant and presumably full of animals you’d associate nowadays with Africa. I think Hancock did mention something about fossils found in Antarctica – of trees, perhaps?

        Decades ago, there was some fellow in the House of Lords (UK) who showed photos of Earth with supposed holes at the poles, leading to an inner Earth. This myth crops up often enough in tales by ‘abductees’. Or perhaps there is indeed something going on that is beyond our ken: wormholes, other dimensions, etc. We can’t assume we know everything.

        • Norman Pagett says:

          a hot Antarctica was due to continental drift not polar shift I think

        • Robert Firth says:

          Ah yes, I remember that fellow in the House of Lords: William Francis Brinsley Le Poer Trench, 8th Earl of Clancarty, 7th Marquess of Heusden (18 September 1911 – 18 May 1995) .

          An example of what the House of Lords was originally designed for: independent thinkers who disdained politics and supported what they believed in.

          • Bei Dawei says:

            The USA had a guy like that in the House of Representatives in the late 19th century: Ignatius Donnelly, who wrote books with titles like “Atlantis: The Antediluvian World”, or “Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel.” One of them argued for the Baconian authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s too bad Donnelly never made it to the senate, because he would have been awesome during a filibuster!

            I recall seeing a book about the Hollow Earth, which traced the history of the idea from 19th century science, through Jules Verne and Tarzan, down to 20th century crackpots and channelers (and Umberto Eco). The Hollow Earth is way cooler than the Flat Earth, because it contains some combination of Nazis, dinosaurs, pirates, UFOs, ascended masters, and/or unspeakable monstrosities.

            • Bei Dawei says:

              (sigh) modded–probably for mentioning the NSDAP

            • Robert Firth says:

              There are two main flavours of “hollow earth”. The former simply has very large caverns deep underground, and the classic source is, again, Jules Verne: “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, published in 1864. It has been made into a movie at least twice, in 1959 and 1993, and features in Episode 16 of the cartoon series “Extraordinary Adventures …”

              The second is the true hollow earth, with people (and unspeakable things) living on the inside, in violation of Newton’s proof that there is no gravity inside a hollow sphere. The classic stories this time are by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and are collectively called “Pellucidar”. The reference movie is “At the Earth’s Core”, from 1976, with Peter Cushing as the scientist, Doug McClure as the intrepid explorer, and Caroline Munro as a Pellucidarian princess not overencumbered with clothing.

              The number of hollow earth references in myth and legend is huge; it is an anthropological study in its own right.

            • Robert Firth says:

              I have read Donnelly’s “Atlantis” with great interest. It is pretty god for its time. I also read Churchward’s “The Lost Continent of Mu”, which in contrast was rather bad. Jane Gaskell’s “Atlan” series is good fun, once you get used to its seriously clueless heroine. But the definitive account of these forays into fantasy remains L Sprague de Camp’s “Lost Continents”.

  39. Herbie Ficklestein says:

    The Master Plan going according to Plan!
    The rapid decline in demand for coins has left the Mint, which has been producing coins in Britain for more than 1,000 years, with a mountain of excess stock.
    It reported in March 2020 that it had stocks of £2 coins 26 times over its target, and was eight times over target for 2p coins.
    The fall in the use of cash has been detailed by a report from the National Audit Office (NAO), which monitors the effectiveness of public bodies.
    A decade ago, cash was used in six out of 10 transactions, but by 2019 that had fallen to less than three in 10, and some forecasts suggest it may slide to one in 10 transactions by 2028.
    The volume of cash payments plummeted by 59% between 2008 and 2019, as consumers have increasingly turned to cashless payment methods.
    The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the fall in demand for notes and coins, as demand from banks and ATMs slumped by 71% between early March and mid-April.
    During lockdown some businesses stopped accepting cash payments, while consumers often opted for contactless card payments, which they perceived to be more hygienic.
    The NAO has outlined that demand for cash has been recovering since lockdown restrictions were lifted, but it added the pandemic might have a lasting impact on use of cash and access to it.

    Put $$$ in the Cloud…closer to Heaven and much more practical…
    And we all thought there was no reason for the lockdowns!
    More fool 😂 us.

    • Erdles says:

      BBC reported today that £54billion of notes (50% of cash in circulation) is unaccounted for. The BoE just don’t know here it has gone. Maybe down the back of the sofa?

    • Bei Dawei says:

      One of the US mints stores a mountain of unwanted one-dollar coins, thanks to failed plans to phase out dollar bills (and perhaps also pennies), which for some reason proved politically controversial.

      • Robert Firth says:

        I was living in the US at the time. The coins were pretty ugly, but the real killer was the hundreds of millions of vending machines that would have needed to be replaced. So retail commerce was overwhelmingly against the change, and the few companies that produced dollar coin operated machines sustained a thumping loss.

  40. Harry McGibbs says:

    The Bank of England is coming around the idea of negative rates, it would seem, having been lukewarm before:

    “The BoE kept rates unchanged but said it was mulling how to implement negative rates effectively.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “…we think the world is transitioning into a Japanese-style era of economic stagnation.”

    • It is hard to see how negative rates make sense.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        They seem an admission of sorts that industrial civilization, or least large swathes of it, are no longer profitable.

        • Lidia17 says:

          That’s been my feeling for quite a while. Interest rates absolutely *should* be negative as we run out of investments that can possibly re-coup their costs on an energy basis. As Charles Hall put it, the cheetah has to get enough energy from a gazelle to make it worth the chase.

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:
            • Xabier says:

              For once a nice solid little article by Watkins that one could use as a primer for those new to the subject.

              His previous piece was rather distasteful as he seemed to be relishing the suffering to come to even formerly wealthier regions and classes in a spiteful way, which was beneath him. Just as The Archdruid is excited about the ‘managerial class’ falling. There will be nothing pleasing about any of this.

            • As I see it, Tim Watkins sort of has the story right, up until the last 8 paragraphs. He starts off explaining that lions work in groups, chasing after big prey, rather than acting like house cats. Cats are nimbler, and their calorie requirements are lower; they can chase after mice, and this will sustain them. A lion has to use a disproportionately large amount of energy to chase a mouse, and this doesn’t really work. The return on investment is too small.

              He next adds standard fossil fuel EROI theory.

              Then he launches off into standard “sustainability” theory that misses the point that our economy is self-organizing networked system. It cannot make-do with less energy consumption regardless of what the EROI of that energy seems to be. As EROI goes down (the available food mix includes fewer of the preferred large prey), the lion will have to make do with more and more mice in his mix of food, making it harder for him to get enough total food. He is wasting too much energy chasing mice. These mice don’t really sustain him because they don’t have enough calories in total.

              The lion won’t collapse immediately. It, will, however, become much more susceptible to illnesses. Epidemics will likely turn into pandemics, if very many lions eat poorly. In not very long, the whole “pride” of lions will collapse. Perhaps the quantity of smaller, nimbler cats with lesser energy requirements and more ability to be nimble will rise. The ecosystem will balance out; that is always the way it works.

            • Robert Firth says:

              I find it hard to believe anyone who seems to think that lions hunt. They don’t; it is the lionesses who hunt.

            • Interesting! Males are solitary hunters. They hunt in areas with a lot of underbrush, where they can use the underbrush to hide. It is the females that hunt in groups.

            • Norman Pagett says:

              when ladies go shopping, the function of the gentleman is to push the trolley

              i thought everyone knew that

  41. Downunder says:

    I have come to the conclusion that the majority of Journalists should be renamed as Town Criers as reading out information handed to them by those in charge is all that most of them do.

    • If a person has publication deadlines to meet, and if the person is paid by the articles submitted, this is pretty much what a person has to expect.

      • Bei Dawei says:

        These days a lot of them are paid (or at least evaluated) by clicks.

        • Kowalainen says:

          These days, the articles isn’t produced by humans, rather briefly reviewed by humans and clicking to publish them. The whole MSM is a gigantic jobs program for unemployable feeling the burn.

    • This is a very long article that goes into quite a few things, including gain-in-function research. There is a story about the different level of protections workers wear in different lab settings with different severity of disease pathogen ratings. I presume these levels of protections are in US lab settings . We have seen pictures of lab workers in China’s Level 4 lab with not nearly as much precautions taken.

      There are quite a few of the Level 4 labs around the world and more planned. It struck me as strange that a country like Saudi Arabia should be doing this kind of research. Having these labs around is in a way like having nuclear reactors lots of places around the world. We hope nothing will go wrong.

      • Xabier says:

        ‘We’ll all go together when we go…..’

        Maybe the Arabs are looking into that Mers thing?

        I tend to feel that this sort of thing cannot be safely entrusted to any Homo Sapiens anywhere.

        We even used mere stones to whack one another on the head and steal child brides and pigs…..

      • MM says:

        A point to make is that GOF research is being done to have vaccines reday in case of…
        We now have a “case of” but where is the vaccine?
        So you want me to believe that after all these years there is no vaccina but suddenly there is one in 6 months?

  42. Bruce Steele says:

    Here is an explanation for one one last years fires. One hundred year old infrastructure. Mechanical fatigue of an insulator hook.

    • I believe that this transmission line was to a very old hydroelectric facility. Keeping up the long distance transmission is not something that there is much in the budget for.

    • Malcopian says:

      Somewhat off-topic, but an entertaining interlude. If you are sceptical of the paranormal, do not read it. Scroll down to ‘The Fire‑Starter’:

      On the basis of that article, I bought a book by Tom Kenyon entitled “Great Human Potential: Walking in one’s own light – Teachings from the Pleiades and the Hathors”. It was the only book by him that I could find back then. The title amused me, but I thought it might at least have some entertainment value on a symbolic level. Sadly, the book was such utter drivel as a 12-year-old might have written. I could hardly believe that this was the same Tom Kenyon as had written the insightful article in the link above. I leave that just as a warning. I see he has written other books since, but I have not read them so do not know whether any of them contain any sense.

  43. Dennis L. says:

    I hope this pasted correctly. Wolf has an article out today regarding where all that debt went that was sold earlier this year. I have attempted to post summary graph of who owns US debt. Note SS and public pensions are large holders.

    My interest in this site is mostly real world and what in that world I can affect, my best options going forward To date: dance,vitamin D (6000 IU), magnesium, “don’t worry, be happy,” and oh yes, zinc. If zinc does nothing at least I won’t rust.

    My question is with all this debt who gets nicked and how?

    Real world observation: Prices are going up for good, used machine tools of a size that can be used in a small shop. Large stuff that requires expensive millwrights, large fork lifts and trucks is almost selling for scrap prices – before moving that is.

    Any thoughts?

    Dennis L.

    • The big chunk in “Social Security Trust Fund and US Government Pension Funds” is the funny money that allows the US government to say something like, “With expected future contributions, plus the funds already set aside, Social Security is funded until 2027 (or whatever the year is now). The Social Security Trust Fund and US Government Pension Funds are really pretty much on a “pay as you go basis.” The government debt that is in these funds can’t really be used to pay individuals; it is not even transferrable elsewhere. As a practical matter, the government would have to collect taxes if it wants to pay pensioners with these funds. If this debt has no value, they truly are on a pay as you go basis. Social Security payments are now exceeding Social Security annual funding, I believe, leading to a need for more taxes. There may be a little interest on the debt in this grouping that adds to Social Security funding and other government pension funding. This is the main benefit of the debt in this category.

      Foreign holders are countries like China and Japan that have taken debt in payment for goods. We don’t want these foreign holders to sell their bonds, or interest rates on US debt will rise. The value of the US dollar will fall. If there is a default on these, the US dollar will be out as the world reserve currency.

      US Banks don’t seem to hold much, which is probably good.

      The Federal Reserve has (sort of) bought the part of the remaining bonds using QE. It can’t buy a whole lot more, without leaving too little for other purposes including “liquidity” to smooth international trade.

      • Dennis L. says:


        For internal debt, couldn’t one issue more general debt to pay that owed to SS?

        US investors are insurance companies, pension funds?

        If this stuff pays little interest, the owners of the bond asset are essentially 10 people sitting around a table trading it back and forth with one or more losing a bit each trade, but even the winner of the trades has an asset that yields less than the cost of trading. If a bond pays interest, holding it gives some income, if none or zero ten trading is profitless and it seems more and more banks, etc. are exiting trading, consistent with the first sentence of this paragraph.

        One asset of the government might be the military, but if “conquering” an asset costs twice what it yields there is not much booty, indeed negative booty. Thinking of WWII, one wonders if rather than building useless stuff we couldn’t have found a way to just buy Germany and fire the management.

        Your end game of collapse is looking more likely.

        Not a very positive picture from someone who is very positive.

        Dennis L.

        • I’m not sure. One thing I learned working in insurance is if regulations don’t work in practice, just change the regulations. I also am not certain about exactly what rules are in place.

          In theory, it would seem like Trump could waive “FICA” (Social Security taxes) for this year, and instead put more limited-purpose debt into the Social Security trust fund. In fact, someone could do this for the next ten years.

          Most government programs are simply “pay as you go.” My understanding was that a major reason for the trust fund for Social Security was because actuaries knew that when baby boomers retired, there would be an increase in Social Security payments. So they wanted tax collections (“contributions”) to be higher early on, so that there would not need to be a big increase when this happened. The catch was that the government took these excess Social Security contributions and spent them. They effectively were able to reduce federal income taxes. As a placeholder for the funds that they took and spent, non-transferrable bonds were left in their place.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Thank you, Gail, that is almost exactly what happened; I was there. The money was spent, though, not on lowering taxees generally, but partly on welfare and partly on special privileges for large corporations. In other words, the largely middle class working people paying into social security were, in part, paying for the upper and nether millstones between which they were being crushed. And now US cities are hollowing out, and we wonder why.

      • There is no real apparent jockeying for the position of holding the status of the global reserve currency, yes China, Russia and few others have already implemented independent infrastructure for int trade settlements/money wires etc. but even that’s still not the umbrella for the whole world.

        We can easily picture the (near) future when US barely resembles union anymore, riots and quasi secession in full swing, debt to GDP above 1000%, while the money trick still functions abroad..

        Look at the recent “deal” with Europe/Germany. The Nordstream2 gas line won’t be sanctioned, but at added cost Europeans are now obliged to invest into build up of new US LNG capacity and infrastructure. We can call it arm twisting, extortion racket, or actually taxation and floor support in another form.

        The collapse being rescheduled, again, for later date.

        • The problem is getting LNG prices up high enough for US exporters to make money on it. Also, they believe that somehow they can engineer a shortage in the US, and thus, raise US natural gas prices. This hasn’t happened so far. I don’t see in happening in the future.

          • The details are not known yet, some reports say it’s just about one billion, some suggest much larger investment on the table. If the former, that’s only very temporary kick back money, similar to POTUS foreign visits announcing armament deals similarly sized in few $B. However, If the latter is the case, expensive LNG could be another system supporting bubble for next half or full decade. That’s good extension of quasi BAU if you are ~70-90yrs old investor..

            • Robert Firth says:

              Thank you, and also Gail. The problem with LNG is the transit costs. If natural gas cannot me made profitable through a pipeline, there is no hope of it ever being profitable through LNG shipments. This whole exercise is another piece of NATO blackmail to keep the phony alliance together decades after it should have been shut down. So maybe the subsidy will become part of the military industrial complex, so further diminishing said complex’s ability to fight a real war.

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      “My question is with all this debt who gets nicked and how?”

      all of the above, minus the foreign holders, are probably now the new normal MMT more money today create it as you need it on gov/CB computers kind of debt.

      in other words, it’s debt that pays near zero rates.

      so no one gets “nicked”. It’s a game which both sides are playing.

      though the foreign holders surely must be getting quite more than 0% or else why hold it?

      Gail and others might be able to straighten me out where I’m wrong.

      otherwise, I can imagine that graph getting twice has high in all the bands except foreign holders, and reaching $52T later in this decade. It doubled from 13T to 26T since 2010, so why not double again?

      at 0%, this debt can go way higher.

      • There are several notable upcoming thresholds like US likely suffering from hi de-growth in domestic oil production by ~2022 or sooner, and Asians joining the West in terms of noticeable per capita stagnation (or even bumpy plateau) by mid decade, apart from many other trends. That in itself could produce some “limited” damage like stock and bond market crashes with another round of gov/CB normalization.

        But overall the bottom most likely scenario is that these synthetic debts you are describing would be easily further multiplied over the next decade, so again [disorderly phase shifting crash] pushed aside into the future. I guess we have to wait for some more profound generational change, today’s rulers are still quite effective (be it on the “dark side”) aka lets wait for more mismanagement facing multitude of crisis so ~2030-2040 could be it, for that we need more of the detached-spoiled tech younger generations at the helm at that point..

      • Dennis L. says:


        Could one think of the foreign holdings as a form of “equity?” Foreign holdings are necessary to conduct business, ultimately one needs to have dollars to purchase oil. Iraq, Libya, and Iran were/are holdouts in using the dollar – the results are obvious.

        Foreign holdings are decreasing as a percentage of the whole, less equity to cover the total. Should that total reach a tipping point, should the dollar no longer be necessary for trade, the remaining pile gives essentially no income and is thus worthless, a rock gives no income, same thing.

        So for us as individuals, what assets does one hold?

        Dennis L.

        • Good point about the foreign holdings necessary to conduct business, especially purchase oil, and their falling percentage of the total.

          Perhaps hold on to land, if it is productive land that can be used for farming. Even land with wood for burning has value, in a sense. Of course, if governments want to tax you, you may use your land. And strong men could take it away. It is also hard to support oneself on a single piece of land because there is too much variability from year-to-year in weather, insects and other pests. You really need a community group, or larger, to make a system work.

          • Dennis L. says:

            Agree totally on paragraph 2. The most valuable part of my farm are the two sons, late thirties of the man who rents the land. Looking at the small white church one mile from my farm, good people long somewhat boring services, but good people.

            Those foreign holdings were possibly a result of selling goods and services to the US – real wealth. As you have noted China had coal, we exchanged bonds for Chinese coal and they kept the pollution – a pretty good deal. They also skimmed enough of the surplus to build a culture, even dams. Japan, Korea seem similar although they have to purchase energy. If there is less surplus energy in China that implies this may not work much longer, there is nothing in it for China.

            Dennis L.

            • Good points, e.g. lets say China invested in Egypt, the modern infrastructure mass produces now gigatons of budget table grapes for EU supermarkets, China and Egypt then pockets the inrush of said EURs.. But you need lot of such deals globally in aggregate to match and eventually aspire to flip over the existing apple cart of USD (in volume and quality), we are not there yet..

              Besides Europeans just kind of “wait safely” for the American zombie to get hollowed out finally before fully committing to different global layout, which could take more decades to come anyway..

              The onset of less surplus energy in China coming in 2020s means the world stays attached to existing path dependency, incl. the global finance.

        • Erdles says:


          • Dennis L. says:


            It is very difficult to exchange for something of value, transaction costs are not trivial. It is expensive to store, it is easy to misplace. Paper gold is most likely non existent. Spend it once and every bandit in the territory will be at your door – back to a castle and a castle needs people to man it, all cost.

            No argument, looking at reality which is something that works for me.

            Dennis L.

    • Tim Groves says:

      If you want a big truck or a fork lift to add to your “Thunderbirds” collection, now could be a good time to buy a used one. Around my way, local self-employed builders are snapping up back-hoes and UNIX trucks that can extend the range of jobs they can take on.

      Zinc is another good supplement, getting well known now for boosting the immune system by facilitating the production of T-cells, etc., but zinc deficiency has also long been noted as a factor in skin diseases. Selenium is also widely touted for helping the immune system.

      You might also want to take a look at niacin (vitamin B3), the one vitamin you can actually feel working since it is responsible for the infamous niacin flush. Dr. Abrahm Hoffer used niacin to treat everything from schizophrenia to the chronic debilitating health problems of POW and concentration camp survivors with considerable success. It also works well for preventing and minimizing arthritis, lowering “bad” cholesterol and opening up the capillaries.

    • H, is best says:

      Treasuries are the base foundation of the financial system. As such they are regarded as safe haven even by those extremely dubious about the health of the financial system. So theres that. The flip side of the coin that a percentage of the “investors” that hold treasuries are only holding them because it gives them access to much more money through the feds repo loan program.How big of a percentage? My WAG BIG. Its like comparing the solidity of helium to hydrogen. Nothing real solid but relative to each other. Its enough to make you want to believe in shiny rocks or bit coin both of which taste better with a little Vegemite,

  44. Bruce Cappel says:

    In answer to the question about Dr. Zach Bush, I’d like to offer my opinion about his integrity. I don’t read the medical journals and therefore don’t know if his research or his published articles have been peer reviewed or not, but what he says about the microbiome and the virome, in his lectures and interviews on YouTube, makes a lot of sense. His lectures about the damaging effects of Roundup use also make a lot of sense. Certainly he is well trained. He appears to be an intelligent and well-meaning man.

    • I think he is well-meaning, and I expect a lot of what he says is true. The problem is trying to figure out exactly how much is true.

      I didn’t run across any published articles by Dr. Zach Bush. That would have given him a chance to show precisely what articles he is referring to, either in links or in footnotes. When he is just talking, then a person starts wondering: Did he really understand the underlying article? Is he overgeneralizing?

      He certainly sounds like he means what he is saying, and we all would like to think what he is saying is true. I wish we had better documentation of exactly what he is saying.

      In the COVID talk I linked to, my impression was that he went farther out on a limb than he should have. He was linking heavily to problems with breathing fine particulates. That may be part of the problem, but I don’t think it is as big a part as he suggested. I though he should have brought up vitamin D as being a possible partial mitigation/solution with respect to COVID and possibly even to the Roundup issues.

      • Bruce Cappel says:

        I read your comment about Dr. Bush, Gail Tverberg, with great interest. It could possibly be that his lectures and interviews are directed to a group of people among us who may be more affluent and thereby more healthy because of the choices that affluence may provide. I have not heard Dr. Bush speak of any specific prophylaxis for COVID-19, except for the important need to be outside in the sunshine and fresh air as much as possible and to eat organically-raised food. In a lecture posted a few months ago, he talked about a hypoxic condition that seriously ill COVID-19 patients commonly manifest and the effective treatment of this condition. This was at a time when people were very often being put of ventilators. But I may getting out on a limb myself by writing this. Because this is a public forum, it’s important to try to use as much critical thinking as possible. It seems to me that it’s also important to learn as much as you can and to to maintain a healthy, respectful skepticism. I’m grateful to you for reminding me of this.

  45. Chrome Mags says:

    ‘WHO warns of ‘very serious situation’ in Europe, with ‘alarming rates’ of virus transmission’

    “Countries across the continent have been easing lockdowns and reopening their economies, but governments are now scrambling to avert further outbreaks.”

    Whenever countries attempt to go back to business as usual, the Coronoa virus starts spreading wildly. What will it be like this coming winter when the usual compliment of flues are making the rounds?

    “The prospect of a flu season during the coronavirus pandemic is chilling to health experts. Hospitals and clinics already under strain dread a pileup of new respiratory infections, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), another seasonal pathogen that can cause serious illness in young children and the elderly. In the United States, where some areas already face long waits for COVID-19 test results, the delays could grow as flu symptoms boost demand. “The need to try to rule out SARS-CoV-2 will be intense,” says Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

    This winter is going to be rough! When people get sick from the flu at first they won’t know if its Covid-19 or a flu. While they’re waiting days for the answer to a test, the symptoms will get worse and their anxiety will skyrocket. When people are waiting in line in a post office and someone in line starts coughing their head off, no social distance will be enough and no one will know if the person has the flu, which is bad enough, or Covid-19 which can really mess a person up permanently, not just the prospect of death.

    Both economically and medically I’m predicting this will be the Winter from Hell.

    • Xabier says:

      Probably a greater number of deaths at home, due to the uncertainty over the significance symptoms which you mention, and plain fear of going to a hospital.

      The only 2 deaths I have heard of directly here were of men in their 50’s who stuck it out at home and didn’t dare approach a hospital.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Probably kinder for them to die that way, than on one of Cuomo’s ventilators…

        Chrome Mags, of course the WHO is going to keep stoking the panic.. Someone posted an excellent video a few pages back. You should check it out.

        Rather than putting another copy up, I’ll give you the name to DuckDuckGo: “Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained!” by Ivor Cummins

        • Xabier says:

          I’m not sure that Operation Panic is really working now.

          No one at all pays any real attention to distancing here, no longer skipping around one another in the street, and so few have seen or even heard of deaths, as the total the UK turned out to be very modest indeed – not the vast numbers of dead requiring tented morgues in the London parks as was at first hinted.

          Significant, of course, but not horrific.

          • Lidia17 says:

            Sadly, most in my area are dedicated mask-slaves. It’s all about the feels; they are “saving lives”. Ok with not stopping “until there is a vaccine.” Sigh.

            • Anything that they heard from their doctor or from Dr. Fauci must be right.

            • Xabier says:

              Masks are only mandatory here in shops (but poorly policed), and on the street more young people -student types,not workers – wear them than old, and more middle class women than working class.

              And the most elderly look as though they don’t give a stuff, very rare indeed to see them on the street in masks.

              I was probably among the first people to wear a mask In February when I saw the Chinese in them and the features of the virus were more or less unknown , but now don’t bother in the street at all.

              Misanthropy ensures my social distancing……

          • Karl says:

            As a point of reference, I know six people who have contracted the virus. 1. A 19 year old male college athlete that lost his sense of smell and taste for 3 days and had the sniffles. He was back in the weight room a week later, 2. Man in his early 50’s who was sick in bed for three weeks, and spent a night in the hospital (improved with hydroxychloriquine), 3. married couple in their late 40’s who were “as sick as they have ever been” and slept with cell phones at hand out of concern they would need to call the paramedics in the night, 4. Married couple aged 78 and 80. The man (78) was in poor health and died from virus. The woman was 80, otherwise in good health, and was recovering in hospital. She took a fall and bled to death (internal injuries) due to anti-coagulants used to treat the virus. These last two were relatives on my wife’s side of the family and were treated in India, rather than the USA. As wealthy retiree’s they supposedly were getting good care.

            • I am sorry about these bad outcomes? How many of them were taking vitamin D? How many of them received steroids as a treatment?

            • Karl says:

              I’m not sure about vitamin D, though the two elderly folks that died were ethnically Indian, and so we’re darker skinned( more mocha than dark brown). They lived in the northern USA for the past 50 years, but had returned to India 2 years ago. Not sure how much time they were spending outside though, being elderly.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Ivor Cummins is largely an attention wanting quack– and an engineer.
          If you like sardonic humor, highly recommended.

          • Lidia17 says:

            Thanks, Duncan. I haven’t seen anything else of his… The above presentation plays it pretty straight by my reckoning.

          • Sometimes engineers can look at things a different way and have reasonable insights. I don’t dismiss out of hand people coming from a different point of view. He says some things in the video that clearly aren’t quite right. For example, he thinks the PCR tests are being read in a way that gives a lot of false positives, in the later humps. I think the people are simply younger and likely have better vitamin D levels. Vitamin D levels help outcomes in both influenza and COVID.

            It would seem to me that perhaps there might be silently circulating influenza cases in the summer, mainly affecting the young and fit. We don’t test a lot of people to see whether there is asymptomatic influenza in the summertime, as far as I know. I am not sure Cummins really said that silent influenza cases happen in summer, but we know that COVID has a lot of silent cases, in fact likely more silent cases in summer when vitamin D levels are higher. Part of the big drop in COVID deaths from one period to the next is no doubt the result of better treatments for COVID, as we learned more about the disease. I have no idea what happened with H1N1 flu.

            As far as I know, Ivor Cummins is not trying to sell something. I am willing to look at what he has to say. After all, he can’t do much worse than the professional forecasters.

    • This is another chart from the video by Ivor Cummins on COVID:

      He says that the current pandemic echos the H1N1 flu epidemic of 2008-2009. There was an early spike, with quite a few deaths, followed by two later spikes with very few deaths. Fauci was hoping for a vaccine for that one as well, but it disappeared too quickly.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        And targeted much young individuals.
        Covid is a much different virus.
        (although both are respiratory.)
        The secondary phase, in week two, when the virus has decreased, is when SARS-CoV-2 is most deadly.

        • Tim Groves says:

          How deadly would that be, Duncan?

          And when you say H1N1 flu epidemic of 2008-2009 “targeted much younger individuals”, who or what do you think was doing the targeting? Do you suppose lifeless nucleic acid molecules possess a will or intent of their own?

          • Robert Firth says:

            Yes, they do. It can be observed in the laboratory: such molecules will approach each other and exchange DNA far faster than the blind forces of the environment could bring them together. You can call that “entelechy”, or you can talk about exchange forces between resonating hydrogen bonds; the effect remains real.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Excellent observation, Robert.

              This was basically how mum and dad conceived me. Although I still don’t know who was doing the targeting, the target was hit. The Force was obviously with them.

    • JMS says:

      Meanwhile, in the real world, the number of “covid cases” grows as fast as its “death toll” dwindles away to almost nothing. In Europe, for example, the average death toll has been less than 400 covid-related death per week. In a population of almost 500M, that number is so flagrantly meaningless that a sane person can only ask why the obviousnes of the present scamdemic is not generally accepted and being widely discussed.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        the pandemic is winding down.

        • JMS says:

          Right, but not the number of “new cases”, that “justify” the most spinned “second wave” of panic and the corresponding tightenig of “sanitary measures” that is being cooked by the authorities right now everywhere. The contradiction is so flagrant that we can only shake our head and smirk,

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          It will only “wind down” with a vaccine or herd immunity.
          We have neither.
          (and both have only limited duration, if other covid virus traits hold)
          It is increasing.

          • Lidia17 says:

            It is not increasing.
            If hospitalizations and deaths are not increasing, it’s not a thing any longer.
            At some point even the most fanatical will have to come to grips with that.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Don’t worry, I’m sure Covid 20 or 21 with all the latest upgrades will keep the panicky panicking. The people have nerves as taut as piano wires that are just waiting to be hammered by the next scary scenario.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Yup, prepare for a new and improved virus, either by mutation or in a lab.

  46. From the WSJ: Oregon Fires Show Power Lines Pose Threat Beyond California
    Electric lines downed during high winds contributed to the spread of this month’s explosive fires

    Firefighters assigned to the Beachie Creek fire got a close look at what happens when an energized power line tumbles down. As winds picked up on Sept. 7, a tree hit an electric line, causing power to arc into a metal fence and igniting vegetation around a wildfire command center in the town of Gates.

    The flash fire quickly engulfed two buildings and destroyed equipment as the firefighters attempted to contain it. Cornered on three sides by flames, they were forced to abandon the post.

    Sgt. Jeremy Landers of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said his agency had “numerous accounts of power lines down and arcing from those lines” along State Highway 22 in Santiam Canyon, a popular recreational area.

  47. Oh dear says:

    Biden today has personally ruled out any USA-UK trade deal if TP reneges on EU-UK WA. He may be playing to Irish Americans in the run up to the USA presidential election but his commitment to the ROI-UK GFA is sincere and long-term.

    TP MPs have hit back hard at Biden, telling him to sort out his own ‘peace deal’ with rioting Americans.

    There are signs that Boris may be starting to back down with concessions to backbench TP rebels. TP has a majority of 80 seats but it remains unclear whether he can get his bill through parliament.

    Both EU and Biden have now explicitly ruled out any trade deal with UK if Boris reneges on WA. The pressure to comply is pretty high.

    Biden warns UK on Brexit: No trade deal unless you respect N.Irish peace pact

    LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the United Kingdom that it must honour Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement as it withdraws from the European Union or there would be no separate U.S. trade deal.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is proposing new legislation that would break the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit divorce treaty that seeks to avoid a physical customs border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

    “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said in a tweet on Wednesday.

    “Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

    • Oh dear says:

      Verhofstadt has piled in.

      > The European Parliament will block a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU if Boris Johnson does not ‘rectify’ the Internal Market Bill further, Guy Verhofstadt has said.

      Mr Johnson’s compromise with his backbenchers – whereby MPs will be granted a vote before a minister can use powers which override international law if the EU undermines the “fundamental purpose” of the Northern Ireland Protocol – has gone through on a new policy paper published today.

      But the Prime Minister’s “climbdown” over the Internal Market Bill has no bearing on its breach of international law, the outspoken MEP and chair of the now-defunct Brexit Steering Group said.

      European Parliament would “not give its consent to any trade deal” if the bill is not further “rectified”, he added.

      Earlier this morning Mr Verhofstadt tweeted his support for presidential candidate Joe Biden, saying: “Biden is right. Boris Johnson might not care about international law or the Good Friday Agreement, but there are many who do! The world is watching with disbelief.”

      • john Eardley says:

        In the absence of a trade agreement, the Withdrawal Agreement is not workable in respect of the Northern Ireland – UK mainland border. What on earth is the UK supposed to do other than ignore it? Its a UK internal border after all.

        Just imagine if goods were not able to pass between Oregon and California because of an agreement Congress made with Mexico.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Excellent point, John.

        • Oh dear says:

          WA is workable but a nuisance with or without a trade deal. Checks and controls between Britain and NI, and between Britain and EU, will be required in either case as UK no longer conforms to EU SM/ CU standards.

          The dysfunctional UK parliament entered into WA after months of internal deadlock. There is no point complaining about ‘It’s not fair!’ UK has to take the responsibility for its own political disfunction. It has no one to blame for WA but itself.

          • john Eardley says:

            Somewhat more than a nuisance. The EU are threatening the UK with not allowing it to be recognised as a third party for food exports. This will effectively end food transport between two parts of the UK. Does not really matter whether it is fair or not or whether the government agreed to this, the UK people will not accept this. Facts on the ground will override treaties.

            • Oh dear says:

              Again, it is the stuff of domestic morale and it has no bearing on international diplomacy. Boris tried to make UK food imports to NI an issue to get domestic sympathy for his internal markets bill. EU dismissed the issue as nonsense and Boris has backed down. It had no real relevance to his bill.

              UK government will be responsible for all ‘action on the ground’ and it will be liable to financial punishments from EU if it fails to implement full checks and controls in the Irish sea. Fighting talk by citizens is not going to change that reality, again it is just morale, not reality.

              > Britain backs down in Brexit ‘food blockade’ row

              Britain backed down in the “food blockade” row with Brussels on Thursday and agreed to EU demands for further details on its food and animal health regime after Brexit….

              The prime minister used the “threat” of the blockade, which EU diplomats dismissed as “spin” and “fake news”, to justify his Internal Market Bill. The Bill has no provisions over SPS but does on export declarations from Britain to Northern Ireland and state aid rules.


      • All is Dust says:

        Does this level of forceful rhetoric coming from the EU not sound like a cornered rat? It sounds strange that an institution as ‘prosperous’ as the EU should speak in such terms. Is the lion really so frightened of the mouse?

        We have a declining ERoI across Western civilisation, with declining prosperity as a result – this likely means the breakdown of the social contract. Societies can no longer afford these complex structures. It seems they now exist simply to threaten us. I, for one, ain’t buying it…

        • Oh dear says:

          “Does this level of forceful rhetoric coming from the EU not sound like a cornered rat?”

          Not really no, it sounds like the EU is in a position to decide whether or not it does a trade deal with UK, and to refuse one if UK reneges on WA. Their position is strengthened by the USA refusal to do a deal in the same circumstances.

          UK rather seems cornered, not in a position of strength.

          Yes there is some likelihood that future scarcity will lead to conflict. But it also seems likely that UK will simply be cut adrift by a block which it has exited. Who knows exactly what will happen in the future?

          • All is Dust says:

            Aye, and good point on EU eyeing up NI (which you made below). At this point I guess we descend into tit-for-tat… I wonder (and secretly suspect) that the UK will develop more responsive systems as a result of reduced bureaucracy (because it will have to if it wants to survive) and more political accountability (in theory it should) – for example, legislation is now written in Westminster rather than Brussels (one of the reasons I voted why I did). The question is, will this result in a greater share of energy for the average Joe?

            For me, as we are an import nation, any strategy has to take the value of the GBP into consideration. The only way to negate the risks of GBP devaluation is to onshore more manufacturing (and more energy use to do this). I’m guessing we’ll now need to compete with the EU rather than cooperate with them as a result of them putting the GFA at risk (and why not, it doesn’t affect Brussels).

            With that said, the competition for resources (both energy products and qualified people to exploit/utilise them) will increase. I think the only viable strategy now for the UK government is to go down the competitive route, as opposed to the cooperative route – maybe the Tories are more suited to this than Labour…

            Also, just wanted to say I have enjoyed your commentaries on the Will to Power. It has been a while since I read Nietzsche so I always appreciate a refresh.

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            “Inflation breakeven rates in the U.K. haven’t rallied this hard since the end of 2016. They may be pricing an adverse outcome in the Brexit trade talks…

            “The inflation market has historically been savvy in foreseeing outcomes.”


            • According to the article,

              The defiant increase in the rates in the face of the pound’s resilience suggests that traders in the rates market are bracing for a possible collapse in the talks between the U.K. and the European Union. Such an outcome would knock the pound lower and stoke inflation since — in the worst scenario — supply bottlenecks may ensue.

    • Oh dear says:

      The Trump administration has weighed in to say that there is no chance of a USA-UK trade deal if GFA is violated. Trump himself agrees that there will be no negotiation about that.

      > Exclusive: Biden or Trump, no guarantee of a post-Brexit US-UK trade deal

      Asked about the Trump administration’s view Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office pointed to his June testimony to Congress, where he said there is no chance Congress would pass a trade deal if Britain put up borders in Ireland, violating the Good Friday agreement.

      “I’ve made that quite clear. The chairman [of the committee] has made it quite clear to me. The president agrees this is not something on which we’re going to have a negotiation,” he said.

      The Good Friday agreement is in jeopardy, some diplomats say, because of new legislation proposed by British prime minister Boris Johnson.

      • All is Dust says:

        Just out of interest, where is the desire for a hard border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland coming from? The EU? Then surely it is they who are threatening the Good Friday Agreement? I’m yet to remain convinced a customs border is even practical in ensuring the integrity of EU goods. What percentage of goods get checked coming into EU from other nations? Given that Vietnamese people can be trafficked to UK via eastern Europe I’d say this demand needs further scrutiny.

        And with that I’ll shut up for a while…

        • Oh dear says:

          All that matters is that EU and USA put the responsibility to avoid a customs border in Ireland onto UK. Complaining, ‘but it ain’t fair!’ is not going to work. At best that sort of thing is aimed at domestic morale but international diplomacy is not conducted on that basis. UK chose to leave EU and that puts the GFA burden onto UK – that is simply how they see it.

          It is in the interests of EU to make Brexit a nuisance for UK anyway, to keep NI, and to discourage other countries from leaving. And Biden and Trump have an eye to the Irish-American vote. Many Irish went to USA after the Great Famine, so that is finally coming back to bite UK. Also USA is committed to GFA as its own triumph. It is not going to let Brexit damage it without punishing UK. UK is going to have to live with that, complaining will change nothing.

          • Robert Firth says:

            I’m sorry, but that is not correct. Either the customs checks are on the North side of the border or they are on the South side. If the former, the UK has broken the agreement; if the latter, the EU has broken it. The law is crystal clear, and any attempt by the EU to shift the blame will look as absurd as Germany’s claim in 1939 that Poland had attacked her. (Not that Germany might not try it; the leopard does not change its spots)

            • Oh dear says:

              All that matters is that that is not how the EU and the USA is going to frame it.

              As far as they are concerned, UK is to blame for the necessity of a border with customs checks and controls, because UK changed the status quo by voting for Brexit. UK cannot leave the CU/ SM without a customs border, which is what UK has done. If you do not have a single market, or at least common standards, then you have to have a customs border. It is does not matter who actually operates the border, what matters is who necessitated it.

              Or rather, what matters is that that is how EU and USA will frame it. Crying ‘but it ain’t fair!’ will get UK absolutely nowhere. That is not the basis on which international diplomacy is conducted. There is no international law that says that the state that operates the border is responsible for its existence, so that claim is just making stuff up and it is an irrelevant argument. The TP is being silly and it is about to get a wake up call.

              The USA ‘special relationship’ is with Ireland not UK, especially in the House of Representatives, and there is no chance that a USA-UK trade deal would get through the HOR, as it would have to, unless Dublin is satisfied by the terms of the WA. That is just reality and no rhetoric is going to change that. Irish-Americans have cultivated relations with HOR over decades and support for Ireland is one of the two areas around which there is truly a bipartisan position in Congress (the other being suspicion of China).

              Also, EU is a much more significant block for USA to stay on good terms with than UK. Britain is just a little island by comparison with 15% the GDP of EU.

              Britannia does not ‘rule the waves’ any more and it is in no position of strength to tell EU or USA how they should frame their interpretation of the border in/ around Ireland. That is purely up to them. Neither does UK have a ‘special relationship’ with USA. Ireland does. It is wake up time for TP and UK. The world is a very different place to a BBC last night of the Proms. TP may still be singing those songs but the rest of the world has long moved on. EU and USA are now the key players and Ireland is their darling. UK is just not that relevant anymore. That TP imagines that it can get anywhere with rhetoric and complaining is just laughable and almost unbelievable.

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