Sunday, December 24, 2017

No Coal In Stocking

Grasping the Nettle,

Professor Nate Hagans lays the conceptual groundwork explaining why we can't seem to adjust our ways, based upon knowledge, only upon panic. Some individuals and small groups can adapt a little ahead of the emergency. Does that describe you?
"Once we DO grasp the relationship between growth, energy, and money and realize a likely trend of contraction for advanced economies in coming decades, we paradoxically (and quite quickly) switch from a ‘there’s no problem’ attitude to an ‘it’s too late to do anything’ position... It means the majority of bright, pro-social people in our culture are working on ‘solutions’ that have little overlap with the likely shape of our economy in coming decades. Many of our friends (for good reasons, at least historically) just assume business as usual will continue and ignore increasing data to the contrary... We’ve designed a social system around physical growth and no longer have the conditions for growth. So far, each time we’ve encountered limits, we responded with rule changes, for example low-interest money, additional welfare guarantees, or increasing debt ceilings. But on the not-too-distant horizon, we have a - now unavoidable - date where the financial system will be recalibrating with the physical system that underpins it... This is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ situation for our culture."  Thanks Charles.

Gail Tverberg presents the hypothesis that WW-1 was precipitated by the peak-coal that the UK went through in 2013. Anthracite coal is the good stuff, sharp, light, flintlike chunks that they used in steam locomotives and industrial engines, and home heating. I remember playing in piles of this stuff at a railyard on base when I was a kid, the original "clean coal".  England was the major producer and exporter until this played out, and the decay of the British empire began. After WW-1, England could no longer supply Italy, so ties frayed, and Italy got coal from Germany, and alliances shifted. There is a lot of really engaging detail presented here. The disruption of global coal supplies led to the Great Depression after that. WW-2 was the solution to that. 
High Grade Anthracite is gone. Steam locomotives are gone. Coal production is slow and intensive to ramp up. Changing over to oil was a big success. Natural gas is our next cheap fuel, but we have seen supply problems with that for decades, already.  More thanks, Charles.
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Pictures of North Korea (ignore the sensational title, please) What do you see? What do you not see?
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North Korea denounces latest UN sanctions as "act of war". Those are middle class working people pictured above. Millions of people like them have starved to death in North Korea since the Soviet Union collapsed and quite sending food. Whaddaya think? "Act of war", when the only effect is to starve and freeze millions of people?

The US will "cross a line" and "become accomplice in igniting war war", if Obama era antitank missile and other high tech weapons are provided directly to Ukraine by the US government, with US training on the ground, and the only possible use being to further destroy the 2015 Minsk agreement. Everyone has agreed the Minsk Agreement is the only acceptably peaceful way forward. The US repeats that it needs to be fully implemented, but always leaves out that Ukraine is the guilty party making war,

Vladimir Putin says that Russia will protect Russian interests. “Our strength is aimed at protecting against outside threats [and] terrorism,” “We are not seeking and will not be seeking confrontation with anyone, and will continue [pursuing] a transparent and honest foreign policy.” “But we will never sacrifice the security of our citizens and national interests of our people.” Putin said that “a strong, responsible, and free civil society” is a key factor of change, and is immune to attempts to destabilize Russia and plunge it into chaos or “make it veer off its way.”

Slovakia halts natural gas flow to Ukraine for failure to pay for gas long ago delivered. Slovakia has been Ukraine's largest supplier in recent years, since Russia shut off flows through the Ukrainian pipeline for theft and non-payment.

The CIA and President Trump passed on a tip to Russia about a terrorist plot to kill a lot of people in a cathedral in St Petersburg. Russia acted promptly. The attack was prevented, and many lives were saved. Putin called Trump to thank him and publicly thanked the CIA. This analyst says Trump wants payment, quid pro quo. (This is the good-Trump. Reference bad-Trump in "red line" story above.)

Russia tells US military to get out of Syria:  "Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria said on Thursday that there was no reason for US forces to remain in Syria and that Washington’s stated arguments for maintaining a military presence there were groundless."

Israeli politicians and military prepare for third war against Lebanon. (How can this not be a bloodbath?)

"Reform", Saudi Style: Saudi General successfully resists Royal torture by foreign mercenaries, and refuses to give up his fortune. His body is nearly unrecognizable to his family.  

Saudi Prince, al-Waleed  bin Talal, a cousin to Mohamed bin Salman, did give $1 billion right away for his release, and is trying to get the Saudi treasury to accept $6 billion in co-ownership of global corporations, instead of his having to sell massively for cash. His total wealth is estimated over $18 billion. (This is the "good" MbS, he's dealing with.)

Washington Post calls for American outrage against War on Yemen, including illegal blockade of food and medicine. The US is providing military logistics for the Saudis, weapons by the billions, helping enforce the illegal blockade, and totally supporting this holocaust against Yemeni families. (It's against the policy of the Washington Post to mention that the US government is at fault in any way, so they don't.)

Bad Cop

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