Daily Digest

Daily Digest 5/17 - U.S. Government Hits Debt Limit, Inflation Rebounds Sharply, Is The Entire Market Rigged?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 9:43 AM
  • As the Federal Government Hits Its Debt Limit, Lawmakers Spar Over Solution
  • Monday Market Madness
  • The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Part 3
  • Is The Entire Market Rigged?
  • Inflation Rebounds Sharply In April As Travel Costs Soar
  • Our Peculiar State of Suspended Animation
  • Hybrid Stickers In California For Carpool Lanes Set To Expire
  • The Good, The Bad, The Fukushima 

Follow our steps to prepare for a world after peak oil, such as how to store & filter water

Economy

As the Federal Government Hits Its Debt Limit, Lawmakers Spar Over Solution (maughan.m)

Mr. Geithner, in a letter to Congressional leaders of both parties, stood by an earlier projection that even with the Treasury’s accounting maneuvers, on Aug. 2 “the borrowing authority of the United States will be exhausted,” ultimately threatening a government default.

Monday Market Madness (Ilene)

If you think the EU is a mess, try America! Today is the day we both hit our debt limit and illustrate what a meaningless joke it is by having nothing actually happen as a result. Well, not NOTHING - the Treasury Department plans to announce it will stop issuing and reinvesting government securities in certain government pension plans, part of a series of steps designed to delay a default until Aug. 2.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Part 3 (JimQ)

It is not a coincidence that the percentage of the working age population employed bottomed in 1964 at 59%. The participation rate rose steadily for the next thirty six years, topping out in 2000 at 67.1%. The employment to population ratio also bottomed at 55% in 1964. It rose to 64.4% by 2000. It seems that future historians will mark the year 2000 as the peak of the American Empire. Apologists for the Federal Reserve and politicians who have steered this country since 1964 would argue the increase in the percentage of the population working was a positive development. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Is The Entire Market Rigged? (Cris S.)

“Oh neat, I’m thinking of working my way into the financial field myself, any suggestions?” I just started working at a financial firm part-time. The prospects looked pretty good and I liked the company. This was finally somewhere I could see myself long-term.

“Don’t do it. The entire system is rigged. It’s just a big casino and it’s all going to crash down like a house of cards, probably soon. You’d be better off picking another line of business.” I felt my vision of future success and security whisked away from me. Maybe he’s just one person that lost a lot of money on a bad investment, I thought to myself. “Believe me, I’ve written books on this”, he said with an air of conceit before purchasing his bag of apples and walking away.

Inflation Rebounds Sharply In April As Travel Costs Soar [UK] (pinecarr)

The annual inflation rate is at its highest since October 2008, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Our Peculiar State of Suspended Animation (pinecarr)

Three long years of extend and pretend have left the nation in a state of suspended animation, frozen in a moment of crisis.

Energy

Hybrid Stickers In California For Carpool Lanes Set To Expire (jdargis)

Once the yellow stickers expire, the only Californians who will be able to drive alone in carpool lanes will be those who have white stickers for their all-electric or natural gas-powered vehicles. About 10,000 white stickers have been issued.

While hybrid drivers say they knew it was coming, the finality of it all is causing many to fret and rue the day.

The Good, The Bad, The Fukushima (Ilene)

This is one of the things holding down the financials as there is no way to know right now, what the real damages are going to be from this ongoing disaster for the insurance companies (and the banks that lend them money). As Gundersen observed on Friday and as is not being reported officially, two other reactors are seriously damaged. A worker at the plant dropped dead on Saturday and Japanese banks and Insurance companies are all suffering with Daiici Life's net profit down 66% from last year due to the accident.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

25 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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China Trims U.S. Bond Holdings for Fifth Month

"A senior European finance official acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that Greece may have to restructure its debts, a move which could blow Europe's sovereign debt crisis wide open again.

Speaking at a seminar on the sidelines of an EU finance ministers' meeting, Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of the 17-country Eurogroup, said there was a need to move towards what he called a "soft restructuring" of Greek debt.

He said Greece's first priority had to be to raise 50 billion euros from the privatisation of state assets and use the money to pay down its debts, which are almost equal to 150 percent of GDP. In return, Juncker said, some form of restructuring of Athens' debt might be considered."

"STOCKTON - City leaders are threatening to impose pay and benefit cuts on workers if their unions do not work out deals at the bargaining table.

With a revised estimated budget deficit at $37 million, the Stockton City Council tonight is expected to declare its second consecutive fiscal emergency.

Without new labor agreements by June 21, city officials say they're prepared to impose concessions on workers effective July 1, the start of the fiscal year. Such a move - an apparent gamble to avert bankruptcy and the severe cuts proposed to bridge the deficit - would surely face a legal challenge."

"FORT LAUDERDALE — The Broward County school district is cutting teaching positions as it grapples with a $144 million deficit for the upcoming school year.

Officials say more than 1,400 teachers will receive letters Tuesday morning informing them of the layoffs. Most of these teachers had either been with the district for less than two years or signed one-year contracts. These jobs were covered by federal stimulus money, which is not being renewed.

Teachers who receive pink slips will finish out the school year, which ends in June.

Officials warned this may not end job losses for the nation's sixth largest school district. State budget cuts slashed student spending by about $540 per student. Officials say about $81 million will be cut from schools, meaning more teachers may be laid off this summer."

"The Texas Senate approved a $3.97 billion draw on the state's Rainy Day Fund to cover a deficit of the same size in the current budget, but not before rejecting efforts to add on a larger amount to help balance the 2012-13 budget.

Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, matched the size of the withdrawal to the size of the current deficit. But he asked the Senate to use more of the fund than the House used, casting aside other revenue sources that were in that chamber's mix. If that prevails, it would mean a bigger draw on the Rainy Day Fund and would make an additional $855.9 million available for the next budget."

"More than 1,400 teachers will be receiving letters Tuesday morning officially informing them that they won’t be coming back to their Broward County classrooms in August.

And hundreds of more will likely be laid off in the coming weeks as the school district grapples with a $140 million deficit.

The first to lose their jobs are those who have been with the school district for less than two years or those who signed a one-year contract this year. Those jobs were paid for by federal stimulus money that isn’t being renewed.

“It’s unfortunate we have to say goodbye to so many valuable teachers,’’ said School Board Member Jennifer Gottlieb, adding she was shocked by the number. “It’s a sign of the terrible budget situation we are in.’’

For months, the district has been slicing away at the budget, with officials saying they would do what they could to protect those in the classroom.

Between inflation, federal stimulus money running out and state cuts — which slashed student spending by about $540 per student — the district is looking at a $144 million shortfall from its $1.9 billion budget. District officials have said $81 million will likely come from schools."

"Global food prices are set to extend gains as production struggles to keep pace with demand, said Rabobank Groep and Armajaro Trading Ltd., potentially pushing up costs for Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) and Kellogg Co. (K)

“My view is the only way would be up” in the longer term, Jasper van Schaik, regional head Europe Agri Commodities at Rabobank, said in an interview in Singapore yesterday. “We can’t create any more land,” said Richard Ryan, chief executive officer of Armajaro Trading, in a separate interview.

World food costs are near a record as growing demand from China and India outpaces harvests hurt by flood and drought, the United Nations estimates. Rising prices have pushed 44 million people into poverty in the past year, helped fuel conflict and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and spurred central banks from Brasilia to Beijing to increase interest rates. "

......................6A) U.S. Wheat Harvest May Be Worse Than Forecast

"Two NATO helicopters entered Pakistani airspace and triggered a firefight that injured two soldiers, Pakistan’s military said, in a further setback to ties strained by the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan troops at a border post in the North Waziristan region shot at the aircraft of the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan and were injured in a return of fire, according to an e-mail sent by Inter-Services Public Relations, the press office at Pakistan’s army headquarters in Rawalpindi."

"Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), which bundled and sold billions of dollars of mortgage loans, now want to help investors bet on people’s deaths.

Pension funds sitting on more than $23 trillion of assets are buying insurance against the risk their members live longer than expected. Banks are looking to earn fees from packaging that risk into bonds and other securities to sell to investors. The hard part: Finding buyers willing to take the other side of bets that may take 20 years or more to play out.

“Banks are increasingly looking to offer derivative solutions,”"

"NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Already enduring a two-year pay freeze, federal workers are once again in the crosshairs of a plan designed to cut government spending.

This time, their retirement packages are on the line.

At least one union has held discussions in recent days with officials from the White House, the Office of Management and Budget and Office of Personnel Management about changes to pensions.

At issue: A debt ceiling deal that could sharply increase the amount federal workers are expected to contribute to their own retirement packages.

For government workers, the prospect of additional cuts come at a time when they're already feeling picked on. Late last year, President Barack Obama requested, and Congress approved, a two-year pay freeze for federal workers.

"I did not reach this decision easily. This is not a line item on a federal ledger; these are people's lives," Obama said at the time.

The prospect of seeing their compensation whacked twice in a year has the unions seeing red."

 

  • Other news and headlines: 

China Trims U.S. Bond Holdings for Fifth Month as Debt Approaches Ceiling

Deficit may be sapping some foreign U.S. asset buys

Pimco Sees Financial Repression in U.S. Amid ‘Deteriorating Debt Dynamics’ and ‎Slow Growth, Inflation Make US Bonds Bad Buy: Gross

Study: $2 trillion needed for U.S. infrastructure‎‎

Chinese Official Lectured Senators to Get Fiscal House in Order

CBO: Recent spending bill falls short on cuts

Portugal’s $111 Billion Bailout Approved

IMF approves $2.23 billion in aid for Ireland

Egypt closes in on $2.2 bln World Bank loans: paper

Spain May Have Billions Euros of ‘Hidden’ Public Debt, FT Says

UC Regents To Address Increased Cuts in State Funding

California Cash Crisis May Loom Even as Brown Adds $6.6 Billion to Budget

While Home Prices May Be Falling, Insurance Premiums Are on the Rise

Las Vegas Is Looking Like the New Detroit

$1 billion in commercial real estate assets up for grabs in Las Vegas

R.I. City May Be Forced To Declare Bankruptcy

Building plans now foreclosure nightmare in Modesto

Tepco CDSs leap on loan writeoff remark

Salinas faces 5 years of deficit

Hall County Schools’ 2012 budget woes “keep compounding”

NJ taking risks to boost pension pool, may double up on 'alternative investments'

State Bank of India Plummets in Mumbai After Profit Unexpectedly Plunges ("the nation’s largest lender"..."profit dropped 99 percent to the lowest in at least 10 years as it set aside more funds for bad loans")

MERS Ruling in Michigan Leaves Title Companies Hesitant on REO Sales

The Quadruple Dip: Housing Starts, Permits Drop, Miss Expectations; Houses Under Construction At New Record Low (Department of Commerce graph posted at zerohedge)

Insider Trading

 

string's picture
string
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Wow... thanks?

 

That's a whole lotta ugly.

Thanks for all the links.

-str

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Poet
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Every Day
string wrote:

That's a whole lotta ugly.

Thanks for all the links.

-str

Every day. Every single day the news is just negative. The writing is clear on the wall for those who want to see it. What "Wows" me is that so many people in society don't want to see it.

Poet

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Every Day

Poet, I think about your observation all the time and my observation is the same. It absolutely blows me away. The social reaction to the events of the world is 1) ignorance ...as in ignore it. 2) Disbelief. 3) Some bizarre and unwarranted brand of optimism, as if the passage of time will magically yield answers. 4) It doesn't apply to me. I am sure there are a raft of social responses other than these, but I actually see these. 

I do believe (although I exist in a state of wonder about this) that people will literally go to their death... be at the moment of departure... and deny the reason they are dying. In other words, they will die denying the overwhelming changes that are now upon us. Its just to big for them to internalize.

That's my opinion, and I am sticking to it (until I don't).

Silver Dragon

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Normalcy bias. Sometimes I

Normalcy bias.

Sometimes I have to really re-research and re-analyze my facts to be sure I am not some conspiracy theorist nutjob, considering how few peope can read the writing on the wall. Could it really be this crazy? Apparently yes.

It's easy to be lulled into a sense of complacency though, if I stray away from these blogs for a few days and get wooed by the MSM.

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Autonomous systems??

Does anyone else beside me sometimes think that the "System" is resetting its demand signal all by itself regardless of where we get our information, what we choose to see and/or believe in, and what we plan on doing about it?

And is that necessarily a bad thing?

Is knowledge power, or an obstacle and more importantly, what kind of underwear is Snooki wearing to Tribal Council on American Idol today?

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Mark_BC wrote: Normalcy
Mark_BC wrote:

Normalcy bias.

Sometimes I have to really re-research and re-analyze my facts to be sure I am not some conspiracy theorist nutjob, considering how few peope can read the writing on the wall. Could it really be this crazy? Apparently yes.

It's easy to be lulled into a sense of complacency though, if I stray away from these blogs for a few days and get wooed by the MSM.

Well said.  It takes effort to not let the likely probabilities and our assessments of current trends morph into a fixed belief system where we start refusing to consider new information that we don't like.  For that reason I'll periodically solicit opinions from regular folks and watch a limited amount of MSM news (usually local news & occasionally NPR, Fox, and BBC).  So far neither has offered any solid counter-arguments; the best I've heard so far is from older folks (Boomers mostly) who say we've had hard times before like the 70's stagflation and persevered through them, but that's just another example of expecting the future to look like the recent past.

It's similar to another question I keep asking myself:  Do I have an innate problem with authority, or is it that most authority I've seen in my lifetime really are that selfish, corrupt, and/or moronic?  Wink

- Nickbert

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Ouch
nickbert wrote:

So far neither has offered any solid counter-arguments; the best I've heard so far is from older folks (Boomers mostly) who say we've had hard times before like the 70's stagflation and persevered through them, but that's just another example of expecting the future to look like the recent past.

It's similar to another question I keep asking myself:  Do I have an innate problem with authority, or is it that most authority I've seen in my lifetime really are that selfish, corrupt, and/or moronic?  Wink

- Nickbert

"older folks (Boomers mostly)"

Really Nickbert? 

Ouch.

Or should I say "Meh"? Undecided

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saxplayer00o1
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$14,345,537,505,802.45

Treasury Direct link

 

The Daily History of the Debt Results

Historical returns from 05/13/2011 through 05/16/2011

The data for the total public debt outstanding is published each business day. If there is no debt value for the date(s) you requested, the value for the preceding business day will be displayed.

( Debt Held by the Public vs. Intragovernmental Holdings )

 

Date Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
05/13/2011 9,666,271,678,566.97 4,642,113,503,083.13 14,308,385,181,650.10
05/16/2011 9,717,694,227,528.65 4,627,843,278,273.80 14,345,537,505,802.45
Nate's picture
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Silver_Dragon wrote: Poet, I
Silver_Dragon wrote:

Poet, I think about your observation all the time and my observation is the same. It absolutely blows me away. The social reaction to the events of the world is 1) ignorance ...as in ignore it. 2) Disbelief. 3) Some bizarre and unwarranted brand of optimism, as if the passage of time will magically yield answers. 4) It doesn't apply to me. I am sure there are a raft of social responses other than these, but I actually see these. 

I do believe (although I exist in a state of wonder about this) that people will literally go to their death... be at the moment of departure... and deny the reason they are dying. In other words, they will die denying the overwhelming changes that are now upon us. Its just to big for them to internalize.

That's my opinion, and I am sticking to it (until I don't).

Silver Dragon

Poet and Silver Dragon,

Spot on.  Yesterday I walked into a coworkers office and asked why he had written $100,000 on his whiteboard.  He assured me that was his annual retirement take in 4 years.  I gently reminded him we face enormous headwinds and that simply wasn't realistic.  He said all problems were going to hit the next generation, not ours.  And by the way, stop being such a doomer and spend some of your money.

As the Dead said, "Your typical city involved in a typical daydream..."

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getting old(er)
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:
nickbert wrote:

So far neither has offered any solid counter-arguments; the best I've heard so far is from older folks (Boomers mostly) who say we've had hard times before like the 70's stagflation and persevered through them, but that's just another example of expecting the future to look like the recent past.

It's similar to another question I keep asking myself:  Do I have an innate problem with authority, or is it that most authority I've seen in my lifetime really are that selfish, corrupt, and/or moronic?  Wink

- Nickbert

"older folks (Boomers mostly)"

Really Nickbert? 

Ouch.

Or should I say "Meh"? Undecided

Well, the folks I worked with were older than me, and in the Boomer generation, so.....

At least I didn't use the term one of the same Boomer coworkers liked to use... "advanced state of decrepitude"  Laughing

 

If it makes you feel better, I'm past the "18-34 young, interesting, and cool" demographic and into the "35+ uncool, socially irrelevant, get-yourself-a-minivan-and-accept-your-sad-white-picket-fence-fate" category. Wink

- Nickbert

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Dr Martenson on Schiff Radio

Hope this is'nt a double post but

Dr Martenson interviewed on Peter Schiffs Radio Show Today...

http://www.schiffradio.com/site

 

 

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From an "older guy" that was

From an "older guy" that was a teen/young man in the 70's, I think that time was a cakewalk compared to period we are in. As one example, credit cards were almost nonexistent and debt of all types would barely register on the scale of today. Student loans? You got a job and worked your way through. The can that we started kicking in the 70's is getting really, really heavy.

 

Read Ilargi today.

"We need to ask ourselves why we allow these folks the control of what remains of our wealth, and the very control of our lives. There's this image of this incestuous clique that don't mean anyone no good but themselves. US historian Christopher Lasch called it "pathological narcissism", while others go straight for the "psychopath" jugular, but whether DSK is found guilty or not in this particular instance, the very idea that a guy who stays in a $3000 a night hotel suite can run for president of France for the Socialist Party kind of says it all, when it comes to being twice removed from the real world, doesn't it?"

http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/

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nickbert wrote: Mark_BC
nickbert wrote:
Mark_BC wrote:

Normalcy bias.

Sometimes I have to really re-research and re-analyze my facts to be sure I am not some conspiracy theorist nutjob, considering how few peope can read the writing on the wall. Could it really be this crazy? Apparently yes.

It's easy to be lulled into a sense of complacency though, if I stray away from these blogs for a few days and get wooed by the MSM.

Well said.  It takes effort to not let the likely probabilities and our assessments of current trends morph into a fixed belief system where we start refusing to consider new information that we don't like.  For that reason I'll periodically solicit opinions from regular folks and watch a limited amount of MSM news (usually local news & occasionally NPR, Fox, and BBC).  So far neither has offered any solid counter-arguments; the best I've heard so far is from older folks (Boomers mostly) who say we've had hard times before like the 70's stagflation and persevered through them, but that's just another example of expecting the future to look like the recent past.

It's similar to another question I keep asking myself:  Do I have an innate problem with authority, or is it that most authority I've seen in my lifetime really are that selfish, corrupt, and/or moronic?  Wink

- Nickbert

I've been thinking more about this lately. There are only a few fringe groups that seem to be aware of the issues with a number of our current monetary, political, and social systems.  My parents (boomers) also take the route of "it happened in the 70's and we pulled out of it."  Although, they were willing to do some long term food storage.

Two items have been nagging at me recently:

  1. There are always "doomer" groups.

    How is it different this time? Won't a negative view of a system eventually appear to be correct given enough time, as most things break down given enough time?

  2. There are still many new discoveries in many areas of research.

     I like to follow tech related news is just about any area, industry, or field.  I follow a number of blogs to get my tech news fix.  There are still quite a large number of new materials, methods, and products being created and discovered.  Stem cell research discoveries as of late have been going nuts.  For many of these discoveries publically available products may be years or decades away. However, research appears to still be strong (perhaps even excellerating), even if there are fewer entities involved in the process.

I don't believe things are going to be all Rosy in the future but the items above continue to nag at me.  I'm in the process of changing careers to get more involved with natural resource near crisis and crisis issues.  Many of my global resource classes paint some pretty bleak futures.  I'm also working with a small Aquapoincs system in an attempt to create an easy to follow build/run/maintain instruciton set or as a grow service in a distributed yard system.  So, I don't really buy the MSM take on things, yet I still do question if things are going to end up as bad some think.

Conflicted,

IG

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Yesterday I walked into a

Yesterday I walked into a coworkers office and asked why he had written $100,000 on his whiteboard. He assured me that was his annual retirement take in 4 years. I gently reminded him we face enormous headwinds and that simply wasn't realistic. He said all problems were going to hit the next generation, not ours. And by the way, stop being such a doomer and spend some of your money.

 

 Tape a 100 Trillion Zimbabwe note right next to his $100,000, with a little Note. "There it just multipied your net worth by about 100 million!"

The question to ask is what will $100K buy in 10 years, A loaf of bread? Ask him what is thr price of a gallon of gas in 2000, then ask him what the price of a gallon of gas is today. Then ask him what he thinks the price of a gallon of gas will be in 2020. How far does he think  $100K will go per year in 2020, or even in $2015 when he retires. I

 

 

 

 

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The Timeline

Folks, if you are expecting a failed Treasury auction and the end of days anytime soon, don't hold your breath.  What's unfolding will take much longer than you can possibly imagine.  Dr. Chris says the next twenty years will be different, but he's been saying that for at least five years now.  Let's change this to the next thirty years.

This might take another ten years at least before any major cracks ocurr, and maybe a long longer before you'll have to reach for your food and guns.  You've got time, make the changes in your life that you've always wanted to make, but don't look over your shoulder, nothing's coming.

Just don't come to Canada, my friends and I will be at the border waiting for you.

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major street protests erupting in Spain right now

and I do mean huge.

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldnews/comments/hdkot/madrid_spain_right_now_the_protests_keep_on/

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truenorth wrote: Folks, if
truenorth wrote:

Folks, if you are expecting a failed Treasury auction and the end of days anytime soon, don't hold your breath.  What's unfolding will take much longer than you can possibly imagine.  Dr. Chris says the next twenty years will be different, but he's been saying that for at least five years now.  Let's change this to the next thirty years.

This might take another ten years at least before any major cracks ocurr, and maybe a long longer before you'll have to reach for your food and guns.  You've got time, make the changes in your life that you've always wanted to make, but don't look over your shoulder, nothing's coming.

Just don't come to Canada, my friends and I will be at the border waiting for you.

First, we'll play Celine DIon albums and you will go into a swoon.

Then we'll take tea at the Empress in Victoria at noon with a shot of Jack Daniels.

After that we'll steal all the Moosehead and Labatts Blue and go home. 

You may keep Les Habitantes.

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DIAP wrote: truenorth
DIAP wrote:


truenorth wrote:

Folks, if you are expecting a failed Treasury auction and the end of days anytime soon, don't hold your breath.  What's unfolding will take much longer than you can possibly imagine.  Dr. Chris says the next twenty years will be different, but he's been saying that for at least five years now.  Let's change this to the next thirty years.

This might take another ten years at least before any major cracks ocurr, and maybe a long longer before you'll have to reach for your food and guns.  You've got time, make the changes in your life that you've always wanted to make, but don't look over your shoulder, nothing's coming.

Just don't come to Canada, my friends and I will be at the border waiting for you.

First, we'll play Celine DIon albums and you will go into a swoon.

Then we'll take tea at the Empress in Victoria at noon with a shot of Jack Daniels.

After that we'll steal all the Moosehead and Labatts Blue and go home. 

You may keep Les Habitantes.

Geez, DIAP. between this and the boomers "ouch" comment, you've managed to get  2 gut-laughs out of me from the DD comments alone!

 

 

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major street protests erupting in Spain right now

HUGE?  Not a patch on what the French can organise.........

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Re: Boomers

Nickbert,

 Thanks for the laugh. I am an older 55 yrs Boomer. Bought my first minivan at 35 yrs old. I laugh at how being over 35 makes you "out of the cool range". Its funny in retrospect. But at 35 yrs when I bought my minivan, I put my drum set, clothes and a bag of pot in it and drove from the midwest to Arizona to strike a new future.Ignorance is bliss.

The 70's were not hard times though. I remember buying junk silver coins in my hometown natural food store in small town Illinois. I still have them today. Just so you know...it only gets better as you get older.

But I like your perspective, it helps me understand how I might be viewed at 55 yrs old. Even though I still think I am part of the cool school... even though I gave up the drums and put down the pipe. Is raising chickens cool ? I hope so.

But to the heart of the matter.....these times are far different from the 1970's. Money is now credit and not what a person has saved in the bank. Credit has been spent  far into the future and the future has to be repaid now, and thus the future will be heavily debt ridden, thus...time to pay the piper for most Americans.Recession time.

Expect a slow, dull, non-consuming economy  (for the US)with a future forever different than the past. These times are different than the 1970's, I assure you. The fundamentals of the US economy are far different than before.

Tommygun

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
2nd what Tommygun said

I'm at the leading edge of the Boomer gen (64yo) and have a hazy memory of the 70s.  True, we had pretty outrageous inflation, but generally wages did a reasonable job of keeping up.  Jobs didn't go away until Reagan's/Volker's recession ('81-'82), but then rebounded rather quickly.  I had no trouble finding work as an electrician and got my BA at a very reasonable price (helped greatly by the GI Bill) during the 70s.  No doubt my memory of that decade are positive at least partially because of my relative youth, but I think it is fair to say that generally economically we were in pretty good shape.  No or few credit cards (I didn't have one), the gov't wasn't on a borrowing binge until Reagan and entitlements hadn't become onerous yet.  Gas was cheap and available except for that one brief period of oil shortages.  So, yes, the 70s were much different than the 2000s have so far been.

Doug

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nex_s
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Posts: 17
Normalcy bias

 

  Mark_BC,

I know what you mean about having to re-analyze your facts to verfiy your sanity.  I've seen the light for about a year and it seems like your waiting to wait for something to happen.  You're expecting a crash any day and pride yourself with the fact that you've prepared to a certain degree.  But I think this part from Richard Heinberg's book "Power Down" sums up very well how some of us are feeling and how we are in in total awe that things somehow keep rolling along :

The Tarpaper Raft
by Richard Heinberg

Imagine yourself in the following circumstance. You have just awakened from sleep to find yourself on a tarpaper raft floating away from shore. With you on the raft are a couple of hundred people, most of whom seem completely oblivious to their situation. They are drinking beer, barbecuing ribs, fishing, or sleeping. You look at the rickety vessel and say to yourself, "My God, this thing is going to sink any second!"

Miraculously, seconds go by and it is still afloat. You look around to see who's in charge. The only people you can find who appear to have any authority are some pompous-looking characters operating a gambling casino in the middle of the raft. In back of them stand heavily armed soldiers. You point out that the raft appears dangerous. They inform you that it is the safest and most wonderful vessel ever constructed, and that if you persist in suggesting otherwise the guards will exercise their brand of persuasion on you. You back away, smiling, and move to the edge of the raft. At this point, you're convinced (and even comment to a stranger next to you) that, with those idiots at the helm, the raft can't last more than another minute or so.

A minute goes by and still the damn thing is afloat. You turn your gaze out to the water. You notice now that the raft is surrounded by many sound-looking rowboats, each carrying a family of indigenous fishers. Men on the raft are systematically forcing people out of the rowboats and onto the raft at gunpoint, and shooting holes in the bottoms of the rowboats. This is clearly insane behavior: the rowboats are the only possible sources of escape or rescue if the raft goes down, and taking more people on board the already overcrowded raft is gradually bringing its deck even with the water line. You reckon that there must now be as many as four hundred souls aboard. At this rate, the raft is sure to capsize in a matter of seconds.

A few seconds elapse. You can see and feel water lapping at your shoes, but amazingly enough the raft itself is still afloat, and nearly everyone is still busy eating, drinking, or gambling (indeed, the activity around the casino has heated up considerably). You hear someone in the distance shouting about how the raft is about to sink. You rush in the direction of the voice only to see its source being tossed unceremoniously overboard. You decide to keep quiet, but think silently to yourself, "Jeez, this thing can't last more than another couple of minutes! What the hell should I do?"

You notice a group of a dozen or so people working to patch and reinforce one corner of the raft. This, at least, is constructive behavior, so you join in. But it's not long before you realize that the only materials available to do the patching with are ones cannibalized from elsewhere on the raft. Even though the people you're working with clearly have the best of intentions and are making some noticeable improvements to the few square feet on which they've worked, there is simply no way they can render the entire vessel "sustainable," given its size, the amount of time required, and the limited availability of basic materials. You think to yourself that there must be some better solution, but can't quite focus on one.

As you stand there fretting, a couple of minutes pass. You realize that every one of your predictions about the fate of the raft has been disconfirmed. You feel useless and silly. You are about to make the only rational deductions – that there must be some mystical power keeping the raft afloat, and that you might as well make the most of the situation and have some barbecue – when a thought comes to you: The "sustainability" crowd has the right idea ... except that, as they rebuild their corner of the raft, they should make it easily detachable, so that when the boat as a whole sinks they can simply disengage from it and paddle toward shore. But then, what about the hundreds of people who won't be able to fit onto this smaller, reconditioned raftlet?

You notice now that there is a group of rafters grappling with the soldiers who've been shooting holes in rowboats. Maybe, if some of the rowboats and their indigenous occupants survive, then the scope of the impending tragedy can be reduced. But direct confrontation with the armed guards appears to be a dangerous business, since many of the protesters are being shot or thrown into the water.

You continue working with the sustainability group, since they seem to have the best understanding of the problem and the best chances of survival. At the same time, your sympathies are with the protesters and the fisher families. You hope and pray that this is all some nightmare from which you will soon awaken, or that there is some means of escape – for everyone – that you haven't seen yet.

 

nex_s

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guardia
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Joined: Jul 26 2009
Posts: 592
Re: Autonomous systems??
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

Does anyone else beside me sometimes think that the "System" is resetting its demand signal all by itself regardless of where we get our information, what we choose to see and/or believe in, and what we plan on doing about it?

And is that necessarily a bad thing?

You know, I've realized recently that I, you or even Chris can't change things. What will happen, will happen, it's too big to actually do anything about it. Autonomous system alright

But, we are still here, and there are good things that we can still do, and I am focusing on that these days.

People don't want to listen? Got better things to do... They will suffer, but that's just how things are. The system needs these sheep to act autonomously I guess. Anyway, got better people to hang around with.

Samuel

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pinecarr
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Posts: 2237
nex_s, I like Heinberg's

nex_s, I like Heinberg's Tarpaper raft analogy.  It really captures a lot of the different experiences you go through when you realize what's going on!  Thanks for sharing.

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